Category Archives: reading

Books Read In March 2020.

Where I was averaging about five books read in two months , I have now managed five in one month! So here’s an update of my reads in March. 🙂

Dark Sky Island ~ Lara Dearman ( 2018). Theres a killer on the loose….and someone knows who it is. Journalist Jennifer Dorey is a Channel Islands native living on Guernsey and working for the local paper. Not exactly a hotbed for exciting news stories, things change when a body is discovered on the nearby island of Sark. With no cars allowed and no street lamps lighting the island, Jennifer discovers the inhabitants secrets are as dark as Sark’s pitch black night sky. ⭐⭐⭐

The Deathless Girls ~ Kiran Millwood Hargrave ( 2019). Here’s a book I actually won in a Facebook competition. It’s a Young Adult novel and an imagined account of how the Bride’s of Dracula came into being. A gothic Romany tale that explores prejudices, friendships and the supernatural, it did feel a

bit rushed at the end. ⭐⭐⭐

Max The Miracle Dog ~ Kerry Irving ( 2020). After Kerry is injured in a life changing car accident he finds himself unemployed, house bound, and depressed. A chance encounter with a friendly yard dog called Max on a painful shuffle to the shop, gives Kerry a reason to get up in the mornings, when Max’s owner agrees to let him take the affectionate Springer out for a short walk each day. This is a heart warming true story of a man who found it hard to talk about his feelings until a waggy spaniel came into his life. You can also follow Max’s adventures on Facebook at Max Out In The Lake District. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Someone Is Lying ~ Jenny Blackhurst ( 2019). They all swore it was an accident but…….Someone is LYING. A year to the day of Erica Spencer’s tragic accident an anonymous podcast puts her death back in the spotlight again , pointing the finger of blame on her friends and neighbors, the residents of the close knit gated community in which she lived. With plenty of secrets and lies and twists and turns, this page turner thriller reminded me a little of an English Desperate Housewives. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

You, Me And The Movies ~ Fiona Collins ( 2019). Back in her youth Arden had an intense affair with Mac, a handsome film lecturer. Years and a few bad relationships later, visiting a friend in hospital, Arden recognises a very ill Mac is a patient too. Through ten classic movies they had watched together, Arden goes on an emotional journey that may just inspire her to give love another chance. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

What are you reading at the moment?

Life Lately.

How are you doing? How are you coping with this new kind of lifestyle? At the moment everything feels all kinds of surreal, though I suspect at some point it is going to feel like the norm…

Currently I am not working ,though my other half is as he is classed as a Key worker. So we are not getting under each others feet and still getting on fine. 🙂 I have signed up as a community volunteer to buy essentials for the elderly, vulnerable and those in self isolation. Should keep me busy!

Sunshine on Celandines. 🙂

I am so glad we are still able go on local walks. Luckily I live a walkable distance from fields and flowers. Spring is certainly just getting on with it. New blooms appear almost every day.

Wood Anemones.
Hugo cooling off.

Having a pet means exercise is still very much on the agenda. I am so glad that touchwood, I am in good health. I don’t want to think about self isolation when we have an energetic pooch to walk.

One of the nice things about our walks is that everyone always says hello these days,though from a distance of course… 🙂

Books! Books! Books!

Last weekend before the libraries shut, I was able to take out this big pile of reading material. Overdue fees do not apply, as who knows how long it will be before they reopen. I was actually allowed to pick out up to thirty books, but I couldn’t carry that many. 😁

Here are a few things I’ve watched recently.

Le Man’s 66 ~ Rented off BT TV. True story about how Ford pitted itself against Ferrari in the Le Man’s 24 Hour Car Race. Set in 1966 , Christian Bale stars as unpredictable racing driver Ken Miles. ⭐⭐⭐

The Favourite ~ Dvd from Charity shop. Lavish debauchery in Queen Anne’s court as Rachel Wiez and Emma Stones coniving cousins battle it out to be the Queens favourite. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Malory Towers ~ Free on BBC I Player. Enid Blyton’s Mallory Towers novels have been turned into a delightful BBC adaptation. Get lost in lacrosse matches, midnight feasts, sea bathing and ghostly apparitions. Pure nostalgia. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Extra Ordinary ~ Free on Netflix. Zainy Irish horror comedy about a driving instructor with supernatural abilities. ⭐⭐⭐

ZombieLand Double Tap ~ Rented off BT TV. Not quite as good (but still fun!)Sequel to Zombieland. Thankfully we don’t have to shoot zombies when we go outside, just avoid humans. 😅 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

So there you have it. Let me know how your getting on and how your keeping occupied/cheerful.

Stay well. x

Books Read In January & February 2020.

Books, Books, Books, I have been on quite a roll ( for me) with my reading these past couple of months.

The Secret Life Of Evie Hamilton ~ Catherine Alliot ( 2009). Evie seems to have the perfect life. Happily married with a beautiful daughter and gorgeous home , she has no need to work. Her existence compared to most other characters in the book seems way too charmed. That is until she discovers her husband has another daughter from a fling he had before they were married. This bolt from the blue forces Evie to re-evaluate her life decisions. Chick lit with humour and dollops of emotion. ⭐⭐⭐

Foraging With kids ~ Adele Nozedar ( 2019). Thanks to a lovely friend who bought me this wonderful book for my birthday back in November. Ok so I’m not a child or a parent to one, but I think this handy foraging guide is a useful addition to any nature lovers bookshelf. It is surprising just how many wild plants can be made into delicious dishes. Dandelion, Onion and Red Pepper Frittata, Fraughan Pie, Tagliatelle with Jack-by-the-hedge sauce, anyone? Plenty of recipes & hints and tips of where to find and how to recognise edible plants. It’s just a shame that the lovely illustrations are in black & white. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Home Fire ~ Kamila Shamise (2017). A troubling fictional ( but I suspect ever so relevent for many) account of family life torn apart by jihadism and western attitudes towards loved ones left behind. Slow at first but by the end I was gripped. A powerful read. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Psycho ~ Robert Bloch (1959 ). I’ve never actually seen the famous Hitchcock movie , but I can understand how this story attracted the director, it’s short and not exactly sweet, perfect fodder for a horror film. I enjoyed the suspense and the clever way Norman’s relationship with his mother is played out . A shocker. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Secret Life Of Bees ~ Sue Monk Kidd ( 2001 ). Another book that has been made into a film, I would love to see it. Set in South Carolina in the sixties , this is the tale of Lily ,a young white girl who lives with her abusive father on a peach farm. Her only friend in the world seems to be their black housekeeper Rosaleen. On her way to vote one day Rosaleen is attacked by three racists and daring to fight back, is thrown into jail. Lily somehow manages to spring Rosaleen out and after fleeing they are taken in by three eccentric bee keeping siblings. Sounds a bit far fetched , but the novel is beautifully written and well worth a read. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A Place To Lie ~ Rebecca Griffith’s (2018). When Joanna’s estranged sister Caroline dies in violent circumstances, Joanna finds herself revisiting their childhood summer at Witchwood, a seemingly idyllic place until their stay was cut short after a young girl is murdered. Caroline’s troubled life had been shaped by the sinister events that happened back then, and Joanna needs to make sense of the past to gain closure following her sisters death. The best parts of this eerie thriller are those set in Witchwood itself, where every character appears to have something to hide. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Bird In The Tree ( The Elliot Chronicles) ~ Elizabeth Goudge ( 1940). I’m not sure how I found this book ( now downloaded onto my kindle) but the writing is such that I have fallen in love with Damerosehay, the beloved house at the centre of the story. The storyline itself follows Grandmother Lucilla Elliots mission to keep Damerosehay as a sanctuary for her family. Problems arise when her heir embarks on a romance that could destroy Damerosehays future. I enjoyed Goudge’s vivid descriptions of nature, the sea, the children and the families pets. There’s whimsy, nostalgia and a touch of the supernatural. I am sure I will be revisiting the chronicles soon. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Read any good books lately?

Books Read In November & December.

So here’s a brief update of what I’ve read lately. Happily I have rediscovered my local library…..and am determined not to forget it exists, like I have before. We are lucky to still have one! Plus one book was passed on by a friend and one I couldn’t resist buying, because of its lovely cover. 🙂

I ended 2020 having read 31 books of the 40 I had challenged myself to , so not bad going. 🙂


A Story Lately Told ~ Angelica Huston ( 2013).  Apart from seeing Ms Huston in The Adams Family films, I didn’t know much about her, I didn’t know she grew up as part of Hollywood Royalty, abeit in Ireland. Her Dad was the film director John Huston and her Mother a former prima ballerina and model, many years his junior. Anjelica’s childhood was privileged but complicated, with her mother,nanny and brother living in the ‘Little House’ and her father living in the ‘ Big House’ nearby. Anjelica writes in a chaotic but amusing way, this is definitely a fascinating account of her coming of age in an eccentric family.  ⭐⭐⭐



The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society ~ Mary Ann Shaffer And Annie Burrows ( 2008). For some reason it took me a while to get started on this book, I ended up really enjoying it!  Written in letters form, this is a lovely homage to enjoying books and reading and how books can bring you together. It centres round the German occupation of Guernsey during the second world war and is both funny and heartbreaking. ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Losing It ~ Emma Rathbone ( 2016). I thought this would be a short light hearted read when I glanced at the book cover. Well it is short but it’s basically about having your life completely taken over by something , to the point of being so absorbed in yourself , that you make a mess of most things in your life. Hmm. Not very light hearted! Plus the main character Julia isn’t very likeable and quite uncharismatic, she says “Oh Okay” and “Yeh Okay” an awful lot. Nevertheless I found myself wanting to read until the end, so maybe it does have something! ⭐⭐⭐


The Hidden World Of The Fox ~ Adele Brand ( 2019). 🦊 Whatever you think of foxes ( I personally have a healthy respect for them) it looks as though they are here to stay. And hurrah to that! Fox afficianado ‘ Adele Brand’ has studied foxes for over twenty years, and this compact guide( with some nice photographs too) explains alot about fox behaviour, fox facts and myths and how foxes have adapted to live almost any place on earth. A great little read. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


The Twelve Birds Of Christmas ~ Stephen Moss ( 2019). So this is the book with the gorgeous cover. I love birds and have of course heard the popular carol ‘ The Twelve Days Of Christmas ‘ numerous times. With so many of the lines in the song mentioning actual birds , swans, geese, turtle doves, a partridge in a pear tree etc, it’s maybe natural to assume that the drummers drumming are woodpeckers and the pipers piping are sandpipers. Wildlife writer Stephen Moss takes an in-depth look at all the birds who may have inspired the carol. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Corset ~ Laura Purcell ( 2018). If you love your  gothic chillers set in the Victorian age, I can certainly recommend ‘ The Corset’ . Prison visitor and would be reformer , the young, rich and beautiful Dorothea Truelove spends her days playing lady at home. Her only excitement is visiting  female inmates and one in particular, Ruth Butterham, who is young, poor and awaiting trial for murder. Dorothea finds herself drawn in by Ruth’s case. But all is not as it seems. A real page turner! ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Collector ~ John Fowles (  1963). Lastly a vintage read from the sixties, a creepy tale about a socially inept young man who comes into money and decides to kidnap the object of his fascination, a beautiful student called Miranda. He also happens to collect butterflies and whilst Miranda spends her captivity trying everything in her power to persuade him to set her free, she finds he probably just wants to ‘ collect’ her too….⭐⭐⭐

Books I Read In September & October.

I’ve now read 25 of the 40 books I set myself the challenge of reading in 2019. Not exactly on track. But importantly I’m still enjoying most of the books I’ve dipped into. I came by these via Wil, A Book Swap where a cash machine used to be, Wils Mum and a local supermarket. 📚

Wolf By Wolf ~ Ryan Graudin ( 2015). What if the Nazis had won the Second World War? This is a reimagining of just that, a world where Adolph Hitler has extended his tyranny beyond Europe, beyond 1945. Prisoners in death camps are experimented on in order to create a race of blue eyed blonds. And an arduous motorcycle race across the continents is created to celebrate Hitler’s Youth and bond with Japan, with whom they tentatively share power. Former death camp inmate Yael ( now a member of the resistance) is charged with winning the race and assassinating Hitler at the Victors ball, a seemingly impossible task. But Yael is a skin shifter , a result of the experiments she endured as a child. Just maybe , the impossible can be achieved. ⭐⭐⭐

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves ~ Karen Joy Fowler (2013). Rosemary doesn’t really speak about her siblings. Once she had a brother ( who ran away) and a sister ( who seemingly disappeared too) and it is not until some way into the book that we learn just what exactly has happened in this rather disfunctional family. Shocking, sad, moving and with witty moments too, this is definitely a thought provoking read. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Librarian Of Auschwitz ~ Antonio Iturbe ( 2019). Fourteen year old Dita is an inmate in the family camp at Auschwitz and here amongst the bleakest horrors, she takes charge of eight smuggled books, protecting and distributing them to her fellow prisoners. The books offer a tiny ray of hope in this desolate place, and Dita is risking all by doing what she does . What is most inspiring about this tale is that it is based on real characters. Dita Kraus is still alive today and educates the young about life in the concentration camps, determined that such attrocoties will never happen again. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Family ~ Louise Jensen ( 2019). If your in the mood for an absorbing psychological thriller with lots of twists and turns, this is definitely the book for you. When Laura and her daughter Tilly suffer an unimaginable loss, the only place they can turn to in the end is a local commune deep in the woods. Warmly welcomed by charismatic Alex and his band of followers , Laura and Tilly find sanctuary from their growing mountain of problems , at first. But here everyone has their own secrets, including Tilly and Laura. And secrets can really tear everything apart. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Any book recommendations?

Books I Read In July & August.

Hello, I thought I would have read more over July & August, but alas I didn’t even remember to swing about in my hammock with a good book. Maybe September will bless us with an Indian Summer! Here’s what I did dive into…..

The Woman In The Window ~ A. J. Finn ( 2018). I much preferred this psychological thriller to others such as Gone Girl and Girl On The Train. Anna Fox is a recluse, her everyday life is spent watching old Hitchcock movies, drinking wine and spying on her neighbours. One day she witnesses the apparent murder of her neighbours wife and the reader watches Anna’s life unravel as she tries to piece together what she has seen. There are loads of twists and turns in this book. It’s a real page turner that keeps you gripped until the end. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Highland Fling ~ Emma Baird (2018). If your looking for a little rom com escapism, I can recommend Highland Fling as a fun & sparky get away from everyday life. Our heroine Gaby needs to escape too, she finds herself the purrfect cat sitting job ( despite being allergic to them!) in a remote Scottish Highland village, where she is soon befriended by a quirky cast of characters. And then there’s a rather moody but impossibly good looking Jamie Fraser look alike who catches her eye. Plus some rather dodgy advice from a dating guru. What could go wrong! ✳️✳️✳️✳️

Murder In Midsummer ~ ( 2019). A collection of short murder mystery stories , most with a summer holiday backdrop. This book is a retro dip into the past and perfect for reading any time of year really. Some of the tales are better than others though, my favourites being ‘The House In Goblin Wood’ and ‘ The Adventures Of The Lions Mane’ . ⭐⭐⭐

The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall ~ Anne Bronte ( 1848). I must admit it’s taken me a long while to get round to reading Anne Bronte’s tale of escape from an abusive marriage. I wasn’t convinced that I would enjoy her writing as much as that of her more famous sisters. I needn’t have worried though, Anne shares the same passionate spirit as her siblings. The book is written in letters and diary form and centures around the sudden arrival of a young ‘widow’ who has come to live at Wildfell Hall, a bleak country house that has been empty for many years. Her reluctance to socialize with her neighbours makes her a figure of gossip, especially when a frequent visitor is spotted leaving the hall. Bronte writes about subjects such as alcoholism, fleeing a violent marriage and women working for themselves, all contraversial topics in the 1800s. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Adventures Of The Yorkshire Shepherdess – Amanda Owen (2019). If you haven’t discovered Amanda’s refreshing books about her life on a remote North Yorkshire hill farm yet, your missing a treat. Amanda, originally a townie from Huddersfield ,has been shepherding since she was a teenager. In her early twenties she met her soon to be husband Clive and moved in with him at Ravenseat. Several flocks of sheep, loyal dogs, faithful ponies, free wandering chickens, a cheeky peacock and ‘9’ children later , Amanda is sharing their very down to earth adventures yet again. I love all her books and I’m actually going to see her at a talk she’s doing in September. Can’t wait! ✳️✳️✳️✳️✳️

What have you read lately?