Tag: books and charms

Books and Charms Unboxing | April

Books and Charms is an Irish based book subscription box. Each month you get two second hand books and two or three other items.

Books and Charms April 2019 Elaine Howlin Book Blog 4

Visit Books and Charms to order your box.

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The Eyes of Darkness by Dean Koontz

The Eyes of Darkness

It’s a year since Tina Evans lost her little boy Danny in a tragic accident, a year since she began the painful process of trying to rebuild her life. Then a shattering message appears on the blackboard in Danny’s old room: NOT DEAD.

Is it someone’s idea of a grim joke? Or the tangible evidence of her tormented unconscious? Or something more?

The search for an answer, the search for Danny, demands a courage and endurance beyond any that Tina thought she possessed. Only her love for her son, her love for the one man who believes her, drives her on, through the neon clamour of Las Vegas nightlife, the sun-scorched desert, and the frozen mountains of the High Sierra. People die, coldly, brutally, as a buried truth struggles to surface. A truth so incredible, so frightening, so dangerous that its secret must be kept at the price of any life – any man, any woman…any child.

The Return by Victoria Hislop

The Return

An atmospheric, vibrant and moving tale of pain and passion at the heart of war-torn Spain, from Victoria Hislop, the million-copy bestselling author of The Island.

Beneath the majestic towers of the Alhambra, Granada’s cobbled streets resonate with music and secrets. Sonia Cameron knows nothing of the city’s shocking past; she is here to dance. But in a quiet café, a chance conversation and an intriguing collection of old photographs draw her into the extraordinary tale of Spain’s devastating civil war.

Seventy years earlier, the café is home to the close-knit Ramírez family. In 1936, an army coup led by Franco shatters the country’s fragile peace, and in the heart of Granada the family witnesses the worst atrocities of conflict. Divided by politics and tragedy, everyone must take a side, fighting a personal battle as Spain rips itself apart.

Unboxing | Books & Charms March Box


This months box is probably my favourite so far. I can’t wait to try out the bath salts and have a relaxing cup of tea with my book after.

ELAINE10 for 10% discount on your order

Books & Charms https://www.booksandcharms.ie/

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Three Little Birds Illustration https://www.threelittlebirds.ie/

Books and Charms March Box

The Heather Blazing by Colm Toibin

The Heather Blazing

The sea is slowly eating into the land and the hill with the old watchtower has completely disappeared. The nearest house has crumbled and fallen into the sea. It is Ireland in the late twentieth century. Eamon Redmond is a judge in the Irish High Court. Obsessed all his life by the letter and spirit of the law, he is just beginning to discover how painfully unconnected he is from other human beings. With effortless fluency, Colm Toibin reconstructs the history of Eamon’s relationships – with his father, his first “girl, ” his wife, and the children who barely know him. He gives us a family as minutely realized as any of John McGahern’s, and he writes about Eamon’s affection for the landscape of his childhood on the east coast of Ireland with such skill that the land itself becomes a character. The result is a novel that ensnares us with its emotional intensity and dazzles with its crystalline prose. In The Heather Blazing, Colm Toibin displays once again the gifts that illuminated The South, a book described by Don DeLillo as “a grand achievement, ” and by John Banville as “a daring imaginative feat…a splendid first novel.”

The Muse by Jessie Burton

The Muse

A picture hides a thousand words . . .

On a hot July day in 1967, Odelle Bastien climbs the stone steps of the Skelton gallery in London, knowing that her life is about to change forever. Having struggled to find her place in the city since she arrived from Trinidad five years ago, she has been offered a job as a typist under the tutelage of the glamorous and enigmatic Marjorie Quick. But though Quick takes Odelle into her confidence, and unlocks a potential she didn’t know she had, she remains a mystery – no more so than when a lost masterpiece with a secret history is delivered to the gallery.

The truth about the painting lies in 1936 and a large house in rural Spain, where Olive Schloss, the daughter of a renowned art dealer, is harbouring ambitions of her own. Into this fragile paradise come artist and revolutionary Isaac Robles and his half-sister Teresa, who immediately insinuate themselves into the Schloss family, with explosive and devastating consequences . . .

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Synopsis and book cover from Goodreads. Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_

Book Haul | February & March 2019

This year I really want to stop buying books and focus on reading the ones I have already (because it’s a lot, people!). Despite this though I did pick up a few books in February and March (I managed not to buy anything in Jan though!).

Two of the books I got came in my Books and Charms box but I did buy three. They were second hand and I had a €5 voucher so it’s not so bad.

First off let’s take a look at the books that came in my Books and Charms box. Books and Charms is an Irish book subscription box service. You can order a one-time box or a subscription and they have some other cool bookish stuff on their site too.

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

The Notebook (The Notebook, #1)

How far can love endure?

Noah Calhoun has just returned from World War Two. Attempting to escape the ghosts of battle, he tries to concentrate on restoring an old plantation home to its former glory. And yet he is haunted by images of the beautiful girl he met there fourteen years before, a girl who captured his heart like no other.

But when these distant memories begin to slide into reality, the passion that had lain still is ignited once more. Though so much is in their way, the miraculous force of their love refuses to fade.

Double Wedding by Patricia Scanlan

Double Wedding

Jessica and Carol, two childhood friends, are both engaged to be married. Secretly afraid her fiance is going to chicken out, Carol is insisting on a double wedding.

Jessica is appalled at the idea: she doesn’t want to share the happiest day of her life with whining Carol and her womanising boyfriend. Unfortunately for her, she has a very soft heart and is easily persuaded to agree.

Carol’s parents are separated and at loggerheads. Neither wants the other to be there. Who will win that war? Nadine, Carol’s younger sister, is wild and disruptive and drinks like a fish – hardly the ideal wedding guest.

Will Carol’s family come to blows? Will her fiance do a runner? Will they make it to the altar? And can Jessica and Carol’s friendship survive a Double Wedding?

Now let’s take a look at the books I bought. I got them in Vibes and Scribes second-hand shop in Cork. They have a second-hand books shop, a new books shop and an amazing arts and crafts shop across the bridge. They’re my favourite retailers in town!

I picked up three books by Irish writers (also all female but this wasn’t a goal) for the Irish Readathon in March. The Dolocher I picked up based on a review by Aoife from Fred Weasley Died Laughing on YouTube.

The Dolocher by Caroline Barry

The Dolocher

Victorian London had Jack the Ripper. Georgian Dublin had the Dolocher…

The Dolocher is stalking the alleyways of Dublin. Half man, half pig, this terrifying creature has unleashed panic on the streets. Can it really be the evil spirit of a murderer who has cheated the hangman’s noose by taking his own life in his prison cell, depriving the mob of their rightful revenge? Or is there some other strange supernatural explanation?

This terror has come at the perfect time for down-at-heel writer Solomon Fish. With his new broadsheet reporting ever more gruesome stories of the mysterious Dolocher, sales are growing daily and fuelling the city’s fear. But when the Dolocher starts killing and Solomon himself is set upon, he realises that there’s more to the story than he could ever have imagined.

With the help of his fearless landlady, ship’s surgeon-turned-apothecary Merriment O’Grady, Solomon goes after the Dolocher. Torn between reason and superstition, they must hold their nerve as everyone around them loses theirs. But are they hunting the Dolocher or is the Dolocher hunting them?

The Husband by Deirdre Purcell

The Husband

When city girl Marian falls for the charms of Dermot, she falls hard. So much so that she finds herself upping sticks and moving with him from Chicago to rural Ireland, the country of his origin, where he plans to take over his father’s GP practice. 
But tragedy strikes unexpectedly and Marian finds herself facing early widowhood, alone and devastated, in a strange land. As she tries to makes sense of it all, throwing herself into community activity in a bid to cope with her grief, she begins to receive menacing anonymous notes that concern her enough to bring them to the attention of local garda Jack Cantwell, who investigates.
Nothing can prepare Marian for the discovery that Dermot, the husband she loved, was not the man she thought she knew. But, as greater questions take shape – such as what she will do with the rest of her life – she must face her demons head on, if she is ever to move on and learn to trust again. 
After all, the Irish village of Glanmillish may be small, but there is plenty going on…

The Little Red Chairs by Edna O’Brien

The Little Red Chairs

The much-anticipated new novel from the literary world’s master of storytelling, Edna O’Brien.

A woman discovers that the foreigner she thinks will redeem her life is a notorious war criminal.

Vlad, a stranger from Eastern Europe masquerading as a healer, settles in a small Irish village where the locals fall under his spell. One woman, Fidelma McBride, becomes so enamored that she begs him for a child. All that world is shattered when Vlad is arrested, and his identity as a war criminal is revealed.

Fidelma, disgraced, flees to England and seeks work among the other migrants displaced by wars and persecution. But it is not until she confronts him-her nemesis-at the tribunal in The Hague, that her physical and emotional journey reaches its breathtaking climax.

THE LITTLE RED CHAIRS is a book about love, and the endless search for it. It is also a book about mankind’s fascination with evil, and how long, how crooked, is the road towards Home.

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Synopsis and book cover from Goodreads. Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_

Books & Charms Unboxing | February 2019

Books & Charms

2 pre-loved books tailored to your favourite genres

A beverage or snack to enjoy alongside your new books

2-3 other bookish gifts to help you unwind and relax with alongside your new books

All our products are sourced from small businesses, predominately based in Ireland.

Cancel your subscription at any time.

USE CODE ELAINE10 FOR DISCOUNT

Books and Charms Unboxing

Books and Charms Box

Books and Charms is a monthly subscription box of second-hand books and bookish items tailored to your desired genres.

I love that they use second-hand books instead of ARC’s and that it’s an Irish company featuring items from other Irish companies. For years I have been pining for an Irish based book subscription box and it’s finally here!

Each box contains :

  • 2 pre-loved books
  • A beverage or snack
  • 2-3 other bookish gifts

Books and Charms Box Elaine Howlin literary Blog

The side of my box was damaged, I’m guessing by the delivery company because the tape on the side had their name on it. Otherwise, the box was in good condition and the contents were perfect.

Books and Charms Box Contents Elaine Howlin Literary Blog

I received two books, tea, a very nice candle, four button badges, a canvas board illustration and a bookmark.

The Books

The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht Elaine Howlin Literary Blog

The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht

Weaving a brilliant latticework of family legend, loss, and love, Téa Obreht, the youngest of The New Yorker’s twenty best American fiction writers under forty, has spun a timeless novel that will establish her as one of the most vibrant, original authors of her generation.

In a Balkan country mending from years of conflict, Natalia, a young doctor, arrives on a mission of mercy at an orphanage by the sea. By the time she and her lifelong friend Zóra begin to inoculate the children there, she feels age-old superstitions and secrets gathering everywhere around her. Secrets her outwardly cheerful hosts have chosen not to tell her. Secrets involving the strange family digging for something in the surrounding vineyards. Secrets hidden in the landscape itself.

But Natalia is also confronting a private, hurtful mystery of her own: the inexplicable circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s recent death. After telling her grandmother that he was on his way to meet Natalia, he instead set off for a ramshackle settlement none of their family had ever heard of and died there alone. A famed physician, her grandfather must have known that he was too ill to travel. Why he left home becomes a riddle Natalia is compelled to unravel.

Grief struck and searching for clues to her grandfather’s final state of mind, she turns to the stories he told her when she was a child. On their weeklytrips to the zoo he would read to her from a worn copy of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, which he carried with him everywhere; later, he told her stories of his own encounters over many years with “the deathless man,” a vagabond who claimed to be immortal and appeared never to age. But the most extraordinary story of all is the one her grandfather never told her, the one Natalia must discover for herself. One winter during the Second World War, his childhood village was snowbound, cut off even from the encroaching German invaders but haunted by another, fierce presence: a tiger who comes ever closer under cover of darkness. “These stories,” Natalia comes to understand, “run like secret rivers through all the other stories” of her grandfather’s life. And it is ultimately within these rich, luminous narratives that she will find the answer she is looking for.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion Elaine Howlin Literary Blog

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

An international sensation, this hilarious, feel-good novel is narrated by an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor on an unusual quest: to find out if he is capable of true love.

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.

Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent—and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don’s Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.

The Rosie Project is a moving and hilarious novel for anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of overwhelming challenges.


Order your box from Books and Charms here.

Synopsis from Goodreads. Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_