November Book Round Up

Here  is a quick round-up of the books I have read and reviewed in November and a summary of my thoughts.  The full reviews can be found by clicking on the title links.

The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton

51aw6yxon1l-_sx331_bo1204203200_

The Craftsman is a police drama with a hint of the occult.  I read this book for the blog tour and thoroughly enjoyed it.  It’s unlike anything I’ve read before.  The setting is chilling and story moves quickly.  It keeps you guessing until the end.

Snowflakes at Lavender Bay by  Sarah Bennett

y648

A perfect wintry read.  The third book in the Lavender Bay series but can be read as a stand alone easily.  This one is great for curling up inside your quilt with on a cold, wintery day.  A light reading, romance novel that will give you a warm hug.

The Woods Murder by Roy Lewis

51riofjsytl-_sy445_ql70_

A great read for fans of good old-fashioned ‘Who dun it?’ books.  No frills or complicated back stories – just a great police procedural where everyone is a suspect until the very end.

Love You Gone by Rona Halsall

cover149873-medium

A brilliant, fast paced, split narrative thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last moment.  Lots of twists and turns to keep you guessing.

Man In Red by Tom Story

MIR page 1

A delightful, beautifully illustrated children’s book that is perfect for sharing on Christmas Eve.  A modern twist on a classic Christmas story that will leave children excited with anticipation for the big day.


It’s a Wonderful Night

its-a-wonderful-night-large

This is a beautifully told novel that’s so much more than just a romance story.  It confronts issues such as grief, suicide, depression as well as the more uplifting childhood memories, Christmas and love.  I defy you not to fall in love with this one.

The Liar’s Wife by Samantha Hayes

cover151568-medium

An excellent and thrilling story of Ella who wakes up from coma to be told her husband has been visiting, but Ella doesn’t have a husband. An intense story that becomes more compulsive reading as it goes on with a brilliant twist at the end.

The Diary by Vikki Patis

the diary

A psychological thriller with a bit of a slower pace that allows you to really digest the characters and their actions.  It’s a story of sisterly love, grief, frienship and forgiveness.

 

The Diary by Vikki Patis – Book Review

A huge thank you to NetGalley, Vikki Patis and Bookouture for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

the diary

Synopsis

(Taken from NetGalley)

‘I know all your secrets, Lauren.’

Lauren has spent years running away from her home town, her childhood and the memories of her best friend, Hannah.

Until the tenth anniversary of Hannah’s death forces her to return home and to the group of friends she abandoned there. It should be a quick visit, just so Lauren can pay her respects.

At home, Lauren finds Hannah’s old diary. A diary full of secrets. The terrible things Lauren did, the lies she’s told, the reason she ran away. And she receives a message:

‘I don’t know why you’re back, but I know why you left.’

But no-one else has seen the diary, and Hannah’s dead, isn’t she?

A suspenseful psychological thriller full of twists and turns – you won’t be able to stop turning the pages of The Diary. Perfect for fans of The Sister, The Girl on the Train and We Were Liars.

 

Review

The Diary is unlike other psychological thrillers in several ways.

First, this book has a strong female ensemble leading the way – all the way.

Secondly, it has a much slower pace than your usual thriller but in a gloriously good way.  Most psych thrillers move at a quicker pace, keeping you on the edge of your seat and turning pages at a rapid rate but The Diary really slows it down, allowing you to enjoy and digest each key event.

The timeline is split between then, and now and paints an intricate picture of the relationship between Lauren, Hannah and their friendships past and present.

The Past timeline captures the essence of  teenage angst and it’s told honestly and so realistically that it is close to merging with my own teen memories.  It takes a group of diverse girls and makes them real – with their strengths weaknesses and faults.  It explores friendships between teen girls as well as issues such as bullying, depression and rape.

The present timeline focuses more on the central character of Lauren with the other characters making an appearance as the plot unravels.  From the beginning, it is hinted that there are hidden secrets and these are dangled temptingly in front of the reader and then whipped away and saved for another time.  Clues and reveals are given sparingly and although the twist was predictable, it was still thrilling when it eventually came.

Overall this is a psychological thriller with a different feel to a more traditional one.  It’s an excellent debut novel and I highly recommend it.

 

Even More Bookish Gifts For The Bookworm In Your Life

When I was searching for bookish gifts to include I found so many wonderful ideas that I decided to do a second post if the first one was successful.  You can check out the gifts I included by clicking this link.   As the post was fairly popular and received positive feedback I decided to go ahead and create another.

Anything from Litograph

Price: Various

You really need to visit the website to appreciate how fantastic these products are.  You can purchase pillows, scarves, T-shirts and tote bags which are beautifully made from the text of an entire book, used to create a pictorial representation.

Pride and Prejudice Editions Cuff

pride_and_prejudice_printed_bracelet

Price – £15.00

A unique gift which is available in other book designs is stunning and contains pictures of different covers of the same title.  A must for the reader who loves book covers.

A Book On One Page

original_a-book-on-one-page

Price – £34.95

Brighten up any room with these beautiful posters containing a full book on one page.  Choose form a variety of books and designs to suit.

 

Book Cover Light

PenguinLampMain_720x_9ccdd4a5-1b5a-41d3-a0e6-eb62e78d1f7e

Price: £49.99

I know I included a lamp on the previous post but this one is very different and so cool that it couldn’t be ignored.  Inspired by the covers of Penguin Classics, it’s the perfect bedside light to read by.

 

Romeo And Juliete Brooch

romeo-large-heart

Price: £10.00

Handmade, this beautiful brooch containing text from actual book pages of the most famous love story is a beautiful gift for any Shakespeare fan.  It is water-resistant and each one will be different, depending on the pages used.  Also available in other books.

 

Reading Journals

Prices ranging from £6.95 to £26.99 (from this particular site)

A fabulous gift idea for adults and children alike to keep track of all the books that they have read, and to note their thoughts and feelings about them.  A great reflective tool for children and adults alike.  This one may be a winner especially with book bloggers.

 

Alice in Wonderland Pencil Set

personalised-alice-in-wonderland-pencil-set

Price – £18.00

Completely personalised,  these pencils are made from certified wood from sustainable forests.  Each pencil contains a different quote and the box can personalised to your needs.  Available for other books too.

Shakespeare Watch With Quote

shakespeare-watch_1024x1024

Price – £45.00

A gift for fans of Shakespeare, this watch is splash-proof and has a rotating quote –  “O time, thou must untangle this, it is too hard a knot for me t’untie!”  which moves around the face every minute.  It also comes in a silver presentation tin.

Tote Bags

 

Price – From £10.00

With the fight against plastic beginning to impact, what better way to show support than by using a canvas bag? Available in a variety of designs, these beautifully illustrated bags make a great stocking filler for a book lover.

 

Macbeth Bracelet

SONY DSC

Price – £30.00

Hand crafted and containing text from a vintage copy of Macbeth, this beautiful bracelet comes containing other works of fiction too.

 

I hope that this second gift guide has offered you some inspiration when shopping for the bookworm in your life.  I know any of these gifts would bring a smile to my face.

 

 

10 Bookish Gifts For The Book Worm In Your Life

Musings Of A Tired Mummy

There’s nothing a bookworm loves more as a gift than something bookish.  I have put together a series of gifts guides for the bookworm in your lives by gathering a variety of items from around the internet.  This is not a PR piece and I am not being paid by any of these companies.  It is also worth noting that there are many examples of these items so it’s worth shopping around to find one that suits your needs although I have included the links (Click on the titles) to all the items found on this page.  I have also tried to include items of varying prices to cover larger gifts down to stocking fillers.

All prices were correct at the time of writing this post but be advised that some items were on offer and all prices are subject to change.

Book pendant and necklace

pendant

Price – £29.71 but there is a shipping cost to the UK of £11.71

This sterling silver necklace and charm is a beautiful gift for a book lover.  The chain comes in a variety of lengths and there is a guide on the Etsy page to demonstrate.

I have come across a variety of pendants from specific book covers to generic book ones so it is worth having a look around.

Beautiful copies of classic books

Price – varies

Every book lover loves books with beautiful covers.  It’s like showing a magpie something sparkly.  This site has a range of stunning books including ones with beautiful covers, limited editions and illustrated editions.

A book about yourselves

section-1-1440.4e0a89657fd3d

Prices starting at £30

A fantastic gift for your significant other.  On the website you create avatars that look like you both and then add in a front cover, the pictures and words and hey presto!  A fun book to celebrate your relationship.

Book ends and novelty shelving

Prices range from £10 to £60

After reading, a bookworm favourite past-time is organising said books.  What better way to organise and display your favourite items than with an invisible shelf or a set of beautiful book ends.

Scratch off books poster

Books-1_1024x1024

Price – £12.99

This is the perfect gift for the reader who wants to be a little more adventurous in their choices and step out of their comfort zone.  As you read the book, scratch it off and reveal an image.  The selection is a mixture of classic and modern literature.

Book Subscription 

normal_bespoke-book-club

I’ve added a link to one option but there are lots of different subscription packages about so it’s worth shopping around.  Who wouldn’t love a mystery book dropping through their door once a month?

Personalised or classic cases for e-readers

Price – £18.00 – £30.00

Who doesn’t want to spruce up their e-reader?  These book themed covers are stunning.  There’s a wide variety of books to choose from and an option to create personalised ones.  I owned the To Kill a Mocking Bird cover for my previous Kindle and I just adored it.  It was stunning and I’ve used it for years.

Cuff Links

cufflinks_oscar_wilde_stars_2

Price – £16 (for this particular pair)

I’ve selected these beautiful Oscar Wilde cuff links but the site link has a variety to choose from.  A perfect gift for a book lover.

Lampshade

book-lamp-shade-4_medium

Price – £30 (currently reduced from £38)

Cosy up with your favourite book next to this beautiful lamp.  It’s a pale grey background and the vintage text is black and gold.

Personal bookmark

original_personalised-initial-italian-leather-bookmark

Price – £11

I was lucky enough to receive one of these for my birthday last year and it’s absolutely lovely.  It is made from Italian leather and smells divine. Mine has my name on but you can personalise with initials or phrases from a book.  They also come in a variety of colours.

I found so many awesome items that I decided to create a second part.  Check it out here.

The Liars Wife by Samantha Hayes Book Review

Thank you to #netgalley and #Bookouture for an ARC copy of The Liar’s wife in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

cover151568-medium

Synopsis

Ella Sinclair lives a reclusive and predictable life; wake, work, sleep.  She keeps herself to herself and tries hard to keep her head down and her life people free.

That is until the day that Ella wakes in hospital after an accident to be told that her husband, Jacob, has been visiting.  Confusing to Ella because she’s never been married!

After a lengthy stay in hospital, Jacob takes Ella home to begin their new life together, leaving Ella with limited choices.  Escape is not an option because he knows something from her past that would devastate her whole world.

 

Review

This book had me hooked from the beginning.  To begin with, there are the many clues about Ella’s past and why she has become so  aloof and alone.  Then there’s the unexpected appearance of a ‘husband’ that we know does not exist, a person from Ella’s past who has something over her, enough to make her play along with his cruel and wicked game of happy families.

The character of Jacob was written in such a way that my skin crawled every time he was there.  Occasionally I would become frustrated with Ella, willing her to shout out or tell some one what was happening.

I spent the reading time sitting with a huge pit of fear in my stomach, always wondering what was going to happen next.  each chapter unravelled a new element to the story.  The flashback chapters provided glimpses into Ella’s life before and the people in it.  The present scenes became more and more intense as the book went on with each appearance of Jacob becoming more sinister and monstrous as the previous one.

Each chapter build tension until it ends a twisted crescendo of fear and panic.

I absolutely loved this book and highly recommend it to any thriller/suspense lovers.

 

 

Adopting a Whole Extended Family

hands

Our recently adopted daughter is one of four children.  For a variety of reasons she and her siblings cannot live together but they have all been adopted by wonderful families.  Even before our daughter came home to live with us her social worker sent out an email with contact details for everyone.  A WhatsApp group was swiftly created and from there new relationships were formed.

We had to travel a long way for out introductions and the experience was amazing, overwhelming and exhausting all at the same time.  It was made more fabulous because we got the chance to meet two sets of the other parents.  C and P, the fathers of the eldest child were in the town for their panel interview so we met up for a meal and had a lovely evening chatting and getting to know each other.  It could have been a disaster or really awkward but it just felt so comfortable.  Later in the week we met D and D who live fairly locally with the youngest of the siblings.  Again, what could have a been a rather strange experience turned into another successful, new friendship.  It just felt like we already knew each other.  Additionally, we have been in contact with Miss D (So many D’s) over WhatsApp too.

And so began a journey of new friendships although I think despite not knowing everything about each other – it’s beyond a friendship – it’s extended family.  Some of us are more talkative than others (I’m an overly social person) and the group has been a life line for when things have been tough, or to communicate and send video messages between siblings for birthdays etc.  Not to mention a plethora of parenting, warrior or congratualtions memes.  We all have days and weeks where we feel down and progress seems to be going backwards but it’s just amazing knowing that someone else is/has been through the same thing.  We have sent rants, congratulations, parent boasts, laughs and tears to each other over the months and all are always received in a non-judgmental, safe and encouraging manner.

Last weekend we had our first sibling contact.  All families saw changes in behaviour due to anxiety and pure excitement.  Even the adults were feeling a little unsure of how their child would behave, what would happen when they got together? How much regression would we see? etc.  We made a very wise decision to meet somewhere big so we could have space if needed.  We chose to end after lunch so that it was kept short but sweet and decisions were made to do quick and causal goodbye.  I know all the children were unsettled afterwards but I also know that because we had communicated well, because we had prepped the children well in advance and because the adults were able to present as united and familiar front, the first contact was a huge success.  The children were so happy to see each other, they played well and when it was time, they parted on a positive note too which is the time we had all expected to be difficult.

The day really didn’t feel like we’d met up with friends – we really are now an extended family with each individual unit striving to give their child the best, happiest and most stable life they can.  All the unit chiefs are totally committed to repairing a once very broken and toxic sibling relationships and building up new, positive ones moving forward.

Reflecting about the weekend I would say the saddest part for me is that fact that they can’t be together and had to leave each other, but it gives me hope and peace of mind that each child is so loved, safe and cared for in their new homes and that each adult will endeavour to keep up not just the sibling relationships but also the whole new extended family ones that we’ve found ourselves in.

I’m not sure if a bond like this is the norm or unusual, but it’s amazing and it couldn’t be better.

 

It’s a Wonderful Night by Jaimie Admans Book Review

Thanks to HQ publishing and Netgalley for a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

its-a-wonderful-night-large

Synopsis

Georgia (George) Bailey, named after the character from It’s a Wonderful Life, manages the local charity shop – One Light.  Whilst working late one night, she receives an accidental phone call from a familiar sounding voice which was meant for their suicide help line, not the shop.  Despite the possible repercussions, he cannot bring herself to hang up or redirect the caller until she knows they are safe.

The next day she goes about her daily business and comes to the realisation  that the voice belonged to the man she is in love with, !

Weaving a web of little white lies to avoid being found out, George secretly sets about restoring Leo’s hope and happiness and business in the hope of giving him a truly ‘Wonderful Life‘.

Review

I absolutely love thrillers and romance novels.  Thrillers are compulsive page turners that leave you hanging on the edge of your seat for more, desperate to finish so you can get the closure.

Romance novels are different!   I love to get lost inside them and never want to leave and that is exactly what happened when I read this book.

I was transported to a declining high street (not too dissimilar to where I live) and became so wrapped up in the goings-on in the book that I just melted into it.  As just a romance novel this book has everything you could ask for; lovable main characters, a comedic and supportive ensemble and a wonderful Christmas backdrop.  Not to mention the sad/happy ending all good romances need.

But this is so much more than a romance novel.  It’s a story of community coming together, saving the high street and bringing back childhood memories.  It delves into issues such as suicide, depression, grief and the true power of friendship.

This book is a beautifully told, Christmassy romance and I dare you not to get lost in it as I did.