Forthcoming Publications

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Review of

Verdura: Living a Garden Life by Perla Sofia Curbelo-Santiago

3.5star.jpg Lifestyle

The most important part of a garden is the one who enjoys it.

I've 'gardened' in a vague, indefinite sort of way for more than half a century. I know (most of) the basics but life has changed and I needed 'projects' rather than a general commitment to gardening. Verdura with its promise of projects for both indoors and outdoors of varying complexity seemed like the answer. So, how did it stack up? Full Review



Review of

InstaKnits for Baby by Melissa Leapman

4star.jpg Crafts

Melissa Leapman's InstaKnits for Baby gives us a collection of knits from toys to blankets. Some will be quick knits - others are of the 'long, cosy afternoons in front of the fire' variety. The projects are divided by the time they'll take to complete - less than five hours, five to ten hours, ten to twenty hours and more than twenty hours. All the projects are attractive, modern and useable. I perhaps show my age when I wonder about 'social-media-worthy projects' but that's me being picky. Full Review



Review of

A Sign of Her Own by Sarah Marsh

3.5star.jpg General Fiction

After a bout of scarlet fever as a child, Ellen Lark loses her hearing. Suddenly plunged into a world of silence, everything about her life changes. Living in a time when the use of sign language was seen as something only savages do, Ellen is sent to a school where she is taught to lip read, but physically restrained from signing. From here, she ends up in another school studying under Alexander Graham Bell who has been teaching the deaf and using a system called Visible Speech. At the same time, Bell is working on other inventions and ideas, and Ellen finds herself unwittingly caught up in a complicated tangle of espionage. Full Review


Review of

The Glorious Race of Magical Beasts by Alex Bell and Tim McDonagh

4star.jpg Confident Readers

Eli is a busy lad – by day an apprentice in the wondrous library we start by visiting with him, and in the evening a helper at the dessert cafe his gran owns and runs. Eli lives with his lovely gran, too – for there is a generation missing in the family. A few short years ago, Eli's parents were both lost to the titular race, a globe-trotting adventure where all entrants have to navigate the world in the company of a magical beast. This has made the race anathema to the pair – but when a bad incident at the eatery leads to a confession from gran, Eli knows his only hope is to dare to enter what he most hates, with the sole aim the prize of magic at the end – the only thing to possibly save his gran. Full Review



Review of

The Lavender Companion by Jessica Dunham and Terry Barlin Vesci

4.5star.jpg Lifestyle

It's strange, the things that make you immediately feel that this is the book for you. Before I started reading The Lavender Companion, I visited the author's website and there's a picture of a slice of chocolate cake on the homepage. I don't eat cakes and desserts - but I wanted that cake viscerally. (There's a recipe in the book, which I'm avoiding with some difficulty!!) Then I started reading the book and I was told to make a mess of it. Notes in the margins are sanctioned. You get to fold down the corners of pages. You suspect that smears of butter would not be a problem. I loved this book already. Full Review

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