Falling in Love with Reading All Over Again.

Falling in Love with Reading All Over Again.

It has been a while since I have updated this blog, as many of you know I lost someone incredibly close to me, and she was my sister. She passed suddenly, and with her all certainty I felt about myself and the world around me vanished. I was lost in an ocean of grief, confusion, despair and fear. I feel it is a great privilege to have loved and been loved so much that it hurts this bad to lose her, and I feel that privilege every day.

During my grieving process I continued to read, not as often as I used to, but when I felt able to I lost myself in a world of someone else’s creation. Literature has always been pure magic to me, from back when I was a kid excited to visit the library, maxing out my library card and devouring page after page of novels into the early hours of the morning, flashlight in hand. I have always enjoyed escapism, having the chance to visit places I’ve never been too all from the comfort of my own bed. It has taken time to feel ready to come back to reviewing, to be able to fully digest my emotions around everything, to put down on paper how a book made me feel, when some days I didn’t even know how I felt.

I started this blog because I was passionate about reading, about writing, about books. I wanted the opportunity to explore new titles, share my thoughts and read others too. I have changed so much since I started this blog, but my passion for literature is one thing no amount of pain could ever truly take away. Now I’m back and I’m excited to fall in love with reading all over again.

All my love,

E x

August Reads

August Reads

Check out my August reads below, ranked highest to lowest rating:

The Girl from Galloway by Anne Doughty

Rating: 5/5.

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It’s 1845, in County Donegal, Ireland and one day Hannah McGinley’s daughter comes home disheartened that her school may have to close as one of the teachers is moving away. Despite her busy schedule, Hannah steps up, but times are tough and can she support her family and the school?

This was my favourite read this month, it was beautifully written and filled me with the sense of nostalgia I constantly search for within the pages of novels. Strength and determination underpin every chapter, as we watch this family, this community fight to not only survive but to thrive.

 

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness.

Rating: 5/5.

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The Rest of Us Just Live Here asks readers the question, “what if you aren’t the chosen one?”. It follows Mikey a normative kid about to graduate highschool who’s trying to muster up the courage to ask out his friend Hanna.

I loved this book, it was a very close second favourite of the month. Some people get drawn in by book covers, but I am by titles. “The Rest of Us Just Live Here” rolls of the tongue, it speaks to readers or at least to me. I haven’t read anything like this before, it explores the narrative of  fighting the bad guys, but from the eyes of bystanders.

 

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

Rating: 3.5/5.

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Little Women follows sisters, Meg, Jo and Beth taking the reader on a journey of their lives, those in it and where it leads them.

This is a novel that I have been meaning to read for a while, I had high expectations of it and whilst it was not a bad book, it was amazingly written and Alcott brought the characters to life, I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would.

 

The Market Square by Miss Read.

Rating: 3/5.

The Market Square (The Caxley Chronicles, #1) by Miss ReadThe Market Square gives readers an insight into the history Caxley and the lives of those who live there. Caxley is a market town close to Fairacre where Miss Read’s Fairacre novels are set. It is also often referenced within her Fairacre novels as a place the people there travel to occasionally.

I really enjoyed the novels I have read so far by Miss Read so was excited when I saw this pop up on my local online library. It was well written but for me didn’t have the spark of the Fairacre series.

 

Heavily Meditated by Caitlin Cady.

Rating: 2/5.

48848535. sx318 This is a book about Meditation, from the perception of Cady. I personally have been meditating for four years now, so I like to think I know a bit about it, but still you can never know too much.

What first interested me about this was the idea it was a beginers guide, a way to help introduce more people to meditation, which is amazing. If you have never tried meditation I would recommend giving it a go, it’s not for everyone but if it works for you it can bring meaningful peace and change into your life.

I personally didn’t enjoy this book, it does provide some infomatiom but I found it felt empty, the book lacked substance for me. I don’t dislike Cady’s writing style and I did enjoy hearing about how meditation has enriched her life. Overall this just didn’t resonate with me, and that’s okay, it’s not a bad book, it just wasn’t for me.

 

Athena’s Choice by Adam Boostrom

Athena’s Choice by Adam Boostrom

*I received a free copy of this audiobook through NetGalley in exchange for a review.

My rating: 3/5.

44404178. sy475 “What if a viral pandemic put women in charge of the planet?”

This novel is set in 2099 and follows our main character Athena Vosh. When the novel begins it has been nearly fifty years since an experimental virus accidentally wiped out all the men on earth. Yet a controversial project aims to change that, they want to bring men back, but they are not without opposition. Now their project has been sabotaged, and it seems like Athena might just know more about it than she lets on.

Dystopian novels have always appealed to me, and I was very excited to read this when I stumbled across it. It has been out for a while now and initially I was drawn to it when searching through Netgalley’s new audiobook option. I really enjoyed listening to it in audiobook form and I think the narrator Alex Ford did a brilliant job bringing this novel to life.

Athena is a fairly relatable character, despite the unrelatable setting, although we are in the midst of a global pandemic right now, but I don’t think this one will wipe out all the men on earth, at least I hope not. Athena has a strong voice throughout the novel, and a lot of us will relate to coming of age and finding out who we are.

The plot is well thought out, I really felt how passionate the author was about the topic. Especially with all the feeling and energy, he put into writing both sides, those for men coming back and those who aren’t. He created a futuristic utopia, peace on earth but at a huge cost. I liked that this novel portrayed a strong world lead by women, and the independence and freedom that came along with it.

This was Boostrom’s first novel, and it was a solid one with well thought out characters that tackled difficult topics while asking us, what if we could have a life full of peace and how much would we be willing to sacrifice for it. I love a story that makes me think, and forces me to look outside myself and my own experiences and consider the wider picture.

Overall, this was a stand out first novel, the author has already expressed he wishes to write a sequel which I think would be a great way to build on the story as this novel left me with so many questions, in the best possible way.

 

July Reads

July Reads

I can’t believe it’s August already! Despite everything this year seems to have flied by. Take a look below at the books I have been reading this month starting with my favorites.

Village Diary by Miss Read.

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Miss Read is one of my favorite discoveries of this year, luckily she has a sizable selection of published works I can sink my teeth into.  This is part of the Fairacre series, the vibe is still very wholesome and makes me nostalgic for a time I never knew.

Rating: 5/5.

 

Quentins by Maeve Binchy.

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When I first started this novel I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get into it. The novel is focused around the restaurant Quentins and the lives of those intertwined with it. Ella Brady seeks to capture Dublin from 1970  to the current day, through the eyes of Quentins. This novel is filled with twists and turns, full storylines and believable characters.

Rating: 4/5,

The Girl With No Home by Sheila Newberry.

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This novel follows Jerusha Carey, abandoned at seven years old by her mother. We watch as she comes to terms with the abandonment and the understandable feelings that follow. It was a pleasure to read, Jerusha’s strength was unwavering despite all the challenges she endured.

Rating: 4/5.

 

The Late Bloomers Club by Louise Miller.

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This novel follows too passionate sisters, Nora and Kit. They live different lives Nora runs the family diner, and Kit spends her time creating movies and writing scripts. I really enjoyed this novel, I have been reading quite a few historical ones recently so it was a refreshing change to read something contemporary.

Rating: 4/5.

 

Alice Taylor Across the River and House of Memories by Alice Taylor.

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After reading the first book in this trilogy I couldn’t wait to read more, and I was not disappointed. Each page drew me deeper and deeper into the lives of our characters. Farming was a constant theme throughout, as the author guided us through the highs and lows, tackling topics such as domestic abuse and sexual assault with understanding.

Rating: 3/5.

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The third and final book in the series offered closure to the readers, showcasing the growth of the characters, how they overcome diversity and thrive.

 

Rating: 3/5.

 

When Comes the Spring by Janette Oke.

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To avoid any spoilers, this novel is a follow on from the first in the series “When Calls the Heart”. I did enjoy the first novel despite it being very different from it’s tv adaptation, however I personally couldn’t get into or connect with this second book. It was published in 1985 and it definitely shows it’s age, although of course it is set further back still. There were some parts I enjoyed, especially learning about day to day life in that time peroid, but I found the main character hard to like in this novel, especailly in comparison to the first. She seemed very disempowered, and especially at the begining lost a lot of her independance and voice. Of course some of the view points in this novel are thankfully outdated, but I did find it frustrating and the injustice and discrimination people face both today and in the past sickens me. My rating for this novel is 2/5.

Overall I read a lot of great books last month, as things start to get more fast paced in my life I expect I won’t be able to read as many. I feel really greatful to have been given some space in my life to reconnect with reading. It is such a challenging time right now, and it’s scary, people I love have gotten sick or are at significant risk if they do catch Covid. I think most of us have had our lives touched in someway by this pandemic. Reading is and always has been, an escape for me.

What did you read in July, and what are your plans for August?