Authors in October – Part 4

And so the day is coming to an end. I am still at Guildford if you are reading these posts and thank you for staying with me.  It will soon be time for the train home.

Refreshed after that afternoon cuppa, it is time for the final three authors of the day.

Erin Kelly (The Poison Tree), Katherine Webb (The Legacy) and Andrew Martin (Jim Stringer Railway Detective books). The conversation was geared around favourite childhood reads and mentioned some books of my childhood with ease.

Obviously there were the wonderful Enid Blyton and Erin Kelly was a fan of the less popular mystery series The Five Find Outer’s which I loved more than the Famous Five and Secret Seven and also The Faraway Tree. I wanted to talk to Erin about these books especially as I have in recent months gone back and reread them, plus she then moved on to Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Erin obviously meant the originals of Blyton’s work – not the sanitised (my words) pc version that is now available. Erin I hope you read your children the originals of these.

Katherine Webb remembers the Funny Bones story by Janet & Allan Alhberg and many of us even remembered the words, “dark, dark street, dark, dark house…”. I had forgotten all about this book, must have a sneaky look in the library or book shop for it.

Andrew Martin, remembers fondly Just William, for it’s humour and adventures but was rather astonished to find them having been written by a woman! I should imagine many little boys did not believe that.

These were three very different authors. Andrew Martin looked rather uncomfortable, perhaps these types of events were not his ‘thing’? Being a journalist, perhaps he is used to asking the questions but not answering them. His has written a recent article on the debacle of the West Coast mainline franchise for The Guardian. I  am merely surmising. However he is a successful author and the Jim Stringer novels are very popular. I sense perhaps when you have written a book called How to Get Things Really Flat: A Man’s guide to Ironing, Dusting and other Household Arts, being on stage with two women and an audience made up of them he felt slightly out of his depth? I am merely surmising, but I could sense a sense of humour there somewhere.  I had heard of Andrew Martin and only read one of his novels the first in the Jim Stringer series and was not captured enough and have not revisited them. Perhaps I should try his new novel The Baghdad Railway Club, which he based on the landscape of Egypt because that is what he knows. Honesty knows no bounds with Martin.

Katherine Webb (her web footprint is very limited) was another author I have read and I was not sure about her book The Legacy as it took me a while to settle into her reading and because of that and the fact that I predicted some of the outcome I have not picked up another of her novels. However, I now have The Unseen (more about that later) to read so perhaps now I will have different view, having listened to her speak.

Erin Kelly, is an author I follow on twitter and we occasionally tweet. I have yet to read her novels, but they are now both (more about that later too!) on my shelf and I do want to read The Poison Tree as soon as I can because it has been adapted for the television  I might perhaps suggest it for one of my book club books in 2013. Her process of writing was fascinating, to very early mornings and even earlier as the ideas flow. But I think dedication to her cause has to be agreeing on a publisher whilst in labour with her first child. She is currently expecting her second and cannot wait to have the baby with perhaps less pressure.

As I mentioned I now have a copy of The Sick Rose (The Poison Tree I already have), a signed copy which Erin signed, but I did not fess up and say who I was (from twitter). I felt that as I had not actually read any of her books I was rather cheating the system, at that point I had not heard her talk as it was during the tea break! Daft I know. Especially as Erin was so personable as well.

And so a wonderful day comes to an end. Guy gave us the highlights in a very succinct manner it was worthy of the round of applause that we gave. I found it very interesting to listen to such a wide variety of authors, some known to me some new discoveries. To listen to others and their love of books, reading and in the physical and also to share it all in a very lovely venue. I will certainly be going again in 2013 and I cannot wait!

Back to the train station, laden down with the books I purchased (4) plus the goody bag and what a bag it was. Included was a copy of the newbooks magazine, which was actually missing from my bag but it did not matter as I already subscribe. 4 books for free to read! One of which I had read, but when you meet familiar faces at the station, all who have goody bags like you  it invariably falls to the question – “what did you get”? So I swapped one of my books for one I had not read! Great!

And so as the train pulls into the station, it has been a great day. A packed one and so lovely to share something so solitary such as reading. I look forward to next year and cannot wait to see who comes along.

Thank you for staying with me through these posts, I hope you enjoyed reading them – but Authors in October is not going to end there either, another post to come!

Books · Jottings · Witterings

Book Club #1 – Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier

I was lucky enough to be chosen as a World Book Night giver for 2012 and even more luck enough to be able to give Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier out. As well as releasing these books to people who do not necessarily read or have never read this book an off the chance remark on Facebook, led to some friends wanting to have a read, which led to my first book club! So Jo’s Book club was born made up of family, friends and neighbours and a couple of weeks ago was our first meeting. Eek!

I admit to being rather nervous, as never having done anything like this before and being particularly passionate about books and reading, I do realise that not everyone is like me. I did a little bit of research about questions and found the website litlovers where there were plenty of tips, ideas and discussion questions on Rebecca but lots of other novels too. I also found a little ice breaker game which I thought would be good way of kicking things off.

So with refreshments dealt with, we played the game which gave us all a chance to find more about everyone’s likes and dislikes; such questions as:

Where’s your favourite place to read? – Popular answer was in bed!

What was the first book you remember reading/being read?

Which book have you read most frequently?

Not everyone had finished the book, so I made sure that we were not going to spoil it for everyone if we discussed the ending. Such talking points covered; du Maurier’s works such as Jamaica Inn which Karen loved (and I agree). How creepy Mrs Danvers was. Nastiness of Favell. Mrs Van De Hopper ‘friend of the bosom’.  The scene where Mrs de Winter comes down the stairs for the Ball dressed as one of the ladies in the painting, made me want to cringe – I really wanted to shout “don’t do it”. That was a turning point for Carol and she was really captured by the book. The issue of the second Mrs De Winter not having a name.  Why Max took her home to Manderlay? And the division of Rebecca being in the west wing and the new Mrs de Winter in the east. Then leaving her to fit into a life unknown to her with no help. Beatrice, Max’s sister tried so hard to help the new wife. Never thought of it being a being a murder mystery, but he did kill her. Why were they in exile? Lots of unanswered questions. Then discussion of the Hitchcock film adaptation and the television version with Emilia Fox.

In fact reading the afterword in the book by Sally Beauman (who went on to write Rebecca’s Tale) gave us a lot to discuss. The questions I printed off were not needed that much but were a very useful tool. I think we covered quite a lot really.

Not wanting to losing momentum we headed for a refreshment top up and then a bit of a book swap, with the many books that I have got waiting to go to the charity shop and the various other places I distribute them. It enabled everyone to pick something that perhaps they would not have thought of picking up before. Sue surprised us all with her choosing a rather graphic crime novel. It was a good idea and next time round everyone is going to bring some for swapping, which will be great fun!

It looks like a new little book group has started and everyone was keen for it to continue, I really was not sure whether it could have been a one-off or had potential. Luckily the latter.

So how to choose the next book, difficult when you do not want to push your choices on everyone else, but I suggested Room by Emma Donoghue, it was featured on the list of books which was given out at World Book Night which started this book group off and is a current well-known novel and I also knew would be easy to get hold of copies in a charity shop as well as the library. So we have gone with that one. Carol ordered it immediately that night for delivery and my mum the following day as it was relatively cheap on kindle. I already had a copy and now everyone else has there’s – it looks like we are good to go with Chapter Two of my Book Club and we meet again in June.

As for following books, I have printed off the list that my local library service provides a number of copies for book groups. So that will give us certainly some more choices. I am also hoping that the promise of some books from a publisher will come to fruition as well.

Everyone enjoyed the evening and so did I. It is great to share the love of reading and books with people, and we had the I am sure obligatory discussion about kindles, paperbacks and hardback that seems to be doing the rounds in many literary places.

Then in The Telegraph this last week there was an article about book clubs and how to run one successfully – apparently avoiding alcohol and Middlemarch my book club should survive?

Has anyone got any tips or suggestions for future books or perhaps little games to play?

Books · Jottings

Jottings #5 – Week, Wodehouse & World Book Night

A little jotting to say that if you did not know already but Monday is World Book Night. I picked up my books today. 24 copies of Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.

Don’t they look lovely all together – but actually there is one missing already because I was cheeky gave one away to the Mortgage Adviser in the bank (it didn’t sway the mortgage), where I had an appointment which tied in with me visiting my local Waterstones to pick them up. She was thrilled and as she had just finished a book, did not know what to read next and had never read Rebecca. Result!

So what shall I do with all of these books – well give them away of course. And on the off chance that any readers and followers of this blog have NOT read this wonderful novel then please leave a message and I will send one out to you. I am a little bit nervous about giving them out to random people but I am sure it will be fine. Some of them are going to be given to friends for a Book Club that I have started at their behest. More about that in another post.

Robert Colville of the Telegraph writes an interesting piece on World Book Night about how giving out books gets people reading which is a good thing.

So what else is there to tell you about this week – it was the first week back at work after holidays. It was a tough one in more ways than I would imagine and has been rather challenging. Hopefully routine is back and the early mornings will not hurt so much now and I will be much settled next week. The swimming has been going well, so that is a bonus.

Always wanting to have something to look forward to and I am a bit late to perhaps be mentioning this as I see it was announced in Feb 2012 but the BBC have commissioned a television series of Blandings by P G Wodehouse. I have read nearly all of the Jeeves and Wooster stories but not Blandings so when I saw this was announced I wanted to see what they were like. Popping along to my local library I thought I would see what they had and picked up a book –  Leave it to Psmith.

Not that I need to be borrowing books from the library as I have enough at home to be read. But I did wander round, and saw lots of books that I can pop back and borrow. Especially those that I want to catch up on and will be good for the Crime Fiction Alphabet Challenge coming up in May.

And then of course we have had rain……rain…….rain……

Books · Jottings

Jottings #1

I had noticed that I had been rather quiet on the blog lately, not because I have nothing to say because actually I do but I have not had the inclination to get writing. Upon reflection, I should have been writing as I realise how therapeutic it is or at least can be.

So I thought I would just do a jottings post and tap into the title of the blog which makes sense really. So here are my thoughts on various topics, books plus a few links along the way.

I seem to have slightly lost my reading mojo for two reasons

a. having too many books on the go!

b. knowing that I was not enjoying the book I was reading and how on earth was I going to review it. The book in question was Helen Dunmore’s Zennor in Darkness. Thank you to everyone who commented and it is interesting to see how we take on some sort of guilt about not liking a book that others rave about!

My mojo is probably back as I was lucky enough to be sent a wonderful debut novel by M.L. Stedman – The Light Between the Oceans. Thank you to Alison Barrow from Transworld. I have not reviewed it as of yet, because this is a book and a review which I want to take my time over, and there are lots of things I want to say about the book but I will publish the review around the time of publication on 26 April. In the meantime here is the ‘blurb’

This is a story of right and wrong, and how sometimes they look the same.

1926. Tom Sherbourne is a young lighthouse keeper on a remote island off Western Australia. The only inhabitants of Janus Rock, he and his wife Isabel live a quiet life, cocooned from the rest of the world.  One April morning a boat washes ashore carrying a dead man and a crying infant – and the path of the couple’s lives hits an unthinkable crossroads.  Only years later do they discover the devastating consequences of the decision they make that day – as the baby’s real story unfolds …

M L Stedman’s debut is a mesmerising novel of love and loss and unbearable choices.

Once I had finished this book I could not decide what next to read, it felt disloyal to start something new. So I have carried on reading a rather 2012 themed book which is Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch by Sally Bedell Smith. It is quite interesting although I do not feel I have learnt anything outstandingly new about her. The Queen not the author. I feel it is rather geared to an American audience, but I will not let that put me off and it is written chronologically and I have just got up to the Silver Jubilee celebrations so about half way through.

However I do not think this book is a patch on Andrew Marr’s The Diamond Queen: Elizabeth II and her People which I have yet to read but thoroughly enjoying the BBC TV series for which this book accompanies. (It was also a Kindle Daily Deal – and worth the £1.59) I have learnt from this programme  – that the HMY Britannia (which should never have been decommissioned – but that is a another story) was actually meant to be a nuclear bunker for the Queen in the event of nuclear war. Fascinating and even more so because I work with an ex RN Petty Officer who served on the ship that guarded the Royal Yacht and even he did not know about it. Some secrets can be kept.  I look forward to reading this book. I also have The Final Curtsey by Margaret Rhodes, (The Queen’s first cousin) to read. 2012 could be the year for reading royally!

In all things celebration in 2012, I give you the link for you to read at your leisure. Why is 2012 a year to remember? Although we are only two months into this celebratory year, who would have thought that it was 70 years since the film Casablanca was made! And with the Olympics happening this year, 2012 will remain a year to remember in the future.

World Book Night is in its second year this year and I have been lucky enough to be chosen to give out 25 books – Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. It is my favourite book and also my mum’s who first got me into the book and we both have watched the film version, the TV series and also a stage play. Fabulous. I am so excited about this and I hope to give some of the books away on this blog for anyone that has not read it or for those who have but just want to take part!

The old reading mojo might be a little wobbly, but the swimming one seems to be there. I have swam 4Km in the last week, mainly because I have not had any PT sessions. Some days are harder than others, especially when you have had only 5 hours sleep the night before and up at 0515. Power through and I got there, but I am glad of the weekend to have some time to relax (and sleep!)

Reading newspapers is not something I do on a frequent basis unless I am on holiday, I see it as a luxury especially in the days of instant news on 24 hour television and the internet. Saturday is the day I do buy a paper (Daily Express) mianly for the TV listings for the following week and because it is bliss to settle down and spend the time to read the paper. However I signed up to reading The Telegraph on the iPad because I had a subscription through work and was just going to try out and see what it was like. I am hooked. Secretly a bit like feeling guilty about not liking a book you are reading, I always feel I should be reading a newspaper which is a bit more highbrow and less tabloidy. All the news aside I have got into doing the quick crossword, and seeing the next day whether I was right or not is quite satisfying and I am surprising myself with what I know.

This post has turned into a bit of a reading, book related post which is fine as I am going to continue that theme with words. Whilst flicking through the Which magazine that arrived at work this week, I came across the article about Food Labelling, you can read the online article in full here. I read the one from the magazine, not that dissimilar. What interested me was the ‘creative writing’ that supermarkets and food manufacturers use on products.

A visit to the supermarket can bombard you with labels that use creative language…Words such as ‘real’, ‘homemade’ and ‘hearty’ draw people in because they allude to feelings of comfort. Although not legally defined…on the use of the term ‘homemade’ – it shouldn’t be used on factory-made foods, only on products prepared in a domestic kitchen.

Now here is a term that I think could catch on ‘Weasel Words’, wonderful alliteration. Defining ‘Weasel Words’

Heather Hartwell, associate professor in food service and applied nutrition at Bournemouth University told us [Which] “These words fall into the “affective” category. They allude to emotions tat can trigger happy memories such as grandma’s apple pie. Other words provide a sensory description – ‘crisp’, ‘succulent’ and ‘rich’ are used frequently on premium products to indicate luxury. In the industry these are known as ‘Weasel Words’.

Who knew that doing your weekly shop could be such a literary experience. And apparently we are all being conned by the difference between ‘flavour’ and ‘flavoured’.  Manufacturers are banking on us not realising the difference, so to inform you all as i feel this sort of information should be shared:

Flavour – can mean something from artificial flavouring.

Flavoured – has to contain the natural ingredient.

Rest assured that I am going to eat my “Homemade Butternut Squash Soup flavoured with garlic. It has been made in a domestic kitchen – Tick!. It has got the natural ingredient garlic in it – Tick! And there is not a food manufacturer with a labelling problem within sight – Tick!

Books · Cooking · Witterings


New Year, new start, new resolutions and new challenges. To be honest I am not one for making resolutions, as I think these can be made at any point in the year not just at the beginning of it. Plus there is the obvious wait as those around you who know that you have made a resolution wait to see you fall flat on your face!

I do know I want to do something different this year, something out of my comfort zone – but as of yet I do not know what it is and well I do not have to make up mind now do I? If anyone has any ideas or thoughts I would love to hear from them. Nothing dangerous to my health or others and nothing illegal!

There is always plenty of reading challenges doing the rounds and I have been reading about lots that many blogs I visit are starting for 2012.  This blog here  is a great start if you want to get involved, it seems to have something for everyone. I am so tempted by lots and lots of them, but I know with reading if I put myself under undue pressure nothing will happen and I will do my best to avoid reading for these challenges. However, they have given me an idea of my own and so I decided to set my own challenges. Without further ado….

Reading Challenges

The three Standard Challenges that I have every year is

  1. Read 50 books in the year
  2. Do not buy any more books
  3. Review every book I read
However, I thought I would perhaps expand this a bit and go for a few more.
New Challenges

The rules are simple for the first 5, read 1 book by that author.

Read 1 Charlotte Bronte Novel

Currently on Jane Eyre and have about 80 pages left and I know I started it in 2011, but I knew I was never going to finish it before the end of year.

Read 1 Charles Dickens novel

Not sure what book to choose here, so might leave that one up to fate. In addition thought with this one, as I live in Portsmouth and never been I am also going to visit Charles Dickens Birthplace at some point between 28 January and 4 November, if I can tie this in with the first Sunday of the month apparently they do some readings as well.

Read 1 Daphne du Maurier Novel

At the moment, I am thinking My Cousin Rachel, simply because I picked it up after having read Jamaica Inn last year and it is still on the shelf unread.

Read 1 Jane Austen Novel

Mansfield Park is the choice here. I already had downloaded this on my kindle after reading Persuasion last year, and then the delightful Rachel on Book Snob had a bit of luck getting hold of a rather beautiful copy, to read and well it would be rude not to join in!

Along with this one, is the fact that I won tickets to the Jane Austen House museum and need to go and experience all things Austenesque before the 31 August.

Read 1 Georgette Heyer Novel

I have never read any by this author and have seen lots and lots on the blogs I visit about her, so I knew that I must at least try one. Any recommendations?

Unfinished Books

I currently have a few unfinished books, they are currently unfinished because I have been struggling with them.

Little Women – Louisa May Alcott I am just finding this quite a difficult read.

The Crimson, Petal and the White – Michael Faber This is a long book, and whilst it is good other books kept getting in the way. 

Wedlock – Wendy Moore I think I need to restart this one completely so I can enjoy it properly. 

I would like to finish 1 of these this year.

Series Challenge

Looking back on 2011 I have picked 3 authors whose series of books I am currently reading and would like to read 3 more in the current series I am reading.

  1. M.C. Beaton – Agatha Raisin
  2. Carola Dunn – Daisy Dalrymple
  3. Debbie Macomber – Cedar Cove Series

I am going to copy this onto a tab at the top of my blog, so I and anyone else can keep a track on them. That way I can also add in more challenges throughout the year as they come to mind, or as some really tempt me.

What sort of challenges are you doing for 2012? Any I might have missed out on?


September Roundup

I can tell I am back at work, my eyelids are closing earlier in the day and there is no more lie ins until whenever, it is up and about in some sort of form at 0530. That said I have had a rather strange reading month upon reflection and managed to read some books amongst all that sleeping!

I joined in with Rachel’s read along of Persuasion by Jane Austen. In fact I got the book on my kindle and thought let me have a quick look before the date of the read along, I was hooked so quickly that I had finished within a few days and I enjoyed it. I have reviewed the book and also another post, regarding Persuasion and the Navy in relation to today. As ihave said in the past if you follow this blog I have read very few of the ‘classics’ and having found this book such a joy, I know I am not going to be so scared in picking up another and reading it.

Going from a classic in the 1800s to the most recent book by a wonderful author who I have only discovered this year, Linda Gillard and Untying the Knot. Publishers if you should deem yourselves worthy enough to read my blog then you really should be printing these books for everyone to read.

I do not think a month goes by without me reading a book set during World War Two and this month was no exception in Far to Go by Alison Pick. Not an easy read, but certainly one that opened my eyes to something I knew little if nothing about.

Comfort reading and knowing what you are going to get with M.C. Beaton – Agatha Raisin and the Walkers of Dembley. It is a bit like chocolate, once you have opened the box you just have to keep eating, with Agatha Raisin I just want to keep reading but I know the joy is I have many many books to catch up on!

Same can be said with Debbie Macomber and 74 Seaside Avenue which I got through Read It Swap It on my first swap. Trying not to buy any books for a while, they are spilling off my shelves and I should be reading these and not buying more. Only books that have entered through the door have been for review either from the Transworld Challenge, Amazon Vine and a competition win! However, I really wanted to know what was going on with the folks in Cedar Cove so I found it on Read It Swap It and someone wanted to read one of the books I have listed. Satisfying that need, I am itching for the next one in the series, but I have told myself that I will wait.

September for me was a month of books, that whilst I enjoyed, were challenging for different reasons. Rachel Gibson Nothing but Trouble through the Transworld Reading Challenge was a book I know I would never have picked up, it was very much a thematic Mills and Boon type book and a bit saucy as well. It passed a couple of days and was the framework of many story. Man meets Woman, Man hates Woman, Woman is irritated by Man, Man keeps dreaming about Woman, Woman suddenly feels different, Man and Woman fall out……………I will leave you to fill in the gap.

Lizzie Enfield was a new author to me this month, and I was rather intrigued by this debut novel, thinking to be honest, I was under the impression it was going to be of Chick-Lit variety  but it lacked something but had more than an average Chick-Lit which in some ways lives up to the title What You Don’t Know.

Another author new to me and debut novel as well for Anjali Joseph is Saraswati Park which I finished only just before the end of the month, review is to follow. It was a very slow book and no twists or turns, but was actually insightful into another persons life. I think this is an author to watch.

October reading is not going to be pressurised in any way as readers of my blog know that I only set myself achievable goals! October is Discovering Daphne month over on Savidge Reads and Novel Insights, if you feel like joining in. I will be popping in and out and see what is being talked about, but I think for a personal read I am going to turn to My Cousin Rachel, which my mum has lent me from her collection as du Maurier is one of her favourite authors. I look forward to the week set aside for Rebecca and it might push me into a reread.

So as the month turns from September to October, from 9 to 10, from cold to hot (yes that is the right way round!) and by the end of month they have even mentioned snow! Whatever the weather, a book will help the hot days and the cold ones as well!

Books · Witterings

July Roundup

Summer has yet to arrive, but the rain did and it fell and fell some more. I have yet to enjoy sitting outside reading. I am still indoors on the sofa and on occasion with a blanket! Here is hoping with the start of my holidays in about 10 days or so time, that the rain will only come at night when I am asleep and the days will be sunny.

So what I have read whilst reclining on the sofa during July. I ended June and started July working my way through all of Miss Marple’s short stories by Agatha Christie. On my 2011 list, I have listed the books that the stories appear in but annotated that it is only the Marple ones I have currently read. I aim to go back and reread them, as they are just short enough but also to read some of the others, especially the Poirot ones as well.

Last month I set myself a very small challenge for July. I like something that can be achieved it is all part of what makes me me. This challenge was to read Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier, I had only previously read Rebecca and wanted to expand somewhat slightly. I am so glad I did, why have I not read this before. It was excellent and I have raided my mum’s shelf and found plenty more to work my way through and currently have My Cousin Rachel to attempt at some point. Whether there will be any challenges for August I do not know.

I cannot seem to be able to go through a month without some cosy crime, and this was a new author for me Joanne Fluke – The Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder. The recipes throughout made me want to jump out of bed and start baking. Not good when I am trying to maintain a decent healthy weight! Perhaps reading more of these might keep the weight off? Then again. …

Sticking with crime I know I can go back to Agatha Christie and Poirot so I did with Five Little Pigs. It popped up on ITV3 and although I knew whodunnit I do enjoy this adaptation and wanted to compare book with TV. It is a book which certainly appeals to my organised mind, probably why I like Christie’s writing especially when it comes to Poirot. The books are laid out so appealing. I have plenty more to read and I do try and always partake in Kerrie’s Agatha Christie Reading Challenge, and submit something to the Carnival. And I suppose I am also without trying working my way through all the Christie books, although not in any order. I do have the lists of books written and published thanks to the Agatha Christie Website and I have also got a separate book journal a Christmas present which I use to record all I have read but also great lines and passages out of the books as well.

I also have a love of ‘big house’ stories. The big house where the upper class live and the lower class work. Where the two divides cross and life seems so different when doing nothing upstairs every day to working for 18 hours a day downstairs. Therefore I picked up Rosina Harrison – My Lady’s Maid. There was more to this book than I first originally thought. It has some great information on the roles of some of the functions of staff. Rosina Harrison was the lady’s maid to Nancy Astor which brought us information about her as a character as well as the maids role.

I picked for an Amazon Vine book Karen McQuestion – Easily Amused. An American author, and whilst I enjoyed the book and wrote a review. I made no further comment on it as I normally do on my blog. To be honest, a book to be read and that is it. I am sure all readers understand this concept?

July seemed to be the month for Mental Health not through choice but somehow I drifted towards this. I had Emotional Geology by Linda Gillard sitting on my shelf since I had raved about her book House of Silence. Linda kindly sent me two of her previous books and I knew that I needed to be in the right frame of mind for them. I think for varying reasons, one called to me and went right into it. Oh what a book, a book which will stay with me for ever such a long time, and will be one of the best I have read this year no doubt about that. If like me you have suffered or know someone who suffers from any form of Mental health problem then I advise you to go out and read this book, if anything it will educate the reader.

I had been recommended by my cousin to read This Perfect World by Suzanne Bugler. I come across it in a charity shop and thought I would give it a go. An interesting premise and blurb on the back but it surprised me somewhat with the self harm and bullying themes. However, I would not let that put you off, a book which makes you go back on your own childhood and rethink about how you were treated or treated other children. I wonder what childhood remarks still hurt now all these years later? My review will follow in the next few days as I wanted to give maximum coverage of Emotional Geology.

In recent weeks I had been contacted by a new author Nadine Rose Larter asking whether I would review her debut novel – Coffee at Little Angels. Flattered to be asked, I accepted and it was duly sent in e-version and I downloaded it onto my kindle. I have read it in July and I will count it as a July book but at the time of writing this post, I am really struggling to review it I cannot seem to formulate what I want to say without offending the author. From that subtle (or not so) hint, it was a book which had some good ideas but did not work for me. How do you feel about writing a negative review about a book that just really did not hold it together?

So that is July, 8 books and if I combined all the Miss Marple Short stories into 1, I think that should make 9 not a bad month. As July finishes I am currently reading The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe. I loved the review on one of the blogs I read Fleur Fisher and knew I wanted to give it a go. When it came up as an Amazon Vine choice I gave it a go and really enjoying it.

Lets get on with August then…..


Jamaica Inn – Daphne du Maurier

This is the story of Mary Yellan, 23 and orphaned she goes to live with her Aunt Patience who she remembers to be full of life and her new husband Joss Merlyn at Jamaica Inn on the Bodmin Moor.  What Mary finds when she gets there is something she could never believed. Patience is nothing like the aunt she remembers in fact Patience is a mere shadow of herself, someone who stands behind her husband the larger than life Joss Merlyn who runs Jamaica Inn. Joss though is a large presence in life, in everyone’s face, in business that is not legal, in fact for me he was what made Jamaica Inn large on the landscape of Bodmin Moor.

Mary knows something goes on at the Inn, she is alerted to that fact immediately by the coach reluctantly stopping there, her uncle reiterates that point by telling her that she will sleep with a pillow over head so as to not hear what goes on. Mary vows to seek justice for such a life, where she knows this is not the place for her and thus rescue her aunt and move to a less desolate landscape and prospects.

Upon discovery of the ‘real’ use of the inn, smuggling, Mary is thrown into another world where she fights for survival. The landscape is against her, her uncle is against her and she also discovers that her heart is against her. What path will she chose to take?

If you have not read this book, then I think you have missed out on some excellent writing and an atmospheric novel that made me feel quite bleak in its telling, but so tenacious that I had to keep reading, I wanted to know what happened. The history of the actual Jamaica Inn, which still exists today and the history of smuggling which did go on made for me the story all the more interesting.  I could feel the darkness of Jamaica Inn, I could smell what Mary could smell and I felt the driving rain seeping into my bones as she goes about the surrounding moors, searching for something. The violent actions of the characters, the landscape and the criminals are very descriptive and it draws the reader in.

Whether Mary finds what she is searching for or not I think is up to the reader to draw their own conclusions by the end of the novel. I approached Rebecca in the same way. I think du Maurier has a skill in leading the reader through such a tightly twisted and dark story, that perhaps each reader draws different conclusions. Is this a gothic novel, is it a mystery, is it a romance or is it all three? To be honest it does not matter it is a du Maurier.

There are some wonderfully descriptive passages within this book, that with a review (posted on Amazon) it is sometimes too easy to just regurgitate the book for everyone to read. I think this is why I love being able to post my reviews on my blog and then ‘add’ a bit more to it. 

“It doesn’t do to be curious at Jamaica Inn, and I’ll have you remember that” (Uncle Joss Merlyn to Mary)

As soon as someone says do not be curious about what goes on, we all want to know what is going on and this line early in the book does this to Mary (and us as readers). She wants to know about Jamaica Inn and why a once loved place and stop for coaches has suddenly become the place to be feared. 

I confess there was another quote I wanted to share, and foolishly thought I would remember the page number and did not write it down. I should have written it down! I can imagine rereading this book, and will certainly share more passages. 

However I have enjoyed my time with Daphne du Maurier, and having only read Rebecca wanting to read some more was important. My mum has many if not all of her books at home and I have picked My Cousin Rachel next to read. 

As a little advert for a fellow blogger in October 2011, Simon of Savidge Reads and Polly of Novel Insights are hosting a Discovering Daphne Season, if you have the time pop over and have a look.