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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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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My Christmas Book Haul! Stacking the Shelves (29 Dec 2018)! #Christmas #bookhaul

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week!

 

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I haven’t done a Stacking the Shelves post for a little while now but I was super spoilt by my husband who gave me a mountain(!) of books for Christmas and I wanted to share my lovely book haul!

 

First up the novels:

 

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The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar

I’ve been wanting to read this book ever since it was first published so I was hoping to get a copy for Christmas. It was the last gift I opened and it rounded off such a perfect day.

 

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The Burning Chambers by Kate Mosse

This is another book that I’ve had my eye on but it’s a bit intimidating seeing just how big it is! I’m looking forward to getting completely swept up in this novel.

 

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A Keeper by Graham Norton

I hadn’t seen this book in real life until I opened it on Christmas day and it really is a gorgeous looking book. I have high hopes for the story inside, fingers crossed it’s as good as the cover!

 

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A Fireproof Home for the Bride by Amy Scheibe

This is a novel that I knew nothing about but reading the blurb it sounds like a really good read.

 

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The Year We Fell Apart by Emily Martin

I’ve had this on my wishlist for a while so I was delighted to open this parcel on Christmas day. I think this will be a quick read so I plan on reading it very soon.

 

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After the Crash by Michel Bussi

Black Water Lilies by Michel Bussi

Don’t Let Go by Michel Bussi

I’ve never read any Michel Bussi but his books sound like my kind of reads so I was happy to open three of his novels and hope to read them soon.

 

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A Table Near the Band by A. A. Milne

Chloe Marr by A. A. Milne

Mr Pim Passes By by A. A. Milne

Two People by A. A. Milne

Four Days’ Wonder by A. A. Milne

It was not long before Christmas when these books were recommended to me and they sounds like just the kind of books I like to read when I’m not feeling well. It was fab to open these gorgeous new editions and I’m keen to read these!

 

A poetry collection:

 

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The Latest Winter by Maggie Nelson

I adore Maggie Nelson’s writing so was delighted to open this poetry collection on Christmas morning. This book has such a gorgeous cover I want to have it on show on my bookcase!

 

Some new non-fiction:

 

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Missions to the Moon by Rod Pyle

Ever since I was a young child I’ve been fascinated by space travel and the moon landings. Opening this book on Christmas day took me right back to the excitement I had as a child! This book has stunning photos and is also full of augmented reality so when it mentions a speech or a take off you can scan it on your phone or iPad and watch it there and then. I’ve been reading this book on and off ever since Christmas and I love it!

 

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Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

I’ve done a lot of work on both my physical and mental health this year and am keen to do more next year so this book feels like it’ll be a perfect read for the start of the year to help me focus on keeping my life as stress-free as possible.

 

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Dear Mr Murray by David McClay

This is a beautiful book of letters sent to the publisher Mr Murray. I’ve only flicked through it so far but I can already see that this is going to be an utter delight to dip in and out of.

 

Some gorgeous childrens’/middle grade fiction:

 

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The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy

The Worst Witch Strikes Again by Jill Murphy

A Bad Spell for the Worst Witch by Jill Murphy

The Worst Witch All At Sea by Jill Murphy

The Worst Witch Saves the Day by Jill Murphy

The Worst Witch to the Rescue by Jill Murphy

The Worst Witch and the Wishing Star by Jill Murphy

I completely and utterly adored the worst witch books as a child but my copies sadly got lost a long time ago. Recently I’ve been longing to read these books again so it made me so happy to open this lovely boxset of the first seven books in the series!

 

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

I’ve heard so much about this middle grade book and have been so keen to read it so it was wonderful to find a copy of it under the Christmas tree this year. I can’t wait to read this in January when I know I’ll need the boost.

 

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Tilly and the Bookwanderers: Pages and Co. #1 by Anna James

This is another middle grade book that I’ve been wanting to read. This is such a beautiful book and I’m so happy to have this in hardback. I really want to read this book right now but I’m going to save it for next month when I know it will be a soothing book to get completely lost in.

 

Two gift books from a friend and my mum-in-law:

 

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Grumbles, Grizzles and Gripes: A Little Book of Grumpy Moments

My very good friend and I always seem to be putting the world to rights every time we talk so this gift from her gave me a giggle when I opened it. It’s a fun book to dip in and out of, I love it!

 

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The Story of Brexit: A Ladybird Book

This was a stocking filler for me and my husband from my mum-in-law and gave us such a wry laugh when we opened it. It’s actually an amusing book, and it also reminded me of all the ladybird books I used to read as a child.

 

So that’s my amazing Christmas book haul. I still can’t believe how many books I got this year, it’s a real book mountain! My husband really spoilt me as he also got me two records (Green by REM, which is one of the first albums I ever bought when I was a child but I’ve never owned it on vinyl! And Everyone Else Is Doing it, so Why Can’t We? by The Cranberries. I adored this album, and still love it to this day but again have never owned it on vinyl so it’s fab to have a copy of it now). He also bought me a Dyson Supersonic hairdryer! That was a total surprise and utterly perfect timing as my old hairdryer literally stopped working the day before Christmas Eve!

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I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and that you got some lovely new books to read. I’d love to see the books you were gifted or have bought for yourself recently so please either tell me about them in the comments or leave a link to your blog if you have a book haul post up.