Posted in Blog, Books, Reading, Reading Challenge 2021, Reading Round-Up

Reading Round-Up: September

Hello Book Lovers!

How are you all? I’m taking full advantage of the gloriously summery weather today to catch up on reading and blogging. Let me start off by owning that September was a really poor reading month for me. I felt very much sucked into the daily stress of school and the repeated discussion and implementation of the ‘Covid Catch Up Curriculum’. I’ve never experienced a start of a term just as difficult as this one. As Coldplay once sang, “Nobody said it was easy. No one ever said it would be so hard.” Naturally, this had a knock on impact on my own free time – gone went the gym, reading and blogging. I noticed that my mental well-being suffered as a result of this too. This weekend I needed to take proactive steps to ensure that I could recenter myself and restore some of that harmony that I much needed. Part of that is reconnecting with you wonderful people.

As a result of September being so full on, with the distant sunshine, sun loungers and endless realms of time, I only managed to read 9 books. On the one hand, 9 is better than not reading at all! Regardless, these 9 books were really enjoyable! I knew I was struggling so I stuck to my ‘go to’ writers. So, let’s check out the shelves for September!

The only problem with sticking with my ‘go to’ writers is that picking a top three becomes very difficult. I love the thrill and the pace of Patterson, the mystery of Carpenter. Decisions, decisions…

  1. Gingerbread – Robert Dinsdale. Those of you who have been following my blog for a while know how The Toymakers is one of my favourite books of all time. I’ve discovered now I’ve cleared some of my TBR pile, that I have more books by him. Gingerbread brings together reality and folklore again with a young boy heading into the forest with his grandfather to scatter his mother’s ashes. The story goes from here.
  2. Grimms Fairy Tales – collection by Philip Pullman. I’ve always wanted to branch out into the world of fairy tales. I’ve dabbled and like any young child, grew up watching Disney, but I’ve never actually got around to reading some of the classics. This collection looks beautiful and was a really enjoyable read. You’ll see my review of this for my reading challenge.
  3. A Slow Fire Burning – Paula Hawkins. I managed to bag myself a signed copy of this book which I was thrilled about! Also, I really enjoyed seeing Hawkins back with another exceptional novel. A young man is found dead and so questions are asked about the three women who knew him. A great read!

Whilst the start of this post sounded like a mix of woe and excuses, I’ve always prided myself on being honest. It wouldn’t be fair to leave that and not acknowledge the amazing things that have happened. I have a great family – we celebrated my Mum’s birthday last weekend which was an absolute joy. I have a brilliant team around me at school and I continuously strive to be their leader which creates a warm and supportive community and I have you guys on here who leave me wonderful comments and shower me with kindness. I hope I give you guys the same feeling back. ♥️ I also got a free hot chocolate, carrot cake and a hug from someone who works in my local coffee shop. I even managed to grab myself an excellent book haul from Waterstones, chatting with the staff there about the amazing books that are out at the moment. Life is good. We just need to remember to keep a balance of the good and the bad.

I will strive to be more consistent and blog more frequently! I’ll see you next time for my review of Grimm and any other wonders that have come my way.

Big love all xxx

Posted in Books, New Books, Reading, Reading Round-Up

Reading Round-Up: August

Hello Loves!

Well, I’ve been back at school for three days and my holiday seems like a distant memory… I’m clinging onto it by recapping the glorious month of reading I’ve had. I’ve not taught any lessons yet but I already feel like I’ve been hit by a train but writing this is helping, that’s for sure. Lessons begin tomorrow so I wanted to be kind to myself this evening and share with you my round up for August. August was an awesome month for me because I was soaking up the sun in Cyprus, relaxing and reading. It was absolute bliss. As a result, I managed to read a brilliant 19 books. I’m so chuffed with this really and it has to be one of my best months for reading. I literally cannot wait to share this all with you so let’s check out the shelves!

Picking three favourites from this list is going to be really difficult because there were so many good ones! I’ve read a range as well from my usual crime and thriller to young adult to contemporary. However, after some careful consideration I’ve picked! I hope you love this list as much as I do. I also hope you can see how difficult it was too!

  1. Because of You – Dawn French. Wow. I honestly do not have enough words for how incredible this book is. I am not ashamed to say that I cried my eyes out by the end of it too. It follows the story of two mothers whose lives are linked. I absolutely do not want to spoil the plot here because I hope to review it at some point but it’s a beautiful novel. It’s also a very special book.
  2. The Woman Downstairs – Elisabeth Carter. This book was a really punchy little number and one of those that you stay up all night reading because you can’t put it down. It makes you question everything and will leave you feeling like you really have no idea who lives near or around you.
  3. These Tangled Vines – Julianne Maclean. This book is stunning. I think I had the added pleasure of reading this in a beautifully sunny climate which matched the scene of the story. Set in Italy, it tells the story of a girl who learns a huge secret and gains imaginable assets. It was so well written too that I can’t not recommend it.

I also really wanted to mention my book for my reading challenge: The Island of Sea Women because that was a difficult book to read because it was so harrowing and yet, I really enjoyed reading it. I’ll be reviewing that book for you all at the weekend after some decent sleep! It’s one that I think many of you would enjoy. The history behind it makes it challenging but it’s the resilience of the women within it that inspired me.

Well, that’s it! I doubt I’ll have another month with this many books but you never know! I really hope you enjoy it. Have any of you read any of these? What did you think?

Looking forward to catching up with you at the weekend!

Big love xxx

Posted in Books, Reading, Reading Round-Up

Reading Round-Up: July

Hello Loves! ☀️

I hope you’re all well! I’m writing this from a beautiful beach, as I’ve been lucky enough to come away for summer. Summer is a wonderful time of year but the sunshine naturally makes people feel so much better. I feel much more relaxed and zen like now I’ve finally got a break away.

Today, I want to share with you my round-up for July. I managed to read 11 books in July which is around the same amount as I normally read in a month which is pleasing. I do find though that whenever I head towards the end of term, I’m utterly exhausted so end up reading less and much more slowly. I’m quite pleased with 11 really!

I can’t wait to share with you some of these brilliant books. So, let’s check out the shelves! 📚

The eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed that I didn’t read my book for my reading challenge this month. It’s the first time I’ve missed it but it was the first book I read in August. I can’t wait to share that with you and redeem myself. However, let me share with you my top three books for July.

  1. The Maidens – Alex Michaelides. I absolutely loved The Silent Patient so preordered the next book as soon as I possibly could. It is blindingly good. I was gripped the whole time and found it to be a really good plot. I highly recommend this book to everyone.
  2. Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens. I saw a lot of positive reviews and praise around this book and I have to be honest, it is completely deserved. I loved it! I particularly liked the writing style too.
  3. Songbirds – Christy Lefteri. Her first book, The Beekeeper of Aleppo, is one of my favourites so when I got a pre-released copy of Songbirds, I had to have it. It’s similar in style and content but it’s still an incredible book in its own right. I always find Christy Lefteri’s writing hopeful.

And that’s it! More difficult choices for July but I’m so pleased I’ve read some excellent books again. Have you read any of these? Which did you enjoy?

I hope you all have a fabulous evening! Do keep in touch with what you’ve been reading. I’ll keep trying to be on top of you fabulous posts too. I’m all caught up for now anyway! Just before I go, enjoy this picture of a glorious sunset. I’ll share more snaps with you all along the way. (Once I’ve finished playing catch up – of course!)

Big love all! Xxx

Posted in Books, Reading, Reading Round-Up

Reading Round-Up: June

Hello Lovelies!

I’m a little late with this one but I’ve realised that I’ve not got round to doing my round-up post for June. Still, better late than never! I hope you’re all well and enjoying the warmer weather. I have enjoyed the glorious sunshine but have also appreciated the rain – it’s really helped clear the air. Sorry for the absence last week, it’s been a busy one as we approach the end of term. Also, I had my birthday this week🎂. My closest work friends organised a surprise meal for me (6 of us as per regulations) which was really lovely 🥳. June and July have started to feel much more positive and hopeful. I was also lucky enough to see Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella in London on its second day of previews. I’ll be reviewing that in a future post! I can’t wait to tell you all about that!

Anyway, back to my round-up for June. I managed to read 12 books this month. There were some shorter reads to help with the utter exhaustion I was feeling. I can’t recommend the ‘Quick Reads’ enough. If you’re in a slump or looking for something that won’t take you long to read but that is still a quality book, then check these out. They’re also only £1 which is brilliant value for money. Let’s check out the shelves!

My top three choices for June are as follows:

  1. The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien. I loved this book so much and I am thrilled I’ve finally got round to reading it. I cannot confirm if that means I’ll read the Lord of the Rings books but at least I’ve ticked this one off! You can read my review here.
  2. Miracle on Cherry Hill – Sun-mi Hwang. To be perfectly honest, this book was really beautifully from cover to illustrations to plot. It follows the story of Kang Dae-su. We learn how his life is a miracle – a true rags to riches story. In his later life, he is diagnosed with a brain tumour. He returns to his childhood home of Cherry Hill where he acquires a house in dire need of repair but some people aren’t too pleased and question the ownership of the property. Who does the house really belong to?
  3. We Must Be Brave – Frances Liardet. Another beautiful book that follows the story of Ellen Parr during the Second World War. This story shows the encompassing love a parent has for a child. As bombs fall in Southampton, people flee to the villages for safety. Ellen stumbles across a child asleep who is separated from her mother. However, as the war comes to it’s end they learn that the child isn’t theirs to keep…

And that’s the lot! Another successful reading month for me and it means that at the half way point in the year, I’ve managed to read a total of 82 books. Considering my target every year is 100, I’m really pleased! Lockdowns have really helped boost my numbers this year, but let’s see what the next six months of reading bring!

I’ll see you next time for the next book review and of course, that theatre review on Cinderella as promised at the start.

Continue to take care and stay safe everyone.

Big love to you all xxxx

Posted in Books, Reading, Reading Round-Up

Reading Round-Up: May

Morning Loves! ☀️

I hope you’re all enjoying this beautiful weather we are having. I must say, the heat and a multi-story tower block of a school isn’t quite the best mix but we are going with it and embracing the utter joy that the sunshine brings. After a lengthy working week, it’s time for us all to sit back with a book and enjoy the luscious weather. I went for a walk in the city centre last night to my local Waterstones (came out with two bags full which doesn’t help my bookshelves at all…) but it was great to be able to share amazing books of 2021 so far. What is does also mean for me is that I can catch up on a couple of posts that I’ve been meaning to do. My post today is my reading round up for May. I really hope you find some books here to add to your own TBR piles.

May felt like a bit of a slow month for me. Historically, it is the month that starts the examination season and things tend to feel like they are coming to a natural close. With the cancellation of exams this year, it does mean that that feeling hasn’t quite happened. In fact, we were still evidence gathering and sorting this week. Nevertheless, I manage to read 11 books this month which is still pretty good going I think. One thing I did notice was that I opted for ‘lighter’ reads because I was utterly exhausted. Anyway, let’s check out the shelves!

As I said above, this month was where I saw a slight change in my reading choices but there are some brilliant books here. My top three books for May are:

  1. Stella – Takis Würger. This book was what I had chosen for my reading challenge and is the next post that I will be writing about. I don’t want to spoil it for you but it’s a love story (but not as we know it) set in wartime Berlin. It’s an incredibly beautiful, torturous and powerful book that I can’t wait to share with you all.
  2. The Road Trip – Beth O’Leary. I have enjoyed Beth O’Leary’s book and this new release was no different. She has a really unique style of writing I think and she’s also very relatable and funny. I managed to bag a signed copy which is also very lucky. It’s a merging of past and present – all in the hopes of making a wedding on time. It’s a great read for the summer if you’re planning your summer reading list!
  3. The Alphabet Murders – Lars Schütz. This was my only crime thriller book this month and it was such a pocket rocket of a book. It’s really hard to describe this without giving anything away but basically the race is on, after finding numerous murders with letters from the alphabet next to them, to try and work out who would be next and if the murderer could be stopped at all.

And that’s it! Another vaguely successful reading month in the context of life and work. I always find that I get frustrated when I am too tired to read though! Never mind. It’s the weekend and I’ve plans for not very much else.

Have a lovely weekend all. Stay safe and cool.

Big love to you all xxx

Posted in Books, Reading, Reading Challenge 2021, Reading Round-Up

Reading Round-Up: April

Hi Loves!

How are we all? Well, I feel like I blinked and missed April to be honest. Where did it go? Also, how is it now the start of May? Anyway, it is painfully clear that I didn’t have a very successful month with my little blog last month. Work is just absolutely crazy. I don’t have the words for it really. My fellow bloggers in education will know exactly what I am talking about. Just know that I’m right there with you all!

However, I did manage to read 12 books in the month of April. All things considered, I’m still pleased with this. I’m less pleased that I didn’t blog as much but hopefully May will give me plenty of opportunities to do more. There is a half term this month so I am thinking all positive things! Anyway, let’s check out the shelves!

Just like last month, I’ve experienced novels by writers I’d never heard of before. It really is indescribable when you stumble across a writer or book you just absolutely loved. You’ll see that I’ve got more T.M. Logan in my shelves this month. Sadly, I’ve ran out now! Regardless, my top three books for this month are as follows:

  1. Exit – Belinda Bauer. I really enjoyed this book. It centres around Felix Pink and his acts of kindness. However, one act doesn’t quite go to plan. The novel is a fresh and fun take on the crime genre. I really enjoyed reading it and found myself becoming quite attached to Felix. The ending of the novel too gave me just what I needed at the time.
  2. Long Lost – Harlan Coben. I first heard of this writer from The Stranger series of Netflix. Following this, I read the book version (it is different) and really liked Coben’s style of writing. Punchy chapters, thrilling plot line, well developed characters. Perfect! I really want to read some more of Coben’s work now – where to begin?
  3. Pine – Francine Toon. I reviewed this book on my previous post (click here to see) and really enjoyed it. It was so atmospheric and eerie. It felt like I was in the depths of Scotland, not knowing who to trust or what to believe. I said in my previous post that I didn’t know what I think about it and that is still very much the case. It’s interesting that it’s still a book I’m thinking about though!

And that’s it! As I said before, I’m hopeful for a good reading and reviewing month! I think it is only really coming to light now just how much lockdown and the pandemic has affected people. May brings new hope – easing of measures, the chance to see more people, the opportunity to go back outside and back to the places we love and have missed dearly. There are so many more good times to come. For me, it’s the ability to go to the bookshops and top up my ever increasing bookshelves.

Continue to stay safe and well. I will see you next time, hopefully sooner, for another review.

Big love all xxx

Posted in Books, Reading, Reading Challenge 2021, Reading Round-Up

Reading Round-Up: March

Morning Book Lovers!

I hope you’re all well and settling into the Spring weather nicely. I say that… I went from wearing a strappy top because of the warmth created by the glorious sunshine one day to snow and a big jumper the next. British weather really is a surprise sometimes! Now I am back by the fire, today’s post is a round up of the books I’ve read in the month of March – a little late, I know. Please forgive me! I’ve spent my Easter break catching up and having the best time really. It’s wonderful to be back with my support bubble.

I managed to read a total of 14 books which is just one less than last month. Considering we have had children back in school and life has become a different kind of hectic, I’m really thrilled with this number. I must confess, the last six books on the list were ones I read on holiday though… Regardless, I’ve experienced some new writers this month and ones where I have already added more of their titles to my book order… Please reassure me that it isn’t just my TBR list that doesn’t seem to go down… Anyway, let’s look at the shelves for March!

Picking a top three for this month is going to be pretty difficult – there’s just so many good ones. This month has been the month for some absolutely brilliant books for lots of different reasons. Sometimes a book comes along at just the right moment. It seems that I fell on my feet so much with regard to this. It’s a real blessing when it happens. I’ve decided for my top three this month, I’ll pick books I’ve not reviewed yet. However, if you’re wanting to see the reviews for Many Different Kinds of Love, Madame Burova and Oskar’s Quest please click herehere and here

  1. Trust Me by T.M. Logan. Logan has become one of my favourite writers. I literally cannot get enough of him. I received a review copy of Trust Me and I have been recommending it to everyone and anyone that will listen to me. It was thrilling, gripping, frightening, unnerving and utterly sublime. I’m now working my way through the rest of his work too. I really need to review more of his work on my blog so you can see how brilliant he is. 
  2. The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri. Despite this book being about the harsh realities of life in Aleppo, fleeing conflict and the horrors that come with it, I found this book to be more about hope than anything else. I literally couldn’t put it down and read it in one sitting. To see the resilience and complete faith in the worst circumstances is really inspirational and humbling.
  3. Your Truth or Mine? by Trisha Sakhlecha is my third choice for this month. A writer I have never heard of before but certainly won’t forget now. This book had me utterly gripped from start to finish. I also didn’t quite work out the twists and turns either. I was so thrilled to have received this in one of my many book subscription boxes and it is a writer that I will keep my eyes out for in the future. 

Another successful month I feel, despite the challenges faced in education right now. I thank you all for your patience and interaction with me on my blog. I do try really hard to keep up with you wonderful people. I blame you all for my ever increasing TBR list as well! 

Hopefully I’ll be able to squeeze another review out before I head back to work next week. I’m embracing the inclement weather and reading opportunities with a hearty gusto, I must say! Next month sees another focus for my reading challenge and hopefully many more wonderful books that I can’t wait to read. Take care everyone!

Big Love xxx

Posted in Blog, Books, Reading Challenge 2021, Reading Round-Up

Reading Round-Up: February

Hello Loves!

First of all, let me wish you a happy March. March is the month that gifts us with Spring 🌻. It’s a month that is bringing us all hope for the future too. We definitely have light at the end of the tunnel after a difficult winter. Nevertheless, the evenings are lighter and there is a lot to celebrate. ☀️

I really enjoyed writing my round-up last month so I thought it would be something I do every month now. February was a shorter month (my excuse anyway?) but I did manage to read 15 books which I’m quite pleased with. It’s a little less than last month but that’s really ok. It is the joy of reading that matters more than the numerical amount. There’s been some personal challenges for me this month so once again the writing left me but the reading remained. Regardless, I’ve read some brilliant books in February and I can’t wait to share them with you. Let’s check out the shelves!

As I say, there’s some fantastic books here and some reviews I really need to post. Picking a top three has been difficult. However, my top three books of February are:

  1. Breathtaking by Rachel Clarke. I don’t have the eloquence or the words really to explain how sublime this book is. Like I said in my previous post, we have all been affected by the pandemic, myself included. This book shows us inside the beating heart of the NHS at the start of the pandemic. What the NHS staff have seen and experienced this time is incomprehensible. My heart broke when I was reading about how they make sure nobody dies alone.💜
  2. All On The Board by Ian Redpath and Jeremy Chopra. Based at North Greenwich station two underground workers, Ian and Jeremy, try and make the day a little better by leaving messages and poems on the board for people passing through the station. This collection shows some of their work. It’s a really uplifting book and you can see more on their Facebook page here.
  3. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. This book kept me gripped from start to finish. It’s been doing the rounds recently so it is clearly a popular choice and I can totally see why. It was also a book where I didn’t work out the ending either which can happen with thrillers. A great, pacy book. (Mind you, Fifty Fifty by Steve Cavanagh was just as pacy too.)

Also, there was a new focus for the reading challenge this month and I read my first John Grisham book. Some of you lovely people also recommended other Grisham books that I have added to my ‘never ending and will probably out live me’ reading list. Thank you so much. If you missed it, you can catch up with it here.

I wish you a happy, bright and healthy March. I’m hoping to share with you more books I’ve loved as well and to keep catching up with you all. Happy Spring everyone! 🌸 🌺 🌻

Big love all xxx

Posted in Blog, Books, Reading, Reading Challenge 2021, Reading Round-Up

Reading Round-Up: January

Good Morning Lovelies!

After a good nights sleep and with the rain currently sloshing down my windows, I thought now was the perfect time to share with you what I’ve been reading in January. First of all, how beautiful is my image for this post? I LOVE it. Anyway, this is new to my blog but I thought it would make a good addition because I read a few books but I don’t always review them all. This way, I can share with you monthly the books that have captivated my attention and share with you stories that are too good to miss. I’ve found so many amazing books through the blogging community so I hope this gives you the opportunity to add to your own to be read pile. 📚

In January, I read a total of 18 books which is a bit of a record for me. There were some absolute page turners in that eighteen too! Let’s check out the shelves!

My Top Three books for this month would have to be:

  1. The Art of Death by David Fennell. This book is the epitome of page turner. I was completely hooked and just had to find out what happened. It will grab you instantly.
  2. The Diary of Two Nobodies by Giles Wood and Mary Killen. Known for being on Gogglebox, these two make me laugh every time I see them. The book was exactly the same. I could hear their voices in my head, that’s for sure.
  3. The Flip Side by James Bailey. You can check out my review for this one here. Sometimes we all just need a bit of fluff and this provided me with a light read that I thoroughly enjoyed.

I was lucky this month because there weren’t any books that I didn’t enjoy. This is because I tend to stop reading them if I’m not liking them. After all, there’s not enough time to read everything anyway, why waste it on something you’re not enjoying?

This month also saw the start of the reading challenge for 2021. January’s book Mutiny by Lindsey Collen definitely took me to a beautiful geographical setting, but instead gave me the hangover version of that country. Check out the view here.

February brings us the month of love ❤️ and we all know my first love is books! I’m excited to see what this month brings and to see what page turners I can possibly read in that time.

Keep safe, dry and well.

Big love all xxx