Thursday, 25 January 2018


So I fell somewhat behind with my reading challenge. In a way. Mainly because I could never keep up with blogging about it! I started writing part six up about two months ago, but didn't publish it.

So a wee update, if you've happened upon my blog by chance and never read it before. Last year, sick of my reading habits dwindling over the years, I decided to aim to read 40 books . . . and to hold myself accountable by listing them all on my blog (if you click on the "P's Reading Challenge" label on the bottom of this post you can check out my other posts on this subject).  At first I was way behind, I think it took me three or four months just to read the first five books. LUCKILY I went on three laze-around-on-a-sunlounger-with-a-book holidays which helped immensely with the challenge.

I had been doing five books per post, but since 2017 is now over (where did the time go???) I decided I may as well finish off my challenge with a bumper post. Sorry about that!

So what else did I read in 2017? Let's find out . . .

The Truth About Gemma Grey - Sophie Ranald

I was immediately intrigued by this book because the heroine of it was a vlogger. Although I don't vlog myself, I am interested in watching others' blogs and so this topic was definitely of interest to me. Gemma goes viral by accident after having an on-screen breakdown after her boyfriend dumps her . . . and she is quickly propelled into a world she is completely unfamiliar with, thrust into a world of stringa-attached freebies and hobnobbing with some of the most famous youtubers around. But is this actually the life she wants? I devoured most of this on my flight to Kavos earlier this year and was transfixed throughout. A great read. 8/10

The Diary of Madison Brown - S.J. Crabb

Although I found this book entertaining, I did struggle a bit with it and I actually had to leave it a couple of times and go back to it after reading books I preferred. I found the humour mainly lay in the main character's ditziness and she seemed pretty one-dimensional and arrogant to me. I also don't like it when good fortune just constantly falls into someone's lap, and that's how this book felt - there was no struggle for it. It had its moments and I wanted to see how it ended and I enjoyed it enough . . . but I'd never re-read it and I probably wouldn't recommend it. That being said, I wouldn't rule out reading another book by Crabb - I think it was just the character I wasn't a massive fan of . . . and you can't like everyone! 5/10

Whatever Happened to Vicky Hope's Back-Up Man - Laura Kemp

There's been a many a plot based around the age-old "if we're both not married by *insert age here* we'll get married" plot, but this book certainly put a bit of a twist on it. Vicky has just been dumped and been forced to move back home, which makes her think about getting in touch with her back-up man, Mikey, as well as her former best friend Kat. However, there's a massive secret one of the three is hiding, and it could threaten to ruin any of their relationships re-forming. I have to admit I saw the plot twist in this one coming really early on and I did find this book a bit hardgoing at times, but it was definitely an interesting read and I did are about the characters. 6/10

A Proper Family Adventure - Chrissie Manby

I read A Proper Family Holiday a few years ago and, although I'm never a big fan of follow-up novels featuring the same characters, I did feel like I wanted to revisit this particular family. I wasn't disappointed. Their "adventure" this time features a cruise, which made me very jealous as I've always wanted to go on a cruise and I love to read about them. And  I loved it. The characters are great (the kids are particularly hilarious) and I was so disappointed when the story came to an end. (I think I've actually missed one of the family's stories in between the first one and this one, but I kinda feel like it was explained in this book and I therefore don't really need to read it. By all means, feel free to read them in order, just definitely read this one!) 10/10

If You Could See Me Now - Keris Stainton

This is my second Keris book read this year, and her first adult book (yes, I occasionally still read Young Adult and I'm 38 - I don't care!) and I was looking forward to this coming out for ages. It didn't disappoint - Izzy, our heroine, feels a bit like her life isn't quite going how she planned . . . but then something very unexpected happens (I don't want to give it away but I don't think it's a twist I've saw in a book before) and after she's over the shock, she uses it to make some giant changes in her life. There's also a great hero in it, which is always a very important plus point for me. You should definitely invest in a copy of this book, it's brill - I promise! 9/10

The Hating Game - Sally Thorne

Lucy and Josh share an office and are work rivals, possibly even worst enemies. But there's a fine line between love and hate, and this book is a fascinating, romantic and funny look at that line. I was absolutely transfixed by this book almost from the outset. I keep returning to read bits because the relationship at the centre of the plot is so captivating. A definite must-read in my eyes. 10/10

The Break - Marian Keyes

If there ever is a red letter day in the book world, it is when Marian Keyes has a new book out. Her book "Rachel's Holiday" is probably my favourite book in the world so anytime she has a new book out I'm very happy about this. And I had just so happened to have won an amazon voucher in work just as her book came out so I was very excited to pack it into my Kindle and take it on holiday with me! Amy's husband decides he wants to take a break from their marriage and go travelling and this is about Amy trying to survive without him while he takes that break. The premise, I have to admit, annoyed me, but as the plot continued it became clear nothing was quite as it appears. I wouldn't say it was my favourite Keyes novel by any means, but it was still a cut above so many books. 9/10

The Holiday Cruise - Victoria Cooke

Oh how I love a holiday-esque type book . . . especially while on holiday, which I was while I was reading this! Hannah's marriage has fallen apart and, as a result, her beauty salon business has also been affected. So she decides to apply for a job on a cruise ship. It's fun, it helps her forget and the only rule is that you can't get involved with the guests . . . oh dear! A great read. 9/10

The Worst Case Scenario Cooking Club - Chrissie Manby

Another book I was looking forward to being released, I was not disappointed by this at all! Three people from very different walks of life are brought together at a cooking course and it's wonderful. It also made me very hungry. 10/10

Izzy's Cold Feet - Sarah Louise Smith

This book was okay but I liked the idea of it more than I liked the story itself. This is about a girl on the verge of getting married who starts to wonder if she should have been with one of her exes. I found it quite hard to feel sorry for Izzy, if I'm perfectly honest and I think that's what put me off it a bit. It was an enjoyable enough read though. 5/10

Love to Hate You - Anna Premoli

I enjoyed this book of two rivals in work becoming romantically intertwined, however as I'd not long before read the aforementioned The Hating Game, I didn't feel quite as attached to these characters as I did to Jennifer and Ian in Love To Hate You. I did thoroughly enjoy it though and was rooting for things to work out with them! 7/10

Cocktails and Dreams - A.L. Michael

I've enjoyed every A.L. Michael book I've read so far and this was no exception. I enjoyed the character of Savvy and her messy relationship with her mother, the hero was delicious and who doesn't enjoy cocktail chat? Great read - it's part of a series so I will definitely need to read the others! 8/10

The Truth About Ellen - Sarah Louise Smith

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you met your teenage hero? And what if you then ended up involved, years down the line, with his bandmate? But you haven't told your new fella about your past? That's Ellen's dilemma and it's immensely readable. 7/10

The Hygge Holiday - Rosie Blake

Clara, a mysterious newcomer to a small village, ends up accidentally running a toy shop . . . and making a massive success of it. But who is she and what will the toy shop owner's son, high-flyer Joe, make of her. I loved this book a lot! I don't even know how to pronounce "Hygge" but just reading it made me feel all hygge inside. 10/10

Mistletoe on 34th Street - Lisa Dickenson

The last book I read of the year - and I had to completely read it on the Kindle app on my phone thanks to my broken Kindle. I always feel like I need to read a Christmas themed novel at Christmas and I rarely get around to actually doing it, so I'm glad I managed it this year. This was a great read, set mainly in New York (in case the title did not make that obvious), and it made me feel all festive just in time! 10/10

So I managed it. Somehow, against all odds, I read 40 books exactly in 2017. I haven't yet managed to finish one book in 2018 sadly, however, I was doing similarly last year at this time and I did only just get a new Kindle last week, so I'm not going to beat myself up too much yet.

Did you set yourself a reading challenge last year? Did you succeed?

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