Monday, 16 July 2018

My Week in Review to the 15th July

I am linking up with The Sunday Post hosted by Kimberly at The Caffeinated Reviewer.
And in bookish news, I am linking up again with Book Photo Sundays over at Ronyell's Rabbit Ears Book Blog.

I think it might just about have been as hot in Spain when this photo was taken as it is now in the UK - perhaps not quite as I am happily reading out in the sun there whereas I've been keenly seeking shade this weekend. I first blogged this photo in the post Sizzling In The Sagunt Sunshine in November 2014.

Dave and I celebrated our 15th Anniversary of togetherness on Friday and, in a nice piece of serendipity, spent the evening with the two people who introduced us all those years ago - thank you Gilly and Dave! Then Saturday evening saw us at the 140th birthday party for our friends Andy and Barbara. (they've 70 years each). So congrats there too! The party was huge and we got to catch up with people we haven't seen in months which was great. Plus the food was unending and delicious (who made the banoffee pie?) and I can now recommend the band The Skarlettos with their fun Two-Tone/Ska vibe!

My Week in Review got pushed a day later than usual because yesterday was the 15th of the month and so time to refresh my Giveaway Linkup. This is a melange of free book links and giveaway competitions, all of which should be current (or at least were up until a couple of days ago when I tidied up the links!) Anything with a date is a giveaway, without a date is a perma-freebie. Feel welcome to add your own as well as entering/downloading any that take your fancy. There's lots of books for everybody and, if you're on the UK mainland, there's a cake giveaway too! (Please note, America is NOT on the UK mainland)

Disappointing news that our Torquay flat which we put up for sale last week has only had one viewing so far. Maybe due to the weather, the football World Cup, the imminent end of the school term, or a hundred and one other reasons! For whatever reason, if you're browsing RightMove this week could you just give our RightMove listing a quick share round your social media?!

Posts on my blogs this week were:
My Week in Review to the 8th July
ReadingWomen - July 2018
Artisan Rainbow - Tote Bags
Books From The Backlog - H2O: A Biography of Water
50/50 Friday - Favourite Book That's the Most/Least Quotable
A Bakerdays cake for our 15th Anniversary! + #Cake #Giveaway

Daughter Of The Sea by Maggie Freeman
Love Beneath The Mighty Dome by Ronald J Wichers + #Giveaway
Riding Shotgun and Other American Cruelties by Andy Rausch
Bottled Goods by Sophie Van Llewyn
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Read, Write, Love At Seaside by Addison Cole + #FreeBook
Death In Dulwich by Alice Castle + #Giveaway

Around the blogosphere:
Sarah at All The Book Blog Names Are Taken nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award! Thank you Sarah! You can read Sarah's Seven Facts About Herself here and I'm hoping to get mine posted later this week.

Have a great week :-)

Artisan Rainbow - Tote Bags 

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Stephanie Jane's #Giveaway & #FreeBook 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.
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 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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Saturday, 14 July 2018

A Bakerdays cake for our 15th Anniversary! + #Cake #Giveaway

Yesterday was a pretty amazing date in Dave- and Steph-world. We celebrated our 15th anniversary of togetherness. FIFTEEN!! Who'd have thought, a decade and a half ago, that we'd still be such a happy couple after fifteen months, let alone fifteen YEARS? (Of course I have scheduled this post a couple of days in advance so fingers crossed it's still true as it publishes!)

As you read this, we've just started a ten-day holiday catching up with friends and family, some of whom knew us all those years ago and two of whom we hold responsible for getting us together. Thank you Dave and Gilly! We're also marking the occasion by treating ourselves to a hopefully-amazing theatre trip though that won't actually happen until August: The League of Gentlemen are coming to Torquay (of all places)!

In the meantime though, our celebrations started in a smaller way with an adorable Letterbox Cake from Bakerdays. I have blogged about Bakerdays before and think that these cakes are such a brilliant idea. You can enter my giveaway to win a cake for yourself, but first here's my thoughts on our cake.

I chose this personalised Somebunny Loves You design of two cute little rabbits in a floral hot air balloon. The cake arrived thoughtfully packaged to ensure its perfect condition and quite early in the day which was good in this ridiculously hot weather right now. I love the reusable 'Mmm Cake' cake tin. The cake had slid over a little on its board, but was easily nudged back to centre.

Bakerdays offer a variety of recipes including Lemon Drizzle, Chocolate Chip, or gluten wheat free, but I chose the Dairy-Free Sponge. I am told that a completely Vegan cake is in the planning stages so hopefully that recipe will be offered soon. To be honest, if I hadn't known this cake was dairy-free, I wouldn't have guessed from its taste or texture. The sponge is light and moist and the layers of jam under the cake and under the icing gave it a delicious tangy flavour. The icing itself is nicely rich, but not too sweet. Perfect with a good cuppa!

Would you like to win a Bakerdays cake for yourself? Well, if your postal address is on the UK mainland ONLY, you're reading the right blog! You could win your choice of Bakerdays Letterbox Cake posted directly to you!
There's several ways to enter this giveaway via the Gleam widget below.

Bakerdays Letterbox Cake Giveaway

The Giveaway is open until midnight (UK time) on the 28th July and I will pick a winner on the 29th. That winner will have 3 days in which to respond to my email or the prize will be forfeit. GDPR: I will need to pass the winner's email address onto Bakerdays and they will need the winner's postal address in order to send out the prize.

Good luck!

And if you just can't wait for the Giveaway to end, use SUMMER10 at the checkout for 10% off all Bakerdays cakes, cupcakes or balloons. Code expires: Friday 31st August at 23:59pm.

I received a cake for review from Bakerdays. This has in no way influenced my opinion and all thoughts on the product are my own. Links in this post are affiliate links.

Friday, 13 July 2018

50/50 Friday - Favourite Book That's the Most/Least Quotable

It's a shame in this instance that 50/50 Friday is a Friday thing because I would have loved to have started with:

"It must be a Thursday, said Arthur, I never could get the hang of Thursdays."

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 Book That's the Most/Least Quotable

So I have one book from which I only ever remember one quote but it is a wonderfully evocative one:

"Last night I dreamed I went to Manderley again."

And another book that I have been randomly quoting multiple lines from over at least three decades. I'll limit myself to just a few here:

"Lovely crinkly edges."

"I get this pain in all the diodes down my left-hand side."

"Life? Don't talk to me about life!"

"Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so."

I'll leave you all to work out which book is which!
Click either book cover image to visit my Literary Flits review pages:

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.

Do you know where your towel is?

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Books From The Backlog - H2O: A Biography of Water by Philip Ball

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.

H2O: A Biography of Water by Philip Ball

The brilliantly told and gripping story of the most familiar - yet, amazingly, still poorly understood - substance in the universe: Water.

The extent to which water remains a scientific mystery is extraordinary, despite its prevalence and central importance on Earth. Whether one considers its role in biology, its place in the physical world (where it refuses to obey the usual rules of liquids) or its deceptively simple structure, there is still no complete answer to the question: what is water? Philip Ball's book explains what, exactly, we do and do not know about the strange character of this most essential and ubiquitous of substances.

H20 begins by transporting its readers back to the Big Bang and the formation of galaxies to witness the birth of water's constituent elements: hydrogen and oxygen. It then explains how the primeval oceans were formed four billion years ago; where water is to be found on other planets; why ice floats when most solids sink; why, despite being highly corrosive, water is good for us; why there are at least fifteen kinds of ice and perhaps two kinds of liquid water; how scientists have consistently misunderstood water for centuries; and why wars have been waged over it.

Philip Ball's gloriously offbeat and intelligent book conducts us on a journey through the history of science, folklore, the wilder scientific fringes, cutting-edge physics, biology and ecology, to give a fascinating new perspective on life and the substance that sustains it. After reading this book, drinking a glass of water will never be the same again.

The Book Depository : from £9.99 (PB)
Wordery : from £9.35 (PB)
Waterstones : from £9.99 (PB)
Amazon : from $3.99 / £0.01 (used PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

I do find some strange books, don't I?! This one I think I remember swapping for as part of a science reading phase, but I must have got distracted back to fiction before I got around to it. I'm not even sure how long I have owned my H2O copy. It's one of the background books for my A Month In Books logo so a good couple of years at least.
With the way the heatwave is going this summer - imminent hosepipe and car washing bans etc - H2O: A Biography Of Water could well now be a timely read!

Have you read H2O: A Biography of Water?
Is this a Get To It Now or a Let It Lie?

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Artisan Rainbow - Tote Bags

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 Oldham, England

Made in Oxford, England

Made in Lacock, England
Typewriter Cotton Tote Bag by Ceridwen Design

Made in Bristol, England
Blue Spirals Cotton Tote Bag by Sew Wright With Love

Made in Leeds, England
Nightmare Before Christmas Tote Bag by Bags By April

Made in Virginia, USA
Upcycled Bouncy Castle Tote Bag by Wyatt And Jack

Made in Bembridge, England

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 : Notebooks
Next week : Coasters

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

ReadingWomen - July 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:

Kiss Hollywood Goodbye by Anita Loos

The Book Depository : unavailable
Wordery : unavailable
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $3.49 / £5.54 (used PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Loos recalls the heady heydays of the movies and the exciting part she played in them. Her career had begun in the silent film era, providing D.W. Griffith with subtitles for such classics as 'Intolerance'. In 1931 she was back in Hollywood, helping consolidate the future of the talkies, and she spent most of the next eighteen years as prize screenwriter and protogee of the Great Little Master, Irving Thalberg, MGM's star producer. Here is the story of those years when she wrote such classics as 'The Red-Headed Woman', 'Saratoga' and 'San Francisco'. This book supplies more insights into the history of film than many earnest, scholarly studies on the same subject.

5 star favourite

A book to which I awarded 5/5 stars

Dreams Of Maryam Tair by Mhani Alaoui

The Book Depository : from £12.29 (PB)
Wordery : from £13.11 (PB)
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $11.57 / £8.63 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Outside of time, the legendary queen Sheherazade tells a little girl a story that has happened, and is yet to happen. Dreams of Maryam Tair brings readers to a Casablanca of myth and metaphor, of curses, witches, djinns and demons. But it is also a very present-day Casablanca: a raw, pitiless landscape of crumbling urbanism and rusty ports, of bureaucrats and student revolts, and of a deep human solitude. During the Casablanca Bread Riots of 1981, a child is born to a mother surveilled and detained. She is born with the scent of orange blossoms and a body filled with pain. They call her Maryam Tair. A special, singular child, she is prophesized to carry three perfect gifts and one relentless curse.

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.

Barkskins by Annie Proulx

The Book Depository : from £8.25 (PB)
Wordery : from £8.24 (PB)
Waterstones : from £9.99 (PB)
Amazon : from $9.04 / £1.20 (used PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

In the late seventeenth century two young Frenchmen, RenĂ© Sel and Charles Duquet, arrive in New France. Bound to a feudal lord for three years in exchange for land, they become wood-cutters—barkskins. RenĂ© suffers extraordinary hardship, oppressed by the forest he is charged with clearing. He is forced to marry a native woman and their descendants live trapped between two cultures. But Duquet runs away, becomes a fur trader, then sets up a timber business. Annie Proulx tells the stories of the descendants of Sel and Duquet over three hundred years—their travels across North America, to Europe, China, and New Zealand—the revenge of rivals, accidents, pestilence, Indian attacks, and cultural annihilation. Over and over, they seize what they can of a presumed infinite resource, leaving the modern-day characters face to face with possible ecological collapse.

On my bookshelf

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

The Wrath And The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

The Book Depository : from £7.74 (PB)
Wordery : from £7.72 (PB)
Waterstones : from £7.99 (PB)
Amazon : from $1.40 / £4.53 (used PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

Around the blogosphere

A 5/5 star review from another bookish blog

Unbridled by Diana Palmer

The Book Depository : from £6.25 (PB)
Wordery : from £6.22 (PB)
Waterstones : from £6.99 (PB)
Amazon : from $15.23 / £3.99 (used HB/ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Widowed Texas Ranger and single dad John Ruiz hardened his heart years ago. Day after day, he tracks the roughest criminals in the Lone Star State, leaving little room for love. So when John butts heads with the beautiful nurse who’s helping his young son, he’s floored by how quickly the sparks fly.

Ever since her mother’s and brother’s brutal murders, Sunny Marlowe has devoted her life to helping save others. Adorable Tonio Ruiz is just another youngster she’s trying to help—or so she tells herself. Little does she know he’s John’s son. When her life comes under fire, can one mysterious rancher rescue her?

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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