I’d Rather Be Reading – A Poem by Me

The alarm goes off, it’s time for work
You’re really not a one to shirk…
Do you really need to earn those wages?
When all you want is a few more pages….

The bus to work is the perfect time
For quiet reading, just sublime!
That is of course if you can concentrate
Whilst foghorn Frank yells to his mate

Lunctime rolls around, you deserve a break
And all you want for goodness sake
Is to read a few pages, what’s wrong with that?
But your annoying colleague fancies a chat….

A nice sit down and a cup of tea
Now’s your chance, rub your hands with glee
A short story or two, that’s your goal
But what’s happening on Twitter?..perhaps a quick scroll?…

Sinking into bubbles, a lovely hot bath
With who will you share it? Maybe Attword or Plath?
No such luck, who’s this coming in?
It’s a child with a question.  You give up, pass the gin!

Snuggle under the duvet, settle down and chill out
You’ll finish this book, of that you’ve no doubt
But your eyelids are heavy, the words make no sense
You’ll try again tomorrow, let battle commence!

Another Rebecca By Tracey Scott-Townsend – A Review

Publisher: Wild Pressed Books

I have to admit that this book took me a little by surprise. The cover looks like you could be in for a nice gentle read. Well lemme tell you that the cover is deceiving. And boy am I glad it was!

This book is centred around Bex, her teenage daughter Rebecca and Rebecca’s father Jack.

Bex is a very complex woman and is firmly in the grip of alcohol addiction. She has suffered terribly in her past and has never got over an incident which she (and those closest to her) know as The Great Grief. Bex considers her life to have stopped years ago and she is merely existing not living.

Rebecca is her long suffering daughter. The one who picks her up off the floor, reminds her to eat and drink, changes her sheets when she has an accident when she’s drunk and generally worries herself silly over her.

A lot of Bex’s back story is told through the eyes of Jack who recounts their meeting and their tough relationship. Bex to him was his world but unfortunately the same couldn’t be said of him for Bex.

When Rebecca suffers an illness and has a fit in hospital (this happens right at the start of the story) she has a vision of a horse and a boy coming to take her away into oblivion. She feels strangely drawn to the boy and holds onto this vision in her lucid life when she is fully recovered.

This vision is intrinsically linked to her mother in ways that Rebecca is soon to discover, but life for both Bex and Rebecca is not easy.

Writing wise this story starts on an almost dreamlike whimsical tone. With the recounting of Rebecca’s dream. After this you are quite literally dropped slap bang into stark reality and the dreamlike lyrical writing stops. I enjoyed this transition a lot.

If I’m honest I enjoyed Bex’s narrative the most. Understanding her back story, the events that had shaped her and caused her unending struggle with alcohol and just living.

Interestingly I felt for her as I read her story but then when the chapters changed to Rebecca’s story my sympathies switched to her. Such a young girl having to deal with an alcoholic mother, financial struggles and feeling trapped.

If you enjoy a great family drama told from more than one perspective then this book is right up your street. With themes of grief, loss, addiction and family ties, this story is hard hitting and doesn’t get tied up in a pretty parcel of a conclusion. My favourite kind of ending.

Check out the rest of the reviews on the tour.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Wild Pressed Books for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour.

If you fancy winning yourself a copy of this book, click on the link below and try your luck! There are 7 copies up for grabs (5 print and 2 kindle) so get clicking! What have you got to lose?…..

Another
Rebecca – Blog Tour – Giveaway

See you soon.

Bookish Chat xxx

The Paper Lovers By Gerard Woodward – A Review

Publisher: Picador

I’d had this book on my shelf for a few weeks. It had been a surprise birthday present from my husband and by ‘surprise’ I mean I jotted down an extensive list of books I wanted and he chose a few, of which this was one.

This was my very first ‘buddy read’ with the smashingly lovely Dave over at Wilde Reads (if you’re not subscribed to his channel or following him on the socials then you really need to have a word with yourself). We had very similar thoughts (thank god! I didn’t want to have to resort to fisticuffs!).

So what’s it all about Mand? Stop your waffling woman!

Well….The Paper Lovers tells the story of Arnold, his wife Polly, their handmade bespoke paper business and publishing press. When Arnold comes home one evening to find his wife and daughter setting up a sewing machine with the assistance of the enigmatic Vera, Polly’s friend, he becomes entranced by her and begins to engineer ways to bump into her. With their daughters being close friends this is made easier with school drop offs and pick ups.

They start talking and growing closer and inevitably ‘one thing leads to another’ as they say.

Their affair, at least for Vera is based around sex. For Arnold it runs a little deeper and he’s keen to learn more about Vera and her life. One area that he’s not so keen on is her spiritual and religious life.

A churchgoer and staunch believer, Vera seems to Arnold to be a bit of an anomaly, going against the bible and indulging in an extra marital affair. As Arnold and Vera struggle with their morals and grasp of right and wrong their relationship takes a twist.

Right from the outset I just gelled with this book. Particular the writing style. Some of the imagery is wonderful. When teabags in a mug were said to be ‘puffed up with air, like the anoraks of drowned train spotters’ I knew I was in for a good reading experience.

Even though you know from the start that there’s an affair between Arnold and Vera, the build up to them crossing over the line is filled with anticipation. When the moment finally came I was a little taken by surprise and I loved that. I didn’t find it predictable at all.

I found the sex scenes themselves were not at all gratuitous, and I revelled in the fact that it was ‘real’ sex. The clashing of Vera’s glasses against Arnold’s eyebrow, fumbly, clumsy and just totally believable and relatable.

This was also the case with the depiction of Vera as a character. She is described as a not typically beautiful woman. A ‘normal’ woman who Arnold finds his own beauty in. I loved this. In stories depicting affairs it can quite often go down the predictable route of a younger, more beautiful, more sexy woman and the fact that Vera was a mother, wife, and not described as some bombshell, it made the affair entirely believable.

The last quarter or so of the book is told from the perspective of Arnold’s wife Polly. When I realised this I was at first a little disappointed. I was invested in Arnold and his voice and wanted to stay in his head. However, I soon realised that picking up the story from Polly’s point of view added a certain element of mystery to the story. I can’t elaborate more than that without giving away a plot point but having the story concluded by Polly and not hearing from Arnold again meant I was left with unanswered questions. But I enjoy this! I like to be left pondering…..

The reading of this book was effortless as I was that absorbed. I felt fully invested in the characters and the whole down to earth nature of the story telling. When I first heard there was a religious element I must admit I was a little apprehensive as theology and religion are not my bag. However, there are very little ‘heavy’ religious overtones, which I was thankful of!

All in all I found this a very enjoyable read and a fantastic first buddy read.

I gave it a solid 4 stars on Goodreads and now after a week or so of reflection after finishing it, I think this is a fair rating.

Get your hands on it (oh and look out for Dave’s thoughts on his channel soon).

See you soon.

Bookish Chat xx