Is it just me, or does this peculiar Pandemic Life seem to simultaneously go crazy fast and at a snail’s pace?
On the one hand, HOW IS IT JULY TOMORROW?!, whilst on the other, IT IS AT LEAST FOUR YEARS SINCE MARCH!
I’m not entirely sure how both of these are managing to be a thing at once, but they are, so there we go.
Another thing that has fluctuated over the last couple of months, is my reading. I have gone from devouring books at a rate of knots, to basically forgetting how to hold a book, and back again.
I have, however, managed to get back on track for hitting my 75 book target in 2020, so that’s good. The total currently stands at 40/75 which is just over half way and we are half way through the year.
What I Read (Books & Audiobooks):
- Viper’s Daughter (Chronicles of Ancient Darkness #7) by Michelle Paver: I loved returning to this universe – it was like walking back into your favourite place after a long time and finding it just as you left it. Torak, Ren, and Wolf found themselves on another high-stakes journey full of spirit-walker magic and natural dangers and I can’t wait for more! 5*
- The Night Is Darkening Round Me by Emily Brontë: A selection of poetry, which I confess wasn’t entirely up my street. 3*
- Meet The Twitches (Teacup House #1) by Hayley Scott: Brilliant children’s chapter book with stunning full colour illustrations. Arthur and I really enjoyed the adventures of the tiny toy bunnies, it was perfect for sharing out loud. 4*
- The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale: My book swap title for May, I had no idea what to expect from this one but I loved it. Spanning both World Wars and delicately exploring the different sides of love, jealousy, creativity, hope, fear, and loss – the juxtaposition of the magical toy shop and the horrors of living through a war was very clever. 5*
- Here Lie The Secrets by Emma Young: A fun, slightly spooky read about ghosts and ghost hunting – trying to decide if they are just in our heads or if they are really real. It had lots of atmosphere and character. 4*
- Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff: ARGH! WHY DO I KEEP PUTTING MYSELF THROUGH THIS?! Was basically my reaction to the end of this, as I sobbed pitifully into a cushion. I’m almost certain Kaufman and Kristoff are evil geniuses who take energy from the tears of their addicted readers. They are the King and Queen of Sci-Fi and I grovel at their bookshelves. 5*
- Red Rising (Red Rising Saga #1) by Pierce Brown (AudioBook): This wasn’t what I expected it was going to be, but it was brilliant. Sort of Hunger Games-y but a bit more Sci-Fi, and with added wolves (which we all know is the way to my heart). It was a little slow to get into, but after the first few chapters I was making excuses to do things that meant I could listen to more. I have the second book ready and waiting! 5*
- Date Me, Bryson Keller by Kevin Van Whye: Super cute, boy-meets-boy YA romance that left me feeling all cute and fluffy, but also made me cry in the middle. Bryson, the hottest boy in the year agrees to a dare to date the first person who asks him out on a Monday for that week only, every week for a school term. A string of girls fight to be The One, each hoping to be the reason Bryson fails the dare and stays with them forever. But nobody said it had to be a girl, so Kai takes his chance and asks Bryson out and things go from there. 5*
- If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo: Amanda is starting at a new school and moving in with her father, it’s a lot of change but it is also a chance for a brand new start. In her old school, she was known as Andrew, but nobody here needs to know that. Tentatively Amanda starts to make friends, and experiences positive attention of boys for the first time, but it’s hard to know who to trust with your biggest secrets. Heartwrenching, hopeful, beautiful, funny, and sad, If I Was Your Girl is a brilliant read that sensitively gives an insight into the life of a teenage transgender girl. It makes you think, at the same time as being a brilliant story of friendship, family, and love. Meredith Russo’s writing is honest and heartfelt, and you can tell that it draws on personal experience and knowledge. 5*
- Don’t Call Me Grumpycorn by Sarah McIntyre: The second Grumpycorn book, and the friends are off to space! Grumpycorn is determined to discover the most FABULOUS planet and be the first to walk on the surface, like the magnificent unicorn that he is. Charming and funny, this is a brilliant second story that made me chuckle out loud – I do love the Grumpycorn gang. 5*
- Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge (AudioBook & Physical Copy): A British-based book about racism, anti-racism, and life in Britain as a member of Black society. It covers everything from the history of the Empire, to the modern day, and offers an insight into all the things it is easy to be unaware of, or ignorant of, as a white person. Uncomfortable to read, but important and in a style that read a lot like a blog, I am super glad I picked this up and I intend to refer back and reread it in the future to remind myself of the fury I feel about the state of the world right now, in case my white privilege means I get to forget about it at any point. 4/5*
- The Boy At The Back Of The Class by Onjali Q. Raúf: I bought this for Tori, and she made me read it (I was going to anyway!) because she thought it was brilliant. It was thoughtful, funny, charming, sad, and made me super angry (it was supposed to, not because it was bad) – it’s the kind of book I want to make everybody read. I will do a proper review soon about why. 5/5*
- It’s A Dog’s Life (Simon’s Cat #6) by Simon Tofield: It’s a Simon’s Cat book, it’s automatically amazing. Extra points for it being about cats and dogs and having a few cartoons in there that perfectly sum up Jet and Amber’s relationship!! 5/5*
- Hidden Figures (Young Reader’s Edition) by Margot Lee Shetterley: I read this out loud to the Smalls as part of our home education this month. An interesting read that was engaging for all of us and sparked LOTS of different conversations. 4.5/5*
What I Listened To (Podcasts):
- A Grown-Up Guide To Dinosaurs narrated by Prof. Ben Garrod: A fun, six episode Audible Original podcast, all about re-embracing the child-like love of dinosaurs most of us abandon as we grow up. Gently scientific and super-interesting, I learned loads of cool dino facts, and stuff about how they are studied and how we have learned more and more over time. Recommended if you fancy delving into the land of the dinosaurs in a more grown up way. 5/5*