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May reflections

After an April that was quieter than anticipated, I feel like May has really stepped it up a notch in terms of busyness. I’ve had a lot less time to myself than I would have hoped for so my reading has been a little erratic, but that is tempered with some great experiences and opportunities as well. 

It has been something of a nostalgic month. A few weeks ago, I went to see Bryan Adams perform his album 18 til I Die in full at the Royal Albert Hall. The tour for this album was the first show I ever went to with friends, so it has a special place in my heart. The concert at the RAH was recorded, and I can’t wait to relive it once the recording is released! I then ended the month by attending an event with Jon Bon Jovi ahead of the release of the new album. It was a surreal, ‘pinch me’ kind of event  to be feet away from a music idol and hear him talk so candidly about the new album, his recent struggles and the history of the band. They really were two quite monumental experiences for me to bookend the month with, and I don’t think my teenage self would have ever believed me if I’d told her I’d experience both of those things within weeks of each other.

Last month, Picador released a book titled Nostalgia: A History of a Dangerous Emotion which I currently have on my TBR. The word itself was originally coined from Greek words meaning ‘homecoming’ and ‘pain’, and I suppose there is an element of pain in the wistfulness that nostalgia can bring with it. When I did the maths on just how long that first arena concert was, I definitely felt some sadness at the number of intervening years there have been! I suppose there are always two ways of viewing these things though; it depends on whether your glass is half full or half empty. I’ll leave you with a quote which may or may not be from Dr. Seuss: ’don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.’  

What I’ve been reading 

Beach Read by Emily Henry

This was my first Em Hen read and, in truth, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. It definitely had potential, but my reservations about both the male MC and the central trope not being as advertised meant that it didn’t deliver on that potential for me personally. I will try a second novel from this author as she is so wildly popular, so all suggestions on which one to try next are welcome! 


Aurora’s End by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

The final instalment of the Aurora Cycle has the same sassy dialogue and quick-paced action that I’ve come to expect from this series. As a finale, it sure is spectacular and I was genuinely sad to say goodbye to this world. The ending may not have been a completely mind-blowing denouement, but it was solid, definitive and action-packed right until the final moment, and this has generally been a great YA sci-fi series. 

Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch

The seventh instalment of the Rivers of London sees the long-running storyline with the sinister Faceless Man step it up a notch. As ever, this book takes unexpected twists and turns, from dabbles with Arthurian legend to getting to the bottom of who Mr Punch really is. I wasn’t expecting the ending, and I’m excited to see where the story goes in novel number eight! 

Frontier by Grace Curtis 

What a quirky little novel this was! A sci-fi western with an environmental message, Frontier is the perfect mashup of genres told with heartfelt humour. I was drawn by the quote on the cover that likened it to Firefly and, as a massive fan of that too short lived show, I had to pick it up. I was not disappointed. 

In the Company of Witches by Auralee Wallace

I picked this book up at the Waterstones Piccadilly book sale for two reasons: it had ‘witches’ in the title and there was a cat on the cover. This is very much a cosy mystery, but the family set up reminded me a little of Practical Magic. It was quite a quick and easy read and I probably would read more from the series for the fuzzy vibes. 

Starling House by Alix E. Harrow

A haunted house, family mysteries and an infamous children’s book are the backdrop for this story of struggling to survive in a Kentucky mining town. There are lots of layers at work here, and, whilst I did enjoy the mystery of Starling House itself, the romantic subplot didn’t really ring true for me. I do like a haunted house story, and this kind of reminded me of the house in Gallant. 

 A Match to Remember by Helen Hawkins 

This was a cute, summery read with a second-chance romance trope. Alongside the main story arc, there are also careful explorations of some quite dark themes but they are handled with grace and care. A sweet read and perfect for those who like their romance without a chilli spice rating!

What I’ve been listening to

Unsurprisingly, I’ve spent a fair chunk of time this month listening to both Bryan Adams and Bon Jovi after my adventures out to see them both. Taylor Swift is still in heavy rotation as well as we build up to her UK tour dates. I think I have a different earworm each day at the moment! 

What I’ve been watching

Continuing the great NostalgiaFest of May 2024, we’ve been re-watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This is actually a really special show for both me and my husband, and it was one of the first things we bonded over when we met. It never ceases to amaze me how resonant it still is today and just how much certain scenes still impact me. I still really hate Dawn though. 

Another highlight of the month was a visit to see the much hyped new production of Romeo and Juliet at the Duke of York’s Theatre. Tom Holland stars as Romeo in what is a thought-provoking, stylised production. 


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