My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 29th February 2020 #bookblogger

Farewell to February! And hopefully farewell to the awful weather!! Another weekend, another storm!! What fun!!

On the reading front this week it’s been another productive one – I’m enjoying the reading part way too much at the moment, if only I could feel that way about writing the reviews! 6 books finished again this week – and still making no impact on the TBR mountain!  But at least I stayed away from Netgalley this week!

Here’s my look back…..

BOOKS FINISHED

DEAR EDWARD by ANN NAPOLITANO – 5 STARS

MIRACLE ON CHERRY HILL by SUN-MI HWANG – 4 STARS

WILD SPINNING GIRLS by CAROL LOVEKIN – 5 STARS

THE ANIMALS AT LOCKWOOD MANOR by JANE HEALEY – 4 STARS

THE GUEST LIST by LUCY FOLEY – 5 STARS

THE TEN LOVES OF MR NISHINO by HIROMI KAWAKAMI – 2 STARS

BOOKHAUL

From ALMA CLASSICS  as part of my yearly subscription

THE WATER THEATRE by LINDSAY CLARKE

As war reporter Martin Crowther arrives in Umbria, still raw from a recent assignment in Africa, and from a failing love affair back home, a storm hits and the sky opens. Things are powerfully on the move inside him too as he comes to the small village of Fontanalba, on a mission to track down two friends from a lifetime ago.

CURRENTLY READING

THE LODGER by LOUISE TREGER

BRING UP THE BODIES by HILARY MANTEL

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HAPPY READING!

#CoverReveal THE WALLS WE BUILD by JULES HAYES @rararesources

Delighted to be joining in with the cover reveal today for THE WALLS WE BUILD by JULES HAYES.  My thanks to the author, publisher and Rachel of  Rachel’s Random Resources for letting me be part of it all! Looking forward to sharing my thoughts on the book too on the Blog Tour next month, so watch out for that!!

The Walls We Build

Three friends …

Growing up together around Winston Churchill’s estate in Westerham, Kent, Frank, Florence and Hilda are inseparable. But as WW2 casts its menacing shadow, friendships between the three grow complex, and Frank – now employed as Churchill’s bricklayer – makes choices that will haunt him beyond the grave, impacting his grandson’s life too.

Two Secrets …

Shortly after Frank’s death in 2002 Florence writes to Richard, Frank’s grandson, hinting at the darkness hidden within his family. On investigation, disturbing secrets come to light, including a pivotal encounter between Frank and Churchill during the war and the existence of a mysterious relative in a psychiatric hospital.

One Hidden Life …

How much more does Florence dare reveal about Frank – and herself – and is Richard ready to hear?

Set against the stunning backdrop of Chartwell, Churchill’s country home, comes a tragic story of misguided honour, thwarted love and redemption, reverberating through three generations and nine decades.

For readers of Kate Morton, Rachel Hore, Katherine Webb, Lucinda Riley and Juliet West.

“Passion, intrigue and family secrets drive this complex wartime relationship drama. A page turner. I loved it.” #1 bestselling author, Nicola May

Publication Date: 23rd March

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Jules Hayes lives in Berkshire with her husband, daughter and a dog. She has a degree in modern history and holds a particular interest in events and characters from the early 20th century. As a former physiotherapist and trainer – old habits die hard – when not writing Jules likes to run. She also loves to watch films, read good novels and is a voracious consumer of non-fiction too, particularly biographies.

Jules is currently working on her second historical novel, another dual timeline story.

Jules also writes contemporary thriller and speculative fiction as JA Corrigan. Jules Hayes can be found at:

Website: jules-hayes.com

 Twitter @JulesHayes6 – http://www.twitter.com/JulesHayes6 

Facebook Author Page: JulesHayesAuthor – http://www.facebook.com/JulesHayesAuthor 

Instagram: JulesHayes6 – http://www.instagram.com/juleshayes6 

Writing as JA Corrigan, Jules can be found at: Website: http://www.jacorrigan.com 

Twitter: @juliannwriter – http://www.twitter.com/juliannwriter

And now for the big reveal………… ready………

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PRE-ORDER LINKS

UK -= https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0855YZ3GG/
US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0855YZ3GG/

#BookReview THE ANIMALS AT LOCKWOOD MANOR by JANE HEALEY

ABOUT THE BOOK

Some secrets are unspoken. Others are unspeakable . . .

August 1939.

Thirty-year-old Hetty Cartwright is tasked with the evacuation and safekeeping of the natural history museum’s collection of mammals. Once she and her exhibits arrive at Lockwood Manor, however, where they are to stay for the duration of the war, Hetty soon realizes that she’s taken on more than she’d bargained for.

Protecting her charges from the irascible Lord Lockwood and resentful servants is work enough, but when some of the animals go missing, and worse, Hetty begins to suspect someone – or something – is stalking her through the darkened corridors of the house.

As the disasters mount, Hetty finds herself falling under the spell of Lucy, Lord Lockwood’s beautiful but clearly haunted daughter. But why is Lucy so traumatized? Does she know something she’s not telling? And is there any truth to local rumours of ghosts and curses?

Part love story, part mystery, The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey is a gripping and atmospheric tale of family madness, long-buried secrets and hidden desires.

PUBLISHED BY MANTLE

PUBLICATION DAY – 5TH MARCH 2020

PRE-ORDER LINKS

hive.co.uk

Amazon

Goldsboro Books – signed first edition

MY REVIEW

What is it with these old houses that are full of secrets and mysterious goings on?! I love it!! And at Lockwood Manor the past is full of darkness, and as Hetty moves in to overlook the storage of the animal collection from the National History Museum during the start of the war, she is plunged into a world of family struggles whilst trying to keep track of her exhbits that keep going missing!!

Lockwood Manor is the home of Lord Lockwood and his daughter Lucy, along with a few members of staff and they’re not all pleased to be having Hetty and her collection moving in. She gets an uneasy feeling from the house from the moment she moves in and the nightmares she has are the least of her problems during her time there.

Along with the Hetty trying to settle, we also hear the story of Lucy Lockwood who has led a pretty tragic life since the death of her mother, alongside a father who seems to care very little for her. She has really bad anxiety and despite living a seemingly gilded life, you can’t help but feel enormous sympathy for her. In Hetty she finds someone she can connect with, and start to feel a little safer and it was extremely touching to see how their friendship was a real strength for them both.

As the unsettling feeling continues, there is more revealed from the past that was really shocking and I loved how the story centres around loneliness and the role that women were expected to play at that time. In Hetty and Lucy we get to see how different roles played out and it gave another dimension to the story.

A really touching and enjoyable read.

★★★★

#BookReview DEAR EDWARD by ANN NAPOLITANO

ABOUT THE BOOK

A heart-wrenching, life-affirming novel about a 12-year-old boy who is the sole survivor of a deadly plane crash

One summer morning, a flight takes off from New York to Los Angeles. There are 187 passengers aboard: among them a Wall Street millionaire; a young woman taking a pregnancy test in the airplane toilet; a soldier returning from Afghanistan; and two beleaguered parents moving across the country with their adolescent sons. When the plane suddenly crashes in a field in Colorado, the younger of these boys, 12-year-old Edward Adler, is the sole survivor.

Dear Edward recounts the stories of the passengers aboard that flight as it hurtles toward its fateful end, and depicts Edward’s life in the crash’s aftermath as he tries to make sense of the loss of his family, the strangeness of his sudden fame, and the meaning of his survival. As Edward comes of age against the backdrop of sudden tragedy, he must confront one of life’s most profound questions: how do we make the most of the time we are given?’

PUBLISHED BY VIKING

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon

hive.co.uk

whsmith

MY REVIEW

An exquisite story about an extraordinary little boy who is dealing with being the only survivor on a plane crash that killed 191 others, including his mum, dad and brother. Just how do you pick yourself up aged 12 after something so tragic, and how do you make sense of a world around you that sees you as a miracle child.

The story is told in the present and past – we see the story unfold as everyone boards the plane and we get to know the other passengers as everyone goes about their business as normal. There’s those hiding secrets, those moving on to new lives – nothing really out of the ordinary, especially with Edward and his family who are heading to Los Angeles, and the bond between them all is clear for all to see. Which makes it even more heartbreaking when we read the ‘now’ story with Edward having to deal with now living with his Aunt and Uncle in a new town, and being the focus of media attention from around the world. He finds comfort in the next door neighbours – Besa and her daughter Shay – and with them he finds peace and feels safe. His life is still pretty traumatic as he is losing weight as the survivor guilt seems to have left him unable to stomach many foods and reading about his struggle is often heartbreaking. You just want to dive in the pages and give him a big hug!

As time goes by he speaks to a therapist and begins to find ways of accepting what happened and I love seeing his journey , especially the role that Shay plays in his life. She compares his journey to that of Harry Potter and the bond between them is very sweet. And as the drama plays out on the plane journey before the crash, it just shows how quickly life can change.

A lovely story beautifully told! Highly recommended! 

★★★★★

#BookReview MIRACLE ON CHERRY HILL by SUN-MI HWANG

ABOUT THE BOOK

Celebrated bestselling author Sun-mi Hwang is back with a heartwarming new novel about renewal and friendship.

This is the story of a man named Kang Dae-su. His whole life is a miracle, rising from poverty to running a successful construction company. In his twilight years, Kang is diagnosed with a brain tumour. He returns to his childhood home of Cherry Hill. He acquires a crumbling old house in which to retreat from the world, yet the residents of the town have other plans. They seem hell-bent on intruding on Kang’s private property. But who does the house, and Cherry Hill, really belong to? Is it owned by the construction company who is trying to rejuvenate the neighbourhood? Or does it belong to the residents who have used the land to play, think, walk, love and explore for generations? And how is the bitter and despondent Kang’s childhood tied to this magical place?

Miracle on Cherry Hill is a redemptive story of a damaged man regaining his trust in humanity. It explores the fragility of nature and human lives and is much-loved classic in South Korea. Includes beautiful illustrations inside.

PUBLISHED BY ABACUS

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon

WHSmith

hive.co.uk

MY REVIEW

Stunner of a little book that gives you all the feels! It’s always a delight to read a story that is told in a gentle way and features a character who is returning ‘home’ with the intention of seeing out his last days all alone, but he finds that the home he remembers has been reclaimed by the community. This angers him to begin with, but as he starts to spend time amongst the young and old who use his land for a variety of daily activities, he begins to soften his approach to what he perceives as a harsh world and embraces the warmth he receives from the local community.

The way that Kang deals with his illness by addressing ‘Sir Lump’ is a really clever way of telling his story and the way he looks back on his memories trying to make peace with them. That’s why he wanted to spend time alone, but seeing the world through the eyes of others allows him to take on new things to pass his days. Through talking to others he gets to learn more about himself as a person and the past that he thought he remembered has light shed on it.

There are no big shocks, no twists and turns but it was a beautiful little book that was easy to read and one I’ll be going back to over time.

★★★★

#BookReview THE UNSPOKEN NAME by A.K.LARKWOOD #TheUnspokenName

ABOUT THE BOOK

What if you knew how and when you will die?

Csorwe does — she will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice.

But on the day of her foretold death, a powerful mage offers her a new fate. Leave with him, and live. Turn away from her destiny and her god to become a thief, a spy, an assassin—the wizard’s loyal sword. Topple an empire, and help him reclaim his seat of power.

But Csorwe will soon learn – gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due.

PUBLISHED BY  TOR BOOKS

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon 

hive.co.uk

waterstones

MY REVIEW

I’m always excited to discover a new fantasy world to disappear into, and this one delivers on all fronts of excitement, twists, diversity, drama, humour and a new superstar character in Csorwe who we follow as she is set on a new path She’s always been brought up knowing she was going to die on her 14th birthday and while that’s not the best kind of birthday present one can hope for, she’s offered a new fate on the day she’s due to be ‘sacrificed’ and boy is she in for a rollercoaster of a ride, as she becomes a wizard’s loyal sword-hand! Bring on the fights, the deception and the magic!

I often find with some fantasy novels that they can drag a little on the pace front – there’s a lot of world building and characters to explore, but that often slows the flow right down – but that doesn’t happen with the way the author writes this book. It zips along and covers the story over a few years and, although there’s lots going on, there’s always a chance to keep your bearings, so to speak, and that made for such a connection with this story and the characters within. There’s also a very helpful list of characters and how to pronounce their names at the beginning of the book – invaluable!!

Csorwe is on a real learning process alongside Sethennai as she visits places she’s only ever heard about after her incredibly sheltered life, but she soon finds out she’s more capable than she ever imagined as she faces all that is thrown her way. The story is told from a variety of POV’s which I really enjoyed and there’s a huge variety of personalities and it was good fun keeping track of who was there to help or hinder Csorwe and her progress! Just why did Sethennai choose her in the first place? And what consequences will there be for her not following her original destiny?! There’s so much to explore along her journey and I found myself doing the ‘just one more chapter’ thing as I couldn’t bear not knowing what was going to happen next!!

An exciting introduction to this duology and I’m eagerly counting down the days until we get to read more about Csorwe and the world she finds herself a part of!

★★★★

#PublicationDayPost NEW YEAR NEW GUY by ANGELA BRITNELL #guestpost @ChocLituk @AngelaBritnell

An absolute delight for me today to be able to post this Blog Post on behalf of the lovely Angela Britnell and Choc Lit on PUBLICATION DAY!!   So sit back and enjoy a few words from Angela, a little bit more about the book and, most importantly!, links to be able to get your mitts on a copy of the wonderful NEW YEAR, NEW GUY!

New Year New Guy: A Brief Break from Cornwall!

This story is a break from my usual Cornwall/Nashville romances because the setting ventures over the border into Devon and the city of Plymouth, with a few side trips I don’t want to give away here! It was interesting to change things up and I hope my readers will forgive me and hopefully enjoy visiting some different places along the way. To those who don’t know there has always been a touch of rivalry between Cornwall and Devon, in fact older Cornish people will talk about crossing the Tamar River border as though they are travelling to another country. And don’t even get them all started on the proper way to eat a cream tea. Whether to put jam or cream on the scones first is the source of endless debates. I purposely avoided going anywhere near that particular minefield in the book but anyone who knows that I’m Cornish born and bred will guess where I fall on that particular question…

‘Out with the old life, in with the new,’ sums the book up perfectly. When we first meet Laura she’s standing in the rain at the Plymouth bus station waiting to collect Hunter who her sister Polly has invited as a surprise for her fiancé Johnny at their pre-wedding party. Although Laura is cynical about the idea of lifelong love after escaping from her own brief, bad marriage to an arrogant surgeon she agreed to take care of this unknown American for a few days to please her sister. The minute Hunter sets foot on English soil again for the first time in twenty years he knows he’s made a mistake and would bet his last dollar that his old friend won’t be pleased to have the past dragged up. For a multitude of reasons, many of them tied to the time he and Johnny spent at school together, he’s also determined to stay single and no prickly English nurse will change his mind. Or will she? Could Laura come around to the idea that love doesn’t have to mean losing her sense of self?

It was a challenge to touch on a few darker themes in this story without losing the sense of fun and romance I always strive to bring to my books but I hope I’ve managed it, only reviews and sales will confirm that. Sending Laura and Hunter’s story out into the world today means that it’s time to get busy on my summer release!

About the book:

Out with the old life, in with the new …

When Laura’s bride-to-be sister, Polly, organises a surprise reunion for her fiancé and his long lost American friend, Laura grudgingly agrees to help keep the secret. And when the plain-spoken, larger-than-life Hunter McQueen steps off the bus in her rainy Devon town and only just squeezes into her tiny car, it confirms that Laura has made a big mistake in going along with her sister’s crazy plan.

But could the tall, handsome man with the Nashville drawl be just what reserved Laura Williams needs to shake up her life and start something new?

PUBLISHED BY CHOC LIT

About the Author:

Angela grew up in Cornwall and returns frequently from her new home in Nashville, Tennessee to visit family and friends, drink tea and eat far too many Cornish pasties!

A lifelong love of reading turned into a passion for writing contemporary romance and her novels are usually set in the many places she’s visited or lived on her extensive travels. Thanks to over three decades of marriage to her wonderful American husband she’s a huge fan of transatlantic romance and always makes sure her characters get their own happy-ever-after.

She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Romance Writers of America and the Music City Romance Writers.

If you’d like to find out more of what Angela gets up to (warning this may include references to wine, chocolate and the hunky Aidan Turner) check out www.angelabritnellromance.com or follow her on www.facebook.com/angelabritnell and www.twitter.com/angelabritnell

Buying Links: 

Kindle UK: https://amzn.to/38N23zv 

Kindle US: https://amzn.to/38MJsUz 

Kobo: https://apple.co/2wCu7aT 

Apple Books: https://apple.co/2wCu7aT

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