TL;DR May Review

​Hello Bookworms!

Well, what an exciting month May has been. Unfortunately this has meant my blog has been a bit neglected, plus some technical issues have meant that I had to write out a quite complicated review three times before I could finally publish it – so again, more time wasted. Oh well. I think I’ve figured out a solution so it shouldn’t be a problem in the future.

*One day I will start a monthly review without an excuse as to why I haven’t been blogging very much (not this month though!)*

May has been the Month Of Summer, meaning the weather has made all my plants go mental. Some things are way ahead of schedule, others just won’t germinate. I’ve managed to secure some space in a state of the art greenhouse and even that hasn’t had much impact. It looks like it’s just going to be one of those years.

Speaking of the crops, we’ve had some pretty devastating news regarding the allotment that we rent. Unfortunately, it seems that the whole site has been put up for sale and the rumour is that the council are going to allow houses to be built on it. This has made me beyond sad and angry so I’m investigating ways to try to fight the planners. As the non-hubs said, “there’s always one wanker who reads the small print…and I am that wanker!”

The house renovation project is s-l-o-w-l-y gaining some momentum; the kitchen is almost fitted and so is the bathroom. Finally! The non-hubs has been tiling the bathroom (again s-l-o-w-l-y) so it actually feels like we’re getting somewhere. We’ve (I’ve) also cleared the front and back gardens and got rid of all the crap lying around – we’ve filled the biggest skip we could hire so full that we’ve had comments from passers by! I’ve also finished painting the front door (at one point blasting it with a hairdryer to dry it enough to be able to shut it and go home). The joys of adulting!

Oh, and we pulled down the “conservatory” which actually turned out to be half a greenhouse:

And we knocked down those breeze block walls too. And bought light fittings. And sorted some flooring. There is still so much to do it just feels never-ending but we are making progress.

Things that have hindered us this month include some delightful rising damp that has appeared on the new plaster. We’re chipping it off to investigate.

Happily, I’ve been out quite a lot this month, even though a very much looked forwards to Eurovision Party failed to materialise. I’ve been out to Warwick Arts Centre twice, once to watch My Dad Wrote a Porno and once to see Ben Folds. MDWAP was hilarious as expected and Ben Folds was brilliant – he’s such a amazing musician. He even got the crowd singing a four part harmony and filmed it on his phone.

I also went for an afternoon tea and tour of Stoneleigh Abbey, which was really lovely and so interesting. Stoneleigh Abbey is apparently what Jane Austen based Mansfield Park on (she gets about a bit – or perhaps all stately homes get to lay claim to her work). This is my mother’s idea of appropriate clothing to wear for a day of walking round the grounds (they’re block heels – walking heels!).

In terms of my blog, I made seven blog posts which is actually quite good going for me. I even did a sort of discussion post about the top 100 stories that shaped the world (I do hate writing those) that literally no one read and appears to have deleted itself. If you didn’t see it, you didn’t miss out on much!

I had a lovely surprise mention in a post called “Bloggers Who Deserve More Attention” by the wonderful Orangutan Librarian who was celebrating three years of being an amazing blogger. I definitely didn’t expect it and I’ve gained quite a few new followers as a result – hello!

I’m still a few weeks behind in my Les Mis read along but that’s only a couple of hours worth of actual reading time, so I’m not stressing too much. I’m one book behind in my Read Harder challenge but again that’s not terrible – I’ll catch up by the end of next month. My ARCs are still three books outstanding so I’ll focus on those for the next week or so. 

I wrote six book reviews this month, four of which were solid 4/5 star reviews. That’s pretty unusual for someone as difficult to please as me, so I think May might be my most successful reading month so far! However, and for the first time ever I awarded no stars to a novel- read on to find out why:

The Apollo Illusion by Shari Lopatin: A super fun YA novel that’s pacey, intriguing and unique. Thank you Shari for letting me read it! Four out of five.

Clean by Juno Dawson: A captivating page turner about addiction with great representation, realistic outcomes and characters that will win you over. Loved it. Four out of five.

The Lido by Libby Page: A gorgeous, summery read about female friendship across generations, community and standing up for what you believe in. Perfect for holidays. Four out of five. 

Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough: An addictive thriller with an extremely clever, intricately woven plot. You definitely won’t guess the ending! Four out of five.

A Good Time to be a Girl by Helena Morissey: A fairly dull novel about one woman’s idea to get more females into positions on the board of directors. Good for business students but not recommended for anyone else. Two out of five.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. It’s just an awful, irresponsible way to glamorize suicide. I wavered between being really annoyed and really bored. NO STARS

So that’s May wrapped up – and I finally have the majority of both my kitchen and bathroom fitted! Hopefully by the end of June I won’t have rising damp any more (a girl can dream!)

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

Much love,

Lucinda xxx

TL;DR April Review

Hello Bookworms!

I don’t know what it is about April that sends me into a reading and blogging slump but it seems that every year I unintentionally give myself a month off. Perhaps it’s because everything kicks off in the garden/on the allotment, perhaps it’s the weather warning up that makes me go out more or possibly it’s because April is The Month Of Family Birthdays but anyway, enough excuses. I had shit to do, ok? 😆

April has been pretty cold and wet here, except for a mini heatwave that fooled everyone into thinking that summer was on it’s way. I spent two days frantically digging out summer clothing and dealing with my jungle of a greehouse, only to revert back to wooly jumpers and rain battered plants two days later. 

The house renovation project is turning into a black hole for my finances – last weekend I paid the balance on the kitchen and bathroom, bought a new front door and had it fitted, got the paint to paint it with, bought the skirting board and door architrave and all the bathroom tiles. The bathroom is finally being fitted next week and once that’s done the kitchen will be going in too. There’s still some prep work to be done, plus various other bits that need our attention (boiler, skirting boards, floors, interior doors etc.) so loads to do still. I can’t wait to get that skip ordered!

I’ve been to various places for the aforementioned birthdays, but the best day out was Chatsworth House. 

Me and the non-hubs had a lovely walk round the grounds and house, which was huge and really interesting. If the house looks familiar, it’s where the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice was filmed. Sadly, Mr Darcy did not make an appearance. If you’re in the Derbyshire area, I’d highly recommend a visit. 

In terms of my blog, I only made two posts which is quite frankly rubbish and has put me behind with everything, including my Les Mis read along. I got through 11 chapters last night though (which is more impressive than its sounds – they’re really short). My ARC’s now have three books outstanding so I need to get on it. 

I wrote a fun discussion post called Describe Yourself Like a Male Author Would which I hasten to point out meant #not all men but was intended to highlight lazy stereotyping and needless descriptions of women’s bodies/attractiveness by authors of both genders. Have a go and let me know in the comments!

I also wrote one solitary book review (it was a good one though) – here’s the TL;DR three sentence summary:

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman: An absolutely enthralling novella with later upon layer of symbolism. An absolute must read forgotten classic. 🌟Five out of five🌟

So that’s April wrapped up! It seems like every month I say this, but hopefully by the end of May I’ll have a bathroom fitted (and maybe a kitchen too!)

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

Much love,

Lucinda xxx

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

TL;DR February Review

*I really must make a proper graphic for this

**I have no idea how one goes about doing such a thing

Hello Lovely Readers!

How are we all coping with The Beast from the East? (For anyone not UK based, that’s the sub zero weather and two inches of snow that’s ground the entire country to a halt). I hope you’re all staying warm inside ☺.

February has been and gone like a whirlwind (or rather, blizzard) and with it my birthday, which I spent in the pub with family (unknowingly spreading my Killer Cold germs) and antiquing with the non-hubs (where I acquired this beautiful copper jardinière):

We’ve also made quite a lot of progress on our house renovation project. The electrics are finished, the plastering is almost done and we’ve added a stone hearth ready for the fake (it is going to be a rental property) wood burner. This has meant lots of nights in an unheated property during the coldest winter for years, but it’s been worth it ☺. 

Due to catching consumption (oh ok, just a bad cold) I’ve been a bit quiet on my blog. I did hit 200 followers, which was great and I’ve discovered quite a few new things, from the meaning of 1337 (thank you for the explanations nerdy tech friends), to the importance of water in a garden for attracting wildlife (thank you Sarah, I can’t believe what a difference it’s made – I now have a Robin who thinks I’m his bitch) and the difference between the super difficult (more boring) US Amazon 100 books to read in a lifetime and the UK version – thank you Liz for noticing this!

Quote of the month goes to The Orangutan Librarian for “that’s not a spoiler you can’t spoil a shit book” as mentioned in The Nope Tag. I also highly recommend reading her series of classic literature recommendations where we debated my hatred of anything with the “classic” label attached to it and she made me realise I was being totally irrational and I should just go and read Emma.

I reviewed five books this month (even through I read lots more) – in case you missed them here’s the TL;DR (in order from best to worst – you’re welcome):

White Teeth by Zadie Smith. A sprawling, majestic opus of a book. Would definitely recommend. Three and three quarter stars. 

Fingers in the Sparkle Jar by Chris Packham.Flowery language, oblique references and a timeline that was all over the shop detracted from the novel but it was still a good read and an interesting #ownvoice look at autism. Three and a half stars.

The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale. An amazing premise pretty much ruined by following a random sub plot. Such a shame as this could have been brilliant. Three stars.

The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantu. A really honest look at the border between the US and Mexico but mundane dialogue ruined it somewhat. Two and a half stars.

The Taste of Blue Light by Lydia Ruffles. What even was this book? Just a bit shit, really. Two stars.

So that’s February wrapped up! I’m really looking forwards to March, as it’s when I get going properly with vegetable planting and gardening. I’ll also be able to crack on with decorating and hopefully might even have a new bathroom fitted (or at least on order) by the end of the month. Exciting!!! 

How was your February? What will you be up to next month? Are you as cold as me? Let me know in the comments!

Much love,

Lucinda xxx