Sunday, 8 November 2015

The Year in Books November

I am yet again late with my post. Sometimes life just gets in the way.

Octobers reads were a mixture of books and kindle reads and of course their was my return to my favourite childhood read.

Larkswood written by Val Mendes, mother to the famous Sam Mendes, is the story of the troubled Hamilton family. Shrouded by secrets and lies this is a family pulled a part. That is until Louisa Hamilton grand daughter to Edward comes to stay at Larkswood to recuperate following glandular fever. Louisa soon falls under the spell of Larkswood and is determined to find out the truth.
Very well written but not sure the content would suit everybody.

Josephine Cox's Whilstledown Women....  I had looked forward to reading this one.  Sometimes it can be the cover of the book that draws me to it and this one certainly had me full of intrigue.  This is the story of a obsessed husband who does not believe his wife's unborn child to be his. On the evening of her birth the baby is given to a gypsy women and told to take her away to raise.   She has no idea she is from aristocracy  and it is some years later that the truth of her birth is revealed but in doing so puts the young girl in danger.
Very good read and really and enjoyed all the intrigue.

Missing by Susan Lewis was my charity shop find.  I have read a couple of Susan Lewis novels and for me they are my Marmite I either love them or I hate them.  This one I loved.  A family struggle to cope when their baby son is taken from the backseat of his mother's car.  They never discover what happened to Sam and 16 years later his mother still grieves for her son.  This has lead to her not being able to build a relationship with her daughter afraid that she too will be taken.  It has destroyed her marriage leading to two people living separate lives under one roof.
Very good book and one to read.

My return to childhood read was Pollyanna.  The story of a little orphan girl who goes to live with her aunt. She teaches everyone around her that even in your darkest of times you should still have something to be glad about.  Great story and one of my favourites from my childhood and one I shared with my own daughter when she was a little girl.

This month I read three novels on my Kindle. Helen Bryan's War Brides starts in 1995 when a group of women who have not seen each other in 50 years arrange a reunion.  They know one of their number will not be at the reunion. From here you are taken back to 1939 when the war breaks out and their story begins. This one had been sitting patiently on my kindle for a while but I am glad I finally got a round to reading it. Great story and one I would recommend.

Kathryn Hughes The Letter. The story begins with a child asking her grandmother how did you meet granddad?  From here you are transported back to the 1970's and a young wife who volunteers in a charity shop on a Saturday, who discovers a letter in an old suit pocket.  It has an old stamp on but no postmark so therefore it evidently was never posted. Tina Craig is intrigued as to why the letter was never posted and takes it upon herself to try and locate the letter intended recipient.  In doing so a story unfolds of a young girl who finds herself in the family way and who believes her boyfriend has abandoned her. In truth her controlling father is behind everything that follows.
What can I say this is a book you will not be able to put down. You will need a large pot of tea definitely some chocolate and most importantly a vast quantity of tissues. Beautifully written.  If you loved Philomena you will love this story even more and I cannot recommend it enough.  It is now the most read book of my office and yet again I think my colleague's husband will find her in tears this morning when he takes her a cup of tea in bed and finds her reading this one.

Lastly is Tom Rob Smith's The Farm, another very well written novel.  I have never read any of his novels before but when this one was one of Simon Mayo's book club sometime ago I had to add it to my collection.  It starts with a young man receiving a phone call from his father to say his mother is sick and he should come, but before he gets there his mother has arrived from their home in Sweden convinced that her husband is trying to convince anyone who will listen that she is mentally ill. Not normally my type of read but very well written and one I would recommend.

So that was my October reads and now I will tell you about those I have selected for November.  I think I have some thirty books between my kindle and the bookshelf and I am determined to have reduced this number by Christmas in order to buy more books obviously.  They are quite an eclectic mix and I do find that I pick books dependent on my mood.  My return to childhood read for November is The Borrowers. Those little people that live under your floor boards and in your walls, who borrow everyday items to make their homes leaving you convinced you have simply mislaid them.

Life After You is Lucie Brown's true story of life following the early death of her husband at just 37. Get the feeling I am going to need to Kleenex again.

Then I am going for three more off my kindle. Brooke Powley's Letting go of Emma, Douglas Johnstone's Gone Again and Natalie Martin's Together Apart and if there is still time before the end of the month I may even sneak in Jodi Picoult's The Pact.

All that said just leaves me to tell you which of my October reads was my book of the month.  I don't think you will be surprised when I tell you that it is Kathryn Hughes The Letter.

Happy reading one & all


Sunday, 4 October 2015

The Year in Books September

I don't quite know where September went. I think I must have blinked and missed it. One moment we were on the first of September and everyone was getting ready for the new school year or taking their offspring to University and the next I was writing a post on my Lazy Days and Sunday's blog saying goodbye to September and welcoming October.

I've not had time to write up about all the books I've ready this month so will give you a quick run down here.

I started September with Susan Lewis's The Truth About You.  Lainey Hollingsworth had always had a strained relationship with her late mother and never knew why.  After her mothers death she decides to return to Italy to find out why her mother had left her home country when Lainey was 3 months old never to return and what was the secret her mother had hidden from her for all her life,  Lainey is married to the love of her life with children of her own and if trying to discover what if anything had happened to her mother wasn't enough, her husband too she was to find out had his own secret. A secret that could if she let it change her life forever.

I had only read one other Susan Lewis Behind Closed Doors.  This one was much more to my liking, not gripping but I would recommend it as a good holiday read. 

My second read was Stephen Fry's More Fool Me.  I had previously read Moab is my washpot and The Fry Chronicles and had looked forward to reading this the third installment of Stephen Fry's memoirs. I did enjoy this one but felt it was a little repetitive in parts and not as good as the first two.
Northanger Abbey is Val McDermid's modernisation of a Jane Austen classic.  I had never read the Jane Austen original to know how in keeping Ms McDermids adaptation is but overall thought it was a good interpretation.  I'm not sure some of the language used by today's teens would be that of Ms McDermids choosing but I think it would be quite a challenge to get that right. 

Three and Half Heartbeats by Amanda Prowse was a new purchase for September on my kindle. The Penderfords are a happy couple with a young daughter.  They are left devastated after their daughter dies from Sepsis following a routine operation. All the proceeds for this ebook are going to the Sepsis Trust. I do hope that this one will eventually be released as a paperback, not only as it will raise more money for such a good cause but will also reach a wider audience in making people aware of the signs of Sepsis. I am an a long standing fan of Ms Prowse's work but would urge you to read this one even if you have never read her novels before or likely to read any of her other novels. 
At the beginning of the year I challenged myself to return to some of my favourite childhood reads. My selection for September was Kenneth Grahames Wind in the Willows.  It was lovely revisiting rattie and mole and not forgetting the formidable Badger and the encourageable Toad

So there we are a bit of whistle stop tour of my September reads.

As per usual I like to pick a book of the month and I think it will be no surprise that I have selected Amanda Prowse's Three and half Heartbeats.

I have started October with a Helen Bryan novel War Brides. It begins in 1995 when a reunion of the war brides is about to take place in a little village in Sussex some fifty years since they had last all been together. From here you are taken back to the 1940's in order to be told the story of how these women came together and the bond that has kept them in touch over all these years.
My return to childhood read for October is Pollyanna.  I am sure many of you will have memories of reading this one as child. And if you did do you always have something you can be glad about?

Happy reading one and all


Thursday, 10 September 2015

The truth About you - Susan Lewis

Lainey Hollingsworth has spent her whole life on the outside of a secret. Her mother would never discuss the reasons she abandoned Italy when Lainey was a baby, and has lost touch with the family she left behind.

But just as Lainey is free to find out about her roots, her husband hits her with a bombshell that shatters the very foundations of their marriage. Another secret.

Shaken, but more determined than ever to find out who she really is, Lainey takes her children to Umbria in search of answers. 

What she ginds in the sleepy, sun-baked village of her birth turns her world inside out.


I had only read one other Susan Lewis before 'Behind Closed Doors' and yes it was good but in places a little predictable.  The Truth About you , on the other hand was much better and had my full attention.  I certainly didn't see the first twist in the tale coming although I knew there was a secret to be told.   You learn the truth quite early on and from then on it is more around Lainey trying to decide what will happen going forward, will she still have a marriage.  Then there is her daughter who seems to be taking completely the wrong path in order to be popular with one particular friend who may not be much of a friend at all.  And lastly there is the crux to the whole thing what was it that Lainey's mother ran away from in Italy and why was it she would never return.  

All in all a very good read and one I would recommend. 


I am a little behind my time with blogging again at the moment.  I finished this one just over a week ago so you may find there will be another post very shortly as I am coming to the end of my next book already which is 

Happy reading one & all 


Sunday, 6 September 2015

Autumn reads

I don't know about anyone else but there is a definite nip in the air this morning, the sun may be shining but it feels pretty chilly to me. I think Autumn is most definitely making it's presence felt over the last few days and therefore it must be time to sort out the Autumn reads.  

There hasn't been much movement on the bookshelf this summer with a total of 8 books being read off the bookshelf and  8 from my kindle. 

As you can see from the above picture there are still quite a number on the bookshelf and fare number on the Kindle at quick count I think there is around 30 in all.

August was a very slow month of reading for me with four books being read. 

His Other Life by Beth Thomas, Distant Hours by Kate Morton, Missing You by Louise Douglas and my return to childhood read Heidi.

I had really looked forward to reading His Other Life but have to say I was left a little disappointed and I don't think it would be one to recommend particularly.  I had (stupidly) looked at reviews of Kate Morton's Distant Hours, which were not that favourable.  I have enjoyed all the previous Kate Morton's I've read and had therefore been looking forward to reading this one.  I'm glad I put the other reviews to the back of my mind as I really enjoyed Distant Hours even more so than The Riverton House which had rave reviews and if you've not read this one I would recommend you do,
Missing You by Louise Douglas was a lovely romantic summer read and one I would recommend.
That just left my return to my childhood read which for the month of August was Heidi and I enjoyed it just as much now as I did forty years ago. If you have a young daughter and are looking for something from your childhood for them to read, I would recommend Heidi.

I am again late with this post so I have already started my Autumn reads, first off the bookshelf was Susan Lewis's The Truth About You, this came as a two book set for Christmas and has been patiently waiting it's turn.  I first read Behind Closed Doors from the set of two and although it was a good read I didn't think it was as good as The Truth About You and out of the two it would be this one I would recommend for reading.

I am now working my way through Stephen Fry's Memoir 'More Fool Me'.  This is his third memoir following on from where the Fry Chronicles left off. I had enjoyed the first two and I was in no doubt that I would enjoy this one too and so far I have not been left disappointed.

As per usual I like to pick a book of the month and my choice for August is

Well that's me done.

I am taking part in Laura's Year in Books Project 2015 if you like take part just click on the link.


Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Missing You - Louise Douglas

Fen works in a bookshop and is devoted to her young son, Connor, but she keeps herself to herself. Haunted by guilt and a terrible secret. Fen lives a compromised life, isolated from her family, far from home and too afraid of the past to risk becoming close to anyone.She is constantly looking over her shoulder, knowing that one day the truth will catch up with her.

Sean on the other hand, is enjoying a seemingly perfect life. He has a successful career, lives in his dream home and adores his beautiful wife, Belle and their six year old daughter, Amy, That is until the day Belle announces she has found someone else and wants Sean to move out.

Circumstances throws Fen  and Sean together. Slowly their quiet friendship turns into something much deeper and the joy they find in one another eventually gives them the confidence to trust and love again. But will the past tear them apart just as they find happiness?


If you are looking for a holiday read I would recommend this one to you. 
It's approximately 376 pages and is set out across 53 short chapters making it an easy pick up put down whilst you're on your hols.
I can't really add anything to the blurb above as that basically is the story in a nutshell and if I tell you anymore there won't be anypoint in you reading the book.


Moving on and sticking with my kindle reads I have started my childhood returned read this morning and for the month of August it is................

Happy reading one & all


Sunday, 23 August 2015

Distant Hours - Kate Morton

Edie Burchill and her mother have never been close, but when a long lost letter arrives with the return address of Milderhurst Castle, Kent, printed on its envelope, Edie begins to suspect that her mother's emotional distance masks an old secret.

Evacuated from London as a thirteen year old girl, Edie's mother is chosen by the mysterious Juniper Blythe, and taken to live at Milderhurst Castle with the Blythe family,

Fifty years later, Edie too is drawn to Milderhurst and the eccentric Sister Blythe. Old ladies now, the three still live together, the twins nursing Juniper, whose abandonment by her fiance in 1941 plunged her into madness.

Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother's past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst Castle, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. The truth of what happened in the distant hours has been waiting a longtime for someone to find it.


This is he second novel by Kate Morton and the fourth one I have read.
When I read reviews for Distant Hours they weren't as favourable as those for The Riverton House and The Forgotten Garden, but actually I thought this one to be better than The Riverton House.

You are lead to believe that either Edie's mother has something do with the fact that Juniper's fiance abandons her, but this couldn't be further from the truth.
You are then lead to believe that Juniper herself may have caused his abandoning her on the evening she was to meet her sisters, but actually it all stems back to the story of The Mud Man a family tale their father wrote many years before.

I would recommend that if you are a Kate Morton fan but not gotten around to this one yet that you should go a head and give it ago before her fifth novel The Lake House comes out in the Autumn.


Moving on I am sticking with my kindle reads as it's so much easier on trains and I have picked

I'm around 100 pages in and so far it's pretty good.

Happy reading one and all


Thursday, 13 August 2015

His Other Life - Beth Thomas

Grace's new husband Adam seems like the perfect package. Good looking, great job, completely charming - almost too good to be true. So when Adam suddenly disappears from Grace's  life, she is left bewildered and heartbroken. And with a lot of unanswered questions. Ash she tries desperately to find him, Grace opens a Pandora's box of secrets and lies - and starts to learn that Adam wasn't so perfect after all. 

What shameful secrets was her husband hiding? Is Grace in danger? And can she survive the truth? However terrible it may be....


I am a little behind in posting about this one I finished it last week but heyho sometimes life just gets in the way of things doesn't it.

So His Other Life is essentially about Grace and her husband Adam.  You soon get to learn that Adam is a bit of a control freak but one night he returns home from work asks Grace what takeaway she would like, leaves the house and never returns. 

She reports his disappearance to the police who find his car in a car park in Yorkshire, in a place that neither of them to her knowledge have ever visited before. 

Grace then receives phone calls from a man named Leon who she has never spoken to before but seems to know an awful lot about her. 

She is left wondering what secrets has her husband been keeping from her and has he left of his own accord or is someone or something stopping him returning to her.


When I first started reading this one I thought it was going to be a real page turner but as time went on it seemed to be a lot of the same thing and I had almost worked out how it was going to end by the time I got to the middle of the book.

It left me a little disappointed if I'm honest but as a holiday read that you can pick up as and when it would hold your attention and you wouldn't loose the plot (if you know what I mean).

So from the disappointed I have now moved on to a novel on my kindle.

I had read all of Kate Morton's novels apart from this one and with her knew book being released in the Autumn felt I definitely had to get through this last one.

Therefore my latest read is Kate Morton's Distant Hours. 
I like the way she weaves through the novels between the present and the past.
It's not everyone's favourite Kate Morton novel but I am about half way through and I am enjoying it as much as I have her previous ones. 
I'll let you know when I have finished it. 

Happy reading one & all