Friday, 22 June 2018

50/50 Friday - Favourite/Least Favourite Title

50/50 Friday is hosted at The Butterfly Reader and at Blue Eye Books.

"What is 50/50 Friday?
Everyone has a favourite and then we also have something we dislike. Like a coin, there are two sides to every question. Example: best sequel you've read/worst sequel you've read. So that's what 50/50 Friday is all about. We will have a new topic every Friday (something bookish of course!). If you have have ideas for this meme don't be scared to let us know!"

This week's topic:
Favourite/Least Favourite Title

One of my WorldReads from Scotland and a 5/5 star novel, The Luminous Life Of Lilly Aphrodite by Beatrice Colin is just such an amazing book title as well as being an exciting and engrossing read. (You can Read my Review Here.) I think it's my favourite title of the books I have read.

"Gripping and darkly seductive, The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite showcases all the glitter and splendour of the brief heyday of the Weimar Republic, and the rise of Hollywood to its golden age. As it foreshadows the horrors of the Second World War, the novel asks what price is paid when identity becomes unfixed and the social order is upended."

Pigeon Street by Mark Fieldsend has the dubious honour of being my least favourite book title. It's through no fault of the title itself, rather that this was also a 1980s children's TV programme that I used to watch. The novel is deliciously dark, the TV programme was (obviously) very different, but I can't see the one title without thinking of the other! (You can Read my Review Here.)

"Suffering at the hands of a violent intruder, Joseph is forced to confront the unimaginable. His will to survive is tested in the starkest of circumstances, and he learns that every action has consequences, some of which he may not be able to stomach."

You can see everyone else's 50/50 Friday posts at The Butterfly Reader and at Blue Eye Books, and find out what next week's prompt will be.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Books From The Backlog - The Odyssey by Homer

Books from the Backlog is a weekly post hosted at Carole's Random Life In Books. Carole says it's "a fun way to feature some of those neglected books sitting on your bookshelf unread. If you are anything like me, you might be surprised by some of the unread books hiding in your stacks." Find out more and link up your own posts on Carole's Random Life In Books.

The Odyssey by Homer

A classic for the ages, The Odyssey recounts Odysseus’ journey home after the Trojan War—and the obstacles he faces along the way to reclaim his throne, kingdom, and family in Ithaca.

During his absence, his steadfast and clever wife, Penelope, and now teenaged son, Telemachus, have lived under the constant threat of ruthless suitors, all desperate to court Penelope and claim the throne. As the suitors plot Telemachus’ murder, the gods debate Odysseus’ fate.  With help from the goddess Athena, the scattered family bides their time as Odysseus battles his way through storm and shipwreck, the cave of the Cyclops, the isle of witch-goddess Circe, the deadly Sirens’ song, a trek through the Underworld, and the omnipresent wrath of the scorned god Poseidon.

The Book Depository : from £2.50 (PB)
Wordery : from £3.98 (PB)
Waterstones : from £2.50 (PB)
Amazon : from $Free / £Free (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

I picked up my The Odyssey paperback at a charity shop (I think) at least two years ago because I thought it would be perfect to include in my WorldReads challenge. It's a nice edition of the epic poem - all actually in poetry, albeit English (the Richard Lattimore translation) - and just has the feel of a book that I really really should read. Unfortunately it's rather long and employs quite small font so, I admit, I am intimidated!

Since the purchase, I have completed my WorldReads from Greece post with other (shorter) books so that imperative is no longer valid. I do now have my Classics Club Challenge though (to read 50+ classic books within the next five years) and there aren't many tales more classic than The Odyssey. Plus this would sit nicely against my recent read of Margaret Atwood's The Penelopiad. I'd best take a deep breath and get on with it!

Have you read The Odyssey?
Is this a Get To It Now or a Let It Lie?

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Artisan Rainbow - Lampshades

I love promoting beautiful handmade and artisan-made finds! This weekly Artisan Rainbow post showcases a rainbow of themed items every Wednesday. I curate the finds from websites including Etsy, RedBubble and Amazon Handmade, and almost all the links are affiliate links so I would receive a small commission should you choose to click through and make a purchase.

Six colours and a rainbow, one theme.
Click the images or titles to visit their relevant shop websites and buy.

Made in Rhode Island, USA

Made in London, UK

Made in Stockport, UK
Cactus Lampshade by Little Red Robin Co

Made in Kinver, UK
Porto Plates Lampshade by Made By Ilze Design

Made in Bristol, UK
Katarina Roccella Lampshade by Shadowbright Lamps

Made in Manchester, UK
Sugar Skull Rainbow Lampshade by Spooky Shades

Made in Lyon, France

Most Artisan Rainbow links are affiliate links. I receive a small commission at no extra cost to yourself when you click through and buy.

Last week : Earrings
Next week : Aprons

Sunday, 17 June 2018

My Week in Review to the 17th June

Unicorn by Yona Friedman 
We took our Raclet trailer tent away camping a couple of times over the past week-and-a-bit so my blogging schedule, especially these Week in Review posts, is now hopelessly out of date! I'm going to talk about our La Boissonnie and Rochechouart weekend today even though it was at the beginning of June! We pitched up for a couple of nights with our friend Chris Killey at his amazing offgrid place. We chose particularly to visit at this time because the first Sunday of the month is a free entry day at the Rochechouart Chateau art gallery. Many museums and galleries across France open for free on each First Sunday so, if you're in the country then, it's worth looking to see what's local to you.

My phone wasn't really up to the job of art photography so hopefully you can make out what is going on in these images! Rochechouart had filled one of its galleries with a series of nine Unicorns by Hungarian artist Yona Friedman. Chris and Dave were decidedly underwhelmed and zoomed through the room, but I liked her whimsical style and humour. Each unicorn was drawn human-sized directly onto the walls (I think). Completely different was a detailed work depicting abstract heads by Glaswegian artist Scottie Wilson. This was drawn in 1950 but I didn't think its style looked nearly 70 years old! I loved how the details created a texture that, at first glance, made the picture seem embroidered rather than drawn.

Composition of Five Figures by Scottie Wilson 
I also managed to rack up another Richard Long installation for my 'collection'.

And here's the impressive chateau itself

In Book World, I was delighted to win an Amazon gift card from Daniela at Nocturnal Devices - thank you so much Daniela! I thought a Latina novel would be an appropriate purchase so have treated myself to Death Going Down, a classic crime novel by Argentine author Maria Angelica Bosco.

Congrats to Women's Fiction prize winner Kamila Shamsie! I'm so glad this book was recognised as I was disappointed it didn't win the Booker. You can read my Home Fire review Here.

Author Charlie Laidlaw got in touch a couple of days ago to let me know that his literary sci-fi novel The Things We Learn When We're Dead is Free on Kindle until the 27th June. I enjoyed this story and you can Read My Review Here or go straight to Amazon to Download Your Copy Here.

Around my blogs this week I've made a change so there's now only two blogs to navigate instead of three! Artisan Rainbow is now a weekly themed post here (on Wednesdays) instead of being its own daily-posting blog. This week's seven handmade finds were all Earrings and, when you pop back in three days, there will be seven Lampshades to admire!

All posts on Stephanie Jane this week were:
ReadingWomen - June 2018
Artisan Rainbow - Earrings
Stephanie Jane's Giveaway Linkup

And on Literary Flits we had:
Small Country by Gael Faye
Poppy by Kat Flannery + Giveaway
Guest Review: Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata, reviewed by Kate Vane
Status Anxiety by Alain De Botton
Nowhere To Be Found by Bae Suah
Doom Gloom And The Pursuit Of The Sun by Antoine F Gnintedem + Giveaway
The Hanging Women by John Mead

A couple of promotions to shout about:

It's the National Picnic Association's National Picnic Week from the 15th to the 25th June (maths isn't their strong point!) and, to celebrate, OLPRO are offering 20% off Melamine Picnic Sets and Windbreakers with the discount code PICNIC20. You'll just need to whip up your own sandwiches and scones!

and Waterstones are celebrating Pride Month in a big way with selected discounts on relevant titles. Click the banner below to find out more:

Have a great week!

Friday, 15 June 2018

Stephanie Jane's Giveaway Linkup

It's time to refresh the monthly Stephanie Jane's Giveaway Linkup!

Add your own blog giveaways and enter everyone else's! The Linkup is 'never-ending' so adding once keeps your Giveaway visible until its closing date and I'll clear out extinct ones each month.

Please start each link with the End Date in British Format (DD/MM).
GC = Gift Card / HB = Hardback Book / INT = International /
PB = Paperback Book / WW = Worldwide

And here's all the Giveaways ... Good luck!

I'd love for you to grab the Linkup Button. Paste the code into your Giveaway page somewhere for everyone to see. The more people we can each bring to these pages, the more will see all our giveaways!

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Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Artisan Rainbow - Earrings

I promoted beautiful British handmade and artisan-made finds for nearly a year on my daily Artisan Rainbow blog alongside a monthly Top Etsy Finds post here. There was some duplication so as part of my blogging streamlining I've decided to combine the two into a weekly Artisan Rainbow post here instead.

Six colours and a rainbow, one theme.
Click the images or titles to visit their relevant shop websites and buy.

£5 plus shipping
Made in Cumbernauld

£10 plus shipping
Made in Leeds

£35.50 plus shipping
Made in Dorchester
Silver Disc Earrings by Maisy Plum

£26 plus shipping
Made in Ticehurst
Crystal Earrings by Twiggy Peasticks

£7.50 plus shipping
Made in Huddersfield
Steampunk Teardrop Earrings by One Dottie Duck

£15 plus shipping
Made in Exeter
Diamond Chainmaille Earrings by Destai Design

£25 plus shipping
Made in Brighton

Most Artisan Rainbow links are affiliate links. I receive a small commission at no extra cost to yourself when you click through and buy.

Last week : Greetings Cards
Next week : Lampshades

Sunday, 10 June 2018

ReadingWomen - June 2018

This is my third ReadingWomen post. You can find out what inspired the series by Visiting This Link. The idea is to promote books authored by women and I have got another superb quintet here to hopefully whet your literary appetites!

Feel welcome to Comment your own book suggestions, especially links to your own reviews for the Around The Blogosphere choice. I love to see what everybody else is reading!

Inspirational biography

A biography or autobiography written by a woman and about a woman:

Butterfly by Yusra Mardini

The Book Depository : from £11.71 (HB)
Wordery : from £11.69 (HB)
Waterstones : from £18.99 (HB)
Amazon : from $11.23 / £5.57 (used HB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Yusra Mardini fled her native Syria to the Turkish coast in 2015 and boarded a small dinghy full of refugees bound for Greece. When the small and overcrowded boat's engine cut out, it began to sink. Yusra, her sister and two others took to the water, pushing the boat for three and a half hours in open water until they eventually landed on Lesbos, saving the lives of the passengers aboard.

Butterfly is the story of that remarkable woman, whose journey started in a war-torn suburb of Damascus and took her through Europe to Berlin and from there to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

5 star favourite

A book to which I awarded 5/5 stars

The True Picture by Alison Habens

The Book Depository : unavailable
Wordery : unavailable
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $2.79 / £1.99 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Nothing is known about the real St Veronica. She’s never mentioned in the bible but appears at the sixth Station of the Cross. 
True – Vera, Picture – Icon: Veronica might be a myth but in ‘the true picture’ she is a glamorous dye-dealer from ancient Tyre, an ex-temple dancer with a dark past, who gives up the purple trade, a towering hairstyle and all her jewellery, to follow Jesus to Jerusalem in around AD 33. 
Her story is closely based on gospel history but with a quirky modern twist! 

Dave's choice

My OH is almost a voracious a bookworm as me! He's also just as happy to read books written by women as by men which apparently is unusual for a man.

Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward

The Book Depository : from £6.29 (PB)
Wordery : from £6.28 (PB)
Waterstones : from £6.99 (PB)
Amazon : from $4.81 / £3.33 (used PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

An intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle, Sing, Unburied, Sing examines the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power – and limitations – of family bonds. 

Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. His mother, Leonie, is in constant conflict with herself and those around her. She is black and her children's father is white. Embattled in ways that reflect the brutal reality of her circumstances, she wants to be a better mother, but can't put her children above her own needs, especially her drug use. 

When the children's father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary. At Parchman, there is another boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all of the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering. He too has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, about love.

Rich with Ward's distinctive, lyrical language, Sing, Unburied, Sing brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first century America.

On my bookshelf

A book I've bought, swapped or been gifted and am eagerly awaiting reading

Heroes And Villains by Angela Carter

The Book Depository : from £8.17 (PB)
Wordery : from £8.15 (PB)
Waterstones : from £9.99 (PB)
Amazon : from $3.90 / £2.43 (used PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Sharp-eyed Marianne lives in a white tower made of steel and concrete with her father and the other Professors. Outside, where the land is thickly wooded and wild beasts roam, live the Barbarians, who raid and pillage in order to survive. Marianne is strictly forbidden to leave her civilized world but, fascinated by these savage outsiders, decides to escape. There, beyond the wire fences, she will discover a decaying paradise, encounter the tattooed Barbarian boy Jewel and go beyond the darkest limits of her imagination.

Playful, sensuous, violent and gripping, Heroes and Villains is an ambiguous and deliriously rich blend of post-apocalyptic fiction, gothic fantasy, literary allusion and twisted romance.

Around the blogosphere

A 5/5 star review from another bookish blog

Nothing But Sky by Amy Trueblood

The Book Depository : from £8.90 (PB)
Wordery : from £8.03 (PB)
Waterstones : from £10.99 (PB)
Amazon : from $6.21 / £7.98 (used PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Grace Lafferty only feels alive when she's dangling 500 feet above ground. As a post-World War I wing walker, Grace is determined to get to the World Aviation Expo, proving her team’s worth against flashier competitors and earning a coveted Hollywood contract. 

No one’s ever questioned Grace’s ambition until Henry Patton, a mechanic with plenty of scars from the battlefield, joins her barnstorming team. With each new death-defying trick, Henry pushes Grace to consider her reasons for being a daredevil. Annoyed with Henry’s constant interference, and her growing attraction to him, Grace continues to test the powers of the sky. 

After one of her risky maneuvers saves a pilot’s life, a Hollywood studio offers Grace a chance to perform at the Expo. She jumps at the opportunity to secure her future. But when a stunt goes wrong, Grace must decide whether Henry, and her life, are worth risking for one final trick.

If you've read any of these, pop your thoughts and review links in the Comments. And your suggestions for other #ReadingWomen books are most welcome. Comment them too!

I blog my #Reading Women posts on the 10th of each month. Feel welcome to join in on any date! I've even made a badge to wear on your blog :-)

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