I hadn’t realised how many books I had read this month until I came to take this photo, the pile is taller than Mr Hoppity which might be record for me? Anyway I will try to keep it as snappy as I can but it has definitely been a mixed bag this month. With the exception of one that was lent by a friend, they are all books that have been sat on my shelves waiting to be read for years which I am pleased about. I think this is the longest I can remember going without buying a new book (and I don’t think for one minute that I will make it a whole year) but so far so good!
First up was My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella which was a lovely fluffy read. I always enjoy her books and this was no exception. It was a story about Katie Brenner’s not so perfect life beyond her super cool Instagram feed (so something I’m sure many of us can relate to!) Twentysomething Katie is chasing her dreams in London when suddenly everything comes crashing down. But it turns out that the woman who ruined her dreams has a far from perfect life herself so they have much more in common than it seems. There is a nice love interest thrown in for good measure too. I really enjoyed this book and raced through it. Even if you haven’t read any other Sophie Kinsella books before, this is well worth a read.
Next was The Lollipop Shoes by Joanne Harris which was passed on to me from a friend after I read (and loved) Chocolat the other month. This is a sequel and to be honest I kept my expectations low because I knew that no other book could come close to Chocolat for me. I read it at a time at a time when things were bleak and I needed to believe that there was a little magic in the world, it was such a special book. In some ways it was lovely to pick up Vianne Rocher’s story again but it made me a little sad that she wasn’t quite the same person that we met before. For me, The Lollipop Shoes just didn’t have the same magic and actually at times I found it really rather sinister. I can’t say that I really enjoyed it but I am still glad I read it and it won’t put me off reading the next book in the series.
Then there was H for Hawk by Helen Macdonald which I found really hard work. It is classed as a nature writing/biography and I’ve never read anything quite like it before. As a child Helen Macdonald is determined to become a falconer and then years later when her father dies she was struck deeply by grief and became obsessed with the idea of training her own goshawk. The way she writes about her obsession with the hawk and her descriptions of nature were beautiful and the brief moments she touches on her own memories of grief are so heartfelt. But her own narrative is interwoven with what can only be called a study of somebody called TH White who wrote about training his own hawk in the 1930s. I found it really distracting, it honestly felt like she was padding out the story with his when in fact her own story was much more interesting. Towards the end I have to confess to skim reading the parts about TH White because they were sending me to sleep. That sounds terrible, doesn’t it? But it’s true! It’s a shame because I really wanted to like this book and the tiny parts of it that I enjoyed were truly wonderful.
After two not so good books I needed something lighter to break things up a little so in came Sweet Temptation by Lucy Diamond which was just the trick! It was every bit as fluffy as the title suggests and was a story about love, friendship and cake. The three main characters join a slimming group for three very different reasons and as they all count the calories, new friendships develop and secrets are shared. I’ve never read any of Lucy Diamond’s books before but she is a lovely writer so I will have to look out for more I really enjoyed it.
And it seems that I inadvertently left the best until last this month with The Girl Who Just Appeared by Jonathan Harvey. I have read two of his other books and enjoyed them but this knocks spots off the both of them, for me this was in a whole new league. I absolutely loved it. So much so in fact that I refused to get out of bed this morning until I had finished it. You know when you get to that point towards the end of a book where you just can’t put it down? I’m sure the Germans must have a word for it? Well… that. The story skips between Holly in London in the present day who was adopted as a baby and Darren living in Liverpool in 1981 during the Toxteth Riots. Holly believes that finding Darren will give her the answers she craves but it turns out that the girl who just appeared isn’t quite who we thought she was. I won’t give any spoilers because you should read it for yourself but it truly is a brilliant book and up there as one of my very favourites this year so far.
So that was me this month – a couple of lovely fluffy reads, two not so great books and one absolute corker! What have you been reading this month?