Saturday, 20 January 2018

Helium by Rudy Francisco #poetry #bookreview




THE BLURB

Helium is the debut poetry collection by internet phenom Rudy Francisco, whose work has defined poetry for a generation of new readers. Rudy's poems and quotes have been viewed and shared millions of times as he has traveled the country and the world performing for sell-out crowds. Helium is filled with work that is simultaneously personal and political, blending love poems, self-reflection, and biting cultural critique on class, race and gender into an unforgettable whole. Ultimately, Rudy's work rises above the chaos to offer a fresh and positive perspective of shared humanity and beauty.

Publisher;  Button Poetry

Published;  28th November 2017

QUICK BUY LINKS




MY REVIEW

I needed to read some poetry for a reading challenge I'm taking part in this year, and was drawn to this collection because of the cover! And that way of choosing books has served me well yet again, as I found this to be a stunning, honest and powerful collection of poems by a man I'd only seen clips off via Button Poetry online.  It has also made me wonder why I've been so scared of reading poetry over the years! I don't remember a particular poem putting me off in the past but I've always just found myself shying away from poetry because I found it hard to grasp in some cases.

He has an amazing way with words and covers a wide range of subjects from depression to racism, to love to hate, and hope and despair. And with some poems he only needs 13 words to convey such insight and impact and I found myself re-reading some as they just struck me as so engaging.

There were poems that were short and snappy, alongside those that went more in depth into a wide range of emotions and it has definitely made me more interested in the new world of poetry and will be searching out more to read in the future - I just hope they're all as good as this!!


Are you a poetry fan?  Would love to know your favourite collections as I'm hoping to pick up more from now on and be braver!!


 Thankyou to the publisher and NetGalley for the e-copy in return for a fair and honest review.

Friday, 19 January 2018

Persephone Readathon - February 2018


As one of my reading challenges for 2018 was to read more Persephone Books from my bookshelves, I was delighted to see that the lovely Jessie @dwellinpossibilityblog had announced that there was to be a Persephone Readathon!! Sign me up!! 

The Persephone Readathon will run from Thursday, February 1st through Sunday, February 11th. The goal is simply to read, review, and discuss Persephone books. 

Am making good progress with my reading challenge so far this year, but this will help me focus again at the start of February!  So I've chosen a couple of books I hope to get through - we will see how that goes!! One non-fiction, and one fiction is the plan!!


GARDENERS' CHOICE by EVELYN DUNBAR & CHARLES MAHONEY

The authors of Gardeners’ Choice had first collaborated on a mural at a school in Brockley and in 1936 were asked to write ‘a really new book’ about gardening. Cyril (always called Charles) Mahoney had taught Evelyn Dunbar at the Royal College of Art and she was asked by him to work at Brockley. When they did the book together it did not occur to either of them to sign their drawings, with the result that we have no idea apart from intuitive appraisal who drew what. In the same way we do not know if the text is Charles’s or Evelyn’s.
The writing is quite serious and is for the truly dedicated gardener – there are detailed descriptions of the plants that the two devoted gardeners would ideally choose for a garden. But the main delight of the book is the drawings – black and white illustrations that have never been reproduced since their first publication in 1937. 


STILL MISSING by BETH GUTCHEON

Alex Selky, going on seven, kissed his mother goodbye and set off for school, a mere two blocks away. He never made it. Desperate to find him, his mother begins a vigil that lasts for days, then weeks, then months. She is treated first as a tragic figure, then as a grief-crazed hysteric, then as anreminder of the bad fortune that can befall us all. Against all hope, despite false leads and thedesertions of her friends and allies she believes with all her heart that somehow, somewhere, Alex will be found alive.

Beth Gutcheon builds a heartrending suspense that culminates in a climax you will never forget


Do you have any Persephone on your bookshelves?! If so, then come join in the readathon fun!!


Hurry up 1st February!!

Millie Vanilla's Cupcake Cafe by Georgia Hill #bookreview


THE BLURB
Baking, broken hearts and beach weddings…it’s all happening in the gorgeous little seaside town of Berecombe this year!
Millie Vanilla’s Cupcake Café is struggling as a multi-national chain of cafés moves in on its territory. Despite baking up a storm in a bid to save it, Millie’s distracted by falling head over heels for the gorgeous, mysterious Jed.
As the seasons change in Berecombe, the loveable, quirky locals rally round Millie, and in return find their own happy ever afters. Millie’s delighted for her friends, but when she discovers Jed’s been keeping secrets, she faces a new dilemma – is it finally time to hang up her apron and start an exciting life somewhere new? Or is everything she’s ever wanted right under her nose, just waiting for her to reach out and take it?

Publisher;  Harper Impulse
Published;  11th January 2018
Quick Buying Links

MY REVIEW
This is a delicious treat for all fans of all things romance and chick-lit! The 3 novellas have been brought together under this one title and it works so well and keeps you turning the pages to find out how life will treat Millie in her cafe with the arrival of a new big chain, and how her friends all pull together to help her out - and how some of those closest to her betray her!

Millie is such an easy character to embrace - she has worked hard in her parents cafe after losing them so tragically, and all those who visit the cafe have become like her family, along with her rather cute dog Trevor! Her cafe is the heart of the community so when that is threatened by a new venture opening in town, she has to come up with ideas to keep her cafe relevant and keep the customers coming through the door!

It doesn't help that her head has been turned by a hunky new visitor to the town! Their friendship soon escalates and they seem like such a perfect couple, until Jed and his 'secret' is revealed and that puts a huge strain on the trust between them.

WE also get to follow the story of Dora who has had success in LA as an actress and is back in town. She used to go to school with Millie along with Mike who is directing a play in town - loved how eager Dora was to help out with the production and let feelings from the past resurface! And then there's a story from Christmas featuring Jed and his brother and how once more the cafe is in trouble and Millie has doubts as to whether she is doing the right thing anymore.

This had everything I loved about a story - full of humour, a real sense of community, lovable characters (young and old!) and an easy going pace that just kept you reading!


Thank you to HarperImpulse and NetGalley for the e-copy in return for a fair and honest review.


Thursday, 18 January 2018

The Hoarder by Jess Kidd #bookreview


THE BLURB

Maud Drennan - underpaid carer and unintentional psychic - is the latest in a long line of dogsbodies for the ancient, belligerent Cathal Flood. Yet despite her best efforts, Maud is drawn into the mysteries concealed in his filthy, once-grand home. She realises that something is changing: Cathal, and the junk-filled rooms, are opening up to her.

With only her agoraphobic landlady and a troop of sarcastic ghostly saints to help, Maud must uncover what lies beneath Cathal's decades-old hostility, and the strange activities of the house itself. And if someone has hidden a secret there, how far will they go to ensure it remains buried?


Publishing Date;  February 1st 2018

Publisher;  Canongate Books

Author Twitter Link;  @JessKiddHerself


Pre-order Links;


Amazon UK   £14.99 H/B


Book Depository   £13.41  H/B

Waterstones  £14.99  H/B



MY REVIEW

Where do I even begin??!! I loved Himself and it made it on to my Top Books of 2017, so I've been so eager to read this and was lucky to have been sent an early copy from the publisher.  

  I just couldn't put this down!! I read it in one sitting!!  That pretty much tells you my thoughts on this book!  I frigging loved it!!  It made me laugh, it made me cry, it even made me forget to breathe at times as the tension started to build and the mysteries began to be revealed!  A pretty comprehensive and perfect reading experience all wrapped up in one book!!

It starts off quite quietly as we get acquainted with Maud Drennan who has the unenviable job of 'helping' the prickly Mr Flood who has a serious hoarding problem.  Of course he doesn't see it as a problem so does all he can to prove as unhelpful as humanly possible, but there is something slightly different about Maud who doesn't flinch at the abuse he throws her way, and Cathal Flood slowly responds to her in the way where others have given up and  been forced out.  During their time together he starts to share stories and opens up to her.  Maud has her own secrets too and she becomes fascinated by the stories she hears, and the house itself begins to give up its' secrets as she clears things out and she finds herself involved in mysteries going back many years.

Maud also shares the stories she hears with her landlady, the wonderful Renata who is agoraphobic, and the ghostly Saints that follow Maud wherever she goes, and a world of intrigue soon opens up that maybe they should have left well alone. Even the Saints warn her off from exploring more - if only she listened to them!!

All the characters in this book were so different and complex but lovable in their own special ways.  Maud had her own difficult and secretive past and that was quite obvious at times, but that helped her put on a front especially when she first entered the world of Cathal.  Renata is a delight to read about - the way she took on trying to solve the mysteries was hilarious and there were many touching scenes involving her where it was obvious how much Maud and her were devoted to each other.  And as for Cathal, despite his abuse and prickly demeanour, you get to see different sides to him through his concern for a fox, his hatred for his son and the sadness over losses he has suffered over the years.

This book had it all for me - it was so cleverly paced so there were never any dips in where the story was heading, and it just had me captivated from start to finish!  I became so attached to all the characters that I've not really stopped thinking about them since I put the book down so can't wait to pick this up again and enjoy all the dark humour, mystery, supernatural twists and human drama all over again!! More please Jess!!



Thank you to the publishers and author for the advanced reading copy in return for a fair and honest review.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Top Ten Tuesday - Bookish Goals for 2018


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme now hosted by http://www.thatartsyreadergirl.com/  and I thought it was about time I took part to try and focus my reading a little more!!

So here's my Top Ten of how I hope my reading will go over the year!


1. Cut back on buying books

Yep easier said than done I know!  But as I constantly seem to be decluttering at the moment to release shelf space on the overcrowded bookshelves, I think the time has come where I need to reign in the buying a little...

2.  Stop wasting time online

I know it is where we go to find out bookish news online and read fabulous blogs, but I do find myself often wasting time scrolling through stuff when I could be reading!  Time to turn off the Wi-Fi me thinks!!

3.  Get my NetGalley shelf under control

Despite not visiting there very often anymore - honest! - I seem to have a number of unread books on my Kindle that have been there for sometime, so I need to get through those as I was so eager to read them when I downloaded them to begin with!

4.  Organise my bookshelves

They seem a little - ok a lot! - random at the moment in how I organise them and signed books are mixed in with a variety of copies so I'd just like there to be a little more order and to make it easier for me to find things when I'm looking for a certain book!

5.  Organise the Kindle

Not sure if you do the same as me, but there are a lot of freebies that I've downloaded over the years hoping to get round to and that sounded interesting reads, but once they are on my Kindle I seem to forget about them!  So I'd like to make a list of the ones I have and start planning on reading even just one a month would do!  

6.  Take part in more Tags

I don't often take part as I never know the best place to look for Tags that are doing the rounds, and then I'm never organised enough to get a post up in time! So I need to search out more organised bloggers than I and see what I can join in with as they're so much fun to read and join in with!

7.  Stop losing notebooks

Whenever I read books for review I often have a notebook by my side to jot down notes on characters/plots etc as I'm rubbish at remembering what is going on half the time! But then I do have a tendency to misplace a notebook that I'm using and thus lose all the notes! 

8.  Organise my Blog

Happy to admit that I'm not the most competent when it comes to computers, so my Blog has been put together with no real planning - or clue what I'm doing! - so I'd like to learn better ways of presenting things as it often looks messy and hopefully streamline the whole operation!

9.  Complete my reading challenges

Doing well so far with my 'Year of Persephone' reading challenge so hoping that continues!  Also making good progress with my GoodReads Challenges so hope I can remain committed and the dreaded reading slump doesn't strike!

10. Carry on enjoying reading

I often think that when we review books and have blogs, reading often becomes a chore!  So I'm hoping that I can remember why I read in the first place, to keep finding books that I love and become emotionally attached to and not to ever get in that zone of feeling that I'm just reading for the sake of reading and keeping up with reviews


Seems like a possible list of targets..... I hope!!  Fingers crossed I can stick to them all! 

HAPPY READING!!

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris #bookreview


THE BLURB

The incredible story of the Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist and the woman he loved.

Lale Sokolov is well-dressed, a charmer, a ladies’ man. He is also a Jew. On the first transport from Slovakia to Auschwitz in 1942, Lale immediately stands out to his fellow prisoners. In the camp, he is looked up to, looked out for, and put to work in the privileged position of Tätowierer– the tattooist – to mark his fellow prisoners, forever. One of them is a young woman, Gita, who steals his heart at first glance.

His life given new purpose, Lale does his best through the struggle and suffering to use his position for good. 

This story, full of beauty and hope, is based on years of interviews author Heather Morris conducted with real-life Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov. It is heart-wrenching, illuminating, and unforgettable




Amazon UK  -  £10.59 H/B


Waterstones  -  £12.99 H/B


MY REVIEW


This is a powerful novel based on the true love story of Lale and Gita, who met when he was put in charge of tattooing those who were brought to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1942. Lale himself was a prisoner, but everyone there found themselves doing all they could to survive and get through the horrors they were witness to everyday. In his role as Tattooist it allowed him a little more freedom, a little extra food (which he then shared with others) and the ability to meet more people, and that is how Gita caught his eye when he had to tattoo the number on her arm.

Their relationship and their time in such a horrific place is sensitively portrayed throughout this book. With many books of this type some authors feel the need to shock with graphic descriptions of what was happening, but this author didn't feel the need to do that and to go into too much detail of the horror that was part of these peoples' lives. As a reader you still sensed the darkness and it was seeing how those living in the camps dealt with it which was a fascinating aspect. They had to focus on the small things - a small piece of chocolate, a message from the outside, the kindness of strangers - to see out each day and were living with hope that their suffering would soon be over.

It is a story full of horror but of hope and the strength of human spirit in the face of adversity and Lale and Gita were such an admirable, brave couple and I'm glad I got to read their story, as many stories were unable to be told.



Thank you to the publishers and Readers First for my advanced reading copy in return for a fair and honest review.


Sunday, 14 January 2018

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang #bookreview


THE BLURB
"Exquisite and adventurous" -- Bustle, "11 New Fiction Books You Need"

Orphaned, raised by wolves, and the proud owner of a horned pig named Merlin, Weylyn Grey knew he wasn’t like other people. But when he single-handedly stopped that tornado on a stormy Christmas day in Oklahoma, he realized just how different he actually was.

That tornado was the first of many strange events that seem to follow Weylyn from town to town, although he doesn’t like to take credit. As amazing as these powers may appear, they tend to manifest themselves at inopportune times and places. From freak storms to trees that appear to grow over night, Weylyn’s unique abilities are a curiosity at best and at worst, a danger to himself and the woman he loves. But Mary doesn’t care. Since Weylyn saved her from an angry wolf on her eleventh birthday, she’s known that a relationship with him isn’t without its risks, but as anyone who’s met Weylyn will tell you, once he wanders into your life, you’ll wish he’d never leave.

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance tells the story of Weylyn Grey’s life from the perspectives of the people who knew him, loved him, and even a few who thought he was just plain weird. Although he doesn’t stay in any of their lives for long, he leaves each of them with a story to tell. Stories about a boy who lives with wolves, great storms that evaporate into thin air, fireflies that make phosphorescent honey, and a house filled with spider webs and the strange man who inhabits it.

There is one story, however, that Weylyn wishes he could change: his own. But first he has to muster enough courage to knock on Mary’s front door.

In this warm debut novel, Ruth Emmie Lang teaches us about adventure and love in a beautifully written story full of nature and wonder.


Author Website;  https://www.ruthemmielang.com/

Online Shopping Links





MY REVIEW

Magical.  Captivating.  Wonderful.  Absorbing.  Enchanting.  Enthralling.  Whimsical.  Spellbinding.  Charming.  Delightful.  

Just a few words I noted down as I read this book! It's fair to say I adored every single page of this book!!  This is a book that was brought to my attention by the BookTuber Simon Savidge, and I'm so glad I saw him rave about it as it's one of the most wonderful books I've ever read!

It's the story of Weylyn Grey.  Raised by wolves from the age of 4 he has always spent his life on the outside, not fitting with the norm.  But this book shows us how his life impacts on people who come into contact with him, and how it changes them and him!  Plus there's a magical pet pig called Merlin - what  more could you want?!!

As I knew very little of what to expect from this book when I started it, I think this made it even more of a magical read and the way the story was told was also really clever and allowed you to see the story from different views of the people he came into contact with and over so many years.  The character Weylyn is such an extraordinary being, that it is difficult not to fall in love with him almost immediately, and the way he touches the life of others just by being himself is enchanting.  

It's a story about belonging, trusting, believing, hope ..... I frigging love this book!!!