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Friday, 29 September 2017

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up!

Howdy!! Congratulate yourselves!! You've made it through another week!! And we're all still here..... just!!

Been a fairly quiet week here for me - managed to get to an Autumn Plant Fair last weekend and it isn't only books that I have a weakness for purchasing in large quantities!! 9 new plants came home with me, and are all still sitting patiently in their pots on a garden table waiting for me to find new gaps for them in the garden!! Oops!!  I'm sure I can squeeze them in somewhere, otherwise I think the lawn will be shrinking again as I create bigger borders!!

And in the world of books my reading pace has slowed!! Shock horror!! I don't think it's a proper reading slump but I've just found that the couple of books that I'm currently reading are not making me race through them at breakneck speed, and I'm also in the process of trying to decide my 'next reads' and I find I always get distracted by that process so am hoping that things pick up again next week.

Book buying on the other hand, has not slowed down one jot!! Oops again!!  So this has forced another mini bookshelf declutter - the local charity shops really love me donating to them! - in the vain hope that, even for a short space of time, I can create a gap or two to fit new purchases in!

So here's a little peek at my bookish week! Click on the book titles if you'd like to read my reviews and their blurbs courtesy of GoodReads!!


Thornhill by Pam Smy  -  5 stars 

Really loved this mix of graphic novel and diary entries!!

A fabulous and funny look at life as a bookseller in a secondhand bookshop! If you love rummaging round bookshops then you'll love this!!


Mostly books I've 'treated myself' to this week! We deserve it though, don't we?!

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

In a work that beautifully demonstrates the rewards of closely observing nature, Elisabeth Bailey shares an inspiring and intimate story of her uncommon encounter with a Neohelix albolabris —a common woodland snail. 

While an illness keeps her bedridden, Bailey watches a wild snail that has taken up residence on her nightstand. As a result, she discovers the solace and sense of wonder that this mysterious creature brings and comes to a greater under standing of her own confined place in the world. 

Intrigued by the snail’s molluscan anatomy, cryptic defenses, clear decision making, hydraulic locomotion, and mysterious courtship activities, Bailey becomes an astute and amused observer, providing a candid and engaging look into the curious life of this underappreciated small animal.  

Told with wit and grace, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating is a remarkable journey of survival and resilience, showing us how a small part of the natural world illuminates our own human existence and provides an appreciation of what it means to be fully alive.

Snow Sisters by Carol Lovekin 

Two sisters, their grandmother’s old house and Angharad… the girl who cannot leave.

Meredith discovers a dusty sewing box in a disused attic. Once open the box releases the ghost of Angharad, a Victorian child-woman with a horrific secret she must share. Angharad slowly reveals her story to Meredith who fails to convince her more pragmatic sister of the visitations until Verity sees Angharad for herself on the eve of an unseasonal April snowstorm.

Forced by her flighty mother to abandon Gull House for London, Meredith struggles to settle, still haunted by Angharad and her little red flannel hearts. This time, Verity is not sure she will be able to save her…

Two parallel coming of age stories – one tragic, the other holding out the hope of salvation.

Eden's Garden by Juliet Greenwood


Carys’ dreams for the future are falling apart as she returns to the Snowdonia village where she was born, to look after her mother. But then a chance discovery draws her back into the story of Plas Eden, the huge, ramshackle country house where, at eighteen, she said goodbye to her childhood sweetheart, David Meredith.


The last time Ann was in London she was a spoilt, aristocratic bride. Now she stands destitute on London bridge, with the Meredith charity hospital her only lifeline. But who can she trust, and will she ever escape her past?

Two women struggle with love, family duty, long-buried secrets and their own creative ambitions. But more than a hundred years ago Ann left a trail through London, Cornwall and Wales that leads Carys on a tantalising and increasingly shocking search for the truth.

What is Plas Eden’s connection with her own family history and what are the secrets of the statues in the garden?

New World Fairy Tales by Cassandra Parkin 

In contemporary America, an un-named college student sets out on an obsessive journey of discovery to collect and record the life-stories of total strangers. The interviews that follow have echoes of another, far more famous literary journey, undertaken long ago and in another world.

Drawing on the original, unexpurgated tales collected by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, six of their most famous works are re-imagined in the rich and endlessly varied landscapes of contemporary America.

From the glass towers of Manhattan to the remoteness of the Blue Ridge mountains; from the swamps of Louisiana to the jaded glamour of Hollywood, New World Fairy Tales reclaims the fairy tale for the modern adult audience. A haunting blend of romance and realism, these stripped-back narratives of human experience are the perfect read for anyone who has read their child a bedtime fairy story, and wondered who ever said these were stories meant for children

 And my Book Club releases from Urbane Publications all arrived together to cover August and September and they're another fabulous batch of fascinating reads!

No Way Back by Kelly Florentia

When two eligible and attractive men are vying for your heart, it should be the perfect dilemma... Audrey Fox has been dumped by her unreliable fiancé Nick Byrne just days before the wedding. Heartbroken and confused, the last thing she expects when she jumps on a plane to convalesce in Cyprus is romance. But a chance meeting with handsome entrepreneur and father-of-one Daniel Taylor weaves her into a dating game she's not sure she's ready for. Audrey's life is thrown into further turmoil when she discovers on her return to London that Nick has been involved in a serious motorcycle accident that's left him in intensive care. Distraught yet determined to look to the future, Audrey must make a decision - follow her heart or listen to well-meaning advice from family and friends? Because sometimes, no matter what, it's the people that we love who can hurt us the most...

Veteran Avenue by Mark Pepper

1978. On vacation from England, eight-year-old John Frears is befriended by a stranger in the Oregon wilderness and stolen away from his parents. After a bizarre hour spent in a log cabin, he is sent back with a picture of a young girl. 2013. Since leaving the military, John Frears has been drifting, unable to settle. Then he gets word that a funeral is taking place in L.A. Donnie Chester, fellow veteran of the first Gulf War, has been shot dead. He decides to head to the States to pay his respects, then go sightseeing. It is a simple plan, in keeping with his life to date. But his life is about to become more complicated than he could ever imagine. The mysterious event from his past crashes into the present, and could mean the difference between life and death.

The Premier League 25 years by Lloyd Pettiford

The 2016/17 season marks the 25th of the Premier League after its formation in 1992. After numerous discussions with football authorities, players and television broadcasters, the First Division clubs resigned from the Football League in May 1992 and the Premier League was formed with the inaugural campaign starting on Saturday 15 August of that year. The Premier League charts each of the 25 seasons with the story of how the titles were won and the players who starred. From 2011/12's incredible finale, to Arsenal's "Invincibles", as well as each of Manchester United's record 13 triumphs, find out more about the rich history of the Premier League. The book also includes fan sections for every single one of the clubs that has appeared in the League, with greatest moments and greatest players, as well as the worst!


September draws to an end, so that means so does my read-a-long of The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio and I am so pleased to have picked this up! Have enjoyed every mad minute of it!!

And my bedtime reading is still taken up by The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley .  This started off really well for me, but I'm finding it a little less enthralling as I go through! But i'll stick with it as I'm almost two thirds of the way through!

So that wraps my week up!!  How about your week? Discovered any gems?!  Bought any bookish beauties?! Always lovely to hear what has been going on in your bookish worlds!!


Thursday, 28 September 2017

#PublicationDay The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell #bookreview


Shaun Bythell owns The Bookshop, Wigtown - Scotland's largest second-hand bookshop. It contains 100,000 books, spread over a mile of shelving, with twisting corridors and roaring fires, and all set in a beautiful, rural town by the edge of the sea. A book-lover's paradise? Well, almost ... In these wry and hilarious diaries, Shaun provides an inside look at the trials and tribulations of life in the book trade, from struggles with eccentric customers to wrangles with his own staff, who include the ski-suit-wearing, bin-foraging Nicky. He takes us with him on buying trips to old estates and auction houses, recommends books (both lost classics and new discoveries), introduces us to the thrill of the unexpected find, and evokes the rhythms and charms of small-town life, always with a sharp and sympathetic eye.

Release Date    28th September 2017

Publisher    Profile Books Ltd


I thought this was a highly amusing and informative book as it steps behind the scenes at The Bookshop in Wigtown, which is a second hand bookstore in Scotland. The owner, Shaun Bythell, recollects the past year as the owner and all that entails - the highs, the lows, the weird customers, the onslaught of Amazon and its' practices, the funny and stressful sides of a booksellers life and how he gets his revenge on those who browse his shelves and then claim they can get the book cheaper elsewhere - when he knows they can't!!

There is a real warmth in the way that he writes and it had me chuckling on many occasions and it just sounds like my idea of heaven to visit! It has even prompted me to join the Random Book Club that the bookshop runs so can't wait for my books to start arriving!!

For all those of us who love reading and love rummaging through old bookstores of which there are far too few nowadays! Save the secondhand bookshops!! 

Thank you to NetGalley for the advanced copy in return for a fair and honest review.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017



Parallel stories set in different times, one told in prose and one in pictures, converge as Ella unravels the mystery of the girl next door.

1982: Mary is a lonely orphan at the Thornhill Institute For Children at the very moment that it's shutting its doors. When her few friends are all adopted or re-homed and she's left to face a volatile bully alone, her revenge will have a lasting effect on the bully, on Mary, and on Thornhill itself.

2016: Ella has just moved to a new town where she knows no one. From her room on the top floor of her new home, she has a perfect view of the dilapidated, abandoned Thornhill Institute across the way, where she glimpses a girl in the window. Determined to befriend the girl, Ella resolves to unravel Thornhill's shadowy past.

Amazon UK - buy online and support your local bookstore

Book Depository


I would have known nothing of this book if I'd not watched the review video of Savidge Reads via BookTube, so i'm extremely grateful for this book being bought to my attention as I adored it!

Wow! Through a stunning mix of beautiful black and white illustrations, often in the form of just black pages, and diary entries from 1982, the world of Thornhill past and present is brought to life in amazing fashion by Pam Smy.  

At the heart of the story is the sad story of Mary who in 1982 was a resident of Thornhill, and was suffering an amazingly lonely life, and being bullied, but she got through every day through by making puppets and creating a safe space for herself with them, to escape the bleak world outside her door.

In the present, we get the story of Ella who moves into a house with her Dad that overlooks Thornhill which has been left as a no go zone whilst they decide what to do with the site.  Her story explores a connection that Ella feels with Mary.

This is a creepy, chilling, haunting and powerful story aimed at readers of all ages. A must read!!

Monday, 25 September 2017

#GuestPost #BlogTour Cancer Free for 20 Years by Curly Martin

Extremely delighted to be hosting the inspiring Curly Martin today for a guest post as the Blog Tour for this fascinating and informative book gets under way.  It is an extremely thought provoking read and full of so much comfort and guidance to those who need it, no matter what illness they are going through.  There really is something for everyone in this  honest and uplifting book. 

Museums, Mushrooms and Mind Games 

A 20-year cancer survivor uses convention and alternative therapies 

In 1992, Curly Martin was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given 9 months to live. Whilst going through the conventional route of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy she decided she would try to beat the odds that were so heavily stacked against her. Her journey exploring what alternatives were on offer led her to experience some the wilder side of cancer therapies. 

Curly started with massage and make-up whilst in hospital. Every day she would plaster her face with false tan cream so that she looked healthy, even if underneath she was incredibly pale skinned. She took up the offer of free massage, and this was a major turning point into the alternative therapy world. 

Although Curly had been told by doctors that her cancer was terminal, she realised that there were things she could do to increase her odds of survival beyond the 9 months she had been given. In her mind, she was going to die anyway, so why not take a punt on therapies that aren’t scientifically proven? She launched herself into exploring everything that was on offer and found a mushroom-based Kombuca tea, which was actually more like fungi yeast that was prepared in a bucket. In her book, Achievement: Cancer Free for 20 Years she talks about the link between tea and cancer treatment, including the story of a woman who claimed to have cured herself of breast cancer through a formula she obtained from an Ojibway Indian, known as Essiac tea. Curly found the ingredients and recipe, then made and drank cups of the Essiac tea daily for over 2 years. 

Part of her journey was spent studying Neuro Linguistic Programming, and one of the interventions was called the Museum Of Old Beliefs. Through this technique she had to imagine entering a museum, walking up the stairs to an attic and putting her negative cancer beliefs into a large trunk, locking it and walking away. 

During her studies, Curly also read that mercury in dental fillings had been implicated as a possible causing factor in cancer growth. She subsequently had all of her many mercury fillings removed and replaced with composite filling, all without anaesthetic injections, instead using a powerful mind game to manage the pain. 

Mind games and mantras were also used by Curly to actively “attack” the cancer cells. In her mind, she would picture releasing an army of white blood cells who would attack the cancer cells, gobbling them up piece by piece. This was just one of the “videos” she would run in her mind many times a day. Another “video” was of her being declared cancer free by the oncologist, and she would regularly use these visualisations while saying an appropriate mantra, such as “I am happy, healthy, healed and whole.” 

Today, Curly has been cancer-free for more than 20 years, but still has her Daily Dozen,” or twelve things she does every day, inspired by her cancer journeyThese include walking, taking vitamins and minerals, I CAN-tations, eating fruit, restricting coffee and alcohol, self-massage, drinking lots of water, eating a pescatarian diet, reducing sugar intake, setting daily goals and finally, only using chemical-free skin creams. 

Curly Martin, is the author of Cancer Free for 20 Years. Given 9 months to live, Curly was homeless and dealing with a relationship break up. Twenty years on she has an exciting new career in coaching and is a best-selling author and International speaker. Her book gives guidance to others facing similar challenges. 

Achievement: Cancer Free for 20 Years by Curly Martin is out now, available from Amazon, priced £13.48. For more information go to 

Thank you Curly, and thank you all for stopping by today! I hope you'll  be checking out the other stops on the Blog Tour over the next few days for more info!!