Book hygge! WHAT I READ, SUMMER 2020

Daily reading is one of my favourite ways to pamper and get some self-care (I prefer the term “self-preservation”). Here’s a round up of what I read over the summer! A mixed bag with rather a lot of cozy mysteries and a couple of (pleasant) surprises!

Jane and the Waterloo map by Stephanie Barron. A historical cozy mystery (part of a series, this one is number 13) where Jane Austen solves crimes. Rather enjoyed this and will probably read more in the series. Three stars out of five.

Last Train to Helsingør by Heidi Amsinck. I picked up this book at random at our local Danish library. It looked very promising – specially commissioned short stories for BBC Radio 4 – some Scandi-noir tales. Unfortunately this was a DNF (Did Not Finish) for me. Simply too outlandish and simplistic – the kind of stories you would write in junior school. Two out of five stars.

The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag by Alan Bradley. This is the second in the Flavia de Luce series which I’ve read and it was a little heavier going than the first. But looking forward to the next! Three out of five stars.

A Study in Treason by Leonard Goldberg. Another cozy mystery series, this time with, Joanna, the daughter of Sherlock Holmes solving the crimes. An interesting premise but not sure I would read others in the series. Three out of five stars.

Wedding Cake Crumble by Jenn McKinlay. Another cozy mystery, number 10 in the Cupcake Bakery Mystery series, revolving around the owner of a bakery called Fairy Tale Cupcakes who is catering her best friend’s wedding. I listened to this on audiobook. Three out of five stars.

Crowned and Dangerous by Rhys Bowen. Number 10 in the Royal Spyness series. I’ve read many of Rhys Bowen’s books before and they are always a cozy read. You know exactly what to expect. Three out of five stars.

The Clutter Corpse by Simon Brett. Aaaaaargh! I was so excited to read this because a) Simon Brett is one of my favourite cozy mystery authors (he has several series and I enjoy all of them) and b) it was labelled as a decluttering mystery. Two of my favourite things! LOL! But, alas, the book kind of fell flat. I wasn’t really interested in the main character at all and Simon Brett’s usual quirky, humorous touches were absent. Let’s cross our fingers that he’s soon back on form. Two out of five stars.

The Girl Next Door by Ruth Rendell. I listened to this on audiobook. Ruth Rendell is a fantastic writer, giving you a little slice of English society while presenting some dark crimes. It’s not a mystery as such (we know who the killer is from the beginning) but the suspense keeps going til the end. Three out of five stars.

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata. I picked up this book at our local Danish library because of the eyecatching cover and the fact that it is set in Tokyo (one of my favourite places in the world). I’m a sucker for Japanese mysteries (though this isn’t a mystery) and love the Japanese clean style of writing. It was obviously a “hot title” beacause our library had a whole pile of these books stacked up on their summer reading table. A fast and very short read (I read it in Danish and, if I remember rightly, it’s only about 180 pages long), very quirky and with a couple of laugh out loud moments. Four out of five stars.

The Magic Chair Murder by Diane Janes. This is a new series, a historical mystery set in 1920s England. I really enjoyed the setting of this one and the characters. Four out of five stars.

Death in the Stacks by Jenn McKinlay. This was my second Jenn McKinlay read this summer (see Wedding Cake Crumble above) and this particular one was number 8 in the Library Lover’s Mystery series. I listened to this on audiobook. Simplistic but good to liste to when you are working in the garden, doing laundry, etc! Three out of five stars.

Murder at Greysbridge by Andrea Carter. This book was a very pleasant surprise! I picked this up at our local Danish library, completely at random. A really good read and I’ll definitely be checking out other books by Andrea Carter. This one is number 4 in the Inishower Mysteries series. Set in County Donegal, Ireland in the present time, featuring a solicitor called Ben (Benedicta). A fast-paced easy read. Four out of five stars.

LLAP! Hugs!

Diane

PS: I very rarely buy books, preferring to borrow them from our wonderful Danish local libraries! I use eReolenGlobal and Libby apps to find/read books, plus Goodreads to track what I’ve read.

PPS: If you’re looking for book suggestions and reviews, my friend Sue (formerly a book seller, now a librarian) has a great book blog!

http://bookaliciousbabe.blogspot.com/

You can find my hygge books, magazines, tv programmes and music YouTube videos here…


VIDEO READ ON! FAVOURITE BOOKS – WITH THE SECRET SLOB

Happy Sunday! I’m excited to be doing another video with my friend Steph, the Secret Slob! Today we’re talking about our favourite books…are you ready to hygge with us? Leave a comment on YouTube and let us know what you are reading. We all love book recommendations!

You can find more of my videos with Steph here and my hygge books, tv and music videos here

LLAP! May the Danish hygge be with you! Hugs!

Diane


Books and tv hygge! June 2020

Daily reading is one of my favourite ways to pamper and get some self-care (I prefer the term “self-preservation”). The month of June can be a bit of a challenge because we are always super busy (my birthday, end of school term, start of the summer vacation) and it can be all too easy just to drop my reading with the excuse that I have too much on my plate. But I’ve learned over the years that, if I neglect my reading, the overwhelm feeling starts creeping back. We all need to recharge during our day, if only for a few minutes!

I didn’t get through as many novels as I usually do but I did make sure to at least flick through a magazine while eating my lunch, or while getting ready for bed, just before I switch off the light. And I managed quite a few episodes of tv series (read on) instead of just sitting mindlessly zapping through the tv channels. So all in all, June was a hygge win! Let’s start off with the books. And one which I started reading at the end of May and finished in June…

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. This is the first of the Flavia de Luce series – and my first Alan Bradley – and I have to say that I really loved it! I had heard of the series many times before but had avoided it because the protaganist is an eleven year old. There is nothing childish about the book (thankfully) and – hooray – lots of very dry wit. Just my thing.. Will definitely be reading more in the series. Two thumbs up! And four stars out of five.

The Lantern Men by Elly Griffiths (number 11 in the Ruth Galloway series). Elly Griffiths is one of my favourite authors, and never lets you down. I first discovered her after picking up The Zig Zag girl at our local library (the first novel in her “Stephens and Mephisto Mystery” series). The Lantern Men was a real treat. My rating: four out of five stars.

Before the coffee gets cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi. This is a novel which kept on popping up in recommendations when I was doing online searches for new books to read. It was an interesting idea for a story and started off well. I enjoyed the setting (love anything about daily life in Tokyo) but the naive style isn’t my cup of tea. Or should that be coffee? LOL! My rating: two out of five stars.

The Watersplash by Patricia Wentworth (number 21 in the Miss Silver series). This was a recommendation from one of my lovely followers on YouTube/Instagram. Patricia Wentworth is often compared to Agatha Christie and Miss Silver is often compared to Miss Marple. Easy to understand why, the elderly sleuths share many common traits. A good little mystery with quite a lot of dry wit and some wonderful writing. Just be warned that it is very much of its time (gender roles) so can seem rather dated. I would certainly read more Patricia Wentworth. My rating: three out of five stars.

And now to tv/movies…

Giri Haji on Netflix

I thoroughly enjoyed Giri/Haji (“Duty/Shame”) on Netflix. Eight episodes with plenty of drama and rather absurd comic moments. Raw and dark and definitely not recommended for the faint hearted. Set in London and Tokyo and incredibly fast paced. I loved it! Rather a strange finale…I’m wondering if they’re gearing up for a second season?

The Story of Fire Saga on Netflix

The Story of Fire Saga, a parody of the Eurovision Song Contest by, and starring, Will Ferrell, on Netflix. I’m a huge fan of the Eurovision Song Contest and I also love Will Ferrell (one of my favourite films is “Blades of Glory”). So I was looking forward to this one but also a little apprehensive. Would it live up to the hype? The first 15 minutes were toe curling and I was wondering whether I would make it the whole way through. But there are a couple of scenes which had me literally crying with laughter (my husband thought I had gone berserk) and lots of cameos from former Eurovision contestants so it was a cosy watch. Keep a special look out for the Russian contestant – an actor from Downtown Abbey – who is unrecognisable in the part. And it was a welcome surprise to see a brief appearance by (handsome) Mikael Persbrandt, one of my favourite Swedish actors. Mikael is best known in Scandinavia for his role as Gunvald, the tough bad boy cop, in the Swedish tv crime series “Beck” (a brilliant series, available with English subtitles) and known internationally from the movie “In a Better World”, by the Danish director Susanne Bier.

That’s all for June, folks. Happy reading and watching!

LLAP! Hugs!

Diane

PS: I very rarely buy books, preferring to borrow them from our wonderful Danish local libraries! I use eReolenGlobal and Libby apps to find/read books, plus Goodreads to track what I’ve read.

PPS: If you’re looking for book suggestions and reviews, my friend Sue has a great book blog!

http://bookaliciousbabe.blogspot.com/

You can find my hygge books, magazines, tv programmes and music YouTube videos here…


Books! What I read in the merry month of May!

[Reposting due to technical problems with the original]

I love reading – a quick and easy way to pamper! And, as I usually get my books from our fantastic local Danish library, it’s free too! Here’s what I read during the month of May. Our Danish public libraries were closed during the Covid Lockdown so most of these books were borrowed online (e-books and audiobooks). I use eReolenGlobal and Libby apps to find/read books, plus Goodreads to track what I’ve read.

A Dream of Death by Connie Berry. Cozy mystery set in Scotland, first in the Kate Hamilton series. I’m always a bit wary of books by non-Scottish authors set in Scotland but this was surprisingly good. My rating: three out of five stars.

Blackberry Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke. Number 17 in the Hannah Swensen series. I had high hopes for this one because Joanne Fluke is a popular cozy mystery writer but this was truly dreadful, with mundane dialogue which seemed to be there to fill out the word count. So disappointing! My rating: one out of five stars.

The Liar in the Library by Simon Brett. This was a re-read for me (I’ve read all of Simon Brett’s works) because I was desperate for something “cozy” during the Lockdown by one of my favourite authors. Not the best in the Fethering series but a nice, mindless read where you feel right at home with your favourite characters. My rating: three out of five stars.

Twelve Slays of Christmas by Jacqueline Frost. First in the Christmas Tree Farm Mystery series. Audiobook. You may wonder why on earth I was listening to a Christmas cozy during the month of May but it sounded interesting and turned out to be a very entertaining “listen”. All the Christmassy elements and would be perfect for December reading! The sequel will definitely be on my list for this year’s Christmas hygge. My rating: four out of five stars.

Started reading The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley and, so far, it’s very promising. Will give you an update next time around.

And one cookbook which is worth mentioning (usually I flick through a cookbook, find one recipe I want to try and then return it immediately to the library). Quick + Simple = Delicious by Emily Kydd, a British food writer. We had the Danish version “Hurtigt + Nemt = Lækkert”. My son made several recipes from the book (see our recent menu plan by clicking here) and he wants a copy of this book when he moves into his own flat. Praise indeed! We are now checking out Emily Kydd’s other cookbooks. Our rating: four out of five stars.

Happy reading!

LLAP!

Diane

PS: If you’re looking for book suggestions and reviews, my friend Sue has a great book blog!

http://bookaliciousbabe.blogspot.com/

You can find my hygge books, magazines, tv programmes and music YouTube videos here…

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