22 Dead Little Bodies – Stuart MacBride – 7/10

“The Espace pulled forward up the ramp, apparently unaware that they had nearly had an extra three passengers in the back seat, complete with patrol car.”


So, I’m not getting a lot of reading done at the moment. See Exhibit 1: a 3-month-old Bookmark. I’ve written about it ad nauseam.

I read this in two sittings (over two days).

Great fiction it’s not, but:

– I’ve never read any of the others in the series, and had no trouble with the characters or any pre-events (there’s one bit that seems a little out of character so now I want to read the earlier books to make sense of it!)

– It was definitely gripping and I plowed through the pages

– It’s got a very strong sense of setting in Aberdeen – a great mix of accents, local landmarks, the mix of suburbia and a seedier underbelly

– Both McRae and Steel are well-developed characters (Steel felt somewhat caricatured) and minor characters are left to be just that.

Good fun.

Additional information

Copy turned up unsolicited in the post, I presume from the publisher!
Publisher: HarperCollins, 172 pages (paperback)
Order 22 Dead Little Bodies from Amazon*Waterstones or Foyles
* this is an affiliate link – I will be paid a small percentage of your purchase price if you use this link, which goes towards give-aways and site hosting

You know, stuff…

Ah, life with a newborn. Turns out, I don’t read when I’m in my house. And I’m always in my house these days.

So while I have several audiobooks on the go (essential for long pram walks), and I read something on my Kindle over the course of several nights a few weeks ago (while we were teaching Bookmark to go to sleep in her crib and stay that way), not much reading is happening here.

What audiobooks have I got on the go? (* marks affiliate links)

The 5th Flavia de Luce, Speaking from Among the Bones*. I was delighted to discover that Westminster Library had the audiobook through OneClick Digital – so easy to download straight onto my phone, and free. And listen to through Bluetooth headphones while I did some gardening…

Londoners*by Craig Taylor. I started this while I was pregnant and while I am enjoying listening to the stories, it seems harder to hang onto them in my mind than if I were reading them. Or something like that. I keep wanting to take notes, which is tricky when you’re out walking with a Bookmark.

Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Livesby Gretchen Rubin – I read her blog avidly and have enjoyed both of her previous books The Happiness Project and Happier At Home. In fact, it was Happier At Home that I re-read on the Kindle. I’m enjoying Better Than Before, but I have the same problem that I do with Londoners – I want to take notes!

Other things, not bookish, in my life…

I was talking about the Myers-Briggs personality test with a friend recently – so I re-took it and landed splat on the boundary between ISFJ and ISTJ. And those two are called The Nurturer and The Duty Fulfiller. So… no surprises there then.

On a similar theme, the Watson Personality Insights Demo analyses your writing (content, not handwriting)… and came out with some impressively accurate conclusions based on blog posts. I’d love to see the coding behind this one.

28 before 28

Last year I made a 27 before 27 list, although I only gave myself 6 months to achieve them as I came up with the list on the way home from an exceptionally wet cricket training session in April 2014.

While I didn’t manage all that many of them, I rather enjoyed the process, so I’ve done a 28 before 28. My list included quite a few items that needed to wait until after Bookmark was born (including a weight-related goal!) but in 4 months I’ve already knocked off quite a few of my items. My list is (including the number in brackets of what I’ve managed)

Visit 28 different new restaurants/cafes (11)
Get paid for 28 pieces of translation work (1)
Find 28 photos I love and display them (0 – I want to get some of our wedding photos and some early photos of Bookmark printed onto canvas, or put into a big collage frame)
Cook 28 new recipes (10 – this has been a really enjoyable category and I’ve found lots of new things to cook!)
Remove 28 things from my house (14 – such a therapeutic category)
Watch 28 films which won the Academy Award for Best Picture (0 – we watched Forrest Gump a few weeks ago but that doesn’t count because I’ve seen it before!)
Play the piano for at least 28 minutes 28 times in the year (0)
Do 28 things outside my comfort zone (1)
Write 28 postcards/letters, excluding postcards to my grandparents (10 – they’ve all been birthday cards though)
Discover 28 new artists (2)
Read 28 books (no DNFs) (6)
Eat veggies every day for 28 days (mushrooms definitely count) – I keep having to restart this one! up to 2…)
Learn some computer coding skills for 28 mins, 28 times in the year (3)
Get to a streak of 28 days on Duolingo (0)
Get to 28000 points on Duolingo (0)
Remove 28 books from my house (multiple times?) – done once in late 2014 and done again in Feb 2015
Buy 28 things for myself. (clothes that are needed thanks to baby don’t count!) (2)

-Things that had to wait for Bookmark to make an appearance-
Run 5k in under 28 mins, 28 times
Cut out chocolate for 28 days
Work out every day for 28 days consecutively for 28 minutes
Weigh less than x again
Cycle 28 miles in a day
Attend 28 ballet/yoga/Pilates classes

If you can count, you’ll notice that is only 23 items! Suggestions for the last 5 very welcome

I opened a book again

So it turns out that reading one-handed while nursing is quite the different skill from reading one-handed while eating. Also that 3-in-1 editions of Kinsey Millhone mysteries are not the most physically accessible to the one-handed reader.

That said, I read the first 20 pages that I’ve read since Bookmark was born, and hope to continue!

Also I’ve renewed my loan of Craig Taylor’s Londoners, which I was listening to the day I went into labour (so the loan had lapsed) – our walks are long enough that once I’ve caught up on a podcast, individual episodes are too short. So I’ll be restarting that one too!


(inspired by Cassie’s posts at Back To Her Roots. There are lots of links in this post – affiliate links are marked with asterisks)

Listening to Gretchen Rubin’s Happier podcast. I am a huge fan of her blog and her books (The Happiness Project*, Happier at Home*) and the podcast is just the thing for walks out and about with Bookmark.

Wearing my 7-9 month pregnancy jeans (bought for me by The Musician and Mini-Me from my favourite jeans shop in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD). Which is dull. But I can’t get into my 4-7 month jeans just yet. I’m ok with the idea that it took 9 months to grow a baby and it will take me at least 9 months to reverse the changes that caused to my body (those that can be reversed), so I’m hoping to make it back into the smaller jeans in 2 months’ time or so.

Also wearing my Fitbit Charge. I bought it for myself just before Bookmark was born, as something to motivate me to get out and about (are you seeing a theme here)? I’ve managed 7,000 steps (the goal I have set for myself) a few days, and two days I’ve made 10,000 (one of them I got to 14,000!). I’m quite enjoying wearing it and keeping an eye on my activity level.

Catching up with friends: partly because it’s one of my favourite things to do, partly because it’s a brilliant motivator to get out and about with Bookmark, partly because if I don’t, I will become a hermit. I’m trying to make sure I get out of the house every day. So if I know you in real life, feel free to suggest a day when I should come and visit you! Have Bookmark, will travel (by tube, bus, on foot – whatever).

Eating things I have cooked less than a month ago. In advance of Bookmark’s arrival, I cooked up lots of food and shoved it in the freezer in takeaway containers. That saw us through the first three weeks of her life, but I’m over frozen tuna pasta now. I need something fresh. I use Pepperplate to save recipes and to plan out my meals for the week.

Watching Downton Abbey. On the Day of 16 Hours of Feeding when Bookmark was a week old and wouldn’t stop feeding, we watched it basically non-stop. And got totally addicted. We’re into season 5 already (within 2 weeks of starting watching it).

Welcome to the Bookmark!

Baby RWT, henceforth Bookmark, finally made her appearance (very overdue) in late February. I am slowly emerging from the fog of the constant sleep-eat-repeat cycle she operates on – long enough to type a few words anyway.

We’ve been for a few long walks (she goes to sleep straight away) so I feel this may be the year of the audiobook.

I’m also hoping to finally get my reading mojo back (which disappeared along with any semblance of a waist in late pregnancy) – though I have bitten the bullet and am discarding vast numbers of my books because I am accepting that I will never get to read them and I’ve already moved house with them twice. Watch this space for a post on that topic.

Pregnant with the Great American Novel

This was too funny not to share. Brenna over at Book Riot has written a post about being “pregnant with the Great American Novel” which is worth a read.

Week 22: According to the doctor, the manuscript has just developed taste, so take that New York Times. I’m pretty uncomfortable all the time but I’ve gained three cup sizes, which is great except that my coffee doesn’t fit in the holder in my Suzuki anymore.”


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