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.

Vlogs

Reading Goals for 2023

One of my favourite things about the new year is setting some fresh goals.

Setting some goals that I hope to achieve 🤞

Last year I set far too many specific goals which ended up being a little unachievable. I’ve learned my lesson and am still setting a lot of goals but they are less specific and hopefully more achievable.

I will still be participating in Read Christie and reading 23 specific books for 2023 but that’s where the specific reads end.

My specific goals

I’m aiming to complete 5 book series this year but I’m not certain which ones. I’m going to leave that open just now and hopefully they will just happen during the year as I have a few final books in a few series that I’ve preordered.

In addition to these goals, I’m hoping to read books with titles covering A-Z as well as participating in a Buzzword challenge.

I’m so excited for all these goals and a fresh year!

Vlogs

January TBR

With the start of a new year comes the start of a new way of selecting my monthly TBR. I’ve been working on this game for a good while and I’m ready to beta test it and I had a great time doing so!

I’m very excited about this TBR!

Basically I roll the dice and select a prompt based on the colour of the square that I landed on. This resulted in a pretty excellent looking TBR stack for January.

This is still in test mode while I iron out any major issues. For now, I’m kind of loving it!

Vlogs, Wrap Ups

2022 Wrap Up – Reading Stats and Favourites

Once it hits 29th-31st December my reading is all about finishing off any books that are partially read. I don’t want to carry a book through years, it makes me feel uncomfortable. So I tidied up my active reading list, by reading them, and this allowed me to choose my favourite books of the year. I was reluctant to choose until I’d finished everything because what if one final twist turned an ok book into a favourite?

My Favourite Books

I also got my stats. I love reading stats and I use both Goodreads and Storygraph so the pages read don’t match. As storygraph was closer to the page numbers when I was logging the books at the time of reading, I’m going with those page figures as being the most realistic. The number of books read was the same across apps and in my own handwritten notes.

My storygraph totals

I had a fantastic year of reading but did have way too many low books that I should have given up on because my average rating got brought down. I had 44 books that were rated 2 stars or less and I wonder if I knew that I was never going to enjoy them enough to give a 2.5 or above…I did but I hoped to be proven wrong.

44 books rated 2 stars and under

One of my reading goals for 2023 is to dnf more!

With Vlogmas over, I’m going to be going back to having reviews as well as vlogs. December was all Vlog but I have missed reviews

Vlogs

Book Shopping in the Sales

For the last few years, my Boxing Day highlight has been the Waterstones sale which gives 50% off of hardbacks . This year was no different.

Hello new books!

I was very lucky and received some money for Christmas. That became ‘book money’ which let me approach the sales feeling poised and ready to invest in my reading future.

My partner and I actually arrived before the shop opened so we queued for a few minutes with the other 4 people in Aberdeen that were after a bookish bargain at 10am on Boxing Day.

We were in and out in 16 minutes which feels like a record! To be fair, the branch here is pretty small and there aren’t usually that many hardbacks, so it was easy to spy what books were included in the deal.

I came away with 9 books plus a calendar (one book was a cookbook that wasn’t in any deal). My boyfriend got 4 books and none of them were on offer. I now have two Waterstones credits to use as I was only one stamp away from getting 1 credit.

I do wish I got some of the memoirs I was tempted by but I really haven’t read a lot of non fiction in 2022 that it felt as if those books would be bought to just sit on my shelf and that didn’t feel in the spirit of the season.

Reviews, Scottish Reads, Vlogs

Two Wintery Murder Mystery Collections

I will accept murder mystery collections in lieu of turtle doves! I received Midwinter Murder by Agatha Christie last Christmas from my parents but I didn’t manage to get it read before the end of December so put it aside for this year. I know I could have read it after then but it included some Christmas stories and I don’t like reading Christmas tales outside of November/December.

Squeezing in some festive murder mysteries

I managed to finish that book way quicker than expected so had time for a second book. I had recently picked up a copy of Christmas is Murder by Val McDermid. This was to be my first book McDermid book and this was the right choice.

I have a sneaky suspicion that both of these books will make it onto future December reread reading piles!

Reviews, Vlogs

Black Water Sister

I am so happy that I managed to tick off one more book from my 22 in 2022 list. With the benefit of hindsight, I can agree that I set too many separate goals for 2022. I was never going to be able to get through all 22 books plus 26 books for my A-Z challenge, plus the Agatha Christie books I like to read, bookclubs, series goals…a smarter person would have merged some of these goals but I did not. So this is the last book I’m ticking from my 22 in 2022 but there are still 4 that remain unread. I’m ok with this.

A wee reading vlog

I really enjoyed the setting of this book! I picked this book up because I was drawn to the concept of a ghostly granny with unfinished business and possession skills!

Reviews, Vlogs

The Girls I’ve Been and The Audacity

I think I jinxed myself. All month I’ve been gleefully talking about how wonderful my December reading has been. How I’ve adored everything and just had the best reading month in a long time. Well this Vlog, is all about my pride coming before my fall.

I had one book that I decided to give up on because December isn’t the month to force a read. I tried to give it 100 pages, got to 50 and declared myself done. I also had a disappointing read which was such a shame as I’d been so excited to read it.

That’s ok though because I tried. Here’s hoping for good things from my next book!

Reviews, Scottish Reads, Vlogs

The Shadow Glass and Right to Remain Silent

In this Vlog I read two utterly fantastic books. I am so giddy about how amazing this month has been for books so far…I’m also scared that I’m overdue a duff book. Statistically I should have had at least one but I’m trying to just enjoy the excellent month so far.

Any excuse to share my festive cheeseboard

My plan was to read The Shadow Glass by Josh Winning. It was a 400 page book so I assumed it would take me the full 3 days to read. However, I finished it in about a day and a half. This left me time to read Right to Remain Silent by Nicki Bell which was a sweet romance novella. I heartily recommend both of these books!