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Tuesday, 28 September 2021

#Audiobookreview THE END OF MEN by CHRISTINA SWEENEY-BAIRD #BookReview

 


ABOUT THE BOOK

Set in a world where a virus stalks our male population, The End of Men is an electrifying and unforgettable debut from a remarkable new talent that asks: what would life truly look like without men?

Only men are affected by the virus; only women have the power to save us all.

The year is 2025, and a mysterious virus has broken out in Scotland--a lethal illness that seems to affect only men. When Dr. Amanda MacLean reports this phenomenon, she is dismissed as hysterical. By the time her warning is heeded, it is too late. The virus becomes a global pandemic--and a political one. The victims are all men. The world becomes alien--a women's world.

What follows is the immersive account of the women who have been left to deal with the virus's consequences, told through first-person narratives. Dr. MacLean; Catherine, a social historian determined to document the human stories behind the male plague; intelligence analyst Dawn, tasked with helping the government forge a new society; and Elizabeth, one of many scientists desperately working to develop a vaccine. Through these women and others, we see the uncountable ways the absence of men has changed society, from the personal--the loss of husbands and sons--to the political--the changes in the workforce, fertility and the meaning of family.

In The End of Men, Christina Sweeney-Baird creates an unforgettable tale of loss, resilience and hope.


PUBLISHED BY HARPER COLLINS

PURCHASE LINK




MY REVIEW

I listened to the audioversion of this book - brilliantly read!


This is one of those timely reads, made even more relevant and relatable after our recent experiences! The amount of times you felt so connected to the story and the fear portrayed by the characters because of what we've all been through with this pandemic!

In this book, set in 2025, there's a virus that comes out of nowhere and only seems to affect men. And they drop like flies pretty quickly. While in the early stages, the seriousness is trying to be flagged up, there are those who dismiss the concerns... we all know how that works out in reality! But this is a story cleverly told from the point of view of a variety of women looking on with different hats on, so to speak! Those working in the medical industry, those reporting on it, those looking for a cure/vaccine - and those seeing their loved ones becoming poorly and wanting to do all they can to not lose those closest to them.

The author really captures the uncertainty and the panic with each character and it did feel like a race against time thriller at times with the urgency needed to do what needed to protect people. And how women were stepping up to fill the positions normally inhabited by the men and how that impacted on day to day life. And the emotional aspects of becoming pregnant, and then being told your baby was a boy was really stark and bought home the harsh reality of it all.

A gripping read.

★★★★

#BookReview HOPE NICELY'S LESSONS FOR LIFE by CAROLINE DAY

 


ABOUT THE BOOK

'I don't have any friends, only dog ones, because they don't make you do bad things. I don't want any human friends, actually. It's for the best.'

Hope Nicely hasn't had an easy life.

But she's happy enough living at 23 Station Close with her mum, Jenny Nicely, and she loves her job, walking other people's dogs. She's a bit different, but as Jenny always tells her, she's a rainbow person, a special drop of light.

It's just...there's something she needs to know. Why did her birth mother abandon her in a cardboard box on a church step twenty-five years ago? And did she know that drinking while pregnant could lead to Hope being born with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder?

In a bid to find her birth mother and the answers to these questions, Hope decides to write her autobiography. Despite having been bullied throughout school, Hope bravely joins an evening class where she will not only learn the lessons of writing (including the number one golden rule of 'show don't tell'), but may also begin to discover more about the world around her, about herself and even make some (human) friends.

But when Jenny suddenly falls ill, Hope realises there are many more lessons to come...

Hope Nicely's Lessons for Life is a heart-warming, coming-of-age novel about loneliness, friendship, acceptance and, above all, hope.

PUBLISHED BY ZAFFRE


PURCHASE LINK



MY REVIEW

This is a story that centres around a young woman with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and we hear her tell her story and get to understand a little more about the disorder, and it does pull at the heartstrings! It did take me a little while to 'get' the way the story was told but once I'd connected more with the character and understood more about how the disorder affects her, you couldn't help but become more attached to her and cheering her on from the sidelines!

We join her as she's about to delve into her past as she wants to find out more about her birth mother - the woman who 'dumped' her on a doorstep, allowing her to be adopted by the lovely Jenny. You can sense just how much they mean to one another and when poor health hits Jenny, you pick up immediately on the shock waves that sends through Hope. Her stable little world becomes a little shakier.

As Hope joins a local writing class she is faced with new challenges such as socialising and understanding all that life throws at her. It was wonderful seeing how others started to reach out to her when they understood more about her and shows you the good side of people!

An emotional read about a gutsy character, that has moments that made you tear up, alongside those that made you giggle !

★★★★



#GuestPost RECIPE FOR MR PERFECT by ANNI ROSE #PublicationDay @ChocLituk @AnniRoseAuthor

 


Hello and Happy Tuesday!!  And it's also Happy Publication Day for this fabulous book  - RECIPE FOR MR PERFECT by ANNI ROSE - so it's my pleasure to be handing over the blog today to the lovely Anni to share more news about her and the book!

Over to you Anni

💕💕💕

RELEASE DAY: Recipe for Mr Perfect by Anni Rose



Born and raised in Berkshire, I emigrated to Wiltshire six years ago, where I now live with my husband, sister, two dogs, a cat and Midge, the grey speckled hen.

As a child, I loved writing fiction, producing reams of stories, thankfully lost over the years, although recently when we cleared my mother’s house out, ‘The attack of the Killer Tomatoes’ did resurface.

On leaving school, the need to earn a living sort of got in the way of any creative ambitions and I became an accountant where my only published work apart from regular financial reports was the employees’ handbook.

A local writing course and an encouraging group of writing friends re-ignited the fiction flame many years later and I went on to win or be short listed in several writing competitions. I had short stories published in Writers Forum, My Weekly and Sophie King’s ‘How to Write your Life Story’.

These days I would describe my writing as modern romantic stories with a healthy dollop of humour thrown in. I’m a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and was delighted to have been signed by Choc Lit Publishing. Recipe for Mr Perfect is the second in the Recipes for Life series with Recipe for Mr Right, my debut novel published in June.

Away from the garden and writing I can usually be found behind a camera, walking the dogs, enjoying one of my husband’s curries or my sister’s bakery treats.

The Recipes for Life Series are all set in the fictional town of Redford. They are stand-alone novels but some of the characters may appear in more than one book. Recipe for Mr Perfect was inspired by the office I worked in, on leaving college. The character of Maggie in Recipe for Mr Perfect is based on a woman I worked with, sadly no longer with us, whose dry sense of humour and cutting remarks kept us going through many long days. If I could wave a wand and bring back just one thing to improve life today, it would be the sense of camaraderie, friendship and laughter that my introduction to office life gave me.

Find out more about Anni here:

Twitter: @AnniRoseAuthor 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AnniRoseAuthor 

Website: https://anniroseauthor.co.uk

Instagram: anniroseauthor

💕💕💕

About the book:

How do you know if you’ve found Mr Perfect or Mr Perfectly Useless?

Jess Willersey realised things with Martin weren’t perfect, but it’s still a shock when he leaves. Is she destined to a singleton lifestyle with only her cat for company, or could a certain hat-astrophic encounter with a handsome stranger at a rather unusual wedding signal a turning point?

At the same time, Jess’s best friends and work colleagues, Maggie and Sarah, are going through their own personal disasters – from shocking family revelations to dodgy dating app-related drama.

To top it all off, it seems that the handsome stranger won’t remain a stranger – and when Neil Jackson turns up at the friends’ office with yet another bombshell, how long will he stay ‘Mr Perfect’ in Jess’s eyes?


Buying links:

 Kindle: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Recipe-Mr-Perfect-gorgeous-heart-warming-ebook/dp/B09CZGX8SL/ 

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/recipe-for-mr-perfect

 Apple: https://books.apple.com/gb/book/recipe-for-mr-perfect/id1581818897

 Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/recipe-for-mr-perfect-anni-rose/1140033699

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Saturday, 25 September 2021

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up - 25th September 2021


Hello and Happy Saturday! We've made it through another week! Yay us!!  I've had  a dodgy week health wise and my tank is empty so hoping a weekend of reading and resting will help perk me back up again! If that fails I'll just have to buy some more books....  😜

And on the book front, I've managed to finish another 3 this week but the big news is that zero additions to my shelves over at Netgalley!  Although there has been 5 new additions to the physical book shelves due to a win from a Mills & Boon comp, and 2 books to review! 

Here's my look back!

BOOKS FINISHED








BOOKPOST

 I was very lucky to win a little giveaway from Mills & Boon recently...


HIS ACCIDENTAL COUNTESS by ANNIE BURROWS
From abducted…

…to betrothed!

To stop an unsuitable elopement, Tobias Spenlow bundles his ward’s intended bride into his carriage—only to discover he’s made a terrible mistake. The woman is actually innocent governess Miss Dorothy Phillips—whose reputation he’s unintentionally ruined! The only way to right this wrong is for the earl to wed her. She might have accidentally become his countess, but their consuming attraction has him courting her in earnest!

WOULD I LIE TO THE DUKE by EVA LEIGH
Jessica McGale’s family business desperately needs investors and she’s determined to succeed at any cost. But she knows London’s elite will never look twice at a humble farm girl like herself. Posing as “Lady Whitfield,” however, places her in the orbit of wealthy, powerful people—most notably the Duke of Rotherby. His influence and support could save her company, but Jess never expected the effect he’d have on her.

Society thinks Noel is a notorious, carefree duke who dabbles in investments, but there’s a side to him that only his closest friends see. When he crosses paths with Lady Whitfield at a business bazaar, his world tilts on its axis. She’s brilliant and compelling, and brings him to his knees like no woman has before. Trust is difficult for Noel, but Jess makes him believe anything is possible. . .

As time ticks down on her Cinderella scheme, the thought of achieving her goal at Noel’s expense breaks Jess’s heart. He doesn’t just want her now, he wants her forever. But will her secret end their future before it begins?

CINDERELLA'S NEW YORK FLING by CARA COLTER

She’s a breath of fresh country air…

…in his big-city life!

When Jessica Winton’s dream job falls into her lap, she’s thrust from a small-town into bustling Manhattan – and faced with new hard to please boss, tycoon Jamie Gilbert-Cooper. But when Jamie takes her under his wing Jessica must wonder how much of the big city appeal is because of Jamie?

IN SEARCH OF THE LONG-LOST MAVERICK by CHRISTINE RIMMER

'You know you're tempted.'

Men are trouble. And Melanie Driscoll has already had more than her share of trouble. She has come to Bronco seeking only a fresh start; what she finds instead is Gabe Abernathy. The blonde, blue-eyed cowboy is temptation enough. The secrets he could be guarding are a whole other level of irresistible. Peeling the covers back on both might be too much for sweet Mel to handle...


And 2 books arrived for me to review.....

DANCING FOR STALIN by CHRISTINA EZRAHI

The true story of one couple’s fight for survival in Stalin’s Russia: a famous ballerina, sent to the Gulag, and her husband, who found a way to save her against all odds.

LUCKY by ED JACKSON

From tragedy to triumph, one step at a time – an inspirational story of triumph over adversity against the odds

At just 28 years old, Ed Jackson was told he would never walk again. After a miscalculated dive into a pool, he suffered multiple cardiac arrests, a broken neck and a partially severed spinal cord. Lying paralysed in intensive care, the former rugby player knew his life would never be the same. But he wasn’t ready to give up hope.

Driven by relentless determination, Ed embarked on an incredible journey to independence. Millimetre by millimetre, he began to regain movement in his fingers and toes. Defying the expectations of even the most optimistic doctors, step by step, Ed began to walk again.

Fuelled by a renewed appreciation for life and a determination to help others suffering similar injuries to his own, Ed set his sights on a new challenge: mountaineering. Embarking on a gruelling climb to raise funds for a spinal unit in Kathmandu, Ed realises that, once again, the odds are stacked against him. Will he be able to overcome his own life-changing injury and transform others’ lives for the better?

Lucky is the story of how Ed faced the impossible when it seemed all hope was lost, and shows how you, too, can overcome the biggest challenges that life sends your way.


CURRENTLY READING

THE RIVER BETWEEN US by LIZ FENWICK (audiobook)








HAPPY READING









 

Thursday, 23 September 2021

#BookReview A SINGLE ROSE by MURIEL BARBERY @BelgraviaB #publicationday



ABOUT THE BOOK

From the best-selling author of The Elegance of the Hedgehog comes a story about a woman's journey to discover the father she never knew and a love she never thought possible.

Rose has just turned forty when she gets a call from a lawyer asking her to come to Kyoto for the reading of her estranged father's will. And so for the first time in her life she finds herself in Japan, where Paul, her father's assistant, is waiting to greet her.

As Paul guides Rose along a mysterious itinerary designed by her deceased father, her bitterness and anger are soothed by the stones and the trees in the Zen gardens they move through. During their walks, Rose encounters acquaintances of her father--including a potter and poet, an old lady friend, his housekeeper and chauffeur--whose interactions help her to slowly begin to accept a part of herself that she has never before acknowledged.

As the reading of the will gets closer, Rose's father finally, posthumously, opens his heart to his daughter, offering her a poignant understanding of his love and a way to accept all she has lost.
 

PUBLISHED BY GALLIC BOOKS
Publication date - 23rd September 2021


PURCHASE LINK

 Belgravia Books

Amazon


MY REVIEW

This is an exquisitely told story that will you have you yearning for Japanese gardens and swooning over the words chosen to describe the journey you take with Rose!

Rose finds herself an orphan at 40, when the father she never knew dies and she has to travel to Japan for the reading of the will. She's very conflicted about her feelings about this man she never met or knew and sees this trip just as 'admin' - not expecting what was to follow.

Happiness seems to have evaded her over the years - wrapped up in her work as a botanist, she was always lacking that passion or connection that lit up her life. You wonder if she learnt from her mother who always lived with a negative outlook on the world.

During her time in Japan she is taken on a tour of places that were important to her father, by his assistant. And those trips start to open her eyes to this man she never knew, and takes her out of that comfort zone to start experiencing a different outlook on life. As a reader you can't help but be seduced by the use of language to describe the gardens and flowers, and Rose starts to learn things about herself.

This was a magical reading experience for me - the way it is written was just so beautiful and elegant and I really enjoyed watching Rose learn more about herself as she learnt more about her father. A beautiful book inside and out!!

★★★★★


My thanks to the team at Gallic Press for the advanced reader copy in return for a fair and honest review

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

#BlogTour THE BOOK BINDER'S DAUGHTER by JESSICA THORNE #BookReview @bookouture

 


Excited to be with you today as part of the  Blog Tour for the magical THE BOOK BINDER'S DAUGHTER by JESSICA THORNE. 

My thanks to the author, publisher and Noelle for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!

ABOUT THE BOOK


Book: The Bookbinder's Daughter 
Author: Jessica Thorne 
Pub Day: Sept 20th 2021

Buy Links: 

Amazon: https://geni.us/B09BCSKJ46social

Apple: http://ow.ly/iciE50FG1VL

Kobo:  http://ow.ly/47Kp50FG1Uc

Google: http://ow.ly/UqkO50FG2jS



The song surrounded her now, the murmuring of the library insistent, and her foot took the first step on the winding stairs. She knew it wasn’t entirely a dream. It was the library calling her, its magic driving her.


When Sophie is offered a job at the Ayredale Library – the finest collection of rare books in the world, and the last place her bookbinder mother was seen when Sophie was just a teenager – she leaps at the chance. Will she finally discover what happened to the woman she’s always believed abandoned her?


Taking in the endless shelves of antique books, the soaring stained-glass windows, and the grand sweeping staircase, usually shy Sophie feels strangely at home, and is welcomed by her eccentric fellow binders. But why is the Keeper of the Library so reluctant to speak about Sophie’s mother? And why is Sophie the only person who can read the strange spells in the oldest books on display, written in a forgotten language nobody else understands?


The mysteries of the library only deepen when Sophie stumbles upon an elaborately carved door. The pattern exactly matches the pendant her mother left behind years ago, engraved with a delicate leaf. As the door swings open at her touch, Sophie gasps at the incredible sight: an enormous tree, impossibly growing higher than the library itself, its gently falling golden leaves somehow resembling the pages of a book. Amidst their rustling, Sophie hears a familiar whisper…


‘There you are, my Sophie. I knew you’d come back for me.’


An absolutely spellbinding read about long-hidden family secrets and the magic that lurks between the pages of every ancient book. Perfect for fans of The Ten Thousand Doors of JanuaryThe Night Circus and The Binding.



Author Bio


Jessica Thorne saw Star Wars at an impressionable age and life was never the same. She’s loved fantasy, romance and science fiction ever since and spends her time looking for adventure – in the pages of her books.


Sometimes she is Ruth Frances Long and won the European Science Fiction Society Spirit of Dedication Award for Best Author of Children’s Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2015.


Social Media


MY REVIEW

A magical library. Secrets. Danger.... what's not to love!?  This was a wonderfully magical read and is the kind of book that you totally lose yourself in! I know I did!

Sophie is at the heart of the story and is desperate to make her father proud who she has recently lost, whilst wanting to learn more about her mother who disappeared from her life when she was younger.  The more she discovers about the mysterious library where she gets a job as a bookbinder, the more the mysteries of the past become a little clearer.  And why is she the only person who can understand the language of some of the oldest books in their care?!

When her dreams start to lead her towards uncovering secrets from the past, she is unsure of what she will find or just who to trust along the way and you find yourself anxious on her behalf!  I loved the mystical feel of it all and the way the story flows and how she begins to emerge from the shell she had found herself living in because of the past trauma she'd gone through.  

I was enchanted by this story and just loved the magical library setting alongside a cast of intriguing characters.

★★★★





#BookReview THIS GOOD BOOK by IAIN HOOD @renardpress

 


ABOUT THE BOOK

Sometimes I wonder if I had known that it was going to take me fourteen years to paint this painting of the Crucifixion, and what it would take for me to paint it, would I have been as happy as I was then?’

Susan Alison MacLeod, a Glasgow School of Art graduate with a dark sense of humour, first lays eyes on Douglas MacDougall at a party in 1988, and resolves to put him on the cross in the Crucifixion painting she’s been sketching out, but her desire for authenticity in her portrayal of suffering means that the painting doesn’t see the light of day for fourteen years.

Over the same years, Douglas’ ever-more elaborately designed urine-filled plastic bags bring him exponentially increasing fame, prizes and commissions, while his modelling for Susan Alison, who continues to work pain and suffering on to the canvas, takes place mostly in the shadows. This Good Book is a wickedly funny, brilliantly observed novel that spins the moral compass and plays with notions of creating art.
 

PUBLISHED BY RENARD PRESS


PURCHASE LINKS




MY REVIEW

This is a more than a good book! This is a very good book! And so unique! I wondered how I'd get on with the Scottish dialect and slang, alongside a look at the art world, but it works surprisingly well and it's one of those stories that can shock just as much as make you laugh! And it made me laugh a lot with the darkness and pointed look at the pretentiousness of what is perceived as art nowadays.

Susan is at the heart of the story, she's an art school grad and when Douglas came into her life, she decided he was the perfect 'model' for her art creation representing the Crucifixion. But there's always something holding her back in being completely satisfied with what she's creating and the years fly by and still no completed work.

In the meantime, Douglas hits the art world with his own unique brand of art using bags of urine!! And he gets huge critical acclaim and success, whilst Susan struggles along in the background with her more 'normal' artwork. Their friendship never fails to waiver and they seem to just get one another, despite success taking Douglas away more and more. The banter between them makes the story as it's so raw and honest and I loved the way their conversations would flow about everything and nothing! The serious to the fun.

The way that Douglas infuriates her but intoxicates her in equal measures is at the heart of the story for me - seeing him sail along, creating artwork from nowhere with seemingly minimal effort, whilst Susan toils with her creation not matching up to her vision for years. It does a great job of showing the madness of the art world, alongside the madness of the artists!

The darkness in the characters also had me spellbound! It made them even more fascinating to read about as you just don't know where their 'art' will take them next!! I savoured every page of this book! A fabulous read that I highly recommend to one and all!!

★★★★★

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

#BookReview A BOOK AT BEDTIME by BARRIE SHORE

 


ABOUT THE BOOK

On a cold December Sunday, book-seller Jack Carter struggles to make breakfast for his wife Eva, whose dementia confines her body to her bed and her mind to a world of its own. Now memory and misremembering, invention and daydreaming combine to piece together their life story.

Jack wages a constant battle with Margaret, Eva’s carer, and tries to fend off Dodie, Eva’s bossy best friend, who thinks they’d both be better off in a home. He conjures ghosts from his past including his daunting mother and his mentor Bob Pride whose own past is linked with Oscar Wilde.

There is also The Great Man, a famous Dorset writer whom the boy Jack once met during his days as a book-seller’s assistant, and who choses this day to come and call. Comical and acerbic, he forces Jack to confront the past, until the truth finally emerges.

A moving by darkly funny story about memory, love, loss and forgiveness.

PUBLISHED BY MATADOR

PURCHASE LINK


MY REVIEW

This is one of those quiet, but stunningly powerful books that can't help but get you emotionally involved in the lives of the characters.

This is the story of Jack and Eva, mostly told from the viewpoint of Jack as he cares for Eva who has dementia and can't speak and is bedbound. It's a look back at their lives together, interspersed with the realities of caring with a loved one with dementia and all that entails. It's heartbreaking to hear his thoughts as he just wants to be with his wife, but the carers who come in to help complicate matters with 'health and safety' issues and you really get a sense of his frustrations - at them, the illness and all that has gone on through their lives together.

This is a story where he's trying to make peace with the past as he looks back at various stages - from his childhood, when he first met Eva and to their lives together. Times have been unkind to them both and you really get a sense of that sadness. He finds solace in talking about The Great Man (Thomas Hardy, but never named!) he met, and his time working at the small bookshop where they currently live. It has become such an integral part of their life, despite the impracticality of their current situation. As he looks back, secrets of the past reveal themselves and finally get acknowledged when they didn't at the time.

My heart was breaking for Jack as he tells you his story - his life has been tough and doesn't seem to be letting up for him now in his dotage. The patience he shows for Eva is evident, but there's also that conflicting emotion in him wishing her dead as there's no dignity for her, or him, as she suffers with this illness. And having a viewpoint from Eva also allows you to see inside the world as she views it, which was really poignant and powerful. It isn't afraid to confront the important issues such as dementia, sexuality and does so in a realistic way.

An emotional and beautiful story that has plenty to make the reader both laugh and cry. Highly recommended!


★★★★

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