Monday, 15 October 2018

Stephanie Jane's #Giveaway & #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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Wednesday, 10 October 2018

#ReadingWomen - October 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:

Slave by Mende Nazer

The Book Depository
Amazon US / Amazon UK

'Mende Nazer tells the story of her kidnap, at age 12, from an idyllic life with her family in a village in Sudan, and being sold into slavery. Trafficked to Europe and the London home of a diplomat, Nazer escaped - only to find she had to fight for asylum.'

5 star favourite

A book to which I awarded 5/5 stars

Gulag 101 by Nico Reznick

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

'Nico Reznick's second collection of poetry is an exploration of profoundly human themes, such as loss, desire, oppression and the search for meaning, calling upon a disparate array of muses, including Slovakian strippers, the Conservative Party and brain-damaged cat-gods. Reznick's style favours realness over beauty, directness over decoration. Sensitive while avoiding sentimentality, Reznick writes with a savage and soul-baring sincerity that cuts right to the bleeding, beating heart of the human condition.'

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.

The Second Deadly Sin by Asa Larsson

The Book Depository
Amazon US / Amazon UK

Dawn breaks in a forest in northern Sweden. Villagers gather to dispatch a rampaging bear. When the beast is brought to ground they are horrified to find the remains of a human hand inside its stomach.
In nearby Kiruna a woman is found murdered in her bed, her body a patchwork of vicious wounds, the word WHORE scrawled across the wall. Her grandson Marcus, already an orphan, is nowhere to be seen.
Grasping for clues, Rebecka Martinsson begins to delve into the victim's tragic family history. But with doubts over her mental health still lingering, she is ousted from the case by an arrogant and ambitious young prosecutor.
Before long a chance lead draws Martinsson back into the thick of the action and her legendary courage is put to the test once more.

On my bookshelf

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

Thalidomide Kid by Kate Rigby

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

Daryl Wainwright is the quirky youngest child of a large family of petty thieves and criminals who calls himself ‘Thalidomide Kid’.

Celia Burkett is the new girl at the local primary school, and the daughter of the deputy head at the local comprehensive where she is bound the following September. With few friends, Celia soon becomes fascinated by ‘the boy with no arms’. 

The story is about the blossoming romance and sexual awakening between a lonely girl and a disabled boy, and their struggle against adversity and prejudice as they pass from primary to secondary school in 1970s Cirencester. The story deals with themes and issues that are timeless.

Around the blogosphere

A 5/5 star review from another bookish blog

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain

The Book Depository
Amazon US / Amazon UK

When Carly Sears, a young woman widowed by the Vietnam War, receives the news that her unborn baby girl has a heart defect, she is devastated. It is 1970, and she is told that nothing can be done to help her child. But her brother-in-law, a physicist with a mysterious past, tells her that perhaps there is a way to save her baby. What he suggests is something that will shatter every preconceived notion that Carly has. Something that will require a kind of strength and courage she never knew existed. Something that will mean an unimaginable leap of faith on Carly’s part.

And all for the love of her unborn child.

The Dream Daughter is a rich, genre-spanning, breathtaking novel about one mother’s quest to save her child, unite her family, and believe in the unbelievable. Diane Chamberlain pushes the boundaries of faith and science to deliver a novel that you will never forget.

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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Monday, 8 October 2018

Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail

The Iron Road by Keir Smith 
Catching up with our home news first: our friend Marta is now the proud owner of our Bailey Orion caravan and we hope she will be as happy in it as we were. We're enjoying being in our Classic Hymer motorhome, despite a few teething troubles, and have decided to call it Horace because it sounds like a lion roaring if you don't change up from first gear fast enough when pulling away at traffic lights! I thought I remembered a lion called Horace, but Googling the phrase has failed to find anything so goodness only knows what I should have remembered!

We took Horace to his first art exhibition this week although he didn't actually get any further than the car park. Dave and I set of on foot to (mostly) admire the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail. This free Trail (It did cost £3 to park for up to 4 hours) is essentially a five mile woodland walk, sporadically interrupted by sixteen large outdoor artworks. Reading up on the website afterwards - because we didn't shell out for the map), some of the pieces have been in place for decades.

Horace waiting at the Sculpture Trail 

My favourite was an atmospheric work called Dead Wood by Carole Drake. It comprises of "five steel plates dug into the forest floor amongst a regiment of larch … they bear faint traces, memories of European forests devastated by war." I didn't get a good photo of this work and the one Through This Link doesn't really do justice to its spookiness.

Detail from
The Iron Road 
The Iron Road by Keir Smith is another that made quite an impression on me. "Twenty evenly spaced railway sleepers placed on the gentle curve of a disused railway line bring the spirit of the Forest’s industrial past to life." The sleepers themselves apparently originally were in the London Underground. Now they are each carved with different motifs such as the vase pictured. Other images include a smoking chimney and an open book.

My third highlight was Echo by Annie Cattrell. This piece is a replica of a section of the bank behind it. It's cleverly positioned so we could see details of tree roots in the sculpture and their natural inspiration. I would love to know how this one was created. Surely a mould of the bank would have disturbed it too much? I did try calling to try and get an audible echo too - of course! It didn't work particularly well.

Echo by Annie Cattrell 

I made an unexpected discovery tucked into an Echo crevice - a cute Bee Kind painted pebble from FODRocksUK. I haven't decided where to rehide it yet!

Here's some of the other sculptures:

Friday, 5 October 2018

#WorldReads - Five Books From South Korea

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 South Korea!

Nowhere To Be Found by Bae Suah

The Book Depository
Amazon US / Amazon UK

A nameless narrator passes through her life, searching for meaning and connection in experiences she barely feels. For her, time and identity blur, and all action is reaction. She can't quite understand what motivates others to take life seriously enough to focus on anything--for her existence is a loosely woven tapestry of fleeting concepts. From losing her virginity to mindless jobs and a splintered, unsupportive family, the lessons learned have less to do with the reality we all share and more to do with the truth of the imagination, which is where the narrator focuses to discover herself.

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

The Book Depository
Amazon US / Amazon UK

Yeongdo, Korea 1911. In a small fishing village on the banks of the East Sea, a club-footed, cleft-lipped man marries a fifteen-year-old girl. The couple have one child, their beloved daughter Sunja. When Sunja falls pregnant by a married yakuza, the family face ruin. But then Isak, a Christian minister, offers her a chance of salvation: a new life in Japan as his wife. Following a man she barely knows to a hostile country in which she has no friends, no home, and whose language she cannot speak, Sunja’s salvation is just the beginning of her story. Through eight decades and four generations, Pachinko is an epic tale of family, identity, love, death and survival.

Meeting With My Brother by Yi Mun-Yol

The Book Depository
Amazon US / Amazon UK

Yi Mun-yol's Meeting with My Brother is narrated by a middle-aged South Korean professor, also named Yi, whose father abandoned his family and defected to the North at the outbreak of the Korean War. Many years later, despite having spent most of his life under a cloud of suspicion as the son of a traitor, Yi is prepared to reunite with his father. Yet before a rendezvous on the Chinese border can be arranged, his father dies. Yi then learns for the first time that he has a half-brother, whom he chooses to meet instead. As the two confront their shared legacy, their encounter takes a surprising turn. Meeting with My Brother represents the political and psychological complexity of Koreans on both sides of the border, offering a complex yet poignant perspective on the divisions between the two countries. Through a series of charged conversations, Yi explores the nuances of reunification, both political and personal. This semiautobiographical account draws on Yi s own experience of growing up with an absent father who defected to the North and the stigma of family disloyalty.

The Good Son by You-jeong Jeong

The Book Depository
Amazon US / Amazon UK

When Yu-jin wakes up covered in blood, and finds the body of his mother downstairs, he decides to hide the evidence and pursue the killer himself. Then young women start disappearing in his South Korean town. Who is he hunting? And why does the answer take him back to his brother and father who lost their lives many years ago.

The Good Son is inspired by a true story. 

Princess Bari by Hwang Sok-Yong

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

In a drab North Korean city, a seventh daughter is born to a couple longing for a son. Abandoned hours after her birth, she is eventually rescued by her grandmother. The old woman names the child Bari, after a legend telling of a forsaken princess who undertakes a quest for an elixir that will bring peace to the souls of the dead. As a young woman, frail, brave Bari escapes North Korea and takes refuge in China before embarking on a journey across the ocean in the hold of a cargo ship, seeking a better life. She lands in London, where she finds work as a masseuse. Paid to soothe her clients' aching bodies, she discovers that she can ease their more subtle agonies as well, having inherited her beloved grandmother's uncanny ability to read the pain and fears of others. Bari makes her home amongst other immigrants living clandestinely. She finds love in unlikely places, but also suffers a series of misfortunes that push her to the limits of sanity. Yet she has come too far to give in to despair.

That's it for October's WorldReads from South Korea. 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 South Korean-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, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and Zimbabwe.

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

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Wrap Up September: Bookish Bingo

My second month of Bookish Bingo which is hosted each month at Chapter Break.
I got 19 out of 25 in August so let's see if I did any better in September? I'm including books I read during September, 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!

Set on school campus
Magic / Sorcery
Favourite author
Recommended to me
Man on cover
Free book
Library book

Map / directions
Mates / friends
Audio book
Free Space
Not in a series
Enemies to friends / lovers

In a series

Shelf love
Physical book
Ship or plane
Rags to riches
Adventure / action
Tattoo Treason
Sword fight

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