My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 22nd May 2021



Hello and Happy Saturday once more!   Been a rather Autumnal week of weather here with lots of rain and strong winds, so just keeping everything crossed we do get to see a Summer here sometime soon! Just one day of sunshine would be nice at the moment!
On to books! They always brighten our days!! And I’ve managed to shift another 4 off the TBR pile so happy with that. But with a positive comes a negative… there may have been a little shopping trip to Waterstones to spend some vouchers and 1 caught my eye at Netgalley!  You can’t win every week I suppose!
Here’s my look back…


BOOKS FINISHED


FINDING SUMMER HAPPINESS by CHRIS PENHALL – 4 STARS


GUILTY by SADIE RYAN – 5 STARS


TAPESTRIES OF LIFE by ANNE SVERDRUP-THYGESON – 5 STARS


SAVING THE DAY by KATIE FFORDE – 4 STARS

BOOKHAUL


Starting over at Netgalley…


A STRANGE AND BRILLIANT LIGHT by ELI LEE

out July 2021A riveting, thought-provoking speculative literary novel exploring the impact of the AI revolution through the eyes of three very different young women.

Lal, Janetta and Rose are living in a time of flux. Technological advance has brought huge financial rewards to those with power, but large swathes of the population are losing their jobs to artificial intelligence, or auts, as they’re called. Unemployment is high, discontent is rife and rumours are swirling. Many feel robbed – not just of their livelihoods, but of their hopes for the future.

Lal is languishing in her role at a coffee shop and feeling overshadowed by her quietly brilliant sister, Janetta, whose Ph.D. is focused on making auts empathetic. Even Rose, Lal’s best friend, has found a sense of purpose in charismatic up-and-coming politician Alek.

When vigilantes break in to the coffee shop and destroy their new coffee-making aut, it sets in motion a chain of events that will pull the three young women in very different directions.

Change is coming – change that will launch humankind into a new era. If Rose, Lal and Janetta can find a way to combine their burgeoning talents, they might just end up setting the course of history. 


And then to Waterstones where I had vouchers to spend!!

KLARA AND THE SUN by KAZUO ISHIGURO

‘The Sun always has ways to reach us.’

From her place in the store, Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, watches carefully the behaviour of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass in the street outside. She remains hopeful a customer will soon choose her, but when the possibility emerges that her circumstances may change for ever, Klara is warned not to invest too much in the promises of humans.

In Klara and the Sun, his first novel since winning the Nobel Prize in Literature, Kazuo Ishiguro looks at our rapidly-changing modern world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator to explore a fundamental question: what does it mean to love?



STRANGE TRICKS by SYD MOORE

Secretly Rosie Strange has always thought herself a little bit more interesting than most people – the legacy her family has bequeathed her is definitely so, she’s long believed. But then life takes a peculiar turn when the Strange legacy turns out not just to be the Essex Witch Museum, but perhaps some otherworldly gifts that Rosie finds difficult to fathom. Meanwhile Sam Stone, Rosie’s curator, is oddly distracted as breadcrumb clues into what happened to his missing younger brother and other abducted boys from the past are poised to lead him and Rosie deep into a dark wood where there lurks something far scarier than Hansel and Gretel’s witch…

ARIADNE by JENNIFER SAINT

As Princesses of Crete and daughters of the fearsome King Minos, Ariadne and her sister Phaedra grow up hearing the hoofbeats and bellows of the Minotaur echo from the Labyrinth beneath the palace. The Minotaur – Minos’s greatest shame and Ariadne’s brother – demands blood every year.

When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives in Crete as a sacrifice to the beast, Ariadne falls in love with him. But helping Theseus kill the monster means betraying her family and country, and Ariadne knows only too well that in a world ruled by mercurial gods – drawing their attention can cost you everything.

In a world where women are nothing more than the pawns of powerful men, will Ariadne’s decision to betray Crete for Theseus ensure her happy ending? Or will she find herself sacrificed for her lover’s ambition?

Ariadne gives a voice to the forgotten women of one of the most famous Greek myths, and speaks to their strength in the face of angry, petulant Gods. Beautifully written and completely immersive, this is an exceptional debut novel 

CURRENTLY READING

SIXTEEN HORSES by GREG BUCHANAN

HAPPY READING!!

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 20th April 2019 #bookblogger #bookhaul

Hoppy Easter to you all! I hope you are having chocolate for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Or maybe the Easter Bunny is bringing you books?! Now that should definitely be a thing!

A busy start to the week here has left me feeling rather flat come the end of the week, so hoping for some rest, relaxation and reading in the sunny garden over the Easter period!

It’s been a great bookish week too – Managed to finish 5 books, got 2 new arrivals from Netgalley, had a  little shopping spree in the Waterstones sale, got 2 books from the library and some bookpost too! Yay!

Here’s a look back at my week…

BOOKS FINISHED

Daughter of the House by Victoria Cornwall – 5 stars

An enthralling historical story.

The Salt Path by Raynor Winn  – 4 stars

An emotional journey for both author and reader!

The Soul of Kindness by Elizabeth Taylor – 4 stars

Really enjoyed this one!

In Two Minds by Alis Hawkins – 4 stars

Another fascinating and thrilling installment of this series!

The Wrong Envelope by Liz Treacher – 4 stars

Such a sweet book! A really enjoyable reading experience

BOOKHAUL

A trip to the library ended up with these two making their way home with me..

THE OVERSTORY by RICHARD POWERS

The Overstory is a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of—and paean to—the natural world. From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, Richard Powers’s twelfth novel unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. There is a world alongside ours—vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe.

HEARTBURN by NORA EPHRON

Is it possible to write a sidesplitting novel about the breakup of the perfect marriage? If the writer is Nora Ephron, the answer is a resounding yes. For in this inspired confection of adultery, revenge, group therapy, and pot roast, the creator of Sleepless in Seattle reminds us that comedy depends on anguish as surely as a proper gravy depends on flour and butter.

Seven months into her pregnancy, Rachel Samstat discovers that her husband, Mark, is in love with another woman. The fact that the other woman has “a neck as long as an arm and a nose as long as a thumb and you should see her legs” is no consolation. Food sometimes is, though, since Rachel writes cookbooks for a living. And in between trying to win Mark back and loudly wishing him dead, Ephron’s irrepressible heroine offers some of her favorite recipes. Heartburn is a sinfully delicious novel, as soul-satisfying as mashed potatoes and as airy as a perfect soufflé.

And then I went book shopping with my niece – a fellow bookworm! – and I got these 3 from their sale table!!

KOKORO by KEITH YATSUHASHI

Masterfully combining fantasy, science fiction and Japanese mythology, the sequel to Kojiki takes us into the heart of a war that spreads across the worlds. 

On the planet of Higo, without the guidance of the Great Spirits, its people are descending into religious civil war. Baiyren Tallaenaq, Prince of Higo, is exiled after causing the death of his mother. 

Freed from his responsibilities and the looming war, he steals their greatest weapon a giant, sentient, armoured suit and uses it to open a Portal to a world he never knew existed. A world called ‘Earth ‘…home of a magical young woman called Keiko. 

THE STORY OF THE TREASURE SEEKERS by E.NESBIT

A legendary children’s story of sibling adventure, by the enchanting author of The Railway Children and Five Children and It, which has delighted countless generations of children

The Bastable children (Dora, Oswald, Dicky, Alice, Noel, and Horace Octavius—H.O.) live in London with their widowed father. Too poor to attend school, the children are left to their own devices, and they spend their days coming up with ingenious plans to restore their father’s fortune. Told from the first person perspective—which lends the narrative substantial bias—this was Nesbit’s first work. Refreshingly free of Victorian sentimentality, yet still wonderfully evocative of a bygone era, the tale makes for timeless reading. amd ensures Nesbit’s esteemed place in the canon of children’s literature.

A WIZARD OF EARTHSEA by URSULA LE GUIN

The first book of Earthsea is a tale of wizards, dragons and terrifying shadows. The island of Gont is a land famous for wizards. Of these, some say the greatest – and surely the greatest voyager – is the man called Sparrowhawk. As a reckless, awkward boy, he discovered the great power that was in him – with terrifying consequences. Tempted by pride to try spells beyond his means, Sparrowhawk lets loose an evil shadow-beast in his land. Only he can destroy it, and the quest leads him to the farthest corner of Earthsea.

A monthly subscription parcel from the fabulous Prudence & The Crow – book , sweets, mirror, stationery and tea!

SAVING FRANCESCA MAIER by CLAIRE WINGFIELD – copy for review from author

‘Moving and beautifully written … explores the complex ties of family and friendship with insight and compassion.’ Tracey Emerson

Can you leave the past in another country?

Francesca Maier knows little of her father’s home country or her parents’ life together before she was born. A summer in Berlin brings the past – and its secrets – alive. Adrift in a foreign city, she finds an unexpected friend in east Berliner Antonio – but what will he sacrifice to save her?

Saving Francesca Maier probes the secrets every family hides and the decisions we make in a volatile world.

And then to Netgalley….

CRUSHED by  KATE HAMER

Published by Faber – out May 2019

Phoebe stands on Pulteney Bridge, tights gashed from toe to thigh. The shock of mangled metal and blood-stained walls flashes through her mind as she tries to cover her face so she won’t be recognised. It wouldn’t do to be spotted looking like this. She’s missing a shoe. She feels sick.

Phoebe thought murder and murder happened. Thoughts are just thoughts, they said. Now she knows they were wrong.

At home, Phoebe arranges the scissors and knives so they point toward her mother’s room. She is exhausted, making sure there’s no trace of herself – not a single hair, not even her scent – left anywhere in the house. She must not let her thoughts unravel, because if they do, there’s no telling who might be caught in the crossfire, and Phoebe will have to live with the consequences.

ONLY A NOVEL by JANE AIKEN HODGE

Published by Agora Books

An intimate portrait of the two sides of the inimitable Jane Austen: the private life of a decorous and genteel young woman dedicated to family life; and the extraordinary life of an enigmatic author who shied away from the spotlight but illuminated, with her acerbic wit and observation, women’s lives ruled by English manners.Weaving in both historical records and family letters, Aiken Hodge’s endearing and affectionate biography of the esteemed author of Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Persuasionaims to unite these two Austens and give a more wholistic view of the great writer who influenced the cannon of English literature.

CURRENTLY READING

THE OVERSTORY by RICHARD POWERS

Captivated by this already so will carry on reading this all over Easter!

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Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead on the reading front –  it’s my birthday this week! 21 yet again!! Hoping for lots of book shaped presents!!

HAPPY READING!

Book Voucher + Bookshop = BOOKHAUL!! #bookblogger

You may remember that I challenged myself back in January to a ‘no buy January’ which went for everything from  books to clothes to CD’s.  Surprisingly, I found myself coping remarkably well as I still had books coming my way from Subscription boxes and copies for review, so I became very good at browsing in bookshops but not buying!  

This then carried through February and March and I did start to wonder if I was ever going to buy another book again…. well,, worry not as book buying is back in my life!! I had book tokens burning a hole in my purse so a trip to a nearby Waterstones resulted in 4 books leaving with me, and then another 2 decided to come home with me from a charity shop a few doors down!!   It was meant to be….. and I think more book shopping exploits may soon follow!!

So here’s a little look at the newbies on my shelves…

TOKYO UENO STATION by YU MIRI

Born in Fukushima in 1933, the same year as the Emperor, Kazu’s life is tied by a series of coincidences to Japan’s Imperial family and to one particular spot in Tokyo; the park near Ueno Station – the same place his unquiet spirit now haunts in death. It is here that Kazu’s life in Tokyo began, as a labourer in the run up to the 1964 Olympics, and later where he ended his days, living in the park’s vast homeless ‘villages’, traumatised by the destruction of the 2011 tsunami and enraged by the announcement of the 2020 Olympics. 

Akutagawa-award-winning author Yu Miri uses her outsider’s perspective as a Zainichi (Korean-Japanese) writer to craft a novel of utmost importance to this moment, a powerful rebuke to the Imperial system and a sensitive, deeply felt depiction of the lives of Japan’s most vulnerable people

THE WESTERN WIND by SAMANTHA HARVEY

15th century Oakham, in Somerset; a tiny village cut off by a big river with no bridge. When a man is swept away by the river in the early hours of Shrove Saturday, an explanation has to be found: accident, suicide or murder? The village priest, John Reve, is privy to many secrets in his role as confessor. But will he be able to unravel what happened to the victim, Thomas Newman, the wealthiest, most capable and industrious man in the village? And what will happen if he can’t?

Moving back in time towards the moment of Thomas Newman’s death, the story is related by Reve – an extraordinary creation, a patient shepherd to his wayward flock, and a man with secrets of his own to keep. Through his eyes, and his indelible voice, Harvey creates a medieval world entirely tangible in its immediacy. 

THE SALT PATH by RAYNOR WINN

Just days after Raynor learns that Moth, her husband of 32 years, is terminally ill, their home and livelihood is taken away. With nothing left and little time, they make the brave and impulsive decision to walk the 630 miles of the sea-swept South West Coast Path, from Somerset to Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall.

They have almost no money for food or shelter and must carry only the essentials for survival on their backs as they live wild in the ancient, weathered landscape of cliffs, sea and sky. Yet through every step, every encounter, and every test along the way, their walk becomes a remarkable journey.

The Salt Path is an honest and life-affirming true story of coming to terms with grief and the healing power of the natural world. Ultimately, it is a portrayal of home, and how it can be lost, rebuilt, and rediscovered in the most unexpected ways

THE WITCH’S KIND by LOUISA MORGAN

From the author of A Secret History of Witches comes an absorbing tale of love, sacrifice, family ties, and magic, set in the Pacific Northwest in the aftermath of World War II.

Barrie Anne Blythe and her aunt Charlotte have always known that the other residents of their small coastal community find them peculiar — two women living alone on the outskirts of town. It is the price of concealing their strange and dangerous family secret.

But two events threaten to upend their lives forever. The first is the arrival of a mysterious abandoned baby with a hint of power like their own. The second is the sudden reappearance of Barrie Anne’s long-lost husband — who is not quite the man she thought she married.

Together, Barrie Anne and Charlotte must decide how far they are willing to go to protect themselves — and the child they think of as their own — from suspicious neighbors, the government, and even their own family…

THE HOLIDAY HOME by FERN BRITTON

Two sisters, one house, a lifetime of secrets.

Every year, the Carew sisters embark on their yearly trip to the family holiday home, Atlantic House, set on a picturesque Cornish cliff.

Prudence, hard-nosed businesswoman and married to the meek and mild Francis, is about to get a shock reminder that you should never take anything for granted.

Constance, homemaker and loving wife to philandering husband Greg, has always been out-manoeuvred by her manipulative sibling. But now that Pru wants to get her hands on Atlantic House, Connie is not about to take things lying down.

When an old face reappears on the scene, years of simmering resentments reach boiling point. But little do the women know that a long-buried secret is about to bite them all on the bottom. Can Constance and Pru put their feuding aside for the sake of everyone else, or will this family holiday push them all over the edge?

TAKE NOTHING WITH YOU by PATRICK GALE

1970s Weston-Super-Mare and ten-year-old oddball Eustace, an only child, has life transformed by his mother’s quixotic decision to sign him up for cello lessons. Music-making brings release for a boy who is discovering he is an emotional volcano. He laps up lessons from his young teacher, not noticing how her brand of glamour is casting a damaging spell over his frustrated and controlling mother.

When he is enrolled in holiday courses in the Scottish borders, lessons in love, rejection, and humility are added to daily practice.

Drawing in part on his own boyhood, Patrick Gale’s new novel explores a collision between childish hero worship and extremely messy adult love lives.

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Interested to know if you’ve read any of these! Which one shall I start with?!

Post Christmas Book Haul!

What happens when you give a bookish person a book token or two for Christmas?! And then mix in a sale at Waterstones…. you get this!!!  And there’s still money left over so I might have to force myself to buy more!  How awful for me!

Anyway, here’s a little look at the latest books that have arrived for me to enjoy!  

The Little Book of Sloth Philosophy by Jennifer McCartney

Relax, unwind and soak up the wisdom of the sloth with the slowest page turner you’ll ever read.

From tidying and Hygge, to living Lagom, the endless pressure to be happier, live better, sleep soundly, and eat mindfully can be exhausting. But this year’s lifestyle trend finally delivers the perfect antidote – welcome to the year of the sloth.

Sloths are mindfulness in action. Contemplative, deliberate, relaxed, and focused. They resist the rat race, the incessant pressures from society to be more productive, and they don’t care how many steps they’ve logged on their fitness tracker. Long-limbed, a little bit shaggy, and a lot wide-eyed, they’re wonderful creatures, not to mention completely adorable.

Here you can enjoy take-it-slow wisdom inspired by sloths; including advice on sleep (more restorative than a 6am run), eating and ‘exercise’ (sloths are the original pioneers of slow food and yoga after all), work (did you know that lazy people have higher IQs?), family life, and love.

Dispelling over-complicated myths about productivity, this brilliant book confirms that it really is OK to be a sloth.

A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne

A psychological drama of cat and mouse, A Ladder to the Skyshows how easy it is to achieve the world if you are prepared to sacrifice your soul.

If you look hard enough, you can find stories pretty much anywhere. They don’t even have to be your own. Or so would-be writer Maurice Swift decides very early on in his career.

A chance encounter in a Berlin hotel with celebrated novelist Erich Ackermann gives him an opportunity to ingratiate himself with someone more powerful than him. For Erich is lonely, and he has a story to tell. Whether or not he should do so is another matter entirely.

Once Maurice has made his name, he sets off in pursuit of other people’s stories. He doesn’t care where he finds them – or to whom they belong – as long as they help him rise to the top.

Stories will make him famous but they will also make him beg, borrow and steal. They may even make him do worse.

The Glorious Life of the Oak by John Lewis-Stempel

The Glorious Life of the Oak explores our long relationship with this iconic tree; it considers the life-cycle of the oak, the flora and fauna that depend on the oak, the oak as medicine, food and drink, where Britain’s mightiest oaks can be found, and it tells of oak stories from folklore, myth and legend.

The Wood by John Lewis-Stempel

From ‘one of the best nature-writers of his generation’ (Country Life) and 2017 winner of the Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing, this BBC Radio 4 ‘Book of the Week’ is the story of a wood – both its natural daily life and its historical times. Cockshutt is a particular wood – three and half acres of mixed woodland in south west Herefordshire – but it stands as exemplar for all the small woods of England.

For four years John Lewis-Stempel managed the wood. He coppiced the trees and raised cows and pigs who roamed free there. This is the diary of the last year, by which time he had come to know it from the bottom of its beech roots to the tip of its oaks, and to know all the animals that lived there – the fox, the pheasants, the wood mice, the tawny owl – and where the best bluebells grew. For many fauna and flora, woods like Cockshutt are the last refuge. It proves a sanctuary for John too.

To read The Wood is to be amongst its trees as the seasons change, following an easy path until, suddenly the view is broken by a screen of leaves, or your foot catches on a root, or a bird startles overhead. Lyrical, informative, steeped in poetry and folklore, it is both very real and very magical.

Fierce Fairytales by Nikita Gill

Poet, writer, and Instagram sensation Nikita Gill returns with a collection of fairytales poetically retold for a new generation of women. 

Traditional fairytales are full of cliché and gender stereotypes:beautiful, silent princesses; ugly, jealous, and bitter villainesses; girls who need rescuing; and men who take the glory.

But in Nikita Gill’s new prose and poetry collection, Fierce Fairytales: And Other Stories to Stir Your Soul, she rewrites the fairytale classics and reworks their old-fashioned tropes into empowering and inspirational stories. Meet the grief-stricken Ursula, the troubled Wendy Darling, the wolf in the concrete jungle, and the courageous Gretel who can bring down monsters on her own…

Wabi Sabi by Beth Kempton

A whole new way of looking at the world – and your life – inspired by centuries-old Japanese wisdom.

Wabi sabi (“wah-bi sah-bi”) is a captivating concept from Japanese aesthetics, which helps us to see beauty in imperfection, appreciate simplicity and accept the transient nature of all things. With roots in Zen and the Way of Tea, the timeless wisdom of wabi sabi is more relevant than ever for modern life, as we search for new ways to approach life’s challenges and seek meaning beyond materialism.

Wabi sabi is a refreshing antidote to our fast-paced, consumption-driven world, which will encourage you to slow down, reconnect with nature, and be gentler on yourself. It will help you simplify everything, and concentrate on what really matters.

From honouring the rhythm of the seasons to creating a welcoming home, from reframing failure to ageing with grace, wabi sabi will teach you find more joy and inspiration throughout your perfectly imperfect life.

This book is the definitive guide to applying the principles of wabi sabi to transform every area of your life, and finding happiness right where you are.

Someone Like Me by M.R.Carey

SHE LOOKS LIKE ME. SHE SOUNDS LIKE ME. NOW SHE’S TRYING TO TAKE MY PLACE.

Liz Kendall wouldn’t hurt a fly. She’s a gentle woman devoted to bringing up her kids in the right way, no matter how hard times get.

But there’s another side to Liz—one which is dark and malicious. A version of her who will do anything to get her way, no matter how extreme or violent.

And when this other side of her takes control, the consequences are devastating.

The only way Liz can save herself and her family is if she can find out where this new alter-ego has come from, and how she can stop it. 

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