Recent Reads! October 2020 And starting my Christmas-themed reading…

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 in October. Plus I’ve now started my Christmas-themed reading!

“The Killings at Kingfisher Hill” by Sophie Hannah

“The Killings at Kingfisher Hill” by Sophie Hannah (in the guise of Agatha Christie – number 4 in the New Hercule Poirot Mysteries series) I had high hopes for this one (as I have read the others in the series). It started off really well and had all the “right” elements – couple of murders, stately hall, dinner parties, lots of possible suspects. But it fell flat in the second half and the motive was a bit of a dog’s breakfast. My rating: 3 out of 5

“Death Overdue” by Allison Brook

“Death Overdue” by Allison Brook (Number 1 in the Haunted Library Mysteries) I was looking for some Halloween-themed reading and this seemed to fit the bill nicely. Listened on Audiobook. I hadn’t read the blurb so it was a surprise when there was suddenly a walking-talking ghost in the story. I love cozy mysteries but avoid ones which are too twee, sugary or involve animals solving the mysteries. I’m happy to escape reality but Cat Detectives are just a jump too far! LOL! Apart from that, it was a cosy read. My rating: 3 out of 5

“Recipes for Love and Murder” by Sally Andrew

“Recipes for Love and Murder” by Sally Andrew (Number 1 in the Tannie Maria Mystery series) I picked up this book at our local Danish library by absolute chance. I had been browsing cookbooks for some cosy reading and then, when I went over to the crime books, “Recipes for Love and Murder” jumped right out at me. This was a fantastic surprise read by an author I didn’t know. Set in South Africa. There is quite a lot of Afrikaans jargon in the book (there’s a glossary at the back) which I really enjoyed because most of it is similar to Danish and Dutch. A quirky, fun read. Hope she writes more. My rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

“Jeeves and the Wedding Bells” by Sebastian Faulks

“Jeeves and the Wedding Bells” by Sebastian Faulks. Mr Faulks has written this book as an hommage to P.G. Wodehouse. Now, I absolutely adore the Jeeves series by P.G. Wodehouse (these books are classics) and it’s always a gamble to read a book “in the style of…” your favourite author. It started off really well, with all the usual clichés and plots you would expect to find. I really had high hopes! But second half got slower and more boring (the cricket talk and the play scene finished me off) so, alas, a bit of a damp squib. My rating: 2 out of 5 stars.

“The Thursday Murder Club” by Richard Osman

“The Thursday Murder Club” by Richard Osman. I’m a big fan of Richard Osman’s tv appearances so was excited to hear that he had written a cozy crime. And even more excited to be the first in line to get it from our local Danish library! Really enjoyed this book which is set in a very upmarket retirement “village”. A great gallery of characters thrown together by fate, and very well written. Richard Osman has a real flair for intelligent low-key humour which is absolutely charming. There appears to be a sequel in the works – hooray! My rating: four out of five stars.

‘Twas the Knife Before Christmas by Jacqueline Frost

Currently reading: ‘Twas the Knife Before Christmas by Jacqueline Frost. (I read the first book in this series “The Twelve Slays of Christmas” during the summer and really enjoyed it.)

“I am half-sick of shadows” by Alan Bradley

Currently reading: “I am half-sick of shadows” by Alan Bradley. I’ve read several in the “Flavia de Luce” series and this is a Christmas-themed one! Will let you know how it goes…

LLAP! Hugs!

Diane

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

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. And 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/


RECENT READS, SEPTEMBER 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 some of the books I read in September!

“Now You See Them” by Elly Griffiths (Number 5 in the Stephens and Mephisto Mystery series). If you’ve followed me for a long time, you will know how much I love anything written by Elly Griffiths! Her most famous series is the “Ruth Galloway, archeologist” books but I actually started reading her Stephens and Mephisto series first (starting with “The Zig Zag Girl”). Make sure to check out each series – they are set in a different eras/places in England so are quite different in style. But always good! “Now You See Them” was a lovely cosy read. My rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

“The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place” by Alan Bradley (Number 9 in the Flavia de Luce series) I listened to this one on Audiobook and was thoroughly entertained! I’ve read a couple of the Flavia de Luce mysteries before, and the last one I read was a little disappointing and long-winded. So this was a real delight. My rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

“Moonflower Murders” by Anthony Horowitz (Number 2 in the Susan Ryeland series). I was so excited to read this book and managed to be first in the queue at our local Danish library when it was released, woo hoo! It’s a follow up to my 5 star (a rarity!) read from 2018, “The Magpie Murders”. I was a bit nervous to start reading (worrying that it couldn’t possibly live up to the first book) but it was a terrific read and I couldn’t put it down. Just like the first in the series, it’s a book within a book. Fantastic plotting, a great cast of suspects and a myriad of clues. And I guessed the murderer…or should that be murderers? Read for yourself! My rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

“The Body on the Train” by Frances Brody (Number 11 in the Kate Shackleton series) I’ve read several Kate Shackleton mysteries before and this was the usual cosy read, if not terribly exciting (unless, of course, you get excited by trains or rhubarb…). My rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

Currently reading (actually listening, an audiobook) “Death Overdue” by Allison Brook for some Halloween-themed reading. Update on that next time!

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…


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…


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…



Welcome to Danish autumn! More candles coming right up!

Welcome to Danish autumn! We officially started a couple of days ago (1 September) but autumn has been making its presence felt for a couple of weeks. And it’s the usual story…first thing in the morning there is heavy dew on the grass outside and condensation on the windows inside. When I cycle down for my sea swim it’s so c-c-cold on the bike ride that I’m already wearing my woolly scarf. But I have managed to resist the urge (at least so far…) to break out my woolly gloves and hat 😉

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Sea temperature is beginning to fall slightly – around 15 degrees (59f).

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But then – selvfølgelig – by the time we reach the afternoon, it’s all change and full steam ahead for the thermometer. The sun is shining from a cloudless, beautiful, blue sky and you start peeling off all the layers you put on a few hours earlier, swap your socks and shoes for some strappy sandals and then head down to the coast (like everyone else it seems) in an effort to cool off. Yes, you know you’re in Denmark when it can prove difficult to find a parking space…for your bike!

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My friends and I were lamenting the end of Danish summer but trying to console ourselves with the thought off all that cosy, autumn Danish hygge that lies ahead. The apple cakes, the hot chocolate, the walks in the deer forest to gather chestnuts, the flickering candles. And then we stopped short. Because, um, well we actually light candles all year round. Even in high summer. Here I am in a restaurant with my son last week. Candles lit in the windows. Candles lit outside on the street. It was 25c (77f) that day!

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Those are my sunglasses in front of the candle on the table. Sunglasses and candles. Welcome to Denmark!

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Yes, yes, my friends and I said to ourselves. We’re looking forward to Danish autumn and lighting even more candles!

Now where did I put those matches?

Have a terrific Tuesday!

Diane 🙂