Summer reading in Tremarnock

I was lucky enough to win a copy of Tremmanock Summer – thank you Emma Burstall. When I read the first of the series I fell in love with the Cornish coastal town of Tremarnock and it’s residents especially Liz and her daughter Rosie. It was a pleasure to revisit this delightful place. Her descriptions capture the sea air, stunning scenery and atmosphere of living near the sea so even if you can’t go on holiday, it provides a respite from real life.

Tremarnock Summer

Her relaxed style of writing lulls you into the calm and more relaxed pace of life  in Cornwall. The Tremarnock series, including this one, make perfect holiday reading.

Unlike the other books it took me a while to connect to Bramble, the main character,  but until then, the other characters drew me in including old favourites such as Liz, Loveday and Pat and new ones like Fergus and Shannon. Bramble is a young woman from Chessington living a normal life when she inherits Polgery Manor in the village. On coming to live far from home, she gets more than she bargained for. I  assumed I knew where her story would lead but I was wrong because the story thankfully, twisted in another direction.

Emma Burstall has a way of making the story about whole town not just the star of the current book, like a chilled out  soap opera.  I can’t wait for next year’s arrival to see how everyone are doing.

3.75-stars

Have you read this series? What did you think?

Happy reading!

tea book duvet

The Golem and the Djinni review

The Golem and the Djinni by Helene Wecker

Golem and Djiini

Length: 657 pages

I loved this book. It isn’t the kind of book I would generally read – which is why I thought I would write a review. The main attraction was the book’s length – over 600 pages, I’m a quick reader so anything under 350 is usually a no-no. The trouble with this book is I didn’t want it to end!!
As well as being long the Golem and the Djinni ticked a couple more of my boxes – it is based around Middle Eastern and Jewish culture and is set in the late 19th century. If you like magic then it ticks that box too – I personally don’t generally read magical books but I know it’s a popular genre.
I had no idea what a Golem was before reading this book so had to Google before I took the plunge – a golem is a figurine made of clay and then brought to life by a rabbi – it is part of Jewish mythology. In this story, the Golem is created as a wife for a particularly unpleasant man who specifies the characteristics he wants the creature to have. Her story starts in Poland but moves to New York where she is discovered by another rabbi who then takes her under his wing, this rabbi helps the golem to cope with life in New York, helps her find a job and eventually somewhere to live.
Parallel to the golem’s story we have that of the djinni. The djinni hails from Syria and again he travels to New York where his path eventually crosses with that of the golem.
The book goes back and forth from the history of the two protagonists and their new lives in New York. The characters they meet are well drawn and the author skilfully creates an atmospheric read with a lot of twists and turns. As Chava, the golem, and Ahmad, the djinni, try to establish ‘normal’ lives, their own natures cause various difficulties for themselves and those around them. Both characters feel their alien-ness and have to come to terms with being out of their comfort zone in the busyness that is New York – the portrait of that great city is also skilfully woven by Ms Wecker as she creates a great backdrop for Chava and Ahmad. The struggles faced by the two main characters are those faced by many people – the addition of their magical qualities just makes this a fascinating read.
The Golem and the Djinni is a slow burn, a book to be savoured and not hurried, blending historical fiction with magic and fantasy the author has created a book that leaves the reader wanting more. Highly recommended.

Julie

Star Rating: 4 out 5

 

 

The Twists and Turns of Dystonia

September is Dystonia Awareness month so it seems fitting to review  3 books about the condition. This post originally appeared on blog Books, Tea and Snuggly Socks

When I was first diagnosed, as a bookworm, my  instinct was to find a book so I could find out more about this neurological condition. Google is great for many things but I needed words from people with the condition, to understand more and learn how to live with it. To my dismay, there were textbooks with prices beyond my bank balance but no sign of the books I craved, despite the condition being the third most common movement disorder and it affects at least  70, 000 people in the UK.  Roll on a few years I have found these.

A Twisted Fate My Life with Dystonia by Brenda Currey Lewis

A Twisted Fate

I stumbled across A Twisted Fate on Twitter and I am so glad I did. It has become one of my firm favourites in my Kindle library.

Written to spread much needed awareness of dystonia, Brenda Currey Lewis gives an honest, down to earth account of her life with generalised dystonia which began in childhood as well as a clear overview on what dystonia is.  Her story gives an insight into life with the condition and  shows how dystonia affects all parts of life including the lives of those around you. There were so many times I could relate to her experiences and I am glad my dystonia waited until I was older to surface in the 2000s. The writing style allows her strong character to come through and I imagine she would be amazing to talk to over a cup of tea.

I would recommend this easy to read, enlightening book to everyone who wants to find out more about the condition.

Diagnosis Dystonia by Tom Seaman

diagnosis dystonia pic

This was the book I wished I had found as I wobbled out of my neurologist’s room with a diagnosis. Diagnosis Dystonia covers a range of topics a newly diagnosed person needs to know, as well as information for those who have had the condition for a while. It is a book which is obviously written  with care and consideration of what the reader will need. Part memoir, describing his own journey with cervical dystonia and part guide to this condition, it delves into the physical and emotional side as well as different types, treatments, daily living and gaining support from others. Tom Seaman has written a book that gives an insight into the condition and shows ways to live with dystonia. It tells you there will be bad days but there are ways forward, to adapt and live your life. I have a rare form of dystonia (DRD) and there are parts that are not relevant but it doesn’t matter. There is something for everyone in this book. It can be read from cover to cover or dipped into when required. If I had this book when my own wobbly journey began it will look well-read with it opening naturally at certain chapters by now.

For those with the condition, it is a book of hope, determination and gives an insight into the world of dystonia so you can help yourself be your own advocate. For others, it gives you an awareness of the condition with all its ups and downs so you gain an understanding of the condition and support people may need.

Tom Seaman works hard to spread awareness via his blog

Misdiagnosed by Jean Sharon Abbott

misdiagnosed book

I have a rare form of dystonia – dopa responsive dystonia (DRD) which affects approx 1 in 2 million people. I have followed Jean Sharon Abbott on her blog Jean Sharon Abbott as she documents her life with this condition. I was excited to discover she was writing her memoir.

Misdiagnosed follows her life from childhood with the diagnosis of cerebral palsy  to when she was given the correct diagnosis of DRD. Unlike some dystonias, DRD can be treated with a drug commonly given to those with Parkinson’s disease. This small, yellow pill has the ability to transform lives. It can be the difference between  being in a wheelchair to climbing mountains. This positive book shows her strength and determination, the ups and downs of living with dystonia and appreciating the small things in life many people overlook.  It also highlights the need for awareness of dystonia so correct diagnosis can be given.

Jean Sharon Abbott’s has appeared on TV shows, written about in newspapers and magazines worldwide. Since her story has been told, others have been given the correct diagnosis so they are also living a life they never thought they would.

 

Useful links:

The Dystonia Society UK

Dystonia Medical Research Foundation

Michael J Fox Foundation

The Wednesday’s Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton

Member book review by Mae Velazquez

Wednesday Sisters

The Wednesday’s Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton

3.75-stars

Overall, I give it 3.75 out of 5; not quite the 4 simply because I wanted to give up on it for the first few chapters. I am beyond glad I did not.
It begins in the 1960’s, and is set mainly in California. Five women (Frankie, Linda, Brett, Ally and Kath) meet, while taking their kids to the park. It was their love of reading, and wondering why Brett wore white gloves (which was not fashionable according to the book), which brought them together. One thing lead to another, and they began a writing group-initially meeting together on Wednesdays. Through celebrating each others triumphs, helping with hardships, and learning each others’ secrets-they become the best of friends.
I honestly wanted to stop reading up until about the 8th chapter; simply because I just couldn’t get into it. It is written from Frankie’s point of view; with most of it written as a remembrance going forward. However, there would be moments (without warning) where it would flip to more of a reminisce sort of rambling, of looking back (versus going forward). By chapter 10, the hook was sunk and I was caught up with wanting to read it.
I loved how each of the 5 women grow individually, and as friends. I loved how you see glimpses of their secrets, but can’t truly put your finger on it until the writer reveals it. Some of the secrets are more subtile than the other, but each secret gives the character(s) more depth.
I loved how each of the 5 women grow individually, and as friends. I loved how you see glimpses of their secrets, but can’t truly put your finger on it until the writer reveals it. Some of the secrets are more subtle than the other, but each secret gives the character(s) more depth.
Overall, it is well written (with the exclusion of the sudden reminisces), and a very quick read. There is a sequel to this (The Wednesday Daughters) which I do want to find and read.
To find out more visit Author’s site
Have you read this book, what did you think?

Problem with being a Spoonie Bookworm #1 – Brain fog

Before my brain went wobbly I could easily read several novels a week and that was whilst  working. They ranged from page-turning bestsellers  to long complicated epics. As long as it had words in it, I would read it. Fast forward a few years of chronic illness and the accompanying medication, those days are gone. I may have more time on my hands but my consumption  of reading material has reduced significantly.The main reason is brain fog and fatigue.

When either or both descend reading any book which is  complicated, long with many characters or twists and turns is put to one side. I lose the thread of the stories as I fall asleep or wading through the treacle of my brain to  is too much of a battle.

Usually at this point, I fall back to well read favourites where I already know the convoluted plots   or easy to read, quick page-turning Chick lit. After reading several  of these in the bounce I was bored with the girl meets boy scenarios but wasn’t sure what else to read.

I was relieved when a fellow member of  Duvet Dwellers Book Club recommended Samantha Moon: Vampire for Hire series by J.R Rain. Once downloaded using the timely offer 30 days free Kindle Unlimited offer Amazon had sent me, I began to read.

Moon

The book follows Samantha  Moon – private investigator, mum and vampire. I wasn’t sure how it would all fit together but it works well and I was hooked. it is easy reading with a twist to keep you interested with crime chasing, family saga, paranormal and hint of romance. What more do you need? The characters have enough of a backstory to add depth to what could have come across as one-dimensional. Sam is likeable, quirky and no pushover even without her vampiric tendencies. You long to find out how the relationships  around her will develop as the consequences  of being a vampire hit home.

I read the first book Moon Dance in one duvet day. I not only enjoyed it but I felt a sense of achievement and a hint of the old me. I am now reading Vampire Moon  and enjoying even more. I am  wondering where the next  7 will take me.

It vaguely reminds me of the TV series Blood Ties I binge-watched while I was having chemo. The difference being in this, the PI was human fighting crime with the help of a vampire, the opposite to this book. It ahs the same feel and desire to read/watch just a little bit more.

Highly recommended  if you need something to satisfy the bookworm in you without bamboozling your mind on low energy days.

What do you read when you have brain fog?

Originally written for wobblypip.wordpress.com