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Avid Reader. Reviewer. Book hoarder. Bunny Owner. Football Fan. Gardener. M.E sufferer. Cross Stitching Addict

#BookReview MIRACLE ON CHERRY HILL by SUN-MI HWANG

ABOUT THE BOOK

Celebrated bestselling author Sun-mi Hwang is back with a heartwarming new novel about renewal and friendship.

This is the story of a man named Kang Dae-su. His whole life is a miracle, rising from poverty to running a successful construction company. In his twilight years, Kang is diagnosed with a brain tumour. He returns to his childhood home of Cherry Hill. He acquires a crumbling old house in which to retreat from the world, yet the residents of the town have other plans. They seem hell-bent on intruding on Kang’s private property. But who does the house, and Cherry Hill, really belong to? Is it owned by the construction company who is trying to rejuvenate the neighbourhood? Or does it belong to the residents who have used the land to play, think, walk, love and explore for generations? And how is the bitter and despondent Kang’s childhood tied to this magical place?

Miracle on Cherry Hill is a redemptive story of a damaged man regaining his trust in humanity. It explores the fragility of nature and human lives and is much-loved classic in South Korea. Includes beautiful illustrations inside.

PUBLISHED BY ABACUS

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon

WHSmith

hive.co.uk

MY REVIEW

Stunner of a little book that gives you all the feels! It’s always a delight to read a story that is told in a gentle way and features a character who is returning ‘home’ with the intention of seeing out his last days all alone, but he finds that the home he remembers has been reclaimed by the community. This angers him to begin with, but as he starts to spend time amongst the young and old who use his land for a variety of daily activities, he begins to soften his approach to what he perceives as a harsh world and embraces the warmth he receives from the local community.

The way that Kang deals with his illness by addressing ‘Sir Lump’ is a really clever way of telling his story and the way he looks back on his memories trying to make peace with them. That’s why he wanted to spend time alone, but seeing the world through the eyes of others allows him to take on new things to pass his days. Through talking to others he gets to learn more about himself as a person and the past that he thought he remembered has light shed on it.

There are no big shocks, no twists and turns but it was a beautiful little book that was easy to read and one I’ll be going back to over time.

★★★★

#BookReview THE UNSPOKEN NAME by A.K.LARKWOOD #TheUnspokenName

ABOUT THE BOOK

What if you knew how and when you will die?

Csorwe does — she will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice.

But on the day of her foretold death, a powerful mage offers her a new fate. Leave with him, and live. Turn away from her destiny and her god to become a thief, a spy, an assassin—the wizard’s loyal sword. Topple an empire, and help him reclaim his seat of power.

But Csorwe will soon learn – gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due.

PUBLISHED BY  TOR BOOKS

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon 

hive.co.uk

waterstones

MY REVIEW

I’m always excited to discover a new fantasy world to disappear into, and this one delivers on all fronts of excitement, twists, diversity, drama, humour and a new superstar character in Csorwe who we follow as she is set on a new path She’s always been brought up knowing she was going to die on her 14th birthday and while that’s not the best kind of birthday present one can hope for, she’s offered a new fate on the day she’s due to be ‘sacrificed’ and boy is she in for a rollercoaster of a ride, as she becomes a wizard’s loyal sword-hand! Bring on the fights, the deception and the magic!

I often find with some fantasy novels that they can drag a little on the pace front – there’s a lot of world building and characters to explore, but that often slows the flow right down – but that doesn’t happen with the way the author writes this book. It zips along and covers the story over a few years and, although there’s lots going on, there’s always a chance to keep your bearings, so to speak, and that made for such a connection with this story and the characters within. There’s also a very helpful list of characters and how to pronounce their names at the beginning of the book – invaluable!!

Csorwe is on a real learning process alongside Sethennai as she visits places she’s only ever heard about after her incredibly sheltered life, but she soon finds out she’s more capable than she ever imagined as she faces all that is thrown her way. The story is told from a variety of POV’s which I really enjoyed and there’s a huge variety of personalities and it was good fun keeping track of who was there to help or hinder Csorwe and her progress! Just why did Sethennai choose her in the first place? And what consequences will there be for her not following her original destiny?! There’s so much to explore along her journey and I found myself doing the ‘just one more chapter’ thing as I couldn’t bear not knowing what was going to happen next!!

An exciting introduction to this duology and I’m eagerly counting down the days until we get to read more about Csorwe and the world she finds herself a part of!

★★★★

#PublicationDayPost NEW YEAR NEW GUY by ANGELA BRITNELL #guestpost @ChocLituk @AngelaBritnell

An absolute delight for me today to be able to post this Blog Post on behalf of the lovely Angela Britnell and Choc Lit on PUBLICATION DAY!!   So sit back and enjoy a few words from Angela, a little bit more about the book and, most importantly!, links to be able to get your mitts on a copy of the wonderful NEW YEAR, NEW GUY!

New Year New Guy: A Brief Break from Cornwall!

This story is a break from my usual Cornwall/Nashville romances because the setting ventures over the border into Devon and the city of Plymouth, with a few side trips I don’t want to give away here! It was interesting to change things up and I hope my readers will forgive me and hopefully enjoy visiting some different places along the way. To those who don’t know there has always been a touch of rivalry between Cornwall and Devon, in fact older Cornish people will talk about crossing the Tamar River border as though they are travelling to another country. And don’t even get them all started on the proper way to eat a cream tea. Whether to put jam or cream on the scones first is the source of endless debates. I purposely avoided going anywhere near that particular minefield in the book but anyone who knows that I’m Cornish born and bred will guess where I fall on that particular question…

‘Out with the old life, in with the new,’ sums the book up perfectly. When we first meet Laura she’s standing in the rain at the Plymouth bus station waiting to collect Hunter who her sister Polly has invited as a surprise for her fiancé Johnny at their pre-wedding party. Although Laura is cynical about the idea of lifelong love after escaping from her own brief, bad marriage to an arrogant surgeon she agreed to take care of this unknown American for a few days to please her sister. The minute Hunter sets foot on English soil again for the first time in twenty years he knows he’s made a mistake and would bet his last dollar that his old friend won’t be pleased to have the past dragged up. For a multitude of reasons, many of them tied to the time he and Johnny spent at school together, he’s also determined to stay single and no prickly English nurse will change his mind. Or will she? Could Laura come around to the idea that love doesn’t have to mean losing her sense of self?

It was a challenge to touch on a few darker themes in this story without losing the sense of fun and romance I always strive to bring to my books but I hope I’ve managed it, only reviews and sales will confirm that. Sending Laura and Hunter’s story out into the world today means that it’s time to get busy on my summer release!

About the book:

Out with the old life, in with the new …

When Laura’s bride-to-be sister, Polly, organises a surprise reunion for her fiancé and his long lost American friend, Laura grudgingly agrees to help keep the secret. And when the plain-spoken, larger-than-life Hunter McQueen steps off the bus in her rainy Devon town and only just squeezes into her tiny car, it confirms that Laura has made a big mistake in going along with her sister’s crazy plan.

But could the tall, handsome man with the Nashville drawl be just what reserved Laura Williams needs to shake up her life and start something new?

PUBLISHED BY CHOC LIT

About the Author:

Angela grew up in Cornwall and returns frequently from her new home in Nashville, Tennessee to visit family and friends, drink tea and eat far too many Cornish pasties!

A lifelong love of reading turned into a passion for writing contemporary romance and her novels are usually set in the many places she’s visited or lived on her extensive travels. Thanks to over three decades of marriage to her wonderful American husband she’s a huge fan of transatlantic romance and always makes sure her characters get their own happy-ever-after.

She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Romance Writers of America and the Music City Romance Writers.

If you’d like to find out more of what Angela gets up to (warning this may include references to wine, chocolate and the hunky Aidan Turner) check out www.angelabritnellromance.com or follow her on www.facebook.com/angelabritnell and www.twitter.com/angelabritnell

Buying Links: 

Kindle UK: https://amzn.to/38N23zv 

Kindle US: https://amzn.to/38MJsUz 

Kobo: https://apple.co/2wCu7aT 

Apple Books: https://apple.co/2wCu7aT

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#MusicMonday WOMAN IN CHAINS by TEARS FOR FEARS

Happy Music Monday!!  This is a tag hosted by the fabulous Drew at The Tattooed Book Geek every Monday – giving you the chance to share a favourite song/video! Join in the fun!!

I’ve recently rediscovered my love for Tears For Fears – so many amazing songs and I’ve chosen Woman In Chains this week. Such a powerful song

You better love loving and you better behave
You better love loving and you better behave
Woman in Chains
Woman in Chains

Calls her man the Great White Hope
Says she’s fine, she’ll always cope
Woman in Chains
Woman in Chains

Well I feel lying and waiting is a poor man’s deal
And I feel hopelessly weighed down by your eyes of steel
It’s a world gone crazy
Keeps Woman in Chains

Trades her soul as skin and bones
Sells the only thing she owns
Woman in Chains
Woman in Chains

Men of Stone
Men of Stone

Well I feel deep in your heart there are wounds Time can’t heal
And I feel somebody somewhere is trying to breathe
Well you know what I mean
It’s a world gone crazy
Keeps Woman in Chains

It’s under my skin but out of my hands
I’ll tear it apart but I won’t understand
I will not accept the Greatness of Man

It’s a world gone crazy
Keeps Woman in Chains

So Free Her
So Free Her

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Roland Orzabal

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 22nd February 2020

Hello!! Disaster has struck me at the end of the week! My faithful and long serving laptop – missing keyboard letters/numbers, cracked screen and all – seems to have finally died on me! Thankfully I had just finished uploading some reviews before it decided to switch itself off, but I’m now left facing one of my most hated tasks and that’s shopping for new technology! Why does it have to be so complicated?! I just want a simple life!! Something I am not looking forward to!!

BUT it has been a good bookish week so let’s focus on that!  Managed to finish 6 books this week – 2 via the Pigeonhole app – and only 1 to tempt me via Netgalley! So progress!!

BOOKS READ

Won’t You Save Me by Wendy Dranfield – 5 stars

The Temple House Vanishing by Rachel Donohue – 3 stars

The Memory Wood by Sam Lloyd – 5 stars

If All The World and Love Were Young by Stephen Sexton – 5 stars

Stubborn Archivist by Yara Rodrigues Fowler – 4 stars

BOOKHAUL

Starting at Netgalley…

THE ISLAND GIRLS by NOELLE HARRISON

OUT 23rd April 2020

I guess our life on the island was one which never fit you right. I like to imagine you some days when I look out the window across the harbour, all those miles of sea and land between us. But, sister, we are always connected.

When young nurse Emer loses her beloved sister, she is haunted by grief and desperate to escape her memories. Taking a job in Vinalhaven, a rocky outpost in the wild Atlantic, feels like the refuge she so badly needs.

Her patient, Susannah, has lived in isolation for many years, since the tragic death of her sister Kate caused her to withdraw from island life. However, when Emer discovers a bundle of letters in a rainbow quilt in her bedroom and shares the story of her own loss, Susannah opens up. She begins to tell the story of Kate’s brutal and secret past, and her marriage to a man with a heart as cold as the ocean.

But when Emer starts asking locals about Kate, the island air sizzles with hostility. There are people who would rather that Susannah kept quiet, who have no qualms about threatening Emer. But despite the warnings to stay away, Emer is determined to find out what really happened the night Kate died – and the final secret that is keeping Susannah a prisoner to the past.

WILD SPINNING GIRLS by CAROL LOVEKIN

out now – treated myself!

If it wasn’t haunted before she came to live there, after she died, Ty’r Cwmwl made room for her ghost. She brought magic with her.

And the house, having held its breath for years, knew it. Ida Llewellyn loses her job and her parents in the space of a few weeks and, thrown completely off course, she sets out for the Welsh house her father has left her. Ty’r Cwmwl is not at all welcoming despite the fact it looks inhabited, as if someone just left..

It is being cared for as a shrine by the daughter of the last tenant. Determined to scare off her old home’s new landlord, Heather Esyllt Morgan sides with the birds who terrify Ida and plots to evict her. The two girls battle with suspicion and fear before discovering that the secrets harboured by their thoughtless parents have grown rotten with time. Their broken hearts will only mend once they cast off the house and its history, and let go of the keepsakes that they treasure like childhood dreams.

CURRENTLY READING

THE ANIMALS AT LOCKWOOD MANOR by JANE HEALEY

MIRACLE ON CHERRY HILL by SUN-MI HWANG

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#BookReview THE MEMORY WOOD by SAM LLOYD @ThePigeonholeHQ #TheMemoryWood

ABOUT THE BOOK

The must-read novel of 2020. Chilling, moving and unputdownable, The Memory Wood is a thriller like no other.

*************

Elijah has lived in the Memory Wood for as long as he can remember. It’s the only home he’s ever known.

Elissa has only just arrived. And she’ll do everything she can to escape.

When Elijah stumbles across thirteen-year-old Elissa, in the woods where her abductor is hiding her, he refuses to alert the police. Because in his twelve years, Elijah has never had a proper friend. And he doesn’t want Elissa to leave.

Not only that, Elijah knows how this can end. After all, Elissa isn’t the first girl he’s found inside the Memory Wood.

As her abductor’s behaviour grows more erratic, Elissa realises that outwitting strange, lonely Elijah is her only hope of survival. Their cat-and-mouse game of deception and betrayal will determine both their fates, and whether either of them will ever leave the Memory Wood . . .

PUBLISHED BY TRANSWORLD

PURCHASE LINKS

AMAZON  £10

GOLDSBORO BOOKS – signed edition £12.99

HIVE.CO.UK  £9.89

MY REVIEW

I read this via The Pigeonhole app.

I really don’t know where to even begin in reviewing this one!  It was a book that was brutal, evil, dark, twisty, shocking, heartbreaking, emotional, traumatizing and more, and I loved every single word of it!!! I was eager to read each chapter as the twists and turns went to the extremes and back, leaving you breathless but totally invested in how each scene would play out!

It’s difficult to review this one without revealing too much, but it starts out the simple story of a young girl who plays chess, Elissa Mirzoyan, being taken from a chess tournament. What follows is anything but simple but you follow the story from her point of view alongside the frantic search by the police, led by Mairead who is going through her own personal traumas, and how the time factor plays such a crucial part in the investigation of a missing child.  

When Elissa is chained up by her captors, she is visited by a young boy in the darkness ‘Elijah’ and despite her desperate situation, she starts to use her ‘smarts’ to try and befriend him into finding a way out.  I’m not sure I would have been able to remain as level headed as her in a similar situation, but her ingenuity was staggering and how her chess mind came into play on more than one occasion.

This is a book that totally unsettles you! You think you can guess what’s going on but you’d be  totally and utterly wrong!!  It was tense, it was shockingly emotional, it was twisted and is definitely going to be one of my most favourite reads of the year – and it’s only February!! A must read!!!

★★★★★

#BookReview THE TEMPLE HOUSE VANISHING by RACHEL DONOHUE #TheTempleHouseVanishing @ThePigeonHoleHQ

ABOUT THE BOOK

Twenty-five years ago, a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl and her charismatic teacher disappeared without trace…In an elite Catholic girls’ boarding-school the pupils live under the repressive, watchful gaze of the nuns. Seeking to break from the cloistered atmosphere two of the students – Louisa and Victoria – quickly become infatuated with their young, bohemian art teacher, and act out passionately as a result. That is, until he and Louisa suddenly disappear.Years later, a journalist uncovers the troubled past of the school and determines to resolve the mystery of the missing pair. The search for the truth will uncover a tragic, mercurial tale of suppressed desire and long-buried secrets. It will shatter lives and lay a lost soul to rest.The Temple House Vanishing is a stunning, intensely atmospheric novel of unrequited longing, dark obsession and uneasy consequences.


PUBLISHED BY  CORVUS


PURCHASE LINKS


Amazon  £12.99

hive.co.uk  £10.55

whsmith  £10.65

MY REVIEW


I read this via the Pigeonhole app.

This was a dark, unsettling slow burn of a read that really explores the complexities of obsessive love and teenage girls. How growing up can be so tangled and traumatic, and how the art of love can cloud the judgement of those involved.

The story centres around a school where a teacher and young student went missing 25 years ago and the scandal has never really died down. So when a journalist gets the chance to investigate the story a little deeper, even she isn’t prepared for what she’s about to find out.

The story is also told from the viewpoints of the girls from the elite Catholic boarding school – Louisa and Victoria – who were involved at the time with the art teacher Mr Lavelle and his influence on them and other girls under his ‘charge’. This was always the unsettling part of the story for me – a teacher taking advantage of his position, knowing full well that the young girls were battling with their own identities and feeling vunerable. The more you read into the story though, the more you understand just how vindictive and manipulative that teenage girls can be!!

With the mystery into the whereabouts of the teacher and student being told slowly, we get to hear how the events affected everyone then and now – how they were seduced by personalities, probably in rebellion to the strict rules imposed on their day to day life at the school. This art teacher gave them the chance to express themselves more – some may have just taken that a little too literally!

I did find the ‘to and fro’ way of story telling a little confusing at times, and that may have affected my ability to connect more with these characters. They came across as quite heartless and that made it difficult to bond with them, but maybe that was their age showing and it was all just a front to save themselves from hurt. They were quick to put up walls to protect themselves when needed and that was how they dealt with the world around them. None of them wanted to appear vunerable as others would have taken advantage of that fact.

The viewpoint of the journalist was an interesting aspect – she had a vague connection with one of the girls and the area so that helped her delve a little deeper than others had gone, and she often seemed shocked by what she found out. Looking back at life at the school between the girls just goes to show how vicious young women can be – girls are evil!!! But they thought they were in love! They were deluded and their powers of rational thought had long gone so the consequences often proved to be more brutal than they should have been.

An interesting study of characters and a brooding read!


★★★