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Saturday, 30 April 2022

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up - 30th April 2022

 


Hello! Happy Saturday! What a week it has been!  I turned 50 (aarrgghhh!) at the start of the week so it's been nice doing stuff with family and it now means there may be book tokens to be spent!! So watch out for a book haul post coming up fairly soon.... when I can decide which new books I need to be purchasing!

So it's been a very slow reading week for me with just 1 book finished LOL!! But there have been 2 Netgalley additions along with some wonderful BookPost additions to my world!

Here's my look back!

BOOKS FINISHED



BOOKHAUL

Let's get the Netgalley additions out of the way first...

THE IT GIRL by RUTH WARE
publication date - August 2022

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of One by One returns with an unputdownable mystery following a woman on the search for answers a decade after her friend’s murder.

April Coutts-Cliveden was the first person Hannah Jones met at Oxford.

Vivacious, bright, occasionally vicious, and the ultimate It girl, she quickly pulled Hannah into her dazzling orbit. Together, they developed a group of devoted and inseparable friends—Will, Hugh, Ryan, and Emily—during their first term. By the end of the second, April was dead.

Now, a decade later, Hannah and Will are expecting their first child, and the man convicted of killing April, former Oxford porter John Neville, has died in prison. Relieved to have finally put the past behind her, Hannah’s world is rocked when a young journalist comes knocking and presents new evidence that Neville may have been innocent. As Hannah reconnects with old friends and delves deeper into the mystery of April’s death, she realizes that the friends she thought she knew all have something to hide…including a murder.

THE HIDEAWAY by NORMA CURTIS
publication - June 2022

Thea looked at the small suitcase on the kitchen table. The tan leather was scuffed, with the soft gleam of age. She ran her hands over the smooth, cool lid. The thunk of the lock sounded very loud in the stillness of the cottage and she froze, her eyes on her grandmother’s bedroom door. Hearing nothing, she took a big breath and peered inside…

Hedi Fischer, aged ninety, smooths her hair and applies a touch of red lipstick from the tube. Over her pristine wool skirt suit she has knotted a men’s tartan bathrobe, wrinkled and frayed with age. Hedi hasn’t taken it off since Harry passed. Since the day she gave away everything but her battered leather suitcase and decided that she too was ready to die.

Thea has never met her grandmother Hedi, so she’s surprised when she receives a call from social services to take the frail old woman home. She’s not sure how Hedi will fit into her new life – the one where she’s left her boyfriend and moved into a run-down cottage miles from the nearest town. And Hedi refuses to talk about her past, or why she and Thea’s mother haven’t spoken for more than thirty years. So when Thea spots Hedi’s old suitcase on the table, she can’t resist taking a peak inside.

What Thea finds there is more heartbreaking than she could have ever imagined. It is a story that begins in World War Two, when young Hedi arrives by train at a Nazi concentration camp, from which she has no hope of escaping alive…


ITHACA by CLAIRE NORTH
publication date - September 2022

Extremely excited with this bookpost from Little Brown Book Group, as it came with a cross stitch kit!!  My 2 favourite things collide!!  So I'm excited to stitch the cover, as well as read the book!
'The greatest power we woman can own, is that we take in secret . . . '

Seventeen years ago, king Odysseus sailed to war with Troy, taking with him every man of fighting age from the island of Ithaca. None of them have returned, and the women have been left behind to run the kingdom.

Penelope was barely into womanhood when she wed Odysseus. Whilst he lived, her position was secure. But now, years on, speculation is mounting that husband is dead, and suitors are starting to knock at her door . . .

But no one man is strong enough to claim Odysseus' empty throne - not yet. Between Penelope's many suitors, a cold war of dubious alliances and hidden knives reigns, as everyone waits for the balance of power to tip one way or another. If Penelope chooses one from amongst them, it will plunge Ithaca into bloody civil war. Only through cunning and her spy network of maids can she maintain the delicate balance of power needed for the kingdom to survive.

On Ithaca, everyone watches everyone else, and there is no corner of the palace where intrigue does not reign . . .
 

HOPE FOR THE RAILWAY GIRLS by MAISIE THOMAS
signed copy from the author for review

Manchester, 1942

A new year brings new hope for the railway girls.

Alison's romance with the charming Dr Maitland is blossoming, but then she is posted away from Manchester. Working in a canteen isn't part of her plan, nor is meeting her beau's old girlfriend. One who just happens to want him back.

Margaret is supportive of her friend's new relationship until she realises exactly who he is. Torn between keeping her secret and warning Alison, she turns to Joan for help.

Working in Lost Property wouldn't be Joan's first choice of job, but with a baby on the way she knows she can't continue being a station porter. She's also eligible to be evacuated but could she leave Bob - and Gran - behind?

Being a railway girl isn't always easy but together they can overcome every challenge that stands in their way.


And then I received these 3 proofs from Harper Fiction for helping them via The Readers Room



TWELVE MONTHS AND A DAY by LOUISA YOUNG
publication date - June 2022

Rasmus and Jay, Róisín and Nico – two beautiful, ordinary love stories, cut short by death. Jay and Nico don’t even believe in ghosts, yet they seem to be… still here. Still in love with Rasmus and Roísín. And maddeningly powerless.

Both are incapable of leaving the living alone: Jay plays matchmaker, convinced that Rasmus and Róisín can heal each other; Nico, plagued by jealousy, doesn’t agree.

Rasmus and Róisín are just trying to navigate their newly widowed lives.

But all four of them are thinking the same thing: what is love, after death? What is it for? And what are we to do with it?

Moving and thought-provoking, playful and bittersweet, this is a Truly, Madly, Deeply for our times, showcasing one of Britain’s finest contemporary writers at her very best.


DARK OBJECTS by SIMON TOYNE

publication date - July 2022

Forensics expert Laughton Rees tracks an unusually clever killer while trying to overcome her own dark family history in this twisty new psychological thriller by the bestselling author of the Sanctus trilogy.

When she was fifteen years old, Laughton Rees witnessed the brutal murder of her mother by a masked killer—and barely escape with her own life. In the aftermath, she cut off all contact with her father, a police commissioner at the time, whom she blamed for failing to prevent the murder, and locked her past away for good… or so she thought.

Now a successful forensics professor, Laughton’s focused on her daughter and her work—but the past isn’t done with her. When Laughton’s book about criminal investigation is found at the scene of a violent murder, the Met police officer in charge of the case asks for her help. The crime scene has some disturbingly personal elements for Laughton, and she can’t shake the feeling that someone is sending her a message. After all these years, has the monster who murdered her mother come back for her?

Laughton is no longer the terrified teenager who fled the masked killer back then, but she’ll have to face her history head on—including the father she hasn’t spoken to in years—in order to take down the psychopath from her nightmares… and keep him from destroying her family once again.

THE FINAL STRIFE by SAARA EL-ARIFI
publication date - June 2022

In the first book of a visionary African and Arabian-inspired fantasy trilogy, three women band together against a cruel Empire that divides people by blood.

Red is the blood of the elite, of magic, of control.

Blue is the blood of the poor, of workers, of the resistance.

Clear is the blood of the servants, of the crushed, of the invisible.

Sylah dreams of days growing up in the resistance, being told she would spark a revolution that would free the Empire from the red-blooded ruling classes’ tyranny. That spark was extinguished the day she watched her family murdered before her eyes.

Anoor has been told she’s nothing, no one, a disappointment by the only person who matters: her mother, the most powerful ruler in the Empire. But dust always rises in a storm.

Hassa moves through the world unseen by upper classes, so she knows what it means to be invisible. But invisibility has its uses: It can hide the most dangerous of secrets, secrets that can reignite a revolution.

As the Empire begins a set of trials of combat and skill designed to find its new leaders, the stage is set for blood to flow, power to shift, and cities to burn.


CURRENTLY READING




HAPPY READING!!













Thursday, 28 April 2022

#BookReview THE BOOKSHOP ON PRIMROSE HILL by SARAH JIO #TheBookshopOnPrimroseHill

 


ABOUT THE BOOK

Valentina Baker was only eleven years old when her mother, Eloise, suddenly fled to London, leaving Val and her father on their own in California. Now a librarian in her thirties, Val is fresh out of a failed marriage and utterly disenchanted with life.

One day, Val receives word that Eloise has died, leaving Val the deed to both her mother's Primrose Hill apartment and the bookshop she opened twenty years ago. As Val jets across the Atlantic, she wonders - could this be her chance at a new beginning?

In London, Val finds herself falling in love with the pastel-coloured flat and the cosy, treasure-filled bookshop. When she stumbles across a series of intriguing notes left in a beloved old novel, it's the start of a scavenger hunt that will take her all over London and back in time... but most of all, bring her closer to the mother she lost twice.

Bittersweet and uplifting, The Bookshop on Primrose Hill will steal your heart. Perfect for fans of The Bookish Life of Nina Hill and How to Find Love in a Bookshop. Published in the US as With Love from London.

PUBLISHED BY ORION DASH


PURCHASE LINK



MY REVIEW

A book centred around a bookshop?! Full of characters who love books?! YES PLEASE!!! And it hasn't disappointed as I found myself swept along with all the feels in this wonderful new book that sees a woman gaining a connection to her late mother, through the world of books and community she had left behind. I Loved it!!

Valentina has been living in America for years, her mother walked out on her and her dad when she was 12, and had no contact with her since, but now she has passed and has left her daughter a property in Primrose Hill, which also contains a bookshop! Her initial thought is to go to England and put the property up for sale and move on with her life. But life has a funny way of throwing a spanner in the works, and a scavenger hunt left behind by her mother adds to the intrigue and Valentina finds herself wanting to know more about this woman who had left them so abruptly all those years ago.

The characters are so easy to connect with, and being set around a bookshop always helps! The scavenger hunt clues are a great little invention and allowed Valentina to really connect with her mother in a different way, allowing her to meet people who had become so special to her in the years before she passed. I was totally in love with the setting and the emotional journey you were taken on. Allowing her mother to share her story through the different characters in the community allowed Valentina to see the story from her mums' point of view and as the reader you also get to hear Eloise's story from her point of view, allowing us to travel back in time to see what she went through in finding love and becoming a mother. A wonderful read!!

★★★★★

Wednesday, 27 April 2022

#GuestPost MEET ME ON THE BUDDY BENCH by HANNAH PEARL @ChocLituk @HannahPearl_1

 


Delighted to be with you today to hand over the blog to the lovely HANNAH PEARL  as she shares some thoughts on her wonderful new book MEET ME ON THE BUDDY BENCH, which was released yesterday.  It's a book very close to my heart as I have M.E too, so it really struck a chord with me and it's a book I cannot recommend highly enough... go get your copy NOW!!

Over to you Hannah....


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Guest Post: Meet Me on the Buddy Bench by Hannah Pearl

My inspiration for writing Meet Me on the Buddy Bench was to explore what happens when life takes an unexpected turn. It’s all about finding happiness even when life isn’t easy or straightforward. This happened to me when I got ill just over seven years ago and didn’t fully recover. I wanted to write about a character who develops ME as this condition continues to really limit what I can do. It means so much to me to have this opportunity to raise awareness of the condition, but to hopefully do this within a book that reaches past our community and is read more widely too.

Meet Me on the Buddy Bench is a romance, and I hope that people will enjoy watching Ava and Sam fall in love as much as I enjoyed writing their story. Romance books are so powerful, and I needed them when I, like Ava in this book, could suddenly no longer do all of the simple things I once took for granted. I needed their uplift, their positivity, their support, their encouragement. Their reassurance that people do find happiness even when they’ve experienced unexpectedly difficult times. Romance books kept me company when I was suddenly alone for hours at a time. They offered hope and made me laugh and cry in turn.

I hope that this book can entertain people, but if it can also bring comfort or companionship to anyone who needs it, that would make me very happy indeed.

💙💙💙

About the Book:

When an ordinary park bench becomes a lifeline …

As a primary school teacher, Ava Lam is familiar with the ‘buddy bench’: a rainbow painted bench where sad or lonely children can sit to show they need a friend.

But are buddy benches just for kids? Ava might have assumed so – until she finds herself sobbing her heart out on a park bench and a kind stranger sits down next to her.

The stranger, Dr Sam Stone, has a house, an impressive job and he’s even training for a marathon – all things that seem painfully out of Ava’s reach in her new and scary circumstances. But, whilst Sam appears to have everything figured out, it turns out he needs a sympathetic ear just as much as she does.

Is the encounter a one-off, or could the ‘buddy bench’ begin to represent a source of comfort and support that will become precious to them both?

💙💙💙

Buying Links:

 Kindle: https://amzn.to/36YZOxI

 Kobo: https://bit.ly/3EuHaKc 

Apple Books: https://apple.co/3uYgaQk

 Nook: http://bit.ly/3I0HlOt

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About the Author:



Hannah Pearl was born in East London. She is married with two children and now lives in Cambridge.

She has previously worked as a Criminology researcher, as a Development Worker with various charities and even pulled a few pints in her time.

In 2015 she was struck down by Labyrinthitis, which left her feeling dizzy and virtually housebound. She has since been diagnosed with ME. Reading has allowed Hannah to escape from the reality of feeling ill. She read upwards of three hundred books during the first year of her illness. When her burgeoning eReader addiction grew to be too expensive, she decided to have a go at writing. In 2017 she won Simon and Schuster’s Books and the City #heatseeker short story competition, in partnership with Heat magazine, for her short story The Last Good Day.

Follow Hannah on Twitter here: @HannahPearl_1


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Tuesday, 26 April 2022

#BookReview MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS by ERICA JAMES

 


ABOUT THE BOOK

Even happy families have their secrets…

Since the sudden death of her husband, Naomi has steadily rebuilt the life they shared in the village of Tilsham by the sea.

Her eldest daughter, Martha, is sensible and determined – just like her father was – and very much in control of where her life is going. If she could just get pregnant with her husband, life would be perfect.

Willow, the youngest, was always more sunny and easy-going, yet drifted through life, much to her father’s frustration. But now, with charming new boyfriend, Rick, she has a very good reason to settle down.

The three women are as close as can be. But there are things Naomi has kept from her daughters. Like the arrival of Ellis, a long-lost friend from way back, now bringing the fun and spark back into her life. And she’s certainly never told them that her marriage to their father wasn’t quite what it seemed…

The Sunday Times bestselling author Erica James returns with this gloriously compelling tale of mothers and daughters, secrets and love.

PUBLISHED BY HQ


PURCHASE LINK


MY REVIEW

I loved this!! One of those stories when you're sad to leave the characters as you immediately feel at ease with them and want to carry on watching over them as they come to terms with the loss in their lives, but begin to move on.

It's a story about family relationships, mostly those between mother and daughters and the different personalities they have. Naomi is the mum, recently widowed, so trying to begin a new life for herself now that her main priority is herself. Martha and Willow are her 2 daughters, both very different in character but dealing with their own issues along with the grief of losing their father.

So the story revolves around the different positions they find themselves in - Martha, happily married and in control of her life, but unable to fall pregnant, and Willow who is really easy going and drifts through life, much to the horror of her big sister! Martha is a very strong character who likes to take control of every aspect, and she thinks it would be best for her mum to sell up and move nearer them. Not so easy for Naomi who has happy memories in her home, along with the fact that she's now making a life for herself, and it's fascinating to see how that relationship with her daughters plays out.

These are changing times for all of them and the author has done a wonderful job of capturing the different emotions that each family member goes through, and the impact on the other people in their life. I just adored the interaction between the family and the discovery of things that happened in the past that the mother kept from the girls really added to the drama.

This was one of those books that you totally lose yourself in. The main characters are really well crafted and the dilemmas they face never go OTT and it just gripped me as the drama played out, especially towards the end when they're faced with some challenging times. Wonderful!

★★★★★


#BookReview THE DISCORD OF GODS by JENN LYONS @BlackCrow_PR @torbooks

 


ABOUT THE BOOK

The Discord of Gods marks the epic conclusion to Jenn Lyons's Chorus of Dragon series, closing out the saga that began with The Ruin of Kings, for fans of Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss.

The end times have come.

Relos Var's final plans to enslave the universe are on the cusp of fruition. He believes there's only one being in existence that might be able to stop him: the demon Xaltorath.

As these two masterminds circle each other, neither is paying attention to the third player on the board, Kihrin. Unfortunately, keeping himself classified in the "pawn" category means Kihrin must pretend to be everything the prophecies threatened he'd become: the destroyer of all, the sun eater, a mindless, remorseless plague upon the land. It also means finding an excuse to not destroy the people he loves (or any of the remaining Immortals) without arousing suspicion.

Kihrin's goals are complicated by the fact that not all of his "act" is one. His intentions may be sincere, but he's still being forced to grapple with the aftereffects of the corrupted magic ritual that twisted both him and the dragons. Worse, he's now tied to a body that is the literal avatar of a star - a form that is becoming increasingly, catastrophically unstable. All of which means he's running out of time.

After all, some stars fade - but others explode.

PUBLISHED BY TOR BOOKS


PURCHASE LINKS




MY REVIEW

The fifth and final installment of a truly epic fantasy series - say it ain't so!! But this 'chapter' is a really fitting end to the series and allows us to spend more time with our favourite characters and marvel at the grand scale of the drama and goings on!! Be prepared! This book is full on, non stop action!! There's barely time to draw breath between the chaos and carnage, and that's where the wonderful use of the footnotes come into play as they just allow that light relief and pause as you take stock of what's been going on, and marvel at the 'snark-asm' which this series has been a master at!! Guaranteed to bring a smile and smirk to any grumpy face!

The main characters each take their turn in playing a major part in the action, as Relos Var's plans begin to take shape but has he taken his eye off the ball to someone else coming in and spoiling his fun!! There's double bluffs, soul searching and the wonderful interaction between characters as before, my favourites being Kihrin, Janel and Tereath, and there are some satisfying conclusions being played out, along with a few twists and turns that hit hard!!

This is a series that has dragons and demons, rituals and revenge, magic and murder, battles and betrayals, and most importantly, the wonderful world building that allows your imagination to go nuts! It's a series I've loved and I'm very sad to see it go! Thank you Jenn Lyons for the ride!!

★★★★★


My thanks to the team at Black Crow PR for the advanced reader copy in return for a fair and honest review.


Saturday, 23 April 2022

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up - 23rd April 2022

 


Hello all and Happy Saturday! And Happy St George's Day!  

Another good week on the bookish front - a welcome distraction at home as our bathroom is still being redone and it's been chaotic and noisy! The end is in sight though!! Bring on the bubble baths!!

I managed to finish 4 books this week and avoided browsing Netgalley or making any purchases! This WILL change very soon I can assure you!!

Here's my look back..

BOOKS FINISHED










BOOKHAUL


Absolutely sweet naff all!! 


CURRENTLY READING







HAPPY READING!!






Monday, 18 April 2022

#BookReview THE CREVICE GARDEN by PAUL SPRIGGS, KENTON SETH #TheCreviceGarden @filbertpress

 


ABOUT THE BOOK

A crevice garden replicates the environmental conditions of mountain tops, deserts, coastlines and virtually all other exposed or rocky places on earth. These striking garden features provide perfect conditions for the plants native to these far-off places, bringing the cultivation of these precious gems within everybody’s reach. In this book, enthusiastic experts Kenton Seth and Paul Spriggs, bring us in-depth guidance on the design, construction, and planting of crevice gardens of all kinds including those suitable for containers, small gardens and public parks and in styles that encompass both naturalistic scenes and non-traditional installations. A wealth of international case studies demonstrate how crevice gardens provide multiple micro-habitats that are exceptionally well-suited to growing a wide range of desirable plants that struggle in normal garden conditions. Further examples reveal their value in the ecological re-use of waste materials such as concrete, wildlife habitat creation and for making permeable, plant-friendly alternatives to retaining walls. An illustrated A-Z that recommends 250 irresistible plants completes this comprehensive book which heralds a bold new chapter in the history of crevice garden making.

PUBLISHED BY FILBERT PRESS

PUBLICATION DATE - 21ST APRIL 2022


PURCHASE LINK





MY REVIEW

This is one of those books that makes you want to rush out and create your own crevice garden!! The photographs alone are stunning and help paint the picture of just what it is to be a crevice garden, and alongside that the enthusiasm of the authors is infectious as they explore different aspects of this aspect of gardening.

This is a book packed full of photos, plants, history and ideas! I knew very little of crevice gardening, my only real knowledge is of rockery planting, but this a more broader range and a whole new level which is a better way for the plants - a way of working with them to suit their conditions than old ideas as it recreates their ideal habitat.

It looks into the geology alongside the extremes of the climates that these plants thrive in and it always amazes me that there are plants out there that survive in even the harshest of conditions! With this background information you really do understand a lot more about the plants and it's made me want to learn more about these plants that can often be overlooked and not embraced into gardening schemes.

There are brilliant step by step hints and ideas to help you set up your own crevice garden, and you don't even need a large area as they can be created in a pot. It sets you in the right direction of rocks to use, soil and, most importantly!, the plants to be used! What was even more helpful was the list of plants for specific situations which makes it really easy to pick and choose for your own needs!

A lot of American gardens are shown in some of the photos, but there are also photos from RHS Wisley, alongside gardens from Europe and it was really nice to see Crevice Gardening in action as it really gives you a good feel for the 'art' and I always like to see gardens that others have created.

This was a comprehensive and illuminating introduction to Crevice Gardening for me and I'm thankful to the authors for sharing their enthusiasm and knowledge and I look forward to using this book for my own crevice gardening plans in the future!

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

★★★★★



Saturday, 16 April 2022

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up - 16th April 2022

 


Hello and Happy Saturday! A rather stressful, noisy and chaotic week here as we're having our bathroom redone and it's causing mess everywhere!!  Will be very glad when it's all done!!  But at least the weather has been nice so it's been fun to spend more time in the garden - and shed! - to escape the madness and I just love Tulip time!

On the book front I've managed to finish 5 books and avoided any temptation of the netgalley or new book variety!! I'm as shocked as you!!

Here's my look  back!

BOOKS FINISHED





TRUST ME by T.M.LOGAN (audiobook) - 2 STARS









BOOKHAUL

ZERO! ZIP! NIL! NADA! NOTHING!!


CURRENTLY READING

QUIET by SUSAN CAIN



HAPPY READING!!