The Witching Stone by Danny Weston

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Synopsis: Beneath this stone lie the remains of Meg Shelton, alleged witch of Woodplumpton, buried in 1705. After a messy breakup with his girlfriend, Alfie needs to get away for a while – so he decides to spend the summer holidays with his dad in a tiny village in the North of England. In the local church graveyard, he chances upon a boulder with a strange inscription – and meets Mia, who then tells him about the local superstition surrounding the stone. “If you walk three times around the stone and say “I don’t believe in witches,” Meg will come after you.’ Alfie, in a reckless attempt to show his bravery, accepts the superstition as a challenge. He thinks the story is nonsense. But it soon becomes apparent that he’s just made the biggest mistake of his life…

My thoughts (includes spoilers)

This is a really quick read about a witch wanting vengeance on the wrongs done to her and to be re-united with her child. It also had a really well thought out bit from the middle onwards about teenage pregnancies and responsibilities in the modern age. No dramatics or judgement, just sensible thought out attitudes from all involved.

The main story itself is enjoyable and spooky in places. It moves really quick, I read it in a couple of hours. I think many teenagers will enjoy it

Release date 1st Oct 2020

Her Sister’s Secret: The Summer of ’66 by Jan Baynham @RubyFiction @JanBaynham

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Synopsis: It’s the 1960s and Jennifer Howells is a young woman with the world at her feet, just on the cusp of leaving her Welsh village for an exciting life in the city.
Then the contents of an inconspicuous brown envelope turn Jennifer’s world upside down. The discovery leaves her spiralling, unsure who she is. Overnight, Miss Goody Two Shoes is replaced by a mini-skirted wild child who lives for parties and rock’n’roll.
But Jennifer’s experience with the excesses of sixties’ culture leaves her no closer to her true identity. She soon realises she’ll have to travel further – first to Cardiff, then across the ocean to Sicily – if she wants to find out who she really is …

My thoughts

I really enjoyed this and read it in one day. This is a story in 3 parts. First we have Rose pregnant at 18 and to an Italian prisoner of war after WW2. She goes to a nunnery but instead of giving the baby up for adoption leaves her with her mother and runs away. The next part is 18 years later and the daughter Jennifer finds out about her real parentage and then 3rd part is how it all comes together. All the characters are well formed and interesting. There’s a couple of sub plots such as black market dealing after the war. I grew up on war stories from my grandparents and so love this time period. It’s an interesting slice of 2 different time periods and how opinions and attitudes have changed. It’s still quite a light read even though it covers teen pregnancies and kind of glosses over what I imagine were real traumatic times for unmarried mothers (I know it from the 70’s POV from my own mother’s story) but I didn’t mind as it wasn’t that type of book and only a small part of the story.

I read this originally during a period of serious illness and it was a great read that helped me during a difficult time. Fascinating story with interesting issues but light enough to deal with when I struggled to read. Thank you x

The Slim Habit by John McPhie

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Synopsis: The Slim Habit is more than a way to lose weight, it’s a new, radical approach to weight loss, life-changing and life-enhancing. A common-sense way to lose weight and stay healthy that will become part of your life.
The Slim Habit will open the door to a life free from weight worries and endless diets. It will give you the opportunity to make changes in your life, changes that will help you to live a long and healthy life, free from the threat of weight related diseases such as heart attack, stroke, weight related cancers and type 2 diabetes.
The Slim Habit has all the benefits of the 5:2, but with an added twist that will supercharge your efforts. ‘What to do’ is not buried in pages of impenetrable text, but is set out briefly and simply. It’s easy-to-follow and easy-to-do with helpful diagrams and illustrations. It puts you in the driving seat, and helps you to set your own course

My thoughts

I quite liked a lot of detail in this book. Diet books usually either are all about plugging their brand or have so much scientific information my eyes glaze over after a few pages. This manages to give a better balance. There’s a lot of science in here but told in an easy to understand format and I genuinely learnt quite a bit. It’s followed by information on habits and some exercises. I don’t agree with all that’s in here and would have liked a bit more around mental health and the link with overeating but overall a short, informative book

10-Minute Crystal Healing by Ann Crane

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Synopsis: Easy Tips for Using Crystals for Healing, Shielding, and Protection

My thoughts

I really enjoyed this. It covers quite a lot of different things as well as linking crystals to star signs, healing grids and way to use in healing. It’s enlightening without being overly complicated and offers something for all levels of expertise

Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong by Elizabeth Day

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Synopsis: In Failosophy: a handbook for when things go wrong, Elizabeth Day, author of How to Fail, and creator of the award-winning podcast, brings together all the lessons she has learned from her own life, from conversations with her podcast guests. Practical, inspirational and with carefully selected quotes from the podcast guests, who have insights into everything from failed exams, romantic break-ups and how to cope with severe anxiety, Failosophy is the essential guide for turning our failures into our successes, and the equivalent of having a chat with a good friend who wants to make you feel better.

My Thoughts

This is a really short book but did give me something to think about. There are 7 principles of not failing such as you are not your thoughts and that most people see their 20’s as a failure. I’ve a few things I’ve been working through in CBT and found that I could also take some of these things and run them through the 7 statements and amend some thinking. I’m coming at this the wrong way around as I’ve yet to listen to the podcasts but on the basis of the book I will be doing. It could have had a lot more, the chapters are really short but overall I enjoyed it

Fairies, Ghosts, King Arthur, and Hounds from Hell. The Pagan and Medieval Origins of British Folklore by Robin Melrose

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Synopsis: Britain has a rich folklore, and the most fascinating figures in it are undoubtedly the fairies. Many explanations have been given for British fairies, but the most popular is that they are the souls of the pre-Christian dead, living in pagan strongholds like Bronze Age barrows or Iron Age hillforts.  This book first looks at burial practices and religious beliefs of Iron Age Britons. It then surveys the people, places, language and pagan religion of Roman Britain. After the Romans left the people of Wales, western England and most of Scotland lived much as they had before, and it is here that we find Celts and Celtic place-names and with this the best preserved fairy lore. The Anglo-Saxons eventually settled in most of England and from them came the fairy lore of East Anglia.  The Vikings occupied large parts of northern England, and we probably owe the shape-shifting bogles and boggarts of the north to the paganism of these Norse settlers. Fairy lore first emerged in the Middle Ages and flourished in the 19th century, with the folklore of fairies and fairy-like creatures such as mermaids, ghosts in the landscape, hounds from Hell, and King Arthur and his knights.

My thoughts

This is a really in depth interesting book on British folklore. It’s a subject that interests me but I haven’t explored much so I found it fascinating. You can really see how much love and research has gone into this. I learnt so much. A great book

Wrong Victim (Detective Rachel King thrillers Book 3) by Helen H. Durrant

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Synopsis: A man is found dead in his bed, suffocated, covered in confetti and with his ring finger missing. Detective Rachel King informs his daughter and takes her to identify the body. But she’s never seen the man before in her life.
Then a second murder. This time a woman, Alison, also suffocated and with her finger severed and confetti strewn over her body.
The team desperately search for a link before anyone else dies.
Meanwhile, someone has been running a property scam, selling dream houses that will never be built.

My thoughts

The third in the series and I’m still not keen on the lead detective. She’s growing on me a bit but I still find her quite unlikeable. However, the storytelling is so good I don’t mind so much and am actually keen to see how my feelings change over the course of these stories. Very intrigued by the twist at the end and what it can mean for these characters. It’s another fast paced drama and I do like how all the relationships work together. It’s well written and easy to follow and I read it quite quickly which is a bit rare at the moment as I keep losing my reading joy. I have the next one to start so let’s see where the journey takes us. 

The Girl Without Skin (Grønland – Greenland #1) by Mads Peder Nordbo, Charlotte Barslund (Translator)

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Synopsis: When a mummified Viking corpse is discovered in a crevasse out on the edge of an ice sheet, journalist Matthew Cave is sent to cover the story. The next day the mummy is gone, and the body of the policeman who was keeping watch is found naked and flayed—exactly like the victims in a gruesOveraome series of murders that terrified the remote town of Nuuk in the 1970s.

As Matt investigates, he is shocked by the deprivation and brutal violence the locals take for granted. Unable to trust the police, he begins to suspect a cover-up. It’s only when he meets a young Inuit woman, Tupaarnaq, convicted of killing her parents and two small sisters, that Matt starts to realise how deep this story goes—and how much danger he is in.

My thoughts

I liked this. I could have done with a trigger warning as some of the descriptions of animal killing and skinning is quite graphic but I guess I also didn’t know much about Greenland to know the practises are still in place.

It’s quite fast paced and flips between Matthews search to solve the mystery now and Jakob’s attempts in 1973. I didn’t like reading tales of child abuse but the way it is written makes perfect sense of the times with women and children being dismissed and the careers of men being protected. In the ‘now’ element of the book we have more enlightened views. I did like the relationship between Matthew and Tupaarnaq. So often people meet in a story and romance and sex come into it. It made a nice change to see something more innocent between these two.

Overall I liked it enough that I’ll probably pick up some more of the authors work.

Pottering, A Cure for Modern Life by Anna McGovern, illustrated by Charlotte Ager

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Synopsis: This little book is both a discussion and practical guide to one of the most British of pastimes – pottering. Author Anna McGovern writes with charm about the joy and practicality of living in the meandering moment, not asking too much of yourself and yet still getting things done in the gentlest of ways. This is the book for people who want to discover productivity at an easier pace, and above all the contentment you achieve when accepting that you can only do what you can do.

My thoughts

This is a delightful, easy going book all about the art of pottering. It covers what pottering is, why it shouldn’t be about procrastinating, getting off your phones and some fun ways to potter about.I love a good potter about so the title drew me in and the first few paragraphs are about making a cup of tea so another of my favourite things. How could I not enjoy it? It’s an easy read and quite short. Really fun little book

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

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Synopsis: In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved killings.
But when a local property developer shows up dead, ‘The Thursday Murder Club’ find themselves in the middle of their first live case.
The four friends, Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron, might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves. Can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer, before it’s too late?

My thoughts

You never know what you’ll get when a celeb releases a book (or even if they’ve written it themselves) but this falls on the more pleasant end of the scale. There’s a diverse of characters in this quirky cosy crime story and all are completely fascinating. They try to solve the unsolved murders in history but when a local builder is found dead they find themselves investigating a real life case. 

I’m less keen on cosy murder stories than gritty ones so it wasn’t completely to my tastes and there were one or two characters too many but otherwise it’s a fab debut and I’m interested to see what he does next