Reading Challenge: Book 15 complete

15 Aug

Having whizzed through my last few books on holiday, I was surprised by how long it took me to get through book 15, Go Set A Watchman.


I loved To Kill A Mockingbird and had assumed I would love this. I was right, but it took me a long time to realise it (52 days according to the date on my last blog post).

Go Set A Watchman was slow to get into and then made incredibly difficult reading. It was meant to make you uncomfortable, but it didn’t make it easy to read. Only in the last couple of sections did I really begin to realise what a great piece of writing this book was, and how Harper Lee had definitely not let any of her fans down.

It may have been hard to read but it was 100% worth it. And sadly the lessons it teaches are as applicable now, post Brexit, as they were when the book is set. You would hope we’d moved on from the 1950s, sadly we have but only to a different race.

This one doesn’t really fit into any of the Popsugar categories. Luckily it was the first book I saw in the airport bookshop though so I’m ticking that box šŸ™‚


Reading Challenge: Book 11, 12, 13 AND 14 complete

24 Jun

I’ve been fortunate enough to spend the last week in Cyprus and so, in honour of the reading challenge, I set myself a challenge to read as many books on the list as possible.

It also seemed like a good opportunity to get through some of the harder books.

I was already part-way through book 11 before I left.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up Second Term by Simon Walters. To be honest, I only picked it up because it helped me tick the ‘protagonist who has your occupation’ box (I’d googled ‘books about press officers’ and figured parliamentary press secretary was the closest I’d get). I have to say though, I really enjoyed it.


The inside sleeve promises a story of spin, sabotage and seduction. On all three of those counts, it certainly doesn’t disappoint.

Although it helped me tick a box, Charlie Redpath is about as far from my job as I could imagine. And I’m very thankful for that.

You’ll find the book on Amazon (or in the hotel book swap box where I left it in Cyprus). If you like political stories, this one will be right up your alley.

Right, on to book 12 then…

Having really enjoyed The Fault in Our Stars, I was really looking forward to reading An abundance of Katherines – especially as it helped me tick the ‘road trip’ box.

I wasn’t disappointed. It wasn’t at all what I expected, it was much geekier for a start. But I loved that about it. It reminded me of a teenage ‘Rosie Project’, another book I really loved reading. The footnotes even taught me something (I especially liked learning a new word – abligurition – which applies to me quite often but which I won’t spoil by telling you the meaning of). I have to confess though, I didn’t read the appendix, maths is not only NOT my strong point but I have absolutely no interest in it whatsoever!

I loved this book so much it only took me a day and a half to read (helped by being on holiday obviously). I’d strongly recommend it, especially if, like me, you loved ‘The Rosie Project’.

For book 13, it was time to be brave.


I found Night Film through a suggestion from Pop Sugar itself. It had suggested this as a book you could read to tick the ‘over 600 pages’ box.

It’s not actually over 600 pages, well the book itself is – it’s 602 to be exact – but the story finishes at 582. Since it’s highly unlikely I’m going to find another 600 worder though, I’m taking it!

I purposefully chose to take Night Film by Marisha Pessl on holiday with me because, just by looking at the cover, I knew it would scare me. I know, you shouldn’t just a book by its cover, right? No, in this case I was definitely right.

I really enjoyed the beginning of this book, right up until around the middle where it starts going really weird and then 3/4 of the way through I got scared, like really scared. I did however spend a full day gripped by it and finished it in less than 36 hours. Mainly to get it out of my head before I got home if I’m honest. If I was Joey from Friends, this book would definitely have gone in the fridge!

If you’ve come across this post by googling, like I did, ‘books that are over 600 pages’ and want to read this book solely to tick that box, don’t (unless you want to cheat). If you want to read this because you like scary books, then go right ahead. 

PS. Don’t hold it against me if you don’t find this book scary, I’m a MASSIVE scaredycat!

Surprisingly, I was even able to finish book 14 on my last day. Again, I chose this one because I figured it would scare me and that being surrounded by people in the sunshine was therefore s better place to read it.

Having really enjoyed Gone Girl, I thought I’d risk my scaredycat tendencies with Girl on the Train and tick the ‘murder mystery’ box. 

I’m really glad I did.

I actually guessed the murderer halfway through which I never do. It didn’t spoil it for me though, I was truly gripped by this story.

I was disappointed with the female characters at first,as they came across as a bit weak and pathetic, but I liked them in the end.

I hadn’t realised I could have also ticked the ‘book that is becoming a movie this year’ box with this one but I watched the film trailer as soon as I got home and can’t wait to see it now.

I can’t actually believe that I’m on to book 15! In June!!

Reading Challenge: Book 10 complete

11 Jun

Book 10 came as a massive surprise to me. I have to be honest, I didn’t expect a lot from this one; I really like Jenny Eclair as a comedian but you’re never really sure what their novels might be like.

If the rest of her books are like this one though, I’m buying them all!

Moving pulls you in from the very beginning. I loved the way it takes you through each room in the house chapter by chapter, slowly unraveling the secrets each one holds, before moving on to the individual characters.

It’s incredibly easy to read, helped by short chapters, and is pretty difficult to put down, which may help to explain how I finished it in less than a week.

I honestly feel like I know each character personally and I think I may be a bit lost now I’ve finished it. 

If you see this book in your local shop or library, pick it up. I don’t think you’ll regret it.

I know I’ve already ticked the ‘book written by a comedian’ box but, as Jenny is also a celebrity, I’m ticking that box instead.

Reading Challenge: Book 9 complete

7 Jun

After a few months of heavy reading, I thought I’d go a bit lighter this month.

And with the weather finally warming up, which better box to tick than ‘a book which takes place in the summer’, courtesy of Candace Bushnell’s Summer in the City?!


Obviously you don’t expect literary genius when you open this book, but Candace knows how to tell a story and for fans of Sex and the City, like me, it’s great to read how Carrie meets the rest of the gang.

The Botanist: bit of a miss

19 May

I didn’t think I’d write these words, having heard such good reviews, but I wasn’t overly impressed with The Botanist.

I tried – and loved – the drinks menu quite soon after it opened but had struggled to book in to the restaurant. You know somewhere must be good if you have to book months in advance right? 

Sadly, I left feeling a little disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the food – who couldn’t love a runny scotch egg, calamari and a hanging kebab coated in garlic butter?!? 

But it wasn’t ‘out of this world, I’ve waited for months for this food, delicious’. It was just ‘having a nice meal out on a Saturday tasty’.

Considering how far in advance we’d booked, our table was pretty rubbish too. Slap bang in the middle of the restaurant, we couldn’t see outside nor did we have a view of the fab tree that makes the botanist the botanist!

The staff were really lovely and the drinks were fab (we tried a fair few of them too!) but I don’t think I’ll be returning for food in a hurry. 

Reading Challenge: Book 8 conplete

7 May

I’m not going to lie, I’m feeling more than a little smug; not only have I managed to finish eight books by the start of May, I’ve done it by reading (mostly) intelligent books!

For book eight of the reading challenge, I chose to tick the science fiction box – and what better way to do this than with the HG Wells classic, The War of the Worlds.


I must confess that this has appealed to me so little that I’ve never seen the film or known anything about it. 

A book about Martians taking over the Earth is certainly not my idea of light bedtime reading. I did, however, really enjoy it. 

The ending was slightly disappointing – I had expected it to end more with a bang – but maybe it’s fitting that they suffer such a random end. 

If you’re like me and never had any interest in reading this book, is urge you to give it a go.

Now to decide on book nine…

2016 Reading Challenge: Book 7 completeĀ 

1 May

I didn’t have to read the synopsis of book 7 to know it was strange; any book which starts with a young boy watching his mum have sex with a stranger is a little odd.

There isn’t much of a storyline to Yukio Mishima’s The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea. I didn’t dislike it but it was, like I said, strange.

Nevertheless, having originally been published in Japanese and subsequently translated into English, this book helps me tick my seventh box in the Popsugar Reading Challenge.

Now on to book 8. For this one, I’m going for a classic science fiction novel, War of the Worlds. Wish me luck!