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Saturday, 20 October 2018

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up - Week 41 2018


Happy Saturday one and all!  I hope you are well ... I am not!! The cold germs have invaded my head so I'm sat here feeling very sorry for myself, in between sneezing and trying to find things to easy my sore throat! Woe is me!

But then there are books to cheer me up! And what better remedy for feeling pants than to  look back on another pretty good bookish week! Another 5 books finished, 1 newbie from NetGalley, and 7 more real books to add to the shelves!  I think I need to work on balancing things out better haha!!

So here's a quick look back at those that I've finished, those hauled and what I'm reading now! Enjoy!

Books finished


Fab creepy read!



 Quirky read - started strongly but then fell a little flat!



Powerful and entrancing! Loved it!



Another visit to Hartsford Hall and I loved it!



Enjoyable read - makes you want to make a mix tape again!


BOOK HAUL

Starting over at Netgalley!

The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan
Published by HQ
1st November 2018
The McBride sisters all have different reasons for finding Christmas challenging, but their adoptive mother is determined this year will be different. As the countdown to Christmas Day begins and the sisters return to their childhood home in the Scottish Highlands, arguments, connections and secrets start bubbling to the surface. The McBride family was made, not born – but will the sisters be able to make this the magical family Christmas their mother has always dreamed of?

And on to books I've received for reviewing from lovely publishers.

The Conviction of Cora Burns by Carolyn Kirby
Published by No Exit Press
Publication Date - 21st March 2019
Set in 1880s Birmingham, Carolyn Kirby’s stunning debut The Conviction of Cora Burns tells the story of Cora, a young woman born in a prison to a convicted criminal she never knew but from whom she fears she has inherited a violent nature. Perfect for fans of Sarah Schmidt, Anna Mazzola and Hannah Kent.

Cora was born in a prison. But is this where she belongs?
Birmingham, 1885.
Born in a gaol and raised in a workhouse, Cora Burns has always struggled to control the violence inside her.
Haunted by memories of a terrible crime, she seeks a new life working as a servant in the house of scientist Thomas Jerwood.
Here, Cora befriends a young girl, Violet, who seems to be the subject of a living experiment. But is Jerwood also secretly studying Cora…?

With the power and intrigue of Laura Purcell’s The Silent Companions and Sarah Schmidt’s See What I Have Done, Carolyn Kirby’s stunning debut takes the reader on a heart-breaking journey through Victorian Birmingham and questions where we first learn violence: from our scars or from our hearts.

The Jacobite's Wife by Morag Edwards
Published by Hookline Books
Out now


This historical novel is the fictionalised account of the life of Winifred, Countess of Nithsdale (1672 - 1749). Brought up as a Jacobite in the turmoil of late 17th century politics, Winifred spends her young, adult years within the glittering, exiled court of James II in France. Winifred's marriage to William Maxwell, Earl of Nithsdale brings love and passion but also tests her loyalty to her husband and the Jacobite cause. How far will Winifred go to save his life?

Flames by Robbie Arnott
Published by Atlantic Books
Publication Date - 1st November 2018

It starts with a fisherman hunting for tuna, his sidekick a young seal as fast as quicksilver, a relationship forged in blood and fishmeat, but broken by the black heft of the sea; then a young man whose mother burned up outside, the scorch marks still on the grass, who fears the same fate for his sister so builds her a coffin, even though she’s still breathing and very much alive; a water rat swimming upriver, a god in his element until he finds that some gods are more powerful than others; a flock of cormorants, pecking out the eyes of the slow-witted wombats on a local farm, and the sad old man who swears bloody vengeance; and more, and more, until it ends with a fisherman, who used to hunt for tuna, with a seal for a sidekick, as fast as quicksilver…

And on to the books that I thought I should treat myself to.....

The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart

The most enchanting debut novel of 2018, this is an irresistible, deeply moving and romantic story of a young girl, daughter of an abusive father, who has to learn the hard way that she can break the patterns of the past, live on her own terms and find her own strength.

After her family suffers a tragedy when she is nine years old, Alice Hart is forced to leave her idyllic seaside home. She is taken in by her estranged grandmother, June, a flower farmer who raises Alice on the language of Australian native flowers, a way to say the things that are too hard to speak. But Alice also learns that there are secrets within secrets about her past. Under the watchful eye of June and The Flowers, women who run the farm, Alice grows up. But an unexpected betrayal sends her reeling, and she flees to the dramatically beautiful central Australian desert. Alice thinks she has found solace, until she falls in love with Dylan, a charismatic and ultimately dangerous man.
The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart is a story about stories: those we inherit, those we select to define us, and those we decide to hide. It is a novel about the secrets we keep and how they haunt us, and the stories we tell ourselves in order to survive. Spanning twenty years, set between the lush sugar cane fields by the sea, a native Australian flower farm, and a celestial crater in the central desert, Alice must go on a journey to discover that the most powerful story she will ever possess is her own.

Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver


2016 Vineland
Meet Willa Knox, a woman who stands braced against an upended world that seems to hold no mercy for her shattered life and family - or the crumbling house that contains her.

1871 Vineland
Thatcher Greenwood, the new science teacher, is a fervent advocate of the work of Charles Darwin, and he is keen to communicate his ideas to his students. But those in power in Thatcher's small town have no desire for a new world order. Thatcher and his teachings are not welcome.

Both Willa and Thatcher resist the prevailing logic. Both are asked to pay a high price for their courage. But both also find inspiration -- and an unlikely kindred spirit -- in Mary Treat, a scientist, adventurer and anachronism.

A testament to both the resilience and persistent myopia of the human condition, Unsheltered explores the foundations we build in life, spanning time and place to give us all a clearer look at those around us, and perhaps ourselves. It is a novel that speaks truly to our times.

All Among The Barley by Melissa Harrison


From the author of Costa-shortlisted and Baileys-longlisted At Hawthorn Time comes a major new novel. Set on a farm in Suffolk just before the Second World War, it introduces a girl on the cusp of adulthood. 

Fourteen-year-old Edie Mather lives with her family at Wych Farm, where the shadow of the Great War still hangs over a community impoverished by the Great Depression. Glamorous outsider Constance FitzAllen arrives from London, determined to make a record of fading rural traditions and beliefs, and to persuade Edie's family to return to the old ways rather than embrace modernity. She brings with her new political and social ideas – some far more dangerous than others.

For Edie, who has just finished school and must soon decide what to do with her life, Connie appears to be a godsend. But there is more to the older woman than meets the eye. As harvest time approaches and the pressures mount on the entire Mather family, Edie must decide whose version of reality to trust, and how best to save herself from disaster. 

A masterful evocation of the rhythms of the natural world and pastoral life, All Among the Barley is also a powerful and timely novel about influence, the lessons of history and the dangers of nostalgia.

The Winter Solider by Daniel Mason
signed first edition from Goldsboro Books

 

By the international bestselling author of The Piano Tuner, a sweeping and unforgettable love story of a young doctor and nurse at a remote field hospital in the First World War.

Vienna, 1914. Lucius is a twenty-two-year-old medical student when World War I explodes across Europe. Enraptured by romantic tales of battlefield surgery, he enlists, expecting a position at a well-organized field hospital. But when he arrives, at a commandeered church tucked away high in a remote valley of the Carpathian Mountains, he finds a freezing outpost ravaged by typhus. The other doctors have fled, and only a single, mysterious nurse named Sister Margarete remains. 
But Lucius has never lifted a surgeon's scalpel. And as the war rages across the winter landscape, he finds himself falling in love with the woman from whom he must learn a brutal, makeshift medicine. Then one day, an unconscious soldier is brought in from the snow, his uniform stuffed with strange drawings. He seems beyond rescue, until Lucius makes a fateful decision that will change the lives of doctor, patient, and nurse forever. 
From the gilded ballrooms of Imperial Vienna to the frozen forests of the Eastern Front; from hardscrabble operating rooms to battlefields thundering with Cossack cavalry, The Winter Soldier is the story of war and medicine, of family, of finding love in the sweeping tides of history, and finally, of the mistakes we make, and the precious opportunities to atone.


CURRENTLY READING






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So how has your bookish week been? Stayed away from the bookstores?! I thought not!!  Wishing you a fabulous week ahead! I'm off to endure another mug of Lemsip... yuck!



Friday, 19 October 2018

#BookReview The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements #RIPXIII



About the book

The Coffin Path is an eerie and compelling seventeenth-century ghost story set on the dark wilds of the Yorkshire moors. For fans of Michelle Paver and Sarah Waters, this gothic tale will weave its way into your imagination and chill you to the bone.

Maybe you've heard tales about Scarcross Hall, the house on the old coffin path that winds from village to moor top. They say there's something up here, something evil.

Mercy Booth isn't afraid. The moors and Scarcross are her home and lifeblood. But, beneath her certainty, small things are beginning to trouble her. Three ancient coins missing from her father's study, the shadowy figure out by the gatepost, an unshakeable sense that someone is watching.

When a stranger appears seeking work, Mercy reluctantly takes him in. As their stories entwine, this man will change everything. She just can't see it yet.

Published by Headline Review

Purchase Links





MY REVIEW

Creepy, chilling and compelling! That's how I'd sum up this dark tale from Katherine Clements!

You can't get a better setting than an old house set on the moors and that is where you'll find Scarcross Hall, which is home to Mercy and her father. The moors are all she's ever known and she'll do whatever it takes to keep her family there despite the hostile surroundings, and when lambs from their flock start being found horrifically slaughtered the rumours begin again that dark times are set to follow, as they had done many years earlier to a previous family.

Things begin to go missing from her home, there are strange noises, ghostly figures watching over her - is she losing her mind or are these things really happening? With the arrival of a stranger, Ellis, he joins the family to help work on the land and this doesn't go down too well with those already working there. He is an enigmatic character but proves his worth when times turn darker.

There are so many interesting characters to follow in this story - Mercy is a strong female who thinks she can face everything alone and doesn't like to be proved wrong, but shows her softer side when dealing with young Sam who has his own tragic past. Her father is not a well man and has many secrets, his housekeeper Agnes doing her best to keep the household together, and the mysterious Ellis. I loved how the story flowed - the horrific slaughter of the lambs happened so randomly but the rumours of the dark past of the moors quickly filled the villagers with fear and Mercy is left to try and figure out why this is happening - is it something she's done? Is the land cursed?

I really enjoyed this despite the unsettling feeling you got to share along with Mercy and the others. It's full of folklore and amidst the bleak setting of the moors it really sets the story up as one where you can't turn the pages quick enough to find out what will happen next!! A perfect halloween read!!


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Tuesday, 16 October 2018

#BookReview A Little Christmas Charm by Kathryn Freeman #happypublicationday


About the book

A wonderful new uplifting Christmas story from Kathryn Freeman to put you in the festive mood. Highly recommended 

Would you swap sea and sunshine for tinsel and turkey? 
Gabby Sanderson is used to being let down – even at Christmas. Which is why she’s happy to skip the festive season completely in favour of a plane ticket and sunnier climes. 

But this Christmas could be different, because this time she might not be spending it alone. Can Owen Cooper charm Gabby into loving Christmas in the same way he’s charmed his way into her life, or is he just another person who’ll end up disappointing her?

Published by Choc Lit

Publication Day - 16th October 2018

Purchase Links 

Just 99p!! A bargain!!







MY REVIEW

Another sweet treat of a read from the wonderful Kathryn Freeman.  

The story starts in the build up to Christmas and life at work has just picked up for Owen as he spots Gabby and he's smitten!  Is it wise to start a work relationship though? Gabby is just as smitten with the seemingly confident salesman, but she senses he's a flirty character and that is just the way he acts with everyone, so maybe she's reading too much into his glances and attention!

But as they begin to spend more time together, they both allow themselves to open up to one another and as their pasts have scarred them, it is no wonder that they both seem a little reluctant to jump right into a relationship. But they are both such endearing characters that you quickly warm to their ways and wish they'd both be brave and embrace their time together.

With Christmas fast approaching there's always going to be some extra drama to muddy the water and it's how they both deal with the problems facing them that tug at your heartstrings and make this such a satisfying story.  I just wish it could have gone on for longer as I loved spending time in their company! Fabulous!!

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Saturday, 13 October 2018

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up - Week 40 2018


Hello!!  It's all beginning to look a lot like Autumn round these parts- but not feeling like it yet as it's still weirdly very mild and muggy!

And on the book front things are still chugging along nicely! Another 4 books finished this week, despite having a much slower pace of reading as my brain was on a go slow , and the hauling is continuing at a scary pace so that needs to be worked on..... on a positive note, I stayed away from Netgalley!!!  

So here's a quick look at my week in bookish form, click on the book titles for a link to their GoodReads pages!

BOOKS FINISHED


Listened to the audio version of this and really loved it!


Such a lovely read whatever time of the year you pick it up! Loved this series!



The perfect festive read with all the magical feels!!



Another fascinating book from this author. A great study of characters!


BOOKHAUL

A mix of books I felt I needed to treat myself to this week - we all deserve treats don't we?! - and some lovely books sent from publishers ahead of Blog Tours!

The Suspect by Fiona Barton - proof copy
Published by Bantam Press - 24th January 2019

‘The police belonged to another world – the world they saw on the television or in the papers. Not theirs.’

When two eighteen-year-old girls go missing on their gap year in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft and frantic with worry. 

Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, first with the exclusive, first to discover the truth – and this time is no exception. But she can’t help but think of her own son, who she hasn’t seen in two years, since he left home to go travelling. This time it’s personal.

And as the case of the missing girls unfolds, they will all find that even this far away, danger can lie closer to home than you might think . . .

The Last Words of Madeleine Anderson by Helen Kitson  - proof copy
Published by Louise Walters Books - 7th March 2019
Once upon a time Gabrielle Price wrote and published an extraordinary novel. 

But twenty years on her literary star has dimmed, her "work of genius" is all but forgotten, and no further novels have materialized. She now lives an unremarkable life: middle-aged, living alone in the sleepy village she grew up in, and working as a housekeeper for the local vicar. Her lonely existence is dominated by memories of her best friend Madeleine, who died young, in tragic and mysterious circumstances. 

Gabrielle’s quiet world is turned upside down when she meets and befriends Simon – young, attractive, a would-be writer, and enthusiastic fan of the astonishing novel that Gabrielle published all those years ago. Charmed and flattered, she recklessly invites him into her home and her heart. But Simon is mysterious and manipulative, and it’s not long before he forces Gabrielle to confront the demons in her past. Gabrielle’s obsession begins to destroy her carefully cultivated life, and she comes to feel increasingly threatened by Simon’s presence. Who is he? Why did he seek her out? And what does he really want?

The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox - proof copy
Published by HQ - 18th October 2018

"It was the Bishop boy who started it all..."Boston, 1811: The Salem Witch Trials are over one hundred years in the past, and America is a changed place. Lydia Montrose is a young girl, enraged by the cruel boy who torments her. When she confronts him in the street, she draws a disbelieving crowd, and she cannot quite remember what she's done.Ten years later, Lydia finds herself in a carriage bound for the rural New Oldbury, Massachusetts, her family fleeing Boston in the wake of a scandal connected to her older sister, Catherine, her own engagement to a promising young man abruptly broken. The stately Willow Hall, which Mr. Montrose built as a summer retreat for his family, is now the only home the Montroses can have.Lydia resents that she's lost everything. But her resentment turns to disquiet when it becomes apparent that Willow Hall hides dark secrets that no one in the Montrose family could have predicted, like the ominous messages Lydia keeps receiving: "You attract them. Prepare." And Mr. Montrose's handsome business partner, John Barrett, seems to begrudge that Mr. Montrose has brought his family with him to Willow Hall.When whatever lurks in the house and its surrounding woods does the unthinkable, Lydia knows she is the only one who can stop it. Summoning powers she barely understands, Lydia must engage the forces around her to keep her family safe, while protecting the blossoming love she has with John--who has secrets of his own.

And then I went browsing on https://www.hive.co.uk/ and felt the need to treat myself to these!

Feminists Don't Wear Pink by Scarlett Curtis
An urgent and inspirational collection of essays by a diverse group of celebrities, activists, and artists about what feminism means to them, with the goal of helping readers come to their own personal understanding of the word.
Feminism has never been more deeply and widely embraced and discussed, but what exactly does the F word mean? 
Here, personal stories from actors, writers, and activists explore the contradictions and complications at the heart of the movement. By bridging the gap between feminist hashtags and scholarly texts, these essays bring feminism into clear focus.

Every woman has a different route to their personal understanding of feminism. This empowering collection shows how a diverse group of women found their voice, and it will inspire others to do the same




Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak - signed edition

Here is a story told inside out and back to front

Five Dunbar brothers are living – fighting, loving, grieving – in the perfect chaos of a house without grown-ups. Today, the father who left them has just walked right back in. 
He has a surprising request: Who will build a bridge with him?

It is Clay, a boy tormented by a long-buried secret, who accepts. But why is Clay so broken? And why must he fulfil this extraordinary challenge?

Bridge of Clay is about a boy caught in a current, a boy intent on destroying everything he has in order to become everything he needs to be. Ahead of him lies the bridge, the vision that will save both his family and himself.

It will be a miracle and nothing less.

At once an existential riddle and a search for redemption, this tale of five brothers coming of age in a house with no rules brims with energy, joy and pathos. Written in Markus Zusak's distinctive style, it is a tour de force from a master storyteller of the heart.

CURRENTLY READING






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So now to catch up on some reviews - my least favourite part of reading at the moment haha - and to work up a plan of what books might lie ahead for me in the next 7 days!  Hope your bookish week has been a good one!!

HAPPY READING!!











Thursday, 11 October 2018

#BlogTour The Eyes That Look by Julia Grigg #BookReview @Bookollective



Extremely delighted to be the next stop on the Blog Tour for this stunning book. My thanks to the author, publisher and team at Bookollective for inviting me to be part of the fun!

About the book

Yes, we may have eyes that look, but how clearly do we see? Julia Grigg’s compelling novel, The Eyes That Look, set amidst the feverish creativity and competition of mid-sixteenth-century Italy, tells the story of Francesco Bassano, a young man who questions why an extraordinary painting was made and sets off to find out. His journey takes him across the Veneto and to Florence, where he learns about loyalty and the unbreakable bond between a master and his dogs, about the determination it takes to innovate, and about the sacrifices needed to turn ambitions into reality. Witness to astonishing achievements in art and architecture, Francesco is enthralled and uplifted but also exposed to human frailty and inhumanity. Thinking anew about truth and beauty, he also experiences bitter betrayal.

A novel steeped in the visual and tactile power of art, The Eyes that Look entertains as it informs, inviting readers to revel in a Renaissance world of unrivalled artistic richness.

Published by Unicorn Publishing

Purchase Links

hive.co.uk  £10.75

waterstones  £13.00

foyles  £13.00

About the Author



Julia Grigg started out in fashion journalism, her first job on Vogue, also writing on the arts, food and travel. She retains an abiding interest in all these subjects but soon moved into a career with UNICEF as a writer and advocate for children’s issues and over many years was deployed to some of the world’s most demanding and complex countries. 
Julia began The Eyes that Look – the secret story of Bassano’s Hunting Dogs while studying for the Bath Spa University Masters in Creative Writing from which she graduated with Distinction. Early drafts of the novel were longlisted for the Exeter First Novel Prize and for the Aurora Metro Virginia Prize for New Writing by Women in English. 
The Eyes that Look was years in the making before a single word was put on the page. Writing it meant Julia could delve deep into the Italian High Renaissance, indulging a lifelong fascination with its art, music and poetry. In the research process she embraced online study, attended the Courtauld Institute summer school and the British Institute in Florence, and spent much time in Italian archives, galleries and churches as well as in trying to master the language. 
Julia is working on the second novel of a planned Renaissance trilogy, involving mid 1500s Rome, Florence and Venice settings and some of the same cast of characters as The Eyes that Look. 
Cornish in origin, Julia divides her time between the UK and Nairobi, Kenya, spending as much time as she can in the West Country, always thrilled to be once again crossing the Tamar. Dogs are another passion; she and her husband share their home with a pair of black and tan dachshunds. 



MY REVIEW

I found this to be a beautifully written book that transports you back to Italy in the Mid 16th Century and brings the sights and sounds to life with such astonishing attention to detail.  The colours literally ping off the pages as you read!

I'm often a little sceptical of books about the art world and paintings - how much can be written about a particular painting?! But with this story we go beyond the art, and to the story behind this famous painting mixed with historical facts that blend so well.

It did take me a while to get into the flow of the story as I was a little unsure of what to expect, but once I'd got my head around the characters I found this so easy to read and so captivating as you follow a young man on his quest to discover more about his father, and more of the artwork he created.  There are so many mentions of artists we've all heard of, and the way they are used adds such flavour to the story.  It's also told from a number of different Points of View so you're always getting different sides to stories, varying glimpses of life and seeing young  Francesco have his opinions changed as he discovers more about the story of this painting that was very unusual for the time.

There is no better setting for a historical mystery than Venice, and the way this is written is stunning.  I couldn't get over how much colour plays a part in setting the story - it was so vivid!  It left me wanting to read more about the artists and period of history. The author obviously has a clear love of Art as her devotion to the story and understanding of that world makes you connect with the characters so much more.

The lessons he learns on his journey teach him so much and you can't help embrace the same message as you read.  It explores the relationship between father and son and how we often see people differently because they are family and that it takes others perceptions to allow you to see them as they really are.

A stunning read and one I can highly recommend to others who are looking for something a little different.


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Wednesday, 10 October 2018

#bookreview The Widow by Fiona Barton


About the book

'The ultimate psychological thriller' Lisa Gardner

We've all seen him: the man - the monster - staring from the front page of every newspaper, accused of a terrible crime.

But what about her: the woman who grips his arm on the courtroom stairs – the wife who stands by him?

Jean Taylor’s life was blissfully ordinary. Nice house, nice husband. Glen was all she’d ever wanted: her Prince Charming. 

Until he became that man accused, that monster on the front page. Jean was married to a man everyone thought capable of unimaginable evil.

But now Glen is dead and she’s alone for the first time, free to tell her story on her own terms.

Jean Taylor is going to tell us what she knows.



Du Maurier's REBECCA meets WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN and GONE GIRL in this intimate tale of a terrible crime.

'My book of the year so far' C. L. Taylor, author of THE LIE

Purchase Links





MY REVIEW

This book has been my obsession for the past few days, as I listened to the audio version via Borrowbox. And it was so wonderful to hear it all brought to life so stunningly by the narrator - and I loved the bonus interview at the end too between her and the author which added so much more to the reading experience!

This is the story of Jean Taylor, who has led a very quiet life until her husband Glen is accused of kidnapping a young child. Surely not her Glen? She stands by him as the press and police close the net convinced they have found their man. We then hear the story not only from Jean's point of view, but also from the perspective of a journalist wanting the exclusive story and the detective leading the investigation to find the missing girl. The timeline is from now when Jean is widowed and also goes back to the past when the media circus was camped outside her door from dawn to dusk.

I had so many questions in my head as I read through this - how does somebody stand by someone accused of such horrific things? What lengths do the press go to in getting that exclusive aspect of a story? And how does a police force build up a case where there is very little evidence or witnesses? And the author has done an amazing job of exploring all these avenues throughout as she follows the story of the missing 2 year old. You are left with so many conflicting emotions as the story goes through a number of revelations that leave you shocked, upset, angry and most of all intrigued as to the outcome of the story.

The journalist and the detectives sides to the story really added an extra dimension to the book - it was fascinating to see how the case consumed the detective and how he wouldn't settle until he'd looked at all aspects to those under suspicion. And with the journalist it was interesting to see how their minds worked in relation to getting different sides to a story.

I found this to be such a gripping and fascinating story that I was sad when it came to an end. Looking forward to reading more from this author very soon!!


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