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Peggy Farooqi is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

30 January 2015

Feature and Follow is hosted by 2 bloggers: Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. It s very straightforward, and here they explain it all: 

The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it’ll allow us to show off more new blogs!

How does this work?

The goal is to increase blog followers and make friends. First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools — keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them “hi” in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you! What sets this Hop apart from others, is our Feature. Each week we will showcase a Featured Blogger, from all different genres and areas. Who is our Feature today? Find out below. Just remember it is required, if you participate, to follow our Features and you must follow the hosts (Parajunkee & Alison Can Read) as a courtesy. How do you follow someone? Well, if you have a preference, state it in your #FF post. A lot of blogs are transitioning to WordPress in which they do not have the luxury of GFC, so an RSS subscription is appreciated or if you choose an email subscription. If you don’t have GFC please state in your post how you would like to be followed. All features are chosen randomly to be the feature. They are not chosen by content or name.

 And this week’s question:
Hard print (real thing) or Kindle/Nook, which is your favourite?
I am guessing that a lot of people are going to answer this in a similar way to me: both really, wouldn't want to be without either.
See, I resisted the Ebook revolution for a long time. Kept thinking 'Well, I've got a lot of paperbacks in my TBR pile, I want to read those first... why do I need an E-reader etc etc. Than I couldn't resist and bought my first Kindle Paperwhite a year ago (yes, only a year ago!) and at Christmas bought myself a Kindle Fire. Oh, I love it, and couldn't live without it any more. Now I've got a TBR e-pile and a TBR paperback pile. It's so easy to click and download books, and all the free books ah ... But I think I would always love to go into a book shop and look at the books and buy books. It's a tradition for me to go into a book shop, and than sit in the coffee shop at the back and fondly look at my purchases and possibly even start reading. I could never be without that, despite my love for my Kindle. 

28 January 2015

From Guardian Books:

Helen Macdonald wins Costa 2014 Book award with H is for Hawk.

I haven't read the book but have heard of it. One of the issues the book deals with is grief, bereavement and how to overcome this. I do deal a lot with bereaved families in my line of work. Reading about it is kind two sides of a coin for me. Sometimes I find it very interesting and it helps me to really understand the issues around grief better. On the other hand, it kind of feels 'oh, I hear enough of this at work, don't want to be bothered at home about this as well'. 

In any event, I shall give this book a try.

Following info is From Guardian Books:

A book which explores grief, love and nature – as well as just how you train a goshawk you’ve bought for £800 – won its author Helen Macdonald a second leading literary prize.
H is for Hawk was named the £30,000 winner of the 2014 Costa book prize, adding to the Samuel Johnson prize for non-fiction that it won in November.
The writer Robert Harris, who chaired this year’s judges, said it was a book that haunted several members of the panel and was one they would never forget.
“Everybody agreed it was wonderful, muscular, precise, scalpel-like prose. It was a very clever and accomplished piece of writing that wove everything together.
“There are some books that win prizes because they demand it and then the public don’t quite get it. This is a book I think which everyone will like.”
Macdonald’s book has been hailed a triumph by almost every critic who has written about it.
It tells of how the Cambridge historian, illustrator and naturalist was so overcome by grief after the death of her father that she went almost mad and decided to train the most untameable of raptors, the goshawk.
Weaved into the book is a biography of TH White, who also tried to train a goshawk more than 60 years before her.
Harris said it was at the back of judges’ minds that it had already won a big literary prize but “it’s very hard to say: ‘OK, this has had its place in the sun’”.
The Costa is different to other prizes in that it pits individual category winners against each other. So the best novel goes up against the best biography, best poetry, best debut and best children’s book.
It took judges 90 minutes to decide the overall winner with support for all five of them. By the end it was a decisive if not unanimous vote, although Harris declined to go into details.
“Having been in literary prizes myself and been told I’ve come second – believe me, it’s no comfort.”
26 January 2015

Spring 2015 choices for the Richard and Judy Book Club are out. Mine are ordered and can't wait to pick them up from the book shop. As always, there is something for everyone. I have heard a lot about The Miniaturist, and Elizabeth is Missing is receiving very good reviews as well. The Book of You sounds exactly like my cup of tea as well. 

1. The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed ...On an autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman knocks at the door of a grand house in the wealthiest quarter of Amsterdam. She has come from the country to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt, but instead she is met by his sharp-tongued sister, Marin. Only later does Johannes appear and present her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. It is to be furnished by an elusive miniaturist, whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in unexpected ways ...Nella is at first mystified by the closed world of the Brandt household, but as she uncovers its secrets she realizes the escalating dangers that await them all. Does the miniaturist hold their fate in her hands? And will she be the key to their salvation or the architect of their downfall? Beautiful, intoxicating and filled with heart-pounding suspense, The Miniaturist is a magnificent story of love and obsession, betrayal and retribution, appearance and truth.

2. The Book of You by Claire Kendal

A terrifying psychological thriller about obsession and power, perfect for fans of Gone Girl and Before I Go to Sleep. Clarissa is becoming more and more frightened of her colleague, Rafe. He won't leave her alone, and he refuses to take no for an answer. He is always there. Being selected for jury service is a relief. The courtroom is a safe haven, a place where Rafe can't be. But as a violent tale of kidnap and abuse unfolds, Clarissa begins to see parallels between her own situation and that of the young woman on the witness stand. Realizing that she bears the burden of proof, Clarissa unravels the twisted, macabre fairytale that Rafe has spun around them - and discovers that the ending he envisions is more terrifying than she could have imagined.

3. Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

Meet Maud. Maud is forgetful. She makes a cup of tea and doesn't remember to drink it. She goes to the shops and forgets why she went. Sometimes her home is unrecognizable - or her daughter Helen seems a total stranger. But there's one thing Maud is sure of: her friend Elizabeth is missing. The note in her pocket tells her so. And no matter who tells her to stop going on about it, to leave it alone, to shut up, Maud will get to the bottom of it. Because somewhere in Maud's damaged mind lies the answer to an unsolved seventy-year-old mystery. One everyone has forgotten about. Everyone, except Maud...
4. The Murder Bag by Tony Parsons

This is the gripping first novel in an explosive new crime series by Tony Parsons, bestselling author of Man and Boy. If you like crime-novels by Ian Rankin and Peter James, you will love this. Twenty years ago seven rich, privileged students became friends at their exclusive private school, Potter's Field. Now they have started dying in the most violent way imaginable. Detective Max Wolfe has recently arrived in the Homicide division of London's West End Central, 27 Savile Row. Soon he is following the bloody trail from the backstreets and bright lights of the city, to the darkest corners of the internet and all the way to the corridors of power. As the bodies pile up, Max finds the killer's reach getting closer to everything - and everyone - he loves. Soon he is fighting not only for justice, but for his own life...

5. The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPartlin

Here is a truth that can't be escaped: for Mia 'Rabbit' Hayes, life is coming to an end ...Rabbit Hayes loves her life, ordinary as it is, and the extraordinary people in it. She loves her spirited daughter, Juliet; her colourful, unruly family; the only man in her big heart, Johnny Faye. But it turns out the world has other plans for Rabbit, and she's OK with that. Because she has plans for the world too, and only a handful of days left to make them happen. Here is a truth that won't be forgotten: this is a story about laughing through life's surprises and finding the joy in every moment.

6. Miss Carter's War by Sheila Hancock

It is 1948 and Britain is struggling to recover from the Second World War. Half French, half English, Marguerite Carter, young and beautiful, has lost her parents and survived a terrifying war, working for the SOE behind enemy lines. Leaving her partisan lover she returns to England to be one of the first women to receive a degree from the University of Cambridge. Now she pins back her unruly auburn curls, draws a pencil seam up her legs, ties the laces on her sensible black shoes, belts her grey gabardine mac and sets out towards her future as an English teacher in a girls' grammar school. For Miss Carter has a mission - to fight social injustice, to prevent war and to educate her girls.

7. A Colder War by Charles Cumming

MI6's Head of Station in Turkey is killed in a mysterious plane crash. Amelia Levene, chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, wants the incident investigated - quickly and quietly. The only man she can trust is Thomas Kell, a disgraced spy searching for redemption. Arriving in Istanbul, Kell discovers that MI6 operations in the region have been fatally compromised: a traitor inside Western Intelligence threatens not just the Special Relationship, but the security of the entire Middle East. Kell's search for the mole takes him from London, to Greece, and into Eastern Europe. But when Kell is betrayed by those closest to him, the stakes become personal. He will do anything to see this operation through - including putting himself, and others, in the line of fire...
8. Mrs Hemingway by Naomi Wood

In the dazzling summer of 1926, Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley travel from their home in Paris to a villa in the south of France. They swim, play bridge and drink gin. But wherever they go they are accompanied by the glamorous and irrepressible Fife. Fife is Hadley's best friend. She is also Ernest's lover. Hadley is the first Mrs. Hemingway, but neither she nor Fife will be the last. Over the ensuing decades, Ernest's literary career will blaze a trail, but his marriages will be ignited by passion and deceit. Four extraordinary women will learn what it means to love the most famous writer of his generation, and each will be forced to ask herself how far she will go to remain his wife...Luminous and intoxicating, Mrs. Hemingway portrays real lives with rare intimacy and plumbs the depths of the human heart

Are you going to get any of the book club books? Did you read one of them yet? Tell me what you think of them.

Peggy x 
25 January 2015

The Sunday Post

Sunday Post hosted by Kimba @ The Caffeinated Book Reviewer

~this meme was inspired in part by ~ In My Mailbox~
It’s a chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog. This is your news post, so personalize it! Include as much as you want or as little. Be creative, it can be a vlog or just a showcase of your goodies. Link up once a week or once a month, you decide. Book haul can include library books, yard sale finds, arcs and bought books..share them! 
Anyone can participate as long as you:

  • Enter your link on the post- Sundays beginning at 12:01 am
    (CST) (link will be open all week)
  • Link back to this post or this blog 
  • Visit others who have linked up

What have I been up to?

It really has been a while since my last Sunday Post, but hoping to catch up with everyone this week. Not much blogging done sadly, but there are quite a few things going on as always. 

We are decorating at home. Getting our dining / living room and hallway all done new. No, I've got no talent for such things and neither has hubby, so we have to get people in to do it for us. All old furniture thrown out (believe me, it was time to do this!), wallpaper off and carpets out. Can't wait - but the house is a mess and the 5 of us are camping in our two bedrooms !

Also... I'm doing my first literary translation. It is for a short story I reviewed a while ago called Red. The author is a lovely guy whom I still have contact with on FB. Let's see where it takes me. I'm doing this one for the reference only. I would love to do translation as a main job, but it just doesn't pay enough and unless you are well established, is really difficult to get into. My mother tongue is German, and I sometimes translated books 'just for myself'. I read books translated from English into German and thought:  that's really bad, I could do a better job than that. A good translation should not read like a translation! 

The worst example I ever read in a translation was in a well-known book about a boy-wizard (yes, that famous serious which shall remain unnamed). The word 'custard pie' was translated as 'Senfkuchen'. Now SENF is mustard! So it was translated as 'mustard pie'. I was scratching my head ... what, a mustard pie? Now of course in the wizardy world anything is possible, eating slugs and all this. But it later occurred to me that someone most likely confused custard with mustard! 

On the blog 

My latest reviews

What am I reading at the moment:

What passing Bells by Julian Moss

This is a review book I received a while ago (I am so behind with reviews!). I initially shy-ed away from this book as it is 800 pages. It just seems to be a big time investment. However, I'm glad I started it and I'm now on page 368. Not my usual read either - it is around World War I, but beautifully written, telling the story of a young Welshman and his love, both caught up in it. The story is intersected with the story of a young Adolf Hitler. 

Books I bought in the last few weeks: 

Amazon had a 99p day for Nicci French books so I bought them all :) 

And 2 Leigh Russell books. Absolutely love her books. I used to converse with her when she was just writing her first book. What a talent!

Happy reading everyone

Peggy x  

24 January 2015

Lieb Vaterland mags ruhig sein
Johannes Mario Simmel
Droemersche Verlag
Publication Date
history, novel


Translated from German by Peggy Farooqi

This epic novel tells the story of a man with a somewhat shady past who gets sucked into the dark worlds of the secret services both from East and West Germany shortly after the erection of the German wall in 1964. We get to see the colourful sides of Berlin, and on both sides of the wall and get to know the people who plan, finance and build the escape tunnels from East to West. 

My review:  

This book has only been published in German and as far as I am know, not been translated into English. As it is a rather big book, I have not attempted the translation myself (I sometimes do this for my own purposes only, as, of course, I don't have the permission from the publisher to distribute a translation). So all my English only readers will not get the chance to read this book, but I would still like to publish a review on it to log all the books I read. And, I believe there are some other Simmel books which have been translated and it is well worth picking them up! Most are long and epic works, but very detailed. 

Here, the story starts with a rather large lady being stuck in a hole. Except... this is the entrance hole to a tunnel. A tunnel which has been dug illegally and under threat of being shot dead which leads from East to West Berlin and allows people to flee into the West. Bruno Knolle, in his 40's, has just come out of jail in East Berlin and also comes through the same tunnel, escaping into the West. But not all is like it seems with Bruno. His 'escape' into the West is orchestrated and he has orders what to do. But Bruno is just a simple man dreaming from having his own pub and being with his girl, Nellie. But he gets sucked into the dark world of secret services on both sides. 

We meet many different characters, and even the most minor characters (who may be just mentioned once for a couple of pages) are beautifully drawn and we feel that we know all about them. Often, characters in his books interconnect later on and we 'meet' them again. Simmel also always has a message in his books - mainly that we are all humans living on this earth. Here specifically I find he shows the idiocy and ridiculousness of the devision of Berlin. Of course it was dead serious, but having the benefit of hindsight now it just sound so silly how the secret services worked against each other - often even with double agents who swap sides several times. I also find it simply incredible that this book was published in 1965 and while we know that history has long moved on, the writing is flawless and current. 

Simmel's books are not a small feast, but you will find yourself lost in it quickly and before you know it, you have read over 700 pages. 

About the author:  
From Wikipedia

  1. Johannes Mario Simmel, also known as J. M. Simmel, was an Austrian writer. He was born in Vienna and grew up in Austria and England. He was trained as a chemical engineer and worked in research from 1943 to the end of World War II. Wikipedia
  2. BornApril 7, 1924, Vienna, Austria
  3. DiedJanuary 1, 2009, Lucerne, Switzerland