What’s on my Kindle

I am officially throwing in the towel as a book reviewer for the moment. I just don’t have the mental energy for it. But what I thought I would try and do instead is a weekly round up of what I’ve been reading: what I’ve loved, what I’ve hated, what I’m looking forward to, and so on.

This week I’ve been reading:

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
I bought this ages ago when it was 20p at Amazon. I have not really understood the current fashion for adults reading YA books but many people had raved about this one, so I thought I’d give it a go. I almost gave up halfway through, bored of all the teenage angst. I did eventually finish it, but I will not be reading any more (especially since the next book in the series features my least favourite character from this one). Two major reasons I did not like this book: it’s written in 1st person and the heroine is called Echo. YMMV.

Three Nights with a Scoundrel
by Tessa Dare
I really loved the first in this series, I quite liked the second, and then I put off reading this one for ages. But I’m glad I did get round to it. There are some beautiful moments and both main characters truly deserved their happy ending.

The Mischief of the Mistletoe
by Lauren Willig
Could not get past the first chapter. Regency young ladies did not generally go round saying, ‘No worries’.

Thursdays in the Park by Hilary Boyd
Another 20p bargain. I’m struggling with it, to be honest, and wish I hadn’t been seduced by the pretty cover. It’s women’s fiction, rather than romance, about a couple in a miserable marriage, who are on the point of retirement. It’s going to be an adultery and divorce novel. But there is an unexplained event in the first chapter and I admit I am curious to know what prompted it, so I will probably finish it.

How to Misbehave by Ruthie Knox
Here is the plot of this book: unlikely couple have great sex; unlikely couple decide they aren’t a good match; they change their minds. Here’s why you should read it: great banter; cute characters; a gorgeous builder in well-fitted jeans. For 69p, what more could you want?

I also downloaded Control by Charlotte Stein because it was free and people were saying good things about her. I read two chapters then deleted it. Cute hero, but the book is in 1st person and I really didn’t like the heroine enough to listen to her going on about sex (real and imagined) for a whole book. I wished she’d think about something more interesting for at least a few minutes every day. I may not be the target audience for this book.

In the next week I’m looking forward to new releases from several autobuy authors: Sarah Morgan, Kate Hewitt and Caitlin Crews all have February M&B Moderns out on the 1st and Anne Gracie has a new historical out on the 5th.

What have you been reading, loving or loathing this week?

How do you read?

Ten years ago, maybe even five, this wasn’t even a question. Books were books and you read them. Now people read via ereaders, tablets, phones and all sorts of other techy ways. And paper, of course.

My medium of choice is my kindle. I really, really love it. It’s light, small, easy on the eyes, and doesn’t have the inbuilt distraction of the internet. If you desperately need the internet, it does include an experimental browser, but it’s hard work. It’s like reading a paper book but much more convenient.

My second choice option is my phone. Mostly I only use this if I’m waiting somewhere and didn’t bring my kindle. I can access all my kindle books and read them on it. The screen is small and bright. It’s easy to use for short periods of time but not as a primary reading device.

Third choice is paper books. I am shocked by this. I thought I would be a die-hard paper book fan, and indeed there are a fair number of paper books in my house. Almost all my new purchases are digital, though, and I actually find reading on the kindle easier. I only need one hand and turning pages is less intrusive if I’m knitting or something.

What I don’t have and don’t want is a tablet. I have a laptop for work and a netbook that I like to use for travel or in bed, and so on. It’s small enough to fit in my handbag, but has a proper keyboard and all the normal software that I use. I often use it, rather than the big laptop, for writing on, because it doesn’t require me to be sitting at a desk.

Sadly, it seems likely that both the ereader and the netbook are going to become victims of the tablet’s success. And in theory, I can see why. It would fulfil many of the functions that my kindle and netbook have. But I can’t see myself enjoying using one as much as I enjoy them. The kindle is designed for only one thing – reading books – and it is brilliantly designed for that. The netbook is multi-functional and more useful to me than a tablet. I don’t want the compromise option that does everything a little bit worse.

What about you? How do you prefer to read?

Pretending it’s not winter


At least in this corner of my house, it’s spring. The vases were 49p each from IKEA a couple of weeks ago. I’d intended to buy fabric, but they had sold out of the purple velvet I was after. But IKEA is one of those places I find it impossible to come home empty handed from. These vases were irresistible. They are curved so they form a lovely shape when you stand them next to each other. They were a bit plain, but I have tarted them up by gluing ribbons and buttons on, and now they are gorgeous. I think they will be excellent for tulips which, though beautiful, do tend to droop a bit.

New bedroom!

The Grand Tour:

The pictures aren’t perfect. The wall beside the bed is a really dark, rich purple. The gold paint on the walls is metallic and shimmering, not orange. The whole thing looks incredible at night, especially with the candles lit, but that’s impossible to photograph if you are me. But hopefully you’ll get the idea.

bedroom1 New bedlinen was my greatest extravagance but I love it. The pillowcases are from one set and the duvet cover is from the second set which arrived today despite the snow. Headboard is squares of MDF covered in batting and fabric. The mini quilt on the wall was bought in an Amish shop in Intercourse (yup, makes me giggle every time) several years ago. I’d never had a good place to put it before now.



bedroom2Colour-blocked bookshelf. I did this once before and it makes me smile every single time I look at it. Books do furnish a room.












The wardrobe is a standard IKEA Pax in birch effect. Because it basically takes up an entire wall of the room, I wanted it to pull its weight, decoratively speaking. I painted it with one coat of a rich greeny-blue and then put gold paint over that. I love, love, love the way it looks now. It gleams in the light. Sadly, this is not quite finished because B&Q haven’t got any more sample pots of the blue. One sample pot did over 3/4 of the wardrobe, so I really don’t want to buy a full-sized pot for the bit that’s left. New storage boxes on the left came from TK Maxx (or as Americans know it, TJ Maxx). Aren’t they lovely?

The lampshade is from ASDA, of all places, but I think it looks fab.


I used to have a chest of drawers under the bookshelf but it was really a bit too big for the space and, since it came from IKEA and I put it together, it didn’t work properly. So I threw it out. But I did want some extra storage and this leather bench is perfect. I plan to make a cushion or two to sit on top of it, and when I’ve made the quilt I want to for the bed, it can go there in the summer.








And finally, the window. This used to have big, warm curtains which were lovely but took up a lot of space. I hardly ever opened them, because the bedroom is on the ground floor and very open to the world. Now I have a roller blind which means I can shut out the world without hiding the windowsill or the heater. The curtains are purely decorative, from orange/pink shot silk. They are so pretty.




Total budget:
Rollerblind: £12
Curtains: £22.50
Lamp: £10
Lightshade: £25
Headboard: £12 + £6
Storage boxes: £7 + £10
Bedlinen (2x duvet covers, 2x sheets, 4xpillowcases): £80 + £8 + £50
Pillows: £11.50
Footstool: £25
Leather storage bench: £100
Paint (4 sample pots emulsion, 3 sample pots other, 1 pot metallic): £30
Wallpaper border: £18


The leather bench was an added luxury at the end when I found it reduced from £280 in the January sale. The other things that I spent proper money on were the duvet sets. One is Clarissa Hulse and the other is PiP Studio. Both are 100% cotton with a high thread count and utterly gorgeous. Without those, the total spend is less than £200. And for that money there is an almost total transformation.

My initial plans for the room were soft, calm and sophisticated. I don’t know who I thought was going to sleep there, but clearly not me. I am not soft, calm or sophisticated. It never worked and I never felt at home in it. More recently it had mostly become a junk room, which is not precisely conducive to restfulness. I knew I didn’t want it in the same colour scheme as the main room (Cath Kidston-esque pinks, greens, blues and reds) but I didn’t know what I did want. It is a very small room – my whole house is small, but the bedroom is where it’s really noticeable. There isn’t room for anything other than a single bed, for instance. So everything that goes in there has to earn its space.

Now it is “M&B Sheikh’s Harem Without The Sheikh”. Warm, rich colours with lots of luxurious textures – I want to make a velveteen quilt for the bed to add to the silks, leather, satin and fake-jewels that are already there. I’ve reorganised the storage and thrown out quite a lot of stuff so it doesn’t feel so full. The rollerblind has also helped to increase the feel of space in the room, and now the heater doesn’t have the curtain over it, it gets warm much quicker too.

Apart from the quilt, the other long term plan is to cover the empty dark purple wall with old picture frames and mirrors. I’ll use the picture frames to show off some of my favourite fabrics, and maybe do some embroideries and so on, specifically to go in that space.

I’m so happy with it and it’s been fun to work on it, building in new ideas as the work has progressed and finding just the right things for the tiny space.

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