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Monday, 30 November 2020

#MusicMonday PRETTY IN PINK by PSYCHEDELIC FURS

 


Is it Monday again already?! Racing through them now aren't we!! And I love Mondays now because of Music Monday - a weekly tag hosted by Drew over at The Tattooed Book Geek, and it's a weekly chance to share some favourite tunes and videos!

I seem to have fallen down an Eighties movie rabbit hole recently, and that's what I'm sharing again today! Pretty in Pink by Psychedelic Furs!! Turn it up!!!


Caroline laughs and it's raining all day
She loves to be one of the girls
She lives in the place in the side of our lives
Where nothing is ever put straight
She turns her self round and she smiles and she says
"This is it that's the end of the joke"
And loses herself in her dreaming and sleep
And her lovers walk through in their coaches
Pretty in pink, isn't she?
Pretty in pink, isn't she?
All of her lovers all talk of her notes
And the flowers that they never sent
And wasn't she easy?
Isn't she pretty in pink?
The one who insists he was first in the line
Is the last to remember her name
He's walking around in this dress that she wore
She is gone but the joke's the same
Pretty in pink, isn't she?
Pretty in pink, isn't she?
Caroline talks to you softly sometimes
She says, "I love you" and "Too much"
She doesn't have anything you want to steal
Well nothing you can touch
She waves, she buttons your shirt
The traffic is waiting outside
She hands you this coat
She gives you her clothes
These cars collide
Pretty in pink, isn't she?
Pretty in pink, isn't she?
All their favorite rags are worn
And other kinds of uniform
Kitty, you're really free like individuality
You are what you want to be
Until tomorrow the driveway's broken
His doorbell sings its chimes
In time with what and for who
God knows why I tried this
Vicious drug and I shake
Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: T. Butler / John Ashton / Duncan Kilburn / Roger Morris / R. Butler / Vince Ely





Sunday, 29 November 2020

#BookReview THREE WOMEN AND A BOAT by ANNE YOUNGSON @HJ_Barnes

 


ABOUT THE BOOK

Eve expected Sally to come festooned with suitcases and overnight bags packed with everything she owned, but she was wrong. She arrived on foot, with a rucksack and a carrier bag.
‘I just walked away,’ she said, climbing on to the boat. Eve knew what she meant

Meet Eve, who has departed from her thirty-year career to become a Free Spirit; Sally, who has waved goodbye to her indifferent husband and two grown-up children; and Anastasia: defiantly independent narrowboat-dweller, suddenly vulnerable as she awaits a life-saving operation.

Inexperienced and ill-equipped, Sally and Eve embark upon a journey through the canals of England, guided by the remote and unsympathetic Anastasia. As they glide gently – and not so gently – through the countryside, the eccentricities and challenges of canalboat life draw them inexorably together, and a tender and unforgettable story unfolds.

Disarmingly truthful and narrated with a rare, surprising wit, THREE WOMEN AND A BOAT is a journey over the glorious waterways of England and into the unfathomable depths of the human heart.

PUBLISHED BY DOUBLEDAY

PURCHASE LINKS





MY REVIEW

What a wonderfully touching and funny book this was! If you're looking for a hug in bookish form then look no further! It sweeps you up and gives you that embracing squeeze that we could all do with right now!!

It's a story of 3 women who come together for a little adventure on the waterways of England, while dealing with personal problems that have brought them together in the first place. They often say that the world works in mysterious ways, and it was only by chance that Eve, Sally and Anastasia came to be in each others lives to start with, and they prove to be the tonic they all need!

Eve has left her career behind her to become a free spirit, Sally has walked out on her husband and kids to find herself, and Anastasia is facing a dark time in her life with illness so the story begins with their paths crossing and what led to their extraordinary adventure!

The impact each woman has on each other is so empowering and heartwarming. It also shows the effect that others can have on you, be it from just offering a different opinion on a problem to giving people the confidence to move on in their lives. As they were older women, I loved their spirit and their honesty and their 'can do' attitudes! I loved being on the journey with them, and the characters that they met along the way which really showed the community feel of the boat world in which they found themselves.

This is a story of hope and friendship and it was a wonderful read.

★★★★★


My thanks to Hayley at Transworld Books for my advanced reading copy, in return for a fair and honest review.

#BookReview 337 by M.JONATHAN LEE #BookReview #337LEE @HideawayFall @MJonathanLee

 


ABOUT THE BOOK

337 follows the life of Samuel Darte whose mother vanished when he was in his teens. It was his brother, Tom who found her wedding ring on the kitchen table along with the note. While their father pays the price of his mother’s disappearance, Sam learns that his long-estranged Gramma is living out her last days in a nursing home nearby. Keen to learn about what really happened that day and realising the importance of how little time there is, he visits her to finally get the truth. Soon it’ll be too late and the family secrets will be lost forever. Reduced to ashes. But in a story like this, nothing is as it seems.

PUBLISHED BY HIDEAWAY FALL


PURCHASE LINK



MY REVIEW

I found this to be one of those 'quiet' books that focus on a family plagued by tragedy, that then sledgehammers you with the truth later on, so all the trauma, the angst and issues that have impacted on Sam and his family are laid bare.

The story centres around a family where the mother disappeared while her 2 sons were younger - one day she was there, the next they find a note on the table with her wedding ring and no sign of her. This causes major upheaval for the family with police questioning, rumours and gossip from the neighbourhood - a major impact on the 2 young boys who have to try and make sense of it all.

WE catch up with them as men, Sam mainly, who is the only one around to go and visit his grandmother in a home as she's on the verge of death. Can she shed more light on the events all those years ago?

I was so gripped by the human aspect to this story - how traumatic events play such a huge role on the outlook on life of those involved. How it had split the brothers up, how Sam found himself constantly living in the past unable to move on and live life normally. So much anger and resentment had built up so he goes to visit his grandmother hoping to find answers.

This was definitely a powerful page turner for me, watching as the mystery of the story was revealed with flashbacks to the family in the past - before and after the mother disappeared. This adds to the tension and makes you understand why Sam acts the way he does now. And then there's that ending... I'm still reeling now!!

★★★★★


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

Saturday, 28 November 2020

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up - 28th November 2020

 


Hello! Happy Saturday!! Hope everyone is well! Just about staying sane here... praise be for books to keep me on the straight and narrow!!

It's been a quieter reading week for me these past 7 days, with just 2 books finished, 1 of which was an audiobook! That's just how it goes sometimes eh!! But I've been well behaved over at Netgalley with just 1 newbie appearing and some rather epic bookpost appearing through the letterbox that made me squeal with delight!!

So here's my look back!

BOOKS FINISHED





BOOKHAUL

starting at netgalley...

THE FREQUENCY OF US by KEITH STUART
PUBLICATION DATE - MARCH 2021

In Second World War Bath, young, naïve wireless engineer Will meets German refugee Elsa Klein: she is sophisticated, witty and wordly, and at last his life seems to make sense . . . until, soon after, the newly married couple's home is bombed, and Will awakes from the wreckage to find himself alone.

No one has heard of Elsa Klein. They say he was never married.

Seventy years later, Laura is a social worker battling her way out of depression and off medication. Her new case is a strange, isolated old man whose house hasn't changed since the war. A man who insists his wife vanished many, many years before. Everyone thinks he's suffering dementia. But Laura begins to suspect otherwise . . .

From Keith Stuart, author of the much-loved Richard & Judy bestseller A Boy Made of Blocks, comes a stunning, emotional novel about an impossible mystery and a true love that refuses to die.
 



And then in the post, this wonderful thing appeared....

PANENKA by RONAN HESSION
publication date - March 2021


His name was Joseph, but for years they had called him Panenka, a name that was his sadness and his story. Panenka has spent 25 years living with the disastrous mistakes of his past, which have made him an exile in his home town and cost him his dearest relationships. Now aged 50, Panenka begins to rebuild an improvised family life with his estranged daughter and her seven year old son. But at night, Panenka suffers crippling headaches that he calls his Iron Mask. Faced with losing everything, he meets Esther, a woman who has come to live in the town to escape her own disappointments. Together, they find resonance in each other's experiences and learn new ways to let love into their broken lives.

CURRENTLY READING



📚📚📚







Thursday, 26 November 2020

#BookReview #BlogBlast WITCH BOTTLE by TOM FLETCHER @JoFletcherBooks #WitchBottle

 


Hello and welcome to my post for the Blog Blast today to help share the love for this rather creepy and haunting read from Tom Fletcher.  My thanks to the author and Milly Reid for the copy of the book!

Here's a little bit about the book before my review....



A deeply atmospheric literary horror novel about the nature of repressed guilt, grief and fear.

Daniel once had a baby brother, but he died, a long time ago now. And he had a wife and a daughter, but that didn’t work out, so now he’s alone. The easy monotony of his job as a milkman in the remote northwest of England demands nothing from him other than dealing with unreasonable customer demands and the vagaries of his enigmatic boss.

But things are changing. Daniel’s started having nightmares, seeing things that can’t possibly be there – like the naked, emaciated giant with a black bag over its head which is so real he swears he could touch it . . . if he dared.

It’s not just at night bad things are happening, either, or just to him. Shaken and unnerved, he opens up to a local witch. She can’t t discern the origins of his haunting, but she can provide him with a protective ward – a witch-bottle – if, in return, he will deliver her products on his rounds.

But not everyone’s happy to find people meddling with witch-bottles. Things are about to get very unpleasant . . .


Witch Bottle is literary horror at its finest, perfect for fans of Andrew Michael Hurley’s The Loney and Starve Acre.
 


Published by Jo Fletcher Books

Purchase Links






MY REVIEW

This is a a story with an air of menace throughout - and I loved it!  It's dark, unsettling and liable to take you on a very dark journey! It certainly kept me on the edge of my seat and was really unsettling and I think that's why I couldn't put it down once I'd started.

It really explores the human emotion of loss, of grief, of loneliness and of self preservation.  Those times when you need to take yourself off and be by yourself, and when you push others away in your times of need as you're in  fear of hurting those you love.  The main character, Daniel, a milkman, is just one of those people who has faced tragedy in his life, and while trying to get his life back on track he encounters a local witch who he comes to see as a ray of light in these darker times, but she's involved in making 'witch bottles' which are supposed to protect people from nightmares and harm....not all those in the area are as understanding as he is of 'witchy' ways so more strange things begin to happen and there seems no escape from them.

This is a really different read - there's a lot of time devoted to the milk round he is on as it becomes his life.  Out on the road by himself, spending too much time in his own head and the strange things he encounters along the way.  It's not a scream out loud horror, but it's one of those really unsettling reads that you never quite know just where it is going to take you.

The more you learn about Daniel and his past, the more you begin to understand his current state of mind.  I sometimes even wanted just a bit more shock from the story as it was often a bit of a slow burn.  That didn't distract from the overall feel of the story as it was just so different from my recent reads, and nothing prepares you for the twists and turns along the way!!

I really did enjoy the contrasts of his normality - the daily milkround  - alongside the darker struggles he faced daily.  Seeing how those traumatic events from his past had taken their toll on him was the chilling aspect of the story.

A haunting, dark and twisty story!!

★★★★

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

#BookReview CHRISTMAS AT THE LITTLE BEACH CAFE by MORTON S.GRAY

 


ABOUT THE BOOK

Run away to the little beach café this Christmas ...

Five years ago at Christmas, solicitor Justin Sadler made the decision to leave his comfortable existence behind and move to the coast. Since then, he’s tried his best to ignore the festive season and, as he sits in the little beach café and reflects on that fateful night when his life was turned upside down, he expects his fifth Christmas alone to be no different to any of the others since he made his escape.

But when he encounters a mystery woman on the beach, he soon realises he may have found a fellow runaway and kindred spirit. Could Justin finally be ready to move on and let Christmas into his life again

PUBLISHED BY CHOC LIT


PURCHASE LINKS


MY REVIEW

The perfect blend of romance, mystery and drama - all set in the wonderful setting of Borteen Bay. This is book 5 in the series, but very easily read as a standalone and is the perfect festive read!

Justin is the focus of this story and he moved to the Bay 5 years ago. What prompted his sudden move and his aversion to the festive period soon become clear, and you wonder if he's ever going to be able to move on in his life and embrace the tinsel and baubles of Christmas!

When he encounters a mystery woman on the beach, it seems clear his path to a happier life may soon be on the cards! But she has secrets of her own and he is intrigued by her. Silvie is her name and she is finding life tough and seems on tenterhooks permanently. She wants to get away from something and is reluctant to let people into her life.

But there's an ease and instant connection between Justin and Silvie - maybe their past experiences bond them, and I just loved seeing how well they clicked and how they supported one another in trying to move forward in their lives!

There's plenty of unexpected drama along the way that really adds to the tension and I loved the mix of light and dark!! Fabulous festive fiction!!


★★★★★

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

#BookReview 10 MINUTES 38 SECONDS IN THIS STRANGE WORLD by ELIF SHAFAK

 


ABOUT THE BOOK

An intensely powerful new novel from the best-selling author of The Bastard of Istanbul and Honour

'In the first minute following her death, Tequila Leila's consciousness began to ebb, slowly and steadily, like a tide receding from the shore. Her brain cells, having run out of blood, were now completely deprived of oxygen. But they did not shut down. Not right away...'

For Leila, each minute after her death brings a sensuous memory: the taste of spiced goat stew, sacrificed by her father to celebrate the long-awaited birth of a son; the sight of bubbling vats of lemon and sugar which the women use to wax their legs while the men attend mosque; the scent of cardamom coffee that Leila shares with a handsome student in the brothel where she works. Each memory, too, recalls the friends she made at each key moment in her life - friends who are now desperately trying to find her. . .
 


MY REVIEW

I listened to the audioversion of this book.

Wow!! Wasn't expecting that!! I had heard a few things about this story and was wondering just how it works - how can you tell the story of someone who has just died from their perspective? Well, this book manages it in such a unique way that I was enthralling!

Leila is the victim. She's been murdered and finds herself dumped in a bin in Istanbul. But for just over 10 minutes after her death, she is still conscious in her mind and she's looking back over her life at pivotal moments that have stood out for her, along with the moments leading up to her murder.

From being a young girl and growing up in a very religious and dysfunctional family, to dealing with horrific sexual abuse from a relative, to setting out on her own path in the world, this was a haunting, emotional and enthralling story that will stay with me for quite some time. She talks about people she's met along the way that have shaped her life - for good or bad - and for her, life really does flash in front of her eyes.

I found the aftermath of her death to be so touching with her close friends wanting to do right by her, after the impact she'd made on their lives. As outsiders in society they were all drawn together, and hearing that she was being buried at the Cemetery of the Companionless - a real place - they just wanted her to get the burial she deserved.

A very powerful and captivating book

★★★★

Monday, 23 November 2020

#MusicMonday WILL YOU? by HAZEL O'CONNOR

 


Hello! Happy Monday!! Time for more tunes! This is a weekly tag hosted by Drew over at THE TATTOOED BOOK GEEK which gives you the chance to share a favourite song or video!

Another walk down memory lane for me today and back to the eighties as this came up on a random playlist the other day  - Will You? by Hazel O'Connor! Check out the sax solo!! Not sure I'll be copying her make-up though....


You drink your coffee and I sip my tea
And we're sitting here
Playing so cool
Thinking what will be, will be
But it's getting kind of late now
I wonder if you'll stay now
Stay now, stay now, stay now
Or will you just politely say goodnight?
I move a little closer to you
Not knowing quite what to do
And I'm feeling all fingers and thumbs
Spill my tea, oh, silly me
But it's getting kind of late now
I wonder if you'll stay now
Stay now, stay now, stay now
Or will you just politely say goodnight?
And then we touch
Much too much
This moment has been
Waiting for a long, long time
Makes me shiver, makes me quiver
This moment I'm so unsure
This moment I've waited for
Is it something you've been waiting for
Waiting for too?
Take off your eyes, bare your soul
Gather me to you and make me whole
Tell me your secrets, sing me the song
Sing it to me in the silent tongue
But it's getting kind of late now
I wonder if you'll stay now
Stay now, stay now, stay now
Or will you just politely say goodnight?
Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Hazel O'connor
Will You? lyrics © Complete Music Ltd.




Saturday, 21 November 2020

#BookReview IN THE SWEEP OF THE BAY by CATH BARTON

 


ABOUT THE BOOK

This lyrical, warm-hearted tale explores marriage, love, and longing, set against the majestic backdrop of Morecambe Bay, the Lakeland Fells, and the faded splendour of the Midland Hotel.

Ted Marshall meets Rene in the dance halls of Morecambe and they marry during the frail optimism of the 1950s. They adopt the roles expected of man and wife at the time: he the breadwinner at the family ceramics firm, and she the loyal housewife, but as the years go by, they both find themselves wishing for more…

After Ted survives a heart attack, both see it as a new beginning… but can a faded love like theirs ever be rekindled?

Cath Barton lives in Abergavenny. She won the New Welsh Writing AmeriCymru Prize for the Novella in 2017 for The Plankton Collector, which was published in September 2018 by New Welsh Review under their Rarebyte imprint. She also writes short stories and flash fiction and, with her critical writing, is a regular contributor to Wales Arts Review. In the Sweep of the Bay is her second novella.

PUBLISHED BY LOUISE WALTERS BOOKS

PURCHASE LINKS

Publisher Website

Amazon

hive.co.uk


MY REVIEW

For a book that just has over 100 pages, this was pure quality! It's a gentle, quietly written book with a devastating exploration into a marriage. How time spent with the one you love often becomes a duty, just going through the motions, settling into a routine and not wanting to rock the boat.

I loved how this was full of those little observations that we often take for granted and miss, you become that fly on the wall as you look back at Ted and Rene as their life passes them by. The highs and the many lows. The trials and tribulations that face us all and how we should take time to treasure the good moments instead of dwelling on the bad!

Watching this couple over the years often left me with an overwhelming sadness! Their union seemed to become a marriage of resentment and bitterness and I found the tears falling down my face at certain points as you just felt so sad for them both and what their lives had become. Even more so when their daughter was going through their possessions and realising just how little she knew about her parents and that brings home that we often don't realise how much we don't know about those closest to us.

Being set from the 50's onwards really showed the attitudes of those towards marriage back then. The fact that the woman was just expected to give up her life for her husband and future children, despite the life she was missing out on ... she just kept quiet and let the bitterness build up inside her. You just wanted her to scream or shout - just to react and let her feelings out!

This is an exquisite little novella - small in stature, but huge in style and impact!!

★★★★★

#BookReview LOST CONNECTIONS by JOHANN HARI #NonFictionNovember

 


ABOUT THE BOOK

From the New York Times bestselling author of Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, a startling challenge to our thinking about depression and anxiety.

Award-winning journalist Johann Hari suffered from depression since he was a child and started taking antidepressants when he was a teenager. He was told—like his entire generation—that his problem was caused by a chemical imbalance in his brain. As an adult, trained in the social sciences, he began to investigate this question—and he learned that almost everything we have been told about depression and anxiety is wrong.

Across the world, Hari discovered social scientists who were uncovering the real causes—and they are mostly not in our brains, but in the way we live today. Hari’s journey took him from the people living in the tunnels beneath Las Vegas, to an Amish community in Indiana, to an uprising in Berlin—all showing in vivid and dramatic detail these new insights. They lead to solutions radically different from the ones we have been offered up until now.

Just as Chasing the Scream transformed the global debate about addiction, with over twenty million views for his TED talk and the animation based on it, Lost Connections will lead us to a very different debate about depression and anxiety—one that shows how, together, we can end this epidemic.
 

PUBLISHED BY BLOOMSBURY PUBLISHING


MY REVIEW


This was a really fascinating and eye opening book on the causes/remedies behind depression and anxiety. It is one of those books, I think, that will split readers based on their own personal knowledge and dealings with depression and anxiety as it puts the case across for not 'swallowing' (pardon the pun) the normal prescriptive advice from the medical profession and to treat the problem as a whole - what has caused the low moods?

I think the world we live in nowadays, pills seem to be put forward as the answer to everything. In this book, the author looks a bit more objectively to that market and how that some people who are continually prescribed pills to deal with their depression, soon find that the pills begin to wear off so the dosage has to be increased - and repeat the process again. The author wants people to look a little more into the actual cause of the depression in your life and to work on that rather than just hoping a little pill will change your life overnight - for some that works! for others it doesn't so it was nice to read this book to give the different views and options for helping yourself. It puts a lot of modern life into perspective and I enjoyed the way he looks at the world we live in and sees how that affects our perception of life and of happiness. The impact of social media in this disconnected culture we live in was staggering - basically our society sucks!! It's a never ending world of wanting more stuff, feeling unworthy and forever chasing that 'buzz' be it something new, or a like on a social media post and it's only going to get worse as youngsters are growing up in this world seduced by brands and impacted on how people portray themselves on instagram. You can see why many more young people struggle with their mental health nowadays - am so glad I grew up before the internet came along!

One phrase I'll take away from this book is ' see the sanity in your sadness, not the madness'

This is a book that divides opinions but I'm grateful for reading something that challenges the pill popping world we find ourselves in - it makes you look a little more into drug companies as well and their 'claims'! Scary!!


★★★★

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up - 21st November 2020

 


Hello all! Happy Saturday!! No Dinosaurs near you I hope?! Did make me smile seeing this one this week! It's the little things in life, and with the way 2020 is working out I wouldn't be surprised in seeing some rock up somewhere!!

On to books, and I've had a pretty good reading week! Needed more rest this week which has worked out well for getting through a few books as I got 5 finished this week. The TBR pile is still overwhelming though!  2 newbies on my netgalley shelves this week, a digital download from the library and a book to review in the post! I've had worse weeks!!

Here's my look back...

BOOKS FINISHED








BOOKHAUL

What did Netgalley tempt me with this week??!!

CUNNING WOMEN by ELIZABETH LEE
out April 2020

Lee is a magnetic new voice in historical fiction and CUNNING WOMEN is sure to be loved by fans of The Essex Serpent and The Mercies.

Spring of 1620 in a Lancashire fishing community and the memory of the slaughter at Pendle is tight around the neck of Sarah Haworth. A birthmark reveals that Sarah, like her mother, is a witch. Torn between yearning for an ordinary life and desire to discover what dark power she might possess, Sarah’s one hope is that her young sister Annie will be spared this fate.

The Haworth family eke out a meagre existence in the old plague village adjoining a God-fearing community presided over by a seedy magistrate. A society built upon looking the other way, the villagers’ godliness is merely a veneer. But the Haworth women, with their salves and poultices, are judged the real threat to morality.

When Sarah meets lonely farmer’s son Daniel, she begins to dream of a better future. Daniel is in thrall to the wild girl with storms in her eyes, but their bond is tested when a zealous new magistrate vows to root out sins and sinners. In a frenzy of fear and fury, the community begins to turn on one another, and it’s not long before they direct their gaze towards the old plague village … and does Daniel trust that the power Sarah wields over him is truly love, or could it be mere sorcery?

THE LAST HOUSE ON NEEDLESS STREET by CATRIONA WARD
out March 2021

This is the story of a serial killer. A stolen child. Revenge. Death. And an ordinary house at the end of an ordinary street.

All these things are true. And yet they are all lies...

You think you know what's inside the last house on Needless Street. You think you've read this story before. That's where you're wrong.

In the dark forest at the end of Needless Street, lies something buried. But it's not what you think...


CURRENTLY READING

THE BELOVED CHILDREN by TINA JACKSON
out December 2020

"There is some really atmospheric storytelling and joyful language at play here, with Jackson as an entertaining mistress of ceremonies." - Ben East, The Observer

What can we say about this book from Tina Jackson except that it's something very special indeed.

Three young women; Chrysanthemum, Rose & Orage are thrown together on the stage of Fankes’ Theatre during the closing days of the Second World War performing as The Three Graces.

It’s there they come under the spell of wardrobe mistresses Dolores and Janna – a chance encounter that will guide and change all of their fates forever.

Set in the dying days of vaudeville theatre and laced with mysticism, fortune tellers, ghosts, and evocative descriptions of the closing days of the War - The Beloved Children will literally make you laugh out loud and perhaps even shed the odd tear.

The Beloved Children is wise, funny, heart-breaking, joyous, poignant, and entirely entirely enthralling.

Tina Jackson has conjured characters that you will fall unapologetically in love with and placed them in a world that you won't want to leave.

If any Fahrenheit book is ever going to be nominated for The Booker Prize it'll be this one.