April Wrap-Up! (In which I show how reading slumps can be overcome with a little determination)

This month, I read 12 books. I’m unbelievably happy with this as I felt like I was battling a huge slump for the majority of the month – I just didn’t feel like reading (this never happens?!) And then when I did feel like reading, I didn’t have time because (in case you haven’t heard) I bought a house! So it’s been a crazy month. I would have liked to have got through even more books but I’m really pleased with what I did manage.

 

Classics

The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells

I’ve wanted to read this classic sci-fi novel for a long time and I finally took the plunge this month! I was pleased that it counted as a book under 200 pages for the BookBum bookclub run by Zuky. I really enjoyed this read and you can check out my full review here!

 

Wuthering Heights by Wuthering Heights

I joined the Bronte BookClub on Instagram for their group read of this classic. I have already read this book multiple times but this was my first time experiencing it as an audiobook. The Librivox narrator was fantastic, distinguishing between every character with a different voice, and the innumerable haunting quotes really reminded me why I love this book so much.

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Review books/Books I was sent

The Skincare Bible by Dr Anjali Mahto

I took part in a blog tour for this non-fiction release and I found it to be a really helpful resource! I don’t really have a skincare routine at present but I’m hoping this book will help me to implement one (I’ve already found myself employing some of Mahto’s tips since reading it!) If you’re interested, you can find my post from the blog tour here.

 

The Fear by C. L. Taylor

I was sent this book for an Instagram tour and, while I found it a fun and fast read, I wasn’t blown away by it. My full spoiler-free review is here.

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In for the Kill by Ed James

Another thriller I was sent for a blog tour, this one was very enjoyable! I found the plot very interesting and gritty. Check out my full spoiler-free review!

 

Raven’s Cry by Dana Fraedrich

This dark retelling of Swan Lake comes out tomorrow (May 1st) and I was really impressed by it! Keep an eye out for my review!

 

Books from my TBR

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

I finally picked up this beast of a book and really enjoyed it! It was wonderfully original as I’ve come to expect from Gaiman, with only a few bits that were so weird they prevented me giving it the full five stars!

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The Wicked Deep by Shea Earnshaw

This was one of my most anticipated reads of the year and it didn’t disappoint! Check out my gushing spoiler-free review here!

 

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

Finally, I’ve read a Sarah Addison Allen book! And I really enjoyed it. The magical realism was absolutely perfect and I’m looking forward to reading more from this author. Yet another review can be found here!

 

The End of the World Running Club by Adrian J. Walker

It took me a really long time to get through this one as I picked it up during the deepest part of my reading slump. However, it was really good and I know that I would have flown through it at any other time!

 

The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood

I was gifted this one by a work colleague so I had no excuse to keep putting off beginning my Atwood journey! This was a great place to start. Even Atwood’s very first novel is so clever and forward-thinking, I can only imagine how fantastic her later works are going to be!

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Re-Reads

Wintersong by S Jae-Jones

I read this debut last year and fell in love with its aesthetic. I got the urge to reread it this month and just ran with it! I still haven’t read the sequel but I’m more likely to pick it up soon having refreshed my memory of the first book.

 

 

Stats

Total pages: 4422

Average pages per day: 147.4

Longest book: American Gods (722 pages)

Shortest book: The War of the Worlds (186 pages)

Favourite read of the month: The Wicked Deep

Biggest disappointment of the month: The Fear

Male authors: 4

Female authors: 8

Books read towards Pop Sugar Reading Challenge: 2

 

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So that was my reading month! Can you believe we’re a third of the way through this year already?! How many books did you get through in April? What was your favourite read of the month?

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‘The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter’ blog tour!

Hi everyone! Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Cherry Radford – read on to find out what the book is about!

 

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After the break-up of her marriage, Imogen escapes to her aunt’s converted lighthouse on Beachy Head. Writing for a tedious online magazine but hoping to starting a novel, she wants to be alone – until she finds an entrancing flamenco CD in her borrowed car and contacts the artist via Twitter. It turns out that actor-musician Santiago needs help with English and is soon calling her profesora.

Through her window, the other lighthouse winks at her across the sea. The one where her father was a keeper, until he mysteriously drowned there in 1982. Her aunt is sending extracts from his diary, and Imogen is intrigued to learn that, like her and Santi, her father had a penfriend.

Meanwhile, despite their differences – Imogen is surrounded by emotional and geographical barriers, Santi surrounded by family and land-locked Madrid – their friendship develops. So, she reads, did her father’s – but shocking revelations cause Imogen to question whether she ever really knew him.

Two stories of communication: the hilarious mistakes, the painful misunderstandings, and the miracle – or tragedy – of finding someone out there with whom you have an unforeseen, irresistible connection.

 

This book has an average rating of 4.26 on Goodreads and some great reviews, so definitely check it out if you’re interested!

Thank you to Urbane Publishers and the Love Books Group for sending me a copy of this book and inviting me to be part of the blog tour! Make sure you check out the other stops!

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‘Garden Spells’ spoiler-free review!

Hi everyone! I’m reviewing Garden Spells today, a lovely read that is perfect for spring and summer!

 

What the book is about…

Welcome to Bascom, North Carolina, where it seems that everyone has a story to tell about the Waverley women. The house that’s been in the family for generations, the walled garden that mysteriously blooms year round, the rumours of dangerous loves and tragic passions. Every Waverley woman is somehow touched by magic.

Claire has always clung to the Waverleys’ roots, tending the enchanted soil in the family garden from which she makes her sought-after delicacies – famed and feared for their curious effects. She has everything she thinks she needs – until one day she wakes to find a stranger has moved in next door and a vine of ivy has crept into her garden…Claire’s carefully tended life is about to run gloriously out of control.

 

What I thought of it…

This book was delightful. It’s a reasonably short book but it’s filled to the brim with Southern charm and a wonderful cast of characters. Evanelle in particular is a cracker. I loved her. Her gift of knowing exactly what people needed, even weeks in advance, was really cool and I wish there were people who could do that in real life!

I love books set in small-town America that follow the lives and relationships of ordinary people. This one certainly delivered (though the people were a little more extraordinary). Magical realism is one of my favourite genres and this book was overflowing with it. I loved the idea of certain recipes being able to affect the emotions of the eater. And the apple tree was a fabulous addition to the story.

The book was full of gorgeous fairytale writing, with the most amazing foody descriptions (something I always appreciate). The story itself is very similar to Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman – not the most original thing I’ve ever read, but I loved it all the same. It’s not all fluff; there is an important message at its heart that really resonated with me. (Other readers may disagree but I really related to the protagonist Claire and her fear of losing people.)

I always suspected that I would enjoy Sarah Addison Allen’s books and now that I’ve read one, I can’t wait to try the others!

 

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Has anyone else read any of Sarah Addison Allen’s books? Which one is your favourite? Are there any other books you save for warmer days?  

The ‘One Lovely Blog’ tag! (Or random facts you never knew you wanted to know about me)

Hey everyone! I was recently tagged by Callum for the ‘One Lovely Blog’ tag, who has a fantastic blog full of great book recommendations and reviews of books and theatre productions! Definitely check him out. I thought it was really kind of Callum to nominate me – I still feel like I’m relatively new to the blogging world even though I’m coming up on a year of blogging (omg!), so it’s really nice to feel like I’m starting to gain some recognition 🙂

 

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The rules:-

  • Thank the person who nominated you for the award.
  • Display the banner/sticker/logo on your blog.
  • Share 7 facts or things about yourself.
  • Nominate up to 15 bloggers that you admire and inform the nominees.

 

I have been playing the piano since I was six years old.

Well technically, I had a toy keyboard with like ONE OCTAVE and I used to sit and play songs on that by ear from the age of 4ish. I remember learning Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and the song from Titanic (of course). But I started having proper lessons when I was 6 and those continued until I went to uni at the age of 18. I would say that nowadays I probably don’t practise as much as I should but I still play regularly and still feel passionate about it. And that’s why I included it in my blog name/Instagram handle!

 

I am intolerant to gluten.

I don’t have coeliac disease but I’m pretty darn close to it. Whilst I was at university, I developed a severe intolerance to wheat and barley and had to completely eliminate these things from my diet. I genuinely went through a grieving process for all the foods I could no longer eat.

I have now been totally gluten-free for 2 and a half years. I hate being that awkward person at dinner parties but thankfully a lot more restaurants are now catering for this kind of intolerance. If anyone else is gluten-free (by necessity, not just as a fad diet) I’d love to hear how you cope with it!

 

I could eat cereal for every meal.

Following on from my previous point, thank GOD for gluten-free cereal. I couldn’t live without it. You know that cereal advert with the guy who says “you can eat cornflakes at any time”? THAT ME. (This post is not sponsored by Kellogg, lol).

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I am a recovering agoraphobe.

I don’t want to make the tone of this blog post really depressing but I do feel like, after almost a year of blogging, it would be nice to share something personal with you guys. So yes. There was a time when I struggled with agoraphobia and couldn’t leave the house. At one point, even my bedroom became the limit of what I could cope with. Thankfully, I am much better now and can hold down a full-time job (and not an easy one at that) and I can meet friends for lunch or an evening out without too much trouble. I still have anxiety and I battle this on a daily basis, and the agoraphobic thing is always a lingering worry at the back of my mind. But fingers crossed, I’ve now got it under control.

 

I have a crush on Captain Hook.

Ok, so after my confession, I wanted to lighten the mood a bit. My biggest fictional crush is Hook. Can’t imagine why…

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Ok, just one more, I promise.

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I have a degree in psychology.

As I previously hinted, university was a difficult time for me having developed agoraphobia halfway through my degree. That’s why I’m even more proud that I managed to achieve what I did. It was a huge struggle but I got there in the end and doors are now open to me that weren’t before.

 

I’m buying my first house!

I just announced this on Instagram so it seemed timely to say it here too: I have just purchased my first house! I’m so excited to finally get that home library of my dreams.

 

So this post ended up being quite cathartic for me to write – lots of big confessions and things I haven’t told the blogging community yet. Please do comment on anything at all – particularly the agoraphobic thing, I’m open to any questions you guys might have 🙂

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My nominations:-

Melanie @ MeltotheAny

Rita @ Bookish Rita

Zuky @ Book Bum

The Orangutan Librarian

Joanna @ BookNeeders

Sim @ Flipping Through the Pages

Kelly @ Another Book in the Wall

Steph @ Lost Purple Quill

Rachel @ What Rachel Did

 

Apologies if you’ve been tagged before – and if you haven’t been tagged, do it anyway!

 

Does anyone else play a musical instrument? Are you addicted to breakfast cereal? Who are your fictional crushes?!

‘In for the Kill’ spoiler-free review!

Hey everyone! I was delighted to receive an ARC recently of In for the Kill, the fourth book in the DI Fenchurch series by Ed James. Today is it’s release day and I’m thrilled to be taking part in the promotional blog tour!

 

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What the book is about…

A university student is found strangled to death in her bedroom, but when the embattled DI Simon Fenchurch is called in to investigate, the case strikes dangerously close to home.

On the surface, the victim was a popular, high-performing student. But as secret grudges against her emerge, so too does evidence that she was living a double life, working on explicit webcam sites for a seedy London ganglord. Everyone Fenchurch talks to knows a lot more than they’re willing to tell, and before long he’s making new enemies of his own—threatening to push him and his family past breaking point.

With too many suspects and not enough facts, Fenchurch knows his new superiors are just waiting for him to fail—they want him off the case, and off the force for good. His family is in more danger than ever before. So how deep is he willing to dig in order to unearth the truth?

 

What I thought of it…

I struggle to jump into the middle of book series like this because there is invariably something I’ve missed (even when the books can be read as standalones, there are usually running threads). However, I didn’t find it to be too much of an issue on this occasion as the author did a good job of setting things out clearly and recapping things that had happened earlier in the series. Obviously, there are still some things that probably didn’t mean as much to me as someone who has read the series from the start but even without those nuances, I found this to be an enjoyable read.

I really liked the scene-setting in this book and thought that the author created a perfect gloomy atmosphere to match his gritty story. This was a very modern thriller with lots of relevant cultural references which really added to my reading experience and gave an element of realism to the story.

I did find it hard to distinguish between characters at times as there were SO many to keep track of, but I found the protagonist Fenchurch very interesting. I also liked that the author included a transgender character, again making this very relevant to issues that are gaining more awareness in society of late.

I have mixed feelings about the ending of this book: some aspects were satisfying but other things were left open and will require the reader to continue with the series to get answers. At this point, I’d be more than happy to continue and find out what happens!

It did take me a little while to get used to the writing style of this book as the author seemed to want his sentences to be as short as possible; it seemed as though any little words or personal pronouns were dropped constantly!? But once I got used to this quirk, I found that it worked really well for the style of the book and the story the author was telling.

Overall, this was a fast and entertaining read that I would recommend to fans of police procedurals!

 

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In for the Kill released in the UK today (April 19th). Be sure to check out the other stops on the tour – and thanks for reading! 

 

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‘The War of the Worlds’ spoiler-free review!

Hi everyone! Today, I’m reviewing The War of the Worlds, the classic sci-fi novel by H. G. Wells. I’ve been intrigued by this book for a long time and finally decided to read it this month through the medium of audio! I’m delighted that it qualifies for this month’s BookBum book club theme which is ‘short and sweet’ (a book under 200 pages). The book club is hosted by Zuky and it’s unique in that, rather than everyone reading one book together, everyone reads what they want to fit in with the monthly theme!

 

What the book is about…

‘No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s…’

So begins H. G. Wells’ classic novel in which Martian lifeforms take over planet Earth. As the Martians emerge, they construct giant killing machines – armed with heatrays – that are impervious to attack. Advancing upon London, they destroy everything in their path. Everything except the few humans they collect in metal traps.

Victorian England is a place in which the steam engine is state-of-the-art technology and powered flight is just a dream. Mankind is helpless against the killing machines from Mars, and soon the survivors are left living in a new stone age.

 

What I thought of it…

Obviously, I already had a vague idea of what this book was about (who doesn’t?) But I was interested to see how Wells executed it. This is the third book I’ve read by him and I’m yet to be disappointed. I love the quality and tone of his writing.

I’ve long been apprehensive about reading this book as it is SO famous, but it was always one that I knew I wanted to tick off my list. I haven’t seen the movie adaptations but thought that the story would probably have been highly dramatized for the cinema – and I was right. It’s not really an action-packed story. But what I’ve come to expect from Wells is the ability to keep me gripped even when not much is happening. There is a creeping sense of dread that pervades every page of this book, and some genuinely scary moments. It was fantastic.

In my mind, ‘sci-fi’ sometimes becomes synonymous with ‘space’ and books in this genre are diminished to their setting. So I love that Wells turns my warped perceptions on their head and actually includes some science in his books! It is real science fiction, not just a book about space. (Does this make sense to anyone other than me?! I feel like it won’t lol). Obviously, I can’t say too much about the details of what he included- but they were wonderful to see. I’m sure those of you who’ve read this know what I’m talking about.

I also have to say that I listened to the audiobook of this on the Librivox app and Cori Samuels did a brilliant job of narrating.

 

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Is anyone else a fan of H. G. Wells? Which books of his have you read? Have you seen the movie(s) of The War of the Worlds? And does anyone else appreciate seeing actual science in their sci-fi?!

‘The Wicked Deep’ spoiler-free review!

Hi friends! I recently read The Wicked Deep, the debut novel from Shea Earnshaw. I had heard great things about this book and I was so excited to read it!

 

What the book is about…

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Two centuries ago, in the small, isolated town, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town. Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return from the depths, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbour and pulling them down to their watery deaths.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into or the fact that his arrival will change everything…

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself…

 

What I thought of it…

I devoured this! Even though it was a slow-burning story, I raced through it within a 24-hour period.

I had so much fun allowing myself to get lost in the story and just go with the flow without constantly trying to figure things out. Sometimes I think that always trying to figure out the twists takes away some of the enjoyment of reading a book in the first place. It’s nice to be surprised and I’m delighted to say I got that with this book! I now want to go back and reread with the perspective I had upon finishing, to see what clues I missed when I wasn’t looking for them!

I loved this book from the very first page; the tone was absolutely perfect and I was living for those Hocus Pocus vibes. The writing is gorgeous and so cinematic (it’s no surprise that Netflix have already snapped this one up! I can’t wait to see what they do with it.)

The setting was wonderful and had a similar vibe to The Scorpio Races, helped along by those divine-sounding forgetful cakes – it’s no secret that I adore a good foody description in a story!

My only teeny tiny complaint is that some of the contemporary character names didn’t feel quite right – they didn’t read believably, if that makes sense? I love it when names suit characters and some of these just didn’t quite fit for me. But this is the pickiest of nit-picking ever and I was quickly able to look past it because the story was so great. Plus the names of the three sisters (Marguerite, Aurora and Hazel) more than made up for it; they suited the characters perfectly.

The lovely Melanie wrote a very eloquent review of this book in which she raised the issue of consent/girls being forced to do things while possessed. I hadn’t thought of this when reading it but definitely think it’s a valid point so please do check out what Melanie has to say.

Overall, I adored the writing in this book and recommend it for anyone who likes a contemporary read with elements of magical realism and wonderfully dark witchy vibes!

 

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Who else has read this one? Can you recommend me any similar witchy books?!

‘The Skincare Bible’ Blog Tour!

Hey everyone! Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Skincare Bible: Your No-Nonsense Guide to Great Skin by Dr Anjali Mahto. As someone who struggles with various skin issues, I was thrilled to be offered this book by Penguin Life and I hope to learn a lot from it.

 

What the book is about…

We all know that taking good care of our skin is the key to any effective health and beauty regime. But with so much conflicting information out there, the path to healthy skin can seem far from clear.

Dr Anjali Mahto is one of the UK’s leading consultant dermatologists. Equipped with years of expertise and the most up-to-date evidence, she sets out to cut through the noise and distinguish the nuggets from the nonsense. Chia seeds won’t make your skin glow and lilac water is never going to reduce acne scarring. And, when it comes to the best products, high price doesn’t necessarily mean high quality.

Tackling common complaints such as acne and dryness, rosacea and aging, The Skincare Bible is your definitive companion to your body’s biggest organ. Clear, concise and packed full of tips on the best products and routines, it will help you discover what works for you and find confidence in your own skin. This is your expert guide to great skin – pure and simple.

 

The book is split into sections covering a range of topics, including:-

  • A crash course in skin and its composition
  • The importance of a regular skincare routine
  • What different products and their ingredients can do for the skin
  • Suggested skincare routines for different types of skin
  • The effects of hormones on the skin
  • A range of skin complaints including acne, rosacea and dark eyes circles
  • The impact of lifestyle on our skin
  • Anti-ageing treatments
  • Skin cancer
  • How to find a dermatologist

 

What I’m thinking of it…

I’m currently reading this book and finding it very helpful. At the moment (I’m ashamed to say it), my skincare routine is virtually non-existent. There are so many products available that I just don’t know where to start, not to mention finding it hard to make time for my skin. Working 21-hour shifts doesn’t leave a lot of time for pampering.

But that’s what this book is teaching me. Looking after my skin is NOT indulgent. It’s a necessary part of life. I’m hoping that this book will arm me with the tools I need to be able to choose the right types of skincare products for me.

I love that Dr Mahto talks about her own skin struggles in this book; it’s nice to not be patronised by someone who has always had beautiful glowing skin and never had a spot in their life. The book is packed with scientific evidence and I think it will prove to be an invaluable resource as I work on developing my new skincare routine.

 

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Along with the book, I also received some products to try from Vichy and La Roche Posay. These are not sponsored by myself or Dr Mahto but she does recommend them, so I can’t wait to give them a try!

Thank you Penguin Life for sending these my way!

The Skincare Bible came out in the UK on April 5th.

‘The Fear’ spoiler-free review!

Hi everyone! I was recently sent a copy of C. L. Taylor’s The Fear by Avon Books (thank you Elke/Avon!) and today I have a spoiler-free review for you.

 

What the book is about…

When Lou Wandsworth ran away to France with her teacher Mike Hughes, she thought he was the love of her life. But Mike wasn’t what he seemed and he left her life in pieces.

Now 32, Lou discovers that he is involved with teenager Chloe Meadows. Determined to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself, she returns home to confront him for the damage he’s caused.

But Mike is a predator of the worst kind, and as Lou tries to bring him to justice, it’s clear that she could once again become his prey…

 

What I thought of it…

This was a fast and entertaining read but nothing mind-blowing. I felt gripped and genuinely couldn’t put it down but, at the same time, I didn’t feel emotionally invested? However, sometimes what you need is a fast read where you can just fly through the pages; the short chapters and nature of this story certainly made that possible. It was a fun way to spend an afternoon.

The Fear featured the barest minimum of scene-setting; this story could literally have been taking place anywhere. I know world-building is not exactly a priority in psychological thrillers but I really struggled to picture where the action was taking place. I would have liked a little more detail in that respect.

While one ‘twist’ was completely obvious to me from the outset, there were still a couple of other jaw-dropping moments that I enjoyed. I was definitely surprised by some of the directions in which the story went.

C. L. Taylor has created an awful villain in this book, who absolutely made my skin crawl – a job well done, I’d say! I did find the ending slightly problematic; I feel like the author wanted to get her shocking ending in and didn’t really consider the message it would send. I finished the book feeling a bit confused and then the reading group questions included at the back only intensified this feeling. Obviously, I can’t say anything because SPOILERS but I’d be happy to discuss the ending with anyone if you want to get in touch!

Overall, I’m giving this one 3 stars as it was a gripping read that kept me entertained but I didn’t feel a strong connection with it and I had a couple of issues upon finishing.

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Has anyone read any of C. L. Taylor’s books? What did you think of them? This is the first one I’ve read of hers!

 

March Wrap-Up! (In which I fangirl about some new all-time favourites)

Hey everyone! Well it’s that time again – where are the months going?! I’m delighted that I managed to read 9 books in March. I’m happy with this because one of the books was 700 pages and another was over 900 (!!) so that’s like two and three times the size of an average book! So I’m not at all worried about my final number.

 

Classics

Middlemarch by George Eliot

This absolute giant of a book was the only classic I managed to get through this month. I joined in with the #middlemarching readalong on Instagram and I’m really glad I did as I think I would have struggled with this one if I just tried to read it on my own. There are some rather dull parts about hospital policies and the like, but the winning aspect of this novel is its characterisation. Eliot is a master. 4 stars.

 

Review Books/Books I was sent

Swimming Lessons by Clare Fuller

I don’t know what I expected from this one but it wasn’t what I got. I feel like my unrealistic expectations have affected my rating of it so I would still suggest reading it if you’re interested because friends of mine have loved it! It ended up feeling quite average for me. 3 stars.

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The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Cherry Radford

I was sent an ARC of this one but, sadly, I didn’t really connect with it. I don’t enjoy giving negative reviews so I’ll just say that it wasn’t for me and leave it at that. 2 stars.

 

Hold My Hand by M. J. Ford

I had mixed feelings about this one but overall I enjoyed it thanks to its crazy ending! The end of the book is definitely its strongest point so it’s worth persevering through the slightly slow start. I have a full spoiler-free review here. 3.5 stars.

 

The Friendship Cure by Kate Leaver

This non-fiction read was sent to me by Duckworth Publishing and I really enjoyed it. It explores the dynamics of friendships (including those we make online) and I found it fascinating. My full review is here. 4 stars.

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Books from my TBR

The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty

This was a fantastic debut adult fantasy with some exquisite world-building! I was completely captivated by it and absolutely raced through it. Check out my full spoiler-free (fangirling) review here! 5 stars.

 

The Storm Sister by Lucinda Riley

The sequel to The Seven Sisters, which was my favourite read last month, was equally as brilliant. This one took place in the frozen fjords of Norway as opposed to the sultry heat of Brazil but the storyline was just as gripping. I loved the focus on music also. Even though this one was 700 pages, it could have continued on and I would never have been bored – can you tell I love this series?! 5 stars.

 

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

This evil queen origins story was a buddy read with my good friend Jen on Instagram. It was surprisingly dark! We both agreed that there was some nice world-building but the author could have taken it further (give us the purple prose!) The plot was a little slow in places but the last 100 pages were action-packed! 4 stars.

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The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

This book has been on my TBR for years and I’m kicking myself for waiting so long because I LOVED IT. I was so emotionally invested and can’t wait to read more from this author. Anyone of Scottish descent or interested in Scottish history needs to read this! I’m so glad my book club chose this as our March pick. 5 stars.

 

Stats

Books read: 9

Total pages: 4336

Average pages per day: 140

Longest book: Middlemarch (912 pages)

Shortest book: The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter (301 pages)

Favourite read of the month: The Winter Sea

Biggest disappointment of the month: The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter

Male authors: 1

Female authors: 8

Books read towards Pop Sugar Reading Challenge: 4

 

So the books from my TBR were the clear winners this month! I participated in #readforwomen for the second month in a row (apart from one male-authored book which I had to read to review) and I loved reading from so many talented female authors.

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How many books did you read this month? Tell me your favourites!