Sunday, 23 September 2018

My Week In Review To The 23rd September

I am linking up with The Sunday Post hosted by Kimberly at The Caffeinated Reviewer.

I'm also linking up with What Are You Reading at The Book Date: Right now I am reading The Groundsmen by Lynn Buckle which I will be reviewing for Epoque Press on Literary Flits on the 27th September. It's a multi-POV Irish novel and quite a challenging read.

This has again been a pretty manic week - I'm not used to being so busy! Dave's daughter Gemma and her partner Simon came to visit us at Chef Boutonne for a few days so we got the chance to be tourists and go sightseeing again. The beautiful chateau and flowers are in Verteuil which is a gorgeous town - and I loved that clear blue sky. The chateau can be toured with a guide, but only at weekends at this time of year and we were there on a Wednesday. We made do with exploring a brocante shop instead! Then on Thursday we drove to the Marais Poitevin, an extensive marsh area crisscrossed with little waterways and canals. Dave put his canoeing experience to good use on an hour's boat trip while I spent quality reading time on a shady bench!

We waved goodbye to Gemma and Simon on Friday morning then hitched up our Bailey caravan for a final tow to the UK. Today's ferry sailing across La Manche was fortunately much calmer than recent disastrous weather had led me to fear. And now we're pitched up at a nice Camping And Caravanning Club campsite, Higher Longford just outside Tavistock. We're both excited to be reunited with our new-to-us Hymer motorhome tomorrow and our friend Marta is also looking forward to taking over ownership of Bailey. All change again!

Giveaways closing soon:
Congratulations to Adrian B who won the Curtain Call by C H Clepitt giveaway that closed on Literary Flits last week!
If you like winning stuff, these Giveaways end this coming week ...

24/9: Waiting For Monsieur Bellivier by Britta Rostlund PB
24/9: $25 Amazon gift card
29/9: $25 Amazon gift card and Chuck Waldron books
29/9: Sitting At The Kitchen Table With God by Sandi Smith ebook

Posts on my blogs this week were:
My Week in Review to the 16th September

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel review + #Giveaway
Princess Bari by Hwang Sok-Yong review
The Labyrinth Of The Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafon review
Sitting At The Kitchen Table With God by Sandi Smith + #Giveaway
Gentlemen Of The Road by Michael Chabon review
The Locked Room by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo review
The Barefoot Road by Vivienne Vermes review

Around the blogosphere:
Daniela at Bookiverse has Must Reads for Hispanic Heritage Month
Carole at Carole's Random Life In Books reviews all three Murderbot Diaries
Greg at Greg's Book Haven reviews Record Of A Spaceborn Few

Have a great week :-)

Sunday, 16 September 2018

My Week in Review to the 16th September

I am linking up with The Sunday Post hosted by Kimberly at The Caffeinated Reviewer.

I'm also linking up (if I remember this time!) with What Are You Reading at The Book Date: Right now I am reading the new Carlos Ruiz Zafon novel, Labyrinth Of The Spirits which is the fourth in his Shadow Of The Wind series. Of course although I loved the first book, that was read so long ago that I can't really remember it now and I missed out the middle two, but so far that hasn't caused me any problems with Labyrinth - or not that I've noticed anyway!

It's been a somewhat manic week, again with far less internet time than I am accustomed to. We did get a couple of days relaxing after our guests departed, however Tuesday saw us loading up the car for a three day excursion from Chef Boutonne in France to Torroella de Montgri in Spain and back in order retrieve our caravan from its storage there. It was a lot of driving which is always surprisingly tiring. Simply sitting in a car for six hours shouldn't be exhausting, but the concentration needed for driving always makes it so. At least French roads are much easier to travel along than their southern English equivalents - they're in far better condition too!

We stayed one night in a lovely Airbnb at Castelnaudry before we got to the caravan. If you ever need somewhere to stay in between Toulouse and Carcassonne, I can recommend Philippe's house. It's a traditional old French house with delightful period features and furniture. There's also a somewhat neglected 'potager' kitchen garden from which I was allowed to glean tomatoes, aubergines, a tiny courgette, sweet grapes and lots of delicious figs. September is a great time to stay at this property!

On Wednesday we were reunited with our Bailey caravan and nearly ended up with an inquisitive kitten stowaway too - fortunately he was spotted and shooed away before we drove off! Then we drove to Toulouse for a night at one of our regular stopover campsites, Les Violettes. The site has changed somewhat since we last visited - perhaps a change of ownership? There's now a covered swimming pool and the sanitary block has been beautifully revamped. I loved the red and silver decor around the washing up sinks!

We had thought we'd stay a second night somewhere en route too, but as it turned out, a longer drive got us home to Chef for the early evening on Thursday. Now our caravan is temporarily next to our static, all cleaned and ready to set out for the UK on Friday. It's all go at the moment!

Giveaways closing soon:
16/9 : $20 Amazon gift card
17/9 : Curtain Call by C H Clepitt ebook
18/9 : Dark Paradise by Gene Desrochers books
20/9 : Signed original Emma Haines illustration
22/9 : $10 Amazon gift card and A Penny Lost by Aspen Bassett books

Posts on my blogs this week were:
My Week in Review to the 9th September
#ReadingWomen - September 2018
Stephanie Jane's #Giveaway and #FreeBooks Linkup

Hunter's Revenge by Val Penny + Excerpt
Waiting For Monsieur Bellivier by Britta Rostlund review + #Giveaway
Dark Paradise by Gene Desrochers review + #Giveaway
The Pretender by Katie Ward + #Giveaway + Excerpt
I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith review
A Penny Lost by Aspen Bassett + #Giveaway
The Beast Of Kukuyo by Kevin Jared Hosein review

Around the blogosphere:
Ova at Excuse My Reading visited several bookshops in Saffron Walden
Sophia at Delighted Reader talks Escape for her Blog All About It Challenge
Daniela at Bookiverse plays temptress suggesting new additions for our TBR piles

Have a great week :-)

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Stephanie Jane's #Giveaway and #FreeBooks 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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Monday, 10 September 2018

#ReadingWomen - September 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:

The Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clemantine Wamariya

The Book Depository
Amazon US / Amazon UK

Clemantine Wamariya was six years old when her mother and father began to speak in whispers, when neighbours began to disappear, and when she heard the loud, ugly sounds her brother said were thunder. In 1994, she and her fifteen-year-old sister, Clare, fled the Rwandan massacre and spent the next six years wandering through seven African countries, searching for safety—perpetually hungry, imprisoned and abused, enduring and escaping refugee camps, finding unexpected kindness, witnessing inhuman cruelty. They did not know whether their parents were dead or alive.

When Clemantine was twelve, she and her sister were granted refugee status in the United States, where she embarked on another journey, ultimately graduating from Yale. Yet the years of being treated as less than human, of going hungry and seeing death, could not be erased. She felt at the same time six years old and one hundred years old.

In The Girl Who Smiled Beads, Clemantine provokes us to look beyond the label of ‘victim’ and recognize the power of the imagination to transcend even the most profound injuries and aftershocks. Devastating yet beautiful, and bracingly original, it is a powerful testament to her commitment to constructing a life on her own terms.

5 star favourite

A book to which I awarded 5/5 stars

Sleeping Through War by Jackie Carreira

The Book Depository
Amazon US / Amazon UK

It is May 1968. Students are rioting, civil rights are being fought and died for, nuclear bombs are being tested, and war is raging in Vietnam. For three ordinary women in Lisbon, London and Washington life must go on as usual. For them, just to survive is an act of courage. How much has really changed in 50 years?

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.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

The Book Depository
Amazon US / Amazon UK

Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned - from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren - an enigmatic artist and single mother- who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When old family friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town - and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at an unexpected and devastating cost...

On my bookshelf

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

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

The Book Depository
Amazon US / Amazon UK

On a beautifully restored barge on the Seine, Jean Perdu runs a bookshop; or rather a 'literary apothecary', for this bookseller possesses a rare gift for sensing which books will soothe the troubled souls of his customers.

The only person he is unable to cure, it seems, is himself. He has nursed a broken heart ever since the night, twenty-one years ago, when the love of his life fled Paris, leaving behind a handwritten letter that he has never dared read. His memories and his love have been gathering dust - until now. The arrival of an enigmatic new neighbour in his eccentric apartment building on Rue Montagnard inspires Jean to unlock his heart, unmoor the floating bookshop and set off for Provence, in search of the past and his beloved.

Around the blogosphere

A 5/5 star review from another bookish blog

A Court Of Frost And Starlight by Sarah J Maas

The Book Depository
Amazon US / Amazon UK

The Winter Solstice. In a week. I was still new enough to being High Lady that I had no idea what my formal role was to be. If we'd have a High Priestess do some odious ceremony, as lanthe had done the year before. A year. Gods, nearly a year since Rhys had called in his bargain, desperate to get me away from the poison of the Spring Court to save me from my despair. Had he been only a minute later, the Mother knew what would have happened. Where I'd now be. Snow swirled and eddied in the garden, catching in the brown fibers of the burlap covering the shrubs My mate who had worked so hard and so selflessly, all without hope that I would ever be with him We had both fought for that love, bled for it. Rhys had died for it.

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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Sunday, 9 September 2018

My Week in Review to the 9th September

Dave, Dave and Gilly at Melle 
I am linking up with The Sunday Post hosted by Kimberly at The Caffeinated Reviewer.

I'm also linking up again with What Are You Reading at The Book Date:
Yesterday I finished Gentlemen Of The Road by Michael Chabon, a fun adventure story set in the Viking era. I've just started The Locked Room by Sjowall and Wahloo which is my 9th read of this Swedish crime series (although only actually the 8th book in the series because I am totally incapable of reading books in order!)

We had guests on our Chef Boutonne riverbank for a few days this week - hello to Gilly and Dave! It was fun to show them around our little corner of France, but this did mean almost three days with Absolutely No Internet! Consequently I am hopelessly behind on commenting and don't have an Around The Blogosphere section today. I'll double up next week - promise!

Gloria Zein sculpture in Melle bandstand 

We had a lovely afternoon in Melle starting with lunch at The Secret Garden. I had their delicious Tofu and Quinoa salad and everyone else's meals were appreciated too. After lunch we walked along the riverbank from Sompt and I picked enough ripe blackberries for a crumble!

Sompt riverbank 
Friday saw us all exploring Ruffec including a visit to my favourite shop there, the amazing second-hand emporium, Emmaus. I picked up a couple of interesting looking books for 50c each - german novel April In Paris by Michael Wallner and a biography of Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett. I must make more of an effort with my reading in French though. Emmaus have hundreds of French language books and only one bookcase of English language ones. After keeping the rest of our party waiting while I browsed, we then visited the Plan d'Eau at Villefagnon. The French Plan d'Eau is a wonderful idea - artificial lakes to walk and cycle around with sandy beaches to swim from, and separate areas for fishing. The Daves and Gilly both swam while I lounged on the beach in the sun with a book! Bliss!

Illustrated bench in Ruffec depicting the Plan d'Eau 

Giveaways closing soon:
11th Sept: Gone To Ground by Rachael Amphlett audiobook and mug (Dab Of Darkness blog)
13th Sept: Signed copy of Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Nine Worlds by Columbkill Noonan

Posts on my blogs this week were:
My Week in Review to the 2nd September
Wrap-Up: August Authorfest and Bookish Bingo
#WorldReads - Five Books From Poland

Animal Farm by George Orwell
Curtain Call by C H Clepitt + #Giveaway
Jaclyn and the Beanstalk by Mary Ting + Excerpt + #Giveaway
Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Nine Worlds by Columbkill Noonan + #Giveaway
The Cleansweep Counterstrike by Chuck Waldron + #Giveaway
Sleeping Through War by Jackie Carreira
The Craft Room by Dave Holwill

Around the blogosphere:
Oops! Emptiness here.
Please Comment your own post links!

Have a great week :-)

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

#WorldReads - Five Books From Poland

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-known 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 Poland!

Children Of Our Age by A M Bakalar

The Book Depository

Karol and his wife are the rising stars of the Polish community in London but Karol is a ruthless entrepreneur whose fortune is built  on the backs of his fellow countrymen. The Kulesza brothers, mentally unstable Igor and his violent brother Damian, dream about returning to Poland one day. A loving couple, Mateusz and Angelika, believe against all odds that good things will happen to people like them. Gradually, all of these lives become dramatically entwined, and each of them will have to decide how far they are willing to go in pursuit of their dreams.

Collected Stories by Bruno Schulz

The Book Depository

Collected Stories is an authoritative new translation of the complete fiction of Bruno Schulz, whose work has influenced writers as various as Salman Rushdie, Cynthia Ozick, Jonathan Safran Foer, Philip Roth, Danilo Kiš, and Roberto Bolaño. Schulz’s prose is renowned for its originality. Set largely in a fictional counterpart of his hometown of Drohobych, his stories merge the real and the surreal. The most ordinary objects—the wind, an article of clothing, a plate of fish—can suddenly appear unfathomably mysterious and capable of illuminating profound truths. As Father, one of his most intriguing characters, declaims: “Matter has been granted infinite fecundity, an inexhaustible vital force, and at the same time, a seductive power of temptation that entices us to create forms.”

Dancing Bears by Witold Szablowski

The Book Depository

In the tradition of Ryszard Kapuściński, award-winning Polish journalist Witold Szablowski tells remarkable stories of people throughout Eastern Europe and in Cuba who, like Bulgaria’s dancing bears, are now free but long for when they were not. He describes hitchhiking through Kosovo as it declares independence, arguing with the guides at the Stalin Museum, and sleeping in London’s Victoria Station alongside a homeless Polish woman. Dancing Bears is a fascinating portrait of social and economic upheaval, and a lesson in the challenges of freedom and the seductions of authoritarian rule.

Sour Apple by Jerzy Szyłak and Joanna Karpowicz

The Book Depository (unavailable)
Wordery (unavailable)
Europe Comics
Amazon (unavailable)

By all appearances they are a happy couple. Married, religious, hardworking. What happens behind closed doors, however, is a secret, even to those closest to them. “Kwaśne jabłko” (Sour Apple), written by Jerzy Szyłak and illustrated by Joanna Karpowicz, tells a story of domestic abuse, a story of a victim and persecutor. This story of violence spiraling out of control brings no hope, instead playing on emotions and powerful illustrations, painted with acrylic on canvas-textured paper, to create a unique atmosphere of horror. It is violence as seen by a painter.

Identity Unknown by Karolina Wojciak

The Book Depository
Waterstones (unavailable)

After the tragic death of his mother, sixteen-year-old Krystian lives in poverty in Warsaw, Poland, with his violent, alcoholic father. Their fights grow more intense until finally his father throws him out. Homeless and fighting for survival, Krystian has to put aside his sensitive nature and become a criminal.
Lena, after a freshman year spent away from home, returns to the seaside town of Sopot between semesters, convinced that it will be another boring summer with her despotic father, a powerful lawyer. Instead, new friends show her what it feels like to make her own choices.

That's it for September's WorldReads from Poland. 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 Polish-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, Russia, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and Zimbabwe.

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

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Wrap-Up: August Authorfest and Bookish Bingo

I had two fun reading challenges throughout August. The first was August Authorfest hosted at Chuckles Book Cave. The aim of this challenge was to read new-to-me authors and I managed 15 so I am very happy with this.

We Only Saw Happiness by Gregoire Delacourt
Resin by Ane Riel
How To Love A Jamaican by Alexia Arthurs
The Wrath And The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Revolutions by Mateusz Skutnik
The Danes by Clarke
The Path To Change by Pope Francis
Of Faith And Fidelity by Evan Ostryniuk
The Tale Of The Missing Man by Manzoor Ahtesham
Desirable Body by Hubert Haddad
The Gravediggers' Bread by Frederic Dard
Angelica Stone by Susi Osborne
Waiting For Monsieur Bellivier by Britta Rostlund (review 10th Sept)
Sleeping Through War by Jackie Carreira  (review 7th Sept)
Dark Paradise by Gene Desrochers (review 11th Sept)

Secondly I joined in with Bookish Bingo which is hosted each month at Chapter Break, a new-to-me blog.
There are 25 Bingo squares to fill. Books can be put into more than one square - as long as they meet the criterion of course!

And, here's my grid with the books I read in August. They've not all been blogged yet so if the picture's not linked, its review will be posted soon! 19 out of 25. Not too shabby!

A physical book
Outdoor activity

New to you author
In a series

New adult
Pop culture
Shelf love

On vacation

Not in a series
Woman on cover
Free Space

Past rears its ugly head

Free book

Empowered female
Audio book
Library book Deception
Band / musician
Food on cover

I'm going to do September's Bookish Bingo too and there's a new grid to match up: