Books · Jottings

Roundup – Six in Six 2019

 

First of all a very big THANK YOU to everyone who joined in. We might be a select 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 year on year ever so slowly but we all have one thing in common – we like to read!

In no particular order please check out these fellow Six in Sixers!

Happy reading and discovering folks!

Superfluous Reading

The Bookworm Chronicles

Read Warbler

Letters from a Hill Farm

BooksPlease

She Reads Novels

Hopewell’s Public Library of Life

Pining for the West

An Adventure in Reading

sprite writes

FictionFan’s Book Reviews

A Darn Good Read

The Quiet Geordie

 

I hope you enjoy the next six months of reading and see you all in 2020!

Books · Jottings · Witterings

July Roundup

Another hot month and the reading has gone at two speeds  – fast and interminably slow! I blame the heat and nothing else.

Just because it is hot at home doesn’t mean it cannot be hot elsewhere on my reading travels. Which is why I was whisked away with Julie Caplin – The Secret Cove in Croatia – like reading a fictional holiday brochure! Utter bliss.

Of course I could stay at home and so I did with the latest Sarah Bennett – Sunshine over Bluebell Castle, the next in the trilogy and I spent many a happy hour vicariously gardening with Iggy and the gorgeous Will.

With all the heat what a better place to be than in the water – Libby Page – The Lido. The book has been on my radar for a while and it is the most delightful book I have read in a longtime, so touching and so gentle it deserves a second read and I need to get to my local lido!

Of course if you can’t go abroad or in a castle and you have no pool near you what about Emma Davies – The Beekeeper’s Cottage a place to relax and watch the bees do what they do best whilst the flowers of the farm next door, wave their stems in the wind releasing a scent that wafts off the page.

All of these are great summer reads, but actually will warm the coldest of days too!

Summer would not be summer without at wedding or two, and I have only one to experience as I catch up with Rachel Dove‘s work– The Wedding Shop on Wexley Street  another place in the fictional little town of Westfield.

Looking back on the previous six months of reading with my little exclusive meme Six in Six made me realise that I have read very little crime, easily sorted in July it seems.

Trying to work my way through some more Christie means I have picked up Agatha Christie – The Secret Adversary a Tommy and Tuppence novel which was featured in the Read Christie 2019 to be found on the official website. I do enjoy a gentle stroll back to some crime fiction of past ages.

I went even further back with Georgina Clarke – The Corpse Played Dead who has given us another tail of Lizzie Hardwicke, a lady of a certain occupation helping the magistrates and the Bow Street Runners – certainly know doing things ‘by the book’ in this novel.

Three years in the waiting meant I was thrilled to be back with Kate Saunders – Laetitia Rodd and the Case of the Wandering Scholar. Another historical crime novel, featuring a strong female lead and this time I was taken into the depths of missing men, affairs, murders and romance.

I finish July, reading another gothic novel, which I think is supposed to frighten me but as of yet has simply kept me reading with no nasty side effects.

August brings holiday and even more time for reading – I simply cannot wait.

Books

Six in Six 2019 – My Choices

So without further ado here is my Six in Six for 2019.

  • Six books with workplaces in their title

Farm

Cafe

Shipyard

Picture House

Lighthouse

School

  • Six authors I have read before
  1. Lucinda Riley
  2. Heidi Swain
  3. Nancy Revell
  4. Christie Barlow
  5. Veronica Henry
  6. Sarah Bennett
  • Six books from the past that drew me back there
  1. Sara Sheridan – Mirabelle Bevan Series (Russian Roulette & Indian Summer)
  2. Lorna Cook – The Forgotten Village
  3. Hazel Gaynor – The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter
  4. Liz Fenwick – The Path to the Sea
  5. Georgina Clarke – Death and the Harlot
  6. Erica James – The Dandelion Years
  • Six new authors to me
  1. Lorna Cook – The Forgotten Village
  2. Erica James – The Dandelion Years
  3. Georgina Clarke – Death and the Harlot
  4. Caroline Roberts – Rachel’s Pudding Pantry
  5. Laura Purcell – The Silent Companions
  6. Kirsty Wark – The House on the Loch

 

  • Six Extracts from reviews I have written in 2019

This is a wonderful heartwarming novel, which deals with many issues across a spectrum – from “cradle to grave” and all of the characters in the book are wonderful. Add to that the setting of Scotland and the power of the weather and it felt I was transported right up there and was sharing the community spirit which simply floated off the pages. (Love Heart Lane – Christie Barlow)

*

The story though is ultimately about Greta and how despite being a Goldbaum from one branch and having to marry into another branch is fiercely independent and determined to make her mark and not be overlooked in any way. Her actions and challenges to the norm and what is ‘expected’ were both heartwarming and heartbreaking. She can be found naked under the cherry tree in the early days of marriage, she will breastfeed her son herself. She will understand the power and knowledge that women  can have in a man’s world. She will love and she will grieve, for everything she knows about her Goldbaum history will be torn apart by war and the greed of money. (House of Gold – Natasha Solomons)

*

This is a fantastic read. It has everything you want from a book, humour, tragedy, light and dark moments and covers some difficult subjects with careful consideration. Plus I got to learn a lot about viticulture as well as the word itself! Wonderful characters which are introduced gradually and all play a part in the overall story. They are not all flung in at the beginning of the novel, but woven into the tale as you go so they are full formed and can be remembered quite clearly once you have put the book down.

Vintage Cathy Bramley which absolutely fizzes! (A Vintage Summer – Cathy Bramley)

*

Will Bluebell Castle survive the debts, the intrigued and the new love burgeoning within its walls?

It has everything that I could possibly want from a really good story; romance, mystery, history, a castle and even a Butler! If all or any of these things, fascinate you then read the book, it will bring joy to you in abundance.

It is like the Antiques Roadshow meets Downton Abbey and I am totally in love with it! Sarah Bennett has done it again and I think this is going to be her best series to date. (Spring Skies over Bluebell Castle – Sarah Bennett)

*

This novel is told from all the three main character points of view, to help with your understanding and timeline, chapters are dated so we go between present day and the past.

The writing is so subtle that I was immediately drawn into the house party of Boskenna and the mystery that continued to build around the events and the house had me in mind of Rebecca…….I was convinced that Mrs Danvers was going to appear. Whilst of course she doesn’t the secrets that are tied up in the house and the family are going to have to come out.

The Cornish setting added to the atmosphere and the author has an uncanny knack of making it all three dimensional away from the page. I could taste the salt in the sea air and feel the heat of the sun. (A Path to the Sea – Liz Fenwick)

*

This is a great read which took me to the ever changing weather and landscapes of the Highlands of Scotland. Whilst characters first appeared in an earlier novel by Colgan which I had not read, there was enough background to see me through as this book is very much focussed on Zoe and Hari as well as the three children she comes to care for.

Subtly done, some rather difficult situations are encountered, selective mutism, mental health issues in youngsters as well as romance and friendships, the book has so much to give and was one of my favourite reads of 2019 so far. (The Bookshop on the Shore – Jenny Colgan)

 

  • Six books I have read but not reviewed
  1. Sarah Sheridan – Russian Roulette
  2. Agatha Christie – Dumb Witness
  3. Lucinda Riley – The Angel Tree
  4. Erica James – The Dandelion Years
  5. Judy Finnigan – Eloise
  6. Laura Purcell – The Silent Companions

That is my choices, I am really enjoying reading yours and there is still time to join in and tell everyone what you have enjoyed in the first six months of 2019.

 

Books

A Summer Escape and Strawberry Cake at the Cosy Kettle – Liz Eeles

I am back in the Cosy Kettle for another cup of tea and a piece of cake and to catch up with the villagers of Honeyford.

In this second in the series, the main storyline features Flora, the owner of the Cosy Kettle and Bookshop in Honeyford who we met in the first book and was a characters who I thought was very reserved and quiet but I wasn’t sure why.

Now having met more of her husband, Malcolm and realised what you thought about him in book one is true and when Flora discovers his infidelity she suddenly realises that perhaps something is missing in her life. She has always been under someone else’s shadow and it is time for her to step into the light.

As she does, Flora becomes even more involved in village life, but after years of knowns the unknown seems very frightening and it be easier if she slipped back into her old life.

However, Honeyford, the book ship and the cosy kettle have other ideas for Flora.

Taken in by Luna, who runs the mystical shop, Flora embraces a different way of living and also has to share the house with Luna’s widowed son Daniel and his son, Caleb.

Getting involved in summer celebrations, Flora throws herself into hosting a famous author, a baking competition as well as trying to make a decisions about her husband means that Flora has a lot goign on.

But when she returns to Luna’s home, she can see the simplicity of nature and that all around her and she perhaps needs to make a change in her life to be able to move on.

Is Flora going to make the right change?

Another satisfying read and with the right amount of well developed secondary characters, Becca the manager of the Cosy Kettle, Knackered Mary, unlikely friends Millicent and Marigold, Callie (prominent in the first book), her eccentric grandfather Stanley still making his hilarious mark as well as some sumptuous descriptions of cakes and you have all you could want from a book.

Great for a light summer read!

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

A Summer Escape and Strawberry Cake at the Cosy Kettle is published on 1 July. 

Books · Jottings

Six in Six – 2019 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!

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

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

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 2019 reading year!

Books · Jottings

May Roundup

Here we go then May done and dusted. How did that happen?

I am trying my best to read my shelves as well as all the wonderful (and not so wonderful) books I am lucky enough to get through netgalley.

I aim to do more of the shelf reading as we go into June. But for May I took off Laura Purcell – The Silent Companions which had been hanging around for a while and I don’t know why because I was fascinated with this novel and whilst I have not reviewed I would certainly recommend it to readers who like the gothic and the ghostly.

Another book which has to have been on the shelf even longer was Judy Finnigan – Eloise. This was her first novel and very readable, it kept me hooked and whilst I was intrigued by the characters, despite some of the weakness they had in being fully formed by the author there was something about the writing which felt very simplistic. I have her second to read so I want to see if anything has improved. That said if you want a simple readable novel you cannot go far with this one.

Then you get readable novels which are wonderfully written and cleverly plotted and tell stories of the past and present and this was very much so with Liz Fenwick – The Path to the Sea. The latest novel is for of secret and mystery and the setting is in almost three dimensions it is so wonderfully described. I really must get round to reading the other Liz Fenwick books I have.

I have read some Tilly Tennant books and loved them and I have read some and thought they were missing something and had become a bit pedestrian. But I dived into Tilly Tennant – Hattie’s Home for Broken Hearts and was suitably surprised. Sometimes you have to stick with authors, they can suddenly surprise you!

No more so when I picked up Ali McNamara – Secrets and Seashells at Rainbow Bay another author whose books I was not keen on from the early part of her oeuvre but who has suddenly developed and become someone whos books I really love to read. Her latest is no different and the added bonus of some mystery and some ghosts made it a book to enjoy and probably read again.

Another bonus is a free book and that was the case with Cathy Bramley – We’ll Meet Again whose free short story via Amazon gives some background to the new serialised novel she has coming out soon. I am going to be patient and wait until the whole thing is out and I was really good and did not read the preview which was also included in the short story.

Of course I go back to authors again and again, which is why I visited Emma Davies – The House at Hope Corner having devoured her books last year and was thrilled to be immersed once again and in a wonderful plot and with delightful characters and the expectation of more novels towards the end of the year.

Catching up with a series is always a blessing and I am slightly jealous of people who have yet to start the Mirabelle Bevan series but I thoroughly enjoyed Sara Sheridan – Indian Summer. If you want strong female characters, history and mystery then this is the series for you.

I am a bit behind with Rachel Dove’s series of novels which have been set in Westfield. So with the opportunity to read her latest, I thought I better get on and catch up with the residents which is why I was with Rachel Dove – The Flower Shop on Foxley Street. 

It might seem I read nothing but authors that I know and love and of course I do, but at one time they had to be authors who were new to me and this is the case with Emma Rous – The Au Pair. A debut novel and one that will keep you on the edge of your seat despite its initial flaws, the writing, the plot and the author is one to be intrigued by.

Quite a good month of reading and I also made the decision to let loose a book that I wasn’t getting on with too. Such a relief to not trawl through something that is bringing you no joy whatsoever.

So on with June, I am up to speed with my yearly Goodreads Challenge and of course look out for Six in Six which will make a return for the select few who join in. I would love for you to spread the word when I put the post up.

Happy Reading in June.

Books · Jottings

March Roundup

It has been a very odd month reading wise – work has been horrendous in varying measures and I have been so exhausted and stressed by it all I have probably not read as much as I normally do and had a slump of about five days when I just could not get into any book at all.

I felt disheartened, especially when I ploughed on with Judy Leigh – The Age of Misadventure when I perhaps should have given it up. It was an okay book, but nothing about the characters made me warm to any of them and if anything they were quite irritating and the plot meant you needed to suspend reality for a little while. I know some have loved it and will love it but it really was not for me. That will be my extent of my review on netgalley.

I did try to start a number of other books over the month, The Road to Grantchester was one, which I read quite a bit, but I found the war setting at the beginning rather harrowing and put the book down, as I felt it was not helping my mental state. In the end I just went a couple of days without reading.

It all sounds depressing but there was some lovely bright reads amongst my melancholy March!

Sarah Bennett – Spring Skies over Bluebell Castle this is the first in a new series from Sarah Bennett, who I have been reading since her first book was published and you will find her a popular author on this blog. This I think is goign to be the beginning of the best series so far. I am pitching it as Antiques Roadshow meets Downton Abbey – it will bring some much needed sun and warmth into your life. It helped me no end – and I cannot wait to go back to Bluebell Castle.

Of course Cornwall always brings as smile to the soul, even if I have never been and only lived the place vicariously through my reading. Phillipa Ashley – A Perfect Cornish Summer does just that and adds in a food festival to make your mouth water as you read. A perfect read for summer and holidays in fact at anytime!

So from Derbyshire with Sarah to Cornwall with Phillipa I then went to the Cotswolds with Liz and more food after all that travelling. Liz Eeles – New Starts and Cherry Tarts at the Cosy Kettle treats us to a cup of tea and a cherry tart if you fancy in the cafe situated in a bookshop. What more could a book loving customer want! And we can go back for seconds at the Cosy Kettle when the next book comes out.

The last few years my blog has been dominated by a lot of women’s fiction – I know that is not everyones cup of tea but isn’t that the great thing about reading and books? Something to fit everyone and every mood. Of course I do love a good historical saga and anything set in the past as well which is why some of the books I read are vastly different to the perhaps the majority!

That was the case with this debut novel Georgina Clarke – Death and the Harlot: A Lizzie Hardwicke Novel where I was transported back to the 18th century, to London, to highwaymen, murders and ladies of the night. What an interesting background for a murder mystery and an interesting twist of a sidekick for a detective!

Further forward to the Second World War with Lorna Cook – The Forgotten Village a dual timeline and narrative about a village requisitioned and never returned to its residents. It still lays empty today.

Even further forward to the 1980s and 1990s, as I grow older I realise this is very much the past and history for some! Tracy Buchanan – The Family Secret  a new author to me and one who I will return to. This is a story of mothers, of loss and of secrets that are kept to protect and punish others. Fascinating and gripping!

All of the books read in March are from netgalley requests and I think I need to spend some time reading off my shelves for a while. So many books calling out to me and with two weeks of holiday about to start, there is plenty of time for reading.

Happy April everyone!