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.

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.

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.

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<~

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.

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<~