My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 24th July 2021



Hello!! What a scorcher of a week!!  I do love sunshine, BUT the heat has just been too overbearing this week! But I made it through with the help of gallons of water and an ice lolly or 6! Wonder if that was Summer for us in the UK then!? LOL!
And with heat, comes plenty of time for reading for me as it’s just been too hot to do much else! So it’s been a great bookish week – 7 books finished (including 1 audiobook), and just 2 newbies on the netgalley shelf!  I bought zero books……. that is a negative!!! 😉
So here’s my look back.


BOOKS FINISHED


SUMMER’S SECRET MARIGOLD by KIRSTY FERRY  – 5 STARS


BOMBSHELL by MIKE ROTHMILLER/DOUGLAS THOMPSON – 5 STARS



REWILD YOURSELF by SIMON BARNES (AUDIOBOOK) – 5 STARS



THE LOCK IN by PHOEBE LUCKHURST – 4 STARS



STORIES TO TELL by RICHARD MARX – 4 STARS




SONGS IN URSA MAJOR by EMMA BRODIE – 4 STARS



THE HEIGHTS by LOUISE CANDLISH – 4 STARS


BOOKHAUL


Just 2 from Netgalley this week…

A BOOK AT BEDTIME by BARRIE SHORE

On a cold December Sunday, book-seller Jack Carter struggles through the ritual of making breakfast for his wife Eva, whose dementia confines her body to her bed and her mind to a world of its own. Jack is an old man failing to cope with the modern world. He wages a constant battle with Margaret, Eva’s carer, and tries to fend off Dodie, Eva’s bossy best friend, who has decided that Jack too is losing his marbles and the time has come for the two of them to go into a home. 

Jack’s wandering mind makes frequent journeys to the past. Among the ghosts he conjures are his sexually repressed, religiously obsessed mother, and his friend and mentor, Bob Pride, whose own past is closely linked with Oscar Wilde. The gaps in Jack’s memories and day-dreams are filled by Eva, and gradually their story unfolds. It’s the love story of a couple married for nearly sixty years whose complete failure to communicate is hidden behind an apparently shared love of books. 

But there is also The Great Man, a famous local writer who chooses this day to come and call. Comical and acerbic, he pushes Jack to confront the past, until the truth finally emerges.

A MARRIAGE OF LIONS by ELIZABETH CHADWICK

publication date – September 2021

England, 1238

Raised at the court of King Henry III as a chamber lady to the queen, young Joanna of Swanscombe’s life changes forever when she comes into an inheritance far above all expectations, including her own.

Now a wealthy heiress, Joanna’s arranged marriage to the King’s charming, tournament-loving half-brother William de Valence immediately stokes the flames of political unrest as more established courtiers object to the privileges bestowed on newcomers.

As Joanna and William strive to build a life together, England descends into a bitter civil war. In mortal danger, William is forced to run for his life, and Joanna is left with only her wit and courage to outfox their enemies and prevent them from destroying her husband, her family, and their fortunes.

CURRENTLY READING

THE DREAM WEAVERS by BARBARA ERSKINE

HAPPY READING

#BookReview RIDER ON THE RAIN by SEBASTIEN JAPRISOT @BelgraviaB



ABOUT THE BOOK

He is suddenly and monstrously there, and his mask disguises nothing . . .

The bus never stops in Le Cap-des-Pins. Not in autumn, when the small Riviera resort is deserted. Except today, when a man with a red bag and a disconcerting stare steps out into the rain.

His arrival will throw the life of young housewife Mellie Mau into disarray. After surviving a horrific attack, she has a dark secret to hide. But a stranger at a wedding, the enigmatic American Harry Dobbs, is determined to get the truth out of her, leading her into a game of cat and mouse with dangerous consequences …

A cool, stylish and twisty thriller from cult French noir writer Sébastien Japrisot.

Praise for Rider on the Rain
‘Japrisot writes with warmth and has a gift for rendering almost every character instantly likable.’ New Yorker
 ‘A magician who lays out the truth on the page.’ Le Monde
Praise for Sébastien Japrisot 
‘With an instantly recognisable style and great story-telling techniques, he might be called the Graham Greene of France’ The Independent 
‘The most welcome talent since the early Simenons’ New York Times 
‘Utterly captivating’ The Guardian 
‘A cordon bleu mixture of suspense, sex, trick psychology and fast action’ Publishers Weekly 
‘Diabolically clever’ Anita Brookner, author of Hotel du Lac
‘Japrisot holds a unique place in contemporary fiction. With the quality and originality of his writing, he has hugely contributed to breaking down the barrier between crime fiction and literary fiction’ Le Monde 
‘A marvellous storyteller’ Télérama
‘Unreeled with the taut, confident shaping of a grand master … Funny, awful, first-rate. A rich and resonant sonata in black, astutely suspended between mythic tragedy and the grubby pathos of nagging everyday life’ Kirkus Reviews 

PUBLISHED BY GALLIC PRESS

PURCHASE LINK


BELGRAVIA BOOKS

MY REVIEW

For a short novel, this is a story that packs a punch! It’s very dark and has sinister undertones, and I loved it!

Set in France, in a small riviera resort, this is the story of a housewife, Mellie, who is subjected to an horrific attack by a man who recently shows up in town. You really sense the fear she feels when she’s attacked in her own home, and that horror continues into the next door as he sticks around… you’ll find yourself totally on her side with how she deals with this ‘man’.

And what follows is the aftermath, and the presence of an American in town who seems a little too interested in Mellie and this man – you wonder what his motive is. He’s asking way too many questions and she wonders if she can trust him.

There’s a lot of dodgy, darker goings on in this book and that intrigue kept me hooked throughout. Pulsating, thrilling and twisted – my kind of book! 

★★★★

My thanks to Gallic Press for the advanced reader copy in return for a fair and honest review.

#BookReview THE ANATOMY OF DESIRE by L.R.DORN #TheAnatomyOfDesire

ABOUT THE BOOK


A modern tale of American striving, social media stardom, a fatal love triangle, and a young woman on trial for murder—a mesmerizing reimagining of Theodore Dreiser’s classic novel of crime and punishment, An American Tragedy.

Claire Griffith seems to have it all, a thriving career, a gorgeous, successful boyfriend, a glamorous circle of friends. She always knew she was destined for more than the life her deeply conservative parents preached to her. Arriving in Los Angeles as a flat broke teenager, she has risen to become a popular fitness coach and social media influencer. Having rebranded herself as Cleo Ray, she stands on the threshold of achieving her most cherished dreams.

One summer day, Cleo and a young woman named Beck Alden set off in a canoe on a quiet, picture-perfect mountain lake. An hour later, Beck is found dead in the water, her face cut and bruised, and Cleo is missing. Authorities suspect foul play and news about Cleo’s involvement goes viral. Who was Beck and what was the nature of her and Cleo’s relationship? Was Beck an infatuated follower who took things too far? If Cleo is innocent, why did she run? Was it an accident? Or was it murder?

As evidence of Cleo’s secret life surfaces, the world begins to see just how hard she strived to get to the top— and how fast and far the fall is from celebrity to infamy.

L. R. Dorn’s reimagining of Theodore Dreiser’s novel, told in the form of a true crime docuseries a la Serial and The Jinx—with characters speaking through the “transcripts” of recorded interviews—The Anatomy of Desire exposes the ambition, sexual passion, and dark side of success that readers will find as achingly poignant as they did a century ago.


PUBLISHED BY ORION BOOKS


PURCHASE LINK


AMAZON

MY REVIEW


OOh this was a delicious read! It has it all! A real true crime feel, the impact of social media, tons of scandal and plenty of flawed characters!! I absolutely raced through it and didn’t want it to end!

Cleo is a fitness influencer! Living a seemingly charmed life online, all seems to be perfect in her world. That dream world soon becomes a nightmare when she is out in a canoe with a friend, the friend is later found dead and Cleo goes missing….. why did she run? What has she got to hide? What exactly did happen on that canoe?? You get to play along as you read trying to guess what did happen as it all plays out in the form of a true crime documentary and the book is based around the trial, alongside looking back at the build up to that day and what went on between Cleo and Rebecca.

When Cleo is found in the woods and arrested, the whole world gets interested in the case. She’s presumed guilty because she ran, and social media is a reflection of the clamour for this case and the trial to follow. But there’s more to this story than meets the eye, so be prepared for plenty of twists and turns!

The girls friendship, their families past, the current relationships – they are all explored and delved into via the trial. You really feel like you’re watching it on Court TV as new revelations are thrown into the mix that make you change your mind as to where you think the guilt lies! Utterly absorbing!!


★★★★★


My thanks to Alainna Georgiou for my advanced reader copy in return for a fair and honest review.

#20BooksOfSummer2021 THE WOMAN IN THE PURPLE SKIRT by NATSUKO IMAMURA #BookReview

This is Book 8 of my 20 Books of Summer 2021

ABOUT THE BOOK


A bestselling, prizewinning novel of obsession and psychological intrigue about two enigmatic unmarried women, one of whom manipulates the other from afar, by one of Japan’s most acclaimed young writers

Almost every day, the Woman in the Purple Skirt buys a single cream bun and goes to the park, where she sits on a bench to eat it as the local children taunt her. She is observed at all times by the undetected narrator, the Woman in the Yellow Cardigan. From a distance the Woman in the Purple Skirt looks like a schoolgirl, but there are age spots on her face, and her hair is dry and stiff. Like the Woman in the Yellow Cardigan, she is single, she lives in a small, run-down apartment, and she is short on money. The Woman in the Yellow Cardigan lures her to a job where she herself works, as a hotel housekeeper; soon the Woman in the Purple Skirt is having an affair with the boss. Unfortunately, no one knows or cares about the Woman in the Yellow Cardigan. That’s the difference between her and the Woman in the Purple Skirt.

Studiously deadpan, highly original, and unsettling, The Woman in the Purple Skirt explores the dynamics of envy, the mechanisms of power in the workplace, and the vulnerability of unmarried women in a taut, voyeuristic narrative about the sometimes desperate desire to be seen.


PUBLISHED BY PENGUIN


MY REVIEW



Japanese literature never fails to amuse, entertain, befuddle and bemuse me, and this is another one of those books that casts its’ spell on me as I was hooked from page one on this mysterious story of one woman stalking another, to the point of obsession. And it throws up so many questions as to the focus of the story – is it a look at the way we function as a society now, where we become obsessed with people we don’t know via social media and make assumptions about them without knowing the truth? Instead of focussing on ourselves, our own happiness, our own success… it’s just too easy to lose yourself in somebody elses life.

The Woman in the Purple Skirt is a lady who sits on the same bench, eats the same cake – follows the same routine day in day out, talking to nobody, minding her own business – all under the watchful eye of the Woman in the Yellow Cardigan who narrates this story and shares just how obsessive her ‘stalking’ of this woman becomes. The attention to detail is scary! And she even engineers a way to get Purple skirt lady a job where she works – a way to keep an even closer watch over her.

But as Purple skirt settles into her new job, a new side of her is seen and this begins to unsettle Yellow Cardigan as she watches on – losing herself in someone elses life means she doesn’t have o focus on her own, and that isn’t looking too hot right now.

I loved the quirkiness of this story and how it starts off feeling quite light and insightful, but soon has a much darker feel and claustrophobic. It touches on obsession,manipulation and how loneliness affects different people – how perceptions can change of people. The tension works so well as you wait to figure out just where this obsession will lead to… a strange but compelling story!


★★★★

#BookReview SUMMER’S SECRET MARIGOLD by KIRSTY FERRY



ABOUT THE BOOK


Can a summer secret from the past allow a new future to bloom?
For two people who run competing arts centres in Cornwall, Sybill Helyer and Coren Penhaligon get on rather well. So well in fact that Sybill often wishes the owner of Pencradoc Arts Centre would look up from his spreadsheets for a minute and notice her. Unfortunately, even that’s too much to ask from workaholic Coren.


However, when the pair join forces to run an exhibition on the wild and wonderful life of Elsie Pencradoc, a talented artist who lived at Coren’s estate in the early twentieth century, they’re in for a surprise. How will a secret sketchbook and an exquisite gothic dress from a long-ago midsummer costume ball lead them to the scandalous truth about Elsie – and perhaps encourage them to reveal a few long-kept secrets of their own?


PUBLISHED BY CHOC LIT

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK

Kobo

Apple Books

Nook


MY REVIEW


The perfect mix of romance, history and family secrets once more in the fabulous Cornish Secrets series – can easily be read as a standalone though too! Kirsty Ferry gets the timeslip genre perfect once more, and has created a wonderful set of characters that you just want to know more about, and keep hoping that they’ll get their own book in this series in time to come!!

In this series we flit from the now – with Sybill and Coren, who run competing arts centres but get on really well and co-operate with one another – to the past, 1911 to be precise, when we go back and follow the story of the wonderful Elsie who is at the school of art in London, and dealing with the prejudices of the ‘boys club’ alongside her own matters of the heart!

As Sybil and Coren work together on an exhibition of Elsies’ work, they start to uncover more about this woman and begin to start experiencing some strange moments together, when the past seems to be playing out in front of their eyes.

In the past, Elsie lived a very unconventional life and didn’t play by the rules of the time, so her life became quite complicated – this lifestyle and the secrets she tried to keep are uncovered by Sybil and Coren and they become very good at playing history detectives as they go through the archives at their respective homes. And when they become possessed by events from the past, the time they spend together allows them to start opening up to one another too!

Marvellous!!


★★★★★

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 17th July 2021



Hello! Happy Saturday! We meet again! I’m feeling all over the shop this week and need to get my focus back. But we’re forecast hot and sunny weather so that might slow me down and, hopefully!, sort my brain out a bit!
On to books! And it’s been another great reading week for me – not sure how though!!  Managed to finish 6 books, added 2 to my netgalley shelves, and got some lovely bookpost!  If anyone wants to volunteer to write some reviews for me please feel free! I seem to have a backlog and no words left in my head to complete my mission!!
Here’s my look back..


BOOKS FINISHED


AN EMOTION OF GREAT DELIGHT by TAHEREH MAFI  – 4 STARS

MADHOUSE AT THE END OF THE EARTH by JULIAN SANCTON – 5 STARS

WELCOME TO FERRY LANE MARKET by NICOLA MAY – 5 STARS

A NARROW DOOR by JOANNE HARRIS – 5 STARS

FINDING THE MOTHER TREE by SUZANNE SIMARD – 4 STARS

MY MESS IS A BIT OF A LIFE by GEORGIA PRITCHETT – 4 STARS


BOOKHAUL


Over to Netgalley…


THE BELOVED GIRLS by HARRIET EVANS

The outstanding new novel from the Sunday Times Top Ten bestselling author of The Garden of Lost and Found.

‘It’s a funny old house. They have this ceremony every summer . . . There’s an old chapel, in the grounds of the house. Half-derelict. The Hunters keep bees in there. Every year, on the same day, the family processes to the chapel. They open the combs, taste the honey. Take it back to the house. Half for them -‘ my father winced, as though he had bitten down on a sore tooth. ‘And half for us.’

Catherine, a successful barrister, vanishes from a train station on the eve of her anniversary. Is it because she saw a figure – someone she believed long dead? Or was it a shadow cast by her troubled, fractured mind?
The answer lies buried in the past. It lies in the events of the hot, seismic summer of 1989, at Vanes – a mysterious West Country manor house – where a young girl, Jane Lestrange, arrives to stay with the gilded, grand Hunter family, and where a devastating tragedy will unfold. Over the summer, as an ancient family ritual looms closer, Janey falls for each member of the family in turn. She and Kitty, the eldest daughter of the house, will forge a bond that decades later, is still shaping the present . . .

‘We need the bees to survive, and they need us to survive. Once you understand that, you understand the history of Vanes, you understand our family.’


THE READING LIST by SARA NISHA ADAMS

An unforgettable and heartwarming debut about how a chance encounter with a list of library books helps forge an unlikely friendship between two very different people in a London suburb.

Widower Mukesh lives a quiet life in Wembley, in West London after losing his beloved wife. He shops every Wednesday, goes to Temple, and worries about his granddaughter, Priya, who hides in her room reading while he spends his evenings watching nature documentaries.

Aleisha is a bright but anxious teenager working at the local library for the summer when she discovers a crumpled-up piece of paper in the back of To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s a list of novels that she’s never heard of before. Intrigued, and a little bored with her slow job at the checkout desk, she impulsively decides to read every book on the list, one after the other. As each story gives up its magic, the books transport Aleisha from the painful realities she’s facing at home.

When Mukesh arrives at the library, desperate to forge a connection with his bookworm granddaughter, Aleisha passes along the reading list…hoping that it will be a lifeline for him too. Slowly, the shared books create a connection between two lonely souls, as fiction helps them escape their grief and everyday troubles and find joy again.

And in the post….


A MARVELLOUS LIGHT by FREYA MARSKE

out November 2021

Red White & Royal Blue meets Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell in debut author Freya Marske’s A Marvellous Light, featuring an Edwardian England full of magic, contracts, and conspiracies.

Robin Blyth has more than enough bother in his life. He’s struggling to be a good older brother, a responsible employer, and the harried baronet of a seat gutted by his late parents’ excesses. When an administrative mistake sees him named the civil service liaison to a hidden magical society, he discovers what’s been operating beneath the unextraordinary reality he’s always known.

Now Robin must contend with the beauty and danger of magic, an excruciating deadly curse, and the alarming visions of the future that come with it—not to mention Edwin Courcey, his cold and prickly counterpart in the magical bureaucracy, who clearly wishes Robin were anyone and anywhere else.

Robin’s predecessor has disappeared, and the mystery of what happened to him reveals unsettling truths about the very oldest stories they’ve been told about the land they live on and what binds it. Thrown together and facing unexpected dangers, Robin and Edwin discover a plot that threatens every magician in the British Isles—and a secret that more than one person has already died to keep.


And I treated myself to this beauty from Goldsboro..

.BLACK WATER SISTER by ZEN CHO

This mischievous Malaysian-set novel is an adventure featuring family, ghosts and local gods – from Hugo Award winning novelist Zen Cho.

HER GRANDMOTHER MAY BE DEAD
BUT SHE’S NOT DONE WITH LIFE . . . YET

As Jessamyn packs for Malaysia, it’s not a good time to start hearing a bossy voice in her head. Broke, jobless and just graduated, she’s abandoning America to return ‘home’. But she last saw Malaysia as a toddler – and is completely unprepared for its ghosts, gods and her eccentric family’s shenanigans.

Jess soon learns her ‘voice’ belongs to Ah Ma, her late grandmother. She worshipped the Black Water Sister, a local deity. And when a business magnate dared to offend her goddess, Ah Ma swore revenge. Now she’s decided Jess will help, whether she wants to or not.

As Ah Ma blackmails Jess into compliance, Jess fights to retain control. But her irrepressible relative isn’t going to let a little thing like death stop her, when she can simply borrow Jess’s body to make mischief. As Jess is drawn ever deeper into a world of peril and family secrets, getting a job becomes the least of her worries. 



CURRENTLY READING


THE WOMAN IN THE PURPLE SKIRT by NATSUKO IMAMURA

HAPPY READING!!!

#20BooksOfSummer2021 MY MESS IS A BIT OF A LIFE by GEORGIA PRITCHETT #BookReview



This is Book 7 of my 20 Books of Summer 2021.



ABOUT THE BOOK


Multi-award-winning television writer and producer Georgia Pritchett knows a thing or two about anxiety. From worrying about the monsters under her bed as a child (Were they comfy enough?), to embracing womanhood, (One way of knowing you have crossed from girlhood to womanhood is that men stop furtively masturbating at you from bushes and start shouting things at you from cars. It’s a beautiful moment) worry has accompanied her at every turn.

This memoir is a joyful reflection on just how to live – and sometimes even thrive (sometimes not) – with anxiety.


PUBLISHED BY FABER & FABER


PURCHASE LINK


Amazon


MY REVIEW


This is book 7 of my 20 Books of Summer 2021.

This was such a fun, insightful read, chronicling the authors’ struggle with anxiety and being unable to speak her issues, she found it easier to write it all down and what we get to read is a wonderful mix of all those weird and wonderful things that make our lives stressful, joyful, memorable and everything in between!

I could totally relate to the seemingly silly, little irrational things that can plague your brain and the events in your life that stand out as memorable for all the right or wrong reasons!

This isn’t a self help book, it’s not full of tips to help you deal with anxiety, but it is a great little behind the scenes look at someone else dealing with anxiety, whilst having a very successful career – I loved all the behind the scenes showbiz stuff – many of it was hilarious, some of it was horrifying! – and she also looks back at school, growing up and the responsibilities forced on you in adulthood!

I enjoyed a glimpse into her world, and how the anxiety often felt suffocating to her but she seemed to get respite by writing her thoughts down – that might be a lesson for us all to take on!


★★★★

#20BooksOfSummer2021 FINDING THE MOTHERTREE by SUZANNE SIMARD #BookReview #Nonfiction



This is book 6 of my 20 Books of Summer 2021

ABOUT THE BOOK


From the world’s leading forest ecologist who forever changed how people view trees and their connections to one another and to other living things in the forest–a moving, deeply personal journey of discovery.

Suzanne Simard is a pioneer on the frontier of plant communication and intelligence; she’s been compared to Rachel Carson, hailed as a scientist who conveys complex, technical ideas in a way that is dazzling and profound. Her work has influenced filmmakers (the Tree of Souls of James Cameron’s Avatar) and her TED talks have been viewed by more than 10 million people worldwide.

Now, in her first book, Simard brings us into her world, the intimate world of the trees, in which she brilliantly illuminates the fascinating and vital truths–that trees are not simply the source of timber or pulp, but are a complex, interdependent circle of life; that forests are social, cooperative creatures connected through underground networks by which trees communicate their vitality and vulnerabilities with communal lives not that different from our own.

Simard writes–in inspiring, illuminating, and accessible ways–how trees, living side by side for hundreds of years, have evolved, how they perceive one another, learn and adapt their behaviors, recognize neighbors, and remember the past; how they have agency about the future; elicit warnings and mount defenses, compete and cooperate with one another with sophistication, characteristics ascribed to human intelligence, traits that are the essence of civil societies–and at the center of it all, the Mother Trees: the mysterious, powerful forces that connect and sustain the others that surround them.

Simard writes of her own life, born and raised into a logging world in the rainforests of British Columbia, of her days as a child spent cataloging the trees from the forest and how she came to love and respect them–embarking on a journey of discovery, and struggle. And as she writes of her scientific quest, she writes of her own journey–of love and loss, of observation and change, of risk and reward, making us understand how deeply human scientific inquiry exists beyond data and technology, that it is about understanding who we are and our place in the world, and, in writing of her own life, we come to see the true connectedness of the Mother Tree that nurtures the forest in the profound ways that families and human societies do, and how these inseparable bonds enable all our survival.

PUBLISHED BY KNOPF

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

MY REVIEW

This is Book 6 of my 20 Books of Summer 2021.

This was not what I expected it to be! And in a good way! I love a book about trees and this is definitely about trees, but also about a woman and her family who have grown up around trees. And that connection with trees carries through into her adult life and gives her that inquisitive mind to want to go beyond just the basics of tree care, and to explore the science and work out the links to disease and fungi.

Alongside the real sense of family you get from this book, you also begin to understand nature a little more and it was nice to become more involved in the science of trees and see how the author pushed herself, almost to the point of obsession, with her work and quest for answers. She’s not afraid of hard work and getting her hands dirty, and I enjoyed reading about her research, amidst the backdrop of her own personal life, not all of which was positive.

It’s almost as if the trees gave her life in the distraction they provided while dealing with sadder times, and her determination and patience is to be admired!!

★★★★

#BlogTour DEEPER INTO THE WOOD by RUTH PAVEY #DeeperIntoTheWood #RuthPavey @Duckbooks @RandomTTours #BookReview



Delighted to be with you today as part of the Blog Tour for the wonderful DEEPER INTO THE WOOD by RUTH PAVEY.  My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for letting me be part of it all and sharing my review with you today!

ABOUT THE BOOK


Following the success of Ruth Pavey’s debut, A Wood of One’s Own, which introduced readers to her four acres of verdant land in the Somerset Levels, Ruth reflects on the fate of her wood. Beneath the canopy of trees she spent 20 years planting, she sees nature’s forces changing rapidly with the diversity of species dwindling. When the rabbits suddenly vanish, she knew it was time to take a closer look at the undergrowth and what she could do to preserve the legacy of the wood for generations to come.

Interwoven with Ruth’s candid descriptions of the practical challenges of land management are forays into the Levels’ local history, as well as thoughtful portraits of its inhabitants both past and present. Accompanied throughout by the author’s evocative hand-drawn illustrations, Deeper into the Wood is a lyrical and inspiring story; a potent reminder of nature’s delicate balance and our responsibility toward its preservation.

PUBLISHED BY DUCKWORTH

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ruth Pavey is the Gardening Correspondent for the Ham & High ( Hampstead and Highgate Express). She attended Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art , and a selection if her illustrated works appear in her books. Pavey has reviewed books and written features for publications including the Observer, Guardian, NewStatestman, and even enjoyed forty plus years of teaching in Inner London, she still live there surrounded by plants, books, friend, a cello and three cats, whilst making frequent trips to the wood in Somerset.


MY REVIEW


It would be a dream of mine to own my own little woodland – a little piece of paradise! – and Ruth Pavey made it happen in Somerset.  And what you gain from this book is an insight to the love affair that she shares with this patch of land that she has watched over and tended and looks deeper into the changes she has noticed over the years and the constant battles she is facing in a world that doesn’t seem to value caring for the land, and the wildlife that lives on it and how she is doing her bit to do all she can to welcome wildlife back.


I loved the simplicity of this book in the message her writing shares – we can all do our bit to help the planet, but we just have to care and I love how switched on the author is to the slightest change in the goings on in her wood.  The disappearance of the rabbits, the impact that changes in the nearby farms and towns have on the area and how important these patches of woodland are in the bigger scheme of things. How we need more custodians of woodland areas to take the time out and proactive in reversing negative changes.


This was such a lovely escape of a read – you could almost hear the birds singing and smell the fresh air as each aspect – the good and bad! –  of her woodland journey is looked into.  I know I’ve become so thankful to local woodland areas for an escape, especially over the past 18 months, and reading this book has helped me become even more aware of the positive impact they have on both the environment and the people using them.


★★★★ 

#BookReview AN EMOTION OF GREAT DESIRE by TAHEREH MAFI



ABOUT THE BOOK


From bestselling and National Book Award-nominated author Tahereh Mafi comes a stunning novel about love and loneliness, navigating the hyphen of dual identity, and reclaiming your right to joy–even when you’re trapped in the amber of sorrow.

It’s 2003, several months since the US officially declared war on Iraq, and the American political world has evolved. Tensions are high, hate crimes are on the rise, FBI agents are infiltrating local mosques, and the Muslim community is harassed and targeted more than ever. Shadi, who wears hijab, keeps her head down.

She’s too busy drowning in her own troubles to find the time to deal with bigots.

Shadi is named for joy, but she’s haunted by sorrow. Her brother is dead, her father is dying, her mother is falling apart, and her best friend has mysteriously dropped out of her life. And then, of course, there’s the small matter of her heart–

It’s broken.

Shadi tries to navigate her crumbling world by soldiering through, saying nothing. She devours her own pain, each day retreating farther and farther inside herself until finally, one day, everything changes.

She explodes.

An Emotion of Great Delight is a searing look into the world of a single Muslim family in the wake of 9/11. It’s about a child of immigrants forging a blurry identity, falling in love, and finding hope–in the midst of a modern war.


PUBLISHED BY HARPERCOLLINS


PURCHASE LINK


Amazon

MY REVIEW

This was a really powerful and emotional read that explores the angst of teenage years alongside dealing with racism, and in Shadi, the author has created a character who has dealt with so much and is struggling to find her place in a world where she still feels an outsider.

Set amongst the backdrop of the Americans invading Iraq after 9/11, Shadi and the muslim population are coping with rising tensions and she’s easy to pick out as she wears a hijab but keeps her head down and wants to be left alone -easier said than done.

She is a young girl who has had to deal with so much so is dealing with grief after losing her brother – the story of his death is drip fed into the storyline which works so well – and dealing with her parents who are also grieving his death, and the storyline flits from now to then so you get to see how things build up to this point and helps explain how events are playing out.

The sense of loss is overwhelming so you cannot help but feel for Shadi, and there’s no escape at school where she’s singled out and even loses her best friend, although you find out that’s due to other circumstances. It really shows the extremes of her life – from a happy moment where she forgets her worries, to the doom and gloom of the news or being bullied. She’s on a real emotional rollercoaster and there seems to be no end to the drama.

The author really packs a lot into each chapter and I really enjoyed seeing life from the viewpoint of Shadi – it really amplifies the problems of a teenager alongside the stark reality of racism and small minded attitudes of others whipped up by the media.

★★★★