WWW Wednesday March 30th

We’ve arrived at the final Wednesday of March and our lovely mini heat wave has definitely ended as it’s very chilly today and apparently we might get snow tomorrow!!!! Wednesday means that it’s 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 I’m currently reading

Light Perpetual by Francis Spufford

In 1944, a German bomb hit a Woolworths store in London killing over 180 people. This novel explores what the lives of 5 of those children might have been like if they had not been there at that precise moment.

The novel moves through 5 years after, 10 years after and zooms in on each of those five children, imagining what their lives would have been like, how they would have grown and who they might have become.

I’m really enjoying this book so far.and seeing each of the different characters in different points in time.

What I have recently finished reading

I’ve had a real blitz on Net Galley books this week and my review rating is now at the very respectable 86% 😃

Collar Bound by Rebecca Zahabi
This was an interesting fantasy read about a world ruled by Mages. I liked the world building and some of the characters but felt that some of the characters were a bit flat.

The People on Platform 5 by Clare Pooley
I loved this book. It was full of great characters and I love books where random groups of people are thrown together.

Requiem in La Rossa by Tom Benjamin
An interesting murder mystery set in the university city of Bologna. It’s apparently the third in this series so I’m going to hunt out the previous books.

These will all be published in May and I’ll review them properly nearer the time.

The White City by Charles Spencer
A non fiction history book about the sinking of the White Ship in 1120. My review is here

Didn’t Finish- No one is Talking about this

I couldn’t get on with the format of this book and didn’t really get a lot of the content. Life’s too short to struggle through a book if I don’t have to 😃

What I am intending to read next

That’s the current state of my reading this week. What does your WWW Wednesday look like?

The White Ship – A review

Game of Thrones but in the real world” boasts the front cover in a quote by Anthony Horowitz. It’s a bit of a stretch to compare a non-fiction history book with a best selling fantasy series but there are definite points of contact. The behaviour of the Norman kings and their liege lords was every bit as cruel as that depicted by George Martin in his epic series. Henry 1 is shown as being almost a model king but even he was happy to order horrific punishments upon those who rebelled against him. There’s also a lot of political intrigue with alliances between rulers and powerful nobles constantly changing. However, don’t look to this book for any real characterisation.

The White Ship is the story of the sinking of The White Ship in November 1120. The ship was carrying many of the rich and powerful at the time including William, the heir to the throne. All but one passenger died and England was left without a clear heir to the throne. This disaster ushered in an age of turmoil after more than 30 years of relative peace so was a definite turning point in English history.

The book begins in dramatic fashion with an account of the ship sinking and William being carried to safety in a small boat before going right back to the events of 1066 and the Norman Conquest of England. The first half of the book is concerned with the events from then up to 1120 focusing on who ruled England, Normandy and the surrounding areas in France. It’s quite a dry retelling with the emphasis totally on the rulers of both countries. At times it just becomes a list of names and titles with very little context about them.

The best parts of the book are the chapters about the actual sinking where the writing does convey some of the horror that would have been felt by the passengers on board at time when hardly anybody could swim. I enjoyed the inclusion of the different poetry extracts from the time which really helped provide atmosphere.

After that, the book races to the civil war that ensued when Henry’s nephew Stephen refused to accept the king’s daughter Matilda as queen and claimed the throne for himself. This was surely the most important effect of The White Ship but was dealt with in only a couple of chapters and very little detail given to what the effect of this war was upon England.

As a lover of historical fiction, I like my history to have a personal aspect and I realise that a properly researched non-fiction book by a historian may not have this focus. However, I do feel that the author could have done more to put some of the people into greater context and give us more of an idea of who they were.

This was an interesting book but I have to admit to skimming over some pages that just appeared to be lists of names of people at court or on the ship. I was certainly surprised by how popular the name  Matilda was for noble women. It seems that every other woman was named Matilda which certainly doesn’t help to keep the characters straight in your head.

This is my fourth non fiction so far in 2022 so I’m definitely fulfilling my aim of reading more non fiction this year as I take part in the Nonfiction Reader Challenge hosted by Bookdout here.

Top 5 Tuesday – Books with Books

Welcome to this week’s Top 5 Tuesday post. Top 5 Tuesday was created by Shanah at Bionic Book Worm, and it is now being hosted at Meeghan reads!! For details of all of the prompts for Jan- Mar see Meeghans page here

March is a month of scavenger hunts through our book shelves for the different themes. So far we’ve done doors, thrones, jewels and clocks but we are now down to the last which is my absolute favourite as it’s books with books!!! Who doesn’t love books about books? Just for this week, I actually had difficulty in deciding what my top 5 would be as I had a lot more than 5 to choose from.

These are the top 5 books with books which I have read in the past year.

This is possibly the best book cover and also the best Middle Grade book that I read last year.

Rachel and Robert have to uncover the secret of The Book of Stolen Dreams in order to save their father’s life. It’s a thrilling fantasy adventure and brilliantly written.

Another absolutely brilliant book about books. A mysterious reading list links a library volunteer and a lonely widower and they begin a new friendship. It’s a gorgeous read and definitely inspired me to read the books on the list.

One of the books featured on the reading list is Pride and Prejudice. This is the untold of Mary Bennett and another book that I absolutely loved last year.

Not many books make me laugh out loud but this was one of them. Nina Hill is a complete book worm and lives her life by her daily planner. Everything is perfect until one day, she receives some very unexpected news.

My final book is about a library threatened with closure. I think the current title is The Last Chance Library which actually makes more sense. This was a lovely book full of great characters and another of my favourite books about books.

What would your top 5 books with books be?

Thanks Meeghan for a great set of challenges. It’s been a lot of fun finding books each week. This week was definitely my favourite.

Yinka, where is your huzband? – A review

Blurb – Yinka’s Nigerian aunties frequently pray for her delivery from singledom, her work friends think she’s too traditional (she’s saving herself for marriage!), her girlfriends think she needs to get over her ex already, and the men in her life…well, that’s a whole other story. But Yinka herself has always believed that true love will find her when the time is right.
Still, when her cousin gets engaged, Yinka commences Operation Find-A-Date for Rachel’s Wedding. Aided by a spreadsheet and her best friend, Yinka is determined to succeed. Will Yinka find herself a huzband? And what if the thing she really needs to find is herself?

This is a brilliant book about friendship, family and finding yourself. Although the title might sound as though the book is a romance, there is very actually very little romance involved. The book is about Yinka’s journey to find who she is and what she really wants.

Yinka is 31 years old and still single much to her mother’s and wider family’s dismay. She sets herself the goal of finding a boyfriend by the time her cousin Rachel gets married and plans exactly how she is going to do that. The basic plot of this story really struck a chord with me as I have known two women both in their thirties who have been in this exact position. Possibly not with the huge family pressure experienced by Yinka but that feeling of wanting to be part of a couple for a special event especially a wedding is very real for some people.

The book is deeply rooted in Nigerian culture with lots of details about food, language and clothing which I found fascinating. It is also full of brilliant characters. Yinka herself is brilliantly written. She always wants to do the right thing but often does or says the wrong one. She felt like such a real character and I was cheering her on all the way through the book.

Yinka’s friends are a very mixed bunch but they all have her best interests at heart. Her best friend Nana is the one who keeps Yinka from being overwhelmed by her family and supports her all the way through. She is definitely the sort of best friend that we all wish for. Yinka’s family are like everyone’s family, some who you love and get on with and others who irritate you but are still family and despite the irritation, the love is always there. It was a also nice to have a heroine who was religious and for that religion to play a big part in her life. Religion plays a large part in many people’s lives today but it doesn’t often feature in the novels I read.

There is a lot of humour in the book and one or two really funny moments as the best laid plans of everyone come crashing down. It’s a really lovely read and a book that I found difficult to put down.

For me, this book had everything. It was both funny and moving with brilliantly written characters. Yinka’s story will remain in my head for a long while to come.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I received a Net Galley ARC of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.

Yinka, where’s your huzband will be published in the UK by Viking on March 31st

Six for Sunday – Books with a Nature theme.

A year ago, I posted my first book blog post and it was a Six for Sunday post. That was my first time dipping my toe into the bookblogging ocean so it seemed appropriate to do a Six for Sunday post today, 52 weeks later.

Six for Sunday is the brainchild of Steph and details can be found on her blog here . Each week there is a different theme so it’s a bit like a book scavenger hunt. This week, the theme is books about nature. Below are the six books that I have read that stand out for me.

What would your favourite books with a Nature theme be?

Stacking the Shelves 35

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It’s Saturday and it’s another glorious Spring day here in the Midlands. Welcome to the weekend and another Stacking the Shelves post. Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Marlene at Reading Reality and details are on her blog. The gorgeous graphic is also used courtesy of the site.

Stacking the Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

As usual, this post is all about the library books that I have picked up since my last library post. I’m a huge fan of libraries and really wish that more people used them. They are an incredible public resource of books that is accessible to everyone.

However, my visit to the library was rushed yesterday and so I only picked up two new books to read. That means that I’ll have more time to read some of the fantastic books that I have added to my Net Galley shelf recently.

This week’s library haul


The Mothers by Brit Bennett
I really enjoyed The Vanishing Half last year and so was keen to pick up this one by the same author. It’s all about how the choices that you make when you are young can have a lasting impact on your life.

Light Perpetual by Francis Spufford
I’ve heard a lot about this author but never read anything by him. In this novel. 5 people are killed by a German bomb in 1944 but the book goes on to explore what their lives might have been like if they had lived.

The five books above are all due to be published in May so my aim is to have read them all by the end of April. I’m doing really well as my review rating is still over 80% and I’m not requesting every single book that I might like.

I’m really looking forward to all of these though.

Beach Hut Summer by Sarah Morgan
All of Sarah Morgan’s books are must reads for me. This one sounds like a perfect summery read.

The People on Platform 5 by Clare Pooley
I adored The Authenticity Project last year and this one about a random group of people who meet on a train sounds just as good.

After Dark by Jayne Cowie
“With men under curfew, women should be safe” What a statement to put on a book cover! I’m so looking forward to reading this.

Requiem in La Rossa by Tom Benjamin
I love crime stories set in Italy so this one set in the city of Bologna was a must pick too.

The Collar Bound by Rebecca Zahabi
This is unusually the only fantasy book I’ve requested this week but it does sound good.

So that’s what I’ve added to my bookshelf this week. What have you added to yours?

The 2021 Good News Tag

This was an exciting event in my little corner of the bookblogging world. I love reading Tags and often take part in them just because they appeal to me. However, this week I was actually tagged to take part which is a first!!!!! Thank you Laura for creating this fun tag and for tagging me to do it.

The tag was created by Laura after being inspired by a tag created by Phoenix @ Books with Wings. The intention is to celebrate the good things that happened in 2021. Laura also created the graphics that I’ve used to so please pop along to her site to read the original post.

Rules

  • Link back to the original creator (The Corner of Laura) and link back to this page (otherwise, the original creator won’t get a notification).
  • Thank whoever tagged you and link back to their post
  • (Optional) Use the graphics and don’t forget to credit the original creator (Text prompts are at the end of the tag if you’d prefer to use those)
  • (Optional) Tag 5 or more other people.

I absolutely loved this book when I read it last year and certainly hope that they live happily after.

The brilliant character of Mephi was one of my favourite parts of this book.

Science plays a huge part in the third part of this amazing book.

I definitely felt that this was a real celebration of British Nigerian culture

I really loved this historical fantasy set in Shanghai and can’t wait to read the sequel.

Kaz Brekker is definitely a kick ass disabled character. This still seems to be an area where there is still a lack of representation in books as I couldn’t think of many protagonists with physical disabilities.

I’m not tagging anyone but if you’ve enjoyed reading this post, then consider yourself tagged.

Thanks again to Laura for the tag and for tagging me.

WWW Wednesday March 23

It’s Wednesday and Spring definitely seems to be on the way with lots of warm sunny weather in my part of the UK this week. Wednesday means that it’s 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 I’m currently reading

The Man in the Bunker by Rory Clements

This is the latest in the spy series set around WWII. The war has ended but there are strong rumours that Hitler isn’t dead but has escaped to the alps. Cambridge professor/spy Tom Wilde is persuaded to travel to Germany to find out what truth there is behind this.

This is quite a difficult read at the moment. The book is set in the Summer of 1945 and the details of the devastation in Germany sound remarkably like the news reports we are currently getting from the Ukraine. Wilde is accompanied by a young Jewish, Dutch soldier Mozes Heck, whose family have disappeared without trace presumably in a concentration camp. His desire for revenge on the Germans for the treatment of the Jews in the newly discovered camps makes him a volatile companion. In contrast to that, we also meet people who still support Hitler and see no wrong in his actions.

The descriptions of people and places are vivid and the plot is as engrossing as always. I’m really looking to finding out how it all gets sorted out.

What I have recently finished reading

The Locked Room by Elly Griffiths
Another great outing for Ruth Galloway and D I Nelson. Set in the first lockdown of March 202o, this was a reminder of how life was in those strange months.

The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams
I felt that this was a bit slow to start but it picked up after about a third and I became totally engrossed in the story of Esme and how she creates a dictionary of words that have been deemed to be unsuitable for inclusion in the New Oxford Dictionary. Many of these words are words often used by women and the story runs hand in hand with the events of the time as women fought for the vote.

To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara
I did think about doing a review of this amazing book but I don’t think I could possibly do justice to this amazing epic. It was a brilliant and unforgettable read

What I am intending to read next

This seemed an intriguing read and I have no idea if I will enjoy it or not.

That’s the current state of my reading this week. What does your WWW Wednesday look like?

Top 5 Tuesday – Books with Clocks

Welcome to this week’s Top 5 Tuesday post. Top 5 Tuesday was created by Shanah at Bionic Book Worm, and it is now being hosted at Meeghan reads!! For details of all of the prompts for Jan- Mar see Meeghans page here

March is a month of scavenger hunts through book shelves for the different themes. So far we’ve done doors, thrones and jewels but this week’s theme is clocks. I had a couple of ideas straightaway but then had fun looking along my bookshelves and kindle to find a few more. Here are my top 5 books with clocks:

This has to be the top of my list of books with clocks. Gretl is surrounded by clockwork on the cover of one of the best children’s books ever written.

Another classic book for my second book this week. It actually featured in a TV programme this week as a character was reading it .

This is a great historical fantasy novel based in Victorian London but also travelling to Japan .

A brilliant contemporary novel by Anne Tyler about Willa who decides it is time to make her own choices and choose her own direction.

My final book is another historical one. This time a historical mystery with a dual time line. Elodie in the present day is trying to solve a mystery dating back to 1862.

We just have one more scavenger hunt to go and I’m really looking forward to finding 5 books with books on.

Thanks Meeghan for another fun challenge.

The Clockwork Girl – a review

The Clockwork Girl by Anna Mazzola

This is a brilliantly atmospheric, historical novel which is difficult to put down.

The story is set in Paris in 1750 in the middle of a freezing winter. Birds are falling, frozen from the skies and children are mysteriously disappearing off the streets.  Madeleine, daughter of a brothel owner has been set to spy on the clockmaker, Dr Reinhart. As she watches him at work, she can find nothing to really worry about but there is a strong feeling of wrongness in the house. This feeling of wrongness pervades the whole book and gives it a truly unsettling atmosphere. What is Dr Reinhart actually trying to create and what are his plans for his daughter Veronique?

The novel moves from the backstreets of Paris to the palace of the Louvre and then to the magnificence of Versailles. We are given a vivid contrast between the opulent but corrupt life of the court and the desperation of the poor.  All of the characters, both historical and fictional are brilliantly written. I especially loved the character Mme da Pompadour who is much more sympathetically portrayed here than she often is in historical novels. The three main women, Madeleine, Veronique and Jeanne (Mme da Pompadour) represent the three main sections of Paris society but each of them is completely subject to the whims of the men who control their lives.

The fashion for automata is a large part of the book and the descriptions of what their creators are capable of are extraordinary. Much of the book is based on real events such as the disappearance of children in 1750 which led to riots in Paris. The author has carried out an incredible amount of historical research and this detail is partly what makes the story so compelling.

The novel’s plot twists and turns and you are never quite sure what is going to happen next. I was truly surprised by the twist at the end.

If you have read and enjoyed The Embroidered Book then you will love this too.

I loved this book and am grateful to Net Galley and Orion Publishing for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

The Clockwork Girl was published on March 3rd 2022