First Line Friday


, , , ,



“Sometimes, you have to ask for what you want”


My choice for this week is from The Hourglass by Tracy Rees.

I discovered this recently whilst putting a Top Ten Tuesday post together on covers that draw me to pick up a book. I found it at the library yesterday and it looks like the perfect read for my upcoming holiday, shame it’s not on my 20 Books of Summer list.

341365392014. Sensible Nora has always taken success for granted, until suddenly her life begins to fall apart. Troubled by anxiety and nightmares, she finds herself drawn to the sweeping beaches of Tenby, a place she’s only been once before. Together with a local girl she rents a beautiful townhouse and slowly begins to settle in to her new life. But Tenby hides a secret, and Nora will soon discover that this little town by the sea has the power to heal even the most painful memories.

1950. Teenager Chloe visits Tenby every summer. She stays with relatives, and spends the long, IDYLLIC days on the beach. Every year is the same, until she meets a glamorous older boy and is instantly smitten. But on the night of their first date, Chloe comes to a realisation, the aftermath of which could haunt her forever.

The Hourglass is a moving novel about reinvention and reconciliation; about finding love even after it seems too late, about family and the healing power of a magical place by the sea.


What about you, would this first line draw you in?






, , , , ,


Throwback Thursday meme is hosted by Renee@It’s Book Talk and is a way to share some of your old favourites as well as sharing books that you want to read that were published over a year ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on your TBR list while you continue to pile more titles on top of them 🙂 These older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere. If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic as well. If you’d just link back to her @ It’s Book Talk she’d so appreciate it.

My choice this week is: Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear, the first in the mystery series of the same name.

Published  May 25th 2004 by Penguin

From Goodreads:


Maisie Dobbs isn’t just any young housemaid. Through her own natural intelligence—and the patronage of her benevolent employers—she works her way into college at Cambridge. When World War I breaks out, Maisie goes to the front as a nurse. It is there that she learns that coincidences are meaningful and the truth elusive. After the War, Maisie sets up on her own as a private investigator. But her very first assignment, seemingly an ordinary infidelity case, soon reveals a much deeper, darker web of secrets, which will force Maisie to revisit the horrors of the Great War and the love she left behind.


I discovered this book when my library first made digital downloads available a few years ago. I love Maisie’s character and the period is fascinating to me. I’ve read and listened to others in the series and always look forward to discovering a new one. Definitely recommend if you enjoy cosy mysteries.

WWW Wednesdays!




Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived at Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

The three Ws are

What are you currently reading

What have finished reading?

What will you read next?

I’m currently/listening reading

I felt the need for an audiobook so spent a pleasant evening perusing the library’s online catalogue via OneClick and found A Dangerous Place. It’s a Maisie Dobbs mystery, set in Gibraltar during the Spanish Civil War. I’m really enjoying it and learning a lot about the era.

Watership Down and Magic Sometimes Happens are books in the 20 Books of Summer challenge.

I’m  struggling with The Himalayan Summer which is a shame as I’ve been to Nepal and I thought it might be nice to revisit in a book.



I finished reading

I loved both these books my first two as part of the 20 Books of Summer reading challenge.

Up next

Another choice in the 20 Books of Summer challenge


So, what are you reading? Let me know in the comments.


Goodreads Monday


, , , , ,


Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners. To participate, choose a random book from your TBR and show it off! Don’t forget to link back to her page and link up to the inlinkz  so that others can see what you picked!


My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Paperback, 422 pages
Published 2004 by Hodder & Stoughton

628033Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukaemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate — a life and a role that she has never challenged…until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister — and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves.

My Sister’s Keeper examines what it means to be a good parent, a good sister, a good person. Is it morally correct to do whatever it takes to save a child’s life, even if that means infringing upon the rights of another? Is it worth trying to discover who you really are, if that quest makes you like yourself less? Should you follow your own heart, or let others lead you? Once again, in My Sister’s Keeper, Jodi Picoult tackles a controversial real-life subject with grace, wisdom, and sensitivity.


I read my first book by Jodi Picoult last year, Small Great Things and realise that I’ve been missing out of some great books by her. This title keeps cropping up and this morning I found a second hand copy totally by chance for £1. 🙂


So have you read this and will I need tissues?

Bookstagram Sunday


, , ,

Bookstagram Sunday

I’ve just discovered a new meme Bookstagram Sunday hosted by Yvo @It’s All About Books.

Here are some of my favourite posts from the last couple of months.



It’s becoming quite addictive and I may have to change where I go for coffee on Friday mornings or I’ll be known as ‘that odd woman who takes photos of her books’. 😉

First Line Friday


, , ,



“So here I am, upside down in a woman.”

My choice for this week is from Nutshell by Ian McEwan the second book I read and thoroughly enjoyed from my 20 Books of Summer list. Definitely recommend it if you enjoy a quirky, beautifully written story.



Trudy has betrayed her husband, John. She’s still in the marital home – a dilapidated, priceless London townhouse – but not with John. Instead, she’s with his brother, the profoundly banal Claude, and the two of them have a plan. But there is a witness to their plot: the inquisitive, nine-month-old resident of Trudy’s womb.

Told from a perspective unlike any other, Nutshell is a classic tale of murder and deceit from one of the world’s master storytellers.


What about you, would this first line draw you in?






, , , , ,


Throwback Thursday meme is hosted by Renee@It’s Book Talk and is a way to share some of your old favourites as well as sharing books that you want to read that were published over a year ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on your TBR list while you continue to pile more titles on top of them 🙂 These older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere. If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic as well. If you’d just link back to her @ It’s Book Talk she’d so appreciate it.

My choice this week is: Watership Down by Richard Adams

Published 1972 by Penguin

From Goodreads:



Watership Down is one of the most beloved novels of our time. Sandleford Warren is in danger. Hazel’s younger brother Fiver is convinced that a great evil is about to befall the land, but no one will listen. And why would they when it is Spring and the grass is fat and succulent? So together Hazel and Fiver and a few other brave rabbits secretly leave behind the safety and strictures of the warren and hop tentatively out into a vast and strange world. Chased by their former friends, hunted by dogs and foxes, avoiding farms and other human threats, but making new friends, Hazel and his fellow rabbits dream of a new life in the emerald embrace of Watership Down…


I’ve been promising my teenage son for ages that I’ll read this and he still doesn’t believe me, even as I’m typing this! It’s on my #20BooksofSummer list so I’m definitely reading it soon. Have you read it or like me just seen the film?



Down the TBR Hole Part 4



From an idea by  Lia @ Lost in a Story and as my tbr over on Goodreads is now toppling over as is definitely in need of some serious de-cluttering!

Anyway, it works like this:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?


The Books


Days Without Number

Sight Unseen

Name to a Face 

Sea Change

I remember reading a book by Robert Goddard years ago and enjoying it so much that I added more of his books to my tbr shelf. Well I haven’t read any of them and I’m not sure I’m that keen on them now.

Verdict: Remove all four


Vince and Joy by Lisa Jewell




It’s Lisa Jewell, need I say more plus I have this on my bookshelf ready to read sometime.

Verdict:  Keep



Henri and Now Living in the Spirit by Henri Nouwen




I read some books by Henri Nouwen that really spoke to me a few years back, but when I’ve looked at one of them recently I couldn’t understand why I thought that.


Verdict: Remove




Women In The Second World War by Collette Drifte



Another book that I think I’d enjoy more as a documentary.

Verdict: Remove





Friendship Bread by Darien Gee



I still like the look of this book so it’s staying.

Verdict:  Keep





The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey



I’ve had this on audiobook for years but was put off by the narrator’s voice. I do enjoy Philip Yancey’s books so I want to keep this on my tbr.

Verdict:  Keep




The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom



This was a must read many years ago. I bought a  second-hand copy that I’ve never picked up and has been languishing on my bookshelf somewhere for a long time.

Verdict:  Remove





Books Removed 7 TBR total 942

I did enjoy doing this again and as the pile is so large I will definitely be doing more of these posts.

Top Ten Tuesday




This weekly meme is brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish. This week it’s all about 10 Books From X Genre That I’ve Recently Added To My TBR ListI want to know what books have piqued your interest lately from whatever genre you choose!

I seem to be on a bit of a historical fiction binge at the moment and these are the last 10 I added to my tbr.

And Then the Sky Exploded by David A. Poulsen

28754530When Christian learns his great-grandfather helped build the A-bombs dropped on Japan, he wants to make amends…somehow.

While attending the funeral of his great-grandfather, ninth-grader Christian Larkin learns that the man he loved and respected was a member of the Manhattan Project, the team that designed and created the atomic bombs dropped on Japan during the Second World War.

On a school trip to Japan, Chris meets eighty-one-year-old Yuko, who was eleven when the first bomb exploded over Hiroshima, horribly injuring her. Christian is determined to do something to make up for what his great-grandfather did. But after all this time, what can one teenager really do? His friends tell him it’s a stupid idea, that there s nothing he can do. And maybe they’re right. Or maybe, just maybe…they’re wrong.


Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

1103In nineteenth-century China, in a remote Hunan county, a girl named Lily, at the tender age of seven, is paired with a laotong, “old same,” in an emotional match that will last a lifetime. The laotong, Snow Flower, introduces herself by sending Lily a silk fan on which she’s painted a poem in nu shu, a unique language that Chinese women created in order to communicate in secret, away from the influence of men.

As the years pass, Lily and Snow Flower send messages on fans, compose stories on handkerchiefs, reaching out of isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. Together, they endure the agony of foot-binding, and reflect upon their arranged marriages, shared loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. The two find solace, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their deep friendship suddenly threatens to tear apart.


The Tea Planter’s Daughter (India Tea #1)  by Janet MacLeod Trotter

283513131905, India.

Lush, green, fragrant: the Indian hills of Assam are full of promise. But eighteen-year-old Clarissa Belhaven is full of worry. The family tea plantation is suffering, and so is her father, still grieving over the untimely death of his wife, while Clarissa’s fragile sister, Olive, needs love and resourceful care.

Beautiful and headstrong, Clarissa soon attracts the attention of young, brash Wesley Robson, a rival tea planter. Yet before his intentions become fully clear, tragedy befalls the Belhavens and the sisters are wrenched from their beloved tea garden to the industrial streets of Tyneside.

A world away from the only home she has ever known, Clarissa must start again. Using all her means, she must endure not only poverty but jealousy and betrayal too. Will the reappearance of Wesley give her the link to her old life that she so desperately craves? Or will a fast-changing world and the advent of war extinguish hope forever?


The Lighterman (Charles Holborne #3) by Simon Michael

415DlL-Jq9L._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_The Lighterman is the third book in the bestselling series of legal thrillers starring barrister Charles Holborne. Simon Michael’s follow up to the bestselling The Brief and An Honest Man, continues the adventures of criminal barrister Charles Holborne.

When Charles Holborne’s cousin, Izzy, is accused of murder, Charles must dig up the secrets of the past to defend him. But brutal gangland leader Ronnie Kray will stop at nothing to get his revenge on Charles for the events of An Honest Man. Can Charles save his cousin…and his own life?




Through the Barricades by Denise Deegan

33982579‘Make a difference in the world, ‘ are the last words Maggie Gilligan’s father ever says to her. They form a legacy that she carries in her heart, years later when, at the age of fifteen, she tries to better the lives of Dublin’s largely forgotten poor. ‘Don’t go getting distracted, now, ‘ is what Daniel Healy’s father says to him after seeing him talking to the same Maggie Gilligan. Daniel is more than distracted. He is intrigued. Never has he met anyone as dismissive, argumentative . . . as downright infuriating. A dare from Maggie is all it takes. Daniel volunteers at a food kitchen. There, his eyes are opened to the plight of the poor. It is 1913 and Dublin’s striking workers have been locked out of their jobs. Their families are going hungry. Daniel and Maggie do what they can. Soon, however, Maggie realises that the only way to make a difference is to take up arms. The story of Maggie and Daniel is one of friendship, love, war and revolution, of two people prepared to sacrifice their lives: Maggie for her country, Daniel for Maggie. Their mutual sacrifices put them on opposite sides of a revolution. Can their love survive?


Where Dragonflies Hover by Annemarie Brear

29927391Sometimes a glimpse into the past can help make sense of the future …
Everyone thinks Lexi is crazy when she falls in love with Hollingsworth House – a crumbling old Georgian mansion in Yorkshire – and nobody more so than her husband, Dylan. But there’s something very special about the place, and Lexi can sense it.

Whilst exploring the grounds she stumbles across an old diary and, within its pages, she meets Allie – an Australian nurse working in France during the First World War.

Lexi finally realises her dream of buying Hollingsworth but her obsession with the house leaves her marriage in tatters. In the lonely nights that follow, Allie’s diary becomes Lexi’s companion, comforting her in moments of darkness and pain. And as Lexi reads, the nurse’s scandalous connection to the house is revealed …


Last Dance in Havana by Rosanna Ley

30186891Cuba, 1958. Elisa is only sixteen years old when she meets Duardo and she knows he’s the love of her life from the moment they first dance the rumba together in downtown Havana. But Duardo is a rebel, determined to fight in Castro’s army, and Elisa is forced to leave behind her homeland and rebuild her life in distant England. But how can she stop longing for the warmth of Havana, when the music of the rumba still calls to her?

England, 2012. Grace has a troubled relationship with her father, whom she blames for her beloved mother’s untimely death. And this year more than ever she could do with a shoulderto cry on – Grace’s career is in flux, she isn’t sure she wants the baby her husband is so desperate to have and, worst of all, she’s begun to develop feelings for their best friend Theo. Theo is a Cuban born magician but even he can’t make Grace’s problems disappear. Is the passion Grace feels for Theo enough to risk her family’s happiness?


City of Shadows by Ariana Franklin

196504A cultured city scarred by war. . . . An eastern émigré with scars and secrets of her own. . . . A young woman claiming to be a Russian grand duchess. . . . A brazen killer, as vicious as he is clever. . . . A detective driven by decency and the desire for justice.

. . . A nightmare political movement steadily gaining power. . . .

This is 1922 Berlin.

One of the troubled city’s growing number of refugees, Esther Solomonova survives by working as secretary to the charming, unscrupulous cabaret owner “Prince” Nick, and she’s being drawn against her will into his scheme to pass a young asylum patient off as Anastasia, the last surviving heir to the murdered czar of all Russia. But their found “princess,” Anna Anderson, fears that she’s being hunted—and this may turn out to be more than paranoia when innocent people all around her begin to die.


The Scribe of Siena by Melodie Winawer

30753660Accomplished neurosurgeon Beatrice Trovato knows that her deep empathy for her patients is starting to impede her work. So when her beloved brother passes away, she welcomes the unexpected trip to the Tuscan city of Siena to resolve his estate, even as she wrestles with grief. But as she delves deeper into her brother’s affairs, she discovers intrigue she never imagined—a 700-year-old conspiracy to decimate the city.

After uncovering the journal and paintings of Gabriele Accorsi, the fourteenth-century artist at the heart of the plot, Beatrice finds a startling image of her own face and is suddenly transported to the year 1347. She awakens in a Siena unfamiliar to her, one that will soon be hit by the Plague.

Yet when Beatrice meets Accorsi, something unexpected happens: she falls in love—not only with Gabriele, but also with the beauty and cadence of medieval life. As the Plague and the ruthless hands behind its trajectory threaten not only her survival but also Siena’s very existence, Beatrice must decide in which century she belongs.


Girl in Red Velvet by Margaret James

517OXGZG7IL._SY346_Will loving two men tear your heart apart?
It’s the 1960s and Lily Denham is about to begin her studies at Oxford University.
On her first day she meets Harry Gale and Max Farley, two fellow undergraduates who are both full of mischievous charm. The three of them become firm great friends and enjoy exploring everything Oxford has to offer, from riotous parties to punting up the river on sunny afternoons.
However, something threatens to disrupt the fun, because Lily soon realises she’s falling for both of her new-found friends, men who might offer her two very different futures – but who will she pick? Harry is generous and kind, reliable and trustworthy. Max embodies the spirit of the sixties; adventurous and rebellious, but possibly a little bit dangerous as well.
As university ends and Lily struggles to make her mark on the vibrant fashion scene, she must make a decision. But she soon becomes aware that the wrong decision could have devastating consequences for her own future and for Max’s and Harry’s futures, too …

Girl in Red Velvet is book 6 in the Charton Minster Series (The Silver Locket, The Golden Chain, The Penny Bangle, The Wedding Diary & Magic Sometimes Happens).


What do you think of my list?

Have you read any of these?



Six Degrees of Separation



I found this monthly meme on FictionFan’s blog this morning and thought it looked a fun one to join.

Six Degrees of Separation is a monthly meme hosted by Books Are My Favourite and Best. The idea is to start with the book that Kate gives us and then create a chain of six books, each suggested by the one before…


10873This month’s starting book is Shopgirl by Steve Martin, a book that was made into a film with Steve Martin himself starring in it.


I’ve not read this but I do have Steve Martin’s memoir Born Standing Up, of his stand up years on my tbr.




13582284So from Shopgirl I’ve gone to Welcome to Rosie Hopkins Sweetshop of Dreams by Jenny Colgan.

It’s about a city girl who ends up living in the country with her crusty old aunt who needs help with her old fashioned sweet shop. I didn’t enjoy it and ended up DNF years ago.





1139324This title got me thinking about dreams and took me to the first Lisa Jewell book that I read back in 2009. 31 Dream Street about a house share in London.








This led me to the Sherlock Holmes story The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle and the missing jewel.








Missing jewels make me think of The Good Thief’s Guide to Venice by Chris Ewan the fourth book in a fun series about a gentleman thief.








Of course mention a gentleman thief and I immediately think of Raffles: The Gentleman Thief.







20050359This brings to mind the Raffles Hotel in Singapore which reminds me of Ghostwritten by Isabel Wolf a novel about a ghost writer working on the memoirs of a survivor from the Japanese internment camps in Java during WW2.









Ghost writing brings me to The Ghost by Robert Harris a brilliant thriller that kept me guessing.




From sweets shops to a thriller via a house share, thieves and a memoir. Hope you enjoyed the trip!