TL;DR June Review

Hello Bookworms!

SUMMER IS HERE!!! THIS IS NOT A DRILL!!!!

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I’m currently sitting by my french doors, smelling the flowers and picking at my peeling sunburn (yuck!) It’s been so hot recently (although, thankfully, quite cold at night) that everything in the garden has gone mad, although the previous heavy rain has meant that most things on the allotment have been ravaged by slugs 😦. So, I’m rushing to plant more beans, kale and french beans in the hopes that we might be able to salvage something.

I’ve been out and about this month for my Dad’s birthday (75!) including a nice family meal with my cousins. We went to Gardener’s World Live! where I bought some nice bits and pieces and generally had a lovely day out and I also went to a plant sale where everything was £1.25 and bought a load of stuff with my friend who is just getting into gardening – I think I’m a bad influence! I had a night out locally with friends too which was great and won a pub quiz with my library friends where we got a hamper of books to split up between us ☺

The saga of the other house is never-ending but we’ve had the gardens gravelled and a boiler installed so that’s another few jobs ticked off the list. I’ve got a big green wooden planter and a lavender to go inside it which can go in the front garden and I’ve given the back a bit of a tidy up too. In a couple of weeks my cousin is coming round to make a start on the bannisters and to box in the boiler so that’ll (hopefully) be the last of the major jobs done. We found a giant hole in the outside wall when we were digging down in the garden – it seems that someone knocked out some bricks to lay a gas pipe then removed it and never bothered to fill it back in! No wonder we had damp.

The library is starting to take over my life again! We’re short staffed due to holidays and there’s so much going on that it’s been pretty busy. I’ve got some exciting authors coming to do talks from September onwards which is great – just need to firm up dates and confirm content. I’ve never done anything like this before so it’s a bit trial and error but I’m hoping it will go ok.

I’ve had another bad month of blogging – I think I should revert to a reduced summer schedule! I’ve caught up with my Goodreads challenge with the help of a few cheeky novellas and I’m back into Read Harder, so at least there’s that. I’ve taken part in the Calendar Girls meme where I chose Women by Chloe Caldwell as my favourite book with LGBTQ+ representation and I published some Mid Month Mini Reviews and started a new series called Gateway Books where I looked at what books from my childhood influenced my reading tastes today.

I posted three reviews in total:

Affinity by Sarah Waters: I loved everything about this gothic lesbian sort-of romance. I don’t usually go for creepy books but I was totally sucked in – even though I had to stop reading it at night! Four and a half out of five stars.

The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal: I really enjoyed this beautifully crafted Victorian tale – it was so richly evocative of the era. Would highly recommend. Four out of five stars.

Things in Jars by Jess Kidd: I just couldn’t connect with this book at all. It’s well written, it was really imaginative and unique – just not for me. Two and a half out of five stars. 

 

So that’s June wrapped up! Are you slumping like me? Is anything interesting going on in your gardens? Let me know in the comments!

TL;DR June Review

Hello Bookworms!

My God June has been HOT. We haven’t had any rain in about a month and the temperature in my greenhouse is currently 115°C so I’m spending an awful lot of time watering plants.We don’t have access to running water at our allotment and our harvested rainwater is all used up so we’re having to take big plastic drums of tap water up there in the car. Carrying those things in this heat is not fun, believe me. 

So, now I’ve done my obligatory grumble about the glorious weather (I am British, it’s our national pastime) on to the rest of my life. For the first time ever I’m starting a monthly wrap up WITHOUT an excuse as to why I haven’t been blogging very much – something I said last month that I didn’t think I’d ever do. Gold star for me! 🌟

There’s no more news about the potential closure of our allotment. The non-hubs has been incredibly useful this month by casually suggesting that he knows someone who does contract work for the Environment Agency who could do an Environmental Impact Assessment for the site. It’s so big and overgrown that I’m confident it’ll be a significant wildlife habitat so hopefully that’ll put a spanner in the works of any planning applications. I regularly spot everything from foxes to birds of prey to unusual looking bees and butterflies up there so fingers crossed.

The house renovation has kicked up another gear – the bathroom and kitchen are fitted, the bathroom tiling is almost done, the plumbing for the shower is complete, the drainpipes and soffets have been replaced, we’ve bought new windowsills and edging strips (all the finishing bits you don’t think of) as well as some new light fittings. There’ll be a lag now where we’ll be waiting for a new boiler to be fitted (after the bathroom has been grouted) so I’m not expecting much progress next month. It’s too hot to be doing manual labour anyway!

It was my Dad’s birthday and Father’s Day all in the same week so we went out for a family meal to celebrate. We went to a lovely Italian restaurant and ate far too much (shortly before my mother telling me I’d put on a lot of weight recently) so I’m trying to be good and incorporate more exercise into my life. I’ve started a free 30 day yoga plan on doyouyoga.com which is actually a really nice way to stretch out in the morning or before bed and I’ve already noticed a difference. I also seem to have more energy which is a nice added bonus although that could be from the sugar in the FOUR THOUSAND TONNES of soft fruit that I’ve harvested from my allotment. I’ve given away boxes of strawberries and frozen loads but I’m running out of space to store everything! Now the blackcurrants have gone mad so I’ll definitely be making a summer pudding one day this week. What was that about me being good?

In terms of my blog, I made eight blog posts which is right on target. I also did a fun“Books I’ll Probably Never Read” tag which was a great change from recommending books!

I’ve caught up with my Les Mis read along, yay! I’m a bit behind in my Read Harder challenge but I’ve still got six months left so I’m not stressing. My ARC’s are pretty much up to date except for one book that I just can’t get into. Also, I finally managed to hit 80% feedback on NetGalley, hurrah! I didn’t get a badge though? Does that only happen when you’re 81%+ or have they just given up awarding them?

I wrote seven book reviews this month and they were pretty evenly split between great and terrible. So a weird reading month really but I’ve got some exciting books up for review in July so looking forwards to that. 

The TL;DR overview for June is:

Tetris by Box Brown: A fantastic graphic novel about the origins of the game Tetris. An unbelievable story that really suited being told in a simple cartoon format. Amazing! Four and a half out of five.

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata: A super cute story about fitting in with society. It reminded me of a Japanese Eleanor Oliphant…A great short read. Four out of five.

Bottled Goods by Sophie Van Llewyn: An odd little novella which provides an evocative look into life in 1970’s communist Romania. Fascinating, gothic and slightly sinister – I really enjoyed it. Four out of five.

Elefant by Martin Suter: A slightly confusing, overly graphic story of how to genetically engineer a tiny pink elephant. A weird mix of science and magical realism with waaay too much detail about elephant ejaculation. Disappointing. Three out of five.

Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny: A book that seemed to lack the fundamentals of both a plot and a structure. A meandering nonsense of a novel, I found it incredibly slow going. Two and a half out of five.

I Still Dream by James Smythe: Another slow going dirge of a book. I was so disappointed – I loved the first few chapters but then the plot fell off a cliff face. Two and a half out of five.

Girl With Dove by Sally Bayley: A confusing as hell memoir with too many unfamiliar characters, a lack of action and super slow pacing which ruined my enjoyment of this novel. A great idea poorly executed. Two out of five.

So that’s June wrapped up – where is the time going? Happy summer heatwave everyone!

How was your June? Have you read any of the books I read last month? Let me know in the comments!

Much love,

Lucinda xxx