Book Review | The Mismatch by Sara Jafari

Thank you to Arrow Publishing for sending me a proof copy of The Mismatch in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis

Soraya knows she could never fall for someone like Magnus. He’s her complete opposite in every way.

Popular and confident, Magnus seems to have his life figured out, while Soraya has got to twenty-one and has somehow never been kissed.

Soraya’s mother Neda also knows what it’s like to feel mismatched. She left Iran with her husband in the wake of revolution, and the aftershocks of that decision are still being felt decades later.

When Soraya sets her sights on Magnus for her first kiss, the last thing she expects to find is first love.

But sometimes the person you least expect might turn out to be the perfect fit . . .

With unforgettable characters at its heart, THE MISMATCH is a pitch-perfect coming-of-age story and a fresh take on how what you think you want isn’t always what brings you happiness.

Review

The Mismatch is a thought-provoking story with interesting characters alongside eye-opening family dynamics and vivid descriptions.

The story is told in two parts and through two timelines. Placing Soraya’s more modern day storyline against her mother Neda’s story from the 1970’s was brilliant. It really allowed for comparisons of the two women’s lives and it definitely shocked me that there was still such prejudice and such a strict upbringing in Soraya’s timeline.

Iran’s history was fascinating to learn of through Neda’s past. The hopes and dreams that they had for their country was, at times, overwhelming but also extremely sad.

I found the novel a really interesting and educational insight into culture and Muslim beliefs. There were some elements that were hard to read, and I felt real sympathy for Soraya and the women of her family.

Sara Jafari writes brilliantly and I especially enjoyed the vivid descriptions of Southbank. I could picture myself there, walking around the area and it definitely threw me back into nostalgia. It was one of my favourite places both before and during my time living in London so it was nice to revisit it in my mind!

The dynamic between Magnus and Soraya was so realistic and open, I enjoyed watching their growth as a ‘couple’. The path was far from smooth, but I was continually rooting for them.

Hossein, Soraya’s father and Neda’s husband, was a definite surprise of a character and I felt deeply for him as the story advanced. The Mismatch is full of surprising characters and such a wonderful and well-rounded novel.

I found myself racing through the pages and there was so much depth and interest, making it a fascinating read. It was a pleasure to be alongside Soraya as she grew and changed as a person as the novel progressed.

The Mismatch is out now from Arrow Publishing. You can purchase the novel using the link below and also help to support independent bookstores.

Bookshop.org

Note: This is an affiliate link. If you purchase via this link, I’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you.

Until next time,

Blog Tour | The Curry Compendium by Richard Sayce

About The Book

Curry Compendium is based on the two topselling paperback prequels Indian Restaurant Curry at Home: Volume 1 & 2 which have collectively sold over 50,000 copies in three years. Both books won Gourmand World Cookbook awards for the best UK self-published cookbooks.

Richard Sayce has combined all the content from both these books into a quality hardback format, added a splattering of new recipes, and updated many of the photographs and illustrations.

Inside the new book you’ll find an abundance of mouth-watering, delightfully easy to follow Indian restaurant recipes. These are all backed up with detailed and comprehensive informational chapters: everything you need to learn the art of curry cooking.

Curry Compendium contains all you need to create your own restaurant quality food at home in your kitchen. Start saving a fortune on takeaways!

  • 99 recipes, fully detailed and explained, covering starters, mains, sides, rice, accompaniments, and traditional Indian & streetfood
  • Video Tuition throughout. A QR code is included for most recipes which can be scanned with a smartphone to instantly open up the associated YouTube video
  • A quick and easy base gravy recipe to cook in 30 minutes
  • Scaling Up – a detailed but easy to follow chapter about cooking multiple curry portions at once
  • Inside an Indian Restaurant kitchen – a chapter showing the workings of a busy kitchen
  • Additional recipe photos crediting social media followers
  • Based on the top-selling, Gourmand award winning paperbacks Indian Restaurant Curry at Home Volumes 1 & 2 (ISBN: 9781999660802 & 9781999660826)

Review

The Curry Compendium is a vibrant, easy-to-follow cookbook full of rich and informative recipes.

The layout of the book is really easy to follow. The contents page is extremely clear and the pages are nicely designed to allow for ample instruction and ease of relaying information.

The pages are rich with photographs of the many dishes and even ‘flicking’ through the book will make you hungry. Every time I open it, I’ll add about three more things to my ever-growing ‘to cook’ list! It’s vast and varied, exactly what you’d want from a cookbook of this style.

Before you even get in to the recipes there’s a lot of information regarding the basics. It’s all really informative and there’s lots of useful tips like recipe conversions, where to buy ingredients, cooking methods and even how to make base ingredients (plus much more!) All of this information may seem like a lot at first but it makes the process much easier when it comes to the sourcing and actual cooking of the dishes.

The variety of recipes is vast and there’s everything from starters to sundries. The Curry recipes are all categorised, so if you fancy a hot curry or a classic curry, they’re all covered and easy to locate.

The inclusion of the QR codes containing videos to use alongside many of the recipes in this book is really useful. It helps to be able to see the techniques and exact cooking in ‘real time’. It’s really handy to have a step-by-step guide alongside a visual reference, especially when it’s something you haven’t tried to create before!

Some of the recipes are a little more complicated and may require ingredients that you may not ordinarily have in your cupboards. It’s definitely worth investing though as you’ll be able to refine your cooking skills on a particular recipe and also make numerous others.

A truly diverse and thorough ‘compendium’, this book is definitely one you’ll want to add to your cookbook collection, especially if you’re a fan of British Indian Restaurant cooking. There is something for everyone and although I’d say the recipes are not quite beginner, they’re definitely worth the perseverance!

The Curry Compendium is out now from Misty Ricardo’s Curry Kitchen. You can purchase a copy using the link below, and also help to support independent bookstores.

Bookshop.org

Note: This is an affiliate link. If you purchase via this link, I’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you.

Be sure to check out the other dates on the tour, which can be found in the banner below!

Until next time,

Book Review | Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian

Thanks to Anna and Harvill Secker for sending me a proof copy of Never Saw Me Coming in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis

Meet Chloe. First-year student, ordinary, legging-wearing, girl next door…and highly intelligent diagnosed psychopath.

Chloe is part of a secret clinical study of young psychopaths run by the university’s Psychology Department. Most psychopaths aren’t criminals, but when a string of murders on campus causes upheaval, Chloe’s private vendetta is sidelined. Partnered with fellow study participants she can’t trust – and distracted by typical university life – Chloe has to walk the line between hunter and prey.

Perfect for fans of My Sister the Serial Killer, Killing Eve and The Secret History, Never Saw Me coming is a sharp, electrifying and hugely entertaining thriller with an antiheroine who will work her manipulative magic on you.

Review

Never Saw Me Coming is a captivating, dark and mysterious thriller with an unexpected ending. The story takes us through the mind of likeable psychopath, Chloe, and her navigations of college in a programme of fellow psychopaths.

Alternating between Chloe’s perspective and third person narrations about Andre and Charles, two of the other six psychopaths at John Adams University, you quickly become engrossed in the goings-on of the college campus.

Chloe is an interesting character and slowly discovering more about her as the book goes on was a good way to explain her personality. Her reasonings for wanting to kill Will and her plotting and planning is all meticulously accounted for and explained in a manner which grips you.

Following a psychopath and learning of their ways and their ability (and inability) to interact in the ‘real world’ was really interesting. Their almost natural masking to blend in with ‘normal’ people, allowing them to live their lives day-to-day unnoticed, is fascinating. The way they navigate everything from suspected problems to their love lives is eye-opening. It really shows that you never can truly understand a person!

I really enjoyed how contrasting this novel was from a typical ‘thriller’. It’s definitely different to anything I’ve read and takes on a different meaning to the genre, really making it its own. I was hooked from the beginning and eagerly turned each page awaiting the next occurrence or event.

Kurian writes well and you’re instantly immersed in the student world, with the attendance of parties, frat goings-on and other slightly more sinister happenings. I found it easy to place myself in the moment and could easily imagine myself following the characters around as they navigated their lives.

The uncertainty of the killer adds to the mystery and definitely makes you question what you believe about characters more than once. I found myself trying to second-guess things on more than one occasion but always got it wrong! The challenge was fun though. The ending really surprised me and definitely caught me off-guard, prepare to be shocked!

Never Saw Me Coming is out today, 9 September, from Harvill Secker. You can purchase a copy of the book using the link below and also help to support independent bookstores.

Bookshop.org

Note: This is an affiliate link. If you purchase via this link, I’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you.

Until next time,

Book Review | Grown Ups by Marie Aubert

Thank you to Tara and Pushkin Press for sending me a proof copy of Grown Ups in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis

Ida is a forty-year-old architect, single and starting to panic. She’s navigating Tinder and contemplating freezing her eggs, but forces these worries to the back of her mind as she sets off to the family cabin for her mother’s sixty-fifth birthday.

But family ties old and new begin to wear thin, out in the idyllic Norwegian countryside. Ida is fighting with her sister Marthe, flirting with Marthe’s husband and winning the favour of Marthe’s stepdaughter. Some supposedly wonderful news from her sister sets tensions simmering even further, building to an almighty clash between Ida and her sister, her mother, her whole family.

Exhilarating, funny and unexpectedly devastating, Grown Ups asks what kind of adult you are without a family of your own.

Review

Grown Ups is a fascinating tale of life, real-world problems and the complexity of sibling relationships.

The remote, idyllic cabin set up, with the premise of a birthday celebration sounds like the perfect family set-up, but actually ends up being completely the opposite of what you’d expect.

Told through Ida’s perspective, although lacking the usual perspective bias, we learn of all sides of the story. The stream of consciousness style which she often speaks in makes her words feel very honest and realistic. We’re immediately thrown right into Ida’s world and her life, her family circle and her current predicament(s) which sets the pace for the novel.

The dark humour and irony injects a little of something different into the story and I found Marie Aubert’s writing to be enjoyable. I liked that the main character was forty, which was slightly older than protagonists I am used to reading of. This provided an interesting insight into a different set of age-related life problems. The raw, honest yet tasteful way Marie Aubert discusses fertility, egg freezing and miscarriage is open and insightful.

Ida and Marthe’s complicated sibling relationship is well explored through the novel. The complexity of siblings, even in adulthood and the almost-jealousy of a sibling having something the other wants is fascinating. A deep and complex tale, Grown Ups is out now from Pushkin Press. You can purchase a copy using the link below, whilst also helping to support independent bookshops.

Bookshop.org

Note: This is an affiliate link. If you purchase via this link, I’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you.

Until next time,