Books · Jottings · Witterings

Parish Notices

It has been a while since we have had any notices around this parish, time is speeding by and I try and spend as much of it doing all the things I enjoy. But I never get round to sharing them with people. If you follow my on Instagram then you will see me post my weekly picture of what has been a reflection of my week. So if you want some more regular idea of what I have been up to then that is the place to go. One day I think I will have the time to witter on about it all on my blog….one day….

However I am dropping into to tell you all about the Christmas reading that has already been going on around this parts.

I am part of a blog tour for Tracy Rees – The Little Christmas House

Come back on the 27th October to find out what happens behind the doors in The Little Christmas House.

What about spending Christmas in a Castle and with Trisha Ashley. One of the best ways to spend Christmas

………Pure Christmas escapism with plenty of mulled wine and mince pies to keep you full up at any time of the year.

The perfect book for Christmas and one that is worthy of a reread for many Christmases to come!

Or of course you could take a trip to Jewel Island if you should fancy.

...Everything you would expect from a Christmas market too! Mulled Wine, Hot Chocolate, Snow, Churros and a visit from Santa. What more could you want to get you in the festive mood?

You could choose to discover Mermaids Point in this novella which introduces you to the characters in festive spirit and that means you will need to go back and catch up on their stories.

This little novella, is like a Christmas Present from Sarah Bennett for fans of all her books, but most importantly if you have fallen in love with Mermaids Point and everyone that lives there.

Visting a unique place for a Christmas outing is sometimes a change so why not visit Fox Farm

To see the wonderful art work, to eat delicious cakes and hot chocolate whilst watching the children get excited about Christmas seems like the perfect place to spend some time. What better book to bring out the true Christmas spirit with a lovely romance added in.

Every home needs a Christmas Tree no matter how large or small.

If you are looking for a Christmas read to curl up in front of a log fire, the smell of a freshly cut Christmas tree, a hot chocolate full of calories then this is the book for you.

There is more to come and I am excited about escaping (hopefully!) in some of these.

I must get on as these books won’t read themselves.

Books · Jottings

Parish Notices

Hello readers, I hope things are well in your parishes?

I thought I might pop on and share some recent books with you, just in case you haven’t had the chance to hear about them.

Hidden Secrets at the Little Village Church – Tracy Rees

A warm and heartfelt book where I wasn’t sure if I could warm to the two main protagonists who I found tiresome, sullen and quite prickly at the beginning. They both needed a good shake, but how wonderful to see such a small task be able to change Gwen and Jarvis and also my perception about them as I learnt more……..Thank you Tracy Rees this book was a pure tonic of a read and if you want to write more like this I for one will certainly be reading them. A little book of pure joy.

Holidays are quite the topic at the moment, but you can escape through reading I promise you and you might even find a mermaid on your travels.

Summer Kisses at Mermaids Point – Sarah Bennett

Laurie Morgan runs a small café, next door to a gift shop that her parents run, her brother Nick can be found on the tour boats in this delightful costal village and her aunt can also be found popping into help in the café. A real family feel to this book and I am sure in subsequent books we will get to know more about them all.

A wonderful escapist novel, which sweeps you away to the seaside, that takes you for a paddle in the waters, to the mouth watering cakes of Laurie’s café as the well as the warmth of the community environment and the strength of family. This book has so many layers of warmth that you will never feel cold reading it!

I do love a bit of history and I highly recommend this read which fascinated me.

The Girl From the Island – Lorna Cook

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.

This latest from Lorna Cook, like her previous novels takes an element of history that is perhaps overlooked or not given as much page space and weaves the fact with the fiction to create a story to draw you in and care.

And a latest finish, which has yet to appear on my blog is the latest from Liz Fenwick

Published in the coming days, this is a real delight and a must for fans of historical fiction, family sagas, big houses and the complexity of family.

What have you been reading in your parish? Anything of note? Anything you are looking forward to? I have only ventured to a bookshop once since restrictions lifted and I will endeavour to get there again because there is a lot of books I want to read…and of course so little time.

Jottings · Witterings

Parish Notices

I thought it was about time for some notices, it seems that it has been near on four months since I have produced any and you might think this parish had disappeared. It hasn’t but it has certainly been in hibernation.

As spring has sprung and I have been able to go swimming again, it feels like a huge fog or fug has lifted and there has been a little more lightness in many ways. So I dust off this parish notice to let you know about some bits and pieces.

I shared a year of jigsaws with you and I have since finished another one and share that now, just in case you think you have to wait another year! It was a great way of consolidating all I have done and also putting theme somewhere so they were not taking space up on my iPad!

I have of course been creating and perhaps I need to share more of this on my blog too, so here is a sneak peak of something you will see come to life very soon…..

Of course in the main this is a book blog so what about some books – here are a few that might have passed you by and I think are worth a look.

This is a delightful debut novel from Sarah Steele who clearly has a flair for dressmaking, the details that have gone into using this as a means to tell a story is insightful and thoughtful. It really added to the depth of the story for me as these stories ran concurrently and then were all swept and stitched together.

My Review – 11 Jan 2021

This is the debut novel from this author and when I picked it up, I knew little of the subject matter and the history of Champagne. And if truth be known I am not a big fan of it – the drink not the book.

My Review – 3 Mar 2021

This book drew me straight in, I have been fortunate to visit Bletchley Park (and so want to go back) that I really did feel like I was walking through those gates, hunkering down in a hut with nothing but a jumble of letters and paper and pencils to crack something unknowable. What an experience it must have been and Kate Quinn brings that experience so much to life in this book.

My Review – 29 Mar 2021

I hope things are good in your parish? I appreciate everyone who pops by and says hello and also those who just pop by. I hope you find your time here enjoyable and of course pick up a book recommendation or two!

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

Parish Notices

I hope you are all well in your part of the parish? Trying to stay upbeat and smiley in this part of the parish, especially as it seems that there are changes (and not good ones) on the horizon. I don’t want to bring everyone down with that and to be honest, I am exhausted thinking and discussing it. So what better solace than some books.

You might have missed some of these in recent months

London. Rush Hour.

Seven people started their day thinking it was going to be what they knew.

What they did not know was that they would never get to work.

Seven seemingly random people stabbed.

What connected them all?

Full Review here

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.

A must for all fans of great murder mysteries.

Full Review here

In a retirement village where the facilities are seemingly far superior than your average holiday resort, there is plenty to keep you occupied with various clubs, fitness activities, visits and committee meetings. Just a word of warning, do not park where you shouldn’t!

Much will be made of this book simply because of who it is written by. Richard Osman has a very acerbic wit which is evident in this book and for me it resembled a Wodehouse novel in parts, very character rich. There are plenty of references to typical British places, products and behaviours and it very much centres the setting as well as the plot in that of a British cosy crime novel.

Full Review here

Anyone taking on the task of taking Hercule Poirot and carrying on his tales is gong to always come in for some criticism – not least because it can never be the same. Very true but in a world where nothing is ever going to be the same, it is refreshing to revisit a familiar character doing what he does best – using the little grey cells to solve crime.

If you can think of the best Christie you have read and team it with the best David Suchet Poirot adaptation you have seen then you have captured the essence of this book (and Hannah’s three previous Poirot novels). It works, don’t ask me how it just does.

Full Review here

I promise you there is no reason that I appear to have been on some sort of killing spree with my reading but there is more to come…..

Making her way home through a blizzard, DCI Vera Stanhope comes across an abandoned car, the door open, the driver clearly gone but in the back a small boy.

By nature of the setting, the wilds of the Northumberland setting and the fact that it is December, Christmas is round the corner it is a dark book – the unknown is a dark place as is revisiting parts of Vera’s past which have an affect on perhaps the way she deals with the investigation and all of the potential suspects.

Full review coming to soon to this blog.

The reading has taken a lighter turn as the Christmas books are stacking up fast and I am after some joyous, happy reading for a while.

How’s things in your parish?

Books · Witterings

Parish Notices

 

How is it going in your part of the world? Here in the UK, we wait until 1900 this evening when Boris Johnson, Prime Minister sets out the next phase for us as a country. The speculation is beginning to wear a bit thin and I think that the ‘people’ are getting a bit restless without guidance and instruction. Until then though I thought I might let you know about some bits and pieces.

I am part of the Phillipa Ashley Blog Tour in June for her new novel A Perfect Cornish Escape.

Summer in Cornwall is the perfect time for a fresh start…

Seven years ago, Marina Hudson’s husband was lost at sea. She vowed to love him for the rest of her life – but when kind-hearted Lachlan arrives in Porthmellow, should she deny herself another chance at happiness?

Tiff Trescott was living life to the full as a journalist in London – until her boyfriend’s betrayal brought it all crashing down. Fleeing to her cousin Marina’s cottage, Tiff feels like a fish-out-of-water. And when brooding local Dirk wins a day with her in a charity auction, she’s thrown headfirst into Cornish life.

This summer promises new beginnings for both Tiff and Marina. But are they too good to be true?

Pop back on the 15th June (if not before) and see my review.

Another book I need to tell you about it is the new novel from Holly Martin coming in the Autumn funnily enough and we will be taken back to the place and the characters first featured in Sunrise over Sapphire Bay

I am desperately missing the gym and especially swimming and it has been a real struggle this last week to manage everyday stuff including work without that outlet. So when I have not been reading and crafting, it has been jigsaws that have occupied my time.

I love seeing them come together. So here is a few over the last few weeks, the small 500 piece ones take me no more than a day. I am not sure whether that is the size or the picture that make them seemingly easy!

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There are a few more waiting to be done so I am good to go for a few more weeks yet.

What has been happening in your parish? How is the reading? Have you got to jigsaws yet?

Jottings

Parish Notices

How is your parish faring?

Many words and phrases are new to us – unprecedented we can now all probably spell quite well. As well as ‘self-isolation’, ‘social distancing’, ‘flattening the curve’ and no doubt there will be more which will seep into our subconscious.

I am finding it probably like the rest of you very strange. There are some days when I can cope and there are others where I have not coped at all. I have not been focused on much, reading has taken a bit of a dent as I can’t seem to concentrate, however I make a concerted effort to power through.

The biggest for me has been the exercise and swimming. I was still doing this and going to the gym, it has now since closed and I realise how much swimming is my mind space time. I need it to survive I think. I live near the sea, it may now be time to investigate swimming in it instead.

Whilst pictures of people walking on promenades and in parks yesterday and today has been frowned upon, I can see the other side as we have had hardly any bright dry days to be able to go out and people just needed that shot of blue sky and sunshine. I did go out and run madly up and down a hill and squatted in a space and lunged and did as much as I could to escape the all consuming news of it.

Being distanced means you want to keep in touch and of course I do with as many people as I can, but invariably as breaking news infiltrates you find yourself drawn to the news almost hourly and that in itself can’t be good for us.

I need to find a new normal, a new routine, a new way forward.

I am currently still going to work – I am classed as a key worker under the Public Safety and National Security umbrella, a contractor to one of our armed forces in my case. I cannot work from home, I would if I could and I think as the days go on into next week it will mean less time in the office and condensing the work and only the vital work when I am in.

Let me change the subject and talk books and other things to distract me and you with.

Malory Towers has been made for the BBC and all episodes are going to drop I think tomorrow (Mon 23 Mar) on iPlayer. It will be a sanitised version of Enid Blyton, but who cares, it is a kids programme, but who cares, I am ready to indulge in this with my tuck box ready. I so wish I still had my books from being a child, what a good time to indulge and read them all.

Something to look forward to……30th April sees the publication of the new Heidi Swain novel

If you cannot get to a seaside, this is the perfect way to escape – but you might need to provide your own ice cream

The cover just brings you some cheer doesn’t it?

Recently published is Spring Tides at Swallowtail Bay

This really is a book full of warmth. Friendships forged and never forgotten. The cross generational divide which brings communities together works in Lexi’s favour and her passion for all things vintage I am sure would make a book on its own. Of course there is a romantic element within the book and whilst of course these things don’t always run smoothly sometimes the best things for people are simply staring them in the face!

Also recently published is Clover Cottage the third in the Love Heart Lane series by Christie Barlow.

For fans of good women’s fiction which is not light and fluffy but has real depth of emotion and character – read them all from the beginning of the series. You won’t regret it!

It is a long time since I brought you any crafts on this blog, though I have been mentioning it in my look back over ten years. Of course it is another part of my life that along with reading, swimming I use as a tool to keep my somewhat grounded and sane (debatable I know) but I used the opportunity yesterday to finish a Christmas Elf…..

……I know it is only just turned Spring but still I needed to keep busy and he was looking rather forlorn in the bag.

It has cheered my soul, to finish this elf, share these books and have a bit of a natter on here. I am grateful for the many little things, like being able to dry my washing outside and all I can do now is see what tomorrow brings for me and for us all.

Stay Safe.

Books · Jottings · Witterings

Parish Notices

This is the first Parish Notices of the year so it seems and I wanted to share some bits and pieces with you.

March seems like a long way off and my stop on this blog tour is in April but I wanted to let you know about the wonderful new book from Lorna Cook – The Forbidden Promise.

A sneak peek from my review

…this second novel is better than the first……. shows a great example of dual time narrative, compelling storylines and wonderfully drawn characters…

A book that you may have seen in or out of the press is Libby Page – The 24 Hour Cafe. In a similar vein to her debut novel The Lido, this is a book to draw you in.

 

How often do you stop and wonder about those around you – what their story is and whether it is happier or more troubled than your own? Whether there are people looking at you thinking the same, just for 24 hours Libby Page gives us that insight and as you finish the book, you go back to your own life and carry on.

Another recommend is Tracy Rees – The House at Silvermoor. If you want something Catherine Cookson-esque in fact something even better than this is the book for you.

This book is packed full of wonderful passages and it’s pace at times might seem slower than other novels but then I think that is intended…

……There are many more scenes I could choose from to describe how wonderful the writing is but that would just spoil the book for you.

It is ten years this year since I first started the blog and there is a reflection post of that very first year and throughout this year I hope to revisit each of the years in turn. It has jogged my memory of books, authors and crafts I was doing and so I hope to return to some of these and perhaps share some early reviews as well.

So whilst my parish maybe wet and windy thanks to Storm Ciara Dennis I have books and crafts to keep my company. What is going on in your parish?

 

Jottings · Witterings

Parish Notices

It appears to have been a bit quiet round here lately, but I just wanted to pop in to say a festive hello and remind you of some festive reads which are out at the moment and perhaps some ones from the archive as well!

A Perfect Cornish Christmas – Phillipa Ashley

A moving read which eases you into your Christmas reading with great settings and great characters which capture your heart. A must for any fan of Ashley’s other works or discovering for the first time. A perfect read Christmas or not!

Starlight over Bluebell Castle – Sarah Bennett

An excellent Christmas read which captures so many wonderful elements of Christmas but the most important one – being with people you love and cherish. That is the best gift of all.

The Gift of Happiness – Holly Martin

Holly Martin’s novels are a joy to read. So heartwarming and like receiving a great big hug all through the power of a few words on paper. A Five Sparkly Christmas Star read!

Snowflakes and Cinnamon Swirls at the Winter Wonderland – Heidi Swain

An excellent Christmas read and if your Christmas is normally wet, grey and miserable this is a sure-fire way of immersing yourself in a Christmas that can exist!

A Christmas Cracker – Trisha Ashley

You cannot beat a cracking good read and you cannot beat Trisha Ashley to deliver such a read. This latest Christmas novel has everything in it to while away a Christmas Afternoon on the sofa with copious amounts of tea and christmas cake snuggled right under a blanket as you absorb yourself in the story.

In other news I have also completed my challenge of 100 books with about 20 days to spare! So let us see what the final number will be by 31 December.

I will need to turn to my favourite books of the year soon but in the meantime on with more reading……

*I have received these books in exchange for an honest review and I receive nothing in payment for recommendation more than once on this blog or on any other social media channel I use. I simply pass on the books that have given me joy. 

Books

Parish Notices

 

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas……..well Christmas reading anyway. Though I have purchased the odd present or two! Enough already I hear you say.

I have had rather an up and down week, the NHS have not let my family down but the worry continues. Reading, swimming and crafts have been my crutch as has the odd chocolate bar.

So what is there to tell you about – what might you have missed?

Trisha Ashley – The Christmas Invitation – OUT NOW

It would not be Christmas without a Christmas read from Trisha Ashley, whether it be old or new – and for this year it is her latest novel and she invites us all to Christmas.

Tilly Tennant – The Garden on Sparrow Street – OUT NOW

This is an enchanting tale of loss, grief and moving forward and whilst Christmas is clearly featured the book is very much about the characters, their relationships and is not full on Christmas as some books can be at this time of year.

Katie Ginger – Snowflakes at Mistletoe Cottage OUT NOW

Esme loves everything about London, her boyfriend, her friends, her job on a top tv cooking programme and the fact she can experience so much about Christmas immediately from her front door.

This is a great festive read and one for all food fans as well. Mouthwatering descriptions of food and the fun of amaetuer recordings of making lots of funny moments.

And you have all of this to look forward to:

Holly Martin’s novels are a joy to read. So heartwarming and like receiving a great big hug all through the power of a few words on paper.

A Five Sparkly Christmas Star read!

The Gift of Happiness is published on 25 October – my full review will be on this blog around that date.

Daisy did not have a happy childhood and when the chance to escape came, she got a job in Buchanans a jewellery shop and her love for the romance of jewellery and her secret passion for making it as well blossomed.

This was a lovely story and the plot pulled you right in…….

A feel good festive read that will keep you warm on the coldest of nights.

The Little Shop on Silver Linings Street is published on 16 October – not long to go now!

This is the final book in the this trilogy set in Bluebell Castle. I have previously described the novels as Antiques Roadshow meets Downton Abbey, with added Chelsea Flower Show and now we are going to add in a Winter Wonderland.

Christmas brings its own magic and can Jess really see herself with Tristan if she could perhaps trust not just him but her own heart?

Starlight over Bluebell Castle is published on 4 November.

I think that is enough for the moment – there is more Christmas Reading lurking around my kindle and my bedside table but I think this is the first Christmas Selection Box you should reach for this year!

I am currently slightly Christmassed out – talking about it for work doesn’t help so I have reverted back to an Agatha Christie before I embark on anymore festive fiction.

*I have received these books in exchange for an honest review and I receive nothing in payment for recommendation more than once on this blog or on any other social media channel I use. I simply pass on the books that have given me joy.