Posted in books, review

Urbane’s 12 days of Christmas Blog Tour – Seeking Eden by Beverley Harvey #QandA #bookreview #giveaway

Hello and welcome to my stop on this fabulously festive Blog Tour that celebrates all things Urbane!!  It is my pleasure to be hosting this stop dedicated to the wonderful Beverley Harvey, and her debut novel Seeking Eden.   She has kindly answered some questions for us today, and I’m also including my review so you can find out a little bit more!  And, even more importantly, Matthew at Urbane has kindly allowed me to share a GIVEAWAY so that 3 of you lucky people can win your own paperback copy of Seeking Eden!!  The  perfect christmas gift to yourself!!

Time to get on with the Q & A!!  Take it away Beverley!!

Q&A

Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?

A) I’ve spent decades working in corporate communications but now I’m concentrating on writing fiction. Seeking Eden is my debut novel and was published by Urbane in July 2017.

Seeking Eden is set in home-counties suburbia and the central themes are relationship dramas in middle age and the lure of materialism. The story opens when forty-something Kate and Neil leave London for a new life in prosperous Eden Hill, Kent. But it isn’t long before Kate becomes lonely and homesick, making her vulnerable when Ben, an old boyfriend and former pop star, comes sniffing around, hoping to rekindle both his relationship with Kate and his faded music career.

Kate befriends Lisa; glamour girl, former WAG, and another newcomer to Eden Hill. Newly divorced Lisa is excited by the idea of a fresh start – until her footballer ex-husband is found dead from a drinking accident and she is vilified in the tabloids.

Enter Martin, a straight-laced shop owner from a neighbouring town. Trapped in a dutiful marriage and in the throes of a midlife crisis, Martin becomes obsessed with Lisa and her wealthier friends in Eden Hill.

The book is about the fallout of living in a community where everyone wants what they don’t have.

Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?

A) The idea for Seeking Eden was inspired by my own experience of leaving an organic, established London ‘village’ for a new town similar to Eden Hill. It can be a very isolating experience for newcomers. In terms of ‘getting it all down’, apart from four terms on a creative writing course, I had no experience, so I wrote from the heart and took a year to complete a first draft. I then spent another six months editing and polishing Seeking Eden before I began contacting agents. I got a handful of rejections, but most didn’t even come back to me. I considered self-publishing but didn’t feel confident to go it alone. I found Urbane through Twitter and thought ‘Wow! A third way exists!’ And it made total sense, especially when I met Matthew Smith and he was so approachable and constructive. It was desperately exciting to think that my story was to become a living breathing BOOK!

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) This year has been a real mixed. Highlights have included a couple of Urbane titles; The Gift Maker by Mark Mayes, and No Way Back by Kelly Florentia. I’ve also enjoyed some great thrillers; Girl on the Train by Paula

Hawkins, Gone Girl and Dark Places by Gillian Flynn and The Girlfriend by Michelle Francis. When I was younger I devoured anything and everything by certain authors, particularly Anita Brookner, Fay Weldon and Joanna Trollope – that’s not really the case now as my tastes have become broader and more eclectic. Last year, Life After Life by Kate Atkinson really stayed with me; I found it very unsettling.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) Ha! I went from one extreme to the other. As a child I loved Enid Blyton – especially the Mallory Towers and St Claire’s yarns. In my teens, I covertly read bonk-busters by Jaqueline Susanne and Jackie Collins; these women contributed hugely to my sex education.

Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?

A) Seeing Seeking Eden as a fat glossy paperback for the first time was very satisfying. And the reviews; every time I get five-stars, I think; wow! Somebody has been moved and entertained and it amazes me.

Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?

A) My partner Mark has been unshakeable in his support. He really believes that I have talent and that the time is NOW to get on with it! I had a wonderful creative writing tutor for two years in Tonbridge, Beth McNeilly; Beth went back to the States before Seeking Eden was published, but I have so much to thank her for. Matthew Smith at Urbane has been incredibly supportive and patient as I feel my way through becoming an author.

You can read more about me at www.beverleyharvey.co.uk or follow me on Twitter @BevHarvey_

*Thank you for taking part in the Q&A on my blog, I wish you every success with your writing career

THE BLURB

’50 is the new 30 – haven’t you heard?’

Or so says Ben Wilde’s record producer on the eve of his comeback. If only Ben could win back ex-girlfriend, Kate, he’d be a happy man.

But married Kate has moved on, and moved out – to Eden Hill, a quiet housing estate in the suburbs. Lonely and homesick for London, can Kate resist ego-maniac Ben’s advances and save her own flagging marriage?

Streets away, Kate’s new friend Lisa, a Chihuahua toting ex-WAG, is primed for a fresh start – until her footballer ex-husband is found dead and she is vilified in the gutter press.

But Kate, Lisa and Ben aren’t the only ones having a midlife crisis; local shop owner Martin dreams of escaping his dutiful marriage, and develops an unhealthy obsession with Lisa and her friends in Eden Hill.

Alongside a colourful cast of friends and family, Kate, Lisa, Ben and Martin are living proof that older does not always mean wiser because in Eden Hill, there’s temptation around every corner

Amazon UK

Urbane Publications

Waterstones

Book Depository

MY REVIEW

If you are looking for a book that is a delicious slice of suburbia life, then look no further! This debut novel from Beverley Harvey had me hooked from page one and I just loved the way she captures a wide range of people and their experiences of life in the neighbourhood of Eden Hill.

The story is mainly centred around Kate and Neil who are burgled in London, thus prompting a move out of town into the upmarket community of Eden Hills. Neil works in London for most of the week, so Kate is left to her own devices – is she ready for suburbia?! From reading about her exploits it seems not! She gets a dog – Ludo – which helps her get out and about and talking to a number of neighbours, not least Lisa who used to be married to a footballer and is the glamorous side of the community and becomes her closest friend.

There are so many fascinating characters who we get to see life from their point of view – Martin, who owns the local carpet shop, and the issues he faces with his depressive wife Jan, Ben who is Kates’ ex and has now decided he wants her back, and Lisa and her complicated past that comes back to haunt her, and it just reads like a soap opera as you dip in and out of each story and how their paths cross.

It was also nice to read about characters who aren’t in their 20’s and 30’s, and how being slightly older doesn’t mean that they’ve figured life out and they have just as many insecurities as those who are younger. There’s nice dashes of humour too along the way and it just made for a really enjoyable read and I’m just hoping we get to revisit some of the characters in other books in the future!!

GIVEAWAY

As I mentioned earlier, the publisher has allowed me to giveaway 3 paperback copies of this fabulous book to 3 lucky winners!! And all you have to do is comment on this blog post by 9pm on Sunday the 17th December 2017 and I will then pick 3 winners at random!!  

Winners can be UK or INTERNATIONAL!!! We want to share the Seeking Eden love far and wide!! So comment below and I could be in touch with you very soon!  GOOD LUCK ALL!!

HAPPY READING!!

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Posted in books, review

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up!!

Hello!!  Hope everyone is fighting fit!!  Shivering here despite wearing a number of layers! When is it Spring again?! No sign of any snow here yet but the forecasters keep threatening it!  

Hope everyone has had a good bookish week! My biggest achievement this week is reaching the total of…. 200 BOOKS read this year!!! Well, that is what GoodReads tells me so who am I to dispute them!!  It’s been a really freaky year of reading and it doesn’t feel like 200 books to be honest – some where graphic novels and audio books – but it isn’t going to make choosing my favourite reads of the year any easier! Can I do a list of Top 50 reads?!  I am not looking forward to going through the list trying to decide!

Saying that, it has been a fairly restrained week here on the bookish front.with just 3 books read.  Have definitely slowed down towards the end of the year – maybe my head is too full of stories and is shutting down!! Just hoping there’s room in there for a few Christmas stories as I’ve got a few of those on my TBR pile to get through over the next week or so!

So here’s a look at those I’ve read, the bookpost that has arrived and what I’m currently reading!

BOOKS FINISHED

Seeking Eden by Beverley Harvey  –  4 stars

The Watcher in the Shadows by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

 

The Dandelion Years by Erica James  –  4 stars

 

BOOKPOST 

HOLLOW SHORES by GARY BUDDEN

Gary Budden s debut collection blends the traditions of weird fiction and landscape writing in an interlinked set of stories from the emotional geographies of London, Kent, Finland and a place known as the Hollow Shore.

The Hollow Shore is both fictional and real. It is a place where flowers undermine railway tracks, relationships decay and monsters lurk. It is the shoreline of a receeding, retreating England. This is where things fall apart, waste away and fade from memory.

Finding horror and ecstasy in the mundane, Hollow Shores follows characters on the cusp of change in broken-down environments and the landscapes of the mind.

DANGEROUS SCORE by MICHAEL BEARCROFT

 

Football hero Jason Clooney is riding high….until a date with a

beautiful woman lands him in trouble with the media, and into

battle with the criminal underworld.

Now against a backdrop of an uncertain professional future,

Jason has to confront disturbing revelations surrounding his

new girlfriend’s family.

From football action on the pitch to behind the scenes plotting.

To battles with a criminal gang and constant media attention, all

adding to the toughest challenges he has ever faced in life, love,

as a player and as a man.

LIFE’S A DRAG by JANIE MILLMAN

‘This is like an edgy Jilly Cooper – lots of eccentric characters and a lot of fun!’ Katie Fforde

‘Truly terrific…I love this book’ Judy Astley

A bucolic frolic in drag…

Roz and Jamie have moved to leafy Suffolk from London in search of a quiet life so it is a surprise to find that the village is embarking on its riotous annual drag competition.

Fuelled by large quantities of alcohol and ubiquitous community spirit, they soon find themselves caught up in a battle for the identity of the village itself.

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, Drew is fighting his own battle to save his club and the livelihoods of his closest friends. Though they seem worlds apart, it soon becomes clear that appearances are not everything and that sometimes human connections can surprise us.

A heartwarming, generous – and drunken – debut taking ‘romance’ to entirely new places.

CURRENTLY READING

AN ARTIST OF THE FLOATING WORLD by KAZUO ISHIGURO

It is 1948. Japan is rebuilding her cities after the calamity of World War II, her people putting defeat behind them and looking to the future. The celebrated painter Masuji Ono fills his days attending to his garden, his house repairs, his two grown daughters and his grandson, and his evenings drinking with old associates in quiet lantern-lit bars. His should be a tranquil retirement. But as his memories continually return to the past – to a life and a career deeply touched by the rise of Japanese militarism – a dark shadow begins to grow over his serenity

Reading this one to finish off my A-Z BookBusters Challenge for the year so hoping to end on a high note!  Ishiguro is always one of those authors I hear lots about so I’m hoping I get on with him!!

And there we have it!  Hoping to pick up the pace on the reading front again as the year approaches the end and have already started adding dates to the 2018 calendar for reading adventures for the year ahead!! It’s fun being a reader isn’t it!! There is always plenty to look forward to!!  And the TBR pile continues to torture us all!! 

HAPPY READING!!

Posted in books, review

What Happens at Christmas by Evonne Wareham #happypublicationday #bookreview

Another fabulous festive read for you to enjoy – and out today!!!

THE BLURB

Best-selling author Andrew Vitruvius knows that any publicity is good publicity. His agent tells him that often, so it must be true. In the run-up to Christmas, she excels herself – talking him into the craziest scheme yet: getting himself kidnapped, live on TV.
But when the plan goes ahead and Drew is unceremoniously thrown in the back of a van before being dragged to a hut in middle of the Brecon Beacons, it all starts to feel a little bit too real.
Meanwhile, not far away, Lori France and her four-year-old niece Misty are settling in to spend the holidays away after unexpected events leave them without a place to stay. Little do they know they’re about to make a shocking discovery and experience a Christmas they’re not likely to forget …

OUT NOW!!

Amazon UK

Apple IBooks

Kobo

Google Books

Choc Lit Website

MY REVIEW

In these mad celebrity driven times that we live in where all publicity is seen as good publicity, when the author Drew is told he will be kidnapped in order to raise his profile, he sees it as a little odd but goes along with it in the name of promotion! But when he ends up in a shed in the middle of nowhere, beaten and bound he begins to think all is not as it seems!!

Meanwhile, Lori has the builders in and needs to escape the madness that her home has become! And she ends up with her 4 year old niece dumped on her for Christmas by her uncaring sister Lark, who is the most selfish excuse for a mother that I’ve ever known! Lori ends up taking Misty away with her for Christmas where she promises to spoil her rotten and they end up staying in an idyllic barn in the Welsh countryside! When they stumble across noises coming from a shed and find Drew in trouble, it seems their Christmas plans are about to change!

I loved the madness of this set up! And with such wonderfully written characters, you instantly feel attached to them and hope for their ‘happy ever after’ stories, especially little Misty who is seen as an accessory by her mother, and you are just glad that Auntie Lori is there to take good care of her! As the weather changes for the worst, it forces them to spend more time together and there is quickly a spark between them that is really touching. When they go their separate ways, you just wish they’d find a way back to each other as they just seem perfect for one another.

A fabulous festive read from start to finish!!

HAPPY READING!!
Posted in books, review

House of Christmas Secrets by Lynda Stacey #happypublicationday #bookreview

Happy Publication Day to this fabulous new book from Lynda Stacey!!

fee91-xmassecrets

THE BLURB

This year we’re just going to have a nice, normal Christmas… 
Last year’s Christmas at Wrea Head Hall didn’t quite go to plan which is why Jess Croft is determined this festive season will be the one to remember, for the right reasons. And she has plenty of reasons to be hopeful, she’s going to marry the man of her dreams, Jack Stone, seven days after New Year’s Eve.

However, as family secrets are revealed in hidden letters and two unexpected guests turn up on the doorstep, Jess is left wondering whether her life will ever be the same again.

Can Jess and Jack still experience a peaceful festive season that they had imagined or are there some problems that even Christmas can’t fix?

 

Out;  5th December 2017

Publisher;  Choc Lit

Amazon UK

Kobo

Google Play Books

Publisher Website

Apple IBooks

 

MY REVEW

This is a follow on from House of Secrets (which I loved!) and is just as wonderful, if not just a little darker!! If you are looking for a light, fluffy Christmas story then this is not the book for you! But if you are looking for a fascinating mix of drama and family secrets set amidst the backdrop of another Christmas at Wrea Head Hotel, then you need this book in your life!

After the fire that hit the hotel, Jess is looking forward to a new start at the refurbished hotel and hopes to put the past behind her and her family. Jess has her wedding to Jack to look forward to and plan but another twist of events sees those plans put to the back of her mind as family secrets and the past threaten to change all their lives again.

We also follow the story of Bastion and his daughter Lily who are sleeping rough after an extremely bad spell in their lives. They are looking to find some happiness and stability and that leads them to Wrea Head Hotel, but their past is never far from them and still threatens their safety. Their story is quite tough to read about with some very sinister characters around and really adds to the darkness of this novel. If you can’t trust your own family, then who can you trust?

I loved how the different threads throughout entangle, and the letters from the past that Emily, the beloved long lost grandmother of Bandit, who they all took to their hearts, leaves behind also opens up emotional and touching times ahead for them all as they go in search of the truth and wonder why so many family secrets were never spoken of.

The powerful bond of family is high throughout this book and you can’t help but get emotionally attached to the characters as they face difficult challenges throughout.

There are a lot of twists and turns in this book and that keeps you turning the pages as quick as you can to find out more, and I just loved the pace it was set and it was an exhilarating read throughout! More please!!

Thank you to the author and publisher for the advanced e-copy in return for a fair and honest review.

Posted in books, review

A Little Christmas Faith by Kathryn Freeman #BlogTour #BookReview

It is an absolute pleasure to share with you today my stop on the A Little Christmas Faith Blog Tour!  As a big fan of Kathryn Freeman, it is always a delight to read something new from her and this is another story that is sure to warm you on a cold winters’ day!!

 

THE BLURB

Is it time to love Christmas again?
Faith Watkins loves Christmas, which is why she’s thrilled that her new hotel in the Lake District will be open in time for the festive season. And Faith has gone all out; huge Christmas tree, fairy lights, an entire family of decorative reindeer. Now all she needs are the guests …
But what she didn’t bank on was her first paying customer being someone like Adam Hunter. Rugged, powerfully built and with a deep sadness in his eyes, Adam is a man that Faith is immediately drawn to – but unfortunately he also has an intense hatred of all things Christmassy.
As the countdown to the big day begins, Faith can’t seem to keep away from her mysterious guest, but still finds herself with more questions than answers: just what happened to Adam Hunter? And why does he hate Christmas?

Publisher – Choc Lit

Amazon UK

Kobo Books

MY REVIEW

If you want to get your Christmas 2017 reading off to the best start, then look no further!! Kathryn has created another delightful tale to warm your heart and leave you with all the ‘feels’ this festive period!

Faith has declared herself crazy for opening a brand new boutique hotel 10 days before Christmas!  It has always been her dream and she’s put her heart and soul into the project so now it is opening time and the nerves are kicking in!

Things aren’t helped when her moody teenage niece is roped in to help on reception – not quite the first impression she was hoping for when her customers find they’re being ignored while Chloe is on her phone as all teenagers are nowadays, but scratching away at the surface of Chloe and the truth about her behaviour becomes a little clearer.

The first guest to the hotel is Adam – swoon, swoon!! – and he is hoping to escape Christmas by getting away from it all.  Just what that ‘all’ is that he is trying to avoid has led him to shut out many people, but there’s something about Faith when he first sees her that seems to warm his heart.

The sparks between Faith and Adam fly on their first meeting, and I just loved how they both seemed to compliment each other with their outlooks and banter!    There is a great humour throughout and mostly between these two characters – Faiths’ dogs Nip and Tuck play their part too in creating a cosy feeling throughout!

I raced through this as I just loved seeing how Faith would deal with her new life as  a hotel owner, and there were plenty of other plotlines throughout to keep you interested.  With Christmas getting every closer I found this to be the perfect festive romance read in an idyllic setting!

 

HAPPY READING!!!

Posted in books, review

non-fiction November – the wrap up!

Another month is over, and it has been such a blast to take part in non-fiction November! And it has made me wonder why I don’t pick up non-fiction books more often??!!!  I always tend to put off the more ‘thoughtful’ reads in order to get through the fiction books cluttering up the bookshelves, but having this past month where I’ve been mainly reading the non-fiction titles, it has spurred me on to read things I wouldn’t normally read, and now I just hope I can carry on with this ‘educational’ type reading!

My plan was to read 5 books and I did have a TBR pile, but I found myself drawn to a few different non-fiction reads instead of all of those on the pile, and in the end I managed to finish 5!! Yay me!!!  Here’s a little look at those that grabbed my attention!  Click on the titles if you’d like to read my GoodReads review!

Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees by Roger Deakin  –  4 stars

Sex Object by Jessica Valenti  –  2 stars

 

The Secret Library by Oliver Tearle   –  5 stars

 

The Book of Forgotten Authors by Christopher Fowler  –  5 stars

 

Nigel: My Family and Other Dogs by Monty Don  –  4 stars

 

So I’ve learned not to be scared of books that might educate me as they might entertain me as well!! Definitely choose subjects that interest you, whatever they may be, and I’ve now discovered a whole new area in bookshops that I visit!!  And any excuse to spend even longer in bookshops is fine by me!!

HAPPY READING!!

Posted in books, review

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up!

Happy December to you all!!!  How have we got here so fast??!!  Feeling very old that another year has flown by but looking forward to 2018 already and all the wonderful bookish adventures that await us all!!  My TBR pile for 2018 is already looking very healthy – so the outlook for getting caught up with the reading pile next year isn’t looking promising!! 2030 might be a better bet for that!!

Been a much slower reading week for me! I think my reading pace for the year has finally caught up with me as I seem to have reading fatigue and have been spending more time doing cross-stitch and card making! Other hobbies that I’d been neglecting this year!  But it’s still been a fun week of reading with 3 finished, including an audio book that I listened to whilst doing my hobbies! Will definitely plan on doing that more next year – multi-tasking is the way forward I’m thinking!!

Ooh and there may have been some bookpost arriving….. I know you’re shocked!!

So here’s a little look at what I’ve finished this week – please click on the title if you’d like to read my GoodReads review! And feel free to add me as a GoodReads friend too if you haven’t already! Love seeing what everyone else is reading!!

BOOKS FINISHED

Uprooted by Naomi Novik  –  3 stars

I had really high hopes for this and was a little disappointed that it didn’t live up to them! It was still an enjoyable read though!

Wildwood; A Journey Through Trees by Roger Deakin  –  4 stars

 

A delight, especially for a tree fan like myself!

The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn  –  3 stars

If you are looking for an unnerving read, then look no further! The characters may not be the most endearing people, but their relationship was compelling – and creepy!!

BOOK POST

Tilly Hunter has fabulous friends, her dream job as a make-up artist with a prestigious opera company and Felix, her kind and caring husband to be. It looks set to be the most perfect Christmas yet!

But when a monumental blunder forces her to work closely with new IT director Marcus Walker, it’s not only the roast chestnut stalls on the cobbles of her beloved Covent Garden that cause sparks to fly…

Super serious and brooding, Marcus hasn’t got a creative bone in his sharp-suited body. For technophobe Tilly, it’s a match made in hell.

And yet, when Tilly discovers her fiancé isn’t at all what he seems, it’s Marcus who’s there for her with a hot chocolate and a surprisingly strong shoulder to cry on … He might just be the best Christmas present she’s ever had.

Very thankful to the lovely people at Harper Impulse for sending me a copy of this – and it arrived on the day of snow flurries in London too!  Can’t wait to curl up on the sofa with this one very soon!!

3 by Maria Savva

A trio of short stories.

Memories from the past can haunt the present.

1. Never To Be Told – Tom and Amber are on a romantic date… but the past is always present.

2. The Bride – In this paranormal short, Olivia makes a chilling discovery.

3. What The Girl Heard – Victoria revisits a place that holds a dark reminder of an incident from her childhood. She had vowed she would never return.

The Curious Miss Fortune by Tina-Marie Miller

There’s great excitement as the Hampton Players gather to begin rehearsals on their annual am dram. However, it’s not long before the cast begin to make a connection between the fictional storylines and coincidental occurrences in their villages leaving them fearful that a murder is about to take place.

Tiggy Lawrence is devastated to learn her father is terminally ill. As she returns to the family home after a nine year absence she’s fearful of a run in not just with step monster Bobbie but also ex fiancé Patrick.

Aster Maxwell is a successful maxillofacial surgeon who is hungry for success. Desperate to maximise his specialisation by opening his own private clinic, will he stop at nothing to get what he wants?

Diana Fortune’s forgotten past could be her strength when she auditions for the Hampton Players. Only it’s a dark and stormy night as she makes her entrance. Has Miss Fortune finally arrived?

Drama finds itself back in the Hamptons as Poppy and Richard Hambly-Jones make an appearance as they prepare to host the Autumn Ball. Expect the unexpected!

Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford

From colouring book queen Johanna Basford, a lavishly illustrated fable about a girl named Ivy who stumbles upon a secret door leading to the magical world of Enchantia. Ivy embarks on a quest through its many realms in pursuit of her inky butterfly, meeting whimsical characters and discovering many wondrous things along the way. A charming story that interacts playfully with beautiful, colourable artwork in Johanna’s signature style, Ivy and the Inky Butterfly is a one-of-a-kind adventure for readers of all ages to customise, colour and cherish.

These three SIGNED books were the result of my bidding in the Children In Read auction, hosted by Paddy Heron on Twitter to raise funds for the Children In Need fundraising campaign.  In the end his auction of signed books raised around £3,600 which was an amazing amount and I look forward to helping raise more funds for them next year!!

CURRENTLY READING

The Watcher in the Shadows by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

A mysterious toymaker who lives as a recluse in an old mansion, surrounded by the mechanical beings he has created… an enigma surrounding strange lights that shine through the mists that envelop the small island on which the old lighthouse stands… a shadowy creature that hides deep in the woods… these are the elements of a mystery that bind 14-year-old Irene to Ismael during one magical summer spent in the Blue Bay. Irene’s mother has taken a job as a housekeeper for the toymaker, Lazarus, but his house contains more secrets than Irene and Ishmael have bargained for.

Reading this to help me finish my A-Z bookbuster challenge – reading authors A through to Z throughout the year – and as I love other work by this author I’m hoping this is just as magical!

The Dandelion Years by Erica James

Ashcombe was the most beautiful house Saskia had ever seen as a little girl. A rambling pink cottage on the edge of the Suffolk village of Melbury Green, its enchanting garden provided a fairy-tale playground of seclusion, a perfect sanctuary to hide from the tragedy which shattered her childhood.

Now an adult, Saskia is still living at Ashcombe and as a book restorer devotes her days tending to the broken, battered books that find their way to her, daydreaming about the people who had once turned their pages. When she discovers a notebook carefully concealed in an old Bible – and realising someone has gone to a great deal of trouble to hide a story of their own – Saskia finds herself drawn into a heart-rending tale of wartime love…

This is my current bedtime read as I always like to read something I don’t really need to think about just before I nod off!

😴😴😴

And there we have it! My week all wrapped up!  How has your week been? Good, Bad, Ugly?!  Quiet weekend ahead here planned after my nieces’ birthday last weekend, so am hoping that the books read count can increase again this week! And if we get snowed in then that always helps on the reading front!

HAPPY READING!!

Posted in books, review

Made in Japan by S.J.Parks #BlogTour #BookReview

Absolutely delighted to be kicking off the Blog Tour for the debut novel of S.J. Parks today!  Been a treat to read it and I hope that you will enjoy it as much as I’ve done!

THE BLURB

A young girl traces her mother’s steps all the way from London to Japan to search for the father she never knew.

Hana arrives in Tokyo with only two words in her mind: The Teahouse. She’s a long way from home in East London and still fresh from the loss of her mother. But her grief has sent her across to the other side of the world to find out who she is, and for Hana that means finding the Japanese man she has never met, her father with only these two words as clues.

Made in Japan is a beautifully woven story of a mother and daughter who, decades apart, tread the same streets of glittering Tokyo looking for that something that might complete them.

Publisher; Harper Collins

Amazon UK

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

Waterstones

MY REVIEW

The simple but stunning cover gives you a glimpse of what lies instore for you when you begin this reading journey.  I found it to be such an immersive read – the pace is quite gentle as you follow Hana in her journey of trying to find herself whilst grieving for the loss of her mother.

She was never told about her father so she travels to Japan to try and fit the pieces together of things her mother told her, and focus on ‘the teahouse’ which was the only clue she had to her fathers’ identity.

Hana feels lost while she’s there but she finds herself involved in the locals lives from the place she stays at, to the friends she connects with.

Alongside Hana and her story set in 2012, we also get to go back to the late 1980’s to see life in Japan from the point of view of her mother and this is really where the story kicks in as the pieces fall into place. Names and places are soon integral to the quest she is on and I found this connection fascinating.

I did find the pace a little too slow around the middle where the story seemed to stall a little, but the extraordinary attention to detail both in the surroundings and traditions they both faced living in Japan really brought the story back to life. I also enjoyed the short, snappy chapters which were like little snapshots into daily Japanese life and human behaviour.  Her journey also evokes different memories of her childhood and her mother and this was another intriguing aspect to her overcoming her grief and the different emotions that this brings out in her – sorrow, anger, and all the unanswered questions she has going through her head.

Overall this was an enjoyable and emotive read and a great study of human relationships set in such a fascinating country.

Posted in books, review

My bookish weekly wrap up!!

Hello all! Apologies for the radio silence on the Blog front this week – what do you mean you hadn’t noticed?!!!  I just found myself spending more and more time online, and less time reading and doing other stuff, so just took a little break to try and find that balance (don’t we all!) so hopefully I can get back to sharing more reviews and boring you all with my ramblings again! Aren’t you lucky!!?!  2018 definitely needs to see me get more organised on the blogging/reading/reviewing front…… wonder when I’ll be breaking that resolution then?!  My bet is by the 3rd January!!

So on to the books of the past 7 days!  And there have been a few!! Made a start on some festive reads on my Kindle which have been a delight to read, and got back to some chick lit in paperback form as my brain needed a rest from over complicated plots!!  And I’ve been restrained on the book buying front once more – I need to give Santa my list of books wanted soon so want to give him plenty to choose from!! – so only had a couple of book subscription books arrive!  The posties are relieved!

Click on the titles for links to my full GoodReads review if you so wish to read more!!

BOOKS FINISHED

House of Christmas Secrets by Lynda Stacey – 5 stars

This year we’re just going to have a nice, normal Christmas…
Last year’s Christmas at Wrea Head Hall didn’t quite go to plan which is why Jess Croft is determined this festive season will be the one to remember, for the right reasons. And she has plenty of reasons to be hopeful, she’s going to marry the man of her dreams, Jack Stone, seven days after New Year’s Eve.

However, as family secrets are revealed in hidden letters and two unexpected guests turn up on the doorstep, Jess is left wondering whether her life will ever be the same again.

Can Jess and Jack still experience a peaceful festive season that they had imagined or are there some problems that even Christmas can’t fix? 

This was a fabulous darker read from start to finish and a great follow on from House of Secrets.  This isn’t a fluffy festive book so be warned, but it had me gripped and enthralled!

What Happens at Christmas by Evonne Wareham  –  5 stars

Best-selling author Andrew Vitruvius knows that any publicity is good publicity. His agent tells him that often, so it must be true. In the run-up to Christmas, she excels herself – talking him into the craziest scheme yet: getting himself kidnapped, live on TV.
But when the plan goes ahead and Drew is unceremoniously thrown in the back of a van before being dragged to a hut in middle of the Brecon Beacons, it all starts to feel a little bit too real.
Meanwhile, not far away, Lori France and her four-year-old niece Misty are settling in to spend the holidays away after unexpected events leave them without a place to stay. Little do they know they’re about to make a shocking discovery and experience a Christmas they’re not likely to forget …

Another fabulous read set in an idyllic setting and warmed my heart with the romance!!

A Little Christmas Faith by Kathryn Freeman  –  5 stars

Is it time to love Christmas again?
Faith Watkins loves Christmas, which is why she’s thrilled that her new hotel in the Lake District will be open in time for the festive season. And Faith has gone all out; huge Christmas tree, fairy lights, an entire family of decorative reindeer. Now all she needs are the guests …
But what she didn’t bank on was her first paying customer being someone like Adam Hunter. Rugged, powerfully built and with a deep sadness in his eyes, Adam is a man that Faith is immediately drawn to – but unfortunately he also has an intense hatred of all things Christmassy.
As the countdown to the big day begins, Faith can’t seem to keep away from her mysterious guest, but still finds herself with more questions than answers: just what happened to Adam Hunter? And why does he hate Christmas?

And another 5 star read from Choc Lit!!  This had all the festive feels and I raced through it and swooned over Adam!! I need to find my own Adam!!

Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses by Carole Matthews  –  4 stars

A heart-warming and poignant novel of romance, family and second chances, Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses is Sunday Times bestselling Carole Matthews at her outstanding best. Perfect for fans of Jill Mansell and Milly Johnson.

Christie Chapman is a single working mother who spends her days commuting to her secretarial job in London and looking after her teenage son, Finn. It can be tough just getting through the day but Christie has always found comfort in her love of crafting and any spare time she has is spent in her parents’ summerhouse working on her beautiful creations. From intricately designed birthday cards to personalised gifts, Christie’s flair for the handmade knows no bounds and it’s not long before opportunity comes knocking. All of a sudden Christie sees a different future for her and Finn – one full of hope and possibility, and if the handsome Max Alexander is to be believed, one full of love too. It’s all there for the taking.

And then, all of sudden, Christie’s world is turned upside down.

Christie knows that something has to give, but what will she choose? Will she give up her dreams and the chance of real love? What price will she pay for doing the right thing? Can Christie find her happy ending in . . . Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses

I love chick lit when it’s written as well as this was! Pure escapism and inspired me to get back to my crafting as well! Loved it!

BookPost

The Happy Tree by Rosalind Murray

‘A 1926 novel which begins with the death of a young man during the war, flashes back to his happy childhood shared with the young woman who is the narrator, and then describes how the war – inevitably – took them unawares, destroyed their happiness and has left her, the young woman, emotionally maimed. ‘

Another book for my Persephone collection!  I love the grey covers and love how they bring forgotten authors back to life!

Crippen by John Boyne

July 1910: a gruesome discovery has been made at 39 Hilldrop Crescent, Camden.

Buried in the cellar are the remains of Cora Crippen, formeer music-hall singer and wife of Dr Hawley Crippen.

But Dr Crippen and his mistress Ethel Le Neve have disappeared, and a full-scale hunt for them has begun.

Across the Channel in Antwerp, Captain Kendall gives the order for the SS Montrose to begin its two-week voyage to Canada. On board are 1300 passengers, including the overbearing Antonia Drake, the unassuming Martha Hayes and the enigmatic Matthieu Zela. And, slipping in almost unnoticed, a Mr John Robinson with his seventeen-year-old son Edmund…

CRIPPEN is a beatifully drawn novel recreating the true story of the amazing escape attempt of one of history’s most notorious killers.

This is the latest book I have received from The Random Book Club – the monthly book club subscription I signed up for after reading The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell and I just love this way of discovering different books!!

CURRENTLY READING

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, ambitious wizard, known only as the Dragon, to keep the wood’s powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman must be handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as being lost to the wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows – everyone knows – that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia – all the things Agnieszka isn’t – and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But no one can predict how or why the Dragon chooses a girl. And when he comes, it is not Kasia he will take with him.

From the author of the Temeraire series comes this hugely imaginative, engrossing and vivid fantasy novel, inspired by folk and fairy tales. It is perfect reading for fans of Robin Hobb and Trudi Canavan

Have had this on my shelves for quite some time and have high hopes that I’ll love this!!

WILDWOOD by ROGER DEAKIN

From the walnut tree at his Suffolk home, Roger Deakin embarks upon a quest that takes him through Britain, across Europe, to Central Asia and Australia, in search of what lies behind man’s profound and enduring connection with wood and with trees. Meeting woodlanders of all kinds, he lives in shacks and cabins, builds hazel benders, and hunts bush-plums with aboriginal women.At once autobiography, history, a traveller’s tale and a work of natural history, Wildwood is a lyrical and fiercely intimate evocation of the spirit of trees: in nature, in our souls, in our culture, and in our lives

My non-fiction November reading is going very well and this is the latest book I’ve decided to read this month which I won from the wonderful Paul at HalfMan, HalfBook

So that is my bookish week all wrapped up! I’ve made it up to 193 books now read this year  – yay!! – so am hoping to make it past the 200 mark by the end of the year, knowing that I’ll probably never achieve that amount again!!  It’s just going to make picking my favourite reads of the year an awful lot tougher this year! Can i have a top 50?!!

HAPPY READING!!

Posted in books, review

The Book of Forgotten Authors by Christopher Fowler #BookReview

THE  BLURB

Absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder. It makes people think you’re dead.
So begins Christopher Fowler’s foray into the back catalogues and backstories of 99 authors who, once hugely popular, have all but disappeared from shelves.
We are fondly introduced to each potential rediscovery: from lost Victorian voices to the twentieth century writers who could well become the next John Williams, Hans Fallada or Lionel Davidson. Whether male or female, flash-in-the-pan or prolific, mega-seller or prize-winner – no author, it seems, can ever be fully immune from the fate of being forgotten.
These 99 journeys are punctuated by 12 short essays about faded once-favourites: including the now-vanished novels Walt Disney brought to the screen, the contemporary rivals of Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie who did not stand the test of time, and the women who introduced psychological suspense many decades before it conquered the world.
This is a book about books and their authors. It is for book lovers, and is written by one who could not be a more enthusiastic, enlightening and entertaining guide

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christopher Fowler is an English novelist living in London, his books contain elements of black comedy, anxiety and social satire. As well as novels, he writes short stories, scripts, press articles and reviews.


He lives in King’s Cross, on the Battlebridge Basin, and chooses London as the backdrop of many of his stories because any one of the events in its two thousand year history can provide inspiration

In 1998 he was the recipient of the BFS Best Short Story Of The Year, for ‘Wageslaves’. Then, in 2004, ‘The Water Room’ was nominated for the CWA People’s Choice Award, ‘Full Dark House’ won the BFS August Derleth Novel of The Year Award 2004 and ‘American Waitress’ won the BFS Best Short Story Of The Year 2004. The novella ‘Breathe’ won BFS Best Novella 2005.

Author Website

MY REVIEW

The simple but striking cover gives you a taste of what you are about to get as you delve into the past courtesy of Christopher Fowler and his meticulous research of a variety of authors past and present that have almost vanished from the bookshelves across the world, despite being so popular at the time!

And it isn’t just a list of authors regurgitated in a list format.  It has cleverly been set out as a couple of pages or so dedicated to each author, or topic,  which is enough to give you so much information about the author, their history, the books they wrote, and the fates that befell them.  But beware if you a book lover… you will find as you read through this that you just keep adding authors and books to your ‘must look out’ for list!!   

There is also a great amount of humour throughout as Christopher Fowler offers up his own opinions on certain authors and books, and that really works well.  Many of the authors included have extremely colourful personal lives which is extremely interesting to read about!

I read this as part of non-fiction November and it has been so much fun to take a look back at some extraordinary books and the people behind them.  Can highly recommend this to anyone who loves books!!  

HAPPY READING!!