Books

December Roundup

Another strange December, will they ever be the same again? Well the reading luckily stayed the same and I had plenty of time for it.

Plenty of time for making a dent in the ever expanding Netgalley list – note to self, must try harder. Further note to self – this is probably not achievable but always worth a go, like reading more books on my shelf.

I did that with Delia Owens – Where the Crawdads Sing. A bit late to the party with this one perhaps, but it was a lovely book to be lost in and one that was tangibly in my hand for me to experience. I can see why it was so popular.

Another actual” book was the last Christmas book I read for the year, I think I was all Christmas booked out by mid November, but I had seen Cathy Bramley – The Merry Christmas Project and knew it would be a prefect gentle read, well written and would be joyous in these uncertain times.

When everything around is you uncertain we do tend to go back to what we know, and all my other reads were from authors I had read before.

In terms of murder and history I was delighted to be taken along the coast from me with Merryn Allingham – Murder on the Pier. 1950s rural England, quite bucolic if it wasn’t for the dead bodies!

Further back a few decades, to the last years of the 1930s and this time to Hong Kong with the delightful young adult book Robin Stevens – A Spoonful of Murder, Now on Hazels home ground so to speak, Daisy takes more of a back seat and doesn’t quite like not being in the spotlight.

Staying in the 1930s with Jessica Fellowes – The Mitford Vanishing. War is clearly looming in Europe and it all depends on which side you wish to be on. And for one of the sisters it will be a decision that splits a family even further. I look forward to seeing how the final Mitford sister is treated in this series.

Of course using ‘real’ people in your stories is a good vehicle to tell a tale and certainly The Queen has been busy in many a book I have read. She is back this time with her crime solving team in S.J. Bennett – A Three Dog Problem. It seems her keen eye has spotted a problem and she sets up everyone else to solve it, whilst playing the innocent. Or so you think!

Playing the innocent is something you could say about Veronica McCreedy, her ability to seemingly be a dotty old lady with a passion for penguins is reignited in Hazel Prior – Call of the Penguins, the follow up to Away With the Penguins. There is something so gentle about these two books and if you want a recommendation then please pick up the first and lose yourself.

Books and subsequently stories can take you away to far away places and to the ends of the earth, even when that end of the earth might be claimed back by the sea. Shelia Norton – Winter at Cliff’s End Cottage is a hug of a book, which brings cross generational friendships to the forefront of the story and teaches us what we can learn and also benefit from when you expand your horizons.

Hugs of books are the best sometimes, Christie Barlow – Heartcross Castle part of the Love Heart Lane series is one of those. Any of the series is but this one particular touched at my heart strings and reminds everyone on the importance of being yourself – something I try to do every day!

So that was December, and that was 2021. I have yet to do my year round of up books, I need to decide what format I want it to take and perhaps along the way I will do a round up of all the craft projects I have completed – who knows. As I sit here typing this I have all these fanciful ideas of what I will do with this blog, but they never materialise or they tail off after an initial spurt of inspiration. Perhaps I will go with the flow….

Books · Jottings

November Roundup

Where has this year gone? In a blink of eye we have one month to go. As the new from the world of the pandemic seems worrying, we have to hunker down and forge through.

And that is what I have done in terms of my November reading and I have to say might have reached peak Christmas reading! However I have reached 100 books ahead of schedule, so now it is a case of how many books will I read in 2021!

But that is a mere 31 days away so what about the November books I hear you ask, so without further ado……

Full of Christmas in all it’s forms and with plenty to make you hungry especially with Alex Brown – A Cosy Christmas at Bridget’s Bicycle Bakery the thought of freshly baked sourdough had my mouth watering and having it delivered by the welcoming and wonderful Bridget would make anyone’s Christmas complete.

A cream tea is one of my most favourite things to and without putting on an ounce of weight I managed to delight in Cressida McLaughlin – Christmas Carols and a Cornish Cream Tea. And with the descriptions of the hampers, made me want to splurge this festive season from my favourite hamper place!

Another about Christmas is all the crafts you can partake in and I am partial to one or two of them which is why Helen Rolfe – Christmas at the Village Sewing Shop appealed to me and was a real heart warming novel of how crafts can bring family and community together.

I think most Christmastimes I normally pick up a Phillipa Ashley and this year was no different and for this year I was back in Cornwall, rock and rolling by way through Phillipa Ashley – A Special Cornish Christmas which was full of delicious food, crafts and some nifty footwork. A great way to spend a Christmas.

With all the Christmas there is always time to look at times gone by and as this saga draws o its natural conclusion, I find myself looking for a new series to get my teeth into. In the meantime I was delighted to finally see the end of the war in sight in Nancy Revell – Shipyard Girls under the Mistletoe. There is still some bad apples to sort out, but the future look like it will throw up some wonderful happy endings.

With no Christmas but plenty of history I was thrust into the 1880s with Claire Evans – The Fourteenth Letter a book that had been hanging around on my shelf for a while. A strange novel that had me hooked because I wanted to know what was going on and not because it was good. I am not sure as I reached the end that I did know what was happening?

I definitely didn’t know what was going at Bletchley Park and I am not sure I would have been a good code breaker during the warm but it is a place that fascinates and I think I would have enjoyed my time there. As did Kathleen McGurl – The Girl from Bletchley Park who with a dual timeline novel takes us back and looks at where secrets are all around us.

No more secrets for November’s reading that’s for sure. So on with December, there is plenty to be reading on my kindle thanks to netgalley, but I think only a few more Christmas/Winter themed novels will slip through at this point.

In the meantime, on with advent, the decorations and the festivities!

Books · Jottings

October Roundup

October seems to have been a bumper month for reading and I have ploughed through a fair few books. A positive harvest of books for October and autumn and ironically mainly Christmas themed!

But not all, there was some murder to dilute all things festive. Janice Hallett – The Appeal is a book which has been around a while and I kept seeing the cover but when I got the chance to pick up a copy and look inside the cover, I was hooked. This is an excellent debut novel and written so differently it captured me immediately and I was hooked. It certainly has plenty of appeal!

Books about books and libraries are always a draw for any avid reader. This year it seems to have been a bit of a theme for some authors. This always makes me curious because surely not everyone can be writing the same themes by coincidence. Anyway enough of the cynic. Freya Sampson – The Last Library is the latest one I have read, and whilst not as good as previous ones, it was a lovely way to while away a few hours as we got to know the shy June and her passion for the library.

I ventured into my first book club read for a while, by joining in with an online one, through twitter. The book chosen was Melanie Hewitt – Looking for the Durrells, I admit I fell in love with cover. It was a very slow and meandering book which ended up being a journey around Corfu. I am not sure it was as romantic and passionate as it could have been, but it was certainly a love letter to this island and a great way to escape for some sun.

Travel of course is something many people have not been able to do for a while and if you want to do it vicariously it is always good to pick up Julie Caplin – The Cosy Cottage in Ireland. This one is a bit closer to home than some have been, but it is always nice to escape. Although I am not sure whether going to a cookery school would be my idea of fun! Combining travel and food is always a good way to escape into a book. Do check this author out if you fancy a trip or two.

Of course if you can afford it, then employ a chef and then you won’t have to worry about a thing – apart from perhaps falling in love with them. Kate Forster – Christmas Wishes at Pudding Hall shows you that can happen, but of course it is not all plain sailing and there might be a few deflated soufflés before the holiday period is over.

What are you hoping to find under your tree this year? The latest Heidi Swain would be a good start and even better with her latest title too – Heidi Swain – Underneath the Christmas Tree. Make sure you buy the best tree from the local tree farm and participate in its sustainability and the beauty of being outdoors. Once you become part of the community it is suddenly very difficult to let go.

Once you have the tree, then you need the prefect gift and what better way than perhaps getting involved with a giving tree. In Katie Ginger – The Perfect Christmas Gift, school teacher Bella decides to give back to the community to help heal her broken heart so close to Christmas. But will anyone leave a gift for her?

School teachers and Christmas makes you think of nativity and tinsel bedecked small people running around high on the excitement of the season. It is reflected in the previous book mentioned as well as Tracy Rees – The Little Christmas House, this time the teacher is aptly named Holly and becomes involved with the delightful little girl Eliza and her father Edward. What is their story?

Christmas is always a time of giving and seeking out the right gift, and so you might wish to pick up a piece of unique art at Helen Pollard – Christmas at Fox Farm. Daisy is the current resident artist and is finding her feet and putting down roots, until the owner of Fox Farm takes ill. It seems the future and Christmas is not going to be all that nice, yet again for Daisy.

Diluting it a bit more with some more murder saw me take a trip to Yorkshire with Kitty Underhay in her latest adventure Helena Dixon – Murder at the Wedding. It is not Kitty’s wedding, though I do hope that is soon, but we have a classic locked room type mystery and it seems the local detective is not really forward thinking in letting women help in investigating. Of course you know what is going to happen don’t you, but that still doesn’t detract from the delightful book.

I am partial to cosy crime, providing it doesn’t get ludicrous which is why I stopped reading Agatha Raisin. It was nice to see a new potential series to get into and one that had an interesting premise. Frances Brody – A Murder Inside, late 1960s, a female governor of the prison variety. An open prison for women in the Yorkshire dales. It already sounds like it is going to be a winner for me and it was rather fascinating and definitely has longevity.

As we go into November, I still have plenty of Christmas books to read. I think I might be fed up with them come December but of course that depends on the stories. With 93 books read so far as of this post, the big 100 is looming large and I start to wonder what will be my final total of 2021. Until then though…Happy Reading.

Books

September Roundup

Depending on how the month ends on what day during the week, depends on how quickly I can get these roundup posts done! Hence why I am a couple of days out from those that follow my blog and expect to see the previous months round on the first.

But better late than never and whilst autumn has clearly arrived in my part of the world, Christmas has too!

It is always nice to go back to something familiar with stories so I was more than happy to return to Jewel Island for this festive season with Holly Martin – Mistletoe at Moonstone Lake. And with a name like Holly what more would you expect Christmas wise!

Of course being a fan of authors and series of books makes reading sometimes easy but with that comes an absolute joy to be part of another world for a while and so I was thrilled to welcome back Sarah Bennett – Autumn Dreams at Mermaids Point and with a novella following close behind, I was delighted to keep the story going for that bit longer with Sarah Bennett – Christmas Surprises at Mermaids Point.

Whilst not my favourite Christmas book so far of 2021, Rachel Burton – A Bookshop Christmas did give me that cosy Christmas bookshop feel that you can get in certain bookshops.

Christmas is not the main theme of Helen Rolfe – The Kindness Club on Mapleberry Lane but it certainly played a part in bringing the kindness of a family together, whether they be true family or simply neighbours.

Of course nothing brings people together than the threat of the closure of a library. In Bella Osborne – The Library, two unlikely people strike up a friendship and find solace in books. There appears to be a number of books this year featuring similar tales and all of them have been thoroughly enjoyable and make me ever so guilty that I hardly visit the library!

I wonder how long the waiting list at the library is for Richard Osman – The Man Who Died Twice? His second novel and if I may say so, I think better than the first. I can see this series lasting quite a while with the quirky residents getting into some rather interesting mysteries. Retirement is not boring for them or us.

Looking back it seems that all the books read in September were on my kindle and were netgalley reads. I have to confess of having got a bit happy with requesting and find myself playing catch up which is how I had only just got round to reading Anthony Horowitz – A Line to Kill, the third novel in the Hawthorne series. Featuring the author himself this book works in such a wonderful way.

Quite a lot of Christmas, quite a bit of murder so I took myself back to some historical reading with Dinah Jefferies – Daughters of War, the first in a new trilogy from this author. Taken to France and the Nazi occupation and the French Resistance, I am interested to see where this series takes us next.

So that was September, October promises to be just as good. I have plenty lined up to read and currently engrossed in an actual book as well as the countless on my netgalley to read list. I hope to balance out the Christmas reads with some more interesting and quirky ones in between. Who knows where I will end up.

I hope your September reading has been what you wanted, anything I have missed?

Books · Jottings

August Roundup

If you have been following this blog for a while, you will probably know that August is a bumper month when it comes to reading and this August was seemingly no different.

Despite buying more books (as if I need them!) I was trying to make a more concerted effort to read from shelves and so that is how I came to pick up Jane Healey – The Animals at Lockwood Manor which had been languishing for a while. It was a rather strange book, with a gothic twist set during the war, but I have feeling these types of books never really feel like that with me. It was a pleasant enough diversion and made room on the shelf for my purchases.

A book of the year and one that all fans of reading and books must read is this debut Sara Nisha Adams – The Reading List. A book about all those books that have helped us in the past and continue to do so in the present and the future. The story weaved around such classics as Little Women and Rebecca was really impactful and I felt I had a glimpse into another life for a while.

Glimpsing into another life with Mel Giedroyc – The Best Things was like watching a car crash in slow motion, except this was not a car crash but a financial one. As a family disintegrates in front of our eyes, we see how that money is not the answer to all our happiness. I will be intrigued as to what this author produces next. I sensed a lot of research and experience in this book that others might not necessarily have brought to such a novel.

Research is the key to all historical fiction and it was clear that in Celia Imrie – Orphans of the Storm had an abundance of it. I knew nothing of the real people fictionalised into the book. I knew from the setting of the book and the time period where we would be going with it, but that it was all true was a surprise. I was most grateful to have read this on my kindle which meant that I could not easily flick to the back where all the ‘research’ and ;’real life’ notes were covered. It really would have spoilt the book for me.

I do love my history and when it becomes relatively local to me in setting then I always take bit more of an interest. Tracy Chevalier – A Single Thread was featured heavily on local news when the hardback version was published, but I waited until the paperback copy before I indulged in this glorious tale of Embroiderers’, Winchester Cathedral and the possibilities of being a single woman so soon after the First World War. I have never read any Chevalier before and of course I have heard of her most famous novel The Girl with the Pearl Earring but for some reason have never picked it up. Next time I am in a bookshop…..

Now it looks like August was the month of Catherine’s or Cath’s. First up is Cath Staincliffe – Running out of Road; her latest novel combines three unrelated people caught up in a very modern story, that you could have been reading a news report. You will have felt you have run more than one road when you get to the end. Catherine Cooper – The Chateau is another book which kept me hooked and turning the page until I could begin to make sense of the characters portrayed and they had all ended up in France in this Chateau.

And to have a bit of a rest from all that thrilling adventure it was a pure joy to pick up Cathy Bramley – A Patchwork Family. These are the sorts of books I buy without even reading the blurb on the back and just dive straight in and become immersed in the story. It was beautiful and had me quietly weeping as the joy of brining all generations together to thrive really worked.

Another author I have no doubt about diving straight into is Trisha Ashley – One More Christmas at the Castle and this is her latest. A Christmas novel in August always seems an alien concept but I don’t care the world has been topsy-turvy enough of late to worry about such things. This is a delightful book and I adored it and any fan of Trisha Ashley will too.

Whilst I only have one of Trisha Ashley’s back catalogue to read, I do still have a few more of Caroline Roberts – The Seaside Cocktail Campervan to catch up on. But in the meantime in her latest I was transported to parties, festivals and markets to partake of a cocktail and a pizza or two and to fall in love with the main characters. I do hope we get to see more of them in future novels.

I am up to date with the wonderful Tracy Rees – The Rose Garden and her latest historical offering which brought the plight of various different females, of various different creeds and classes in London near the turn of the twentieth century. How far and how little the position of women has perhaps come in those intervening years. I am now looking forward to coming back to the present with Tracy Rees more contemporary offering for Christmas.

And as the month closes I return to Ann Cleeves and her new detective, Matthew Venn. Ann Cleeves – The Heron’s Cry. A classic piece of writing from this author, in the vein of all her others but with the background of North Devon and the tense conscious of a detective with a methodical clam presence which covers the guilt he seems to carry with him.

The Christmas books are now appearing alarming regularity so I can see how the next couple of months are going to be spent. Hopefully punctuated by some other great reads too. Do keep reading to find out more.

Books

July Roundup

I think this July has held every possible weather combination apart from snow in the South! When it is too hot the only thing I can manage to do is read.

Ploughing through all the wonderful requests I have put in on netgalley, means that I only picked up one actual book in July – Shelia Norton – Escape to Riverside Cottage. A delightful book to get lost in as the main character finds her place in a place in Devon that hardly anyone knows about. I had forgotten how much I enjoy Shelia Norton’s novels.

Escaping is of course what reading and books brings for a lot of people and I escaped a bit further south to Cornwall with Phillipa Ashley – An Endless Cornish Summer where I was immediately plunged into the water and the community that made my heart sing with delight as I turned the pages of this book. Some authors get better and better!

Of course not many people are travelling at the moment and those that are not going far, so I embarked on a couple of road trips through the pages of books. First was Fanny Blake – The Long Way Home, my first time with this author as we saw the unlikely partnership of grandmother trying to find out the truth about her own mother accompanied by a rather begrudging teenager.

Penny Parkes – Home was a book where you did not need to set down any roots, but take yourself wherever the house sitting work too you and lay your head on the next bed. But ultimately for Anna was this enough? A book which I think will be popular this summer.

Trying to find your home when life changes around you makes you want to run away and hide, which is what Ava does when she escapes in Ali McNamara – Hope and Happiness in Bluebell Wood and finds both, what another glorious place and community to be apart of through the pages of a book.

Of course community is a major theme in many books I read and so it was the community that came together in Cathy Lake – The Country Village Summer Fete. Returning back to your home after leaving under a cloud is always going to have tis difficulties but when your first love is still there and perhaps the bright lights of the city were not all they were cracked up to be – it makes you think.

When you live on a small island, then being part of the community is everything and when you are embraced as a visitor after someone has talked about you a lot, it seems right that you should enjoy your holiday. That is until you are faced with a ghost. Emma Davies – The Little Island Secret certainly has lots to tell and somehow combined being a quiet thriller amongst what some could call women’s fiction.

Talking of thrillers, Emma Rous – The Perfect Guests was a choice I made this month, the difficult second novel, but very good. A lightness to it that made it all that more intriguing. A book full of suggestion and it is up to you as a reader whether you pick up on them all!

For me the past has always been intriguing , having a history degree does that for you. So I am always delighted to go back and was more so with A.J. Pearce – Yours Cheerfully the follow up to the wonderful Dear Mrs Bird. You want to know about strong women during the war, then look no further than this book and tell all your friends to read it too!

Female protagonists probably feature quite strongly in my reading, through default not choice and I was delighted to pick up what is to be I think the start of a series Merryn Allingham – The Bookshop Murder. A gentle 1950s village setting, a big house now a hotel, a spinster in charge of a bookshop. It had all the elements of a Golden Age novel and I was expecting Miss Marple to pop up at some point.

So that was July. I must say a heartfelt thanks to everyone who has joined in the Six in Six for 2021. I am busy compiling the round up post, so do look out for that.

Let’s crack on with August reading and maybe some book shopping too!

Books

June Roundup

That was June – not quite the flamin’ one of last year but still, one hopes we have some more summer to come or at least some non wet days and blue sky will do me.

As for the reading, the lists are getting a bit out of hand I need to make a dent in the netgalley requests and the books on the shelves, but I have a list of books that I want to buy, thanks to the lovely Between the Covers BBC programme and books that have been popping up all over the internet!

But what have I read?

From the shelves, that have been hanging around a while was Christine Lee – The Midwife’s Sister a perfect for fans of Call The Midwife. Gives a very different side to life in the fifties and sixties and explains a lot perhaps about the relationship that we saw of Jennifer Lee portrayed on the television. It captured me and had me hooked, as I simply was fascinated by their life.

Then another book which captured me was Jean E. Pendziwol – The Lightkeeper’s Daughter a book which I picked up on a whim in a bookshop and had yet to get to. I think it might be about the third or fourth book this year to feature a lighthouse! They do fascinate me and this one took me across the sea to Canada, the only thing I would have liked to have seen in the book was a map of Lake Superior so I could get a sense of the place. Nonetheless a book that was worth the wait and one I would recommend.

Cressida McLaughlin – The Cornish Cream Tea Wedding was a book which was not on my shelf for very long. One of those impulse supermarket book purchases to cheer the soul and knowing how I have been following the story of the Cornish Cream Tea Bus, it was great to return and catch up.

Then you go and discover a series of books that you have not read when you come to the latest with Jenny Colgan – Sunrise by the Sea which features another lighthouse and is the fourth based on a setting the author has used before, so that is now added to my list. I think they will be great for those comfort reads when you just want to read.

Another author I can always rely on to just take me away is Katie Fforde – Saving the Day and this one is no different. Even better if you are pushed for time because it is one of the short stories featured from the Quick Reads series books which aims to get people reading. I really don’t know where I would be if it was not for the escape that reading gives me.

Some authors give you familiarity and some authors give you great books but you just don’t know what you are going to get when you start those first few pages. Liz Fenwick – The River Between Us is the latest from the author and all of her books get better and better as they go along and all so different. I loved this one, probably because of the historical elements to it but the modern elements of the story was as important as well, sometimes one dominates the other but here they are given equal importance. Perfection.

Not knowing what I was going to get from this one, as her previous two were so different, it was great to be transported away with Libby Page – The Island Home. A book that dealt with some tough issues and how you can be lonely amongst many and content amongst few. But so you really know everyone’s true story and is it only the one you choose to see.

Of course you can stick to what you know, but I do try and challenge myself with new authors and did so with Beth Cowan-Erskine – Loch Down Abbey a tongue in cheek look at the big house mystery with a few too many characters and whilst a passable diversion, not sure I would recommend.

Dare we say the word Christmas in June, but having received a second book in a series through netgalley and seeing that the first was a mere 99p on Amazon I thought it fair to start at the beginning. Which is why I read Cathy Lake – The Country Village Christmas Show although not overtly full of Christmas it is mentioned and was a nice introduction to this author who I have never heard of before. That said, I don’t think I needed to have read it before her latest. Whoops!

So that was June, half way through the year. For followers of my blog, Six in Six is returning so get working on those lists, and please link back to me so I can capture your links and share the lots of lovely books out there that some of us definitely will not have read!

How was your June reading? Meeting your challenges? Or just seeing how it all goes?

Books

May Roundup

May has rather been a wash out, weather wise – as for the reading well it was fine with few showers!

I think in reference tot he showers I must refer to the last book I read for the month which was Julie Shackman – A Secret Scottish Escape. A book I took a chance on from netgalley but sadly it did not live up to it’s premise. Of course I feel guilty and then I question why did I finish it if I didn’t like it. I have yet to answer that question myself. I just have to recognise that not all books fit sometimes.

Trying my hand with another new author to me Faith Hogan – The Ladies’ Midnight Swimming Club, took me away to Ireland and the wonder that is swimming. Something I adore. Although I have yet to venture into the sea, the outdoor pool is about as far as I go, but I might be tempted to the lido quite soon. This was a book which would warm you from the coldest swim.

Of course not everyone is passionate about water and the sea and when you find yourself on the coast with bad memories of a childhood incident it can cause some heartache. Liz Eeles – A Letter to the Last House Before the Sea helps reveal secrets from the past and heal past misdemeanours in this latest book.

Sticking with the sea and the beach theme, takes me back to Jewel Island and the sensuous stories that come from Holly Martin – Sunlight over Crystal Sands. Her books are fantastic travel escapism and this series seems to be getting better and better.

Travelling all over the place with my reading means I can be in Ireland, in Cornwall or all the way up to Scotland where I get to revisit another place I have enjoyed getting to know Heartcross. Back now with Christie Barlow – Primrose Park who introduces us to more people in this village and some wonderful animals too. Another place to escape to if you feel you need that.

Back down to the Cotswolds as I go back to a village I have visited before, this time I am with newcomer Hannah who decides to restart her life in Rachael Lucas – The Village Green Bookshop. Some tough subjects dealt with tact and truth and brought to life by this author with such skill.

The only trouble with reading books from authors you have read before and part of the series means you never have that thrill of devouring them one after the other and immersing yourself amongst them. When you are all caught up, you simply have to wait until the next one appears.

It is such joy when it does and I get to go back to Dartmouth and back in history with Helena Dixon – Murder at Elm House, Kitty and her beau are still caught up in some mysteries and murders and it seems we are no nearer to finding out about poor Kitty’s mother. Which means I am now patiently waiting for the next one….

I don’t have to wait with the Murder Most Unladylike novels as I have few more of these to read before I have caught up with the complete set, the latest read being Robin Stevens – Creams Buns and Crime. Despite being for children, these really indulge my love of Agatha Christie and Enid Blyton’s school stories and I think are great starting point for some young readers wanting to branch out a bit.

In world full of fake news, of accusations about who said what to whom and how they were treated by the parents flit backwards and forwards across the Atlantic, it is a perfect way to escape it all between the pages of the book. However this latest, Marika Cobbold – On Hampstead Heath takes this and shows us the people that we have perhaps become and the way we need this news at the same time showing you the people who are trying to control it all. A book which challenged me and left me feeling better for being challenged.

As we go to June, I know regular followers of my blog with be well aware of Six in Six and I will be bringing that back for 2021. Do look out for the information posts in the coming days and spread the word to those who might want to join in our small select group!

Books

April Roundup

When I come to write these posts it always surprises me how much (or how little) I have read. April being one of those months in the year when I have more time off work and more time to read of course and it seems that I did that.

Mainly all on my kindle as I think it was just convenient more than anything else but the only physical book read (though plenty bought) was Cressida McLaughlin – The House of Birds and Butterflies which had been languishing on my shelf for a while. I prefer to read Cressida’s books as a whole rather than in serial format.

Going back to authors you know is of course reassuring and comfortable and that is why I was delighted to revisit Wynbridge with Heidi Swain – A Taste of Home. I am now all caught up with these books and look forward to the next, but am slightly jealous of all those who have only just discovered them and have so many to catch up on. That joy of discovering never goes away.

Sometimes though the joy of discovering can be disappointing and looking back over the last few years when I have picked up a book by Tilly Tennant I have either been enraptured with it or just felt rather flat – that was the case with Tilly Tennant – The Little Orchard on the Lane. I think I might need a break from this author for a while.

I was not disappointed with Gervase Phinn – A Class Act only the fact that it was the last in the series and there would be no more. I do love a good school story and one set in Yorkshire is just like spreading joy on every page. If you want laugh out loud then I would always recommend Gervase Phinn’s recollections of being a school inspector.

Just as you come to the end of one particular author’s oeuvre it is always great to find another and having only read a couple and knowing that I have more to read I was delighted to be able to read Jo Thomas – Chasing the Italian Dream her latest novel. Perfect armchair travelling for the foodie and a wonderful story which had me enveloped in the warmth and taste of perfect sunshine and food.

It is a while since I have read anything by Alex Brown, her writing has taken a different direction and this latest Alex Brown – A Postcard from Paris moved more into historical fiction which I enjoy reading. This time in Paris, the occupation in the Second World War and the beauty of a city ruined by invasion but with a story to tell. I think Alex Brown might have found her new writing way and I look forward to where she might take me next.

Sticking with historical brings me nicely to Lorna Cook – The Girl from the Island who I have been with since her debut novel. I think her third is sublime and was a fascinating read about the occupation of the Channel Isles and makes me want to book a visit and explore all of this wonderful history. She always seems to feature known but not well covered parts of history in her fiction and it makes me then want to read as much as I can about the subject.

Learning is all part of reading and that was the case with Emily Hourican – The Glorious Guinness Girls. The name was familiar but not really much else and sadly this book did not live up to what I was expecting. However it led me to read more about this fascinating family and of course their place in society. Perhaps I could say upon reflection this book was a good starting point but not the be all and end all of a read about them.

Of course the previous book mentioned is fiction based on real people,. but when I picked up Jay Blades – Making It I was getting the real story from the real person (with a little bit of writing help). Jay Blades is very well known in the UK, thanks to the wonderful television programme The Repair Shop but his start in life was not wonderful. This books reflects on growing up in a world that views you suspiciously and assumes the worst. I think we have a lot to do ourselves and in the world as a whole to repair all actions of the past and to make sure they do not continue.

The final book of the month was an author I took a chance on having never read any of her work before and thought it would be a change. Tracy Bloom – The Wife Who Got a Life was an odd read, it was a book which just was there, whilst the plot had some sort of purpose it did not really go anywhere for me. I can’t deny its humour but the rest was sort of lost on me.

That was my April, what was yours like? Anything I should be reading that has passed me by? I think I need to be reading more books from my shelves in May!

Books

March Roundup

March

March 2021 is a month to remember probably because it is a year to when the UK went into its first lockdown and we became very familiar with the words pandemic and coronavirus. March 2021 we are still in a form of lockdown and as the month ends we move on to the next stage and whatever that may bring. Hope is what I am after.

March has been an up and down month for reading, the list of books I want to read (and have requested from netgalley) grows long but the actual reading seems to be taking a lot longer. I am hoping as I have chance to recharge and reset in April and the reading will thence follow.

I did read some crackers in March though!

Whilst the place might have driven some crackers, it was all about cracking the code and Kate Quinn – The Rose Code was a hefty tome of novel (not really noticeable on kindle) but was a thrilling read that was perfect for my love of historical fiction and I am just as fascinated by Bletchley Park as I have always been.

All sorts of things fascinate me and last year I ploughed through all the Our Yorkshire Farm series on Channel 5 and then absorbed all the books, so was delighted that another little gem was released Amanda Owen – Tales from the Farm from the Yorkshire Shepherdess. Which has taken her entries from The Dalesman and combined them into this lovely book for dipping in and out of.

Sticking with the farm theme leads me nicely onto Katie Ginger – The Secrets of Meadow Farmhouse where the chickens are giving the new owner of Meadow Farmhouse a run for her money as well as an old flame and a lot of interior decorating! What better setting for such a lovely warm read.

Of course if you are going to go to the sea and spot mermaids then you need it warm, but then in Sarah Bennett – Summer Kisses at Mermaid’s Point the writing and the characters are going to keep you warm and in a good company as we start this new series from this blossoming author.

Wanting to carry on escaping, what better way than to Fiji in Lucy Clarke – The Castaways but not for a relaxing break. For a mystery that needs to be solved, the missing plane, the missing pilot, the missing sister. This was a thrilling adventure despite the setting and left me feeling like I needed a holiday from reading it!

If you are going on holiday then it is always worth visiting the library to pick up some great reads and no more so when the library nearest to you happens to be in a telephone box. Poppy Alexander – The Littlest Library introduced me to a lovely story that can come from the death of loved ones, especially parents and it is with some irony that three of the books that I have read in March and featured such a character background. I only realised this upon reflection over the last month, how strange that I was drawn to such books without really knowing.

I am always drawn to school stories and it is great to spend time with Gervase Phinn – Tales out of School whose books are a joy to read and when you can hear the Yorkshire accent as you read, you can feel the honesty and warmth come right off the pages. This is the second in the series of books and I have the third, primed and ready on my kindle.

Feeling rather out of sorts I picked up Tracy Rees – The Little Book of Secrets and absolutely devoured it in a day, such a beautifully written book that had friendship at it’s heart and the impact that a simple building can have of many people locally and those that pass through.

Some wonderful books which have saved my March and I look forward to brighter days when I can read even more, because I know escaping into a story is the best feeling in the world.