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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.

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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:

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

A Place to Read

Bookworms Monthly July link Up


Hello, Welcome to BookWorms Monthly July. I haven’t done a bookworms monthly for a while but I’ve decided to revive it again

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 March 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 July, you can see the last link up for June here.

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

Yet Another Blogging Mummy has written a great review of The Life of Pi

A Place to Read

All Those Things We Never Said – Marc Levy

After really enjoying The Strange Journey of Alice Pendlebury by Marc Levy I decided to give another of his books a try. I chose All Those Things We Never Said from Kindle Unlimited.

My links in this post are affiliate which means if you click through and purchase something I may earn some money at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog.

By: Marc LevyChris Murray – translator
Narrated by: Amy McFadden
Length: 9 hrs and 49 mins
Release date: 14-11-17
Language: English

The Blurb from All Those Things We Never Said

Days before her wedding, Julia Walsh is blindsided twice: once by the sudden death of her estranged father…and again when he appears on her doorstep after his funeral, ready to make amends, right his past mistakes, and prevent her from making new ones.

Surprised, to say the least, Julia reluctantly agrees to turn what should have been her honeymoon into a spontaneous road trip with her father to make up for lost time. But when an astonishing secret is revealed about a past relationship, their trip becomes a whirlwind journey of rediscovery that takes them from Montreal to Paris to Berlin and back home again, where Julia learns that even the smallest gestures she might have taken for granted have the power to change her life forever.

My Review

I was intrigued by the blurb, how could her father appear on her doorstep after his funeral? Well, the answer was rather surprising and suspends belief. I’m all for a little sci-fi but it just didn’t seem to fit well into this story.

The premise was lovely, a young women gets to make amends with her father, find out what her childhood was really like, have some long and caring conversations as well as some strops, travel to Canada, Paris and Germany. Meet up with old friends, break up with new and finally realise what is most important in life.

In reality, the story dragged, All Those Things We Never Said, could have been said a little more concisely, cutting the story down. If you like a story which examines all the emotions then you will probably enjoy this. I’m not saying it was bad but…

The main character, Julia, was just annoying, a spoilt brat. The Father was tiresome, meddling, and could have said all those things he needed to say in a letter. Some interesting parts of the story seemed rushed and gave way to lots of dreamy type monologues. The narrator was not to my liking either but that’s a personal choice. I just sometimes think that the past is past and it’s not believable that two so different characters could still be so much in love after the passing of nearly twenty years, or was it eighteen? I got confused as the author used both.

It hasn’t put me off Marc Levy, but I’m glad I got this on my Kindle Unlimited rather than using an Audible credit.

A Place to Read

The Strange Journey of Alice Pendlebury, book review

My latest audio book was The Strange Journey of Alice Pendlebury which I read for free from Amazon Kindle Unlimited. I’ll get on to the book review in a moment.

I love Audible but I keep listening to more than one book every month and I needed to get access to more books without paying too much. Audio books are generally more expensive than normal books or ebooks. I decided to sign up to Amazon Kindle Unlimited which gives me access to many more books with audio narration. And I get three months free to try it out.


The Strange Journey of Alice Pendlebury

The Blurb

Alice Pendelbury believes everything in her life is pretty much in order – from her good friends to her burgeoning career. But even Alice has to admit it’s been an odd week. Not only has her belligerent neighbor, Mr. Daldry, suddenly become a surprisingly agreeable confidant, but he’s encouraging her to take seriously the fortune-teller who told her that only by traveling to Turkey can Alice meet the most important person in her life.

What’s more, the peculiarly insistent Mr. Daldry has even agreed to finance Alice’s trip – one that against all reason seems to be predestined. It’s on this journey, crazy from the outset and strangely irresistible, that Alice will find out that nothing in her life is real, that her past is not true, and that the six people she’s about to encounter will shape her future in ways she could never have dreamed.

My Review

The book was originally written in French but it was translated by an American, which gives it a strange American themes to the English scenes. You may spot them, but I wasn’t overly bothered by them. The narrator was agreeable to listen to, but I always advise anyone purchasing an ebook to listen to the preview.

The book is available on kindle and paperback too, I’ll give links at the end of my post.

This is not the kind of book I would normally read but I was drawn in by the blurb. It sounded quite fascinating and a little bit mystical. The story is basically a love story, but it has lots of little twists and love is not the obvious objective.

I really enjoyed the stories of life in Turkey. For someone who hasn’t travelled much I love hearing stories about other countries. Of course, there was also some of the sad history in the story too. The actual book is set in the 1950s but it also covers 1915 which was a pretty awful time for the Armenians living in Turkey. It encouraged me to read a little more into what happened back then.

Alice Pendlebury is a likeable character and she doesn’t ‘do’ nonsense which is great. Mr Daldry is not so likeable at first, but he grows on you. It’s never really explained why he is so uptight, but it’s lovely to see the little parts of him that endears his character.

The other characters are all brought to life with lots of colour and interest. I have decided that I want to read more from Marc Levy. I’ve already downloaded my next book from Amazon Unlimited.

More ways of getting the book, please not that all my links are affiliate links which may earn me some money if you go on to by something, but they won’t cost you any extra, so thanks for your support.

bookworms monthly linky
A Place to Read

Join us for Bookworms Monthly June Linkup Party

Welcome to Bookworms June linkup

Hello, Welcome to BookWorms Monthly June. I haven’t done a bookworms monthly for a while but I’ve decided to revive it again.

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 March 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
A Place to Read

Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro Book Review

I recently listened to Klara and The Sun on Audible and this is my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and I purchased the audio book myself. I will however use affiliate links in my post which may earn me a little money if you click through and purchase something, but they will not cost you any extra. Thank you for supporting my blog.

By: Kazuo Ishiguro
Narrated by: Sura Siu
Length: 10 hrs and 16 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 02-03-21
Language: English
Publisher: Faber & Faber

Klara and The Sun on Audible

The Blurb

The sun always has ways to reach us.

From her place in the store, Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, watches carefully the behaviour of those who come in to browse and of those who pass in the street outside. She remains hopeful a customer will soon choose her, but when the possibility emerges that her circumstances may change for ever, Klara is warned not to invest too much in the promises of humans.

In Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro looks at our rapidly changing modern world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator to explore a fundamental question: what does it mean to love?  

My Review of Klara and The Sun

After reading some other discussion of this book I can see it has very mixed results. So my review is going to be my personal thoughts. I rarely read much into books before reading them, I tend to take a look at the Blurb that comes with the book and judge on the genre and whether I think I will be interested. If it’s an audio book I will then listen to an extract because there is nothing worse than listening to someone who grates on you.

I did think the narrator was good as Klara, but her grasp of the way English people speak was almost humorous. I guess we all talk like the queen then.

Ok, on to the story. I will admit, I do like a bit of science fiction occasionally and I have a particular fascination with robots and Artificial Intelligence. I was reading Isaac Asimov as a young teenager. The story of Klara fascinated me and I was excited to start this book.

Klara is the first person narrator of the book so we see the entire story through her eyes, which are not always clearly focused. Klara is an AF or Artificial Friend, developed in the future to be a companion to children. We spend a lot of the first part of the story following Klara’s life in the shop, the time she spends in the window, and her other AF friends and interaction with the shop manager. Once, while in the window, she is approached by a young girl who promises to come back for her. So, even though the manager has told her not to wait, that is what she does.

Eventually, Klara is taken home to be a friend to Josie who is seemingly unwell. Klara is a special kind of A.I. though, and takes it on herself to make Josie well again. She puts all of her trust into the power of The Sun and makes a pact with it to make Josie recover.

As the whole story is told from the perspective of the AF it does seem a little fragmented at times. You have to fill in a lot of gaps yourself, Klara is also representative of a young girl so she is also not fully developed and has misunderstandings of many issues.

I did think that maybe it would be better suited as a Young Adult book as it focuses on young people and their actions and feelings. But, it also shows the darker side of adults and the kind of world that the future may become. So, although it may be a simply told story, the underlying parts give you plenty of food for thought.

I don’t mind that you have to fill in a lot of gaps yourself, it gives a good impression of the gaps that would be experienced by the narrator, or indeed a child. You do get enough little clues to build up a bigger picture of this not too distant type of world.

You can also purchase Klara and the Sun on Amazon

My Last read The Foundling by Stacey Halls.

A Place to Read

The Foundling by Stacey Halls, a book review

Today I have another book review for you. I’ve just finished The Foundling by Stacey Halls on Audible. I really enjoyed The Familiars so I was excited to read another of Stacey Halls historical novels.

The Foundling cover on audible
By: Stacey Halls
Narrated by: Laura AikmanHattie Morahan
Length: 9 hrs and 19 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 06-02-20
Language: English
Publisher: Manilla Press

The Blurb

Two women, bound by a child, and a secret that will change everything . . .

London, 1754. Six years after leaving her illegitimate daughter Clara at London’s Foundling Hospital, Bess Bright returns to reclaim the child she has never known. Dreading the worst, that Clara has died in care, Bess is astonished to be told she has already claimed her. Her life is turned upside down as she tries to find out who has taken her little girl – and why.

Less than a mile from Bess’s lodgings in the city, in a quiet, gloomy townhouse on the edge of London, a young widow has not left the house in a decade. When her close friend – an ambitious young doctor at the Foundling Hospital – persuades her to hire a nursemaid for her daughter, she is hesitant to welcome someone new into her home and her life. But her past is threatening to catch up with her and tear her carefully constructed world apart.

From the bestselling author of The Familiars comes this captivating story of mothers and daughters, class and power, and love against the greatest of odds . . .

My Review of the Foundling.

I sped through this book because it was so intriguing. From the very beginning I was taken with poor Bess who had to give up her child. Then when she went back to pick her up, she’d gone!

It wasn’t too difficult to work where the baby had gone and how Bess found her And even though Bess had changed her name it was obvious who she was, but it wasn’t meant to be a big secret anyway.

Split into sections we have the Story from Bess’s side and then from Alexandra’s. Two very different women, with very different lifestyles, but one major connection.

I love Stacey Hall’s story telling, you really get to know the characters and all about their lives. She knows how to take you back to that time in history and understand why they did what they did.

There is a little intrigue, a few questions that need answering, some tense moments and a lot of emotional involvement. All in all, I found it a really good story. I’ll definitely be looking out for Stacey Hall’s next book.

I listened to The Foundling on Audible but you can also purchase it from my bookshop or Amazon. All links are affiliate links so if you do purchase through them I may earn a little money at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog.

Great news, Audible have officially launched their new Discounted Membership offer as of the 6th May 2021.

 Offer: 50% off membership for 4 months
Description: Just £3.99/month for the first 4 months, then £7.99/month
Click Here for Offer