Books I Want to Re-Read in 2019

There was once a time if I was asked, I would have said re-reading books was a complete waste of time. However, in the last two years my opinion has changed and I have really begun to discover the joy of re-reading. I have realised there are two main reasons I enjoy re-read old books. The first is simple the fact that some books have the power to transport you to the happiness of places. There are some books that make me feel as if they are giving me the warmest of hugs when I read them and quite honestly why wouldn’t I want to go back into that world when it makes me feel like that. A great example of this is Victoria Connelly’s book A Weekend with Mr Darcy. This book is probably my favourite book of all time and the world in which it is set I just find captivating. I love revisiting this world and I never tire of reading the stories set in it even if I know the outcome because the world just makes me so happy.

There are also several books that I loved when I read them but that was quite some time ago now and long enough has passed that I re-reading them will feel similar to a first time read. I want to revisit these books and see if I still like them as much and refresh my memory on little details I may have forgotten over the years. However, I have found that I am very selective when it comes to picking books to re-read and it takes quite a special book that will make me want to do that. I have therefore compiled a little list of books I would like to re-read over the coming year. A number of these books are the start of a series and I would like to re-read the whole series but for now I will be aiming to read the first book

Cupcakes at Carringtons by Alex Bown

Georgie Hart loves her job–running the luxury handbag concession at Carrington’s Department store in the pretty seaside town of Mulberry Bay, and treating herself (once too often!) to a red velvet cupcake with buttercream icing in Carrington’s café.

But Georgie is thrown into disarray when Carrington’s is plunged into a recession-busting makeover, cueing the arrival of femme fatale Maxine, who wields the axe in her immaculately-manicured hands. It spells a recipe for disaster for Georgie and soon she is fighting not only for her job, but also for the attentions of her gorgeous boss, James. And when hot newcomer Tom arrives, who may or may not be the best thing since sliced bread, Georgie must decide where her loyalties really lie…

Billy and Me by Giovanna Fletcher

Sophie May has a secret. One that she’s successfully kept for years. It’s meant that she’s had to give up her dreams of going to university and travelling the world to stay in her little village, living with her mum and working in the local teashop. But then Sophie unexpectedly meets the gorgeous Billy Buskin – a famous actor with ambitions to make it to the top. As they begin to grow closer, Sophie finds herself whisked away from the comfort of her life into Billy’s glamorous – but ruthless – world. After years of shying away from attention, can Sophie handle the constant scrutiny that comes with being with Billy? How much is she prepared to give up along the way? And is their love strong enough to keep them together against the odds?

You’re the One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher

Maddy, dressed in white, stands at the back of the church. At the end of the aisle is Rob – the man she’s about to marry. Next to Rob is Ben – best man and the best friend any two people ever had. And that’s the problem. Because if it wasn’t Rob waiting for her at the altar, there’s a strong chance it would be Ben. Loyal and sensitive Ben has always kept his feelings to himself, but if he turned round and told Maddy she was making a mistake, would she listen? And would he be right? Best friends since childhood, Maddy, Ben and Rob thought their bond was unbreakable. But love changes everything. Maddy has a choice to make but will she choose wisely? Her heart, and the hearts of the two best men she knows, depend on it…

Dream a Little Dream by Giovanna Fletcher

Sarah is doing just fine. Sure she’s been single for the last five years, and has to spend an uncomfortable amount of time around her ex-boyfriend, his perfect new girlfriend and all their mutual friends. And yes, her job as a PA to one of the most disgusting men in London is mind-numbingly tedious and her career is a constant disappointment to her mother. But it’s really okay. She’s happy (ish). So it’s not surprising that when Sarah starts dreaming about a handsome stranger, she begins to look forward to falling asleep every night. Reality isn’t nearly as exciting. That is until her dream-stranger makes an unexpected real-life appearance, leaving Sarah questioning everything she thought she wanted. Because no one ever really finds the person of their dreams . . . do they?

Meet Me at The Cupcake Café by Jenny Colgan

Sarah is doing just fine. Sure she’s been single for the last five years, and has to spend an uncomfortable amount of time around her ex-boyfriend, his perfect new girlfriend and all their mutual friends. And yes, her job as a PA to one of the most disgusting men in London is mind-numbingly tedious and her career is a constant disappointment to her mother. But it’s really okay. She’s happy (ish). So it’s not surprising that when Sarah starts dreaming about a handsome stranger, she begins to look forward to falling asleep every night. Reality isn’t nearly as exciting. That is until her dream-stranger makes an unexpected real-life appearance, leaving Sarah questioning everything she thought she wanted. Because no one ever really finds the person of their dreams . . . do they?

A Proper Family Holiday by Chrissie Manby

Your grubby small nephew torpedoing any chance of romance with the dishy guy you met on the plane . . .
Your eighty-five-year-old granddad chatting up ladies at the hotel bar . . .
Getting nothing but sarcastic comments from your older sister, who’s always been the family favourite . . .
And all this is before your parents drop their bombshell. Is a week enough time for the Bensons to put their differences aside and have some fun? Or is this their last ever proper family holiday?

 

 

Destination Thailand by Katy Collins

Instead of slipping on her something borrowed and tripping up the aisle to wedded bliss, Georgia spends her big day crying into a warm Sex-on-the-Beach, wondering where it all went wrong. Forced to make a bucket list of her new life goals by best friend Marie, it’s not long before travel-virgin Georgia’s packing her bags for a long-haul adventure to Thailand. Yet, Georgia’s big adventure doesn’t seem to be going to plan. From strange sights, smells and falling for every rookie traveller scam in the book Georgia has never felt more alone. But the good thing about falling apart is that you can put yourself back together any way you please. And new Georgia might just be someone she can finally be proud of…

 

At Home with Mr Darcy (Austen Addicts Book 6) by [Connelly, Victoria]At Home with Mr Darcy by Victoria Connelly

It’s summer and renowned actress, Dame Pamela Harcourt, has organised a treat: the first Purley Hall Jane Austen holiday – to the home of Mr Darcy no less. With Katherine and Warwick, Robyn, Doris Norris and the rest of the gang, it’s going to be a trip to remember. But then a hardened journalist and non-Janeite, Melissa Berry, joins the party. Fearing a stitch-up, the friends rally together, hoping to convince Melissa that the only way is Austen.

 

 

 

Mr Darcy Forever (Austen Addicts Book 3) by [Connelly, Victoria]Mr Darcy Forever by Victoira Connelly

Sisters, Sarah and Mia Castle haven’t spoken for three years but they’re about to meet again – at the Jane Austen Festival in Bath. But what was it that drove them apart and can the magic of Jane Austen help bring them back together again?

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Perfect Hero: The perfect summer read for Austen addicts! (Austen Addicts) by [Connelly, Victoria]The Perfect Hero by Victoria Connelly

Die-hard romantic, Kay Ashton, uses her inheritance to open a B&B in the seaside town of Lyme Regis and is dumbstruck when the cast and crew of a new production of Persuasion descend, needing a place to stay. Kay can’t believe her luck – especially when she realises that heart throb actor Oli Wade Owen will be sleeping under her very own roof! Meanwhile, co-star Gemma Reilly is worried that her acting isn’t up to scratch, despite landing a plum role. She finds a sympathetic ear in shy producer, Adam Craig, who is as baffled by the film world as she is. Kay thinks the two are meant for each other and can’t resist a spot of matchmaking. Then, when Oli turns his trademark charm on Kay, it seems that she has found her real-life hero. But do heroes really exist?

Last Christmas by [Williams, Julia]Last Christmas by Julia Williams

Catherine Tinsall is dreading Christmas. As the ‘Happy Homemaker’ she is an online sensation, but the reality couldn’t be more different. With Catherine’s marriage in tatters, her children running wild and her mother increasingly forgetful, seasonal cheer is running low. Husband Noel also hides a secret: he’s facing the axe at work. Until he chances upon the village of Hope Christmas, deep in the Shropshire countryside, which could be the second chance he’s searching for. If he can save it from the developers…In Hope Christmas itself, schoolteacher Marianne Moore is trying to heal her battered heart. But Christmas is a time for families, and memories of what she’s lost haunt her at every turn. Meanwhile, Gabriel North faces a lonely Christmas but hides his sadness for the sake of his son. Will his wife ever come home? Or does love lie elsewhere? All four need a Christmas miracle. And it might just happen – courtesy of a mysterious guardian angel … Forced to reassess their lives, will Catherine, Noel, Marianne and Gabriel discover what the meaning of Christmas really is?

A Merry Little Christmas by [Williams, Julia]A Merry Little Christmas by Julia Williams

With four children, a Christmas cookbook to write, and her mum suffering from dementia, Cat Tinsall has plenty to juggle. When her eldest daughter, Mel, starts going off the rails, Cat has even more on her plate. Pippa Holliday adores her family, although often finds her hands full. When Dan is involved in a terrible accident, Pippa’s world is suddenly turned upside down. Balancing her job as a school teacher with twins and her step-son Steven isn’t easy for Marianne North. With her husband’s ex causing trouble, life is getting even trickier. As Cat, Pippa and Marianne help each other through a difficult year, they’re all hoping for a much brighter Christmas.

 

 

 

 

 

Most Anticipated Releases of 2019

Anticipated Releases of 2019

One of my favourite parts about heading into a new year is having 12 months of fabulous of book releases ahead of me..well I always hope they will be fabulous. I thought it would be fun to share some of the books I am most looking forward to reading when they are released later this year. It will also serve a good reminder to me of the dates they are being released on as I’m terrible at remembering when a book is coming out no matter how excited I am for it. This is quite a tentative list as I’m sure there will be many more books coming onto my radar as the year goes on, but for now here are the book I am really excited to read in 2019.


January –

Two Can Keep a Secret by [McManus, Karen]Thursday 10th January – Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M.McManus

Two teenagers are dead. Two murders unsolved. And a killer who claims to be coming back. Ellery’s never been to Echo Ridge, but she’s heard all about it. It’s where her aunt went missing at age sixteen, never to return. Where a Homecoming Queen’s murder five years ago made national news. And where Ellery now has to live with a grandmother she barely knows, after her failed-actress mother lands in rehab. Malcolm grew up in the shadow of the Homecoming Queen’s death. His older brother was the prime suspect and left Echo Ridge in disgrace. His mother’s remarriage vaulted them to Echo Ridge’s upper crust, but it could all change when mysterious threats around town hint that a killer plans to strike again. And the return of Malcolm’s brother doesn’t help matters. But his return is just a coincidence… isn’t it? Ellery and Malcolm both know it’s hard to let go when you don’t have closure Then another girl disappears. As they race to unravel what happened, they realise every secret has layers in Echo Ridge. The truth might be closer to home than either of them want to believe. And somebody would kill to keep it hidden.

I really enjoyed Karen’s first book One of Us is Lying, released last year. For that reason, I am really keen to get a new offering from her but also quite nervous as its always slightly scary to read a new book from a debut author you have loved because it has big shoes to fill. Hopefully this new book will be just as good if not better than One of Us in Lying.



February

Cosy Nights at the Star and Sixpence: Part Three of Four in the new series by [Hepburn, Holly]Thursday 7th – Cosy Night at the Star and Sixpence by Holly Hepburn

The New Year brings hope to Nessie as she begins to put her life back together – she’s almost tempted by a flattering job offer from a rival pub – but things only get worse for Sam. The arrival of old flame Nick Borrowdale brings some much-needed perspective, and Sam finally accepts the inevitable and faces up to her responsibilities.
Laurie continues to stir up trouble at the pub, causing Gabe to wonder whether he has another agenda. And then tragedy strikes at the heart of Little Monkham and nothing will ever be the same again.

This is the third part in the new series of Holly Hepburn’s book. After finishing part two with a shocking revelation I’m very intrigued to see where part three will take us.

 

Thursday 7th – The Extinction Trials: Rebel by S.M.Wilson

Stormchaser and Lincoln’s home city is burning. The people are starving. The only place left to run is Piloria – the continent of monsters. And it’s up to Storm and Lincoln to keep everyone alive.
But will the biggest threat to their new colony be the monsters in the jungle… or the ones inside the encampment with them.

This is probably the book I am most excited for and anticipating the most from this list. I adored both books one and two in this series. I know very little about the premise for this story but after the cliffhanger of book two I simply need to read it as soon as possible. I think this is the final installment in this series and if it is I will be so sad to see it come to an end.

Thursday 7th – Fierce Fragile Hearts by Sara Bernard

Two years after a downward spiral took her as low as you can possibly go, Suzanne is starting again. Again. She’s back in Brighton, the only place she felt she belonged, back with her best friends Caddy and Rosie. But they’re about to leave for university. When your friends have been your light in the darkness, what happens when you’re the one left behind.

Sara Bernard has fast become one of my favourite authors and I have loved all three of her books. In this story we revisit the characters from Sara’s first book Beautiful Broken Things I think it will be fun to catch up with the girls. However as with all Sara’s book I expect it will tackle some difficult issues in the fantastic way they always do.


March

A Vintage Summer by [Bramley, Cathy]Thursday 21st – A Vintage Summer by Cathy Bramley

London has not been kind to Lottie Allbright. Realising it’s time to cut and run, she packs up and moves back home – but finds her family in disarray. In need of a new place to stay, Lottie takes up the offer of a live-in job managing a local vineyard. There’s a lot to learn – she didn’t even know grapes could grow so far north. Butterworth Wines in the rolling Derbyshire hills has always been run on love and passion but a tragic death has left everyone at a loss. Widowed Betsy is trying to keep the place afloat but is harbouring a debilitating secret. Meanwhile her handsome but interfering grandson, Jensen, is trying to convince her to sell up and move into a home.

Lottie’s determined to save Butterworth Wines, but with all this and an unpredictable English summer to deal with, it’ll be a challenge.

And that’s before she discovers something that will turn her summer – and her world – upside down . . .

Anyone who knows this blog or my reading tastes will know Cathy is an auto-buy author for me. I love all her books I have read so always anticipate any new releases from her.


April

Thursday 18th April – Last Words at the Star and Sixpence by Holly HepburnThe village of Little Monkham is reeling from their loss but gathers together to celebrate a life well lived. Behind the scenes, Nessie is struggling with a distant Owen and confides in Laurie about her tempting job offer. He offers to step up his role at the Star and Sixpence so that she can leave.
Gabe and Sam grow closer, although she still refuses to be anything more than friends and colleagues. Laurie’s behaviour causes Gabe to become increasingly suspicious and what he discovers causes a scene that turns more than one world upside down. Can Sam and Nessie work through the fall-out or is it really last orders at the Star and Sixpence?

This will be the final instalment in Holly’s latest book series. (the third instalment I mentioned earlier) It will be a bitter sweet read for me because I am always so excited to read anything Holly writes yet it’s the end of another book which is always sad. I really hope this won’t be the last we read about the Star and Sixpence because I would be so sad to leave all the characters behind.



May

Thursday 2nd – The Teashop Girls by Elaine Everest

It is early 1940 and World War Two has already taken a hold on the country. Rose Neville works as a Lyon’s Teashop Nippy on the Kent coast alongside her childhood friends, the ambitious Lily and Katie, whose fiancé is about to be posted overseas in the navy. As war creates havoc in Europe, Rose relies on the close friendship of her friends and her family. When Capt. Benjamin Hargreaves enters the teashop one day, Rose is immediately drawn to him. But as Lyon’s forbids courting between staff and customers, she tries to put the handsome officer out of her mind. In increasingly dark and dangerous times, Rose fears there may not be time to waste. But is the dashing captain what he seems?

I absolute adore Elaine Everest’s series The Woolworth Girls, so I cannot wait to get my hands on her attest book and dive into a brand new series.

The Liberty Girls by [Ford, Fiona]Thursday 9th – The Liberty Girls by Fiona Ford

March 1942: new mother Alice Milward is itching to return to her job as a shop assistant at Liberty’s.

Despite her husband still being missing in action, Alice is determined to give baby Arthur the best possible start. She soon settles back into the rhythm of life on the shop floor, and the Liberty Girls rally to help keep everything on an even keel.

But when the American GIs start swarming into London, there are more complications to come. And each of the Liberty Girls has their own impossible storm to weather.

As they each fight their battles on the home front, only their close friendship will give them the strength they need to carry on.

I read the first book in this series Christmas at Liberty’s at the end of the year and I really enjoyed this book. I do love a wartime novel that focuses on women, family and friendship and that is what the first book was about, so I am looking forward to reading more from this series.


June

Thursday 13th – The Paper and Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie

Tabby Brown is tired of trying to fit in with her classmates. She doesn’t want to go to parties at the weekend – in fact, she would much rather snuggle up on the sofa with her favourite book. It’s like she hasn’t found her people …That is until she moves to a new town where a book club, The Paper & Hearts Society, is recruiting. Tabby might just be in luck. Enough of her old “friends” who only talk to her when they need something. It’s time for Quidditch themed fancy dress parties, games like “shut up and Shakespeare” … and LOTS of chocolate

 I have watched Lucy’s YouTube channel for a couple of years now and always enjoy listening to her talk about classics. I usually find myself very inspired after watching a video to pick up a classic which I always think is a good thing. From Lucy talking about this story on her channel it sounds like it will be the perfect book for people who love books and love being immersed in the world of books. I cannot wait to read it.


August

Thursday 8th – Last Orders at the Star and Sixpence by Holly Hepburn

Roaring fires, cosy nooks and friendly locals, welcome back to the perfect village pub… 
It’s September and the new season is bringing change to the village of Little Monkham. Nessie has moved in with the lovely Owen and his son Luke, leaving her sister Sam next door in their renovated pub, the Star and Sixpence. But is all change for the good? Sam and Joss have gone their separate ways and he’s left Little Monkham for good.
New chef Gabriel Santiago is causing a flutter among the women of the village but Sam is determined not to make the same mistake again and keeps things strictly business between them. But an inconvenient attraction to Gabe is the least of Sam’s worries when an unexpected visitor arrives at the Star and Sixpence. Who is Laurie Marsh and what does he want from the sisters?

This is the full book release made up of 4 short offering written by Holly Hepburn. I have so far and will continue to read these as the novellas are released but when the paperback comes out, I do plan to purchase it. I have said before Holly is one of her my favourite authors and I like to have paperbacks of all her books for my collection.

Thursday 22nd – The Cornish Cream Tea Bus by Cressida McLaughlin

As of Yet no synopsis has been released for this book.

As with Holly Hepburn and Cathy Bramley, Cressida is now an auth-buy author for me. She too releases her books in 4 mini parts before later releasing them as a whole book. In this instance I am going to wait for the full release to read this story. As of yet there is not a synopsis for this story, but it is released in the Summer and hopefully will be the perfect read for that time of year.

 

 



September

Thursday 26th – Breaking and Mending by Joanna Cannon.

A few years ago, I found myself in A&E.
I had never felt so ill. I was mentally and physically broken. So fractured, I hadn’t eaten properly or slept well, or even changed my expression for months. I sat in a cubicle, behind paper-thin curtains, listening to the rest of the hospital happen around me, and I shook with the effort of not crying. I was an inch away from defeat, from the acceptance of a failure I assumed would be inevitable, but I knew I had to carry on. I had to somehow walk through it.
Because I wasn’t the patient. I was the doctor.”

A frank account of mental health from both sides of the doctor-patient divide, based on her own experience as a doctor working on a psychiatric ward.

I read my first Joanna Canon book in 2018 in the form of Three Things About Elise and I love it! I found it such a beautiful, poignant and touching story and Joanna’s writing really impressed me. The synopsis of her new book really interests me. This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay was one of my favourite books of 2018 and the synopsis of this book gives me similar vibes so I am excited to get to it.

2018 Christmas Book Haul

I believe when it comes to gifts of books for book enthusiasts for Christmas it can divide opinions. Some people will choose to give a book as a gift if they know the persons taste and your almost certainly guaranteed it will be a hit. On the other hand, some people prefer to stay away from giving books as a gift as you run the risk of gifting a book someone already owns. Personally, I love receiving a book but will often have wish list running for suggestions if people are looking for present ideas for me.

In November there was a small event that occurred by the name of Black Friday and during this time the website The Book People ran a sale. I intended to treat myself to a few early Christmas presents but my lovely hubby offered to me the opportunity to fill my basket and he would buy them for me. I had to wait until Christmas day to unwrap them and obviously I knew some of my presents but I didn’t mind at all and ended up with a bumper haul.  I thought it would be fun to share with you all the books that I got for Christmas as well as some I picked up in the sales too.

Gifts I was given

IMG_5005.JPGQueen Victoria, Daughter, Wife, Mother, Widow by Lucy Worsley

As well as a queen, Victoria was a daughter, a wife, a mother and a widow, and at each of these steps along life’s journey she was expected to conform to what society demanded of a woman. On the face of it, she was deeply conservative. But if you look at her actions rather than her words, she was in fact tearing up the rule book for how to be female. By looking at the detail of twenty-four days of her life, through diaries, letters and more, we can see Victoria up close and personal. Examining her face-to-face, as she lived hour to hour, allows us to see, and to celebrate, the contradictions at the heart of British history’s most recognisable woman.

img_5018Matilda at 30, Chief Executive of the British Library Edition by Roald Dahl

Matilda is the world’s most famous bookworm, no thanks to her ghastly parents. Her father thinks she’s a little scab. Her mother spends all afternoon playing bingo. And her headmistress, Miss Trunchbull? She’s the worst of all. She’s a big bully, who thinks all her pupils are rotten and locks them in the dreaded Chokey. Despite these beastly grownups trying to push her down, Matilda is an extraordinary girl with a magical mind. And she’s had enough. So all the terrible adults had better watch out, because she’s going to teach them a lesson they’ll never forget!

IMG_5012.JPGWhere am I Now? by Mara Wilson

For readers of Lena Dunham, Allie Brosh and Roxane Gay, this funny, poignant, daringly honest book introduces Mara Wilson the former child actress best known for her starring roles in “Matilda “and “Mrs. Doubtfire “as a brilliant new chronicler of the experience that is growing up young and female 
Mara Wilson has always felt a little young and a little out of place: as the only child on a film set full of adults, the first daughter in a house full of boys, the sole clinically depressed member of the cheerleading squad, a valley girl in New York and a neurotic in California, and an adult the world still remembers as a little girl. Tackling everything from how she first learned about sex on the set of “Melrose Place,” to losing her mother at a young age, to getting her first kiss (or was it kisses?) on a celebrity canoe trip, to not being cute enough to make it in Hollywood, these essays tell the story of one young woman s journey from accidental fame to relative (but happy) obscurity. But they also illuminate a universal struggle: learning to accept yourself, and figuring out who you are and where you belong.

IMG_5029.JPGThe Potion Diaries by Amy Alward

When the Princess of Nova accidentally poisons herself with a love potion meant for her crush, she falls crown-over-heels in lovewith her own reflection. Oops. A nationwide hunt is called to find the cure, with competitors travelling the world for the rarest ingredients, deep in magical forests and frozen tundras, facing death at every turn. Enter Samantha Kemi – an ordinary girl with an extraordinary talent. Sam’s family were once the most respected alchemists in the kingdom, but they’ve fallen on hard times, and winning the hunt would save their reputation. But can Sam really compete with the dazzling powers of the ZoroAster megapharma company? Just how close is Sam willing to get to Zain Aster, her dashing former classmate and enemy, in the meantime? And just to add to the pressure, this quest is ALL OVER social media. And the world news. No big deal, then.

The Potion Diaries: Royal Tour by Amy Alward

Since winning the Hunt and saving her new BFF, Princess Evelyn, Sam Kemi has been royally busy.. What with TV interviews, working in her family’s potion store and preparing to join Evelyn on her world tour, Sam STILL hasn’t had time for a real date with Zain, her new-boyfriend-slash-former-rival. And that’s not happening anytime soon. Someone has tampered with Sam’s grandad’s mind and she is the only one who can unlock his memories. Memories that contain the key to the most powerful potion in the world and one which people would kill for . . .
So Sam must swap dresses, princes and palaces for dragons, centaurs and caves in her quest to save her grandad (and everyone else). Just your standard episode in the life of a potion-making teenager, then.

The Position Diaries: Going Viral by Amy Alward

After finding her great-grandmother’s potion diary, escaping the clutches of Emilia Thoth, saving her grandfather’s memories AND become a Master Alchemist, surely it’s time for Sam Kemi to have a good, long rest? And maybe, just maybe, a proper date with her boyfriend Zain?
But now that Princess Evelyn is married to the sinister Prince Stefan and showing symptoms of the Gergon illness, it looks as though Sam’s adventures are just beginning. The GOOD news: there might be a cure for the virus spreading like wildfire through the city. The BAD news? It’s buried in a remote village in a far-flung country next to an active volcano – and Sam’s not the only one after it. With a TV crew trailing Sam’s every move and time fast running out, it looks like things are about to…GO VIRAL

img_5035Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor’s warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love – and its threatened loss – the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love.

img_5033Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Taken from the poverty of her parents’ home in Portsmouth, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with her cousin Edmund as her sole ally. During her uncle’s absence in Antigua, the Crawford’s arrive in the neighbourhood bringing with them the glamour of London life and a reckless taste for flirtation. Mansfield Park is considered Jane Austen’s first mature work and, with its quiet heroine and subtle examination of social position and moral integrity, one of her most profound.

img_5037Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

The daughter of a clergyman from an ordinary family, Catherine Morland’s only encounters with romance have been through the pages of the Gothic novels she devours. During an eventful season at Bath she experiences the joys of fashionable society for the first time. She is delighted with her new acquaintances: flirtatious Isabella, who shares Catherine’s love of romance and horror, and sophisticated Henry and Eleanor Tilney, who invite her to their father’s mysterious house, Northanger Abbey. There, her imagination influenced by novels of sensation and intrigue, Catherine imagines terrible crimes committed by General Tilney but she is about to discover that society holds a very different kind of danger.

img_5078Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

For generations, children around the world have come of age with Louisa May Alcott’s March girls: hardworking eldest sister Meg, headstrong, impulsive Jo, timid Beth, and precocious Amy. With their father away at war, and their loving mother Marmee working to support the family, the four sisters have to rely on one another for support as they endure the hardships of wartime and poverty. We witness the sisters growing up and figuring out what role each wants to play in the world, and, along the way, join them on countless unforgettable adventures.

img_5077Good Wives by Louisa May Alcott

Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy have grown up together in Orchard House with their friend Laurie next door, and now it’s time for them to go out and find their places in the big wide world, to do the great and marvellous things they’ve dreamed of and discover their ‘castles in the air’. They each find themselves tested, and fall in love, but when tragedy strikes they find their best comfort is in each other, and home.

Little Men by Louisa May Alcott

With two young sons of her own, and twelve rescued orphan boys filling the unusual school at Plumfield, Jo March – now Mrs Jo Bhaer – couldn’t be happier. But the boys have a habit of getting into scrapes, and their mischievous antics call for the warm and affectionate support of the whole March family to help avoid disaster.

Jo’s Boys by Louisa May Alcott

Ten years after the school at Plumfield was founded, Jo’s boys – including wanderer Dan, sailor Emil and musician Nat – are grown up and discovering more about the world. But life after childhood can be confusing and frightening, and it is Jo and the warm-hearted March family who can comfort and guide the boys when they need it the most.

img_5060Hocus Pocus in Focus by Aaron Wallace

In the first and only book ever written about the beloved 1993 Halloween movie, Aaron Wallace takes readers deep into the world of Hocus Pocus to learn everything they never knew. He provides a lighthearted but scholarly look at the film in its all spooky-kooky glory. 

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Biscuiteers, Book of Iced Gifts

Brimming with famous Biscuiteers designs, along with exclusive creations you won’t have seen before, this beautiful book shows how easy it is to bake, ice and assemble your own delicious biscuits and cakes at home.

Books I bought in the sales

IMG_5021.JPGThe Little Brooklyn Bakery by Julie Caplin (£2.00 in The Works)

When Sophie Bennings arrives in New York, love is the last thing on her mind. Still reeling from a painful break up, she throws herself into her work as a food editor on a top-notch magazine. Columnist Todd McLennan is everything that Sophie wishes she didn’t want. Like the gorgeous bakery below her Brooklyn apartment, he’s as tempting as the delicious cupcakes on display. Surely a little of what you fancy can do you good? As Sophie and Todd get to know one another, a love of food isn’t the only passion they share. In the city that never sleeps, has Sophie finally met the man of her dreams…?

img_5073To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (£3.00 in Waterstones)

Meet Scout, the narrator of this book. Her story is one of Deep South summers, fights at school and playing in the street. The spooky house of her mysterious neighbour, Boo Radley, sags dark and forbidding nearby. Her brother, Jem, and her friend, Dill, want to make Boo come outside. Her story is about justice. When Scout’s father, a lawyer, agrees to defend a black man against an accusation by a white girl, he must battle the prejudice of the whole town. It’s about imagination – not just the kind you need for childhood games. Because you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them.

Wartime Brides and Wedding Cakes by Amy Miller (£2.00 in The Works)

January, 1941: As Charlie Barton tiptoes silently out of the house one cold winter morning to go off and fight for his country, his wife Audrey is left to run the family bakery on her own. Times are tougher than ever, but at the Barton Bakery in Bournemouth, Audrey is determined as always to serve the town with love, loaves and cakes, even as the town is reeling from the struggles of the Blitz. Audrey’s brother William has returned from battle with serious wounds. His fiancé Elsie is waiting for wedding bells, but William is a changed man, and will her hopes be in vain? Bakery helper Maggie has her heart set on dashing officer George. But will George still want to marry her when he discovers the truth about her family? And Lily, Audrey’s stepsister, is struggling to raise her illegitimate baby and facing judgement from many in the town. The man who broke her heart returns with an offer, and Lily faces a hard decision about where her future lies. When disaster strikes the bakery, Audrey fears that everything she has worked for may be ruined. With her shop threatened and her family in turmoil, can she fight to save everything she holds dear? 

Once in a Lifetime by Chrissie Manby (£2 from The Works)

Twenty two years ago Dani Parker had grand plans for her life. Now, she’s a single mother in quaint Newbay working at the hotel where she got her first ever job. When she bumps into ex-boyfriend Nat, she wonders if this might be the start of something not-quite-new. Until his fiancée walks through the door .Dani’s daughter Flossie is sixteen – so of course she knows best, about everything. And her new boyfriend Jed is all she could ever want in a man . . . right? Flossie’s widowed grandma Jane firmly believes that lightning never strikes twice. So when she finds herself frequenting Bill’s pet shop, she refuses to believe that the L-wordhas anything to do with it. In a confusion of cakes, elopements and naughty puppies, will the three women discover that ‘once in a lifetime’ isn’t quite as rare as they thought?

Noah Could Never by Simon James Green (£3 from Waterstones)

Noah’s back, and more bananas! He and Harry are now officially boyfriends, but is Noah ready for the difference? It’s no help that a group of cosmopolitan French exchange students have descended on Little Fobbing – including sexy Pierre Victoire, who seems to have his eye on Harry! Meanwhile, Noah’s paired up with a girl … who, most outrageously, is not even French. But that’s not all: the police are monitoring Noah, and he can’t tell if it’s because

  • his dad and secret half-brother, Eric, have made off with his gran’s fake diamonds;
  • because his PE teacher is receiving mysterious cash infusionsfrom Russia;
  • or because drag queen Bambi Sugapops is hiding out at Noah’s house in the midst of a knock-down, bare-knuckled drag feud.

Will Noah ever catch a break?!

I’ll be Home For Christmas by Multiple Authors (£1 from Waterstones)

The UK’s top Young Adult authors join together in this collection of new stories and poems on the theme of home.

Favourite Books of 2018

When I begun reflecting on the books, I had read in 2018 and trying to decide which ones I would place in my favourites I thought I would struggle. At first, I couldn’t think of many stand out books and started to think it had been a rather mediocre year. However, when I looked through my notes I realised I had actually read some real cracking books. Last year I shared my top 6 picks but this year I decided I want to share my top 15. Looking at the books I have read this year I can see:

I have read 54 books, my good reads target for the year was 70 so I unfortunately didn’t hit my target.

I rated:

  • 19 books 5 stars
  • 11 books 4.5 stars
  • 16 books 4 stars
  • 4 books 3.5 stars
  • 3 books 3 stars
  • 1 book 2 stars

Therefore, I rated more books 5 star than any other rating which is fantastic.

Statistically my best reading month was January as I rated 5/6 books, I read 5 stars. My worst month was August when I rated no books 5 stars, although I was in a huge reading slump this month so this didn’t surprise me.

I read books by 32 new authors this year compared to 8 books authors I had read before so it was a great year for experiencing new authors.

I started the year reading 2 nonfiction books but all other books I read were fiction

I have really discovered the joy of reading a series of books in quick succession rather than leaving large gaps between books as I often wont go back to a series if I leave large gaps.

I had read a lot of books set in wartime, I have always been a fan of books set in wartime but this year that has really soared.

Nearly half the books I have read are YA novels, I have really fell in love with YA as a genre this year.

In past years I have read lots of books that are made up of short novellas This year I have made a conscious effort to wait until these stories are released as whole books before reading them. Therefore, there are fewer short stories on my list.

Here is the list of the top 15 books I read in 2018, I have decided not to rank these as that is just too hard!

Image result for this is going to hurtThis is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay

Welcome to the life of a junior doctor: 97-hour weeks, life and death decisions, a constant tsunami of bodily fluids, and the hospital parking meter earns more than you. Scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt provides a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line. Hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking, this diary is everything you wanted to know – and more than a few things you didn’t – about life on and off the hospital ward.

This was the second book of the year I read and it blew me away. It was a fantastic exploration into the world and lives of junior doctors. In my review at the start of the year I described it as open, honest, frank, funny and I have seen a lot of reviews since then calling it Heart-warming and Heart-breaking in equal measures which I think is perfect description of this book. I would encourage anyone to take some time to read this one.

 

The Extinction Trials by S.M.Wilson

In Stormchaser and Lincoln’s ruined world, the only way to survive is to risk everything. To face a contest more dangerous than anyone can imagine. And they will do ANYTHING to win. But in a land full of monsters – both human and reptilian – they can’t afford to trust anyone. Perhaps not even each other…

This is the first book was incredible and without a doubt my favourite book I read in 2018. I was totally immersed in the world and could not put this it down. This is one of three books on my favourites list that marks the start of a new series and in each case my feelings about book one are mirrored through the whole series. I have to wait until February for the next installment and I am on tenterhooks. I’m hoping to go to Waterstones and pick it up a few days early as they sometimes put out new releases early.

IMG_1789The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed

Who are the Nowhere Girls? They’re every girl. But they start with just three: Grace, the preacher’s daughter who unwittingly moved into the old house of a victim whose pain adorns the walls. Bold Rosina, whose heart has become hardened by all of the straight girls who broke it. And misunderstood Erin, the girl who finds more solace in science and order than she does in people. They are brought together by the idea of changing the narrative of a girl they had never met, Lucy Moynihan, the victim of a sexual assault who was victimised further by people who found it easier to believe she had cried wolf than to confront what had really happened to her. A girl who, through the course of one evening, went from an excited teenager who felt wanted by a boy for the first time, to someone else entirely, with ‘a voice in the darkness, giving her a new name: Slut’. Together, they form the Nowhere Girls, and decide to avenge the rape of a girl none of them knew.

I was intrigued by this book but hesitate to read it as I knew it was going to be a tough read. The previous year I had read Louise O’Neil’s Asking for It and that book devastated me so I was scared this book would do the same. It was a really difficult story to read but it left me feeling more hopeful than Louise O’Neil’s book. I think it was fantastically written and was a great portrayal of female empowerment.

FrIMG_2260eshers by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivision

Uni beckons. Phoebe can’t wait to be a fresher – especially since her crush from school will be there too. She’ll be totally different at Uni: cooler, prettier, smarter … the perfect potential girlfriend. She’ll reinvent herself completely. But Luke’s oblivious, still reeling from the fallout of the break-up with his ex. Thrown head first into a world of new friends, parties and social media disasters – can Phoebe and Luke survive the year, let alone find each other?

I adored this book! As someone who went to university but didn’t live in halls, I’m always interested to read books set in university revolving around freshers and student life. This book did just that, it transported me back to 2016 when I was a student and gave me a little insight into what life may have been like had I lived on site. It also introduced me to two of my favourite characters I met in 2018 in Phoebe and Luke. They were lovely and I was so sad to finish this book and leave them behind! I want to know what they are doing now.

IMG_2295The Witch’s Kiss by Elizabeth and Katharine Corr

Can true love’s kiss really save the day…?Electrifying dark magic debut by authors and sisters Katharine and Elizabeth Corr. Merry used to dabble in witchcraft and her gran runs the local coven – but, apart from that, she and her brother Leo are normal teenagers. So when Jack, a cursed prince, wakes beneath a nearby lake after fifteen hundred years, Merry is shocked to learn that she’s inherited the job of dealing with him. Aided by Leo, Merry tries to manage her power and figure out a way of breaking the curse. But as she gets to know Jack she realises she wants to save him – not destroy him. Will Merry lose her life as well as her heart? Or can true love’s kiss really save the day?

This is another instance where I read the three books in the series in quick sucession and I would class the whole series as a favourite. I loved this series so much, I thought the magic system and world building was fantastic. The relationship between Merry and her brother Leo was fantastic. It was a rip roaring ride that I could see making a great film/tv adaptation and I cannot wait to see what Elizabeth and Katharine has in store for us next.

img_0013The Woolworth Girls by Elaine Everest

It’s 1938 and as the threat of war hangs over the country, Sarah Caselton is preparing for her new job at Woolworths. Before long, she forms a tight bond with two of her colleagues: the glamorous Maisie and shy Freda. The trio couldn’t be more different, but they immediately form a close-knit friendship, sharing their hopes and dreams for the future. Sarah soon falls into the rhythm of her new position, enjoying the social events hosted by Woolies and her blossoming romance with young assistant manager, Alan. But with the threat of war clouding the horizon, the young men and women of Woolworths realize that there are bigger battles ahead. It’s a dangerous time for the nation, and an even more perilous time to fall in love . . .

This was the third series this year that I became completely engrossed it. The first two books in the series and a novella weren’t new releases when I picked them up so I was able to read them back to back. Quite soon after two more books were released and I couldn’t get enough of this world. I became completely lost in the wartime period and the exploits of the Woolworth Girls. My favourite part of this series was meeting the three main characters in book one and watching through the 5 books how this huge tightknit group of friends and family are born from their friendship. It was lovely watching their relationships grow and the characters grow as individual. I just loved these books and I was so chuffed when Elaine announced she was writing another in the series. I am also really excited to read The Butlins Girls and Elaine’s book due out later this year The Teashop Girls.

41Hmztn1xKL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simon Spier is sixteen and trying to work out who he is – and what he’s looking for. But when one of his emails to the very distracting Blue falls into the wrong hands, things get all kinds of complicated. Because, for Simon, falling for Blue is a big deal …

This book was a total surprise to me. It started to get a little bit of a revival with the film adatption in the summer. I picked it up out curiosity and was so glad I did because it was a beautiful story. I adored the sweet love story between Blue and Simon. I loved the Simons friendship group and wished I could be friends with them, in particular Abby and Simons friendship was lovely. Everything about it was so sweet and it just warmed my heart to read it. I then watched the film on the plane on my way home from Florida in October and I must say I adored that too, it was a fantastic adaption and I would happily watch it again and again.

Image result for the summer of impossible thingsThe Summer of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman

Devastated by her mother’s suicide, Luna is in New York dealing with her mother’s estate when something impossible happens. She finds herself in 1977 and about to witness a week in her mother’s life that would change it forever. Luna is about to do everything she can to save her mother’s life. Even if it means sacrificing her own.

This book sideswiped me slightly as I was not expecting to love it as much as I did. I had previously read a short story by Rowan Coleman which I enjoyed but it didn’t blow me away. I then saw this book was featured in the Zoe Ball book club but upon reading the synopsis it didn’t really sound like a story I would like. However, when I watched the Zoe Ball show and Rowan Coleman read an extract from it I was captivated and ordered a copy right away. The writing just gripped me from the snippet I heard read. What initially put me off this book was the magic element but it turned out to be what I loved most about the story. The magic was woven into the story so well you felt it could be real. I was kept guessing the whole way through and couldn’t guess the outcome and the outcome we did get in my opiion was perfect but not at all what I thought it would be. I am now keen to give Rowan’s work another shot and see if her other books are as great as this one.

88363-heartachesandchristmascakesHeartache and Christmas Cakes by Amy Miller

The Barton family bakery in Bournemouth has been at the heart of the town for generations: Audrey and Charlie Barton have never been rich, but their bread and cakes – and their love and advice – have enriched the lives of others in the town for many years. When war breaks out, it doesn’t take long for trouble to arrive on the bakery doorstep. Audrey’s brother William has joined up to fight, and William’s fiancé Elsie fears she may lose him before their life together has even begun. Audrey’s stepsister Lily comes to stay, but Lily is clearly hiding a dark secret. And a silent and strange little girl is evacuated to the town – will Audrey get to the heart of what is ailing her? Audrey battles to keep hope and love alive in tumultuous times. But when disaster strikes at Christmas, will her efforts be in vain?

This book shot out of nowhere for me. I am usually quite aware of Wartime stories that are floating around, this one was about wartime and set in a bakery which are two book buzz words but somehow it had passed me by. I saw book three being advertised and this alerted me to the series so I bought the first book right away.  As I expected I loved this one. It was set in wartime focuses on the home front which is what I love and as mentioned it was set in a bakery which is something else, I adore. Everything about this story was warm, comforting, family focuses, the relationship between Audrey and Lily was fantastic as was how supporting Audrey was of Lily in her hour of need. I now have book two in my possession and I plan to read it in January which I am very excited about.

Image result for the singalong society for singletonsThe Singalong Society for Singletons by Katey Lovell

Monique and Issy are teachers, housemates and lovers of musicals! Their Friday night routine consists of snacks, wine and the Frozen DVD. So when Monique’s boyfriend moves to America for a year and her sister Hope moves in because of her own relationship woes, Friday nights get a new name… ‘The Singalong Society for Singletons’! It’s a chance to get together, sing along to their favourite tracks from the best-loved West End shows, and forget the worries of work, relationships and love (or lack of it). But when Issy shares the details of their little group further afield, they get some unexpected new members who might just change their opinions on singledom for good….

This was another book that took me by surprise. I was in a reading slump and struggling to stick with any books I picked up. I purchased a few books from The Works on a whim and grabbed this one to try and I’m so glad I did because it was great. It centres on a group of friends who get together every Friday night to watch a Musical and through these nights you catch up on their lives and the problems each girl is facing. Overtime more people are introduced into these get together and we just see the impact the gatherings have on everybody. My favourite part of this book was that each chapter focuses on a Musical the group was watching and was packed with descriptions of the films, songs, the group reacting to scenes and it was great when I had seen a film they were discussing as you felt you were there with them watching the movie. It also made me want to go and watch all the films I hadn’t seen as the book made them sound great.

Image result for to all the boys i've loved beforeTo All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Lara Jean keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. One for every boy she’s ever loved. When she writes, she can pour out her heart and soul and say all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

This was another series I basically inhaled this year and thought was fantastic. Similar to with Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, I was aware of this book and it was on my radar to read it but it was propelled to the top with the release of the Netflix film adaptation. I knew I wanted to watch the film on the plane when I went on holiday in October so delved into this not long before and I was left asking myself why on earth I had waited so long to read it. This book was awesome, I completed fell in love with Lara Jean and her family. I loved how sweet and down to earth Lara was, she was also a baker so we go plenty of descriptions of yummy foods she was cooking throughout. The relatisonhip she had with her dad and her sisters was a great and it was nice to see a functional tightknit family in a YA books. Of course, my favourite part of this story was the relationship between Peter and Lara Jean. Without a doubt it was my favourite relationship of any book I have read this year. I was routing for them throughout the whole series and enjoyed every installment just as much as the last. I would love to catch up one day with Lara Jean, Peter, their friends and family and see what they are getting up to now.

Image result for the guernsey literary and potato peel pie societyThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer

It’s 1946. The war is over, and Juliet Ashton has writer’s block. But when she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of Guernsey – a total stranger living halfway across the Channel, who has come across her name written in a second hand book – she enters into a correspondence with him, and in time with all the members of the extraordinary Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Through their letters, the society tell Juliet about life on the island, their love of books – and the long shadow cast by their time living under German occupation. Drawn into their irresistible world, Juliet sets sail for the island, changing her life forever.

This was another book that wasn’t on my radar at all until I saw the film trailer for the movie adaptation. Once I looked at the synopsis, I felt straight away I would like. It was telling the stories of wartime with a literary tie in which I thought was fab. The book is told entirely in letter form which was a new concept for me, but it made for really easy, quick and relatable reading. The stories told in this book are heart-warming but also heart-breaking, there was a couple of times my heart wept for the character and what they went through. I think what made this so touching was you know although this is fictional the people of Guernsey were likely to have lived through events in this book which is terribly sad. It was just a beautiful book I would implore everyone to read.

9781510103825Nevermoore: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

Morrigan Crow is cursed, destined to die on her eleventh birthday. But, as the clock strikes midnight, she’s whisked away by a remarkable man called Jupiter North and taken to the secret city of Nevermoor. There she’s invited to join the Wundrous Society. Mystery, magic and protection are hers – if only she can pass four impossible trials, using an exceptional talent. Which she doesn’t have…

This book was another standout surprise to me. If you had asked me when I was about 10 chapters in if I would have picked this as a favourite I would have said not at all. The whole of the Booktube community that I follow were raving about it and I was questioning if I was reading the same books. This story started out slow for me and, although it wasn’t bad it wasn’t blowing my socks off. Then around a third of a way from the end when the trials mentioned in the title really started the book just came into its own and flew! From that point on I couldn’t put it down and just loved everything about it. I loved the whimsy magical world and the mystery that flows through the book. Of course, book one ends with a resolution but there are still lots of unanswered questions that are setting up nicely for the rest of the series. I intend to read book two in January and I cannot wait to get lost in the world of Nevermoore one again. I have never followed along with the releases of a big fantasy series like Harry Potter but I feel I will with this which could be quite fun.

51zxGT2JEfL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_My Mamma Mia Summer by Annie Robertson

Laurel hasn’t taken a risk her whole life. Now as summer dawns, she’s going to do something that nobody expects of her. Laurel turns to her ABBA albums and her favourite film, Mamma Mia! She grabs her passport, dons her dungarees, and jets off to Skopelos for her own Meryl-inspired adventure… Laurel books into the faded but charming Villa Athena and befriends its eccentric owner. As she explores the island’s famous sights, Laurel finds herself feeling strangely at home. So should she return to her life in London, or could this be where she truly belongs?

The Penultimate book on the list is we this fantastic little story that was my read of the summer and my holiday read too, perfect for sitting in the sunshine. This story appealed to straight away as I have always had a wanderlust for the Greek islands being a big fan of the play and film Shirley Valentine. Generally, that means I love any books that are set in the Greek Islands. It just so happens this one is just that but it is very Mamma Mia centric which just made it the perfect book for me. I love the film Mamma Mia, how can you not like something that pulls together Greece and Abba so a book that is inspired by this is a fantastic idea. I thought the main character Laurel was great and my heart broke for her making the trip to Skepelos in honor of her grandmother who brought her up. It is of course packed with Mamma Mia film references and I could so clearly picture the characters at the places you see in the film and being able to do this really brought it to life. I also loved that Laurel very quickly establishes a diverse little group of friends that become so integral to her and the story. She also builds a lovely relationship with Athena, the owner of the guest house she is staying in. This story was pure sunshine and I really hope Annie writes more books in this series. It is also worth mentioning that the novella follow up My Mamma Mia Christmas was also fantastic!

IMG_5093.JPGMiss Marley by Vanessa Lefaye

Orphans Clara and Jacob Marley live by their wits, scavenging for scraps in the poorest alleyways of London, in the shadow of the workhouse. Every night, Jake promises his little sister ‘tomorrow will be better’ and when the chance to escape poverty comes their way, he seizes it despite the terrible price. And so Jacob Marley is set on a path that leads to his infamous partnership with Ebenezer Scrooge. As Jacob builds a fortress of wealth to keep the world out, only Clara can warn him of the hideous fate that awaits him if he refuses to let love and kindness into his heart…

And the final book on this little was a cheeky little story that just nudges its way into my top 15. I actually finished reading this story on New Years Eve so it only just made it as a 2018 book. I adored this book. I am a big fan of a Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and in the run up to Christmas I saw lots of people mentioning this book on BookTube and it being such a short story I thought I would give it a go. It was a fabulous little book offering a back story to a Christmas Carols Jacob Marley told from the perspective of his sister. I am always hesitant to read books that are meant to be sequels or prequals to books I love because bad versions can be awful but this wasn’t. It was a believable tale of how Jacob could have become the man he was in a Christmas Carol. I really liked Clara Belle, Jacobs sister who narrates the story and from the beginning you tell the story is going to be tragic. I really liked the little homage to a Christmas Carol near the end too. Fantastic read!

 

 

November Reading Roundup

As you know if you have read my October reading round-up you will know I had a very disjointed reading month. It was a process of starting books, putting them down, staring another and so on until the end of October came and I had only finished one book. As I entered November, I knew I had 3 new releases I wanted to get to, one book and two short stories. I therefore thought I would dedicate the rest of November to completing books I had started throughout the year. I just saw the little stack piling up and it was getting a little overwhelming for me to have all these unfinished stories.

9781510103825I began the month by finishing Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend. If you had read my previous roundup you will know when I put this book down it was hovering around a 3-star read. It was a good story, but it wasn’t blowing me away and I was struggling to understand the hype that had been surrounding it. The book follows Morrigan Crow, a cursed child destined to die on her eleventh birthday. However, before this happens, she is taken away from her family by a mysterious man named Jupiter North and told she can live in the realm of Nevermoor, where death cannot reach her if she passes a series of trials. When I stopped reading, I was about half way through and I felt up until that point the story had been quite slow. I was aware it was a new series and therefore there was a need for some world building to happen. However, at the half way point Morrigan had only just entered Nevermoor and it was still quite unclear what this place was and why she was there, and it was just rather slow paced for me. Fast forward to me picking this book up again a month later and reading a few more chapters and this story really did come alive. When we reached the point of Morrigan taking part in the trials I really started to enjoy it. The trials are really quite clever, imaginative and fasts paced. I couldn’t put the book down as I was desperate to know the outcome of the trial and then I had to keep reading to get to the next one. The story was so fantastical and whimsical it was really to escape and become immersed in this world. I had heard a few people talking about some chapters near the end that are set around Christmas, that were meant to be extremely festive and wonderful and I can confirm they were! It really was quite a joy to read these chapters and get those festive feelings early. There were some big twists as we neared the end which sets the next book up quite nicely. I found I couldn’t predict the big twists which is always nice. As soon as I finished this book, I was so keen to get on and read the next one. Despite purchasing it I held off as I wanted to concentrate on my pre-started books, but I have it in my possessions and will be reading that very soon! I’m just disappointed we will have to wait a year for the next one when I have finished it.

Image result for natural born readersFollowing this I then decided to read a book I started back in September 2017, I have no idea why I have left this book for so long as its by one of my favourite authors. I returned to Natural Born Readers by Victoria Connelly. I love this series of book which follows the Nightingales, a family of book loving, book shop owners. This series is a utter joy to read with every book leaving me feeling unbelievably warm and content. In this book we follow Bryony who runs the families children’s book shop. Bryony is sideswiped when ex-boyfriend Ben return to Castle Clare after abruptly leaving years earlier to go travelling. Ben is still harboring feelings for Byony and returns with the notion they will get back together. Bryony in contrast is consumed with anger towards Ben for leaving and finds his presence very unsettling. At the beginning of this story I must admit I didn’t like Ben very much as I, like most women have felt the harsh reality of heart break so I completely empathized with Bryony. As I read the book I could apricate that many people may view Bryonys reaction to Ben as a little petty and childish but I could completely understand her feelings and was just as angry as she was that Ben felt he could return and pick up where he had left off with Bryony. However! I did change my view as the story went on and I started to soften towards Ben. I think Bryony does make some questionable choices herself which may have contributed to my softening feelings towards Ben. As with the other books within this series I liked it very much. I loved getting more of the Nightingales family interactions I adored so much in the other books and it was just great to catch up with the family. I really hope Victoria returns to this series at some point because I would love to spend more time with the family.

Image result for always and forever lara jeanAfter finishing Natural Born Readers, I jumped straight back into Always and Forever Lara Jean by Jenny Han. In this book we catch up with Lara Jean and Peter as they complete their final year of school and prepare the changes college will bring. I was excited to delve back into this world and catch up with these characters that I love so much. There is so much change afoot for both Lara Jean and Peter that it does make for some excited yet at times sad reading. There are lots of changes going on within the Covey family too, but it was lovely to see how strong the girls and their dad remain throughout this. Trina was also a lovely addition to this family, I really did like her she turned out to be one of my favorite characters. The whole way through reading this book there was a feeling of bittersweet for me. I wanted to read it because I adore this series, but I was also acutely aware that this was the last book. I was also aware there was a 50/50 chance that Lara Jean and Peter would not be together at the end of the story and the thought of that broke my heart a little bit as I love them as a couple, they are one of my favourite couples from all the books I have read this year. I was happy with how this story ended but I was left wanting more, I’m just not ready to let these characters behind.

Image result for my mamma mia christmasHaving now completed a number of unfinished books I had started throughout the year I decided to turn to a very anticipated release, My Mamma Mia Christmas by Annie Robertson. Having read Annies first book, My Mamma Mia Summer in September I was so excited to read the follow up as I loved the first book so much. I didn’t realise until I had downloaded the book that it was only a novella, I thought I was going to get a full book! But this didn’t take anything from my enjoyment of the story. It was lovely to catch up Laurel, Athena and the rest of the gang. We rejoin the characters 6 months on in the middle of winter. Initially villa Athena is quiet but it’s not long before its whipped into a frenzy with the arrival of a hotel critique and a wedding. I was doubtful of how festive a novel set in Greece could be in even if it was set in winter and around Christmas time but I found it surprisingly festive which was perfect as December was approaching. It was great to rejoin Laurel and see her postivie influence on Villa Athena. We did see a few disagreements between Laurel and Athena but as with the first book I loved reading these scenes as you can see, they are born out of love. I really hope Annie will be writing more books in this series because I am desperate to get back to the island of Skopelos. Until this time, I will however console myself with watching the new Mamma Mia film!

Image result for new beginnings at the star and sixpenceFinally, I managed to sneak in one short book before the month was out in the form of New Beginnings at the Star and Sixpence by Holly Hepburn. For those who are not familiar with Holly’s works her books are usually released in the form of 4 short novellas before finally being released as a whole book. Recently I have been waiting for such books to be released in full before buying them but I simply could not wait for that in this instance. Holly is one of my favourite authors and her first book A Year at the Star and Sixpence is one of my favourites of all time so I had to get back to the story as soon as possible. It was fantastic to catch up with sisters Sam and Nessie. There have been some changes for both girls since we left them but Nessie and Sam are still working hard to make the pub a success. There was a surprising arrival in this story which shocked me! I think it could make for some interesting reading in the future. We ended this book on a happy note but something tells me things wont run smoothly for Sam and Nessie as the book goes on but I’m keeping everything crossed for a happy ending.

January TBR

As I mentioned in my reading goals for 2019 this year, I would like to start compiling monthly TBR lists. I certainly do not want to be restricted by these lists or feel I cannot read on a whim however, in the past couple of months I have found these TBR’s useful in giving a little structure to which book I turn to next. I will often finish a book and feel completely overwhelmed by my shelves and spend ages trying to decide where to turn next. I am hoping having a list with a real mix of genres will help me out a little. I also hope it will mean I can add some books to my lists that have been lingering on my shelves for a while and hopefully make me more inclined to read them. There is a strong chance when I make these TBR’s they will be over ambitious but that is not a problem as I am sure I will return to any I don’t read at a later date. I will also be happy to veer from the list should the mood take me, as I say I do not want it to feel restrictive. Here is what I plan to read in January:

  • Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens
  • Would You Like Magic With That? By Annie Sailsbury
  • Hocus Pocus in Focus by Aaron Wallace
  • Tilly and the Book Wanderers by Anna James
  • Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
  • Wartime Brides and Wedding Cakes by Amy Miller

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2019 Reading Goals and Resolutions

At this point of the year I would usually take the time to review my reading goals and resolutions and offer an update on how they have gone throughout the year. However, because of my blogging hiatus in the latter half of this year I don’t really have any updates to offer. In July I did write a mid-year review of these goals and upon reading that back I have very few further updates to offer. You can find that blog post here and check out how I got on with the goals I set back in January.

It is now time for me to look to the year ahead and set some goals going forward in 2019. I don’t want to set myself anything too rigid, but I do think its nice to have a few aims in mind to focus my reading a little more.

Firstly, as I mentioned in my recent update post since August, I just haven’t been making as much time for reading as I should. Although reading shouldn’t be about the number of books, I, like many people have shelves bulging with books that I cannot wait to read so I always feel a sense of urgency to finish a book, so I can get onto the next story. On average I usually read 4 books a month, one a week, in a good month I can read double that. However, for several months this year I have only managed to read 1/2 books a month. My goal for 2019 will be to try and ensure I am reading for an hour a day. Whether this be stepping away from my desk at lunch time and taking half an hour in the library to read or turning off the TV in the evening for 30 minutes to spend a little more time reading. I certainly do not want to be stopping myself doing things I want to in an attempt to increase my reading hours, but currently I know I am not happy with how little time I am spending reading, so my aim is to become a little happier with that.

Secondly as I also mentioned in my update post I have neglecting this blog a lot and have not been dedicating enough time to it. In 2019 I want to fall back in love with my blog and blogging and make sure I am posting. I do have an idea of how many posts I want share a week and the subjects of these. I am toying with the idea of doing Tag Tuesdays and Friday favourites aswell as my usual wrap ups and reviews, but I am reluctant to set myself a schedule that I may not be able to stick too at this point. Overall though I would like to be consistently posting a least one post a week.

Next, I would like to spend more time interacting with other Booktubers and bloggers this year. I know myself how rewarding it is to have people comment on your posts or videos. I spend a lot of time watching Booktube and reading blog posts, but I very rarely comment on any of these.  I think it would be nice to have a little more interaction with people especially those with similar tastes in books to mine.

I would also like to spend some time re-reading some of my favourite books. There was a time not so long ago when I thought re-reading books was a waste of time. Why would I want to spend time doing that when there are so many other new books out there, I could be reading? However, in the past year or so I have really discovered the joy of re-reading books. Sometimes a book brings me such sheer joy when I read it that I want nothing more to revisit that world and be in that happy bubble once more. Alternatively there are a number of books that I loved but enough time as pasted that I could re-read them and be surprised by the details and enjoy them as if they were a new book. I am going to be very selective about which books I will be re-reading and will write a separate post listing these books.

Re-reading some of my favourite books leads me very nicely onto my next goal. In the past I have filled my book shelves with lots of books and kept any books I have read be them good or bad. However, in the past year I have been much more selective with books I have kept on my shelves. I would like to have unlimited amounts of shelf space, but I unfortunately am not that lucky and I simple do not have room to keep every book I read. I have therefore been removing and donating books that I didn’t enjoy and only keep hold of books I loved or books by authors I love. I want my shelves to be a real representation of me, my reading taste and all the things I love and for that reason want to purchase physical copies of my favorurite books that I currently only have electronic versions of. I then want to carry out my above goal and re-read these books. To some people (my husband included) this may seem like an utter waste of money but for me nothing makes me happier than sitting by my book’s shelves admiring my collection of all the books I love the most and that for me is priceless.

The following three goals involve me reading specific collections of stories. The first of these are the Jane Austen books…I know I know I still haven’t read them! Despite numerous posts centering around Jane Austen I am yet to read all her books. I now own her six books in the beautiful Penguin modern classics versions. This year I want to read Persuasion, Mansfield Park, Sense and Sensibility and Northanger Abbey. I would also like to re-read Emma as I have not read this book since college (I read Pride and Prejudice last year).

The next set of books I want to read is those written by Roald Dahl. I, like many people am so familiar with the Roald Dahl series I feel like I have read them, however, I have only read Matilda. I therefore want to make the time to read all the books he has written. Many of the books are quite short so I am anticipating them being quite quick reads, so I am confident I can read 1 a month this will be an achievable task.

Finally, for book collections I want to read/re-read we have the Horrible Histories book collection. When I was younger I was a member of the Horrible Histories book club. This also included being sent collections of numerous other ‘horrible’ books e.g. horrible science, horrible geography etc. I loved receiving my fortnightly book parcel and last year I found the collection in my nans loft. I brought them home and although they look lovely on my shelf, I am yet to read them. Some books I have read before and some I have never picked up. In 2019 I want to read all the ‘Horrible’ books on my shelf. As with the Roald Dahl books these are very short child friendly reads, so I hope they will not take me long. I also hope they will be helpful in brushing up on my history knowledge. As I have mentioned before I do work at a historical tourist attraction and my change in jobs means its now more important than ever that my historical knowledge is top notch and I do feel its lacking greatly. Hopefully reading these will provide me with some bitesize information about different periods in history.

Next, I want to be setting myself monthly TBR’s, however I don’t want too strict with these. I am a mood reading but setting myself a short list at the beginning of each month with a view to priortise a small set of books may be very helpful for me. I am hoping it will reduce the feelings of being overwhelmed when I am staring at a shelf of 100 books with no idea what to pick up next. I think a monthly TBR will also be helpful in terms of reaching some of my other goals. For example, a month’s TBR could include a Roald Dahl book, a Jane Austen, a re-read of a favourite book, a new release, a kindle veteran. If I am honest I have so many categories I could use to pick a TBR and hopefully doing this will go someway to reducing it.

As I mentioned in the previous goal I hope that setting monthly TBR’s will go someway to reducing my overall TRB. I set this goal last year and I am doing it again and I simply want to work towards reducing my TBR shelf. To do this I have to minimise any new books coming in and take the time to shop my shelves and pick up books I own. This goal always seems so simple in theory and planning but is one of the hardest to carry out. I think it is because I am yet to nail a good way of making sure I am balancing the ratio of incoming books compared to those I’m reading (suggestions of how to do this welcome). However recently when I have been hearing a book spoken about on Youtube that interests me I have been making the conscious decision to ignore it in an attempt to not add to my TBR. This does mean I run the risk of missing out on great books, but I do have to draw the line in the TBR sand at some point.

For my penultimate goal I would like to watch more book to movie adaptations. This year I have watched quite a few and I have really enjoyed those that I have watched. I know book to movie adaptations can be dicey and if not done, but in 2018 all the ones I  watched were great! In 2019 I want to continue to watch film adaptations of books I have enjoyed. I am not a massive film watcher generally, so this is a good way to increase how many films I am watching. My aim will be if I like a book and there is a movie adaptation of it then I will watch that too. This will particularly tie into my reading of the Jane Austen books as I would like to watch at least one adaptation of each of her stories

And finally, I want to be more brutal and DNF books. I find this extremely hard, in fact I don’t DNF books except as a real last resort. Something in my mind won’t let me partially read a book and then leave it. It makes me feel like the time I have spent reading the book is a total waste and I have to finish it to make that time worth it. The reality is continuing to read a book I am not liking is the real waste of my time but something in my mind won’t let me put that book down. In 2019 I want to try hard to put a book down for good if I feel its not for me, get it off my shelves and forget about it, as those shelves are already crowded, and I don’t have time for mediocre or maybe books.

So there we have it quite a long list of 2019 goals however I think this year I have chosen really manageable goals that hopefully have a positive impact on my reading experiences and wont over stretch and ultimately make them unachievable.

Lets Start Again!

Hello Everyone! It has been an extremely long time since I sat down and wrote a blog post. I thought I would take the opportunity to hop on here and just explain my absence and my plans going forward in 2019. I first launched this blog back in January 2017 and spent the year going great guns. I was posting a couple of times a week and always found myself inspired and full of ideas I wanted to share. It seems rather crazy now to think that in December 2017 I took part in Blogmas and posted every day until the 24th December and every other day until the new year. If we fast forward to present day (December 2018) its probably not inaccurate to say I posted more in that one month that I have done in the whole of 2018.

I am unsure what happened in the first half of 2018, I just found myself uninspired, doubting my content and choosing to spend my free time doing other things as opposed to blogging. At no point during this did I ever push myself to produce content if I didn’t feel like doing so. This blog has always been a hobby and as such I don’t like to put pressure on it and take away any enjoyment, I get from it.

However, around the latter half of this year the decision to stop producing content became a little out of my control, specifically in August when I started a new job. I believe I have mentioned on here before that I work at a busy tourist attraction in London and until August, I was based in the visitor centre. This meant a lot of my time and work was customer centric and how busy I was was dominated by how many customers we had. This meant that during off peak times I could sit in my office for hours on end without customers and would fill my time with lots of reading. It would also provide me with ample opportunity to write out lots of blog posts. In August this changed with a switch of departments, suddenly my days were filled with lots of lots of work. Now this is in no way a negative change. I absolutely love my new role and am so much happier now. However, I don’t have as much time to spare for reading. I often find I work through my lunch hour and eat at my desk rather than stepping away and taking that hour to myself and getting some reading in. I also find I am spending less time commuting on the train and more time commuting with my hubby in the car. Again 40 minutes on the train used to provide me ample reading time and I just don’t seem to get this in the car. Finally, I am now working longer hours which generally means I am more tired in the evenings so reading before bed is usually short lived before I drop off. All of this just culminated in my not reading very much and finding it really hard to find the time to write blog posts.

Going into 2019 I would like to rectify this and try to spend more time reading which should in turn give me more content for my blog. The main change I want to make next year is making sure I take a lunch hour. Whilst I am sat at my desk eating, I feel its acceptable to read as its obvious I am on my lunch break. However, once I have finished eating, I always worry my colleagues will get the wrong impression that I am sat reading when I should be working. In 2019 I plan to step away from my desk. I am in the extremely lucky position that the floor of the building I work on has its own library, so what place could be better to spend my lunch break reading.

I am also planning on making more of the time when I am not at work. I have lost count of the amount of times since August I have caught myself on days off just staring into space doing absolutely nothing. Now whilst I am all for relaxing on days off, I know I would feel much better if I was more productive with my time so that is what I will be aiming to do.

Here is hoping to a more productive and successful reading and blogging year!

My Mamma Mia Summer by Annie Robertson Review

51zxGT2JEfL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_Laurel hasn’t taken a risk her whole life. Now as summer dawns, she’s going to do something that nobody expects of her. Laurel turns to her ABBA albums and her favourite film, Mamma Mia! She grabs her passport, dons her dungarees, and jets off to Skopelos for her own Meryl-inspired adventure…Laurel books into the faded but charming Villa Athena and befriends its eccentric owner. As she explores the island’s famous sights, Laurel finds herself feeling strangely at home. So should she return to her life in London, or could this be where she truly belongs?

Rating 5/5

Join Laurel in one summer that will change her life. Having recently lost her beloved grandmother Marnie who raised her after the death of her mum and dad Laurel decides a break is in order. She books herself a once in a lifetime trip to the Greek island of Skopelos, setting of her and Marnie’s favourite film, Mamma Mia. As Laurel embarks on her adventure she immediately makes new friends and falls for the charm of villa Athena where she is staying. However, it isn’t long until she realises Villa Athena and its owner are in trouble and Laurel cant help but use her event planning skills to try and turn the villas fortunes around.

This summer Mamma Mia fever swept the UK with the release of Mamma Mia: Here we go again, sequel to the original film. This book was obviously the perfect release to co-inside with it and I must say it felt like a little pop of sunshine. I hadn’t really heard much about this book in the run up to its release, but I saw a post about it on twitter and the name immediately drew me in. The plot sounded just my cup of tea and the cover was stunning so that just added to its appeal. Ever since seeing the film Shirley Valentine when I was younger I have always had a touch of wonder lust when it comes to the Greek islands. With films such as a Mamma Mia that has only increased so I lap up books set in Greece. However, that said I do find some of them can be a little cheesy and trashy at times but this was not the case with this story.

This book opens and very quickly Laurel sets off on her travels. I did like the fact that we were right into the action of her getting too Greece. However, I did worry this was a sign of things to come and the book may jump too quickly through events but once Laurel reaches Greece the book moves at a lovely pace. Laurel immediately makes friends on her trip, both on the plane and then on a later coach trip. I thought it was great that she formed a little friendship group to share her travels with. As the title suggests there are lots of references to Mammia Mia and scenes from the film making it the perfect book for fans of the film. I have always wanted to visit Mykonos to visit the sites where Shirley Valentine was filmed so I could really understand how excited the characters were to be visiting places featured in Mammia Mia.

I must admit I thought this book would be purely be a romance novel, but it wasn’t. Laurel choses to stay at a remote and beautiful but slightly tired holiday villa. She quickly learns the owner Athena may be hiding a secret and may need a little help. There of course was romance involved in the story, (even the outcome of this surprised me) but at the forefront was Laurel wanting to help to Athena restore the villa and I loved that. One of the overwhelming themes of this book is family and relationships. You can tell the impact that Marnie has had on Laurels life and its that which drives her to help Athena. You can see this in how Laurel forms bonds with her new friends and they all pull together to help each other. There were a fair few secrets sprinkled throughout too. Some of which I saw coming and some I didn’t predict which was nice as I often find books in this genre can be overly predictable but this one wasnt.

Overall, I loved this book, I loved the setting, I love the warm, sunny atmosphere that’s built up, I love the ABBA and Mamma Mia references, I love the family and friendship element, I loved the main character and the romance. Everything about this story was beautiful and I cannot wait to join Laurel and her friends again in November to see what they have been up to and how they spend Christmas.

 

 

 

 

 

October Reading Roundup

Today I thought I would take a slightly different approach to my October reading roundup because October was such an odd reading month for me. Instead of just sharing what I read and my brief thoughts I would instead talk you through the month.  At the beginning of the of October I was riding high off the joy of finishing To All the Boys I Loved Before and PS. I Still Love You by Jenny Han both of which I loved. I was keen to read the last book in this series but also very aware it would be a perfect book to take on holiday, so I held of reading it and instead picked up Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend. There had been an awful lot of hype about this book on YouTube with people comparing it to Harry Potter in terms of it being a compelling action-packed series that everyone is going to be following and anticipating. I started off enjoying this book, but it didn’t explode in the way I thought it would. In this book we meet Morrigan Crow, a girl who is cursed and as such will die on her 11th birthday. However, before this can happen she is taken away by a mysterious gentleman who takes her to a place called Nevermoor where death cannot reach her. It may well have been a case of the book being so over hyped I was being underwhelmed. I was around a third of the way through and Morrigan had just arrived at Nevermoor. I think with a new series like this it does take a while to establish the world and the magic system, but I just found it a little slow to get going. On Saturday the 6th October we headed off an holiday and at this point I decided to leave Morrigan behind, not because I wasn’t enjoying the book but because I was just conscious that I needed a book for the plane that completely drew me in and kept me gripped to make the time pass and I didn’t feel this was the book to do that.

Whilst at Gatwick, the night before we flew I decided to start The Island by M.A.Bennet, which is one of my most anticipated released of this year. M.A.Bennet’s debut book S.T.A.G.S was one of my favorites of 2017 so I was so excited to read this book. Unfortunately, it turned into a bit of a disappointing book that I ended up DNFing. This book centres on Link as he wakes up on an island following a plane crash. The book then shifts backwards, and we find out what led to Link and his class mates to the crash. The problem I had with this book was when I stopped reading it my kindle told me I was 25% through it, a quarter of the way and at that point we had only just reached Link on the island. The first quarter is spent with Link telling us how they ended up on the island, ok in theory. However very quickly at the start of the book we learn Link is being bullied by this class mates and the whole quarter is spent with him relaying various bad things that have happened to him at the hands of the bullies. I really wanted to read about the group on the island but by the time we got there I had been so bored by the first part I just gave up. I guess I wanted to get straight into the action and this book was just too slow starting for me. Another reason I think I couldn’t get to grips with it was I felt no affiliation or liking for the main character. This is odd considering there were several tales being relayed of him being treated awfully you would expect to feel a tiny bit of compassion for him, but I didn’t. I certainly didn’t feel a shred of liking or compassion for any of his class mates. It was actually really tough for me to put this book aside and accept it wasn’t for me because I loved S.T.A.Gs so much I absolutely did not see me not liking this.

By this point I was in the middle of an 8-hour flight and feeling a little despondent, so I decided to watch the Netflix adaptation of To All The Boys I Loved Before. I had saved it especially for the plane and I am so glad I did because I loved it! It certainly made 80 minutes of the flight fly by! This made me want to return to the series, so I started reading Always and Forever Lara Jean, the final book in the series. It was such a joy to return to these characters and their story, I loved Lara Jean and Peters relationship and it was great to see them back together. They haven’t had an easy ride to get to this point and just adore the chemistry between them.

We then landed in sunny Florida and all I wanted to do was embrace the sunshine and read a book filled with it so decided (maybe rather stupidly, I never usually read these many books at once) to start another, My Mamma Mia Summer by Annie Robertson. This book was released this summer and was perfected timed as the second Mamma Mia film was released around the same time. In this story we meet the lovely Laurel who is desperately in need of some tlc following the death of her beloved grandmother Marnie who raised her. Laurel decides to book herself a once in a life time trip to the Greek island of Skopelos, setting to her and Marnie’s favourite film and a place they were meant to visit together. Ilove summer, I loved ABBA and its always been a dream of mine to explore the Greek islands. Ever since I was a child I always thought there was something so idyllic and beautiful looking about this country and I just want to go there. Therefore, I had to give this book a go and I am so glad I did. This book turned out to be the one I choose to pick up anytime we weren’t out and about, and I wasn’t shattered from being out and about! There was no greater place to read this book than lying on a sun lounger in 30-degree heat, all accept if I was reading it on a Greek island that is. However, because we were on the go so much I didn’t finish this book whilst I was away. It turned out a holiday is counterproductive to my reading, who knew? I read it when I could as well as on the plane home, another excellent choice because the hours just flew by. Upon have returning home I picked it up whenever I could but its been pretty hectic returning from holiday, lots of washing and tidying and tv catch up to do plus returning to work.

This led me to this blog post and being in the rather unusual situation I had never been in before. 4 days from the end of the month and I was yet to complete one book, and I did not feel very happy about this. I know It shouldn’t matter because I have read quite a lot, but I did not like the feeling of reading so many books at once and it was making me a little stressed! I therefore decided I had to act and dedicate some time to my own mini readathon to finish reading all the books I had started.  This began with My Mamma Mia Summer, I had been enjoying this book so much and was desperate to finish it. This was an absolute 5 star read for me. I loved everything about it and what it stood for. It was such an uplifting book, full of hope and showed people living out their dreams, following their hearts and it just left me feeling so warm and content. I loved all the characters in this book, there wasn’t one person I didn’t like which is unusual. It was just sublime and made me feel so happy.

After finishing My Mamma Mia Summer there were a couple of days left of October. I had two books I started earlier in the month that I wanted t o try and finish. I therefore made the sensible decision and picture up a completely different book, A Year at the Star and Sixpence by Holly Hepburn, a book I started back in August. This is a re-read for me because it is one of my favourite books by one of my favourite authors. I was so excited earlier in the year when Holly announced she would be writing a sequel to this book. It would, as with the first come in the form of 4 short novellas before being released as one whole book. The first part was due to be released in October so back in August I thought I would take the chance to re-read this book to re-equant myself with the story and that is what I spent the rest of the month doing. Unfortunately, I didn’t finish this re-read before the end of October and as I enter November I am about half way through. It’s a whopper of a book at over 500 pages so its pretty slow going but I love the story just as much, if not more this time around so I am not too worried that its taking me quite some time to finish.

As we enter November I am still yet to complete Nevermore: The Trials of Morrigan Crown and Always and Forever Lara Jean. I plan to finish both in November as well as reading the first part of Holly’s sequel once I have finished A Year at the Star and Sixpence. I am really hoping that I don’t have another odd reading month like this one and I find some amazing new books. Fingers crossed!