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Thursday, 30 July 2020

#BlogTour CLOUDS OF LOVE AND WAR by RACHEL BILLINGTON @Bookollective #BookReview


Delighted to be here today as part of the BOOKOLLECTIVE Blog Tour to share my thoughts on this absorbing new book! My thanks to the author, publisher and Bookollective team for my copy of the book and letting me share my thoughts on the tour!


ABOUT THE BOOK

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.

PUBLISHED BY UNIVERSE


PURCHASE LINK



MY REVIEW

This is a book full of  hope, heartbreak and heroes.  And I adored every single page!  I didn't really know what to expect when I started it, as I was just seduced by the beautiful cover! But once I started reading, I fell for the simplicity and compassion of the characters as their stories are played out amidst the back drop of the Second World War.

It really focuses well on the family dynamics - the differing of opinions and outlooks on life across the generations as War breaks out.  Young Eddie is desperate to be a pilot, his Dad is set against the idea and I'm sure these clashes were mirrored across many households at the time.

And in Eva, is a character who is desperate to paint and to find herself whilst her father  still wants to decide what is best for her. She is such a spirited young woman that I loved seeing her attitude towards grabbing opportunites when they arose, despite the difficult circumstances they all found themselves living in.

The pace of the story allows you to understand the characters more - their motivations, their despair and their dreams.  And the love story in extraordinary times was pitched perfectly - so touching and emotional but not gushy or too over the top!

An enthralling and engrossing read that I highly recommend!

★★★★★


Tuesday, 28 July 2020

#BookReview A SUMMER TO REMEMBER IN HERRING BAY by ANGELA BRITNELL @ChocLituk


ABOUT THE BOOK


A fabulous new romance to escape with this summer. Set in Cornwall.

Essy Havers is good at finding things. Her company specialises in helping clients track down anything, from missing china pieces to rare vintage clothing. But now Essy has something more important to find: herself.
Essy has always been curious about her mother’s secret past and her Cornish roots. So, when the opportunity arises, she hops on a plane in Tennessee and ends up in Herring Bay in Cornwall; the village where her mother grew up.
But once there, she’s mystified by the reactions of the villagers when they realise who she is. Was Essy’s decision to visit Cornwall a mistake, or will it lead to a summer she’ll never forget?

PUBLISHED BY CHOC LIT

PURCHASE LINKS












MY REVIEW

Loved, Loved, Loved this book!! It's full of family secrets that that have hung over Herring Bay for years, leaving deep wounds for many.  So when Essy travels there to discover the past her mother is very reluctant to share, she reopens those wounds and it threatens new friendships.

Essy stands out anyway as she's an American and they don't get many of those visiting Herring Bay! She also is a big fan of bright colours and finds a fellow 'colour' fan in Ruan.  He's a local who has recently returned home and finds himself doing various handyman jobs which brings him into contact with Essy as she stays with her Aunt at her B&B that is in need of a bit of modernising!  

The more time Essy and Ruan spend together, the more the pasts of their families begin to bubble to the surface and I loved finding out about the goings on of the past - and surprised along with the characters to discover that what they had been led to believe was quite different to the actual truth.  Isn't that always the way!?! We build up an image of a situation or person based on what we're told, only to find that shattered when the truth comes to light!

I loved everything about this book! From the relatable characters wanting to make sense of who they are, to the wonderful setting and  twists and turns of the revelations!  A must read!!

★★★★★

#GuestPost A SUMMER TO REMEMBER AT HERRING BAY by ANGELA BRITNELL @ChocLituk


Always an honour to host a guest post, and today it's the turn of Angela Britnell to take over my Blog on Publication Day for A Summer To Remember At Herring Bay! And it's another stunning read from Angela so hurry up and grab your copy! I've added the links down below!!

So over to you Angela!!



 A Summer to Remember in Herring Bay by Angela Britnell

It’s a pleasure to be here with you on release day for A Summer to Remember in Herring Bay and I thought your readers might be interested in hearing about some of my inspirations behind the book. I grew up in Cornwall and it often features in my stories – the beautiful landscape is frequently a character in itself and its geographical remoteness makes it perfect for people trying to make changes in their lives. In this particular book the village of Herring Bay has echoes of Mevagissey, the Cornish fishing port where my mother was born, although it isn’t as large or picturesque. An abandoned Methodist chapel has a prominent part to play in my new book and it’s inspired by one in the village where I lived. Another spark came from Michael Portillo, or rather his unique sense of style – I definitely borrowed hints of that for Ruan’s character. I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know the community of Herring Bay and fall more than a little in love with Essy and Ruan.

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About the Book:

Essy Havers is good at finding things. Her company specialises in helping clients track down anything, from missing china pieces to rare vintage clothing. But now Essy has something more important to find: herself.

Essy has always been curious about her mother’s secret past and her Cornish roots. So, when the opportunity arises, she hops on a plane in Tennessee and ends up in Herring Bay in Cornwall; the village where her mother grew up.

But once there, she’s mystified by the reactions of the villagers when they realise who she is. Was Essy’s decision to visit Cornwall a mistake, or will it lead to a summer she’ll never forget?


Buying Links:

 Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Summer-Remember-Herring-Bay-uplifting-ebook/dp/B08BLSR2X1/







ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Angela grew up in Cornwall, England and returns frequently from her new home in Nashville, Tennessee to visit family and friends, drink tea and eat far too many Cornish pasties!


A lifelong love of reading turned into a passion for writing contemporary romance and her novels are usually set in the many places she's visited or lived on her extensive travels. Thanks to over three decades of marriage to her wonderful American husband she's a huge fan of transatlantic romance and always makes sure her characters get their own happy-ever-after.


She is a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association, the Romance Writers of America and the Music City Romance Writers. Her first novel ‘Truth and Consequence’ was published in 2006 and she’s now had over 30 novels published internationally and several short stories in women’s magazines.


If you'd like to find out more of what Angela gets up to (Advance warning: this may include references to wine, dark chocolate, Poldark and the hunky Aidan Turner) check out www.angelabritnellromance.com or follow her on www.facebook.com/angelabritnell, www.twitter.com/angelabritnell and on Instagram as Angela Golley Britnell


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Monday, 27 July 2020

#MUSICMONDAY STAY by 30 SECONDS TO MARS


YAY FOR MONDAY! Time to share some tunes again! The weekly tag hosted by Drew over at The Tattooed Book Geek, allows you to share a favourite song or video each week - join in the fun!!

Any excuse to watch Jared Leto is fine by me, so I've chosen the 30 Seconds to Mars Live Lounge performance they did of the Rihanna song 'STAY'.




All along it was a fever
A cold sweat, hot headed believer
I threw my hands in the air, said, "Show me something"
He said, "If you dare, come a little closer"
Round and around and around and around we go
Oh, now tell me now, tell me now, tell me now you know
Not really sure how to feel about it
Something in the way you move
Makes me feel like I can't live without you
It takes me all the way
I want you to stay
It's not much of a life you're living
It's not just something you take, it's given
Round and around and around and around we go
Oh, now tell me now, tell me now, tell me now you know
Not really sure how to feel about it
Something in the way you move
Makes me feel like I can't live without you
It takes me all the way
And I want you to stay
Ooh, the reason I hold on
Ooh, 'cause I need this hole gone
Well, funny you're the broken one
But I'm the only one who needed saving
'Cause when you never see the light
It's hard to know which one of us is caving
Not really sure how to feel about it
Something in the way you move
Makes me feel like I can't live without you
It takes me all the way
I want you to stay
Stay
I want you to stay
Ooh
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: John Stephen Sudduth / Justin Parker / Mikky Ekko
Stay lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

#BookReview THE OTTERS' TALE by SIMON COOPER #20BooksOfSummer20


ABOUT THE BOOK


Otters hold an almost unique place in the animal kingdom of the British Isles, being one of the very few creatures that give birth once every two years. They are the most secretive yet also the most popular mammals – they are found in every county but are so rarely seen that they have been raised to mythical status.

When Simon Cooper bought an abandoned water mill that straddles a small chalkstream in southern England, little did he know that he would come to share the mill with a family of wild otters. Yet move in they did, allowing him to begin to observe them, soon immersing himself in their daily routines and movements. He developed an extraordinary close relationship with the family, which in turn gave him a unique insight into the life of these fascinating creatures.

Cooper interweaves the personal story of the female otter, Kuschta, with the natural history of the otter in the British Isles, only recently brought back from the brink of extinction through tireless conservation efforts. Following in the footsteps of Henry Williamson’s classic 1920s tale Tarka the Otter, readers are taken on a journey through the calendar year, learning the most intimate detail of this most beautiful of British mammals. Cooper brings these beloved animals to life in all their wondrous complexity, revealing the previously hidden secrets of their lives in this beautifully told tale of the otter. 

PUBLISHED BY WILLIAM COLLINS



MY REVIEW

This is Book 10 of my 20 Books Of Summer 2020

What a lovely endearing and insightful book!

Full of everything you ever wanted to know about otters, and an awful lot more!, this is a beautifully written book of the observations of Simon Cooper who was lucky enough to live so close to the otters when he bought an abandoned watermill. He watches the family flourish and has artistic licence with his imaginings of family life amongst the otters, and it's just charming! Watching the mother otter Kuschta, her behaviour and the way she raises the pups really gets you to understand their way of life.

I learnt so much from this book - how the otters have adapted to changes in their habitats over the years, the family dynamics and the dangers they face on a daily basis - none more so than now with human encroachment on the places they use to live and hunt.

This book left me with nothing but respect for these secretive but resilient creatures. The author and his magical descriptions of otter life were wonderful!

★★★★

#BlogTour MISS GRAHAM'S COLD WAR COOKBOOK by CELIA REES #BookReview #RandomThingsTour @CeliaRees @HarperFiction #MissGrahamsColdWarCookBook



ABOUT THE BOOK

A beautifully crafted and gripping novel about loss, betrayal and female friendship

An ordinary woman. A book of recipes. The perfect cover for spying…

 Sent to Germany in the chaotic aftermath of World War II, Edith Graham is finally getting the chance to do her bit. Having taught at a girls’ school during the conflict, she leaps at the opportunity to escape an ordinary life – but Edith is not everything she seems to be. Under the guise of her innocent cover story, Edith has been recruited to root out Nazis who are trying to escape prosecution. Secretly, she is sending coding messages back to the UK, hidden inside innocuous recipes sent to a friend – after all, who would expect notes on sauerkraut to contain the clues that would crack a criminal underground network? But the closer she gets to the truth, the muddier the line becomes between good and evil. In a dangerous world of shifting loyalties, when the enemy wears the face of a friend, who do you trust? 

PUBLISHED BY HARPER FICTION


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Celia Rees was born in Solihull, West Midlands, UK. She studied History and Politics at Warwick University and has a master’s degree from Birmingham University. She taught English in city comprehensive schools for seventeen years before beginning her writing career. She is the author of over twenty acclaimed books for young adults and has won various prizes both in Britain and abroad. Her work has been translated into twenty-eight languages. Celia lives in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, with her husband. Miss Graham’s Cold War Cookbook is her first adult novel.


MY REVIEW

This is a thoroughly absorbing post World War 2 novel, that features brilliantly the brave work undertaken by many civilians who wanted to do their bit, and who ended up getting involved in far more serious work while they were in Europe.

And in Miss Graham we have a character who goes from teaching in England to wanting to help the children in Germany by overseeing the efforts to re-open schools and educate the children.  She is flagged up as a person of interest to undertake another role why she is there, and she has a brilliant way of sending coded messages back that will escape the attention of those censoring the mail.

The other women she works with become good friends, and I really loved their bond and just their absolute bravery in putting themselves forward to do this work in the first place, knowing that if they ever got caught it wouldn't end well.

There's so many twists and turns along the way as Edith spends her time building up relationships with the children she works with, along with wondering who to trust with the many people she meets.  And the grim sights she witnesses really brings home the reality of war and how people were left living and having to just get on with life the best they could.

I  did struggle at times to connect with Edith as a character as she sometimes came across so mechanical and straight laced, but then I guess she had to be that way when dealing with what she was facing.  This wasn't a time to be very emotional or to lose your head.  

What really got to me though was the stories of the brutality and horrors that people recounted to the women so they could get a real sense of what the War meant for those still living - surrounded by memories, grieving for loved ones and doing what they could to survive.  It was  a thoroughly sobering yet inspiring read that paid tribute to many acts of selfless acts of bravery by those trying to bring those who committed atrocities to rights. Highly recommended.

★★★★




Saturday, 25 July 2020

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up - 25th July 2020


Happy Saturday!!  I'm so glad I do this post weekly to keep me on track with days! Time seems so different now LOL!  But we're getting there so well done us!! All expert hand washers now too!! 

On to the bookish element of my life - clean hands on my books all the time now - and it's been a very good reading week with 6 books finished this week! Why can I read ebooks quicker than real books??!! Madness!!  I've stayed well clear of Netgalley again but there has been a couple of new arrivals for review!

BOOKS FINISHED














BOOKHAUL

THE ONCE AND FUTURE WITCHES by ALIX E HARROW
copy sent from Orbit books for review
out October 2020

In 1893, there's no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.

But when the Eastwood sisters--James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna--join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women's movement into the witch's movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote-and perhaps not even to live-the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.

There's no such thing as witches. But there will be

OTHER WOMEN by JEAN LEVY
copy sent from publisher ahead of Blog Tour

From the author of What Was Lost…

Sophie thought she and Jonah were happy, bringing up their small daughter, until one summer's day, she discovers that Jonah is far from the man she thought he was. Sam - an attractive English teacher - seems to offer her some comfort, and new friendships are a support.

But is Sam really who he says he is? Where have her new friends appeared from? Is anyone telling the truth? As Jonah's lies threaten Sophie and her daughter, can anyone be trusted?

CURRENTLY READING




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Friday, 24 July 2020

#BlogTour PARIS SAVAGES by KATHERINE JOHNSON #BookReview @AllisonandBusby @KJohnsonauthor #ParisSavages



A huge delight to be the latest stop on the Blog Tour for PARIS SAVAGES by KATHERINE JOHNSON. My thanks to Lesley Crooks at Allison & Busby for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!


ABOUT THE BOOK

Fraser Island, 1882. The population of the Badtjala people is in sharp decline following a run of brutal massacres. When German scientist Louis Muller offers to sail three Badtjala people - Bonny, Jurano and Dorondera - to Europe to perform to huge crowds, the proud and headstrong Bonny agrees, hoping to bring his people's plight to the Queen of England. Accompanied by Muller's bright, grieving daughter, Hilda, the group begins their journey to belle-epoque Europe to perform in Hamburg, Berlin, Paris and eventually London. While crowds in Europe are enthusiastic to see the unique dances, singing, fights and pole climbing from the oldest culture in the world, the attention is relentless, and the fascination of scientists intrusive. When disaster strikes, Bonny must find a way to return home.

PUBLISHED BY ALLISON & BUSBY

PURCHASE LINKS



hive.co.uk  £12.25

Blackwell's  £12.73


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


KATHERINE JOHNSON lives in Tasmania with her husband and two children. She is the author of three previous novels and her manuscripts have won Varuna Awards and the Tasmanian Premier’s Literary Prizes.  



MY REVIEW


 I found this to be a book with a big impact on me as a reader.  I knew very little of the 'human zoo's' that were all the rage in the late 1800's, and to witness the impact on those signed up to take part was often very unsettling and uncomfortable - the cruelty of humans towards other humans in the pursuit of money seems not to have changed much over the years. Although this is fiction it is based on real historical events which makes it even more hard hitting.

Told from the viewpoint  of Hilda through her diary, we get to see the story of how she sees the world.  Her father is a scientist and is involved with travelling around the world a lot and it's his work that brings the Badjtala people to his attention and to the attention of the world.  Those in Europe are desperate to see these different people so 3 of them travel with the scientist and his daughter to be 'shown off' and studied.

And that's where it gets very uncomfortable as you read of their experiences.  From travelling by boat and their treatment by the crew on board, to their experiences in Europe and at the hands of the scientists they encounter - they become commodities and freaks to be prodded and poked.  The 3 who travel - Bonny, Jurano & Dorondera -  are such great characters who face appalling treatment.  And I loved Hilda too who was very wise beyond her years. You could see her battling with herself in wanting to be loyal to her father, but also seeing things from the other side of the coin and how her father changes when he's in the company of others.  She deeply cares for her new 'friends' and for her to see how others treat them wherever they go is tough for her.  It really is shocking to witness for her.

This was a truly fascinating and enthralling book that really opened my eyes to a period of history I knew very little about.  Highly recommended!!

★★★★★


Monday, 20 July 2020

#MusicMonday HUMAN by RAG 'N' BONE MAN


It's Monday! It's Music time! Music Monday is a tag started by Drew over at The Tattooed Book Geek and gives you a weekly chance to share a favourite song or video

And this week I've chosen Human by Rag'n'Bone Man - this video has had over a BILLION views on Youtube!!!


I'm only human
I'm only, I'm only
I'm only human, human
Maybe I'm foolish
Maybe I'm blind
Thinking I can see through this
And see what's behind
Got no way to prove it
So maybe I'm blind
But I'm only human after all
I'm only human after all
Don't put your blame on me
Don't put your blame on me
Take a look in the mirror
And what do you see
Do you see it clearer
Or are you deceived
In what you believe
'Cause I'm only human after all
You're only human after all
Don't put the blame on me
Don't put your blame on me
Some people got the real problems
Some people out of luck
Some people think I can solve them
Lord heavens above
I'm only human after all
I'm only human after all
Don't put the blame on me
Don't put the blame on me
Don't ask my opinion
Don't ask me to lie
Then beg for forgiveness
For making you cry
Making you cry
'Cause I'm only human after all
I'm only human after all
Don't put your blame on me
Don't put the blame on me
Oh, some people got the real problems
Some people out of luck
Some people think I can solve them
Lord heavens above
I'm only human after all
I'm only human after all
Don't put the blame on me
Don't put the blame on me
I'm only human
I make mistakes
I'm only human
That's all it takes
To put the blame on me
Don't put the blame on me
I'm no prophet or Messiah
Should go looking somewhere higher
I'm only human after all
I'm only human after all
Don't put the blame on me
Don't put the blame on me
I'm only human
I do what I can
I'm just a man
I do what I can
Don't put the blame on me
Don't put your blame on me
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Rory Charles Graham / Jamie Hartman
Human lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Reservoir Media Management Inc, Warner Chappell Music Inc