My 20 Books of Summer Wrap-Up!

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The 20 Books of Summer reading challenge has now ended and I’m so happy to say that, for the first time ever, I read all of the books on my planned TBR! Woo Hoo! I’ve always managed to read at least 20 books over the summer but I have never, ever managed to stick to my planned list. I picked 20 physical books this time so it was an even bigger challenge for me so I really am proud of myself for completing it. I didn’t get around to reviewing the books I read but I do intend to review at least some of them soon.

Before I go any further, a huge thank you to Cathy at 746 Books for running this challenge. I really do love taking part each year.

Here are the books I read over the summer (in the order I read them).

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames

The Trouble With Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahern

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor

A Question of Trust by Penny Vincenzi

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

The July Girls by Phoebe Locke

Still Lives by Maria Hummell

Take Me In by Sabine Durrant

Inhuman Resources by Pierre LeMaitre

The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith

After the Eclipse by Sarah Perry

The Word for Woman is Wilderness by Abi Andrews

Histories by Sam Guglani

We Own the Sky by Luke Allnutt

A Keeper by Graham Norton

Nevermoor #1: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

Take Courage: Anne Bronte and the Art of Life by Samantha Ellis

 

I have to say that I enjoyed every single book that was on my summer TBR, which is really something! I think if I was pushed to pick my favourites I would have to say that my favourite two novels were The Goldfinch and The Trouble With Goats and Sheep, and my two favourite non-fiction books were After the Eclipse and Take Courage. It was bittersweet reading A Question of Trust with it being the final book by Penny Vincenzi but I enjoyed it so much that I now want to make time to re-read some of her other novels.

The page count for my 20 books came to 7597, which is no surprise really considering how long The Goldfinch is and A Question of Trust is pretty huge too!

The fact that this year I made time to read my planned summer TBR as well as the other books that I needed to read (books for review and blog tour books) meant I was successful at completing this TBR. I’ve never done well with TBRs – I’m one of those people that absolutely loves planning what I’m going to read, and then the minute the challenge starts I want to read everything but what’s on my list! This time I planned it better and I feel so satisfied at getting to books that had been on my TBR bookcase for quite a while. I had a couple of books on my list that I’ve put off because they felt like they might be more difficult reads (like The Word for Woman is Wilderness for example) but I found I enjoyed them so much. It reminded me that I perhaps need to make a seasonal TBR to remind me of the books that I want to read but am intimidated by.

This year’s 20 Books of Summer has been absolutely wonderful and I already can’t wait for the next one! How did your summer reading go? Did you take part in the challenge? I hope you read some amazing books. 🙂

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WWW Wednesdays (24 Jul 2019)! What are you reading this week?

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WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

 

What I’m reading now:

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

This is the eighth book from my 20 Books of Summer choices and I’m really enjoying it. I’ve had this book on my TBR for about three years so am glad to get to it and am so happy that it’s living up to my hopes for it.

Unnatural Causes by Richard Shepherd

I treated myself to a copy of this last week as I keep seeing great reviews for it and am fascinated by it. It’s a really interesting book.

 

What I recently finished reading:

The Guilty Mother by Diane Jeffrey

This book is so good! I was gripped by it from the opening pages and it’s a book I read in just two sittings. I’ll be reviewing this one very soon,

The Closer I Get by Paul Burston

This is another great read, one that I also read in two sittings (and only because I started it late at night and had to sleep!). I’m reviewing this one tomorrow for the blog tour so please look out for my post.

Looker by Laura Sims

This is such a brilliant novel about a woman’s obsession with her neighbour. I really did love this one. My full review is here if you’d like to know more.

The Darkest Summer by Ella Drummond

I really enjoyed this book, it was a perfect thriller for the summer and I recommend it. My review is already posted so you can find my thoughts here if you want to know more.

A Question of Trust by Penny Vincenzi

This was the seventh book from my TBR for the 20 Books of Summer and I adored it. I love getting completely lost in a Penny Vincenzi novel and am sad this is the last one. I now want to make time to re-read all her other books!

 

What I plan on reading next:

Someone We Know by Shari Lapena

I’ve been so eagerly anticipating reading this novel as I love Shari Lapena’s writing so I plan on getting to this on in the coming days!

Bone Deep by Sandra Ireland

I’m on the blog tour for the audio book of this one and I’m keen to read it soon so hopefully I can get to it this week.

What You Did by Claire McGowan

I’ve seen some fab reviews of this book so when I found it was in the Kindle First selection for this month I grabbed it and really want to read it soon!

Stop At Nothing by Tammy Cohen

I’ve got an ARC of this book on my Kindle and I’m so keen to read it. Fingers crossed I get to it in the next few days!

 


 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesdays or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

WWW Wednesdays (17 Jul 2019)!

WWW pic

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

 

What I’m reading now:

The Darkest Summer by Ella Drummond

This book is so good! I really enjoyed Ella Drummond’s first novel and this one is even better, it gripped me from the first chapter and I’m keen to read more asap!

A Question of Trust by Penny Vincenzi

This is one of my 20 Books of Summer picks and I’m thoroughly enjoying this one. I’m trying to savour is because it but it’s hard not to keep reading when I pick it up. I recommend this one!

Gary Speed: Unspoken by John Richardson

I bought this one recently and started reading it straight away. It’s not really the book I thought it was going to be but I do want to finish it. I was hoping for more of a biography but really it’s more his friends sharing memories of him.

What I recently finished reading:

A Simple Favour by Darcey Bell

I’ve had this on my TBR mountain for about a year so when I spotted the audio book on BorrowBox (my local library’s audio book service) I decided to download it and listen. The novel wasn’t as good as I hoped it would be but listening to it on audio kept me engaged when I might have put the ebook down.

A Better Me by Gary Barlow

I also downloaded the audio book of this on a whim from BorrowBox after seeing a recommendation in a book group on FB. I actually enjoyed this more than I was expecting and I’m glad I listened to it.

Pain-Free Life: My Journey to Wellness by Andrea Hayes

This is another audiobook from BorrowBox and the title just caught my eye. I’ve worked really hard on finding ways of treating and coping with my severe neuropathic pain so am interested to read the stories of other people who’ve been through similar. Andrea’s story is so similar to mine in many ways so I found this book really life-affirming and recommend it.

The Spider and the Fly: A Reporter, A Serial Killer and the Meaning of Murder by Claudia Rowe

This is a book I’ve wanted to read for ages but have only seen quite expensive secondhand copies that are in not great condition so I was really pleased to spot the audio book on BorrowBox. I found this an interesting book about a reporter’s obsession with a serial killer, and her exploration of her own obsession.

The Stranger on the Bridge: My Journey from Despair to Hope by Jonny Benjamin

I finally got to read this book which I’ve been wanting to read since it first came out as I’d seen interviews with the author on TV.  This was a really moving book about the author’s struggle with mental illness.

Watching You by Lisa Jewell

I finally read this book having had an ARC on my TBR for over a year. I’m not sure how I missed reading it before now but I’m glad to have read it. I very much enjoyed this thriller and have already reviewed it. You can find my thoughts here if you’d like to know more.

Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving an American Obsession by Alice Bolin

I was really keen to listen to this book but I found myself disappointed with it as it just wasn’t the book it’s made out to be. It’s more about the author moving to L.A. and her obsession with Joan Didion’s work than it is about America’s obsession with young women who have been murdered.

 

What I plan on reading next:

Fire Sermon by Jamie Quatro

This book has been on my wish list for a while so when I spotted it on BorrowBox I decided to request it. I now have the book on my phone so it will be my next audio book.

Looker by Laura Sims

I hoped to read this one over the last week but I could only manage audio books so had to put this one on hold. I’m still keen to read it so fingers crossed for the coming week.

The Closer I Get by Paul Burston

I’ve been desperate to read this book so again I’m hoping I’ll be able to read print this week so that I can get to this one.


 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesdays or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

WWW Wednesdays (10 Jul 2019)! What are you reading this week?

WWW pic

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

 

What I’m reading now:

Forget Me Not by Claire Allan

I just started reading this late last night but it’s such a gripping read. The opening is really different to anything I’ve read before and it just had me wanting to read more and more.

The Hidden Wife by Amanda Reynolds

This is another really gripping read. I’m very intrigued about where the wife in the title might be and what could have happened to her.

Wrecking Crew: Demolishing the Case Against Steven Avery by John Ferak

I haven’t read much more of this over the last week as I wasn’t in much of a non-fiction mood but I’ll definitely get back to it soon.

 

What I recently finished reading:

How To Walk Away by Katherine Center

I’ve had this on my Kindle for a while now so when I spotted it on BorrowBox I decided to download the audio and listen to it instead. I really enjoyed this one and found it really uplifting.

The Murder of Harriet Monckton by Elizabeth Haynes

I part-read and part-listened to this one and absolutely loved it! I love Elizabeth Haynes’ writing anyway and this book lived up to all her others that I’ve read. I found it fascinating how she blended fact with some fiction in such a brilliant way. I recommend this one!

The Last Stage by Louise Voss

I reviewed this one yesterday so you can find my full review here if you’d like to know more. I can say that I loved this book though and recommend it!

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor

This was one of my 20 Books of Summer picks and I’m so happy that I finally got to this. I very much enjoyed it, it was such an interesting novel that got me really invested in all of the characters. I’m now looking forward to reading The Reservoir Tapes soon.

Normal People by Sally Rooney

This was another of my 20 Books of Summer and I’m so happy I read this. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Conversations with Friends as it just didn’t quite feel believable to me but I did like Sally Rooney’s writing so decided to try this one. I loved this book, it really reminded me of being the age of the characters and how miscommunications so easily happen in intimate relationships.

Fiver Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain

I’ve had this one on my TBR for way too long so when I spotted the audio book on my subscription service I decided to listen to it. I did enjoy this one but I think it would have worked better if I’d actually read it. I might come back and re-read the print version of this in the future.

The Wave by Virginia Moffatt

I really enjoyed this novel! It didn’t have as much depth as I might have liked but I loved the premise and I really enjoyed getting to know all of the characters and seeing how they dealt with what was going to happen.

 

What I plan on reading next:

The Darkest Summer by Ella Drummond

I really enjoyed Ella Drummond’s first novel (my review is here) so I was delighted to be offered a spot on the blog tour for her next book. I’m planning to read this one this coming week and I can’t wait!

Looker by Laura Sims

I’ve been so keen to read this book so now I own a copy I don’t want to wait any longer to start reading it!

A Question of Trust by Penny Vincenzi

This is another of my 20 Books of Summer and I’m in the mood for getting lost in a longer book so I think this fits the bill. I love Penny Vincenzi’s writing so I know I’m going to love this one.

Inhuman Resources by Pierre LeMaitre

I’ve been wanting to read this one for absolutely ages and I put it on my 20 Books of Summer so I didn’t forget I had it and I think the time has come to pick it up! I hope to get to this one this week too. 🙂

 


 

I’m a paid member of Scribd (as mentioned above) and they have given me a code that will allow you to sign up and get two months free (and I would get one month free). If you’d like to try them out here is the link. I love Scribd and highly recommend them.

 


 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesdays or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

20 Books of Summer for 2019!

 

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I’ve decided to join in with Cathy at 746 Books challenge to read 20 book over the summer! The challenge is running from 3rd June to 3rd September and you can challenge yourself to read either 10, 15 or 20 books over the three months.

My previous attempts at this challenge have always gone somewhat awry. I’ve always managed to read twenty books but generally tend to deviate completely from my planned reading but I really want to be strict this year and try my best to read the books I’ve picked!

I’ve decided to attempt to read 20 physical books this year as I tend to read more ebooks or listen to audio books these days so I’m using this summer reading challenge as a push to focus on print books for a while. I’ve also picked a couple of very chunky books that have been on my TBR for such a long time so it really will be a challenge!

 

So, without further ado… here are my 20 books of summer!

 

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The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

This is my number one book that I want to read this summer and if I read nothing else off this list this is the one I have to get to! I’m a huge Donna Tartt fan so I’ve been saving this one but it’s been calling to me from my TBR so now is the time! Also, I feel bad that my lovely mum-in-law bought me this gorgeous hardback edition when it was first published and that was a few years ago now.

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A Question of Trust by Penny Vincenzi

I bought this in hardback as soon as it was published but have put off reading this one because it’s the last Penny Vincenzi book and that makes me sad. She has been my go-to author for so many years but I do really want to read this and this summer feels like the time. Once I’ve read this one I can try and make time to go and re-read some of her older books.

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After the Eclipse by Sarah Perry

This is my must-read non-fiction pick for this summer. I have wanted to read this book for a long while now and I finally treated myself a couple of months back but I wasn’t in the right headspace to read it. I definitely want to devote some time to reading this one in the coming months.

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Take Courage by Samantha Ellis

This is another book that I bought in hardback when it first came out and then put it on my TBR bookcase and there it has stayed. I’m finally getting back into reading classics this year though and as Anne Bronte’s novels are some of my favourites it seems like the perfect time to pick this biography of her up.

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Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor

My husband bought me this for my birthday a couple of years ago and I’m really sad that I haven’t read it yet. I love Jon McGregor’s writing and I know I will love this book so it’s time that I get to it.

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Normal People by Sally Rooney

This is a recent purchase but I’m quite keen to read it. I just finished reading Conversations with Friends which I didn’t like but I’ve seen quite a few reviews now that seem to show that quite a lot of people who didn’t like it did go on to love Normal People so I’m wanting to read this while the first book is still fresh in my head.

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A Keeper by Graham Norton

I got this book for Christmas and I’m so excited to read it so I’m putting it on my Summer TBR so that it doesn’t end up languishing on my shelves like so many other books. I’ve heard good things about this!

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In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

This is already getting embarrassing but this is another book that my husband gave me for Christmas three years ago, and it’s a signed edition and I was so excited to get it… and yet I still haven’t read it. It has such a summery cover so it seems perfect to put it on my TBR for this summer.

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The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

Yep, this is another gift from my husband. I read and adored Three Things about Elsie so am excited to read Joanna’s first novel. This is set over the summer so it absolutely had to make my TBR!

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Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahern

Another gift that was bought for me when this was first published… I am just in the mood for this book though and very nearly started reading it this weekend. Then I realised it was perfect for my summer reading challenge so I’m going to hold off a bit longer.

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The Way I Used To Be by Amber Smith

I can’t remember where I got this book from but when I was sorting through my books the blurb does sound like a book I would be interested in so I’m adding it to the TBR. This is one of those books that I don’t have a connection to it as an object so if I don’t get to it this summer I’m going to pass it on to charity.

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Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

I got this book for Christmas 2018 and I’m so excited to read this. The blurb of it sounds like exactly the kind of book I would have adored when I was a child so I feel nostalgic to read it even though I’ve not read it before (if that makes sense!).

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We Own the Sky by Luke Allnutt

I got this book in a bookswap and was so keen to read it but then it disappeared into the TBR bookcase (which has shelves that are three books deep…). I think this will be an emotional read but it’s good to have a tearjerker on the TBR.

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Histories by Sam Guglani

I was sent this book for review quite a long time ago now and I just didn’t get to it but I do still want to read it so it’s going on the summer TBR stack. I think it’ll be good to have a short story collection in there to give a bit of variety.

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The Word for Woman is Wilderness by Abi Andrews

This is another book that I was sent for review (unrequested) but it sounded good so I kept it. I have an awful feeling that I may have put this book on my summer challenge last year and didn’t get to it so I’m going to really try and get to this one this year.

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Inhuman Resources by Pierre LeMaitre

This is a more recent review book that I requested and was thrilled to be sent as I love this author’s writing. His books always unnerve me and yet I can never put them down so I can’t wait to start this one.

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The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames

This was a very, very recent review book so I was intending to get to it very soon anyway so adding it to this list gives me an extra incentive to read it before too much longer.

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Take Me In by Sabine Durrant

I love this author’s books and this one sounds like it’ll be a good thriller to read in the summer so it absolutely had to make the list!

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Still Lives by Maria Hummel

This book is one I’ve been wanting to get to for the last couple of months but haven’t been in the right mood for it but I think it is one I will enjoy reading over the summer.

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The July Girls by Phoebe Morgan

This book was sent to me very recently and isn’t due out until July so it was calling out to be added to my summer reading stack!

 


 

So all in all quite a daunting amount of reading with the stack including a couple of huge books but I’m so looking forward to getting started! What are you planning, or hoping, to read over the summer months? Are you joining in with the 20 Book of Summer Challenge?

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