What I’ve been reading during lockdown

I probably should have posted this earlier, as now months have passed and surely I should have a huge list of books?! Sadly I haven’t been reading hugely, but the ones I have read have been crackers.

I feel like lockdown brain has left me a little listless, with an even worse attention span than usual. Add in the fact that I’ve been writing and editing my own books, and I haven’t committed in the way I would have liked.

But here are the fab books I’ve been reading – let me know if you’ve read any of them!

Eudora Honeysett is Quite Well, Thank You – Annie Lyons

I’ll admit, I’ve been dying to read this since the lovely author herself told me about it over drinks a year ago (yes, I get to have drinks with cool writers, aren’t I lucky?!) and of course, it was fabulous. If you’ve been feeling a bit down, this is the absolute antidote to those pandemic blues. It’s about life and death and agency, but more than that, it’s about how friendship can pop up in unlikely places and change your life. It also made me miss my grandparents and want to befriend someone like Eudora.

The book is out on 17th September and you can pre-order here

Take a Hint, Dani Brown – Talia Hibbert

I picked this one up based on a tweet that said how awesome it was. AND IT IS. Dani Brown is one of my favourite main characters ever, and I can’t wait to jump back in to Hibbert’s other books now I know they’re focused around the Brown sisters. Dani is this feminist, bad ass, witchy, bisexual black woman who is asking the goddess for a bit of bedroom action. She hasn’t got time for relationships, she’s got shit to do. But she would quite like someone to rock her world whilst keeping appropriate boundaries. Which is where Zaf comes in, the beardy rugby-star-turned-security-guard who loves a romance novel and has a bit of a thing for Dani.

This book was just so fresh, you know? The characters were vibrant and unique, there was witty dialogue and swearing and some downright filthy sex scenes and genuinely everyone in the book seemed like someone I’d like to be friends with.

You can order it on Amazon here

The Shelf – Helly Acton

If you haven’t heard about this, where have you been? This is clearly in the running to be THE book of 2020.

In a twist where Amy thinks her (horrible) boyfriend is proposing, but she’s actually being broken up with on live TV, this book has a great premise. Amy’s biggest fear, seeing her friends settling down, marrying and having kids, is that she’ll be left on the shelf. So when she ends up on a TV show where they try to ‘train’ women to be good girlfriends, and the public vote to see who gets left on the shelf, sparks fly!

It’s a funny feminist story about the standards women are held to, and how to figure out what you really want from life. I had so many moments where I wanted to yell, but also so many where I thought ‘oh god, yeah that’s happened to me’. Very funny, very smart writing.

You can get it here.

Some smaller reviews (because I read them earlier in lockdown!):

My One Month Marriage – Shari Low

Really enjoyed this – 5 stars and would recommend! Great sisterhood storyline and imperfect characters and sassy dialogue. Skilled use of flashbacks and lots of fun!

Find it here

The Stranger in Our Bed – Samantha Lee Howe

I struggle with stories about infidelity but this was one of those psychological thrillers that whilst it was emotionally hard to read for many reasons, had one of those super satisfying twisty endings. It stressed me out to read, but I did stay up until 2am to do it. So that’s a good sign, right?

Get it here.

In non-fiction I’ve become obsessed with The Science of Storytelling by Will Storr (you can also hear his great interview on The Creative Penn podcast).

My upcoming reads are:

I bought The Labyrinth of Spirits after I heard Carlos Ruiz Zafron had sadly died. Shadows of the Wind is my favourite book and I’m torn between reading the whole series before I start this, or just jumping in. Any thoughts?

On Kindle I bought The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, which appears to be a YA retelling of A Thousand and One Nights. I got suckered in by a beautiful cover and an instagram ad (don’t tell me those things don’t work!)

From my local library Borrow Box I’ve borrowed the ebook of Destination Wedding by Diksha Basu which I’ve heard great things about! (And I really need to start ASAP!)

And that’s me for now! I bought a bunch of books on writing structure and technique at the beginning of lockdown but got distracted by writing out two new novel ideas, and now I’m working on my edits for my 2021 book, so perhaps I’ll do another blog on those when I finally get to read them all!

Happy reading!

Published by

almichaelwriter

A. L. Michael is the author of 13 novels. She's written fiction for Stairwell Books, Harper Collins and Canelo.

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