Monday, 30 December 2013

Book of the Month - December

Product DetailsProduct Detailsjacket image for Things I Want My Daughters to Know by Elizabeth NobleFront Cover

It has been a bumper month of reading for me this month.  Mainly due to the fact that two were short stories of 100 pages or less.  Although I have enjoyed all my reads one stood out more than all the others this month and that would have to be.....

Christmas at the Ragdoll Orphanage

This true account of the life of Suzanne Lambert and her mother Nancy and their time at Nazareth House and beyond was for me the most outstanding of my reads this month.  So much so that I could see this turned into a TV drama. All the time I was reading it I had the voice of Vanessa Redgrave in my head as the narrator just as she is in the Call the Midwife Series.  

Would definitely recommend you download a copy to your Kindle or look for a copy in your preferred book shop.


Sunday, 29 December 2013

The Butler - Wil Haygood

Front Cover
When acclaimed Washington Post writer Wil Haygood had an early hunch that Obama would win the 2008 election, he thought he'd highlight the singular moment by exploring the life of someone who had come of age when segregation was so widespread, so embedded in the culture as to make the very thought of a black president inconceivable. He struck gold when he tracked down Eugene Allen, a butler who had served no fewer than eight presidents, from Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan. During his thirty-four years of service, Allen became what the Independent described as a "discreet stagehand who for three decades helped keep the show running in the most important political theatre of all." While serving tea and supervising buffets, Allen was also a witness to history as decisions about America's most momentous events were being made. Here he is at the White House while Kennedy contemplates a moon landing; here he is again when Kennedy's widow returns from that fateful day in Dallas. Here he is when Johnson and his cabinet debate Vietnam and here he is again when Ronald Reagan finally got tough on apartheid. Perhaps hitting closest to home was the Civil Rights legislation that was developed, often with passions flaring, right in front of his eyes even as his own community of neighbours, friends and family were contending with Jim Crow America. Also included in the book is an essay in the vein of James Baldwin's jewel, The Devil Finds Work, that explores the history of black people in Hollywood as well as over 45 pictures of the butler, Eugene Allen, and his family, the Presidents he served, and the remarkable cast.

Publisher: 37 Ink
Pages: 112 - Hardcover
Year 2013
ISBN: 978-147-674-5299-0

I had been eagerly awaiting for this film to be released.  My son was coming for Christmas and just as we did when they were younger we thought we would go to the cinema as a pre Christmas treat.  Unfortunately the film has gone off screen before we got a chance to go and see it.  Never mind my son had said I'll get you the book for Christmas, which he duly did or so we thought.  When it arrived he wrapped it but did point out that he thought it wasn't the book of the film.  Christmas day came and I opened it to find that he was in deed right.  The book written by Wil Haygood is more about his journey in writing the original article about Eugene Allen and the interest this bought about especially as Obama was to become the first black president. There are photographs of Allen of interest and of the characters from the film.  It was an interesting book and took me less than a day to complete.  It is worth reading from a historical point of view but don't be mistaken that this is the book the film as like me you will be disappointed.   I am still hoping at some point that the book of the film will be released but for now resigned to waiting for the release of the film on DVD in January. 


Friday, 27 December 2013

Things I want my Daughters to Know - Elizabeth Noble

jacket image for Things I Want My Daughters to Know by Elizabeth NobleHow would you say goodbye to those you love most in the world?

Barbara must say a final farewell to her four daughters. But how can she find the words? And how can she leave them when they each have so much growing up still to do?

Take Lisa, in her thirties but terrified of commitment - or brittle, unhappily married Jennifer. Amanda, the traveller, is always a little apart from her sisters and teenage Hannah faces adult life without a mother at her side.

Barbara's answer is to write each daughter a letter, finally expressing the hopes, fears, dreams and secrets she couldn't always voice. These words will touch the girls in different - sometimes shocking - ways, unlocking emotions and passions to set them on their own journey of discovery through life. 

Published by: Penguin Books - Fiction
Year: 2008 - Paperback
Pages: 438
ISBN: 978-0-141-03001-2

You join the book following the death of Barbara a mother of four daughters.  She leaves each of her daughters a letter and to one her journal.  Each of them will find out things about their mother that they had never known.  They also find out some truths about themselves that Barbara had never told them.  Their mothers revelations will either pull them closer together or tear them apart.  At times you will question Barbara's action's wondering whether in the same circumstance whether you yourself would of made the decisions. Like all mothers she just wanted to protect her girls.  At times it is advisable to have a box of tissues to hand.  All told a very good book and one I would definitely recommend.  


Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Christmas at the Ragdoll Orphanage - Suzanne Lambert

Newcastle Upon Tyne 1965

Mother Superior took the child and placed it in my arms. Susan, darling, that was you. You were light as a feather, and all I could think of saying was "it's a girl". That was ten years ago.

"Her name is Susan" the lady said. I don't think I even looked at her, I simply couldn't take my eyes off you. Oh you were so precious and so perfect. All I cared about was holding you and, just at that moment, you opened your eyes and looked at me. Susan, I knew there and then that you and I belonged together, We still do, and always will, but, my darling, I am not your real mum.

"I don't understand, what do you mean, 'real mum' ?" I was ten years old, and Mum certainly wasn't going to talk about the birds and the bees just yet. It didn't matter anyway.

"You are my mum" I said. 

"of course. And you are my daughter and always will be".

That was enough for me. In that moment, I was perfectly happy to be Nancy's child.

Published By: Penguin Books - Non Fiction
Year: 2013 - Kindle/Paperback
Pages: 384
ISBN: 978-1-405-92386-7

Keeping with the Christmas theme I have now completed this first novel by Suzanne Lambert winner of Penguin and Take a Break Magazine's life-story competition. Suzanne still lives in Newcastle.  

This is the life story of Suzanne Lambert, she will tell you about her mother 'No Nonsense Nancy' who herself had come to live at Nazareth House from the age of nine and who had looked after her from just six days old, her relationship with her father,  and about her birth mother Molly. She tells you about her life at Nazareth House, and how Nancy was always there for her every step of the way.

A fantastic read. Well worth every spare moment to read. Make sure you have plenty of tissues for when Suzanne has you crying with laughter, and with tears of joy and of sadness. Very well written straight from the heart. A very fitting tribute to her mother Nancy.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas 


Sunday, 15 December 2013

A Christmas Wish - No Greater Love Series - Amanda Prowse

A special Christmas short story from Amanda Prowse: a wonderful, warm festive treat from a bestselling author.

Product DetailsPoppy is trying to make sure her children have the perfect Christmas. The fields are sparkling with snow, the turkey is roasting, and the tree is groaning with presents. But Poppy's beloved husband is fighting in Afghanistan, and the kids are missing their Dad.

Can their wishes come true without him? Or will they have the perfect Christmas after all?

Published By: Head of Zeus - Fiction
Year: 2013 Kindle Edition
Pages: 62
ISBN: 9781781859056

Another lovely story from Amanda Prowse. In A Christmas Wish you see Poppy Day back. Now 10 years on her and Mart have two children Peggy and Max. Mart is going to be away on tour over Christmas so Poppy is taking the kids away for Christmas. They are going to stay with Mile's mother who has remained a close friend since the death of her son.  All little Peggy wants is her Daddy home for Christmas. Will Peg get her wish?

If you have followed the story of Poppy Day and that of her grandmother in Clover's Child then you'll want to keep up with their story in this lovely short story for Christmas.


Thursday, 12 December 2013

A Dog for Christmas - W. Bruce Cameron

Product Details
When his girlfriend Amanda leaves him, Josh Michaels is broken-hearted and miserable at the thought og spending Christmas alone. A surprise call from his neighbour, asking him to look after his dog Lucy, is the last thing he needs. But like it or not, Lucy bounds into his life. And soon Josh ralises that she is not only energetic, but also very pregnant. He suddenly finds himself looking after not just one dog, but five tiny adventurous puppoes too. 

Josh heads down to the local animal shelter to seek advice, where he meets the beautiful headstrong Kerri, who works to find homes for abandoned dogs. She says that it's Josh's responsibility to care for the puppies untul they can be adopted. As Christmas draws nearer, Josh can;t help but be won over by the jouous, unconditioned love of his unruly new family - he also finds himself falling for Kerri.

Soon Josh realises he wants nothing more than to give these dogs a home and not only for Christmas.... Can Lucy and her puppies help Josh get over Amanda, win Kerri's heart, and stay with him for longer than just the holidays?

Published By: Pan Macmillan - Fiction
Year 2013 - Paperback
Pages: 230
ISBN: 978-1-4472-6324-1

This is the first of my Christmas stories to help me get in the mood for the festive season.  'A Dog for Christmas' was a charming little book and a bit of a will the good guy get the girl type story.  You could imagine Hugh Grant or Colin Firth playing the character of Josh Michaels if it were to be made into a film. A very easy read I had read the first one hundred pages on Sunday, but then unfortunately had to go to work but could easily of continued reading if time had permitted and finished before today.  Contains all the usual, highs and lows, heartache and romance, tears and joy.

M x

Sunday, 8 December 2013

The Kitchen House - Kathleen Grissom

'You must not become too friendly with them,' she said. 'They are not the same as us.'
'How?' I asked. 'How are they not the same?'

When seven-year-old Irish orphan Lavinia is transported to Virginia to work in the kitchen of a wealthy plantation owner, she is absorbed into the life of the kitchen house and becomes part of the family of black slaves whose fates are tied to the plantation.

But Lavinia's skin will always set her apart, whether she wishes it or not. And as she grows older, she will be torn between the life that awaits her as a white woman and the people she knows as kin.

A compelling, powerful and poignant coming-of-age story about the fragility of family,and where love and loyalty prevail.

Published by: Transworld Publishers -Fiction
Year: 2013 Paperback/Kindle Edition
Pages: 399
ISBN: 978 0552 779128/0857521543

The story begins in 1791 when Lavina is orphaned upon a ship. Captain James Pyke decides to take her back to his plantation to work in the kitchen with his black slaves.  Lavinia remains part of the slave population until adulthood when her life changes again but not necessarily for the better.  This was a full on book with many highs and lows.  Definitely a good read but has to be read when you can give your full and undivided attention in order to keep up with the never ending changes to the characters and their stories.   Would recommend as a good and compelling read. 

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Kindle App

Now I may well be teaching you all to suck eggs here but I recently discovered something about Kindle and therefore thought I would share this little bit of info with you all.

I bought a Kindle HD back in August and have been enjoying it's rewards ever since. What I hadn't realised is that you don't have to have a Kindle in order to read Kindle Books.  It was whilst on amazon looking for a book for my son that I then saw in a little box how you can download the Kindle App to your ipad, tablet or even your phone.  This was really useful as I currently have a son serving out in Afghanistan and he is obviously limited to what he could take with him and what he would be able to bring back if we sent him anything.  He has downloaded the Kindle App and has been able to buy and download books to read in his down time and it has proved to be invaluable.  Since then my daughter and my other son have also downloaded the app and even D has now downloaded it to his ipad and is currently working his way through all the Jeffery Archers.  If you normally buy amazon vouchers as Christmas gifts you still can as when you purchase any books for your Kindle you still have the opportunity to use any vouchers you may have to purchase. 

If you would like to know more information then simply click here.

Happy reading one and all 

M x

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Midwife On Call - Tales of Tiny Little Miracles - Agnes Light

Midwife on CallAgnes Light trained as a  nurse in the 1960's and went on to become a midwife - helping to bring new lives into the world for over 30 years. After fainting from shock at the first birth she attended as a student, Agnes grew to adore her job and the lifelong friends that worked with her on the maternity ward. In her enchanting memoir she recalls how she struggled at first with the strict rules of hospital etiquette and the expectation that she would always know the right thing to do. - from dealing with hysterical fathers to miracle multiple births - Agnes quickly learnt she had to keep a cool head whatever the circumstances. This is a heartwarming portrait of a thoughtful and compassionate midwife. Funny, poignant and rich with period detail. Midwife on Call traces Agnes's touching journey from squeamish pupil to assured professional.  

Published  by: Hodder paperbacks - Memoir
Year: 2011
Pages: 288
ISBN: 9781444736120

I bought this enchanting book sometime ago and it has been residing on my to be read shelf ever since.  I suddenly spotted it last week whilst looking for something new  to read. Agnes Light describes the highs and lows of being a healthcare professional in an ever changing world.  She tells of her experiences of delivering miracle babies to both first time mums and to those delivering number 6. Each birthing story is unique and each one very special to Agnes and the families she supports.  A very easy read and if studying to be a Midwife or just showing an interest is well worth putting on your wish list. 

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Book of the Month November

Daffodil Girls (eBook): Stories of love, loss and friendship from the women behind our heroes

This month I have read three very different books but three very strong contenders for my Book of the Month. Philomena tells the heartfelt story of one mothers search for the son who was so cruelly taken from her.  Where as the film tells the story of Philomena's search for he son  the book concentrates much more on the life he had once he was adopted and his subsequent search for his mother.

The Night Rainbow tells the story of one little girls vivid imagination and you become easily wrapped up in her story.

The Daffodil Girls tells the true accounts of the wives and families of serving army personnel and has you laughing and crying in equal amounts.  

Whilst reading Philomena I really didn't think that anything else would match it but I was wrong.  Anyone of these three books could have been my book of the month but in the end for me there was only one winner and that had to be.

Daffodil Girls (eBook): Stories of love, loss and friendship from the women behind our heroes
Book of the Month for November 2013