Like many people at the very start of lockdown, unsure about the times that lay ahead, I decided to join an online Book Group. The first book chosen to read by the group was Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly.
How was Easter for you all? Wherever you are and if you celebrated it or not, I do hope you managed to have a nice break. As the UK is still in lockdown, we were unable to go anywhere apart from around the duck lake.
In the UK at the moment there is a real feeling of Spring and the end of winter. March, at the moment has 'come in like a lion' which I hope means it goes out 'like a lamb'.
I first discovered the books of Katie Fforde when I was a bookseller. She had just released 'The Rose Revived' which had a Penguin Orange Spine and I fell in love with these books.
I have to confess dear reader that I am starting to feel slightly anxious about The Shipyard Girls series. I have followed and read this wonderful set of novels since its first book. These books remain very close to my heart.
Coming in at #74 on the BBC Big Read list is Matilda by Roald Dahl. It has been years since I read any Roald Dahl, but as a child I could not get enough of these wonderful books.
I am sat here writing this with the windows open, it's a proper March blustery day with blue skies and fresh air aplenty. Spring is definitely here! With March upon us, it's time for the next book in the #missreadreadalong21
I'm not saying I've become obsessed with Rules for Perfect Murders but if it quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, then I'm probably obsessed with Rules for Perfect Murders.
I am seeing this novel everywhere and it continues to pick up a lot of interest. So I was delighted when I was approached by a friend on Instagram who asked if I would like to read this with her and a few friends.
At the time of reading A Christmas Party, the UK and parts of Europe are in a cold snap. We had plenty of snow and our night-time thermometers showed minus six degrees for a few nights.
I hope that wherever you were, that you enjoyed World Book Day yesterday. Once I had hit publish on my post, my friends and I began a chat about our favourite World Book day experiences and my mind was cast back to one Thursday
Happy St David's Day or Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus! I do hope that the translation is correct and I haven't mortally offended anyone. I've decided to put in 'Spring' on the blog. This weekend has been glorious.
As previously mentioned in my book review for Thrush Green, I have signed up for the #missreadreadalong2021 on Instagram. This challenge lasts 12 months, and participants read a novel in the Thrush Green series each month.
Like many people, I have a guilty obsession. I LOVE following blogs and Instagram accounts based on cleaning and organisation. I swear there is nothing more satisfying then watching Mrs Hinch clean her kitchen worktops
You may remember that a few months ago I reviewed 'Fried Eggs with Chopsticks' detailing Polly Evans' travels around China. With foreign travel firmly off the menu at the moment, I wanted to be transported somewhere new
I don't believe that I can be the only person with a towering to be read pile. What I can tell you, is that Dr Zhivago has been on that pile forever! Over Christmas I spotted that the Dr Zhivago film was on the BBC.
One of my best friends, Catherine, has the most amazing knowledge of planes and flying. If you are jetting away on holiday and you tell her your flight number. she can tell you what type of plane you will be flying on.
There are many wonderful things available to book-lovers on Instagram. Not only are there a plethora of book recommendations guaranteed to bolster anyone's wishlist, but there are also giveaways, buddy reads and read-a-longs.
At the time of writing, it is currently the middle of January, and I am not quite ready to give up reading my Christmas books just yet. Especially as it is snowing outside. I had already enjoyed Hercule Poirot's Christmas
Coming in at number 76 on the BBC Big Read List is The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I can honestly say I have lost count of the number of times I have bought and re-bought this book.
The way that my book reviews are going, I'll probably be reading Christmas books well into July! The reason is that with doing #12 Books of Christmas, over the Christmas period, I stored up a number of Christmas reads.
In the lead up to Christmas, I challenged myself to read #12 Books of Christmas and now also appear to be reading #12 Christmas Books of January ahem. I do enjoy reading Debbie Macomber's novels
Just before the Christmas break, I was told by my wonderful Mother-in Law, in no uncertain terms, that I was NOT to buy this book. Having not clocked that this had been released I then proceeded to see it everywhere.
So it was that I stumbled upon 'The Chalet' by Catherine Cooper. The cover promised 'Four guests, one luxury getaway and one perfect murder' and depicted 5 champagne flutes, one broken with a hint of blood on it. I was intrigued!
I appreciate that a lot of books reviewed on the blog are fiction, but what you may not know is that I am fascinated by journalist's stories, particularly those who have bravely put themselves in the very worst of situations.
Happy New Year!! I hope you all had a lovely Christmas break and a great New Year. Ours, like a lot of people around the world, was a quiet one. We made up a cheese-board of the 345 varieties of cheese we seemed to have amassed.
We've made it! Last night I curled up in front of our log burner and watched The Good Life Christmas special and felt like I can take a breath and that Christmas is finally here.
I have a collection of precisely 4 Rosamunde Pilcher novels. I am aware that she has written plenty more and that her short stories are thoughtful and second to none, but I love seeing the sight of 4 huge tomes on my bookshelves.
This Christmas please do spare a thought for my very dear husband. Christmas always makes me slightly emotional thinking of loved ones, the tree, heartwarming films and all the feel good stories at this time of year.
There is so much about Christmas that is about memory. Memories of funny events, Christmas decorations made lovingly in Primary School and placed on the tree, games, movies, the 'Big' Christmas film, and Christmas walks.
Do you remember me talking about 'The Readers Rest', a gorgeous little second hand bookshop halfway up Steep Hill in Lincoln? For me, any Miss Read book is synonymous with the Readers Rest.
Last week we had our first snow of Winter 2020. I live in the shadow of the Pennines in the North of England and the really bad weather happens on the higher ground. But as usually happens, the town came to a standstill
Each year my husband and I partake in what we have lovingly christened 'Christmas Film Sunday'. Unsurprisingly this takes place on a Sunday in December (well doh!).
When I started to put together my list of titles for the 2020 #12BooksofChristmas, I knew I wanted to include a book about food. Food forms such an important part of Christmas, we all have memories of a great Christmas meal
I think I've talked before about Jolabokaflod. This is the lovely Icelandic tradition of exchanging books on Christmas Eve so that families can curl up with a cosy book and some chocolate.
If someone were to ask me to recommend a great Christmas fiction author, then with no hesitation I would recommend Karen Swan. She usually releases books twice a year; in winter come the Christmassy reads
When does Christmas start for you? Is it a particular event or when you first hear 'Last Christmas' by Wham being played on the radio? For me, I usually start planning Christmas after my Mum's birthday in September.
Over the month of December I'm going to be posting some of my favourite Christmassy reads across a number of different genres. I hope you enjoy it and that it puts you in the Christmas spirit and leaves you feeling all aglow.
Each year, my husband and I try to have a mini-break away in November. The idea being that we will be all fresh and shiny new for December. In the past we have stayed overnight on the Moors enjoying a nice meal
There has been a wonderful look back on the travel documentaries of Michael Palin. Back in the late 1980s, Michael Palin recreated Phileas Fogg's journey in 'Around the World in 80 Days'. It was a remarkable series
I'm not going to lie I don't have the best history with winners of the Booker Prize. As Booksellers we had to know about all the latest prizewinners, from the Theakston's Crime Award, through the Pulitzer and to the Nibbies.
Are you watching 'Between the Covers' at all? This is a programme on the BBC (available on iplayer) presented by Sara Cox featuring a panel of 4 celebrities talking about books.
I have been lucky throughout my Bookselling career to have had some great bosses, many of which I still count as jolly good friends. One manager, Bec bought me The Devil Wears Prada and it is a book I still love today.
I am sat here writing this on a very atmospheric day. People across the UK have been celebrating Bonfire Night; Bonfires were lit, toffee apples consumed and it seemed as if about a million fireworks were let off.
If the writing of this review were to have a soundtrack, it would be O Fortuna which for those among us of a certain age is the music from the Old Spice advert. This read has been truly epic....and hard.
There is a wonderful Icelandic tradition called Jolabokaflod which involves the exchanging of books and chocolate on Christmas Eve and roughly translates as 'Book Flood'.
Now that the mini-holiday is over, I am back in full Autumn mode, even writing this post with an orange pen. It's playing havoc with my eyes. I had big plans for Halloween this year and was hoping to have a review for The Stand.
I am definitely something of a mood reader. Some people carefully plan out their reading and decide in advance what books they will read for the following month. My instagram feed is full of beautiful images of curated books.
The final book of my holiday is by one of my favourite authors. I have mentioned him before in one of my Book Chat posts about going back to school and I needed a bit of fun after the gloriously bleak The Stone Diaries.
Like a lot of folks at the start of lockdown, I took part in book swaps with neighbours. People who were shielding were desperate for books to read, especially with the libraries and bookshops closed.
Having dived into Autumn like a labrador into a pile of leaves, I was left with a couple of beach reads promised for my holiday. Luckily we had a couple of days on the Kent coast planned instead and the weather was blazing hot.
I can honestly say that this year I am embracing Autumn to its fullest. We have started to light the fires in our log burner and my in laws have grown probably the biggest pumpkins I have ever seen.
Like lots of people locked down, semi-locked down, whatever the rules are, we have been doing a weekly quiz with our in laws. This has consisted of the Radio Times Egghead quiz and Richard Osman's alphabet quiz.
Every now and then a book comes along that has a personal meaning. It could be represent a part of your life, a gift from a loved one or a novel that elicits powerful emotion. In the case of To Kill a Mockingbird, it is all 3.
This year I seem to have finally got my act together with reading appropriate books at appropriate times. From Jane Eyre on Yorkshire Day, namesake birthdays and even Back to School books for the start of term
On a golden Autumn day, I was craving something cosy and familiar. Naturally I turned to my old friend Miss Marple. This is the 12th outing for Miss Marple and finds her in St Mary Mead living the quiet life
I got a message 'There's this book called Harry Potter, it's definitely worth a read'. I rang the Publisher and left a long rambling message and one day a copy of the book arrived addressed to the 'mystery caller'
One of the very first books I reviewed on the blog was The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley. This was a delicious thriller about a group of pretty ghastly friends drinking and drugging too much on a New Years break in Scotland
I'm going to whisper this very quietly because currently there about 6000 variables at work here but *whispers I may be going on holiday to Barbados. Obviously all of this depends on Government protocols
I saw a great meme the other day about the seasons and it certainly applies to Yorkshire. At the start of September, we enter something called 'False Autumn', which lasts about a week and then goes into 'Second Summer'
I am sat writing this review on the August Bank Holiday weekend and in typical British weather fashion, Saturday has been a washout. I mean seriously?
Despite being Yorkshire born, I did end up growing up in a county called Lincolnshire, a county so flat you could stick a load of lemon and sugar on it and call it a pancake. The only exception to this is a road called Steep Hill
I decided to treat myself to a couple of Karen Swan's backlist. These are the perfect summer reads, perfect for the beach or a summer holiday. Given that a holiday abroad is looking a bit tricky at the mo, I curled up on the sofa
I have just started on Instagram (@coffeebooksandcake - if you want to come and say hi). I both love and hate Instagram. It can be great for connecting with people, meeting new friends and following your favourite author
I have just realised something, gosh I'm daft at times. During this novel, at no point do you ever learn the name of the narrator, we only ever know her as 'My Wife' or 'Mrs de Winter'. More on this later.
We are currently in the middle of a heatwave at the moment and I appear to have transformed into an 18th Century lady, swooning on chaise longue and needing a lot of delicate macaroons to eat.
I first discovered the wonderful Douglas Kennedy during my stint as a Bookseller when I was lucky enough to be asked to be on a reading Panel for 'Six for Summer' as it was known back in the day.
I am currently a Playstation widow. My husband is playing the hot new game 'Ghosts of Tsushima' which is set in Japan and looks very beautiful on screen. Think Samurai, falling leaves and bubbling streams.
Being from the marvellous county of Yorkshire, we celebrate Yorkshire Day on August 1st. By a happy set of circumstances, I found myself reading this novel by one of Yorkshire's greatest authors, Charlotte Bronte
First off, can I just take the time to praise these particular set of book covers. I have the editions that were first published, they are very striking with a woman's face dominating half of the cover, which makes them stand out
One of the good things to come out of the Pandemic is the myriad of ways that events can now be accessed virtually instead of in person. This has been a godsend in such times.
When I was a child, my Sister and I used to read 'The Dark is Rising' novel every Christmas without fail. This was a magical light vs dark adventure set at Christmas time and I can pinpoint where my love for Christmas books began
Back in my days as a Bookseller, it was normal to re-order new titles in quantities of 10 from publishers. I remember the first time I had to 'hotline' 200 copies of Dan Brown's bestseller I must have looked a sight!
There was a moment where I suddenly had an image of bowling pins lined up waiting for a great big bowling ball to come hurtling down the lane as the waft of slightly dodgy hot dogs and fried food attacked my nostrils.
Like quite a few of the novels I review on the blog, I read this book back in the 1990s and had a real phase of devouring anything written by Paullina Simons. Red Leaves has all the 'Secret History' feels.
The British Book Awards AKA the Nibbies took place virtually this week and Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams was named Book of the Year as well as picking up Debut Book of the Year.
My sister and I have never had the best history of recommending books to each other. I probably shouldn't be telling you considering this is a book review blog. hahahaha. I recommended to her a set of gentle, crime novels.
At this time of year, I would be thinking of all those delicious beach reads that I would like to take on holiday. I enjoy perusing the cheery covers and choosing the ones that best appeal. This year, things are different.
Have you ever met someone, for example a new colleague or a friend of a friend and think instantly 'Oh I do like you!'. There is no rhyme or reason to this, you probably had no more than 5 words with them.
I first read Fried Green Tomatoes back in the 1990s and remember it as a truly heartwarming read and a great novel to curl up with. The story telling is sublime. Released in 1987, parts of the novel feel very progressive.
I do not know if it is the sunshine that has addled my mind but I spent most of this novel trying to remember if I had read it before. I racked my brains, checked the bookshelves and in a last ditch attempt checked audible.
These remind me of The Rockford Files and Quincy M.E, TV shows that my family watched growing up. They have the early 1980s Californian filter where the sun always shines, the computers were massive and people wore a lot of brown
At its heart is how interesting America and its people are, the kind generosity of strangers and never to let prejudice stand in the way of making a new friend. Something which I think we all could do with hearing right now.
Please may I mention the book cover. This book could sit quite happily next to your favourite biography of Kurt Cobain or Nick Drake. It looks an album cover of the 1970s that all the cool kids would have owned. Very stylish.
As a nation, we have just celebrated VE day. Our TV screens were filled with images and moving stories of the celebrations that took place in 1945. At times these were bittersweet, happiness that the war in Europe was over
Like many people around the world at this time, I have been horrified at the death of George Floyd, a young African-American man who died when a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly 8 minutes and 46 seconds.
There is a moment where Kya, the main character, on reading her first book says 'I wadna aware that words could hold so much. I didn't know a sentence could be so full'.
I really enjoyed being part of a Book Club again and couldn't wait to find out what our second book would be. I was delighted that it was a novel that has been getting a lot of love at the moment The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
As soon as I'd finished 'Some Kind of Wonderful', I knew I wanted to go straight into the next book of the Puffin Island series. Well hello there Christmas Ever After!
I recently reviewed book one of the Puffin Island Trilogy - First Time in Forever and then ended up devouring the rest of the trilogy in the space of a week. What can I say? I was motivated.
This is my last E-Bay Enid Blyton post for a while as shopping was becoming a bit of an addiction if I'm honest. E-Bay is fab! And no, this isn't an advert for E-Bay, just an appreciation of being re-united with much loved books
You can literally buy anything on E-Bay. A good friend of mine, each of time she would visit for tea would return home to discover her husband had bought a vehicle from E-Bay. These ranged from a classic car to a JCB.
I saw recently that following the end of the lockdown process only 9% of people want to return to life as it was before lockdown. That's 91% of us who want our normal to change in someway. Our normal looks very different now.
Like everyone in the UK, we are currently in lockdown and finding ways to fill our days. One of my most favourite bloggers, Helene in Between, offered to start a book group which sounded like a great idea!
Big Stone Gap epitomises this small town feel and features in my Top 10 favourite books. It was first released when I was a bookseller and had a quote on the cover from Sarah Jessica Parker.
Last week, we were Quizmaster and whilst researching questions came across a question about the Land of Magical Medicines and at the risk of going all Alan Bennett, my mind was cast back to being a 5 year old child
Mrs Pearce brought alive a book written in 1813 to a bunch of hormonal, spotty teenagers. Every nuance, biting comment and witticism was beautifully explained. This, already from a teacher who had made us all fall in love
At times, it is a very hard read. Sebastian Faulkes evokes the feel of a small, French town, its inhabitants and their differing political views. Peoples everyday lives go on, but the threat of German occupation of the town
The sub-title is 'How to Stop Worrying about what you do so you can finish what you need to do and start doing what you want to do' which kind of sums up the whole book really. But before you switch off and think this sounds
Former Air-Force pilot, Jerry Burton is recommended by his doctor to convalesce in the sleepiest and most dull town possible. Jerry and his sister Joanne therefore move to Lymstock expecting a quiet convalescence.
I have very hazy memories of The 39 Steps being a black and white film starring Kenneth More and involving him pursued through Scotland while handcuffed to a glamorous lady. What is very odd is that the film bears little
This debut novel suited the time of year beautifully as it is situated at a house party at New Year. A group of 30 something university friends descend on a remote Scottish Highland estate to see in the New Year.
The book centres on the Boleyn sisters, Mary and her soon to be more famous Anne, and their lives in the court of Henry VIII. At the start of the novel, Henry is married to Catherine of Aragon and is desperate for a son
Released in 1843, this novella focuses on the miser Ebeneezer Scrooge, 'a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching covetous old sinner' who is visited by the ghost of his deceased business partner Jacob Marley.
At the start of any New Year, there will be a slew of 'New Year, New You' books promising anything from new bodies, personality change, more friends, more money and genuinely a better life for you. as a former bookseller,
Nancy Revell has taken inspiration from the real life 'Shipyard Girls' who had been wives and mothers, but during the Second World War took on the jobs that the men left behind. Sunderland had a thriving ship building industry