Mairead from @SwirlAndThread – Blogger in the Spotlight

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I’m delighted to have Irish blogger Mairead joining me today. Thanks for agreeing to be part of my Blogger in the Spotlight feature Mairead. First of all, would you tell me a little about yourself?

Hi Joanne. Thank you so much for having me here on your fabulous book blog!! I can be famous for a day🙂

Well, my name is Mairead Hearne ~ daughter, sister, wife and mother (in that order!) I have two wonderful young ladies in my life, Katie and Emily, and a puppy that’s driving us all insane. I am married to the very patient Vincent, a Kerryman, my soulmate and my very best friend. I’m an Irish blogger based in Cork, ‘The Real Capital of Ireland’, otherwise known as The Rebel County!! Us Cork people like to think we are amazing🙂

What books/authors did you enjoy as a child?

O that’s easy……Enid Blyton and The Magic Faraway Tree/Famous Five/Secret Seven. Followed by Daddy Long Legs by Jane Webster.

The book that had the biggest impact on me was The Diary of Anne Frank.

What made you want to start blogging?

I set up my blog in March, out of frustration really. I needed a change and I needed to do something for me. My background is in Telecoms/IT/Sales/ Marketing and I felt I had missed the boat with social media etc. It was time for me to make a change and get back ‘out’ there again. I set up the website with the help of my brother Aidan O’ Driscoll  (http://www.netactivesolutions.net/), with very clear instructions from him that he would remain in the background offering suggestions etc. As far as the everyday input to the site goes, It was on me to learn and when ready, develop it a little more. It is a constant work in progress!!

I initially chose both books and sewing as the topics I would cover on the blog, hence the name. But the book reviewing has taken off at a speed beyond my wildest dreams and I’m afraid my sewing machine is getting a little dusty…but I did learn to sew so that was an achievement :) 

I am absolutely loving blogging!!! To be honest I think I may now have a small problem in that I’m a little obsessed with it all.

All I need is a parallel life really, as my family barely see my head popping out from behind the mobile/PC/book🙂

What do you enjoy most about blogging?

OMG…where do I start?

I have met the most amazingly wonderful people whose path I never would have crossed. As Irish writer Evie Gaughan commented, on a post I wrote in the past,…I found my tribe!! I have been honoured with the responsibility given to me as a blogger of reviewing the writings of someone else. To be able to read and have access to such a collection of wonderful books is unreal. The publishing companies and the book groups I have joined have been so incredibly welcoming. It’s quite humbling really to have your opinion so accepted.

Tell me about your blog – sell yourself!

My blog is Swirl and Thread. The name developed from sewing and books.  The swirl of words and the thread of a story intertwining and taking you away to a world full of discovery and imagination. I think of my blog as my homage to books. I love nothing more than getting lost in a great story and to be able to convey my excitement to others when I discover a real beauty.

As a blogger I receive many requests to review books. Unfortunately I am not in a position to read them all so on occasion I will invite the writer to my site with a guest post or I will do a Q & A with them. I love the Q & As and always try to make my questions as unique to each author as possible.

Swirl and Thread is constantly developing. I am learning every day how best to put a post together and there are very gradual changes taking place. I have a few major changes I need to make, firstly my homepage photo. My kitchen tablecloth has become like my trademark now, which I love, but I need to take a photo that looks a little more professional I think (with my tablecloth of course!!)

What’s your favourite book you’ve reviewed in the past year? Or favourite three if you really can’t choose.

The Neapolitan Novels (All 4) by Elena Ferrante ~ first books I reviewed. Looking back I could have written so much more about them

The Joyce Girl by Annabel Abbs – a wonderful book based on Lucia Joyce, the daughter of James Joyce. A tragic story but so beautifully written

The Shogun’s Queen by Lesley Downer – just recently finished and reviewed. Anyone who likes Historical Fiction..please read!!

The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir by Lesley Allen – Just heartbreaking really…..childhood bullying is the subject. This book should be mandatory in all second level schools.

Ok I’ll stop now….but there are just so so many!!!

What are you reading just now? 

What Alice Knew by T.A Cotterell (25 Nov 2016) Just starting it later tonight

Product Details

Tell me about your reading habits:  book or kindle, bed or bath, morning or evening?

Paperback will always win out for me ~ bit old fashioned that way!! I  sooooooo love getting book post. It’s like Christmas when a parcel comes in the letterbox …

I have a Sony eReader for years so I read any ebooks I get on that eg from NetGalley/publishers etc

I’m normally found with a book in my hand everywhere. I never leave the house without one…NEVER!! I grab five minutes between school drops/collections/sports activities…I read a lot in the car.

Night-time on the sofa is where I get most peace. A little jazz playing in the background, candles lit, a glass of red… Heaven!!

How can people follow your blog or connect with you on social media?

www.swirlandthread.com

www.facebook.com/swirlandthread

www.twitter.com/swirlandthread

www.instagram.com/swirlandthread

And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?

Oh it would have to be Dolly Lane in Hazel Gaynor’s The Girl From The Savoy. I love reading historical fiction and am always fascinated by that era. I love the clothes, the music, the sense of possibility and hope that people had after WW1. Dolly gets to fulfill her dream…..something we don’t always get to do in the busy lives we live today!!!

Perfect escapism🙂

The Good Liar by Nicholas Searle #review @searlegoodliar @PenguinUKBooks

The Good Liar by [Searle, Nicholas]

I saw Nicholas Searle at the Edinburgh Book Festival this year and was interested to hear that an incident in his own family gave him this idea for this novel. I knew I was going to be reading the book for my book group this month and was really looking forward to it. For the first part of the novel, though, I couldn’t really engage with the story and probably wouldn’t have finished it if I hadn’t felt I had to. And that would have been a mistake because, although I found it slow to start, I really did enjoy the story by the end.

The main character Roy, is a very unpleasant man who intends to con elderly Betty out of her life savings. They have met through internet dating and it is clear that it is not the first time that Roy has carried out this kind of cruel deception. As well as the story of Roy insinuating himself into Betty’s life, to the concern and disapproval of her family, we start to find out about his previous life. This was very cleverly done with his life story being told in reverse, Roy being a bit younger in each part of the story. It wasn’t until some way through the book that I had one of these lightbulb moments when I suddenly realised what was going on and just how clever the author had been.

It’s unusual for me not to like a main character but still to enjoy a book. I really don’t think that Roy had any redeeming features at all! He thought nothing of conning people, betraying friends and generally doing anything which was to his benefit. Betty did not have a very large part in the story to begin with, other than being someone for me to worry about. I began to suspect though that she wasn’t perhaps the soft touch that Roy thought she was and in the later stages of the book, her story comes much more to the fore.

A very interesting debut novel which, by the end, had me very keen to know what was going to happen to the obnoxious Roy and whether he would get the comeuppance he deserved. A slow starter for me but a book I really enjoyed in the end.

The Good Liar was published in paperback by Penguin in August 2016 and is also available as an e-book. You can order a copy online here: The Good Liar

From the back of the book

This is a life told back to front.

This is a man who has lied all his life.

Roy is a conman living in a leafy English suburb, about to pull off the final coup of his career. He is going to meet and woo a beautiful woman and slip away with her life savings.

But who is the man behind the con and what has he had to do to survive this life of lies?

And why is this beautiful woman so willing to be his next victim?

Christmas at the Cornish Cafe by @PhillipaAshley #review and #recipe @AvonBooksUK

 

Christmas at the Cornish Café: The only Christmas romance to fall in love with this year! (The Cornish Café Series, Book 2) by [Ashley, Phillipa]

Christmas at The Cornish Cafe is the second in the Penwith trilogy which began with Summer at the Cornish Cafe. We return to Kilhallon where we find out how Cal and Demi’s new relationship is progressing. There wasn’t as much cafe as the title suggested in the first book but this is definitely put right in this book as Demi opens Demelza’s at the Kilhallon holiday resort. Cal and Demi are keeping their relationship quite quiet for now as they start to get to know each other better. The arrival of author Kit Bannen for a long term stay creates a few waves as he seems to flirt with everyone and it seems he may have something to hide.

This can be read as a standalone but I do recommend you read the first book so you can get to know the characters’ backgrounds. It has been a few months since I read the first book and I did find the beginning a bit confusing as I had forgotten bits of the storyline. However as I read on, the events of this story became much more important. If you are missing Poldark on tv then this is the book for you. References to the books (and tv series) abound and you will recognise lots of names. And I defy you to read without Aidan Turner in mind as you visualise Cal!

Unusually for a Christmas book, there is no snow. The weather, however, does play an important role in the book. Instead of frosty mornings, the author has written about the swirling fogs, the howling gales and the torrential rain which can affect Cornwall and shows the devastating effects on the community who are at the mercy of the forces of nature. The contrasts between the town during the Harbour Lights festival and a few days later after a raging storm are all too clear. The community pulled together to help those affected so close to Christmas and I think this is probably a very realistic portrayal of how people do come together when times are difficult. 

Throughout this book we get a better insight into what Cal has gone through when he was an aid worker in Syria and how this has affected him and his ability to make relationships. Demi’s past also continues to affect her present. She often has little confidence in herself and her desirability and is forced to confront her complicated relationship with her father when she unexpectedly meets him again. Phillipa Ashley writes convincingly about how the past and trying to keep things buried deep within affects her characters. 

The various plotlines came together at the end in a very satisfying and realistic way. As Demi says “Christmas is never perfect. Only a fool would expect it to be……. But Christmas at the Cornish cafe….. is as close to perfect as I ever dreamed.” There are still a few issues to be resolved for Cal and Demi and no doubt new adventures to be had at Kilhallon and I am looking forward to reading more about them when we return to the Cornish Cafe for the final part of the trilogy.

Phillipa has kindly shared a recipe for a very tasty sounding pumpkin pie, perhaps something Demi would serve up at Demelza’s?

Special pumpkin pie with Cornish clotted cream

From my daughter

Feeds 12–16

Ingredients

425g can of Libby’s pumpkin puree

400g can of evaporated milk

170g granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon mixed spice (you can substitute with chai latte powder!)

Pecan halves

Pastry (make your own or use a sheet of readymade shortcrust)

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 220C. Prepare the shortcrust to fit in a 10-inch loose-base pie dish, or very deep 8- or 9-inch pie dish. Leave plenty of excess pastry round the edges as it will shrink. Blind bake it for a few minutes to stop it going soggy. When the middle starts to rise, take it out – don’t let the edges brown.
  2. While you do this, mix the dry ingredients and eggs in a large bowl (easy to do by hand). Stir in the pumpkin puree and then gradually stir in the evaporated milk. Pour this mixture into your pie shell.
  3. Bake the pie in the oven at 220C for 15 mins. Then reduce the temperature to 180C. You can wrap foil around the top of it if the pastry is catching. Bake for 40 mins and add pecan halves round the edge to decorate. If a knife inserted near the centre comes out clean, it’s ready to serve, otherwise give it 10 more mins. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours or refrigerate (it will keep for 4 days in a plastic box in the fridge). Top with Cornish clotted cream to serve!

Yum – sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing that recipe Phillipa.

Thanks to the publishers for my copy via Netgalley. Christmas at the Cornish Cafe was published as an e-book by Avon (Maze) on 13th October. You can order a copy here: Christmas at the Cornish Cafe.

From the back of the book

The festive, feel-good follow-up to Summer at the Cornish Cafe.

Christmas will be slightly less turbulent than summer, won’t it? Demi certainly hopes so.

She and Cal are keeping their fledgling relationship under wraps for now. But then Kit Bannen, a hunky, blond – and somewhat mysterious – writer arrives at Kilhallon Resort, and not everyone is charmed. Cal is sure that Kit is hiding something. But is he the only one guarding a secret?

Demi is busy baking festive treats for the newly opened Demelza’s cafe, but when Cal’s ex Isla arrives to shoot scenes for her new drama, Demi can’t help but worry that things aren’t quite over between them. Kit flirts with both women, fuelling Cal’s suspicions that Kit has hidden motives for staying on at Kilhallon. Then Cal has to go to London, leaving Demi and Kit to decorate the cafe for Christmas . . . all by themselves.

A storm is brewing in more ways than one. As surprises unfold and truths are uncovered, can Demi and Cal finally open up to each other about their feelings?

This second novel in the bestselling Cornish Cafe series is the perfect book to curl up with this Christmas.

The Exiled – Kati Hiekkapelto #guestpost @HiekkapeltoKati @orendabooks

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Continuing Orenda Books’ Finnish invasion, Kati Hiekkapetto is joining me today to talk about her research in Serbia.  In her latest book, The Exiled, protagonist Anna, also the lead character in The Hummingbird, travels to Serbia where her father came from. She investigates a murder and gets caught up in the refugee crisis. 

Uncovering Serbia

When I wrote my first novel, The Hummingbird, I didn’t have a series in my mind. It felt big and hard enough to write one book to the end. However, the moment that I started writing a scene where Anna briefly describes her past to her new colleagues, I knew that I want write more about it. Even I want to know what really happened to Anna´s father. It was the moment when the idea of series begin to develop and the moment when the seeds that were to become The Exiled were fertilized.

To reveal the truth of Anna´s father I had to make Anna to travel to Serbia, to her childhood home. I lived in Kanizsa, Anna´s hometown, between 2005 and 2006, and since then I have visited regularly. When I was researching The Exiled, I made three trips there. I wanted to absorb the unique atmosphere of the town and region around it, find locations for the story, talk to the people and do some background research.

Anna´s hometown in Finland is an imaginary northern Finnish coastal town, very much like my birth town Oulu, but yet not same. When I wrote The Hummingbird and The Defenceless I drew a map of the town and imagined what it looked like. This time writing was different. I set my story in a real place.

I had three specific aims in Serbia. I wanted to interview local police about their work in murder cases (and compare their procedural with that of the Finnish police), I wanted to learn more about Romany situation and I wanted to find someone who could inform me about prisons and life-sentence convicts in Serbia.

The easiest part were Romanies. When I lived in Serbia, my daughter’s best friend was a Romany girl and through their friendship I got to know her mother and other family and community members. I very rarely use real people when I build my characters, but this time, in The Exiled, Judit is partly based on the mother of my daughter’s friend. Like Judit, she is also a local Romany activist, doing amazing stuff for the community.

I found the prison guard via a friend who is a film director and therefore knows lots of people from every possible branch. Actually, this man was much more than an average guard, but because he told me confidential stuff about prisons in Serbia and lifetime convicts, he wanted to stay unidentified and anonymous. There is a scene in The Exiled where Anna goes into the Subotica prison to talk with a prisoner. Everything he tells her about conditions in Serbian prisons is sadly true.

The police proved to be the most difficult. A neighbour of my friend is a police officer and he promised kindly, twice, to speak with me. Twice we made a date and twice he did not appear. I even went with my friend to ring his doorbell. When we saw some movement behind the curtains, but the door never opened, I knew he would not talk to me. He was scared.

After these attempts I went to the police station in  Kanizsa, told who I am and what I wanted. All I got was five huge men in uniforms staring me like I was an alien from outer space. No way they would have said anything to me.

 Finally, one evening I accidentally met a friend of a friend on the street. He was a lawyer and bells started to ring in my head: a lawyer must have some kind of relationship with police.  He promised to help. Next day I had an appointment with the chief of police and he was very helpful, giving me all the information I needed. If you know someone who knows someone who knows someone in Serbia, you will get what ever you want, good or bad.

 After all that, I think that one I day I may even write another story with Anna in her childhood home. Who knows, maybe she even moves back there…

The Exiled, published by Orenda Books, is available in both paperback and as an e-book and you can order a copy online here: The Exiled

Murder. Corruption. Dark secrets. A titanic wave of refugees. Can Anna solve a terrifying case that’s become personal?

Anna Fekete returns to the Balkan village of her birth for a relaxing summer holiday. But when her purse is stolen and the thief is found dead on the banks of the river, Anna is pulled into a murder case. Her investigation leads straight to her own family, to closely guarded secrets concealing a horrendous travesty of justice that threatens them all. As layer after layer of corruption, deceit and guilt are revealed, Anna is caught up in the refugee crisis spreading like wildfire across Europe. How long will it take before everything explodes?

Chilling, taut and relevant, The Exiled is an electrifying, unputdownable thriller from one of Finland s most celebrated crime writers.

Rebecca Bradley – Author in the Spotlight @rebeccajbradley

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Today I welcome Rebecca Bradley as my Author in the Spotlight. Her second book to feature DI Hannah Robbins, Made to be Broken, was published in June and you can order a copy here. Thanks for joining me Rebecca. First of all, would you tell me a little about yourself?

Hi Joanne, thanks so much for having me on your blog today. I’m a retired police detective. I had sixteen years’ service in before I had to medically retire, but I have then been lucky enough to be able to write “full time” which means I have had the joy of fulfilling two childhood dreams.

What inspired you to start writing?

I have been one of those people who always wanted to write a novel. For several years I would start a first chapter time and again but would get no further than that. It would always be a crime opener, but life always got in the way and it would get lost in the notebook or the computer, never to be seen again. That was until a significant birthday approached and I decided that if I was going to do it then this was the time, so I put my bum in the seat and I wrote the entire novel.

Tell me about your journey to publication

It was a long-winded one and I don’t want to bore you too much, though I know how much aspiring writers and readers are interested in the paths writers take, so I will try to condense it.

I was lucky enough to have encouragement from an agent who read some early chapters before I’d finished my debut, Shallow Waters. This spurred me on. Once finished, I was signed by a different agent. Though I wasn’t signed by a publisher, feedback was mostly good. My agent and I went our separate ways and I decided to self-publish Shallow Waters because I believed in it so much. I believed in the characters and in the story and I’d had validation from two agents and from a couple of publishers, even though they hadn’t taken me on. So, I went on to have it professionally edited and proofread, had a cover designed for it and put it out into the world. It did so much better than I could ever have imagined. I was thrilled. Having readers read and enjoy your work is what being a writer is all about.

In a nutshell, what is your latest book about?

Made To Be Broken (Detective Hannah Robbins Crime Series Book 2) by [Bradley, Rebecca]

Made to be Broken is about product contamination. Poison. Deaths in random people with no connections. But there’s more to it than that. The book has a heart. It’s about relationships and connections. And the police are fighting to save lives against a killer with a point to prove.

How did you come up with the title for your book?

Argh. I hate titling books. It’s the hardest part of writing. That and the back blurb for the book. For the current book, Made to be Broken, I had to throw lots of suggestions down on the page, that had something to do with themes and actions within the story and see what worked, sometimes mixing words from the ones I had already created to see if I could come up with any more. It really is a messy process.

How did you celebrate publication day?

I held a Facebook party for my readers and it ran for over 4 hours. I gave away lots of prizes and had great fun doing it.

Do you have a work in progress just now?

I have two. I’m about to send a novella to my editor. It’s a prequel to the series I currently have out. So, it’s written, and now needs editing. I’ve also started writing the first draft of a standalone. I’m really excited by this one. Once I’ve written this, I then need to get on to writing the first draft of DI Hannah Robbins 3, as I know readers will be waiting for more of her.

What’s your favourite book you’ve read in the past few months? Or favourite three if you really can’t choose!

Ooh, that is really really tough. Does anyone give you a straight answer to this question? It’s going to have to be three, I’m afraid.

I’ve just started listening to non-fiction books on audiobooks and I loved The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes, the writer behind shows such as Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. It is so motivational as well as honest and funny. And it’s read by Shonda herself, so you get the real meaning in her voice when she’s reading it. I’d highly recommend it.

Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton. I think I’d read her shopping list. She is amazing.

A Tapping at my Door by David Jackson. The ending on that will take your breath away and you can’t tell anyone else about it or you’ll ruin the book. But, it’s stunning. I love David Jackson’s work. I’d pick up anything he writes without reading the back.

What are you reading just now? 

I’m reading Karin Slaughter’s new one The Kept Woman. (September 2016) She is my all-time favourite author, as her character work is solid.

Tell me about your reading habits:  book or kindle, bed or bath, morning or evening?

I mix up my reading between kindle, paper book and now audiobooks. I also read at any point during the day, but do read in bed in the evenings. I’m trying to cut down on my TV watching and replace it with reading with the hope it’ll rub off and help my own writing.

How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?

You can follow me on Twitter at @RebeccaJBradley or Facebook at Facebook.com/RebeccaBradleyCrime I also have a blog that I’m pretty active on rebeccabradleycrime.com

And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?

Oh, that’s an interesting one. I think I’d be Shonda Rhimes! (You didn’t say fiction!) Is that cheating? She is a work demon, she never stops, she loves writing so much, her character work is amazing and she’s having a ball doing what she loves.

                 Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by [Rhimes, Shonda]

#Author Q&A – Paul McConnell @paulhmcconnell

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I found out through a local Facebook group that fellow Portobello resident Paul McConnell has recently self-published a children’s book, The Flying Pig. It’s available for Kindle and is currently only 99p. You can order a copy here. I got in touch and asked if he’d like to tell my blog readers about the book. So without further ado, here is Paul to tell you about himself and The Flying Pig.

First of all, would you tell me a little about yourself?

I was born and brought up in London. About ten years ago I moved here to Portobello, almost by accident. I write in my spare time, in between work and raising my two sons.

What inspired you to start writing?

I was a voracious reader right from childhood, so for as long as I can remember I have been interested in writing as a form of expression. My creative instinct is quite strong but I am pretty hopeless at drawing and I’ve never fulfilled my dream of having a shed full of excellent machine tools, so writing has become my primary outlet. It’s a great feeling when the words just fall out of you, almost without your control. But it doesn’t happen that way very often!

Tell me about your journey to publication

I imagine a lot of aspiring writers have a similar story. You start off with a notebook which you fill with ideas and half-formed stories, then you get another one, and another… and after a few years you have lots of notebooks and lots of pieces of this and that, but nothing finished. Your confidence and motivation ebbs and flows, but eventually you get an idea which grabs you and won’t let go until it’s been made real. You eventually write a book, then realise you need to learn a whole new skill-set if you want to get the thing published – and the whole process might take years! The DIY e-book avenue is a great opportunity to get your work out there while you explore the more traditional routes to publication, so that’s what I’ve chosen to do.

In a nutshell, what is your book about?

The Flying Pig by [McConnell, Paul]

It’s a sci-fi adventure aimed at 9-12 year olds. Silas and James discover a broken-down jetpack – The Flying Pig – and are soon battling monsters, flying to the Moon, and travelling far back in time. And that’s before things start to get really exciting!

How did you come up with the title for your book?

There was never any doubt. As soon as the collection of stories condensed into a proto-book I knew it was going to be called The Flying Pig.

How did you celebrate publication day?

I think I’ll leave the celebrations until I have a physical book in my hands. But it was pretty satisfying to send it out into the world.

Do you have a work in progress just now?

There are a couple of unfinished projects in those notebooks, one of which is demanding urgent attention. Writing for kids is fun but there are certain places you can’t or don’t want to go; whatever I write next will be aimed at adults, I think.

What’s your favourite book you’ve read in the past few months? Or favourite three if you really can’t choose!

Elect Mr Robinson for a Better World by Donald Antrim is a black comedy set in an apocalyptic Florida town. Very funny but somewhat challenging in parts. Probably not for everyone, but I thought it was excellent.

I re-read The Big Short by Michael Lewis recently. It’s an account of the few people who saw the 2008 financial crisis coming. Lewis is a great writer and the story is so outlandish you can’t really believe it could be true – but it is.

Barbarian Days A Surfing Life by William Finnegan is a fascinating surfing and travel memoir. The author spent years chasing waves across the world and along the way forged a career as a journalist and writer. A must for anyone who has ever felt that urge to explore the more remote corners of the planet.

How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?

I post infrequently on twitter @paulhmcconnell but I do check it often and always reply to messages. I’m on facebook too.

And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?

He’s the author rather than a character, but William Finnegan, in Barbarian Days. He has surfed waves I will surely never have the skill or bravery to experience!

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by [Finnegan, William]

Good reads from Scotland

I was pleased to have the chance to blether about Scottish books and writers on Bookertalk blog.

BookerTalk

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We’re back in the land of the Celts for the choice of our next country in The View From Here series on literature from around the world. Our featured country is Scotland where our guide is Joanne who blogs at PortobelloBookBlog.

Let’s meet Joanne

portobello-readingHi, I’m Joanne and I live in Portobello, Edinburgh right by the sea. A lot of people probably don’t realise that Edinburgh has a seaside as it is probably better known for tourist attractions such as Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace and the Royal Yacht Brittania. I’ve always lived in Edinburgh though was born and brought up in Leith, now famous thanks to The Proclaimers’ Sunshine on Leith or infamous thanks to Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting. I’ve lived in Portobello for 18 years now and it is very much home. So a natural choice when I came to pick a blog name was Portobello Book Blog. I mainly…

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