Reading Down My TBR Pile – Week 14

I have not bought any books this week, been to the library, borrowed any from friends or been given any freebies. Absolutely zero books were added to the TBR this week.  It feels  like ages since I’ve been able to write that – it’s one thing writing these blog posts has made me very aware of – how often I get books.  I need to go back to not buying books for a while.

That said I doubt I’ll be able to say the same next week as the next book in a series I absolutely love is coming out this week so I’ll probably end up buying that.

This week I’ve read a couple of books from the 1001 books you must read before you die.

Villette by Charlotte Bronte ebook, 573 pages, on TBR for an unknown number of years, read in 6 days.

I’ve wanted to read this for ages and I’ve read part of it twice before but the first few chapters are weird and I couldn’t get into this.  I was disappointed because with the exception of Wuthering Heights I’ve enjoyed all the work by the various Brontes that I’ve read (I felt like I didn’t understand Wuthering Heights). Then this week I saw on twitter someone reading it and ask them about it. They said it was only weird in the first few chapters.

So I picked it up again and persevered. And actually it very quckly lost it’s weird and it was good. Classics are a very different read for me and I don’t read them as much as I used to. I enjoyed this a lot and it reminded me of my love for them. I hope it won’t be long before I read another.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokovaudiobook (11 hours approx, 330 pages in print), on TBR for a couple of months, read in 11 days

This is the audiobook I started last week. Lolita was an interesting but at times uncomfortable read and definitely challenging.  I’m not sure I’d recommend it but it intrigued me and kept me listening because I wanted to know what happened.

The Cherry Tree Cafe by Heidi Swain

Last November  I went to the Books and The City Creative Writing Masterclass (I wrote about that here).  I had a great time and I’ve since kept in touch with several of the other writers who were there.

One of those writers was Heidi Swain. And she now has a publishing deal with Books and The City.  I was lucky enough to hear Heidi read an extract of that when I went to the Books and the City blogger evening in March and I’ve been really excited to read it ever since. Her first book, The Cherry Tree Cafe by Heidi Swain is being published on 16th July (ebook only).  I received a free ARC in exchange for a review on this blog and really enjoyed reading it.

Cupcakes, crafting and love at The Cherry Tree Cafe…

Lizzie Dixon’s life feels as though it’s fallen apart. Instead of the marriage proposal she was hoping for from her boyfriend, she is unceremoniously dumped, and her job is about to go the same way. So, there’s only one option: to go back home to the village she grew up in and to try to start again.

Her best friend Jemma is delighted Lizzie has come back home. She has just bought a little cafe and needs help in getting it ready for the grand opening. And Lizzie’s sewing skills are just what she needs.

With a new venture and a new home, things are looking much brighter for Lizzie. But can she get over her broken heart, and will an old flame reignite a love from long ago…?

For everyone who loves settling down to watch Great British Bake-Off, the Great British Sewing Bee, or curling up to read Milly Johnson or Jenny Colgan, The Cherry Tree Cafe is a coffee-break treat.

I really enjoyed The Cherry Tree Cafe. I’d thought I would but it was even better than I expected. Lizzie Dixon was a brilliant character who reminded me of many people in different ways and was just real. I had a real soft spot for Jemma and her family though.

The Cherry Tree Cafe was a gorgeous setting and I wished I could go there and take part in the crafts.  The last couple of months crafts have mostly been crochet for me but I’ve not had a lot of time and reading this book left me itching to pick up my hook again.

It was a fun read and it made me laugh out loud in places. The Cherry Tree Cafe was the perfect escapist read, great for an evening in the garden when you just want to switch off and read in the sunshine. Heidi Swain has a turn of phrase that I loved and I’ll look out for more books by her in future – if you want a holiday read or just an easy going enjoyable read for lazing around at home you won’t go wrong with The Cherry Tree Cafe.

Spotted at the Sailing Club

I can’t believe tonight was the last sail in June and this is the first one of these posts I’ve done this year. Although I think between the couple of times I couldn’t go and it being called off due to weather several times and one or two other blips this was only the fourth or fifth Tuesday evening I’ve been on the water this year (not counting the regatta.) I think fourth but it’s niggling at my that it’s fifth although I can’t think when that was.

Lots of photos today – I think these might be the most I’ve posted in any one of these entries. We stayed late because there was a barbecue and it was a lovely social evening with yummy food and beautiful surroundings in which to watch the sunset.

Sunny evening at the sailing club

A photo posted by Emma (@funkyfairy22) on

Setting sun

A photo posted by Emma (@funkyfairy22) on

Apparently this is phenomenon called a sun dog

A photo posted by Emma (@funkyfairy22) on

Firey sunset reflecting on the water

A photo posted by Emma (@funkyfairy22) on

One last sunset pic at the end of a lovely evening

A photo posted by Emma (@funkyfairy22) on


A photo posted by Emma (@funkyfairy22) on

Reading Down My TBR Pile – Week 13

Short and sweet this week.

I bought one book because I was at a show and the author was going to do a signing afterwards. And I love signed books.  I also got a free ebook to review from NetGalley.  In addition to the books listed below I’ve been listening to Lolita in audiobook.

My Dining Hell by Jay Rayner paperback, 70 pages, read in one sitting, bought and read on the same day.

Jay’s live show was really good this week and I was pleased to get a signed copy of this.  It’s similar to a lot of his show but goes slightly further and I enjoyed reading this.  I might not reread it but I would recommend it. And I’d definitely recommend his show.

The Cherry Tree Cafe by Heidi Swain ebook (ARC), 464 pages, on TBR for about ten days, read in 7 days.

I won’t say too much about The Cherry Tree Cafe because I’m going to post a full review later this week.  But I will say that it was a good read and I enjoyed it. (EDIT: full review here)

Reading Down My TBR Pile – Week 12

I was asked by the Disability in Kidlit folks if I’d read a particularly book which has a character with CP in it and let them know if it was any good.  So I bought that this week.  I decided that was OK but then I really couldn’t buy any more books. I was going to wait until I got my copy of Heidi Swain’s The Cherry Tree Cafe which is being published in mid July before buying any more.  I suck, big style, at sticking to book resolutions lately but I was going to do that.

And I did.

But only because the very next morning I got an email from NetGalley saying my request for a prerelease review copy had been approved.  And a second email saying I’m now autoapproved for any Simon and Schuster fiction title on there.  So I downloaded The Cherry Tree Cafe and also The Heavenly Italian Ice Cream Shop by Abby Clements.

What can I say? I have a problem with buying books.

This week I’ve read two books and I’ve also, finally, decided that I should just DNF the audiobook I’ve been vaguely listening to for about six weeks now.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Armageddon’s Arrow by Dayton Ward paperback, 384 pages, read in 8 days, started reading on the day it arrived.

I’m on a bit of a Star Trek reading kick at the moment, I’ve been reading Star Trek Voyager fanfic a lot lately as well (and the various Star Trek series are not my usual fandoms for fanfic).  I liked it a lot. Star Trek with a bit of a thorny ethical dilemma, some brilliant “family scenes” and character building.  We don’t see as much of the old TNG crew in these books but they’re still great and I enjoy them.  I’d like to see more like this.

Dive #1 The Discovery by Gordon Korman ebook, 147 pages, on TBR for a few days, read in one sitting

This is the book Disability in Kidlit asked me to read. It’s the first in a trilogy for teenagers and one of the characters has mild CP.  I would quite like to read the next two but am trying to resist buying them and they aren’t available in the library.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book – it has a good representation of the girl with CP, Star, and pretty much manages to avoid most of the cliches.  There were a couple of cracking lines about her disability too.  I wasn’t expecting either of those things.  On the whole this was a quick read which I enjoyed but being aimed at young teens it was as detailed as I would have liked.

Your face don’t fit

Part way through a workshop this morning the tutor looked at me and said “Emma are you taking a selfie?”

I wasn’t. I was trying to unlock my new phone.

Or perhaps I should say I was trying to unlock my “life companion.”  That’s what the screen declares it. I thought a life companion was a strange term for a romantic partner but if that’s what we’re calling our phones now I guess I need to get with the times.

Last week I bought a new phone. It’s an S4 mini and I’m liking a lot. I’m still trying to figure out all the features but it’s very shiny and very cool. I love my iPad, would like an iPhone and am at heart an Apple girl, but for a phone that does all I need on a budget I can afford I’m rocking the S4 mini and loving it.

Unfortunately it seems my phone doesn’t like me (perhaps because I persist in calling it a phone)

One of the coolest features I’ve found is the facial unlock. I can just look at my phone and unlock it. I had the option of requiring it to check for my prescence and I tried that for a while – I’d look at it, it would decide it liked me and flash the request “now blink” on the screen before it unlocked.

After a day or so I changed it to just facial recognition. I love that I just grab my phone, glance at it and send a text or make a call without faffing with a pattern or PIN unlock. Or at least I can in theory. The reality is that I spend a lot of time using the pattern unlock and not the facial recognition.

I’ve seen a few “too dark” error messages. And one “battery too low to use facial recognition”.  All fine and and totally understandable – when it’s the middle of the night and/or it needs a charge, what else is it going to do?

Then there’s the times when it declares “sorry don’t recognise you.” It spent several hours today doing that.  I’ve been told that my face doesn’t fit before but I’ve never had a phone be the one telling me.Rather overstepping it’s boundaries me thinks.

Sometimes it’s even failed to even recognise that I have a face. “Cannot find face” is a particularly delightful message for your phone to share.

I’m still glad I choose this phone but if you’ll excuse me I’ll be spending my Friday night first convincing my phone that I do, in fact, have a face and not only that it’s a face that fits in with the phone.

Reading Down My TBR Pile – Week 11

Not too much reading this week and I’m still trying to finish the same damn audiobook. It really shouldn’t have taken me so long and I’m a bit fed up with it now, it’s become a bit of a vicious circle. But with less than two hours left of it I don’t want to DNF it.

I bought two books this week but I’ve also made a serious dent into the books cluttering up my house as my mum and a friend are going to do a car boot next weekend in aid of the air ambulance and I gave them a bag full of I think 21 books – a couple of duplicates, things I’ve read and don’t think I’ll read again and a couple I doubt I’d ever get round to reading.

Here’s the one book I finished this week:

The Birds and The Bees by Milly Johnson paperback, 448 pages, on TBR since March this year and read in 4 days.

I picked this up at the Books and the City blogger event I went to in March.  I love Milly Johnson books and enjoyed reading this – escapist chicklit and funny too.  I’ve now read five or six of her books at least and I’d say I enjoyed one or two of them more than this but I also preferred this to It’s Raining Men which whilst being a very good book had a twist which annoyed me big style.  I always know what I’m going to get with a Milly Johnson book – a laugh, a bit of a feel good, and some realism.  And as I’ve heard Milly say both times I’ve heard her speak she only does happy endings.  That’s not to say she’s predictable – certainly the ending of The Birds and The Bees had an element I hadn’t been expecting.  I would recommend this but I think I enjoyed The Yorkshire Pudding Club more.

Reading Down My TBR Pile – Week Ten

I think I’m going to move these posts permanently to Monday. Friday’s are a free day for me so I’m often off doing stuff and can’t fit blogging in/forget.  Because my Monday’s have a routine it should be easier for me to fit blogging in each week.

Week 10 saw me still listening to the same audiobook which I still haven’t finished and read two books. I feel a bit like I’ve been in a slump this week but it probably doesn’t help that Thursday which I intended to spend a big chunk of reading I spent most of the afternoon in bed with a sicky headache.

The Tales of Beedle The Bard by JK Rowling hardback, 109 pages, read cover to cover in an hour or so, re-read.

I think this is the third time I’ve read The Tales of Beedle the Bard. I pulled it off my shelf a month or two ago intending to reread it and then never did.  It was a fun read and I enjoy it everytime I read it. I’d love to read more of these stories, possibly more than I’d love to read more Harry Potter by JK Rowling.

The Year of Reading Dangerously: How 50 Great Books and 2 not so great ones saved my life by Andy Miller – paperback, 322 pages, on TBR for a month, read in 5 days.

I hated this book. It’s the worst book I read in a long time. The reading wasn’t dangerous, it’s not clear how it saved his life and it was only 1 not so great book not 2. I basically only finished reading this because I was on the train and it was better than being there with nothing to read.  In the book Andy Miller says he didn’t like book blogging because he kept getting distracted from the enjoyment of the book to think about what to write. I don’t find that but I did stop reading and think about what the best description of this book would be and I’ve decided it’s pretentious drivel.