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About Janet

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    Rebel Without A Clue!
  • Birthday 05/30/1966

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    Reading! :D

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  1. Village Christmas and Other Notes on the English Year by Laurie Lee The ‘blurb’ From the author of Cider With Rosie, Village Christmas is a moving, lyrical portrait of England through the changing years and seasons. Laurie Lee left his childhood home in the Cotswolds when he was nineteen, but it remained with him throughout his life until, many years later, he returned for good. This collection brings to life the sights, sounds, landscapes and traditions of his home - from centuries-old May Day rituals to his own patch of garden, from carol singing in crunching snow to pub conversations and songs. Here too he writes about the mysteries of love, living in wartime Chelsea, Winston Churchill's wintry funeral and his battle, in old age, to save his beloved Slad Valley from developers. Told with a warm sense of humour and a powerful sense of history, Village Christmas brings us a picture of a vanished world. I know a lot of people find Laurie Lee too whimsical, but I really love his writing. Although prose, it obviously has a poetic quality to it – and that for me is what makes it so enjoyable (I actually prefer his prose to his poetry). This short collection starts with his recollections of Christmases in his beloved village of Slad in Gloucestershire and works its way through the seasons. Some of his recollections take place in London in a time where he rubbed shoulders with other poets, authors and artists. Sure, it's dated, but for me that just adds to the charm. There are a few new essays in this edition that were discovered after his death. They are - A Cold Christmas Walk, The English Spring, As-You-Were-Only-Better, Chelsea Toward the End of the Last War, Notes on Marriage, Harvest Festival and The Shining Severn – and it was for these that I bought the book as I have read the others in other works. So yes, dated, maybe but I very much enjoyed it. The paperback edition is 160 pages long and is published by Penguin. It was first published in 2015. The ISBN is 9780241243671. 4/5 (I liked it) (Finished 13 January 2018)
  2. Janet's Log - Stardate 2017

    Letters from the Lighthouse by Emma Carroll The ‘blurb’ We weren't supposed to be going to the pictures that night. We weren't even meant to be outside, not in a blackout, and definitely not when German bombs had been falling on London all month like pennies from a jar. February, 1941. After months of bombing raids in London, twelve-year-old Olive Bradshaw and her little brother Cliff are evacuated to the Devon coast. The only person with two spare beds is Mr Ephraim, the local lighthouse keeper. But he's not used to company and he certainly doesn't want any evacuees. Desperate to be helpful, Olive becomes his post-girl, carrying secret messages (as she likes to think of the letters) to the villagers. But Olive has a secret of her own. Her older sister Sukie went missing in an air raid, and she's desperate to discover what happened to her. And then she finds a strange coded note which seems to link Sukie to Devon, and to something dark and impossibly dangerous. It's 1941 and 12-year-old Olive Bradshaw and younger brother Cliff are having a night out at the cinema, but they become separated from their big sister Sukie when there is an air-raid and Sukie vanishes. Olive was wearing Sukie's coat and finds a mysterious piece of paper in the pocket. The siblings are evacuated to stay with the sister of their London neighbour, a woman called Queenie who is Sukie's penpal who lives in the small coastal town of Budmouth Point in Devon. However, things don't work out with the young evacuees and so they are sent to stay on the lighthouse. There, they become aware that there are secrets to which the whole village seem party, and which appear to have something to do with Sukie's disappearance… Another great offering from Emma Carroll. I really like her books and I particularly loved this one. I liked the characters and especially the setting – not just the location, but the period of history too. Carroll paints such a vivid picture of life for a 1940s evacuee and this book had just the right levels of history and excitement. It was Waterstones' Book of the Month in May and I read so many comments on Twitter from schools who had used it in their lessons. Emma Carroll remains my favourite contemporary children's author and I am looking forward to more from her. The paperback edition is 288 pages long and is published by Faber & Faber. It was first published in 2017. The ISBN is 9780571327584. 4/5 (I really liked it) (Finished 14 May 2017)
  3. Noll's 2018 Reads

    I was *ACE* at golf on the Sega Megadrive ("absolutely marvellous putt...") and before that, at The Hobbit on the Commodore 64!
  4. I think big fans of chick-lit would enjoy it very much. It was just too twee for my taste, I think.
  5. The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan The ‘blurb' Once a celebrated author of short stories now in his twilight years, Anthony Peardew has spent half his life collecting lost objects, trying to atone for a promise broken many years before. Realising he is running out of time, he leaves his house and all its lost treasures to his assistant Laura, the one person he can trust to fulfil his legacy and reunite the thousands of objects with their rightful owners. But the final wishes of the 'Keeper of Lost Things' have unforeseen repercussions which trigger a most serendipitous series of encounters... This novel is bought to you by the phrase "the lovely cup of tea…" When Laura, a lonely divorcee, applies for a job working for the author Anthony Peardew as his assistant she little knows that it will change her life. Years ago, Anthony was given a medallion by his fiancée, but in a cruel twist of fate, she dies on their wedding day, and Anthony loses the precious gift. From that day onwards, he starts collecting items that he finds – a teacup and saucer, a piece of jigsaw, a child's hair bobble… He catalogues each item carefully and hopes that one day they will be reunited with their owners. A Second narrative runs through the book. On her way to a job interview, Eunice finds something and picks it up for good luck. It seems to work as she gets the job working for a book-publisher called Bomber. Over time she and Bomber develop a deep and lasting friendship. The two stories overlap quite cleverly. Anthony leaves his house and contents to Laura in the hope that she will carry on his work for him after he's gone. Laura, together with Anthony's gardener and a young neighbour called Sunshine set about fulfilling his wishes, together with help from an unexpected quarter… Looking at the reviews on Goodreads I seem to be in a minority as most of people who have reviewed it have raved about it, but I only liked it. I just found it too… I think the best word to describe this book is Saccharine. It had its good points – I liked the idea of the cataloguing and the way we got an explanation of how each item found had been lost in the first place, but overall it was rather cutesy for my taste. I think it was good for a debut, but I'm not convinced I shall be trying anything else by this author. The paperback edition is 320 pages long and is published by Two Roads. It was first published in 2017. The ISBN is 9781473635487. I read it on Kindle. 3/5 (I quite liked it) (Finished 2 January 2018) Edit - I don't know what's going on with my formatting. I had a gap missing after the title under the picture, and when I inserted it, it changed half the text to a different font! #confused
  6. Oh, I'm a numpty - I've read Around the World in Eighty Days! I will download Journey to the Centre of the Earth on my Kindle and try that at some stage. I hope the others do live up to those for you.
  7. Janet's Log - Stardate 2017

    Thanks, @chaliepud and @Madeleine - I hope you both enjoy it when you get to it.
  8. Janet's Log - Stardate 2017

    The Witchfinder's Sister by Beth Underdown The 'blurb' 'The number of women my brother Matthew killed, so far as I can reckon it, is one hundred and six...' It has been waiting in the dark, Matthew's history - our history. But now I must turn over the stone: that you might see it, wriggling to escape... When Alice Hopkins' husband dies in a tragic accident, she returns to the small Essex town of Manningtree, where her brother Matthew still lives. But home is no longer a place of safety. Matthew has changed, and there are rumours spreading through the town: whispers of witchcraft, and of a great book, in which he is gathering women's names. To what lengths will Matthew's obsession drive him? And what choice will Alice make, when she finds herself at the very heart of his plan? Arguably the Salem witch trials are the most famous trials of their type, but many years before they took place something similar was happening in England. This book is based on the career of Matthew Hopkins, self-styled Witchfinder General in the East of the country who is believed to have been responsible for the death of hundreds of women accused of witchcraft in the mid sixteen-hundreds. When Alice's husband dies she is forced to return to her hometown of Manningtree in Essex to accept the charity of her brother Matthew. Relations between the siblings have been strained since Alice married the adopted son of their former servant – a union that Matthew felt to be beneath her. Now, Matthew has taken on the role of Witchfinder and he has a list of women's names in his book who he believes are witches – and Alice is coerced into accompanying Matthew as he travels around the area testing women to see if they are guilty of witchcraft. As neighbour turns on neighbour, old family secrets come to light and even Alice finds herself in peril… Although Matthew Hopkins is a real person there is no evidence that he had a sister. However, Beth Underdown writes a convincing story with convincing characters. I very much enjoyed this – it was fairly fast moving and I liked the history element of it. It's one of those books that makes one want to read more about the subject. It's laughable these days that anyone could consider a woman (in some cases, a man) to be a witch - and therefore a threat - just because of the way they chose to live, and yet in the 17th century this was a very real and serious threat. This book is Beth Underdown's debut novel – I'm looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next. The paperback edition is 384 pages long and is published by Penguin. It was first published in 2017. The ISBN is 9780241978054. 4/5 (I really liked it) (Finished 11 May 2017)
  9. Noll's 2018 Reads

    My kids used to love this! I'm rubbish at games - if I try one of my son's car games I always end up going the wrong way! I'm so glad to read you're in such a good place (physically and metaphorically!) - and yes, it's loving to have a spare room for snoring purposes! Happy reading in 2017. Edit - or even 2018!
  10. Janet's Log - Stardate 2017

    The Professor by Charlotte Bronte The ‘blurb’ The hero of Charlotte Bronte's first novel escapes a dreary clerkship in industrial Yorkshire by taking a job as a teacher in Belgium. There, however, his entanglement with the sensuous but manipulative Zoraide Reuter, complicates his affections for a penniless girl who is both teacher and pupil in Reuter's school. Less famous than her novel Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë's The Professor is the story of a young man called William Crimsworth, who, having turned down an offer from his uncles to join the church as rector of Seacombe, goes to live with his much older brother. His brother, jealous of the fact that William had an education at Eton, offers William the position of a lowly clerk at one of his factories and treats him badly. Undeterred, William gains a job at a boys' boarding school in Belgium, where his fortunes change, but when he takes on extra work giving English lessons to a seamstress employed by the next door girls' school and starts to develop feelings for her, the manipulative and jealous head, Madame Reuter, determines to come between the pair… Published posthumously two years after Charlotte's death, this book got off to a good start, but didn’t really seem to keep the momentum up. It's not a very long book and yet felt quite rambling in places. The overall story was enjoyable but I felt it could have done with a bit of editing (just my opinion of course – I'm no writer so what do I know?!). That's not to say I didn't enjoy it – I did, and I am looking forward to reading Vilette at some stage. The paperback edition is 320 pages long and is published by Penguin. It was first published in 1857. The ISBN is 9780140433111. 3/5 (I liked it) (Finished 1 May 2017)
  11. Ah, I think I caused confusion with my response to this post of yours: I replied: In my second paragraph I meant that we popped briefly to the Waterstones in Woking but I phrased it really badly! I have just walked round Guildford on Street View on Google and it looks much prettier than Woking! Guildford is around 2 hours from us, so easily doable. This made me laugh as I was doing the Street View thing!
  12. Hmm. I might start a thread. My blog is linked in my signature. I haven't been to Kingston. We've only done a few in the South East so far. Dorking and Redhill are the only ones we've done in Surrey so far.
  13. The ‘blurb’ LET THE BATTLE FOR CHRISTMAS BEGIN It isn't always easy, growing up as a human in Elfhelm, even if your adoptive parents are the newly married Father Christmas and Mary Christmas. For one thing, Elf School can be annoying when you have to sing Christmas songs every day - even in July - and when you fail all your toy-making tests. Also it can get very, very cold. But when the jealous Easter Bunny and his rabbit army launch an attack to stop Christmas, it's up to Amelia, her new family and the elves to keep Christmas alive. Before it's too late . . . Amelia Wishart is back in another Christmas adventure. Now fairly happily living in Elflhelm she goes off to join the town's school – it's difficult for her, but after her last adventure she is looking forward to flying the sleigh – a class she knows she'll excel in. Unfortunately for her, this class is continually denied to her. When she eventually does get to fly it, things do not go to plan, leading her into conflict with a tribe of rabbits – can Amelia save Christmas again…? Amelia is a fantastic character so it was lovely to 'meet' her again in this jolly tale of Elfhelm in what is (I think) the final part of Matt Haig's Father Christmas trilogy. I enjoyed revisiting Elhelm, and the story was fun, if not as exciting as the first two. Number two, The Girl Who Saved Christmas, is definitely my favourite but I loved revisiting the recurring characters in this story. If it is the last one then I shall be sorry to see Amelia go! The hardback edition is 304 pages long and is published by Canongate. It was first published in 2016. The ISBN is 9781786890689. 3/5 (I enjoyed it) (Finished 1 January 2018)
  14. @chaliepud - I'm so sorry - I don't know how, but I missed this post. We have been to the Amsterdam one before, but long before this challenge (thanks again for the inspiration ) - and the Woking one (it was nicer than I thought (the town) but not somewhere I would have rushed back to if it wasn't for this challenge!). I will definitely let you know when we come to one of those locations - it would be lovely to meet you.
  15. Peter helped me sort out my 'to read' books last night. That involved him sitting in the hall shouting out titles to me and me making a list and then cross-referencing it with my spreadsheet, because I didn't keep up with my list of books acquired last year, and I also got rid of a couple of books that I decided I'm unlikely ever to get round to reading. So a big thank you to him (he won't see it, but I did, of course, thank him in person! ) to him. I've now updated my post above - my current 'to read' pile stands at 108. I'm hoping to reduce it this year, but of course I'm likely to add to it... Which brings me on to the second thing I meant to post last week, which is the books/vouchers I got for Christmas. I got Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lingdren (illustrated by Lauren Child) from my Mum. (Edit - bother - I forgot to add it to my 'to read' list!) Kay and Alan bought me Father Christmas and Me by Matt Haig, as well as some delicious cheddar biscuits, a beer for Peter and some tree decorations that are really cute hanging Brussels sprouts! Thanks @poppyshake @chesilbeach gave me a Waterstones voucher (always welcome - the anticipation of spending them is as exciting to me as the actual spending ), so yummy chocolates and the most gorgeous glass snowflake that had prime position on the tree in the dining room. Thanks, Claire. I also had a further £75 of Waterstones vouchers. I'm a lucky girl! Christmas seems a long time ago now, but it was a wonderful one this year - I feel blessed.