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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

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Little One by Sarah A. Denzil; A book review

My latest listen on Audible was Little One by Sarah A. Denzil. My post will include affiliate links which if you click and go on to buy you may earn me a little money but there will be no extra cost to yourself. Thank you for your support.

Little One book cover
By: Sarah A. Denzil
Narrated by: Claire Storey
Length: 9 hrs and 44 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 14-01-21
Language: English
Publisher: Audible Studios

Little One – The Blurb

“Take my hand, little one.”

Fran finds her standing by the swings. A little girl, Esther, no older than seven years old, by herself in the dead of night, her pretty but old-fashioned yellow dress covered in grass stains and her hair dishevelled. She says she’s waiting for Father, and that strikes Fran as particularly odd.

After Esther is reunited with her family, Fran can’t stop thinking about this pious child whose imaginary friend is God. Fran’s instincts tell her something is very wrong. Why does Esther keep running away from home, and how did she get that bruise on her leg?

Fran’s husband warns her not to get too close, but one morning, Esther and her family disappear. Where did they go? Why did they leave their furniture behind?

Fran knows in her gut that something terrible is going to happen to that child, and she can’t stand by while it happens. No matter the cost.

After all, she found her. But can she save her?

My Review of Little One

I thought this was a really interesting story and found it difficult to put down (stop listening.)

It starts with the main character, Fran, finding a little girl, Esther, seemingly lost. She becomes intrigued with the family from Arizona that are new to the little English village in which she lives. The family soon become the topic of gossip in the village though, and when Fran believes Esther and her mother Mary to be in danger she calls the police to investigate. The evidence for her call is a few bruises, the fact that the girl runs away from home twice and the lack of caring relationship between the parents. The police decide there is nothing going on but the gossip carries on.

Eventually, the new family disappear and run off back to Arizona. This leaves Fran feeling guilty as she played a part in their persecution by the village.

Then Fran turns detective and decides to find out where they have gone, why they came to England and in her mind her goal is to save them.

This involves Fran taking a trip to Arizona, in which her seemingly caring husband refuses to take with her. This bit I found strange as he knows she’s not mentally stable and still grieving for the loss of their daughter who died from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.)

It all becomes clear in the end but it’s a harrowing journey.

This is a gripping story with lots of good description which keeps you reading. It does contain a lot of triggers though including, baby loss, suicide, cult movement, child abuse and possibly a few more. Be wary of an emotional journey.

The plot has a few twists and turns, you can dig holes in it but I think it comes together at the end. The characterisation is good and you can invest in the main characters. I think the transition from a small English village to Arizona is strange but it works, and in the end it all makes sense.

This is the first book by Sarah A. Denzil that I have read but I will certainly look at some more. The narrator did a really good job of bringing the book to life, I can imagine her voice being the voice of Fran, and she did a good Arizona accent too.

Audible

I listened to Little One on Audible where I purchased it with my monthly credit. Audible gives you one credit a month for £7.99, other books are quite expensive, but while you are waiting for your credit there are plenty of free podcasts to listen to, mostly exclusive to Audible. They are also offering some classic books each month for you to read for free, this month it’s Alice In Wonderland read by Jodie Comer, and I’ve just downloaded it.

Audible also do daily reads for £2.99 each and often has offers where you can buy three books for the price of two. I’ve been a member for several years now.

You can also buy the book on Amazon (Affiliate link)

Thank you for reading. Do let me know if you’ve read the book in the comments, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

Read more of My Book Reviews here.

Prime Video from Amazon
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How Did I do on my 20 Books for Christmas Challenge?

Well, not too good really. I did suffer a couple of nasty migraines which prevent me from reading, and in between I was a little more busier than usual. But I managed a few books for the Christmas challenge so I thought I’d do a little recap. This post contains affiliate links.

1984

I’d never read George Orwell’s 1984 so I decided to give it a go. I thought it was an interesting read, a great imaginative look at what a different future could look like. It didn’t strike me as more than a story though. If I learnt one thing it is that some people will always comply and some people will do things there own way. I wrote a kind of review here.

Platform Seven

Platform Seven by Louise Doughty was my next read and I felt divided by my opinion of it. I loved her style of writing and attention to detail, I was engrossed in all of the characters and their stories, but I did think she’d gone a little too far and the story would have been just as interesting if she had stuck to the main character and her fate. You can read my full review here.

The Book of Two Ways

One of my favourite films is Sliding Doors where the character gets split into two different life times. When I read about The Book of Two Ways by Jodie Picoult I was intrigued because the story sounded similar. Again, I was divided in my opinion of the book. It took me a long time to get through this one as she delved a little too far into the history of Egypt and the wonderful science of quantum physics. (I actually have an interest in quantum physics but it’s a bit complicated for a storyline like this.) You can read my review here.

The New Girlfriend

I am a fan of Sheryl Browne, I love the way she brings her characters to life, and as she’s from my area I feel a kind of familiar with the places she writes about (And the accents in the audio book editions which I listen too.) The New Girlfriend is a pyschological thriller. It starts with a murder but then becomes a little slow as you learn about each character. It’s still a really good read though and a real page turner, I couldn’t wait to find out the truth at the end. You can read my detailed review here.

Trust Me

I decided to stick with Sheryl Browne for my next read and picked her new book, Trust Me. I really enjoyed all the twists in this book and read it quickly to find out what would happen next. It wasn’t as dark as some of Sheryl’s books but it was a really good read. You can read my full review here.

Christmas Challenge

I did read a couple of non fiction books which I’ve not reviewed yet, but I only managed a quarter of the reading challenge. I’m not disappointed though, any book is a joy, I’m just happy I managed to get some reading in. My daughter has bought me some lovely Terry Pratchett Books for Christmas so I may delve into them when I can. I’ve read them before but these ones are pretty early so it’s been a very long time since I read them.

Don’t they look lovely on my bookshelf?

Have you read any Terry Pratchett? I love the Witches Collection.

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20 Books for Christmas Reading Challenge

This year I’ve decided to join Jo over on Tea and Cake for the Soul in her 20 Books for Christmas Challenge.

20 books for Christmas Reading Challenge

My Reading List

I doubt very much I’ll make it to 20 books, I generally get through 3 or 4 a month depending on how big they are. So I’ve picked some long ones I want to get through, along with some nice quick easy reads.

First up is a book I’m already reading. I’ve not read it before despite it being a classic, so I was interested to see what it was like. ]

1984 by George Orwell.

Then I’m going to dig into another Dystopian Future book

A Brave New World by Aldous Huxely

I think by this time I’ll be feeling totally depressed so I’m going to uplift my spirits and belief in human nature with my next book on the list.

Humankind, a Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman

Black History Month

I’m also trying to incorporate some Black History books into my reading and October is Black History month so no better time. I’m already working my way through Maya Angelou’s biography and I’ve read the first book I know Why the Caged Bird Sings and I will work my way through the others too complete them all.

I did want to touch on some British Black History too though so I’ve added to my list;

Why I’m no Longer Talking to White People About Race, Renni Eddo Lodge

Black and British by David Olusoga

The Rest of my TBR Pile

There are a couple of books on my shelf which I’ve been eager to read but desperately distracted so I’m putting them on my list to be read by Christmas.

The Book of Dust and The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman

I’m thinking that by this time I’ll be heading into Late November so it will be time to bring out the Christmas books.

We Met in December by Rosie Curtis

Christmas at the Lilac Cottage by Holly Martin

Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay

The Hogfather by Terry Pratchett

A Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder

Both The Hogfather and A Christmas Mystery were once Christmas traditions for me but I’ve not read either for years (Although I’ve watched the Hogfather on TV.)

That’s 10 books. I may be able to add a few more as I go along, but these are my challenge for now.

Are you going to be joining in with the 20 Books for Christmas challenge?

You can read some of my previous book reviews here: A Place To Read

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I let You Go by Clare Mackintosh – book review

I recently read Let me Lie by Clare Mackintosh, so I decided to read another of her books, I let You Go. I listened to the book on Audible, but you can also buy a copy from Amazon in paperback or for your kindle. These are affiliate links, thanks for your support.

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh, audiobook cover
By: Clare Mackintosh
Narrated by: David ThorpeJulia Barrie
Length: 13 hrs and 16 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 07-05-15
Language: English
Publisher: Hachette Audio UK

The Blurb

A tragic accident. It all happened so quickly. She couldn’t have prevented it. Could she?

In a split second, Jenna Gray’s world descends into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief, and her memories of a cruel November night that changed her life forever.

Slowly Jenna begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating….

My Review of I Let You Go

I wrote in my last review that I had difficulty in feeling any connection with Clare Mackintosh’s characters. I felt this again with this book. The stories are great, full of twists and turns, the story takes you in and even though it can be a bit drawn out at times, you do want to find out what is going on. I got through both books pretty quickly.

I Let You Go starts with a twist which is pretty easy to work out, but as you follow the life of Jenna you want to feel sorry for her, but for some reason you just feel angry. I cannot imagine what a life of being beaten is like, it has to be awful. Somehow Clare didn’t quite capture this and I wasn’t happy with the way she portrayed her victim.

The Police side again shows a little more character, but although I liked the police man in Let Me Lie, I couldn’t bring myself to like this one even though he did the right thing in the end, and solved a case that everyone had given up on.

There were some threads of the story that seemed totally unnecessary and didn’t really go anywhere. I think they were added to give more character development, but it wasn’t much help.

So, I have totally mixed feelings about this. A good strong story with nice plot twists, but unlikeable characters that just didn’t stir up the right emotions.

Also, listening to the audible book was not as pleasant as I usually find. I made the mistake of not listening to the sample. The male narrator, David Thorpe, reminded me of a school teacher lecturing a class rather than a story reader. The female narrator, Julia Barrie, was the only reason I carried on listening.

My advice would be to grab the paperback and give the character’s the emotions they deserve and maybe this will be a good read. It’s definitely a page turner.

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Book Worms Monthly September Link up

Welcome to Book worms Monthly September link up

Hello, Welcome to Book worms Monthly, September. I managed to read three books last month but as I’ve only just finished the last one I’m going to add it as my first link up this month. I’m already started on my next book, ‘Let Me Lie’ by Clare Mackintosh. So far, I’m really enjoying it. I read Maya Angelou’s first part of her Autobiography last month but I’m considering listening to the dramatisation of all her books

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 com and join me with their posts monthly.

Join Us for Book Worms Monthly

Book worms Monthly will be posted every month, 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’s a badge to share. No code, just copy and paste it on your blog and link the photo back to mine if you wish. Or please mention my blog 
https://athomealot.com/ with a link instead. That we we can encourage more to join in and share.

book worms monthly September

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Books to Listen to this Summer

I’ve decided to compile a list of books to listen to this summer. I’m a big fan of Audible. I’m also an affiliate so my links will earn me money if you click them, but don’t worry, you won’t pay any extra. Thanks for your support.

Books to Listen to this Summer

Little Fires Everywhere

books for summer, little fires everywhere.
By: Celeste Ng
Narrated by: Jennifer Lim
Length: 11 hrs and 27 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 09-11-17
Language: English
Publisher: Hachette Audio

This is next on my reading list. I’ve not watched the series so I’m going in for the story first. If I like it I might watch the series afterwards. I’m just waiting for my next Audible credit and this is the audio book I’m using it on. Have you read it?

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

i know why the caged bird sings, books to listen to this summer
By: Maya Angelou
Narrated by: Maya Angelou
Length: 10 hrs and 11 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 04-04-14
Language: English
Publisher: Hachette Audio UK

I’m listening to this right now and it’s both sad and beautiful. I have often seen quotes from Maya Angelou all over the internet but this is the first time I’ve started on of her books. This is the first book of her six book autobiography. And I will definitely be listening to more.

Playgroups and Prosecco

Playgroups and prosecco
By: Jo Middleton
Narrated by: Elizabeth Bower
Length: 9 hrs
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 02-05-19
Language: English
Publisher: Random House Audiobooks

I’ve already read this book, but I really want to listen to the audio book as well. Jo Middleton is a very funny lady and fabulous writer. I do hope she writes some more.

Midnight Sun

Midnight Sun
By: Stephenie Meyer
Narrated by: Jake Abel
Length: 25 hrs and 49 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 04-08-20
Language: English
Publisher: Hachette Audio UK

And, just in case you want a trip to the ‘dark side’ here is Stephenie Meyers Twighlight story told from a different angle. It’s actually Edward’s story an we can get an inside view on why he behaved the way he did. And if you are a Twilight fan then you will know that he did act pretty strange at times. I’m not a fan of the films, but I’ve read all the Twilight books.

Invisible Girl

By: Lisa Jewell
Narrated by: Donna BanyaRebekah StatonConnor Swindells
Length: 9 hrs and 45 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 06-08-20
Language: English
Publisher: Penguin Audio

Still a bit dark, but I love the concept of this book. Definitely one for my wish list.

Invisible Girl: a story of secrets and injustices and of how we look in the wrong places for the bad people while the real predators walk among us in plain sight.

Sunrise over Sapphire Bay

sunrise over sapphire bay, books to listen to this summer
By: Holly Martin
Narrated by: Penny Andrews
Length: 9 hrs and 12 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 04-06-20
Language: English
Publisher: Whole Story QUEST

Not going on holiday this year? Why not pick a book that will take you somewhere lovely. There are plenty of books to choose from but I decided to go for this romantic little novel set on a beautiful Jewel Island where “where the sapphire sea sparkles, the golden sun warms your skin and the islanders melt your heart. ”

Thanks for reading, have a wonderful summer,

Anne x

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Book Worms Monthly August

Welcome to Book worms Monthly August linkup

Hello, Welcome to Book worms Monthly, August. Last month I read one of the best books I have read this year. The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri. I really wasn’t sure it was something I would enjoy but I loved it. You can read my review over here.

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 com and join me with their posts monthly.

Join Us for Book Worms Monthly

Book worms Monthly will be posted every month, 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 July book posts below.

Here’s a badge to share. No code, just copy and paste it on your blog and link the photo back to mine if you wish. Or please mention my blog 
https://athomealot.com/ with a link instead. That we we can encourage more to join in and share.

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Book Worms Monthly July Link up Party

Welcome to Book worms Monthly July linkup

Hello, Welcome to Book worms Monthly, July. It took me a little longer than expected to get through The Starless Sea last month, but once I started my second book, The Suspect by Fiona Barton, I had it listened to in just 3 days. Do you find that some books you fly through a lot quicker than others. I guess some need more absorbing, while others you just can’t wait what is going to happen next?

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 month, 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 July book posts below.

Here’s a badge to share. No code, just copy and paste it on your blog and link the photo back to mine if you wish. Or please mention my blog 
https://athomealot.com/ with a link instead. That we we can encourage more to join in and share.

book worms monthly June

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter
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Interesting Times – Terry Pratchett

April 28th would have been Sir Terry Pratchett’s birthday, so it was only natural that I would re-read one of his books. In fact I decided to listen to one on Audible, Interesting Times, read by Nigel Planer.

Interesting Times

‘May You Live in Interesting Times’ is purported to be a Chinese Curse, although there is no real evidence of this. So, as you can imagine, Sir Terry Pratchett ran with this and this book is set mainly in Hung Hung in the Counterweight Continent. In this world we would be looking towards China and Hong Kong. Ok, I thought it would be an appropriate read for these Interesting times that originated in China.

The Blurb

MIGHTY BATTLES! REVOLUTION! DEATH! WAR! (AND HIS SONS TERROR AND PANIC, AND DAUGHTER CLANCY)

The oldest and most inscrutable empire on the Discworld is in turmoil, brought about by the revolutionary treatise What I did on My Holidays. Workers are uniting, with nothing to lose but their water buffaloes. Warlords are struggling for power. War (and Clancy) are spreading throughout the ancient cities.

And all that stands in the way of terrible doom for everyone is:

Rincewind the Wizard, who can’t even spell the word ‘wizard’…

Cohen the barbarian hero, five foot tall in his surgical sandals, who has had a lifetime’s experience of not dying…

…and a very special butterfly.

My Thoughts

As a huge fan I was already familiar with most of the characters. This would be an advantage as they are not introduced and just become part of the story without much back history. When you already know all the back history of the characters then the story takes on a different meaning.

You only have to read Terry’s first two books, The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic to know what the revolutionary treatise ‘What I Did On My Holidays’ would contain, which is probably a very different view to what actually happened. The Great Wizzard* sent to help the revolution is in fact a blundering idiot who just seems to get lucky sometimes. (when he’s not being very unlucky!)

*Wizzard – how Rincewind spells Wizard on his hat which makes him stand out from all the other Wizards.

The plot moves fast and can be a little confusing at times, but it’s also a great page turner and makes you laugh out loud. I remember when reading the book I got a little fed up of Mad Hamish (Who is deaf) saying ‘whaaaaat’ but being read by Nigel Planer it seemed a lot funnier. However, Nigel Planer also pronounced a few things not how I would have expected them to be pronounced, in particular place names. I have always pronounced Ankh Morpork as in Ank, not Arnk. This irritated me a little more than it should have done.

Conclusion

I would say that all of Terry Pratchett books are read alone, but there is a sequence in which the characters are introduced and they become like old friends when they pop up in new stories. If you are new to Terry then I’d consider starting more chronologically. You can find a complete chronological list of Discworld books here.

You can purchase the paperback version of Interesting Times from Waterstones for £8.99

Thanks for reading, do let me know if you have read any Terry Pratchett books and are familiar with the Discworld.

*Disclosure: I use affiliate links in my post which may earn me a little money at no extra cost to you, so thank you if you use them.