TL;DR March Review

Hello Bookworms!

Oooh, for the first time today I went out without a coat! I mean, I was quite cold but nonetheless I survived! The central heating has had to go back on again at night so it’s not THAT warm but it definitely feels like Summer is on it’s way. Check out the Hummingbird Hawk Moth that arrived in my garden last week:

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March has been a month of library admin. I’ve got myself involved in three different committees (Fundraising, Social Media and HR) as well as generally helping out. We’ve got a launch date set up for the 6th April (when we officially become a community library) which is going to involve all kinds of fun stuff so there’ll be lots to do for that too. I’m even marshalling a fun run! It’s been really heartwarming seeing how great the local community has been at supporting our cause – people have been so generous.

Going out in March has mostly consisted of a library social event in the pub, a family trip out for Mother’s Day, a brunch meeting in a cafe (again with new library friends) and for a family meal for my non-hubs Uncle’s 80th.

We’ve slowly been cracking on with the other house, finishing lots of odd jobs that needed doing. I’ve befriended a local cat called Marmaduke who is SO floofy and always comes in for a nose around.

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I’m way ahead in the Read Harder Challenge and, despite initially loving Don Quioxte I’ve officially DNF’d the book. It’s just one long farce and for me, the joke got old pretty quickly. I’ll pick the challenge back up again for the next book – The Count of Monte Cristo. I’m also ahead in my Goodreads Challenge so overall doing pretty well!

This month, I took part in the March Calendar Girls meme where I chose Skyward by Brandon Sanderson as my favourite book with a strong female lead. I continued Sorting Out the Shelves, I wrote an A-Z of me Part One and Two, I did a fun recommendations post for Books to Get You Through Brexit and I did the Good Reading Habits Tag. I was also Blog of the Day again for my review of Circe (which boosted my stats sky high) so thank you to everyone who participated in reading and sharing my post! Somehow, the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction found the review and contacted me on Twitter to ask if I want to take part in a Q&A with the author, Madeline Miller 😯😯😯 which was a huge honour, even if I didn’t have long to prepare my question:

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I posted six reviews (and also some more mini reviews!) this month:

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton: A brilliant, if slightly confusing book with a thoroughly engrossing plotline. Couldn’t put it down! Four and a half out of five.

Circe by Madeline Miller: Such an original concept, which sounds stupid for a re-telling but her perspective and lyrical prose felt totally fresh. I’ve already got hold of her previous book! Four out of five.

Golden State by Ben H. Winters: I loved the old school sci-fi feel to this book but was badly let down by the ending. Such a shame! Three and a half out of five. 

Lucky Star by Holly Curtis: Quite an enjoyable look at some nostalgic, realistic YA but I thought that the overall structure of the novel needed some work. Three out of five. 

Notes to Self by Emilie Pine: An interesting, if somewhat depressing read, I struggled to emotionally connect with the author. Three out of five.

Greatest Hits by Laura Barnett: DNF’d at 60%. I REALLY gave this one a good go but the meandering storyline went precisely nowhere and I got bored. No idea why this is such a long book! Two out of five. 

So that’s March wrapped up! Is Spring definitely in the air where you are? Are you looking forwards to Easter? Let me know in the comments!

TL;DR February Review

Hello Bookworms!

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Welcome to spring! Considering I started last month’s review with the word snow, this month has been positively balmy. The bulbs are flowering, the tortoises are wandering around eating everything in sight and we haven’t had the heating on in weeks. I even saw my neighbour going out in shorts and a t-shirt!

February was my birthday month so I went out a fair bit – I even went out out to a nightclub! I felt very old and had a two-day hangover so I’m not doing that again. I also had a few nice meals out and used my National Trust membership to go to Upton House and Gardens where we had fun looking at the renaissance artwork collection, especially as there were some hilarious kids asking brilliant questions like “what’s God?” and “is that a cat?” (It was the 12 apostles) 😂😂😂

Due to my birthday/valentines/hangovers we haven’t done too much to the house – I can’t reach a corner of the ceiling even on ladders so my progress has been somewhat thwarted. Once the non-hubs pulls his finger out and finishes it off for me we’ll be back on track.

I also have some excellent bookish news – I’m going to be a library volunteer! I have mixed feelings about the role – obviously I’m not a librarian and it’s a shame that the local residents are going to receive a reduced service due to our lack of expertise (it’ll be entirely volunteer run) but I’m excited about the opportunity and it’ll keep the place going which I guess is the most important thing.

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I’m still doing well with the 2019 Read Harder Challenge but I’ve fallen behind a bit with my Chapter-a-Day Read-Along – oops. I’ll have to try extra hard in March to get back on track.

This month, I took part in the February Calendar Girls meme where I chose Lullaby by Leila Slimani as my favourite book by a black author. I continued Sorting Out the Shelves, I took part in the Unpopular Opinions Tag and I also did a Valentine’s day post recommending books that feature different types of love.

I posted six reviews (and also some mini reviews!) this month:

The Martian by Andy Weir: Just fantastic, I loved everything about this brilliantly entertaining book – except for the gardening advice! 🌟Five out of five🌟

Lullaby by Leila Slimani: A brilliantly twisted, disturbing novel that kept me engrossed from the first page to the last. Great stuff! Four out of five.

Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen: Unexpectedly great, I really enjoyed this super fun, quirky book. A great easy read. Four out of five. 

The Guggenheim Mystery by Robin Stevens and Siobhan Dowd: This was such a lovely middle grade read, really fun and with great autism representation. Four out of five.

The Never Dawn by R. E. Palmer: Intriguing and engrossing but I had a few issues with pacing and I wasn’t a fan of the ending. Three and a half out of five. 

The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan: Again, I wasn’t expecting a lot from this novella but I was pleasantly surprised by the great writing. If you’re a romance fan I’d definitely check this one out! Three out of five.

So that’s February wrapped up! Do you feel like spring is here? Did you have a good Valentine’s Day? 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