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Bookish parcel one: I won a pamper from A Cornish Geek

Thanks for reading my blog today, it’s been hectic. I’ve just packed the rest of my books to realise that I missed the shelf in my living room. Oh, dear. We’ve been painting our new house ready to move in next week, wow it takes forever to paint. Whoever thought artex pain was a good idea…

I won a prize recently, I filled in a survey about one of the blogs I read A Cornish Geek and won a pamper pack! I didn’t think I would. I love reading the blog as Emma shares my love of stationary and books! Here’s what I got in my prize:

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You can’t really go wrong with tea and chocolate! I haven’t tried the ‘love’ one before but I love Chamomile and Lavender, so it might be one of my new favourites! The pens have sef-care/motivational sayings, ‘you’ve got this’ and ‘focus on you’. Lovely 🙂 I will spend an relaxing evening using my bath bomb and having some tea. The chocolate won’t last that long. I’m using soap more often now as I’m switching from cleansing gels, so great!

I also recieved a bottle of this Cornish Mead, my boyfriend and I love Mead so I guess I’ll have to let him have some:)

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And I also had this book All Rivers Run Free by Natasha Carthew.

“Brittle but not yet broken, Ia Pendilly ekes out a fierce life in a caravan on the coast of Cornwall – ravaged by floods, cut off from Europe and descended to military rule. In years of living with Bran – her embattled, battering cousin and common law husband – she’s never had her own baby. So Ia rescues the girl. And the girl, in turn, will rescue something in Ia – bringing back a memory she’s lost, giving her the strength to escape, and leading her on a journey downriver, in search of family. In hope of freedom.”- Goodreads

I was looking for more books set in Cornwall and this sounds like it’s going to be a good read. Thanks Emma, please visit her blog 🙂

Upcoming post: BOOKISH PARCEL TWO: NINJA BOOK BOX UNBOXING

Until then I hope you’re enjoying the remnants of the summer and reading some great books. I have so many books to read and so little time.  Bookworm problems, right?!

Thanks for following and reading my blog despite how quiet it’s been lately with my job and new house related chores. 🙂

 

 

 

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Review: The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

I was given a free copy of the ebook from Netgalley in exchange for a review

Synopsis from Netgalley:

From the bestselling author of The House at Riverton and The Secret Keeper, Kate Morton brings us her dazzling sixth novel, The Clockmaker’s Daughter.

My real name, no one remembers. The truth about that summer, no one else knows.

In the summer of 1862, a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor on the banks of the Upper Thames. Their plan: to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared; a priceless heirloom is missing; and Edward Radcliffe’s life is in ruins.

Over one hundred and fifty years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London, uncovers a leather satchel containing two seemingly unrelated items: a sepia photograph of an arresting-looking woman in Victorian clothing, and an artist’s sketchbook containing the drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river. 

Why does Birchwood Manor feel so familiar to Elodie? And who is the beautiful woman in the photograph? Will she ever give up her secrets?

Told by multiple voices across time, The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a story of murder, mystery and thievery, of art, love and loss. And flowing through its pages like a river, is the voice of a woman who stands outside time, whose name has been forgotten by history, but who has watched it all unfold: Birdie Bell, the clockmaker’s daughter.

My thoughts

I love reading books by Kate Morton, I’ve enjoyed all her other books. Her stories are always compelling and written with an amazing style that brings the scenes alive. There’s usually two stories that are connected somehow and there’s always a mystery to unravel and I love them.

This book was similar, the style is faultless as ever. I was intrigued from the first page and quickly grew to like the characters of Elodie and Birdie.

I’ve always enjoyed how the author tells us multiple stories from different viewpoints but I think there were more viewpoints than usual. And I didn’t enjoy it as much as I’d enjoyed the previous books by Kate Morton, I’m sad to say. There were too many characters given a voice and I found it hard to remember who they were, some of their stories were engaging and all  were connected in some way but they sometimes repeated the same information and I did wonder if the stories were neccessary to the plot.

In the end I did not feel that Elodie’s story was continued, although her future was implied and I did not feel like I’d spent enough time with her.

I think I would’ve enjoyed this more if it was only in the viewpoint of Elodie and Birdie rather than various other characters’ story being told. Despite my thoughts on this book I will still read more by Kate Morton in the future.

This is of course my opinion and I do wonder whether my enjoyment of this book was affected by my busyness of late and maybe I wasn’t in the mood for this type of book. 😦

This book will be published September 20th 

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Exciting News

I don’t usually share much about my life on here, besides my writing and my reading, I’m always concerned (probably a side effect of being an introvert) that I’ll seem self-involved or something. But I thought I’d share my thoughts and news: So me and my boyfriend have bought a house. Our first house! (I’ve been wanting to shout it from the roof tops but I have this inane fear that I would jinx it, that if I raved about it, it wouldn’t happen, yuk! sorry very bad thinking).

It was a big decision, I’m not planning on moving again. We are currently renting a small mid terraced house just off a busy main road and close to a pub. My main concern when looking at houses was that I didn’t want to move too far from my family (my father said that I’m like a homing pidgeon, but he lives in the same street as my Nan so who am I following :)) I didn’t want to have to catch buses as they are not reliable or cheap. I also wanted to make sure I could get a bus to work, or walk.

I think you have to be picky (a little), you don’t want to move then regret the distance from family or regret some aspect of the house.  I was prepared to give up my dream of a semi-detached or detached three bed house if need be but: I wanted a good size back garden and a front one too, a good size living room and kitchen. You do have to be realistic though, you can’t have everything, especially when the perfect property is way over budget. I didn’t really know where I wanted to live, my choices were limited really I wanted to avoid living near both a main road and a pub having put up with that for years.

I’ve always fancied living in this little village I live close to.  There’s nothing special about it really, the post office closed down recently, there’s about six Chinese takeaways, one chippy and two Indian restaurant/takeaways. A cafe and a random coffee shop that just opened. Mostly the shops that open don’t stay open long, there’s some that have been there for many years and probably are owned by the same people, then the convenience stores that have changed hands. So nothing amazing there.

But the houses were all way over budget. I’d have to sacrifice a lot to live there. So I wondered why did I want to live there anyway?

I think it’s just me being sentimental. When I was a child I’d walk to the library every Saturday and I’d always wanted to live there. I’m trying to recall why now, I’ve just always thought it was a lovely village and it had the library. But I don’t visit the library as often anymore, I started work and with my long shifts I struggle to find the time. Also I own a lot of books and review a lot for Netgalley etc so I never need to go there. (Sometimes I’ve checked to see if they had a book I want but they haven’t, lost or stolen usually!) I do feel guilty for not going more but that’s a post for another day.

I was asking myself about my reasonings because the place I am moving to also has a library, smaller but it’s there. It’s not far from the village either so I won’t miss out on my favourite Chinese and there’s a waffle shop (!!!) and a hairdresser. And I realised that maybe I was just holding onto this idea that didn’t mean anything, my dream would be to live by the sea (Tenby). But this is reality!

And what’s the reality? What did I give up? 🙂 The house we’ve bought has exactly what we wanted for a much cheaper price than in the village:

  • The house is maybe a 20-30 minute walk from my parents and I might end up walking to work depending on how long it takes, which is something I can’t do at the moment as it’s too long a walk.
  • It’s a three bed, semi-detached, exactly what I wanted- which I thought we wouldn’t be able to afford.
  • It’s an old house, built using local bricks (when there was still a brick yard) which means it is built a lot better than the newer houses, the walls will not be as thin as my current house (YAY!!! Peace and quiet)
  • The back garden is a perfect size, it has a small shed outside and space for another one. A lawn and also a space to use as a sort of patio. There is also a tiny pond, I’ve always wanted a pond because I used to have one as a child.
  • The front garden is paved over but there’s space to plant or whatever and there’s off road parking! I can access my back garden from the front! (sorry I live in a tiny mid terraced house this is a novelty to me)
  • I will actually have a proper washing line not a rotary thingy!!

We are so fortunate to have found this house within our price range and ticking most (if not all) of the boxes. I am so happy with the house and I can’t wait until it’s ours. We are just waiting now until we get the keys in about a fortnights time and we will then be moving shortly after. So … please again accept my apologies if I’m not blogging as much. And thanks for reading my exciting news 🙂

I can’t wait!!!!!!

I’LL FINALLY HAVE ROOM FOR MY BOOKS AND A WRITING DESK!!!!!!!!!!

Need I say more fellow book lovers/writers, need I say more?

review

The Salt Path by Raynor Winn

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

“Just days after Raynor learns that Moth, her husband of 32 years is terminally ill, their home and livelihood is taken away. With nothing left and little time, they make the brave and impulsive decision to walk the 630 miles of the sea-swept South West Coast Path, from Somerset to Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall.

They have almost no money for food or shelter and must carry only the essentials for survival on their backs as they live wild in the ancient, weathered landscape of cliffs, sea and sky. Yet through every step, every encounter, and every test along the way, their walk becomes a remarkable journey.”

I was instantly intrigued after reading the premise of this book online. I love the coast and inspiring stories so this book was perfect for me. The cover is gorgeous (designed by Angela Harding) you could frame that image and put it on your wall. I was fortunate to find this signed edition in a bookshop in Padstow whilst on holiday in Cornwall, I had to buy it! When I started reading I knew it was going to be one of those books I would not be able to stop.

It’s a sad story but it’s also inspiring reading about Raynor and Moth who despite losing their home and finding out that Moth has a terminal illness they get up and carry on. They go through so much and it’s a pleasure to read their true story and share it with them.

The style of the writing is breathtaking, it made me feel like I was right there by the coast, my favourite place to be, listening to those annoying gulls and breathing in that gorgeous sea air.

This book is about “coming to terms with grief and the healing power of the natural world,” but I feel that there are a lot of life lessons too:

This book reminds us of the importance of appreciating the world around us, many people go through life never appreciating  it:

“However cosy ‘He’ was in the big house he didn’t have this, he couldn’t hear the beat of an owl’s wing through the oak branches, or the scratch of his talons against the bark of a beech tree. He wasn’t breathing the sweet scent of nettles or the sharp tang of gorse as he put his head on a pillow.”

This book reminded me of our connection with the world around us and the healing powers it gives us, walking outside and allowing our minds to stop is something we can all enjoy. Reading this book is as restorative as walking along a coastal path, I’d love to do something amazing like that but I probably never will and have the utmost respect and awe for those who do.

“I could feel the sky, the earth, the water and revel in being part of the elements without a chasm of pain opening at the thought of the loss of our place within it. I was a part of the whole. I didn’t need to own a patch of land to make that so. I could stand in the wind and I was the wind, the rain, the sea; it was all me, and I was nothing within it. The core of me wasn’t lost. Translucent, elusive, but theere and growing stronger with every headland.”

There were so many parts of this book that I wanted to quote, but I was so absorbed I forgot to made a note of them all. One day I will reread this book!  No matter how I write this review I know it won’t do justice to the honest story and great writing. I tried so hard to convey how I feel but I am falling short.

I will be looking out for future books by Raynor Winn.

You can read an extract of this book here  

Have you read this book? Share your thoughts and link to your review in the comments 🙂

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Currently Reading/Update

I decided to start reading the final (published, the last still hasn’t been published) Song Of Ice and Fire/Game Of Thrones book. It’s way behind the tv series and might take me a while to read. I was going to read something short but I knew I’d enjoy this.

I’m also still trying to finish The Secret Garden, which because I’ve struggled to find time to read I haven’t really got into properly.

And I started an ARC: The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton. I love Kate Morton books and I know that I will enjoy reading this book.

I may have done a bad thing deciding to read two books, but I’m behind on my ARC reads. My work hours are still crazy and add to that I will be moving very soon. Did I mention that?

To Do:

  • Write review of The Salt Path, finished reading this weeks ago
  • Continue working on short story
  • Eventually finish The Secret Garden
  • Eventually finish The Clockmaker’s Daughter
  • Proofread my post about my new house etc (wrote ages ago)
  • I really want to catch-up on reading blog posts, I’ve run out of mobile data so can’t read any on the go at the moment

I am already regretting starting reading A Dance With Dragons, I don’t know how I’ll find the time to read it. Whoops! If I can have a few hours uninterrupted reading maybe it might be possible. If the reading is possible.

How do you find the time to blog and work, especially if you work full time? And indulge in other interests, for me writing fiction?

 

writing

Writing Progress

It’s time for the Insecure Writers’ Support Group blog hop, I won’t be answering the question  What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey? but if you follow this link you can find other writers who may be and see what the Insecure Writers’ Group is all about.

I haven’t had much time to write for my blog lately, that’s why this is short and sweet. But I’ve been working on a short story instead. And I’ve made some progress. It’s getting to the end of the first draft slowly.

I do need to change the characters names, I’m hopeless with names and I need to give them more thought. When the first draft is done and I’m in the stage of fine tuning I’ll find new names 🙂

Feeling happy that I made time to write today, though sad not time to write the review for this blog.

I’m made some progress with my story.

Small steps towards my goal of finishing it. Small steps to getting publication success.

Hope you’re meeting your goals and making progress too.