What are we Reading….
This week’s question is more of a catch up really, I always find it fascinating finding out what books other people are reading and why. I’m currently reading a gorgeous novella by the wonderful Rebecca Raisin called Chocolate Dreams at the Gingerbread Café; I want to own a café just like this. I also love that the main character Lily is eating her way through the gorgeous treats she makes for the cafe because of the stresses in her life. It sounds all too familiar. I’m usually more of a serial killer, you’ll never go to the toilet on your own again after reading this book kind of girl but I just fancied something completely different for a change.
So what are you reading this week? We’d love to hear about it. Do you always stick to the same types of books or do you read anything and everything?
I’m actually reading 3 books at the moment. I know! That’s a serious bit of multi-tasking!!! I don’t normally do this but I have a hardback book on the go which is Sophie Kinsella’s ‘I’ve Got Your Number’. I love her and was bought this for my birthday a few years back but never got round to reading it because a hardback wasn’t convenient for lugging on the bus or train to work (far too heavy)! I took it away with me on a weekend break recently and started reading it then. Shortly afterwards, I was somewhere with my Kindle instead so I started on Samantha Tonge’s ‘Doubting Abbey’. I’m not very far through either of them because I ditched both to read your second novel, the wonderful ‘The Secrets of The Shadows’! I’m now back onto them but they’re such different stories that I’m managing to (mainly) keep track. The third book I’m reading is a re-working of Write Romantic Jo’s debut novel before she subs it so I have a lot of characters and events in my head just now!
I am currently reading ‘Lovey’ by Mary MacCracken which is a memoir of one teacher’s dedication to a small class of emotionally disturbed children and focuses on her support for one child in particular, Hannah, and her journey from being beaten and abused to finding the strength and love within herself. I was drawn to the story partly because one of my jobs involves making decisions about children in these kinds of situations and also because my next full length book is going to involve a plot around fostering and children who have been through emotional neglect. I would recommend ‘Lovey’, particularly to my fellow Write Romantic, Lynne, who I just know would adore it.
At the moment I am reading Playing James by Sarah Mason. Jules Wake, who is shortly to be published by Choc Lit, suggested it on her website saying it made her laugh out loud, so I gave it a try. It is really funny and I’ve passed it on to older daughter who is not a natural reader, and she loves it too. Have just finished Millie’s Game Plan by a Rosie Dean aka Jan Sprenger who is a writing friend of mine. She decided to go down the self publishing route and I’m pleased she’s doing well. Really enjoyed it and will by her next one – but I have such a back log of books to read, I’d better get my skates on or I’ll never catch up.
At the moment I’m reading For His Eyes Only by Liz Fielding. I’ve only just started reading it and already I’m hooked and totally in love with Darius Hadley. I’m more than curious to see how Natasha Gordon manages to get herself out of the trouble she’s just landed in – and of course the happy ever ending that will see Darius and Natasha together. Now I’m just going to read a bit more….
I’m currently beta reading Write Romantic Jo’s first novel which I’m really enjoying. It’s the second time I’ve read it and as quite a few of the characters and the novel have had their names changed it doesn’t feel like re-reading the same book at all. In between that I’m reading a steam punk book called ‘The Iron Wyrm Affair’ by Lilith Saintcrow which I’m finding pretty hard going to be honest. It’s kind of steam punk meets urban fantasy and I’m finding the world that’s been created quite hard to get my head around. It’s also not as much fun as I thought it would be. From the blurb it sounded like it would be a little lighthearted but that’s definitely not the case so far.
I’ve just been reading the latest really fab book from Helen, ‘The Secrets of the Shadows,’ it was so good I thought I’d stick with the subject of murder and read ‘Burial Rites’, by Hannah Kent.
I’m just over half way through it and I love it. Its set in Iceland in about 1821 and is about a murderess who is due to be put to death for her crime. But until then she is posted with a family in a remote valley to receive spiritual guidance from a local priest, presumably to help her on her way in the next world. At first you feel no sympathy with the woman but over the course of the book she tells her story and you come to understand her. Born out of wedlock to a fatherless single mum who abandons her to a series of work placements in local firms you can’t help but feel pity for her.
At first I thought, thank goodness that doesn’t happen today, and then I realised it does. The circumstances are a little different, but the effect is the same. Many young people are born today to single mothers who for one reason or another, drugs, drink or general inability to cope, and are destined for a life in Care, which too often means many changes in placements that are often miles away from home. I haven’t read the end of the book yet, but sadly I know the end of the childhood of lots of young people in Care, and it makes grim reading. Educational results for young people who have been in Care more than six months are not good.
I don’t think they go on to murder anyone, but their educational results are not as good as the contemporaries who haven’t been in Care. It must be hard to concentrate when you’re in the middle of emotional trauma.
I don’t know what the result is, but at least by becoming aware of the problem, we can start looking for answers.
I’m going to cheat a bit on this one so that I can mention the book I’ve just finished reading, Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty. I’ve read one of hers before and loved it. This one is nothing short of superb. To trot out that old chestnut, I couldn’t put it down. It’s the story of a high-flying academic scientist, Yvonne Carmichael, who embarks on an extra-marital affair with devastating consequences. The story culminates in a trial so vividly described it’s as if you were right there in the courtroom. The tension and suspense throughout the whole book is just awesome. I don’t want to give any spoilers but as well as being thoroughly enjoyable, the author gives wonderful insight into the plight of women in rape situations. But it isn’t in any way a gloomy read so don’t be put off by that.
After I’d read Apple Tree Yard and started breathing again, I was in the mood for something completely different so I scoured my Kindle and found a book I’d had on there a while but never read: A Perfect Retreat by Kate Forster. I stopped reading chick-lit books (which I suppose this is) a while ago as so many of them were dull and predictable but this one is turning out to be quite a page turner. It’s a believable story, mainly about the lives and loves of a once-famous actress, Willow, and her children’s nanny, Kitty, who basically sort themselves out by moving to a crumbling old manor house in the country (can’t resist those!) owned by Kitty’s family. It’s an easy read, and very enjoyable for that.
I’m reading “Promises, Promises” by Erica James. It’s full of strong characters, some funny moments and I’m really behind the women getting what they want…I hope they do! Erica James juggles multiple points of view expertly and I’m hoping to learn a lot about that through osmosis!!
Helen R x