#BlogTour ACTS OF LOVE AND WAR by MAGGIE BROOKES #publicationdaypost @marielouisespp @centurybooksuk @Maggie__Brookes

Delighted to be with you today to tell you about a wonderful book out today!! I’m currently reading this, and loving every single page, so hope to share my thoughts in a review in the days to come!!

ABOUT THE BOOK

1936. Civil war in Spain. A world on the brink of chaos . . .

21-year-old Lucy feels content with her life in Hertfordshire – not least because she lives next door to Tom and Jamie, two very different brothers for whom she has equally great affection.

But her comfortable life is turned upside down when Tom decides he must travel to Spain to fight for the Democratic party in the bloody Spanish Civil War. He is quickly followed by Jamie who, much to Lucy’s despair, is supporting General Franco and his Fascist party.

To the dismay of her irascible father, Lucy decides that the only way to bring her boys back safely is to travel to Spain herself to persuade them to come home.

Yet when she sees the horrific effects of the war, she quickly becomes immersed in the lifesaving work the Quakers are doing to help the civilian population, many of whom are refugees.

As the war progresses and the situation becomes increasingly perilous, Lucy realises that the challenge going forward is not so much which brother she will end up with, but whether any of them will survive the carnage long enough to decide . .

.PUBLISHED BY CENTURY

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon


Blackwell’s

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Maggie Brookes is a British ex-journalist and BBC television producer turned poet and novelist.


The Prisoner’s Wife is based on an extraordinary true story of love and courage, told to her by an ex-WW2 prisoner of war. Maggie visited the Czech Republic, Poland and Germany as part of her research for the book, learning largely forgotten aspects of the war.
The Prisoner’s Wife is due to be published by imprints of Penguin Random House in the UK and in the US in May 2020. Publication in other countries, including Holland, Italy, Portugal, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic will follow.


As well as being a writer, Maggie is an advisory fellow for the Royal Literary Fund and also an Associate Professor at Middlesex University, London, England, where she has taught creative writing since 1990. She lives in London and Whitstable, Kent and is married, with two grown-up daughters.


She has published five poetry collections in the UK under her married name of Maggie Butt. Poetry website: www.maggiebutt.co.uk

#BlogTour JINGLE BELLS IN JUNE by ROSIE GREEN #BookReview @rararesources @Rosie_Green88

Delighted to be with you today as part of the Blog Tour for the fabulous JINGLE BELLS IN JUNE 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!

ABOUT THE BOOK

 Jingle Bells in June, Little Duck Pond Café

Mackenzie Morris, newest recruit at the Little Duck Pond Café, is the perfect addition to the team. But beneath her smiles, Kenzie is hiding a dark secret. It’s the reason she fled to Sunnybrook, desperate for a fresh start that would help to lay the ghosts that haunt her.

The challenge of turning her hobby into a business is a welcome distraction, and to her relief, she finds that her range of quirky pottery mugs and vases appear to be in demand. Alone and scared when she arrived, she’s slowly making friends and starting to feel as if she belongs. Meeting a lovely guy called Aidan seems to confirm this and it looks as if love might be on the horizon.

But then Kenzie makes a devastating discovery that threatens to crush her new-found happiness. Aidan is the one person she yearns to confide in. He’s also the one person who can never know the truth . . .

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3jDyibP

Author Bio – 

Rosie’s series of novellas is centred around life in a country village cafe. Look out for ‘Sun, Sea & Strawberry Shortcake’, a sunshine-filled drama full of fun and mystery, out in June 2022 and including the return of character favourites, Ruby and Hudson.

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

MY REVIEW

I may have mentioned before how much I love this series, and the latest installment is another wow of a read that just gives you all the feels and creates yet more characters that you just fall in love with!

In this book we are introduced to Mackenzie who is starting off her own pottery business and it’s a blast to follow her journey – the good parts and bad too!  There are a few hiccups along the way but she’s the kind of character who has a very determined personality and you can’t help but cheer her on her way and want all the nice things to happen to her!  Especially after you read what she has been through in her life!

Making pottery is her happy space and you really get that sense throughout.  The story shows that life can take you down some very dramatic paths and there are some people you just can’t help and I liked how it showed the more serious sides to life, alongside the positive aspects of coming through such a negative time.

The characters and settings once more are a joy, and it’s nice to reunite with the Duck Pond cafe crew once more – I can’t believe we’re already at Book 21 in the series!  There’s happiness, sadness, laughs and drama and I just couldn’t put it down once I started it!! Roll on book 22!!

★★★★★

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 4th June 2022

Hello and Happy June!! Halfway through the year…..!  And the start of #20BooksOfSummer2022 so good luck to those of you taking part!! Going to be a fun couple of months ahead trying to get through our TBR’s!!

And this past week has been a slower week of reading for me – I’m blaming the garden for distracting me! My fight against slugs and snails is proving fruitless so I’ve been out swearing at them!  But I still managed to finish 3 books and avoided Netgalley! But then I made the mistake of going to a Plant/Book Sale at the local community hall last weekend and 6 new books came home with me – it was for charity so that doesn’t count right?!

Here’s my look back!

BOOKS FINISHED

STILL LIVES by RESHMA RUIA – 5 STARS

THE WITCH’S TREE by ELENA COLLINS  5 STARS

12 BIRDS TO SAVE YOUR LIFE by CHARLIE CORBETT – 5 STARS

BOOKHAUL

How could I resist when it was 3 books for £2 at the Cats Protection League book/plant sale I went to?!

THE CORNER THAT HELD THEM by SYLVIA TOWNSEND WARNER

The nuns who enter a medieval Norfolk convent are told to renounce the world, but the world still finds ways to trouble them, whether it is through fire, floods, pestilence, a collapsing spire, jealous rivalries, a priest with a secret or a plague of caterpillars. As we follow their daily lives over three centuries, this masterpiece of historical fiction re-creates a world run by women.

SWEET TEMPTATION by LUCY DIAMOND

Maddie’s getting it from all sides. Her bitchy new boss at the radio station humiliates her live on air about her figure, her glamour-puss mum keeps dropping not-so-subtle hints that Maddie should lose weight and her kids are embarrassed to be seen with her after the disastrous Mums’ race at their school sports day. Something’s got to change…

SPRING ON THE LITTLE CORNISH ISLES by PHILLIPA ASHLEY

Jess has lived at the idyllic flower farm on the Isles of Scilly her whole life, but when her boyfriend Adam leaves without explanation, Jess discovers that even her little slice of Cornish heaven can be lonely.

For the first time in Will’s life, he’s met someone he can’t stop thinking about. But nothing is simple when the woman of your dreams is working for you.

Gaby is running away from painful memories, and where could be more perfect than a remote island off the Cornish coast? But to put the past behind her, she must keep moving … however much she might want to stay.Nothing is simple, even on paradise. Will love bloom for the residents of the little Cornish Isles?

SEEING THINGS by OLIVER POSTGATE

Oliver Postgate’s death in December 2008 was greeted with great sadness. For over 40 years his name was synonymous with the best in children’s television—Bagpuss, The Clangers, Ivor the Engine, The Pogles, Noggin the Nog, and Pingwings. Oliver wrote and narrated the stories, while Peter Firmin illustrated the characters and made the puppets. Their classic films are still loved by viewers of all ages. In this delicious autobiography, Oliver Postgate describes how he came to create his stories and characters, developing innovative techniques of animation and puppetry alongside his friend and co-producer Peter Firmin. Amazingly, almost all of Oliver’s films were made in a cowshed in Kent on a budget of next to nothing. But the path to film-making was far from conventional, or even planned. Oliver Postgate was the grandson of George Lansbury, leader of the Labour Party in the 1920s, and his father was Raymond Postgate, who became famous as the founder and author of The Good Food Guide. Oliver followed in neither’s footsteps. Before his first TV production, Alexander the Mouse in 1958, he had already been a war evacuee; a conscientious objector; a farm laborer; a relief worker in post-war Germany; an artist; an actor; and an inventor. The story of Oliver Postgate’s extraordinary and adventurous life, and the wonderful characters who populated it, both real and imagined, is witty, charming, beautifully remembered, and beautifully told. 

THE LAST by HANNA JAMESON

For fans of high-concept thrillers such as Annihilation and The Girl with All the Gifts, this breathtaking dystopian psychological thriller follows an American academic stranded at a Swiss hotel as the world descends into nuclear war—along with twenty other survivors—who becomes obsessed with identifying a murderer in their midst after the body of a young girl is discovered in one of the hotel’s water tanks.

Jon thought he had all the time in the world to respond to his wife’s text message: I miss you so much. I feel bad about how we left it. Love you. But as he’s waiting in the lobby of the L’Hotel Sixieme in Switzerland after an academic conference, still mulling over how to respond to his wife, he receives a string of horrifying push notifications. Washington, DC has been hit with a nuclear bomb, then New York, then London, and finally Berlin. That’s all he knows before news outlets and social media goes black—and before the clouds on the horizon turn orange.

Now, two months later, there are twenty survivors holed up at the hotel, a place already tainted by its strange history of suicides and murders. Those who can’t bear to stay commit suicide or wander off into the woods. Jon and the others try to maintain some semblance of civilization. But when the water pressure disappears, and Jon and a crew of survivors investigate the hotel’s water tanks, they are shocked to discover the body of a young girl.

As supplies dwindle and tensions rise, Jon becomes obsessed with investigating the death of the little girl as a way to cling to his own humanity. Yet the real question remains: can he afford to lose his mind in this hotel, or should he take his chances in the outside world?

THE QUEEN’S SORROW by SUSANNAH DUNN

A queen brought low by love compromised and power abused — the tragedy of Mary Tudor. Plain, dutiful and a passionate Catholic, Mary Tudor was overjoyed by joy when she became England’s queen. After the misery of her childhood, when her father had rejected her mother, and effectively disowned his daughter, Mary felt at last that she was achieving her destiny. And when she marries Philip of Spain, her happiness is complete. But Mary’s delight quickly turns sour as she realises that her husband does not love her. In fact he finds her devotion irritating. Desperate for a baby, she begins to believe that God is punishing her. Her people are horrified at the severity of the measures she takes and begin to turn against their queen who is lonely, frightened — and desperate for love. Rafael, a member of Philip of Spain’s entourage, is a reluctant witness to the unfolding tragedy and as the once-feted queen tightens her cruel hold on the nation, Rafael becomes closer to Mary and his life — and new-found love — are caught up in the terrible chaos that follows

CURRENTLY READING

MISS WILLMOTT’S GHOSTS by SANDRA LAWRENCE (audiobook)

HAPPY READING!!

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 28th May 2022

Hello and Happy Saturday!  What will the weather throw at us next I wonder?! Had some nice thunderstorms and rainbows here this week! And the rain has been keeping the slugs and snails happy in the garden…… grrrr! My runner beans and dahlias are their current favourite munchies… not the weeds!!

On to books! And it’s been a very slow reading week! I just can’t seem to settle down to read anything! So only 2 books got finished this week but there has been bookpost which has added to the mountain, so I need to find my reading mojo ASAP!  I did stay away from Netgalley though….

Here’s my look back!

BOOKS FINISHED

THE WOMEN WHO SAVED THE ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE by MATTHEW KELLY – 5 STARS

SPRING TIDES AT THE STARFISH CAFE by JESSICA REDLAND – 5 STARS

BOOKHAUL


From Goldsboro Books as part of their monthly subscription…

BAD FOR GOOD by GRAHAM BARTLETT

How far would you go?

The murder of a promising footballer and, crucially, the son of the Brighton’s Chief Superintendent, means Detective Superintendent Jo Howe has a complicated and sensitive case on her hands. The situation becomes yet more desperate following devastating blackmail threats.

Howe can trust no one as she tracks the brutal killer in a city balanced on a knife edge of vigilante action and a police force riven with corruption

As part of my Fahrenheit Book Club Subscription I received this one…

THE JUDGEMENT BOOK by SIMON HALL

The race is on for crime fighting reporter Dan Groves and his detective friend Adam Breen as they are caught in a blackmailer’s web of sordid sex secrets which has already forced public figures to take their own lives. “The Judgement Book” is just a pocket diary, but festering with so much sin and scandal. First an MP, then a senior police officer kill themselves after The Book exposes their sordid secrets of sex and corruption. Scores more prominent people wait fearfully to see what will be revealed about the darkness of their own lives. Then Dan and Adam discover they too are in The Book and are forced into a desperate race to find the blackmailer, to stop them exposing the secrets which would destroy their own futures.

And from Filbert Press I received this for review…

HOW TO MAKE A WILDFLOWER MEADOW by JAMES HEWETSON-BROWN

Flowering meadows are appealing to gardeners and valuable for wildlife, but they can be difficult to establish. This book will change all that with its pragmatic yet eco-friendly advice. Gardeners and landscape professionals alike will relish James Hewetson-Brown’s common sense approach. There is no need to be an expert on habitat planting or plant ecology—just follow the step-by-step techniques. Using seed, plug plants, bulbs, and roll-out turf, you can establish meadow the same year you plant it. The book includes 30 case studies that describe successful meadow plantings alongside paths, utility areas, and ponds and in mixed borders, orchards, green roofs, sloping banks, and containers. Interviews offer a fascinating insight into the the installation process and the pleasures of living with a wildflower meadow.

And from Renard Press I received these two for my monthly subscription…

KEW GARDENS by VIRGINIA WOOLF

First published in 1921 as part of her ground-breaking short-story collection Monday or TuesdayKew Gardens follows the thoughts of a set of characters walking past a flower bed in the royal botanic garden on a hot July day. Interweaving the thoughts of the characters with depictions of the natural world surrounding them, the narrative flows from mind to mind, from the tranquil flower bed to the bustling city outside. Written in Woolf’s trademark style, brimming with keen observation and rich language, Kew Gardens is both a paean to the natural world and an empathetic exploration of human experience. The light fell either upon the smooth, grey back of a pebble or the shell of a snail with its brown, circular veins, or, falling into a raindrop, it expanded with such intensity of red, blue and yellow the thin walls of water that one expected them to burst and disappear… Then the breeze stirred rather more briskly overhead and the colour was flashed into the air above, into the eyes of the men and women who walk in Kew Gardens in July.

THE RIGHTS OF MAN by H.G.WELLS

In 1940 the Second World War continued to rage, and atrocities wreaked around the globe made international waves. Wells, a socialist and prominent political thinker as well as a first-rate novelist, set down in The Rights of Man a stirring manifesto, designed to instruct the international community on how best to safeguard human rights.

The work gained traction, and was soon under discussion for becoming actual legislation. Although Wells didn’t live to see it enacted, his words laid the groundwork for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which enshrined human rights in law for the first time, and was adopted by the United Nations in 1948, changing the course of history for ever and granting fundamental rights to billions.

This edition has an introduction by Burhan Sönmez, President of PEN International, ‘He Told Us So’.

And also from Renard is this one ahead of a Blog Tour, coming soon!

STILL LIVES by RESHMA RUIA

‘The glow of my cigarette picks out a dark shape lying on the ground. I bend down to take a closer look. It’s a dead sparrow. I wondered if I had become that bird, disoriented and lost.’

Young, handsome and contemptuous of his father’s traditional ways, PK Malik leaves Bombay to start a new life in America. Stopping in Manchester to visit an old friend, he thinks he sees a business opportunity, and decides to stay on. Now fifty-five, PK has fallen out of love with life. His business is struggling and his wife Geeta is lonely, pining for the India she’s left behind.

One day PK crosses the path of Esther, the wife of his business competitor, and they launch into an affair conducted in shabby hotel rooms, with the fear of discovery forever hanging in the air. Still Lives is a tightly woven, haunting work that pulls apart the threads of a family and plays with notions of identity.

Shortlisted for the SI Leeds Literary Prize

CURRENTLY READING

THE WITCH’S TREE by ELENA COLLINS

HAPPY READING!!

#BookReview SOUR GRAPES by DAN RHODES

ABOUT THE BOOK

‘Dan Rhodes is a true original’ – Hilary Mantel

When the sleepy English village of Green Bottom hosts its first literary festival, the good, the bad and the ugly of the book world descend upon its leafy lanes. But the villagers are not prepared for the peculiar habits, petty rivalries and unspeakable desires of the authors. And they are certainly not equipped to deal with Wilberforce Selfram, the ghoul-faced, ageing enfant terrible who wreaks havoc wherever he goes.

Sour Grapes is a hilarious satire on the literary world which takes no prisoners as it skewers authors, agents, publishers and reviewers alike.

PUBLISHED BY LIGHTNING BOOKS

PURCHASE LINKS

Publisher Website

Amazon

Blackwell’s

MY REVIEW

This was the perfect silly, satirical read that I needed! so thank you Dan Rhodes!!! It’s a hilarious look at the literary world, and all who inhabit it, set against the backdrop of a literary festival and the author goes to town, with great relish it seems, with making fun at the madness of various characters that can be found from the highs of the publishing world and all those beneath!

It is full of far fetched and hilarious situations that I found to be utterly delightful and often found myself grinning and chuckling away at the madness of it all, but it has that more-ish quality that I love in a story! Just one more page, one more chapter… ooh it’s the end! how did that happen!!

It shows up perfectly the silliness of the world we find ourselves living in and it’s fun trying to work out the inspiration behind many of the characters. The locals of Green Bottom have no idea what’s about to hit them when the festival turns up in town and chaos ensues! A must have for any bookshelf!! Go buy it!!

★★★★★

#BookReview HOPE FOR THE RAILWAY GIRLS by MAISIE THOMAS

ABOUT THE BOOK

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

Manchester, 1942

A new year brings new hope for the railway girls.

Alison‘s romance with the charming Dr Maitland is blossoming, but then she is posted away from Manchester. Working in a canteen isn’t part of her plan, nor is meeting her beau’s old girlfriend. One who just happens to want him back.

Margaret is supportive of her friend’s new relationship until she realises exactly who he is. Torn between keeping her secret and warning Alison, she turns to Joan for help.

Working in Lost Property wouldn’t be Joan‘s first choice of job, but with a baby on the way she knows she can’t continue being a station porter. She’s also eligible to be evacuated but could she leave Bob – and Gran – behind?

Being a railway girl isn’t always easy but together they can overcome every challenge that stands in their way.

PUBLISHED BY  PENGUIN

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

MY REVIEW

Book 5 in the Railway Girls series and it feels just like catching up with long lost friends! Being back amongst this group of wonderful women in the trying times of 1942, allowed you to reconnect with characters from the previous books and see just how their lives were changing. It can easily be read as a standalone if you’ve not had the pleasure of reading the other 4 books, but I guarantee you’ll want to read those if you start with this one!

Alison, Margaret and Joan are the main characters in this installment and there are a number of challenges that they all face. Joan is facing up to working life while pregnant so has a new mindset as she looks forward to the future as a mother. And Alison is all loved up with Dr Maitland, but a new posting sees her meeting up with an ex of his and that sets off new worries – Margaret is also a little concerned about the romance and has that dilemma of wondering whether to get involved and say something or just see how things play out. That friend quandry that we all face in one way or another over time!!

The women all have to face the attitudes of the time that mean that working women are still looked down on and not taken seriously so it’s always fascinating to see them overcome these pressures and prove they’re just as good as anybody else. I also love that it gives a good impression of sacrifices made as well as the feeling that the women get from working. They feel a great sense of pride in the work that they do and that they’re making a valuable contribution to the world they live in and for the future with changing attitudes of those they work alongside.

As the storylines play it, it’s always full of drama and the emotions often run high but there’s always that hope and general feeling of fulfilment and happiness amongst the women that they’re part of a change in society along with dealing with things that happened in their pasts and allowing them to move on.

Another fabulous read from Maisie and I’m already counting down the days until the next installment is released later in the year!!

★★★★★

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 21st May 2022

Bonjour!!  Happy Saturday!! It’s Rose time in the garden and that makes me happy!  The slugs and snail in the garden do NOT make me happy!!  Aarrgghh!!

On to books – it’s been a very good reading week with another 5 finished off the pile…. if only I could have as much enthusiasm for writing reviews at the moment!! I’m going to have a mountain of To Be Reviewed books soon!! scary!  Another 2 have been added to the Netgalley shelves along with some lovely book post too!  Here’s my look back!

BOOKS FINISHED

SOUR GRAPES by DAN RHODES – 5 STARS

SIX DAYS IN ROME by FRANCESCA GIACCO – 4 STARS

THE MAIDS OF BIDDENDEN by G.D. HARPER – 5 STARS

HOPE FOR THE RAILWAY GIRLS by MAISIE THOMAS – 5 STARS

FORESTS by KIERON CONNOLLY – 5 STARS


BOOKHAUL


Starting over at Netgalley…

ISAAC AND THE EGG by BOBBY PALMER

publication date – August 2022


Find hope in the unexpected in this unforgettable debut novel about grief and friendship, for readers of Patrick Ness, Sarah Winman and Max Porter.Isaac stands alone on a bridge and screams into the river below.And then, an answer. A cry of despair perhaps even greater than his own.The sound draws Isaac into the woods. What he finds there changes everything.It’s a tale that might seem familiar. A broken man and an unexpected guest, who can’t stay forever. But real life isn’t a story. It’s full of truths, messy and surprising, that Isaac has been hiding from his new, improbable friend…Powerful, hopeful and utterly extraordinary, this is a truly original tale of love and loss, told with warmth and imaginative humour, from an unforgettable new voice in fiction.


THAT BONESETTER WOMAN by FRANCES QUINN

publicaton date – October 2022


Meet Endurance Proudfoot – England’s strongest woman, boldest adventurer and first female bonesetter.Endurance Proudfoot only wants one thing in life – to follow her father and grandfather into the family business of bonesetting. It’s a physically demanding job, requiring strength, nerves of steel and discretion – and not the job for a woman.But Durie isn’t like other women. She’s strong and stubborn and determined to get her own way. And she finds that she has a talent at bonesetting – her big hands and lack of grace have finally found their natural calling

I was very thankful to be sent a copy of the following for review….

THE OTHER SIDE OF NIGHT by ADAM HANDY

publication date – September 2022
The Other Side of Night begins with a man named David Asha writing about his biggest regret: his sudden separation from his son, Elliot. In his grief, David tells a story.Next, we step into the life of Harriet Kealty, a police officer trying to clear her name after a lapse of judgment. She discovers a curious inscription in a secondhand book—a plea: Help me, he’s trying to kill me. Who wrote this note? Who is “he”?This note leads Harri to David Asha, who was last seen stepping off a cliff. Police suspect he couldn’t cope after his wife’s sudden death. Still, why would this man jump and leave behind his young son? Quickly, Harri’s attention zeroes in on a person she knows all too well.Ben Elmys: once the love of her life. A surrogate father to Elliot Asha and trusted friend to the Ashas.Ben may also be a murderer.

I was also very lucky to win a competition via Historia Magazine and won these two….


LIONHEART by BEN KANE

REBEL. LEADER. BROTHER. KING.1179. Henry II is King of England, Wales, Ireland, Normandy, Brittany and Aquitaine. The House of Plantagenet reigns supreme.But there is unrest in Henry’s house. Not for the first time, his family talks of rebellion.Ferdia – an Irish nobleman taken captive during the conquest of his homeland – saves the life of Richard, the king’s son. In reward for his bravery, he is made squire to Richard, who is already a renowned warrior.Crossing the English Channel, the two are plunged into a campaign to crush rebels in Aquitaine. The bloody battles and gruelling sieges which followed would earn Richard the legendary name of Lionheart.But Richard’s older brother, Henry, is infuriated by his sibling’s newfound fame. Soon it becomes clear that the biggest threat to Richard’s life may not be rebel or French armies, but his own family…


CRUSADER  by BEN KANE

KING. POLITICIAN. WARRIOR. CONQUEROR.

1189. Richard the Lionheart’s long-awaited goal comes true as he is crowned King of England. Setting his own kingdom in order, he prepares to embark on a gruelling crusade to reclaim Jerusalem.

With him on every step of the journey is Ferdia, his loyal Irish follower. Together they travel from southern France to Italy, to the kingdom of Sicily and beyond.

Finally poised to sail to the Holy Land, Richard finds a bitter two-year-long siege awaiting him. And with it, the iconic Saracen leader responsible for the loss of Jerusalem, Saladin.

No one can agree who should fill the empty throne of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and Saladin’s huge army shadows Richard’s every move. Conditions are brutal, the temperatures boiling, and on the dusty field of Arsuf, the Lionheart and his soldiers face their ultimate test… 


And the latest book as part of my Peirene Press subscription..


OF SAINTS AND MIRACLES by MANUEL ASTUR

Marcelino lives alone on his parents’ farm, set deep in the beautiful but impoverished countryside of Asturias, northern Spain. It’s the place where he grew up, where he doted on his beloved baby brother, where he protected his mother from his father’s drunken rages. But when Marcelino’s brother tricks him out of his land and home, a moment of uncontrolled anger sparks a chain of events that can’t be reversed. Marcelino flees into the wild peaks, dense woods and abandoned villages that surround his home, becoming a cult hero as he evades the authorities.Into this unconventional thriller, Astur weaves fables about the sun and the moon, tales of death and love, and reveals a community and a way of life that may soon be lost. Of Saints and Miracles is a sensuous and poetic portrayal of an outcast’s struggle to survive in a changing world, and a seamless blend of the tragic and the majestic.


CURRENTLY READING


THE WOMEN WHO SAVED THE ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE by MATTHEW KELLY



HAPPY READING

#BookReview THE SWIMMERS by CHLOE LANE

ABOUT THE BOOK

Longlisted for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards 2021

‘Darkly funny, desperately sad, brilliantly written. I absolutely loved it’ Claire Fuller, author of Unsettled Ground

This book is spectacular. A perfect blend of devastating humour and sadness’ Emily Austin, author of Everyone in This Room Will Someday be Dead

A sharp, quirky story of love and loss from a bold New Zealand talent.

When an affair ends badly and her career in the arts implodes, 26-year-old Erin returns to lie low at the family farm with her chronically ill mother, and her aunt-turned-carer. She learns shortly before her arrival that her mother has decided to take matters into her own hands and end her life – the following Tuesday.

Erin finds herself navigating an eccentric neighbourhood and her complicated family, as she prepares for the loss of a fiery, independent woman.

A former competitive swimmer like her mother and aunt, Erin must find the strength to honour her mother’s final wishes and to reconcile their difficult relationship in the days they have left.

PUBLISHED BY GALLIC PRESS

PURCHASE LINKS

Publisher Website

Amazon

MY REVIEW

Wow! This was one of those books that is a heavy read considering the topic BUT is lifted by the wonderful use of humour that many of us use in reality when dealing with an event that rocks our foundations and try to find a way of coping with it all.
Erin finds herself jobless and loveless after an office romance goes sour. So she goes to spend the holiday weekend with family – her aunt and uncle, and her terminally ill mother. The news she hears when she arrives shocks her and we are witnesses to the turmoil and brutal reality of that decision. How do you come to terms with the fact that your mother wants to take their own life?

It approaches the subject of assisted dying in a very clever and perceptive way. It doesn’t sugar coat it, but you see it in real terms and watching the different women involved coming to terms with the idea was brilliantly portrayed and played out. And that’s where the humour comes in to its’ own! Just because there’s a heavy situation doesn’t mean that life doesn’t throw up funny thoughts or circumstances and it takes the edge off perfectly. Their pasts are all explored and the importance of swimming is really at the core of it all -that sense of freedom and escapism that they felt when in the water is guiding them through the troubled times they find themselves facing now. The characters are all very strong females and I loved that angle which shaped their way of dealing with what life had thrown their way.

This was a stunning read and is a book that makes you think. A poignant story.

★★★★★

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

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 14th May 2022


Hello all! Happy Saturday!!  Been enjoying some Spring sunshine this week, and been butterfly spotting! I love this time of year! Everything is peak green and frothy in the wild and it makes me very happy…. and a little sneezy!!

Book wise it’s not been too bad with 3 books finished – all 5 star reads too!  There may have been a couple of additions to my Netgalley shelf too along with some lovely book post!

Here’s my look back!!

BOOKS FINISHED

A TERRIBLE KINDNESS by JO BROWNING WROE – 5 STARS

A TIDY ENDING by JOANNA CANNON – 5 STARS

BUTTERFLIES by JULIANNA PHOTOPOULOS – 5 STARS

publication date – 14th June 2022

BOOKHAUL


Beginning with Netgalley additions…..


THE WOMEN WHO SAVED THE ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE by MATTHEW KELLY

publication date – May 31st 2022

A vibrant history of English landscape preservation over the last 150 years, told through the lives of four remarkable women

In Britain today, a mosaic of regulations protects the natural environment and guarantees public access to green spaces. But this was not always so. Over the last 150 years, activists have campaigned tirelessly for the right to roam through the countryside and the vital importance of preserving Britain’s natural beauty.
 
Matthew Kelly traces the history of landscape preservation through the lives of four remarkable women: Octavia Hill, Beatrix Potter, Pauline Dower, and Sylvia Sayer. From the commons of London to the Lake District, Northumberland, and Dartmoor, these women protected the English landscape at a crucial period through a mixture of environmental activism, networking, and sheer determination.
 
They grappled with the challenges that urbanization and industrial modernity posed to human well-being as well as the natural environment. By tirelessly seeking to reconcile the needs of particular places to the broader public interest they helped re-imagine the purpose of the English countryside for the democratic age. 

CAGED LITTLE BIRDS by LUCY BANKS 

publication date – September 2022

The public think Ava’s a monster. Ava thinks she’s blameless.

In prison, they called her Butcher Bird – but Ava’s not in prison any more. Released after 25 years to a new identity and a new home, Ava finally has the quiet life she’s always wanted.

But someone knows who she is. The lies she’s told are about to unravel.

And I was very thankful to receive this book from Gallic Press for review….

THE MARTINS by DAVID FOENKINOS

publication date – June 2022

‘Go out into the street and the first person you see will be the subject of your next book.’

This is the challenge a struggling Parisian writer sets himself, imagining his next heroine might be the mysterious young woman who often stands smoking near his apartment … instead it’s octogenarian Madeleine. She’s happy to become the subject of his book – but first she needs to put away her shopping.

Is it really true, the writer wonders, that every life is the stuff of novels, or is his story doomed to be hopelessly banal? As he gets to know Madeleine and her family, he’ll be privy to their secrets: lost loves, marital problems and workplace worries. And he’ll soon realise he is not the impartial bystander he intended to be, but a catalyst for major changes in the lives of his characters.

Told with Foenkinos’s characteristic irony and self-deprecating humour, yet filled with warmth, The Martins is a compelling tale of the family next door which raises questions about what it means to be ‘ordinary’, and about the blurred lines between truth and fiction.

CURRENTLY READING

HOPE FOR THE RAILWAY GIRLS by MAISIE THOMAS

HAPPY READING!!

It’s back!!! My 20 Books of Summer 2022 list! #20BooksOfSummer22 #ReadingChallenge

I can’t believe it is that time of year already!! The wonderful reading challenge hosted by the lovely Cathy over at 746 Books is back for the 2022 version!!  And it’s just as relaxed as every other year!!  Choose your own target – be it 10,15 or the full monty of 20 – and then from 1st June to the 1st September is the time frame allowed to complete your challenge!

And it’s that chill that you can change your target if needs be, and even the list of books you initially choose can be changed if they’re not working out for you!! And that’s why I love this challenge!! It’s a great way for me to attack the out of control TBR mountain and I’ve had lots of fun this year deciding which plan of attack to take….. should I read lots off the Netgalley shelf?  Or go for all the real life books I have??!!

And I’ve come to the decision to attack the paperbacks that are clogging up my bookshelves! They’ve been sat there for years and I keep meaning to get round to them but failing miserably!! But I’ve also grouped them in pairs under very tenuous links……it made sense to me when I was coming up with the list so forgive me for the madness!!

So here it is…..the book stack for Summer 2022!

Now sit back and enjoy my silly links! Click on the book title to take you to the GoodReads page if you want to know more about each book!!

GIRLS’ NAMES

ISABEL’S SKIN by PETER BENSON

SAVING LUCIA by ANNA VAUGHT

BIRDS

THE DOVES IN THE DINING ROOM by LAURA LAAKSO

MAGPIE LANE by LUCY ATKINS

BEGINNING WITH S!

SOULJOURNER by PAUL STEVEN STONE

SNEGUROCHKA by JUDITH HENEGHAN

BODY PARTS!

FACES ON THE TIP OF MY TONGUE by EMANUELLE PAGANO

ANY HUMAN HEART by WILLIAM BOYD

CELEBRITY ICONS

GRACELAND by BETHAN ROBERTS

BLONDE by JOYCE CAROL OATES

GIRL IN THE TITLE!

THE GIRL FROM THE HERMITAGE by MOLLY GARTLAND

THE EIGHTH GIRL by MAXINE MEI-FUNG CHUNG

WILDLIFE

THE CHAMELEON by SAMUEL FISHER

WE ARE ANIMALS by TIM EWINS

FLOWERS

TULIP FEVER by DEBORAH MOGGACH

STEALING ROSES by HEATHER COOPER

THINGS IN THE TITLE!

FINER THINGS by DAVID WHARTON

THE TYRANNY OF LOST THINGS by RHIANNON LUCY COSSLET

WATER ACTIVITIES!

THE SECRET TO NOT DROWNING by COLETTE SNOWDEN

SWIMMING HOME by MARY-ROSE MACCOLL

📚📚📚

So there we have it! I am hoping to complete the full monty of 20 but I already have my doubts!! But I will try my best and have a blooming good time taking part in it all with everyone!! Bring on those hot sunny days so that we can all devote as many hours as possible to completing our challenge!!!

Good luck everyone!! And if you’re not signed up already, come join in the fun!!