Vlogs, Wrap Ups

January Wrap Up

Here’s my January wrap up! It was a busy wee month for me and I got through 17 books which was way more than I expected

My wrap up vlog 💕

I loved 😻

Before Again – Claire S Duffy* https://kapowskireads.com/2023/01/21/before-again/

Killers of a Certain Age – Deanna Raybourn
https://kapowskireads.com/2023/01/07/killers-of-a-certain-age/

Legends and Lattes- Travis Baldree https://kapowskireads.com/2023/01/16/legends-and-lattes/

The Woman in the Library- Sulari Gentill https://kapowskireads.com/2023/01/23/the-woman-in-the-library/

I liked 😺

Only on the Weekends- Dean Atta https://kapowskireads.com/2023/02/04/only-on-the-weekends/

Sadie, Call the Polis – Kirkland Ciccone https://kapowskireads.com/2023/01/14/sadie-call-the-polis/

The Book of Martyrs- Danie Ware, Alec Worley, and Phil Kelly

I found it to be ok

Mayflies – Andrew O’Hagan https://kapowskireads.com/2023/01/28/mayflies/

The Set Up – Falguni Kothari https://kapowskireads.com/2023/01/18/the-set-up/

Not For Me 😿

Death Checked Out – Leah Dobrinska*
Ghost in Shining Armour- Therese Beharrie*
Ghost Wall – Sarah Moss
House in the Pines- Ana Reyes*
The Snow Child – Eowyn Ivey

Reread

The Marvellous Land of Oz – L Frank Baum
Sad Cypress – Agatha Christie
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – L Frank Baum

Did Not Finish

Lessons in Chemistry – Bonnie Garmus
Reread

Reviews

Only on the Weekends

Fifteen-year-old Mack is a hopeless romantic–likely a hazard of growing up on film sets thanks to his father’s job. Mack has had a crush on Karim for as long as he can remember and he can’t believe it when gorgeous, popular Karim seems into him too.

But when Mack’s father takes on a new directing project in Scotland, Mack has to move away, and soon discovers how painful long-distance relationships can be. It’s awful to be so far away from Karim, and it’s made worse by the fact that Karim can be so hard to read.

Then Mack meets actor Finlay on set, and the world turns upside down again. Fin seems fearless–and his confidence could just be infectious.

Well this book was absolutely beautifully written! I’ve never read anything by this author before but I had heard great things about Black Flamingo and had actually gone to the library to pick up a copy of that. Unfortunately they didn’t have it but I found this one instead.

This was a tale of young love told through verse. I’ve read a few verse novels and i really enjoy this format.

There were a lot of characters in this book and I did find myself getting a wee bit confused or lost at times. The characters grew so much in this book that I found myself really changing the way that I felt about the main characters. I started liking Mack and feeling suspicious towards Karim (who was referred to as ‘K’ throughout the book).

Mack and K getting together was just so sweet and lovely. It was young love. However, it was so obvious that the two boys were possibly not going to have their ‘walk into the sunset’ moment. Not because of their differences in personality but due to the fact that they wanted different things from each other. Their relationship expectations were so different. Mack wanted to share their love with the world. K wanted to keep their love life private. I wasn’t out and I felt so bad for him as he felt a little bit of pressure.

When Mack moved to Scotland he formed a friendship with Fin and Fin proudly shared their friendship online and basically started to give Mack what they wanted from K.

I just didn’t want any of the characters to get hurt and I was so tense reading this book because I could see that at least one person was going to get hurt.

I felt that the way that Mack treated his friends was pretty authentic based on my own very vague memories of being 15 and having friends in love. It was pretty sad to read at times because Mack seemed to take their friends for granted which was especially sad due to the fact that they’d previously lamented their lack of friends.

I really enjoyed this book. It was beautifully written. It was a very emotional and raw read about young love and a protagonist who just struggled to know what they wanted.

Vlogs

February TBR Goals

This year I started deciding my TBR with the help of my TBR game. This game is still in beta mode while I iron out any issues. This was my second play of the game and it’s still very fun for me.

At least I can hold my intended reads

I’m so excited to see how I get on with these books. Such a mixture of genres! I think February is going to be a very enjoyable reading month…or at least a very varied reading month.

I’m also giddy that I managed to get a book from an active series onto my list. Mainly because I keep forgetting about my series goals. I also managed to get two books from my 23 in 2023 pile. This is month of remembering reading goals!

Scottish Reads, Vlogs

Reading Scottish – January Wrap Up

As it’s almost the end of January, it’s time for me to wrap up all of the Scottish fiction that I’ve read this month. If you’ve been here for a while, you’ll maybe know that I love Scottish fiction and make a conscious effort to read books by Scottish authors every month.

A smaller pile this month, much easier to hold

This month I only read 3 books by Scottish authors. Sort of. I only finished 3 books by Scottish authors because I’m doing a buddy read of Lanark by Alasdair Gray and am only half way through it. So maybe it’s 3.5 books?

This week I’m chatting about;

Lanark by Alasdair Gray

Mayflies by Andrew O’Hagan

Sadie, Call the Polis by Kirkland Ciccone

Before Again by Claire S Duffy*

*gifted

Reviews, Scottish Reads

Mayflies

Everyone has a Tully Dawson: the friend who defines your life.

In the summer of 1986, in a small Scottish town, James and Tully ignite a brilliant friendship based on music, films and the rebel spirit. With school over and the locked world of their fathers before them, they rush towards the climax of their youth: a magical weekend in Manchester, the epicentre of everything that inspires them in working-class Britain. There, against the greatest soundtrack ever recorded, a vow is made: to go at life differently. Thirty years on, half a life away, the phone rings. Tully has news.

Check me! Reading another book from my 23 in 2023 pile. This is a level of focus that I will be unlikely to carry on throughout the year but I’m still going to take this an an achievement. I have wanted to read this book for so long, it was on my 2022 to be read pile but I didn’t get to it. I know I put off reading this because I was worried that I just wouldn’t be hydrated enough for all the sobbing I expected.

Well I think I’m going to shock some people by admitting that I didn’t cry. I felt sad but I didn’t cry and I usually cry at everything.

This book was split into two halves- 1986 and modern day.

The first part set was in 1986 during a music festival in Manchester and this part really wasn’t for me. I almost DNF’d this book because I disliked this part of the book so much! We were introduced to the gang and got to witness their excitement at being in Manchester living their dream. I found the characters to be infuriatingly obnoxious and pretentious. It was like when you watch a film and people start dancing and singing in public and you think ‘some people are just trying to eat their dinner in peace/get home from work/enjoy a walk in the park etc’. They were annoying and loud and I really just did not like any of them. I was told to persevere because the book would pay off and I’d regret DNFing.

The second half was much better. The main characters are older but only a little less obnoxious. Tully had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and this half was about him and his plans. This was a tough and very heartbreaking section of the book. It raised some really good questions regarding end of life.

I did like this book but I didn’t love it. I feel like something was missing. Lovable characters. This book would have been absolutely heartbreaking and so powerful if I loved Tully. There was nothing in this book to show me why everyone loved him, I was just told that he was the best. I just needed to see it for myself. I wanted to love this book and I just didn’t.

I know that this book was based on the author’s friend and their life and passing . You can really tell how much the author just loved their friend, that came across.

Reviews, Vlogs

The Woman in the Library

In every person’s story, there is something to hide…

The ornate reading room at the Boston Public Library is quiet, until the tranquility is shattered by a woman’s terrified scream. Security guards take charge immediately, instructing everyone inside to stay put until the threat is identified and contained. While they wait for the all-clear, four strangers, who’d happened to sit at the same table, pass the time in conversation and friendships are struck. Each has his or her own reasons for being in the reading room that morning—it just happens that one is a murderer.

What a week I have had! I had planned to read and Vlog a specific book but I ended up hating it. Luckily, I was in a position to be able to pick up another book and The Woman in the Library really did deliver! I had planned to take this book to the library but it was closed, however I still had a fantastic experience with this book.

This book definitely deserved a dedicated vlog!

I read this book in under 24 hours. I was just so invested and eager to find out what was going to happen next. This is the first book I’ve selected from my 23 books in 2023 pile and I’m starting strong. I am a huge fan of murder mysteries and feel that this book gave me something extra and really felt fresh and exciting. I utterly adored this book and highly recommend it.

Reviews, Scottish Reads

Before Again

He’s been killing for hundreds of years.
But he reckoned without her.
Kirsty doesn’t do people, but even she can’t ignore the man being roasted alive on the banks of the Clyde. She batters in to save his life…

And accidentally tears the fabric of time.

Now an ancient serial killer is on the loose and only Kirsty can make him regret he was ever born.

Whatever the cost.

Will she live up to the pressure or will everything she loves be lost forever?

This book was a whirlwind of a book!

I enjoyed the characters a great deal. A lot of characters were introduced but the protagonist, Kirsty really took centre stage. I enjoyed her growth in this book. She was first introduced at the beginning of the book having returned home for her grandmother’s funeral . Her grandmother basically raised her and Kirsty was filled with guilt over not being there for her grandmother. Kirsty then found herself saving a hunky Viking which is the action that ripped a wee hole in the very fabric of time. Kirsty then found herself to be a very reluctant heroine.

I enjoyed the dynamic between Kirsty and her new found Viking pal/ love interest. I also enjoyed their dynamic with Kirsty’s long long grandfather. They formed this somewhat bizarre little family unit and it was charming and sweet but also full of moments of laughter and fun.

I loved the dialogue in this book. It was so refreshing to read dialogue that felt authentically Scottish. Kirsty felt like she could be a friend and the terms she used were so familiar. I think that’s part of what made her so loveable as a character.

I loved the way that this book mixed together multiple storylines involving a Viking invasion, time travel, a serial killer , as well as family drama. Kirsty’s great grandmother was the formidable head of a gang and I really wanted to know more about this.

The serial killer storyline was a little reminiscent of Bible John which was pretty terrifying! I feel like this storyline was handled in a way that left me intrigued. I enjoyed the way Kirsty tried to basically hunt him down.

There was a wee romance in this book and it got spicy! I hadn’t expected there to be spice so that was a delightful treat for me as a reader and I’m sure it was for the character too.

I laughed and I cried. This book kept me guessing throughout and ended on a cliffhanger just when I’d thought things were going to be ok. I need the second book in the series!

For full disclosure; I received a copy of this book as part of a book tour over on Instagram. However, these opinions are entirely my own. While I was asked to post about this book on Instagram, I wasn’t asked to post about it here or anywhere else. I just enjoyed it so much that I want to talk about it!

Reviews

The Set Up

A perfect disaster – or a perfect match? Find out in this heartfelt rom-com novella….

“Just three dates. That’s all I’m asking. One boy shares your sense of humor. Another has similar interests and ideals. The third boy has a helpful heart like yours.”

When Aditi Gupta comes home late from work as a pediatric resident one night and her grandfather offers this pitch, she reluctantly agrees. She’s far too busy with med school to be dating, and besides, she dreams of a love for the ages, like her parents, not an arranged marriage. And yet she finds herself agreeing to three dates because she loves her grandfather. All she has to do is make herself utterly ineligible and problem solved!

And sure enough her first date with the disgustingly handsome and intriguing Krishna Lal goes exactly as planned: not well! But then the second date comes around and Aditi finds that there is more at stake than just three bad dates. Suddenly, her heart is on the line, and maybe her grandfather’s, too.

Well this was fun! I listened to this audiobook as it popped up on my audible unlimited homepage and I fancied something light and fun. This gave me just that!

At first, I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy this book. I didn’t instantly enjoy the characters. Their first date was very cringey for me to read but once I got past the first date, I was in. By the end of the book, I still didn’t overly like the two main characters but I still enjoyed the story.

I love, love, love a meddling grandparent trope. I thought the grandparents were just so fun! I wish that they would have been the central characters or at least would have featured more.

I really enjoyed the reveal of why the grandparents were meddling. I like that it was just that they were controlling or anything bad, they had very adorable reasons for meddling and I liked their history.

This was an almost insta-romance which is what I was hoping for. It was short and sweet and I got a wee happy ending. I would definitely recommend this book if you want a speedy little romance that pulls on your heartstrings because the side characters were lovely wee grandparents.

Reviews, Vlogs

Legends and Lattes

I had such a delightful time with this book

Finally! I finished a book this year and I loved it. It took me a while to get into my reading groove for 2023 and I’m so glad that this was my first read of the year. What a start!

I got this book in my office Secret Santa last year and I’ve been looking forward to reading it ever since. Yes, I was my own Secret Santa and I chose well because I had a brilliant time with this book.

I can see me reading this book over and over as it was such a comforting and cosy read. The hype definitely was real with this book!

Scottish Reads, Wrap Ups

Sadie, Call the Polis

In 1976, a heatwave hot enough to melt concrete punishes Scotland. While everything burns, a woman arrives in Little Denny Road with a set of keys for her new council flat. She isn’t alone. Her two daughters are always by her side, except at night when they watch their mother drive off in a stranger’s car. Sadie, the youngest of the two daughters, thinks nothing of this until she’s asked a question at school. The answer will unleash consequences that echo through the decades. At the root of Sadie’s life is a disturbing secret that must be confronted. Evil, she’ll discover, is waiting seven miles south in a nice house… Sadie, Call The Polis is an offbeat story about a Scottish family as seen through the eyes of the indomitable Sadie Relish, whose journey from childhood to adulthood is rendered in hilarious, crushing detail. Her disastrous first date, the late nights at the bus stop with a bottle or two, running away from home, the many hangovers, her first and last job, grief, Covid, and all the drama and darkness squeezed in between.

This was my third book by Kirkland Ciccone and I was very excited to pick this up. It came to me highly recommended after a whole bunch of pals read it last year (I’m late to the party. This is standard).

This book covered Sadie’s life from the 1970s to the modern day. Sadie from primary school, to high school, to work, to married life, and parenthood. I really enjoyed getting to see the character grow in both age but in maturity. She learned from her mistakes and I think that was pretty important for her.

I love the way that this author writes characters. They felt realistic and rounded and I just utterly loved Sadie. Sadie was introduced as just a lonely wee lamb. I enjoyed her stories of early family life. I grew up with my mum and sister in a single parent household so it was nice to read about a similar set up to my own childhood home. However, my mum just worked in a shop, very different to Sadie’s mum! It’s always nice to find something in a book that is familiar.

I absolutely loved the first half of this book. The first half for me was probably 5 stars. I really enjoyed Sadie’s early life and her growing into an adult. The shenanigans and drama. The moment where Sadie met her husband, my enjoyment reduced a little. I hated him. I hated who Sadie turned into when she was with him. She lost herself and just became ‘wife’ and ‘mother’. There’s nothing wrong with being a wife and mother, it was just that Sadie lost everything that made her lovable and existed solely for domestic life. The second half lacked the heart that I had been reading about in the first half. It was still an enjoyable second half but nowhere near as much as the first half.

The book took some really tough moments and difficult subjects and mixed them with moments of light and laughter. This made for a very enjoyable book and I’m excited to see what Kirkland writes next!