Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Summer Reading Highlights

I recently wrote about my summer of reading, having shared a list of all the books I read during the three months of summer. Other than the titles, there wasn't much context, so in this post I'm sharing some of the highlights from my summer of reading and just more in depth details really.

The main bookish event that I took part in over the summer months was 20 Books of Summer hosted by Cathy of 746 Books. Taking part in this reading challenge definitely gave me the push to carve out reading time during the summer holidays with my son off school. If I hadn't signed up to this, I definitely don't think I would have read 30 books in three months!

I also took part - via Twitter - in two smaller events: August Cosy Reading, hosted by Lauren from Lauren and the Books, as well as the Big Book Weekender which Simon from Savidge Reads hosts on the long bank holiday weekends here in the UK. During the summer I took a social media break, and slowly returned towards the end of August; these two events were a great way to integrate myself back in the bookish community. 

I read books by a number of new to me authors these past three months, with the following being authors I'd like to return to in the future: C.G. Drews, Julie Cohen, Lucy Strange, Holly Ringland, and Celeste Ng (I actually already have my next book of hers ready and waiting).

Catching up and delving into the writing of authors you know and love is always joy, and I found myself doing that with a number of favourites this summer; the most mentionable of all being Kate Morton. Prior to my summer reading, I'd read two of Kate Morton's novels, and found myself keen to explore more of her backlist. Well, I read three more Kate Morton titles during the summer, bringing myself bang up to date now ready to read her newest release (although I am holding out on paperback, so will be waiting a little while longer).

In terms of my favourite Kate Morton novels, The Forgotten Garden holds that place... Very, very closely followed by The Secret Keeper. Both of these books I read this summer.

As well as reading books by authors I love, I also returned to some authors by way of reading the next book in a series.

I picked up the second book in the Aaron Falk series by Jane Harper, an author whose writing I have come to love, and am already eagerly anticipating her next release - although it looks to be a standalone, as opposed to another in the Falk series.

I also continued, and completed, a middle grade series that I started not too long before summer began - the Adventure series by Enid Blyton. I had a blast reading these fun mystery middle grade adventures, and the summer months were the perfect time to get stuck into the series as a whole.

48 pages - The Skeleton's Holiday by Leonora Carrington.

670 pages - The Distant Hours by Kate Morton.

Being under 50 pages, I flew through The Skeleton's Holiday. I also read A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. DrewsTogether by Julie Cohen in just a day each. Two novels that entirely capture you and your emotions; I'd highly recommend both.

The book that took me the longest to read was a non fiction title, as I dipped in and out of it: One Woman Walks Wales by Ursula Martin. The way in which the book is formatted is in walking routes, so I'd read one and put it down for a few days, before returning to Ursula's walking & writing. I found One Woman Walks Wales to be an inspiring book, and one I'm glad to have read.

Coincidentally, three of my most anticipated books of the year all came out during the summer months: Secrets of a Sun King by Emma Carroll (middle grade), A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews (young adult), and Every Note Played by Lisa Genova (adult). Read, enjoyed, and would recommend all three.

For me, a hidden gem of a read is one I go in to knowing next to nothing, and come away with one of my favourite reading experiences of all time... I had two such experiences during the summer.

The first was when I devoured Together in literally a day - I could not put this book down! The second was whilst reading The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland; this was more of a slow, savouring read. I am aiming to have reviews of both these titles up next week.

Honestly, this summer has probably been my best season of reading - ever! Not only did I read a great number of titles, but of such great quality also. Picking favourites is hard! So I'm just going to go with the four stories that are still with me, even long after completing: The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland, Together by Julie Cohen, and The Secret of Nightingale Wood by Lucy Strange. These books all hold really powerful stories, and the kind of characters you look back on with fondness.
So that concludes my summer reading highlights. I'd love to hear about your favourite book(s) that you read this summer, so be sure to let me know in the comments below!


  1. I'm SO glad you enjoyed A Thousand Perfect Notes! It totally broke me, and I can't wait to read even more books by CG Drews in the future. Her next book, The Boy Who Steals Houses, sounds so promising! ♥

    1. I'm already eagerly anticipating Cait's (well, C.G. Drews) next book! I often find YA contemporary a bit hit & miss, but would highly recommend A Thousand Perfect Notes to anyone and everyone. I can totally relate to it breaking you; I had the same feelings. Such a powerful & beautiful read. Happy to hear you enjoyed it also :-)

  2. I've heard good things about both Kate Morton and Jane Harper (and Celeste Ng actually). Cait's book seems to be getting good reviews too- that's so awesome. :)

    Glad you had such a wonderful summer of reading!

    1. Jane Harper & Celeste Ng have been quite buzz authors of late, well in the last year or two, and I was hesitant to read them for that exact reason - but I can now see why the buzz is there. It is so great to see all the positivity surrounding Cait's book (& writing), and so well deserved also - A Thousand Perfect Notes packs a punch!!

      Thank you!

  3. I love the format of this post. It looks like you had a great reading summer!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. Thank you - I hope the great reading streak continues. Haha!

  4. What a great mix! So looking forward to The Clockmaker’s Daughter!

  5. I'm glad to see Kate Morton on your list of best summer reads. I'm getting ready to start my first Morton book so this makes me even more excited about it. :)

  6. Kate Morton has been on my list forever but never knowing what to start with, I am getting recommendations and your 2 are the top.

    1. Yes, I often see The Forgotten Garden and The Secret Keeper as the most recommended Kate Morton books also - that's why I started with the other three first. Haha! I like the two mentioned here for quite different reasons actually, but would highly recommend them both. I hope you love Kate Morton's writing once you delve into it.


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