Books

June Roundup

Six months done in 2022, and after two very slow years this one seems to be speeding by. Certainly in terms of books read though it has been slow and I am certainly no where near on target for my yearly challenge of 100. Enough about wishing the next six months away, what have I read in June?

For the first time in a long time, I signed up to 20 Books of Summer challenge and I hope to at least use that to make a dent in all those wonderful books I have to read. It also made me reinstate my challenges list which can now be found at the top of this blog.

I have managed three off this list – the first being a book I had on my shelf for a while Gill Hornby – Miss Austen. A wonderful retreat to the world of Austen, told from the perspective of one of Jane’s siblings and the letters that were written. The language and the pace of the book felt I was catapulted back to the past.

The past or historical fiction was very much of the reading in this month and I was back into World War Two with Molly Green – Summer Secrets at Bletchley Park. Bletchley Park fascinates me and all these women and men who worked there and never said anything for so many years after the war about what happened there. This is the first in what I hope is a little saga series to get my teeth right into!

You can sometimes read the same things about the same eras but with Jennifer Ryan – The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle she makes a part of the war on the home front that you didn’t realise existed and weaves it into a fascinating story. With great female leads and characters of different classes coming together to fight their own battles on the home front. I am fascinated as to where she goes next.

Featuring the Second World War and the years previous, is where you find yourself with Fern Britton – The Good Servant. This takes us into the heart of the royal family and Marion Crawford. Although this is fact made into excellent fiction, it has made me want to read more about Marion, her infamous book and some of the other excellent resources Fern Britton clearly used for her research.

Sticking with the interwar years finds me with Helena Dixon – Murder at the Country Club in the latest Miss Underhay mystery. If there ever was a time for cosy murder, this is a series of books which fulfil all you require set against a wonderful backdrop. I know this must come to an end but I will gobble them up until it does.

The only contemporary fiction was Holly Martin – The Wisteria Tree Cottage. A change from the original title by the author, but I am lucky enough to get an very early viewing and it is fascinating how these things change depending on uptake and marketing. This is yet another cracker from Holly and I just adore how this time she has given more voice to the male characters.

Not bad for June, but clearly work is taking its toll on all parts of my life. Time to readdress that balance if I am to survive the next six months. In the meantime do look back on your last six months of reading as Six in Six is now ready to go. I look forward to everyone joining in and please link back so I can share the love.

Happy reading!

Books

May Roundup

In a blink of any eye that was May. It has been rather a long month, I have been working sometimes 60 hours a week due to various reasons at work and it feels like some days I have done nothing of what I enjoy doing; reading, crafting and swimming. Then add in a dose of COVID, and the month has been a bit of a washout. So how I have managed to read all these books I don;t know – but I have so without further ado…..

When not feeling chipper it is always good to stick to something you know and that was the case with Katie Fforde – A Wedding in Provence. A book to lose yourself into and escape to the beautiful area of Provence and a glorious love story.

Surroundings and landscape often make a book and no more so than with Heidi Swain – The Summer Fair. Back in Nightingale Square in the shared community garden. It is a place that is going to heal the broken of hearts and souls. If I could live in a book, I would want to live here!

Having spent all of my life by the sea, I am quite often drawn to the water and in Tilly Tennant – The Café at Marigold Marina the water proves to be a place of salvation for one of it’s newest residents.

New residents, albeit temporarily in Cornwall was where the latest Merryn Allingham – Murder at Primrose Cottage took readers. I am sure there isn’t a month that doesn’t go by without at least one book set in Cornwall. Though I don’t think finding bodies in orchards is quite what I have in mind when I envisage a cottage in Cornwall (or anywhere!)

I do enjoy the periods of history that some of the books I read are set in. And after finishing a saga series, I am itching to get into another one. I have started with Vicki Beeby – A New Start for the Wrens. Topical as I recognise some of the places local to me and I have now twenty years experience of the Navy. This was a great start to the series and now I have to wait for the next one, so I might need to discover some other series where there are plenty to get caught up in whilst I wait.

History took me back even further to Paris and the 19th Century to the world of the impressionist painters with Helen Fripp – The Painter’s Girl. My artistic knowledge is probably rather poor, but this was a fascinating insight to the world these people circulated in. I wish I could have had a picture book next to me, to reference all those paintings mentioned. A few lost hours on the internet fixed that.

Arts and Crafts is something I adore in many forms, and I do like the place it can send you to in your mind. Whilst I an do no more than a cushion cover at basic and perhaps the odd face mask as the last two years called for them. I do adore the Great British Sewing Bee and therefore was intrigued to read Esme Young – Behind the Seams. A chatty reminiscence through this wonderful ladies life and the joy that sewing brings. One to forge her own path I greatly admire her and she seems to have got through life fairly unscathed from it all. Wonderful.

Another woman who is forging her own path is Elizabeth Zott in Bonnie Garmus – Lessons in Chemistry a book that has been all over social media in the last few weeks. It’s bright cover makes it stand out and it is an absolute gem of a book which says something about women in the world, in the workplace, in the home, in pretty much everything. I just felt that in some cases nothing has changed but then so much has also changed. One for book of the year I think.

Celeb fiction writing can be a bit hit and miss. Sara Cox – Thrown is a hit, a great big hit and actually a book I had to keep reading as I was invested in it so much. I am intrigued as to whether there will be more from this pen if it is as as good as this then we won’t be disappointed.

I also made the decision to sign up to 20 Books of Summer, to make a dent in my shelves both physical and on netgalley. One of the books of the list will need to be changed because I have read it already, but no mind there are plenty more to add onto the list!

Regular followers of my blog with be well aware of Six in Six and I will be bringing that back for 2022. 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!

Let’s get reading…..

Books

April Roundup


And there goes April……I normally have a lot of time to read in April due to holiday, but this year was very different. Less holiday due to work computer systems, personnel changes and the like means that I have had the bare minimum to catch up. It has slightly annoyed me really as has the lack of doing what I like doing. However I have read some books and some cracking ones at that.

The Second World War seems to have been a theme when I look back on the books I have read. I was delighted and also saddened to finally reach the end of this series with Nancy Revell – Three Cheers for the Shipyard Girls. I am now on the look out for another saga series to get immersed in, so if you have any recommendations then please comment and let me know.

From the Shipyards of the War and staying very much on the home front I ended up in a cooking competition on rations with Jennifer Ryan – The Kitchen Front. Whilst perhaps some of the ingredients leave a lot to be desired this strong story of friendship and what you can achieve with every little is excellent. It was lovely to see a book which concentrated on a different part of the war. Jennifer Ryan has a knack of doing that with her story telling.

You never think of what happened to libraries during the War. Kate Thompson – The Little Wartime Library shines a light on such a place, deep underground at Bethnal Green. Synonymous with a tragedy of its own. This was a delightful, heart-breaking book which tells you the power of friendship and strength through books.

More libraries featured this month by pure accident and that was with the latest Katie Ginger – The Little Library on Cherry Lane. A library threatened from something different but nonetheless showing such an important place that libraries can be. Makes me feel so guilty that I do not use mine as often as I should.

Female friendships is a theme in many books I read and they can cross generations as they do in Joanna Nell – The Tea Ladies of St Jude’s Hospital. An author I have read before who can capture the wonder of the elderly in such a comic way that her books have a great sense of fun about them.

Cathy Bramley – The Summer That Changed Us is the latest in this author’s work and I think I have pretty much read all of them. This one was different, it spoke to me in a completely different way. I adored it from beginning to end, it dealt with some real tough subject matter but not in a frivolous way but in something more realistic akin to real life. Cathy’s work keeps getting better and better.

Reading brings me such joy an contentment but I always like to be challenged sometimes by what I pick up. The final two books I want to talk about this month do that. Clare Chambers – Small Pleasures was on my shelf for a while after seeing it being raved about on Between the Covers a relatively new book programme on BBC2. Wow! A gentle book with an interesting themes to make it not so gentle and a bit more powerful.

Thrillers always have that way of being powerful, if they have the right hook to draw you in, the hours whizz by and you suddenly find it is way past your bedtime! Lucy Foley – The Paris Apartment was no exception. Whilst Lucy has moved away from the almost ‘locked room’ mystery this had a lot of a similar elements and branched out a little bit more. I was hooked, I was drawn in and I had to keep turning the page. A little bit slow in parts and not my favourite of hers but still a great thriller to escape with.

So that was my April, I am trying to erode the huge list of books to read on my shelf, on my kindle and on my want to buy list! Then of course I need to be writing about the books too, which seems to be harder and harder at the moment. A few more hours in the day, a few more days in the week and all we be fine!

Books

March Roundup

Looking back at the last two March, I seem to be in a familiar place. A need to recharge and reset, the reading is perhaps not the solace it can be. That said though I have read some great books in March, but the inclination to talk about them has waned slightly as the month has come to a close. I can though wax lyrical about all that I have read in this summary post of March.

When times are tough, it is familiarity in reading that can sometimes bring us through and of course lots of the authors this month I have read before.

I am back with Kitty in the latest Helena Dixon – Murder in First Class where she finds herself embroiled in a murder on a train, in a classic locked room scenarios familiar to those who have read many a crime novel of the classic cosy genre! I do so enjoy this series and know that eventually it will come to an end, in the meantime I just enjoy.

I do become involved in places, series, characters and no more so than when I am lucky enough to get hold of Sarah Bennett – Love Blooms at Mermaid Point and escape back to a place where I know I am going to be welcomed. Peeking into their lives is such a joy and perhaps the topics might be tough, but it all encompasses something which makes this particular author and her work a joy to read.

Sticking with authors I have read before took me to Liz Eeles – The Girl at the Last House Before the Sea where Freya finds herself starting again not just with her own life but with the relationships with her own family. Her influence means that others start to question their own family pasts.

Strong female characters is always a theme amongst many of the books I read and no more so than with the latest Veronica Henry – The Impulse Purchase. This is one of my favourites by this author and is an impulse purchase everyone needs to make. A proper great read to completely lose yourself in and one of my books of the year so far.

And also this month brought another favourite book of the year and that is Sally Page – The Keeper of Stories. This debut novel is such a quiet gentle read that it had my heart from the very first page. The stories that are out there amongst us all, the normal is much more interesting than the faked and fantastical world we sometimes can live in. A book to look out for.

Another book I kept seeing and had yet to read, so a bit slow to the party with this one was Robert Thorogood – The Marlow Murder Club. A fun, cleverly constructed novel which featured some quirky characters, some interesting murders and plenty of theories to make me think this could be the start of a series of books to get into. If Murder Mystery is your thing then this book is definitely one to read.

The book above, was one I had on my shelf that required reading and I also found myself picking up another one which had been languishing on there a while. That’s the trouble with netgalley it distracts me from my own shelves. Anyway I picked up Ayana Mathis – The Twelve Tribes of Hattie a heart breaking and graphic story which is eye opening about the South in America during many troubled times. A disturbing book that requires reading to gain an insight perhaps into what seems like another world but is sadly probably not that far from reality.

It has been a while since I have read any type of autobiography but I spotted Sutton Foster – Hooked on her own social media feed and as it features the wonderful affect craft can have on your life, you could say I was also hooked. Very American in references so some of it went over my head, but it was a fascinating to see how this popular theatre and television actress started and how the outlet of craft has kept her grounded along the way.

So that was March, some of the shelves a little dent in the Netgalley list as well. Onwards and upwards for April. I wonder where my reading journey will take me next ?

Books

February Roundup

A quiet month in terms of reading, brain not wanting to process words after hours at work processing numbers and idiots, not necessarily in that order. The most I have been able to do is sleep. Even the crafts have taken a bit of a blip and I know that would make me feel so much better. So rather than giving anything up for Lent, perhaps I should do the reverse and start something instead.

Anyway on with the books, the first was Sharon Gosling – The House Beneath the Cliffs, originally requested via Netgalley and one that I forgot to download in time and because I was so interested I bought a copy. A really great read, took me away to Scotland and I have found an author I would like to read more of too.

Sometimes a book is like a big hug and you are transported to a place that feels just like that as if you could walk into the pages of the book and fit right in. That was the case with Helen Rolfe – The Farmhouse of Second Chances a heart breaking read but one that will equally fill your heart with joy.

Another place to escape to in all it’s magical form was Holly Martin – The Blossom Tree of Dreams, the first in a new series from this author where the main protagonists were male and that you are transported to the woods, the trees and nature in all its glory.

Sticking with transported away, of course our worlds have got really small in the last couple of years and travel has been a bit spares but of course you can always bring the holiday to your home as does Cressida McLaughlin – The Staycation. This is a slight change of direction for this author and whilst I enjoyed it, I wasn’t quite sure.

Not being quite sure was how I approached Janice Hallet – The Twyford Code, not because there is anything wrong with the book. It is so cleverly written it made my brain hurt! But in a good way and did I see the red herrings, was I suspicious, did I work it out? I think I would have to reread the book more than once to work it all out!

I enjoy reading by what it teaches me, what I discover that I didn’t know and how cleverly the writing can be. With the final book of February to tell you about was something I learnt by reading Lorna Cook – The Dressmakers Secret. Chanel is a name we all know. Her past wasn’t something I knew anythign about, perhaps a vague notion of something not the norm. This was a book that surprised me and showed me a different side to a well known person and brand,. Fascainting and this is one of th reasons I love hisotrical fiction.

One thing I will say, is writing reviews are a bit slow. Not sure why, I am reading but it seems to be taking a while for the words to come out the end of my fingers onto the keyboard and get it down to share. Doesn’t help when you have oodles of books to read either!

Better get on with March and reading some of them.

Books · Jottings

January Roundup

For a reading month, this has been quite a slow one, getting back into routine after two weeks off work meant that reading took a little bit of a back seat as all I seemed to want to do is sleep! Even more so now that I end the month with a cold. However the books I have read have been excellent so without further ado……

In a push to beat the backlog that has been trending on Twitter I thought I would start with Stacy Halls – Mrs England sat on my shelf for a while and therefore crying out to be read. Why did I wait so long, it was a wonderful read and I have another on my shelf to read so I can go back to this wonderful writing.

#BeatingBeatTheBacklog will feature on many peoples blogs and twitter feeds no doubt and I have sorted made a headway in some more of my backlog on my netgalley list and picked Cathy Hayward – The Girl in the Maze which had been languishing for a bit longer than it should have been. This was an immensely powerful book which if you pick up you will need a strong stomach for. Still now it comes back to me.

But then I go and buy books which sort of defeats beating the backlog which is how I ended up reading Jo Bartlett – The Cornish Midwife. I would like to read more of this series and wanted to start with book one, though it seems it doesn’t matter. I wasn’t overly impressed with the ‘physical’ copy book version, seemed a bit too cheap. It was a delightful story full of humour and cheer and just what you need sometimes.

Delving into a book full of possibility as well as a shop of the same is how I felt about Holly Hepburn – The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures. Previously released in four parts, this is the whole story and the way I prefer to read. Full of promise, history and love it filled my soul like the perfect balm.

Amongst all the ‘nice’ books sometimes it is good to test yourself or delve into the murkier bits of the past or of life. What better way than combining it with some historical fiction and go back to 1926 with Nina de Gramont – The Christie Affair. A possible reason for why Agatha Christie went missing for those eleven days. Of course we will never know which I think is part of the added mystery to the whole thing.

Some more crime in Nita Prose – The Maid which is a book you will see a lot of in the coming weeks I am sure. It has been optioned for film as well. A book set in a hotel, no time, no place but a maid who becomes involved in some unpleasantness and then finds a dead body. Is she guilty of anything other than innocence? If you enjoyed The Rosie Project/Eleanor Oliphant you will certainly like this book.

Still with the crime, but this time on the high seas as the month comes to a end with Tom Hindle – A Fatal Crossing. What could be more of a locked room mystery than one on a liner in the middle of a ocean. Rare pieces of art and the class system at it’s best, it is a race to find out the truth before the ship docks.

Not a bad start to the year, some real excellent reads and there is plenty more to come. I need to beat that backlog somehow whether it be on my shelf or on my kindle.

Bring on February!

Books · Jottings · Witterings

Books in 2021

So I am probably one of the last people with a book blog to actually witter on about what my favourite books were last year and it seems to have taken me an age to get to this point where I have put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard to consolidate the reading of 2021.

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

The Shortest Book was Katie Fforde – Saving the Day at 92 pages

The Longest Book was Kate Quinn – The Rose Code at 624 pages

I read 109 books which was 31,042 pages!

87 were on my Kindle – that is rather shocking when I think of the amount of books on my shelves. I solely blame netgalley which feeds this habit, but I have had the opportunity to read so many wonderful stories because of it and discover new authors that I can perhaps only be a little bit cross with myself!

It is quite clear I come back to the same authors time and time again, for comfort but also because you know you are going to get a cracking good read! So again, I look back on those I have read more than 1 of and this year it seems that 3 is the magic number!

Multiple Books by the same Author

I have marked in bold those who fell into the same category last year too.

3 Books: Christie Barlow, Sarah Bennett, Helena Dixon, Holly Martin, Cressida McLaughlin, Tracy Rees.

2 Books: Merryn Allingham, Phillipa Ashley, Cathy Bramley, Alex Brown, Rachel Burton, Julie Caplin, Liz Eeles, Katie Fforde, Kate Forster, Katie Ginger, Cathy Lake, Shelia Norton, Gervase Phinn, Nancy Revell, Helen Rolfe, Heidi Swain.

Of course all of these colourful covers just make reading even more joyful as to the story insdie.

I read no Agatha Christie! I could have sworn I had, but that probably shows you how much the stories stay with you, or I have watched far too many on the TV! Perhaps this year I will read more. Then again, I have no plans for this blog which is probably why it has taken so long to write this round up post for last year!

I don’t think I have a favourite book, there are too many I read that I enjoy and I just simply love reading. But these are the standout books for that are not featured above just in case you want some more to add to your list.

This is a powerful and emotional book and I was caught out by one particular plot thread, so swept away was I with the story and the characters, it felt that I was suffering my own loss. The comfort was the familiarity of books, the comfort that they can give and the way they help and heal. The message which this debut novel has conveyed with sensitivity, across cultures, across ages and across book shelves.

This is a fascinating book which gives a real insight into life under German occupation on the island and shows the conflicts and battles that the islanders had to face as well as the occupying German forces as well. The book certainly pushed your expectations to make you think of both sides during the war and for that I commend it.

I adored this book, it reminds me of my great love of historical fiction and was an part of history which I knew little about and also even less about the great Champagne houses. How wonderful to discover that a woman was behind one of the greatest much to the chagrin of most. Historical fiction is of course just that but what it does and this book does it in abundance is open your eyes and the world up to reading much more about these fabulous women who have shaped history, who have made an impact and should be recognised much more. It reminded me why I love history. 

I did wonder where and how this book was going to culminate and I was so intrigued by the characters that were created. I was completely surprised by the fact that whilst this story was fiction – every person and experience was based on real people and real events. The information and research given at the end of the book is fascinating and brought more to the story than if it had been pure fiction.

This is a long novel but so worth it, to get so involved with everything, whether it be the light hearted moments, or the thrill of the chase when it came to cracking a code or experiencing life as a debutante in war torn London. 

A real thoughtful book which concentrates on the simplicity of family and friendship, with some difficult moments that leaving you thinking, even if it seems that all works out alright on the surface.

I feel I have been all over the world with Lucina Riley and the Seven Sister series and I have learnt so much from all of the places I have been. The fact that real life events, real people are simply weaved into the fictional tale is a testament to the skill of Riley’s writing and means that for me she is without a doubt one of my most favourite authors.

Sadly the world lost Lucinda Riley in 2021, a great loss and I am thrilled but saddened in equal measure that I still have some of books left to read on my shelf. It will be with poignancy when I do get round to reading these.

So that is the flavour of 2021. I hope you will excuse the time it has taken me to get to this post. And I once again I thank all my blog readers who stop by and read, comment or simply like a post. I feel over the last few years, the book blogging world has changed, but this for me has always been about my little place, my little jotter where I share what I love.

Who knows where this blog will go in 2022, but so far the books and the reading continue.

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.