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Showing posts from 2020

Book review: Appius and Virginia

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About the book... Virginia Hutton resides in a London club for single women, living a tedious life which never changes from year to year. She decides to take on a bizarre experiment and buys a young orangutan and names him Appius. She takes him to a cottage and spends years in isolation trying to raise and educate him as if he were a human child. Virginia tries to teach the ape how to eat, sleep, read and speak like a human, all the time keeping the project and Appius hidden from the world. Over eight years, her stern teaching methods begin to bear fruit, but do Virginia and Appius really have the deep mutual understanding she craves? Appius and Virginia was first published by Martin Secker in 1932 and is now republished by Abandoned Bookshop , the imprint which aims to uncover the best books that have been forgotten or lost sight of. G.E. Trevelyan is the epitome of a ‘forgotten’ author. She was born Gertrude Eileen Trevelyan in 1903 into a family of means. When she was an undergradu

Blog tour: A Tale of Two Shoes

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Welcome to the blog tour for A Tale of Two Shoes by Helen Haraldsen ! About the book… They thought they'd be together forever. They were wrong. Shane and Shelia shoe are a pair. They were made for each other. They never expected to be separated. After all, what use is a shoe without its partner? When Shane and Sheila find themselves all alone in the world, they think they have no purpose or value without each other. Two shoes desperate for hope.  For their lives to change, they'll need a helping hand. A story that shows how new friendships help us to grow and broaden our horizons. Readers agree that this story is a conversation starter for a range of real-life issues. What did I think? Awww, this is such a precious book! It is difficult to share all my thoughts without giving anything away. Let’s just say that, when I started reading, I was expecting a completely different ending. This, however, only served to enrich my experience and it will give children, the intended reader

Blog tour: Unraveled

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Welcome to the blog tour for Unraveled by Claire Olivia Golden . If an LGBTQI and YA fantasy sounds just like your cup of tea… keep reading! Hi Claire Olivia! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of Unraveled ! Can you please briefly tell us what it is about? A: Thank you so much, and thank you for wanting to do this interview! Unraveled is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty where two girls fall in love while trying to break the curse on a crochet shawl. It’s about faeries, OCD, first love, and figuring out who you are... and it has pigeons and yarn. It has a little piece of my heart. Did you have the plot entirely figured out when you started writing the book or did it take an unexpected turn as the characters grew on the page? A: I had absolutely no idea where the plot was going, except for that it involved a crochet shawl. I also did not plan for Cat and Auri to fall in love, but they had a mind of their own. It was fun figuring out the plot as I went alo

Blog tour: Scavenger Art

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Welcome to the blog tour for Scavenger Art by Lexi Rees ! About the book… Scavenger hunts are fun. Drawing is fun. Put them together for ★  SCAVENGER ART  ★ This unique art-based activity book includes 52 scavenger hunts designed to ✓ encourage curious minds ✓ spark creativity ✓ practise mindfulness ✓ develop drawing skills What did I think? If you are not new here, you already know that I have a bit of an obsession about anything created by Lexi Rees . And if you have landed here for the first time, do search for the author’s name on my blog to find more goodies! Anyway, as a not particularly creative person, I love it when someone can point me in the right direction. Lexi Rees hands creativity on a silver platter but she also makes you do some work! True, I am not in the target audience of children between the ages of 6 and 12. That, however, hasn’t stopped me before and it is not going to stop me now. The book invites the reader to look at the world and everything in it, truly obs

Blog tour: Red/Black

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Welcome to the blog tour for Red/Black by Rachel Atherton-Charvat! Ready to learn more? Keep scrolling… Hi Rachel! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of Red/Black ! Can you please briefly tell us what it is about? A:   Thank you, Silvia and for inviting me to speak on your blog! My book is about a woman called Sarah and her destructive descent into depression and gambling addiction. It begins with Sarah preparing for the move to a British military camp in Germany. Her husband, Graeme, is a psychiatrist who, having only previously served in the army reserves, has accepted a fulltime posting for two years. Not long after she arrives, she is involved in a car crash where there is a fatality, which takes her back to a previous tragedy of losing her son, in an accident where she had been driving. This is the catalyst for the return of her underlying depression and she begins gambling online. Her struggle with her illness and increasing addiction is exacerbate

Blog tour: Wicked Writing Skills

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Welcome to the blog tour for Wicked Writing Skills by Lexi Rees ! About the book… Wicked Writing Skills: Over 90 non-fiction activities for children Writing is like a spell. It can melt hearts and fry brains, twisting and turning as the magic works. Want the world to fall at your feet, destroyed by the might of your pen? - Sharpen your powers of persuasion - Sky-rocket your debating skills - Add ooomph to your reports - And lots more! Packed with top tips, this awesome workbook has everything you need to know to become a WICKED WRITER. What did I think? This is not the first book by Lexi Rees that I am lucky to review. Earlier this year I was happy to join the blog tour for The Book Dragon Club and I loved it so much that I couldn’t wait to browse the pages of Wicked Writing Skills . The book is aimed at children between the ages of 7 and 11 so, once again, both myself and my daughter are not its target audience. But we will be one day, and I am looking forward to help her navigate

Cover reveal: A Cinderella Story

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๐˜ž๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ฉ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜จ๐˜ช๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ญ ๐˜ง๐˜ฆ๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜Š๐˜ฉ๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ด ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ, ๐˜ธ๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ญ ๐˜š๐˜ฌ๐˜บ๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ณ ๐˜ง๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ ๐˜—๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ค๐˜ฆ ๐˜Š๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฎ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ #๐จ๐ง๐ž๐œ๐ฅ๐ข๐œ๐ค  →  https://amzn.to/3lQQspE ๐๐‹๐”๐‘๐ : For her twenty-sixth birthday, Skylar gets a psychic reading as a present from her mother. Although she is skeptical, she decides to actually go ahead with it. When the woman manages to touch on things Skylar hasn’t even admitted to herself and gives her some strange advice, Skylar leaves not knowing how to feel. But when part of the psychic’s premonitions come true, her world is turned upside down. ⁣ Since his wife died two years ago, Carter’s entire world has centered around his daughter Everly. At this point in his life, he’s not sure he’ll ever be able to move on. And then a blonde with curly hair and emerald eyes waltzes into his life and awakens desires he thought no longer existed. ⁣ Neither Skylar nor Carter are prepared for what fate has in store for them, yet th

Blog tour: The Chalet

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Welcome to the blog tour for The Chalet by Catherine Cooper , who generously dedicated some of her time to answer my questions below! Hi Catherine! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of The Chalet ! Can you please briefly tell us what it is about? A: Hi Silvia! Thank you for having me and The Chalet on your blog! The Chalet is set across two main time lines. In 1998 two brothers go out skiing and only one comes back. it’s for the reader to work out what the characters in the second timeline in 2020 do (or don’t) have to do with what happened. Did you have the plot entirely figured out when you started writing the book or did it take an unexpected turn as the characters grew on the page? A: I didn’t have it figured out at all. At one point I tried to plan it out with coloured post its on a whiteboard with different colours for different stories, but it still turned out as an entirely different story. There’s a key scene in the middle around which the ent

In conversation with... Lucy Rand

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Hi Lucy ! Thank you for joining me today. I have recently read  The Phone Box at the Edge of the World  by  Laura Imai Messina , which you have translated from Italian into English, and I’d like to ask you a few questions both on this specific book and more generally on translation. So let’s begin… How did you get started in literary translation? A: I studied Italian and Spanish at university, and there was always a translation element, and I always found it really fun, but we had a career talk from a translator who said (to my memory, at least!) that you can either translate manuals for washing machines and make a living, or you can translate books or subtitles or comics and not make a living. And that either option involved having no company, lots of time on the computer, and maybe some cats. I already knew that I wanted to make a living, I quite liked having some company, and I wasn’t a huge fan of computers or cats… so I wrote it off immediately. Fast forward four years and I’d mov

Book review: The Phone Box at the Edge of the World

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By Laura Imai Messina Translated from the Italian by Lucy Rand Published by Manilla Press Synopsis: When Yui loses her mother and daughter in the tsunami, she wonders how she will ever carry on. Yet, in the face of this unthinkable loss, life must somehow continue. Then one day she hears about a man who has an old disused telephone box in his garden. There, those who have lost loved ones find the strength to speak to them and begin to come to terms with their grief. As news of the phone box spreads, people travel to it from miles around. Soon Yui makes her own pilgrimage to the phone box, too. But once there she cannot bring herself to speak into the receiver. Then she finds Takeshi, a bereaved husband whose own daughter has stopped talking in the wake of their loss. How did this book end up in my hands? I read this novel twice. Once in Italian (original title:  Quel che affidiamo al vento ) and once in its English translation. The English version of the book was provided to me by the

Book review: City of Spies

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By Mara Timon Published by Zaffre Synopsis: Lisbon, 1943. After escaping from Nazi-Occupied France, SOE agent Elisabeth de Mornay, codename Cecile, receives new orders: she must infiltrate high society in neutral Lisbon and find out who is leaking key information to the Germans about British troop movements. As Solange Verin, a French widow of independent means, she will be able to meet all the rich Europeans who have gathered in Lisbon to wait out the war. One of them is a traitor, and she must find out who before more British servicemen die.  Complications arise when 'Solange' comes to the attention of German Abwehr officer Major Eduard Graf. As they get to know each other, she struggles to keep her lies close to the truth.  But in a city that is filled with spies, how can she tell who is friend or foe?  How did this book end up in my hands? I was given a digital review copy by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion. Was it a page-turner? This is cer

Book review: Every Move You Make

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By Deborah Bee Published by Zaffre Synopsis: A young woman turns up at a police station. She has been kept prisoner in her own home. Abused and tortured, her every move watched, her every thought controlled. Now she's finally escaped. That's what she says. But when the police arrive at the address she's given them, her story doesn't seem to add up. Her husband is missing, but his phone and wallet are still in the house. She says she's the victim, but what if she's not? What if the stories she's telling aren't her stories at all.... How did this book end up in my hands? I was given a digital review copy by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion. Was it a page-turner? Yes, for sure. Between the alternating points of view and the niggling feeling that you never know who you should trust, this makes for a book that is hard to put down! Did the book meet my expectations? Since joining a university research project on domestic noir, I

Blog tour: A Year of Living Simply

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Welcome to the blog tour for A Year of Living Simply by Kate Humble ! Synopsis : If there is one thing that most of us aspire to, it is, simply, to be happy.  And yet attaining happiness has become, it appears, anything but simple. Having stuff - The Latest, The Newest, The Best Yet - is all too often peddled as the sure fire route to happiness.  So why then, in our consumer-driven society, is depression, stress and anxiety ever more common, affecting every strata of society and every age, even, worryingly, the very young?  Why is it, when we have so much, that many of us still feel we are missing something and the rush of pleasure when we buy something new turns so quickly into a feeling of emptiness, or purposelessness, or guilt? So what is the route to real, deep, long lasting happiness?  Could it be that our lives have just become overly crowded, that we've lost sight of the things - the simple things - that give a sense of achievement, a feeling of joy or excitement? That make

Blog tour: The Rhino Conspiracy

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Welcome to the blog tour for The Rhino Conspiracy by Peter Hain , a riveting and timely thriller infused with the author’s insider knowledge of politics and activism. And today I am very happy to host a Q&A with Peter Hain himself! Hi Peter! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of The Rhino Conspiracy ! Can you please briefly tell us what it is about? A:  The extinction threat facing the rhino from poaching and the serious corruption and international crime behind it.   It’s set in contemporary South Africa where a battle rages between those betraying and seeking to uphold the Mandela legacy. Did you have the plot entirely figured out when you started writing the book or did it take an unexpected turn as the characters grew on the page? A:  The basic plot and central characters were in my mind but the plot did indeed evolve.   The ending was only hazy when I started – and at one stage I wasn’t at all sure how to maintain page-turning momentum and intri

Blog tour: Babushka

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Welcome to the blog tour for The Story of Babushka by Catherine Flores . Synopsis: Babushka wants to find out the meaning of life so she sends her bodies out of the forest and into the world to search for answers. But there is a hurdle to overcome, before all the bodies can reunite and return to the forest forever.  The babushka doll, also known as a matryoshka or Russian nesting doll, is a traditional Russian toy first made over 100 years ago. The doll has come to symbolise Russian folk culture, as well as the complex and beautiful layers of women.  Babushka dolls are made of wood and painted in bright colours and patterns. Each Babushka is made in a set of many round dolls each a little smaller than the last. They separate at the middle so that each doll can be placed inside the one before it. There are some Babushka dolls with as many as fifty dolls nested inside her. This is the story of one very special doll with five bodies that together make the Babushka. How did this book end

Blog tour: Little Book of Hope

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Welcome to the blog tour for Louise Hall ’s Little Book of Hope ! Synopsis : The past few months have made us realise that change is inevitable – sometimes good but sometimes it can be cruel and makes your world go out of control.We might experience anxiety, low moods, night sweats, exhaustion or worse. We lose all hope and feel that there is nothing to look forward to. Little Book of Hope helps you find your way back again – through Reflections to guide you through the difficult times, together with: Family. Friends. Rest. Time - for yourself. Walk. Talk. Cry. Grieve. Meditate. Pray. Accept things. Patience. Dedicated to all those around the world who have lost hard but loved much - that you may re-discover Hope and welcome the beautiful pleasure of joy back into your lives. How did this book end up in my hands? I was gifted a review copy so that I could participate in this blog tour and provide you with my honest opinion. Was it a page-turner? I must say that I read this book in o

Blog tour: The Philosopher Queens

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Welcome to the blog tour for The Philosopher Queens , edited by Rebecca Buxton and Lisa Whiting ! Synopsis: The history of philosophy has not done women justice: you ve probably heard the names Plato, Kant, Nietzsche and Locke but what about Hypatia, Arendt, Oluwole and Young? The Philosopher Queens  is a long-awaited book about the lives and works of women in philosophy by women in philosophy. This collection brings to centre stage twenty prominent women whose ideas have had a profound but for the most part uncredited impact on the world. You ll learn about Ban Zhao, the first woman historian in ancient Chinese history; Angela Davis, perhaps the most iconic symbol of the American Black Power Movement; Azizah Y. al-Hibri, known for examining the intersection of Islamic law and gender equality; and many more. For anyone who has wondered where the women philosophers are, or anyone curious about the history of ideas it's time to meet the philosopher queens. How did this book end up

Blog tour: Beneath a Bethel

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Welcome to the blog tour for Beneath a Bethel by April-Jane Rowan ! Published by Gurt Dog Press , it is a horror fantasy featuring magical teeth, a harsh snowy city and even harsher customs! Want to know more? Keep reading! Hi April-Jane! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of Beneath a Bethel ! Can you please briefly tell us what it is about? A: Thank you so much! Beneath A Bethel is set in a frozen town with a culture where teeth are replaced with magical, porcelain ones. It follows Angora as he becomes an outcast of this society and while trying to find a place to belong, he discovers the secrets of this custom. Did you have the plot entirely figured out when you started writing the book or did it take an unexpected turn as the characters grew on the page? A: In the very beginning there was going to be a romance element between Angora and Barnaby but they had other ideas! There was no romantic chemistry between them at all, so that idea was scrapped v

Blog tour: The Museum Makers

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Welcome to the blog tour for The Museum Makers by Rachel Morris ! Synopsis: The Museum Makers is a captivating memoir about how Rachel, a professional museum maker, turns her skills back to unravel the dark secrets of her own family’s past. Part detective story, part hymn to the strange, addictive magic of museums, it is about time and memory and museums, but also about families and the secrets they carry and the stories they tell. How did this book end up in my hands? I was asked to join the blog tour for this new book and I happily accepted a copy in exchange for my honest opinion. Was it a page-turner? At just over 200 pages, this is a book that can be read rather quickly. Rushing through it, however, would spoil the experience. I loved delving into the history of the Morris family, bit by bit, one discovery at a time. Did the book meet my expectations? I thought I would enjoy it – being a museum lover and all – and I did enjoy it. What I didn’t expect, however, was for the bo