Goodreads Reviews, Nature, Non-fic

The Secret Life of the Owl by John Lewis-Stempel

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The Secret Life of the Owl by John Lewis-Stempel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I dedicate this review to my dear Mum.

The wisest owl of all.

1935-2003

This could be one of the hardest reviews I’m ever likely to write, and the reason is nothing to do with this perfect little book.

When I was growing up, I was surrounded by all things owlish. Pictures on the wall, ornaments here and there, owl clocks, owl crockery. You name it, we had the owlish version!

My Mum was an owl fanatic! And, suffice to say, it rubbed off on me big time.

For my birthday, one of my other favourite humans ever, my partner, bought me this little gem, and I was delighted. Little did I know, but this beautifully written book conjured up a whole host of feelings that I did not expect.

At just 96 pages long, John Lewis-Stempel has produced something that I shall treasure forever. It doesn’t just contain lots of facts and figures about this truly wonderful bird, he also includes the historical side of all things owl, the myths and legends of days gone by, and, the best bit of all? Poetry. Owl Poetry.

Near the beginning the author included the poem by Edward Lear, The Owl and the Pussycat. This poem helped me learn to read! This poem was read again and again at bedtime. With my Mum.

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Eventually, I’d learnt how to read it perfectly, write it perfectly and recite it faultlessly. And unbeknownst to me, it was in this book. I started to read it, and couldn’t see the words for my tears.

Once I’d gathered up my senses and tissues, I read on, discovering the weird and wonderfully fascinating secret lives of a creature that has been with me all my life.

This book is stunning. I’d give it fifty million stars if I could. And I know that one of those stars, the brightest one, is my dear Mum. 💗

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Goodreads Reviews

Within the Heart of Silence by James William Peercy

Within the Heart of SilenceWithin the Heart of Silence by James William Peercy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Yesterday morning I was up at silly o’clock! It was going to be a glorious day, and if you live in the UK, you know full well that we have to grab these moments, because our weather can be pretty rubbish!

So, my partner and I were going on a forest trek, and this ebook of poetry by James William Peercy was the perfect introduction to my day.

The author was kind enough to send me a free copy, via Booktasters to read and review. The timing to receive this couldn’t of been better! So, at 5am, coffee in hand and the sun peeping through my window, I started to read what proved to be a truly beautiful book of poems.

Each poem was accompanied by a stunning photograph taken by the very talented Jacqueline E Smith, which enhanced the visuals when immersed into James’ world.

I will say that this kind of book would be better as a physical copy. The photos could be bigger and the page set ups would look fantastic with the poems set out as one per page. An ebook just doesn’t give this the justice it truly deserves, as one or two poems needed the last few verses or lines continuing onto the next page. This has a bit of an effect on reading flow. But this certainly didn’t ruin it, some books are just better printed on paper. Especially if there are photos or pictures.

So the poetry. It was a pleasure to read! The author has a real passion for nature, as does the photographer. The spiritual element shines through, and it leaves you with real food for thought.

My favourites were:

Dinosaur Valley State Park, Glen Rose, in Texas USA.

Here’s what caught my attention;

‘The irises of color: green, blue, and brown.
Flow through the scattered rocks of life,
No limits are the bound.’

So beautiful.

And also:

Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley, California.

‘Touch the trees, we dare you.
Feel the flowing tide.
Reach down deep for who you are,
You will know inside’.

The photo accompanying this one was breath-taking. I am a lover of trees, woodlands and forests, so it really caught my eye.

And finally:

Big Top Candy Shop, Austin, Texas.

Not nature based as such, but an ode to the memories of an old guitar! It was truly brilliant!

‘The mileage may have added up
But the strings, they’re going strong.
If I look a little worn for wear
It’s just my journey home’.

This brought a real smile to my (early morning) face!

Not only was there inspiration from America, but a fair bit from Scotland too. This just made it even better for me, as I love Scotland and all things Scottish, as my partner is from that neck of the woods!

Overall, the author took me, as a reader, on a spiritual journey, through the woodlands and the delicate streams of nature’s wonders. And the guitar poem was the icing on the cake!

I’d recommend this to all poetry and nature lovers, who appreciate stunning photography, and the serenity and peace of what our world can give us through the medium of poetry.

I’d like to thank the author, James William Peercy, the photographer, Jacqueline E Smith, and Booktasters for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.

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