It’s almost Christmas!

We’ll be having a little blog break over Christmas while I celebrate with my family. I’ll still be having YouTube videos and TikToks posting though! Just search for Abi of Pellinor ☺️

Hope you folks have a wonderful Christmas if you celebrate, and a nice end of year if you don’t! 🥂

I’m back from my hols!

A view of Mount Vesuvius from the water, off the coast of Ercolano

I’m back in Blighty (Britain) after spending over 10 days in (and travelling to) Italy! It’s been an absolutely wonderful few days, seeing some brand new sights in Rome, the first time I’ve visited since I was a bambino.

A white woman with dark brown hair, in a purple hiking jumper and sunglasses, stood in front of the goodbye sign at Vesuvius

And I was also able to show my partner around some of my absolute favourite places in the world! I adore being up Vesuvius, and I know the damn thing well enough by now, so it was so much fun to be back there again, 3 years later! And to be honest? Quite nice to not have to think about gathering data and research the whole time 😂

A view of Herculaneum ruins from above

We of course had to look around the historic sights, in Rome we went for the Colosseum, the Pantheon, St Peter’s Basilica and more. In Naples, well obviously we looked around Pompeii and Herculaneum. It’s been about six years since I last went around Pompeii, so I loved being back and, as always, learning a little more.

Circumvesuviana train at Ercolano-Scavi covered in colourful graffiti

We’ve been on planes, trains, buses, and in cars. We stopped short at hiring a scooter because… well anyone who’s been to southern Italy can tell you the drivers are a breed of their own. I don’t have a bike licence and it’s been over a decade since Mr Pellinor last rode so maybe not the time to dust the cobwebs off the helmets?

But now we’re home, with subpar views, and we’re tired! And we’re both back at work tomorrow too. How rude! I’ve been reading over this holiday, but as always it wasn’t as much as I’d hoped (or packed for!) so I have a feeling I won’t be completing my tbr this month. Oh well, it is what it is. 🤷🏻‍♀️

So today? This is your post. I’ll be back soon. Fingers crossed I’ll be back on Thursday like my schedule is normally! But for now? I leave you with a couple pretty pictures and a question.

What are you currently reading??

A white woman with dark brown hair, wearing a purple hiking jumper, blue raincoat, and sunglasses, is stood in front of a view over the land around Mount Vesuvius.

It’s Juneteenth. What should you read?

Juneteenth, June the 19th, Freedom Day. There are lots of different names for today. If, like me, you’re white and non-American (I’m white British) you likely won’t have heard about this date until a few years ago. Or for some of you, today is the first time. Welcome!

But what is Juneteenth? On the 1st January, 1863, then President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation which stated “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.” Great right? Well unfortunately, in a fair few cases, no one told the enslaved people. Of course they didn’t. It was free labour. Juneteenth commemorates the actual ending of mass slavery in the United States, when on the 19th June, 1865, soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, informing everyone that the Civil War had ended and those who were enslaved were now free. This is, of course, a huge simplification. But it should give you the (very basic) overview of the day that you need.

Now onto the books. This is a book blog, we love reading here, so of course I wanted to point out some fantastic books which could be great choices for today. For those who aren’t descended from enslaved peoples, this is a chance to educate yourself by reading from those who are and learning more about their experiences.

I’m going to link some Black book blogger and writers Juneteenth recommendations. Own voices reviews are incredibly important, and to be quite honestly, a lot more important than what I think on this topic. Black and Bookish has a great list of 10 books, Tiffany Eve Lawrence for Romper has children’s book recommendations, Keyaira Boone for Essence has 18 fantastic recommendations, Afriware is an independent Black owned bookshop with an article on books about slavery, and Amber O’Neal Johnston has a list of picture books.

The above is by no means an extensive list on articles on books about Juneteenth and enslaved people from African Americans, but it is something to get you started. Whilst you’re here however, I do have two fiction books and one non-fiction that (with the massive caveat that I’m white and British) I recommend you pick up.

The Deep by Rivers Solomon is one of my five star reads and one that I recommend to anyone and everyone, to be quite honest.

It is based upon a song by the same name (by Daveed Diggs, Willian Huston, and Jonathan Snipes – the members of Clipping) and follows the descendants of the pregnant women who were thrown overboard during their forced journey from Africa to the Americas. Because the past is too traumatic for people to live with, one person is allocated as the memory keeper. But this position is traumatic, and Yetu, our teenage protagonist, struggles to deal with these memories.

For a slightly different read, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead is another fantastic (and for me, five star) read.

This book follows enslaved people attempting to reach freedom through the Underground Railroad, but in this book the railroad isn’t in name only (as it was in real life), but is an actual underground track. We follow these people at different stages, in enslavement, in escape attempts, and for some in “freedom” and what it’s like compared to what they thought. This is a brilliant read.

And finally some non-fiction, a book that focuses more on modern enslavement, Are Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Y. Davis.

This book discusses incarceration in the United States, and how this chiefly impacts People of Colour and Black individuals over all others. How those in the prison system are used as free or incredibly cheap labour, how a lot of this is based off of racism, and how tougher prison sentences don’t reduce crime. Whilst this doesn’t directly relate to Juneteenth, unfortunately the topic is highly related and one that I think is incredibly important.

There are of course so many more books that are available. Really, please check out the links above. These three are just some that I’ve enjoyed and fit in with my own reading preference (educational non-fiction and fantasy reads) but there are all sorts of books available to you.

Please let me know about any books that you’ve read and recommend about Juneteenth and enslaved people. I always love to hear about more books!

An update on book reviews

I’m caught up!!

Well.. mostly caught up. But I’ve got one review left from last month (April) and then just the books I’ve read in May to still post about. Which means that the daily posting won’t be a thing again for a while. I was thinking about switching it up and only posting on Tuesdays and Thursdays.


I can always switch back to more posts if I end up reading ridiculous amounts and needing to put more reviews up, but it’s been a while since I’ve written any non-review/tbr/wrap up posts and I’m not sure what I’d write about if I kept posting each day!

Please let me know what you think, and consider this a wee announcement saying that we’re down to two posts a week from now on.

Abi over and out.

Hyped vs Unknown Books

With so many books out there it can be hard to find that 5 star needle hiding in a 3 star haystack! So often we’ll follow the heard. Hyped books must be hyped for a reason right? Meaning they’re more likely to be a great read. So quite often we’ll push them to the front of the queue before other, less well known works.

I’m just as guilty of this as anyone, maybe more so! But sometimes I need a little reminder that it’s not always the best way to read. I get these reminders from time to time. Sometimes it’s a book that’s been on my shelves for many moons that I’ve finally picked up, sometimes it’s a book a friend has forced me to read, and sometimes it’s my own inner curiosity shining through!

This time? My curiosity! I picked up a book on the NSA leaks from a little free table at work back in January when I still worked in the office. I thought it sounded quite interesting. Since then I’ve been tempted to unhaul it. I’ve not heard a single mention of it online ever until I specifically went hunting and it’s not something that anyone else would care about. Maybe it just isn’t any good?

Well if you can’t tell, No Place to Hide by Glen Greenwood is my current read and I’m enjoying it so much. To the point where I’m annotating my copy! It’s so interesting, there are so many facts, and I’m loving how it’s written. But it’s also not one I’m likely to give 5 stars nor to recommend to all but a select few people. And yet I’m really glad I picked it up.

So this is your reminder. Pick up that book you bought cause you thought it looked interesting. It might just be better than the latest hyped read!

Monthly Reading??

How do you feel about carrying over an unfinished book from the month before?

Unless I’ve planned it that way specifically? I hate it. Hate. It. And guess what I’ve had to do this month?

I started Prodigy by Marie Lu on the last day of the month. No I don’t know why. But I have. Not only that but I switched Labyrinth by Kate Mosse to be a chapter a day rather than reading it all within July. And I’m reading Armageddon Outta Here and War and Peace!!

The Book With A Bow On A White Background Stock Photo, Picture And Royalty  Free Image. Image 8382148.

Usually I like my reading to be done, dusted, and wrapped up in a neat little bow at the end of every month.

I wasn’t bothered when I was younger, I barely noticed each month passing until it was time to write a new date in my school books. But as an adult who quantifies her reading on spreadsheets and graphs… truth be told it just makes things really awkward.

I have a spreadsheet I adore, but it just will NOT count books if they don’t have their reading start and end date all within the same month. It just doesn’t count them. So do I then lie and just write down the month that they finished in? That feels disingenuous and the spreadsheet is for me too so I want the info to be accurate.

It’s the stupidest of reasons, but because I’ve been using the same spreadsheet template since 2018 it’s become a total habit of mine. And as I (pre)write this, on the last day of the month. I’m looking at my current reads and wondering whether to stay up all night to finish them…..


Revisiting my March 2020 tbr: did I read them?

March last year. Well, that was a helluva month that still seems to be going on. But regardless, I thought that today we could take a look at the tbr I set myself back then and see if I’ve managed to read all the books! (you can see my original tbr video here).

At first glance, I’ve only set myself 5 books to read, so fingers crossed! (although with me that means literally nothing lol).

First up, The Seeing Stone by Kevin Crossley-Holland.


This is the first book in an Arthurian retelling and it was a re-read for me. I read it!! This was a fun MG/YA fantasy, I remember wanting to read the sequel then and I still want to now!

Good start!

Book two on my tbr was An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir.

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Another one I’ve read! This one I buddy read throughout the month with Caitlyn from Mad Cheshire Rabbit. She’s went on to finish the series already, as she adored the books. I found it fun but I wasn’t enamoured in the same way. I’ll definitely continue with the series though!

Book three was Nevernight by Jay Kristoff.

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This one I most definitely did not get to in March, I did, however, finish it up in October last year and it was one of my favourites of 2020! It’s a slow book to get through but so well written and I adored being in the world.

Book four was Without You There Is No Us by Suki Kim.

I read this one too! I actually picked this one up on the first of t


he month and finished it on the same day. It was incredibly engaging and was enraptured learning about the vast differences in these children’s lives.

And finally. The last book on this months tbr…

Book five was City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare.

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And somehow(?) I’ve read this one too!! I didn’t read it in March, I actually ended up picking this one up in July and reading it as well as City of Glass. But it’s still read so it still counts!

Well that was unexpected!!! I may have only read 3 of these actually in March last year, but they’re all off of my tbr at least! Definitely not what I was expecting to happen (and a wee bit more boring that I’d been hoping for) but I’ll have to keep popping in to do these every now and again and see if things change!

I’m going to be slowing down on my blog posts again for a wee while, going back to one a week rather than two. I know most of you won’t notice or care, but just thought I’d “announce” it somewhere. I’m active over a lot of bookish platforms, as well as having a 40+ hour a week job, job hunting, and also attempting to give myself some breathing space! (for me it’s a lot) so I’m dropping back on the blog posts a wee bit. If you want to see more from me then check out my BookTube where I post each Sunday (and at the beginning and end of each month for a wrap up and tbr) and on my bookstagram where I post every day at 4pm UK time 🙂

Podcasts I’ve loved in 2020

During 2019 I was reintroduced to podcasts whilst doing fieldwork, a lot of time out where there’s no signal and nothing much to do but walk. And I’ve managed to keep this up into 2020 despite how vastly everything changed for me! When I was unemployed at the beginning of the year I listened to them whilst walking through the local dene (think lots of trees by a little river/big stream) and now I’m working (and unfortunately have to travel into work) I listen to the podcasts while I’m on the bus. I’ve flirted with a few different podcasts and there are ones that I like. But there are 2 solid podcasts that I stick with no matter what (well kinda 3 but I’ll get to that) as well as a few others that I’m really enjoying listening to and I hope I stick with them!

My favourites

Sci Guys

SciGuys: hosted by Corry, Jamp and Luke

This podcast is all about interesting science topics from 3 longstanding youtubers. Corry, the one with the biology degree, is the main host who does the research for the shows and explains scientific topics. Jamp and Luke just chime in with ridiculous statements and stupid jokes. I love it so much! Very well researched and always querying the intrinsic bias, as well as racism and sexism within science, whilst being laugh out loud funny (I keep getting weird looks on the bus). Honestly when I see a new episode is out I struggle to save it for my commutes!

Flash Forward Podcast | Free Listening on Podbean App

Flash Forward: hosted and produced by Rose Eveleth

The podcast which looks into possible, and not so possible, future scenarios and looks at the societal, economic and environmental impacts that these futuristic themes could have on our planet and on humanity. As the tagline suggests, some of these are incredibly improbably and some could be called impossible. But some? Some are something we could implement now. Today. And the research put into each and every one of these episodes is inspiring. I adore them so much and will always listen (and the theme tune always reminds me of my treks up and down Vesuvius doing my research so that’s a plus!).

Advice For And From The Future (podcast) - Rose Eveleth | Listen Notes

Advice for and from the Future: also hosted and produced by Rose Eveleth

This is a spin off podcast that came from questions Rose encountered while she was researching her Flash Forward episodes. These have included “How can I ask my friend to turn off their Alexa” and “Should I let my company put a chip in my hand”. As I mentioned above, this is the “kinda 3rd” in the list of solid podcasts. I listen to every episode and I really enjoy them, but it’s still brand new and I’m loyal from Flash Forward so take it with a pinch of salt.

Lots of fun

You're Wrong About... (@yourewrongabout) | Twitter

You’re Wrong about: Michael Hobbs and Sarah Marshall

This is a podcast I came across when learning about a specific topic (the Y2K bug) and I listened to that episode and decided to see what else they’d covered. It is very US-centric, but they cover some incredibly interesting topics (and to be fair just did a multi-parter on Princess Dianna) and because both Michael and Sarah are journalists these episodes are also researched really well! (are you noticing a theme here?) I love learning about a lot of pop culture stuff that was just on the fringe of my knowledge, and that I clearly had the wrong idea about!

BBC Sounds - You're Dead To Me - Available Episodes

You’re Dead to Me: Greg Jenner

A comedy historical podcast which brings together Greg as the host, an expert in the topic, and a comedian. Combined? A lot of fun learning all about historical time periods or even the history of a certain topic! I honestly learn a lot through this podcast as well (is that another theme…do I only have educational podcasts?) and really enjoy every episode, even when it’s on topics that I didn’t think would interest me! The history of football anyone? Me either, but learning about women’s football, as well as the various origins of this game, kept me completely hooked.

And those are the podcasts that I want to recommend! I’ve listened to and enjoyed others, but these are the ones that I rush to download onto my phone and that I really enjoy picking out when I’m on my commute! I really don’t tend to go for a bookish vibe when it comes to podcasts, but if you do have any you want to recommend, whether bookish, educational, or other, please do leave a comment! I’m always up for trying out a new podcast!



If you follow me on my twitter or instagram you’ll have seen me and everyone else posting about the BLM movement right now. It’s for this reason I’ve been silent this week. I am white. The book reviews I would have been putting up were for white authors. This was not the time.

I rescheduled all of my posts to next week. My usual posting will resume then. But I won’t be tweeting about them. My voice isn’t important right now.

Please go and check out and also check this carrd here for more links on places that you can donate to bail funds, petitions you can sign, and resources for you to educate yourself (if nb) and assist you in this time (if you’re Black).

There is a lot I need to do. Despite being anti-racist I have not been using my privilege to its full potential, and importantly for a reader I have not been reading enough books by PoC. I naively thought that I was reading equally until I went and looked at the stats. I am not. My aim this year was to empty my shelves but there are only FIFTEEN PoC authors on my physical shelves right now. FIFTEENThere are over 150 books on my shelves. I am disgusted with myself. It should have happened before, but the least I can do it make it happen now. I am actively diversifying my reading, promoting Black authors and doing my best to actively use my white privilege. I’m going to make mistakes. I’m going to be called out. Good. But I’m working on it. You should too.

Black lives have always mattered, society just doesn’t agree. Make them. Black Live Matter.


An overall update

Yet again I’ve had a hiatus, and I don’t think any of you would blame me for it right now. Not only have we been in unprecedented times as a planet, but on the 3rd of April my cat Tigger had to be put down. These two things combined have meant that my reading has fallen behind and therefore my book reviews are behind also.

Tigger, my family’s beautiful tortoiseshell girl, passed from kidney failure just after 6pm on the 3rd of April. She was really struggling and unable to even walk in a straight line. She looked like she had been drugged. It was the only fair thing for us to do. Our vet was so lovely and made the process as nice as it could be, especially with the social distancing that had to be put in place for everyone’s safety.

In terms of the rest of life, my mum is now at home all the time. So I’m not alone in the house so I’m not reading as much. It’s just also a struggle to read right now, I’m not entirely sure why but getting lost in a book just feels impossible.

However. I’m trying to come back. I’m trying to read. Sometimes, personally, forcing myself into it can help so that’s my next aim and we’ll see how that goes. I might go dark again, I might keep posting consistently. We’ll just have to find out. But thank you for sticking with me through all this and I hope you’re all as healthy and safe as you can be.

Stay safe, stay inside, protect the health service.