Sunday, 31 December 2017

Review: Aunt Dimity and the Duke

Good Afternoon

Today's review is the second novel in the Aunty Dimity series.   

Blurb courtesy of Goodreads website.
Emma Porter is forty, fat, frumpy, and a passionate amateur gardener. When her longtime lover dumps her for a younger woman, Emma escapes the cloying sympathy of family and friends by setting out on a summer-long driving tour of England's glorious gardens. A Dimity-contrived coincidence brings her to Penford Hall, a sprawling Gothic mansion in Cornwall, where she finds a duke in search of a missing lantern with extraordinary powers. Suspecting there's more than one mystery to be solved at Penford Hall, Emma accepts the duke's invitation to stay on and restore the once glorious chapel garden to its former beauty. The dark rumors surrounding a rock star and the near-death of the duke's beautiful cousin confirm Emma's suspicions, and set her--with Aunt Dimity's ghostly guidance--on the path to Penford Hall's secrets and the pleasure of unexpected love.

Published in 1994 by Penguin Books.

Another solid, quaint and cosy mystery from the pen of Nancy Atherton.  This book is a prequel to the first in the series and is about Emma (one of the caretakers of Aunt Dimity's cottage in the first novel).  This novel tells us the story of how Emma falls in love with Derek and how they become the caretakers of the cottage.

The current Duke is keen to return the Hall to it's form glory after the previous Duke sold all the assets and sacked the staff.  Penford Hall's residents have strong admiration for the Duke but just how far will they go to help. 

This second book has a great twist solving the mystery of a dead rockstar and the unfortunate accident of the Duke's cousin. 

Bookworm Blessings and may 2018 be full of bookshelf beauties! 

Sunday, 24 December 2017

With Love at Christmas - Carole Matthews

Good Afternoon Bookworms!

My third suggestion for a Christmas audio book is With Love at Christmas by Carole Matthews.

Blurb courtesy of Goodreads website.
Juliet Joyce adores Christmas. She loves the presents, the tree, the turkey, the tinsel, everything. Already the festive spirit is upon her, which is just as well as this Christmas things are starting to get out of hand.

Her son Tom is out of work and bringing home a slew of unsuitable partners; pregnant daughter Chloe and her little boy have moved back in; Juliet's father, Frank, is getting over a heartbreak of his own and Rita, her eccentric mother, is behaving more erratically each day. And has the chaos got too much for Juliet's husband Rick?

With the big day fast approaching, Juliet hopes that she can stop everything spiralling out of control.  

Published 2012 by Sphere.

This entertaining novel had me giggling whilst I was wrapping gifts and crying whilst baking biscuits.  The family experience a roller coaster of emotions during the festive period but Juliet's love of Christmas shines through every problem and crisis. 

The Joyce family is a collection of loveable misfits and in the run up to the big day Juliet has more than mince pies and mistletoe on her mind. Juliet brims with generosity towards family and friends sometimes to the detriment of her own feelings.  This is definitely a feel-good Christmas story and a must if you are a Carole Matthews fan. 

This is a sequel to That Loving Feeling published in 2009.

I will have another review on New Years Eve but would like to take this opportunity to wish you wonderful Christmas blessings!  x

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Book Review: The Proof is in the Pudding - Joanna Sheen & Julia Wherrell

Good Afternoon Bookworms

Although this post is titled as a review of the last novel in the Swaddlecombe series it is more of an overview of the whole series. 

Blurb courtesy of Goodreads website
Victoria West's first Christmas in sleepy Swaddlecombe looks like being a traditional country affair... but then, as the decorations go up, so does the body count. 

A Christmas wreath making course, liberally lubricated by local wines, comes to a tragic conclusion. Farmer Albert Moreton has things on his mind and the Reverend Ruminant has been busy plotting... 

The whole village is getting festive with a 'Caroloke' in the pub and, of course, there's the infamous old folks' Christmas party to navigate. 

Handsome men abound but are they really what they seem? Is the Lord of the Manor a philanderer? Is the gardener safe with his axe? Why would Tipple the pug's owner abandon him, and how far would anyone go to get their hands on a fortune? 

Victoria and Albert have their work cut out to identify 'who dunnit' in this frenzied festive free-for-all.

One of the things I love most about the Swaddlecombe series is the sense of humour, it isn't long before I'm giggling away to myself, in fact this time I had only just reached page 5 before I was sniggering to myself!  If you have read any of the other books in this series or have read my other reviews you will know that these are light-hearted entertaining cosy mysteries set in a fictional town in Devon with a good dollop of amusement thrown in.

I have lived in villages for the last 10 years or so and before that run a pub, and there are characters and events I could relate to, of course all slightly exaggerated in the book, and I would like to think that I wasn't anywhere near as much of a gossip as Trudy!  

I would like to be able to tell you who my favourite character is but the truth is I love them all, they all have their own personalities, you get to know more about these characters throughout the books and I couldn't imagine the books without any of the characters - it's a good job none of them were bumped off!  The books aren't over descriptive but tell you just enough to build a picture of the village but it really is the characters that bring the novels to life. 

I felt the pace of this novel was slightly slower than the previous three but still an absolute page turner.  The murder doesn't happen too quickly in this last installment but that didn't bother me in the slightest as I was thoroughly enjoying the festive comings and goings of the villagers and the ever-blossoming relationship between Albert and Victoria.  I was concerned that loose ends would need to be tied up quickly and the ending would feel rushed but this wasn't the case, and as with every other novel in the series, every matter regarding the crime was put to bed and I felt satisfied that all my questions were answered.  

Long after I had finished I found myself thinking about the characters and wondering if just maybe they might be the slim chance of another book just so I know how things are going.

That really is the only disappointing thing but I supposed that all good things must come to an end and you really can only have so many murders in one village! 

However, I for one am jolly pleased to learn that Julia Wherrell will be going solo and releasing a book of her own, so there is something to look forward to.  I am unsure whether Joanna Sheen will be releasing any further novels but with one already under her belt let's hope there are more to come. 

Bookworm Blessings.  x

Sunday, 3 December 2017

A Christmas Visitor - Anne Perry

Good Evening Bookworms

I'm back today with my second audio book suggestion for the festive period, although if you have the time I would suggest reading the book.  I read the book a couple of years ago but only recently hired it from the library as an audio book.  Previously I had read A Christmas Journey which is why I decided to read the second Christmas novella by this author.

Photo courtesy of Anne Perry website.

Henry Rathbone has been invited by his god daughter,  to spend Christmas at the Dreghorn family manor house near Ullswater.  Unfortunately the festivities will be a somber affair as her husband and Henry's friend, Judah Dreghorn, has died, presumed accidentally drowned. Not only this, but Judah’s good name is being slandered by someone claiming to be the rightful owner of the manor and estate. 

Set in the Lake District during the Victorian era, a time Anne Perry is renowned for writing about, this gritty mystery is just the story for those dark Winter nights.  However I wouldn't class it as a Christmas story, it's Christmas time because we are told it is but the mystery element and family reunion are but far the strongest threads in this story. Mostly I listen to audio books on my laptap whilst pottering about but I think this one would benefit from being listened to through headphones. It isn't spooky but if you don't focus you can miss some of the details.

I've recently discovered that Anne Perry herself was convicted of a murder in 1954 which has me looking at her novels in a new light! 
The Christmas Visitor - Anne Perry - Published 2004 -Available in Hardback, Paperback, eBook and Audio.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Christmas Audio Book Suggestions #1

Good Evening Bookworms

Today's post is a little something to get you in the mood for the festive holidays.  During this busy period it can be difficult to find time to sit and read so audio books are a perfect solution, see my previous blog post on this here.

My first choice is Maeve Binchy, This Year It Will Be Different and other stories.  This is an easy and entertaining listen with some nice twists.  Just the right length whilst you are wrapping some last minute gifts. This Year It Will Be Different is my favourite on this disc, and I think it's all one we can related to in some way, after all who hasn't sworn that this year their won't spend so much, or will write their cards earlier or buy less food or drink. The stories are read by Kate Binchy, who I find very pleasing to listen too.

Photo courtesy of Goodreads.
This Year It Will Be Different
Poor Ethel finds herself "making" Christmas every year whilst the rest of her family watch it happen around then, this year she vows it will be different.  She doesn't complain to her family, she simply doesn't do all the things they are expecting and it appears her family are finally getting the message.  Over the next few days they ask her not to come in to the kitchen and not to come home too early from work.  Ethel's excitement brews and one day after going for a pre-Christmas drink with her friend she comes home to find the family waiting in the kitchen with a surprise, but it might not be quite what Ethel had in mind! 

The other stories are very pleasant too and if you are a Maeve Binchy fan this is definitely one I would recommend.  It's available in Paperback and eBook too.

Bookworm Blessings.  x

Sunday, 1 October 2017

September Review: The Ghost and Mrs McClure - Alice Kimberley

Good Evening Bookworms

Wow, it's the first of October!!!  Almost time to start some festive reads, which makes me very happy.  First though I like to spend a little time picking out some haunting reads, I'll read a spooky book any time but I can't deny I love a good ghost story around Halloween.
Image created using Hallows digi-kit.
This evening I am sharing my review of The Ghost and Mrs McClure by Alice Kimberley (Haunted Bookshop Mystery #1).  I bought this book from the library as ex-stock for just 40p.  It's in large print format but that doesn't bother me. I bought it for three reasons; Firstly it had me at "Haunted Bookshop Mystery" - three words from my list of favourite words (yes, I really do have a list of favourite words but that's for another post).  Next I was drawn to the cover - I know you should never pick a book by it's cover but when I spotted the old-fashioned book store front and the fedora hat, well what can I say I'm a sucker for a vintage era.  The last reason is a happy coincidence.  Just inside the book is a quote from The Ghost and Mrs Muir, a book originally published in 1945 (which is now on my TBR list), made into a movie in 1947 (which I saw a long time ago and fell head over heels in love with) and later in 1968 it was made into a sitcom (which I have never seen).  

Public Domain Clipart Image

Penelope Thornton-McClure and her elderly Aunt Sadie are just managing to make ends meet at their little bookstore in Rhode Island so when top author Timothy Brennan asks to hold a book signing at this quaint little shop it seems like an excellent publicity opportunity.  The evening though doesn't go according to plan when the author drops dead, it looks like murder and Penelope is on the suspect list.  All this and she has to deal with Jack - a ghost of a hard-boiled PI who met his end in the bookshop or just a delusion of Penelope's stressed-out mind? 

Firstly I have to get one irritating point off my chest that should have been picked up before publishing.  The narration slips from first person to third person and then back to first person, on more than one occasion.  I'm not going to linger on this point but it was off putting and threw me off the thread of the story for a while.

There were a couple of moments in the book which I felt were out of context.  It didn't spoilt my enjoyment but it felt almost as if the author changed their mind on what direction they wanted a particular scene to take.

Photo courtesy of Goodreads website
Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I loved Jack's character, he is pretty much your stereotypical Private Investigator but thats exactly what I was expecting and what I wanted from this novel.  There are a few flirtatious moments between Penelope and Jack, including a rather sexy little dream sequence. The cozy mystery element alongside the 1940s Private Dective was a new genre for me.  I really enjoyed Jack's old time dialect and humour, and how he helps Penelope stand up for herself.  There were plenty of suspects and I wasn't able to figure out whodunnit! 

This is not a heavy gritty crime novel, it's a cozy murder mystery and a light-hearted story with a typical gum-shoe character as the PI and a 30-something widow trying to do the best for her son and business. If you take it as it is, it's an enjoyable easy read. 

There are 5 more novels in this series and I'm looking forward to seeing how Penelope and Jack's relationship progresses.

This was my fourteenth book this year which means I am one book away from completing my challenge of fifteen books for this year. 

Bookworm Blessings.  x

Sunday, 24 September 2017

August Review: One False Move - Dreda Say Mitchell

Welcome Book Lovers

Today I'm reviewing another book I read in August, it's also another Quick Reads choice. This gritty and intense novella is the story of a young women just released from prison who is determined to turn her life around.  It isn't easy landing a good job when you have a criminal record but Hayley thinks she found a happy middle ground, until one night she's mugged and things beginning to spiral beyond her control.  

Blurb from Goodreads website.
"Hayley swore when she got out of prison that she would turn her life around.  But living on the Devil's Estate doesn't make that easy.  She spends her days looking after her daughter, and her nights collecting cash from people who can't get loans any other way.  If she makes one false move, her life will be over..."

The story follows Hayley's desperate attempts to keep her promise to be a law abiding citizen and do the best she possible can for her daughter. Unfortunately, it seems fate has other ideas and leads her down some dark and dangerous paths, ones she visited before, and that lead her to her criminal ex-boyfriend.  Each of Hayley's moves seem destined to land her trouble and knocking on a door she was hoping to never see again.   

Bookworm Blessings! 

If you read my last post you may remember I was taking part in Hide A Book Day, here are some photos of me hiding my book and I'm pleased to say my book has been collected, I hope that person enjoys it as much as me.
My Newfoundland dog, Fergus supervises me hiding my book.

All Hidden.

The Owl bench, Aspal Lane Nature Reserve where my book was hidden.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Goodreads Turns 10!

Good Evening Bookworms

I have been a member of the Goodreads website since 2014.  It's had a very positive impact on my reading.  I've always been an avid reader and Goodreads has added extra elements to my reading.  

It's put me in contact with authors and enabled me to ask them questions.  I can share my own reviews and read others, get suggestions on new authors and books. and spend time in the vitural world with like-minded people.

One of the things I enjoy the most is seting myself an annual target of a number of books to read.  In 2014 I set a target of 12, I try to increase the number of books each year and this year I am ahead of schedule by 3 books so hope to break my target.

I am also part of an audio book challenge group where collectively we hope to listen to 1000 audio books this year. So far I have listened to 7 of my personal target of 24. 

This month Goodreads turns 10, there are a few things happening on the website which you can find out about here.  One of the fabulous quirky events taking place that anyone can join in with is Hide A Book Day which happens tomorrow 18th September.  Just print the slip or write a note inside and pick a place to hide your book.  

"Keep the weather in mind for any outdoor locations (soggy books are sad books) and remember that the books should be hidden…but not too hidden (abandoned books are the saddest)."

Here is the book I will be leaving for someone to discover. 

Photo by Tracy Welham

I will be back next week with a photo of where I decided to hide it! 

Bookworm blessings! x

All photos courtesy of Goodreads website unless otherwise stated.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

National Read A Book Day

Evening Bookworms

Did you know that Wednesday was National Read A Book Day?  I celebrated by visiting the mobile library (which happened to be in the village on the same day) and collected a small haul of books.

Here is my b ;

Yes I'm one of the millions enjoying Game of Thrones.  I haven't read the books by George R R Martin but when I spotted a graphic novel version I just had to borrow it.  I got into Graphic Novels about 2 years ago, so I'm always on the lookout. 

I'm a bit of an M R James fan.  I love a good ghost or spooky story have a few of his collection on my shelves.  This book as recommend to me at an M R James Evening where the host read 2 stories by M R James and then gave a short history talk about the author.  The family lived locally so I'm expecting this to be very interesting. 

Anyone who knows me well, knows my obssession with Scotland so this book will come as no surprise!  It follows Anne Cholawo who leaves London and moves to Isle of Soay.  For someone who dreams of moving to Scotland I'm very excited about reading this. 

I picked A Wolf called Romeo for two reasons, firstly wolves are one of my favourite animals and because I recently saw this youtube video.  It depicts such a beautiful scene. 

A Change is Gonna Come would not be a book I would normally pick up but I follow Bookaholic Confessions and Holly the blog author wrote a very compelling review so I thought I would give it a go.  It's a collection of stories and poetry.

Aunt Dimity and the Duke is the second novel in this series, you can see my review of the first one here.

I came across Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill on a friend's list on Goodreads website. This is the first on in the Chicagoland Vampires series.  It's been a while since I read a Vampire novel so I'm looking forward to this.

I also picked up these 4 creative books.  I shall pick some projects and them share them on my crafting blog.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

August Review: Last Scene Alive - Charlaine Harris

Evening Bookworms!

This is the seventh novel in the Aurora Teagarden Series.  Spoilers Alert!

"It's been more than a year since her husband's death, and Aurora (Roe) Teagarden is still in mourning. All she wants is to be left alone - but that becomes impossible when a movie company arrives in Lawrenceton. They've come to make a film of a book written by her one-time friend Robin Crusoe. A book that detailed their shared investigation of a series of murders that occurred years before.
The locals are delighted, but Roe is not. And Robin is just beginning to win her over when the lead actress - who is playing Roe - is killed. Once again, the two of them join forces to thwart a killer - not knowing that Roe is the next target..."

Photo courtesy of Goodreads website.

The cosy part of this murder mystery really comes through as Aurora struggles with her grief whilst trying to bring normality to her life.  I was pleased that Ms Harris brought back characters from a previous novels, it added to the sense of time and place; Robin is an old flame of Roe's and Roe's friend, Angel, lands a job as a stuntwoman on the film. The slow pace of this novel fitted with the slight sense of grief that is still present.  

Three stories run through this book, Aurora slowly emerging from the grief of her husband's death, the main murder and the strange character of Mrs Bledsoe, the library's secretary. There is a lot more intrigue in this book and it was along the same compelling thread as book one.  All the ends are neatly tied-up although I did query whether Aurora would help to cover a crime scene!?!? 

I think it would be possible to read this novel as a stand alone book as Ms Harris gives enough pointers for the reader to feel as if they haven't missed anything important from the rest of the series.  The mystery element certainly returns in this installment, and by the end, Aurora's life is starting to turn around again.

Bookworm Blessings! 

Last Scene Alive (An Aurora Teagarden Mystery)
Charlaine Harris
First published 2002

Sunday, 20 August 2017

August Review: Wedding Season by Katie Fforde

Hello Bookworms

Today I'm sharing my review of Wedding Season by Katie Fforde which I borrowed from the library. 

I have read many of Katie Fforde's books and I would class the author as British chick-lit, it's not a genre name I'm particularly fond of as it often has negative conotations.  It's a boy-meets-girl romance but I always find Fforde's characters well-rounded and her writing comprehensive, it certainly isn't sloppy or lazy.

Photo from Katie Fforde website

Blurb from author's website
Sarah Stratford is a wedding planner hiding a rather inconvenient truth - she doesn't believe in love. Or not for herself, anyway. But as the confetti flutters away on the June breeze of yet another successful wedding she somehow finds herself agreeing to organise two more, on the same day and only two months away.

Luckily Sarah has two tried and tested friends on hand to help her. Elsa, an accomplished dress designer who likes to keep a very low profile, and Bron, a multi-talented hairdresser who lives with her unreconstructed boyfriend and who'd like to go solo in more ways than one.

As the big days draw near, all three women find that patience is definitely a virtue in the marriage game. And as all their working hours are spent preparing for the weddings of the year, they certainly haven't got any time to even think about love. Or have they?

I found this a fun and lively read with great episodes of humour.  If you know a Bridezilla or have ever been involved in planning a Wedding, there will be plenty of "Yep, I get that." moments.  It really does have a great story and if you enjoy Weddings and all the trappings that go with it I have no doubt you will enjoy this.  The three women really do grow and learn to bloom throughout the book, especially Bron. It is a little shallow in places but it is what it is, if you're expecting fiesty feminist females then you will probably be disappointed.  Don't be deceived though Sarah, Elsa and Bron are all strong women running their own businesses, they just seem a little too suspectible to male charm at times!  At the end of the day it's a piece of romantic escapism, and makes an ideal holiday read. 

Wedding Season - Katie Fforde
First Published in 2008 by Century.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

August Review: A Very Distant Shore - Jenny Colgan

Evening readers!
I hope you have enjoyed your weekend.  I finished this book yesterday so am pleased to be able to share a quick review this evening.
Blurb Courtesy of Good Reads
Lorna lives on the tiny Scottish island of Mure, a peaceful place where everyone helps their neighbour. But the local GP is retiring, and nobody wants his job. Mure is too small and too remote.
Far away, in a crowded camp, Saif is treating a little boy with a badly-cut hand. Saif is a refugee, but he's also a doctor: exactly what Mure needs.
Saif is welcome in Mure, but can he forget his past? Over one summer, Saif will find a place to call home, and Lorna's life will change forever.
This Quick Reads short story was published in February this year by Sphere.   If you are regularly reader of this blog you will know that I'm a fan of the Quick Reads series released via the Reading Agency.  You can find my review of Dead Simple also released this year here.
Photo courtesy of Goodreads website.
A Very Distant Shore is a romantic novel set on a remote Scottish island, here I have to be honest as soon as I found this out I had to read it.  As a self-confessed Scotophile I actively seek out books set in Scotland and when I come across them by accident I'm delighted, so to find a Quick Reads book set in Scotland was a bonus.  
Until the two stories merge and Saif arrives on the island, each chapter flips between Saif a Syrian Refugee and Lorna a teacher on Mure but it is easy to follow the story and sets the book up nicely. 
The contrast between Saif's culture and the culture of the Island is a different as chalk and cheese.  However, Saif is quickly accepted by the islanders and he and Lorna develop a great friendship.  Saif struggles to come to terms with leaving behind his life, not knowing what has happened to his family and the stranger customs of the island. Meanwhile Lorna tries to cope with her father's illness and her busy everyday life.  
Whilst this is a complete story, at the end of the book Saif has not found his family, so it did leave me wanting to find out more but it didn't feel unfinished.
The island of Mure is also the setting for one of Jenny's full novels, The Summer Seaside Kitchen, which was also released this year, and although it doesn't follow-on from this book it maybe that the characters are revisited. 
The Summer Seaside Kitchen will be on my list to read but I doubt it will be read this year as I can't say I'm a big fan of the author.  I have read previous books from her but she gets mixed reviews from me so it's hit and miss. I didn't enjoy Working Wonders and, unusually for me, I didn't finish it either.  On the other hand I read Christmas at the Cupcake Cafe which I completely loved.  You can't please all of the people all of the time right! 
Bookworm Blessings! 

Sunday, 6 August 2017

July Review: Aunt Dimity's Death - Nancy Atherton

Greetings Readers!

I'm here to review Aunt Dimity's Death by Nancy Atherton, this is the first in the "An Aunt Dimity Mysteries" series.  I think it came up as recommendation on Goodreads based on some of my previous reads.  It's listed as a cosy mystery, but I feel it spans a few different genres.  This book doesn't really sit beside your traditional Agatha Christie novels or the Aurora Teagarden novels (see my previous reviews).  For me this book was split between cosy mystery, supernatural, fairytale and romance, but it all comes together to make a very enjoyable read.

A synopsis of the plot in my own words
When Lori Shepherd was a young girl she used to listen to her mother tell tales of Aunt Dimity - a character in comforting bedtime stories. When she is contacted by Willis and Willis, Lori's life is on a downward spiral when she hears she has inherited the forture of Aunt Dimity!  Aunt Dimity was a real person and was her mother's friend and now Lori must find the secret hidden among the letters between her mother and Aunt Dimity, and discover truths about herself along the way.

The plot seems to stroll along and draw you into the worlds of both Lori and Aunt Dimity. The relationship between Lori and Bill adds a subtle romantic undertone, the hidden secret in the letters between Aunt Dimity and Lori's mother supplies the story with it's mystery, whilst the loving spirit of Aunt Dimity gives the story a supernatural twist. 

Personally I found the charm of the whole story enthralling, it's what I like to call a comfort read.  The only thing that would make it better is to curl up under a big blanket with a hot chocolate and read it in one sitting, and whilst our summer in the UK hasn't been that kind in terms of sunshine, big blankets and open fires have not been a necessity!

Bookworm Blessings! 

Sunday, 30 July 2017

July Book Review: A Fool and His Honey - Charlaine Harris

Roe is back for sixth novel in the Aurora Teagarden series.  Life is going well for her, she's married to a wonderful man, is back working as Librarian and her dead body discovery rating is at an all time low.  Of course it doesn't last and things go from bad to worse and beyond; starting with the handyman going crazy, a kidnapping and ending with an unexpected death.

I didn't enjoy this sixth Aurora mystery as much as the previous 5.  I had to suspend belief over why the baby wouldn't be taken in to care by the state.  It did become obvious in the end as the plot wouldn't have worked otherwise, but it still made it an implausible story for me. 

The story starts off with the usual random event I have come to expect from Charlaine Harris but this had very little to do with the main plot and was only featured again right at the end, almost as if the whole event had been added in after completing the story.

Photo courtesy of Goodreads
Aurora's character has changed very little, which is a good thing but the devastating news at the end of the book shall probably mean she changes considerably in the seventh book. She can whine a little and be selfish but she isn't mean or weak, to me she is "normal" not overly fiesty but not a simpering damsel in distress either. 

It lacked the usual cosy mystery element for me and seems to have lost it's footing in this genre with this particular story.  However it has not put me off reading the next one as I have grown so fond of Aurora I need to know what happens to her character.

Bookworm Blessings. 

Sunday, 16 July 2017

A Libraries Love Affair!

Everyone in my family knows I LOVE libraries.  It's become a bit of a standing joke, when I meet my parents for lunch in town they always expect me to have a large bag of books to return, and when my hubby goes to football on Sunday he isn't suprised if there's a book to drop off on the way. 

Bury St Edmunds Library, Photo from Our Bury
As a child in the summer holidays I would take the six week reading challenge.  The idea was to read six books during the six week break but I loved reading so much I would often complete it several times, and mum and I would visit the library in Ipswich at least once a week, or so it seemed.  I would even start reading the books on the bus on the way home. These days I never go on a bus without a book in my bag. 

All through school I read above my age group and often borrowed teen books before I was a teen myself.  Sometimes my mum had to borrow books for me on her card because at that time it was only 6 books in one borrowing session and I often wanted more or the books were not from the children's section of the library.  
Related image
Entrance to Ipswich Library, Photo from EADT.

During the summer of 2012 I volunteered at the Bury St Edmunds Library to listen to the children discuss their books for the Summer Reading Challenge, it was super to see that reading is still a popular pastime with youngsters.  Although I was a little disappointed that they were only allowed to complete it once, something they were very strict about!
The Mobile Library for our village and surrounding villages, Photo by Tracy Welham
Between August 2010 and April 2017 I borrowed almost 600 books so that averages about 86 books a year!  I do need to admit that some of these have been audio books but I think that is still a lot of book borrowing! Plus I have 5 bookcase at home filled and overflowing, and that is after a recent purge!

I have never lost my love of libraries and I still get a thrill when I enter through the library doors or realise it's mobile library day in our village.  It's not just books you can borrow now, films, music, access a computer and the internet...  I feel that libraries are an important part of our society, being able to borrow a book of knowledge or esacapism, on trust alone, is an advantage we should not take for granted. 

Happy Reading and Borrowing!

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Sunday, 28 May 2017

How do you mark yours?

Good Evening readers and visitors!

Yesterday was my sister's Wedding so there is a good chance I might be curled up on the sofa in our holiday cottage reading my latest book resting are the day's events, but tonight I want to move away from the books, bookcases and eReaders to chat about the humble bookmark.  First off let's dispense with this nonsense of turning over the corner of the page, this really isn't acceptable, it's definitely a no-no if your are borrowing someone's book or hiring it from the library.  If it's your book then I guess that's fair enough, personal it makes me want to slap you round the face with your book, just kidding, I don't condone violence of books!😉 This post isn't really about that, it's about the whole world of creative marking your missing out on.

Freebie Bookmarks
If you love reading but have never bought a bookmark on holiday ... well that's like going to the seaside and never having fish and chips, allergys permitting, and for my foreign visitors it's a British thing!  When I was kid a visit to a boring stately home (when you're 9 anything like this is boring) it was some how compensated by the fact that you would be allowed to pick a small item from the gift shop.  I would head straight for the bookmarks, pens, pencils and erasers were a close second, it's a stationery thing but I won't get into that here.  Once we returned home or back to our holiday cottage I would immediately swap my current bookmark for the new one.

Gifted Bookmarks and bookmarks from visits.
At the end of a school trip to the Zoo, most people would head to the cuddle toys, or the overpriced build your own Zoo kit, not me.   I would, in an effort to appear normal, meander around picking up various items all the while my eyes were searching for my next bookmark.

When is a bookmark not a bookmark, when it's a hairclip, a finger puppet or a paperclip!  I use all these as bookmarks.
In fact one of my saddest moments from childhood is being on a school trip, in France I think, and losing a little bag of things I had bought, a gift for my sister, a couple of postcards and a bookmark! Oh, how my stomach flipped and the tears pricked my eyes.  I spent the rest of the afternoon asking everyone on the trip if they has seen my little paper bag from the gift shop but to no avail.  I hope who ever found it gave a bookmark pride of place in their next book.

Handcrafted Bookmaks from friends
Too bulky for a book but perfect for my eReader! 
I have quite a collection of bookmarks and below is a photo of two of my most favourite.  They were both bought for me by my grandfather.  I recently laminated the one with my name on as the ink is starting to fade and run.  The other is covered in Birds of Prey.  My grandfather was a keen birdwatcher and introduced me to this wonderful hobby.

My two most favourite bookmarks.
Now I'm older I still love to come across a bookmark, with the invention of eReaders I fear they are a dieing breed.  They still sometimes have freebies in the library, or I come across an abandoned one in a charity shop and of course I still scour holiday gift shops for them.  Age has not dulled the pleasure of spotting a shiny new Marker of Pages!

So, how do you mark yours?  Do have a favourite bookmark or do you slip in an old receipt or bus ticket to keep your page?

Bookworm Blessings.  x

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Physical book versus eBook

Evening bookworms!

Over one third of the UK population has an eReader, are you one of those people?  I am but for a long time I couldn't be swayed by the hype surrounding these new "books".  So what changed my mind...

I had been contacted on Twitter a few times about writing book reviews, a free book in exchange for a review - simple!  Except, they were all eBooks, but I wasn't going to pay out for an eReader to write a few reviews.  If you know me well, you will know I like to try and be thrifty; in the case of books they get passed around within the family, audio books are shared and then passed on to the hospital and I borrow a truck load of books from the library.  All good reasons for not needing an eReader. However it was my thriftness that led me to get an eReader.  I was browsing Streetlife (now Nextdoor) for freebies or low cost items, in particular we were hunting for a sofa, when I spotted an eReader in return for a charitable donation.  I still took two days to decide whether I really "needed" it but finally came to the decision that if I didn't like it then at least my pennies had gone to a worthy cause.

I must says I was pleased with the exchange, I now had a Kobo mini complete with case.  I charged it up and downloaded my first book "Lust, Money & Murder: Book 1 by Mike Wells" which was free.  I loved the book and you can read the review here.  My eReader, it was lightweight and comfortable to hold.  It didn't have a backlight but I wasn't too worried as neither does a paperback lol! Another plus point was it looked nice on the bookshelf in it's little brown leather case.  I have downloaded an extensive library, 99% of which were free.  It's a great product for a commute to work, going on holiday or a long journey.

I got my Kobo back in October 2015 and to date I have only read 3 books, all by Mike Wells coincidentally.  I am currently reading my fourth "The girl who tweeted wolf" by Nick Bryan.  It definitely takes me longer to read an eBook, I put this down to so much time spent in front of a screen in other areas of my life that reading this way loses it's appeal. I started this book in Oct 2015 and I am now only halfway through, and that really isn't because it's not a good book or I'm not enjoying it but reading on a machine just lacks appeal for me.  

When I use my Kobo I feel myself yearning for a "real" book to hold, I want to feel and hear the pages, have the pleasure of marking my page with a bookmark (my collection that really doesn't fit with eBooks) and dare I say smell the book?!  Oh come on, we've all done it, whether they have that fresh new smell or that old musty scent about them, it's all part of the delight of a real book.  The other thing I miss is choosing which book to read next, the anticipation of picking what to read using my Kobo eLibrary lacks the excitment of picking from my own collection or the local library.   I love looking through all those different spines on the shelve of my four bookcase and pulling out different books, decided what sort of mood I'm in and what I feel like reading crime, romance, historical, etc and whether I want a quick read or a lengthy tome.

Whilst may be the practical benefits of an eReader will always outweigh the those of a physical book, there are other senses which can only be stimulated by holding that one book.

Bookworm Blessings.  x

All photographs are my own. 

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Five of my top ten reads continued...6-10

Hello and welcome to another Bookshelf Sunday, for now posts will be every other Sunday evening.  Today I'm sharing the next 5 of my top ten reads.  For anyone who missed my other post, explaining the first five of my choices you can catch up here, it was originally posted on what is now my dedicated craft blog but this link takes you straight to the post.

No. 6 
Photo courtesy of Goodreads website

Midnight is a Lonely Place by Barbara Erskine
Biographer Kate Kennedy retires to a remote cottage after a broken love affair but when a Roman burial site is uncovered, Kate finds herself unsettled by un-buried passions, unleashed ghosts and unexplained forces.

The only book that has every terrified the life out of me - truly!  I am not an easily scared or spooked person, I love to watch scary movies, sometimes late at night and on my own, and very rarely jump at the 'boo' moments.  This book had me hiding my head under the covers at night every time I heard a noise, and had me screaming and jumping if anyone surprised me whilst I reading it.  I'm not kidding when I say it took me a month to recover!  Barbara Erskine has a huge talent for bringing her stories to life and for scaring her readers.  I don't know anyone that has read this and not been terrified - that's sounds like a strong word but this novel is just plain creepy and damn right chilling.  I dare you to read if you haven't already!  I also loved it because it is set on the Essex coast and living in Suffolk I could identify with the location.  Here is a rough guide to the plot without giving too much away; 

No. 7

Photo courtesy of Goodreads website
Lace by Shirley Conran
Summoned to a New York apartment, four women are asked which one of them is the mother of the host.  Secrets are discovered and hidden depths surface.

Forget 50 Shades of Grey, Lace is the original bonkbuster!  I don't think I was anywhere near my sixteenth birthday when I read this but thankfully my parents a fairly opened-minded which is why I'm such a well-rounded individual, no seriously I am! 😉  I haven't read 50 Shades (or seen the film) so can't compare the two but Lace was first published in 1982 so it will probably seem dated, and made be tame in comparison.    I have no desire to read 50 Shades, quite possibly the hype as put me off, but perhaps I shall revisit Lace and then read 50 Shades as a comparison but then the world is so full of so many books I want to read ...

No. 8

Photo courtesy of Goodreads website
Thornyhold by Mary Stewart
As a child Gellis has a lonely childhood, broken only by brief visits to her godmother, a herbalist and may-be white witch.  When her godmother dies Gellis inherits her house as well as her reputation.

Thornyhold was the first Mary Stewart novel I read and I found it to be beautiful.  A subtle story of romance and mystery driven by it's location and a hint of magic.   For me, this book was a lovely comforting form of escape.  There is something wonderfully nostalgic and gentle about Thornyhold, so don't let the magical element put you off it's that not normally your sort of thing.

No. 9

Photo courtesy of Goodreads

Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe by C S Lewis
It's 1940 and four siblings are evacuated from London, the youngest discovers a magic portal to another world.

I have read this more than once and each time the magic never fails to surprise me.  As a child I couldn't think of many more exciting things than stepping into a wardrobe and finding yourself in a magical realm where animals speak and your mission is to save a land from the White Witch.  I think this book delivers all the things a child could want from a magical land, of course it has been made for the big screen a few times but there is something so much more bewitching about the book.  Although the films have been fantastic, the Narnia inside my head is so much bigger and there are so many more possibilities.  For me personally this book is about the quest or the fight between good and evil it's about personalities and courage and bravery.  Narnia brings out the very worst and the very best in both it's inhabitants and it's visitors.   It's never too late to read this wonderful novel, age and gender are no barrier, it really is a timeless classic and an extraodinary story. 

No. 10

Photo courtesy of Goodreads website

The Diary of Young Girl (Anne Frank) 
Writings from a girl in hiding with her family during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.

This, put simply, is an amazing record of a young girl's life at one of the most difficult times in history.  I feel that Anne writes with a clarity that belies her age.  I'm not sure I would have been so eloquent at 13 but then my world was somewhat more relaxed compare to Anne's!  This book does receive mixed reviews, which is not surprising as review are mostly based on opinion, a book should never be classed as brilliant by all just because it's records a well-known historic event and has been translated into over 60 languages.  However, I do think it makes it worth reading as a true insight in to one family's struggle during WWII.  I think it is quite impossible to imagine being locked up for years and to experience and witness the suffering and abuse of so many people.   

So, do you have any favourites from my list?  Do any of these feature in your top ten?  I would love to hear your thoughts so please leave a comment below. 

Bookworm Blessings.  x