Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Year in Books February roundup

There really is nothing better than a Sunday morning with a cup of tea in your favourite cup and a good book. This Sunday was no exception.  It's been a cold windy time across the Fens with occasional cloud bursts. There have been times when I have wondered if my little cottage will still be in the Fens when I awake with the howling gales we've had of late. 

This month has been another busy month of reading. I was given Kate Mosse's The Mistletoe Bride and other Haunting Tales as a gift for Christmas.  I had previously read her novel Winter Ghosts both books were very good, but this one was very easy reading as it was an collection of short stories and usually meant I could read a story a day. I would go on and read more of her writing in the future. Lulu Taylor's  The Winter Folly had been sitting patiently on my Kindle for a while.  I really enjoyed this book immensely. It was quite an emotive book in places. I liked the fact it covered two time periods covering the 60's and 70's and present day. The story is written around the Stirling family and the tragedy that surrounding the family. When Delilah marries John Stirling she decides she needs to find out what exactly did happen to his mother that would haunt him into his adult life. I would definitely recommend this one as a good read.  Sarah Butler's Ten Things I've Learnt About Love is her debut novel.  The story is centered around two main characters Daniel a homeless man and Alice who has returned home from her travels when she learns her father is gravely ill.  These two characters have one common link Alice's mother and through Ms Butler's writing you follow each of their journeys discovering just what it is that connects the two. Marjorie Celona's Y is set in Canada telling the story of a young girl who was left on the steps of the YMCA when hours old.  This is her journey to find the truth about her parents and why she was abandoned. A little predictable in places but overall a good read.   This year I challenged myself to re visit some of my favourite books from my childhood.  Anne of Greengables from The Complete Collection by Lucy Maud Montgomery, was one of my all time favourites. I downloaded the complete collection for just 99p on my kindle and as it contains all 10 books I thought this was an absolute bargain.  For now I have read the first of the books which is entitled Anne of Greengables and tells you Anne's story from 11 - 16 years. The remaining 9 books take you on Anne's journey through life up to the age of 53.  For those of you that don't know the story of Anne Shirley, she is a young orphan girl with the biggest imagination possible who is adopted by  a brother and sister Marilla and Mathew Cuthbert. I still think all little girls should read the Anne Shirley stories in their childhood.  I will certainly go on to read the remaining books at some time in the future. 

As for War Horse I've read this over a couple of days. It is my daughter's 21st this coming week and we are off to London next weekend for a mum and daughter weekend. Whilst there we are going to two shows Mamma Mia (daughter's choice) and War Horse (both our choice).  I had seen appearances of the puppets (I always have to remind myself they are puppets as they are so life like) on many occasions since it first went on the stage but had never had the opportunity to see it that is until now.  I have purposely avoided seeing the film and waited until now to read the book so that I knew the whole story before we go that way I can immerse myself in the stage show.  As you can imagine we are very excited. I don't see my daughter often as she is at Uni so this will be an especially exciting weekend for the both of us giving us the chance to spend some quality time together.

I think I have saved the best of my February reads until last.  The Supremes at Earls All You Can Eat is the début novel by Edward Kelsey Moore and my book of the month. If you liked The Help you will definitely love this one.  It tells the story of three middle aged women who have been friends since high school. They were nicknamed The Supremes as teenagers by Big Earl when they frequented his diner all those years ago. They have been through everything together, love and loss good times and bad.  Seeing each other through some of the toughest times in their lives.  It's just as it says on the cover of the book The secret to life is friendship and their friendship has survived some 40 years.  I loved the way in which Edward Kelsey Moore was so 'in tune' with these three women and their character, so much so that they could be real, it will make you laugh and it will make you cry but it is definitely a must read in my book. The only downside is with this being Edward Kelsey Moore's début novel there aren't any others to seek out. YET  I just hope it won't be too long before he releases a further novel.

What have your favourite reads been this month?

Now it's decision time. Time to make my selection of books for my Spring reads.. I know Spring doesn't officially start until the end of March but here at The Willows  it's going to start next week, especially as the first of my Daffodil's has opened.

Decisions, decisions so many great reads do I have enough years left to read them all. 

Happy reading one & all. 


Thursday, 12 February 2015

Year in Books February half way mark

Not the best of photographs but early morning is not the best time to take photo's in my little cottage.

On the table today are the two books I have just completed Sarah Butler's Ten Things Learnt About Love & Marjorie Celona's Y.  Both of these had been residing on my bookshelf for some time. Ten Things Learnt About Love tells the story of Alice and Daniel.  Alice has returned home from travels abroad when she learns that her father is gravely ill. Her mother died when she was just four years old leaving her father to raise her and her two older sisters.  Daniel is a homeless man whose one wish would be to find his daughter he has never met. You soon realise that these two have one common link. It was a great book as a debut novel but at times did seem to loose it's way a little but I'm sure Ms Butler will go onto produce more great works in the future.   Y is set in Canada and tells the story of Shannon a young girl who was abandoned by her mother outside the YMCA when she was just hours old.  Shannon is put into foster care but is eventually adopted by Amanda a single mother of a little girl just a little older than herself.  Her one wish as she gets older is to find out her true identity.  Quite an emotive book in places as you follow her journey in finding the truth.  

On my kindle I have now downloaded my return to my childhood read The Anne of Greengables Collection by Lucy Maud Montgomery.  These were some of my favourite books as a child  and I am looking forward to visiting these again.  In fact I am up to chapter three already.

Also on the table is my little note book, I do have a little obsession for note books to add to the collection of all my other obsessions.  In here I write down all the books I either buy or download to try and stop duplication, but I also like to keep a record of how many I buy across the year.  I also make a note of the books I read each month in order to not miss out any on my blog.  Since starting my blog I have purchased some 160+ books and have read around 120 and there is still plenty of space in my little book which means I can carry on buying more.....

It is number two son's birthday next week so yet another card has been purchased and posted.  We have a lot of birthdays at the beginning of year in our household. I suspect my son would like to think I have enough savings to buy him a lovely car like this but I'm afraid he is out of luck unless he would like one from matchbox cars...  My Hyacinths are coming into bloom and the smell is already just glorious.  Last year they seemed to have grown rather tall & gangly  which meant they had problems staying upright if anyone knows why this might be please leave me a comment in order that I don't make the same mistake again .  And to finish off is my little blue cup and saucer.  I am usually a cup of tea in a mug kind of girl but there are times when only a cup and saucer will do.  I blame Kate over at Just Pootling who did a lovely anniversary giveaway last year which I was very fortunate to win and in so doing introduced me to the merits of a cup & saucer and Tea Pigs the every day brew is very nice but I am now rather hooked on the Lemon & Ginger flavor and there are still so many for me to try. 

So here we are approaching the half way mark of February and already I have read my way through four books with the fifth underway.

For some of you it will be the half term holidays and for others that will be next week but whatever you are doing during the holidays I hope you still find a little me time to indulge in a little reading.


Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Year in Books February

As you can see my little Rufus has been doing some very serious snow watching over the weekend. The four paws don't really know what to make of it, but Rufus decided the best place was the window sill under which is a radiator to keep a little boy warm. 

With snow falling from the sky what else is a girl to do but have an extra hour in bed with a cup of tea and a biscuit and obviously the latest read. 

I started both Kate Mosse's The Mistletoe Bride & other Haunting Tales and Lulu Taylor's Winter Folly
last week.  As a rule I don't have more than one book on the go at a time as I confuse the characters, unless one is fiction and one is non-fiction when I can compartmentalize each one. I did however make an exception with these two because Mistletoe Bride was a book of short stories that I could  read over a  matter of days completing the last one yesterday. I read Winter Ghost last month which was my first reading of Kate Mosse.  I always like ghost stories as a child which usually meant scaring myself witless in the process.  I enjoyed Mistletoe Bride and the other short stories. Some were better than others but on the whole it was a good read. 

I am now continuing with Winter Folly which crosses between present day and the past starting in 1965 when Alexandra Crewe's father forces her into a loveless marriage which she eventually runs away from after just 5 months and into the arms of her childhood friend Nicky Stirling air apparent to Lord Northmoor and the ancestral home of Fort Stirling. 
In the present day John Stirling brings his young bride back to Fort Stirling where he struggles with demons of his past. His young wife Deliah is worried that such demons will destroy their marriage. She embarks on a journey to get to the truth about John's mother  who John believes has died when he was a small boy.

This is my first Lulu Taylor read and so far I am enjoying this novel very much.  I like books that take you back to the past in order to understand the present I am now 70% through and can't wait to get to the final twist. 

Back in December I picked my selection of Winter Reads. There have been one or two queue jumpers of books given to me for Christmas which I have read over the past month. 
From the original picks there are  now four remaining which I am hoping to read at least two during February.  
The Kindle purchases have continued to grow and one or two may be in line for reading this month, and I have of course  yet to select my return to my childhood read which may be from my Kindle or a visit to my local Waterstones. 
I can find it difficult to decide upon which books I will read next, it can depend on what sort of book I have just finished or even the mood I find myself in as to what will take my fancy next. 
How do you pick a book to read?

 I think it is a case of watch this space. 

Happy reading one & all