Top 5 Tuesday – Top 5 Intimidating Books

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Bionic Book Worm  which explores a number of different topics to get you all thinking!

So I’ve had a little think – my poor brain! – and come up with a list of 5 books that have always intimidated me for a number of reasons!  Hopefully you can put my mind at rest over some of them and I can finally stop being so scared!!

GAME OF THRONES by GEORGE R.R. MARTIN

I have the set!  And it has been sitting in my wardrobe (hidden away) for a couple of years now!! I adore the TV show but the books just scare me, mainly due to their size!  It would be a great time for me to pick them up with the new TV series so far away… should I?!

A LITTLE LIFE by HANYA YANAGIHARA

Another one of those ‘chunkster’ books that has been hidden away in my wardrobe! The reviews are pretty impressive but it does warn of a lot of emotion and often heartbreaking and I’m really not sure I can cope with it! Have you read it?!

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

Another chunkster!! Over 700 pages!! I loved the early books in the Mortal Instruments series (this is book 6) but found myself not enjoying the last couple so not sure I can muster up the enthusiasm to put myself through all those pages in this one if I’m not going to like it – or care what happens lol!!

THE MINIATURIST by JESSIE BURTON

Loved The Muse by this author, and then got hold of a copy of this as heard so many wonderful things but never got round to picking it up.  I then made the mistake of watching the BBC version on TV recently – and really didn’t enjoy it so that has put me off picking the book up once more!

EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING by NICOLA YOON

I’m always intimidated by books that have a big media ‘buzz’ about them and this one seemed to be everywhere for a while and it also seems to have very divided opinions! Some love it, others hate it!  Have a feeling I could be in the hate camp… if I ever picked it up!!

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Do you have books that intimidate you?  Should I pick any of these up and get over my issues?!! 

The Spaces in Between by Collin Van Reenan #blogtour #bookreview

Hello! Welcome to my stop on The Spaces In Between Blog Tour.  Thanks to the author and the publishers, Red Door Publishing, for letting me be part of the fun!

THE BLURB

One of the most disturbing true stories you will ever read…

Paris, 1968. Nicholas finds himself broke, without papers and on the verge of being deported back to England. Seeking to stay in France, Nicholas takes a three-month contract as an English tutor to the 17-year-old Imperial Highness Natalya. It is the perfect solution; free room and board, his wages saved, and a place to hide from police raids. All that is asked of Nicholas is to obey the lifestyle of the household and not to leave the grounds.

It should have solved all his problems…

The Spaces In Between details the experience of Nicholas as he finds himself an unwitting prisoner within an aristocratic household, apparently frozen in time, and surrounded by macabre and eccentric personalities who seem determined to drag him to the point of insanity. Much deeper runs a question every reader is left to ponder – if this tale is fact and not fiction, then what motivation could have driven his tormenters?

Amazon UK

Hive.co.uk – buy online and support your local bookstore

MY REVIEW

The cover drew me in to begin with! So much mystery and that follows on when you get inside the book!  It is one of those books that you never quite put your finger on as to what is happening – is it supernatural? Is it horror? Is it drama?! Well, it’s all 3!  I found it to be a really fascinating mix of mystery and intrigue and it kept me engrossed throughout.

We start with the viewpoint of the Doctor of Psychiatry who is talking about one of her patients whose case has her baffled.  She then makes him write his story out and that is what we then read and get to know Nicholas and what had been happening to him that had left him in such a state!  He was running out of money fast and had nowhere to go, when a mysterious job opportunity opened up to teach English to a young woman in an aristocratic household.  And this is where the fun/madness begins!

It isn’t your normal household!!  If you like your characters weird and disturbed then you’re in luck! The household have to live in Victorian conditions – no electricity, no tv or radio – just oil lamps, candles and coal fires – to appease the Grand Duchess.  His pupil is the Princess Nataliya who is 17 and has an illness that leaves her unable to leave the home.  There is also a very dark side to her mental condition and Nicholas soon gets to witness this first hand. 

This book does a great job of leaving you guessing as to whether you are reading fact or fiction.  Could a household live like this and all the strange goings on, did they really happen? There was always a really unsettling feeling about what was happening, and what would happen next! I did find the first half of the book much more enthralling as I found the story did run out of steam a little towards the end, but it still made for such a fascinating read

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up! Week 4 2018

Hello!  Well done for surviving another week!! Been a bit of a struggle here health wise but I’ve made it through and starting to pick up again so fingers crossed for a good spell on the way!  The mad weather has kept me hibernating too!! Lovely to see the sunshine return again today though so just hoping it remembers to stick around for a while!

How has your bookish week been?! I’ve surprised myself by reading more than I thought I had!  Trying to organise ( a rude word i know!!)  myself and read ahead for some future blog tour stops so have done quite well on that front and now can hopefully go back to reading books from my shelves for a bit, along with the NetGalley shelves which may have been a bit neglected recently! At least I’ve been good and not been tempted by any from there this week……. 

So 5 books have been finished this week and I’m loving this ‘rapid reading zone’ I seem to find myself in! Anyone else find that the more that they read, the quicker they get at reading?! Very helpful with so many fabulous books out there that need our attention!  Here’s a little look at those books that I’ve finished, am currently reading and the bookpost I’ve been lucky enough to have received (yep, the postman still hates me!)

BOOKS FINISHED

Bring Me Back by B.A.Paris  – 5 stars

Publication Date 8th March 2018

Loved this one so much! Another fabulous read from this author

The Karma Farmers by Pierre Hollins  – 4 stars

Read this ahead of the Blog Tour in February so no full review yet, but thoroughly enjoyed this book! One that makes you think – and laugh!!

 

Lady Rose and Mrs Memmary by Ruby Ferguson  –  4 stars

Another really enjoyable read from Persephone! Loved the history aspect and the characters were fascinating

 

The Stolen Bicycle by Wu Ming-Yi  –  4 stars

Another unusual, but fascinating read which took me a little by surprise in the subjects covered!

 

A Spell In The Country by Heide Goody  – 3 stars

Another book read ahead of a Blog Tour, and this was lots of fun! Full review to follow!

BOOKPOST

Two lovely new additions to my bookshelves this week courtesy of some lovely publishers!

Only Child by Rhiannon Navin

We went to school that Tuesday like normal.

Not all of us came home . . .

Huddled in a cloakroom with his classmates and teacher, six-year-old Zach can hear shots ringing through the corridors of his school. A gunman has entered the building and, in a matter of minutes, will have taken nineteen lives.

In the aftermath of the shooting, the close knit community and its families are devastated. Everyone deals with the tragedy differently. Zach’s father absents himself; his mother pursues a quest for justice — while Zach retreats into his super-secret hideout and loses himself in a world of books and drawing.

Ultimately though, it is Zach who will show the adults in his life the way forward — as, sometimes, only a child can.

Publisher; Mantle Books  Publication Date; March 8th 2018

THE CURIOUS HEART OF AILSA RAE by STEPHANIE BUTLAND

Ailsa Rae is learning how to live.
She’s only a few months past the heart transplant that – just in time – saved her life. Life should be a joyful adventure. But . . .

Her relationship with her mother is at breaking point.
She knows she needs to find her father.
She’s missed so much that her friends have left her behind.
She’s felt so helpless for so long that she’s let polls on her blog make her decisions for her. And now she barely knows where to start on her own.

And then there’s Lennox. Her best friend and one time lover. He was sick too. He didn’t make it. And now she’s supposed to face all of this without him.

But her new heart is a bold heart.

She just needs to learn to listen to it . . .

PUBLISHER;  ZAFFRE      PUBLICATION DATE;  19TH APRIL 2018

CURRENTLY READING

Just one on the reading pile again at the moment, while I get my NG shelf in some order and decide what to pick up next!  Really loving this one and hoping my Saturday afternoon will revolve around reading this book!

AMY SNOW by TRACY REES

Left to perish on a bank of snow as a baby, Amy has never known love, never known family.

Reluctantly given shelter at nearby Hatville Court, she is despised by the masters and servants alike.

The beautiful Hatville heiress, Aurelia Vennaway, is Amy’s only advocate – she becomes the light of Amy’s life, and the centre of her existence.

So when Aurelia dies young, Amy’s world collapses. But Aurelia leaves Amy with one last gift.

A bundle of letters with a coded key. A treasure hunt that only Amy can unlock.

A life-changing secret awaits… if only she can reach it.

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Pleased with that little lot for another week!  Any books taken you by surprise this week?!  

HAPPY READING!!

WWW Wednesdays!

Thought I’d join in this week – although so far this week it is turning out to be a very slow reading week for me! Maybe this will help spur me on again!

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived at Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

The three Ws are

What are you currently reading

What have you finished reading?

What might you read next?

CURRENTLY READING

                           

FINISHED READING
 

    helium

 
WHAT MIGHT YOU READ NEXT?
 

            CRUEL

 
HAPPY READING

Helium by Rudy Francisco #poetry #bookreview

THE BLURB

Helium is the debut poetry collection by internet phenom Rudy Francisco, whose work has defined poetry for a generation of new readers. Rudy’s poems and quotes have been viewed and shared millions of times as he has traveled the country and the world performing for sell-out crowds. Helium is filled with work that is simultaneously personal and political, blending love poems, self-reflection, and biting cultural critique on class, race and gender into an unforgettable whole. Ultimately, Rudy’s work rises above the chaos to offer a fresh and positive perspective of shared humanity and beauty.

Publisher;  Button Poetry

Published;  28th November 2017

QUICK BUY LINKS

Amazon UK

Hive.co.uk – buy online and support your local bookstore

Button Poetry

MY REVIEW

I needed to read some poetry for a reading challenge I’m taking part in this year, and was drawn to this collection because of the cover! And that way of choosing books has served me well yet again, as I found this to be a stunning, honest and powerful collection of poems by a man I’d only seen clips off via Button Poetry online.  It has also made me wonder why I’ve been so scared of reading poetry over the years! I don’t remember a particular poem putting me off in the past but I’ve always just found myself shying away from poetry because I found it hard to grasp in some cases.

He has an amazing way with words and covers a wide range of subjects from depression to racism, to love to hate, and hope and despair. And with some poems he only needs 13 words to convey such insight and impact and I found myself re-reading some as they just struck me as so engaging.

There were poems that were short and snappy, alongside those that went more in depth into a wide range of emotions and it has definitely made me more interested in the new world of poetry and will be searching out more to read in the future – I just hope they’re all as good as this!!


Are you a poetry fan?  Would love to know your favourite collections as I’m hoping to pick up more from now on and be braver!!

 Thankyou to the publisher and NetGalley for the e-copy in return for a fair and honest review.

The Hoarder by Jess Kidd #bookreview

THE BLURB

Maud Drennan – underpaid carer and unintentional psychic – is the latest in a long line of dogsbodies for the ancient, belligerent Cathal Flood. Yet despite her best efforts, Maud is drawn into the mysteries concealed in his filthy, once-grand home. She realises that something is changing: Cathal, and the junk-filled rooms, are opening up to her.

With only her agoraphobic landlady and a troop of sarcastic ghostly saints to help, Maud must uncover what lies beneath Cathal’s decades-old hostility, and the strange activities of the house itself. And if someone has hidden a secret there, how far will they go to ensure it remains buried?

Publishing Date;  February 1st 2018

Publisher;  Canongate Books

Author Twitter Link;  @JessKiddHerself

Pre-order Links;

Amazon UK   £14.99 H/B

Hive.co.uk – buy online and support your local bookstore  £10.25 H/B

Book Depository   £13.41  H/B

Waterstones  £14.99  H/B

MY REVIEW

Where do I even begin??!! I loved Himself and it made it on to my Top Books of 2017, so I’ve been so eager to read this and was lucky to have been sent an early copy from the publisher.  

  I just couldn’t put this down!! I read it in one sitting!!  That pretty much tells you my thoughts on this book!  I frigging loved it!!  It made me laugh, it made me cry, it even made me forget to breathe at times as the tension started to build and the mysteries began to be revealed!  A pretty comprehensive and perfect reading experience all wrapped up in one book!!

It starts off quite quietly as we get acquainted with Maud Drennan who has the unenviable job of ‘helping’ the prickly Mr Flood who has a serious hoarding problem.  Of course he doesn’t see it as a problem so does all he can to prove as unhelpful as humanly possible, but there is something slightly different about Maud who doesn’t flinch at the abuse he throws her way, and Cathal Flood slowly responds to her in the way where others have given up and  been forced out.  During their time together he starts to share stories and opens up to her.  Maud has her own secrets too and she becomes fascinated by the stories she hears, and the house itself begins to give up its’ secrets as she clears things out and she finds herself involved in mysteries going back many years.

Maud also shares the stories she hears with her landlady, the wonderful Renata who is agoraphobic, and the ghostly Saints that follow Maud wherever she goes, and a world of intrigue soon opens up that maybe they should have left well alone. Even the Saints warn her off from exploring more – if only she listened to them!!

All the characters in this book were so different and complex but lovable in their own special ways.  Maud had her own difficult and secretive past and that was quite obvious at times, but that helped her put on a front especially when she first entered the world of Cathal.  Renata is a delight to read about – the way she took on trying to solve the mysteries was hilarious and there were many touching scenes involving her where it was obvious how much Maud and her were devoted to each other.  And as for Cathal, despite his abuse and prickly demeanour, you get to see different sides to him through his concern for a fox, his hatred for his son and the sadness over losses he has suffered over the years.

This book had it all for me – it was so cleverly paced so there were never any dips in where the story was heading, and it just had me captivated from start to finish!  I became so attached to all the characters that I’ve not really stopped thinking about them since I put the book down so can’t wait to pick this up again and enjoy all the dark humour, mystery, supernatural twists and human drama all over again!! More please Jess!!

Thank you to the publishers and author for the advanced reading copy in return for a fair and honest review.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris #bookreview

THE BLURB

The incredible story of the Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist and the woman he loved.

Lale Sokolov is well-dressed, a charmer, a ladies’ man. He is also a Jew. On the first transport from Slovakia to Auschwitz in 1942, Lale immediately stands out to his fellow prisoners. In the camp, he is looked up to, looked out for, and put to work in the privileged position of Tätowierer– the tattooist – to mark his fellow prisoners, forever. One of them is a young woman, Gita, who steals his heart at first glance.

His life given new purpose, Lale does his best through the struggle and suffering to use his position for good.

This story, full of beauty and hope, is based on years of interviews author Heather Morris conducted with real-life Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov. It is heart-wrenching, illuminating, and unforgettable

PUBLISHER;  http://www.zaffrebooks.co.uk/

Amazon UK  –  £10.59 H/B

Hive.co.uk – buy online and support a local bookstore  –  £9.59 H/B

Waterstones  –  £12.99 H/B

MY REVIEW

This is a powerful novel based on the true love story of Lale and Gita, who met when he was put in charge of tattooing those who were brought to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1942. Lale himself was a prisoner, but everyone there found themselves doing all they could to survive and get through the horrors they were witness to everyday. In his role as Tattooist it allowed him a little more freedom, a little extra food (which he then shared with others) and the ability to meet more people, and that is how Gita caught his eye when he had to tattoo the number on her arm.

Their relationship and their time in such a horrific place is sensitively portrayed throughout this book. With many books of this type some authors feel the need to shock with graphic descriptions of what was happening, but this author didn’t feel the need to do that and to go into too much detail of the horror that was part of these peoples’ lives. As a reader you still sensed the darkness and it was seeing how those living in the camps dealt with it which was a fascinating aspect. They had to focus on the small things – a small piece of chocolate, a message from the outside, the kindness of strangers – to see out each day and were living with hope that their suffering would soon be over.

It is a story full of horror but of hope and the strength of human spirit in the face of adversity and Lale and Gita were such an admirable, brave couple and I’m glad I got to read their story, as many stories were unable to be told.

Thank you to the publishers and Readers First for my advanced reading copy in return for a fair and honest review.

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang #bookreview

THE BLURB

“Exquisite and adventurous” — Bustle, “11 New Fiction Books You Need”

Orphaned, raised by wolves, and the proud owner of a horned pig named Merlin, Weylyn Grey knew he wasn’t like other people. But when he single-handedly stopped that tornado on a stormy Christmas day in Oklahoma, he realized just how different he actually was.

That tornado was the first of many strange events that seem to follow Weylyn from town to town, although he doesn’t like to take credit. As amazing as these powers may appear, they tend to manifest themselves at inopportune times and places. From freak storms to trees that appear to grow over night, Weylyn’s unique abilities are a curiosity at best and at worst, a danger to himself and the woman he loves. But Mary doesn’t care. Since Weylyn saved her from an angry wolf on her eleventh birthday, she’s known that a relationship with him isn’t without its risks, but as anyone who’s met Weylyn will tell you, once he wanders into your life, you’ll wish he’d never leave.

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance tells the story of Weylyn Grey’s life from the perspectives of the people who knew him, loved him, and even a few who thought he was just plain weird. Although he doesn’t stay in any of their lives for long, he leaves each of them with a story to tell. Stories about a boy who lives with wolves, great storms that evaporate into thin air, fireflies that make phosphorescent honey, and a house filled with spider webs and the strange man who inhabits it.

There is one story, however, that Weylyn wishes he could change: his own. But first he has to muster enough courage to knock on Mary’s front door.

In this warm debut novel, Ruth Emmie Lang teaches us about adventure and love in a beautifully written story full of nature and wonder.

Publisher;  https://us.macmillan.com/smp/

Author Website;  https://www.ruthemmielang.com/

Online Shopping Links

Amazon UK

Book Depository

Abe Books

MY REVIEW

Magical.  Captivating.  Wonderful.  Absorbing.  Enchanting.  Enthralling.  Whimsical.  Spellbinding.  Charming.  Delightful.  

Just a few words I noted down as I read this book! It’s fair to say I adored every single page of this book!!  This is a book that was brought to my attention by the BookTuber Simon Savidge, and I’m so glad I saw him rave about it as it’s one of the most wonderful books I’ve ever read!

It’s the story of Weylyn Grey.  Raised by wolves from the age of 4 he has always spent his life on the outside, not fitting with the norm.  But this book shows us how his life impacts on people who come into contact with him, and how it changes them and him!  Plus there’s a magical pet pig called Merlin – what  more could you want?!!

As I knew very little of what to expect from this book when I started it, I think this made it even more of a magical read and the way the story was told was also really clever and allowed you to see the story from different views of the people he came into contact with and over so many years.  The character Weylyn is such an extraordinary being, that it is difficult not to fall in love with him almost immediately, and the way he touches the life of others just by being himself is enchanting.  

It’s a story about belonging, trusting, believing, hope ….. I frigging love this book!!!

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – Week 2 January 2018

Hello!! Typing quietly today as I’m currently suffering from a headache that is proving to be a little resistant to the pills I took!!  Fingers crossed they kick in soon as it is driving me nuts…. and I’ve got reading to do!!

Hope you’ve all had an enjoyable week!  Found a couple of bargains in sales recently – clothes and candles! – so feeling rather pleased with myself on that front! And feeling rather pleased on the reading front too as progress is still going well!  Doing my best to keep up the pace, and trying not to be distracted with Super Mario Kart 8 (ooh it’s good on the Nintendo Switch!), so have managed to read 4 books this week and could have finished another but I’m loving it so much that I’ve slowed my reading pace down so I can drag it out a bit longer!! Do you do that?!  Some books I want to devour in one sitting, others I want to remain in that world for as long as possible so take my time over!  The crazy world of readers eh!!

Here’s a look at what I’ve been reading – reviews to follow on some as I’m on the Blog Tours later this month/early next month!

BOOKS READ

Forget Her Name by Jane Holland  – 3 stars

A book that messes with your mind – in a good way! Enjoyable thriller

Rachel’s dead and she’s never coming back. Or is she?

As she prepares for her wedding to Dominic, Catherine has never been happier or more excited about her future. But when she receives an anonymous package—a familiar snow globe with a very grisly addition—that happiness is abruptly threatened by secrets from her past.

Her older sister, Rachel, died on a skiing holiday as a child. But Rachel was no angel: she was vicious and highly disturbed, and she made Catherine’s life a misery. Catherine has spent years trying to forget her dead sister’s cruel tricks. Now someone has sent her Rachel’s snow globe—the first in a series of ominous messages…

While Catherine struggles to focus on her new life with Dominic, someone out there seems intent on tormenting her. But who? And why now? She doesn’t have the answers – and in one final question lies her greatest fear.

Is Rachel still alive?

MISS PETTIGREW LIVES FOR A DAY by WINIFRED WATSON  –  5 stars

Loved this one! Such a sweet, entertaining and funny book looking at the day in the life of Miss Pettigrew! Highly recommended!

Miss Pettigrew, an approaching-middle-age governess, was accustomed to a household of unruly English children. When her employment agency sends her to the wrong address, her life takes an unexpected turn. The alluring nightclub singer, Delysia LaFosse, becomes her new employer, and Miss Pettigrew encounters a kind of glamour that she had only met before at the movies. Over the course of a single day, both women are changed forever.

HYDRA by MATT WESOLOWSKI   –  5 stars

Blooming flip this was an enthralling read! And chilling!! And twisty!! Loved it!!

One cold November night in 2014, in a small town in the north west of England, 26-year-old Arla Macleod bludgeoned her mother, father and younger sister to death with a hammer, in an unprovoked attack known as the “Macleod Massacre.” Now incarcerated at a medium-security mental-health institution, Arla will speak to no one but Scott King, an investigative journalist, whose Six Stories podcasts have become an internet sensation. King finds himself immersed in an increasingly complex case, interviewing five witnesses and Arla herself, as he questions whether Arla’s responsibility for the massacre was a diminished as her legal team made out. As he unpicks the stories, he finds himself thrust into a world of deadly forbidden “games,” online trolls, and the mysterious Black-eyed Children, whose presence extends far beyond the delusions of a murderess.

IVON by MICHAEL AYLWIN  –  3 stars

Something a little bit different and an enjoyable, funny look at where the world of sport could be in years to come!

The year is 2144, and the world is powered by sport – politically and practically. Each community owes its prosperity or otherwise to the success of its teams and athletes. A person’s class is determined by their aptitude for sport. Once their useful life as an athlete has expired, they are placed in stasis at an age predetermined by that class.

But not in Wales.   Separated from the rest of the world by a huge wall, the Welsh still play games for joy. They play, they carouse, they love, they die. They have fun.

Of all the Welsh, the greatest sportsman is an unreconstructed genius called Ivon. When the chance arises to become the first Welshman to cross the great divide into England, he cannot resist. His parents, exiled from England before he was born, know what London will do to him. They are desperate to have him back. But London will not give up an asset like Ivon so easily.

Ivon is a celebration of where sport has come from and a satire on where it is going.

BOOK POST

The postman has been complaining again – oops!!! #sorrynotsorry  

SWEET BEAN PASTE by DURIAN SUKEGAWA

This one arrived in the post this week with no covering letter so I have no idea who sent it my way – but thank you if it was you! – and it sounds like a really sweet (sorry about the pun!) read!

Sentaro has failed: he has a criminal record, drinks too much, and hasn’t managed to fulfil his dream of becoming a writer. Instead, he works in a confectionery shop selling dorayaki, a type of pancake filled with a sweet paste made of red beans. With only the blossoming of the cherry trees to mark the passing of time, he spends his days listlessly filling the pastries. Until one day an elderly, handicapped woman enters the shop. Tokue makes the best bean paste imaginable, and begins to teach Sentaro her art. But as their friendship flourishes, societal prejudices become impossible to escape, in this quietly devastating novel about the burden of the past and the redemptive power of friendship.

THE ANTIPODEANS by GREG McGEE

Received this from the lovely folk at Eye/Lightning Books and it seems I’m set for another epic historic read soon!

Three Generations. Two Continents. One Forgotten Secret.

2014Clare and her father travel to Venice from New Zealand. She is fleeing a broken marriage, he is in failing health and wants to return one last time to the place where, as a young man, he spent happy years as a rugby player and coach. While exploring Venice, Clare discovers there is more to her father s motives for returning than she realised and time may be running out for him to put old demons to rest.

1942Joe and Harry, two Kiwi POWs in Italy, manage to escape their captors, largely due to the help of a sympathetic Italian family who shelter them on their farm. Soon they are fighting alongside the partisans in the mountains, but both men have formed a bond with Donatella, the daughter of the family, a bond that will have dramatic repercussions decades later.

The Antipodeans is a novel of epic proportions where families from opposite ends of the earth discover a legacy of love and blood and betrayal.

THE HOARDER by JESS KIDD

I adored Himself by Jess Kidd, and it made my list of best books of 2017, so I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of her new book – out 1st February 2018 – and cannot wait to start it soon!

Maud Drennan – underpaid carer and unintentional psychic – is the latest in a long line of dogsbodies for the ancient, belligerent Cathal Flood. Yet despite her best efforts, Maud is drawn into the mysteries concealed in his filthy, once-grand home. She realises that something is changing: Cathal, and the junk-filled rooms, are opening up to her.

With only her agoraphobic landlady and a troop of sarcastic ghostly saints to help, Maud must uncover what lies beneath Cathal’s decades-old hostility, and the strange activities of the house itself. And if someone has hidden a secret there, how far will they go to ensure it remains buried?

CURRENTLY READING

I am currently just devoting myself to one book! This rarely happens but I’m so swept up with the characters that I’d feel bad spending time with others until this is over!  So prepare yourself for a rather gushing review in the next few days over this book… unless it all goes spectacularly downhill in the last few chapters!  Eek, now I’m scared to finish it in case that happens!!

Was only made aware of this book while watching Simon of Savidge Reads on BookTube, and it just sounded like my kind of book so I promptly ordered it and have fallen in love!

BEASTS OF EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCE by RUTH EMMIE LANG

Orphaned, raised by wolves, and the proud owner of a horned pig named Merlin, Weylyn Grey knew he wasn’t like other people. But when he single-handedly stopped that tornado on a stormy Christmas day in Oklahoma, he realized just how different he actually was.

That tornado was the first of many strange events that seem to follow Weylyn from town to town, although he doesn’t like to take credit. As amazing as these powers may appear, they tend to manifest themselves at inopportune times and places. From freak storms to trees that appear to grow over night, Weylyn’s unique abilities are a curiosity at best and at worst, a danger to himself and the woman he loves. But Mary doesn’t care. Since Weylyn saved her from an angry wolf on her eleventh birthday, she’s known that a relationship with him isn’t without its risks, but as anyone who’s met Weylyn will tell you, once he wanders into your life, you’ll wish he’d never leave.

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance tells the story of Weylyn Grey’s life from the perspectives of the people who knew him, loved him, and even a few who thought he was just plain weird. Although he doesn’t stay in any of their lives for long, he leaves each of them with a story to tell. Stories about a boy who lives with wolves, great storms that evaporate into thin air, fireflies that make phosphorescent honey, and a house filled with spider webs and the strange man who inhabits it.

There is one story, however, that Weylyn wishes he could change: his own. But first he has to muster enough courage to knock on Mary’s front door.

In this warm debut novel, Ruth Emmie Lang teaches us about adventure and love in a beautifully written story full of nature and wonder.


 

All wrapped up! And headache still raging!! What joy!!  What books have given you joy this week?!  

HAPPY READING!

My Year of Persephone – Reading Challenge 2018 Update!!

Greetings all!! Just thought I’d share a little update of how I’m getting on with one of my Reading Challenges this year! I’ve been collecting Persephone Books now for a while and have a nice shelf of them all, but hadn’t managed to fit them into my reading schedule! So my challenge was to read one a month and start enjoying these beautiful books!

 

And the update news is that the challenge is going extremely well!!   It is now the 12th January and I’ve managed to read 2!!! GO ME!!!  And now I’m kicking myself that I’ve not picked them up earlier as the 2 I begun with have been delightful to read and just made me want to read more…… so much more so in fact that that there may have been some extra Persephone purchasing going on (thanks to Abe Books so they’re fab second hand copies!) so more are on their way!

Will share my reviews first on the ones I’ve read and then will show the newbies that are heading my way – so the Reading Challenge may well be doubled…. or is that going a little OTT so early on?!

MISS PETTIGREW LIVES FOR A DAY by WINIFRED WATSON

Miss Pettigrew, an approaching-middle-age governess, was accustomed to a household of unruly English children. When her employment agency sends her to the wrong address, her life takes an unexpected turn. The alluring nightclub singer, Delysia LaFosse, becomes her new employer, and Miss Pettigrew encounters a kind of glamour that she had only met before at the movies. Over the course of a single day, both women are changed forever.

What a delightful book! Don’t know why it took me so long to pick it up and read it!

A funny, sweet and endearing look at the life of Miss Pettigrew over 24 hours as her life changes beyond recognition as she turns up at the wrong address looking for a job as a nanny, and ends up becoming embroiled in the life of nightclub singer Delysia LaFosse and all that entails!!

I loved how Miss Pettigrew seemed to throw caution to the wind in this new situation – she had been stuck in a rut with her life for so long, and would always live life ‘the right way’ but she embraced the new people she met and I think it was one of those friendships where both women ended up needing each other and learning from one another.   Highly recommended!

THE GARDENER’S NIGHTCAP by MURIEL STUART

   Muriel Stuart was a successful and well-known poet during and just after the First World War. She then had two children, gave up writing poetry and took to gardening with enormous enthusiasm and dedication. She wrote only two books, Fool’s Garden (1936), about creating a garden in Surrey, and Gardener’s Nightcap (1938). After the war, for thirty years, she was a well-known columnist for gardening magazines. Although a great beauty, Muriel Stuart was shy and self-contained – and happiest in her garden.

This work of hers is indeed a ‘nightcap’: a soothing tonic to take in small doses just before bed. The subjects covered are many and variegated. They include: Meadow Saffron, Dark Ladies, Better Goose-berries, Good King Henry (‘quite a good substitute for asparagus’), The Wild Comes Back and Phlox Failure. Each of these pieces is only a few lines in length yet tells the gardener far more than extensive essays or manuals. 

I found this to be a fabulous little book perfect for any gardener! It was full of interesting facts, very handy hints and the authors’ own views on the world of gardening and found myself searching out online many of the plants mentioned as to get a feeling of what she was describing, so some illustrations would have been a lovely addition!

Will definitely be picking this book up again – it’s perfect for dipping in and out of! Really enjoyable!

BOOKS ON THEIR WAY!!

CHEERFUL WEATHER FOR THE WEDDING by JULIA STRACHEY

The author was a niece of Lytton Strachey and was well-known in Bloomsbury circles; she was the subject of Julia, a memoir in her own words by Frances Partridge, who wrote a new Preface for our edition. This sardonic and beautifully written novella about a family in Forster territory was first published by Leonard and Virginia Woolf at the Hogarth Press in 1932. ‘As delightful and perceptive today as it no doubt was seventy years ago: on her wedding day a girl knows she is about to make a serious mistake’ (The Bookseller); ‘a brilliant, bittersweet upstairs-downstairs comedy’ wrote Shena Mackay in the Guardian.

OPERATION HEARTBREAK by DUFF COOPER

Willie Maryngton always wanted to go to war. But he was born just too late to see action in the first world war, and it was a long wait until the second. Would he ever have his chance to be a hero?

STILL MISSING by BETH GUTCHEON

Alex Selky, going on seven, kissed his mother goodbye and set off for school, a mere two blocks away. He never made it. Desperate to find him, his mother begins a vigil that lasts for days, then weeks, then months. She is treated first as a tragic figure, then as a grief-crazed hysteric, then as a reminder of the bad fortune that can befall us all. Against all hope, despite false leads and the desertions of her friends and allies she believes with all her heart that somehow, somewhere, Alex will be found alive.

Beth Gutcheon builds a heartrending suspense that culminates in a climax you will never forget.

THE CROWDED STREET by WINIFRED HOLTBY

Muriel, who believes that ‘men do as they like’ whereas women ‘wait to see what they will do’, lives in a town in Yorkshire waiting – for what? She tries to conform to the values of her snobbish, socially ambitious mother; she tries to be ‘attractive’ to men.

Throughout the description of life in small-town ‘Marshington’, Winifred Holtby expressed her conviction that young women should be allowed to live away from home, to work, to develop as personalities away from their families, to shake off the ties that many mothers seemed to think it was their prerogative to impose on their daughters

So, dilemma now is what to pick up next on the Persephone shelf!!  Tempted to pick off all the smaller novels first and then take my time with the ‘chunkier’ copies!!   

And this is why I love reading challenges!!   Gives me the kick up the bum that I sometimes need when faced with so many reading options!! 😉

HAPPY READING!!