• Abigail Woodruff

Quarterly Wrap-up

I am having a really great reading year, and part of the reason is because I have not been spending my free-time writing (specifically blogging) and have been spending most of it reading. I read 21 books in the months of January, February, and March and am very excited to share my thoughts on them with you!!


One Day in December by Josie Silver







This is a story about falling in love at first sight and the fallout from letting that person get away. This book was all of the rage when I read it because it was one of Reese Witherspoon's book club picks. While I certainly did not think that it was a bad book, I also did not think that it deserved the hype that it got.









The Well of Ascension by Brandson Sanderson




This book is the fallout from book one. It is a fantasy world where the magic revolves around the consumption of metals and where the villain has won and people are still fighting back. Everyone says that this is the really slow little brother of the first book in the Mistborn series, but I have to disagree. I really really loved this book... but it wasn't always the case. It took me almost a whole year to read the first 500 pages. I think I just really struggle with high fantasy!









Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth






I have absolutely no idea why I originally thought that this book was fiction, but it isn't. It is following the work of the author as a midwife and everything that she saw. It takes a lot for me to be fully immersed in a nonfiction book and this one had my full attention. Also I watched the first two seasons of the show, and the book is better!









The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang





A delightful romance novel about a highly motivated woman with aspergers hiring a male escort to guide her in the way of sex. This had a lot of buzz in the book community and I could easily see why! Addictive writing and lots of diversity in both of the main characters!












Until the Last Star Fades by Jacquelyn Middleton





I have read all of this author's works since I read London Belongs to Me and felt myself relate to a character to the very core. Middleton strays from writing about a couple in England in this book and instead follows a couple in the buzzing city of New York. I hate to say it, but this was my least favourite of her novels. The characters and I didn't click like usual and it seemed unnecessarily long-winded. Still would highly recommend her to anyone looking for more Indie authors, though!








The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven





This follows a girl in high school that is caught having sex with a politician's son and the aftermath of that blow up. It tackles loads of feminist ideals and is unflinchingly witty. However, a lot of it seemed like it was trying TOO hard and also it really bugged me that the English author didn't try harder to get into the headset of her American protagonist.










Life & Laughing: My Story by Michael McIntyre





Tina Fey's biography is one of my favourite books of all time and I adore Michael McIntyre, so I thought I would give it a go. I also thought that it would be a good venture into audiobooks as he narrates it himself. While he is definitely very funny, you can tell that he shines most on stage and his life did not have as many anecdotes as one may think. It did get me a bit hooked on audiobooks, though, for my commute!








If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio

This is one of my 5 star reads of the year so far, so I get to rant about this one a bit longer! I am of the unpopular opinion that this book puts A Secret History to Donna Tartt to shame. The characters in here were still mildly dislikable, but they managed to actually have redeeming qualities as well so you didn't hate them the whole time. The course of study revolves around theatre and Shakespeare which is a whole community for people who have ever studied it will know and lends itself well to having a bunch of students obsessed with it and the fallout after the big disaster seems to actually go somewhere and have more of an effect so you aren't boredly rifling through the last half of the book wondering when it is going to be over. I absolutely adored it and would implore anyone with an interest in darkness and theatre pick it up.


Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly





This should have been my favourite book of the year based on the premise. It follows three women during WWll all doing different things to help with or be involved with the war. Two of the women in the novel are based off of real people which is extraordinary, there was just a little spark that was missing for me. (This could well be because it is the first fiction book that I have audiobooked, to be fair).









Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton





Here I am reading another one of Reese Witherspoon's book club picks... Right off the bat I want to say that I love the fact that this made me want to explore Cuba in my core. It sounds incredible! I really struggle with dual perspectives in such different time periods, though. I always am more inclined to one person's story over the others.










The Young Queens by Kendare Blake






This is a little novella to my current favourite fantasy series. It is funny because everyone else doesn't seem to be as entertained by it, but I love me my Fennbirn sisters. If 3 sisters forced to murder each other sounds like something that might be up your alley, please read these so we can discuss together!










How to Tell if your Cat is Plotting to Kill You by Matthew Inman






My husband got this book for his birthday because we are absolutely obsessed with our little furball of a cat, and it was really cute! I think I read it in like 30 minutes, though, so it felt like a bit of a waste of money.









The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee





This was all the rage a year or so ago and I can see its charm for sure. It follows a young Englishman who is going on his Grand Tour of Europe with his best friend Monty (who he might just be in love with ) and his sister who has a secret of her own. I loved the relationships in the book but the actual plot really fell flat for me considering I love travelling around Europe.









Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein






This story follows... you know what. I went into this not knowing much and loved the surprises, so I am just going to say that it follows some BA women during WWll. I buddy-read this with my sister and while there were a few things that we liked talking about, it is certainly not my favourite book that is set in this period.










Stuart Little by E.B. White







Let's keep this short and sweet like the book itself. It's a charming children's story that I think was actually done better on screen.













Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough






Sarah Pinborough actually was at my book store that I go to in Preston so I wondered about whether I should pick up a book by her and see if I fancied going to meet her. Let me start by saying that I am not a big thriller person, they never seem to actually shock me for some reason.... but yeah, not my favourite. I didn't end up meeting her. PLEASE tell me if you can think of a thriller that you think I would like!








Where the Crawdad's Sing by Delia Owens

Hi, can you tell that I stalk Reese Witherspoon's bookclub? This is another one of my 5 star reads! Woo! I took a buzzfeed quiz that told me that I would love this book and also I kept seeing it being raved about everywhere, so I thought I would give it a go even though it isn't necessarily something that I would go for. Goodness am I glad that I took that jump! This book follows a young girl that practically raises herself in the swamp and therefore receives the name "swamp girl" by everyone in town. It tackles issues such as abuse, assault, education, love, bigotry.... I just loved it so dang much. Not only were there amazing themes, but the characters were brilliantly developed and the writing was superb. This book truly deserves all of the praise that is being thrust upon it. If it isn't on your TBR currently, I suggest you put it on there ASAP!


The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer






This book should have been my absolute bread and butter as Medieval England is my jam, but it fell so short and left me so disappointed. My biggest tip going into this is not to expect it to be written like a "travel guide". It's still cold hard nonfiction laced with lists of facts that never seem to end.










The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness






I pretty much agree with everyone else's opinions on this book- the idea behind it is amazing (what is happening to the kids that are just living in the world where there are supernatural happenings and teens trying to save humanity) but the execution fell short for me. Also, I think because "A Monster Calls" is one of my favourite books, I had way too high of expectations.










Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake








Ooooh look at your girl actually keeping up series that she enjoys. That's new, I know! As stated before would highly recommend for anyone wanting a dark fantasy series.











Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse





I picked this book up on a whim because I really needed an audio book for my commute and was met with a heartbreaking and beautiful WWll novel set in Amsterdam. The setting and the characters in here really took me off-guard in the best of ways. I would recommend this one if you like any of Ruta Sepetys' books or are just interested in seeing the war from the Netherlands.









And that is it folks!! All of the 21 books that I read in the first quarter of the year. I am so happy that I am reading so much especially since I thought I would barely get any reading done now that I am working. Commuting and audiobooks are the way to bump up that reading tally, but I still love nothing more than curling up with a cup of hot tea and a bendy paperback (hello, England, are you listening? I want FLOPPY PAPERBACKS). Hope that you will stick around and see what I am reading in the next few months!


xx,

A.C. Woodruff

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