Books 6Afternoon hotstuff!

A happy Thursday to you all!

Now, I was thinking a few nights ago, as I sat cuddled up in blanket on a cold, December evening, as to my favourite ways to relax. I’m talking proper relaxation, you know, some serious down time, allowing your head to truly go somewhere else, making any stresses just a distant memory for a little while…

…For me, in these cold wintery months, I get this escapism in the pages of a really good book. Be it something witty whilst informative, or a fictional journey that takes me to warmer climates and exotic cultures; busy gals need a good book to relieve them from reality every once in a while and no girl needs that more than the bride-to-be.

Books 1Books 3So whether you want to journey back in time, to be taken to the bustling heat of India or discover all the dirty little secrets of those effortlessly chic Parisian girls,  grab yourself another coffee on this grey, chilly day and get your Amazon tab open, ‘cos I can guarantee you’ll be adding a few of these to your wishlist  basket!

PRETTY HONEST: The Straight-Talking Beauty Companion

Written by Welsh journalist, Sali Hughes, Pretty Honest draws on her 20 years of wisdom, advice and expertise in order to show women how to make the most of makeup’s physically and emotionally transformative powers. Part instruction manual, part love letter to makeup, Sali writes as a beauty editor, feminist and side-stitchingly funny best friend.

Covering everything from mature beauty to teenage beauty, sickness to good health and even bridal make-up (Oh gosh, GIMMIE!) Pretty Honest is any bride-to-be’s handbook to REAL beauty.

No improbably beautiful models with wholly-unachievable-to-most women looks.

Totally not a product review-heavy volume that’s already outdated

And you won’t find any o’dat holistic mumbo jumbo, like how to make an unproven face pack from organic molasses and rough-hewn porridge oats.

Pretty Honest is anything but one of those ridiculously exquisite coffee-table affairs!

Pretty Honest 1Pretty Honest 2And the reviews sound a little something like this:

‘Britain’s best beauty writer … This book is equal parts sass, sense, lipstick and laughs’
Lauren Laverne

‘If it’s on my face, it’s because Sali recommended it.’
Caitlin Moran

‘Obey Sali. She knows her stuff’ India Knight

‘Sali decodes beauty for any woman with smart, simple and practical advice’ Bobbi Brown

…Sounds like a book every bride needs, right?!

The Goldfinch

A haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling power, Donna Tartt’s novel, The Goldfinch’s unforgettably vivid characters will take you Festival Brides to a whole other world!

Packed full of thrilling suspense, it’s an addictive triumph – a sweeping story of obsession and loss, of survival and self-invention, of the deepest mysteries of love, identity and fate.

Sounds pretty thrilling right?! Check out the synopsis:

Aged thirteen, Theo Decker, son of a devoted mother and a reckless, largely absent father, survives an accident that otherwise tears his life apart. Alone and rudderless in New York, he is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. He is tormented by an unbearable longing for his mother, and down the years clings to the thing that most reminds him of her: a small, strangely captivating painting that ultimately draws him into the criminal underworld. As he grows up, Theo learns to glide between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love – and his talisman, the painting, places him at the centre of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

…Eeeek! YES PLEASE, Santa!

The GoldfinchThe Goldfinch 2The reviews are pretty much just FULL of praise too…

‘The Goldfinch is a triumph . . . Donna Tartt has delivered an extraordinary work of fiction’ Stephen King, New York Times

‘An astonishing achievement . . . if anyone has lost their love of storytelling, The Goldfinch will most certainly return it to them. The last few pages of the novel take all the serious, big, complicated ideas beneath the surface and hold them up to the light’ Guardian

One to distract you gals from that table plan, or the age-old debate of the brown kraft or the sleek black envelope… Let those details pale into insignificance, just for a moment, as you indulge in Tartt’s narrative…

The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing

Described as ‘Punchy, clever and stuffed with delicious chapatis’ …

(Hmmm, the chapatis…)

Ahem! Mira Jacob’s debut is a rich, effortlessly gorgeous prose. A story of an Indian-American family, the observations of people and the physical world are completely relatable, whilst remaining totally fresh.

Wanna know more? Here’s a little about the story:

Of all the family gatherings in her childhood, one stands out in Amina’s memory. It is 1979, in Salem India, when a visit to her grandmother’s house escalates into an explosive encounter, pitching brother against brother, mother against son.

In its aftermath, Amina’s father Thomas rushes his family back to their new home in America. And while at first it seems that the intercontinental flight has taken them out of harm’s way, his decision sets off a chain of events that will forever haunt Thomas and his wife Kamala; their intellectually furious son, Akhil and the watchful young Amina.

Now, twenty years later, Amina receives a phone call from her mother. Thomas has been acting strangely and Kamala needs her daughter back. Amina returns to the New Mexico of her childhood, where her mother has always filled silences with food, only to discover that getting to the truth is not as easy as going home. Confronted with Thomas’s unwillingness to talk, Kamala’s Born Again convictions, and the suspicion that not everything is what it seems, Amina finds herself at the centre of a mystery so tangled that to make any headway, she has to excavate her family’s painful past. And in doing so she must lay her own ghosts to rest.

The Sleepwalker's guideI mean! I’m completely enchanted by the cover art, let alone the rich story that I believe will unfold!

Let’s see what the critics say:

‘I read this in one sitting. I couldn’t have stopped, wouldn’t even have noticed if my house had caught fire. Mira Jacob is a born storyteller and a fantastic writer. The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing is a truly great book.’ Abigail Thomas, author of A Three Dog Life 

‘The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing seizes the reader early and never lets go. Its electricities reside in Mira Jacob’s acute details and the sadness, anger and humor of her characters. This novel tells many wonderful stories while also telling, beautifully, the story that counts the most.’ Sam Lipsyte, author of The Fun Parts and Home Land

Sounds like an absolute must. Come on, who wouldn’t want to be whisked away to India for an hour before bed every night?! I’d imagine it makes for rich, colourful dreams!

How to be Parisian Wherever You Are

This book though, seriously! As soon as I read the title, still unaware of the ridiculously cool cover at this point (yes, I’m a sucker for a good-looking book!) I knew I HAD to read it and so it joined my rather large collection of ‘wish list worthy’ titles on Amazon!

How to be Parisian is the brainchild of the following ‘it’ girls:

Anne Berest: author of two novels and a biography of Françoise Sagan; she also writes for television, film and theatre. Cool.

Audrey Diwan: a scriptwriter, she wrote the screenplay for La French and is now directing her first feature film; she is also editor-at-large for Stylist magazine. Also, really, quite cool.

Caroline de Maigret: studied at Sorbonne before moving to New York to model. (NEED WE SAY ANYMORE?!) She returned to Paris in 2006 to found her music label. She’s an ambassador for Chanel and supports women worldwide through the NGO CARE. And (just incase that wasn’t enough!?) in 2014, she became a muse for Lancôme. Really, painfully cool.

Sophie Mas: born and raised in Paris. Works as a film producer in Los Angeles, New York and São Paulo. Say. No. More

If that isn’t reason enough to read this book, I don’t know what is!

How to Be Parisian 1How to Be Parisian 2So, what’s it about?!

These modern Parisiennes say what you don’t expect to hear, just the way you want to hear it. They are not against smoking in bed, and all for art, politics and culture, making everything look easy, and going against the grain. They will take you on a first date, to a party and through a hangover. They will tell you how to be mysterious and sensual, make your boyfriend jealous, the right way to approach weddings and the gym, and they will share their address book in Paris for where to go at the end of the night, for a birthday, for a smart date, for vintage finds and much more.

Full of wit and self-deprecating humour, How To Be Parisian explains those confusing subjects of clothes, makeup, men, culture and lifestyle as only a true Parisienne can.

…Like I said, NEED WE SAY ANYMORE?!

The Book Thief

Having recently watched Brian Percival’s film, Zusak’s novel is now most definitely on my ‘to read’ list!

I just love the synopsis:

1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.

Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.

SOME IMPORTANT INFORMATION – THIS NOVEL IS NARRATED BY DEATH

It’s a small story, about:

a girl

an accordionist

some fanatical Germans

a Jewish fist fighter

and quite a lot of thievery.

ANOTHER THING YOU SHOULD KNOW – DEATH WILL VISIT THE BOOK THIEF THREE TIMES

The-Book-Thief 1The-Book-Thief 2Narrated by Death himself, the Guardian described Liesel’s story as ‘Unsettling, thought-provoking, life affirming, triumphant and tragic’ all at once.

A must read, that may well have your eyes brimming… Best to get the ugly crying out of the way before your big day though, hey?!

So, grab a book and, if you’re anything like me, it really has to be a proper book (nothing compares to flicking actual pages and not staring at a screen for once!) get some cosy socks on, hell maybe even light a fire, grab a tipple of something (if you missed last week’s cocktail DIY, you should probably rectify that immediately!) and get yourself some lovely down time, away from the wedding world, with one of these fabulous reads.

Books 2Books 5Books 4Here’s hoping you get some witty, warm and thought-enriching chill time tonight!

Peace + Love

Clare X

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