Wednesday, 17 August 2022

July 2022 Reading Wrap Up: Actually Reading Something Other Than Audiobooks for a Change!


Guest Review: The Lighthouse Bookshop by Sharon Gosling

At the heart of a tiny community in a remote village just inland from the Aberdeenshire coast stands an unexpected lighthouse. Built two centuries ago by an eccentric landowner, it has become home to the only bookshop for miles around.
Rachel is an incomer to the village. She arrived five years ago and found a place she could call home. So when the owner of the Lighthouse Bookshop dies suddenly, she steps in to take care of the place, trying to help it survive the next stage of its life.
But when she discovers a secret in the lighthouse, long kept hidden, she realises there is more to the history of the place than she could ever imagine. Can she uncover the truth about the lighthouse’s first owner? And can she protect the secret history of the place?

Review: Having read and thoroughly enjoyed Sharon Gosling’s last book, The House Beneath the Cliffs, I was excited to discover this new work, with its intriguing title. Once again, this story is set in north east Scotland and had my imagination reeling right from the start.

The lighthouse of the title is in fact a folly on a once grand country estate many miles from the sea, and was originally the landowner’s library. All that is left on the estate is the gatehouse and the lighthouse tower, now a bookshop. For the last five years, the bookshop has been run by Rachel, who also lives on the top two floors. She arrived there running away from something in her past and was taken in by the owner. As well as a shop, the lighthouse is a meeting place for some of the residents from the nearby village. When the owner of the shop and gatehouse dies suddenly without leaving a will, Rachel is tasked with looking after the place until its fate is decided. In the meantime, she makes a startling discovery and, with the help of a visiting journalist, begins to unravel the history of the tower and the secrets therein.

What an enjoyable and enthralling read this was. Not only did the reader have the pleasure of visiting this wonderful building and its surrounding landscape, but there was romance in the air and a marvellous mystery to solve; there was even a visit to the lovely little village that was the setting for Sharon’s last book. There are some delightful characters in the book, each with their own stories to tell. As Rachel and journalist Toby researched the discoveries in the lighthouse, they uncovered a two hundred year old story that was poignant and tragic, and quite different from the history of the estate that local people believed. I can confidently recommend this book; I’m sure it will appeal to all.

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I love That Were Written Over 10 Years Ago! 16.8.22


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. 

Some of these were published 10 years ago this year and I feel like that should be celebrated. Some of my favouirte books of all time are in this list!

Saturday, 13 August 2022

Guest Review: More Cricket Extras By David Rayvern Allen

A collection of anecdotes, statistics and trivia from the world of cricket. The book lists cricket's greatest hits which features extraordinary feats with bat and ball. It looks at some unlikely but famous cricketers and recounts tales of hi-jinks from the cricket broadcasting world.

Review: This is a follow-up to the author’s previous book “Cricket Extras”. It is a collection of anecdotes and strange facts relating to the sport of cricket. Divided into different chapters covering such topics as varied as: cricket and politics; disputes that ended up as court cases; and famous cricketing thespians, the book is trawl through some of the stranger stories relating to the game. It covers some of the more unusual events that have occurred throughout the world. At the end of the book, there is a short collection of cricket-related poems, some amusing and some reflective.

Although somewhat dated (the book was published in 1992), I found it to be an amusing and quirky collection of anecdotes. It should appeal to all enthusiasts of the game, wherever they are in the world.

Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Guest Review: Elodie’s Library of Second Chances by Rebecca Raisin

Everyone has a story. You just have to read between the lines....

When Elodie applies for the job of librarian in peaceful Willow Grove, she’s looking forward to a new start. As the daughter of a media empire, her every move has been watched for years, and she longs to work with the thing she loves most: books.

It’s a chance to make a real difference, too, because she soon realises that there are other people in Willow Grove who might need a fresh start—like the homeless man everyone walks past without seeing, or the divorcĂ©e who can’t seem to escape her former husband’s misdeeds.

Together with local journalist Finn, Elodie decides these people have stories that need sharing. What if instead of borrowing books readers could ‘borrow’ a person, and hear the life stories of those they’ve overlooked?

But Elodie isn’t quite sharing her whole story either. As the story of the library’s new success grows, will her own secret be revealed?

Review: I have read a few books from Rebecca Raisin in the past, but was particularly drawn to this one by the subject, being concerned with books and a library in need of saving. I found it a little slow going to start with, but it soon began sparking my imagination and I was totally drawn into the life of its characters. Finally, I found that I didn’t want it to end, so involved was I with the main players and the little town where the story is set.

Ellie Astor, or Elodie Halifax to give her her real name, has grown disillusioned by her lavish lifestyle as the future head of her parents’ media business. Her mother in particular simply ignores her pleas to move on and make use of her qualification as a librarian and love of books. When she is offered the job of librarian at a failing library in the town of Willow Grove, Elodie jumps at the chance to follow her dream. The library is in a worse state than she could have imagined, but she is determined to turn things around, which means attracting new members. She begins to realise that many people in the small town are very judgemental, in particular towards a few of the residents, including the homeless man who almost nobody notices or the shoplifter whose motivation is never questioned. Elodie decides that, with the help of local journalist Finn, she can perhaps change people’s way of thinking and at the same time save the library from closure. Her plan is to allow members of the library to ‘borrow’ people for a short time in the same way that they would borrow books, and learn their stories rather than believe gossip that is spread about them. Of course, she herself has a secret past that she is keen to preserve, but will it be possible to keep her identity hidden from the media if her idea takes off?

As I said at the beginning of this review, I found this book a little difficult to get into, but once it had me hooked, I was not keen to put it down. What a clever, and indeed brave, idea to lend out people to tell their stories and end the rumour mongering that can so easily mar a small town like Willow Grove. The book is full of likeable characters and is set in an attractive sounding town, hopefully featuring a bustling library very soon. Some very interesting, well-developed back stories emerged from the human books who were happy to be lent out. I would love to find out what happened next for the town and its residents. I can confidently recommend this book to other readers and look forward to Rebecca Raisin’s next novel.

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US