Books

A French Affair – Katie Fforde

Sisters, Gina and Sally inherit a stall from their Aunt Rainey in The French House, an antiques centre in the village in the country. There is nothing remotely odd about this but their aunt leaves them with some conditions to their inheritance.

Included in all this intrigue from beyond the grave, is Matthew the rather grumpy, yet attractive owner who had a great bond with their aunt and finds their presence rather overwhelming. Sally arrives with many creative ideas and can see a very different sort of potential in all these antiques which might not necessarily fit in with Matthew’s antique view. Gina is in PR and knows how to push herself and the product she is selling forward, she can see The French House has a lot to offer the community and becomes deeply involved in it. But is she also unwittingly selling herself as well and becoming deeply involved with Matthew.

Gina is not sure if romance was part of the inheritance that her aunt left her. She finds herself battling not just bringing the antiques centre or in particular Matthew into the modern world way of involving everyone in antiques but dealing with her growing feelings. Can she manage it all and ensure that her future is in safe hands?

This is the latest novel from the wonderful writer Katie Fforde and this transports you away to another world, an antique one. I could imagine this centre with all the wonderful stalls in it, the characters of those with the antiques they sell, mentioned in reference to the main characters in this book, but actually follow up books could quite easily be made of some of them I am sure. I sensed a place that would be cold and damp, with people stood hugging cups of tea with fingerless gloves, trying to keep warm, waiting to see what the next customer would bring or want. Imagine a combination of those antique programmes that litter afternoon and evening television but where you actually get to know more about the people. All this is very much apparent in the novel and I was fascinated by it all and the joy of Forde novels is the way something so seemingly ordinary is weaved into the magic of the story, whether it be cafes, canal boats, markets, shops or in this case antiques.

For all fans of women’s fiction, Katie Fforde is an author whose books you need to know and it does not matter which you discover first!

A French Affair is published in Hardback and Ebook by Century on 28th February 2013.

Thank you to the publisher for sending me this review copy.

If you have been following my blog for a while, you will know that I only discovered Katie Fforde’s work last year and I am simply enjoying catching up on all she has written. With many more on my shelf please excuse me whilst I pick up another one! They are a great way to spend a weekend and cheer me up when life gets a bit too much!

Books

Diplomatic Baggage – Brigid Keenan

This book is generally pitched as being a travel memoir. Of which I would agree that it is, but it also covers family life and coping with it – many women find themselves in this position when they follow their husbands through their work. In this case the author Brigid Keenan, is following her diplomatic husband around the world from posting to posting. We see how she copes with very different cultures, bringing up two children in differing places and being the diplomat’s wife. All when communication with ‘back home’ is difficult and you are left in a house on a Monday morning, with staff that speak no English and don’t understand your fascination with wanting the electric to work. 

My mind did wander a bit whilst reading about a lot of the political situations she encountered abroad especially in the Middle East , I was not expecting so much of it in this book. I did think it would be a bit more about the domestic side of life as a diplomat’s wife. That said I did laugh out loud at points, more to do with the way the author has written her exploits down than anything else.

The author is a journalist and this comes across throughout the book. She refers to her struggle to be recognised as such and when she is at events as they are unfolding, none of her work gets published back home. I found this a bit strange, but put it down to in the main being a fashion editor as opposed to a hard nosed news journalist. Someone obviously felt that she could not possibly have anything interesting to say. Actually she does and the reminiscences of many of the places are dotted with wit and humour and if for a moment I envied her and felt she was moaning just too much, the constant upheaval every couple of years to start again would have me running for the hills and I am glad I was reading about it and not actually doing it.

A book, that for me you can pick up and put down as you want to read it. Enjoyable but not a must read.

Books

Thursdays in the Park

An innocent meeting whilst taking her granddaughter the park leads to a life changing experience for Jeanie.

Jeanie is in fact not happy; she has her health, lovely honest friends, a beautiful granddaughter and her health food shop. But something is missing, and that something is actually still there. Her husband George has decided that as her 60th birthday approaches Jeanie ‘the old girl’ needs to move from the city to the country, give up her work, playing tennis, socialising and retire.

Jeanie does not want to do any of these things. She says so on more than one occasion but no one seems to be listening. Not her daughter who is trying to hold together her own personal life and certainly not her husband. But the stranger in the park does listen, even when she admits the most intimate of secrets; her and husband have not had sex for 10 years. Not through her choice but a decision made by her husband – with no discussion. Jeanie wants discussion she wants to understand. George cannot do either of these things.

A lot happens to Jeannie and there is never any discussion. But with the stranger in the park on a Thursday, Ray, there with his grandson and issues of his own something starts to happen and Jeanie sees what she may well have been missing for the last years. Meeting Ray has brought to the surface all the unspoken problems. And there is that something that Jeanie does not have with her husband; discussion. 

Events take over and Jeanie still with no discussion is effectively bullied and manipulated by George up to the point where you think that this is not a story which will have a happy ending. Only by carrying on will you find out whether Jeanie and George can discuss themselves out of the corner they have both backed themselves into.

This is the first book I have read by Hilary Boyd and was pleasantly surprised by it. The characters drew me in so quickly, I wanted to scream at George who kept calling Jeanie ‘old girl’ all the time the patronising insert your own descriptive expletive at this junction. His inability to not listen was so frustrating. Her daughter Chanty, was rather self-centred and absorbed in her own life and her relationship with Alex as toxic as her parents but she was never going to see it. Only does a drastic incident with her daughter make Chanty see that perhaps you have to look much deeper about someone. Alex and Jeanie brought the rather predictable dislike of son in law/mother in law interaction and could have gone many ways I would never have predicted the events that took place, handled effectively by the author.

A rather good absorbing read which I devoured pretty much in one sitting. Initially being very skeptical because I bought it for 20p and thought that it was a reflection of the book and the writing – certainly not. If you want to move away from the flighty, vacuous women that inhabit some women’s fiction books then this is a book which will restore faith. Ultimately a romance with a few suspenseful twists along the way.

Having recently read Sue Townsend’s The Woman Who went to Bed for a Year, which dealt with a similar scenario of a husband completely oblivious to his wife both physically and emotionally – this book was much better. Much better. The rest of the plots are not in any way comparable. I can see why this book has become a hit and actually I wish I had read it as part of my book club – I think it would make for some really interesting discussion points. 

Books

The White Queen – Philippa Gregory

It has been ages since I have read any historical fiction, despite having plenty on my shelf. Including this book reviewed below. I chose it for my book club, mainly because we have not had any such historical fiction and also because it is about to be broadcast in the spring of 2013 on BBC television.

My knowledge of the Wars of the Roses, Richard III and The Princes in the Tower is very little. I know it was York and Lancaster, the White and the Red rose, the king with a humpback and the murderer of his two nephews, who I only recall depicted in the Madame Tussaud’s tableau I once saw. The Tudors and Shakespeare have a lot to answer to I think in creating a history. This book was going to satisfy my knowledge and my love of history and learning.

Madame Tussaud’s Tableau

Elizabeth is a young widow, with two sons to look after. The death of her husband has left her back at the family home with no money and with a need to breakaway again and be sufficient for herself. Desperate she goes to the man who may be the only man to help her; Edward.

This powerful, handsome young man can help her financially but something else happens and all of a sudden they are romantically involved. This is a love match. But it brings with it much more. It brings with it a unity of warring families and of great power. It also brings great danger.

Elizabeth has met Edward IV and she becomes the Queen of England. With her two sons from her first marriage and her growing family with Edward, she becomes a powerful woman. The old adage “behind every great man stands a greater woman” could be applied here. With her marriage, brings their family from the red side (House of Lancaster) to the white side (House of York) but it means Elizabeth needs to be on her guard all the time, as those around her our battling and plotting and only the strongest can survive.

Not only does she have her own family to worry about, being very close to her brothers, especially when have all lost their father. She now has Edward’s family to concern herself with – can she trust George? Whose his mother’s favourite and rather a turn coat as he switched allegiances rather too freely as he freely took drink. Or maybe they can all rely on the young Richard, who seems so pious, quiet and dedicated to the cause of his elder brother Edward?

Perhaps Elizabeth can rely on only one thing, her ‘sight’, that which she has inherited from her ancestor’s through her mother’s side. Elizabeth and her mother, are living in dangerous times and whilst the supernatural sub plot of this novel is not as important, it makes you question something that none of us have evidence to prove or disprove. Have they really had any affect on the events which are played out in this novel.

It does take a good 60-70 pages to get into the novel. There are a lot of characters, names and titles, and it does take some time to get it straight as to who is for and against who and where they fit in the bigger picture of history. I referred to the family tree quite a lot to start off with, so I could get a sense of where I was in a timeline, and the relevance to future events. Having read it, I can now place the importance of this woman, Elizabeth who by her own daughter moves forward to a more familiar period of history to me – The Tudors. It suddenly all fell into place like a jigsaw.

The story also opened up a lot more questions as well for me, and I am much intrigued now by this historical period than I was when I picked up the novel. Recognising of course that I am reading and much enjoying historical fiction, it was a love story at its heart and a woman’s determination to protect her children whatever the cost. I think Elizabeth lost focus on that many a time and it was the shock of events that perhaps made her realise what she was doing and what it was costing her. Trusting those who were most recently enemies, seems such a foolish thing to do reading this book in the twenty-first century.

Gregory has a knack for me of taking you back into the period, the settings and the places brought the whole era out from the page. The darkness of the sanctuary in an abbey to the beauty and colourful pageant of a place at court. The sheer violence of battle to the mysterious myth that is Melusina. A really interesting read and one which I will be following up, I want to know more about these woman in a time where being a woman was so very different to being a man.

And in my review I have not even touched on The Princes in the Tower! Elizabeth was their mother, and in the book Gregory uses some background research for a different result than what we are generally led to have been believed Richard III killed both of them. I would like to think that perhaps Gregory’s interpretation of events, which I know are for fictitious purposes is perhaps the better one and it certainly puts the infamous Richard III into a very different frame from the one he has always been portrayed in.

I thinking every moment of your life if you were involved with anything to do with the Royal court would have resulted in you worrying constantly whether you were ever going to survive, say the right thing, be seen doing the right thing and whether an action in the past might be affecting the future of your own family.

As for the mythical possibility of witchcraft that Elizabeth, her mother, and her daughters seem to have all come from a male perspective – I wonder if actually there was just something so determined and resolute that men were concerned that their positions were no longer as strong as the thought, if these powerful but seemingly oblivious women were pulling all the strings from behind!

So many questions and I look forward to my book group’s discussion on it and especially to the BBC TV series because I know having the read the book it will be a much richer experience.

Books

A Sea Change – Veronica Henry

Craig is escaping his job, the city and his life as goes to stay at Everdene for a week one hot August.

Jenna is trying to escape Everdene and the surrounding places, but with no money, suddenly no job and possibly homeless she has to choose one way of escape.

Jenna and Craig’s paths cross, more than once but perhaps it is one too many for Craig as he suddenly sees something in Jenna that has been bothering him for a long time and perhaps he may need to escape his job for longer than a week in the summer.

For Jenna, she can only see the bad, in herself, not in the handsome man who seems to be about to change her world.

A short story that has a message to convey amongst, the people and the beautiful setting Veronica Henry has created, that everyone is beautiful no matter what their faults and reasons behind their actions. A great introduction to Veronica Henry’s work which if you have never read before, then you must. She brings the longed for summers out from the page and into your life so easily.

This was a Quick Reads (see below) book for 2013 – the reason I bought it and read it was because I like the authors work. And it was a lovely little story to read, when the rain had turned into sleet, it was cold and all I wanted to do was feel the sun on my face! A blanket, a cup of tea and this book has had to fill the gap!

What are Quick Reads? (Taken from the website)

12 million adults in the UK find reading difficult and may never pick up a book. People’s reasons for not reading are varied but are often based in fear. Some people say they find books scary and intimidating, thinking they are ‘not for them’ or that books are difficult or boring.

Quick Reads sets out to challenge these beliefs and to show that books and reading can be for everyone. Each year we commission big name authors to write short books that are specifically designed to be easy to read. They are the same as mainstream books in every respect but are simply shorter and easier to tackle for adults who are less confident in their reading skills. The books are then sold through major retailers, online booksellers and are loaned from libraries.

Reading is second nature to me and I cannot imagine ever not doing it. Do pass this recommendation on to anyone you know that does not read and perhaps feels some of what is mentioned above. You can let them into the big secret, that reading is for everyone no matter what you read, you will be transported away to somewhere else for however long you want to be, through short stories or epic tales.

Books

Quick Reads

quickreads_banner

I have been kindly asked to tell you all about Quick Reads

Some information – 1 in 6 adults of working age in the UK finds reading difficult and may never pick up a book.  People’s reasons for not reading are varied but are often based in fear. Some people say they find books scary and intimidating, thinking they are ‘not for them’ or that books are difficult or boring.

Quick Reads says – Quick Reads sets out to challenge these beliefs and to show that books and reading can be for everyone. Each year we commission big name authors to write short books that are specifically designed to be easy to read.  They are the same as mainstream books in every respect but are simply shorter and easier to tackle for adults who are less confident in their reading skills.

For me any book whatever the size is a good one and if any of these take your fancy and you are already a voracious reader then read them and pass them on. Perhaps to that 1 in 6 person who would not go in a book shop and even buy one. Perhaps having read it, they may venture in for something else and discover a whole new world out there. 

This years six books are: 

Love is Blind by Kathy Lette

When Jane decides to move to the Australian outback in search of a husband, her sister Anthea thinks she’s mad. But the sisters have never seen eye-to-eye. Anthea is slim, beautiful and has a perfect life and fiancé. Jane has always felt like the ugly duckling in comparison.

But when Anthea tries to save Jane from this latest crazy plan, she ends up taking a walk on the wild side herself…

A sexy, funny and heartwarming adventure – curl up and enjoy this fabulous Quick Read from Kathy Lette.

A Sea Change by Veronica Henry

Jenna is known as The Ice Cream Girl.

She doesn’t mind the name one bit. After all, there are far worse jobs than selling ice creams by the sea. Then one hot summer’s day, everything changes and Jenna faces the most difficult decision of her life.

Craig spends as much time as he can at the beach hut in Everdene he rents with a few of his mates. It’s the perfect break from his stressful job, and he loves to surf. But one weekend he notices a girl on the beach – for all the wrong reasons.

For Jenna and Craig, it’s a chance meeting which could change their lives forever . . .

A Dreadful Murder by Minette Walters

Based on a true story…

Caroline Luard is shot dead in broad daylight in the grounds of a large country estate. With few clues available, her husband soon becomes the suspect . . . But is he guilty?

Bringing to life the people involved in this terrible crime, bestselling author Minette Walters uses modern detective skills to attempt to solve a 100-year-old crime.

Today Everything Changes by Andy McNab

Abandoned as a baby, Andy McNab’s start in life was tough. He grew up in South London with foster parents, and poverty on all sides. Andy attended seven schools in as many years, disillusioned and in remedial classes. Before long before his life was one of petty crime. By the age of sixteen, he was in juvenile detention.

Recruited into the Army from there, it soon became clear that he had the reading age of an eleven year old. The next six months in the Army education system changed the course of his life forever. Today Everything Changes is the inspiring story of when life changed for the better for now bestselling author Andy McNab.

Today Everything Changes is the inspiring story of when life changed for the better for now bestselling author Andy McNab.

Wrong Time, Wrong Place by Simon Kernick

You are hiking in the Scottish highlands with three friends when you come across a girl.

She is half-naked, has been badly beaten, and she can’t speak English.

She is clearly running away from someone.

Do you stop to help her? Even if it means putting your friends’ lives – and your own – in terrible danger?

Doctor Who: The Silurian Gift by Mike Tucker 

‘My new Fire-Ice will solve all the problems of the planet!’

The world is on the brink of crisis. As fuel runs short, society begins to break down. One man seems to have the answer. But is it too good to be true? The Doctor arrives at an old oil refinery near the South Pole, concerned by claims about this new form of energy. He soon discovers something huge and terrifying is stalking the refinery.  It brings death and destruction in its wake. The battle has begun for planet Earth.

Is there anything there that takes your fancy? 

Come back and visit this blog as I have read A Sea Change by Veronica Henry and the review will be coming tomorrow. In fact if you have come to this blog through reading about Quick Reads, then do pop back, there may well be some book recommendations for you on here and you just did not know it! 

quickreads black and white

Crafts · Jottings · Knitting

Knitted into History

Back last year, my mum and I embarked on some knitting for a local project. The idea was to create a seaside ‘yarnscape’ for their family area in the Royal Naval Museum. Well we got an invite last week to invite us along to the ‘unveiling’ of the project. So we had to go and try and spot our pieces of work!

It turned out more difficult that we thought – there was a lot of people, both men and women trying to get a look at this wonderful idea which has developed from a few scraps of wool. It was lovely to hear people say, they had got friends and work colleagues into knitting just so they were part of something much bigger. So it was literally in at the deep end, and get in and see what they had done with all this knitting.

This is what you need to be looking out for:

fish knitted

There was one wall, where they had made a collage of a lot of the common landmarks in Portsmouth, although all together for effect I must say.

Portsmouth Knitted Left

You can see one of the piers (South Parade), the War Memorial, the fairground at Clarence Pier (Yellow building) the edge of the Spinnaker Tower. To the far left is reference to the Royal Marines Museum. The Cathedral is in the foreground, as is a dinosaur which was sadly destroyed in a fire. There is also a tank representing the D Day Museum and the bandstand too.

Portsmouth RightHere we have much more of “under the sea” but also at the top – HMS Victory. Mum and I think, some of her seaweed is amongst this.

There were all sorts of colours and textures, patterns and weaves for the fishes and associated creatures – they put them all together in colour block as you can see:

2013-02-09 11.30.41

At the very top above the orange and yellow fish is the frog my mum knitted!

This is a bit closer to the corner of the picture above, where there is the odd mermaid!

2013-02-09 11.25.16

I have the pattern for this mermaid and now I have seen it – I so want to knit it!

2013-02-09 11.23.34Now I am hoping you might be able to spot someone familiar in this picture 2013-02-09 11.21.04

If not here is a closer view:

2013-02-09 11.22.17So now our knitting has a place in history – and thank you for indulging me and looking at the pictures!

2013-02-09 11.17.27Find out more about the project here.

Please excuse the quality of photographs – they were all taken on my mobile phone. (To be honest, I think they are quite good!)

Books · Jottings

Jottings #11 Prescription Reading

Research shows that reading improves mental well-being, and reduces stress levels by 67%. (Mindlab International, 2009)

It has been in the news lately that books and reading are being prescribed as a help for those suffering with mental health issues.  From May this year The Reading Agency and libraries are getting together with GP’s and health professionals to recommend self help books which can be picked up and read from your local library. If you wish to find out more then follow this link. Or check out this article from The Telegraph.

I can see it having so many benefits; doctors will no longer have to worry about the finances of prescribing tablets which is costing the NHS money. Perhaps now the books and reading will be the first step before using other therapies are considered or perhaps as I am no medical expert they can all work together nicely. I am only an expert about me and no one else, this is just my take on it all. I take the tablets, and have spent more time on them in the last 18 years than off. Reading is part of me regardless but I know it is also a way that I have of coping with whatever happens to be happening at any one time.

With this comes the perhaps cautious optimism about the future of libraries. Involving libraries in this means they could thrive in a very different way and there will be no need to close them.

This wonderful idea and that of the Mood boosting books that The Reading Agency promote means books are being talked about more and perhaps helping so many people out there.

This got me thinking, about what books I read to look after myself and why do those particular books or authors fulfil a need. As a sufferer of depression, reading has been a great tool in looking after me and forms part of a wellness plan that I have. As has this blog as it allows me to get rid of everything running round my head in some sort of coherent way. Not every post gets published but the cathartic process of writing is certainly a prescription I would recommend. Writing a book review is a way of consolidating it all into a readable (I hope) output.

I have little knowledge of self help books, I have had the odd one or two in the past but it has been more as information for something else that an actually as a book of choice. So to start my list of books of “mood boosting” or “related mental health” (I need to find a better way of phrasing that)

  • Linda Gillard – Emotional Geology which deals with mental health within its storyline.
  • Patrick Gale – Notes from an Exhibition a book which first started me thinking about books which cover mental illness.
  • Any Maureen Lee book – I have read them all from about the age of 16 (I think?!) and they always have a happy and satisfactory ending which sometimes life does not provide us all with.
  • Alexander McCall Smith – The No 1. Ladies Detective Agency. Something about these gentle stories, with the heat of Botswana, the wonderful characters, the colour of the place all brought vividly to life, without the need for excessive violence, language or sex.
  • ?

So that is four so far, I am sure there is more in fact I know there is and I need to reflect on it. I am also surer that there are books out there that I have yet to read that have a soothing capacity about them even if the topic covered or genre might not lend itself to such. Please feel free to suggest some or let me know yours.

Books

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

It is the future. America ceases to exist. The land is Panem, the states now districts, 12 separate districts with distinct functions. District 13 was destroyed in an uprising against those who rule and it has to be noted very early on in the book – those that control not govern. A direct result of this and to remind everyone the Capitol runs what is called The Hunger Games. 1 boy and 1 girl (no younger than 12, no older than 18) from each respective district are chosen to fight. To be known as tributes. To be the only one to survive. To kill all opponents and deal with whatever the Gamemakers throw at them. Only one person must remain at the end. 

The book opens in District 12 the coal mining district and one of the poorest. Our main character is a 16 year old girl Katniss. Her sister is chosen to represent their district, but Katniss volunteers to save her sister. Along with the chosen male, Peeta they travel to the Capitol and begin to represent their district.

The book features heavily on the structure of the Hunger Games, how it comes to be that those who are chosen go, through to the preparations before they enter the arena. Everything is controlled even by those on your side – in Katniss and Peeta’s case – Haymitch (the only other District 12 winner) as a mentor, ‘stylists’  to make the most of each tribute and of course the actual game itself. We meet the other tributes, we learn of weakness and strength. How it is to survive. About trusting people and the bonds of friendship. About control. Katniss and Peeta learn a lot as well.

This book reminded me strongly of Big Brother (the television programme, not reference to George Orwell’s 1984) the way the players are manipulated for audience enjoyment. Where your life is given over to someone else and that to have an opinion or to break the rules has consequences far reaching and does not solely affect one. The book for me is an extreme form of this reality television which dominates schedules and I think it is a reflection of the society we live in. We seem to be addicted to watching other people fall apart or in this case die. Reading about such an event as The Hunger Games was bad enough, watching it would have been horrific. The descriptions are vivid; the story brought so much to life it actually became believable that this has already happened if not a possibility for the future.

The manipulation by those in charge in the Capitol was ever present in the way the games are played out and it was in stark contrast to what Katniss was trying I believe to do. To be true to herself. It is an interesting take on the way government works and how perhaps a reader can contrast how much control there is in the present day governing strategies around the world. I have often wondered on how much we are ‘told’, how much control there really is.

I admit to struggling at the start, mainly because the use of the unrecognisable names, the districts was confusing and because it was certainly out of my comfort zone but I overcame that quickly and it had me gripped. I had to keep reading, as I could not see where it was going, and how it was going to come to a conclusion; one survivor not winner. Winner seems a rather hollow word to describe the eventual outcome. It seems with the Capitol’s control there are no winners.

A clever novel, which is more than good and although this is pitched as a young adult novel I think everyone should read it as it resonates on so many levels. There is much that can be discussed about a number of the issues throughout the book; it questions morality, the rights and wrongs of killing, but handled appropriately I thought for a Young Adult market. It is a book which is still with me long after I have finished it and I have not even got to the others in the trilogy.

Thanks to my friend L who passed the book onto me. I knew of the existence of these books, I started book blogging just as the third book came out and saw it featured a lot. Because it was Young Adult I dismissed it, foolishly I realise now. This is a book I would not have read. I just would not have picked it up as its post apocalyptic and that is certainly a theme/genre I would avoid.

The category of Young Adult is an interesting one, and I had to keep reminding myself that is where this book is from – it seems so much more adult than that. It should certainly not be confined to such a category. I read a few YA books over the past few years and am always amazed at how much I enjoy them. Ironically when I was of that age, I do not think they even existed. If they did then they passed me by.  In my opinion the YA fiction out there at the moment is a great stepping stone to fiction and I look forward to discovering more.

Books · Jottings

January Roundup

Wow! A month gone already. Would any of you want to live that month again and perhaps change anything?

That question and whatever the answer brings me nicely on to the first book I read of the year Kate Atkinson Life after Life*. You will not have read my review yet as I am still trying to cobble something together that does the book justice but it will appear much nearer the publication date of 11 March. Look out for much about this book from around the 11 February – it is an important date for the book.

After that book it was always going to be difficult to pick a book which can follow something so excellent and I chose for no other reason than it was different and free for a short time Dee Kirkby – Realand. This is in fact a book for children and not having any means I probably approach it differently, but it is a good read that reminded me of many books I read as a child and is certainly a book I would recommend for children as a stepping stone as they move through their reading journey.

And that reading journey normally takes you to what the publishing industry calls young adult books and I made that journey by reading Suzanne Collins – The Hunger Games*. I am so grateful to my friend L for lending me the book and even after finishing it I am still thinking about it. Really not my sort of novel as well. I also look forward to watching the film as well to see how it comes across visually.

My sort of novel was Jill Mansell – Don’t Want to Miss A Thing. Actually a new author for me, but in the vein of so many others I have read. It was really a good read and brightened up what can be a rather blue January or even a grey or white January come to that. Another new author as well as a new book was Alexandra Brown – Cupcakes at Carrington’s. A novel based in a department store and the start of a series of books. How frustrating that I have to wait until near the end of the year for the next installment.

Book Club choice for January was Sue Townsend – The Woman Who Went to Bed for A Year. An interesting read, but one that perhaps was a bit different from the norm. It was funny but it was also very sad as well.

It has been a while since I ventured into crime, mainly because the mood was not there but I picked up a book which has been sat on the to review pile for a while and that was Alex Grecian – The Yard. An American author who has chosen Victorian London and the development of forensics and the police as the basis of his story.

So seven books for the start of 2013, ironically enough the two books that have grabbed me the most this month is the two that have yet to be reviewed on this blog. Do pop back and read about them soon.

* Book review yet to appear on this blog.