The screenshot says it all!  Somehow I managed to finish 240 books this year – I’d set myself the target of 200 – and I’m rather happy with this amount! Although it still hasn’t made much difference to my TBR pile, just think that bad would be if I hadn’t read this little lot!
And that means it’s been very difficult to pick out my favourite reads of the year as there have been so many amazing books!!  But I’ve managed to pick 10 fiction, and 5 non fiction, that have just stood out that little bit more for me over the past 12 months!!


In no particular order, here we go….starting with fiction….click on the heading for a link to my GoodReads review!


STILL LIFE by SARAH WINMAN

THE LINCOLN HIGHWAY by AMOR TOWLES

THE VISITORS by CAROLINE SCOTT

PANENKA by RONAN HESSION

THE SWALLOWED MAN by EDWARD CAREY

THE PRINCE OF THE SKIES by ANTOINE ITURBE

I AM DUST by LOUISE BEECH

SAD JANET by LUCIE BRITSCH

UNDER THE WHISPERING DOOR by T.J.KLUNE

THE LAMPLIGHTERS by EMMA STONEX

NON FICTION


THE WOLF AGE by TORE SKEIE

THE WHITE SHIP by CHARLES SPENCER

MADHOUSE AT THE END OF THE EARTH by JULIAN SANCTON

BOMBSHELL by MIKE ROTHMILLER

WINDSWEPT by ANNABEL ABBS

📚📚📚

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Book Presents from Santa! #bookhaul



Just thought I’d share a little post about the lovely books that Santa brought my way for being such a good girl this past year ….. stop laughing at the back!! I was good!! Sometimes!!  There may have also been book tokens bought for me as well, one of which I’ve already put to good use on the Waterstones website while their sale is on, so there’ll be another book haul post soon when they start arriving!!
Santa did get some help in choosing the books for me as I handily provided a little list!

THE RABBIT FACTOR by ANTTI TUOMAINEN

An insurance mathematician’s carefully ordered life is turned on its head when he unexpectedly loses his job and inherits an adventure park … with a whole host of problems. A quirky, tense and warmly funny thriller from award-winning Finnish author Antti Tuomainen.

What makes life perfect? Insurance mathematician Henri Koskinen knows the answer because he calculates everything down to the very last decimal.

And then, for the first time, Henri is faced with the incalculable. After suddenly losing his job, Henri inherits an adventure park from his brother – its peculiar employees and troubling financial problems included. The worst of the financial issues appear to originate from big loans taken from criminal quarters … and some dangerous men are very keen to get their money back.

But what Henri really can’t compute is love. In the adventure park, Henri crosses paths with Laura, an artist with a chequered past, and a joie de vivre and erratic lifestyle that bewilders him. As the criminals go to extreme lengths to collect their debts and as Henri’s relationship with Laura deepens, he finds himself faced with situations and emotions that simply cannot be pinned down on his spreadsheets…

Warmly funny, rich with quirky characters and absurd situations, The Rabbit Factor is a triumph of a dark thriller, its tension matched only by its ability to make us rejoice in the beauty and random nature of life.



THE TROUBLED MIND OF MARY SHELLEY by WENDY L BARDSLEY

Mary Shelley was the daughter of philosopher William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft. Her mother died soon after her birth and her father remarried. The poet Percy Bysshe Shelley was a friend of Godwin and a frequent visitor to his home. Though married with young children, Shelley flirted with Mary and when she was aged sixteen they eloped to Italy. Shelley was always in trouble financially and was forced to move frequently to avoid his creditors. Mary tolerated this lifestyle and also Shelley’s constant philandering though she was often desperate with worry about Percy’s infidelity. Lord Byron and Shelley met and became friends and this association was another cause for concern to Mary, who at eighteen, began writing Frankenstein, a novel that would bring her lasting fame. After Shelley’s death from drowning in Italy, Mary returned to London and pursued her own writing career. In her novel Wendy Bardsley has captured the intensity of Mary’s early life and her troubled marriage and the result is a remarkable book and an excellent addition to the genre of historical fiction.


LILY by ROSE TREMAIN

Nobody knows yet that she is a murderer…

Abandoned at the gates of a London park one winter’s night in 1850, baby Lily Mortimer is saved by a young police constable and taken to the London Foundling Hospital. Lily is fostered by an affectionate farming family in rural Suffolk, enjoying a brief childhood idyll before she is returned to the Hospital, where she is punished for her rebellious spirit. Released into the harsh world of Victorian London, Lily becomes a favoured employee at Belle Prettywood’s Wig Emporium, but all the while she is hiding a dreadful secret…

Across the years, policeman Sam Trench keeps watch over the young woman he once saved. When Sam meets Lily again, there is an instant attraction between them and Lily is convinced that Sam holds the key to her happiness – but might he also be the one to uncover her crime and so condemn her to death?



BEWILDERMENT by RICHARD POWERS

Theo Byrne is a promising young astrobiologist who has found a way to search for life on other planets dozens of light years away. He is also the widowed father of a most unusual nine-year-old. His son Robin is funny, loving, and filled with plans. He thinks and feels deeply, adores animals, and can spend hours painting elaborate pictures. He is also on the verge of being expelled from third grade, for smashing his friend’s face with a metal thermos.

What can a father do, when the only solution offered to his rare and troubled boy is to put him on psychoactive drugs? What can he say when his boy comes to him wanting an explanation for a world that is clearly in love with its own destruction? The only thing for it is to take the boy to other planets, while all the while fostering his son’s desperate campaign to help save this one.

📚📚📚

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – CHRISTMAS DAY 2021!



HAPPY CHRISTMAS!!! I hope Santa treated you kindly!! I may have sent Santa a list with a few books on it….. have I been good enough?!
Looking back at the last week on the bookish front and it’s been pretty productive! Another 4 books have been finished, 2 new additions to the NetGalley shelf and then 2 newbies to my physical book shelves! nice and balanced!
Here’s my look back..


BOOKS FINISHED


THE WOLF AGE by TORE SKEIE – 5 STARS

THE NUTCRACKER by E.T.A. HOFFMAN – 4 STARS

CHRISTMAS AT SERENITY BAY by HELEN BRIDGETT – 5 STARS

A CORNISH CHRISTMAS AT PEAR TREE FARM by ANGELA BRITNELL – 5 STARS

BOOKHAUL


starting over at Netgalley..


THE ATLAS SIX by OLIVIE BLAKE

The Alexandrian Society, caretakers of lost knowledge from the greatest civilizations of antiquity, are the foremost secret society of magical academicians in the world. Those who earn a place among the Alexandrians will secure a life of wealth, power, and prestige beyond their wildest dreams, and each decade, only the six most uniquely talented magicians are selected to be considered for initiation.

Enter the latest round of six: Libby Rhodes and Nico de Varona, unwilling halves of an unfathomable whole, who exert uncanny control over every element of physicality. Reina Mori, a naturalist, who can intuit the language of life itself. Parisa Kamali, a telepath who can traverse the depths of the subconscious, navigating worlds inside the human mind. Callum Nova, an empath easily mistaken for a manipulative illusionist, who can influence the intimate workings of a person’s inner self. Finally, there is Tristan Caine, who can see through illusions to a new structure of reality—an ability so rare that neither he nor his peers can fully grasp its implications.

When the candidates are recruited by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they are told they will have one year to qualify for initiation, during which time they will be permitted preliminary access to the Society’s archives and judged based on their contributions to various subjects of impossibility: time and space, luck and thought, life and death. Five, they are told, will be initiated. One will be eliminated. The six potential initiates will fight to survive the next year of their lives, and if they can prove themselves to be the best among their rivals, most of them will.

Most of them.

THE GIFTS by LIZ HYDER

publication date – February 2022

October 1840. A young woman staggers alone through a forest in Shropshire as a huge pair of impossible wings rip themselves from her shoulders.

Meanwhile, when rumours of a ‘fallen angel’ cause a frenzy across London, a surgeon desperate for fame and fortune finds himself in the grips of a dangerous obsession, one that will place the women he seeks in the most terrible danger . . .

THE GIFTS is the astonishing debut adult novel from the lauded author of BEARMOUTH. A gripping and ambitious book told through five different perspectives and set against the luminous backdrop of nineteenth century London, it explores science, nature and religion, enlightenment, the role of women in society and the dark danger of ambition


And in the post…


AFTER THE RAIN by LUCY DILLON

publication day – March 2022

First, the clouds…
Tara Hunter is a therapist on a mission to restore Longhampton’s community spirit after catastrophic flooding. But with her boyfriend AWOL, her family fragmented, and only a cat for company, Tara’s own life is crumbling.

Then the storm…
On top of everything, Tara’s father – last seen as he walked out on her when she was ten years old – is suddenly back, with a surprising offer that could change everything.

And after the rain…
Dr David Dalloway is Longhampton Wellness Centre’s new star counsellor. He’s charming, caring and has a knack for reading people’s minds – which is the last thing Tara needs right now. Will having David and her dad around make for a bigger storm on the horizon? Or is this Tara’s chance for a fresh start?



THE DOVES IN THE DINING ROOM by LAURA LAAKSO

Yannia Wilde arrives in rural Sussex to attend her friend Jessika’s aristocratic Mage wedding. When two butchered doves are left in the hotel dining room, Yannia volunteers to take charge of the investigation. More disturbing events follow, leaving Yannia convinced that somebody is trying to sabotage the wedding.

Yannia teams up with the groom, Robbert, a wheelchair-using fan of detective fiction, and Wishearth, her ever-loyal Hearth Spirit, who surprises her by taking an active role in the investigation. But as the clock ticks towards the big day, the sabotage continues and the contradictions mount. The case turns sinister when Yannia herself is targeted, and Wishearth has to act quickly to rescue her.

But can they solve the mystery and save the wedding before somebody loses their life?

This is a “sideways” story in the Wilde Investigations series (number 3.5!)


CURRENTLY READING

GEORGE by SEAN SMITH

HAPPY CHRISTMAS READING!!!

#BookReview THE WOLF AGE by TORE SKEIE #nonfiction #history #TheWolfAge



ABOUT THE BOOK


A thrilling work of popular history that gives a new perspective on the Viking-Anglo conflicts and brings the bloody period to life.

In the eleventh century, the rulers of the lands surrounding the North Sea are all hungry for power. To get power they need soldiers, to get soldiers they need silver, and to get silver there is no better way than war and plunder. This vicious cycle draws all the lands of the north into a brutal struggle for supremacy and survival that will shatter kingdoms and forge an empire.

The Wolf Age takes the reader on a thrilling journey through the bloody shared history of England and Scandinavia, and across early medieval Europe: from the wild Norwegian fjords to the wealthy cities of Muslim Andalusia. Warfare, plotting, backstabbing and bribery abound as prize-winning historian Tore Skeie weaves together sagas and skaldic poetry with bold dramatization to bring the world of the Vikings and Anglo-Saxons to vivid life.

‘Skeie has a unique ability to conjure images of the richest detail, everything from chaotic battles to the period’s exhausting day-to-day life’ A-MAGASINET

Author:


Tore Skeie is one of Norway’s most acclaimed historians, having written several prize-winning and bestselling works of medieval history. Tore is known for his eye for historical and human drama, while his books have been praised both for their thrilling style and the way they challenge traditional nation-oriented historical narratives. The Wolf Age was a bestseller in Norway, won the prestigious Sverre Steen award and is the first of Tore’s books to be translated into English.


PUBLISHED BY PUSHKIN PRESS

PURCHASE LINK


publisher website

MY REVIEW

Oh how I wish I could turn back the clock and tell the younger me who thought history was boring that it was anything but!! This was a wonderfully absorbing look back at the extraordinary times of the Vikings and Anglo-Saxons – Game of Thrones seems very tame compared to some of the tales of the goings on during the 10th and 11th centuries in this book!!

The author has extensively researched the goings on of the time and presents it in such a fantastically relatable way that I couldn’t put it down! It reads just like a novel, and knowing these things happened just make it even more astounding! There’s a great overview of the characters involved, and the chronology of the events that unfolded and it was just utterly fascinating!

The story ebbs from England to Scandinavia and Medieval Europe and the action never stops! From feuding Kings to raiding Vikings, this is a brutal and political history showing the benefits of alliances and showing the treachery of others, all in the pursuit of power. You can just picture the sight of the ships venturing in to the estuaries and coastal towns around England and there’s also mention of the archeological finds relating to ships of the time and it has just made me so intrigued to find out more about the time .

It features some amazing characters, with amazing names such as Harald Bluetooth, Sweyn Forkbeard, Olaf, Cnut… extraordinary names for extraordinary people! Their quests are epic and often brutal. There’s also a look at the rituals of the time, and the ever changing religions and beliefs of the people of the time. Life was brutal and the intensity of the raids and destruction was just shocking to read about.

A must read for all lovers of all things historical!!

★★★★★

#BookReview UNDER THE WHISPERING DOOR by T.J.KLUNE


ABOUT THE BOOK

When a reaper comes to collect Wallace Price from his own funeral, Wallace suspects he really might be dead.
Instead of leading him directly to the afterlife, the reaper takes him to a small village. On the outskirts, off the path through the woods, tucked between mountains, is a particular tea shop, run by a man named Hugo. Hugo is the tea shop’s owner to locals and the ferryman to souls who need to cross over.
But Wallace isn’t ready to abandon the life he barely lived. With Hugo’s help he finally starts to learn about all the things he missed in life.
When the Manager, a curious and powerful being, arrives at the tea shop and gives Wallace one week to cross over, Wallace sets about living a lifetime in seven days.


Under the Whispering Door is a contemporary fantasy about a ghost who refuses to cross over and the ferryman he falls in love with.

PUBLISHED BY TOR BOOKS

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon


MY REVIEW


A story that put tears in my eyes! Lots of them!! This was one of those slow burner stories for me, but then BAM you are sucked straight into the lives, and deaths!, of these characters and your emotions are put through the wringer as this funny but touching story plays out in front of you.

The author wrote this book to try and understand grief, and his approach is nothing short of remarkable. When the main character dies, there are no tears shed for him, and he finds himself at a little tea shop, where Hugo fixes the world with cups of teas and is also the ferryman waiting to take you on to the other side.

As Wallace spends time amongst these people, and drinks more cups of tea than he ever thought possible, he begins to wake up to himself in the realisation that there was more to life but it took him dying to find that out.

This was such a beautiful story! The connection with drinking tea was so simple but it worked so well! It’s grounding, it’s normal and also allows reflection. Wallace evolves so much throughout this book that it’s just wonderful to witness. A delight – but don’t forget to have tissues by your side!!


★★★★★

#BlogTour THE LOST PROMISE OF IRELAND by SUSANNE O’LEARY #BookReview @bookouture

Hello! Delighted to be with you today on the blog tour to share my thoughts on the wonderful new book from Susanne O’Leary – THE LOST PROMISE OF IRELAND. My thanks to the author and publisher for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!

About the Book: 


A completely gorgeous story about lost loves and small-town secrets that will sweep you away to the Irish coast.

Maggie remembers her summers in the village of Sandy Cove in Ireland like they were yesterday. She and her family would swim in the crystal-clear waters, collect beautiful seashells and relax on the sand. So when she sees that her family’s old coastguard cottage is available, she wonders if renting it for the summer will finally help her move on from the man who just broke her heart.

As soon as Maggie arrives she is delighted to find her childhood best-friend Sorcha and Sorcha’s cousin Brian still living in town. They enjoy cosy nights in the local harbour pub, with its stunning views across the ocean, as if no time has passed. And when Brian reveals he had a fierce teenage crush on Maggie, she can’t help but notice just how handsome he has become.

But then Maggie finds a worn metal box hidden in the attic of the house, full of love letters she exchanged with a sweet American boy she met one summer. During their last night together, star-gazing on the beach, they promised to find each other again. Soon it becomes clear that Maggie is not the only one returning to Sandy Cove.

Torn between her growing feelings for Brian and the romance she’s held in her heart for many years, Maggie realises that her summer may be more complicated than she’d expected. Will Maggie finally find a true love who can sweep her off her feet or will this holiday in Sandy Cove be her last?

Fans of Mary Alice Monroe, Sheila O’Flanagan and Debbie Macomber will fall head over heels for this enchanting, feel-good romance.

published by Bookouture


AUTHOR BIO



Susanne O’Leary is the bestselling author of more than 20 novels, mainly in the romantic fiction genre. She has also written three crime novels and two in the historical fiction genre.
The wife of a former diplomat, she has also been a fitness teacher and a translator. She now writes full-time from either of two locations, a rambling house in County Tipperary, Ireland or a little cottage overlooking the Atlantic in Dingle, County Kerry. When she is not scaling the mountains of said counties, or doing yoga, she keeps writing, producing a book every six months

 Buy Link: 

Amazon: https://geni.us/B09FY24WHKsocial 

Apple: http://ow.ly/xgFS50GaeQr 

Kobo: http://ow.ly/R4yh50GaeMY 

Google: http://ow.ly/FKQs50GaeRZ 

MY REVIEW

This is one of those ‘hug yourself’ books! Those stories that bring you comfort, whatever time of year it is, but makes it more meaningful in the run up to Christmas! And I found the story to be full of wonderful characters that made up a lovely community that you just wanted to be part of!

Maggie spots her old childhood family cottage up for rent, and makes a decision to move there for the Summer as she has nothing but good memories of the past.  She’s looking to get herself back on track after  a recent break up so this step back in time is hopefully going to be the reset she needs to get her spark back!

She notices a lot of changes in the area since she was last there, but the locals are all still very friendly and lots remember her from the past so she’s warmly welcomed home and soon finds herself involved in the daily goings on! She also unearths her old letters and diaries so that brings back fresh memories of her family growing up and her first love.

This was just so easy to read and to feel connection with the characters.  In Maggie, there’s a woman who has been hurt but knows how the past can heal and she soon finds her strength again and support amongst those who knew her a long time ago.    Then there is the power of community coming together when plans to change the local area forever threaten all they know and love.  

This was a wonderfully warm read and the author has done another great job of creating a comforting story that is delightful to read!

★★★★

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 18th December 2021



Hello all! Happy Saturday! And Season’s Greetings to all!  I’ve made an effort to get the tree up now – all this effort for a day that flies by so quickly LOL! Yep, I’m still a Grinch haha!  
On to books! A quieter week this week as the reading mood hasn’t grabbed me! I did manage to finish 2 books off though, and have added 3 books to my shelves, but none from Netgalley!
Here’s my look back..


BOOKS FINISHED


HOPE AND HAPPINESS IN BLUEBELL WOOD by ALI McNAMARA – 4 STARS

THE BEACH READS BOOK CLUB by KATHRYN FREEMAN – 3 STARS


BOOKHAUL


My indie publisher subscriptions have added to my shelves this week!

From PEIRENE PRESS came these two…

MARZAHN, MON AMOUR by KATJA OSKAMP

publication date – Februrary 2022


A woman approaching the ‘invisible years’ of middle age abandons her failing writing career to retrain as a chiropodist in the suburb of Marzahn, once the GDR’s largest prefabricated housing estate, on the outskirts of Berlin. From her intimate vantage point at the foot of the clinic chair, she keenly observes her clients and co-workers, delving into their personal histories with all their quirks and vulnerabilities. Each story stands alone as a beautifully crafted vignette, told with humour and poignancy; together they form a nuanced and tender portrait of a community. Part memoir, part collective history, Katja Oskamp’s love letter to the inhabitants of Marzahn is a stunning reflection on life’s progression and our ability to forge connections in the unlikeliest of places.


WINTER FLOWERS by ANGELIQUE VILLENEUVE


It’s October 1918 and the war is drawing to a close.

Toussaint Caillet returns home to his wife, Jeanne, and the young daughter he hasn’t seen growing up. He is not coming back from the front line but from the department for facial injuries at Val-de-Grâce military hospital, where he has spent the last two years.

For Jeanne, who has struggled to endure his absence and the hardships of wartime, her husband’s return marks the beginning of a new battle. With the promise of peace now in sight, the family must try to stitch together a new life from the tatters of what they had before.

And from RENARD PRESS this arrived..

IN THE CLOUDS by SARAH BERNHARDT

In 1878 Gustave Flaubert looked on in horror as his publisher picked up a manuscript from the mysterious stage actress Sarah Bernhardt and published it in place of a new edition of his latest work, and watched it go on to become an instant bestseller, achieving international fame.

Narrated by a chair in a hot-air balloon, In the Clouds is a light-hearted, humorous tale that follows a character reminiscent of Bernhardt through the skies above Paris. Sadly the story sunk into obscurity, lying out of print in the English language for much of the twentieth century. Featuring the original illustrations by Georges Clairin, and in a fresh edit of the first English translation, this edition seeks to bring the tale to a new generation of readers.

CURRENTLY READING

THE WOLF AGE by TORE SKEIE



HAPPY READING & HAPPY CHRISTMAS!!

#BookRevi:ew B: A YEAR IN PLAGUES AND PENCILS by EDWARD CAREY @BelgraviaB


ABOUT THE BOOK


‘I blame the pencil. I hadn’t meant to do it. I wasn’t thinking. It just happened that way.’

In March 2020, as lockdowns were imposed around the world, author and illustrator Edward Carey published a sketch on social media with a plan to keep posting a drawing a day from his family home in Austin, Texas, until life returned to normal. One hundred and fifty pencil stubs later, he was still drawing.

Carey’s hand moved with world events, chronicling pandemic and politics. It reached into the past, taking inspiration from history, and escaped grim reality through flights of vivid imagination and studies of the natural world. The drawings became a way of charting time, of moving forward, and maintaining connection at a time of isolation.

This remarkable collection of words and drawings from the acclaimed author of Little and The Swallowed Man charts a tumultuous year in pencil, finding beauty amid the horror of extraordinary times.


PUBLISHED BY GALLIC PRESS


PURCHASE LINK


BELGRAVIA BOOKS

MY REVIEW

This was a fascinating, absorbing and beautiful way of looking back at a year in lockdown. All through the eyes and stunning pencil drawings of the Author, as he began a project in March 2020 to draw a picture a day and upload it to social media until the madness of Covid left us…. he soon found the project carried on a lot longer than he had planned!

But having that distraction helped him cope, and the fact that many people online would eagerly anticipate the daily drawings kept him going and it is wonderful to see them all together here in this beautiful book! The words too strike a chord with his reflections on a very weird time in our history – his hopes and fears for the future mirroring our own! And how the simple action of committing to this project to begin with helped him cope with the uncertainty that each day brought.


A lesson to us all really in finding something to distract ourselves and giving ourselves a different focus each day. I do something similar with photographs on Blipfoto, and just having that outlet each day is a great way of dealing with life and all it throws our way! And it’s a wonderful way to look back over a period of time, as with these wonderful drawings that Edward Carey has put together. It reflects his mood on each day, those in the news, various historical figures,animals and memories and the attention to detail is so intricate and captivating.

I loved his honesty and frankness in the journalling side of this project. His yearnings to return home to London, and his experiences of lockdown in Texas and it just made for a wonderfully extraordinary piece of work for a year none of us will ever forget!

My thanks to the team at Gallic Press for a copy of the book in return for a fair and honest review.

★★★★★

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 11th December 2021



Hello and Happy Saturday!! Still awaiting the festive mood to hit me LOL! Not even put the tree up – yet! Maybe this weekend I’ll make the effort! Need to have somewhere for Santa to leave all the books he’s going to bring me eh?! LOL!!
On to books it’s been an ok week on the book front!  3 books finished, 3 newbies added to my Netgalley shelf (oops!) and 1 book I treated myself to!
Here’s my look back


BOOKS FINISHED

B: A YEAR IN PLAGUES AND PENCILS by EDWARD CAREY – 5 STARS

THE LOST PROMISE OF IRELAND by SUSANNE O’LEARY – 4 STARS

CHRISTMAS WITH THE RAILWAY GIRLS by MAISIE THOMAS – 5 STARS

BOOKHAUL


Starting over at Netgalley…


THE GARDEN BY THE SEA by AMANDA JAMES

publication date – 14th January 2022

A heartwarming novel of new beginnings, community and finding your tribe when you need them the most…

A precious heirloom passed down from mother to daughter…

Lowena Rowe’s beloved mum always claimed her family seed box was special. Said to contain soil from Tintagel, the mysterious seat of the legendary King Arthur, whomever made a wish upon the box would have ‘a beautiful garden, bountiful crops and love of their fellow man’. Lowena isn’t inclined to believe the myth but can’t part with the box, knowing how much it meant to her mum.

Starting over with a new home and a new job in the Cornish village of St Merryn, Lowena can’t help feeling lost and alone… but she isn’t the only one. Now, as a community of misfits finds solace and friendship in the shade of her growing garden, she realises there might have been truth to the mythical box after all, and she may just be growing the life and love she’s always wanted…

HOTEL PORTOFINO by J.P.O’CONNELL

publication date – 23rd December 2021

A heady historical drama about a British family who open an upper-class hotel on the magical Italian Riviera during the ‘Roaring 20s’.

Hotel Portofino has been open for only a few weeks, but already the problems are mounting for its owner Bella Ainsworth. Her high-class guests are demanding and hard to please. And she’s being targeted by a scheming and corrupt local politician, who threatens to drag her into the red-hot cauldron of Mussolini’s Italy.

To make matters worse, her marriage is in trouble, and her children are still struggling to recover from the repercussions of the Great War. All eyes are on the arrival of a potential love match for her son Lucian, but events don’t go to plan, which will have far reaching consequences for the whole family.

Set in the breathtakingly beautiful Italian Riviera, Hotel Portofino is a story of personal awakening at a time of global upheaval and of the liberating influence of Italy’s enchanting culture, climate and cuisine on British ‘innocents abroad’, perfect for fans of Downton Abbey and The Crown.

FIRST BORN by WILL DEAN

publication date – April 2022

From the acclaimed author of The Last Thing to Burn, a psychological thriller about the dark secrets that emerge when a woman’s twin sister is murdered, with his signature “intense, gripping, taut, terrifying, moving, and brilliant” (Lisa Jewell, #1 New York Times bestselling author) prose.

Sisters. Soulmates. Strangers.

Molly Raven lives a quiet, structured life in London, finding comfort in security and routine. Her identical twin Katie, living in New York, is the exact opposite: outgoing, spontaneous, and adventurous.

But when Molly hears that Katie has died, possibly murdered, she is thrown into unfamiliar territory. As terrifying as it is, she knows she must travel across the ocean and find out what happened. But as she tracks her twin’s final movements, cracks begin to emerge, and she slowly realizes her sister was not who she thought she was and there’s a dangerous web of deceit surrounding the two of them.

And I treated myself to this beauty from FAHRENHEIT PRESS for the festive period!


THE NUTCRACKER by  E.T.A.HOFFMAN

“A glimmer of pure Christmas joy…” – The Guardian 

Before the birth of the ballet, there was the book.

On Christmas Eve, Fritz and Marie await the arrival of Godfather Drosselmeier and the marvellous gifts he brings for them every year. Among the presents Marie discovers a curious Nutcracker doll and is transported into a magical world of sugar-frosted castles and chocolate kings where her favourite toy battles the nefarious Mouse King in a battle that takes the reader on an adventure into a magical land of dolls & toys.

The tale of The Nutcracker was written by E.T.A. Hoffmann in 1816 and has fascinated and inspired artists, composers, and audiences for almost two hundred years.

It’s probably most famous for the ballet with music composed by Tchaikovsky which has now become a staple of theatres and concert halls all around the world at Christmas.

Brought to you now in this beautiful contemporary collectors edition, it really will make an awesome stocking filler for adults and children alike.

CURRENTLY READING

DADDY’S GONE A-HUNTING by PENELOPE MORTIMER




HAPPY READING!!

#BookReview CHRISTMAS WITH THE RAILWAY GIRLS by MAISIE THOMAS @MaisieThomas99


ABOUT THE BOOK

The brand new festive Railway Girls novel set in Manchester during WWII. Perfect for fans of Nancy Revell, Daisy Styles and Margaret Dickinson.___________________


Manchester, 1941

Christmas is the season for family and friends, and this year the railway girls will need each other more than ever.
Cordelia appears to have the perfect life. When her daughter Emily arrives home unexpectedly, she can’t wait to introduce her to her friends. But when things don’t go to plan, Cordelia must decide where her loyalty lies.
Things aren’t going too smoothly for Alison either. Her beloved boyfriend has yet to propose, but there’s a charity fundraiser dance and she’s dressed up specially. Surely, tonight must be the night.
Colette’s friends are envious of her devoted husband; he meets her after every shift on the railway, and accompanies her around town. But Colette has a secret, one that will change her life—if only she knew who to confide in.


With the festive season fast approaching, the railway girls are hoping for some Christmas magic…

PUBLISHED BY CORNERSTONE

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon


MY REVIEW

This was another emotional installment in this wonderful Railway Girls series, and it just transports you back in time and puts you right amongst an amazing group of women who are breaking free from the traditional role that they’ve played for so long, and doing their bit for their country during a very turbulent time in our history. And in their roles on the railways, they discover in themselves a different side to them and it’s wonderful to watch them flourish with their new responsibilities and the confidence it gives them all – all while dealing with their own personal issues and the prejudices of some of those around them.

There’s a number of stories in this part of the series – Cordelia, on the outside, looks like she has the perfect life, and her young daughter has also returned home wanting a role in working so that throws up new challenges for the family. Alison has the perfect boyfriend and she’s eagerly awaiting his proposal, planning her new life with him and wondering what the future has in store for them. And Collette is the envy of her friends, with an attentive husband, but she has a secret that she’s scared to share with anyone. Behind closed doors things can be very different!

And it’s the friendships between the women that stand out one more – they become more than just work colleagues, and they pick up on changes in each others behaviour, forever watching out for one another.

I love the way that there’s always a great cast of characters – different age groups facing different issues, but all against the backdrop of never knowing what the war will bring to them next alongside the attitudes of others who still don’t see the role of women as more than just homemakers.

It’s a book that made me cheer and cry – you’re really put through the full range of emotions! The characters are so relatable and easy to identify with. They are all going through such a changing time in history and it’s wonderful to see them evolving while dealing with ‘life’! The author has a great way of telling their stories and it’s always a delight to be in the company of these women as they watch their roles in the world change. Another wonderful read!


★★★★★


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