Saturday, 28 December 2013

My Favourite 16 books of 2013

In 2013 I read a steady 2.73 books a month, which seems miraculous given the little time I give myself for reading. I rate the books I read - out of 5 for writing and 5 for plot - then I add them together and come up with a score. This year the books I awarded 8 stars and above were:-

Pamela's War by Cheryl Vines (8 stars)

One Day For Me (short stories) by Sally Jenkins (9 stars)

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (10 stars)

Old Friends 13 Coffee Break Stories by Sally Jenkins (8 stars)

Move Over Darling by Christine Stovell (8 stars)

Knowing Me Knowing You by Mandy Baggott (8 stars)

To Turn Full Circle by Linda Mitchelmore (8 stars)

Hubble Bubble by Jane Lovering (9 stars)

The Class Ceiling by Kerry Fisher (9 stars)

Silver Bay by Jojo Moyes (10 stars)

Security by Mandy Baggott (8 stars)

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriaty (9 stars)

Woman Walks Into a Bar by Rowan Coleman (8 stars)

Son of the Morning by Linda Howard (8 stars)

Is This Love by Sue Moorcroft (9 stars)

Tangled Lives by Hilary Boyd (10 stars)

Looking forward to a whole lot more reading (and writing) in 2014.

Please share your favourite reads of the Year below.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Memory Trees

I always find dressing the Christmas trees rather poignant and can often shed a few tears at the memories that surface. There are wonky silver bells which big son, now 25, bought home from nursery and similar foam ornaments made by little son, now 10.

As I hang the fragile glass ornaments, I remember the story of how my granddad bought them home during World War 2. There are ornaments from all around the world, like the Santa koala on a surf board, which my mom and late step-dad (nearly one year since we lost him) bought back from their many trips. Childhood tree baubles remind me of my late father and nana.

The second tree has many ornaments chosen by my husband’s first wife who died when she was 38. I never knew her, but always spare a thought for her buying these lovely things. Each year I try to buy or make a new ornament, so that one day my sons can have similar memories.

Phew, got a bit tearful again then. The house is lovely and bright with the tree lights. I’m celebrating. I did it! I completed NaNoWriMo, the November writing challenge. I wrote 50,106 words during the month of November. This is the fourth year I have taken part and completed the challenge, but boy do I know it now, I have to catch up on housework, paperwork and Christmas! Aghh.

I went out to lunch with the lovely Sue Watson a couple of weeks ago. As always, we were not short of conversation and had great fun discussing alternative endings to her wip, book number three. Her first book Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes has recently topped book charts in Italy. Younger, Thinner, Blonder, her second book is now available.

A shout out for two other friends, whose books have just been released – Laura James’ Truth or Dare and Alison May’s Much Ado About Sweet Nothing.

Please let me know below about your favourite Christmas tree decoration.