My Bookish weekly wrap up – 23rd February 2019 #bookblogger

Good Afternoon!  I hope you are well! I’m not! Got a blinding headache this afternoon that is putting me in a foul mood! I just hope the headache pills kick in soon because I’m missing out on reading time in the glorious sunshine we have today! Feeling more like Summer than Spring!

And despite the fact that I haven’t found much time this week to read, I have managed to finish another 6 books off the TBR mountain! But then I’ve added 2 new books from the library, 2 new books from Netgalley and 4 books in the post for review! At least I’m being good and still staying away from all bookshops of the real and online variety!

So here’s a look back at my week in bookish form

BOOKS FINISHED

One Minute Later by Susan Lewis  – 3 stars

Didn’t love it but didn’t hate it either!

The Long Spring by Laurence Rose – 4 stars

Fascinating non fiction following the migrating birds from Africa to Europe

Spring at Taigh Fallon by Kirsty Ferry – 5 stars

Fabulous historical/supernatural story!

The Haunting of Henry Twist by Rebecca F John – 3 stars

Atmosperic and interesting story set in the 1920’s

A Vintage Year by Rosie Howard  – 4 stars

Book 2 and a lovely return to follow the goings on in Havenbury – full review to follow soon!

The Sun and her Flowers by Rupi Kaur – 4 stars

Beautiful collection of poetry dealing with some tough subjects

BOOKHAUL

Starting with the evil Netgalley…

The Botanist’s Daughter by Kayte Nunn

Publication date – April 2019

Discovery. Desire. Deception. A wondrously imagined tale of two female botanists, separated by more than a century, in a race to discover a life-saving flower . . .

In Victorian England, headstrong adventuress Elizabeth takes up her late father’s quest for a rare, miraculous plant. She faces a perilous sea voyage, unforeseen dangers and treachery that threatens her entire family.

In present-day Australia, Anna finds a mysterious metal box containing a sketchbook of dazzling watercolours, a photograph inscribed ‘Spring 1886’ and a small bag of seeds. It sets her on a path far from her safe, carefully ordered life, and on a journey that will force her to face her own demons.

In this spellbinding botanical odyssey of discovery, desire and deception, Kayte Nunn has so exquisitely researched nineteenth-century Cornwall and Chile you can almost smell the fragrance of the flowers, the touch of the flora on your fingertips . . .

Where the Hornbeam Grows by Beth Lynch

Publication date – April 2019

What do you do when you find yourself living as a stranger? When Beth Lynch moved to Switzerland, she quickly realised that the sheer will to connect with people would not guarantee a happy relocation.

Out of place and lonely, Beth knows that she needs to get her hands dirty if she is to put down roots. And so she sets about making herself at home in the way she knows best – by tending a garden, growing things. The search for a garden takes her across the country, through meadows and on mountain paths where familiar garden plants run wild, to the rugged hills of the Swiss Jura. In this remote and unfamiliar place of glow worms and dormice and singing toads she learns to garden in a new way, taking her cue from the natural world. As she plants her paradise with hellebores and aquilegias, cornflowers and Japanese anemones, these cherished species forge green and deepening connections: to her new soil, to her old life in England, and to her deceased parents, whose Sussex garden continues to flourish in her heart.

WHERE THE HORNBEAM GROWS is a memoir about carrying a garden inwardly through loss, dislocation and relocation, about finding a sense of wellbeing in a green place of your own, and about the limits of paradise in a peopled world. It is a powerful exploration by a dazzling new literary voice of how, in nurturing a corner of the natural world, we ourselves are nurtured.

Becoming Mrs Lewis by Patti Calahan – proof from publisher

In a most improbable friendship, she found love. In a world where women were silenced, she found her voice.

From New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan comes an exquisite novel of Joy Davidman, the woman C. S. Lewis called “my whole world.” When poet and writer Joy Davidman began writing letters to C. S. Lewis—known as Jack—she was looking for spiritual answers, not love. Love, after all, wasn’t holding together her crumbling marriage. Everything about New Yorker Joy seemed ill-matched for an Oxford don and the beloved writer of Narnia, yet their minds bonded over their letters. Embarking on the adventure of her life, Joy traveled from America to England and back again, facing heartbreak and poverty, discovering friendship and faith, and against all odds, finding a love that even the threat of death couldn’t destroy.

In this masterful exploration of one of the greatest love stories of modern times, we meet a brilliant writer, a fiercely independent mother, and a passionate woman who changed the life of this respected author and inspired books that still enchant us and change us. Joy lived at a time when women weren’t meant to have a voice—and yet her love for Jack gave them both voices they didn’t know they had.

At once a fascinating historical novel and a glimpse into a writer’s life, Becoming Mrs. Lewis is above all a love story—a love of literature and ideas and a love between a husband and wife that, in the end, was not impossible at all.

Sea Babies by Tracey Scott-Townsend – proof from publisher

In September 2016, Lauren Wilson is travelling by ferry to the Outer Hebrides, about to begin a new job as a children’s social worker. She’s also struggling to come to terms with the recent drowning of a Sheena, a teenage girl she had deeply cared for.  
Engrossed in her book, when somebody sits opposite her at a table on the ferry, Lauren refuses to look up, annoyed at having her privacy disturbed. But a hand is pushing a mug of tea across the table, and a livid scar on the back of the hand releases a flood of memories. 
Lauren studies the hand on the table in front of her, the line of the scar drawing a map of the past in her mind. She was the one who created the scar, not long before her relationship with the love of her life ended almost thirty years ago. Lauren hasn’t seen Neil since she walked out of their shared life, unable to forgive either herself or him for a decision he strongly pressured her to make. 
She’s not ready to meet his eyes, not yet. From his scar to his wrist bone, following his arm upwards and across his shoulder to his collarbone, his chin and the lower part of his face; Lauren remembers incidents from their past and tries to work out what caused their life to go so horribly off-track. 
When she finally meets his eyes and they speak to each other for the first time, Lauren believes she has set her life on a new course. But her gain will result in losses for others. Is this really what she wants to happen? 

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe – ahead of Blog Tour

Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious books the prisoners have managed to smuggle past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the secret librarian of Auschwitz, responsible for the safekeeping of the small collection of titles, as well as the ‘living books’ – prisoners of Auschwitz who know certain books so well, they too can be ‘borrowed’ to educate the children in the camp.

But books are extremely dangerous. They make people think. And nowhere are they more dangerous than in Block 31 of Auschwitz, the children’s block, where the slightest transgression can result in execution, no matter how young the transgressor…

The Narrow Land by Christine Dwyer Hickey from Readers First

1950: late summer season on Cape Cod. Michael, a ten-year-old boy, is spending the summer with Richie and his glamorous but troubled mother. Left to their own devices, the boys meet a couple living nearby – the artists Jo and Edward Hopper – and an unlikely friendship is forged.

She, volatile, passionate and often irrational, suffers bouts of obsessive sexual jealousy. He, withdrawn and unwell, depressed by his inability to work, becomes besotted by Richie’s frail and beautiful Aunt Katherine who has not long to live – an infatuation he shares with young Michael.

A novel of loneliness and regret, the legacy of World War II and the ever-changing concept of the American Dream.

Library Haul

Inside the Wave by Helen Dunmore

Paul O’Grady’s Country Life

CURRENTLY READING

The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons

It’s MyBirthday by Hannah Pearl

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How has your reading week been?! Hope it’s been a good one! I’m off now to lie in a darkened room!

HAPPY READING

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 10th February 2019

Hello! Happy Sunday!!  Time for me to share how my bookish week has looked – more for my benefit than anything else as I’m always losing track of what I’ve read, what’s new on my shelves and what I’m currently reading! Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels like that?!  If I can find an excuse to make a list – and buy another notebook! – then I will!

So it’s been a very good reading book and I have the crappy weather to thank for that, and reading multiple books at a time helps!  Managed to finish 7 books this week – astonishing! If only every week could be like that… it still wouldn’t make dent on the TBR pile I’m sure! 

And I’ve been fairly restrained on the NetGalley front with just 2 new additions, 2 new additions from the library and 2 books from publishers for review! That’s a lot of 2’s!!

BOOKS FINISHED

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides – 5 stars

Excellent twisty and dark thriller

I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella  – 3 stars

A fun, if a little infuriating, read!

The Potter’s Daughter by Jackie Ladbury – 4 stars

A lovely historical/romance read!

Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel by Ruth Hogan – 4 stars

Another fabulous story from one of my favourite authors

Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce – 4 stars

Shocking and twisty thriller!

The Storm Keeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle – 4 stars

Fab YA adventure with the next in the series out later this year!

Just For The Holidays by Sue Moorcroft  – 3 stars

A nice easy read! Perfect to escape the wintry weather!

BOOKHAUL

The Honey Bus by Meredith May via Netgalley

The Honey Bus: A Girl Raised by Bees is a memoir about a girl’s journey into the heart of a beehive to find herself.

When Meredith May is abandoned by both parents, she ends up learning life lessons about family, generosity and resilience from a rather unexpected source: the honeybees her grandfather keeps in Big Sur.

In a converted WWII military bus marooned in the backyard, Grandpa shows her the nuances of harvesting honey while the bees become a guiding force in her life, bonding her to the natural world and modeling a successful community that thrives on industry, democratic decision-making and loyalty.

The exquisite relationship between insect and girl becomes a sanctuary from her lonely childhood, but when her increasingly despondent mother turns violent, she must leave her grandfather’s side and strike out alone with only his hive lessons to help her.

THE LIGHT KEEPER by COLE MORETON via Netgalley

Sarah stands on the brink, arms open wide as if to let the wind carry her away.

Her husband Jack is desperate to find her before it is too late. But Sarah does not want to be found. She’s run away to be alone, to face a moment of truth that will mean life or death.

And there’s someone else seeking answers up here on the high cliffs where the seabirds soar . . . A man known only as the Keeper, living in an old lighthouse right on the cusp of a four hundred foot drop, who is discovering that sometimes love takes you to the edge.

‘Cole writes with human warmth and bittersweet emotion. I loved this.’ – Matt Haig, number one best-selling author of The Humans, Reasons To Stay Alive and Notes On A Nervous Plane

ENDLESS BEACH by JENNY COLGAN – from the library

Dreams start here… 

On the quayside next to the Endless Beach sits the Summer Seaside Kitchen. It’s a haven for tourists and locals alike, who all come to eat the freshest local produce on the island and catch up with the gossip. Flora, who runs the cafe, feels safe and content – unless she thinks too hard about her relationship with Joel, her gorgeous but emotionally (and physically) distant boyfriend.

While Flora is in turmoil about her relationship. her best friend Lorna is pining after the local doctor. Saif came to the island as a refugee, having lost all of his family. But he’s about to get some shocking news which will change everything for him.

As cold winter nights shift to long summer days, can Flora find her happy-ever-after with Joel?

THE HAUNTING OF HENRY TWIST by REBECCA F.JOHN – from the library

London, 1926: Henry Twist’s heavily pregnant wife leaves home to meet a friend. On the way, she is hit by a bus and killed, though miraculously, the baby survives. Henry is left with nothing but his new daughter – a single father in a world without single fathers. He hurries the baby home, terrified that she’ll be taken from him. Racked with guilt and fear, he stays away from prying eyes; walking her through the streets at night, under cover of darkness.

But one evening, a strange man materialises from the shadows and addresses Henry by name. The man says that he has lost his memory, but that his name is Jack. Henry is both afraid of and drawn to Jack, and the more time they spend together, the more Henry sees that this man has echoes of his dead wife. His mannerisms, some things he says … And so Henry wonders, has his wife returned to him? Has he conjured Jack himself from thin air? Or is he in the grip of a sophisticated con man? Who really sent him?

Set in a London recovering from the First World War, where life is enjoying a vibrancy again, The Haunting of Henry Twist is a novel about the limits and potential of love and of grief. It is about the lengths we will go to to hold on to what is precious to us, what we will forgive of those we love, and what we will sacrifice for the sake of our own happiness.

MR ONE NIGHT STAND by RACHAEL STEWART – from Mills & Boon. Out 21st February

One night only.

Just think of the possibilities…

The second she sees Mr. Oh-So-Delicious, Jennifer Hayes knows she needs one night of crazy. No names, no strings, no rules. Except that Jennifer’s naughty one-nighter is actually Marcus Wright—her new business partner! Now they’re mixing business with all kinds of pleasure. But when it comes to falling in love, her sexy Mr. Wright is either Mr. Wrong or the best mistake of her life…

THE FRIENDSHIP CURE by KATE LEAVER – from Duckworth . Out March 7th 2019

Our best friends, Twitter followers, gal-pals, bromances, Facebook friends, and long distance buddies define us in ways we rarely openly acknowledge. But as a society, we are simultaneously terrified of being alone and already desperately lonely. We move through life in packs and friendship circles and yet, in the most interconnected age, we are stuck in the greatest loneliness epidemic of our time. It’s killing us, making us miserable and causing a public health crisis. Increasingly, we don’t just die alone; we die because we are alone. What if meaningful friendships are the solution?

Journalist Kate Leaver believes that friendship is the essential cure for the modern malaise of solitude, ill health, and anxiety and that, if we only treated camaraderie as a social priority, it could affect everything from our physical health and emotional well being. Her much-anticipated manifesto, The Friendship Cure, looks at what friendship means, how it can survive, why we need it, and what we can do to get the most from it. Why do some friendships last a lifetime, while others are only temporary? How do you “break up” with a toxic friend? How do you make friends as an adult? Can men and women really be platonic? What are the curative qualities of friendship, and how we can deploy friendship to actually live longer, better lives?

From behavioral scientists to besties, Kate draws upon the extraordinary research from academics, scientists, and psychotherapists, and stories from friends of friends, strangers from the Internet, and her “squad” to get to the bottom of these and other facets of friendship. For readers of Susan Cain’s Quietand Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, The Friendship Cure is a fascinating blend of accessible “smart thinking,” investigative journalism, pop culture, and memoir for anyone trying to navigate this lonely world, written with the wit, charm, and bite of a fresh voice. 

CURRENTLY READING

Finding Joy by Morven-May MacCallum

Angel by Elizabeth Taylor

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And relax……so now it’s time to get back to the books!  Hope your week has been a good one and hope the week ahead is even better!

HAPPY READING

2019 Library Love Challenge

Welcome to the third annual Library Love Challenge hosted by Angel’s Guilty Pleasures.

I recently spotted this challenge over at Secret Library Book Blog and thought it sounded a perfect challenge that a lot of us can take part in!  And with our local library currently under threat from closure by the local council – boo hiss! – I’m hoping to use the library more to help show that these places are so vital to the community!  And it will also help my bank balance!!

So here is how it all works!

Details:

Runs: January 1, 2019 – December 31, 2019. You can join any time.

  • Put a sign up post on your blog or (dedicate a Goodreads shelf or LibraryThing) and link it in the linky below. Make sure it’s public.
  • The goal is to read at least twelve (12) books from the library, but you can read more. While twelve is the minimum, there is no maximum limit. See the different levels below and pick the one that works best for you.
  • Any format will work for this challenge (prints, ebooks, or audios); as long as you checked it out from the library, it counts.
  • Books can be any genre (fiction, nonfiction, romance, fantasy, mystery, thriller, horror, etc.).
  • Crossovers from other reading challenges are allowed, including re-reads. The goal is to support your local library and save money.
  • As an added bonus: I’m offering up a GIVEAWAY with this Challenge. Winner will be picked at the end of the year!! Their are a few freebie entries just for signing up to join the challenge and then the main entries throughout the year will be the direct links to your book reviews. You will have until Jan. 4th, 2020 to enter your reviews in the Linky/Rafflecopter. Go here to enter your reviews & the giveaway: 2019 Library Love Challenge Review Link-ups.
  • (Optional) Mid-Year Library Check In: This year (2019) I plan on posting a Mid-Year Library Check In Post sometime in June or July. This post is to showcase what you have done so far in the Library Love Challenge. I’ll be offering up a separate giveaway for the Mid-Year Library Check In.
  • (Optional) Reviews: Write a review to enter the giveaway – 2 sentences or an essay, whatever works for you, but there is a minimum of 2 sentences. Not sure what to write? How about something like, “The plot was a delight, but the characters didn’t capture me.” “I enjoyed the story and really liked the characters.”
  • Please use #LibraryLoveChallenge when sharing your reviews, library pictures, etc…

Levels:

  • Dewey Decimal: Read 12 books
  • Thrifty Reader: Read 24 books
  • Overdrive Junkie: Read 36 books
  • Library Addict: Read 48 books
  • Library Card on Fire: Read 60+ books 

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So I’ll be aiming for Dewey Decimal to begin with but hopefully by borrowing books and listening to more audio books I can reach a higher level!


HAPPY READING!!

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up Week 21 2018

Hello! The month of June is with us…. how has that happened?!  And this was the month I had planned to impose a book buying ban on myself, as I’d spiralled a little(!) out of control over the previous month. I’ve coped well with book buying bans before so was all set….. and then I ventured into a library to just browse their book sale and the lure of buying a book for 50p was just too much to ignore so the book buying ban failed on the first day…… maybe I’ll have better luck next month!!

Picked up reading wise this past week which has been good, and with the 20 Books of Summer time now with us I need to keep this pace up!  So here’s a quick look back at all those books I’ve finished this week, acquired this week and those that I’m currently reading!

BOOKS FINISHED

The Parentations by Kate Mayfield – 5 stars

Loved this one! So original!

Nevermoor; The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend – 3 stars

This was a fun to read middle grade book that has been compared to Harry Potter, and if you read it you’ll find out why!

Tomorrow by Damian Dibben – 3 stars

Another enjoyable read, and another book of immortality that fell just a bit flat for me. Very original concept though!

Harriet by Elizabeth Jenkins – 5 stars

Picked this up to kick off my Persephone Readathon weekend and what a book to start with! Loved it – will be reviewing in  more depth soon!

BOOKS ACQUIRED

Have been lucky this week to win a lovely giveaway from the bods at Serpents Tail over on Twitter so this book arrived in the post the other day.

The Summer House by Philip Teir

Publication day July 12th 2018

The light greenery of the early summer is trembling around Erik and Julia as they shove their children into the car and start the drive towards the house by the sea on the west coast of Finland where they will spend the summer. From the outside they are a happy young family looking forward to a long holiday together.

But look under the surface, and their happiness shows signs of not lasting the summer. On the eve of the holiday, Erik lost his job, but hasn’t yet told the family. And the arrival of Julia’s childhood friend Marika – along with her charismatic husband Chris, the leader of a group of environmental activists that have given up hope for planet Earth and are returning to a primitive lifestyle – deepens the hairline cracks that had so far remained invisible.

Around these people, over the course of one summer, Philip Teir weaves a finely-tuned story about life choices and lies, about childhood and adulthood. How do we live if we know that the world is about to end?

And then there was the book that led me astray at the library sale…. I couldn’t refuse this beauty for 50p!

Mrs Osmond by John Banville

A rich historical novel about the aftermath of betrayal, from the Booker prize-winning author.

What was freedom, she thought, other than the right to exercise one’s choices?

Isabel Osmond, a spirited, intelligent young heiress, flees to London after being betrayed by her husband, to be with her beloved cousin Ralph on his deathbed. After a somber, silent existence at her husband’s Roman palazzo, Isabel’s daring
departure to London reawakens her youthful quest for freedom and independence, as old suitors resurface and loyal friends remind her of happier times.

But soon Isabel must decide whether to return to Rome to face up to the web of deceit in which she has become entangled or to strike out on her own once more

And the other night I was browsing on the BorrowBox library app for some new audio books to listen too and these two took my fancy!

Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay

14th February 1900. St Valentine’s Day in rural Australia. Nineteen girls and their two school-mistresses from exclusive Appleyard College leave for a picnic at the brooding, hanging rock. Some of the group fail to return. Murder? Accident? Supernatural happenings?
What is the explanation for these bizarre disappearances?

Death and the Seaside by Alison Moore

With an abandoned degree behind her and a thirtieth birthday approaching, amateur writer Bonnie Falls moves out of her parents’ home into a nearby flat. Her landlady, Sylvia Slythe, takes an interest in Bonnie, encouraging her to finish one of her stories, in which a young woman moves to the seaside, where she comes under strange influences. As summer approaches, Sylvia suggests to Bonnie that, as neither of them has anyone else to go on holiday with, they should go away together – to the seaside, perhaps.

The new novel from the author of the Man Booker-shortlisted The Lighthouse is a tense and moreish confection of semiotics, suggestibility and creative writing with real psychological depth and, in Bonnie Falls and Sylvia Slythe, two unforgettable characters.

CURRENTLY READING

Continuing with the mini persephone readathon I’ve chosen to read this one next.

The Winds of Heaven by Monica Dickens

The Winds of Heaven is a 1955 novel about ‘a widow, rising sixty, with no particular gifts or skills, shunted from one to the other of her more or less unwilling daughters on perpetual uneasy visits, with no prospect of her life getting anything but worse’ (Afterword). One daughter is the socially ambitious Miriam living in commuter belt with her barrister husband and children; one is Eva, an aspiring actress in love with a married man; and the third is Anne, married to a rough but kindly Bedfordshire smallholder who is the only one who treats Louise with more than merely dutiful sympathy. The one relation with whom she has any empathy is her grandchild.

The Gloaming by Kirsty Logan

Mara’s island is one of stories and magic. She knows she’ll eventually end her days atop the cliff, turned to stone and gazing out at the horizon like all the villagers that went before her, drawn by the otherworldly call of the sea. Her whole family will be there too, even her brother Bee and her sister Islay.

But the island and the sea do what they want, and when they claim a price from her family, Mara’s world changes forever.

As years pass and Mara grows into herself and her scars, a chance meeting with the magnetic Pearl brings magic to life once more in ways that Mara never thought possible, in a story that she never would have dreamed for herself before.

The enchanting spiritual prequel to The Gracekeepers, Kirsty Logan’s The Gloaming is a present-day fable that brims over with dazzling imagination and captivating language.

And that brings that week to a close!  How has your bookish week been? Good? Bad? Indifferent?!

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