A Keeper by Graham Norton

‘Dear Lonely Leinster Lady,
I’m not really sure how to begin . . .

The truth drifts out to sea, riding the waves out of sight. And then the tide turns.

Elizabeth Keane returns to Ireland after her mother’s death, intent only on wrapping up that dismal part of her life. There is nothing here for her; she wonders if there ever was. The house of her childhood is stuffed full of useless things, her mother’s presence already fading. And perhaps, had she not found the small stash of letters, the truth would never have come to light.

40 years earlier, a young woman stumbles from a remote stone house, the night quiet but for the tireless wind that circles her as she hurries further into the darkness away from the cliffs and the sea. She has no sense of where she is going, only that she must keep on.’

This book was utterly beautiful.

This beautifully written story covers to connected time frames and weaves a compelling and emotional tale.

Set on the coast of Ireland, this gripping story delves into belonging and identity with compassion and tenderness.

Graham Norton did a wonderful job in crafting the characters in this book. They were really, flawed and completely relatable. The way in which he established the characters and allowed them to grow as the story unfolded made for a really wonderful reading experience.

The writing and descriptions in this book absolutely took my breath away. The sweeping almost cinematic quality that they possessed made it easy to envision the places and things that the characters were experiencing.

I love reading a book that takes me by surprise and that is exactly what this book did. With revelations of secrets and some genuinely shocking situations, this book took me on an emotional journey in ways that I was not expecting.

A Keeper by Graham Norton is a thoroughly entertaining read, that will leave you wanting more.

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Hoarder or Collector!

When does Collecting become Hoarding?

Am I am Hoarder or a Collector?

Maybe I am both!

These are questions that I sometimes ask myself. Now let’s get somethings straight. You can see the floors and walls in my room. My room is clean and doesn’t smell. For the record I think of myself as a Collector.

Now that’s I have cleared that up, let’s get into my Collecting.

I love to collect certain things. I will buy and keep anything Harry Potter. I have an entire storage box filled with CD’s that I can’t seem to get rid of. I have hundreds of DVD’s, some movies some TV series. And don’t get me started on books.

I have run out of room in my bedroom for my books and have now commandeered part of the hallway to install more bookshelves. I also have draws and cupboards filled with notepads and exercise books.

Now I don’t consider any of these things as being anything but collections. I have even started slowly down sizing both my book and DVD collections.

Now in full transparency, I will admit that I do keep some weird or at least random things. I have boxes full of instruction manual, remotes, old phones and random cords that I wont get rid of.

I have also kept all of my old journals and scrapbooks. I even have a few newspapers packed away.

I guess my question is should I be concerned? If not yet, then when? When do I start worrying about becoming a Hoarder?

My other question is, after reading this and without seeing is, do you consider this Hoarding or Collecting?

~>GEM<~

 

King Henry The Sixth Part 1 by William Shakespeare

‘The play opens in the aftermath of the death of King Henry V. News reaches England of military setbacks in France, and the scene shifts to Orleans, where ‘La Pucelle’ (Joan of Arc) is encouraging the Dauphin to resist. She defeats an English army led by Talbot.

In England, Richard, Duke of York, quarrels with John Beaufort, 1 st Duke of Somerset about his claim on the throne. The lords select red or white roses, depending on whether they favour the House of Lancaster or that of York. Edmund Mortimer, a leading claimant to the throne, is a prisoner in the Tower of London and declares Richard his heir. The young Henry VI honours both Richard and Talbot.

Talbot dies bravely in his next battle against the French. In the meantime, King Henry is married off to a young French princess, Margaret of Anjou. Suffolk intends to control the king through Margaret. Ill feeling between him and the Duke of Gloucester continues to grow.’

I enjoyed this play.

Set around 14021403 in London and other locations around England, King Henry The 6th Part 1 is a historical and military Drama. The play alternates between series drama and comedy. While the drama is dark and grave, the comedy helps to lighten the play and is quite fast-paced.

King Henry The 6th Part 1 was written sometime between 1589-1597 in London, as such it deals a lot with conflict, honor and the legitimacy of rulership. These themes are handled well and are enhanced by the characters and their differing views.

I really enjoyed reading this play which actually surprised me. It has been a bit hit and miss for me with Shakespeare’s dramas recently, so I was pleasantly surprised by this play. I also found it quite easy to read, which is not something I usually say about Shakespeare. If you are looking to read one of Shakespeare’s Dramas, I definitely recommend King Henry The 6th Part 1.

King Henry The 6th Part 1 by William Shakespeare is a Historical Military Drama that will captivate a reader. This play is not to be missed.

My Valentine’s Day!

With Valentine’s Day approaching I figured it was the perfect topic to cover today.

I am of course single, but I am not one of those singles that hates Valentine’s Day. I kinda like it, and there are some things about it that I absolutely love.

One of the things I love about Valentine’s Day is my mum. Every year for as long as I can remember she has always gotten my four sisters and I Valentine’s Day presents. This usually consists of chocolate and socks in a nice gift bag filled with Valentine’s Day confetti and rose petals and little love heart soaps, and of course a beautiful card.

Given that all of her daughters are adults and some of them have partners I think it is a really sweet thing for her to continue to do. Getting my Valentine’s Day gift from my mum is one of my favourite things about Valentine’s Day.

One of my Valentine’s Day traditions is reading a romantic book while eating more chocolates than I should. I usually close Valentine’s Day by watching a super sweet movie. I love having a day to just getting all goofy and loved up with my reading and movies.

I also love the day after Valentine’s Day. It is the best day of the year to get cheep chocolate. I am a massive chocolate lover so any excuse to get cheap chocolate is a win in my book.

I don’t ever remember feeling sad or lonely on Valentine’s Day and I think that is one of the reason’s why I love the day even though I am single.

I love the idea of a day to celebrate love. I think we should remember to show our love this Valentine’s Day to not only our partners but to everyone. Our family, friends and even stranger on the street. A smile can go a long way.

So in honor of Valentine’s Day…

I LOVE YOU ALL…

~>GEM<~

Sequel Wish List…

Welcome back to another Wacky Wednesday. Todays topic is Sequel Wish List. This is a pretty simple topic, I want a sequel for the following books. Some of these books may be getting a sequel in the near future but if it isn’t out yet I have included it on this list. So without further ado, lets jump in…

FanGirl by Rainbow Rowell: I loved this book and I need more. I got excited when I saw Carry On get released but as it wasnt a sequel I was very disappointed. I didn’t want this story to end and would absolutely love to catch up with Cath and Levi again.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: This is an interesting one. I would love a sequel to this book but I want it set before the books epilogue. This is one of the best books I have every read and I would do anything for a sequel. Please Please Please give me a sequel.

The Girl In The Blue Coat by Monica Hesse: This historical fiction was so perfectly crafted, and delivered. Hanneke was such an amazing character, add that to the haunting setting of World War 2, this book just took my breath away. I would love to see what happens to Hanneke and Co at the conclusion of and after the War. There is so many places this book could go and I for one would love to se a sequel.

The Secret Recipe For Second Chances by J.D. Barrett: Aww Lucy and Frankie. I miss these characters so much, I feel like there is a hole in my life and I need a sequel to fill that hole. This amazing book was so well written. I laughed, I cried and now I want more. I don’t think I will ever get enough of Lucy and Frankie, I need them in my life.

The Song Of Us by J.D. Barrett: Zoe was such a fantastic character to journey with, her life, her music and her relationships were fantastically explored in this amazing book, so is it any wonder I want a sequel. Zoe as a character has so much more to give, and I for one would do anything to get to catch up with her again.

Secrets Between Friends by Fiona Palmer: This is an a strange request but I want a sequel that takes place before the epilogue and after. I guess I kind of want two sequels. I loved getting an epilogue in this book but I really want to know what happened in the missing time. I of course also want to know what happens after the epilogue. I can’t help it, I loved this book and I want more.

Leaving Ocean Road by Esther Campion: This book was an absolute roller coaster read. I loved getting to fall in love with Ellen and Gerry and I would absolutely love to see where their lives went after the conclusion of this book. With so many characters to get to develop and so many relationships to explore I think there is definitely room for a sequel with this story.

Nineteen Letters by Jodi Perry: This is one of my new favourite books. I absolutely fell in love with Braxton and I need more. The journey between Braxton and Jemma was so beautiful and made for a wonderful, emotional reading experience and I would love to see them again, either picking up from where we left off or maybe a few years in the future. I don’t really care as long as I get more Braxton and Jemma.

Well that’s it from me. Let me know if you agree with this list, or if you have any books you want to see a sequel for.

Untill next time…

Happy Reading…

❤ Gem

Post Holiday Blues!

I hate normality.

After a wonderful Holiday with my family, it is back to reality.

No more beach, no more day trips and late night trips to the ice creamery. Now its grocery shopping and fast food drive thru ice cream.

I know a lot of people are ready to head back to normal life after holidays but I am not one of them. I am starting to feel like I need a holiday to deal with the sadness of my holiday ending.

I think the main reason for my post holiday blues is that I want to live on the coast. I love the vibe, the people and I love being out of the city.

I also love having my family around so much more, but I know that even if we were to move it wouldn’t be the same as it is on holidays. Work and school would once again become a reality.

Maybe its the way I live when im not on holidays that’s the problem. The stress that comes with life is non-existent on holidays. You don’t have to do anything or be anywhere. Everyday is free and unplanned. There isn’t any restrictions or expectations. Relaxing and having fun is the only goal.

Is it even possible to bring some holiday living back to your normal life? With so many other things needing attention on a daily basis, can I find the time to relax, appreciate what I have, spend time with my family, try not stress?

I honestly don’t know if it is possible but I am sure as hell going to try.

I am going to try to keep some of my holiday vibes going as I return to normal life. I guess the truth is I don’t really have anything to lose by trying. It either works and my life is better for it, or it doesn’t and I start counting down until my next holiday.

So here goes nothing. Time to start living everyday with a bit of holiday calm.

~>GEM<~

February TBR…

It’s that time again… TBR…

I had a good reading month in January, reading 8 books (4 books from my TBR). I am aiming smaller this month hoping to read 4 or 5 books in February. I am also hoping to read at least 1 Shakespeare Play, and 10 fairy-tales from The Brother’s Grimm.

As usual this TBR is bound to change, so this is what my TBR looks like at the moment.

So without further ado here is my February TBR:

The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein

Smoky The Brave by Damien Lewis

Siren’s Wave by J.A. Hazel

Grind by Edward Vukovic

Saving Hamlet by Molly Booth

Stranger Than FanFiction by Chris Colfer

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Everless by Sara Holland

Clean by Juno Dawson

Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley

I guess we will see how I did in my February Wrap up. I hope you all have a great reading month, As usual keep your eye out for reviews.

Untill next time…

Happy Reading…

❤ Gem

January Wrap Up…

Welcome to my January Wrap Up. I had a good reading month, finishing 8 books (4 books off my TBR). I also received 4 ARC’s this month, and I continued my new goal of reading 1 Shakespeare play, as well as 10 Brother’s Grimm fairy-tales.

I have reviews up or coming up for these books so as usual this is just going to be a brief run down on each book I read.

Without further ado, let’s get into my January Wrap Up…

Harry Potter: Hogwarts A Movie Scrapbook by Jody Revenson: I loved this book. It was filled with awesome photographs and amazing behind the scenes information. Not to mention all of the removable treats that littered the pages of this book. This is a must have for all Harry Potter fans.

Happily Ever After by Kiera Cass: This book is a collection of novellas and bonus content that accompanies The Selection series. I really enjoyed this book. As with most collections some stories were better than others but overall I found myself really getting into these stories. I am thinking I may need to re read the entire Selection series now. If you love the Selection series this book is a must read.

The Book Of Daniel by Jeff Apter: This book was amazing. As a fan of Daniel Johns I knew I was going to love this book. I didn’t expect to be so moved by it. With amazing insights, interviews with Daniel and his friends and family, as well as great photographs, this book is a must have for all Daniel Johns fans and all music fans.

Saving You by Charlotte Nash: This book was absolutly beautiful. The story was compelling, the characters were real and flawed, and it had a genuine emotional kick. I didn’t want this story to end. I honestly don’t have a bad word to say about this amazing book. If you are looking for a great Australian read, this is the book for you.

Boy Erased by Garrard Conley: This book was absolutely heartbreaking. This amazing memoir takes the reader on an emotional journey through conversion therapy and how this practice affected so many people’s lives. It was hard to read at times and even harder to come to terms with the fact that it is still happening today. This book was a real eye opener.

The Librarian Of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe: Based on the true story of Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus. Translated by Litit Zekulin Thwaites. This book was absolutely mesmerising. It was heartbreaking and compelling. I didn’t want to put it down. It was an emotional journey reading this book but it was so worth it in the end. A must read for everybody.

The House Of Second Chances by Esther Campion: I absolutely adored this book. The writing was beautiful, the story was compelling and the characters were real, flawed and relatable. You don’t have to have read Leaving Ocean Road in order to love this book but if you have there are plenty of Easter eggs for you to enjoy. I am sad that I have finished this book. I want more.

Landscape With Invisible Hand by M.T. Anderson: This was a strange book for me. It was a bit choppy in its flow and there were a lot of stop start moments yet I really enjoy it. I couldn’t get over how beautiful the writing is. The writing has a real lyrical feel and the descriptions, especially those of the art were absolutely breathtaking. I will definitely be reading this book again.

Shakespeare: I read 1 Shakespeare play in January. I read the following Shakespeare Play This Month:

The Two Gentlemen Of Verona

Brother’s Grimm: I am happy to say that I completed my goals of reading 10 Brother Grimm Fairy Tales in January. I read the following Tales this month:

The Tailor In Heaven

The Peasant In Heaven

The Moon

Eve’s Various Children

The Poor Boy In The Grave

Clever Grethel

Our Lady’s Child

Gambling Hansel

Hansel And Gretel

Master Pfriem

Iron John

That’s it for my January Wrap Up. I hope you all had a great reading month. Let me know what you guys read this month in the comments section.

Until my February Wrap Up…

Happy Reading…

❤ Gem

Annual Family Holidays!

I love my annual Family Holiday. I understand that many people no longer do this but I do.

My family has been going on the same holiday for 22 year. The same time, destination and people.

I will admit it has changed over the years; not everyone comes, some only come on weekends, others for a week here or there.

One of the greatest things about our family holiday is that it feels like coming home. We relax by the beach, catch up with our family, we see the same families and friends every year so we get to catch up and hang out with them.

The fact that we have been going to the same place for 22 years means we know the people who run it, we know the shop owners and we understand the way the town works.

Some of my greatest memories have come from these annual holidays. From fishing, discos, twilight movies and late nights laughing with my sisters.

I know that overseas holidays are the status quo these days but I honestly don’t think anything can replace an annual family holiday.

As I get older I know that these holidays aren’t going to last forever. Jobs, partners and life will get in the way. But for now I am going to enjoy every day with my friends and family and I hope that one day when I have my own family, I will continue the tradition of an annual family holiday.

~>GEM<~

The Book Of Daniel by Jeff Apter

‘The highs, lows and incredible life of the enigmatic Daniel Johns, from Silverchair to DREAMS

When Silverchair shuddered to a halt in 2011, there was no swan song, no farewell tour, just a brief statement and then they were gone – after more than fifteen years of brilliant music, five hit albums, legions of fans, millions of record sales, scores of awards and the odd controversy. Three teenagers from Newcastle had taken the world by storm within the time it typically takes most bands to record their first single. Over their stratospheric career, Daniel Johns developed into a performer and songwriter with few peers in modern music.

After the end of his marriage to Natalie Imbruglia and the break-up of his band, he became the focus of sordid headlines and whispers of wayward behaviour. People feared what might happen next.

But at the same time a new Daniel Johns emerged. His debut solo album, Talk, appeared to rapturous reviews in 2015 and raced to the top of the Australian charts, and then 2018 saw the advent of DREAMS, his long-awaited collaboration with Luke Steele,. This was a vastly different Daniel Johns to the grungy, guitar-blazing teen of the 1990s. His new sound and image were sophisticated, brilliant and sexy as hell. It was a remarkable creative makeover, perhaps the most ambitious ever undertaken by an Australian rockstar. Former rockstar.’

This book was amazing.

As a massive Daniel Johns fan, I was so excited to get my hands on this book and thankfully it didn’t disappoint. I loved getting an insight into Daniel life and career by Daniel and people who live these experiences with him. Reading this book was a roller coaster of emotions, yet I finished reading it feeling completely satisfied.

Jeff Apter has done a fantastic job with this book. Documenting Daniel Johns life, from his life-threatening anorexia, crippling reactive arthritis to the highs and lows of life in the public eye. Jeff Apter’s takes the reader behind the head lines of one of Australia’s biggest talents.

Adding an extra layer to this book is the collection of exclusive photographs of Daniel Johns taken by eminent rock photographer Tony Mott.

The Book Of Daniel by Jeff Apter is a must read for all Daniel Johns fans and anyone interested in the Australian Music Industry.