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.
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.
What is this? Another sneaky post? Yep, It is that time when I do a round of the month and what I have been reading. It has been a nice, mixed bag this month.
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
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
This week in England, the children went back to school. Life in school I can imagine is looking very different as children wear masks, continue to adhere to social distancing and for some, are in learning 'bubbles'.
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
This is a different kind of post....and it's a Tuesday morning. What gives? Well I thought it might be fun to do a recap of my month in reading and reviewing and have decided to do a kind of wrap up of the month.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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
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