Monday, July 30, 2012

The Wonderful Maeve Binchy

It was sad night  tonight when I learned of the death of the wonderful Maeve Binchy.

Growing up in Ireland , and loving books, there was no way that I could not read something by Maeve Binchy . In fact after reading one of her books you cannot help but read everything else that Maeve ever wrote. That is what I did.
Maeve could tell a story in a way that made you care very much for each and  every one of the characters. They were memorable and special, each and every one. You could almost picture them living real lives in the towns they were from.
Maeve had a unique and soothing voice and on the many occasions I watched her on Irish television or on the radio over here , I always found myself stopping what I was doing and giving her my full attention as she was interviewed by our presenters over here. Her voice was engaging and full of humour and wit, and it never failed to put a smile on my face.
I will treasure each and every book I have of hers as there will now be no more books to look forward to. I never dreamed she would be taken from us so soon. Ireland lost someone very special.

The first book I read by Maeve was Light A Penny Candle..OOhh how I loved that book.All of my copies are well worn and loved in paperback and hardback. The book had been out a good few years before I came across it but when I did I became a lifelong fan .
With all my favourite writers I collect all their books and I dread the day I get news that one of them has passed.

Authurs do not realise I think how much sometimes their books mean to us. Sometimes we pick up their books at times in our life when we need something.. perhaps part of the storyline is relevent to what we may be going through in our own life or perhaps we have read their book  at times when our own life has something wonderful happening in it .I can often think back to times in the past, and the books I was reading then, and when I open the book, maybe after many years, the memories coming flooding back,be it good or bad.
We ( the booklovers) will miss this wonderful writer, this charming and witty woman who told us so many stories and made us care for each and every one of them.

R.I.P Maeve

Cookery Books / Some Of The Best!! Part 1

Now, you may think these are strange types of books to collect, but I love them!!!
Some people might be thinking surely to heaven one good cookbook  is all you need but honestly.. just as you would not go round eating the same dozen meals during your entire lifetime neither should you limit yourself to just one cookbook.
A lovely friend of mine called Ruth who lives in America sent me this wonderful book last year.

I had previously asked Ruth which American cookbook she could recommend to me. I got such a surprise when it showed up as it covered just about every recipe you could ever imagine.
I am a note maker when it comes to cookery books and I like to add my own notes/post-its/pencil marks( yes I know.. look at me.. vandal!!). Cookbooks I am afraid take alot of my vandal behaviour!.
What can I say ,I'm a scribbler :0)

So guys, are you interested in chocolate and baking at all??
Yes.. OOhh good I'am glad..
Check out these beauties then so.
From our lovely Irish writer Marian Keyes we have this beauty..

Then this beautiful book by Trish Deseine... Ohhh this book will have you reaching for the chocolate quicker then you can say Willy Wonka..The pictures in this book are a chocoholics dream and I do believe it cannot be read when there is no chcoclate in the house.

Then we have the lovely Rachel Allen, daughter of Darina Allen equally as fabulous and famous. What these ladies can't do in a kitchen is not even worth talking about.

We are fortunate over here to have some lovely lads cooking and writing books about it.
Here we have : Donal Skehan. This young man can whip up a tasty meal while making it look a breeze.

Then the lovely :Kevin Dundon
Anyone who has seen this man on tv cook will understand. He cooks with great humour and charm and you cannot fail to smile watching him cook his delicious meals.

Above are some of the wonderful recipe books by the legend that is Julia Child. Retro Fabulous right here folks !!!! These were also the inspiration behind the book Julie and Julia that was also made into a film of the same name.

We have a wonderful cookery magazine over in Ireland called Easy Food. It covers everything from recipies for breakfast,lunch,dinner,snacks ,desserts. It is always seasonal and the reipes delicious and told in a way that will make even the most nervous of cooks feel like a chef in their own kitchen. They are great at recommending /mentioning great local producers of food and where to find up to the minute kitchen products and merchandise and stockists.

These next two books are by two more awesome Ladies.Both British(as far as I know)
First Sophie Dahl, granddaughter of the writer Roald Dahl who was most famous for his books for children.( He wrote adult books too)
Sophie's book is both pretty and full of unusual recipes. The cover alone is worth buying this for.
Now the second lady who deserves a mention is the stunning Gizzi.. This stunning lady struts her retro look on tv while serving up some grub that could make your toes curl in delight. Is the cake on the front cover not reason enough to convince you??
Do you have a recipe book you turn to again and again.. If so let me know in the commenst below. I would love to hear from you xxxx
Until next time my lovelies xxx

Look What I Won!! The CozyChicks Kitchen Cookbook

A little while ago the ladies over at The Cozy Chicks were running a comp to win their cookbook.
I was lucky enough to be one of the winners.
Well today look what arived in the mail.

For those of you who don't know The Cosy chicks are a group of female writers who write cozy mysteries . These lovely ladies can be found here:
 On their blog:

If you enjoy a cosy mystery these are the ladies to follow.
The Cozy chicks are : Leanne Sweeney,Kate Collins,Deb Baker(Hannah Reed),Heather blake Webber,Ellery Adams,Maggie Sefton,Lorraine Bartlett.
All their links can be found on their facebook page and their blog.

Looking forward now to trying out these delicious recipes!!!!
Review to follow!

Reading This Week.


I had tried reading this second book in the inkheart trilogy before without success. I had got half way through and abandoned it. This time I am having better luck with it . The plot is complex and I can't really read other books while reading this as my brain would end up like a bowl of spaghetti. Most of the time I can dip in and out of ten books easily and remember what's going on.. not this time...
The trilogy in short is about books that come alive when read by certain people . Those people can read the story and bring people out of the books and some people can go in too. (sometimes unintentionally) .
This trilogy is really for fans of books about books. It is a Children's/Ya book but any adult will equally love it.
There are some wonderful characters in this  trilogy.Inkheart,Inkspell,Inkdeath.

 My favourite characters are Mo, Meggie, Elinor and Farid. Mo is a bookbinder/book doctor (as I adore books  I think a doctor for books makes me warm to Mo as much as I did). He takes care of all the sick and near dead books with tender loving care . It is not just work to him he loves to read too. Meggie is Mo's daughter and Mo has passed on his love for reading to his daughter who shares his passion for the written word. Elinor is Meggie's aunt and she is quite the character. Full of wit and sarcasm she collects/reads/worships books. They really are a family of book lovers. It truly is a book about books.

 This trilogy takes my imagination on trips to many different worlds as I try and picture all the books I have read and wonder what if the characters could be read out of the books.. or I could be read in...
Would I be hiding out in a room in The Overlook hotel  from the book The Shining  by Stephen King  as weird and wonderful things happen in the hotel and the crazed authur is trying to kill his family..
Could I be down the rabbit hole with Alice and having tea with the mad hatter.
Maybe I am on top of the Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton on my way to lands and adventures far away...
Would I recommend these books. You bet your socks I would!!!!
Books are wonderful for the imagination.. esp in children and in the few adults who have not forgotten how to dream.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Books That Haunt You At Night!!!!

shhhh... come closer...
Have you ever read a book late at night... perhaps it's raining outside... all the house is quiet except for the creaking of the house settling for the night...
You are tucked up cosy in your bed.... Your nightlight is on....Your new book awaits....
The lady in the bookshop/Library suggested innocently thought that it was harmless due to the fact that your librarian looks like a good scare would probably land her flat on her back with her pulse flying through the roof and paramedics would be needed to pound on her chest.

Let's call our lovely librarian/bookseller as Mrs Gibbins( Not real name of course)
This lady always dresses so pretty and elegent. has a fondness for skirts and heels and always looks impecible. This would be the last person that you would ever have picked to give you a book that will take ten years off your life..
It seems Mrs Gibbins is a secret Horror fan.. a fact that you could have done with knowing before you got a recommendation from her.
The story probably started innocent enough.. You might be feeling a little confident at this might be feeling smug about the amount of terror you can put up with but wait.... just wait....
Then the story begins to take a turn for the grizzly... your most favourite character does not look like she is going to last very many more pages and then WHAM !!!!!!
Blood everywhere, psycho killers/machetes/dismembered body parts!!!!!!!!!!

Suddenly being alone in your house reading at night does not seem such a good idea..
Sounds that likely happen all through daylight hours suddenly take on new meaning and your terror mounts.....Trying to remember if you locked the outer doors of your house enter your head along with what could be used as a weapon should you find yourself having to confront some lunatic with an eye for making your body into one large gigsaw puzzle with nothing more then a machete and a crazed look in his eye.

At this point it is likely that your book is now back on your bedside table where as your pulse is nearing danger levels ....
Now folks this is where we learn our lesson...
Not all folks like the books we expect them to.
Not all nice old ladies like Miss Marple and cookery books on how to make your own scones.
No... as we have learned some nice old ladies have more gumption then we could have ever guessed and any mad lunatic coming into their house in the middle of the night is likely to be carried out in a body bag with a tag on his toe if he takes this little old lady for granted.

So please folks...Never Judge a book by a  person !!!

The Life And Times Of A Bookish Girl And Her Unbookish Friends

Does your friends eyes glaze over when you start talking about new books?
Are your friends stunned when they hear how many days it is until some authur they had never heard of has a book being released and you are watching the countdown on Amazon/The Book Depository like a hawk watching his lunch on the run.
Meet the unbookish friends..
Blast them anyway!!! There is always a few in every circle of friends :0)

Let me paint a picture for you.
There you are , lovely glow on the skin, almost panting with excitement, you just got it....
A New book  of course!.....
OOhhh the excitement!!!!!
It's hardback's smoothe crisp pages..the gentle sound of the first pages as you turn each one......eeekkkkk.....(insert girlish squeel here) ooohhh the excitement!!!!

There was one particular book I was very excited about coming out many years ago.
The countdown had been going on for 8 months.
I was more excited then a expectant mother..
The night before it was released had arrived.
Alarm clock was set.
Clothes laid out on the bed.
Jacket,shoes,purse,keys all ready...I was more prepared then on my wedding day.

Book Release day !!!!!! Yay!!!!!!
There I was in line with all the other fans of the authur waiting to pick up our hardback editions of the new release..
There was alot of people lined up and lots of laughter and banter going on between these book lovers.
Here we were early in the morning,talking about plot lines and our favourite characters when most people were in their bed.
I felt like of all the places on earth here was a bunch of people that understood.
Understood what?.... you might ask..
The real, honest to god love of books.
Some people when given books as a gift look upon said gift with a face on them like a slapped arse.
When people give me books as gifts I shout Comrade!!!!!!!!

Now if I had told my unbookish friends about this lovely day, there would have been shaking of heads and worrying about getting me into what ever the book eqivalant of AA was.
When I told my book loving friends they were telling me of the same day they had getting up early and doing the same thing I did. !!!!!

So, as I have got a little wiser( I am not going to say older although....yikes!!!, that is happening very quickly now too) I have reeled in the excitement when around whatever the name is for an unbookish person ... I'am damned if I know the name to that one.
All bookish excitement I now curb until I get on line and can gush to all my book friends who understand my addiction.
Here we can talk daily about all the lovely books out there in the world that we have found, and long time favourites, and recommend until are hearts are content.
So although I may have to wait until I log on, I now have an outlet for book gushing with unlimited like minded people .My few book friends without internet access(shock horror!!!) I cherish so much too . When we can sit down with a cuppa and some biscuits and cake and chat about what we have been reading as we try and convince the other person that honestly they would love it, I am grateful for all the friends I made because of these bundles of paper  !!!

So, what to do when none of your friends are big readers.

Favourite Female Writer Helene Hanff

Helene Hanff:

I first came across Helene's books in a secondhand bookstore many years ago. What first attracted me to the book was in fact the cover...I know , never judge a book by the cover...but jeeze it was pretty cool. It looked like an airmail envelope and I was intrigued.Esp when I saw it was non fiction.
The Book Was "84 Charring Cross Road", and I was hooked. I got it for very little money which just made the experience even better.

 I often find myself reading the odd page of a book when browsing in bookshops etc but this was the first time that I could have sat down right where I stood and continued to read. I did not even notice the people around me.
When I got home I put on the kettle and got down the hot chocolate and read , read, read.
I read it in one sitting.
The book is non fiction and I could not get enough of it. The idea of two people who had never met starting a friendship that lasted decades that began only because of a little add in a newspaper blew my mind!
Getting to know Helene and Frank was wonderful as I slowly flipped the pages taking each word in ,and being introduced to their sense of humours .
The book was often witty with many of Helene's sarcastic replies to Frank. Frank on the other hand was very dignified and came across as having a stiff upper lip but Helene could make that lip wobble.
There are many things that appeal to me about this book. The people mentioned obviously but it was more then that. The times they lived in with rationing on Frank's side of the pond and the difference between the British and American sense of humour was great to experience through their eyes.
Although they first were introduced to each other on a buisness level in reguards to buying books we slowly got to know each person and those close to them as well. Helene and Frank's close friends and family knew of the correspondence and understood the joy they each got from the letters they recieved from each other over the years. I always regret that they did not meet but what a wonderful friendship it was.
Getting to know New York through someone who lived and loved it  was pure enjoyment.The first time I read this I was reading it as a teenager living in the countryside in Ireland and to my eyes it was glamarous and exciting. Helene was full of life, vivacious and  with great sense of humour and there she was strutting around New York script reading/writing etc enjoying her life in a place that was very different to where I was. All I know is those streets of New York were lucky to have her.

Helene wrote a number of non fiction books. One of which talked purely about her love of New York and all the things that you should do if you visit there or even if you live there and want to experience the joy of  what this wonderful city has to offer.Helene could see her own city as a visitor could ,and take as much enjoyment from it as someone else may do for the first time. Her ability to make you care about what she was writing about was contagious which is why I have multiples of alot of her books.
I have read many many books, well over a thousand at present and this one book remains such a joy to me even more so now than in recent years, and I read it time and again. I too have  a pen pal in America and I write to him from this side of the pond. Our weekly letters to each other talking about books and our lifes and sending each other little gifts and books reminds me of Helene and Frank's friendship. We too have never met but share such a love for books that we never tire talking about them.
I hope some day that we will have something that Helene and Frank never did....... a chance to meet each other.
Maybe it will be in Florida, maybe Donegal who knows.... I keep my fingers crossed .
 If I learned anything by this book 84 Charring Cross Road it was that friendship can span miles and oceans and last a lifetime.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Really Enjoyable Book Vloggers On Youtube

When I started to look around on line for bookish type peeps to interact with and have a little bit of banter with I came across all these wonderful book vloggers on youtube. I have spent so many hours watching their wonderful, comic informative and engaging vlogs that it would be a shame for you all to not meet them too. So in no particular order please meet these wonderful people yourself. This list is by no means finished (but my typing fingers were becoming knackered) , there will be a second list up next week but for now off you go and meet these wonderful peeps and subscribe to their channels.

Les and Becks over at
Amanda over at  
Sabrina over at   
Lesley over at    
 Ariel at              
Misty at              
This lovely lady  
Charley over at  
Debra over at     
 Jennie over at              
Krista over at     

Books About Books/Authurs/Biography/Autobiography

It will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me .... I love books. In fact the only thing I can think of better then books is a book about books.
Over many years I have come across quite alot of these and I tend to read them again and again.
Some are nice to  dip into every now and then and to use quotes from .
When searching for books about books that is a bit harder. It was not that easy to find these books for some reason or another. Below I am showing you the ones I found and loved so it will save you a little of the leg work that I had to endure . No doubt there will be a part 2 to this particular entry at some point but for now here we go.....................






Monday, July 23, 2012

My Desert Island Books

Ahoy there!!!!!

Ahhhh a desert island.. peace tranquility and uninterupted reading.
Okayyy the chances of getting stranded on a desert island are in fact very slim.. If it is a case that I do ever make it on to a deserted island .. remain stuck there for any amount of time and then get back to tell the tale I will in fact chew my shoe... .. or not...
I probably spend more time thinking about this then I prob should but let's face it alot of  us book types probably do the same at one stage or another.
A desert island ... what books would I take to read.... the mind boggles..
Okay I am guessing I will probably need some from every genre ..

OK let's go.... Overboard!!!!!.... I loved that movie( Goldie Hawn,Kurt Russell)

Children's/ya /awesome : Harry Potter series.. Do I have to explain this one?.... no.. did not think so.

Classics: Little Women.. Some strong female characters in this gem.. I will need some positive female role models if I am going to be on this island for a while and trying to survive while not going all girly( that was slightly sexist remark.. I apologise ladies) at night screaming at every odd noise.

Horror:The entire works of Stephen King... Those should keep me up at night, but that's ok as I can spend all night lying on the beach star gazing and wondering what on earth I was thinking bringing horror books with me at all when some great wilderbeast/rabies infected monkey could be lurking  behind some banana tree...

Dystopian:The Hunger Games: As bad as my situation may be while stuck on an island I am guessing it would be alot better then in the this book... At least if I am here by myself I won't be killing others to get out alive.This shall be my "go to" book should I start to feel fed up and want a nice " well if you think your situation is bad be grateful it is not like this" type book.

Romantic:  I think this is a bad idea .. who needs to be reading about romance when wandering  solo on an island..

Non Fiction: Helene Hanff's complete non fiction works. I could probably  go to the island with just her books and just be content with those.I could be daydreamiing about the streets of New York while on a sandy beach somewhere exotic( desert islands are always hot and exotic...well to me they are!)( I am not going to be stranded on no drizzly cold beach somewhere of the coast of Ireland where I will freeze my buns off while getting cold atlantic spray on my books... no sirrie.. If I am going to be stranded you can bet your Gucci sling backs it's going to be hot!!!

Thriller: It is not a book that I could fit in one particular genre as it covers a few. I would read Anna Dressed In Blood. It got me from the first chapter and the thrills just kept coming  after that.

Fiction: The Jane Austen Book Club or The entire works of Sue Grafton... I never read The Jane Austen Book Club until I had watched the movie and now I really enjoy!!!. Books about books, Sure whats not to love about that!!The Sue Grafton alphabet series is more wonderful then I can ever possibly describe : ..Kinsey Milhone.. PI .. Smart.. Gutsy... Fit.. food muncher..Catcher of bad guys... even if not on a desert island I would read these!!

Cookery: I can't imagine my diet is going to be very exciting while on the island so I pick a cookery book to look at all the pretty pictures.. I can imagine fruit and water are about as exciting as my diet is likely to be while there. So I pick this beauty..... And yes the recipes are as great as you can imagine they would be in here.

Planning a desert island must have list?
Have some favourite's that you have  already thought of ?
Leave them in the comments below me hearties!!!!! ( apparently I envisage Pirates there too ;0)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

New Books/ Used/ Read This Week

Well at long last my books arrived. I ordered them weeks ago and the darn things took the scenic route getting to me. So.. as I was saying .. the goodies arrived.. they came in hardback ,paperback and holding on for life secondhand. I am no book snob I love them all equally..
I got a good mix of books here. Ya, Childrens, Adult, Ghost, Fairytale retelling etc etc. There was a good mix of several genres as you will see in the pictures below.
Can I first say how impressed I was with some of the covers. I know we get told to not judge a book by it's cover but let's face it most of us do. Who wants a (whisper) Ugly book on their shelfs to look at from now until eternity...not me that's for sure.. there has been a few exceptions every so often. Some of my older books and most favourite have very dull covers but I love them !!! ( Them, I forgive anything)
Now .. where was I.. Oh yes.. Beautiful covers this week. It is almost a shame to slip these between other books as the covers are so frickin beautiful. The detail and the work that went into them make the whole book seem more special even before you have cracked one of these babies open.

So, as those close to me know ,when I was a kid( not that many decades ago.. ok a interest) I was a big fan of Enid Blyton.. I was very much into books about boarding schools and magic faraway trees and enchanted woods that my copies of my favourite Blyton books got many a battering though the years. I decided to replace them because it would be just my luck that they would go out of print like other favourites of mine. So I got the beautiful hardback editions below. Two names have been changed from the older books that I have . Fanny is now Frannie and Dick is now comment ...:0)

Don't you just love this cover. Esp if you are a fan of eerie... creepy type of covers. Anna Dressed IN Blood. It came this week. I tore through it.. Highly recommend this book!!! If you like a ya book with a good storyline that really packs a ghostly punch read it.!. One of the best Ya books I have read in a long time. It kept me on my toes. Another fab cover too. It is one of my favourites.

My reads for the coming weeks :

So that is my reading sorted for the next week or two. I hope you find some great books to read too xxxxxxxxx