True Loaf by L. Austen Johnson

True Loaf by L. Austen Johnson

*I received a free copy of this audiobook through NetGalley in exchange for a review.

Rating: 3/5

This (very) short story by Johnson is inspired by Balkan Folklore, it follows Riley a bakery worker, who there she receives a strange request from an unusual man. Whilst seeking out the uncommon ingredient he requested she learns that things are not always as they seem to be and that fae may in fact be real.

As a nice touch the author partnered with One Tree Planted, meaning for every audiobook sold within the first year of release, one tree will be planted in North America.

The first thing that struck me was the beautiful cover, which at first glance I assumed to be a children’s book although it is actually aimed at teens, YA, and new adult readers. It was a very short story, and as a result it left me with more questions then it answered. I didn’t particularly enjoy the narration, although I did get used to it after a few minuets, for me the tone of voice the narrator chose to use didn’t match the feel of the book. It was an interesting story, with a fairly simple plot, the ending was not hugely predictable but it left the novel feeling unfinished for me.

Overall I really liked the idea behind this novel, and it is marketed as a short story which it certainly is, however, I do feel with a little bit of expansion this novel could have truly been brought to life.

Book Review: The Taste of Apple Seeds by Katharina Hagena

Book Review: The Taste of Apple Seeds by Katharina Hagena

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Rating: 3/5.

When Iris assumes her grandmothers home in the country, an unexpected inheritance, it brings back a lifetime of memories. Unsure whether to keep the home or sell it she decides to visit the house, staying for a week to make her decision. The move is bittersweet and Iris finds herself torn between forgetting and remembering, with a chance encounter with a childhood friend leaving her wondering if they could become more.

The Taste of Apple Seeds is Hagena’s debut novel and bestseller. Although I actually had not heard of this novel before, when I noticed it on my local libraries app I was initially captured by the cover and the feelings of autumn and warmth it conquered up for me. I greatly enjoy novels that have a historical element, even if it is more recent history, anything that hints at nostalgia is an instant to-read in my mind. Hagena utilised creative imagery to bring her story to life, although I did find myself feeling a bit lost in the plot from time to time, and I did not particularly relate to the main character Iris, who was written in such a way to make her appear larger than life but to me, that left her feeling unrealistic.

Overall I enjoyed reading this novel, I didn’t feel much of a connection to the characters, but that’s not always necessary for me to enjoy a book. I am rating it three stars because although I think this is a good overall novel, it was missing something for me.

August Reads

August Reads

Check out my August reads below, ranked highest to lowest rating:

The Girl from Galloway by Anne Doughty

Rating: 5/5.

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It’s 1845, in County Donegal, Ireland and one day Hannah McGinley’s daughter comes home disheartened that her school may have to close as one of the teachers is moving away. Despite her busy schedule, Hannah steps up, but times are tough and can she support her family and the school?

This was my favourite read this month, it was beautifully written and filled me with the sense of nostalgia I constantly search for within the pages of novels. Strength and determination underpin every chapter, as we watch this family, this community fight to not only survive but to thrive.

 

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness.

Rating: 5/5.

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The Rest of Us Just Live Here asks readers the question, “what if you aren’t the chosen one?”. It follows Mikey a normative kid about to graduate highschool who’s trying to muster up the courage to ask out his friend Hanna.

I loved this book, it was a very close second favourite of the month. Some people get drawn in by book covers, but I am by titles. “The Rest of Us Just Live Here” rolls of the tongue, it speaks to readers or at least to me. I haven’t read anything like this before, it explores the narrative of  fighting the bad guys, but from the eyes of bystanders.

 

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

Rating: 3.5/5.

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Little Women follows sisters, Meg, Jo and Beth taking the reader on a journey of their lives, those in it and where it leads them.

This is a novel that I have been meaning to read for a while, I had high expectations of it and whilst it was not a bad book, it was amazingly written and Alcott brought the characters to life, I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would.

 

The Market Square by Miss Read.

Rating: 3/5.

The Market Square (The Caxley Chronicles, #1) by Miss ReadThe Market Square gives readers an insight into the history Caxley and the lives of those who live there. Caxley is a market town close to Fairacre where Miss Read’s Fairacre novels are set. It is also often referenced within her Fairacre novels as a place the people there travel to occasionally.

I really enjoyed the novels I have read so far by Miss Read so was excited when I saw this pop up on my local online library. It was well written but for me didn’t have the spark of the Fairacre series.

 

Heavily Meditated by Caitlin Cady.

Rating: 2/5.

48848535. sx318 This is a book about Meditation, from the perception of Cady. I personally have been meditating for four years now, so I like to think I know a bit about it, but still you can never know too much.

What first interested me about this was the idea it was a beginers guide, a way to help introduce more people to meditation, which is amazing. If you have never tried meditation I would recommend giving it a go, it’s not for everyone but if it works for you it can bring meaningful peace and change into your life.

I personally didn’t enjoy this book, it does provide some infomatiom but I found it felt empty, the book lacked substance for me. I don’t dislike Cady’s writing style and I did enjoy hearing about how meditation has enriched her life. Overall this just didn’t resonate with me, and that’s okay, it’s not a bad book, it just wasn’t for me.

 

My favorite “cosy” reads.

My favorite “cosy” reads.

To begin with, I’m back! I have been away for a while but I am super excited to be back in the book blogging community. Lockdown here in England has given me a chance to reflect and spend more time reading. I love reading, it has always been such a big part of my life, I haven’t had much of a chance to really sit down and enjoy a good book for a while. It’s such a good feeling to be able to make time for myself and immerse myself in a good novel.

Here are my favourite “cosy” reads that I always reach for when I need a hug in book form:

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.  

8127I adore this book series, it has that cosy feel-good vibe that always makes me feel at home. Anne is so free-spirited she reminds me of myself growing up. Green Gables will always have a special place in my heart. Some of these books are also in the public domain and can be picked up in ebook format from many online retailers, I highly recommend Librivox to anyone who enjoys audiobooks, they have a great selection of public domain novels you can listen to. 

 

 

Village School by Miss Read. 

611240. sy475 Although I have only recently had the pleasure of discovering this author and book series, this novel was published in 1955. It has all of that small village vibe I can’t get enough of, I blame Stardew Valley for my love of all things quaint, and if you haven’t played the game yet you should definitely check it out. This novel follows Miss Read’s experiences working as a schoolmistress, you get to watch the village change and grow, with all the adorable mishaps along the way, and not all by the school children!

 

When Calls the Heart by Janette Oke.

389827Has anyone else been watching the Hallmark show When Call’s the Heart? If so this book was the inspiration for it, although I must confess the two are not very alike. However, this novel is still enjoyable and I loved that it gave me a different perspective on the story too. This is similar to the last in that it follows Elizabeth who takes a teaching position on the Candian frontier.

 

 

The Woman of the House by Alice Taylor.

1598508This novel is set in a rural area in Ireland, and the lives of those within it. A lot of this novel focuses on Mossgrove farm, and how far the characters will go to keep that land in the family after it gets put up for sale. I have always been fascinated with farm life, there’s a real sense of hard work and drive to it that I find inspiring, the idea of working the land to be able to grow food for those around you has always appealed to me. Although I am sure there are many hardships farmers faced that made it feel less than ideal to them at times, in particular before modern farming machinery.

Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery. 

3562. sy475 I’m finishing this list off with another of my favourites from L.M. Montgomery. This novel has similarities with Anne of Green Gables, it follows orphan Emily who moves to New Moon to live with her mother’s family. It’s a real heartwarming tale of growing up, grief, love and self-discovery.

 

 

 

I hope you can discover some heartwarming cosy tales from the ones I have suggested here, I am always looking for recommendations and would love to know what your favourite cosy reads are, feel free to drop them in the comments.

Until next time, stay safe and happy reading!

 

 

 

 

 

By Your Side by Kasie West

By Your Side by Kasie West

This novel follows Autumn Collins, who ends up locked within the library for a whole weekend by accident. Only she isn’t alone locked in there with her is Dax Miller, and although she knows little about him she knows he’s trouble. Only Dax isn’t exactly who she thought he was, and she begins to realise they have a better connection than she could have ever imagined. But what happens when they get out, life returns to normal and Autumn is reconnected with her almost-boyfriend Jeff.

Rating: 2/5.

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Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

Rating: 5/5.

When Mila’s best friend Riley dies suddenly, she refuses to believe she took her own life, but dying shortly after two other girls from the academy are found dead it seems everyone thinks it was a suicide pact. So Mila does the only think possible in this situation, she calls on her witchcraft knowledge, a craft herself and Riley used to enjoy, to bring Riley back to life. Things don’t go exactly as planned, but she doesn’t let that get in the way, can she discover their true killer before it’s too late?

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Torn by Cat Clarke

Torn by Cat Clarke

Rating: 3/5.

“She wasn’t supposed to die”

Alice King is part of a cruel prank, meant to teach Tara a lesson, but it goes terribly wrong. Intending to give Tara a fright, as revenge for the way she has treated others, they end up doing something far more sinister. But now Alice must find a way to live with their secret, but can she?

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Valentine’s Day at the Café at the End of the Pier by Helen Rolfe.

Valentine’s Day at the Café at the End of the Pier by Helen Rolfe.

*I purchased this novel for myself.

Rating: 5/5

Jo finds herself helping run her grandparents quaint café, at their request of course, and there she learns more and more about the customers who enter. Customers looking for love, and Jo sets herself up to the task of helping them find it, never having found love herself she wishes for one as true and ideal as the love her grandparents share, could love be closer than she thinks?

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The First Time Lauren Pailing Died by Alyson Rudd

The First Time Lauren Pailing Died by Alyson Rudd

*I received a ebook copy of this novel for free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Lauren Pailing was just thirteen the first time she died, but only she didn’t die, at least not in the traditional sense. Each time she dies she is reborn into a new life, each life has it’s own differences, but one fact remains the same. In each life Peter Stanning goes missing, and in every life she is drawn to finding him.

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This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher

This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher

*I purchased this book for myself.

Rating: 3/5.

“You are cordially invited to tell the truth, or face the consequences…”

This is tale of lies and the devastating consequences they can have, our story takes place one year after a terrible death. A surprise invitation arrives in the mail promising a prize of $50,000, all invitees attend, but somethings wrong and by the time they realise their mistake it’s far too late.

The truth can free you, but it can also be your downfall.

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