Tag Archives: reading

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. ❀️

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? ❀️

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.

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?

Books Read In April 2020.

It is the last day of April and I have read seven books in one month, a record for me! Four are from my library pile, two I downloaded onto my Kindle and one I borrowed from my other half. Have you read any of these?

A still from the film.

Brooklyn – Colm Toibin ( 2009). Young twenty something Eilis Lacey lives in 1950s Ireland, where employment opportunities are few. When her older sister persuades an Irish/American priest to sponsor her in Brooklyn, Eilis embarks for a new life across the Ocean. As an immigrant on her own in a strange country, Eilis eventually settles and encounters love, but a tragedy at home threatens to overturn her new life. A quietly told yet very human tale that stayed with me after reading. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Mr Scarletti’s Ghost – Linda Stratmann ( 2015). The protagonist in this Victorian seaside mystery is quite unconventional. Mina Scarletti has scoliosis. Her twisted frame provokes pity and even distaste in some, yet also gives her freedom from the expectation of marriage and the restrictions that could bring. Brighton has become a fashionable resort for unscrupulous mediums and Mina is concerned when a certain Miss Eustace becomes aquainted with her recently widowed mother. Quite a slow paced book, but with a satisfying conclusion. I will look out for more Mina Scarletti mysteries. ⭐⭐⭐

Nights At The Circus ~ Angela Carter (1984). Fevvers is a six foot two cockney trapeze artist rumored to be half swan, those giant wings of hers have always helped make her fortune. And here she is performing dates in London, St Petersburg & Siberia with Colonel Kearney’s traveling circus. When handsome reporter Jack Walser decides to pursue Fevvers to write her story, he finds himself joining the eccentric troupe. A bawdy magical delight. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Through His Eyes – Emma Dibdin ( 2018). Billed as a thriller set in Hollywood, I kept waiting for something sinister or exciting to happen, but nothing did. The characters are shallow and unlikeable. My imagination had me convinced that something was going on in the background that wasn’t. All in all quite a disappointing read ,the story follows a young reporters quest for her big break in LA and her obsession with a movie star. ⭐⭐

Prudence ~ Jilly Cooper( 1978). If ever there was a guilty pleasure author, it would be Jilly Cooper. After suddenly remembering how much I loved Jilly Cooper books in the nineties, I quickly uploaded one of her oldies onto my Kindle. And now I remember what a witty writer she is. Her heroine here is very much a seventies Bridget Jones type called Pru. She meets a handsome young lawyer called Pendle ( apparently named after a mountain near his childhood home, Pendle is not a mountain and is in fact a hill very near me in Lancashire, I forgive you Jilly) and he takes her away for the wknd to his ancestral pile, a crumbling old mansion in the Lake District. Prudence soon realises that Pendle’s family are a dotty cast of characters ,who are all completely in love with the wrong people. Jolly and witty. Made me smile. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Face It ~ Debbie Harry ( 2019). The iconic lead singer of Blondie has at last written her memoir. Interlaced with various fan art and photographs that she has kept through the years, this autobiography though fascinating, is curiously detached when it comes to personal and even traumatic events in the stars life. What does translate is a vivid picture of a seedy sixties & seventies New York, I think readers would have preferred more emotion and personal detail. I liked the photographs and fan art, the fact that Debbie has kept fans drawings and paintings, conveys a warmth she doesn’t share that much in her writing. ⭐⭐⭐

The Secret Garden ~ Frances Hodgson Burnett ( 1911). I am not sure how I missed reading this as a youngster, the enchanting tale set in Yorkshire. Little Mary Lennox ( a disagreeable child) is sent to live in her Uncles sprawling mansion on the Moors after her parents die in India. Used to a lethargic life( and always getting her own way) Mary’s attitude changes for the better after discovering a secret garden in the grounds. Lonely at first ( her Uncle is never at home) , she finds friendship in an old crotchety gardener, a boy who charms animals and a sweet musical robin. And there’s mystery too, whose is the voice that Mary hears sobbing in the night? I love how the story heartily recommends fresh air , growing things and being in nature, very relevent right now. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I suspect the lockdown has given me more time and inclination to read. Though I know for some people , it has been the other way. Are you reading more or less at the moment?

xx

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. πŸ™‚

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?

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?