Thursday, 22 April 2021

Oscar Nominated Best Acting Categories 2021 Reviews and Predicted Winners!


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Review: Kid Innovators by Robin Stevenson

 Moving, funny, and totally true childhood biographies of Bill Gates, Madam C. J. Walker, Hedy Lamarr, Walt Disney, and 12 other international innovators. 


Throughout history people have experimented, invented, and created new ways of doing things. Kid Innovators tells the stories of a diverse group of brilliant thinkers in fields like technology, education, business, science, art, and entertainment, reminding us that every innovator started out as a kid. Florence Nightingale rescued baby mice. Alan Turing was a daydreamer with terrible handwriting. And Alvin Ailey felt like a failure at sports.

Featuring kid-friendly text and full-color illustrations, readers will learn about the young lives of people like Grace HopperSteve JobsReshma Saujani, Jacques Cousteau, the Wright BrothersWilliam KamkwambaElon MuskJonas Salk, and Maria Montessori.


Review: This book was just great. As a teacher I could definitely imagine having this in my classroom or using it as a jumping off point to talk about biography and autobiography or just discuss texts with a layout like this. I thought the language use was appropriate and the length of each section well edited. 

I also really love the fact that this book is written in four different sections dividing the innovators discussed into 'Tech Revolution'; 'Seas, Skies and Outer Space'; 'Cracking Codes And Saving Lives' and 'Trailblazers'. The sections made it easy to navigate for me as a reader and would be great for a younger reader looking for someone in particular they were interested in. I did not read this in a linear way and so I can attest to the ease of using these sections to navigate through the book. 

I think that this book did a good job of picking a diverse range of Innovators to mentions. I love that we have people who were trailblazers in many fields and people who kids would recognise and relate to as well as those who have flown somewhat under the radar. I have had previous experience of sharing a text with children that mentioned Jaques Cousteau that was incredible inaccessible and so to have him mentioned in this book along with pictures and heading alongside fun facts I really enjoyed. 

I do recommend this book and I would love to read more in this series!

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US


Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Oscar Nominated Live Action, Documentary and Animated Shorts 2021 Reviews and Predicted Winners!


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Guest Review: Cuthbert’s Way by LJ Ross

A SECRET KEPT FOR A THOUSAND YEARS...

After the dramatic theft of a priceless artefact from Durham Cathedral, the rest of the world believes that DCI Ryan and his team were able to recover and return St. Cuthbert’s cross to its rightful home. But Ryan knows the cross he recovered was a fake―far from being over, their problems are only just beginning…

Just as Ryan and his team begin to unravel the truth behind the spate of mysterious thefts, something even more priceless is stolen―something that can never be replaced. 

As the nationwide manhunt continues without success, Ryan is thrust into despair―until he realises the answer lies not in modern policing but in an age-old secret known only to a chosen few. To recover what’s been lost, he must first crack ‘Cuthbert’s Code’, following the trail of a long-dead saint across the wild, unpredictable hills and valleys of the borderlands. 

Can Ryan find what he’s looking for, before it’s too late? 

He’s going to need a miracle…

Murder and mystery are peppered with romance and humour in this fast-paced crime whodunit set amidst the spectacular Northumbrian landscape. 


Review: This book is number 17 in the DCI Ryan Mysteries Series by LJ Ross. These stories are all set in north east England and follow the investigations of DCI Ryan and his team from Northumbria CID. All can be read as standalone stories, but there are frequent references to previous cases, usually well explained, as well as a host of recurring characters. I have been following this series from book 1, and was particularly looking forward to this book, since the last story (The Shrine) concluded with the suggestion of more to come.

This story follows on from The Shrine, in which the team had to trace an artefact stolen from Durham Cathedral, apparently during the confusion caused by an explosion. Not to give any spoilers, I will just say that in that case the team were not happy with the outcome of their investigations and the perpetrator was still a mystery. In the present book, investigations into the murder of a monk suggest that said perpetrator has appeared once more. This case, as before, has a connection with St Cuthbert, a medieval saint associated with Northumbria. When the murderer strikes far to close to home, Ryan finds himself delving into the history books to try to solve a riddle before it’s too late.

I have enjoyed this latest story in the DCI Ryan series. There was quite a complex mystery for the detective and his team to work out and the price of failure would have been too high for Ryan and his friends. Their investigations had them travelling the country in search of clues. I like that the author includes details of the family lives of Ryan and his team members in these stories; it makes them seem more realistic and human. I am looking forward to the next mystery in this series.

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Oscar Nominated Animated Features 2021 Reviews and Predicted Winners


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Top Ten Tuesday: Colourful Book Covers 20/4/21


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

I love this topic because I love a colourful book cover. I am going to choose 10 but know that there are so many many more out there!














Monday, 19 April 2021

Review: Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli

 Contrary to popular belief, best friends Kate and Anderson are not codependent. Carpooling to and from theatre rehearsals? Environmentally sound and efficient. Consulting each other on every single life decision? Basic good judgment. Pining for the same guys from afar? Shared crushes are more fun anyway.


But when Kate and Andy's latest long-distance crush shows up at their school, everything goes off-script. Matt is talented and sweet, and Kate likes him. She really likes him. The only problem? So does Anderson.

Turns out, communal crushes aren't so fun when real feelings are involved. This one might even bring the curtains down on Kate and Anderson's friendship.




Review: Oh this book was just wonderful to loos myself in. It's got the magical high school feeling mixed with theatre of Grease or High School musical but then has this wonderful cast of diverse characters in modern day friendships. 

Kate is such a mixed up individual. She is strong and confident on the outside but on the inside she is questioning it all and so when things she thinks she knows start to be questioned life is hard for her and I could just relate to that so hard. I loved he way she carried herself and some of her thoughts and feelings that we get let in on are just so true but sometimes just so funny too. BFF Andy makes a great side kick and I really love the way these two bounce off each other whilst still maintaining their own unique identity. You can see the perils of having a friendship as close as theirs and yet still it is lovely to see that they have each other and are there for each other. 

As already mentioned, their extended group fo friends is also wonderfully diverse and I loved the way they came in and out of each others lives in different classes and social gatherings, it felt very true to life and each of them brought something fun to the group. The theatre aspect of the book is also really fun. I was never into drama in school and so the fact that this is just so involved in the plot really did make it feel like I was watching a movie and really and truly made me want to watch Glee. 

I loved Becky's first novel because I loved feeling the romance and crush vibes just vibrating off the page and I totally got that with this novel too. Kate and Andy's feelings for a certain guy were just palpable and then some other unrequited romantic feelings (no spoilers here) were also just impossible to miss. I loved the characters, the setting and the musical nods in this and if you want to escape the real world for just a little longer I really recommend this book!

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Saturday, 17 April 2021

Guest Review: Fibber in the Heat By Miles Jupp

Fanatical about cricket since he was a boy, Miles Jupp would do anything to see his heroes play. But perhaps deciding to bluff his way into the press corps during England's Test series in India wasn't his best idea. By claiming to be the cricket correspondent for BBC Scotland and getting a job with the (Welsh) Western Mail, Miles lands the press pass that will surely be the ticket to his dreams.

Soon, he finds himself in cricket heaven - drinking with David Gower and Beefy, sharing bar room banter with Nasser Hussain, and swapping diarrhea stories with the Test Match Special team. Amazing! But struggling in the heat under the burden of his own fibs, reality soon catches up with Miles as - like a cricket-obsessed Boot from Evelyn Waugh's Scoop - he bumbles from one disaster to the next.

A joyous, charming, yet cautionary tale, Fibber in the Heat is for anyone who's ever dreamt about doing nothing but watching cricket all day long.



Review: Miles Jupp is an actor and comedian. Prior to 2006, he was probably best known for playing Archie The Inventor in the children’s television series “Balamory”. He is also a cricket enthusiast and during a fallow period of acting work, and following a quip from his partner that he should get a job that enables him to watch more cricket, he decided to do just that. Although having no experience as a sports journalist, he decided he would become a cricket journalist. To this end, and using contacts in BBC Radio Scotland and the Western Mail, a Cardiff-based newspaper, he bluffed his way into the press corps covering the Test Match series between India and England.

Armed with a letter of introduction from BBC Scotland, and with the promise of a press pass once he reached India, he set off with the journalists and cricket broadcasters to cover England’s Test Match series in India. This book covers his adventures, and misadventures, leading up to and during the three matches played in Nagpur, Chandigarh and Mumbai during March 2006. I found it highly amusing and entertaining, filled with interesting observations, and with the author’s wry sense of humour throughout. There are anecdotes relating to tussling with bureaucrats, haggling with taxi drivers and booking rooms in Indian hotels. Starting the trip full of enthusiasm about watching cricket and meeting his sporting heroes, he gradually realises that watching as a fan is different from working as a journalist. In addition, although he gets to meet a number of his cricketing heroes, he comes to realise that beneath their public persona, they are subject to the usual human frailties. There is one incident where he comes across Andrew Flintoff, who had taken over the captaincy of the England team after Michael Vaughan and Marcus Trescothick had left the tour, at the end of a day’s play in Chandigarh slumped exhausted in a chair. Miles Jupp astutely realised the mental pressure that Andrew Flintoff was under, a fact that has become more publicised in recent years. By the time of the final Test Match in Mumbai, Miles realises that cricket journalism is not for him, much to the entertainment world’s gain.

Although he states that he couldn’t cut it as a journalist, I found his descriptions of the cricket matches informative and exciting. The book also serves as an illuminating travelogue of India. Cricket enthusiasts will thoroughly enjoy this book, but you do not have to be a cricket fan to enjoy this entertaining and funny account of the author’s journey through India which led to his, ultimately, “finding himself”.

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Thursday, 15 April 2021

Mid-April Reading Wrap Up-Here's What Happens When You Don't Like The Books You Picked to Read!


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Review: Broken (In the Best Possible Way) by Jenny Lawson

 As Jenny Lawson’s hundreds of thousands of fans know, she suffers from depression. In Broken, Jenny brings readers along on her mental and physical health journey, offering heartbreaking and hilarious anecdotes along the way.


With people experiencing anxiety and depression now more than ever, Jenny humanizes what we all face in an all-too-real way, reassuring us that we’re not alone and making us laugh while doing it. From the business ideas that she wants to pitch to Shark Tank to the reason why Jenny can never go back to the post office, Broken leaves nothing to the imagination in the most satisfying way. And of course, Jenny’s long-suffering husband Victor―the Ricky to Jenny’s Lucille Ball―is present throughout.

A treat for Jenny Lawson’s already existing fans, and destined to convert new ones, Broken is a beacon of hope and a wellspring of laughter when we all need it most.


Review: Oh this audiobook had me laughing so much I was crying which can be a little alarming for those around you when you're listening on headphones but it was so so worth it!

I love a Jenny Lawson book and I love her books on audio because she narrates them herself and so I get to listen in the gym or whilst doing the housework to what she is saying how she intended to say it. This book is possible the most random collection of personal essays and I loved that about it because I can now take the physical copy of the book and dip back into the bits I loved from the audiobook and read them again. 

Some of my personal favourite moments from the book were the stories of how she lost her shoes, the tweets about embarrassing moments and also her letter to her health insurance. I could relate to all of those particular sections on just so many levels and the story about the shoes in the elevators just had me crying with laughter as I was making dinner in the kitchen, it was just brilliant. 

What I love about Jenny Lawson's writing the most is how open and honest she is, she's like that no filter friends that says whatever comes into her head only her thoughts re super relevant and well thought out and you definitely learn a lot from what she has to say. This book makes it plain and clear that these thoughts are not unfiltered because she talks about her editors over the years and the process of editing this book in particular, another illustration of just how open and honest she is. 

Jenny Lawson never holds back when it comes to talking about mental health, suicide, depression, anxiety and a whole bunch of other chronic health conditions and we should all be talking about these things as openly and as frequently as she does. I loved this book, I'm already ready to go back and read it again, and I am sure you will too!

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US



Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Guest Review: A Postcard from Paris by Alex Brown

Annie Lovell is keen to put the spark back into her life and when her elderly neighbour inherits an abandoned Parisian apartment she goes to Paris to discover more. Her curiosity takes an unexpected turn on discovering a bundle of secret diaries hidden within the walls, detailing the life of a young English woman, Beatrice Crawford, who volunteered in 1916 to nurse the soldiers in the fields of France.
 
Captivated by the romantic City of Light, Annie realises first appearances are not always as they seem. Following Beatrice’s journey from the Great War, through the Roaring Twenties and to a very different life in Nazi-occupied Paris, Annie must piece together the events from the past, if she is to fulfil the legacy that Beatrice left for her to find…


Review: I have read and enjoyed quite a number of books written by Alex Brown. I found her last one, A Postcard from Italy, particularly riveting, and was interested to see if this one could have me equally engrossed. I was not disappointed, as this story had me spellbound from page 1 and I literally did not want to put it down. Although the books are listed as part of the Postcard Series, they are completely standalone. I must mention that this book has a beautiful cover that promises the prospect of a romantic visit to Paris within its pages. Other fans of Alex Brown’s books will be delighted to know that, although the story focuses on Paris as the title suggests, there is a connection with the familiar location of Tindledale village. 


This story finds forty-nine year old Annie Lovell, divorced and with 2 grown-up children, pondering her future. When her dear friend and neighbour, Joanie Smith, unexpectedly inherits a property in Paris and asks Annie to go there to check it out, she jumps at the chance of a bit of excitement. Much to the disapproval of her daughter, Annie sets off on her own for fortnight’s holiday in the capital. There she finds a lot more than just an abandoned building. Firstly, she makes new friends in Maggie, her French guest house host, and Kristen, an American tourist, then a love interest in the shape of handsome builder √Čtienne, but most of all she uncovers a fascinating story of the former owner of the house, Beatrice Crawford, known to her friends as Trixie. With the help of some diaries and papers Annie finds hidden in the house and garden and a few people who knew her, Trixie’s life from the time of the first world war to the end of the second is gradually revealed. At the same time as Annie is making these discoveries, she is also learning some things about herself and her family.


I found this a really compelling story and would recommend A Postcard from Paris to other readers. If you are unfamiliar with Alex Brown’s work, then this would be a marvellous introduction. The characters in the book, from Annie herself to her friends and family and her new acquaintances, are all well developed and have interesting back stories. The main storyline is full of intriguing twists and turns as Annie tries to work out exactly who Trixie is, her connection with Joanie and, in particular, what role she was playing in Paris during the Nazi occupation in the second world war. I was fascinated as each new discovery was made about Trixie’s past. All of this with the backdrop of the sights, sounds and smells of Paris make this a book that I shall certainly revisit. I don’t know if there are more books to come in this series, but I shall be on the lookout. 


To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Book Blitz: Ultimatum by John Anderson @CayellePub @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours


Today I have a book to spotlight for you. Ultimatum by John Anderson. I have the cover to share with you as well as the blurb.

Here's what it's all about...

When alien delegate Charlie was sent down to Earth, he never imagined the humans would comply with his demands. He wanted to give humanity a chance to eradicate all the wrong in the world by eliminating discrimination, hate, greed, immorality, and envy. The only way he believed they would comply was to threaten their entire existence by an alien invasion takeover. He would give them 10 years to right all the wrong and to unify with one another. Even the President of the United States expressed extreme displeasure about the demand. However, stricken with fear, even though the humans didn’t want to bend to the threat, they knew there was not much of a choice. Ten years pass…


Did the humans come together to force out the aliens or did the aliens return seeing not much had changed since giving the Ultimatum? Will destruction fall upon Earth obliterating human civilization? 


And here's that cover for you. Follow the hashtag on social media for more info including the buy links!




Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Sound Like They Could Be Crayola Crayon Colours


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week's topic is so fun and I obviously think like this creator because I totally get what they mean by book titles like this, I hope you like my choices...















Monday, 12 April 2021

Review: The Best Is Yet To Come by Katy Colins

 Sometimes it’s the things we don’t say that we need others to hear the loudest.... 

Izzy has always taken everything in her stride, but motherhood is proving more difficult than she thought. She keeps telling herself it’s just a phase, but the dark clouds are starting to appear.

Neighbour and widower Arthur might be in the winter of his life, but he’s not ready to be packed off to a care home. He’s determined to do things his way.

When Izzy hears about Arthur’s big move, she offers to help. But Arthur isn’t telling her the whole story. It takes courage to admit you need a friend, and when you feel invisible, all you need is a ray of hope. After all, what if the best is yet to come?


Review: You know when you start a book and you can just feel from the beginning that it's going to be something to pull you in and not let you put it down? That was this book, I knew I was going to love it, the question was just going to be where this journey took me. 

This book follows two characters, I love. dual narrative but I love it even more when those two characters are so different from one another. I think if I had to choose I would pick Izzy's story because Izzy is so easy to relate to and so like me aside from the fact that I don't have a new baby to deal with right now. I feel like we can learn so much from her because she's just trying to keep up appearances like every other new mum, they all seem like they have it together on social media and in the bay groups and so she's doesn't feel like she can ask for help because then it would look like she's failing. I wanted so much to jump into the book and just let her go and have a nap or do some shopping for her, help her out in some way. I loved getting to know Izzy and watching her grow over the course of the book. 

Then we have Arthur who is very similar to Izzy in a lot of ways in so much as he doesn't want o ask for help, he wants to do things his own way and in a way that will respect the wishes of his late wife Pearl. I love Arthur's mindset too and really wanted to also jump into the book to help him and give him someone who will listen to his and not just team roller his wishes. His story is definitely harder to relate to on some levels but also very relatable on other levels. Cross-generational stories are very much a trend right now but this one seems different from the others and I loved watching Izzy and Arthur exist alongside each other not know just how similar they were.

Don't et me wrong, this book isn't all character struggling with things in their lives, there are some funny moments and definitely some heart warming moments as well. Izzy and Andrew seem to have a sort of sitcom style of relationship where you can see Andrew doing the wrong thing thinking its the right thing and it's almost like you're waiting for the canned laughter to sound but I really enjoyed watching Andrew get to know his new wife and daughter. And then there are the neighbors in Izzy and Arthur's street, they really do provide a lot of humour that could almost be playing our in our own streets its just so very very British!

I highly recommend this novel, it really provided a whole lot of escapism. I listened to the audiobook that I requested from my library and the narrator really brought the story to life. I loved listening and I really think you will love reading this book too.

To order your copy now, just click here: UK or US


Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Guest Review: Chasing the Italian Dream by Jo Thomas

A summer escape she'll never forget . . .


Lucia has worked hard as a lawyer in Wales, aiming for a big promotion she hopes will shortly come her way. Finally taking a well-earned break at her grandparents' house in southern Italy, the sunshine, lemon trees and her nonna's mouth-watering cooking make her instantly feel at home.

But she's shocked to learn that her grandfather is retiring from the beloved family pizzeria and will need to sell. Lucia can't bear the thought of the place changing hands - especially when she discovers her not-quite-ex-husband Giacomo wants to take it over!

Then bad news from home forces Lucia to re-evaluate what she wants from life. Is this her chance to carry on the family tradition and finally follow her dreams?


Review: As a firm fan of Jo Thomas’s books, I was very much looking forward to this new offering. I knew from the book’s title and evocative cover that I would be off for a glorious trip to Italy and, from past experience, that there would be some mouthwatering descriptions of food along the way. I was proved right; the story had me transfixed from the word go up to the very last page. 


When Lucia arrives for her annual holiday at her grandparents’ home in southern Italy, she is dismayed to find that her grandfather is about to retire and is planning to hand over his beloved and well respected restaurant to her estranged husband, Giacomo. As she realises that the career path she has been following as a lawyer is actually not what she wants in life, and that she would like to take over the pizzeria herself, she has to find a way to convince her grandfather that she is capable of doing just that. She has learned to cook at her grandmother’s side and helped in the restaurant over the years, but a major worry is that a female pizzaiola (master pizza-maker) will not be accepted by the traditionalist customers. As Lucia sets out to follow her heart and prove the doubters wrong, she must also learn to work alongside Giacomo and examine what went wrong with their marriage.


This is a fantastic story of family, friendship, love and tradition that I have enjoyed reading and was sorry to finish. Along with Lucia, I was instantly transported to sun-soaked Italy and could smell pizza all the way through the book. I would defy anyone to read this book and not be craving pizza at some point, although I was not too sure about some of the innovations in toppings being suggested by Giacomo! Throughout the story, there is a strong message about the importance of women in the family and in business, and that they are well able to fill roles traditionally left to men. As with any of Jo Thomas’s books that I have read, I can throughly recommend this one to other readers. It is an excellent read, not just for summer, but will lift the spirit at any time of year.


To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US


Tuesday, 6 April 2021

April 2021 TBR-New Book Releases and Reading Plans


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Guest Review: Date With Deceit by Julia Chapman

Julia Chapmans sixth Dales Detective Agency novel, Date with Deceit, sees Delilah going undercover at a shoot involving dangerous criminals. Perfect for fans of Richard OsmanThe Thursday Murder Club and M.C. Beaton.

A woman in tears in the Dales Detective Agency is never the best way to start the week. But when that woman is the wife of Bernard Taylor, town mayor and eminent businessman, there is even more cause for alarm. So when Nancy Taylor asks the detectives to investigate whether her husband is having an affair, Samson O’Brien and Delilah Metcalfe know they will have to tread carefully.

The case, however, proves to be more complex than even they had imagined. While Delilah is undercover at a local shoot to better keep tabs on the errant husband, she is on the scene for a fatal incident that sends the town into turmoil. Soon the detective duo are embroiled in a far more serious investigation than mere infidelity as they discover that deceit is rife in Bruncliffe. And it may well prove deadly . . .



Review: This is the sixth book in the Dales Detective Series by Julia Chapman. All these books are set in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales in and around the town of Bruncliffe, and feature Samson O’Brien, owner of the Dales Detective Agency, and Delilah Metcalfe, owner of the Dales Dating Agency, who frequently work together to solve cases. I have been a fan of these books since the very first one and always look forward to the next as soon as I finish the current story. The attractive covers of these books always give a flavour of the story that lies within, this one being no exception. As usual with a series, there are many recurring characters and references to previous events in these books, but each could be read as a standalone.

This particular story begins with the wife of the Bruncliffe mayor asking Samson to look into the comings and goings of her husband, who she suspects may be having an affair. However, such a seemingly simple request leads both Samson and Delilah into a very dangerous case. The mayor is involved in something far more sinister than his wife suspects, in partnership with local property developer Rick Procter and some very dangerous people from further afield. When a fatality occurs at a local shoot, the detectives become involved in the investigation. Was it accident, suicide or murder? Some very clever sleuthing is required if innocent people suspected of involvement in the death are to be cleared.

This was a very enjoyable book that kept me guessing all the way through. I can certainly recommend it, and indeed the whole series, to readers who enjoy a mystery in a picturesque setting. Here, the main storyline is accompanied by many incidents involving other residents of Bruncliffe who will be familiar to fans of the series and of course Tolpuddle, Delilah’s faithful Weimaraner, adding extra interest and often a touch of comedy. It is good to see that Delilah’s dating agency is doing well, but not at all encouraging that Samson’s past seems to be catching up with him. Just when I thought that everything was nicely tied up, and there may even be romance in the air, the book ended on a cliffhanger - skilful writing, but now I’m itching to find out what happens in book 7!

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Monday, 5 April 2021

March 2021 Reading Wrap Up

 So March was a challenging month, there's no point in sugar coating the fact that this had an effect on my reading this month and so whilst I did read most of the books on my TBR I didn't meet some of the books that I held myself to in my own mind... 

I took part in the kindle clear out readathon and you can watch that vlog linked below. It was mostly a success but I did extend into the second weekend that wasn't technically part of the readathon. 

As always I will break my reading down into ebooks, audiobooks and physical books and leave links to any reviews I have already posted or book vs movie videos I have made. 

Ebooks









Physical Books




Audiobooks













This Month's Videos...