N.K. Jemisin – The Fifth Season

I was recommended this book by a few people at work when I had some money to spend on my Waterstones card, and I’m always glad to find a great new fantasy series to get stuck into. I do have mixed feelings though. The first part dealt with some pretty awful topics that would probably have stopped me from reading if the books hadn’t had such good recommendations, and I found the first 150 or so pages pretty slow paced so it took me...

Continue reading

Lenny Duncan – Dear Church

This is possibly one of the most passionate books I’ve read in a long time – the subtitle was “A love letter from a black preacher to the whitest denomination in the U.S.”, and that’s exactly what it felt like – a love letter. A book that raises as many potentially ‘controversial’ points as this one could easily be seen as provocative and argument-starting, but the whole book is written from a...

Continue reading

Lindsey Kelk – A Girl’s Best Friend

As seems to be the standard in this series, we start this book with another opening chapter which is a flash forward to the future. It becomes clear pretty quickly that we’re at a wedding. But what is not quite so clear is who is getting married. To start with, I was leaning towards Tess. But then Charlie arrives. And then Nick arrives. What is happening?! Then we flash back a few weeks, and we find out that the wedding is Kekipi and...

Continue reading

Lindsey Kelk – What a Girl Wants

Following on from the first book in this series, What a Girl Wants starts with another dramatic opening. Tess and Amy are in a prison cell, but we have absolutely no idea what has happened in the lead up to this moment. We’re then transported back in time and left on tenterhooks waiting to catch up. Definite spoilers for the first book here, so back away if you haven’t read the first in the series yet! At the end of the first...

Continue reading

Lindsey Kelk – About a Girl

This book was just what I needed, taking me away to Hawaii for a day and away from the miserable grey rain outside – it genuinely made me feel so happy. The book starts with quite a dramatic opening where Tess’ life seems to be coming to a slight dramatic point and just when you’re wondering what the heck is happening, we skip back in time to when the whole tale started. Tess is the kind of woman who has a plan for her...

Continue reading

Austin Channing Brown – I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness

I’ve been trying to make more of an effort to educate myself on topics that are out of my comfort zone. It’s become abundantly clear this year through many things that have happened that it’s not enough not to be racist, but you need to be actively anti-racist too. And the only way I can think of being able to do that is to educate myself more around the problems that I could not even dream of. This book was a very...

Continue reading

Gail Honeyman – Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

I’ve had this book on my shelf since it came out a few years ago and I’ve kept looking past it because I thought it was going to be similar to other books I’d read. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I thought at the start that I had the measure of the book, socially awkward Eleanor and the person who brings her out of her shell. But I was completely wrong, and in the worst possible way. The book was heartbreaking and...

Continue reading

Colin Marshall & Tony Payne – The Trellis and the Vine

I picked up this book on the recommendation of a few people from Church. As is clearly obvious, things are not normal at the moment and of course Church has been affected by that. Almost every activity we do has been cancelled or materially altered in some way, and as we start to look to ‘the new normal’, it’s the perfect opportunity to take a deep breath and evaluate what and how we’re doing. As I’m sure it did...

Continue reading

She Reads Truth – Daniel

During lockdown, I thought I’d have so much more time for doing things like reading and digging deeper into the Bible. But I’m sorry to say that I’ve completely lacked any kind of motivation and have struggled to either start or finish any of my She Reads Truth books for the last 5 months. So I was pretty made up to be able to find the time each day to sit down and read the book of Daniel. I was particularly motivated...

Continue reading

Naomi Graham – Love Surpassing Knowledge

Having seen people I know have to leave a church due to a lack of inclusion and acceptance, I was interested to read this book to figure out what we should be doing better. As the book blurb says “Accessibility is so much more than ramps and physical access”. “When we see someone who is different to us, do we choose to look away to walk away and disengage because we are fearful of what might happen or of what they might say...

Continue reading

John Mark Comer – The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry

I’ve had this book on my shelf for ages, and having read it, I really wish I’d picked it up so much earlier (at the start of lockdown, but ideally way before that), as it has taught me so much about myself. Just a heads up (I finished writing and had to come back to add this), this review feels a bit more like therapy than an actual review, but I just had to write about how much I personally connected to this book, so feel free to...

Continue reading

Chris & Rosie Ramsey – Sh**ged. Married. Annoyed.

When I pre-ordered this book earlier this year, I didn’t know how much I’d be in need of a good laugh when it finally was released in September. 6 months into lockdown/weird corona times and this book arrived in a week where I was feeling a bit down in the dumps. It proved to be just what I thought it would be, the perfect tonic. If you’ve not listened to Chris and Rosie’s podcast, first of all, you’re missing...

Continue reading

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Illustrated Edition)

I’ve read Harry Potter so many times that more reviews kind of seem pointless now. Each re-read brings me a new bit of joy, combined with a hefty amount of nostalgia. But this is the first time that I’ve ever read the illustrated editions and wow they’re beautiful. My colleagues bought me the first two for my birthday and when I flipped through I thought the illustrations were gorgeous, but now having read it properly...

Continue reading

Lindsey Kelk – In Case You Missed It

This was the perfect antidote to The Shelf, leaving me feeling warm and fuzzy with a big smile on my face. Our main character, Ros, has just come back from America. She won’t tell anyone why she’s back when she supposedly had her dream job out there, but we know that something must have gone wrong because no-one comes back from America to live in a (literal) shed at the bottom of their parents garden unless something bad has...

Continue reading

Neil Patrick Harris – The Magic Misfits #1

This was the last of the audio books that I listened to while decorating the spare room – a random choice from the library app on my phone. I love Neil Patrick Harris and I was so glad that he narrated this book himself. Obviously you can probably tell that this is a kids book, and he’s such a good narrator for kids, very engaging and dramatic in all the right places. The book itself was not fully my cup of tea if I’m...

Continue reading

Frank Cottrell-Boyce – The Unforgotten Coat

The final audiobook I listened to while decorating my spare room (yes…it took a long time). I think this book like the previous one may have been better to read rather than listen to as it seems like I missed out on extras like photographs again, but even so, it was a fabulous book. Julie is a normal year six kid, but life changes for her when two new people start in her class – Chingis and Negrui. They’re immigrants from...

Continue reading

Henry Louis Gates Jr – Dark Sky Rising

I picked up this book as something to listen to when I was decorating the spare room, and while this wasn’t an easy listen, I definitely learnt a lot. We never really learned about American history at school, so although this book was aimed at a younger age range, it was the perfect level for me. Starting with the civil war, the book takes you through the history of black America leading to the founding of the NAACP. Despite the...

Continue reading

Helly Acton – The Shelf

I downloaded this as an audio book as something to keep me entertained for the many hours of decorating I’ve done over the last few weeks. What I didn’t expect was for the book to leave me feeling as irritated as it did. I completely understand that it was the point of the book, but the constant irritation really detracted from being able to enjoy the book and the (mostly) lovely characters inside. We start off with our main...

Continue reading

David Runcorn – Love Means Love

An insightful and clear unpicking of the ‘issue’ of same-sex marriage that has caused (and continues to cause) friction in the church. It’s a divisive issue and one that is probably not talked about enough because of the potential for upset. This book unpicks the common objections for same sex relationships and gay marriage and thoroughly and overwhelmingly shows you why these objections are not biblical in...

Continue reading

Healthy Faith and the Coronavirus

I was so impressed with how quickly this book was released when Coronavirus first hit and we all went into lockdown. I’m not so impressed with how long it’s taken me to read it, but that’s entirely my fault and not a reflection of the book! As you would guess from the title, the book talks us through how to correlate our faith with the coronavirus pandemic in a healthy way, when the atmosphere around is is the complete...

Continue reading

Milly Johnson – My One True North

What a start to a book! 3 pages in and my heart was broken already. I don’t think that’s ever happened so early in a book before, but then we returned to the teashop on the corner and all was well in the world (well, kind of). Both Pete and Laurie have lost their partners in tragic circumstances, and neither of them are coping well with the grief, they are both lost and unable to find their way forward. They meet at...

Continue reading