Book and rose wine against pale pink floral dress

I love to read, and I read a lot. For as long as I can remember I’ve always read between 70-100 books each year. 2019 was my best year with 107, but in 2020 I only managed three. Despite more time at home, I felt myself making less time for me – and reading – so, at the beginning of the year, I resolved to get back into reading. My goal was a book a month, needless to say, I’ve reached that goal. 

Here’s an overview of what I’ve been reading the last three months. 

January 2021

January was all about getting those quick, fun, easy reads in so I got excited about reading about and back in the habit of reaching for a book instead of my phone. Never one to pass on professional development, I made my seventh and final book of the month a money related topic.

The Minute I Saw You, by Paige Toon

A thought-provoking and interesting contemporary love story exploring some serious issues. A good first book of the year because it was simple and easy to fly through. A chick-lit, love story set in Cambridge, it would be a great summer read. The book is deeper than most romance books filled with drama and traumatic pasts that could be triggering for some readers.

The Hunted Series, by Ivy Smoak (3 books in total)

 If you’re looking for smut and don’t care about the plot, this is for you. This series was recommended by KindleUnlimited and I honestly could have done without it. If the story ended after the first book I would have enjoyed it more but as it went on the more I disliked how predictable and over-exaggerated everything became. 

The Switch, by Beth O’Leary

Exactly the kind of wholesome, endearing, and sweet content everyone needs in their lives right now. The story follows Leena and her grandmother, Eileen, which drew me in from the start. They have a great dynamic and I enjoyed the different generations and the complexity of the family. An overall easy and effortless read without being predictable. 

The Psychology of Money, by Morgan Housel

Easy-to-read, no financial background needed and provides so much wisdom. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you do not need to be good at maths to understand money – or investing! Investing is not the study of finance. It’s the study of human behaviour and this book illustrates that point perfectly. Broken up into short stories and lessons to explore the complex relationships we all have with money. Definitely recommend. 

Learn more about the psychology of money

February 2021

February was a mix of topics. I wanted relaxed books after reading about money but found some serious topics along the way: family drama, war crimes and brain tumours to name a few. The Swondonia Killings was technically finished on the 1 March but doesn’t fit the theme for the month!

One Day in Summer, by Shari Low

A feel-good book, easy to read, best enjoyed on the beach or with a glass of wine. This book kept me wanting more without being obvious about what would happen next. Considering the whole day takes place during one day (although, past and present-day) the story never felt stale. Witty and fun dialogue and a wide range of characters and personalities, which I enjoyed.

Diary of a War Crime, by Simon McCleave 

After reading I discovered it was a prequel to a series, which actually makes a lot of sense. The plot of the crimes was really interesting but something felt off about the character development, which I assume is because it’s meant to be an origin story and fill in gaps rather than explain. As a stand-alone book, I don’t love it but the story development and crime was an edge of your seat story. 

Checking Out, by Nick Spalding

A serious message (inoperable brain tumour) mixed with humour and slapstick comedy isn’t always going to land. Easy to read but not overly memorable, not a fan of the main character Nathan, which is saying something since he’s dying and I still can’t find sympathy for him. Despite that, it is a good reminder to make the most of your life. Ultimately, I wouldn’t recommend it. Would probably make a better rom-com movie than a book.

Rescue Me, by Sarra Manning

A lovely story with complex characters but honestly, I am 100% here for the rescue Staffy! As a crazy dog person, this book made my heart so happy. Not only does it promote adoption (and fostering!) but it tackles breedism, the importance of training and patience with a rescue. The book is ultimately a romance but I loved how it showcased the relationship between dog and human more than anything else. If you love a romance novel and dogs, this is a must-read. 

The Swondonia Killings, by Simon McCleave

The first book in the series (Diary of a War Crime was the prequel) and it’s a good mystery. It is a regular British Police Procedural crime thriller with a beautiful countryside setting. Personally, the Welsh culture and folklore was an interesting part of the story and overall, an easy-breezy read. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series and getting to know the characters better. 

March 2021

To mark Women’s History Month I targeted books about feminism or more generally women. While I’m glad I did it, I think smaller doses spread out is the way to go, March ended up being a hard month – but very thought-provoking. More of these thoughts to come…

Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay

A collection of essays revolving around the idea you can be a feminist and make mistakes. The writing and topics are insightful and provoking. One minute I’m wholeheartedly agreeing and the next I’m shaking my head thinking ‘wtf no’. Only maybe half of the essays directly approach feminism making it just as much a memoir as an analysis of what it means to be a 21st-century feminist. I think it’s best enjoyed as each essay for itself and a starting point for further research and conversation.

Women Don’t Owe You Pretty, by Florence Given

Although I wholeheartedly agree with the message of empowering young women, loving themselves and not being someone else for the sake of Instagram likes – this book is not a good view of feminism, it’s a forced performance. Another collection of essays tackling the narrative of women and what it means to be a feminist. So many words but so little said. I found myself fuming when she discussed relationships and marriage. The writing was patronising and unrealistic, for starts relationships need compromise in some form to not only work but be healthy. 

Why Women are Poorer than Men and What We Can Do About It, by Annabelle Williams

A very informative book, slightly niche but relevant to all women. The book covers a lot of topics and areas I will dig deeper into and give my perspective and thoughts on in coming months (years..) but a great starting point. Women often don’t talk about money but I think it’s really important and this book provides everything in bite-size information and plain language making it very accessible. Definitely recommend. 

To stay up to date with what I’m reading, follow me on Instagram where I share book reviews as I go and monthly roundups.