#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.

#BookReview A BURNING LIE by CLAIRE SHELDON @RubyFiction #PublicationDay

ABOUT THE BOOK

When a deadly explosion brings secrets and lies to light …


A city shaken to its foundations by a fire in a well-known music venue. A nightclub owner seemingly more concerned about money than the lives of the young people who fill the dancefloor at the end of every week. A dangerous bomber still on the loose.


All things that Detective Jen Garner must face in her first week of local level policing whilst trying to start afresh and finally make a break with her past.


Working alongside DI Chris Jackson, it’s crucial that Jen connects the dots to bring the culprit to justice. But it seems that everywhere Jen turns there is somebody with something to hide – and whilst she and her team attempt to unravel a web of lies years in the making, could the bomber be getting ready to strike again?

PUBLISHED BY RUBY FICTION

PURCHASE LINKS

 Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Burning-Lie-chilling-detective-thriller-ebook/dp/B09VQ4BZPM/ 

Apple: https://books.apple.com/gb/book/a-burning-lie/id1614657973

Kobo: A Burning Lie eBook by Claire Sheldon – 9781912550708 | Rakuten Kobo United Kingdom

Google: A Burning Lie by Claire Sheldon – Books on Google Play

Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-burning-lie-claire-sheldon/1141233577?ean=2940160887210

MY REVIEW

The 3rd in the Lisa Carter Files series, but easily read as a standalone and it’s another pulsating thriller from Claire Sheldon, as we follow the very likeable and relatable characters she’s created, as they struggle with a case that has left a music venue blown up and 22 victims.

DI Chris Jackson, and Detective Jen Garner team up again to solve the mystery in front of them, and all while dealing with their own personal issues. Chris Jackson has an illness hanging over him and he’s really struggling to come to terms with it and the impact it will have on him both personally and professionally. And Jen is facing the battle between raising a family and wanting to carry on working and trying to get the balance right of not bringing work home with her – very difficult when she’s involved in such time consuming cases.

And this case is a big mystery as initially there appear to be no motive so it’s a big case of ruling people in and ruling people out, interviewing everyone there and delving into their pasts. Who has got something to hide?! I love how well they work together and the meticulous approach to the issues in front of them eventually proves to be successful and the conclusion was shocking and thrilling in equal measures!!

I love the mix of personal and work life in these books, they make it seem more real and showing the human side of the police! Their lives don’t just go on hold because they’re working a big case! Hoping there’ll be more installments as I love keeping up with these characters!! A great read!!

★★★★★

#BookReview THE BOOKSHOP ON PRIMROSE HILL by SARAH JIO #TheBookshopOnPrimroseHill

ABOUT THE BOOK

Valentina Baker was only eleven years old when her mother, Eloise, suddenly fled to London, leaving Val and her father on their own in California. Now a librarian in her thirties, Val is fresh out of a failed marriage and utterly disenchanted with life.

One day, Val receives word that Eloise has died, leaving Val the deed to both her mother’s Primrose Hill apartment and the bookshop she opened twenty years ago. As Val jets across the Atlantic, she wonders – could this be her chance at a new beginning?

In London, Val finds herself falling in love with the pastel-coloured flat and the cosy, treasure-filled bookshop. When she stumbles across a series of intriguing notes left in a beloved old novel, it’s the start of a scavenger hunt that will take her all over London and back in time… but most of all, bring her closer to the mother she lost twice.

Bittersweet and uplifting, The Bookshop on Primrose Hill will steal your heart. Perfect for fans of The Bookish Life of Nina Hill and How to Find Love in a Bookshop. Published in the US as With Love from London.

PUBLISHED BY ORION DASH

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

MY REVIEW

A book centred around a bookshop?! Full of characters who love books?! YES PLEASE!!! And it hasn’t disappointed as I found myself swept along with all the feels in this wonderful new book that sees a woman gaining a connection to her late mother, through the world of books and community she had left behind. I Loved it!!

Valentina has been living in America for years, her mother walked out on her and her dad when she was 12, and had no contact with her since, but now she has passed and has left her daughter a property in Primrose Hill, which also contains a bookshop! Her initial thought is to go to England and put the property up for sale and move on with her life. But life has a funny way of throwing a spanner in the works, and a scavenger hunt left behind by her mother adds to the intrigue and Valentina finds herself wanting to know more about this woman who had left them so abruptly all those years ago.

The characters are so easy to connect with, and being set around a bookshop always helps! The scavenger hunt clues are a great little invention and allowed Valentina to really connect with her mother in a different way, allowing her to meet people who had become so special to her in the years before she passed. I was totally in love with the setting and the emotional journey you were taken on. Allowing her mother to share her story through the different characters in the community allowed Valentina to see the story from her mums’ point of view and as the reader you also get to hear Eloise’s story from her point of view, allowing us to travel back in time to see what she went through in finding love and becoming a mother. A wonderful read!!

★★★★★

#BookReview MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS by ERICA JAMES

ABOUT THE BOOK


Even happy families have their secrets…

Since the sudden death of her husband, Naomi has steadily rebuilt the life they shared in the village of Tilsham by the sea.

Her eldest daughter, Martha, is sensible and determined – just like her father was – and very much in control of where her life is going. If she could just get pregnant with her husband, life would be perfect.

Willow, the youngest, was always more sunny and easy-going, yet drifted through life, much to her father’s frustration. But now, with charming new boyfriend, Rick, she has a very good reason to settle down.

The three women are as close as can be. But there are things Naomi has kept from her daughters. Like the arrival of Ellis, a long-lost friend from way back, now bringing the fun and spark back into her life. And she’s certainly never told them that her marriage to their father wasn’t quite what it seemed…

The Sunday Times bestselling author Erica James returns with this gloriously compelling tale of mothers and daughters, secrets and love.

PUBLISHED BY HQ

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

MY REVIEW

I loved this!! One of those stories when you’re sad to leave the characters as you immediately feel at ease with them and want to carry on watching over them as they come to terms with the loss in their lives, but begin to move on.

It’s a story about family relationships, mostly those between mother and daughters and the different personalities they have. Naomi is the mum, recently widowed, so trying to begin a new life for herself now that her main priority is herself. Martha and Willow are her 2 daughters, both very different in character but dealing with their own issues along with the grief of losing their father.

So the story revolves around the different positions they find themselves in – Martha, happily married and in control of her life, but unable to fall pregnant, and Willow who is really easy going and drifts through life, much to the horror of her big sister! Martha is a very strong character who likes to take control of every aspect, and she thinks it would be best for her mum to sell up and move nearer them. Not so easy for Naomi who has happy memories in her home, along with the fact that she’s now making a life for herself, and it’s fascinating to see how that relationship with her daughters plays out.

These are changing times for all of them and the author has done a wonderful job of capturing the different emotions that each family member goes through, and the impact on the other people in their life. I just adored the interaction between the family and the discovery of things that happened in the past that the mother kept from the girls really added to the drama.

This was one of those books that you totally lose yourself in. The main characters are really well crafted and the dilemmas they face never go OTT and it just gripped me as the drama played out, especially towards the end when they’re faced with some challenging times. Wonderful!

★★★★★

#BookReview THE DISCORD OF GODS by JENN LYONS @BlackCrow_PR @torbooks

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Discord of Gods marks the epic conclusion to Jenn Lyons’s Chorus of Dragon series, closing out the saga that began with The Ruin of Kings, for fans of Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss.

The end times have come.

Relos Var’s final plans to enslave the universe are on the cusp of fruition. He believes there’s only one being in existence that might be able to stop him: the demon Xaltorath.

As these two masterminds circle each other, neither is paying attention to the third player on the board, Kihrin. Unfortunately, keeping himself classified in the “pawn” category means Kihrin must pretend to be everything the prophecies threatened he’d become: the destroyer of all, the sun eater, a mindless, remorseless plague upon the land. It also means finding an excuse to not destroy the people he loves (or any of the remaining Immortals) without arousing suspicion.

Kihrin’s goals are complicated by the fact that not all of his “act” is one. His intentions may be sincere, but he’s still being forced to grapple with the aftereffects of the corrupted magic ritual that twisted both him and the dragons. Worse, he’s now tied to a body that is the literal avatar of a star – a form that is becoming increasingly, catastrophically unstable. All of which means he’s running out of time.

After all, some stars fade – but others explode.

PUBLISHED BY TOR BOOKS

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon

Blackwell’s

MY REVIEW

The fifth and final installment of a truly epic fantasy series – say it ain’t so!! But this ‘chapter’ is a really fitting end to the series and allows us to spend more time with our favourite characters and marvel at the grand scale of the drama and goings on!! Be prepared! This book is full on, non stop action!! There’s barely time to draw breath between the chaos and carnage, and that’s where the wonderful use of the footnotes come into play as they just allow that light relief and pause as you take stock of what’s been going on, and marvel at the ‘snark-asm’ which this series has been a master at!! Guaranteed to bring a smile and smirk to any grumpy face!

The main characters each take their turn in playing a major part in the action, as Relos Var’s plans begin to take shape but has he taken his eye off the ball to someone else coming in and spoiling his fun!! There’s double bluffs, soul searching and the wonderful interaction between characters as before, my favourites being Kihrin, Janel and Tereath, and there are some satisfying conclusions being played out, along with a few twists and turns that hit hard!!

This is a series that has dragons and demons, rituals and revenge, magic and murder, battles and betrayals, and most importantly, the wonderful world building that allows your imagination to go nuts! It’s a series I’ve loved and I’m very sad to see it go! Thank you Jenn Lyons for the ride!!

★★★★★

My thanks to the team at Black Crow PR for the advanced reader copy in return for a fair and honest review.

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 23rd April 2022

Hello all and Happy Saturday! And Happy St George’s Day!  

Another good week on the bookish front – a welcome distraction at home as our bathroom is still being redone and it’s been chaotic and noisy! The end is in sight though!! Bring on the bubble baths!!

I managed to finish 4 books this week and avoided browsing Netgalley or making any purchases! This WILL change very soon I can assure you!!

Here’s my look back..

BOOKS FINISHED

QUIET; THE POWER OF INTROVERTS by SUSAN CAIN – 4 STARS

THE DISCORD OF GODS by JENNY LYONS – 5 STARS

THE BOOKSHOP ON PRIMROSE HILL by SARAH JIO – 5 STARS

THE SWIMMERS by CHLOE LANE – 4 STARS

BOOKHAUL

Absolutely sweet naff all!! 

CURRENTLY READING

SOUR GRAPES by DAN RHODES

HAPPY READING!!

#BookReview THE CREVICE GARDEN by PAUL SPRIGGS, KENTON SETH #TheCreviceGarden @filbertpress

ABOUT THE BOOK

A crevice garden replicates the environmental conditions of mountain tops, deserts, coastlines and virtually all other exposed or rocky places on earth. These striking garden features provide perfect conditions for the plants native to these far-off places, bringing the cultivation of these precious gems within everybody’s reach. In this book, enthusiastic experts Kenton Seth and Paul Spriggs, bring us in-depth guidance on the design, construction, and planting of crevice gardens of all kinds including those suitable for containers, small gardens and public parks and in styles that encompass both naturalistic scenes and non-traditional installations. A wealth of international case studies demonstrate how crevice gardens provide multiple micro-habitats that are exceptionally well-suited to growing a wide range of desirable plants that struggle in normal garden conditions. Further examples reveal their value in the ecological re-use of waste materials such as concrete, wildlife habitat creation and for making permeable, plant-friendly alternatives to retaining walls. An illustrated A-Z that recommends 250 irresistible plants completes this comprehensive book which heralds a bold new chapter in the history of crevice garden making.

PUBLISHED BY FILBERT PRESS

PUBLICATION DATE – 21ST APRIL 2022

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

Blackwell’s

MY REVIEW

This is one of those books that makes you want to rush out and create your own crevice garden!! The photographs alone are stunning and help paint the picture of just what it is to be a crevice garden, and alongside that the enthusiasm of the authors is infectious as they explore different aspects of this aspect of gardening.

This is a book packed full of photos, plants, history and ideas! I knew very little of crevice gardening, my only real knowledge is of rockery planting, but this a more broader range and a whole new level which is a better way for the plants – a way of working with them to suit their conditions than old ideas as it recreates their ideal habitat.

It looks into the geology alongside the extremes of the climates that these plants thrive in and it always amazes me that there are plants out there that survive in even the harshest of conditions! With this background information you really do understand a lot more about the plants and it’s made me want to learn more about these plants that can often be overlooked and not embraced into gardening schemes.

There are brilliant step by step hints and ideas to help you set up your own crevice garden, and you don’t even need a large area as they can be created in a pot. It sets you in the right direction of rocks to use, soil and, most importantly!, the plants to be used! What was even more helpful was the list of plants for specific situations which makes it really easy to pick and choose for your own needs!

A lot of American gardens are shown in some of the photos, but there are also photos from RHS Wisley, alongside gardens from Europe and it was really nice to see Crevice Gardening in action as it really gives you a good feel for the ‘art’ and I always like to see gardens that others have created.

This was a comprehensive and illuminating introduction to Crevice Gardening for me and I’m thankful to the authors for sharing their enthusiasm and knowledge and I look forward to using this book for my own crevice gardening plans in the future!

My thanks to Filbert Press for the copy in return for a fair and honest review.

★★★★★

#BookReview NATURE IS A HUMAN RIGHT by ELLEN MILES

ABOUT THE BOOK

Fighting for a green world — a collection of essays and writing for building an equal, healthier society.

Access to the natural world is a human right. This inspiring book captures why contact with nature is essential for our mental, social and physical well-being — and how we can rethink urban development to create green city spaces and a return to nature.

Find an inspiring collection of original writings from world-leading “green” voices and discover:

– Benefits and issues surrounding our access to nature
– Discussions on social and environmental justice
– Why we need nature around us, how we’re being deprived of nature and what we can all do to change environmental and social issues
– Edited by the founder of the environmental justice campaign Nature is a Human Right, Ellen Miles

Concrete outweighs every tree, bush, and shrub on Earth. Nature deprivation is a fast-growing epidemic, harming the health and happiness of hundreds of millions of people worldwide — especially vulnerable and marginalized groups. Nature is a Human Right, founded by Ellen Miles in 2020, is working to make access to green space a recognized right for all, not a privilege.

This book brings together a collection of engaging, accessible essays, interviews and exercises, from expert ambassadors and supporters (including authors, artists, scientists, human rights experts, television presenters, TED speakers, and climate activists). Each contributor offers a new perspective on why contact with nature should be a protected human right.

Enlightening and sometimes uncomfortable, this collection of writing and ideas illuminate the work that needs to be done to make our global future happier.

PUBLISHED BY DK PUBLISHING

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

MY REVIEW

This is a brilliant, and very timely book, that focuses on the importance of a green space is to each and everyone us – no more so than over the past couple of years where we have all seen how nature and spending time in it is crucial to our wellbeing.

This book is a collection of essays and interviews from a variety of leading experts and brilliantly sums up the different aspects that nature has on the human psyche and how attitudes have changed to it over the years – to the detriment of society at times.

It is split into 3 sections which works really well – Welfare; showing the impact on how a green space is so good for you and the benefits it has both mentally and physically, Injustice; how the modern world has turned grey and that much needed green spaces are being taken over and not replaced… and Change; what we can do to keep the green spaces and do your bit be it in your own garden space or in the local community.

There’s a good mix of essays – that aren’t too preachy! – studies and even poetry and is fascinating to see the impact on health, senses and sleep. As a keen birdwatcher myself I really connected with the study on birdspotting and the joy it brings and a lift to your mental health when you hear a bird sing or spot a new species to you!

There’s also some good practical advice on how to make seed bombs, how to compost and using a worm farm so it was good to see the more hands on side to the book, and I loved how it offered solutions to various problems or ways to help instead of just featuring the issues.

I loved reading every page of this book and I just think it is sad that those not interested in nature and green social spaces who should be reading this book will be the least likely to pick this up. They’re the ones who need to read this the most!! Highly recommended!

★★★★★

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 9th April 2022

Hello! Happy Saturday! We meet again… these weekends are coming round quicker and quicker each week! And disappearing equally as fast!!

Book wise it’s been an OK week! Gardening has taken over my focus so books have taken a bit of a back seat, but still managed to finish 3 books.  And being otherwise occupied has kept me away from Netgalley so that’s always good! Just 1 book in post wise for review!

Here’s my look back!!

BOOKS FINISHED

INLANDS by ELIN WILLOWS – 3 STARS

THE ONE by CLAIRE FROST – 4 STARS

NATURE IS A HUMAN RIGHT by ELLEN MILES – 5 STARS

BOOKHAUL

The lovely people at Filbert Press have kindly sent me this to review…

THE CREVICE GARDEN by PAUL SPRIGGS/KENTON SETH

published by Filbert Press

publication date – April 21st 2022

A crevice garden replicates the environmental conditions of mountain tops, deserts, coastlines, and other exposed or rocky places on earth. These striking garden features provide perfect conditions for the plants native to these far-off places, bringing the cultivation of these precious gems within everybody’s reach.

In this book, enthusiastic experts Kenton Seth and Paul Spriggs bring us in-depth guidance on the design, construction, and planting of crevice gardens of all kinds including those suitable for containers, small gardens, and public parks and in styles that encompass both naturalistic scenes and non-traditional installations.

A wealth of international case studies demonstrate how crevice gardens provide multiple micro-habitats that are exceptionally well-suited to plants that struggle in normal garden conditions.

Further examples reveal their value in the ecological re-use of waste materials such as concrete, wildlife habitat creation, and for making permeable, plant-friendly alternatives to retaining walls.

An illustrated A-Z recommending 250 irresistible plants completes this comprehensive book which heralds a bold new chapter in the history of crevice garden making. 

CURRENTLY READING

TRUST ME by T.M.LOGAN (AUDIOBOOK)

HAPPY READING!!!

#BookReview IT STARTED WITH A WEDDING by KIRSTY FERRY @ChocLituk

ABOUT THE BOOK

It’s one thing to be asked to plan your sister’s wedding; it’s quite another when your sister is Nessa McCreadie …


Alfie McCreadie wants his twin sister Nessa to have the best wedding ever, but he’s not happy at being roped in as wedding planner – especially as, unbelievably, his main assistant seems to be Nessa’s cat, Schubert. Anyway, Alfie is a scientist. He might know his protons from his neutrons, but what does he know about weddings?


It’s Nessa who points him in the direction of Bea’s Garden, just outside Edinburgh, where he’s tasked with picking a “very-relevant-bouquet”. It’s there he meets Fae Brimham, who might be prettier than any bouquet bloom but doesn’t seem impressed by Alfie’s sensible, scientific side.


But when Nessa and Schubert are involved, surprises are bound to happen and, despite less-than-perfect first impressions, perhaps something new and beautiful can still blossom for Alfie and Fae …

PUBLISHED BY CHOC LIT

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon


MY REVIEW

Schubert is back and this time he’s helping to plan a wedding!! Maybe cats should always be involved with wedding planning if this book is anything to go by! This is part of a series but is easily read as a standalone – once you’ve read about Schubert you’ll want to read more!

This time we get to hear the story of Alfie, who is charged with planning the wedding of his twin sister, Nessa. Way out of his comfort zone, he’s more scientific than romantic, but gets a helping hand from Fae who he meets when he’s helping to choose flowers from Bea’s Garden. Fae is an apothecarist so places huge importance of the meanings and senses behind each flower – very different from Alfie’s approach to life and medicine.

Sparks fly between them instantly and there’s so many co-incidences and moments of deja-vu that you get the sense that the universe is working its’ magic on these two and wants their paths to cross! But will they take the signs and see things through?! Or are there darker arts at work to change their destiny?!

I loved watching the story play out and also loved hearing about the different folklore and meanings about different flowers! It was a lovely, magical and sweet story and Schubert has a wonderful starring role!! As, of course, he rightly deserves!! Brilliant!

★★★★★