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Sunday, 31 December 2017

2018 Reading Challenge #2 - Magic Square



I have decided to join in with another Reading Challenge for 2018 and this one is courtesy of the wonderful The Book Vipers - GoodReads group and looks set to test us all - mainly in searching out titles to fit all the topics! I may be requesting suggestions for some of them so get your thinking caps on please! I need help... in more ways than one!!

So the challenge is to read a book that fits the titles below! There are 3 levels that can be done - 9 squares, 16 squares or the full 25! I'm aiming for the 25 so we will see how we go!



Have already started a little looksie through my shelves to see what books I can get read that fit the topics! Here's my initial list - with a number of gaps! - so hopefully I can complete the challenge!


A Classic  - lots of candidates on my bookshelves so will choose later!

A Book About Money - struggling with this one so any suggestions welcome!!

A Book Under 100 Pages - not found any on my shelves yet so might have to go shopping!

A Book Of Poems - very poor poetry knowledge so where should I start?!

Free Choice

A Book Set In Another Country -  The Stolen Bicycle by Wu Ming-Yi

A Translated Book - On The Bright Side by Hendrik Groen

True Or Fictional Crime - 

A Book With An Animal In The Title - THE CROW ROAD by IAIN BANKS

Book Vipers Monthly Read 

Non Fiction Book -  RHAPSODY IN GREEN by CHARLOTTE MENDELSON

A Debut Book - THE MERMAID AND MRS HANCOCK by IMOGEN HERMES GOWAR

Book From A Small Publisher  -  HOLLOW SHORES by GARY BUDDEN

A Biography - FINGERS IN THE SPARKLE JAR by CHRIS PACKHAM

A Book You Have Borrowed   - will raid the library!

Free Choice

A Banned Book - tempted to go Harry Potter or Alice in Wonderland or would you recommend something else?!

A Book with a Food in the Title  -  BITTER FRUITS by ALICE CLARK-PLATTS

Free Choice

A Shortlisted Book - THEIR BRILLIANT CAREERS by RYAN O'NEILL

A Book Over 500 Pages  - THE CROW GIRL by ERIK AXL SUND - 750 pages!!

An Award Winner - 

Second Book In A Series - SHADOWBLACK by SEBASTIEN de CASTELL

A Book About Books  - VILLAGE BOOKS by CRAIG MCLAY
Science Fiction Or Fact  - READY PLAYER ONE by ERNEST CLINE

So any suggestions or help you have for me would be most welcome! Free choices will probably be from my NetGalley shelves - I WILL get that under control in 2018!!  I will carry on my search and may even end up changing some of my initial choices - that's what normally happens! - but i'm looking forward to this challenge and trying a few different kinds of books!!

 *


Saturday, 30 December 2017

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up - the last of 2017!


Hello all!  We've all made it through another year! Congratulate yourselves!! And I hope you've all had a super wonderful Christmas!! Been a lovely one here, that was over way too quickly!, and the main thing I have to report is that Santa saw fit to deliver NO NEW BOOKS my way!!  He probably took one look at the overstocked bookshelves and kept them on his sleigh!!   But family did buy me some Waterstones vouchers so I've had great fun putting those to good use and am now awaiting delivery!!  Santa did treat  me to a Nintendo Switch for Xmas though so that might eat into my 2018 reading time - Mario Kart 8 is way too addictive for my liking!! Might have to try out some audiobooks whilst I'm playing and see if I can concentrate on both......

Not sure if you're like me, but my reading took a severe dive over Christmas time!! I just couldn't get myself to sit down and pick up a book so only 3 books have been finished over the past week when I could have got a lot more read!  But those 3 books were all highly entertaining in their own rights so at least I'm still managing to find enjoyable books to read and avoiding those stinkers!!  So here's a peek at how my past 7 days has looked bookish wise.......


BOOKS FINISHED


publication date 25th January 2018



Mills & Boon have gone super sexy!! Raced through this one! Watch out for my stop on the Blog Tour in January 2018!


Publication Date 6th February 2018



Was lucky to get the chance to read this via Jellybooks ,who are still looking for test readers so please click the link for more deatils, and thoroughly enjoyed it! I loved The Nightingale so it was great to read more from this author.


out now!



This is a great collection of 12 short stories that features a wide mix of the weird and the wonderful!


BOOKHAUL

I won't include the books I have ordered from Waterstones, as they've not arrived yet, but there has still been some other lovely bookish post arriving, of which my poor postie is so pleased about!!

The tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris  received from Readers First

publication date 11th January 2018



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.


Waves by Jared A.Carnie   
received from the publisher Urbane Publications

out now


THERE’S NO SET ROUTE AFTER ALL. NO STRAIGHT ROAD. NO ONE PATH.

Alex is stuck. Stuck in Essex. Stuck in his childhood home. Stuck in a job he hates. The relationship he’d been counting on all these years has finally fallen apart. He’s run out of things to hope for.

Anxious, uncertain and totally sober, Alex is dragged to the Outer Hebrides by his long-suffering friend, James. Somewhere between the mountains and the sea, Alex is desperate to find something to ignite a spark of life in him again. Through castles, ceilidhs, bothies, lochs, vast beaches and tiny boats, chance meetings and old friends, Alex has to learn that maybe taking responsibility doesn’t mean the end of feeling free.



Hidden Pasts by Clio Gray  Book 3 of the Scottish Mysteries
received from the publishers Urbane Publications


Publication Day 18th January 2018


Hestan Island, marooned in the Solway Firth, tethered to the mainland at low tide by a causeway called The Rack; Hestan home to two men quietly living out their lives, until a boy is almost crushed to death in their tiny copper mine, when their shared past begins to unravel. Over at Balcary House, Brogar Finn and Sholto McKay arrive, and soon become involved in the affairs on Hestan, which in turn leads them back through the bloody wars of Crimea and the lands of the Tartars. The third in the Scottish Mystery Series, Hidden Pasts is host to a complex plot that explores the history of a little known part of Scotland, and links it with the wider arena of warfare in the east and how small events can echo down the years, with deadly consequence

 CURRENTLY READING

Having a slow reading end to the year so not sure if I'll be able to finish anymore before the end of the year - but that does mean a good start to the beginning of 2018 could be in store with a couple of books already started on! There's my handy hint for bumping up your numbers early on!!  At the time of typing 2017 has been an extremely fantastic year for me reading wise as I've read 210 books!! I'm shocked too!!  GoodReads 2017 Reading Challenge

Midwinter by Fiona Melrose


Father and Son, Landyn and Vale Midwinter, are men of the land. Suffolk farmers. Times are hard and they struggle to sustain their property, their livelihood and their heritage in the face of competition from big business.

But an even bigger, more brutal fight is brewing: a fight between each other, about the horrible death of Cecelia, beloved wife and mother, in Zambia ten years earlier. A past they have both refused to confront until now.

Over the course of a particularly mauling Suffolk winter, Landyn and Vale grapple with their memories and their pain, raking over what remains of their fragile family unit, constantly at odds and under threat of falling apart forever. While Vale makes increasingly desperate decisions, Landyn retreats, finding solace in the land, his animals - and a fox who haunts the farm and seems to bring with her both comfort and protection.

Alive to language and nature, Midwinter is a novel about guilt, blame and lost opportunities. Ultimately it is a story about love and the lengths we will go to find our way home.

THREE THINGS ABOUT ELSIE by JOANNA CANNON
Publication Date 11th January 2018

There are three things you should know about Elsie.
The first thing is that she’s my best friend.
The second is that she always knows what to say to make me feel better.
And the third thing… might take a little bit more explaining.
84-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she
waits to be rescued, Florence wonders if a terrible secret from her past is about to come to
light; and, if the charming new resident is who he claims to be, why does he look exactly a
man who died sixty years ago?
From the author of THE TROUBLE WITH GOATS AND SHEEP, this book will teach you
many things, but here are three of them:
1) The fine threads of humanity will connect us all forever.
2) There is so very much more to anyone than the worst thing they have ever done.
3) Even the smallest life can leave the loudest echo.


Heard nothing but good things about this one so I cannot wait for this experience!!


So what has been your Christmas reading experience?! Hope it has been good and that Santa treated you all!  Looking forward to a very quiet New Years' which will hopefully mean lots of reading time!!

Thank you to everyone who stops by my little bookish blog to read my ramblings!! I am so grateful for the views and comments and I want to wish everyone a super happy new year!! May 2018 bring you extra reading time and extra bookish acquisitions!!

HAPPY READING


Friday, 29 December 2017

2018 Reading Challenge - A Year of Persephone Books



Still trawling the internet trying to decide what Reading Challenges to undertake in 2018 - there's so many that are calling me!! HELP!!

But the uppermost aim of the challenge must be to get books on my shelves READ!! There are way too many just sitting there looking pretty and not being opened!!  So that is why one of the challenges I will be setting myself is the PERSEPHONE BOOK CHALLENGE - I started collecting their gorgeous books a couple of years ago now after spotting a couple in a charity shop, and have added to the shelves since then!! So now there are 13 of the grey stunners on a special shelf... now is the time for me to read them!!  The plan is to read 12 - one a month - but hopefully I can get them all read as they differ in length!!  So here's a look at the titles I have ahead of me in 2018 thanks to Persephone Books.




The Priory by Dorothy Whipple

The setting for this, the third novel by Dorothy Whipple Persephone have published, is Saunby Priory, a large house somewhere in England which has seen better times. We are shown the two Marwood girls, who are nearly grown-up, their father, the widower Major Marwood, and their aunt; then, as soon as their lives have been described, the Major proposes marriage to a woman much younger than himself - and many changes begin.

There were no windows by Norah Hoult

This 1944 novel is about memory loss and is the only book we know of, apart from Iris about Iris Murdoch (and arguably There Were No Windows is wittier and more profound), on this subject. Based on the last years of the writer Violet Hunt, a once-glamorous woman living in Kensington during the Blitz who is now losing her memory, the novel's three 'acts' describe with insight, humour and compassion what happens to 'Claire Temple' in her last months. 'A quite extraordinary book,' was the verdict of Cressida Connolly in the Spectator, 'unflinchingly, blackly funny, brilliantly observed and terrifying.' And because Claire Temple is an unrepentant snob, 'the novel gives a sly account of the end of an entire way of life.'

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson

Miss Pettigrew, an approaching-middle-age governess, was accustomed to a household of unruly English children. When her employment agency sends her to the wrong address, her life takes an unexpected turn. The alluring nightclub singer, Delysia LaFosse, becomes her new employer, and Miss Pettigrew encounters a kind of glamour that she had only met before at the movies. Over the course of a single day, both women are changed forever.


Gardener's Nightcap by Muriel Stuart

Muriel Stuart was a successful and well-known poet during and just after the First World War. She then had two children, gave up writing poetry and took to gardening with enormous enthusiasm and dedication. She wrote only two books, Fool’s Garden (1936), about creating a garden in Surrey, and Gardener’s Nightcap (1938). After the war, for thirty years, she was a well-known columnist for gardening magazines. Although a great beauty, Muriel Stuart was shy and self-contained – and happiest in her garden.

This work of hers is indeed a ‘nightcap’: a soothing tonic to take in small doses just before bed. The subjects covered are many and variegated. They include: Meadow Saffron, Dark Ladies, Better Goose-berries, Good King Henry (‘quite a good substitute for asparagus’), The Wild Comes Back and Phlox Failure. Each of these pieces is only a few lines in length yet tells the gardener far more than extensive essays or manuals. 

Gardener’s Nightcap, a bestseller in its year of first publication, is illustrated by charming Rex Whistler-type drawings. And we end with the opening sentence: ‘There is an hour just before dark, when the garden resents interference.
Its work, no less than the gardener’s, is done. Do not meddle with the garden at that hour. It demands, as all living creatures demand, a time of silence...’


Gardeners' Choice by Evelyn Dunbar 

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. 


The New House by Lettice Cooper

'All that outwardly happens in The New House,' writes Jilly Cooper, 'is over one long day a family moves from a large imposing secluded house with beautiful gardens to a small one overlooking a housing estate. But all the characters and their relationships with each other are so lovingly portrayed that one cares passionately what happens even to the unpleasant ones. 'The New House, first published in 1936, reminds me of my favourite author Chekhov, who so influenced Lettice's generation of writers. Like him, she had perfect social pitch and could draw an arriviste developer as convincingly as a steely Southern social butterfly.'

'It is tempting to describe Rhoda Powell, the 30-plus, stay-at-home daughter of a widowed mother, as Brookneresque,' wrote the reviewer in the Guardian, 'even though Lettice Cooper wrote this wonderfully understated novel several decades before Anita Brookner mapped the defining features of quietly unhappy middle-class women.' While Kate Chisholm in The Spectator described Lettice Cooper as 'an intensely domestic novelist, unraveling in minute detail the tight web of family relations' but one who is also 'acutely aware of what goes on beyond the garden gate. The exposé of a family under strain because of changing times is curiously more vivid and real than in many novels about family life written today.'

Greengates by RC Sherriff

A man retires from his job but finds that never were truer words said than ‘for better, for worse but not for lunch’. His boredom, his wife’s (suppressed and confused) dismay at the quiet orderliness of her life being destroyed, their growing tension with each other, is beautifully and kindly described. 

Then one day they do something they used to do more often – leave St John’s Wood and go out into the countryside for the day. And that walk changes their lives forever: they see a house for sale, decide to move there, and the nub of the book is a description of their leaving London, the move, and the new life they create for themselves.

Lady Rose and Mrs Memmary by Ruby Ferguson

The Countess of Lochlule marries Sir Hector, owner of the estate next to 'Keepsfield', the palatial Scottish mansion where she lives. But one day she meets someone on a park bench in Edinburgh. This novel is about dreams and the hard world of money and position and their relations to one another.

The Far Cry by Emma Smith

Teresa's elderly, willful father drags her off to India to spare her from the clutches of her mother.


Greenery Street by Denis Mackail

PG Wodehouse described this novel as 'so good that it makes one feel that it's the only possible way of writing a book, to take an ordinary couple and just tell the reader all about them.'

Greenery Street can be read on two levels - it is a touching description of a young couple's first year together in London, but it is also a homage - something rare in fiction - to happy married life.

Ian and Felicity Foster are shown as they arrive at 23 Greenery Street, an undisguised and still unchanged Walpole Street in Chelsea. Their uneventful but always interesting everyday life is the main subject of a novel that evokes the charmingly contented and timeless while managing to be both funny and profound about human relations.

Denis Mackail was a grandson of Edward Burne-Jones on his mother's side and son of JW Mackail, the eminent classical scholar ; his sister was the novelist Angela Thirkell. He wrote nearly a book a year for thirty years.


The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Shuttle is about American heiresses marrying English aristocrats; by extension it is about the effect of American energy, dynamism and affluence on an effete and impoverished English ruling class. Sir Nigel Anstruthers crosses the Atlantic to look for a rich wife and returns with the daughter of an American millionaire, Rosalie Vanderpoel. He turns out to be a bully, a miser and a philanderer and virtually imprisons his wife in the house. Only when Rosalie's sister Bettina is grown up does it occur to her and her father that some sort of rescue expedition should take place. And the beautiful, kind and dynamic Bettina leaves for Europe to try and find out why Rosalie has, inexplicably, chosen to lose touch with her family. In the process she engages in a psychological war with Sir Nigel; meets and falls in love with another Englishman; and starts to use the Vanderpoel money to modernize ‘Stornham Court’.

The book’s title refers to ships shuttling back and forth over the Atlantic (Frances Hodgson Burnett herself traveled between the two countries thirty-three times, something very unusual then).

The Winds of Heaven by Monica Dickens

The Winds of Heaven is a 1955 novel about 'a widow, rising sixty, with no particular gifts or skills, shunted from one to the other of her more or less unwilling daughters on perpetual uneasy visits, with no prospect of her life getting anything but worse’ (Afterword). One daughter is the socially ambitious Miriam living in commuter belt with her barrister husband and children; one is Eva, an aspiring actress in love with a married man; and the third is Anne, married to a rough but kindly Bedfordshire smallholder who is the only one who treats Louise with more than merely dutiful sympathy. The one relation with whom she has any empathy is her grandchild.

The Happy Tree by Rosalind Murray

'A 1926 novel which begins with the death of a young man during the war, flashes back to his happy childhood shared with the young woman who is the narrator, and then describes how the war – inevitably – took them unawares, destroyed their happiness and has left her, the young woman, emotionally maimed. '


A variety of books there for me to get through in 2018! Hopefully I can get through all of them within the year! Has anyone read any of the Persephone books? I've seen good reviews of a number of these and really looking forward to seeing if my reading likes will be challenged and maybe a few new favourite authors will be found!


HAPPY READING!!


Tuesday, 26 December 2017

My 2018 Reading Intentions




I've seen a few of these posts in the last few days and it has inspired me to 'try' and organise myself on the reading front and see what I have to look forward to in 2018, and see if I can enjoy another fabulous reading year! At the time of typing I have managed to read 207 books throughout 2017 - with 3 looking like they might be finished by the time the year comes to an end - and I didn't plan on reading that many at the start of the year! I had set my target at 150, but numbers have never been that important to me so if it wasn't for GoodReads keeping track I'd be none the wiser!!  I do find that if you end up just concentrating on numbers then it takes away the enjoyment from reading - it isn't a race!!! We're not competing in the reading olympics, and I have just found this year that the more I read, the quicker I become at reading!  And not all books are 600 + page chunksters, some have been audio books, short story collections and graphic novels, and I have found mixing things up this way has really helped me avoid too many of those 'reading slump' spells that we all fear!!


So how can I improve my reading for 2018?! Erm, I can't!! But I am hoping to be a little more organised! I have found this year that I have jotted down notes in a number of notebooks - because who can resist a stationery buying spree eh!? - and then I lose track of said notebooks and get myself in a tizzy trying to find all my notes so I can remember who everyone was in a book! So I am hoping to streamline that part of the process in the hope it gives me extra reading time!  I've also started to note down release dates and blog tour dates on a separate book calendar so hoping I can remember to keep that up to date and hopefully then seeing a date coming up with a book title on will help guide me in choosing my next reads, and keep track of my reading that way! Have you found a good way to be organised with your reading?! Always happy to receive tips and advice on that front if you'd like to share your hints in the comments!


Reading challenges have become such a fun part of my reading year so I'm looking forward to finding one or two to take part in again this year! I'm also hoping to set myself a reading challenge - I have 12 Persephone books on my shelves so the plan is (!)  to read one a month!   I always say I'm going to do this with classics but it has never taken off for me, so hopefully this will give me the kick in the butt I need to start going through those books that I have on my shelves looking 'pretty'! Pretty books need to be read too!!!  


I think my GoodReads number will be set at 150 again and I'd be lost without this resource as I use it for noting down my reviews before adding them to my Blog or review sites.  I found a little notebook the other day that I used to use for noting down books I'd read, but it only had a comment 'really enjoyed it', 'funny', 'good' etc by the side of it so the majority of them I could hardly remember reading!  Yes my memory really is that bad!  Even then when I looked at the blurb of the books I had very little recollection of the book, so I'm thankful for GoodReads for helping me add a little more to each review to help jog my poor old memory bank!  


Trying not to request books on NetGalley, Twitter and all those other evil sites where ARC's are available, is going to be something else I need to try and 'moderate'!  I do think it is the fault of the publishers for releasing so many books that sound amazing, but I think I need to be more selective - I know I WANT  to read ALL THE BOOKS but I just can't!  Thankfully I think I know the genres and subjects that I enjoy now so that helps me narrow it down a lot, but I just need to stop being like a kid in a sweet shop and show some restraint! 


And that goes for buying books too! I know I say the same every year and usually fail by 2nd January, but I think I have become a little more responsible on the book buying front! I will wait longer now before having to have a copy of whatever book has taken my fancy, and I still have a squillion (actual amount!) of unread books sitting on my bookshelves waiting for me to read them and I do feel guilty when I look at them sitting there unread!  So I will be good in 2018......... 



As always I'd like to reduce my procastinating!! And the internet is  a great big swallower of time for me!! But it's also the best place to find out all the bookish news so it isn't going to be easy!!  I've tried listening to audio books whilst I'm surfing online but find my mind wanders so I end up not listening and only concentrating on the web, so can only really listen to audio books while I'm doing cross-stitch or playing silly games - Fishdom is my current downfall! - so I must find ways of finding out bookish news without having to surf the interweb!!


So we will see how things go with my intentions!  Do you have any plans to help you with your reading year?! It has been fascinating to read how other people approach their outlook on reading so if you've done a post on this then feel free to link it below in the comments for me to go and be nosey at!!

HAPPY READING!!






Sunday, 24 December 2017

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up


Merry Christmas one and all!!  All this build up and within the blink of an eye it will all be over and done with!!  Ooh I'm beginning to sound like the Grinch haha!!  Hope all your festive preparations are under control and you can now enjoy the next couple of days!  I've already started circling the TV guide to try and get myself organised with what I want to watch on the telly box over Xmas and the New Year - and then I can organise my reading around that!!

Been a very festive reading period for me over the past week as I've been trying to read all the Christmas books I have, or at least those with a wintry link!  So I think a total of 3 books have been finished which I've enjoyed and then I've started another 3 - all of which seem to be very good so far! - so at least it looks like my Christmas reading is going to be enjoyable! Nothing worse than starting a book you don't enjoy over the holidays!

So here's a peek at those that I've finished, those I'm currently reading, and a couple of new arrivals!
BOOKS FINISHED








BOOK HAUL

Ahead of the relaunch of Mills & Boon in January I have been lucky enough to receive a proof of one of the new titles, so am looking forward to a steamy read!  Remember my nan reading Mills & Boon books way back when - I think they may be a little racier now!!

A Week to be Wild by JC Harroway


Harlequin DARE, a new romance series featuring strong, independent women and sizzling hot heroes. Harlequin DARE stories push the boundaries of sexual explicitness while keeping the focus on the developing romantic relationship.


Libby Noble is done with men who live on the edge, but sexy British billionaire Alex coaxes her out of her comfort zone—professionally and very personally! She’ll agree to play his game…but only by her rules!



And then my Persephone book collection was added to this week as I received another one in the post from their book club, which has been a great way to add to my collection over the year!  Check out their website here - Persephone Books

Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day by Winifred Watson

Miss Pettigrew, an approaching-middle-age governess, was accustomed to a household of unruly English children. When her employment agency sends her to the wrong address, her life takes an unexpected turn. The alluring nightclub singer, Delysia LaFosse, becomes her new employer, and Miss Pettigrew encounters a kind of glamour that she had only met before at the movies. Over the course of a single day, both women are changed forever. 

CURRENTLY READING

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Alaska, 1974.
Untamed.
Unpredictable.
And for a family in crisis, the ultimate test of the human spirit.

From the author who brought you the phenomenon of The Nightingale.

I adored The Nightingale - I highly recommend it if you haven't picked it up! - so am so excited to be reading this.  And so far it is another stunning story!!
The Beginning of the World  in the Middle of the Night by Jen Campbell
These days, you can find anything you need at the click of a button.
That's why I bought her heart online.


Spirits in jam jars, mini-apocalypses, animal hearts and side shows.
A girl runs a coffin hotel on a remote island.
A boy is worried his sister has two souls.
A couple are rewriting the history of the world. 
And mermaids are on display at the local aquarium.

The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night is a collection of twelve haunting stories; modern fairy tales brimming with magic, outsiders and lost souls.
I'm a huge fan of Jen Campbell, and this is a fabulous collection of short stories!

Midwinter by Fiona Melrose
Father and Son, Landyn and Vale Midwinter, are men of the land. Suffolk farmers. Times are hard and they struggle to sustain their property, their livelihood and their heritage in the face of competition from big business.

But an even bigger, more brutal fight is brewing: a fight between each other, about the horrible death of Cecelia, beloved wife and mother, in Zambia ten years earlier. A past they have both refused to confront until now.

Over the course of a particularly mauling Suffolk winter, Landyn and Vale grapple with their memories and their pain, raking over what remains of their fragile family unit, constantly at odds and under threat of falling apart forever. While Vale makes increasingly desperate decisions, Landyn retreats, finding solace in the land, his animals - and a fox who haunts the farm and seems to bring with her both comfort and protection.

Alive to language and nature, Midwinter is a novel about guilt, blame and lost opportunities. Ultimately it is a story about love and the lengths we will go to find our way home.
Started this on Christmas Cosy Reading Night on Wednesday and getting good vibes already! Beautifully written!

And there we have it!!  Been really enjoying doing these weekly wrap ups as my memory is so bad I've often forgotten how my week has been bookish wise, so this has helped enormously..... when I remember to write things down that is!  

Wishing you all a super merry christmas and may your stockings be filled with bookish shaped items!!

HAPPY FESTIVE READING!!

Thursday, 21 December 2017

The Boy Made of Snow by Chloe Mayer #bookreview


THE BLURB

In 1944, in a sleepy English village, Daniel and his emotionally-distant mother, Annabel, remain at home while his father is off fighting a war that seems both omnipresent and very, very far away.

When mother and son befriend Hans, a German PoW working on a nearby farm, their lives are suddenly filled with excitement - though the prisoner comes to mean very different things to each of them. To Annabel, he is an awakening from the darkness that has engulfed her since Daniel's birth. To her son, a solitary boy caught up in the mythical world of fairy-tales, he is perhaps a prince in disguise or a magical woodchopper. But Daniel often struggles to tell the difference between fantasy and reality, and Hans has plans to spin a special sort of web to entrap mother and son for his own needs.






Follow the author on Twitter -  @ThatChloeMayer



MY REVIEW

If you adore fairy tales then you need this book in your life! And just like fairy tales this is a book with a very dark side that only adds to the impact it has on you when you read it, and I loved every minute spent with these characters in the remote Kent setting.

Told from 2 points of view - a mother and her young son - it is the story of a family set in 1944 so the impact of the War is close by, with the father/husband away for most of the book, and is a fascinating study of how those left behind dealt with things, and how the son sees his life as a giant fairy tale as he has been brought up on them, and everyday he sees as a new chapter in his own fairytale. He wants to be the hero, to save his mother as he watches her struggle with life, and Daniel is such an innocent character in his outlook on life, but also quite old with his approach to life. He's adventurous, imaginative with a childlike innocence that draws you into his viewpoint and all that he witnesses and encounters.

His mother, Annabel, is another fascinating character as you can sense that she is not coping well with life and often turns to drink to get through the days. But she gets a glimpse of hope in the form of a german POW who is sent to work on a nearby farm, and they soon strike up a connection. He is her escape from the world - her own fairytale so to speak. 

You also get to see the impact that war had on those fighting, when Reggie returns home for a short while but he is a broken man. Often heartbreaking to read of the suffering he has seen, and the guilt he feels that life is carrying on whilst he and others are fighting and losing their lives on a daily basis. 

I loved the pace of this story - it starts quite slowly but things soon start to happen at a much faster speed and the connection with various other fairy tales were woven throughout so seamlessly that made for a heartbreaking, haunting captivating, emotional and endearing read from beginning to end.

HAPPY READING

Monday, 18 December 2017

My Favourite Books of 2017


That time of the year has arrived!! Time to have a look back at all the books I've managed to read over 2017 (at the time of typing it is 203 with another one almost finished!) and it has been a freakishly astonishing year of books for me!  So many new authors have made their way onto my radar, and I'm thankful to social media for bringing them all to my attention although my sagging bookshelves might not be so thankful,  new genres have been enjoyed and I've just really enjoyed pushing myself out of my comfort zone to discover new amazing stories.

BUT this then makes it very difficult when you get to the end of the year trying to pick out your favourites!! There are just so many that have made me laugh, smile and cry in equal measures, that I've gone over the list a number of times and have finally settled on a list of 15 books that have stayed with me more than others , and have helped make 2017 such a wonderful year.   There could have been a longer list and I feel bad about missing some fabulous books off the list - maybe there'll be a follow up post with more of my favourites on in the near future! But for now, here's the books that have stood out for me the most over the past 12 months! Click on the title if you'd like to read my GoodReads review.

In no particular order........

































And that is it! The 15 books that have warmed my heart, made me sob, made me laugh, shocked me, chilled me, thrilled me and kept me thoroughly entertained throughout 2017!  Thank you to all the authors and publishers who continue to amaze me with stunning stories!

Bring on 2018.......