#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!

★★★★

#BookReview YOURS CHEERFULL by A.J.PEARCE



ABOUT THE BOOK


From the author of the “jaunty, heartbreaking winner” (People) and international bestseller Dear Mrs. Bird, a new charming and upliftingnovel set in London during World War II about a plucky aspiring journalist.

London, November 1941. Following the departure of the formidable Henrietta Bird from Woman’s Friend magazine, things are looking up for Emmeline Lake as she takes on the challenge of becoming a young wartime advice columnist. Her relationship with boyfriend Charles (now stationed back in the UK) is blossoming, while Emmy’s best friend Bunty, still reeling from the very worst of the Blitz, is bravely looking to the future. Together, the friends are determined to Make a Go of It.

When the Ministry of Information calls on Britain’s women’s magazines to help recruit desperately needed female workers to the war effort, Emmy is thrilled to be asked to step up and help. But when she and Bunty meet a young woman who shows them the very real challenges that women war workers face, Emmy must tackle a life-changing dilemma between doing her duty and standing by her friends.

Every bit as funny, heartwarming, and touching as Dear Mrs. BirdYours Cheerfully is a celebration of friendship—a testament to the strength of women and the importance of lifting each other up, even in the most challenging times.


PUBLISHED BY PICADOR


PURCHASE LINK


Amazon

MY REVIEW

I listened to the audio version of this book.

Having loved Dear Mrs Bird, I was so pleased that the characters would be back for another installment, and it hasn’t let me down! It’s one of those ‘nice’ books that are a pleasure to read. You enjoy the characters so much that they become like friends as you watch over their progress.

This book is set a few months after DMB, and life at the magazine during the war continues to throw up new issues and challenges for the staff. And with it being a magazine for women, the focus on the role of women during the war is top priority, so that sets Emmy off to look at new ways of incorporating the lives of women as she forges on with her journalist career.

There’s still a snobby attitude by some towards the ‘Friend’ magazine, and that only just makes those working there more determined to do the best for their readers. The advice column is still a major success and it is giving women a voice. And with the magazine asked to help get women to help out with the war effort, I loved seeing how creative Emmy and the others were in finding ways to show the impact that women can have in a positive way.

The research and attention to detail was top notch once more, and really bought home the issues facing women at the time – dealing with worrying about their loved ones, whilst trying to carry on as normal and raise their families not knowing what was round the corner. And proving the power of coming together to raise awareness and fighting for their rights. Some things never seem to change… unfortunately!

Looking forward to book three already…. if there is to be more!!

★★★★

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 11th September 2021



Sup?!  Happy Saturday!! Another week flies by and it’s been a scorcher here in my bookish world! Too hot to do anything but read!!  So that’s helped me out this week – although looking at the list of books I now have to write reviews for, maybe I need to  stop reading for a while and do some reviewing!
Managed to finish 5 books this week and they were all corkers so yay!  Just 2 newbies added to the Netgalley shelf this week as well, and one treat to myself from Goldsboro!
here’s my look back..


BOOKS FINISHED


PRACTICALLY PAGAN – AN ALTERNATIVE GUIDE TO GARDENING by ELEN SENTIER – 4 STARS

SNOWFLAKES OVER THE STARFISH CAFE by JESSICA REDLAND – 5 STARS

THIS GOOD BOOK by IAIN HOOD – 5 STARS

MRS MARCH by VIRGINIA FEITO – 5 STARS

THE SEAMSTRESS OF WARSAW by REBECCA MASCULL – 5 STARS

BOOKHAUL

To Netgalley we go…

.
THE ROYAL GAME by ANNE O’BRIEN

publication date – 16th September 2021

The inspirational story of the Pastons, a family who rose from obscurity to the very heart of Court politics and intrigue during the Wars of the Roses.

England, 1444. Three women challenge the course of history…

King Henry VI’s grip on the crown hangs by a thread as the Wars of the Roses starts to tear England apart. And from the ashes of war, the House of Paston begins its rise to power.

Led by three visionary women, the Pastons are a family from humble peasant beginnings who rely upon cunning, raw ambition, and good fortune in order to survive.

Their ability to plot and scheme sees them overcome imprisonment, violence and betrayal, to eventually secure for their family a castle and a place at the heart of the Yorkist Court. But success breeds jealousy and brings them dangerous enemies…

An inspirational story of courage and resilience, The Royal Game charts the rise of three remarkable women from obscurity to the very heart of Court politics and intrigue.


THE HEMLOCK CURE by JOANNE BURN

publication date – February 2022

It is 1665 and the women of Eyam keep many secrets.

Isabel Frith, the village midwife, walks a dangerous line with her herbs and remedies. There are men in the village who speak of witchcraft, and Isabel has a past to hide. So she tells nobody her fears about Wulfric, the pious, reclusive apothecary.

Mae, Wulfric’s youngest daughter, dreads her father’s rage if he discovers what she keeps from him. Like her feelings for Rafe, Isabel’s ward, or the fact that she studies from Wulfric’s books at night.

But others have secrets too. Secrets darker than any of them could have imagined.

When Mae makes a horrifying discovery, Isabel is the only person she can turn to. But helping Mae will place them both in unimaginable peril.

And meanwhile another danger is on its way from London. One that threatens to engulf them all . . .

Based on the real history of an English village during the Great Plague, The Hemlock Cure is an utterly beguiling tale of fear and ambition, betrayal, self-sacrifice and the unbreakable bond between two women.

And I got this from Goldsboro Book as their book of the month..


TENDERNESS by ALISON MACLEOD

“What a triumph of skill and imagination is this powerful, moving, brilliant novel! I’ve never read anything quite like Tenderness, and I doubt I ever will again.” –Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of City of Girls and Eat, Pray, Love

For readers of A Gentleman in Moscow and Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, an ambitious, spellbinding historical novel about sensuality, censorship, and the novel that set off the sexual revolution.

On the glittering shores of the Mediterranean in 1928, a dying author in exile races to complete his final novel. Lady Chatterley’s Lover is a sexually bold love story, a searing indictment of class distinctions, and a study in sensuality. But the author, D.H. Lawrence, knows it will be censored. He publishes it privately, loses his copies to customs, and dies bereft.

Booker Prize-longlisted author Alison MacLeod brilliantly recreates the novel’s origins and boldly imagines its journey to freedom through the story of Jackie Kennedy, who was known to be an admirer. In MacLeod’s telling, Jackie–in her last days before becoming first lady–learns that publishers are trying to bring D.H. Lawrence’s long-censored novel to American and British readers in its full form. The US government has responded by targeting the postal service for distributing obscene material. Enjoying what anonymity she has left, determined to honour a novel she loves, Jackie attends the hearing incognito. But there she is quickly recognized, and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover takes note of her interest and her outrage.

Through the story of Lawrence’s writing of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, the historic obscenity trial that sought to suppress it in the United Kingdom, and the men and women who fought for its worldwide publication, Alison MacLeod captures the epic sweep of the twentieth century from war and censorship to sensuality and freedom. Exquisite, evocative, and grounded in history, Tenderness is a testament to the transformative power of fiction.



CURRENTLY READING


YOURS CHEERFULLY by A.J.PEARCE – audiobook


HAPPY READING!!