Let the book challenge sign ups begin!! I spotted this challenge over at The Secret Library Site today and thought it sounded lots of fun, so I wanted in!
It’s hosted by Carolina over at Carolina Book Nook and it’s pretty simple to follow!

The challenge runs from January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021. You can sign up any time, but only count books that you read between those dates.

Read a book in any format (hard copy, ebook, audio) with a title that fits into each category.

Don’t use the same book for more than one category.

Creativity for matching the categories is not only allowed, it’s encouraged!

You can choose your books as you go or make a list ahead of time.

And here’s the list of categories for 2021;

I’ve got a couple of titles in mind already but will have fun hunting out options for the other categories!! Should be a fun reading challenge!!

#20BooksOfSummer – It is back!!! I’m in! Are you?? #20BooksOfSummer20

How could I not join in again?! My favourite time of the year is back!! The lovely Cathy over at 746 Books is hosting yet another fabulous 20 (or 10, or 15!) Books of Summer!  There are very few rules! You pick your own TBR, your own target and then from 1st June 2020 – 1st September 2020 your aim is to read those books! What could be more simple?!!

Well, deciding on the list each year is never easy – and then sticking to it is even harder as there’s always new books that tempt me! – but this year I need to shift a few books off the shelves (haha!) so I’ve gone for a mix of 10 books that have been loitering about for quite some time, as well as 10 non fiction books as I always say I want to read more! Well, now is my chance!!  Whether I stick rigidly to the list is another matter……

Here’s my 20! Click on the title for a link to the GoodReads page…

Starting with the Non Fiction pile…

The Last Giants by Levison Wood

A Secret Sisterhood by Emily Midorikawa

Diary of A Modern Country Gardener

Owl Sense by Miriam Darlington

Swimming With Seals by Victoria Whitworth

The Secret Life of Books by Tom Mole

The Otters’ Tale by Simon Cooper

The Way of the Hare by Marianne Taylor

Wally Funks’ Race For Space by Sue Nelson

How To Catch A Mole by Marc Hamer

And now for the Fiction stack…

Fishbowl by Bradley Somer

Women’s Weird; Strange Stories by Women 1890 – 1940

Slade House by David Mitchell

Madeleine is Sleeping by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum

Witchborn by Nicholas Bowling

Snowblind by Ragnar Jonasson

Sea of Lost Love by Santa Montefiore

Happy Days of the Grump by Tuomas Kyro

A Summer of Drowning by John Burnside

Perfume by Patrick Suskind


So there we have it! I hope to do all 20, there may be some changes, I may lose some sleep….. but it’s all good fun and I can’t wait for June 1st to be here!!


My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 2nd November 2019 #bookblogger

Hello! Happy November! Hope you survived Halloween in one piece – we even have leftover sweets and treats after a lack of trick or treaters…. result!! Perfect snacking options reading for some reading time!!

And speaking of reading I managed to finish another 5 books of this week which has taken me over the 200 mark on GoodReads for my 2019 Reading Challenge which i’m rather happy about! And has it made any difference to the TBR mountain….. of course it blooming hasn’t!! Don’t know why I bother haha!!

Here’s my look back at the week gone by…


The Brothers York by Thomas Penn  – 4 stars

Wham! George & Me by Andrew Ridgeley – 5 stars

The Name of all Things by Jenn Lyons – 5 stars

Finding Henry Applebee by Celia Reynolds – 3 stars

The Last Village by Audla English – 3.5stars


Just the one from Netgalley this week..


published by John Hunt Publishing Ltd

Out January 2020

Sir Francis Bryan was Henry VIII’s most notorious ambassador and one of his closest companions. Bryan was a man of many talents; jouster, poet, rake and hell-raiser, gambler, soldier, sailor and diplomat. He served his king throughout his life and unlike many of the other men who served Henry VIII, Bryan kept his head and outlived his sovereign. This book tells the story of his life from coming to court at a young age through all his diplomatic duties to his final years in Ireland. The latest book from the best-selling author of Lady Katherine Knollys: The Unacknowledged Daughter of King Henry VII


treated myself to a signed copy from Foyles 

From Prince himself comes the brilliant coming-of-age-and-into-superstardom story of one of the greatest artists of all time—featuring never-before-seen photos, original scrapbooks and lyric sheets, and the exquisite memoir he began writing before his tragic death.

Prince was a musical genius, one of the most talented, beloved, accomplished, popular, and acclaimed musicians in history. He was also a startlingly original visionary with an imagination deep enough to whip up whole worlds, from the sexy, gritty funk paradise of “Uptown” to the mythical landscape of Purple Rain to the psychedelia of “Paisley Park.” But his most ambitious creative act was turning Prince Rogers Nelson, born in Minnesota, into Prince, the greatest pop star of his era.

The Beautiful Ones is the story of how Prince became Prince—a first-person account of a kid absorbing the world around him and then creating a persona, an artistic vision, and a life, before the hits and fame that would come to define him. The book is told in four parts. The first is composed of the memoir he was writing before his tragic death, pages that brings us into Prince’s childhood world through his own lyrical prose. The second part takes us into Prince’s early years as a musician, before his first album released, through a scrapbook of Prince’s writing and photos. The third section shows us Prince’s evolution through candid images that take us up to the cusp of his greatest achievement, which we see in the book’s fourth section: his original handwritten treatment for Purple Rain—the final stage in Prince’s self-creation, as he retells the autobiography we’ve seen in the first three parts as a heroic journey.

The book is framed by editor Dan Piepenbring’s riveting and moving introduction about his short but profound collaboration with Prince in his final months—a time when Prince was thinking deeply about how to reveal more of himself and his ideas to the world, while retaining the mystery and mystique he’d so carefully cultivated—and annotations that provide context to each of the book’s images.

This work is not just a tribute to Prince, but an original and energizing literary work, full of Prince’s ideas and vision, his voice and image, his undying gift to the world.


One of these from my non fiction November pile … I’ve just not decided where to start haha!!


#BookReview The Last Children of Tokyo by Yoko Tawada

about the book

The Emissary – American Title

Yoshiro thinks he might never die. A hundred years old and counting, he is one of Japan’s many ‘old-elderly’; men and women who remember a time before the air and the sea were poisoned, before terrible catastrophe promted Japan to shut itself off from the rest of the world. He may live for decades yet, but he knows his beloved great-grandson – born frail and prone to sickness – might not survive to adulthood. Day after day, it takes all of Yoshiro’s sagacity to keep Mumei alive.

As hopes for Japan’s youngest generation fade, a secretive organisation embarks on an audacious plan to find a cure – might Yoshiro’s great-grandson be the key to saving the last children of Tokyo?

Published by  Portobello Books

Purchase Links

hive.co.uk  £7.75

waterstones  £9.99


A quirky and fascinating little book! It’s beautifully written, a little confusing at times and a little scary too as it takes a look at life in a dystopian Japan, where the elderly are the carers for a generation of youngsters who are prone to illness, disease and no understanding of life ‘before’ the isolation policy was brought in around the world.

The scenario of a time where countries have such serious problems that they are all shut off to one another so they can solve their own issues, is something so alien to us but many in this Japan have grown up knowing no other way. They don’t know foreign languages, no idea what telephones are, no transport, less food – it’s all the norm for them. But the old-elderly do remember and they are the strongest and fittest in society. 

The devotion shown by Yoshiri to his great grandson Mumei is touching and endearing. Knowing that certain foods are just too tough or bad for his great grandson has him going to extreme measures to find the right balance for him. 

The way Yoshiri looks back at the old times is quite poignant especially knowing that it means so little to those younger than him, and when we get to hear the perspective of Mumei you are just struck by how innocent he is, but appreciative of all that his great grandfather does for him.

Packs a lot in for such a short novella – 138 pages – and gives you as a reader plenty to think about and worry about for the future we may all face!


What’s in a Name 2019 – reading challenge

I’m always looking for a good excuse to pick up some random books from my shelves to fit in with a challenge and I recently spotted this over on What Cathy Read Next and decided to join in the fun! 

This year the What’s In a Name challenge is being hosted by Andrea over at Carolina Book Nook so head to her page if you’d like to add your link and take part!

The rules are very simple! 

The challenge extends from January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019.  You can sign up any time, but only count books that you read between those dates.

Read a book in any format (hard copy, ebook, audio) with a title that fits in each category.

Don’t use the same book for more than one category.

Creativity for matching the categories is not only allowed, it’s encouraged!

You can choose your books as you go or make a list ahead of time.

And here’s the list of categories for you to choose your books from – with some examples!

So I have raided my shelves – both physical and digital – and have come up with my list of books I hope to read! Click on the book title for the link to the GoodReads page.

A precious stone/metal – A Strange Manuscript found in a copper cylinder by James De Mille

A temperature – A Cold Season by Alison Littlewood

A month or day of the week – The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim

A Meal – Ice Cream for Breakfast by Elaine Johns

Contains the word ‘girl’ or ‘woman – The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell

Contains both the words ‘of’ AND ‘and – Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi


Bring on the reading challenge!! Should be lots of fun!  

2019 Reading Challenge – The Award Winner Challenge

It’s that time of year again! The reading challenges are being set for the year ahead, and one of my favourites to join in with is run by the lovely Paul over at The Book Vipers over at GoodReads, who always sets amazing challenges to get you reading a wide variety of books over the next 12 months.

And 2019 is a corker!  The challenge this year is to read books that have won the  book prizes and made the short and longlists over the years.  You can choose to read from 1 to 21 of the categories below – it’s up to you!!

So my head is already hurting trying to work out which books to pick for each topic.  I’ve made a preliminary list of books I already have that will fit with topics, alongside ones I plan to get from the library, although I am sure my list may change over the year! And I’m still struggling for a few topics so if you have any recommendations that you think I need to read then please let me know as I’d love to hear them!!  I need help!!!!

Fiction Prize Winner – Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor
Non-Fiction Winner – H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
Poetry Prize Winner – Inside the Wave by Helen Dunmore
Crime (fiction or non fiction winner) – 
History (fiction or non fiction winner) –
Debut Prize Winner – The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley
Female Prize Winner – The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
Any Shortlisted Book – The Clocks in this House by Xan Brooks
Any Shortlisted Book – Sing, Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward
Natural History Prize Winner – The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Stephen Brusatte
Children’s/YA Winner – The Bombs That Brought Us Together by Brian Conaghan
Any Shortlisted Book – Elmet by Fiona Mozley
Any BAME Longlist Book – The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Any Shortlisted Book – The Lighthouse by Alison Moore
Memoir/Autobio Winner – 
Translated Fiction/Non Fiction Winner –
Any Longlisted Book -Science Fiction or Non winnerA Nobel Prize Winners Book – Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
Any Longlisted Book -Travel Fiction or non Prize Winner – 

Should make for some interesting reading ahead!!

#ReadingChallenges 2018 – The Magic Square – completed!

As a member of The Book Vipers over at GoodReads, the fabulous Paul always sets a wonderful reading challenge at the start of the year! So I like to jump in both feet first, and planned to read a book that corresponded with all the squares – you can choose to do the smaller squares! – and I’ve happily found out today that all squares have been ticked off! Yay!!!  I always enjoy these kind of challenges as they often push me in the direction of books I’d never normally pick up!

Here’s a look at the books that I chose to help me complete the challenge!


A Classic – War of the Worlds by H.G.Wells 

A Book About Money – The Million Dollar Duchesses by Julie Ferry 

A Book Under 100 Pages – The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

A Book Of Poems – Helium by Rudy Francisco 

Free Choice – The Lido by Libby Page 

A Book Set In Another Country – The Stolen Bicycle by Wu Ming-Yi 

A Translated Book – We Were the Salt of the Sea by Roxanne Bouchard 

True Or Fictional Crime – Harriet by Elizabeth Jenkins 

A Book With An Animal In The Title – The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

Book Vipers Monthly Read – Eleanor Oliphant 

Non Fiction Book – The Secret Life of Cows by Rosamund Young 

A Debut Book – The Illumination of Ursula Flight by Anna-Marie Crowhurt 

Book From A Small Publisher – Summer at the Art Cafe by Sue McDonagh 

A Biography – Fingers in the Sparkle Jar by Chris Packham 

A Book You Have Borrowed – The Trees by Ali Shaw 

Free Choice – All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr 

A Banned Book – Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll READ

A Book with a Food in the Title – Sour Fruit by Eli Allison

Free Choice -The Things We Learn When We’re Dead by Charlie Laidlaw 

A Shortlisted Book – Their Brilliant Careers by Ryan O’Neill 

A Book Over 500 Pages – The Parentations by Kate Mayfield 

An Award Winner – The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan 

Second Book In A Series – Us against You by Fredrik Backman 

A Book About Books – Bookworm by Lucy Mangan 

Science Fiction Or Fact – Ready Player One by Ernest Cline 


A-Z BookBuster Challenge 2017 – completed!

I have embraced the world of reading challenges over the past couple of years as I find it challenges and pushes me to read books from outside my comfort zone and makes reading a little more fun!  So I was intrigued by the BookBuster Challenge set by the GoodReads group The Book Vipers which was to read books whose authors names go from A-Z!! 

So I had lots of fun putting  a list together of books I already had on my shelves along with others I found along the way to fit in and happy to say that this week I have completed the challenge!!  Some of the titles I set out to read at the start of the year didn’t make it to my final cut but it was fun to find out different options and it has helped me reach a really good variety of books!  So here’s a look at the list of my completed reads!

Lyrebird – Cecilia Ahern           2a.m at the cat’s pyjamas – Marie-Helene BERTINO   


Call of the Undertow – Linda CRACKNELL          Wildwood;  – Roger DEAKIN  



The Fourteenth Letter – Claire EVANS            The Somnabulist – Essie FOX



Little Girl Lost – Janet GOVER                  Reasons to Stay Alive – Matt HAIG



An artist of the floating world – Kazuo ISHIGURO      Howl’s Moving Castle – Diana Wynne JONES



Handcuffs, Truncheons and a Polyester Thong – Gina KIRKHAM         Arthur – Mikael LINDNORD



The Moth Snowstorm – Michael MCCARTHY     Uprooted – Naomi NOVIK



Wesley the Owl – Stacey O’BRIEN     The Breakdown – B.A. PARIS



Exercises in Style – Raymond QUENEAU        The Silk Weaver’s Wife – Debbie RIX



The Little Prince – Antoine de SAINT-EXUPERY   The Secret Library – Oliver TEARLE




The Witchfinder’s Sister – Beth Underdown         The Farm at the Edge of the World – Sarah Vaughan



Girl Reading – Katie WARD      The Good Women of China – XINRAN



  Yesterday – Felicia YAP                  The Watcher in the Shadows  – Carlos Ruiz ZAFON
yesterday                                    shadows


Reading Challenge Completed!!  Think I may need to treat myself to a book or two to celebrate!!!  Have you set yourself any challenges this year?  Hope they’ve gone well if so!! Wonder what reading challenges 2018 will have in store?!!


#ARCAugust Reading Challenge

Always looking for new and fun challenges to take part in, and I spotted today on the fabulous The Secret Library page that she was joining in with ARC August!  This was set up 5 years ago over at Read.Sleep.Repeat and was started to help reduce those Arc mountains – whether in physical form or e book! – and I need a bit of help on that front at the moment so am hoping it will help spur me on!  

The rules are pretty simple;

  • Any Advanced Reading Copy counts as part of this reading challenge; your backlist books count
  • No blog necessary to participate, but you’ll need to include some form of social media as part of your sign up
  • Use the #ARCAugust on social media to check-in
See, what could be easier!!  So i’ve gone for a pile of physical ARCs that have been threatening to topple over! I’ve gone for 10 but doubt I’ll get through that many – although with the start of August being a rainy one, then maybe there’ll be plenty of reading opportunities indoors!!


2.  See You In September by Charity Norman

3.  The Hidden Keys by Andre Alexis

4.  The Floating Theatre by Martha Conway

5.  What She Left by Rosie Fiore

6.  The Death of Her by Debbie Howells

7. Don’t Close Your Eyes by Holly Seddon

8.  The Chalk Artist by Allegra Goodman

9.  This Beautiful Life by Katie Marsh

10. Spellslinger by Sebastien De Castell

And there we have it! Extremely ambitious and extremely unlikely that I will even get to half of them! But now they are all piled up by the side of me I won’t be able to ignore them!  That’s the plan anyway!!  Looking forward to seeing other updates via Blogs and Twitter!