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Saturday, 29 June 2019

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up - 29th June 2019

Hello!! Happy Saturday!! And it's hot out there today so I'm in the shade with a book or two!!  A sensible place to be!!

Had another great reading week these past 7 days but it's still not making a big enough dent in the  TBR mountain!    Managed to finish 6 books again, 5 new books arrived by various means BUT zero from Netgalley!!

Here's my look back!


fabulous historical story based on real events.

Wonderful dual timeline story

gripping thriller

Enjoyable and quirky!

Fabulous mind blowing thriller!

Really enjoyed this short, quirky tale

A few to keep the postie busy this week!!


A copy as part of of my Alma Classics subscription

Set on the coast of England against the vivid background of the sea, The Waves introduces six characters—three men and three women—who are grappling with the death of a beloved friend, Percival. Instead of describing their outward expressions of grief, Virgina Woolf draws her characters from the inside, revealing them through their thoughts and interior soliloquies. As their understanding of nature’s trials grows, the chorus of narrative voices blends together in miraculous harmony, remarking not only on the inevitable death of individuals but on the eternal connection of everyone. The novel that most epitomizes Virginia Woolf’s theories of fiction in the working form, The Waves is an amazing book very much ahead of its time. It is a poetic dreamscape, visual, experimental, and thrilling

received copy from author - loved Seeking Eden so looking forward to the follow up!

From the writer of Seeking EdenEden Interrupted is another sizzling slice-of-life drama - with sprinkles.

Rocker Ben Wilde and his bride Lisa return from honeymoon to find a cuckoo in the nest and a surprise European tour in the diary. With the honeymoon cut short, at least they can rely on good neighbors, new arrivals Nigel and Rosemary Bradshaw...can't they? But next door, the Bradshaws harbor their own secrets; will Rosemary's grim suspicions be confirmed?

At the other end of Eden Hill, Jan and Martin Bevan move into their new home following a devastating fire, but an altercation with the local dog fraternity leaves them wondering if they've made a huge mistake. Meanwhile, Eden Hill's coffee shop is under new management, when Chloe, divorced mum of teenage Jake, fulfils her long-term dream. But serving flat-whites all day leaves Chloe feeling...well, flat...until she meets gorgeous Caleb, the father of her son's girlfriend, who's guaranteed to tip her angst-ridden son over the edge.

Suburbia: dull and ordinary? In Eden Hill, there's no such thing.

copy for review from publishers - due out September 2019

The Nightjar by Deborah Hewitt is a stunning contemporary fantasy debut about another London, a magical world hidden behind the bustling modern city we know. 

Alice Wyndham has been plagued by visions of birds her whole life...until the mysterious Crowley reveals that Alice is an ‘aviarist’: capable of seeing nightjars, magical birds that guard human souls. When her best friend is hit by a car, only Alice can find and save her nightjar.

With Crowley’s help, Alice travels to the Rookery, a hidden, magical alternate London to hone her newfound talents. But a faction intent on annihilating magic users will stop at nothing to destroy the new aviarist. And is Crowley really working with her, or against her? Alice must risk everything to save her best friend—and uncover the strange truth about herself.

 won a copy via Twitter from @IndieBookshopUK

There’s a village sixty miles outside London. It’s no different from many other villages in England: one pub, one church, red-brick cottages, council cottages and a few bigger houses dotted about. Voices rise up, as they might do anywhere, speaking of loving and needing and working and dying and walking the dogs.

This village belongs to the people who live in it and to the people who lived in it hundreds of years ago. It belongs to England’s mysterious past and its confounding present. But it also belongs to Dead Papa Toothwort, a figure schoolchildren used to draw green and leafy, choked by tendrils growing out of his mouth. 

Dead Papa Toothwort is awake. He is listening to this twenty-first-century village, to his English symphony. He is listening, intently, for a mischievous, enchanting boy whose parents have recently made the village their home. Lanny.

copy ahead of Blog Tour - due out in August 2019

A house full of history is bound to have secrets...

'Spine-tinglingly beautiful. Prepare to lose your heart' Lisa Jewell

Ponden Hall is a centuries-old house on the Yorkshire moors, a magical place full of stories. It's also where Trudy Heaton grew up. And where she ran away from...

Now, after the devastating loss of her husband, she is returning home with her young son, Will, who refuses to believe his father is dead.

While Trudy tries to do her best for her son, she must also attempt to build bridges with her eccentric mother. And then there is the Hall itself: fallen into disrepair but generations of lives and loves still echo in its shadows, sometimes even reaching out to the present...



How has your bookish week been? Hope you've found time to escape into a book or two!


#BookReview The Dragon Lady by Louisa Treger #historical


'A daring blend of romance, crime and history, and an intelligent 
 exposé of the inherent injustice and consequences of all forms of oppression' Tsitsi Dangarembga, Nervous Conditions

Opening with the shooting of Lady Virginia 'Ginie' Courtauld in her tranquil garden in 1950s Rhodesia, The Dragon Lady tells Ginie's extraordinary story, so called for the exotic tattoo snaking up her leg. From the glamorous Italian Riviera before the Great War to the Art Deco glory of Eltham Palace in the thirties, and from the secluded Scottish Highlands to segregated Rhodesia in the fifties, the narrative spans enormous cultural and social change. Lady Virginia Courtauld was a boundary-breaking, colourful and unconventional person who rejected the submissive role women were expected to play.

Ostracised by society for being a foreign divorcée at the time of Edward VIII and Mrs Simpson, Ginie and her second husband ,Stephen Courtauld, leave the confines of post-war Britain to forge a new life in Rhodesia, only to find that being progressive liberals during segregation proves mortally dangerous. Many people had reason to dislike Ginie, but who had reason enough to pull the trigger?

Deeply evocative of time and place, The Dragon Lady subtly blends fact and fiction to paint the portrait of an extraordinary woman in an era of great social and cultural change.

published by Bloomsbury Caravel


Amazon UK  £13.46  £12.99

whsmith  £11.89


Born in London, Louisa Treger began her career as a classical violinist. She studied at the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music, and worked as a freelance orchestral player and teacher.

Louisa subsequently turned to literature, gaining a First Class degree and a PhD in English at University College London, where she focused on early twentieth century women’s writing.

Married with three children, she lives in London.


A sumptuous and scintillating story that has a wonderful mix of fiction and fact and allows you as a reader to get a fascinating glimpse at the lives of some extraordinary characters set over a number of years.

The Courtaulds did some amazing things in their lifetime so it was so interesting to get this part of their lives looked at more closely, especially the time they spent in Rhodesia and to see the turmoil that was around then - both socially and personally for them to deal with, just because they had a more liberal outlook on the world.

The story starts with Catherine in the 1990's looking back at the time she first encountered the 'Dragon Lady' - a reference to Lady Virginia Courtauld who had become infamous for the rather outlandish tattoo on her leg. Very unbecoming for a lady of that time! But did she care?! Nope!

And with her husband Stephen, Lady Ginie had a life worth reading about! This story looks back at how they met, the standing they took in society, the royalty and famous people they became friends with, and what caused them to end up in Rhodesia in the first place. I loved the ever changing timelines which gave you insights into their lives at different points - so much history to look back on and changes in society for them to have witnessed.

Their time in London before moving abroad, meant time spent rebuilding Eltham Palace and the labour of love that became for them both and I've loved looking at things online since, seeing the impact they had on it and just imagining them living there along with their pet lemur!

But the story really comes alive when the author describes their time in Rhodesia - their exotic lifestyle in exquisite surroundings are vividly described and brought to life. How they tried to fit in with the other English families around at the time who stuffy, prejudiced views on the locals, and how the Courtaulds were just so different and were harrassed and threatened for trying to do the right thing and being inclusive. Many people would have crumbled under the provocation but they stayed true to their beliefs in very unpredictable times.

I raced through this book as I just became so wrapped up in the lives of these remarkable people and found the whole story beautifully written and a wonderful piece of historical fiction, mixed with romance and crime! A little bit of something for everyone!!

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


Friday, 28 June 2019

#BookReview The Botanist's Daughter by Kayte Nunn


Discovery. Desire. Deception. A wondrously imagined tale of two female botanists, separated by more than a century, in a race to discover a life-saving flower . . .

In Victorian England, headstrong adventuress Elizabeth takes up her late father's quest for a rare, miraculous plant. She faces a perilous sea voyage, unforeseen dangers and treachery that threatens her entire family.

In present-day Australia, Anna finds a mysterious metal box containing a sketchbook of dazzling watercolours, a photograph inscribed 'Spring 1886' and a small bag of seeds. It sets her on a path far from her safe, carefully ordered life, and on a journey that will force her to face her own demons.

In this spellbinding botanical odyssey of discovery, desire and deception, Kayte Nunn has so exquisitely researched nineteenth-century Cornwall and Chile you can almost smell the fragrance of the flowers, the touch of the flora on your fingertips . . .

Published by Hachette


whsmith  £8.72

Bert's Books  £8.99


An historical, dual time-line story about gardening and romance?! Yes please!! And I loved every minute of it and has made me want to set off on my own plant hunting adventures - but maybe with less danger involved!!

In the present timeline, Anna is a gardener who is currently overseeing the renovation of her beloved grandmothers's house that she has been left, and when the builder start knocking walls down they uncover a box hidden in the walls. Anna and her family know nothing about this box and when she discovers what is inside she is intrigued to discover more.

Back in 1886, Elizabeth Trebithick is living at Trebithick Hall with her beloved father and sister. She has inherited her fathers' need for exploring - he's a plant hunter and is often away -and she wishes she could escape too. He shares his dreams with her of plants he aims to find and makes her promise him that she'll carry on his work for him. She's not one to be stopped and kept at home, as was expected of women back then, so she soon sets off with her maid to the other side of the world to hunt out a very rare and dangerous plant. Being seasick isn't the best start for her journey though!

The 2 timelines work brilliantly with one another - as Anna delves further into the origin of the paintings she finds, along with reading the diary that was also hidden away she is drawn into the need to explore and finds herself travelling to Cornwall to see what more she can find out about this family she knows little about. 

And as Elizabeth settles into her new life, her head is soon turned by a local guide who seems to share her interest and passion for plants, but with a rival plant hunter also on the scene, she is unsure whether she can trust her guide with the real reason she is out there, other than painting the different plants she sees.

I loved the characters in both timelines of this book - both women weren't afraid to get their hands dirty and do whatever became necessary to achieve their tasks! Be it uncovering a rare plant, or putting the pieces together in a mystery puzzle and discovering who hid the box in a wall and why. It really gave a great insight into just how precarious plant hunting was, but so rewarding when a new plant was found, or local knowledge helped you learn something new about a plant.

Really enjoyable and easy to read and I'll definitely be reading more from this author in the future!


#BookReview Recursion by Blake Crouch


From the New York Times bestselling author of Dark Matter and the Wayward Pines trilogy comes a relentless thriller about time, identity, and memory—his most ambitious, mind-boggling, irresistible work to date.

“An action-packed, brilliantly unique ride that had me up late and shirking responsibilities until I had devoured the last page . . . a fantastic read.”—Andy Weir, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Martian

Memory makes reality. That’s what New York City cop Barry Sutton is learning as he investigates the devastating phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome—a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived.

Neuroscientist Helena Smith already understands the power of memory. It’s why she’s dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious moments of our pasts. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent. 

As Barry searches for the truth, he comes face-to-face with an opponent more terrifying than any disease—a force that attacks not just our minds but the very fabric of the past. And as its effects begin to unmake the world as we know it, only he and Helena, working together, will stand a chance at defeating it.

But how can they make a stand when reality itself is shifting and crumbling all around them? 

published by MacMillan


Amazon UK £10.23

Goldsboro Books - signed first edition £25  £10.49

whsmith  £10.49


Mind. Blown!! 

I really don't know how to review this book without giving too much away! Just be prepared when you pick this up to have your mind messed with - in a very good way! It can feel a little overwhelming at times and you might even think you're suffering from 'False Memory Syndrome' too as you struggle to comprehend what is going on - but stick with it!! 

In 2018, Barry is sent as a police officer to talk down a suicidal woman from the top of a building - he fails. While talking to 'Ann' he feels her pain as she is suffering 'False Memory Syndrome' which has begun to affect many - leaving them with memories of lives they never lived and being unable to cope with the sadness and loss that those lives entailed.... even though they didn't actually happen. As he investigates further when talking to the family of Ann he begins to sense there's more going on but isn't really quite sure what!

At the same time we follow the story of Helen who is a scientist working on a way of helping those with memory loss/alzheimers, which is close to her heart as her own mother is suffering from alzheimers and it's heartbreaking for her and her dad to watch a woman they love fade in front of their eyes. As with any research, money is always needed and when she's offered unlimited finances by a mysterious benefactor she has no option but to get on board - but does he have the same good intentions as she does?

There's a lot of time jumping in this book - memories play a key part (obviously!) and the need to stay on top of what is real life memory and what isn't is huge. There is so much to take in at times but it's all so well paced that you just can't help stay involved and eager to see where it all leads. There's always that feeling as to why would certain people be interested in this advancement and for what purpose would this scientific breakthrough be used - the reality is scarier than anything I could have imagined!

I loved the way it showed the human element and cost of the power of memories and what hold they have - even when they didn't really happen but your mind has made you think they did. And then showing the cost of using this technology for good, or is it bad?, really gets you thinking.

There needs to be a movie of this.. and soon!!!! Loved it!!


Thursday, 27 June 2019

#BookReview Call Me A Liar by Colette McBeth


A new standalone psychological thriller from Colette McBeth, whose dark, twisty and hugely compelling novels are beloved of writers like Paula Hawkins, Clare Mackintosh and Marian Keyes.
You could say it started with vanity. We believed we were special. But the truth is we were simply vulnerable.
One of them is lying.
One of them is guilty.
No one is safe.

Months after landing their dream job, five brilliant young minds are sent on a remote retreat. But when one of them disappears, they're forced to question why they were brought here in the first place, and how far they'd go to get what they want.
And for the first time in their lives, they realise too much knowledge can be deadly.
This is the chilling story of what happens when the idealism of youth turns toxic. Can it ever be justified to do bad things for the greater good?
'Clever, atmospheric and truly scary. Colette is the real deal' Marian Keyes 

'A rare thing: gripping but compassionate' Paula Hawkins

published by Headline



5 brilliant young minds. 1 remote retreat... what could possibly go wrong?! In this twisty thriller you'll get to find out and let the mystery unravel in front of your eyes - trust nobody is my advice!!

When these young people are brought together to work for a secret company using questionable methods to undertake hacking, you really get a sense of them feeling proud that they've been chosen in such a way to do this kind of work, but slightly unnerved as to what the main purpose of this company is. But they seem too wrapped up in themselves and their own issues to question too much and just go with the flow! Libby and Jo are a couple and you get to see the story from both of their point of views - how they met, their hopes and dreams and where they see their relationship going.

Tess is also part of the group but tries to distance herself from the others which really riles Libby who doesn't trust her from the outset. You really are conflicted about the disputes at times as they all seem to have secrets to hide and it's difficult working out who you trust the most!

When they are all sent away on a remote retreat with work, that's when the S*** hits the fan! One of them goes missing, the others suspect each other as to being behind the darker side of what is really going on and the more you find out about the company, the more shocking it all becomes... I will say no more!

Really enjoyable and mysterious thriller that you can just imagine being turned into a glossy drama with all the betrayal and secrets involved!


#BlogTour Something To Live For by Richard Roper #BookReview @Tr4cyF3nt0n

Delighted to be on the Blog Tour sharing my review today, on publication day no less!, for the fabulous SOMETHING TO LIVE FOR by RICHARD ROPER.

My thanks to the Author, Publisher and Tour organiser, Tracy Fenton, for the copy of the book and for letting me be part of it all!


Sometimes you have to risk everything to find your something...

Andrew works with death for a living. Searching for people's next of kin and attending the funerals if they don't have anyone, he's desperate to avoid the same fate for himself. Which is fine, because he has the perfect wife and 2.4 children waiting at home for him after a long day. At least, that's what he's told people.

The truth is, his life isn't exactly as people think and the little white lie he once told is about to catch up with him.

Because in all Andrew's efforts to fit in, he's forgotten one important thing: how to really live. And maybe, it's about time for him to start


AMAZON UK  £10.98

HIVE.CO.UK  £10.29

WHSMITH  £9.35

GOLDSBORO BOOKS - signed first edition £12.99


Beware! This book will make you want to devour the back catalogue of Ella Fitzgerald songs!! That's what it has made me do and I loved the touching tale that Richard Roper tells of this character who tries to fit in by living a lie - but that only works if you don't get found out!

Andrew lives a very solitary life but seems happy in his own way. He loves model railways and escapes into that world alongside the online community he connects with, but to cover his tracks (no pun intended!) at work he has created an alternative life for when his co-workers quiz him - he's married and has 2 kids.   Sometimes it's easier just to pretend! He has everything thought through - from the first time he went on a date with his 'wife', to her job and the holidays they take.

He sees the loneliness of the world magnified due to his work - he arranges funerals for the council for those people who have died alone and seemingly have no relatives or friends around.  He takes it on himself to attend their funerals as well and now has a new colleague working with him - Peggy - who shadows him on his visits to the deceased and instantly feels relaxed in her company.  So he's now faced with the dilemma of trying to untell a life lie.

Andrew is a sweet soul and I found it totally fascinating to see him living 2 lives.  He didn't want to hurt people with his made up life, but that's what started to happen and seeing how he tried to be honest to others, and most importantly, himself was the crux of this story.  The empathy he showed to those who had died too was so thoughtful and really gives you lots to think about.

He also had to face some tough issues in his own family and that was dealt with quite poignantly and gave you more to his background.  There's also time for lots of fun with this story and that really added to the mix of the book - the character of Peggy was a breath of fresh air and seemed to allow Andrew to breathe as a person.



Wednesday, 26 June 2019

#BlogBlitz #PriceDrop Passport To Happiness by Carrie Stone @rararesources

A fun Blog Blitz to share with you all today to hopefully make you add another 'must read' to your electronic reading device!  It's only 99p so treat yourself!!!

My thanks to the author, publisher and Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for letting me be part of it all!

Passport to Happiness

An inspiring and escapist read – Eat, Pray, Love meets Bridget Jones!
Will the trip of her dreams…
Everly Carter is bored.
With her job, with her single status and with the never ending line of rubbish men on Tinder. Tired of going through the motions of seeming happy, Everly wants to be happy! So, in a spontaneous moment of bravery (perhaps spurred on by a few cocktails) Everly books a holiday. Time away, alone, to find out what she really wants from life.
Become the journey of her lifetime?
Everly’s search for happiness takes her to picturesque Swiss villages and the sunsets of glamourous Bermuda. But with every new stamp in her passport, Everly still feels as though something is missing…
Could it be that true happiness is hard to find, until she finds herself?

Purchase Links:

Take advantage of a special 99p price drop, while it lasts!

Author Bio –

 Carrie was born and raised in London, but her love for travel and adventure has seen her spend the last fourteen years living and working internationally. She is currently based in Spain alongside her husband, young daughter and adopted Indonesian dog, Bali. Carrie is a traditionally published author with Harper Impulse, as well as an independently published author. 

When not writing, she works as a Psychic Medium & Spiritual Coach ( To find out more about her, connect on Facebook (Carrie Stone) or Twitter @CarrieStoneUK


Tuesday, 25 June 2019

#BookReview Bird Therapy by Joe Harkness


When Joe Harkness suffered a breakdown in 2013, he tried all the things his doctor recommended: medication helped, counselling was enlightening, and mindfulness grounded him. But nothing came close to nature, particularly birds. How had he never noticed such beauty before? Soon, every avian encounter took him one step closer to accepting who he is.

The positive change in Joe's wellbeing was so profound that he started a blog to record his experience. Three years later he has become a spokesperson for the benefits of birdwatching, spreading the word everywhere from Radio 4 to Downing Street.

In this groundbreaking book filled with practical advice, Joe explains the impact that birdwatching had on his life, and invites the reader to discover these extraordinary effects for themselves

Published by Unbound


Amazon UK  £10.25 £10.99

whsmith  £10.49


An inspiring book that shows just what you can learn about yourself when you hit rock bottom. And with Joe, his discovery was the calming and restorative hobby of birdwatching and in this illuminating book he shares his journey and a wide range of practical tips of how you can also embrace the power of nature to help your mental health and wellbeing and to enjoy the little things that life can bring.

The story starts with the state of his mind at his lowest point and it doesn't make for pleasant reading - but it made him reach out for help and to try and find a way of distracting his mind and he recalls how much enjoyment being outdoors brought him as a young child so started to walk locally. And on these walks he began to notice the wildlife around him and how the joy of spotting a new bird gave him so much joy! It also made him much calmer - it gave his mind a chance to escape daily life and to notice different things.

He documents his experiences along his birdwatching journey - setting up bird feeders in the garden to take part in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch for example, and I was so pleased to read that he gives the birds that visit his garden names too! He has a coal tit that visits that he names 'Colin' - I have a robin that visits who I call 'Robbie'!! It's the little things in life that often give the greatest pleasures haha!

It was so fascinating to read the different parts of his journey - the lists he made, the amount he was learning about wildlife and himself, noticing the different patterns of bird behaviour through the seasons and as a keen birdwatcher myself I found myself nodding along in agreement with so much!

What comes across most though is his passion for the subject! The enjoyment it brings him is clear to see and he really does a great job of explaining how having this hobby gave him a new outlook on all that he faced in his life. The perfect read for those looking to improve their mental health and to find out more about birdwatching and how nature is such a great healer.

Blooming marvellous!!


my thanks to the publishers, Unbound, for my copy in return for a fair and honest review.

Monday, 24 June 2019

#20BooksOfSummer #BookReview Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

Guess who went to the library?! Guess who picked up a 'little' book she'd think would be perfect for her #20booksofsummer challenge - blatantly disregarding, once more, the list she spent hours putting together before the challenge started?! Yep - me!!  And once more I seem to have discovered another little gem of a book at only around 176 pages long!  Book 8 is done and dusted!!


Keiko Furukura had always been considered a strange child, and her parents always worried how she would get on in the real world, so when she takes on a job in a convenience store while at university, they are delighted for her. For her part, in the convenience store she finds a predictable world mandated by the store manual, which dictates how the workers should act and what they should say, and she copies her coworkers' style of dress and speech patterns so she can play the part of a normal person. However, eighteen years later, at age 36, she is still in the same job, has never had a boyfriend, and has only few friends. She feels comfortable in her life but is aware that she is not living up to society's expectations and causing her family to worry about her. When a similarly alienated but cynical and bitter young man comes to work in the store, he will upset Keiko's contented stasis—but will it be for the better?

Sayaka Murata brilliantly captures the atmosphere of the familiar convenience store that is so much part of life in Japan. With some laugh-out-loud moments prompted by the disconnect between Keiko's thoughts and those of the people around her, she provides a sharp look at Japanese society and the pressure to conform, as well as penetrating insights into the female mind. Convenience Store Woman is a fresh, charming portrait of an unforgettable heroine that recalls Banana Yoshimoto, Han Kang, and Amelie.


Really enjoyed this short but sweet story of Keiko who was sick of people telling her off for being different, so did all she could to be the same as everyone else but still gets people telling her to do things differently! She can't win!!

Keiko is 36 and has worked in the local convenience store for 18 years. She loves the routine and gets to study people as they go about their daily business, picking up new traits to copy in her bid to 'be normal' and fit in! Even as a young child she was thought of as odd - she would do what she thought was necessary in certain situations but that would often lead to her being told off. So her only option then was to conform and be like everyone else.

And her daily routine hasn't altered much over the years, until a new employee turns up and his disregard for doing the right thing and what is expected troubles and fascinates her! He doesn't last long at the store but soon finds himself part of her life as his outlook on the world is pretty similar to hers - he's an outcast because he doesn't want to be like everyone else and others can't understand his ways.

This is definitely a quirky read and brilliantly observed. Teaching you to be true to yourself and that being different isn't a bad thing, despite what society says, thinks and expects! Really enjoyable!