Wednesday 27 March 2024

Thank you

I just wanted to thank everyone who left such heartfelt and touching messages in reply to my post last week about Peter passing away. I read them all and feel so blessed to know each and every one of you through our mutual passion for reading. I'm doing ok. The sense of unreality and disbelief is still quite overwhelming as is the 'empty chair' syndrome - 50 years is a long time to be with someone. But I'm getting there and I'm so lucky to have two wonderful daughters and grandchildren who are looking after me, I couldn't ask for better to be honest. I will be back, probably in a few weeks, in the meantime I hope to catch up on a few of your blog posts I've missed and start to comment again. I miss it and feel it might comfort me to get back to what I love and I know Peter, a keen reader like myself, would want that. 

Thanks again and take care, all of you. xxx

Thursday 21 March 2024

Personal news

I'm sure some of you have noticed that I have suddenly disappeared and am not around commenting on posts or posting myself. The reason for this is that my husband, Peter, died suddenly of a heart attack on Sunday evening. Although he did have plenty of health issues to do with his heart, lungs, diabetes etc. there was absolutely nothing to suggest this was about to happen so of course myself, my daughters and their families are in deep shock. Peter and I were married for fifty years and that's a huge chunk of your life to be with one person. He was my rock and life will never be the same again for me. Time will heal I'm sure but for a few weeks I will be away from blogging and I know you'll all understand. 

Take care, be kind to yourselves and hug your loved ones like there's no tomorrow because sometimes there isn't.

Friday 8 March 2024

Catching up

I'm waaaay behind with my reviews - nothing new there - so I'll do one of my 'quick catch-up' posts because otherwise I'm never going to be up to date, and books that deserve talking about will not get any mention at all. Which would be a shame.

First up, Murder on Liberty Bay by Dennis Shock, which is a cosy mystery book that Margot spoke about in this video. 

Lily Pine is newly widowed, her husband, Marty, died about 12 months ago. It had always been his dearest wish to open a restaurant in the Pacific North West and to that end he had actually bought a place in the town of Poulsbo on the coast of Washington State. Now Lily feels up to going there to sort things out and actually make Marty's dream come true by getting the business going. What she doesn't bargain for is finding a dead body on the premises on her first day there. Wanting to get her business going as soon as she can, Lily gets involved in the solving of the murder and also finds herself with a couple of new admirers. So this was a fun, cosy mystery in an absolutely wonderful setting - coastal, mountains behind etc. what's not to love? I'm not the biggest cosy mystery fan, preferring my murder stories with a bit more edge, but I liked this a lot with its touch of romance, interesting characters and a plot where I had no idea until the end who had done the victim in. Recommend for cosy fans.


Next, Breaking Creed by Alex Kava. I'm not sure where I heard about this series but feel it has to be on Lark's blog. Anyway, this is book 1 in an 8 book series and there's also a previous series about Maggie O'Dell, an FBI agent who also features heavily in Breaking Creed.

Ryder Creed is a US army veteran who owns working dogs. He and his business partner hire them out for various jobs such as searching for drugs at airports and ports or at sea. On one such trip he takes Gracie, his Jack Russell terrier, and discovers a boat with hold full of trafficked children. Not long after, he rescues a panicked 14 year old girl at an airport and gives her shelter. What's the connection? It's not long before Maggie O'Dell, a previous associate who works with the FBI, becomes involved and Ryder and his dogs are called upon to do more than search for drugs and then walk away. I 'really' liked this first book in a new to me K9 series. It's quite hard hitting. Be warned, there's quite a bit about drug mules and it's not pleasant. A cosy this is 'not'. I liked Ryder a lot, Maggie too and the dogs were great, especially Gracie. I feel this could become a very good series and felt very lucky when I popped to the library last weekend and was able to grab the next few books. Happy Camper! 


Lastly, not a crime book but historical fiction this time. The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin was amongst several left for me by Constance from  Staircase Wit when she visited us a couple of years ago. 

Grace Bennett has moved to London from Norfolk with her friend, Viv. It's August 1939 and everyone knows another terrible war is imminent. They move in with a friend of Grace's late mother, Mrs. Weatherford, and her son, Colin who is in his early twenties and of fighting age. Viv gets her dream job working in Harrods because she fakes a letter of recommendation. Grace's mean-spirited uncle would not give her one so Mrs. Weatherford arranges a job in a bookshop her. The owner of the bookshop, Mr. Evans, doesn't really want her there but she makes the best of it and starts to bring in changes which bring new customers. And then war with Germany is declared. I wasn't sure about this one at first. It seemed rather pedestrian. But then I got sucked into Grace's life at the bookshop, her relationships, the people who find the shop, how she 'does her bit' for the war effort and so on. The book is quite strong on the devastation of the The Blitz (if you want really strong I would recommend Life After Life by Kate Atkinson or Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce) and what it did to people. Unimaginable for those of us lucky enough not to have lived through it. It's very much a 'found family' story, which is one of my favourite 'tropes'. To be honest, this is a 3.5 book which I upgraded to 4 because it brought me to tears a couple of times, despite the writing being a tiny bit average. One for my personal challenge of reading half a dozen 'world war' books this year.

So that's it, up to date, except that I've nearly finished another book which is A Death in the Parish, book 2 in the Reverand Richard Coles' 'Cannon Clement' series. Enjoying this a lot. Hope you're well and enjoying some good books this month.

Saturday 2 March 2024

Sharing a YT video. 'Why Read Fiction Books?'

If you have ten minutes to spare you could do a lot worse than spend it watching this excellent Youtube video from Rosamunde Bott at Books from my Bookshelf. In it she explains, very eloquently, why we should all read fiction, the joys and the benefits and what people who don't read it are missing out on. Beautifully put. 

Friday 1 March 2024

Books read in February

Just about everyone is wondering where February went... not just the old and knackered, like me, 'everyone'. Perhaps time really is speeding up (or I read too much speculative fiction...)

Anyway. Books read in February numbered nine and these are they.

9. The Christie Curse - Victoria Abbott

10. Maiden Voyages - Sian Evans

11. Murder at the Spring Ball - Benedict Brown 

12. Dr. Thorne - Anthony Trollope

13. Northbridge Rectory - Angela Thirkell 

14. The Grand Tour - Agatha Christie.  An enjoyable recounting of the famous author's voyage around the world in 1922 to advertise the upcoming British Empire Exhibition of 1924. Interesting, but not quite as fascinating as I had hoped. Come, Tell Me How You Live and her autobiography are much better examples of her non-fiction writing in my opinion. Mind, the book is based on her letters back to her family so you perhaps wouldn't expect the same kind of writing you get in her books.

15. The Lure of Atlantis: Strange Tales of the Sunken Continent, edited by Michael Wheatley. To be reviewed. Not bad, some good stories and some average ones, as is the norm with short story collections.

16. Murder on Liberty Bay - Dennis Shock. To be reviewed, a fun, cozy mystery novella, set in Washington State and recommended by Margot Kinberg HERE.

17. Breaking Creed - Alex Kava. To be reviewed but it was 'really' good, one of a number of K9 mystery series that are prevalent at the moment. Grabbing books two and three from the library when I can.

So, quite a good reading month. Seven fiction titles, two non-fiction. There was some old-fashioned English village and stately home reading (three books) but other than that I've been right around the world and back again on boats and visited three US states - Florida, Washington state and New York state. Plus, had a good ole poke around looking for Atlantis. Can't ask for more than that. 

So much so that I can't name a favourite book this month. Just a couple were not as good as I was hoping but all the rest were top-notch. 

Current reads are these two:

Both of which are 'dip in and out of' books being slowly read on my KF. I'm really at that 'choose a new book' stage and that comes with my usual dithering and prevaricating. Too much choice. 

I hope you all find lots of brilliant books to read in March and are keeping well.