Tag Archives: reading

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 £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. 🙂

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?

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?

Books I read in March and April.

Sorry this post is so late, I think I have discovered book reviews are not my favourite thing to write! Really didn’t get many books read in March and April , though I did enjoy the five books I did sit down with. Here’s a short recap of my reading material. 😊

Tom’s Midnight Garden ~ Phillipa Pearce (1958). I found a copy of this children’s classic in a charity book sale and thought I would give it a go as I remember owning Phillipa Pearce’s ‘ The Battle Of Bubble & Squeek ‘ as a girl. I’m so glad I did as Midnight Garden is such a magical tale. Tom goes to stay with his very dull aunt and uncle over the summer holidays , so not to catch the measles his brother has so inconveniently caught. They live in a boring old manor house which has been converted into flats, there isn’t even a garden to play in much to Toms disappointment. The only unusual thing in the whole house is as old Grandfather clock in the communal hallway which ominously strikes a 13th time every night. A restless Tom investigates and finds the extra hour takes him back in time to when the manor house was one residence with a huge garden and is home to a lonely little girl called Hattie. Over the summer Tom meets Hattie in the garden most nights, only to find the time shifting as Hattie grows up. A children’s adventure fantasy that adults can enjoy too. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

111 Places In The Lake District That You Shouldn’t Miss ~ Solange Berchemin (2019). Apparently there’s a whole range of 111 Places guides out right now, encouraging you to visit the more quirky and lesser known tourist attractions in various cities and areas. Lakeland is explored thoroughly in this handy guide which includes Postman Pat’s Valley, a nine metre stone that appears to defy gravity, the home to the world’s largest colour pencil, a Giants grave and a Buddhist Temple. Directions, opening times and website info are all included. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

One False Move ~ Harlan Coben ( 1998). Another charity book sale purchase, this was a good detective yarn to get to grips with. Even though it is book 5 in a series, the likeable character of its protagonist sports agent/crime solver ‘ Myron Bolitar’ encourages the reader to hunt out the other novels. Also this book can easily be read as a stand alone story. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Lewis Man ~ Peter May ( 2014). The second in a crime trilogy set in the Outer Hebrides, Lewis Man revolves round an unidentified corpse found in a Lewis peat bog. Detective Fin MacLeod now residing on the island feels duty-bound to solve the mystery but as he digs deeper, long buried secrets threaten to endanger the people he loves. ⭐⭐⭐

The Lido ~ Libby Page ( 2018). I enjoyed this feel good tale about the importance of community and friendship. Two women from very different decades become friends through their enthusiasm to save their local Lido which is under threat of closure. Rosemary is 86 and all her happiest memories are wrapped up there whilst Kate is 26 and struggling with loneliness in a new city. A heart warming book. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Have you read any good books recently?

Books I read in January and February.

This year I am hoping to read 40 Books, a total I have set myself on Good Reads. I thought if I write a short description of each on my blog, this might encourage me to keep up with the challenge 🙂

The Black House ~ Peter May (2011). This is the first book in a bleak murder mystery trilogy set on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. My other half came across the series after we holidayed on another Hebridean Island North Uist last year. Fin Macleod is a homicide detective who returns to his childhood home of Lewis to investigate a grisly murder. Bereft by a recent personal tragedy of his own, Fin jumps at the chance of spending some time on the island. But as the detective hunts for the murderer, he finds himself being hunted too. The Black House flits between the past and the present and paints a picture of a rugged island with troubling secrets. I’m eager to delve into the next instalment. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

How to Be an Urban Birder ~ David Lindo ( 2018). I love how enthusiastic the author of this informative birding guide is. After seeing him promoting the book on Breakfast telly, I was delighted when Wil bought it me for my birthday back in November. Lindo’s motto is ‘Look Up!’ and this is certainly as true of our towns and cities as anywhere in Britain when it comes to spotting birdlife. If you imagine that urban buildings are cliffs ( they could be homes to peregrines) and rooftops are viewing platforms ( excellent bases for watching migrating species) then you get the idea. This book covers the best locations to look for birds in towns and cities and is packed full of photos , illustrations and useful tips.⭐⭐⭐⭐

The prime of Miss Jean Brodie ~ Muriel Spark ( 1961). I picked this renowned Scottish Classic up whilst away for a weekend in Edinburgh. Jean Brodie is an unconventional school teacher in 1930s Edinburgh. In a subtle almost sinister way she sets about grooming six of her pupils to become almost mini clones of herself. The book was made into a 1969 film starring Maggie Smith. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Dear Mrs Bird ~ A J Pearce ( 2018). Ahh I loved this story, set during blitz torn London in World War 2. Perhaps my favourite of the books I’ve read this year so far. Our heroine is Emmy who takes a job as a newspaper reporter , but due to a misunderstanding she is actually employed as lowly assistant to no nonsense ( and very unsympathetic ) Agony aunt Mrs Bird. Emmy takes it upon herself to answer the letters Mrs Bird discards. A light hearted but also sometimes heart breaking read. I hope there is a sequel. ❤️⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock ~ Imogen Hermes Gowar ( 2018). Who can resist a novel with mermaid in the title. Not me! A lonely childless widower and a high class ,but down on her luck courtesan’s paths become entwined, through the discovery of a mermaid. This is a discriptive historical novel set in 18th Century London , with a scaly touch of the supernatural. Although I was eager to see how the book would end, I did not find myself warming to the characters, some of whose stories seemed to end… unfinished. ⭐⭐⭐

Nightingale Wood ~ Stella Gibbons ( 1938). It seems that the esteemed writer of Cold Comfort Farm actually wrote shelve loads of books, most out of print until recent times. Nightingale Wood is billed as a modern version of Cinderella ~ modern in the thirties that is, when it was written. Viola is our Cinderella, a young widow now living with her stuffy in-laws. Her father in law rules the roost and his two daughters are dying of boredom. One wants a dog and the other wants the chauffeur. Viola herself falls for a dashing young man who lives in the big house through the woods, but his intentions arent exactly honourable. This book isn’t just a fluffy love story, it’s an observation of how the restrictions of sex and class in the thirties shaped everyday life. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

June ~ Photo An Hour.

Every so often I remember to join in with #photoanhour on Instagram, and yesterday was one of those days. The concept is simple. Just take one photo of whatever your doing every hour and join in with the hashtag #photoanhour. Either Janey or Louisa chooses the date each month.

8am. Wake up to a damp day. So crumpets are a yummy breakfast treat.

9am. Out and about with this guy. 🙂

10am. Looking round the market in my hometown of Clitheroe.

11am. A few jobs done so shelter from the rain in Escape Coffee Bar. I love the fresh mint tea here ( healthy) and the choolate dipped granola bars. Not so healthy!

12 Noon. Chillin at home with the pets. 🐶🐱

1pm. Catching up on some telly. Hidden is a welsh detective drama and is pretty good. Reminds me a little of Hinterland..

2pm. And still relaxing….😄

3pm. Out with Hugo again. We had planned to walk along the river to a neighbouring village. But it began bucketing down so we stuck to Brungerly park instead.

4pm. Had a shower to get warm after a soaking in the rain.

5pm. Filling in my Nature Diary. I am recording what wildlife I see on my walks every day. I have got quite addicted to it. 🦋🌹

6pm. The Big Bang Theory is on TV as usual. 🙂

7pm. Heres a Manchester Tart I bought on the market earlier. 😁

10pm. Totally missed the past couple of hours photos. We were watching a film. I then had the choice of starting one of these 3 books. Which one do you think I picked?

Thanks for dropping by. X