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Tuesday, 30 May 2017

The Running Hare by John Lewis-Stempel - book review


THE BLURB

From the Winner of the Thwaites Wainwright Prize 2015

Traditional ploughland is disappearing. Seven cornfield flowers have become extinct in the last twenty years. Once abundant, the corn bunting and the lapwing are on the Red List. The corncrake is all but extinct in England. And the hare is running for its life.

Written in exquisite prose, The Running Hare tells the story of the wild animals and plants that live in and under our ploughland, from the labouring microbes to the patrolling kestrel above the corn, from the linnet pecking at seeds to the seven-spot ladybird that eats the aphids that eat the crop. It recalls an era before open-roofed factories and silent, empty fields, recording the ongoing destruction of the unique, fragile, glorious ploughland that exists just down the village lane.

But it is also the story of ploughland through the eyes of man who took on a field and husbanded it in a natural, traditional way, restoring its fertility and wildlife, bringing back the old farmland flowers and animals. John Lewis Stempel demonstrates thta it is still possible to create a place where the hare can rest safe.




MY REVIEW

This was a fascinating and delightful read of one mans' vision and journey in reclaiming some farmland to return it to the ways of old, along with the wildlife and wildflowers that this brings along with it. 

It is beautifully written with such passion that it often made me angry - not at the book but at the way mankind looks at nature nowadays, just trying to find the easiest and quickest way of producing things, without any thought to the damage that does in the long term. We seem to have forgotten to embrace nature that has sustained humanity since the year dot and then wonder why wildlife and wildflowers are disappearing at astonishingly high rates.

There's a wide variety of wildlife featured, alongside old farming techniques and wonderful background history and information in many forms. 

It was horrifying reading at times with lists of plants lost to the British countryside thanks to different farming techniques, but also heartwarming to see how just one man full of determination proved that by going back to the old techniques he could show that it wouldn't take much to reintroduce the balance back into fields across the country - it just takes some effort!

I'd highly recommend this as a book to read for all as it is a fascinating insight into nature and the modern world and it is a lesson that needs to be learned before it is too late!

Monday, 29 May 2017

20 Books of Summer - 2017


It is back!! My favourite time of year!!  And all thanks to Cathy at 746Books who started all this off way back when!  It runs from the 1st June to 3rd September and is just a fun little challenge to help spur you on in getting a few more books read and, hopefully, reduce the TBR mountains just a little!

It is always difficult putting together a list and you do have the freedom to change it if you want - your list, your rules!! - but I find that having a set list makes me focus a little more and takes the stress out of wasting time deciding what to read next! The stress I had this year putting my list together was how to decide what books to put on! There are piles of books everywhere in my house screaming out to be read - do your TBR piles do that to you too?! - and I finally settled on the hidden TBR piles and that is those on my Kindle/s!!   I do have a tendency of downloading books after seeing a review, or finding it for free, and then it is gone never to be heard of again!  So this challenge will now give me the kick up the butt to finally read these books, along with a few that have been on my NetGalley shelf for a while, and hopefully help me decrease one TBR pile for a while!

So here is a list of what will see me through the next couple of months - click on the title for links to the GoodReads page if you'd like a bit more info about each book!

1.  Colt Harper: Esteemed Vampire Cat by Tyrolin Puxty 











































And there we have it! The list for 2017!  Isn't it bad when you can't remember downloading half of the titles you find as you rummage through the library on your Kindle!!  Oops!!  So hopefully they'll all be fabulous reads and I'm really looking forward to discovering some new authors to me and I think there's a book to cover every mood this Summer!

Will you be taking part in the 20 Books of Summer?! I hope so! Looking forward to seeing more lists!!

HAPPY READING!!























Sunday, 28 May 2017

Broken Branches by M.Jonathan Lee - book review


THE BLURB

'Family curses don't exist. Sure, some families seem to suffer more pain than others, but a curse? An actual curse? I don't think so.'

A family tragedy was the catalyst for Ian Perkins to return to the isolated cottage with his wife and young son. But now they are back, it seems yet more grief might befall the family.

There is still time to act, but that means Ian must face the uncomfortable truth about his past. And in doing so, he must uncover the truth behind the supposed family curse.


Paperback294 pages

Expected publication: July 27th 2017 by Hideaway Fall

MY REVIEW


I found this to be a fascinatingly creepy story based around a family who seem to be suffering from a long standing curse -and there is no way of escaping it. It's a really well written story looking at a family who suffer through grief and the horrors of life.  It cleverly mixes the reality of normal life with the bizarre!

The Perkins family are the family in question, and when Ian and wife Rachel move into his childhood home they seem to have it all, but the strange noises and happenings start up and life begins to fall apart for them both.  Ian tries to research his family history to uncover more of the 'curse' but it soon becomes an obsession for him and he seems to lose all grip on reality.

We also get a glimpse into the childhood of Ian and the 'strange accidents' that seem to befall certain members of the family and how it affects the dynamics of the family members.  Even as children they pick up on the strange atmospheres around them

Throughout the book you get a really unsettling feeling as you watch from the sidelines and it is all nicely paced and not over the top and that keeps drawing you in to a chilling ending.  Highly recommended!

Thankyou to the team at Hideaway Fall for the fab ARC copy in return for a fair and honest review - their work at promoting this book was one of the best campaigns I've ever seen and was very grateful to be part of it all!

Friday, 26 May 2017

Bookish Weekly Wrap Up





The sun has got its' hat on... hip hip hip hooray!!!  Anyone else moaning that it is too hot already?! Never happy are we!!   Still, the sunshine is doing wonders for my garden and also making me conserve energy by sitting down and reading more! And that is NEVER a bad thing!  So it has been a pretty successful reading week again and according to my GoodReads challenge I have now completed 79 books already this year - now ask me to tell you about them all and I can't LOL!! Memory recall is not my strongest point so I am very grateful for this blog and GoodReads for at least trying to help jog my memory at times when I need to recall a book! How did we ever cope without it?!

BOOKS FINISHED

A good total of 4 books fnished this week so click on the title if you would like to read my GoodReads review!


As original as One Day and as heartbreaking as Me Before You, This Last Kiss is the perfect emotional and romantic read.

Rora Raine is finally coming home to Hastings, twelve years after she left her grief-stricken father, and fled the love of her life, Carl.

Struggling to support her bright but troubled daughter, Rora has convinced herself she'll never love again.

When she meets a bumblingly charming stranger, Rora's heart begins to thaw. 

But, try as she might, she can't run from true love forever. 

Funny, warm-hearted and soaringly romantic, This Last Kiss is the redemptive story of two star-crossed lovers, told through each and every kiss they share



Maggie’s café is at the very heart of Fir Tree Park. Business is booming, her lemon drizzle is the stuff of legend, her children are happy and life is good. But she hasn’t had it easy. When her husband Clint was sent to prison, she had to raise Josh and Kelly alone. But Clint can’t hurt them now, and there’s no denying that Paolo, the Italian football coach she spies every weekend out on the green, is more than easy on the eye.
It may be summer outside, but a new arrival in Fir Tree Park sends an icy chill through the café…


The third book in the bestselling series, ‘The Little Wedding Shop by the Sea’.
When the owner of Brides by the Sea, Cornwall’s cutest little wedding shop, offers Lily a job as their new wedding stylist, her first thought is – can she possibly pull it off?
Before she’s even sourced a fairy light or tasted a cupcake, Kip Penryn hires her services – but he’s opened an exclusive wedding venue in direct competition to her friend Poppy!
Lily feels like a traitor working for Kip, only everyone knows Penryn men are gorgeous but unreliable. All she has to do is sit back and watch him mess it up…doesn’t she?
Love is in the Cornish sea breeze this summer as the girls tackle their busiest wedding season yet. There’s plenty of bunting, bubbly and baking – but who is going to catch the bouquet?




When a seaside escape spells a little romance . . .
A heartwarming tale that will sweep you away for the summer from the bestselling author of The Cosy Teashop in the Castle.
When Claire arrives for her cosy cottage retreat on the beautiful Northumberland coast, she prays that three weeks of blissful peace and summer sunshine will wash away the pain of the last year.
Claire’s a survivor – she’s proud of the scars that prove it – and she’s determined to make the most of each and every day, to seize those little magic moments that give life its colour.
Her plan for peaceful solitude goes awry when handsome, brooding Ed turns up in the cottage next door. The last thing Claire needs is the risk of getting hurt, but she soon discovers that Ed has emotional battle scars of his own.
Will he prove the worst distraction? Or might he be just the perfect remedy?

The sunshine may have made my brain a little romantic with my reading choices this week!! And still I'm waiting for Brad Pitt to swoop in and save me from all of this..... a girl can dream i guess!!

BOOKS ADDED TO THE TBR MOUNTAIN!!
For the most part of the week I behaved myself!!  Hard to believe that I was being so controlled and thoughtful in my purchases of books - well that was until Thursday when I ventured in to a couple of charity shops that I'd not been in for a while - big mistake!!


But how could I resist?! Especially with the gorgeous orange penguin covers calling my name as I've recently started to see how many I can amass! This pile of 4 cost me £3 so i HAD to have them!!  And only 99p for His Bloody Project of which I have heard many good things - anyone read it? - so that was adopted by my good self too!

And then there was the bookpost which is always a wonderous thing!  I received The Mayfly by James Hazel from the fabulous Readers First people and this sounds super creepy and dark so right up my street!
It's happening again.

A mutilated body discovered in the woods.
A murderous plan conceived in the past.
A reckoning seventy years in the making . . .


Charlie Priest, ex-detective inspector turned London lawyer, is hired by influential entrepreneur Kenneth Ellinder to investigate the murder of his son. But Priest is no ordinary lawyer. Brilliant, yet flawed, this case will push him, and those closest to him, to the edge.

Priest traces the evidence back to the desperate last days of the Second World War. Buried in the ashes of the Holocaust is a secret so deadly its poison threatens to destroy the very heart of the establishment. 
With more victims going missing, Priest realises that not everyone should be trusted. As he races to uncover the truth, can he prevent history from repeating itself?


And then there is Broken Branches by M Jonathan Lee which I received today from the equally lovely Hideaway Fall folk, which is all about a family curse and sounds wonderfully intriguing! 



Family curses don’t exist. Sure, some families seem to suffer more pain than others, but a curse? An actual curse? I don’t think so.’
A family tragedy was the catalyst for Ian Perkins to return to the isolated cottage with his wife and young son. But now they are back, it seems yet more grief might befall the family.
There is still time to act, but that means Ian must face the uncomfortable truth about his past. And in doing so, he must uncover the truth behind the supposed family curse.
CURRENTLY READING






am listening to this via audiobook that I borrowed via the Borrowbox app from my library!



And another week is all nicely wrapped up! Any books amongst these that you've read? Or has grabbed your interest?!  Always interested to hear what is on your current reading pile so please share!!

HAPPY READING!!

The Cafe in Fir Tree Park by Katey Lovell - book review


‘A delightful heart-warming read…made me want to visit the cafe right now, meet everyone and share Maggie’s delicious cakes’ Phillipa Ashley, author of the bestselling Summer at the Cornish Cafe


Maggie’s café is at the very heart of Fir Tree Park. Business is booming, her lemon drizzle is the stuff of legend, her children are happy and life is good. But she hasn’t had it easy. When her husband Clint was sent to prison, she had to raise Josh and Kelly alone. But Clint can’t hurt them now, and there’s no denying that Paolo, the Italian football coach she spies every weekend out on the green, is more than easy on the eye.
It may be summer outside, but a new arrival in Fir Tree Park sends an icy chill through the café…

‘Warm-hearted and utterly lovely’ Sunday Times bestseller Miranda Dickinson


Publication Date - 26th May 2017

Harper Impulse




MY REVIEW


Add a cafe and a park to a book title and you have my interest!    And this became a pleasant surprise as it turned out to be a little more than just the run of the mill light reads often associated with cafe settings, and developed into quite a moving look at a community, family and friends that revolves around life in the cafe.

It is told from a number of perspectives, which did get a little confusing, but I did enjoy all the separate strands that were nicely woven together throughout.

Maggie runs the cafe so is always baking the most delicious cakes, and has two grown up children Josh and Kelly.  And Fern who works in the Cafe is also friends with Kelly from school.  Pearl is a widow is often in the Cafe to help out when needed and has her own secrets that she is beginning to tire of keeping to herself.  And we also meet Lacey as she starts training for a half marathon in aid of charity by running round the park, and finds the unlikeliest of training partners to help her. Ooh and it helped that one of the characters childhood crush was Matt Goss from Bros!! What good taste she has!!  That is all it takes to win me over to a characters side!!

As we follow their individual and shared stories we get to see the women facing their fears, confronting the past and embracing  their futures.  Set in the most idyllic location it features some very endearing characters - ooh and cake! Lots of lovely cake!!  A very enjoyable read!!

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Where Rainbows End by AnneMarie Brear - reveal and review!

Ooh .... who wants a wonderful new story to read, with an even more wonderful cover to drool over?! Well, then it is your lucky day!!  This beauty from AnneMarie Brear is released TODAY!! So what are you waiting for??!!  Click those links!!





THE BLURB


Can she hold on to her dreams...?
It’s 1850 and the Noble family have travelled to the other side of the world to start a new life after scandal drove them from their native England. Pippa Noble is determined to reclaim their honour by making her father’s plan for an outback farm reality, although her ambition is frowned upon by a society that has very set ideas about a woman’s place …
Pippa learns the hard way about the unforgiving nature of the bush, sometimes with devastating consequences. And when unfortunate circumstance leads to Pippa tending the farm alone, it is the friendship of neighbouring estate owner Gil Ashford-Smith that helps her through.
Then an unexpected visitor from England arrives, putting Pippa’s dreams in jeopardy. But she refuses to let go. She will hold onto her family’s land, even if it means losing everything else …

Publishers - Choc Lit

Amazon link

Kobo link

Apple link

MY REVIEW


This was a wonderful historical romance read for me.Set in Sydney in 1850 we follow the story of Pippa Noble and her twin sister Hilary.  They are like chalk and cheese in personality but fiercely loyal to each other.

But due to their fathers' gambling debts, the family is forced to move to the other side of the world to try and pick up the pieces and make a new life for themselves.  Her father, Gerald, is hopeful that a change of scenery will change his luck, but his wife Esther is anything but happy with leaving behind her friends and lifestyle in England and looks to cause problems for the family at every turn.

Pippa is an amazingly strong, confident young woman and I loved watching her journey as she embraced the lifestyle on offer in Australia and the projects she undertakes to help build a new future for them all.  While her mother wants her to mix with those of a more upwardly mobile standing, Pippa takes people on face value and soon befriends Millie who she meets in town, and does all she can to help her through some very tough times in her life.

A face from the past threatens to disrupt Pippa and her new settled life, and we get to revisit the torment she went through back home and can see where her drive comes from.

It took me a while to get into this book but was soon swept up with Pippa and her adventure and all the battles she has to face along the way.  The ways a family can help and hinder and how your self belief is so important. A real inspiring woman and you just can't help yourself in hoping she gets the happy ending she so rightly deserves.


Saturday, 20 May 2017

Summer at the Little Wedding Shop by Jane Linfoot - book review


THE BLURB

The third book in the bestselling series, ‘The Little Wedding Shop by the Sea’.
When the owner of Brides by the Sea, Cornwall’s cutest little wedding shop, offers Lily a job as their new wedding stylist, her first thought is – can she possibly pull it off?
Before she’s even sourced a fairy light or tasted a cupcake, Kip Penryn hires her services – but he’s opened an exclusive wedding venue in direct competition to her friend Poppy!
Lily feels like a traitor working for Kip, only everyone knows Penryn men are gorgeous but unreliable. All she has to do is sit back and watch him mess it up…doesn’t she?
Love is in the Cornish sea breeze this summer as the girls tackle their busiest wedding season yet. There’s plenty of bunting, bubbly and baking – but who is going to catch the bouquet?


‘A sparkling, laugh-out-loud, romantic read’ Phillipa Ashley, bestselling author of Summer at the Cornish Cafe
‘The perfect holiday read to warm your heart’ #1 Bestselling author Tracy Bloom
‘Funny and big-hearted, I was enchanted by Lily and her friends’ Sunday Times bestselling author Michele Gorman
‘A pure delight…fabulous, fun and unforgettable’ – Debbie Johnson, bestselling author of ‘Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe’


Harper Impulse




MY REVIEW


Having been a huge fan of the first in this series - The Little Wedding Shop - I was eager to return to 'Brides By The Sea' but this could be read as a standalone. I'm just shocked at myself for not having read the second in the series - Christmas at the Little Wedding Shop - and will be rectifying this fact sooner rather than later!

In this book we follow the story of Lily. She had left the shop, where she had worked as a florist, to move to Bath with her husband, but she soon returns when her dream life doesn't quite pan out. So she is down on love, down on marriage and probably not the best person to invite back to the shop around Valentines' Day!!

She is offered a new job with her friends at the shop as the wedding stylist and with a busy season ahead of them again, including the wedding of her mother, all doesn't run smoothly. Added to the mix is the new wedding venue business in the neighbourhood run by clueless Kip Penryn, and he soon enlists the experts from 'Brides By The Sea' to help his business succeed and they are torn whether to help him or hinder him!!

It doesn't take long for you to be all for Lily in her plight in moving on from the past, which isn't so easy as she is made to confront all she remembers of her Dad since he passed, and how her mum is definitely moving on - but for the right reasons?

Another fabulous look at the lovely characters we have met previously, and the new characters add a little something different and fun to the mix that made this such a pleasing and fun read! So whether you are returning to the shop after enjoying the previous stories, or looking to discover a new fab read then look no further!!

Thank you to the publishers Harper Impulse for the advanced reading e-copy in return for a fair and honest review.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Bookish Weekly Wrap Up



Greetings fellow Book Dragons - or are you of the bookworm variety?!  I quite like the idea of being a book penguin! No reason other than I just love penguins!!

Another week has flown by and what started as a good week has ended poorly on the health front for me - I have M.E so it is a very fluctuating illness - so if I ramble today and make very little sense then please excuse my foggy brain!!

Hope you have all had a productive week bookish wise! Been quite good here so here's a peek at what I've been reading, some bookpost and what I'm currently reading....

BOOKS I'VE FINISHED

3 Books started and finished this week, and all 5 star reads!! Now that is what I call successful! Please click on the book title for a link to my GoodReads review if you want to know more about each title!













BOOKPOST

I am still managing to walk into bookshops and charity shops, and browse online without actually buying anything!! There is plenty of temptation but I seem to have developed a conscience that reminds me of the TBR mountain dotted around the house and that I shouldn't add to it.... well, just yet anyway!

But I did receive this lovely bookpost from the lovely people at Picador Books - paperback to be released on the 1st June 2017

Invincible Summer by Alice Adams

Four friends. Twenty years. One unexpected journey. Inseparable throughout college, Eva, Benedict, Sylvie, and Lucien graduate in 1997, into an exhilarating world on the brink of a new millennium. Hopelessly in love with playboy Lucien and eager to shrug off the socialist politics of her upbringing, Eva breaks away to work for a big bank. Benedict, a budding scientist who's pined for Eva for years, stays on to complete his PhD in physics, devoting his life to chasing particles as elusive as the object of his affection. Siblings Sylvie and Lucien, never much inclined toward mortgages or monogamy, pursue more bohemian existences-she as an aspiring artist and he as a club promoter and professional partyer. But as their twenties give way to their thirties, the group struggles to navigate their thwarted dreams. Scattered across Europe and no longer convinced they are truly the masters of their fates, the once close-knit friends find themselves filled with longing for their youth- and for one another. Broken hearts and broken careers draw the foursome together again, but in ways they never could have imagined. 

A dazzling depiction of the highs and lows of adulthood, Invincible Summer is a story about finding the courage to carry on in the wake of disappointment, and a powerful testament to love and friendship as the constants in an ever-changing world.

CURRENTLY READING

The Running Hare by John Lewis-Stempel


From the Winner of the Thwaites Wainwright Prize 2015

Traditional ploughland is disappearing. Seven cornfield flowers have become extinct in the last twenty years. Once abundant, the corn bunting and the lapwing are on the Red List. The corncrake is all but extinct in England. And the hare is running for its life.

Written in exquisite prose, The Running Hare tells the story of the wild animals and plants that live in and under our ploughland, from the labouring microbes to the patrolling kestrel above the corn, from the linnet pecking at seeds to the seven-spot ladybird that eats the aphids that eat the crop. It recalls an era before open-roofed factories and silent, empty fields, recording the ongoing destruction of the unique, fragile, glorious ploughland that exists just down the village lane.

But it is also the story of ploughland through the eyes of man who took on a field and husbanded it in a natural, traditional way, restoring its fertility and wildlife, bringing back the old farmland flowers and animals. John Lewis Stempel demonstrates thta it is still possible to create a place where the hare can rest safe


THIS LAST KISS BY MADELEINE REISS


As original as One Day and as heartbreaking as Me Before You, This Last Kiss is the perfect emotional and romantic read.

Rora Raine is finally coming home to Hastings, twelve years after she left her grief-stricken father, and fled the love of her life, Carl.

Struggling to support her bright but troubled daughter, Rora has convinced herself she'll never love again.

When she meets a bumblingly charming stranger, Rora's heart begins to thaw. 

But, try as she might, she can't run from true love forever. 

Funny, warm-hearted and soaringly romantic, This Last Kiss is the redemptive story of two star-crossed lovers, told through each and every kiss they share.




And there we have it!  And now it's the weekend so I wish you many hours of quality reading time ahead!!

HAPPY READING!!