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.

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!

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, 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!

Reviews, Scottish Reads, Vlogs

The Edinburgh Skating Club

My review and some of the festive sights of Aberdeen

I bought The Edinburgh Skating Club a few months ago and put it to the side for December. It felt like it should be read in December or at least winter, when there’s snow and ice because the book heavily features ice skating on a frozen loch. Well this week we have had a very cold spell and got some snow and ice and it felt like the right time to pick this book up.

I feel like I haven’t seen anyone talking about this book which is such a shame because I really enjoyed this. This was a lovely wee read and such a quick one too.

Please note that in the review I use the character names from the blurb in order to avoid giving any spoilers.

Reviews, Scottish Reads, Vlogs

The Witch and the Tsar and Raising the Alarm

My festive Vlog with full reviews

I’ve made a start on my Christmas film bingo board and checked off my first prompt. I’m feeling very accomplished! I finished the prompt for White Christmas which was a book featuring snow on the cover. For this prompt I chose The Witch and The Tsar by Olesya Salknikova Gilmore.

I also managed to squeeze in a wee novella and picked up Raising the Alarm by Nicki Bell which was short and sweet. I have preordered the second book in this series and I’m so excited about it!

So far, my plan to read at least 9 books by Christmas is going well. I hope these aren’t m famous last words!

Vlogs, Wrap Ups

November Wrap Up

November didn’t get off to the best start for me. I found myself in a big reading slump and just couldn’t concentrate for long and didn’t feel compelled to pick up any books. I knew it was coming, I could feel a reading slump on the air!

The slump started to ease towards the middle of the month and thanks to that, and to audiobooks which accounted for almost half of my reads, I managed to get through 11 books. I know that this is a great number of books to get through in a month but I had such grand reading plans for November, instead I went full mood reader.

My Wrap Up and Stats

I loved

Ginger and Me – Elissa Soave https://kapowskireads.com/2022/11/26/wendy-and-me/

The Gloaming – Kirsty Logan https://kapowskireads.com/2022/11/05/the-gloaming/

One Dark Window – Rachel Gillig* https://kapowskireads.com/2022/11/14/finding-a-new-favourite-and-book-haul/

I liked

An Act of Foul Play – T E Kinsey* https://kapowskireads.com/2022/11/16/an-act-of-foul-play/

Library of the Dead – T.L. Huchu https://kapowskireads.com/2022/11/23/library-of-the-dead/

A Suspension of Mercy – Patricia Highsmith https://kapowskireads.com/2022/11/09/a-suspension-of-mercy/

Not For Me

The Cloisters – Katy Hays*

The Rats – James Herbert

Reread

4:50 from Paddington- Agatha Christie

Dracula – Bram Stoker

Non-Fiction

Urbanshee- Siaara Freeman*

*#gifted

Scottish Reads, Vlogs

Reading Scottish- November Wrap Up

This month I have been in a bit of a reading slump. In spite of this, I still managed to read three books by Scottish authors. I’m absolutely delighted as I also thoroughly enjoyed each of my Scottish reads this month.

My wee Scottish vlog

I think that these three books could all become firm favourites and that’s more than I could have hoped for! I’m now extra excited to see what next month brings!

Book Recommendation of the Month, Reviews, Scottish Reads

Wendy and Me

Wendy is nineteen and living alone.
All she wants is to drive the 255 bus around Uddingston with her regulars on board, remember to buy milk when it runs out and to just be ok. After her mum passed away, there’s no one to remind Wendy to eat, what to do each day and most importantly to love herself. Every week Wendy proudly shows her social worker Saanvi the progress she’s made, like the coasters she bought to spruce up the place, even if she does forget to offer her a cup of tea.

But Wendy is ready to put herself out there and really live.
She joins a writer’s group to share stories she writes including the one about a bullied schoolboy who goes to Mars. The other writers are total amateurs, unlike Diane Weston – a famous local author who likes and sometimes even comments on Wendy’s tweets.

Everything changes on a rainy day when Wendy meets Ginger.
A teenager with flaming orange hair, Ginger’s so brave she’s wearing a coat that isn’t even waterproof. For the first time, Wendy has a real best friend. But as they begin the summer of their lives, Wendy wonders if her life would be simpler if she hadn’t met Ginger. And that’s before she realises just how much of a mess Ginger is about to get them in…

I was so excited to pick up this book as it came to me with high recommendations, from people who with similar reading tastes, so I was a keen bean going in. From page 1, I was hooked. The book opened with Wendy, the protagonist, in prison. Then goes back in time to detail the events that ended with her being arrested. I thought that was so smart because I was reading the book trying to work out what she did. There were loads of little red herrings and I just found myself jumping to conclusions and just compelled to keep reading.

I absolutely loved Wendy as a character! I just loved her. She felt so realistic. She was a young woman who had lost her mother, her mother was her entire support network, so she was just lost! Ginger entered her life like a whirlwind and while Wendy wondered what would have happened if she didn’t form a friendship with her, you could see how much she cared about her. I really enjoyed the friendship between Ginger and Wendy. Two wee souls that just needed a pal. Ginger was young and at times felt…young! I kept forgetting she was only 15 and getting annoyed that she didn’t seem to understand Wendy’s obligations because in spite of their similarities, they were at different places in their lives.

I really enjoy books that feel like a slice of life. Wendy felt real. Ginger felt real. The pretentious writing club felt real. My wee heart broke while reading this as I just fell so in love with the characters that I wanted only good things for them and kept worrying that perhaps something bad may happen…because it’s a book and a twist is always coming.

I feel like the relationship (for lack of a better word, although ‘interaction’ is probably a better choice of word) between Wendy and Diane was really well described. It escalated so quickly! Only after finishing the book did I think about how creepy it was from the beginning. Both characters were so lovely but their entire interaction was rather terrifying!

I absolutely adored this book! It made me feel and I just loved the characters so much! This was my bookclub pick and I’m so excited to be able to chat about this book for days to come.