My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 29th October 2022

Boo!!  Happy Saturday all! And a very warm end to the month here – what’s going on??!!  Time for an ice cream I think!!

And on to books! Another quiet week for me as other stuff has distracted me! But I’ve been getting in to the festive spirit by finishing 2 Christmas books!  Netgalley only made me click once this week  and there has been some book post too!!

Here’s my look back!

BOOKS FINISHED

FLORA’S CHRISTMAS OF NEW BEGINNINGS by KIRSTY FERRY – 5 STARS

A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE FOR THE RAILWAY GIRLS by MAISIE THOMAS – 5 STARS

BOOKHAUL

Just one from Netgalley this week….

DUST CHILD by NGUYEN PHAN QUE MAI

publication date – March 2023

From the internationally bestselling author of The Mountains Sing, a suspenseful and moving saga about family secrets, hidden trauma, and the overriding power of forgiveness, set during the war and in present-day Việt Nam.

In 1969, sisters Trang and Quỳnh, desperate to help their parents pay off debts, leave their rural village and become “bar girls” in Sài Gòn, drinking, flirting (and more) with American GIs in return for money. As the war moves closer to the city, the once-innocent Trang gets swept up in an irresistible romance with a young and charming American helicopter pilot, Dan. Decades later, Dan returns to Việt Nam with his wife, Linda, hoping to find a way to heal from his PTSD and, unbeknownst to her, reckon with secrets from his past.

At the same time, Phong—the son of a Black American soldier and a Vietnamese woman—embarks on a search to find both his parents and a way out of Việt Nam. Abandoned in front of an orphanage, Phong grew up being called “the dust of life,” “Black American imperialist,” and “child of the enemy,” and he dreams of a better life for himself and his family in the U.S.

Past and present converge as these characters come together to confront decisions made during a time of war—decisions that force them to look deep within and find common ground across race, generation, culture, and language. Suspenseful, poetic, and perfect for readers of Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko or Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing, Dust Child tells an unforgettable and immersive story of how those who inherited tragedy can redefine their destinies through love, hard-earned wisdom, compassion, courage, and joy.

The lovely folk at Gallic Press kindly sent me a copy of this one to review…

DEVILS AND SAINTS by JEAN-BAPTISTE ANDREA

publication – December 2022

An elderly man gives virtuoso piano performances in airports and train stations. To the incredulity of the passers-by, he refuses their offers to play in concert halls, or at prestigious gatherings. He is waiting for someone, he tells them.

Joseph was just sixteen when he was sent to a religious boarding school in the Pyrenees: les Confins, a dumping ground for waifs, strays, and other abandoned souls. His days were filled with routine and drudgery, and he thought longingly of the solace he found through music in his former life.

Joe dreams constantly of escape, but it seems impossible. That is, until a chance encounter with the orphanage’s benefactor leads him to Rose, and a plan begins to form…

Humorous even in its darkest moments, Devils and Saints tells a daring tale of camaraderie, love, and good triumphing over evil.

And then my monthly subscription book from the fabulous Renard Press was this pick…

WIT & ACID by GEORGE BERNARD SHAW

‘If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.’

One of the most prolific and respected playwrights of the twentieth century, Bernard Shaw’s legacy shows no signs of waning, and his beautifully written plays, laced with wry wit and invective alike, have seen countless performances over the years, their finest lines paraded in literary conversation and review.

Meticulously selected by Simon Mundy, Wit and Acid collects the sharpest lines from the Shaw’s oeuvre in one neat volume, allowing the reader to sample some of the very best barbs and one-liners the twentieth century has to offer.

‘He was a Tolstoy with jokes, a modern Dr Johnson, a universal genius who on his own modest reckoning put even Shakespeare in the shade.’
The Independent

And then I found this signed copy in a local charity shop the other day…

.NORA WEBSTER by COLM TOIBIN

From one of contemporary literature’s most acclaimed and beloved authors comes this magnificent new novel set in a small town in Ireland in the 1960s, where a fiercely compelling, too-young widow and mother of four moves from grief, fear, and longing to unexpected discovery. Toibin’s portrayal of the intricacy and drama of ordinary lives brings to mind of the work of Alice Munro.
     Set in Wexford, Ireland, and in breathtaking Ballyconnigar by the sea, Colm Toibin’s tour de force eighth novel introduces the formidable, memorable Nora Webster. Widowed at 40, with four children and not enough money, Nora has lost the love of her life, Maurice, the man who rescued her from the stifling world she was born into. Wounded and self-centred from grief and the need to provide for her family, she struggles to be attentive to her children’s needs and their own difficult loss. In masterfully detailing the intimate lives of one small family, Toibin has given us a vivid portrait of a time and an intricately woven tapestry of lives in a small town where everyone knows everyone’s business, and where well-meaning gestures often have unforeseen consequences. Toibin has created one of contemporary fiction’s most memorable female characters, one who has the strength and depth of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler. In Nora Webster, Colm Toibin is writing at the height of his powers.

CURRENTLY READING

TREACLE WALKER by ALAN GARNER

HAPPY READING!!!

Advertisement

BlogTour CLARA’S SECRET GARDEN by ROSIE GREEN #BookReview @rararesources @Rosie_Green88

Hello all and welcome to my spot on the wonderful Blog Tour for the fabulous CLARA’S SECRET GARDEN by Rosie Green!! My thanks to the author, publisher and Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!

Clara’s Secret Garden, Little Duck Pond Café


When Clara Bowes transforms a wilderness of a garden, she isn’t expecting to reconnect with someone special from her past at the same time. Having Rory Angel in her life again is a dream come true. But life is never straight forward – especially in matters of the heart – and soon, a devastating revelation looks set to bring Clara’s hopes for the future crashing down around her. Will she find the strength to reach for her dreams?

Purchase Link – 

https://amzn.to/3cZHJSR

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Author Bio – 

Rosie’s series of novellas is centred around life in a country village cafe. Look out for ‘A Winter Wish’, published in October, the second book in a heart-warming trilogy centred around peacemaker Clara, who’s having to cope with the demands of her slightly dysfunctional family while searching for her own happy-ever-after . . .

The third book in the trilogy is ‘Clara’s Christmas Magic’, out in November 2022.

Follow Rosie on Twitter – https://twitter.com/Rosie_Green88

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MY REVIEW

Here we are again!!  Number 23 in the Little Duck Pond series and feeling as fresh and captivating as the first in the series!!!  It’s always so comforting to be reunited with the Duck Pond crew and discover new favourite characters and Clara may now be mine!  And knowing this is the first in a little Clara trilogy makes me very happy!!

Clara is one of those dependable and quiet characters. Always putting others first but never grumbling about it despite having dreams and desires of her own.   She takes on the task of re-taming the garden that her Gran has ‘let go’ despite knowing very little about gardening and thankfully gets help from the very lovely Rory, an old schoolfriend of hers.    

Where Clara finds her happy is in baking, so there’s always that link to cakes somewhere around in these books!!  And there’s many trials and tribulations for her to face throughout this book that will get you on her side and got me wondering just how I’d cope in her position  as sometimes the weight of the world is put on her shoulder as she tries to please everyone.

I loved how we got to know Clara so well during this book – looking back on her past really allowed you to see what she has gone through, and why she is so keen to please and be kind as an adult.  I really can’t wait to see what the author has in store for Clara as she starts to follow her dreams!! I want them to come true!!!

This is a super addition to the Little Duck Pond series, and can easily be read as a standalone if you’ve not read any of the previous books in the series!  Roll on Book 24!!

★★★★★

PublicationDay FLORA’S CHRISTMAS OF NEW BEGINNINGS by KIRSTY FERRY #BookExtract @ChocLituk @kirsty_ferry

Greetings!! Happy Tuesday one and all!! And I have a real treat for you today, with an exclusive extract to share from FLORA’S CHRISTMAS OF NEW BEGINNINGS by the lovely KIRSTY FERRY, which is celebrating PUBLICATION DAY today!!!  Go grab your copy now!!!

Publication Day Extract: Flora’s Christmas of New Beginnings by Kirsty Ferry

To celebrate the release of Kirsty Ferry’s fun and festive Christmas novel, Flora’s Christmas of New Beginnings, here is an exclusive extract from the book!

In this short excerpt, we join Flora for ‘her Christmas that Never Was’ – but is Flora destined for bad Christmases forever more? Hopefully not! Have a read and see …

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Last Christmas

(Which was horrible and turned into the Christmas that Never Was)

I hated January!

I hated London!

And I definitely hated Carter “dump-your-girlfriend-at-Christmas” Hayton-Smith.

Because, dear reader, I was that girlfriend.

Carter “dump-your-girlfriend-at-Christmas” Hayton-Smith (okay, let’s just call him Carter from now on) did the deed on Christmas Eve.

Bloody Christmas Eve.

I had wondered, I must say, as the days wore on, where my Christmas present was. I’d given him his so it wasn’t like I was being selfish; more just curious, as we’d originally intended to exchange them at the same time.

I started thinking that perhaps he just wasn’t as super-organised as I was, on the basis that, for days after I’d given him his gift, he kept saying stuff like, ‘Oh Flora, I’ll get around to it. I’ve just been … busy.’ Then he’d smile at me and try to distract me by snogging me or similar.

We’d arranged to spend Christmas together and everything. He’d booked lunch at a restaurant in Mayfair (he said), and apparently the destination was going to be a big surprise. I’d always had my Christmas lunch at home, or with my parents, and, if I was very honest

with myself, I didn’t feel I was really a “Hotel Christmas Lunch” sort of person. But he made it sound really exciting and fun and easy, so I agreed.

Due to this plan, my parents decided to have Christmas at the other end of the country – my sister Beth lives in a tiny village in the Lake District with her partner and two small children – and they checked and double-checked that it was okay to go.

‘Beth said she’ll come to us,’ Mum had said, looking super-concerned, ‘but if you’re definitely going to have Christmas with Carter, we’ll go there. It’s better for the children if they think Santa is coming to their own house. Routine and all that.’ Mum was a great one for “routine”, and it had obviously ingrained itself into her daughters. I worked in events management at Bloomsbury Bright’s in, well, Bloomsbury, obviously, and that involved a lot of organisation and planning; and Beth was a teacher, so she spent weekdays herding small children, and evenings and weekends herding even smaller children. I didn’t know how she managed. Her house ran like clockwork and I was sure that Trixie and Tabitha would have been perfectly compliant if Beth and Tony had decided to drive to Pinner and ensure Santa showed up there instead.

I’d always failed to see why she’d given her children the same names as the cats we’d had when we were kids though.

But, anyway, off to the Lakes they went on the 23rd, and I promised I’d send them a photo of my lovely Christmas lunch.

Then on the morning of Christmas Eve, I woke up to a text from Carter:

Babes. Been thinking. Getting too serious for me, y’all know I’m scared of commitment lol lol lol. Christmas Day together, man, just seems kinda – intense. You know? Gonna cut you loose, so you can have fun with the fam-a-lam tomoz instead. Don’t feel bad about it, we had fun, yeah? The swimming and the waxworks. Oh and the theatre. Awesome.

So yeah. Not you, it’s me lol lol. Cancelled lunch, so don’t stress over it. Love n light n peace. Thanks for the last few months. Been fun. Xxx

‘What the … what the absolute …!’ I screamed into the empty bedroom. Three mentions of “fun” in one bloody text and I was currently failing to see what had been “fun” at all, in retrospect. Yes, we’d been to the water park at London Royal Docks and he’d zoomed off swimming and left me trailing behind. Yes, we’d done Madame Tussaud’s and I’d been scared witless in the Chamber of Horrors, but he’d “had to get up early the next day” so wouldn’t stay over and I spent the night a gibbering wreck with the lights on in the lounge binge-watching comedy movies. And he’d fallen asleep in Les Mis, which was certainly a talent few can claim to own.

I was aware that he had a very punchy sort of job in finance; I’d always known he would be working long hours and that was fine. He constantly seemed to move at a million miles per hour and treated everything as a joke, just a bit of light relief. We’d only been together six months and I thought it seemed a bit wild arranging something so, well, intimate for Christmas Day. But I was happy to go along with it, all caught up in the new relationship and thinking that it was one day we wouldn’t have to rush through for once; that we could enjoy a lazy morning and a lovely lunch and a cosy afternoon.

But I was wrong.

By then, Mum and Dad were at Beth’s – I had told Carter that was happening, which made his text even more thoughtless – and even as I phoned Mum in desperation, thinking I could maybe drive all the way up there, deep down I knew it wasn’t going to happen.

‘Oh darling,’ said Mum. ‘We’ve got blizzards up here, and they’ve got a weather warning up for today and tonight. We’re basically snowed in and being advised not to drive. It’s supposed to ease off tomorrow…?’ There was a little note of hope in her voice, a tiny query in the word “tomorrow”, but I was already shaking my head, tears dripping off the end

of my nose by that point. I realised I’d have to speak eventually because we were on the phone and she couldn’t see me. But that was maybe a good thing because I’d always been an ugly crier.

‘No, Mum. It’s okay,’ I managed. ‘I’m sure it’ll be fine. It’s only one day.’

‘Sweetheart. Are there any friends you can spend it with? I’m so sorry we’re up here.’

‘I’ll find someone. It’s fine.’

‘If you’re sure.’

‘I’m sure.’

But obviously it wasn’t fine, and I didn’t even try to call any friends. Most of them were spending Christmas Day with their families and, of course, I didn’t want to gate-crash.

In the end, I lied. I told Mum I’d spent the day with my colleague Claudia, because her partner, Dieter, was a doctor and had to work, so she’d be on her own too. Claudia was a person far enough removed that they were highly unlikely to meet her, they weren’t friends with her parents, and they basically didn’t know her at all. After Christmas, I told Claudia to uphold that lie if they ever did end up meeting her and explained why. I knew she would do it, bless her.

In reality, that Christmas Day was the most pox-worthy, crappy day I have ever spent in my entire life. It may only have been one day, but the TV adverts don’t let you think that. They always fill the screen with happy people and families around a massive turkey on a table. I cried every time an advert came on with a mum and a dad and a child. Which is stupid because I’m twenty-eight!

I had a going-out-of-date microwave chicken curry for lunch which I’d bought at the corner shop on Christmas Eve, ate an entire Christmas pudding for tea and drank a bottle of prosecco for supper, just to try and make myself sleep.

I told Mum I’d “forgotten” my phone when I went to Claudia’s, so that was why I had no photos of the lunch or the super-fun day we’d had playing Pictionary and singing along to musicals on TV, etc, and that was also why I only FaceTimed them at 8 p.m.

She held the phone up to the window of Beth’s house so I could see the thick covering of snow, almost like she thought I might not believe her about the weather, but the worst part was seeing my dad with his paper hat on and Tabitha curled up asleep in the crook of his arm.

I so wanted to be there with them.

And thus Christmas Day passed, eventually, and thankfully I went to bed, fell asleep and shut the door on that awful day.

It was a crying shame because I loved Christmas, normally – but that one went down in my memory bank as the “Christmas that Never Was”.

And then we were into January, which I always hated anyway, because it’s grey and miserable – and who’s a size four, to grab bargains in the sales?

So now you can probably understand why I particularly hated last January. I was still getting over the awful Christmas; still getting over – and getting enraged on a regular basis about – Carter.

But when I met Paul Tanner at an event the following month, I thought that at least it had to mean that February was going to be much better than January!

🎄🎄🎄

About the author:

Kirsty Ferry is from the North East of England and lives there with her husband and son. She won the English Heritage/Belsay Hall National Creative Writing competition and has had articles and short stories published in various magazines. Her work also appears in several anthologies, incorporating such diverse themes as vampires, crime, angels and more.

Kirsty loves writing ghostly mysteries and interweaving fact and fiction. The research is almost as much fun as writing the book itself, and if she can add a wonderful setting and a dollop of history, that’s even better.

Her day job involves sharing a building with an eclectic collection of ghosts, which can often prove rather interesting.

FOLLOW THE AUTHOR……

www.twitter.com/kirsty_ferry 

https://www.facebook.com/kirsty.ferry.author/

 Kirsty’s website: www.rosethornpress.co.uk

 Kirsty’s blog: www.rosethornramblings.wordpress.com

About the book:


It was meant to be a romantic Christmas getaway …

Except Flora’s boyfriend Paul is more interested in whether there’s WiFi in their holiday cottage than he is in the pretty village of Padcock where it’s located. It seems he’s incapable of taking time out from his work for gossip mag darling Maxine Marling – or Maxine Marmoset as Flora not so secretly calls her (well, she does look like a marmoset!) – to spend time with his actual girlfriend.

But as Flora discovers the friendly and festive community of Padcock with its eccentric but lovable locals – including dreamy musician Geraint Davies – she begins to question her London life and lots more besides. Especially as a certain marmoset becomes ever more present on her Christmas break for two …

But luckily Padcock is a village where fresh starts happen – and maybe Flora is in line for her own Christmas of new beginnings.

 Buying links: 

Kindle: https://amzn.to/3VFmG9P

 Kobo: https://bit.ly/3CFI4mI 

Apple Books: https://apple.co/3P58DWu

 Nook: https://bit.ly/3vGxOaW

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 22nd October 2022

Hello all!! Happy Saturday! The end of the month is drawing in and my nephew turns 17 this weekend….. very scary!! I feel very old!!

Finally getting back into the reading mode, so managed to finish 4 books this week!  2 new additions to the Netgalley sheles and a lovely book from an author to review!  A good week!!

Here’s my look back!

BOOKS FINISHED

THE 6:20 MAN by DAVID BALDACCI – 4 STARS

THE CONJUROR’S APPRENTICE by G J WILLIAMS – 4 STARS

DIARY OF A VOID by EMI YAGI – 4 STARS

UPGRADE by BLAKE CROUCH (audiobook) – 5 STARS

BOOKHAUL

2 new additions to my Netgalley shelves….

DIARY OF A TUSCAN BOOKSHOP by ALBA DONATI

publication date – November 2022

Under the Tuscan Sun meets Diary of a Bookseller in this charming memoir by an Italian poet recounting her experience opening a bookshop in a village in Tuscany.

Alba Donati was used to her hectic life working as a book publicist in Italy—a life that made her happy and allowed her to meet prominent international authors—but she was ready to make a change. One day she decided to return to Lucignana, the small village in the Tuscan hills where she was born. There she opened a tiny but enchanting bookshop in a lovely little cottage on a hill, surrounded by gardens filled with roses and peonies.

With fewer than 200 year-round residents, Alba’s shop seemed unlikely to succeed, but it soon sparked the enthusiasm of book lovers both nearby and across Italy. After surviving a fire and pandemic restrictions, the “Bookshop on the Hill” soon became a refuge and destination for an ever-growing community. The locals took pride in the bookshop—from Alba’s centenarian mother to her childhood friends and the many volunteers who help in the day-to-day running of the shop. And in short time it has become a literary destination, with many devoted readers coming from afar to browse, enjoy a cup of tea, and find comfort in the knowledge that Alba will find the perfect read for them.

Alba’s lifelong love of literature shines on every page of this unique and uplifting book. Formatted as diary entries with delightful lists of the books sold at the shop each day, this inspirational story celebrates reading as well as book lovers and booksellers, the unsung heroes of the literary world.

THE GARNETT GIRLS by GEORGINA MOORE

publication date – February 2023

‘Love makes you do things you never thought you were capable of.’

Margo and Richard’s love affair was the stuff legends are made of – forbidden, passionate, all-encompassing. But ultimately, doomed.

When Richard walked out, Margo shut herself away from the world, leaving her three daughters, Rachel, Imogen and Sasha, to run wild.

Having put the past behind her, charismatic Margo holds court in her cottage on the Isle of Wight, refusing to ever speak of Richard. But her silence is keeping each of the Garnett girls from finding true happiness.

The eldest, Rachel, is desperate to return to London, but is held hostage by responsibility for Sandcove, their beloved but crumbling family home.

Imogen, the dreamy middle child, feels the pressure to marry her kind, considerate fiancé, even when her life is taking an unexpected turn.

And wild, passionate Sasha, trapped between her increasingly divided sisters and her controlling husband, is weighed down by a secret that could shake the family to its core…

And then I received  a copy of this beaut from the lovely author to review….

A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE FOR THE RAILWAY GIRLS by MAISIE THOMAS

The sixth heartwarming, feel-good instalment in the much-loved Railway Girls series!

Manchester, 1942. There are surprises in store for the railway girls this festive season…

When Cordelia‘s daughter Emily falls for a young chap who doesn’t meet the approval of her father, Cordelia is reminded of her own first love – a love that she has never forgotten.

Mabel is determined to get to the bottom of a spate of local burglaries. Her heart is in the right place as she sets out on a quest to clear her friend’s name, but there will be unforeseen consequences.

It’s nothing short of a miracle when Colette returns to Manchester. But it’s not going to be easy for her to keep living the life she once knew, and an impossible situation lies ahead.

There will be more than one storm for the railway girls to weather but with the friendship and support of one another, there’s hope that all will be well by Christmas…

CURRENTLY READING

THE VANISHING ACT OF ESME LENNOX by MAGGIE O’FARRELL

HAPPY READING!

BookReview DIARY OF A VOID by EMI YAGI #DiaryOfAVoid

ABOUT THE BOOK

A prizewinning, thrillingly subversive debut novel about a woman in Japan who avoids harassment at work by perpetuating, for nine months and beyond, the lie that she’s pregnant

When thirty-four-year-old Ms. Shibata gets a new job in Tokyo to escape sexual harassment at her old one, she finds that, as the only woman at her new workplace–a company that manufactures cardboard tubes–she is expected to do all the menial tasks. One day she announces that she can’t clear away her colleagues’ dirty cups–because she’s pregnant and the smell nauseates her. The only thing is . . . Ms. Shibata is not pregnant.

Pregnant Ms. Shibata doesn’t have to serve coffee to anyone. Pregnant Ms. Shibata isn’t forced to work overtime. Pregnant Ms. Shibata rests, watches TV, takes long baths, and even joins an aerobics class for expectant mothers. But pregnant Ms. Shibata also has a nine-month ruse to keep up. Helped along by towel-stuffed shirts and a diary app on which she can log every stage of her “pregnancy,” she feels prepared to play the game for the long haul. Before long, though, the hoax becomes all-absorbing, and the boundary between her lie and her life begins to dissolve.

A surreal and wryly humorous cultural critique, Diary of a Void is bound to become a landmark in feminist world literature.

PUBLISHED BY VIKING

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

MY REVIEW

Drawn in by the cover, I knew nothing of this book before I bought it but have found it to be a wonderfully quirky and absorbing little read on the roles of women and the feeling of loneliness in trying to ‘fit in’ and be accepted in a society that places labels on people.

Shibata is at the heart of the story – the only female in an office and that means she’s expected to carry out all the menial tasks no matter what she has on her plate. But that changes when she takes a bold step in pretending she’s pregnant. Immediately the male attitudes towards her change and more care is taken to spread the tasks round – the lengths you have to go to for some respect and courtesy eh!

As she envelops herself in her ‘role’ you get to see the other side of her life, one that is quite regimented and looking for acceptance. She feels part of the ‘mummies to be’ brigade and finally feels less invisible. It’s such a quirky concept that the lines are blurred often as to whether she is pregnant or not, but it really just adds to the charm of this book and gives you that wider look at society and how women have to fit certain criteria before they are even seen…

I loved this book and the gentle way her story was told. It’s not packed full of action but it is more relatable and emotion invoking because of it’s approach.

★★★★

BookReview THE 6:20 MAN by DAVID BALDACCI #The620Man

ABOUT THE BOOK

Every day without fail, Travis Devine puts on a cheap suit, grabs his faux-leather briefcase, and boards the 6:20 commuter train to Manhattan, where he works as an entry-level analyst at the city’s most prestigious investment firm. In the mornings, he gazes out the train window at the lavish homes of the uberwealthy, dreaming about joining their ranks. In the evenings, he listens to the fiscal news on his phone, already preparing for the next grueling day in the cutthroat realm of finance.

Then one morning Devine’s tedious routine is shattered by an anonymous email: She is dead.

Sara Ewes, Devine’s coworker and former girlfriend, has been found hanging in a storage room of his office building—presumably a suicide, prompting the NYPD to come calling on him. If that wasn’t enough, Devine receives another ominous visit, a confrontation that threatens to dredge up grim secrets from his past in the Army unless he participates in a clandestine investigation into his firm.

This treacherous role will take Travis from the impossibly glittering lives he once saw only through a train window, to the darkest corners of the country’s economic halls of power…where something rotten lurks. And apart from this high-stakes conspiracy, there’s a killer out there with their own agenda, and Devine is the bullseye.

PUBLISHER – MACMILLAN

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

MY REVIEW

Seems to be a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire in this book for the character Travis Devine. And what a hell of a ride the author takes you on in this fast paced story from the King of the thrillers!

Having served in Afghanistan and Iraq, you’d think Travis would be set for a quieter life in the world of high finance but nothing could be farther from the truth. From the things he sees on his daily commute on the 6:20 to the death of a very close colleague, it all leads him into a world of dodgy dealings and a group of very ruthless people who won’t let anyone get in their way.

When he becomes one of the main suspects for the murder of Sarah, he has to get investigating to clear his name and that leads him to meet people you don’t want to be messing with. And then the body count starts mounting up so he’s really up against it!

I loved the slow start which soon ramped up to fast paced action and the guessing games kept me hooked throughout working out who was behind it all. This was an exciting, dark and twisty thriller and shows the author at his plotting best!

★★★★

My thanks to Laura Sherlock for the advanced reader copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review.

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 15th October 2022

Hello all! Happy Saturday! Another week flies by and I’m already sick of seeing Christmas stuff in the shops!! Time to ban it until December 1st!!

On to books!! Been another slow reading week – I just can’t get my head in to it at the moment so am hoping the reading bug comes back to me soon!!  Cos the books keep piling up!! Did manage to finish 2 books this week, but then added 3 to my Netgalley shelves and treated myself to 1 book!  Must do better next week lol

Here’s my look back.

BOOKS FINISHED

THE WINNERS by FREDRIK BACKMAN – 5 STARS

TEA FOR ONE by ALICE TAYLOR (audiobook) – 3 STARS

BOOKHAUL

Over to Netgalley we go….

THE VINTAGE SHOP OF SECOND CHANCES by LIBBY PAGE

Publication date – February 2023

Among the cobbled streets of the Somerset town of Frome, Lou is embarking on the start of something new. After the death of her beloved mother, she takes a deep breath into the unknown and is opening her own vintage clothes shop.

In upstate New York, Donna has just found out some news about her family which has called into question her whole upbringing. The only clue she has to unlock her past is a picture of a yellow dress, and the fact it is currently on display in a shop in England.

For Maggy, she is facing life as a 70-something divorcee and while she got the house, she’s not sure what to fill it with now her family have moved out. The new vintage shop in town sparks memories of her past and reignites a passion she’s been missing…

Together, can these three women find the answers they are searching for and unlock a second chance at a new life?

It’s never too late to start again…

EMILY WILDE’S ENCYCLOPEDIA OF FAERIES by HEATHER FAWCETT

publication date – January 2023

A curmudgeonly professor journeys to a small town in the far north to study faerie folklore and discovers dark fae magic, friendship, and love in the start of a heartwarming and enchanting new fantasy series.

Cambridge professor Emily Wilde is good at many things: She is the foremost expert on the study of faeries. She is a genius scholar and a meticulous researcher who is writing the world’s first encyclopaedia of faerie lore. But Emily Wilde is not good at people. She could never make small talk at a party–or even get invited to one. And she prefers the company of her books, her dog, Shadow, and the Fair Folk to other people.

So when she arrives in the hardscrabble village of Hrafnsvik, Emily has no intention of befriending the gruff townsfolk. Nor does she care to spend time with another new arrival: her dashing and insufferably handsome academic rival Wendell Bambleby, who manages to charm the townsfolk, get in the middle of Emily’s research, and utterly confound and frustrate her.

But as Emily gets closer and closer to uncovering the secrets of the Hidden Ones–the most elusive of all faeries–lurking in the shadowy forest outside the town, she also finds herself on the trail of another mystery: Who is Wendell Bambleby, and what does he really want? To find the answer, she’ll have to unlock the greatest mystery of all–her own heart.

THE WEATHER WOMAN by SALLY GARDNER

publication date – November 2022

Neva Friezland is born into a world of trickery and illusion, where fortunes can be won and lost on the turn of a card.

She is also born with an extraordinary gift. She can predict the weather. In Regency England, where the proper goal for a gentlewoman is marriage and only God knows the weather, this is dangerous. It is also potentially very lucrative.

In order to debate with the men of science and move about freely, Neva adopts a sophisticated male disguise. She foretells the weather from inside an automaton created by her brilliant clockmaker father.

But what will happen when the disguised Neva falls in love with a charismatic young man?

It can be very dangerous to be ahead of your time. Especially as a woman.

And I treated myself to this one from Louise Walters Books

WILDEST HUNGER by LAURA LAAKSO

The oldest and gravest of the Wild Folk laws dictates that human flesh must not be consumed. When half-eaten bodies start turning up between Old London and the North, Yannia Wilde knows the killer can only be one of her kind. Yannia’s investigation is even more complicated when her betrothed, Dearon, insists on joining forces with her and Karrion.

While Yannia tries to balance tracking down the killer with the tension between her and Dearon, and Karrion, another case in Old London draws her attention. A West Mage Council member, whom Yannia exposed as a Leech only days before, has gone missing, and his girlfriend is found murdered in his flat. Is the Leech, a master of deception, capable of murder, or has someone framed him?

Caught in the web of Old London’s political intrigue, Yannia must learn to play the game and to choose her allegiances with care. But to catch a predator of her kind, she must also embrace her wildness and set aside everything that makes her human.

CURRENTLY READING

THE CONJUROR’S APPRENTICE by G J WILLIAMS



HAPPY READING!!

BookReview THE BONE FLOWER by CHARLES LAMBERT

ABOUT THE BOOK

On a November evening in Victorian London, the moneyed but listless Edward Monteith stokes the fire at his local gentlemen’s club, listening to stories of supernatural experiences and theories of life after death. His curiosity leads him to a séance, where he falls under the spell of a beautiful flower seller. But Victorian society does not look kindly on love between a gentleman of means and a Romani girl, and when he faces being cut off by his family, Edward makes a decision with horrifying consequences.

Two years later Edward is married and anticipating the birth of his first child, in a beautiful house lined with orange blossom trees. But the wrongs of the past are not so easily forgotten, and the boundary between the living and the dead begins to thin… A deliciously chilling Gothic novel, The Bone Flower is a deeply human story about guilt, betrayal and the cruelty of social expectations.

A dark, uncanny love story from the author of Polari prize-shortlisted Prodigal and The Children’s Home, The Bone Flower will delight fans of Edward Carey and Essie Fox.

PUBLISHED BY GALLIC BOOKS

PURCHASE LINK

Publisher Website

 MY REVIEW

It’s the season to read a spooky story, and this has it in spades!! I loved being chilled by this gothic story of darkness, love and ghostly goings on!

Edward is going nowhere in life, or love, but a chance meeting with a flower seller sets him on a path of discovery and obsession with the mysterious Settie, but fears that their difference in class will keep them apart, where it’s his actions ultimately that ends their dalliance in tragic circumstances.

He goes off travelling and brings home a new young bride, and this is where the darkness begins as he hears things and strange happenings occur. I loved how the character of Edward was portrayed and the impact of his actions never let him settle. This book was highly atmostpheric, and really gives you the chills!! Highly recommended!!

★★★★

BookReview ORPHEUS BUILDS A GIRL by HEATHER PARRY #OrpheusBuildsAGirl


ABOUT THE BOOK

Based on a true story, Orpheus Builds a Girl is a novel of sisterly love, sinister obsession, and the battle for control of the story. A dark, chilling debut novel from award-winning writer Heather Parry.

German doctor Wilhelm Von Tore shares with the reader the story of his one true ove; a love written in the stars, decades in the making, a love so strong it transcended death itself. When Wilhelm emigrates to America he carries with him a vision of a dark-haired beauty, presented to him in his dreams by his beloved late Grandmother. In Key West, Florida, a beautiful young woman is taken to him in the grip of illness, and he recognises her immediately as his promised bride. Despite his efforts, the sickness takes hold and his beloved slips away from him. But Wilhelm will not be kept from his destiny, not even by death. Using research compiled over decades, he sets about attempting to restore his love to her body, so that they might be together forever.

But there’s another voice in this story: Gabriela, and she will not let this version of events go unchallenged. From between the cracks in Wilhelm’s story Gabriela recounts her own memory of her sister Luciana, a fiery and difficult young woman, and the madman who robbed her from her grave.

PUBLISHED BY GALLIC PRESS

PURCHASE LINK

PUBLISHER WEBSITE

 MY REVIEW

Wow! Some stories make you stop in your tracks and this is one of those! Based on real events – eek! – this is a gripping, captivating and eerie tale of obsession, darkness and different perceptions of love. I loved it!!

We get differing points of view on the story of Luci – one from her sister Gabriela who wants to set the record straight, and the other from Willhelm, who claims that Luci was the love of his life. Their stories differ about what happened and you get taken along for the ride of who you are more likely to believe!

Willhelm is a fascinating character – left by his father at a very young age, he was raised by his grandmother as his mother was too young to be maternal, and then he cared for his grandmother when she became sick. He saw things very spiritually and claims that his grandma showed him the woman he was going to marry so his quest was to find her.

And the story of Gabriella and her sister Luci was a very different one – raised in Cuba in a large family, they were always in trouble! They lived in turbulent times so had to move for a new life in America and that’s where Luci started rebelling more.

Their paths cross when Luci became sick, and the obsession for Willhelm took over. They were destined to meet in his eyes so he was where he needed to be – her family saw a different side to it all.

What follows is dark and macabre but is a fascinating insight into that obsessive part of a persons’ personality that leaves them devoid of reason or emotion and it was just chilling to read as the story unfolds. As a debut novel I found it to be a staggering piece of work and one of my favourite reads of 2022!!

★★★★★

BookReview THE WINNERS by FREDRIK BACKMAN

ABOUT THE BOOK

Two years have passed since the events that no one wants to think about. Everyone has tried to move on, but there’s something about this place that prevents it. The residents continue to grapple with life’s big questions: What is a family? What is a community? And what, if anything, are we willing to sacrifice in order to protect them?

As the locals of Beartown struggle to overcome the past, great change is on the horizon. Someone is coming home after a long time away. Someone will be laid to rest. Someone will fall in love, someone will try to fix their marriage, and someone will do anything to save their children. Someone will submit to hate, someone will fight, and someone will grab a gun and walk towards the ice rink.

So what are the residents of Beartown willing to sacrifice for their home?

Everything.

PUBLISHED BY ATRIA BOOKS

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

MY REVIEW

Another marvel of a book from this author, and a truly fitting end to an immensely emotional, impactful and outstanding series!

This Beartown series has been a truly emotional rollercoaster of a read! The author has an amazing gift of making you part of the community that you’re reading about so you feel every punch to the gut of all that the inhabitants go through – and in Beartown they go through a lot!!

Picking up 2 years after the last book, this throws you straight back in to witness yet more trauma for the locals, having to deal with a major storm, the death of a much loved member of the community and the aftershocks still of the events from Book 1. And still at the heart of the book are the goings on of the ice hockey teams that unite and divide so many people. It festers amongst those who were at the centre of it all, and the ripples effect everyone and it’s just so devastating and dramatic to read the goings on via the viewpoints of a number of characters. How they try to move on but the scars are never too far away and how it has changed them all. All of their lives have changed for ever and this book captures in stunning detail just how so.

Sport still plays a huge part of their lives and adding corruption to the mix is never going to end well for anybody. It also shows how it can unite at times, and there’s also that sense of characters doing what they can to survive – either by shouting loudly or staying quiet for their own sanity sake. So many characters in this book have such strong storylines that you’re left gasping for breath sometimes by the constant turmoil that so many have to face and combat.

I have adored this series despite it making me sob uncontrollably and feel anger at the injustices that many have faced, but then pride at their bravery and spirit. A masterclass in writing and I will continue to rave about this series forever!! Thankyou Fredrik Backman!!

★★★★★