Tag Archives: books

Books Read In August & September. πŸ”–

My late Summer Reads and not a beach in sight. 🐧

The Ice Beneath Her ~ Camilla Grebe ( 2016). ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Well this book has a gruesome murder( a decapitated victim, it’s head sat facing the door) and is a somewhat bleak Nordic noir. You can feel the chill in your bones as you read. Lots of twists and turns and narrated by three characters who don’t have much going for them. There is a detective whose just about given up on life, a psychologist recently diagnosed with early onset dementia and a young lady whose fiance disappears on the eve of their engagement dinner. Kept me hooked !

The Hunting Party ~ Lucy Foley(2019). ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Oooh I love the plot idea; a group of thirty something friends spend their Christmas break hauled up together in an exclusive Scottish Hunting Lodge. Old resentments are bound to fizzle. It’s remote, there’s a snow blizzard , there’s a murderer on the loose. Cleverly told , both the murderer and the victim are not revealed until the very end.

The Little Bookshop On The Seine ~ Rebecca Raisin ( 2015). ⭐⭐⭐ Sarah Smith is offered the chance of a lifetime. A bookshop swap for six months in the wonderful city of light ‘ Paris’. It will mean leaving her jet-setting boyfriend Ridge behind, but Oh the possibilities! This is a light-hearted read about Sarah’s quest for independence ,whilst indulging her love for books and navigating life in a new city.

The Family Upstairs ~ Lisa Jewell ( 2019) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Years ago a baby girl is found happy and well cared for in a London house, a group of adults lie dead on the floor. Now on her 25th Birthday Libby Page, since adopted , finds herself sole inheritor of the house and the mystery surrounding it. As missing relatives turn up one by one, Libby is unsure of whether to embrace her new family. A twisty psychological thriller.

Invictus ~ Ryan Graudin ( 2017) ⭐⭐⭐ Faraway McCarthy ( I love that name) was born outside time. His Mother a renowned History Recorder disappeared on a later mission. Now that Faraway is of age he lands a job captaining a treasure hunting ship. But an annoying time- traveller called Elliot always seems to be one step ahead of him. This is a fun and fast paced Y A novel which includes a heist on the Titanic and a gladiatorial battle.

The Penguin Lessons ~ Tom Mitchell ( 2015) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I think it was another blogger who may have recommended this book, but I can’t remember who? Anyway I am glad they did as this is the quirky true story of a Penguin called Juan Salvador. The author Tom Mitchell recounts the time in his early twenties whilst working as a teacher in South America, and his rescue of an oil slicked Magellanic Penguin. Toms memories of smuggling his new friend out of Uruguay and into Argentina and Juan Salvador’s stay in the boys boarding school Tom works at are funny, touching and inspiring.

What have you been reading lately?

Books Read In February, March & April.

Well this year is flying by and I keep forgetting to compile a Books Read post. Here’s a quick catch up from the last three months. πŸ“š

Heroic Animals ~ Clare Balding ( 2020). Wil bought me this and it’s a great book to dip in and out of, or just read through alphabetically. Lots of emotional true stories about animals , many who put their lives on the line for us. Some don’t have happy endings though, so keep a tissue handy. Plus the tale of Mike the headless chicken is quite disturbing. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Duke & I ~ Julia Quinn ( 2000). I enjoyed the first season of Bridgerton on Netflix, this is the novel that it is based upon, written twenty years ago now. A Regency era romance , the book series concerns the lives and loves of the Bridgerton siblings, this one in particular focuses on the lovely Daphnes quest to find a suitable husband. There is one scene in the book ( thankfully not in the TV series) that does sour the story a bit. ⭐⭐⭐

The Moth And The Mountain ~ Ed Caesar ( 2020 ). Many men who survived the first world war brought their physical and mental scars back home with them, some like Maurice Wilson must have thought they were invincible. Wilson who had never been to Asia, nor ever flown an aeroplane before, decided it was his life’s mission to fly from England to Everest in a gipsy moth, then climb to the summit of the world’s tallest mountain, completely alone. I had never heard of Maurice Wilson, a brave but foolhardy & flamboyant character. An amazing true story, I would love to see his life up there on the big screen. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Bone China ~ Laura Purcell (2019). If you fancy a Victorian Gothic tale, set in a creepy crumbling old house, this is for you. Hester Why is running away. She needs to escape her past and has fled to Cornwall to take up a position as the elderly Miss Pinecrofts nurse maid. But refuge here involves eerie superstitions, damp dark places & bone china with changing patterns. Could Hester be in even more grim peril than she was before…. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Magpies Nest : A Treasury Of Bird Folk Tales ~ Taffy Thomas ( 2020). Storyteller Taffy Thomas has brought together a collection of short stories and myths about some of our most well loved birds. Charmingly illustrated too, a lovely book for young and old readers alike. Taffy himself is a storyteller at the Storytelling Garden in Grasmere. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A Snapshot Of Murder ~ Frances Brody (2018). So apparently this is the tenth Kate Shackleton mystery, but I am completely new to the book series. Snapshot was passed onto me and has alighted my curiosity! It is 1928 and lady detective Kate is taking a break from solving murders. Her other passion is photography and the local camera club has planned an outing to Haworth and Stanbury, homeland of the Brontes. But one of her fellow enthusiasts will not return from the trip and Mrs Shackletons investigative skills are called upon in Wuthering Heights country. ⭐⭐⭐

Happy Reading. ❀️

Along The Riverside At Sedburgh.

At the weekend we made our first trip of the year to stay over at the caravan. πŸ₯° We decided to deviate from our normal route up the M6 after Kirkby Lonsdale. Instead we meandered through the Dales and into the Eden Valley via the charming town of Sedburgh, nestling at the foot of the Howgills. This part of the Yorkshire Dales is pretty new to us, we usually only view the Howgills from the motorway. Alfred Wainwright once described the fells as ‘ looking like a herd of sleeping elephants’. 🐘🐘🐘

After parking in the town we made our way to the River Rawthey. It was certainly turning out to be a beautiful Spring day.

A well maintained Playing Field.
Pebbles at New Bridge.
Those Sleeping Elephants. πŸ™‚
A stoney brook. No water but lots of pebbles.
By the river Rawthey.

Presently we came to a field where three Highland cows were residing. They seemed completely happy for us to pass by. Very chilled in the morning sunshine.

Highlands in the Howgills.
Happy Highland Cow.
Watching. πŸ™‚

I had a plan of course! A little further on along the Rawthey I had read of an old Victorian Wool Mill. Farfield Mill hosts art & craft exhibitions, has a shop and a tearoom ,presently open as a takeaway with tables outside.

Farfield Mill.
Refreshment stop.
Views over the Rawthey.
A cottage by the mill. If I were to name this little house, I would call it ‘ Wild πŸ“ Strawberry cottage’.
Lungwort.
Country Lane.
Wood Sorrel.

Heading back now along the river, there are more cute livestock to see. πŸ™‚

Hebridean Sheep..
A wooly white donkey.
I think Hugo likes the Rawthey. πŸ™‚
Obligitary Goosander.
Sunbathing.
Back into town.

So Sedburgh Is England’s Book Town and has more second hand book shops than Birmingham apparently!

Clutter books.
Sleepy Elephant.🐘
A disused bus shelter, now a book shelter.
Three Hares Cafe Bakery.
One of many independent shops.
St Andrews Church.

After buying some bread from the Three Hares Cafe Bakery, it was time for us to continue on to our van in the equally lovely Eden Valley. I am sure we will be visiting Sedburgh and the surrounding area again soon though. πŸ™‚

January 2021 ~ Books I Read. πŸ“š ❄️

January has been an enjoyable reading month. A couple of the books were birthday or Christmas gifts, two were inspired by other bloggers reads and one was bought on a whim, purely because of the cover. Though in fact all these book covers are asphetically pleasing in my eyes.

Bookshop Tours Of Britain ~ Louise Boland ( 2020). Whilst our bookshops are sadly closed at the moment, how about browsing through a book that takes the reader on 18 journeys around Britain and its many beautiful independent book stores. This handy guide allows you to plan which parts of the country to visit once lockdown is over, with its indie bookshops in mind. Lots of travel information too and litery snippets. I love this celebration of our indie stores, they really need our support at the moment. A little sad that two lovely book towns that I have visited, Wigtown in Dumfries & Galloway and Sedburgh in Cumbria , weren’t included though. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Wild Life Of The Fox ~ John Lewis – Stemple ( 2020). A slim volume not unlike Adele Brands ‘ The Hidden World Of The Fox’ , packed full of fascinating insights into the life of this mysterious wild creature, who’m we share our countryside and urban landscape with. The author, a prolific nature writer ,starts off by talking about a phone conversation that went on slightly too long, causing him to head out to lock up his chickens that little bit later than usual. Well you can imagine what had happened to the chickens. Yet we can’t help but have a love/hate relationship with the 🦊. And that is explored expertly here. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Winter Holiday ~ Arthur Ransome ( 1931). I haven’t actually read any of the other Swallows & Amazon’s books. I assume they are all set in long warm summers. Winter Holiday though is absolutely perfect for this time of year. The frozen lake and surrounding snowy countryside lends itself perfectly to the children’s Arctic Expedition adventures. I love how the adults don’t bat an eyelid at the youngsters playing out from dawn until dusk and how everyone gets their skates on , igloos are built and ice yachts are commondeered. Delightful. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Before The Coffee Gets Cold ~ Toshikazu Kawaguchi (2015). If you could travel back in time to a crossroads moment in your life , would you want to, if you couldn’t change the outcome? In a quiet cafe in Japan , from a particular seat ,it is possible to do just that. As long as you drink your coffee before it gets cold that is. A moving and magical tale. And there is a sequel that I want to read too. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

What books did you pick up in January? πŸ“š

Januarying.

I am treating January as I usually do. It’s my month of keeping snug and cosy inside, with a healthy dose of fresh air and exercise. I also like to plan holidays and weekends away at this time of year, so have been researching our little holiday in North Norfolk during May and weekend walks in the Eden Valley, for when we can get back up to the caravan.

Continuing Winter cheer with my window display. The Robins mimic my real life robin visitor. The hyacinth plant I found in Sainsbury’s for a bargain 65p is now flowering and giving off a delicious scent, resembling woods of bluebells.

Winter Walks.

I’ve been looking for more walks from home. Although I thought we had been just about everywhere on our doorstep, I was proved wrong last weekend, when we discovered new to us footpaths. I’m sure there are more to explore!

There will be another place to wander when Clitheroe’s new Nature Reserve opens. It is very local indeed. I have nosed over the fence a couple of times and I spied several Teal on the water. πŸ™‚ Can’t wait for a proper look.

The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch is all set for the last weekend of January. I have signed up as usual and am looking forward to seeing which feathered visitors turn up in the hour.

Primrose Nature Reserve. πŸ¦‰πŸ¦‰ Photo from their Facebook page.
Bridgerton. It’s a bodice ripper.

Incase you are looking for some on screen escapism, here is a list of what I’ve enjoyed watching recently. Most are series and there’s one film. But let me say this, my list is one of mostly guilty pleasures. πŸ˜„

  • Bridgerton. Netflix. Regency romance with lots of drama, comedy, gossip & scandal.
  • Derry Girls. All 4 / Netflix. Coming of age comedy set during ‘ the troubles’ in nineties Northern Ireland.
  • Ghosts. BBC I Player. Spirited comedy about the ghostly inhabitants of a haunted house, from the creators of Horrible Histories
  • Winter Walks. BBC I Player. Join well known faces as they film their favourite walks in Yorkshire. I miss Yorkshire. ❀️
  • Eurovision Song Contest : The Story Of Fire Saga. Netflix. Very cheesy but enjoyable musical comedy film set in Iceland and Edinburgh.
  • The Masked Singer. ITV/ ITV Hub. Addictive crazy singing competition.
  • Home For Christmas. Netflix. Norwegian rom com series.
  • Sneaky Pete. Amazon Prime. Crime drama about a con man who assumes the identity of his cellmate to escape from a vengeful mobster.
  • The Queen’s Gambit. Netflix. An orphans rise against the odds to become the Worlds number one chess player.
  • All Creatures Great And Small. My 5. Heart warming 1940s comedy drama about a young vet who accepts a job in a Yorkshire Dales Vetinary practice. This is a remake of the original series, and just as good. ❀️
Winter Reading.

It’s nice to find a nice cosy read and I did in Winter Holiday from the Swallows and Amazon’s children’s book series by Arthur Ransome. I am immersed in a world of frozen lakes, snowy igloos and secret signals. Thanks to the What is it about books ? blog for the recommendation. ❀️

So this is my first foray into using the new WordPress editor. I hope it turns out okay.

Do leave me your own thoughts on how you are spending January?

Books Read In October, November & December 2020.

Here are the last few books I finished in 2020. In the end I have read 34 books out of the 35 I challenged myself to read on Good Reads. πŸ“š So close!

The Misinterpretation Of Tara Jupp ~ Eva Rice ( 2008). Tara Jupp is wisked away from her cosy life in the country to spend a lively glamerous time in London , when her talent for singing is discovered. This is a coming of age story set in the 50s & 60s. Our heroine navigates a budding career, falling in love, and tries to make sense of the complicated relationships of those around her . There are reoccurring characters from Rice’s more satisfying novel ‘ The Lost Art Of Keeping Secrets’. ⭐⭐⭐

We Have Always Lived In The Castle ~ Shirley Jackson( 1962) When reading the first paragraph of this strange gothic tale , you find out that the narrator is called Mary Katherine Blackwood ( Merricat) and she likes her sister Constance, Richard Plantagenet and Amanita phalloides , the death-cap mushroom. The much depleted Blackwoods live exiled from the nearby village ,where tongues wag due to the unfortunate deaths of most of the family, whilst at dinner. I immensingly enjoyed this eerie unforgettable book. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

A Poem For Every Autumn Day ~ Allie Esiri ( 2020). A gorgeous collection of poems, sometimes more than one for each day, through September, October & November. A book to dip into once the leaves turn golden brown. Allie Esiri has put together poetry from well known and lesser known writers, occasionally the poems recollect a particular occasion in history and at other times, the simple joys of Autumn. A lovely birthday present, I have been inspired to purchase the Winter volume since. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I Don’t Know What You Know Me From : My Life As A Co Star ~ Judy Greer ( 2014). I honestly have asked the question “Where do I know That Actress From? ” about Judy Greer, as she has a habit of popping up in just about every American Sit Com going , as well as in a number of rom coms , usually playing the female leads quirky best friend. Judy’s memoirs are funny and down to earth, she definitely comes across as someone you’d want to be mates with in real life. Disappointingly she isn’t one to dish the dirt on her Hollywood co stars, but that does make her refreshingly likeable. ⭐⭐⭐

The Wild Silence ~ Raynor Winn( 2020). When Raynor Winn and her terminally ill husband Moth became homeless they decided to walk the South West Coastal Path. Raynor’s evocative account of their epic trek is told in ‘ The Salt Path’ and this is the anticipated follow-up. What happens next for the couple who found hope and temporary respite via walking & wild camping in nature? Another engaging read. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Have you read any of these books? ❀️

Lockdown Birthday.

A lockdown birthday was never going to be the same. Celebration ideas were changed as Lancashire tiers upped levels and then a national lockdown was announced. Finally what I was left with ,still a happy time I think….a few doorstep visits from family & friends, an online party, a walk, yummy food cooked by my other half and a delicious take-away hot chocolate. The new normal isn’t so bad.

Zoom party itinerary and friends portraits of me. More flattering than photos!

A viaduct Sunday morning walk.

Hot chocolate from The Chocolate Works.

Such a lovely book.

A book to dip into everyday of Autumn. Today’s poem probably more appropriate for a frosty November day.

Heres a few verses from The Duke Of Fire and The Duchess Of Ice by Carol Ann Duffy.

Passionate love for the Duke of fire

the Duchess of Ice felt.

One kiss was her heart’s desire,

but with one kiss she would melt.

She dreamed of him in his red pantaloons,

In his orange satin blouse,

In his crimson cravat,

In his tangerine hat,

In his vermilion dancing shoes.

One kiss, one kiss,

Lips of flame on frost,

One kiss, pure bliss,

and never count the cost.

As you can probably imagine, there’s a puddle at the end of this poem….

Thanks for dropping by. ❀️

Books Read In July, August and September. πŸ“š

My reading has slowed down again in the last few months. I have enjoyed all these books ,so I can’t say why my reading mojo has suffered. Hey ho….

The Bomber Dog ~ Megan Rix ( 2013). This is a fave book of my 12 year old nephew, which he lent me over lockdown, it’s a good story too! Grey is a clever German shepherd pup who is rescued from a bombed building in the Second World War by Nathan , just as he is on his way to train as a paratrooper. The two develop a remarkable bond and become inseparable, until the day they lose each other in Germany. A heartwarming tale about man’s best friend. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Love And Treasure ~ Ayelet Waldman ( 2014). Another book that delves back in time to World War 2. In 1945 American soldiers capture a train of riches & gold, treasure stolen from Jewish families by the Nazis. Years later Natalie Wiseman is staying with her beloved grandfather Jack , his dying wish is for Natalie to find the rightful owners of a peacock pendant he’s had in his possession since his war serving days. A thought provoking novel that spans the decades. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Salt Path ~ Raynor Winn ( 2018). Not many people would set off to walk the entire 630 mile South West Coast of England. After losing their home and livelihood Raynor and Moss are given more devastating news, Moss is diagnosed with a delibitating illness. With nothing left to lose the couple set off with a small tent and limited supplies. Told with strength and humour this memoir is a true testament to human resilience and the healing power of nature. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Reckoning ~ Yrsa Sigurdardottir ( 2019). The lasting legacy of childhood trauma is explored in this dark Icelandic thriller. This is in fact the second book in a series, but can be read as a stand alone. A schools time capsule is opened and a chilling message is inside. The names of several would be victims are on a kill list, written by a child. A demoted detective and a dissilusoned psychoanalyst struggle to solve the case. ⭐⭐⭐

Beach Read ~ Emily Henry ( 2020). Not your typical beach romance, but definitely a great holiday read. January and Gus are writers in a rut. January is a romance author who likes a fairytale ending. Gus writes dark gritty fiction. Years ago they were also college rivals with a strong attraction. Flung together over one summer, the two struggling authors decide to help each other get over their writing ruts by swapping story genres. But will channeling the demons of their pasts into their work destroy a blossoming friendship….. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Have you read any of these?

Images from Pinterest & Unsplash.

Back On The Tolkien Trail. πŸ§™β€β™‚οΈπŸ₯Ύ

Although I’ve posted about The Tolkien Trail on my blog before, I walked it again recently with my sister and family, and thought it worth another look. Undoubtedly this tranquil area of Lancashire inspired J. R. R. Tolkien , he often stayed here whilst visiting his son John who attended Stonyhurst College. The Lord Of The Rings author enjoyed walking in the lovely leafy Hurst Green countryside and local place names and landmarks made it into his writings.

On this occasion we followed the route starting at The Shireburn Arms , the 17th century Inn was named after the rich land owning Shireburn family. A river Shirebourn features in The Lord Of The Rings.

Hurst Green village centre.

A Tolkien quote near The Shireburn Arms.

A glorious clump of Purple Loosestrife. ❀️

Aqueduct.

Our walk very nearly got abandoned. At this point we were meant to be following the riverside but a herd of frisky cows showed too much interest in Hugo the Labrador. We made a hasty retreat up a hill and managed to rejoin the river later.

A house called ‘ Jumbles’ named after Jumbles’ rocks, pertruding stones in the river Ribble.

River depth gage.

Hugo.

Hacking Hall in the background.

The heavens kept opening ( and the sun shone too! ) as we followed the trail. To be honest the walk could really benefit from a few Lord of the Rings inspired sculptures or scribbles along the route, I reckon. Anyway above is Hacking Hall from where the Hacking Ferry boat still operated in Tolkien’s time at Stonyhurst. The ferry was possibly the inspiration for his ‘ Bucklebury Ferry’ .

This old oak is mentioned in The Woodland Trusts Ancient Tree Inventory.

Winckley Hall Farm.

Tree climbers.

Cromwell’s Bridge from Lower Hodder.

Cromwell’s Bridge over the river Hodder may have been the inspiration for Tolkien’s ‘ Brandywine’ bridge. It is named after Oliver Cromwell ,who along with his troops rode over the skinny stone structure, on their way from Gisburn to The Battle of Preston. We followed the riverside up through shady woodland past Hodder court.

Corn crops a long the Holder.

Cuckoo Pint Berry Stalks.

Windey path through the woods.

Up above.

Stepping out.

Eventually we ended up in the grounds of Stonyhurst college, though I didn’t manage to get many photos. And then back to the car parked in Hurst Green. The trail covered 6 or 7 miles in total.

Stonyhurst college grounds from behind.

Alm houses in Hurst Green.

I must confess I have never read any Tolkien, though I enjoyed watching The Lord Of The Rings films. When walking the trail you probably need to research the areas connections beforehand, as there is no signage or information on the route. Nevertheless this was an enjoyable hike around a lovely area. πŸ₯Ύ

Here is a recent post from The Bowland Climber who was in the area too.

The Tolkien Trail can be downloaded online and can be found in numerous local walk books. I used…

Walks Around Clitheroe ~ Terry Marsh.

Books read in May and June.

My reading has slowed right down since those first heady days of lockdown, when I was grabbing anything and everything I could get my hands on. Not a huge amount read in the last couple of months though…

The Spy Who Came in from the cold – John Le Carre ( 1963). Classic British spy novel that I didn’t warm to at all. Set in the cold war ,the plot revolves around agent Alec Lemas as he is sent on one final assignment. He will have to seemingly betray his country in order to turn a high powered German intelligence officer. I just didn’t like any of the characters enough to care much about what happened to them. ⭐⭐

The Bookseller ~ Cynthia Swanson ( 2015). Kitty Miller lives a happy but unconventional life running a book shop with her friend Frieda in 1962. She’s unmarried, has her own flat and a gorgeous cat , she’s quite content with her lot in life. Then one night she has a dream and finds herself happily married, a mother of three children and living in a huge house in the suburbs. Soon the dreams become a regular thing and Kitty starts to enjoy this alternative reality , where her name is Katharyn and it’s 1963. I really enjoyed this story which is reminiscent of the film Sliding Doors. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Italian Shoes ~ Henning Mankell ( 2009). Initially I thought this was going to be a Scandinavian crime novel, as it is written by the author of the Wallander series. However there is no crime, just a cranky old man who lives a solitary existence on a remote island. One day he receives a surprise ( and a little unwelcome ) visitor from his past, who forces him to face up to things he would rather forget. A physical and emotional journey is undertaken. A slow thought provoking read. ⭐⭐⭐

Last Breath ~ Karin Slaughter ( 2017). This novella is actually a prequel and introduction to a main character in Slaughters detective novel ‘ The Good Daughter’ which I haven’t read. Charlie Quin is a lawyer who finds herself drawn to a young teenager, who like herself lost her mother at a young age. But are things all they seem with her young client, and how far will Charlie go to protect her. ⭐⭐⭐

I’ll Keep You Safe – Peter May ( 2018). Peter May weaves his love of the Islands of Harris and Lewis into another Hebridean detective yarn. This time there is a murder in Paris and a back story set in a close knit but wary Scottish community. There are two female protagonists and not everyone gets their happy ending. A slow burner of a read. ⭐⭐⭐

Although I didn’t read much throughout May and June, I did have a second hand book stall outside the house to raise money for the NHS. We managed to raise Β£80. Hugo looks like he’s helping in the above photo, in reality he just barked at any passing pooch, which was a bit off putting. Haha, oh well!

Read anything good recently?