What I’ve been reading recently

I usually do my “What I’ve been reading recently”  every 3-4 months, or once a season but somehow I realise that I haven’t done a reading recap since the end of July. I’m not sure how that happened in the slightest! 

I think I kept meaning to write one, but I kept getting distracted by other things that I was writing about. I’ll do them on my more regular schedule again from here on out! If you’d like to check in on the last reading recently post, you can find it here

I’ve skipped recapping any books that I’ve read from my doula studies because I know those will have a limited interest to most Rhyme & Ribbons readers. 

Reading Recently 
books and feet

The Waste Lands 

I got really in to this Stephen King series, but then my local library didn’t have the rest of the series. I think this was my favourite of the Gunslinger series that I read. 
4 stars

Hunger A Memoir of My Body 

I love Roxane Gay’s writing and I still enjoy it here, but I found this to be a recap of a lot of her other work
3 stars

The Inner Beauty Bible: Mindful rituals to nourish your soul

Mindfullness is in vogue at the moment, but there are definitely some helpful tips for adding to your routine for daily rituals. Plus it’ll be interesting for anyone who has an interest in crystals
3 stars

Material Girl, Mystical World: The Now Age Guide to a High-Vibe Life 

I really enjoyed reading Ruby Warrington’s journey from fashion journalist to founder of the Numinious. But I also really loved that I’ve been in the home of one of the famous astrologists that she kept name dropping. (I’ve only been there because I was interviewing to be her PA, but it felt cool to feel like I had some knowledge of that scene.)
4 stars

The Handmade Apothecary: Healing herbal remedies

A really interesting study into foraging and making your own teas and tinctures. One of the writers was a gardener at Kew Gardens.
4 stars

Do Not Say We Have Nothing

It took me a little while to get into Madeleine Thien’s, especially with its two different storylines. I found the thread based in China during Mao’s Cultural Revolution to be more enagaging than the thread set in Vancouver. 
3 stars

The Red Tent

I’d read this before, and remembered loving it, but couldn’t remember the details (it’s been at least a decade since I read it). So this was a revisit. And I loved it even more. It’s based on the story of Dinah from the Bible but it’s really about the power of women. 
5 stars

Spirit Junkie: A Radical Road to Self-Love and Miracles

Gabrielle Bernstein’s book is in a very similar vein to Ruby Warrington’s but it’s just not quite as good. It’s a bit more vague and had a slightly “preachier” tone. 
2 stars 

The Twits

I read this aloud to some kids I was working with. It was a first for me – and maybe a last? I just don’t think it’s a very nice story. 
2 stars 

Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

This lengthy book (608 pages) by Clarissa Pinkola Estés was a bit tricky to get in to at first – there was a lot of pyschological jargon that I had to wrap my mind around – but then I loved it. Each new section explored a new myth/story/urban legend and the reflections of women at that time. It especially called to me because there was a big chunk on La Llorona, which was a story that I grew up with as a kid in New Mexico. 
4 stars

Throne of Glass 

Lindsay had been telling me to read this series by Sarah J Maas for ages and I’m so glad that I finally got around to it. The main character is an assassin with morals in a YA fantasy world, who is super sassy. 
4 stars 

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

I’ve read a lot of Barbara Kingsolver in my time, but mostly her fiction novels. This was a really interesting take on the year that she and her family spent eating only what they could grow/raise 
4 stars

The Muse 

I’m not actually sure why I picked this up as I hated Jessie Burton’s other novel “The Miniaturist” but I did. And… it was better than “Miniaturist”. It was more tightly written and not as “meh” by the end. Plus I found the second setting of the Spanish Civil War to be more interesting
3 stars

The Essex Serpent 

I kept seeing this everywhere and its cover was beautiful! But its cover was deceiving. None of the characters actually felt like real people and its Victorian setting fell really flat. Everyone else seemed to really love this novel though. 
2 stars

Beautiful Bodies 

A memoir/social history about what the ideal “perfect body” is.
3 stars 

Her Body and Other Parties

A collection of magical-realism, feminist short-stories from Carmen Maria Machado. I thoroughly enjoyed the collection. Any fans of Kelly Link’s stories will also most likely be fans of this. 
4 stars

The Girls 

I really enjoyed this Emma Cline novel. It’s basically set in the Manson Family (though not called that here) and it was really interesting to read about how a seemingly normal “middle class white girl” could get sucked in to such a violent cult in the summer of love. 
4 stars 

Fates and Furies 

I really liked the premise of the novel – seeing a relationship all through one character’s eyes, and then seeing it through the other’s. But unfortunately, I didn’t really find anyone likeable so I had a hard time empathising with the story.
3 stars

Human Acts 

It was definitely a struggle to read – only because it’s so gut-wrenching. It was about something that I was embarrassingly ignorant of: the South Korean Gwangju Uprising in 1980 where a lot of students were killed. 
4 stars 


Min Jin Lee’s novel follows one Korean family through 4 generations. It was rich and detailed and I really cared about some of the family members
4 stars

Strange Magic 

This light-hearted novel was about a witchcraft museum in rural Essex. I’ve not read the rest of the series but this was a fun read.
3 stars


I feel like everyone I know who reads this thinks “I wish I had read this in middle school”. It’s a girl-power storyline set in small-town Texas
4 stars 

If We Were Villains 

A murder mystery set in an ultra-elitist arts school. I enjoyed it because the author gave a pretty spot-on depiction of drama school (minus the murder). 
4 stars 

The Sun and Her Flowers 

I didn’t enjoy this collection of Rupi Kaur’s poems quite as much as her previous ones but it was still good. 
3 stars 

Home Fire

This novel was so good that it stayed with me for weeks afterward. It’s a modern take on the tragedy of Antigone but with a British-Pakistani family in London. It’s powerful, emotional and important. 
5 stars 

A Separation 

A novel by Katie Kitamura about a couple who have been separated for several months when the estranged-husband disappears in Greece.  I had really high hopes for this novel, and Kitamura’s writing is beautiful. But this book went nowhere and said nothing. 
2 stars 

Crown of Midnight 

The second in the Sarah J Maas series. I liked the 2nd even more than the 1st. 
4 stars 

First Bite: How We Learn to Eat

Food-writer Bee Wilson put together a really interesting read with research from psychologists, neuroscientists, and nutritionists to reveal how and what our food habits are shaped and influenced by. 
4 stars

84, Charring Cross Road 

It’s just a little novel of letters that have been sent between one woman in America and a bookshop in London over years. It’s lovely and heart-warming. 
4 stars 

Lucky Boy 

This was a really heart-wrenching story about a mother whose child is taken away because she’s arrested by ICE and the foster-family that the boy is put with who wants to keep him.
3 stars 

The Power 

Naomi Alderman’s novel was all over the “to-read” list this year about our society being ruled by women after teenage girls suddenly develop the ability to cause agonising pain. I enjoyed it but felt it was too gimmicky. It could have used the same premise but a lot more incisively and interestingly.
3 stars 

In A Dark, Dark Wood 

A pretty classic who-done-it. But I’m so sick of the fragile female/crazy ex-girlfriend trope in mysteries. 
2 stars 

A Little Life 

The novel follows four college classmates through their lives. It’s definitely some heavy reading at times. I wouldn’t call it brilliant, but I would call it intense. 
3 stars 

Turtles All The Way Down

John Green’s novels are so hit and miss for me. This one is just a bit dull. There were certain aspects that I really enjoyed but can he ever have his teenagers just talk like teenagers? 
3 stars 

Birthday Letters 

Most of Ted Hughes’ Birthday Letters were poems written for and about Plath after her death. Hughes is a skilled poet but it hugely rubbed me the wrong way. Critics say that it’s supposed to be a dialogue to Plath’s work, but you can’t have a dialogue with someone who’s been dead for nearly 30 years by the time you publish your work. Another review on Goodreads sums my feelings up perfectly, “I wonder what the ethical ramifications of this portrayal are–it seems somehow implicitly violent for Hughes to ‘talk back’ to his wife in a way that not only enables those who blindly mythologize her, but diminishes her poetry as something neither she nor he could help or stand in the way. And if Plath can’t speak back, what does this say about the history of women’s writing being ‘brought down a peg’ by the final word of her male counterpart?”

The Blind Assassin 

Margaret Atwood is such a prolific writer and she has some real gems out there that don’t get noticed because they are outshined by the popularity of The Handmaid’s Tale.  
4 stars 

A Headful of Ghosts 

This book was so interesting (and I believe they are making it into a film?) It’s about a blue-collar family in New England whose 14 year old daughter starts showing signs of acute schizophrenia and then are slowly convinced that maybe it’s a possession. For extra, much-needed money, they let a reality TV show film the exorcism. 
4 stars 

The Book of Tarot: A Guide for Modern Mystics

A useful introductory guide to tarot. 
3 stars 

The Outrun 

Amy Liptrot memoir about overcoming her alcoholism and returning to the Orkney Islands after nearly a decade away from them. The book had me looking up flights to the Islands. 
4 stars 

Daughters Unto Devils 

It caught my attention because I love to see a horror novel by a woman. It is loosely set during the pioneer era and concerns a possession. Maybe? Something supernatural definitely takes place. It could have been much, much better than it was. 
2 stars 

We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrrl to CoverGirl®, the Buying and Selling of a Political Movement

I found this read very interesting, because it reflected a lot of the thoughts that I’d been trying to form about the hypocrisy of things like TopShop trying to commercialise feminism. (But how that’s nothing new) 
3 stars 

A Witch Alone: Thirteen Moons to Master Natural Magic

Marian Green’s solo practitioner’s guide to connecting with nature is quite a famous resource now. It’s all about connecting with the rhythms of the moon and the seasons on a personal level.
4 stars 

The Almanac: A Seasonal Guide to 2018

The Almanac revives the tradition of the rural almanac, connecting you with the months and seasons via moon-gazing, foraging, feast days, seasonal eating, meteor-spotting and gardening. Simple, but I really enjoyed it. 
4 stars 

Danny the Champion of the World

Not my favourite Dahl, but not my least favourite either. The estate owner is obviously a bad guy, and the relationship between Danny and his father is lovely, but I’m not sure about the moral message of poachers being “good guys” 
3 stars 

The Hate U Give

16 year old Starr witness the shooting of her childhood best-friend by a police officer. It’s an exploration of race and police brutality in American and it was one of the best books of 2017. Everyone should read it. 
5 stars 


An adaptation of a lot of classic Russian fairy-tales (like Baba Yaga) into one story. I loved this read. I fell in love with the characters and was swept away by the story. 
4 stars 

The Creeping Shadow (Lockwood & Co., #4)

I started this series a few years ago and had completely forgotten that I hadn’t finished reading it. Set in a pseudo modern-steampunk London, ghosts are real but invisible to adult eyes and if they touch you, you die. But luckily children can see them and are employed to protect and investigate hauntings. 
3 stars

The Empty Grave (Lockwood & Co. #5)

The finale in the series – I’m sorry to see Lockwood and Co go! Not the most revolutionary of YA but it’s been a fun and easy ride. 
3 stars 

The Witchfinder’s Sister

Set during the Essex witchhunts (pre-Salem), I enjoyed this read but expected a bit more from the ending. 
3 stars 

A Love Like Blood

I picked this book up from the library solely because I liked the cover but found it disappointing. It’s a tale about chasing a vampire for decades but it’s just not as good as Elizabeth Kostova’s “The Historian”
3 stars 

Lagom: Not Too Little, Not Too Much, Just Right: The Swedish Guide to Creating Balance in Your Life

Lagom is to this year what hygge was to past years, but I love it nonetheless. 
4 stars 

Basic Witches: How to Summon Success, Banish Drama, and Raise Hell with Your Coven

A light-hearted read about using spirituality to tap in to your inner-self to feel awesome as a millennial woman. 
3 stars 

The Allotment Almanac

A guide to what to plant and when. It’s extremely helpful and useful to anyone interested in planting and growing their own fruits and veg. 
4 stars 

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator (Charlie Bucket, #2)

Another Dahl book that I read aloud to kids I worked for. Dahl at his worst. The story is all over the place and it’s just awful. 
1  star

A Skinful of Shadows

Set during the English Civil War, the main character, Makepeace, can hold multiple ghosts in her head at once. It had a really interesting plot and it was creative to see how that power could be abused, but the characters just weren’t developed enough.

Favourite Reads: “Home Fire”, “The Hate U Give” and “Moxie” 

What have you been reading recently? Any great recommendations for me? 

*This post uses some affiliate links. I’ll receive a minuscule amount of commission if you buy a book*

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