My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 11th July 2020

Hello! Happy Saturday!! May your week have been blessed with bookish goodness! And, if not, I hope the week ahead brings you better things!!

My reading pace has slowed down so I’m putting that down to the change in the weather! I just prefer reading when it’s warmer and sunnier it seems lol!! Just 2 books finished this week but I didn’t buy any newbies – despite having the urge the other day! I resisted! But I did visit Netgalley instead and added 3 to the shelves there – oops!! My bad!!

Here’s my look back!

BOOKS FINISHED

HAPPY DAYS OF THE GRUMP by TUOMAS KYRO – 3 STARS

LILY’S SECRET by KIRSTY FERRY – 5 STARS

BOOKHAUL

Netgalley got me again…

EARTHLINGS by SAYAKA MURATA

publication date – 1st October 2020

Natsuki isn’t like the other girls. She has a wand and a transformation mirror. She might be a witch, or an alien from another planet. Together with her cousin Yuu, Natsuki spends her summers in the wild mountains of Nagano, dreaming of other worlds. When a terrible sequence of events threatens to part the two children forever, they make a promise: survive, no matter what. Now Natsuki is grown. She lives a quiet life with her asexual husband, surviving as best she can by pretending to be normal. But the demands of Natsuki’s family are increasing, her friends wonder why she’s still not pregnant, and dark shadows from Natsuki’s childhood are pursuing her. Fleeing the suburbs for the mountains of her childhood, Natsuki prepares herself with a reunion with Yuu. Will he still remember their promise? And will he help her keep it?

THE HONEY AND THE STING by E.C FREMANTLE

publication date – 6th August 2020

Three sisters.
Three secrets.
Three ways to fall . . .

England, 1628.

Forcibly seduced by the powerful George Villiers, doctor’s daughter Hester is cast aside to raise her son alone and in secret. She hopes never to see Villiers again.

Melis’s visions cause disquiet and talk. She sees what other’s can’t – and what has yet to be. She’d be denounced as a witch if Hester wasn’t so carefully protective.

Young Hope’s beauty marks her out, drawing unwelcome attention to the family. Yet she cannot always resist others’ advances. And her sisters cannot always be on their guard.

When Villiers decides to claim his son against Hester’s wishes, the sisters find themselves almost friendless and at his mercy. But the women hold a grave secret. The question is, will what they know be their undoing or their salvation?

Because in the right hands, a secret is the deadliest weapon of all… 

THE PROMISE by XINRAN XUE

At the start of the twentieth century in China, the Hans were married in an elaborate ceremony before they were even born. While their future was arranged by their families, this couple had much to be grateful for. Not only did they come from similar backgrounds – and as such were recognized as a good match – they also had a shared passion in their deep love of ancient Chinese poetry. They went on to have nine children and chose colours portrayed in some of their favourite poems as nicknames for them – Red, Cyan, Orange, Yellow, Green, Ginger, Violet, Blue and Rainbow. Fate, and the sweep of twentieth century history would later divide these children into three groups: three went to America or Hong Kong to protect the family line from the communists; three were married to revolutionaries having come of age as China turned red; while three suffered tragic early deaths.

With her trademark wisdom and warmth, Xinran describes the lives and loves of this extraordinary family over four generations. What emerges is not only a moving, beautifully-written and engaging story of four people and their lives, but a crucial portrait of social change in China. Xinran begins with the magic and tragedy of one young couples wedding night in 1950, and goes on to tell personal experiences of loss, grief and hardship through China’s extraordinary century. In doing so she tells a bigger story – how traditional Chinese values have been slowly eroded by the tide of modernity and how their outlooks on love, and the choices they’ve made in life, have been all been affected by the great upheavals of Chinese history.

A spell-binding and magical narrative, this is the story of modern China through the people who lived through it, and the story of their love and loss.

CURRENTLY READING

THE WAY OF THE HARE by MARIANNE TAYLOR

THE LIAR’S DICTIONARY by ELEY WILLIAMS

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My July TBR #bookblogger

Christmas gets ever nearer!!!!! 🤣  Let’s hope the world is a happier, freer place by then anyway!!

But it’s July, so that means another set of books need to be sorted out for my reading pleasure!  And the month ahead for me brings a few more Blog Tours, yet more Netgalley releases and a couple of new releases I’m eager to get to!! Let’s hope I can squeeze them all in!!

CLOUDS OF LOVE AND WAR by RACHEL BILLINGTON – Blog Tour

publication date – 12th July 2020

Occasionally panoramic, more often intimate, in Clouds of Love and War author Rachel Billington balances a detailed and highly researched picture of the life of a Second World War Spitfire pilot with the travails and ambitions of a young woman too often on her own. The result is both a gripping story of war and a sensitive story of love, a love that struggles to survive. Eddie and Eva meet on the eve of the Second World War. Eddie only wants to be a flyer, to find escape in the clouds from his own complicated family. However, the Battle of Britain makes a pilot’s life a dangerous way to flee reality. Eva has her own passionate longing: to become a painter. When Eva’s Jewish mother disappears to Germany, she is left alone with her elderly father. Both Eddie and Eva come of age at a time that teaches them that happiness is always fleeting, but there are things worth living or dying for. Through the connecting stories of these young people and their wider families, and against a background of southern county airfields, London, Oxford, Dorset and France, Rachel Billington brings the world of war time England, now eighty years in the past, back to life.

MISS GRAHAM’S COLD WAR COOKBOOK by CELIA REES – Blog Tour

A striking historical novel about an ordinary young British woman sent to uncover a network of spies and war criminals in post-war Germany that will appeal to fans of The Huntress and Transcription.

World War II has just ended, and Britain has established the Control Commission for Germany, which oversees their zone of occupation. The Control Commission hires British civilians to work in Germany, rebuild the shattered nation and prosecute war crimes. Somewhat aimless, bored with her job as a provincial schoolteacher, and unwilling to live with her stuffy genteel parents any longer, twentysomething Edith Graham applies for a job with the Commission—but is instead recruited by the OSS. To them, Edith is perfect spy material…single, ordinary-looking, with a college degree in German. And there’s another thing—the OSS knows that Edith’s brother went to Oxford with one of their most hunted war criminals, Count Kurt von Stabenow, who Edith remembers all too well from before the war.

Intrigued by the challenge, Edith heads to Germany armed with a convincing cover story: she’s an unassuming schoolteacher sent to help resurrect German primary schools. To send information back to her OSS handlers in London, Edith has crafted the perfect alter ego, cookbook author Stella Snelling, who writes a popular magazine cookery column that embeds crucial intelligence within the recipes she collects. But occupied Germany is awash with other spies, collaborators, and opportunists, and as she’s pulled into their world, Edith soon discovers that no one is what they seem to be. The closer she gets to uncovering von Stabenow’s whereabouts—and the network of German civilians who still support him—the greater the danger. 

With a unique, compelling premise, Miss Graham’s Cold War Cookbook is a beautifully crafted and gripping novel about daring, betrayal, and female friendship.

LILY’S SECRET by KIRSTY FERRY

publication date – 7th July

‘There’s nothing logical about Pencradoc!’
Aspiring actress Cordelia Beaumont is fed up of spending summer in the city. So, when the opportunity presents itself, she jumps straight on a train to pay a visit to Pencradoc – the beautiful Cornish estate where her friend Merryn works. 
But far from the relaxing break Cordy imagined, she soon finds herself immersed in the glamorous yet mysterious world of Victorian theatre sensation, Lily Valentine. Lily was once a guest at Pencradoc and, with the help of visiting artist Matt Harker, Cordy comes to discover that the actress left far more than memories at the old house. She also left a scandalous secret … 

THE SHADOW FRIEND by ALEX NORTH

publication date – 9th July 2020

If it had happened to you, you would have run away too.

Twenty-five years ago, Paul’s friend Charlie Crabtree brutally killed their classmate – and then vanished without a trace.

Paul’s never forgiven himself for his part in what happened. He’s never gone back home.

Until his elderly mother has a fall. It’s finally time to stop running.

It’s not long before things start to go wrong. His mother claims there’s someone in the house. Paul realises someone is following him. And, in a town many miles away, a copycat killer has struck.

Which makes him wonder – what really happened to Charlie the day of the murder?

And can anyone stop it happening again?

FEATHERTIDE by BETH CARTWRIGHT

publication date – 30th July 2020

A girl.

A secret.

A life-changing journey.


Born covered in the feathers of a bird, and kept hidden in a crumbling house full of secrets, Marea has always known she was different, but never known why. And so to find answers, she goes in search of the father she has never met.

The hunt leads her to the City of Murmurs, a place of mermaids and mystery, where jars of swirling mist are carried through the streets by the broken-hearted.

And Marea will never forget what she learns there

Feathertide is an enchanting, magical novel perfect for fans of Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus and Katherine Arden’s The Bear and the Nightingale.

IN THE TIME OF FOXES by JO LENNAN

publication date – 23rd July 2020

‘A fox could be a shape-shifter, a spirit being. It could appear in human form if this suited its purposes; it could come and go as it pleased, play tricks, lead men astray.’

A film director in Hackney with a fox problem in her garden; an escapee from a cult in Japan; a Sydney café-owner rekindling an old flame; an English tutor who gets too close to an oligarch; a journalist on Mars, face-to-face with his fate.

The world has taught these men and women to live off their wits. They know how to play smart, but what happens when they need to be wise?

In the Time of Foxes is both compellingly readable and deeply insightful about the times in which we live, each narrative a compressed novel. With an exhilarating span of people and places, woven together by the most mercurial of animals, it shows the short story collection at its most entertaining and rewarding, and introduces Jo Lennan as a captivating new storyteller.

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Just a few to keep me going! And I’m sure there’ll be more to catch my eye along the way! What are you hoping to read this month?!

HAPPY READING!!

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 27th June 2020

Hello! Happy Saturday!! I’m just hoping it’s not as hot today as I’ve been wilting these past few days in the heat! I know I shouldn’t complain, but I’m English and I will haha!!

On the reading front this past week it’s been a quiet affair! Only 2 books finished, just 1 received in the post, and 0 from Netgalley!  This will change next week I’m sure!!

Here’s my (quick!) look back!

BOOKS FINISHED

A SUMMER OF DROWNING by JOHN BURNSIDE – 4 STARS

WALLY FUNK’S RACE FOR SPACE by SUE NELSON – 4 STARS

BOOKPOST

A STRANGE COUNTRY by MURIEL BARBERY

copy received from Gallic Press

publication date – 16th July 2020

Alejandro de Yepes and Jesús Rocamora, young officers in the Spanish regular army, are stationed alone at Castillo when a friendly redhead named Petrus appears out of nowhere. There is something magnetic and deeply mysterious about him. Alejandro and Jesús are bewitched, and, in the middle of the sixth year of the longest war humankind has ever endured, they abandon their post to follow him across a bridge that only he can see.

Petrus brings them to a world of lingering fog, strange beings, poetry, music, natural wonders, harmony and extraordinary beauty. This is where the fate of the world and all its living creatures is decided. Yet this world too is under threat. A long battle against the forces of disenchantment is drawing to a climactic close. Will poetry and beauty prevail over darkness and death? And what role will Alejandro and Jesús play?

Muriel Barbery’s richly imagined new novel, the sequel to The Life of Elves, will transport readers to a lost world exposed to the constant churn of civilisations and remind them of the power of poetry and imagination.

CURRENTLY READING

OLD & UGLY by C.L. MOIR

In the 1973, teenagers Ange and Elizabeth are persuaded to enter the Miss Sladport-on-Sea Beauty Pageant by local entrepreneur, Spencer. When Ange is crowned the most beautiful woman in Sladport, Spencer promises her a life of fame and fortune – which he delivers. Within months, Ange is crowned The Most Beautiful Woman in the World.

Forty years later, Ange is unexpectedly invited to a reunion of old friends: Elizabeth – now married to Spencer – and the three school friends who stormed the pageant, throwing flour bombs and insults in protest at its objectification of women.

Old and Ugly is the story of that re-union – and the story of Ange’s life.

Hilarious and laughable, conceited and fearful,  feisty  and (some might say) a fool for the admiration of men, Ange must finally confront the truth about her fantastical life of glamour and good fortune to be freed from its secrets – and freed from the man who made her, then broke her.

Irreverent and moving, disturbing and joyful, you’ve probably never read anything quite like it…

HAPPY READING!!

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 20th June 2020

Hello and Happy Saturday! Had a fox watching me today which sums up a pretty weird week! Still haven’t made it to an actual bookshop now that some are opening up and think I’ll be sticking to online bookshopping for a while yet – but it will feel good to be back surrounded by books sometime soon!

On the bookish front for me this week it’s been a good one! 4 books finished, a couple of book purchases, and 2 newbies from Netgalley!

Here’s my look back…

BOOKS FINISHED

The Secret Life of Books by Tom Mole – 5 stars

Paris Savages by Katherine Johnson – 5 stars

Slade House by David Mitchell – 3 stars

The Little Teashop in Tokyo by Julie Caplin – 4 stars

BOOKHAUL

Starting over at Netgalley…

A DEADLY EDUCATION by NAOMI NOVIK

publication date – September 2020

Lesson One of the Scholomance

Learning has never been this deadly

A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets. There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate… or die! The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere. El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students.

THE BIRD IN THE BAMBOO CAGE by HAZEL GAYNOR

publication date – September 2020

When war imprisons them, only kindness will free them…

China, 1941. Elspeth Kent has fled an unhappy life in England for a teaching post at a missionary school in northern China. But when Japan declares war on the Allies and occupies the school, security and home comforts are replaced by privation, uncertainty and fear.
For ten-year-old Nancy Plummer and her school friends, now separated from their parents indefinitely, Miss Kent’s new Girl Guide patrol provides a precious reminder of home in a land where they are now the enemy.

Elspeth and her fellow teachers, and Nancy and her friends, need courage, friendship and fortitude as they pray for liberation. But worse is to come. Removed from the school, they face even greater uncertainty and danger at a Japanese internment camp, where cruelty and punishment reign. 

Inspired by true events, this is an unforgettable read about a remarkable community faced with unimaginable hardship, and the life-changing bonds formed in a distant corner of a terrible war.

And I’ve treated myself online to these……from the publisher EYE/LIGHTNING BOOKS

ON TURPENTINE LANE  by Elinor Lipman

At thirty-two, Faith Frankel has returned to her suburban hometown where she works in the fundraising department of her old school, writing thank-you notes to benefactors. Keen to get her life back on track she buys a sweet but dilapidated bungalow on Turpentine Lane.

Never mind that her fiancé is currently ‘finding himself’ while walking across America and too busy to return her texts, that her witless boss has accused her of fraud, or that her father is going through a mid-life crisis that involves painting fake old masters and hooking up with a much younger woman — Faith is looking forward to a peaceful life in her new home.

But when a policeman knocks on her door asking to look in the basement she discovers that the history of 10 Turpentine Lane is anything but peaceful.

On Turpentine Lane is a madcap comedy from one of America’s most acclaimed novelists..

GOOD RIDDANCE by ELINOR LIPMAN

Daphne Maritch doesn’t quite know what to make of the heavily annotated high school yearbook she inherits from her mother, who held this relic dear. Too dear. The late June Winter Maritch was the teacher to whom the class of ’68 had dedicated its yearbook, and in turn she went on to attend every reunion, scribbling notes and observations after each one—not always charitably—and noting who overstepped boundaries of many kinds.

In a fit of decluttering (the yearbook did not, Daphne concluded, “spark joy”), she discards it when she moves to a small New York City apartment. But when it’s found in the recycling bin by a busybody neighbor/documentary filmmaker, the yearbook’s mysteries—not to mention her own family’s—take on a whole new urgency, and Daphne finds herself entangled in a series of events both poignant and absurd.

And I’ve also received some lovely book post from Behind The Hat Press – with a G&T too!!

OLD & UGLY by C L MOIR

In the 1973, teenagers Ange and Elizabeth are persuaded to enter the Miss Sladport-on-Sea Beauty Pageant by local entrepreneur, Spencer. When Ange is crowned the most beautiful woman in Sladport, Spencer promises her a life of fame and fortune – which he delivers. Within months, Ange is crowned The Most Beautiful Woman in the World.

Forty years later, Ange is unexpectedly invited to a reunion of old friends: Elizabeth – now married to Spencer – and the three school friends who stormed the pageant, throwing flour bombs and insults in protest at its objectification of women.

Old and Ugly is the story of that re-union – and the story of Ange’s life.​

Hilarious and laughable, conceited and fearful,  feisty  and (some might say) a fool for the admiration of men, Ange must finally confront the truth about her fantastical life of glamour and good fortune to be freed from its secrets – and freed from the man who made her, then broke her.

Irreverent and moving, disturbing and joyful, you’ve probably never read anything quite like it…

CURRENTLY READING

A Summer of Drowning by John Burnside

HAPPY READING!!

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 6th June 2020

Happy Saturday!! I’m so happy for these weekly posts as it makes me keep on track with what blooming day it is!! 

And it’s been another pretty good bookish week – 4 books finished, none arriving by post (that will be changing very soon!! ) and just one newbie from Netgalley! I can behave myself on the bookish front sometimes it seems!!

So here’s my look back at the week..

BOOKS FINISHED

Perfume by Patrick Suskind – 4 stars

The Curator by M.W.Craven – 5 stars

Growing Up For Beginners by Claire Calman – 3 stars

Perfect Lie by Claire Sheldon – 5 stars

BOOKHAUL

Just one from Netgalley this week….

THE QUICKENING by RHIANNON WARD

publication date – August 20th 2020

Feminist gothic fiction set between the late 19th century and the early 20th century – an era of burgeoning spiritualism and the suffragette movement – that couldn’t be more relevant today.

England, 1925. Louisa Drew lost her husband in the First World War and her six-year-old twin sons in the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918. Newly re-married to a war-traumatised husband and seven months pregnant, Louisa is asked by her employer to travel to Clewer Hall in Sussex where she is to photograph the contents of the house for auction.

She learns Clewer Hall was host to an infamous séance in 1896, and that the lady of the house has asked those who gathered back then to come together once more to recreate the evening. When a mysterious child appears on the grounds, Louisa finds herself compelled to investigate and becomes embroiled in the strange happenings of the house. Gradually, she unravels the long-held secrets of the inhabitants and what really happened thirty years before… and discovers her own fate is entwined with that of Clewer Hall’s.

An exquisitely crafted and compelling mystery that invites the reader in to the crumbling Clewer Hall to help unlock its secrets alongside the unforgettable Louisa Drew.

For fans of The Silent CompanionsThe Little Stranger and The Familiars.

CURRENTLY READING

How To Catch A Mole by Marc Hamer

Little Village of Second Chances by Gina Hollands

HAPPY READING

My June TBR…… #bookblogger #JuneTBR

Another month arrives! And are we on the verge of getting back to a litgtle bit more of a ‘normal’ life??!!! Let’s blooming hope so!!

But books are always with us no matter what is going on in the world, so here’s my monthly attempt to try and structure my reading a little! It’s also the start of #20BooksOfSummer so I won’t be including any of those books in this list, but they will be about!! Hopefully!!

A couple of blog tours for me this month, plus a couple from Netgalley that need my attention – while I conveniently ignore the other books on the very well stocked Netgalley shelves! – and I’m sure there’ll be others I pick up on a whim!!

THE BEAUTY OF BROKEN THINGS by VICTORIA CONNELLY

United by tragedy, can two broken souls make each other whole?

After the tragic loss of his wife, Helen, Luke Hansard is desperate to keep her memory alive. In an effort to stay close to her, he reaches out to an online friend Helen often mentioned: a reclusive photographer with a curious interest in beautiful but broken objects. But first he must find her—and she doesn’t want to be found.

Orla Kendrick lives alone in the ruins of a remote Suffolk castle, hiding from the haunting past that has left her physically and emotionally scarred. In her fortress, she can keep a safe distance from prying eyes, surrounded by her broken treasures and insulated from the world outside.

When Luke tracks Orla down, he is determined to help her in the way Helen wanted to: by encouraging her out of her isolation and back into the world. But Orla has never seen her refuge as a prison and, when painful secrets and dangerous threats begin to resurface, Luke’s good deed is turned on its head.

As they work through their grief for Helen in very different ways, will these two broken souls be able to heal?

THE CURATOR by M.W.CRAVEN

It’s Christmas and a serial killer is leaving displayed body parts all over Cumbria. A strange message is left at each scene: #BSC6. Called in to investigate, the National Crime Agency’s Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw are faced with a case that makes no sense. Why were some victims anaesthetized, while others died in appalling agony? Why is their only suspect denying what they can irrefutably prove but admitting to things they weren’t even aware of? And why did the victims all take the same two weeks off work three years earlier?

And when a disgraced FBI agent gets in touch things take an even darker turn. Because she doesn’t think Poe is dealing with a serial killer at all; she thinks he’s dealing with someone far, far worse – a man who calls himself the Curator.

And nothing will ever be the same again…

CALL ME JOE by MARTIN VAN ES

The world is on the brink of disaster.
The environment, society and mankind itself are facing extreme challenges in a world that is both more connected, and yet more divided than ever before. Fear and confusion seep into all parts of everyday life now, more than ever, the world needs one voice, one guide…

One day the Earth is plunged into darkness and when light appears again so does a man – call him Joe – claiming to be the son of God.

Can Joe bring the world’s most creative thinkers and leaders together to tackle the ills of mankind?

Can he convince us all to follow him before it’s too late?

In this compelling and prescient novel, Martin van Es and Andrew Crofts highlight the key concerns of our time and imagines a future where we, at last, all work together to ensure the future of our world and all the life that calls it home.

THE LITTLE TEASHOP IN TOKYO by JULIE CAPLIN

Grab your passport and escape to the land of dazzling skycrapers, steaming bowls of comforting noodles, and a page-turning love story that will make you swoon!

For travel blogger Fiona, Japan has always been top of her bucket list so when she wins an all-expenses paid trip, it looks like her dreams of the Far East are coming true.

Until she arrives in vibrant, neon-drenched Tokyo and comes face-to-face with the man who broke her heart ten years ago, gorgeous photographer Gabe.

Fiona can’t help but remember the heartache of their last meeting but it’s not long before the Japanese art of contentment and a special, traditional tea ceremony work their magic…

Amidst the temples and clouds of soft pink cherry blossoms, Fiona and Gabe start to see life – and each other – differently

MISS BENSON’S BEETLE by RACHEL JOYCE

It is 1950. In a devastating moment of clarity, Margery Benson abandons her dead-end job and advertises for an assistant to accompany her on an expedition. She is going to travel to the other side of the world to search for a beetle that may or may not exist.

Enid Pretty, in her unlikely pink travel suit, is not the companion Margery had in mind. And yet together they will be drawn into an adventure that will exceed every expectation. They will risk everything, break all the rules, and at the top of a red mountain, discover their best selves.

This is a story that is less about what can be found than the belief it might be found; it is an intoxicating adventure story but it is also about what it means to be a woman and a tender exploration of a friendship that defies all boundaries.

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Wish me luck!!! What are you looking forward to reading this month?!

HAPPY READING!

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 30th May 2020

Hello!  We made it through another week! Yay us!! This week has included a cream cake or two for the first time in a couple of months….. well worth the wait I can tell you!! It is the little things in life that get you through!

And the books have been getting me through another week, especially as the sun has been shining again so I’ve been spending as much time outdoors as possible and that’s where I’m reading the best at the moment! Another 4 books finished, just 1 visit to Netgalley and 1 lovely piece of bookpost for a blog tour!  I’m still not buying anything…… I think I might need to change that!!! 😉

Here’s my look back!

BOOKS FINISHED

THE BEAUTY OF BROKEN THINGS by VICTORIA CONNELLY – 5 STARS

JUST FRIENDS by LUCY KEELING – 5 STARS

A HUNDRED MILLION YEARS AND A DAY by JEAN-BAPTISTE ANDREA – 4 STARS

JAPANESE GARDENS by MONTY DON – 5 STARS

BOOKHAUL

Over on Netgalley..

ANXIOUS PEOPLE by FREDRIK BACKMAN

publication date – August 2020

A bank robber on the run locks himself in with an over-enthusiastic estate agent, two bitter IKEA-addicts, a pregnant woman, a suicidal multi-millionaire and a rabbit. In the end the robber gives up and lets everyone go, but when the police storm the apartment it is . . . empty.

In a series of dysfunctional testimonies after the event, the witnesses all tell their version of what really happened and it’s clear we have a classic locked-room mystery on our hands: How did the robber manage to escape? Why is everyone so angry? And: What is WRONG with people these days?

And in the post ahead of a Blog Tour in June!

THE CURATOR by M.W.CRAVEN

out June 2020

It’s Christmas and a serial killer is leaving displayed body parts all over Cumbria. A strange message is left at each scene: #BSC6. Called in to investigate, the National Crime Agency’s Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw are faced with a case that makes no sense. Why were some victims anaesthetized, while others died in appalling agony? Why is their only suspect denying what they can irrefutably prove but admitting to things they weren’t even aware of? And why did the victims all take the same two weeks off work three years earlier?

And when a disgraced FBI agent gets in touch things take an even darker turn. Because she doesn’t think Poe is dealing with a serial killer at all; she thinks he’s dealing with someone far, far worse – a man who calls himself the Curator.

And nothing will ever be the same again…

CURRENTLY READING

GROWING UP FOR BEGINNERS by CLAIRE CALMAN

Hope your reading week has been a good one, and is great for the week ahead too!

HAPPY READING!

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 23rd May 2020

Howdy!! Happy Saturday!! I hope all is well in your world! My mood has been up and down again this past week – considering I’d been so chilled for the previous 2 months, I now wonder if I’d been saving up all the grumpiness and it’s now coming out!! But the sun keeps shining and there’s books…. so I can’t stay too grumpy for too long!

And on the book front it’s been a cracking week for my reading as I’ve finished 5 books! I am sure the sunshine makes me read more! And there has been one visit to Netgalley, and maybe a couple of cheeky book purchases – another sure fire way of getting rid of the grumps!!

Here’s my look back!

BOOKS FINISHED

The Creak on the Stairs by Eva Björg Ægisdóttir – 5 stars

Daisy’s Summer Mission by Hannah Pearl – 4 stars

Coming Home to Heritage Cove by Helen J Rolfe – 4 stars

King of the Crows by Russell Day – 5 stars

The Railway Girls by Maisie Thomas – 5 stars

BOOKHAUL

to Netgalley we go…

HUMANKIND by RUTGER BREGMAN

FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE ‘NEW YORK TIMES’ BEST SELLER ‘UTOPIA FOR REALISTS’, A “BOLD” (DANIEL H. PINK), “PROVOCATIVE” (ADAM GRANT) ARGUMENT THAT OUR INNATE GOODNESS AND COOPERATION HAVE BEEN THE GREATEST FACTORS IN HUMANITY’S SUCCESS.

If there is one belief that has united the left and the right, psychologists and philosophers, ancient thinkers and modern ones, it is the tacit assumption that humans are bad. It’s a notion that drives newspaper headlines and guides the laws that shape our lives. From Machiavelli to Hobbes, Freud to Pinker, the roots of this belief have sunk deep into Western thought. Human beings, we’re taught, are by nature selfish and governed primarily by self-interest.

But what if it isn’t true? International best seller Rutger Bregman provides new perspective on the past 200,000 years of human history, setting out to prove that we are hardwired for kindness, geared toward cooperation rather than competition, and more inclined to trust rather than distrust one another, in fact this instinct has a firm evolutionary basis going back to the beginning of ‘Homo Sapiens’.

From the real-life ‘Lord of the Flies’ to the solidarity in the aftermath of the Blitz, the hidden flaws in the Stanford prison experiment to the true story of twin brothers on opposite sides who helped Mandela end apartheid, Bregman shows us that believing in human generosity and collaboration isn’t merely optimistic – it’s realistic. Moreover, it has huge implications for how society functions. When we think the worst of people, it brings out the worst in our politics and economics. But if we believe in the reality of humanity’s kindness and altruism, it will form the foundation for achieving true change in society, a case that Bregman makes convincingly with his signature wit, refreshing frankness, and memorable storytelling.

And I was lucky enough to win a discount code for the fabulous Ninja Book Box so I had to ‘force’ (!) myself to pick up another couple of  secondhand Persephone Books for my collection

DADDY’S GONE A HUNTING by PENELOPE MORTIMER

Daddy’s Gone A-Hunting is about the expectations of women, about a house-bound mother reluctantly (desperately) at home all day, in contrast to her daughter who has escaped, to university and then, we can assume, to a job.

In Ruth Whiting’s commuter-belt village ‘the wives conform to a certain standard of dress, they run their houses along the same lines, bring their children up in the same way; all prefer coffee to tea, all drive cars, play bridge, own at least one valuable piece of jewellery and are moderately good-looking.’ Yet Ruth is on the verge of going mad. A ‘nervous breakdown’ would be a politer phrase, but really she is being driven mad by her life and her madness is exacerbated by everyone’s indifference to her plight.

MISS BUNCLE’S BOOK by D.E.STEVENSON

The storyline of Miss Buncle’s Book (1934) is a simple one: Barbara Buncle, who is unmarried and perhaps in her late 30s, lives in a small village and writes a novel about it in order to try and supplement her meagre income.

D.E. Stevenson had an enormously successful writing career: between 1923 and 1970, four million copies of her books were sold in Britain and three million in the States. Like E.F. Benson, Ann Bridge, O. Douglas or Dorothy L. Sayers (to name but a few) her books are funny, intensely readable, engaging and dependable. Miss Buncle’s Book was the most popular of her novels because it has a completely original plot and a charming and delightful central character.

CURRENTLY READING

Thin Air by Michelle Paver

HAPPY READING!!

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 16th May 2020

Howdy!  How are we?! Keeping well and safe I hope! Had a wobble or two this week as not seen my brother and his family now for a few months with them not living close by, and not knowing when we’ll get a chance to meet up again is taking its’ toll! Starting to consider the lady from the local cafe who delivers us lunch every week as part of the family now!! Time to just keep hoping that ‘normality’ gets a little closer with every passing day…

And my wobble has taken its’ toll on my reading this week with just 1 book finished! Shock!! I’ve been really fidgety and my brain hasn’t been concentrating so hoping I get back on track soon! It hasn’t stopped my ability to visit Netgalley though – oops!!  

Here’s my look back!

BOOKS FINISHED

Sunset over the Cherry Orchard by Jo Thomas – 4 stars

BOOKHAUL

To Netgalley we go….

THE RAILWAY GIRLS by MAISIE THOMAS

publication date – 28th May 2020

The first novel in the utterly brilliant Railway Girls series. Perfect for fans of Nancy Revell and Ellie Dean.

In February, 1922, at the western-most entrance to Victoria Station in Manchester, a massive plaque was unveiled. Beneath a vast tiled map showing the lines of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway network, a series of seven bronze panels recorded the names of the men of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway who gave their lives for King and Country in the Great War – a total of 1,460 names.

In March, 1940, a group of women of varying ages and backgrounds, stand in front of the memorial, ready to do their bit in this new World War…
_________________________________________

Mabel is determined to make a fresh start as a railway girl where no one will know the terrible thing she did and she can put her guilt behind her… Or is she just running away?

Meanwhile Joan will never be as good as her sister, or so her Gran keeps telling her. A new job as a station clerk could be just the thing she needs to forget her troubles at home.

And Dot is further into her forties than she cares to admit. Her beloved sons are away fighting and her husband – well, the less said about him the better. Ratty old sod. She is anxious to become a railway girl just like her dear mam – anything to feel she is supporting the sons she prays for every night.

The three women start off as strangers, but soon form an unbreakable bond that will get them through the toughest of times…

FEATHERTIDE by BETH CARTWRIGHT

publication date – 30th July 2020

And there has been some lovely book post too!

A HUNDRED MILLION YEARS AND A DAY by JEAN-BAPTISTE ANDREA

copy sent via Gallic Books for review

publication date – 20th June 2020

‘On the mountain, the only monsters are the ones you take with you.’

Summer 1954. Stan has been hunting for fossils since the age of six. Now, having made a career out of studying the remains of tiny lifeforms, he hears a story he cannot forget: the skeleton of a huge creature, a veritable dragon, lies deep in an Alpine glacier. And he is determined to find it.

Leaving his life in Paris behind, Stan sets out in pursuit of a legend. But he is no mountaineer, and to attempt his dangerous expedition he must call on loyal friend and colleague Umberto, who arrives with an eccentric young assistant, and expert guide Gio. Time is short: the four men must descend before the weather turns. Bonds are forged and tested as the hazardous quest for the earth’s lost creatures becomes a journey into Stan’s own past.

IN THE SWEEP OF THE BAY by CATH BARTON

copy sent from Louise Walters Books

publication date – November 2020

This lyrical, warm-hearted tale explores marriage, love, and longing, set against the majestic backdrop of Morecambe Bay, the Lakeland Fells, and the faded splendour of the Midland Hotel.

Ted Marshall meets Rene in the dance halls of Morecambe and they marry during the frail optimism of the 1950s. They adopt the roles expected of man and wife at the time: he the breadwinner at the family ceramics firm, and she the loyal housewife, but as the years go by, they both find themselves wishing for more…

After Ted survives a heart attack, both see it as a new beginning… but can a faded love like theirs ever be rekindled?

Cath Barton lives in Abergavenny. She won the New Welsh Writing AmeriCymru Prize for the Novella in 2017 for The Plankton Collector, which was published in September 2018 by New Welsh Review under their Rarebyte imprint. She also writes short stories and flash fiction and, with her critical writing, is a regular contributor to Wales Arts Review. In the Sweep of the Bay is her second novella.

CURRENTLY READING

THIN AIR by MICHELLE PAVER

COMING HOME TO HERITAGE COVE by HELEN J ROLFE

HAPPY READING!!

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 9th May 2020

Hello!! How are you?! Staying safe? Staying sane? I think I’m just about ok on both counts! I think it’s more about the fear now of what happens when life tries to get back to a bit of normality – there’s a lot of stupid people out and about in the world and whilst most of us do the right thing, you can’t count on everyone to do the same…….

But thankfully there’s always books! And I’ve hit the jackpot this week with 3 stunning books that I’ve read that just made me realise why I love reading so much!! And then there was Netgalley…… 3 approvals in one day doesn’t help.. especially when you forgot you’d requested 2 of them! Oh well! Maybe I’ll do better on that score next week…..

Here’s a look back at my bookish week!

BOOKS FINISHED

The Mating Habits of Stags by Ray Robinson – 5 stars

Intense, evocative, beautiful!

We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker – 5 stars

Astonishing read! Buy it, Read it, Thank me later!!

A Cornish Summer Holiday by Rosie Green – 5 stars

Book 10 in the series and just as wonderful as when it all started!

BOOK HAUL

Netgalley…….

DEAR READER by CATHY RENTZENBRINK

out September 2020

‘Reading has saved my life, again and again, and has held my hand through every difficult time’

For as long as she can remember, Cathy Rentzenbrink has lost and found herself in stories. Growing up she was rarely seen without her nose in a book and read in secret long after lights out. When tragedy struck, books kept her afloat. Eventually they lit the way to a new path, first as a bookseller and then as a writer. No matter what the future holds, reading will always help.

Dear Reader is a moving, funny and joyous exploration of how books can change the course of your life, packed with recommendations from one reader to another.

OLIVE by EMMA GANNON

out June 2020

Independent.
Adrift.
Anxious.
Loyal.
Kind.
Knows her own mind.

OLIVE is many things, and it’s ok that she’s still figuring it all out, navigating her world without a compass. But life comes with expectations, there are choices to be made, boxes to tick and – sometimes – stereotypes to fulfil. And when her best friends’ lives start to branch away towards marriage and motherhood, leaving the path they’ve always followed together, Olive starts to question her choices – because life according to Olive looks a little bit different.

Moving, memorable and a mirror for every woman at a crossroads, OLIVE has a little bit of all of us. Told with great warmth and nostalgia, this is a modern tale about the obstacle course of adulthood, milestone decisions and the ‘taboo’ about choosing not to have children.

IN THE TIME OF FOXES by JO LENNAN

out July 2020

‘A fox could be a shape-shifter, a spirit being. It could appear in human form if this suited its purposes; it could come and go as it pleased, play tricks, lead men astray.’

A film director in Hackney with a fox problem in her garden; an escapee from a cult in Japan; a Sydney café-owner rekindling an old flame; an English tutor who gets too close to an oligarch; a journalist on Mars, face-to-face with his fate.

The world has taught these men and women to live off their wits. They know how to play smart, but what happens when they need to be wise?

In the Time of Foxes is both compellingly readable and deeply insightful about the times in which we live, each narrative a compressed novel. With an exhilarating span of people and places, woven together by the most mercurial of animals, it shows the short story collection at its most entertaining and rewarding, and introduces Jo Lennan as a captivating new storyteller.

WHEN THE MUSIC STOPS by JOE HEAP

out October 2020

This is the story of Ella.And Robert.And of all the things they should have said, but never did.Through seven key moments and seven key people their journey intertwines.From the streets of Glasgow during WW2 to the sex, drugs and rock n’ roll of London in the 60s and beyond, this is a story of love and near misses. Of those who come in to our lives and leave it too soon. And of those who stay with you forever…

There has been book purchases arriving in the post too….

ANKOMST by GOHRIL GABRIELSEN

subscriber copy from Peirene Press

Seabirds in northern Norway share the parenting of chicks equally. Even in the twenty-four-hour darkness of winter they care for their young together. Among these birds a research scientist makes her home in an abandoned fisherman’s hut. Surrounded by nature, she observes the birds for her PhD and waits for her lover to arrive. As the days pass, secrets of the cabin’s past are revealed: a mysterious fire; a tragedy from generations long ago; a child who waits for their mother to return. Perhaps what comes naturally for seabirds is not always so natural to us… 

KING OF THE CROWS by RUSSELL DAY

publised by Fahrenheit Press

“OCEAN’S ELEVEN MEETS 28 DAYS LATER.”

2028, eight years after a pandemic swept across Europe, the virus has been defeated and normal life has resumed. 

Memories of The Lockdown have already become clouded by myths, rumour and conspiracy.

Books have been written, movies have been released and the names Robertson, Miller & Maccallan have slipped into legend. 

Together they hauled The Crows, a ragged group of virus survivors, across the ruins of London. Kept them alive, kept them safe, kept them moving.

But not all myths are true and not all heroes are heroes.

Questions are starting to be asked about what really happened during those days when society crumbled and the capital city became a killing ground.

Finally the truth will be revealed.

Weighing in at a hefty 580 Pages, King Of The Crows is a truly genre-busting novel in terms of both content + structure.

The story is told over the span of 8 years from 2020-2028 using flashbacks and extracts from survivor accounts, screenplays, academic studies, online chat-rooms and police reports. 

You will never have read a book like this one.

CURRENTLY READING

I think I’m going straight in with King of the Crows as it’s a chunkster of a book! Reading a book about a pandemic,  during a pandemic….. what could possibly go wrong?!

HAPPY READING!