A month in review: October

I feel like this has been a month of intense reading.

I usually average 4-5 books a month – what with all the busyness, but October has been different.

It started with me lying by the pool, reading furiously to distract myself from the fact that I’d ABANDONED my work for a week (some might say I’m a workaholic, you see.)

Then I had a bit of a declutter at home, and came across exciting reads I’d forgotten about.

And then I signed up for the Semi-Charmed Winter Reading Challenge – something that always inspires a flood of new books.

And THEN I was given the best early Christmas present ever (a Kindle Paperwhite) – because my boyfriend has to get up at 4.30am for work, and the special back light means I can read while he sleeps, without hurting my eyes or damaging my sleep cycles.

I’ve also been a-book-buying. It’s a sickness, really. I could probably last the rest of my life without buying any more books, and never run out of fun things to read. I can’t help it. When I’m in that kind of mood, Amazon, beware!

I thought I’d share my October reads with you – no proper reviews, just a few scattered thoughts. It’s kinda my way.

The Lanvin Murders by Angela M. Sanders

the-lanvin-murders

I think this is what they call a “cozy” mystery. In this series our Miss Marple figure is a young lady who runs a vintage clothing store and eats a lot of pasta – what’s not to love there?

Grab your copy here.

The Extra Large Medium by Helen Slavin

the-extra-large-medium

I adored this. It was so novel having such an ORDINARY protagonist (apart from the “she sees dead people”). Honestly, she was full-on neurotic, but the story was brilliant.

Grab your copy here.

Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters

crocodile-on-the-sandbank

The first in a series of eleventy million Amelia Peabody mysteries, set in Egypt in the 1900’s. A book that I would feel comfortable recommending to my Granny (no hanky panky to speak of). I enjoyed it, I’ll probably reading Book #2.

Grab your copy here.

The Effortless Everyday: How to design your daily life to free up time and energy for what really matters by Katie Lee

the-effortless-everyday

I heard Katie Lee being interviewed on the Being Boss podcast a few months ago, and I just took to her. This book is most definitely self-helpy, but it’s the most non-nonsensical of any that I’ve read up to now. The concept is simple – make teeny tiny changes to your habits until you’re living the life you want.

Grab your copy here.

Lily’s House by Cassandra Parkin

lilys-house

Read the review here.

Grab your copy here.

Room by Emma Donoghue

room

Chilling. Brilliant, but chilling. I listened to the audiobook while I was decorating, and the narrators were just as amazing as the writing itself. In a nutshell, this is a story of a mother and son who have spent the past few years locked in the shed of a pervy kidnapper. He has never seen the outside world, and she has let him believe there is no outside. I wholeheartedly recommend.

Grab your copy here.

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

the-readers-of-broken-wheel

Easy reading at its nicest. Kind of predictable, but it never claims to be a great mystery. I will always have a soft spot for any story that revolves around books, reading, and a cast of eccentric characters, and this has all of those in spades.

Grab your copy here.

Real Murders by Charlaine Harris

real-murders

I dabbled in a couple of other series by Charlaine Harris and left feeling underwhelmed. This one, however, is a gem. For starters, the protagonist has the most wonderful name – Aurora Teagarden. Secondly she’s a little bit twisty – small town librarian and member of the morbid murder club. A fun new series to add to my crime novel obsession, that’s for sure.

Grab your copy here.

Skinny Italian: Eat It and Enjoy It – Live La Bella Vita and Look Great Too! By Teresa Giudice

skinny-italian

I hate even admitting that I read this. Yes, I’m guilty of watching The Real Housewives of New Jersey. I’m holding my hands up. Last Christmas I sat and watched three seasons back-to-back. Also, I love food, especially carby Italian things, so I thought I’d give this a whirl. Not the best, if I’m honest. I know it’s probably no big shock to anyone who knows anything about this lady, but recipes aside, it was kind of classless.

Grab your copy here.

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

secret-life-of-bees

Now THIS was a yummy read. One of those heart-warming, then heart-wrenching, then heart-warming again stories. I have this weird soft spot for anything set in the South (of America, not England, I have limited tolerance for English southerners). And then another soft spot for any books about overcoming the racial divide, so this had me totally gooey from the start. This is one of those that will be going back on my shelf for a re-read.

Grab your copy here.

Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet by Charlie N. Holmberg

magic-bitter-magic-sweet

This book had such promise. All I really knew at the start was that it was about magic cake. And what could be better than magic cake? Well, apparently not this book. I struggle with most fantasy novels that aren’t anchored in reality. I want to BELIEVE everything I read, and this just didn’t do it for me. I think a bit more time could have been spent or world-building, and a little less on insanity.

Grab your copy here.

Blood Red, Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick

blood-red-snow-white

On the surface there is nothing is *wrong* with this book… but there IS. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m kind of in love with the Romanovs. I have been ever since I saw that animated version of Anastasia, and the love was only strengthened last year when I read the world’s heftiest biography of the four sisters. So I think perhaps I’m just incapable of enjoying a book that doesn’t show them in a favourable light… does that make me biased? (Pretend I care.)

Grab your copy here.

My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell

my-family-and-other-animals

I recently bingewatched The Durrells, the most deliciously quaint drama starring Keeley Hawes. When I found out it was actually based on a series of books, I had to get in there. This is the first installment. It is a lovely read, but I have to admit I was a tad disappointed. I think it’s purely based  on the fact that I loved the televised version so much. It’s still worth a go though – I’ll definitely be reading volumes 2 and 3 at some point!

Grab your copy here.

Reading Goals: November

I’ve recently surpassed by Goodreads annual reading target. Again.

It was originally at 25, and I’ve now read 45 books this year. So I did a crazy, listened to my boyfriend and put it up to 55 and NOW I’M BEHIND SCHEDULE.

I’m not super confident that I’ll get there but I’m gonna try!

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