Hello all! Happy Saturday!! Been enjoying some Spring sunshine this week, and been butterfly spotting! I love this time of year! Everything is peak green and frothy in the wild and it makes me very happy…. and a little sneezy!!
Book wise it’s not been too bad with 3 books finished – all 5 star reads too! There may have been a couple of additions to my Netgalley shelf too along with some lovely book post!
THE WOMEN WHO SAVED THE ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE by MATTHEW KELLY
publication date – May 31st 2022
A vibrant history of English landscape preservation over the last 150 years, told through the lives of four remarkable women
In Britain today, a mosaic of regulations protects the natural environment and guarantees public access to green spaces. But this was not always so. Over the last 150 years, activists have campaigned tirelessly for the right to roam through the countryside and the vital importance of preserving Britain’s natural beauty.
Matthew Kelly traces the history of landscape preservation through the lives of four remarkable women: Octavia Hill, Beatrix Potter, Pauline Dower, and Sylvia Sayer. From the commons of London to the Lake District, Northumberland, and Dartmoor, these women protected the English landscape at a crucial period through a mixture of environmental activism, networking, and sheer determination.
They grappled with the challenges that urbanization and industrial modernity posed to human well-being as well as the natural environment. By tirelessly seeking to reconcile the needs of particular places to the broader public interest they helped re-imagine the purpose of the English countryside for the democratic age.
CAGED LITTLE BIRDS by LUCY BANKS
publication date – September 2022
The public think Ava’s a monster. Ava thinks she’s blameless.
In prison, they called her Butcher Bird – but Ava’s not in prison any more. Released after 25 years to a new identity and a new home, Ava finally has the quiet life she’s always wanted.
But someone knows who she is. The lies she’s told are about to unravel.
And I was very thankful to receive this book from Gallic Press for review….
THE MARTINS by DAVID FOENKINOS
publication date – June 2022
‘Go out into the street and the first person you see will be the subject of your next book.’
This is the challenge a struggling Parisian writer sets himself, imagining his next heroine might be the mysterious young woman who often stands smoking near his apartment … instead it’s octogenarian Madeleine. She’s happy to become the subject of his book – but first she needs to put away her shopping.
Is it really true, the writer wonders, that every life is the stuff of novels, or is his story doomed to be hopelessly banal? As he gets to know Madeleine and her family, he’ll be privy to their secrets: lost loves, marital problems and workplace worries. And he’ll soon realise he is not the impartial bystander he intended to be, but a catalyst for major changes in the lives of his characters.
Told with Foenkinos’s characteristic irony and self-deprecating humour, yet filled with warmth, The Martins is a compelling tale of the family next door which raises questions about what it means to be ‘ordinary’, and about the blurred lines between truth and fiction.
Hello! Happy Saturday! What a week it has been! I turned 50 (aarrgghhh!) at the start of the week so it’s been nice doing stuff with family and it now means there may be book tokens to be spent!! So watch out for a book haul post coming up fairly soon…. when I can decide which new books I need to be purchasing!
So it’s been a very slow reading week for me with just 1 book finished LOL!! But there have been 2 Netgalley additions along with some wonderful BookPost additions to my world!
Let’s get the Netgalley additions out of the way first…
THE IT GIRL by RUTH WARE
publication date – August 2022
The #1 New York Times bestselling author of One by One returns with an unputdownable mystery following a woman on the search for answers a decade after her friend’s murder.
April Coutts-Cliveden was the first person Hannah Jones met at Oxford.
Vivacious, bright, occasionally vicious, and the ultimate It girl, she quickly pulled Hannah into her dazzling orbit. Together, they developed a group of devoted and inseparable friends—Will, Hugh, Ryan, and Emily—during their first term. By the end of the second, April was dead.
Now, a decade later, Hannah and Will are expecting their first child, and the man convicted of killing April, former Oxford porter John Neville, has died in prison. Relieved to have finally put the past behind her, Hannah’s world is rocked when a young journalist comes knocking and presents new evidence that Neville may have been innocent. As Hannah reconnects with old friends and delves deeper into the mystery of April’s death, she realizes that the friends she thought she knew all have something to hide…including a murder.
THE HIDEAWAY by NORMA CURTIS
publication – June 2022
Thea looked at the small suitcase on the kitchen table. The tan leather was scuffed, with the soft gleam of age. She ran her hands over the smooth, cool lid. The thunk of the lock sounded very loud in the stillness of the cottage and she froze, her eyes on her grandmother’s bedroom door. Hearing nothing, she took a big breath and peered inside…
Hedi Fischer, aged ninety, smooths her hair and applies a touch of red lipstick from the tube. Over her pristine wool skirt suit she has knotted a men’s tartan bathrobe, wrinkled and frayed with age. Hedi hasn’t taken it off since Harry passed. Since the day she gave away everything but her battered leather suitcase and decided that she too was ready to die.
Thea has never met her grandmother Hedi, so she’s surprised when she receives a call from social services to take the frail old woman home. She’s not sure how Hedi will fit into her new life – the one where she’s left her boyfriend and moved into a run-down cottage miles from the nearest town. And Hedi refuses to talk about her past, or why she and Thea’s mother haven’t spoken for more than thirty years. So when Thea spots Hedi’s old suitcase on the table, she can’t resist taking a peak inside.
What Thea finds there is more heartbreaking than she could have ever imagined. It is a story that begins in World War Two, when young Hedi arrives by train at a Nazi concentration camp, from which she has no hope of escaping alive…
ITHACA by CLAIRE NORTH
publication date – September 2022
Extremely excited with this bookpost from Little Brown Book Group, as it came with a cross stitch kit!! My 2 favourite things collide!! So I’m excited to stitch the cover, as well as read the book!
‘The greatest power we woman can own, is that we take in secret . . . ‘
Seventeen years ago, king Odysseus sailed to war with Troy, taking with him every man of fighting age from the island of Ithaca. None of them have returned, and the women have been left behind to run the kingdom.
Penelope was barely into womanhood when she wed Odysseus. Whilst he lived, her position was secure. But now, years on, speculation is mounting that husband is dead, and suitors are starting to knock at her door . . .
But no one man is strong enough to claim Odysseus’ empty throne – not yet. Between Penelope’s many suitors, a cold war of dubious alliances and hidden knives reigns, as everyone waits for the balance of power to tip one way or another. If Penelope chooses one from amongst them, it will plunge Ithaca into bloody civil war. Only through cunning and her spy network of maids can she maintain the delicate balance of power needed for the kingdom to survive.
On Ithaca, everyone watches everyone else, and there is no corner of the palace where intrigue does not reign . . .
HOPE FOR THE RAILWAY GIRLS by MAISIE THOMAS
signed copy from the author for review
A new year brings new hope for the railway girls.
Alison‘s romance with the charming Dr Maitland is blossoming, but then she is posted away from Manchester. Working in a canteen isn’t part of her plan, nor is meeting her beau’s old girlfriend. One who just happens to want him back.
Margaret is supportive of her friend’s new relationship until she realises exactly who he is. Torn between keeping her secret and warning Alison, she turns to Joan for help.
Working in Lost Property wouldn’t be Joan‘s first choice of job, but with a baby on the way she knows she can’t continue being a station porter. She’s also eligible to be evacuated but could she leave Bob – and Gran – behind?
Being a railway girl isn’t always easy but together they can overcome every challenge that stands in their way.
And then I received these 3 proofs from Harper Fiction for helping them via The Readers Room
TWELVE MONTHS AND A DAY by LOUISA YOUNG
publication date – June 2022
Rasmus and Jay, Róisín and Nico – two beautiful, ordinary love stories, cut short by death. Jay and Nico don’t even believe in ghosts, yet they seem to be… still here. Still in love with Rasmus and Roísín. And maddeningly powerless.
Both are incapable of leaving the living alone: Jay plays matchmaker, convinced that Rasmus and Róisín can heal each other; Nico, plagued by jealousy, doesn’t agree.
Rasmus and Róisín are just trying to navigate their newly widowed lives.
But all four of them are thinking the same thing: what is love, after death? What is it for? And what are we to do with it?
Moving and thought-provoking, playful and bittersweet, this is a Truly, Madly, Deeply for our times, showcasing one of Britain’s finest contemporary writers at her very best.
DARK OBJECTS by SIMON TOYNE
publication date – July 2022
Forensics expert Laughton Rees tracks an unusually clever killer while trying to overcome her own dark family history in this twisty new psychological thriller by the bestselling author of the Sanctus trilogy.
When she was fifteen years old, Laughton Rees witnessed the brutal murder of her mother by a masked killer—and barely escape with her own life. In the aftermath, she cut off all contact with her father, a police commissioner at the time, whom she blamed for failing to prevent the murder, and locked her past away for good… or so she thought.
Now a successful forensics professor, Laughton’s focused on her daughter and her work—but the past isn’t done with her. When Laughton’s book about criminal investigation is found at the scene of a violent murder, the Met police officer in charge of the case asks for her help. The crime scene has some disturbingly personal elements for Laughton, and she can’t shake the feeling that someone is sending her a message. After all these years, has the monster who murdered her mother come back for her?
Laughton is no longer the terrified teenager who fled the masked killer back then, but she’ll have to face her history head on—including the father she hasn’t spoken to in years—in order to take down the psychopath from her nightmares… and keep him from destroying her family once again.
THE FINAL STRIFE by SAARA EL-ARIFI
publication date – June 2022
In the first book of a visionary African and Arabian-inspired fantasy trilogy, three women band together against a cruel Empire that divides people by blood.
Red is the blood of the elite, of magic, of control.
Blue is the blood of the poor, of workers, of the resistance.
Clear is the blood of the servants, of the crushed, of the invisible.
Sylah dreams of days growing up in the resistance, being told she would spark a revolution that would free the Empire from the red-blooded ruling classes’ tyranny. That spark was extinguished the day she watched her family murdered before her eyes.
Anoor has been told she’s nothing, no one, a disappointment by the only person who matters: her mother, the most powerful ruler in the Empire. But dust always rises in a storm.
Hassa moves through the world unseen by upper classes, so she knows what it means to be invisible. But invisibility has its uses: It can hide the most dangerous of secrets, secrets that can reignite a revolution.
As the Empire begins a set of trials of combat and skill designed to find its new leaders, the stage is set for blood to flow, power to shift, and cities to burn.
Hello and Happy Saturday! A rather stressful, noisy and chaotic week here as we’re having our bathroom redone and it’s causing mess everywhere!! Will be very glad when it’s all done!! But at least the weather has been nice so it’s been fun to spend more time in the garden – and shed! – to escape the madness and I just love Tulip time!
On the book front I’ve managed to finish 5 books and avoided any temptation of the netgalley or new book variety!! I’m as shocked as you!!
Hello! Happy Saturday! We meet again… these weekends are coming round quicker and quicker each week! And disappearing equally as fast!!
Book wise it’s been an OK week! Gardening has taken over my focus so books have taken a bit of a back seat, but still managed to finish 3 books. And being otherwise occupied has kept me away from Netgalley so that’s always good! Just 1 book in post wise for review!
The lovely people at Filbert Press have kindly sent me this to review…
THE CREVICE GARDEN by PAUL SPRIGGS/KENTON SETH
published by Filbert Press
publication date – April 21st 2022
A crevice garden replicates the environmental conditions of mountain tops, deserts, coastlines, and other exposed or rocky places on earth. These striking garden features provide perfect conditions for the plants native to these far-off places, bringing the cultivation of these precious gems within everybody’s reach.
In this book, enthusiastic experts Kenton Seth and Paul Spriggs bring us in-depth guidance on the design, construction, and planting of crevice gardens of all kinds including those suitable for containers, small gardens, and public parks and in styles that encompass both naturalistic scenes and non-traditional installations.
A wealth of international case studies demonstrate how crevice gardens provide multiple micro-habitats that are exceptionally well-suited to plants that struggle in normal garden conditions.
Further examples reveal their value in the ecological re-use of waste materials such as concrete, wildlife habitat creation, and for making permeable, plant-friendly alternatives to retaining walls.
An illustrated A-Z recommending 250 irresistible plants completes this comprehensive book which heralds a bold new chapter in the history of crevice garden making.
Hello! And Hello to another month! Scary!! Especially with a big birthday on the way for me this month…. yep, 21 again!! Honest! 😉
On to books, a much less scary subject! Another 3 books fiinished this week – thanks to the lovely weather last weekend! – so happy with that! There may have also been a visit to Netgalley and some book shopping going on!! I tried to resist, but failed!
A tale as old as time. A spirit that has never rested.
As a love affair comes to an end, and with it her dreams for her future, artist Selena needs a retreat. The picture-postcard Sloe Cottage in the Somerset village of Ashcombe promises to be the perfect place to forget her problems, and Selena settles into her new home as spring arrives. But it isn’t long before Selena hears the past whispering to her. Sloe Cottage is keeping secrets which refuse to stay hidden.
Grace Cotter longs for nothing more than a husband and family of her own. Content enough with her work on the farm, looking after her father, and learning the secrets of her grandmother Bett’s healing hands, nevertheless Grace still hopes for love. But these are dangerous times for dreamers, and rumours and gossip can be deadly. One mis-move and Grace’s fate looks set…
Separated by three hundred years, two women are drawn together by a home bathed in blood and magic. Grace Cotter’s spirit needs to rest, and only Selena can help her now.
And from the wonderful team at Gallic Press, I received a copy to review…
THE SWIMMERS by CHLOE LANE
publication date – May 2022
A sharp, quirky story of love and loss from a bold New Zealand talent.
When an affair ends badly and her career in the arts implodes, 26-year-old Erin returns to lie low at the family farm with her chronically ill mother, and her aunt-turned-carer. She learns shortly before her arrival that her mother has decided to take matters into her own hands and end her life – the following Tuesday.
Erin finds herself navigating an eccentric neighbourhood and her complicated family, as she prepares for the loss of a fiery, independent woman.
A former competitive swimmer like her mother and aunt, Erin must find the strength to honour her mother’s final wishes and to reconcile their difficult relationship in the days they have left.
And from Renard Press, as part of my yearly subscription I received this..
THE BUSY-BODY by SUSANNA CENTLIVRE
The Busybody is the most popular comedy by the eighteenth-century playwright Susanna Centlivre. The play centres on two couples trying to form a relationship against the wills of their guardians, and in a battle of wits, playing with many conventions from theatre traditions across the continent, a conclusion is eventually reached.
Like her predecessor Aphra Behn, Centlivre was immensely successful in her day, drawing huge crowds to extended runs of her numerous plays, but the stabbing male pens of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries decried her work as being louche and dangerous, and her name slowly sunk into obscurity. This edition, published with William Hazlitt’s prefatory note and extra material on Centlivre’s life and writing, seeks to highlight the dexterity with which she took on the stage.
And the March Goldsboro Book Subscription copy is..
THE CARTOGRAPHERS by PENG SHEPHERD
There are some maps you can lose yourself in… Nell Young has lived her life in and around maps. Her father, Dr. David Young, was one of the most respected cartographers in the world. But this morning he was found dead – or murdered? – in his office at the New York Public Library.
Nell hadn’t spoken to her father in years, ever since he fired her after an argument over a seemingly worthless highway roadside map. A map which was mass-produced – and every copy of which is now being found and destroyed. But why?
To answer that question, Nell will embark on a dangerous journey into the heart of a conspiracy beyond belief, the secrets behind her family, and the true power that lies in maps . . .
THE CARTOGRAPHERS is a story about Art and Science: where they meet, how they both enrich our lives, and how each defines the other. And it’s a book about the mystery, history, and ineffable romance of maps.
And just one more purchase, this time from Salt…
NATURAL HISTORIES by EMILY HASLER
Nature is not so much the subject as an unavoidable force in these poems, providing space and fodder for meditations on our knowledge of self and other. Here, the small histories that complement or contradict grand narratives come to the fore. Hasler adopts the stance of the naturalist, seeking to observe and collect, but with the imagination working alongside the eye. Along the way these poems confront questions of naming and categorising, and ask how our environments and our past affect us, and we them. How did we become? Change and adaptation is the key here. The manner of investigation never shies away from the fact that nature can be both deeply personal and unfamiliar. Rather it embraces both of these aspects and uses them to construct its own narrative, one of shaping and discovery. Much like the subjects contained within them, poems have their own organic forms, adapted to purpose. It is this adaptation combined with precision and sentiment that give this debut force and vitality.
Hello and Happy Saturday!! Weather has been absolutely glorious here this week and the butterflies are already out in force making me very happy!! I do love chasing them around to get a photo!
And on to another happy – books! I’ve actually been much slower reading recently and I’m not sure what it is! The TBR mountain hasn’t disappeared, but I’m just not picking up and racing through the books like I have done! Hopefully things will pick up after my brain has been given a little break! But I still managed to finish 2 books this week and there may have been some purchasing going on too! Oops!!
none (yep, zero!) visits to Netgalley this week so no newbies!! BUT…
I received a copy of this from Tinder Press for review.
THE WILDERNESS by SARAH DUGUID
publication date – 21st July 2022
Once it was a family home. Now they are all at sea…
When Anna and David receive a phone call late one evening, their lives are upturned. Within minutes, they are travelling to the west coast of Scotland, preparing to care for two young sisters, tragically and suddenly orphaned.
It’s a beautiful place, the heather is in bloom, the birds wheel above the waves, the deer graze peacefully in the distance. But the large granite house is no longer a home for the girls, and Anna knows she can never take the place of their mother. Then David invites his friend to stay, to ‘ease them through’ and Anna finds herself increasingly isolated, with everything she – and the girls – once knew of life discarded and overruled by a man of whom she is deeply suspicious.
And then I had a little shopping spree over at SALT PUBLISHING because, why not!!
THE RETREAT by ALISON MOORE
Since childhood, Sandra Peters has been fascinated by the small, private island of Lieloh, home to the reclusive silent-film star Valerie Swanson. Having dreamed of going to art college, Sandra is now in her forties and working as a receptionist, but she still harbours artistic ambitions. When she sees an advert for a two-week artists’ retreat on Lieloh, Sandra sets out on what might be a life-changing journey.
WHITE SPINES by NICHOLAS ROYLE
White Lines is about Nicholas Royle’s passion for Picador’s fiction publishing from the 1970s to the end of the 1990s. It explores the bookshops and charity shops, the books themselves and the way a unique collection grew and became a literary obsession.
’ELEPHANT by PAUL PICKERING
In a country house in England a precocious teenage exile from revolutionary Russia sets down his adventures on paper, beginning with his first ball in St Petersburg and how he frees a huge African elephant from a cruel circus. But a hundred years later an American academic feels the boy may have invented the elephant as the only kind and uplifting being in dark times.
Hello! The sunshine has returned and the butterflies are returning!! This lovely Comma was in my garden this week doing some sunbathing…. hopefully I’ll be joining him soon!!
On to books! Another ok week on the book front! I seem to have slowed down speed wise as gardening is distracting me, but hopefully I can pick up the pace again soon! I did avoid NetGalley though and just made one book purchase!
I treated myself to this beauty from Red Dog Press!
THE STONEBRIDGE MYSTERIES 1-6 by CHRIS MCDONALD
ABOUT THE SERIES:
Stonebridge is a small town on the north coast of Northern Ireland. Most of its inhabitants are friendly, happy people. Most of them... Because bad things happen even in the happiest of places. It’s a good thing, then, that Adam Whyte and Colin McLaughlin call Stonebridge home. Armed with an encyclopedic knowledge of detective shows, a misplaced sense of confidence and a keen desire to see justice done, these two are the closest thing the town has to saviours. Which isn’t that reassuring... Get your hands on this signed bookplated compilation of the first six books in the series.
The Curious Dispatch of Daniel Costello
Dead in the Water
Meat is Murder
The Case of the Missing Firefly
Mistletoe and Crime
All at Sea
Hello and Happy Saturday! Another week to avoid the news and send your thoughts and prayers to all the innocent people whose lives are being destroyed…. I keep hoping that sanity will break out and things will change…
On to books…. a fairly quiet week for me reading wise. I keep finding myself doing other stuff when I should be reading but still managed to read 3 books this week. There may have been 2 new additions to the netgalley shelf as well!
One woman. One island. A bookshop in need of revival…
Jenny has never been a risk taker. But when her best friend takes off on an American road trip, Jenny finds herself saying yes to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of her own and accepts the role of a bookseller in the Maldives.
The island of Bounty Cove Cay is everything she’d hoped for: white sandy beaches, glistening turquoise waters and palm trees bursting with coconuts. But it’s not all plain sailing…
The resort bookshop is far from thriving and, in an unexpected twist, management are threatening closure.
Can Jenny throw her rulebook to the wind and turn things around before it’s too late? And might she find her own happy ending along the way?
DUCKLING by EVE AINSWORTH
publication date – 1st April 2022
What if your neighbour asked you to watch her seven-year-old daughter for an afternoon, and didn’t come back?
Lucy’s life is small, but safe. Every day she goes to work, checks in on her unstable, alcoholic father, then spends her evenings watching old Columbo reruns, isolating herself away from the rest of the community on her South London estate.
Her routine is all that she can handle, given what happened in her past.
So when her new neighbour Cassie asks Lucy if she could look after her seven-year-old daughter Rubi, she is reluctant to agree.
Then when the hours pass, and then days, and Rubi’s Mum doesn’t come back, Lucy’s worst-case-scenario is now her reality. Lucy is not only responsible for herself anymore. She is responsible for a scared little girl who needs her help.
Something has happened to Cassie, and Lucy must find her before it’s too late.
Dinner at an Inn of Court takes an unusual turn when a corpse falls onto the Benchers’ Table. A battleaxe and a rubber glove are found at the scene. A trophy has been stolen. But who could have wanted the Porter dead – and why?
Aspiring barristers Tom and Becca set out to investigate. But another murder isn’t far away…
Rob Keeley is an established award-winning author of children’s novels, short stories and picture books, including the Spirits series. Other credits include the award-listed stage play Mr. Everyone, and Chain Gang and Newsjack for BBC Radio. Death At Friar’s Inn is his first novel for adults and draws on his own experiences training as a barrister.And a book purchase from Waterstones with a voucher that was burning a hole in my purse!…
THE MOUNTAINS SING by NGUYEN PHAN QUE MAI
With the epic sweep of Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko or Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing and the lyrical beauty of Vaddey Ratner’s In the Shadow of the Banyan, The Mountains Sing tells an enveloping, multigenerational tale of the Tran family, set against the backdrop of the Viet Nam War. Tran Dieu Lan, who was born in 1920, was forced to flee her family farm with her six children during the Land Reform as the Communist government rose in the North. Years later in Hà Noi, her young granddaughter, Hương, comes of age as her parents and uncles head off down the Ho Chí Minh Trail to fight in a conflict that will tear not just her beloved country but her family apart.
Vivid, gripping, and steeped in the language and traditions of Viet Nam, The Mountains Sing brings to life the human costs of this conflict from the point of view of the Vietnamese people themselves, while showing us the true power of kindness and hope. This is celebrated Vietnamese poet Nguyen Phan Que Mai’s first novel in English.