Thursday, 15 November 2018

Stephanie Jane's #FreeBook and #Giveaway Linkup

A newly refreshed Stephanie Jane's Giveaway and Free Books Linkup for you today! Free books first, then giveaways towards the end.

Add your own blog giveaways and enter everyone else's, and grab yourselves a copy of any of the free books that catch your eye! The Linkup is 'never-ending' so adding once keeps each Giveaway visible until its closing date and I'll clear out extinct ones each month.
Links without an end date are Perma-Free books! (Though please Comment if you spot one that's no longer free)

Please start each giveaway 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 treats ... Enjoy!

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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Sunday, 11 November 2018

We're in Spain!

I'm linking up with The Sunday Post at Caffeinated Reviewer.

So having said in last Sunday's post that we would soon be on our travels again, I can now let you know that we are! We're already in Spain! The street art photo above was taken in the little old town of Falces where we spent one night (for free) in their lovely aire (a dedicated motorhome parking area) and walked up through the new town into the steep narrow streets of the historic old town. The two photos below show a view across Falces from the highest point within the town and, below it, the remains of what we think were troglodyte homes in sandstone cliffs above the town. I turned 180° on the spot to take each picture - a mind blowing contrast!

Prior to Falces we had parked up for two other nights on free aires in France, one at Castet en Dorthe where we were with yards of the picturesque Garonne canal, and one at Sauveterre in the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains. We had to drive over the Pyrenees of course in order to get from France to Spain and I was glad that Dave did most of the winding-road driving. We have travelled along scarier roads in the past, but not in such a big vehicle! 

I've started keeping notes of our motorhome stopping points at a new Airing Out blog so I can remember where we have been and what we thought of each place. We want to take advantage of the free stopovers that we were excluded from as caravanners and I'm pleased with how we're doing so far - free stopovers for all of the past five nights. Click the place names in this post to visit their Airing Out pages for more photos and details of each one.

In bookish news and linking up with What Are You Reading at The Book Date, I am currently reading Hearts Among Ourselves by A Happy Umwagarwa, a Rwandan novel. I'm expecting it to be a pretty emotional read, but have only just started so I'll let you know in its Literary Flits review in a couple of days.

Giveaways closing soon
14/11: Signed copy of Thalidomide Kid by Kate Rigby
(See all giveaways in my Giveaway Linkup)

On my blogs this week were:

Stephanie Jane
#WorldReads - Five Books From Jamaica
Challenge Wrapup October - Bookish Bingo
#ReadingWomen - November 2018

Literary Flits
Xingu by Edith Wharton review
Monarchy by David Starkey review
Cordial Killing by Vikki Walton + #Giveaway + #Recipe
Fishing for Māui by Isa Pearl Ritchie review
Children Of The Ghetto: My Name Is Adam by Elias Khoury review
The Unknown Terrorist by Richard Flanagan review
Thalidomide Kid by Kate Rigby review + giveaway

Artisan Rainbow
Crackers Christmas Card by Emoticubes
On Fleek Frida Kahlo Button Badge by The Artful Badger UK
Harris Tweed Pencil Case by Just Sew Yorkshire
Ivy Leaf Light Garland by Lumiihome
Sleeping Unicorn Card Kit by Della By Design
Skull Boots by Rock Your Sole
Panda Bear Print by Madame Memento

Airing Out
Tavistock Camping and Caravanning Club Campsite - Devon - England
Aire - Castet En Dorthe - Gironde - France
Aire - Sauveterre de Bearn - Pyrenees-Atlantique - France

Castet En Dorthe 

Skull Boots by Rock Your Sole 

Saturday, 10 November 2018

#ReadingWomen - November 2018

Welcome to ReadingWomen! 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 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:

Galileo's Daughter by Dava Sobel

The Book Depository
Amazon US / Amazon UK

'From the international best-selling author of Longitude, Galileo’s Daughter is the fascinating story of the relationship between the great Italian scientist Galileo and his daughter, Virginia.

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) was the foremost scientist of his day, ‘the father of modern physics – indeed of modern science altogether’ in the words of Albert Einstein. Though he never left the Italy of his birth, his inventions and discoveries were heralded around the world. His telescopes allowed him to reveal a new reality in the heavens and to defend the astounding proposition that the Earth actually moves around the Sun. For this belief he faced the Holy Office of the Inquisition and was subsequently tried for heresy and threatened with torture. Galileo is brought to life here as never before – a man boldly compelled to explain the truths he discovered, human in his frailties and faith, devoted to family and, especially, to his daughter. Since there could be no hope of marriage for his illegitimate daughter Galileo placed her, aged thirteen, in a convent near him in Florence. She proved to be his greatest source of strength through his most difficult years. Through letters, contemporary writings, their voices are brought to vivid life and woven into Dava Sobel’s compelling narrative. Galileo’s Daughter tells the story of the most dramatic collision in history between science and religion. Dava Sobel illuminates an entire era, when the flamboyant Medici Grand Dukes became Galileo’s patrons, when the Bubonic plague destroyed a generation and prayer was the most effective medicine, when one man fought to reconcile the Heaven he revered as a good Catholic with the heavens he revealed through his telescope. Galileo’s Daughter is a rich and unforgettable story.'

5 star favourite

A book to which I awarded 5/5 stars

Happiness by Aminatta Forna

The Book Depository
Amazon US / Amazon UK

'Waterloo Bridge, London. Two strangers collide. Attila, a Ghanaian psychiatrist, and Jean, an American studying the habits of urban foxes. From this chance encounter in the midst of the rush of a great city, numerous moments of connections span out and interweave, bringing disparate lives together.

Attila has arrived in London with two tasks: to deliver a keynote speech on trauma and to check up on the daughter of friends, his 'niece', Ama, who hasn't called home in a while. It soon emerges that she has been swept up in an immigration crackdown – and now her young son Tano is missing.

When, by chance, Attila bumps into Jean again, she joins him in his search for Tano, mobilizing into action the network she has built up, mainly from the many West African immigrants working London's myriad streets, of volunteer fox-spotters: security guards, hotel doormen, traffic wardens. All unite to help and as the search continues, a deepening friendship between Attila and Jean unfolds.

In this delicate yet powerful novel of loves lost and new, of past griefs and of the hidden side of a multicultural metropolis, Aminatta Forna asks us to consider the values of the society we live in, our co-existence with one another and all living creatures – and the true nature of happiness.'

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.

Force Of Nature by Jane Harper

The Book Depository
Amazon US / Amazon UK


Is Alice here? Did she make it? Is she safe? In the chaos, in the night, it was impossible to say which of the four had asked after Alice's welfare. Later, when everything got worse, each would insist it had been them.

Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along the muddy track. Only four come out the other side.

The hike through the rugged landscape is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and teach resilience and team building. At least that is what the corporate retreat website advertises.

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a particularly keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing bushwalker. Alice Russell is the whistleblower in his latest case - and Alice knew secrets. About the company she worked for and the people she worked with.

Far from the hike encouraging teamwork, the women tell Falk a tale of suspicion, violence and disintegrating trust. And as he delves into the disappearance, it seems some dangers may run far deeper than anyone knew.

On my bookshelf

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

Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher

The Book Depository
Amazon US / Amazon UK

Fifteen-year-old Zoe has a secret - a dark and terrible secret that she can't confess to anyone she knows. But then one day she hears of a criminal, Stuart Harris, locked up on death row in Texas. Like Zoe, Stuart is no stranger to secrets. Or lies. Or murder.

Full of both heartache and humour, Zoe tells her story in the only way she can - in letters to the man in prison in America. Armed with a pen, Zoe takes a deep breath, eats a jam sandwich, and begins her tale of love and betrayal.

Around the blogosphere

A 5/5 star review from another bookish blog

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

The Book Depository
Amazon US / Amazon UK

"Daughter of immortals.

Princess Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mortal. Diana will soon learn that she has rescued no ordinary girl, and that with this single brave act, she may have doomed the world.

Daughter of death.

Alia Keralis just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted by people who think her very existence could spark a world war. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.


Two girls will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. Tested beyond the bounds of their abilities, Diana and Alia must find a way to unleash hidden strengths and forge an unlikely alliance. Because if they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war."

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.

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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Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Challenge WrapUp October: Bookish Bingo

My new month of Bookish Bingo which is hosted each month at Chapter Break.

I'm including books I read during October, but I might not have blogged all their reviews yet so if the cover image doesn't go anywhere when you click it, that's why!

This month I've got 20 squares completed, plus the bonus point for a female doctor in Brown Girl In The Ring. Yay me!

Costume / Disguise
Orange or black on cover
Not in a series
Physical book
Candy / sweets
Hero / Heroine
Library book

Audio book
Zombies / undead
Child's POV
Free Space
In a series
Love triangle


All Hallows Eve

Free book
Shelf love
Road trip / car travel
Vampire / werewolf / demons
Demon slayer
Darkness vs good
Coffee / tea drinker

I'm going to do November's Bookish Bingo too and here's the new grid to match up:

Monday, 5 November 2018

#WorldReads - Five Books From Jamaica

If this is your first visit to my WorldReads blog series, the idea of the posts is to encourage and promote the reading of global literature. On the 5th of each month I highlight five books I have read from a particular country and you can see links to previous countries' posts at the end of this post as well as finding out how to join in the challenge.

Click the book titles or cover images to visit their Literary Flits book review pages. Or click the bookshop names to buy your own copy. (Bookshop links are affiliate links so I would earn a small commission from your purchase.)

This month we are going to Jamaica!

A Brief History Of Seven Killings by Marlon James

The Book Depository
Amazon US / Amazon UK

On 3 December 1976, just weeks before the general election and two days before Bob Marley was to play the Smile Jamaica Concert to ease political tensions, seven gunmen from West Kingston stormed his house with machine guns blazing. Marley survived and went on to perform at the free concert, but the next day he left the country, and didn’t return for two years. Not a lot was recorded about the fate of the seven gunmen, but much has been said, whispered and sung about in the streets of West Kingston, with information surfacing at odd times, only to sink into rumour and misinformation.

Inspired by this near-mythic event, A Brief History of Seven Killings takes the form of an imagined oral biography, told by ghosts, witnesses, killers, members of parliament, drug dealers, conmen, beauty queens, FBI and CIA agents, reporters, journalists, and even Keith Richards' drug dealer. Marlon James’s bold undertaking traverses strange landscapes and shady characters, as motivations are examined — and questions asked — in this compelling novel of monumental scope and ambition.

Murder In Montego Bay by Paula Lennon

The Book Depository
Amazon US / Amazon UK

In Montego Bay, Jamaica, privileged Chinese-Jamaican brothers Lester and Carter Chin Ellis have enjoyed a sheltered life as the heirs to the iced desserts empire Chinchillerz. One fateful night, following a fiery encounter with local law enforcement the brothers are taken to Pelican Walk Police Station, where Lester is detained for drunk driving, while Carter is released without charge. When Carter is shot dead within minutes of leaving the station his murder throws the police force into crisis mode.

Discredited Detective Raythan Preddy is put in charge of the murder case and is forced to accept the assistance of Detective Sean Harris, a Scottish lawman seconded to Jamaica. With his superiors watching his every move and the Chin Ellis family interfering with the investigation, Preddy is determined to catch the killer and save his career.

Sketcher by Roland Watson-Grant

The Book Depository
Amazon US / Amazon UK

Nine-year-old “Skid” Beaumont’s family is stuck in the mud. Following his father’s decision to relocate and build a new home, based on a drunken vision that New Orleans would rapidly expand eastwards into the wetlands as a result of the Seventies oil boom, Skid and his brothers grow up in a swampy area of Louisiana. But the constructions stop short, the dream fizzles out, and the Beaumonts find themselves sinking in a soggy corner of 1980s Cold War America.

As things on the home front get more complicated, Skid learns of his mother’s alleged magic powers and vaguely remembers some eerie stories surrounding his elder brother Frico. These, as well as early events that Skid saw with his own eyes, convince him that Frico has a gift to fix things by simply sketching them. For the next few years, Skid’s self-appointed mission to convince his brother to join him in his lofty plan to change their family’s luck and the world they live in will lead to even more mystery and high drama in the swamp.

Atmospheric, uplifting and deeply moving, Sketcher – Roland Watson-Grant’s stunning debut – is a novel about the beauty of life no matter how broken it is.

How To Love A Jamaican by Alexia Arthurs

The Book Depository

Tenderness and cruelty, loyalty and betrayal, ambition and regret – Alexia Arthurs navigates these tensions to extraordinary effect in her debut collection of short stories, How to Love a Jamaican, about Jamaican immigrants and their families back home. Sweeping from close-knit island communities to the streets of New York City and Midwestern university towns, these eleven stories form a portrait of a nation, a people, and a way of life.

In ‘Light Skinned Girls and Kelly Rowlands’, an NYU student befriends a fellow Jamaican whose privileged West Coast upbringing has blinded her to the hard realities of race. In ‘Mash Up Love’, a twin’s chance sighting of his estranged brother – the prodigal son of the family – stirs up unresolved feelings of resentment. In ‘Bad Behavior’, a mother and father leave their wild teenage daughter with her grandmother in Jamaica, hoping the old ways will straighten her out. In ‘Mermaid River’, a Jamaican teenage boy is reunited with his mother in New York after eight years apart. In ‘The Ghost of Jia Yi’, a recently murdered international student haunts a despairing Jamaican athlete recruited to an Iowa college. And in ‘Shirley from a Small Place’, a world-famous pop star retreats to her mother’s big new house in Jamaica, which still holds the power to restore something vital.

The winner of the Paris Review’s Plimpton Prize for ‘Bad Behavior’, Alexia Arthurs emerges in this vibrant, lyrical, intimate collection as one of fiction’s most dynamic and essential young authors.

Brown Girl In The Ring by Nalo Hopkinson

The Book Depository
Waterstones (unavailable)
Amazon US / Amazon UK

The rich and have fled the city, barricaded it behind roadblocks, and left it to crumble. The inner city has had to rediscover old ways--farming, barter, herb lore. But now the monied need a harvest of bodies, and so they prey upon the helpless of the streets. With nowhere to turn, a young woman must open herself to ancient truths, eternal powers, and the tragic mystery surrounding her mother and grandmother. She must bargain with gods, and give birth to new legends.

That's it for November's WorldReads from Jamaica. I hope I have tempted you to try reading a book from this country and if you want more suggestions, click through to see all my Literary Flits reviews of Jamaican-authored books! If you fancy buying any of the five I have suggested, clicking through the links from this blog to do so would mean I earn a small commission payment.

You can join in my WorldReads Challenge at any time! Simply read 1 or more books from a different country each month, write a post about it/them, grab the button below and add it to your post. Don't forget to pop back here and Comment your link so I can visit!

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If you missed any earlier WorldReads posts, I have already 'visited' America, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, India, Iraq, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Russia, Scotland, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and Zimbabwe.

In December I will be highlighting five books by Swiss authors. See you on the 5th to find out which ones!

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Autumn colours in Chef Boutonne

I'm linking up with The Sunday Post at Caffeinated Reviewer.

I'm feeling pleased with myself right now because I submitted this year's tax return about an hour ago! It doesn't actually have to be completed until the end of January, but I don't know how good our wifi will be once we're moving around this winter so I thought getting it done before we go would be best. A note for other UK self assessment-ers, HMRC is migrating to a new system (all groan together) which requires new identity verifications. I could do mine ok online, but it took me twice as long to actually prove I was me than it did to fill out the tax form itself!

On that moving around theme, we're packing up our Hymer motorhome this weekend ready to depart to warmer climes on Tuesday morning. Of course not having travelled properly in it yet nothing has its set place so I am gaily stowing things in cupboards that seem logical right now, but I know as soon as we get on the road I'll be wanting to change everything around to more convenient locations - which will confuse Dave no end!

We had a lovely walk a couple of days ago, just locally. The trees here are looking beautifully autumnal with glorious colours. Sorry the orange maple tree isn't in sharper focus. The lizard was by a roadside and, sadly, already dead although it didn't look at all squashed. It's the biggest lizard either of us had seen which was pretty fab. The name is underwhelming though. On googling we discovered it is (or was) a French Green Lizard.

In bookish news and linking up with What Are You Reading at The Book Date I finished a great New Zealand novel yesterday: Fishing For Maui by Isa Pearl Ritchie. It's about a family trying to cope with individual issues and overcoming the social stigmas of their Maori ancestry. Complex but very readable. Full review to be published on Literary Flits on the 8th as part of a Rachel's Random Resources blog tour.

And on this blog tomorrow I'll be posting WorldReads from Jamaica so do pop back for that!

Giveaways closing soon
8/11: Cheeky Panda bundle from Ethical Superstore
8/11: $25 Amazon gift cards
(See all giveaways in my Giveaway Linkup)

On my blogs this week were:

Stephanie Jane
A Month in Books - October 2018
State Of The ARC - October 2018

Literary Flits
Painting Blue Water by Leigh Fossan spotlight
Macbeth by Jo Nesbo review
Witching Hour: Sinister Legends Anthology spotlight + Giveaway
Crimson by Niviaq Korneliussen review
Death Comes In Through The Kitchen by Teresa Dovalpage review
The Forgotten Pioneer by Anthea Ramsey review
Niedermayer And Hart by M J Johnson review

Artisan Rainbow
Rudolph Enamel Trinket Dish by Maisy Plum
Autumn Leaves Crochet Shawl by Parkview Creative
Dachshund Brooch by Ellies Treasures UK
Pottery Mug by Mudness Ceramics
Bird Cake Kit by A Short Walk
Witch Kitty Plush Toy by The Purple Saurus
Paint Rainbows Art Print by Dream Capture Artwork

Dave's neatly sawn and stacked log pile 

row of bee hives (not ours!)