Posted in books, review

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up!

She sells seashells on the seashore…….

Hello all!!  It isn’t summer without a little trip to the seaside and thankfully the rain has stayed away long enough to enjoy some sand, seashells and a cuppa or 6!! No ice-creams though this time so that’s for my next visit!  Watch it rain for the next 40 days and 40 nights now!

Hope you are all well and happy in your bookish worlds!  Been exhausted here this week so have had to take it a little easy – which is good news as resting = extra reading time!!  So another 5 books have been knocked off the TBR pile and that is always a good thing!! And even better news is that I haven’t added another 5 to take their place.. it was 3!! oooppsss!!

On to what I’ve been reading this week!  Please click on the book title if you’d like to read my GoodReads review!

BOOKS FINISHED

The Cosy Canal Boat Dream by Christie Barlow  – 4 stars

Flutter by Olivia Evans  –  3 stars

The Scandal by Fredrik Backman  –  5 stars

Yesterday by Felicia Yap  –  3 stars

Seeing Red by Lina Meruane    –  4 stars

A good week of good books! What more can a reader ask for?!  Free cake and chocolate supplies would help too I guess! 😉

BOOK POST

The urge to buy any new books has passed me by this week which has its’ good and bad points!  But I have been lucky to have received some lovely bookish post!  3 books for review and also another lovely monthly tea and book subscription parcel from the fab Bookishly which always puts a smile on my face!

I know very little of Village School by Miss Read, but it sounds utterly delightful so I’m hoping to get to this very soon! And while reading it I’m sure I’ll enjoy the ClanWilliam Rooibos Teabags that came too!

Yellow Room by Shelan Rodger

Haunted by a tragic childhood accident, Chala’s whole life has been moulded by guilt and secrets. After the death of the stepfather she adored, Chala is thrown into turmoil once again.

Volunteering in Kenya seems to offer an escape, and a way of re-evaluating her adult relationships, although violence and hardship simmer alongside its richness and beauty.

The secrets of the Yellow Room are still with her and she can’t run away forever…

Amazon UK

Set to be released in October from Dome Press and I’m on the Blog Tour so watch out for my thoughts in October!

SAVING BABY AMY BY ANNIE CLAYDON

Brought together…and bound forever!

Fiercely independent orthopaedic doctor Chloe Delancourt will do anything for her teenage sister Hannah and little niece Amy. So when Amy falls ill, and Hannah runs away, Chloe steps in, with the help of gorgeous paediatrician Jon Lambert…igniting an unexpected attraction!

Saving baby Amy brings Jon closer than he ever wanted to get to another woman after his disastrous marriage. But Chloe’s determination and unwavering loyalty remind Jon of what a real family should be…and that this could be his chance to have everything—with Chloe!

Amazon UK

I’ve recently become a Mills & Boon insider, and I remember loving reading copies of the books my Nan used to have so I’m looking forward to re-acquanting myself with Mills & Boon.

The Brazilian by Rosie Millard

Following a sensational scandal at one of London’s most desired post codes, Jane and Patrick decide to escape the gossip with a family holiday to Ibiza, their eight-year-old George in tow. Also on the island that week is a TV reality show involving an eccentric artist, a horny It Girl, a Brazilian soccer player, and a famous musician. As hapless celebrities are picked off one by one, Jane is desperate to be on the program, leaving childcare in the not so capable hands of a teenager. One lesbian escapade and an explosive row over hair removal later, the contestants of Ibiza or Bust leave the island with more than sand in places they never knew existed.

Amazon UK

Was asked to review this and I’m in desperate need of funny books right now, so this looks perfect! Looking forward to escaping into this crazy sounding world soon!

CURRENTLY READING

Still have Wesley the very cute owl on my bedside table and am enjoying his story!  Hands up who wants a pet owl?!!!  🙋

Amazon UK

Death Plays A Part by Vivian Conroy

Being drawn to a nice little cosy mystery book and am really enjoying what I’ve read so far.  And guess who now wants a pet dachsund…. 🙋  Books are a very bad influence!!

Amazon UK

And that wraps up my bookish week! I hope you have all had a fabulous week and have a fabulous weekend ahead! 

HAPPY READING!!

Posted in books, review

The Scandal by Fredrik Backman #bookreview

‘Late one evening towards the end of March, a teenager picked up a double-barrelled shotgun, walked into the forest, put the gun to someone else’s forehead and pulled the trigger. This is the story of how we got there.’ 

Beartown is a small town in a large Swedish forest.

For most of the year it is under a thick blanket of snow, experiencing the kind of cold and dark that brings people closer together – or pulls them apart.

Its isolation means that Beartown has been slowly shrinking with each passing year. But now the town is on the verge of an astonishing revival. Everyone can feel the excitement. Change is in the air and a bright new future is just around the corner.

Until the day it is all put in jeopardy by a single, brutal act. It divides the town into those who think it should be hushed up and forgotten, and those who’ll risk the future to see justice done. At last, it falls to one young man to find the courage to speak the truth that it seems no one else wants to hear.

No one can stand by or stay silent. You’re on one side or another.

Which side will you find yourself on?

Amazon UK

Hive.co.uk – buy online and support your local bookstore

MY REVIEW

I love how sometimes the simplest of ideas make for the best kind of stories, if they’re written well. And this is an astonishing piece of storytelling and one that I am struggling to get out of my head!

‘Late one evening, toward the end of March, a teenager picked up a double-barreled shotgun, walked into the forest, put the gun to someone else’s forehead, and pulled the trigger.

This is the story of how we got there.’

This is the quote that lured me into this book! That and knowing it is from the author who charmed my world with A Man Called Ove. But this is nothing like that book and just proves what a wonderful storyteller Fredrik Backman is.

The story is simple and revolves around a town that is obsessed with hockey. Every aspect of the town and its’ inhabitants are governed by the success of the hockey team. It is what brings the small town in a large swedish forest together – and how it can also tear them apart when sides have to be chosen.

It is difficult to review the story without adding spoilers so i won’t focus too much on the plot of which I knew very little about, and I think that is the best way to enjoy this book. The less you know beforehand, the better! So I will focus on the storytelling which starts off slowly and flits from character to character, telling you snippets of how they fit into Beartown – from the teenagers on the hockey team, to the coach, to the sponsors,to the parents – and this helps slowly build up a picture of just how much Hockey is at the heart of the town. So you can’t help but be drawn in as a reader so that you become a fly on the wall of every house, training pitch, garden etc while the author puts the pieces together to lead up to the events of ‘that day’.

I just couldn’t put this book down once I had started reading it as I didn’t want to miss anything – from the simplicity of everyday life, to the harrowing consequences of a night gone wrong and I found it to be so powerful and absorbing. It is a wonderful insight on family and community dynamics, and it is often not an easy read because of some of the subject matter where it pulls no punches and that just adds to the impact it had on me as a reader.

One of my books of 2017 – a MUST read!!

Thankyou to Netgalley and the publishers for the copy in return for a fair and honest review

HAPPY READING!!

Posted in books, review

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up!!

Happy Friday to you all!! And a happy sunny one here in Essex too after some epic rainfall this week! I hope the sun is shining on you all and continues to do so over the weekend!!

Feeling slightly frazzled here today but that could have something to do with the fact that my nephew and niece visited for the day yesterday which meant we had a trip to Southend seafront as they love the arcades and crazy golf! Came a very respectable third in the crazy golf tournament between 5 of us – more work needed on perfecting my angles and weight of shot lol!!  So time to play catch up now and that includes helping my brain sort out what I’ve been doing bookwise all week so here’s a little peek into my bookish week!

BOOKS READ

Had a slower reading week than normal as had a few other things going on that needed more attention!  So I managed to finish 4 books off – 3 of which were fabulous reads – so it was still quite productive!  Maybe me adding to the TBR pile just makes it feel like a less productive week!!  I only have myself to blame….. 😉😂

So these are the books I finished – click on the book title if you’d like to read my GoodReads reviews!

Cutting Back by Leslie Buck  –  4 stars

This Beautiful Life by Katie Marsh  –  4 stars

Living Dangerously by Katie Fforde –  2 stars

Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong  –   5 stars

BOOK POST

And it has been another busy week for the poor old postman with a few new additions making their way home to me!

The first of which was a book that I won via a giveaway on Twitter courtesy of 4th Estate Books and is a signed first edition of their shortlisted Man Booker Prize 2017 entry!

 

And then I received 3 books from publishers to read and review so hoping to get to these very soon!!…. famous last words!!

HIGH SPIRITS BY ROB KEELEY

“Millions of people will die in the war, Ellie. And it’s our job to make sure it happens. That’s why our work isn’t easy.”

It’s been two years since Ellie last spoke to Edward. She thinks she’s left the spirit world behind. But the spirits won’t take no for an answer… When Ellie’s Mum returns to Inchwood Manor, Ellie finds herself going too… and is transported back to the 1930s, discovering a plot to impersonate the King of England.

With the Second World War coming, and the first evil spirits starting to escape into the mortal world, Ellie is fighting alongside some unexpected allies…

Rob Keeley is back with High Spirits, the fourth instalment in his multi-award-listed Spirits series. The series allows young people to learn more about other times, as well as the time in which they live.

Release Date 28th October 2017 by Troubador Publishing

Amazon UK

MY MOTHER’S SHADOW BY NIKOLA SCOTT

It is the year 1958 and Elizabeth Holloway has been sent away from her London home to spend the summer at Hartland, a beautiful, rambling country estate by the Sussex coast. To lovely, innocent Elizabeth, the Shaws are the height of sophistication and they treat her as one of their own, but when she falls in love, no one warns her that her dreams are dangerously naïve.

Forty years later, Elizabeth’s daughter Addie finds a stranger on her doorstep, a woman claiming to be her twin sister. At first, Addie refuses to believe it — until her beloved father admits that the circumstances surrounding her birth were not what she’d been led to believe.

The discovery challenges everything Addie thought she knew about the brilliant, difficult woman that was her mother. And as their journey takes them back to Elizabeth’s past, Addie and her new sister Phoebe uncover the extraordinary story of a lost child, a mother’s secret, and one golden summer that changed a woman’s life forever.

EXPECTED PUBLICATION 21ST SEPTEMBER 2017 by Headline Review

Amazon UK

THE BRAZILIAN by Rosie Millard

Following a sensational scandal at one of London’s most desired post codes, Jane and Patrick decide to escape the gossip with a family holiday to Ibiza, their eight-year-old George in tow. Also on the island that week is a TV reality show involving an eccentric artist, a horny It Girl, a Brazilian soccer player, and a famous musician. As hapless celebrities are picked off one by one, Jane is desperate to be on the program, leaving childcare in the not so capable hands of a teenager. One lesbian escapade and an explosive row over hair removal later, the contestants of Ibiza or Bust leave the island with more than sand in places they never knew existed.

Out now!

Amazon UK

CURRENTLY READING

Just one on the go at the moment as I’m currently in the process of sorting out my NetGalley shelf and deciding what needs to be read the most urgently!! And of course that means a visit to the NetGalley site itself… and we all know how that ends when we just go to ‘organise’!!  I must resist the urge to request more!!

So there we have it!  Loving the variety of books I’m getting to read nowadays and I think the blogging community is a big help on that front as I see so many different books mentioned by people now on their blogs or Twitter pages that I’d otherwise never hear about!  So if you have a ‘must read’ that I need to know about then please feel free to share with me in the comments! I can moan at you later if you add too many to my TBR mountain!

Off now to shuffle some books around on my bookshelves to try and create a little gap or two for the new arrivals!!

HAPPY READING!!

Posted in books, review

Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong by Gina Kirkham – my review!

Meet Mavis Upton.

As mummy to 7-year old Ella, surrogate to far too many pets and with a failed marriage under her belt, Mavis knows she needs to make some life-changing decisions. It’s time to strike out into the world, to stand on her own two feet … to pursue a lifelong ambition to become a Police Officer. I mean, what could go wrong?

Supported by her quirky, malapropism-suffering mum, Mavis throws herself headlong into a world of uncertainty, self-discovery, fearless escapades, laughter and extra-large knickers. And using her newly discovered investigative skills, she reluctantly embarks on a search to find her errant dad who was last seen years before, making off with her mum’s much needed coupon for a fabulous foam cup bra all the way from America.

Follow Mavis as she tackles everything life can throw at her, and revel in Gina Kirkham’s humorous, poignant and moving story of an everyday girl who one day followed a dream. 

Amazon UK

Urbane Publications

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gina was born during the not-so-swinging 50’s to a mum who frequently abandoned her in a pram outside Woolworths and a dad who, after two pints of beer, could play a mean Boogie Woogie on the piano in the front room of their 3-bed semi on the Wirral.  Being the less adventurous of three children, she remains there to this day – apart from a long weekend in Bognor Regis in 1982.

Her teenage years were filled with angst, a CSE in Arithmetic, pimples, PLJ juice, Barry White and rather large knickers until she suddenly and mysteriously slimmed down in her twenties.  Marriage and motherhood ensued, quickly followed by divorce in her early thirties and a desperate need for a career and some form of financial support for herself and her daughter.  Trundling a bicycle along a leafy path one wintry day, a lifelong passion to be a police officer gave her simultaneously an epiphany and fond memories of her favourite author Enid Blyton and moments of solving mysteries.

And thus began an enjoyable and fulfilling career with Merseyside Police.

On reaching an age most women lie about, she quickly adapted to retirement by utilising her policing skills to chase after two granddaughters, two dogs and one previously used, but still in excellent condition, husband.  Having said goodbye to what had been a huge part of her life, she suddenly had another wonderful epiphany. This time it was to put pen to paper to write a book based on her experiences as a police officer.

Lying in bed one night staring at the ceiling and contemplating life as she knew it, Gina’s alter-ego, Mavis Upton was born, ready to star in a humorous and sometimes poignant look at the life, loves and career of an everyday girl who followed a dream and embarked upon a search for the missing piece of her childhood. You can follow ‘Mavis’ on twitter @MAVISUPTON

MY REVIEW

If you are looking for a book to make you laugh out loud then look no further!! Mavis Upton is a wonderfully real character and her exploits as a single mum and as a rookie police officer will keep you entertained throughout!  I was in need of a lighter book after some recent darker reads, and this was the perfect antidote!  The world needs more funny books!!

From her challenges in motherhood, to dealing with her own mother, dating colleagues and going for a career change as a police officer this book takes you through such a range of emotions! I was in fits of laughter one minute, and then shedding tears the next! Every aspect of her police training is explored and many moments had you thinking they were more like the keystone cops! She isn’t the only quirky character featured and this adds to the fun, but the author even explores the darker side of police work with the reality of the sights they are often called out too that are tough for them to deal with – and then you understand why they need their often twisted sense of humour to get them through!

Mavis is such a delightful character – full of flaws but so determined, plucky and real! The humour mixes well with the more tender, emotional moments and I’m delighted to hear the author is already working on another book featuring this character! I can’t wait!!!

Thoroughly recommended!!

HAPPY READING!!

Posted in books, review

The Silk Weaver’s Wife by Debbie Rix – book review

silk

‘On the way back down the grand staircase to the hall, her eye was caught by a portrait, hanging in a particularly dark corner of a landing. It was of a young woman, seated at an easel; she was painting a silk moth, its eggs nestling on a mulberry leaf.’

1704: Anastasia is desperate to escape her controlling and volatile father and plans to marry in secret. But instead of the life she has dreamed of, she finds herself trapped in Venice, the unwilling wife of a silk weaver.

Despite her circumstances, Anastasia is determined to change her fate…

2017: Millie wants more from her relationship and more from her life. So when her boss Max abruptly ends their affair, she takes the opportunity to write a feature in Italy.

Staying in a gorgeous villa, Millie unexpectedly falls in love with the owner, Lorenzo. Together they begin to unravel an incredible story, threaded through generations of silk weavers.

And Millie finds herself compelled to discover the identity of a mysterious woman in a portrait…

A gorgeously written, richly evocative story, The Silk Weaver’s Wife is perfect for readers who love Kate Morton and Gill Paul.

What everyone is saying about Debbie Rix:

A spellbinding, epic journey spanning centuries, across countries, continents and vast perilous oceans… The past is vividly brought back to life in great detail and in full colour, from the food they ate to the clothes they wore… I really enjoyed reading this magnificent story.’ Relax and Read Books

Perfect historical fiction mixed with present day. I can’t say enough how much I enjoyed this book. I gobbled it up over the afternoon and night. Definitely want to read this author again.’ Nik Book Lover

‘The book is beautifully written and the Italian setting is perfectly drawn in both modern and historical settings, with sufficient detail to bring Pisa vividly to life, clearly by someone who loves it and knows it well… this is a wonderful story.’ Being Anne Reading

An amazing book rich in detail and filled with characters you are rooting for… Now having read two books from Debbie Rix she has proven to me just what a storyteller she is as she takes her readers on a journey through the past to a time that should not be forgotten. This book is a beautifully crafted novel full of secrets, love, friendship and family bonds… Definitely one not to be missed.’ Shaz’s Book Blog

A wonderfully written novel… definitely a book to add to your library. Not only was it highly informative, but immensely entertaining.’ Historical Novel Review

An enchanting, engaging tale that I recommend to anyone interested in Italian history and architecture, or just a good novel.’ History and Other Thoughts

‘Debbie manages to evoke the sights, sounds and smells as though you are standing right there. A truly lovely novel.’ Reading Room with a View

‘Debbie had me completely transported back to 12th Century Pisa, and I loved every second of it.

Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Published July 19th 2017 by Bookouture

MY REVIEW

This is my first Debbie Rix novel that I’ve read but it won’t be the last!  The author has a wonderful writing style that really transports you to the places she writes about, and the level of detail to historical facts was also really impressive.

It is set over 2 periods in time – now and back in 1704.  In 2017, Millie has a successful career but doesn’t seem as successful in love as she’s having an affair with her married boss.  She knows it is wrong, especially as he has children, but she thinks she’s in love.  When the chance to travel to Italy arises for her to write a piece in Italy she jumps at the chance and is soon in love with more than the country!  But Max is still in the background – and this is where I got quite shouty at the character as she couldn’t see what was right for her!!

In 1704 we follow the story of Anastasia and her family. Her father is an evil brute and makes them all live in fear.  Anastasia plans to run away to marry her love, but soon finds out she is promised to another – and one brute gets replaced by another.  Despite the glorious setting of Venice, she is put through an awful time after her wedding and her only thoughts are those of escape.

I loved the two timeline settings – both characters had so much going on in their lives that there was always something happening.  The silk weaving/farm side of the story was also fascinating and I loved the mystery of the painting that linked the 2 timelines.

Happily recommend this book to anyone who loves historical fiction.

Posted in books, review

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up!!

Hello lovely bookish folk!  I trust we are all well and had another week full of bookish fun!!  Seems to have been another productive one for me on the book front – if only the rest of my life was as productive!!  

Been busy here book reading, book receiving, book buying, book blogging and book decluttering!!  The ever changing weather has helped I think on the reading front as I’ve not been able to potter much in the garden thanks to the wind and rain – the dahlias are blooming well though!

Right, on we go with the wrap up! Click on the book titles for links to GoodReads blurbs and reviews!

BOOKS FINISHED

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig  –  3 stars

The Butterfly Storm by Kate Frost   –  2 stars

 

Only True in Fairy Tales by Christine Stovell   –  4 stars

Too Damn Nice by Kathryn Freeman   –  5 stars

Nice little mix of genres as normal, and a mix of reading experiences this week too! 

BOOK HAUL

I’Ve kept the postman busy this week with a few arrivals! Most have been kindly sent my way from the publishers but 2 may have been treats to myself – and why not!!! 😉

The two I treated myself to ;

I really enjoyed Eleanor Oliphant by Gail Honeyman and was lucky to read and review it through NetGalley, so had to treat myself to the hardback copy so I can enjoy it all over again!

And then there is Soot by Andrew Martin which I’ve seen good things about and it looks a fascinating read so hoping to read that soon!  It also fitted in nicely with my Mono Book Buying Spree! 😉

And for reviewing I’ve been lucky to receive the following books;

What She Left by Rosie Fiore   –   out August 17th 2017

Helen Cooper has a charmed life. She’s beautiful, accomplished, organised – the star parent at the school. Until she disappears.

But Helen wasn’t abducted or murdered. She’s chosen to walk away, abandoning her family, husband Sam, and her home.

Where has Helen gone, and why? What has driven her from her seemingly perfect life? What is she looking for? Sam is tormented by these questions, and gradually begins to lose his grip on work and his family life.

He sees Helen everywhere in the faces of strangers. He’s losing control.

But then one day, it really is Helen’s face he sees..

The Death of Her by Debbie Howells – out August 24th 2017

The Death of Her is a haunting psychological thriller from Debbie Howells, author of the bestselling Richard and Judy Book Club success The Bones of You.

A woman’s body is discovered on a Cornish farm, battered and left for dead in a maize field. Airlifted to hospital, her life hanging in the balance, no one’s sure who she is. Three days later she comes round, but her memory is damaged. She knows her name – Evie – but no more, until she remembers another name. Angel – her three-year-old daughter.

As the police circulate Evie’s photo, someone recognizes her. Charlotte knew her years ago, at school, when another child went missing. Leah Danning, who vanished whilst in Evie’s care.

When the police search Evie’s home, there’s no sign of Angel. More disturbingly, there’s no evidence that she ever lived there, forcing the police to question whether Evie’s having some kind of breakdown.

But even from the darkest place she’s ever known, Evie believes her daughter is alive. The police remain unconvinced – unaware that on the fringes of Evie’s life, there’s someone else. Someone hidden, watching her every move, with their own agenda and their own twisted version of reality.

Which to read first??!! Never gets any easier choosing does it!

CURRENTLY READING

I’m a little bit all over the place at the moment with my current reads! I’m trying to make dents in a couple of reading challenges I’m taking part in, have just set up to take part in ARC August and am also trying to get my NetGalley shelf to look a little less full!  So that has thrown me a little in trying to decide what books to read so I have a number started when really i probably should just be focusing on one or two!

The Silk Weaver’s Wife by Debbie Rix

Started this yesterday and loving what I’ve read so far! Hoping to finish this either today or tomorrow!

Living Dangerously by Katie Fforde

This was a recent purchase at the local church fete.  Have loved other books by this author but this one is taking me a little time to get into! Just hoping it improves soon!

An Unlikely Agent by Jane Menczer

A purchase from Nudge Books and I’m really enjoying the writing style and whole set up behind this one!

And there we have it!  All wrapped up nicely! I do like this way of doing things as it keeps things clear in my mind – whether you enjoy reading it or not is another matter LOL!! It helps my poor little foggy brain keep track of things… well, for a few hours anyway!!

HAPPY READING!!

Posted in books, review

Too Damn Nice by Kathryn Freeman – cover reveal and review!

Welcome to a new month! And a new month means wonderful new books!  And it’s my pleasure to be part of this cover reveal today and let you see why you need to add this stunner of a book to your Kindle collection….

 

nice

💙💚💛💜💝

THE BLURB

Nice boys kiss like that? For fans of Bridget Jones. A fun summer read!

Do nice guys stand a chance?


Lizzie Donavue went from being the sister of his best friend to the girl Nick Templeton most wants to kiss. On her birthday, he finally summons up the courage to make his move. But it looks like Nick’s missed his chance when he discovers that Lizzie has been offered a modelling contract, which will take her away to the glamorous fashion scenes of New York and Los Angeles.

Nick is forced to watch from the sidelines as the gawky teenager he knew is transformed into Elizabeth Donavue: top model and ultimate English rose pin-up, forever caught in a whirlwind of celebrity parties with the next up-and-coming Hollywood bad boy by her side.

But then Lizzie’s star-studded life comes crashing down around her, and a guy like Nick could be just what she needs. Will she take a chance on him? Or is he just too damn nice?

Amazon UK

Amazon USA

Kobo

MY REVIEW

Always a pleasure to get to read anything from Kathryn Freeman so I couldn’t wait to dive into her latest story! And I was so pleased when the lovely publishers at Choc Lit allowed me to have a copy before release so I could share my thoughts with you all.

For some reason I was expecting something a little lighter – don’t ask me why! – but the story of Lizzy isn’t all light and fluffy! On the surface of it all she has led a charmed life as she became a model aged 18, living the high life in the USA.

But scratch away at that lifestyle, and all seems a little darker.  She is haunted by the loss of her family that left her pulling away from those in her past, and blames herself too for her brother living in a nursing home unable to do anything after the car crash that took the life of her parents.  So all she has from the past is Nick. He was her brothers’ best friend – she always had a little crush on him but never knew the feeling was mutual!

Now they are back in each others’ lives as her celebrity lifestyle takes a dark turn and she finds herself in  need of safety, kindness and normality.  And Nick can offer that.  But will the time they spend together be good for them both or bring back too many sad memories?

I loved the character of Nick! He is perfect!! Where can I find one of those blokes in real life?!!  He is much happier living a quiet life, which is the complete opposite to Lizzy who enjoys the partying lifestyle America offered her.  When she spends time back in the UK, it was touching to see how Nick had been looking out for her all those years, even if she didn’t initially feel the same way!

It must be tough to separate the person you knew from childhood, from one that is in the media spotlight, so it does show up the pitfalls of celebrity and gave another insight into that life not being all it is cracked up to be!  I really enjoyed their will they/won’t they relationship too.  You can understand why it isn’t plain sailing, especially as they have such different personalities.

Another cracking read from Kathryn Freeman, and one to be devoured from start to finish!! Go get your copy now!!

Posted in books, review

Bookish Weekly Wrap Up!

Howdy!!  I trust we are all doing well and surviving all that life throws our way?!  I’m currently in charge of a hamster that my niece has trusted me to look after while she is away for a few days!  I remember having a hamster or 2 when I was younger – they make pretty rubbish pets don’t they?!!  Hopefully Humphrey the hamster will enjoy his stay with me for the next few days, and will decide not to go missing on one of his jaunts round the house in his hamster ball!!

On to the books!!  I thought it was a pretty slow reading week until I looked at my reading notebook and it turns out that I managed to get back to finishing 5 books! It does help when you have a productive afternoon in the garden one day – yay sunshine! – and manage to finish 2 e-books in one sitting!  

And as for the bookhaul – eek!! There has been quite a few this week!  The Urbane Book Club Haul that I shared the other day deserved a post of its’ own, so I won’t go over those again! Otherwise I’d have you here for hours!! 

On with the wrap up!!

BOOKS FINISHED

Please click on the title if you’d like to see my GoodReads review

The Summer of Second Chances by Maddie Please  –  4 stars

A Pocketful of Crows by Joanne M Harris  –  5 stars

The Somnambulist by Essie Fox  –   3 stars

Impossible Views of the World by Lucy Ives  –  2 stars

The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison  –  4 stars

BOOKHAUL

Along with my Urbane Book Club parcel containing 8 books, and the wonderful Moth Box which added 2 more books to the overcrowded shelves, I still managed to add a couple more – 2 I treated myself to, 1 was from the fabulous Readers First site!

Seeing Red by Lina Meruane

This powerful, profound autobiographical novel describes a young Chilean writer recently relocated to New York for doctoral work who suffers a stroke, leaving her blind and increasingly dependent on those closest to her. Fiction and autobiography intertwine in an intense, visceral, and caustic novel about the relation between the body, illness, science, and human relationships.

The Summer of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman

If you could change the past, would you?

Thirty years ago, something terrible happened to Luna’s mother. Something she’s only prepared to reveal after her death.

Now Luna and her sister have a chance to go back to their mother’s birthplace and settle her affairs. But in Brooklyn they find more questions than answers, until something impossible – magical – happens to Luna, and she meets her mother as a young woman back in the summer of 1977.

At first Luna’s thinks she’s going crazy, but if she can truly travel back in time, she can change things. But in doing anything – everything – to save her mother’s life, will she have to sacrifice her own?

Together by Julie Cohen

This is not a great love story.
This is a story about great love.

On a morning that seems just like any other, Robbie wakes in his bed, his wife Emily asleep beside him, as always. He rises and dresses, makes his coffee, feeds his dogs, just as he usually does. But then he leaves Emily a letter and does something that will break her heart. As the years go back all the way to 1962, Robbie’s actions become clearer as we discover the story of a couple with a terrible secret – one they will do absolutely anything to protect.

Perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes’s Me Before You, David Nicholls’s One Day and M L Stedman’s The Light Between Oceans.

CURRENTLY READING

An Unlikely Agent by Jane Menczer

London, 1905. Margaret Trant lives with her ailing, irascible mother in a dreary boarding house in St John’s Wood. The pair have fallen on hard times, with only Margaret’s meagre salary from a ramshackle import-export company keeping them afloat.

When a stranger on the tram hands her a newspaper open at the recruitment page, Margaret spots an advertisement that promises to ‘open new horizons beyond your wildest dreams!’. After a gruelling interview, she finds herself in a new position as a secretary in a dingy backstreet shop.

But all is not as it seems; she is in fact working for a highly secret branch of the intelligence service, Bureau 8, whose mission is to track down and neutralise a ruthless band of anarchists known as the Scorpions.

Margaret’s voracious reading of detective fiction has scarcely prepared her for the reality of true criminality. Her journey of self-discovery forms the heart of this remarkable novel, as she discovers in herself resourcefulness, courage, independence and the first stirrings of love.

Menczer conveys the fog and grime of Edwardian London in an espionage thriller that evokes the humdrum dinginess of spywork as it alternates with thrilling danger, in a manner characteristic of John le Carré. Margaret Trant is a heroine to remember

Satin Island by Tom McCarthy  – listening to the audio book

MEET U. – CORPORATE ANTHROPOLOGIST secreted in the basement of a large consultancy. U. spends his time toiling away at a great, epoch-defining public project which no one, least of all its own creators, understands. Besieged by data, confronted at every turn by the fact of his own redundancy, U. grows obsessed with the images – oil-spills, roller-bladers heading nowhere over streets that revolutionaries once tore up, zombies on parade – which the world and all its veil-like screens bombard him with on a daily basis.

Is there a plot at work behind the veil? Is it buffering a portal to the technological divine? Who killed the parachutist in the news? And what’s this got to do with South Pacific Cargo Cults? U.’s disconnected notes from underground in fact amount to an impassioned, integrated vision – of disintegration. Satin Island is a book that captures our out-of-joint times like no other.

And there we have it! Another week all wrapped up! Doesn’t time fly when you’re reading and having fun?!!  Hope your week has been as good!

HAPPY READING!!

Posted in books, review

Larry and the Dog People by J.Paul Henderson – my review

THE BLURB

Larry MacCabe is a retired academic, a widower, and friendless—until a chance meeting with the administrator of a care home. At her suggestion he adopts a basset hound, and joins her one Saturday at Georgetown’s Volta Park. He becomes a regular visitor, and for the first time in his life the member of a gang. While his new companions prepare for the annual Blessing of the Animals service on the Feast Day of St. Francis, Larry puts the finishing touches to a conference paper he’s due to present in Jerusalem and arranges a house-sitter. Neither the service nor his visit to Israel go to plan, and on his return Larry is charged with conspiring to blow up a church and complicity in the deaths of four people. All that stands between him and conviction is a personal injury lawyer—and things for Larry aren’t looking good.

Amazon UK

Book Depository

Hive.co.uk – buy online and support your local bookstore

Publication Date – 27th July 2017

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

J PAUL HENDERSON was born and grew up in Bradford, West Yorkshire, gained a Master’s degree in American Studies and travelled to Afghanistan. He worked in a foundry, as a bus conductor, trained as an accountant and then, when the opportunity to return to academia arose, left for Mississippi, returning four years later with a doctorate in 20thC US History and more knowledge of Darlington Hoopes than was arguably necessary. (Hoopes was a Pennsylvanian socialist and the last presidential candidate of the American Socialist Party). American History departments were either closing or contracting, so he opted for a career in publishing, most of which was spent selling textbooks, in one position or other, for John Wiley & Sons. He lives in a house in England, drives a car and owns a television set. And that’s about it.

my review

How does a socially awkward, lonely widower end up in jail charged with conspiracy to blow up a church and the killing of 4 people?!  I’ve had the pleasure of finding out whilst reading this book, and it has been one of those books that has been a delight to discover!

I was intrigued by the blurb and the publishers, No Exit Press, kindly sent me an ARC as it sounded right up my street! And it was!

With touches of ‘A Man Called Ove’ we are introduced to the character of Larry who is desperately alone since the passing of his beloved wife.    He has always been socially awkward and this has become more noticeable since he’s been on his own.  He is a retired Professor and has the ability to remember the mundane facts of the world, and seems to think others would be as interested in things as he is – they often aren’t!    He becomes one of the ‘magnolia’ people, instantly forgettable and he finds that often nice doesn’t seem to get you anywhere in life and in finding friends. Even his children have nothing to do with him!

He was a geek as a child and nobody ever told him he talked too much, so he carried on!  And as a teacher for 37 years he could talk as much as he liked!

His home is silent since losing his wife, so he goes looking for company and conversation.  He tries volunteering and this leads him down the path of dog ownership!  Unfortunately his first attempt doesn’t go too well, but soon Moses appears in his life and his new life is just about to begin! 

He soon starts meeting a mixed bag of characters at the local dog park – ‘the dog people’ – and these are all weird and wonderful people who would never normally have met under any circumstances but soon form a bond over the time they spend together with their dogs.  I loved the mix of people, and you get to see the stories behind many of these characters and there are some fascinating stories to be told!

His work as a Professor is never far from his mind, and this leads to an opportunity to deliver a talk in Israel, seeing as he’s the leading expert on the ‘Desert Land Act of 1877’. (Yes, I’ve looked it up since to find out more!!)  Who knew this new venture would lead to his life unravelling again!

I found this book to be such a fascinating, funny and dark read!  It’s a story of grief, being alone, moving on and acceptance.  And just when you think you have figured out the moral behind the story, then ‘boom’ it all takes a much darker twist and leads you down a completely different thought process!  Maybe you are better off alone….

Highly recommended if you are looking for something a little different! I will definitely be reading more from this author!

My thanks again to No Exit Press for the ARC copy

Posted in books, review

The Summer of Second Chances by Maddie Please – my review

THE BLURB

The Summer of Second Chances is the perfect feelgood summer read.’ Chrissie Manby, author of What I Did On My Holidays

Lottie is about to discover that even when you think you’ve lost everything, hope and romance can be just around the corner . . .

It takes time to build your life. To get into a long-term (OK, a bit boring) relationship. To find a job (you don’t completely hate). Lottie might not be thrilled with the life she’s put together, but it’s the one she’s got.

So when in the course of one terrible evening, it all comes crashing down around her, Lottie has a choice: give herself over to grief at being broke, single and completely lacking in prospects.

Or, brick by brick, build herself a new life. And this time, with a little help from friends, a crumbling cottage in Devon and a handsome stranger, maybe she can make it the one she always wanted.

The Summer of Second Chances is an irresistibly funny read about never giving up, whatever the world throws at you. Perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan, Jane Costello and Christie Barlow.

Amazon UK

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Maddie Please was born in Dorset, brought up in Worcestershire and went to University in Cardiff.
After a career as a dentist Maddie now lives in Devon with her wonderful husband. They have 4 adult-ish children all of whom have left home and are probably rather surprised by all this. She did warn them. Sorry.

Maddie is a voracious reader, and would enjoy hoovering, defrosting the fridge and cleaning the windows but unfortunately she doesn’t really have time. She is very disciplined about writing every day because it gets her out of doing the ironing. She likes soppy films, anything to do with Christmas, America, and writing. In her spare time she likes watching American box-sets, thinking about holidays and drinking red wine.

The Summer of Second Chances is Maddie’s debut novel, and it was the result of best selling author Chris Manby’s brilliant plotting workshop in beautiful Cornwall.

Maddie is represented by the Annette Green Agency.

Maddie’s second book will be published by Avon Maze in February 2018 provisionally titled ‘Cold Hands Warm Heart’ and she is now working on her third book. *

* No cupcakes or bunting were harmed in the writing of any of these books

Author on Twitter

MY REVIEW

I found this book to be one of those that was so easy to get into that you lose yourself completely for a few hours and it leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy once you’ve finished!

Lottie, the main character, is so easy to empathise with. She’s found herself alone, homeless and puzzled as to where her life is going. Losing her partner has been a major shock, and the fall out from his untimely death was one she hadn’t been expected. So when she is offered a friends’ rundown cottage in the country to crash at and renovate, she is left with little option but to grab it! But once she gets painting she loses herself and finds that time therapeutic and gives her the time needed to get her life back on track.

Of course, it does help when your next door neighbour is a rather quiet, secretive and dishy bloke! He’s the brother in law of her best friend, but that is as much as he wants people to know! But he always seems to find a way of seeing Lottie when she’s not looking her best – wearing a tin of paint is one way to introduce yourself to your neighbour!

Their relationship does evolve quite quickly but I like the way they are with each other – it’s fun and flirty but they don’t let each other know everything about each other straight away. They both seem quite reluctant to share every detail of their lives and with their pasts becoming clear you can understand why. But they connection they seem to have is really heartwarming!

The setting is idyllic and I loved the characters introduced throughout – Lotties’ sister, her best friend, and her partners’ mother – all show different aspects to the stories running throughout and they aren’t all light and fluffy, and I think Lottie copes quite admirably with whatever is thrown at her – this is one of those books that shows exactly why you should never give up even when all seems bleak!

Read it in one sitting as I just enjoyed being in ‘Lottie world’ and I highly recommend this to anyone looking for inspiration, warmth and escapism

Thankyou to the publishers and NetGalley for the arc in return for a fair and honest review

HAPPY READING!!

💖💗💙💚💛💜