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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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.

Happily Ever After by Kiera Cass

‘Meet Prince Maxon before he fell in love with America, and a girl named Amberly before she became queen. See the Selection through the eyes of a guard who watched his first love drift away and a girl who fell for a boy who wasn’t the prince. This must-have companion to the Selection series includes four novellas—two of which are only available in print in this collection—as well as exclusive bonus content.

Includes:

  • The Prince
  • The Guard
  • The Queen (in print only in this collection)
  • The Favorite (in print only in this collection)
  • Exclusive new scenes from The Selection, The Elite, and The One’

I really enjoyed this book.

As with many collections, some of the stories in this book were better than the others.

I really enjoyed getting to catch up with characters that I had grown to love in this original series and I loved getting to see important scenes shown through various characters eyes.

Kiera Cass did a fantastic job with this book. Especially the scenes and stories that involved minor characters from this original series. The back ground and insights she gave to these characters added an extra layer to their personalities and explained the decisions they made in the original books.

I loved that Kiera Cass introduced each of the stories. Her insights into the world and characters she created was a really wonderful addition to this book.

Not only was this book full of great stories and exclusive scenes, it was also illustrated. By far my favourite illustration was a beautiful map of Illéa. I loved the addition of the illustrations in this book. Even though there weren’t many of them they were place in the perfect positions to compliment each of the stories.

Happily Ever After by Kiera Cass is an absolute must have for all fans of the Selection series.

Kiss, Marry, Kill…

Welcome one and all to another Wacky Wednesday post. Today I am going to do the Kiss, Marry, Kill post. Now, I have decided to Kiss, Marry, Kill a character from each of the following books. I put 25 book titles in a jar and I picked 10 out at random. I am just going to give my answers and not go into depth in order to keep this post relatively short.

So without further ado, lets jump right in:

Round 1: Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling.

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Kiss: Oliver Wood

Marry: Remus Lupin

Kill: Peter Pettigrew

Round 2: A Walk To Remember by Nicholas Sparks.

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Kiss: Eddie Jones

Marry: Landon Carter

Kill: Eric Hunter

Round 3: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.

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Kiss: Jacob Black

Marry: Jasper Hale

Kill: Edward Cullen

Round 4: Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead.

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Kiss: Adrian Ivaskov

Marry: Dimitri Belikov

Kill: Victor Daskov

Round 5: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris.

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Kiss: Jason Stackhouse

Marry: Eric Northman

Kill: Bill Compton

Round 6: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton.

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Kiss: Soda Pop Curtis

Marry: Darrell Curtis

Kill: Steve Randle

Round 7: The One by Kiera Cass.

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Kiss: Aspen Leger

Marry: Prince Maxon

Kill: King Clarkson

Round 8: There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins.

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Kiss: Ollie Larsson

Marry: Chris Larsson

Kill: David Ware

Round 9: Secrets Between Friends by Fiona Palmer.

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Kiss: Alex

Marry: Peter

Kill: Jim

Round 10: Under The Dome by Stephen King.

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Kiss: Eric ‘Rusty’ Everett

Marry: Dale ‘Barbie’ Barbara

Kill: James ‘Big Jim’ Rennie

Well that’s it from me. I hope you guys enjoyed todays post, I had a lot of fun putting it together. As usual you can hit me up with your answers in the comment section.

Until next time…

Happy Reading…

❤ Gem

 

 

 

The House Of Second Chances by Esther Campion

“Can a house heal heartache?

Their grandmother’s stone cottage was always a welcome retreat in the childhood summers of Ellen and Aidan O’Shea. After a trip home from Australia, Ellen is keen to bring the neglected property back to its former glory and enlists the help of her dear friend and one of Ireland’s top interior designers, Colette Barry.

Aidan is already begrudging the work on the house he has avoided for nearly twenty years. The last thing the builder needs is an interior designer who seems to do nothing but complicate his life. With their own personal heartaches to overcome, will Aidan and Colette find the courage to give the house and themselves a second chance?”

I absolutely adored this book.

I was so excited to get my hands on this book after reading Esther Campion’s first book Leaving Ocean Road, and let me tell you, it did not disappoint.

You don’t have to have read Leaving Ocean Road in order to read this book, it isn’t a sequel. But if you have read Leaving Ocean Road you will love this book. Getting to catch up with characters that I had grown to love, and getting to delve deeper into the lives of minor characters made this a truly wonderful reading experience.

Esther Campion did a fantastic job with the characters in this book. They were real, relatable and flawed. I loved watching as their individual storylines meshed with each other and wove together as the story progressed. Getting to see these character grow and become more human as the story went on was really something special.

I loved getting to learn about the characters in an authentic way instead of just being over loaded with back stories. This helped to keep the story flowing and made me really interested to see what made these characters tick and why.

Esther Campion’s writing was absolutely stunning in this book. Not only did she perfectly capture the personalities of the characters and the organic growth and flow of the story but her descriptions of the characters surroundings were absolutely breathtaking.

I honestly don’t have a bad word to say about this book. Esther Campion is fast becoming one of my favourite Authors and I cannot wait to read what she comes out with next.

The House Of Second Chances by Esther Campion is utterly enchanting. This warm, charming novel will leave you wanting more.

The Librarian Of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe

“Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezin ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz.
Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this is the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust.

Out of one of the darkest chapters of human history comes this extraordinary story of courage and hope.”

This book was absolutely amazing.

I am a huge fan of historical fiction, so getting to read an historical fiction that was based on actual events made for a wonderful reading experience.

Given the subject matter it didn’t surprise me that this was a deeply moving book. I felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster from start to finish. What surprised me about this book was that even through all of the horrors that the characters experienced this book still have genuine moments of hope and joy, I really didn’t expect this book to have such a warmth about it.

Another thing that surprised me was the addition of an epilogue. I am so glad there was an epilogue at the end of this book. I became so emotionally attached to these characters I don’t know how I would have coped if I didn’t get to find out what had happened to them. Good or bad, I’m glad I got to know.

I think the fact this this book follows a young girl gives this story an innocence that you don’t usually find in historical fiction. The joy and happiness that Dita and the other young charactrs got from books is something that I believe would have been lost if it was told from an adults point of view.

As a reader, I loved seeing the impact the books had on the characters. Seeing how these simple, damaged books changed both hearts and minds made me truly greatful for my love of books.

The Librarian Of Auschwitz by Antoni Iturbe, Translated by Lilit Zekulin Thwaites is a must read for everyone. This story will stay with you long after the final page.

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

Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall

‘On the highest rock of a tiny island at the edge of the world stands a lighthouse. From dusk to dawn, the lighthouse beams, sending its light out to sea, guiding the ships on their way. As the seasons pass and the waves rise and fall, outside, the wind blows; inside, the lighthouse keeper writes, and the rhythms of his life unfold. But change is on the horizon…’

This book was absolutly beautiful.

I honestly can’t get over how beautiful this book is. The story and the illustrations both by Sophie Blackall, were equally amazing.

Caldecott Medal Winner Sophie Blackall has done a wonderful job with this book. The writing has a real lyrical quality to it and was perfectly complimented by the gorgeous illustrations.

This wonderful story tells a tale of hope, love, wonder and changing times, that will be adored by young readers and their families.

It is books like these that make me wish I had a child to share it with. Luckily for me I have quite a few young readers in my extended circle that will be getting a copy of this wonderful book.

I loved this book more than any other children’s book I have read in recent times. The story itself was heartwarming and educational and the illustrations were just divine.

I will be genuinely surprised if a more stunning book is published this year.

Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall is a must have for all young readers and their families.

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

LGBTQI Reads

Welcome to another Wacky Wednesday. Today’s topic is LGBTQI Reads. These are the books that I have read that deal with or have a LGBTQI character. With so many amazing books with LGBTQI character to choose from I had to be pretty selective in making this list. I want you to know before you go any further that some of these books are not suitable for young readers and can be quite confronting. Now im only going to be telling you my thoughts on each book, im not going to be explaining why it is on this list because that would take forever. With that in mind I hope you guys enjoy this list, and maybe find some recommendations from it.

So without further ado, lets jump on it:

Queens Of Geek by Jen Wilde: Even though I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I kind of wish it was two individuals books. I didn’t like switching between narrators as I felt that both of these characters and their stories were strong enough on their own. I would love to see more stories on both Taylor and Charlie, even if they are only novellas. Great characters like these young women deserve to shine.

The Normal Heart by Larry Kramer: After reading this book, something awakened inside of me. My desire for equality and my desire to try to be accepting and open-minded. This book broke my heart. Seeing the way these people were treated and knowing that this wasnt just an isolated situation got me fired up. I wish I could say that this are different now but that would be a lie. I just hope that one day we will see equality for all.

Never Tear Us Apart by Quinn Brockton: A Queer As Folk story. I really enjoyed this book. The characters were perfectly written, the story was fresh and interesting. A great book for any Queer As Folk fan, or anyone looking for a great read.

Simon vs The Homosapian Agenda by Becki Albertalli: I absolutly loved this book. Simon is an adorable, dorky and completely charming charter. He is a flawed character who is still trying to figure himself out and how he fits into the world. This book will steal your heart and leave you wanting more. I could not put this book down and I can’t think of a bad word to say about it.

The Upside Of Unrequited by Becki Albertalli:  I went into this book with high hopes and I wasnt disappointed. I loved this book. Becki Albertalli’s writing style really agrees with me. This book was full of amazing characters and awkward, funny, heartwarming moments. I really loved the fact that Simon made an appearance in this book. if you havent yet read this book do it now, The Upside Of Unrequited is not to be missed.

The Other F-Word by Natasha Friend: I have mixed felling about this book. It was about a group of teenagers who find each other and go searching for their sperm donor. There were aspects of this story that were really great, I loved the parents in this book, but I think there was a little too much teen angst for me. I think it was a great idea for a story and it has some genuinely moving moments and insights. I think a lot of people will really love this book. Whilst I liked this book, I just didn’t love it.

There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephenie Perkins: I really enjoyed this book. I haven’t read anything like it in a long time, so I really got into it. It had great pacing, interesting characters and a pretty freaky plot. I didn’t guess who the killer was, I was surprised when it was revealed. I also loved that the story continued after the killer was revealed so we were able to learn more about the killer and the victims. If you are looking for a really engaging read, this is the book for you.

Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley: The writing in this book is simple, this makes for an easy quick read. This important and heartfelt book about queer women is both hopeful, and romantic. While this book does touch on serious issues, is does so without becoming too heavy. This book is a must read.

Faggots by Larry Kramer: This book is not suitable for younger readers. This touching story of one man’s desperate search for love in the gay ghetto, set in New York before the AIDS epidemic. I loved this book. I will admit it was difficult to read at times, I was very raw and in your face, but given the subject matter and what was to come, this was completely justified. This a definitely a book that I think all adults should read.

Holding The Man by Timothy Conigrave: This is a book that really strengthened my desire for equality. Seeing these men and women and the struggles they went through for love just broke my heart. The world needs more Love and it shouldnt matter who you love. I was truly moved by this book and I hope im a better person for reading it. At least I try to be.

Well that’s it from me. Let me no if you have read any of these book or if there are any books with great LGBTIQ characters that you think I should take a look at.

Until next time…

Happy Reading…

❤ Gem