Christmas on the Little Cornish Isles: The Driftwood Inn by Phillipa Ashley

Christmas on the Little Cornish Isles: The Driftwood Inn by Phillipa Ashley

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About the author

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

Blurb

For Maisie Samson, this Christmas is going to be different. After years working in a busy Cornish pub, she’s moved back to quiet Gull Island where she grew up, to help her parents run the family inn.

But even though she can’t wait for the festive season to arrive, Maisie cannot shake the memories of what happened to her last Christmas – the day she lost everything. She keeps herself busy, setting up the tree and hanging mistletoe ready for her first proper family Christmas in years.

Until a new arrival to the island walks into her bar and changes everything. Australian backpacker Patrick is looking for a job for the low season. When Maisie takes him on, she doesn’t expect him to last the week, but to her surprise Patrick is the perfect fit. Charming and handsome, could Maisie allow herself to hope that she and Patrick could be more than just colleagues?

As Christmas approaches, Maisie finds herself dreading the spring, when Patrick is due to leave. With the help of a little Christmas magic, can Maisie get the happily ever after she always dreamed of?

Review

This was a beautiful book that I randomly chose because it was on offer and I thought looked like a feel good read for December. I’m so glad I chose it because it really was a nice comfortable read.

The first thing I loved about this book was the setting. The setting is so tranquil but also wild and rugged and takes a certain type of person to live there. The islanders are a unique type of people to live there.

Maisie is one of these islanders who was born on the island and after spending time away has returned home and she is happy to be home. She swims in the freezing sea and enjoys running her parents’ pub but most of all she loves where she lives and the people who also live there and doesn’t want that to change. Maisie is a character who will always fight and that is what I loved about her.

Patrick is an excellent guy who appears too good to be true but he does have a past and is open with Maisie about that past but not entirely. He is a good man with a slight cleaning fetish but mainly he just wants to do the right thing.

My favourite character in the book is actually Basil the dog. He is so unruly and wild but just loves people and wants to do exactly the opposite of what his owner Hugo says.

This book has a wonderful storyline and is just a general feel good story that puts you in the festive spirit. I highly recommend this book to everyone who wants a festive read and the only reason I gave this book 4 Dragons instead of 5 was because the storyline was a little bit too predictable for me.

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Mid Week Quote: Mother Theresa

Happy Wednesday!

I have been busy buying Christmas presents and I have nearly finished which is unusual for me this early. I love giving presents, wrapping them I am not so keen on. So this week’s quote I have chosen because it is about giving.

 

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”

 

Mother Theresa

 

I have included some Christmas pictures as well, because it is nearly Christmas!

The lights and the sunset are from a walk yesterday.

 

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The Nightmare Before Christmas by Tim Burton (Book Review)

The Nightmare Before Christmas by Tim Burton

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About the author

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Tim Burton was born in August 1958 and is an American filmmaker, artist, writer and animator. He is famous for his dark, gothic and eccentric horror and fantasy films. He often works with Johnny Depp and Danny Elfman.

Blurb

In all the world, there is no place like Halloweenland, and Jack Skellington is Halloween’s most important figure. It’s Jack who devises the holiday’s most macabre tricks and frights, and he’s delightfully done it year after year. But this year, something isn’t quite right: Jack has grown bored with the usual Halloween pranks, and the joy of seeing shock and horror on people’s faces has faded.

Then one night, while out for a walk in the woods, Jack sees something he’s never seen before – a strange door carved into a tree. Stepping through the door Jack stumbles into a world unlike any he’s ever known. He finds himself in a bright, colorful place called Christmas Town. Jack has finally found what he’s been looking for, and knows right away what needs to be done. He will bring Christmas to Halloween – with Jack starring in Santa’s role!

The beautifully designed commemorative edition celebrates the twentieth anniversary of this classic book’s initial publication and features meticulously reproduced original artwork from the incomparable visionary Tim Burton.

Review

I was so excited when I saw this book and I immediately bought it. I love the movie and I have watched it so many times, so when I saw the book I was overjoyed.

The illustrations in this book are stunning and completely right and the book is the perfect size so the illustrations work really well. There was one problem though, it was missing most of the story! Where was Sally? Where was Oogie Boogie? My two favourite characters were not in the book!

I can understand that Burton thinned the story down to its bare minimum to make this a children’s book that wouldn’t scare children like maybe the film would but I just missed my favourite characters and somehow not having at least Sally in the story meant that it just did not feel complete and left holes in the story for me that made no sense. However maybe a child would not see these holes.

I know I have probably looked far too much into this as a children’s book and realise that most children will love the book but for me it just did not feel right. The illustrations were amazing but due to my favourite characters being missing I only gave the book 3 out of 5 Dragons. Sorry Mr Burton but for me the movie is far better.

Purchase Links

Book Depository

Waterstones

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First Day of Advent

Happy Advent!

December 1st and the first day of Advent means Christmas is coming!

Today I started my day by playing the organ for an Advent service and that included playing my favourite Advent hymn. In my eyes it isn’t Advent until I have either played or sung this hymn.

O come, O come, Emmanuel

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory o’er the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Dayspring, from on high,
And cheer us by Thy drawing nigh;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Key of David, come
And open wide our heav’nly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Adonai, Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai’s height,
In ancient times didst give the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Translated by John Mason Neale (1861)

Today has also meant the Advent candle being lit, a couple of Christmas decorations going up and of course opening the first door on my Advent calendar. I also managed to get some Christmas reading in as well, which is always good!

Happy reading.

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Christmas Book Haul

Hello!

Today I have had a wonderful day off, as I spent the morning reading and then went and spent the day in Birmingham book shopping and exploring the German Christmas Market.

I had a lot of fun in Waterstones and bought quite a few books and my husband also got some as well so the lady on the check out was quite surprised at the varied selection. I also had a lot of fun looking at the children’s section.

 

Here are my lovely books:-

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I bought this book because my best friend, nicknamed Tufty Seal highly recommends Adam Kay as a writer so I am really looking forward to reading this book.

 

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I saw this today and just had to buy it as I absolutely love the film!

 

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I must admit I got this because the cover was pretty, I know very shallow, but sometimes a pretty cover is all you need to buy a book.

 

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I bought this because I loved the last book with Murder Christmas stories I hope this one does not disappoint.

 

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Another book from the Christmas table at Waterstones. I hope it does not disappoint.

 

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This book I got in the children’s section. I always get a version of The Nutcracker each year and this year I got this little one with a pop up surprise at the end!

 

I also got two very pretty decorations from the German Market.

 

Please drop me a comment if you have read any of the books.

Happy Reading.

 

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Christmas Reading list: Update

Hello!

So yesterday after spending a great deal of time reading and note taking for my Masters, I decided I would check out Amazon and see if they had any super cheap Christmas books. To be honest I do not usually buy books off Amazon unless it is for my Kindle but yesterday I felt like a treat.

So the list has grown again, I just hope the new books prove to be good. I have also read one of the books on the list and a review will be posted shortly.

The List

A Very Murderous Christmas by various authors

The Night I Met Father Christmas by Ben Miller

Miss Marley by Vanessa Lafaye

A Very Country Christmas by Zara Stonely

A Literary Christmas: An Anthology

Christmas on the Little Cornish Isles by Phillipa Ashley

 

Please drop me a comment if you have any Christmas book recommendations, as I would love to add to the list.

Happy Reading!

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Christmas Reading List: Update

I am getting so excited for Christmas that I have started reading my Christmas reading list! I will be adding to this list, as at the moment it is way too short. I always go to the German Market in Birmingham to do some Christmas shopping and I always spend a lot of time in Waterstones and that is usually when I get most of my Christmas books, so watch this space!

 

So here is the list in no particular order:-

The Night I Met Father Christmas by Ben Miller

Miss Marley by Vanessa Lafaye

A Very Murderous Christmas by various authors

A Very Country Christmas by Zara Stonely

A Literary Christmas: An Anthology

 

I have just started reading A Very Murderous Christmas and so far it is proving to be very good.

 

If you have any Christmas books to recommend to me please drop me a comment.

 

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Christmas Reading List

Hello everyone!

I have started to think of my Christmas reading list. I usually begin my Christmas reading on the 1st December but this year I am very tempted to begin earlier because usually I am so busy during the month of December. Also I just want to get into the Christmas spirit!

The first on the list is a book recommended to me by my best friend, who sent me a very excited text yesterday telling me I just had to read it.

The Night I Met Father Christmas by Ben Miller

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The second book will be a new copy of The Nutcracker which as you know I read every year and every year I get a new edition, the prettier the better.

So let the planning and Christmas book buying commence. Any suggestions would be gratefully received.

Happy reading.

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The Nutcracker by E. T. A. Hoffmann (Review)

The Nutcracker by E. T. A. Hoffmann, illustrated by Robert Ingpen, translated by Anthea Bell

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About the author

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Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann was born in 1776 in Konigsbarg, Prussia (which is now Kaliningrad, Russia). His educational background was law, but his real love was music. As a young man he moved to Germany hoping to begin a musical career, he went on to become a composer, director and conductor. As a way to help his income he took up writing in his thirties. He wrote four novels and approximately fifty stories and novellas and was possibly one of the most influential writers of his time. He passed away in 1822.

About the illustrator

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Robert Ingpen was born in 1936 in Geelong, Australia. He studied illustration art and book design at The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. In 1986 he was awarded the Hans Christian Anderson Medal for his contributions to children’s literature and he has been honoured with Membership of the Order of Australia.

About the translator

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Anthea Bell was born in 1936 and was an English translator of literary works, her speciality was children’s literature. She translated French, German and Danish into English. She is best known for translating the Astrix comics into English. She past away on the 18th October 2018.

Blurb

The Nutcracker is well-loved by many, and is perhaps best known as the inspiration for Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet, performed as a favourite Christmas spectacle the world over. The ballet was based on a French retelling of the story, and Hoffmann’s German original is rarely translated in its entirety. This version includes the familiar tale of the gentle young girl and her love for the enchanted Nutcracker – a Christmas gift from her enigmatic Godfather Drosselmeier – who leads the toy soldiers in a dramatic battle against the sinister Mouse King, and whisks her away to the Kingdom of Toys. But it also retains the original ‘story within the story’, told to Marie by Drosselmeier when she is ill in bed: The Tale of the Hard Nut, about the cursed Princess Pirlipat, which explains the background of how the poor Nutcracker came to be.

Review

I do love reading Christmas stories on the run up to Christmas as amongst the chaos of preparing for Christmas they provide some calm. Very sorry this review is rather late. I actually forgot to do this review with the chaos of Christmas and New Year and it was only when I started sorting and tidying up books that I realised I had not written the review.

Anyway back to The Nutcracker by E.T.A Hoffmann and translated by Anthea Bell with the wonderful illustrations by Robert Ingpen. I love the story of the Nutcracker and have previously read the translated versions by Alexander Dumas and Joachim Neugroschel. However I found Dumas’ translation very difficult to follow as it lacked fluency and did not have the story within a story. I believe the ballet is based on Dumas’ translation. Bell’s translation however flows beautifully and made the book a joy to read, including The Tale of the Hard Nut also helps the story make sense and helps the reader understand how the Nutcracker came to be.

The Nutcracker is a wonderful fairytale story for all ages young and old with some very subtle morals hidden in there. I loved Marie’s young innocence and Godfather Drosselmeir’s kindness with a hidden layer of something sinister. Fritz, Marie’s brother however is a little trying for me and is clearly just a spoilt child, who probably due to being the only son has been allowed to get away with a lot more than his older and younger sisters. Luise the older sister I feel for, as she is not mentioned much and her character is not greatly expanded and she seems to be rather ignored by her siblings and parents.

The beautiful illustrations in the book are stunning and really aid your imagination in visualising the story. And of course the main lesson that you learn from Marie at the end is a lovely ending to the story. It really is a timeless story that can not help bring a smile to your face and make you look forward to Christmas.

I highly recommend this book and translation and look forward to reading it again on a future Christmas. I have given this book a very fiery 5 Dragons out of 5 Dragons.

Lady Book Dragon.

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Enid Blyton: Five at the Office Christmas Party by Bruno Vincent (Review)

Enid Blyton: Five at the Office Christmas Party by Bruno Vincent

About the author

Bruno Vincent is the author of several humour titles, including The Famous Five Series, he has also written two volumes of gothic horror stories for children which were adapted for the stage.

Blurb

Join Julian, George, Dick, Anne and Timmy the dog as they try to prepare the perfect office Christmas Party, with no budget at all. Will they succeed, and make everyone happy? Or will all the emergency services be called before the night is out?

Review

I have read most of the Famous Five parodies by Bruno Vincent but I had been saving this one to read over the Christmas holidays and I was pleased I did. I read most of the Famous Five series when I was a child and have always enjoyed reading about the five’s adventures, especially George as I was also a tomboy when I was young.

The four children are now adults and are blundering along trying to get adult life correct. Timmy is now very mature and does not take such an active role in the adventures although he is still present, watching over the four. The story begins with Julian getting fired from his job and managing to get another job working with Dick, George and Anne at the business that their rogue cousin Rupert owns. None of them particularly enjoy their work apart from Julian who finds the simple data input work a lot better than his previous job as he used to over think that job.

Just before Christmas Rupert pulls the four into his office and asks them to organise the Christmas party to help raise morale in the company. This does not end well, especially when the workers sample Julian’s punch.

The story is hilariously funny and well written, Vincent has obviously done his homework and read a great deal of the original Famous Five books because he has each of the five perfect, their childhood characters come through in their adult life. Anne is still homely, petite and pretty, George is still stubborn, bad tempered and boyish, Julian a know it all but now has a drink problem, Dick who is always happy to follow everyone’s lead and is happy to just potter around playing Pokemon Go. Vincent has been nothing but respectful to Enid Blyton’s work and legacy and I think she would have rather enjoyed his version of the adult five.

The only reason this book did not get 5 dragons was because the ending was a little bit disappointing for me and it finished a bit too soon on a cliffhanger no less. This book was a brilliant read I would recommend for anyone who wants a good laugh over Christmas and who enjoyed the Famous Five series as a child. A big 4 out of 5 dragons from me.

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Lady Book Dragon