19 Jun 2017



OR as Mr T's vicar re-titled it .....

BACK COVER BLURB: Women now comprise almost half the priests serving in the Church of England. As a result, there are many male clergy spouses who have had to come to terms with the seismic shift that occurs in family life when a wife embarks on the journey from exploration of vocation - through selection, training and formation - to ordination and a life of ministry.

The author had his own busy career when he suddenly found himself playing second fiddle rather than being the 'doer' in the household. Not only did this subtly affect his marriage, but as friends and acquaintances became 'parishioners', he was required to respect boundaries, to be discreet and often to carry the burden of unsought confidentiality.

Drawing on these experiences and those of many fellow clergy spouses, this volume is a practical, informative and engaging guide to the joys and challenges of being married to a vicar. Part one deals with the process from initial call to ordination and beyond. Part two helps clergy husbands work through what their new role might involve. Part three looks at lifestyle and family issues, while Part four offers support and sensible advice if things go wrong.

FIRST SENTENCE {INTRODUCTION}: One Sunday afternoon a few weeks after Miriam's ordination, the doorbell rang.

MEMORABLE MOMENT: Please accept my apologies but for various reasons I won't be including my Memorable Moment.

SOURCE: A gift from Mr T's vicar. Depending on when I get around to posting this, on whether or not it is before or after the 24th of June, Mr T will either (A) be about to be ordained or (B) will have been ordained.

READ FOR: Not applicable.

MY THOUGHTS: A book that though largely aimed at the clergy husband many sections equally apply to the clergy wife as well. Indeed I'd even go as far as to say many will apply to the vicar him/herself. 

Readable (I liked the fact there was no deep theology), humorous yet informative and practical (I particularly liked the chapters dealing with the issues surrounding the identity of being a clergy husband ... or indeed wife) BUT it has to be said some of the content did leave me worrying about things I hadn't thought to worry about before ... and believe me when it came to worrying I thought I had just about every eventuality covered. Then there was the fact that, obviously a Christian himself, the book didn't delve into what happens when your spouse is of a different/no faith or indeed of the same sex ... but then that really is a whole other story.

15 Jun 2017



BACK COVER BLURB: When a skeleton is discovered hidden at the top of a crumbling, gothic building in Edinburgh, Detective Chief Inspector Karen Pirie is faced with the unenviable task of identifying the bones. As Karen's investigation gathers momentum, she is drawn deeper into a dark world of intrigue and betrayal.

Meanwhile, someone is taking the law into their own hands in the name of justice and revenge -- but when present resentment collides with secrets of the past, the truth is more shocking than anyone could have imagined . . .

FIRST SENTENCE {PROLOGUE}: Sunset is often a glamorous business in the Cretan holiday harbour of Chania.

MEMORABLE RANDOM MOMENT{PAGE 221}: Did he seriously think that Maggie Blake would feel better about being deserted by a murderer rather than losing her lover to a killer? (Sorry folks, I'd lost the post-it-note saving my Memorable Moment so simply opened the book at a random page and, closing my eyes, pointed at a random sentence. TT)

SOURCE: Given to me from a friend.

READ FOR: The 13th book read for the Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2017.

MY THOUGHTS: As a fan of psychological/crime fiction Val McDermid is an author many fellow readers have recommended to me. Perhaps not one of her better books. Whilst I can't say I'll never pick up any of her other novels this one certainly won't have me hurrying to read any more. 

Long winded. Veering between the Balkan War atrocities of the early 1990's and present day England, Scotland and Croatia. Alas the interweaving timelines (to say nothing of the toing and froing between the various countries AND the inclusion of the back stories of several of the prominent characters) whilst convoluted enough to make the plot difficult to follow weren't so convoluted as to make the ending anything like a surprise.

Lacking any characters who interested me, let alone any I came to care about. I also had a difficulty in that whilst I do like strong, feisty female leads, I don't like this to be at the cost of male characters who here, almost without exception (in fact I'm struggling to think of any exception), were portrayed as being only slightly short of imbeciles.

Perhaps worst of all though was the feeling that the whole novel was driven by the author's sense of social conscience and feminist agenda. Not that these cannot play a part but arguably not when the reader feels as if they are being blatantly preached to.

13 Jun 2017


SOURCE: Received from a friend (thanks Jim).


  • What's In A Name? 2017: To The Holy Shrines for the 'Book With A Building In The Title' category, Can-Cans, Cats & Cities Of Ash the 'Book In Which At Least Two Words Share The Same First Letter' category
  • Mountain TBR Reading Challenge 2017: Eleven and twelve books of 24.

Today I bring you two books  from the Penguin Books Great Journeys series of which there are twenty, all of them extracts from longer works. Today I bring you the following books, the synopsis of which can be found by clicking on the relevant book title...


FIRST SENTENCE {TO ALEXANDRIA}: On the evening of April 3, 1853, I  left London for Southampton.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {PAGE 44}: The men swaggered, the women minced their steps, rolled their eyes, and were eternally arranging, and coquetting with their head-veils. The little boys strutting about foully abused any one of their number who might have a richer suit than his neighbour. And the little girls ogled every one in the ecstasy of conceit, and glanced contemptuously at other girls their rivals.

MY THOUGHTS: Using a sample of extracts from Personal Narrative Of A Pilgrimage To Al-Madinah And Mecca by Richard Burton (no, not that Richard Burton, the Victorian explorer, spy and sexologist Sir Richard Francis Burton), To The Holy Shrines chronicles the author's time in Egypt in which he dons the robe of a Muslim pilgrim. 

An OK read but, whether it was the style of writing (imagine a wordy Boy's Own prose) OR that I was expecting more of an adventure involving a journey to the Holy Shrines (instead of which I got more of an account of the buffoonish behaviour of the characters the author encountered) OR that it was merely an extract from a much longer book, the ending of this, the shorter version, rather uninspiring, alas, one that didn't particularly appeal to my taste. 

Read on-line here.

Now this is more like it, I did enjoy ...


FIRST SENTENCE {THE AZORES}: Taking it 'by and large', as the sailors say, we had a pleasant ten days' run from New York to the Azores islands - not a fast run, for the distance is only twenty-four hundred miles - but a right pleasant one, in the main.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {PAGE 21}: Tangier has been mentioned in history for three thousand years. And it was a town, though a queer one, when Hercules, clad in his lion-skin, landed here, four thousand years ago. In these streets he met Anitus, the king of the country, and brained him with his club, which was the fashion among gentleman in those days. 

MY THOUGHTS:  Through 1850's Azores, Morocco, France, Italy and Greece. The author's estimation of the 'American abroad' fascinating. 

Like other books in the series this is less travelogue and more, well, an observation of the tourist abroad. However, unlike other books in the series, witty, his writing simple and yet dramatic, I actually found myself rather liking this collection of anecdotes, a collection of excerpts from the author's first major work, The Innocents Abroad.

Read a copy on-line here.

7 Jun 2017


Of all of the Memes out there that had me thinking, this one over at Naida's The BookWorm had me thinking lots.

Hmm! Whilst I obviously have my own idea as to what exactly a Beach Read is, as to what books I think would qualify, to be honest I'd only be guessing if I were to give a full definition.

Beach Read: a book you can take on holiday, which is good enough to keep you engaged but not so serious it will spoil your holiday
- McMillian Dictionary.

Phew, it really is as simple as that. So, with this - and the fact that there has to be a complicated relationship somewhere in there - in mind, I give you my Beach Reads ...

Product Details
 The year is 1946, and all over the world young women are crossing the sea in their thousands en route to the men they married in wartime.

Jodi Picoult - Picture Perfect | Books Worth Reading | PinterestA fairy tale life style with an abusive husband or a dashing stranger offering safety? Which will Cassie choose?

Take one awfully charming man (in my opinion the onus being on the awful) and four very different women ...

Set at a time when to be in a gay relationship is almost to guarantee being in a complicated relationship .... and if as this isn't enough the lovers also face the prejudices of being of differing classes.

Hmm, only four books in what is supposed to be a list of ten, I'll have to do better.

A wife who cannot arouse the interest of her pompous husband, a gullible young student with an excessive libido. 

Take two strangers, both of them new to town, one of them human, one of them not.

AshA beautiful but down-trodden maiden, a wicked stepmother and a handsome prince huntress.

Dispensing inspirational sweet treats containing a prediction for each customer. If only Chloe's life was as easy to forecast, if only she could have foreseen being jilted at the altar.

When long-distance boyfriend Tom proposes, her secret life begins to unravel. How can she share a future with the man she loves, if she can't control her need for order and symmetry?

Although many clients go away happy, problems lurk behind the scenes when love comes calling for Aruna.

Care to share your Beach Reads featuring a complicated romantic relationship? I'd love to hear them ...