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Monday, 30 May 2016

How To Find Love In A Bookshop review

HOW TO FIND LOVE IN A BOOKSHOP
by Veronica Henry



The Blurb
Nightingale Books, nestled on the high street in the idyllic Cotswold town of Peasebrook, is a dream come true for booklovers.
But owner Emilia Nightingale is struggling to keep the shop open. The temptation to sell up is proving enormous - but what about the promise she made to her father? Not to mention the loyalty she owes to her customers.

Sarah Basildon, owner of stately pile Peasebrook Manor, has used the book shop as an escape from all her problems in the past few years. But is there more to her visits than meets the eye?
Since messing up his marriage, Jackson asks Emilia for advice on books to read to the son he misses so much. But Jackson has a secret, and is not all he seems...
And there's Thomasina, painfully shy, who runs a pop-up restaurant from her tiny cottage. She has a huge crush on a man she met and then lost in the cookery section, somewhere between Auguste Escoffier and Marco Pierre White. Can she find the courage to admit her true feelings?

MY REVIEW

I received a copy of this via a GoodReads giveaway so was extremely pleased to read this before its' official release in June 2016

Any book that is set around a bookshop is always high on my 'I need to read that book' list, so the moment I started this I knew i was going to love it!  It is such a warm, comforting read that the reader immediately feels as is if they are settled in the corner of the Nightingale Bookshop watching on as the story unfolds.  

Emilia is the main focus of the story as she struggles to deal with the loss of her father, and struggles to keep his bookshop afloat.  The bookshop has always been a main part of village life in Peasebrook but times are changing, and Julius was never the best at keeping on top of the finances, so the threat of the property developer taking over to demolish the store looms ever closer.

You soon find out that Julius had been part of many peoples' lives and they continue to visit the store and it is fascinating to see the glimpses into their lives too.  There are a wide range of characters that we get introduced to and this adds to the depth of the story as we see happy and sad times for them all and it is amazing how just how comforting the bookshop seems to be to them all.

An absolute delight to read and one of my favourites from Veronica Henry!



Friday, 27 May 2016

THE GIRL WHO LIED by Sue Fortin Book Review

THE GIRL WHO LIED      BY     SUE FORTIN



THE BLURB

The truth hurts…

Erin and Roisin were once friends until a fatal accident ruined both their lives. Now, Roisin has discovered a secret—one Erin has kept for over a decade—and she’s determined to make Erin pay for her lies.

Erin wants nothing to do with Roisin. She has a new life in London and no intention of going back home. Yet when her father is mysteriously and critically injured, Erin has no choice but to return and face Roisin—and her past. Erin knows if the secret of what she gave up got out, the consequences could be devastating.

When Roisin suddenly disappears, suspicion soon lands on Erin. She would do anything to protect her family, but just how far is she willing to go when time is running out…?


MY REVIEW

I received a copy of this via NetGalley and HarperImpulse in return for a fair and honest review - thankyou!
I was immediately drawn to this book by its' cover and title!  And I've just spent the afternoon enthralled by this tale of secrets, lies and deception!

When Erin hears that her father is seriously ill in hospital in Ireland she knows that she must return home immediately from her current life in London, but she seems quite reluctant as she's afraid to confront the past and that is the effect going home has on her.  Just before she returns home she receives a worrying email from her former best friend, Roisin, which contains a photograph and this brings back some very painful memories and the floodgates soon open as to what Erin has  been running from, and what affected her and Roisins' family so much all those years ago.

Running alongside the now storyline, we also get flashbacks to their teenage years when the girls are best friends, until Erin starts dating Niall, who is Roisins brother and their friendship starts to splinter, even more so on the night of the fatal accident that changed both their lives forever

This is really cleverly written with small details revealed every now and then which keeps the reader guessing and intrigued throughout, and it becomes like  a jigsaw puzzle as you start to put the pieces together, but even then there are added twists and turns that you don't see coming but slowly the picture becomes clearer and the lies start to reveal the truth

Really enjoyed this  one as it had many different elements to it.  Really enjoyed Erin as a character as at the beginning she thought she wasn't ready to be back home, but the more time she spent there helping her parents and discovering who she was, she felt she didn't have to run anymore.  Re-connecting with old schoolfriends also helped and was a nice little side story 

Highly recommended!!

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

THE SISTER - BOOK REVIEW

THE SISTER by LOUISE JENSEN


THE BLURB

Grace hasn't been the same since the death of her best friend Charlie. She is haunted by Charlie's words, the last time she saw her, and in a bid for answers, opens an old memory box of Charlie's. It soon becomes clear there was a lot she didn't know about her best friend. 

When Grace starts a campaign to find Charlie's father, Anna, a girl claiming to be Charlie's sister steps forward. For Grace, finding Anna is like finding a new family, and soon Anna has made herself very comfortable in Grace and boyfriend Dan's home. 

But something isn't right. Things disappear, Dan's acting strangely and Grace is sure that someone is following her. Is it all in Grace's mind? Or as she gets closer to discovering the truth about both Charlie and Anna, is Grace in terrible danger? 

There was nothing she could have done to save Charlie ...or was there


MY REVIEW

2016 seems to be the year of the psychological thriller and this one is another absolute treat and had me rating it 5 stars on GoodReads! Shocked to find out that it is the debut novel from the author Louise Jensen, as it was so polished and I will definitely be looking out for all her future books!

This turned out to be one of those books that has you thinking about it even when you're off doing something else, and that you can't wait to get back to! Even worth losing sleep over as you rush to finish another chapter or two just to find out what revelation will happen next, as there are plenty throughout!

It is cleverly written in the Now and Then so you get to see what happened to Grace while she was growing up and getting to meet Charlie for the first time at school, and then you get to see life now that Charlie has died and how it has affected Grace and all those around her as she struggles to come to terms to life without her BFF.  

You soon find out there is more to the story than meets the eye on many counts and the cast of complex characters adds to this as just when you think you've sussed things out, another character will be introduced and your mind will change yet again!  The tension is high throughout and peaks towards the end with a scarily chilling last few chapters - no spoilers!!

Cannot say much more about this book other than read it for yourself!! You will not be disappointed!!

Garden Goings On......

With the longer, lighter days now and lovely sunny weather I am managing to spend a little extra time out in my garden sanctuary and take notice of what is visiting and going on!  I do have quite a few bird feeders and a bird table or two, so take time out daily to restock those! Although the squirrels do tend to swoop in quite quickly and take the first pickings of the peanuts which leaves very little for the Wood Pigeons and Collared Doves to share later on!



Have noticed GoldFinches about more this year which is a lovely sight as their colouring makes a nice change from the normal brown/plain birds that we get visiting!


And it is full speed ahead on the gardening front now with many of the seedlings I sowed a couple of months ago all ready to be potted on and planted out!  Have to admit that this yellow Zinnia was an impulse buy from a recent trip to the garden centre but I've heard they are easy to grow from seed so might have to give it a try soon and hope the slugs and snails don't like eating those as much as they enjoy other seedlings that I've planted out in the past!  Anybody found the cure to keeping slugs and snails off your favourite plants yet?! Interested in hearing what people have tried and has worked or failed!! I'm sure they all just become immune to whatever method gardeners are using - if only they enjoyed munching on weeds then I'd gladly welcome them into my garden!!



Some wildlife I do actively encourage though into the garden so always try and add bee and butterfly friendly plants like this Cerinthe Major /Honeywort, which is proving to be a big hit already this year! Even though I had forgotten I had some in the garden and was secretly pleased to see it pop up earlier this month!



Still looking for to some different plants to try in hanging baskets this year as i'm getting a little bored with the normal basket plants so any suggestions greatfully accepted!

Off back into the garden now for a little potter with a cup of tea nearby!  

Monday, 23 May 2016

BOOK HAUL!!!!

The best part of being a booklover, I think, is adding to the collection!!  And I have tried to be good this month and not buy as many as I normally would, but I was feeling a little down last week so ended up browsing online..... oopsy!!  So the TBR pile grows another foot and my quest to find space to put a new bookcase (or two!) around the house is in greater need!!

I'm a bookaholic and I can't be helped!!

So what goodies did I get?!  


 HIDEOUS CREATURES by S.E. LISTER


 SNOW BLIND by RAGNAR JONASSON


 THE PERPLEXING THEFT OF THE JEWEL IN THE CROWN by VASEEM KHAN


THE BOOK OF SPECULATION by ERIKA SWYLER


THE PECULIAR LIFE OF A LONELY POSTMAN by DENIS THERIAULT


Not a bad little stash eh! Anyone read any of these?!  They were a mix of impulse buys and previous enjoyment of other books by the same author so I'm really looking forward to working my way through them all - and hopefully before I find myself on another book buying spree!!



Sunday, 22 May 2016

THE PORTABLE VEBLEN BOOK REVIEW

THE PORTABLE VEBLEN by Elizabeth McKenzie


The Blurb

A riotously funny and deeply insightful adventure through capitalism, the medical industry, family, love, war and wedding-planning - from an electrically entertaining new voice Meet Veblen: a passionate defender of the anti-consumerist views of her name-sake, the iconoclastic economist Thorstein Veblen. She's an experienced cheerer-upper (mainly of her narcissistic, hypochondriac, controlling mother), an amateur translator of Norwegian, and a firm believer in the distinct possibility that the plucky grey squirrel following her around can understand more than it lets on. Meet her fiance, Paul: the son of good hippies who were bad parents, a no-nonsense, high-flying neuroscientist with no time for squirrels. His recent work on a device to minimize battlefield trauma has led him dangerously close to the seductive Cloris Hutmacher, heiress to a pharmaceuticals empire, who is promising him fame and fortune through a shady-sounding deal with the Department of Defence. What could possibly go wrong?

My Review

I have to say that I was drawn into reading this book through curiosity over talking to squirrels!  But it works in this book and was such a weirdly wonderful aspect of the story that I think it lifts the whole premise!  Without the squirrels it really is a story where not a lot actually happens!  But it adds a fascinating insight into the mind of Veblen as she tries to debate with herself if she's ready for marriage to Paul, as at times it does seem possible that she loves the squirrels around their home and garden more than she loves him!  

She is convinced that they can understand her when she 'chats' to them, and that they are trying to communicate with her! This part of her personality was really sweet and when you meet her dysfunctional family then you can begin to understand maybe why she often prefers animals to humans!

Her fiancee, Paul who is a neuroscientist, detests squirrels and can't understand Veblen and her 'quirks'!  He isn't immune though to the complexities of a dysfunctional family and you can understand why these two may have been drawn to each other in the first place.

The story is full of quirky characters and is a really interesting look at humans in their different forms and the thoughts they have when a wedding is on the horizons and they are wondering if they've made the right decision.

As i said before, there is no real big plot but there is lots of subtle humour this was enough for me to sustain my interest throughout the story and I'd highly recommend this book if you are a fan of reading something a little different than the norm!

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?



Friday, 20 May 2016

The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts Review

THE LITTLE BOOKSHOP OF LONELY HEARTS REVIEW


I received a copy of this via NetGalley and HarperImpulse in return for a fair and honest review - thankyou!

THE BLURB

Where happy ever after is only a page away…
A delightful new series set in a quaint old bookshop, for fans of Lucy Diamond and Jenny Colgan
Once upon a time in a crumbling London bookshop, Posy Morland spent her life lost in the pages of her favourite romantic novels.
So when Bookend’s eccentric owner, Lavinia, dies and leaves the shop to Posy, she must put down her books and join the real world. Because Posy hasn’t just inherited an ailing business, but also the unwelcome attentions of Lavinia’s grandson, Sebastian, AKA The Rudest Man In London™.
Posy has a cunning plan and six months to transform Bookends into the bookshop of her dreams – if only Sebastian would leave her alone to get on with it. As Posy and her friends fight to save their beloved bookshop, Posy’s drawn into a battle of wills with Sebastian, about whom she’s started to have some rather feverish fantasies…
Like her favourite romantic heroines, will she get her happy ever after too?

MY REVIEW

Wow!! What a book!  It was an absolute delight to read and once I'd started reading I couldn't put it down!  I even ignored the phone ringing so I wouldn't be distracted but shhh don't tell anyone! That's our little secret!
Any book set in a bookshop has my interest immediately and this perfectly captured what every booklover knows! The spell that most bookshops, yes even the rubbish ones!, can cast over you as you enter knowing that you are bound to be swept away in another adventure.  And in this book we meet Posy whose whole life has revolved around 'BookEnds' the bookstore in Bloomsbury as her father used to be the manager, and her mother used to run the teashop that adjoined the shop. Every memory she has is within the walls, and when the owner, Lavinia, who was like a surrogate grandmother to Posy after the tragic death of her parents, passes away, she feels like her whole world may crash down around her and her brother Sam as they live rent free in the flat above the shop.  But Lavinia knows how much the shop is part of Posys' life and leaves her the shop in her will under the proviso that she turns its' fortunes around in 2 years as the bookshop has been struggling for quite a while. It's a daunting challenge but Posy has lots of ideas but she's not sure whether she's brave enough to go for it.
Lavinia's only grandson is Sebastian and he and Posy grew up together around the shop so have a history! His interest is purely financial, despite being an extremely wealthy individual already, and is keen to see the shop closed so he can see the benefit financially.  He and Posy have a pretty fiery relationship based mainly on him teasing her and this banter does add a fun side to the story.
You will find yourself willing Posy to succeed in her endeavours to revitalise the shop and get her 'Happy Ever After' as you feel nothing but empathy for her  as she's been written in such a sympathetic style.  And despite the hard times she's gone through the shop has always been there for her so she will do anything she can to see it through.
We also get glimpses through the book of Posy and her attempts to write her own novel in the style of a regency romance and this was such a cute thing to do, especially as you see how that story unfolds in relation to real life happenings!  Posy is such a romance novel fan that it is wonderful to see so many mentions of classics appear throughout the book.
So i gave this book 5 stars on GoodReads and was extremely delighted to see that this is just the first in the series so will be eagerly awaiting the next installment..... Spring 2017 seems a long way away already!!










Thursday, 19 May 2016

Books, Blooms and Bunnies!


Greetings from the garden from Archie the bunny - who decided to photobomb the picture i was taking of the garden this morning! - and myself!  Nice to see some sunshine returning today after yesterdays' rainy day which at least helped water the garden.  Not so good was seeing the extra slugs and snails about so I've taken action with the use of some organic slug pellets to hopefully save a few of my dahlias from their munching!

NEW BOOKS

Been a good day on the BookPost front as the May subscriber box from Book and a Brew  - http://www.bookandabrew.com/ - arrived!  The concept is simple enough! Every month a new book and box of TeaPigs tea arrives in a  lovely box and I've been signed up for 3 months now and have been impressed with the book choices so far! And I haven't been let down this month with the choice as it looks really intriguing and a great adventure book - The Silk Tree by Julian Stockwin.  Not heard of this author before so really looking forward to starting this soon!



And then the postie brought a GoodReads giveaway book win my way - How to Find Love in  a Bookshop by Veronica Henry.  This is set for release this Summer 2016 and it just sounds like the perfect book for me so hoping to read this next!



And a new delivery on my Kindle this  morning as Rachel Lucas has part one of her new series out - Wildflower Bay and it is currently free on Amazon so worth paying a visit there to download!!  
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wildflower-Bay-Part-Rachael-Lucas-ebook/dp/B0193IZYLY/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1463669958&sr=8-2-fkmr0&keywords=wildflower+bay+rachel+lucas

LIFE IN THE GARDEN

Lots of wildlife about in the garden and it's lovely to finally see some of the baby robins out of their nest and searching out their own food - as well as finding the extra mealworms I always put out for the birds.  And the squirrels are daily visitors normally first in line at the bird table when the peanuts get put out! I'm forever digging up nuts around the garden where they've buried them all to keep them safe for another day!



Never a dull minute in the garden at the moment and the perfect place to spend 5 minutes or so having a cuppa and reading a chapter or two of a book! Definitely my favourite place to read  - where's your happy reading spot?!   Just about to start reading The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts by Annie Darling so hoping it's a good one!! 

Cheerio!!



Wednesday, 18 May 2016

All Things Cease To Appear Review



THE BLURB

Late one winter afternoon in upstate New York, George Clare comes home to find his wife murdered and their three-year-old daughter alone--for how many hours?--in her room down the hall. He had recently, begrudgingly, taken a position at the private college nearby teaching art history, and moved his family into this tight-knit, impoverished town. And he is the immediate suspect--the question of his guilt echoing in a story shot through with secrets both personal and professional. While his parents rescue him from suspicion, a persistent cop is stymied at every turn in proving Clare a heartless murderer. The pall of death is ongoing, and relentless; behind one crime are others, and more than twenty years will pass before a hard kind of justice is finally served. At once a classic "who-dun-it" that morphs into a "why-and-how-dun-it," this is also a rich and complex portrait of a psychopath and a marriage, and an astute study of the various taints that can scar very different families, and even an entire community

MY REVIEW

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in return for a fair and honest review - thankyou!

This was an extremely frustrating read for me! I loved the cover and was so intrigued when I read the blurb that I thought it was one of those books that would have me hooked from start to finish!

It started really well as we see George and his little girl, Franny, at their neighbours asking for help as George's wife Catherine has been found murdered in their bedroom.   Who would do such a thing to a quiet woman in the middle of nowhere - what was the motive? Did the daughter witness anything?  The police already have their suspicions and it's only when we start reading about the history of the couple that the reader soon has their suspicion too!

Hale Farm has seen tragedy before and we also get a look back at the previous family and how life was for them at this remote farm, and the fact that is seems to attract sad souls who are in similar positions.

And my problem with this book is that it just seemed to focus on how miserable everyone was! No matter what family we read about, then they just seemed to hate every aspect of their life but never did anything about it.  They would happily discuss things with neighbours or work colleagues but never address the issues head on.  And the empathy you had for the characters at the start soon disappeared when you learnt more about how they behaved

The death of Catherine also seemed to be pushed to one side as the story progressed so it was never satisfying to follow that plot to its' logical conclusion and I would have liked more theories and investigation of what exactly happened that morning to poor Catherine.

It was fascinating at times to see how a house could link so many people and and there were interesting side stories to various characters but I just felt it never picked up enough and just seemed to go round and round in circles of misery and unhappiness!



Sunday, 15 May 2016

Book Reviews - two for one!

The sun has shone, and I've taken advantage by sitting on a nice comfy bench in the back garden and managed to get 2 books finished - the TBR pile shrinks a little again.... but not for long i bet!


The Book - The Blurb

Weathering by Lucy Wood

Pearl doesn't know how she's ended up in the river - the same messy, cacophonous river in the same rain-soaked valley she'd been stuck in for years. Or why, for that matter, she'd been stupid enough to fall down those rickety stairs.

Ada, Pearl's daughter, doesn't know how she's ended up back in the house she left thirteen years ago - with no heating apart from a fire she can't light, no way of getting around apart from an old car she's scared to drive, and no company apart from echoing footsteps on the damp floorboards.  With her daughter, Pepper, she starts to sort through Pearl's things, clearing the house so she can leave and not look back.

Pepper has grown used to following her restless mother from place to place, but this house, with its faded photographs, its boxes of cameras and its stuff jackdaw, is something new. Fascinated by the scattering of people she meets, by the river that unfurls through the valley and by the strange old woman who sits on the bank with her feet in the cold, coppery water, Pepper doesn't know why anyone would ever want to leave.

As the first frosts of Autumn herald the coming of a long winter, and Pepper and Ada find themselves irresistably entangled with the life of the valley, each will discover the ways that places can take root inside us and bind us together.

Weathering is a beautiful, bewitching novel of memories, mothers, daughters and ghosts.

My Review

As this book was part of a subsciption box from A Book and A Brew, I have to admit that it wouldn't have been a normal pick of a book for me, although if I'd seen the cover on a bookshelf somewhere I would have been intrigued! But this has worked out well as it was a fascinating read focusing on the lives of 3 generations of women and the past, present and future.   It wasn't action packed and was quite slow at times which did distract a little, but the strength of the descriptions of the setting and the fascination of the lure of this house was enough to keep me reading and keep me intrigued.  Pepper was my favourite character in the book as her innocence shone through and it was lovely to read her thoughts and experiences inside the house and out exploring.  Will definitely be looking out for more from this author in the future as she has a wonderful way with woods in capturing simple moments.





The Book - The Blurb

The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Forbidden to leave her island, Isabella dreams of the faraway lands her father once mapped.  When her best friend disappears, she's determined to be part of the search party.  Guided by an ancient map and her knowledge of the stars, Isabella navigates the island's dangerous Forgotten Territories. But beneath the dry rivers and dead forests, a fiery myth is stirring from its sleep......

My Review

My weakness for a gorgeous cover got the best of me when i saw this book advertised, so it had to be added to my TBR pile and I have just spent a wonderful afternoon in the sunshine swept along in this magical adventure! One of those books written for middle grade children that can be appreciated by readers of all ages as it is reminiscent of an old fashioned fairy tale, driven by an extremely courageous and brave young girl, Isabella, who has strong beliefs and convictions and who values the strength of friendship and family.  So when her best friend, the governors daughter, goes missing, her only thought is to be part of the search party to try and find her.

It's a beautiful book inside with each page illustrated with maps and stars which feature heavily in the background for this story and the pace never lets up - myths and legends feature highly and the fear of the unknown all add to the depth that this story has.  Highly recommended!


So now to decide what to read next.............  aarrgghhh!! how do you decide?! Release dates?! Subject matter?! I am tempted to write all the books down on bits of paper and pick that way! Might make my life a little easier! ;)



Peek A Boo!!


Happy Sunday to you all!! After a fun but exhausting day in Surrey yesterday, watching my nephew and his football team win 1-0 in a cup final, it is a much quieter day here today as i try and recover!  Nice to be back in the garden as everything seems to have just exploded out there so have had a little walk round and made notes on what needs sorting next - for when i have the energy back to tackle those tasks!!

Hoping to get back to some reading today as I've been really slack recently and haven't been focussed so top of the to do list today is to finish Weathering by Lucy Wood  - this was  a book I received as part of the Book And A Brew subscription box http://www.bookandabrew.com/ which I'm really enjoying being part of and already looking forward to next months book and box of tea! Does anyone else subscribe? I know there are a few subscription book boxes out there now but I'm really liking this UK based one as it combines my two favourite things  - books and tea!



Really also looking forward to starting The Girl of Ink And Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave - a beautiful cover and I'm hoping the insides match up!Anyone else read it?




Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Book Review - The Trouble With Goats and Sheep


I received a copy of this via NetGalley so would like to thank the publishers for the opportunity to have read this!

THE BLURB

England,1976.
Mrs Creasy is missing and The Avenue is alive with whispers. As the summer shimmers endlessly on, ten-year-olds Grace and Tilly decide to take matters into their own hands.
And as the cul-de-sac starts giving up its secrets, the amateur detectives will find much more than they imagined...
MY REVIEW
This was book was an unexpected pleasure to read!  The writing style was so easy to read that it had me captivated from the beginning and I did find it difficult to put down as I just wanted to follow Grace and Tilly on their quest to find the missing Mrs Creasey and God to answer their questions!  As they started discovering the truth from their neighbours - as 'pretend' brownies! - it soon becomes clear that many of the neighbours have more to hide than they'd like to admit and it's a fascinating insight into what goes on behind closed doors, and how rumours quickly spread amongst a neighbourhood, often with no basis of truth amongst them.
Grace is a wonderful little character as she seems much wiser than her years and the attention she pays to the smallest detail is fascinating and shows that its' often the smallest thing revealing the biggest clues!  Some chapters are told from different neighbours' perspectives too and this really adds an extra dimension to the story and lets you see things in different lights - sometimes with shocking revelations!
This book really captured the essence of the Summer of 1976 and I loved all the references to hit TV shows at the times along with things such as Sodastreams and Arctic Rolls!  A fun walk down memory lane for the reader!
Despite the slightly dark undertone of certain topics and rumours, this book had quite a refreshing sense of humour in the way it was told and I'd highly recommend it if you are looking for a book that is a little different to the norm

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Rainy Tuesday in the Garden


So the lovely, hot and sunny weather has disappeared to be replaced by rainy, muggy weather  - Archie the bunny is a little relieved as he's not a big fan of it being too hot! So he's been out for his daily garden patrol today so I've been surveying the damage that the slugs and snails have been causing! Still haven't found a product that works 100% to keep them at bay so if you know of something please share as I'm always willing to try anything if it means saving a Lupin or Delphinium! Have found that putting my Hostas' in pots off the ground has helped save those!

I love this time of year as the Peonies are beginning to flower and the Tree Peonies are the first off the block this year but there are still some Tulips hanging about in the borders and this black one - Queen of The Night - is definitely one of my favourites and I need to add more to my collection! Has been such a good year for Tulips this year that I currently have Tulip fever and just want to find room for more!

 And yesterday the Irises began to bloom in the sunshine and they are another welcome addition to the garden. Some orange poppies have seeded themselves nearby so the orange and blue seem to mix really well - if only the delicate petals could have lasted a little longer in the rain!
My garden is definitely at its' best in the Spring so really need to start focusing on getting plants for the summer borders! There is a lull until the Dahlias begin to bloom in late Summer so planning on sowing a few seeds and bringing on the plug plants that are currently clogging up my mini greenhouse to hopefully fill out the borders a little! 

  Also on the gardening agenda is working out what to put in the hanging baskets this year! Don't want them to be too labour intensive - petunias are a no-go for me! - and do like to plant them differently every year, so this year am thinking about getting some drought tolerant plants maybe to see how they go! Any suggestions gratefully received!  Have put Lavenders in the 2 hanging baskets that are at the back of the house in full sun, but always struggle with ideas for the 4 hanging baskets down the drive as they are a bit more shaded! Begonias normally work well so might see what new ones are out at the garden centres this year!



Monday, 9 May 2016

Reading Slump and how to deal....

I've not really had too many issues with slumps over the past couple of years, but the dreaded slump hit me recently and no matter how many wonderful books were on my out of control TBR pile, I just couldn't settle on anything to snap me out of the slump and rediscovering my love for books!

In previous slumps I've always ended up resorting to old favourites - normally books from my childhood like the Mallory Towers series, The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe or Harry Potter, but this time round I found that reading 'Chick-Lit' - a nice easy read with not much strain required on my poor old brain cells! - really did help! Or maybe it was the gorgeous sunny weather that we are currently enjoying that helped!  Just hoping it lasts now as even though I wasn't reading books I was still adding to the pile - we all do it, don't we?! - so now I've run out of bookshelf space and am using the tops of chest of drawers as storage!

So how do you get over your reading slumps? Is there always a guaranteed answer or is it just one of those things as readers that we just have to endure for a while and let nature take its' course and find ourselves soon eager to pick up a new book and to devour it!

Now I've got the bug back I've got the awful task of deciding what book to pick next to read! Another evil side effect of being a reader.... how do you choose your next read?! Cover?! Author?! Buzz books?!  Have to admit that I am partial to a lovely cover so will often choose a book over how it looks rather than reading the blurb! Haven't regretted that method yet!

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Hello Blog World!

I've been an avid reader and reviewer for quite a while now so I'm taking the next step by dipping my toes into the world of Blogging!

The whole world of Blogging is still a recent mystery to me and through a few favourite blogs I've been reading, it has opened up a whole new world of books and crafting ideas to me and for that I'll be forever grateful!  My bank balance on the other hand is not so thankful for this discovery!

A little bit about myself, other than that I love reading, is that I've just turned 44 which is extremely scary as in my head I swear I'm still 14!  Waiting for that moment when I'll feel like a grown up but it hasn't hit yet!

I've been suffering with the illness M.E - aka Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/SEID or whatever they are calling it this month - for a number of years and the isolation that this illness brings has opened my eyes up to a whole different world of interests.  I've become a crazy cross stitcher, gardener, photographer, card maker, birdwatcher, stamp and postcard collector, just to name a few of my hobbies when health permits of course! Nothing like illness than making you appreciate the silly little things in life! And for that I have something to thank this illness for! It has also allowed me to be in contact with other sufferers via Twitter (@kazzy25) and Facebook and I've made some really lovely friends via these social media mediums - how did we ever cope without the internet i wonder?!

I have a furry bunny rabbit as a pet - Archie - he's almost 9 now and brings me joy everyday, except when he is 'pruning' plants in the garden that he shouldn't or refusing to go back to his hutch when i want him too!

Hoping to share my thoughts on books, cross stitching and gardening  on here but will see where the blogging world takes me!!