Hello all! And farewell to July already!! Time is ticking by fast! Got my 2nd Covid jab today…. am just hoping I don’t react too badly! I think I might jus need to sit and read all weekend to relax and recover!
Not been doing as much reading this week – the internet kept distracting me! – so just 3 books finished this week. There may have been a bundle of book post arriving though and a couple of new additions to my Netgalley shelf! Oops I did it again!!
So here’s my look back..
THE DREAM WEAVERS by BARBARA ERSKINE – 4 STARS
CLOTHES by ALEXANDRA SHULMAN – 5 STARS
THE EDITOR’S WIFE by CLARE CHAMBERS
When aspiring novelist Christopher Flinders drops out of university to write his masterpiece (in between shifts as a fish delivery man and builder’s mate), his family is sceptical.
But when he is taken up by the London editor Owen Goddard and his charming wife Diana it seems success is just around the corner. Christopher’s life has so far been rather short of charm – growing up in an unlovely suburb, with unambitious parents and a semi-vagrant brother – and he is captivated by his generous and cultured mentors. However, on the brink of realising his dream, Christopher makes a desperate misjudgement which results in disaster for all involved. Shattered, he withdraws from London and buries himself in rural Yorkshire, embracing a career and a private life marked by mediocrity.
Twenty years on a young academic researching into Owen Goddard seeks him out, and Christopher is forced to exhume his past, setting him on a path to a life-changing discovery
SNOWFLAKES OVER THE STARFISH CAFE by JESSICA REDLAND
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..
And in the post I’ve been lucky to receive these gifted books in return for reviews…..
REBUGGING THE PLANET by VICKI HURD – Chelsea Green Publishing
Foreword by Gillian Burke
This is a lovely little book that could and should have a big impact. ..Let’s all get rebugging right away! Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
Meet the intelligent insects, marvellous minibeasts and inspirational invertebrates that help shape our planet – and discover how you can help them help us by rebugging your attitude today!
Remember when there were bugs on your windscreen? Ever wonder where they went? We need to act now if we are to help them survive. Chris Packham, Isabella Tree and George Monbiot are but a few voices championing the rewilding of our world. In Rebugging the Planet, Vicki Hird adds her voice to this chorus, explaining how our planet is headed towards ‘insectageddon’ with a rate of insect extinction eight times faster than that of mammals or birds. Rebugging the Planet gives us crucial information to help all those essential creepy-crawlies flourish once more.
Hird passionately demonstrates how insects and invertebrates are the cornerstone of our global ecosystem. They pollinate plants, feed birds, support and defend our food crops and clean our water systems. They are also beautiful, inventive and economically invaluable – bees, for example, contribute more to the UK economy than the Queen!
Rebugging the Planet shows us small changes we can make to have a big impact on our littlest allies:
- Learn how to rebug parks, schools, pavements, verges and other green spaces.
- Leave your garden to grow a little wild and plant weedkiller-free, wildlife-friendly plants.
- Take your kids on a minibeast treasure hunt and learn how to build bug palaces.
- Make bug-friendly choices with your food and support good farming practices
- Begin to understand how reducing inequality and poverty will help nature and wildlife too – it’s all connected.
So do your part and start rebugging today! The bees, ants, earthworms, butterflies, beetles, grasshoppers, ladybirds, snails and slugs will thank you – and our planet will thank you too.
ON GALLOWS DOWN by NICOLA CHESTER
Chelsea Green Publishing
Publication Date – 7th October 2021
Part nature writing, part memoir, On Gallows Down is an essential, unforgettable read for fans of Helen Macdonald, Melissa Harrison and Isabella Tree.
Nicola Chester won the BBC Wildlife Magazine’s Nature Writer of the Year Award – this is her first book.
The story of a life shaped by landscape; of an enduring love of nature and the fierce desire to protect it – living as part of the rural working class in a ‘tied cottage’ on a country estate – and what it takes to feel like you belong.
On Gallows Down is a book about hope – from the rewilding of Greenham Common after the missiles left to how, as a new mother, Nicola walked the chalk hills to give her children roots, teaching them names and waymarks to find their way home. It is about the songs of the nightingale and cuckoo – whose return she waits for – the red kites, fieldfares, skylarks and lapwings that accompany her, the badger cubs she watches at night and the velvety mole she finds in her garden.
And it is also the story of how Nicola came to write and to protest – unearthing the seam of resistance that ran through Newbury’s past, from the Civil Wars to the Swing Riots and the women of the Greenham Common Peace Camps and to the fight against the Newbury bypass. A resistance that continues today against the destruction of hedgerows, trees and wildlife through modern farm estate management.
On Gallows Down is perfect for fans of H is for Hawk, The Salt Path and Featherhood.
‘It is impossible to write with integrity about nature without protesting and resisting and waving a desperate red flag.
And then I managed to win myself a copy of this beauty…
THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO LONELINESS by LAURA BAMBREY
The perfect feel-good read from an exciting new voice in women’s fiction, for fans of Heidi Swain, Cathy Bramley and Jenny Colgan.
Tori Williamson is alone. After a tragic event left her isolated from her loved ones, she’s been struggling to find her way back to, well – herself. That’s why she set up her blog, The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness, as a way of – anonymously – connecting with the outside world and reaching others who just need a little help sometimes.
When she’s offered a free spot on a wellbeing retreat in exchange for a review on her blog, Tori is anxious about opening herself up to new surroundings. But after her three closest friends – who she talks to online but has never actually met – convince her it’ll do her some good, she reluctantly agrees and heads off for three weeks in the wild (well, a farm in Wales).
From the moment she arrives, Tori is sceptical and quickly finds herself drawn to fellow sceptic Than, the retreat’s dark and mysterious latecomer. But as the beauty of The Farm slowly comes to light she realizes that opening herself up might not be the worst thing. And sharing a yurt with fellow retreater Bay definitely isn’t. Will the retreat be able to fix Tori? Or will she finally learn that being lonely doesn’t mean she’s broken . . .
And treated myself to these two….
HOPE NICELY’S LESSONS FOR LIFE by CAROLINE DAY
‘I don’t have any friends, only dog ones, because they don’t make you do bad things. I don’t want any human friends, actually. It’s for the best.’
Hope Nicely hasn’t had an easy life.
But she’s happy enough living at 23 Station Close with her mum, Jenny Nicely, and she loves her job, walking other people’s dogs. She’s a bit different, but as Jenny always tells her, she’s a rainbow person, a special drop of light.
It’s just…there’s something she needs to know. Why did her birth mother abandon her in a cardboard box on a church step twenty-five years ago? And did she know that drinking while pregnant could lead to Hope being born with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder?
In a bid to find her birth mother and the answers to these questions, Hope decides to write her autobiography. Despite having been bullied throughout school, Hope bravely joins an evening class where she will not only learn the lessons of writing (including the number one golden rule of ‘show don’t tell’), but may also begin to discover more about the world around her, about herself and even make some (human) friends.
But when Jenny suddenly falls ill, Hope realises there are many more lessons to come…
Hope Nicely’s Lessons for Life is a heart-warming, coming-of-age novel about loneliness, friendship, acceptance and, above all, hope.
DEATH AT DUKES HALT by DEREK FARRELL
Lady Caroline Victoria Genevieve Jane de Montfort (Lady Caz to her friends) made a promise to her (newly deceased) friend George Warren and she intends to keep it -sadly for Danny Bird she’s roped him in as her accomplice.
And so with Danny’s South London pub The Marq left in the safe hands of Ray & Dash (The ASBO Twins) and his indomitable bar-manager Ali roped in as their driver, the trio set off to spend the weekend at the Warren family’s imposing country estate Dukes Halt.
As they set about achieving their mission, Danny, Lady Caz & Ali are joined by a classic cast of characters including a Hollywood actress, a right-wing Member of Parliament and an Albanian gangster.
Shenanigans inevitably ensue.
Of course, it wouldn’t be an authentic country-house weekend without a murder or two and pretty soon Danny and the gang are on the track of the killer in their midst. As the plot ingeniously twists and turns in every direction Danny wrestles with another deeper, sadder mystery hidden in the pages of a secret diary that he realizes may just hold the key to everything.