Monday, 24 June 2013


In my first blog about my SUNDAY BEST books  (29/3/2013) I told you about 'THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY' which became my first. Today I would like to tell you about the author who has become the latest one to join my list . EMYLIA HALL is her name and the book which won me over is  THE BOOK OF SUMMERS.


I bought this book on the recommendation of several newspapers, but a few months passed and it kept going to the bottom of the pile, as other books arrived they seemed to go on top. A holiday was planned last October I got my books together and decided to add this one to the batch.

EMYLIA HALL was not an author I had ever come across before; this was because THE BOOK OF SUMMERS was her first. What I would like to do is write you the author's synopsis of the book as it captures the very essence of the story and is as beautifully written as the book itself, then I will tell you my feelings on it.


When news of a death in the family reaches her from abroad, Beth Lowe realises that she can no longer avoid her past. She is sent a photograph album, a poignant record of the seven summers she spent in rural Hungary. I was a time when she trod the tightrope between separated parents and two distinct countries, a bewitching but imperfect mother and a gentle, reticent father, the dazzling house of a hungarian artist and an empty-feeling cottage in deepest Devon.

Years later, Beth's Hungarian summers continue to haunt and entice her. THE BOOK OF SUMMERS is about the lies we tell, the truths we keep and above all, the ways we find to keep on loving one another.

This book has become one of my favorite books of all time; the writing is just so clear and beautiful. I felt I was there in Hungary with Marika and Zoltan, sitting and eating at their table. I could literally smell and taste the food that was there on the page, I so wanted to be able to walk around Zoltan's studio and look and touch his paintings, to walk through the fields and find the pond to swim in. To be able to sit in the garden with Marika and talk about life and loves would be a wonderful experiance.

Beth's journey through the photo album, each of the seven summers are so special to Beth so very different from her life in Devon. I really cannot praise this book highly enough, one things for sure once you have finished reading THE BOOK OF SUMMERS, it will stay with you for a long time, but be warned please remember you will definitely need tissues when reading it.

EMYLIA HALL has a new book out in September 2013 its called A HEART BENT OUT OF SHAPE.

Monday, 17 June 2013


Now where do I start, I want to say so much about this wonderful lady and her unique books. Marian is there at the top of my SUNDAY BEST list along with Joanne Harris.


I first came across her back in the nineties when a friend gave me a copy of one of her books 'RACHEL'S HOLIDAY'. To be honest when I first saw the book and it mentioned a girl going into a drug rehabilitation centre it didn't really appeal to me at all,  I thought it would be a bit depressing, just not my type of book. I really didn't want to read it, but I did and that was the start of my love for Marian's books.

After 'RACHEL'S HOLIDAY' I went on to read her two previous books 'WATERMELON ' and the fabulous 'LUCY SULLIVAN IS GETTING MARRIED' but a bit like remembering  your first love, or that first kiss 'RACHEL'S HOLIDAY' is still the one I always remember as the one that made the biggest impression on me. Not forgetting of course all of  her other books over the years.


I want to talk about the lady herself, i'm not really sure in which year I first saw Marian on the TV, but I do know it was on 'STRICTLY COME DANCING IT TAKES TWO' with Claudia Winkleman. The thing is she was then and still is obsessed with SCD, not just the show but the dancers as well, a few years ago I remember she wanted to be Lilia Kopylova. Calling Marian SCD biggest fan is an understatement.

Marian has not been on the TV as much recently and she very rarely gives interviews, but last year when I joined Twitter she was one of the first people I just had to follow. Anyone who follows her will know what a fun time is had when she is having one of her famous 'RAFFLES' or telling us it's 'BIN NIGHT' and her trips down to the shops in 'DUN LAOGHAIRE'. Not forgetting the snippets of news on 'HIMSELF' (Marian's other half) and the rest of the family especially 'THE REDZERS' (her nephews). Also who cannot get excited when she post's photos of her travels with the famous 'LANGER BAR' (a chocolate bar). Talking of photos she does love to take them of shoes, makeup and clothes that she shares in her tweets, sorry nearly forgot also her nails; Marian does have the most glamourous nails of any author. 

Then when SCD started last year there was just one subject on Marian's lips, 'PASHA KOVALEV' for anyone who doesn't know (I am aware unbelievably that not everyone watches SCD) he is a dancer on the show. Well that is when Marian and her gang of twitters really came into their own. Pasha become the word on everyone's lips and tweets, what great fun we all had leading up to Christmas. 

'THE MYSTERY OF MERCY CLOSE' is Marian's latest book and I saved it to read on holiday as I wanted to give it my full attention, I wasn't disappointed. I feel there is something really special about this book, not just the intriguing story that keeps you hooked but the way the book makes you look at things in your own life, good and bad. Also in my head I now have a 'SHOVEL LIST' if you haven't read the book yet  that might not mean a lot to you, so I suggest you go read it and find out.


So that's me telling you a little bit about the lady, she is Ireland's queen of writing, twitter and glamour. I really don't think anyone who might be reading this blog would have never read a Marian Keyes book but if you haven't I suggest that you go and get a copy of 'THE MYSTERY OF MERCY CLOSE'  i'm confident that it will start you on a journey with a lovely author.

Finally if you are feeling a little down or a bit lonely and fed up, may I suggest that you should definitely follow her on twitter, because an hour or so of her antics will certainly brighten up your day, it will also probably make you want to go and paint your nails a fab colour.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013


Looking at my notes it's been about ten weeks since i've written anything, the last blog posted on 16th April had been written quite a while before it was posted. It's felt good to be back in front of the laptop creating people and situations, nothing might ever come of them but it has been fun. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you will know why I haven't been blogging.

Very sadly my dad died and as you might have read from one of my previous blogs (25th February) I have been his carer for the last four and a bit years. Eighteen months ago I gave up working as he needed 24/7 care this involved doing everything for him and since October of last year he became completely bedridden. I don't want this to come across as a sad blog, because the time we have all spent together as a family in the last four years has been very happy.

Family and friends during this time have been so very important to me; there is no way I would ever have coped if it wasn't for their love and constant support on a daily basis, not forgetting the two lovely nurses that came from the hospital twice a week. How anyone can manage to be a carer all by themself with no support team behind them I will never know. I count myself extremely lucky. As for my partner and sister I will never understand how they managed to put up with me these last few months.

My dad's final wishes were to go back from The Midlands to Devon for his funeral; he knew where he wanted the funeral to take place and which minister he wanted to take the service. Over a couple of weeks my sister and I got everything sorted, he had made this less difficult for us by discussing what he wanted.

Five of us travelled down to Devon the day before the funeral, we didn't meet up with family and friends that evening we just had a quiet time together in a hotel. I really wasn't sure exactly who or even how many people would be at the funeral as many relatives we haven't see or spoken to for quite a few years, just the usual Christmas and birthday cards.

The day had finaly arrived and as we walked into the church, that's when it really hit me how important family and friends are. My late mum had four sisters and my dad two, so there are a lot of cousins and they were all there with their husbands, wives and partners, many had travelled quite a distance to get there to pay their respects and support my sister and me. I feel very blessed to have such lovely family and friends, we might not see much of each other over the years but it's so reassuring to know they are always there when you need them the most.

Rest In Peace Billy your family love and miss you.