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Tuesday, 29 January 2019

#BookReview Mr Doubler Begins Again by Seni Glaister @HQstories


about the book

Not every journey takes you far from home…
Mr Doubler lives all alone at Mirth Farm, on top of a hill.

Back when she was around, Doubler’s wife was always surrounded by friends. But Doubler is different. The only company he needs are his potato plants and his housekeeper, Mrs Millwood, who visits every day.

So when Mrs Millwood is taken ill, it ruins everything – and Doubler begins to worry that he might have lost his way. But could the kindness of strangers be enough to bring him down from the hill?

Published by HQ

Purchase Links




MY REVIEW

A wonderfully touching, funny and inspiring book about a man who finds solace in routine, and potatoes!, but once he is coaxed out of his home he realises there's a world out there for him and people he can help, and who can help him!

Mr Doubler lives alone at the top of a hill in Mirth Farm. He seeks to be the best potato grower in the country,and devotes his every waking hour to their care and seeking to find the perfect formula to grow and create the best potatoes. He is visited daily by Mrs Millwood who is his housekeeper and keeps him in check, but she always worries about him.. When she is taken poorly it shakes him as his routine is broken, and her daughter Midge starts to visit to help him and offers him a new perspective on life and asks for his help with her mother so poorly.

What I found striking about this story is the mix of characters that we are introduced to. Many of them are very stubborn and set in their ways, but they have hearts of gold and often aren't appreciated by those closest to them. It takes others to see them for what they are and treat them as real human beings, and it only takes a short time to hear their stories and take their feelings into account. Throughout the book we are aware that some of the characters have bad relationships and feelings towards their children, who have seemingly done little to understand them and though they might perceive what they are doing is best for the elderly parent, it is often not what the parent wanted or had hoped for and they become quite bitter in how they have been treated.

But that doesn't stop them from caring about those around them, and as Mr Doubler finds himself more involved in the community he starts to listen to the stories of people he meets and comes up with the most delightful solutions to problems and giving meaning back to people who have been forgotten about in their retirement. It focuses on their mental health and wellbeing and how being involved and having a purpose gives them pleasure - there's more to life than daytime TV and bingo for these characters!

I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with these characters and loved the charming feel to this story! A delightful read!

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My thanks to HQ for the advanced reader copy in return for a fair and honest review.






#BookReview Magnolia House by Angela Barton @ChocLituk


About the book

Highly recommended read 

When you open up your home and your heart … 
Rowan Forrester has it all – the happy marriage, the adorable dog, the good friends, the promising business and even the dream home after she and her husband Tom win a stunning but slightly dilapidated Georgian townhouse in London at auction. 

But in the blink of an eye, Rowan’s picture-perfect life comes crashing down around her and she is faced with the prospect of having to start again. 

To make ends meet she begins a search for housemates, and in doing so opens the door to new friends and new beginnings. But could she be opening the door to new heartbreak too?

Published by Choc Lit

Purchase Links




MY REVIEW


I found this to be a really inspiring read! It is a story that features some very sad and dark times, but also shows how people can come out the other side, especially with the help of some supportive family members and friends, and that is what the main character Rowan finds when she is faced with the devastating loss of her husband, just after they'd bought the house of their dreams, Magnolia House, to renovate.

Her whole life is changed by these tragic events but after taking time out to process the news and deal with her grief, she begins to find light at the end of the tunnel and by renting out rooms in the house she also meets some wonderful new friends who become family to her.

Alongside the story of Rowan, we also get to follow Libby and her story. She is the sister in law of Rowan, so is distraught by the loss her brother, and is also trying to deal with issues she has with shopping and spending money she doesn't really have.  Her husband is desperate to help her but she thinks she can menage on her own and keeps it all a secret - but secrets can take their toll as she soon finds out.

I loved how darker subject were dealt with in this story alongside the lighter moments, as it really reflected real life! It's not all rainbows and puppies!  The author has created some really enjoyable characters in this book, Ace being one of my favourites with his humour and attitude to life!                   

Rowan has to deal with some unexpected twists in her journey, and is also torn by her feelings towards a new man - is it too soon to find love again?  A fabulous read and I hope we get to hear more from these characters in the future as I'd love to revisit some of them as their lives move on!!

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Monday, 28 January 2019

#BookReview The Sudden Departure of the Frasers by Louise Candlish #LibraryLoveChallenge


About the book

Welcome to Lime Park Road. A picture-perfect street with a secret at its heart.

When Joe and Christy Davenport step behind the Oxford Blue painted door of their 'for ever' home, they believe their dreams have come true.

Yet the boxes aren't even unpacked before a series of events leads Christy to become obsessed with the previous occupant, the glamorous, enigmatic Amber Fraser, whose departure from Lime Park Road is shrouded in mystery.

What happened to her? And why are Joe and Christy's attempts at friendship with neighbours met with an unnerving silence?

As Christy unravels the shocking truth about the Frasers and the place she now calls home, she discovers that behind the closed doors of even the most desirable postcodes, terrible secrets lurk.

Published by Penguin Books


MY REVIEW



I found this to be really engaging but quite a dark read, and the intrigue that followed with the departure of the Frasers from the neighbourhood, which leads to the Davenports being able to move into the home of their dreams was cleverly managed and well written.

When Christy and Joe move to Lime Park Road they think all their wishes have come true but it's really the start of a nightmare for them as they notice the neighbours act very strangely towards them, and are reluctant to discuss just what happened to the family who lived there before and who had moved out so quickly.

The story flits between the present, with Christy becoming obsessed with trying to find out what really went on in their new home and trying to befriend her new neighbours, and also goes back to the past so that we see the story from the point of view of Amber Fraser, the glamourous wife of Jeremy, and how she viewed her time at Lime Park Road - and she has some stories to tell!!

This is a book to have you wondering about what goes on behind closed doors in your neighbourhood and just how dark and devious those you least expect can be! Those whose lifestyles you envy might not be all that they are cracked up to be!

Definitely hope to read more from this author in the future



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#CoverReveal It's My Birthday by Hannah Pearl @RubyFiction

COVER REVEAL

Hello!! Anyone up for a fabulously fun cover reveal??!! Well, look no further!! Delighted to be able to share this forthcoming release from RUBY FICTION of IT'S MY BIRTHDAY by HANNAH PEARL!  And it's one that is going to really put you in the party mood!


Oh boy, another birthday ...


Karen could be excused for crying on her birthday, especially as it’s the first one since her husband got on a plane to the States and never came back. Then there’s the fact that her workmates were practically bribed to attend her birthday meal. But when a restaurant double booking leads to her sharing a table with single dad Elliot and his daughter, things start looking up.


As Karen gets to know Elliot she experiences feelings she thought she’d never have again. But is it enough? Or will the thing that destroyed Karen’s previous relationship also ruin things with Elliot?

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It’s My Birthday is published on 19th March by Ruby Fiction and will be available to purchase as an eBook on all platforms, as well as in audio.


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Are we ready for the first look?!  3....2....1......





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What do you think?!  I love the colours on the cover, and just can't wait to read the book! Hurry up March!!

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Saturday, 26 January 2019

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up - January 26th 2019


Hello bookish friends!!  Hope all is well in your world!  Feeling very sluggish here this past week and even the appearance of snow - well a few flakes fell but not enough to build a snowball let alone a snowman! - perked me up! Maybe the January blues are to blame - hurry up February if that is the case!

On to the books!  A slower pace of reading this week but still managed to get 3 books finished! And the 'no buy' January is still going extremely well with no new purchases of any kind all month!  Do I dare continue this into February?! Decisions Decisions!!

There have been new additions thanks to review copies and a visit or two to NetGalley! Ooh and a library haul for me this week too - hoping to try a few different kind of books out this way!

So here's a look back at my week! Click on the titles for a link back to the GoodReads pages!

BOOKS READ


Loved this beautiful story



Another enjoyable story from one of my favourite authors - a bit more serious than some of her previous books though!


Publication Date - 29th January 2019

Another absorbing story from Angela - full review to come on Tuesday!


NETGALLEY HAUL

Just the four (oops!)  new additions this week! I really should stop visiting the site for a while!

One Minute Later by Susan Lewis
Publication Date - 21st February 2019

It’s takes one minute to change everything…
Vivienne Shager has it all. A highflying job. A beautiful apartment. Friends whose lives are as perfect as her own. But on the afternoon of her 27th birthday, Vivi has a heart attack.
Now Vivi’s life shrinks back to how it begun, as she moves back to the small seaside town she grew up in. With her time running out, there is one thing she wants to know the truth about.
Some secrets are best left in the past…
Thirty years earlier, Shelley’s family home, Deerwood farm, bursts full of love and happiness. But one family member has hidden a secret for all these years. Until Vivi comes home demanding answers, and it takes just a moment to unravel the lie at their heart of their lives…
The Girl He Used To Know by Tracey Garvis Graves
Publication Date - 4th April 2019

What if you had a second chance at first love?
Annika Rose likes being alone. 
She feels lost in social situations, saying the wrong thing or acting the wrong way. She just can't read people. She prefers the quiet solitude of books or playing chess to being around others. Apart from Jonathan. She liked being around him, but she hasn't seen him for ten years. Until now that is. And she's not sure he'll want to see her again after what happened all those years ago.

Annika Rose likes being alone. 
Except that, actually, she doesn't like being alone at all.

The Girl He Used to Know is an uplifting novel full of surprising revelations that keep you turning the page. Perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes, Gail Honeyman, Jill Santopolo and Sliding Doors.

The Tragic Daughters of Charles I by Sarah-Beth Watkins
Publication Date - 26th April 2019
Mary, Elizabeth and Henrietta Anne, the daughters of King Charles I and his queen, Henrietta Maria, would be brought up against the background of the English Civil War. Mary would marry William, Prince of Orange, and be sent to live in the Netherlands. Elizabeth would remain in England under Parliamentary control. Henrietta Anne would escape to France and be the darling of the French Court. Yet none of the Stuart princesses would live to reach thirty. The Tragic Daughters of Charles I is their story.

Reasons to be Cheerful by Nina Stibbe
Publication Date - 28th March 2019

It is 1980. Lizzie Vogel is eighteen and about to learn some vital lessons about adult life:

1. How to deal with your boss
(when he is a racist, sexist, slightly incompetent dentist who is obsessed with joining the freemasons)

2. How to live alone
(when your first flat comes with the job but the boss insists on using your toilet)

3. How to seduce your first boyfriend
(when he might prefer birdwatching and you must wear socks and sandals due to a case of recurring athlete's foot)

Will Lizzie become an independent woman or will she be forced to return home to her alcoholic,
novel-writing mother (which might actually be the better option after all)?

REVIEW COPIES


Finding Joy by Morven-May MacCallum

I would like to introduce myself, I feel it's only fair. Only I know you so well now, you might get a scare. I know you know I'm in there, though I crept with greatest stealth: I am the hidden monster buried within yourself. Joyce is only sixteen when she's torn from the life she loves. Two years pass, but Joyce, her family, and her best friend Logan, are no closer to learning what's causing her dizzying array of symptoms. As Joyce tried to come to terms with her increasing limitations those around her struggle to understand what she is going through. Baffled and unsure, the doctors eventually diagnose Joyce with ME and CFS. But when Joyce and her family refuse to accept this diagnosis, her mental stability is called into question. Desperate for the truth and scared for Joyce's life, their only hope lies in a private hospital where she is finally diagnosed with Lyme Disease. Can Joyce survive a treatment as brutal as her illness? Can she find her way in a world she no longer recognises?

Stalker by Lars Kepler - ahead of blog tour in February

The internationally bestselling authors of The Sandman and The Hypnotist return with a terrifying new thriller: Detective Joona Linna--recently returned from compassionate leave--reunites with hypnotist Erik Maria Bark in a search for a seemingly unassailable sadistic killer.

The Swedish National Crime Unit receives a video of a young woman in her home, clearly unaware that she's being watched. Soon after the tape is received, the woman's body is found horrifically mutilated. With the arrival of the next, similar video, the police understand that the killer is toying with them, warning of a new victim, knowing there's nothing they can do. Detective Margot Silverman is put in charge of the investigation, and soon asks Detective Joona Linna for help. Linna, in turn, recruits Erik Maria Bark, the hypnotist and expert in trauma, with whom Linna's worked before. Bark is leery of forcing people to give up their secrets. But this time, Bark is the one hiding things. 
Years before, he had put a man away for an eerily similar crime, and now he's beginning to think that an innocent man may be behind bars--and a serial killer still on the loose. . .


LIBRARY HAUL

The Sudden Departure of the Frasers by Louise Candlish

Welcome to Lime Park Road. A picture-perfect street with a secret at its heart.

When Joe and Christy Davenport step behind the Oxford Blue painted door of their 'for ever' home, they believe their dreams have come true.

Yet the boxes aren't even unpacked before a series of events leads Christy to become obsessed with the previous occupant, the glamorous, enigmatic Amber Fraser, whose departure from Lime Park Road is shrouded in mystery.

What happened to her? And why are Joe and Christy's attempts at friendship with neighbours met with an unnerving silence?

As Christy unravels the shocking truth about the Frasers and the place she now calls home, she discovers that behind the closed doors of even the most desirable postcodes, terrible secrets lurk.


The Storm Keeper's Island by Catherine Doyle

When Fionn Boyle sets foot on Arranmore Island, it begins to stir beneath his feet ...

Once in a generation, Arranmore Island chooses a new Storm Keeper to wield its power and keep its magic safe from enemies. The time has come for Fionn's grandfather, a secretive and eccentric old man, to step down. Soon, a new Keeper will rise.

But, deep underground, someone has been waiting for Fionn. As the battle to become the island's next champion rages, a more sinister magic is waking up, intent on rekindling an ancient war.

CURRENTLY READING




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A productive week!  And hopefully an even more productive weekend ahead on the reading front as I think rain is forecast!

HAPPY READING!


Friday, 25 January 2019

#BookReview Something To Tell You by Lucy Diamond


About the book

When Frankie stumbles upon an unopened letter from her late mother, she’s delighted to have one last message from her . . . until she reads the contents and discovers the truth about her birth. Brimming with questions, she travels to York to seek further answers from the Mortimer family, but her appearance sends shockwaves through them all.

Meanwhile, Robyn Mortimer has problems of her own. Her husband John has become distant, and a chance remark from a friend leads Robyn to wonder exactly what he’s not been saying. Dare she find out more?

As for Bunny, she fell head over heels in love with Dave Mortimer when she first arrived in town, but now it seems her past is catching up with her. She can’t help wondering if he’ll still feel the same way about her if he discovers who she really is – and what she did.

As secrets tumble out and loyalties are tested, the Mortimers have to face up to some difficult decisions. With love, betrayal and dramatic revelations in the mix, this is one summer they’ll never forget.
 


Published by Macmillan

Purchase Links

hive.co.uk  £10.29



MY REVIEW

I've always been a huge fan of Lucy Diamond, so always race to read her latest releases when they're out, and in Something To Tell You it's a story that felt very 'grown up' that focused on more serious issues and how the emotional impact of those impact people. There are a lot of characters that do take a while to connect with and keep up with who was who! But once you're 'in' then I found myself really enjoying the story and seeing how all the different female characters dealt with the problems that they found themselves facing.

The Mortimer family are an extremely tight family unit, and are all together for the 50th wedding anniversary of Jeanie and Harry - life is going well for them all! But then a stranger appears out of nowhere and their cosy lives begin to crumble when the truth about the past is revealed.

Frankie is dealing with the loss of her mother last year, and when she finds a letter from her mother she is shocked with the revelations she reads. She just wants answers and the only person who can help her with that is Harry.

It was fascinating to see how the Mortimer children dealt with the news that their 'hero' father is fallible, and to Jeanie his wife too - the man she doted on wasn't as perfect as she first thought. The way she deals with the news is understandable and adds some light relief to the story as she escapes the situation to let him face up to what he has done.

The brothers and sisters are all having problems in their own lives too and I enjoyed how it shows people re-assessing their lives at different stages - just when you think you've got life figured out there's always a curve ball to throw you off course!

I think this story deals well with the drama and difficulty of family relationships after unexpected news and how it can affect your day to day life. It features the perils of online dating, abusive relationships, affairs and how a settled life can soon be upturned in an instant - all issues that can be so relevant in the society we now live in. I would have liked a bit more humour to balance out some of the heavier storylines, but overall I thought it was a book with plenty to keep you entertained and an intriguing mix of characters!


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Wednesday, 23 January 2019

#Unboxing Bookishly Classic Crate - The Alice In Wonderland Edition!


Last month, the fabulous Bookishly announced that their Classic Crate for January 2019 would be the Alice In Wonderland edition! How could I not treat myself to one of those?!  I adore anything Alice related so my order went in straight away!

And now the box of Wonderland goodies has arrived - and it's even better than I could have imagined!  So I thought I'd share with you what I got - and to let you know that their February Crate is a Jane Eyre edition..... just in case you're interested!  Pre-order link here 




Here's a closer look at everything!

Fabulous mug!! A bookworm can never have too many mugs!!



A pack of  'Drink Me' tea from Jenier World of Teas!


Gorgeous bookmark

fab badge! 'Why Is A Raven Like a Writing Desk?! '


Gorgeous card print


Fab framed Alice page/saying! Bookishly are very famous for these!


A set of gorgeous cards - that I might need to frame and keep myself!


And then two books - 

Lewis Carroll - O Frabjous Day - Little Black Classic Version


'I cried, "Come, tell me how you live!"
And thumped him on the head.'

Conjuring wily walruses, dancing lobsters, a Jabberwock and a Bandersnatch, Carroll's fantastical verse gave new words to the English language.


And a beautiful edition of ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND 😍


'Contrariwise ... if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic.'

'I had sent my heroine straight down a rabbit-hole ... without the least idea what was to happen afterwards,' wrote Lewis Carroll, describing how Alice was conjured up one 'golden afternoon' in 1862 to entertain his child-friend Alice Liddell. His dream worlds of nonsensical Wonderland and the back-to-front Looking-Glass kingdom depict order turned upside-down: a baby turns into a pig, time is abandoned at a disordered tea-party and a chaotic game of chess makes a seven-year-old girl a Queen. But amongst the anarchic humour and sparkling word play, puzzles and riddles, are poignant moments of nostalgia for lost childhood. Original and experimental, the Alice books give readers a window on both child and adult worlds.


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#BlogTour The Puppet Show by M.W.Craven #BookReview


Delighted to be taking part in sharing the love for this thrilling book, ahead of its' release in paperback on the 24th January!  Get your orders in now if you've not already read it as I promise you it's truly compelling!!

My thanks to the author and publisher for letting me be part of it all and the advanced copy  in return for a fair and honest review.

ABOUT THE BOOK

'Fantastic' Martina Cole

'Dark, sharp and compelling' Peter James

'A thrilling curtain raiser for what looks set to be a great new series' Mick Herron

A serial killer is burning people alive in the Lake District's prehistoric stone circles. He leaves no clues and the police are helpless. When his name is found carved into the charred remains of the third victim, disgraced detective Washington Poe is brought back from suspension and into an investigation he wants no part of . . .
Reluctantly partnered with the brilliant, but socially awkward, civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, the mismatched pair uncover a trail that only he is meant to see. The elusive killer has a plan and for some reason Poe is part of it.
As the body count rises, Poe discovers he has far more invested in the case than he could have possibly imagined. And in a shocking finale that will shatter everything he's ever believed about himself, Poe will learn that there are things far worse than being burned alive ...

'A page turner' Sun

'A powerful thriller from an explosive new talent. Tightly plotted, and not for the faint hearted!' 
David Mark

'A gripping start to a much anticipated new series' Vaseem Khan

'Satisfyingly twisty and clever and the flashes of humour work well to offer the reader respite from the thrill of the read.' Michael J. Malone

'Britain's answer to Harry Bosch' Matt Hilton


Published by Constable


Purchase Links

hive.co.uk  £6.39

amazon uk  £7.99

waterstones  £7.99



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


M. W. Craven was born in Carlisle but grew up in Newcastle, running away to join the army at the tender age of sixteen. He spent the next ten years travelling the world having fun, leaving in 1995 to complete a degree in social work with specialisms in criminology and substance misuse. Thirty-one years after leaving Cumbria, he returned to take up a probation officer position in Whitehaven, eventually working his way up to chief officer grade. Sixteen years later he took the plunge, accepted redundancy and became a full-time author. He now has entirely different motivations for trying to get inside the minds of criminals . . .

M. W. Craven is married and lives in Carlisle with his wife, Joanne. When he isn’t out with his springer spaniel, or talking nonsense in the pub, he can usually be found at punk gigs and writing festivals up and down the country.



MY REVIEW

The beginning hooked me in straight away and I just couldn't put it down once I'd started! It is often brutal and chilling, but the author writes with such meticulous detail that you can't help but become that 'fly on the wall' watching the drama unfold around you, and wondering just what is around the corner, for both detectives and victims!

We are introduced to Washington Poe who thought his crime solving days were behind him, but when a number of murder victims are found after being brutally tortured, he is called back to the force to help out with investigations, seeing as his name is found etched on one of the victims it brings things a little too close to home. What is the link between the victims and himself?

The team around him are a great cast of characters - Tilly Bradshaw in particular. She is very socially awkward and has led a very sheltered life, but Poe takes to her immediately. He loves her honesty and becomes very protective of her when she faces situations out of her control. He can't stand by and watch people being bullied and it's fabulous to see the dynamics between these two 'misfits'!

As the case evolves with more victims found left in historic stone circles, the team have a battle on their hands to stop whoever is behind it all before it's too late. I loved seeing the process of how they go about solving this case - it was often very unorthodox but it helped them join the dots and helped uncover some very dark stories from the past.

There were so many twists and turns in this book, and it was, at times, a horrific read with the detail of the suffering each victim was put through, but it all just adds to the drama and mystery. I'm so glad to see this is the start of a series and I'll be counting down the days until the next book is published! Brilliant stuff!! 

★★★★★

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

#BookReview The Last Children of Tokyo by Yoko Tawada


about the book
The Emissary - American Title

Yoshiro thinks he might never die. A hundred years old and counting, he is one of Japan's many 'old-elderly'; men and women who remember a time before the air and the sea were poisoned, before terrible catastrophe promted Japan to shut itself off from the rest of the world. He may live for decades yet, but he knows his beloved great-grandson - born frail and prone to sickness - might not survive to adulthood. Day after day, it takes all of Yoshiro's sagacity to keep Mumei alive.

As hopes for Japan's youngest generation fade, a secretive organisation embarks on an audacious plan to find a cure - might Yoshiro's great-grandson be the key to saving the last children of Tokyo?

Published by  Portobello Books


Purchase Links

hive.co.uk  £7.75

waterstones  £9.99



MY REVIEW

A quirky and fascinating little book! It's beautifully written, a little confusing at times and a little scary too as it takes a look at life in a dystopian Japan, where the elderly are the carers for a generation of youngsters who are prone to illness, disease and no understanding of life 'before' the isolation policy was brought in around the world.

The scenario of a time where countries have such serious problems that they are all shut off to one another so they can solve their own issues, is something so alien to us but many in this Japan have grown up knowing no other way. They don't know foreign languages, no idea what telephones are, no transport, less food - it's all the norm for them. But the old-elderly do remember and they are the strongest and fittest in society. 

The devotion shown by Yoshiri to his great grandson Mumei is touching and endearing. Knowing that certain foods are just too tough or bad for his great grandson has him going to extreme measures to find the right balance for him. 

The way Yoshiri looks back at the old times is quite poignant especially knowing that it means so little to those younger than him, and when we get to hear the perspective of Mumei you are just struck by how innocent he is, but appreciative of all that his great grandfather does for him.

Packs a lot in for such a short novella - 138 pages - and gives you as a reader plenty to think about and worry about for the future we may all face!


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