September is the month where we get back into routines – back to working 5 day weeks and back to school for the kids. It’s been a bit of a mixed month but I’ll tell you more about that in the personal stuff below.
Last week I was lucky enough to attend a Penguin influencers event where they introduced us to 5 new books coming out in 2020. You can read about it here. I never even dreamt when I started my blog that it would lead to opportunities like this and I am so grateful!
I managed a very respectable 8 books in September – 5 were for blog tours – thankfully I’ve managed to cut back a little which has given me the freedom to choose other books to read too. Again, they are all quite highly rated by me, but I’m getting pretty good at choosing the books that I know I will enjoy! Top books were Akin by Emma Donoghue and The Corset by Laura Purcell. As always, follow the link to see my review…
The End of the World Survivors Club by Adrian J Walker
In THE END OF THE WORLD RUNNING CLUB Edgar Hill ran 550 miles after an apocalypse to try and find his family.
He had it easy.
This is his wife’s story.
Beth Hill has survived the apocalypse with a baby and toddler in tow. And what’s more she’s done it alone – without her husband’s help. He’s never been any help. But when disaster strikes and someone steals her kids, she knows what she has to do.
The new world might be very different: no government, no law, no infrastructure and a whole lot more ocean than there used to be. But one thing hasn’t changed – the lengths a mother will go to save her family…
How did I get it? Received a finished copy from Del Ray for the blog tour.
Daisy and Simon’s marriage is great, isn’t it? After years together, the arrival of longed-for daughter Millie sealed everything in place. A happy little family of three. And so what if Simon drinks a bit too much sometimes – Daisy’s used to it, she knows he’s letting off steam. Until one night at a party things spiral horribly out of control. And that happy little family of three will never be the same again.
In Lies Lies Lies, Sunday Times bestseller Adele Parks explores the darkest corners of a relationship in freefall in a mesmerising tale of marriage and secrets
How did I get it? I received a proof from HQ for the blog tour.
The Next Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
Fifteen years ago, in Mitch Albom’s beloved novel, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, the world fell in love with Eddie, a grizzled war veteran- turned-amusement park mechanic who died saving the life of a young girl named Annie. Eddie’s journey to heaven taught him that every life matters. Now, in this magical sequel, Mitch Albom reveals Annie’s story.
The accident that killed Eddie left an indelible mark on Annie. It took her left hand, which needed to be surgically reattached. Injured, scarred, and unable to remember why, Annie’s life is forever changed by a guilt-ravaged mother who whisks her away from the world she knew. Bullied by her peers and haunted by something she cannot recall, Annie struggles to find acceptance as she grows. When, as a young woman, she reconnects with Paulo, her childhood love, she believes she has finally found happiness.
As the novel opens, Annie is marrying Paulo. But when her wedding night day ends in an unimaginable accident, Annie finds herself on her own heavenly journey—and an inevitable reunion with Eddie, one of the five people who will show her how her life mattered in ways she could not have fathomed.
How did I get it? I received a gifted copy from Sphere.
The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E Harrow
In the summer of 1901, at the age of seven, January Scaller found a Door. You know the kind of door–they lead to Faerie, to Valhalla, to Atlantis, to all the places never found on a map.
Years later, January has forgotten her brief glimpse of Elsewhere. Her life is quiet and lonely but safe on her guardian’s estate, until one day she stumbles across a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds in its pages, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure, and danger. A book that might lead her back to the half-remembered door of her childhood.
But, as January gets answers to questions she never imagined, shadows creep closer. There are truths about the world that should never be revealed.
How did I get it? I received a proof from Orbit for a blog tour.
In the Absence of Miracles by Michael J Malone
John Docherty’s mother has just been taken into a nursing home following a massive stroke and she’s unlikely to be able to live independently again. With no other option than to sell the family home, John sets about packing up everything in the house. In sifting through the detritus of his family’s past he’s forced to revisit, and revise his childhood. For in a box, in the attic, he finds undeniable truth that he had a brother who disappeared when he himself was only a toddler. A brother no one ever mentioned. A brother he knew absolutely nothing about. A discovery that sets John on a journey from which he may never recover. For sometimes in that space where memory should reside there is nothing but silence, smoke and ash. And in the absence of truth, in the absence of a miracle, we turn to prayer. And to violence. Shocking, chilling and heartbreakingly emotive, In the Absence of Miracles is domestic noir at its most powerful, and a sensitively wrought portrait of a family whose shameful lies hide the very darkest of secrets.
How did I get it? I received a proof copy from Orenda for a blog tour.
Noah is a retired New Yorker, who takes his 11-year-old great-nephew, Michael, on a trip to the stunning seaside and cosmopolitan city of Nice, France. The two have almost nothing in common, apart from Noah being widowed and Michael effectively an orphan. The clashes between old age and youth, antiquity and modernity are striking, even over what they do and what they eat. Michael speaks with the street-smart language of his age while Noah talks like a professor of chemistry, and they often can’t understand each other.
How did I get it? I received a proof from Picador.
Is prisoner Ruth Butterham mad or a murderer? Victim or villain?
Dorothea and Ruth.
Prison visitor and prisoner. Powerful and powerless.
Dorothea Truelove is young, wealthy and beautiful. Ruth Butterham is young, poor and awaiting trial for murder.
When Dorothea’s charitable work leads her to Oakgate Prison, she is delighted with the chance to explore her fascination with phrenology and test her hypothesis that the shape of a person’s skull can cast a light on their darkest crimes. But when she meets teenage seamstress Ruth, she is faced with another theory: that it is possible to kill with a needle and thread. For Ruth attributes her crimes to a supernatural power inherent in her stitches.
The story Ruth has to tell of her deadly creations – of bitterness and betrayal, of death and dresses – will shake Dorothea’s belief in rationality, and the power of redemption.
Can Ruth be trusted? Is she mad, or a murderer?
How did I get it? I bought a copy for book club.
I Wanted You to Know by Laura Pearson
Dear Edie, I wanted you to know so many things. I wanted to tell you them in person, as you grew. But it wasn’t to be.
Jess never imagined she’d be navigating single motherhood, let alone while facing breast cancer. A life that should be just beginning is interrupted by worried looks, heavy conversations, and the possibility of leaving her daughter to grow up without her.
Propelled by a ticking clock, Jess knows what she has to do: tell her daughter everything. How to love, how to lose, how to forgive, and, most importantly, how to live when you never know how long you have.
From best-selling author Laura Pearson comes her most devastating book yet. Honest, heart-wrenching, and emotionally raw, I Wanted You To Know is a true love letter to life: to all its heartache and beauty, to the people we have and lose, to the memories and moments that define us.
How did I get it? I received a proof copy from Agora Books for the blog tour.
Movies & TV
Ex Machina (2014)
Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson) a programmer at a huge Internet company, wins a contest that enables him to spend a week at the private estate of Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac), his firm’s brilliant CEO. When he arrives, Caleb learns that he has been chosen to be the human component in a Turing test to determine the capabilities and consciousness of Ava (Alicia Vikander), a beautiful robot. However, it soon becomes evident that Ava is far more self-aware and deceptive than either man imagined.
This was my husband’s choice for a Saturday night movie and I think this benefitted that fact I knew nothing about it. Really enjoyed this – a well made and interesting film with a small cast of excellent actors.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)
Actor Rick Dalton gained fame and fortune by starring in a 1950s television Western, but is now struggling to find meaningful work in a Hollywood that he doesn’t recognize anymore. He spends most of his time drinking and palling around with Cliff Booth, his easy-going best friend and long-time stunt double. Rick also happens to live next door to Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate — the filmmaker and budding actress whose futures will forever be altered by members of the Manson Family.
I was keen to see another Quentin Tarantino film – I really loved Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction but haven’t really seen much of his since! I really enjoyed this – acting was brilliant, especially Brad Pitt. It was a bit long in places (there is a massively long scene where Leonardo DiCaprio is trying to make his come back as an actor) but it kept me entertained.
Cabin in the Woods (2012)
When five college friends (Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams) arrive at a remote forest cabin for a little vacation, little do they expect the horrors that await them. One by one, the youths fall victim to backwoods zombies, but there is another factor at play. Two scientists (Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford) are manipulating the ghoulish goings-on, but even as the body count rises, there is yet more at work than meets the eye.
An oldy but a goodie from one of my favourite screenwriters, Joss Whedon. I’ve seen this at least a couple of times but I love a good horror movie, especially one with some humour thrown in. This has all the gore and jump scares you’d expect but with a cracking script, it’s one of my favourite horror movies ever!
Downton Abbey (2019)
Excitement is high at Downton Abbey when the Crawley family learns that King George V and Queen Mary are coming to visit. But trouble soon arises when Mrs. Patmore, Daisy and the rest of the servants learn that the king and queen travel with their own chefs and attendants — setting the stage for an impromptu scheme and other shenanigans.
I loved watching Downton Abbey when it was on the TV although my family think it is funny that nothing ever seems to happen. And indeed the opening 10 minute sequence is about a letter being delivered. And although it felt more like an extended Christmas special than a movie, that was Ok – I still loved it!
Working as a stripper to make ends meet, Destiny’s life changes forever when she becomes friends with Ramona — the club’s top money earner. Ramona soon shows Destiny how to finagle her way around the wealthy Wall Street clientele who frequent the club. But when the 2008 economic collapse cuts into their profits, the gals and two other dancers devise a daring scheme to take their lives back.
I was invited to this with a friend and actually hadn’t even seen a trailer so didn’t know what to expect. It was a fun movie, based on a true story that shows strong female characters getting what they want! And Jennifer Lopez looks flippin’ amazing for a 50 year old woman!
Happy Death Day (2017)
Tree Gelbman is a blissfully self-centred collegian who wakes up on her birthday in the bed of a student named Carter. As the morning goes on, Tree gets the eerie feeling that she’s experienced the events of this day before. When a masked killer suddenly takes her life in a brutal attack, she once again magically wakes up in Carter’s dorm room unharmed. Now, the frightened young woman must relive the same day over and over until she figures out who murdered her.
A good fun Saturday night film with some humour – kind of a horror but without the blood and gore, generally the scene cuts before the viewer sees anything too gruesome.
Work has been tricky this month. One of my colleagues (and a friend) got made redundant. It was pretty quick and it came out of the blue and as we are a small team it’s been a sad time. And the two of us who are left are feeling a little anxious, although are reasonably sure our jobs are safe.
My oldest son is in his final year of A-levels (psychology, sociology and history) and is hoping to go to university. We started this month by visiting the University of Surrey in Guildford. A campus based university, we really liked it and my son was impressed with the course – he is hoping to study psychology. I started off the day really excited for him but it dawned on me that it means he will actually be leaving home which I’m dreading! I’m also a little jealous…I loved my time at uni! I studied Library and Information Studies in Brighton and met my husband on my course! Lots more universities to see in October so I’ll keep you posted!
I also enjoyed a bonding session with my youngest son over some miniature gardening. He’d wanted to make a terrarium for a while (and I quite fancied it too) so we had a day at the local garden centre, buying containers, plants, soil and pretty stones and had a go! Mine (with the pink stones) isn’t really a terrarium but is more of a miniature garden while my son’s turned out pretty well. We might be a little bit addicted now but space may become a problem! We may just make them for Christmas presents for everyone!
October is looking pretty busy. 4 more open days, a new baby niece or nephew and 2 bookish events. There’ll be lots to tell you about in my next wrap up.
Thanks for reading my ramblings! I hope you have a great October!
I love your little gardens
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Thank you Zoe! It was lovely to do something together we both enjoyed!
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Some great books read! I hope you have a great October. The University of Bristol is good for psychology – but of course I work there so I would say that! 😉
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🙂 He wants to stay within 50 miles of where we live (which I’m happy about too!) I will mention it to him though!
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I love the gardens you made with your son! So adorable!
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Ah thank you! It was a lot of fun making them!
I’m also trying to cut back on blog tours a bit so I can read some of my books sat on my bedside table! I love the miniature garden pots.
Also I really like the name of your blog 😀
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Thank you! I’m not sure I’m very successful in cutting back but I am least trying!
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I know it is so tempting sometimes to just say YES 😀
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