January 2020 Wrap Up


I’m sure most people would agree that January is the longest month ever!  I don’t mind it too much but the struggle to go back to work was bad…especially that first day back when my kids weren’t back to school and got to stay in bed!  I managed 8 books (1 is a kids book but I am totally counting it!) which I’m pretty happy with!  I’ve got some absolutely amazing books to look forward to in February so I can’t wait!

Bookish Events

Jess Kid – Things in Jars

23 January 2020 – My first event run by Steyning book shop.  I still haven’t read Things In Jars but I have heard such good things about it.  Entry was £10 and included a paperback copy of one of Jess’s books – I chose Himself as I already have a copy of Things in Jars.  The discussion was excellent and I want to read it so much now – luckily our book club chose it for our March read!

Jess Kid

Bookish podcast!

Hopefully I will write another post about this soon but I was invited to take part in  the Brighton Book Club podcast on 25th January to talk about blogging with two other bloggers.  It was amazing fun and I think it will go live in early February!

Emma Jane Unsworth – Adults

28 January 2020 – Emma Jane Unsworth spoke about her new book Adults in Brighton Waterstones.  I’d already read the book so it was great to hear her talking about it. And lovely to meet her too!

Emma Jane Unsworth

HQ Stories – New Voices Fiction Showcase

29th January 2020 – Travelled up to London and met Kerrie (ILovedReadThis) for a coffee and catch up in Waterstones, before travelling to the News Building for the HQ New Voices Fiction Showcase. The authors (who are all due to be published between Feb 2020-Feb 2021) treated us all to a one minute pitch before we could help ourselves to proof copies.  I’m really looking forward to Little White Lies by Philippa East, The Family Tree by Sairish Hussain, The Cancer Ladies Running Club by Josie Lloyd and All About Us by Tom Ellen.
I also got to catch up with old blogger friends and make some new ones!  I really liked this format – although I think some of the authors didn’t necessarily enjoy the experience and I totally get that!

Wrap Up

42182331._SY75_ Haven’t they Grown by Sophie Hannah

All Beth has to do is drive her son to his Under-14s away match, watch him play, and bring him home.
Just because she knows her ex-best friend lives near the football ground, that doesn’t mean she has to drive past her house and try to catch a glimpse of her. Why would Beth do that, and risk dredging up painful memories? She hasn’t seen Flora for twelve years. She doesn’t want to see her today, or ever again.
But she can’t resist. She parks outside the open gates of Newnham House, watches from across the road as Flora and her children Thomas and Emily step out of the car. Except… There’s something terribly wrong. Flora looks the same, only older. As Beth would have expected. It’s the children. Twelve years ago, Thomas and Emily were five and three years old. Today, they look precisely as they did then.
They are still five and three. They are Thomas and Emily without a doubt – Hilary hears Flora call them by their names – but they haven’t changed at all.
They are no taller, no older… Why haven’t they grown?

How did I get it? Received a proof copy for a blog tour.

49943149._SX50_SY75_ Adults by Emma Jane Unsworth

Jenny McLaine is an adult. Supposedly. At thirty-five she owns her own house, writes for a cool magazine and has hilarious friends just a message away.
But the thing is: She can’t actually afford her house since her criminally sexy ex-boyfriend Art left. Her best friend Kelly is clearly trying to break up with her. She’s so frazzled trying to keep up with everything you can practically hear her nerves jangling. She spends all day online-stalking women with beautiful lives as her career goes down the drain.
And now her mother has appeared on her doorstep, unbidden, to save the day…
Is Jenny ready to grow up and save herself this time?

How did I get it? Received a proof from Borough Press

46641041._SY75_ Tell Me Your Secret by Dorothy Koomson

Ten years ago, Pieta was kidnapped by a man calling himself The Blindfolder who said he wouldn’t kill her if she kept her eyes closed for 48 hours. She never told anyone what happened to her, vowing to move on with her life. But when The Blindfolder starts hunting down his past victims, Pieta realises she may finally be forced to tell her deepest secret to stay alive . . .Jody has a secret.
Fifteen years ago, policewoman Jody made a terrible mistake that resulted in a serial killer known as The Blindfolder escaping justice. When Jody discovers journalist Pieta survived an attack by him, she realises she may finally have found a way to catch him. But that would mean endangering at least two innocent people . . .They kept quiet to protect themselves.
Will telling all save or sacrifice each other?

How did I get it? Received a paperback copy from ed public relations

49571010._SX50_SY75_ The 24-Hour Café by Libby Page

Welcome to the café that never sleeps. Day and night Stella’s Café opens its doors for the lonely and the lost, the morning people and the night owls. It is many things to many people but most of all it is a place where life can wait at the door. A place of small kindnesses. A place where anyone can be whoever they want, where everyone is always welcome.
Meet Hannah and Mona: best friends, waitresses, dreamers. They work at Stella’s but they dream of more, of leaving the café behind and making their own way in life.
Come inside and spend twenty-four hours at Stella’s Café; a day when Hannah and Mona’s friendship will be tested, when the community will come together and when lives will be changed…

How did I get it? Received a proof copy from Orion for the blog tour

43518959._SY75_ All the Rage by Cara Hunter

A teenage girl is found wandering the outskirts of Oxford, dazed and distressed. The story she tells is terrifying. Grabbed off the street, a plastic bag pulled over her face, then driven to an isolated location where she was subjected to what sounds like an assault. Yet she refuses to press charges.
DI Fawley investigates, but there’s little he can do without the girl’s co-operation. Is she hiding something, and if so, what? And why does Fawley keep getting the feeling he’s seen a case like this before?
And then another girl disappears, and Adam no longer has a choice: he has to face up to his past. Because unless he does, this victim may not be coming back . . .

How did I get it? Received a finished copy from Penguin for the blog tour

50129434._SX50_SY75_ The Other Half of Augusta Hope by Joanna Glen (review to follow)

Augusta Hope has never felt like she fits in.
At six, she’s memorising the dictionary. At seven, she’s correcting her teachers. At eight, she spins the globe and picks her favourite country on the sound of its name: Burundi.
And now that she’s an adult, Augusta has no interest in the goings-on of the small town where she lives with her parents and her beloved twin sister, Julia.
When an unspeakable tragedy upends everything in Augusta’s life, she’s propelled headfirst into the unknown. She’s determined to find where she belongs – but what if her true home, and heart, are half a world away?

How did I get it? Received a paperback copy from Tandem Collective for the Instagram readalong

38362809._SX50_ Rosewater by Tade Thompson

Rosewater is a town on the edge. A community formed around the edges of a mysterious alien biodome, its residents comprise the hopeful, the hungry and the helpless—people eager for a glimpse inside the dome or a taste of its rumoured healing powers.
Kaaro is a government agent with a criminal past. He has seen inside the biodome, and doesn’t care to again—but when something begins killing off others like himself, Kaaro must defy his masters to search for an answer, facing his dark history and coming to a realization about a horrifying future.

How did I get it? Bought a copy for book club

Little David grew up in Leicester on the campus of a university, where his father was a professor. As a child, he spent hours in the science library, collating his own specimens and creating a mini animal museum. When he was old enough to go to university, he studied science and zoology – but what he wanted most of all was to be close to the animals he was studying. So, he started working in television, visiting animals in their natural habitats and telling the world the untold stories of these animals.
This moving book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the brilliant physicist’s life

How did I get it? I was sent a copy by Quarto Kids

Movies & TV

Mortal Mortal Engines (2018)

Hundreds of years after a cataclysmic event destroyed civilization, mysterious young Hester Shaw emerges as the only one who can stop the city of London — now a giant predator on wheels – from devouring everything in its path. Feral and fiercely driven by the memory of her mother, Hester joins forces with Tom Natsworthy, an outcast from London, and Anna Fang, a dangerous outlaw with a bounty on her head.

Having read this book to my son (who is 12), he was keen to see the film.  I thought it was really well done.  I felt they really brought the book to life – the traction cities and the way they moved was just how I imagined them to be.  As is often the case with book to movie adaptations, a lot of the book was missing (but it is a quite a long and descriptive book so I can see why they did it). Hester wasn’t quite as disfigured as she was described in the book (which was a shame) but I think it was a really good adaptation.

jungleThe Jungle Book (2016)

Mowgli is a boy brought up in the jungle by a pack of wolves. When Shere Khan, a tiger, threatens to kill him, a panther and a bear help him escape his clutches.

This is one the earlier live action remakes Disney did and I really enjoyed this.  The little boy who played Mowgli was very good and the CGI used to bring the animals to life is seemless!  Maybe a little scary for really little kids as Shere Khan and King Louie are a bit threatening.  But I adored Baloo!

1917 1917 (2019)

During World War I, two British soldiers — Lance Cpl. Schofield and Lance Cpl. Blake — receive seemingly impossible orders. In a race against time, they must cross over into enemy territory to deliver a message that could potentially save 1,600 of their fellow comrades — including Blake’s own brother.

This was truly amazing!  I could tell it would be a tense watch just from the trailer and it was a remarkable piece of film making.  It felt like the film was shot in just one take, the breaks in filming are very clever, and are barely noticeable. The two lead actors are amazing – they look much too young to be at war and both look like ordinary young men as opposed to muscled hunks! A highly emotional film, I felt myself holding my breath on more than one occasion and felt emotionally rung out for a few days after.  Well worth seeing at the cinema if you can, this really needs to win some Oscars!

marriage Marriage Story (2019)

A stage director and his actor wife struggle through a gruelling, coast-to-coast divorce that pushes them to their personal and creative extremes.

Starring two brilliant actors, Scarlet Johansson and Adam Driver are amazing as the couple who are going through a divorce.  Johansson plays an actress who performs in Driver’s New York theatre company.  When she relocates to LA to peruse a TV career, taking their son with her and employees a lawyer to handle the divorce, Driver is forced to relocate to LA to have a relationship with his son.

A remarkable film, American lawyers are brutal and terrifying.  I felt sympathetic to both characters which is clever, neither is portrayed as the bad guy.

Another Oscar nominated film, I’ve just checked and I’ve seen 4 films in the best movie category – and out of those, I don’t think I could call it!

Personal stuff

Work has been nuts!  We went back in January to a new product launch (and there were a few teething problems) and a new starter who needed training.  It was a bit manic for a while – the last week or so has been much better and hopefully going forwards everything will be a bit easier!
If you want to see a bit of what a Senior Information Specialist does you can see the product description here. And there is a video which gave me nightmares when I had to do it, but in fact turned out OK!
It was my son’s 18th birthday this month too – but unfortunately he had mock A-Levels so couldn’t celebrate too much!  But we had a couple of meals out and I’ve promised we’ll go out one night and he can invite some mates round for pizza and beer.
I’m enjoying the slightly lighter evenings on my commute on the way home and will be glad when the weather turns a bit warmer!

Thanks for reading my ramblings! I hope you have a great February!


  1. I miss living somewhere where there are fun events to attend! I remember going to an event with Jasper Fforde talking at Waterstones in Brighton years ago and making a themed badge connected to his book that really tickled him

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think some just felt uncomfortable. It’s quite intimidating to stand up in a room for of people and speak at the best of times, without having to try and sell your book! I liked the format though – but I’m glad I didn’t have to do it!


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