What I’ve Been Reading – Winter

I enjoyed this blog series so much and being able to document my reading journey over the past 12 months. I can’t believe how quickly the challenge went! I didn’t achieve my goal of 50 books in one year but I came pretty damn close and I am proud of myself for how well I did. (Scroll down to the bottom of the post to see how close to 50 books I got!)

Let me know your thoughts on this series and if you enjoyed it. I want to do something similar and track what I read in the next year too. I may join and try Goodreads – I know you can set goals and record books you read. Maybe I’ll continue to post the seasonal roundup images on Instagram if you just want a quick glance at what I’ve been reading too.

NB: Items marked with * are ebooks so I wasn’t able to photograph the cover images myself.

#1. The Weekend Wives – Christina Hopkinson

This story follows three women (Emily, Tamsin and Sasha) who all live the weekend wife lifestyle; their husbands work away from home during the week and often the couples only see each other at weekends. The three women are friends so each of their individual stories intertwine and work within the book cohesively. Tamsin is married to a controlling John, Sasha’s husband Ned spends most of his time in LA and a secret from his past threatens to destroy their relationship and Emily feels like Matt is slipping further and further away. Emily suspects Matt is having an affair, he spends all his time on his phone and is very distant. The women need something to do while their husbands are away so Emily and Sasha try to save Tamsin from John and reacquaint her with her first love. The book deals with a few nitty gritty topics and is not a romance novel by any means. I really enjoyed it!

#2. The Little Flower Shop By the Sea – Ali McNamara

This book has been on my to read list for a while. I read Letters From Lighthouse Cottage by this author and loved it so I was looking forward to getting stuck into this book. Poppy Carmichael inherits her grandmother’s flower shop in the town of St Felix. Poppy has been away from St Felix for quite some time and when she comes back she is not only reminded of her past but she meets local florist Jake and their ‘friendship’ isn’t always smooth sailing. Poppy must confront her past and and learn to let the healing powers of St Felix and the flower shop work their magic. This was a really pleasant read!

#3. 4:50 From Paddington* – Agatha Christie

Elspeth McGillicuddy witnesses a murder at Paddington Station but there doesn’t seem to be a victim, a suspect or any other witnesses. The only person who believes Mrs McGillicuddy is her friend Miss Marple. Miss Marple enlists the help of Lucy Eyelesbarrow who takes up a post at Rutherford Hall and a body is soon discovered. No one is sure who the victim is and suspicion falls on the Crackenthorpe family. It’s up to Miss Marple to help Elspeth remember what she saw to solve the case. This was the first Miss Marple mystery I’ve read and I enjoyed it a lot, it really kept me guessing and going back and forth as to who the murderer was.

#4. A Caribbean Mystery* – Agatha Christie

Marple is abroad in this mystery where supposedly nothing ever happens in paradise until Major Palgrave is found dead. Only the day before he is found murdered the Major was telling Miss Marple about a murder that happened a few years ago and tries to show her an incriminating photograph until something, or rather someone in the distance catches his eye. Interrupted, Major Palgrave doesn’t get to finish his story and Miss Marple is determined to solve who he saw that afternoon and piece together why the Major was silenced.

#5. How To Fall In Love – Cecelia Ahern

Cecelia Ahern is one of my favourite authors and I hadn’t read anything from her for quite a while until this book. Christine stops Adam from jumping off Ha’penny Bridge and tries to teach him how to fall back in love with his life in the two weeks leading up to his 35th birthday. Through a series of wild escapades, romantic gestures, and late night outings Christine is determined to change Adam’s mind and if Adam does change his mind will Christine be able to let go of him? This book deals with serious topics (suicide and depression) and credit to the author for handling them with care and in such a beautiful way. I found this book relatable, the characters had recently been through break ups and Christine always wants what’s best for everyone and wants to help.

#6. The Darkest Secret – Alex Marwood

This book is an example of a cleverly written blurb that makes the story sound more intriguing than it is. I finished the book within a week so I didn’t hate it but it wasn’t as gripping as the cover made it seem. The book is set over two weekends 12 years apart, the first weekend in 2004 sees identical twin Coco go missing during a family celebration and the second is the weekend of Coco’s father’s funeral. There are lots of different characters which does keep the reader guessing about what really happened to Coco but the reveal isn’t groundbreaking.

#7. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine* – Gail Honeyman

I have heard mixed reviews about this book but I knew I wanted to read it anyway! Eleanor Oliphant struggles with social skills and says exactly what she’s thinking. Eleanor’s routine lifestyle begins to change when she meets Raymond (the IT guy from her office) and the two of them help an elderly gentleman when he falls on the sidewalk. Raymond helps Eleanor deal with her emotions, repair her heart and come to terms with her eventful past. The book doesn’t explicitly state the two become a couple but by the way the ending is written I like to think it is implied. In some ways I relate to Eleanor. I’m not always good in social situations and don’t have savoir faire, sometimes things can be awkward. I like the fact Eleanor stays true to who she is and doesn’t change and finds Raymond who accepts that. I don’t dislike the book but I think it is over-hyped. That being said I’ll be interested to watch the film when it’s released.

#8. The Summer of Serendipity – Ali McNamara

This is the third book I have read by Ali McNamara and it is my least favourite so far.  Serendipity ‘Ren’ Parker is a property seeker and finds herself on the west coast of Ireland hunting for a home for a client. She finds the perfect house but no one knows who owns it. It’s up to Ren to track down the owner and uncover the legend surrounding the property. In the middle of all of this Ren finds herself distracted by Finn, the manager of the local hotel. I still enjoyed the book but there wasn’t much in the way of plot and I wish there had been more about Ren and Finn’s relationship.

#9. Let Me Lie – Clare Mackintosh

Anna Johnson’s parents supposedly committed suicide seven months apart but on the anniversary of her mother’s death Anna gets a card in the mail which makes her start to question if her parents were murdered and if someone is trying to taunt her. Anna involves Murray McKenzie who is a former police officer and together they figure out what really went on. There are unexpected twists and the ending isn’t what I imagined at all. Someone I follow on Twitter loved a book by this author (not sure if it was this exact one) but when I saw this at work I didn’t hesitate to pick it up. This was much more enjoyable than the previous thriller I read, The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood.

#10. Still Me – Jojo Moyes

I have been waiting to read this since it was released! Still Me follows Louisa Clark’s adventures in New York. Louisa lands herself a job working for Leonard Gopnik and his wife and also has to deal with her long distance relationship with paramedic Sam who is back in The UK. Sam comes to New York to visit Louisa but it doesn’t all quite go to plan and Louisa starts questioning who she really is and what she wants; job wise and relationship wise. During this time Louisa befriends Mrs De Witt who lives in the same building as the Gopniks and she begins to realise what it is she wants. This story has a sweet ending which leaves the possibility open for a fourth book but there seems to be a little bit of Louisa charm missing. It’s my least favourite book out of the three but I’m still a big fan of the series.

#11. A Different Kind of Evil – Andrew Wilson

I read Andrew Wilson’s previous Agatha Christie mystery earlier in the year and loved it. I haven’t read many mysteries this season compared to others and it was good to get stuck into another one. Wilson uses Agatha Christie as a character and creates stories based on factual elements of her life. The story begins with Agatha traveling to the Canary Islands to investigate the death of an agent of the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS). Whilst onboard the cruise ship she witnesses a woman fling herself over the side of the ship. Throughout her stay at The Grand Hotel she learns the young woman’s suicide is related to the murder of the SIS agent and it’s up to her to uncover the truth. This book was such a pleasure to read and I’m so happy there’s going to be a third book.

#12. Let’s Meet On Platform 8 – Carole Matthews

Teri is on the hunt for Mr Right. She’s been through Mr Lazy, Mr Greedy and Mr Completely Selfish to name a few and whilst waiting for a train one evening she is literally knocked off her feet by Jamie Duncan. Quickly their relationship begins to blossom but the only question is, is Mr Right Mr Available? I feel like I have to spoil this book to share what I thought of it. Jamie is married with children and initially Jamie and Teri’s relationship is friendly and they catch the train together but it does develop and Jamie and Teri end up sleeping together after much deliberation from Jamie. Pamela finds out about Jamie and Teri and Jamie and Pamela end up staying together – Jamie breaks things off with Teri. As a reader I felt this story was written in a gentle, respectful way. Jamie wasn’t using Teri and Teri truly did care for Jamie, there’s a part of me that almost wanted them to stay together.

#13. Some Kind of Wonderful* – Giovanna Fletcher

Lizzy and Ian have been a couple since university and after being together for decade and a trip to Dubai on the horizon everyone thinks a proposal is imminent. Instead of the proposal Lizzy hopes for Ian reveals he doesn’t want them to be together anymore. Lizzy is heartbroken but she soon realises this is her chance to seize opportunities and figure out who she really is apart from Ian with the help of friends, family and a potential new man. This was an easy book to read with a lighthearted story about finding yourself after a breakup.

Unfinished:

(Any unfinished books will not be included in the total yearly count).

#1. The Loveliest Chocolate Shop In Paris – Jenny Colgan

This book sounds like a girl’s dream, romance, Paris and chocolate but I couldn’t get into it at all. The book is told in two parts. The modern day story follows Anna to Paris where she gets a job with a master chocolatier after an accident which lands her in hospital back in England. Whilst in hospital she reconnects with her former French teacher Claire whose backstory forms the other part of the book. Claire’s story takes place in 1972 when she is an au pair in Paris. Claire and Thierry (the master chocolatier) were a couple and that’s how she gets Anna the job. Anna also possibly finds love with Thierry’s son but I didn’t read on to see if that was the case. Not the girly, chick lit story I was hoping for.


Books finished in winter = 13.

Total number of books read = 45.

Other posts in the series:


Have you read any of the books mentioned in this post?

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