Friday 25 August 2023

Bout of Books 38 Update and Wrap Up

As you know, I was never planning on doing a full week of reading for this Bout of Books Readathon so I did about 4.5 days of reading and managed to read 2 full books and 3 part books so I don't think that's too bad for what turned out to be a very busy week. 

Days 3 and 4 were decent reading days with quite a bit of audiobook reading but not a lot of ebook reading. I read the most of my ebook on the morning of day 5 to be honest!

Here's what I read

50% 133 pages

400 pages

168 pages

384 pages

52 pages

Pages Read This Week: 1137
Complete Books Finished: 2

Wednesday 23 August 2023

Bout of Books 38 Day 2 Update


Day 2 was meant to be more about being at home and reading the ebooks that were on my list and whilst i tried to read over breakfast out, over lunch at home and in the sunshine I was really struggling to engage. I worked out (whilst vlogging) that it's not the books faults its just because I'm getting ready to go on my trip and I'm really excited and runnighn through everything I need to do and pack in my head. So I leaned into that and just took my audiobook and packed. I know it seems extreme packing on a Tuesday for a trip that leaves Saturday but firstly I'm heading down there Friday morning and secondly, once I get that urge to pack, it just can't be ignored. I listend to a lot of audiobook in the car and in the gym and hopefully now my head is packed I will read more ebook tomorrow. 

First book of the readathon finished!

Here's what I read on Day 3

26 pages

I finished readinng this one: 268 pages

Pages Read Day 1: 294
Pages Read This Week: 478
Complete Books Finished: 1

Guest Review: The Summer Skies by Jenny Colgan

Born into a family of successful pilots, Morag is used to flying high. But when a tragic accident above the clouds grounds her, could the future she'd always imagined be suddenly out of reach?

When she receives a call telling her that her beloved grandfather has been taken ill, Morag leaves her fast-paced life in London to return home to the tranquil Scottish Highlands. With her grandfather out of action, Morag has no choice but to take over flying the local route in his rickety old plane, ferrying locals across the beautiful islands of the archipelago.

But as the weather takes a dramatic turn, Morag is forced to crash-land on a remote island and suddenly finds herself far from civilisation and all alone. Then she discovers Gregor, the gruff and reclusive ornithologist taking care of the island for the season. Though the pair don't see eye to eye, Morag is forced to seek shelter at his cabin and it seems the pair are stuck together until help arrives. However long that may be . . .

As she awaits rescue, might Morag discover that a remote Scottish island, cut off from real-life, is exactly the place she needs to be?

It seems a while since I discovered a new release from Jenny Colgan. I have always enjoyed her books that I have read in the past and looked forward to starting this one. I chose the audiobook format this time, having noted that the narrator was one whose performance I have very much enjoyed previously. For readers of other formats, there are handy maps at the beginning of the book depicting the Scottish Islands referred to in the story. There is also an interesting foreword from the author with some background into where the story began.  

The story concerns Morag McGinty, a pilot who has had a ‘near-miss’ and is wondering whether she will fly again. When her grandfather falls ill, she finds herself returning to her former home in the remote Scottish islands, flying his tired old plane transporting mainly locals, and sometimes even their livestock, among an archipelago of small islands. However, when she has to crash land on the beach of one of those islands in an emergency, she finds herself marooned there with Gregor, a rather dour ornithologist who is manning the station for the summer. What at first seems disastrous for Morag being cut off without power or such luxuries as the TV and internet soon begins to appeal as she unwinds and Gregor’s icy demeanour gradually begins to thaw. Will she actually want to return to the life she knew before and the plans she had made for her future?

I quickly became immersed in this book and would recommend it to other readers. It wasn’t clear what direction the story was going to take and I liked that it kept me guessing. I have always appreciated Jenny Colgan’s style of writing, and, as usual, this story is full of her quiet humour alongside the more serious aspects of Morag’s struggle to see what her future might look like. Before landing on an island that she shared with little else than Gregor, a few chickens and a goat, she was sure of what would make her happy, but being forced to accept the lack of technology and what she considered creature comforts made her see things slightly differently. I’m sure quite a few readers will envy her this chance to destress, although maybe they would not choose to do it in the midst of a raging storm! I loved watching as the real characters of Morag and Gregor gradually emerged during their time on the small island, and was definitely willing Morag to listen to her heart and make the right choice. 

To order your copy now, just click here!

Tuesday 22 August 2023

Bout of Books 38 Day 1 Update


Day 1 of Bout of books went pretty well for me... I spent quite a lot of time in the car and so was able to listen to a third of Talking at Night on Audio. I also did some reading over breakfast and some reading over coffee before going to see a movie. You'll have to check out my vlog on my channel in order to find out what I made of the movie...

Here's what I read on Day 1

52 pages

132 pages

Pages Read Day 1: 184
Pages Read This Week: 184
Complete Books Finished: 0

Monday 21 August 2023

Bout of Books 38 Sign Up and TBR


It's Bout of Books time again! Can't believe we're already up to Bout of Books 38... I love doing bout of books but this time I am going away on a very soecial trip on Friday and so essentially I'll only be doing it for 4 days becaue there isn't really any possiblity I will read during my trip, like no way whatsoever! So I have some August TBR books I want to read, a couple of physical books I have received recently and then a couple of other audioboks to choose from. I will of course be vlogging the week on my channel and it you've never heard of Bout of Books before, here's what the team have to say:

The Bout of Books readathon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It’s a weeklong readathon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 21st and runs through Sunday, August 27th in YOUR time zone. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are reading sprints, daily Discord questions, and exclusive Instagram challenges, but they’re all completely optional. For all Bout of Books 38 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

 August TBR Books

Physical Books


Saturday 19 August 2023

Guest Review: Not Far From Brideshead: Oxford Between the Wars By Daisy Dunn

 Oxford thought it was at war. And then it was.

After the horrors of the First World War, Oxford looked like an Arcadia - a dreamworld - from which pain could be shut out. Soldiers arrived with pictures of the university fully formed in their heads, and women finally won the right to earn degrees. Freedom meant reading beneath the spires and punting down the river with champagne picnics. But all was not quite as it seemed.

Boys fresh from school settled into lecture rooms alongside men who had returned from the trenches with the beginnings of shellshock. It was displacing to be surrounded by aristocrats who liked nothing better than to burn furniture from each other's rooms on the college quads for kicks. The women of Oxford still faced a battle to emerge from their shadows. And among the dons a major conflict was beginning to brew.

Set in the world that Evelyn Waugh immortalised in Brideshead Revisited, this is a true and often funny story of the thriving of knowledge and spirit of fun and foreboding that characterised Oxford between the two world wars. One of the protagonists, in fact, was a friend of Waugh and inspired a character in his novel. Another married into the family who inhabited Castle Howard and befriended everyone from George Bernard Shaw to Virginia Woolf. The third was an Irish occultist and correspondent with the poets W. H. Auden, Louis MacNeice and W. B. Yeats.

This singular tale of Oxford colleagues and rivals encapsulates the false sense of security that developed across the country in the interwar years. With the rise of Hitler and the Third Reich came the subversion of history for propaganda. In academic Oxford, the fight was on not only to preserve the past from the hands of the Nazis, but also to triumph, one don over another, as they became embroiled in a war of their own.

Review: This is a factual book about Oxford and its university during the period between the First and Second World Wars. It focuses on three academics in classics, Gilbert Murray, Maurice Bowra and Eric Dodds, and the writers, such as W. H. Auden, T. S. Eliot, Evelyn Waugh and W. B. Yeats, that they influenced. Evelyn Waugh was the author of the novel “Brideshead Revisited”, published in 1945, which evokes Oxford during the inter-war years. In the novel, the author based some of his characters on people he encountered as an undergraduate at Oxford University during this time. In addition, the acclaimed television series of the book used Castle Howard, a stately home in Yorkshire, as a location for Brideshead Castle. Gilbert Murray married into the Howard family, owners of Castle Howard. This explains the reference to Brideshead in the title of Daisy Dunn’s book.

The book highlights the differences between the 1920s and the 1930s in Oxford. During the former, there was an optimistic mood as people emerged from the First World War and the Spanish Influenza pandemic of 1918-1919. This may explain the excesses of this period among the Oxford undergraduates. However, the economic crash at the end of the 1920s and the rise of fascism in Europe during the 1930s, led to a more pessimistic outlook, with another war appearing more and more likely. The rivalry among the various academics is also described.

Not having any knowledge of Ancient Greek and Roman writers meant that most of the references in the text to their works were lost on me. I also found that the narrative tended to jump around at times. However, as a snapshot of a bygone era and the way that teachers can exert an influence on their pupils, I found this book to be an interesting read.

To order your copy now, just click the here!

Wednesday 16 August 2023

Guest Review: Summer at Forget-Me-Not Cottage by Helen Rolfe

Welcome back to Little Woodville.
Visit old friends and new in this super, summer escapist read.

Morgan Rosewood finds herself at a crossroads in her life after returning home to Forget-Me-Not Cottage to care for her ailing mother. She and boyfriend Ronan, had plans, big plans, but all these hopes and dreams are put on hold when Morgan's mum suddenly dies.

Morgan’s emotions are in turmoil but she sets about the task of clearing the house and running her late mother’s vintage market stall.

Nate Greene has his own reasons for staying away from Little Woodville. Nate needs to reconcile his past and tackle the long overdue task of decluttering the place he once loved - his abandoned wood workshop, filled to the brim with his creations.
He secures a stall at the local market to showcase his wares and it isn't long before the workshop reignites the passion he once shared with a special person.

Thrown together Morgan and Nate have their own personal battles to overcome.

Can the beautiful little Cotswold village teach two lost souls what matters,

and more importantly, will it give them each something they didn't come here for? Love...

Review: This book is part of the Little Woodville Series, romantic stories set in an idyllic Cotswolds village. I read the first book in the series and was delighted to be reunited with some of the characters from that story in this one. Each book can be read as a standalone. Like the last book, this one has an eye-catching cover depicting the eponymous cottage and the flowers that give it its name. 

The story centres on Morgan and Nate, each of them returning to the village of Little Woodville for the first time in a while. Morgan is clearing out her late mother’s house (Forget-Me-Not cottage) prior to moving to Scotland to join her fiancĂ©, while Nate, now resident in Wales, is checking up on his elderly father, who has been living alone in the village since the death of his wife. While sorting out her mother’s belongings, Morgan decides to run her mother’s market stall and sell off the remaining stock. Nate also ends up booking a stall at the market, where he wishes to sell some of the wooden items that he made long ago in his workshop attached to his one-time home. Morgan and Nate are brought together when they share a stall on the market and begin to learn each other’s stories. As time goes by, each of them begins to recognise a growing attachment to the other and to the village that was once their home. Can they change their plans and settle in this lovely village?

I can highly recommend this romantic tale with the blissful setting. The village of Little Woodville comes across as being so peaceful and filled with such friendly and helpful residents that you can’t imagine anyone not wanting to settle there. It really has everything going for it, including a bookshop with cafe, a bakery and a pizza shop, all selling mouthwatering food. In addition to Morgan and Nate, the story is brimming other interesting characters, each with their own tale to tell. I liked both Morgan and Nate and felt sympathy for them as they struggled with their situations. I hope to meet up with them and the other villagers if there is another book in this series.

To order your copy now, just click here

Wednesday 9 August 2023

Guest Review: From Cornwall with Love by Cressida McLaughlin

Sunshine awaits in the beautiful Cornish coastal town of Port Karadow where romance and a Cornish cream tea are always on the menu …

There’s no place like home. There’s no place like Cornwall…

Maisie Winters has everything she could ever want. She lives in the idyllic Cornish town of Port Karadow, has a jammy job in her dad's shop, adores her rescue mutt, and has time to take the landscape photos she loves.

While her best friend and sister left the town to chase big dreams in London and New York, Maisie stayed – she wouldn't leave her favourite place for anything … or anyone.

When her long-time crush, Colm Caffrey, returns from a decade abroad, old feelings start to resurface. Maisie begins to ask herself if there might be one big thing missing after all?

Review: This is book 8 in the Cornish Cream Tea series from this author. Stories in this series follow events in the Cornish seaside villages of Port Karadow and nearby Porthgolow, and the lives of their inhabitants and visitors. I have been following this series from the very start and have enjoyed finding out how things progress for the characters as the story grows. As well as newcomers, there are several recurring characters in each book, a feature which I always enjoy. Although each book is part of the series, they can all be read as a standalone if preferred. I should mention the gorgeous cover on this book; it sets the scene for the story, enticing the reader to enjoy a walk on the sand and perhaps dip a toe into the blue sea.

This story focuses on Maisie, who is lucky enough to have lived in Port Karadow since birth and now runs the local ironmongery shop, having taken over the business from her father. She is already friends with many of the characters who readers will recognise from previous books in the series, but is surprised to bump into Colm, who has just returned to the town after disappearing off to Australia many years ago, breaking her heart in the process. While he seems keen to rekindle their friendship, she is wary of being hurt again; after all, she thinks that she has all she needs with her work and her friends. However, involvement in the organisation of a local event may just bring them together.

I just love this series, and this is yet another wonderful story to add to the set. There are yet more interesting and likeable characters to meet in this story and an enjoyable joint venture between the two villages. As with Cressida McLaughlin’s other books, there are plenty of adorable canines for the dog lovers amongst the readers. Although not central to the story, the Cream Tea Bus, which started off the whole series, and its owner make an appearance once again, so there are some mouthwatering bakery items on offer. It was great getting to know Maisie, who proved to be quite a formidable force. Once Colm’s story emerged, I was willing the pair to get together. I can recommend this book and think it would be a great title to read on the beach. I’m hoping that there will be more books to add to this series soon.

To order your copy now,  just click here!

Saturday 5 August 2023

Guest Review: The Cricketer Book of Cricket Disasters & Bizarre Records Edited by Christopher Martin-Jenkins

Review: Christopher Martin-Jenkins (1945-2013) was a cricket commentator and journalist. He was also editor of the magazine “The Cricketer”. The sport of cricket lends itself to all sorts of unusual statistics and records, and this book, published in 1984, is a lighthearted compilation of some of the more unusual or remarkable achievements that were sent to the magazine.

The entries come from all over the world, including places as diverse as Fiji and Denmark, as well as from the more well-established cricketing nations. There are unusual records involving batting, bowling and wicket-keeping, together with bizarre incidents involving animals. There is also a chapter on some of the more esoteric local rules governing both first class and village cricket grounds. The book is well-illustrated with numerous photographs, several of which are from a bygone age, and humorous cartoons.

I found this to be an amusing collection of bizarre and unusual events and one which should appeal to all cricket enthusiasts.

Friday 4 August 2023

July 2023 Reading Wrap Up-Did I Actually Read Any Books?

July was always going to be a bit of a weird month, either I would finish school and feel compelled to stay home and sit and read all the books or I would still be unable to focus and I think the latter happened. I was pretty busy that first week of the holidays AKA the last week of July and so my July reading feels a lot like my June reading in that I didn't read a whole lot but I did enjoy what I read. I have full reviews of 2 of these books already on my blog with another coming your way very soon!



Part Books Finished

Wednesday 2 August 2023

Guest Review: The Beach Holiday by Isabelle Broom

A somebody. A nobody.
A love story waiting to be written . . .

All aspiring novelist Honor has ever wanted is to be successful. It's the only way she can impress the father who abandoned her, the boyfriend who gave up on her, and the nagging voice in her head that tells her she's not good enough.

Still, wanting to tell a story is not the same as having a story to tell, and Honor knows she needs to find a new source of inspiration.

When she's invited to spend a summer abroad in The Hamptons, Honor realises it could be the dream setting for a book, especially when a chance encounter provides her with the perfect leading man.

But blurring fact and fiction is a dangerous game, and Honor soon discovers that writing her way to success might come at the expense of her own happy ever after . . .

Review: I have seen many announcements about this book and, having also looked at the synopsis, was keen to read it as soon as I could. Although I have read and thoroughly enjoyed many of Isabelle Broom’s previous books, it is a while since I have caught up with her collection. I chose the audiobook this time and was completely immersed in the story from the first minute, finishing it quickly the same day, so compelling was the narrative. 

The story follows aspiring writer Honor who is travelling to New York to join her father, himself a successful author, for a summer break. She has been in awe of her father since an early age, and is desperate to be successful and impress him. When she arrives at her father’s home, Honor finds that he and his assistant are about to set off to spend summer in The Hamptons, and they invite her along. She hopes to find inspiration for her writing in this lovely place. On her very first day there, she literally bumps into a strikingly handsome man who unbeknown to her is a famous British film star. They are instantly drawn to each other and spend a lot of time together. However, their budding relationship is unfortunately threatened by the machinations of unscrupulous individuals.

I can’t express how much I enjoyed this book. I think it says it all that I absolutely devoured the whole thing in the space of just a few hours. It is pure escapism. Isabelle’s words transported me to gorgeous beaches and small towns in an area I have never been lucky enough to visit, but now feel I have experienced, at least to a certain extent. I felt for Honor having so little regard for her own importance, hiding behind her own brand of humour. How fortunate that she met a man who was not only drop dead gorgeous but also sensitive and prepared to spend time trying to build her confidence. I loved watching as their relationship developed, even in the face of so many difficulties. This is definitely one that I can recommend - a perfect summer read. 

To order your copy now, just click here!

Tuesday 1 August 2023

August 2023 TBR: New Book Releases, Audiobooks and Reading I Want to Catch Up On!

It's finally August. I can't believe how far into the year we are already and yet here we are in the month when I don't HAVE to go to school and I have time alone to read. It may not be sunny but I still enjoy reading alfresco, even if its hiding from the rain in a coffee shop! Although I am going away a bit this month, on a Disney Cruise at the end of the month, I am still planning on doing plenty of reading and I'm also excited to take part in the first few days of Bout of Books from 21st August!

Here's what I want to read!

August Releases

17th August

1st August

30th August

September Releases

28th September