May 2015 To Be Read shelfWell, with these two reviews I’m finally all caught up with my reviewing – there’s nothing else finished but not reviewed! But I have to say I’m a little disappointed I haven’t been reading anything a bit “meatier”. I am completely recovered from the flu but have maybe been doing a bit too much catching up with the fitness side of things, so I’ve been a bit tired and when I got to the end of “Barchester Towers”, out of all of the travel, business and fiction on my Kindle, I chose a celebrity autobiography. You can blame my and my friend Linda’s current Macomber obsession for the other one – she’s just started the Rose Harbor series and I had book three ready to read and pass to her, so it would have been RUDE not to have done so as quickly as possible … right?

Debbie Macomber – “Love Letters”

(19 May 2015)

Third in the Rose Harbor series and Jo Marie has the by now customary pair of visitors, in this case Maggie and her husband, whose marriage is in serious trouble after faults on both sides, and Ellie, defying her mother to meet up with a man she met via the Internet, but then discovering he’s not quite as he seems. Meanwhile, is Jo Marie using her curiosity about handyman Mark to mask her grief at knowing her late husband’s fate at last, and can she bear to read the last letter he sent her?

The letter theme is carried through the book (oddly enough, given the title!), with Elise’s mother revealing the existence of a long-lost (or ignored) love letter and Maggie brooding over one given to her long ago by her now-husband. Will everything change for the better, settle down or be torn apart?

We have to wait for August for book four – oh dear!

Craig Revel Horwood – “All Balls and Glitter: My Life”

(26 December 2014 – ebook)

This must have been in the Christmas Kindle books sale. I do like a celebrity autobiography from time to time, and I do like Strictly Come Dancing, so this was a must to pick up (when it was 99p). It’s an easy read and pretty well written and edited, and thankfully takes us right up to date (well, up to around 2008), rather than expecting readers to shell out for a second volume (I get quite annoyed when such books are split into two for presumably financial reasons). It was a bit more explicit than I’d expected, given that lots of people would probably pick it up for the SCD angle, but I suppose that that means it’s honest, and it is written in his customary style. There’s lots on his journey through musical theatre training and choreography, etc., and on the various households he has lived in and relationships he’s had, but not very much gossip about Strictly, apart from going on about a spat with Julian Clary.

When you read an ebook, you never quite know where the pictures will be, and here they were all clustered at the end in the last 80% of the book, which was a bit annoying as by then you’ve forgotten who some of the early people are!

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Mary Hocking and Charlie HIllI went to the BookCrossing meetup on Saturday and acquired three books I was expecting (but didn’t pick any up and actually took in three books from my BookCrossing pile, amazingly for me). My friend Sian passed me local author Charlie Hill’s “Books” – I read his “The Space Between Us” about a year ago, and was keen to read this one, which I think is a bit of a roman a clef, and is about genre and quality in books, but in a satirical and funny novel. Friends have had mixed reactions, but I’m looking forward to it.

The Mary Hockings are for Ali’s Mary Hocking Reading Week, which starts a week on Monday. I haven’t been able to find any in the local charity shops, so Ali kindly lent me a couple. I’m aiming to have one on the go by 1 June so I can review it early in the week, and the other done by the end of the week. Let’s hope! They both look interesting and it’s nice to celebrate this very out-of-print and “lost” author.

I’m currently still reading the book of Iris Murdoch interviews and getting a lot out of it – and adding a lot of post-it markers to the pages for my research! I did start a Kindle book about reading “Middlemarch” on the way back from the BookCrossing meetup, but I have the temptation of a Robertson Davies trilogy in paperback sitting on my bedside table, so I will see what I fancy later.

Are you joining in with Mary Hocking Week? I think there might be competitions and all sorts … what are you reading now? How do you switch from light to meatier books, or don’t you worry about substance?