The Weekly Brief

Happy Sunday!

I hope everyone has had a good weekend so far. I must admit I am thoroughly enjoying my Christmas reading list so far and it is a welcome relief from the ancient death rituals I am currently studying for my course. I will be honest it isn’t the cheeriest of subjects to be studying on the run up to Christmas.

Anyway, here is what I have been up to in the world of blogging…

Posts this Week

Books I am Currently Reading

Books Acquired this Week

I really must stop buying Christmas books!

Happy Reading!

A Perfect Cornish Christmas by Phillipa Ashley (Review)

A Perfect Cornish Christmas by Phillipa Ashley

Blurb

Christmas in Cornwall is just around the corner…

But after last Christmas revealed a shocking family secret, Scarlett’s hardly feeling merry and bright. All she wants this Christmas is to know who her real father is.

So Scarlett heads to the little Cornish town of Porthmellow, where she believes the truth of her birth is hidden. She just didn’t bargain on being drawn into the Christmas festival preparations – or meeting Jude Penberth, whose charm threatens to complicate life further.

Everything will come to a head at Porthmellow’s Christmas Festival … But can Scarlett have the perfect Christmas this year, or are there more surprises on the way?

Review

I read another Ashley Christmas novel last year and thoroughly enjoyed it so I was pleased to find this book equally enjoyable if not more. I will also be honest and say that I lost quite a bit of sleep with this book because I couldn’t put it down. 

The story opens with a family Christmas that ends with a bombshell that has repercussions for all the family. Then the story moves to just before the next Christmas and how Scarlett and her sister Ellie prepare for a very different Christmas in Cornwall. 

Ellie is a lovely character and although she appears to be a bit of a wild child due to spending so much time travelling around the world she is a solid character who works hard and will do anything for her sister Scarlett. I couldn’t help but love Ellie’s character and want the best for her.

Scarlett is the main character of the story and she is very lost and desperately needs answers so she gives up her life in Birmingham and moves to Porthmellow to live with her sister Ellie in their great aunt’s old manor house where she hopes to find the answers she so desperately craves. 

There are some great characters in this book and some hilarious innuendos that really made me chuckle. There are several storylines in this book and they all link together beautifully. There are love stories past and present, affairs and family problems and a few surprises thrown into the mix as well. I loved the atmosphere of Porthmellow and the Solstice festival appeared perfectly idyllic and I now really want to go to one myself. 

Ashley has written a wonderful book that is full of beautiful descriptions, criss crossing storylines and characters that you can’t help but love. This book really put me into the festive mood and I am so pleased I read it and I will definitely be reading some of Ashely’s non-chrirstmas books next year. I give this book 5 out of 5 Dragons and highly recommend it to everyone who wants a festive read over Christmas.

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Book Depository | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author

Born in 1971 in Lichfield, Phillipa Ashley is an award winning author of 17 novels under 3 different pen names.

First Lines Friday: 27/11/2020

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Well it is Friday and I am about to start a new book so I thought I would take part in First Lines Friday.

So you know the rules and as usual the answer will be below the cats.

When her phone rang at three in the morning, ripping her from a desperately needed sleep, Maggie’s first thought was bad news.

Her mind raced through the possibilities, starting with the worst-case scenario. Death, or at least life-changing injury. Police. Ambulance.

and the answer is …

Amazon | Book Depository | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

In the snowy perfection of Aspen, the White family gathers for youngest daughter Rosie’s whirlwind Christmas wedding.

First to arrive are the bride’s parents, Maggie and Nick. Their daughter’s marriage is a milestone they are determined to celebrate wholeheartedly, but they are hiding a huge secret about their own: they are on the brink of divorce. After living apart for the last six months, the last thing they need is to be trapped together in an irresistibly romantic winter wonderland.

Rosie’s older sister Katie is also dreading the wedding. Worried that impulsive, sweet-hearted Rosie is making a mistake, Katie is determined to save her sister from herself. If only the irritatingly good-looking best man, Jordan, would stop interfering with her plans…

Bride-to-be Rosie loves her fiance but is having serious second thoughts. Except everyone has arrived – how can she tell them she’s not sure? As the big day gets closer, and emotions run even higher, this is one White family Christmas none of them will ever forget. 

Did anybody guess correctly? Please drop me a comment with your thoughts if you have read the book. Also if you are taking part in First Lines Friday today please leave your link and I will head over for a guess.

Happy Reading

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

Friday Poetry: Christina Rossetti

Happy Friday!

I hope everyone has some good bookish plans for the weekend. As most of you probably know November has been Christina Rossetti month for my Friday Poetry section, so here is my last Rossetti poem for November.

What is Pink?

What is pink? a rose is pink
By the fountain's brink
What is red? a poppy's red
In its barley bed.
What is blue? the sky is blue
Where the clouds float thro'.
What is white? a swan is white
Sailing in the light.
What is yellow? pears are yellow,
Rich and ripe and mellow.
What is green? the grass is green,
With small flowers between.
What is violet? clouds are violet
In the summer twilight.
What is orange? why, an orange,
Just an orange!

Christina Rossetti

Shakespeare Challenge Update

Hello!

I’m still working on my Shakespeare challenge and I think I will try to read a play before the end of the year maybe The Winter’s Tale for over Christmas. My most recent read has been the Shakespeare’s Sonnets. So here is my updated list. Click on the crossed off titles to be taken to the review.

Plays

  • All’s Well That Ends Well
  • Antony and Cleopatra
  • As You Like It
  • The Comedy of Errors
  • Coriolanus
  • Cymbeline
  • Hamlet
  • 1 Henry IV
  • 2 Henry IV
  • Henry V
  • 1 Henry VI
  • 2 Henry VI
  • 3 Henry VI
  • Henry VIII
  • Julius Caesar
  • King John
  • King Lear
  • Love’s Labour’s Lost
  • Macbeth
  • Measure for Measure
  • The Merchant of Venice
  • The Merry Wives of Windsor
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • Othello
  • Pericles
  • Richard II
  • Richard III
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • The Taming of the Shrew
  • The Tempest
  • Timon of Athens
  • Titus Andronicus
  • Troilus and Cressida
  • Twelfth Night
  • The Two Gentlemen of Verona
  • The Winter’s Tale

Non Plays

I would love to hear if you have any reading challenges. Please drop a comment for a chat.

WWW Wednesday: 25/11/2020

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The rules are answer the questions below and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you will read next?

Happy Wednesday!

I have a surprisingly busy day teaching today and it is two of my students last lessons before their exams. I think I am more nervous than they are with all the extra Covid 19 precautions that have to be in place for exams and as I am not allowed to be there on the day I just hope I don’t forgot to tell them anything.

Anyway, here is what my week in books has looked like.

What I am Currently Reading

I am about a third of the way in and thoroughly enjoying it so far.

What I have Recently Finished Reading

Not what I was expecting to be honest. The review is here.

What I think I will Read Next

Yes, it is all Christmas reading now. The only problem is I keep finding more Christmas books I want to add to the list.

So there is my WWW Wednesday. Please drop me a link with your WWW Wednesday and I will head over for a visit.

A Midwinter Promise by Lulu Taylor (Review)

A Midwinter Promise by Lulu Taylor

Blurb

The past

A lonely and imaginative child, Julia loves her family’s beautiful and wild Cornish home with all her heart. But, marked by dark troubles, she enters her adult years determined to leave and seek a new beginning in London. It’s there she meets the handsome David. They fall in love, but when Julia becomes pregnant, even he can’t stop the terrible echoes of the past from ringing in her ears. The only sound to be heard above the noise is the old Cornish house, calling her home . . .

The present

For Julia’s adult children, Alex and Johnnie, the house hides the history of their family within its walls. For Alex, it is full of memories of her late mother. For Johnnie, it is the house that should have been rightfully theirs after Julia died but has been stolen from them instead. With their father now lying in a hospital bed, time is running out for Alex and Johnnie to uncover the secrets of what happened to their mother all those years ago. Can they discover the truth before the house closes its doors to them forever?

Review

I have read some of Taylor’s books before and I have really enjoyed them so I was excited to get reading this. 

There are two storylines within this book, the past and present, and I will admit I struggled at times when reading the past. The past follows the life of Julia and rather cleverly her life  is running parallel with Princess Diana’s who also features in the book because Julia’s husband David works in the palace for Princess Diana and Prince Charles.

I will be honest this book made me angry because Julia really needed help. She was let down by doctors and those closest to her and that made me really angry and upset but I realise that is what Taylor was aiming for and Taylor had obviously done a significant amount of research into Julia’s condition which the reader only really finds out about at the end of the book.

Alex and Johnnie, Julia’s children are now grown and have children of their own and problems of their own. Johnnie got on my nerves slightly because I found him rather selfish and unfair to his wife. Alex was my favourite character, she was full of feeling and worked hard with her business and was just a lovely character to follow.

Mundo was my least favourite, he was definitely wrong and rather unbelievable to be honest. Sally was a character who my opinion changed on, on more than one occasion but I won’t say more. 

I was a little disappointed about the detail in the book as I would have liked a bit more description regarding Tawray the house as usually Taylor is bang on with her descriptions. Overall, I enjoyed the book but I did struggle with it at times and it left me feeling rather sad. I give this book 3 out of 5 Dragons.

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Book Depository | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author

Lulu was brought up in the Oxfordshire countryside, attended a girls’ school and then went to Oxford University, where she read English Literature. After university, she worked in publishing for several years, before becoming a novelist.

Sonnets by William Shakespeare (Review)

Sonnets by William Shakespeare 

Blurb

‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate . . .’ Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets contain some of the most exquisite and haunting poetry ever written, dealing with eternal themes such as love and infidelity, memory and mortality, and the destruction wreaked by time. This new edition collects them in a pocket-sized volume, perfect for gifting. William Shakespeare was born some time in late April 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon and died in 1616. He is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist.

Review

I’ve read some of Shakespeare’s sonnets in the past as our Drama teacher used to make us memorise them and then recite them on stage but that was a long time ago. So being as I am trying to read all of Shakespeare’s works I decided to read his sonnets next.

This little book has been perfect to dip into when I have a few minutes free and I will be honest I have been reading it when waiting for my next student to appear on Zoom. 

I really enjoyed reading this little book and although the sonnets are mainly love sonnets there are also sonnets on the seasons and other things. Some are a bit similar in my opinion but they are still enjoyable to read and really show the talent of Shakespeare.

A highly recommended little edition that literally just gives you the sonnets and is perfect to just dip in and out of when the mood takes you. I give this book 4 out of 5 Dragons and I will leave you with one of my favourites.

116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments; love is not love

Which alters when alteration finds, 

Or bands with the remover to remove.

O no, it is an ever-fixed mark

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wandering bark,

Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.

Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle’s compass come;

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me proved,

I never writ, nor to man ever loved.

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Book Depository | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was an English playwright, poet and actor. He is widely known as the greatest writer in the English language and is often called England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon”.

The Weekly Brief

Happy Sunday!

Another busy week in the blogging world. I have also set up an instagram account for the blog you can find it at theladybookdragon if you want to follow.

So here is what I have been up to in the blogging world.

Posts this Week

Books I am Currently Reading

Books Acquired this Week

Happy Reading!