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Currently I'm reading: Harbour Views by Philip Chatting

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Mum of 3 (1994, 1995, 1998)- born in East Germany --lived in UK/ Kent since 1993 -- studied criminology -- love reading / writing / travelling / knitting / cats. 

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Review Queue

  • 1. Harbour Views by Philip Chatting
  • 2. Pegasus to Paradise by Michael Tappenden
  • 3. The Terrorist's daughter by Brian Arthur Levene
  • 4. Darsky's Resistance by Michael Rudnicki
  • 5. Shimon by John Steinberg
  • 6. Fallen on Good Times by Rewan Thremetick
  • 7. Silver Kings and Sons of Bitches by Michael D McGranahan
  • 8. What if it's love by Alix Nichols
  • 9. What passing bells by Julian Moss
  • 10. Biokill / Tandrex by Stuart Handley
  • 11. Do I bother you at night by Troy Radcliffe
  • 12. Dreampipe by Matthew Keith
  • 13. Valerie's Retreat by Joseph Rinaldo

Peggy Farooqi is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Thursday, 11 September 2014

The autumn selection for the Richard and Judy Book Club is out! I'm going to get my order in with WH Smith's. I they give you all 8 books for £29.99. I'm not affiliated to them in any way, but I think this might be the cheapest if you want to get all 8. But check each individual on Kindle - might be even better value. Now just one question remains... when I can find the time to read just for myself and not for review / academic purpose arrrghhhh

What I do like about the R&J book club is that they are promoting quite a few new authors - in fact I don't think I read any of those introduces this autumn before. Apologies, I'm not sure whether all of them are first time authors (I don't think so). And there is something for everyone, from crime to historical to Sci Fi to Autobiography. 

Here are the books:

1. Daughter by Jane Shemilt

When a teenage girl goes missing her mother discovers she doesn't know her daughter as well as she thought in Jane Shemilt's haunting debut novel, Daughter. 

The Night Of The Disappearance - She used to tell me everything. They have a picture. It'll help. But it doesn't show the way her hair shines so brightly it looks like sheets of gold. She has a tiny mole, just beneath her left eyebrow. She smells very faintly of lemons. She bites her nails. She never cries. She loves autumn, I wanted to tell them. She collects leaves, like a child does. She is just a child. Find her. 

One year later - Naomi is still missing. Jenny is a mother on the brink of obsession. The Malcolm family is in pieces. Is finding the truth about Naomi the only way to put them back together? Or is the truth the thing that will finally tear them apart?

2. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

Harry August is on his deathbed. Again. No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes. Until now. As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside. 'I nearly missed you, Doctor August,' she says. 'I need to send a message.' This is the story of what Harry does next, and what he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow.

3.  The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin

In 1875, Sisi, the Empress of Austria is the woman that every man desires and every woman envies. Beautiful, athletic and intelligent, Sisi has everything - except happiness. Bored with the stultifying etiquette of the Hapsburg Court and her dutiful but unexciting husband, Franz Joseph, Sisi comes to England to hunt. She comes looking for excitement and she finds it in the dashing form of Captain Bay Middleton, the only man in Europe who can outride her. Ten years younger than her and engaged to the rich and devoted Charlotte, Bay has everything to lose by falling for a woman who can never be his. But Bay and the Empress are as reckless as each other, and their mutual attraction is a force that cannot be denied.

4. The Martian by Andy Weir

I'm stranded on Mars. I have no way to communicate with Earth. I'm in a Habitat designed to last 31 days. If the Oxygenator breaks down, I'll suffocate. If the Water Reclaimer breaks down, I'll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I'll just kind of explode. If none of those things happen, I'll eventually run out of food and starve to death. So yeah. I'm screwed.

5. Someone Else's Skin by Sarah Hilary

Called to a woman's refuge to take a routine witness statement, DI Marnie Rome instead walks in on an attempted murder. Trying to uncover the truth from layers of secrets, Marnie finds herself confronting her own demons. Because she, of all people, knows that it can be those closest to us we should fear the most...

6. The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman

When time is running out every moment is precious...When Claire starts to write her Memory Book, she already knows that this scrapbook of mementoes will soon be all her daughters and husband have of her. But how can she hold onto the past when her future is slipping through her fingers...?

7. The Devil in the Marshalsea by Antonia Hodgson

London, 1727 - and Tom Hawkins is about to fall from his heaven of card games, brothels and coffee-houses into the hell of a debtors' prison. The Marshalsea is a savage world of its own, with simple rules: those with family or friends who can lend them a little money may survive in relative comfort. Those with none will starve in squalor and disease. And those who try to escape will suffer a gruesome fate at the hands of the gaol's rutheless governor and his cronies. The trouble is, Tom Hawkins has never been good at following rules - even simple ones. And the recent grisly murder of a debtor, Captain Roberts, has brought further terror to the gaol. While the Captain's beautiful widow cries for justice, the finger of suspicion points only one way: to the sly, enigmatic figure of Samuel Fleet. Some call Fleet a devil, a man to avoid at all costs. But Tom Hawkins is sharing his cell. Soon, Tom's choice is clear: get to the truth of the murder - or be the next to die.

8. Under a Mackerel Sky by Rick Stein

'All men should strive to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why.' Rick Stein's childhood in 1950s rural Oxfordshire and North Cornwall was idyllic. His parents were charming and gregarious, their five children much-loved and given freedom typical of the time. As he grew older, the holidays were filled with loud and lively parties in his parents' Cornish barn. But ever-present was the unpredicatible mood of his bipolar father, with Rick frequently the focus of his anger and sadness. When Rick was 18 his father killed himself. Emotionally adrift, Rick left for Australia, carrying a suitcase stamped with his father's initials. Manual labour in the outback followed by adventures in America and Mexico toughened up the naive public schoolboy, but at heart he was still lost and unsure what to do with his life. Eventually, Cornwall called him home. From the entrepreneurial days of his mobile disco, the Purple Tiger, to his first, unlikely unlikely nightclub where much of the time was spent breaking up drink-fuelled fights, Rick charts his personal journey in a way that is both wry and perceptive; engaging and witty.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Bengali Five Spice Chronicle
Rnku Bhattacharya
Hippocrene Books Inc U.S.
Publication Date
Jan 2013

Bengal, located in eastern India, is famous for its cuisine, which features a unique five-spice blend called panchphoron. Bengali cooking balances fresh, local ingredients with delicate spices to produce an array of mostly vegetarian, fish, and shellfish delights.

With over 180 easy-to-follow recipes, Rinku Bhattacharya brings you the best of the Bengali table, including temping dishes like Steamed Mustard Fish Wrapped in Banana Leaves, Eggs Cooked in Caramelised Onion Sauce, Crisp Lentil Cakes in Curried Gravy, and Golden Cauliflower in Orange Mustard Sauce. A through introduction to Bengali culture and cooking; sections on spices, ingredients, and equipment; and lively family anecdotes, history, and cultural information round out this unique cookbook. 

My review:  

Having a husband who was brought up in the Indian Subcontinent, spicy Indian cuisine has always played a big part in our home cooking. We do, of course, cook most of the recipes which I do know from my Pakistani mother-in-law. But I am new to Bengali cooking, so I was really excited when I received this book for review. 

The cover appealed to me straight away. I liked the fact that it did not show a cooked dish, but cute little pots with the spice mixes, underlining the fact that the spices will play a main part in the book. And it made it stand out for me from the crowd of the other cooking books on the book shop shelves. If you are into cooking with spices, you know straight away that you are right here.

Many cook books have a 'pre-story' where the author tells us a little bit about the background. Here, this is quite extensive and makes very interesting reading about the personal story of the author, and than a brief culinary journey into Bengal. And, of course, the Panch Phoron, the Five Spice Mix upon which the book is based, is explained. 

Chapter One gives us: Ingredients, Techniques and Tools. First - don't be frightened off by the unusual spices if you are not used to the ingredients. They are (at least in the UK) actually quite easy to find. The chapter also provides a useful reference point if you ever have to look back. Chapter Two introduces us to the Bengali meal - eating the Bengali way and Practical Every Day Menus. Again, this is something I have not often seen in cooking books. I certainly had the impression that the family meal is a very important part of Bengali life. 

The recipes are than arranged around the five spices of the Panch Phoron spice mix: Mustard Seeds, Nigella Seeds, Fenugreek, Fennel Seeds and Cumin Seeds. Many of the recipes have a personal background story which I loved. And now one of the most important parts - is it actually easy to cook the recipes? I tried page 69 My Uncle's Yellow Bengali Gram Lentils Mesho's Cholar Dal. 

1. Ingredients:
Where they easy to find?
Yes, certainly. Here in the UK, you can find Bengali Gram Lentils and the spices used (turmeric, cayenne pepper powder, fresh ginger paste, garlic, cumin, red chilli and also ghee (clarified butter) in every small 'Indian' grocery store. Some of the bigger supermarkets also stock them. 

2. Was it easy to cook?
Couldn't have been easier. As a busy mum, all it took was maybe 5 mins of preparing, and than 30 mins cooking. 

3. and the main question:
was it tasty?
Yes, it was! It can be served as a main dish and as a side dish. It didn't take a lot of effort - admittedly, it was on of the easier recipes in the book and nothing fancy, but it did the job and provided a quick meal. 

One amendment I made was to use oil rather than ghee for purpose of calorie savings. I guess used with ghee it would be a richer taste, but it was still fine with ordinary oil.

Here is my dish:

I wished there would have been more pictures. There is a section in the middle with a few pictures which makes your mouth water. It is always nice to be able to have pictures with every recipe in a cooking book, but the large number of recipes in this book would make this very difficult indeed I guess. 

One slight moan from me: I do not like it when the measurement of 'cup' is used (i.e. use 1 1/2 cups of ....) - I prefer to have my measurement in grams / pounds etc. I am a bit picky in the sense that I want exact measurements. 

In summary, this books is most likely one of the most extensive introductions to Bengali cooking on the market. If you like spicy cooking and would like to try something else, this is a wonderful book to get you started. Also, if you like vegetarian cooking and wanting a change from you usual recipes - this book has the most extensive selection of lentil recipes I've seen. 

About the author:  

Rinku Bhattacharya was born in Kolkata, India and currently resides in Westchester, New York. She teaches cooking classes, maintains a popular food blog, Cooking in Westchester, and writes a weekly column, "Spices and Season", for the Journal News website. 

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intro is hosted by Diane at Bibliophile By The Sea.

This is how it works: Write down either the first paragraph of a book your are currently reading / intending to read or read in the past and share with us. I do like a good opening!

My current read is Hollow Shotguns by Khalid Patel. A review book I received. I have reviewed for this author before, and I do like his very unusual style and incredible way with words. This is a story of 5 teenagers caught up in a zombie apocalypse. Not for everyone, admittedly, but a bit of an usual take on the subject. So if you are a fan of the genre and are a bit fed up of 'same old, same old', might want to give this one a try. 

WARNING- swearing / descriptions of violence and blood throughout.

Opening paragraph: 

"Man, this is fucking in-SANE!" He sways the bat back, unleashes the tool of hurt. The wood defiles the frail flesh, brittle bone.
 A crimson warmth mists their countenances.
Scarlet ink seeps from the splintered skull,now scattered about the room.
An exultant Slash kneels from the force of his swing, throat trobbing mirth. Never has wild execution felt so satisfying.
Body tissues hang soaked in adrenaline. Smiles, blood sully visages.

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB at Should be reading. 
These are the rules  :
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

From Hollow Shotguns by Khalid Patel:

Few of the school's prisoner's were expected to succeed. the males, if not incarcerated, would work the city factories, continuing the labour of their fathers. The girls would become destitute mothers, compliant housewives, or, if fortunate, underpaid beauticians. The prettier ones would perhaps befriend the pole.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Cats, Scarves and Liars
Kathryn White
Publication Date
April 2014
Novella, Paranormal


Meet Peppa Grove. Peppa is just your average Australian young woman, really. 23 years old, widowed and owner of a cat who can speak perfect English. (But no one will believe her about the cat.) Why is she being stalked by one of the customers from her job at the City South Post Office? What secrets does the mysterious Ivory Black know about Peppa and her past? What does he know about the strange murders that are happening all over Adelaide? And was it really necessary of him to steal her boyfriend's scarf? 

Cats, Scarves and Liars is a quirky, unlikely tale from a unique Australian writer. You'll laugh, you'll cry you'll discover the meaning of life. (Actually, we lied about that last part.)

My review:  

After the first paragraph, I knew I would love Peppa Grove, and had to read on. A bargain kettle from a market stall. Yep, that would be me, and who doesn't love a bargain. Peppa felt like a friend to me straight away. She chats to us in the first chapters, telling us about her young husband who died in a car accident, her job at the local post office (I loved that section and anyone who ever worked in customer service will have a good giggle), her best friend Julian. And she chats to her cat.

But do not let the cat in the title fool you - this is no cosy cat and her owner story, this has a lot more bite to it. Her cat is clearly talking to her. And, of course, whenever others are around he doesn't say a word. And things go missing. And she also finds other things in her house which she definitely didn't purchase. Good that she has her best friend Julian who helps her after the sudden death of her young husband. Than there is the mysterious Ivory Black who somehow always seems to happen to turn up wherever Peppa is and treats her rather strangely and is quite mean to her without any reason.

There is a paranormal element to this story which for me came quite unexpectedly here. But it's not one of those completely unbelievable plots and I think it fitted the story rather nicely. 

I do have a bit of problems with the character of Ivory Black. Without giving too much away... as often with characters who are not very pleasant, he is presented in way he sees himself. This did made a me a bit uncomfortable at times. 

This book is not very long, only 188 pages,  a quick read which will keep you interested.

Sunday, 31 August 2014
The Sunday Post

This is is Meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer and here are the rules.

It is your chance to re-cap your bookish week, what did your review last week, any new purchases, what will be coming up in your blog next week or generally anything you feel you would like to share with the blogging community.

So, what did I do last month?

This is my first Sunday Post after quite a while.... So, here it goes. 

I did realise that blogging had taken over my life. Don't get me wrong, I do love it. I love reading, I love books, authors and one of my favourite - interacting with other bloggers. But I just did not get the balance right. Felt that in order to be successful, I will have to blog every day, have to take part in every meme etc. That would be fine if that was my full time job. Sadly, it isn't. Life continues, and a busy one as it is. But I don't want to give it up! So - here is me, but much reduced. I still blog, I still read and hopefully I can still interact with all of you. I just realised that this is my blog and I do it for me, so I'll post whenever I feel like it at the moment- sorry if this sounds a bit selfish arrgh. But that's how it is going to be. And you'll probably see me at the Sunday Post once a month. 

I've also had a fab vacation at my mum's and dad's place in Germany in August. Here is me with my favourite activity - yes, my Kindle. 

One thing a relaxing vacation does to me is to mull things over and make plans. I went to Berlin with my children to visit the Berlin Wall memorial. As some of you know, I grew up in East Germany behind the 'iron curtain'. My children loved this trip into history and asked me so many questions about the time. Yes, I was in Berlin the night the wall fell down. So I finally decided to write down my memories of my time in East Germany and when the wall fell for my children and in fact, anyone who might be interested in it. Not for self-publishing but happy to give to whomever wants to read it. I'm not really an author, have never written a book. But I always enjoyed writing, so I hope that I can do this. 

I am intending to us my other blog The Pegster - Writes for this little adventure. 

My 3 children and me 

 Remnants of the Berlin Wall at the Bernauer Strasse Memorial 

The Coroner's Officer

I will continue with my feature 'the Coroner's Officer' talking about my day job and hope you find it interesting.

Since my last Sunday Post, I have covered: 

7. The Coroner's Verdict and Prevention of Future Deaths
8. Murder and/or suspicious deaths

In the next few weeks, I will cover:

Road Traffic Collisions
Deaths at Work / Industrial Disease

Book reviews the blog last month:

Needful Things by Stephen King
Laying a Foundation (Love Under Construction Book 1) by Deanndra Hall
Not in the Flesh (Inspector Wexford) by Ruth Rendell
Tearing Down Walls (Lover Under Construction Book 2) by Deanndra Hall

And here is a book/author related article I picked up in the local News this week:

What?? Self-published author loses her job because she self-published an erotic novel. 

Finish / Start


Cats, Scarves and Liars by Kathryn White
(review to follow shortly)


Hollow Shotguns by Khalid Patel

Added to my stash

Received for review:

I'm especially thrilled about 2 cooking books I received in the post. thank you to the author Rinku Bjattacharya and Hippocrene Books Inc New York. Will post reviews as soon as I've cooked recipes from it!!

Bengali Five Spice Chronicles by Rinku Bhattacharya

Spices & Seasons: Simple, Sustainable Indian Flavours by Rinku Bhattacharya

also received for review:

What Passing Bells by Julian Moss

BioKill by Stuart Handley

TanDrex by Stuart Handley

Do I bother you at Night by Troy Ratliffe

And this I wanted to get for ages and when I've seen it on special offer on Kindle I had to hit the 1-click-buy option quicker than a flash ...

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

I am all so tempted to put all the review books away and start reading this straight away but I will be good and keep it so I can look forward to it :) 

Happy reading all

Peggy xx

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Just found this is my local Kent news. This woman is Bettina Bunte, 51. She self-published an erotic novel 'The Lost Soul' under the pseudonym of Cass E Ritter. She also works at a local children's centre.  Parents there complained as the book is 'explicit' and she lost her job.

Is it only me who thinks this is outrageous? Ok, I haven't read the book. But as long as it does not endorse sexual behaviour which is illegal (such as paedophelia) I can't see what she has done wrong. I presume she didn't read the to the children from her book. 

One way to create publicity for your self-published book I guess. I'd rather keep me job, thank you. 

This is the original article, copied from the BBC website, available on above link. 

A council worker at a children's centre in Kent has been sacked after writing a sexually-explicit novel which parents complained about.
Bettina Bunte, 51, was employed through an agency to work at the Kent County Council-run centre in Whitstable.
She wrote a novel based on her own experiences of a love affair between an 18-year-old and a married man 28 years older using "graphic vocabulary".
The council said it "took action" following concerns after its release.
'Appropriate actions'
Ms Bunte's novel, entitled The Lost Soul was written under the pseudonym Cass E Ritter.
The story charts a love affair between a married laboratory technician called Lom and an 18-year-old student called Nina and is based on Ms Bunte's own experiences.
In a statement, the authority said: "Ms Bunte was employed through an agency to work at one of our children's centres.
"Following the publicity around her self-published novel and concerns raised by staff and parents, managers met her to discuss the issues.
"It was felt the most appropriate action was to stop her employment as agency cover.
'Out of proportion'
"She will no longer be working for us."
Ms Bunte, who did not work directly with children but held an administration role, said the authority's actions were "out of proportion and judgemental".
She said: "I did describe a relationship that was passionate. I described it in fairly graphic vocabulary.
"Some novelists stop at the bedroom door, I went in with them and I tried to describe a relationship that was central, that was passionate and I described it in fairly graphic detail."
But she added that she had received permission from her superiors at the centre in Joy Lane to speak to the media about her novel and it was after that KCC took the decision to dismiss her.
She had worked at the centre for four years.
Tuesday, 19 August 2014

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intro is hosted by Diane at Bibliophile By The Sea.

This is how it works: Write down either the first paragraph of a book your are currently reading / intending to read or read in the past and share with us. I do like a good opening!

My current read is Cats, Scarves and Liars by Kathryn White. A review book I received and as I love cats, this just sounds perfect. The book is not too long, 188 pages so makes a perfect quick read.

Opening paragraph: 

It started with a small voice.
Ouch, Peppa wondered as she placed the kettle on the
stove. Just last week she had found the vintage, 1970s style
stovetop kettle at a market and could not resist handing over
the asking price of two dollars (yes, just two dollars, the
stallholder had assured her, a true bargain, never to be seen
again,) and Peppa had happily been using it to boil water
for her morning coffee ever since.
This time, the voice was a little louder.

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB at Should be reading. 
These are the rules  :
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

From Cats, Scarves and Liars by Kathryn White:

‘His name is Charles,’ Peppa said, listening as he
began to purr. ‘Not Sylvester. And he’s a nasty little traitor.’

Peggy x