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Wednesday, 1 July 2020

My July TBR #bookblogger


Christmas gets ever nearer!!!!! 🤣  Let's hope the world is a happier, freer place by then anyway!!

But it's July, so that means another set of books need to be sorted out for my reading pleasure!  And the month ahead for me brings a few more Blog Tours, yet more Netgalley releases and a couple of new releases I'm eager to get to!! Let's hope I can squeeze them all in!!

CLOUDS OF LOVE AND WAR by RACHEL BILLINGTON - Blog Tour
publication date - 12th July 2020
Occasionally panoramic, more often intimate, in Clouds of Love and War author Rachel Billington balances a detailed and highly researched picture of the life of a Second World War Spitfire pilot with the travails and ambitions of a young woman too often on her own. The result is both a gripping story of war and a sensitive story of love, a love that struggles to survive. Eddie and Eva meet on the eve of the Second World War. Eddie only wants to be a flyer, to find escape in the clouds from his own complicated family. However, the Battle of Britain makes a pilot's life a dangerous way to flee reality. Eva has her own passionate longing: to become a painter. When Eva's Jewish mother disappears to Germany, she is left alone with her elderly father. Both Eddie and Eva come of age at a time that teaches them that happiness is always fleeting, but there are things worth living or dying for. Through the connecting stories of these young people and their wider families, and against a background of southern county airfields, London, Oxford, Dorset and France, Rachel Billington brings the world of war time England, now eighty years in the past, back to life.

MISS GRAHAM'S COLD WAR COOKBOOK by CELIA REES - Blog Tour
A striking historical novel about an ordinary young British woman sent to uncover a network of spies and war criminals in post-war Germany that will appeal to fans of The Huntress and Transcription.

World War II has just ended, and Britain has established the Control Commission for Germany, which oversees their zone of occupation. The Control Commission hires British civilians to work in Germany, rebuild the shattered nation and prosecute war crimes. Somewhat aimless, bored with her job as a provincial schoolteacher, and unwilling to live with her stuffy genteel parents any longer, twentysomething Edith Graham applies for a job with the Commission—but is instead recruited by the OSS. To them, Edith is perfect spy material…single, ordinary-looking, with a college degree in German. And there’s another thing—the OSS knows that Edith’s brother went to Oxford with one of their most hunted war criminals, Count Kurt von Stabenow, who Edith remembers all too well from before the war.

Intrigued by the challenge, Edith heads to Germany armed with a convincing cover story: she’s an unassuming schoolteacher sent to help resurrect German primary schools. To send information back to her OSS handlers in London, Edith has crafted the perfect alter ego, cookbook author Stella Snelling, who writes a popular magazine cookery column that embeds crucial intelligence within the recipes she collects. But occupied Germany is awash with other spies, collaborators, and opportunists, and as she’s pulled into their world, Edith soon discovers that no one is what they seem to be. The closer she gets to uncovering von Stabenow’s whereabouts—and the network of German civilians who still support him—the greater the danger. 

With a unique, compelling premise, Miss Graham’s Cold War Cookbook is a beautifully crafted and gripping novel about daring, betrayal, and female friendship.

LILY'S SECRET by KIRSTY FERRY
publication date - 7th July
‘There’s nothing logical about Pencradoc!’
Aspiring actress Cordelia Beaumont is fed up of spending summer in the city. So, when the opportunity presents itself, she jumps straight on a train to pay a visit to Pencradoc – the beautiful Cornish estate where her friend Merryn works. 
But far from the relaxing break Cordy imagined, she soon finds herself immersed in the glamorous yet mysterious world of Victorian theatre sensation, Lily Valentine. Lily was once a guest at Pencradoc and, with the help of visiting artist Matt Harker, Cordy comes to discover that the actress left far more than memories at the old house. She also left a scandalous secret ... 


THE SHADOW FRIEND by ALEX NORTH
publication date - 9th July 2020
If it had happened to you, you would have run away too.
Twenty-five years ago, Paul's friend Charlie Crabtree brutally killed their classmate - and then vanished without a trace.
Paul's never forgiven himself for his part in what happened. He's never gone back home.
Until his elderly mother has a fall. It's finally time to stop running.
It's not long before things start to go wrong. His mother claims there's someone in the house. Paul realises someone is following him. And, in a town many miles away, a copycat killer has struck.
Which makes him wonder - what really happened to Charlie the day of the murder?
And can anyone stop it happening again?
FEATHERTIDE by BETH CARTWRIGHT
publication date - 30th July 2020
A girl.

A secret.

A life-changing journey.


Born covered in the feathers of a bird, and kept hidden in a crumbling house full of secrets, Marea has always known she was different, but never known why. And so to find answers, she goes in search of the father she has never met.

The hunt leads her to the City of Murmurs, a place of mermaids and mystery, where jars of swirling mist are carried through the streets by the broken-hearted.

And Marea will never forget what she learns there

Feathertide is an enchanting, magical novel perfect for fans of Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus and Katherine Arden's The Bear and the Nightingale.


IN THE TIME OF FOXES by JO LENNAN
publication date - 23rd July 2020
‘A fox could be a shape-shifter, a spirit being. It could appear in human form if this suited its purposes; it could come and go as it pleased, play tricks, lead men astray.’

A film director in Hackney with a fox problem in her garden; an escapee from a cult in Japan; a Sydney café-owner rekindling an old flame; an English tutor who gets too close to an oligarch; a journalist on Mars, face-to-face with his fate.

The world has taught these men and women to live off their wits. They know how to play smart, but what happens when they need to be wise?

In the Time of Foxes is both compellingly readable and deeply insightful about the times in which we live, each narrative a compressed novel. With an exhilarating span of people and places, woven together by the most mercurial of animals, it shows the short story collection at its most entertaining and rewarding, and introduces Jo Lennan as a captivating new storyteller.



🌞🌞🌞

Just a few to keep me going! And I'm sure there'll be more to catch my eye along the way! What are you hoping to read this month?!

HAPPY READING!!




Tuesday, 30 June 2020

#BookReview OLD AND UGLY by C L MOIR



ABOUT THE BOOK


In the 1973, teenagers Ange and Elizabeth are persuaded to enter the Miss Sladport-on-Sea Beauty Pageant by local entrepreneur, Spencer. When Ange is crowned the most beautiful woman in Sladport, Spencer promises her a life of fame and fortune – which he delivers. Within months, Ange is crowned The Most Beautiful Woman in the World.


Forty years later, Ange is unexpectedly invited to a reunion of old friends: Elizabeth - now married to Spencer - and the three school friends who stormed the pageant, throwing flour bombs and insults in protest at its objectification of women.

Old and Ugly is the story of that re-union - and the story of Ange’s life.

​Hilarious and laughable, conceited and fearful,  feisty  and (some might say) a fool for the admiration of men, Ange must finally confront the truth about her fantastical life of glamour and good fortune to be freed from its secrets – and freed from the man who made her, then broke her. 

Irreverent and moving, disturbing and joyful, you've probably never read anything quite like it... 

PUBLISHED BY BEHIND THE HAT PRESS

PURCHASE LINK



MY REVIEW

This was an unexpected pleasure to read! I knew very little of the book or author before picking this up but was intrigued by the title and striking simplicity of the cover!  There is nothing simple about the characters in this book!!  

This is a 40 year reunion with a difference. You can sense a pretty dark undercurrent from the off, especially with Ange who isn't keen on going to the reunion when she is contacted by Elizabeth. But Elizabeth is very good at getting her own way and the stage is set for a reunion at the home of Elizabeth and Spencer.

What follows is a mix of looking back at how life has changed for these women - from the carefree days of their youth when Ange wins a beauty pageant, to the darker, more traumatic times that follow.  The reunion allows them all a chance to confront the past - the shocking goings on that have shaped the women they became.  They can settle scores, seek revenge - but will it make them feel any better?

What I appreciated most about these women was their honesty with one another, in a roundabout kind of way! While they were quick to make judgements and comments on appearances and lifestyle choices, they often found it more difficult to be more honest about the reality of life.  The traumatic events that they kept hidden, mostly from themselves, none more so than in the case of Ange who was eating her feelings and living in a kind of bubble world where everything turned out perfectly for her. ..... it didn't!

She finds confidence though in an unexpected ally - Henry, the son of Elizabeth and Spencer - and in him, she allows herself to speak a little more openly about past experiences and make sense of it all.

The more time the women spend together, the more they find they have in common than they think - all hiding parts of themselves so they can keep up appearances.  It's touching, dark, traumatic, funny - a real emotional rollercoaster of a read! You become quite attached to these women so find yourself willing them to bury those ghosts that have haunted them for way too long...

★★★★★




My thanks to Behind The Hat Press for sending me a copy to read in return for an honest review.

#BookReview ESCAPE TO THE ART CAFE by SUE MCDONAGH #publicationday #EscapeToTheArtCafe


ABOUT THE BOOK

Heartbreak and cake at the Art Café …

It was meant to be the perfect romantic holiday. But then Flora Bexton’s boyfriend does the unthinkable, and she responds in the only logical way: she steals his motorbike and escapes for a holiday by herself on the Welsh coast.

Far from the lonely trip she imagined, Flora soon finds comfort at the friendly local Art Café where the legendary hot chocolate and cake help to ease her troubled mind. And when Aussie-Welsh lifeguard Jake Foley steps in just when Flora needs help the most, she realises that her ‘holiday’ feels more like home with every passing day ...




PURCHASE LINKS







MY REVIEW

Book 3 in the Art Cafe series introduces us to 2 totally new characters and wow!! What an introduction!! I love this series, and it delivers once more with a wonderful setting, and fabulous storylines to escape into - and a new swoonsome hunk to drool over in the shape of Jake!! Where do I get to meet blokes like these?! I need to move myself to Wales I think!

This book centres around Flora who finds herself in Wales at her parents holiday home and she's got plenty to escape from after the ultimate betrayal. But she's not so sweet and innocent herself as she's stolen her boyfriends' motorbike to escape on - that'll teach him!! But it's not the 30th birthday to remember as she finds herself alone and in trouble in the water - Jake to the rescue! He's recently returned from Australia where he was a lifeguard and is staying with his grandparents in their hotel, which is in need of a bit of TLC.

The moment they meet there are sparks - who can blame Flora! - but she's very wary, and you get the impression Jake is hiding some sadness too. A pair well matched with unresolved issues from their past plaguing their present!

As always, the community surrounding the Art Cafe are welcoming to the newbies amongst them and Flora finds herself settling in really well and even thinking of starting up her own hair dressing business. But disaster is never far away and once again the power of community is brought to the fore after a devastating storm and it helps cement certain feelings and brings unknown truths out which could scupper progress made.

What I love about this series is just how relatable the characters are. How they have to face up to dilemmas in their lives and really get to know themselves when their backs are up against the wall. This can easily be read as a stand alone but you'll be wanting to go back to visit the others in the series once you read this! Wonderful!!

★★★★★




Monday, 29 June 2020

#MusicMonday Where is the Love by Black Eyes Peas


Hello! Happy Monday!  This is a weekly tag hosted by Drew over at The Tattooed Book Geek and gives you the weekly chance to share a favourite song or video.

And this is a very apt song at the moment, and it was released in 2003! Where is The Love by Black Eyed Peas......



People killin' people dyin'
Children hurtin', I hear them cryin'
Can you practice what you preachin'?
Would you turn the other cheek again?
Mama, mama, mama, tell us what the hell is goin' on
Can't we all just get along?
Father, father, father help us
Send some guidance from above
'Cause people got me, got me
Questioning
(Where's the love)
Yo what's going on with the world, momma
(Where's the love)
Yo people living like they ain't got no mommas
(Where's the love)
I think they all distracted by the drama and
Attracted to the trauma, mamma
(Where's the love)
I think they don't understand the concept or
The meaning of karma
(Where's the love)
Overseas, yeah they trying to stop terrorism
(Where's the love)
Over here on the streets the police shoot
The people put the bullets in 'em
(Where's the love)
But if you only got love for your own race
(Where's the love)
Then you're gonna leave space for others to discriminate
(Where's the love)
And to discriminate only generates hate
And when you hate then you're bound to get irate
Madness is what you demonstrate
And that's exactly how hate works and operates
Man, we gotta set it straight
Take control of your mind and just meditate
And let your soul just gravitate
To the love, so the whole world celebrate it
People killin' people dyin'
Children hurtin', I hear them cryin'
Can you practice what you preachin'?
Would you turn the other cheek again?
Mama, mama, mama, tell us what the hell is goin' on
Can't we all just get along?
Father, Father, Father help us
Send some guidance from above
'Cause people got me, got me questioning
(Where's the love)
It just ain't the same, always in change
(Where's the love)
New days are strange, is the world insane?
(Where's the love)
Nation droppin' bombs killing our little ones
(Where's the love)
Ongoing suffering as the youth die young
(Where's the love)
Where's the love when a child gets murdered
Or a cop gets knocked down
Black lives not now
Everybody matter to me
All races, y'all don't like what I'm sayin'? Haterade, tall cases
Everybody hate somebody
Guess we all racist
Black Eyed Peas do a song about love and y'all hate this
All these protests with different colored faces
We was all born with a heart
Why we gotta chase it?
And every time I look around
Every time I look up, every time I look down
No one's on a common ground
(Where's the love)
And if you never speak truth then you never know how love sounds
(Where's the love)
And if you never know love then you never know God, wow
(Where's the love)
Where's the love y'all? I don't, I don't know
Where's the truth y'all? I don't know
People killin' people dyin'
Children hurtin', I hear them cryin'
Could you practice what you preach?
Would you turn the other cheek?
Father, Father, Father help us
Send some guidance from above
'Cause people got me, got me questioning
(Where's the love)
(Where's the love)
Love is the key
(Where's the love)
Love is the answer
(Where's the love)
Love is the solution
(Where's the love)
(Where's the love)
They don't want us to love
(Where's the love)
Love is powerful
(Where's the love)
(Where's the love)
My mama asked me why I never vote never vote
'Cause police men want me dead and gone (Dead and gone)
That election looking like a joke (Such a joke)
And the weed man still sellin' dope
Somebody gotta give these niggas hope (Please hope)
All he ever wanted was a smoke (My gosh)
Said he can't breathe with his hands in the air
Layin' on the ground died from a choke
(Where's the love)
I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders
As I'm gettin' older y'all people gets colder
Most of us only care about money makin'
Selfishness got us followin' the wrong direction
Wrong information always shown by the media
Negative images is the main criteria
Infecting the young minds faster than bacteria
Kids wanna act like what they see in the cinemas
What happened to the love and the values of humanity?
(Where's the love)
What happened to the love and the fairness and equality?
(Where's the love)
Instead of spreading love we're spreading animosity
(Where's the love)
Lack of understanding leading us away from unity
(Where's the love)
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Allan Pineda / Giorgio Hesdey Tuinfort / Jaime Gomez / Jayceon Taylor / Justin Timberlake / Khaled Khaled / Rakim Mayers / Will Adams
Where Is the Love? lyrics © BMG Rights Management

Saturday, 27 June 2020

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up - 27th June 2020


Hello! Happy Saturday!! I'm just hoping it's not as hot today as I've been wilting these past few days in the heat! I know I shouldn't complain, but I'm English and I will haha!!

On the reading front this past week it's been a quiet affair! Only 2 books finished, just 1 received in the post, and 0 from Netgalley!  This will change next week I'm sure!!

Here's my (quick!) look back!


BOOKS FINISHED






BOOKPOST

A STRANGE COUNTRY by MURIEL BARBERY
copy received from Gallic Press
publication date - 16th July 2020


Alejandro de Yepes and Jesús Rocamora, young officers in the Spanish regular army, are stationed alone at Castillo when a friendly redhead named Petrus appears out of nowhere. There is something magnetic and deeply mysterious about him. Alejandro and Jesús are bewitched, and, in the middle of the sixth year of the longest war humankind has ever endured, they abandon their post to follow him across a bridge that only he can see.

Petrus brings them to a world of lingering fog, strange beings, poetry, music, natural wonders, harmony and extraordinary beauty. This is where the fate of the world and all its living creatures is decided. Yet this world too is under threat. A long battle against the forces of disenchantment is drawing to a climactic close. Will poetry and beauty prevail over darkness and death? And what role will Alejandro and Jesús play?

Muriel Barbery’s richly imagined new novel, the sequel to The Life of Elves, will transport readers to a lost world exposed to the constant churn of civilisations and remind them of the power of poetry and imagination.


CURRENTLY READING

OLD & UGLY by C.L. MOIR

In the 1973, teenagers Ange and Elizabeth are persuaded to enter the Miss Sladport-on-Sea Beauty Pageant by local entrepreneur, Spencer. When Ange is crowned the most beautiful woman in Sladport, Spencer promises her a life of fame and fortune – which he delivers. Within months, Ange is crowned The Most Beautiful Woman in the World.

Forty years later, Ange is unexpectedly invited to a reunion of old friends: Elizabeth - now married to Spencer - and the three school friends who stormed the pageant, throwing flour bombs and insults in protest at its objectification of women.

Old and Ugly is the story of that re-union - and the story of Ange’s life.
Hilarious and laughable, conceited and fearful,  feisty  and (some might say) a fool for the admiration of men, Ange must finally confront the truth about her fantastical life of glamour and good fortune to be freed from its secrets – and freed from the man who made her, then broke her.

Irreverent and moving, disturbing and joyful, you've probably never read anything quite like it...

HAPPY READING!!

Friday, 26 June 2020

#BookReview THE LITTLE TEASHOP IN TOKYO by JULIE CAPLIN


ABOUT THE BOOK


Grab your passport and escape to the land of dazzling skycrapers, steaming bowls of comforting noodles, and a page-turning love story that will make you swoon!

For travel blogger Fiona, Japan has always been top of her bucket list so when she wins an all-expenses paid trip, it looks like her dreams of the Far East are coming true.

Until she arrives in vibrant, neon-drenched Tokyo and comes face-to-face with the man who broke her heart ten years ago, gorgeous photographer Gabe.

Fiona can’t help but remember the heartache of their last meeting but it’s not long before the Japanese art of contentment and a special, traditional tea ceremony work their magic…

Amidst the temples and clouds of soft pink cherry blossoms, Fiona and Gabe start to see life – and each other – differently.


PUBLISHED BY ONE MORE CHAPTER


PURCHASE LINK




MY REVIEW


The gorgeous cover drew me in and I'm so glad it did! I loved the story, the characters, the setting and am very glad to have discovered a new author to me! Time now to devour her other books!!

Fiona is the centre of this story as she wins a trip to Tokyo to learn from a top photographer, ahead of her exhibition in London. She's is totally out of her comfort zone so this is a big step for her, but she knows how important this could be for her photography so she sets off and stays with a lovely family who run a teashop in Tokyo, which gives her the perfect opportunity to learn more about the Japanese culture and indulge her love of tea!!

There is a switch in her mentor though, and it's someone from her past so that brings new pressures to her trip. Will he remember her? Luckily for her, Gabe seems a little pre-occupied with his own personal issues - not so good for her being mentored to the best of his ability though!

What I loved about Fiona and Gabe, is how they work so well off one another, especially when they're out and about taking photos. They seem to inspire one another to look at things from a different perspective! This starts to rub off into their own lives as well and allows them to change old routines and take control of their own lives, instead of being dictated to by others. There's also a little edge to their 'banter'

This is a book that teaches you about 'being you' and the setting of Tokyo was just perfect to help explore the ways of the Japanese and how they find beauty in the simplest of things. It is the perfect escapism read and I loved it!

★★★★★

#BookReview WALLY FUNK'S RACE FOR SPACE by SUE NELSON #20BooksOfSummer20 #nonfiction


ABOUT THE BOOK


In 1961, Wally Funk was among the Mercury 13, the first group of American pilots to pass the Woman in Space programme. Wally sailed through a series of rigorous physical and mental tests, with one of her scores beating all the male Mercury 7 astronauts’, including John Glenn’s, the first American in orbit.

But just one week before the final phase of training, the programme was abruptly cancelled. A combination of politics and prejudice meant that none of the women ever flew into space. Undeterred, Wally went on to become America’s first female aviation safety inspector, though her dream of being an astronaut never dimmed.

In this offbeat odyssey, journalist and fellow space buff Sue Nelson joins Wally, now approaching her eightieth birthday, as she races to make her own giant leap, before it’s too late. Covering their travels across the United States and Europe – taking in NASA’s mission control in Houston, the European Space Agency’s HQ in Paris and Spaceport America in New Mexico, where Wally’s ride into space awaits – this is a uniquely intimate and entertaining portrait of a true aviation trailblazer.

PUBLISHED BY THE WESTBOURNE PRESS


MY REVIEW

This was book 6 of my 20 Books of Summer 2020.

What a blooming amazing woman Wally Funk is!! Even at the age of 80 she's fighting hard to achieve her dream of going into Space. And in this book we get to hear all about her amazing career and the astonishingly poor treatment that women were receiving in the 1960's, especially in the world of the US space race when a group of 13 female pilots were put through the rigorous, and brutal, testing process as part of Mercury 13 only to have the funding cut just before the mission. No reason was ever given, and this was such a huge blow to Wally and the other women.

What also comes across throughout this book is the touching friendship between the author, Sue Nelson, and Wally as they travel together visiting a variety of places connecting to the world of Space. They often drive each other nuts, but for the most part they are inspired and enthused by one another and share such a lovely bond as they discover new aspects to the history and the future of Space travel.

This book is so illuminating into the derisive attitudes shown towards the women in the 1960's and onwards, and even when Wally outshines her male rivals at some of the tests, there are still doubts as to whether women should even be trying out for a place on the next space shuttle. Through this book we get to hear about the amazing achievements she accomplished through her life and even at 80 she's hungry for more! She's even bought herself a ticket to be a space tourist on the Virgin Galactic Space which is hoping to be the first commercial space flight - if it ever goes ahead!

Wally is a formidable woman with such an inspiring tale to tell and I'm very grateful for Sue Nelson for sharing it with us. She's the kind of woman we should be teaching all young girls to look up to and aspire to be. Her energy and determination to prove people wrong is infectious and I just loved spending time in the company of her thanks to this book! I just hope she gets to achieve her dream!!

★★★★

Thursday, 25 June 2020

#CoverReveal NOT THE DEATHS IMAGINED by ANNE PETTIGREW #NotTheDeathsImagined @pettigrew_anne @RingwoodPublish @damppebbles @DamppebblesBTs

EXCITED!!!! Time to be help reveal a fabulous cover!! Thanks to Emma at Damp Pebbles Blog Tours for letting me be part of it all!!

Here's a little more about the book to get you in the mood.......


In a leafy Glasgow suburb, Dr Beth Semple is busy juggling motherhood and full-time GP work in the 90s NHS. But her life becomes even more problematic when she notices some odd deaths in her neighbourhood. Though Beth believes the stories don’t add up, the authorities remain stubbornly unconvinced.

Soon, Beth’s professional reputation is challenged. There follows a chilling campaign of harassment and she finds her professional reputation - and family – are put at risk.

Is a charming local GP actually a serial killer? Can Beth piece together the jigsaw of perplexing fatalities and perhaps save lives? And as events accelerate towards a dramatic conclusion, will the police intervene in time?

From the author of Not the Life Imagined, this slow-burning tartan noir novel from a Bloody Scotland Crime Spotlight author follows Beth on another quest for justice. Reflecting Pettigrew’s own medical expertise, Not The Deaths Imagined re-affirms the benefits of growing up in a loving family and the need for friends in hard times, while offering insight into the twisted development of a psychopathic mind.



About Anne Pettigrew

Glasgow-born, 31 years a Greenock GP, graduate of University of Glasgow (Medicine 1974) and Oxford (MSc Medical Anthropology 2004). Worked also in psychiatry, women’s health, and  journalism (Herald, Pulse, Doctor, Channel 4). In retirement took Creative Writing tuition at Glasgow University aiming to pen novels about women doctors (rare in literature except as pathologists or in Mills & Boon). Runner-up in SAW Constable Award 2018, chosen as a 2019 Bloody Scotland Crime Spotlight Author - ‘one to watch.’ Member of several writers’ groups and a short story competition winner, she lives in Ayrshire and enjoys good books, good wine, and good company.

Social Media

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pettigrew_anne @pettigrew_anne

Not The Deaths Imagined
Paperback ISBN:                               978-1-901514-77-3
e-book:                                                978-1-901514-78-0
Ringwood Publishing                    
362pp                                                                   
Publication date Aug 1st 2020

Pre-order Links
Ringwood Publishing: https://bit.ly/2B0I0C2


SO HERE IT IS!! SAVING THE BEST TIL LAST!! Ready??!! 


❤❤❤