Books

New Beginnings at the Old Bakehouse – Christie Barlow

It is always a pleasure to return to places you know and love and it is the same with this the Love Heart lane series of book. Of course they can be read as a standalone novels, but with this latest one you need to know a bit more about Molly and Cam and you can see their friendship started back in Primrose Park.

We are further on since Molly and Cam met, and in the Old Bakehouse where Cam is up very early to bake for the villagers and provide them with the best baked good around. Molly is cooking another little bun – a baby for them both and a brother or sister for little adorable George. But things are not quite as contented as they should be.

Cam is holding something back, but won’t tell anyone what it is. He is reluctant to follow in the footsteps of his Great Uncle and enter a renowned baking competition but will not tell anyone why. Has he lost interest in baking? Molly?

Molly is touched by the help she gives at the homeless shelter, but she thinks it might be her hormones. That is until she meets Bree. Something she says, sets a memory off in Molly and she just can’t quite place it. When Bree seems to keep turning up seeking shelter, Molly’s instinct to provide kicks in but is it something else connecting them. And why is Cam so reluctant to be hospitable and charitable?

As winter sets in and snow arrives at Heartcross it seems this little family at the bakehouse is struggling with their own blizzard whilst the world gets whiter outside of their front door. Heartcross is cut off, so it seems the community is going to come out and support each other as you would expect. Here it is where you get to meet previous characters from the series and it is always great to catch up with them.

When a thaw sets in and some truths are revealed it seems that perhaps the perfect beginning is now here. Or course it is never going to run smoothly is it?

This is a book to devour as it is full of warmth as well as enticing descriptions of food! Somehow Christie Barlow seems tackle some tough issues with skill and empathy and weave them into a story with tact balanced out against all the humour that also comes with her novels. Being in Heartcross is a joy and being there with loved characters within a great community is even better.

A series which I can see turning into a modern day saga worthy of Sunday night television dramatisation.

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

New Beginnings at the Old Bakehouse is out now.

Books

20 Books of Summer – Challenge Over

It had been such a long time since I had joined in any challenges but when I saw this one I thought it might be time to get back on the challenge roundabout. This felt like the perfect one with too much pressure.

My list below with links to reviews where they were part of netgalley requests

  1. Lucinda Riley – The Missing Sister
  2. Sara Sheridan – The Fair Botanists
  3. Angela Thirkell – High Rising (Replaced Sara Cox – Thrown as read before start date)
  4. Richard Coles – Murder Before Evensong
  5. Jennifer Ryan – The Wedding Dress Circle
  6. Gervase Phinn – At The Captains Table
  7. Ann Cleeves – The Rising Tide
  8. Celia Rees – Miss Graham’s War (Did not finish)
  9. Fern Britton – The Good Servant
  10. Mick Herron – Slow Horses
  11. Gill Hornby – Miss Austen
  12. Anne Booth – Small Miracles
  13. P.G.Wodehouse – Carry On Jeeves
  14. Stacy Halls – The Foundling
  15. Robert Galbraith – Troubled Blood
  16. Jennifer Saint – Ariadne
  17. Cathy Bramley – My Kind of Happy
  18. Sue Teddern – Annie Stanley All At Sea
  19. Dawn French – Because of You
  20. Freya Sampson – The Girl on the 88 Bus

I managed 12 – with the 13th book The Fair Botanists completed a couple of days past the 1st September. And I also did not finish a book because it was not doing anything for me, rather than power through and not enjoy for the sake of the challenge I stopped. So refreshing.

Because of the weather, my holiday and probably my laziness I read the most of the books that were on my kindle first before I moved to actual books. Which is why of the ones left that I didn’t read are still staring at me on my shelf. I think I would like to aim to have read these by the end of 2022. I will let you know how I get on.

I am not sure if I have a favourite of the ones I did read – probably Fern Britton The Good Servant, which seems all the more poignant now in light of recent events. It was a joy to go back to Wodehouse and how I wish I had not got rid of all of my books! And the Robert Galbraith is such a hefty tome in paperback, and I so want to read the next one but I don’t think I can cope with the weight of a hardback!

Other than not finishing a book, I as a bit disappointed with the new Gervase Phinn. The normal dry wit and Yorkshire humour but the story was very much pedestrian and read more like observations that having any great plot.

Thank you to Cathy at 746 Books for hosting the challenge.

Books · Jottings

August Roundup

And with a blink of an eye and a lot of sunshine, August is done! A bumper month of reading as always thanks to three weeks off work. The hot weather where the only thing to do is lie in the shade and read probably helped as well.

Let’s get the crime out the way first with Robert Galbraith – Troubled Blood. I waited until the paperback came out before reading this as it is a hefty tome and I am frightened of doing myself a mischief when reading it. As good as always and had me completely hooked. Now with the latest out, I am not sure if I can wait for that in paperback or just bite the bullet and order the hardback? It is so great to be completely lost within a story.

The next in line and in the series of Hawthorne and Horowitz was Anthony Horowitz – The Twist of the Knife. As clever as all the previous ones with plenty of twists and the inclusion of the author as a character and main protagonist makes for interesting reading, even if it might make for difficult writing.

Series of crime books can be a blessing and a curse, you could say they all turn out to be very much the same, but sometimes that formula is what you need. So I think this is where I would put the book Merryn Allingham – Murder at the Priory. The latest in the Flora Steele series of books and where the idyllic village set in Fifties Britain makes you convinced that Miss Marple might pop up at any moment.

In fact she did in Various – Marple. Twelve new short stories featuring the aforementioned and all penned by current authors who keep to the mystery style and also an element of their own but with plenty of Christie to make you think you are reading some forgotten Christie works. As short stores they were perfect diversions and well written. Not sure I could pick a favourite.

The mystery of a miracle features in Anne Booth – Small Miracles as I was immersed in a convent with only three nuns remaining. Is it really a miracle or faith that these three nuns need? A joyful, peaceful escapist novel.

Peaceful is always what you might want from a holiday and even if you have to do a bit of work as well. In Jo Thomas – Retreat to the Spanish Sun, I did retreat and learnt about the food of Spain and of the warmth and sometimes coldness of the characters as I escaped. I am just discovering Jo’s novels and I am looking forward to escaping again and again.

We all know Cornwall is a popular destination for holidays in the UK and therefore it was a delight to revisit this summer myself. Well via a book or two. First up was Cressida McLaughlin – The Cornish Cream Tea Holiday, the series has flourished as we get to visit other parts of the area and find other characters to love as everyone finds their happy ever after. With a dollop of clotted cream of course!

Then I was more weather obsessed in Cornwall with Ali McNamara – Cornish Clouds and Silver Lining Skies. A beautiful book full of sun, rain, myth and mystery as well on the Cornish coast. Vibrantly brought to life by the author I could taste the salt of the sea on my skin as I read.

Weather is always a good plot device in a book as it can create atmosphere and also prove to be a challenge for some of its main characters. In the first I think of my Christmas ‘type’ reads for 2022 (there is many more to follow) then the latest Heartcross book fills that spot. Christie Barlow – New Beginnings at the Old Bakehouse is full of snow and chocolate and would be the perfect book to read by the fire. Which seemed completely om contrast to when I was reading it in 30 degree heat!

I am always trying new authors, but sometimes it looks like I tend to stick similar authors or the same ones. Even if the previous book has disappointed or not hit the mark, I have gone back time and time again. I think I need to stop doing this. I felt this way about Helen Rolfe – Finding Happiness at Heritage View, part of a series which I did not know about until I had finished (think this was book five). It was nice and an okay read but I wasn’t blown away by it. I always feel bad when books I read make me feel like this. Feeling bad again when I finished reading Tilly Tennant – A Home at Cornflower Cottage has made me think about whether I will pick up something from these authors again. I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing wrong with these books, it is just I have grown in my reading and grown away from them. Perhaps one day I will return.

But you do have to keep trying authors sometimes and that was why I found myself back with this book Faith Hogan – The GIN Sisters’ Promise. A book for fans of family sagas and all that sibling rivalry with the backdrop of a wild Irish landscape and a double gin! I might return to this author.

Second books are notoriously difficult so they say. I don’t think this applies to Freya Sampson – The Girl on the 88 Bus whose delightful novel which includes the cross generational friendships and the possibility of finding something you have lost. I think Freya Sampson is becoming an author to look out for.

Going back to an author can be easy as it is difficult. But it was easy with Cathy Bramley – My Kind of Happy which absorbed me from page one and had me right to the end, with the book read in less than 24 hours. Something just appeals with the writing, the characters, the depth of plot and in this case all the flowers. It is funny how some books hit the spot and others just don’t.

As well as returning to authors when a new book arrives, there is also the joy in rereading some. I very rarely do, because of so many books to read I suppose but I did treat myself to P.G.Wodehouse – Carry on Jeeves which was a sheer joy. I did have all the books and gave them away years ago which I regret. These are a delight to keep going back to and might get another one to indulge in soon.

So that was August, 15 books apparently giving me a good place to be going into autumn and the final stretch of 2022 and the goal of 100 books. Do tell me what you have been reading, anything I have missed? And also do share about how you feel about books from authors you have previously enjoyed but are just not hitting the spot now?

In the meantime, let’s get cracking with the Christmas books (yes it is coming!)

Books

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!

Books

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.

Books

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.

Books

Six in Six 2022 – My Choices

Here are my choices for this years Six in Six – there is still time to join in. Please see the original post here for all the details.

Six books that feature a building in the title

  1. Holly Hepburn – The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures 
  2. Sharon Gosling – The House Beneath the Cliffs
  3. Helen Rolfe – The Farmhouse of Second Chances 
  4. Katie Ginger – The Little Library on Cherry Lane 
  5. Nancy Revell – Three Cheers for the Shipyard Girls
  6. Tilly Tennant – The Café at Marigold Marina

Six books with jobs in

  1. Nita Prose – The Maid
  2. Jo Bartlett – The Cornish Midwife
  3. Lorna Cook – The Dressmaker’s Secret 
  4. Joanna Nell – The Tea Ladies of St Jude’s Hospital
  5. Vicki Beeby – A New Start for the Wrens
  6. Fern Britton – The Good Servant

Six mysteries, thrillers or crime novels NOT by Agatha Christie

  1. Nina de Gramont – The Christie Affair
  2. Tom Hindle – A Fatal Crossing 
  3. Helena Dixon – Murder in First Class 
  4. Robert Thorogood – The Marlow Murder Club
  5. Lucy Foley – The Paris Apartment
  6. Merryn Allingham – Murder at Primrose Cottage

Six Historical Novels

  1. Lorna Cook – The Dressmaker’s Secret 
  2. Jennifer Ryan – The Kitchen Front
  3. Kate Thompson – The Little Wartime Library
  4. Helen Fripp – The Painter’s Girl
  5. Molly Green – Summer Secrets at Bletchley Park 
  6. Fern Britton – The Good Servant 

Six books from authors I know will never let me down

  1. Veronica Henry – The Impulse Purchase 
  2. Sarah Bennett – Love Blooms at Mermaid Point 
  3. Cathy Bramley – The Summer That Changed Us
  4. Katie Fforde – A Wedding in Provence
  5. Heidi Swain – The Summer Fair
  6. Holly Martin – The Wisteria Tree Cottage

Six new authors to me

  1. Sharon Gosling – The House Beneath the Cliffs
  2. Sally Page – The Keeper of Stories
  3. Tom Hindle – A Fatal Crossing 
  4. Kate Thompson – The Little Wartime Library 
  5. Bonnie Garmus – Lessons in Chemistry
  6. Gill Hornby – Miss Austen

And in a bonus ten year version – here is 6 book covers picked from the 6 categories above!

Do keep joining in and linking back to me as we have plenty of July left. In the meantime keep on reading for the next six months of the year

A roundup post will feature in August of everyone who has joined in.

Books

June Roundup

Six months done in 2022, and after two very slow years this one seems to be speeding by. Certainly in terms of books read though it has been slow and I am certainly no where near on target for my yearly challenge of 100. Enough about wishing the next six months away, what have I read in June?

For the first time in a long time, I signed up to 20 Books of Summer challenge and I hope to at least use that to make a dent in all those wonderful books I have to read. It also made me reinstate my challenges list which can now be found at the top of this blog.

I have managed three off this list – the first being a book I had on my shelf for a while Gill Hornby – Miss Austen. A wonderful retreat to the world of Austen, told from the perspective of one of Jane’s siblings and the letters that were written. The language and the pace of the book felt I was catapulted back to the past.

The past or historical fiction was very much of the reading in this month and I was back into World War Two with Molly Green – Summer Secrets at Bletchley Park. Bletchley Park fascinates me and all these women and men who worked there and never said anything for so many years after the war about what happened there. This is the first in what I hope is a little saga series to get my teeth right into!

You can sometimes read the same things about the same eras but with Jennifer Ryan – The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle she makes a part of the war on the home front that you didn’t realise existed and weaves it into a fascinating story. With great female leads and characters of different classes coming together to fight their own battles on the home front. I am fascinated as to where she goes next.

Featuring the Second World War and the years previous, is where you find yourself with Fern Britton – The Good Servant. This takes us into the heart of the royal family and Marion Crawford. Although this is fact made into excellent fiction, it has made me want to read more about Marion, her infamous book and some of the other excellent resources Fern Britton clearly used for her research.

Sticking with the interwar years finds me with Helena Dixon – Murder at the Country Club in the latest Miss Underhay mystery. If there ever was a time for cosy murder, this is a series of books which fulfil all you require set against a wonderful backdrop. I know this must come to an end but I will gobble them up until it does.

The only contemporary fiction was Holly Martin – The Wisteria Tree Cottage. A change from the original title by the author, but I am lucky enough to get an very early viewing and it is fascinating how these things change depending on uptake and marketing. This is yet another cracker from Holly and I just adore how this time she has given more voice to the male characters.

Not bad for June, but clearly work is taking its toll on all parts of my life. Time to readdress that balance if I am to survive the next six months. In the meantime do look back on your last six months of reading as Six in Six is now ready to go. I look forward to everyone joining in and please link back so I can share the love.

Happy reading!

Books

Six in Six – 2022 Edition

Here it is again – I hope that the small select few of us that complete this meme can perhaps spread the word so we have a few more participants this year. However it is always great to see fellow book bloggers joining in.

When did all this begin?

I started it in 2012 on a whim and it has been going ever since! – That means it is 10 years old this year 2022!

If you want to look back at the previous years and get a flavour then please do.

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016

2017 2018 2019 2020 2021

What is it all about?

The idea being that as the end of June approaches and we are then halfway through the year, let us share the books we have read in those first 6 months. In fact let’s share 6 books in 6 categories, or if time is of the essence then simply share just 6 books. Whatever combination works for you as long as it involves 6 books. Of course the same book can obviously feature in more than one category.

What categories can I choose from?

  • Six new authors to me
  • Six authors I have read before
  • Six authors I am looking forward to reading more of
  • Six books I have enjoyed the most
  • Six books I was disappointed with
  • Six series of books read or started
  • Six authors I read last year – but not so far this year
  • Six books that took me on extraordinary journeys
  • Six books that took me by the hand and led me into the past
  • Six books from the past that drew me back there
  • Six books from authors I know will never let me down
  • Six books I must mention that don’t fit nicely into any category
  • Six books I started in the first six months of the year and was still caught up with in July
  • Six trips to Europe
  • Six blogging events I enjoyed
  • Six bookish things I’m looking forward to
  • Six Espionage or Historical Novels I enjoyed
  • Six Cool Classics
  • Six Non-US/Non-British Authors
  • Six From the Non-Fiction Shelf
  • Six books that didn’t live up to expectations
  • Six books that I had one or two problems with but am still glad I tried
  • Six books that are related to The Great War or Second World War
  • Six bookshops I have visited
  • Six books I’ve read in an English translation
  • Six books which are better than the film
  • Six books which are worse than the film
  • Six books that have sport as their major theme
  • Six favourite places to read
  • Six books read on kindle and then went and bought an actual copy
  • Six books I abandoned
  • Six classics I have read
  • Six books I have read on my Kindle
  • Six physical books I have read
  • Six book covers I love
  • Six book covers that bear no resemblance to the story contained within
  • Six books to read to avoid politics
  • Six books I have read but not reviewed
  • Six books I have read in lockdown
  • Six classic mysteries
  • Six books about Royalty
  • Six pretty book covers
  • Six books set in a country other than my own
  • Six books that feature a Pandemic
  • Six books that are great when self-isolating
  • Six books recently added to my wish list
  • Six mysteries, thrillers or crime novels NOT by Agatha Christie
  • Six books with titles connected to rivers, seas and storms
  • Six nature related books
  • Six books about Librarians and Libraries
  • Six books I really want to buy in the next six months
  • Six books that feature a building in the title

Or you can come up with your own category,  (If you do: please comment and I can add them to this list for future years)

What do I need to post?

Simply choose six of the categories above and list six books under that category. Some bloggers use pictures, some put excerpts of reviews. The main thing being it is six categories and six books. Of course if you want to do a shorter version, then just post something about six books you have read in the first six months of 2022.

Please link back to this post and/or my blog and share this post so we can have lots of people joining in. All those that participate I will endeavour to collate into one post.

When do I post?

Anytime in July. We have reading days left of June and that book might well fit nicely into one of the categories.

Anything else?

Please spread the word and get people to join in and let them know that we are all halfway through our 2022 reading year!

Books · Jottings

20 Books of Summer

Go big or go home they often say and in a first for this blog and me I am going to take part in Cathy at 746 Books 20 Books of Summer. I could have started with 10 or 15 and lets be honest I might only reach one of those but why not aim high.

It all starts on the 1 June and goes through to 1 September so I am going to make an attempt to clear a number on my netgalley list and also plenty off my shelves too.

Here is my initial 20 and we can change our minds along the way but this is the original starting point.

  1. Lucinda Riley – The Missing Sister
  2. Sara Sheridan – The Fair Botanists
  3. Sara Cox – Thrown Angela Thirkell – High Rising
  4. Richard Coles – Murder Before Evensong
  5. Jennifer Ryan – The Wedding Dress Circle
  6. Gervase Phinn – At The Captains Table
  7. Ann Cleeves – The Rising Tide
  8. Celia Rees – Miss Graham’s War
  9. Fern Britton – The Good Servant
  10. Mick Herron – Slow Horses
  11. Gill Hornby – Miss Austen
  12. Anne Booth – Small Miracles
  13. P.G.Wodehouse – Jeeves & Wooster unknown title yet!
  14. Stacy Halls – The Foundling
  15. Robert Galbraith – Troubled Blood
  16. Jennifer Saint – Ariadne
  17. Cathy Bramley – My Kind of Happy
  18. Sue Tedder – Annie Stanley All At Sea
  19. Dawn French – Because of You
  20. Freya Sampson – The Girl on the 88 Bus

Let the reading commences and I will have to see how I get on- hopefully a mix of genres there to keep my interest piqued!