I thought I would do a halfway through the year, book update!
Every year I have done a reading challenge of sorts, and this year, instead of monthly or quarterly updates I thought I would do two Six month updates.
So, here is my first reading update of 2021, January – June.
[Disclaimer: I’m not that fast a reader sometimes, it comes in fits and spurts, and I’ve had lots of revision to do, so its not as long a list as I’d like]
January – June 2021
The Winter GardenBy Heidi Swain
The Land of Stories: A Grimm Warning By Chris Colfer
Because of YouBy Dawn French
The LidoBy Libby Page
Pushby Ashley Audrain
The Holidayby T.M Logan
A Taste of Homeby Heidi Swain
Only Time Will TellBy Jeffrey Archer
The Sins of the FatherBy Jeffrey Archer
Until Next WeekendBy Rachel Marks
The Dead Fathers ClubBy Matt Haig
Saving the Day By Katie Fforde
The MotiveBy Khurrum Rahman
Best Kept SecretBy Jeffrey Archer
My favourites so far are, of course the Heidi Swain novels ‘The Winter Garden’ & ‘A Taste of Home’ as well as ‘Until Next Weekend’ ‘Push’ & ‘The Holiday’ which I could not put down. I love that feeling.
The suprise was the Harry Clifton series by Jeffrey Archer, the perfect example of not judging a book by its cover.
Christmas, Spring/Summer are my favourite times of year to read and as I was enjoying my book this afternoon it got me thinking about this time last year…
April 2020 was a both a confusing and enlightening time for me (It sounds strange I know, stick with me)
Lockdown was fully in swing at this point, Pandemic – WHATTTT, very confusing! But, amongst the madness of Lockdown, for the first time in probably 11 years I had time… time to do the things I enjoyed, unapologetically, emphatically and with a new found appreciation for them.
And with this feeling and freedom in place I got such a heightened enjoyment from the novels I was reading. It of course helped that they were bloody brilliant books… so, lets take a walk down memory lane…
April. This seems to be a good month for me in terms of discovering new books, especially ones that turn into firm favourites, that I always recommend when someones asks me; ‘Do you know of any good books?’
In the midst of the OG Lockdown…
I read ‘The Silent Patient’ in a day I was so enraptured by it, gripped to the last page…
We also had another Heidi Swain release, which always makes a month amazing (& this sunny seaside stay is one of my faves of hers) ‘The Seaside Escape’
…and I found another firm fave and cosy number in ‘The Flat share’ which has lead me to many brilliant books by Beth O’Leary as a result.
Fast forward to today…. & I’m thoroughly enjoying ‘The Lido’ by Libby Page. Its a cosy, feel good book that restores your faith in community, friendships (unconventional & not) and yourself along the way.
I’m so invested in this story, its endearing characters and community that I know I’ll be sad when it ends and we aren’t spending our time together anymore (if you know, you know!)
I want to see how it all plays out but I don’t want to say goodbye.
You know you’ve got a good’un when thats the case.
I’m super looking forward to the end of the month as I have a few Preorders coming my way and I’m SO EXCITED!!
They are: ~A Taste of Home by Heidi Swain ~The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary ~Until Next Weekend by Rachel Marks
(& a new Sarah Morgan book at the end of May 🙌🏻🙌🏻)
All we need is for this sunshine to stay, Covid to be kept at bay and a nice cold drink to sip as we enjoy these brilliant books!
World Book Day snuck in just in time, before the first Lockdown last year, this year wasn’t to be… so, how does your lockdown World Book Day look??
It’s such a shame that we haven’t been able to fully immerse ourselves, as we usually would, at work but it was lovely seeing all the children sharing books, picking them out, listening to stories and writing.
I love watching children enjoying and getting involved with reading a book, it is one of my favourite parts of my job!
So, that was part of my lockdown World Book Day.
I’ve also been sharing a few of my book favourites over on my blogs Instagram (Roseannes Blog)
I also took the opportunity (via Skype 😥) to read my nephews a few stories for World Book Day
We read ‘I need a new bum’ and ‘The Dinosaur that pooped the past’ some silly & fun books!!
And of course I’m going to make sure that I do one of my most favourite things tonight… cosy down with a good book and just relax and enjoy it.
Whatever you are doing, I really hope that you are getting a moment to read a page or two of a book and you are able to forget about anything else that is happening, just for a moment, whilst you do.
So, this is my last post with the word Christmas in, honest!
Here is my book haul. I was very lucky to receive quite a few lovely books for Christmas this year, my ideal gift, so I thought I would share them with you.
It’s quite a mixed bag so let’s take a look…
Ant and Dec Once Upon a Tyne
I LOVE Ant & Dec, they are my absolute faves so I was super excited to receive this. This one I requested, so I hoped it was on it’s way. It’s really funny so far.
Finding Love at the Christmas Market by Jo Thomas
I had seen this one advertised and heard alot of great things (plus I love a cute, warm, festive story) so I was pleasantly suprised when my sister got me this. I’ve finished it and it was as lovely and heart warming as I’d have hoped. Perfect for Christmas & Blue January!
‘Still Friends’ 25 Years of the TV show that defined an era. By Saul Austerlitz
I can’t wait to start reading this. F.R.I.E.N.D.S is my ultimate fave TV show and my lovely friend bought me this for Christmas, knowing I love both books & friends. Definatly onto a winner with this one.
Collectors editions of: Peter Pan By J M Barrie, A Christmas Carol By Charles Dickens & The Railway Children by E Nesbit
I discovered these in my local indie bookshop. They are absolutely beautiful. The covers are amazing 😍 I have wanted to add some classics to my collection for a while so I picked these out and my Mum and Dad gave them to me for Christmas.
I also got two illustrated Harry Potter books; ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’ illustrated edition & ‘Quidditch through the ages’ illustrated edition
If you’ve followed me for a while you’ll know that I’m a MASSIVE!!! Harry Potter fan, so I was super excited to add these to my collection. I had asked for the illustrated ‘Goblet of Fire’ but I wasn’t expecting the ‘Quidditch through the ages’ illustrated version… IT LOOKS AMAZING.
Did you get some books for Christmas?? How are they??
As I have said many times, Autumn/Winter are my favourite seasons!
I know its chilly but hey, its England, we were made for this weather.
Plus, it’s so pretty 😍
Theres nothing like a crisp autumn walk, frosty, leaves crunching under foot, trees fire bright against a pale sky, wrapped up in cosy jumpers, a hot beverage in hand.
Now tell me that isn’t a delight!?!
Here are some of the ways I’ve been enjoying the Autumn so far!
• P U M P K I N • P I C K I N G •
Me, my sister and my nephews had a great time pumpkin picking, at a local patch 🎃
We went early Oct to get the most out of our Pumpkins.
I’ve used them to dot around the lounge to create a cosy, autumn vibe. Some will of course be carved on Halloween.
• A U T U M N • W A L K S •
I definitely have a new appreciation for walks since the lockdowns and the pandemic in general.
Theres alot of enjoyment to be had in the fresh air, amongst the trees and pretty plants. I loved our sunny summer walks but in Autumn it’s an even more beautiful experience.
• C O S Y • R E A D S •
…because I could read anywhere… but, theres nothing better than in my little reading corner, in autumn and winter, because it just feels even more cosy.
• H A L L O W E E N • F U N •
I am a big horror film fan so I enjoy the spookiness of Halloween.
Lockdown no 2 was announced this Halloween (Horror!) So I wanted to make it even more fun, because if you can’t enjoy the little things, (even when stuck at home) during a global pandemic, when can you!?
Over the weekend I ended up watching eight different horror films!
•Nightmare on Elm St (New) •Friday the 13th • Psycho (New) •Anabelle • Freddy Vs Jason •Nightmare Before Christmas •IT (The Original) •Hocus Pocus
We like to carve a pumpkin each year, because its just some harmless seasonal fun, and since I had a few from our picking spree, I carved a few.
As well as the films and pumpkin carving, we also listened to some Halloween tuness (until the X-Files theme freaked me out 🤣😱) we had Spooky, mummy sausages and jacket potatoes for dinner (because why should kids have all the fun) and Halloween Hot chocolates to round off the evening.
And a spot of Halloween Animal Crossing!
It was really good fun and it made us forget about the pandemic a bit, a fun weekend/evening spent together.
• P U M P K I N • C A R V I N G •
Because you have to do one of these every year! Come on now.
… and yes I am indeed wearing a Bat onesie in this picture, my traditional Halloween costume/pumpkin carving outfit! 🦇
Don’t hate me cause you ain’t me!
• A U T U M N • N A T U R E •
• H U N T •
As a fun little pre lockdown 2.0 activity with my nephews, we went on a Nature Hunt.
They love running about in the park and exploring and they enjoyed it even more than I thought they would (so did I!!)
• B A K I N G •
I spent another lovely pre lockdown day with my niece 😊
What’s more cosy (and delicious) than baking!?!
We had a lovely time together ♡
Gotta love a Unicorn Cupcake 🦄🧁
• B O N F I R E • N I G H T •
Again, due to Lockdown (thanks Rona!) we won’t be seeing people for a bit, but its timing did coincide with Bonfire Night and so we resurrected a Byford tradition, and got together to celebrate.
Outside, wrapped up, enjoying other peoples fireworks, sparklers, s’mores, soup, jackets, bangers, log burners and catching up!
A great evening! We missed this tradition last year as there was alot going on, so it was great to do it again.
It’s been a little while (probably the Summer hols) since I’ve done a little ‘life’ update and I love capturing memories on here. I think I forget to use my blog this way sometimes when I get carried away sharing about my hobbies.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing it!
2020 has shone a light on the reality of racism, in all its forms.
Sparked by the Black Lives Matter protests, which stemmed from horrific injustices such as George Floyd and Breonna Taylor (to name a few) we are informing and educating ourselves on the wrongs of a nation, (well I hope you are) with regard to black lives and their treatment. People are educating themselves on black heritage and culture… and learning all about black history is such an important part.
‘A genuine change must first come from within the individual, only then can he or she attempt to make a significant contribution to humanity.’
This is why educating and informing ourselves is so important and Black History Month is the perfect opportunity.
Black History Month began in 1987, in order to celebrate and bring a focus to the history and contributions that black people have made to the UK.
Black history is almost completely forgotten in most traditional history curriculums.
One of my favourite mediums of information is of course print & books.
I have been purchasing some books over lockdown and in the recent weeks. These books were recommended by many people that I follow on my blogs Instagram page.
They touch on the stories and injustices of black people and they are certainly eye opening.
I would particularly recommend ‘Just Mercy’ by Bryan Stevenson, (although this is focussed on the American Justice system it is still such an important read)
Amazon have a great Black History section that offers book suggestions for both adults and children.
•Black and British: A Forgotten History by David Olusoga •Black British History: New Perspectives, Edited by Hakim Adi •Black Poppies: Britain’s Black Community and the Great War by Stephen Bourne •Black, Listed by Jeffrey Boakye
& for children..
•Bedtime Inspirational Stories – 50 Black Leaders who Made History: Black History Book for Kids by L A Amber. •Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison •Black Heroes: A Black History Book for Kids: 51 Inspiring People from Ancient Africa to Modern-Day U.S.A by Arlisha Norwood. •Coming to England: An Inspiring True Story Celebrating the Windrush Generation by Baroness Floella Benjamin.
I have also been listening to Podcasts on Spotify, a brilliant resource. There is a Black Lives Matter & Black History Now playlist.
This playlist is brilliant and I’m enjoying the ‘Inspirational Black Life Stories’ And the ‘BLAM UK: Black History Bites.’
𝕆𝕟𝕖 𝕝𝕖𝕗𝕥 𝕒𝕝𝕚𝕧𝕖 & the Crime/Detective Books Series.
By Helen Phifer
I stumbled across Helen Phifers books whilst browsing on the Kindle app, on my phone. Now, I totally get the merits of a Kindle but I am defaintly team ‘Physical Book’. However, when I discovered her books I couldn’t resist and they were only available as a Kindle download. I was hooked immediatly and here I am, three separate, stand alone detective series later and I am still throroughly enjoying her books.
Heres a general review of her books as a whole. The most recent that I have read being ‘One Left Alive’
‘One Left Alive’ is part of her newest series ‘Detective Morgan Brookes Series’. Her books are Crime and Thriller Novels and its no suprise that they are bestselling.
They are gripping from the get go. The horrific murder/s that gets the ball rolling, in the beginning of the book, will both horrify and intrigue you in equal measure. You will have to find out what has happened and you won’t put the book down until you do. If, like me, you are a horror fan then Helen’s books will be right up your street. There are always moments of pure, on the edge, ‘oh my god, I don’t want to read on but I must’ moments that will keep you hungrily reading until the end. (They are not for the squeamish readers amoung us!)
The characters are so relatable and are ‘normal’ people, and even with the strong police element, they and the storylines, aren’t overly complicated. Its quite fascinating to look into the police process. I love police dramas on TV, such as Line of Duty, and its almost like reading a episode. And as I said, the investigation is easy to follow, but it always keeps you on your toes and is never predictable.
With regard to the characters, I like how you are following ‘the story’ but also their story too. You are always rooting for them to succeed both professionally and personally.
As soon as I read and finish one I always want more, so thank goodness there are a few in each series. The second book of this series is in preorder already.
I was genuinely gutted when I got to the last book in her ‘Annie Graham’ series. Gutted.
ᴍʏ ᴏᴠᴇʀᴀʟʟ ʀᴀᴛɪɴɢ ꜰᴏʀ ᴛʜᴇ ꜱᴇʀɪᴇꜱ: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4/5)
I hope you liked this review! I am going to try and do a review for each different genre that I read.
I recently reviewed the childrens fantasy series ‘The Land of Stories’ by Chris Colfer, (any Disney lovers young and old will love this series) So, check that review out here.
As always any book recommendations are ALWAYS welcome.