My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 11th February 2023

Hello! Happy Saturday!! Almost at the mid point of the month, and it seems to be flying by again!!  Nice bit of frost and fog about this week too, but the return of some sunshine as well and the Spring flowers are beginning to bloom in my garden! Happy times!!

On to books, and it’s been a pretty good week with 4 books finished, some nice bookpost and 2 new additions to the netgalley shelves!!

Here’s my look back!

BOOKS FINISHED

THE GARNETT GIRLS by GEORGINA MOORE – 5 STARS

TOMORROW, AND TOMORROW AND TOMORROW by GABRIELLE ZEVIN – 3 STARS

THE ONLY SUSPECT by LOUISE CANDLISH – 4 STARS

A MARRIAGE OF FORTUNE by ANNE O’BRIEN – 4 STARS

BOOKHAUL

Kicking off over at Netgalley……


THE BIRDCAGE LIBRARY by FREYA BERRY

publication – June 2023

The answers to a puzzle lie hidden within an old book. Open The Birdcage Library and let the treasure hunt begin…

The year is 1882, and the most important thing, unknown reader, is this: The man I love is trying to kill me.

It’s 1932 and adventuress and plant-hunter Emily Blackwood accepts a commission from Heinrich Vogel, a former dealer of exotic animals in Manhattan, living now with his macabre collection in a remote Scottish castle.

Emily is tasked to find a long-lost treasure which Heinrich believes has been hidden within the castle walls. But instead she discovers the pages of a diary, written by Hester Vogel, who died after falling from the Brooklyn Bridge.

Hester’s diary leads Emily to an old book The Birdcage Library and into a treasure hunt of another kind, one that will take her down a dangerous path for clues, and force her to confront her own darkest secret…

With fiendish clues and clever twists, The Birdcage Library will delight and dazzle you to the final page.


CATFISH ROLLING by CLARA KUMAGAI

publication date – March 2023

Magic-realism blends with Japanese myth and legend in an original story about grief, memory, time and an earthquake that shook a nation.

There’s a catfish under the islands of Japan and when it rolls the land rises and falls.

Sora hates the catfish whose rolling caused an earthquake so powerful it cracked time itself. It destroyed her home and took her mother. Now Sora and her scientist father live close to the zones – the wild and abandoned places where time runs faster or slower than normal. Sora is sensitive to the shifts, and her father recruits her help in exploring these liminal spaces.

But it’s dangerous there – and as she strays further inside in search of her mother, she finds that time distorts, memories fracture and shadows, a glimmer of things not entirely human, linger. After Sora’s father goes missing, she has no choice but to venture into uncharted spaces within the time zones to find him, her mother and perhaps even the catfish itself…

And in the post…..

CROSSING OVER by ANN MORGAN

publication date  – April 2023

Edie finds the world around her increasingly difficult to comprehend. Words are no longer at her beck and call, old friends won’t mind their own business and workmen have appeared in the neighbouring fields, preparing to obliterate the landscape she has known all her life. Rattling around in an old farmhouse on the cliffs, she’s beginning to run out of excuses to stop do-gooders interfering when one day she finds an uninvited guest in the barn and is thrown back into the past.

Jonah has finally made it to England – where everything, he’s been told, will be better. But the journey was fraught with danger, and many of his fellow travellers didn’t make it. Sights firmly set on London, but unsure which way to turn, he is unprepared for what happens when he breaks into Edie’s barn.

Haunted by the prospect of being locked away and unable to trust anyone else, the elderly woman stubbornly battling dementia and the traumatised illegal immigrant find solace in an unlikely companionship that helps them make sense of their worlds even as they struggle to understand each other. Crossing Over is a delicately spun tale that celebrates compassion and considers the transcendent language of humanity.

A SECRET GARDEN AFFAIR by ERICA JAMES

publication – March 2023

Another heartbreaking but glorious tale of secrets and love from the Sunday Times bestselling author Erica James…July 1981. As the country prepares to celebrate Prince Charles’ wedding to Lady Diana, Libby wants to be as far away from royal wedding fever as possible.

Having caught her own fianc� in bed with her best friend just weeks before they were due to marry, she’s fled London for the comfort of the Suffolk countryside.

At Larkspur House, with its magical garden created by renowned garden designer and one-time socialite Elfrida Ambrose, and its comfortingly familiar kitchen presided over by Libby’s great-aunt Bess, she hopes to find a way to put her life back together.

But for lifelong friends Bess and Elfrida, Libby’s arrival has stirred up the ghosts of the past. And before they can help her rebuild her shattered future, they must confront their own unspoken secrets, lost loves, and tragedies..

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CURRENTLY READING

EXILES by JANE HARPER

HAPPY READING!!

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My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 4th February 2023

Hello and Happy Saturday!! And hello to February!! I wonder what this month has in store for us!!  I’m just ecstatic that I finally got to get a photograph of a Kingfisher this week!! I just hope I now get more opportunities as they are an amazing bird!!

The book front has not been so amazing!! In my defence we have a decorator in painting our hallway so it’s absolute chaos and definitely not putting me in a reading frame of mind!! I just hope I can get back to it properly next week!! But I have managed to finish 2 books in the chaos, there has been some lovely bookpost and no visits to Netgalley! So that is a big positive!!

Here’s my look back!!

BOOKS FINISHED

1989 by VAL McDERMID – 4 STARS


WAITING FOR OUR RAINBOW by VICTORIA CORNWALL – 5 STARS

BOOKPOST


 I have been extremely lucky to receive a copy of this in the post for review!!

THE GARNETT GIRLS by GEORGINA MOORE

published by HQ

In this brilliant debut novel full of heart and warmth, three very different sisters–and their free-spirited mother–must grapple with life, responsibilities, and family secrets.

Forbidden, passionate and all-encompassing, Margo and Richard’s love affair was the stuff of legend–but, ultimately, doomed. When Richard walked out, Margo locked herself away, leaving her three daughters, Rachel, Imogen, and Sasha, to run wild.

Years later, charismatic Margo entertains lovers and friends in her cottage on the Isle of Wight, refusing to ever speak of Richard and her painful past. But her silence is keeping each of the Garnett girls from finding true happiness.

Rachel is desperate to return to London but is held hostage by responsibility for Sandcove, their beloved but crumbling family home. Dreamy Imogen feels the pressure to marry her kind, considerate fiancé, even when life is taking an unexpected turn. Wild, passionate Sasha, trapped between her fractured family and controlling husband, is weighed down by a secret that could shake the family to its core.

The Garnett Girls, the captivating debut novel from Georgina Moore, asks whether children can ever be free of the mistakes of their parents.

CURRENTLY READING

THE SILENT HOUSE by NELL PATTISON ( audiobook)

HAPPY READING!!

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 20th January 2023

Hello! Happy Saturday!!  Been a rather chilly week here, lots of frosty days but beautiful sunshine! And no snow for us! We missed out on the fun again! AT least it beats the grey, rainy weather!

And on the book front it’s been a very good week!! Managed to finish 6 books this week which pleased me greatly!!  Just 1 new addition to the Netgalley shelves too, along with 1 physical book for review!

Here’s my look back!

BOOKS FINISHED

ONCE UPON A TOME by OLIVER DARKSHIRE – 4 STARS

HORTUS CURIOUS by MICHAEL PERRY – 4 STARS

RECIPE FOR MR PERFECT by ANNI ROSE -5 STARS

THE TOLL HOUSE by CARLY REAGON – 4 STARS

THE DARLINGS OF THE ASYLUM by NOEL O’REILLY – 4 STARS


NEW BEGINNING FOR THE SURPLUS GIRLS by POLLY HERON – 5 STARS



BOOKHAUL

One temptation at Netgalley this week….

HOMECOMING by KATE MORTON

publication date – April 2023

Adelaide Hills, Christmas Eve, 1959. At the end of a scorching hot day, beside a creek in the grounds of a grand and mysterious mansion, a local delivery man makes a terrible discovery. A police investigation is called and the small town of Tumbeela becomes embroiled in one of the most shocking and perplexing murder cases in the history of South Australia.

Sixty years later, Jess is a journalist in search of a story. Having lived and worked in London for almost twenty years, she now finds herself laid off from her full-time job and struggling to make ends meet. A phone call out of nowhere summons her back to Sydney, where her beloved grandmother, Stella, who raised Jess when her mother could not, has suffered a fall and been raced to the hospital.

Stella has always been a vibrant and strong presence: decisive, encouraging, young beyond her years. When Jess visits her in the hospital she is alarmed to find her grandmother frail and confused; it’s even more alarming to hear from Stella’s housekeeper that Stella had been distracted in the weeks before her accident, and that she fell on the steps to the attic – the one place Jess was forbidden from playing when she was small.

At a loose end in Stella’s house, Jess does some digging of her own. In Stella’s bedroom, she discovers a true crime book, chronicling the police investigation into a long-buried tragedy: the Turner Family Tragedy of Christmas Eve, 1959. It is only when Jess skims through the book that she finds a shocking connection between her own family and this once-infamous crime – a crime that has never been resolved satisfactorily. And for a journalist without a story, a cold case might be the best distraction she can find . . .

An epic novel that spans generations, Homecoming asks what we would do for those we love, and how we protect the lies we tell. It explores the power of motherhood, the corrosive effects of tightly held secrets, and the healing nature of truth. Above all, it is a beguiling and immensely satisfying novel from one of the finest writers working today.

And in the post I was very thankful to receive this book for review…

1989 by VAL McDERMAID

publication date – February 2nd 2023

It’s 1989 and Allie Burns is back.Older and maybe wiser, she’s running the northern news operation of the Sunday Globe, chafing at losing her role in investigative journalism and at the descent into the gutter of the UK tabloid media.But there’s plenty to keep her occupied. The year begins with the memorial service to the victims of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, but Allie has barely filed her copy when she stumbles over a story about HIV/AIDS that will shock her into a major change of direction.The world of newspapers is undergoing a revolution, there’s skulduggery in the medical research labs and there are seismic rumblings behind the Iron Curtain. When kidnap and murder are added to this potent mix, Allie is forced to question all her old certainties.



CURRENTLY READING

EMILY WILDE’S ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF FAERIES by HEATHER FAWCETT



HAPPY READING!!

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 7th January 2023

Hello and Happy New Year!!  A whole new year of reading adventures ahead of us all, with all the fun that entails!! Bring it on!!  

And it’s been a promising start to the year book wise!!  Managed to finish off 5 books and avoided Netgalley completely!  Some new books have arrived from the Waterstones sale as well – those vouchers needed spending haha! – and I’ve also received a book to review from the author!

Here’s my look back!

BOOKS FINISHED

THE JOURNEY by JAMES NORBURY – 5 STARS

A GOOD CATCH by FERN BRITTON – 3 STARS

THE THIRD MAN & FALLEN IDOL by GRAHAM GREENE (audiobook) – 4 STARS

SHIVER by JUNJI ITO – 4 STARS

BIRDS by JIM MOIR – 4 STARS


BOOKHAUL

I had vouchers to spend…. there was still a sale on…..

I, MONA LISA by NATASHA SOLOMONS

Listen to my history. My adventures are worth hearing. I have lived many lifetimes and been loved by emperors, kings and thieves. I have survived kidnap and assault. Revolution and two world wars. But this is also a love story. And the story of what we will do for those we love.

In Leonardo da Vinci’s studio, bursting with genius imagination, towering commissions and needling patrons, as well as discontented muses, friends and rivals, sits the painting of the Mona Lisa. For five hundred tumultuous years, amid a whirlwind of power, money, intrigue, the portrait of Lisa del Giocondo is sought after and stolen. Over the centuries, few could hear her voice, but now she is ready to tell her own story, in her own words – a tale of rivalry, murder and heartbreak. Weaving through the years, she takes us from the dazzling world of Florentine studios to the French courts at Fontainebleau and Versailles, and into the Twentieth Century.

I, Mona Lisa is a deliciously vivid, compulsive and illuminating story about the lost and forgotten women throughout history.

THE WEATHER WOMAN by SALLY GARDNER

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.


THE SEVEN MOONS OF MAALI ALMEIDA by SHEHAN KARUNATILAKA

Colombo, 1990. Maali Almeida—war photographer, gambler, and closet queen—has woken up dead in what seems like a celestial visa office. His dismembered body is sinking in the serene Beira Lake and he has no idea who killed him. In a country where scores are settled by death squads, suicide bombers, and hired goons, the list of suspects is depressingly long, as the ghouls and ghosts with grudges who cluster round can attest. But even in the afterlife, time is running out for Maali. He has seven moons to contact the man and woman he loves most and lead them to the photos that will rock Sri Lanka.Ten years after his prize-winning novel Chinaman established him as one of Sri Lanka’s foremost authors, Shehan Karunatilaka is back with a “thrilling satire” (Economist) and rip-roaring state-of-the-nation epic that offers equal parts mordant wit and disturbing, profound truths.

SMALL ANGELS by LAUREN OWEN

A wedding in a small English village attracts a malicious spirit, forcing deep secrets to surface–a hypnotic tale of sisterhood, first love, and hauntings.

As a teenager, Kate found a safe harbor from her parents’ constant fighting in the company of the four Gonne sisters, who lived with their strict grandparents next to Small Angels, a church on the edge of dense green woods. The first outsider to ever get close to the sisters, Kate eventually learned the family’s secret: The woods are home to a capricious, menacing ghost whom generations of Gonnes had been charged with stopping from venturing into the village itself. But as the sisters grew older, braver, and more independent, bucking against the family’s burden, the bulwark began to crack, culminating in a horrifying act of violence that drove a terrible wedge between the sisters and Kate.

Chloe has been planning her dream wedding for months. She has the dress, the flowers, and the perfect venue: Small Angels, a charming old church in the village where her fiancé, Sam, and his sister, Kate, grew up. But days before the ceremony, Chloe starts to hear unsettling stories about Small Angels–and worse, she begins to see, smell, and hear things that couldn’t possibly be real.

Now Kate is returning home for the first time in years, for Sam and Chloe’s wedding. But the woods are coming alive again, and Kate must reconnect with Lucia, the most troubled of the sisters and her first love, to protect Chloe, the village, and herself. An unforgettable novel about the memories that hold us back and those that show us the way forward–this is storytelling at its most magical. Enter Small Angels, if you dare.


And then I was very lucky to receive this copy from the author in return for a fair and honest review…

NEW BEGINNINGS FOR THE SURPLUS GIRLS by POLLY HERON

Manchester, 1923: Jess Mason is determined to make her own way in the world. When she’s appointed manager for Holly Lodge, a new home for old soldiers, she must convince the owner that she can run things just as well as any man – if not better.

To everyone around him, Tom Watson seems a cheerful and sociable man, but he has secretly vowed to go through life alone. However, when he takes on the renovation of Holly Lodge and meets Jess, the walls he has built around himself start to crumble.

As the opening of the new soldiers’ home proves to be less than straightforward, Jess must fight tooth and nail to hold on to her precious new role. And with her affections for Tom growing stronger by each day, she can’t help but wonder if there is room in her life for both love and the career she’s always dreamt of.

CURRENTLY READING

THE IT GIRL by RUTH WARE (audiobook)


HAPPY READING!!

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 31st December 2022

Hello! Happy Saturday!! And happy last day of 2022!! Where did it all go?! I’m glad to see the back of it to be honest, and just hope 2023 brings happier days! 

So it’s been bit quiet on the reading front this week, but hope to get back on it next year!  Just 2 books finished this week, and I’ll save my haul for a separate post as Santa & Gift vouchers has resulted in a bumper book pile!!

Here’s my look back..

BOOKS FINISHED

CARRIE SOTO IS BACK by TAYLOR JENKINS-REID (audiobook) – 4 STARS

WRONG SORT OF GIRL by HELEN BRIDGETT – 5 STARS

BOOKHAUL

I’ve stayed away from Netgalley!! Yay me!!

CURRENTLY READING

BIRDS by JIM MOIR

HAPPY READING!!

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – Xmas Eve 2022

Hello! Merry Christmas Eve!!  Hope you’ve got the treats out ready for Santa when he drops off all your bookish gifts in the morning!! I have!!  Just hope he got my list!!

And talking of books, it’s been a good bookish week as I’ve been trying to catch up on some unfinished books to clear the backlog!  So 6 books got finished this week, 4 new books arrived in the post – so it’s all go on the book front! Isn’t it always?!  But 0 on the Netgalley front so that’s good!

Here’s my look back…

BOOKS FINISHED

THE GREAT CHRISTMAS COOK OFF by HELEN BUCKLEY – 5 STARS

RECIPE FOR MR PERFECT by ANNI ROSE -5 STARS

CAPTURED BY A SCOTTISH LORD by MARIE LAVAL – 5 STARS

RECIPE FOR MR SUPER by ANNI ROSE – 5 STARS

A LITTLE CHRISTMAS PANTO by ANGELA BRITNELL – 5 STARS

HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVE by JACKIE LADBURY – 5 STARS

BOOKHAUL

Had a little spend up at Galley Beggar Press and got a lovely Tote bag as a free extra! Ooh I do love a Tote!

INSIGNIFICANCE by JAMES CLAMMER

JOSEPH is trying to focus on a plumbing job he is doing for his wife’s friend, but is distracted by the terrible things that have been happening within his family.

Joseph believes that his son has tried to kill his wife.

Joseph is afraid his son will try again.

Joseph is also terrified that his wife is going to leave him. And that he himself may not get through the day.

Insignificance, James Clammer’s first novel for adults, unfurls over the course of a single day. Placing the reader right inside the head of its struggling narrator, it works double time, both as an act of empathy – a taste of the uncertainty and awkwardness of one vulnerable man, and his relationship with the world – and also as a tense, emotional and gripping drama.

Exploring the burdens of mental health as well as family life, as well as a particular illness called Capgras Syndrome (a condition in which someone comes to believe that a person close to them has been replaced by an imposter) – Insignificance is a deeply human story, a novel that portrays the thoughts of one working man on his own terms, without artifice or condescension… and a novel that takes us ever closer to the edge.

AFTER SAPPHO by SELBY WYNN SCHWARTZ

“What did we want? To begin with, we wanted what half the population had got by just being born.”

IT’S 1895. Amid laundry and bruises, Rina Pierangeli Faccio gives birth to the child of the man who raped her – and who she has also been forced to marry. Unbroken, she determines to change her name; and her life, alongside it.

1902. Romaine Brooks sails for Capri. She has barely enough money for the ferry, nothing for lunch; her paintbrushes are bald and clotted… But she is sure she can sell a painting – and is fervent in her belief that the island is detached from all fates she has previously suffered.

… In 1923, Virginia Woolf writes: I want to make life fuller – and fuller.

Told in a series of cascading vignettes, featuring a multitude of voices, After Sappho is Selby Wynn Schwartz’s joyous reimagining of the lives of a brilliant group of feminists, sapphists, artists and writers in the late 19th and early 20th century as they battle for control over their lives; for liberation and for justice.

Sarah Bernhard – Colette – Eleanora Duse – Lina Poletti – Josephine Baker – Virginia Woolf… these are just a few of the women (some famous, others hitherto unsung) sharing the pages of a novel as fierce as it is luminous. Lush and poetic; furious and funny; in After Sappho, Selby Wynn Schwartz has created a novel that celebrates the women and trailblazers of the past – and also offers hope for our present, and our futures.

ENGLISH MAGIC by USCHI  GATWARD

English Magic moves through fields and parklands, urban estates and empty beaches, upmarket art galleries, scuffed corner shops. It lands at Heathrow Airport, takes a taxi to the suburbs, finds emptiness and oppression. It strikes out for the countryside on May Day to where there are maypoles and fire blazing haybales, and where blessings sound like threats. It takes a train to the sea. The rain powers down. The beach is damp. Balloons pop. It in a flat, drags itself out of half sleep… and there something tapping behind the gas fire. Scraping and flurrying. What is it? In her debut collection of short stories, the prize winning author Uschi Gatward takes us on a tour of an England simultaneously domestic and wild, familiar and strange, real and imagined. Coupling the past and the present, merging the surreal and the mundane, English Magic is a collection full of humour and warmth, subversion and intoxication a and announcing the arrival of a shining new talent.

THE PERCEPTION OF DOLLS by ANTHONY CROIX

And from Fahrenheit Press Book Subscription is this newbie

“It’s almost as if history is trying to erase the whole affair.” – Anthony Croix

The triple murder and failed suicide that took place at 37 Fantoccini Street in 2001, raised little media interest at the time. In a week heavy with global news, a ‘domestic tragedy’ warranted few column inches. The case was open and shut, the inquest was brief and the ‘Doll Murders’ – little more than a footnote in the ledgers of Britain’s true crime enthusiasts – were largely forgotten.

Nevertheless, investigations were made, police files generated, testimonies recorded, and conclusions reached. The reports are there, a matter of public record, for those with a mind to look.

The details of what took place in Fantoccini Street in the years that followed are less accessible. The people involved in the field trips to number 37 are often unwilling, or unable, to talk about what they witnessed. The hours of audio recordings, video tapes, written accounts, photographs, drawings, and even online postings are elusive, almost furtive.

In fact, were it not for a chance encounter between the late Anthony Croix and an obsessive collector of Gothic dolls, the Fantoccini Street Reports might well have been lost forever.


CURRENTLY READING

WRONG SORT OF GIRL by HELEN BRIDGETT

HAPPY CHRISTMAS READING!!!

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 10th December 2022

Hello! Happy Saturday!! Boy it’s chilly!! Finally we get blue skies and frosty gardens!! no snow… yet!!

And the cold seems to have slowed down my reading speed! Only 2 books finished this week and a slight lack of apathy about what to pick up next to read!  There has been 1 new addition to my Netgalley shelves, and also a couple of real books thanks to book subscriptions I have!  

Here’s my look back.

BOOKS FINISHED

THE SUMMER OF SERENDIPITY by ALI MCNAMARA – 4 STARS

BAD BLOOD by SADIE RYAN – 5 STARS

BOOKHAUL

To Netgalley we go…..


A SCOTTISH COUNTRY ESCAPE by JULIE SHACKMAN

publication date – March 2023

Determined to overcome a family tragedy, Elle Cassidy decides to reopen her late mother’s ailing newsagent as a stationery shop in the quiet Scottish town of Fir Haven.

But when the arrogant yet handsome crime writer Dexter Grayling almost runs over Elle in his beast of a sports car, the town is thrown into a tailspin – especially when Dexter claims that local resident Linda Carlucci has put a curse on him and he is no longer able to write.

Can Elle put aside her dislike for the self-absorbed writer and help Dexter uncover what is really going on with the Carlucci family? And in the process will Elle realise that there’s a lot more to her beloved Fir Haven than she first thought…


And on the Subscription Book front I have these….

HISTORY.A MESS by SIGRUN PALSDOTTIR

Peirene Press

publication date – 2023

A young PhD student has spent six long months transcribing the diary of the seventeenth-century artist ‘S.B.’. Then, hidden between mundane descriptions of the artists’ daily routine, she makes a profound discovery: a single passage revealing that S.B. is a woman. Believing she has identified the first professional female artist in Britain, she maps out her entire thesis, right down to the dedication. Fizzing with ideas she sees her career, and her life, blossoming in front of her. However, she has made a simple mistake – one that she won’t acknowledge until it’s far too late to turn back. As she goes to ever greater lengths to protect her work from the truth, she begins to lose her grip on her thesis, her life and then her sanity. What follows is a remarkable exploration of intellectual integrity and denial, and a poignant, funny portrait of academic ambition.

And from Renard Press..

INSIDE THE WHALE by GEORGE ORWELL

George Orwell set out ‘to make political writing into an art’, and to a wide extent this aim shaped the future of English literature – his descriptions of authoritarian regimes helped to form a new vocabulary that is fundamental to understanding totalitarianism. While 1984 and Animal Farm are amongst the most popular classic novels in the English language, this new series of Orwell’s essays seeks to bring a wider selection of his writing on politics and literature to a new readership.

Inside the Whale, the eighth in the Orwell’s Essays series, discusses Henry Miller’s controversial Tropic of Cancer, and considers the driving power behind the great books of the 1930s. Comparing Miller with other literary giants, Orwell lambasts the notion that all literature is good, forcing the reader to think for themselves, with his final words ringing in their ears: ‘five thousand novels are published in England every year and four thousand nine hundred of them are tripe.’

ON READING by GEORGE ORWELL

George Orwell set out ‘to make political writing into an art’, and to a wide extent this aim shaped the future of English literature – his descriptions of authoritarian regimes helped to form a new vocabulary that is fundamental to understanding totalitarianism. While 1984 and Animal Farm are amongst the most popular classic novels in the English language, this new series of Orwell’s essays seeks to bring a wider selection of his writing on politics and literature to a new readership.

On Reading, the seventh in the Orwell’s Essays series, collects together Orwell’s short essays on books – ‘Bookshop Memories’, ‘Good Bad Books’, ‘Nonsense Poetry’, ‘Books vs. Cigarettes’ and ‘Confessions of a Book Reviewer’ – giving a rounded view of the great writer’s opinions on the literature of his day, and the vessels in which it was sold.

CURRENTLY READING

A MIRACLE ON HOPE STREET by EMMA HEATHERINGTON

HAPPY READING!!

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 26th November 2022

hello all! happy saturday!! And another week of lots of wind and rain! Make it stop!!!

Happy to report my reading slump is over so this past week I managed to finish 4 books, and there was also some lovely bookpost and a few newbies over at Netgalley I just had to have!!

Here’s my look back!!

BOOKS FINISHED

ISAAC AND THE EGG by BOBBY PALMER – 4 STARS

THE GOLDEN MOLE by KATHERINE RUNDELL – 5 STARS

THE WHISPERING MUSE by LAURA PURCELL – 5 STARS

NOW SHE IS WITCH by KIRSTY LOGAN – 4 STARS

BOOKHAUL

Was very lucky to receive 2 books from the publishers to review..

THE TOLL HOUSE by CARLY REAGON

The past isn’t always dead and buried . . .

A house with history. That’s how the estate agent described the old toll house on the edge of the town. For Kelda it’s the perfect rural home for her young son Dylan after a difficult few years.

But when Kelda finds a death mask concealed behind one of the walls, everything changes. Inexplicable things happen in the house, Kelda cannot shake the feeling of being watched and Dylan is plagued by nightmares, convinced he can see figures in his room. As Dylan’s behaviour becomes increasingly challenging, Kelda seeks answers in the house’s mysterious past. But she’s running out of time.

Because something has awoken.

And now it won’t rest . . .

THE VIRAGO BOOK OF WITCHES by SHAHRUKH HUSAIN

For Daughters of the Moon, folklorist Shahrukh Husain has gathered more than fifty tales of witches and witchcraft from more than thirty cultures worldwide. Here are femme fatales who sap men’s strength and lure them to their doom, cannibalistic hags who prey on abandoned children, shape-shifters who can change themselves and others into animals and worse, and wise women who render aid and comfort in sometimes inexplicable ways.

And over at Netgalley…..

THE DARLINGS OF THE ASYLUM by NOEL O’REILLY

publication date – December 2022

To marry is madness.
To escape is impossible.
Noel O’Reilly returns with a gripping historical novel about a woman locked in a Victorian asylum against her will…

She wakes in a strange, stark room. Through the bare walls she hears muffled cries and yells. The label on her unfamiliar, starched gown reads PROPERTY OF HILLWOOD GRANGE LUNATIC ASYLUM. Her heart thumps as a key rattles in the lock…

In 1886, a respectable young woman must acquire a husband. Violet Pring’s scheming mother has secured a desirable marriage proposal from an eligible Brighton gentleman. But Violet does not want to marry. She longs to be a professional artist and live on her own terms.

Violet’s family believes she is deranged and deluded, so she is locked away in Hillwood Grange against her will. In her new cage, Violet faces an even greater challenge: she must escape the clutches of a sinister and formidable doctor and set herself free.

This tantalizing gothic novel from Noel O’Reilly tells a thrilling story of duty and desire, madness and sanity, truth and delusion, told from within a Victorian asylum.

NORWAY by CLAUDIA MARTIN

Presented in a landscape format and with captions explaining the story behind each entry, Norway is a stunning collection of images celebrating this striking country.
 
Did you know that Oslo is the only capital city in Europe where you can go cross-country skiing? Just take your skis on the metro to the suburbs and ski off from the platform across the frozen, snowy landscape. Stretching so far from north to south, and from west to east—the country reaches further east than St. Petersburg—Norway has a larger number of different habitats than almost any other European country. It has Scandinavia’s most spectacular fjords, steep mountains, pretty fishing villages, beautiful beaches—and continental Europe’s largest glacier. From remote settlements within the Arctic Circle to Oslo’s lively city life, from the northern lights to the white nights when the sun never sets, from sculpture gardens to immense bridges linking the country’s many islands, Norway is a fascinating exploration of this increasingly popular tourist destination.

JAPAN by MELANIE CLEGG

Presented in a landscape format and with captions explaining the story behind each entry, Japan is a stunning collection of images celebrating the world’s most vibrant country.
 
From shrines to megacities, from paddy fields to high-speed trains to the latest in digital technology, Japan is a fascinating mix of the ancient and modern, of East and West. Featuring castles and hot springs, remote volcanic islands and intense high-rises, delicate tea ceremonies and busy cities, medieval bridges and modern flyovers, Japan presents outstanding color photographs depicting a wide range of perspectives on Japanese life. From farming to engineering, war memorials to the devastation of the Tohoku tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster, the beauty of Kyoto to the bustle of Tokyo, a great many sides to the Land of the Rising Sun are explored.

CURRENTLY READING

BAD BLOOD by SADIE RYAN

HAPPY READING!!

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!!!

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!