#MusicMonday TRANSYLVANIA by McFLY

yay for Monday! Yay for Music!

This is a weekly tag hosted by Drew over at The Tattooed Book Geek and gives you a chance to share a favourite song / video!

And this week I’ve gone for McFly and Transylvania! I love their music and their videos are always so much fun!

[Tom verse 1]
Anne Boleyn she kept a tin,
Which all her hopes and dreams were in,
She plans to run away with him, forever (never to be seen again)
Leaves a note and starts to choke,
Can feel the lump that’s in her throat,
It’s raining and she leaves her coat in silence.

We’re sorry but we disagree
The boy is vermin, can’t you see?
We’ll drown his sins and misery
And rip him out of history

[Chorus (Dougie):]
People marching to the drums,
Everybody’s having fun to the sound of love,
Ugly is the world we’re on
If I’m right then prove me wrong
I’m stunned (to find a place we belong)

Who is your lover,
I couldn’t tell,
When hell freezes over,
That’s when I’ll tell,
Who is your lover,
I couldn’t tell,
When will this stop.

[Verse 2 (Tom):]
Racing,
Pacing,
In the dark,
She’s searching for a lonely heart,
She finds him but his heart has stopped,
She breaks down.

Sorry but your majesty,
Refusing orders from the queen
Results in a monstrosity

[Harry]
Remembers a voice and hears him sing

[Chorus (Dougie):]
People marching to the drums,
Everybody’s having fun to the sound of love,
Ugly is the world we’re on
If I’m right then prove me wrong
I’m stunned (to find a place we belong)

Who is your lover,
I couldn’t tell,
When hell freezes over,
That’s when I’ll tell,
Who is your lover,
I couldn’t tell,
When will this stop.

[Guitar solo]

People marching to the drums,
Everybody’s having fun to the sound of love,
Ugly is the world we’re on
If I’m right then prove me wrong
I’m stunned (to find a place we belong)

Who is your lover,
I couldn’t tell,
When hell freezes over,
That’s when I’ll tell,
Who is your lover,
I couldn’t tell,
When will this stop.

[Repeat till the end]

When will this stop!

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My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 11th January 2020

Greetings! From a very wiped out, snoozy, foggy brained me! So hopefully I can make it through this post without dropping off, or making too many silly mistakes – my apologies if any sneak through!

At least I have good bookish news to bring you this week as I’ve managed to finish 5 books! Reading multiple books has its’ advantages at times! There’s also been some bookpost and some netgalley approvals sneaked in – to be fair I’d forgotten all about them!! So while I clear the TBR pile a little on one hand…….. it’s never ending isn’t it haha!!

BOOKS FINISHED

THE FOUNDLING by STACEY HALLS –  4 STARS

A GIFT IN DECEMBER by JENNY BLACKWELL – 4 STARS

THE MISSING LETTERS OF MRS BRIGHT by BETH MILLER – 4 STARS

WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE by SHIRLEY JACKSON – 4 STARS

A WINTER WEDDING AT THE LITTLE DUCK POND CAFE by ROSIE GREEN – 5 STARS

BOOKHAUL

Time to start at Netgalley…

THE GUEST LIST by LUCY FOLEY

out May 2020

The bride ‧ The plus one ‧ The best man ‧ The wedding planner ‧ The bridesmaid ‧ The body

On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.

But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.

And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?

THE FORGOTTEN GIRLS by LIZZIE PAGE

out February 2020

Two women from very different times, linked by a single, powerful photograph of two lost little girls. A moving tale of love and the power of hope in war’s darkest moments, inspired by an incredible true story.

London, 1943. Elaine Parker works as a clerical assistant for the government, transcribing letters from POWs in the hope of finding secret messages to help the war effort. Danger is all around, but dancing and revelry go on behind blackout curtains each night. One evening, Elaine meets famous war photographer Robert Capa and is immediately drawn to him and the haunting photos he takes. Their connection feels so strong, but Bobby’s work is risky, and Elaine has growing troubles of her own at home… while her country is gripped by war, can she afford the price she is being asked to pay for happiness?

Present day. Even the kiss of warm sunshine and the musical call of birds at her family’s countryside villa can’t make forty-four-year-old Jen forget the doomed marriage she’s left behind. That is, until her brother begins to investigate the origins of a tattered family photograph: two sweet little girls gazing out across a sparkling bay, their eyes clear and hopeful – looking for all the world as if they hadn’t witnessed the most terrible war to ever touch England. What is the story behind the picture, and could it finally be the key to mending the cracks in Jen’s own past?

THE YEAR WITHOUT SUMMER by GUINEVERE GLASFORD

out February 2020

In 1815, a supervolcanic eruption led to the extraordinary ‘Year Without Summer’ in 1816: a massive climate disruption causing famine, poverty and riots. Lives, both ordinary and privileged, changed forever.

1815, Sumbawa Island, Indonesia
Mount Tambora explodes in a cataclysmic eruption, killing thousands. Sent to investigate, ship surgeon Henry Hogg can barely believe his eyes. Once a paradise, the island is now solid ash, the surrounding sea turned to stone. But worse is yet to come: as the ash cloud rises and covers the sun, the seasons will fail.

1816.
In Switzerland, Mary Shelley finds dark inspiration. Confined inside by the unseasonable weather, thousands of famine refugees stream past her door. In Vermont, preacher Charles Whitlock begs his followers to keep faith as drought dries their wells and their livestock starve. In Britain, the ambitious and lovesick painter John Constable struggles to reconcile the idyllic England he paints with the misery that surrounds him. In the Fens, farm labourer Sarah Hobbs has had enough of going hungry while the farmers flaunt their wealth. And Hope Peter, returned from Napoleonic war, finds his family home demolished and a fence gone up in its place. He flees to London, where he falls in with a group of revolutionaries who speak of a better life, whatever the cost. As desperation sets in, Britain becomes racked with riots – rebellion is in the air.

The Year Without Summer is the story of the books written, the art made; of the journeys taken, of the love longed for and the lives lost during that fateful year. Six separate lives, connected only by an event many thousands of miles away. Few had heard of Tambora – but none could escape its effects.

DEAR EDWARD by ANN NAPOLITANO

copy sent from publisher for review

out February 2020

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 216 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?’ 

ONCE, TWICE, THREE TIMES AN AISLING by EMER McLYSAGHT, SARAH BREEN

sent via Nudge Books as my January subscription book

Once, Twice, Three Times an Aisling

The third book in Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen’s phenomenally successful, No. 1 bestselling Complete Aisling book series.

Aisling’s turning 30, and she’s still a complete Aisling.

Business is booming at her café BallyGoBrunch, her best friend Majella is expecting the hen of the century, while Aisling is in the throes of a fling with the handsome and mannerly blow-in James Matthews. Life is all go.

When the big birthday hits, Aisling is faced with a huge surprise and an unexpected decision.

Throw in a hapless wedding planner, a mysterious American visitor, the unexpected return of her brother Paul, not to mention her ex John’s face around every corner, and Aisling’s got an awful lot on her plate.

When doubts, worries and an unfortunate clash threaten to get the better of her, Aisling needs to dig deep to see if she has enough strength and inspirational quotes to make it through.

CURRENTLY READING

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Twitter readalong for January!

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

GoodReads Book Club January pick

Kingdomtide by Rye Curtis

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HAPPY READING

#BookReview A GIFT IN DECEMBER by JENNY GLADWELL

ABOUT THE BOOK

Come back, one day. Come back to me, just once.

Jane thought she would be alone this Christmas, but will a luxury trip to Norway mend her broken heart? A heart-warming, feel-good festive treat to curl up with this winter.

Heartbroken by a failed romance, journalist Jane Brook is sent to Norway to cover the Queen of the Forest, the Christmas tree given to the people of London every winter. A week of luxury hotels and festive celebrations awaits, all in the company of dashing adventurer Philip Donnelly. Perhaps this is what Jane needs to mend her aching heart?

But, deep in the heart of the snowy forest, Jane makes a startling discovery: long-hidden wartime letters between a young soldier and a mysterious girl. The last letter ends with a passionate plea that was never answered.

Now, only Jane can give this story of love and courage a perfect ending – and in doing so, she might just find her own happy ever after. . .

An enchanting, cosy and sweepingly romantic read, for fans of One Day in December, Seven Days of Us and Christmas at the Crescent. 

PUBLISHED BY HODDER

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK  

hive.co.uk

MY REVIEW

I found this to be such a breeze to read! It was set in a magical setting and featured a character who you could connect with, as she dealt with a broken heart whilst trying to get on with her life and with the advice of her best friend ringing in her ears, she sets off for a trip she wouldn’t normally have gone on, to have different experiences. But as a journalist there’s always a story to be sniffed out and she stumbles across one that really touches her heart.

The trip is to Norway to witness the tree being cut down that is sent to Trafalgar Square every year, and she’s going with a variety of others including bloggers and minor celebs! Definitely not the normal company she keeps! But she throws herself in whole heartedly, and it’s not only the gorgeous snowy scenery that catches her eye!

It’s a story that flows really easily and I found myself eager to pick up the book each day to find out what Jane would find herself facing, and with the side story of the missing letters that the wonderful Thomas asks her to find, it just added more depth to just being a ‘press junket’. Really enjoyable

★★★★

#BookReview THE MISSING LETTERS OF MRS BRIGHT by BETH MILLER @bookouture

ABOUT THE BOOK

You’ve met Mrs Bright. She’s that nice woman who lives three doors down and always smiles at you in the mornings. She’s planning her thirtieth wedding anniversary with her husband. She wants to travel, read endless books and take beautiful pictures. She’s been waiting for this forever.

For the past twenty-nine years, Kay Bright’s days have had a familiar rhythm: she works in her husband’s stationery shop, cooks for her family, tries to remember to practice yoga, and every other month she writes to her best friend, Ursula, and Ursula replies. Kay could set her calendar by their letters: her heart lifts when the blue airmail envelope, addressed in Ursula’s slanting handwriting, falls gently onto the mat.

Ursula is the only one who knows Kay’s deepest secret, something that happened decades ago that could tear Kay’s life apart today. Ursula has always been the person Kay relies on. Knowing she will hear from Ursula is like being sure the sun will rise tomorrow.

And now Ursula has stopped writing. Three missing letters doesn’t sound like a lot, but Kay gets out her shoebox of notes from her best friend, in case there’s something she overlooked. Ursula seems fine, but the further back she goes, the more Kay begins to question every choice she has made in her life. Which might be why, at ten o’clock one morning, Kay walks out of her yellow front door with a just a rucksack, leaving her wedding ring on the table…

An emotional and heart-warming novel for anyone who knows it’s never too late to look for happiness. Fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely FineA Man Called Ove and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry will fall in love with this feel-good and moving story that shows you that the best friendships truly last forever.

PUBLISHED BY BOOKOUTURE

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

MY REVIEW

A beautifully written book that had me reading through tears at times! It’s a story of a woman who has decided her life isn’t what she thought it was going to be and makes that brave leap from a safe and routine life, to following her dreams and finding out that there is more to life and how her actions also end up waking up the rest of her family from living life in slumber and learning to take chances.

When Kay decides to leave her husband, Richard, of almost 30 years the shock waves are felt far and wide – even she doesn’t know why she’s picked this moment but it’s something she knows that she needs to do.  She escapes to her bolthole in Wales to figure out things, while her daughter moves back to help her dad adjust to this news.

Throughout the book we get to see letters that Kay has written to Bear over the years, and we discover the identity of Bear when Kay goes to visit her in Australia. The women have been friends since school and it’s clear that they share everything with one another. Friendship is a big thing for Kay – she relies on Rose too to help her through and they’re always seemingly honest with her about whatever she has planned – they’re not afraid to burst her bubble if her plans get too out there!

We also hear from her daughter, Stella, who is dealing with her own issues in her relationship and work life and it was interesting to see how she had inherited that strong bond with her family from her mum, but still couldn’t work out what her mum was playing at and shows how complex that mother/daughter relationship can be at times.  You could feel the frustration from Stella especially as to why was her mum doing these things now – was this a mid life crisis thing?!

This was a book about being brave!  What happens if you step outside your comfort zone and grab hold of new chances in life and it was so inspiring. It also faces those ‘what if’ moments we all have  looking back over our lives and how just being honest can mean new starts for everyone. It was emotional and touching and I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with all these characters and I look forward to reading more from this author!

★★★★

#BookReview THE FOUNDLING by STACEY HALLS

ABOUT THE BOOK

London, 1754.

Six years after leaving her illegitimate daughter Clara at London’s Foundling Hospital, Bess Bright returns to reclaim the child she has never known. Dreading the worst – that Clara has died in care – the last thing she expects to hear is that her daughter has already been reclaimed – by her. Her life is turned upside down as she tries to find out who has taken her little girl – and why. Less than a mile from Bess’ lodgings in the city, in a quiet, gloomy townhouse on the edge of London, a young widow has not left the house in a decade. When her close friend – an ambitious young doctor at the Foundling Hospital – persuades her to hire a nursemaid for her daughter, she is hesitant to welcome someone new into her home and her life. But her past is threatening to catch up with her and tear her carefully constructed world apart.

From the bestselling author of The Familiars, and set against the vibrant backdrop of Georgian London, The Foundling explores families, secrets, class, equality, power and the meaning of motherhood.

PUBLISHED BY MIRA

PUBLICATION DATE – 6TH FEBRUARY 2020

PRE-ORDER LINKS

Amazon  £6.47

hive.co.uk £9.95

Goldsboro Books – signed first edition £12.99

MY REVIEW

I read this via the Pigeonhole app.

Another exciting piece of historical fiction from Stacey Halls who seems to really capture the essence of the time and the issues that people faced and I found it fascinating to see the story told between the haves and the have nots, in the form of Bess and Alexandra.

Bess finds herself unmarried and pregnant and is forced to leave her baby daughter at The Foundling, a place where she is hoping that her daughter will be cared for while she gets her life together and then can go back and claim her. When she goes back 6 years later she finds out that Clara was taken from the hospital the day after she was left, by someone claiming to be Bess and so they mystery begins as to who that was and where her daughter is now.

And the story of Alexandra is just as captivating – she’s a widow who hasn’t left her home for 10 years. Which means a very closeted life for her daughter who only leaves the house to go to church. Alexandra is then persuaded to get a young nursemaid in to help with the care of her daughter. You wonder what this change in her lifestyle will mean for her as she’s been so careful over the years to protect her family, and she struggles to cope with a stranger in the house but her daughter seems to thrive.

I loved the little flashbacks in their lives as we got to find out about their pasts that affected their present situations. And their personalities were extremely intriguing – Bess had faced so many tough times but had never given up hope, whilst Alexandra had this privilege but that didn’t seem to stop her having so much anxiety about the world she was living in. At the heart of it is a young girl who just wanted people to care for her, while the women around her seemed to put their own feelings first instead of thinking of her wellbeing which they often lost sight of as they became so wrapped up in doing what felt right to them.

A story full of emotion and one I raced through desperate to find out how it was all going to play out!

★★★★

#MusicMonday 7 Seconds by Youssou N’dour featuring Neneh Cherry

Happy New Year!  Time to get Music Monday back up and running! Hosted by the fab Drew over at The Tattooed Book Geek, it’s a weekly chance to share a favourite song or video!

I’ve gone mellow this week! 7 Seconds by Youssou N’Dour featuring Neneh Cherry!

Boul ma sene, boul ma guiss madi re nga fokni mane
Khamouma li neka thi sama souf ak thi guinaw
Beugouma kouma khol oaldine yaw li neka si yaw
Mo ne si man, li ne si mane moye dilene diapale

Roughneck and rudeness,
We should be using, on the ones who practice wicked charms
For the sword and the stone
Bad to the bone
Battle is not over
Even when it’s won
And when a child is born into this world
It has no concept
Of the tone the skin it’s living in
It’s not a second

7 seconds away
Just as long as I stay
I’ll be waiting
It’s not a second
7 seconds away
Just as long as I stay
I’ll be waiting
I’ll be waiting
I’ll be waiting

J’assume les raisons qui nous poussent de changer tout,
J’aimerais qu’on oublie leur couleur pour qu’ils esperent
Beaucoup de sentiments de race qui font qu’ils desesperent
Je veux les portes grandements ouvertes,
Des amis pour parler de leur peine, de leur joie
Pour qu’ils leur filent des infos qui ne divisent pas
Changer

7 seconds away
Just as long as I stay
I’ll be waiting
It’s not a second
7 seconds away
Just as long as I stay
I’ll be waiting
I’ll be waiting
I’ll be waiting

And when a child is born into this world
It has no concept
Of the tone the skin it’s living in
And there’s a million voices
And there’s a million voices
To tell you what she should be thinking
So you better sober up for just a second

7 seconds away
Just as long as I stay
I’ll be waiting
It’s not a second
7 seconds away
Just as long as I stay
I’ll be waiting
It’s not a second
7 seconds away
Just as long as I stay
I’ll be waiting

It’s not a second
7 seconds away
Just as long as I stay
I’ll be waiting
It’s not a second
7 seconds away
Just as long as I stay
I’ll be waiting

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Cameron Mcvey / Jonathan Sharp / Neneh Cherry / Youssou N’dour7 Seconds lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG Rights Management

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 4th January 2020 #bookblogger

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!  

Anyone else struggling to get back into the reading mood?!  The festive season has thrown me off track and I’m unable to get back in the swing of things reading wise – not good when the piles of books on the TBR have grown as much as my belly after all the Xmas grub!! Fingers crossed I get back into it all soon! But it makes for a very quick and easy wrap up this week….

Managed to finish 2  books this week, have avoided Netgalley, haven’t bought any books (other than those on my book token buying spree post from the other day!) and i’m currently reading 2 books!

So blink and you’ll miss my wrap up this week! 

BOOKS FINISHED

THE SURPLUS GIRLS by POLLY HERON – 5 STARS

LADY OF THE RAVENS by JOANNA HICKSON – 4 STARS

BOOKPOST

ZERO!!!!!!!

CURRENTLY READING

WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE by SHIRLEY JACKSON

WOLF HALL by HILARY MANTEL

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So how is your 2020 reading year going so far?! Better than mine I hope!

HAPPY READING!!

Turning Book Tokens into Books! #BookHaul #BookBuying

I was very lucky this Christmas to receive a book token or 3! And then the bookstores were happily having sales so how could I not take a browse and get clicking?!!  So this is the results and I’m a happy book bunny once more with my new purchases! Always happy to add to my Penguin Clothbound collection too and I’m just sad the photos don’t do justice to how beautiful they are in the flesh!!

WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING by DELIA OWENS

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

SHADOWPLAY by JOSEPH O’CONNOR

1878- The Lyceum Theatre, London. Three extraordinary people begin their life together, a life that will be full of drama, transformation, passionate and painful devotion to art and to one another. Henry Irving, the Chief, is the volcanic leading man and impresario; Ellen Terry is the most lauded and desired actress of her generation, outspoken and generous of heart; and ever following along behind them in the shadows is the unremarkable theatre manager, Bram Stoker. Fresh from life in Dublin as a clerk, Bram may seem the least colourful of the trio but he is wrestling with dark demons in a new city, in a new marriage, and with his own literary aspirations. As he walks the London streets at night, streets haunted by the Ripper and the gossip which swirls around his friend Oscar Wilde, he finds new inspiration. But the Chief is determined that nothing will get in the way of his manager?s devotion to the Lyceum and to himself. And both men are enchanted by the beauty and boldness of the elusive Ellen. This exceptional novel explores the complexities of love that stands dangerously outside social convention, the restlessness of creativity, and the experiences that led to Dracula, the most iconic supernatural tale of all time.

THE GARDEN JUNGLE by DAVE GOULSON

The Garden Jungle is a wonderful introduction to the hundreds of small creatures with whom we live cheek-by-jowl and of the myriad ways that we can encourage them to thrive.

The Garden Jungle is about the wildlife that lives right under our noses, in our gardens and parks, between the gaps in the pavement, and in the soil beneath our feet. Wherever you are right now, the chances are that there are worms, woodlice, centipedes, flies, silverfish, wasps, beetles, mice, shrews and much, much more, quietly living within just a few paces of you.

Dave Goulson gives us an insight into the fascinating and sometimes weird lives of these creatures, taking us burrowing into the compost heap, digging under the lawn and diving into the garden pond. He explains how our lives and ultimately the fate of humankind are inextricably intertwined with that of earwigs, bees, lacewings and hoverflies, unappreciated heroes of the natural world.

The Garden Jungle is at times an immensely serious book, exploring the environmental harm inadvertently done by gardeners who buy intensively reared plants in disposable plastic pots, sprayed with pesticides and grown in peat cut from the ground. Goulson argues that gardens could become places where we can reconnect with nature and rediscover where food comes from. With just a few small changes, our gardens could become a vast network of tiny nature reserves, where humans and wildlife can thrive together in harmony rather than conflict

THE SECRET LIFE OF BOOKS by TOM MOLE

We love books. We take them to bed with us. They weigh down our suitcases when we go on holiday. We display them on our bookshelves or store them in our attics. We give them as gifts. We write our names in them. We take them for granted. And all the time, our books are leading a double life.

The Secret Life of Books is about everything that isn’t just the words. It’s about how books transform us as individuals. It’s about how books – and readers – have evolved over time. And it’s about why, even with the arrival of other media, books still have the power to change our lives.

In this illuminating account, Tom Mole looks at everything from binding innovations to binding errors, to books defaced by lovers, to those imprisoning professors in their offices, to books in art, to burned books, to the books that create nations, to those we’ll leave behind.

It will change how you think about books.

JAPANESE GARDENS by MONTY DON

The complement to the BBC2 series, Japanese Gardens: written by the nation’s favourite gardener Monty Don, and beautifully produced with over 200 original photographs from Derry Moore.

Traditional Japanese gardens combine aesthetics with ethics, beauty with philosophy in a perfectly curated celebration of the natural world. A Japanese garden is the natural world made miniature: rocks represent mountains, ponds represent seas.

In this personal and lyrical exploration of both the traditional and the modern aspects of Japanese gardening, Monty Don takes a look at at the traditions and culture which inform some of the most beautiful and famous gardens from all over Japan, from Kenroku-en to the Zen gardens of Tokyo and the historic beauty of Kyoto.

Monty Don and Derry Moore travelled to Japan in spring and autumn, and this book guides us through the history and beauty of Japanese gardens in these spectacular seasons – from the famous cherry blossom celebration hanami to the autumnal crimson magnificence of momijigari. Monty Don also explores the creative forms uniquely associated with Japanese gardens, from stonemasonry and ikebana to the intricate skill of bonsai. Stunningly photographed by Derry Moore, Japanese Gardens is a fascinating exploration of a unique relationship with gardens.

BLACK BEAUTY by ANNA SEWELL

Black Beauty spends his youth in a loving home, surrounded by friends and cared for by his owners. But when circumstances change, he learns that not all humans are so kind. Passed from hand to hand, Black Beauty witnesses love and cruelty, wealth and poverty, friendship and hardship . . . Will the handsome horse ever find a happy and lasting home? Carefully retold in clear contemporary language, and presented with delightful illustrations, these favorite classic stories capture the heart and imagination of young readers. By retelling the story in a shorter, simpler form, these books become highly engaging for children, and the color illustrations help with both comprehension and interest level. Black Beauty is part of a collectible series that has strong gift appeal.

THE WIZARD OF OZ by L FRANK BAUM

When Dorothy and her little dog Toto are caught in a tornado, they and their Kansas farmhouse are suddenly transported to Oz, where Munchkins live, monkeys fly and Wicked Witches rule. Desperate to return home, and with the Wicked Witch of the West on their trail, Dorothy and Toto – together with new friends the Tin Woodsman, Scarecrow and cowardly Lion – embark on a fantastic quest along the Yellow Brick Road in search of the Emerald City. There they hope to meet the legendary, all-powerful Wizard of Oz, who alone may hold the power to grant their every wish.

Just as captivating as it was a hundred years ago, this is a story that all ages will love

THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES by ARTHER CONAN DOYLE

“The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” is a collection of twelve detective stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous literary creation, Sherlock Holmes. Contained within this collection are the following tales: A Scandal in Bohemia, The Red-headed League, A Case of Identity, The Boscombe Valley Mystery, The Five Orange Pips, The Man with the Twisted Lip, The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle, The Adventure of the Speckled Band, The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb, The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor, The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet, and The Adventure of the Copper Beeches

THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES by ARTHER CONAN DOYLE

Part of Penguin’s beautiful hardback Clothbound Classics series, designed by the award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith, these delectable and collectible editions are bound in high-quality colourful, tactile cloth with foil stamped into the design.

The terrible spectacle of the beast, the fog of the moor, the discovery of a body, this classic horror story pits detective against dog. When Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead on the wild Devon moorland with the footprints of a giant hound nearby, the blame is placed on a family curse. It is left to Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson to solve the mystery of the legend of the phantom hound before Sir Charles’ heir comes to an equally gruesome end

THE WAR OF THE WORLDS by H.G.WELLS

With H.G. Wells’ other novels, The War of the Worlds was one of the first and greatest works of science fiction ever to be written. Even long before man had learned to fly, H.G. Wells wrote this story of the Martian attack on England. These unearthly creatures arrive in huge cylinders, from which they escape as soon as the metal is cool. The first falls near Woking and is regarded as a curiosity rather than a danger until the Martians climb out of it and kill many of the gaping crowd with a Heat-Ray. These unearthly creatures have heads four feet in diameter and colossal round bodies, and by manipulating two terrifying machines – the Handling Machine and the Fighting Machine – they are as versatile as humans and at the same time insuperable. They cause boundless destruction. The inhabitants of the Earth are powerless against them, and it looks as if the end of the World has come. But there is one factor which the Martians, in spite of their superior intelligence, have not reckoned on. It is this which brings about a miraculous conclusion to this famous work of the imagination.

Not a bad little haul and still have some book tokens left over so until next time……

#BookReview THE SURPLUS GIRLS by POLLY HERON

ABOUT THE BOOK

After the loss of war, can there be hope for the future?
Manchester, 1922.

Belinda Layton is a surplus girl. One of the many women whose dreams of marriage perished in the Great War, with the death of her beloved fiancé, Ben. After four years of mourning, she’s ready to face the future, even though Ben’s family is not happy to see her move on, and her own only cares about getting hold of her meagre factory wages.

Then, Belinda joins a secretarial class and a whole new world opens up to her as she quickly finds herself drawn to beguiling bookshop owner Richard Carson. But after all the loss and devastation she has experienced, can she really trust him with her heart?

PUBLISHED BY CORVUS

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK

hive.co.uk

Whsmith 

MY REVIEW

This is the first in a trio of sagas set in the 1920’s and what a way to start! Full of inspiring female characters and a great way to look back at a time in history when women were being written off as ‘surplus girls’ as they’d lost their husbands or fiancees in the Great War.


Belinda is the surplus girl, who is in her 4th year of grieving for her beloved Ben. As she reaches her 21st birthday she is finding life tough working at the mill, under the extremely creepy and vile Mr Butterfield, and starts to want a little more from life. All her plans for life with Ben are gone, so she wants to start taking care of herself and signs up for a secretarial course which promises to give her more of a future and won’t need to rely on anyone else.


Running the secretarial course are Patience and Prudence, 2 more wonderful characters, who come up with the brilliant idea of training young girls, in a way to ensure they don’t lose their house. They’ve seen how things are difficult for these young women and I just loved how smart/devious (!) they were in getting their plans put into action!


As Belinda begins a work placement in a local bookshop, she gains so much confidence in herself and is beginning to see there might be a life after Ben, although she is still very much beholden to people around her – her own family rely on her financially, and she never shirks from that responsibility, and Ben’s family are still very much grieving and expect her to keep doing the same without realising that she cannot grieve forever.


I really enjoyed the issues within this story – the pressures and expectations women were having to deal with at the time in history and how difficult times led people to desperate measures. The women in this story were some really impressive characters who were very hardworking and didn’t let situations get on top of them.

★★★★★

My thanks to the author and publisher for the advanced reading copy in return for a fair and honest review.

My Bookish Resolutions for 2020!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Thought I’d start the year with some bookish related resolutions! I normally don’t do very well with any resolutions I set, but it’s fun to make a list so who knows, maybe some of these will stick with me for a while this year!! A girl can dream……

1. BUY LESS BOOKS

I know you’re all laughing right now!! So am I to be honest!! But the book buying is a little out of control so needs to be reigned in and controlled!! So if you can all do your best to stop recommending such wonderful books to me then that would help and maybe I can be cured of wanting to buy ALL THE BOOKS, ALL THE TIME!!


2.  READ MORE BOOKS

Obviously! Seems a little strange after reading over 200 books last year, but I am prone to procrastination when  I could be fitting in a couple more chapters, so my aim is to get offline more and fit in a bit of reading instead of browsing various pointless websites!

3.  ORGANISE BOOKSHELVES


My current bookshelves status is ‘if there’s a gap, then that’s where a book goes’! Not so helpful when you’re looking for a particular book and there’s a mix of read and unread books altogether! So in 2020 I’m aiming to have a little more organisation going on! Not sure I can go the full hog and go alphabetical – all the different sized shape books side by side would freak me out – but there must be a way of making my life a little easier when I need to find a certain book!


4.  LESS BLOG TOURS

I LOVE blog tours!! I’ve been introduced to so many wonderful books via them over the years BUT it all just became a little like ‘homework’ for me at times during 2019 – all my own fault for signing up for so many!! – so I’m hoping 2020 I can be a little more restrained and just do a few so that I can read more books from my own shelves as I find Blog Tour books just take precedent over books I own.


5.  NETGALLEY……….


Hello, my name is Karen and I have a Netgalley addiction!! They just make it too easy!! So this year I WILL try and work my way through the backlog of books on my Netgalley shelves (currently at 3 figures…. I’m saying no more!! but still with a 70% ratio) and avoid the temptation to keep clicking when newbies get released!

6. E-BOOKS


I very rarely buy e-books but have seemed to have built up a collection over the years – probably freebies and 99p books – that I download and then instantly forget about as they’re on the Kindle and I can’t SEE them!! So no more! I need to go through my Kindle and sort them all out and devise a way of reminding myself about their existence!


7.  DECLUTTER MY BOOK COLLECTION


aarrrrggghhhhhh!! I’ve come out in a cold sweat just typing those words!  But there is no more room!! And I already have piles of books sitting on top of drawers or on the floor as they’ve got no shelf space!  I do already go through and donate an awful lot of books to various charity shops, but I need to stop being so ‘precious’ about all the books I read and am (probably!) very unlikely to ever read again! They need to go off and find new homes with new people to appreciate them! I must learn to  LET THEM GO!!


8.  READ MORE NON FICTION


Every November I pile up the books and thoroughly enjoy going through a wide variety of subjects for non fiction November, and every year I say I’m going to read more and never do!! That’s going to change…..


9. READ MORE BIG BOOKS


Having read DUCKS, NEWBURYPORT (1,000 pages)  in 2019, I have learned not to be so scared of those big chunkster books that are sitting on my shelves taking up the space of 2 or 3 normal sized books!  But they’re still sitting there – mainly fantasy titles! – and they need to be read!  I must not be afraid anymore….


10.  USE THE LIBRARY MORE


It’s something I started to do more during 2019 – especially when our local library was being threatened with closure – and I’ve loved spending more time in there and taking a chance on books I’d not normally have picked up! And with me supposedly buying less books in 2020, it’s going to be a great way for me to get that ‘buzz’ without spending any money!! Win, Win!!


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Wish me luck!! Are you a resolutions person?! Are there any bookish resolutions you’d like to try for 2020?! Good Luck!!