In the UK we are treated to a third Bank Holiday in May this year. Personally, I am loving all of these Bank Holidays and am looking forward to some very special visitors arriving on Saturday.
Good afternoon from a very sunny North Yorkshire. Web have had a very lovely weekend doing, well, a bit of everything. Walks, shopping, visiting new places.
I watched the Coronation and was so impressed with the members of the armed forces marching in sync whilst playing the same tune. And also, who knew you could play a trombone on a horse?
I seem to spend a lot of my days on this blog apologising for my tardiness in posting. Unfortunately I had a bit of a health scare this week which resulted in a visit to A&E and a lot of lifestyle changes.
Standing pride of place on my book shelves is a copy of Martha Hall Kelly's Sunflower Sisters, a well-researched historical novel of epic proportions. Indeed a lot of my history with this blog is tied up with Martha Hall Kelly.
Over here at CB&C Towers, we have some special visitors - my Sister, fresh from recommending SAS Rogue Heroes to us all is visiting with her 2 dogs. We are very much looking forward to catching up with her.
Happy weekend everyone! I hope wherever you are, it has been an excellent weekend. I am a very person this week as I am now on leave for a week and boy do I need a rest.
Friday nights are often spent curled up watching Death in Paradise. A cosy, crime TV series set in the Caribbean, featuring beautiful clear waters, magical sunsets, and an eye-wateringly high crime rate.
At the time of writing (Thursday morning), we have been promised a lot of snow to fall in our lovely part of the UK.....since Tuesday. Because this is the UK, the promise of snow promises biblical apocalypses
Life has been extremely busy at Coffee Books and Cake Towers. Last week saw 12 of my husband's family come to stay for a very special birthday celebration. Pool was played, people hot tubbed and plenty of meals were enjoyed.
I do promise normal service will be resumed next week on the blog. We've been having a wonderful time celebrating a number of important birthdays and events. We've got another birthday this week
First of all, I need to apologise again for the lateness of this post. We've had a bit of an ill-health January here at Coffee Books and Cake Towers First of all, both me and my lovely husband had the flu
Good morning everyone, I'm coming to you a day late as I have had a lovely week celebrating my birthday, and woke up yesterday all chilled and relaxed so much so, I forgot to blog.
For those of a certain age, living in the UK in the very early 1980s, what I am about to tell you may spark a memory or two. Each summer holiday, there was a choice of 2 long-running children's TV series
I'm digressing again because I am currently in a state of confusion. At the time of writing, it is actually Thursday, as I have switched my working day for this week only. I am convinced it is Friday or blogging day.
As a family we have form in this as for a long time we did believe my mother ran the SAS following her account when she was a 'scout leader' hiking with a group of scouts in what sounded like descent into madness in Scotland.
First of all, I want to start by saying a massive thank you to all of you who have been reading my reviews, joining in over on Insta, and recommending even more lovely Christmas reads.
Yesterday I finished work for Christmas, a lovely long holiday beckons. I celebrated with cake, a bath and a face-mask which was a lovely treat. it is a real treat to finish early for Christmas.
I can't believe we are already at Day 10 of 12booksofchristmas. The time is flying. Today's book was recommended by another friend over on Instagram and is the first in a series of books which have become immensely popular.
I spotted this beautifully cloth bound edition of these stories on the shelves of my local Waterstones and it is beautiful. A linen feel with dark blue Christmas Trees. Even better are the delights within.
Today's book is a proper children's classic. I had a yearning to read this, and also to watch the excellent 1994 movie with Winona Ryder and Susan Sarandon. It is of course Little Women.
Today's book was a completely random spot in a supermarket, by an author who is much beloved but I have completely managed to never read. Epic fail on my part!
Today's book was actually a book I read all the way back in January. I loved it so very much and knew this was going to be the first book to be added to the 2022 collection!
Confession time folks, I don't actually read a book a day in December, instead I read Christmas books throughout the year. It's almost got to be a bit of a problem. I actually had another Jo Thomas all lined up
This is my 3rd year of doing #12booksofchristmas and I'm please to report I am keeping up the tradition of including a Christmas Carol themed book. Not only is The Christmas Carol my favourite ever book
Today, I am coming at you with a review by an author whose novels at Christmas I have come to look out for. This novel was actually published last year, but was so enjoyable I had to include it on my list.
One of the inspirations behind #12booksofchristmas is Jolabokaflod, the wonderful Icelandic tradition of giving a book on Christmas Eve. My husband and I do this.
Welcome to #12booksofChristmas Day 1! I'm starting off with the final book in a series I've come to love over the years by Elin Hildebrand.
Do not adjust your TV sets everyone. It is a Saturday and I am coming to you with a new review and an announcement. #12booksofchristmas is back!!!!!
I was having a chat with my colleagues at work the other day and we cannot believe how quick this year is going. It doesn't feel like 2 minutes since we were looking at the spring bulbs coming out
Do you have Pantomimes where you are? I ask this because this weekend saw our village Pantomime 'Jack and the Beanstalk' and I got to thinking about it during the performance.
I'm stopping by quickly as I am actually having a holiday day with my lovely husband, we are going Christmas shopping, maybe enjoying a festive afternoon tea and I am so ready for this!
I tend to think Autumn lends itself wholeheartedly to either books with a bit of atmosphere, or a good crime novel. The heady days of summer with those classic beach reads are a dim and distant memory
Each year my friends and I visit Wentworth Garden Centre in South Yorkshire for the Christmas displays. Our excitement usually starts in September when Wentworth announces 'Something is coming'.
This week I had great fun getting into the Christmas spirit at our local garden centre. This had transformed itself into a Santa's grotto of baubles, decorations, Christmas linen and lights
This week saw the return of BBC2's Between the Covers. Well done BBC, this is the perfect show for those Autumn evenings. Each week a panel of 4 people discuss a brand new read
I've mentioned before that there is a lot going on in our village. Not least the Classics Book Club. There are 9 of us who meet and each month we choose a different classic to read from a variety of genres.
Since returning to work, I have had a bit of a mini-crisis over the blog. I still love reading, coffee and cake and that will never change, and I love sharing good reads with you all. But heavens I am struggling to fit it in
This week marked one whole year since we moved to our new home. Having lived in our previous village for nearly 20 years and making lots of friends along the way, it was hard to leave.
Happy Halloween folks! Wherever you are, I hope you are doing something spooky. We have our pumpkin lights up, and have been advised that in our village you are fair game and can expect trick or treaters.
Back in Spring 2021, I disappeared down a rabbit hole of reading crime thrillers, and this was in particular thanks to Rules for Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson. I loved this book.
If you cast your minds back you may remember that over the August Bank Holiday weekend, I was lucky enough to be invited to a book launch for a very special new release by the wonderful James Nicol.
At our last Village Classics Reading Group discussing The Iliad (did not finish, thank God I'd watched the film Troy), our talk turned to learning about the ancient Greeks and fables.
I've got my crystal ball out again. I've already predicted what book will be on the end of year best books lists, and now I've gone all Septic Peg by predicting this year's bestseller. And here it is.
First of all, apologies for missing my regular post on Friday, I was on a week's holiday from work and decided to extend this to the blog. It was a sad start to the week with the Queen's funeral
So how are we all doing?
I ask this question, because here in the UK it has been an emotional and strange week.
I wrote this review about a wonderful character called Elizabeth before the sad news about Queen Elizabeth II was announced yesterday. Today feels strange and emotional.
After the blazing heatwave we have all experienced, I am getting ready for Autumn. Already I am dreaming of crisp mornings, scarves and an autumnal coffee or two. Obviously this will be punctuated by our second summer
At the time of typing this up, the UK is in yet another heatwave. Hosepipe bans are looming and we are trying to work out the best formula for keeping the house cool. (Blinds down, windows closed open everything at 7.30pm).
I've spoken about my love for the novels of Douglas Kennedy already on this blog. Kennedy is an author I first discovered in my early days as a bookseller when I was asked to read his novel
At the time of writing, we are at the end of a week where the UK has seen record-breaking temperatures. I left work on Tuesday and could feel the 40 degree heat bouncing off the asphalt.
Have you been watching the latest series of 'Between the Covers', the BBC programme all about lovely books complete with a celebrity panel and hosted by Sara Cox?
Do not adjust your TV sets folks, this is a review for a non-fiction book, which is quite a rare thing to see on this blog.
I am becoming quite the fan of Sarah Morgan. I follow her on twitter, Instagram and keep an eye out for the latest releases. Having firmly been a fan of her Christmas novels,
I am currently sat watching the semi-final of Wimbledon in the middle of heatwave sipping a raspberry lemonade. I could not be embracing summer more. We had our village reading group last night
I am in a definite full-blown summer reads moods over here which has been helped by the heatwave we are currently having in the UK. This week, I found myself craving something light, fun and foreign
I'm not quite sure when this happened but we seem to be in full blown summer right now. The school terms are coming to an end, I am sat in the middle of a heatwave and everyone seems to be jetting off to white sandy beaches
Life lately has been very busy, we have celebrated the Queen's Jubilee, which we marked with a street party in our lovely village. 'Between the Covers' the BBC series about books has started up again
After finishing the dirge like Anna Karenina, I felt in the mood for something a lot lighter. Where better to turn then the first 3 Hercule Poirot novels by my comfort author Agatha Christie
This is the smaller of Tolstoy's big books, at only 817 pages (!). I first read this when I was 16 years old, about to start my A-Level in English Literature and whilst our family St Bernard was having puppies.
In 2007 and thereabouts it became popular for music albums to be advertised with the tagline 'An album that defines a generation'. This pithy line was often spoken by Jo Whiley in her smokiest tones
Coming in at #35 on the BBC Big Read list and the highest placed Roald Dahl title is the much loved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. This is definitely a book of my childhood.
I love the Easter Bank Holiday weekend. 4 days off work stretch ahead, the weather is usually OK, the lambs have been born and there is chocolate EVERYWHERE. It's like Christmas with less presents but better weather.
One of the lovely things about writing a book blog are the people you meet. I have been lucky enough to learn more about my favourite authors, meet new friends on Instagram and uncover new gems to read.
Happy Tuesday everyone! Do not adjust your set, I am here blogging on a Tuesday, rather than my usual Friday just like old times with a review of a book that is very close to my heart.
Coming in at #87 on the BBC Big Read is Brave New World. It is a book I was first introduced to as a 13 year old, when our English Teacher decided to critique the first few paragraphs.
Long time readers of the blog may remember that last year, I read War and Peace with the rather wonderful @fictionaddictionangela over on Instagram. This year's challenge is to read Anna Karenina
I am very pleased to report that our family book group is still going strong. We started this in lockdown when, quite by chance, it turned out we all wanted to read the same book.
Back in November we moved house and area and have come to a lovely village in North Yorkshire. Having lived in our previous house for nearly 20 years, I was quite worried about leaving the community and my friends
At the time of writing, the UK is currently sandwiched between 2 storms. Tuesday night saw us buffeted by Storm Dudley, bins went missing, birds were blown out of the sky and driving was rather exciting
Yorkshire people are known for being hardy and straight-talking and I'd like to think we take most things in our stride with a nod and a 'it'll be reet'.
Ok folks, we are flying by the seat of our pants today. I normally write out my review on pen and paper, but I'm attempting to write directly onto the computer. No idea what this is going to look like
I'm continuing the theme of embracing the dark months of January and having finished the rather bloodthirsty Oliver Twist felt like reading something that would make me laugh.
One of the lovely things about having a cosier, quieter January is dipping back into the classics. Thinking this might be a chance to tick off another BBC Big Read title, I had a yearning to read Oliver Twist
Having talked about New Year and January in my previous post, I'm turning back the clock today to the festive period, which seemed like an absolute eon ago. I clearly am still enjoying messing with time.
I tend to get a bit depressed when the decorations come down and we have 2 months of dark nights. Well no longer! I've had a bit of an epiphany and it is all thanks to the delightful Claudia Winkleman.
I've decided to go rogue for this post, much in keeping with our #missreadreadalong group! If you were expecting to read about my favourite books of the year, then apologies.
A couple of years ago, before the pandemic hit, I was invited by my sister to go to the ballet. We saw Cinderella performed and if I had to use one word to describe the experience, it would be magical.
As I've already alluded to, I have been reading and choosing my favourite festive reads throughout 2021. I am someone who can read a book a Christmas book any month of the year
You will heard me mention Jolabokoflod, the Icelandic tradition of gifting a book on Christmas Eve for the individual to read as evening comes. My Husband and I started doing this tradition a couple of years back
What memories do you have of Christmas as a child? For me, we always knew the Christmas Tree was going to be decorated as soon as my mum did her 'Christmas Clean'
Whilst I adore writing this blog, at times, it is possible to feel on a treadmill of reading and reviewing. I’m certainly not complaining and it’s so important to remember I read for pleasure and to slow down
It's day 6 of #12booksofchristmas already. I hope you are enjoying the choices so far. I am extremely honoured to be sharing the next book with you as part of my #12booksofchristmas.
At the time of writing this review, my thoughts are turning to Autumn and all the golden leaves, pumpkins, crisp mornings and pumpkin spice lattes that it holds. I’ve had my eye on this little gem of a book.
At the time of writing this review, it is actually March. That’s right dear reader, I spend all year hunting for the very best Christmas books for you all. Truth be told, I love it
Long time readers and fans of Karen Swan will notice a cover change. Gone is a picture of a woman wearing a red coat walking away from us. Instead we have a striking midnight blue cover
Coming in at #9 in the BBC Big Read is a children’s classic, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S.Lewis. If, like me, you are of a certain age you will remember the BBC adaptation well.
WELCOME TO #12DAYSOFCHRISTMAS!!!!
the next couple of weeks, I will be sharing 12 Christmassy reads with you.
Do you ever have a sudden yen to read a particular book. Maybe it is one you spot on your bookshelves, or, like me, you spot a copy in your new local bookshop and remember the enjoyment of the first time you read it.
No your eyes are not deceiving you! There are 2 reviews in this post as part of the #MissReadReadalong. The Instagram group I am part of have gone rogue! If you were to check out my list of Miss Read Books in Order
I've been a bit AWOL this week, but it was much needed as it gave me some thinking time about the blog and the regularity with which I post. At the moment, I committed to myself to publish a post twice a week,
I've a bit of a different book for you today from a genre I don't normally read. Our family book group is still going strong and we are now venturing into sci-fi.
Each year 8 of us gather together in December for a meal at one of our favourite restaurants. The tradition started with 4 of us, and then our partners and husbands joined us.
We have moved!!!! It was a very emotional start to the week, saying farewell (but not goodbye!!) to friends and neighbours, a slight delay at the Solicitors and sorting removals, but we did it and made it into to our new home.
I'm not going to lie, at nearly 2am in the morning, I nearly knocked on one of the other hen's doors to ask if I could sleep with them. But heavens, this book was good.
I am very excited to tell you that today is my stop on the #ShipyardGirlsUndertheMistletoe blog tour. This is the first blog tour I have done, so bear with me folks.
I saw an interesting debate over on Twitter the other day. A number of people were suggesting that the success of Richard Osman's Thursday Murder Club was down to the author's status as a celebrity.
Here it is! 2021's most anticipated novel! Last year's Thursday Murder Club dominated all the bestseller and Books of the Year lists and there was a real sense of excitement to its follow-up.
One of the very best things about reading is discovering gems and then re-reading them when the mood strikes. A number of the blog posts on the blog feature books I read in my childhood, teens, 20s and 30s.
Sometimes books come along at opportune moments, for no other reason than to speak to you. We are in the process of moving house, which it turns out is one of the most stressful things to do in life
My husband and I were talking about the types of books we read at different times of the year. At the time of writing, I have just published my Autumn wrap up and it was all summer, summer, summer.
I'm definitely having a bit of a crime fiction bonanza at the moment, mainly because the publication lists are stuffed full of great titles. We are off on holiday soon and I always love to take a jolly good thriller away with me
I've had a real blast reading a lot of non-fiction recently and have very much enjoyed them. I first spotted What Would You Do If You Weren't Afraid? by Michal Oshman in the Independents Summer Book Catalogue
First of all I must apologise, I had promised the long awaited To Be Read post for today and it just has not happened. It's been a busy week here with house move stuff and throw in illness and no sleep
If you are looking for a gentle crime TV series, the I would definitely recommend Death in Paradise. Imagine Midsomer Murders with a range of 'locked door' seemingly impossible mysteries all set on a beautiful Caribbean Island.
My 5⭐️ paddle has been extremely elusive as of late, but I am happy to report I have finally taken it out, dusted it down and give it a spritz, all to joyfully award 5⭐️ to Malibu Rising.
As August draws to a close and thoughts turn to Autumn, It's time to discuss the 8th book in the Thrush Green series which I am reading with a lovely group of people over on Instagram.
I'm not sure if it was the mood I was in, but I've had a run of reading novels that have all spoken to me in some way and this continued that trend. There is a lovely message here and the novel feels inspirational on many levels
I read this novel whilst on holiday and wrote my notes up on the way back home. A very bumpy train made all the notes indecipherable, but I battled through my scrawlings to write this post.
Regular readers to the blog must know by now that I am a huge fan of Karen Swan. This prolific author writes 2 books a year, one in summer, one in winter, all set in a vast array of locations.
I was quite late to this particular party reading this, having seen it on Instagram absolutely everywhere. This had been touted as the summer feel-good book of the year.
My husband and I tend to read wildly different books. He reads a lot of sci-fi, graphic novels and books about dystopian wilderness, whereas I am more along the lines of cosy reads
July's title in the #MissReadReadalong certainly came around quickly and continues the story of our beloved characters who live in the Cotswold village of Thrush Green.
I am venturing into summer reads territory for this this post and am loving it. When I go away for a summer holiday, I tend to take a mix of good thrillers and light frothy summery novels.
At the time of writing, we have just witnessed the final of the Euros. England vs Italy at Wembley and just in case you missed the result, Italy won on penalties. It was pretty heartbreaking to watch.
On my wedding anniversary, and having stocked up on coffee (a flat white) and cake (a delicious orange carrot cake), I decided that a visit to our local charity shop was definitely in order to peruse the novels there.
In the middle of a reading rut, I decided to turn to one of my favourite authors, Sarah Morgan. I would credit this novel with getting me out of the reading rut as this was just perfect for the moment I was reading it in.
In my review of Gossip from Thrush Green, I mentioned that I was in a reading funk. I've felt like this for a few weeks, but had put it down to needing a holiday, so took a mini-break and decided to read something different.
One of the many wonderful things about reading is its ability to bring people together. At the time of writing I am a member of three groups devoted to a particular author;
I am in serious need of a holiday and have been in a reading funk for a few weeks. This sometimes happens when I don't really know what I want to read next, or if I'm just not feeling the book I'm reading.
As the end of lockdown approaches, one of the things I have particularly enjoyed and hope to continue is our family book group. We don't meet at set times, but as and when we have all read the book.
At the time of writing the review, I had a whole different start to this post about Fredrik Backman's writing and how I did not want this book to end. And then over the weekend, the Euro's started.
Of the many books featured in Rules for Perfect Murders, I was delighted to see Ann Cleeves' Raven Black mentioned. Ann is an author with a lot of links to the area in which I live.
Yorkshire, where I live, is especially known for its damp weather. At the time of writing, we are heading towards the Bank Holiday. I have some grass to rake and it is currently teeming down with rain.
At the time of writing, I am looking forward to visiting my family with my lovely husband tomorrow. I cannot wait to see them. I haven't seen my parents since earlier this year and my Sister since September last year.
After being transported to early 19th Century Russia with War and Peace, and having developed Popeye style biceps from reading said book, I was in the mood for something a little lighter.
At the time of writing this review we have just enjoyed a May Day Bank Holiday. A blissful 3 day weekend where I switched off and relaxed. I did a jigsaw, went to the gym for the first time in forever, made cake and it was heaven
It's wonderful to see bookshops open again and dare I say it, it feels like the world is opening up again. Businesses have been incredible with the way they have adapted during the Pandemic.
Thank you for bearing with me this week as I publish both my posts a day late Doh! Yesterday I did a 17 hour working day, so heaven knows what you will be reading this morning. But I have a good series of books for you
At the time of writing, the UK has started to come out of lockdown. Hairdressers and gyms are now open. And you can treat yourself to a takeaway drink and sit outside with it. Pubs are able to serve alcohol outside again
Back in my bookselling days, if we received a damaged book from the Publishers, rather than returning the whole book, we would have to send back the title page of the book.
Coffee, Books and Cake is one year old today!
If you could see me now, please note I am eating a lemon fairy cake, drinking a mug of coffee and feeling very happy!
I do believe that my local library are convinced that I am an 8 year old child based on my reading habits lately. You have probably heard me mention (one or twice, a thousand) that I live in a small house
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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