Hello all and Happy December! How the heck are we here already??!!! I’ve lost all track of time and it juts feels like only yesterday that I was back making new year resolutions – of which I think I stuck to zero!! Not been a good week for me health wise, but book wise it’s been ok! Another 4 books finished and I stayed away from Netgalley! Go me!! And 1 lovely book in the post for review! Here’s my look back!
Just one lovely addition to my bookshelves this week courtesy of the fabulous Gallic Press for review.
B: A Year in Plagues and Pencils by Edward Carey
‘I blame the pencil. I hadn’t meant to do it. I wasn’t thinking. It just happened that way.’
In March 2020, as lockdowns were imposed around the world, author and illustrator Edward Carey published a sketch on social media with a plan to keep posting a drawing a day from his family home in Austin, Texas, until life returned to normal. One hundred and fifty pencil stubs later, he was still drawing.
Carey’s hand moved with world events, chronicling pandemic and politics. It reached into the past, taking inspiration from history, and escaped grim reality through flights of vivid imagination and studies of the natural world. The drawings became a way of charting time, of moving forward, and maintaining connection at a time of isolation.
This remarkable collection of words and drawings from the acclaimed author of Little and The Swallowed Man charts a tumultuous year in pencil, finding beauty amid the horror of extraordinary times.
THE LOST PROMISE OF IRELAND by SUSANNE O’LEARY
A completely gorgeous story about lost loves and small-town secrets that will sweep you away to the Irish coast.Maggie remembers her summers in the village of Sandy Cove in Ireland like they were yesterday. She and her family would swim in the crystal-clear waters, collect beautiful seashells and relax on the sand. So when she sees that her family’s old coastguard cottage is available, she wonders if renting it for the summer will finally help her move on from the man who just broke her heart.As soon as Maggie arrives she is delighted to find her childhood best-friend Sorcha and Sorcha’s cousin Brian still living in town. They enjoy cosy nights in the local harbour pub, with its stunning views across the ocean, as if no time has passed. And when Brian reveals he had a fierce teenage crush on Maggie, she can’t help but notice just how handsome he has become.But then Maggie finds a worn metal box hidden in the attic of the house, full of love letters she exchanged with a sweet American boy she met one summer. During their last night together, star-gazing on the beach, they promised to find each other again. Soon it becomes clear that Maggie is not the only one returning to Sandy Cove.Torn between her growing feelings for Brian and the romance she’s held in her heart for many years, Maggie realises that her summer may be more complicated than she’d expected. Will Maggie finally find a true love who can sweep her off her feet or will this holiday in Sandy Cove be her last?
Hello and Happy Saturday – once again! Not many Saturdays left in 2021!!! So scary! And the festive spirit still hasn’t got me! Full Grinch mode continues!! On to books!! It’s been a fairly quiet bookish week for me – things on Youtube keep distracting me and taking me away from reading time!! But I did manage to finish 3 books, including 1 audiobook. Just 1 newbie on the NetGalley shelf and 1 lovely book in the post to review!
Winter 1920. Though the war has been over for two years, many are still struggling to pick up their lives again when so much has been lost. In Ireland too, other terrible troubles are taking hold.
Then Tom Harkin, a former officer, arrives in the dead of night at a deserted railway platform. He has been summoned to Kilcolgan House, a grand old estate, to work as a tutor.
When Tom reaches the house it gradually becomes clear that this is not the imposing residence it once was. Half abandoned and filled with ghosts – both real and imagined – the noble family within co-exist only as the balance of their secrets is kept.
For there are mysteries at the heart of this family. And Tom’s arrival will set into motion a series of events that may become deadly . . .
A gripping mystery packed with twists and turns, The Winter Guest is the perfect chilling read this winter.
And in the post I was lucky to receive this lovely parcel from the author..
CHRISTMAS WITH THE RAILWAY GIRLS by MAISIE THOMAS
Christmas is the season for family and friends, and this year the railway girls will need each other more than ever.
Cordelia appears to have the perfect life. When her daughter Emily arrives home unexpectedly, she can’t wait to introduce her to her friends. But when things don’t go to plan, Cordelia must decide where her loyalty lies.
Things aren’t going too smoothly for Alison either. Her beloved boyfriend has yet to propose, but there’s a charity fundraiser dance and she’s dressed up specially. Surely, tonight must be the night.
Colette’s friends are envious of her devoted husband; he meets her after every shift on the railway, and accompanies her around town. But Colette has a secret, one that will change her life—if only she knew who to confide in.
With the festive season fast approaching, the railway girls are hoping for some Christmas magic…
Hello and Happy Saturday! The days are flying by way too quickly and the fact it’s only 6 weeks to the C word is bringing me out in a sweat!! I’d best get my list of bookish wants off to Santa pronto… because I NEED more books obviously!! Speaking of books, it’s been a rather wonderful reading week for me! The multiple book reading has resulted in me finishing 8 books (including 2 audiobooks) this week!! Nope, I’m not sure how I managed it either but I want it to be like that every week haha!! I stayed away from Netgalley too and just got 2 lovely books in the post – 1 I bought, 1 for review! Here’s my look back..
Stephen Leacock is an unjustly neglected master of the short-story genre, once considered the best-known humorist in the world. Although he was a prolific writer, producing about fifty novels, biographies and histories, he was best known for his humorous articles and short stories in magazines.
One of his later collections, Frenzied Fiction shows a master of a genre at the height of his game, and contains all the hallmarks of his earlier work and the trademark wit which he had refined over the previous decades. By turns laugh-aloud hilarious and poignant, and containing such gems as ‘My Recollections as a Spy’ and ‘Simple Stories of Success, or How to Succeed in Life’, this collection builds a strong case against prohibition, paints a moving picture of a war-torn world, caricatures and lampoons novelists, actors and princes, and demonstrates why he met with such success and stacked a fan base with figures as varied John Lane, A.P. Herbert and Groucho Marx.
And for review I received this from Emma at The Book Publicist.
THE FAIRY TELLERS by NICHOLAS JUBBER
published by John Murray Press
publication date – January 2022
Fairy-Tales are not just fairy-tales: they are records of historical phenomena, telling us something about how Western civilisation was formed. In The Fairy-Tellers’ Trail, award-winning travel-writer Nick Jubber explores their secret history of fairy-tales: the people who told them, the landscapes that forged them, and the cultures that formed them.
While there are certain names inextricably entwined with the concept of a fairy-tale, such as the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, the most significant tellers are long buried under the more celebrated figures who have taken the credit for their stories – people like the Syrian storyteller Youhenna Diab and the Wild Sisters of Cassel. Without them we would never have heard of Aladdin, his Magic Lamp or the adventures of Hansel and Gretel.
Tracking these stories to their sources carries us through the steaming cities of Southern Italy and across the Mediterranean to the dust-clogged alleys of the Maghreb, under the fretting leaves of the Black Forest, deep into the tundra of Siberia and across the snowy hills of Lapland.
From North Africa and Siberia, this book illuminates the complicated relationship between Western civilization and the ‘Eastern’ cultures it borrowed from, and the strange lives of our long lost fairy-tellers.
Hello and Happy Saturday! Yay for weekends!! I find I’m doing most of my reading now at the weekend! Any excuse to avoid the housework and reality!! So it’s been another productive reading week with 5 books finished, including an audiobook! And I restricted myself to one new NG addition! Also had some lovely bookpost too so that always brings a smile to my face! Here’s my look back!
If everything in your life was based on a lie Would you risk it all to tell the truth?
At Montverre, an exclusive academy tucked away in the mountains, the best and brightest are trained for excellence in the grand jeu: an arcane and mysterious contest. Léo Martin was once a student there, but lost his passion for the grand jeu following a violent tragedy. Now he returns in disgrace, exiled to his old place of learning with his political career in tatters.
Montverre has changed since he studied there, even allowing a woman, Claire Dryden, to serve in the grand jeu’s highest office of Magister Ludi. When Léo first sees Claire he senses an odd connection with her, though he’s sure they have never met before.
Both Léo and Claire have built their lives on lies. And as the legendary Midsummer Game, the climax of the year, draws closer, secrets are whispering in the walls…
And in the post for review…..
CARROTS DON’T GROW ON TREES by ROB KEELEY
Lily loves eating fruit and vegetables – but is tricked by Jordan, who tells her that carrots grow on trees.
With the help of her Mum, some healthy eating and a box of elastic bands, Lily sets out to teach Jordan a lesson…
Carrots Don’t Grow On Trees! is a bright, colourful and funny story, told entirely in dialogue and pictures, and takes a fun and compassionate approach to dealing with teasing at school, as well as promoting healthy eating.
Rob Keeley’s second picture book sees him reunited with illustrator Simon Goodway, following their previous successes with My Favourite People and The Treasure in the Tower
THE GIFT: Book One by RA WILLIAMS
A lush historical adventure that’s equal parts Gothic horror as it is tale of lost love, this first book in THE GIFT trilogy follows an optimistic yet cautious American ethnologist on her journey from St Dunstan’s Prep in Michigan, to the warm tropical shallows off the coast of Honduras, and the tors of Germany’s Externsteine, uncovering clues to the identity of the man who saved her from the Crimen one fateful night. All clues lead to Folkestone, England where she is reunited with the man she has sought for nearly three decades. But, is their reunion the end, or merely the end of the beginning?
The North Atlantic, 14 April 1912. A night most hope to forget. But the grisly things a young Elle Annenberg witnesses, she will always remember. Among the chaos as Titanic’s bow sinks deeper and deeper underwater, Elle zeroes in on a raffish individual, among the panicked passengers, shotgun muzzle protruding from under his long duffel coat. In the bottomless twilight of his eyes she discovers an intriguing ruthlessness. As he moves away, Elle follows, ever curious. Descending into the bowel of the ship she happens upon a slaughterhouse of gored bodies. But by whom or what she cannot say. From somewhere in the endless companionways comes a Banshee howl, followed by the distant call of a name: Balthasar. In No. 2 Hold – awash with mutilated bodies – she finds Balthasar leaning over an open sarcophagus. Elle scarcely has a moment to glimpse what lays within before Titanic’s starboard hull buckles, and she is sucked into a maelstrom of freezing brine and half-devoured corpses. Saved from certain drowning, she unintentionally receives a gift from Balthasar. A gift so captivating, it changes her path in life irrevocably. Her new course will not only lead her to learn the true identity of the man who saved her life but of the savage Crimen she glimpsed that fateful night. From her teaching position at a prep school in 1929 Michigan, to a British shipwreck in the tropical shallows off the Honduran coast, Dr Eleanor Annenberg finds traces of Balthasar’s identity. A man who purposefully exists on the fringe of humanity. From the fighting at Cape Helles in 1915 to the last station on the River Ituri in the Belgian Congo and a lost Lichtmetal mine beneath the towering Tor Externsteine in 1939 Germany, Elle follows the clues, undeterred by the years getting behind her. All clues lead to just one location. An Edwardian seaside town on the English Channel – Folkestone. Their paths rejoined, Elle gets closer to the truth she has sought for twenty-eight years. But at what cost? What she learns – much to her own horror – is gifts are seldom free, and she herself has become guilty of the same ferocious rage as the Crimen.
hello and happy Saturday!! If anyone has seen my get up and go, could they please return it?! I feel like I need a rocket up my butt again at the moment to get caught up with everything! Except the book front – I always seem to be fairly well motivated on that front (other than the reviews that need writing!!). And on the book front it’s been a rather good week! 5 books finished, 1 newbie on the Netgalley shelf, and 4 new bookish additions to my bookshelf that I just HAD to treat myself to this week! Here’s my look back…
From the bestselling author comes a haunting read about witchcraft and superstition that will have you gripped…
When Allie moves to a quaint old cottage with her husband, it’s their dream home. Nestled in the village of Pluckley, it seems a perfect haven in which to raise their two children. But Pluckley has a reputation. It’s known as England’s most haunted village. And not long after the birth of their new son, Allie begins to notice strange things…
What’s the flash of white she sees moving quickly through the woods to the back of their house? And what’s the strange scratching noise from the chimney?
As Allie discovers more about the history of their new home, she uncovers a story of witchcraft and superstition, which casts a long shadow into the present day. And not everything is as it seems. Her family might well be in danger, but it’s a danger none of them could have foreseen…
Bestseller Lisa Hall’s The Woman in the Woods is full of creeping unease and nerve-wracking tension, and will have readers on the edge of their seats…
And then I bought the following books….
SIX CRIMSON CRANES by ELIZABETH LIM
the cover seduced me!! 😍
Shiori, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs through her veins. Normally she conceals it well, but on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori loses control. At first, her mistake seems like a stroke of luck, forestalling the wedding she never wanted, but it also catches the attention of Raikama, her stepmother.
Raikama has dark magic of her own, and she banishes the young princess, turning her brothers into cranes, and warning Shiori that she must speak of it to no one: for with every word that escapes her lips, one of her brothers will die.
Peniless, voiceless, and alone, Shiori searches for her brothers, and, on her journey, uncovers a conspiracy to overtake the throne—a conspiracy more twisted and deceitful, more cunning and complex, than even Raikama’s betrayal. Only Shiori can set the kingdom to rights, but to do so she must place her trust in the very boy she fought so hard not to marry. And she must embrace the magic she’s been taught all her life to contain—no matter what it costs her.
CHRISTMAS ON THE ISLE OF SKYE by KIRSTY FERRY
How far would you go to be with the one you love at Christmas?
The Isle of Skye is a magical place, especially at Christmas, and there’s no place Zac Fallon would rather be. But whilst Zac has everything he needs on Skye, there’s still something missing – and that something is a somebody called Ivy McFarlane.
Ivy used to work with Zac but then spread her wings and moved to Glastonbury. He’s missed her ever since. Now it’s almost Christmas and Zac realises that the Ivy shaped hole in his life is too big to bear. So starts his festive mission to the mainland – but will he back in time to spend Christmas in Skye? And, more importantly, will Ivy be with him?
THE BORROW A BOOKSHOP HOLIDAY by KILEY DUNBAR
The Borrow-a-Bookshop Bookshop Café invites literature lovers to run their very own bookshop … for a fortnight.
Spend your days talking books with customers in your own charming bookshop and serving up delicious cream teas in the cosy café.
Bookworms, what are you waiting for? Your holiday is going to be LIT(erary).
Apply to: The Borrow-a-Bookshop Bookshop Café, Down-a-long, Clove Lore, Devon.
Jude Crawley should be on top of the world. She’s just graduated as a mature student, so can finally go public about her relationship with Philosophy professor, Mack.
Until she sees Mack kissing another girl, and her dreams crumble. And worse, their dream holiday – running a tiny bookshop in the harbour village of Clove Lore for two weeks – is non-refundable.
Throwing caution to the winds, Jude heads down to Devon, eager to immerse herself in literature and heal her broken heart.
But there’s one problem – six foot tall, brooding (but gorgeous) Elliot, who’s also reserved the bookshop holiday for two weeks…
As Jude and Elliot put their differences aside to run the bookshop, it seems that Jude might be falling in love with more than just words. Until she discovers what Elliot is running from – and why he’s hiding out in Clove Lore.
Can Jude find her own happy ending in a tiny, tumbledown bookshop? Or is she about to find out that her bookish holiday might have an unexpected twist in the tale…
CHRISTMAS IN LITTLE PENHAVEN by ANGELA BRITNELL
Have yourself a little Cornish Christmas …
Wannabe author Jane Solomon is expecting an uneventful Christmas in her Cornish village of Little Penhaven. But then super fit American gym owner Hal Muir comes to town, and suddenly the holiday season looks set to be far more interesting. Hal is keen on embracing every British tradition on offer, from mince pies to Christmas pub quizzes – and perhaps some festive romance too …
Hello and Happy Saturday! We’ve made it through another week! Yay us!! I’ve had a dodgy week health wise and my tank is empty so hoping a weekend of reading and resting will help perk me back up again! If that fails I’ll just have to buy some more books…. 😜 And on the book front, I’ve managed to finish another 3 this week but the big news is that zero additions to my shelves over at Netgalley! Although there has been 5 new additions to the physical book shelves due to a win from a Mills & Boon comp, and 2 books to review! Here’s my look back!
I was very lucky to win a little giveaway from Mills & Boon recently…
HIS ACCIDENTAL COUNTESS by ANNIE BURROWS
To stop an unsuitable elopement, Tobias Spenlow bundles his ward’s intended bride into his carriage—only to discover he’s made a terrible mistake. The woman is actually innocent governess Miss Dorothy Phillips—whose reputation he’s unintentionally ruined! The only way to right this wrong is for the earl to wed her. She might have accidentally become his countess, but their consuming attraction has him courting her in earnest!
WOULD I LIE TO THE DUKE by EVA LEIGH
Jessica McGale’s family business desperately needs investors and she’s determined to succeed at any cost. But she knows London’s elite will never look twice at a humble farm girl like herself. Posing as “Lady Whitfield,” however, places her in the orbit of wealthy, powerful people—most notably the Duke of Rotherby. His influence and support could save her company, but Jess never expected the effect he’d have on her.
Society thinks Noel is a notorious, carefree duke who dabbles in investments, but there’s a side to him that only his closest friends see. When he crosses paths with Lady Whitfield at a business bazaar, his world tilts on its axis. She’s brilliant and compelling, and brings him to his knees like no woman has before. Trust is difficult for Noel, but Jess makes him believe anything is possible. . .
As time ticks down on her Cinderella scheme, the thought of achieving her goal at Noel’s expense breaks Jess’s heart. He doesn’t just want her now, he wants her forever. But will her secret end their future before it begins?
CINDERELLA’S NEW YORK FLING by CARA COLTER
She’s a breath of fresh country air…
…in his big-city life!
When Jessica Winton’s dream job falls into her lap, she’s thrust from a small-town into bustling Manhattan – and faced with new hard to please boss, tycoon Jamie Gilbert-Cooper. But when Jamie takes her under his wing Jessica must wonder how much of the big city appeal is because of Jamie?
IN SEARCH OF THE LONG-LOST MAVERICK by CHRISTINE RIMMER
‘You know you’re tempted.’
Men are trouble. And Melanie Driscoll has already had more than her share of trouble. She has come to Bronco seeking only a fresh start; what she finds instead is Gabe Abernathy. The blonde, blue-eyed cowboy is temptation enough. The secrets he could be guarding are a whole other level of irresistible. Peeling the covers back on both might be too much for sweet Mel to handle…
And 2 books arrived for me to review…..
DANCING FOR STALIN by CHRISTINA EZRAHI
The true story of one couple’s fight for survival in Stalin’s Russia: a famous ballerina, sent to the Gulag, and her husband, who found a way to save her against all odds.
LUCKY by ED JACKSON
From tragedy to triumph, one step at a time – an inspirational story of triumph over adversity against the odds
At just 28 years old, Ed Jackson was told he would never walk again. After a miscalculated dive into a pool, he suffered multiple cardiac arrests, a broken neck and a partially severed spinal cord. Lying paralysed in intensive care, the former rugby player knew his life would never be the same. But he wasn’t ready to give up hope.
Driven by relentless determination, Ed embarked on an incredible journey to independence. Millimetre by millimetre, he began to regain movement in his fingers and toes. Defying the expectations of even the most optimistic doctors, step by step, Ed began to walk again.
Fuelled by a renewed appreciation for life and a determination to help others suffering similar injuries to his own, Ed set his sights on a new challenge: mountaineering. Embarking on a gruelling climb to raise funds for a spinal unit in Kathmandu, Ed realises that, once again, the odds are stacked against him. Will he be able to overcome his own life-changing injury and transform others’ lives for the better?
Lucky is the story of how Ed faced the impossible when it seemed all hope was lost, and shows how you, too, can overcome the biggest challenges that life sends your way.
Sup?! Happy Saturday!! Another week flies by and it’s been a scorcher here in my bookish world! Too hot to do anything but read!! So that’s helped me out this week – although looking at the list of books I now have to write reviews for, maybe I need to stop reading for a while and do some reviewing! Managed to finish 5 books this week and they were all corkers so yay! Just 2 newbies added to the Netgalley shelf this week as well, and one treat to myself from Goldsboro! here’s my look back..
The inspirational story of the Pastons, a family who rose from obscurity to the very heart of Court politics and intrigue during the Wars of the Roses.
England, 1444. Three women challenge the course of history…
King Henry VI’s grip on the crown hangs by a thread as the Wars of the Roses starts to tear England apart. And from the ashes of war, the House of Paston begins its rise to power.
Led by three visionary women, the Pastons are a family from humble peasant beginnings who rely upon cunning, raw ambition, and good fortune in order to survive.
Their ability to plot and scheme sees them overcome imprisonment, violence and betrayal, to eventually secure for their family a castle and a place at the heart of the Yorkist Court. But success breeds jealousy and brings them dangerous enemies…
An inspirational story of courage and resilience, The Royal Game charts the rise of three remarkable women from obscurity to the very heart of Court politics and intrigue.
THE HEMLOCK CURE by JOANNE BURN
publication date – February 2022
It is 1665 and the women of Eyam keep many secrets.
Isabel Frith, the village midwife, walks a dangerous line with her herbs and remedies. There are men in the village who speak of witchcraft, and Isabel has a past to hide. So she tells nobody her fears about Wulfric, the pious, reclusive apothecary.
Mae, Wulfric’s youngest daughter, dreads her father’s rage if he discovers what she keeps from him. Like her feelings for Rafe, Isabel’s ward, or the fact that she studies from Wulfric’s books at night.
But others have secrets too. Secrets darker than any of them could have imagined.
When Mae makes a horrifying discovery, Isabel is the only person she can turn to. But helping Mae will place them both in unimaginable peril.
And meanwhile another danger is on its way from London. One that threatens to engulf them all . . .
Based on the real history of an English village during the Great Plague, The Hemlock Cure is an utterly beguiling tale of fear and ambition, betrayal, self-sacrifice and the unbreakable bond between two women.
And I got this from Goldsboro Book as their book of the month..
TENDERNESS by ALISON MACLEOD
“What a triumph of skill and imagination is this powerful, moving, brilliant novel! I’ve never read anything quite like Tenderness, and I doubt I ever will again.” –Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of City of Girls and Eat, Pray, Love
For readers of A Gentleman in Moscow and Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, an ambitious, spellbinding historical novel about sensuality, censorship, and the novel that set off the sexual revolution.
On the glittering shores of the Mediterranean in 1928, a dying author in exile races to complete his final novel. Lady Chatterley’s Lover is a sexually bold love story, a searing indictment of class distinctions, and a study in sensuality. But the author, D.H. Lawrence, knows it will be censored. He publishes it privately, loses his copies to customs, and dies bereft.
Booker Prize-longlisted author Alison MacLeod brilliantly recreates the novel’s origins and boldly imagines its journey to freedom through the story of Jackie Kennedy, who was known to be an admirer. In MacLeod’s telling, Jackie–in her last days before becoming first lady–learns that publishers are trying to bring D.H. Lawrence’s long-censored novel to American and British readers in its full form. The US government has responded by targeting the postal service for distributing obscene material. Enjoying what anonymity she has left, determined to honour a novel she loves, Jackie attends the hearing incognito. But there she is quickly recognized, and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover takes note of her interest and her outrage.
Through the story of Lawrence’s writing of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, the historic obscenity trial that sought to suppress it in the United Kingdom, and the men and women who fought for its worldwide publication, Alison MacLeod captures the epic sweep of the twentieth century from war and censorship to sensuality and freedom. Exquisite, evocative, and grounded in history, Tenderness is a testament to the transformative power of fiction.
Hello all and Happy September! How the flip did that happen?! Soon the shops will all be full of festive goodies…. Sainsbury’s were even trying to make me add mince pies to my food order today! NO!! Now if they’d tried to make me add books, the answer would be different!! And it’s been a fairly productive bookish week although I still feel like I’m chasing my tail and getting nowhere in getting on top of things! Managed to finish 3 books, added 2 newbies from Netgalley and treated myself to 2 new books as well! So here’s my look back..
PRACTICALLY PAGAN – AN ALTERNATIVE GUIDE TO GARDENING by ELEN SENTIER
publication date – 29th October 2021
Practically Pagan – An Alternative Guide to Gardening takes the spooky out of alternative and keeps the magic. Elen Sentier brings together, and expands on, recent scientific discoveries, and shows how close they are to the old ways that were labelled as superstition in the 20th century. Sentier’s writing is accessible and opens up the down-to-earth practicalism of pagans as people of the land to all, for that’s what the word pagan means, ‘of the land’. Sentier doesn’t preach or proselytise folk to become pagan, but brings to light how you’ve been thinking this way for years. Elen Sentier is a best-selling author of British native shamanism. She also writes paranormal mystery-suspense novels. She’s a wilderness woman, born on Dartmoor and grew up on Exmoor in a family who had practiced the old British magic for hundreds of years. Her books include Pagan Portals – Merlin: Once and Future Wizard (Moon Books, 2016), and Gardening with the Moon & Stars (Moon Books, 2015).
THE LIGHTHOUSE WITCHES by C.J.COOKE
publication date – 30th September 2021
Two sisters go missing on a remote Scottish island. Twenty years later, one is found–but she’s still the same age as when she disappeared. The secrets of witches have reached across the centuries in this chilling Gothic thriller from the author of the acclaimed The Nesting.
When single mother Liv is commissioned to paint a mural in a 100-year-old lighthouse on a remote Scottish island, it’s an opportunity to start over with her three daughters–Luna, Sapphire, and Clover. When two of her daughters go missing, she’s frantic. She learns that the cave beneath the lighthouse was once a prison for women accused of witchcraft. The locals warn her about wildlings, supernatural beings who mimic human children, created by witches for revenge. Liv is told wildlings are dangerous and must be killed.
Twenty-two years later, Luna has been searching for her missing sisters and mother. When she receives a call about her youngest sister, Clover, she’s initially ecstatic. Clover is the sister she remembers–except she’s still seven years old, the age she was when she vanished. Luna is worried Clover is a wildling. Luna has few memories of her time on the island, but she’ll have to return to find the truth of what happened to her family. But she doesn’t realize just how much the truth will change her.
And I treated myself to these two……
QUIET by SUSAN CAIN
For far too long, those who are naturally quiet, serious or sensitive have been overlooked. The loudest have taken over – even if they have nothing to say.
It’s time for everyone to listen. It’s time to harness the power of introverts.
It’s time for Quiet.
BRAVING THE WILDERNESS by BRENE BROWN
“True belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are. It requires us to be who we are.” Social scientist Bren� Brown, PhD, LMSW, has sparked a global conversation about the experiences that bring meaning to our lives–experiences of courage, vulnerability, love, belonging, shame, and empathy. In Braving the Wilderness, Brown redefines what it means to truly belong in an age of increased polarization. With her trademark mix of research, storytelling, and honesty, Brown will again change the cultural conversation while mapping a clear path to true belonging.
Brown argues that we’re experiencing a spiritual crisis of disconnection, and introduces four practices of true belonging that challenge everything we believe about ourselves and each other. She writes, “True belonging requires us to believe in and belong to ourselves so fully that we can find sacredness both in being a part of something and in standing alone when necessary. But in a culture that’s rife with perfectionism and pleasing, and with the erosion of civility, it’s easy to stay quiet, hide in our ideological bunkers, or fit in rather than show up as our true selves and brave the wilderness of uncertainty and criticism. But true belonging is not something we negotiate or accomplish with others; it’s a daily practice that demands integrity and authenticity. It’s a personal commitment that we carry in our hearts.” Brown offers us the clarity and courage we need to find our way back to ourselves and to each other. And that path cuts right through the wilderness. Brown writes, “The wilderness is an untamed, unpredictable place of solitude and searching. It is a place as dangerous as it is breathtaking, a place as sought after as it is feared. But it turns out to be the place of true belonging, and it’s the bravest and most sacred place you will ever stand.”
THE SEAMSTRESS OF WARSAW by REBECCA MASCULL
A man learns a shocking truth about his past.
A mother writes a diary as the ghetto walls go up. From the bombed streets of London, to occupied Warsaw, to the Polish forests bristling with partisans, will their paths cross? Will their pasts be reconciled? And will they survive the deadly assaults on their freedom and their lives? THE SEAMSTRESS OF WARSAW is a tale of endurance and loss, family and blood, stories and histories, that questions the nature of who we are and where we are going, when the road ahead is burning.
Hello and Happy Saturday!! Wonder what the weather will throw at us today?! Been a bit cloudier this week which has been nice, but it’s always good to see the sun return!! On to books!! It’s been a fairly calm bookish week!! No mad shopping sprees this week! I’ve actually started another book clearout, although clearing 50 books from a bookcase resulted in ZERO extra space being created so back to the drawing board for me on that front! I’m obviously doing something wrong!! I have managed to finish 4 books this week, and 2 newbies joined my Netgalley shelf! Here’s my look back..
Shay Bastable is the woman in the middle. She is part of the sandwich generation – caring for her parents and her children, supporting her husband Bruce, holding them all together and caring for them as best she can.
Then the arrival of a large orange skip on her mother’s estate sets in motion a cataclysmic series of events which leads to the collapse of Shay’s world. She is forced to put herself first for a change.
But in order to move forward with her present, Shay needs to make sense of her past. And so she returns to the little village she grew up in, to uncover the truth about what happened to her when she was younger. And in doing so, she discovers that sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to find the only way is up.
THE BOOK OF FORM AND EMPTINESS by RUTH OZEKI
publication – September 2021
After the tragic death of his beloved musician father, fourteen-year-old Benny Oh begins to hear voices. The voices belong to the things in his house – a sneaker, a broken Christmas ornament, a piece of wilted lettuce. Although Benny doesn’t understand what these things are saying, he can sense their emotional tone; some are pleasant, a gentle hum or coo, but others are snide, angry and full of pain. When his mother develops a hoarding problem, the voices grow more clamorous.
At first Benny tries to ignore them, but soon the voices follow him outside the house, onto the street and at school, driving him at last to seek refuge in the silence of a large public library, where objects are well-behaved and know to speak in whispers. There, Benny discovers a strange new world, where ‘things happen’. He falls in love with a mesmerising street artist with a smug pet ferret, who uses the library as her performance space. He meets a homeless philosopher-poet, who encourages him to ask important questions and find his own voice amongst the many.
And he meets his very own Book – a talking thing – who narrates Benny’s life and teaches him to listen to the things that truly matter.
With its blend of sympathetic characters, riveting plot and vibrant engagement with everything from jazz to climate change to our attachment to material possessions, The Book of Form and Emptiness is classic Ruth Ozeki – bold, wise, poignant, playful, humane and heartbreaking.
Hello and Happy Saturday!! Seriously lacking on the energy front this week but has been very frustrating… but it seems to have made me buy extra books so .. oops!! It’s been a very good and very busy bookish week! I managed to finish 6 books so yay! If only I’d kept myself under control on the Netgalley and buying front – 5 new NG additions, 1 book won via a FB group giveaway, and then 7 new book buys!! Anyone got any creative book storage ideas?!! Here’s my look back.. get comfy!
The song surrounded her now, the murmuring of the library insistent, and her foot took the first step on the winding stairs. She knew it wasn’t entirely a dream. It was the library calling her, its magic driving her.
When Sophie is offered a job at the Ayredale Library – the finest collection of rare books in the world, and the last place her bookbinder mother was seen when Sophie was just a teenager – she leaps at the chance. Will she finally discover what happened to the woman she’s always believed abandoned her?
Taking in the endless shelves of antique books, the soaring stained-glass windows, and the grand sweeping staircase, usually shy Sophie feels strangely at home, and is welcomed by her eccentric fellow binders. But why is the Keeper of the Library so reluctant to speak about Sophie’s mother? And why is Sophie the only person who can read the strange spells in the oldest books on display, written in a forgotten language nobody else understands?
The mysteries of the library only deepen when Sophie stumbles upon an elaborately carved door. The pattern exactly matches the pendant her mother left behind years ago, engraved with a delicate leaf. As the door swings open at her touch, Sophie gasps at the incredible sight: an enormous tree, impossibly growing higher than the library itself, its gently falling golden leaves somehow resembling the pages of a book. Amidst their rustling, Sophie hears a familiar whisper…
‘There you are, my Sophie. I knew you’d come back for me.’
An absolutely spellbinding read about long-hidden family secrets and the magic that lurks between the pages of every ancient book. Perfect for fans of The Ten Thousand Doors of January, The Night Circus and The Binding.
THE LINCOLN HIGHWAY by AMOR TOWLES
publication date – October 2021
Emmett returns home to pick-up his little brother Billy, tie-up his late father’s estate and get out of town for good. Since leaving the Kansas youth facility where he’s served time, Emmett has wanted one thing: to give them both a fresh start – and that means heading out to the sparkling west.
Young, precocious Billy has plans of his own – to get to San Francisco, where he believes their long-estranged mother is waiting for them. However, as soon as they’ve loaded Emmett’s bright blue Studebaker with their few belongings, trouble arrives and brings its sidekick in the form of Duchess and Woolly, two runaways from the very facility Emmett just left behind him.
Insatiable Duchess and his devoted, but slow companion Woolly soon wreck Billy’s plan to get onto the open road, one well-intentioned blunder at a time. Each young man sees this journey as his chance to pursue his dreams, settle scores and find riches. And a simple journey quickly becomes a dazzling odyssey filled with obstacles, villains and ruses fit only for heroes to overcome.
Bursting with life, charm and unforgettable characters, The Lincoln Highway is an extraordinary journey through 1950s America from a master storyteller.
THE VISITORS by CAROLINE SCOTT
publication date – November 2021
From the highly acclaimed author of The Photographer of the Lost, a BBC Radio 2 Book Club Pick, comes a tale of a young war widow and one life-changing, sun-drenched visit to Cornwall in the summer of 1923…
Esme Nicholls is to spend the summer in Cornwall. Her late husband Alec, who died fighting in the war, grew up in Penzance, and she’s hoping to learn more about the man she loved and lost.
While there, she will stay with Gilbert, in his rambling seaside house, where he lives with his former brothers in arms. Esme is fascinated by this community of eccentric artists and former soldiers, and as she gets to know the men and their stories, she begins to feel this summer might be exactly what she needs.
But everything is not as idyllic as it seems – a mysterious new arrival later in the summer will turn Esme’s world upside down, and make her question everything she thought she knew about her life, and the people in it.
Full of light, laughter and larger-than-life characters, The Visitors is a novel of one woman finally finding her voice and choosing her own path forwards.
THE SPIRIT ENGINEER by A.J WEST
publication date – October 2021
Belfast, 1914. Two years after the sinking of the Titanic, high society has become obsessed with spiritualism in the form of seances that attempt to contact the spirits of loved ones lost at sea.
William is a man of science and a sceptic, but one night with everyone sat around the circle something happens that places doubt in his heart and a seed of obsession in his mind. Could the spirits truly be communicating with him or is this one of Kathleen’s parlour tricks gone too far?
This early 20th century gothic set in Northern Ireland contains all the mystery and intrigue one might expect from a Sarah Waters novel. Deftly plotted with echoes of The Woman in Black, readers will be thrilled to discover West’s chilling prose.
Based on the true story of William Jackson Crawford and famed medium Kathleen Goligher, and with a cast of characters that include Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini, The Spirit Engineer conjures a haunting tale that will keep readers guessing until the very end.
THE MAN WHO DIED TWICE by RICHARD OSMAN
publication date – September 2021
It’s the following Thursday.
Elizabeth has received a letter from an old colleague, a man with whom she has a long history. He’s made a big mistake, and he needs her help. His story involves stolen diamonds, a violent mobster, and a very real threat to his life.
As bodies start piling up, Elizabeth enlists Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron in the hunt for a ruthless murderer. And if they find the diamonds too? Well, wouldn’t that be a bonus?
But this time they are up against an enemy who wouldn’t bat an eyelid at knocking off four septuagenarians. Can The Thursday Murder Club find the killer (and the diamonds) before the killer finds them?
I won a copy of this lovely book via a Facebook group…
THE ILLUSTRATED CHILD by POLLY CROSBY
Romilly Kemp has an idyllic childhood, roaming the wilderness that surrounds her father’s ramshackle farmhouse. But when he makes her the star of his beautifully illustrated books, her carefree if somewhat lonely existence is threatened.
The books are thought to hold clues to an elaborate treasure hunt, and strangers turn up at their door, anxious to get a glimpse of the ‘Kemp Treasure Girl’. But when her father falls ill, leaving Romilly more isolated and alone than ever, she begins to delve deeper into the books – and her past.
As she makes sense of the clues he has hidden, she finds a truth that is far darker and more devastating than any treasure hunt has a right to be. For not everything that is hidden is gold.
And then I went on a little spending spree……
THE MANNINGTREE WITCHES by A.K.BLAKEMORE
Wolf Hall meets The Favourite in this beguiling debut novel that brilliantly brings to life the residents of a small English town in the grip of the seventeenth-century witch trials and the young woman tasked with saving them all from themselves.
England, 1643. Puritanical fervor has gripped the nation. And in Manningtree, a town depleted of men since the wars began, the hot terror of damnation burns in the hearts of women left to their own devices.
Rebecca West, fatherless and husbandless, chafes against the drudgery of her days, livened only occasionally by her infatuation with the handsome young clerk John Edes. But then a newcomer, Matthew Hopkins, arrives. A mysterious, pious figure dressed from head to toe in black, he takes over the Thorn Inn and begins to ask questions about what the women on the margins of this diminished community are up to. Dangerous rumors of covens, pacts, and bodily wants have begun to hang over women like Rebecca–and the future is as frightening as it is thrilling.
SORROW AND BLISS by MEG MASON
This novel is about a woman called Martha. She knows there is something wrong with her but she doesn’t know what it is. Her husband Patrick thinks she is fine. He says everyone has something, the thing is just to keep going.
Martha told Patrick before they got married that she didn’t want to have children. He said he didn’t mind either way because he has loved her since he was fourteen and making her happy is all that matters, although he does not seem able to do it.
By the time Martha finds out what is wrong, it doesn’t really matter anymore. It is too late to get the only thing she has ever wanted. Or maybe it will turn out that you can stop loving someone and start again from nothing – if you can find something else to want.
PURE by JO PERRY
Caught in a pincer movement between the sudden death of Evelyn (her favourite aunt) and the Corona virus, Ascher Lieb finds herself unexpectedly locked down in her aunt’s retirement community with only Evelyn’s grief-stricken dog Freddie for company.
As the world tumbles down into a pandemic shaped rabbit-hole Ascher is wracked with guilt that her aunt was buried without the Jewish burial rights of purification.
In order to atone for this dereliction of familial duty, Ascher – in her own words ‘a profane, unobservant, atheist Jew, frequent liar and grieving loser’ –volunteers to become the newest member of Valley Haverim Chevra Kadisha, a Jewish burial society on-call twenty-four-seven during lockdown and performing Mitzvot at no cost to the bereaved.
What follows is a journey through the insanity of lockdown in Los Angeles as Ascher attempts to bring peace to a troubled soul, and perhaps in the end redemption for herself.
In the hands of a lesser-writer a novel set in the time of covid could lead to a cliché ridden trope-fest, but instead with the skill and grace we’ve come to expect from Jo Perry she has delivered a book that is wise and beautiful and uplifting.
WE ARE ANIMALS by TIM EWINS
A cow looks out to sea, dreaming of a life that involves grass.
Jan is also looking out to sea. He’s in Goa, dreaming of the passport-thief who stole his heart (and his passport) forty-six years ago. Back then, fate kept bringing them together, but lately it seems to have given up.
Jan has not. In his long search he has accidentally held a whole town at imaginary gunpoint in Soviet Russia, stalked the proprietors of an international illegal lamp-trafficking scam and done his very best to avoid any kind of work involving the packing of fish. Now he thinks if he just waits, if he just does nothing at all, maybe fate will find it easier to reunite them.
His story spans fifty-four years, ten countries, two imperfect criminals (and one rather perfect one), twenty-two different animals and an annoying teenager who just…
His story spans fifty-four years, ten countries, two imperfect criminals (and one rather perfect one), twenty-two different animals and an annoying teenager who just…
But maybe an annoying teenager is exactly what Jan needs to help him find the missing thief?
Featuring a menagerie of creatures, each with its own story to tell, We Are Animals is a quirky, heart-warming tale of lost love, unlikely friendships and the certainty of fate (or lack thereof).
For the first time in her life the cow noticed the sun setting, and it was glorious.
A WASH OF BLACK by CHRIS MCDONALD
IT’S NOT LIFE THAT IMITATES ART. IT’S DEATH.
Anna Symons. Famous. Talented. Dead.
When the body of a famous actress is found mutilated on an ice rink in Manchester, recreating a scene from a blockbuster film she starred in years ago, DI Erika Piper must find the culprit; the media-dubbed ‘Blood Ice Killer.’
Having recently returned to work after suffering a near-fatal attack herself, she must once again prove her worth. But when another body is found, and the killer issues a personal threat, Erika must put her demons aside and crack the case, or suffer the deadly consequences.
WHISPERS IN THE DARK
Who will heed the call when Death comes whispering?
Small time drug dealer, Marcus Stone and DCI Clive Burston had never met until one night in August. By the end of that night, both had been shot dead in a small bedroom in the heart of gang territory.
DI Erika Piper is called to the scene but is at a loss to explain what’s happened. How did these two even meet, let alone end up dead in what appears to be a strange murder-suicide?
As Erika leads the investigation, another two bodies are found, killed in a similar fashion. One murder, one suicide. But who is controlling this macarbre puppet show?
As Erika delves deeper into the lives of the dead, the pieces begin to fit together and a number of nefarious characters crawl out of the woodwork – one of whom is almost certainly pulling the strings.
A catastrophic event and a personal miracle threaten to derail the investigation. Erika must find the strength to continue, before the whispers catch up with her too…
ROSES FOR THE DEAD
MURDER CAN BE MAYHEM.
2013 Rockstar Johnny Mayhem sits on his bed, holding a bloody baseball bat. On the floor, clutching a lavender rose in her fist, is his wife, Amanda, who he has just beaten to death. Erika Piper knows this because she is one of the first on the scene. Mayhem is arrested and led away, screaming that they’ve got the wrong man. But the evidence is irrefutable and when Mayhem is sentenced to life in prison, no one is surprised.
Now Thanks to new evidence, Johnny Mayhem is a now free man. During a television interview, he issues a thinly veiled threat to those involved in the original case before seemingly disappearing off the face of the Earth. When the body of Mayhem’s dealer is found, Erika Piper is pulled from the safety of her desk job and thrown into the hunt for the Rockstar. Can she find Mayhem before he can enact his revenge on everyone involved, including Erika? Or, has he been telling the truth all along? Did the police really get the wrong man?