That Was The Month That Was… June 2020!

June was one of those strange months that has sped by whilst also going really slowly. Does that even make sense?!

I’m still shielding and it looks like I will be until 1 August so nothing has really changed for me even though from what I see on the news a lot of the country is slowly returning to some kind of normality. I haven’t left the house yet, mainly because my asthma is really bad at the moment and it’s impossible to wear a mask when my breathing is already bad. My husband is still on furlough and we still don’t know when he’ll be returning to work, we’re waiting to hear.

Football is back so we’re enjoying watching that. It’s great having all of the matches televised although it does mean that some days we’re in danger of having square eyes! The waiting to see what’s happening with Newcastle United is getting endless now but what can you do?! At least it looks like we’re not going to be relegated!

My reading mojo is back in full swing and I read 30 books in June! It was helped by some sunny days in the garden where I only take a book out with me (no phone or laptop!) so I’m not distracted by anything. I also treated myself to some new wireless headphones so that I can listen to more of my audio books.

The Books I Read

The Posts I Blogged

Mini Book Reviews: The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper, The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel, His and Hers by Alice Feeney, and Funny Weather by Olivia Laing

Monthly Wrap-Up: That Was The Month That Was… May 2020

Mini Book Reviews: The Babysitter by Phoebe Morgan, One Split Second by Caroline Bond, Living My Best Life by Claire Frost, and In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

Mini Book Reviews: You and Me, Always by Jill Mansell, When the Time Comes by Adele O’Neill, Evening Primrose by Kopano Matlwa, and Born Lippy by Jo Brand

Review: Picky Eaters by S. J. Higbee

Mini Book Reviews: The Old You by Louise Voss, Little Disasters by Sarah Vaughan, While I Was Sleeping by Dani Atkins, and Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

Review: Be Careful What You Swipe For by Jemma Forte

Mini Book Reviews: Heatstoke by Hazel Barkworth, Blurred Lines by Hannah Begbie, All The Lonely People by David Owen, The 24-Hour Cafe by Libby Page

Review: The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves

How was June for you? I hope you and your loved ones are safe and well and that June has been okay. What was your favourite book from June? I’d love to know what you’ve been reading so please comment below. 🙂

Mini Book Reviews: Evening Primrose | When the Time Comes | Born Lippy | You and Me, Always

Today I’m sharing mini reviews of some of the books that I’ve read and enjoyed recently. The first is one that I’ve had on my NetGalley shelf for a little while and the other three are all books from my 20 Books of Summer TBR so I’m happy to have got to all of these books.

When the Time Comes by Adele O’Neill

I didn’t realise this was the third book in a series until after I’d finished it but it works perfectly as a standalone. This novel follows what happens in the wake of Jenny Buckley’s death. Her estranged husband says it was suicide but the police think it was murder. The novel follows the perspectives of quite a few characters and goes back and time to just before and after Jenny’s death. I loved the way we slowly build up a picture of who everyone is and begin to suspect what might have happened and whether anyone else was involved. I did think there were perhaps too many story strands going on and one in particular involving the detective was distracting. Having said that I was invested in finding out what happened and I did enjoy reading it.

You and Me, Always by Jill Mansell

This novel was different to what I was expecting but I very much enjoyed it all the same. It opens with Lily opening the last letter her late mother had written for her and this leads to Lily going looking for her mother’s first love. She also discovers that her best friend Patsy is hiding a man in her flat, and she accidentally meets this man! The book follows Lily and the people in her life and it’s so heartwarming and such a lovely read. It’s perfect for some escapist summer reading and I recommend it.

Evening Primrose by Kopana Matlwa

This is an incredible novella that explores xenophobia through the viewpoint of Masechaba, a young doctor in South Africa. This book packs so much into its few pages and I was spellbound by it. Masechaba’s struggles with her own body through her periods was so visceral and relatable, and later the horrific thing that happens to her along with the aftermath was so hard to read and yet I couldn’t look away. I added this book to my 20 Books of Summer TBR and I’m so glad that I finally got to read it because it’s an incredible book and I highly recommend it.

Born Lippy: How To Do Female by Jo Brand

This was one of my 20 Books of Summer TBR and the first one I read and I really enjoyed it. Jo Brand tells her stories and gives advice in her own unique way and it was exactly the book I needed. I sometimes feel (even as a 41 year old) lost that I don’t have my mum and when you need advice or guidance that you haven’t anyone else to ask where do you go? Jo Brand writes in a no-nonsense fashion about all kinds of situations that woman find themselves in and I really appreciated it. There is her trademark humour running through the book too, which lightens is where lightness is needed. I’m so glad that I got the chance to read this book and I recommend it.

WWW Wednesdays (10 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!

Current Reads

Picky Eaters (part 1) by S. J. Higbee

I’m cheating slightly putting this one on my currently reading as I haven’t started it yet but it’s a short story that I’m planning on reading today so I’m counting it here. This is a story about grumpy grandfather dragon who just wants a quiet life but now he has to look after his grandchildren, and they want to do their own thing. It sounds like the escapist read a lot of us need and I can’t wait to read this one this afternoon. All proceeds from the sale of this short story are going to mental health charities so it’s for a great cause. You can find out more about this short story here.

Evening Primrose by Kopana Matlwa

This is the next book I’ve picked from my 20 Books of Summer TBR. I’ve had this one my TBR for around three years and I finally picked it up yesterday and am very much engrossed in this novel. It’s exploring race and gender from the perspective of a junior doctor in South Africa. The protagonist is having to deal with increasingly xenophobic attitudes and has to decide how to handle this in the wake of the life she is building for herself.

When the Time Comes by Adele O’Neill

I only read a few pages of this one before I went to bed last night but it’s definitely caught my interest already. It’s about Liam who moves back into his ex-wife’s home when she’s diagnosed with a terminal illness. When Jennifer dies Liam is convinced it’s suicide but the police think it’s murder. I’m intrigued to read more and to find out what did happen to Jennifer and who, if anyone, is involved.

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

I’m listening to this on audio and it’s brilliant. I definitely recommend the audio as it follows Bri who wants to become a top rapper and throughout the audiobook you hear the raps she has written and performed. Bri is such a great character, she truly believes in herself and her music and doesn’t want to let anyone stand in her way. She faces a battle when people assume her lyrics are saying things she didn’t mean and then is judged as being an another angry black girl. She continues to fight her corner though and I’m hoping she makes it to the top. This is such a good read and I definitely recommend.

Recent Reads

You and Me, Always by Jill Mansell

This was my second pick from my 20 Books of Summer and I really enjoyed it. It wasn’t the book I thought it was going to be but I enjoyed it all the same. It follows Lily as she opens the last letter her late mum left for her, and she discovers the full name of her mum’s one true love. On the same day she finds a move star hiding out in her best friend’s house and develops a crush! The novel follows what happens next. It’s a lovely, feel-good read and I recommend it for perfect summer escapist reading!

Born Lippy: How To Do Female by Jo Brand

This was the first book I picked from my 20 Books of Summer stack and I’m so glad I finally got to this one. Jo Brand gives her no nonsense perspective and advice on life and being a woman. Some parts of this book made me laugh, and others were exactly the to the point advice I need at the moment. I recommend this one!

They Can’t Kill Us All: The Story of Black Lives Matter by Wesley Lowery

I picked this book off my Kindle in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and I’m so pleased that I read it. It’s a good introduction to the Black Lives Matter movement – how it began and how it has evolved. I felt I knew a lot of what happened in the timeframe this book spans but there was still a lot for me to learn. It’s a heartbreaking read. My cousin is mixed race and lives in America and I fear for him every single time I hear of another murder of an unarmed black man. I know his struggle but I also know I need to educate myself more.

My Name is Why by Lemn Sissay

I listened to this book on audio this week and it broke my heart. Lemn Sissay is a black man who was brought up with a white foster family. The book tells the story he was told, the story of what the social workers said happened and Lemn’s own truth. It’s a really tough read, to know of the lies and harm that was caused to one boy through so many people in positions of power relative to him is disturbing. It’s a book I recommend to everyone though, it’s one that really stays with you and makes you think.

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

This is a stunning book. I read it in just two sittings and was completely engrossed in the story being told. The novel is set in 2001 and it’s Melody’s coming of age graduation. The story is told from multiple points of view and goes back and forth in time between the present and 16 years ago when Melody’s mum got pregnant with her. This is a novel that weaved it’s way through me and I keep finding myself thinking about these characters, they felt so real to me. The writing is stunning, and to tell such a powerful and poignant story that has such impact in 200 pages is incredible. I already want to go back and read this again and I’m sure I’ll come back to it in the future.

What I Might Read Next

Black and British: A Forgotten History by David Olusoga

I’ve had a hardback copy of this book on my bookcase for a while now but it’s physically too heavy for me to hold it so I’ve bought the ebook so I can read it now. I want to understand more about the roots of racism in this country and this seems like an excellent place to start.

The Weekend by Charlotte Wood

This is the next book I’m picking from my NetGalley shelf and I’ve been so looking forward to this one. It follows a group of friends who meet up the for the weekend after one of their number has died. I think secrets are revealed and the past has to be confronted! I love books about the complexities of female friendship, and also any books full of secrets and lies so I think I’m going to really enjoy this one.

Be Careful What You Swipe For by Jemma Forte

I was thrilled when the author offered me a copy of this book as I’d seen it online and thought it looked like a good summer read. It’s about a woman on a dating site looking for a man and she finds one but then it doesn’t work out. It’s a novel about the perils of online dating and trying to find Mr Right. I’m really looking forward to reading this one!

The Old You by Louise Voss

This is my next pick from my 20 Books of Summer TBR and is one I really want to get to this week if I can. I love Louise Voss’ writing and this has been on my shelf unread for longer than it should have been. This is about a married couple- Lynn and Ed. Lynn gave up her career when she married Ed and now he’s been diagnosed with early onset dementia. But as strange things begin to happen, she wonders if it’s her mind playing tricks rather than Ed’s. This sounds so goos and I can’t wait to read it!

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. 🙂

My 20 Books of Summer 2020 TBR!

Today it’s time to put together my TBR for the 20 Books of Summer hosted by Cathy at 746 Books. I love taking part in this easy-going summer reading challenge as I use it as a chance to push me to read the books that seem to be languishing unread on my book shelves. I’ve had mixed results in previous years – I usually manage to read 20 books but they’re often not the books I chose, or in the format that I wanted to read.

Last year I decided to challenge myself to read 20 physical books and I did achieve it (only just in the nick of time though)! Even though this year I’m only just coming out of an awful reading slump I’ve decided to attempt the same again as I really need to focus on reading some of my physical TBR. Ultimately I just want to read more of the hardback and paperback books on my shelves so if I end up deviating from this list I don’t mind as long as I read as many physical books as I can!

So, here are my picks for the 2020 Books of Summer!

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

I was delighted to be sent an ARC of this book as I’m a huge Maggie O’Farrell fan. The only reason I’ve not already read it is because of the horrible reading slump I’ve been in. Thankfully I’m coming out of that now and this book is the one I most want to get to!

The Confession by Jessie Burton

I got this book for Christmas last year and have been saving it to read as it’s a novel that I want to pick up and get completely engrossed in. The summer months feels like the right time for that so I’m putting it on my TBR!

You and Me, Always by Jill Mansell

I’ve had this book on my TBR for five years and I don’t know why it keeps getting left on the shelf as I really enjoy Jill Mansell’s writing. I definitely want to get to it this year so it’s on the TBR!

The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan

I was delighted to be sent a copy of this book before it was published as I adore Ruth Hogan’s writing. I feel like this is another book that will be perfect to read on a summer day in the garden so here’s hoping for some lovely sunny days.

Evening Primrose by Kopano Matlwa

This is another book that I’ve had on my TBR for a long time, and I don’t know why as when I picked it up this week to read the blurb I immediately wanted to read it. It’s a short novel so I should definitely get to this one.

Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks

I was so excited to read this short story collection when it was first published and so was thrilled to get a copy of it for Christmas that year and yet somehow have still not read it. I think it’s good to have short stories on a TBR, something you can dip in and out of, so I’m picking this collection and I’m really looking forward to picking it up.

The Old You by Louise Voss

I was sent a signed copy of this book by the lovely Meggy and I’ve been so keen to read it but somehow haven’t picked it up yet. I’m a big fan of Louise Voss so still very much want to read this one and will be making a priority to read it this summer.

While I Was Sleeping by Dani Atkins

I got sent a copy of this book from the publisher a long while ago and I just haven’t managed to read it yet. I’ve loved all the other books that I’ve read by this author so am looking forward to getting to this one.

Spring by Ali Smith

I loved the first two books in this seasonal quartet and was delighted when my husband bought me a copy of spring when it came out in hardback. I don’t know why I haven’t read it yet but I know I want to get to it before Summer is published so I must make sure to get it in the coming weeks.

The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves

I received a surprise copy of this book from the publisher a few weeks ago and have been looking forward to picking it up so it seemed right at add it to my summer reading plans.

The 24-Hour Cafe by Libby Page

This is another book that I was lucky to receive for review and I’m so looking forward to it. I loved The Lido by this author so I really am keen to get to this one very soon. It feels like it’ll be a lovely summer read.

Yuki Means Happiness by Alison Jean Lester

I’ve had this book on my bookcase for around three years now and during a recent cull I read the first chapter of this one to see if I still wanted to read it and it was so good that I kept it. I’m looking forward to reading more soon.

Born Lippy by Jo Brand

A lovely blogger friend sent this book to me a little while ago and I’ve been meaning to get to it so I’m putting it on my TBR for summer as it’s good to have some non-fiction on the list. I think I’m going to enjoy this one!

Where We Belong by Anstey Harris

I was sent a copy of this from a lovely publicist at the end of last year and after reading a fab review on Linda’s Book Bag recently I was reminded of just how much I want to read this novel.

Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls

I got this book for Christmas last year and have deliberately kept it to read in the summer as it sounds like such a wonderful, nostalgic novel. I can’t wait to get to this one and it may be one of the first books of this list that I get to!

After Dark by Dominic Nolan

I read and enjoyed the first novel in this series and have been eagerly anticipating the follow up ever since. I was thrilled to receive a proof copy and am definitely going to get to this one in the next few weeks.

Unfollow by Megan Phelps-Roper

My husband got me this book for my birthday this year and it’s a book I’ve heard such good things about so I’m keen to read it. I’ve seen Megan on Louis Theroux’s documentaries so I’m interested to learn more about her and her life.

The High Moments by Sara-Ella Ozbek

I was sent this book near Christmas last year by a lovely publicist and have been intrigued by it ever since. I’m kicking myself for not reading it sooner but I’ll definitely try and get to it over the next three months.

Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham

My husband bought me this book for my birthday after we’d been gripped by the Chernobyl TV drama series and I wanted to know more about what happened. I’m still keen to read this so hope to get it over the summer.

Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman

Given my concentration levels come and go at the moment I think it may be a bit odd that I’m adding this doorstop of a book. I’m not sure I’ll be able to read this one at the moment but I so badly want to read it so I’m adding it to my TBR in the hope I can feel more able to read it later on in the summer.

So here are all the books I hope to read this summer!

Are you taking part in the 20 Books of Summer? What have you got on your list? Have you read any of the books on my list and recommend them? Feel free to share a link to your Books of Summer post below. 🙂