Thursday, 26 April 2018

READING RECORD | Catch Up + Week 16


Reading record posts are a look back on the week that has been, with notes regarding what I've been reading and just general bookish goodness.

I haven't shared a 'Reading Record' post for a while now due to it having been the school holidays here in the UK - the Easter holidays to be more specific. You haven't missed much! My reading & blogging rate tends to slow during the school holidays as I have less free time (and more time with my little one, happily so), however I thought I'd put together a little bookish summary of the school holidays - which is two weeks long - before sharing a regular 'Reading Record', which I've documented in the usual style.

WEEK 14 + WEEK 15
After way more deliberation than was nessecary, I DNF'ed two titles I had bookmarks in but weren't feeling that pull/connection to. I reorganised my bookshelves, twice. I picked up, and practically devoured in less than 48 hours, The Dry by Jane Harper. Watched a fair amount of BookTube videos. I acquired a reading timer which I haven't yet used, but I know I will love when it comes to readathons. I found the time to review The Dry by Jane Harper. I finished reading a collection of short stories, written by Agatha Christie, that I'd borrowed from the library last month. To conclude the school holidays, I treated myself to some books.


On to WEEK 16...

MONDAY 16TH APRIL
I started the week by making some good progress in To The Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey - the author who also wrote one of my favourite reads of last year: The Snow Child. Although two different stories, told in two different styles, something that holds in both is the author's ability to bring to life the landscape of which she writes.

In the evening I completed the very first of my £1 Penguin Modern titles - The Missing Girl by Shirley Jackson. There are three short stories within this book, with the middle story (Journey With A Lady) being my favourite of the three.

TUESDAY 17TH APRIL
Just a small portion of the day spent reading - 30 minutes or so in the afternoon.

WEDNESDAY 18TH APRIL
Most days I wake up a little earlier than the rest of the family, finding myself usually using this time to work on blog to dos or read... Today I used that time to read, getting in thirty minutes before others started to wake.

The books I ordered at the end of last week arrived today - YAY!

With a heatwave sweeping across the UK currently, I found myself gravitating towards one of my new books in the afternoon as opposed to my main current read of To The Bright Edge of the World - whilst I am thoroughly enjoying this title, it wasn't quite fitting of my mood or the heat (backdrop of the story being Alaska's winter). I started reading On The Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher; it is proving to be a lighter read with elements of romance & magical realism, finding myself flying through with 108 pages completed today.


THURSDAY 19TH APRIL
Read 200+ pages of the Carrie Hope Fletcher title.

FRIDAY 20TH APRIL
The heatwave is hanging on until the weekend, and so I took the opportunity to sit and read in the garden this afternoon whilst Alexander was at nursery - other than the tricky task of trying to find a shady place to settle, it was glorious. I finished On The Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher on a positive note. I had heard comparisons of Carrie's writing being similar to that of Cecelia Ahern's (one of my all time favourite authors) which is what interested me in her books initially.

I was happy to have completed On The Other Side by time evening rolled around as today was the Spring Cosy Reading Night. If you're interested in learning more about this bookish event, or how I got on with it, then you can read my wrap up post.

SATURDAY 21ST APRIL
I read a further 30 pages in the Agatha Christie mystery I started for the Cosy Reading Night: 4.50 From Paddington.

A good accompaniment to the Christie read, I also started another non fiction title today that I will be dipping in and out of for a good little while I imagine: The 50 Greatest Train Journeys of the World.

SUNDAY 22ND APRIL
Finished reading 4.50 From Paddington by Agatha Christie - a really good Marple mystery that kept me guessing right until the very end. This was my seventh reading experience of Agatha Christie's writing, and the more I read by her the more I fall in love with her writing. I already have my eye on more titles!

Concluding my evening, and the week as a whole, I finished reading my second £1 Penguin Modern book which included two essays by Wendell Berry (I already read the first essay prior). Although the essays are decades old, some of the sentiments he shares are ones I hold myself now in current day. Interesting read - food for thought even.

BOOKS MENTIONED
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Friday, 20 April 2018

Spring Cosy Reading Night


EVENT
Spring Cosy Reading Night

ABOUT EVENT
Cosy Reading Night is a readathon, of sorts, but not in a sense as it is very low key and relaxed... There is no competition or challenge in place - just the objective to spend a cosy night reading tucked up with a good book.

TAKING PLACE
Friday 20th April between 7 - 10pm

MY TBR + GOALS
My one and only aim for this event is to delve into a new Agatha Christie mystery: 4.50 from Paddington. Taking the 'cosy' aspect of the event, when looking at my unread shelf I knew immediately that I wanted to get stuck in a Christie novel. Despite the crime aspect, there is a definite cosy feel to Christie's novels - and I do love a Marple mystery.

It may be ambitious to complete in three hours, but I'll be happy with any & all progress made.

HOUR ONE (7-8PM)
As I had suspected, I didn't start my reading at 7pm on the dot - but 20 minutes later after a delayed bedtime routine with my four year old. After he was all settled for the night, I ran myself a bubble bath & relaxed in there with book in hand - reading the first three chapters of my chosen book.

HOUR TWO (8-9PM)
I pretty much read solidly for the second full hour, besides one little Twitter update and to see how others were getting on. Also had some chocolate on hand, to keep me going. I'm usually an early bird to bed, anytime between 9 -10, so you can imagine I was starting to lag a little by this point.

HOUR THREE (9-10PM)
Updated Twitter for a third time in the final hour, sharing about being just over the 100 page mark and how any ambitions of completing this book in the three hour event were pretty lofty ones! Continued to read, and ended wrapping up the cosy reading night just over half way through 4.50 From Paddington, and a total of thirteen chapters read. 

CONCLUDING
All in all, I'm really happy with how my evening went. This was my first time taking part in a 'Cosy Reading Night', and will definitely take part in future ones (I believe they are to be held seasonally). Also, engrossed in the Marple mystery, and still very much without a clue in terms of solving it. I look forward to continuing with it over the weekend.

COSY READING NIGHT IS HOSTED BY LAUREN
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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Wishlist Shortlist + Recs Please!


Last week I made my last book purchases until the month of June... Realistically, the month of June isn't that far away, but in my bookish mind: it is! So, what do I do in the mean time? Start planning my next bookish buys, of course! So today I thought I'd share a bit about that, as well as looking for some recommendations from you lovely readers.

Much like not being a one book reading kind of person, I'm also not a one book buying kind of person either... And as I'm sure you can imagine, much like yourselves, my current wishlist is pretty lengthy. 

I don't buy all the books on my wishlist. Every time I see a book that is of interest to me, I make a note and over time narrow that list down to what I call my wishlist; books typically make my wishlist after some research into a book. Having said that, I also don't buy all the books that ever make it on to my wishlist - I mean, who has the money for that?! But what I mean is, like my bookshelves, I regularly work through my wishlist and take away any books that perhaps no longer fit my reading preferences (which apparently change quite often). When I know I'm going to do some book buying, I look over my wishlist and make a longlist, which gets narrowed down to a shortlist, which then decreases some more and I end up with my final 'in the basket' buys. 

Today I'm sharing with you my current shortlist titles - if you've read any of them, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

I've been working my way through Kate Morton's writing, having fallen in love with it a couple of years ago, and I'm keen for this to be the next title of hers I read.

YA isn't my usual go to read - I tend to read MG and adult fiction - however I've started to dip my toe back into the YA world, and love the sound of this book. 

I only recently came across this title, however I've personally not read a middle grade book with a father-son relationship being central to the plot, so that's one of the big selling points of this title to me.

The Dry was a very recent read of mine, but I know I'm keen to pick up the next Aaron Falk title - my dilemma with this one though is that the paperback edition isn't out just yet here in the UK... And I think I may want to wait for that.

I'm thinking this is pretty much a given as being one of the next purchased books of mine - if I were to name a most anticipated title of the year, this would be it.

I haven't read a Kristin Hannah novel yet, but I love the sound & premise of this one... Plus I tend to really love books set in Alaska.

The only non-fiction title on my wishlist shortlist currently. I love books about books and I've heard nothing but good things about this one.

Not my usual kind of read, drawn in by the cover initially, however the more I learn of this book the more I want to read it.

I don't have much to say about this title, other that the fact that I've wanted to read it for quite some time but it keeps getting axed off the shortlist when it comes to actually buying the books.

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
This is quite a buzz book of the year, and typically I avoid those or wait for the talk to die down before picking up myself, however I really want to read this one! Initially, I looked to borrow this title from my library, however it seems they aren't currently carrying it.

So there are the ten books that I currently have my eye on buying in the very near future, and whilst I do still need to narrow the list down - to roughly 4 or 5 - I am also really keen to get some book recommendations from those reading this. 

RECS PLEASE!
I'd love to hear about your last five star read, or a book you'd recommend that is rich in landscape.
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Monday, 16 April 2018

Blog Posts I've Enjoyed Lately (9)


With so much content being shared within the community - bookish and otherwise - it is impossible to keep up with everything (even your favourites sometimes!), so with no fixed regularity I'll be compiling a list of links sharing a number of blog posts I've enjoyed lately.

BOOKISH
Drizzle & Hurricane Books | Is Book Blogging Still Relevant? (a super interesting discussion post, with the comments being of interest too)
Bookshelf Fantasies | Why I re-read (I'm a big rereader, and love hearing about why others return to books they've read also)
BOOK REVIEWS

NON BOOKISH 
Book Haven | Why Dragons Are Like Cats (kinda bookish... But not bookish enough to fall into that category here - a fun observational post)

Happy perusing!
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Wednesday, 11 April 2018

The Dry by Jane Harper


BLURB
Australia is in the grip of its worst drought in a century, and it hasn't rained in the small country town of Kiewarra for two years. Tensions in the community become unbearable when three members of the Hadler family are brutally murdered.  Everyone thinks Luke Hadler, who committed suicide after slaughtering his wife and six-year-old son, is guilty. 

Policeman Aaron Falk returns to this hometown for the funeral of his childhood best friend, and is unwillingly drawn into the investigation. As questions mount and suspicion spreads through the town, Falk is forced to confront the community that rejected him twenty years earlier. Because Falk and Luke Hadler shared a secret, one which Luke death threatens to unearth. And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, secrets from his past bubble to the surface as he questions the truth of his friend's crime.

THOUGHTS
A debut novel that definitely doesn't read as one, with the awards and buzz attached to it being well deserved. 
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The Dry is a mystery, set in Australia, against the backdrop of a farming town in the middle of a drought; this environment makes the story in so many ways. Jane Harper has set the scene well, with the harshness of the drought playing a key part in the story telling. 
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Getting straight to the point, the story opens up with the horrific murders of three of the four Hadler family members being found dead on their property - with a baby, Charlotte, being the only surviving member. For many reasons, it looks like Luke has killed his wife, Karen, and son, Billy, before turning the gun on himself, however Luke's parents aren't willing to believe their son capable of this crime and so an unofficial investigation takes place. Unofficial, because the investigation is being co-led by Aaron Falk, an old family friend from Luke's childhood.
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There is quite a bit of complexity to the story, with doubts and suspicions all over the small town. This is the kind of mystery that leads you down a couple of paths, only to conclude in a way you hadn't seen coming at all - but perfectly so. 
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I read The Dry in less than 48 hours, finding myself gripped and picking it up at every opportunity. Although I found myself rapidly page turning, this isn't a fast paced mystery thriller. The story is told quite slowly in some respects, but you find yourself invested in these people and wanting to know the truth regarding the death of the Hadler family - there is another mystery that is well weaved into the unfolding story also. The second mystery slows down what could be a fast paced story, however it provides a depth to the story allowing you to understand certain aspects more.
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The other mystery that features within The Dry is the death of a young girl many years ago - during the childhood of Luke & Aaron - that really rocked the small community with the affects still being felt many years later. The arrival of Aaron in town, initially for the funeral of Luke and his family, resurfaces many tensions that still hold from Ellie's death.
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I think this novel was a great introduction to the character of Aaron Falk, who we are to see more of from Jane Harper's writings. I haven't read her second novel yet - fully intend to - however I have heard they can read as standalones, but I'd imagine having this backstory from Aaron's youth would heighten the reading experience of future stories with him as protagonist. 
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The characters within The Dry are really well crafted, with even the landscape reading as character at times. Being set in a small town, you get a good sense of a number of residents within the community, although none of them being there to make up numbers - you get to know those who play a prominent role within the story. Each & every character had their own voice.
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If you're looking for a good crime novel to get stuck in to, I'd recommend picking up The Dry.
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Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Blog Posts I've Enjoyed Lately (8)


With so much content being shared within the community - bookish and otherwise - it is impossible to keep up with everything (even your favourites sometimes!), so with no fixed regularity I'll be compiling a list of links sharing a number of blog posts I've enjoyed lately.

BOOKISH
The Hungry Bookworm | Guest Post: 12 Memoirs for Nonfiction Newcomers
Girlxoxo | Reading Challenges That Promote Exploring World Lit
Word Revel | The Value of Read vs. Unread Books (interesting & thought provoking)
Pages Unbound Reviews | Why I Limit the Number of Books I Own
Written Word Worlds | What Do Your Bookshelves Say About You? (a fun little quiz)
Crime Reads | The 7 Creepiest Manor Houses in Mystery
Dead Good Books | Extract: Paper Ghosts by Julia Heaberlin (the first chapter of Julia Heaberlin's new thriller... Black-Eyed Susans, also by this author, was brilliant)
In Her Books | The Pros & Cons of Book Blogging
Book Riot | 10 Audiobooks to Listen to Around Your Kids
Pan Macmillan | Nine Poems for Spring
Book Bub | 16 New Books with Plot Twists You Won't See Coming
Modern Mrs Darcy | Books That Are Better Together: 16 Favorite Novels For Book Clubs
Along Came Poppy | Five Fun Days Out with Little Bookworms (UK based)
Welshie Books & Thoughts | Why I Love Harry Potter
Mind Joggle | How to Create a Reading Bucket List that You'll Actually Finish
Popsugar | 87 Books by Women You Should Read Before You Die
Pop! Goes The Reader | Hot Off The Press: April 2018 (a great variety of titles to grow your wishlist)
The Tattooed Book Geek | Why are reviews unpopular as blog posts??

BOOK REVIEWS

NON BOOKISH
Paper Fury | Should Writers Start A Blog? (bookish, but kind of not)
Happy perusing!
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Monday, 2 April 2018

READING RECORD | Week 13


Each week I'll be sharing a reading record, kind of like a bookish diary, with some notes of my reading from the week before.

MONDAY 26TH MARCH
Going into the week, I'm keen to finish some books I have bookmarks currently sitting in, with today making good progress in Secret Lives by Diane Chamberlain. Having breached the 100 page mark, I feel like I'm flying through and am even more gripped. I picked this title up twice today - once in the afternoon whilst Alexander was at nursery and also in the late evening.

Between those two reading sittings, I received a big box of books - the order I had placed last Wednesday; it arrived a day early (YAY!). Inside the box was a total of eleven books, with six of them being the little £1 books in the new Penguin Modern series

I started one of these new titles in the bath, reading the first essay (of two) in a book by Wendell Berry titled Why I Am Not Going To Buy A Computer. Short in length, and being updated since very first being published, I enjoyed it all the same and found it to be thought provoking in many ways.

TUESDAY 27TH MARCH
Alexander and I started a new book together in the morning - this is one of the first times we've read a non picture book together. I got a collection of short stories, themed around spring and written by Enid Blyton, with the intention of us reading one every day or so. I wasn't too sure how Alexander would take to non picture books (being 4), however he was captivated and engaged throughout the first story within the collection. This was a lovely reading experience.

Being a gloomy day today, I was drawn to wanting to read another ghost story (just like last week). So, yes, although I have bookmarks in 4 other titles, I picked a new book off my shelves. I started, and reached roughly the half way point, in Michelle Paver's very first ghost story: Dark Matter.

WEDNESDAY 28TH MARCH
I read more of Dark Matter by Michelle Paver - I did have hopes of finishing it today, however I didn't get in as much reading time as I'd anticipated. 


THURSDAY 29TH MARCH
Today I worked reading into my morning, afternoon and evening. 

In the morning I finished reading Dark Matter by Michelle Paver. Really atmospheric ghost story; well told. Having read another of Michelle Paver's ghost stories, I'd definitely say she has a formula to her writing of them, but I do quite like that in an author - in a way, you know what you're getting.

During the afternoon, when Alexander was at nursery, I dedicated some time to making progress with Silas Marner by George Eliot, spending 40 minutes with the book and completing a further two chapters of the story. I did mention this last week: I'm finding it to be the kind of classic that requires silence and solitude in order to fully absorb it. 

Ended the day by picking up another of the Penguin Modern titles: The Garden of Forking Paths by Jorge Luis Borges. There are four stories to the book, and I read just the title story.

FRIDAY 30TH MARCH
No reading today.

SATURDAY 31ST MARCH
Today I returned to the short story collection I'm currently reading by Agatha Christie, reading a further two stories from the library borrow.

I received the third and final instalment of my Willoughby Book Club subscription today, with the book being Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee. The parcel itself was a nice surprise as it arrived earlier than usual (I'm guessing because of the long Easter weekend). 

SUNDAY 1ST APRIL
I read another of the Agatha Christie short stories today, as well as making good progress with Secret Lives by Diane Chamberlain. 

Starting the week with hopes of finishing some of those bookmarked reads, you'd think I may be disappointed with how the week has concluded - still many titles with bookmarks in - however that isn't the case; I've had a lovely bookish week, with some wonderful book mail received also.

Happy reading!
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