Festive · Readathons

Christmas #CosyReadingNight TBR

The lovely Lauren over at Lauren and the Books is hosting another Cosy Reading Night on Wednesday (20 December) – just in time for Christmas! You can watch Lauren’s announcement video over on her channel here. As with her previous Cosy Reading Nights, it kicks off at 7pm UK time and runs until 10pm and the aim is simply to enjoy an evening snuggled up in your PJs with some favourite snacks and a good book or two by your side.

So what are my plans for the evening? Well, I’ll be catering for one as the long-suffering husband is out at his work Christmas meal that evening. I’m going to keep it simple for dinner with a mushroom risotto – a meal that I love to cook (as well as to eat). Plus it requires white wine to make which, conveniently, leaves a glass or two left over for sipping with my book! Snacks are also sorted – my current reading snack of choice is a Thornton’s Caramel Cheesecake Block, one of which I just so happen to have in an unopened ready for a special occasion. I’m generally not too nibbly of an evening but, because it’s Christmas, I might treat myself to some dry roasted peanuts to graze on as well. Plus tea, of course. There will always be tea.

32861730And as for the books? I’m currently reading Another Little Christmas Murder by Lorna Nicholl Morgan, a reissue of a 1947 crime novel which takes place in the suitably festive-sounding manor house of Wintery Wold. At three chapters in I’ve been pleased to find all the festive golden age tropes present and correct: a snowbound manor house in a desolate location, a collection of mismatched guests with secrets to hide and, of course, a murderer in their midst. I’m not expecting the book to reinvent the wheel but, for what it is, I’m enjoying it and it has ‘cosy winter reading’ written all over it – perfect for Cosy Reading Night.

Hydra final jacket imageI’ve also received an exciting piece of book post today – an advance copy of Hydra by Matt Wesolowski, kindly sent by Orenda Books in advance of the blog tour I’m taking part in in January. I absolutely loved Matt’s first thriller, Six Stories, which I read earlier this year, so I’m itching to get started on Hydra straight away. Told in a Serial like format, the novel follows six episodes of a podcast looking into the Macleod Massacre, the horrific murder of her family that was apparently carried out by 21-year-old Arla Macleod. The book’s been calling to me since it arrived in the post this morning so I imagine I will be reading that too at some point during the evening!

I’m really looking forward to having a night snuggled up on the sofa amidst all the preparing for Christmas craziness going on at the moment. If you’re joining in with #cosyreadingnight, come say hi over on Twitter throughout the evening and let me know what you’re reading. All being well, I’ll be posting a short wrap up of the evening before Christmas. Keep an eye on Lauren’s channel for her Cosy Reading Night videos and, if you’re taking part, have a great night! x

 

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Summer #CosyReadingNight Wrap Up

Just a quick post today to follow on from my #CosyReadingNight TBR yesterday to let you know how the evening went and what reading I got done.

When the evening kicked off at 7pm I was still in the kitchen cooking tea – Toad in the Hole with mash and baked beans on the side. For those non-Brits who maybe don’t know what Toad in the Hole is (it’s one of those curiously British dishes that doesn’t seem to have migrated from our shores), it’s essentially sausages in a delicious Yorkshire pudding batter and is pure comfort food – perfect for a cosy night in! There’s a super easy recipe here for anyone wanting to try it out.

Being in the kitchen didn’t put me off reading though and, with the Toad in the oven and a glass of rioja at my side, I kicked off hour one with Sarah Ward’s ‘A Patient Fury‘, the forthcoming third book in her DC Connie Childs series. I’m going to be part of Sarah’s blog tour (details below) in September so I won’t say too much here about the plot but this is definitely shaping up to be Sarah’s strongest book to date and it kept me gripped throughout the first hour.

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Having scoffed a substantial portion of Toad in the Hole and poured myself a large cup of tea, I settled down onto the sofa to head into hour two with a short story from the forthcoming P D James’ collection ‘Sleep No More: Six Murderous Tales‘. Again, I’m part of a blog tour later in the year for the collection so I won’t go into specifics but the two tales that I read had James’ trademark psychological insight and packed a punch in the shorter form.

Having been joined by my cat Lexi, I headed into the final hour of cosy reading night with a dip into Yuval Noah Harari’s ‘Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind‘. In hindsight, I possibly should have started with this one as my increasingly relaxed and sleepy brain did struggle to keep up with all the scientific insights and I made slow progress. I hasten to add that this isn’t because the book isn’t good – it’s fascinating – but because the combination of being full of food and tea, a warm cat, a cosy sofa and a very relaxed brain meant that I was nodding off and kept having to re-read paragraphs!

Overall, #CosyReadingNight was a real success. I read about 50 pages of ‘A Patient Fury’, two short stories from ‘Sleep No More’ and a chapter of ‘Sapiens’ but, more importantly, I had a much needed evening of self-care and relaxation. Lauren has already said she’ll be back in the Autumn with another #CosyReadingNight so do go subscribe to her channel on Youtube to get notified when this happening and make sure you can join in!

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Summer #CosyReadingNight TBR

Tonight is summer #cosyreadingnight, as created and hosted by Lauren over at Lauren and the Books. What is a cosy reading night? Well, it’s exactly what it says on the tin – a night dedicated to getting some snacks in, getting your PJs on, shutting the world away and snuggling up with a good book. Lauren has done a great video introducing the video which you can watch here, as well as another with her personal TBR for the night. It starts at 7pm British Summer Time and runs for three hours until 10pm. I’ll be tweeting throughout the evening over @amyinstaffs but, before it starts, I thought I’d pop a quick TBR up so you can see what I’ll be reading over the course of the evening.

I’m currently preparing to take part in two blog tours that I’m super excited about. The first is for Sarah Ward’s upcoming ‘A Patient Fury‘ (published 07 September) which is the third in her DC Connie Childs’ series set in Derbyshire. I’m about 150 pages in to the book and it’s certainly shaping up to be the twistiest and darkest yet so I’m going to crack on with that for at least part of the night.

I’m also taking part in the blog tour for the upcoming second collection of P D James’ short stories, ‘Sleep No More: Six Murderous Tales‘ (published 05 October). A companion to last year’s successful collection ‘The Mistletoe Murder: And Other Stories‘, this latest collection features six more stories with revenge at their heart. I’ve always enjoyed James’ Adam Dalgleish series of crime novels – I can highly recommend them on audio in particular – so I’m looking forward to diving in to some of her shorter fiction and hope to read the first story this evening.

Finally, I have ‘Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind‘ by Yuval Noah Harari to dip into as a change of pace from the fiction. I’ve had this on my shelf for an absolute age but the sheer density of it (just shy of 500 pages of anthropological study) has been a bit daunting. Having started it a couple of evenings ago though, it’s proving to be both fascinating and very accessible.

So that is my #cosyreadingnight TBR. And for snacks and drinks? Well, I currently have a Toad in the Hole cooking in the oven to devour with mash and baked beans. If there’s any room left after that, I’ve got some NOMNOM Honeycomb chocolate leftover from my recent foray back to Wales. For drinks, I have a glass of rioja (my favourite) on the go then I’ll stick to that British favourite, a nice cup of tea. Perfect for snuggling up in the PJs on a Saturday night!

If you’re joining in with #cosyreadingnight, come say hi over on Twitter throughout the evening and let me know what you’re reading. All being well, I’ll be posting a short wrap up of the evening on here tomorrow. Keep an eye on Lauren’s channel for future Cosy Reading Night announcements and, if you’re taking part, have a great night! x