Books

Book Review: The Flavours of Love by Dorothy Koomson

The Flavours of Love by Dorothy Koomsen I came across this book at the bookshop while looking for Christmas presents for my husband. He was with me at the time and saw my reaction when I read the synopsis on the back. Cooking and murder and secrets! So much that interested me. The Flavours of Love tells the story of Saffron Mackleroy and her family after the murder of her husband 18 months earlier. The killer of her husband has started sending letters to Saffron to make her aware that she is being watched. And on top of all that, she has all the usual family drama to deal with. Her teenage daughter has some very confronting issues to deal with, the younger son is withdrawing from life, her husband’s aunt has been asked to leave her nursing home. This story is more than just about trying to solve a murder; it’s about how to survive life.

Dorothy Koomson’s writing was very compelling. I was mesmerized from the first chapter and at the end of the night, I had to force myself to put the book down to get some sleep, as I knew I wouldn’t ever find a place I would willingly stop. It was so great to get to Friday night and know I could stay up as late as I wanted and power through the last half of the book. It was after 4am when I got to bed, knowing the family was safe again after Joel’s killer had been caught.

This book could have easily just focused on the murder aspect, but it incorporated so many other things. It gave me so much to reflect upon about my own relationships and how I might cope in a similar circumstance but I hope I never have to find out. Losing the love of your life would be devastating, but then you have to send the kids back to school, return to work, keep paying bills. Life goes on and doesn’t slow down when tragedy strikes. And there are all those little things, the little neuroses that your spouse would be able to talk you through, and to suddenly lose that voice of reason and do things you might not have done in the past. So many little things that we take for granted in the normality of our lives.

I loved learning about the love that Saffron and Joel shared with little flashback scenes to their life together, while they were dating and married. There is so much magic in this book amongst all the tragedy and drama that is revealed between the pages. I wasn’t really sure of the genre to class this book as when I started it, but wanted to include it in my Literary Exploration Challenge. I eventually settled on Thriller, because I certainly felt thrilled all the way through it as all the secrets were unraveled.

I don’t think I’d ever heard of Dorothy Koomson before, but she is now firmly planted on my radar and I will be hunting down her other books to read.

Originally posted at Literary Exploration. Buy: Amazon, Book Depository,  (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

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Books

The Literary Exploration Reading Challenge

I didn’t read very many books last year. I think I read something amazing at the beginning of the year, and I became reluctant to leave that world behind and enter a new one, so it was a while in between books. And then the ones I did read, didn’t end up inspiring me to keep on reading.
This year I have a goal to make more of an effort to read, so I am participating in the Literary Exploration Reading Challenge. This is an initiative over at my husband’s blog, that also happens in his GoodReads Book Club. This will be the second year it will be running. The idea is that you read books from different genres as a way to open yourself up to new reading experiences. People who participated last year seemed to enjoy it, so this year I will also be trying it out.
I will start off at the Easy Challenge and see how I go. If I finish that early enough, I might try to upgrade to one of the more difficult ones. Sometimes it is difficult to think what belongs in which genre, but that’s probably part of the adventure. So far, I’m doing ok, and I have nearly finished my third book and started my fourth book over the weekend. Not a bad effort for January. I hope I can keep it up.
As a result, I suspect there will be a few book reviews in the future. Some get posted over at Literary Exploration as guest reviews, which I hope to cross-post here. Hopefully, you will enjoy reading them.

Events

Thank You Kindly

In my previous post, I mentioned that later this year, I will be participating in an epic North American journey with my sister and husband, starting with (hopefully) the San Diego Comic Con. But I’ll also be participating in something even more exciting than that. Something that brings a smile to my face every time it passes my mind.
I’m attending the RCW139 Due South Fan Convention in Toronto!
Due South was my favourite TV show as a teenager. Its something I accidentally came across and then fell in love with. I may have become a touch obsessive with it. There was one other girl in my class who watched the show and we would often bond over it, despite usually being part of different friendship groups. I wonder if i should try to find her on facebook and let her know I’m going and we can squee about Due South together again. But does anyone want to hear from someone they went to school with 15 years ago to discuss a TV show you once liked. I would, but would other normal people?
Benton Fraser represented the goodness of men. There aren’t that many positive male role models on television. Most shows seem to have men that don’t try that hard because no much is expected of them and often treat the women around them badly. I often find myself screaming at the tv for these fictional men to not make the bad decision you know will negatively affect their lives, but they go do it anyway. But Benton Fraser, despite his flaws, was a man who always tried to be the best person he could be. Polite and respectful and kind and grateful. Also a little bit hot. What more could teenage me want?
The night of the Due South final in Australia was also the night before my QCS test. If you aren’t a Queenslander, QCS is a big test you do that goes towards your final marks that determines ultimately what will happen with the rest of your life, or at least the following year. But its a pretty big deal at the time. But it tests Core Skills, so its not something you can actually study for, but we had done some practice runs at school. but you are given different stimuli and you have to interpret it or be inspired by it or whatever. There are some sciency questions and some writing questions. I wasn’t all that worried about me, but my mother was more concerned about it and insisted that i needed to have an early night so i could be rested for the test. So the night the final screened, I was in my bedroom secretly weeping. The house we were living in at the time had my bedroom in the middle of the house which had a window into the living room. It was kinda strange. So i climbed up onto the bed head to try and watch the final through the window while my mum watched it in the room next to me.
I can’t believe my mother would betray me like that! My school friend attempted to record the episode for me, and later that week we snuck into the science lab in an attempt to watching it but for some reason it didn’t record any of the images and only the audio. Pretty devastating stuff. I think i didn’t get to see the final episode properly for years after that when I was able to buy it on DVD.
When I went to university, I had access to the internet that I hadn’t had before, and in my spare time I would often search Alta Vista for Due South related stuff. Over the years I have read about the RCW139 convention and its been a dream to be able to attend, but its never been realistic. Canada is a long way from Australia. So last year when i saw the news that there was going to be another convention for the 20th Anniversary of Due South and i saw the dates coincided with while I was in North America, it all become something achievable. I think we were meant to be in New York City or Boston that weekend, but we’ve cut that short by a couple of days.
My husband will be joining me, although I don’t think he’s seen every episode of Due South yet, so we’ll have to do that before we leave.
I’ve been stalking twitter for other people that are going so I can get to know them and have someone I know when we get there so things are less awkward. Like the lovely Anna and Erica who are blogging about their experiences over at Due West.
I’m ridiculously excited about this. They say that Paul Gross is going to try and make it, and I’m not sure that I’m even phsyically capable of handling that much awesome if that was to actually happen. Imagine… Paul Gross…
Paul Gross as Benton Fraser.

Events

San Diego Comic Con Wannabes

It’s been a long time since I have written. Life gets in the way of things like recording it sometimes.
There are some exciting adventures on the horizon, so i wanted to write about in case it results in some networking or tips in how to achieve all we want.
We are planning a trip to North America. We being me, my husband and my sister. Hopefully there are no major dramas during the time we are traveling. I sometimes fall into disagreements with each of them individually. What if they gang up on me?
Its been a goal of ours to attend the San Diego Comic Con for quite a few years, and we are hoping that 2014 is the year this will happen. Its quite stressful, as at this stage, tickets aren’t on sale so we aren’t sure if we’ll be able to go. But we have our travel arrangements sorted and accommodation arranged. We will be in San Diego during Comic Con and we hope that we will also be attending Comic Con.
Having done a bit of research, we have learnt that tickets to Comic Con aren’t all that easy to obtain, sometimes selling out in less than 2 hours. We are going to have to be pretty lucky to be able to get just three of those tickets. I’m not sure what time of day it will be happening, but I imagine it will be in the middle of the night in Australia and the three of us will be on our respective computers trying to make it happen.
We are trying to be positive and have made plans as though it will be happening, but we have some back up plans in mind just in case we don’t get tickets. I’ve read about some off-site events that happen during the same time as Comic Con so maybe we can check out some of those. We’d also love to see Lego Land.
In 2009, my husband and I went on a day trip to San Diego Zoo from Anaheim where we were spending the week. The bus that dropped us off continued on with the other passengers into Mexico. The tour guide raved about how great there day was going to be in Mexico and we were a little sad to get off at the Zoo, although we still had a great day. Maybe its possible to do a day tour to Mexico this time.
Last year, we visited the Adelaide Zoo and before we went my sister was excited about seeing flamingos and it made me think about that day at the San Diego Zoo as that is the first thing you see when you enter the Zoo. Adelaide only has too flamingos. San diego has a few more.
The day we went to San Diego Zoo and saw flamingos.
What do you recommend to do while in San Diego? Would love to have some more back up plans, or maybe recommendations for restaurants.
So there is much excitement in the future. There are other parts of the trip that we are also excited about, but I’ll write about them in the next couple of blog entries.