Title: If The Fates Allow
Author: Pene Henson, Erin Finnegan, Lynn Charles, Killian B Brewer, Lilah Suzanne
Editor: Annie Harper
Genre: Fiction (short stories) / Christmas
First published: 1 December 2017 by Interlude Press
Edition: ARC e-book, courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher
This is a collection of five LGBTQ+ short stories based around the Christmas season. I felt I could do with a bit of diversity in my reading and I actually really enjoyed this collection. They are feel-good stories perfect for this time of year.
I decided against reviewing each individual story, as I feel as a collection they are stronger than alone. All these stories are about new starts and falling in love and all are so romantic! Halfway Home was my favourite of the stories, but all were well written, heartwarming and smile-inducing. The accumulated collection of this hope and love is what makes this such a strong bunch of short stories.
If you like Christmas and love, this is the short story collection for you!
5 out 7 stars
I don’t think I have had such a slow reading week for months. If I reach 50 pages a day it is a lot at the moment. It is fine of course, but it is just unusual. But then, I am feeling generally drained and sluggish at the moment. I reckon it is simply my body and mind adjusting to the winter that is coming. I simply seem to be wanting to do other things than read at the moment. I find it hard to stop my mind from wandering whilst reading. I am pretty sure it will get better soon, because to be honest I quite miss getting lost in a book. From the reactions on my ‘reading slump‘ post, I am not the only one suffering from that ailment at the moment!
I am still reading Jane Eyre, which (despite the slow going) I am really enjoying. I really love Jane’s voice and the way she presents herself to the reader throughout. Whether it is the right sort of book to read in the middle of a reading slump I am not quite sure, but I am sure I will pick up speed soon.
I have also just started If The Fates Allow, a collection of festive LGBTQ short stories written by various authors. It is my final ARC of the months. I am only halfway into the first story and it’s pretty fun so far. A collection of short stories could be just what I need to get myself out of my slump!
That is pretty much it for this update. Fingers crossed I will be back to normal soon. Not reading very much and not being able to concentrate on much of anything is not helping my blog updates either, but bear with me!
Title: The Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross
Author: Lisa Tuttle
Genre: Fiction / Mystery /Paranormal
First published: August 2017
Edition: ARC e-book, courtesy of NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group
I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery novel, right up until the last few chapters, which fell a bit flat for me.
Lisa Tuttle has a wonderful way of portraying her characters in this novel set in Victorian England. I enjoyed Miss Lane’s voice and the way the characters interacted. I did not feel that I had needed to read the first book in this serious to enjoy this one. In fact, it works very well as a standalone, as mysteries often do.
The resolution of the various mysteries left me feeling a little unsatisfied. One mystery’s resolution especially left me feeling somewhat deflated. You know when you shout indignantly at a book’s plot twist you are clearly not feeling it. I just wanted a bit more from it.
However, I really enjoyed the author’s writing style and I would like to read some more by her.
4 out of 7 stars
This really seems to be a slow reading month. I have only been reading about 40 or 50 pages a day for a few days. I find myself doing lots of other things, but not reading.
It’s partly the weather, which is grey and dull. You would think it is perfect weather to curl up with a book, but no, I just am not picking up my books much. It is odd really, as I am actually really enjoying both books that I am reading, but for some reason I feel too restless to sit down and read. My brain seems to be working overtime and cannot settle or relax to read.
I am still reading Jane Eyre, which I am really enjoying, despite the chapter or two a day I seem to be reading at the moment. It is a really easy read so far, which I did not expect.
I am also still reading The Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross (Lisa Tuttle), which is a mystery set in the 19th century I think. Another one I am really enjoying!
So it is definitely not the books! Quality wise I have actually had quite a good reading month so far.
Tell me about your reading month! How is it going? What are you reading?
I did WWW Wednesday a couple of days ago, but since it has been all change, I figured I would do one of these puppies.
I finished Kate Humble’s Humble by Nature today, which I listened to on Audible and enjoyed a lot. It was such a good listen too. She tells it well!
I started Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë) a couple of days ago and I was surprised that I got into the story so quickly. I immediately connected to young Jane and her circumstances for some reason and I found myself rooting for her straight away. With quite a few classics, especially if they were written over a hundred years ago, it takes me a while to connect to the voice, which is often quite different from modern novels, but with Jane Eyre it took no time at all. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the book. And can I just add how much I love this Penguin clothbound edition! It is pretty stiff and awkward for reading in a cozy position though…
I have also started my fifth ARC of the month, which is The Curious Case of the Witch at Wayside Cross by Lisa Tuttle. I just read the first chapter and it’s promising! A mystery will do me quite well right now.
On a side note, I had six ARCs listed for reading this month, which is ridiculous! Apparently when I signed up with NetGalley a couple of months ago I went a bit crazy in the beginning and ended up with a load of books being published between this month. I panicked a little. I have calmed down now. I have read four already and luckily I liked them all so far! After this month they are pretty spaced out and there should not be more than two a month, which is much much better! I may make December all about the physical books! More on that when I do my November Wrap-Up and December TBR.
Title: Humble By Nature
Author & Narrator: Kate Humble
Genre: Non-Fiction /Autobiography / Farming
First published: 2014 by Headline
Edition: Audio book
I love it when the author narrates their own story on audio books and this was such an enjoyable listen! Kate’s voice is warm and personable as she tells the listener/reader about her and her husband’s adventures creating a smallholding home in Monmouthsire.
If you do not like animals, there is no point reading this book, as it is saturated with Kate’s love for them and that is what makes it such a great story. She tells her tales of heartbreak and success with warmth and emotion and the passion she has for a life surrounded by animals show through in the casual narrative. Listening to this book made me smile a lot and it simply made me happy.
I would not say it is a must-read, but if you do love animals, I cannot recommend this highly enough.
6 out of 7 stars
Title: One Christmas Kiss in Notting Hill
Author: Mandy Baggot
Genre: Fiction / Romance
First published: 16 November 2017 (today!) by Ebury Press
Edition: ARC e-book, courtesy of Netgalley and the publisher
As far as seasonal romance novels go, I enjoyed this one a great deal. I liked Isla’s character a lot and I loved the setting. Of course, it hardly ever snows in London, especially in December. I lived there for ten years and never seen it snow as much as it does in this book. But hey, this is fiction and it COULD happen!
There were other issues with this book. The building plans for example, complete poppycock (a word used in the book), but again, this is fiction and does not need to be that realistic.
The most important thing is that I enjoyed the love story, which was cute and not too over the top. I liked both romantic leads and the fact that family played a big role. I also found myself really rooting for the romance developing between two other characters.
If you enjoy a bit of a Christmas romance, you could do worse than pick up this book.
5 out 7 stars