Posted in history

[Review] Seven Kings of England by Geoffrey Trease

39035186Genre: History, Nonfiction | Publication: 4 October 2017 by Endeavour Press (first published in 1955) | Rating: 4/5 stars

When I requested a review copy of Seven Kings of England, I didn’t realise it was the republication of an older book. I didn’t know until I looked at the Goodreads page. While some history books can sound pretty dated, this one really doesn’t, which is why I think I never realised it was an older book.

In this book, Trease writes the portraits of seven of the English kings starting with Alfred the Great and ending with William III. Each chapter can be read independently and reads much like fiction. Trease’s explanations are never heavy and the whole thing is quite compelling to read and very enjoyable. I guess it would be better as an introduction to these kings rather than something to read about them if you already know a lot. I am not an expert on any of these kings, and despite knowing some facts, I learned a great deal of information.

The only reason why I’m not giving it 5 stars is because I like to see notes, sources and bibliographies when I read a history book. I’m very keen to read Seven Queens of England by Trease now.

Disclaimer – thanks to NetGalley and Endeavour Press for providing me with a free digital copy in exchange for an honest review.


Posted in misc

A quick note

Dear readers and followers,

Just a quick note to let you know I’ve got quite a lot on my plate at the moment, hence the lack of memes and tags, etc. I’m trying to keep up to date with my reviews as much as I can but may post a bit less often. Hopefully things get back to normal soon!

Thank you for your understanding and happy reading!

As a bonus, here is a photo of one of my shelves after my toddler helped to tidy up…
Posted in non-fiction

[Review] Two Knitting Books

I’ve recently learned to knit so I’m on the look out for interesting books.


Genre: Nonfiction, Craft & Hobbies | Publication: 3 April 2018 by Quarto Publishing Group / Creative Publishing International | Rating: 5/5 stars

One-Piece Knits by Margaret Hubert was quite good I think, as multiple sizes are given for most designs, from toddler size to the biggest men’s size.

There are a lot of colourful photos to make the whole book enjoyable to read, and clear instructions. It is definitely a guide or workbook that one can refer to regularly.



Genre: Nonfiction, Craft & Hobbies | Publication: 10 April 2018 by F+W Media | Rating: 3/5 stars

I was interested by the approach of this book. As a would-be minimalist, I like the idea of a capsule wardrobe and of simple, stylish designs that I can mix and match with the rest of my wardrobe. Wool Studio by Meghan Babin does all this. The photographs are also simple and stylish. My issue here was only personal taste – I did like some of the designs and I would like to try and make them, but most of them seemed a bit too “high end” for me. I think they might be more suitable for someone interested in modern fashion.

For knitters on Ravelry, Meghan Babin’s designs can be found here while Margaret Hubert’s extensive list of Ravelry designs is here.

Disclaimer – I received digital copies of these books for free in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Quarto Publishing Group and F+W Media.



Posted in Fiction

[Review] Pearls On a Branch (Tales from the Arab World told by women) by Najla Khoury

35421793Genre: Literary Fiction, Fairy Tales | Publication: 6 March 2018 by Archipelago | Rating: 3/5 stars

This is a collection of 30 Syrian and Lebanese folktales, told by women and collected and translated by women as well. I have always loved fairy tales, so I was really interested in this book. I was surprised to see how some of them are very much like some of the Western tales, for example one of them was a different version of Snow White (with Ali Baba and the 40 thieves instead of 7 dwarves!).

I enjoyed discovering the folktales of another culture – I don’t think I had read tales from the Arab world before, or it might have been one here or there in a collection of world tales. My problem with them is that I didn’t feel like I connected with them like I do with Western or Eastern European tales, maybe because I didn’t grow up with them.

That being said, I greatly admire the work of Najla Khoury and Inea Engler (the translator). They accomplished a tremendous amount of work and it is very important in my opinion to record and safeguard the folk traditions of all cultures.

Disclaimerthanks to NetGalley and Archipelago for providing me with a free digital copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in historical fiction

[Review] Wild Chicory by Kim Kelly

27824634Genre: Historical Fiction | Format: Paperback (102 pages) | Publisher: The Author People, 2016 (first published in 2015) | Rating: 3/5

Wild Chicory is a novella that takes the reader on an immigrant journey from Ireland to Australia in the early 1900s, along threads of love, family, war and peace. It’s a slice of ordinary life rich in history, folklore and fairy tale, and a portrait of the precious relationship between a granddaughter, Brigid, and her grandmother, Nell.

(From the publisher / Goodreads)

This novella alternates between the “present” with Brigid dealing with Nell’s reaction to her husband’s death in the 1970s and the past, following Nell and her family throughout her life in Ireland and then Australia. It really just give you the linear story of Nell’s life, so I found it quite clever how the author broke it up with the short Brigid chapters. I don’t think I’ve ever read about Irish people immigrants in Australia. I always appreciate learning something new!

I think, for me, what I liked the most about the book wasn’t the story itself but Kim Kelly’s mastery of language. Her writing is poetic with beautiful imagery. I was particularly touched by the last chapter (I won’t say anything more about it, though!). With such a short book, Kelly manages to touch upon numerous issues, especially the history of the Irish situation.

A nice, slow, poetic read.

Posted in non-fiction, Writing

[Review] Online Marketing for Busy Authors by Fauzia Burke

27037564Genre: Nonfiction/Reference | Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2016 (first published in 2015) | Rating: 5/5


This book really delivers what it says on the tin (or the front cover). Fauzia Burke explains why authors nowadays need online marketing and how to do it. The writing is very easy to read yet full of information. She also provides exercises to help you focus on what you really want as an author and how to achieve it through online marketing, as well as lists of social media that can be used and how to use them. The whole book is very thorough with a wealth of information.

A must-read for authors, especially those who self-publish, although traditionally published authors can learn a lot from it too.

Disclaimer: thanks to NetGalley and Berrett-Koehler Publishers for providing me with a free digital copy in exchange for an honest review.



Posted in non-fiction

Wolf Sanctuary by Chuck Rineer

36701270Chuck Rinner takes photographs of the packs of wolfs at Speedwell Forge Wolf Sanctuary in Pennsylvania.

This is mostly a book of photographs, as we get a bit on information to explain what is going on, but the aim is to just look at the wolves and discover them in their natural habitat.

I really enjoyed going through the beautiful pictures. I love wolves, I think they’re amazing animals and you really get to see them in their everyday life in Wolf Sanctuary. Although there are wild animals, you can see how they are so far from that image of a monster they have had for centuries.

If you’re interested, you can read more about these wolves and the individuals in the pack, as well as what the Sanctuary does here.

Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to NetGalley and Schiffer Publishing.