What’s On My Bookshelf – February

Alrighty, let’s talk all things books… and, because things are stupid busy in the day job, I’m cutting straight to the chase…so here’s what I read in February.


The Wedding Party, by Cathy Kelly

Cathy Kelly is a reliable read and this was no exception. Having said that, it wasn’t exceptional – if that makes sense – and left me feeling a tad flat. Don’t get me wrong, it was a solid 4-star read, but after a 5-star January…

The Little Wartime Library, by Kate Thompson

This was a recommendation from my co-host Deb and I was very glad my local library had it on the shelves.

The library in the title is one that was run in Bethnall Green in the subways during the bombings of London in WW2 and the story centres around the women who work there and shelter there.

My read of the month.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

Of course I’ve seen the movie – years ago – but it never quite did it for me, even though I know it was supposed to. I get it now. Capote’s prose is brilliant and Holly Golightly brittle on the outside but complex underneath.

A quick, but necessary and rewarding read.

Promise Me, by Jill Mansell

Jill Mansell is an auto-buy for me and I look forward to her annual releases. Feel-good fiction at its best.

The Perfect Guests, by Emma Rous

While I wouldn’t normally have picked this one up I read this when I was staying with my friend in Wellington – it was her book club’s choice for that month.

The first thing I should say is that this is one of those books where the publishers have decided on a title even though it doesn’t really fit the story. The second is that it took a bit to get into. The twist, when it comes, is a good one though.

Mad About You, by Mhairi McFarlane

Another auto-buy for me, I sat up way too late reading this – partly because I wanted to leave it behind in Wellington with my friend (one less purchase to explain to my husband) and partly because I had to finish it.

This was the second book I’d read this month where gaslighting was a major theme (the other was Cathy Kelly’s) but a good read and my second favourite book of the month.

Book Club

This month in book club we finished Emma, the last of our Jane Austen novels. As we always do, we ended our discussion of the novel with a cook inspired by it. This time around we made Cranachan – a Scottish dessert. Why this dish and what does it have to do with Emma? You’ll need to read this post to find out, but spoiler alert it has to do with oats and strawberries.

Non Fiction

Waypoints: My Scottish Journey by Sam Heughan

I listened to this one on Audible and let’s be clear: Sam Heughan could read the train timetable and I’d listen. If in doubt google Sam Heughan recites Robbie Burns’ Red Red Rose. Swoon.

Anyways this is a memoir, of sorts, of how he got to where he is (spoiler alert – a lot of hard work) but told through the mechanism of a hike – the West Highland Way.

He might have been talking about his efforts to make it as an actor, but as an author with similar dreams and similar fears and anxieties, it really resonated with me in a way that books branded as “inspirational” or self-help tend not to.

Plus, I now have fantasies of a future without a dodgy ankle where I walk the West Highland Way.

Cookbook of the month

Milk Street: Tuesday Night Mediterranean by Christopher Kimball

Not one I’d normally choose, this was the first read from the cookbook club I’ve recently joined. While I won’t be rushing out to buy other titles from this author, if you like easy Med-style meals, this is a good one. You’ll find my full review here.

Your turn…

DebDonnaSue, and I would love you to share what you’ve been reading…the linky is below.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

27 thoughts

  1. I do love me a bit of Sam Heughan and I noticed you did a lot of reading in lovely locations – I could sit by a pool and read, or in front of that lovely NZ outlook too – it makes a nice vista to look up at when your eyes need a break. Loved seeing the other bloggers spruiking your new book in their posts – that’s what book club friends are for. x

  2. Hi, Jo – I noticed (with much envy) that poolside reading photo as well. It made me click my heals together and repeat “just four more days until Spring, four more days until Spring!” Thank you for the reminder of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. That is another book that keeps getting burried in my TBR pile!

    1. I had actually been reading in the pool just before I took this pic. I have this complicated arrangement where I leave my book and my sunnies on the side, launch myself into the pool float and then paddle about until I can reach the book… before carefully reversing it all to get out without the book ending up wet.

      1. Oh, I forgot to request it as an audio book– which I don’t as a rule like. For instance, the last book I read was in 9 hours and 12 mins, and the audio book was 16 hours long. But for his voice just maybe!

  3. The Scottish in me was piqued by Waypoints. I am not sure who that handsome lad is but would like to learn more!! Of course, The Little Wartime Library, appeals on a number of levels. I will pin it and add it to the to-read list. How about that delicious Tuesday night spread? PC wouldn’t know what to think if I met him at the table with such a colorful, fabulous feast.

    1. That handsome lad plays Jamie Fraser in Outlander – if you’ve ever watched that. You’d love The Little Wartime Library I think…

  4. Hi Jo. Loved seeing what you’ve been reading again. I have the Little War Time Library on my list. It sounds like something I’d love. I also love the sound of Waypoints. Anything Scottish always gets me in. I haven’t heard of Sam but I read who he was in another comment you made. I loved the couple of Outlander books that I read, but not sure if I will read the entire series as it’s a huge commitment. I haven’t watched the series.

    1. The Outlander books are such a commitment! I read most before the series started, but haven’t read the last couple & have forgotten much of the others. You’d enjoy The Little Wartime Library I think.

  5. Hi Jo – you had me at Sam Heughan – I just checked to see if I could get the audible through my library app but no such luck 😢. I will have to search for the physical book instead. I also like the sound of the little wartime library. Plus looking forward to your new release later in the year. Thanks for sharing

  6. Hi Jo, I never got the hype about Breakfast at Tiffany’s either – apart from the classic ‘look’ of Audrey Hepburn in the LBD with pearls and up do. Glad I’m not the only one. ‘Way Points’ appeals to me probably because I love all things about Scotland. I am currently reading Amsterdam to give me an idea before visiting later in the year. Thanks for being a stunning co-host of What’s On Your Bookshelf? I love our link up. xx

  7. You read some awesome books. And yes, we could all use a bit of Sam in our lives. Sigh. I read at the pool too and have so far only ruined two books.

  8. Right I’ve just added Sam Heughan’s book to my want to read pile, what a fabulous review- he could read the train timetable and I’d listen 🙂 Thanks for sharing your lovely reading spots (and books) with us Jo and I always enjoy your posts, you have such a way with words. xx

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