That Was The Month That Was… April 2020!

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April was such a strange month with the UK (and most of the world) on a lockdown. I’m housebound for much of the time anyway as I can’t physically leave the house without help but it’s still so weird not being able to go out even though my husband is home every day (he’s been furloughed). I’m in the high risk group so it’s all very worrying but day to day we’re doing okay. I’m so grateful that we have a small garden so can get some fresh air most days.

My reading and blogging mojo upped and left a while ago – partly because I was really unwell earlier in the year and then the anxiety about Coronavirus began mounting. Thankfully I’ve finally been able to finish some of the books I started weeks and weeks ago, and over the last week or so I’ve been reading more frequently. I’m hoping my reading mojo is properly on its way back and that my blogging will follow!

Whilst I haven’t been reading I have been catching up on some TV boxsets. My husband and I re-watched all of Life On Mars (which is brilliant!) and we finally finished watching Ashes to Ashes. Can’t believe we watched the first two series years ago and then never watched the final series. It was so good. We’ve started watching The Sopranos for the first time (somehow neither of us saw it when it was first on and we’ve both been keen to see it).  I’m still addicted to House of Games – BBC2 is currently showing repeats of the first series (which I’ve never seen) so I’m enjoying those episodes.

Anyway, I finished reading nine books in April (more than half were books I’d been reading on and off before April), which is a vast improvement on my reading in March. So without further ado…

Here are the books I read in April:

Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing by Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse

I bought this audio book on a whim when it was on a daily deal last year. My husband and I listened to it together during the first week or so of lockdown and it was so relaxing at a time of high stress. We discovered the TV series on BBC iPlayer that this book accompanies so we’ve since watched that too and it’s been such a tonic. I recommend both (even if you’re not into fishing!).

Strangers by C. L. Taylor

This novel was such a good read and was the first fiction that I managed to read over a short period in quite a while. I’ve already reviewed this one so you can find my full thoughts here if you’d like to know more.

The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 by Garrett M. Graff

As is often the case for me I gravitate towards non-fiction when I’m struggling to read and I found I wanted to read about people overcoming very difficult times so this one caught my eye on my Kindle. I found this such a moving, and sad book but it also had hope and a sense of healing running through it. It’s sensitively written and I recommend it.

One of Them: From Albert Square to Parliament Square by Michael Cashman

I’ve had this book on my radar ever since I first heard about it last year so when I spotted it on my library app recently I immediately reserved it. It’s such an honest and moving memoir and I found myself completely lost in Michael’s story.

The Last Flight by Julie Clark

This is a review book that I got from NetGalley fairly recently and I’ve been so keen to read it so picked it up. It took me a few days to read it but I did really enjoying it and I had no idea how it was all going to turn out!

The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman

This book is the one that really got me back into reading and I read it all in just two sittings! It’s such a good read and one that had me desperate to know what was going to happen and how things were going to end. I’ll be reviewing it for the blog tour in May but in the meantime I definitely recommend it!

The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton

As I began to get out of my reading slump I was craving a comfort read and decided to go back to the magic faraway tree – a much beloved series from my childhood. This is the first book and it was lovely to meet all the characters again.

The Trap by Melanie Raabe

This is a book that I’ve owned on ebook for around four years so when I spotted the audio book available on my library app I immediately downloaded it. I’m glad I did as I quite enjoyed the audio but I’m not sure I would have kept reading if I’d been reading the ebook.

Adele by Leila Slimani

This is another book I borrowed from my library’s app and I enjoyed it. I didn’t think it was quite as good as Lullaby but I still found it engrossing and I wanted to know how it was going to end.

 

April Blog Posts & Reviews:

Due to my reading and blogging slump I’ve only published two posts in April but hopefully May will be better. I managed to post my review of Strangers by C. L. Taylor earlier in the month and the on Wednesday I posted my WWW Wednesday Post where I shared what I’m currently reading, what I’ve recently finished reading and what I hoped to read next.   

 

 

How was April for you? I hope you and your loved ones are safe and well.

What was your favourite book of the month? Please tell me in the comments, I’d love to know.

Also, if you have a blog please feel free to leave a link to your April wrap-up post and I’ll be sure to read. 🙂

WWW Wednesday (29 Apr 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: 

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Just my Luck by Adele Parks

I just got approved for this book on NetGalley yesterday and I’ve been so keen to read it that I started it straight away! I’m enjoying it so far.

 

What I recently finished reading:

The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman

This is the book that really began to get me out of my recent reading slump and I read it in two sittings. It’s such a good book and I’m looking forward to sharing my review as part of the blog tour next month. In the meantime I highly recommend pre-ordering it!

The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton

I picked this up as I was trying to find a way back into reading and thought a much-loved book from my childhood would help. I did enjoy this one but not quite as much as I did when I was little.

Adele by Leila Slimani

I borrowed the ebook of this one from the library and it was an okay read. It kept me gripped all the way through but I didn’t feel as engrossed as I did when I read Lullaby. I’m glad I read it though.

The Trap by Melanie Raabe

I’ve had the ebook of this on my TBR for over four years so when I spotted the audio book was available on the library app I decided to get it and listen to it. This book wasn’t what I expected really, I’m glad I listened to it rather than reading as it kept me going with it when I might have put it down.

 

What I plan on reading next:

Kitty Genovese: A True Account of a Public Murder and its Private Consequences by Catherine Pelonero

I bought this book recently and have been keen to pick it up. I read a novel based on this case a year or two ago and have wanted to know more about what happened ever since. I hope to get to this one this week.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

I feel like while we’re on lockdown a book about people being trapped together might be interesting and this one grabbed my attention on my kindle!

Living My Best Life by Claire Frost

I’ve had a copy of this on my review pile for a while now and I think I’m just in the mood for it so hopefully I get to read it in the coming 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. 🙂

The A-Z of Books tag

I spotted the A-Z Book Tag on Pretty Purple Polka Dots blog this week and loved reading it so much that I simply had to join in and answer the questions myself!

 

Author You’ve Read the Most Books From

I’m not sure, there are quite a few prolific authors whose books I always read. I reckon it would probably be Enid Blyton as I adored her books when I was a child! Of all the authors I love as an adult it would probably be Sue Grafton or Peter Robinson as I love their series books and have read almost all of them.

Best Sequel Ever

I can’t think of a sequel that I would say is the best sequel ever but I adored The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce, which was a companion novel to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (which I also loved).

Currently Reading

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

My Favourite Manson Girl by Alison Umminger

Sockpuppet by Matthew Blakstad

The Treachery of Trains by Sylvia Ashby

 

Drink of Choice While Reading

It’d have to be either a cup of coffee or a bottle of water.

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E-Reader or Physical Book

I read both but due to my disability it is easier for me to read on my Kindle as it’s difficult for me to turn pages of a print book. So my answer is e-reader.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated in High School

It’d have to be Ron Weasley!

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Glad You Gave this Book a Chance

Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan. It wasn’t a book I’d heard of at the time but I was offered a chance to review it and I’m so very glad that I agreed because it is now one of my all-time favourite books. I’ve made it my mission to shout about this book every chance I get because it’s brilliant, I’ve recommended it to so many people and have bought copies to give as gifts.

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Hidden Gem Book

Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin. I’ve got to know Carol a little on social media so when it was announced that her novel was due to be published I immediately put myself forward to review it. I did it to support Carol because at the time I knew very little about this book. I don’t know that I would have discovered this book so soon had I not been a book blogger so this is another book that I’m championing every chance I get. It’s beautiful and magical and I want everyone to read it!

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Important Moment in Your Reading Life

This is a tough one. I’m torn between sharing a childhood memory of reading or going with something more recent! I think actually starting this book blog last summer was a very important moment for me. I’ve wanted to do this for years and never had the confidence but then I found myself bed bound recovering from major surgery and I needed a project… and my book blog was born! My body recovered from the effects of surgery but the damage that had already been done beforehand is something I’m learning to live with but my blog has kept me sane through the really tough days. I’m housebound when my husband is at work as I can’t physically do anything independently anymore and blogging has given me a new lease of life. I don’t have time to dwell on what might have been because I’m too focused on writing about all the amazing books I’m lucky enough to read.

Just Finished

Tapestry by Elle Turner – a short story collection and I highly recommend it. I also just finished reading Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Hyde and it was brilliant!

Kind of Books You Won’t Read

I won’t read horror as I don’t like to be scared!

Longest Book You’ve Read

I’m not sure… I think maybe either Ulysses by James Joyce or The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber

Major Book Hangover

The Headmaster’s Wife by Thomas Christopher Greene. I read this book a couple of years ago but I can still remember the story so vividly. I can also remember how long it took me to move on from it and be able to get engrossed in another book afterwards, it had such a lasting impact on me.

Number of Bookcases You Own

I own two bookcases and three huge bookshelves.

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One Book You’ve Read Multiple Times

 

After You’d Gone by Maggie O’Farrell – I read it twice on the day it was released and I usually go back to it every couple of years.

Preferred Place to Read

In my comfy recliner armchair in my living room. I have a reading lamp behind me and opposite me in the room is my bookcase with all of my favourite books on it, and to the side of me is my TBR book case. Perfect!

Quote that Inspires You/Gives You all the Feels from a Book You’ve Read

“The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.”
― Alan Bennett, The History Boys

Reading Regret

I used to buy books faster than I could read them because I had a genuine fear of running out of books to read. I’ve now reached that tipping point age where I now know that I’m never going to have enough time to read all the books and that makes me feel quite melancholy and regretful at times.

Series You Started and Need to Finish

Sue Grafton’s alphabet series. I absolutely love this series but I know that the end is near because it’s getting ever closer to Z. I’ve deliberately slowed down reading these books because I’m dreading the point where there will be no more new novels!

Three of Your All-Time Favorite Books

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes

The Story of You by Julie Myerson

Unapologetic Fangirl For

Maggie O’Farrell – I always look forward to her books so much!

Very Excited for this Release more than All Others

I would have said This Must Be The Place by Maggie O’Farrell but I was very lucky to be sent a  review copy so have already read it. I’m still very excited for my hardback copy that I have on pre-order to arrive though! If I have to pick a book that’s not released yet I’d probably say To The Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey as I adored The Snow Child.

Worst Bookish Habit

This is a terrible confession but I do have a good explanation for it… I’ve become a spine breaker! Up until the last year I had honestly never broken a spine on a book EVER but now it’s a case of needs must. It’s very hard to read a print book when one hand is paralysed – I need to be able to hold a book open and turn the page one-handed and often this leads to accidental spine breaking. Sometimes a book is too hard to hold and I have to break the spine on purpose… eeeek! It took me a while to come to terms with this but as time goes on I feel less guilty about it because at the the end of the day books are for reading!

X Marks the Sport: Start on the Top Left of Your Shelf and Pick the 27th Book

I went along my favourites book case and the 27th book was… Where the Heart is by Billie Letts. The order of my books is unique to me – I know where every single book I own is in my house but I don’t alphabetise them or even keep the same genres together.

Your Latest Purchase

As If I Were a River by Amanda Saint and I’m really looking forward to reading it.

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Zzzzz-Snatcher Book (Last Book that Kept You up Way too late) 

This Must Be The Place by Maggie O’Farrell – I just didn’t want to put it down!

Weekly Wrap-Up and Stacking the Shelves (5th December)

I don’t know where the weeks are going at the moment, I can’t quite believe that it’s Saturday again already and time for my weekly wrap-up post!

I’ve realised over the last few days that due to my physio schedule increasing I simply don’t have the energy and brain power to read as many books, or to write as many reviews or posts on my blog. I’m not sure yet whether I’m going to post as and when I can, or whether to try and make some sort of schedule so I still have regular posts. If any of you have any suggestions on how to manage book blogging alongside a hectic real life then please let me know in the comments. Any and all advice is much appreciated.

This week on my blog I’ve posted my usual WWW Wednesday, and Book Beginnings posts. I also did my monthly wrap-up for November.


 

My week in books:

I’ve read four books this week and have managed to review all of them.

(Please click on the links below the images to read my reviews)

Winter’s Fairytale by Maxine Morrey

Search for the Truth by Kathryn Freeman

Don’t Jump by Vicki Abelson

The Mince Pie Mix-Up by Jennifer Joyce


 

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I’m also joining in with Stacking the Shelves (hosted by Tynga’s Reviews), which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week – ebooks or physical books, and books you’ve bought or borrowed or received an ARC of.

Books I’ve bought this week:

This week there has been a huge sale on Kindle books due to Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals and I went completely and utterly one-click happy! I was debating whether to post pics of all of the books I bought as it will show how out of control I’ve been this week, or whether I should just post highlights. In the interests of always been truthful on my blog, I’m listing them all. Please don’t judge me!

The first four books are books I already own, and have already read, in print but when I spotted them on sale as ebooks I decided to buy them in this format as well.

The Orange Girl by Jostein Gaarder

The Enchantment of Lily Dahl by Siri Hustvedt

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Janette Winterson

The Amateur Marriage by Anne Tyler

The following are all books on my wishlist that dropped in price over the past few days and so I couldn’t resist buying them!

The Story of a Lost Child by Elena Ferrante (sale)

The Novel Cure by Susan Elderkin (sale)

Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan (sale)

Little White Lies by Lesley Lokko (sale)

The Gallery of Lost Husbands by Natasha Solomons (sale)

Vagina: A New Biography by Naomi Wolf (sale)

Do Me No Harm by Julie Corbin (sale)

The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier (sale)

Eleven Days by Lea Carpenter (sale)

The Other Child by Charlotte Link (sale)

Winter Flowers by Carol Coffey (sale)

The Island Hideaway by Louise Candlish  (sale)

Never Broken by Hannah Campbell (sale)

The House of Frozen Dreams by Sere Prince Halverson (sale)

The Happy Hoofer by Celia Imrie (sale)

Oswald’s Tale by Norman Mailer (sale)

 

Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde (sale)

Murder by Sarah Pinborough (sale)

Mayhem by Sarah Pinborough (sale)

Skellig by David Almond (sale)

Travelling to Infinity by Jane Hawking (sale)

The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma (sale)

All Day Long by Joanna Biggs (sale)

The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood (sale)

Coming Up Trumps by Jean Trumpington (sale)

Sugar Rush by Julie Burchill (sale)

26 Miles to the Moon by Andrew Males (sale)

Trick of the Dark by Val McDermid (sale)

Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales (sale)

No Place to Die by Clare Donoghue (sale)

Learning to Speak American by Colette Dartford (sale)

The Hidden Legacy by G. J. Minett (sale)

 

The next four books are all Christmas books that I couldn’t resist buying even though I’m not sure I have time to read all the Christmas novels I already own!

Enid Blyton’s Christmas Stories by Enid Blyton (sale)

Wish Upon A Christmas Cake by Darcie Boleyn (sale)

A Wedding at Christmas by Chrissie Manby (sale)

The Christmas Cafe by Amanda Prowse (sale)

And the last two books that I bought this week were two books that I’ve had on my wishlist for ages and couldn’t resist them any longer. The Melissa Hill book was just released on Thursday and I’ve been waiting for it to be out!

A Diamond from Tiffany’s by Melissa Hill

Paulina and Fran by Rachel B. Glaser

 

Review books received this week:

Snowed in for her Wedding by Emma Bennet (ebook)

Callie’s Christmas Countdown by Julie Ryan (ebook)

Strictly Between Us by Jane Fallon (ebook)

As Weekends Go by Jan Brigden (ebook)

A Savage Hunger by Claire McGowan (ebook)

The Ballroom by Anna Hope (ebook)

Pretty Is by Maggie Mitchell (print book)

Viral by Helen Fitzgerald (print book)

The Silvered Heart by Katherine Clements (print book)

 

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And I won a proof copy of The Missing Husband by Amanda Brooke in a completion run by Shazsbookblog.