Saturday, 19 April 2014

Book Review: The Memory Witch - Heather Topham-Wood

SynopsisTen years ago, Quinn Jacobs’ mother made a bargain with a local witch - steal away Quinn’s memories from the first eight years of her life and in return, Quinn would spend a year in servitude to the witch.

On Quinn’s eighteenth birthday, she’s forced to leave her home and friends behind. For the next year, she’ll live at Chadwick House, learning everything she needs to know about being a spell-caster. As her powers grow, Quinn begins to unravel the secrets of the past and the reason her mother was so desperate to conceal the horrifying truth. (Taken from Goodreads)

Review - I won this eBook in the UtopYA authors give-away in December 2013.

Heather Topham -Wood is the author of the Second Sight series published in 2012 and The Disappearing Girl in May 2013.  This is the first novel in The Memory Witch trilogy published December 2013.

This YA novel deals with the usual issues surrounding mid-late teens.  It is a tale which holds the reader under its spell.  Quinn happily dating her rich boyfriend suddenly finds that the life she leads has to come to an end.  That sounds a bit final, but lets say it's put on hold for a year.  And at the end of that year she will have learnt new skills which could change the course of her life.  We have upheaval, separation from her family and friends.  Quinn also has to delay her plans to go to college, plans which included continuing to see her boyfriend regularly.  Suddenly, Quinn learns that she has to spend a year away living with a strange old lady and her nephew against her will.  To make matters worse she learns that this is a promise her Mother made to this lady ten years ago.  Naturally, Quinn wants to learn the truth and when she does, how will she deal with it?  Will she abide by the rules of her new craft?  To find the answer to that question you will have to wait for the second book in this trilogy.  I look forward to reading more in this series.  4*

Kindle edition: ASIN: B00HB67IWY
Paperback: ISBN-13: 978-1939173614

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Book Review: Mrs Sinclair's Suitcase - Louise Walters

Synopsis - Roberta likes to collect the letters and postcards she finds in second-hand books.  When her father gives her some of her grandmother's belongings, she finds a baffling letter from the grandfather she never knew - dates after he supposedly died in the war.

Dorothy is unhappily married to Albert, who is away at war.  When an aeroplane crashes in the field behind her house she meets Squadron Leader Jan Pietrykowski, and as their bond deepens she dares to hope she might find happiness.  But fate has other plans for them both, and soon she is hiding a secret so momentous that its shock waves will touch her granddaughter many years later...

Review - I won this ARC from a contest on Beadyjan's Bookshelf a couple of months ago.  The book group chose Mrs Sinclair's Suitcase out of my selection of books for review this month.  This is Louise Walters debut novel.

The story is told over a dual timeline.  We are introduced to present day Roberta who is given a suitcase containing books and letters belonging to her grandmother.  We are then taken back in time to Word War Two and the life of Dorothea, Roberta's Grandmother "Babunia".

The story begins with a letter to Dorothea from her beloved Jan.  We gradually learn the history leading up to why this particular letter was written.  This is the letter that Roberta finds on opening her Grandmother's suitcase which poses some big questions about Dorothy's past.

As stated above the story is told in dual narrative and in this case it works well.  I liked the lyrical writing and the story unfolded beautifully.  All the characters were well rounded and drew me into their world.  A story of love, loss, tragedy and friendship, even from the most unexpected corner.  A great debut novel.  I look forward to Ms Walters next book.  4*

ISBN 9781444777240 Hodder & Stoughton 2014

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Wondrous Words Wednesday



Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you have encountered or spotlight words you love.  This weekly meme is hosted by BermudaOnion's Weblog.  If you would like to join then please hop over (see link above) and add your URL to the Linky.

I have finished Parade's End by Ford Maddox Ford.  Here are some more words from that tome.


solecisms - noun. an offence against grammar, idiom or etiquette.
"the impatience of solecisms and facile generalisations."

redd - verb. put something in order; tidy.
"So was to give the decent young Company Commander a chance to redd up his house..."

marl - noun. a soil consisting of clay and lime, used as a fertilizer.
verb. to apply marl to.
"And the marl too."

imprecations - noun. a spoken curse.
"they were screaming imprecations and threats."

doxy - noun. a lover or mistress
"You could have a painted doxy from the servants hall."

revetments - noun. a facing of masonry on a rampart or wall; a retaining wall.
"Two of the shovels still stood against the brush wood revetments of the parapet."

What new words came into your life this week?

Friday, 11 April 2014

Easter Give-Away


The winner is:

Kathy

Congratulations!



Last month I celebrated my blog anniversary with a give-away.  You may remember that I mentioned that I had three preloved books to give-away which I would spread over two or three months.  Well, here is the second give-away, just in time for Easter celebrations.

Each book was received for review, read once and I posted a review for each. 

Once again, I am not using Rafflecopter.  So I (or a designated family member) will literally pick a winner out of a hat (or receptacle).



I am giving away The Cry of the Loon by Christopher Morris



My review can be found here.

This paperback copy has been read once and is in very good condition.

Competition Rules
UK Residents only (I shall not post outside of the UK)
Must be aged 16 years or over
Once the winner is chosen I shall email, message or tweet whichever means the entrant prefers to be notified.
The winning entrant will have three days to respond via email, PM or DM with their details.
The competition closes at midday on Monday 14th April.

How to enter:
All I ask from you is to fill in the comment box telling me if you would like to win this book.  Please leave me your name with either your email address in a format to defy spam (e.g. name[at]hootmail[dot]com), twitter username or Facebook page name.
Please feel free to share this competition with your UK readers and friends. 

Good Luck!




Thursday, 10 April 2014

Book Review: Parade's End - Ford Maddox Ford

Synopsis - In this epic tale, spanning over a decade, war turns the world of privileged, English aristocrat Christopher Tietjens upside down.  It forces him to question everything he holds dear - social order, morality, marriage and loyalty.  And it rocks the very foundations of English society.

Review - Although Ford did not attend University like some other well known authors of the time.  His writing style is typical of that era and is intellectually a match for those educated to a higher level.  It is stated that Parade's End is based on Ford's own experiences at war.  The novel is made up of four books: Some Do Not; No More Parades; A Man Could Stand Up and The Last Post.

The books are quite difficult to read due to the 'padding'.  By 'padding' I mean that there is lot of detail on the main characters thoughts and musings.  I was pleased to have seen the TV adaptation before reading this novel.  I think I may have struggled to keep up otherwise.  Especially, as it took me nearly two months to read.  This was due to time constraints and is not a reflection of the novel.  If the story just stuck to action then it would have been at least half in size, but the poorer for it.

Christopher, married to a woman who could be described as the 'devil incarnate'.  So malicious and vindictive was she towards him.  She went on what could almost be called a rampage to discredit and ruin him.  Yet, he had married her taking on her child not knowing if it was his.  He would not divorce her out of principle, he would not discredit his wife.  Of course, divorce was not the done thing and would have reflected badly on him.  Sylvia Tietjens was a Catholic and divorce was against her religion, she would never have agreed to it.  This is the basis of the novel and what follows unfolds in the story .  Christopher may be naive but he is a good sort, yet he suffers more than anyone.  It is a tale of its time but is packed with social, political and moral issues.  If you have the time to invest in reading this tome, it is worth your while.  Enjoy!  4*

ISBN 978-1-84-990493-3

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Wondrous Words Wednesday


Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you have encountered or spotlight words you love.  This weekly meme is hosted by BermudaOnion's Weblog.  If you would like to join then please hop over (see link above) and add your URL to the Linky.

I am coming to the finish in my reading of Parade's End by Ford Maddox Ford.  However, I have a list of words to last several forthcoming weeks contributions to this meme.  Here are a few to whet your whistle this week.

Okay, I know this particular word cropped up last week on Joy's Book Blog, but I like it and as it is next up on my list, here it is again:
costermonger - noun. a person who sells fruit, vegetables etc. from a barrow in the street.
"except for Edith Ethel who had the making of a female costermonger and could not tell the truth."

unbellicose - adj. Not bellicose; unwarlike.
"And singularly unbellicose."

pestilential - adjrelating to or tending to cause infectious diseases.
"with his mad eyes and his pestilential accent."

objurgation - noun. quarrel
"McKechnie with objurgations said...."

exigencies - noun. Plural of exigencyan urgent need or demand.
"alternative to the exigencies of active hostilities."

Do you have any words to share this week?



Thursday, 3 April 2014

It's a Wrap - End of Month Round Up

Another month with very little going on here.  I realise I have only managed one book review!  I have spent the past week doing very little having fallen victim to this flu virus that is doing the rounds.  I am still ploughing through Parade's End by Ford Maddox Ford but it isn't a read for when you aren't well.  This is the month that was March.

Post Stats
Book Reviews = 1
Posts about Incoming Books = 1
WWW meme = 3
Blogoversary giveaway = 1

Books Read and Reviewed
The Husband's Secret - Liane Moriarty 3*

No competition this month, neither winner or loser.

Only one paperback came into my home this month.  I made three contributions to the Wondrous Words Wednesday meme and I hosted a giveaway to celebrate my blog anniversary this year.  I have two more books to give away in the next month or so.

I am still reading Parade's End but hope to be finished soon.  Next up is the book group choice Mrs Sinclair's Suitcase - Louise Walters.

Was March a good month for you in reading?

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Wondrous Words Wednesday



Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you have encountered or spotlight words you love.  This weekly meme is hosted by BermudaOnion's Weblog.  If you would like to join then please hop over (see link above) and add your URL to the Linky.

I have quite a lot more words from Parade's End by Ford Maddox Ford for you.  As I missed last week's post due to this horrid flu virus that's doing the rounds I shall leave you with a mere eight words to get stuck into this week.

strafe - verb: to harass with gunfire or bombs.  Noun: an act of strafing.
"A terrific strafe from First Army forwarded from Garrison HQ".

bur - noun: 1. a seed or seed-head with hooked bristles, clinging to the hair or clothes. 2A persistently clinging or nettlesome person or thing.  3. A rough protuberance, especially a burl on a tree.  4. Any of various rotary cutting tools designed to be attached to a drill.
"A regular daily bur".

lief - adv: gladly, willingly
"And Christopher would lie on the floor as lief as in a goose feather bed".

anchorite - noun: a hermit, a religious recluse.
"In her retreat at her convent she lay as hard and as cold as any anchorite".

comity - noun: courtesy, friendship; an association of nations etc. for their mutual benefit.
"That all those millions were the plaything of ants busy in the miles of corridors beneath the domes and spires that rise up over the central heart of our comity".

cumbrously - adj: cumbersome
"He thrust one of his legs cumbrously out of the top of his flea-bag".

crepitating - verb: crepitateto make a crackling sound.
"The wickerwork of Perowne's chair had been crepitating as if it had been in a railway car".

perspicacity - noun: 1. intelligence manifested by being astute (as in business dealings).  2. the capacity to assess situations or circumstances shrewdly and to draw sound conclusions.
"The general began to expatiate on the importance of his office and the number of enemy agents his perspicacity caused to be arrested every day in that city".

What amazing words have you found?

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Upcoming Blogoversary with Give-away

The winner is:

Marie

Congratulations!


Well!  What d'ya know?  I have a blog anniversary coming up this month.  Much to my surprise, it appears I have been out here for four years! Yes! Four years! I know!  The blog has changed and improved since my very first tentative steps at blogging.

I had a birthday last month too.  No, not a special.  Thankfully not ending with a 0, although it did end with a 5, which I guess, is a milestone of sorts.  Anyway, I had intended to host a PreLoved give-away in time for the birthday last month but it didn't happen.  So, I am going to remedy that and host one here, now!

I have three books which I received for review, read once and posted a review for each.  I am not giving away all three at once, I shall spread these over the next month or two.

I am not using Rafflecopter on this occasion, it takes me a while to set it up and I haven't got the time.  So I (or a designated family member) will literally pick a winner out of a hat (or receptacle).

I am giving away Break It Up by EM Tippetts. 



 My review can be found here.  
This paperback copy has been read once and is in very good condition.

Competition Rules
UK Residents only (I shall not post outside of the UK)
Must be aged 16 years or over
Once the winner is chosen I shall email, message or tweet whichever means the entrant prefers to be notified.
The winning entrant will have three days to respond via email, PM or DM with their details.
The competition closes at midday on Monday 24th March.

How to enter:
All I ask from you is to fill in the comment box telling me if you would like to win this book.  Please leave me your name with either your email address in a format to defy spam (e.g. name[at]hootmail[dot]com), twitter username or Facebook page name.
Please feel free to share this competition with your UK readers and friends. 

Good Luck!


Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Wondrous Words Wednesday



Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you have encountered or spotlight words you love.  This weekly meme is hosted by BermudaOnion's Weblog.  If you would like to join then please hop over (see link above) and add your URL to the Linky.

Here are some more wondrous words from Parade's End by Ford Maddox Ford.


wide-awakenoun. wide-awake hat, a soft, low crowned felt hat.
She caught up her wide-awake, pulling her wide-awake firmly on.

atrabilarian - noun. A person much given to melancholy; a hyperchondriac.
adj. Affected with melancholy; atrabilious.
He directed upon her his atrabilarian eyes.

hyperboreannoun. Greek Mythology - One of a people known to the ancient Greeks from the earliest times, living in a perpetually warm and sunny land north of the source of the north wind.
adj. 1. Of or relating to the Hyperboreans.  2. hyperborean a. Of or relating to the far north; Arctic. b. Very cold; frigid.
During her happiness over this hyperborean sentimentality he had gripped her thin upper arm.

This next word I came across in a poem Anthem for a Doomed Youth by Wilfred Owen.

orisons - noun. A prayer.
Can patter out their hasty orisons

What amazing words have you found this week?

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