TL;DR April Review

Hello Bookworms!

HEATWAVE!!! HAPPY EASTER!!! BANK HOLIDAY!!!

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

I can’t believe how warm it was over the Easter bank holiday weekend! We went out on bank holiday Monday in SHORTS and I had to put suncream on! We even sat out at night in the garden with our wood burner going after having a barbecue and it was lovely.

April saw the launch of the library as a full volunteer led community resource, which means we’ll have much more flexibility about the kind of things that we can use it for – we already have a poetry evening, farmers market and various kids clubs but we’ll be expanding even further, which is both super exciting and a lot of work. The launch day itself was really great – the whole community pulled together to create a fantastic atmosphere. I got up at the crack of dawn to marshal a fun run but it was all for a good cause so I didn’t really mind.

I’ve been out quite a lot in April – we visited Snowshill Manor for the non-hubs birthday (getting more usage from our National Trust membership) which is absolutely fascinating as it houses the most eclectic collection of hand crafted items from all over the world. The interior of the house reminded me of Grimmauld Place so it was perfect for a mooch around; this is just one of the many rooms:

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We also had a meal at The Fleece Inn near Evesham which was amazing – a proper traditional English pub with a great beer garden and fabulous, locally sourced food. We even went back there a few days later after we’d been out antiquing at Malvern, where I got a lovely German studio pottery bowl and French vase.

We had my parents over for Easter Sunday lunch which involved loads of hot food, wine and chocolate which was really nice. My Mum had her birthday too so we went to Edingale, the village where she used to go during the holidays (some scheme run by the Church maybe?) to stay with a woman called Miss Abel. She hadn’t been back since the 1950’s and amazingly it hadn’t changed much. It’s a lovely place, still very rural and the house that she used to stay in was still there, looking pretty much the same.

Our other house is slow going – we’re still sanding down the cement like filler round all the door frames but we’re close to finishing the woodwork, so that’s something. Disasters this month have included ants in the kitchen (why? there’s literally nothing for them to eat) water ingress into my lovely new kitchen (I think the upstairs window is leaking) and some more problems with the plasterwork but we’re on top of them now.

In terms of my book blogging life I’m now halfway through the Read Harder Challenge which is obviously ahead of schedule and I’m doing ok in the Goodreads Challenge, although I have slipped back a bit.

This month, I took part in the April Calendar Girls meme where I chose Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough as my favourite book with a surprise ending. I took part in a blog tour run by The Write Reads for After the Green Withered by Kristin Ward and expanded my mini review feature to two postings a month – Mid-Month Mini-Reviews and Monthly Wrap-Up Mini-Reviews.

I also did a discussion post about blogging pressure called Are We Having Fun Yet? and continued with Sorting Out the Shelves #5.

I posted eight reviews despite having a pretty bad reading month quality wise:

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimanmanda Ngozi Adichie: A fantastic essay that really cut to the bones of why it’s important to be an intersectional feminist in the 21st Centuy. Loved everything that she had to say. Five out of five stars

Bloodchild by Octavia E Butler: I loved this novella, especially as it felt like proper old school sci-fi. I’m super interested in the rest of the series now! Four out of five. 

After the Green Withered by Kristen Ward: An interesting debut with a great message but a few problems with pacing and structure. Three and a half out of five.

A Game of Hide and Seek by Elizabeth Taylor: I found that again, a restrained, something-might-happen-but-then-it-doesn’t plot dull as ditchwater. Some characters were brilliant but unfortunately they didn’t feature heavily enough for me.  Three out of five. 

First Love by Gwendoline Riley: One word: depressing. I hate books that don’t have redemptive arcs and this was just one horrible character after another, even though the writing was excellent. Two and a half out of five.

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry: I didn’t hate this book but it dragged on and on with very little in the way of plot. It was beautifully written but I needed more action. Average. Two and a half out of five. 

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley: I hated this book – the confusing structure of some sentences, the character names, the incongruous details that didn’t sit well within the Victorian setting…urgh. I made it through to the end but my God it was a slog. One out of five. 

The Last Days of New Paris by China Mieville: I hated every single thing about this book and DNF’d it half way through. One out of five.

So that’s April wrapped up! Did you read better books than me? Are you making plans for the summer? Let me know in the comments!

TL;DR March Review

* Still no proper graphic.

Hello Lovely Readers!

Is it just me or has March flown by? Happy April everyone and Happy Easter/Passover/Day of Chocolate- white rabbits!

So March brought us the official beginning of spring and even though the weather is still cold and extremely rainy, signs of new life are starting to pop up everywhere. My daffodils are going strong, my veg seeds are coming up, my fruit trees are in bud and the tortoises have fully woken up and are rampaging round my kitchen.

I’ve made my annual plan for my allotment (including separate list of Things That Won’t Fit) and I’m slowly transferring seedlings across. I’ve had to hold of on planting quite a lot of things for fear of frost damage, but after this last little icy blast we should be good to go. This is the busiest time of the year gardening wise so I’ve got absolutely loads to do.

The house renovation project is going well – the plastering is finished, the fireplace has been re-pointed, the kitchen and bathroom are ordered and a fitter is due to start in a couple of weeks. We’ve also ordered the wood for the skirting boards and door architrave and sourced a new front door. Today I’ve been chipping bits of plaster off the floorboards and generally tidying up – we’re going to need a MASSIVE skip!

I’ve done a bit more antiquing and acquired a few more bits and pieces for the house, including this delightful copper kettle that’s over 100 years old:

…and also this old-but-still-useful trug…and of course a book (it’s Margaret Atwood and it was £2, how could I resist?)

This month I’ve focused entirely on book reviews (I still had some hanging around from last year) so I’ve cleared my backlog. I’m doing well with both my Netgalley backlist and all my current ARC’s are on schedule. I’ve read six titles for #Read Harder 2018 which is bang on schedule so I’ve allowed myself to go read new things that don’t have deadlines – what a novelty! I’d almost forgotten what its like just to read a book because you thought it looked interesting in a bookshop.

So, in case you missed any of my March posts, here’s the TL;DR three sentence book reviews:

Women by Chloe Caldwell – A brilliantly engaging piece of what appeared to be autobiographical fiction. Absolutely loved it, although I suspect lots of other people won’t get it. 🌟Five out of five 🌟

The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M Auel – I totally get why people love this series, but the rape scenes sat uncomfortably with me. Otherwise a really original epic. Four out of five.

Misogynation by Laura Bates – A hilarious collaboration of essays from the author of the Everyday Sexism project. Occasionally felt repetitive but overall a great read. Three and three quarters out of five

12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup – A moving, poignant, important read that drew obvious comparisons to Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself by Harriet Ann Jacobs and unfortunately came up lacking. An amazing story but slightly too impersonal. Three and a half out of five.

Bring Me Back by B. A. Paris – I had sooooo much criticism for this book, the details were awful and there were so many minor inconsistencies and errors that it drove me mad – and yet the main story was a total page turner. Appalling ending though. Three out of five.

Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed – more YA that I’m too old for. Fluffy nonsense but with an original Islamic angle that managed to hold my interest. Two and a half out of five. 

Bonfire by Krysten Ritter – Meh from start to finish. I expected a lot  more. Two and a half out of five. 

So that’s March wrapped up! Last month I said that I was hoping to have a bathroom fitted or at least on order by the end of March – it’s not fitted yet but it is on order and scheduled to be fitted in April so hopefully by the end of this month it might finally be in situ! Fingers crossed!

How was your March? What will you be up to next month? ? Let me know in the comments!

Much love,

Lucinda xxx