Monday, 3 February 2014

Our Book Club Favourite Reads


I am always, always on the lookout for a good book and I love to share my latest picks. Amazingly, it's been forever since I shared some IAIT Book Club reads with you on the blog, which is a wonder really when I spend half of my Zayn-free life reading.

Plus, when it's this cold and grey outside, is there anything better than snuggling up with a good book? Just cut me a slab of cake, pour me a cup of tea and I'm happy.

Anyway, this is for anyone on the hunt for a new read - enjoy your 'me time' and be sure to let me know your recent picks!

Sam x

AND THE MOUNTAINS ECHOED BY KHALED HOSSEINI

And The Mountains Echoed

In my eyes, the master storyteller that is Khaled Hosseini (he of the breathtaking Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns) can do no wrong. His latest novel, And The Mountains Echoed, reads like a collection of woven short stories, each overlapping and picking up from the last - and I couldn't put it down. Not for a single second.

Opening in an Afghan village way back in 1952, this book will both break your heart and then make you smile just a few chapters on. An extremely moving tale of family, loss, betrayal and sheer desperation, it crosses generations to follow the story of Pari, a three-year-old Afghan girl who was sold to a wealthy couple in Kabul by her father. While I didn't fall for its charms quite so much as I did The Kite Runner, this is a deeply moving must-read and left me thinking long after the last page was closed.


THE CUCKOO'S CALLING BY ROBERT GALBRAITH (AKA J.K.ROWLING)


Cuckoo's Calling

You can't really blame J.K.Rowling for writing under a pseudonym, can you? I mean, what chance does she stand otherwise when the Harry Potter books were such a runaway, phenomenal success? Anyway, she was outed as the author of crime novel The Cuckoo's Calling, which had already been praised and loved by critics and 'normal' readers alike.

Sharp, fast-paced and witty, this is one of those rare unputdownable books - the kind that keeps you reading, pulsating, right until the early hours of the morning. It's also one of those rare books that are worth it, if only for the twists and turns and complex, yet likeable characters.

It tells the story of Cormoran Strike, an unlikely private detective with a lot of personal problems. He takes on the case of Lula Landry, a tragic supermodel who plummeted to her death from her block of flats. The police sign the case off as suicide, but Lula's brother is determined to prove otherwise... J.K delves into the murky world of celebrity as Strike and his assistant set out to prove that Lula's death wasn't suicide, but murder. Forget the author, this is a brilliant book in its own right.

HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU BY MHAIRI McFARLANE

Here's Looking At You Mhairi McFarlane

Fresh, witty and laugh-out-loud funny, Mhairi McFarlane's characters are every bit as brilliant and as sparkling as she is herself (she's one of my favourite tweeters of all-time). Her second book, Here's Looking At You, follows Anna, a brilliantly clever history professor who also happens to be a bit of a looker, as she looks for love.

And yet. Just when you're about to roll your eyes at yet more chick lit, just you wait...it seems that Anna wasn't always quite so lucky in the looks department. Tormented and bullied to devastating amounts at school, she's always left trying to forget her teenage days,

When James Fraser, the main culprit behind Anna's school humiliation, steps right back into her life, everything changes. Her world crumbles and she's fully prepared to hate him...and she does, for a bit. But slowly, he starts to win her around. Is he a changed man? Can she trust him? And will she fall for him once again?

Ladies, this is no ordinary chick lit - not only is it deeply, darkly funny, but it will also break your heart and leave you turning over your own bad memories of school. This is a real page-turner, thanks to Mhairi's brilliantly loveable characters and sparkling prose.

THE COURAGE TREE BY DIANE CHAMBERLAIN

The Courage Tree

Every now and again, I feel the urge to pick up an easy read that's ever-so-slightly more challenging than the usual chick lit. Diane Chamberlain (if you love Jodi Picoult, you will LOVE her novels) is one of those authors who presents you drama and emotion and forces you to question your own perceptions.

The Courage Tree tells the story of Sophie, a little girl who suffers with a rare disease and has been given just months to live. Sophie's mother, Janine, wants her daughter to live out her last few weeks with as much adventure as possible, but this all goes wrong when Sophie goes missing on an overnight camping trip. With Sophie's condition always in the back of her mind, this book follows a race of time as Janine fights to save her daughter and get her the life-changing treatment she needs, before it's too late.




And, now for my favourite non-fiction read of the month...


THE MEDICINAL CHEF: HEALTHY EVERY DAY


Just a few weeks back, I posted about my love for Dale Pinnock and his fantastic range of books. The Medicinal Chef: Healthy Every Day is his latest release and is packed full of nutritional wisdom, nuggets of advice and mouth-wateringly good recipes.

Dale is a huge advocate of using our diets to supplement our health and each recipe he creates is for a specific purpose, a specific reason. Whether you suffer from insomnia or osteoporosis to anxiety and psoriasis, he's created a recipe for you. This is one of my most beloved books on my kitchen shelf and I find myself reaching for it time and time again. It's a must-buy for anyone interested in health, or for anyone looking to buck up their diets.