A Week in Books · Audio book · Books · Literary Lowdown · Lucy Coleman · Sarah-Jane Statford · Shelf Control · Sue Haasler

Sarah’s Vignettes Literary Lowdown ~ 3 November 2019

Welcome to this week’s round-up of what’s been going on here at Sarah’s Vignettes, on social media, the books I’ve been adding to my shelves and other bookish delights. Keep scrolling to get the lowdown.

~ On the blog ~

Shelf Control, Bookshelf Fantasies

On Wednesday, I took part in a meme run by fellow book blogger Lisa over at Bookshelf Fantasies called Shelf Control. The idea is to choose a book on your bookshelf that you haven’t read yet and talk about when you got it and why you want to read it.

For this post, I chose Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford

Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford

~ On social media ~

For #ThrowbackThursday, I chose Half a World Away by Sue Haasler. When I started reading it, I sat down to only read a few pages and 50 pages in, I looked up at the clock. It’s a good read!


On Friday night, I joined Julie Morris for a drink and chat over on her blog A Little Book Problem. We talked about books, blogging, travel, hangover cures and lots more. It was great fun!

~ On my bookshelf ~

I added 1 book to my audio bookshelf this week. I haven’t listened to an audiobook in a while but this one really caught my eye. It’ll be a good one to listen to on the commute.

Last Christmas, curated and introduced by Greg Wise and Emma Thompson (released 31 October 2019)

Last Christmas, curated and introduced by Greg Wise & Emma Thompson

The perfect gift book, featuring the writing of Meryl Streep, Bill Bailey, Emilia Clarke, Olivia Colman, Caitlin Moran, Richard Ayoade, Emily Watson and others, to coincide with the upcoming movie Last Christmas, starring Emma Thompson, Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding. 

When you think back to Christmases past, what (if anything) made it magical? Looking towards the future, what would your perfect Christmas be? What would you change? What should we all change? 

This is a beautiful, funny and soulful collection of personal essays about the meaning of Christmas, written by a unique plethora of voices from the boulevards of Hollywood to the soup kitchens of Covent Garden. 

Away from the John Lewis advert, the high street decorations and the candied orange in Heston Blumenthal’s Christmas pudding, this gem of a book introduced and curated by Emma Thompson and Greg Wise celebrates the importance of kindness and generosity, acceptance and tolerance – and shows us that these values are not just for Christmas. 

25p of the proceeds received by Quercus from each audiobook sold will be donated to Crisis and The Refugee Council.

Crisis is a registered charity in the UK with charity nos. W1082947 (England/Wales) and SC040094 (Scotland). Refugee Council is a registered charity in the UK with charity no. 1014576.

©2019 Greg Wise and Emma Thompson (P)2019 Quercus Editions Limited

~ On my bedside table ~

Magic Under the Mistletoe

I’m currently reading Magic Under the Mistletoe by Lucy Coleman for the blog tour. It’s really getting me into the Christmas spirit and I can’t wait to share my review with you here on 20th November.


What have you been reading and buying this week? Let me know by leaving a reply in the box below.

Until next week, happy reading!

Advanced Review Copy · Blog Tours · Books · Recommended Reads · Reviews · Sue Haasler

Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway: Half A World Away by Sue Haasler (@pauseliveaction) @DomePress

Welcome to my stop on the tour for Half A World Away by Sue Haasler. I have my review to share with you as well as a chance for you to win a paperback copy of the book.

Thank you to Emily Glenister at The Dome Press for asking me to be part in the tour and for sending me a proof copy of this book to read and review.

~ Publisher’s description ~

Being different can be dangerous…

East Berlin, 1987. Charming and talented Alex dreams of becoming a professional saxophonist while working long hours in the family bakery. Detlef, lonely, repressed, and a small-time Stasi informer, develops an obsessive love for him. But Alex has eyes only for Nicky, an English woman visiting East Berlin as an au pair.

With no natural outlet for his feelings, Detlef’s passion becomes destructive, his need for approval enmeshed with the latent homophobia of the regime. As Alex takes up with more successful musicians, he moves closer to influences considered subversive by a state that has eyes and ears everywhere, and Detlef’s passions threaten to endanger them all.

~ My Thoughts ~

Half A World Away is a love story set in East Berlin in 1987, two years before the Berlin Wall came down. Alex works in his family’s bakery by day and plays saxophone by night. When he meets Nicky, a young English au pair, the two begin a relationship and will do whatever it takes to be together. However,  when Detlef, a loner and Stasi informant, upon seeing Alex for the first time, falls in love with him. Under a regime where homosexuality is not allowed, a destructive love triangle ensues.

When I first picked up Half A World Away, I only set out to read a few pages. 50 pages later, I looked up at the clock – I didn’t want to put it down! The writing is comfortable and flows really well. The chapters are short too, which I really liked, and feel lends itself well to the gripping and captivating nature of the story.

Continue reading “Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway: Half A World Away by Sue Haasler (@pauseliveaction) @DomePress”