July 2017 Book Haul 

Hello, my name is Claire and I am a book addict. There I said it I have a book problem and my shelves are groaning at the amount of books I own. 

Anyway, I have been buying a couple of books throughout the month of July and here they are for you. Some are random I know but ones that I really wanted in my collection.

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Tremarnock Summer – Emma Burstall 

About Author 

Emma was a newspaper journalist in Devon and Cornwall before becoming a full time author. Tremarnock, the first novel in her series set in a delightful Cornish village was published in 2015 and became a top 10 bestseller. 

Information on Book 

This is the third instalment in Emma’s heartwarming series, set in a Cornish seaside village of Tremarnock. 

Bramble Challoner has had a very normal upbringing. She lives in a semi in the suburbs of London with her parents and works in a call centre down the road. She still goes out with the boy she met at school. At weekends they stay in and watch films on the telly and sometimes holds hands. Bramble is dying for an adventure. 

So, when her very grand grandfather, Lord Penrose dies, leaving his huge rambling house in Cornwall to her, Bramble packs her bags immediately, dragging along her best friend, Katie. The sleepy village of Tremarnock had better be ready for its newest residents…..

Extract from Book 

“The picture was in colour this time and showed and their baby, perhaps six months old, with wispy fair hair, blue eyes and a dimple in her chin. She was wearing a pink summer dress and proppe up against some cushions on a tartan rug in the garden, one chubby arm raised as if in greeting, the other clutching a blue toy. She looked happy, this child, and well cared for, obviously loved. Bramble recognised her instantly, and the photograph, too, because there was an identical, larger one in a frame on a windowsill at her parents’ house. This baby was herself.” 

My Views 

I have not read any of the other books by Emma, but don’t worry this is not a disadvantage at all. 

This is the type of book that it is difficult to review as I do not want to give too much away with what happens with the different story lines within the village. But, what I can say is you see Bramble really grows up and becomes her own individual and incredibly independent throughout the story. Bramble is fighting with her old and new life and you go on the journey with her when she decides what she wants to keep from her old life and bring into her new life. Everyone around her is negative about her moving to Cornwall and general change but Bramble fights against this. You will have to read the book to see whether she is successful. What I loved was she was told many stories, negative about her family but she didn’t give up and sought the truth from others who knew her grandfather and in the end you can feel her love and bond with her grandfather despite her never actually meeting him. I felt there was a small amount of sorrow that she never actually met him, but she tried to do everything to make him proud. 

The story is typically reflects village life and I recognised the many different people, as I used to live in a village. The story shows how new people have to transition into village life and whether the villagers really accept them as part of the community.

Emma transports you into the village and your a bystanding watching all of the stories unfold before your eyes. I cannot wait for the next instalement which is due Summer 2018. 

Other Information

A copy of the book is available here.

Many thanks to Emma and Head of Zeus 

A Jihad For Love – Mohamed El Bachiri

About Author 

Mohamed El Bachiri is a driver on the Brussels metro rail system. He grew up and lives in the suburb of Molenbeek, notorious as the place from which a number of Belgium jihadis have come. He is also the husband of Loubna, the love of his life and the mother of his children, who was murdered on 22 March 2016 on her way to work in a suicide bomb attack at a metro station in Brussels. 

About the Book 

In a Jihad For Love, Mohamed speaks about his youth, his faith, his grief for his wife and his life since the attacks. This is an elegy for his lost love and a passionate message of fraternity and common humanity from a young Muslim man who believes we should rise above vengeance and blame, and he appeals to western Muslims for a more humanistic approach to Islam. 

This is a man speaking from his heart; a moving, inspiring and remarkable call on all of us to struggle for love, not hatred. 

Extract from Book 

pg. 27 

“For us, as Muslims with common sense, it is obvious and necessary to see the belligerent passages in the Koran as historical words from the seventh century. It would be an absolute mistake to try to claim that they are universally valid. And they may never, ever be used to harm another person.”

My Views 

Well, I am not so sure where to start with this book. 

I do think initially, you may be put off from reading this book by the title. I was intrigued to read it, as, as you may know I am a military wife so have lived in the military community with loss and injury with husbands and partners going out to war. But, with recent events terror is now on our streets and now not only effects the military community but everyone. I feel there is a divide in the community because of the lack of understand and the fear people have with not asking questions about religion and culture that may differ from theirs. 

This book, makes it clear. I have a strong belief this book should be on all reading lists for secondary school children as it clearly sets out what is right and wrong and would leave people less fearful. 

Mohamed is an incredible man, father and husband and wrote this book with his full heart and soul. You can feel his pain and despair but he is trying to educate people in the fact that he is a Muslim but he has been effected by terrorists too and is trying to get the message out there that Muslims are peaceful people. Mohamed has a way of grabbing your attention and keeping it there for the whole book and to be honest I have not stopped thinking about this book since I had finished and I have recommended this book to pretty much every person I have seen. 

You all must read this book!

Other Information 

Price 5.99 

Copy of book is available here.

 Many thanks to Mohamed and Head of Zeus 

It Was Only Ever You – Kate Kerrigan 

About Author 

Kate lives in County Mayo, Eire with her husband and children. Kate began her career as an editor and journalist, editing many of Britain’s most successful young women’s magazines before returning to her native Ireland in the 1990s. Kate is a New York Times bestselling author whose novels have been translated into fifteen languages.

Information on Book 

This is the story of three women and one charismatic man. 

It is 1950s New York, the time of dance halls, swing bands and the beginning of rock and roll. 

In the Emerald, Ava Brogan dances the night away, knowing she will never be pretty as the other Irish girls there. Here, too, Sheila Klein, Holocaust orphan, dreams of making her name in the music industry. Tough and cynical, she has never let her heart be broken by any man. 

Enter Patrick Murphy, with a sublime voice, a hit song in his back pocket an charism to burn. Ava’s and Sheila’s worlds will be turned upside down. But they don’t know that Patrick’s first great love is on her way to New York – determined to get her man at all costs. Beautiful Rose is used to getting what she wants and that’s not about to change any time soon. 

Extract from Book 

pg190 

“Rose looked out of the window at the passing countryside. It was a flat day, but the grey sky against nature’s colours only served to make them appear brighter; the green grass of the grazing fields and copper mass of the bags and the messy yellow gorse that lined the train tracks. On another day, in another life, Rose would have snatched up her pad and started drawing. Not today. Today, the lacy outlines of the trees against the sky, the hares hopping acrossing the fields, the white washed cottages dotted across the mayo landscape like little rays of hope and home, were all invisible to her.” 

My Views 

I am a massive fan of Kate’s so just a warning I may be a little biased in my view. Firstly, I simply love the cover it is so beautiful. 

You follow three very strong minded women who fall in love with the same man. These women are transitioning to become more independent after the war and finding their feet within either the communities or the industry. Kate reflected well in the story what seemed to be a struggle in what women’s roles were after the war and trying to settle back into communities and what women can now do and expectations of women were changing and women were becoming recognised in the world of work and there no longer was the expectation for women to marry a suitable suitor and stay at home to be a domestic goddess. 

There are twist and turns and what you expect to be the ending is not – I, of course am not going to disclose what this is, you will just have to read the book. 

I think once you have read this book you will recognise traits of at least one of these women will be in yourself and we all know a Philip in our life time. I questioned whether these women were in love, lust or just wanted someone they could not have, but, that would be for you to decide. 

What I love about Kate’s books are that she really does her research into the historical element and there is a lot of care and respect in her writing towards that period of time. I cannot wait for Kate’s next book. 

Other Information 

Price 7.99

Kate’s website is available here. 

A copy of Kate’s book is available to buy here. 

Many thanks to Kate and Head of Zeus 



Second Chances – Minna Howard 

About Author 

Minna trained as a fashion journalist but became a novelist instead. Minna sometimes works as a film extra and meets so many interesting people who give ideas for her novels. 

Minna lives in London and has three children and two grandsons. 

Information on Book 

A comfortingly warm and wise novel about starting again and finding love when you least expect it. 

Succumbing to a rather cliched midlife crisis. Dan Haywood swaps his family for an expensive red sports car and a younger woman. After 24 years of marriage, his wife Sarah is left to pick up the pieces. 

Trying her best to restyle her life, comfort hurt children, make time for ‘helpful’ friends and maintain her burgeoning career as a dress designer, sarah feels pulled in a hundred directions. And it doesn’t help that obstacles – mostly iin the form of other middle aged men seem to conspire against her. 

Proud of herself for moving house and starting to build an independent life, she is shocked when Robert Maynard, her rather dashing next door neighbour, insists that the house was promised to him. Now she is destined to be pulled into his life by events beyond her control. 

After one failed marriage, will she be able to find happiness again?

And, do second chances really come to those who wait?

Extract from Book 

Her mobile rang noisily, making her jump. Not another concerned neighbour she couldn’t stand it. She was weary of her friends’ and neighbours’ kindness, their knowing looks, their sympathy. How much did they know that she didn’t. Had they seen the cracks widen to chasms in their marriage before she had? Had they seen Dan frolicking with this girl not much older than his own daughter.”

Leave it, Sarah said silently to him. Would you really jump through all these hoops with a woman nearer your own age? She wondered if  Dan behaved like this. Did he boast so nauseously to his mouse? She suspected Julian was on some power kick, behaving as if he thought he was superior to Yvette socially and in ways of the world, and had taken it upon himself to instruct her about it.”

My Views 

I have known many middle aged women who have had to restart their lives after a breakdown in their relationship / marriage Sarah is a great role model on how to deal with this matter in a “grown up” way despite hurting. Sarah just got on with her life despite battling with middle age “creeps” trying it on with her – I wonder whether that actually happens in real life, unfortunately, I have a feeling it does. You journey with Sarah becoming an independent woman, still dealing with her soon to be ex husband and supporting her children, you can sense her fear and apprehension but also the excitement of starting again. 

The story has many twists and turns and you almost become Sarah’s friend and guardian and only wish her the best. All I can say without giving too much away is good things come to those who wait and perhaps the issues she goes through is for the best. 

It is difficult to say too much about the book as I don’t want to give too much away, but this book should be on your summer reading list. 

Other Information 

Price 9.99

Get a copy of your book here.

Many thanks to Aria Publishers and Minna Howard

Court of Lions – Jane Johnson 

About Author 

Jane Johnson is from Cornwall and has worked in the book industry for over 20 years, as a bookseller, publisher and writer. She is responsible for the publishing of many major authors, including George RR Martin. 

Information on Book 

An epic saga of romance and redemption. Court of Lions brings one of the great turning points in history to life, through the stories of a modern woman and the last Moorish Sultan of Granada. 

Kate Fordham, escaping terrible trauma, has fled to the beautiful sunlit city of Granada, the ancient capital of the Moors of Spain, where she is scraping by with an unfulfilling job in a busy bar. One day in the glorious gardens of the Alhambra, once home to Sultan Abu Abdullah Mohammed, also known as Boabdil, Kate finds a scrap of paper hidden in  one of the ancient walls. Upon it, in strange symbols, has been inscribed a message from another age. It has lain undiscovered since before the fall of Granada in 1492, when the city was surrendered to Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. Born of love, in a time of danger and desperation, the fragment will be the catalyst that changes Kate’s life forever. 

Court of Lions brings one of the great turning points in history to life, telling the stories of a modern woman and the last Moorish Sultan of Granada, as they both move towards their cataclysmic destinies. 

Extract from Book 

pg. 28

“The sight of him lying there, his head swathed in a bandage as big as the vizier’s turban, his skin as pale as the cotton, filled me with a sort of frustrated, helpless rage. I wanted to shake him, to shout at him, to make him wake up. Then his breath caught and seemed to stop and the rage left me. Suddenly I was praying, in a way I had never prayed before, not for my mother, not even for myself. Let him live, just let him live. It was all I asked, just that he survive. Not that he would love me or that we would be together always but just that he would live.”

My Views 

Now, where do I start. 

I have to say I was going to put this book down after reading a few chapters, I was just not into it. However, after this, I was addicted to this book and I think that so far, this may be one of my favourite books of the year. Yes, a bold statement I know but it was so good that it went everywhere with me as I was so desperate to continue reading it – a book has not done this to me in a while. 

With regards the present story, it is predictable but you just need to keep reading the story as it sucks you in and I was shouting a lot “no don’t do”. I loved how the past and present stories entwined and even the issues in the past story is so relevant to the world today with the hatred towards certain religions and the ongoing battles this causes. In addition, the discrimination people continue to carry on and the ignorance people continue to have towards one another and lack of respect. 

The descriptions Jane wrote were simply beautiful and she had transported me right in the middle of the stories, both of them past and present. I felt their pain and despair. You really appreciate the time Jane has taken and the vast amount of research she has done to really do this book justice. 

This book is on my must read for 2017. 

Other Information 

Price 18.99 

A copy of the book is available here.

Thank you to Jane Johnson and Head of Zeus Publishers 

A House To Mend A Broken Heart – Alison Sherlock 

About Author 

Alison loves to write stories full of warmth, laughter, love and friendship. She lives in Surrey with her husband and Harry, the world’s daftest golden retriever. 

Information on Book 

Everyone is hiding from something…….

The start of a beautiful new series focusing on the lives and loves, trial and tribulations of all those who live at work at Willow Tree Hall. 

Willow Tree Hall has seen much better days and has been the proud ancestral home of the Earl and Countess of Cranley for centuries. With no qualifications and escaping her past Annie Rogers takes the job as housekeeper to widowed Arthur, the charming current Earl of Cranley. 

After a bad fall puts Arthur in hospital, it’s up to a reluctant heir Sam Harris, to lend a helping hand and try to find a sustainable future for the Estate. With the house requiring a full renovation Annie suddenly finds herself completely out of her depth with a team of dodgy builders and Sam watching critically from the sidelines. 

With Sam running from his past and Annie hiding from hers just maybe together they can bring Willow Tree Hall back to life. 

Extract from Book 

Annie took a quick intake of breath. It was the same words she had heard over and over during her teenage years. She didn’t matter, her stepfather had told her. She wasn’t important. She was a nobody. And yet, somehwere deep inside, she didn’t quite believe that anymore. Arthur and Rose cared for her, she knew that. And Sam’s words about how she was the best person for the job kept repeating in her mind. Maybe she was all right. Maybe she was better that she had been giving herself credit for. Besides, she had reached her limit of belittlement for the lifetime.” 

My Views 

I have been having a tough and exhausing time at the moment in my personal life and reading this book certainly cheered me up and left me feeling much better about life in general. 

I spend most of the book being Annie’s cheerleader and willing good to come about in her life. I became protective of Annie especially when Arthur’s grandsons are just being mean and rude.I was willing for Annie to live happily ever after as it was what she deserved after all that she had been through. You wish for the family to inject confidence in her, Arthur certainly does this and is very protective of her which shows there are some good people in the world. 

This book is a great Summer read and one that I read in one sitting, I just could not put it down. I cannot wait for the next instalment. 

Other Information

Price 9.99

Copy of book is available here.

Thank you to Alison Sherlock and Aria Publishers 

Daily Book Overview – 4 July 2017

Broken Branches – M Jonathan Lee 


Family curses exist. Sure, some families seem to suffer more pain than others, but a curse? I don’t think so. 

A family tragedy was the catalyst for Ian Perkins to return to the isolated cottage with his wife and young son. But now they are back, it seems yet more grief might befall the family. 

There is still time to act, but that means Ian must face the uncomfortable truth about his past. And in doing so, he must uncover the truth behind the supposed family curse. 

About Author 

M Jonathan Lee was born in Yorkshire, England where he still lives to this day. 

When not writing, you’ll find him standing at the back door thinking. 

Also, by M Jonathan:

The Radio 

The Page

A Tiny Feeling of Fear 

Extract From Book 

pg. 163 

“On the morning that Ian finally escaped the cottage, the floor-to-ceiling bookcase at the end of his bed was packed full of his favourite books. Little bits of paper stuck at the top of them, highlighting sentences that he especially like or paragraphs that evoked powerful feelings within him. 

It was nearly time to go and he eyed the clothes that were trying to escape from the open suitcase on his bed, wondering if he had forgotten anything. He heard a car horn, and glanced out of the window to see Dad beckoning him to the car. He was tapping his watch. Mum stood alongside him, here face obscured by a thick branch from the tree. Ian quickly retrieved two books filled with Roald Dahl short stories and three them on top of his clothes. He zipped the suitcase around three sides and lifted it to the floor.” 

Broken Branches is available here.

 

Daily Book Overview – 3 July 2017 

Vivienne Westwood – Vivienne Westwood & Ian Kelly 


Vivienne Westwood is one of the icons of our age. Fashion designer, activist, co-creater of punk, global brand and grandmother; a true living legend. Her career has successfully spanned five decades and her work has influenced millions of people across the world. 

For the first and only time, Vivienne Westwood has written a personal memoir, collaborating with award winning biographer, Ian Kelly, to describe the events, people and ideas that have shaped her glory, and with her unique voice, unexpected perspective and passionate honesty. 

About Author 

Ian Kelly is an award winning writer and actor. His previous works include internationally acclaimed biographies of Beau Brummell, Casanova, Samuel Fooke and Antonin Careme. He lives in London and Suffolk. 

Extract From Book 

pg. 351

“Vivienne’s name in the States, meanwhile, has waxed and waned in mainstream popularity, in a market that is percieved internationally as a little cautious, a little wary of shock. She has been known to bemuse the American press and to be openly critical of American foreign and domestic policy, which hardly endears her, though Vivenne credits American Vogue with helping her early profile enormously.” 

Vivienne Westwood’s book is available here.

Daily Book Overview – 2 July 2017 

Fierce Kingdom – Gin Phillips


Fierce Kingdom begins in a zoo near closing time as Joan tries to persuade her four year old son, Lincoln, that it’s time to leave his favourite place and to head home. As they rush towards the exit she realises that the fire crackers she heard earlier- and quickly disregarded were gunshots, and that they are in horrifying danger. 

They run. They hide. Over the three hours that follow, Joan must use all her ingenuity and instinct to keep them safe, but must also make unimaginable choices. 

About Author 

Gin grew up in Montgomery, Alabama. After earning a degree in political journalist, Gin worked as a freelance magazine writer for nearly a decade. She lived in Ireland, Thailand, New York and Washington D.C. Fierce Kingdom is her debut thriller. 

Extract From Book 

pg.104

“She watches one of them raise his phone to his face. He is clean shaven and light-haired, and he is white, just as she thought. His face is thin and unimpressive, an she wonders whether his is the thin-voiced one, whether his face somehow matches his sound.

She is not done yet. 

While he is looking at the screen, she pulls her arm back, gripping her second rock, aiming past the men, farther along the path, in the opposite direction of both herself and the train track. Back towards the head of the zoo, the exhibits, back towards everything if she could map out the objects she has thrown, she hopes they would make a straight line, and that line would lead back to the side walks and bathrooms and benches and tables, back to the obvious hiding places and signs and labels. Anywhere but here.” 

Fierce Kingdom is available here.