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Tuesday, 27 February 2018

TOP TEN TUESDAY - Books I Could Re-read Forever!


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.
The rules are simple:
  • Each Tuesday, Jana assigns a new topic. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want.
  • Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to The Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.
  • Add your name to the Linky widget on that day’s post so that everyone can check out other bloggers’ lists.
  • Or if you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment.
This week’s topic is Books I Could Re-Read Forever.  What a topic!!!!  I don't tend to re-read a lot anymore - the overwhelming TBR mountain might have something to do with that! - but there are many books that are always there for me on my shelves that I can happily go back to when the dreaded reading slump strikes. as I often find that going back to an old favourite is the perfect remedy - so prepare for a list of old favourites that never grow old!!
MALLORY TOWERS by ENID BLYTON

My childhood!!! The whole series was wonderful to me and I desperately wanted to go to boarding school so I could have the same kind of adventures as Darrell and her friends!

THE SECRET DIARY OF ADRIAN MOLE aged 13 3/4 by SUE TOWNSEND


Adored this when  it came out as it felt so different to anything else I'd read and I still love to go back and see how awkward Adrian was!

NARNIA SERIES by C.S.LEWIS
The whole series had me captivated and I have our old local GP to thank, as he used to have a little lending library and he let me borrow these from that!
HARRY POTTER series by J.K. ROWLING
More escapism reading that I always seem to discover something new from everytime I pick it up to relive the magic!
REBECCA by DAPHNE  DU MAURIER

This was a fairly recent discovery for me, but it has taken a special place in my heart!

TWILIGHT by STEPHENIE MEYER


The initial book in this series had such an impact on me as a reader that I can always go back to it to get all the vampire feels!
BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY by HELEN FIELDING

Because!!! 😉

THE HOBBIT by J.R.R. TOLKIEN

I love all of Middle Earth so can happily read any of these time and time again!
THE BOOK THIEF by MARKUS ZUSAK

One of the first books I think that made me cry and it has done everytime I've read it since!!

ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND & THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS by LEWIS CARROLL

No list of re-reads can be complete without this world! Still discovering  new things from the stories everytime I read them and they are just as wonderful now as they were back in my childhood!

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Loved this topic today!  Had so much fun going back to some of my favourite books! Hope you've enjoyed it too! Any of these on your lists?!


A Spell in the Country by Heide Goody #BlogTour #bookreview #giveaway




Hello!  Delighted to be taking part in this magic blog tour today, hosted by Rachel at rachelsrandomresources! So thank you for stopping by!  Am posting a review and a giveaway today  - you lucky people!!!


THE BLURB

Dee is a Good Witch but she wonders if she could be a better witch. 
She wonders if there’s more to life than Disney movie marathons, eating a whole box of chocolates for dinner and brewing up potions in her bathtub. So when she’s offered a chance to go on a personal development course in the English countryside, she packs her bags, says goodbye to the Shelter for Unloved Animals charity shop and sets a course for self-improvement. 

Caroline isn’t just a Good Witch, she’s a fricking awesome witch. 
She likes to find the easy path through life: what her good looks can’t get for her, a few magic charms can. But she’s bored of being a waitress and needs something different in her life. So when a one night stand offers her a place on an all-expenses-paid residential course in a big old country house, she figures she’s got nothing to lose. 

Jenny is a Wicked Witch. She just wishes she wasn’t. 
On her fifteenth birthday, she got her first wart, her own imp and a Celine Dion CD. She still has the imp. She also has a barely controllable urge to eat human children which is socially awkward to say the least and not made any easier when a teenager on the run turns to her for help. With gangsters and bent cops on their trail, Jenny needs to find a place outside the city where they can lay low for a while. 

For very different reasons, three very different witches end up on the same training course and land in a whole lot of trouble when they discover that there’s a reason why their free country break sounds too good to be true. Foul-mouthed imps, wererats, naked gardeners, tree monsters, ghosts and stampeding donkeys abound in a tale about discovering your inner witch.

Purchase Links 

Author Bio –  
Heide Goody is the stupid one in the writing partnership and Iain Grant is the sensible one. Together, they are the authors of seven novels, two short story collections and a novella.  
The Clovenhoof series (in which Satan loses his job and has to move to Birmingham) has recently been optioned by a Hollywood production company. Their latest novel, Oddjobs 2: this time it’s personnel, was published in August 2017. 
Heide and Iain are both married, but not to each other. 

MY REVIEW

I found this to be such a fun read, full of crazy capers and a full cast of wonderful characters!  It doesn't take long before you take the group of sassy witches to your heart as you follow their stories from the 'real' world where they each work in a variety of jobs and they find themselves all brought together on a course in the middle of nowhere but they aren't sure why they've been chosen!  It doesn't take long for the true reasons to be revealed!

I found myself chuckling along at many points and the character of Jizzimus is full of hilarious one-liners - he was definitely my favourite! I just couldn't wait to find out what he would come out with next!!  The witches all learn so much about themselves and the others while they are away and how they need to pool their 'witchy' resources together to fight those plotting against them!  Dee, Caroline and Jenny aren't your normal kind of witches - is there ever a normal kind?! - and when they all realise what they have in common you start to see the bonds between them strengthen, despite their reluctance in the beginning.

Highly recommended for all those looking for a funny, spellbinding read!!



And then there's more! A fabulous giveaway open to all!!

Giveaway – Win a Witch's Pamper Package (Open Internationally) 
The package, worth over £100 contains… 
  • A lacy gothic bracelet 
  •   A witch's hat fascinator 
  • A pair of green and black stripy tights 
  • A Yankee candle in "Forbidden Apple" 
  • A set of wand-shaped makeup brushes 
  • A gothic notebook (for spells!) 
  • A bookmark featuring a squashed witch (with just the legs sticking out!) 
  • A gemstone ring 
  • A gorgeous coffin-shaped vegan eyeshadow palette from Lunatick Cosmetic labs (with a bat-shaped mirror!) 



GOOD LUCK ALL WHO ENTER!!


    

Monday, 26 February 2018

The Things We Learn When We're Dead by Charlie Laidlaw #bookreview


THE BLURB

With elements of The Wizard of Oz, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and The Lovely Bones, The Things We Learn When We’re Dead shows how small decisions can have profound and unintended consequences, and how sometimes we can get a second chance.

On the way home from a dinner party, Lorna Love steps into the path of an oncoming car. When she wakes up she is in what appears to be a hospital – but a hospital in which her nurse looks like a young Sean Connery, she is served wine for supper, and everyone avoids her questions. It soon transpires that she is in Heaven, or on HVN. Because HVN is a lost, dysfunctional spaceship, and God the aging hippy captain. She seems to be there by accident… Or does God have a higher purpose after all?

At first Lorna can remember nothing. As her memories return – some good, some bad – she realises that she has decision to make and that maybe she needs to find a way home.

Out now!
Published by Accent Press

Author on Twitter;  @claidlawauthor


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BUYING LINKS


Amazon UK affiliate link





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MY REVIEW

I always like it when I don't know what to expect from a book and it surprises me in a positive way, and that is exactly how  feel now after reading this one and am amazed how such an unassuming story really connected with me so much!

Lorna Love is training to be a lawyer, but her life plan suffers a major setback when she is hit by a car and finds herself in hospital but this  is no ordinary hospital and soon she is being introduced to the facility known as HVN!  This facility though is also a spaceship where you can choose to look like whoever you choose - there are many famous faces she meets throughout - and the captain is God who is not like how you think he should be!

Lorna is then faced then with her memories slowly returning and through these flashbacks  you see how her life has progressed from childhood through to adulthood, and some of it made for unpleasant viewing from her perspective, but as a reader it was fascinating to see how her choices had shaped the person she became.  She needs to figure out the reason why she is there in HVN as God tells her that everyone is at this facility for a reason.

She is left questioning all that she knew and seeing things differently from the benefit of hindsight, and it was such a touching look back at a life especially when looking at her family time from holidays to losing people close to her. It delves into her self doubt, career choices, friendships and how your place in the world can disappear so quickly.

I found this to be quite deep in places, alongside being a fun, quirky read and some of the twists along the way had me reeling which just proved to me of how powerful and insightful the story had become and how involved I became with Lorna and her journey.  

Highly recommended!!


My thanks to the author for the copy in return for a fair and honest review.

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Saturday, 24 February 2018

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up - Week 8 2018


Hello!!!! How are we all?! Well I hope! Had a couple of dodgy days here on the health front but feeling brighter today despite all of 3 hours sleep last night! Why does Insomnia strike when you're the most tired??!!  

Been another fabulous bookish week, especially as it was Cosy Reading Night on Wednesday night which I loved taking part in and the box of After Eight Mints were a very handy snack to have by my side!!  And with TV still not being top quality that has meant extra reading time of an evening for me, so this week I managed to get another 5 books read and off  the reading pile!! Not that seems to have made much of an impact as I sit looking at the TBR mountain, but it's a start at least!!

And I've been very well behaved on the acquiring new books front and restricted my 'searching' options, and even the postman has given our house a wide berth until today with 2 books popping through the letterbox!

Here's a look then at what I've read this week, the new books I've acquired and those that I'm currently reading!

BOOKS FINISHED

Where's My F**king Unicorn? by Michele Gordon - 4 stars

Funny and practical self help book that doesn't take itself too seriously!


THE LAST WILDERNESS by NEIL ANSELL  -  5 stars

stunning non fiction book as Neil Ansell discovers the remote Scottish Highlands and reflects on losing his hearing


FINDING THE SNOWDON LILY by HEATHER PARDOE -  4 stars

This was an enjoyable and quick read on my Kindle, set in the stunning scenery of Wales and at the heart of the story is 17 year old Catrin.


ONLY CHILD by RHIANNON  NAVIN  -  5 stars

Stunning, heartbreaking and extremely poignant read considering the awful recent school shootings in America.  Told from the POV of a 6 year old boy as he witnesses such a tragedy, this had me in tears!


MEAL OF FORTUNE by PHILIP BRADY - 4 stars

Read this ahead of a Blog Tour in March, and thoroughly enjoyed the adventure! Thrilling, funny, mad and sweary - my kind of book!!


BOOK POST

Just the two through the letterbox this week but they both look fab!

THE INDUSTRY OF HUMAN HAPPINESS by JAMES HALL
published by Lightning Books    Publication Date May 2018



A tale of love, murder and obsession in the early days of the gramophone

Set in the murky backstage world of late Victorian theatreland, The Industry of Human Happiness is about the obsessive characters who dreamed of bringing recorded music to the masses.

Max and his younger cousin Rusty have a vision of launching the gramophone industry from a Covent Garden basement. But a renowned opera singer is brutally murdered in his hotel bed and they are thrust into the underworld of opium dens, brothels and extortion.

Ghosts from the past and a contested inheritance turn the cousins against each other, and they go head-to-head to launch rival ‘talking machines’. With Max’s sweetheart, the ambitious singer Delilah Green, caught in the middle, the pair battle rival manufacturers, London theatre owners and, ultimately, each other, for their very futures.

This is a story of obsession, the pursuit of love and the enduring magic of music.

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And then this months offering from the Random Book Club is this book that I have to confess knowing nothing about but the blurb has me intrigued!



Set in 1968 in the Parisian suburbs, No Telling is narrated by twelve-year-old Gilles as he approaches his Solemn Communion, puberty, and some sense of the chaos around him. His home is deeply dysfunctional: a dithering mother, a hard-drinking, womanising uncle who becomes his stepfather, and an older sister, Carole - an unbalanced revolutionary who hasn't danced her ballet steps since the death of their real father. Gilles is blithely unaware that any of this is out of the ordinary, as he and his friend Christophe try and piece together a world from fragments of rumour and hushed adult conversation. There is a deeper trauma here, however, far more shocking than anything Gilles could have dreamt of - a mystery it will take the events of the novel and eight years to resolve.

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CURRENTLY READING

Jane Austen At Home by Lucy Worsley


Started reading this on Cosy Reading Night and am loving finding out so much about the woman behind the classic books!

THE THINGS WE LEARN WHEN WE'RE DEAD by CHARLIE LAIDLAW

Looking to read something a little different this weekend and this one appeals - and the cover is rather cool!
With elements of The Wizard of Oz, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and The Lovely Bones, The Things We Learn When We’re Dead shows how small decisions can have profound and unintended consequences, and how sometimes we can get a second chance.

On the way home from a dinner party, Lorna Love steps into the path of an oncoming car. When she wakes up she is in what appears to be a hospital – but a hospital in which her nurse looks like a young Sean Connery, she is served wine for supper, and everyone avoids her questions. It soon transpires that she is in Heaven, or on HVN. Because HVN is a lost, dysfunctional spaceship, and God the aging hippy captain. She seems to be there by accident… Or does God have a higher purpose after all?

At first Lorna can remember nothing. As her memories return – some good, some bad – she realises that she has decision to make and that maybe she needs to find a way home.


So that is my week all wrapped up! How has yours looked? Any new reads I should look out for.. or avoid?!

HAPPY READING!!

Friday, 23 February 2018

Only Child by Rhiannon Navin #BOOKREVIEW


THE BLURB


For readers of Room and The Girls, a dazzling, tenderhearted debut about healing, family, and the exquisite wisdom of children, narrated by a seven-year-old boy who reminds us that sometimes the littlest bodies hold the biggest hearts and the quietest voices speak the loudest.

Squeezed into a coat closet with his classmates and teacher, first grader Zach Taylor can hear gunshots ringing through the halls of his school. A gunman has entered the building, taking nineteen lives and irrevocably changing the very fabric of this close-knit community. While Zach's mother pursues a quest for justice against the shooter's parents, holding them responsible for their son's actions, Zach retreats into his super-secret hideout and loses himself in a world of books and art. Armed with his newfound understanding, and with the optimism and stubbornness only a child could have, Zach sets out on a captivating journey towards healing and forgiveness, determined to help the adults in his life rediscover the universal truths of love and compassion needed to pull them through their darkest hours.

Paperback292 pages
Published 2018 by Mantle


BUYING LINKS

Amazon UK Affiliate Link



If you don't want to jump into this book after reading it and hug the narrator, 6 year old Zach, then you must have a heart of stone!  This debut novel is such a powerful, and extremely poignant story considering the news events of recent weeks, that it made my heart break constantly and struggling to read through the tears!

The child narrator is an extremely touching way to tell this story.  He and his classmates are hiding in a closet in their classroom as we first meet them, as a school shooting is under way.  The book has immediate impact on you reading, and the story that follows is how does he, his family and the community at large deal with such a tragedy and try and move on.  In many ways, they can't move on and as a child he notices the smallest of details and really brings home the enormity of change that surrounds him.

The impact the shooting has on Zachs' family is extremely heartbreaking as they go through the joy of finding Zach alive, but then the heartbreak of hearing that his older brother Andy was one of the victims.  You could sense his mum and dad struggling with those emotions throughout and how they'd turn on each other in their different ways of dealing with grief and it would often seem like they'd forgotten about poor Zach at times.

Zach is a brilliant character to narrate - his mind wanders as he struggles to process what he's been through and what is happening to him and his family, the nightmares that follow are heartbreaking and I just found it an absorbing way of seeing such a tragic event through his eyes.

A stunning story.  A must read!