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The Storyteller Speaks – Annika Perry

Hello lovelies!

Sorry for the absence but we are in the thick of exam season and I’ve not been very well. My apologies. I do hope you’re all well and enjoying May. Time really is running away with us! It’s lovely to have such light evenings though.

Today I want to share with you a special book. My fellow blogger and friend Annika Perry published her first book, The Storyteller Speaks, and I’ve recently had the joy of reading it. I absolutely had to share it with you.

 

What’s it all about?

The Storyteller Speaks is a collection of short stories and poetry covering a wide range of such as love, loss and new beginnings. If you’re familiar with my reviews you’d know that I would review the whole plot. However, this being a collection of short stories has given me an opportunity to focus on my two favourites, the ones that have stayed with me. It’s also my first ever review of short stories. I hope I do this justice.

My first favourite is actually the first short story of the collection: Biding Her Time. This is such a sweet, innocent story with a fairytale ending. What’s not to like?

This piece of writing centres around Queenie and Thomas who meet as children at school. They’re quite competitive in the classroom; one being good at maths, the other producing an excellent critical essay. Everyone knew and waited to see who would be on top the next day. However, there wasn’t any animosity, quite the opposite in fact. They’re gentle and kind towards one another.

‘The infamous tales of Thomas and Queenie quickly spread across the small fishing island as the academic rivalled for first place in every subject.’

The two are rather smitten with each other, Queenie more so at first. She knew aged seven that she was in love. Thomas seems completely unaware of this. But, there are gestures from Thomas that are sweet and endearing. Every girl wants a boy to behave like a gentleman towards them, so I found this part really rather lovely. They’re childhood sweethearts, but Thomas doesn’t see it yet. On a cold day, Thomas gives her his gloves and walks her home, sharing with her his passion for fishing. She knew she liked him, we all can feel it.

‘She could bide her time.’

What I love about this story is the complete innocence surrounding it. Heartache appears when Thomas does not return to school because of the death of his father. Queenie is devastated and the tone of this story changes to grip our own hearts at his absence.

‘Without warning Queenie stood up. The chair screeched against the floor, and as silently as she arrived that morning she left, heading out into the warm sunshine. A warmth that failed to reach the chill in her heart.’

Life continues as it does for everyone but there is a change in Queenie. A spark from within her has diminished to an ember, only to be reignited on Thomas’s return. She waits patiently for him, watching, listening for him. Finally! At last! He returns and this rather marvellous short story, goes full circle, ending just as we want it to.

‘At that moment Thomas realised that this woman was destined to be his wife. She just didn’t know it yet.’

 

The second short piece which I really enjoyed was A Bouquet of White. I could personally relate to this story, arguably why I remember it and like it so much.

The story focuses on Ollie and begins with every day reminders of his Grandad. The reader doesn’t know quite what he’s done until we see his Grandmother’s (Margaret) reaction.

‘Get them out of here! Now, Ollie!… how dare you bring death into this house?’

Ollie is confused. In his eyes, he’s made a grand gesture to his Grandmother, showed her how much he cares and yet she reacts vehemently. Granted the gift, a bouquet of white lilies, weren’t honestly gained. Nevertheless, he had done it for her. However, to his Grandmother, she had been shocked to the core.

‘Margaret stood still for a long while, her breathing fast and shallow. Knees buckling, she pulled out a chair and sat by the table, by the discarded flowers.’

What is most endearing is the root cause of this reaction: her beloved late husband Dennis. The narrative moves to inform the reader of how Dennis used to bring these very flowers every Friday to her. Even after a stroke, he pushed himself to get his flowers for his wife. Only one time he didn’t make it and return to her.

‘…then glanced down the road. To Dennis, lying on the pavement, a jumper scrunched up under his head for a pillow, placed there by a kind passer by. Resting on his blazer were the lilies, the blasted lilies…’

Sadly albeit beautifully, we see a vivid description of the lilies at his funeral, the fact that they are so full of life when he was not. This flashback brought mixed feelings for Margaret. Led by the voice of Dennis in her head, she knew what she needed to do with her grandson.

‘With the tip of her fingers she lowered down the lid and shuffled indoors. Defeated.’

Whenever we miss someone or do something we regret, we turn to our friends which is exactly what happens with Ollie. By bumping into Allie, it helps him realise what he needs to do. Rather cleverly, the split narrative shows us Ollie and his Grandmother’s inner most thoughts and feelings. Ollie’s sweetness and naivety melted my heart a little. I could just about look past the fact that he’d stolen the flowers.

“He’d only thought the lilies would help fix her a bit. Fill the hole and bring some life into her. He’d messed up big time.”

When Ollie returned to his grandmother’s house, arms full of colourful flowers, they were both eager with their explanations and apologies. Together they devise a plan and the story ends with that plan being fulfilled. Ollie promises to work at the florist to pay back the cost of the flowers he stole and they put all the flowers up on Dennis’s grave. There is a real sense of everything falling into place, of wrong doing being fixed and love shining through. After all, it is only love that lasts. The most important lesson from this is they learn to understand each other.

‘She felt like a character from a black and white movie stepping into the technicolour of life.’

 

Overview

As I say, these are just two of my personal favourites from this collection as they cover two things that we shall all experience in life: love and death. They’re so well written that the voices stay with you. Across the whole book there are characters you feel you could know; they’re just so relatable. The variety of topics means that it appeals to everyone and I learnt about real life events I wasn’t aware of. A helpful touch is included at the back where we are able to read what inspired some of the pieces. It breaks down the wall of reader/writer because you become a part of it.

Annika, massive congratulations on your first book being published. It has a beautiful cover to match the beautifully crafted words inside. I urge you all to support a fellow blogger and read this eclectic array of delights.

Big love all!! Enjoy the Royal Wedding today! Xx

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The Encouraging Thunder Award

 
Good evening everyone! 

Hope you’re all well! I’ve been nominated for the Encouraging Thunder Award by the lovely Laura at Lala’s Book Reviews. Thank you so much for thinking of me! 
I love these kinds of posts because you get to see how and why people got into blogging. Here’s my story! 

The Rules:

Thank the person who nominated you.

Post the Encouraging Thunder logo. It’s here.

Mention your purpose in blogging.

Nominate others for the award.

What is your purpose for blogging?

On May 25th 2015 my little blog was born. How did I get here? By a book of course. I found 60 Postcards by Rachael Chadwick in my local bookshop. For some reason it stood out to me. It may have something to do with my love for postcards and Paris. Nevertheless, I bought it and read it in a couple of hours. It moved me so much. I don’t want to ruin the plot, but I urge you all to read it. What I loved most, is how a blog in that novel brought people from around the world together. I feel the same with my own blog. I’ve met some amazing people from  all over the world. I feel so lucky to be a tiny part of this community. I’m learning something new through this every day. 

So, I knew why I wanted to blog, but wasn’t too sure what to blog about. I’m only really good at one thing: reading. I decided I would write about books I love and hopefully inspire people to reading them too. I was also baking a lot at this time. The school I was working in was about to close down, I had some amazing students and to cope with closure and exams I would make cakes every week for my class. It really helped both them and me. I decided I could easily blog about this too. Hence the name: booksandbakes1. 

I was really getting into this blogging malarkey, so I decided to blog about other things too, in particular, places I’ve visited and photos I’ve taken. I love how my blog has become almost like a memory book, but an online version. 

I couldn’t imagine my life without my little piece of the internet. I find it really therapeutic to blog about books I like and tags that I’m interesting in. But, I need to thank you all for your support. The blogging community has been so friendly and warm towards me. Thank you. It means a lot!


What’s your story? I nominate:

Erika @ Bookventureland

Joey @ Thoughts and Afterthoughts

Parneet @ The Enchanted Book

Analee @ Book Snacks

Liam @ Liam’s Library

Amy @ Curiouser and Curiouser

Nicola @ Literary Ramblings

Simon @ Sfarnell

Nicola @ Book Bunny

Calliope The Book Goddess

Please feel free to ignore of you’ve already done or if you’re too busy. But, if you could take part that would be excellent. I really enjoy learning about other blogs. 

Big love x

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Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

  
Thank you to the wonderful Amy @ Curiouser and Curiouser for tagging me in this award. I can’t believe it. I genuinely appreciate all tags and nominations. Thank you so much. Check out Amy’s blog because it is just brilliant and she is lovely. 

Onto the tag! 

To accept the award, you have to:

1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.

2. Copy the award badge and display it in your award post.

3. Answer the questions the blogger who nominated you asked.

4. Nominate other bloggers and set them some new questions to answer. 


Amy’s Questions:

What was the last film you saw at the cinema? 

The last film I saw was the new Minions film. It was absolutely hilarious. I laughed from start to finish. I don’t care it’s for kids, I think it is harmless fun and it’s always good to laugh. I love those little yellow minions. 

 (Image from Google)  

Do you write notes in your books?
When I was in school studying for my GCSE’s and A levels I used to write all over them. But, since I went to university to this day, I can’t bring myself to write in them. I think it’s because I see them as more of a collection now. My parents have given me some lovely books and I’ve got some signed and first edition books. I couldn’t imagine writing in the now! 

Do you have a favourite comedian?

I think Peter Kay is hilarious. I can watch him over and over and I still laugh, usually before the punch line! He’s a northerner, so I’ve got used to his accent as well, especially since I’ve been living in the north on and off for 7 years. I really enjoyed his last programme Car Share too. “Me biscuits fallen in me brew!” What a guy. 

What song did you last listen to?

I always listen to the radio when I’m driving around and the last song I listened to was Marvin Gaye – Charlie Puth and Meghan Trainor. I actually think it’s really catchy and I quite like it. I’m not one of those ‘without music I wouldn’t survive’ people though.  

What is your favourite closing line in a book or film?

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby

I love The Great Gatsby, it’s one of my favourite novels. I am a massive fan of Fitzgerald, and I love the fact that this quote is on his grave as well. He had a difficult life, like many other American writers during the Great Depression. I also loved the fact that Leonardo Di Caprio in the film version as well. 

  


My questions for my nominees:

  1. Would you rather read a physical book or an ebook?
  2. Name one thing you would like to learn. 
  3. How would you describe your blog?
  4. What is your biggest ambition?
  5. What is your guilty pleasure? (Foods/TV/Film/Place etc?)


My nominations: 

I’m nominating blogs that I think deserve this award and also blogs that I haven’t nominated before. I apologise if you’ve been nominated before. Feel free to ignore if you have. Also, if you’ve not done it and would like to, please feel free! Tag me back so I can read your answers! I can’t wait to see them. 

Kim @ By Hook Or By Book

Freda @ Aromatic Essence

Giselle @ Hardwork Boulevard

Smiling Notes

Thanks again to the lovely Amy for the nomination. Hope you all like my answers!

Big love x

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