top ten tuesday

Books with Flowers on the Cover

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week a new theme is suggested for bloggers to participate in. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want. Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to The Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.

This week’s topic is May Flowers and so these are 10 books from my TBR with flowers on the cover


Jaimie Admans – The Beekeeper at Elderflower Grove
Lex Croucher – Infamous
Kiley Dunbar – The Borrow a Bookshop Holiday
Sarah Hawley – A Witch’s Guide to Fake Dating a Demon
Talia Hibbert – Untouchable


India Holton – The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels
Freya Marske – A Marvellous Light
Holly Martin – Spring At Blueberry Bay
Ali McNamara – Hope and Happiness in Bluebell Wood
Julia Quinn – The Duke & I

weekly wednesday blogging challenge

Villains I’d Root for instead of the Protagonist

This week’s Weekly Wednesday Blogging Challenge question is Villains I’d Root for instead of the Protagonist

Polyphemus – the Cyclops from Homer’s Odyssey

Now, I’m not saying he was innocent or completely faultless in his own downfall, but I do root for him over Odysseus. This statement can and does also apply to Circe in regards to her interactions with Odysseus and his men. And, really, I don’t think we’re supposed to be rooting much for Odysseus – so much of the poem is a cautionary tale against breaking the custom of xenia; of the importance of honour and respect; and of the consequences of not abiding by the guidelines of proper social interaction between a guest and a host.

Homer specifically uses this story as an exaggerated example of the dangers of assuming who deserves respect. The episode takes the concept of hospitality and distorts it, showing both Polyphemus as a bad host, and Odysseus and his men as bad guests. Odysseus judges the cyclops as being uncivilised, and therefore unworthy of being granted respect (Homer, The Odyssey, 9.187-9.192). While he does not let his men steal any of Polyphemus’ flock, they do disrespect his property by entering his home without invitation, lighting his fire, and eating his food. (9.224-231). Polyphemus breaks the custom in return by questioning Odysseus as soon as he finds him, rather than feeding him first as xenia dictates (9.252-255). Then, not only does he not offer the crew a meal, but Homer further distorts the concept for his audience by having Polyphemus make a meal of Odysseus’ crew (9.287-293).

So, yes, while he’s certainly not an innocent victim, I’d root for Polyphemus over Odysseus because was protecting both his home and his livelihood from invading strangers, he was force fed alcohol to make him drunk, then brutally stabbed in his one eye – how is he now supposed to care for himself and his sheep?

top ten tuesday

Reasons I’ve DNFed a book

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week a new theme is suggested for bloggers to participate in. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want. Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to The Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.

This week’s topic is Petty Reasons You’ve DNF’d a Book.

I’m still learning to DNF books – I’ve always been a bit of a Magnus Magnusson “I’ve started, so I’ll finish” but over the last 18 months or so, I’ve started learning that it’s ok to stop reading a book I’m not enjoying for any reason. It doesn’t matter if I’m 5% or 65% of the way through – it’s not fair on the author, on the book, on me and life is too short/my TBR is too big to read a book I’m not enjoying.

Although I do find, especially with Libby and Borrowbox where I try more different variety of book than I otherwise would, that there’s a lot of books I stop reading somewhere in the first parag/first page and they don’t even get logged as started in order TO DNF – I basically class them as not started. But I will be including them here.

So, in no particular order – and I don’t know petty some of these are per se:

Layout/formatting issues or choices
If there’s no paragraph breaks and I’m facing just a huge wall of text, that’s an instant nope for me. The same goes for no speech marks when characters are talking – It just gives me the ick.

Lack of editing
I once DNFed a book because the tense had changed three times on one page and the guitarist was playing a ‘cord’. It’s a lack of care, and I’m not reading something that hasn’t had even the most basic of editing.

Short chapters
I HATE short chapters – when they’re just two or three pages long. It feels like I’m being constantly thrown out of the story, especially when the POV or scene changes every time. It feels like the author doesn’t know how to finish a scene so just… stops. I refuse to read James Patterson because of it.

I don’t like the narrative voice
Sometimes, you just don’t like the ‘sound’ (I don’t listen to audiobooks so I mean the written voice as it were) of the narrative – often for me it’s because it feels flat or boring and leaves me not caring. I also don’t have a huge amount of patience for an unreliable narrator.

Multiple perspectives/POV but they sound the same
Following on from that, when a book is being told from multiple characters’ perspectives, but the narrative voice doesn’t change and sounds exactly the same. I should be able to tell without your header telling me that this is a different person narrating this bit of the story because no two people sound the same.

Story/topic just doesn’t grab me
I have ADHD and all the related attention-span fun that comes along with that. If a book doesn’t grab my attention within the first couple of pages then chances are, I’ll put it down to do something else and never pick it back up again.

It started off well but lost my interest
Sometimes, a book will get past that initial attention-grab, I’ll keep reading it and it seems like everything’s going well. Only then I’ll realise I haven’t picked it up in 6 months, I don’t actually care about the characters or the story, I pass over it every time I’m picking what I’m going to finish/read next, and I just don’t want to read it. And so it gets DNFed.

Unlikable characters
I prefer plot-based stories to character-based ones, I like books where something happens but at the same, I have to care about the people that the plot is happening to. If I don’t care about them or the things happening to them, there’s no point in continuing to read.

Jumping the shark
When a story hits the point where its just throwing in random ideas out of completely nowhere that have nothing in common with anything else in the story, I end up just rolling my eyes and being completely DONE. There was one book I was reading last year that I DNFed at 46% because out of the blue the narrative just went ‘oh, BTW, main character’s secretly actually a hellhound’ and NOPE.

Hyperfixation over
This is more for non-fiction books but quite often I’ll have a hyperfixation on a particular topic and start reading All The Things. But then that hyperfixation can disappear as quickly as it starts and I have absolutely no interest in finishing, for example, the random chemistry/geology/astrophysics (to name a few examples from the last year or so) book that I started months ago.

What are some things that will make you DNF a book?

stacking the shelves

Stacking the Shelves #13

Stacking The Shelves is a meme hosted by Reading Reality all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

I’ve been intentionally not picking any new books up for a couple of weeks, because I once again got overwhelmed by my currently-reading and TBR piles. I’ve been working on bringing down the number of books I’ve started – I’ve now only got 13 books in the currently-reading – and I’m figuring out what the best number of ‘actively reading’ is, which seems to be about 6-8.

This week, however, books came home with me from various places. We’re not even going to think about the number of free books from the Stuff Your Kindle romance and cozy mystery Book Blast.

I picked up one book on Kindle – it was actually advertised to me on Facebook, it sounds ridiculous and it only cost 99p so what was I meant to do?

Julia Golding – The Persephone Code

WH Smith had two paperback books for £14 offer on – and since The Earth Transformed was £12.99 on its own, Happy Place was practically free

Peter Frankopan – The Earth Transformed
Emily Henry – Happy Place

Then Freckles, Finders Keepers and The Marks of Cain came from a charity shop, so it doesn’t count as ‘buying books’ – it’s essentially philanthropy!

Cecilia Ahern – Freckles
Stephen King – Finders Keepers
Tom Knox – The Marks of Cain

I’m also continuing my one-llama mission to fund Libraries Unlimited £1 at a time (reservation fee) and had three reservations come in

Jeremy Clarkson – Diddly Squat: Pigs Might Fly
Ruth Goodman – How To Be A Victorian
Milly Johnson – The Teashop on the Corner

My reading goals for the coming week look something a little like:
finish Juliet Ashton – The Sunday Lunch Club (currently 44%)
finish Sharon Blackie – If Women Rose Rooted (currently 42%)
start Jeremy Clarkson – Diddly Squat: Pigs Might Fly
finish Neil Gaiman – Neverwhere (currently 40%)
start Alix E Harrow – The Starling House
finish Emily Henry – Book Lovers (currently 29%)
finish Milly Johnson – The Teashop on the Corner (currently 57%)
finish Matthew Reilly – Scarecrow (currently 59%)
finish Stacey Solomon – Happily Imperfect (currently 34%)
start Nancy Warren – Lace & Lies
(to be fair, I’m spending over 6 hours on trains on Tuesday so it’s not as daunting as it seems!)

top ten tuesday

Books on my Spring 2024 TBR

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week a new theme is suggested for bloggers to participate in. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want. Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to The Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.

This week’s topic is Books on my Spring 2024 TBR and, honestly, it’s going to end up being more of ‘the next 10 books I want to finish’ because I’ve once against ended up with 19 books in progress again. Although I am working out that between 3 and 5 seems to be the best number of books to be actively reading so my next reading goal of is going to be to try and get it down to that number.


Steven Keogh – Murder Investigation Team: How Scotland Yard Really Catches Killers I’m 69% of the way through with just over 50 pages left so this will definitely get finished this week.
Britney Spears – The Woman in Me Another one I’m really close to finishing, I’ve got about 90 pages so that might get finished this week as well
Nicholas Carr – The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains This one is one of the handful I’m actively reading this week, I’m about 70% through and about 80 pages left so another one that shouldn’t take long to finish
Ben Aaronovitch – The October Man Again, one of the ones I’m actively reading, 62% finished with 70 or so pages left, another one I should finish relatively soon
Cathy Glass – A Long Way From Home The last one of the ones I’m actively reading, I’m about half way through and shall probably finish next week

Then on to the some that are on my currently-reading. They aren’t the ones I’m actively reading, but they’re the next up, and I’m hoping to finish by the end of March

Ronald Hutton – The Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain
Juliet Ashton – The Sunday Lunch Club
Ed Gamble – Glutton: The Multi-Course Life of a Very Greedy Boy
Matthew Reilly – Scarecrow
Jeremy Clarkson – What Could Possibly Go Wrong…

What’s on your TBR this spring?

life

The Llama came back

Hello internet!

Apologies for the disappearing over the last 6 weeks or so. It’s been a rough time. My mental health tanked a bit in the last couple of weeks of my old job and the place I was working showed their true colours with regards to how they viewed disabled employees and accessibility.

I started my new job just over a month ago and so far so good – the learning curve is very steep, they do AP very differently to anywhere I’ve worked before. The people all seem lovely and I’m starting to get my confidence back, so that’s a good thing.

The last couple of weeks though have been very hard on my mental health. The anniversary of my dad’s death, the date that would have been his birthday AND Mother’s Day all falling pretty close together.

And because that wasn’t enough (or possibly because I was so stressed) I managed to get sick on top of it. Fun times y’all

I’ve been taking the best care of myself that I can – not pushing myself too hard, resting as much as I can – and I think I’m starting to come out the other side. My overall mood is starting to improve and my mood swings are less frequent, although I’m still exhausted.

I think my main goal for April is going to be ‘find the new morning/evening routines’, get back into the blogging routine, and ramble at length about the books I’m enjoying again – because somehow I’ve already read 23 books this year, and am close to finishing about 8 more!

stacking the shelves

Stacking the Shelves #12

I am a very excited wee llama – yesterday I managed to get second-row seats to see Six: The Musical in Plymouth in September. I have been wanting to see the show for YEARS and kept missing it because of the fucking agoraphobia. This year, I’m really working on fighting back, and Li and I are apparently turning into cultured old queers because this is now two shows we’ve got booked – we’re also off to Barnstaple in July to see Rent for my birthday!

Stacking The Shelves is a meme hosted by Reading Reality all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

You’ll be absolutely shocked I’m sure to learn I had some reservations come n at the library:

Judi Dench – Shakespeare: The Man Who Pays the Rent
Alice Roberts – Don’t Die Young: An Anatomist’s Guide to Your Organs and Your Health

I bought myself a new book:

Ben Aaronovitch – The October Man
I finished reading Rivers of London #7 Lies Sleeping in the week and this novella comes next

And my Amazon First Reads choice was:

Sarah Beth Durst – The Lies Among Us

I’m looking forward to reading all of them. Do I have any clue when I’ll get round to them? No, of course I don’t but that’s not the point LOL

A less exciting turn of events is that I’m having some issues with Luna my laptop’s keyboard. The I is only working intermittently which makes writing fun. I do have a new wireless keyboard that work provided and part of my to-do list this weekend is building the new desk and getting it all set up with monitor and stuff. Li’s going to take a look at the keyboard when I go down there in April and, if need be, I can get a new one for like £20 and she’s got the tech-know-how to fit it.

stacking the shelves

Stacking The Shelves #9

Stacking The Shelves is a meme hosted by Reading Reality all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

My Amazon first read selection was:

Susannah Nix – The Love Code

I picked up one Kindle book:

Matthew Reilly – Scarecrow

I checked 8 books out of the library:


Jeremy Clarkson – What Could Possibly Go Wrong
Sarah Gibbs – Drama Queen
Hannah Gold – Finding Bear
Philippa Gregory – Normal Women
Matt Haig – The Midnight Library
Prince Harry – Spare
Katherine May – Wintering
Jennette McCurdy – I’m Glad My Mom Died
(all my reservations came in at the same time, because of course they bloody did! (and yes, I know I’m supposed to be focusing on my physical TBR – don’t look at me in that tone of voice LOL))

My reading goals for the coming week look something a little like:
Finish Grace Dent – Comfort Eating
Finish Ben Aaronovitch – Lies Sleeping
Start RF Kuang – Babel
Keep reading Sarah Maas – A Court of Wings and Ruin

top ten tuesday

New-to-Me Authors I Discovered in 2023

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week a new theme is suggested for bloggers to participate in. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want. Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to The Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.

This week’s topic is New-to-Me Authors I Discovered in 2023 and I’m picking ones that I read for the first time in 2023, not necessarily the ones I only heard of first – because I did a lot of ‘picking the popular thing up to see what the fuss was all about’, and they were books that had been around for a while.
I have 8 though, not 10 -I read more than 10 new authors, but these are the 8 that stuck with me, and i have something to say about.
That made more sense in my head – in my defence, I’m writing this under a heady cocktail of codeine, naproxen and not enough caffeine because today is A Bad Pain Day.

Matthew Reilly Definitely one of my top author discoveries of 2023. I picked up Temple because it was set in Peru and filled the ‘South America’ prompt on a Reading Around The World challenge and completely fell in love, proceeded to read 2 more of his books, just bought a 3rd, and have further 2 on my TBR.

Andrea Penrose I absolutely devoured the Wrexford & Sloane books last year, and read books 6 and 7 in January of this year. I am now very impatiently waiting for book 8 to come out in like Aug/Sept
Note to self – you should check out her other series too

Jeremy Clarkson Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t discover Jeremy Clarkson last year. I’ve known who he is for years, I live in the UK and I’ve watched Top Gear, Grand Tour, Clarkson’s Farm etc, but this was the first time I picked up one of his books. It won’t be the last
Note to self – do the library have any of his other books too?

Talia Hibbert Talia Hibbert is someone I first heard of a couple of years ago, and knew I wanted to read. How could I not want to read spicy diverse romance novels, with characters who are fat, or autistic…i.e. like me. And they were wonderful and I adore her!

Alix E Harrow The Once and Future Witches was one of my standout reads from last year, and Harrow’s beautiful writing style is one of the main reasons for that. I absolutely loved it and, yes, want to read more.

Meik Wiking I’d actually attended a bunch of webinars that Wiking has either led as part of The Happiness Institue, or been part of through places like Action For Happiness, but I’d never read one of his books. And then I devoured all the Hygge books he’d written because that all just

Raynor Winn I had been wanting to read The Salt Path for years and when I saw it sitting on the shelf in the library, I was overjoyed. Thankfully the book was every bit as amazing as I expected it to be, Winn’s writing style flows so easily and all three books were completely unputdownable

Stel Pavlou The one author on this list I don’t have the burning desire to read more by but Decipher was definitely one of my top books of 2023. Li recommended it to me and it was fucking batshit crazy, OTT, sci-fi action thriller and I LOVED IT. His other book/s, the precis don’t appeal to me, but he deserves to be on this list for my love of Decipher!

top ten tuesday

Books I Meant to Read in 2023 but Didn’t Get To

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week a new theme is suggested for bloggers to participate in. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want. Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to The Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.

This week’s topic is Books I Meant to Read in 2023 but Didn’t Get To and I am feeling VERY called out right now, because oh there are SO MANY


Ben Aaronovitch – Lies Sleeping (Rivers Of London #7)
Travis Baldree – Legends and Lattes
Becky Chambers – A Psalm for the Wild-Built
Bonnie Garmus – Lessons in Chemistry
Ali Hazelwood – The Love Hypothesis


Talia Hibbert – Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute
Emily Henry – Book Lovers
Sarah J Maas – A Court of Wings and Ruin
Emily St John Mandel – Station Eleven
Tamsyn Muir – Gideon The Ninth