Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Book Review - Loving Sylvie - Elizabeth Smither




Book Review
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Loving Sylvie
Elizabeth Smither
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Thank you goes to Allen & Unwin (NZ) ... for gifting me a  free copy, in exchange for an honest review.  This book is set up into "parts", no chapters, however, there are frequent breaks in the book.   This book is about three generations. Sylvie, Madeleine, Isobel.
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Sylvie
The story actually begins on Sylvies wedding day.  Ben is her new husband.  Throughout the story she tells us briefly her life before marriage, marriage itself, plus the dreaded Mother-in-law, Cora, who originally invited Sylvie to a weekly dinner at her place, but escaped as she is a horrible obnoxious person....  she also acquired a rent free house through a dog.   
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Madeleine 
Lives in Paris and has done so for a number of years.  She tells us, looking back on her life how she managed to be there,  briefly comming back home to Auckland to conceive Sylvie, at the age of 23, returning back to Paris when Sylvie reached 4.  Madeleine left Sylvie with Isobel. Her travels not only to Paris, but a short period in Melbourne, Australia.
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Isobel
Pulls out bits of her life, tells the trials and tribulations with her own daughter, Madeleine, as well as bringing up a teenaged granddaughter, Sylvie.  Plus life before children, and her relationship with her own husband.
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I certainly enjoyed this book.  Elizabeth Smither writes beautifully in a poetic style and I'm not surprised, Elizabeth has  eighteen collections of poetry under her hat, so this made for a very dreamy, yet realistic, quite entertaining kind of a read.   The story goes backwards and forwards in between, Sylvie, Madeleine, Isobel and Cora.  The story is cleverly interwoven to tie all 4 females together.  In the story, there are many reference to books, due to Madeleine working in a book shop, also her parents were avid readers.  Also, many, many references to buildngs/places in France, one of which was severely burnt with fire recently.  This book maybe saddened by some near the end, infact, right at the end .... a bitter sweet moment you could say, that made me think ..... wow!!  I wasnt saddened by it, but more ... intrigued, ending with food for thought and pondering over the last few sentences.
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This book comes highly recommend by me (5 stars on Goodreads) .....  and would suit anyone who loves generational books, who loves historical places, as we are transported to France (Paris)  with Madeleine, places are mentioned, like, Tullamarine, St Kilda, Flinders Street and taken down streets where cake shops were in a line (all in Melbourne) Australia ....and anyone who is interested in New Zealand (Auckland), as this is where Sylvie and Isobel live and anyone who loves the dynamics of people in particular as this book will intrigue you.

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Quote from my currently reading.




Book Quote

Loving Sylvie
Elizabeth Smither


"What is knowledge if it is not applied?" 

Book Quote from Loving Sylvie




Book Quote

Loving Sylvie
Elizabeth Smither

"A black swan was gliding beside the far bank.  Trailing Sylvie's left hand, which hung over the side, was a flotilla of ducks.  Had she thought to bring bread her progress might have resembled that of a flower girl, archly turning to scatter rose petals."

Friday, 19 April 2019

IGTV Book Review - The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society



IGTV Book Review 

The Guernsey Literary  & Potato Peel Pie Society 


To listen, Click Here 

 You are quite welcome to leave a comment on my blog or on Instagram.

Currently Reading





Currently Reading

Loving Sylvie
Elizabeth Smither

This is a Historical Fiction (Auckland, New Zealand)  (Paris - France) (Melbourne- Australia) written by a New Zealand Author.  

I paired the book up with one of Ellen Reads beautiful bookmarks that is of a postcard quality.


Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Book Review - Mr Finchley Discovers His England - Victor Canning






Book Review 
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Mr Finchley Discovers His England 
Victor Canning.
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Thank you goes out to Netgalley and the publishing company, Farrago for gifting me the ARC (eARC) in exchange for an honest review.   Publishing date - 18 April 2019. 
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This is Book 1 of a trilogy. (set in the 1930s)
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Edgar Finchley, 45, lived in London and has been chief clerk for 10 years and has never been on a holiday.  Mr Bardwell, his employer died and Mr Sprake is now in charge.  Crunch time came when Mr Sprake called Edgar into the office.... changes were being made.  Edgar was told he HAD to go on holiday.  Edgar found this strange as he has never been on holiday before.  Edgar was passing time before his train arrived, so he sat on a bench, a driver of a Bently drove up and asked Edgar to mind his car, he had some business to sort out, and he seemed like a trustworthy man.  This is the start of a trip of a lifetime for Mr Finchley, little did he know what was infront of him.  Does he make it out alive?  Or is he eaten and fed to the wolves?  Or does the smuggler on the boat call it quits?
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Well as you can tell by my description of the goings on in this book, you kind of know where this is heading.... am I right?   Well, well, well  (I say in a policemans tone, rocking back and forth, hands behind my back)  this book kept me entertained for hours, it sort of reminds me of and old fashion chase through England, but, The Thirty- Nine Steps by John Buchan style.  Before we even know it a car chase is happening, an escapade from a house that Mr Finchley knew nothing of, he meets a maid that conned him and left him without a car, he sported a black eye from a gipsy that thought he was someone else , he finds himself at a circus, meets and ends up with some Scottish men playing bagpipes and goes on a boat way yonder there.  I wont tell you if he gets sea sick, but my eye brows raised when he swam around the boat to get two eggs......  anyway, the list goes on and on.... he goes from place to place .... (including some examples, Bristol, Blagdon, Weston-Super-Mare, Bridgwater etc, etc) and coming across calamity where ever he goes.  Although you would think this is a fast paced book .... it's not, it has a beautiful calming slow pace of it's own.  I preferred it this way, as it suits the style, and the era.  It flowed continuously emerging into a calming pond, not rush, rush, breaking the waves crashing down style.
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I recommend this book to anyone who likes an adventure in their books, who likes old fashioned light humour, who likes the English countryside and anyone who likes chase on chase action packed book with a slow, serene pace.

Monday, 15 April 2019

You tube video - Time, endless time - Pauline Reid



I recently wrote a poem called

Time, endless time

Which is now showing on my You Tube Channel, but you can listen to it here.  Please like, subscribe to my channel to get up to minute videos, and comment if you want to.  

Thank you.

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Book Review - The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton




Book Review 

The Forgotten Garden  
Kate Morton
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This is a past to present book.
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The past
 Nell, who she thought she was ....  wasn't....The story of her life, in finding herself. So what was her name?  And why was she abandoned on a voyage from England to Australia?
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The present
Cassandra, who is.  When Nell died in Brisbane 2005, Cassandra (Nells grand daughter) became a detective in finding out Nells past, with inheriting a derelict "Manor", she travels to England, Cornwall to discover the truth, but what does Cassandra find?  Secrets and "stories" of the local village has Cassandra biting her nails (but at least not the toothbrush).
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I'm  afraid the "past to present" jumped around abit for me, I found it wasn't a smooth transition (to say, like Barbara Erksine who does this exceptionally well)..... and I got myself so confused .... so for me it felt .... disjointed.... so in the end I gave up noting what was what and who was who and just got my head down and just had a jolly good old read... this is the only criticism of this particular book I had.  Don't get me wrong though, just because I couldn't follow the story fully, it doesn't mean I didn't like the book, infact on the contrary really.  I learnt alot from this book, there were some heavenly surprises and got lost in the magical realm of "the" forgotten garden.  Apart from that, Kate Mortons writing is exquisite, the descriptive writing was so enjoyable, it was like wrapping yourself up with soft down feathers (of a duck) from an eiderdown.  I adored all the positivity in this book, I found lots of quotes that I highlighted in the book.   I was pleasantly surprised by the three fairy tales within the book, I have never struck that before and it added another dimension to the book.  Absolutely loved and lived the story line, the concept was incredibly imaginative.  Lastly a huge pleasant surprise, as my mouth opened wide and I sat for a while, I couldnt believe a name I just read, however, if I had not read the book before this one I wouldn't have picked it up.  Did anyone guess who Nells parents were? I did, it was no surprise to me.
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I recommend this book to anyone who likes past to present books, who likes historical fiction, especially, Australia (Queensland) and England (Cornwell) and who likes big, thick books, as this ones 648 pages fat.
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I would like to thank Ellen Read for gifting me this book .... what a ride!!  what an adventure!! .... what a book!!

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

My next read - Loving Sylvie by Elizabeth Smither



Next read
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Loving Sylvie
Elizabeth Smither 


Thank you to Allen & Unwin NZ  for gifting me this book in exchange for an honest review ..this is my next read.
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A sensual, witty novel that cleverly weaves in the stories of three generations of women: Sylvie, her mother Madeleine and grandmother Isobel, focusing most strongly on the relationship between grandmother and granddaughter. .
The narrative shifts between the points of view of each main character, telling their stories with gentle, deeply observant humour, through their love affairs, food, rivalries, marriages, pets and all the beautiful minutiae of everyday life.
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Elizabeth draws the threads of each story together subtly and surprisingly to achieve a perfectly resolved ending.
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Fans of Elizabeth's writing will love this new novel and those new to her writing will discover the delights of her careful, sensual prose. Described as having 'a gift for wry comedy combined with an eye for pinpoint detail', Elizabeth is one of New Zealand's finest writers.

💖💖💖💖🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹

My thoughts

.. just been on a walk and thought I would take my book with me, beautiful day,  I am enjoying the coolish Autumn air.

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Currently Reading - Mr Finchley discovers his England - Victor Canning




Currently Reading 

Mr Finchley discovers his England
Victor Canning


This is what I'm currently ..........  Mr Finchley discovers his England by Victor Canning..... an eARC .  Thank you goes  to  Netgalley   and the publishing company Farrago for gifting me this in exchange for an honest review - publishing date - 18 April 2019.  A little about the book.... 
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Mr Edgar Finchley, unmarried solicitor's clerk, aged 45, is told to take a holiday for the first time in his life. He decides to go to Margate. But Fate has other plans in store…
From his abduction in a Bentley by a cheerful crook, to his smuggling escapade off the south coast, the timid but plucky Mr Finchley is plunged into a series of the most astonishing and extraordinary adventures.
His rural adventure takes him gradually westward through the English countryside and back, via a smuggling yacht, to London.
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Jerome Jerome meets Mr Bean in this gentle comedy series, which was a runaway bestseller on first publication in the 1930s and retains a timeless appeal today. It has been dramatized twice for BBC Radio, with the 1990 series regularly repeated. 

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Book Review - The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett



Book Review

The Secret Garden
Frances Hodgson Burnett 



I listened to this as an audio book.... this was purely based on what I had listened to, I did not look at any reviews, nor did I know much about the story.
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What comes to mind is "Mary, Mary quite contrary", which is mentioned more than once in this audio.  Mary was adjusting to the English life, she was from India.  She was learning to be more independent because when Mary was in India she had a servant to do it.
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I loved the mention of a particular bird, a Robin Red Breast, which I have seen often enough on English Christmas cards, but we dont have them here in New Zealand.
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I loved the fact that we were basically following Mary, I felt I was following behind her as she discovered the gardens and the mysterious doors, that lead to other gardens, I felt a sense of excitement.
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  I loved Martha's broad Yorkshire accent and you could see you were on the "Yorkshire Moors" with the mist rolling around.  I also loved the conversations that went on between Mary and Martha.
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I noticed the Robin Red Breast is mentioned a bit in this audio, and I love the friendship that is beginning to take shape with, bird and Mary.  At this stage of the audio, I'm beginning to wonder if the bird has a name.
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  I particularly like a scene where Mary has a skipping rope and some keys and she opens the door that is hidden with ivy, she has a little spade and she starts tidying the garden.  Mary asks Martha about "bulbs" and I felt such joy when Martha mentioned, snow drops, jonquills and a few others that have past my memory, anyway, what struck me was, that Mary wanted to plant a garden and had more than enough money to buy, not only buy the gardening tools, but seeds as well.  
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Mary meet a boy, Dicken who is enthusiastic about gardening.  They  help each other make the garden look tidy, however Dicken thought that someone had been into the garden to prune roses, however Mary pooh-poohed the idea, saying how could someone when the key is buried.
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Mary had to see a man named Craven, who, according to Mary had a long sad face.  Craven wanted to know if there is anything she wanted, he did mention a governess, but Mary wasnt interested, he also mention she was too thin, but Mary said, she was getting fatter.  All she requested was some .... earth.  So earth she was allowed to have, from anywhere.
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Mary acquired another friend, Colin, a sickly child that liked to stay up in his room.  He was a very stuck up child, used to getting his own way, but Mary wasn't standing a minute of that... to cut a very long story short, Colin decided that he wanted to get out and see this secret garden that Mary enjoyed so much.
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Alot of the story then turns to Dicken, Mary and Colin.  Mary and Colin spend quite a few hours a day in the secret garden and everyone is noticing how fat and healthy Colin is getting, as well as Mary.  Dicken shows Mary and Colin how to do muscle exercises, which they do every day.  Dr Raven seemed suspicious at first, how could Colin look so healthy, Colin making excuses that it's an over active appetite and he certainly didnt want his father to know he was getting better.
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Then ..... shock... horror ... someone enters the secret garden, an adult of all things!!  It was Dickens mother and she nearly fell foot over heel when she saw how well Colin is, although this was all kept a secret with Dickens Mum as well.
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So nearing the ending of the book (thank goodness everyones saying as they are sick of me waffling on)  the author mentions that if the children thought good thoughts about the garden (children, meaning, Mary and Colin) then slowly their negative approach to life would be over ridden by the positive thoughts, and they would become more healthy. (my words to follow)  ... that the roses and flowers and pretty colours will over grow the thorns, prickles, mud and blackness (although, technically speaking black is not a colour it is a shade - learnt that in art).
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I thoroughly enjoyed listening to The Secret Garden and at some stage will find the book.  This obviously is a children's book, but I certainly recommend this book to anyone who loves gardening as the description and details in this book are dreamy and purely heavenly.  Of course, there is the moral to this story, which I mentioned in the above paragraph and I think mainly the adults will get the gist of it, as its stated plain and simple....

 I will leave with the link to the YouTube audio that I listened to.      

 https://youtu.be/Yx_GpxQvi5E

Currently Reading - The Governess - Mary Kingswood

Currently Reading The Governess Mary Kingswood . Blurb copy and pasted from Goodreads . The first of a brand new series by the auth...