Thursday, March 28, 2019

Throwback Thursday: The Babysitters Club #8 - Boy-Crazy Stacey


So, in the last book, we ended with the information that the Pike family were going to go to Sea City on holiday and needed two sitters to go with them. Stacey and Mary Anne are the lucky pair, and off we go. 

The U.S version of the series included a "Dear Reader" letter from Ann M. Martin at the back of every book that explained how she came up for the concept of each story. This one was based on family holidays she had herself as a kid - Sea City is based on Surf City in New Jersey

Stacey served as my introduction to diabetes (I'd imagine many of us can say the same). As an adult, I really appreciate this - it wasn't who she was, it was just something she lived with and had to manage. Her friends were all understanding and accepting, and Claudia always had some plain crackers or popcorn for Stacey while the others snacked on candy.

So, it's August 1987 and the girls are all gathering at Kristy's new home for a last hurrah before the new school year. Stacey bemoans the fact that she really wants her ears double pierced, which led to an obsession with me wanting, and getting, mine double pierced. When the gang arrive, Kristy is sitting at the front door reading People magazine. 

One of the August 1987 issues of People featured Ryan White on the cover, a teenager who contracted AIDS via a blood transfusion. The whole article (Breaking America's Heart) is available to read on the People archive and I'd highly recommend it, it's still a powerful piece of writing 32 years later. I love that Kristy was reading something like this - I'm hoping it was intentional on behalf of the author to show that the kids were aware of what was going on in the world. Actually, reading this recent New Yorker article featuring Ann M. Martin, I'm convinced that it was intentional. 

Back to the story - Stacey and Mary Anne are going to Sea City for two weeks to be "mother's helpers" and mind the eight Pike kids. I LOVE that Stacey muses on the term, wondering if they should be called "parent's helpers" as they'll be helping Mr. Pike too. She boldly packs a bottle of Sun-Lite, which I assume is the same as the Sun-In we used to use to lighten our hair in the 1990s. 

At Sea City, Stacey almost immediately spots a couple of hunky lifeguards that she reckons are about seventeen years old and immediately declares herself in love with the blond one. She wears her new bikini proudly, and Mary Annes eyes "nearly bug right off her face" when she sees how skimpy it is. The hunky lifeguard is wearing "Noskote and lipcoat" which are both Sunscreen, but teenage me thought he was sporting lipcote, which was a lipstick sealer that my mother wore. 

Stacey is jealous of other girls who are friendly with the guards, and grumbles about not having "the supreme honor of doing favors for them. These girls got to bring them sodas and pick up anything that fell off the sand, one was even asked to fix them sandwiches for lunch". Stacey soon begins to neglect her responsiblities and forget why she's there, leaving Mary Anne to do the bulk of the babysitting while she obsesses over Scott, the eighteen year old lifeguard who calls her cutie, princess, love, honey, sweetheart, beautiful and continues to flirt with her even though she has told him from the beginning that she is thirteen. He later gives her his whistle (which is ridiculous, I mean it's a fairly crucial piece of equipment for a lifeguard). Stacey buys him a massive box of chocolates, but then sees him kissing a different girl (thankfully one his own age). 

Stacey is embarrassed and decides to avoid Scott for the rest of the holiday, and meets a boy her own age, Toby. She has her first kiss and all is right with the world once more.

The two notable outfits this week both come from Stacey: 

To Kristy's House: A pink shirt with bright green and yellow birds splashed all over it. A pair of baggy shorts, a wide green belt around my middle, silver bangle bracelets and a pair of silver earrings shaped like bells.

On Holiday: A white cotton vest over a pink cotton dress and a big white bow in my hair. 

Reading this as a teenager, I probably just fangirled over Scott and felt inadequate. I had regular crushes on people but generally was so lacking in confidence that I wouldn't have dreamed of having a kiss at 16, never mind 13. Reading it as an adult, I'm glad that this was a part of my little bubble when I was a child. Subtle little things (like the "parent's helper" quip, the part where Mary Anne's Dad openly cried, Stacey being perfectly responsible with managing her diabetes and the fact that there was a boy sitter on holiday) are what I definitely needed to read about in that era, when I consumed a huge amount of American teen TV and the only peers I saw were pretty cheerleaders who were devoted to boys. I'm glad that Stacey saw through Scott and came through the whole experience with a fond memory to look back on rather than something that could have been really damaging.  

No snack watch this week as Claudia didn't really feature, but the Pop Culture references were strong: 

Stacey packs an Agatha Christie mystery book. 

Mary Anne is reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. 

The group make an ice-cream stop at Howard Johnson's - HOJO were once as popular as McDonalds, with 28 ice cream flavours on the menu. Only one official branch remains. 

Mallory read The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett and talks about Elizabeth Barrett Browning 

The younger kids mention Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 

See you next week!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Tuesday Three: Contemporary Romance

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I very much enjoy a romantic comedy read. Especially if it has a bit of substance, a pop culture reference or ten, and a swoonworthy love interest. For me books like this are like a big cosy cardigan - something I know I can rely on to bring me comfort. 

I've read some really good ones lately, so I thought I'd put the spotlight on three of them in case you were also looking for a funny, warm read with great characters. 

The One Who's Not the One by Keris Stainton

Cat’s life has hit a brick wall. Since her ex ditched her without ceremony five years ago she’s quit stand-up comedy, landed in a steady but dull job, and lives in a tiny flat with roommates she knows only as The One Who Eats All My Food and The One Who Has Really Loud Sex.

So when she bumps into old friend Harvey and sparks fly, Cat is surprised – and horrified, because Harvey is her ex’s brother, and so absolutely, 100% off-limits romantically. Even if his dimples do make her insides fizz…

When she’s offered a new job abroad, Cat is tempted to accept – and leave her depressing flat and mess of a love life behind her. But will running away from her problems really solve them?

I loved this. It was sweet, funny, and Harvey was hot as all hell. I really loved the female friendship, and I very much enjoyed the pop culture references. It was a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours. I've read a couple of Keris' books and have several more on my TBR pile - I love her writing style.

Don't You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane

It began with four words.
‘I love your laugh. x’
But that was twelve years ago. It really began the day Georgina was fired from The Worst Restaurant in Sheffield (© Tripadvisor) and found The Worst Boyfriend in the World (© Georgina’s best friends) in bed with someone else.
So when her new boss, Lucas McCarthy, turns out to be the boy who wrote those words to her all that time ago, it feels like the start of something.
The only problem? He doesn’t seem to remember Georgina – at all…

I loved this book so much - Georgina was a great main character, and I loved her immediately. She has been carrying something around with her for years, something that completely ruined what she had with Lucas, and I was aching for her to let it go - I bawled my eyes out thinking about it. This was so lovely, and the romance was perfect, but it was also a book about being yourself and finding your own definition of happiness. There were genuinely helpful tips in here about dealing with grief and moving on, plus there were important discussions about relationships, feminism and sexism. I loved it. 

All those now hopelessly in love with Lucas McCarthy, form an orderly queue behind me.

The Time of Our Lives by Portia McIntosh

Kindle | Book Depository (Released April 12th)

Luca is used to being the ‘single one’ at weddings – it happens, when all your other friends are engaged, married or taken. But when she bumps into Tom, her friend from university who broke her heart into a million pieces, she finds herself wondering what could have been.

It’s ten years later, surely she should be over that Tom by now? So why is he looking even more gorgeous than ever – and why doesn’t he seem to be able to keep his eyes off her either?

And as the champagne flows and old secrets resurface, Luca realises that perhaps the time to take a chance on love and life is…now?

I appear to be a sucker for those "let's meet again in 10 years" books, as this is yet another one that involves meeting someone you once loved from your past (my worst nightmare) - this is a really sweet, funny romantic comedy about a group of University friends all meeting again at a wedding. Secrets are spilled, things are discovered, and there's a spark still there between two of the gang - but will it lead to anything? I laughed a lot and really enjoyed the writing. I'd also recommend The Accidental Honeymoon by the same author, her books are genuinely laugh-out-loud funny. 

I think that books like this can be subject to a little bit of snobbery, but they do so well for a reason - they're clever, they're funny, they're sweet, and they're perfect for a holiday/plane/evening on the couch. I know I'll be working my way through the back catalogue of all three of these authors to start with, but if you have any recommendations of a similar genre (especially if there's a reunion) then let me know below. 

I've included direct links to buy these books, but don't forget your independent bookshops and you local library!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Throwback Thursday: The Babysitters Club #7 - Claudia and Mean Janine

Only links to Book Depository or Amazon are Affiliates. 


Firstly, the response to this series has been so great, so thank you! It's nice to know that the BSC hold a special place with loads of us of a certain vintage. In that vein, Aoife has done a great post about where she thinks the main club members would be now:

This week, I'm up to Book 7 and my favourite sitter, Claudia Kishi.

It's July, so there's no school, but the Kishis are all still busy. Claudia is taking art classes, her older sister Janine takes advanced summer courses at the University, and their parents are off to work (her mother is a librarian and her father is a partner in an investment business). Claudia thinks that Janine is blah, and Janine thinks Claudia is immature. Their mother thinks they're both jealous of each other.

The way Janine speaks is reminiscent of the time Joey Tribbiani discovered a thesaurus - "I was simply trying to uphold my end of a meaningful conversation with my sibling". This drives Claudia up the walls, as she already feels like she lets her family down by not being as smart or interested in schoolwork. Unbeknownst to her, Janine wishes that she had Claudia's circle of friends and feels that her only role in the family is to become a physicist. 

In this book, we learn that Claudia's family are Japanese immigrants, and arrived to the U.S when her Grandmother Mimi was in her thirties. Mimi is a calming influence, always supportive of Claudia and doesn't seem to be as obsessed with success as Claudia's parents are. Unfortunately, also in this book, Mimi has a stroke and this serves as one of those classic BSC "life isn't fair" storylines. Honestly, I feel like at times these books prepared me for adulthood better than anything I ever learned at school. When Mimi gets ill, the sisters have to figure out how to work together. Janine isn't actually "mean" (Claudia's kind of mean, tbh), she's just devoid of personality and doesn't have anything in common with Claudia. 

We get another reminder of the infamous BSC phone number, KL5 - 3231. In a previous recap, I linked a really good article about the use of Klondike in TV shows and books - here's another great one if you fancy a trip down a Pop Culture wormhole: This is Why the Fake Phone Numbers in Movies Start With 555

The rest of the story involves a Summer Play Camp that the club set up, which is the usual Karen Brewer/Morbidda Destiny nonsense, Jenny Prezzioso (the original Toddlers & Tiaras kid) swanning about in party frocks, and the washing of a dog that ends up with Mallory Pike painting his nails and the ever-problematic Kristy saying "You don't think Louie looks too much like a girl, do you? If anybody asks tomorrow, I'll just say his name is Louella"

My moment of the week is a shoutout to Auntie Nora, whoever she is. There's a christening party happening at the Newtons, and Nora is clearly planning to get lit to the tit on cocktails because she has her very own bespoke jar labelled "Auntie Nora's Swizzle Sticks". You go, Auntie Nora. 

Notable outfits this week include:

Claudia: Black jeans, a bright blue t-shirt and a snake bracelet above her elbow
Stacey: Knee-length lime green shorts, matching green high-top sneakers, long white t-shirt with a yellow Taxi Cab on the front.
Dawn: Striped pants with suspenders over a red shirt.
Claudia: A big, loose white shirt with black splotches all over it, white pants that come to just below her knees, with dainty gold sandals that laced partway up her legs. She wore pink flamingo earrings and beaded bracelets. 

Cupcakes in her desk drawer
Licorice in her pencil case
M&Ms in her jewelery box
Gumdrops "somewhere"

Snacks, books and clothes must have been really cheap in Connecticut in the 1980s, because I have no idea how Claudia is able to maintain this level of materialism on a 13 year old babysitters wage. 

This week, I'm adding a new section that I hope to go back and include on the other installments - a Pop Culture watch. The series mentions so many TV shows, books and movies from the mid 80s right up to the late 1990s, and I think it'd be a shame to ignore them. 

Claudia is addicted to Nancy Drew books, and mentions a number of titles that she owns: 

The Clue of the Tapping Heels
The Message in the Hollow Oak
The Clue in the Crossword Cipher
The Phantom of Pine Hill

I remember seeing Nancy Drew books in the library as a child but don't recall reading many of them. All of the ones mentioned above are real titles. She also mentions that she has a copy of  The Guinness Book of World Records in her room. 

Bohren's Movers get a shout out via an old t-shirt worn by Kristy, they're a family owned moving business based in New Jersey. 

For the kids, Candy Land crops up in this installment. It's the board game that presumably served as a source of inspiration for Candy Crush, given that the main screen looks exactly like the traditional board. To date it's still popular, selling over a million copies a year.

The Saggy Baggy Elephant by Kathryn Jackson was mentioned as one of the younger kids favourite books. We had a Great-Aunt who regularly sent us little Golden books from the U.S  - they're still being published, and are available on Book Depository.

Next week is the one in which a thirteen year old girl develops a crush on an adult man, who completely encourages it. Brace yourselves. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Spotlight: Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Links are affiliates.


Every so often, I come across a special book. One that sucks me in immediately, turns me into a complete fangirl, and consumes me. It doesn't happen too often, and it's a wonderful surprise when it does. As someone who reads 100+ books a year, these rare ones stand out for all the right reasons, and they're ones I want everyone to read so we can all fangirl together. 

Daisy Jones & the Six is one of those rare finds. 

The book chronicles the rise and fall of a cult 1960s/1970s rock band, and talks about the abrupt ending and how it affected the members and their extended families. From the struggles of frontman Billy, to the wealthy yet sad upbringing of accidental frontwoman Daisy Jones, the narrator speaks to everyone about that time and finds out what they did afterwards. 

I knew at 9% in on my Kindle that this was one to try and slow down and enjoy, rather than race through. Although the band are fictional, this reads exactly like a real biography. Told in a unique interview style, this also works well on audiobook where an ensemble cast of over 20 (including Judy Greer and Benjamin Bratt) take on the characters and bring them to life. I wish the audio version had some original music on it - but I was delighted to discover a playlist featuring tracks that inspired the atmosphere of the story. 

I was also really happy to hear that Reese Witherspoon had acquired the TV rights to it - it's going to work so well as a series. There are three really strong female characters in the story - Camila, Karen, and our iconic frontwoman Daisy. Karen's story was fascinating to me, it gave me a real insight into feminism during the sixties. I adored Camila - funnily enough, she reminded me a lot of Melanie Hamilton from Gone With the Wind. She made difficult decisions and was determined to do the best thing for her family, and while I felt that her faith in Billy was sometimes undeserved, her strength and determination was admirable. I really liked her a lot. 

I loved the book so much that I bought a physical copy too - I purchased mine from Kennys, a great Irish website who provide free shipping. You can also purchase from:

I'd love to read more music based books, so if anyone has any suggestions please leave them in a comment below!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Throwback Thursday: The Babysitters Club #6: Kristy's Big Day

Nothing to disclose.


After a short (okay, almost a year long - I'm a Gemini, it's not my fault) hiatus, and the news that our favourite group of sitters are getting a whole new TV show soon courtesy of Netflix, it's time to dive back in to our weekly recaps and see what the girls are getting up to in book six. 

Kristy Thomas (my least favourite, FYI) takes the lead in this one.

Kristy's mother Elizabeth is marrying Watson, a millionaire. He has two children, Andrew and Karen (who gets her very own very annoying spin-off series). After the wedding in September, the plan is for everyone to move across town to Watson's mansion.

But, because things going smoothly does not an interesting read make, disaster hits when Elizabeth is told she will be in Europe for work in September. Plus, OH NO, the Realtor has just found a buyer for their house. They have to bring the wedding forward immediately so they can move to Watson's.

Holy loose plot, Batman.

Co-habiting obviously is not acceptable in Stoneybrook in the late 1980s (even though Watson and Elizabeth have six children between them), so there's a huge panic and it's all hands on deck. This means that all of Elizabeth's family are coming to stay for the week to help organise a quick wedding, bringing with them a frankly ludicrous eleven children under ten. Add in Kristy's younger brother and almost step-siblings, and that makes fourteen kids - the BSC's most adventurous undertaking yet. Elizabeth and Watson are paying them a massive $120 each to watch the fourteen kids for the week.

It's fairly solid BSC stuff from there on - Karen being a massive arsehole and scaring younger kids with stories about aliens and witches and Morbidda Destiny, other kids misbehaving, etc. Eventually the wedding goes ahead without a hitch and Kristy gets to wear her gross-sounding yellow dress with "the special shoes that they can dye to match" for her role as Bridesmaid.

The special moment this week goes to the phone call from Mrs. March, which went like this:

"Hello, this is Marmee March. I need a sitter for Amy tonight, someone who has experience with little women."

If you know, you know. 

Also worth mentioning is another school dance - this time called  The Final Fling. 

This series (and SVH) served as my introduction to many, many American words and concepts, including two found here - for years I thought "hors d'oeuvres" and "orderves" were two different things, and I thought a "pocketbook" was a pocket sized book and that people in America must really love reading if they bring miniature books with them everywhere.

On to the notable outfits - given that we get very little details about Kristy's dress apart from the fact that it's yellow, the outfit spot this week has to go to the one who never lets us down, Claudia Kishi:

Claudia was wearing a black leotard & skintight red pants under a white shirt that was so big it looked like a lab coat. She had pinned her long black hair back at the sides with red clips. 

A huge bag of M&Ms under her bed in a box labelled "ARTWORK: STILL LIFS AND PORTRTTS"
A snickers in the drawer of her jewellery box
Ring Dings from the "STILL LIFS" box
A roll of Life Savers from her pocket

M&Ms and Snickers are fairly self explanatory, We've seen Ring Dings before in Book 4, and Life Savers are essentially Polo Mints and my beloved Polo Fruits that have vanished off the face of the planet. 

Until next week! Or next year, who knows.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Almost Love by Louise O'Neill: Review + Giveaway

ARCs clearly defined in accordance with review policy here


Louise O'Neill's third book (her first written for an adult audience) has recently been released in Paperback format, and I have been very generously offered a copy to give away.

When Sarah falls for Matthew, she falls hard. So it doesn't matter that he's twenty years older. That he sees her only in secret. That, slowly but surely, she's sacrificing everything else in her life to be with him. 

Sarah's friends are worried. Her father can't understand how she could allow herself to be used like this. And she's on the verge of losing her job. But Sarah can't help it. She is addicted to being desired by Matthew.

And love is supposed to hurt. Isn't it?

I read this book upon its initial e-book & hardback release last year, and it's one that has stayed with me - Louise is a master at writing a main character who isn't easy to love. In Almost Love, our protagonist Sarah (as with Asking For It's main character Emma),  isn't someone that most of us would automatically warm to. She makes horrible decisions, she treats people badly, and she does unforgiveable things to her friends. But, does this mean she deserves to be unhappy? 

I assumed that this book would be about an abusive, controlling boyfriend. I should have known better than to assume anything with Louise's writing - this ended up being very reminiscent of a relationship I had when I was younger, which I wasn't expecting to have to face again. As a result I had a degree of empathy towards Sarah - I completely understood her obsession with wanting to be loved by this horrible man, but her inability to recognise (or even cope) when someone truly cared for her. 

It's uncomfortable, it's sharp, it's raw, it will probably make you angry on more than one occasion, but more importantly - it will make you think. Louise O'Neill is one of the most important authors we have in Ireland at the moment - she writes about subjects that resonate with so many young women, but does it in a way that sneaks up and consumes you. 

If you'd like to win a copy of the newly released paperback version of Almost Love, which features an interview with Louise and the wonderful Marian Keyes, please follow the steps in the Rafflecopter widget below.

This giveaway is open to residents of Ireland & the UK only.

 The winners information will be shared with the publisher for the sole purpose of sending the prize, they will not be added to any database.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Blog Tour: Day of the Accident by Nuala Ellwood Review + Giveaway

Not paid or sponsored.
Links to buy are affiliate links.


I'm delighted to be able to bring you a review and giveaway today as part of the Blog Tour for Nuala Ellwood's latest book, Day of the Accident.

I was very generously sent a physical copy for review (which I then lost, so I bought it on Kindle), and I thought I'd give it away to one of you.

Sixty seconds after she wakes from a coma, Maggie's world is torn apart. 

The police tell her that her daughter Elspeth is dead. That she drowned when the car Maggie had been driving plunged into the river. Maggie remembers nothing.

And when Maggie begs to see her husband, the police tell her that he has disappeared. He was last seen on the day of her daughter's funeral.

What really happened that day at the river?
Where has Maggie's husband gone?
And why can't she shake the suspicion that somewhere, somehow, her daughter is stil alive? 

This was a slow burner, one that picked up pace as we went along. As well as Maggie's story, we are given chapters from a young girl stuck in some kind of institution or home. Is Maggie right, is her daughter really alive and expecting her to come and save her? 

This is clever, fresh, and it has those short chapters that I love so much. I've always said that short chapters suck me in, especially with a thriller - I'm always inclined to read "just one more" when I know it's only a few minutes long. As a result, I couldn't put this one down and kept reading late into the night. 

The story is well crafted, and believable. The characters are well developed. If I could have asked for one more thing, I'd like to have seen more of Maggie's husband (as would she - *ba-doom-tish*).

I did have it mostly figured out by about 80%, but instead of feeling like I had spoiled it, I felt excited to see how it was all going to come out. Because Maggie was suffering from memory loss, any little reveals or tells didn't feel like dripfeeding, they felt like things we were all discovering together.

I really liked the supporting characters, the care staff helping Maggie could have been just fleeting names, but they were real people with real personalities and real stories of their own.

This was a sharp, engaging thriller, and shows that the notorious "difficult second novel" isn't difficult at all when you can write like this. 


You can buy Day of the Accident from any good book retailer, including

Or request it at your local library.

If you'd like to check out the other stops on the blog tour featuring excerpts, interviews and giveaways, you can do so by visiting the bloggers listed on the banner below:

Thanks to all at Penguin for inviting me to take part in this tour and allowing me to read the book early. 

To win the paperback copy, please leave your details in the widget below. I'm really interested to find out what everyone has been reading recently!


This giveaway is open worldwide.

 The winners information will not be shared with any third party, their details will be used for the sole purpose of sending the prize and will not be held on file. 

Friday, March 1, 2019

Books I Read in February 2019

ARCs clearly defined in accordance with review policy here.
Links to buy are affiliate links.


Having spent the last few months in some sort of reading related slump, I'm over the moon that my reading mojo has finally returned. I read 16 books in February, a 1600% increase on the big fat zero that I finished in January.

To go to my full Goodreads review of any book, just click the cover. I don't do spoilers!



Becoming by Michelle Obama
I received this as a Christmas gift and I took my time reading it. It's not a political book, although of course there are political anecdotes included. It's really enjoyable, a very real and open story of a young determined woman from Chicago who was driven to do something important with her life. I loved it - so much so that after finishing my hardback, I bought it on Audible so that I could listen to her reading her story. Her voice is so soothing and strong, I'd highly recommend the audio version.
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository | Audible 

Brutally Honest by Mel B
I borrowed this from the library - it's a really harrowing look at some of the darker periods in Melanie B's life, documenting her awful relationship with her ex-husband Stephen and looking at other significant relationships and how they affected her. It's a hard read, but one that shows that nobody is immune to a damaging relationship.
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository

I'll Be There for You: The One About Friends by Kelsey Miller
I saw this on someone's social media (I can't remember who) and downloaded it on my Kindle. It's a look at what the TV show Friends means to people, and an examination of some of the more controversial storylines. I enjoyed it a lot, and I learned some new things about the show.
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository


In America: Tales from Trump Country by Caitríona Perry
I bought this the Christmas before last and just never got around to reading it - I wonder if I had read it earlier would I have taken more from it? It's composed of stories collected from Trump supporters living in different States in the US. It's all presented as is, with little personal input from the author. I didn't take a lot from it, but die-hard lovers of US politics may be interested in stories from the ground.
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository

Notes to Self by Emilie Pine
I had pre-ordered this and then left it on a shelf for months - I feel bad that I neglected it for so long, because it's one of the most powerful books I've read in a very long time. The author writes so beautifully about the most tragic events, from fertility to illness, sexual violence, teenage depression - the subject matter is really heavy but it's so raw and real, it's impossible to not take something from it. I cried several times (shocker).
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository

Rebel Dad by David R.I. McKinstry
I received this as a digital ARC from Netgalley (I've a post about how to use Netgalley here). It's about David, a gay man from Canada who always wanted children but was declined as an adoptive parent because of his sexuality. He decides that nothing will stop him from becoming a parent, and travels to India to try and bring a child back. I didn't love the writing style here, I felt that I didn't get to know much about David as a person, just that he was driven to become a Dad. I really enjoyed his friend Susan's story and I admire the determination in trying to give a child a better life.
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository


Suck Less: Where There's a Willam There's a Way by Willam Belli
Drag Race Alum Willam Belli has written a guide, not on how things get better, but on how to make things suck less. It's witty and quirky, but if you're not a fan of Willam or you don't get his dry, sardonic humour, then you may be better off avoiding this one. I enjoyed it, but even knowing what kind of jokes he makes I still wasn't prepared for some of the advice. Or is it really advice?
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository

This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Philipps
Like most people, before discovering Busy Philipps on Instagram stories, I only knew of her from TV and Film roles a few years ago. I listened to this on audio and I'd highly recommend you do that too if you're interested in it - her stories are so interesting and she has no problem calling someone out on shady behaviour. The story about Blades of Glory was shocking, I can't believe that her using a particular word to describe James Franco got more media coverage than that entire debacle. I really like her and I really liked this book.
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository | Audible

The Cow Book by John Connell
At the time of writing, the author is twenty-nine years old and has just returned to his family farm in Longford after living in Canada and Australia. He tells numerous stories about life on a farm, but also weaves in some of the history and lore about cattle and looks at his relationship with his father. Unfortunately I didn't like this one, I appreciate that it exists because I think it's important to document the farming lifestyle, but I didn't personally take anything from it.
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository 



The Day of the Accident by Nuala Ellwood
I'll have a blog tour spot and a giveaway for a copy of this one on Saturday March 2nd. It's a really good thriller about a woman who wakes from a coma to realise that her daughter has died, her husband has vanished, and it's all her fault. Or is it? Somebody must know something, surely? I really liked this one a lot.
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
This is a tale about a group of friends who travel to a remote cabin to celebrate New Years Eve. When one of the party dies, everyone's a suspect. A messy tangle of secrets and deceit, I didn't love this one and it took me ages to get through.
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository

The Nowhere Child by Christian White
I received this as a digital ARC from NetGalley. It's a crime/thriller set between Australia and Kentucky, about a woman named Kim who is approached by a stranger one day and told that she is, in fact, Sammy Went, who vanished in 1990 aged 2. The book goes back and forth between then and now to find out what really happened. It's one of the best books I've read in ages.
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository

Young Adult


Enchantée by Gita Trelease
I took part in the blog tour for this one, you can read that post in full here.
Set in Paris in 1789, right on the cusp of the French Revolution, this is a tale about a young woman trying to ensure the survival of her family. All that Camille has to offer is the magic that her mother used to use - she infiltrates the Palace at Versailles and tries to con the rich out of some of their wealth. But Camille is not the only one there under pretence, and things get messy. I enjoyed this a lot, plus it's a standalone so you don't have to worry about being left with a cliffhanger.
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus
I really enjoyed Karen's first book, One of Us is Lying, a Breakfast Club style YA thriller, so when I saw that she had a new book I bought it immediately. This one is about twins Ezra and Ellery Corcoran, who are sent to live with their estranged Grandmother in Echo Ridge, a small town with a troubled past. 23 years ago a young woman went missing. 5 years ago, another was found dead. Now, someone is on the prowl again. I really enjoyed this, I got a little confused between the different generations of crime victims but overall I thought it was brilliant.
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository

Other Fiction


Ready To Fall (Wingmen #1) by Daisy Prescott
This was free on BookBub, so having read and enjoyed some other books by this author I snapped it up. It's a light romance about a soon-to-be-divorced woman who moves next door to a big gruff sexy lumberjack. Unfortunately I didn't love it - I felt that the male lead was needlessly growly and possessive, and I didn't enjoy reading the entire book from his POV.
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository 

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
I was very kindly sent a review copy of this last year, and just never got around to finishing it. I read it from the beginning the other day and I loved it. It's about Keiko Furukura,  a young woman who has worked in the same store for eighteen years, and her desire to appear "normal" to society. It's a witty, sharp look at the pressures on young women and the expectations they face from society, plus it's darkly funny in parts. I really enjoyed it. Plus, it led me to a very pleasant half hour YouTube binge to hear some of the Japanese words read aloud, followed by an eBay order of 20 Japanese KitKats.
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository 

So, there we have it - a nice little 4x4 collection of very diverse books this month. My favourites were Nowhere Child, This Will Only Hurt a Little, Becoming, and Notes to Self. If you've read anything good lately that you think I'd like, pop me a comment below or on my Instagram.