That Was The Month That Was… May 2020!

I can’t believe that May has been and gone and now it’s June already! It’s now almost twelve weeks since I last left the house as I’m in the high risk group for Coronavirus and my last trip out of the house was a couple of weeks before lock down. It’s been okay. I feel lucky that we have a small garden so I’ve been able to get fresh air most days. My husband is still on furlough at the moment so it helps that I’ve not been on my own. We’ve been enjoying the sunshine when it’s here and we’ve caught up on a few films and TV shows when it’s been too cold to sit outside.

The biggest thing that happened in May is that my reading mojo finally returned, closely followed by my bloggging mojo! I’ve read more books than I thought I had in May so I’m really pleased. I still need to remind myself to pick up a book when I’m in the house but when I’m in the garden I only take a book or my kindle outside and that stops me wasting time on my phone.

Here is my May in Books and Blogging!

Reading

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

The Alibi Girl by C. J. Skuse

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

Just My Luck by Adele Parks

We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker

One Split Second by Caroline Bond

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo

One Hundred and Fifty Two Days by Giles Paley Phillips

Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

Haven’t They Grown by Sophie Hannah

The Catch by T. M. Logan

Stranger, Baby by Emily Berry

Just Mercy by Bryan A. Stevenson

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

His and Hers by Alice Feeney

The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel

Afraid of the light by Alex North

Living My Best Life by Claire Frost

The Babysitter by Phoebe Morgan

The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper

Funny Weather: Art in an Emergency by Olivia Laing

Blurred Lines by Hannah Begbie

Blogging

I managed to post fairly regularly on my blog in May which I’m really happy about. I started with my April wrap-up where I shared how that month had been. This was followed by a book haul. Then I shared a post with four mini reviews of recent reads: Dear Edward by Anna Napolitano, Rules for Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson, What She Saw Last Night by Mason Cross and I Want You Gone by Miranda Rijks.

Mid-week that week I shared my WWW Wednesday post and on the Saturday I posted another book haul. Next up was my next mini review post with four more books featured: The Alibi Girl by CJ Skuse, The Last Flight by Julie Clark, The Guest List by Lucy Foley and The Recovery of Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel. Then it was WWW Wednesdays time again!

My next post was a book haul and this was followed by another selection of mini book reviews: Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo, Made to be Broken by Rebecca Bradley, Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain, and An Almost Zero Waste Life by Megan Weldon. On the Wednesday of that week I shared my review of The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman and my regular WWW Wednesdays post. Then it was time to stack my shelves again with a new book haul.

On the Monday I shared another mini book review post featuring Just My Luck by Adele Parks, One Hundred and Fifty Two Days by Giles Paley-Phillips, The Catch by T. M. Logan and A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone. Towards the end of May it was time to decide what my 20 Books of Summer TBR was going to be! Then it was WWW Wednesdays time again. And my final post in May was another book haul!

How was your May? It’s such a weird time at the moment and I hope you’re all doing as okay as you can be. I’d love to hear about the books you’ve been reading or if you have any TV/Netflix recommendations.

WWW Wednesdays (3 Jun 20)! 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!

My Current Reads

They Can’t Kill Us All by Wesley Lowery

In the wake of the killing of George Floyd I’ve been thinking about how to learn more and understand more about #BlackLivesMatter and I spotted this book on my shelves and decided to start reading it yesterday. It’s an interesting and personal look at the beginnings of the movement and also what happened in Ferguson. I’m keen to read more so if you have any recommendations on where to go next please leave them in the comments below.

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

I’ve been wanting to read this one since it was long listed for the Women’s Prize this year and again, as above, it called to me from my Kindle yesterday and I started reading it. The writing is beautiful and the characters are so real. I’m very much enjoying this book and am looking forward to reading more.

You and Me, Always by Jill Mansell

This is the first book that I’ve picked from my 20 Books Of Summer stack and I’m adoring it so far. It feels like such a good book to start with as it’s summery and easy to get in to. I’ve had this book on my TBR for years now and am wishing I’d picked it up sooner.

My Recent Reads

HeatStroke by Hazel Barkworth

I read this novel in one sitting yesterday whilst out in the garden and it was such a perfect way to read this book. This is one of those novels that has a strange dreamlike quality to it because of the intense heat that’s running through its pages. I really did love this book and I’ll definitely be looking out for more by this author in the future.

Little Disasters by Sarah Vaughan

This is another novel that I pretty much read in one sitting as I simply had to know what had happened and how it was all going to turn out. It’s an exploration of motherhood and friendships, and the secrets and hidden thoughts we keep from others. I found this novel very moving and so well-written, and it had me gripped from start to finish.

Blurred Lines by Hannah Begbie

I requested this one from NetGalley as the blurb really caught my attention. It’s about the decision a woman takes not to report a suspected assault, but it’s also an exploration of what happened to her when she was younger. It’s a very prescient novel and one that should be widely read.

Funny Weather: Art in an Emergency by Olivia Laing

This is an essay collection that I had an eARC of but decided to buy the audio book and listen to it. I enjoyed a lot of the essays, although some felt too short and too surface level. On the whole I would recommend this one, and I’m keen to read more by the author in the future. I’ve already reviewed this one so click the title above if you’d like to know more.

The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper

I’ve had a copy of this on my NetGalley shelf for over a year but for some reason hadn’t picked it up. I finally read it this week and I devoured it in a couple of sittings. I adored this book and am kicking myself for not reading it sooner. You can read my review by clicking on the title above.

Living My Best Life by Claire Frost

I also had a copy of this book for review but ended up borrowing the audio from BorrowBox and listening to it. I really enjoyed it, it was good escapist summer reading.

The Babysitter by Phoebe Morgan

When I posted my WWW Wednesdays last week I was waiting on the last stave of this from Pigeonhole so only had three or four chapters to read so most of it was read before this week. Anyway, the end was worth waiting for because it was so twisty! I very much enjoyed this novel and plan on going back and reading Phoebe Morgan’s previous novel soon.

The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel

This book is stunning! I read and enjoyed the author’s previous novel The Roanoke Girls but this book is even better. I can’t stop thinking about Evie and wondering how she’s doing now. If you like crime novels set in a small town then this is one for you! I’ve already reviewed this one so click the title above to know more of what I thought.

What I Might Read Next

Who Did You Tell? by Lesley Kara

This has been on my NetGalley shelf for ages and I still want to read it as much as I ever did so hope to get to it this week. I loved the author’s previous novel The Rumour so have very high hopes for this one.

Mine by Clare Empson

This is another NetGalley book and I’ve been wanting to get to this one for a while so am adding it to my TBR for this week and hopefully I’ll manage to get to it this week.

Just Like the Other Girls by Claire Douglas

I’m such a big fan of Claire Douglas so am very excited to have a NetGalley of her forthcoming book and really want to read it asap. I hope to get to it this week!

Evening Primrose by Kopano Matlwa

This is the next book that I hope to get to from my 20 Books Of Summer TBR. I’ve had a copy of this on my bookcase for around three years now and I still want to read it so hope to get to this one 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. 🙂

Mini Book Reviews: The Day We Met | His and Hers | The Familiar Dark | Funny Weather

Today I’m sharing another selection of mini reviews of books that I’ve read and enjoyed over the last couple of weeks.

The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper

I’ve shamefully had this book on my NetGalley shelf for over a year and I’m kicking myself for not picking it up sooner because I completely and utterly adored this book! It follows Stephanie and Jamie who meet on an art course and feel such a strong connection to each other. They swap numbers and hope to see each other in a year’s time at the next art retreat. We then follow them in alternating chapters as they navigate their lives and they see each other once a year. They know they have strong feelings but they’re married to other people and don’t know what they should do. I know infidelity is a tricky subject to cover but I couldn’t help but root for Stephanie and Jamie. The way they expressed feelings through sharing meaningful songs was so beautiful. I don’t want to say too much more about this book as I’m wary of spoilers so I’ll just say that I loved this novel and I highly recommend it.

The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel

I read and loved The Roanoke Girls and so had very high hopes for this novel and I can say that it easily exceeded them. I read this book in one sitting, I just couldn’t put it down even as it was breaking my heart. The novel follows Evie in the immediate aftermath of finding out that her daughter and her daughter’s best friend have been murdered. Evie is utterly broken by this news but she steels herself to go back to the darker parts of her community where she grew up because she wants answers. She is so angry and so hurt and I was rooting for her all the way through. There are twists and turns along the way but this is really a novel about the darkest elements of a community and how hard it is to escape. This is a gritty, dark novel but Evie is so real and I adored the writing. I recommend this one!

His and Hers by Alice Feeney

I loved Alice Feeney’s debut novel Sometimes I Lie and this is a return to form! His and Hers follows Anna, an ambitious TV news reporter, and her ex-husband Jack, a police detective in alternating chapters. I found this such a fun read as seeing things from each of their points of view and realising that one of them might have set the other one up made for such a fast-paced read! I kept changing my mind about who I thought was behind the murders, and ultimately whilst I did guess how it was going to end it didn’t spoilt how good of a read this was. It was such a rollercoaster ride and I very much enjoyed it. I can’t wait to read whatever Alice Feeney writes next but in the meantime I recommend this book!

Funny Weather by Olivia Laing

This my first book by Olivia Laing and I will definitely read more of her work in the future. Funny Weather is an essay collection and some of the essays I loved and found fascinating, I actually looked up some of the artists she wrote about to find out more about them and their work. Others were about people I already know about and I really connected with them, such as the essay on Freddie Mercury (he was the first famous person whose death made me cry too). There were some essays that just felt too short and too surface level though which meant I didn’t get much out of them and there wasn’t enough to pique my interest to look the artists up. Mostly I enjoyed this book though and I would recommend it.

WWW Wednesdays (22 Nov)! 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:

Tell Me How it Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions by Valeria Luiselli 

I’ve heard about this book on a few BookTube videos recently and so put it on my wishlist. I then spotted it on my audio book subscription so I immediately downloaded it and am now half-way through listening to it. It’s a really interesting book.

Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin by Sybrina Fulton & Tracy Martin

This is an ARC that I’ve had on my TBR for a few weeks now and I finally started reading it last night. It’s such a heartbreaking book but it’s such an important and prescient read. I have such admiration for Trayvon’s parents in the way they have tried to channel their grief into raising awareness and to honour their son’s life. I’ll definitely be reviewing this one when I’ve finished reading it.

Dear Cathy… Love, Mary by Catherine Conlon & Mary Phelan

This is such a lovely book, it’s a real feel-good and quite nostalgic read. I recommend this if you want a light-hearted book about two girls in the early 80s as they begin their adult lives.

Coco Chanel:The Legend and the Life by Justine Picardie

I’m enjoying this book so much. It’s only taking me so long to read it because my copy is a really heavy hardback – it’s a beautiful book and one I’ll definitely be keeping but it’s hard to hold and read for more than a chapter at a time. It’s printed on thick glossy paper and has lots of great photos throughout. I recommend it.

The Everything Store by Brad Stone

This is still on my currently reading and I do intend to get back to it soon but I’ve been drawn to non-fiction on other subjects over the last week so I’m going with how I feel.

What I recently finished reading:

Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan

This book has been on my TBR for over three years but when I finally picked it up this week I honestly couldn’t put it down. I read it in two sittings and it feels like one of this books that will really stay with me. I highly recommend it.

Friends Like These by Danny Wallace

This is an audible book that I’ve owned for seven years and somehow have never listened to it! I was in need of something light to listen to at the weekend so put this on and I enjoyed it. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I’d read it when I was younger but it was still interesting to see how Danny tracked down his old school friends.

Flash Boys by Michael Lewis

This was a really fascinating book and the New York Stock Exchange and how companies would do anything to have the edge over others. I didn’t put it on my #NonFictionNovember2017 TBR because I was worried it might be a bit dry and take me a long while to read but I was so wrong. I found that once I picked this book up I didn’t want to put it down and ended up reading it in just a couple of sittings.

Whatever… Love is Love by Maria Bello

This is another audio book that I listened to on a whim. It was an easy listen and there were sections that really made me pause to think about my own life and how I view myself. As a whole it wasn’t quite as good as I hoped it might be but I’m still glad I read it.

What I plan on reading next:

Hystories by Elaine Showalter

I’ve wanted to read this book for ages and promised myself I would definitely get to it this November so I’m really hoping I can read it this week.

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson

I’m always fascinated by the books that Jon Ronson writes and this one sounds like it’ll be a brilliant read.

The Lonely City by Olivia Laing

I hoped to read this last week and didn’t get to it so I’m putting it on my TBR for the week ahead. I’m really looking forward to this one.


 

What are you reading at the moment? Have you finished any good books recently? Which books are you looking forward to reading soon? Please feel free to join in with this meme and share your link below, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below.

My (rather ambitious!) TBR for Non-Fiction November!

NonFictionNovember!

I’ve decided, at the last minute, to take part in #NonFictionNovember! I have a lot of non-fiction on my TBR so it seems like a good time to read more of it. I struggled to make an exact TBR as generally once I make a list of books to read my brain decides it wants to read anything but what’s on the list! This time I’ve picked a selection of books that I really like the sound of – I’ve deliberately picked more books than I’m able to read in a month in the hope that having more choice will keep me on track. I do have some fiction to read and review so I may not read exclusively non-fiction but I aim to mostly read it in November.

I’ve predominantly picked books that I owned before 2017 so that I can use these books towards my Goodreads Mount TBR Challenge as I haven’t managed to complete that as yet, hence why there aren’t any new books (other than review books) on this list. I’ve tried to make my list a mix of easier non-fiction to balance some of the more challenging books in the hope it keeps me on the non-fiction track for the most part!

#NonFictionNovember2017 was started by abookolive and Non Fic Books on YouTube.

Their prompts for this reading challenge are:

Home

Substance

Love

Scholarship

and you can interpret these prompts however you like.

 

Here’s my #NonFictionNovember TBR

Hystories by Elaine Showalter

This is one of my picks for the scholarship prompt. I first heard about Elaine Showalter when she was giving a talk at the university that I was about to start. I loved her talk and went on to read two of her books soon after. For some reason I never got around to reading this one so it seemed a good choice to aim for during this reading challenge.

Nothing is True and Everything is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev

This is another book that could possibly fit into scholarship as Russian politics is something I feel I should learn more about and this book looks like it could be an accessible way to start. It’s also a book that’s been on my TBR for a while so it’s time I picked it up.

Essays in Love by Alain de Botton

This is my pick for Love seeing as it has love in the title! I’ve had this on my TBR for a while too and it seemed a good pick for something to dip in and out of during this challenge to break up some of the heavier books on my TBR.

It’s Not Yet Dark by Simon Fitzmaurice

This book doesn’t really fit any of the challenges but it’s a book I’ve own for a long time and really want to read. It’s a book about the author being diagnosed with MND and how he has come to terms with how that has changed his life. I didn’t read it for a while because there was a time when this felt like it might be too close to home but that time has passed now and I feel ready to read this.

The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell

This book could fit into home as it’s a book about a couple making a new home for themselves in Denmark. I’ve wanted to read this for ages and so I’ve added it to this TBR for some light relief if I find myself needing it.

The Emperor of all Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee

This is my pick for substance as it’s a biography of cancer and looks at the way cells can go rogue within the human body. I’ve wanted to read this for so long but it’s a subject that I find really hard to read about. I’m using this challenge to push myself to read it at last because I feel sure it will be fascinating.

The Lonely City by Olivia Laing

This book is on my TBR simply because I really want to read it and I think it might have a different vibe to other books that I’ve picked and so might be good to change things up a bit.

Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life by Justine Picardie

I’ve had the lovely hardback of this book on my TBR for about seven years now and I have no idea why I haven’t read it yet as it’s a book I really wanted. I also love the author’s writing so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to fit this book in this month.

Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

This is a recent buy but I’m so looking forward to reading that I’ve added it. I may well end up not reading this as I want to focus on books from before this year but I’ve put this on the list in case I get stuck at any point and then I know I can pick this up. It’s the book that inspired Roger Waters to write Amused to Death and as I love that album I am very keen to read this book!

Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan

This is another book that I’ve wanted to read for a long time and I don’t know why I haven’t done so as yet. I feel like this might be a one sitting read and so perfect for this reading challenge.

Mercury and Me by Jim Hutton

I do like memoirs and biographies so have added this one as it will break up the other books I have on my TBR. I’m a huge Freddie Mercury fan and can never resist books about him.

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson

I love Jon Ronson’s books and this one is on a subject that fascinates me so I’m keen to see how he approaches it.

Small Acts of Disappearance by Fiona Wright

This is an essay collection that I’ve been looking forward to and it seemed like a good idea to have another book that can be read on and off throughout the month.

The Undertaker’s Daughter by Kate Mayfield

This is a memoir of Kate Mayfield and how it was to grow up living above a funeral parlour. It sounds like such an interesting read and when I flicked though it seems like a really accessible writing style so seems a good book to have on the list for a reading challenge.

Dear Cathy… Love, Mary by Catherine Conlon & May Phelan

This is a book of letters written between the two authors in the 1980s and it just sounds so wonderful and nostalgic. I can’t wait to read this one!

Selfish, Shallow and Self-Absorbed by Meghan Daum

This is a book that I bought ages ago now and really wanted to read but then the time never felt right. I’m really interested to read about women who’ve chosen not to have children though so a collection of essays seems like a good book to add to this challenge.

A Pound of Paper by John Baxter

This book has been on my TBR since before I had a Goodreads account (more than nine years). I’m mortified because it’s a book about a book addict and I feel sure I will love it. What’s more is that it’s in a lovely hardback edition and when I picked it off my shelf to make this TBR I just wanted to curl up with it right away. Therefore this book also fits the challenge of home for me because books are home to me.

Culture and Imperialism by Edward Said

This has also been on my TBR for a long time (more than ten years!). In fairness I have read some of it for my degree but I never sat down and read the whole book. I’ve kept it all this time so there must be something in me that still wants to read it so I’m including it in this TBR. I will just say that my edition has small text and my eyes aren’t great at the moment so this book may not get read this month but I’m including it on the list to keep it fresh in my mind so that it doesn’t languish on my TBR for another ten years!

 

I also have some Non-Fiction ARCs to read so I’ve included them in my reading plans too

Riot Days by  Maria Alyokhina

This is a book about the Russian band Pussy Riot and how they were imprisoned. It sounds like such a fascinating read and I’m keen to get to it soon. If I don’t manage to read it during this reading challenge, I will aim to have it read and reviewed before the end of this year.

The Day that went Missing by Richard Beard

This is a memoir of how the author looked back at what happened on the day his brother drowned and the aftermath. It sounds like a really moving book but it’s one I want to read soon.

Rest in Power by Sybrina Fulton & Tracy Martin

Trayvon Martin was shot dead whilst innocently walking home minding his own business; he was seventeen years old – it was such a shocking story on the news when it happened. This book is his story as told by his mum. I’m sure this will be a heartbreaking read but it’s important that books like this are read and spoken about.

The Book of Untruths by Miranda Doyle

This is Miranda Doyle’s memoir told through lies – this was all I needed to know about this book before I requested it on NetGalley! I’m so keen to read this book and hope to get to it this month.

Gone by Min Kym

 

Of Women: In the 21s Century by Shami Chakarabati

I just got and ARC of this book this week so I’m adding it to this list of books that I may get to this month. It does sound like it could be a very prescient book given what is happening at the moment with the #metoo so I’d like to read this soon if I can.

Chase the Rainbow by Poorna Bell

I was unexpectedly sent a copy of this book for review a little while ago and it sounded interesting so I added it to my TBR. The subject matter sounds tough as it’s about the author’s husband’s suicide but it’s so important to be more aware of mental health so I want to read this one soon.

Currently reading

This House of Grief by Helen Garner

I’ve been reading this book for the past few weeks but I had a spell where I just wanted to read fiction so it got put to one side. I picked it up again this week though and am back to being engrossed in it.

Good Night and Good Riddance: How Thirty-Five Years of John Peel Helped to Shape Modern Britain by David Cavanagh

This is a book that I’m dipping in and out of and it’s just wonderful. I highly recommend this if you love music and John Peel.

A History of Britain in 21 Women by Jenni Murray

This is an audiobook that I spotted when I was looking for non-fiction in my Audible cloud. I’d forgotten that I had this on my TBR but as soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to listen to it asap. I started listening to it today and am really enjoying it.

The Everything Store by Brad Stone

I can’t remember buying this book but it’s been on my TBR for ages. I started reading it last night and I think it could be a really interesting read.

 


 

Are you joining in with #NonfictionNovember2017? If you are I’d love to know what you plan on reading for this challenge.