Sunday, 28 May 2017

How do you mark yours?

Good Evening readers and visitors!

Yesterday was my sister's Wedding so there is a good chance I might be curled up on the sofa in our holiday cottage reading my latest book resting are the day's events, but tonight I want to move away from the books, bookcases and eReaders to chat about the humble bookmark.  First off let's dispense with this nonsense of turning over the corner of the page, this really isn't acceptable, it's definitely a no-no if your are borrowing someone's book or hiring it from the library.  If it's your book then I guess that's fair enough, personal it makes me want to slap you round the face with your book, just kidding, I don't condone violence of books!😉 This post isn't really about that, it's about the whole world of creative marking your missing out on.

Freebie Bookmarks
If you love reading but have never bought a bookmark on holiday ... well that's like going to the seaside and never having fish and chips, allergys permitting, and for my foreign visitors it's a British thing!  When I was kid a visit to a boring stately home (when you're 9 anything like this is boring) it was some how compensated by the fact that you would be allowed to pick a small item from the gift shop.  I would head straight for the bookmarks, pens, pencils and erasers were a close second, it's a stationery thing but I won't get into that here.  Once we returned home or back to our holiday cottage I would immediately swap my current bookmark for the new one.

Gifted Bookmarks and bookmarks from visits.
At the end of a school trip to the Zoo, most people would head to the cuddle toys, or the overpriced build your own Zoo kit, not me.   I would, in an effort to appear normal, meander around picking up various items all the while my eyes were searching for my next bookmark.



When is a bookmark not a bookmark, when it's a hairclip, a finger puppet or a paperclip!  I use all these as bookmarks.
In fact one of my saddest moments from childhood is being on a school trip, in France I think, and losing a little bag of things I had bought, a gift for my sister, a couple of postcards and a bookmark! Oh, how my stomach flipped and the tears pricked my eyes.  I spent the rest of the afternoon asking everyone on the trip if they has seen my little paper bag from the gift shop but to no avail.  I hope who ever found it gave a bookmark pride of place in their next book.

Handcrafted Bookmaks from friends
Too bulky for a book but perfect for my eReader! 
I have quite a collection of bookmarks and below is a photo of two of my most favourite.  They were both bought for me by my grandfather.  I recently laminated the one with my name on as the ink is starting to fade and run.  The other is covered in Birds of Prey.  My grandfather was a keen birdwatcher and introduced me to this wonderful hobby.

My two most favourite bookmarks.
Now I'm older I still love to come across a bookmark, with the invention of eReaders I fear they are a dieing breed.  They still sometimes have freebies in the library, or I come across an abandoned one in a charity shop and of course I still scour holiday gift shops for them.  Age has not dulled the pleasure of spotting a shiny new Marker of Pages!

So, how do you mark yours?  Do have a favourite bookmark or do you slip in an old receipt or bus ticket to keep your page?

Bookworm Blessings.  x

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Physical book versus eBook

Evening bookworms!

Over one third of the UK population has an eReader, are you one of those people?  I am but for a long time I couldn't be swayed by the hype surrounding these new "books".  So what changed my mind...

I had been contacted on Twitter a few times about writing book reviews, a free book in exchange for a review - simple!  Except, they were all eBooks, but I wasn't going to pay out for an eReader to write a few reviews.  If you know me well, you will know I like to try and be thrifty; in the case of books they get passed around within the family, audio books are shared and then passed on to the hospital and I borrow a truck load of books from the library.  All good reasons for not needing an eReader. However it was my thriftness that led me to get an eReader.  I was browsing Streetlife (now Nextdoor) for freebies or low cost items, in particular we were hunting for a sofa, when I spotted an eReader in return for a charitable donation.  I still took two days to decide whether I really "needed" it but finally came to the decision that if I didn't like it then at least my pennies had gone to a worthy cause.

I must says I was pleased with the exchange, I now had a Kobo mini complete with case.  I charged it up and downloaded my first book "Lust, Money & Murder: Book 1 by Mike Wells" which was free.  I loved the book and you can read the review here.  My eReader, it was lightweight and comfortable to hold.  It didn't have a backlight but I wasn't too worried as neither does a paperback lol! Another plus point was it looked nice on the bookshelf in it's little brown leather case.  I have downloaded an extensive library, 99% of which were free.  It's a great product for a commute to work, going on holiday or a long journey.

I got my Kobo back in October 2015 and to date I have only read 3 books, all by Mike Wells coincidentally.  I am currently reading my fourth "The girl who tweeted wolf" by Nick Bryan.  It definitely takes me longer to read an eBook, I put this down to so much time spent in front of a screen in other areas of my life that reading this way loses it's appeal. I started this book in Oct 2015 and I am now only halfway through, and that really isn't because it's not a good book or I'm not enjoying it but reading on a machine just lacks appeal for me.  


When I use my Kobo I feel myself yearning for a "real" book to hold, I want to feel and hear the pages, have the pleasure of marking my page with a bookmark (my collection that really doesn't fit with eBooks) and dare I say smell the book?!  Oh come on, we've all done it, whether they have that fresh new smell or that old musty scent about them, it's all part of the delight of a real book.  The other thing I miss is choosing which book to read next, the anticipation of picking what to read using my Kobo eLibrary lacks the excitment of picking from my own collection or the local library.   I love looking through all those different spines on the shelve of my four bookcase and pulling out different books, decided what sort of mood I'm in and what I feel like reading crime, romance, historical, etc and whether I want a quick read or a lengthy tome.

Whilst may be the practical benefits of an eReader will always outweigh the those of a physical book, there are other senses which can only be stimulated by holding that one book.

Bookworm Blessings.  x

All photographs are my own. 

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Five of my top ten reads continued...6-10

Hello and welcome to another Bookshelf Sunday, for now posts will be every other Sunday evening.  Today I'm sharing the next 5 of my top ten reads.  For anyone who missed my other post, explaining the first five of my choices you can catch up here, it was originally posted on what is now my dedicated craft blog but this link takes you straight to the post.

No. 6 
Photo courtesy of Goodreads website

Midnight is a Lonely Place by Barbara Erskine
Biographer Kate Kennedy retires to a remote cottage after a broken love affair but when a Roman burial site is uncovered, Kate finds herself unsettled by un-buried passions, unleashed ghosts and unexplained forces.

The only book that has every terrified the life out of me - truly!  I am not an easily scared or spooked person, I love to watch scary movies, sometimes late at night and on my own, and very rarely jump at the 'boo' moments.  This book had me hiding my head under the covers at night every time I heard a noise, and had me screaming and jumping if anyone surprised me whilst I reading it.  I'm not kidding when I say it took me a month to recover!  Barbara Erskine has a huge talent for bringing her stories to life and for scaring her readers.  I don't know anyone that has read this and not been terrified - that's sounds like a strong word but this novel is just plain creepy and damn right chilling.  I dare you to read if you haven't already!  I also loved it because it is set on the Essex coast and living in Suffolk I could identify with the location.  Here is a rough guide to the plot without giving too much away; 

No. 7


Photo courtesy of Goodreads website
Lace by Shirley Conran
Summoned to a New York apartment, four women are asked which one of them is the mother of the host.  Secrets are discovered and hidden depths surface.

Forget 50 Shades of Grey, Lace is the original bonkbuster!  I don't think I was anywhere near my sixteenth birthday when I read this but thankfully my parents a fairly opened-minded which is why I'm such a well-rounded individual, no seriously I am! 😉  I haven't read 50 Shades (or seen the film) so can't compare the two but Lace was first published in 1982 so it will probably seem dated, and made be tame in comparison.    I have no desire to read 50 Shades, quite possibly the hype as put me off, but perhaps I shall revisit Lace and then read 50 Shades as a comparison but then the world is so full of so many books I want to read ...

No. 8


Photo courtesy of Goodreads website
Thornyhold by Mary Stewart
As a child Gellis has a lonely childhood, broken only by brief visits to her godmother, a herbalist and may-be white witch.  When her godmother dies Gellis inherits her house as well as her reputation.

Thornyhold was the first Mary Stewart novel I read and I found it to be beautiful.  A subtle story of romance and mystery driven by it's location and a hint of magic.   For me, this book was a lovely comforting form of escape.  There is something wonderfully nostalgic and gentle about Thornyhold, so don't let the magical element put you off it's that not normally your sort of thing.


No. 9


Photo courtesy of Goodreads

Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe by C S Lewis
It's 1940 and four siblings are evacuated from London, the youngest discovers a magic portal to another world.

I have read this more than once and each time the magic never fails to surprise me.  As a child I couldn't think of many more exciting things than stepping into a wardrobe and finding yourself in a magical realm where animals speak and your mission is to save a land from the White Witch.  I think this book delivers all the things a child could want from a magical land, of course it has been made for the big screen a few times but there is something so much more bewitching about the book.  Although the films have been fantastic, the Narnia inside my head is so much bigger and there are so many more possibilities.  For me personally this book is about the quest or the fight between good and evil it's about personalities and courage and bravery.  Narnia brings out the very worst and the very best in both it's inhabitants and it's visitors.   It's never too late to read this wonderful novel, age and gender are no barrier, it really is a timeless classic and an extraodinary story. 

No. 10


Photo courtesy of Goodreads website

The Diary of Young Girl (Anne Frank) 
Writings from a girl in hiding with her family during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.

This, put simply, is an amazing record of a young girl's life at one of the most difficult times in history.  I feel that Anne writes with a clarity that belies her age.  I'm not sure I would have been so eloquent at 13 but then my world was somewhat more relaxed compare to Anne's!  This book does receive mixed reviews, which is not surprising as review are mostly based on opinion, a book should never be classed as brilliant by all just because it's records a well-known historic event and has been translated into over 60 languages.  However, I do think it makes it worth reading as a true insight in to one family's struggle during WWII.  I think it is quite impossible to imagine being locked up for years and to experience and witness the suffering and abuse of so many people.   

So, do you have any favourites from my list?  Do any of these feature in your top ten?  I would love to hear your thoughts so please leave a comment below. 

Bookworm Blessings.  x

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Audio Books - To listen or not too listen?

Good Evening Readers

Today I want to ask you a question, do you listen to audio books?

It's one of my favourite past times, firstly because I love people reading aloud to me.  It takes me back to my childhood, especially summer holidays where I would get through countless books, ones I had read myself and ones read to me by my parents.  I have very clear memories of my mum reading The Silver Sword by Ian Serriallier to me.  I was completely blown away by this story, it was like nothing else I had ever heard and just seeing it on a shelf now takes me back to my childhood.

Mum would also re-tell true ghost stories, well I guess they are only true if you believe in ghosts, which I did and do.  My best friend and I would hang on her every word and mum was very patient as we wanted to know all the little details and would implore her to tell them time and time again. I was big fan of the Secret Seven and Famous Five and loved to read them myself but there was something magical about mum reading them to me.

Dad would sometimes read me a bedtime story, two of which I remember very clearly, one about children solving a crime and another about a pirate island and ghosts, the titles of which have long since left my memory but a taste for ghosts, crime novels and the macabre has stayed with me.
   

I first started listening to audio books as a child, long car journeys to holiday destinations were passed with a storybook tape, a firm favourite with everyone was Milly-Molly-Mandy!  Actually that isn't quite true, as dad suffered it so many times he knew all the stories off by heart and would often try to tell a different version.  A gift one year was a portable cassette player and I was just over the moon, and so was dad as he could now listen to 60s music and not the twentieth re-telling of "Milly-Molly-Mandy and Little Friend Susan Keep House".  Not a very policitally correct story nowadays but perhaps that's a discuss for another post.  My tapes were played until they wore out, not to mention the batteries it would eat through.


Another reason I enjoy audio books is it's easy to do something else at the same time such as; housework, cooking, traveling, walking the dog, stitching, knitting, crafting, colouring - there is a long list of possibilities.  My butterfly nature is so happy when it can listen to a story whilst working my way through a pile of ironing or other chore.  Instead of diligently ironing creases out of yet another shirt, I can be enjoying the company of a tall, dark & handsome stranger, solving the murder of a wealthy landowner, or traveling back in time.  Listening to a story is just as good as reading it yourself, and just as absorbing.

Most of my audio books are borrowed from the library, bought second hand from ebay or bootsales or in shop sales.  If I buy them I usually pass them on to mum to listen to and sometimes my sister and grandmother also listen and then we give them to the MacMillan Ward at my local hospital.  I think story telling can offer great comfort, sometimes it's easier to lose yourself whilst listening to someone's voice whereas if you feel down or unwell it can sometimes be difficult to concentrate on reading, often repeating the same line as your mind is distracted.  Audio books are also a great resource for those suffering with sight problems.  I truly believe that everyone should be able to enjoy the art of a good story.

For the last three years I have joined in with the Audio Book Challenge on Goodreads.  It's a fun social group that have a passion for audio books and enjoy challenging themselves both individually and as group. It's a great place to get recommendations too.

Audio books and "real" books both stimulate the imagination and add to our vocabulary.  So, do you listen to audio books?  When is your favourite time to listen?  What else might you do when you're listening?  Do you have a favourite audio book reader/narrator?  Or is there a particular author whose books you enjoying listening to instead of/or as well as reading? If you don't listen, do you think might be converted to give it a try?  Do let me know in the comments below.

Bookworm blessings.  x

All images are in the public domain. 

Sunday, 2 April 2017

March Book Review: Quick Reads, Dead Simple

Greetings bloggers, friends and visitors!

Today I'm sharing another book review, Dead Simple is one of this year's new Quick Reads releases. I don't want to bore anyone with details of the reason behind Quick Reads but if you are interested you can find info in a previous post here.

This particular Quick Reads is a collection of 8 short crime stories.

The first story Hardscrabble is by Mark Billingham, one of my favourite authors.  This story has a great twist in the tale and I didn't see it coming until quite close to the end.  Definitely my favourite in the collection.

Clare Mackintosh writes The Funeral but it's quite clear that our grieving widow is not all she seems and this one has a great twist in the end.  Another of my favourites from this selection.

Next is Dead Men Tell No Tales by James Oswald.  I felt slightly cheated by this tale as it leaves a lot of unanswered questions, also it felt like more like a ghost story.

Tale 4, Tricks by Jane Casey, is a cleverly written story and has more than one twist which is quite a feat in a short story, it pits the wits of two generations with bad intentions.


Tell No Lies by Angela Marsons was a let down for me and was my least favourite, I saw the twist after just a few lines.

The Perfect Murder by Harry Bingham is a twisted tale of revenge and a "Bucket List", and raises that common question Can anyone commit the "Perfect Murder"?

In, The Night Before the Hanging by Antonia Hodgson a murderer is just coming to terms with his last day on earth and making peace with his god when a stranger tells him he is innocent, the man is relieved, but it doesn't end there!

C L Taylor writes A Bird In A Cage, a story of how one woman's release from prison gives her an unexpected opportunity for revenge.

This is another Quick Reads book I thoroughly enjoyed and as it is a collection of short
stories it's easy to set yourself a goal of say one story a day. This was book 4 of my goal of 15 books for this year.

Until next time Bookworm Blessings! x

I will be back on Monday over on the Craft Blog.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

February Book Review: The Julius House - Charlaine Harris

Hello and welcome to my book blog, a little glimps into my life as bookworm.  Keep reading to find out one of my guilty secrets!!!

This is the fourth book in the Aurora Teagarden Mysteries Series by Charlaine Harris, some of you may recognise the name if you are a fan of the Sookie novels or True Blood TV series.  If you are not a vampire fan then those books/series aren't for you, however if you like cosy murder mysteries then it's worth seeking out this series.  I borrowed all four books from the library, despite having an almost mini library of my own I do love to support the library.  I am currently waiting on the fifth book to be ready for collection, I have to wait for the mobile library to visit the village at the end of the month.  I could order it from the library in the nearest town but I actually quite enjoy the expectation and getting out to meet the librarian and the regular users, there is always some "hot" village gossip or someone with whom to share a new book or author.
Photo courtesy of Goodreads Website


Blurb in my own words.
Aurora Teagarden, know to her friends as Roe, is a keen amateur historical murders researcher and part time sleuth, a role which Roe is more than happy to explore.  When Roe's fiance gives her The Julius House as wedding gift, she not only throws herself into renovating the property but also trying to figure out the mystery of the previous family's disappearance.  Her fiance also seems to be hiding a big and shady past, something which could destroy her new marriage.

I first came across this series when I saw an afternoon movie featuring Aurora Teagarden.  Guilty Secret Alert: I'm a closet afternoon TV mysteries watcher - there that's that guilty secret out of the bag!  I enjoyed this one so much that I did a little digging on the internet to see if I could find any others in the series on DVD.  What I found was the books by, in my opinion, the amazing author Charlaine Harris.  I was hooked from the moment I picked up the first book.

You could easily read this book without having read the other 3 but I recommend you try to locate the first one as it's the best one for giving you background on Roe.  The first three involve murders but this is more of a mystery.  I really enjoyed the twist in this particular novel.  I don't want to go into details as I want to avoid plot spoilers.  This one is a little different to the first three as Roe is no longer single which adds another dimension to her investigations as she tries to work out her role in her marriage and new life, and wonders just what her husband's past hides.

If you want to pick up the first three, they are;
Real Murders
A Bone to Pick
Three Bedrooms, One Corpse

Until next time, bookworm blessings.  x