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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

Mailbox Monday
New On My Shelf

Image of a red letter box set in a wall. Featured image for Mailbox Monday meme


Showcasing this latest couple of books, recently added to my virtual reading shelf, which has now become a TBR mountain in its own right!

These two are already scheduled for review, so not to panic too much!

Picture of an English red post box - generic image to link to the mailbox Monday meme

First up this time is another of those ‘right time, right place’ moments, when NetGalley featured this intriguing ‘read now’ title, which I managed to grab!


Cover image of the book 'The Bell In The Lake' by author LarsMyttingNorway, 1880. Winter is hard in Butangen, a village secluded at the end of a valley. The lake has frozen, and for months the ground is too hard to bury the dead. Astrid Hekne dreams of a life beyond all this, beyond marriage, children, and working the land to the end of her days.

Then Pastor Kai Schweigaard takes over the small parish, with its 700-year-old stave church carved with pagan deities. The two bells in the tower were forged by Astrid’s forefather in the sixteenth century, in memory of conjoined twins Halfrid and Gunhild Hekne. They are said to hold supernatural powers.

The villagers are wary of the pastor and his resolve to do away with their centuries-old traditions, though Astrid also finds herself drawn to him. And then a stranger arrives from Dresden, with grand plans for the church itself. For headstrong Astrid this may be a provocation too far.

Talented architecture student Gerhard Schönauer is an improbable figure in this rugged community. Astrid has never met anyone like him; he seems so different, so sensitive. She finds that she must make a choice: for her homeland and the pastor, or for an uncertain future in Germany.

Then the bells begin to ring . . .

This story has been beautifully translated by Deborah Dawkin

Picture of an English red post box - generic image to link to the mailbox Monday meme

And now for something completely different and definitely not my usual reading fare – But it sounds like a fun read!

This Blog Tour / Review spot was a direct request from the lovely Helen, representing Helen Richardson PR.


Cover image of the book 'The Spy Who Inspire Me' by author Stephen ClarkeFor legal reasons, The Spy Who Inspired Me does not mention J*mes B*nd. Which is a shame, because it is a comedy based on the idea that I*n Fl*ming’s famously macho spy might have been inspire by a woman.

It is April 1944, and chic armchair naval officer Ian Lemming (yes, Lemming) is accidentally beached in Nazi-occupied Normandy.

With no access to a razor or clean underwear, and deprived of his cigarettes, Lemming just wants to go home. But he is stranded with a young, though hugely experienced, female agent called Margaux Lynd, who is on a perilous mission to unmask traitors in a French Resistance network.

So, as she bullies him across France, Lemming receives a painful crash course in spy craft, and starts to fantasize about a fictional agent – male of course – who would operate only in the most luxurious conditions, and lord it over totally subservient women.

A world-famous spy is born…

Picture of an English red post box - generic image to link to the mailbox Monday meme

Mailbox Monday‘ is a gathering place for readers to share links to the books that came into their house during the last week.

This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well, after all you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!

Written by

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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  • Yvonne, I absolutely ‘love’ the sound of The Bell in the Lake. It sounds so different and what a setting in Norway, a country I’ve always wanted to visit. I’ll be looking into this one!

    • Hi Cath,

      I have just started reading this one and it is a lovely book, although you do need to allow plenty of time to read it nice and slowly, as there is just so much to take in, with so many little twists in the storyline.

      A real work of literary fiction, although not too deep, with an unusual love triangle thrown in for good measure.

      I just know this one would fit your ‘armchair travels’ for Norway, as Butangen is a real place you can physically look up and investigate 🙂

  • Enjoy your books Yvonne, and it’s good to read outside of the usual reading selections. the Bell in the Lake sounds like a good one for a cool Autumn night.

    • Hi Naida,

      Both of my books this time are out of my usual reading comfort zones and it may seem that I am taking on every review / Blog Tour request, a little indiscriminately.

      However, there is method to my madness, as this does indeed set me to reading from new and different genres, and I do still exact quite strict guidelines about the books I accept.

      I am working my way through ‘The Bell In The Lake’ and wondering what the ending will be like, as at the moment I have no real idea. I am just lost in the beautiful writing and detailed descriptions of both people and places.

      Thanks for stopping by and I hope that all is well with you 🙂

    • Hi Lorraine,

      Knowing the kind of tongue-in-cheek writing style I am going to experience by reading the Stephen Clarke book and having begun reading the lyrical writing of the Lars Mytting story, I can safely say that the experience is going to be totally different, yet equally as enjoyable.

      I do however think, that at this stage of my journey ‘The Bell In The Lake’ is definitely heading for the full 5 stars!

      I hope that all is well with you and Happy Reading 🙂

  • I’m very curious about The Spy Who Inspired Me. I’ve read almost all non-fiction books by Clarke and he is amazing! Have you read 1,000 years of annoying the French? That’s a masterpiece, I highly recommend that one.

    • Hi Anca,

      No, I haven’t read the book you mention from cover to cover, although we did have a copy of that, and some of his other non-fiction titles donated into the charity shop where I used to volunteer, and I did get to browse a few random pages, before they hit the shelves.

      I am trying to go into reading ‘The Spy Who Inspired Me’ with an open mind, as both myself and my husband are keen James Bond fans! I know that many of the early films were very sexist and the female leads very subservient, however if you take the innuendo and double entendre for what it was, as indicative of the times, then they were the all-action films we both enjoy.

      I can imagine the Stephen Clarke treatment ‘007’ is going to be subjected to, so I do hope that it is tongue-in-cheek enough to make me smile rather than grimace!

      Thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading 🙂

  • Thank goodness neither of these particularly appeal to me. I already have too many things to read!! Both interest me enough, though, to look forward to any future posts about them.

    • Hi Kelly,

      I don’t tend to read a lot of humorous books, so the jury is still out on ‘The Spy Who Inspired Me’, but I figured that in these depressing winter lockdown months to come, a little light relief is always going to be welcome!

      ‘The Bell In The Lake’ is quite a slow read, but that’s because there is just so much in the detail of the story, that I don’t want to miss a word. This one seems to have been written with a real passion and much detailed research. It has an amazing sense of time and place and I think is heading for 5 stars and definitely one of my favourite books of the year!

      It wouldn’t do for us to enjoy the same books all the time, or there would be nothing to discuss or chat about 🙂

    • Hi Martha,

      Definitely two very diverse books, but that’s the beauty of blogging, you really don’t know where that next recommendation is going to come from, or what genre it will represent.

      I am currently reading ‘The Bell In The Lake’ and it really is a beautiful book!

      Thanks for stopping by and have a good week 🙂

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      I can’t believe where this year has gone, despite lockdown and Covid!

      We are still isolating as much as possible, so really the house should be as clean as a new pin – Is it heck! The days just run one into the other and I keep putting jobs off until ‘tomorrow’, but tomorrow never seems to come 🙂

      I used to manage the house and my blog, alongside going out all day every day. Now I don’t know where I found all the time from, as it is as much as I can do to flick a duster round the place and settle down to spend the rest of the day on the blog and reading!

      What about yourself? I hope that you are staying safe and making better progress with life than I am!

      I have just finished reading ‘The Bell In The Lake’ – not a dry eye in the house and a definite 5 stars. No earth shattering action, but some brilliant descriptive writing and characters I could really invest in.

      Thanks for stopping by. I do catch your Tweets from time to time and it looks as though you have also enjoyed some good reading recently 🙂

Written by Yvonne