What I’m Reading This Week: 16th March, 2015

Morning All! Today, I’m actually glad it’s Monday because I’m off work. On the agenda? Not a lot. Lunch with a friend and lots of lounging around (I did briefly think of doing housework but then decided that was too much effort ūüėČ). On the reading list for today, and the rest of the week are…

The Bees by Laline Paull, picked for my book club, this sounds fascinating if the author can pull it off.  image

Flora 717 is a sanitation worker, a member of the lowest caste in her orchard hive where work and sacrifice are the highest virtues and worship of the beloved Queen the only religion. But Flora is not like other bees. With circumstances threatening the hive’s survival, her curiosity is regarded as a dangerous flaw but her courage and strength are an asset. She is allowed to feed the newborns in the royal nursery and then to become a forager, flying alone and free to collect pollen. She also finds her way into the Queen’s inner sanctum, where she discovers mysteries about the hive that are both profound and ominous. But when Flora breaks the most sacred law of all‚ÄĒdaring to challenge the Queen’s fertility‚ÄĒenemies abound, from the fearsome fertility police who enforce the strict social hierarchy to the high priestesses jealously wedded to power. Her deepest instincts to serve and sacrifice are now overshadowed by an even deeper desire, a fierce maternal love that will bring her into conflict with her conscience, her heart, her society‚ÄĒand lead her to unthinkable deeds.

Also planned is¬†Dead Wake¬†by Erik Larson, a review copy about the sinking of the Lusitania, of which I know nothing other than it happened on my birthday (day, not year). I haven’t read any non-fiction in a while and this one really appealed. image

On May 1, 1915, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were anxious. Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone, and for months, its U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the¬†Lusitania¬†was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds” and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack. He knew, moreover, that his ship–the fastest then in service–could outrun any threat. Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger’s U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the¬†Lusitania¬†made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small–hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more–all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.

And that’s all folks. As usual I’m linking in with Sheila at Book Journey for “It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?”.

Emma x

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What I’m Reading This Week: 16th February, 2015

This week, it’s half-term. My daughter is off school and I am having a much needed break from work. Time off used to mean plenty of time lounging and reading. Now it means entertaining a four year old whilst it’s chucking it down (yes, inevitably, we’ve woken up to rain). Knowing I won’t get much downtime over the next few days I’ve only got two books on my list for this week, a new one – Our Endless Numbered Days – and one I’ve wanted to read forever but never gotten round too – Brick Lane. I don’t think I could manage much more. What are your reading plans for the week?

Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller

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Peggy Hillcoat is eight years old when her survivalist father, James, takes her from their home in London to a remote hut in the woods and tells her that the rest of the world has been destroyed. Deep in the wilderness, Peggy and James make a life for themselves. They repair the hut, bathe in water from the river, hunt and gather food in the summers and almost starve in the harsh winters. They mark their days only by the sun and the seasons.

When Peggy finds a pair of boots in the forest and begins a search for their owner, she unwittingly unravels the series of events that brought her to the woods and, in doing so, discovers the strength she needs to go back to the home and mother she thought she’d lost.

After Peggy’s return to civilization, her mother begins to learn the truth of her escape, of what happened to James on the last night out in the woods, and of the secret that Peggy has carried with her ever since.

Brick Lane by Monica Ali

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Still in her teenage years, Nazneen finds herself in an arranged marriage with a disappointed man who is twenty years older. Away from the mud and heat of her Bangladeshi village, home is now a cramped flat in a high-rise block in London’s East End. Nazneen knows not a word of English, and is forced to depend on her husband. But unlike him she is practical and wise, and befriends a fellow Asian girl Razia, who helps her understand the strange ways of her adopted new British home.

Nazneen keeps in touch with her sister Hasina back in the village. But the rebellious Hasina has kicked against cultural tradition and run off in a ‘love marriage’ with the man of her dreams. When he suddenly turns violent, she is forced into the degrading job of garment girl in a cloth factory.

Confined in her flat by tradition and family duty, Nazneen also sews furiously for a living, shut away with her buttons and linings – until the radical Karim steps unexpectedly into her life. On a background of racial conflict and tension, they embark on a love affair that forces Nazneen finally to take control of her fate.

Emma x

Once again, I’m linking in with Sheila at Book Journey, who has a weekly linky post, It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Click on the link to find out what Sheila and other book bloggers are reading.

January Round-Up

January was a good month. Very busy but lots of fun. I got to spend time with friends and family and didn’t end up working too hard (unlike December, which was insane!). I read a lot.

imageBlogging wise, I made a new years resolution to be more structured in how / when I post and I did an o.k. job with that.¬†It wasn’t perfect though and I want to get better at writing reviews as soon as I’ve read a book…I’m very envious of bloggers who seem able to hold down a job, raise a family, and blog consistently…one day. Here is a round up of what I did manage to write about:

Review: The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
My life outside books: A day out at Kenilworth Castle
Review: Take Me Home by Daniela Sacerdoti
Review: The Peneopiad by Margaret Atwood
Review: The Martian by Andy Weir
Review: Rooms by Lauren Oliver
Review: A Bunch of Sweet Peas by Henry Donald
My life outside books: Coddled Eggs Recipe
Review: Police by Jo Nesbo
Review (for my poetry challenge): The Suppliant Maidens by Aeschylus

All in all, pretty busy for me and I feel fairly satisfied with what I’ve accomplished – one day I might feel like a real blogger ūüôā As for February, weather permitting we will be out an about a bit thanks to half term and visits with family. I’m not sure what else is in store but hopefully most of it will be fun. Have a good month all!

Emma x

What I’m Reading This Week: 26th January, 2015

Morning all. It’s Monday (which has come around way quicker than I wanted it too) and, once again, I’m linking in with Sheila at Book Journey, who has a weekly meme, It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

Normally, at this point, I’m finishing off books from the previous week whilst planning what to replace them with on my bedside table. As I didn’t post last week though, I’m in the nice position of having finished all my planned reads (now just to write review posts!) and getting to start the week with something new.

First up will be Kiss River by Diane Chaimberlain.

Kiss River (Kiss River #2)

This is the follow up to The Keeper of the Light, which was my first read of 2015. When I finally get round to writing the review (this week, I hope), I’ll be able to tell you why I loved it. In the meantime, that’s probably fairly obvious by the fact I’ve ordered the second in the trilogy from my local library. And I can pick it up this morning – yay!

Ten years ago, a hurricane caused the upper half of the Kiss River lighthouse to crumble into the sea. Deemed beyond repair, the remaining 100-foot brick shell of the lighthouse and its spiral staircase have been cordoned off and left for nature to finish the demolition job. Sister and brother Lacey and Clay O’Neill live in the keeper’s house next to the Kiss River lighthouse. When stranger Gina Higgins arrives in the area, she joins them in their bid to restore the decrepit beacon. But all three are hiding secrets from their past, and Gina’s arrival puts in motion a chain of events sure to change their lives forever.

Cypress Grove by James Sallis is also on my to read list this week, continuing my attempt to read everything he’s written after coming across him way too late in his career. I really love the minimalistic way he tells a story.

Cypress Grove (The Turner Trilogy)

The small town where Turner has moved is one of America’s lost places, halfway between Memphis and nowhere. That makes it the perfect hideaway: a place where a man can bury the past and escape the pain of human contact, where conversation happens only when there’s something to say, where you can sit and listen to crickets and watch owls fly silently across the face of the moon. It’s the place where Turner hopes to forget that he had been a cop and a psychotherapist, and would always be an ex-con.” And it’s working fine until Sheriff Lonnie Bates arrives on Turner’s porch with a bottle of Wild Turkey and a problem: The body of a drifter has been found – brutally and ritualistically murdered – and Bates and his deputy need help from someone with big-city experience who appreciates the delicacy of investigating people in a small town. Thrust back into the middle of what he left behind, Turner slowly becomes reacquainted not only with the darkness he had fled, but with the unsuspected kindness of others

And that’s it for this week, which is destined to be a little crazy and I don’t think I can take more on. Plus, these are both books I want to take my time with, not rush. I have a feeling I’m going to enjoy them both. What about you – what are you reading this week?

Emma

What I’m Reading this Week: 12th January, 2015

Afternoon everyone. Bit of a late start to my blogging week this week. Not sure why but today has just completely gotten away from me, as did the weekend. I really couldn’t believe it was Monday this morning. I need more time off to enjoy life! Oh well, on to my books for this week.

As predicted last week, Brave New World is taking a bit of time to read so I’m starting off this week’s what I’m reading with what I didn’t get finished last week. It’s not that it’s that long, I’m just struggling to get into it. I am finding many other things to do instead I’m afraid. It will be finished but when is another matter. In between times, this week I’ll be reading….

The Martian by Andy Weir which I’ve read good and not-so-good reviews for. Although, I’m not much of a one for review copies (too much pressure to read them), I did get one for this so thought I should give it a go.

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Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first man to die there. It started with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he’s stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive–and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to get him first. But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills–and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit–he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

I’m also going to listen to A bunch of Sweet Peas by Henry Donald. This is an older book (published 1988) that I came across at my local library and I just liked the sound of it. Plus, it’s short and with Brave New World, I think I need something like this.

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In 1911, in the Scottish Border village of Sprouston, the young parish minister wrote to the Daily Mail for entry forms for its sweet pea competition. The top prize was a staggering ¬£1000 and organizers predicted that as many as 15,000 would enter. He could not foretell that the paper’s estimate of the number of competitors would be more than doubled, or that a fortnight before the deadline a nation-wide drought would threaten the very existence of the sweet peas he was so painstakingly cultivating. This touching and beautifully illustrated tale is based on a true story.

And that is it for this week. Something old, something new, and something short and sweet. Seems like quite a good mix! What are you reading – something good I hope.

Emma

Once again, I’m linking in with Sheila at Book Journey, who has a weekly linky post, It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Click on the link to find out what Sheila and other book bloggers are reading.

(Revisiting) The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingslover

Over the last few months, ever since I started my blog, I’ve been thinking about all the books I’ve read in the past and loved.¬† Some of these were¬†big hits at the time and have been forgotten, some have¬†become classics since, some – I’m discovering – aren’t anywhere near as¬†good as I remember them.¬† ¬†Without meaning to, I realised I’ve been picking these books up as I wander round the library and, although I wasn’t planning on reviewing them, I thought I might start sharing them as I revisited them….at least the ones I’d still recommend!

First up is The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, which I first read about 10 years ago.

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In 1959, Nathan Price, an evangelical Baptist Minister from Georgia, takes his wife and four daughters to Kilanga, a small village in the Belgian Congo to carry out missionary work. A religious zealot, he sets about trying to convert the local population but, having made no effort to understand the them, ends up alienating the villagers instead. At the same time, his wife and daughters struggle to come to terms with their new lives and how they fit into the world in which they find themselves. It is through their eyes – primarily those of the four girls – that the story of what happens next is told. Not surprisingly, each has a very different reaction to the village, the people and the Congo. As their father becomes more fanatical, two events change their lives forever. We follow each woman from these events and through their lives (up until the 1990s).Read More »

What I’m Reading This Week: 1st December, 2014

I cannot believe I woke up in December this morning.¬† Does anyone else think that Christmas is coming way too quickly?¬† On a plus note, I’ve got quite a few books on my Christmas list so maybe I should be wishing it was here sooner?

It was a really good week for me last week reading wise (though I blogged very little).¬†I made it¬†through / caught up with all the books on my reading list and, as my hubby is from the States, spent the weekend belatedly celebrating Thanksgiving with way too much food and fizz.¬† Out of principle though (as we are in the UK at the moment) I avoided all Black Friday sales and will be doing the same with Cyber Monday.¬† Instead, I’ll spend my time reading some (or all if I’m lucky) of the following:

First up, I plan on finishing One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson, which I started reading a couple of weeks ago and has been slow going.¬† It’s a hardback and it’s huge so I can’t take it anywhere meaning I keep losing track of what I’ve read and then the motivation to keep going.¬† I’m not enjoying it as much as his other books but that may be because I just need to sit down and actually read it.

I’m also going to start Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone.

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This was my classic club spin and I have to say, as a fan of crime fiction, I’m quite looking forward to it.¬† Here’s what it says on Goodreads:Read More »

What I’m Reading This Week: 17th November, 2014

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been reading books that take a bit of brain power. I love a book that makes me think but,as I sit here on Sunday afternoon, thinking about finishing Colorless¬†Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, I’m wondering if I need a few lighter reads this week. So, whilst I’m not 100% as to whether I will read all three of these books, they are ones on the top of the pile.

The Burning Air By Erin Kelly because I’ve read her other novels and loved them.

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The Blurb:The MacBrides have always gone to Far Barn in Devon for Bonfire Night, but this year everything is different. Lydia, the matriarch, is dead; Sophie, the eldest daughter, is desperately trying to repair a crumbling marriage; and Felix, the youngest of the family, has brought a girlfriend with him for the first time.

The girl, Kerry, seems odd in a way nobody can quite put their finger on – but when they leave her looking after Sophie’s baby daughter, and return to find both Kerry and the baby gone, they are forced to ask themselves if they have allowed a cuckoo into their nest…Read More »

Library Love

This week, I’m linking in again with Billy from Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer, who posts a weekly question on his Blog. This week, the question is…

Should book bloggers be doing more to support bookshops rather than just give links to Amazon or B&N as a place to buy the printed version of books they read?

I really liked this question, as it made me think about how I read books and what I might do once I figure out what I want my blog to be. I’m not sure I’ve quite answered it (or if I have an answer) but thought it was as good an excuse as any to put down my thoughts.

The first thing I realised is that, although I buy a lot of books, I rarely shop in bookstores. The one on our local high street closed down last year (yes, I did shop there) and the large ones in the city centre always end up leaving me feeling overwhelmed with choice and yet not seeming to find more beyond bestsellers and well known authors. That doesn’t mean I do a lot of online book ordering either. In fact, If it’s not an ebook, it’s rare I buy paper books from Amazon. Read More »

What I’m Reading This Week: 3rd November, 2014

My next week is a bit of a strange one, destined to be full of long car journeys and nights out. As a result, I’m not expecting to get much reading done but plan on filling up my time on the road with listening instead. Thanks to my local library who let me download books online, which is a real time saver but also provides access to more books than I can find at my local branch, queued up and ready to go are:

The Book: Lancaster and York: The Wars of the Roses by Alison Weir

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The Blurb: The war between the houses of Lancaster and York for the throne of England convulsed the kingdom between 1455 and 1487. This book focuses on the human side of history, on the people and personalities involved in the conflict. At the centre of the book stand Henry VI, the pious King whose mental instability led to political chaos; Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York and Henry’s rival; and most important of all, Margaret of Anjou, Henry’s wife, who took up arms in her husband’s cause and battled for many years in a violent man’s world.

The Reason: It is another book about one of my favourite periods of English history and, although Alison Weir wrote it 20 years ago and is one of my favourite non-fiction/historical authors, this is not one I’ve read.

The Book: The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

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The Blurb: In Homer’s account in The Odyssey, Penelope–wife of Odysseus and cousin of the beautiful Helen of Troy–is portrayed as the quintessential faithful wife, her story a salutary lesson through the ages. Left alone for twenty years when Odysseus goes off to fight in the Trojan War after the abduction of Helen, Penelope manages, in the face of scandalous rumors, to maintain the kingdom of Ithaca, bring up her wayward son, and keep over a hundred suitors at bay, simultaneously. When Odysseus finally comes home after enduring hardships, overcoming monsters, and sleeping with goddesses, he kills her suitors and–curiously–twelve of her maids. Read More »