Bookstagram, Birthdays and Walks

There’s nothing quite like wintry rain to convince you that it is in fact actually summer and usually you’d be lying on the beach with a G&T in one hand and a book in the other. The mere thought of that image is enough to depress the hell out of anyone.

June has not been a usual month and it’s hard to remember what my plans even looked like pre COVID. Not having any sort of plans has been a new one for me and the lack of a Friday feeling has left me feeling pretty unenthused about the weekends. Two days off are always welcome though and I’ve got some leave booked for July to look forward to when hopefully we’ll be able to get out and do a bit more.

I’m lucky to still be working so I have some semblance of normal and a routine during the week even though working from home full time is definitely not for me. I miss the buzz of the office. I have heard that we might be going back in September so that’s a positive but no set date yet. Has anyone else got a return to work date?

To keep my mind off the monotonous working days, I decided to create a new Instagram account at the beginning of June to document my reads. Possibly the best thing I could have done to boost my mood as I’ve loved chatting about books and posting about my favourite reads. Bookstagram as it’s called is the loveliest, most supportive community to be part of and I’ve already got 735 of you following me!

I’ve already been gifted a book in a random act of kindness which was a lovely surprise for a Monday, have taken part in giveaways and have been chatting to my followers via DM’s. If you fancy checking it out, my username is @kerriesbookshelf

Also, the photos others take for Instagram are usually stunning so it’s encouraged me to up my photography game. I’ve enjoyed experimenting and ended up buying a few props to use in my photos which I hope will make them look a bit more professional. I’ve also got a tripod on the way due to my extremely unsteady hand!

The only con of creating a Bookstagram has been the hit to my bank account. I just can’t stop buying books! I read a lot anyway but there’s so many good books recommended by other bookstagrammers, that I end up adding them to my basket. I have a nice long wish list on Amazon now.

I’ve read a few good books this month. The first being My Dark Vanessa.

Synopsis: Vanessa Wye is 15 when she first sleeps with her English teacher. Young and impressionable, she begins a secret relationship with Jacob Strane who gives her the attention she desires . Years later, after allegations of sexual assault against Strane surface, Vanessa is forced to revisit the life defining relationship of her past but she’s quite sure what they had was love not abuse.

Review: Set over a number of years, MDV delves into consent, desire and manipulation. It’s unsettling yet compelling and the writing is simply stunning. I absolutely adored the beautiful way in which Kate Elizabeth Russell writes and was completely invested in the characters of Vanessa and Strane.

The complexities of Vanessa’s character reminded me of the way in which Gillian Flynn writes so if you’re a fan of her, you will definitely enjoy MDV.

Another book I enjoyed this month was A Ladder To The Sky by John Boyne.

Synopsis: Maurice Swift will stop at nothing to become a successful writer. From a chance encounter with a great novelist, he begins his career on seduction and lies, taking ideas from wherever he can find them.

A Ladder To The Sky had me hooked from the first page. I adored John Boyne’s no nonsense style of writing and found the multi layered plot gripping. The book is split into 4 parts, detailing Maurice’s rise to success, each part of his life more horrifying than the last.
The best thing about this book was the characters. It takes a lot for me to hate a character. George R R Martin did it so well with Joffrey Baratheon and John Boyne paints an equally brilliant villain in Maurice Swift.

It’s original and will have you guessing until the final page.

It was also Rich’s birthday this month and in true lockdown style, I made us a picnic to share of mini homemade pizzas, carrot sticks, chocolate dipped strawberries, Doritos and a Banoffee pie with a bottle of Asti to drink.

Once I’d got all the ingredients home and typically left things until the last minute to make, I realised how much I had to prepare. Cue me running manically round the kitchen to make sure it was all ready on time. Luckily, everything went smoothly and the Banoffee tasted pretty great.

It was a lovely chilled day enjoying the picnic, opening presents and watching Season 5 of Queer Eye.

When the weather was better, I’ve been down the beach with friends and even went in the sea one evening. Only up to my waist though because it was cold. We even had a BBQ last Friday which was meant to be on the beach but ended up being in the park as it was so windy. Somehow we managed to light the BBQ and all sat huddled round the flames in our jumpers and coats. Fun times.

Recently, Rich and I have been getting out on walks locally (which is hard work when you have a gamer boyfriend!) Last weekend, we visited Alfriston and I was pleased to see Much Ado Books was open. It’s this really lovely, independent book shop selling old and new books. We popped inside and I bought another book to add to my reading list.

We then took a walk out the back of Alfriston and across the fields; so peaceful.

I haven’t got much planned for July so far but I’m looking forward to some time off, venturing a bit further and visiting some places that are starting to open.

How has your June been?

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