Books I finished July – December 2017

Books I finished July – December 2017


Ah, a good book and a matcha latte in Ginger and Co in Shrewsbury – heaven!

So, I slipped horrendously behind with my reading round-ups last year but hey, new year, new start and all! I’m just going to do a straight list of everything from the, ahem, second half of last year and start afresh with January.

The good news is, despite my bad habit of starting books and never finishing them*, I actually beat my Goodreads reading challenge goal of 25 books by one. This year I’ve set my goal at 30 and I know I’m going to do it.

*I don’t mean stopping books I’m not enjoying – I have NO problem doing that! – but I get distracted by ooh all the shiny new books and just keeping starting new ones. I’m really going to try to persevere a bit more this year and just keep adding to the dreaded TBR list instead!

Without further ado, here’s what I finished between July and December 2017.


Letters from a Skeptic: A Son Wrestles with His Father’s Questions about Christianity – Gregory A Boyd and Edward K Boyd

The Chalk Pit – Elly Griffiths

Dark Matter – Blake Crouch


Passages: How Reading the Bible in a Year will Change Everything for You – Brian Hardin


I Think It’s God Calling – Katy Magdalene Price

No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame – Janet Lansbury

Digitox: How to Find A Healthy Balance for your Family’s Digital Diet – Mark Ellis


The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down: How to be Calm in a Busy World – Haemin Sunim


The Outrun – Amy Liptrot (I LOVED this)

Apple Tree Yard – Louise Doughty

Hurrah for Gin: A book for perfectly imperfect parents – Katie Kirby


All of a Winter’s Night – Phil Rickman

Books I finished in June 2017

Books I finished in June 2017

This month I rediscovered the joy of audiobooks, thanks to the Whispersync for Voice feature in the Kindle app, and read two very different books which make you look at the world in new ways.

Books read

At Home in the World: Reflections on Belonging while Wandering the Globe – Tsh Oxenreider

I’ve been a big fan of Tsh Oxenreider for years, reading her blog The Art of Simple (formerly Simple Mom), listening to her podcast The Simple Show, reading all her books and even taking part in her online course The Upstream Field Guide.

Her latest book, At Home in the World, is about the nine months she spent travelling the globe with her husband and their three children and what she learned about the meaning of home.

In a series of vignettes from the road she shows us the good times and the bad times, the times where the family visited amazing places and the times when they drove each other crazy. One of the most striking takeaways is the importance of carrying on ordinary life between the breathtaking experiences, not matter where you are. Home is indeed where the heart is.

Note: I had the honour of speaking to Tsh about world travel with kids for my Green Parent magazine series (forthcoming October/November edition) and managed to keep my inner fangirl girl sufficiently under control to conduct a suitably professional interview.

Station Eleven – Emily St John Mandel

Station Eleven has been on my radar for a while. I listen to the What Should I Read Next? podcast and I feel like this book has cropped up on there a few times. I didn’t know what to expect other than some sort of post-apocalyptic something or other which is usually more up my husband’s street. He and I have very different tastes in books so when he said he’d read the Kindle sample and didn’t like it, I thought I would give it a try.

I bought the Audible narration along with the Kindle version and listened to it at every opportunity. I probably listened to more of it than I read, and I feel the audiobook format suited the sweeping story. I love a good paper book but reading in this way with the combined power of audiobook and ebook was a great way to get more reading done, something I tend to struggle with in this “young children” season of life.

It features a range of characters who are all connected in one way or another, and flits between the time before and after the Georgia flu wiped out most of the world’s population.

I could see why my husband didn’t like it – it’s not your typical post-apocalyptic thriller.  It was poetic, it was about the importance of art, and it was about the strength and weakness of the human spirit. I was captivated by it.

Also on the go




Books I finished in May 2017

Books I finished in May 2017

I’m not sure what happened to my reading in May but the only book I finished was a short one read on the train to London and back. I must have dipped into lots of others and spent way too much time faffing around.


Book read

The Good Skin Solution: Natural Healing for Eczema, Psoriasis, Rosacea and Acne – Shann Nix Jones

I’ve had rosacea for years (I’ve mentioned it a few times on the blog, particularly when some friends and I were doing the H2Only challenge in aid of the RNLI) and have tried various creams and potions, long-term antibiotics and prescription gels to get it under control. The antibiotics worked to an extent (but who wants to take them indefinitely?), the rest not so much. Since being pregnant with my second child (who is now 20 months old) I’ve been taking an “ignore it and pretend it’s not there” approach but the time has come to wrestle with it again. I’d been looking into the link between rosacea and our gut microbiome and when I saw that this book was on offer on Kindle for less than £2 I decided to check it out.

Shann Nix Jones is the co-founder of Chuckling Goat, supplying freshly made goats’ milk kefir and natural kefir skin care products from her family farm in Wales. Kefir, a probiotic drink made from live culture fermented milk, is said to help restore the balance of the gut microbiome, having a knock on effect on your skin and general health.

The book goes into detail about the importance of the 2kg of bacteria that sit in your gut and I must have been convinced, because I am now a fully signed up Chuckling Goat customer. Apparently rosacea is a very stubborn condition and will take at least six three-week courses of kefir (and some dietary changes) to tackle, but I’m willing to give it a try. And that’s a post for another day.

Also on the go


Books I finished in April 2017

Books I finished in April 2017

I’ve fallen a bit behind posting these mini book reviews and while I’m sure no one but me is interested, they are more for my benefit than anything else. So here we go with April’s books!


Books finished

Vanishing Acts – Jodi Picoult

After loving Jodi Picoult’s Nineteen Minutes back in January, I picked up a copy of Vanishing Acts in a charity shop to help me get through a mammoth six-hour hairdressing session. Unfortunately Vanishing Acts didn’t live up to Nineteen Minutes and I ground my way through it without caring about any of the characters and being interested in the plot. I don’t normally finish books I don’t like but having out so much time into it I limped to the end with a bit of help from Wikipedia and Goodreads. I’m not sure I’ll pick up another Jodi Picoult.

The Rainbow Way: Cultivating Creativity in the Midst of Motherhood – Lucy H Pearce

I read this because I was interviewing the author for my Green Parent magazine series. It’s been a long time since I thought of myself as a creative person (have I EVER thought of myself that way?) and while I was reading the book I struggled to see myself in the “Creative Rainbow Mother” archetype that she describes. But since reading the book and speaking to Lucy a little spark of creativity has been kindled deep inside. I had my hair dyed an array of “mermaid’ colours and have been drawing a bit, and have been exploring ways of feeling more like myself again. I’ve have felt completely subsumed into  being a mother but this book showed me a possible way to be me and their mum, a way that I would never have considered before.

How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids – Jancee Dunn

My poor long-suffering husband bought this for me, which suggests that I maybe need to adjust my attitude towards him! I’m not sure that he enjoyed me reading bits out to him all the time, but between making me hoot with laughter and shake my head with recognition, it did hold a mirror up to some of my less appealing habits. It was surprising  how relatable the author’s experience was despite our lives being so different. It’s not just me! It was funny in parts and packed with sensible advice, and I should probably re-read it on a regular basis…

Also on the go


Books I finished in March 2017

Books I finished in March 2017

I’m still not doing too well with that “finishing books” resolution but here are the ones that I completed in March. I’m nearly at the end of a few though so hopefully April will be a bumper month!


The Unmumsy Mum – Sarah Turner

I very rarely laugh out loud at books but I LOLed numerous times at this one, until I got to the chapter where she talks about losing her own mum, and then I most definitely got something in my eye. This book is so true to life, and just so incredibly British! If you like The Unmumsy Mum Facebook page you will love it.


The Unmumsy Mums: A Collection of Your Hysterical Stories from the Frontline of Parenting

This is a little Kindle freebie companion piece to The Unmumsy Mum, and will definitely appeal to fans of the Facebook page. It’s pretty amusing and quick to read, and will raise a few embarrassed chortles of recognition and horror.


The Children of Green Knowe – Lucy M Boston

I have mixed feelings about this classic children’s book. It starts off so well, with a deliciously creepy setting in which a young boy goes to stay with his great-grandmother in an old manor house surrounded by floodwater. And there are other children there, children who lived there hundreds of years before. Are they ghosts? Presences? Energy imprints? We never find out, and actually nothing much really happens. Even the great showdown with the sinister “demon tree” Green Noah passes by in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment. I wanted to love it, but I was left disappointed. One of the sequels (The River at Green Knowe) came bundled with it, but I’m not sure I will bother.

Also on the go