Not A Snowflake In Sight! Just Fantastic Books To Curl Up With Over Christmas #AmReading

The best thing about the Christmas holiday, for me, is the extra time I have for reading.

So today I’m sharing some of the books I’ve enjoyed reading and reviewing.

Travel: Whether you’re an arm-chair traveller or an adventurer, this book will entertain you.

Sihpromatum: I Grew My Boobs In China by Savannah Grace

Sihpromatum - I Grew my Boobs in China by [Grace, Savannah]

Sihpromatum (Sip-row-may-tum) is a memoir series of one family’s introspective, four-year backpacking adventure. In 2005, 14-year-old Savannah Grace’s perfect world is shattered when her mother unexpectedly announces that the family would soon leave everything they know behind to travel the world. Best selling, award winning I Grew My Boobs in China takes the reader through China and Mongolia (the first of 80 countries visited).
Nibbling roasted duck tongues in China and being stranded in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert are just two experiences that contribute to Savannah’s exploration of new cultures and to the process of adapting to the world around her. AmazonUk | AmazonUS

How About Some Irish Historical Fiction?

Through The Barricades by Denise Deagan

Through The Barricades: Winner of the SCBWI SPARK Award 2017 by [Deegan, Denise]

WINNER OF THE SCBWI SPARK AWARD 2017

She was willing to sacrifice everything for her country.
He was willing to sacrifice everything for her. 

‘Make a difference in the world,’ are the last words Maggie Gilligan’s father ever says to her. They form a legacy that she carries in her heart, years later when, at the age of fifteen, she tries to better the lives of Dublin’s largely forgotten poor.

‘Don’t go getting distracted, now,’ is what Daniel Healy’s father says to him after seeing him talking to the same Maggie Gilligan. Daniel is more than distracted. He is intrigued. Never has he met anyone as dismissive, argumentative… as downright infuriating.

A dare from Maggie is all it takes. Daniel volunteers at a food kitchen. There, his eyes are opened to the plight of the poor. It is 1913 and Dublin’s striking workers have been locked out of their jobs. Their families are going hungry. Daniel and Maggie do what they can. Soon, however, Maggie realises that the only way to make a difference is to take up arms.

The story of Maggie and Daniel is one of friendship, love, war and revolution, of two people who are prepared to sacrifice their lives: Maggie for her country, Daniel for Maggie. Their mutual sacrifices put them on opposite sides of a revolution. Can their love survive? AmazonUk | AmazonUS

 

This Was A Different Twist on a WW2 drama

Back Behind Enemy Lines by Chris Bridge

Back Behind Enemy Lines by [Bridge, Chris]

1944 and Anna is parachuted into Normandy as a special agent working with Resistance Groups, spying on the Germans and wiring the information back to the Special Operations Executive, escaping capture and the inevitable torture that would follow.
She falls in love with Pierre, another SOE agent but finds he is not what he purports to be. Then there is the little matter of the Gestapo officer who has guessed her secret. Alone, Anna has to make some terrifying decisions to survive and to ensure the impending invasion remains secret.
It is 2006 in England, where her husband has died and Anna lives alone. Her children are spying on her and plot to put her in a home so that they can sell her house for their own ends. Anna is determined to retain her independence. She falls back on her wartime skills, recruiting Nathan and his girl friend Gemma to help her and becomes close to them as she never was with her own children.
But it is only when she returns to Normandy and confronts the ghosts of her past that she realises how the war had taken its toll on her loveless marriage and her children. She makes the ultimate sacrifice and finally finds the peace and redemption that had evaded her all these years. AmazonUk | AmazonUS

Something More For Fans Of The Stargate TV Series

Stargate SG-1: A Matter Of Honor by Sally Malcolm

STARGATE SG-1: Matter of Honor by [Malcolm, Sally]

No one gets left behind…
Five years after Major Henry Boyd and his team, SG-10, were trapped on the edge of a black hole, Colonel Jack O’Neill discovers a device that could bring them home.
But it’s owned by the Kinahhi, an advanced and paranoid people, besieged by a ruthless foe. Unwilling to share the technology, the Kinahhi are pursuing their own agenda in the negotiations with Earth’s diplomatic delegation.
Maneuvering through a maze of tyranny, terrorism and deceit, Dr Daniel Jackson, Major Samantha Carter and Teal’c unravel a startling truth – a revelation that throws the team into chaos and forces O’Neill to face a nightmare he is determined to forget.
Resolved to rescue Boyd, O’Neill marches back into the hell he swore never to revisit. Only this time, he’s taking SG-1 with him…

A MATTER OF HONOR

“Senator Kinsey has told me a lot about you and your team, Colonel.” Crawford’s voice was thin and nasal. It suited him. “I look forward to giving him a full report on your methods.”

“You haven’t written it already?”

The ambassador’s lips compressed into a humorless smile and the silence stretched taut. Daniel rubbed at a sudden knot in the back of his neck and saw Sam’s eyes flitting carefully between the two men. Like him, she smelled trouble.

Sergeant Davis broke the moment, his voice crackling over the PA system, “Chevron seven, locked.”

Jack didn’t move, holding Crawford’s gaze. Waiting. Daniel stepped back in anticipation, but Jack was barely in the safe-zone.

He always had to push it to the limit. And then, like an undersea volcano, the silver-blue event horizon mushroomed into the ‘gate room, hitting an invisible wall mere inches from Jack’s motionless head. Crawford yelped and stumbled backward in shock, his helmet flying free and clunking heavily onto the concrete floor.

“Holy crap!” he gasped, struggling for balance and composure as the wormhole sucked back in on itself and eventually came to rest, shimmering brightly inside the Stargate.

Daniel smiled; that just never got old.

Turning his back on Crawford’s alarmed face, Jack settled his weapon firmly in his hands. “Let’s go,” he barked, striding up the ramp. “Carter, with me. Daniel, Teal’c – bring the newbie. And Crawfish? Don’t forget your hat.” AmazonUk | AmazonUS

 

Lastly perhaps you are looking Ahead for a  New Year Inspiration?

A Year Of Doing Good by Judith O’Reilly

A Year of Doing Good: One Woman, One New Year's Resolution, 365 Good Deeds by [O'Reilly, Judith]

Fed up of New Year’s resolutions involving diets and exercise abandoned on January 2nd, Judith is attempting to be good. For one whole year.

She embarked on a mission to do one good deed every day. Some called it a social experiment. At times she called it madness.

Juggling family, friends and a variety of neighbours in the small Northumberland village she calls home, she recounts the ups, downs, moments of doubt and sheer bloody hard work of doing good.

From the small – babysitting a friend’s child, clearing up her neighbour’s dead mice and feeding her friendship cake Herman the German, to the slightly larger – trying to raise 10,000 for charity with her Jam Jar Army and teaching a severely handicapped child to write – she describes what she learns along the way: that no good deed is too small and that being good makes you happy. Well, most of the time. AmazonUk | AmazonUS 

Happy Reading!

 

Anything But Books Tag created by Katie @ReadOrRot

Fun Post Time

I’ve been reading some great posts for this book tag and thought it about time I joined in.

Name your favourite cartoon

Garfield! (anyone now humming the theme tune? I know I am!)

One of my favourites is a Thanksgiving episode. Garfield has got himself stuck at a butchers in place of a turkey. An old lady comes in and says to the butcher, ‘Can I have one without fur, please?’

Name a song which is your current favourite

I recently heard Footloose again and am now determined to learn all the lyrics so I can genuinely sing it and not mumble the bits I don’t know.

What could you do for hours that isn’t reading?

Really, really tough as I LOVE reading. BUT, I also enjoy walking out in nature, especially in Spring and Summer. At home I tramp along the local canal and investigate the countryside.

What do you love to do that your followers would be surprised about?

I do like to dance. Whilst looking up the lyrics for Footloose (see above) I found video clips of Flash Mob dancing. Brilliant! You must watch this.

What is your favourite, unnecessarily specific thing to learn about?

Geneology – I take great delight in researching the family tree and finding out about our ancestors.

What is something unusual that you know how to do?

I know how to do a Tsukahara Vault (I’m busy right now, so here’s a clip of someone else!)

Name something you made in the last year

I made a cake and actually followed the recipe! It’s a standard joke in our house that I throw together ingredients and cook almost everything at 180c for 30 minutes.

What is your most recent none-book personal project?

My year long challenge to do ONE good deed a day for a whole year. I loved it so much I did it for two years. I took it on after reading a book! A Year of Doing Good by Judith O’Reilly. Shh! Pretend I didn’t mention a book!

Tell us something you think about often

I often think about my friends and how I can help them.

Tell us something that’s your favourite, but make it oddly specific.

I’ve always been drawn to a cosy ‘me-cave’ I would love a bed with curtains. Years ago I remember seeing one (similar to the picture below) in a French museum farmhouse and I wanted to climb right in. They make me feel safe.

Feel free to join in. This tag comes from Katie and you can watch her original video here.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’m Thankful For. #ThanksGiving #TuesdayBookBlog

This weeks Top Ten Tuesday is ‘Books I’m Thankful For.’

This weekly book meme is brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish

A Year of Doing Good: One Woman, One New Year's Resolution, 365 Good Deeds by [O'Reilly, Judith] A Year Of Doing Good by Judith O’Reilly

Fed up of New Year’s resolutions involving diets and exercise abandoned on January 2nd, Judith is attempting to be good. For one whole year.

She embarked on a mission to do one good deed every day. Some called it a social experiment. At times she called it madness.

Juggling family, friends and a variety of neighbours in the small Northumberland village she calls home, she recounts the ups, downs, moments of doubt and sheer bloody hard work of doing good.

From the small – babysitting a friend’s child, clearing up her neighbour’s dead mice and feeding her friendship cake Herman the German, to the slightly larger – trying to raise 10,000 for charity with her Jam Jar Army and teaching a severely handicapped child to write – she describes what she learns along the way: that no good deed is too small and that being good makes you happy. Well, most of the time. AmazonUk | AmazonUS 

2599655 Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

The women of the Waverley family — whether they like it or not — are heirs to an unusual legacy, one that grows in a fenced plot behind their Queen Anne home on Pendland Street in Bascom, North Carolina. There, an apple tree bearing fruit of magical properties looms over a garden filled with herbs and edible flowers that possess the power to affect in curious ways anyone who eats them.

For nearly a decade, 34-year-old Claire Waverley, at peace with her family inheritance, has lived in the house alone, embracing the spirit of the grandmother who raised her, ruing her mother’s unfortunate destiny and seemingly unconcerned about the fate of her rebellious sister, Sydney, who freed herself long ago from their small town’s constraints. Using her grandmother’s mystical culinary traditions, Claire has built a successful catering business — and a carefully controlled, utterly predictable life — upon the family’s peculiar gift for making life-altering delicacies: lilac jelly to engender humility, for instance, or rose geranium wine to call up fond memories.  AmazonUK | AmazonUS

 

I Can Do It Affirmations: How to Use Affirmations to Change Your Life by [Hay, Louise L.]I Can Do It by Louise L Hay

Louise explains that every thought you think and every word you speak is an affirmation. Even your self-talk, your internal dialogue, is a stream of affirmations. You’re affirming and creating your life experiences with every word and thought. Your beliefs are merely habitual thinking patterns that you learned as a child, and many of them work very well for you. But other beliefs may be limiting your ability to create the very things you say you want. You need to pay attention to your thoughts so that you can begin to eliminate the ones creating experiences that you don’t want. AmazonUk | AmazonUS

 

The Thorn Birds by [McCullough, Colleen]The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

In the rugged Australian Outback, three generations of Clearys live through joy and sadness, bitter defeat and magnificent triumph – driven by their dreams, sustained by remarkable strength of character… and torn by dark passions, violence and a scandalous family legacy of forbidden love.

It is a poignant love story, a powerful epic of struggle and sacrifice, a celebration of individuality and spirit. Most of all, it is the story of the Clearys’ only daughter, Meggie, who can never possess the man she so desperately adores – Ralph de Bricassart. Ralph will rise from parish priest to the inner circles of the Vatican… but his passion for Meggie will follow him all the days of his life. AmazonUK | AmazonUS

29560746 My Wolf And Me by India R Adams

Their love was innocent.
Their friendship was pure.
Their fear was real.
Their danger was true.

When little Marlena is left to care for an abandoned wolf pup, her parents see their irrevocable bond, and this humble family embarks on an adventure trying to care for the needs of a rapidly growing wolf, and the needs of their headstrong daughter. The comical complications of such a venture only darken when Marlena, now a high school student, witnesses her wolf shift… into a young man.

Secrets and the pure hatred from a man out for revenge take Marlena, her family and her wolf on a heartbreaking journey of devastating loss, captivity, and ultimate sacrifices.

This love story will haunt you well after you finally set this book down. AmazonUk | AmazonUS

 1295The Clan Of The Cave Bear by Jean M Auel

This novel of awesome beauty and power is a moving saga about people, relationships, and the boundaries of love. Through Jean M. Auel’s magnificent storytelling we are taken back to the dawn of modern humans, and with a girl named Ayla we are swept up in the harsh and beautiful Ice Age world they shared with the ones who called themselves the Clan of the Cave Bear.

A natural disaster leaves the young girl wandering alone in an unfamiliar and dangerous land until she is found by a woman of the Clan, people very different from her own kind. To them, blond, blue-eyed Ayla looks peculiar and ugly–she is one of the Others, those who have moved into their ancient homeland; but Iza cannot leave the girl to die and takes her with them. Iza and Creb, the old Mog-ur, grow to love her, and as Ayla learns the ways of the Clan and Iza’s way of healing, most come to accept her. But the brutal and proud youth who is destined to become their next leader sees her differences as a threat to his authority. He develops a deep and abiding hatred for the strange girl of the Others who lives in their midst, and is determined to get his revenge. AmazonUK | AmazonUS

82192The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart

Fifth century Britain is a country of chaos and division after the Roman withdrawal. This is the world of young Merlin, the illegitimate child of a South Wales princess who will not reveal to her son his father’s true identity. Yet Merlin is an extraordinary child, aware at the earliest age that he possesses a great natural gift – the Sight. Against a background of invasion and imprisonment, wars and conquest, Merlin emerges into manhood, and accepts his dramatic role in the New Beginning – the coming of King Arthur. AmazonUK | AmazonUS

 

 

Dissolution ( Matthew Shardlake #1) by C.J. Samson

Dissolution is the first in the phenomenal Shardlake series by bestselling author, C. J. Sansom, followed by Dark Fire, Sovereign, Revelation, Heartstone and Lamentation.

It is 1537, a time of revolution that sees the greatest changes in England since 1066
Henry VIII has proclaimed himself Supreme Head of the Church and the country is waking up to savage new laws, rigged trials and the greatest network of informers ever seen. Under the order of Thomas Cromwell, a team of commissioners is sent through the country to investigate the monasteries. There can only be one outcome: the monasteries are to be dissolved.

But on the Sussex coast, at the monastery of Scarnsea, events have spiralled out of control. Cromwell’s Commissioner Robin Singleton, has been found dead, his head severed from his body. His horrific murder is accompanied by equally sinister acts of sacrilege – a black cockerel sacrificed on the altar, and the disappearance of Scarnsea’s Great Relic.

Dr Matthew Shardlake, lawyer and long-time supporter of Reform, has been sent by Cromwell into this atmosphere of treachery and death. But Shardlake’s investigation soon forces him to question everything he hears, and everything that he intrinsically believes . AmazonUK | AmazonUS

4667024The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Be prepared to meet three unforgettable women:

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women — mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends — view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t. AmazonUK | AmazonUS

21036941The Other Side And Back by Sylvia Browne

This lively and empowering book of wisdom and healing comes from New York Times bestselling author and psychic Sylvia Browne. It offers an unprecedented and comprehensive look at how the afterlife affects us in this life. Discover: astonishing insights into our everyday contact with guides and angels; the truth about hauntings, and why we should not be afraid; how psychics can solve missing persons cases and even murders; how psychic energy can keep us healthy and improve our relationships; why we should not fear death or ageing; the afterlife, and how we can all maintain contact with our loved ones; reincarnation, and how we can all discover our past lives; Easy exercises to promote healing, discover past lives, improve relationships, contact loved ones, create joy and much more; must-read predictions for the 21st century. AmazonUK | AmazonUS