Persephone Readathon #3 – count me in!! #PersephoneReadathon #BookBlogger

One of my favourite discoveries of recent years has been the wonderful world of  Persephone Books so any excuse to spend time reading them is fine by me! Thankfully the lovely Jessie of  Dwell In Possibility sets up regular Persephone Readathons and there’s another one starting tomorrow – May 31st 2019 – and lasting until June 9th, where we all get to wallow in the loveliness that is Persephone books and there’s an opportunity to discuss all things connected! 

There are no real rules – just choose to read as much or as little Persephone over the week that you can, and this time there’s also a Persephone Readalong which you can choose to take part in as well so we can all discuss what we think of that chosen book.

I have a steadily growing colllection of 28 Persephone Books so it’s never easy choosing which ones to pick for a Readathon, but I was in a charity shop the other day and luckily managed to find a perfect condition Persephone for £1 so I had to snap it up and I think that is going to be my main focus for the week ahead

THE FORTNIGHT IN SEPTEMBER by R.C.SHERRIFF

The Fortnight in September embodies the kind of mundane normality the men in the dug-out longed for – domestic life at 22 Corunna Road in Dulwich, the train journey via Clapham Junction to the south coast, the two weeks living in lodgings and going to the beach every day. The family’s only regret is leaving their garden where, we can imagine, because it is September the dahlias are at their fiery best: as they flash past in the train they get a glimpse of their back garden, where ‘a shaft of sunlight fell through the side passage and lit up the clump of white asters by the apple tree.’ This was what the First World War soldiers longed for; this, he imagined, was what he was fighting for and would return to (as in fact Sherriff did).

He had had the idea for his novel at Bognor Regis: watching the crowds go by, and wondering what their lives were like at home, he ‘began to feel the itch to take one of those families at random and build up an imaginary story of their annual holiday by the sea…I wanted to write about simple, uncomplicated people doing normal things.’ 

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The Readalong book is available as a free download here

FLUSH by VIRGINIA WOOLF

This story of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s cocker spaniel, Flush, enchants right from the opening pages. Although Flush has adventures of his own with bullying dogs, horrid maids, and robbers, he also provides the reader with a glimpse into Browning’s life. Introduction by Trekkie Ritchie.

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Are you a fan of Persephone? Will you be joining in the readathon?! I hope so and look forward to seeing what everyone else is reading using the  #PersephoneReadathon tag on social media!!

HAPPY PERSEPHONE READING!!

#BlogTour The Wrong Direction by Liz Treacher #BookReview @liztreacher @LoveBooksGroup #LoveBooksTours #TheWrongDirection

Extremely delighted to be the latest stop on the Blog Tour for THE WRONG DIRECTION by LIZ TREACHER. My thanks to the Author and Kelly of Love Books Tours for putting it all together and letting me be part of it all!

About the book

Autumn 1920. When Bernard Cavalier, a flamboyant London artist, marries Evie Brunton, a beautiful Devon post lady, everyone expects a happy ending. But Evie misses cycling down country lanes, delivering the mail, and is finding it hard to adapt to her new life among Mayfair’s high society.

Meanwhile Bernard, now a well-known artist, is struggling to give up his bachelor ways. The Wrong Direction is as light and witty as The Wrong Envelope, with racy characters and a fast-paced plot. Wild parties, flirtatious models, jealous friends – Bernard and Evie must negotiate many twists and turns if they are to hold on to each other…  

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK  £8.99

hive.co.uk  £8.19

waterstones £8.99

About the Author

Biography

Liz is a writer, a Creative Writing teacher and an Art photographer. She lives in the Highlands of Scotland with a view of the sea. Her love of images influences her writing. 
Her debut novel, ‘The Wrong Envelope’, is a romantic comedy, set in 1920 in Devon, England. It tells the story of Bernard, an impulsive artist and Evie, his beautiful post lady. You can watch the trailer on this page, under ‘Videos’. Light and witty, and full of twists and turns, ‘The Wrong Envelope’ captures the spirit of another age – when letters could change lives.
The sequel, ‘The Wrong Direction’, follows Evie and Bernard to London, and charts their further adventures in Mayfair’s high society. Wild parties, flirtatious models, jealous friends – Bernard and Evie must negotiate many twists and turns if they are to hold on to each other.


For more information visit:  https://www.liztreacher.com

Follow on Twitter: @liztreacherFacebook: 

https://www.facebook.com/LizTreacherAuthor/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/liztreacher/

MY REVIEW

Back with Evie and Bernard and the story continues seamlessly from book one, The Wrong Envelope, as we follow their lives from the quiet streets of Cornwall into the frenetic pace of London as a newlywed couple and life definitely doesn’t get any easier for them as reality hits!!

I loved The Wrong Envelope for the way it took you back to a much gentler pace of life, and this sequel transports you so effortlessly to the change of life that Evie faces – not only is she getting used to married life and all that entails, she’s not a post lady anymore and has to deal with the boredom and trying to find out what her new role will be in life.  Not easy for a woman in the 1920’s but the wonderful thing about Evie as a character is that she has a brain and she’s not afraid to use it! I loved how much she evolves during this book – while marriage is extremely daunting for her at first and she’s lost the comfort zone of being with her family, she gains so much confidence in herself and starts aiming for her dreams and fulfilling her potential.

Bernard is back to living life in a whirlwind while being back in London – out with friends a lot of the time, working hard and doesn’t seem to realise how much Evie relies on him to help her adjust.   She soon makes some new friends though who expose her to the social side of London and she doesn’t always like what she sees. 

 I absolutely loved seeing these different sides to these characters – there’s so much going on and so many changes for them to deal with that we get to discover the attitudes of the time that looked down so much on women and the role they played – they were supposed to stay and home and keep everything nice for their husbands! That’s not Evie!  And the more she gains in confidence, the more Bernard realises how lost he is without her – will it be enough to make him change his ways though?!

I adored this book and loved how it put you through a wide range of emotions!  It captures a bygone age perfectly and I enjoyed being totally transfixed  from start to finish!!


★★★★★

#BookReview Haverscroft by S.A.Harris #bookblogger #Haverscroft

ABOUT THE BOOK

‘An atmospherically creepy ghost story that keeps you guessing till the end! Sally Harris is one to watch.’ —Angela Clarke, Sunday Times Bestselling Author.

Kate Keeling leaves all she knows and moves to Haverscroft House in an attempt to salvage her marriage. Little does she realise, Haverscroft’s dark secrets will drive her to question her sanity, her husband and fatally engulf her family unless she can stop the past repeating itself. Can Kate keep her children safe and escape Haverscroft in time, even if it will end her marriage?

Haverscroft is a gripping and chilling dark tale, a modern ghost story that will keep you turning its pages late into the night.

PUBLISHED BY SALT

PURCHASE LINKS

Publisher Website

hive.co.uk

WHSmith

MY REVIEW

A classic ghost story with a modern twist – and I loved every single scary, creepy moment of it all!!! Every noise I now hear in the house has me worried…..

Kate is married to Mark, and with their 2 children they move to Haverscroft in what seems to be a bid to save their marriage and start afresh in a new village. But Kate is increasingly spending more time alone with the children in their new home, as Mark is busy living away during the week with work, and her state of mind appears to be unravelling as she’s starting to see things, hear things, smell things… it is a figment of her imagination or is their new home genuinely haunted and trying to force them out.

The relationship between Kate and Mark is at the centre of this story and brilliantly looks into suspicions, mental health and how parents can play off against one another to look the good guy in the eyes of their children. With Mark away, Kate is troubled by him not answering the phone when she tries to call so that is setting off her doubts on his actual whereabouts. Their new home has always had a strange and unsettling feeling to her and the children and the more time they spend in there, the more that feeling intensifies – and the question of what is in the locked attic doesn’t help matters! The previous owner, Mrs Havers, had to move out because of her health but is keen to talk to Kate about the house and the longer the story goes on, the more you understand why she is so keen to share her thoughts to the new owners and as Kate delves more into the past of the house and local area the more she becomes driven and obsessed with finding out the truth about so many things.

The contributions from the children were some of the most chilling aspects for me! The things they talk about and that they see really add that edge to the ghost story and I think if I was living there I would have run out after a couple of days!! With history repeating itself you really just lose yourself in wondering what terrifying moments await them all.

I loved the setting and the pace of this story. The fear didn’t let up and the questions and doubts about Kate and her frame of mind played so well along the children and their perception of what was happening. This house full of dark secrets really had me petrified and I can’t wait to see what the author has in store for us with her next book!!

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#BookReview Normal People by Sally Rooney

About the book

At school Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He’s popular and well-adjusted, star of the school soccer team while she is lonely, proud, and intensely private. But when Connell comes to pick his mother up from her housekeeping job at Marianne’s house, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagers—one they are determined to conceal.

A year later, they’re both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years in college, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. Then, as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.

Sally Rooney brings her brilliant psychological acuity and perfectly spare prose to a story that explores the subtleties of class, the electricity of first love, and the complex entanglements of family and friendship. 

Published by Faber & Faber

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon

hive.co.uk

whsmith

MY REVIEW

An enjoyable read BUT not one that blew me away or had the characters that will stay with me now I’ve finished reading it – it just didn’t work for me and once again I’m left to wonder what I’m missing from a book that won so many plaudits!

It’s a love and life story – set over many years between Marianne and Connell who meet at school. He’s the popular kid, she’s the weird one with no friends but they have a connection and meet in secret getting closer and closer. They are from very different bakcgrounds too – she from a wealthy family, his mother cleans for them – but their friendsip seems to work for them, even though it’s kept a secret from those at school and those around them.

The story then follows them to college where the roles are reversed – she finds ‘her people’ and fits in better than he does. Their relationship is still an on and off thing – they both have other relationships in between but always find their way back to one another. Definitely seems to be a case of ‘can’t live with, can’t live without’ for them both!

Her troubled family life seems to be a big part of how she feels about herself throughout but isn’t really mentioned much which I would have liked – her brother abuses her, her mother seems to hate her, she gets more affection from the cleaner!

And Connell goes through some very dark times too dealing with various issues but it kind of all just felt a little flat and easily dealt with when he confronts them! I liked the fact that they were always there when needed to help one another but it did all feel a little too safe at times.

★★★

#BlogTour The Sewing Room Girl by Susanna Bavin #Giveaway #BookReview @AllisonandBusby #TheSewingRoomGirl

Hugely excited to be the next stop on the Blog Tour for this wonderful book – THE SEWING ROOM GIRL by SUSANNA BAVIN – and my thanks to Lesley at Allison & Busby for the copy of the book and letting me be part of it all!

ABOUT THE BOOK

 The third book from an exciting new voice in historical sagas

 A keen sense of the North West of England in the late nineteenth century, from working-class communities to more well-to-do suburbs, subtle characterisation and gripping plot

 Perfect for fans of Anna Jacobs, Lyn Andrews and Nadine Dorries

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1892. When her beloved father dies, Juliet and her mother, the difficult but vulnerable Agnes, are left to fend for themselves. When Agnes lands a job as a seamstress for a titled family, things appear to be looking up. But just as the pair begin to find their feet, Juliet finds herself defenceless and alone. Without her mother to protect her, Juliet becomes the victim of a traumatic incident and is left to face an impossible dilemma. She flees to Manchester seeking support from her estranged family but comes up against her formidable grandmother, who is determined to bend Juliet to her will. It will take all Juliet’s ingenuity to escape the clutches of her ruthless grandmother and make her own way in life.

PURCHASE LINKS

HIVE.CO.UK  £7.49

AMAZON UK  £8.99

WHSMITH  £6.49

AUTHOR:

Susanna Bavin has variously been a librarian, an infant school teacher, a carer and a cook. She lives in Llandudno in North Wales with her husband and two rescue cats, but her writing is inspired by her Mancunian roots.

susannabavin.co.uk @SusannaBavin


GIVEAWAY

Also delighted to be able to share this giveaway today for you to win a set of books from Susanna Bavin – 3 paperbacks and 1 hardback! A prize well worth winning! Click the link below to add your entry!! GOOD LUCK!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

MY REVIEW 

This is the 3rd book from Susanna Bavin, and my 1st read of one of hers and I’m now excited to go back and read her other titles as I found this to be captivating, heartbreaking  and such a wonderful read following the story of Juliet – and my heart broke for her many times throughout!!  She is one of those characters who has a heart of gold but life seems to have such a downer on her – but she’s full of determination and such a hard worker that you find yourself cheering on every success and happy moment she gets to encounter.

Juliet has a tough life ahead of her, especially after losing her father so she and her mother have to move and fend for themselves.  Agnes finds work as a seamstress for a titled family and Juliet begins to work too, but life doesn’t seem to be getting any easier for them, Juliet especially and she soon finds herself alone, picked on by other girls in the sewing room and working for the most loathsome character.  But she does find an ally in Hal, who is working in the garden and builds up quite the friendship to the displeasure of others, who want to put as much distance as they can between the two.

Whatever Juliet faces, she never crumbles!  And for that she is a total heroine!  She has so much responsibility on her shoulders from the start and  a heart of gold but people who come into her life seem to just treat her like dirt and take advantage of her.  Even members of her own family aren’t the most pleasant characters in the way they treat her, but she finds solace in her work and is remarkably tough and I think the creative side of dress making gives her an escape from the misery she has endured.

Set in the 1890’s, I found this to be such a gratifying read and a main character who is difficult to be forgotten! She endures such horrific actions throughout, but her spirit is never broken and that is something to be admired!

★★★★★

#BlogTour Pink Ice Creams by Jo Woolaston #BookReview @rararesources #PinkIceCreams

Thank you for stopping by today for my turn on the Blog Tour for the wonderful PINK ICE CREAMS by JO WOOLASTON.  My thanks to the Author and Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for letting me be part of it all! 

Pink Ice Creams

Intent on fixing her broken marriage and the alcohol-fuelled catastrophe that is her life, Kay Harris arrives at her grim and grey holiday let, ready to lay to rest the tragedy that has governed her entire adulthood – the disappearance of her little brother, Adam.

But the road to recovery is pitted with the pot-holes of her own poor choices, and it isn’t long before Kay is forced to accept that maybe she doesn’t deserve the retribution she seeks. Will the intervention of strangers help her find the answers she needs to move on from her past, or will she always be stuck on the hard shoulder with no clear view ahead and a glove box full of empties?

Pink Ice Creams is a tale of loss, self-destruction, and clinging on to the scraps of the longlost when everyone else has given up hope.

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon.co.uk:

Paperback:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1984168231

Kindle: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07RV49TKB

Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B07RYX3YWP

Amazon.com:

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1984168231

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07RV49TKB

Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/jowoolaston

Author Bio

Jo Woolaston lives in Leicestershire, England with her extreme noise-making husband and two lovely sons. She tries to avoid housework and getting a ‘proper job’ by just writing stuff instead – silly verse, screenplays, shopping lists…

This sometimes works in her favour (she did well in her MA in TV Scriptwriting, gaining a Best Student award in Media and Journalism – and has had a few plays produced – that kind of thing) but mostly it just results in chronic insomnia and desperate tears of frustration.

Pink Ice Creams is her first novel, she hopes you liked it.

Website: https://www.jowoolaston.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nevermindthebloggers

Twitter: @JoWoolaston

Good reads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19176972.Jo_Woolaston

MY REVIEW

I found this to be a beautifully crafted piece of fiction that balances both the very dark aspects in the life of Kay, with the lighter moments as she tries to start her life again after splitting with her husband and taking up residence in a caravan on the Norfolk coast which triggers memories from her past and helps her try to come to terms with where she is and what she’s been through.

The voice of Kay is one of very witty observations and remarks,  and many moments of self doubt. Has she done the right thing leaving her husband? What will she do with her life now? She tries to make light of these thoughts in her head, and the more she starts to look back over her life the more things become clearer and she has so much to deal with, that it’s often too much.  This new chapter of her life is supposed to help her move on, but it has a strange way of taking her back to her childhood and the traumas that inflicted on her.

As she encounters a number of new people in her life at the caravan park, it allows her to try and create a new persona, but she’s always wary of allowing new people in and it takes a while for her to fully let go and open up to new experiences.

Along with the flashbacks to her childhood, there’s also time to look back at her marriage and where that went wrong and the more I heard about Martin, her ex, the more I disliked him and could totally understand why  she’d reached rock bottom.  Her confidence had been destroyed by his put downs and it just seemed that she’s always needed that escape from her own life.

When a young boy goes missing at the seaside park, that also brings bad memories back of her younger brother and how that tragedy she’d witnessed back then had never really left her and she’d never got closure.

This is a book that I didn’t know what to expect from when I picked it up, but i found it to be so compelling and emotional that I couldn’t put it down one I’d started reading it!  There’s so many angles to Kay and her story that allows you to really understand her frame of mind and the shocking twist towards the end just wrapped it up perfectly for me.  And any book that can sneak a mention in for ‘Chorlton and the Wheelies’ (one of my favourite kids TV shows ever!!) is absolutely fine by me!!

A stunning debut and am so eager to read more from this author in the future!

★★★★★

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 25th May 2019 #bookblogger #bookhaul

Happy Saturday! It’s so sunny here that even the squirrels are sunbathing!  And a long weekend here in the UK ahead so hopefully that means extra time for reading – and I’m going to need it with all the books that appear to have made it into my possession this week…..oops I did it again!!

It’s been a good bookish week just gone thankfully!  4 books have been finished, just one new addition from NetGalley (it lured me back in!!), one library book made me pick it up, but there seems to have been another 10 new books that have found their way to my home!  Hope you’re sitting comfortably today!!

BOOKS FINISHED

If Trees Could Talk by Holly Worton  – 4 stars

Ahead of the blog tour next month, a fascinating and thought provoking non fiction read

Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase – 3 stars

Enjoyable dual timeline story of family and secrets

The Wedding Group by Elizabeth Taylor – 3 stars

Another enjoyable study of fascinating characters by Elizabeth Taylor

One Summer in Little Penhaven by Angela Britnell – 5 stars

Fabulous story of escaping your life and about taking a chance

BOOKHAUL

Let’s start at Netgalley…

PAN’S LABYRINTH by GUILLERMO DEL TORO/CORNELIA FUNKE

publication day – July 2019

Oscar winning writer-director Guillermo del Toro and New York Times bestselling author Cornelia Funke come together to transform del Toro’s hit movie Pan’s Labyrinth into an epic and dark fantasy novel for readers of all ages, complete with gorgeous and haunting illustrations.

This book is not for the faint of heart or weak in spirit. It’s not for skeptics who don’t believe in fairy tales and the powerful forces of good. It’s only for brave and intrepid souls like you, who will stare down evil in all its forms.

Inspired by the critically acclaimed film written and directed by Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro and reimagined by New York Times bestselling author Cornelia Funke, this haunting tale takes readers to a darkly magical and war-torn world filled with richly drawn characters like trickster fauns, murderous men, child-eating monsters, courageous rebels, and a long-lost princess hoping to be reunited with her family.

I recently placed an order over at Louise Walters Books for FALLIBLE JUSTICE but as I was the 100th order, the lovely Louise sent me all the books she’s published in a lovely parcel!! So I got this lovely lot to add to my TBR!!

FALLIBLE JUSTICE by LAURA LAAKSO – BOOK #1

In Old London, where paranormal races co-exist with ordinary humans, criminal verdicts delivered by the all-seeing Heralds of Justice are infallible. After a man is declared guilty of murder and sentenced to death, his daughter turns to private investigator Yannia Wilde to do the impossible and prove the Heralds wrong.

Yannia has escaped a restrictive life in the Wild Folk conclave where she was raised, but her origins mark her as an outsider in the city. These origins lend her the sensory abilities of all of nature. Yet Yannia is lonely, and struggling to adapt to life in the city. The case could be the break she needs. She enlists the help of her only friend, a Bird Shaman named Karrion, and together they accept the challenge of proving a guilty man innocent. 

So begins a breathless race against time and against all conceivable odds. Can Yannia and Karrion save a man who has been judged infallibly guilty?

ECHO MURDER by LAURA LAAKSO – BOOK #2

Yannia Wilde returns to the Wild Folk conclave where she grew up, and to the deathbed of her father, the conclave’s Elderman. She is soon drawn back into the Wild Folk way of life and into a turbulent relationship with Dearon, to whom she is betrothed. 

Back in London, unassuming office worker Tim Wedgebury is surprised when police appear on his doorstep with a story about how he was stabbed in the West End. His body disappeared before the paramedics’ eyes. Given that Tim is alive and well, the police chalk the first death up to a Mage prank. But when Tim “dies” a second time, Detective Inspector Jamie Manning calls Yannia and, torn between returning to the life she has built in Old London and remaining loyal to the conclave and to Dearon, she strikes a compromise with the Elderman that allows her to return temporarily to the city. 

There she sets about solving the mystery of Tim’s many deaths with the help of her apprentice, Karrion. They come to realise that with every death, more of the echo becomes reality, and Yannia and Karrion find themselves in increasing danger as they try to save Tim. Who is the echo murderer? What sinister game are they playing? And what do they truly want?

THE LAST WORDS OF MADELEINE ANDERSON by HELEN KITSON 

Once upon a time Gabrielle Price wrote and published an extraordinary novel. 

But twenty years on her literary star has dimmed, her “work of genius” is all but forgotten, and no further novels have materialized. She now lives an unremarkable life: middle-aged, living alone in the sleepy village she grew up in, and working as a housekeeper for the local vicar. Her lonely existence is dominated by memories of her best friend Madeleine, who died young, in tragic and mysterious circumstances. 

Gabrielle’s quiet world is turned upside down when she meets and befriends Simon – young, attractive, a would-be writer, and enthusiastic fan of the astonishing novel that Gabrielle published all those years ago. Charmed and flattered, she recklessly invites him into her home and her heart. But Simon is mysterious and manipulative, and it’s not long before he forces Gabrielle to confront the demons in her past. Gabrielle’s obsession begins to destroy her carefully cultivated life, and she comes to feel increasingly threatened by Simon’s presence. Who is he? Why did he seek her out? And what does he really want?

A LIFE BETWEEN US by LOUISE WALTERS

Once upon a time Gabrielle Price wrote and published an extraordinary novel. 

But twenty years on her literary star has dimmed, her “work of genius” is all but forgotten, and no further novels have materialized. She now lives an unremarkable life: middle-aged, living alone in the sleepy village she grew up in, and working as a housekeeper for the local vicar. Her lonely existence is dominated by memories of her best friend Madeleine, who died young, in tragic and mysterious circumstances. 

Gabrielle’s quiet world is turned upside down when she meets and befriends Simon – young, attractive, a would-be writer, and enthusiastic fan of the astonishing novel that Gabrielle published all those years ago. Charmed and flattered, she recklessly invites him into her home and her heart. But Simon is mysterious and manipulative, and it’s not long before he forces Gabrielle to confront the demons in her past. Gabrielle’s obsession begins to destroy her carefully cultivated life, and she comes to feel increasingly threatened by Simon’s presence. Who is he? Why did he seek her out? And what does he really want?

THE ROAD TO CALIFORNIA by LOUISE WALTERS

Proud single parent Joanna is accustomed to school phoning to tell her that her 14 year old son, Ryan, is in trouble. But when Ryan hits a girl and is excluded from school, Joanna knows she must take drastic action to help him.

Ryan’s dad, Lex, left home when Ryan was two years old. Ryan doesn’t remember him – but more than anything he wants a dad in his life. Isolated, a loner, and angry, Ryan finds solace in books and wildlife. 

Joanna, against all her instincts, invites Lex to return and help their son. But Lex is a drifter who runs from commitment, and both Joanna and Ryan find their mutual trust and love is put to the test when Lex returns, and vows to be part of the family again.

Time for some Blog Tour books…

 DEATH ON THE OCEAN by MARTHA FISCHER

A story where romance meets crime. Amanda Lipton leads a fairly uneventful life as a teacher. The most she has to worry about is staff room politics and petty quarrels among pupils and colleagues. But everything changes as she wins a million in a TV show! 

To escape the stuffy atmosphere at school, Amanda decides to change her life and take a luxury cruise, no expense spared. Expecting a life of luxury aboard the Belgravia, she is dismayed to find events rapidly spiraling out of control. Her fellow passengers are not as they seem and eventually she’s drawn to two men – but can she trust them? And… whom to choose? 

When she witnesses what looks like a cold blooded murder, Amanda realises that her own life could be in danger. 

A delightful romantic comedy with a twist of suspense and murder to it.

THE SERPENT’S MARK by S.W.PERRY

Treason sleeps for no man…

London, 1591. Nicholas Shelby, physician and reluctant spy, returns to his old haunts on London’s lawless Bankside. But, when the queen’s spymaster Robert Cecil asks him to investigate the dubious practices of a mysterious doctor from Switzerland, Nicholas is soon embroiled in a conspiracy that threatens not just the life of an innocent young patient, but the overthrow of Queen Elizabeth herself.

With fellow healer and mistress of the Jackdaw tavern, Bianca Merton, again at his side, Nicholas is drawn into a dangerous world of zealots, charlatans and fanatics. As their own lives become increasingly at risk, they find themselves confronting the greatest treason of all: the spectre of a bloody war between the faiths…

THE BEST OF CRIMES by K.C.MAHER

One afternoon in a leafy New York City suburb, Walter Mitchell walks into the local police station and turns himself in for kidnapping thirteen-year-old Amanda Jonette, his daughter’s best friend. The police chief tells him to go home – no one wants to prosecute. But Walter refuses, and is finally arrested and charged.
This is a novel about a man who is faced with temptation but does not succumb; the extraordinary relationship that develops between he and his beloved, and the bond between these two bright, lost individuals as the painful inevitability of the end draws near.
This timely and provocative book will appeal to fans of Marilynn Robinson’s Lila and Sofka Zinovieff’s Putney

Then, a chance visit to a charity shop let me find this beautiful Persephone book for £1!

THE FORTNIGHT IN SEPTEMBER by R.C.SHERIFF

The Fortnight in September embodies the kind of mundane normality the men in the dug-out longed for – domestic life at 22 Corunna Road in Dulwich, the train journey via Clapham Junction to the south coast, the two weeks living in lodgings and going to the beach every day. The family’s only regret is leaving their garden where, we can imagine, because it is September the dahlias are at their fiery best: as they flash past in the train they get a glimpse of their back garden, where ‘a shaft of sunlight fell through the side passage and lit up the clump of white asters by the apple tree.’ This was what the First World War soldiers longed for; this, he imagined, was what he was fighting for and would return to (as in fact Sherriff did).
He had had the idea for his novel at Bognor Regis: watching the crowds go by, and wondering what their lives were like at home, he ‘began to feel the itch to take one of those families at random and build up an imaginary story of their annual holiday by the sea…I wanted to write about simple, uncomplicated people doing normal things.’

The latest addition to my Alma Classics collection from the fab ALMA BOOKS

LEAVES OF GRASS by WALT WHITMAN  –

First published in 1855 and extended by the author over the course of more than three decades, Leaves of Grassembodies Walt Whitman’s lifetime ambition to create a new voice that could capture the spirit and vibrancy of the young American nation, while celebrating at the same time “Nature without check with original energy”.

Famously written in free verse and brimming with sensuous imagery and an unbridled love of nature and life in all its forms, and containing celebrated poems such as the ebullient ‘Song of Myself’ – described by Jay Parini as the greatest American poem ever written – and the elegiac ‘When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d’, Leaves of Grass is not only the finest achievement of a highly unique poet, but a founding text for American literature and modern poetry.

And last but not least was a trip to the library where this caught my eye! Might use this one in my Little & Large #20booksofsummer challenge as it’s only about 150 pages long!

THE BIRDS OF THE INNOCENT WOOD by DEIRDRE MADDEN

Sisters Sarah and Catherine each have a secret. However, as winter gives way to spring at the bleak and isolated farm where they live with their mother Jane, the burden of these secrets becomes intolerable. Deirdre Madden won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature for Hidden Symptoms.

CURRENTLY READING

HAVERSCROFT by S.A.HARRIS

NORMAL PEOPLE by SALLY ROONEY

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Phew! What a week!! I’m off to join the squirrel in having a lie down now! Enjoy the weekend!!

HAPPY READING!!

#BlogTour #BookReview Becoming Mrs Lewis by Patti Callahan @HarperInspire

Extremely delighted to be the latest stop on the wonderful Blog Tour for the equally wonderful BECOMING MRS LEWIS by PATTI CALLAHAN. My thanks to the author and publishers for letting me be part of it all and sharing my thoughts on this lovely book!

ABOUT THE BOOK

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. 

Published by Harper Inspire

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK  £7.91

hive.co.uk  £6.79

WHSmith  £6.47

AUTHOR

Author Website

MY REVIEW

A thoroughly enchanting story that I devoured in a weekend and has just made me eager to pick up everything this author has ever written, alongside reading all the work of C.S.Lewis and Joy Davidson who this novel is based around!

The story begins with Joy and her marriage to a fellow writer which brings her 2 wonderful sons, but doesn’t bring her happiness as she’s left to deal with her alcoholic husband and she ends up just feeling disiullusioned and wants more from life. During this time she began a correspondence with the writer C.S.Lewis – it starts over his thoughts on religion and she finds a freedom in their letters to write truthfully and honestly about a wide range of her thoughts and his letters bring a ray of sunshine to her life. 

When ill health strikes her, she is told she should go away to recover and she finds herself drawn to England through her friendship with C.S Lewis ‘Jack’, alongside wanting to spend more time on her writing over there. And her life in England is a revelation to her – she finds freedom and peace and living life amongst others in the writing world and it gives her more time to question her life back home.

I found this to be such a magical and touching story – we get to read snippets of the letters between Joy and Jack, as well as some of the letters she writes to her husband while she’s in England and the time apart definitely doesn’t make the heart grow fonder! I loved Joy as she had to make difficult decisions for her own sanity and well being and allowed herself to be guided by how she felt and not by duty. The time away gives her the confidence she never had before and to see her reclaim her life was inspiring.

Seeing a character like C.S.Lewis ‘behind the scenes’ and around the time that Narnia was released was fascinating to witness – the lifestyle he leads, alongside his thoughts on religion and doing the right thing, and also the company he kept with other well known writers.. oh to be a fly on the wall when he and Tolkein would meet up as they were such different characters with different ideas.

The relationship between Joy and C.S.Lewis was really heartwarming – the bond they built through their letters carried on when they finally met up and spent more time together and I think they really respected one another because they shared many philosophies and outlooks on life and were just able to be honest with one another.

A truly delightful book!!

★★★★★

#CoverReveal A CORNISH AFFAIR by JO LAMBERT @ChocLituk

cover reveal

A CORNISH AFFAIR by JO LAMBERT

I hope you’re all ready for me to share yet another dreamy cover from the team at Choc Lit – and this one is definitely going to get you in the mood for Summer!!

Here’s a little  bit more about the book to get you in the mood!

Even in your hometown, you can feel like an outsider …

In the close-knit community of Carrenporth in Cornwall everyone knows everyone else’s business. Luke Carrack is only too aware of this. He’s been away for two years but nothing has changed – from the town gossips who can’t see past the scandal of his childhood, to the cold way he is treated by some of his so-called family.

The only person who seems to understand is local hotelier’s daughter Cat Trevelyan, although even Luke’s new friendship with her could set tongues wagging.

But Carrenporth is about to experience far bigger scandals than the return of Luke Carrack – and the secrets unearthed in the process will shake the sleepy seaside town to its core …

A Cornish Affair is published on 18th June by Ruby Fiction and will be available to purchase as an eBook on all platforms, as well as in audio.

ARE WE READY?!

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Oh to paddle in that water!! Looks a stunner eh?! Hope you’re excited to read this one – I know I am!! Get the 18th of June marked in your diary now!

HAPPY READING!!

#BlogTour Take Me To The Edge by Katya Boirand #BookReview #Poetry #TakeMeToTheEdge #RandomThingsTours @Katyahazel @unbounders

A delight to be the latest stop on the Blog Tour for TAKE ME TO THE EDGE by KATYA BOIRAND today.  My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for putting everything together and letting me be part of it all!

ABOUT THE BOOK

 A beautifully presented collection of poems accompanied by striking photographs of the people who inspired them 

 FIVE WORDS IS ALL IT TAKES TO PROVOKE A CHAIN OF CREATION.

 That is what Katya Boirand discovered the first time she asked a friend for five words and then turned them into a poem, using the words and the subject as her inspiration. This spark started a movement, and soon Katya was asking friends and strangers alike for their five words of choice. Take Me to the Edge is a selection of these poems, sitting alongside a portrait of each subject, in this stunning and joyous celebration of language, connection and art.

Published by UNBOUND

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK £20.00

hive.co.uk £13.89

waterstones  £20.00

MY REVIEW

Sometimes you can make the biggest impact by using the fewest words and that is how I often felt whilst reading this stunning poetry and photography collection from Katya Boirand.  It’s amazing to me how just a few words can convey such a powerful message or idea and with this collection of poems, created from random words, does that with bells on! I loved it!!  

I think it’s the simplicity of the concept that intrigued me the most about wanting to pick this up – the fact that different people around the world were asked to choose some random words for her to use in each poem – and alongside some beautifully shot photographs of those people, these poems have been excellently portrayed and put together and I’ve gone back to read them over and over!

The images are stunning throughout and just add that extra dimension to the words on each page, and I also loved the little potted bios of those photographed and the 5 words that inspired each poem as it helped give each more meaning.   It perfectly demonstrated how different words from different worlds show us all how connected we all are and can be and it’s a collection I highly recommend getting hold of!

★★★★★