Saturday, 27 June 2015

June's reading


Sometimes there's a book cover that catches your eye, the title intrigues, it's an author you've never heard of before, but hey... why stick to the tried and tested, why not venture forth and try someone new? So it was with 'Shotgun Love Songs' by Nickolas Butler. Four friends grew up together in Wisconsin, their lives all taking different paths and here they are, gathered together again after all these years, for a wedding of one of them, hoping to recapture the feelings of closeness that once bound them. Secrets come out which threaten a friendship, and a marriage. Can you ever go back, can things ever be as they were?

Mary Portas is not someone new by any means. I have long been an admirer of her for the way she just gets on and gets things done, so when her memoir 'Shop Girl' came out, I was eager to read it, and it didn't disappoint. A friend went to see her at the Hay Festival where she talked about her book, her life and so on, and found her very entertaining, as is the book. I am sure there is another book to follow, as this one stops when she meets her husband Graham, and if so, I shall look forward to reading that too.

'Muddy Boots and Silk Stockings' by Julia Stoneham is a novel set in WWII, around a group of land girls looked after by Alice Todd, whose husband has abandoned her and who needs to find a way of supporting herself and her young son. I have a fondness for novels about land girls.... this was a really good read, written by a writer of 'The House of Elliott'.

'The Villa' by Sarah Sands is about a woman, Jenny, who searches for the secret to a perfect family life. Good luck with that you think... she is married to Richard, was his secretary, had an affair with him which was all terribly exciting of course. But he divorced his wife and married Jenny, they have a child, and now life isn't exciting any more, the passion has gone, conversations often replaced by messages on Post-it notes. So she thinks that a holiday, a long holiday in a villa  in Provence with some old friends will be the answer to her search. She has the 'ideal set-up' she thinks, so surely the rest will follow?

Heather Reyes' 'An Everywhere - a little book about reading' is, according to the blurb - 'a gem of a book ro read and re-read, to carry round like a Bible, a guide to great literature ... part good read guide, part memoir, part travel guide'. I love books about books, about reading, about readers so this was a good choice.

'Hurry Up and Wait' by Isabel Ashdown I bought after previously reading her latest book and enjoying it very much. Sarah Ribbons is getting ready for her High School reunion, to go back to a place she hasn't seen for twenty years, and is looking back over the summer of 1986  It's a story of adolescent friendships, of dangerous relationships often formed at such times and their repercussions.

And on a lighter, but welcome note... 'The Cake Shop in the Garden' by Carole Matthews, a favourite of Mary Berry, and doesn't the title sound enticing. Fay Merryweather runs a cake shop and cafe in the garden of her house, the cakes also sold on a narrowboat belonging to her late father, moored at the end of the garden on the river. She also has to look after a very demanding mother who is convinced she is seriously ill and won't get out of bed. The chances of finding love are remote, she never has time, or so she thinks. A tragedy strikes, her life goes off-kilter and it looks like she may lose everything thanks to a selfish younger sister and her mother. Lovely read I have to say.

That's all for this time. Hope you're enjoying some summery weather at last. And thanks for visiting and leaving a comment.

Monday, 15 June 2015

This and that...



 Some photos and few words for my mid-June post.

This month.... I'm growing...

Carrots


Alpine strawberries, potatoes, yellow courgette


                                              Broad beans and peas - amongst other things

Flowers too, just a few of my favourites right now....


                                   Sweet violas, several pots of different ones around the garden


    Nigellas, pinks, iris and more, but mainly took this because the smiley face makes me smile too!

                        And this is just such a lovely shade of pink with a delicate fragrance

And I'm making....



There's been a bit of watercolour practising going on ....


and enjoying picking flowers from the garden...


That's all folks!