Books

February Roundup

12 months ago we were just starting to worry about this ‘thing’ out there in the world but now we are 12 months on and who knew! The constant has been reading over that time and it has continued in February with a real eclectic mix of books to lose myself in. I hope you have had the same feeling.

I must be one of the only people left on the plant who has yet to watch Bridgerton – I wanted to read the book first: Julia Quinn – Bridgerton: The Duke and I and what a delightful fluffy, fizzy escapist read it was with in my opinion little reference to the regency setting it is based in. No matter. I am now primed ready to watch and then I know I can pick up the second book when I just simply want to escape and not worry much about the writing, the plot and the glaringly modern references in an historical romance book.

Sticking with the historical theme, led me to Nancy Revell – The Shipyard Girls on the Home Front, the next in the series and it is so wonderful to be able to just walk through the front doors of these girls houses and join in with everything happening to them. Even if some of it isn’t that nice and there is a war going on, but it is now 1944 and the ending seems in sight.

I went even further back with Helen Fripp – The Champagne Widow which is definitely going to be one of those books that will be mentioned a lot. I knew nothing of the champagne houses in France other than their names and that I am not particularly fond of the drink. But this was a magical book, which taught me so much about such a fabulous women in the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars. A debut novel which fizzed with promise and delivered.

I always want to learn something when I am reading books that are based in a particular period of history or are based on real people and events and whilst the event that this book is based on was real, the setting and the time period have been changed. Emma Stonex – The Lamplighters take us to a lighthouse on the edge of Cornwall, to a mystery that will keep you awake at night and wonder during the day – where did they go and what really happened? This book is getting lots of press at the moment and is certainly one I would recommend if you want to be enthralled by a mystery.

Whilst holidays might seem a long time ago and there is some doubt as to the reality of getting one in in 2021 it is always great to escape abroad without the long haul flight. Of course with Robert Thorogood – Murder in the Caribbean you don’t really want a murder when on holiday but at least you can escape to the blue skies and warm waters of the fictional St Marie. Just solve the murder quickly so you can enjoy the rest of your break.

If you want to stay a bit nearer to home then of course Rachel Burton – The Summer Island Festival is the place to go. Relive your past music tastes and enjoy the Isle of Wight when it isn’t hosting the thousands for the main event held there. A smaller event is a bit more familiar of is it becoming too familiar and is it all going to fall apart.

Running away can be the only way to solve things sometimes and in Jane Lovering – Home on Folly Farm it was the perfect answer for Dora that is until her sister arrives bringing the past with her. Peace is shattered and so it seems is the future. This author was new to me and this was an enjoyable departure from real life with some great characters that get under your skin immediately! I will look out for more.

So that was February, some new, some old and some sheer joy. I hope March keeps the momentum up.

 

Books

January Roundup

Well they say January is a hundred million days long but a January in lockdown has a hundred million more – but we have it behind us now and whilst lockdown continues across the globe in many forms we can still seek solace in books and reading.

A month where last year I was struggling and luckily I got a change of medication and a reset before the pandemic set in, I think I would be a much darker space if I had not sought help a year ago. So I continue to manage and monitor and when it comes to reading choose books that help lift the soul and spirit and bring great joy and entertainment. And they all did.

No one new to my reading; all authors I have read before and know I can rely on for a cracking good story. Christie Barlow – The Lake House was first one off the shelf this year and it was a delight and joy to be back in Heartcross as the little Scottish has really been taken to my heart and I enjoy going there.

Criss-crossing across the country means I was transported to the west country with Helena Dixon – Murder in the Belltower, delightful Kitty and handsome Matt are trying to have a quiet time away, but it seems that intrigue and bodies follow them wherever they go.

Kate Forster – Finding Love at Mermaid Terrace takes me to the Cornish coastline and delightful cottages and a community full of spirit and secrets. And there are more secrets to be discovered in Liz Eeles – Secrets at the Last House Before the Sea, the start of her new series. Sometimes we have to ask the difficult questions and the answers can sometimes surprise us!

Still on the coast to a magical place is Holly Martin – Ice Creams at Emerald Cove where I caught up with the friends I had made there, and gladden to hear that I get to return for another visit.

A place I would love to go is Switzerland, for the snow and clean air not the skiing and I got to there vicariously through Julie Caplin – The Little Swiss Ski Chalet which is one my favourite books in this series, these really are little travelogues and such a joy to read. The desire for a Toblerone though was quite strong!

Then I travelled a bit further afield across land and sea to New York and Kenya, Geneva and England with the sixth story of The Seven Sisters – Lucinda Riley – The Sun Sister. I had been holding onto reading this for so long because you get lost in the story so much that nothing else matters – and yet again I was.

I enjoy books set with an historical twist and it was with intrigue that I picked up the latest Katie Fforde – A Wedding in the Country. This is a bit of a departure for the author and took me back to the swinging sixties and amongst the short skirts, the radical hair and the breakdown of some class barriers I got a beautiful story as you would expect from Katie.

I think eight books is a jolly good start to the year, I have to confess I have a number waiting to be read, a number of them out in the coming months and I hope to balance all of that with reading books from my shelves which have been looking forlornly at me for a while.

What have you been reading lately? Anything new I should know about?

 

Books

Books in 2020

2020 is going to be a year to remember in many ways but for the moment, I am just going to concentrate on books. Taken me a while to reflect back on them all. 

All 109 of them that I finished!

Some facts and figures for those geeks that like that sort of thing!

The Shortest Book was 149 pages (The 39 Steps)

The Longest Book was 608 pages (The Moonflower Murders)

I read 35,580 pages – goodness knows how many words that was. 

There was no rereading in 2020, despite my promise to myself that I will do this. 

79 books were on my kindle – this is in the main due to my netgalley membership which is enabling me to read books and review them and tell all my blog followers and watchers about books to look out for. I am always most humbled by this and do not take it for granted. Though you have to be careful not to get too bogged down in requesting too many!

Though this year more than any I have revelled in being to a hold a tangible book as a reassurance in these strange times. 

So what has stood out for me? What is worthy of a mention?

Multiple Books by the same Author

The winner is Agatha Christie – I read 5 of her books in 2020. The Reading Christie challenge hosted by the Agatha Christie official website helps with that. They have brought it back for 2021 and I hope to dip in and out as I did in 2020. 

4 Books – Katie Fforde

3 Books – Emma Davies, Helena Dixon, Katie Ginger, Amanda Owen, Caroline Roberts, Heidi Swain, Tilly Tennant.

2 Books – Lucy Foley, Sophie Hannah, Holly Martin, Carole Matthews, Cressida McLaughlin, Bella Osborne, Nancy Revell, Ben Schott, Robin Stevens, Jo Thomas, Emma Burstall, Christie Barlow, Phillipa Ashley. 

I know you should not judge a book by it’s cover but in these strange times I have sought such joy in bright colourful covers of books that have then gone on to give me such joy. 

This blog in the last few years has prominently been heavily dominated with Women’s Fiction as you can see, but as the blog has changed and developed so has my reading. I made all these promises of looking back over the last ten years of blogging – I got no further than 2012. Odd when I had a lot of time on my hands that I did not go back and manage this task. 

Oh well, the blog moves on and develops as I suppose life does. 

So what other books should I tell you about well these are the stand out ones for me in 2020. 

There is only one Queen of Crime (Agatha Christie if you don’t know) but what if the Queen was involved in solving crime. Well she needs to fill her days somehow between all the papers, visits and family battles surely?

This really is an exuberant take on the cosy mystery genre and has some good research done on it, to understand the workings of the the Royal Family and also the descriptions of Windsor Castle. There are some humorous moments and it had me laughing out loud and what seems like the absurdity of it all but then do we really know what goes on behind palace walls?

Nora is seventeen. Her whole life ahead of her. Bright and skilful. Her heart leads her to one night of passion and that leads to a baby.

In 2020, heads would hardly turn, families would pull together.

In 1939, the world was very different. The Mental Deficiency Act meant Nora could be committed to an asylum as a moral imbecile. She was a threat to herself and others for one act of passion.

Beautifully and emotionally written it engages you from beginning to end. This is one if the best books I have read and for a debut novel should be up there with the best.

I first met Atticus Pund in Magpie Murders, I thought it was a one off, it seemingly started at the end of what could have been a series of books. However four years later Atticus is back and his creator Alan Conway long since dead is still making an impact from beyond the grave.

The reader is treated to a skilfully written novel, the clues are all there, and whilst I had the wrong person for a while, I did have the right reasons but the most obvious simply passed by Susan Ryeland as well as me! If the lead character can be fooled as much as the reader – the author must be on to something.

This brings Louisa back in touch with The Mitford Sisters, who she thought she had left behind. Diana, now separated from her husband Bryan has started a love affair with Oswald Mosley and with her sister Unity obsessed with the beliefs and values of the Fascists, it seems that Louisa is going to be plunged into the darker side of politics and ever growing problems in Europe.

A well written murder mystery perfect for fans of history and the gold age of crime. Long may they continue. Highly recommended.

There is something about Rachel Joyce stories, that have a quietness about them which stays with you for a very long time. I remember the beauty of her debut novel……

This time we meet Margery Benson, spinster, late forties who discovered an interest in a particular golden beetle. It was said to exist but no one had seen or even found it. 

With detailed research clearly undertaken in terms of the landscape of New Caledonia as well as the research into all the insects and the treatment and recording of them, the book teaches you as well as gives you a story that you can believe in and characters you put your trust in.

Having finished their A-Levels Judith, Lana and Catrin are about to embark on one of those life affirming moments when they take a trip to Greece to celebrate the fact that they have made it thus far and that their long standing friendship since the age of eight will last a life time.

As the book goes on through key moments in all their lives, it is being told from the perspective of each of the girls as they become women, as they move between close friends and further distance. 

This is a book full of strong female characters, with such depth and warmth you will think you have known them a lifetime. In fact you can relate to aspects of all of them and I think that is the key to making this an excellent book.

A book I did not review, it was a Christmas present from 2019, but one all should read if you are a fan of Toksvig. 

And finally, I must say thank you to all those who comment on my blog and to those that stop by and read but don’t say anything. It really is all just a stream of my consciousness and I enjoy reading, writing and sharing it all with you. 

I am not sure where this blog will go in 2021, I have all these fanciful ideas, but I have not managed at the moment to get to grasp with using WordPress from my iPad and only have access to a computer (notwithstanding the 4 I use at work every day) on a Sunday. Perhaps when and if I do, I will share more of the craft items and other life observations I did when I first started this blog all that time ago. 

For now, take care, stay safe and keep reading. 

 

Books · Crafts · Jottings · Witterings

Parish Notices

It has been a while since I have posted any notices around here. I want to say it is because I have been too busy doing all sorts of wonderful things. But it is 2020 and doing all sorts of things are very limited and look like they will remain so for a little while yet.

How are you getting on around your parish?

So what has been happening…

Well reading of course, this is a book blog after all! Here are a couple of recommendations for you, just in case you need more books to read!

There is only one Queen of Crime (Agatha Christie if you don’t know) but what if the Queen was involved in solving crime. Well she needs to fill her days somehow between all the papers, visits and family battles surely?

This really is an exuberant take on the cosy mystery genre and has some good research done on it, to understand the workings of the the Royal Family and also the descriptions of Windsor Castle. There are some humorous moments and it had me laughing out loud and what seems like the absurdity of it all but then do we really know what goes on behind palace walls?

There is something reassuring about Heidi Swain’s novels. They take you to places that you just don’t want to visit, but also live and the beauty is you get to go back again and again.

One of my most favourite books of the year and is an example of escapism reading at it’s best as are all of this author’s novels. Be transported to the wonderful people of Nightingale Square and all that it offers and if you spot a place for sale- let me know, I have my bags packed and I am moving in.

Other than work and swimming (in between lockdowns) I have been busy with crafts. I have made quite a lot this year and I will not bore you with it all. However, I finished a blanket I started in 2019…

Dune Blanket from Attic24 pattern

The only trouble I found starting something in April 2019 and not finishing until November 2020 is that your tension changes quite considerably! Good job it is only a blanket – but it keeps me lovely and warm and that really is a blanket’s purpose in life.

I got into Toft crochet quite considerably through the lockdown and have enjoyed the creative challenges it brings, even if I have a fear of missing out and what all the new things now! One of these challenges was Rohit the Peacock.

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I was not sure about making him, as I have picked up the superstition that anything peacock in the house can bring you bad luck. I think I am safe with this crochet version.

This is an old superstition and an even earlier version claims that having peacock feathers in the house not only brings bad luck but destines any unmarried female to become an old maid.

Many actors will not allow peacock feathers to be brought onto the stage either as a prop or part of a costume and veteran actors and directors have recounted tales of sets falling down during performances that involve peacock feathers.

It is thought the superstition originated in the Mediterranean where the evil eye markings are said to represent the eye of he she-devil Lilith who is responsible for the unexplained deaths of children. By keeping peacock feathers in the house she is ever present and able to watch over your home.

However, in India, China and Japan bringing peacock feathers indoors is actually supposed to increase good luck by providing extra eyes around the house to protect the occupants from danger.

Taken from 7 Bird Superstitions @ Birdspot.co.uk

Perhaps I will share some more creating journey’s again on Parish Notices in the future?

So that is some news and highlights from my parish? How is it in yours?

Books · Jottings

November Roundup

Well only one month to go in 2020, thank goodness though I don’t think we are out of the woods just yet. But November was a month where I hit my annual target of 100 books – such a satisfying feeling and also a month where I have just simply read and not worried (well not too much) about the never ending netgalley request list.

So what was on my November shelf?

Only one Christmas book, I think I reached peak Christmas in the previous couple of months but Anne Marie Ryan – The Six Tales of Christmas was a quiet tale reminiscence of previous American styled Christmas novels that I read. It’s message was very lovely though.

Of course snow for many equals Christmas but the snow in Catherine Cooper – The Chalet was a lot more sinister and this debut thriller novel is one to watch out for. Excellent and kept me hooked quite happily and made a change from all the ‘nice’ books.

To contrast the snow what better than to go back to summer with Cressida McLaughlin – The Cornish Cream Tea Summer where I caught up with old friends and made some new ones on the lovely bus in Cornwall and with an added dollop of actors as well as clotted cream this made for a great read. I rushed out to buy the next in the series and have started that within the last couple of days of November.

Cornwall was the setting of Raynor Winn – The Salt Path a book leant to me by a friend who thought I would enjoy it. I did. I knew nothing of the South West Costal path and it was a joy to read an ‘actual’ book where I could quite happily flick back to the map at the beginning so I could see locations and get a sense of place. One of the downsides of kindle reading is this ability. Wild camping is not something I would want to do, but certainly walking and in Cornwall is a place I would like to be.

More Cornwall was featured in Emma Burstall – A Cornish Secret and Emma Burstall – The Girl Who Came Home to Cornwall. The latter of the two novels I had on my kindle for ages meaning to be read, but knowing it was book five and I had omitted to read book four and it turns out I bought that ages ago to. Anyway, enough of the procrastinating as I know I enjoy this author immensely so I just went from one to the other and it was delightful to just keep reading about the same place, same characters like watching a continuing drama without the break. I do wonder if Emma Burstall has any more plans for Tremarnock.

Now as there are six Mitford sisters, I know that there is more to follow after Jessica Fellowes – The Mitford Trial. These are really excellent novels and I got a lovely response on Twitter from the author, because I ‘got the book’ in the way she intended it to be written. I had to go and reread my review just in case I had said something insightful – well I can’t see it. But if the author is happy and then I am happy as the plots of all of these books are great and really tap into my love of history.

Feeling rather ‘out of sorts’ about many things, like many people across the globe no doubt. So I picked up Ben Schott – Jeeves and the King of Clubs again this was because I got the latest Schott novel featuring Jeeves and Wooster through netgalley and realised I had not read the first of these homages. It was spiffing, tip top and everything you would expect from Wodehouse and I have read many over the years. It was a sheer delight to be back in their world and I rush to read the latest and go back and relieve some of Wodehouse’s best. My heart was fair cheered.

Not a bad month overall and I made a dent in some old books on my netgalley list as well as reading some ‘actual’ books, I really much prefer this way, but the kindle has let me read so many more I probably would not have read. It’s a conundrum for many an avid reader I am sure?

So what was on your November shelf? Any plans for December?

Books · Witterings

September Roundup

And out blows September. Here in the UK, the weather has definitely taken an autumnal turn and cardigans, socks and warm blankets are a must as we move into October. Though I think the reading has taken a seasonal leap and I am into Christmas already. The world has been so upside down in 2020 that I don’t think it matters at all.

It started for me this year with Rachel Burton – The Tea Room on the Bay which whilst being set in Winter and at Christmas had a real sunny feel about it and was wonderfully cheering when perhaps what was goign on with me wasn’t – the perfect antidote.

Emma Davies – A Year at Appleyard Farm, originally four separate novellas covering a whole year does of course mention Christmas, so perhaps should be the first book considered for Christmas reading but the book felt much more than that and was almost the perfect book for the changing of seasons. No matter what is going on the seasons are continuing to change.

Seasons are of course important if you are a gardener and very important to Heidi Swain – The Winter Garden. Back to Nightingale Square and it’s residents and the gorgeous garden being created to aspire and bring joy in the dark winter months. For someone who has not ready access to a garden this was an absolute joy to read.

Now of course I do have access to a kitchen and on many occasion it does take on the smell of baking but no where near the amount in Tilly Tennant – Cathy’s Christmas Kitchen. There is something comforting about baking and reading and this books combines both with a joyous outcome.

Of course Christmas is a lot of the time about family and never more so than the latest novel Bella Osborne – One Family Christmas, this could be your ultimate nightmare, all family stuck together at Christmas or it could be the best thing ever. Whatever your choice, the book is bound to make you smile.

Even though it has no Christmas theme, Ann Cleeves – The Darkest Evening did have a lot of snow in it. This is the latest Vera novel and I really must get round to reading more of them as they are great detective stories and you can see Brenda Blethyn jump of the page as you read them. I will be interested to see if they make this particular story into a TV adaptation.

Agatha Christie – The Seven Dials Mystery perhaps not the most well known of Christie’s novels and was certainly interesting and it mentions characters met in previous novels which made for a different sort of novel. Trouble is you can get used to Marple and Poirot and when it changes it can be a bit of a shock! At least it is another one off my list.

Salvador Dali was out to shock and whilst I knew the name and very little about his work, I learnt a lot more when I picked up Jeremy Vine – The Diver and the Lover. Sadly the plot which weaved the fiction into the truth was not that great and it did disappoint me. I wanted to like it more but I couldn’t. I do enjoy historical fiction but this did rather leave me wanting.

So that was September and the reading continues apace which in a world full of uncertainty, I can at least escape into a book or two!

I wonder where October will take me?

 

Books

One Book, Two Book, Three Book, Four and Five #3

Ok so it might be nine (yes nine) years since I first did this but a reflection of the years blogging gone past has led me back to it and I thought it would be good to come back to it and try it in 2020.

Thank you to Simon at Stuck in a Book who created it, all credit to him.

1.) The book I’m currently reading: 

If you have seen the Channel 5 programme or even seen Amanda and her nine (yes nine) children interviewed and fascinated but where it all started. This is the place to start and I am thoroughly enjoying it.

2.) The last book I finished: 

Despite the ARC being badly formatted through netgalley this really is a great book and I recommend it for anyone who likes cosy crime. Not sure if that was his intention but it is full of everything that makes us uniquely British.

3.) The next book I want to read: 

I read the first last year alongside the television adaptation – I was enthralled and as I can see the programme is coming back soon, I feel I need to go back and catch up with Lyra and more of the story.

4.) The last book I bought: 

For the sake of completeness and as a treat for my holiday and not going away I bought the next two in the Yorkshire Shepherdess.

5.) The last book I was given: 

Not really given as would have to go all the way back to Christmas but this is the current book I have borrowed from my mum, as part of the Read Christie 2020 challenge.

Well there is a snapshot of the here and now – I am sure Simon would not mind if you joined in.

What it has shown me is that there has been relatively few books bought in 2020 for obvious reasons I suppose. I am starting to see some gaps on my shelves and it feels good to be working my way through the books that have been waiting an age to read.

I may well do this again at some point – it may take me another nine years, but who knows? The ten years reflecting posts have only reached 2012 but I hope to make more of a headway now I have some time off work and going back through all the posts.

2020 has in many ways certainly been a time of reflection.

Books · Jottings

July Roundup

As 2020 ambles along, the reading has been keeping apace and I seem to be devouring more books and spending more time with reading, crafts and jigsaws than I do television. The best bit about July was that first length in the outdoor pool at the gym on the 26th July. Sheer utter bliss!

Of course it is the books you are most interested in – so without further ado.

Proper sagas are what is missing in some of my previous reading months and years and I have found that whenever I go back to them, I seem to what to read more and more. Dilly Court – The Constant Heart a story to get lost in and that I did, I am sure I enjoyed it more by the feel of the book in my hand – I read a tremendous amount on my kindle (thanks to netgalley) but you cannot beat that feeling of being lost in a story and pages and holding on to it in your hands.

Joanna Rees – The Hidden Wife, is the second in a trilogy about the era of the Bright Young Things, the 1920s. This time action in the main has moved to Paris and as the story develops on one side of the channel, the past is stirring things up at home for all the main characters.

Moving forward a few decades got me to Cathy Mansell – The Dublin Girls, although read on kindle this is another author who if you are looking for something of the Catherine Cookson variety, then you have found it. Set in 1950s Ireland it is a great example of fiction that captures you and holds your attention to the very end.

Of course murder mysteries and thrillers can hold your attention too as did Simon Mayo – Knife Edge – the opening few pages have you right in the heart of the plot and the story and whilst I did think it got a bit “ploddy” for a while it soon picked up pace and had your heart racing to the denouement.

Talking of denouements is a great plot to segway into Agatha Christie – The Man in the Brown Suit, which was the Read Christie 2020 book for July. One I have never read, very different from a Poirot and a Marple but with the familiar face of Colonel Race who you see in other Christie novels. Another books ticked off my Christie list.

Chattering as I am about lists, I have add a new author for me to catch up on and read more of since I gave Jo Thomas – Escape to the French Farmhouse a go. I was swept away to the french countryside and the lavender fields, the glorious food and the love of a simple life. I cannot think of any better way in escaping the world than with a book like this.

You cannot always escape your past and sometimes it comes back to not just haunt you but to weave its way into your present day as it does with Emma Davies – The Wife’s Choice. A move away from perhaps what you are used to and this was an wonderful look at dysfunctional families and lives that need to move on.

Of course with dysfunctional families you cannot always go back to places you knew as a child but soemtimes you are drawn there as in Trisha Ashley – The Garden of Forgotten Wishes. Trisha’s books get better and better and this is no exception. And for those who cannot get into a garden for whatever reason, read this book – all the hard work without the muddy hands and aching back!

And of course we all like a happy ending, a good old fashioned wedding and a bit of a cry and Caroline Roberts – Summer at Rachel’s Pudding Pantry delivers that in spades. What I assume is the end of series of books featuring Rachel and all her delightful cooking came to a satisfying conclusion. I look forward to reading what comes next from this author. (In the meantime I a Chocolate Shop to visit).

So that was July, a mix of genres as I need to be reminded that life is not all sunny and roses, but in the main I spent my time simply enjoying all the stories.

And there is plenty more to come in August.

How was your July? Anything you wish to recommend?

Books · Jottings · Witterings

Six in Six 2020 – My Choices

Here are my choices for this years Six in Six – there is still time to join in and it is looking like a bumper year of blogs taking part!

Six Classic or Modern Mysteries

  1. Rachel Rhys – Dangerous Crossing
  2. Lucy Foley – The Hunting Party
  3. Sophie Hannah – The Mystery of the Three Quarters
  4. Agatha Christie  – A Murder is Announced
  5. Sara Sheridan – Highland Fling
  6. John Buchan – The Thirty Nine Steps

Six book covers that stand out

Six books I have enjoyed the most

  1. Brenda Davies – The Girl Behind the Gates
  2. Lucy Foley – The Hunting Party
  3. Sandi Toksvig – Between the Stops
  4. Ali McNamara – Kate and Clara’s Curious Craft Shop
  5. Katie Fforde – A Country Escape
  6. Veronica Henry – A Wedding at the Beach Hut

Six authors I read last year – but not so far this year

  1. Lucinda Riley
  2. Trisha Ashley
  3. Liz Fenwick
  4. Sarah Bennett
  5. Ann Cleeves
  6. Jessica Fellowes

Six books from the past that drew me back there

  1. Lorna Cook – The Forbidden Promise
  2. Nancy Revell – Triumph of the Shipyard Girls
  3. Jennifer Wells – The Lost Girls
  4. Jane Johnson – The Sea Gate
  5. Fern Britton – Daughters of Cornwall
  6. Jessie Burton – The Muse

Six books set in or near a beach

  1. Carole Matthews – Sunny Days and Sea Breezes
  2. Veronica Henry – A Wedding at the Beach Hut
  3. Heidi Swain – The Secret Seaside Escape
  4. Cathy Bramley – A Match Made in Devon
  5. Helen Pollard – The Little Shop in Cornwall
  6. Phillipa Ashley – A Perfect Cornish Escape

I think I am quite pleased with my choices and 2020 in terms of reading has been good. Of course some books fit in more than one category because they were great and worth reading. Some average books of course but lots that were above average, I hope the next six months is just as interesting!

As I said at the beginning – still time for you to join in!

 

Books · Cooking · Crafts · History · Jottings

Ten Years of Lists and Reviews – 2012

Here I am looking back for the third time at my last ten years of blogging, the year is 2012.

A big year, the London Olympics and the year sadly my nanny passed away. I think the latter has been the cause of some stuff in the years following and perhaps now as I look back and I can see some trigger points and some things I could have handled better. Life is certainly a learning curve.

I have learnt to accept that your blog changes as the years go past and the you change and what you read changes.

Back in 2012 I was still very much challenging myself with my reading, trying to broaden my horizons. In some ways successful in others not. I do not put so much pressure on myself now.

Of course there is still baking and this recipe for Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Guinness Cake is still being used now all these years later and remains a firm favourite within my family and also in the office. It seems to get better days after you gave cooked it providing it lasts that long.

The bacon and cheese straws here have not been remade – and I think they need to be!

I don’t think I have attempted Gingerbread men either since

There seems to be a theme here – starting and not carrying on!

As for the books that stand out – the first must go to the debut novel for Rachel Joyce – The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Newly retired, Harold Fry receives a letter one morning from Queenie, a woman he used to work with; she has written to say that she is nearing the end of her life. After much soul searching Harold drafts a reply and goes out after his breakfast to post the letter. However he gets to the first post box and rather than post the letter he keeps on walking onto the next, suddenly he finds himself making an unlikely journey by walking from his home in Devon to Queenie in Berwick on Tweed.

Another book which I absolutely adored and realise I have never seen the film adaptation was The Light Between the Oceans – M.L. Stedman

We are transported to Australia in fact to the bottom of the world where you can see nothing but the sea and the sky, we are on Janus Rock where the Janus lighthouse stands, between the two oceans.

Tom is now lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock……

…….he meets another force of nature Isabel Graysmark who makes her mark just as the rocks do to the unfortunate ships that do not make it.

This is the only book published by this author, I wonder why?

Katie Fforde has published a plethora of books this was the first year that I read one and the love has continued ever since. My first one was Paradise Fields

Nel has a full life. Not only is she a mother to three children, growing up and away from her, she is struggling with her weight as all women at time do, she is passionate about the farmers markets which she has been paramount in getting off the ground in her small village, fundraising is another passion for the local children’s hospice. Plus walking her dogs and making fabulous shaped and themed cakes. Is there time for anything else? Is there time for romance?

And that year I ploughed through Living Dangerously, Going Dutch, A Perfect Proposal, Staying Away at Christmas. I have still not caught up on them all and despite reading at least one a year, Katie is still writing!

2012 saw the debut of what has become a staple of BBC Sunday night television – Call the Midwife. I read all three books before it even got as far as the box in the corner. I will find the reviews and re-share on here. How the programme has gone from strength to strength. It will no doubt have to come to an end as the role of Midwives changes in the community but for now – relish in the triumphs and the sad moments and if you ever get the chance go and read the books.

If you know me well enough you know that swimming is my thing – I am not fantastic, I am a breast stroke swimmer and have more endurance than speed but also swimming gives me head space. Time to digest, process and breathe through everything that has been going on. I am lucky enough to go to a place that has an indoor and outdoor pool and it was back in 2012 I thought I would try swimming before work. I made this lovely gift for the then cleaners who used to put my wet towel and costume through the wash for me. Sadly no longer at work, but I still dry my towel and costume every time I go swimming.

And if anything – I look more like this now than I did in 2012!

2012 was the year started lots of things and some of have carried on like the swimming and other things have perhaps had a bit of a hiatus or even just disappear completely. Jottings as this blog became more a jotter type blog than it did a book journey became a #hashtag before they really became a thing.

My jottings posts started in 2012 and had 9 posts which contained lots of bits and pieces of stuff I wanted to share with you all.; swimming, books, cooking, links, television, reading, World Book Night, articles in the paper, news snippets a complete jotter full of stuff! These ‘#jotter’ posts stopped in 2015 and as the blog has changed and moved on.

Other #hashtag posts started in 2012 were Acquisitions and Family Traditions and Book Club. All for one reason and another have not continued. The Book Club went on for a good couple of years, but as friendship groups morph and develop sometimes you start to realise who people are and that perhaps what is one of your loves is just a considered lip service to keep seeing certain friends and you end up being used.

I did discover Reading Day’s, book festivals and meeting authors which has certainly continued as the years have gone and perhaps now a bit more accessible thanks to social media.

But the first event was back in 2012 in Winchester, accessible by train for me and introduced me to another world! It is a while since I have been to one, but I think I would like to return to some very soon when I can simply share my love of reading as this is why I started the blog in the first place – the rest was simply a bonus!

So whilst much has come and gone on this blog something has stayed around and that is Six in Six

It is a select few people who come back every year and I am very glad that they do. I have no intention of giving this up, a once a year event seems to be manageable with a blog when you have lots of other things going on.

So that was 2012 in a swift(ish) post.

Looking back at 2011 I was thinking I might need to find some to find some Nicola Upson books, Persephone books, visit a library and remake Scotch Eggs! Now looking back at 2012, I need to add to gingerbread men to the baking list and perhaps carry on

What will be added to the list from looking back in 2013?