My month in books & bakes – March

my month in books & bakes

What’s happened in March?

My first bookish outing was to Waterstone’s in Birmingham for an evening with Joanna Cannon, author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep. I hadn’t read the book at this point but it was still really interesting to hear about Joanna’s writing process and her journey to publication.

Me with the lovely Joanna

Me with the lovely Joanna

I also attended my first London author / blogger meet up organised by the lovely Kim the Bookworm and Holly Martin.  It was a great day and a fab turnout of bloggers and authors.

meet up

TL: Claire (Art & Soul) & me TR: Author Leigh Russell, Claire, Me BL: Claire, me, author Jean Fullerton BR: Me & Kim the Bookworm

Books read: 5

(click the image to go to my review, if it’s available)

The Ice Twins

The Jazz Files

The Cuckoo's CallingDead Wake

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep

 

Books added to the TBR: 14 …an obscene amount; all these!!! Jeez I hadn’t actually realised how many I’d managed to accrue :0

march books

 

 

Currently reading: The Trouble with Goats & Sheep by Joanna Cannon, will finish tonight!

Favourite book for March:  The Trouble with Goats & Sheep by Joanna Cannon (even though I’ve not quite finished I know it’s my favourite)

I baked: (click the images to have a look)

Apple Cake

Apple Cake

Pecan Blondies

Pecan Blondies

Apple and Oat Muffins

Apple & Oat Muffins

Crumbly Shortbread Fingers

Crumbly Shortbread Fingers

What’s coming up in March?

  • My first Rooftop Book Club in London on Tuesday April 26th – details here
  • Author / Blogger Meet Up in Birmingham on Saturday April 30th

Do share your news, bookish or other in the comments…. 🙂

WWW Wednesday (March 30th)

WWW WednesdayThis weekly meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open to all to participate. Why not join in and let us know what’s on your reading list this week…

To join in, just answer the following three questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

 

I’m reading…

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

Love Tilly and Grace, love all the characters on the avenue and love all the 1970s references; feels like a biography of my own childhood!

The Trouble with Goats and SheepThe 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…

 

 


I finally finished (yay I hear you shouting!)

Dead Wake by Erik Larson

Well to be completely honest I read what I needed too; in that I didn’t read the pages and pages of referencing the author had included at the end.  I really had had enough by then.  Fascinating story full of incredible detail, history and conspiracy theories but somewhat too long.

Dead WakeThe blurb

On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds”—the fastest liner then in service—and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack. 

I also finished

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

I’ve never read Harry Potter but I have read The Casual Vacancy which was laborious so I didn’t read and review this book particularly as a Rowling fan but I do love a good whodunit, and for me, this didn’t disappoint.  I’ll definitely pick up the second book The Silkworm. Review here.

The Cuckoo's CallingThe blurb

When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case.

Strike is a war veteran – wounded both physically and psychologically – and his life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline, but it comes at a personal cost: the more he delves into the young model’s complex world, the darker things get – and the closer he gets to terrible danger…


 What’s up next?

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

The sequel to The Rosie Project is our latest book club read that I need to crack on with and I’m looking forward to meeting up with Don and Rosie again.  I reviewed The Rosie Project here.

The Rosie EffectThe blurb

Forty-one-year-old geneticist Don Tillman had never had a second date before he met Rosie.

Now, living in New York City, they have survived ten months and ten days of marriage, even if Don has had to sacrifice standardized meals and embrace unscheduled sex.

But then Rosie drops the mother of all bombshells. And Don must prepare for the biggest challenge of his previously ordered life – while dodging deportation, prosecution and professional disgrace.

Is Don Tillman ready to become the man he always dreamed of being? Or will he revert to his old ways and risk losing Rosie for ever?


Have you read any of this week’s choices?

Share what you’re reading in the comments…

Book Review: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

The Cuckoo's CallingWhat’s it about?

When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case.

Strike is a war veteran – wounded both physically and psychologically – and his life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline, but it comes at a personal cost: the more he delves into the young model’s complex world, the darker things get – and the closer he gets to terrible danger…

My thoughts

This book had been on my Kindle since publication so I thought it high time I read it.  I approached this book with trepidation though as several of my blogging friends had warned me they thought it quite slow.

As with any book that is the first installment of a series it was always going to be overly descriptive with the background stories of the main characters and there’s no exception here.  The book as a whole is very descriptive and wordy but this didn’t deter me or made it feel overly long as I felt the plot moved consistently and some parts felt like I was reading it in real time.  I didn’t really see the point of the Latin quotes at the start of each part to be honest; by the time I’d read the first page of the new chapter I’d forgotten the quote and any relevance it may have had.  Show-offy ness!! (I just made that word up!)

I recently reviewed The Girl in the Ice where I said that the author has to set their characters apart from all those others available. You’ve got to believe and invest in these characters otherwise it could be just any old easily forgotten crime story and it’s the same with this book and the protagonists Cormoran and Robin.  I really enjoyed their back stories and their developing working relationship.

I liked the style of Strike’s investigation, I think this suited me very well because I love court room dramas and the style of conversation and investigation is just like that.  To me, it’s a proper detective novel, asking the right questions of the right people, using your initiative, going out on a limb (pardon the pun), catching people in lies and putting it all together.  As I raced towards the end and as the big reveal approaches there were scenes that actually gave me the chills!

“Her death was an almost palpable presence in the room, as though it stood waiting patiently, politely, behind the curtains.”

I’ve never read Harry Potter but I have read The Casual Vacancy which was laborious so I didn’t read and review this book particularly as a Rowling fan but I do love a good whodunit, and for me, this didn’t disappoint.  I’ll definitely pick up the second book The Silkworm.

Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Connect with the author Robert Galbraith

Website | Goodreads

 

Talk of the Town

WWW Wednesday (March 23rd)

WWW WednesdayThis weekly meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open to all to participate. Why not join in and let us know what’s on your reading list this week…

To join in, just answer the following three questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

 

I’m still reading…

Dead Wake by Erik Larson

I had a reminder from the library earlier in the week that this book needed to be returned on Saturday….mmm well fortunately I was able to renew but that means I’ve been reading it for over 3 weeks and am only just over half way through.  I’m beginning to feel the same frustration as Sam did reading Cloud Atlas!

Dead WakeThe blurb

On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds”—the fastest liner then in service—and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack. 

Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger’s U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small—hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more—all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.

And I’m also reading

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

I was warned last week by many blogger friends that this was quite slow, which did make me more intrigued to read it. I’m approx 60% through and haven’t experienced a slowness.  Yes, it’s very descriptive, if not overly, but this hasn’t deterred me or made it feel overly long yet as I’ve felt the plot has been moving consistently.  I didn’t feel that way about The Casual Vacancy though…that was laborious .

The Cuckoo's CallingThe blurb

When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case.

Strike is a war veteran – wounded both physically and psychologically – and his life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline, but it comes at a personal cost: the more he delves into the young model’s complex world, the darker things get – and the closer he gets to terrible danger…


I recently finished

Nothing!! 😦


 What’s up next?

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

Thank heavens I have a 5 day Easter break coming up so I can get loads of reading in. When I finally finish the 2 above this will be my next read.  If you’re not aware of this book…where have you been? I met Joanna Cannon a few weeks ago at Waterstone’s in Birmingham so am really looking forward to this.

The Trouble with Goats and SheepThe 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…

 


Have you read any of this week’s choices?

Share what you’re reading in the comments…

WWW Wednesday (March 16th)

WWW WednesdayThis weekly meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open to all to participate. Why not join in and let us know what’s on your reading list this week…

To join in, just answer the following three questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

 

I’m still reading…

Dead Wake by Erik Larson

I’m really liking this but am just making such slow progress. It’s taken me nearly a week to read 100 pages, I could usually read a ‘regular’ novel in that time.  I’m starting part two and the ship has only just set sail, there’s been a lot of build up in introducing the passengers and crew on board but also the back story to the U-boats crew.

Dead WakeThe blurb

On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds”—the fastest liner then in service—and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack. 

Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger’s U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small—hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more—all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.


But I have squeezed this in…

The Jazz Files by Fiona Veitch Smith

I read this over the weekend and really enjoyed it. As a huge Marple fan I particularly liked the 1920s setting and look forward to more of the Poppy Denby Investigates series. It very much reminded me of the TV series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries; which I’ve only seen a couple of episodes of but is of a similar vein.

The Jazz FilesThe blurb

Set in 1920, The Jazz Files introduces aspiring journalist Poppy Denby, who arrives in London to look after her ailing Aunt Dot, an infamous suffragette. Dot encourages Poppy to apply for a job at The Daily Globe, but on her first day a senior reporter is killed and Poppy is tasked with finishing his story. It involves the mysterious death of a suffragette seven years earlier, about which some powerful people would prefer that nothing be said…

Through her friend Delilah Marconi, Poppy is introduced to the giddy world of London in the Roaring Twenties, with its flappers, jazz clubs, and romance. Will she make it as an investigative journalist, in this fast-paced new city? And will she be able to unearth the truth before more people die?


 What’s up next?

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

This has been on my Kindle since publication and I’ve seen it doing the rounds lately on a couple of blogs which has prompted me to finally read it. I also needed a Kindle read for a train journey at the weekend 🙂

The Cuckoo's CallingThe blurb

When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case.

Strike is a war veteran – wounded both physically and psychologically – and his life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline, but it comes at a personal cost: the more he delves into the young model’s complex world, the darker things get – and the closer he gets to terrible danger…


So what do you think of my choices this week?

Share what you’re reading in the comments…