Reading Round-Up: June

Morning Loves!

Today I want to share with you my round-up for June! I’ve read some amazing books in June but I do feel like my progress was slow. For my fellow educators, June is a funny month because there’s still official examinations but they’re coming to a close and you get some gained time from those students leaving but all the jobs you need to do are bigger and more time consuming. Anyway, it’s nice that some of the pressure has gone at least!

June is also the month where I mentally start making the switch to summer vibes. You may have all seen my Book Bingo book for June which was all about summer! I’m right there and counting down to the holidays.

Before I get my flip flops and sun cream out prematurely, let’s check out the shelves for June! I managed to read 8 books in June which is a bit less than normal but still quite acceptable.

These 8 books I really, really enjoyed. I say it every time but picking a top three has been difficult. I’ve reviewed The Summer I Turned Pretty which I loved and The Wild Year which was a complete joy. Hmm. Let’s see!

  1. Lost Property – Helen Paris. This book was utterly adorable. I go through phrases of reading books with city settings (I tend to go through a London or Paris phrase) so this book called to me. It tells the story of the incredible woman who works in Lost Property for London’s transport and the items that are left behind and some of the people who collect them.
  2. Careering – Daisy Buchanan. I’m a huge Daisy Buchanan fan actually. I’ve shared a couple of her books now because her writing style is just incredible. I love how true and raw it is as well. This one is all about a young woman and her demands of work on her life. Very apt for me at this point!
  3. Thrown – Sara Cox. I’ve managed to bag myself a really lovely signed edition. As well as that, I absolutely loved the story. It focuses on four women and how their lives are intertwined through a pottery class. Watch out for Sheila though! She was a bit nosey for me!

And that’s June! The thing that I’m most excited about now is JULY. July is my favourite month in the whole year because it’s the end of exam marking (I’m half way there so far), summer break and my birthday as well! SO HAPPY IT’S JULY. I can hopefully make a proper dent in my TBR pile too.

I hope you all had a wonderful reading month and I wish you lots of reading time in July. Enjoy the sunshine and I’ll see you next time!

Big Love xxx

Reading Round-Up: May

Hi Loves!

I hope you’re all well and enjoying this changeable last day of May. It’s either brilliant sunshine here or pouring with rain with a big thunder clap thrown in for good measure. I know I won’t finish the book I’m reading today so I thought I’d crack on with my round-up post for May (on time for I think the first month ever…) and share with you some of my favourite reads of this month. I’ve got a couple of reviews I need to get on with so expect those in the next few days too.

In May I managed to read a brilliant 14 books. I’m really happy with that as it’s been pretty full on at work. It’s also been helped by the release of the new ‘Quick Reads’ too which are a godsend for when you’re exhausted. Regardless, a book is a book and reading is reading. Let’s check out the shelves!

I know I say it every month but picking a top three is tough! Anyway, hopefully I’ve done this list some justice.

  1. Again Rachel – Marian Keyes. I loved Rachel’s Holiday and this next book didn’t disappoint. My only regret is that I was so late to this party. This book is all about what comes next for Rachel twenty years later. It was brilliant!
  2. Insatiable – Daisy Buchanan. This book is modern and fresh and shows the need for us to be loved. I really loved the protagonist, Violet, too. I enjoyed the writing style of Buchanan so much that I’ve also got Careering on my to be read pile.
  3. The Uncommon Reader – Alan Bennett. This was one of the books I bought to celebrate the Jubilee. Small yet mightily funny, this book tells the story of the Queen and her enjoyment of a travelling library.

I’ve got a couple of reviews to put up, one for a blog tour and one for my book of the month: The Manager and Honeymoon respectively, both of which I thoroughly loved. I need to get a wriggle on with those too! Have you read any of these? What takes your fancy?

See you next time!

Big Love all xxx

Reading Round-Up: April

Hey Loves!

I hope you all have had a great start to May. I was relieved to have a bank holiday here just to adjust with going back to school! It’s always a little more intense this time of year because we are approaching exams and it’s all just a little bit much… Much love to all the educators out there! I feel you! Anyway, today I wanted to share with you my round-up for April. I’m absolutely buzzing about this because in March I was really disappointed with myself. This month, probably because of a two week holiday in reality, I am sooo happy because I felt like I was really making a dent in my to be read pile. Now, I may have also ordered more and found more in the community telephone boxes but…the point still stands.

Now, I am really thrilled to say that I managed to read 19 books in April. There were some absolute corkers in there too! I literally cannot wait to share them with you. Some I’ve blogged about already so for the interests of sharing more books with you all, I’ll not include them in my top three. Let’s check out the shelves!

So, I already reviewed The Mad Women’s Ball and The Lost Apothecary already and it was crystal clear that I absolutely loved those books. I’m still raving about them with my friends now. Likewise with Rachel’s Holiday, what an incredible book that is too and I really hope you enjoyed those posts. I’ve attached the links to the titles above just in case you missed them. Now, onto my top three which is an ever increasing difficult decision.

After some deep deliberation, I’ve decided my top three are as follows:

  1. Yinka, Where is Your Husband? – Lizzie Damilola Blackburn. I loved this for the honesty, the family and the pressures that brings, the representation of the single life and the pressure to get married. It’s also really well written and incredibly funny. I always find that honesty is the best policy and this shone within this book. Want a story with a strong female lead? Then this is for you.
  2. The Storyteller – Dave Grohl. I heard such amazing things about this book and I am thrilled to say it absolutely lived up to expectation! I found it a really engaging piece of non-fiction – so much so that I’ve added this to my curriculum! (If anyone knows how to tell Dave Grohl himself – let me know!) Lots of music stories and famous people but also really humbling. Loved it.
  3. Queenie – Candice Party-Williams. For some strange reason I missed the boat with this book. I found it by pure chance and I read it in one sitting. I just couldn’t put it down. Like Yinka, it was honest and reflective, meaningful and incredibly open. I am so glad I managed to finally catch up with this one and read it!

And that’s it! Don’t get me wrong, this month was really successful for reading and there’s other books on that list that I really enjoyed. I had the best break with reading and resting. It was much needed and I am really grateful for it. I’ve got myself into a bit of a reading slump following this but I’m sure it’ll come back.

Let me know what amazing books you’ve read recently and I’ll be sure to add them to my to be read pile! Continue to stay safe and well and surrounded by beautiful books.

Big Love xxx

Reading Round-Up: March

Hey Loves!

Let me be the first to wish you a very, happy April! Has anyone else noticed the rain/sunshine/sleet/hail/snow? March seemed to go in the blink of an eye for me, partly because I spent most of it ill or injured… but I have high hopes for April. To all my friends in education, if you’ve broken up for Easter enjoy! If like me you’ve got one week to go – don’t worry! We got this! (She says hopefully!)

It’s hard not to feel disappointed in myself for March really. I didn’t complete my reading challenge (I started four different books for it but I think it was more me, than them. Apart from one: Still Life which had no speech marks in. What is that even about? I spend my working week encouraging children to use punctuation so I really cannot spend my weekends reading books without it – sorry…) But I did manage to read 9 books which considering the circumstances, I think is ok. There were some great ones in that 9 thought so I can wait to present to you the shelves. Let’s check them out!

Like I said before, I’ve had a fair few books that I failed with last month but the ones I read were brilliant. My top three are as follows:

1. The Curfew – Tim Logan. Logan is one of my favourite writers so I got this book and devoured it in a day. It’s just as gripping, thrilling and terrifying like the other novels. I don’t think it’s my favourite but it’s definitely a must read.
2. The Last Supper – Rosemary Shrager. You may have heard of Shrager for her culinary endeavours as she is a popular chef in the UK but this is her first dabble at writing and I really loved it! I got myself a signed copy too because I had a good feeling about it. This book contains two of my favourite things: whodunnit and food. What’s not to love? I hope she has more planned!
3. The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside – Jessica Ryn. This book gave me all the warm feelings I needed when feeling rubbish. I found this in my local Salvation Army store as I was dropping some donations off so really fell on my feet. For the bargain price of 50p, this book has become one of my favourites.

As I said before, I’m hopeful for a better reading month in April which should lead to a better blogging month too. Thanks for sticking by me though!

Big love all xx

Reading Round-Up: January

Hello Lovelies!

I hope you’re all well. Have we read any exciting books in January? January is a difficult month because there’s the post Christmas slump and the fact that it’s dark and cold all the time. Anyway, I’ve got a small window of opportunity so I thought I’d just write my round-up post while I’m sat with a Diet Coke waiting for my next gym class. But, you know when you’re so exhausted, you sit down and like melt into the chair? I’ve also got some drama with my tights – the elastic has gone! Anyway, that’s my current state. Hopefully you’re in a better position than I am!

Anyway, I can’t wait to round up my books from January! I did have a wobble in the middle of the month where I panicked because I have so many books to read and I couldn’t get into any but thankfully, I managed to get through that! It can be very overwhelming though, especially if others around you a reading loads!

Regardless, I read 12 books which is an increase on January 2021. I’m really, really chuffed with that! There’s been some absolutely gems in this list too so I can’t wait any longer. Let’s check out the shelves!

Picking a top three has been really hard… I’ve reviewed An Inspector Calls, Lockdown Secrets, Codename Villanelle and The Sky Above the Roof. That makes things a bit easier! (Is that cheating though? Hmm…) Anyway, my top three are:

  1. The Assistant – S.K. Tremayne. Oh my gosh this book! It was absolutely terrifying. It impacted my sleep. I reached a point where I could only read this in daylight. It was a strange mix of desperately wanting to read it and being absolutely frightened to death by it. If you’re a thriller fan, absolutely read this book. BUT, I did warn you!
  2. The Love Hypothesis – Ali Hazelwood. This book was utterly adorable. I love it so much. I was a touch worried about the sciencey stuff but to be fair, it didn’t impact it at all. It was cute, cosy and just left me wanting it for myself. Loved it.
  3. Storm in a C Cup – Caroline Flack. Nearly two years ago, Caroline Flack committed suicide. It’s taken me that time to read this book because I found the whole story utterly heartbreaking. This book was funny, charming and devastating. I did enjoy reading it but it made me feel the loss even more. We have to do more to protect people from the media.

What a brilliant reading month. I am exhaustedly buzzing! Do let me know if you’ve read any of these and how you’ve found them. Also, let me know any books I need to add to my TBR pile too!

Until next time my sweets!

Big Love xxxx

Reading Round-Up: December

Hi Loves!

It’s New Years Eve! I can’t believe it really. I’m fairly certain I won’t get anymore books read this evening so I wanted to share with you the final round-up for this year because I have a glass of fizz and ultimately lose the ability to type. I’m hoping being as it’s only late afternoon in the UK, that I’ve still got plenty of time to wish you all a Happy New Year too! Before all that excitement though, let’s check out what I’ve managed to read in the month of December.

Now, I must say, I am pretty proud of myself this month because I’ve managed to read a total of 19 books. This is the highest amount I’ve ever read in a month and the last time I managed to do that was in August. To be perfectly fair, I think this is down to school holidays because all I do is sleep and read with mealtimes thrown in. Out of these 19 books for this month, I’ve managed 16 during the two week break so it really is down to having that time. Long live the holidays! Anyway, before we get to my favourites, let’s check out the shelves!

I’m so chuffed because I’ve read a real range – some that have been on the shelf for a while, some that I’ve bought and read in one sitting. I’m also really pleased with the range of fiction and non-fiction. I’ve had a bit of a good run with non-fiction. I do find that I have phases with non-fiction but there seems to be some seriously good non-fiction out there at the moment which I’m desperate to read! Lastly, I’m also really pleased with the wintery / Christmassy reads I’ve got through too.

It’s no surprise that it’s been hard to pick a top three here (don’t I say this every month?) but here goes!

  1. Coming Up For Air – Tom Daley. I read this book in one sitting. I’d go as far as to say, I was incredibly rude to anyone that was near me at the time when I was reading this book because I barely came up for air myself. I was captivated, immersed and finished the book praying that I could be best friends with Tom. Whether or not you’re into sports, read this book. Every felt lost? Like you’ve let anyone down? That you want more from life? That someone has judged you? Read this book. What an inspirational young man Tom is. I am in awe.
  2. The Good Bear – Sarah Lean. This book was one I finished this morning. It was so beautifully written and reminds me (not that I need it as an animal lover anyway) how awesome animals are and how we need them in our lives. It’s a story of a bear who is misunderstood and a little girl who tries to save him. A perfect wintery tale!
  3. The Jolly Christmas Postman – Janet & Allan Ahlberg. The reason why this book has to feature is because on Christmas Eve, I read this book with my favourite tiny human. We had the absolute best time and I realised that it would be a memory that I will treasure for ever. Slowly but surely, I am passing the love of reading to children wherever I can. We even read all the letters and did the jigsaw that came in the letter to Humpty Dumpty too. What a magical time.

I’ll be back in the New Year for the launch of my reading challenge for 2022 which I hope you all join with me with and I’ll reveal just how many books I managed to read this year too. All that is left for me to say is, have a very Happy New Year. Have the BEST time and celebrate safely.

Big love all! xxx

Reading Round-Up: October

Hello Loves!

How are you all? I’m been so lucky and had a week in the sun before heading back to work. I went back to my ‘heaven is a place on earth’ place: Cyprus. It’s such a beautiful country which always helps me reset and restore the harmony and resilience I need for school! Anyway, back in the UK, Now the clocks have gone back, we are firmly into Autumn – arguably the most beautiful season in the UK. I really hope you’re all enjoying it!

I was utterly exhausted so where I had a bumper summer of reading, October wasn’t quite like that. When I find I’m struggling, I always go back to books for children. I think there is a real art to writing a children’s book. There are lessons in there that help us as adults. I’ve found that this month I have read more children’s book than I have for a while previously! Also, I’ve defaulted back to writers that are my ‘safe bets’. I know I’ll enjoy them so I pick them to take the pressure off!

Regardless, I managed to read a total of 13 books in October which I’m quite pleased with! Let’s check out the shelves!

As always it is a difficult decision to pick a top three but I’ve given it my best! I’ve also picked ones that I think and hope you guys would love too!

  1. The Cat Who Saved Books – Sosuke Natsukawa. You absolutely need to add this book to your list now. I cannot praise this book enough. I really need to review it properly because it’s wonderful on so many levels. It’s just pure magic. We follow a cat who sets challenges for those who see its presence. These challenges are all challenges we can relate to so read it and find out! I have a really big soft spot for translated books as well and I think we are so lucky to be able to have access to these as well as our own classic British writers.
  2. Fledgling – Lucy Hope. Another book that I strongly urge you to put to the top of your reading list. I LOVE it. I was so lucky to receive an advanced copy of this. It’s released in the UK on November 4th so all head out and buy it. It tells the magical story of a gothic adventure set in Bavaria. It includes angels and owls and a boy where things are not as they really seem. It’s stunning.
  3. The Audacity – Katherine Ryan. I love Katherine Ryan. She’s deadpan, brutal, honest and fierce. Within this non fiction piece, there are many examples and scenarios that I can relate to within here. Even if Katherine’s comedy isn’t your style, her writing is something else. I really enjoyed this book and found it incredibly insightful.

That’s it! There’s some absolute beauties in this months reading, some of which I’ve never even heard of and I’ve just found them on my travels. I’m so grateful that I have the reading bug to be honest – I can’t imagine my life without it and I’ve realised that it isn’t about how much you read, it is about what you read and the impact they have on me and my life.

Lastly, I hope you’re all continuing to stay safe and well. I can’t stop looking at my holiday photos so here’s another one for you all! Enjoy!!

Big love all xxx

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

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

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