Monday, 30 April 2018

April Book Round-Up

Here's what I've been reading in April:

Cross Your Heart (Detective Jess Bishop #2) by Kierney Scott* - this series just keeps getting better and better. I took part in the Blog Blitz this month. See my review HERE.

Keeper (Emily Roy & Alexis Castells #2) by Johana Gustawsson** - an amazing second novel in the series (I now need to go back and read the first one!) This could be read as a standalone like I did however. I took part in the Blog Tour so see my review HERE.

The Sapphire Widow by Dinah Jefferies* - I simply loved this easy reading and descriptive story which tells the tale of Louisa Reeves and her dashingly handsome husband Elliot.

Their life is perfect apart from one thing. Louisa is desperate to become a mother. Her husband is away from home a lot overseeing business interests at Cinnamon Hills, a cinnamon plantation. When he dies suddenly in tragic circumstances Louisa's life could fall apart, especially when she learns what Elliot has been keeping from her but onwards she goes. Absolutely loved this book.

Mark of the Devil (Inspector Jim Carruthers #3)* by Tana Collins* - this series keeps getting better and better. I think this is the best one yet!

DI Jim Carruthers and the team are investigating a series of art thefts when they receive the tip off that a woman's body is on the beach. They also find some suspicious items on the clifftop and the woman has an unusual tattoo on her body.

The local estate owner would like Jim to believe he knows nothing but gut instinct makes Jim think he's up to his neck in it. One of his young gamekeepers is pulled from the sea death - what did he know and why would it have cost him his life? There are links to Estonia, people trafficking and Eastern European gangs.

Are the cases connected? And if so, where's the connection? Fast paced and enjoyable. I also liked how the main characters are developing and we are beginning to know them well. A great read.

Murderabilia by Craig Robertson - I've read one of Craig Robertson's earlier books in this series. This is the 6th in the Tony Winter series. 

Set in Glasgow, an early train's leaving Queen Street Station and just out of the tunnel the screams start - a body is hanging from the bridge, naked with his clothes neatly folded under him. Detective Inspector Narey is on the case briefly before being sent on enforced sick leave. She needs Tony to help her check some things out.. she also ventures onto the dark web to find out why and what people are buying in connection with death. A fast paced read which I couldn't put down. Definitely must read the rest in the series.

Restless Coffins by M P Wright** - this series is one of my all time favourites. I've followed JT Ellington and his cousin Vic since the beginning and Heartman. This story is fast paced, exciting, scary, nerve wracking and brilliant! 

JT gets a phone call bearing bad news. He has to go home and Vic sends and airline ticket for him to come via America. He's picked up by a streetwise but beautiful girl by the name of Evangeline Laveau and from that moment everything seems to go scarily wrong... When he eventually arrives back home he has to deal with Conrad Monroe and all that his sister Bernice left behind. A great read. So recommend.

Theo - One Love, Two Stories by Amanda Prowse - having adored Anna, I couldn't wait to read Theo's side of the story. Dear Theo struggles through boarding school, a sensitive and quiet child who is prone to bullying. He finds a friendship at school which brightens up his day until it's cruely taken from him. 

He has a period away at University where he meets working class Spud, a lifelong friend. Working life's not that great either. His Dad is forever putting him down. The day he meets Anna is a bright spot in his life. She's nothing like him, so full of life and takes everything life throws at her. He's besotted by her pretty quickly. Anna wants a family more than anything in the world but Theo's not so sure.. So brilliant to see the other side of the story. I loved this book as much as Anna.

A Fractured Winter by Alison Baillie** - I'm taking part in the Blog Tour for Alison's second novel so I'll share my review in my May roundup.

Fault Lines by Doug Johnstone** - Again, I'm taking part in the Blog Tour for this book early next month so I'll share my thoughts in my May roundup.

No Way Back by Kelly Florentia - Audrey Fox is expecting to marry the love of her life Nick when he drops the bombshell that he can't marry her feeling it's too much of a commitment. Going into meltdown Audrey goes on holiday to Cyprus with her parents and meets charming and gorgeous Daniel Taylor. They start seeing each other. He's got a bit of baggage in the name of a grown up child he worships and when Audrey finds that Nick's been in an accident she's torn..A great read which I thoroughly enjoyed with interesting characters and storylines. Looking forward already to book #2.

Last month I enjoyed (it wasn't published when I did my March roundup):

Deadly Secrets - Detective Erika Foster #6) by Robert Bryndza* - Detective Erika Foster has a random day off for Christmas when she drives past a murder scene. Of course being Erika she has to stop. It's the body of a young woman, beautiful Burlesque dancer, Marissa Lewis who is found in her snowy front garden. Who would do such a thing to someone who has her whole life ahead of her?

The team throw themselves into the investigation - it's nice to see Peterson back although that brings some unwelcome heartache for Erika. Erika has some personal stuff to sort for her father-in-law so Moss takes on the case which could have devastating personal consequences....she does a good job but decides she prefers being part of a team.

What's the connection to the case of the man in the gas mask who's been assaulting people in the street..and is there more to Marissa than meets the eye... an absolutely brilliant fast paced read with a surprising ending I for one didn't see coming!

What have you been reading this month?

*copy from the publisher via Netgalley
**print copy direct from the publisher

Sunday, 29 April 2018

April: Lately I've Been Loving

So many April loves..

I've had the real pleasure of trying exquisite and decadent Mangata Baume de la Rose* (£83 - 30ml) an anti-ageing beauty balm by Holistic Green Beauty which truly is one of the most luxurious products I've ever tried. It's perfect in every way from the feel on your skin to the beautiful scent. Expect a full review very shortly (this product has WOW factor and is likely to feature in my top products of '18).

And two products with the WOW factor in the same month! Vanderohe's No.1 Nourishing Face Serum* (10ml - £33) is one of the best skincare products I've tried. Catch my review in early May.

It was my 50th birthday earlier in the month and we went back to the fab L'Horizon Hotel at St Brelades Bay, Jersey. The hotel is right on the beach and is just wonderfully relaxing. We were also lucky to have two very sunny afternoons.

Coffee was a must in the sunshine at Jersey Crab Shack on the bay (and their wonderful crab salad was also consumed!)

We got the open top bus into St Helier (and I nearly fell off my seat trying to take selfies..haha)

Hubby treated me to the gorgeous Tom Ford Neroli Portofino EdP at de Gruchy (cheaper than UK with no VAT!) The assistant also decanted two generous samples for me. Review will follow! I love it.

Of course there had to be fizz! And cocktails..

lanique (rose attar (like liquid turkish delight yum), crushed ice and lime

Old Fashioned and Negroni

amuse bouche

 potato - quails egg- paris brown

Morel Cream - Pea - Lemon - Spring Herbs (pretty as a picture, delicious & one of our favourites) 

scallop - celeriac - truffle - apple - smoked eel

Spiced Apple - Backberry

We dined again at amazing One Michelin Star Bohemia Jersey and the food was gorgeous. Would highly recommend it if you are on the Island.

Thank you Bohemia!

My friend Nardin treated me to a gorgeous bottle of perfume from Jo Loves - Smoked Plum & Leather. See my review HERE.

My friends Magi and Derek asked their very talented neighbour and friend to draw our old dog Bess. The likeness is uncanny! Such a beautiful and heartfelt gift.

What have you been loving this month?


Vertue Beauty Box: April: Vitamin Sea

April's Vertue Beauty Box is absolutely fantastic! The theme is "Vitamin Sea". The box is bi-monthly so the next one will be in June. Find out more information HERE. I was very kindly sent a box* to review this month and was delighted with the contents. So what's inside...

WOW! Amazing and there are 2 new to me brands (happy face) and all new to me products.

There are two products from new to me brand Seatox. The products inside are their Selkie Smooth Seaweed Bath Soak (£6.95) and Kelp Help Wild Kelp Powder (£8.95). I'm looking forward to testing these out and reviews will follow.

From American brand, Earth Harbor we have their Rose Ruby Gemstone Face Mist 60ml (approx £14.50) which is very exciting as the brand looks just like something I'd go for. Again, a review will follow.

From Pacifica there is a really lovely eyeshadow palette (Mystical) (£15.49) (I don't think I've ever had a palette in a beauty box). The shades are really wearable and I'm looking forward to testing it out.

The final two items are a Hydrea Fina Silk Sea Sponge which is great for facial cleansing and gentle exfoliation or for applying foundation. I used to buy these sponges on holiday in Greece so looking forward to re-visiting!

From The Salt Parlour is a tin of their DETOX Salt & Sulphur Scrub (try me size). I've used this brand before and love their products. The final treat is 20% off code to use in the Vertue Beauty shop.

What do you think of April's box? Are you already a subscriber?


Saturday, 28 April 2018

April Empties

This must be the smallest amount of empties...ever.. (I recycled the ones I'd finished when I was away recently rather than bring them back). I'm not going to use anything else up so here goes..

MOA Dreamy Mineral Soak 400g - I absolutely loved these. I bought them with a 30% off code as I'd never buy them full price. If they were on offer again I'd be sure to snap them up. See my review HERE.

Kiss the Moon GLOW Bedtime Bath Salts 400g* - Again, these were fabulous and I loved them. See my review HERE. I'll definitely buy these when my stash reduces.

I absolutely adored all three Botany Blend oils** I tried. These two samples were also gorgeous (don't you just love companies which offer trial sizes). See my review HERE. I'm highly likely to buy ACESO in the future.

New from Tabitha James Kraan is Clean Shampoo which has a slight lather. This 10ml sample gave me two uses making it a good try-me (or perfect for holidays). I'll definitely buy full size soon.

From Sisley and my April subscription sample pack is their Revitalising Volumising Shampoo 8ml which I found to have a strange oily sort of texture. This seemed nice enough but I didn't really notice any extra volume in my hair.

My final sachet this month is from Green People - Intensive Repair Shampoo which seemed nice. The sachet is quite small so I only got one use from it.  Might or might not buy full size.

Beatitude Peace Bath Oil 10ml - I'm a huge fan of this brand (my favourite scent is Joy). This is great for a relaxing soak. See my review HERE.

Kiss the Moon LOVE After Dark Face Oil 5ml is truly decadent and very luxurious. See my mini review HERE. My stash of face oils is truly huge but once it reduces a bit I'll buy this again.

ESPA Restorative Body Oil 15ml which was a Latest in Beauty Build your own Box pick. Nice to use with a pleasant scent.  My body products stash is huge so probably wouldn't buy.

Molton Brown Frankincense & Allspice Handwash 300ml - I adore this spicy wash. This was my last full size (and I never got round to picking any up in the sales) so no more for me until it's back in store in October. See my review HERE.

My final item this month is Ezàpè Naturals Rosemary Body Butter 25g which is a nourishing pot of goodness. See my review HERE. I've got a full size pot of this waiting to be used but I'd buy again.

What have you been using up this month?

*sent to me via the LLABP

Friday, 27 April 2018

The Pip Box - April Edit

The Pip Box is known to me but this is my first one! I was very kindly sent the April edit* to try and review. Subscribe to this cruelty free box for £14.99 a month plus £3.35 p&p UK, or £6.95 p&p Rest of Europe). See more information HERE.

I like how the branded label seals the box (there's no excess sellotape in sight!) and that a 50p donation per box sold will be donated to the charity, Animal Free Research UK.

So what's inside:

And for a closer look..

From Balade En Provence there is an apple shaped and apple scented Vegan Hand Cream (30ml - £9.99) which is quite intriguing. The rich cream nourishes the hands and nails and leaves them smelling of apples (and the pot can be re-used for storing small items).

I've always wanted to try a The Konjac Sponge Co Body Sponge (£11.99) and inside is The Original Konjac Wave Sponge which gently exfoliates, deeply cleanses and refreshes, conditions and calms the skin. Looking forward to testing it out.

From Peony Cosmetics is their stunning Pink Glow Luminizing Stick (£16.99) which gives a rosy golden glow to cheekbones. This is really pretty and will be great for summer (and perfect with a tan).

Also inside the box is FRUU's Colour Balm (£4.99) I've got rare coral which smells of watermelons, leaves the lips with a light tint and is perfect for summer!

The final item this month is a trial size (10ml) of Weleda's Evening Primrose Body Oil (£3.99). I've not tried this scent before. It's back in the box by popular demand!

There are also money off coupons from most of the companies in the box which I think's a generous extra treat. Did you get a box this month? What are your thoughts on the contents?

*complimentary - very generously sent for review

Thursday, 26 April 2018

The Natural Beauty Box - April - Fresh Faced

March's The Natural Beauty Box entitled "Almost Good Enough to Eat.." was absolutely incredible. It featured five products I hadn't tried before (although there were two brand inside I knew about but hadn't tried the products - that's what beauty boxes should all be about). See my thoughts on the box HERE.

This month the theme is "Fresh Faced" and the products are worth £82.95. The box costs £24.95 a month (and you can cancel at anytime). Unfortunately my product information sheet was missing but Emma kindly sent me a copy of it via email.

There's one totally new to me brand this month - Villiers London and inside is their Floral Face Steam which is worth £15. I'm not really a fan of face steams alas so I'll be passing this one on. I'll definitely be checking out the range as there are a lot of products there which appeal!

I adore BYBI Babe Balm (REVIEW) so was really excited to see their Buffer Lip Scrub (£9) which is a creamy indulgent treat which leaves the lips feeling nourished, smooth and buffed. LOVE!

The three remaining items I've tried before (they are great additions to the box and even more exciting if you've not tried them previously).

From Myroo Organic Skincare there is a full size (26g - £30) of their Skin Boost Serum with Rosehip, Starflower and Orange Blossom. See my review HERE. I'm sure it will be nice to revisit as I first tried it in 2012!

From Bloomtown we have their award winning The Spring Blue Clay & Indigo Leaf Soothing Mask (90g - £12). See my review HERE. This is a lovely mask so I'll look forward to trying it again.

The final item this month is PHB Ethical Beauty's Brightening Eye Gel (15ml - £16.95) which I've received before in a Love Lula Beauty Box. 

What do you think of the contents this month? Did you pick up a "Fresh Faced" box?

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Blog Blitz: Cross Your Heart By Kierney Scott - Detective Jess Bishop #2

Today I'm on the Blog Blitz for the fabulous Cross Your Heart by Kierney Scott. 

Blinking her eyes open, she looks around the room, taking in the bed and the wardrobe full of clothes she’s never seen before. This isn’t her bedroom. Those aren’t her clothes. She begins to cry as she wonders if she’ll ever see her own home again.

Three young girls are missing. All of them cold cases. All of them forgotten. But when Detective Jess Bishop identifies a disturbing link between them, she’s determined to find out what happened, and fights to re-open their cases. 

At the scene of each abduction the kidnapper left a clue – a small bag of candy – in place of the missing child.

And then a fourth child is taken. Eight-year-old Ava is snatched from her hospital bed and when a bag of candy is found in her room, Jessica knows it’s the same kidnapper.

As the pressure to solve the case pushes Jess and her team to breaking point, Jess takes a personal risk she fears she’ll live to regret. But she has no choice.

Out of hospital, Ava can only get sicker: Jess is running out of time. Can she find Ava before it’s too late?

An absolutely gripping thriller that will have your pulse racing. Cross Your Heart is perfect for fans of Robert Dugoni, Karin Slaughter and Lisa Gardner. 

My thoughts?

This series just keeps getting better and better. I've grown to love the character of Detective Jess Bishop (I found her prickly, weak and annoying at the start of the first book). 

Three young girls are missing and Jess thinks the cases are linked. Her team don't believe her which astounds her. When a fourth child is taken the race is on to find out how the cases are connected and what is the link to the cotton candy and sand..

I thought Jess really developed in this book. It was also good to see Jamieson, Jess's partner back (I hope they will eventually get back together, in book #3 maybe?). I also liked how Jess finally realises she needs help to get her life back on track. A brilliant second book and can't wait for book #3.

*complimentary e-book from the publisher