Books · Jottings · Witterings

Six in Six – 2018 Edition

So I have brought it back for another year– the meme that if you only do one in the year, then this is the one to do. It’s normally the meme I can only manage to do.

When did all this begin?

I started it in 2012 on a whim and it has been going ever since!

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

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

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

I have again added a few new ones this year.

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 2018.

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 2018 reading year!

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Books

Dear Mrs Bird – A.J.Pearce

Emmeline Lake wants to be a newspaper correspondent, in fact a war correspondent. Why not women are driving motorcycles and in factories, the war in its perverse way is giving opportunities to females that pre 1939 was not.

When she chances upon an advertisement for a job at the London Evening Chronicle she grabs the opportunity and successfully secures the job.

What Emmeline gets though is not the job she has dreamed of. She gets to work with the indomitable Mrs Bird the advice columnist for a women’s weekly magazine. Everyone has to start somewhere but she is starting by filtering most of the letters written as they are deemed unacceptable. Mrs Bird is quite clear as to what she sees as acceptable correspondence to be answering.

Emmeline does not.

Making the best of the situation she is in, Emmeline decides perhaps she could possibly answer some of these letters privately. Risking everything she does, but then she goes one step further and gets on of her answers published in the weekly magazine.

It is bound to end in disaster.

But then all around them disaster is striking out close to home. We are not just taken with the correspondence during this period of war. We are taken right into the heart of the home front and the bombing in London.

Emmeline also volunteers at the Auxiliary Fire Service as a telephone operator overnight – she gets to hear first hand the devastation of the German bombers – then one night it is brought much closer to home.

It seems that Emmeline could be about to lose a lot through her actions and the war.

This is a wonderful novel which transports you into the heart of Emmeline’s life, into the heart of London, into the reality that is war on the Home Front. Not afraid to tackle subjects either through the letters that are written in to Mrs Bird or the main storyline of the book, this debut author captured my heart and attention immediately and I was completely drawn into the story.

Perfect if you enjoyed The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society .

Books

May Roundup

Last May was the month of the kindle – it seems this May was too!

That is the trouble with netgalley I get over enthusiastic with all the lovely new books and authors I can read that I find I am slightly swamped. But I made a good dent into the list and have read some really lovely books.

I reached the end of Liz Eeles – Annie’s Summer by the Sea which as the trilogy progressed got better with each book. Of course this book was set in Cornwall which is a popular setting for many authors that I read and it really does add something to the story.

I also reached the last book Holly Hepburn – Starry Skies at Castle Court. I really do try not to request books on netgalley that are parts of a story – however not paying attention made me get the first of this new series. I therefore had to keep reading the others. But if you can bear to wait then you need to be looking out for a book called A Year at Castle Court. I have nearly fallen into that trap again in recent days! But I resisted and just added them to my wish list on amazon to remember for the future.

Talking about series of books and being a bit too request happy on Netgalley, ages ago I downloaded Karen Clarke – The Cafe at Seashell Cove and it sat waiting to be read and then I spotted Karen Clarke – The Bakery at Seashell Cove. Knowing that I had not read the first spurred me on and I read them back to back which meant that I was really involved in Seashell Cove for a lovely while. A place for a holiday that’s for sure.

Amongst all this new reading I do try and get to the many books sitting on my shelf. It has been a while for this one Katharine McMahon – The Woman in the Picture. This is a follow-up to The Crimson Rooms which I read eight years ago and I was immediately taken right back as if I had only just left the characters. In the centenary of women’s suffrage this was a timely book to be reading.

I love my historical fiction even if it is not necessarily considered highbrow but comes in the saga form which is how I came to pick up Elaine Roberts – The Foyle’s Bookshop Girls. I did think that maybe I would get to see a bit more of an insight into the Foyle’s bookshops than I did get. However it was great writing and yet again I will need to revisit!

I have only read a few books by this author but Emma Hannigan – The Wedding Promise was one of the last written before she sadly died recently of cancer. This was a lovely book, really heartwarming and I escaped abroad with the characters.

I have even been to Copenhagen with Julie Caplin – The Little Cafe in Copenhagen. Embracing the concept of Hygge in your life to make you stop and take stock of what is going on around you and how it is affecting you!

Gail Honeyman – Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is a title you might have seen gracing many bookshop shelves in recent months. I was aware of it but didn’t really know much else. My friend read it and lent it to me. A good read that reminded me of The Rosie Project a lot of the time and also of myself in a self reflective way.

Well that was May, I am motoring through books on my kindle and trying to make more of an effort with those on my shelf too.

I wonder where June will take me? If you are wondering about the Six in Six – it will return for 2018!

Where has May taken your reading?

 

Books

A Family Recipe – Veronica Henry

I have read a lot of Veronica Henry’s novels and she is an author who I will go back to when I know I want to read something and get completely lost in it.

And I did get lost in A Family Recipe; set in Bath and with a dual narrative which took me from the present day back to the Second World War all set in one house.

That house is 11 Lark Hill. Now home to Laura Griffin, her husband Dom and their two girls, Jaz and Willow. With Willow about to fly the nest to university, Laura is going to be faced with an empty house and nothing to do.

When her life takes a completely different turn, Laura turns to her love of cooking and the recipes she has that date back to her grandmother and great grandmother. Perhaps she can find some purpose in food?

Back in 1942 at 11 Lark Hill, Jilly suddenly finds herself an orphan after the devastating attacks on Bath. The house survives and Jilly has to live with the guilt of not being there for her parents. Ivy moves in initially to keep her company but a friendship is borne which grows from strength to strength and will cover their whole lives. When Jilly feels like she has to do something to alleviate the guilt she feels for surviving she takes in a mother and her children who have been bombed out.

Of course the past and the present interlink with more than just the house and as the story develops and we start to work out everyone’s place in the past and how it affects the present the story draws you in further.

When events means Laura is suddenly faced with a possible different future will her actions leave her with the guilt that Jilly faced all those years previous.

A heartwarming novel which shows you the strength of love, the choices you make and the place that you should always call home. What more of a recipe do you need to read this book?

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

A Family Recipe is out on 17th May.

 

Books

The Postcard – Fern Britton

Fern takes us back to Cornwall and to a place we have visited before – Pendruggan. If you have read any of Fern’s previous books then you will immediately recognise the characters and the setting. However it can quite easily be read as a standalone novel and will no doubt tempt you to go back and read more about Pendruggan and its residents!

Penny seems to be settled as the vicars’ wife and mother to the gorgeous Jenna, she is also still very much involved in her job as a television producer. She has all she needs in the village, her family and her close friend Helen.

But when her sister turns up to share the news that her mother has died at the same as her popular television programme is cancelled Penny struggles to cope. Her cry for help is noticed but not properly heard and it takes an outsider to realise what is going on as Penny’s past is laid bare for all to see.

Ella is that outsider, she becomes involved in Penny’s life through looking after Jenna as well as working for Penny’s new next door neighbour Kit. Ella though is in Pendruggan for another reason, she has come to speak to her grandmother’s solicitor about her legacy – trouble is Ella is not the recipient that is Ella’s mother who walked out and left Ella and her brother a very long time ago.

This novel for me was really honest as it deals with some rather sensitive issues and I became immersed in the storyline. Penny’s decline of mental health was distressing to read and I wanted to step inside of the book and somehow do something to help. In equal measure I also wanted to step inside and have it out with Penny’s sister about her behaviour. That is how good I think the writing is – when you want to throttle a particular character on one page and sweep up another into a hug on the next.

Along with the main characters there is of course all the secondary ones and the lovely quirikness of village life that jumps off the page along with the setting and the scenery – what more could you want in a book?

A worthy read.

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for the opportunity to read this book. It has taken me rather a while to get round to reading it. 

The Postcard is out now. The new novel Coming Home takes us back to Pendruggan and we learn more about Ella. 

 

 

 

 

 

Books · Jottings · Witterings

April Roundup

What a month! A holiday from work, various hospital appointments, plenty of knitting, a Royal Baby, plenty of cake, couple of days at Ragdale Hall and of course plenty of reading!

Where do I start really in looking back at what I have read?

Well I am really trying to make a dent in all the books I have on my netgalley list – I get a bit clicky happy when I see a lovely bright cover and something that is going to give me the feel good factor – which I need in buckets.

Which is why I went and caught up with Annie Darling – True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop and then discover there is another one out as I had got behind with the series! I think I liked this book more than the first.

Heidi Swain – Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage was another catch up and Heidi is fast becoming a favourite author who you know as soon as you pick up a book you are going to get a great story! I still have to catch up with The Cherry Tree Cafe and of course I have her new novel waiting and tempting me on my kindle! Damn that netgalley!

Then of course I hear that Fern Britton had a new novel out earlier in the year and I realised I had not read Fern Britton – The Postcard which I had hanging around on my kindle. Why had I not read this earlier – who knows and there is part of me which thinks I should stop putting off reading books by my favourite authors – I treat them with such reverence!

Of course I need to make a dent in the books on the shelves as well and so picked up Kathleen Tessaro – The Perfume Collector which took me on a lovely journey from New York and Paris and the mystery of the art of scent.

Alan Bradley – The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches was the only male author who I read this month – it has been a very female dominated one. But I got back to the delightful Flavia and enjoyed her latest escapade! Flavia is one to watch for the future.

We all probably said the same about Hillary Rodham Clinton – What Happened. I really spent about three months reading this book, as I dipped in and out of it as whilst it wasn’t heavy going it was a book to concentrate on, not for light reading before bedtime! Thank you to everyone who commented on my review/post I was not sure what sort of reaction I was going to get. It is certainly a step away from my normal reading choice.

The joy of blogging means that you do get to find out about other authors and of course that is what led me to pick up Elizabeth Taylor – The Wedding Group. I found it a lonely read in both plot and character and did not enjoy it as much as Mrs Palfrey.

In the centenary year of (some) women getting the vote I was thrilled to get an advance review of Lissa Evans – Old Baggage. I am rather a late comer to Lissa Evans but this book is excellent and focuses on what happened once they got the vote – where did all those women go and what did they do?

Some women still want to live no matter how old they are or what their family thinks. You should certainly read Judy Leigh – A Grand Old Time if you think that age has become a barrier to enjoying wine, men, food and campervans.

Enjoying food is certainly a hobby of mine and I like baking but all of a sudden I want to make chutney and jams thanks to reading Veronica Henry – A Family Recipe her latest novel. I need to dig out my mum’s old recipe books now!

I whizzed through Holly Martin – The Holiday Cottage by the Sea simply because she is another author I really enjoy and she seems to capture romance and humour with fascinating jobs and lives and add a big bit of raciness in it that makes me keep reading and reading. I realise I have the White Cliff Bay series to catch up on, not that I am short of books to read.

As the month came to an end I started a new book – I love that feeling of choosing something with inly a rough idea of what you are going to get between the covers and on the pages and whether it is going to draw you in. And of course it means more books ticked off the netgalley list and moved from the burgeoning bookshelves!

Happy reading in May.

 

Books

True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop – Annie Darling

Verity Love works at The Lonely Hearts Bookshop which was introduced to us in Annie Darling’s first novel in this series. It has taken me awhile to get to the second one and the third is already knocking at my door waiting to be read!

Verity works very much behind the scenes in the bookshop as the manager, reluctantly being in ‘the front’ when she has to. She keeps herself to herself and sticks to what she knows best – Jane Austen and finding space, peace and calm.

Everyone Verity knows has other ideas about what Verity should be doing so to take some of the pressure off she invents a fictional boyfriend Peter, that keeps her from attending any events as fictional boyfriend is often away or they are out together. Verity can reread her Austen novels in peace and remain resolutely single.

Trouble is fate is against her and when by chance she encounters Johnny which results in some confusion it seems that Johnny is also after a fictional girlfriend to take the pressure off him.

Verity and Johnny seem to be able to be each others excuses and plus ones. What a fun summer it is going to be.

Trouble is though, everyone else they meet start making their own conclusions up. The only people who know the truth are Verity’s sisters who were adorably funny.

Whilst this is a light-hearted read I was surprised at the reason behind Johnny’s need for a fabricated girlfriend in his life. This brought a different edge, not what I was expecting and introduced us to some rather unpleasant conceited characters.

Of course like any good Austen novel, there is a few misunderstandings along the way but set against a wonderful bookshop and the joy of Verity’s family this is a really good read.

Can be read happily read as a stand alone novel, the characters and focus of them change from book to book but it is lovely to know that Posy (from the first novel) venture into running a romantic fiction bookshop is still working.

A perfect book for romance fans.

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for the opportunity to read this novel. 

True Love at The Lonely Hearts Bookshop is out now.