#BookReview YUANYUAN’S BUBBLES by CIXIN LIU – Graphic Novel #4



ABOUT THE BOOK


The fourth in a new series of graphic novels from Hugo Award-winning author Liu Cixin and Talos Press

Ever since she was a child, Yuanyuan always dreamed of blowing big bubbles. But her father worries about her fascination—he wants Yuanyuan to be as responsible and devoted to a calling as her mother was. As an adult, Yuanyuan creates a multimillion-dollar business out of the technology she developed for her doctoral thesis. But she still dreams of blowing the biggest bubble she can. When his daughter uses her high-tech methods to blow a bubble big enough to envelop a city, Yuanyuan’s father thinks back to the dreams he and Yuanyuan’s mother chased when they were young. In the end, Yuanyuan’s bubbles bring her father’s dreams to life.

The fourth of sixteen new graphic novels from Liu Cixin and Talos Press, Sea of Dreams is an epic tale of the future that all science fiction fans will enjoy.


PUBLISHED BY HEAD OF ZEUS

PURCHASE LINK


Blackwell’s

MY REVIEW

This is a beautifully illustrated book, that tells the story of Yuanyuan and her obsession with bubbles! She dreams of blowing the biggest bubble, but her father is always there in the background to puncture her dreams. A classic tale of a realist vs a dreamer.

Their city is dying, times are tough but there’s something about Yuanyuan that keeps her dreaming and, like her mother, she won’t let up on her dreams of finding a way to use her bubbles to save the world. Her mother died following her dreams so you can understand her father and his attitude towards her vision and her pipe dreams.

The illustrations are stunning! They are a beautiful earthy tone throughout that really connects with the story and really amplify the message of hope v despair. It’s a beautifully simple story that I adored and I look forward to reading more from this series as the pictures really do help add depth to the story.

★★★★★

My thanks to the team of Head of Zeus for the advanced reader copy in return for a fair and honest review.

#BookReview BRAVING THE WILDERNESS by BRENE BROWN



ABOUT THE BOOK


“True belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are. It requires us to be who we are.” Social scientist Bren� Brown, PhD, LMSW, has sparked a global conversation about the experiences that bring meaning to our lives–experiences of courage, vulnerability, love, belonging, shame, and empathy. In Braving the Wilderness, Brown redefines what it means to truly belong in an age of increased polarization. With her trademark mix of research, storytelling, and honesty, Brown will again change the cultural conversation while mapping a clear path to true belonging.

Brown argues that we’re experiencing a spiritual crisis of disconnection, and introduces four practices of true belonging that challenge everything we believe about ourselves and each other. She writes, “True belonging requires us to believe in and belong to ourselves so fully that we can find sacredness both in being a part of something and in standing alone when necessary. But in a culture that’s rife with perfectionism and pleasing, and with the erosion of civility, it’s easy to stay quiet, hide in our ideological bunkers, or fit in rather than show up as our true selves and brave the wilderness of uncertainty and criticism. But true belonging is not something we negotiate or accomplish with others; it’s a daily practice that demands integrity and authenticity. It’s a personal commitment that we carry in our hearts.” Brown offers us the clarity and courage we need to find our way back to ourselves and to each other. And that path cuts right through the wilderness. Brown writes, “The wilderness is an untamed, unpredictable place of solitude and searching. It is a place as dangerous as it is breathtaking, a place as sought after as it is feared. But it turns out to be the place of true belonging, and it’s the bravest and most sacred place you will ever stand.”


PUBLISHED BY RANDOM HOUSE

MY REVIEW

I think this is one of those books that if you find yourself reading it then you will instantly connect with the message that the author is sharing. That lack of connection, the feeling of being alone and not knowing how to deal with the world we all find ourselves living in!

Through her own experiences, she writes with compassion about finding yourself feeling so many negative things and how we can all switch our focus and start believing in ourselves. It explores the fact that society is so fractured nowadays that we’re not programmed anymore to interact – we’re all in our own little worlds and those shared experiences are rarer, unless it goes viral via social media! And if you’re feeling alone, it’s reassuring to know that so many of us feel the same nowadays.

This is definitely a book that gets you thinking and makes you think differently about standing alone – embrace it, be yourself and make peace with it!


★★★★

#BookReview THE PANDA, THE CAT AND THE DREADFUL TEDDY: A PARODY by PAUL MAGRS


ABOUT THE BOOK

The surely soon-to-be million-copy bestselling sort-of inspirational parody…

Enter the world of me, Panda, plus my sometime-friends Cat and Teddy. You will find us living our best lives, trying (and occasionally succeeding) to be kind to each other. The cat is quite nice but can be a little bit selfish. Teddy can come across as very nice, with his squeaky voice and looking so tiny and helpless. But I must warn you, Teddy can be a vicious little backstabber, actually.

This is a book of nice illustrations and some words from which you will likely gain some sort of inspiration. Like:

‘Just because you’re struggling, it doesn’t mean you’re failing… But it might do.’
‘Nothing beats kindness,’ said the cat. ‘Gin does’, said Panda.
‘If you don’t stop saying inspirational things to me, I’m going to punch you up the hooter.’
‘You OK, hun?’ asked Panda, but he was just taking the piss.
‘We’re just so, so lucky to have each other as friends, and it’s going to make a marvellous book.’


PUBLISHED BY HARPERCOLLINS


PUBLICATION DATE –  30TH SEPTEMBER 2021



PURCHASE LINK


Amazon

MY REVIEW

If you like your books very sweary (I do!), hilariously funny (I do!) and snarky to the nth degree (yep!) then look no further!! This book has it all!

A parody of the extremely successful The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse ( which I adored!), this is the sarcastic version!! If you ever get sick of the sometimes patronising ‘do your best’, ‘be kind’ way of the world, then this is the book that gives you it straight! Sometimes you don’t want to be nice! Or kind!! Just foul mouthed and left alone!! And this book does that brilliantly with the wonderful characters that inhabit the world of the author! I have a sweary teddy at home too!!

It’s brilliantly illustrated, a quote on every page that had me in stitches and crying with laughter and I would love to have some of these ‘inspirational’ quotes on posters around the house! Or on T-shirts!! Bring on the merch!! Loved it!! Funniest book of 2021!!

★★★★★

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

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 18th September 2021



Hap-bee Saturday one and all! Yay for the weekend! And hopefully some nice weather! I’m not liking the darker evenings already!! Feels like we blinked and missed the Summer already!
On to books, and it’s been very slow for me reading wise! Probably because I was too busy trying to catch up with reviews! Just the 2 finishes for me this week, along with 2 newbies from Netgalley!  Balance!!
Here’s my look back..


BOOKS FINISHED


THE PROMISE by LUCY DIAMOND (audiobook)  – 3 stars

BRAVING THE WILDERNESS by BRENE BROWN – 4 STARS

BOOKHAUL


Netgalley seduced me again….


THE STORY OF OUR SECRETS by SHARI LOW 

publication date – November 2021

Colm O’Flynn was loved by his close circle of family and friends, however his death came too soon for everyone to make peace with their past.

Shauna, his second wife, adored him. But one night she broke their marriage vows, and didn’t get time to ask Colm’s forgiveness.

Jess was the first Mrs O’Flynn. Her heart is set on someone new, but will the last one night stand she shared with Colm come back to haunt her?

Colm’s best friend, Dan, is recently divorced. Can he take a second shot at happiness if it means betraying the one person who always had his back?

What no-one knows is that somewhere out there Colm left messages that could set them free to start over again.

Can divine intervention help them find Colm’s last wishes before it’s too late to love again?


THE VANISHED DAYS by SUSANNA KEARSLEY

publication date – May 2022

A sweeping love story set against the Jacobite revolution from much-loved, million copy bestselling author Susanna Kearsley

There are many who believe they know what happened, but they do not know the whole of it. The rumours spread, and grow, and take their hold, and so to end them I have been persuaded now to take my pen in hand and tell the story as it should be told…

Autumn, 1707. Old enemies from the Highlands to the Borders are finding common ground as they join to protest the new Union with England, the French are preparing to launch an invasion to carry the young exiled Jacobite king back to Scotland to reclaim his throne, and in Edinburgh the streets are filled with discontent and danger.

Queen Anne’s commissioners, seeking to calm the situation, have begun settling the losses and wages owed to those Scots who took part in the disastrous Darien expedition eight years earlier.

When Lily, the young widow of a Darien sailor, comes forward to collect her husband’s wages, her claim is challenged, and one of the men who’s assigned to examine her has only days to decide if she’s honest, or if his own feelings are making him blind to the truth, and if he’s being used as a pawn in an even more treacherous game.

A story of intrigue, adventure, endurance, romance…and the courage to hope.

CURRENTLY READING


A BOOK AT BEDTIME by BARRIE SHORE

HAPPY READING!!

#PaperbackPublication #BookReview THE LAST HOUSE ON NEEDLESS STREET by CATRIONA WARD @ViperBooks @Catrionaward



ABOUT THE BOOK


This is the story of a serial killer. A stolen child. Revenge. Death. And an ordinary house at the end of an ordinary street.

All these things are true. And yet they are all lies…

You think you know what’s inside the last house on Needless Street. You think you’ve read this story before. That’s where you’re wrong.

In the dark forest at the end of Needless Street, lies something buried. But it’s not what you think…

PUBLISHED BY VIPER BOOKS


PURCHASE LINKS


Amazon

Blackwell’s

hive.co.uk


MY REVIEW


If, like me, you like your books dark, twisted and unpredictable then this is the book for you! It’s billed as a gothic thriller, but I’d add psychological horror to the mix as well – it’s a real mind f*** in all the best possible ways!!

And that of course makes it very difficult to review without giving anything away! It centres around a house that is next to the woods. There’s a man, Ted, who lives there with his daughter and a talking cat Olivia – genius move adding a voice to the cat by the way!! – and very little is known about him. He keeps himself to himself – he was a suspect in a horrific crime years ago and that has left him wary of everybody. His pleasure in life is to feed the birds. And one day, these birds are poisoned in his garden…. his nightmares begin again and he feels like he is being watched.

Dee moves into the area, desperate to find news of her sister who went missing many years ago. She is convinced Ted knows something about it and will do all she can to find out the truth.

What follows is a fascinating and disturbing story that flits between now and then, as the past sets the tone for the present and the fates of characters play out in chilling fashion – a real stuff of nightmares!!

It’s one of those books that I can’t wait to go back and read all over again! Brilliant!!


★★★★★

My thanks to Viper Books for the advanced copy in return for a fair and honest review.

#BookReview THE MAN WHO DIED TWICE by RICHARD OSMAN



ABOUT THE BOOK


It’s the following Thursday.

Elizabeth has received a letter from an old colleague, a man with whom she has a long history. He’s made a big mistake, and he needs her help. His story involves stolen diamonds, a violent mobster, and a very real threat to his life.

As bodies start piling up, Elizabeth enlists Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron in the hunt for a ruthless murderer. And if they find the diamonds too? Well, wouldn’t that be a bonus?

But this time they are up against an enemy who wouldn’t bat an eyelid at knocking off four septuagenarians. Can The Thursday Murder Club find the killer (and the diamonds) before the killer finds them?


PUBLISHED BY PENGUIN

PURCHASE LINK

AMAZON


MY REVIEW

There’s never a dull moment when The Thursday Murder Club meets up – no quiet games of bingo or charades for this group of pensioners!! And once more, the author adds his sense of humour to bring this story to life and elevate it to something a bit special!

Elizabeth and the gang are back for more crime solving! And this time it’s close to home for Elizabeth as she receives a letter from a dead man! Enough to start the alarm bells ringing and soon they’re all involved in a massive plot that involves diamonds and violent mobsters! And all the team bring their own unique talents to the crime solving puzzle and raise plenty of laughs along the way! Joyce in particular is turning out to be one of my favourites with her unique views on all that’s going on around her!!

There’s a lot going on, with various threads to follow and there’s so much warmth and charm throughout, despite the darker elements of the crimes being committed! It gets quite tense at times too which added to the danger for the crime fighting crew!!


★★★★

#BookReview DARE TO KNOW by JAMES KENNEDY



ABOUT THE BOOK


Dark Matter meets Annihilation in this mind-bending and emotional speculative thriller set in a world where the exact moment of your death can be predicted–for a price.

Our narrator is the most talented salesman at Dare to Know, a prestigious and enigmatic company in the death-prediction business. While he has mastered the art of death, the rest of his life is an abject failure. Divorced, estranged from his sons, and broke, he’s driven to violate the cardinal rule of his business by forecasting his own death day. The problem: apparently he died 23 minutes ago.

The only person who can confirm his prediction is Julia, the woman he loved and lost during his rise up the ranks of Dare to Know. As he travels across the country to see her, our narrator is forced to confront his past, the choices he’s made, and the terrifying truth about the company he works for–and his role there.

Highly ambitious and totally immersive, this adrenaline-fueled thriller explores the destructive power of knowledge and collapses the boundaries between reality, myth, and conspiracy as it races toward its stunning conclusion.


PUBLISHED BY QUIRK BOOKS

PURCHASE LINK


Amazon


MY REVIEW


If you  like your books weird, twisty and to be a bit of a mind f***, then this is the book for you!! I loved it! It has the power to entertain, confuse and to make you think…. would you want to know when you were going to die?!


In this book, there’s a group who can predict  your death date and have turned it into a business.  The only rule of the death prediction business is not to calculate your own death date…. the book narrator breaks this rule and is left dealing with the consequences.
It took me a while to get into the style of writing, but once I’d connected with it, I really enjoyed the way the story played out.  The narrator takes you through each stage – as he deals with his disastrous life whilst looking back at those moments in his life that made him who he has become – the school friendships, relationships, his random thoughts and hates.  This is alongside the internal battle he’s having with himself of trying to make sense of it all, and should he do his own death date.  He knows he shouldn’t but just can’t shake the feeling off that he NEEDS to know.


I really enjoyed the frenetic pace of this book – it flits from one thought to another, from the now to the past and you really get a sense of his confused state of mind.  How his arrogance and complacency can be a help and a hindrance!


The twists were well thought out, and I loved the randomness of his mind!  It’s a book that I raced through and loved the uniqueness of it all!  It makes you think outside of the box and challenges you!


★★★★


My thanks to the team at Black Crow PR for the advanced reader copy in return for a fair and honest review.

#BookReview SNOWFLAKES OVER THE STARFISH CAFE by JESSICA REDLAND



ABOUT THE BOOK


Welcome to The Starfish Café – where you will find stunning views, delicious food and lifelong friendships.

Two broken hearts.

Since she inherited The Starfish Café, Hollie has poured her heart into the business, striving to keep her mother’s traditions and warm-hearted spirit alive. But behind closed doors Hollie is searching for true happiness as she grieves the tragic loss of her family who were once the beating heart of the café…

An unexpected meeting.

Jake lives by two rules: don’t let anyone get close and don’t talk about what happened. Little does he know that a chance meeting at The Starfish Café, facilitated by a fluffy lost dog, is about to turn his world upside down…

The chance to love again.

Can Hollie and Jake break down the barriers that have been holding them back from finding love and happiness, before Christmas comes around? After all, with courage, nothing is impossible…

Join top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for a magical winter at the seaside, where love blossoms and lifelong friendships are made.


PUBLISHED BY BOLDWOOD BOOKS


PURCHASE LINK


Amazon

MY REVIEW

Love, Love, Love!! This is a book that has all the feels and had me totally smitten with the characters and setting from first page to last!

Hollie and Jake can’t fail to capture your hearts as they tell their stories – and the wonderful Mr Pickles plays a big part too!! These are two characters that have faced real hard times in the past and are still dealing with grief, and the story cleverly goes backwards and forwards in their timelines to give you a fuller picture of the sad times that both have faced and how that impacted on the people that they had become.

Watching their relationship develop from friendship was just so wonderful! They were so easy in the company of one another, but always wary and guarded over just how much of their past to share with one another – probably in fear of opening up too much with the possibility of having their heart broken once more.

Looking back over what happened to their lives and family was often so heartbreaking and shocking and really showed the pain and trauma that life can often throw your way, and throw you off course. You just wanted to jump into the book and give them both a big hug!!

They had wonderful people around them and I just didn’t want their story to end! They both knew that they needed to move on with their lives, but that meant confronting the past and that is never an easy process and you just wanted so bad for them to be happy as they were such good people.

It made me laugh, it made me cry and I adored every minute of it!

★★★★★

#BookReview MRS MARCH by VIRGINIA FEITO



ABOUT THE BOOK


Shirley Jackson meets Ottessa Moshfegh meets My Sister the Serial Killer in a brilliantly unsettling and darkly funny debut novel full of suspense and paranoia

George March’s latest novel is a smash hit. None could be prouder than Mrs. March, his dutiful wife, who revels in his accolades and relishes the lifestyle and status his success brings.

A creature of routine and decorum, Mrs. March lives an exquisitely controlled existence on the Upper East Side. Every morning begins the same way, with a visit to her favourite patisserie to buy a loaf of
olive bread, but her latest trip proves to be her last when she suffers an indignity from which she may never recover: an assumption by the shopkeeper that the protagonist in George March’s new book –
a pathetic sex worker, more a figure of derision than desire – is based on Mrs. March.

One casual remark robs Mrs. March not only of her beloved olive bread but of the belief that she knew everything about her husband – and herself – sending her on an increasingly paranoid journey, one
that starts within the pages of a book but may very well uncover both a killer and the long-buried secrets of Mrs. March’s past.

A razor-sharp exploration of the fragility of identity and the smothering weight of expectations, Mrs. March heralds the arrival of a wicked and wonderful new voice.


PUBLISHED BY FOURTH ESTATE

PURCHASE LINK


Blackwell’s

MY REVIEW

This was a slow burner of a book, but it grabbed me completely. I found it to be quiet and unassuming at times, but a devastating character study of a woman clearly struggling with her mind and the depths that paranoia take her to.

Mrs March is the wife of a very successful author, bringing them both a very comfortable life. Her husband is away a lot so she seems to fill her days with shopping, parties – and overthinking! And it was a comment overhead about a character in her husbands book, that triggers another wave of self doubt and leads her on a path of distrust. She starts to see the book wherever she is, almost like it is taunting her.

The story looks at her past, how she met George and how their relationship blossomed to how it is now, and alludes to her having lived a troubled childhood too. You are never quite sure with her narration just how much to believe, and when she starts to believe that her husband is involved with the disappearance of a woman where he recently stayed, we get to witness just how her damaged mind processes the possibilities and the lengths she’ll go to prove his guilt.

There’s such a sadness about the characters involved in this book – it’s all about appearance and status, and how a simple throwaway comment can impact on the outlook of somebody who obviously has been damaged in the past due to her upbringing.

I know this book has split opinions, and it’s definitely not a ‘light’ read but I found it to be captivating in a dark and disturbing way!

★★★★★

#BookReview PRACTICALLY PAGAN – An Alternative Guide to Gardening by Elen Sentier #Pagan #nonfiction



ABOUT THE BOOK


Practically Pagan – An Alternative Guide to Gardening takes the spooky out of alternative and keeps the magic. Elen Sentier brings together, and expands on, recent scientific discoveries, and shows how close they are to the old ways that were labelled as superstition in the 20th century. Sentier’s writing is accessible and opens up the down-to-earth practicalism of pagans as people of the land to all, for that’s what the word pagan means, ‘of the land’. Sentier doesn’t preach or proselytise folk to become pagan, but brings to light how you’ve been thinking this way for years. Elen Sentier is a best-selling author of British native shamanism. She also writes paranormal mystery-suspense novels. She’s a wilderness woman, born on Dartmoor and grew up on Exmoor in a family who had practiced the old British magic for hundreds of years. Her books include Pagan Portals – Merlin: Once and Future Wizard (Moon Books, 2016), and Gardening with the Moon & Stars (Moon Books, 2015)


PUBLISHED BY MOON BOOKS


PUBLICATION DATE – 29TH OCTOBER 2021


PRE-ORDER LINK


Amazon

MY REVIEW


I found this an enjoyable and fascinating way to find out more about pagans and a different way to approach gardening. The author uses her own experiences for taking you through each season – 8 seasons in the pagan calendar, not 4! – and sharing lists of different jobs to do at that time, along with plants looking their best or ready for planting at that time.

I really found the pagan side of the book enlightening and has now got me interested in finding out more about pagans as I found myself connecting with many of her ways! She explains about pagan holidays and celebrations, alongside meditations and rituals that you can easily follow.

But at the heart of the book is a year of gardening tips and hints, and learning more about the plants she uses in her garden that can also be used in cooking, rituals etc. I really liked her approach to the world and gardening – she let her garden evolve to suit her needs at different times instead of being very rigid with her planning and structure.

I like the mix of family anecdotes throughout, and am sure this book is best read in stages, especially to correlate with the time of the year it relates to, which will help you garden well. It looks at different flowers and vegetables for each season, along with meanings of them for medicinal purposes so I’ve learnt a little more about certain plants in my garden, and ones I want to add in the future!

★★★★