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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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Louise Candlish – Those People

I always forget how much I love a good mystery thriller, and this was just what I needed to entertain me on a rainy saturday afternoon. So fast-paced that I couldn’t put it down and enough twists and turns that it wasn’t predictable (which I hate). In fact, it was quite the opposite of predictable, the main twist coming about half way through the book and catching me completely by surprise. The book centers around a hoity-toity...

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Ben Lindsay – We Need To Talk About Race

I picked this book up to educate myself as Black Lives Matter came to a more global stage in the last few weeks. I always thought that I was a good person, that I wasn’t racist, but I realised that may not be true. And even if it is true, it’s not enough. I needed to learn more about black experiences, so that I could be part of the solution and not part of the problem. What I realised through reading this book, is that I have...

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Jaimie Admans – The Little Bookshop of Love Stories

This book was requested as an advance reading copy from NetGalley in exchange for this review. I have to say that honestly, I have kinda mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, the plot line sounds heavenly (a woman wins a bookshop and gets to make it her own), but on the other hand, there was a lot of times in the book where it felt a little cliche’d to me. The main character Hallie was pretty likeable, but sometimes I found...

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Graham B. Usher – The Way Under Our Feet

This book felt like it was perfectly aimed at me, tying together two of my favourite things, faith and walking. I’ve got into walking a lot this year, but I never really considered that walking has a spiritual side (apart from giving me time to listen to podcast sermons while I’m out and about). In this book, we start off with a chapter titled ‘Movement’, describing how walking works, the mechanics of it and how it...

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Hyeonseo Lee – The Girl with Seven Names

I don’t think I’ll ever forget this book, because it opened my eyes to what life is like for some of the most oppressed people in the world. The thing that shocked me the most was that if this was a fiction book, I would have been laughing and saying that the plot was just too far-fetched and unbelievable. But this isn’t fiction. It’s someone’s life. And that’s terrifying. I genuinely want to cry for...

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Malorie Blackman – Knife Edge

I’ve just finished reading this book and I’m seriously in shock. It’s not okay to finish a book like that! I’m only glad that I’m so late to the party that the next 3 books are already released and I don’t have to wait, because the waiting would be unbearable. This book was pretty much the polar opposite of Noughts and Crosses, which was basically the story of Callum and Sephy’s love. In contrast...

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Madeleine Davies – Lights for the Path

I received this book as an advance reading copy from NetGalley, and I’m so glad I requested it. I only wish that this book had been around for me a few years ago. Although aimed primarily at teenagers who have experienced loss, I think this book is valuable for any age range, I certainly found it so helpful to think about the ways I’ve been experiencing and ‘dealing with’ my grief over the last few years, and I think...

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