Monthly Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap Up – February 2020


February has been a crazy but wonderful reading month. I’ve read a total of fifteen books, taken part in sixteen blog tours and in two readalongs – the second one I’m still currently reading. So here is what I read this past month:

  1. Never Look Back by A. L. Gaylin ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5 
  2. The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  3. The Alibi Girl by C.J. Skuse ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5
  4. Beast (Six Stories #4) by Matt Wesolowski ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  5. Real Life by Adeline Dieudonné ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  6. The Guest List by Lucy Foley ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  7. The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  8. The Holdout by Graham Moore ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  9. The Memory Wood by Sam Lloyd ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  10. Saturdays at Noon by Rachel Marks ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  11. The Aosawa Murders by Riku Onda ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  12. The Snakes by Sadie Jones ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  13. The Dark Side of the Mind by Kerry Daynes ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  14. Tales of Mystery Unexplained by Steph Young ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  15. Away with the Penguins by Hazel Prior ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

You can read the synopsis for the books and my reviews by clicking on the title for all except Away with the Penguins, which will be published on Monday, March 2nd.

It’s been another month of strong and phenomenal reads, which made it almost impossible to choose a favourite. After a lot of thought I’ve decided it was a tie between the two books that linger most in my mind after reading – The Memory Wood and Away with the Penguins.

In February I also attended two book events. On February 19th I attended my first book event here in Sheffield – the book launch of Firewatching, the sensational debut by local author Russ Thomas. It was a fantastic evening and I left eagerly anticipating book two in the series which is out this time next year. You can read my review for Firewatching by clicking here.


Just a few days ago I travelled to Nottingham for the second event, The Orenda Roadshow. Orenda is one of my favourite publishers. Every book I’ve read from there collection is amazing. When you pick up one of their books you know you’re getting quality writing, great storytelling and something a bit different. Plus there’s the fact that Karen Sullivan is one of the nicest people I’ve met. At the event each of the twelve authors had a minute to talk about their latest release and later read an excerpt from the book – which resulted in tears of laughter when Matt Wesolowski read his excerpt as a 20-something vlogger. I only wish I’d videoed it. It was great to meet and get a glimpse into the personalities of so many authors and I came away with a lot of extra books on my wishlist. There was also the added pleasure of  meeting blog tour organiser extraordinaire Anne Cater at the event. A wonderful surprise.

How was your February? Did you read any of the same books? What was your favourite? Let me know in the comments below.

Collage 2020-03-01 14_30_55



Blog Tours book reviews

The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre
Published: February 20th, 2020
Format: Paperback
Genre: Literary Fiction

I am thrilled to be one of the people opening the blog tour for this breathtaking novel. Thank you to Tracy at Compulsive Readers and to Bonnier Zaffre Books.


In the midst of war, he found love.
In the midst of darkness, he found courage.
In the midst of tragedy, he found hope.
What will you find from his story?

Nuri is a beekeeper, his wife, Afra, an artist. They live happily in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo – until the unthinkable happens and they are forced to flee. But what Afra has seen is so terrible she has gone blind, and they must embark on a perilous journey through Turkey and Greece towards an uncertain future in Britain.

As Nuri and Afra travel through a broken world,  they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss, but the dangers that would overwhelm the bravest of souls. Above all – and perhaps the hardest thing they face – they must journey to find each other again.

Moving, compassionate and beautifully written, The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a powerful testament to the triumph of the human spirit.


“If I could give her a key that opened a door into another world, then I would wish for her to see again. But it would have to be a world very different from this one.”

I inhaled this mesmerising, poignant and illuminating novel in under a day. It is honestly one of the most beautiful books I’ve read and I was captivated by the exquisite, lyrical prose and stunning imagery that made every word one to savour.

This timely story shines a light on the struggle of those who are forced to flee because of war, from a perspective we rarely hear: the voice of a refugee. At a time where there is so much vitriol against them, where so many people see as the enemy, as someone who shouldn’t be in our country, it is refreshing to read a book that tells their story is such a beautiful and heartbreaking way; helping those of us who’ve never experienced such horror to have a small amount of understanding. 

It is told by Syrian refugee, Nuri, who made the perilous journey from Syria to the UK with his wife Afra, who was blinded by a bomb. In the present day we follow their battle to claim asylum while trying to adjust to the strangeness of the new country they hope to call home. In flashbacks we see their life in Aleppo before the war, how it was torn apart, their heartbreak as they lost their only child, and then follow them as they make the dangerous journey to England. We see the impact of all they’ve gone through on themselves and their marriage, threatening to tear them apart at their core as well as breaking apart the only thing they have left to hold on to – each other.  

“Where was home now? And what was it? I’m my mind it had become like a picture infused with golden light, a paradise never to be reached.”

This was the first time I’ve read a book by this author and I will definitely be reading more. Her writing enveloped me in their world, making me feel like I was right beside Nuri every step of the way both physically and emotionally. The characterisation was spectacular, with the author providing an eclectic mix of people who had very different stories from war-torn places around the world, and different reactions to what they’d gone through. There were wonderful examples of the best of humanity in the darkest of times, but also of the depth of evil that exists in our world and the damage that is done by such people.  The raw devastation and grief that each character exuded was hard, but necessary, to read, and was a humbling reminder of how our problems pale in comparison to being forced from your home and fighting each day to survive and find safety. 

The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a story about the horrors of war, trauma, grief and survival. But most of all for me it is a multifaceted love story.  It is an astonishing book that went straight to my soul. I can’t recommend you read this highly enough. 



Brought up in London, Christy Lefteri is the child of Cypriot refugees. She is a lecturer in creative writing at Brunel University. The Beekeeper of Aleppo was born out of her time working as a volunteer at a UNICEF-supported refugee center in Athens. She is the author of the novel A Watermelon, a Fish and a Bible.




Book Depository
Apple Books
Google Books