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Tuesday, 31 May 2022

#GuestPost Edie's Summer of New Beginnings by Kirsty Ferry @ChocLituk @kirsty_ferry #Excerpt #PublicationDay

 


Excited to be with you today to share an exclusive excerpt from the fabulous Kirsty Ferry, to help celebrate Publication Day for EDIE'S SUMMER OF NEW BEGINNINGS!! Go grab your copy ASAP!!

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Release Day Extract: Edie’s Summer of New Beginnings by Kirsty Ferry

Edie’s Summer of New Beginnings is the wonderful and quirky new romcom from Kirsty Ferry – a book that’s bound to put a smile on your face this summer! To celebrate publication day, we thought we’d introduce you to Edie and her world on Karen’s blog this morning. But who is Ninian Chambers, and how is he about to shake up Edie’s idyllic village existence?...........

The village I lived in was quite a small one. In a small village, of course, your business is everybody’s business. And that was why everyone in Padcock’s tiny corner shop stopped and went ‘Ooooh!’ when Sally announced a certain piece of staggering information …

‘A film crew is coming to Padcock Court in the summer!’

‘Oooh,’ I said, joining in and edging closer to the counter to listen a little better as Lilian commented, ‘Ooooh. But however will Mrs Pom-pom stand that? Won’t she set her hounds on them?’

Mrs Pom-pom wore hats that looked like tea cosies all year round and shouted at a people a lot. She especially liked shouting at people who walked past her gate too closely, and definitely liked shouting at cars. Her real name was Mrs Pomeroy, but, well, her hat choices informed her nickname.

Mrs Pom-pom’s hounds were two great big Labradors, who always stared at her and drooled whilst she shouted.

‘Get them! Get them, boys!’ she’d screeched when my friend Cerys and I had rolled back from the pub one evening and had the audacity to do snorty giggles when we passed Padcock Court.

‘Arf!’ went Arfur, and lay down.

‘Umph!’ went Umbert, and also lay down.

Fortunately, and perhaps unsurprisingly, Cerys and I survived the attack.

‘I don’t know,’ said Sally, back on the subject of the film crew. ‘Perhaps she’ll be a bit more flexible if it’s going to make them some money.’

Everyone nodded sagely. Money was definitely something Mrs Pom-pom needed in shedloads. Padcock Court looked impressive – an ancient familial manor house in our picture-perfect village – but beyond the white plaster and dark wood beams, roofs dripped, ceilings were bowed and windows rattled as the wind came rushing down the lea to hit the back of the house.

I knew this because when I was little, and my granny still lived in Padcock – before I inherited her house – she had been quite friendly with Mrs Pom-pom, who wasn’t quite so shouty in those days. Although even back then she’d owned a series of impressive tea cosy hats.

I’d always spent most of my life shuttling back and forth between Padcock and wherever I found myself next. My mum, Bridget, had me when she was very young and sent me to boarding school as soon as she could. She was never hands on, and my gran basically brought me up.

Gran’s heyday had been in the sixties. She had loads of stories about that time, but had never had a husband. I had no idea who my grandfather was, just as I never knew who my father was. I’m not sure if my mum ever knew either. It probably wasn’t surprising, really, that my personal style was like I’d been spewed out of the sixties and dumped into the twenty-first century, what with Gran’s influence in my life. For some reason, the thought of that era made me feel happy and secure, and I’d clearly absorbed more of Gran’s history than even she thought possible.

It was no wonder I’d started dressing like one of Andy Warhol’s muses in my rebellious teens, when all I was bothered about at my expensive school was bunking off any class that wasn’t art. My style was simple yet effective – black mini skirt, black polo neck, chandelier earrings and boots. My hair, naturally quite a dark brown, was chin length and bleached, and I usually wore it in a ponytail. I got some odd looks in Padcock initially as I grew up and developed my own style, but they soon just accepted me as “That Weird Artist Girl From London”.

I’ve always loved Padcock. Padcock suited my gran and it suited me for the moment – although the village was undoubtedly a bit of a tourist trap. So many films and TV series had been filmed in this sleepy little place in the South Downs, that hearing Mrs Pom-pom had a camera crew coming in shouldn’t have been quite so exciting – but then we could all remember the last time someone had come to film anything. It was a gardening programme, and Mrs Pom-pom had yelled at the celebrity gardener and chased him away with the loppers.

‘Edie.’ Sally suddenly addressed me, bringing me back to the present, even as I found myself wondering just exactly how far Mrs Pom-pom had chased that poor celebrity gardener. ‘You’ll be interested in the programme.’ The swivelling of the collective Padcock eyes towards me was almost audible.

‘What! Why?’ I was a little stunned. I’m as interested as any village local each time a new film crew rocks up. We once had a celebrity bingo thing going on in the pub. Lovely Sam, the barman and owner of the Spatchcock Inn, kept the official list of “things to spot” behind the bar and we’d whisper to him when we heard or saw anything relevant – for example, a film star furtively smoking behind the back of a building, or an actor having a tantrum about something and being ushered away to be soothed by the member of the production team.

‘Because, Edie, this film crew are doing a painting challenge.’ Sally leaned back in her seat behind the counter and folded her arms.

‘And…?’ I failed to make the connection.

‘And you could take part in it.’

‘I could not!’

‘You could. You paint. You draw things. You do art.’

‘Well … yes.’ I felt the colour rise in my cheeks. I would admit that forty per cent of the “local art” in Eclectically Yours – Cerys’ Craft Shop and Organic Tea Room was of my creation. I worked part-time with Cerys … well, Cerys would say I worked for her, but I would strongly disagree. She was technically my manager, but if she ever had to discipline me, I’m sure she’d just say that she was very “disappointed” in me and then I’d cry.

So yes, some of the artwork in her shop was mine, but that definitely didn’t mean I wanted to participate in a televised competition.

‘But that doesn’t mean I want to participate in a televised competition,’ I tried.

That panicky feeling that had become too much a part of me when I thought about doing anything more exciting art-wise than painting pretty little village scenes for the craft shop thumped against my ribcage. I used to do quite a bit of wild avant-garde art when I lived properly in London. I had a studio and everything, not too far from my Camden Town flat. The flat had been in my family since Mum was a baby, and it had become my base when I left Goldsmiths – the same place where Mary Quant studied – when I decided to pursue a career that embraced my creative side.

But the draw of London and the sense of my art being anything expressive and meaningful at all had shrivelled and died when Gran passed away. I couldn’t find the headspace to do it any more. As a result, I was in no doubt that my work now seemed slightly contained and small.

A bit like I felt – now that I was safely cocooned in Padcock, where the real world couldn’t touch me. I dabbled with perfunctory art for Cerys’ shop. That was it. That was what I felt capable of.

‘But I don’t want to do that sort of stuff. I can’t do that sort of stuff. I won’t do that sort of stuff—’

‘But they want local artists to take part. It says in the bumf.’ Sally looked at me with a dangerous, flinty glint in her eye. ‘Nobody more local than you. Your gran talked about you and your London exhibitions all the time. And—’ Again, everyone in the shop – including me, despite my reservations – leaned forward, agog ‘—there’s a celebrity judge.’

‘Ooooh.’ There was another chorus of awed agogness. ‘Who is it?’

‘Ninian Chambers,’ Sally finished proudly.

‘Noooooo!’ I howled.

Everyone swivelled those eyeballs towards me again, clearly horrified that I was looking and sounding so disgusted about the lauded and generally beloved artist Ninian Chambers.

But I couldn’t help it. That squawky denial had absolutely come from me.

What they didn’t know was that me and Ninian bloody Chambers had one hell of a history.

From: Edie’s Summer of New Beginnings by Kirsty Ferry

© Kirsty Ferry

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ABOUT THE BOOK

Can Edie rediscover her artistic mojo and become a ‘Watercolour Wonder’?

Edie Brinkley went from rising star on the London art scene to hiding out at her gran’s cottage in the little village of Padcock after a series of unfortunate circumstances leave her almost too panicky to pick up a paintbrush.

When celebrity artist Ninian Chambers rocks up in the village to film Watercolour Wonders, a new TV art competition, Edie is horrified – especially as he played no small part in her decision to leave London.

But, with the support of the Padcock community, and one very special fellow contestant, could Ninian’s show ultimately offer a fresh start for Edie and her art career? Or will Annabel the sixties’ style stealer, along with make-up artist Tallulah and her ‘Caravan of Hell’, sabotage her summer of new beginnings?

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Buying links: 

Kindle: https://amzn.to/3ly2s16

 Kobo: https://bit.ly/3z1bStQ 

Apple Books: https://apple.co/3x75XCB 

Nook: https://bit.ly/37pfQjY


About the Author:



 Kirsty Ferry is from the North East of England and lives there with her husband and son. She won the English Heritage/Belsay Hall National Creative Writing competition and has had articles and short stories published in various magazines. Her work also appears in several anthologies, incorporating such diverse themes as vampires, crime, angels and more. Kirsty loves writing ghostly mysteries and interweaving fact and fiction. The research is almost as much fun as writing the book itself, and if she can add a wonderful setting and a dollop of history, that’s even better. Her day job involves sharing a building with an eclectic collection of ghosts, which can often prove rather interesting. Kirsty writes for both Choc Lit and Ruby Fiction.

Find out more about Kirsty here:

https://twitter.com/kirsty_ferry

 https://www.facebook.com/kirsty.ferry.author


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Saturday, 28 May 2022

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up - 28th May 2022

 


Hello and Happy Saturday!  What will the weather throw at us next I wonder?! Had some nice thunderstorms and rainbows here this week! And the rain has been keeping the slugs and snails happy in the garden...... grrrr! My runner beans and dahlias are their current favourite munchies... not the weeds!!

On to books! And it's been a very slow reading week! I just can't seem to settle down to read anything! So only 2 books got finished this week but there has been bookpost which has added to the mountain, so I need to find my reading mojo ASAP!  I did stay away from Netgalley though....

Here's my look back!

BOOKS FINISHED






BOOKHAUL

From Goldsboro Books as part of their monthly subscription...

BAD FOR GOOD by GRAHAM BARTLETT

How far would you go?

The murder of a promising footballer and, crucially, the son of the Brighton's Chief Superintendent, means Detective Superintendent Jo Howe has a complicated and sensitive case on her hands. The situation becomes yet more desperate following devastating blackmail threats.

Howe can trust no one as she tracks the brutal killer in a city balanced on a knife edge of vigilante action and a police force riven with corruption


As part of my Fahrenheit Book Club Subscription I received this one...

THE JUDGEMENT BOOK by SIMON HALL

The race is on for crime fighting reporter Dan Groves and his detective friend Adam Breen as they are caught in a blackmailer's web of sordid sex secrets which has already forced public figures to take their own lives. "The Judgement Book" is just a pocket diary, but festering with so much sin and scandal. First an MP, then a senior police officer kill themselves after The Book exposes their sordid secrets of sex and corruption. Scores more prominent people wait fearfully to see what will be revealed about the darkness of their own lives. Then Dan and Adam discover they too are in The Book and are forced into a desperate race to find the blackmailer, to stop them exposing the secrets which would destroy their own futures.

And from Filbert Press I received this for review...

HOW TO MAKE A WILDFLOWER MEADOW by JAMES HEWETSON-BROWN

Flowering meadows are appealing to gardeners and valuable for wildlife, but they can be difficult to establish. This book will change all that with its pragmatic yet eco-friendly advice. Gardeners and landscape professionals alike will relish James Hewetson-Brown's common sense approach. There is no need to be an expert on habitat planting or plant ecology—just follow the step-by-step techniques. Using seed, plug plants, bulbs, and roll-out turf, you can establish meadow the same year you plant it. The book includes 30 case studies that describe successful meadow plantings alongside paths, utility areas, and ponds and in mixed borders, orchards, green roofs, sloping banks, and containers. Interviews offer a fascinating insight into the the installation process and the pleasures of living with a wildflower meadow.

And from Renard Press I received these two for my monthly subscription...


KEW GARDENS by VIRGINIA WOOLF
First published in 1921 as part of her ground-breaking short-story collection Monday or TuesdayKew Gardens follows the thoughts of a set of characters walking past a flower bed in the royal botanic garden on a hot July day. Interweaving the thoughts of the characters with depictions of the natural world surrounding them, the narrative flows from mind to mind, from the tranquil flower bed to the bustling city outside. Written in Woolf’s trademark style, brimming with keen observation and rich language, Kew Gardens is both a paean to the natural world and an empathetic exploration of human experience. The light fell either upon the smooth, grey back of a pebble or the shell of a snail with its brown, circular veins, or, falling into a raindrop, it expanded with such intensity of red, blue and yellow the thin walls of water that one expected them to burst and disappear… Then the breeze stirred rather more briskly overhead and the colour was flashed into the air above, into the eyes of the men and women who walk in Kew Gardens in July.

THE RIGHTS OF MAN by H.G.WELLS

In 1940 the Second World War continued to rage, and atrocities wreaked around the globe made international waves. Wells, a socialist and prominent political thinker as well as a first-rate novelist, set down in The Rights of Man a stirring manifesto, designed to instruct the international community on how best to safeguard human rights.

The work gained traction, and was soon under discussion for becoming actual legislation. Although Wells didn’t live to see it enacted, his words laid the groundwork for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which enshrined human rights in law for the first time, and was adopted by the United Nations in 1948, changing the course of history for ever and granting fundamental rights to billions.

This edition has an introduction by Burhan SΓΆnmez, President of PEN International, ‘He Told Us So’.


And also from Renard is this one ahead of a Blog Tour, coming soon!

STILL LIVES by RESHMA RUIA

‘The glow of my cigarette picks out a dark shape lying on the ground. I bend down to take a closer look. It’s a dead sparrow. I wondered if I had become that bird, disoriented and lost.’

Young, handsome and contemptuous of his father’s traditional ways, PK Malik leaves Bombay to start a new life in America. Stopping in Manchester to visit an old friend, he thinks he sees a business opportunity, and decides to stay on. Now fifty-five, PK has fallen out of love with life. His business is struggling and his wife Geeta is lonely, pining for the India she’s left behind.

One day PK crosses the path of Esther, the wife of his business competitor, and they launch into an affair conducted in shabby hotel rooms, with the fear of discovery forever hanging in the air. Still Lives is a tightly woven, haunting work that pulls apart the threads of a family and plays with notions of identity.

Shortlisted for the SI Leeds Literary Prize


CURRENTLY READING

THE WITCH'S TREE by ELENA COLLINS



HAPPY READING!!














Monday, 23 May 2022

#BookReview SOUR GRAPES by DAN RHODES

 


ABOUT THE BOOK

‘Dan Rhodes is a true original’ – Hilary Mantel

When the sleepy English village of Green Bottom hosts its first literary festival, the good, the bad and the ugly of the book world descend upon its leafy lanes. But the villagers are not prepared for the peculiar habits, petty rivalries and unspeakable desires of the authors. And they are certainly not equipped to deal with Wilberforce Selfram, the ghoul-faced, ageing enfant terrible who wreaks havoc wherever he goes.

Sour Grapes is a hilarious satire on the literary world which takes no prisoners as it skewers authors, agents, publishers and reviewers alike.


PUBLISHED BY LIGHTNING BOOKS


PURCHASE LINKS





MY REVIEW

This was the perfect silly, satirical read that I needed! so thank you Dan Rhodes!!! It's a hilarious look at the literary world, and all who inhabit it, set against the backdrop of a literary festival and the author goes to town, with great relish it seems, with making fun at the madness of various characters that can be found from the highs of the publishing world and all those beneath!

It is full of far fetched and hilarious situations that I found to be utterly delightful and often found myself grinning and chuckling away at the madness of it all, but it has that more-ish quality that I love in a story! Just one more page, one more chapter... ooh it's the end! how did that happen!!

It shows up perfectly the silliness of the world we find ourselves living in and it's fun trying to work out the inspiration behind many of the characters. The locals of Green Bottom have no idea what's about to hit them when the festival turns up in town and chaos ensues! A must have for any bookshelf!! Go buy it!!

★★★★★

#BookReview HOPE FOR THE RAILWAY GIRLS by MAISIE THOMAS

 


ABOUT THE BOOK

The brand new Spring Railway Girls novel set in Manchester during WWII. Perfect for fans of Nancy Revell, Daisy Styles and Margaret Dickinson.
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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.

PUBLISHED BY  PENGUIN


PURCHASE LINK


MY REVIEW

Book 5 in the Railway Girls series and it feels just like catching up with long lost friends! Being back amongst this group of wonderful women in the trying times of 1942, allowed you to reconnect with characters from the previous books and see just how their lives were changing. It can easily be read as a standalone if you've not had the pleasure of reading the other 4 books, but I guarantee you'll want to read those if you start with this one!

Alison, Margaret and Joan are the main characters in this installment and there are a number of challenges that they all face. Joan is facing up to working life while pregnant so has a new mindset as she looks forward to the future as a mother. And Alison is all loved up with Dr Maitland, but a new posting sees her meeting up with an ex of his and that sets off new worries - Margaret is also a little concerned about the romance and has that dilemma of wondering whether to get involved and say something or just see how things play out. That friend quandry that we all face in one way or another over time!!

The women all have to face the attitudes of the time that mean that working women are still looked down on and not taken seriously so it's always fascinating to see them overcome these pressures and prove they're just as good as anybody else. I also love that it gives a good impression of sacrifices made as well as the feeling that the women get from working. They feel a great sense of pride in the work that they do and that they're making a valuable contribution to the world they live in and for the future with changing attitudes of those they work alongside.

As the storylines play it, it's always full of drama and the emotions often run high but there's always that hope and general feeling of fulfilment and happiness amongst the women that they're part of a change in society along with dealing with things that happened in their pasts and allowing them to move on.

Another fabulous read from Maisie and I'm already counting down the days until the next installment is released later in the year!!


★★★★★

Saturday, 21 May 2022

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up - 21st May 2022

 


Bonjour!!  Happy Saturday!! It's Rose time in the garden and that makes me happy!  The slugs and snail in the garden do NOT make me happy!!  Aarrgghh!!

On to books - it's been a very good reading week with another 5 finished off the pile.... if only I could have as much enthusiasm for writing reviews at the moment!! I'm going to have a mountain of To Be Reviewed books soon!! scary!  Another 2 have been added to the Netgalley shelves along with some lovely book post too!  Here's my look back!

BOOKS FINISHED












BOOKHAUL

Starting over at Netgalley...

ISAAC AND THE EGG by BOBBY PALMER
publication date - August 2022

Find hope in the unexpected in this unforgettable debut novel about grief and friendship, for readers of Patrick Ness, Sarah Winman and Max Porter.

Isaac stands alone on a bridge and screams into the river below.

And then, an answer. A cry of despair perhaps even greater than his own.

The sound draws Isaac into the woods. What he finds there changes everything.

It's a tale that might seem familiar. A broken man and an unexpected guest, who can't stay forever. But real life isn't a story. It's full of truths, messy and surprising, that Isaac has been hiding from his new, improbable friend...

Powerful, hopeful and utterly extraordinary, this is a truly original tale of love and loss, told with warmth and imaginative humour, from an unforgettable new voice in fiction.

THAT BONESETTER WOMAN by FRANCES QUINN
publicaton date - October 2022

Meet Endurance Proudfoot – England’s strongest woman, boldest adventurer and first female bonesetter.

Endurance Proudfoot only wants one thing in life – to follow her father and grandfather into the family business of bonesetting. It’s a physically demanding job, requiring strength, nerves of steel and discretion – and not the job for a woman.

But Durie isn’t like other women. She’s strong and stubborn and determined to get her own way. And she finds that she has a talent at bonesetting – her big hands and lack of grace have finally found their natural calling


I was very thankful to be sent a copy of the following for review....

THE OTHER SIDE OF NIGHT by ADAM HANDY
publication date - September 2o22

The Other Side of Night begins with a man named David Asha writing about his biggest regret: his sudden separation from his son, Elliot. In his grief, David tells a story.

Next, we step into the life of Harriet Kealty, a police officer trying to clear her name after a lapse of judgment. She discovers a curious inscription in a secondhand book—a plea: Help me, he’s trying to kill me. Who wrote this note? Who is “he”?

This note leads Harri to David Asha, who was last seen stepping off a cliff. Police suspect he couldn’t cope after his wife’s sudden death. Still, why would this man jump and leave behind his young son? Quickly, Harri’s attention zeroes in on a person she knows all too well.

Ben Elmys: once the love of her life. A surrogate father to Elliot Asha and trusted friend to the Ashas.

Ben may also be a murderer.


I was also very lucky to win a competition via Historia Magazine and won these two....


LIONHEART by BEN KANE

REBEL. LEADER. BROTHER. KING.

1179. Henry II is King of England, Wales, Ireland, Normandy, Brittany and Aquitaine. The House of Plantagenet reigns supreme.

But there is unrest in Henry's house. Not for the first time, his family talks of rebellion.

Ferdia - an Irish nobleman taken captive during the conquest of his homeland - saves the life of Richard, the king's son. In reward for his bravery, he is made squire to Richard, who is already a renowned warrior.

Crossing the English Channel, the two are plunged into a campaign to crush rebels in Aquitaine. The bloody battles and gruelling sieges which followed would earn Richard the legendary name of Lionheart.

But Richard's older brother, Henry, is infuriated by his sibling's newfound fame. Soon it becomes clear that the biggest threat to Richard's life may not be rebel or French armies, but his own family...

CRUSADER  by BEN KANE

KING. POLITICIAN. WARRIOR. CONQUEROR.

1189. Richard the Lionheart's long-awaited goal comes true as he is crowned King of England. Setting his own kingdom in order, he prepares to embark on a gruelling crusade to reclaim Jerusalem.

With him on every step of the journey is Ferdia, his loyal Irish follower. Together they travel from southern France to Italy, to the kingdom of Sicily and beyond.

Finally poised to sail to the Holy Land, Richard finds a bitter two-year-long siege awaiting him. And with it, the iconic Saracen leader responsible for the loss of Jerusalem, Saladin.

No one can agree who should fill the empty throne of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and Saladin's huge army shadows Richard's every move. Conditions are brutal, the temperatures boiling, and on the dusty field of Arsuf, the Lionheart and his soldiers face their ultimate test...
 

And the latest book as part of my Peirene Press subscription..

OF SAINTS AND MIRACLES by MANUEL ASTUR

Marcelino lives alone on his parents’ farm, set deep in the beautiful but impoverished countryside of Asturias, northern Spain. It’s the place where he grew up, where he doted on his beloved baby brother, where he protected his mother from his father’s drunken rages. But when Marcelino’s brother tricks him out of his land and home, a moment of uncontrolled anger sparks a chain of events that can’t be reversed. Marcelino flees into the wild peaks, dense woods and abandoned villages that surround his home, becoming a cult hero as he evades the authorities.

Into this unconventional thriller, Astur weaves fables about the sun and the moon, tales of death and love, and reveals a community and a way of life that may soon be lost. Of Saints and Miracles is a sensuous and poetic portrayal of an outcast’s struggle to survive in a changing world, and a seamless blend of the tragic and the majestic.


CURRENTLY READING




HAPPY READING