#BookReview Tomorrow by Damia Dibben

ABOUT THE BOOK

A wise old dog travels through the courts and battlefields of Europe and through the centuries in search of the master who granted him immortality 

“Ornate, vivid, deeply colored, and so precise I could smell and taste the world… The story of a dog crossing continents and centuries in search of the man he loves is moving and tender. I was captivated by its charm from the beginning.” —Rachel Joyce, author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Tomorrow tells the story of a 217-year-old dog and his search for his lost master. His adventures take him through the London Frost Fair, the strange court of King Charles I, the wars of the Spanish succession, Versailles, the golden age of Amsterdam and to nineteenth-century Venice. As he journeys through Europe, he befriends both animals and humans, falls in love (only once), marvels at the human ability to make music, despairs at their capacity for war and gains insight into both the strength and frailties of the human spirit.

With the rich historical vision of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrelland the captivating canine perspective of A Dog’s Purpose, Tomorrow draws us into a unique century-spanning tale of the unbreakable connection between dog and human.

Published by Michael Joseph

Hardcover pages – 320

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Book Depository

Hive.co.uk

MY REVIEW

Tomorrow is a dog! And he’s your narrator throughout this truly unique and imaginative historical book. And he also happens to be 217 years old! So there’s a lot of stories to tell as he takes you through his life and his quest to track down his beloved master once more, after he goes missing when they’re at a cathedral.

I loved the idea of this book and found it to be a very intriguing read, even if sometimes it did fall a little flat for me. There’s a lot of jumping around time wise and that is dealt with quite well, but I often found some of the timelines a little pointless and distracting from that bond between dog and master.

It was fascinating to view history in this way, through the eyes of Tomorrow – lots of time spent in Venice, The English Civil War, Waterloo to name a few – and this was often graphic and quite horrifying as he tried to make sense of what he saw humans doing to each other. He’s a very perceptive character and you can’t help but feel touched by the lengths he goes to in trying to reconnect with his master, and the fact that he helps other dogs along the way and becomes quite close to some!

If you are looking for a book that offers something a little different then I highly recommend this as it is a story that is truly original! The striking cover is also worth checking out!!

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My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – week 20 2018

Hello all! Greetings from a grumpy bookworm!! Have had a headache all afternoon and the pills aren’t shifting it! It’s a very humid day so I think that might be to blame – so I’m hoping for a nice thunderstorm later to help clear the air!

Nothing to be grumpy about on the books front!  Although looking back I’ve only managed to finish 2 books this week which is way down on normal!  But the book buying front has been way out of control this week – sorry, not sorry! – with a total of 9 new books making their ways to my shelves! Most were bought by myself (I’ve gone mad on signed books for some reason!) and a couple are for forthcoming Blog Tours, and just one from NetGalley – well, I had to behave myself somewhere!!  So here’s a look back on my bookish week!

BOOKS FINISHED

The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill   –  3 stars

Enjoyable if a little disappointing!

The Lido by Libby Page  –  5 stars

A wonderful read! Had me in tears by the end, but filled my heart with so much joy!

BOOK HAUL

The Optimist by Sophie Kipner

Blog Tour in July

Meet Tabitha Gray, a delusional girl from Topanga, California, who redefines what it means to be a truly hopeless romantic. Tabby suffers from an aggressive strain of cock-eyed optimism – no amount of failure, embarrassment or humiliation can dent her fierce belief that real, true, lasting love is just around the corner.

Where most people think, fantasize and dream, Tabby says, feels and does. Whether waiting in her lingerie for Harrison Ford to open the door of his hotel room; declaring her love, aged nine, for Ernesto the gardener; encountering Al Pacino in a Russian bathhouse; seeking passion with a blind man on the advice of a wise old woman with dementia at her grandmother’s home for the elderly; or sending intimate photos to a random sexter with an apparently charming dick, Tabby refuses to be crushed by her many misadventures. She has to keep believing, because if she gives up, what then? Ill-advisedly armed with the words of Dorothy Parker, Tabby knows that her own ferocious optimism is the only thing keeping her heart-sore, wine-swilling mother and cynical, single-mum sister from giving up on love altogether. She is their only hope. If Tabby can find love, then they too will believe…

In this warmly witty debut novel, Sophie Kipner takes a satirical look at the extremity of romantic desperation, and pays wry tribute to the deep human need to keep on heroically searching for love despite our manifold absurdities.

Wally Funk’s Race for Space by Sue Nelson

The entertaining and inspirational story of a female pilot who led the way for women in space, written by an award-winning British journalist.

In 1961, Wally Funk was among the Mercury 13, the first group of American pilots to pass the
Women in Space programme. Wally sailed through a series of rigorous physical and mental tests, her scores beating many of the male candidates’, including those of John Glenn, the first American in orbit. But just one week before she was due to enter the final phase of training, the programme was abruptly cancelled. A combination of politics and prejudice meant that none of the women ever flew into space. Undeterred, Wally went on to become one of America’s first female aviation inspectors and civilian flight instructors, though her dream of making it into space never dimmed.

In this offbeat odyssey, journalist and fellow space buff Sue Nelson travels with Wally, now approaching her eightieth birthday, as she races to make her giant leap – before it’s too late. Covering their travels across the United States and Europe – taking in NASA’s mission control in Houston and Spaceport America in New Mexico, where Wally’s ride to space awaits – this is a uniquely intimate and entertaining portrait of a true aviation trailblazer.

Signed copies from a little spree at Foyles online!

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward – An intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle, Sing, Unburied, Sing examines the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power – and limitations – of family bonds. 


Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. His mother, Leonie, is in constant conflict with herself and those around her. She is black and her children’s father is white. Embattled in ways that reflect the brutal reality of her circumstances, she wants to be a better mother, but can’t put her children above her own needs, especially her drug use.

When the children’s father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary. At Parchman, there is another boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all of the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering. He too has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, about love.

 
When I Hit You by Meena Kandasamy – Seduced by politics and poetry, the unnamed narrator falls in love with a university professor and agrees to be his wife, but what for her is a contract of love is for him a contract of ownership. As he sets about reducing her to his idealised version of a kept woman, bullying her out of her life as an academic and writer in the process, she attempts to push back – a resistance he resolves to break with violence and rape.

Smart, fierce and courageous When I Hit You is a dissection of what love meant, means and will come to mean when trust is undermined by violence; a brilliant, throat-tightening feminist discourse on battered faces and bruised male egos; and a scathing portrait of traditional wedlock in modern India

The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh Imagine a world very close to our own: where women are not safe in their bodies, where desperate measures are required to raise a daughter. This is the story of Grace, Lia and Sky, kept apart from the world for their own good and taught the terrible things that every woman must learn about love. And it is the story of the men who come to find them – three strangers washed up by the sea, their gazes hungry and insistent, trailing desire and destruction in their wake.

Hypnotic and compulsive, The Water Cure is a fever dream, a blazing vision of suffering, sisterhood and transformation.

 
And then there was a time I went browsing in Waterstones!!  Came out with this lot – 2 signed editions!
 

 
Whistle In The Dark by Emma Healey  Jen and Hugh Maddox have just survived every parent’s worst nightmare.

Relieved, but still terrified, they sit by the hospital bedside of their fifteen-year-old daughter, Lana, who was found bloodied, bruised, and disoriented after going missing for four days during a mother-daughter vacation in the country. As Lana lies mute in the bed, unwilling or unable to articulate what happened to her during that period, the national media speculates wildly and Jen and Hugh try to answer many questions.

Where was Lana? How did she get hurt? Was the teenage boy who befriended her involved? How did she survive outside for all those days? Even when she returns to the family home and her school routine, Lana only provides the same frustrating answer over and over: “I can’t remember.”

For years, Jen had tried to soothe the depressive demons plaguing her younger child, and had always dreaded the worst. Now she has hope—the family has gone through hell and come out the other side. But Jen cannot let go of her need to find the truth. Without telling Hugh or their pregnant older daughter Meg, Jen sets off to retrace Lana’s steps, a journey that will lead her to a deeper understanding of her youngest daughter, her family, and herself.

 
The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson – All 12-year-old Marinka wants is a friend. A real friend. Not like her house with chicken legs. Sure, the house can play games like tag and hide-and-seek, but Marinka longs for a human companion. Someone she can talk to and share secrets with.
But that’s tough when your grandmother is a Yaga, a guardian who guides the dead into the afterlife. It’s even harder when you live in a house that wanders all over the world . . . carrying you with it. Even worse, Marinka is being trained to be a Yaga. That means no school, no parties–and no playmates that stick around for more than a day.
So when Marinka stumbles across the chance to make a real friend, she breaks all the rules . . . with devastating consequences. Her beloved grandmother mysteriously disappears, and it’s up to Marinka to find her–even if it means making a dangerous journey to the afterlife.
With a mix of whimsy, humor, and adventure, this debut novel will wrap itself around your heart and never let go.
 
Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend – Morrigan Crow is cursed. Having been born on Eventide, the unluckiest day for any child to be born, she’s blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks–and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday.

But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor.

It’s then that Morrigan discovers Jupiter has chosen her to contend for a place in the city’s most prestigious organization: the Wundrous Society. In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each boasting an extraordinary talent that sets them apart–an extraordinary talent that Morrigan insists she does not have. To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests–or she’ll have to leave the city to confront her deadly fate.

The Testament of Loki by Joanne M.Harris –  Ragnarok was the End of Worlds.


Asgard fell, centuries ago, and the old gods have been defeated. Some are dead, while others have been consigned to eternal torment in the netherworld – among them, the legendary trickster, Loki. A god who betrayed every side and still lost everything, who has lain forgotten as time passed and the world of humans moved on to new beliefs, new idol and new deities . . .

But now mankind dreams of the Norse Gods once again, the river Dream is but a stone’s throw from their dark prison, and Loki is the first to escape into a new reality.

The first, but not the only one to. Other, darker, things have escaped with him, who seek to destroy everything that he covets. If he is to reclaim what has been lost, Loki will need allies, a plan, and plenty of tricks . . .

 

And from NetGalley…
 
Us Against You by Fredrik Backman (Beartown #2)  – After everything that the citizens of Beartown have gone through, they are struck yet another blow when they hear that their beloved local hockey team will soon be disbanded. What makes it worse is the obvious satisfaction that all the former Beartown players, who now play for a rival team in Hed, take in that fact. Amidst the mounting tension between the two rivals, a surprising newcomer is handpicked to be Beartown’s new hockey coach.


Soon a new team starts to take shape around Amat, the fastest player you’ll ever see; Benji, the intense lone wolf; and Vidar, a born-to-be-bad troublemaker. But bringing this team together proves to be a challenge as old bonds are broken, new ones are formed, and the enmity with Hed grows more and more acute.

As the big match approaches, the not-so-innocent pranks and incidents between the communities pile up and their mutual contempt grows deeper. By the time the last game is finally played, a resident of Beartown will be dead, and the people of both towns will be forced to wonder if, after all they’ve been through, the game they love can ever return to something simple and innocent.

 
CURRENTLY READING
 
It is another #BigBookWeekender hosted by the Booktuber Simon Savidge so I’m plumped for this big book to read!
 
The Parentations by Kate Mayfield
 

Eighteenth-century London and the lives of the sisters Fitzgerald, Constance and Verity, become entwined with the nearby Fowler household. For Clovis Fowler,whose unearthly Nordic beauty belies a ruthless thirst for power, and husband Finn, a Limehouse thief, have agreed to provide safe harbour to a mysterious baby.
The puzzling phenomenon binding them close arose unexpectedly from deep within the savage but beautiful landscape of Iceland, where a hidden pool of water grants those who drink from it endless life. But those who sip from the waterfall discover all too quickly that immortality is no gift.
To preserve the life of this strange baby from those who wish him harm means that all concerned must remain undiscovered for more than two hundred years. And, as the centuries creep thither, one in their enclave proves more menacing than those who pursue them. Worse, the life-giving pool that sustains them all, runs dry…

 
Tomorrow by Damian Dibben
 

 
A person who keeps dogs will lose many in their lifetime. I was a dog who lost people. 

A winter’s night, Venice, 1815.

A 217-year-old-dog is searching for his lost master.

So begins the journey of Tomorrow, a dog who must travel through the gilded courts of kings and the brutal battlefields of Europe in search of the man who granted him immortality.

But Tomorrow’s journey is also a race against time. Danger stalks his path, and in the shadows lurks an old enemy. Before his pursuer can reach him, he must find his master – or lose him forever.

Tomorrow is a spellbinding story of courage and devotion, of humanity across the ages, and the unbreakable bond between two souls

 
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Phew!! I need a lie down after all that…. while I’m trying not to look at the piles of books currently amassed on my desk that are in need of space on the bookshelves!! I fear another book clearout is needed!
 
Hope your bookish week has been a good one!
 
HAPPY READING!!

#BookReview Bookworm – a memoir of childood reading by Lucy Mangan

About the Book

When Lucy Mangan was little, stories were everything. They opened up new worlds and cast light on all the complexities she encountered in this one.

She was whisked away to Narnia – and Kirrin Island – and Wonderland. She ventured down rabbit holes and womble burrows into midnight gardens and chocolate factories. She wandered the countryside with Milly-Molly-Mandy, and played by the tracks with the Railway Children. With Charlotte’s Web she discovered Death and with Judy Blume it was Boys. No wonder she only left the house for her weekly trip to the library or to spend her pocket money on amassing her own at home.

In Bookworm, Lucy revisits her childhood reading with wit, love and gratitude. She relives our best-beloved books, their extraordinary creators, and looks at the thousand subtle ways they shape our lives. She also disinters a few forgotten treasures to inspire the next generation of bookworms and set them on their way.

Lucy brings the favourite characters of our collective childhoods back to life – prompting endless re-readings, rediscoveries, and, inevitably, fierce debate – and brilliantly uses them to tell her own story, that of a born, and unrepentant, bookworm.

Published by Square Peg

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Hive.co.uk

Book Depository

MY REVIEW

Can I give this 6 stars?!!

If you answer yes to either of the following statements then this is the book for you;

1. do you love books?
2. were you a child?

I adored this book!! Being a similar age to the author I found I was immediately taken back to my childhood and discovered books in many of the same ways that she did, and the passion she has for books and reading comes across clearly in the way she writes this book! There’s great fondness for the books and a great humour too!

It was so wonderful to look back at so many childhood memories via the books we read, and I have to say that some of the titles included were new ones to me so I’m a little eager to go and check them out although I’m wondering if they’ll still have the same appeal to me now – I’m sure they will!

This book shows you the joy of discovering new worlds, new characters and the endless possibilities that opening a book as a child brings and how important the role of books can be in educating and informing, and bringing different ideas to young minds and I think we all still feel that excitement now when we start reading a new book.

I also loved all the 80’s mentions, the excitement of visiting the library and the role that parents play in bringing books into your life when you’re a child. It was just so delightful to go back and relive those times of discovering the worlds of Narnia, Enid Blyton, Judy Blume – to name a few – and I will be recommending this to every reader I know!!

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Beautiful Books Bonanza!!

😍

I haven’t been able to help myself recently!! *feeble excuses alert!!* 

 Hopefully you’ll all understand how easy it is to be innocently (!) browsing various pages online, watching BookTube videos, or be sent emails with pictures of the latest book releases… and then you find yourself searching, clicking, ordering…. and then the parcels arrive!!  So I thought I’d share the latest little haul of book post that I’ve received with some of the most beautiful covers!  One book is for a Blog Tour coming up, the others are just ones that seduced me into buying them with their prettiness!! 

I think the time has come for all book covers to be brown and plain!!!  Might make it safer for me!!

Call Me Zebra by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi

Alma Books

A feisty heroine’s quest to reclaim her past through the power of literature—even as she navigates the murkier mysteries of love.

Zebra is the last in a line of anarchists, atheists, and autodidacts. When war came, her family didn’t fight; they took refuge in books. Now alone and in exile, Zebra leaves New York for Barcelona, retracing the journey she and her father made from Iran to the United States years ago.

Books are Zebra’s only companions—until she meets Ludo. Their connection is magnetic; their time together fraught. Zebra overwhelms him with her complex literary theories, her concern with death, and her obsession with history. He thinks she’s unhinged; she thinks he’s pedantic. Neither are wrong; neither can let the other go. They push and pull their way across the Mediterranean, wondering with each turn if their love, or lust, can free Zebra from her past.

Song by Michelle Jana Chan

Unbound – for a blog tour

Opening in the mid-nineteenth-century, this dazzling debut novel traces the voyage of Song, a boy who leaves his impoverished family in rural China to seek his fortune. Song may have survived the perilous journey to the colony of British Guiana in the Caribbean, but once there he discovers riches are hard to come by, as he finds himself working as an indentured plantation worker.

Between places, between peoples, and increasingly aware that circumstances of birth carry more weight than accomplishments or good deeds, Song fears he may live as an outsider forever. This is a far-reaching and atmospheric story spanning nearly half a century and half the globe, and though it is set in the past, Song’s story of emigration and the quest for opportunity is, in many ways, a very contemporary tale

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Bloomsbury

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their difference, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess.

But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear

Tomorrow by Damian Dibben

Michael Joseph

A person who keeps dogs will lose many in their lifetime. I was a dog who lost people. 

A winter’s night, Venice, 1815.

A 217-year-old-dog is searching for his lost master.

So begins the journey of Tomorrow, a dog who must travel through the gilded courts of kings and the brutal battlefields of Europe in search of the man who granted him immortality.

But Tomorrow’s journey is also a race against time. Danger stalks his path, and in the shadows lurks an old enemy. Before his pursuer can reach him, he must find his master – or lose him forever.

Tomorrow is a spellbinding story of courage and devotion, of humanity across the ages, and the unbreakable bond between two souls.

 

The Insomnia Museum by Laurie Canciani

Apollo

Anna lives in a flat with dad. He is a hoarder, and together they have spent the last 12 years constructing the Insomnia Museum, a labyrinth built from dead TVs, old cuckoo clocks, stacks of newspapers and other junk Dad has found.

Anna is 17. She can’t remember ever having seen outside the flat, but noises penetrate her isolated world: dogs bark in the walls; music plays in the floor, and a ship sails through the canyons between the tower blocks. Then one day dad falls asleep and won’t wake up, and Anna must leave the museum and try to survive in a place that turns out to be stranger and more dangerous than she could have imagined.

It this dazzlingly original debut novel, Laurie Canciani has created a world that is terrible, magical, and richly imagined.

Mrs Whistler by Matthew Plampin

The Borough Press

A stunning novel of artist and muse, of love and ambition from the critically acclaimed novelist Matthew Plampin. `Maud could tell the whole story, but she will not.’ 1876 On the wet cobbled streets of Chelsea, London harassed artist Jimmy Whistler argues with his client. The argument: that Mr Whistler’s two peacocks that now adorn Mr Leyland’s dining room, are to one man a disgrace and to the other, a masterpiece. Stuck in the middle is the one person who knows the artist, his creative vision and his soul more than any other, his model, his lover, Miss Maud Franklin. We follow Maud, a young artist herself who must play the part of wife in the life of a painter crippled by rumours and debts. But it’s only a part, no muse ever had the rights of a wife… A beautiful and compelling blend of naivety and strength, Maud is an irresistible character spinning through a world of beauty and sacrifice, art and ambition.

😍😍😍

I was justified in buying them, wasn’t I?!! Please say yes LOL!!  Would love to hear your thoughts on them, especially if you’ve read any of these! Which one should I start with?! 

I think I just need to face up to the fact that I have become a shallow soul when it comes to book buying! Stick gold on a cover, I’ll want it! Stick animals on a cover, it needs to be on my shelves!  I am a lost cause and I need to embrace my book buying weaknesses!!!  Who’s with me??!! 

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My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up Week 19 2018

Hello all!!  A late catch up for me this weekend – does anyone else find that the sight of blue skies and sunshine gets in the way of blogging?!  Thankfully sunshine also means that reading outdoors is the done thing so that has helped push my reading figures up this week….. 6 books finished and 1 DNF’d!  That was an audio book and was doing nothing for me so I walked away! (Disclaimer by Renee Knight was the book in case you are interested!) Something I’m getting better at doing as there was a time that I pushed myself to finish everything I started!! Silly me!!

So here’s a run down of books finished – click on the title for links to GoodReads – my current reads, and books I may have picked up along the way these past 7 days!

BOOKS FINISHED

Summer at the Art Cafe by Sue McDonagh   – 4 stars

The Cactus by Sarah Haywood  –  3 stars

The Illumination of Ursula Flight by Anna-Marie Crowhurst  – 5 stars

The Old You by Louise Voss  – 4 stars

Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski  – 4 stars

Moonbeams in a Jar by Christine Stovell  – 4 stars

BOOK HAUL

This week I received my first Ninja Book Box, and I’m hoping to do an unboxing post of that here sometime this week so watch out for that!

I also was lucky to have been sent a copy of this fun looking book!

 The Biggest Idea in the World by David Joland

Meet Barry, a deluded Uber driver, saddled with debt and a wife who hates him.
Convinced he’s a genius, and that Facebook, Tripadvisor – and just about every other internet giant – were all his ideas, he’s determined not to lose out with his latest brainwave by taking it to Silicon Valley himself.
Leaving London with a suitcase full of Non-Disclosure Agreements and a head full of dreams, Barry’s confident he’s done everything possible to protect his idea and make his billions.

He pitches to deal-crazed bankers, greedy funders, geek-techies – and a shop assistant whose partner’s a conman.
All of them want Barry’s idea. All of them want to cut him out.
His one savior could be Mickey Roughton, the world famous movie producer who’s in town to promote his latest blockbuster.
What starts off as a helping-hand turns to disaster when Barry’s idea is broadcast on national TV allowing anyone to steal it – and everyone does. It looks like his unblemished record of disasters remains intact, until slowly the details of his master plan unfold revealing what could be the greatest scam to hit the Valley.

And then whilst out browsing in a charity shop this book caught my eye! And I couldn’t say no for £1!

The Haunted Hotel by Wilkie Collins

An eminent doctor is visited by a desperate woman with a question: am I evil, or insane?

When an Italian servant stops sending letters to his wife in London, she is convinced he has been murdered.

In the darkened bedroom of a mouldering palazzo by the Grand Canal, an English lord sickens and suddenly dies.

How are these little mysteries connected? Spend the night in Room 14 of Venice’s finest hotel, and find out the truth – if you dare…

ooh and I may have taken a peek at NetGalley this week and was happy to get approved for this title..

The Book of M by Peng Shepherd

A vivid, touching and original debut, following the effects of an extraordinary catastrophe on very ordinary people.In the middle of a market in India, a man’s shadow disappears. As rolling twenty-four-hour news coverage tries to explain the event, more cases are discovered. The phenomenon spreads like a plague as people learn the true cost of their lost part: their memories.Two years later, Ory and his wife Max have escaped ‘the Forgetting’ by hiding in an abandoned hotel deep in the woods in Virgina. They have settled into their new reality, until Max, too, loses her shadow.Knowing the more she forgets, the more dangerous she will become to the person most precious to her, Max runs away. But Ory refuses to give up what little time they have left before she loses her memory completely, and desperately follows her trail.

On their separate journeys, each searches for answers: for Ory, about love, about survival, about hope; and for Max, about a mysterious new force growing in the south that may hold the cure. But neither could have guessed at what you gain when you lose your shadow: the power of magic.

A breathtakingly imaginative, timeless story that explores fundamental questions about memory and love—the price of forgetting, the power of connection, and what it means to be human when your world is turned upside down.

CURRENTLY READING

Just two on the go at the moment..

The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill

Bookworm by Lucy Mangan

☙☙☙☙☙

Hope your week has been as good! Here’s to another wonderful – and hopefully sunny! – bookish week ahead!

HAPPY READING

#BlogTour That Summer In Puglia by Valeria Vescina #BookReview

ABOUT THE BOOK

Fiction. Tommaso has escaped discovery for thirty years but a young private investigator, Will, has tracked him down. Tommaso asks him to pretend never to have found him. To persuade Will, Tommaso recounts the story of his life and his great love. In the process, he comes to recognise his true role in the events which unfolded, and the legacy of unresolved grief. Now he’s being presented with a second chance – but is he ready to pay the price it exacts? THAT SUMMER IN PUGLIA is a tale of love, loss, the perils of self-deception and the power of compassion. Puglia offers an ideal setting: its layers of history are integral to the story, itself an excavation of a man’s past; Tommaso’s increasingly vivid memories of its sensuous colours, aromas and tastes, and of how it felt to love and be loved, eventually transform the discomforting tone with which he at first tries to keep Will and painful truths at a distance. This remarkable debut combines a gripping plot and perceptive insights into human nature with delicate lyricism.

“Very beautiful, surprising and evocative.”–Simonetta Agnello Hornby

“This is an enchanting slow burn of a novel; a notable debut. Vescina’s voice is admirably clear, her descriptions lucid, and her characters are human to the core.”–Rachel Seiffert

“THAT SUMMER IN PUGLIA is rich in insights into human emotions. It’s the tale of the disastrous course even a great love can take if bitterness is allowed to prevail and chances of forgiveness are rejected, but also of the miracles it can work if profoundly experienced and expressed. Valeria Vescina’s style has the fluidity of the great European novelists. Her characterisations are at once vivid and poetic, and the plot ever-surprising. Finally, here is the discovery through literature of Puglia, with its remarkable synthesis of Mediterranean history and cultures–and how appropriate, as this is, deep down, Greek tragedy.”–Edoardo Winspeare

Purchase Links

Amazon UK  

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

Book Depository

MY REVIEW

I found this to be a totally absorbing debut and loved spending time with the character Tommaso as he recounted the story of his life and loves to a PI who has tracked him down 30 years later. Tommaso has done all he can to distance himself from his past and as he explains the reasons why throughout this intriguing story.

It is a story full of great character studies – we learn of young love, family jealousies and secrets and the way it’s told was also fascinating as it feels like Tommaso is having the conversation with you the reader as he looks back. It isn’t difficult to feel yourself back in Puglia during his youth, growing up idolising his father and the impact that losing him had on him as a young man. And how the death affected his mother who became a different person to him and he always resented the way she treated him from that point. There’s plenty of heartbreak but also determination from Tommaso to move on with his life and explains how he ended up in London and how his life had changed so much.

The bright light in his life was Anna and their story is a beautiful one despite their differences in lifestyles and religion. 

The attention to detail was exquisite and the sights and sounds are brought vividly to life through the pages. It had a lovely gentle feel to it throughout and I can’t wait to read more from this author in the future.

My thanks to the author, publisher and the team at Bookollective for inviting me to be part of this blog tour and for the copy of the book.

#BookReview #GuestPost My Favourite People by Rob Keeley

Delighted to be able to share my review today of this fun new picture book for the little people in your life, alongside a guest post from one of my favourite people in the book world, and that is Rob Keeley!!  

About the book

Rob Keeley’s first picture book!
A book for young children all about the importance of relationships.
Comes complete with suggested activities for bringing the book to life.

Illustrated by Simon Goodway.

My favourite people are…

all in this book. And I’m going to tell you all about them. You can meet my Auntie Meg and Uncle Steve, my best friend Alice, my favourite footballer and the band that’s going to save the world. Then I’ll tell you about a brilliant idea I’ve had…

Following his success as a writer of novels and short stories for older children – including the ongoing Spirits series, listed for the Bath Children’s Novel and Independent Author Book Awards – Rob Keeley makes his picture book debut with My Favourite People, a fun illustrated journey through childhood and the friends and family who make it possible. It’s an amusing and insightful look at the world around its central character, an excellent read-aloud or read-alone. It encourages young people to look at relationships and recognise their importance. It will appeal to girls and boys of lower primary age – and to parents and teachers reading the book aloud.

Paperback, 1st, 24 pages
Published April 28th 2018 by Troubador Publishing Ltd
ISBN13
9781789013313
 
Purchase Links
Amazon UK  £7.99
Hive.co.uk  £6.95
 
MY REVIEW
 
This is the first picture book from the author Rob Keeley, and it is a bright and bubbly book that has plenty of colourful illustrations and educational activities inside to keep young children entertained and engaged with for the duration.

It introduces a variety of characters and their relationships with the central character and all the things they do that make them so special to him! And at the back of the book are a number of suggested activities that make it easy for those reading with youngsters to make the reading experience more personal and to engage with what they are reading and seeing.

Lots of fun!!  And a great way of helping you get more out of a book when reading with children!

 
GUEST POST
Now I get to hand over to Rob for his thoughts on the whole experience of creating this picture book and a little bit more about himself, including where you can find him online!
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Karen is now one of my favourite people following all her lovely reviews of my books for children, so I was delighted to get this opportunity to write a guest post for her blog! I’m so pleased to see that My Favourite People is proving popular. It’s my first picture book for younger children and is aimed at both the preschool and the 5-7 audience. I wrote the text some years ago but have been looking for the right illustrator to bring my characters and fictional world to life. Finally I was thrilled to discover the work of Simon Goodway, a very talented man with wide experience of children’s books as well as other projects (visit http://www.simongoodway.com). His pictures are bright and colourful, slightly larger than life but with a realistic quality to them as well. In other words, a perfect match for my writing style! I would love to do more picture books with him and am already thinking of a follow-up – though I have the final Spirits novel for older children to publish first!

My Favourite People is more of a character piece than a narrative one, and revolves around a young boy who’s the same age as the target audience. He tells us all about the favourite people in his life – family, friends, acquaintances – and then about a brilliant idea he’s had to reward them for their kindness and friendship. It’s a celebration of the pure pleasure we can get at that age from being in the company of someone we love. We get to see, through his eyes, what makes his favourite people special – the Mum and Dad who love him, the best friend who’s there when he’s unhappy, the teacher who inspires a love of music, and the footballer and the pop band who are his heroes, amongst others. I gave Simon notes on all of these characters and he has interpreted them brilliantly.

I did a lot of research into picture books for these age groups and saw that many now end with activities to bring the book to life and build the young reader’s literacy. These can be used by parents reading the book at home, or by teachers in the classroom. I had teaching assistant experience to draw on as well as more recent experience of holding author workshops in primary schools and children’s libraries. I ended up suggesting tie-ins with everything from Food Technology to P.E., taking in English lessons along the way! Reading should be an interactive experience and the four pages of Suggested Activities that end the book allow adults to join children in their reading dream.

Two favourite points in the book? Uncle Steve tinkering at the baking session, and the boy’s big idea at the end. But you’ll have to read it to see what I mean!

For more information on My Favourite People and my other books, visit http://www.robkeeley.co.uk/ and follow me on Twitter @RobKeeleyAuthor.

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#BookReview The Illumination of Ursula Flight by Anna-Marie Crowhurst

All about the book

Born on the night of an ill-auguring comet just before Charles II’s Restoration, Ursula Flight has a difficult future written in the stars.

Against the custom of the age she begins an education with her father, who fosters in her a love of reading, writing and astrology.

Following a surprise meeting with an actress, Ursula yearns for the theatre and thus begins her quest to become a playwright despite scoundrels, bounders, bad luck and heartbreak

Publisher – Allen & Unwin

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

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

Book Depository

MY REVIEW

If you are looking for a fabulous new character to welcome into your life, then look no further! Ursula Flight is a delight!! From a inquisitive and imaginative child, to a determined and feisty woman, this book follows Ursula in a sparkling debut set in the 17th century.

Another thing I loved about this book was the way the story was written. It’s all from the pen of Ursula, such as diary entries (think of the historic equivalent to Adrian Mole, or Bridget Jones!), alongside plays she wrote and performed in linked to episodes in her life that she witnessed or imagined, and it just made for such a light and refreshing read that was full of laughs, spirit and had that feelgood factor that just made me want more!

Ursula was born on the night of the comet, and throughout her childhood she always felt different to many others. She is from a well to do family and is educated by her father who she idolises. Her relationship with her mother was a little more difficult and that was also a revealing side to the story as her life progresses.

The historical side to the story is also very well done and you never feel like you’re just looking back, you feel like you’re a fly on the wall as she travels to various places, experiences new things and the expectations placed on her as a female of the time. But Ursula has different ideas and isn’t afraid to speak her mind and this can lead to problems for her when she’s expected to know her place and stay quiet.

With an education behind her she is never happy to just settle for a domestic life, and her dream is to write plays for the theatres of London. And with such a determined character such as Ursula, you never doubt her desire to achieve these ambitions, despite those around her doing their best to thwart them. She has to overcome a number of hurdles put in her way but she even approaches these with a wonderful sense of humour and humility.

I adored this book and especially Ursula, and found it to be a truly unique reading experience. An amazing debut novel and I will be eagerly awaiting more from this author!!

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#BookReview The Cactus by Sarah Haywood

IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO BLOOM
People aren’t sure what to make of Susan Green – a prickly independent woman, who has everything just the way she wants it and who certainly has no need for messy emotional relationships.

Family and colleagues find her stand-offish and hard to understand, but Susan makes perfect sense to herself, and that’s all she needs.
At forty-five, she thinks her life is perfect, as long as she avoids her feckless brother, Edward – a safe distance away in Birmingham. She has a London flat which is ideal for one; a job that suits her passion for logic; and a personal arrangement providing cultural and other, more intimate, benefits.
Yet suddenly faced with the loss of her mother and, implausibly, with the possibility of becoming a mother herself, Susan’s greatest fear is being realised: she is losing control.
When she discovers that her mother’s will inexplicably favours her brother, Susan sets out to prove that Edward and his equally feckless friend Rob somehow coerced this dubious outcome. But when problems closer to home become increasingly hard to ignore, she finds help in the most unlikely of places.
This sparkling debut is a breath of fresh air with real heart and a powerful emotional punch. In Susan we find a character as exasperating and delightful as The Rosie Project’s Don Tillman. An uncompromising feminist and a fierce fighter, it’s a joy to watch her bloom.

Publisher – Two Roads

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

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

Book Depository

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MY REVIEW

5 stars for the cover – it’s stunningly beautiful! But unfortunately only 3 stars for the story! That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it as it was an interesting story, but I just didn’t connect with the character as I hoped I would and I just felt that the book was missing something although I’m not sure what that was!

The main character, Susan Green, is very set in her ways! She’s very independent and likes her own routine and seems at odd with the modern world around her at times. She is a fan of the old fashioned approaches to life! She’s not on social media to the surprise of her work mates, and is happy enough just getting on with her job and taking care of her Cactus collection.

The story then follows her as she deals with the death of her mother, the fractured relationship with her brother thereafter and trying to come to terms with decisions made by others in her past that finally reveal themselves to her – all while she is coming to terms herself with her finding out she is pregnant and determined to raise the child by herself.

You definitely see a softer side of Susan as the months tick by – she finds a friend in the unlikeliest of places and the quest to try and contest the will that her mother left also leads to some startling revelations that unsettle her and shatter everything she thought she knew. She has to learn the art of compromise and to think of others and their feelings – something that has never been easy for her to deal with.

I enjoyed the times when Sarah was looking back at her childhood and how those events changed her, and overall I found it a pretty enjoyable read.

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My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up Week 18 2018

Hello all!! Thanks for stopping by to check up on how my bookish week has been!  My reading time has been eaten into a little as have been constructing a new rabbit hutch and run – ably assisted by my mum and dad! – for the bunny who is now doing all he can to steer well clear of it!! That’s gratitude for you!!

Been a good reading week though as last weekend was The Big Book Weekender hosted by Simon Savidge of Savidge Reads on BookTube, and it was a great excuse to pick up those big books that I’ve always put off reading! Over the course of the weekend and this week I’ve managed to finish 2 of the big books I picked up – over 1,000 pages between them! – and have loved both and loved the experience so hoping I won’t be as scared in the future to pick more up! There’s another Big Book Weekender at the end of this month so already excited to start choosing new books!  I also finished listening to an Audio Book which at 18 hours long could well qualify for the Big Book category!  Been fairly quiet on the acquiring book front other than through subscription box books – they don’t count though do they?!

BOOKS FINISHED

ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE by ANTHONY DOERR – 5 STARS

Why did I not pick this book up sooner?! An astonishing read that had me captivated from start to finish!! Loved it!!

The Last Hours by Minette Walters – 4 stars

An absorbing historical book about the Black Death and how it affected those living through it! Really enjoyed it and looking forward to the next book in the series!

The Trees by Ali Shaw – 3 stars

Listened to the audio version of this  – enjoyed the beginning but did find my mind wandering towards the end!

BOOK HAUL

I always love a Bookish Subscription so recently treated myself to the Bookishly Classics and a Cuppa 3 month book subscription. So for the next 3 months, I’ll receive 3 of Penguin’s Little Black classics alongside some lovely new tea to try!  And here’s my first parcel!

A Modern Detective by Edgar Allan Poe

The Withered Arms by Thomas Hardy

Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime by Oscar Wilde

CURRENTLY READING

Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski

Summer at the Art Cafe by Sue McDonagh

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Wishing you all a happy reading week ahead!!