Books · Jottings

January Roundup

First month of 2107 gone. Done, dusted, put away. Surely it can only get better, brighter and warmer!

An average sort of month for reading, behind on my goodreads challenge already. which made me panic unnecessarily, because it is only the first month. However, I have throughly enjoyed all that I have read in January.

I caught up with Emma Burstall – The Cornish Guest House, I am a big fan of Emma’s work and probably should have read this when it first came out. Trouble is with authors I really like I tend to not want to read their books immedieatly as when you have done, you are bereft. I feel much the same about reading a Lucinda Riley novel.

Caught up in the hype of the new BBC Drama adaptation of Louise Doughty – Apple Tree Yard and having heard the beautiful Emily Watson be interviewed more than once, I had to read the book before it started on television. Gripping and so far the television is very much in the vision of the book I had when I read it.

What also was brought to life for me was Deborah Burrows – Ambulance Girls. A new author to me and I was asked whether I wanted to partake in the blog tour for the book. The setting is London in the Second World War, and the focus is on those that stayed behind and risked their lives while the bombs were reigning down. However there was a lot more depth to this book and I am looking forward to more in the series.

If you want comfort, easy reading then I normally turn to an author I know will provide that. Which is why I picked up Debbie Macomber – A Girl’s Guide to Moving On. It was one of a series which I did not realise, but it did not detract from the story. The book fulfilled what I wanted it to, but if you asked me to tell you what it was about I probably would struggle.

I have been rather request happy on netgalley in the last month, which is why I was suddenly at the recommended 80% feedback and now I am not. Like a child in a sweetshop looking at all the bright colours I was hooked by so many, and I think some might be of a similar ilk. However I started with Karen Clarke – The Beachside Sweet Shop. If the rest are as good as this, it will be great and I get my feedback percentage back up.

I have also picked up a book from my shelf that has been hanging around for a while which has been in complete contrast to everything else I have read this month Essie Fox – The Somnambulist. I am late to the Essie Fox party but that must mean I have a few to catch up on and enjoy.

So that was January – and I finish it reading another one of my requests from netgalley, which I can feel is going to be a stand out book.

 

 

Jottings

November Roundup

Where to start with my November reading? Probably not as much read as could have been, but birthdays, celebrations, dinners out, christmas decorations seriously cut into the reading time. It also has cut into reviewing and blogging time as well, as you may well have noticed on this blog.

Nonetheless I did manage to read some crackers and some with a Christmas theme, I am getting in early with all the Christmas reading.

I got to finish off the series Holly Hepburn – Christmas at The Star and Sixpence and I am looking forward to seeing what else she comes up with, though I think I still prefer the whole read and not the novella/series/part way. I keep saying that and I still keep going to read books this way!

I revisited The Cornish Cafe with Phillipa Ashley – Christmas at The Cornish Cafe very much a book for the settee with a blanket,tea and mince pies. It is pitched as a trilogy but I am not sure when the final book is going to be out.

More Christmas with Katie Fforde – Candlelight at Christmas. A great short story and always a good way to be introduced to Katie Fforde’s work. It turns out in this novel, they are recurring characters from one of the novels I have not read and so I have to read that as soon as possible!

Now if you were paying attention, you will notice that I go on about preferring to read books in their whole and not in the parts – then what do I do? Start another series Della Parker – The Reading Group: January. Whoops! Clearly with the months, this is a series that could go on a while!

Now for something completely different Julia Stuart – The Last Pearl Fisher of Scotland. I have read most of this author’s work and highly recommend it if you want something really quirky! I only have one to read and that is because I have struggled to get hold of a copy. In this book, whilst it is perhaps not as quirky as previous novels, it has a real depth and focus which is quite heart breaking.

Another quirky novel and one that I struggled with is Mave Fellows – Chaplin and Company. If I struggled why did I not give up on it? I think because it was a beautifully written novel and deserved to be read but it was difficulty in places and I think I may have missed some of the story.

You cannot beat a good murder mystery and if you like such things then I heartily recommend Kate Saunders – The Secrets of Wishtide. Kate Saunders – The Secrets of Wishtide. It is really frustrating when you discover what is going to be a series of books and you have only the first one to read – all you want to do is devour all that have been written. I am on the look out when the next one of these is to be published!

Still reading Christmas stories as the month closes and I am hoping that I will have lots of time to do even more reading!

Books

September Roundup

Here we go then, we are staring down the barrel of the last 3 months of 2016. The end may be in sight for my reading challenge and I am three-quarters of the way through at this point and three-quarters through the end of the year is a great place to be. I do not want to tempt fate and say I am on course, because who knows what might happen.

But for September I have still been in Christmas quite a lot, especially as I got to revisit Holly Martin – Christmas Under a Starlit Sky. A perfect Christmas read.

I also had time to pop into see Beth and young Leo in Bella Osborne – Christmas Cheer: Willow Cottage. This is a book I picked up earlier in the year, but it is one that is being released in parts which can work with some books, not so much with others and makes the story slightly disjointed. This is the case with this book, but I still want to know what happens so will hold out until 2017 for part three. I wish I had found the book later so I could have read it as a whole.

I have also revisited the delightful Flavia in Alan Bradley – Speaking From Among the Bones. It is a pleasure to immerse yourself in a series of books and not have to worry about reviewing them, not that I mind reviewing, but it is nice to get your teeth into something different as much as it is with the familiar.

Another revisit was Holly Hepburn – Autumn at The Star and Sixpence and another part released novel, but I am enjoying this one especially as when I discovered Holly Hepburn earlier this year I had a few to bring me up to date with The Star and Sixpence. I only have a few weeks to wait until the final part, but for recommendation purpose it is another which needs to be read as a whole novel.

Back to some murder with the latest Poirot story from the pen of a well-known contemporary author Sophie Hannah – Closed Casket. I thought it was very good and in the spirit of a Christie novel, and providing you can remember this with the book then you will enjoy it for what it is – a good old-fashioned murder mystery.

Which leads me to Anthony Horowitz – Magpie Murders. If you like your murder mysteries – if you like the clues and the red herrings, then this is certainly the book for you. It is a book within a book and a mystery within many more. The beauty of this book is it makes you think about every murder mystery you have read before and question what you thought you knew. Clever!

The previous two books were set in a certain period of time and I do like my historical fiction and in September I eventually got round to reading Kate Williams – The Storms of War. I have a beautifully signed book after having seen her at the Guildford Book Festival last year, but have just got round to picking it up. I look forward to reading the next in the series as I move into the Roaring Twenties.

2016 seems to be a year for going back to familiar authors you know and ultimately love. So was the case with Emma Hannigan – The Perfect Gift. I have not read as many as I thought I had of this author but I do know that when I pick up a book from her, I am going to get a read which is open, honest and compelling. Yet more to discover from this author no doubt who is not afraid of tackling the most sensitive of subjects.

So that was Septmber and I end it reading a book which is not to be published until January 2017 and that seems like months away!

 

Books

Christmas at the Little Village Bakery – Tilly Tennant

I am back in Honeybourne and I am glad as I was desperate to know what was happening to the characters I fell in love with in the first book The Little Village Bakery.

Christmas is just round the corner, and Millie seems to have settled into life in this little village along with Dylan and a couple of new additions to the bakery since the last book as well.

Jasmine and Rich are still very much together, and whilst this book does not focus on them very much, they are there in the background and it seems that perhaps everything is not as rosy as it seems Spencer and his girlfriend, Tori are the main characters this time round. Spencer having been in America comes back to his home village to spend Christmas not just with Tori but with his parents and hers. The meeting of families which is bound to be doomed from the start when we realise that Tori’s parents are not exactly enamoured of Spencer.

They will be less when they arrive in this snowy country village.

Like her previous novel, this is a very character driven story and it draws you in and holds your attention, without it all being light and fluffy. In fact there were some darker moments and conflicts that were perhaps once buried in the past, coming screaming into the present.

Added to that the bonus, of it being winter, it has snowed and the world outside the goings on in this village is gloriously painted in white. The village come together, in fact everyone comes together as is expected in these types of books, especially when you add being snowed in, Christmas and difficult in-laws to the mix!

A lovely Christmas read (though it worked just as well – reading it in August!) and it was great to catch up with the folk of Honeybourne, I just hope there is more to follow, that village has plenty more stories to tell I am sure.

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

Christmas at the Little Village Bakery is out on 16 Sep on Kindle. 

 

Books · Jottings

August Roundup

August is always a bumper month of reading due to the amount of time I have off work and August 2016 is no exception.

Looking back I seem to have stuck to a particular genre of reading, I think that is mainly because I needed comfort from my reading and you get that from familiar authors and known tales. Lucinda Riley – The Storm Sister, the second in this planned series of seven books was published last year, it has taken me that long to get round to reading it. Not because I didn’t want to read the book, but I was almost frightened of reading it because I knew I would then have to wait for the next one. Ironically I have the third waiting and I do not think I will wait so long to read it this time. I really want to know more about the story.

Reading a series of books one after the other, must be like binge watching box sets. Which is the reason I followed Gervase Phinn – The School Inspector Calls with the fourth book Gervase Phinn – A Lesson in Love. I adore school tales, I love village tales and anything with Yorkshire humour in it is going to be a winner. These books have it all in abundance. Thinking that A Lesson in Love was to be the last, it turns out another books is winging its way out in October. I have preordered it already. Another book I cannot wait to read.

Working my way through some of the books that I challenged myself to read on my Random Reads I picked up Marian Keyes – The Brightest Star in the Sky. Not the strongest of Keyes novels for me and could have easily been better if it had been a couple of hundred pages shorter. Nonetheless I read it and it was passable, which is probably the reason I have not reviewed it. I am sticking to my not reviewing every book I read, and it is rather refreshing to read, close the book and pass it on.

I am also becoming more freeing in giving up books that are not doing it for me. (Perhaps I should have done that for the Marian Keyes one?) This was even more freeing because it was a book I had requested on netgalley. Rowan Coleman – The Happy Home for Broken Hearts. The blurb sounded good enough to intrigue me. Unfortunately the characters and the plot left a lot to be desired and I could not get drawn into the book at all. I put it down and honestly said on my netgalley review that the book was not for me. Get me!

Talking of not reviewing, Minna Howard – Mothers and Daughters was another passable book which was brought to my attention through Twitter, as being free on Amazon. It seemed my sort of book. It was but nothing to write home about and I am glad I did not pay for it.

Of the remaining books that I have read in August, I only paid for one of them. Netgalley is a blessing and a curse all wrapped into one. However I am lucky to have read a few books which I have reviewed and they will be coming out on this blog over the coming weeks. Including Kate Forster – The Last Will and Testament of Daphne Le Marche, an author I have enjoyed in the past and this time was no exception.

Lily Graham – A Cornish Christmas, Holly Martin – Christmas under a Cranberry Sky, Christie Barlow – Lizzie’s Christmas Escape, Tilly Tennant – Christmas at The Little Village Bakery reviews are coming up in the build up to the festive season. I have no idea why I have read that many Christmas based novels in August, but they were all rather good reads!

Back with authors that netgalley has introduced me to meant as soon as I spotted Helen Pollard – Return to the Little French Guesthouse I knew I wanted to read it. Back to the French countryside for the sun, the wine and the happenings in that little guesthouse.

I am pretty much up to date on reading all of Trisha Ashley’s novels, I think there are a couple of back catalogue ones that I have missed so far. Trisha Ashley – A Leap of Faith is a reissue of a previous novel An Urge to Jump and whilst not one of Trisha’s strongest, it made for an amusing read.

So far all of Cathy Bramley’s novels have been excellent and her latest Cathy Bramley – The Plumberry School of Comfort Food was brilliant and I know I am doing the right thing by waiting until they come out as a whole novels as opposed to novellas. It is a great way to read a story but when they are this good you need to devour them in one sitting.

Cath Staincliffe – A Silence Between Breaths is the only book of the month that cannot possibly fit into any of the genres of the others I have read. It was a breathaking read, that had me going back for one last chapter until I reached the conclusion. Having read Staincliffe’s work before I knew what I was getting, when I opened the first page. This book was a book that made you think, made you question and made you hold your breath. I am part of the upcoming blog tour for this novel so there will certainly be more about the book and the author on this blog very soon.

Phew! That was August, I have retreated to familiar as the month ends with dear Flavia and her latest adventures. It seems to me to be a year of sticking with what you know and going back to old favourites. Time to reflect perhaps and I have been doing a lot of that in recent weeks.

How was your August?

Books

July Roundup

So there we have it July. Gone in the blink of an eye. Well it seems to have done for me and I am most surprised that I have read so much in it too!

First of all as I look at what I have read, most has come from netgalley and mostly on my kindle and nothing from the books sitting forlornly on the shelves at home. In fact I actually went out and bought Daphne du Maurier – My Cousin Rachel to read, as my mum’s copy was so fragile I was scared of turning the pages. I really enjoyed this book and have yet shockingly not written about it on this blog. Time has been at a premium and perhaps I am still digesting the wonderful writing, the characters and the strange Rachel within the pages of the book.

Another purchased book to read was Roald Dahl – The BFG my copy I must have had as a child is long gone and I desperately wanted to read the book, before I go and see the film. What a wonder and a joy Roald Dahl is and I can understand why I loved reading so much as a child when it was stories like this to entice me. Looking back and reading it as an adult there were some rather choice phrases which as a child perhaps do not matter much, but as an adult resonate far more:

‘I is not understanding human beans at all,’ the BFG said. ‘You is a human bean and you is saying it is grizzling and horrigust for giants to be eating human beans….

‘But human beans is squishing each other all the time, the BFG said. ‘They is shootling guns and going up in aerioplanes to drop their bombs on each other’s heads every week. Human beans is always killing other human beans.’

He was right. Of course he was right and Sophie knew it. She was beginning to wonder whether humans were actually any better than giants.

I think Dahl had the world worked out a long time ago!

Going back to what you know and love is always a great way to choose books which is why I took a trip to Botswana and visited the wonder that is Mma Precious Ramotswe in Alexander McCall Smith – The Double Comfort Safari Club. It has been a while but always do enjoy these lovely sojourns which are simple tales of morality and almost verging on fables.

I also travelled to India with Julia Gregson – Monsoon Summer. The sounds, the sights, the heat, the smells flew of the page as the story captured into it. What better and probably cheaper way to experience these places than reading about them.

I have also been all over the country as well, down the road from me to Brighton and Goodwood with Sara Sheridan – Operation Goodwood. I cannot wait for more from Mirabelle and her sidekick Vesta.

I have been up to Scotland with Rachel Lucas – Wildflower Bay for the final part of the story. If you know me, I am not a great fan of novels which are split into novellas but as this was only three and I had 1 and 2 available pretty much straight away and did not have long to wait until 3, I took the plunge. I do hope Rachel Lucas returns to this Scottish island.

I did stop for a while in Glasgow with Margaret Thomson Davies – The Goodmans of Glassford Street, but I was not there long. The book was not doing anything for me. It was perhaps not a strong enough start and whilst I gave it a fair go, I decided that no it wasn’t goign to work for me. It did not seem to fit correctly in the right era, the planning and plotting were rather weak. It would have been a stronger book if the author had been a bit clearer. Since reading reviews about the book, it appears this author has written far better work.

Right to the other end of the land with Sarah Vaughan – The Farm on the Edge of the World, a lovely dual narrative story set in Cornwall. A book that surprised me.

No trip would be complete without a trip to the beach at least and I was taken to the fictional seaside resort of Sandybridge with Ali McNamara – Letters from Lighthouse Cottage. 

Of course if it is raining a trip to a bookshop is a good idea, especially Ellen Berry – The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane one dedicated to cookbooks and if it just happens to be in God’s own country then who am I to complain.

A real whistle-stop tour of the UK, probably not in a very sensible order now I look back!

Oddly enough I am in Geneva, Norway and London whilst I reading the second book of the wonderful Lucinda Riley series about The Seven Sisters. That is where I am leaving July and entering August and I hope there will even more reading.

Where has your July taken you?

Books

Six in Six – 2016 Roundup

First of all a very big THANK YOU to everyone who joined in, to all the new blog followers, watchers and readers it has been great to discover your little piece of the internet.

We have lots of lovely new categories for next year and I hope that we have also discovered lots of new blogs as well. 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.

Happy reading and discovering folks!

Cleopatra Loves Books 

Hopewell’s Public Library of Life

BooksPlease

The Bookworm Chronicles

Beyond Eden Rock

A Darn Good Read

She Reads Novels

ExUrbanis