The Rising Tide – Ann Cleeves

DCI Vera Stanhope is so unlikely as a police detective that there is an element of how she is still where she is. Her bluntness, her untidiness, her lack of seeming care for her Sergeant and Constables under her are all forgiven in her dogged determination to get to the truth and have justice for everyone involved in whatever case she might be in.

In this the tenth and latest novel from Ann Cleeves, Vera finds herself stuck between friends, stuck between the past and the present, stuck between the mainland and Holy Island, stuck between the truth and the lies.

A group of college friends, every five years get together for a reunion on Holy Island. It’s a celebration of that very first trip, but also it is much deeper than that. Friendships, partnerships and marriages have come and gone. On that first reunion, of them died after being stuck in the rising tide. Now some fifty years later they are gathered again.

This time there is another body.

What are these friends hiding?

Will Vera be able to stop the tide turning?

As ever this closely plotted book shows all the eccentricities of Vera as well as the determination of her team DS Joe Ashworth, Vera’s stalwart side kick and Holly, the DC who wants to be recognised fore all the hard work that she does because she feels overlooked by her hero – Vera.

You cannot go wrong with Vera and I love her portrayal in the books as much as her portrayal on the television. I hope there is more to come.

Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.

The Rising Tide is published on the 1st September.


Retreat to the Spanish Sun – Jo Thomas

If a book could exude sunshine then this would be the book that would do it – you can feel the warmth, the heat, the brightness from the pages as you read.

Eliza needs the sunshine, after her children grew up and left home as well as her husband, she downsized. Then the children came back in dribs and drabs with their partners, and Eliza finds she doesn’t have any space anymore to do anything that she wants to.

A chance advert looking for a housesitter for a month seems like the perfect opportunity to catch up, reset and focus on herself for a while away from the crowded house.

Eliza finds herself in Spain, housesitting for a rather mysterious man who has left strict instructions about not allowing the dogs on the bed and not having any parties. Oh and not to worry about the pigs. The pigs in question are those that produce Iberico and Serrano Ham and I was fascinated by this process which added to the books plot in its own way.

Not looking for friends as this is only temporary Eliza finds herself in a Tapas Bar with a load of ex-pats who all have stories of how they come to be in the Spanish Village. As time goes on and the mystery of the owner of the villa she is staying out deepens as does her love for the pigs as well as the mysterious Gastronomical Society, Eliza finds herself more and more attached to this part of Spain, her new friends and the freedom from her old life.

There is something about Jo Thomas books that I am discovering – they are balms for busy lives. The setting, the food, the scenery, the people and the story that kept me hooked and coming back for more sunshine.

Highly recommend for anyone who fancies a summer in the sun without all the airport hassle and the calories from the food! Buy now and escape.

Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.

Retreat to the Spanish Sun is out now.

I am off to discover more Jo Thomas reads to escape further.


The Little House by the Sea – Tracy Rees

Kitty is saving as hard as she can to get that idyllic place in the country, with roses round the door and chickens pecking in the yard. A far contrast from the poky flat she lives in, in London with her boyfriend Mitch. Her days are filled at estate agent windows. Dreaming.

Then the dream comes crashing to an end, and Kitty finds herself jobless, homeless and boyfriend-less. On a whim of memories of a childhood holiday and a clairvoyant’s prediction, Kitty takes herself off to Pennystrand a seaside village in Wales.

Pennystrand is the place to heal, the endless blue sky, the golden beaches as spring turns to summer. Even the long arduous trips up the hill to her temporary home prove to be the salve needed. There are a few things missing though and Kitty is not sure she will ever find them.

But when a chance meeting with a tree branch, a part time job in an estate agent and a surfer dude it seems that for Kitty has come home at last. There is something familiar about Kitty, and not everyone can place it, but the well known local family the Parnells can and it seems that Kitty may have come home after all.

This wonderful new contemporary novel from Tracy Rees has as much sunshine and sea as it does mystery and intrigue. I really wasn’t sure where the plot was going to take me apart from on a wonderful journey with Kitty. I fell in love with the Kitty, Pennystrand and even a little bit with Roly too!

This is a book full of love and it did not go down the obvious route of boy meets girl, fall out, get back together and live happily ever after. For me this makes the book stand out amongst a number I read. Sometimes you have to be reminded that life is not that neat and perfect.

This book was full of finding yourself, meeting new people, expanding your horizons and comforting in making some of your dreams come true.

Without a doubt Tracy Rees has done it again for me and I cannot wait to return to Pennystrand.

Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.

The Little House by the Sea is published today!


Roundup Six in Six 2022

First of all a very big THANK YOU to everyone who joined in. We might be a small bunch but I hope those that have just read our posts are inspired by some more in their reading, to all the new blog followers, watchers and readers it has been great to discover your little piece of the internet.

Here is a list of everyone that joined in this year.

If I have missed you off or you know someone who took part but failed to link back to me, then let me know and I can add. We are growing slowly every year, with people popping back, but we all have one thing in common – we like to read!

And there is some great new suggestions for next year with:

  • Six books with living things in the title
  • Six books about real people
  • The six oldest books I’ve read this year
  • Six books I read for book club
  • Six books I’ve reread
  • Six audiobooks I’ve listened to
  • Six books set in a different century
  • Six books about a historical woman
  • Six stories that are famous from television

Happy reading and discovering folks!


Blog Tour – Coming Soon!

The cottage gate swings open to reveal the inky-blue sea and the sandy cove beyond. It’s exactly 
how Kitty imagined it, except she didn’t expect to be standing here alone…

Thirty-year-old Kitty Roberts spends her days searching for the perfect home for two… until her boyfriend, the only man she’s ever loved, dumps her. Devastated to lose not only her first love but her best friend too, she flees to the tiny seaside village where she spent carefree summers as a child, before her family fell apart.

At first, Kitty’s escape proves to be exactly what she needs – golden sunsets over warm, sandy beaches, lovably eccentric new neighbours and even a blush-inducing run-in with Cory Hudson, a handsome, professional surfer with a heart-stopping smile.

But just as Kitty feels herself beginning to heal and allows herself to open up to Cory, he reveals that his time in the seaside village is nearly up. What’s more, some surprising reactions to Kitty in town make her wonder if her connection to this place might go deeper than she thought.

It seems there’s a secret in her family’s past that is about to turn Kitty’s life on its head once more… Is she ready for the truth? And will it bring her and Cory closer together, or drive them apart?

A page-turning story that will make you smile, laugh and wish you could visit the little cottage by the sea! Absolutely perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan, Heidi Swain and Carole Matthews.

Tracy Rees was the winner of the Richard and Judy ‘Search for a Bestseller’ Competition and her books are paperback, ebook and audio bestsellers. A Cambridge graduate, she had a successful eight-year career in nonfiction publishing and a second career practising and teaching humanistic counselling before becoming a writer. She lives in Wales.


A Crafty Six in Six

It suddenly occurred to me that as well as reading quite a bit in the last six months, I had made quite a few things too. So I thought I would be a bit crafty (see what I did there) and add in a little special Six in Six made up of all things crafty, in this case – crochet and crochet with TOFT wool and patterns. Now I have made more than six items, but I have picked six which are all vastly different, but show the way my brain flits from one thing to another as the whim takes me but also the extensive collection of work that is available to choose from TOFT.

Terence the Budgie – renamed Bobby as my Great Uncle always had a budgie and it was always called Bobby.
Dodd the Great Grey Owl.
Queen Elizabeth II – on the occasion of her Platinum Jubilee
Hilda the Jersey Cow
Amore the Rose (Monster)
Turkish Delight & Marzipan Mini Monsters

Small Miracles – Anne Booth

Fairbridge, The Sisters of Saint Philomena are facing hard times. There is only 3 of them left now. Sister Margaret, the youngest of the 3 remaining and struggling in her role as Mother Superior. Sister Bridget, is perpetually happy, sees the wonder if everything and everyone and is the most marvellous cook. The elder of three Sister Cecilia, 90 has spent her life researching the benefactor, Edward Mortimer of the convent and also trying to win the lottery.

The convent is in disrepair, no new intakes and a building beyond its use with the school they used to teach at token away from their care. It seems the sisters will need to go their separate ways.

Then the sisters win on the lottery.

Is this the start of the small miracles they need to secure their future?

But fortune and miracles are not just for the religious but for everyone in Fairbridge. The priest Farther Hugh needs a new curate to share the workload and the church needs a new roof.

Matthew Woodburn, an expert on the paintings of Jack Mortimer, black sheep of the family and brother to the Nun’s benefactor. Surely there must be more of his paintings waiting to be discovered?

George wants to find love and break away from having to deal with his bitter and cantankerous mother. It seems that he will need to be brave.

Thomas finding solace in the Convent garden and with Sister Bridget’s cooking is desperate for his daughter to find her spark in life.

All it needs is a few miracles, small ones that gather speed and all of a sudden, 3 nuns, a travel agent and an art historian find themselves in Italy. Will it provide all the answers?

A gentle book, full of love and spirit and grief and misery .That sense of friendship, new relationships and community love that brings everyone together. The secrets kept and shared. I did not pay much attention to the synopsis of the book when I chose it, it was one of those random choices that I am glad I did pick up and could lose myself in thoroughly.

Joyful, spirited and full of nice things, in a world where we probably need a number of miracles this was pure indulgence in escapism.

Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this book,.

Small Miracles is out now.


The New Doctor at Peony Practice – Christie Barlow

Each of the Love Heart Lane series can be read as standalone and if you come to the place via this book then you have ultimate joy of reading all previous seven novels to further fall in love with the place.

Here we are with Dr Ben Sanders, who has found his place working at Peiony Practice serving the villagers of Heartcross. But he cannot do it all himself and when they advertise for another Doctor to share the load he really doesn’t expect it to be someone he knows.

Someone who turns up when he is celebrating his birthday in the local and someone who was determined to beat him at medical school and to also beat his heart into submission as well

That someone is Dr Kate O’Neil, who firmly settles into village life and is taken into the villagers hearts as she throws herself into village life.

What better way that setting up a charity boat race with her and Ben as team captains, fuelling that rivalry started long ago in medical school.

But what are Ben and Kate hiding? Are they hiding the past from each other or are they simply hiding from each other?

Will the boat race be the final challenge for the pair?

Yet again, Christie Barlow delivers a heartfelt warm novel, featuring familiar faces but new ones as well. Of course there is an undercurrent of some serious subjects which she manages so beautifully that it brings a tear to your eyes. Reinforcing that anything can happen to anyone at any age.

A lovely novel, with the inevitable ending but boy the journey on the way was exciting! I look forward to returning to Heartcross soon with book nine.

Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.

The New Doctor at Peony Practice is out now.


Murder Before Evensong – Richard Coles

No murder is gentle and certainly when the death of the first victim in the church at Champton is spattered all over the pews it causes a quiet sleepy village to question whether everyone is as they seem.

Cannon Daniel Clement, Rector of said Church. Living with his widowed mother, two dogs and occasionally visits from his acting brother Theo sets the pace for this what is to be a series of books, featuring the Cannon.

As Daniel goes about his parish, performing all the duties that are expected of him and some that are not. He can see into everyone’s lives and comes close to seeing what is clearly under his nose. But can he work out why this terrible thing has happened to his parish and how exactly does the requirement for a lavatory in the church fit in?

With no actual dated sense of when this books is set, though I think I would go Mid Eighties. (Plenty of scope for a number of books as I mention previous). It is a very ‘English’ book and has all the makings of a good cosy crime series. Cannon Clement I could picture quite easily as with a number of the more vocal parishioners, with that sense of humour that perhaps only us British understand. Whilst some might find the references to the bible irrelevant to the plot or too much ‘religious pontificating’, for me they helped me understand the plot, the place and of course the people.

Perfect for fans all things cosy crime, of course comparisons can be made to the phenomenon that is Richard Osman and G.K Chesterton. To me it stands in it’s own place on anyone’s bookshelf. I look forward to seeing how the series and the characters develop.

Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.

Murder Before Evensong is out now.


July Roundup

I might be behind on my challenge of reading 100 books in a year, but looking back at July I think I have made a good dent in it at least with some great books. And of course added to reads of Books of Summer challenge too.

The only physical paper copy of a book read this month was Jennifer Saint – Ariadne a retelling of a Greek Myth. It is a long time since I have read anything about the myths and legends, something which I have always been fascinated by. This whilst a bit tough in places was an interesting read and I certainly will not be put off by more Greek tragedy in the future. It led me to read more about it all so I could understand the book a bit better.

The only other new author to me this month was Richard Coles – Murder Before Evensong, and whilst I was fully aware of Richard Coles this is his first foray into fiction. Crime fiction. Again it was a book which I learnt from as my knowledge of religion, church services and the bible is woefully inadequate in comparison to some. A lovely book set in the eighties (with scope for plenty more) and an interesting insight into the minutiae of parish life with the added complication of a dead body or two!

Sticking with murder, I have been lucky enough to read the latest Vera; Ann Cleeves – The Rising Tide is another excellent page turner. Vera jumps off the page, thanks to Brenda Blethyn’s television portrayal and without in mind when you read the book, you are fully aware of the characters traits an foibles and that just adds to the story. Out in September.

Greek tragedy and murder is enough to depress anyone, but I have lightened my July reading with some lovely travel thanks to Gervase Phinn – At The Captain’s Table, a cruise to be precise. One of those books which observes people and their foibles (isn’t that such a great word!) as they are all contained on a ship as it travel’s the coast of Europe. All of life is here to see and Phinn encapsulates that Yorkshire humour with great skill.

Cornwall is always popular for holidays and for the setting of books and it is always lovely to spend time with Phillipa Ashley – A Golden Cornish Summer for her latest. Family feuds and young love are between the pages of this book as well as the sun, sand, sea and surf.

Travelling to another part of the UK, takes me to Wales and the latest contemporary novel from Tracy Rees – The Little House by the Sea. Can you start again in the place where you had your last family holiday as a child? It seems you can, but you cannot hide from what your family are keeping from you. As ever a wonderful book to escape with.

Then my final travels take me back to the village of Heartcross in Scotland with Christie Barlow – The New Doctor at Peony Practice. Rivalries founded at medical school are now being payed out in the village practice and it seems that Love Heart Lane is ready to deliver another excellent story.

So with my bags still packed with all these wonderful escapes, I am off on more adventures in August.

I have enjoyed visiting everyone who has taken part in Six in Six and a roundup post will follow this month.