Sundays in bed with …….The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

Sundays in bed with is a meme hosted by Midnight Book Girl but I came across it recently on Jill’s Book Blog. It is simply a chance to share the book that is by your bed at the moment (or that you wish was by your bed).

I’m a bit late posting this week as I’ve just got back from our Remembrance Day service. I was very honoured and very nervous to be asked to lead the singing this year. I had a special place to stand and a microphone! Eeeek! It seemed to go OK though and people said it helped them feel able to join in with the hymns which was the idea so I guess that was a success.

Blurb:
The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.

When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is?

Nina has to decide what to do. It’s time for her to come out of her shell.

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill has to be the perfect book to have by your bed. This was a totally random pick off the library shelf but I am really loving it so far. It has actually made me laugh out loud twice so far which is really unusual for me. I also keep irritating my husband by reading out random bits to him.

I love the author’s style and the character of Nina is just who I think I might be if I were single. The dedication to the planner really strikes a chord. The characters are all brilliant and I can’t wait to get back to reading it.

WWW Wednesday – 3rd November

It’s Wednesday again and so it must be time for WWW Wednesday. This is one of my favourite memes and I love taking part in it and reading everybody else’s posts. It’s currently hosted by Sam and it can be found on her blog Taking on a world of words which can be found here. The idea of WWW Wednesday is just to answer three questions about what you are reading, have just finished and are about to read so here goes for this week.

What are you currently reading?

This is seriously good. If you enjoy political thrillers, then this is a brilliant read or at least for the first third which is as far as I got last night.

It’s set in the immediate aftermath of an election with a thinly disguised Donald Trump having left a disorganised government behind him. The newly appointed Secretary of State and the new president hate each other. The president appears to have planned to discredit his SoS early on but an unexpected terror campaign means that they are forced to work together.

I’m glad that as a long time fan of West Wing and Madame Secretary, I have a bit of knowledge of the fictional workings of the White House which has helped to make sense of the different characters in those scenes. I was really engrossed in this last night and can’t wait to get back to it tonight.

What have you recently finished reading?

I began this at the weekend and honestly wasn’t sure if I would finish it as it didn’t really hold my attention at the start. I’m glad that I did persevere with it though as it definitely grew on me as I read.

It’s probably not a book to read in one sitting but each section is quite short as you move through the years from 1944 to 1979. I still felt a bit detached from the characters but I began to relax into the style of the author and to enjoy the way she writes. I loved the descriptions of Ulysees’ and his companions’ lives in Florence especially the section about the flood.

When I had finished it, I found myself thinking about it afterwards which I often feel is the sign of a good book.

What do you plan to read next?

I think I’ll relax a bit next with a cosy crime mystery for Christmas from my Net Galley shelf.

So that’s my past, present and future reading. I can’t wait to see what other people are reading at the moment.

Sundays in bed with………….Home

Sundays in bed with is a meme hosted by Midnight Book Girl but I came across it recently on Jill’s Book Blog. It is simply a chance to share the book that is by your bed at the moment (or that you wish was by your bed).

This week it’s back home again but it’s all a bit rushed as we’re frantically rehearsing A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum by Sondheim which we are performing next weekend. Costumes are all sorted and lines mostly learned so it’s just a matter of rehearsing and more rehearsing. Reading in my spare time is a real break from the music.

Home by Penny Parkes

Blurb:
Anna Wilson travels the world as a professional housesitter – stepping into other people’s lives – caring for their homes, pets and sometimes even neighbours. Living vicariously.

 
But all Anna has ever really wanted is a home of her own – a proper one, filled with family and love and happy memories. If only she knew where to start.
 
Growing up in foster care, she always envied her friends their secure and carefree lives, their certainty and confidence. And, while those same friends may have become her family of choice, Anna is still stuck in that nomadic cycle, looking for answers, trying to find the courage to put down roots and find a place to call home.
 
Compelling, rich and evocative, Home is Anna’s journey to discovering that it isn’t where you settle down that matters, but the people you have around you when you do

I can’t imagine not having a place that you call home. Whether it’s just a bed sit or a detached house in the country, I truly think that everyone needs a space of their own. The idea of someone choosing not to have that seems really strange to me.

Anna’s story is told through chapters about her current life as a 30 year old house sitter interspersed with chapters showing her growing up as a child in the fostering system.

The story begins in Oxford in 2019 where she is house sitting and also attending her best friend’s wedding. Anna is anxious and seems to be on edge all the time. She even wants to slip into the church at the back at her friends funeral. She actually seems to have a lot in common with Albert in last week’s book. I wonder if people avoiding social interaction is a common theme in books recently?

The chapters that show Anna as a bewildered child in the care system are so sad but then her first foster placement is with Marjorie who is just such an amazing character. You would want every child to have a placement like that where they can grow up happily and securely.

Obviously, things don’t go smoothly for long. The current house sitting job goes disastrously wrong and her foster placement ends when Marjorie becomes ill. I’ve left Anna just starting a new house sitting job by the sea and can’t wait to see where the story goes next.

The Song that Sings Us – A Review

Blurb:
When animals talk, it’s time humans listened.

Harlon has been raised to protect her younger siblings, twins Ash and Xeno, and their outlawed power of communicating with animals. But when the sinister Automators attack their mountain home they must flee for their lives. Xeno is kidnapped and Harlon and Ash are separated.

In a thrilling and dangerous adventure they must all journey alone through the ice fields, forests and oceans of Rumyc to try to rescue each other and fulfil a mysterious promise about a lost island made to their mother.

My Review

Harlon lives with her mother and two siblings, Ash and Xeno, in an isolated cottage in the mountains. They live in a society ruled by the Automators, people who hate nature and only want to subdue and use it for their own devices. Ash and Xeno are listeners, they can hear the thoughts of animals and this skill has been outlawed by the Automators. The story opens with a force of Automators coming for the family and the three children have to escape. Their mother stays to fight off the attackers and there follows a thrilling account of the children’s escape down the mountain on snowboards.

Very soon, the siblings get separated and they end up trying to bring down the automators in very different ways as they meet different groups of people who are rebelling against their rule. As they join the rebellion, the children also find that there are a lot of unanswered questions about their mother. Who was she really?

This is a fantasy adventure story with a very strong environmental message. The three children each have very distinct personalities and story lines which all combine at the end for the climax of the story. The novel is fast paced with lots of action as the siblings get involved with the different forces in opposition to the Automators. There is quite a lot of violence as the Automators are ruthless and don’t care who or what they destroy although this is not too graphic. I liked the different points of view throughout the story and the way the animals are given importance including a ship being captained by a tiger. Nicola Davies portrays the world of Rumyc vividly and it is easy to picture the oceans and landscapes where the story takes place.

This is a great teenage or YA read and I’m really grateful to Net Galley and the publishers, Firefly Press for providing me with an ARC in exchange for this review.

Stacking the Shelves – 12

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The weekend is here already and so it’s time for another post about Stacking the shelves. This is a meme hosted by Reading Reality and details are on her blog. The gorgeous graphic is also used courtesy of the site.

My stacking the shelves posts are usually all about the books that I get from my local library. However, this week I have decided that the library is going to have to miss a week. I’m continually a week behind and always reading the books that I took out the week before so this week, I am going to get up to date with the books that I have before I borrow any more.

That means I don’t have anything to put on my shelves. So I’ve decided that my stacking the shelf post this week is going to be about what is currently on my Net Galley shelf. I was determined that my review rating would always be above 80%!!!!! I haven’t managed it yet. I tell myself not to request any more books but then I see something that I absolutely have to read. My current resolution has lasted for a few days though Here are the books that are currently on my Net Galley Shelf.

I’ve got a real mixture of Adult fantasy, thrillers and contemporary together with some YA and Middle Grade books which pretty much reflects my general reading. My aim is not to request any more until I have read and reviewed at least half of this current batch but we’ll see how long that resolution lasts!

What’s on your Net Galley or library shelves this week?

Sundays in bed with …………The Improbability of Love

Sundays in bed with is a meme hosted by Midnight Book Girl but I came across it recently on Jill’s Book Blog. It is simply a chance to share the book that is by your bed at the moment (or that you wish was by your bed).

This week, the book by my bed is The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild.

Blurb: When lovelorn Annie McDee stumbles across a dirty painting in a junk shop while looking for a present for an unsuitable man, she has no idea what she has discovered. Soon she finds herself drawn unwillingly into the tumultuous London art world, populated by exiled Russian oligarchs, avaricious Sheikas, desperate auctioneers and unscrupulous dealers, all scheming to get their hands on her painting – a lost eighteenth-century masterpiece called ‘The Improbability of Love’. Delving into the painting’s past, Annie will uncover not just an illustrious list of former owners, but some of the darkest secrets of European history – and in doing so she might just learn to open up to the possibility of falling in love again.

The idea of this really appealed to me. After all, who doesn’t want to find a lost masterpiece in an antique shop? However, it hasn’t held my attention as much as I expected. It seems to be falling into that group of books that I class as interesting rather than gripping. It’s very easy to put down which is never a good sign.

I like the main character Annie, and I love the details about the painting and the preservation of old paintings but I think that there are just too many threads and different characters especially for a Saturday night read.

I am interested to see how it all ends up especially the thread that links the painting to art work looted by the Nazis.

WWW Wednesday 6th October

Can you believe that it’s the first Wednesday of October already, and time for WWW Wednesday again? This is one of my favourite memes and I love reading everybody else’s posts. It’s currently hosted by Sam and it can be found on her blog Taking on a world of words which can be found here. The idea of WWW Wednesday is just to answer three questions about what you are reading, have just finished and are about to read so here goes for this week.

What are you currently reading?

This was recommended to me by my brother and seems to be a memoir of a boy becoming an adult in the mid eighties in Scotland. At the moment, it’s very light hearted as James and his best friend Tully hit Manchester for a music festival. It’s all about the relationship between the two lads and their other friends as well as their daily lives at that time when lives were hard in the ex mining and ship building communities.

I’ve also just started Evolutionary Magic by Christina Herlyn. I love dystopian novels and was intrigued by this one when I saw it on Net Galley.

What have you recently finished reading?

The Coldest Case wasn’t my favourite of Bruno’s cases but still a good read. I love the depiction of life in the small town of St Denis which is always a strong thread in the book. The actual cold case didn’t interest me as much as some of his cases have done possibly as it was linked to the Cold War which is a period of History that has never really interested me. The forest fire story line which ran through the book was brilliant and very topical after last Summer and this. These books certainly make me want to visit the Dordogne area of France.

What are you likely to read next?

This is definitely next on my list to read. Another dystopian book but this time where the survivors are being picked off one by one in a version of ‘And then there were none’. I suspect I will either love it or hate it.

That’s my WWW Wednesday for this week. I’m really looking forward to see what every one else has in their posts this week.

Spell the month in books – October

I spotted this on Friday on Hopewells library of life but it was created by Jana who blogs at Reviews from the Stacks and she also provided the gorgeous graphic for this on her page. I looked around my room and could instantly spot letters O, C and T and so had to try and create the rest of the month. My own rules were that they were all fantasy and had to be physical books.

O is for Obsidian Tower by Melissa Caruso – Still on my TBR pile

C is for The City We Became by N K Jemison. Also still on my TBR pile.

T is for Treason Keep by Jennifer Fallon. I love the Harshini books by this Australian author

O is for Ordermaster by L E Modessit Jnr Another of my favourite series – The magic of Recluse

B is for The Burning Kingdoms by Sally Green. The middle book of a great YA trilogy that I really enjoyed

E is for Eve of Man by Giovanna & Tom Fletcher – I’m really looking forward to the final part of this series

R is for The Return of the King – A brilliant book but also the only fantasy book I seem to own beginning with R.

Happy October Reading everyone!

Sundays in bed with ………….The Coldest Case

Sundays in bed with is a meme hosted by Midnight Book Girl but I came across it this week on Jill’s Book Blog. It is simply a chance to share the book that is by your bed at the moment (or that you wish was by your bed).

This week, the book I was reading last night is The Coldest Case by Martin Walker.

Goodreads blurb – Bruno Courreges is Chief of Police of the lovely town of St Denis in the Dordogne. His main wish is to keep the local people safe and his town free from crime. But crime has a way of finding its way to him.

For thirty years, Bruno’s boss, Chief of Detectives Jalipeau, known as J-J, has been obsessed with his first case. It was never solved and Bruno knows that this failure continues to haunt J-J. A young male body was found in the woods near St Denis and never identified. For all these years, J-J has kept the skull as a reminder. He calls him ‘Oscar’.

Visiting the famous pre-history museum in nearby Les Eyzies, Bruno sees some amazingly life-like heads expertly reconstructed from ancient skulls. He suggests performing a similar reconstruction on Oscar as a first step towards at last identifying him. An expert is hired to start the reconstruction and the search for Oscar’s killer begins again in earnest

This is the 14th book in this series and I love them as much for the detail about life in small town France as the mystery element. Food and the History of the area always play a big part and this one is no exception, Bruno seems to spend at least as much time thinking about food or eating as he does solving crimes but that is part of the book’s appeal. Reading this was certainly an agreeable way to spend an hour last night and again this morning over my coffee.

Stacking the Shelves 10

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The weekend has arrived already and it’s time for another post about Stacking the shelves.  This is a meme hosted by Reading Reality and details are on her blog. The gorgeous graphic is also used courtesy of the site.

My stacking the shelves posts are all about the books that I get from my local library. Libraries are continually under threat of closure or reduced hours but they are such an important way of getting books into people’s hands that they need supporting. By highlighting the amazing books that I pick up every week, I hope to inspire maybe just one person to visit their library and borrow a book

This week, like last week, I only had one reservation to pick up and just found another three books on the shelves that appealed.

Pulpit Rock – Kate Rhodes This has been on my reservations for ages and has been in transit between libraries for over a month but has finally arrived. I really like these these crime novels set in the Scilly Isles featuring DI Ben Kitto. As I’ve said before, I love crime stories that are really based in a recognisable setting and this series is a great example of that. The characters are well written too so I’m looking forward to this one.

The Last – Hanna Jameson ‘And then there were none’ is a classic mystery story but this is a version with a twist as it’s a dystopian version. The world has ended and twenty survivors are holed up in a Swiss hotel when one of them is murdered. Definitely a book that appealed to me.

No Offense – Meg Cabot – I’ve heard good things about Meg Cabot so I thought that I would give this one a try as a bit of light relief after the first two books in my haul. I loved the cover too.

The Improbability of Love – Hannah Rothschild The cover of this one stood out too and the blurb sounded interesting. Annie Mc Dee discovers an long lost art masterpiece and is dragged into the London Art world with multi millionaires and crooks all trying to get their hands on the painting. It’s supposed to be funny so we shall see.

So that’s this week’s haul from the library: one book that I know I will enjoy and 3 that are unknown quantities. That is the beauty of the library though. If I don’t like any of them, they will go back and it hasn’t cost me a penny.

Have you read any of these? What did you think?