I read 7 books in April which seems to be about my average in 2023
Jeremy Clay – The Burglar Caught by a Skeleton: And Other Singular Tales from the Victorian Press
A collection of extraordinary, bizarre and morbidly funny stories from the Victorian press. There were farces and tragedies and a lot of misfortune and some utterly heart-wrenching stories – and everything in between. The book was absolutely fascinating and I couldn’t put it down, but at the same time it got a little repetitive with many similar stories featured.
A 3.5 star read
Ruby Wax – A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled
I usually struggle with mindfulness books but I found this very easy to read. It felt like Wax was sitting down and talking with me, her voice was so clear and the information about how the brain works and what mindfulness can do was thorough and detailed without getting bogged down. Her own experiences were utterly harrowing but at the same time helped to contextualise the mindfulness she was writing about. And I found the 6 week course to be really helpful – and will definitely be a practice I continue, and come back to.
A 3.75 star read
Andrea Penrose – Murder on Black Swan Lane
What’s not to love about a Regency murder mystery with a scientist who’s an earl and a fearless artist investigating crimes relating to alchemy?! While it wasn’t exactly historically accurate, that didn’t actual detract from the reading for me which it quite often does, but it was a whole lot of fun with entertaining characters that I ended up really loving. There’s quite the wait at the library for the second book in the series and I’m getting impatient now!
A 4 star read – and my book of the month
Holly Black – The Queen Of Nothing
Honestly, the best month of the series in my opinion. I struggled through The Wicked King, but I really loved the machinations in The Queen of Nothing. It wasn’t the most neatly plotted book, it wasn’t particularly original but the story was still engrossing, had a few twists and surprises and was a very satisfying end to the series.
A 4 star read
AF Steadman – Skandar and the Unicorn Thief
There are some downsides to reading a kids book as an adult, and that is a lot of frustration with the behaviour of the pre-teen characters but other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved the different approach to what a unicorn is, loved the whole vibe of the riders and the Eyrie and wasn’t at all bothered that I’d worked out the plot twist.
A 4 star read
Jeremy Clarkson – Diddly Squat: ‘Til The Cows Come Home
A bit like the first one, I read this in one afternoon, completely devoured it and loved it. Clarkson’s voice is very clear through his writing, it was a good mix of events that were featured on the show (but a slightly different telling of) and ones that happened off camera. For all his bull, you can tell he does genuinely care about the farm and I hope we get to keep hearing the stories about it.
A 5 star read
Ben Aaronovitch – The Hanging Tree
I’ve now hit the point in the series where I’m not re-reading, I’m reading for the first time. The Hanging Tree didn’t have a lot of the pacing issues I’ve found with the previous books, the action scenes felt smoother and easier to follow, and I really liked finding out more about some of the other magic paths in the world. I found there was a fair bit of callback to the previous books, and only small things, that I didn’t really remember which was a little frustrating but I loved how it’s all tying the series together and it didn’t detract too much from my enjoyment. I’m looking forward to the next one.
A 4 star read
Looking more at the stats side of things:
7 book, 2666 pages – 71% between 300 & 499 pages long, 29% <300 pages
The main moods were dark and adventurous
43% fast-paced, 43% medium-paced and 14% slow paced
57% fiction, 43 non-fiction
My most read genres were fantasy, mystery, historical, young adult, and self-help
My average rating was 4