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Monday, 23 May 2022

#BookReview SOUR GRAPES by DAN RHODES

 


ABOUT THE BOOK

‘Dan Rhodes is a true original’ – Hilary Mantel

When the sleepy English village of Green Bottom hosts its first literary festival, the good, the bad and the ugly of the book world descend upon its leafy lanes. But the villagers are not prepared for the peculiar habits, petty rivalries and unspeakable desires of the authors. And they are certainly not equipped to deal with Wilberforce Selfram, the ghoul-faced, ageing enfant terrible who wreaks havoc wherever he goes.

Sour Grapes is a hilarious satire on the literary world which takes no prisoners as it skewers authors, agents, publishers and reviewers alike.


PUBLISHED BY LIGHTNING BOOKS


PURCHASE LINKS





MY REVIEW

This was the perfect silly, satirical read that I needed! so thank you Dan Rhodes!!! It's a hilarious look at the literary world, and all who inhabit it, set against the backdrop of a literary festival and the author goes to town, with great relish it seems, with making fun at the madness of various characters that can be found from the highs of the publishing world and all those beneath!

It is full of far fetched and hilarious situations that I found to be utterly delightful and often found myself grinning and chuckling away at the madness of it all, but it has that more-ish quality that I love in a story! Just one more page, one more chapter... ooh it's the end! how did that happen!!

It shows up perfectly the silliness of the world we find ourselves living in and it's fun trying to work out the inspiration behind many of the characters. The locals of Green Bottom have no idea what's about to hit them when the festival turns up in town and chaos ensues! A must have for any bookshelf!! Go buy it!!

★★★★★

#BookReview HOPE FOR THE RAILWAY GIRLS by MAISIE THOMAS

 


ABOUT THE BOOK

The brand new Spring Railway Girls novel set in Manchester during WWII. Perfect for fans of Nancy Revell, Daisy Styles and Margaret Dickinson.
___________________

Manchester, 1942

A new year brings new hope for the railway girls.

Alison's romance with the charming Dr Maitland is blossoming, but then she is posted away from Manchester. Working in a canteen isn't part of her plan, nor is meeting her beau's old girlfriend. One who just happens to want him back.

Margaret is supportive of her friend's new relationship until she realises exactly who he is. Torn between keeping her secret and warning Alison, she turns to Joan for help.

Working in Lost Property wouldn't be Joan's first choice of job, but with a baby on the way she knows she can't continue being a station porter. She's also eligible to be evacuated but could she leave Bob - and Gran - behind?

Being a railway girl isn't always easy but together they can overcome every challenge that stands in their way.

PUBLISHED BY  PENGUIN


PURCHASE LINK


MY REVIEW

Book 5 in the Railway Girls series and it feels just like catching up with long lost friends! Being back amongst this group of wonderful women in the trying times of 1942, allowed you to reconnect with characters from the previous books and see just how their lives were changing. It can easily be read as a standalone if you've not had the pleasure of reading the other 4 books, but I guarantee you'll want to read those if you start with this one!

Alison, Margaret and Joan are the main characters in this installment and there are a number of challenges that they all face. Joan is facing up to working life while pregnant so has a new mindset as she looks forward to the future as a mother. And Alison is all loved up with Dr Maitland, but a new posting sees her meeting up with an ex of his and that sets off new worries - Margaret is also a little concerned about the romance and has that dilemma of wondering whether to get involved and say something or just see how things play out. That friend quandry that we all face in one way or another over time!!

The women all have to face the attitudes of the time that mean that working women are still looked down on and not taken seriously so it's always fascinating to see them overcome these pressures and prove they're just as good as anybody else. I also love that it gives a good impression of sacrifices made as well as the feeling that the women get from working. They feel a great sense of pride in the work that they do and that they're making a valuable contribution to the world they live in and for the future with changing attitudes of those they work alongside.

As the storylines play it, it's always full of drama and the emotions often run high but there's always that hope and general feeling of fulfilment and happiness amongst the women that they're part of a change in society along with dealing with things that happened in their pasts and allowing them to move on.

Another fabulous read from Maisie and I'm already counting down the days until the next installment is released later in the year!!


★★★★★

Saturday, 21 May 2022

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up - 21st May 2022

 


Bonjour!!  Happy Saturday!! It's Rose time in the garden and that makes me happy!  The slugs and snail in the garden do NOT make me happy!!  Aarrgghh!!

On to books - it's been a very good reading week with another 5 finished off the pile.... if only I could have as much enthusiasm for writing reviews at the moment!! I'm going to have a mountain of To Be Reviewed books soon!! scary!  Another 2 have been added to the Netgalley shelves along with some lovely book post too!  Here's my look back!

BOOKS FINISHED












BOOKHAUL

Starting over at Netgalley...

ISAAC AND THE EGG by BOBBY PALMER
publication date - August 2022

Find hope in the unexpected in this unforgettable debut novel about grief and friendship, for readers of Patrick Ness, Sarah Winman and Max Porter.

Isaac stands alone on a bridge and screams into the river below.

And then, an answer. A cry of despair perhaps even greater than his own.

The sound draws Isaac into the woods. What he finds there changes everything.

It's a tale that might seem familiar. A broken man and an unexpected guest, who can't stay forever. But real life isn't a story. It's full of truths, messy and surprising, that Isaac has been hiding from his new, improbable friend...

Powerful, hopeful and utterly extraordinary, this is a truly original tale of love and loss, told with warmth and imaginative humour, from an unforgettable new voice in fiction.

THAT BONESETTER WOMAN by FRANCES QUINN
publicaton date - October 2022

Meet Endurance Proudfoot – England’s strongest woman, boldest adventurer and first female bonesetter.

Endurance Proudfoot only wants one thing in life – to follow her father and grandfather into the family business of bonesetting. It’s a physically demanding job, requiring strength, nerves of steel and discretion – and not the job for a woman.

But Durie isn’t like other women. She’s strong and stubborn and determined to get her own way. And she finds that she has a talent at bonesetting – her big hands and lack of grace have finally found their natural calling


I was very thankful to be sent a copy of the following for review....

THE OTHER SIDE OF NIGHT by ADAM HANDY
publication date - September 2o22

The Other Side of Night begins with a man named David Asha writing about his biggest regret: his sudden separation from his son, Elliot. In his grief, David tells a story.

Next, we step into the life of Harriet Kealty, a police officer trying to clear her name after a lapse of judgment. She discovers a curious inscription in a secondhand book—a plea: Help me, he’s trying to kill me. Who wrote this note? Who is “he”?

This note leads Harri to David Asha, who was last seen stepping off a cliff. Police suspect he couldn’t cope after his wife’s sudden death. Still, why would this man jump and leave behind his young son? Quickly, Harri’s attention zeroes in on a person she knows all too well.

Ben Elmys: once the love of her life. A surrogate father to Elliot Asha and trusted friend to the Ashas.

Ben may also be a murderer.


I was also very lucky to win a competition via Historia Magazine and won these two....


LIONHEART by BEN KANE

REBEL. LEADER. BROTHER. KING.

1179. Henry II is King of England, Wales, Ireland, Normandy, Brittany and Aquitaine. The House of Plantagenet reigns supreme.

But there is unrest in Henry's house. Not for the first time, his family talks of rebellion.

Ferdia - an Irish nobleman taken captive during the conquest of his homeland - saves the life of Richard, the king's son. In reward for his bravery, he is made squire to Richard, who is already a renowned warrior.

Crossing the English Channel, the two are plunged into a campaign to crush rebels in Aquitaine. The bloody battles and gruelling sieges which followed would earn Richard the legendary name of Lionheart.

But Richard's older brother, Henry, is infuriated by his sibling's newfound fame. Soon it becomes clear that the biggest threat to Richard's life may not be rebel or French armies, but his own family...

CRUSADER  by BEN KANE

KING. POLITICIAN. WARRIOR. CONQUEROR.

1189. Richard the Lionheart's long-awaited goal comes true as he is crowned King of England. Setting his own kingdom in order, he prepares to embark on a gruelling crusade to reclaim Jerusalem.

With him on every step of the journey is Ferdia, his loyal Irish follower. Together they travel from southern France to Italy, to the kingdom of Sicily and beyond.

Finally poised to sail to the Holy Land, Richard finds a bitter two-year-long siege awaiting him. And with it, the iconic Saracen leader responsible for the loss of Jerusalem, Saladin.

No one can agree who should fill the empty throne of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and Saladin's huge army shadows Richard's every move. Conditions are brutal, the temperatures boiling, and on the dusty field of Arsuf, the Lionheart and his soldiers face their ultimate test...
 

And the latest book as part of my Peirene Press subscription..

OF SAINTS AND MIRACLES by MANUEL ASTUR

Marcelino lives alone on his parents’ farm, set deep in the beautiful but impoverished countryside of Asturias, northern Spain. It’s the place where he grew up, where he doted on his beloved baby brother, where he protected his mother from his father’s drunken rages. But when Marcelino’s brother tricks him out of his land and home, a moment of uncontrolled anger sparks a chain of events that can’t be reversed. Marcelino flees into the wild peaks, dense woods and abandoned villages that surround his home, becoming a cult hero as he evades the authorities.

Into this unconventional thriller, Astur weaves fables about the sun and the moon, tales of death and love, and reveals a community and a way of life that may soon be lost. Of Saints and Miracles is a sensuous and poetic portrayal of an outcast’s struggle to survive in a changing world, and a seamless blend of the tragic and the majestic.


CURRENTLY READING




HAPPY READING












Friday, 20 May 2022

#BookReview THE SWIMMERS by CHLOE LANE

 



ABOUT THE BOOK

Longlisted for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards 2021

‘Darkly funny, desperately sad, brilliantly written. I absolutely loved it’ Claire Fuller, author of Unsettled Ground

This book is spectacular. A perfect blend of devastating humour and sadness’ Emily Austin, author of Everyone in This Room Will Someday be Dead

A sharp, quirky story of love and loss from a bold New Zealand talent.

When an affair ends badly and her career in the arts implodes, 26-year-old Erin returns to lie low at the family farm with her chronically ill mother, and her aunt-turned-carer. She learns shortly before her arrival that her mother has decided to take matters into her own hands and end her life – the following Tuesday.

Erin finds herself navigating an eccentric neighbourhood and her complicated family, as she prepares for the loss of a fiery, independent woman.

A former competitive swimmer like her mother and aunt, Erin must find the strength to honour her mother’s final wishes and to reconcile their difficult relationship in the days they have left.

PUBLISHED BY GALLIC PRESS


PURCHASE LINKS


Amazon



MY REVIEW

Wow! This was one of those books that is a heavy read considering the topic BUT is lifted by the wonderful use of humour that many of us use in reality when dealing with an event that rocks our foundations and try to find a way of coping with it all.


Erin finds herself jobless and loveless after an office romance goes sour. So she goes to spend the holiday weekend with family - her aunt and uncle, and her terminally ill mother. The news she hears when she arrives shocks her and we are witnesses to the turmoil and brutal reality of that decision. How do you come to terms with the fact that your mother wants to take their own life?

It approaches the subject of assisted dying in a very clever and perceptive way. It doesn't sugar coat it, but you see it in real terms and watching the different women involved coming to terms with the idea was brilliantly portrayed and played out. And that's where the humour comes in to its' own! Just because there's a heavy situation doesn't mean that life doesn't throw up funny thoughts or circumstances and it takes the edge off perfectly. Their pasts are all explored and the importance of swimming is really at the core of it all -that sense of freedom and escapism that they felt when in the water is guiding them through the troubled times they find themselves facing now. The characters are all very strong females and I loved that angle which shaped their way of dealing with what life had thrown their way.

This was a stunning read and is a book that makes you think. A poignant story.

★★★★★


My thanks to the team at Gallic Press for my early copy in return for a fair and honest review.

Saturday, 14 May 2022

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up - 14th May 2022

 


Hello all! Happy Saturday!!  Been enjoying some Spring sunshine this week, and been butterfly spotting! I love this time of year! Everything is peak green and frothy in the wild and it makes me very happy.... and a little sneezy!!

Book wise it's not been too bad with 3 books finished - all 5 star reads too!  There may have been a couple of additions to my Netgalley shelf too along with some lovely book post!

Here's my look back!!

BOOKS FINISHED

A TERRIBLE KINDNESS by JO BROWNING WROE - 5 STARS




BUTTERFLIES by JULIANNA PHOTOPOULOS - 5 STARS
publication date - 14th June 2022



BOOKHAUL

Beginning with Netgalley additions.....

THE WOMEN WHO SAVED THE ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE by MATTHEW KELLY
publication date - May 31st 2022

A vibrant history of English landscape preservation over the last 150 years, told through the lives of four remarkable women

In Britain today, a mosaic of regulations protects the natural environment and guarantees public access to green spaces. But this was not always so. Over the last 150 years, activists have campaigned tirelessly for the right to roam through the countryside and the vital importance of preserving Britain’s natural beauty.
 
Matthew Kelly traces the history of landscape preservation through the lives of four remarkable women: Octavia Hill, Beatrix Potter, Pauline Dower, and Sylvia Sayer. From the commons of London to the Lake District, Northumberland, and Dartmoor, these women protected the English landscape at a crucial period through a mixture of environmental activism, networking, and sheer determination.
 
They grappled with the challenges that urbanization and industrial modernity posed to human well-being as well as the natural environment. By tirelessly seeking to reconcile the needs of particular places to the broader public interest they helped re-imagine the purpose of the English countryside for the democratic age.
 


CAGED LITTLE BIRDS by LUCY BANKS 
publication date - September 2022

The public think Ava’s a monster. Ava thinks she’s blameless.

In prison, they called her Butcher Bird – but Ava’s not in prison any more. Released after 25 years to a new identity and a new home, Ava finally has the quiet life she’s always wanted.

But someone knows who she is. The lies she’s told are about to unravel.


And I was very thankful to receive this book from Gallic Press for review....

THE MARTINS by DAVID FOENKINOS
publication date - June 2022

‘Go out into the street and the first person you see will be the subject of your next book.’

This is the challenge a struggling Parisian writer sets himself, imagining his next heroine might be the mysterious young woman who often stands smoking near his apartment … instead it’s octogenarian Madeleine. She’s happy to become the subject of his book – but first she needs to put away her shopping.

Is it really true, the writer wonders, that every life is the stuff of novels, or is his story doomed to be hopelessly banal? As he gets to know Madeleine and her family, he’ll be privy to their secrets: lost loves, marital problems and workplace worries. And he’ll soon realise he is not the impartial bystander he intended to be, but a catalyst for major changes in the lives of his characters.

Told with Foenkinos’s characteristic irony and self-deprecating humour, yet filled with warmth, The Martins is a compelling tale of the family next door which raises questions about what it means to be ‘ordinary’, and about the blurred lines between truth and fiction.


CURRENTLY READING







HAPPY READING!!





Tuesday, 10 May 2022

It's back!!! My 20 Books of Summer 2022 list! #20BooksOfSummer22 #ReadingChallenge

 


I can't believe it is that time of year already!! The wonderful reading challenge hosted by the lovely Cathy over at 746 Books is back for the 2022 version!!  And it's just as relaxed as every other year!!  Choose your own target - be it 10,15 or the full monty of 20 - and then from 1st June to the 1st September is the time frame allowed to complete your challenge!

And it's that chill that you can change your target if needs be, and even the list of books you initially choose can be changed if they're not working out for you!! And that's why I love this challenge!! It's a great way for me to attack the out of control TBR mountain and I've had lots of fun this year deciding which plan of attack to take..... should I read lots off the Netgalley shelf?  Or go for all the real life books I have??!!

And I've come to the decision to attack the paperbacks that are clogging up my bookshelves! They've been sat there for years and I keep meaning to get round to them but failing miserably!! But I've also grouped them in pairs under very tenuous links......it made sense to me when I was coming up with the list so forgive me for the madness!!

So here it is.....the book stack for Summer 2022!


Now sit back and enjoy my silly links! Click on the book title to take you to the GoodReads page if you want to know more about each book!!

GIRLS' NAMES



BIRDS



BEGINNING WITH S!



BODY PARTS!



CELEBRITY ICONS



GIRL IN THE TITLE!


WILDLIFE



FLOWERS



THINGS IN THE TITLE!



WATER ACTIVITIES!




📚📚📚

So there we have it! I am hoping to complete the full monty of 20 but I already have my doubts!! But I will try my best and have a blooming good time taking part in it all with everyone!! Bring on those hot sunny days so that we can all devote as many hours as possible to completing our challenge!!!

Good luck everyone!! And if you're not signed up already, come join in the fun!!


#GuestPost #Extract A BURNING LIE by CLAIRE SHELDON #PublicationDay @RubyFiction @ChocLituk

 


Delighted to be with you today to share an extract from the amazing new thriller from CLAIRE SHELDON!  It's publication Day for A BURNING LIE and this is another one of those books that you NEED in your library!!  Links to buy down below!!



Release Day Extract: A Burning Lie by Claire Sheldon

A Burning Lie is the third book in the gripping ‘Lisa Carter’ series by thriller author Claire Sheldon, published by Ruby Fiction. To celebrate publication day, here’s an exclusive extract from the beginning of the book. Just what are DI Chris Jackson and Jen Garner going to have to deal with this time? You’re sure to want to find out after reading this!

‘Come on, Gabe.’ Dean raced up the stairs towards where the band were playing.

‘Slow down! I’m coming, I’m coming.’ Light emanated from the stage as the lead singer of the young support band sang. ‘See, I told you there was no need to rush. The support band’s still playing,’ Gabe said as he caught up with Dean, who was now standing in the doorway and looking excitedly into the packed hall.

‘I just want to make sure we can get to our usual spot,’ Dean replied, grabbing Gabe’s hand. They made their way through the packed room, where everyone was standing shoulder to shoulder and any space they could find would come at a premium. As they continued to squeeze their way past people, Gabe suddenly noticed a strange smell.

‘Can you smell that?’ he shouted towards Dean, who was too preoccupied in trying to get them a prime spot. It’s probably just someone’s perfume, he thought, as Dean continued to pull him along, but it didn’t really smell like perfume exactly. It was sort of citrusy though …

‘Sorry, sorry, excuse me.’ Dean stopped, turned and looked at him. ‘Here we go.’

‘Dean, I can’t move, let alone breathe!’ Gabe protested, looking around at all the people they had displaced just to get into the middle of the room.

‘Once the support band comes off, there’ll be plenty of space. Everyone heads to the bar, remember?’

Gabe hoped so, but this was a sold-out concert. He couldn’t help but feel uneasy, although he had no idea why; there seemed to be strange atmosphere tonight, and he didn’t think it was just to do with the other revellers Dean had annoyed in his quest to get to their spot.

‘Who’s ready for the McDermitts?’ the support band singer shouted, causing people to scream with excitement and surge forward, pushing Gabe and Dean as they did.

Gabe really hoped that Dean was right about the crowd thinning out. Right now, he was starting to feel a little bit trapped …

***

DI Chris Jackson

Thursday night

‘Good evening, Inspector.’ Chris scrunched his eyes closed and opened them again as he listened to the voice on the other end of the phone. ‘I’m phoning to tell you that there have been reports of a series of explosions in the centre of Nottingham. We’ve been instructed to call your team in.’

‘Where are we needed?’ Chris jumped up from his sofa and then regretted it as the room immediately started spinning. He was forced to sit down again as a sense of dread descended over him.

‘Detective Inspector Shufflebotham is on the scene as SIO and has asked that you make your way to the main entrance of the university.’

‘All received. I’ll be there.’ Chris got up more slowly from the sofa. It didn’t help that he now felt sick from the thought of what he might be facing once he got into Nottingham. He’d seen the aftermath of enough fires to know what could await him, and what was worse was it was likely to be young people involved this time.

He had spent the previous afternoon in a MRI scanner at the Queen’s Medical Centre, having his brain and spinal cord assessed for signs of what was causing the symptoms that were now part of his daily existence. It was becoming a regular occurrence: he’d previously been rushed in for an emergency MRI scan after going to see his doctor with rising concerns about dizziness and headaches. Six months on, he was still haunted by the grainy image of the white mass that had appeared on the original scans. As a result, he was now under investigation for a potentially life-altering disease that could change everything about his current existence. Both him and his consultant knew what was coming, but the reality of it all was too scary to think about …

Leaving his cat a plate of food, Chris grabbed his backpack and rushed out of his flat. As he drove his car out of the underground car park and towards Nottingham, he turned on his radio in hope there would be some information about what was happening on the local news broadcasts – though it didn’t seem to have filtered through just yet. He joined the almost empty A52 and made his way into the city to meet the team, where they’d hopefully all find out what the hell was going on. His medical worries would just have to wait, just like they had already been waiting for the past two years.

Jen Garner

Jen had to force her eyes to stay open as she attempted to locate where the ringing noise was coming from before it woke anyone else up – the kids being her main concern. She felt completely shattered, having completed her first day back at work with Nottingham’s Special Ops team under DI Chris Jackson. She’d previously worked a case with Chris and her old team, which had become the catalyst for getting her back into full time policing.

‘Detective Garner, it’s control. Sorry to disturb you this early.’

‘What’s going on?’ Is it normal to be called in the early hours on the second day of a new job?

‘I’m afraid there’s been a serious incident in Nottingham and your assistance has been requested at the university. DI Jackson will meet you there.’

‘Okay, I’ll head in now,’ Jen said as she got out of bed and stretched. Well, this is what I signed up for, what I wanted … isn’t it?

‘James,’ she whispered.

‘Eh?’ came the typical half-asleep response.

‘I’ve got to go into work. Something’s kicked off and we’ve all been called in. Will you make sure the kids get to school? I’ll get back as soon as I can.’ Not bothering to wait for a reply, she leant over and kissed him. ‘Love you.’

Jen rushed down the stairs as the adrenaline hit. She hadn’t been expecting anything big to happen here in Nottingham; her new boss had already warned her that this was “local-level policing” and not what she had been used to in the past. She threw on her jacket and then was out of the door, into the car and on her way to the city and whatever awaited her there.

From: A Burning Lie by Claire Sheldon

© Claire Sheldon


About the Book:

When a deadly explosion brings secrets and lies to light …

A city shaken to its foundations by a fire in a well-known music venue. A nightclub owner seemingly more concerned about money than the lives of the young people who fill the dancefloor at the end of every week. A dangerous bomber still on the loose.

All things that Detective Jen Garner must face in her first week of local level policing whilst trying to start afresh and finally make a break with her past.

Working alongside DI Chris Jackson, it’s crucial that Jen connects the dots to bring the culprit to justice. But it seems that everywhere Jen turns there is somebody with something to hide – and whilst she and her team attempt to unravel a web of lies years in the making, could the bomber be getting ready to strike again?


Buying links: 

Kindle: https://amzn.to/3wbKi9Z

 Kobo: https://bit.ly/3w7Utg2

 Apple Books: https://apple.co/3MYHGTZ 

Nook: https://bit.ly/3IiEijY


About the Author:



 Claire lives in Nottingham with her family, a cat called Whiskers and a dog called Podrick. She suffers from Multiple Sclerosis and as a result of the disease had to reduce her hours working in insurance for an Insolvency Insurer. This spare time enabled her to study a creative writing course which inspired her to write her debut, Perfect Lie. When Claire isn’t working she enjoys reading crime novels and listening to music – the band Jimmy Eat World is her biggest muse. Claire is also an avid reader and book blogger. The inspiration for her novels comes from the hours spent watching The Bill with her grandparents and auntie; then later, Spooks and other detective programmes like Morse, A Touch of Frost and Midsomer Murders.

Find out more about Claire here:

https://twitter.com/ClaireEESheldon 

https://www.facebook.com/clairesheldonauthor