Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Bookmarks 


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For the rules see her blog.

This week’s topic: Favourite Bookmarks: 

I use a variety of bookmarks, sometimes just a till receipt or scrap of paper if that’s all I have handy, but these are more traditional bookmarks that I usually use:

Bookmark group

I also like to mark individual lines – I used to use post-its until I discovered book darts:


The bookmarks I use most often are Barter Book bookmarks:

Barter Books bkmark
Showing both sides of a Barter Books bookmark


Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Give Off Autumn Vibes


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For the rules see her blog.

This week’s topic: November 5: Books That Give Off Autumn Vibes (Autumn scenes/colors on the cover, autumn atmosphere, etc.)

Here are 10 books displaying autumnal colours. I’ve read all of them except for Thinking on My Feet. The links go to my posts when I’ve written about the book, and to Goodreads when I haven’t.

  1. Autumn by Ali Smith -A book I found it both poignant and cutting in its look at modern life. It’s main focus is the relationship between Daniel and Elisabeth, who first met when Elisabeth was a child and moved into the house next door to Daniel’s.
  2. Painting as a Pastime by Winston Churchill – The cover shows Churchill’s painting of his home, Chartwell. Churchill was forty when he first started to paint.
  3. Confusion by Elizabeth Jane Howard – the third novel about the Cazalet family, set in the dark, middle days of World War II to May 8, 1945, VE Day.
  4. Thinking on My Feet by Kate Humble – this tells the story of Kate’s walking year – shining a light on the benefits of this simple activity. I have a copy of this but haven’t read it yet.
  5. The Lake District Murder by John Bude – a Golden Age Mystery. The cover, reproduced from a travel poster of the 1920s, shows a small steamer boat sailing on Ullswater, surrounded by the hills and mountains of the Lake District.
  6. Broken Ground by Val McDermid – I’m currently reading this Karen Pirie murder mystery set in the Highlands. A body is found in a bog.
  7. The Crow Trap by Ann Cleeves – the first Vera book, set in the North Pennines,  a very intricate and clever plot, with plenty of red herrings.
  8. Ninepins by Rosy Thornton – a book about mothers and daughters, not exactly a thriller, although there is a mystery element to it and not exactly a romance, either, although there is also a love story.
  9. The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy – the story of Grace, who has been educated out of her social class, returning to the woodlands.
  10. The Wild Road by Gabriel King – an epic tale of adventure and danger, of heroism against insurmountable odds, and of love and comradeship among extraordinary animals who must brave The Wild Road . . .



Top Ten Tuesday: Extraordinary Book Titles


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For the rules see her blog.

This week’s topic: Extraordinary Book Titles. My list is of titles that I think are odd, or quirky or that tell you nothing about the books.

The first five are crime fiction:

Books by Fred Vargas are good examples – Dog Will Have His Day a mystery surrounding a tiny fragment of human bone found in a pile of dog poo.

Whereas Seeking Whom He May Devour a Commissaire Jean- Baptiste Adamsberg mystery in which sheep are found with their throats torn out. The vet says it is the work of a very large wolf, but people suspect it is a werewolf.

And Christopher Brookmyre’s titles are intriguing – Quite Ugly One MorningAttack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks, and Boiling a Frog, all dark, satirical thrillers involving investigative journalist, Jack Parlabane.

The next five are a mix of genres:

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka – two feuding sisters, Vera and Nadezhda, who join forces against their father’s new, gold-digging girlfriend.

Ink in the Blood by Hilary Mantel, a short memoir about her surgery in 2010 to remove an intestinal obstruction that ended up in a marathon operation, followed by intense pain, nightmares and hallucinations.

Fire in the Blood by Irene Nemirovsky, an intense story of life and death, love and burning passion – a gem of a book.

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a novel based on the Nigeria-Biafra War of 1967 – 70. I loved this book.

Fingers in the Sparkle Jar by Chris Packham, another book I loved, a deeply personal and honest memoir about his childhood and early teenage years..

Top Ten Tuesday:  Book Titles with Numbers In Them


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For the rules see her blog.

This week’s topic: Book Titles with Numbers In Them. I’ve read all these books and my links go to my posts about them, except for Eight Black Horses, which I didn’t write about.

One Life

One Life: My Mother’s Story by Kate Grenville – a beautiful biography of her mother Nance Russell. A book that casts light not only on Nance’s life but also on life in Australia for most of the 20th century. Nance was born in 1912 and died in 2002, so she lived through two World Wars, an economic depression and a period of great social change.

Two Moons

Two Moons by Jennifer Johnston – there’s a touch of magic about this book. Set in Dublin it’s the story of three women. Mimi and her daughter Grace live in a house overlooking Dublin Bay. Grace, an actress, is absorbed in rehearsals for Hamlet in which she is playing Gertrude, and Mimi, her elderly mother is similarly absorbed in talking to an angel, Bonifacio, who is invisible to everyone except Mimi. Their lives are disrupted by the arrival of Grace’s daughter, Polly who arrives to stay for a few days bringing with her, Paul, her new boyfriend.

Three Men in a Boat

Three Men in a Boat: (to say nothing of the dog) by Jerome K Jerome, a gentle witty book that kept me entertained all the way through. It’s about the events that happened to Jerome and his friends whilst out on the River Thames, interspersed with passages about the scenery and history. The main characters were real people, Jerome’s friends – ‘George‘ is George Wingrave who was the best man at his wedding, and ‘Harris‘ is Carl Hentschel, a photographer. Only the dog ‘Montmorency‘ is fictional.

Four last things

The Four Last Things by Andrew Taylor. This is the first in the Roth trilogy. The complete trilogy is about the linked histories of the Appleyards and the Byfields. The books work backwards in time, with this first book being the last chronologically, set in the 1990s, and each book works as a stand-alone, self-contained story. The Four Last Things tells the story of Lucy Appleyard, aged four, who is snatched from her child minder’s one cold winter afternoon.

Five little pigs

Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie – Caroline Crale was convicted of the murder of her husband, Amyas and died in prison. Sixteen years later, her daughter, a child of five at the time of the murder, asks Poirot to clear her mother’s name, convinced that she was innocent. Just like the nursery rhyme, there were five other “little pigs” who could have killed him: Philip Blake (the stockbroker), who went to market; Meredith Blake (the amateur herbalist), who stayed at home; Elsa Greer (the three-time divorcée), who had her roast beef; Cecilia Williams (the devoted governess), who had none; and Angela Warren (the disfigured sister), who cried all the way home.

Sixth Lamentation

The Sixth Lamentation by William Brodrick, the first Father Anselm novel. It’s historical fiction and it’s also a mystery. It looks back  to the Second World War in occupied France, telling a dramatic tale of love and betrayal, full of suspense. It weaves together fact and fiction, with accurate details of life in Paris during the Occupation and the subsequent war trials.

seven sisters ebook

The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley, the first in the series in which Maia D’Aplièse and her five sisters gather together at their childhood home, ‘Atlantis’ – a fabulous, secluded castle situated on the shores of Lake Geneva – having been told that their beloved father, the elusive billionaire they call Pa Salt, has died. Maia and her sisters were all adopted by him as babies and, discovering he has already been buried at sea, each of them is handed a tantalising clue to their true heritage. Maia’sclue takes her across the world to a crumbling mansion in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

Eight black horses

Eight Black Horses by Ed McBain. Finding a dead body was not unusual for an autumn night in the 87th Precinct. But this young woman’s body was naked—and potentially related to the series of odd missives received at the station house. All signs point to the Deaf Man’s return, this time with a plot more diabolical than even the jaded policemen could imagine. He’s been sending them mysterious pictures of police equipment: nightsticks, helmets, black horses, and more. But what did they mean?

Nine Tailors

The Nine Tailors by D L Sayers,  a Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery, first published in 1934, that had me completely baffled, first the bell-ringing, and then the twists and turns and all the red herrings. Wimsey, driving through a snow storm, ends up in a ditch near the village of Fenchurch St Paul in the Fens and is taken in for the night by the vicar. It’s New Year’s Eve (at some period in the early 1930s) and the vicar has arranged that the bell-ringers will ring in the New Year, involving 9 hours of bell-ringing. As one of the ringers is ill with influenza, Wimsey steps in at the last minute to take his place.

Woman in Cabin 10

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware. Journalist Lo Blacklock takes the opportunity to fill in for her boss on a luxury press launch on a boutique cruise ship and hopes it will help her recover from a traumatic break-in at her flat. But woken in the night by a scream from cabin 10 next to hers she believes a woman was thrown over board, only to discover that the ship’s records show that cabin 10 was unoccupied. Lo is exhausted from lack of sleep, overwrought with anxiety and dependent on pills and alcohol to see her through. She fails to convince anyone that she is telling the truth.


Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Fall 2019 TBR


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For the rules see her blog.

This week’s topic: Books On My Fall 2019 TBR. Here is a selection. What I actually read may turn out to be completely different, but I like to think I’ll read several of these books:

The Wine of Angels by Phil Rickman, the first Merrily Watkins novel, in which the Rev Merrily Watkins tries to be accepted as the vicar (or priest-in-charge as she insists she ought to be called) in the country parish of Ledwardine in Herefordshire, steeped as it is in cider and secrets and echoes of the poet Thomas Traherne who was once based in the area.

Thursdays in the Park by Hilary Boyd – Jeanie has been married for thirty years, but her husband George has become so cold and distant she may as well be alone. Surely, at just sixty, a loveless marriage can’t be the only thing left on the horizon? Then, one Thursday in autumn, Jeanie meets Ray in the park, and a chance meeting blossoms into a friendship.

Mrs Robinson’s Disgrace: the Private Diary of a Victorian Lady by Kate Summerscale – the true story of Isabella Robinson, a frustrated mother and wife with, and a husband who is a controlling bully, often absent from the home. So Isabella’s eyes rove and she chose to record her innermost thoughts – and especially her infatuation with a married Dr. Edward Lane – in her diary. Over five years the entries mounted-passionate, sensual, suggestive. One day in 1858 her husband found her diary and read Isabella’s intimate entries. Aghast at his wife’s perceived infidelity, Henry petitioned for divorce on the grounds of adultery.

The Lady of the Ravens by Joanna Hickson – When Joan Vaux is sent to live in the shadow of the Tower of London, she must learn to navigate the treacherous waters of this new England under the Tudors. Like the ravens, Joan must use her eyes and her senses, if Henry and his new dynasty are to prosper and thrive …

A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier – set in Violet Speedwell is mourning for both her fiancé and her brother and regarded by society as a ‘surplus woman’ unlikely to marry, resolves to escape her suffocating mother and strike out alone. A new life awaits her in Winchester. Yes, it is one of draughty boarding-houses and sidelong glances at her naked ring finger from younger colleagues; but it is also a life gleaming with independence and opportunity.

The Woman Who Wanted More by Vivky Zimmerman – No woman dreams of being unceremoniously dumped and moving back in with her mother on the eve of her 40th birthday. Food technician Kate Parker’s first response? Denial, long days under her duvet and bucket loads of cheesy pasta. A reluctant Kate finds herself volunteering at the Lauderdale House For Exceptional Ladies. There she meets 96-year-old Cecily Finn – spiky and sharp as a pin, but the spark has gone out of her. She has resigned herself to the imminent End.

The Storm Sister by Lucinda Riley, the 2nd book in her Seven sisters series. Ally D’Aplièse is about to compete in one of the world’s most perilous yacht races, when she hears the news of her adoptive father’s sudden, mysterious death. Rushing back to meet her five sisters at their family home, she discovers that her father – an elusive billionaire affectionately known to his daughters as Pa Salt – has left each of them a tantalizing clue to their true heritage.

An April Shroud by Reginald Hill – the 4th Dalziel and Pascoe novel. Superintendent Dalziel’s holiday runs into trouble when he gets marooned by flood water. Rescued and taken to nearby Lake House, he discovers all is not well: the owner has just died tragically and the family fortunes are in decline. He also finds himself drawn to attractive widow, Bonnie Fielding. But several more deaths are to follow. And by the time Pascoe gets involved, it looks like the normally hard-headed Dalziel might have compromised himself beyond redemption.

My Beautiful Imperial by Rhiannon Lewis – Driven from all that matters, Davy has been sent away to sea. He must navigate a way between the bullies and storms, just to survive. Against the odds, success is within reach – his first captaincy is promised and he has met Estella. But revolution erupts in Chile. Davy’s new ship, the Imperial, is commandeered, along with its crew. Amidst the terror, Davy learns to call another country home. He learns that love and friendship have no borders of their own.

Transcription by Kate Atkinson – During WWII, Juliet Armstrong was conscripted into service as a young woman, transcribing conversations between an MI5 agent and a ring of suspected German sympathizers. Years later, in 1950 post-war London, Julie can’t escape the repercussions of her work for the government, and is pulled back into the life of espionage she thought she’d left behind.

Top Ten Tuesday: TBR Books That Keep Getting Left on the Shelves


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For the rules see her blog.

This week’s topic: Books On My TBR I’m Avoiding Reading and Why – (maybe you’re scared of it, worried it won’t live up to the hype, etc. I don’t have any books that I’m scared of reading or am worried about in any way.

So, this week I’ve adapted the topic to suit me and it is:

TBR books that I keep leaving on the shelves – including books on my Kindle. These books have not seen the light of day for ages as they’re from the back of my double shelved bookcases or from the depths of my Kindle, or I’ve not read them yet just because they are so long that I choose a shorter book to read in preference, or because I’m reading newer books or review books.

From the black hole that is my Kindle.

These are books I’ve forgotten I downloaded:

  • Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver – On the Appalachian Mountains above her home, a young mother discovers a beautiful and terrible marvel of nature: the monarch butterflies have not migrated south for the winter this year.
  • The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton – set in 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes.
  • Sea of Poppies by Amitav Gosh – an epic saga, set just before the Opium Wars, an old slaving-ship, the Ibis is crossing the Indian Ocean, its crew a motley array of sailors and stowaways, coolies and convicts.
  • The One I Was by Eliza Graham – Rosamond Hunter is full of guilt about her involuntary role in her mother’s death. When her nursing job brings her back to Fairfleet, her childhood home, to care for an elderly refugee, she is forced to confront the ghosts that have haunted her for so long.

Forgotten books, some from the back of my bookshelves:

TBRs Sept 2019

  •  Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan – On an ill-fated art expedition of the Southern Shan State in Burma, eleven Americans leave their Floating Island Resort for a Christmas morning tour – and disappear. (Hidden at the back of my bookshelves.)
  • The Book of Love by Sarah Bower, set in the late 15th/early 16th centuries historical fiction about the Borgias. (Hidden at the back of my bookshelves.)
  • World Without End by Ken Follett – Book 2 of 3 in the Kingsbridge series. I’ve read book 1, Pillars of the Earth. World Without End is set two centuries later  beginning in the year 1327. You can see in my photo above just how chunky this book is – 1237 pages in a very small font. Need I say more about why I haven’t read it yet!
  • Slipstream: a Memoir by Elizabeth Jane Howard – I love her Cazalet Chronicles, which is why I want to read this book. Why I haven’t yet is a mystery!
  • The Things We Cherished by Pam Jenoff – a WWII love story, part thriller and part romance. This book turned up in the post one day from the publishers, unsolicited by me, which is probably why I haven’t read it yet.
  • Small Wars by Sadie Jones – This is historical fiction set in Cyprus in the 1950s as the EOKA terrorists are fighting for independence from Britain and union with Greece. (Hidden at the back of my bookshelves.)


Top Ten Tuesday: Books with a Seaside Connection


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For the rules see her blog.

This week’s topic: It’s a ‘freebie this week and so inspired by the new edition of Jane Austen’s Sanditon I’ve chosen Books with a Seaside connection. I am spoilt for choice but here are just ten of them (I have plenty more). Most of them are crime fiction:

  • Sanditon by Jane Austen – possibly the first seaside novel, set in the fictitious Sanditon, a place on the Sussex coast between Hastings and Eastbourne.
  • A Cure for All Diseases by Reginald Hill – I have to include this both because I love Hill’s books and because he was inspired to write it by Sanditon. He set this Dalziel and Pascoe mystery in Sandytown, a pleasant seaside resort devoted to healing.
  • I Found You by Lisa Jewell – Alice Lake finds a man on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, no idea what he is doing there. Against her better judgement she invites him in to her home. But who is he, and how can she trust a man who has lost his memory?
  • Evil Under the Sun Poirot is on holiday in Devon staying in a seaside hotel – a seaside mystery. Sun-loving Arlena Stuart lies, stretched out on the beach, face down. But she wasn’t sunbathing – she had been strangled.
  • Have His Carcase by Dorothy L Sayers. Harriet Vane is on a walking holiday when she comes across a dead man, his throat cut from ear to ear, lying on the top of a rock, called locally the Flat-Iron, on a deserted beach.
  • Gently by the Shore by Alan Hunter George Gently is called in to investigate a murder in Starmouth, a British seaside holiday resort. An unidentified body was found on the beach. The victim was naked, punctured with stab wounds.
  • The House at Seas End by Elly Griffiths – Ruth Galloway investigates the discovery of the bones of six people, found in a gap in the cliff, a sort of ravine, where there had been a rock fall at Broughton Seas End. Seas End House stands perilously close to the cliff edge above the beach.
  • The Body on the Beach by Simon Brett, set in a fictitious village on the south coast of England. It’s the first in the Fethering mystery series, in which Carole and her neighbour Jude investigate the murder of man found dead on the beach.
  • The Sea, the Sea by Iris Murdoch – As the title suggests, the sea plays a major role in the book. When Charles Arrowby retires from his glittering career in the London theatre, he buys a remote house on the rocks by the sea. He hopes to escape from his tumultuous love affairs but unexpectedly bumps into his childhood sweetheart and sets his heart on destroying her marriage.
  • On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan,  set on Chesil Beach on the Dorset coast where a newly married couple struggle to suppress their fears of their wedding night to come.