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Sunday, 14 February 2021

January reads

*AD - GIFTED I mentioned in my 2021 goals reading more was something I was keen to get back in to this year. And I've started off well! Today I'm sharing the five books I read in January and what I think of them all. 

January reads vintage books in a wicker basket surrounded by fairy lights

The Art of Falling by Danielle McLaughlin

January reads - The art of falling by Danielle McLaughlin

Nessa McCormack is recovering from her husbands affair, whilst working as an art curator about to display the late Robert Lockes The Chalk Sculpture and raising a teenage daughter. And just when she is managing it all (just) along comes an eccentric Melanie Doerr to claim the Sculpture is hers.
The Art of Falling is a well written, windy story of family dramas and how secrets never do stay hidden.
The story follows Nessa through her home, work and social circle and all the characters blend really well into the story line and where it is going. The characters are all well written, with no one seeming out of place.
Whilst I found the first couple of chapters hard to get into, I sped through the rest of the book.
I love how Nessa is facing the truths and secrets from her past while trying to uncover the truth and secrets behind the sculpture and it’s creator. It’s a very cleverly written story line that comes together perfectly.
I really love the ending. It fits the tone of the book, not too “happy” and not too poignant. A just ending for everyone.

3.5 /5 stars

You can get The Art of Falling here.

The Longest Echo by Eoin Dempsey

January reads - The Longest Echo by Eoin Dempsey

In Monte Sole, Italy, Liliana’s family find an escaped American POW James Foley. They help him get to the local partisan resistance. But the SS strike a brutal attack against the resistance and locals leaving Liliana and James fleeing to the allied lines.
Years later Liliana and James are reunited. Both are haunted still by Monte Sole and Liliana wants to bring the SS responsible for what happened to justice and James knows how to do it.

The Longest Echo is a story that instantly draws you in and keeps you thinking long after you read it.
I love how you follow James and Liliana through the years and find out how what happened to them both has shaped their life. Despite the time jumps the story flows and is easy to follow.
I really enjoyed the different settings in the book. War ravaged Italy, New York, Argentina and back to America again.
The story is moving and poignant, made more so by the fact the Monte Sole massacre is a true event from the war.
The events here should be something everyone knows and I’m so glad The Longest Echo brings it to more people’s attention.

5/5 stars

You can pre-order The Longest Echo here.

A Splendid Ruin by Megan Chance 

January reads - A Splendid Ruin by Megan Chance

May Kimble is called to live at the Sullivan’s in San Francisco with her Aunt she’s never met after her mother dies. Her Aunts family welcome her into their wealthy, opulent world. But all isn’t as it seems. May almost loses everything, until the 1906 San Francisco earthquake gives her the ability to take it all back.

I loved reading this historical novel. I loved the setting, the characters and the mystery and drama of it.

Following Mays journey as she blunders through mixing with a higher social circle, as she tries to find out her past and as she realises what’s happening in the Sullivan’s house is entertaining and page turning.

The setting of the earthquake and how that gives May the ability to take her life back is a great storyline.

My only complaint is I would have liked the ending to be longer, or there to be a sequel. I’d love to know just how May is living her new life now.

4.5/5 stars.

You can get A Splendid Ruin here.

The Girl Who Escaped From Auschwitz by Ellie Midwood 

January reads - The girl who escaped from Auschwitz by Ellie Midwood

Mala Zimetbaum is prisoner 19880 in Auschwitz and she uses her work position in the concentration camp to help save as many other prisoners as possible. Edward, a camp veteran and political prisoner, needs her help and finds her in camp. Together they plan their escape from Auschwitz and fall in love along the way.
This is based on the true story of Mala who was the first woman to escape from Auschwitz.
The book is incredibly well written and really does justice to the story of Mala.
It is moving, harrowing and yet intercepted with moments of humanity and “normal every day” life. I connected with all of the characters, whether it is willing on Mala and Edwards escape, or despising the SS officers working in the camp.
The end had me in tears and it is a book that will stay with me for a long time.

5/5 stars

You can pre-order The Girl Who Escaped from Auschwitz here. 

Catch The Rabbit by Lana Bastasic

January reads - Catch the rabbit by Lana Bastasic

Sara has left Bosnia behind and is settled in Dublin when she gets a phone call from her childhood friend Lejla who she hasn’t spoken to in years. Lejla summons Sara home to drive her to Vienna and Sara goes.

The book follows them through their road trip to Vienna and through their past friendship.
It is written as if Sara is telling their story to Lejla. The writing is to the point, with nothing extra that doesn’t need to be said there, Which makes it quite an intense read.
I really enjoyed learning more about Bosnia and it’s past through Sara and Lejlas story. Both of their childhoods are interesting.
I unfortunately found both characters hard to connect to and also found the ending strange and somewhat unresolved.
I’m sure there is a point I’ve missed but it just wasn’t the book for me.

3/5 stars. 

You can pre-order Catch The Rabbit here

What have you read recently? And what is next on your to read list? 
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Monday, 8 February 2021

2021 goals

A (very) belated Happy New Year to you all! Here's to hoping 2021 is a better year than 2020 was for us. I'm not one for resolutions but I do always like to set myself some goals for the year. So, here are my 2021 goals.

2021-goals

2021 goals

  • Get outside more I love being outdoors and a walk does wonders for me. Fresh air and movement really boosts my mental and physical health. This year I want to make sure I have a walk every day. Whether that's a day out at the weekend or a quick walk around the block after work I'll be making myself move. 
  • Explore new places As you'll know from my travel posts I love exploring new places and sights. 2020 wasn't a good year for travelling or visiting new places. This year I want to visit somewhere new at least once a month. I don't know what travel will look like the coming year, but if things are still the same there are plenty of new places to see on my doorstep. 
  • Make more time for me Again, 2020 as a healthcare worker wasn't the best for relaxation and me time. Whilst I can't see my work life returning to more normal levels any time soon, I can make sure I take a bit of time out for me. I'm thinking a scheduled weekly long soak in the bath, a night of reading instead of Netflix, finding an hour a fortnight to do my nails, even blogging however sporadic it may be. All the things that I love to do and have missed the last year. 
  • Make more time for the people I love Like making time for me, making time for family and friends has been hard too. I'll be scheduling in date nights, mum & daughter time and (more than likely virtual for the time being) time with friends and other family. 
  • Photograph everything I can't even tell you of one time I picked my camera up since the pandemic hit. So, I'm going to try take it with me when I'm getting myself outside. I've thought of a few photography challenges too that I can do to get back in to snapping all the things. 
  • Get a new skincare routine I don't know if it is just a general change, or if the pandemic change of lifestyle and full PPE 5 days a week has caused it but my skin is SO dry! I need to spend some time looking in to and trying out new skin care, for my face and body. 
  • All the wedding planning As some of you will already know, me and Tom are engaged. Trying to sort a wedding out in the pandemic and all the lockdowns isn't easy but we're hoping to get married in 2022. And there is so much to do! I'll be sharing our engagement story soon, and will keep you up to date with all the wedding planning and plans. 
  • Learn some new skills or hobbies I really enjoy learning new things so I'm on the look out for online courses and classes. I've recently been drawn to manifestation so I've signed up to a couple of virtual workshops but I'd love to find a few more new to me things too. 
2021 goals laptop, notebook and blue flowers flat lay




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