#BlogTour A PARIS FAIRY TALE by MARIE LAVAL #BookReview #Giveaway @rararesources @ChocLituk

A huge delight today to be the latest stop on the wonderful Bog Tour for A PARIS FAIRY TALE by MARIE LAVAL. My thanks to the author, publisher and Rachel of  Rachel’s Random Resources for letting me be part of it all.  And there’s a gorgeous giveaway to take part in too so scroll down for further details!!

ABOUT THE BOOK

A Paris Fairy Tale Is Paris the city of happily ever afters?

Workaholic art historian Aurora Black doesn’t have time for fairy tales or Prince Charmings, even in the most romantic city in the world. She has recently been hired by a Parisian auction house for a job that could make or break her career. Unfortunately, daredevil journalist Cédric Castel seems intent on disrupting Aurora’s routine.

As Aurora and Cédric embark on a journey across France, they get more than they bargained for as they find themselves battling rogue antiques dealers and personal demons, not to mention a growing attraction to each other.

But with the help of a fairy godmother or two, could they both find their happily ever afters

Purchase Links:

 Amazon UK

Amazon US

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Originally from Lyon in France, Marie now lives in Lancashire with her family. She works full-time as a modern languages teacher and in her spare time she loves writing romance and dreaming about romantic heroes. She writes both historical and contemporary romance. Her historical romance The Lion’s Embrace won the Gold Medal at the Global Ebook Awards 2015 (category Historical Romance), and best-selling Little Pink Taxi was her debut romantic comedy novel with Choc Lit. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors. Her native France, as well as her passion for history and research,

Social Media Links

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

GIVEAWAY

Giveaway to Win a ‘I love Paris’ Keyring, and a medieval necklace (handmade from a copy of an illuminated manuscript) – UK Only

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

CLICK TO ENTER

MY REVIEW

Swoon! A book that has every base covered – gorgeous setting, go-getting characters, history, mystery, romance and thriller vibes! What more could you want from a book?! I loved every page!!

Aurora is committed to her work and she is a much respected art historian, which means she travels all over delving into the past. She finds herself in Paris at the request of a top auction house and she wants to prove that she is worthy of the work they are trusting her with. Romance is the last thing on her mind!

She soon comes across the path of Cedric who is a journalist used to getting his own way and never taking no as an answer. When he sniffs out a story it is just coincidence that Aurora may be getting in his way! He wants to do a story on the work she does – she disagree but soon finds that having Cedric around might help her out when things start to take a sinister turn as she finds out more about the manuscript at the centre of her work.

I really love Aurora as a character – so devoted to her work and  not easily distracted but you do notice chinks in her armour when things begin to turn a little darker and the truth about her past comes to light and you totally understand what is pushing her to do well in her work.

And she is reluctant to take a chance on people considering she has been lied to and had her trust in others shattered so when Cedric shows up, you understand her reluctance to let him into her life – even if he does seem to appear when she needs him the most.

Aurora and Cedric are such wonderful main characters to follow – devoted to their jobs but also quite playful with their banter and I loved being in their company! There are twists and turns galore and the pace really builds up nicely towards the end as things came to a head!  A wonderfully modern fairy tale!!

★★★★★

#BlogTour #BookReview THE OLD DRAGON’S HEAD by JUSTIN NEWLAND #LoveBooksTours #JustinNewland

Delighted to bring you my thoughts today on THE OLD DRAGON’S HEAD by JUSTIN NEWLAND as part of the fabulous Blog Tour. My thanks to the author, publisher and Kelly of  LoveBooksTours for putting it all together and letting me be part of it!

Blurb

Constructed of stone and packed earth, the Great Wall of 10,000 li protects China’s northern borders from the threat of Mongol incursion. The wall is also home to a supernatural beast: the Old Dragon. The Old Dragon’s Head is the most easterly point of the wall, where it finally meets the sea.


In every era, a Dragon Master is born. Endowed with the powers of Heaven, only he can summon the Old Dragon so long as he possess the dragon pearl.It’s the year 1400, and neither the Old Dragon, the dragon pearl, nor the Dragon Master, has been seen for twenty years. Bolin, a young man working on the Old Dragon’s Head, suffers visions of ghosts. Folk believe he has yin-yang eyes and other paranormal gifts.

When Bolin’s fief lord, the Prince of Yan, rebels against his nephew, the Jianwen Emperor, a bitter war of succession ensues in which the Mongols hold the balance of power. While the victor might win the battle on earth, China’s Dragon Throne can only be earned with a Mandate from Heaven – and the support of the Old Dragon.Bolin embarks on a journey of self-discovery, mirroring Old China’s endeavour to come of age. When Bolin accepts his destiny as the Dragon Master, Heaven sends a third coming of age – for humanity itself. But are any of them ready for what is rising in the east?

Purchase on Amazon UK

Author Website

MY REVIEW

Show me a book with a dragon in it and I want to know about it! And this fabulous adventure didn’t let me down as it had a little bit of everything in there for me to enjoy – mystery, humour, fantasy, power struggles and good old fashioned treachery!

At the heart of the story is Bolin who is coming to terms with having strange visions and headaches and wondering what to make of it all. He lives a simple life as a fishermans’ son so to have visions is something unheard of. There has always been a dragon master around but none has been seen for 20 years – with it comes great power.

AT the same time there’s an awful lot of power struggles going on with various other characters. And woe betide you if you get in the way! As Bolin goes looking for answers, we also find the character Feng looking to find answers to the goings on in his life and there are plenty of people who don’t want them to find out the truth.

With the threat of the Mongol Army attacking the town never far away, he tension is always rising and I loved all the little subplots coming together and keeping you on your toes as to where the story was going, and what secrets from the past were next to be revealed – and what consequences they would lead to!

This book was an enjoyable mix of history with the supernatural and was really well paced. Destiny plays a big part in this story too and I’m hoping there will be further adventures featuring these characters so we can watch them on their journey!

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#BlogTour THE GIRL AT THE WINDOW by ROWAN COLEMAN #BookReview #RandomThingsTours

A great pleasure to be the latest stop on the wonderful Blog Tour for THE GIRL AT THE WINDOW by ROWAN COLEMAN. My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for the copy of the book and letting me be part of the Blog Tour.

ABOUT THE BOOK

A beautiful new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Memory Book and The Summer of Impossible Things

 The Girl at the Window is a beautiful and captivating novel set at Ponden Hall, a centuries-old house on the Yorkshire moors and famously used as a setting for Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. 

Known as the place where Cathy’s ghost taps on the window, Emily Bronte used to visit often with her sisters and use the extensive library there. It’s a magical place full of stories. In The Girl at the Window, Ponden Hall is where Trudy Heaton grew up, but also where she ran away from… Now, after the devastating loss of her husband, Trudy returns home with her young son, Will, who refuses to believe his father is dead. While Trudy tries to do her best for her son, she must also attempt to build bridges with her eccentric mother. And then there is the Hall itself: fallen into disrepair but generations of lives and loves still echo in its shadows, sometimes even reaching out to the present…

 The Girl at the Window is hauntingly beautiful, and centred on an epic love story with a twist that draws you in fast. The strong themes of grief, absent fathers and maternal instincts are consistent emotional pulls throughout. Trudy and Abe are the ultimate love story, but there is also a wonderfully atmospheric ghostly mystery to be solved as well.

published by Ebury Press

Publication Date – 8th August 2019

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK  £7.99

hive.co.uk  £7.15

whsmith   £5.75

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rowan Coleman lives with her husband and their five children in a very full house in Hertfordshire. She juggles writing novels with raising her family. Rowan’s last novel, The Summer of Impossible Things, was selected for Zoe Ball’s ITV Book Club. Rowan has an everlasting love for the Brontes, and is a regular visitor of Ponden Hall.

http://www.rowancoleman.co.uk | @rowancoleman

MY REVIEW

Wow!! This is how I love books I read to be! Full of heart and mystery, sprinkled with lashings of history and ghostly goings on!! It was just a wonderful read and has me now itching to read more of the Bronte Sisters and especially to revisit Wuthering Heights!

Ponden Hall is where the story is based – Trudy Heaton grew up there but was quick to escape, but finds herself returning there along with her son, Will, as they try and deal with the grief of losing her husband who is presumed dead after a plane crash.  This also means repairing a long rift with her mother – a woman not backward in coming forward and her comments over the years have never gone down too well with her daughter.

The story also goes back to the past – 1654 onwards – and what happened at Ponden Hall when a mystery girl was taken in by Robert Heaton and I found the storyline of Agnes just as captivating as that of Trudy in the present.  The friendship she formed with Robert was truly touching and the treatment he received from his stepfather was abhorrent.

In the present Trudy does her best to try and move on, but the ghosts of her life and those of Ponden Hall are never far away and it was always intriguing to find out what she’d discover next about the house and her family history.  In looking into restoring Ponden Hall she calls in an expert and he seems even more obsessed with her home and the literary links it has than she can imagine.

I thoroughly enjoyed spending time at Ponden Hall with these characters and found it to be such a captivating story  that I just lost track of time whilst I was reading!

★★★★★

#BlogTour #BookReview A Right Royal Face-Off by Simon Edge #Giveaway @rararesources @EyeAndLightning

A huge delight to be the latest stop on the Blog Tour for A RIGHT ROYAL FACE-OFF by SIMON EDGE.  My thanks to the author, publisher and Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for the copy of the book and putting this tour together – and letting me be part of it all!

There’s also a chance for you to win a copy of this book too!! I do spoil you……..

A Right Royal Face-Off

It is 1777, and England’s second-greatest portrait artist, Thomas Gainsborough, has a thriving practice a stone’s thrown from London’s royal palaces, while the press talks up his rivalry with Sir Joshua Reynolds, the pedantic theoretician who is the top dog of British portraiture.

Fonder of the low life than high society, Gainsborough loathes pandering to grand sitters, but he changes his tune when he is commissioned to paint King George III and his large family. In their final, most bitter competition, who will be chosen as court painter, Tom or Sir Joshua?

Meanwhile, two and a half centuries later, a badly damaged painting turns up on a downmarket antiques TV show being filmed in Suffolk. Could the monstrosity really be, as its eccentric owner claims, a Gainsborough? If so, who is the sitter? And why does he have donkey’s ears?

Mixing ancient and modern as he did in his acclaimed debut The Hopkins Conundrum, Simon Edge takes aim at fakery and pretension in this highly original celebration of one of our greatest artists.

🎨🎨🎨

Purchase Link

Readers can order the book from the Lightning Books website at 50% off (with free UK p&p) if you enter this code at checkout – BLOGTOURFACE

Eye Lightning Books

Author Bio –

Simon Edge was born in Chester and read philosophy at Cambridge University.

He was editor of the pioneering London paper Capital Gay before becoming a gossip columnist on the Evening Standard and then a feature writer on the Daily Express, where he was also a theatre critic for many years.

He has an MA in Creative Writing from City University, London. His first novel, The Hopkins Conundrum, was longlisted for the Waverton Good Read Award. He lives in Suffolk.   Read more about Simon and his work at http://www.simon-edge.com.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: @simonjedge

Instagram: @simonjedge

MY REVIEW

If you are looking for a book that is the perfect antidote to the miserable, crazy world we currently live in, then you’ve come to the right place!!  This is a Georgian comedy about Thomas Gainsborough  and his rival painter, Sir Joshua Reynolds – if you thought the art world was stuffy and dull then think again!  It’s a book that made me smile and chuckle on numerous occasions and I just adored spending time with these characters and wondering where the story would take me!

It’s a dual timeline story – from the present time when a new antiques show is about to debut on TV and they’re looking to spice things up, to the past where we see Thomas dealing with royalty and rivalry on a grand scale!  There’s also letters we get to read from the past as we read the Georgian goings on from the point of view of David, a servant to the master painter and he has a whole different take on events at work, as he reports back to his family and let them know about a world they can’t even  begin to imagine!

Gainsborough is a  wonderful character! He almost seems to resent having to paint portraits but it pays the bills and he wants to be #1 – not easy when Sir Joshua seems to be flavour of the month! I loved the behind the scenes  goings on too at a sitting for a painting – the royal family gossiping and complaining about life as they chat with him!

In the present we get to witness how the world of TV operates, especially reality shows who try and use the public and humiliate them – when Muriel Mudge takes a painting along to be valued they think they’ve struck gold with her absurd claim but they’re soon the ones eating humble pie when she digs in her heels and refuses to speak to them as they try and make amends when doubts start to creep in!

The whole flow of this book was just pitched perfectly! There’s a great balance between the two timelines and so much to keep you entertained and intrigued! Just why is there a painting of a man with donkey ears?!  You can tell that the author has had so much fun with creating this storyline as it really comes across and his imagination has run riot!

A blast to read and quite touching too at times! It’s a book that has a little bit of everything from history, to mystery to satire and it  is one I highly recommend to everyone!

★★★★★

GIVEAWAY

A treat for those of you in the UK who want to win a copy of this fabulous book!

Giveaway to Win 5 x PB copies of A Right Royal Face-Of (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Click below to enter!! GOOD LUCK!!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494259/?

🎨🎨🎨🎨🎨

#BookReview #Audiobook Childish Spirits by Rob Keeley

ABOUT THE BOOK

When Ellie and her family move into Inchwood Manor, Ellie quickly discovers strange things are happening. Who is the mysterious boy at the window? What secrets lie within the abandoned nursery? Who is the woman who haunts Ellie’s dreams – and why has she returned to the Manor, after more than a century? Ellie finds herself entangled in a Victorian mystery of ghosts and tunnels and secret documents – and discovers that life all those years ago isn’t so different from the world she knows today…Rob Keeley’s first novel for children brings out all the ingredients of the classic ghost story within a recognisable modern world setting. 

Readers of his short story collections for children will find in Childish Spirits the elements which made his past books such a success – strong and contemporary characters, inventive twists on traditional themes, and a winning combination of action, suspense and humour.

published by Troubador Publishing

PURCHASE LINK – audio version

Amazon UK

THE AUTHOR

Author Website

Twitter – @RobKeeleyAuthor

MY REVIEW

Having come to this series late – I started with book 3 The Sword of the Spirit – I’ve been thrilled to be able to listen to the audio version of Book 1 to see where it all began and I loved how brilliant it was to hear it all brought to life, and loved the drama, mystery and humour throughout!

Ellie is the star of this series, and we find her moving to Inchwood Manor, along with her mum and older brother, as a new chapter of their life begins and her mum starts a new job helping prepare the old house to be opened to the public. Ellie is quite excited by the mve, the same can’t be said for her brother Charlie!

It doesn’t take Ellie long to notice a young boy watching her, and she’s braver than I would be when she starts exploring the Manor late at night when she starts hearing noises, and comes face to face with a prank pulling young boy called Edward! What follows then is her learning about the history of the house and finding out about the family who lived there, and why Edward seems to be trapped and so scared of his governess who still haunts the rooms too.

Ellie has this boundless enthusiasm that is infectious! She’s willing to throw herself into solving the mysteries of the Manor as well as helping Edward and it’s also a great way to learn about the differences between growing up now, and how Edward grew up in the Victorian years. There are some scary moments alongside quite emotional times when Edward is remembering his family and this was all brilliantly portrayed in the audio version too! It’s a great mix for readers (and listeners!) of all ages!

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed seeing how this fabulous series started – I love the mix of history to be learnt and mysteries to be solved, and my thanks go to the author and publisher for letting me have a copy of the audiobook in return for a fair and honest review.

★★★★★

#BookReview #20booksofsummer The Garden Of Lost and Found by Harriet Evans

Back on track with my 20 Books of Summer List! And Book 5 has now been read and reviewed!!  Can I keep this pace up?! Of course not, but I’m enjoying being so productive while I can!!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Nightingale House, 1919. Liddy Horner discovers her husband, the world-famous artist Sir Edward Horner, burning his best-known painting The Garden of Lost and Found days before his sudden death.

Nightingale House was the Horner family’s beloved home – a gem of design created to inspire happiness – and it was here Ned painted ‘The Garden of Lost and Found’, capturing his children on a perfect day, playing in the rambling Eden he and Liddy made for them.

One magical moment. Before it all came tumbling down…

When Ned and Liddy’s great-granddaughter Juliet is sent the key to Nightingale House, she opens the door onto a forgotten world. The house holds its mysteries close but she is in search of answers. For who would choose to destroy what they love most? Whether Ned’s masterpiece – or, in Juliet’s case, her own children’s happiness.

Something shattered this corner of paradise. But what?

Published by Headline Review

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon   £11.81

hive.co.uk  £12.99

whsmith  £11.89

Bert’s Books  £16.99 – sigend edition

MY REVIEW

A dramatic opening starts this book off with a bang and I was just totally captivated from the first page to the last with the events set over a dual timeline, relating to the painting of The Garden of Lost and Found, alongside the family history and drama of Nightingale House. The author has a wonderful way of capturing the day to day lives of people in various periods in history, mixed with the added mystery of secrets hidden behind closed doors that just makes you want to read more!!

Set in 1893 and 2014 this story follows the story of 2 families an their not so happy lives! In the 2014 timeline we follow Juliet who is married with children, but her husband seems to have form of playing away from home and she finally reaches breaking point and a legacy from the past leaves her with a way of breaking free from the marriage and starting over – albeit in a crumbling house that had sad memories for her family in the past. Her children aren’t so keen on the move and add to the stress she is under, but she is pretty determined to move on with her life and find the happiness she feels they all deserve.

In 1893 we follow the story of Liddy, who marries Ned (Juliet’s great grandfather), an artist, and find themselves moving to Nightingale House, a home she grew up in and despite the good times they shared together there, their time is soon tinged with sadness and pain. When Ned paints his most famous piece ‘The Garden of Lost and Found’ it should mean an end to all their worries, but just seems to add to the misery and he comes to despise his own work.

Juliet starts to learn more about her own family history when she starts working nearby and the more she uncovers the more devastating the revelations become.

I really loved both timelines in this one – I did find Juliet’s more powerful as she dealt with all that she learned about her past, while dealing with her own family problems – and I raced through the 440+ pages. The characters, the settings, the history, the escapism – perfect combinations for such an enjoyable book!

★★★★★

#BookReview The Tragic Daughters of Charles I by Sarah-Beth Watkins #nonfiction

ABOUT THE BOOK

Mary, Elizabeth and Henrietta Anne, the daughters of King Charles I and his queen, Henrietta Maria, would be brought up against the background of the English Civil War. Mary would marry William, Prince of Orange, and be sent to live in the Netherlands. Elizabeth would remain in England under Parliamentary control. Henrietta Anne would escape to France and be the darling of the French Court. Yet none of the Stuart princesses would live to reach thirty. The Tragic Daughters of Charles I is their story.

Chronos Books presents the latest in a series of historical royal biographies by Sarah-Beth Watkins, author of Lady Katherine Knollys: The Unacknowledged Daughter of King Henry VIII

Published by John Hunt Publishing – Chronos Books

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK

hive.co.uk

MY REVIEW

An enthralling and fascinating look at a tumultuous period of history, and I loved learning so much about the family of Charles I – it’s books like these that make me wish I’d ‘got’ history at a much younger age as I used to think it was all just very boring and a list of dates! This book is far from that and it is a real life royal soap opera with all the goings on over the years!


Not only does it feature Charles I and all that he was facing, but it looks behind him to his young family and what happened to them when everything was kicking off between the royalists and the parliamentarians. It strips away the pomp and ceremony that normally surrounds a royal family, and you get to see the struggles and the squabbles that enveloped this family as they were torn apart and had to face a very uncertain future.


I loved the added depth to the story that the royal letters between various members of the family added and it was surprising how much the siblings shared in letters between one another – they were very open and honest especially not knowing if they’d ever see one another again as they were all living apart and in different countries. 


With many scandals rocking England and France at the time it was just fascinating to have it all set out in chapters covering the various years, and seeing how the young girls grew up and what was expected of them in marriage, and in dealing with ill health made their stories so touching and often tragic and this book has helped me connect with these young women and I’m glad their stories are being shared in this way.

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My thanks to the author, publisher and netgalley for the copy for review.

#BookReview The Poison Bed by E.C.Fremantle #LibraryLoveChallenge #audiobook

About the book

Elizabeth Fremantle’s THE POISON BED is a chilling, noirish thriller ripped straight from the headlines.

A king, his lover and his lover’s wife. One is a killer.

In the autumn of 1615 scandal rocks the Jacobean court when a celebrated couple are imprisoned on suspicion of murder. She is young, captivating and from a notorious family. He is one of the richest and most powerful men in the kingdom.

Some believe she is innocent; others think her wicked or insane. He claims no knowledge of the murder. The king suspects them both, though it is his secret at stake.


Who is telling the truth? Who has the most to lose? And who is willing to commit murder?

Published by Michael Joseph

MY REVIEW

I listened to the audio version of this and have to give thanks to the wonderful narrators – Ross Anderson and Perdita Weeks – for bringing this dramatic story to life and giving an extra depth to the story with the way they portray ‘him’ and ‘her’.

The him and her are Robert Carr and Frances Howard, both pivotal characters at the heart of the court of James I and this story brilliantly captures a troubling and scandalous time in British history. They are accused of poisoning Lord Thomas Overbury and the story plays out as to the motives, means and subterfuge behind the plot and makes for fascinating listening, especially as I knew very little about this period of history and it has peaked my interest to investigate more!

Frances and Robert are both extremely fascinating characters – Robert is very close to the King, but is betrayed by his own lustful thoughts towards Frances which becomes obsessive with his pursuit of her. Frances is no stranger to getting what she wants from life and a disastrous marriage to Lord Essex gets her notoriety but not happiness.

Behind the scenes there are many plots to gain power over the King, and the manipulative behaviour displayed is quite staggering at times – there is no ‘playing fair’ in these high stake games that are being played and it’s all about getting what you want, no matter who you damage in the long run and I loved how devious some of the characters were in their quest for power.

The way the story is told from both perspectives also really worked well – you get to see their lives before, during and after the court case and allows you to get to know both characters even better. 

This is a gripping piece of historical fiction and gives a real insight into just how underhanded life could really be in the Jacobean court!

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#NonFictionNovember Unquiet Women by Max Adams #BookReview

About the book

Wynflæd was an Anglo-Saxon noblewoman who owned male slaves and badger-skin gowns; Egeria a Gaulish nun who toured the Holy Land as the Roman Empire was collapsing; Gudfrid an Icelandic explorer and the first woman to give birth to a European child on American soil; Mary Astell a philosopher who out-thought John Locke.

In this exploration of some remarkable – but little-known – women living between between the last days of Rome and the Enlightenment, Max Adams overturns the idea that women of this period were either queens, nuns or invisible. In a sequence of chronological chapters, a centrepiece biographical sketch is complemented by thematically linked stories of other women of the time. A multi-faceted and beautifully illustrated study of women’s intellect, influence and creativity, Unquiet Womenbrings to life the experiences of women whose voices are barely heard and whose stories are rarely told.

Published by Head of Zeus

Purchase Links

hive.co.uk  £13.79

waterstones £20

book depository £18.70

MY REVIEW

I found this to be a thoroughly captivating look at some of the forgotten women of history, throughout the ages. 
 
The achievements of many were only really appreciated long after their deaths, and this book does a wonderful job of bringing their names and contributions back to life and to a wider audience.
 
When I read books like this it makes me mad that I never really appreciated history when I was back at school! I think all I can remember being taught about was about The Tudors, so to read these stories of such remarkable women from around the world, and from wide backgrounds had me enthralled and interested in searching out more about these women. So much has been learnt about them from archeological digs and that was another fascinating aspect of these stories. How important discoveries had been made over the years and how many interesting items had been buried alongside seemingly normal women, but through these objects it was made clear that they were highly respected at the time of their deaths.
 
There is a great range of subjects discussed, from impacts that women had on certain periods in time, the battles and barriers they faced while they were alive and how their determination saw them achieve their aims – even if it was only appreciated at much later times!
 
Highly recommend this as a wonderful read for women, and men!, of all ages – and the stunning cover just adds to the enjoyment!

 

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Non Fiction November – The TBR!

NON-FICTION NOVEMBER TBR

Don’t panic!!  Christmas is approaching faster then ever!! How scary!!  Thankfully we have November to help slow down our stresses a little, and what better way to spend the month than by reading non-fiction! Every year I always find myself saying that this will be the year that I read more books that will teach me things  – and every year I fail! So that’s why I embrace Non-fiction November so much as it gives me a little time to focus and educate my poor little brain cells before they turn to mush with Christmas movies!

So I’ve put together a little TBR pile for the month ahead – I know I won’t be able to get through them all but the aim is to read at least 1 a week so we will see how that goes!

LANDFILL by TIM DEE

A ground breaking new book from the author of The Running Sky and Four Fields, Landfill confronts our waste-making species through the extraordinary and fascinating life of gulls, and the people who watch them. Original, compelling and unflinching, it is the nature book for our times.
We think of gulls as pests. They steal our chips and make newspaper headlines, these animals, often derided as “bin chickens” are complex neighbours, making the most of our throw away species. In the Anthropocene, they are a surprising success story. They’ve become intertwined with us, precisely because we are so good at making rubbish. Landfill is a book that avoids nostalgia and eulogy for nature and instead kicks beneath the littered surface to find stranger and more inspiring truths.
Landfill is the compelling story of how we have worked the rest of the living world, learned about it, named and catalogued it, colonised and planted it, and filled it with our rubbish.

 

JANE BOLEYN by JULIA FOX

 In a life of extraordinary drama, Jane Boleyn was catapulted from relative obscurity to the inner circle of King Henry VIII. As powerful men and women around her became victims of Henry’s ruthless and absolute power–including her own husband and her sister-in-law, Queen Anne Boleyn–Jane’s allegiance to the volatile monarch was sustained and rewarded. But the cost of her loyalty would eventually be her undoing and the ruination of her name. For centuries, little beyond rumor and scandal has been associated with “the infamous Lady Rochford,” but now historian Julia Fox sets the record straight. Drawing upon her own deep knowledge and years of original research, she brings us into the inner sanctum of court life, teeming with intrigue and redolent with the threat of disgrace. In the eyes and ears of Jane Boleyn, we witness the myriad players of the stormy Tudor period, and Jane herself emerges as a courageous spirit, a modern woman forced by circumstances to make her own way in a privileged but vicious world.

FEMINISTS DON’T WEAR PINK by SCARLETT CURTIS

An urgent and inspirational collection of essays by a diverse group of celebrities, activists, and artists about what feminism means to them, with the goal of helping readers come to their own personal understanding of the word.

Feminism has never been more deeply and widely embraced and discussed, but what exactly does the F word mean?

Here, personal stories from actors, writers, and activists explore the contradictions and complications at the heart of the movement. By bridging the gap between feminist hashtags and scholarly texts, these essays bring feminism into clear focus.

Published in partnership with Girl Up, the UN Foundation’s adolescent girl campaign, contributors include Hollywood superstars like Saoirse Ronan, activists like Alicia Garza, a founder of Black Lives Matter, and even fictional icons such as Bridget Jones.

Every woman has a different route to their personal understanding of feminism. This empowering collection shows how a diverse group of women found their voice, and it will inspire others to do the same.

RHAPSODY IN GREEN by CHARLOTTE MENDELSON 

Gardening can be viewed as a largely pointless hobby, but the evangelical zeal and camaraderie it generates is unique. Charlotte Mendelson is perhaps unusually passionate about it. For despite her superficially normal existence, despite the fact that she has only six square metres of grotty urban soil and a few pots, she has a secret life. She is an extreme gardener, an obsessive, an addict. And like all addicts, she wants to spread the joy. Her garden may look like a nasty drunk old man’s mini-allotment, chaotic, virtually flowerless, with weird recycling and nowhere to sit. When honoured friends are shown it, they tend to laugh. However, it is actually a tiny jungle, a minuscule farm, a wildly uneconomical experiment in intensive edible cultivation, on which she grows a taste of perhaps a hundred kinds of delicious fruits and odd vegetables. It is a source of infinite happiness and deep peace. It looks completely bonkers. Arguably, it’s the most expensive, time-consuming, undecorative and self-indulgent way to grow a salad ever invented, but when tired or sad or cross it never fails to delight.

THE LONELY CITY by OLIVIA LAING

What does it mean to be lonely? How do we live, if we’re not intimately engaged with another human being? How do we connect with other people? Does technology draw us closer together or trap us behind screens?

When Olivia Laing moved to New York City in her mid-thirties, she found herself inhabiting loneliness on a daily basis. Increasingly fascinated by this most shameful of experiences, she began to explore the lonely city by way of art. Moving fluidly between works and lives — from Edward Hopper’s Nighthawksto Andy Warhol’s Time Capsules, from Henry Darger’s hoarding to the depredations of the AIDS crisis — Laing conducts an electric, dazzling investigation into what it means to be alone, illuminating not only the causes of loneliness but also how it might be resisted and redeemed.

UNQUIET WOMEN by MAX ADAMS 

Wynflæd was an Anglo-Saxon noblewoman who owned male slaves and badger-skin gowns; Egeria a Gaulish nun who toured the Holy Land as the Roman Empire was collapsing; Gudfrid an Icelandic explorer and the first woman to give birth to a European child on American soil; Mary Astell a philosopher who out-thought John Locke.

In this exploration of some of remarkable – but little-known – women living between between the last days of Rome and the Enlightenment, Max Adams overturns the idea that women of this period were either queens, nuns or invisible. In a sequence of chronological chapters, a centrepiece biographical sketch is complemented by thematically linked stories of other women of the time. A multi-faceted and beautifully illustrated study of women’s intellect, influence and creativity, Extraordinary Women brings to life the experiences of women whose voices are barely heard and whose stories are rarely told.

SOMETHING OF HIS ART by HORATIO CLARE

Something of his Art is Horatio Clare’s recreation of the long walk that J. S. Bach took in the depths of winter in 1705 – his long walk to Lübeck across northern Germany, and visualising the light, landscape and wildlife the young, and as yet unknown composer would have seen.

A BOOK OF SILENCE by SARA MAITLAND

In her late forties, after a noisy upbringing and then adulthood as vocal feminist and mother, Sara Maitland found herself living in the country. She fell in love with the silence, and in this profound, frank memoir she describes how she explored this new love, searching for silence and solitude.

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Hopefully the mix of topics will keep me on my toes – have you read any of these books? Will you be taking part in non-fiction November? If so, I wish you well!!

HAPPY READING!