Thursday, 31 March 2011

My Holiday Reads

OK, I know its ages since my holiday (desperately in need of another one) but I wanted to post about the books I read while I was away. So here goes
The first one was:

Hothouse Flower by Lucinda Riley
I saw this book in Tesco’s just before Christmas and put it on my Christmas wish list (actually, no I didn’t – I put it in my husband’s hot little  hands and told him to go and buy it for me – sometimes there’s no point in just wishing!)
One of the first things which attracted it to me was the cover.  It reminded me of two of my favourite books by Kate Moreton – The House at Riverton and The Forgotten Garden.
I love historical novels but I love them even more when the characters in the present day are delving into their family’s past. In fact I love it so much that this is one of the genres I am trying to write and one day hope to publish.    I’ll never be as good as Kate Moreton but there’s no harm in having aspirations.
Later I learned that Hothouse Flower was nominated for the Richard and Judy Book Club and my interest was sparked even more.
It’s a hefty tome and I wanted to read it when I had plenty of time, so decided to sequester it away for my holidays.  It was temptation waiting in the wings but I resisted.  And I’m glad I did and after all that build up, it certainly wasn’t an anti-climax.
I loved the description of the run up to WWII and I loved the two main present day characters too.  The story had plenty of twists and turns and kept me guessing right up until the end.  I was a bit disappointed that the main character from the past seemed to fizzle out a bit after the war and one of the twists I found a little incredulous, but on the whole I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was glad I had saved it for my holiday.
I was sad when I finished the book and had to say goodbye to the characters and I wished that I had been the author of it – so I think you’ll agree that there’s no better recommendation than that.

Just after Christmas I was asked if I would like to become a member of a reading group organised by the mum of one of my youngest son’s friends.  I’ve always wanted to be in a reading group so was delighted to be included in one on my doorstep.
We were all asked to come along to the group with a book to recommend. I knew a few members of the group but not all and I wanted to recommend a book which was sufficiently literary without being too dry.
I’d read quite a bit about Kate Mosse, author of Labyrinth and Sepulchre, and liked the sound of her new novel – The Winter Ghosts, so I recommended this and it ended up as one of the first reads.

I have to say that I was sadly disappointed by this book.  She writes incredibly atmospherically and I could imagine myself physically in the setting.  Parts of the book were completely absorbing too.  But as a book as a whole, well sadly, I didn’t feel there was enough plot to keep a full length novel going. .  I found myself in the first half of the book waiting for something to happen and in the second half waiting for it to end.  Perhaps it’s just me, perhaps I just didn’t get it, perhaps I’m just not literary enough, and it’s more about feelings that things happening. The middle bit was good though.
The next book is by the lovely Kate Harrison, and is the second in the Secret Shopper series, Secret Shopper Unwrapped .

Oh my, Kate, you’ve done it again.  I loved the first book and I loved this one just as much.  Revisiting the characters of the previous book felt like putting on a favourite old jumper.  I didn’t have to work at who was who and what was there background and I fell in love instantly with a new character – Kelly.  At the end of the book I read the first chapter of her third book in the series – The Secret Shopper Affair and wished I could get stuck into that too.  It’s just come out and has gone straight to the top of my wish list – can’t wait.

Oh dear, for some reason the blog won't let me add the images of these books - sorry.

Well that's all for now, more books to follow shortly.



  1. I love posts like this - always good to have book recommendations - thank you!

  2. Hi Teresa

    Thanks - more to come shortly.


  3. I want to read Hothouse Flower, also for the same reason, because it reminded me of the Kate Moreton books (the cover art, maybe?) but I haven't read any of Kate Mosse' books yet. Thanks for the reviews - really interesting!

  4. Thanks for the reviews at's nice to have something recomended. I have nominated your blog for a Leibster award so please take a look on Hope you don't mind.

  5. Jayne - I'd definitely check it out - I think we're writing in the same genre and its definitely one I'd look at again when I'm editing. Also, have you read Dancing In The Dark by Maureen Lee - I loved it too.

    Mum In Meltdown - An awared - of course I don't mind, I'll be over on your blog.


  6. Hello!
    I've been meaning to pop in and thank you for your lovely comment on my blog, but have been busy writing my Boot Camp book and not keeping up on emails - and then I found this! Thanks for this fantastic write-up, I really appreciate it. It's given me just the boost I need as I'm half way through writing Boot Camp, which is always the time when I begin to think, oh, no, what am I doing? So reading this was lovely.
    All the best,
    Kate xx