A Place to Read

The Last of the Stanfields by Marc Levy

This is the third book I’ve read/listened to by Marc Levy. The first, The Strange Journey of Alice Pendlebury I really enjoyed. The Second, All Those Things We Never Said, I enjoyed but did find it a little strange and long winded. I went into the Last of the Stanfields not really knowing what to expect apart from the difficulty in translation. I listened to the book on Amazon Kindle Unlimited as it is a cheap way of borrowing books to listen to and you are not restricted to one free book per month like with Audible. I’m still a member of Audible though as they have more choice of books. All my links are affiliate links so I may earn some money if you click through and buy, but it will be at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your support.

The Last of the Stanfields

The Last of the Stanfields
By: Marc LevyDaniel Wasserman – translator
Narrated by: Stina NielsenBraden Wright
Length: 13 hrs and 10 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 01-01-19
Language: English
Publisher: Brilliance Audio

I did listen to the sample and I thought the narrator was okay, but I have to admit that Stina Nielsen did grate on me after a while. She sounded too ‘posh’ and read too ‘literally.’ Braden Wright was fine though.

The Blurb

A mystery, a love story, and a search through a shadowy past. Two strangers unite in this novel of family secrets by international bestselling author Marc Levy, the most read contemporary French author in the world.

When London journalist Eleanor-Rigby Donovan receives an anonymous letter alluding to a crime committed by her deceased mother, her life is turned upside down. It points her to a bar on the Baltimore Harbor, where she finds a stranger who has received the same mysterious letter about his own mother. Together, Eleanor-Rigby and this young man, George-Harrison Collins, embark on a quest through the shadowy past of the Stanfields, a moneyed Maryland family full of unimaginable secrets. These secrets will transport them back decades, across continents, and to a mysterious crime long buried…until now.

My Review

I was really intrigued by this story despite it being a little long winded again. The story jumps around a lot from 1980, to 2016 and even way back to the 1940s. It was really interesting following the historical background to Eleanor-Rigby and George-Harrison and the mysterious letters they both receive. The story binds together well with a satisfying ending and a few little twists and turns along the way.

It was like dipping into a whole other book reading about Eleanor-Rigby’s grandparents during the war and how they survived and recovered their status once escaping to America.

Then it was another story learning about the exploits of Eleanor-Rigby’s and George-Harrison’s Mother’s and trying to work out who George-Harrison’s Father was. Yes, the names are double barrelled and read out in full all the time which was a little annoying. It was quite refreshing when Eleanor-Rigby’s family referred to her as Elby.

There is a lot going on this book and most of it is interesting and managed to keep me going until the end. Some things were predictable but there were also some little surprises.

Here are some more places you can purchase the book for yourself if you are interested.

bookworms monthly linky
A Place to Enjoy

My Etsy Shop September Sale

I’ve not really done much to promote my own Etsy shop but I think now is the time. The weather is now getting cooler and I’m sure my cowls would be appreciated as well as my gloves. I have a gorgeous baby blanket for sale as well and I am planning on adding a few more baby items. I have decided to reduce the price of my makes in the hope that I may have my first sale sometime soon. So here are the items in my September Sale.

Cowls

Batik Swirl cowl

This is my cosy Batik Swirl Cowl. It has a dappled effect and is in a graduated colour with a picot edge. Perfect to pop around your neck on a cooler day. Sale price is £10.80 and I offer free P&P

blue graduated cowl

intricate crochet cowl, handmade to feel soft and warm around your neck. The colours are a graduation of blues from a King Cole Caron Cake. Add an extra layer of warmth around your neck, under your coat or on it’s own. The cowl is and infinity scarf so it has no ends, just pop it over your head and away you go. Currently on sale for £9.90

pink cowl, infinity scarf

Lovely soft hand crocheted infinity scarf in graduating shades of pink. Slightly longer to give that scarf feel but easy to pop over your head without having to knot. Currently on sale for £9.90

Shawl

graduated shawl in soft coloured wool

This is a handmade shawl from soft graduated coloured wool. The graduated coloured shawl has a blueish picot edges around three sides. There are some more detailed photos on Etsy.

Gloves

fingerless gloves

Soft and snuggly fingerless mittens or wrist warmers. Handmade in a lovely soft blue wool with a white trim. Fits small to medium. I’m wearing them in the photo and I have quite skinny wrists (7inches) and fingers, but they will stretch a little. Great for keeping your hands and wrists warm while leaving your fingers free for todays technology. I use the same at home to keep my hands warm while I’m working on my laptop. Currently £6.75

orange fingerless mittens

Feel the warmth in these lovely orange fingerless mittens/wrist warmers with a dark emerald picot edging. Hand made with soft wool. Will fit small to medium size wrists, 7-8 inches. Keep your wrists and hands warm while having your fingers free. Thumb also has a little emerald trim. £6.75

Bag

brick pattern little bag

Hand made crochet bag. This little bag is made from mosaic crochet in a brick pattern with crochet handles. It’s burgundy in colour with a graduated grey and pink brickwork pattern. It measures 8 inches (21 cm) in width and 6 inches (15cm) tall with a further 6 inches for the handles. Currently on sale for £7.20

Baby Blanket

Baby blooms baby blanket

Soft and sweet baby blanket, handmade crochet in soft DK baby wool. Pastel colours creating a selection of flower panels, each one unique. Flower bed border around the edge.
Approximately 40 by 36 inches, perfect for babies cot or pram. This blanket was a lot of work and is really pretty, it’s currently on sale for £27.

Thanks for taking a look. If you are a member of Etsy I’d really appreciate a view and maybe a favourite on my items. Being a new seller I don’t get much traffic. Even if you don’t buy anything you can help me get noticed a little more. Thank you in advance. xx

Other Posts: I took the Plunge and Opened an Etsy Shop.

A Place to Read

Bookworms Monthly September Link Up Party for bookish posts

Hello, Welcome to BookWorms Monthly September. After the heatwave in July, here in the UK we had quite a dull and miserable August. No worries, any weather is good for reading!

Reading is my passion and I love to write about what I’ve read. I’m a real book worm and I have been since the day I could read. I decided to start this linky so that other book worms could Share. I’m starting monthly for now, so you have a whole month to link up your posts. You can link up to four posts, so that’s one a week. Or if you like you can link up some of your older posts.

Let’s share what we read and give other’s ideas what to read next. Tell me your reviews, you book reading lists, your author interviews, kids book favourites, Young Adult books, and even posts about your favourite authors. Anything book related is allowed and I can’t wait to read them all. I want to find all the book worms out there.

Here is last months linky to give you some idea of what book worms monthly is about. I’m trying to reach out to all the book worms out there to come and join me with their posts monthly.

Join Us for Book Worms Monthly September


Book worms Monthly will be posted every four weeks, and you can join in at any time. I will share anyone who links over on my Social Media sites, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Mix (formerly Stumbleupon.) I’ll also come along and read and comment on your post. Please do share this link up with your friends.

Link up your BookWorms Monthly September book posts below.

Here is a badge to share, just use the code below if you want to put it on your blog. Or you can just link back to www.athomealot.com thanks.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

This is the bookworms monthly link up for September, you can see the last link up for August here.

Each month I will read through the linked up posts and add to my TBR list here:

The Power of the Pearl https://blogmumjd.wordpress.com/2021/07/23/the-power-of-the-pearl-by-william-edmonds-book-review/

A Place to Read

Blackberry and Wild Rose by Sonia Velton

I ventured into another historical novel and Chose Blackberry and Wild Rose because the story sounded intriguing, and it certainly was.

This post contains affiliate links and if you click through and go on to purchase something, I may earn a little money at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog.

Blackberry and wild rose, bookcover. Dark backgroun
By: Sonia Velton
Narrated by: Heather LongBeth Eyre
Length: 9 hrs and 43 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 10-01-19
Language: English
Publisher: Quercus

I listened to the book on Audible and I found the recording really good. There were complaints in the comments that the two women sounded similar, but I could distinguish them straight away, even if I’d stopped listening and came back to the story.

The Blurb

For fans of Jessie Burton and Tracy Chevalier, a rich historical debut set among the Huguenot silk weavers of Spitalfields in the late 18th century.

When Esther Thorel, the wife of a Huguenot silk weaver, rescues Sara Kemp from a brothel she thinks she is doing God’s will. Sara is not convinced being a maid is better than being a whore, but the chance to escape her grasping madam is too good to refuse.

Inside the Thorels’ tall house in Spitalfields, where the strange cadence of the looms fills the attic, the two women forge an uneasy relationship. The physical intimacies of washing and dressing belie the reality: Sara despises her mistress’ blindness to the hypocrisy of her household while Esther is too wrapped up in her own secrets to see Sara as anything more than another charitable cause.

It is silk that has Esther so distracted. For years she has painted her own designs, dreaming that one day her husband will weave them into reality. When he laughs at her ambition, she unwittingly sets in motion events that will change the fate of the whole Thorel household and set the scene for a devastating day of reckoning between her and Sara.

The price of a piece of silk may prove more than either is able to pay.

My Review on Blackberry and Wild Rose.

This story had so many elements, the history of the Huguenots and the Spitalfieds silk, along with the revolution of the journeymen. The relationship between two very different women and how their lives became intertwined. The battle of the sexes and how women were rarely listened and often abused. The differences between those who had money and status and those who didn’t. And the different romantic storylines.

The relationship between the two main characters was the main focus of the story. Two women who both felt repressed by men but also one by the other.

I could not work out where the story was going to end, it built up slowly but was always interesting. The ending was climactic and satisfying. It was both sad and happy in different ways.

Overall, I found this a very interesting listen (read) and I think I am fast becoming an historical novel fan. I think I even learned a little about weaving silk.

You can also buy the book on Amazon.

Or you can support my bookshop here

bookworms monthly linky
A Place to Enjoy, Shopping

Summer Sale, Bringing some Offers for my Readers

I am an affiliate for quite a few programs and lately I’ve seem some great Summer Sale offers that I’d like to share with you. All links are affiliate so if you see something you like and click through to buy then I may earn a little money. This is at no extra cost to you, so thank you for supporting my blog.

Sunglasses

You may be thinking it’s a little late for sunglasses, or you may be planning on a trip to a sunnier climate. I love a good bargain when it comes to sunglasses and now Hawkers have a great sale on with styles to suit everyone.

These are pretty and reduced from £29.99 to just £19.99.

summer sale, sunglasses

Craft Stash

There are some fabulous bargains to be had at Craft Stash but you have to be quick as the sale is only on for a week.

Buy 1, get the 2nd for only a penny! Use code PENNY at the checkout.

Up To £5 Off selected Magazine Kits

25% Off Selected Pens, Pencils & Art SuppliesWith code: BTS

Up To 40% Off Clairefontaine

Centre of Excellence

I’m a big fan of The Centre of Excellence for all sorts of educational courses and they have some special offers on kids courses at the moment.

You can use my code RAISIEBAY466 for 70% off any of the courses. But they also have a lot of children’s courses on sale for £29.99.

There are also some fabulous animal courses that you could use my discount code on.

Start Right

It is the time of year when parents are looking for back to school shoes and you may be able to find some in the Start Right Summer Sale. You’ll need to be quick though and there are not many sizes left. Start Right are a still a good place if you are looking for school shoes though, and if you need to buy online they sell foot measuring gauges. You can also get free delivery on school shoes and sign up to the newsletter for a discount and special offers!

Dotty Fish

If you are looking for Baby Shoes then Dotty Fish are absolutely adorable. They currently have a summer sale on their gorgeous sandles. But that’s not all, you can get 20% off accessories with the code GIVEME20 and Free UK Delivery.

summer sale sandles for babies,

The Pen Shop

Maybe you are looking for a special pen for a special person or you would like to treat someone with a back to school or university gift. The pen shop has a sale on.

Parker IM Black Chrome Trim Fountain Pen and Ball Pen Set – Was £63.00 Now Only £36.00!

Cross Calais Black Fountain Pen – Was £42.00 Now Only £33.60!

Cross Beverly Translucent Red Fountain Pen – Was £42 Now Only £33.60!

Free Delivery on order over £20!

Thanks for reading, I’ll keep looking for offers for you.

A Place to Read

The Memory Shop by Ella Griffin – book review

I wanted something nice to read on holiday, so I put away the thrillers and horror books and settled on a nice story, with my favourite kind of narrator, one with an Irish accent. The book I chose was The Memory Shop by Ella Griffin.

This post contains affiliate links so if you click through and purchase anything I may earn a little money at no extra cost to yourself. Thank you for supporting my blog.

By: Ella Griffin
Narrated by: Deirdre O’Connell
Length: 13 hrs and 30 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 05-10-17
Language: English
Publisher: W. F. Howes Ltd

The Blurb

Daydreamer Nora has inherited all of her grandmother’s worldly belongings.

Nora dreads seeing her beloved grandmother’s possessions go, but she’s determined that item by item, memory by memory, she will find the perfect new owners.

When she opens The Memory Shop in the front of her grandmother’s house, the community is gradually drawn inside, and Nora begins transforming the lives of those around her through the objects she pairs them with.

My Review of The Memory Shop

I listened to the book on Audible. I always advise people to listen to a sample first to make sure you are happy with the narrator. The story was perfect for my holiday, it was a gentle, heart warming story, tinged with sadness. I felt for all of the characters in the story and I thought Ella Griffin did an amazing job linking the stories together and showing you the other side. I don’t want to give too much away, but the main character, Nora, helps a lot of people which has a knock on effect to other people in their lives. Nora does give thought into what she is selling to whom and why, but she doesn’t really know the effect the purchases are having on the person’s life.

Nora’s life doesn’t start off too well when she finds her long standing boyfriend in bed with her best friend and business partner. Going off to Ireland to sort out her grandparents estate comes at just the right time.

The ending was lovely with all the little pieces being tied up together like a beautiful gift from Nora’s Memory Shop. I really enjoyed this book and it was a lovely holiday read. Perfect to pick up at any time and continue the story.

You can also buy The Memory Shop on Amazon.

bookworms monthly linky
A Place to Read

The Other Emily by Dean Koontz

I haven’t read any of Dean Koontz for a long time but I quite fancied the idea of a bit of sci-fi mixed with horror so The Other Emily caught my eye. This post will contain affiliate links.

The Other Emily, Dean Koontz
By: Dean Koontz
Narrated by: MacLeod Andrews
Length: 10 hrs and 2 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 23-03-21
Language: English
Publisher: Brilliance Audio

The Blurb

A decade ago, Emily Carlino vanished after her car broke down on a California highway. She was presumed to be one of serial killer Ronny Lee Jessup’s victims whose remains were never found. 

Writer David Thorne still hasn’t recovered from losing the love of his life, or from the guilt of not being there to save her. Since then, he’s sought closure any way he can. He even visits regularly with Jessup in prison, desperate for answers about Emily’s final hours so he may finally lay her body to rest. Then David meets Maddison Sutton, beguiling, playful, and keenly aware of all David has lost. But what really takes his breath away is that everything about Maddison, down to her kisses, is just like Emily. As the fantastic becomes credible, David’s obsession grows, Maddison’s mysterious past deepens – and terror escalates. 

Is she Emily? Or an irresistible dead ringer? Either way, the ultimate question is the same: What game is she playing? Whatever the risk in finding out, David’s willing to take it for this precious second chance. It’s been ten years since he’s felt this inspired, this hopeful, this much in love…and he’s afraid.

My thoughts on the Audio Book.

I listened to The Other Emily on Audible and I thought the narrator was pretty good, apart from when he was speaking the women’s parts, but that’s understandable. He read the book in an eirie way which gave just the right amount of scariness. I found myself listening as much as I could, if it were a book it would definitely be a page turner.

My Thoughts on the Story

I do like the mix of sci-fi and horror even if it’s not for everyone. I thought some of the storyline was much like Silence of the Lambs, with just the right amount of terror in the interviews with a psychopath and the trapped in the house of horror scenes. The ending was were the sci-fi parts kicked in and it was a little baffling. I found myself from being scared to wondering what the heck was going on. If you engage fully with the story though and think about the reasons behind the plot then it makes more sense and is actually quite thought provoking.

The main character was likeable if a little weird and obsessive. The psychopath was portrayed really well, but the other characters kind of faded into the story, even the elusive Maddison, or the other Emily was not very endearing and you felt little for what happened to her.

If you want a story that will get you thinking, keep you reading (or listening) give you a scare and frazzle your brain at the same time, then this might be the story for you.

bookworms monthly linky

Are you a fan of Dean Koontz?

What have you read this month, pop along to my linky using the image above for my Monthly Book worm link up.

A Place to Read

Book Worms Monthly August Join our Link Up

Hello, Welcome to BookWorms Monthly August. Phew, the UK had a bit of a heatwave in July, perfect for getting your books out and reading in the shade.

Reading is my passion and I love to write about what I’ve read. I’m a real book worm and I have been since the day I could read. I decided to start this linky so that other book worms could Share. I’m starting monthly for now, so you have a whole month to link up your posts. You can link up to four posts, so that’s one a week. Or if you like you can link up some of your older posts.

Let’s share what we read and give other’s ideas what to read next. Tell me your reviews, you book reading lists, your author interviews, kids book favourites, Young Adult books, and even posts about your favourite authors. Anything book related is allowed and I can’t wait to read them all. I want to find all the book worms out there.

Here is last months linky to give you some idea of what book worms monthly is about. I’m trying to reach out to all the book worms out there to come and join me with their posts monthly.

Join Us for Book Worms Monthly
Book worms Monthly will be posted every four weeks, and you can join in at any time. I will share anyone who links over on my Social Media sites, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Mix (formerly Stumbleupon.) I’ll also come along and read and comment on your post. Please do share this link up with your friends.

Link up your BookWorms Monthly August book posts below.

Here is a badge to share, just use the code below if you want to put it on your blog. Or you can just link back to www.athomealot.com thanks.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

This is the bookworms monthly link up forAugust, you can see the last link up for July here.

Each month I will read through the linked up posts and add to my TBR list here:

Uncategorized

This is Not Just Hand Soap, Choose well Review

I was asked to review some hand soap and I was really impressed with Choose Well and their lovely ethical hand soaps with a purpose.

Four bottles of choose well hand soap, rose geranium, botanical orang, cedarwood and sage and Almond and Vanilla.
Four bottles of Choose Well Hand Soap

There’s power and purpose in every purchase

The large 500 ml bottles are all 100% recyclable and you can also buy refill packets which work out at better value and have even less waste. You can even choose to buy a glass bottle to use with the refills.

The hand soap is not tested on animals and contains 95% natural ingredients. They are tested by dermatologists and are suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Each purchase allows you to opt where some of the profit from sales goes towards charitable ventures: such as providing water and sanitation for countries that need help. Or you can choose to help the homeless and help keep a young person off the street. The other charity is Trees. Planting trees can regenerate forests and help the global climate.

My review of the Hand Soap

I love that every product bought helps causes that I care about. I also like that the dispensers are completely recyclable. I switched to bar soap a couple of years ago, but my family were so pleased to have bottles in the bathroom again. I though bar soap was a better choice at the time but I think Choose Well may have changed my mind.

We love the Choose Well hand soap, it leaves our hands feeling soft and clean and the bathroom smelling delightful. Our favourite so far is the Rose Geranium, but we like all of them. We have the Cedarwood and Sage in the upstairs bathroom and that’s wonderful too.

Just a little squirt from the bottle is enough for a complete hand wash and a sink full of bubbles. I suffer from dermatitis and I’m pleased to report that my hands have been left feeling soft and smelling lovely.

A 500ml bottle of hand wash costs £7.99, which is a little expensive but it’s worth it. You are also supporting a good cause and the wash lasts for ages. It’s also a truly luxurious wash and I’m definitely considering refills when my bottles empty.

The refills cost £12 and you get a whole litre of hand wash. The exclusive glass dispenser costs £9.99 for a 300ml bottle and £11.99 for a 500ml bottle. You can also refill the plastic bottles if you want to give them more life before recycling.

At the moment Choose Well have four fragrances for their hand soap, Rose Geranium, Almond and Vanilla, Botanical Orange and Cedarwood and Sage.

You can also buy kits, like the refill starter kit with a 500ml dispenser bottle and a litre refill of the soap of your choice The price for this is £23.99. or You can buy two bottles of soap for £14 or 4 four £28

You can follow Choose Well on Instagram. On Twitter and Facebook

It all started with a simple idea. What if soap could be more than just soap? What if liquid hand wash could help save lives and change lives for the better? What if money from the sale of an everyday item could be put towards good causes? What if soap could help both people and the planet?

A Place to Read

Mrs England, The Latest offering from Stacey Halls.

I am fast becoming a fan of Stacey Halls. There was a time where I wouldn’t consider reading an historical novel, but Stacey Halls has me enthralled every time. Mrs England, is the latest offering and once again a very enjoyable read.

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Manilla Press (10 Jun. 2021)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 400 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1838772863
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1838772864
Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 14.4 x 3.8 x 22.2 cm

The Blurb

‘Something’s not right here.’
I was aware of Mr Booth’s eyes on me, and he seemed to hold his breath. ‘What do you mean?’
‘In the house. With the family.’

West Yorkshire, 1904. When newly graduated nurse Ruby May takes a position looking after the children of Charles and Lilian England, a wealthy couple from a powerful dynasty of mill owners, she hopes it will be the fresh start she needs. But as she adapts to life at the isolated Hardcastle House, it becomes clear there’s something not quite right about the beautiful, mysterious Mrs England.

Distant and withdrawn, Lilian shows little interest in her children or charming husband, and is far from the ‘angel of the house’ Ruby was expecting. As the warm, vivacious Charles welcomes Ruby into the family, a series of strange events forces her to question everything she thought she knew. Ostracised by the servants and feeling increasingly uneasy, Ruby must face her demons in order to prevent history from repeating itself. After all, there’s no such thing as the perfect family – and she should know.

Simmering with slow-burning menace, Mrs England is a portrait of an Edwardian marriage, weaving an enthralling story of men and women, power and control, courage, truth and the very darkest deception. Set against the atmospheric West Yorkshire landscape, Stacey Halls’ third novel proves her one of the most exciting and compelling new storytellers of our times.

My Review of Mrs England

I listened to Mrs England on Audible, using my monthly credit.

I’d always recommend listening to a sample first. This book is narrated by Imogen Wilde with a board Birmingham accent. For me, being a Brummie, it was fine, but others might find it a little difficult. I have trouble listening to certain accents.

That doesn’t take anything away from the brilliant story telling. Mrs England seemed a little slower to actually get started than Stacey Halls previous novels, but it still drew me in, savouring every character and every scene. From the streets of London to Basall Heath in Birmingham, right out to the West Yorkshire landscape, you feel like you are there with your characters.

Little clues of what happened and what is happening are scattered through out, so although there are some twists, nothing comes as a complete suprise. (Well, there was one thing I didn’t guess.) The story is full of intrigue without the massive drama. You have to wait a long time for a dramatic event, but it really doesn’t matter, just get taken along for the ride and enjoy.

I love that Stacey Halls takes an event from history and turns it into a novel. What happened to Ruby May came from a factual story that she’d read. But all the rest is her imagination.

I will be looking forward to more from Stacey Halls.

Read my review of The Foundling by Stacey Halls

Read my review of The Familiars by Stacey Halls