#Unboxing Reading In Heels January Subscription Box #spoileralert

Yay for the first subscription box of the year to arrive through my letterbox!!  And as always from Reading In Heels it’s another fab mix of goodies, and I’m not even annoyed that I’ve already got a copy of this book because now I have a brand spanking new copy, and can share my old rather battered copy with family – and it’s such a good book that needs to be shared!

So here’s a looksie at what was included this  month!

NuCao

Healthy Chocolate bar?! Yes please!! I see they do an Espresso flavour too – might need to investigate that further!!

product link

Supertea – Temenisteriet

Always happy to discover new brands of Tea so look forward to these brews!

Skin and Tonic Rose Lip Balm – skinandtoniclondon

British, Organic and Sustainable!

Bespoke Notebook

Always happy to get a notebook!! You can never have enough in my eyes!!

The Outrun by Amy Liptrot

When Amy Liptrot returns to Orkney after more than a decade away, she is drawn back to the Outrun on the sheep farm where she grew up. Approaching the land that was once home, memories of her childhood merge with the recent events that have set her on this journey.

Amy was shaped by the cycle of the seasons, birth and death on the farm, and her father’s mental illness, which were as much a part of her childhood as the wild, carefree existence on Orkney. But as she grew up, she longed to leave this remote life. She moved to London and found herself in a hedonistic cycle. Unable to control her drinking, alcohol gradually took over. Now thirty, she finds herself washed up back home on Orkney, standing unstable at the cliff edge, trying to come to terms with what happened to her in London.

Spending early mornings swimming in the bracingly cold sea, the days tracking Orkney’s wildlife—puffins nesting on sea stacks, arctic terns swooping close enough to feel their wings—and nights searching the sky for the Merry Dancers, Amy slowly makes the journey toward recovery from addiction.

The Outrun is a beautiful, inspiring book about living on the edge, about the pull between island and city, and about the ability of the sea, the land, the wind, and the moon to restore life and renew hope.

👠👠👠👠👠

 I knew it was going to happen that one day I’d already have a copy of the book included with the book, but that is the risk you take with subscription boxes! At least I can now share the joy of this book by donating my old copy to them.. no way I’m parting with a brand new copy haha!

#Unboxing Reading In Heels September Box #spoileralert

You may have noticed if you follow this Blog that I love a bookish subscription box!  And one of my favourites is from Reading In Heels who offer a wonderful paperback book, alongside some home/beauty treats each month and all for a bargain £10 plus P&P!

Today the September box arrived so I thought I’d share the love for all that I got!!  So if you’ve not received yours yet, look away now……

 

 Mythyn Melusine Bath Soak

                                                                https://mythyn.com/

A bath soak inspired by a French mermaid – need I say anymore!!   

Kacao Chocolate Botanical Bar

https://www.kacao.co.uk/

White chocolate bar infused with botanical essential oils – designed to soothe and energise! sounds like my kind of chocolate!

Conscious Water

https://consciouswater.com/ 

Two sachets – love and happiness – that helps you boost your hydration.   Looking forward to trying these! 

Juno Skincare Joie Face Oil

https://www.junoskincare.com/

Lovely little bottle and supposed to help rejuvenate and restore radiance – much needed!! A natural beauty product

THE RISE AND FALL OF BECKY SHARP by SARRA MANNING

A hilarious contemporary retelling of the classic society novel, Vanity Fair, featuring the irrepressible Becky Sharp

Beautiful, brilliant, ruthless – nothing can stop Becky Sharp.

Determined to leave her poverty-stricken roots behind her, Becky Sharp is going to take every opportunity offered to her to climb to the top. Whether it’s using her new BFF Amelia Sedley to step up into the rarified world of London’s upper classes, or seducing society’s most eligible bachelors, Becky Sharp is destined for great things – at any cost..

From London to Paris and beyond, the world is there for Becky’s taking – even though some people are determined to stop her along the way…

👠👠👠👠👠

Am really impressed once again with the choice of book – one I’ve heard about but don’t have a copy of, alongside some interesting and beautiful looking products that I can’t wait to test out!!

Mr Gandy’s Grand Tour by Alan Titchmarsh – Book Review

THE BLURB

Timothy Gandy has kept his lifetime’s ambition secret for forty years.

Now, suddenly (if tragically) released from the hen-pecked tedium of his ordinary existence, he is unexpectedly free to realize his dreams.

He will embark on a Grand Tour of Europe, following in the footsteps of the aristocrats of the eighteenth century.

He anticipates high art, culture and pleasant weather. He never expected to encounter new friendships – and possibly even love – along the way.

It seems that Mr Gandy has embarked on the journey of a lifetime…

Hardback – out now

Paperback – out 4th May 2017

Hive.co.uk – buy a copy online to support your local bookstore 

 £7.25 paperback pre-order

Amazon UK

  £7.99 paperback pre-order

Alan Titchmarsh Website

My Review

They say you find the right book for the right time, and this was definitely one of those experiences! A grey cloudy bank holiday, and feeling under the weather I was looking for an escape read and this delivered rewardingly on that front!

This is the story of Timothy Gandy who has lived a very normal and comfortable life, with his wife and 3 children and never seemed to really expect much out of life. But a sudden sad event gives him the momentum to live out his dream of experiencing a Grand Tour and to travel throughout Europe. And for a quiet, recently retired man it brings about some unexpected revelations!

I love the way Alan Titchmarsh writes as he really allows the reader to connect with the characters and the circumstances they find themselves in. We get glimpses of family life, and it is fascinating to live inside Timothys’ head as he encounters new experiences and how life ends up often surprising you.

His children are all so different and it was fascinating to see how he interacted with all of them, and how his thoughts about them could be so far from the truth – when space and time apart allows them all to be honest with each other.

This was a really enjoyable read and did a wonderful job of brightening up my grey day!!

Thank you to the publishers and BookBridgr for the paperback copy in return for a fair and honest review.

Bookish Weekly Round Up

Greetings bookish humans!! Hope everyone survived Storm Doris in the UK – few pots blown around the garden here but everything else seems to have stayed intact so phew!  This hellebore is blooming away nicely so always a lovely sight to see! Yay for Spring!!

On to books!!  And yay!! Normal service has resumed after a few weeks of not buying anything, I ventured into a local charity shop for a ‘browse’  and ended up leaving with 2 new additions for my bookshelves.

SIRENS by JOSEPH KNOX

 

Sirens is the brooding and assured debut from Joseph Knox, the next big name in crime fiction.

Set in a sprawling, twilight northern city, Sirens introduces Aidan Waits, a disgraced young detective caught stealing drugs from evidence and subsequently blackmailed into going undercover. When an MP’s daughter runs away from home, Waits is sent to track her down and finds himself at the centre of a maelstrom of drugs, blackmail and deception.

Uncovering the motives of those involved, he’s thrown forwards through politicians, police and drug lords – towards a conclusion and a truth he really doesn’t want to know.

THE NIGHT CIRCUS by ERIN MORGENSTERN

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.

Within these nocturnal black-and-white striped tents awaits an utterly unique, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stare in wonderment as the tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and become deliciously tipsy from the scents of caramel and cinnamon that waft through the air.

Welcome to Le Cirque des Rêves.

Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is under way–a contest between two young illusionists, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in a “game” to which they have been irrevocably bound by their mercurial masters. Unbeknownst to the players, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will.

As the circus travels around the world, the feats of magic gain fantastical new heights with every stop. The game is well under way and the lives of all those involved–the eccentric circus owner, the elusive contortionist, the mystical fortune-teller, and a pair of red-headed twins born backstage among them–are swept up in a wake of spells and charms.

But when Celia discovers that Marco is her adversary, they begin to think of the game not as a competition but as a wonderful collaboration. With no knowledge of how the game must end, they innocently tumble headfirst into love. A deep, passionate, and magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

Their masters still pull the strings, however, and this unforeseen occurrence forces them to intervene with dangerous consequences, leaving the lives of everyone from the performers to the patrons hanging in the balance. 

And today in the post a prize from the lovely people at Choc Lit UK that I won via a recent Valentines’ Twitter competition arrived so really looking forward to reading this title – and forcing myself to enjoy some chocolate! 😉

What if you were powerless to protect the person you cared about most?

When Ruby finds out that her partner has done the unforgivable, she has no option but to move out of their home. With nowhere else to go, a job house-sitting in Cambridge seems like the perfect solution.

But it’s soon clear the absent owner hurts everyone he gets close to, and Ruby’s faced with the fallout. As violent repercussions unfold, her instinct is to investigate: it’s a matter of self-preservation. And besides, she’s curious…

But Ruby’s new boss, Nate Bastable, has his eye on her and seems determined to put a stop to her sleuthing. Is he simply worried for the welfare of a member of staff, or is there something altogether more complicated – and potentially dangerous – at play?

Now on to the books that I finished reading this week! 

Falling Awake by Alice Oswald

Alice Oswald’s poems are always vivid and distinct, alert and deeply, physically, engaged in the natural world. Mutability – a sense that all matter is unstable in the face of mortality – is at the heart of this new collection and each poem is involved in that drama: the held tension that is embodied life, and life’s losing struggle with the gravity of nature.

Working as before with an ear to the oral tradition, these poems attend to the organic shapes and sounds and momentum of the language as it’s spoken as well as how it’s thought: fresh, fluid and propulsive, but also fragmentary, repetitive. These are poems that are written to be read aloud.

Orpheus and Tithonus appear at the beginning and end of this book, alive in an English landscape, stuck in the clockwork of their own speech, and the Hours – goddesses of the seasons and the natural apportioning of Time – are the presiding figures. The persistent conditions are flux and falling, and the lines are in constant motion: approaching, from daring new angles, our experience of being human, and coalescing into poems of simple, stunning beauty. 

This was a really beautiful read. I have always wanted to read  more poetry and have pledged to do so in 2017 – if they’re all like this then I’m in for a fun year! As well as being beautifully written, they are also beautifully displayed and that really did help me enjoy them more as it made it more interesting.  Loved the different ways of looking at nature and the british landscape too.

One Little Mistake by Emma Curtis

Vicky Seagrave is blessed: three beautiful children, a successful, doting husband, great friends and a job she loves. She should be perfectly happy.

When she risks everything she holds dear on a whim, there’s only person she trusts enough to turn to.

But Vicky is about to learn that one mistake is all it takes; that if you’re careless with those you love, you don’t deserve to keep them . . . 

This was a real page turner of a read for me – full of characters that have you shouting at the pages but gripped by what was going to happen next and unable to predict some of the twists and turns ahead for them all!  

The Bear and The Nightingale by Katherine Arden

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

I adored this book!  It did take me a little while to get into as it did get a little confusing to begin with – i am very easily confused at the best of times! –   but once I was under the spell of the characters then the story had me gripped and I couldn’t stop reading!  The main character, Vasya, was a wonderful female character in a historical/fairytale setting and I am extremely pleased to hear there’ll be more in the series!  This is how stories should be told!!

Anyone read any of these?! Hope you had as much fun reading them as I did!  And has the reading pile shrunk by much over the past week?! Of course not!!  I think some of the spirits that Vasya speaks to in The Bear and the Nightingale are sneaking in extra books to my house! 😉

Happy Reading!!

One Little Mistake by Emma Curtis – book review

THE BLURB

Vicky Seagrave is blessed: three beautiful children, a successful, doting husband, great friends and a job she loves. She should be perfectly happy.

When she risks everything she holds dear on a whim, there’s only person she trusts enough to turn to.

But Vicky is about to learn that one mistake is all it takes; that if you’re careless with those you love, you don’t deserve to keep them . . . 

‘A tense and utterly engrossing story’ Tammy Cohen, author of WHEN SHE WAS BAD and THE BROKEN


‘A compelling page-turner which kept me reading well into the night.This book will make any woman look at her best friend with more than a touch of suspicion . . .’ Jane Corry, author of MY HUSBAND’S WIFE


‘A page-turner that explores how friendship, mothering, marriage, and events in the past can collide in unexpected andtumultuous ways’ Beth Miller, author of THE GOOD NEIGHBOUR and WHEN WE WERE SISTERS


‘A brilliant, gripping read. I couldn’t put it down’ Claire Douglas, author of THE SISTERS and LOCAL GIRL MISSING


Release Date – 23rd February 2017


Amazon UK  £2.99 Kindle edition



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Emma Curtis was born in Brighton and brought up in London.  Her fascination with the darker side of domestic life inspired her to write One Little Mistake, her first psychological suspense. She has two children and lives in Richmond with her husband.


Find her on Twitter @emmacurtisbooks



MY REVIEW


Another thought provoking  thriller to enjoy if you love this genre!!  Kept me intrigued from start to finish and is full of twists that most will fail to predict!


As we follow the story of Vicky we soon see that those we think that have it all are often thinking they don’t and that the grass is always greener on the other side.  When Vicky begins to take her family for granted it sets in motion a chain of events that see her whole life turned upside down.


Another major part of this storyline is the issue of trust. Vicky thought she could trust her best friend, Amber, but armed with every insight into her friends’ life it soon turns out that knowledge is power and can be used against you – if that friend isn’t all she says she is!  The green eyed monster rears  its’ ugly head many a time and definitely makes you think twice about trusting those closest to you!!


It is told over 2 timelines – 2010 and 1992 – and this works so well in building up a picture of events over the years and just how someone elses past can destroy your future!


It brings the question of responsibility clearly into focus and how a split second decision can change things forever – is it always worth the risk?!


None of the characters come out of this story very well with their behaviour and their selfish acts but it an insight into what makes people tick and that isn’t always a pleasant thing and is written so cleverly that you find yourself imagining what would you do that in those situations!  Hopefully not with the same consequences!!


Thoroughly enjoyed the ride this page turner took me on so will be looking out for more from this author in the future!



Thank you to Emma Curtis and Rosie Margesson at Pengiun Random House for the advance copy in exchange for my review 

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles – book review

The Blurb

In 1922 Count Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal He is sentenced to house arrest in The Metropol a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov an indomitable man of erudition and wit has never worked a day in his life and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel s doors. Unexpectedly his reduced circumstances provide him a doorway into a much larger world of emotional discovery.Brimming with humour a glittering cast of characters and one beautifully rendered scene after another this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the Count s endeavour to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.

 About the Author –  Amor Towles was born and raised in the Boston area. He graduated from Yale University and received an MA in English from Stanford University. An investment professional for over twenty years he now devotes himself full time to writing. Towles lives in Manhattan with his wife and two children.

Amazon UK

My Review

Where to begin??! This is one of those books that I don’t think any review can do it justice! It has to be read. To be savoured. To be lived! And the style of writing and attention to detail lets you do that with ease! Amor Towles has captured the essence of his main character, the wonderful Count Alexander Rostov, and his situation, sentenced to house arrest at the magnificent Hotel Metropol indefinitely, with brilliant clarity.


As we watch the Count over the 30 years that follow we are introduced to some amazing characters who seem to teach the Count, and the reader, a new perspective on life and the history that is unfolding outside the Hotel doors. It makes Count Rostov re-evaluate all he thought he knew, and what makes life worth living! He talks to the pigeons and the hotels one eyed cat, he makes friends with the staff

A completely charming and captivating read and it was an absolute pleasure and delight to spend time in the company of these people with their amazing insights and a look back at life in ever changing Russia through the Second World War, Stalin and beyond. It is a very insightful, and often bittersweet, look at the way the world changes outside while he is stuck inside, but to him the Hotel becomes his ‘world’ and still manages to teach him things about the human race.

This book made me laugh and cry and I would just like to thank the author for an astonishing read.  If you get the chance to read this book, then do it!! You will not regret it!!

Because Of You by Helene Fermont

THE BLURB

Because of You is the deeply moving debut novel by Scandinavian writer Helene Fermont. It’s a gripping work of modern women’s fiction with a distinct ‘Scandi’ feel and a psychological twist.

Because of You spans 36 years in the life of Hannah Stein, a Swedish teenager who arrives in London, at the tail end of the disco era, for a gap year before embarking on a teaching career. The people she meets change the course of her life irrevocably and the novel charts her changing personal and professional fortunes over the next three decades. Because of You is about love, coming of age, friendship, bereavement, stillbirth and rape. Its themes include redemption, acceptance, fidelity and family. Because of You is a story that every woman can relate to.

Scandinavian noir has firmly established itself as a bestselling genre in the UK. Because of You takes the elements that make this style of writing so compelling – the realism and dark, morally complex mood – and combines it with women’s fiction.

This is a dark, morally complex and cross-generational story of enduring love, fate and destiny and will appeal to readers who appreciate an emotive, uncompromising and fulfilling read driven by character and circumstance.

Amazon UK – buy your copy here

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Born into a bilingual family (Swedish/English), Hélene Fermont enjoyed an idyllic childhood on the outskirts of Malmö, Sweden’s third largest city and a major cultural hub.

Growing up in the early 1970s, she enjoyed a brief musical career on Swedish TV and radio before pursuing a rewarding career as a therapist specialising in children with learning difficulties.

Hélene has lived in London for over 20 years but still regularly returns to her native Sweden, where the unspoiled scenery and tranquility help aid the creative process. Hélene is currently hard at work on her second novel. 

MY REVIEW

Was offered the chance to read a copy of this paperback from the lovely people at bookollective  and I have to thank them and the author for the opportunity!

This book has proved to be an absorbing read set over a span of 36 years in both London and Sweden. It’s the story of Hannah Stein – her highs, her lows, her happiness, her despair and all that happens in between!

Hannah moves to London when she’s 18 and this book allows you into her head for every new experience, whether good or bad, as she discovers the power of a first love, and how life experiences can change you and those around you, and teaches her to enjoy the little moments and listen to those giving her advice

There are a few characters that appear in her life who are pretty ghastly but this is only reflective of real life – not everybody is nice and has your best intentions at heart, and it is fascinating to see how Hannah deals with those around her and shows that the author is not afraid to sugar coat the realities of life. We also get to see that with some of the topics featured throughout – death of loved ones, rape, dementia and the loss of a baby – it isn’t an easy read at time but all these topics are dealt with in a very sympathetic way.

I did find my interest did dip at a couple of points through the book, but think this was to be expected in a 500 plus page novel! But there was always something just around the corner to raise emotions again and regain your interest and concern.

This was a really detailed insight into Hannah as she progresses from an 18 year old teenager into a woman and all those experiences that those years bring your way. Was also fun to have to the little glimpses of the fashion and music around at the time of her stay in London and really helped give you a flavour of the time.

A fascinating debut and I can’t wait to see what else Helene Fermont has in store for us with her next novel!

What Alice Knew by T.A.Cotterell – book review

 

THE BLURB

Alice has a perfect life – a great job, happy kids, a wonderful husband. Until he goes missing one night; she receives a suspicious phone call; things don’t quite add up.

Alice needs to know what’s going on. But when she uncovers the truth she faces a brutal choice. And how can she be sure it is the truth?

Sometimes it’s better not to know.

Amazon UK – out 1st December 2016   Kindle Edition

Paperback Edition – out April 2017

Have been lucky enough to get my mitts on an early edition of this and all i can say is WOW!! If you are a fan of the psychological thriller genre, then this needs to go on your ‘must get’ lists!  Trust me!

MY REVIEW


How far would you go to protect your family?! This is the tale of Alice and Ed. They have the perfect life – she’s an artist and he’s an Obstetrician – and they have 2 children, Nell and Arthur, and all is going swimmingly…… until Ed goes missing one night and seems to have trouble remembering where he was or who he was with. And then the police get involved and the truth starts to come to light…

As we follow the story we are soon left wondering who to trust as the truth of that missing night unravels and i enjoyed having my mind changed about the honesty of certain characters. For Alice, knowledge is supposed to be power but it also seems to be a burden she is struggling to carry and I was left sympathizing with her as the events and fallout seemed to cause her more stress and worry than her husband.

Also fascinating side of things to see how a family under investigation deal with the press intrusion and the online comments as we all know that nowadays everybody has an opinion about a story, even if they don’t know all the facts.

Thought the pace and setting of the story were first class and the ending left me shocked and was one I didn’t see coming! The author did an excellent job of setting up a few possibilities of how things would turn out so you are never sure!

Found this to be such an interesting read as you find yourself wondering what you’d do in a similar situation, what lengths would you go to in the aim of saving your family and that sometimes the more you know, the harder it is to deal with!

An excellent debut psychological thriller and I am sure it is going to be a huge hit for the author and publishers, Black Swan. 

A Portable Shelter

this is an amazing collection of short stories as told by two women to their unborn child to pass on wisdom they’ve learned over the years, but these tales are in the forms of fairy tales and the messages that each story conveys really hits home with powerful themes. Amazing writing from Kirsty Logan yet again, following on from the success of The Gatekeepers.

The Hardback edition of this is out now but in a limited number, and the paperback will be out next year sometime!

A must read!!