Little Teashop of Horrors -Jane Lovering

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Synopsis

Secrets, lies, carrot cake – and an owl called Skrillex!

Amy Knowles has always been the plain sidekick to her pretty best friend Jules. And whilst the tearoom they both work in on the Monkpark Hall estate in Yorkshire is not exactly awash with eligible bachelors, it’s obvious where the male attention is concentrated – and it’s not just on the cakes!

There is one man who notices Amy. Joshua Wilson also works at Monkpark, where he flies his birds of prey for visitor entertainment. He lives a lonely existence but he has reasons for choosing isolation – and, in Amy, he may have found somebody who understands.

Then a management change brings slick and well-spoken Edmund Evershott to Monkpark. He’s interested in Amy too, but for what reason? Josh suspects the new manager is up to no good – but will Amy? Because Edmund could leave her with much worse than a broken heart …-Choc Lit

My review

I’m not quite sure what I was expecting from this book. Going from the title part of me thought along the lines of the little shop of horrors and expected plants coming out singing. I have no idea why.

Instead we have two people, Amy who works in the teashop and Josh who works with the birds of prey, both have low self-esteem working at Monkpark Hall estate who in the end work together to find out what mysterious goings on are going on in the hall. The book is alternative chapters of each character’s viewpoint, allowing us to get to know the main characters and their insecurities and perhaps thinking about our own.  All the characters are well written however I think the stars of the book have to be Amy’s Gran who kept Amy on her toes and was obsessed with spoons and gives you a glimpse of old age. Then there’s Josh’s birds, such characters and I think they also helped bring Josh and Amy closer together.

The book provides a bit of everything, humour, love, it’s well worth a read, and what I would be interested in is a visit to the teashop to try the cakes.

Thank you for reading

xxx

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Eve of Man Trilogy, Book 1 by Tom Fletcher; Giovanna Fletcher

Description

My Review
Thanks to Netgalley for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I really don’t know what to make of this book. We meet Eve who is the main character of this book and how the world depends on her producing more girls to save the world. We meet Bram who is the one who becomes to save her and throughout the book its through both perspectives.
I liked the concept of the book, it tells how there has been no females born for 50 years and then there comes Eve. She is taken away and hidden in the dome where when her only friends are holograms run by what are called pilots (or boys) in comes Bram disguised as Holly and they make a connection. Eve doesn’t know anything about the outside world as she’s lead to belive the Dome and its surroundings are real.
It was a slow burner for me. The descriptions of the environment were amazing. I loved the descriptions of the characters and their relationships especially Bram and his Dad. But for me it just went on too long and then it stopped dead. It is part of a trilogy, but I felt it could have tied it up a bit for me, but if you like dystopian novels it is worth a read.
Thank you for reading
xxx

Running For My Life by Rachel Ann Cullen

37834026Description

Throughout her life, Rachel Cullen followed a simple yet effective route straight to mental health misery. Suffering from bipolar disorder, and hungry for approval at any price, she settled for flunked relationships, an ill-fitting career, and poor health to match. Whilst mindlessly seeking a utopian vision of ‘normality’ that she was mis-sold and so desperate to achieve, the solution seemed increasingly illusive.

Stuck in this endless cycle of disappointment with her life, and not knowing how to handle the strain of her mental illness, she put on a pair of old trainers. She’d never been able to think of herself as a ‘runner’, and the first time she forced herself out the door, she knew it would hurt. Everywhere. She just didn’t realise how much it would heal her, too.

Interspersed with Rachel’s real diary entries, from tortuous teen years to eventually running the London Marathon, Running for my Life will make you laugh, cry, and question whether you really can outrun your demons.

My review

I absolutely loved this book. I don’t know how I found out about it but I felt the need to read it. I’m currently struggling with depression due to a health issue and at the moment I can’t run. I’ve been told I can do light jogging but the thought of that scares me so I’ve just upped my pace and distance while walking.

What I loved about this book was that it was interweaved with diary entries and then she reflects on what happened and how she came to that point in her life. Rachel writes about drive and determination throughout the book. Like me she was different to her sister, one thing I always struggled with but I love my sister to pieces. Rachel talks about her journey from a young age with issues with her mental health, how she followed other people’s dreams, battled with weight and depression and how she continues to manage it.

What I found when I talk about running is people think it’s too much effort yet running is more about the journey then the actual doing of it, most times it’s all in the wording not realising people walk some of the times to give their body a break and like Rachel says some days you just don’t want to do it and they can be the better runs. Rachel’s inspiration came from someone who had run the London Marathon and mine came from a friend who decided to do the coach to 5k and invited me along and then I found parkrun.  For many now there is parkrun and a variety of running clubs, so much opportunity for people to get fit regardless of their age and abilities.

Rachel proved that if you set goals and work at them they can be achievable. In a recent memory on my Facebook in 2016 I had put about hoping to do the Great North Run the following year. I did it even though I walk/ran it and if you read this book you will see everyone does it, but most importantly the message is no matter how you did it you did. And that’s a a massive achievement.

I recommend you buy this book and set yourself some goals. It has a lot of lessons in there which I loved, One quote which stood out not regarding running but still stood out was ‘This is what other people are doing! This is what real life consists of. Phew! Maybe I can be normal after all.’  and what is normal? Why do we feel we need to fit in? which like Rachel says earlier we don’t have to understand each others need for things that don’t suit us, like running or playing computer games, we just need to do what works for us.She found her self-esteem through running, challenging herself and achieving all types of things no matter how big or small. Something I’ll definitely be taking from this book.

As for goals for myself, I’m already thinking about races next year if I get the all clear, but I’ll be starting from scratch and looking for a running club with a coach to 5k programme and see how far I get.

And I finish with the message Rachel took from Clive Gott who was a marathon runner, that I think we can all relate to about how we achieve our goals –

‘It’s about mental limits we impose on ourselves –and to win – break through the mental limits you’ve imposed on yourself ‘

I definitely recommend everyone read this even if you never run or race it’s such an inspirational read.

Summer at the Art Cafe -Sue McDonagh @ChocLituk

SATAC-Web-275x370.jpgDescription:    From watercolours and cupcakes to leather jackets and freedom …

If you won a gorgeous purple motorbike, and your domineering husband said you were too fat for leathers and should sell it, would you do as you were told – or learn to ride it in secret?

Artist and café owner Lucy Daumier intends to do just that – but learning to ride is far from easy, especially under the critical eye of prickly motorcycle instructor, Ash Connor.

But gradually Lucy gets the hang of it, and in the process re-discovers the girl she used to be. So starts an exciting summer of new friendships and fun – as well as a realisation that there is more to Ash than meets the eye when she is introduced to his seven-year-old daughter, Daisy.

But can Lucy’s new-found happiness last when a spiteful family member wants to see her fail?

Source: Choc Lit here

My Review

Recently I’ve got back into reading books about true love and how the characters journeys finally bring them together after a series of different events.  Once again I find myself reading another amazing story.

Here we meet Lucy, an artist and cafe owner whose relationship with her husband Gerry isn’t a bed of roses , constantly belittling her over the slightest thing, it’s made worse when she wins a motorbike. His reaction is to laugh at her saying she’s too fat, and won’t be able to ride it, insisting she must sell it. However Lucy has had enough and  decides to prove him wrong and starts taking lessons in secret. Enter Ash, a policeman who does bike training on his rest days and so starts the beginning of self discovery, new friendships and most of all a purple bike called Cadbury!

I absolutely loved this book. I fell completely in love with the characters, apart from Gerry, and you’ll see why when you read it. I especially fell in love with Ash, I loved the description of him and it just made me swoon over him, and as for Lucy, you just can’t help but cheer her on as you discover throughout her journey to prove Gerry wrong, as she finds strength and  determination, even with a few disappointments along the way, that anything is possible, not just in life goals but in love too.

This book kept me glued for days, I absolutely loved the writing but what I loved most  was the  characters, from Ash and Lucy to Richard in the cafe, the lady bikers, even the people at the test centre, it almost felt like you were part of a big family, and proves how related or not they all came together when needed most.

One thing that will stick, after reading this story, is what Ash said while Lucy and the group were learning to ride, and has often been said to me was  ‘Don’t dwell on past mistakes. remember you can all do this. Concentrate on the job in hand.’ Sometimes when things aren’t going well we forget this. So the lesson from this is, whether its riding a bike, relationships, or work related this book goes to show anything is possible, you just have to believe in yourself, even if sometimes the ride maybe a little bumpy.

 

 

 

Father of the Modern Circus ‘Billy Buttons’ The Life & Times of Philip Astley by Steve Ward #FatherOfTheModernCircus’billyButtons’ #NetGalley

Thank you to NetGalley for the free article

cover133837-mediumDescription: The world of the circus has a long and colourful history but it was with a man named Philip Astley that the ‘modern’ circus was founded. It was 250 years ago, in April 1768, that Astley pegged out a circular ride on the banks of the river Thames and gave performances of trick riding to a paying audience. Trick riding was nothing new, so what made Astley so popular? He was an accomplished horseman, a military hero and an instinctive showman. Above all, he was an entrepreneur who realised that people would pay good money to be entertained – and to be entertained well. He created the comic character of Billy Buttons, and other acts were added to his performances: clowns, rope dancers, tumblers and strongmen. The circus, as we might recognise it today, was born. -NetGalley

The circus is a very British institution. It seems to permeate our cultural psyche.

Father of the Modern Circus – ‘Billy Buttons’ investigates the life and times of this veritable giant of the circus world. Standing well over 6 feet tall, with a stentorian voice and character to match, it was difficult to ignore him wherever he went. From his early days as an apprentice cabinetmaker and his military exploits in the 15th Dragoons to the trials and tribulations of establishing himself as a respected performer and his international successes in France and Ireland, this book gives a detailed account of the larger than life figure that was Philip Astley.

My review

The circus is a magical place – a place where the impossible becomes possible; a place of dreams and imagination – and it has entertained us for 250 years.

For years people have been fascinated with the circus. It’s a place to escape to, to watch some marvellous feats that just leave you wondering how on earth it can be done.  This book is packed full of history and facts not only about how Philip Astley and how he became the father of the modern circus, but also how the events of the world shaped him into what he was to become. It tells he’s story of going from rags to riches, how he started as an apprentice cabinet-maker to becoming a war hero to the master of daring escapes.  The book also tells how he constantly overcame battles to provide people with entertainment. Growing his business across the country, to having to restart again when fire destroyed his venues, to making something even bigger and better. Philip Astley was not afraid to challenge anything or to try something different, especially when it came to his designs of his amphitheatres and even to the styles of entertainment. The man was basically a genius and a good business man. He even had connections with the royals which was known through his use of advertisements for his shows. Basically he proves nothing is to difficult to overcome. So if you love the circus and would love to find out more about it and it’s roots, this is definitely a book for you.

Thank you for reading

 

 

 

The Girl in the Painting (The Rossetti Mysteries #2) by Kirsty Ferry

Descrition: What if you thought you knew a secret that could change history?

Whilst standing engrossed in her favourite Pre-Raphaelite painting – Millais’s Ophelia – Cori catches the eye of Tate gallery worker, Simon, who is immediately struck by her resemblance to the red-haired beauty in the famous artwork.

The attraction is mutual, but Cori has other things on her mind. She has recently acquired the diary of Daisy, a Victorian woman with a shocking secret. As Cori reads, it soon becomes apparent that Daisy will stop at nothing to be heard, even outside of the pages of her diary …

Will Simon stick around when life becomes increasingly spooky for Cori, as she moves ever closer to uncovering the truth about Daisy’s connection to the girl in her favourite painting? -Goodreads

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.

Foolow Kirsty on Twitter at @kirsty_ferry

My Review

Wow, what an amazing story.  I love the fact it is set in the Tate Briton, which I used to visit with college when I was studying art. I remember we used to have to sit on the floor and sketch some of the paintings. Not something a teenager fancied doing but we all did.

The story is built around the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and a famous painting of  Millais Ophelia, a Shakespeare character painted by Sir John Everett Millais, Bt. It begins with Cori who has moved to London to begin a new life. One day she visits the Tate and becomes in engrossed in the painting. Simon an artist working there spots her and is immediately taken aback by her resemblance to the girl in the painting. Both are trying to get over break-ups but it’s Cori’s friend Lizzy who tries to match make.

This leads to the discovery of Daisy’s diary after a trip to Whitby and Cori becomes obsessed with it. Through reading the diary she meets the ghost of Daisy who takes her on a journey to show her the truth of her story and the connection to the girl in the painting.

This book is brilliantly written, it sucks you in, not just with the writing style but with the descriptions, not only of the characters but of the landscapes and buildings to, I actually thought at one point I was in Cori’s house and hoped I could have a place like that one day, or being stood in front of the painting in the Tate Briton oblivious to what is going on around you. What’s more, is that this story has everything, it has ghost stories, it’s a timeslip piece, it has a mystery to solve, it also reminded me that paintings aren’t just paint and canvas but have a story of their own to tell. But what I loved most of all, it shows love conquers all and how if two people are meant to be together they will find a way, or something will help them, like perhaps a ghost.

And one last thing, wouldn’t it be amazing to find love in an art Gallery? Perhaps I should go to more exhibitions and hope Mr Right will turn up.

Thank you for reading

xxx

 

 

 

I Am a Tyrannosaurus by Tatsuya Miyanishi

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My Review
Thanks to NetGalley for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
A beautifully illustrated book about a baby Pterosaur who is left by his parents to start a new life. After being taught  kindness, strength and bravery from them he soon finds he needs to use when along comes a Tyrannosaurus who tries to eat him but in his attempt fails and becomes injured. Scared and unsure what to do he remembers what he was taught and sets out to help the Tyrannosaurus back to health.
Although a lovely book it has a sad ending. For me it would have been nice for the pair to become friends but I suppose sometimes in life that doesn’t always happen either.

The Joy of Reading Together by Holly Niner

The joy of reading reblogged

Nerdy Book Club

The swing hung from the branch of a willow tree split in two by lightening. It was my quiet place. Under its shade I observed the world, contemplated life and read more books than I can count. The books came from a wonderful city library with circular stair cases and a heady book-smell, a school library with a librarian that knew her students, and as gifts from my parents. In those days of five TV channels and no air conditioning, being outside with a book was the best way to spend a summer day.

That still-remembered school librarian, Miss Moruski, suggested a friend and I pick our books together so we could trade mid-week or we would run out of books to read. She told my mother she didn’t know what to do because she thought I’d read all the books in the library. There are books in every room…

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Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know: The Autobiography by Ranulph Fiennes

2060190Description: Ranulph Fiennes has traveled to the most dangerous and inaccessible places on earth. In the process he nearly died on several occasions, lost nearly half his fingers to frostbite, and raised millions for charity. He discovered the lost city of Ubar in Oman and attempted to walk solo and unsupported to the South Pole. He was the first man to reach both poles by surface travel and the first to cross the Antarctic Continent unsupported. In 1993, Her Majesty the Queen awarded him the Order of the British Empire for “human endeavor and charitable services.” An elite soldier, an athlete, a mountaineer, and a renowned explorer, Fiennes describes here in his own words his incredible journey through life.

My review

In recent months I’ve been doubting myself and thinking I won’t be able to do things as I once did. I was talking to a friend about doing the Great North Run in my 40th year (two years time) and saying even if I walk/run it and it takes 3 hours I want to do it. She replied along the lines of  ‘why do that why not run it all, you don’t know your level of fitness in two years time and you don’t know what you can achieve’ She then told me I needed to look up Ranulph Fiennes and read his book, as he had several health problems and climbed Everest after a heart attack. So that’s what I did. I reserved the book from the library and here’s my review.

I have to admit I struggled for a while with the subject as it was very detailed about his expeditions and used a lot of jargon I didn’t understand,  but it was fascinating stuff in how he achieved reaching his destination.  interweaved with his personal life and the two strong ladies who stood by him through all his adventures, it was when it came to the marathons, this was the bit that gripped me with the fact that he was trying to run a race everyday and after only just recovering from his heart attack and then undergoing a double heart bypass. It showed he has a lot of mental willpower and determination to achieve some amazing feats.

And at the end of the book in the appendix is the following, a little food for thought:

‘I believe we are each very much congenital victims of beneficiaries. of course there are twists of fate whereby occasional twist, but in the main we run life’s course the way we do because of our hereditary make-up. We are each the sum total of a chain of ghostly sires, generation of evolving characters, of actions good or evil, the vibrations which pass silently on , foetus to foetus, until there is you and there is me’

To sum up, the book is about determination and willpower when the odds are completely against you, that if you want to do something you will and can find a way. Perhaps at the moment to me everything seems out of reach, perhaps I need to set some goals and try harder to work out how to get there.

Thank you for reading

 

 

 

The Crystal Cave (Arthurian Saga #1) by Mary Stewart

This is what happened. I saw it, and it is a true tale.

So begins the story of Merlin, born the illegitimate son of a Welsh princess in fifth century Britain, a world ravaged by war. Small and neglected, with his mother unwilling to reveal his father’s identity, Merlin must disguise his intelligence – and hide his occasional ability to know things before they happen – in order to keep himself safe.

One beautiful afternoon, while exploring the countryside near his home, Merlin stumbles across a cave filled with books and papers and hiding a room lined with crystals. It is the home of Galapas, who becomes Merlin’s tutor and friend, and who teaches Merlin to understand the world around him… and to harness the power of the crystal cave to see the future.

Merlin will rise to power and enter history – and legend – as advisor to King Arthur. But all stories must begin somewhere. And this is his.

The Crystal Cave is the first of Mary Stewart’s brilliant Arthurian Saga, telling the story of King Arthur from the perspective of the extraordinary, mysterious Merlin. -Amazon.co.uk

About the Author

Lady Mary Stewart, born Mary Florence Elinor Rainbow, was a popular English novelist, and taught at the school of John Norquay elementary for 30 to 35 years.

She was one of the most widely read fiction writers of our time. The author of twenty novels, a volume of poetry, and three books for young readers, she was admired for both her contemporary stories of romantic suspense and her historical novels. Born in England, she lived for many years in Scotland, spending time between Edinburgh and the West Highlands.Goodreads

My Review

For as long as I can remember I have loved the stories of King Arthur and more so the mystery of Merlin. There has been tv adaptions telling Merlin stories, but the majority of these focus on King Arthur. I came across this book because it was a question on The Chase. I have never heard of this author so straight away looked her up, and borrowed a copy from the library and I am so glad I did.

I absolutely loved this book, the writing style is beautiful, the description of the places and the characters just pulls you into the book and you become so absorbed you would think you were part of the story. Magic isn’t the focus of this story, as we all know the powers of Merlin, but actually how he came to gain these powers through the help of a wise old man called Galapas, with a little help of a crystal cave and the journey which lead him to King Arthur. Like I said I had never heard of Mary Stewart and I think she is to become one of my favourite storytellers. It actually makes me want to take a holiday to Wales and Cornwall and take the book and go to the places where Merlin lived and visited.

So if like me you love a bit of magic, a bit of myth and legend I highly recommend this book. I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of the series.

Thank you for reading