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Houseplants for All How to Fill Any Home with Happy Plants by Danae Horst Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Filled with beautiful pictures, this book will inspire any plant lover. Danae Horst provides useful and interesting information on how to work out which plants will be happy in your home. She also gives advice on how to include plants in each room in your house. She includes lots of pictures of the plants with details of  how to take care of them in well set-out lists. For example, she tells you what kind of light the plant likes and how often it needs to be watered.I haven't got a green thumb at all, but I feel like buying indoor plants already after reading this book! I also like the author's blog.I received this free ebook from NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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Botanical Art Techniques A Comprehensive Guide to Watercolor, Graphite, Colored Pencil, Vellum, Pen and Ink, Egg Tempera, Oils, Printmaking, and More by ; Carol Woodin; Robin A. Jess

This is a comprehensive guide to the materials and the basics of botanical art with excellent examples and lovely pictures. It even tells you the right way in which to hold the pencil! It is really the kind of reference book that you need to keep in 'hard copy,' however. I love these books, but it can be difficult to use them in ebook form. It also has sections by different artists, and provides illustrations of how to draw different flowers, and discusses the parts of flowers.I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

Clare of Assisi: Gentle Warrior by Wendy Murray

This is a luminous book befitting Saint Clare, who has long been overshadowed by her friend, Saint Francis. A beautiful girl from a noble family, Clare was destined for an arranged marriage, but she rebelled and decided to follow St Francis, whom she had often secretly met, into a religious life of chastity, obedience and poverty. She defied her family and a few Popes to try to obtain her own Rule. She didn't want to live under the Benedictine Rule which allowed for 'ownership of property and other privileges and protections'. Clare endured great hardships, eventually becoming bedridden. Even this didn't defeat her great spirit, however.The story I liked the best was when Clare stood up to the Saracen army. It is almost unbelievable, but it has been confirmed to be true.dI received this free book from in return for an honest review.

Tiny White Lies by Fiona Palmer

This is a gentle story about family, love and friendship. Unfortunately, I found much of it extremely miserable, and I am not keen on reading sad stories at the moment! It is ultimately heartwarming, though, and the desciptions of the Australian countryside are beautifully done.Nikki and Ashley have been friends for years, and have always shared their troubles. However, they have both been through such hard times that this has become difficult. They also have problems with their children. Can a holiday in the country help?Here, Ashley recalibrates her feelings towards her late husband Owen, who struggled with his mental health and finds herself attracted to Luke. Nikki wonders whether her handsome husband is having an affair. The children are bored, and long for their usual activities...I will read more books by Fiona Palmer. Hopefully, they will be happier!I received this free ebook from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

The Woman in the Green Dress by Tea Cooper Thomas Nelson--FICTION

When Fleur learns that her beloved husband has died in the First World War, she refuses to believe it, and she doesn't want her inheritance. However, she intrepidly sets off for Australia to find out more. The mystery deepens when she gets to Sydney, and there are many unanswered questions. What has Hugh got to do with an old curio shop? Who is the old man at the house in the Hunter Valley? Why did Hugh not tell her more?This leads to another story set in the middle of the 19th century, involving a young Austrian soldier who has come to study botanical specimens. He finds himself in the middle of another mystery about the curio shop and a beautiful opal, and becomes concerned about the mistreatment of the Indigenous people. He is also attracted to lovely Della, who is in the middle of all this.This is an absorbing historical tale with memorable characters and evocative descriptions of Sydney and the Hunter Valley, which made me yearn for our twice-yearly trips. She also captured …

The Virus in the Age of Madness by Bernard-Henri Levy

French philosopher Bernard Henri-Levy writes an impassioned essay on the dangers to society from the virus. He argues that society's attitude to the virus threatens our freedoms, our way of life, our perceptions of one another and even just general civility.  Whether you agree or not probably depends on what kind of person you are, but he certainly presents excellent arguments. These include the rise of medical power, the ill effects of lockdowns and the advance of social distancing and staying at home, all caused by our fear of the virus.He quotes Rabbi Yehuda who wrote that 'the best of doctors go to hell.' This is because they reduce medical power to the body, and health becomes an obssession. An example is that books aren't considered necessities, and even going to church, let alone parks and museums was made impossible so that spiritual sustenance during lockdowns is difficult. Even comfort in death was abandoned, and bodies were wrapped in white plastic as if th…

Persuasion by Jane Austen Narrated by Mike Read

I enjoyed this very much and I want to listen to it again! Mike Read has a soothing voice with a cut-glass English accent, eminently suitable for a book by Jane Austen. I felt that I actually absorbed more of this moving story when I listened to it being read, rather than reading it.The last finished work by Jane Austen, the tale concerns Anne Elliot, a sweet and clever woman, who has lost her 'bloom', and is regarded as being on the shelf at 27.  She refused to marry Frederick Wentworth when she was only 19, because of the persuasion of her good friend and mentor, Lady Russell, and has regretted it ever since. She has a haughty, and silly family to put up with, especially her father, the Baronet. He is being overcome by the machinations of the gold-digger, Mrs Clay.  When the family has to move to Bath, Frederick, now a naval captain with money from his expeditions and prizes, reappears, but he appears to take a great interest in young and flirtatious Louisa Musgrove, one of…

Blooming Flowers A Seasonal History of Plants and People by Kasia Boddy

Daffodils are like 'ruffled birds on their perches'; the carnation hugs its petals to its heart as it dies; and that Queen of Flowers, the rose, if the 'flower of martyrs and miracles'.  This book about the history and legends of flowers is a delight to read. There are also many accounts of how flowers are featured in the classics, and other books and stories. Kasia Boddy's meticulous research and beautiful writing makes it easy reading and it was lovely to read it in the midst of such grim news.

It does focus on English and American flowers but sometimes tropical flowers are mentioned, such as lotus flowers in India and Africa, and almond flowers in Egypt

I received this free ebook from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Finding Dora Maar An Artist, an Address Book, a Life by Brigitte Benkemoun

Dora Maar, photographed by Man Ray.

When Brigitte Benkemoun bought an address book by chance on Ebay, she was amazed to find that it was Picasso's famous mistress Dora Maar's address book.  She decided to study this strange woman through her list of friends and acquantainces to find out more about her. And what friends she had! They included Jean Cocteau, Nicolas de Stael, Max Jacob and other glittering members of the Surrealists and Cubists. Benkemoun's account is written in a rather breathless manner, but it is engaging because she includes her own thoughts and struggles to understand Dora.

Picasso first wanted to know who she was when he saw her at a club, planting a knife into a table from higher and higher distances, with blood all over her hands. A talented young photographer and artist who always wore designer clothes, Dora should have had a brilliant career, but her relationship with Picasso, who treated her dreadfully, made her embittered and anguished, and menta…