I decided last year I was going to read more, actually, I needed to read more. I had lost time for my beloved hobby upon the arrival of my two youngest children. They’re getting that little bit older and it is time to reclaim some time for myself.
Over the Christmas holidays, I took more time away from social media, signed up to the free month of Kindle Unlimited and read books to my heart’s content.
I was watching Sharon Leavy’s snaps (Sharon is the lady from Behind Green Eyes) a day or two into the new year and she had a great idea. For every book she reads, she will put one euro into a money box, jar, container, whatever and this will be for her at the end of the year. I think this is a fantastic idea! How many of us get to Christmas time and are so intent on ensuring everything is lovely for everyone else around us that we forget about ourselves. So, I am adopting Sharon’s idea and putting a €2 coin into a jar for every book I read. Even if I only read one book per month I will have €24 to treat myself to a new notebook (one can never have enough notebooks) or a new book or something; something for me!
So, how am I doing? Here is what I have read in January.
Music from Home – Geraldine O’ Neill
I absolutely adore Geraldine O’ Neill’s books. I love her style of writing, the manner in which she overlaps characters across her books and her ability to draw the reader into the lives of her characters. I can’t help but care about them.
Set in 1960’s Manchester, Music from Home tells the story of Maria Conti. Maria lost her Mum at a very young age and has no contact with her Mother’s estranged family in Ireland. Living with and adored by her father Leo her life is good. She has some concerns regarding her father’s drinking and gambling but on the whole, things could not be better.
As romance blossoms for her with Paul Spencer, her father finds love again too with elegant boutique owner Diana Freeman. Then tragedy strikes and Maria is forced to reconnect with her family in Ireland where new friendships are formed and dark secrets are revealed.
Summer’s End- Geraldine O’Neill
Lily Grace having grown up with her family in the Scottish town of Rowanhill is now at college in Newcastle. A family trip to Ireland has a huge impact on her life, changing everything for her. She meets and falls head over heels in love with Dara Ryan. Her brother Declan is charmed by the lovely Ava, though Lily has her reservations. Lily’s father makes a heart-wrenching confession whilst worse for wear, her other brother gets’s himself into a situation that has the potential to tear his family apart and Lily discovers a secret regarding Dara’s mother. Can a summer spent on a cruise ship in the company of her cousin help Lily put everything into perspective and save her relationship?
I enjoyed this book. Geraldine O’Neill tells a story in such a descriptive manner and despite her books being works of fiction, she is extremely respective of the times they are set in. It is fascinating to read of relationships that were really such a short time ago but had to be conducted in a manner quite unfamiliar to us today.
I have written a more detailed review of Holding here. I thoroughly enjoyed Graham Norton’s debut novel.When the remains of a body are unearthed on a construction site the quiet, unassuming Sergeant PJ Collins finds himself with his first ever genuine case to solve. It is suspected that the remains unearthed are those of Tommy Burke who was loved by Evelyn Ross but engaged to Bríd Ríordan when he disappeared some years before. The discovery revisits the wealth of anger and resentment that simmers between the two ladies.This book begs the question, is it worth holding onto secrets that will inevitably be told.
Let The Light Shine – Nick Alexander
A moving family drama, a tale of siblings, resilience, and hope.
Focus here is on Vicky & Penny, two sister’s who have emerged from a troubled childhood which Penny has little memory of. Vicky, on the other hand, can recall it all. Throw in a mother who excels at playing one off against the other, a valium addiction, a dope addiction, lots of money versus no money and a troubled teen; and we have an abundance of family drama. I enjoyed this book, I won’t say I found it gripping but it grabbed me enough to leave me feeling curious enough to finish it.
On Sackville Street – A. O’ Connor
Having read and enjoyed a couple of A. O’ Connor’s previous novels, I had high hopes for On Sackville Street. I wasn’t disappointed. Flitting between 1869 & 1916, we are drawn into a life of betrayal, blackmail, and murder.
1869 sees the arrival of young widow Milandra Carter on Dublin’s prestigious Sackville Street. Initially causing somewhat of a scandal by not wearing mandatory widow’s weeds, she soon becomes one of the wealthiest, most respected member’s of Dublin society.
Milandra, very quickly sets her sights on Nicholas Fontenoy, however, he is already engaged to Constance Staffordshire. Will she manage to lure Nicholas away from Constance?
1916, Milandra, now in her 70’s discovers a gunman and rebel’s in her house on Sackville Street on Easter Sunday. In the midst of the Easter Rising, Milandra’s granddaughter Amelia attempts to get to her grandmother, as past secrets are revealed and mysteries solved.
I really enjoyed On Sackville Street, it really was a good read.
That really isn’t a bad start to the year at all, is it? I’m currently reading another great book which I will share with you next month and I have a lovely book about hygge waiting for me too.