My 20 Books of Summer 2020 TBR!

Today it’s time to put together my TBR for the 20 Books of Summer hosted by Cathy at 746 Books. I love taking part in this easy-going summer reading challenge as I use it as a chance to push me to read the books that seem to be languishing unread on my book shelves. I’ve had mixed results in previous years – I usually manage to read 20 books but they’re often not the books I chose, or in the format that I wanted to read.

Last year I decided to challenge myself to read 20 physical books and I did achieve it (only just in the nick of time though)! Even though this year I’m only just coming out of an awful reading slump I’ve decided to attempt the same again as I really need to focus on reading some of my physical TBR. Ultimately I just want to read more of the hardback and paperback books on my shelves so if I end up deviating from this list I don’t mind as long as I read as many physical books as I can!

So, here are my picks for the 2020 Books of Summer!

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

I was delighted to be sent an ARC of this book as I’m a huge Maggie O’Farrell fan. The only reason I’ve not already read it is because of the horrible reading slump I’ve been in. Thankfully I’m coming out of that now and this book is the one I most want to get to!

The Confession by Jessie Burton

I got this book for Christmas last year and have been saving it to read as it’s a novel that I want to pick up and get completely engrossed in. The summer months feels like the right time for that so I’m putting it on my TBR!

You and Me, Always by Jill Mansell

I’ve had this book on my TBR for five years and I don’t know why it keeps getting left on the shelf as I really enjoy Jill Mansell’s writing. I definitely want to get to it this year so it’s on the TBR!

The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan

I was delighted to be sent a copy of this book before it was published as I adore Ruth Hogan’s writing. I feel like this is another book that will be perfect to read on a summer day in the garden so here’s hoping for some lovely sunny days.

Evening Primrose by Kopano Matlwa

This is another book that I’ve had on my TBR for a long time, and I don’t know why as when I picked it up this week to read the blurb I immediately wanted to read it. It’s a short novel so I should definitely get to this one.

Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks

I was so excited to read this short story collection when it was first published and so was thrilled to get a copy of it for Christmas that year and yet somehow have still not read it. I think it’s good to have short stories on a TBR, something you can dip in and out of, so I’m picking this collection and I’m really looking forward to picking it up.

The Old You by Louise Voss

I was sent a signed copy of this book by the lovely Meggy and I’ve been so keen to read it but somehow haven’t picked it up yet. I’m a big fan of Louise Voss so still very much want to read this one and will be making a priority to read it this summer.

While I Was Sleeping by Dani Atkins

I got sent a copy of this book from the publisher a long while ago and I just haven’t managed to read it yet. I’ve loved all the other books that I’ve read by this author so am looking forward to getting to this one.

Spring by Ali Smith

I loved the first two books in this seasonal quartet and was delighted when my husband bought me a copy of spring when it came out in hardback. I don’t know why I haven’t read it yet but I know I want to get to it before Summer is published so I must make sure to get it in the coming weeks.

The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves

I received a surprise copy of this book from the publisher a few weeks ago and have been looking forward to picking it up so it seemed right at add it to my summer reading plans.

The 24-Hour Cafe by Libby Page

This is another book that I was lucky to receive for review and I’m so looking forward to it. I loved The Lido by this author so I really am keen to get to this one very soon. It feels like it’ll be a lovely summer read.

Yuki Means Happiness by Alison Jean Lester

I’ve had this book on my bookcase for around three years now and during a recent cull I read the first chapter of this one to see if I still wanted to read it and it was so good that I kept it. I’m looking forward to reading more soon.

Born Lippy by Jo Brand

A lovely blogger friend sent this book to me a little while ago and I’ve been meaning to get to it so I’m putting it on my TBR for summer as it’s good to have some non-fiction on the list. I think I’m going to enjoy this one!

Where We Belong by Anstey Harris

I was sent a copy of this from a lovely publicist at the end of last year and after reading a fab review on Linda’s Book Bag recently I was reminded of just how much I want to read this novel.

Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls

I got this book for Christmas last year and have deliberately kept it to read in the summer as it sounds like such a wonderful, nostalgic novel. I can’t wait to get to this one and it may be one of the first books of this list that I get to!

After Dark by Dominic Nolan

I read and enjoyed the first novel in this series and have been eagerly anticipating the follow up ever since. I was thrilled to receive a proof copy and am definitely going to get to this one in the next few weeks.

Unfollow by Megan Phelps-Roper

My husband got me this book for my birthday this year and it’s a book I’ve heard such good things about so I’m keen to read it. I’ve seen Megan on Louis Theroux’s documentaries so I’m interested to learn more about her and her life.

The High Moments by Sara-Ella Ozbek

I was sent this book near Christmas last year by a lovely publicist and have been intrigued by it ever since. I’m kicking myself for not reading it sooner but I’ll definitely try and get to it over the next three months.

Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham

My husband bought me this book for my birthday after we’d been gripped by the Chernobyl TV drama series and I wanted to know more about what happened. I’m still keen to read this so hope to get it over the summer.

Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman

Given my concentration levels come and go at the moment I think it may be a bit odd that I’m adding this doorstop of a book. I’m not sure I’ll be able to read this one at the moment but I so badly want to read it so I’m adding it to my TBR in the hope I can feel more able to read it later on in the summer.

So here are all the books I hope to read this summer!

Are you taking part in the 20 Books of Summer? What have you got on your list? Have you read any of the books on my list and recommend them? Feel free to share a link to your Books of Summer post below. 🙂

Mini Book Reviews: Just My Luck | The Catch | One Hundred and Fifty Two Days | A Dark Matter

Today I’m sharing another selection of mini reviews of books that I’ve read and enjoyed recently.

Just My Luck by Adele Parks

I really enjoyed this book, it kept me gripped all the way through! The novel follows Jake and Lexi who are married with two children. Every weekend they play the lottery with two couples they’ve known since their children were babies. Only one week their numbers come up and Jake and Lexi say they are the sole winners as the other two couples didn’t put their money in the previous weekend. The novel then follows the fall out, and the far-reaching actions and repercussions that no one could have foreseen. There is some suspension of disbelief required at times but I didn’t mind that, I adored seeing where this novel was going to take me. I’d recommend this one if you’re looking for a domestic thriller that keeps you on your toes!

The Catch by T. M. Logan

I’ve read and enjoyed T. M. Logan’s previous novels so I was delighted to get a copy of his new one from NetGalley recently. I love the way this author takes ordinary people living ordinary lives and he throws a grenade into those lives and we get to see what happens. In The Catch Ed and Claire meet their daughter Abbie’s new boyfriend Ryan, and he seems very nice. Only Ed is immediately suspicious of this man and is determined to find out more about him. This is another novel where you suspend your disbelief and enjoy the rollercoaster ride that you’re on and I really enjoyed it. There are twists and turns that I wasn’t expecting, it’s hard to see where this novel might go and I loved that. I recommend it!

One Hundred and Fifty Two Days by Giles Paley-Phillips

This is a beautiful novel written in verse about a teenage boy coming to terms with his mum’s illness and death. Whilst his mum is very ill he contracts pneumonia and so isn’t allowed to visit her. I loved the honesty throughout this book – it’s clear this boy loves his mum and misses seeing her but he also focuses a lot on his physio Freya who he feels understands him. There is so much for him to process, I really felt for him. There are a few moments in this book that made me cry – my mum died when I was in my 20s and I empathised with the pain he was in. I loved his relationship with his Nana Q, I was so glad he had her to walk beside him as his father seemed to grow more distant. All in all this is a beautiful, honest and moving novel and I recommend it.

A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone

I loved Doug Johnstone’s previous novel so was very keen to read his latest and I’m so happy to say that I adored it. A Dark Matter is set in a funeral home and follows three generations of the Skelf family. The family also work as private investigators and often the two businesses converge! I loved reading from the perspective of each of the women – Dorothy, the head of the family, Jenny the daughter and Hannah the grand-daughter. All have their own dramas and issues going on and I was fully invested in all of them. There is so much heart in this book but it’s also full of black humour and I loved the way Doug Johnstone makes his characters so real and believable. I already can’t wait to read the next book in the series and to see how they all are what they’re getting up to now!

Stacking the Shelves with a brand new Book Haul (23 May 20)!

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week!

Pigeonhole Books

Afraid of the Light by Alex North

I got this book on the Pigeonhole app. It’s a collection of short crime fiction stories featuring fourteen crime writers. On Pigeonhole you get one story per day and I’m very much enjoying it. All of the stories have been brilliant so far and I can’t wait to read the rest over the coming few days.

The Babysitter by Phoebe Morgan

This is another book that I got from Pigeonhole this week and I’m already reading this one. I’ve read the first stave and am engrossed. It’s an intriguing premise for a book – a woman is found dead over the cot of the baby she was looking after, and it feels like it’s going to have lots of twists and turns!

Review Books

Precious You by Helen Takhar Monks

This is a thriller that I requested from Netgalley and is one that I’ve kept hearing about and have been intrigued. It’s a novel about obsession and how seeing something of yourself in someone else can lead you down a dark path. I think this book will be full of secrets and lies and I’m looking forward to reading it.

Dead Perfect by Noelle Holten

I was super excited yesterday afternoon when I got an email from the publisher that had a widget for me to download this right away. I loved the first two books in this series and as the previous one ended on a cliffhanger I’ve been so looking forward to getting my hands on this one. I don’t think this will be on my TBR for very long!

True Story by Kate Reed Petty

I saw this book on twitter and was so intrigued that I immediately requested a copy from NetGalley. I was approved yesterday and am thrilled. This book is described as being a campus novel, a horror novel, a psychological thriller, and a crime noir – how could you not be intrigued?! I can’t wait to pick this one up and find out what it’s all about!

Purchased eBooks

Stranger, Baby by Emily Berry

This is a poetry collection about the lasting grief from losing your mother. I’ve wanted to read this for a while so when I finally bought it this week I read it straight away. It’s a really interesting collection – some of the poems I really identified with and others required more time being taken over them. It’s a brilliant collection though and I recommend it.

The Liar by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen

I was drawn to this book by the cover but when I read the blurb I knew I had to buy it. It’s all about a girl who one day tells an awful lie and she gets a lot of attention from it. She then meets someone who is also living a lie but for completely different reasons. It sounds like such a fascinating novel and I’m keen to pick it up really soon.

Names for the Seas by Sarah Moss

I’ve had this book on my wish list for ages so when I was sorting out my wish list this week and saw it was a good price I decided to buy it. It’s a non-fiction account of when the author and. her family moved to Iceland and had to adapt to a completely different landscape and way of life. I feel like it might be quite a comforting, escapist read at the moment so I may pick this one up soon.

Lost Dog: A Love Story by Kate Spicer

I can’t remember why I put this book on my wish list but I saw a couple of negative reviews of it recently and they made me suddenly want to read it so I decided to buy it! Sometimes the reasons a person doesn’t like a book are the exact things I’m looking for in a book so I’m hoping I’ll enjoy this one.

Purchased AudioBooks

Grown-Ups by Marian Keyes

I’ve wanted to read this one every since it came out so decided to use my latest Audible credit and treat myself to the audio book. I’m excited to get lost in another Marian Keyes’ novel, she’s such a good writer. I love the premise of becoming a grown up, and when we know (if ever!) that we are one!

Blood & Sugar by Laura Shepherd-Robinson

I bought this audio book on a whim when it was an Audible daily deal one day this week. I always think I don’t like historical fiction but in reality, like with all genres, there’s probably something for everyone if you can find the element of it that you like. This book sounds like it’s the exception for me and is one I think I’m going to love!

Have you acquired any new books this week? I’d love to know what you got. Or have you read any of my new books and recommend I get to any of them sooner rather than later? If you’ve shared a book haul post this week then please feel free to share you link below and I’ll make sure to visit your post! 🙂

The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman | @CharityNorman1 @AllenAndUnwin @annecater

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A regular weekday morning veers drastically off-course for five strangers whose paths cross in a London café – their lives never to be the same again when an apparently crazed gunman holds them hostage.

But there is more to the situation than first meets the eye and as the captives grapple with their own inner demons, the line between right and wrong starts to blur. Will the secrets they keep stop them from escaping with their lives?

 

I’ve read and enjoyed all of Charity Norman’s previous novels but I have to start by saying that The Secrets of Strangers is her best yet, it’s an incredible read!

The Secrets of Strangers is set in a small London cafe on an ordinary morning. The regulars are all their grabbing a coffee or a quick breakfast but this isn’t going to be a normal day for many of them. A row breaks out between the owner and a customer and it leads to everyone in the cafe being held hostage by a gunman.

The novel follows multiple characters throughout and we get to learn about everyone’s lives and their pasts and where they are in their lives. They all have their own problems and the novel explores one character’s infertility journey, another’s battle with addiction, and how one of them survived a genocide. All of these issues are explored in such a sensitive way and it really makes you feel for every single person.

The tension is immediate in this novel but it waxes and wanes as the novel progresses and we’re at the mercy of the mood of the gunman. At times the tension is palpable and I felt I was holding my breath, at other times I wanted to cry. I always felt like I was right there in the cafe with this group of people.

Charity Norman in a brilliant writer and whilst this novel explores some very difficult themes, there is some lightness to balance the darkness because of the way she makes everyone so real and so human. I ended up feeling a connection to every single person I read about and even now, weeks after I read this novel, I still find myself thinking about them.

This is a one sitting book – I picked it up one afternoon and I didn’t put it down until I’d finished reading it. I was experiencing a reading slump at the time and nothing was holding my attention but this book did and it’s a testament to the wonderful writing. I loved this novel, it’s my new favourite Charity Norman book and I strongly suspect it’ll be in my favourite books of the year list. I highly recommend it!

The Secrets of Strangers is out now in paperback, ebook and audio book and available here.

Many thanks to Anne of Random Things Tours and Allen & Unwin for my ecopy of this book and my blog tour invitation. All views are my own.

 

You can follow the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

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WWW Wednesdays (20 May 20)! What are you reading this week?

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WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

 

What I’m reading now: 

The Catch by T. M. Logan

This is a gripping novel and I’m really enjoying it so far. It’s follows a man who is immediately suspicious of his daughter’s new boyfriend and sets out to find out more about him. I’m only about 20% into it at the moment but I’m definitely intrigued about where this is going to go!

Just Mercy by Bryan A. Stevenson

This is such a heart-wrenching look at one young lawyer’s experience of the American justice system. The cases he works are really get under your skin and are hard to read at times. It’s so well-written though and it’s such an interesting and eye-opening book.

Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

I’ve only read a few pages of this one since last week and to be honest I’m struggling with it. I’m getting a bit fed up of reading about this man and his sex life and the way he talks about women. I do want to persevere for a bit longer but it may end up being a DNF. Have you read it? Is it worth continuing with?

A Fabulous Creation by David Hepworth

I haven’t listened to anymore of this one this week as it’s an audio book that my husband and I are listening to together and we just haven’t made time to listen to anymore this week. We’re both enjoying it though so will be listening to more this week.

 

What I recently finished reading:

Haven’t They Grown by Sophie Hannah

This book had my engrossed and intrigued by the end of chapter one! I was so curious to know what was going on with these children that seemingly hadn’t grown at all in twelve years. I had many suspicions as I was reading and not a single one was correct! I did feel the ending was a little bit of a let down but it didn’t spoil how much I enjoyed the rest of this rollercoaster novel!

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

This is an incredible book and I recommend it to everyone. Chanel Miller was sexually assaulted by Brock Turner and this is her story. She is so open and honest throughout this book and that makes it such a powerful read. I could really identify with a lot of what Chanel thought and felt and I admire her so much for telling her story.

 

Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie

This is another stunning book. I bought it on a whim ages ago knowing nothing about it (it’s since made the Women’s prize list this year) and finally picked it up a few days ago. I read the whole novel in one day as I just didn’t want to put it down. It’s about a disparate group of people who all live in the same tower block when one day something awful happens. The novel is told in the before and the after and I just adored the writing. I’ll definitely be looking out for more by Luan Goldie in the future.

One Hundred and Fifty-Two Days by Giles Paley-Phillips

This is a NetGalley book that I got recently and have been waiting for the right time to pick it up. It’s a novel in verse about a teenage boy whose mum was very ill and later died. I thought this would be an emotional read, and it really was in moments, but it was also a very believable book about being a teenager and all that comes with that. I really enjoyed this book and recommend it.

 

What I plan on reading next:

I’m very much reading by whim at the moment and don’t know what I’ll be in the mood to read in the coming week but these four books below are ones that have caught my eye on my Kindle. The first three are review books so I’d really like to try and read them so I can review them. The fourth book is one I treated myself to recently after reading fab reviews and I’m really keen to read it!

The Mothers by Sarah J. Naughton

Heatstroke by Hazel Barkworth

Familiar Dark by Amy Engel

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesdays or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

Mini Book Reviews: Girl, Woman, Other | Made to be Broken | Big Lies in a Small Town | An Almost Zero Waste Life

Today I’m sharing four more mini reviews of books that I’ve read and enjoyed recently!

 

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Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo

I have to start by saying that this is the best book I’ve read this year so far; it’s utterly incredible! I put off reading it for a little while as I got it into my head that it was going to be difficult but it really wasn’t.  It’s set out in five sections – the first four each have three sections following a different woman and the final section brings everything together. I love how much we learn about each woman and how distinct they are, and I loved discovering how each female in the group of three were connected. There is so much to learn about these woman and every single one was fascinating and believable. I got absorbed in each individual’s story and the novel as a whole, it’s such a brilliant and beautiful book and is one I will definitely re-read in the future. In fact I already want to go back and read it again now and I rarely feel like that on finishing a book. If you haven’t already read this one then I urge you to pick it up soon. 

 

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Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

I’ve read and enjoyed quite a few Diane Chamberlain novels over the years but I think this one is my new favourite of hers. I’ve been in a reading slump in recent weeks but this book grabbed my attention from the first chapter and I got swept up in this story. The novel follows two women in two different timelines and we gradually learn each of their stories. Often in a novel with two timelines I feel more invested in one than the other but this book had me equally gripped by both, the pacing is perfect and each story is gripping. I loved leaning about Anna, a young artist in the 1940s who moves to a small town to paint a mural after winning a contest. She has to battle prejudice from being female, and the way the locals think she’s ousted their entrant in the contest. In the present day Morgan is released from prison early in order to restore a mural, even though she knows very little about art restoration. This was such a good read and I definitely recommend it.

 

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Made to be Broken by Rebecca Bradley

I read and loved the first book in this series, Shallow Waters, when it was first released so I’m kicking myself that it’s taken me so long to pick up the second book. I’m really glad I finally did though because this book is every bit as good as the first. We follow Detective Hannah Robbins and her team again as they’re still coming to terms with what happened in Shallow Waters and now there is a serial killer on their patch. The novel also gives us the perspective of the killer which really adds to the tension and gives insight into what is going on. I found the plot of this book to be really refreshing – both the motive for the killings and the way the murders were carried out was different to other crime thrillers I’ve read before. I highly recommend this book and I can’t wait to start reading book three!

 

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An Almost Zero Waste Life by Megan Weldon

This is a beautifully produced book that gives ideas about how to move towards a zero waste life. It’s aimed at ordinary people living in ordinary homes so you don’t need to have a huge garden in order to start following some of the suggestions in this book, which I really appreciated. There are a lot of pretty illustrations throughout the book, which makes you keen to keep picking this book up and reading a bit more, it didn’t feel like I was being lectured at any point. I did know a fair bit of what was in this book already but this book made for a really good motivator and a reminder that I need to be aware of what I bring into my home and how I dispose of rubbish. I’d recommend this one to anyone who wants to learn more about living a zero waste life!

 

 

Stacking the Shelves with a brand new Book Haul (16 May 20)!

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week!

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You Can Trust Me by Emma Rowley

This book surprised me when it appeared on my Kindle, I’d completely forgotten that I’d pre-ordered it a while ago. It was a lovely surprise and I’m really looking forward to reading this thriller. This is about a woman with an online persona that is removed from her real life and the cracks that begin to show when a ghostwriter starts working with her to write her story. It sounds so good!

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Motherwell by Deborah Orr

I spotted this book on a Kindle daily deal this week and I was so interested read this memoir about a mother and a daughter and what happens when the daughter tries to break free that I had to one-click! I’m keen to read this one but need to be in the right frame of mind.

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Just Mercy by Bryan A. Stevenson

I borrowed the audio book of this non-fiction about a young lawyer and the American justice system this week and am already part-way through listening to it. It’s heart-rending at times but one of those books that is so well written that you just want to keep going. I’m so glad I got to read this one.

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Heatwave by Kate Riordan

I bought this book on a total whim as the cover really drew me in. The blurb sounds so good too – it’s set in an old house during a hot summer where old secrets begin to come to light and it sounds perfect for this time of year. I can’t wait to read this one!

Have you acquired any new books this week? I’d love to know what you got. Or have you read any of my new books and recommend I get to any of them sooner rather than later? If you’ve shared a book haul post this week then please feel free to share you link below and I’ll make sure to visit your post! 🙂

WWW Wednesdays (13 May 20)! What are you reading this week?

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WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

What I’m reading now: 

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan A. Stevenson

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a really long time so I was really pleased to discover the audio book on BorrowBox this week. I immediately downloaded it and started listening last night. I’ve read so many positive reviews of this book so I’m sure it’s one I’ll find interesting.

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

This is a tough read but I’m so glad I picked it up. Chanel Miller is the young woman who was raped by Brock Turner and for a long time she was anonymous until she decided to tell her own story. I’m only a few chapters in but Chanel is so open and honest in the way she’s telling her truth and I’ve found it such an emotional book.

Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

I’m glad I had a sense of what this novel is and how it flips things when I started reading because I’m only on part one and at the moment it’s just a man bragging about his sex life since his divorce. The writing is good and I’m intrigued to see where the novel goes. The fact that it made the Women’s Prize longlist gives me hope that it will go somewhere worthwhile in the end!

A Fabulous Creation: How LPs Saved Lives by David Hepworth

This is another audio book that I got on BorrowBox and my husband and I are listening to it together. It’s such an interesting book about the history of the LP (it begins with Sgt Pepper and ends with Thriller). I love the social history and the way music evolved as artists took more risks after seeing what others were doing. We’re both really enjoying this one.

 

What I recently finished reading:

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo

Oh my goodness, I can’t believe I waited so long to read this book! It’s incredible! I’ve been reading it over the last couple of days and loved every single second of it. I feel quite sad to have finished it and already want to read it again. If you haven’t read it yet I highly recommend you do so as soon as you can.

One Split Second by Caroline Bond

This book was also excellent. It follows a group of teens and their parents in the aftermath of an horrific car crash. We see the parents at the hospital waiting to hear if their child was okay, and through the book we see what they were like before the accident and what the repercussions are for everyone involved. I got so invested in these characters, they felt very real to me. This is a stunning novel and I highly recommend it!

We Begin At The End by Chris Whitaker

This is another brilliant novel that I read this week. This is such a beautifully written, and also deeply emotional read. I cried a few times as I was reading. It follows a community, but two children and a police officer mainly, in the years after a terrible crime has been committed. There are repercussions rippling through time, through generations and it’s heartbreaking how things that happen to a parent can come to damage a child so much. There is such brutality in this novel but moments of such heart-aching kindness too. I loved this book and keep finding myself thinking about it and wondering how Duchess, Robin and Walk are doing. I whole-heartedly recommend it!

 

What I plan on reading next:

His and Hers by Alice Feeney

I adored Alice Feeney’s first novel Sometimes I Lie but didn’t really get on with her second book. This new one sounds so good though so I’m hoping this will be a thriller for me. It sounds very intriguing!

The Catch by T. M. Logan

I think I’ve read and enjoyed all of T. M. Logan’s previous novels but his last one The Holiday was my favourite so far. I’ve read some fab reviews of The Catch and have very high hopes for it, I feel like I’m going to love it!

One Hundred and Fifty Two Days by Giles Paley-Phillips

This sounds like a very emotional read as it explores grief and loss but it’s one I’ve very much wanted to read so I’m going to try and pick it up this week.

 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesdays or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

Mini Book Reviews: The Flight | The Guest List | The Alibi Girl | The Recovery of Rose Gold

mini reviews

Today I want to share another selection of mini book reviews of some mystery and thriller novels that I’ve read and enjoyed recently.

 

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The Recovery of Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel

This is such a gripping novel that is both a thriller and an exploration about what makes a person the way they are. It follows Rose Gold and her mother Patty in the present day where Patty is released from prison after five years, having served her time for the abuse of Rose Gold throughout her childhood. It seems that Rose Gold wants to forgive her mother for all she did in making her very ill in order to get attention from others but all is not quite as it seems. Rose Gold is a very messed up adult and she seems outwardly to be forgiving of her mother but there is definitely something more under the surface. This is a page-turner and there are shocks in store but most of all it looks at what makes us the way we are – are we a product of our upbringing or are we born the way we are? I found this was a novel that hasn’t left me since I finished reading it, I keep thinking of Patty and Rose Gold. I definitely recommend this book!

 

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The Alibi Girl by C. J. Skuse

I received an ARC of this from NetGalley but I decided to buy the audio book and listen to it as I’ve enjoyed other books by the author on audio. I found this such a compelling book to listen to and it was perfect for me whilst I was coming out of a reading slump as I just didn’t want to stop listening. In the beginning of this book we meet Mary and her baby in a hairdressers where she talks about her other children and husband. But as she’s leaving she’s fearful of a man that arrives, and as she runs down the street someone else shouts after her but calls her by a different name! It turns out she’s not Mary at all but Joanne. The novel then flicks back and forth between the present day, and the past where we learn about Joanna’s childhood. Joanna has a lot of alibis – she gives different names and different stories to everyone she meets and slowly we learn why. Initially this gave me Sweetpea (one of C. J. Skuse’s previous novels) vibes but the further into it you get the more you see why Joanna is the way she is, it breaks your heart. I was rooting for her as the book went along and it becomes clear she’s not a liar for the sake of it, there is way more to it. This book has an ending that may divide readers but I thought it was perfect, even though it made me cry. I highly recommend this one!

 

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The Guest List by Lucy Foley

I enjoyed Lucy Foley’s previous novel The Hunting Party but her new one The Guest List is even better! A wedding is about to take place on a remote island and the main wedding party are gradually arriving. We meet the bride, the plus one, the bride’s sister, the wedding planner and others and the novel is told from different perspectives throughout. The island quickly becomes even more isolated when the bad weather draws in and we know from early on that someone dies so the book is predominantly told in the lead up to the wedding but there are small chapters in the aftermath. I loved how the tension builds in this novel and you become suspicious of everyone and wonder why they are the way they are. I did think I’d worked the whodunnit and why fairly early on but boy was I wrong! There are so many twists and turns in this book and as you see it all unravel the tension just ramps up and up. I really enjoyed this book and recommend it!

 

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The Flight by Julie Clark

I got this book from NetGalley and I’m so happy I was approved as it’s such a gripping novel! It follows two women from very different walks of life who become caught up in each other’s lives. Claire is married to a very controlling man but because of who he is and the power he holds she can’t escape him. On a trip he sends her on she gets her way out when a woman who looks a little like her approaches her wanting to swap places and each get on the others flight! We soon learn that the plane has crashed and the media believes Claire was on it. The novel is told from Claire’s perspective going forwards as she tries to remain hidden. It’s also told from Eva’s point of view in the months leading up to her swapping flights with Claire. I was equally invested in both women’s stories and was hoping both would escape their pasts and find a way to make a new life. There are twists and turns along the way that I wasn’t expecting so this book really kept me on my toes, I felt really quite bereft on finishing it. I recommend this one too!

Stacking the Shelves with a new Book Haul (9 May 20)!

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week!

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Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

I’ve been wanting to read this book ever since I first heard about it so I decided to treat myself this week. I don’t think this will be waiting on my TBR for too long!

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Know My Name by Chanel Miller

 

This is a book that I have read so many positive reviews of so I’ve been wanting to read it. I had a credit on my Amazon account this week and so decided to buy it. I really want to read it right away so I may have started it by the time this is posted.

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One by One by Ruth Ware

I really enjoy Ruth Ware’s books so when I saw she had a new novel coming out I immediately requested it on NetGalley. I was thrilled to be approved to read it this week and can’t wait to get to it.

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Invisible Woman by Caroline Criado Perez

This is another book that I’ve been curious about for ages. I actually requested it on NetGalley a long time ago and so it was a nice surprise to be approved to read it a few days ago. I’m really keen to pick this up.

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It’s All in Your Head by Nikki Smith

I bought this book in the Kindle sale as it just sounded like a fast-paced and gripping thriller. I’ve since read some great reviews so think I’ll be reading this one soon too!

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I’d Rather be Reading by Anne Bogel

I read about this book on Jill’s Book Cafe and it sounded like such a lovely book that I decided to buy it. It was only 80p on Kindle and I’m really looking forward to reading it.

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Preparations for the Next Life by Atticus Lish

I’ve been going through my very long book wish list this week and deleting books that no longer interest me. At the same time I’ve been spotting books that I’d forgotten about but when I read the blurbs I was still so keen to get the book. This is one of them and I’m really hoping to read this one soon.

Have you acquired any new books this week? I’d love to know what you got. Or have you read any of my new books and recommend I get to any of them sooner rather than later? If you’ve shared a book haul post this week then please feel free to share you link below and I’ll make sure to visit your post! 🙂

WWW Wednesdays (6 May 20)! What are you reading this week?

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WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

What I’m reading now: 

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We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker

I’ve been wanting to read this book since before it was published so when I spotted the audio book on BorrowBox I immediately requested it. I started listening to it yesterday and I’ve been engrossed in it. It’s one of those novels that you find yourself thinking about whenever you’re not reading it.

 

What I recently finished reading:

Just My Luck by Adele Parks

This was such a good read! I love Adele Parks’ novels and this one is my favourite of hers from recent years. It follows a family that win the lottery and the fallout from that is further reaching than anyone could have foreseen. I worked out some elements of what was going on but there were still shocks in store, it definitely kept me on my toes.

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

I loved this book! It follows two characters in two time periods – Anna in 1939 and Morgan in 2018 as they each come to live in the same small town. I loved both timelines equally and was so keen to find out what was going to happen to both of these women and the people around them. This book was much-needed escapism and I’m so glad I read it.

The Alibi Girl by C. J. Skuse

I got a copy of this from NetGalley a while ago but decided to buy the audio book so that I could listen along to it as I read. I loved it! The story is so intriguing and gripping and I got completely absorbed in the story of this young woman who seems to enjoy pretending to be many different people. There is so much more to her than you see at first and I loved getting to know the real her. The ending was brilliant, so perfect and I have a feeling this is a novel that is really going to stay with me.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

I also got a copy of this from NetGalley and found myself racing through it. I enjoyed Lucy Foley’s previous novel The Hunting Party but this one was even better! I loved to hate quite a few of the characters, and I enjoyed the way my opinions on some of them changed as the book went along. I thought I worked out what was going on quite early but there was far more to this story that I ever predicted so I love that it shocked me. I recommend this one!

 

What I plan on reading next:

Haven’t They Grown by Sophie Hannah

I bought this last week and it’s a book I’d been curious about for a while so I think I’m going to try and get to it in the coming days. I love the series that Sophie Hannah writes so I’m intrigued to see how I get on with a standalone by her.

One Split Second by Caroline Bond

I requested this one on NetGalley as I’ve previously enjoyed another book by this author. This sounds like it could be an emotional rollercoaster but I’m just in the mood to pick it up so hopefully I can read it this week.

Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

This is another NetGalley book and is one I’ve been intrigued by. I’ve seen it get quite a few mixed reviews but the plot has continued to draw me in so I’m going to try and get to it this week.

 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesdays or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

Mini Book Reviews: Dear Edward | Rules for Perfect Murders | What She Saw Last Night | I Want You Gone

This year has been a really up and down year for reading. It started off great but then I was quite unwell late January into February and I barely read anything. I was just starting to feel better when lockdown happened and my concentration has been rubbish up until the last few days. This means there are books that have been read over really long periods or that I was reading when I felt so unwell and the details of plots are no longer strong in my mind. So today I’m doing mini book reviews of some of those novels.

 

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Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

This is a stunning book that I read back in February and I still find myself thinking about it. It’s the story of Edward who boards a plane with his family and ends up being the sole survivor when it crashes. We then follow Edward as he goes to live with his Aunt and Uncle and has to work through the grief of losing his family and having to find a new life for himself in amongst all the guilt and fear. He also has the added struggle of being the only survivor and having to deal with all the attention that this brings, and all the focus on him from the families who lost their loved ones on the flight. The novel is told in alternating chapters with one focusing on Edward now, and one focusing on the plane during its ill-fated flight. This way of telling the story made is so fast-paced but also incredibly emotional to read. I found myself really affected by this book and it’s one I think I will re-read in the future. I highly recommend it.

 

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Rules for Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson

This book was irresistible to me when I heard what it was about. It’s a crime thriller where all the murders committed are copycats of murders from famous works of fiction! (I actually looked up what the books were before I started reading so I could make sure I’d read them so as not to get any spoilers!). Bookshop owner Malcom posted a blog post a few years ago entitled Eight Perfect Murders and now it seems someone is using that post as a blueprint for serial murder. The FBI are soon knocking on Malcom’s door wanting to know what he knows and he is shocked at the thought someone could do this. He soon finds himself embroiled in the investigation and what follows is a rollercoaster ride as we slowly learn the truth about the murders! I’m a huge Peter Swanson fan and this book met all my expectations for it. I recommend this one!

 

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When She Saw the Light by M. J. Cross

I wanted to read this book as soon as I first read the blurb and I’m pleased to say it didn’t disappoint. Jenny boards the sleeper train and sees a young woman with a child boarding just ahead of her. During the journey the woman is found dead but there is no evidence that the child ever existed! What follows is Jenny’s mission to find out who the woman was and to locate the child. This novel does require some suspension of disbelief at times but I don’t mind that in a thriller that races along and keeps me completely engaged in what is happening and this one certainly did that. I definitely didn’t see the ending coming but it was very satisfying to see how everything turned out. I’ll definitely be reading more by this author in the future.

 

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I Want You Gone by Miranda Rijks

This is a creepy thriller! The main character Laura sees her own obituary in the local paper which is then posted on Facebook. More unnerving things happen and it really begins to affect her work and her state of mind. There are quite a few people in Laura’s life who she becomes suspicious of but she can’t put her finger on who exactly would be doing this to her or why. I did find Laura a little irritating in the way she reacted to things but at the same time I could understand why when she was so flummoxed at why this might be being done to her. This is a quick read and I would look out for more books by this author in the future.

Stacking the Shelves with a new #BookHaul (2 May 2020)!

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week!

 

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Just Like the Other Girls by Claire Douglas 

I’m a huge fan of Claire Douglas’ writing so I was delighted to be approved for this one on NetGalley yesterday. I can’t wait to read this so don’t think it’ll be waiting on my Kindle for too long!

 

 

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Blurred Lines by Hannah Begbie

I also downloaded this one from NetGalley on a whim as I saw the blurb and was immediately intrigued and wanting to know more!

 

 

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Haven’t They Grown by Sophie Hannah

I bought this one on Kindle too when I spotted it in the sale for 99p.  I’ve enjoyed many of Sophie Hannah’s previous novels and this one sounds weird and I want to know more.

 

 

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Landsliding by Mandy Jameson

I saw this book mentioned on twitter and I loved the sound of it so immediately bought a copy for my Kindle.

 

 

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Inside Out by Demi Moore

This is a book that I’ve seen so many positive reviews of so even though I aren’t massively interested in Demi Moore I was drawn to wanting to read this book (if that makes sense!).

 

 

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Just My Luck by Adele Parks

I got this book from NetGalley a couple of days ago and started reading it straight away. I’m very much enjoying this one and am keen to keep reading, which is great when I’m still getting over my reading slump.

 

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Mr Nobody by Catherine Steadman

I read and enjoyed the author’s previous novel so when I spotted she had a new book out I knew I had to get it!

 

 

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The Storm by Amanda Jennings

I don’t know a huge amount about this book but the blurb really drew me to it and so I requested it on NetGalley!

 

 

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The New Girl by Harriet Walker

This is another NetGalley book and is another one I’m really looking forward to!

 

 

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One Step Behind by Lauren North

I read and loved Lauren North’s previous novel, in fact it was one of my favourite books of the year so when her publisher emailled me to ask if I’d like to read a new one I couldn’t reply fast enough! I plan on picking this one up very soon and have very high hopes for it.

 

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SpaceHopper by Helen Fisher

This book sounds like a really moving read and is one I’ll need to be in the right mood for but I’m very much looking forward to reading it.

 

 

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The Catch by T. M. Logan

I loved T. M. Logan’s previous novel The Holiday so have been eagerly anticipating this one and am very happy to have a copy on my Kindle now!

 

 

 

Have you acquired any new books this week? I’d love to know what you got. Or have you read any of my new books and recommend I get to any of them sooner rather than later? If you’ve shared a book haul post this week then please feel free to share you link below and I’ll make sure to visit your post! 🙂

That Was The Month That Was… April 2020!

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April was such a strange month with the UK (and most of the world) on a lockdown. I’m housebound for much of the time anyway as I can’t physically leave the house without help but it’s still so weird not being able to go out even though my husband is home every day (he’s been furloughed). I’m in the high risk group so it’s all very worrying but day to day we’re doing okay. I’m so grateful that we have a small garden so can get some fresh air most days.

My reading and blogging mojo upped and left a while ago – partly because I was really unwell earlier in the year and then the anxiety about Coronavirus began mounting. Thankfully I’ve finally been able to finish some of the books I started weeks and weeks ago, and over the last week or so I’ve been reading more frequently. I’m hoping my reading mojo is properly on its way back and that my blogging will follow!

Whilst I haven’t been reading I have been catching up on some TV boxsets. My husband and I re-watched all of Life On Mars (which is brilliant!) and we finally finished watching Ashes to Ashes. Can’t believe we watched the first two series years ago and then never watched the final series. It was so good. We’ve started watching The Sopranos for the first time (somehow neither of us saw it when it was first on and we’ve both been keen to see it).  I’m still addicted to House of Games – BBC2 is currently showing repeats of the first series (which I’ve never seen) so I’m enjoying those episodes.

Anyway, I finished reading nine books in April (more than half were books I’d been reading on and off before April), which is a vast improvement on my reading in March. So without further ado…

Here are the books I read in April:

Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing by Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse

I bought this audio book on a whim when it was on a daily deal last year. My husband and I listened to it together during the first week or so of lockdown and it was so relaxing at a time of high stress. We discovered the TV series on BBC iPlayer that this book accompanies so we’ve since watched that too and it’s been such a tonic. I recommend both (even if you’re not into fishing!).

Strangers by C. L. Taylor

This novel was such a good read and was the first fiction that I managed to read over a short period in quite a while. I’ve already reviewed this one so you can find my full thoughts here if you’d like to know more.

The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 by Garrett M. Graff

As is often the case for me I gravitate towards non-fiction when I’m struggling to read and I found I wanted to read about people overcoming very difficult times so this one caught my eye on my Kindle. I found this such a moving, and sad book but it also had hope and a sense of healing running through it. It’s sensitively written and I recommend it.

One of Them: From Albert Square to Parliament Square by Michael Cashman

I’ve had this book on my radar ever since I first heard about it last year so when I spotted it on my library app recently I immediately reserved it. It’s such an honest and moving memoir and I found myself completely lost in Michael’s story.

The Last Flight by Julie Clark

This is a review book that I got from NetGalley fairly recently and I’ve been so keen to read it so picked it up. It took me a few days to read it but I did really enjoying it and I had no idea how it was all going to turn out!

The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman

This book is the one that really got me back into reading and I read it all in just two sittings! It’s such a good read and one that had me desperate to know what was going to happen and how things were going to end. I’ll be reviewing it for the blog tour in May but in the meantime I definitely recommend it!

The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton

As I began to get out of my reading slump I was craving a comfort read and decided to go back to the magic faraway tree – a much beloved series from my childhood. This is the first book and it was lovely to meet all the characters again.

The Trap by Melanie Raabe

This is a book that I’ve owned on ebook for around four years so when I spotted the audio book available on my library app I immediately downloaded it. I’m glad I did as I quite enjoyed the audio but I’m not sure I would have kept reading if I’d been reading the ebook.

Adele by Leila Slimani

This is another book I borrowed from my library’s app and I enjoyed it. I didn’t think it was quite as good as Lullaby but I still found it engrossing and I wanted to know how it was going to end.

 

April Blog Posts & Reviews:

Due to my reading and blogging slump I’ve only published two posts in April but hopefully May will be better. I managed to post my review of Strangers by C. L. Taylor earlier in the month and the on Wednesday I posted my WWW Wednesday Post where I shared what I’m currently reading, what I’ve recently finished reading and what I hoped to read next.   

 

 

How was April for you? I hope you and your loved ones are safe and well.

What was your favourite book of the month? Please tell me in the comments, I’d love to know.

Also, if you have a blog please feel free to leave a link to your April wrap-up post and I’ll be sure to read. 🙂

WWW Wednesday (29 Apr 2019!) What are you reading this week?

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WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

 

What I’m reading now: 

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Just my Luck by Adele Parks

I just got approved for this book on NetGalley yesterday and I’ve been so keen to read it that I started it straight away! I’m enjoying it so far.

 

What I recently finished reading:

The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman

This is the book that really began to get me out of my recent reading slump and I read it in two sittings. It’s such a good book and I’m looking forward to sharing my review as part of the blog tour next month. In the meantime I highly recommend pre-ordering it!

The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton

I picked this up as I was trying to find a way back into reading and thought a much-loved book from my childhood would help. I did enjoy this one but not quite as much as I did when I was little.

Adele by Leila Slimani

I borrowed the ebook of this one from the library and it was an okay read. It kept me gripped all the way through but I didn’t feel as engrossed as I did when I read Lullaby. I’m glad I read it though.

The Trap by Melanie Raabe

I’ve had the ebook of this on my TBR for over four years so when I spotted the audio book was available on the library app I decided to get it and listen to it. This book wasn’t what I expected really, I’m glad I listened to it rather than reading as it kept me going with it when I might have put it down.

 

What I plan on reading next:

Kitty Genovese: A True Account of a Public Murder and its Private Consequences by Catherine Pelonero

I bought this book recently and have been keen to pick it up. I read a novel based on this case a year or two ago and have wanted to know more about what happened ever since. I hope to get to this one this week.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

I feel like while we’re on lockdown a book about people being trapped together might be interesting and this one grabbed my attention on my kindle!

Living My Best Life by Claire Frost

I’ve had a copy of this on my review pile for a while now and I think I’m just in the mood for it so hopefully I get to read it in the coming days!

 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesdays or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

Strangers by C. L. Taylor | @CallyTaylor @AvonBooksUK #DontTalkToStrangers

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Ursula, Gareth and Alice have never met before.

Ursula thinks she killed the love of her life.
Gareth’s been receiving strange postcards.
And Alice is being stalked.

None of them are used to relying on others – but when the three strangers’ lives unexpectedly collide, there’s only one thing for it: they have to stick together. Otherwise, one of them will die.
 
Three strangers, two secrets, one terrifying evening.

 

I’m a huge fan of C. L. Taylor’s writing and have loved all of her novels so far but I can honestly say that Strangers is her best yet! It’s brilliant!

It follows three characters: Ursula who seems to be a bit of a loner and is clearly struggling with something; Gareth who works as a security guard in the local shopping centre but also looks after his mum who has dementia; Alice who’s recently divorced and has started dating again. A man she ends up seeing has a secret and this leads Alice to be in danger!

I loved how this novel is told from the three different perspectives. It opens with a scene where something terrible has happened but we don’t know exactly what, or who to, and then we got back in time and find out what led to the incident. I had no idea how the lives of these three disparate characters would eventually intersect but I was so keen to find out.

I find it’s rare in a book with three points of view to be equally invested in all of them but C. L. Taylor has written such brilliant characters that I cared about all of them and I wanted to know what was going to happen in each of their lives.

It’s rare for me not to work out how a thriller will turn out but Strangers kept me guessing all the way to the end. It was such a rollercoaster novel and when the denouement happens I was literally on the edge of my seat! I adored this book and I highly recommend it!

 

Strangers is out now in ebook, paperback and audio. All available here.

Many thanks to Avon Books for my ecopy of this book and my invitation to take part in this blog tour. All thoughts are my own.

 

You can follow the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

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Dead Wrong by Noelle Holten |@nholten40 @OneMoreChapter_ @BOTBSPublicity

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The serial killer is behind bars. But the murders are just beginning…

DC Maggie Jamieson’s past comes back to haunt her in this dark and gripping serial killer thriller.

Three missing women running out of time…

They were abducted years ago. Notorious serial killer Bill Raven admitted to killing them and was sentenced to life.

The case was closed – at least DC Maggie Jamieson thought it was…

But now one of them has been found, dismembered and dumped in a bin bag in town.

Forensics reveal that she died just two days ago, when Raven was behind bars, so Maggie has a second killer to find.

Because even if the other missing women are still alive, one thing’s for certain: they don’t have long left to live…

 

Dead Inside was one of my favourite books of last year so I was thrilled to discover that Noelle Holten had a new book out this year. Dead Wrong is a brilliant follow-up book and I loved it!

Dead Wrong follows DC Maggie Jamieson as she’s thrown back into an old case – that of serial killer Bill Raven. Maggie worked the investigation that led to his conviction a couple of years previously but now the body of one of the missing women has been found and it seems she’s only been dead a few days so it throws the conviction into doubt. Maggie is sure she didn’t make a mistake but the evidence seems to be pointing in that direction.

The dynamic between Maggie and Raven was so tense to read, there is a real cat and mouse game going on – Raven is really toying with Maggie and wants her to crack. It’s edge of seat stuff to read and it had me racing through the book as I was desperate to find out how it would all end.

I loved that we get to know more of Maggie in this book, she’s such a great character and is easily becoming one of my favourite detectives! It was great to see more of her home life and her relationship with her brother who lives with her. I also loved seeing her growing closeness with Dr Moloney as the novel progresses.

This is fast becoming one of my favourite crime fiction series and I already can’t wait for the next book – I’ll be first in the queue to buy it when it’s published!

Dead Wrong is out now in ebook, paperback and audio. All available here.

Many thanks to Sarah from Books on the Brightside and One More Chapter for my ecopy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

 

I’m really unwell at the moment and my concentration isn’t good so I apologise in for this review being shorter and lesser than I would have liked to write for this brilliant book.

 

You can follow the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

BLOG TOUR (3)

 

Containment by Vanda Symon | @OrendaBooks @VandaSymon @annecater

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Chaos reigns in the sleepy village of Aramoana on the New Zealand coast, when a series of shipping containers wash up on the beach and looting begins.

Detective Constable Sam Shephard experiences the desperation of the scavengers first-hand, and ends up in an ambulance, nursing her wounds and puzzling over an assault that left her assailant for dead.

What appears to be a clear-cut case of a cargo ship running aground soon takes a more sinister turn when a skull is found in the sand, and the body of a diver is pulled from the sea … a diver who didn’t die of drowning…

As first officer at the scene, Sam is handed the case, much to the displeasure of her superiors, and she must put together an increasingly confusing series of clues to get to the bottom of a mystery that may still have more victims…

 

I loved the first two books in this series so have been eagerly anticipating this next book and I’m so happy to say that I loved Containment every bit as much, if not even more, than the previous two. I adore Sam Shephard, she’s now one of my most favourite characters ever and I love spending time with her and finding out what she’s up to!

Containment is a brilliant crime novel. Sam finds herself in the midst of having to police looting on a beach after a cargo ship runs aground and containers are washed ashore. This leads to her being assaulted and then soon after finding herself investigating what happened to a man found dead in the water. This is only the start of the story though!

Alongside her work Sam is trying to figure out her love life and I found Sam so relatable. She’s involved with a man who really likes her and she likes him but still she just can’t quite commit. She’s not sure, and she’s not sure why she’s not sure. At times I wanted to shake her and tell her to give him a chance but at the same time I could totally see why she was reluctant. I also love Sam’s friendship with Maggie, they’re so close and Maggie can be brutally honest with Sam but she loves her regardless of whether she agrees with her not. It makes me wish I had a Maggie in my life!

There is a character in this book who has obvious physical disabilities and I loved his scenes with Sam. We live in a very politically correct world but people who aren’t disabled don’t always take account of how disabled people see themselves or how they’re happy to be seen by others. I found him, and how he was written, so refreshing and so brilliant. Bravo to Vanda for this!

I love Vanda Symon’s writing – she captures people in such a believable and real way. Whilst Sam is high as a kite on pain meds there are some scenes that had me properly laughing out loud, yet it never takes away from the seriousness of what is happening. I adore writing that captures life like this.

The setting of Vanda Symon’s novels are so brilliantly described too. She brings Dunedin, and in this novel Aramoana to life for me. I’ve never been to New Zealand but I can envisage the places so clearly, Vanda’s writing makes a movie in my head and now I feel like I’ve been there!

Containment is a brilliant crime novel – it has darkness and humour, brilliant characters and fabulous writing! I highly recommend this book (and the whole series)!

Containment is out now in ebook and paperback here.

 

I’m really unwell at the moment and my concentration isn’t good so I apologise in for this review being shorter and lesser than I would have liked to write for this brilliant book.

 

Many thanks to Anne and Orenda Books for my ecopy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

 

You can follow the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

Containment BT Poster

 

WWW Wednesdays! What are you reading this week?

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WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

 


 

My health is really wobbly at the moment so these WWW Wednesdays posts are about all I can manage just now. I am on a couple of blog tours next week that have been planned for a while so I will be posting reviews for those books but other than that it might just be WWW Wednesdays for a while. My concentration is rubbish so I’ve barely read anything at all this week, I miss my books so hopefully things settle down soon.

Apologies for not replying to comments or visiting and commenting on your blogs, I hope to be back to normal soon. In the meantime I do appreciate all of you who continue to read and comment and share my posts. 

 

What I’m reading now: 

Containment by Vanda Symon

I love this series so have been really looking forward to the latest book and I’m so happy to say that I’m loving it. I wish I could concentrate better as I know I would have devoured this normally but it’s still such a good read. Sam Shephard is such a brilliant character!

Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear

I’ve been reading a chapter here and there of this one and am enjoying it. Again, I just can’t concentrate for more than a few minutes but that’s no reflection on the book.

The Recovery of Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel

This is such a good read and one that I am enjoying coming back to, I’m intrigued to see how it’s all going to end!

 

What I recently finished reading:

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You Let Me In by Camilla Bruce

I read this on the Pigeonhole app (where they send you a few chapters to read each day) and it was a perfect way to read this book while struggling to concentrate as each stave was enough to keep me engaged and always left me wanting more. This was such a different novel to what I was expecting but it was brilliant, I loved it!

 

What I plan on reading next:

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

This has been on my Kindle TBR for seven years so when I spotted it on Borrowbox I decided to download it so I could part listen and part read it. I’m really looking forward to starting this one.

Dead Wrong by Noelle Holten

I’m on the blog tour for this one next week so definitely need to pick it up in the next couple of days. I loved the first book in the series so I’m sure I’m going to love this one too!

 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesdays or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

WWW Wednesdays! What are you reading at the moment?

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WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

What I’m reading now: 

Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear

I only started this last night but I’m already gripped. I love thrillers where the past has something to do with what’s happening in the present so this is my kind of book!

You Let Me In by Camilla Bruce

I’m reading this one on the Pigeonhole app and am really enjoying it. It’s not what I was expecting it to be but I’m so glad I got to read it because it’s so good and I’m so keen for the next part to be released so I can find out what happens next!

The Recovery of Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel

I’m still reading this one and still very much enjoying it. I’m intrigued to know how things are going to play out between this mother and daughter!

 

What I recently finished reading:

Second Life by S. J. Watson

I’ve had the ebook of this ever since it was first published but I finally started it this week when I got the audio book from BorrowBox. I’m sad to say that I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the author’s first novel. I do love his writing though so would always look out for new books by him.

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

I treated myself to this one and read it right away as I’ve got into a bit of a reading slump recently. I’m not feeling well at all and so my reading is suffering but this book grabbed me from the off and I really enjoyed it.

Notes to Self by Emilie Pine

I picked this up as it was short and being as it’s essays I thought I could dip in and out of it. As it turned out I devoured it! I’ve seen that this has got a lot of negative reviews but I loved it, I could identify with a lot of what the author has been through and it made me feel seen.

 

What I plan on reading next:

Containment by Vanda Symon

I’m on a blog tour for this one later this month so am really keen to start reading this one in good time. I adored Vanda Symon’s previous books so have very high hopes for this one!

Dead Wrong by Noelle Holten

I’m also taking part in the blog tour for this one and am so looking forward to reading this one. Noelle’s first novel was excellent and I feel sure this one will be every bit as good!

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

I’ve read some fab reviews of this book this week so it’s made me really want to read it so hopefully I’ll be able to get to it this week!

 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesdays or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

WWW Wednesdays! What are you reading at the moment?

WWW pic

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

 

What I’m reading now: 

The Recovery of Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel

I’m still struggling to read but I picked this book up in the early hours of the morning and it immediately grabbed me. I’m gripped by this one and am keen to find out where it’s going.

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

This is a wonderful novel, I’ve very much enjoyed listening to it over the last few days. I’ve got the kindle book so I keep switching between the two formats and I’m loving it.

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

I haven’t managed to read much more of this book this week as I just can’t manage to hold a physical book but I hope to get back to it soon.

 

What I recently finished reading:

Truth, Lies and O-Rings by Allan J. McDonald and James Hansen

I’ve had this book on my TBR for years now but I finally picked it up this week and I found it fascinating. I’ve always felt such a connection to the Challenger disaster and remember the day it happened like it was yesterday even though I was only just seven. I knew a lot about the disaster but there was still so much to learn from this book. I’m really glad I read it.

Rules for Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson

I found this book gripping! I love the way it uses the plots of older murder mysteries, it really added to the book for me. I wish I could have read this when I was feeling better as I think it would have been one I read in one sitting but having said that it kept me occupied on quite a few sleepless nights.

More Than Words by Jill Santopolo

This was my audio book from the last week and I’m not sure how I felt about this one. I enjoyed it but it didn’t engage me in the way her previous book did.

 

What I plan on reading next:

Keeper by Jessica Moor

I’ve had a copy of this from NetGalley for a few weeks now and I think I’m just in the mood to read it so hope to get to it this week.

Deadly Deceit by Mari Hannah

I read the first two books in this series when they came out and I really enjoyed them but somehow I didn’t read on. Anyway, I’ve been sorting out my huge TBR and this book jumped out at me so I plan on reading it this week and catching up with the series this year.

 

 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesdays or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

How Time Wasted on Social Media Inspired Kate Vane to Write Her New Novel Still You Sleep! @k8vane

Today I’m delighted to welcome author Kate Vane back to my blog. Kate has written a fab post all about how spending too much time on social media inspired her new novel, Still You Sleep!

A lot of us lament the time we spend on social media. It is habit forming and time can race by with nothing to show for it. Then there is all the anger. At times it can feel like an endless line of people queueing up to shout roughly the same thing in your face, one after another.

However, it wouldn’t have become a habit if we didn’t get something from it. I feel I’ve gained in many ways from social media – discovering books and authors I would never otherwise have heard of, connecting with likeminded readers from across the world. I’ve been amused and entertained, and have learnt from people who share their expertise in a pleasingly eclectic range of subjects – from medieval history to birdwatching. It has also inspired elements of my new novel, Still You Sleep.

In Still You Sleep the death of Vikki Smith, a young woman with a learning disability, becomes the subject of hateful social media messages. Like many people I’ve become increasingly dismayed by social media trolling and found it hard to ignore. I wanted to explore the different reasons why people do it, from resentment, to conviction, to just wanting to join in a pile-on.

One element of the plot involves tracking down the trolls and understanding their motives. This isn’t just about the instigators, I wondered what drives the people who join in someone else’s fight? And what about the people who argue against them, but in the process amplify their message? Is this naivety or are they promoting an agenda of their own?

It was also around this time I happened across stories of people buying and selling opioids on the dark web. I saw the footage of one particularly chilling police interview. The convicted man was polite and articulate, explaining how he ran his business – carefully weighing the drugs and sending them out by post and even issuing a ‘buyer beware’ message on his webpage. He was saving up to go to university. He might as well have been selling T-shirts.

This in turn sent me off to learn more about the dark web as I knew this was something I wanted to explore: people who don’t fit the popular stereotype of the drug dealer but whose actions can still have deadly consequences. What were the thought processes that made them think that was alright?

My protagonists are journalists. Tilda Green is an online activist-journalist at the start of her career, and Freddie Stone is a redundant crime reporter, struggling to come to terms with a fast-changing industry. They each bring different skills to investigating Vikki’s death and the people who appear to be exploiting it.

Journalists are, of course, among the biggest users of social media, Twitter in particular, so following them has been a great resource in terms of current issues, methods and insider gossip.

When I was growing up, I had no idea where ‘the news’ came from. It emerged from the box in the living room and was beyond question. I’m sure most adults probably thought the same thing. Unless you knew a journalist, or had been personally involved in a news story, you probably had very little idea about what they did.

Nowadays, journalists are much more transparent about their processes and sources than they used to be. They talk online about everything from technological change to a recent impassioned Twitter debate on whether a journalist still needs shorthand. I’ve worked in media teams and know a few journalists, but social media helps me keep up with current media culture and concerns.

I think social media is like any real-life public space. Sometimes it’s fun, sometimes it’s boring, occasionally, against your will, you’re forced into contact with people who are unpleasant or even dangerous. Unfortunately, it’s those people who often make the most noise and can be hard to avoid.

It’s not only a resource for research but a place where dramas play out. As such it makes sense to me to write about it in fiction.

 

About the Book

Still You Sleep by Kate Vane

Why wasn’t she safe at home?

Vikki Smith was a young woman with a learning disability, living independently for the first time, when she died of a drug overdose.

The police think it could have been an accident, but messages on social media suggest someone was exploiting her death for their own ends – before it was even announced. Her mother is convinced it was murder.

Redundant crime reporter Freddie Stone is a family friend. He wants to help them – and his failing career – but he’s a people person. He asks online journalist Tilda Green to work with him.

Tilda is curious, passionate and runs her own campaigning news site. She’s open to everything except compromise. But she’s intrigued by what Freddie tells her and agrees to work with him – for now.

Tilda thinks the trolls are organised and have links to hate groups. A charismatic local politician is determined to take them on. Some question his motives but Tilda trusts him, maybe too much.

Freddie believes the answer to Vikki’s death lies on the estate where she lived, if he could only get someone to speak out. He wants to know who was bringing drugs into Vikki’s home. He chases old contacts while struggling with his new life.

Beyond the virtual hate and her neighbours’ silence, someone knows who killed Vikki. Tilda and Freddie are determined to find the truth and tell her story.

Still You Sleep is out now and available here!

 

About the Author

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Kate Vane worked for a number of years as a probation officer. She started writing crime fiction because she thought made-up criminals would be easier to manage (she was wrong). Still You Sleep is her fifth novel.

She has always loved the sea, and now lives on the south Devon coast. If she’s not reading or writing, she’s probably in the garden.


Contact Kate

Website: katevane.com

Twitter: @k8vane

Facebook /k8vane

WWW Wednesdays (19 Feb 2020)! What are you reading this week?

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WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

 

What I’m reading now: 

Rules for Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson

I’m really struggling to read at the moment so have been picking books up and putting them down a lot but this one has grabbed my attention. I love all the references to older mystery novels and am intrigued to see how this book plays out.

More Than Words by Jill Santopolo

This is my current audio book and I’m enjoying it. It’s not as good as her previous novel The Life We Lost, which I loved, but it’s keeping me interested so that’s great.

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

I got the hardback of this for my birthday and am loving it. I wish my health was better as I would have normally devoured this in one or two sittings but I’m very much enjoying this one. I recommend it!

 

What I recently finished reading:

The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie

I spotted this book on Scribd and decided to listen to it before I started Peter Swanson’s new book as I knew it featured and didn’t want spoilers. I really enjoyed this one, it’s an engrossing mystery and Poirot novels are such fun escapism.

Wild Spinning Girls by Carol Lovekin

I completely and utterly fell in love with this novel and have already reviewed it so you can read my full thoughts here if you’d like to know more about it.

 

What I plan on reading next:

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

I’ve had the ebook of this ever since it was first published but I spotted that the audio was available on BorrowBox so I downloaded it and plan to part read and part listen. I’ve done this before with one of the author’s previous novels and really enjoyed it so I’m looking forward to starting this one.

Unfollow by Megan Phelps-Roper

I got this book for my birthday last month and have been so keen to read it. I really hope my brain is back in gear for reading soon as I’d love to read this book in the coming days.

Quichotte by Salman Rushdie

This was another birthday gift and is one I’m so looking forward to getting lost in. I read Don Quixote many, many years ago so am hoping I can remember it enough to catch the references to it in this book. I have very high hopes for this one so hope it lives up to them!

 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesdays or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

Wild Spinning Girls by Carol Lovekin | @CarolLovekin @Honno @AnneCater #RandomThingsTours #WildSpinningGirls

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If it wasn’t haunted before she came to live there, after she died, Ty’r Cwmwl made room for her ghost. She brought magic with her.

And the house, having held its breath for years, knew it. Ida Llewellyn loses her job and her parents in the space of a few weeks and, thrown completely off course, she sets out for the Welsh house her father has left her. Ty’r Cwmwl is not at all welcoming despite the fact it looks inhabited, as if someone just left…

It is being cared for as a shrine by the daughter of the last tenant. Determined to scare off her old home’s new landlord, Heather Esyllt Morgan sides with the birds who terrify Ida and plots to evict her. The two girls battle with suspicion and fear before discovering that the secrets harboured by their thoughtless parents have grown rotten with time. Their broken hearts will only mend once they cast off the house and its history, and let go of the keepsakes that they treasure like childhood dreams.

I genuinely don’t know where to start with this review… Carol Lovekin stole a piece of my heart with Ghostbird, and she cemented my love of her writing with Snow Sisters… Now there’s Wild Spinning Girls and I’m just completely and utterly in awe!

I jumped at the chance to read Wild Spinning Girls without knowing much about it because I’m a huge fan and I know a Carol Lovekin novel will be stunning. When I read the opening pages and I saw what the novel was about I instantly felt a strong connection. We follow Ida, who is 29 years old and is told, somewhat out of the blue, that she is being made redundant from her beloved job in a book shop. Then soon after Ida’s parents die suddenly and she is rootless and lost. My mum died when I was 29, she was my only parent and honestly losing her pulled the rug completely from under me. I barely knew which way was up for quite a while. So I was reading this novel in tears at times remembering the pain of the early days of that loss and wishing I could reach into the pages of this book to Ida, to tell her that it does get easier in time.

‘Mothers aren’t supposed to die before we’re ready to manage without them.’ Ida said.

Ida soon learns about a house in Wales that her parents still owned but they hadn’t been there since Ida was five. She decides to go there and sort it out for sale but she’s dreading it. She knows her mum hated it there but she doesn’t really know why.

Her thick cardigan folded itself around her, like a pair of empty arms enhancing her loneliness, exacerbating her sense of disconnection from the person who had arrived here less than two weeks previously.

The house feels creepy, cold and unfriendly when Ida arrives. Dark is falling and the electric is off so she’s literally floundering and wondering what on earth to do. The house seems melancholy, there is a sense that it is waiting for something – I could feel that radiating from the page. This is a house that is haunted by secrets and sadness and also by the happiness that could have been had there and wasn’t. It is as if there is some kind of spell woven around this house and it had a very real effect on Ida, but also on me. It was as if the things Ida was feeling because of the house I was genuinely feeling too because of the poignant way it was all described in the novel.

‘[…] it’s the place, the house. It’s like living in a Bronte novel’.

‘Charlotte or Emily?’

‘Both.’

Gradually we discover more about Ida’s mother and how she had been a famous ballerina but Ida was never able to reach her mother’s heights. She took up ballet as a child but an accident brought it all to an end. It caused real tension between mother and daughter but it never took away their love for each other. It made their relationship complex but the way that Ida holds on to her red ballet shoes shows how much she adored her mother, at the same time as the way she holds on to her injury shows the guilt she feels in how she, perhaps unconsciously, freed herself from the power of those same red shoes.

Then in walks Heather! A 17 year old who believes the house is hers because her mother rented it for them for many years. Heather’s mum has also recently died but this doesn’t make the two women find a connection, instead there is suspicion and tension from the start. Both are lost and in pain but they’re both struggling in their own ways and it seems like no one is going to be able to get through to either of them. Nor does it seem likely that they’ll find a way to resolve the impasse they find themselves in. Heather is feisty and strong-willed, she doesn’t see why she should yield her will to anyone and I loved this about her. Ida is the opposite; she is broken by all that has happened and she can’t see how she will get her life back on track. I was willing both of these women on, I wanted them to see the common ground and to find a way through.

Heather knew the only way to mend a heart as broken as hers was to find someone else who knew what a heart sounded like when it shattered.

Carol Lovekin weaves magic through her writing, she brings her readers into her stories in a way that no other writer does. I always feel bereft on finishing her novels because I never want them to end but I also always feel like my spirit has been shored up and healed in a way that was much needed. I found so much solace in Wild Spinning Girls, I could identify so much with both Ida and Heather. I really miss them now, I keep thinking about them and wondering how they are as if they are real people that I once knew.

There is a fierceness in young women: the wild spinning girls made of loss and grief and their mothers’ best dreams. Let loose it could tip the world off its axis.

I highlighted so many paragraphs as I was reading this novel because Carol Lovekin has such a special turn of phrase, and she weaves such beauty into each sentence. I kept stopping to re-read sections because I wanted to make sure I’d absorbed every bit of this story. I deliberately read slowly as I didn’t want to miss a single thing! The above quote is one of my favourites and this wild spinning girl is going to read those two sentences every time she ever doubts herself from now on!

Wild Spinning Girls truly is one of the best novels I’ve read in a long time, it has stolen my heart and will be taking pride of place on my bookcase. It is melancholy but also magical, it’s dark but it has hope and most of all it’s a stunning book that reminds you to find and then hold on to your power and strength. I’ve been writing and re-writing this review for days and I can’t do any kind of justice to the book. I just adored this novel more than I can say, I know it will be one of my favourite books of this year as I already want to re-read it. I highly recommend this one!

My thanks to Anne of Random Things Tours and Honno Books for my ecopy of this book and my blog tour invitation. All thoughts are my own.

Wild Spinning Girls is due to be published on 20 Feb and can be pre-ordered here.

 

 

You can follow the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

Wild Spinning Girls BT Poster

 

My (Belated) Birthday Book Haul!

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It was my birthday back in January but ill-health has meant I haven’t managed to take photos of my lovely new books, or to write a blog post about them until now. I was very spoilt with the books I received so I wanted to share them… better late than never!

My husband bought me such an amazing stack of books plus a fabulous snuggly cape that I wear wrapped around me when I’m reading. I really feel the cold these days and this cape is the best thing ever! 🙂

 

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Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

I’ve already started reading this one and it’s brilliant! I love Queenie and can’t wait to read what happens next!

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Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman

This is a book that I’ve ummed and aahed about buying for myself but I’m so glad that I now have my own gifted copy as it is a book I really do want to read. I need to get my brain back in gear before I pick this up but I’m so looking forward to it.

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Unfollow by Megan Phelps-Roper

This is a book I’ve wanted to read ever since I first heard about it last year. I saw Megan, and her family, on the Louis Theroux documentaries over the years and I’ve been so keen to read more about Megan’s story. I think this will be a fascinating read.

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Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo

I did get a ebook of this for review but I’ve really been wanting to have a physical copy so I was thrilled to open this book on my birthday.

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Quichotte by Salman Rushdie

I haven’t read anything by this author for years but this book really appealed to me and so I was delighted to open it on my birthday. As soon as my reading mojo returns I will be picking this up as it’s really calling to me from my TBR!

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The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

This book sounds so good, and isn’t it a stunning looking book?! I can’t wait to curl up (in my new reading cape!) and get lost in the pages of this book. It sounds magical!

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Somewhere Becoming Rain by Clive James

My husband bought me this one as I’m a huge Philip Larkin fan, and I also love Clive James’ writing and I’m so happy to have this one. I think this will be such a treat to read. The text is small for my poor eyes so it might have to be a book I dip in and out of but I’m so looking forward to getting to it.

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10 Minutes and 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak

This is another book I’ve secretly had my eye on so am very pleased to have my own copy. I’m fascinated by the premise of the novel so I don’t think I’ll be long getting to it.

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Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham

This book was one my husband bought for me on a whim as we enjoyed the recent drama about Chernobyl. It’s a book I’d heard of but I didn’t own and it’s one I really want to read. I always like to read more in-depth around dramas based on true stories that I’ve enjoyed on TV.

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The Orchestra of Minorities by Chicozie Obioma

I don’t know a huge amount about this book but I read the blurb and it sounds like a book I will really enjoyed so I’m happy to have it.

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The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

This is a book I already own a copy of and I’ve read and loved it. I will make sure my extra copy finds a new home though.

 

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The Little Book of Meditation by Gilly Pickup

My best friend gave me this gorgeous book about meditation, which is wonderful and I’m enjoying dipping in and out of it. She also made me this lovely bookmark, which will get a lot of use as I read my way through all of my fab new books!

 

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My lovely mum-in-law gave me some book tokens, which is always a wonderful gift to receive. I’ve spent some of them on The Flame by Leonard Cohen. This is a book I’ve wanted for a while as I adore Leonard Cohen’s song lyrics and poetry so I will enjoy reading my way through this one. I still have some book tokens left over so I’m looking forward to spending those when I spot a book I’d like.

 


 

Have you acquired any new books this week? I’d love to know what you got. Or have you read any of my new books and recommend I get to any of them sooner rather than later? If you’ve shared a book haul post this week then please feel free to share you link below and I’ll make sure to visit your post! 🙂

 

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week!

 

Death Deserved by Thomas Enger & Jorn Lier Horst | @OrendaBooks @annecater

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Police officer Alexander Blix and celebrity blogger Emma Ramm join forces to track down a serial killer with a thirst for attention and high-profile murders, in the first episode of a gripping new Nordic Noir series…

Oslo, 2018. Former long-distance runner Sonja Nordstrøm never shows at the launch of her controversial autobiography, Always Number One. When celebrity blogger Emma Ramm visits Nordstrøm’s home later that day, she finds the door unlocked and signs of a struggle inside. A bib with the number ‘one’ has been pinned to the TV.

Police officer Alexander Blix is appointed to head up the missing-persons investigation, but he still bears the emotional scars of a hostage situation nineteen years earlier, when he killed the father of a five-year-old girl. Traces of Nordstrøm soon show up at different locations, but the appearance of the clues appear to be carefully calculated … evidence of a bigger picture that he’s just not seeing…

Blix and Ramm soon join forces, determined to find and stop a merciless killer with a flare for the dramatic, and thirst for attention.
Trouble is, he’s just got his first taste of it…

Well, I’ve not been reading much over the last couple of weeks – I’ve been ill and my concentration has been rubbish but I’d been so keen to get to Death Deserved so picked it up to give it a try and I’m so glad I did. This is such a brilliant crime thriller, it’s one of those books that I was thinking about whenever I wasn’t reading it and I already want more!

Death Deserved opens with a police officer entering a house and shooting a suspect, and then the novel moves forward nineteen years to the present day. The same officer is called to a missing woman’s house by a journalist and this leads to such a gripping investigation! Blix is the officer and Emma is the journalist and they begin to work together as it becomes apparent that someone is murdering celebrities and it seems the killer has a very definite plan in mind for how and when he going to commit the murders.

I loved Emma Ramm from the off in this book. She is so feisty and determined to make something of her career, and she felt so real to me. She doesn’t put herself in silly situations, she’s astute. Blix is also great, he has demons in his past but it only fuels him to be better and to get things right in the future. He’s mindful of what came before but he never lets it stop him fully focusing on what is in front of him now. I can see why Emma and Blix came to work well together, they really do make a brilliant pairing!

I had so many theories as I was racing through this crime thriller and pretty much all of them were wrong. It’s a novel that wrong foots you every time you think you’ve got a grip of what’s going on, it made me feel like I was in amongst the investigation as the police were also scrambling to put a theory together.

I loved the way this novel also explores celebrity and how people become famous, and how we come to revere people who are in the public eye. Blix’s daughter is in a reality TV show and he has a slightly strained relationship with her but he’s constantly catching up with how she’s doing on the show and making sure she seems okay. The show is like Big Brother but way more tough on the contestants in what it puts them through. It was fascinating to me how the viewers were judging the contestants and voting them out based on transgressions that perhaps most of us might have committed at one time or another in our lives. It felt it was holding a mirror up to all of us so realising that the killer was at the incredibly heightened, extreme, obsessed end of a scale that perhaps we are all on was very unnerving and unsettling. We are constantly making judgements and wishing people would be voted off shows because they’re not worthy enough, or nice enough or they made a mistake that we feel they should pay for. Obviously, I know we’re not all psychopaths but the dichotomy definitely brings you up short at times as you read this book!

Death Deserved is an intense, sophisticated crime thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat and I loved every single minute that I spent reading it! I love a book that is such a gripping, unputdownable thrill-ride whilst also making me pause for thought, and Death Deserved it definitely that! This is the best crime thriller that I’ve read in quite some time and I can’t wait to read more by these authors! I highly recommend this book!

Death Deserved is out now in ebook and and can be pre-ordered in paperback here.

Many thanks to Anne and Orenda Books for my ecopy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

You can follow the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

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WWW Wednesdays! What are you reading at the moment?

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WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

 

What I’m reading now: 

Wild Spinning Girls by Carol Lovekin

I’m such a huge fan of Carol Lovekin’s writing so have been eagerly anticipating her new book. I started reading it last night and it’s stunning, I want to read it slowly to make it last as long as I can.

Queenie by Candace Carty-Williams

I got this for my birthday last week and am really enjoying it. I was very lucky to get lots of books but I’ve been too ill to read any of them until now. I’ll do a book haul soon but Queenie was the one that called to me first and it’s such a good read!

Turning the Tide on Plastic by Lucy Siegle

I’ve been reading this book on and off for the past three weeks and am finding it so interesting. It’s definitely motivating me to continue to find products that either aren’t plastic or things that can be re-used around my home.

 

What I recently finished reading:

Death Deserved by Thomas Enger & Jorn Lier Horst

This is such an excellent crime thriller and I loved it. It’s the best thriller I’ve read in a while and I highly recommend it. I’ve actually shared my review of it today so you can read my full thoughts there! 🙂 It’s the only book I’ve managed to read in its entirety over the last week so it must have been good!

Only Fools and Stories by David Jason

I’ve been reading this over the last month and finally finished it this week. It was such a nostaglic look back over the famous characters David Jason has played over the years such as Del Boy, Pop Larkin and Jack Frost. I enjoyed it and would recommend it if you’re a fan of the shows he’s been a part of.

 

What I plan on reading next:

The Lying Room by Nicci French

I’ve been wanting to read this for ages so when it popped up on a daily deal for Kindle yesterday I snapped it up and can’t wait to start reading it.

Keeper by Jessica Moor

I was lucky to received an ARC of this book via NetGalley and am so intrigued to read it so I think I might well pick it up this week!

Our Little Cruelties by Liz Nugent

This is another book that is calling to me from my NetGalley shelf! I love the author’s writing and this one sounds so intriguing!

 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesdays or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

Weekly Wrap-Up!

Cream and Blue Brush Strokes Graduation Twitter Post

It’s been another quiet week this week as I’m still feeling exhausted and unwell. I did manage to leave the house for 20 mins when I tagged along with my husband to the supermarket. It was the first time I’d been outside since Christmas day so that was an achievement.

Thanks to everyone who has commented on my posts recently – I’m so sorry that I haven’t managed to reply. I’m also sorry that I’ve not been keeping up on reading blogs and liking, commenting and sharing. I hope to be back up to speed soon but in the meantime I really appreciate the comments, likes and shares on my posts. You’re all stars! 🙂

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I’ve barely been reading this week either so it really has been a quiet week. I’m in the middle of seven different books but I’m not in the mood for anything in particular so I’m going back and forth between them. My main read is A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone, which is really good. I just wish my brain was up to engaging better so I could get completely swept up in the writing.

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I did listen to one complete audio book this week and that was Agatha Raisin and the Haunted House by M. C. Beaton. I love dipping in and out of this series as they’re perfect escapist reads. This was the first one I’ve ever listened to and I loved Penelope Keith’s narration so may look for future books on audio!

TV-wise I’m still loving Richard Osman’s House of Games. My husband watches it if it’s on when he’s home but he’s not as invested in it as me. This week they’ve had a contestant on called Matt and my husband turned to me and told me that that man is basically me! He’s so right – the guy is so competitive whilst also having the time of his life taking part on the show! Haha!

It’s been a slow week on my blog this week too.

I posted a weekly wrap-up last Sunday where I wrote about what I’d been reading, watching and blogging about in the previous week.

On Wednesday I posted my WWW Wednesdays post where I shared what I was reading, what I’d recently read and what I hope to read next.

Then yesterday I posted my new book haul, which predominantly consists impulse buys of Daily Deals!

How has your week been? I hope you’ve had a lovely week and had time to do some reading. If you’ve shared a wrap-up post please feel free to leave your link before and I’ll make sure to visit your post. 🙂

A New Book Haul!

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week!

 

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How To Fail by Elizabeth Day

I’ve had my eye on this book for a while so when I spotted it on a Kindle Daily Deal this week I immediately 1-Clicked and bought it. I hope to get to this one soon as I’ve heard only good things about it.

 

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Rad Women Worldwide by Kate Schatz

I bought this Kindle book on a whim when I saw it in another deal. I think it’s aimed at younger readers than me but when I looked at who was featured in the book and realised that I didn’t know much about some of these women it seemed a good chance to learn more. I think this will be a good book to dip in and out of.

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The Perfect Wife by J. P. Delaney

I’ve found J. P. Delaney books a bit hit and miss and I’m not sure if this is an author for me but I find myself intrigued by this latest book so when I saw it for 99p this week I decided to give it a go! Hopefully I’ll like it.

 

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Psycho-Logical by Dean Burnett

It seems that this has been the week for whim purchases as I bought this on a whim too! This is an Audible Original book and I just thought it sounded like such an interesting listen so I snapped it up!

 

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The Hidden Girls by Rebecca Whitney

This is a NetGalley book that I requested a while ago and forgot about so it was a lovely surprise to get the approval email a couple of days ago. I’m keen to get to this one so hopefully I’ll get to it soon.

 

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Like A House on Fire by Caroline Hulse

I requested this one from NetGalley too as I read and loved the author’s previous book. I’m really looking forward to this one!

 

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Rules for Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson

This is another NetGalley book and I can’t wait to read this! Peter Swanson has become a must-buy must-read author for me as I just love the way he writes thrillers. This one sounds really different and I can’t wait to start reading it!

 

Have you acquired any new books this week? I’d love to know what you got. Or have you read any of my new books and recommend I get to any of them sooner rather than later? If you’ve shared a book haul post this week then please feel free to share you link below and I’ll make sure to visit your post! 🙂

It’s WWW Wednesdays time! What are you reading at the moment?

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WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

What I’m reading now: 

A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone

I started reading this last night and it very quickly had me engrossed. I really do love Doug Johnstone’s writing and I’m intrigued to see where this novel is going.

Turning the Tide on Plastic by Lucy Siegle

I’ve been meaning to read this book for a while and finally picked it up this week. I’m trying very hard to reduce the plastics that come into my home but have reached the point of needing some more ideas of things I can try. I’m hoping this will be the book I need.

Only Fools and Stories by David Jason

I’ve read a few more chapters of this book this week and am very much enjoying the stories behind the well-known characters he’s played.

 

What I recently finished reading:

Agatha Raisin and the Haunted House by M. C. Beaton

I love the Agatha Raisin series and keep them to read when I just need some short escapism. This was the next one on my TBR and I enjoyed it. I’m keen to see where the series goes next so may read book 15 soon!

I Want You Gone by Miranda Rijks

I enjoyed this thriller but it did lose me in the last quarter of the book so I’m not sure how I feel about it. I will try and write a mini review of it soon.

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

I had the audio book of this and have been listening to it over the last ten days and really enjoyed it. I’m really looking forward to reading Lethal White and will probably pick that up later in the year as it’s already on my Kindle!

A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena

I listened to this book on audio as well and I’m glad I did. It’s not the best book by this author but being on audio kept the momentum going for me and I wanted to keep listening. I have loved all of her other books so I think this one was just a case of it’s not the book, it’s me.

The Dilemma by B. A. Paris

I enjoyed a couple of this author’s previous book but I couldn’t get on with her last novel. I couldn’t resist picking up this one though and I’m so glad I did! I read the whole book in one sitting and found it so gripping and engaging. I recommend it!

What She Saw Last night by Mason Cross

This was such a good thriller too, it ended up being more edge of seat reading than I was expecting and all the twists and turns were very good. I’ll definitely be looking out for more books by this author.

 

What I plan on reading next:

Tilly and the Lost Fairytales: Pages & Co. #2 by Anna James

I adored the first book in this series so was delighted to get the second book for Christmas. I saved it to read tomorrow as I like to plan some escapism on the days that are full of sad memories.

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

I didn’t manage to pick this up when I planned to recently so I’m hoping to get to it this week as I’m so keen to read it.

Death Deserved by Thomas Enger & Jorn Lier Horst

I’m going to be on the blog tour for this one next month so it’s the next book I want to get to as I like to be ahead with my reading commitments. It’ll be my first book by these authors and I’m really looking forward to it!

 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesdays or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

Weekly Wrap-Up!

Cream and Blue Brush Strokes Graduation Twitter Post

I’ve not been very well this week so it’s been a really quiet week for me. I’ve not read as much or blogged as much as the previous week or two but hopefully I’ll be back in the swing of things soon!

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I’ve just finished reading The Dilemma by B. A. Paris. I picked it on a whim as I’d read some good reviews of it and I flew through it. I’ve found the author’s previous novels a mixed bag but this book was so good! I just didn’t want to put it down and read it in two sittings. I recommend it if you haven’t already read it.

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I’ve got a couple of books on the go at the moment but my main read is I Want You Gone by Miranda Rijks. I’ve had a review copy of this on my NetGalley shelf for quite a long time so wanted to make sure I picked it up before too much longer. I’m now kicking myself for leaving it so long because I’m completely invested in this novel and am really intrigued to find out what’s going to happen.

 

 

TV-wise I’m still watching Richard Osman’s House of Games every weeknight. I’m also gripped by White House Farm. I did watch a film this week too – my husband and I rented IT: Chapter 2. It’s not remotely scary but we both enjoyed the story and it kept us engrossed all the way through.

 

On my blog this week I did a weekly wrap-up post last Sunday.

On Monday I shared mini reviewsof three books: One Little Mistake by Emma Curtis, 17 Church Row by James Carol, and Dare Me by Megan Abbott.

On Wednesday I wrote about what I was currently reading, what I’d recently read or what I planned on reading next in my WWW Wednesday post.

Then yesterday I shared my book haul from this week. I got some amazing books over the last few days so am a very happy book worm!

 

How has your week been? I hope you’ve had a lovely week and had time to do some reading. If you’ve shared a wrap-up post please feel free to leave your link before and I’ll make sure to visit your post. 🙂

It’s been an amazing week for books so I’m Stacking the Shelves a brand new Book Haul!

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week!

Books and eBooks

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Death Deserved by Thomas Enger & Jorn Lier Thomas

This is the first review book that I got this week, and it will be the first Thomas Enger book that I read but I am so looking forward to getting to this author. This is a crime novel and it sounds so good!

 

 

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The Disappearance of Stephanie Mailer by Joel Dicker

I read and adored The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair when it came out so when I spotted this book on NetGalley I immediately requested it and was thrilled to get approved this week. It’s a long book so it’ll be a good one to get completely engrossed in when I need some escapism.

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Little Disasters by Sarah Vaughan

I read a fab review of this on Jo at MyChesnutReadingTree’s blog and went straight to NetGalley to request a copy.  I now have a copy on my shelf and am keen to get to it.

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When I Was Ten by Fiona Cummins

I’ve read and loved all of Fiona Cummins’ books so far so I had to request her new novel on NetGalley as soon as I knew about it. This sounds like an unnerving and gripping read and I’m sure I’ll love it.

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Dead Wrong by Noelle Holten

I was so excited to be invited to read this for the forthcoming blog tour as I read and loved Noelle’s previous novel last year and have been so looking forward to the next book in the series. I’ll be reading this one soon!

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Wild Spinning Girls by Carol Lovekin

Carol Lovekin is one of my favourite authors – I’ve read and adored Ghostbird and Snow Sisters so was delighted to be invited to read her new one for the blog tour. I was thrilled to receive an ecopy of this yesterday and I can’t wait to get lost in this novel!

 

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Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

I am beyond excited to have this book as I’ve adored Maggie O’Farrell ever since I read After You’d Gone twenty years ago. So much so that when I saw Hamnet on the envelope as the postman handed it to me that I squealed out loud! She is such a special author and Hamnet is my most anticipated book for this year. I’m waiting until I can sit down and devour this book in one day but it will definitely happen very soon!

 

Have you acquired any new books this week? I’d love to know what you got. Or have you read any of my new books and recommend I get to any of them sooner rather than later? If you’ve shared a book haul post this week then please feel free to share you link below and I’ll make sure to visit your post! 🙂

WWW Wednesdays! What are you reading this week?

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WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

What I’m reading now: 

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

I really enjoyed the first two books in the Cormoran Strike series so when I spotted this book in my Audible library I decided to make it my next listen. I’m only about three hours in but I’m definitely gripped and am keen to see there this novel is going.

What She Saw Last Night by Mason Cross

I’ve had a couple of days where I couldn’t read print this week so I had to put this down but I’m back reading it now and I’m super intrigued about what is going to happen.

Only Fools and Stories by David Jason

I haven’t read any more of this book this week as I got engrossed in another non-fiction book but I will definitely pick this back up in the coming days as I’m very much enjoyed David Jason’s stories.

 

What I recently finished reading:

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

This book is stunning! I deliberately made myself read this slowly as it’s such a beautiful novel and I didn’t want it to end. I loved this story and how it was told. I will review this one once I’ve got my thoughts together.

The Murders at White House Farm by Carol Ann Lee

This is such an interesting book and I’m really glad I read it. It gives background to the Bamber family, and it explores the murders and the investigation. It did feel like the author was standing back and really assessing what happened whilst also giving space for the reader to have their own thoughts about it.

Dare Me by Megan Abbott

I enjoyed some parts of this book but I didn’t enjoy it as much as other books by the author. I’ve already reviewed this one so you can find more of my thoughts here.

 

What I plan on reading next:

The Mothers by Sarah Naughton

I’ve had an ARC of this on my TBR for a few weeks now but have read some great reviews of it over the last week or so and I can’t wait to read it so I hope to get to it this week.

Who Did You Tell? by Lesley Kara

This is another ARC that I’ve had for a while and now I’m so keen to read it so hopefully I’ll also manage to read this one this week.

The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper

I’ve been trying to focus on mostly reading my unread review books in recent weeks and I was mortified to spot this on my NetGalley shelf and to see how long it has been there as it is a book I still really want to read. So I’m going to try and get to it this week.

 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesdays or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

Mini #BookReviews: One Little Mistake by Emma Curtis | 17 Church Row by James Carol | Dare Me by Megan Abbott

mini reviews

Today I’m sharing some more mini reviews of books that I’ve recently read!

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One Little Mistake by Emma Curtis

I started reading this book at the very end of 2019 and finished it a few days ago. The novel follows Vicky who one day makes a terrible error of judgement and something happens which leads to her best friend Amber helping her keep it quiet. What follows is a novel where you’re not sure who to trust. In between the chapters in the present day there are chapters from the past but it’s not clear until later in the novel who this person is. I swung from thinking one thing to another and I was never quite sure what was going on until just before it was fully revealed! I did find that the latter stages of the novel required some suspension of disbelief but I didn’t care because by then I was so invested in the characters and just wanted to know what was going to happen. I enjoyed this book and will definitely read more by Emma Curtis in the future!

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17 Church Row by James Carol

This novel appealed to me as soon as I read that it involved a very high-tech house! Even though the thought of what may be done is terrifying I can’t help but be drawn to books like this! This novel felt mysterious from the start and I wanted to know about this young family and why they were moving. They seem to move to this new house very quickly without much thought or research so I was intrigued! It turns out they’ve been through an awful tragedy and are trying to find a way to move forward with their lives. Unfortunately for them the tech in this house is still being tested and they end up unwittingly becoming pawns in someone else’s game. I’m going to be honest and say that while I loved the first half of the book, the second half didn’t quite live up to it for me. The book got a bit far-fetched and it lost me a little. Having said that I did read this in just a couple of sittings as I was keen to know what was going to happen so I did still enjoy it.

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Dare Me by Megan Abbott

This book has been on my TBR ever since it was published so I wanted to make it a priority this year so when I spotted the audio book on BorrowBox I decided to part read and part listen to it. I found it hard to get into this book but once it grabbed me I was gripped. It follows Addy, a cheerleader in a teen squad and you get a real look at the toxic friendships that this environment sometimes fosters. There is also the coach who is very friendly with some of the girls but it’s clear from early on that she is playing them, although I wasn’t sure why. I’m torn about this book because the elements that I liked I really liked but ultimately I think perhaps I wasn’t the right audience for the book as it just didn’t fully click with me. I do love Megan Abbott’s writing though and I’ve enjoyed books by her before so I will definitely be looking out for more in the future.

Weekly Wrap-Up!

Cream and Blue Brush Strokes Graduation Twitter Post

This week has been another quiet week as I’m still not doing so well. It has meant that I’ve been doing lots of reading though so I’m very happy to have lovely books to escape into!

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Just yesterday I finished reading The Murders at White House Farm by Carol Ann Lee, which was such a fascinating and in-depth book. I wanted to read more about this case after seeing the adverts for the new ITV drama based on the case and I’m so glad that this was the book I picked.

 

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As usual I have a few books on the go at the moment but the one I’m focusing on is What She Saw Last Night by Mason Cross. It’s such an intriguing book that had me gripped from the opening pages and I can’t wait to find out what happened on this train!

 

 

TV wise this week I’ve been really enjoying Richard Osman’s House of Games, which is my absolute favourite game show ever! If you’ve never seen it it’s on BBC2 on weeknights at 6pm. I love that it involves a brain work out but you don’t need to know loads of stuff. I recommend it!

 

It’s been a busy week on the blog this week as I’ve had a new post up every day.

I posted a weekly wrap-up last Sunday and I’m hoping to keep this up as I do enjoy putting together a post of what’s been happening in the week.

On Monday I shared my review of The Choice by Claire Wade, a novel that I found both gripping and thought-provoking so I recommend it!

On Tuesday I posted my review of The Fallout by Rebecca Thornton, another book that I enjoyed. It’s all about toxic friendships plus secrets and lies, which I’m always drawn to in fiction!

On Wednesday I posted my WWW Wednesday post where I share all the books that I’m currently reading, the books I’ve read over the course of the week and what I plan to read over the next week.

On Thursday I shared a mini review posts and wrote about The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale and It’s A Wonderful Night by Jaimie Admans. I adored both of these books, they made me happy and I now want to read everything that both authors have written!

On Friday I shared my review of The Home by Sarah Stovell. This book was stunning and I already feel like it’s going to be one of my favourite books of 2020!

Yesterday I posted another book haul! Ooops! I do want to read more of the books that I already own this year but I always find January such a hard month so I’m giving myself a pass until February!

 

How has your week been? I hope you’ve had a lovely week and had time to do some reading. If you’ve shared a wrap-up post please feel free to leave your link before and I’ll make sure to visit your post. 🙂

It’s new Book Haul day as I’m Stacking the Shelves again!

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week!

Books and eBooks

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Notes to Self by Emilie Pine

I literally read a review of this book yesterday morning and thought it sounded interesting and then saw the kindle book was on a daily deal on Amazon so I snapped it up. I’d like to read more essay collections and some of the themes explored in this book sound really interesting to me so I’m looking forward to dipping in and out of this one.

 

 

25686362._SY475_The Murders at White House Farm by Carol Ann Lee

I bought this book mid-week as I was anticipating the new ITV drama exploring this case. I started reading it immediately and have almost finished it. It’s a really in-depth look at the case, and all the people involved. There is a lot about the lives of the family well before the murders happened, which I appreciated.

 

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Date with Death, Date With Malice and Date with Mystery (Books 1, 2 & 3 in (The Dales Detective series) by Julia Chapman

I had read some reviews of this series over Christmas and immediately added these books to my wish list as they sound like something I would really enjoyed. So it was serendipitous that just a few days later I was offered the first three in the series by a fellow blogger in a swap. I’m so keen to pick these up so I don’t think they’ll be on my TBR for long!

 

Review Books

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The Sight of You by Holly Miller

I requested this book from NetGalley on a total whim as I loved the sound of the blurb. It does sound like it could be a weepy so I’ll have to be in the right mood to read it but I’m really happy to have a copy of this on my TBR.

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Strangers by C. L. Taylor

I’ve loved all of C. L. Taylor’s novels so far so when I heard she had a new novel coming out this year I immediately opened NetGalley and requested it. I can’t wait to get to this one!

 

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The Guest List by Lucy Foley

I downloaded this one from NetGalley this week as I really enjoyed Lucy Foley’s previous novel and I just can’t resist books where people are all trapped in one location when something terrible happens.

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The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel

I read and loved The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel so I absolutely had to read her forthcoming new novel. This definitely won’t be on my TBR for very long!

 

 

 

 

Have you acquired any new books this week? I’d love to know what you got. Or have you read any of my new books and recommend I get to any of them sooner rather than later? If you’ve shared a book haul post this week then please feel free to share you link below and I’ll make sure to visit your post! 🙂

#BookReview: The Home by Sarah Stovell | @Sarahlovescrime @OrendaBooks @annecater

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When the body of a pregnant fifteen-year-old is discovered in a churchyard on Christmas morning, the community is shocked, but unsurprised. For Hope lived in The Home, the residence of three young girls, whose violent and disturbing pasts have seen them cloistered away…

As a police investigation gets underway, the lives of Hope, Lara and Annie are examined, and the staff who work at the home are interviewed, leading to shocking and distressing revelations … and clear evidence that someone is seeking revenge.

A gritty, dark and devastating psychological thriller, The Home is also an emotive drama and a piercing look at the underbelly of society, where children learn what they live … if they are allowed to live at all.

I read and loved Sarah Stovell’s previous novel Exquisite so when I heard she had a new book coming out it was one of my most anticipated books for 2020 and I’m so happy to say that it more than delivers on my expectations!

I must mention the cover of this book, which is absolute perfection. At first I thought it was a face with a butterfly over the eye, which makes sense given a storyline in the book. It was only as I was putting the book down having finished it that I realised it’s not a butterfly but a stone angel. This gave me chills as I genuinely couldn’t see it there before and it really fits the whole premise of the book.

The Home is a very powerful and emotional read set in a children’s home in the Lake District. One of the teenage girls is found murdered on Christmas day with another girl sat beside her. The novel then goes back and forth in time, and between multiple perspectives as we find out more about the girls’ backgrounds and what happened to lead to one of them being dead.

The mystery in this novel is so well done. I was convinced I knew what had really happened to the girl from part-way through the book but there was something nagging at the back of my mind that I just couldn’t tease out. The reveals when they come are utterly shocking and disturbing!

There is so much more to the book than the mystery around the murder though. It’s a really eye-opening look at the effect that poverty has, and what lengths people are driven to in order to survive. It also looks at the way the damage done to one generation of a family can perpetuate to the next because sometimes there just doesn’t seem to be a way out of all you’ve ever known.

I found it devastating to be able to stand back as a reader and see who the bad guys were in this novel, whilst at the same time seeing exactly how Annie thought the bad guys were the saviours. It really hits home how grooming works and how young people can end up trapped in the same life as their parents before them even as they desperately seek a better life.

There are good guys in this novel too but even they come with a sense of heartbreak and futility. Helen who runs the home where Hope, Annie and Lara are staying has her hands tied by the lack of funding and therefore staff, and the knowledge that this home is on the verge of closure. She really works hard to help the girls in her care but she know she’s fighting a losing battle. It must be incredibly hard to work in this situation, trying to build stability and hope into children’s lives where there has been none before and yet knowing that things beyond you mean you’re ultimately not going to be able to do for them what you wish to.

The Home broke my heart; it’s one of those really brilliant novels that has so many levels to it and all of them have an impact on you. I am in awe of the writing in this book – these characters have left a mark on me and I don’t think I’ll ever forget them. I know it’s only the 10th January but I already feel like this is going to be one of my books of the year, it’s such a stunning read!

The Home is out now in ebook and and can be pre-ordered in paperback.

Many thanks to Anne and Orenda Books for my ecopy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

You can follow the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

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Mini Reviews: It’s A Wonderful Night by Jaimie Admans | The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale

Today I want to share my thoughts on two lovely books that I read over the Christmas and New Year period. Both feature Christmas but can be read at any time of year.

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It’s A Wonderful Night by Jaimie Admans

It’s A Wonderful Life is such a lovely Christmas film so when I saw this book I had to buy it. The novel follows Georgia Bailey, who manages a charity shop and one night she gets a call from a suicidal man on a bridge who has mistakenly called the shop instead of the helpline. Georgia knows she should give him the correct number but she finds herself talking to him instead. The next morning Georgia goes to buy a coffee and she hears a man talking and realises it’s the man from the night before. She knows she can’t let on that she knows so she resolves to find a way to help him. This is such a gorgeous novel – it doesn’t shy away from the severity of depression and grief but it also manages to remain a feel-good novel, which is an incredible balancing act. I loved the way the main street in the town is like a character in its own right and I felt like I had been there. I was willing Georgia and Leo on in their quest to bring this town back to life. There is so much love and joy in the novel and I very much enjoyed it. I will definitely be reading more by Jaimie Admans in the future!

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The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale

I bought this book when it was first published and then I borrowed the audio book from the library so I could part read and part listen. I adored this book. It’s such a magical novel and it really took me back to feeling like I did as I read books as a child. I loved the characters in the book – particularly Cathy and Kaspar, I was rooting for them all the way through. There is so much in the novel that made me feel nostalgic and melancholy but I was so enchanted by the magic running throughout it too. I really did enjoy this book and I’ll certainly be reading more by this author in the future too.

WWW Wednesdays (8 Jan 20)! What are you reading this week?

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WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

What I’m reading now: 

What She Saw Last Night by Mason Cross

I saw so many great reviews of this one the blog tour and I kept thinking of the premise and wondering about the storyline so I finally picked this up yesterday. I’m only a few chapters in but I’m gripped!

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

This book is so good! I’ve had a review copy from NetGalley for a while now and finally picked it up this week and am enjoying it so much. It’s a really emotional novel about a boy who is the sole survivor of an air crash and it’s such a good read.

Only Fools and Stories by David Jason

I read David Jason’s autobiography last year and enjoyed it so was keen to pick up the follow on book. This is more stories about the characters he’s played and some behind the scenes stuff. It’s a really fun read and I’m enjoying it.

What I recently finished reading:

The Home by Sarah Stovell

This book left me heartbroken! It’s a stunning psychological thriller about a teenage girl who is found dead and then it goes back and forth as we find out what happened. It’s a really raw and emotional book and one I think will stay with me for a long time to come. I’ll be reviewing this one on Friday so please check back then for my full thoughts.

17 Church Row by James Carol

I’d seen great reviews for this one on the blog tour so snapped it up on Kindle. I then saw the audio book available on BorrowBox so I part read and part listened to this one. I really enjoyed the first half of the novel but it lost me a little after that. It was a gripping read though and I’m glad I read it.

One Little Mistake by Emma Curtis

I’ve had a copy of this book ever since it was published but I finally picked it up at the end of December and finished it this week. It was such a gripping thriller about a woman who makes one mistake and ends up paying a heavy price for it.

The Choice by Claire Wade

This novel is set in a dystopian future where sugar is banned. It’s such a gripping and thought-provoking read, I really enjoyed it. I’ve already reviewed this one so you can find there here if you’d like to know more.

The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale

This is a gorgeous book that I’ve been wanting to read for quite a while. I started it in December and finished it a few days ago. I part read and part listened to it and it’s just such a fab story. It reminded me of how I used to love stories as a child and I now want to read anything and everything by this author!

It’s A Wonderful Night by Jaimie Admans

This is another book that I partly read at the end of 2019 and finished it at the beginning of this year. I loved this novel – it’s got such a lovely cast of characters and such a great message in it. I definitely want to read more by this author in the future.

Wham! George and Me by Andrew Ridgeley

My husband bought me this for Christmas and I knew it had to be my first read of 2020 as I was sure it would get my reading year off to a fabulous start and it absolutely did. I read this all in one sitting on New Year’s Day and I adored it. I recommend it if you’re a Wham fan!

What I plan on reading next:

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

This is one of my most eagerly anticipated books of 2020 and I don’t think I can resist picking up my review copy any longer!

I Want You Gone by Miranda Rijks

This has been on my NetGalley shelf for longer than it should have so I want to try and make it a priority for this week. Hopefully I can get to it as it does sound really intriguing.

Look What You Made Me Do by Helen Walmsley-Johnson

This is another book that I got for Christmas and I’ve read really good reviews of it so would like to make this my next nonfiction read of 2020.

 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesdays or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

The Fallout by Rebecca Thornton

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THE ACCIDENT.
THE LIE.
THE FALLOUT will be huge . . .

When Liza’s little boy has an accident at the local health club, it’s all anyone can talk about.

Was nobody watching him?
Where was his mother?
Who’s to blame?

The rumours, the finger-pointing, the whispers – they’re everywhere. And Liza’s best friend, Sarah, desperately needs it to stop.

Because Sarah was there when it happened. It was all her fault. And if she’s caught out on the lie, everything will fall apart . . .

I was really drawn to this book as soon as I read the synopsis and it didn’t let me down! The Fallout is a book about toxic friendships and I love that in a novel! An accident happens at the local health club and the finger-pointing and covering of backs begins very quickly!

Liza is looking after her young baby as her older child is playing and she trusts her best friend Sarah to look over and check on him when she goes to get coffees. But whilst in the queue she bumps into an old acquaintance from when all the women were pregnant she gets distracted.

The way the three women are with each other and the way they all seem to compete to appear perfect, whilst at the same time all trying to be the very best friend in the circumstances was cringe-worthy but oh-so-readable! I find female friendships fascinating, especially when elements of the friendships make them seem more like frenemies. In my experience friendships between women can be so complex for so many reasons and often you never get to know why someone suddenly backs off. It’s something I don’t really understand and I have lived through it many a time. Thornton captures this so well, and it’s made even better in this novel by the fact that none of the women are particularly likeable. I did feel sorry for Liza with what happened to her son, and at times I could understand some of Sarah’s behaviour but overall they are not women you’d want as your friends! And add into to all of this a sprinkling of secrets and lies and you have a potent mix for a novel!

I found this book hard to put down, it really did grab me and it held me right to the very end. If you like novels about messy friendships and you love unlikeable characters then this book is for you. I very much enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading more by this author!

The Fallout is out now in ebook and available for pre-order in paperback. You can order it here.

I received my copy of the book from the publisher via NetGalley. All thoughts are my own.

The Choice by Claire Wade #CTAS #JoinTheFray

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‘Eat the best, leave the rest! Remember Mother knows best.’

Olivia Pritchard lives in constant fear since Mother Mason came into power. Everything from healthy eating to exercise is controlled by the government, all in the name of health and happiness. Olivia hates being dictated to, but to protect her family she must follow the rules or face a stay in the Shame Box – a perspex box, placed in a public place for everyone to judge.

After Olivia witnesses an innocent woman being violently arrested, she is no longer able to ignore the injustice. The underground rebellion ‘Cut The Apron Strings’ is gaining momentum and for the first time in years Olivia has a choice: keep her head down or join the fray…

I was intrigued by The Choice as soon as I saw the eye-catching cover and then I read the synopsis and knew I had to read this book as soon as I could!

The Choice is set in a dystopian world that feels not dissimilar to ours except that sugar has been banned. Food is rationed by the state and hobbies like baking are illegal. People are weighed at the supermarket, at the gym and at social events and all their health data is readily available to officials. People who break the law are put in perspex boxes in public places to be shamed for what they’ve done.

The book mainly follows Olivia as she struggles to cope in this world when in her life before this happened she was a successful baker. She really misses what she did before and who she was before. You can really sense as the book goes on that there is anger bubbling away inside her but it’s kept at bay by the fear of being taken from her children.

I was a little apprehensive that this book was just going to be a take on The Handmaid’s Tale but it isn’t and it does stand separately from it. The fact that The Choice is set in our world and in what feels to be a very close timeline to where we are now is the difference and it’s so terrifying for that reason. We already see people being judged and shamed for their weight and there isn’t as much understanding as there should be for why people might be over, or even under, weight. It’s such a complex issue but the way sugar in food is already been swapped for horrible sweeteners is scary to me and makes this book feel all the more real.

The other thing that I took from this book is the way that Wade is able to show in such a powerful way what it is to be trapped in a situation where your world is getting smaller and you can no longer do what you love or eat what you love. It felt to me that Wade has used her experience of chronic illness to show what it is to be imprisoned in you own life through no fault of your own. I could really sense that given my own disability and how small my world is because of that.

All-in-all this is a great debut novel and well worth picking up. I’ll definitely be looking out for whatever Claire Wade writes next!

The Choice is out now in paperback, ebook and audio book. Buy your copy here.

I received a copy of this book from Orion. All thoughts are my own.

Weekly Wrap-Up (5 Jan 20)!

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This week has been a quiet one for me due to additional medical issues so I’ve been escaping into books.

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I’ve developed something of a superstition in recent times around the first book I read in a new year – being that if it’s a fabulous read then I’m going to have a great reading year. Thankfully my first read of 2020 was Wham! George and Me by Andrew Ridgeley and I really enjoyed it. I read it all in one afternoon on New Year’s Day and it was a perfect start to the year.

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I then read the final third of a book I’d been reading on and off since Christmas – It’s A Wonderful Night by Jaimie Admans and I also really enjoyed this one. It’s festive but not so much so that I couldn’t still enjoy it after Christmas. This is definitely one I’d re-read one year over the festive period.

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The next book I finished was also one I’d started at the end of 2019 and I loved getting lost in the world of The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale. I’d had this on my TBR ever since it was first published and I’m so glad I finally got to it, it really is a gorgeous read.

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After finishing that I picked up The Choice by Claire Wade and I pretty much read it in one sitting. It’s a really gripping, thought-provoking novel. I’ll be reviewing it this week so look out for that!

 

 

 

As for blogging I always love the first week of a new year when I share all my favourite books of the past year and reflect on my reading.

 

 

First I posted my Christmas Book Haul as I was very spoilt with books over the festive period.

Then I shared my Reading Bingo post. I always enjoy putting this post together every year as it’s a chance to reflect on my reading and to share some of the books I’ve read.

Up next was the start of my Favourite Novels of 2019 countdown (I had to split it into two) with the first half of my Top 40 books!

I followed that with my final Top 20 Novels of 2019.

After that I shared my Top 20 NonFiction books that I read in 2019.

On Friday I posted my 2019 Reading Stats post. I love putting this post together and getting the chance to really look at the breakdown of my reading over the year. It’s always so interesting to me to see how my bookish year went.

Yesterday I shared a book haul of the books that I’ve managed to acquire since the beginning of the year!

 

So health-wise it could have been a better week but I’m thrilled with the books I’ve read and the posts I’ve written and shared on my blog so all-in-all I’m happy with how 2020 is going so far! 🙂 How has your week been?

 

I’m Stacking the Shelves with a Brand New Book Haul Today!

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week!

Books and eBooks

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The Choke by Sofie Laguna

I won this book just before Christmas and it arrived a few days ago. I didn’t know a huge amount about it but it sounds like such a good read and I’m looking forward to getting to it.

 

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Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman