My Weekly Wrap-Up (21 Jan)!

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted

 

This coming week is a tough one for me… it’s the anniversary of my mum’s death and also my birthday. I’ve struggled with this week ever since my mum died, as the two dates became so linked together in the year she died that I’ve never quite been able to separate them ever since.  I always feel melancholy until my birthday is over and then the mood lifts again. It’s hard to distract myself when feeling like this but I always do my best to escape into books.

In better news, I had a really helpful first appointment at the hospital with a new consultant. It was refreshing to be listened to and taken seriously, now it’s just the long wait for the results.

Annoyingly, a couple of days ago I opened my MacBook to write some reviews and it was not working at all. My husband has got it working again now but neither of us trust it to keep working as it’s still behaving oddly. Urgh! I can only blog on my MacBook as my dictation software doesn’t work with anything else so if I end up not being around so much in the near future it’s because it’s bit the dust. Hopefully it will keep working for the foreseeable though.

 

 

This week I’ve finished reading four books:

This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay

This book was one of my Christmas presents and I’ve been so keen to read it. I picked it up the other day and it was brilliant, even better than I expected. There is a real mix of humour and heartbreak, and it felt like it really represented what it must be like to work as a junior doctor in the NHS. I highly recommend this book.

In the Days of Rain by Rebecca Stott

I’ve had this book on my audio book TBR for a while and somehow hadn’t listened to it. I then saw a few reviews of it after it won the biography category in the Costa Book Awards so immediately started listening. This is such an open and honest memoir, it’s a book that I feel will stay with me.

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

This is a review book that I’ve had for a little while now but I finally got to read it this week and I loved it. It had me hooked from start to finish and it feels like a book that will really stay with me. I’m struggling to write my review because I loved the book so much. Hopefully I’ll manage to get my words together very soon though.

Out of Orange by Cleary Wolters

This was my other audio book from this week and I enjoyed it. I wasn’t sure of it to start with but once I got into it I found it interesting. I recommend it for fans of Orange is the New Black.

 

This week I’ve blogged three times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday post

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves with my latest book haul

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

Three Things about Elsie by Joanna Cannon

I started reading this book last night and I’ve already had a little cry over it. It’s just so believable and so beautifully written; it feels like this might become a new favourite book. I will be reviewing this once I’ve read it but I can already recommend it.

This is How it Ends by Eva Dolan

This book is so good. I love the way it’s told in a non-linear way and so the story is slowly unfolding, it’s got me engrossed and it’s a book I really look forward to picked it up and reading a bit more.

Spark Joy by Marie Kondo

I haven’t read much more of this book this week as I just haven’t been in the mood for it. I hope to get back to it in the coming week though as I am enjoying it.

Winter by Ali Smith

I’m still very much enjoying this book but I’m struggling to read it because my copy is really tightly bound so it’s impossible for me to hold when I’m not doing so well. I will get properly back to this as soon as the strength in my hands improves again.

Rest in Power by Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin

I’ve read a couple more chapters of this book this week and I’m finding it such a heartbreaking read. I may put this to one side for the next week and pick it back up once I’m feeling on more of an even keel.

 

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The State of the TBR:

Well, I’m really happy to report that three weeks into 2018 my TBR is holding steady at 2753 owned books, which is the same as it was last week! I have looked at books but have resisted buying any. I did get a couple of books from NetGalley but because of the books I’ve read this week my TBR has remained at the same number! I really want to reduce my TBR over this year but to not be increasing it is still something of an achievement for me! You can see my latest book haul here.

 

 


 

How has your week been? What have you been reading? Please share in the comments below. If you write a wrap-up on your blog please feel free to share the link. 🙂

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My latest #bookhaul… Stacking the Shelves (20 Jan)!

stacking-the-shelves

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

 

Today on my blog I’m stacking the shelves with all the books I’ve acquired since Christmas so this my three-week book haul and most of these books were included in my TBR update in my last weekly wrap-up so my TBR hasn’t got out of control!

 

Here are the books that I’ve bought since the end of 2017:

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The Standing Chandelier by Lionel Shriver

I’m a big fan of Lionel Shriver so when I spotted this novella on Amazon at the start of the month I couldn’t resist downloading it. I’m hoping to make time to read this soon, and with it being short it should be fairly easy to squeeze in between other books.

Synopsis:

When Weston Babansky receives an extravagant engagement present from his best friend (and old flame) Jillian Frisk, he doesn’t quite know what to make of it – or how to get it past his fiancée. Especially as it’s a massive, handmade, intensely personal sculpture that they’d have to live with forever.

As the argument rages about whether Jillian’s gift was an act of pure platonic generosity or something more insidious, battle lines are drawn…

Can men and women ever be friends? Just friends?

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The Kill (Maeve Kerrigan 5) by Jane Casey

I already have the first four books in this series on my TBR and it was in my plan to start reading the series this year so when the other books in the series went on offer earlier this month I couldn’t resist snapping them up.

Synopsis:

When a police officer is found shot dead in his car, DC Maeve Kerrigan and DI Josh Derwent take on the investigation. But nothing about the case prepares them for what happens next: a second policeman dies . . . and then another . . .

The Metropolitan Police struggle to carry out their usual duties, but no one knows where or how this cop killer will strike again. While London disintegrates into lawlessness Maeve’s world starts to fall apart too. For if the police can’t keep themselves safe, how can they protect anyone else?

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After the Fire (Maeve Kerrigan 6) by Jane Casey

Synopsis:

After a fire rips through a North London tower block, two bodies are found locked in an 11th floor flat. But is the third victim that ensures the presence of detective Maeve Kerrigan and the murder squad. It appears that controversial MP Geoff Armstrong, trapped by the fire, chose to jump to his death rather than wait for rescue. But what was such a right wing politician doing in the deprived, culturally diverse Maudling Estate?

As Maeve and her senior colleague, Derwent, pick through the wreckage, they uncover the secret world of the 11th floor, where everyone seems to have something to hide…

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The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

I’ve seen lots of good reviews of this book on blogs that I enjoy so I couldn’t resist buying a copy. It does sound like such a compulsive read and I hope to get to it soon.

Synopsis:

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement.
You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves.
You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her.
You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships.
Assume nothing.

 

Here are the books that I’ve received for review since the end of 2017:

 

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Our House by Louise Candlish

I was super excited to receive a surprise copy of this book in the post just before Christmas as I’m a huge Louise Candlish fan! It’s a lovely proof and I’m really looking forward to reading this.

Synopsis:

When Fiona Lawson comes home to find strangers moving into her house, she’s sure there’s been a mistake. She and her estranged husband, Bram, have a modern co-parenting arrangement: bird’s nest custody, where each parent spends a few nights a week with their two sons at the prized family home to maintain stability for their children. But the system built to protect their family ends up putting them in terrible jeopardy. In a domino effect of crimes and misdemeanors, the nest comes tumbling down.

Now Bram has disappeared and so have Fiona’s children. As events spiral well beyond her control, Fiona will discover just how many lies her husband was weaving and how little they truly knew each other. But Bram’s not the only one with things to hide, and some secrets are best kept to oneself, safe as houses.

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Trying by Emily Phillips

I requested this book on bookbridgr quite a while ago but had forgotten about it so it was a lovely suprise when this gorgeous finished copy arrived in the post over Christmas. I’m planning to read this book soon and will be reviewing it on my blog.

Synopsis:

A hugely funny, searingly honest comedy about to expect when you’re not expecting.

Olivia and Felix are trying for a baby. They even moved to the suburbs in anticipation of their future family. But despite approaching her cycle and their sex life with military precision, there’s still no sign of what felt like the sure next step, whilst friends’ broods seem to be growing by the week. Meanwhile, vying for a promotion at work under the (very attentive) watch of a new boss sends Olivia down a dangerous road of risking it all. Does a happy ever after, she starts to question, even have to include a baby?

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The Old You by Louise Voss

This book was a lovely, and very kind, gift from the publisher and I was grateful beyond words as I love Louise Voss’ writing. I bought her first book, To Be Someone, when it was originally published and it remains one of my favourite books. I’ve been a fan ever since do I’m excited to read this one!

Synopsis:

Lynn Naismith gave up the job she loved when she married Ed, the love of her life, but it was worth it for the happy years they enjoyed together. Now, ten years on, Ed has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia, and things start to happen; things more sinister than missing keys and lost words. As some memories are forgotten, others, long buried, begin to surface… and Lynn’s perfect world begins to crumble.
But is it Ed s mind playing tricks, or hers…?

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Fault Lines by Doug Johnstone

This was lovely book post from Orenda books and I’m very much looking forward to reading this. I’ve enjoyed other books by the author and this one sounds like it could be his best yet!

Synopsis:

In a reimagined contemporary Edinburgh, in which a tectonic fault has opened up to produce a new volcano in the Firth of Forth, and where tremors are an everyday occurrence, volcanologist Surtsey makes a shocking discovery. On a clandestine trip to The Inch – the new volcanic island – to meet Tom, her lover and her boss, she finds his lifeless body. Surtsey’s life quickly spirals into a nightmare when someone makes contact – someone who claims to know what she’s done…

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The Lido by Libby Page

This gorgeous book sounds amazing and I’m thrilled to have received a copy in the post last week. 

Synopsis:

Kate is a twenty-six-year-old riddled with anxiety and panic attacks who works for a local paper in Brixton, London, covering forgettably small stories. When she’s assigned to write about the closing of the local lido (an outdoor pool and recreation center), she meets Rosemary, an eighty-six-year-old widow who has swum at the lido daily since it opened its doors when she was a child. It was here Rosemary fell in love with her husband, George; here that she’s found communion during her marriage and since George’s death. The lido has been a cornerstone in nearly every part of Rosemary’s life.

But when a local developer attempts to buy the lido for a posh new apartment complex, Rosemary’s fond memories and sense of community are under threat.

As Kate dives deeper into the lido’s history—with the help of a charming photographer—she pieces together a portrait of the pool, and a portrait of a singular woman, Rosemary. What begins as a simple local interest story for Kate soon blossoms into a beautiful friendship that provides sustenance to both women as they galvanize the community to fight the lido’s closure. Meanwhile, Rosemary slowly, finally, begins to open up to Kate, transforming them both in ways they never knew possible.

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The Cactus by Sarah Haywood

This book is so beautiful, my photo in no way does it any justice, and I was very happy to receive a surprise copy in the post last week. It sounds like it’s going to be right up my street and I’m looking forward to curling up one afternoon soon and devouring it!

Synopsis:

People aren’t sure what to make of Susan Green – a prickly independent woman, who has everything just the way she wants it and who certainly has no need for messy emotional relationships.

Family and colleagues find her stand-offish and hard to understand, but Susan makes perfect sense to herself, and that’s all she needs.
At forty-five, she thinks her life is perfect, as long as she avoids her feckless brother, Edward – a safe distance away in Birmingham. She has a London flat which is ideal for one; a job that suits her passion for logic; and a personal arrangement providing cultural and other, more intimate, benefits.
Yet suddenly faced with the loss of her mother and, implausibly, with the possibility of becoming a mother herself, Susan’s greatest fear is being realised: she is losing control.
When she discovers that her mother’s will inexplicably favours her brother, Susan sets out to prove that Edward and his equally feckless friend Rob somehow coerced this dubious outcome. But when problems closer to home become increasingly hard to ignore, she finds help in the most unlikely of places.

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The Word For Woman is Wilderness by Abi Andrews

This book was such a surprise when it arrived and I can’t even put into words how excited I was when I opened it. I’d already put this book on my wish list as it sounds amazing and I’m really looking forward to reading this.

Synopsis:

Erin is 19. She’s never really left England, but she has watched Bear Grylls and wonders why it’s always men who get to go on all the cool wilderness adventures. So Erin sets off on a voyage into the Alaskan wilderness, a one-woman challenge to the archetype of the rugged male explorer.

As Erin’s journey takes her through the Arctic Circle, across the entire breadth of the American continent and finally to a lonely cabin in the wilds of Denali, she explores subjects as diverse as the moon landings, the Gaia hypothesis, loneliness, nuclear war, shamanism and the pill.

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Forgiveness is Really Strange by Masi Noor and Marina Cantacuzino

I’ve had this book on my wish list for ages but it was always unavailable for purchase so when I spotted it on NetGalley recently I immediately requested it. I’ve already read this one and it was a really powerful graphic non-fiction book. I’ll be reviewing this one soon but in the meantime I definitely recommend this.

Synopsis:

What is forgiveness? What enables people to forgive? Why do we even choose to forgive those who have harmed us? What can the latest psychological research tell us about the nature of forgiveness, its benefits and risks?

This imaginative comic explores the key aspects of forgiveness, asking what it means to forgive and to be forgiven. Witty and intelligent, it answers questions about the health benefits and restorative potential of forgiveness and explains, in easy-to-understand terms, what happens in our brains, bodies and communities when we choose to forgive.

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Whistle in the Dark by Emma Healey

I enjoyed Elizabeth is Missing by this author and so when I saw she had a new book coming out I couldn’t resist requesting it on NetGalley. I was really happy to get approved for it and am looking forward to reading it a little bit nearer publication date.

Synopsis:

Jen’s fifteen-year-old daughter goes missing for four agonizing days.

When Lana is found, unharmed, in the middle of the desolate countryside, everyone thinks the worst is over. But Lana refuses to tell anyone what happened, and police draw a blank. The once-happy, loving family return to London where things start to fall apart. Lana begins acting strangely: making secretive phone calls, hiding books under her bed, sleeping with the light on.

As Lana stays stubbornly silent, Jen sets out to solve the mystery behind her daughter’s disappearance herself…

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The Fear by C. L. Taylor

I’m a massive fan of C.L. Taylor so there was no way I could resist requesting this book! It sounds like such a great premise so I don’t think it’ll be long before I read this one.

Synopsis:

When Lou Wandsworth ran away to France with her teacher Mike Hughes, she thought he was the love of her life. But Mike wasn’t what he seemed and he left her life in pieces.

Now 32, Lou discovers that he is involved with teenager Chloe Meadows. Determined to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself, she returns home to confront him for the damage he’s caused.

But Mike is a predator of the worst kind, and as Lou tries to bring him to justice, it’s clear that she could once again become his prey…

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The Neighbors by Hannah McKinnon

The lovely author contacted me to ask if I’d like to review this book and as the synopsis sounded so good I immediately said yes please. The book’s due out in March so I’m going to wait a little while longer before I start this one but I am really looking forward to it.

Synopsis:

After a night of fun, Abby was responsible for the car crash that killed her beloved brother. It is a sin she can never forgive herself for, so she pushes away the man she loves most, knowing that he would eventually hate her for what she’s done, the same way she hates herself.

Twenty years later, Abby’s husband, Nate, is also living with a deep sense of guilt. He was the driver who first came upon the scene of Abby’s accident, the man who pulled her to safety before the car erupted in flames, the man who could not save her brother in time. It’s this guilt, this regret that binds them together. They understand each other. Or so Nate believes.

In a strange twist of fate, Liam (her old lover—possibly her true soulmate) moves in with his own family next door, releasing a flood of memories that Abby has been trying to keep buried all these years. Abby and Liam, in a complicit agreement, pretend never to have met, yet cannot resist the pull of the past—nor the repercussions of the dark secrets they’ve both been carrying…

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The Reunion by Samantha Hayes

I’ve really enjoyed previous novels by this author so I immediately went and downloaded it as soon as Bookouture tweeted that it was available. I’m certain that this won’t be on my TBR pile for very long!

Synopsis:

Then–In charge of her little sister at the beach, Claire allowed Eleanor to walk to the shop alone to buy an ice cream. Placing a coin into her hand, Claire told her to be quick, knowing how much she wanted the freedom. Eleanor never came back.

Now–The time has finally come to sell the family farm and Claire is organising a reunion of her dearest friends, the same friends who were present the day her sister went missing.

When another girl disappears, long-buried secrets begin to surface. One of the group hides the darkest secret of them all…

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The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn

I’ve been so keen to get my hands on a copy of this book and yet somehow missed that I’m auto-approved for the publisher on NetGalley and could have downloaded a copy ages ago! Ah well, I’m glad I’ve now spotted it and am going to be reading this very, very soon!

Synopsis:

What did she see?

It’s been ten long months since Anna Fox last left her home. Ten months during which she has haunted the rooms of her old New York house like a ghost, lost in her memories, too terrified to step outside.

Anna’s lifeline to the real world is her window, where she sits day after day, watching her neighbours. When the Russells move in, Anna is instantly drawn to them. A picture-perfect family of three, they are an echo of the life that was once hers.

But one evening, a frenzied scream rips across the silence, and Anna witnesses something no one was supposed to see. Now she must do everything she can to uncover the truth about what really happened. But even if she does, will anyone believe her? And can she even trust herself?

 

And right before Christmas I won this fabulous signed book from The Pool:

Still Me by Jojo Moyes

Synopsis:

Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles. She is thrown into the world of the superrich Gopniks: Leonard and his much younger second wife, Agnes, and a never-ending array of household staff and hangers-on. Lou is determined to get the most out of the experience and throws herself into her job and New York life within this privileged world.

Before she knows what’s happening, Lou is mixing in New York high society, where she meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past. In Still Me, as Lou tries to keep the two sides of her world together, she finds herself carrying secrets–not all her own–that cause a catastrophic change in her circumstances. And when matters come to a head, she has to ask herself Who is Louisa Clark? And how do you reconcile a heart that lives in two places?

 


 

So, that’s all of my new books from the past month (aside from my Christmas book haul, which you can find here if you’d like to see it). Have you bought any new books recently? Tell me all in the comments below, or if you have a stacking the shelves post on your blog feel free to post the link below too.:)

My weekly wrap up post will be on my blog tomorrow so please look out for that.

WWW Wednesday (17 Jan)! 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:

 

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

This book is so good! If it wasn’t for the fact I’ve had a rough couple of days I think I would have finished this in one or two sittings. It feels like this is going to be a five star read!

Spark Joy by Marie Kondo

I’m enjoying this book and it’s definitely getting me in the right mindset to have another de-clutter once I feel better.

Winter by Ali Smith

This book is incredible and the only reason I haven’t finished yet is because I’m struggling to hold hardback books at the moment. I will get back to this asap though because it’s fabulous!

 

What I recently finished reading:

The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie

I’ve had this on my TBR since it first came out but I’ve kept putting it off and I don’t know why. I ended up reading the whole novel in one sitting on Sunday, I just couldn’t put it down. It’s an interesting novel and is one that I think will stay with me.

Out of Orange by Cleary Wolters

This was my audio book pick for the last week and I ended up really enjoying it. I wasn’t sure about it at first but it ended up being really interesting. It’s must-read for fans of Orange is the New Black!

Friend Request by Laura Marshall

This book grabbed me on the first page and held my attention all the way to the end. It was one of those novels that I just didn’t want to put down until I knew what was going on. I’ll try to get my review written and posted on here soon.

An Act of Silence by Colette McBeth

This book is such a powerful and prescient novel, I highly recommend it. If you want to know more of my thoughts please click on the title to read my full review.

 

What I plan on reading next:

Three Things about Elsie by Joanna Cannon

I’m so excited to read this book and didn’t manage to get to it over the last few days but I really hope to start it over the coming week. I just know that this is going to be a real treat, and I’m in need of that just now.

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

I got approved for this book on NetGalley just the other day and I’m so keen to read it. It’s due out on 25th Jan so I’m bumping it straight to the top of my TBR!

Trying by Emily Philips

I was sent a surprise copy of this book around Christmas and it sounds like such a good read that I want to make sure I read it soon. It’ll be in my next book haul so this is a bit of a spoiler for that!

 

 

What are you reading at the moment? Have you finished any good books recently? Any books you’re looking forward to reading soon? Please feel free to join in with this meme and share your link below, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below.

My Weekly Wrap-Up (14 Jan)!

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted

 

This week I am finally starting to feel human again after a horrible flu virus that floored me for a couple of weeks. Now my headache has gone I’ve been able to catch up on some blogging and to get some reading done. It’s nice to be back blogging again and I hope to have regular reviews and other posts up from now on as it’s been a while since I was in a routine with it.

 

This week I’ve finished reading four books:

Friend Request by Laura Marshall

I read this book in just two sittings because I didn’t want to put it down. It grabbed me from the opening chapter and kept me hooked all the way through. I’ll hopefully have my review up on my blog this week.

An Act of Silence by Colette McBeth

This is such a powerful novel and one I definitely recommend. I’ve already reviewed this so if you’d like to know more of my thoughts on it please click on the title above.

South and West by Joan Didion

I read Blue Nights towards the end of last year so I was keen to read this new book by Joan Didion. It was a really interesting book and I’m glad I read it.

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

I’ve had this on my review TBR for quite a while now but I finally picked it up in the week and I really enjoyed it. I’m hoping to get my review finished and posted this week so please look out for that.

 

This week I’ve blogged seven times:

My Favourite Novels Read in 2017

My Favourite Non-Fiction Read in 2017

2017 Reading Reflections, Bookish Plans for 2018 & The State of my TBR!

WWW Wednesdays

Reading Bingo Results from 2017

Review of An Act of Silence by Colette McBeth

Stacking the Shelves with my Christmas Book Haul!

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

This book is so good! I started reading it yesterday morning and had to force myself to put it down otherwise nothing would have got done. I then waited until I could sit down for the evening so I could just read and read.

Winter by Ali Smith

This is such a brilliant novel. I want to devour it but I’m reading slowly so that I can take in everything. I loved Autumn but I think Winter is possibly even better!

Out of Orange by Cleary Wolters

I started this listening book the other day and wasn’t initially sure that it was for me but I’ve actually been hooked listening to it over the last couple of days. It’s an interesting book and one that fans of Orange is the New Black will likely enjoy.

Spark Joy by Marie Kondo

I do love a book about de-cluttering and this is my latest pick. I’m enjoying this because it re-affirms what was in Kondo’s previous book and is motivating me all over again.

Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin by Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin

I haven’t read much more of this book this week but it’s definitely properly back in my currently reading pile and I will be reading more of it in the coming days.

 

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The State of the TBR:

So as I posted in my Reading Reflections post this week I’m going to try really hard to work on reducing my TBR this year. At the start of 2018 my owned books TBR totalled 2756 books. As of writing this post it’s 2753 so it’s going in the right direction so far! It’s hard to resist buying new books but I’m trying to keep in mind that I should wait to buy a book until I’m ready to read it. We’ll see how it goes!

 


 

How has your week been? What have you been reading? Please share in the comments below. If you write a wrap-up on your blog please feel free to share the link. 🙂

My Christmas book haul… Stacking the Shelves (13 Jan)!

Christmas Book Haul!

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

I was very spoilt at Christmas by my husband who got me lots of fabulous gifts including a Sonos speaker with built-in Alexa, which I love because I can now just ask it to read me my audiobooks! Seeing as my blog is a book blog though today’s Stacking the Shelves post is all about my Christmas book haul! I know we’re already well into January now but I’ve had a horrible virus and so am slower than usual to post this.

Anyway, here is the book mountain I received…

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There are twenty-four books in total and I’m so excited to read every single one of them!

 

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Winter by Ali Smith

The books included the gorgeous new Ali Smith book, Winter, which I’m currently reading and very much enjoying.

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Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

I also got the beautiful new hardback edition of Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. I’ve already read this – I spent a whole afternoon curled up reading it from cover to cover and it felt like such a treat.

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David Bowie: A Life by Dylan Jones

I can’t resist biographies of David Bowie so I was very happy to open this new one on Christmas morning. It’s a doorstop of a book so I haven’t started reading this one year but I hope to very soon.

 

I hadn’t heard of these two books but they both sound very interesting and I’m looking forward to reading them.

 

I was thrilled to get these two books about space travel! One is a non-fiction look at the final days of spaceflight and the other is short stories based around space travel. I’ve always been fascinated by space and astronauts so I’m very keen to read these books soon!

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Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley

This is a book I’ve been wanting to get so it was lovely to open it on Christmas day. I hadn’t seen it in real life before I got it so it was fab to see how it’s a gorgeous naked hardback. I’m always interested to read more about Jane Austen so it’s lovely to have this one to read.

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How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

This is such another gorgeous hardback book and one that I’m intrigued to read soon.

 

I’ve wanted to read both of these books for a while so I’m certain that these won’t be on my TBR for very long.

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Noughts and Crosses series by Malorie Blackman

This set of books is a series that I’ve been wanting to read for a long time now so I’m hoping to start reading it soon. I’ve heard only good things about it!

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Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks

I’ve wanted to read this short story collection ever since I first heard about it so I’m beyond excited to have my own copy!

 

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The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson

I read The Red Parts by Maggie Nelson in 2017 and I found the writing utterly stunning so I’ve been wanting to read more of her books. I’m thrilled to have a copy of The Argonauts and am really looking forward to reading it.

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Women & Power by Mary Beard

This is such a gorgeous hardback book, and I’m really keen to read it very soon. I’m enjoying non-fiction so this will be high on my TBR for this year.

 

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Excellent Women, No Fond Return of Love & Crampton Hodnet. All by Barbara Pym

I’ve never read any Barbara Pym before but she’s an author that I’ve been interested in reading. It was lovely to open these three books by her in the gorgeous Virago editions.

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Angels in America by Tony Kushner

I’ve had this book on my wish list for absolutely ages but never got around to buying it so I was very happy to open a copy on Christmas day. I really want to read this one soon but am saving it for the right time.

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The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

I first read The Handmaid’s Tale many years ago. I’ve been wanting to re-read it ever since watching the recent TV adaptation but my battered old copy seems to have got lost in one of my house moves so I was very happy to get this brand new hardback edition. It’s such a beautiful looking book and I’ll be making sure this one doesn’t get lost!

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A Guinea Pig Romeo and Juliet

I’ve had pet guinea pigs for years and my husband has bought me one of these guinea pig re-tellings of a famous novel or play and I just adore them! This is the latest one and I’m so excited to read it. I would’ve tried to get a photo of the book with my guinea pig but he  likely would have eaten the pages!

 


 

Did you get any books for Christmas? Or have you had a recent spending splurge on books? I’d love to know about your most recent book purchases, and if you take part in Stacking the Shelves please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll check out your post!

#BookReview: An Act of Silence by Colette McBeth @Wildfirebks @colettemcbeth #blogtour

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About the Book

MOTHER. WIFE. POLITICIAN. LIAR.

THEN: How far did she go to conceal the truth?

Politician Linda Moscow sacrificed everything to protect her son: her beliefs,
her career, her marriage. All she wanted was to keep him safe.

NOW: What will she risk to expose the lies?

When the voices she silenced come back to haunt her, Linda is faced with
another impossible choice. Only this time, it’s her life on the line…

An Act of Silence is about the abuse of power, the devastating effects of keeping the truth buried, and the lengths a mother will go to save her child.

 

My Thoughts

I’m a huge fan of Colette McBeth so when I heard about An Act of Silence I knew it was a book that I had to read and I’m really pleased to say that it more than lived up to my expectations.

An Act of Silence is told from the viewpoint of quite a few characters, which I found really interesting: the way their stories go back and forth in time and are layered on top of each other made the unravelling of the story utterly fascinating and near impossible to put down. Linda is a former MP who resigned in disgrace a few years previously and is now writing a book. Her son Gabriel is a famous comedian who has been accused of murder and just wants his mother to believe that he’s innocent.

I’ll be honest and say that I thought this book was going to be about how a mother tried to cover up what her adult son had done but it is so much more more than I even expected. Seeing the story through both Linda and Gabriel’s eyes really gave such an insight into why they are the way they are with each other. I felt sorry for Gabriel at times for the way his mum just didn’t seem to show she cared but then we’d see her point of view and I could understand more. This novel goes on to be a wider look at child abuse and it makes for difficult reading at times; there are moments that really got to me but I never felt that I needed to stop reading and I put that down to how well written and how well researched this book is.

This is a book that explores what good and bad are, and whether both traits can exist in one person. It explores power and the people who abuse it. The real heart of the book though is in each act of silence. The perpetrators in this book kept quiet because it meant they got away with it, but the interest for me was in the victims and how they kept silent because they thought they wouldn’t be believed. Then later they just didn’t want to have to cope with the fall out of speaking out. Seeing the story from multiple perspectives really gives you pause for thought in this book, and it really made me think.

An Act of Silence is a tense, atmospheric thriller that will really get under your skin. It builds and builds and reaches a point where you feel like you can’t breathe, and you just simply have to know what the outcome is going to be. It’s a very powerful novel that will give you pause for thought, and it’s one that will really stay with me. I highly, highly recommend this book!

I received a copy of the book from the publisher via NetGalley.

An Act of Silence is out now in paperback and ebook!

 

About the Author

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Colette McBeth is the critically acclaimed author of psychological thrillers, Precious Thing and The Life I Left Behind. Her new book, An Act of Silence, about a mother faced with an impossible choice to save her son, is now available in paperback.

Colette was a BBC TV News television correspondent for ten years during which time she covered many major crime stories and worked out of Westminster as a political reporter. Prior to that, she was a news editor for Sky News.

Colette is a member of Killer Women, the female collective of crime writers.

(Author bio taken from: colettemcbeth.co.uk)

 

You can follow the rest of this blog tour at the following stops:

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Reading Bingo Results for 2017!

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I really enjoyed looking through my reading at the end of 2016 to see if I could complete this reading bingo so I couldn’t resist having another go at it today to see if my reading in 2017 could fill the whole square. I didn’t plan my reading around the bingo, I’m purely looking back at the books I read to see if they fit! Here goes…

 

A book with more than 500 pages

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The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

I read a few books that were over 500 pages last year but I’m choosing this book because it has 849 pages and was the longest book I read in 2017!

 

A forgotten classic

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The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald

I’m not 100% sure that this counts as a forgotten classic but it’s the only book that I read last year that sort of counts so I’m using it for this square. It’s a brilliant novel so if you haven’t read it already I definitely recommend it.

A book that became a movie

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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

I really enjoyed reading this book and I’m intrigued to see how they’ve gone about making the movie adaptation when it comes out later this year!

A book published this year

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Anything You Do Say by Gillian McAllister

This book was published in 2017 in ebook and I loved it. If you want to read my review on it please click the title above.

A book with a number in the title

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Three Days and A Life by Pierre LeMaitre

I read a few books with a number in the title last year but I’m using this one for this square because it’s one of those books that really got under my skin and I still think about it. I love this author’s writing.

 

A book written by someone under thirty

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Sofa So Good by Scarlett Moffatt

I was unsure how many of the books I read last year had authors under 30 but I knew Scarlett Moffatt definitely was and I very much enjoyed this book so decided to choose it for this square!

 

A book with non-human characters

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The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

This is a wonderful novel about a man who on a missionary trip to another planet, so this novel features alien beings.

 

A funny book

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How to be Champion by Sarah Millican

This is a funny book, because Sarah Millican is a very funny person so it counts as my choice for the funny book square. The book is also very honest and moving and I recommend it. You can read my review if you click the title above.

A book by a female author

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Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Most of the books that I read last year were by female authors so there were many books that I could have picked for this square but I decided to go with this one as it’s a book that I really enjoyed.

A book with a mystery

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The Surrogate by Louise Jensen

I picked this book for my mystery square because it’s such a good novel with more than one mystery at its heart. I read most of this book in one sitting because I just had to know.. and the reveal when it came was stunning!

A book with a one-word title

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Snare by Lilja Sigurdardottir

I wanted to feature this book in a post looking over my reading as it was such a great read. It meets the criteria for this square and gives me a chance to shout about it again. The follow up to this book is one of my most eagerly anticipated books, I can’t wait to find out what happens next! You can read my full review if you click on the title above.

A book of short stories

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How Much the Heart Can Hold

This is a gorgeous short story collection and I very much enjoyed reading it. The stories are each written by a different author and some I loved more than others but all gave me something to think about.

 

A book set on a different continent

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Little Deaths by Emma Flint

This book is set in America and I live in the UK so it definitely meets the criteria for this square. It’s also another chance to shout about this brilliant novel that still lingers in my mind almost a year after I read it.

 

A book of nonfiction

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Fragile Lives by Stephen Westaby

This is a brilliant book by a leading heart surgeon all about his time as a surgeon. It’s a very open and honest memoir, a book that really moved me. I recommend this if you haven’t already read it.

 

The first book by a favourite author

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I Am I Am I Am by Maggie O’Farrell

This is a bit of a cheat for this square but I’m counting it because it’s the first non-fiction book by my favourite author. This is an incredible book, it was my favourite non-fiction book of 2017 and I’m going to be recommending it for a long time to come. I already can’t wait to re-read it!

A book you heard about online

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The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell

I heard a lot of booktubers talking about this book a while ago and so I bought a copy. It then languished on my TBR for a little while but I finally picked it up last year. I really enjoyed reading about Helen Russell’s year in Denmark and I recommend this one.

A bestselling book

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The Cows by Dawn O’Porter

This was such a great novel, I really enjoyed every minute of reading it. It really does look at female friendship and also how society views women. It’s a book that’s stayed with me and one I hope to re-read in the future. If you’d like to read my full review please click on the title above.

 

A book based on a true story

One Night in November by Amelie Antoine

One Night in November by Amelie Antoine

This book was the first that came to mind when thinking of a book based on a true story because I actually picked this up thinking it was a work of non-fiction. It’s a really harrowing book where the writer explores the terrorist attack at the Bataclan in Paris. I read it because I’ve been exploring trauma again as I worked through my own PTSD last year. You can read my full review by clicking on the title above.

A book at the bottom of your to be read pile

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The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

This book was on my TBR for around twenty years before I finally read it last year! I bought it the year it was first released in hardback and it’s been with me through three house moves. I always knew that I would read it one day but for some reason it intimidated me and I kept putting it off. I’m kicking myself now because I when I finally read it, I loved it.

 

A book your friend loves

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

I could have used a lot of books for this one as I’ve made a lot of friends through blogging and see many book recommendations. I chose this one as I’ve not seen anyone say that didn’t enjoy it. I very much enjoyed this book and highly recommend it if you haven’t read it yet. My review is in the link in the title if you’d like to know more.

A book that scares you

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Final Girls by Riley Sager

This book really scared me! I knew it was going to scare me when I first got it and I wasn’t wrong. I ended up finishing this late at night because I simply had to know how it was going to end before I went to bed, and I was so glad my husband was home with me because I was properly unnerved! I highly recommend this one though, it’s so good. My full review can be found by clicking on the title!

A book that is more than 10 years old

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Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

I chose Bel Canto for this square because it fits the criteria but also because it was a chance to feature it on my blog. I took a long time to come to this book but found it a beautifully written novel and one that really got to me. I recommend it.

The second book in a series

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Watch Me by Angela Clarke

I had a couple of books that I could have picked for this square but I went with this one because I’m really enjoying the Social Media series. I have the third one on my TBR but haven’t managed to get to it yet, I definitely plan to read it in 2018 though.

Book with a blue cover

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Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian

I picked this book for this square because this book is such a beautiful thing to behold. I have read it and while I enjoyed it it isn’t my favourite by this author, the book itself is gorgeous though.

Free Square!

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The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell

I listened to the audio book of this between Christmas and New Year and I loved it so wanted to use this for my free square. I highly recommend this to all book lovers!

 

So I managed to complete my reading bingo for 2017, which I’m happy about! Have you filled in the reading bingo square for your reading last year? I’d love to know your results if you have.

WWW Wednesday (10 Jan)! 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:

Winter by Ali Smith

This book was one of my Christmas gifts from my husband and it’s such an incredible novel. I’m deliberately reading it slowly because I want to savour it, to make sure I don’t miss a thing.

An Act of Silence by Colette McBeth

This book is so good! It’s one of those books that’s really hard to put down and I may even finish reading it before this post goes up. I’m on the blog tour for it on Friday so my review will be up then.

Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin by Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin

I started reading this before Christmas but got side-tracked by Christmas reading. I’ve been wanting to get back to it though so I’ve picked it back up this week. It’s such a heartbreaking book but so important.

Spark Joy by Marie Kondo

I can never resist a de-cluttering book and this is my latest pick! I’m enjoying reading this and making paragraphs that I can refer back to. It’s inspiring me to want to have another clear out in my house once I recover from this horrible lingering virus that I have.

Out of Orange by Cleary Wolters

This is my latest audio book and it’s okay. I was intrigued when I spotted it as it’s by the woman who inspired the character of Alex in Orange is the New Black. So far it’s not grabbing me but I want to give it a bit longer to see if it picks up.

 

What I recently finished reading:

South and West by Joan Didion

I picked this up after really enjoying reading Blue Nights towards the end of last year. South and West didn’t move me in the same way but it was a really fascinating read non-the-less. I recommend this one.

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

This is a review book that has languished on my TBR for way longer than it should have but I’m pleased to say that when I read it over the last few days I enjoyed it. I’m hoping to get my review written and posted for next week so pleased look out for that.

Forgiveness is Really Strange by Masi Noor

This is a graphic non-fiction novel and I’ve been really keen to read it so I was thrilled to spot it on Netgalley recently. It’s a short book but it really made me think. Once I’ve digested it a bit more I will be writing a review on here.

The Deaths of December by Susi Holliday

This was such a good read for around Christmas time and I’m really glad I picked it up. It’s a fast-paced read and I really enjoyed it.

What I plan on reading next:

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

I’ve had this book on my review pile for a while now and time has got away from me but I’m finally going to make this one of my next reads. I’m really looking forward to this, it’s one of my anticipated reads of this year.

Three Things about Elsie by Joanna Cannon

I’ve been saving this book to read this month because Joanna Cannon’s writing always feels like a solace. I’m planning to find an afternoon where I can just curl up and get lost in this book. It’s another of my highly anticipated reads for 2018.

Waco by David Thibodeau and Leon Whiteson

This is another review book and I’ve been really intrigued to read this one as I’ve always been fascinated by cults so this book caught my eye.

 

What are you reading at the moment? Have you finished any good books recently? Any books you’re looking forward to reading soon? Please feel free to join in with this meme and share your link below, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below.

2017 Reading Reflections, Bookish Plans for 2018 & The State of my TBR!

 

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I set myself a goal to read 200 books in 2017 and that felt like a good number – one that would push me to read instead of faffing about but also one that would allow me to read some bigger books that have been languishing on my bookcases for a while. I ended up reading 252 books, which is the most books I’ve read in a year since I started my Goodreads account and began tracking my reading in 2010!

 

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According to Goodreads the shortest book that I read was Christmas Poems by Wendy Cope, which was 39 pages long. It’s such a gorgeous book and was a joy to read in the run up to the festive period. The longest book I read was The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton at 849 pages long. I devoured this book over the course of a few days and I loved it. I was expecting it to be a bit of a trudge at times but it it really wasn’t. I do think it’s a book best enjoyed in big chunks though, I don’t think I would have followed it so well if I’d dipped in and out of it over a longer period. My average page count for the year was 325 pages, which I’m really happy with because that’s roughly the length of an average-ish book so it means I wasn’t reading short books to make up numbers.

I took on the Mount TBR 2017 challenge on Goodreads last year and I chose to try and read 100 books from my TBR that I owned before the 31 December 2016 and I’m so pleased that I achieved this. One of the books that made it onto my favourite novels of the year was The Poisonwood Bible, which I had owned unread for around TWENTY YEARS! I’m kicking myself for leaving it so long because I loved it and it’s a book that has really stayed with me. I haven’t signed up for the 2018 Mount TBR Challenge as yet but I probably will do as it’s a good way to give some attention to books that have been on my TBR for a while.

2017 was the first year that I properly tracked my reading in a spreadsheet and I have to say that I have ADORED being able to see how my reading pans out in much more detail and to track things that Goodreads doesn’t really enable me to do.

 

 

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I discovered from my spreadsheet in 2017 that of the 252 books I read over the year 182 of them (72%) were written by women. I didn’t consciously seek to read more female authors over the year so it was interesting that I read so many more women than men. I’m now interested to see if this is usual pattern in my read as I go into my second year of tracking my books on a spreadsheet.

 

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I read more books in December than any other month… 29 books! This is because around Christmas I do like to read some poetry and also some children’s Christmas books, which are often shorter than novels for adults. My page count for December was still high at 8480. Going by page count February was my biggest reading month coming in at 8495 pages spread over 26 books!

 

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It was interesting to see where my reading tastes lie over the course of a year and to see what genres I read the most of too. 31% of my reading was non-fiction (spread over general non-fiction and memoir), which works out at 79 books. I’m pleased with this in the sense that I did push myself out of my comfort zone a bit more with non-fiction and read some harder books. I would like to increase the ratio of non-fiction to fiction in 2018 if I can. My fiction reading is mostly split between general fiction and thriller/crime fiction, which doesn’t surprise me. I love thrillers and knew I’d read a lot of them last year.

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This is a breakdown of my entire owned books TBR by page-length…

As some of you may remember I started tracking my TBR part way through 2017 as I was trying to force myself to get it under control. I thought it would be interesting to do TBR maths on my wrap-up posts to try and stop buying more books than I was reading. This ended in complete and utter failure! I had a couple of months in the summer where I wasn’t really reading or blogging much but I was still buying books to cheer myself up. Then during a de-clutter of my house I found a whole load of books that had never been added to Goodreads so had never been counted on my TBR. It all felt a bit overwhelming so after my blogging break I decided to scrap tracking my TBR but I promised I would start again in 2018 and I will. This year I’m using Portal in the Pages‘ fab spreadsheet again and she has now included a page where you can add your entire TBR of books owned before the start of the year and the spreadsheet will keep a running total. I am excited beyond words at this… Well, I was until I realised just how big my TBR is! My entire TBR of books owned-but-not-read-yet stands at 2756 books! Eeeek! I really am going to curb my book accumulating this year and am going to make a real effort to reduce this number so will be tracking my TBR on my monthly wrap-up posts, and possibly on my weekly posts too.

So all-in-all 2017 was a great reading year and I’m really looking forward to reading my way through 2018 (and attempting to reduce my TBR)! How was your reading last year? Did you have any goals, and if so did you achieve them? What are your reading plans for 2018? If you’ve written a post about your bookish reflections please feel free to leave a link in the comments and I’ll make sure that I read it.

 

 

My Top Non-Fiction Reads from 2017!

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Today I’m sharing my top non-fiction books that I read in 2017! I posted my fiction favourites yesterday, which you can read here, and because I have read quite a lot of non-fiction over the last year it seemed fitting that it got its own list!

So, in no particular order here are the non-fiction books that I loved in 2017:

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Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan

I’ve had this book on my TBR for quite a while and finally picked it up towards the end of last year. I’m kicking myself for leaving it so long because once I picked it up I was engrossed until I finished reading the entire book. It’s a scary and fascinating story of a rare illness and how it affected her.

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The Red Parts by Maggie Nelson

This was my first ever Maggie Nelson book and it absolutely won’t be my last. Her writing is incredible and moving. This book is her exploration of her thoughts and feelings around the re-opening of the investigation into her aunt’s murder.

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The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee

This book is described as being a biography of cancer and it’s fascinating! I put off reading it because I worried it would be very heavy but it actually wasn’t. I learnt things that I didn’t know and it was such a page turner of a book.

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Thinking Out Loud by Rio Ferdinand with Decca Aitkenhead

This book has made my list because it was such an honest and open memoir about Rio’s grief over the loss of his wife. Later in the book he shares the things that really helped him through the darkest days and all the suggestions are excellent. I recommend this to anyone but particularly those who are grieving. You can read my full review here.

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Just Kids by Patti Smith

I’ve had this book on my TBR for quite a while and somehow never picked it up until 2017. I’m so glad that I finally got to it because I loved every second that I spent reading this book, it’s wonderful.

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Good Night and Good Riddance by David Cavanagh

This is a book containing a wide selection of John Peel’s radio shows. There are descriptions of the shows, parts of transcripts and short lists of the bands and singers he had on his show. I adored this book, it reminded me all over again how many artists I discovered through listening to John Peel.

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It’s Not Yet Dark by Simon Fitzmaurice

This is another book that I put off reading for a long time because it felt like it might be a bit too close to home for me. I’m so glad that I finally read it because it’s a really moving and honest account of living with MND. It actually felt quite life-affirming and it’s a book I highly recommend.

A Manual for Heartache by Cathy Rentzenbrink

A Manual for Heartache by Cathy Rentzenbrink

This is a brilliant book that really does what it says on the cover. I read this in one sitting when I bought it and have since dipped in and out of it, it is a comfort and a solace to have this book to go back to as needed.

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Good as You by Paul Flynn

This is a non-fiction book that I bought and started reading immediately. I really enjoyed reading this, it’s a look over the last thirty years of homosexuality in Britain and it’s fascinating from beginning to end.

How to Survive a Plague- The Story of Activists and Scientists by David France

How to Survive a Plague by David France

This book took me a little while to read but it’s one that has really stayed with me. It’s a look at the AIDS crisis in the 1980s and is a really detailed account of how it was for people dying from AIDS alongside what was happening politically and medically. It’s a harrowing read but one that I highly recommend.

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I Am I Am I Am by Maggie O’Farrell

My list of non-fiction is roughly in no particular order but I have to be honest and admit that this book is my top non-fiction book of the entire year. I’m a massive Maggie O’Farrell fan so to read this book and find out more about her life was brilliant. There were things in this book that sent shivers down my spine because similar things have happened to me, and it really made me think. This is a book that I want to re-read this year, and I fully intend to keep on shouting from the rooftops about how amazing this book is and how everyone should read it!

I really enjoyed the non-fiction that I read in 2017 and am already looking forward to discovering lots more non-fiction in 2018. Have you got a non-fiction favourite from last year? Or any books you can recommend me? Here’s to a great reading year in 2018!

My Favourite Novels read in 2017!

My top fiction reads of

In 2017 I read 252 books, many of them were such brilliant reads, so it’s been really hard picking my top books of the year. Today I’m sharing my top novels read last year, and tomorrow I will share my top non-fiction reads so please look out for that post.

In no particular order the novels that I have loved, and the ones that are really staying with me are:

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The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

This book had (shamefully) been on my TBR for almost TWENTY years! I originally bought it in hardback soon after it was published and over the years have also bought a paperback and ebook copy but was still intimidated to start reading it. Well, I finally picked it up in 2017 and it’s been a huge lesson to me in not avoiding books because I adored it from start to finish. It really got to me and I still find myself thinking about it now.

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The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

This book made the list because I love the way it explored the idea of fate and whether some things are meant to be, or not. It really got to me and it’s a book that I often find myself thinking about. You can find my full review here.

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The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

I loved this novel because I’m someone who wonders about lost things and this book gave me hope and comfort that the precious things I’ve lost over the years might be somewhere being looked after. You can find my full review here.

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The Way Back to Us by Kay Langdale

This is a novel that I read in one sitting, it just had me hooked from the very first page and I still find myself thinking about the family and wondering how they are now. The Way Back to Us explores family dynamics in a way that really makes you think and feel about each and every person involved. I highly recommend this book. You can find my full review here.

The wild Air by Rebecca Mascull

The Wild Air by Rebecca Mascull

This is a wonderful novel about Della who wants to be a pilot in a time when it was near impossible for a woman to train as such a thing. I adored this book, and the characters in it. The writing is so evocative that I really felt I was with Della every step of the way throughout this book. You can find my full review here.

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All the Wicked Girls by Chris Whitaker

All the Wicked Girls is one of those really special novels that just gets under your skin very early on. I still find myself thinking about the characters in this small town and wondering how their lives turned out. This book is just incredible and I implore you to read it if you haven’t already.  You can find my full review here.

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Little Deaths by Emma Flint

This is a fascinating novel looking at how women are viewed in the wake of something terrible happening. Ruth is a single mum who enjoys nights out once her children are in bed. One night her children go missing and the spotlight is on Ruth intensely from that moment on. She is judged by everyone for everything. This is a novel that really stays with you and I definitely recommend it. You can find my full review here.

Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson

Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson

This is a brilliant crime thriller, one that has really stayed with me in the months since I read it. It’s a harrowing read at times but the writing, and the characters make it a book that you need to keep reading. I’m eagerly anticipating the next novel! You can find my full review here.

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Final Girls by Riley Sager

This novel is so good! I was a little apprehensive about it as I don’t like horror, I don’t like to feel properly scared but this book was just so brilliant that I couldn’t put it down. I loved every minute that I spent reading it and I can’t wait to see what the author writes next. You can find my full review here.

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Sweetpea by CJ Skuse

This is another brilliant novel that I loved reading in 2017. It’s very disconcerting when you read a book about a serial killer but find yourself agreeing with some of the things that annoy her. It’s full of dark humour but it’s such a good read, one I’m sure I’ll go back to in the future. You can find my full review here.

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Exquisite by Sarah Stovell

This was a novel that I was desperate to get my hands on from the minute I first saw the publisher share a photo of the cover. The novel did not let me down! It grabbed me from the start and it kept me engrossed to the very end. It’s a novel about female friendship and obsession and it’s brilliant! You can find my full review here.

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The Lie of the Land by Amanda Craig

A quote from my own review of this book: ‘This is such a modern novel. On face value this is a novel about the breakdown of a marriage but it’s really about so much more than that. It’s such an incisive, multi-layered novel about the society we live in. It’s a character-driven story, which looks at class and race issues; it looks at how we define poverty. Amanda Craig really captures our society in a genuine and honest way, whilst also giving it a good dose of dark humour, wryness and wit’. The novel has really stayed in my mind since I read it so I highly recommend it! You can find my full review here.

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The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia

This is such a gripping and compelling novel that really got to me. I hadn’t heard of it before I was offered the chance to read and review it but I fell in love with it on reading it. Hattie Hoffman is one of those characters that really got under my skin and my heart was breaking for her as I read her story. Go read this book if you haven’t already. You can find my full review here.

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Maria in the Moon by Louise Beech

This book appealed to me because Louise’s first novel was one of my favourite books last year, and also because this one is set during the floods in Hull. I knew this book would be one I loved but it even surpassed that very high expectation. I got so engrossed in Catherine’s story and felt at such a loss after finishing this book. I still think about this novel and wonder how Catherine is. You can find my full review here.

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See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

I won an advance proof of this book and was so excited when it arrived. It was one of the first books that I read in 2017 and it stayed with me throughout the year and absolutely deserves a place as one of my favourite reads of the year. This is such a visceral and evocative novel and I still feel like I’ve been in that house where Lizzie Borden took her axe. If you haven’t read this novel yet, go grab a copy and read it asap! You can find my full review here.

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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

I loved this book from start to finish! Eleanor Oliphant is such a fascinating character, and one I couldn’t help but like. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is a tender and moving look at loneliness, at how it is to be given a chance and what it is to find a friend having had a lifetime of just getting through the days. A beautiful novel that I highly recommend. You can find my full review here.

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The Things We Thought We Knew by Mahsuda Snaith

This book came into my life at such a perfect time that it seemed meant to be. It’s an exploration of the complexities of pain, in all its forms, and how we deal with the darkest moments of life. Ravine is someone who will really stay in my heart, I won’t ever forget this book and what it means to me. You can find my full review here.

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Snow Sisters by Carol Lovekin

I adored this novel, almost beyond being able to put into words. It had a lot to live up to as Ghostbird, Carol’s previous novel, very quickly became one of my all-time favourite books but I’m happy to say that Snow Sisters did live up to it. Carol is an incredible writer that weaves stories that just wrap around you and pull you right in. I highly, highly recommend this book. You can find my full review here.

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Tin Man by Sarah Winman

This book broke my heart – I read it in one sitting and I fell completely and utterly in love with it. It was stunning and it’s definitely a book that I want to re-read soon. I didn’t manage to write a review when I read it but I will review it when I read it again. It’s a beautiful novel and it’s stolen my heart!

So, there’s my list of the best novels that I read in 2017! It was an amazing reading year and I’m already so excited to be in a new year and discovering lots more fabulous books. What was your favourite novel from 2017? If you’ve blogged about it please feel free to leave a link and I will go read your post and leave a comment.

Tomorrow (all being well!) I’ll be sharing my top non-fiction reads from last year so please look out for that post!

Mini #bookreviews: #CrimeFiction featuring Anything You Do Say, The Good Daughter, Then She Was Gone & Lily Alone!

Today I’m sharing some more mini reviews of books that I’ve read and enjoyed over recent weeks!

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Anything You Do Say by Gillian McAllister

This novel is brilliant! The premise had me so keen to read it as soon as I possibly could – the idea of a sliding doors type story always appeals to me and this one is the best I have read! The idea of walking home from a club on a dark night and becoming aware that someone is following you, becoming increasingly fearful that the man is going to attack you and you lash out in sheer terror. Then you have to make the decision to either dial 999 and get help, or to run away and say nothing. This is such a clever novel, it really explores the realities of what might happen in each of the two scenarios in such a believable way. It also looks at the impact of guilt and how punishment can come in many forms, and that maybe there is no getting away with it. I loved this book – I finished reading it weeks ago and I still find myself thinking about it. I’ve even bought a couple of copies as Christmas presents as I know people who will enjoy this book every bit as much as I did. I can’t recommend this book highly enough!

 

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

I’ve been a fan of Lisa Jewell ever since reading Ralph’s Party when it was first published and I love how her novels have become darker over the years. This book is my new favourite by her – I literally couldn’t put it down once I started it and read it in one sitting! The premise is that Laurel’s teenage daughter disappeared ten years ago and has never been found. Laurel is trying to make a life for herself and one day meets a new man and his young daughter Poppy. Laurel sees a lot of her missing daughter in the young Poppy and it stirs up her pain and her anguish at what might have happened to her own daughter. This is a book that was pretty much impossible to work out how it was going to end, and yet when the denouement came it felt believable and true to the story. This is a novel that has stayed with me since I finished it and it’s one I highly recommend!

 

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

I’m going to admit something here, something that I can’t quite believe to be true myself but this was my first ever Karin Slaughter novel! After reading it I can honestly say that it absolutely won’t be my last – in fact I’ve already bought a couple of her books and am really looking forward to reading them. This novel pulled me in from the very first chapter and it had me hooked right through to the very end. It’s a book that begins with a crime that happened years previously but now another crime has happened in the present day and it pulls back the people who were affected by the first. This is a crime thriller but it’s also an exploration of family dynamics and how people react in awful circumstances. It’s a novel that has stayed with me in the weeks since I read it and I recommend it.

 

Lily Alone by Vivien Brown

Lily Alone by Vivien Brown

I was drawn to this novel as soon as I read the synopsis – the idea of a young child being found home alone and there being no sign of where her mother had gone sounded like such an intriguing plot. I’m happy to say that this book lived up to expectations! I’ll be honest and say that I was expecting this to be more of a thriller or crime novel but it’s more of a family drama but that didn’t stop me getting completely engrossed in the book.  I was rooting for Lily to be found and to be safe, and also for her mother to be found safe and well. This is a really engrossing novel and one I recommend.

 


 

 

These books were received from publishers via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

All four of the above books are out now!

 

A selection of mini #bookreviews of some fabulous fiction that I’ve read recently!

 

FICTION MINI REVIEW PICS

Today I’m sharing some more mini reviews! As I said in my post yesterday I really want to be caught up on my reviews as much as I can be before the end of the year so I hope no one minds reading shorter reviews of the books I’ve loved in recent weeks.

 

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All the Good Things by Clare Fisher

This novel is such an incredible read, it’s one of those books that really got under my skin  and I still find myself thinking about Beth. I loved the idea of the novel – we know from the start that Beth is in prison and she’s working with a therapist to find good things in her life that she can focus on. The novel is told via the stories Beth is writing down. I knew I was going to like this novel but I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did. The novel slowly shows how Beth’s life has been, and we gradually begin to fit it all together and to really understand how she has been let down. I began to get a sense of why Beth might be in prison but I was hoping I was wrong. This book broke my heart, I actually shed tears as I was reading and I just wanted to reach into the page and make things be different than they were. This is a book that will stay with me, and one I’d like to re-read again in the future. I highly recommend this book, it’s stunning!

 

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

This book is brilliant; I finished reading it a couple of months ago and still find it coming to mind even now. This on face value is a dystopian novel set in a London that is badly flooded and local people are having to flee to safety. The main character is heavily pregnant and resists leaving but is eventually forced to. What follows is her journey as she tries to survive in a rapidly changing landscape but it felt to me that it was really more about motherhood and all the changes and anxieties that this stage in life brings. At times the rising water seems to mirror the anxiety around her new baby and how they were going to get through. This is a short book but it really is worth reading it slowly and making time to take in all the layers within the story. I highly recommend this book.

 

Based on a True Story by Delphine de Vigan

Based on a True Story by Delphine de Vigan

The premise of this book drew me to it – the question posed is What would you do if your closest friend tried to steal your life? The story follows the main character, a writer, who meets a fan at a signing and the fan increasingly encroaches on her life. The novel is written in such a way that at times you feel like you’re reading a true story, and then you realise it’s a work of fiction. There are so many layers and much to muse on as you read. This book took me quite a while to read because I kept putting it down to mull over what I’d been reading. It’s a brilliant novel though and I absolutely recommend it!

 

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I Heart Forever by Lindsey Kelk

I’ve been a fan of the characters in this series of books from the very beginning and am happy to say that this book is really good. I pretty much read it in one sitting and loved being back in the world of Angela, and Jenny. This novel sees Angela being stressed about what is happening at the magazine she works for but there is still plenty of very funny antics and hilarious moments throughout the book. This is a lovely end to this series and it’s made me want to go back to the beginning and start them all over again. I recommend this one, especially if you’ve read the other books.

 

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31 Days of Wonder by Tom Winter

 

This book was such a delightful surprise of a novel for me. From the synopsis, and my assumptions based on the cover, I was expecting this to be a straightforward boy meets girl novel, but I was wrong. 31 Days of Wonder is a quirky look at two characters, Alice and Ben, who meet briefly in a park at the start of the novel and then spend the rest of the book discovering more about themselves as they search for what is missing. Ben actively tries to find the Alice who he imagines to be the perfect woman for him. Alice is unhappy with her weight and her job and has no idea that the man in the park thought she was beautiful. The novel spans the 31 days as Alice and Ben move towards finding the thing they need to be fulfilled and happy. I loved the way it was more about how one moment can change the course of your life for the better in ways you don’t expect. I thought this book was going to be a bit predictable but it really wasn’t – it was lovely and surprising and I really enjoyed it.

 


 

I received all of these books from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

All five of these books are out now!

Mini Reviews: The Surrogate by Louise Jensen, After I’ve Gone by Linda Green, Give Me the Child by Mel McGrath & In a Cottage in a Wood by Cass Green

 

This week I’m sharing some mini reviews on my blog in order to catch up before Christmas! I’ve not been able to write many full reviews in recent weeks due to my energy and strength being used on Christmas preparations but I hope these mini reviews will still give you a flavour of the books.

 

 

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The Surrogate by Louise Jensen

I’m such a huge fan of Louise Jensen’s writing so grabbed a copy of The Surrogate as soon as I saw it. I didn’t need to even read the synopsis because I knew it would be good… and it was so very, very good! I think this may be my new favourite of her novels and it’s a book that has really stayed with me. Kat and Nick had been trying for a baby for a long while and eventually turned to look at adoption. When this didn’t work out it leaves Kat devastated so when an old friend turns up and offers to be a surrogate Kat shrugs off her concerns regarding how they fell out years ago and agrees. This book has so many twists and turns, and actually had me gasp in surprise at one of them, that I honestly couldn’t predict how it would all turn out. The denouement when it comes is shocking and chilling and so utterly perfect. This is definitely a thriller not to be missed!

 

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After I’ve Gone by Linda Green

This is such a refreshing take on a thriller and I devoured it! Jess checks her Facebook on an ordinary January day and discovers that the updates are all from 18 months into the future and her friends and family are mourning her death. This grabbed me from the off as I can’t recall another novel told in this way. Jess initially thinks it’s a joke and then begins to question her own sanity. It leads her to make decisions in order to try and get some of the same outcomes she’s reading about but without it leading to her death. Things get really tough for Jess when she realises how she dies and it becomes apparent that she may not be able to get away. There are elements to this book that I wasn’t expecting and the controlling relationship was one of them. It is so well done though and really shows how easy it is for ordinary, intelligent people to become trapped in an awful situation. I was rooting for Jess all the way through this novel and hoping she could re-write her future just enough to get the good and then to escape. This is a really good thriller and one I recommend.

 

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Give Me the Child by Mel McGrath

This is a novel that really got under my skin. Cat Lupo suffered psychosis around her first pregnancy so when a devastating secret about her husband is revealed, it gradually leads to people close to her questioning her state of mind. I loved this novel. It was interesting to be unsure whether Cat was ill again or whether she was right to be so paranoid about what was going on with this child that has turned up in their lives. The tension in this book really did reach that point where I was literally on the edge of my seat reading as fast as I could because I simply had to know how things were going to turn out. If you’ve not already read this, I highly recommend it. I’m already eagerly anticipating what Mel McGrath writes next!

 

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In a Cottage in a Wood by Cass Green

The premise of this book drew me to it as soon as I read it – the idea of meeting someone on a bridge late at night and then two weeks later receiving an unexpected gift just grabbed me right away! I’m pleased to say that the book didn’t disappoint. The cottage in the wood is such a creepy location and it’s something in books that sets my nerves on edge so this book had me in it’s clutches. The novel didn’t end up being as scary as I was thinking it might be but it definitely had me feeling a bit jumpy in places. I also loved that while I thought I had it all worked out there was a twist that blindsided me, which was great! This is a book that’s definitely worth checking out on these cold winter nights.

 

 


 

 

I received copies of the above books from the publishers via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

All four of these fab thrillers are out now!

#BookReview: All the Wicked Girls by Chris Whitaker @WhittyAuthor @BonnierZaffre

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About the Book

Everyone loves Summer Ryan. A model student and musical prodigy, she’s a ray of light in the struggling small town of Grace, Alabama – especially compared to her troubled sister, Raine.

Then Summer goes missing. Grace is already simmering, and with this new tragedy the police have their hands full keeping the peace. Only Raine throws herself into the search, supported by a most unlikely ally.

But perhaps there was always more to Summer than met the eye . . .

 

My Thoughts

I was thrilled when I received a copy of All the Wicked Girls as it sounded like such a great read; the book ended up being so much more than I even expected and even though I read it a few weeks ago now I still have it swirling around in my head.

All the Wicked Girls is set in the town of Grace, Alabama where a teenage girl, Summer, has gone missing. There is already cloud hanging over this town as a few years previously a series of murders were committed and her twin sister Raine is convinced that Summer’s disappearance is connected. She begins a search for her sister and it leads to many a secret being uncovered.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about Raine in the early part of the book as she seemed quite abrasive at times, but I soon found myself really intrigued by her and wanting to know how she became who she was; in time I was rooting for her and wanting her be okay. As the novel goes on I was absolutely behind her and wanting her to get the answers she needed and to find the inner strength to make something of her life; I wanted her to escape Grace. Some of the other characters in this book really got to me too, like Purv and Noah, and I keep finding myself thinking about them and wondering if they were okay after the book ended. It’s not often that characters stay with me as if they were real people but this book made these characters feel so real to me that I almost can’t believe that they weren’t.

I wasn’t expecting the town of Grace to get under my skin as much as it did. This is a book where the location is a character in its own right; it feels like such a claustrophobic town where everyone knows your business. The weather is similar, the literal dark cloud hanging over this town is so oppressive, it mirrors the growing tension within. The heavy atmosphere was palpable as it was reading, it really did feel like the walls were closing in on me. I honestly can’t express well enough just how much this book draws you right into the heart of it.

The tension builds and builds as the novel progresses. I found that the the opening chapter sets up the mystery really well and then the story progression felt quite slow for a little while but the tension is slowly building right from the start and it does reach that point where you just can’t put the book down; you simply have to find out what has happened to Summer, and what will happen with the other people in this book that you’ve come to know and care about. You do get answers in the novel but there is so much more to this book than a build to a big reveal, because you question the morality of people in this book so much; you wonder about people’s motives and by the end you have people you feel desperately sorry for and others who you feel have somehow got away with something, albeit in side stories to the main plot. This book will make you feel all of the feelings and it will make you think and question and wonder. It’s a great mystery novel but it’s also so much more than that. The characters, the atmosphere, the sense of place – all of it together make this one of the best novels I’ve read this year.

All the Wicked Girls will slowly get under your skin, it will creep up on you until you feel like you are in this town with these people and once it does it won’t let you go. It’s such a brilliantly, atmospheric thriller of a book and is one that I’m sure will stay with me for a very long time to come. This book has got to me so much that I already want to re-read it (and I’m not someone who re-reads very often these days). It will definitely be on my top books of 2017 list and I honestly can’t recommend it highly enough. If you haven’t already read it, go buy a copy asap as you won’t regret it!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All thoughts on the book are my own.

All the Wicked Girls is out now!

 

About the Author

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Chris Whitaker was born in London and spent ten years working as a financial trader in the city. His debut novel, Tall Oaks, won the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger. Chris’s second novel, All The Wicked Girls, was published in August 2017. He lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and two young sons.

#BookReview: A Ragbag of Riches by James Chilton @AuthorightUKPR @gilbster1000 @Authoright

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About the Book

This collection of quips and quotes creates abook for the bower, the bedside, the bath and for browsing; a book at arm’s length from the deck chair, for the tedium of travel but above all for pleasure.

It is a haphazard collection: the Ragbag covering the rougher, even vulgar (but nevertheless witty) entries of graffiti, newspaper headlines and bumper stickers, the Riches being the poetry, prayers and prose of fine minds that inspire by their beauty, sincerity and sublime use of words. At the lower end, I love the astringency and ability of the authors to poke fun with the sharpness of a red-hot needle. At the top end, silver words and profound wisdom sometimes lead me to tears.

So I invite you to wallow or skip lightly. I hope there is something in this salmagundi to make you smile or catch the affections of your heart; to mingle quiet music with amiable irreverence.

 

My Thoughts

James Chilton has spent many years noting down his favourite quotations and snippets that have caught his attention and has now compiled them into A Ragbag of Riches. This immediately had me excited to read this book because for many years I used to write down all of my favourite quotes in notebooks and even though the notebooks are now long since lost I still retain a memory for my favourite quotes. I also can never resist a book like this one where someone has managed to keep hold of their notebooks over the years.

A Ragbag of Riches is set out in chapters covering all sorts of topics from the human condition to bumper stickers to food and drink plus many more subjects. I initially started reading this intending to read it in the order it was set out in but I found myself drawn to different subjects on different days so I read it in a bit more of a random way but it works really well like this, and I feel like it made the book hold more meaning to me because what I was reading was especially inspiring or funny or fascinating to because it was what I was in the mood to be reading on a particular day. I read the whole book over the course of a couple of weeks and very much enjoyed dipping in and out of it.

There is a great mix of poignant quotes along with amusing ones and everything in between, and features a diverse mix of people from poets to politicians, artists to scholars. The book also has great illustrations by Kathryn Lamb, which I enjoyed seeing throughout as I was reading.

On a personal note I did love reading the various comical village names in the Miscellaneous chapter. I giggled when I saw Wetwang, Yorkshire as I used to live near there and it wasn’t a place name that I ever thought anything of until I saw it through the eyes of people not from Yorkshire and it now amuses me every time I hear it!

I also loved the quote from an anonymous six-year old about what Grandmothers mean to us. It brought a lump to my throat and made me think of my lovely nan, who I still miss many years after she died. I won’t type it out here but it’s such a beautiful quote and one to look out for if you get a copy of this book.

I enjoyed the quotes about libraries and reading in this book too. One of my favourites was from EL Doctorow, which so simply and succinctly sums up why I love reading a mix of fiction and non-fiction – it gives such a broad scope to better understand people and history and the world we live in:

‘The historian will tell you what happened. The novelist will tell you what it felt like’.

I stuck post-it notes on so many pages in my copy of A Ragbag of Riches and feel that my life and thoughts have been enriched in lots of ways through reading it. It is such a wonderful book and is one that I will keep hold of and go back to many times in the future, I’m sure. I highly recommend this one to all of you because there is no doubt that there is something for everyone in here. It would also make a brilliant Christmas gift for so many people so it’s worth checking out if you’re still in the midst of Christmas shopping!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

A Ragbag of Riches is out now and available here.

 

About the Author

A grandfather of nine and a father of four, James Chilton lives with his wife and two labradors in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire. He holds diplomas in Architectural History from Oxford University, in Design and in Plantsmanship from The English Gardening School and a certificate in the Decorative Arts from the Victoria & Albert Museum. Perennially busy, James draws, sculpts, designs gardens and jewelry and is a member of Bart’s Choir. He also a member of the International Dendrology Society and has lectured at the Royal Geographical Society and in Oxford. His first book, The Last Blue Mountain, was published in 2015.

 

You can follow the rest of the blog tour at the following stops:

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WWW Wednesday (29 Nov)! 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:

A Ragbag of Riches by James Chilton

I’m really enjoying dipping in and out of this book – it’s a lovely collections of quotations and one that I’ll be keeping hold of after I’ve read it. I’m on the blog tour for this book later this week so look out for my review soon.

Dear Cathy… Love, Mary by Catherine Conlon & Mary Phelan

I haven’t done much reading this week as I’ve been really unwell for most of the last week. I did feel well enough to pick this back up last night and I’m still enjoying it just as much as I was so I’m sure I’ll finish this soon.

The Everything Store by Brad Stone

As I said above I haven’t read much over the last week but I did get a huge chunk of this book read yesterday and am back to being engrossed in it. The chapter I’m on now is all about how the kindle came to be so I’m finding that really interesting.

What I recently finished reading:

Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life by Justine Picardie

I finished this book yesterday afternoon and I’m missing reading it already. It was a wonderful book and one that I’ll be keeping hold of. The hardback edition I read is gorgeous and has loads of fabulous photos throughout so I recommend getting a hold of this version if you are interested in reading more about Coco Chanel.

Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

I read the first book in this series in September so have been looking forward to getting to this one ever since. I didn’t love it as much as the first book but it still had me hooked from start to finish. I have the third book on my TBR and it’s set at Christmas so I can’t wait to read that in the next couple of weeks.

Tell Me How It Ends by Valeria Luiselli

I’ve seen this book around and was interested to read it so when I spotted it on my audio book subscription I decided to listen to it. It’s a short book that packs a punch, it’s one that I’ve been thinking about since I finished it last week.

 

What I plan on reading next:

Wish Upon a Star by Trisha Ashley

I’m going to finish up NonFictionNovember and then I’ll start on my Christmas books! I love the cover on this one and it’s been on my TBR for a couple of years so I’d like to try and read this one soon.

A Miracle at Macy’s by Lynn Marie Hulsman

I was sent this a gift last Christmas and didn’t manage to read it then so I made sure to seek it out on my bookcase when I was thinking about what I wanted to read this Christmas.

Frost at Christmas by R. D. Wingfield

I’ve also had this on my TBR for a while and when I spotted it recently I thought it was a sign I should get it out to read in December! I loved watching A Touch of Frost when it was on TV years ago so I’m really interested to try reading my first Frost novel.



 

What are you reading at the moment? Have you finished any good books recently? Which books are you looking forward to reading soon? Please feel free to join in with this meme and share your link below, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below.

#BookReview: Keep You Safe by Melissa Hill @melissahillbks @HQstories

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About the Book

A mother always knows best. Doesn’t she?

What if your choice for your child could harm someone else’s?

Every mother faces impossible choices. Vaccination is one of the hardest. For single mum Kate O’Hara, there was no decision to make. Her daughter Rosie is one of a small percentage of Irish children who can’t be vaccinated against measles. All Kate can do is hope that her little girl is safe.

For mummy blogger Madeleine Cooper, it was a leap of faith she wasn’t prepared to take when she and her husband declined controversial measles jabs for their daughter Clara. All she can do is pray that it’s the right decision.

But when classmates Clara and Rosie both become sick will Kate pay for Madeleine’s choice?

My Thoughts

I love Melissa Hill’s novels – one of my favourite Christmas books is A Gift to Remember, it never fails to make me smile. So, when I saw Melissa Hill had a new novel due out I immediately requested a copy on NetGalley.

Keep You Safe is different from the feel-good reads that I’ve previously read but it absolutely lives up to those previous books. This novel explores the issue of childhood vaccinations and the potential repercussions when you choose not to have your child immunised. This is an issue that affects so many people and everyone has an opinion so I was fascinated to read a novel that explores this.

There are two sides to every story and Melissa Hill really captures this very well. Kate is a single mum to Rosie and she and her late husband were unable to give Rosie the MMR due to severe allergies. Kate is easy to like and I felt sorry for her throughout this novel. Madeleine and her husband chose not to give their children the MMR because of their beliefs about the vaccination. So when Rosie and Clara both become ill around the same time it sets in play a chain of events that unravel these two families.

I found this to be such an engaging and engrossing novel. It’s one of those books that I couldn’t stop thinking about in the times when I wasn’t reading it. Everyone in my family has had all the vaccines that were available to them and, while I don’t have children myself, I feel I would have done the same . I couldn’t help myself feeling like Madeleine and her husband were being quite selfish and ignorant in not vaccinating their children but I came to be much more understanding as the novel went on. Melissa Hill does a great job at showing both sides of the argument. I know someone who was vaccinated against a different disease many years ago and he was very badly damaged by it so it gave me some sympathy for the characters, even though the MMR is a different issue.

I actually read this book a while ago now and am only just finishing my review now but I can honestly say that this is a novel that has really stayed with me. I’ve recommended it to a few people too because it’s such a good read. It’s always great to find a book that is easy to read whilst also making you think and having a depth to it that makes it stay in your mind long after you finished reading. If you haven’t already read Keep You Safe I highly recommend you grab a copy and read it soon!

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

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Melissa Hill lives in County Wicklow with her husband and daughter.

A USA Today and international No 1 bestseller, she is the author of 15 novels.  A TV adaptation of A GIFT TO REMEMBER will be released as Hallmark Christmas movie in 2017 and SOMETHING FROM TIFFANY’S is currently in development with a major Hollywood studio.

Melissa’s books have been translated into 25 different languages including Bulgarian, German, Czech, Finnish, Latvian, Serbian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Brazilian, Thai and Chinese and have hit bestseller lists in multiple countries. The Italian edition of SOMETHING FROM TIFFANY’S, ‘Un Regalo da Tiffany’ spent eight weeks at No 1 in Italy, selling over 600,000 copies, making it one of the bestselling 2011 Italian books overall.

Her writing combines all the warmth and humour of contemporary women’s fiction with plots that keep readers guessing from page to page.

(Author bio and photo taken from: curtisbrown.com)

#BookReview: Yesterday by Felicia Yap @FeliciaMYap @Wildfirebks

Yesterday by Felicia Yap

About the Book

A brilliant high-concept thriller – a debut with all the intrigue of Gone Girl and the drama of Before I Go To Sleep just how do you solve a murder when you can only remember yesterday?

There are two types of people in the world. Those who can only remember yesterday, and those who can also recall the day before.

You have just one lifeline to the past: your diary. Each night, you write down the things that matter. Each morning, your diary tells you where you were, who you loved and what you did.

Today, the police are at your door. They say that the body of your husband’s mistress has been found in the River Cam. They think your husband killed her two days ago.

Can you trust the police? Can you trust your husband? Can you trust yourself?

 

My Thoughts

After seeing this book around on social media for a few weeks I just couldn’t resist requesting it on NetGalley and I was thrilled when I was approved. I actually read this quite a few weeks ago now but due to ill health I haven’t managed to finish my review until now, but I can say that this is a book that has stayed with me which is the sign of a great read!

I’m fascinated by books about memory and I do love an unreliable narrator so this book really appealed to me and I’m so pleased to say that it absolutely lived up to the appeal. The novel is unsettling from the start because it’s set in our world in the present day but everyone is either a mono (with a memory span of only the last 24 hours) or a duo (who can remember the previous 48 hours). This means that everyone has to keep a meticulous record of their lives in order to recollect anything beyond the time span on their memory. Obviously the duos have an advantage as they can remember things for longer so marriage between monos and duos is very much frowned upon. Claire is a mono, and her husband Mark is a duo. As far as Claire is concerned they have been happily married for a number of years but the only sadness is that they can’t have a child.

Claire is shocked one day when the police turn up at her door to tell her that her husband’s mistress has been found dead near their home and they think her husband killed her. The novel builds with such pace and tension from this point on as we see how Claire begins to try and put together any memories she can find about their past and if there is any hint that her husband has been cheating on her. She only has her diary to rely on for memories and this really ramps up the tension in the novel.

The novel then follows four perspectives – Claire, Mark, the mistress and the police detective – and all four have secrets. Some are dark secrets, and some are things that you can understand and have some sympathy for link in the case of the person who is trying hard to hold on to their career. Everyone in this novel is relying on their diaries and that makes this novel fascinating and makes for a book whereby all of the characters are unreliable (and I do love unreliable narraters!). The unfolding of all the secrets and lies makes for a very tense and thrill-filled novel and I found this very hard to put down!

I did find it a slightly difficult to get into at first as this is a novel set in the present day but obviously monos and duos don’t exist so it was a bit strange. I very quickly got into the story being told though and this aspect became something that fascinated me and I really enjoyed this novel.

This is a really different thriller to anything that I’ve read in a long while and I found it so refreshing. It has twists and turns along the way and some of the reveals I managed to work out and others just blindsided me, which I loved. I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for a sophisticated and different take on the thriller genre! I loved this book and it’s one that has really stayed with me.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Yesterday is out now!

 

About the Author

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Felicia Yap grew up in Kuala Lumpur. She read biochemistry at Imperial College London, followed by a doctorate in history (and a half-blue in competitive ballroom dancing) at Cambridge University. She has written for The Economist and the Business Times. She has also been a radioactive-cell biologist, a war historian, a Cambridge lecturer, a technology journalist, a theatre critic, a flea-market trader and a catwalk model.

Felicia lives in London and is a recent graduate of the Faber Academy’s novel-writing programme. She has just finished her debut novel, Yesterday, a high-concept thriller.

(Author bio and photo taken from: curtis brown.com)

WWW Wednesdays (22 Nov)! 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:

Tell Me How it Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions by Valeria Luiselli 

I’ve heard about this book on a few BookTube videos recently and so put it on my wishlist. I then spotted it on my audio book subscription so I immediately downloaded it and am now half-way through listening to it. It’s a really interesting book.

Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin by Sybrina Fulton & Tracy Martin

This is an ARC that I’ve had on my TBR for a few weeks now and I finally started reading it last night. It’s such a heartbreaking book but it’s such an important and prescient read. I have such admiration for Trayvon’s parents in the way they have tried to channel their grief into raising awareness and to honour their son’s life. I’ll definitely be reviewing this one when I’ve finished reading it.

Dear Cathy… Love, Mary by Catherine Conlon & Mary Phelan

This is such a lovely book, it’s a real feel-good and quite nostalgic read. I recommend this if you want a light-hearted book about two girls in the early 80s as they begin their adult lives.

Coco Chanel:The Legend and the Life by Justine Picardie

I’m enjoying this book so much. It’s only taking me so long to read it because my copy is a really heavy hardback – it’s a beautiful book and one I’ll definitely be keeping but it’s hard to hold and read for more than a chapter at a time. It’s printed on thick glossy paper and has lots of great photos throughout. I recommend it.

The Everything Store by Brad Stone

This is still on my currently reading and I do intend to get back to it soon but I’ve been drawn to non-fiction on other subjects over the last week so I’m going with how I feel.

What I recently finished reading:

Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan

This book has been on my TBR for over three years but when I finally picked it up this week I honestly couldn’t put it down. I read it in two sittings and it feels like one of this books that will really stay with me. I highly recommend it.

Friends Like These by Danny Wallace

This is an audible book that I’ve owned for seven years and somehow have never listened to it! I was in need of something light to listen to at the weekend so put this on and I enjoyed it. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I’d read it when I was younger but it was still interesting to see how Danny tracked down his old school friends.

Flash Boys by Michael Lewis

This was a really fascinating book and the New York Stock Exchange and how companies would do anything to have the edge over others. I didn’t put it on my #NonFictionNovember2017 TBR because I was worried it might be a bit dry and take me a long while to read but I was so wrong. I found that once I picked this book up I didn’t want to put it down and ended up reading it in just a couple of sittings.

Whatever… Love is Love by Maria Bello

This is another audio book that I listened to on a whim. It was an easy listen and there were sections that really made me pause to think about my own life and how I view myself. As a whole it wasn’t quite as good as I hoped it might be but I’m still glad I read it.

What I plan on reading next:

Hystories by Elaine Showalter

I’ve wanted to read this book for ages and promised myself I would definitely get to it this November so I’m really hoping I can read it this week.

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson

I’m always fascinated by the books that Jon Ronson writes and this one sounds like it’ll be a brilliant read.

The Lonely City by Olivia Laing

I hoped to read this last week and didn’t get to it so I’m putting it on my TBR for the week ahead. I’m really looking forward to this one.


 

What are you reading at the moment? Have you finished any good books recently? Which books are you looking forward to reading soon? Please feel free to join in with this meme and share your link below, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below.

Weekly Wrap-Up (19 Nov)!

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I want to start this post by saying a huge thank you to everyone who visits my blog, and especially to this who have commented recently. I’m aware that I’m slow to respond at the moment, and also that I’m not managing to comment on as many of your blogs as I’d like to, but I will get there. Please know that even when it takes me a while I respond, I do very much appreciate every comment.

This week has been quite quiet as I’ve not been feeling great. I have got a lot of reading done though, which has been lovely. I’ve been seeking escapism in books as I have another round of medical appointments and tests coming up and I don’t want to think about those until I have to.

Last night my husband and I curled up and watched The Deer Hunter, which we haven’t seen in a few years. It was so nice to just relax and watch a film together but it doesn’t matter how many times you see this film, it’s never not heartbreaking.

 

This week I’ve finished reading seven books:

Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt by Michael Lewis

This is a book that I was going to put on my #NonFictionNovember2017 TBR and then forgot about! I spotted it this week and was just in the mood to read it so decided to go ahead anyway. I read it in two sittings and found it such a fascinating insight into what goes on in Wall Street.

The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell

I really enjoyed reading this book! I read it a chapter or two at a time throughout the week in between other books and it really worked for me like that. If I’m to be completely honest I did find the author a bit irritating and she didn’t seem to have much of a concept of how lucky she was but, having said that, I loved reading about the lifestyle in Denmark and it has made me want to move there! I’d still recommend the book too.

Whatever… Love is Love by Maria Bello

This is another non-fiction book that wasn’t on my TBR for this month but it caught my eye amongst my audio books. It was an interesting listen, and some parts were thought-provoking but I don’t think it’s a book that will really stick with me.

Saving Sophie by Sam Carrington

This is a novel that I read this week as I was in need of some escapism and non-fiction wasn’t giving me that so instead I picked up this book, which I owned before this year so it’s another one that counts towards my Mount TBR challenge on Goodreads. I enjoyed this thriller, it kept me interested all the way through and I’ll definitely pick up Sam’s next book, Bad Sister.

Thinking Out Loud: Love, Grief and Being Mum and Dad by Rio Ferdinand (with Decca Aitkenhead)

This is such a powerful book about Rio’s grief after the death of his wife. I found it to be a really honest and moving book. I’ve already reviewed this so you can read more of my thoughts on it here if you’d like to.

A Single Breath by Lucy Clarke

This was the other novel that I read this week when needing some escapism. I really enjoyed this book – I do love Lucy Clarke’s writing.

Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This is a very short book that I’ve been meaning to read for ages and I’m glad I finally got to it. It’s one of those books that makes you think about your own thoughts and ideas about things.

 

This week I’ve blogged three times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up post

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday post

Thursday: Review of Thinking Out Loud by Rio Ferdinand (with Decca Aitkenhead)

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan

I just started this book yesterday but it’s already got me engrossed. I don’t think it’ll take me very long to read this. I’m expecting it to be quite harrowing at times but I’ve seen so many people recommend it that I have to read it.

Dear Cathy… Love, Mary by Catherine Conlon and Mary Phelan

This is letters between Catherine and Mary in 1984 – the year they leave school and one goes on to further study and the other goes to France to be an au pair. I’m so enjoying this one, it’s wonderful.

Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life by Justine Picardie

This is a really interesting look at Coco Chanel’s life and I’m really enjoying it. My copy of the book is physically very heavy so I’ll be quite slow to read this but it’s such a treat every time I pick it up.

The Everything Store by Brad Stone

I haven’t read much more of this over the last week but I will be getting back to it soon as I was finding it really interesting.


 

How has your week been? What have you been reading? Please share in the comments below. If you write a wrap-up on your blog please feel free to share the link. 🙂

#BookReview: Thinking Out Loud by Rio Ferdinand @HodderBooks @rioferdy5

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About the Book

‘When Rebecca died, the idea that one day I might begin to feel better would have struck me as laughable … I know how persuasive this kind of permanence thinking can be.

I know too that anyone locked in its grip will laugh if I promise them that their pain will one day ease. It will. Of course it will. But I know better than to expect anyone to believe me.’

In 2015, former England football star Rio Ferdinand suddenly and tragically lost his wife and soulmate Rebecca, aged 34, to cancer. It was a profound shock and Rio found himself struggling to cope not just with the pain of his grief, but also with his new role as both mum and dad to their three young children.

Rio’s BBC1 documentary, Being Mum and Dad, touched everyone who watched it and won huge praise for the honesty and bravery he showed in talking about his emotions and experiences. His book now shares the story of meeting, marrying and losing Rebecca, his own and the family’s grief – as well as the advice and support that get him through each day as they strive to piece themselves back together. Thinking Out Loud is written in the hope that he can inspire others struggling with loss and grief to find the help they need through this most difficult of times.

This book has been written by Rio Ferdinand with help from Decca Aitkenhead.

My Thoughts

A couple of years ago I wrote a list for Riffle of books that helped me through the grief I felt after my mum died (which you can find here if you’d like to read it). The loss of my mum changed me in so many ways and I find that I’m still drawn to books where other people have worked through their own grief. Thinking Out Loud is a book that I’ve been interested in ever since I first heard about it and I finally picked up a copy last week. If I were to re-write my list, Thinking Out Loud would definitely be on it.

Thinking Out Loud is such an incredibly open and honest account of Rio Ferdinand’s grief after losing his wife Rebecca. After her death he suddenly found himself in sole charge of their three children and had to not only work out how to run a household but, more importantly,  he had to figure out how best to help his three young children through their grief and he is so open about how he struggled to know what to do. Each of his children outwardly reacted differently and Rio is very candid in sharing how he just didn’t know how he could help them whilst desperately wanting to help them through it.

Rio is very honest in this book and fully admits that he was in denial about his wife’s illness, that he buried his head in the sand and he explores why he did that. He also shares how some of the things that happened were seemingly lost from his memory, that he genuinely couldn’t remember how things had happened. I can understand that – it’s like your brain just can’t cope with the horror of what is happening and it seems to shut down.

In the book we get to hear a bit about Rio’s childhood, and then how he met Rebecca along with the story of their relationship. Rio wasn’t brought up in an environment where feelings were spoken about and then he became a professional footballer at a young age and his mindset became very focused on how to win, how to move on from failure without dwelling on it. He is very candid in the book and on looking back he sees that he perhaps wasn’t always the easiest person to live with and how he wishes he had listened to Rebecca more. Guilt is something that Rio keeps coming back to as the book goes on and I could really identify with that. I think it’s really common to feel guilt when a loved one dies, we always feel like we could have done more or been better. I appreciate when someone is so honest about it, like Rio is in this book, as it will help others to understand their own feelings.

As Rio was making his documentary for the BBC, Being Mum and Dad, he got to speak with other widowers and some of their stories are featured in this book. It was heartbreaking to read those stories and to see how much their wives still meant to them but it was also lovely to read of the men who had eventually gone on to find new relationships.

Rio acknowledges at the start of this book that he realises that some people will want to read his whole story but others will just want, or need, the advice that he has to give so he tells readers they can skip to a later chapter where it’s more about what he’s learnt, which I think is brilliant. These later chapters have such great wisdom in them about things that might help, and all the advice is spot on. I used to take a notebook to my mum’s oncology appointments but having a friend there who could do all the listening and the note-taking would have made things so much easier. I also completely agree that however hard it is for you, it’s really important to let your loved one speak of their wishes as they come towards the end of their life. I know that listening to my mum talk of what she wanted at her funeral broke my heart but after she died I was so glad that I could do that one last thing for her exactly as she’d wanted it. Rio is right – as difficult as it is – we all need to learn to be better at talking about death.

I highly recommend this book to everyone, and especially to people who are looking after a terminally ill loved one and people who are grieving. I cried a lot when I was reading this book but by the end the tears were healing tears. This is one of those books that will really stay with me, and one I will re-read.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thinking Out Loud is out now!

 

About the Author

Rio Ferdinand is a former England footballer who also played football for Manchester United during Sir Alex Ferguson’s time as manager. Rio played 81 times for England and in 3 World Cups, and is one of the most decorated footballers of all time.

He had his first son with Rebecca in 2006 and they married in 2009, going on to have two more children before her death in May 2015 from cancer.

Rio is now a TV football pundit for BT Sport and as well as his BBC documentary on bereavement, Being Mum and Dad, has made a short Heads Together charity film with Prince Harry on mental health. He is also working alongside Child Bereavement and Jigsaw.

(Bio taken from: Hodder.co.uk)

WWW Wednesdays (15 Nov)! 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:

Coco Chanel:The Legend and the Life by Justine Picardie

This gorgeous book was a Christmas gift from my husband seven years ago! I’m horrified that I somehow haven’t picked it up until now but better late than never and I am thoroughly enjoying this book. It’s a beautifully published book with lots of great photos throughout.

Whatever… Love is Love: Questioning the Labels We Give Ourselves by Maria Bello

This wasn’t on my #NonFictionNovember2017 TBR but it is non-fiction so it still counts. I have the ebook but I was looking for an audio book and spotted it so decided to part listen and part read it. It’s an easy book to listen to so I’m glad I picked it up.

The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell

I’m about half-way through this now and am really enjoying it. I love the way it’s a personal story with facts weaved in throughout.

The Everything Store by Brad Stone

I’m still finding this book eye-opening and interesting but my reading of it has slowed a little as I’ve been in need of lighter/easier reads over the last week.

 

What I recently finished reading:

Saving Sophie by Sam Carrington

So, I broke my own #NonFictionNovember2017 rule to only read non-fiction this month as I just needed the pure escapism that I can get lost in for a while and so I turned to fiction. This was a fast-paced thriller and definitely got me out of my own head for a while.

Thinking Out Loud by Rio Ferdinand and Decca Aikenhead

This book wasn’t on my #NonFictionNovember2017 TBR either but it is non-fiction so that’s okay. I’ve been interested in reading this for a while so when I spotted it on the read now part of NetGalley the other day I immediately downloaded it. It’s a very moving book and I’m glad I read it. I hope to get my review finished and posted later this week.

A Single Breath by Lucy Clarke

This is the other novel that I read this week and I really enjoyed this one. I’m a big fan of Lucy Clarke’s writing and it’s always great to get engrossed in one of her novels. I really enjoyed this one.

Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This is another book that isn’t on my November TBR but this is one I’ve wanted to read since it came out and so I finally picked it up yesterday. It’s a really interesting book and one that makes you think. I recommend it.

Good Night and Good Riddance: How Thirty-Five Years of John Peel Helped to Shape Modern Britain by David Cavanagh

This book was wonderful! I loved reading about John Peel’s radio shows and being reminded of just how brilliant he was. I felt really quite sad when I turned the last page of this and I’m missing having it to dip in and out of. I highly recommend this one.

The Emperor of all Maladies by Siddharta Mukherjee

This is such a fascinating read! It’a long book and yet I seemed to fly through it – it’s written in such an accessible way and I very much enjoyed it.

What I plan on reading next:

Dear Cathy… Love, Mary by Catherine Conlon & May Phelan

I’ve had this book on my TBR for ages and every time I see it I’m reminded of how much I want to read it because I know I’ll love it. So, I’m listing it here and hope I get a chance to read it in the coming week.

Mercury and Me by Jim Hutton

I was huge fan of Queen and can still remember hearing that Freddie Mercury had died. I’m always keen to read biographies of artists I’m a fan of so I hope to pick this book up this week.

The Lonely City by Olivia Laing

I’ve wanted to read this for a while too but it’s one of those books where I feel I’ll get the most out of it if I pick it up at the right time. I’m really drawn to it at the moment and given my current mood I think now might be the time so I intend to start this once I’ve finished one of my current reads.

 


 

What are you reading at the moment? Have you finished any good books recently? Which books are you looking forward to reading soon? Please feel free to join in with this meme and share your link below, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below.

Weekly Wrap-Up (12 Nov)

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This week has been one of those weeks that has disappeared and I’m not sure where it went. My husband had a week off, which was nice. I also had a Grey’s Anatomy marathon starting last weekend as I saw an ad for season 14 and realised that I hadn’t seen Season 13 (it’s because we had a year away from Sky)! So as the episodes were only going to be available until Tuesday I had to get them seen. I’m caught up now but have series linked the new series as my brain needs a small TV break before I watch the new episodes! All the TV watching has eaten into my reading time but I have still managed to finish some books this week.

 

This week I’ve finished reading three books:

Good Night and Good Riddance: How Thirty-Five Years of John Peel Helped to Shape Modern Life by David Cavanagh

I’ve been dipping in and out of this book for a few weeks now but this week I got so engrossed in it that I finished the last third of the book in one sitting. I really enjoyed this book, but it was sad to get to the end and be reminded all over again that John Peel is gone.

The Emperor of all Maladies by Siddharta Mukherjee

I read the whole of this book this week and it was brilliant. It’s quite a long book, and it does have a lot of detail and yet it doesn’t feel heavy-going. I found it utterly fascinating and am now planning to read the author’s book on genes in the coming months.

It’s Not Yet Dark by Simon Fitzmaurice

I’ve had this book on my TBR for a while and hadn’t picked it up because there was a brief time when MND was considered as a possible cause of my symptoms, and just the thought of it was terrifying. This book is incredible and is one that will really stay with me. It’s both sad and uplifting, and it’s always inspiring – I recommend it.

 

This week I’ve blogged three times:

 

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up Post

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday Post

Thursday: Review of Aches and Gains: A Comprehensive Guide to Overcoming your Pain by Paul J. Christo

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell

I’ve had this on my TBR for ages and finally started reading it last night and I’m loving it. I’ve been reading bits out to my husband and now we both want to move to Denmark (and I’m only on chapter two!). I’m enjoying how this is a personal exploration of Jutland but includes info and stats about Denmark as a whole that really add to the reading experience.

A Single Breath by Lucy Clarke

I did say that I was only going to read non-fiction this month but Friday was a bit of a day so I needed escapism and my non-fiction picks weren’t cutting it. I’m enjoying this book, it’s been a good book to get lost in.

The Everything Store by Jeff Bezos

I have only read a couple more chapters of this book this week as I focused on the other books I was reading but I am still finding this really interesting and so will get back to it properly this coming week.

 


 

How has your week been? What have you been reading? Please share in the comments below. If you write a wrap-up on your blog please feel free to share the link. 🙂

#BookReview | Aches and Gains: A Comprehensive Guide to Overcoming your Pain by Paul J. Christo @BullPub

Aches and Gains by Paul Christo

About the Book

Pain is often treatable but doctors, medical professionals, and patients don’t understand the intricacies of chronic pain. Millions who suffer from pain become hopeless. With Aches and Gains, Dr. Paul Christo, a Johns Hopkins physician and leading pain specialist sheds new light on what it means to live with and overcome chronic pain. Dr. Christo shares celebrity interviews, including Naomi Judd, Lisa Swayze, Montel Williams, Ally Hilfiger, and Clay Walker, from his Sirius XM radio show Aches and Gains®, and stories from patients who have found a way to overcome the pain that once controlled their lives. Offering traditional, integrative, and innovative methods of easing pain, the book is a life-changing tool for anyone associated with pain including pain sufferers themselves, doctors, nurses, medical professionals, and caregivers. Features a foreword by renowned talk show host Montel Williams.

 

My Thoughts

I hadn’t heard of this book before I spotted it on NetGalley but I was immediately intrigued by it and so requested it. I suffer from severe chronic pain due to a spinal cord injury and have spent the last couple of years working with my medical team to manage my pain in a better way so Aches and Gains was a book that appealed to me.

Aches and Gains covers a broad spectrum of conditions that cause pain, and how to treat them so some of it was not relevant to me but all of the book was still interesting as it’s helpful to learn how various kinds of pain can be helped by certain treatments. I was pleased to find a mention of my condition in this book with an overview and suggestions of how to manage the particular type of pain that I suffer from. I’ve done a lot of research into the neuropathic pain I suffer from, and have had help from various specialists and can honestly say that most of what I learnt is reinforced in this book. It’s important to consider a holistic approach to managing pain – to look at how stress and how the mind can affect how the body reacts to pain, as well as looking at the most up-to-date medical interventions that may help too. The book is written in an easy-to-follow way, and it’s a book that can be read cover-to-cover or you can use it as a reference guide for specific painful medical conditions.

Aches and Gains feels like reassurance in book form. The easy style of writing that makes it easy to get your head around, even when struggling with pain. The celebrity interviews that are interspersed at relevant points throughout the book are interesting too because it’s always helpful to read about the experience of someone who has been through something similar to you.

This is definitely a book that I will be keeping hold of and will re-read the parts relevant to my health before my next pain clinic appointment so I can discuss some of the treatment possibilities.

Aches and Gains is a book that gives hope that there might still be an unexplored avenue that could help with the pain you might be in, and that is worth such a lot. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is suffering from chronic pain, or to anyone who cares for someone who is suffering with pain. Not all of the book will be directly relevant to you but it’s an easy-to-use guide to a whole range of conditions and it seemed to me that there would be something useful to anyone who picks the book up.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Aches and Gains is out now!

About the Author

dr-christo

Dr. Christo specializes in treating patients with persistent pain in the spine, cancer pain, neuropathic pain (reflex sympathetic dystrophy or complex regional pain syndrome), shingles pain (post herpetic neuralgia), post surgical pain, and thoracic outlet syndrome. Further, Dr. Christo is experienced in performing implantations of pain pumps and spinal cord stimulators for the treatment of unrelenting pain. He also has expertise in clinical anesthesia, epidural placement, and spinal anesthesia.

His current areas of research interest include the use of botulinum toxin for thoracic outlet syndrome, pain in older adults, the mechanisms of spinal cord stimulation, and the application of online educational modules for pain education.

Dr. Christo is the host of Aches and Gains, the first nationally syndicated radio show on overcoming pain that airs weekly on Sirius XM Radio. He has appeared on radio/television/and in print:  XM Satellite Radio with Dr. Mehmet Oz, Lifetime TV’s–The Balancing Act, Dr. Timothy Johnson–Good Morning America Health, Retirement Living Television, and NPR’s The Diane Rehm Show and Talk of the Nation, as well as U.S. News and World Report, Washington Post, and the Baltimore Sun.

(Bio and photo taken from: practicalpainmanagement.com)

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

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 Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone
This is a really interesting book, full of insights into how Amazon came to be. I’m only a quarter of the way through so far but it’s definitely a book I’ll be reading more of very soon.
The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee
This is an incredible book! I’ve been hooked from the start and have learnt so many things. It’s quite a long book and it’s packed full of information and history but it’s written in such an accessible and interesting way. I should finish this in the next couple of days and I’ll miss reading it once I’ve finished it.

Good Night and Good Riddance: How Thirty-Five Years of John Peel Helped to Shape Modern Britain by David Cavanagh

I’m still enjoying reading this book a few pages at a time, it’s making me feel nostalgic for John Peel’s brilliant radio shows.

What I recently finished reading:

It’s Not Yet Dark by Simon Fitzmaurice

This book is so beautiful; it’s heartbreaking and life-affirming at the same time. I’ve put off reading this book for such a long time as I thought it might be too much for me but now I wish I’d picked it up sooner. This is definitely a book that I will keep and I know I’ll re-read it in the future. I’m going to try and review this one if I can get my thoughts together.

This House of Grief by Helen Garner

This was a hard book to read, in an emotional sense, and I needed a break in the middle of it but I’m so glad that I picked it back up. It was fascinating to read the story of a trial from the viewpoint of a journalist watching it all unfold. I think this may become one of my favourite non-fiction books.

A History of Britain in 21 Women by Jenni Murray

This was the first book I finished for Non-fiction November and I enjoyed it. It was interesting to see which women someone else picks as the most influential and interesting in British history.  I didn’t agree with all of her choices but it was fascinating to learn more about all of these women.

What I plan on reading next:

A Pound of Paper by John Baxter

I’m planning on picking this book up next as I think my brain could do with a slightly lighter non-fiction book after finishing The Emperor of All Maladies and It’s Not Yet Dark. I’m excited to curl up with a book about books and reading on these colder, darker evenings.

The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell

This is my other lighter, fun non-fiction read for this week. I’ve had this on my TBR for ages and am so keen to read it, especially as I’ve heard such good things about it.

Chase the Rainbow by Poorna Bell

This is a review book that I was sent a little while ago and I put it off due to the subject matter. I think it’s important to talk about mental health though so I’m going to try and read and review this book in the coming week or two.

 


 

What are you reading at the moment? Have you finished any good books recently? Which books are you looking forward to reading soon? Please feel free to join in with this meme and share your link below, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below.

Weekly Wrap-Up (5 Nov)

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted

This week I decided to take part in non-fiction November so I spent a while sorting through my print and kindle books to make a TBR for that. I read a fair bit of non-fiction anyway but I’m enjoying challenging myself to spend a whole month devoted to it. I haven’t felt too well this week but have been able to escape into books so I’ve been very glad of that.

 

This week I’ve finished reading five books:

This House of Grief by Helen Garner

I started this book about three weeks ago but I had to put it down because it felt a bit too overwhelming for me to read in one go. I picked it back up yesterday and found I then couldn’t put it down, I had to get to the end to see what happened. I think this book will stay with me for a long time to come and may well make it onto my favourite non-fiction books.

A History of Britain in 21 Women by Jenni Murray

This was one of my picks for non-fiction November and it was a great start to the challenge. I flew through this book – it was interesting to see which women Jenni Murray picked to write about and also to find out why. I’d recommend this one.

Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

In typical bookaholic fashion I recently treated myself to a Jenny Colgan Christmas book, which I’m looking forward to reading next month, and it was only when I got home that I realised it was the third book in a trilogy. I also only then realised that I owned the first two books on my kindle so I’m going to try and get them read before December so that I can read the Christmas book. I loved the first book, it was such a gorgeous read and I adored it!

Lie With Me by Sabine Durrant

This has been on my review pile for way longer than it should have, and after reading it I regret leaving it so long because it was a really good read. I think I read it in two sittings and it just had me hooked from the start. Hopefully I’ll get my review for this written and posted soon.

All the Good Things by Clare Fisher

This book was such an emotional read. It’s one of those books that slowly gets under your skin until you just can’t put it down. I’ll be reviewing it on my blog as soon as I get my thoughts together about it but it is a book I definitely recommend.

This week I’ve blogged five times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up post

Sunday: Review of Snare by Lilja Sigurdardottir

Monday: Guest post by author Mimi Thebo on how her accident, subsequent PTSD and eventual recover as a teenager inspired to her write her novel Hospital High

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday post

Thursday: My (rather large) TBR for Non-Fiction November 2017

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone

This is a book I’ve owned for a while as I’m intrigued to know more about Amazon and how it came to be what it is now. I’ve only read the first couple of chapters so far but it’s interesting.

The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee

I’ve had this book on my TBR mountain for ages but whilst it is something I want to read, there is part of me that felt it could be an upsetting read. I’m so glad I picked it up in the last couple of days though as it’s utterly fascinating! It’s much more accessible that I was expecting it to be and it’s a book that once I got into, I haven’t wanted to put it down.

Good Night and Good Riddance: How Thirty-Five Years of John Peel Helped to Shape Modern Life by David Cavanagh

I’m still enjoying dipping into this book and am loving all the stories – there are many things I didn’t know about John Peel and his earlier radio shows to it’s a really fun and interesting read.


 

How has your week been? What have you been reading? Please share in the comments below. If you write a wrap-up on your blog please feel free to share the link. 🙂

My (rather ambitious!) TBR for Non-Fiction November!

NonFictionNovember!

I’ve decided, at the last minute, to take part in #NonFictionNovember! I have a lot of non-fiction on my TBR so it seems like a good time to read more of it. I struggled to make an exact TBR as generally once I make a list of books to read my brain decides it wants to read anything but what’s on the list! This time I’ve picked a selection of books that I really like the sound of – I’ve deliberately picked more books than I’m able to read in a month in the hope that having more choice will keep me on track. I do have some fiction to read and review so I may not read exclusively non-fiction but I aim to mostly read it in November.

I’ve predominantly picked books that I owned before 2017 so that I can use these books towards my Goodreads Mount TBR Challenge as I haven’t managed to complete that as yet, hence why there aren’t any new books (other than review books) on this list. I’ve tried to make my list a mix of easier non-fiction to balance some of the more challenging books in the hope it keeps me on the non-fiction track for the most part!

#NonFictionNovember2017 was started by abookolive and Non Fic Books on YouTube.

Their prompts for this reading challenge are:

Home

Substance

Love

Scholarship

and you can interpret these prompts however you like.

 

Here’s my #NonFictionNovember TBR

Hystories by Elaine Showalter

This is one of my picks for the scholarship prompt. I first heard about Elaine Showalter when she was giving a talk at the university that I was about to start. I loved her talk and went on to read two of her books soon after. For some reason I never got around to reading this one so it seemed a good choice to aim for during this reading challenge.

Nothing is True and Everything is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev

This is another book that could possibly fit into scholarship as Russian politics is something I feel I should learn more about and this book looks like it could be an accessible way to start. It’s also a book that’s been on my TBR for a while so it’s time I picked it up.

Essays in Love by Alain de Botton

This is my pick for Love seeing as it has love in the title! I’ve had this on my TBR for a while too and it seemed a good pick for something to dip in and out of during this challenge to break up some of the heavier books on my TBR.

It’s Not Yet Dark by Simon Fitzmaurice

This book doesn’t really fit any of the challenges but it’s a book I’ve own for a long time and really want to read. It’s a book about the author being diagnosed with MND and how he has come to terms with how that has changed his life. I didn’t read it for a while because there was a time when this felt like it might be too close to home but that time has passed now and I feel ready to read this.

The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell

This book could fit into home as it’s a book about a couple making a new home for themselves in Denmark. I’ve wanted to read this for ages and so I’ve added it to this TBR for some light relief if I find myself needing it.

The Emperor of all Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee

This is my pick for substance as it’s a biography of cancer and looks at the way cells can go rogue within the human body. I’ve wanted to read this for so long but it’s a subject that I find really hard to read about. I’m using this challenge to push myself to read it at last because I feel sure it will be fascinating.

The Lonely City by Olivia Laing

This book is on my TBR simply because I really want to read it and I think it might have a different vibe to other books that I’ve picked and so might be good to change things up a bit.

Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life by Justine Picardie

I’ve had the lovely hardback of this book on my TBR for about seven years now and I have no idea why I haven’t read it yet as it’s a book I really wanted. I also love the author’s writing so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to fit this book in this month.

Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

This is a recent buy but I’m so looking forward to reading that I’ve added it. I may well end up not reading this as I want to focus on books from before this year but I’ve put this on the list in case I get stuck at any point and then I know I can pick this up. It’s the book that inspired Roger Waters to write Amused to Death and as I love that album I am very keen to read this book!

Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan

This is another book that I’ve wanted to read for a long time and I don’t know why I haven’t done so as yet. I feel like this might be a one sitting read and so perfect for this reading challenge.

Mercury and Me by Jim Hutton

I do like memoirs and biographies so have added this one as it will break up the other books I have on my TBR. I’m a huge Freddie Mercury fan and can never resist books about him.

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson

I love Jon Ronson’s books and this one is on a subject that fascinates me so I’m keen to see how he approaches it.

Small Acts of Disappearance by Fiona Wright

This is an essay collection that I’ve been looking forward to and it seemed like a good idea to have another book that can be read on and off throughout the month.

The Undertaker’s Daughter by Kate Mayfield

This is a memoir of Kate Mayfield and how it was to grow up living above a funeral parlour. It sounds like such an interesting read and when I flicked though it seems like a really accessible writing style so seems a good book to have on the list for a reading challenge.

Dear Cathy… Love, Mary by Catherine Conlon & May Phelan

This is a book of letters written between the two authors in the 1980s and it just sounds so wonderful and nostalgic. I can’t wait to read this one!

Selfish, Shallow and Self-Absorbed by Meghan Daum

This is a book that I bought ages ago now and really wanted to read but then the time never felt right. I’m really interested to read about women who’ve chosen not to have children though so a collection of essays seems like a good book to add to this challenge.

A Pound of Paper by John Baxter

This book has been on my TBR since before I had a Goodreads account (more than nine years). I’m mortified because it’s a book about a book addict and I feel sure I will love it. What’s more is that it’s in a lovely hardback edition and when I picked it off my shelf to make this TBR I just wanted to curl up with it right away. Therefore this book also fits the challenge of home for me because books are home to me.

Culture and Imperialism by Edward Said

This has also been on my TBR for a long time (more than ten years!). In fairness I have read some of it for my degree but I never sat down and read the whole book. I’ve kept it all this time so there must be something in me that still wants to read it so I’m including it in this TBR. I will just say that my edition has small text and my eyes aren’t great at the moment so this book may not get read this month but I’m including it on the list to keep it fresh in my mind so that it doesn’t languish on my TBR for another ten years!

 

I also have some Non-Fiction ARCs to read so I’ve included them in my reading plans too

Riot Days by  Maria Alyokhina

This is a book about the Russian band Pussy Riot and how they were imprisoned. It sounds like such a fascinating read and I’m keen to get to it soon. If I don’t manage to read it during this reading challenge, I will aim to have it read and reviewed before the end of this year.

The Day that went Missing by Richard Beard

This is a memoir of how the author looked back at what happened on the day his brother drowned and the aftermath. It sounds like a really moving book but it’s one I want to read soon.

Rest in Power by Sybrina Fulton & Tracy Martin

Trayvon Martin was shot dead whilst innocently walking home minding his own business; he was seventeen years old – it was such a shocking story on the news when it happened. This book is his story as told by his mum. I’m sure this will be a heartbreaking read but it’s important that books like this are read and spoken about.

The Book of Untruths by Miranda Doyle

This is Miranda Doyle’s memoir told through lies – this was all I needed to know about this book before I requested it on NetGalley! I’m so keen to read this book and hope to get to it this month.

Gone by Min Kym

 

Of Women: In the 21s Century by Shami Chakarabati

I just got and ARC of this book this week so I’m adding it to this list of books that I may get to this month. It does sound like it could be a very prescient book given what is happening at the moment with the #metoo so I’d like to read this soon if I can.

Chase the Rainbow by Poorna Bell

I was unexpectedly sent a copy of this book for review a little while ago and it sounded interesting so I added it to my TBR. The subject matter sounds tough as it’s about the author’s husband’s suicide but it’s so important to be more aware of mental health so I want to read this one soon.

Currently reading

This House of Grief by Helen Garner

I’ve been reading this book for the past few weeks but I had a spell where I just wanted to read fiction so it got put to one side. I picked it up again this week though and am back to being engrossed in it.

Good Night and Good Riddance: How Thirty-Five Years of John Peel Helped to Shape Modern Britain by David Cavanagh

This is a book that I’m dipping in and out of and it’s just wonderful. I highly recommend this if you love music and John Peel.

A History of Britain in 21 Women by Jenni Murray

This is an audiobook that I spotted when I was looking for non-fiction in my Audible cloud. I’d forgotten that I had this on my TBR but as soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to listen to it asap. I started listening to it today and am really enjoying it.

The Everything Store by Brad Stone

I can’t remember buying this book but it’s been on my TBR for ages. I started reading it last night and I think it could be a really interesting read.

 


 

Are you joining in with #NonfictionNovember2017? If you are I’d love to know what you plan on reading for this challenge.

WWW Wednesdays (1 Nov)! What are you reading this week?

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:

 

This House of Grief by Helen Garner

I’m back reading this book this week and am finding it very hard to put down. I’m intrigued to know how the case is going to turn out and how it will affect the author of this book.

Good Night and Good Riddance: How Thirty-Five Years of John Peel Helped to Shape Modern Britain by David Cavanagh

I’m still loving dipping in and out of this book, it really is so wonderful to be learning more about John Peel’s earlier radio shows. I was an avid listener from the late 80s/early 90s onwards but missed out on the shows before that. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.

 

What I recently finished reading:

The Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

I recently treated myself to Christmas at the Little Beach Street Bakery and it was only later that I realised it was the third book in this series, of which I already owned the first two so I decided to pick this one up. I love Jenny Colgan’s writing, it always makes me feel happy and this book is wonderful.

Lie With Me by Sabine Durrant

I’ve had an ARC of this on my TBR for way longer than I should have and now I’m kicking myself for not picking this up sooner because I flew through it. I will try and get a review of this written very soon.

All the Good Things by Clare Fisher

This book had me in tears by the end. It’s one of those books where you suspect how it’s going to end as you’re reading but you hope you’re wrong. I loved this book and will be reviewing it as soon as I get my thoughts together.

Aches and Gains by Paul L. Christo

I found this book really helpful and am glad I got the chance to read it. Not all of it was relevant to me but it was good to read about new treatments. I will review this soon too.

Kindness by Jamie Thurston

This book is gorgeous to look at, it’s really pretty and entices you to pick it up. I didn’t find anything new in the tips for showing kindness but it’s always nice to be reminded to be more compassionate.

Snare by Lilja Sigurdardóttir

I loved this book! It’s the first in a trilogy and I’m already eagerly anticipating the next book! I’ve already reviewed this so you can read my thoughts on it here if you’d like to.

One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern

This book has been on my TBR for ages and I finally picked it up a few days ago. It’s not my favourite Cecelia Ahern novel but I enjoyed it, it was a nice feel-good read.

 

What I plan on reading next:

I’ve decided to take part in #NonFictionNovember at the last minute so am in the middle of sorting out a TBR for that. It means I’ll be reading more non-fiction than fiction this month but I haven’t absolutely decided on which books as yet. I will be doing a separate TBR for this readathon in the next day or two so please look out for that.

 


 

 

What are you reading at the moment? Have you finished any good books recently? Any books you’re looking forward to reading soon? Please feel free to join in with this meme and share your link below, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below.

Mimi Thebo writes of the accident, PTSD & recovery that inspired her novel Hospital High @JHPsocial

Today I’m sharing a very inspiring guest post from Mimi Thebo, author of Hospital High, about how what happened to her when she was a teenager inspired her to write her novel.

 

When I was 14 years old, I died in a car accident. I didn’t stay dead, obviously, but I was badly injured. I spent my high school years in and out of hospital. Then, when I was patched up sufficiently, I started my life and never looked back.

It had been a grim time. Dad left the family before the accident and my grandma died after it – all within nine months. My mother and I suffered poverty…we couldn’t afford to heat the whole house and we went without food. The car might have hit the tree, but I’d lost more than my voice and my health in that time…I’d lost my whole way of life. My best friend had been driving the car, and so, inevitably, we grew apart and, by the following summer, I had lost her, too.

It was no wonder I never looked back on the events of 1974.

I got on with my life. I was lucky enough to go to university, and even with health and mobility challenges…and my father refusing to pay the agreed maintenance…I eventually graduated with a good degree. The doctors had told me I’d never be strong enough to work, but I pulled long shifts as a waitress to make the money I needed and was just fine. They’d also told me I should never marry, since I’d be ‘a burden’ to any future husband. But I met a boy who wasn’t frightened of that. We married and I moved to the UK.

I continued to prove the doctors wrong. I climbed mountains. I worked double shifts, sometimes 80 hours in a week.  In London, I learned to type and was soon running whole offices. But then I confounded everyone – I quit work, did an MA in Creative Writing and, within a year, had published two books and began lecturing at a university.

I had put the misery of my youth completely behind me.

Only I hadn’t.

I write stories of hope and recovery and redemption.  I write not just because I want to be a writer or want to make money, but because I want to inspire other people, to help them in their life journeys. And I wasn’t sure I was doing that. My books were good – good enough to get published and sell reasonably well. But they weren’t best-sellers or winning important prizes. There was something missing in my writing, something that made it too fluffy and light, even when I was trying to write about serious issues. And I knew what it was.

I hadn’t really dealt with that horrible time in my past. It was an editor who first suggested that I should write the story of my accident, but I didn’t even consider her suggestion. Ten years later, however, I was ready to listen. I had to confront my past and I had to do it the only way I knew how. I had to write it.

It took five years. At times, I was afraid reading my hospital records and remembering the things that had happened would re-trigger my PTSD.  I didn’t want to try writing about it during the teaching year or when I was solely responsible for my young daughter’s care. So I wrote it in the margins of school life; when school was in session and university wasn’t.

At last I finished writing about the most horrible time in my life. And then I wrote my breakthrough book for children, Dreaming the Bear – it was nominated for every prize in children’s fiction. Writing my trauma had worked for me. And it had worked in more ways than one. It made my writing stronger, but it also made me stronger.

Now the story of my accident, slightly fictionalised, is being published. I hope Hospital High helps other people to deal with their own trauma…  Perhaps it might even inspire them to get the pain of their past down on paper and out of their minds forever. It would make me very happy if it did.

 

 

Did you know writing can help you heal from physical as well as mental wounds?

Studies have shown that writing for a few minutes a day helped cancer patients respond to treatment, made people’s wounds heal faster and even lowered T-cell counts in HIV sufferers.

According to research, writing for twenty minutes a day has a profound effect on anxiety and depression.

You don’t have to write stories or poetry to get the benefit –and you don’t even have to write about worries or illness. You can get the benefit by writing about anything – even scribbling about fashion, football scores or gardening can improve your mental and physical health.

If you begin to enjoy writing for pleasure, there are writers groups and evening classes in every area. Contact your local library or the Arts Council to find one near you.

 

Hospital High is out now in ebook and paperback!

 

About the Author

Mimi Thebo image

 

Mimi Thebo is a Carnegie-longlisted author for children and teens. Her work has been translated into twelve languages, adapted for a BAFTA-winning BBC film, illustrated in light and signed for deaf children by ITV. Born in the USA, she is based in SouthWest England, where she is Reader in Creative Writing at the University of Bristol and a Royal Literary Fellow.

 

 

About the Book

hospital High Low Res-1

My life had been saved…and boy, was I annoyed. Humour and attitude keep Coco going when things get grim. Her relationships with her mother, hospital staff and other injured teens sustain her when her school friendships fall apart. But although everyone’s working to give Coco a normal life, Coco doesn’t think ‘normal’ is enough… When she was fourteen, the author Mimi Thebo died in a car accident. Hospital High is a young adult novel based on the day she died and the subsequent three years spent recovering from the accident.

 

#BookReview: Snare by Lilja Sigurdardottir @lilja1972 @OrendaBooks #snare

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Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review of Snare as part of the blog tour!

 

About the Book

After a messy divorce, attractive young mother Sonja is struggling to provide for herself and keep custody of her son. With her back to the wall, she resorts to smuggling cocaine into Iceland, and finds herself caught up in a ruthless criminal world.

Things become even more complicated when Sonja embarks on a relationship with a woman, Agla. Once a high-level bank executive, Agla is currently being prosecuted in the aftermath the Icelandic financial crash.

 

My Thoughts 

I’m going to be completely honest here and say that I wanted to read Snare from the moment I first saw the cover! This cover is one of the most original and memorable book covers that I’ve seen in a long while and I love how it so perfectly encapsulates what the book is about. I then read the synopsis a little later on and I knew I had to get my hands on this book!

Snare gets off to such an intense start when we follow Sonja as she works out which passenger she can use to help cover her tracks as she attempts to smuggle cocaine through the airport. This grabbed me and from then on I honestly could not put this book down as I simply had to know what was going to happen.

Sonja is a single mother who in trying to do what is best for her son has found herself ensnared in a drug running organisation and she can’t find a way out of it. As the novel goes on you begin to get more of a sense of the trap that has ensnared Sonja and you realise that all is not black and white, this novel has definitely has shades of grey where you find yourself wanting Sonja to be okay whilst at the same time being horrified at what she’s doing. As with the cover, people can seem that they are innocent but look a little deeper and they could be committing serious criminal acts.

Snare is told from multiple perspectives – Sonja; her lover Alga; and Bragi, who works in security at the airport. The chapters are very short and this really heightens the intensity of the novel as it reaches a point where I could barely breathe for the tension, it really is palpable and radiates from the page, and I just had to know what was coming next!

I loved the way that we initially see Sonja as a composed, almost calculating, woman as she goes through the airport but then we see the chapters where she’s at home with her son or dealing with her neighbour and that’s when I began to understand her character more. The layers are built up as the book goes along and it makes for such a fascinating and unputdownable thriller. I was a step ahead of Sonja in seeing the way the net would begin to tighten but that just heightened the tension for me as I was hoping that I was wrong.

Everyone in this book has their reasons for doing what they do – some it’s because they’re trapped, some because they’re selfish and monstrous, and others because ultimately the ends justify the means. I had real sympathy for Sonja as the book went on, and I also could understand why Bragi does as he did. It made the book really interesting to see how the dots begin to join up and to learn who was trapped and who was pulling the strings.

I’m so excited to find out what this is the first book in a trilogy as while Snare has an ending of sorts which satisfied me, it also leaves plenty to have you desperately wanting to read the next book as soon as it’s available!

Snare is such a sophisticated, high stakes thriller with real heart; it’s dark, gripping and incredibly intense! It’s a refreshing and different crime thriller and certainly one you won’t want to miss, it had me on the edge of my seat and I couldn’t put it down – I highly recommend it!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Snare is out now!

 

About the Author

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Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, with Snare, the first in a new series, hitting bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. Lilja has a background in education and has worked in evaluation and quality control for preschools in recent years. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.

 

 

 

You can follow the rest of the blog tour at the following stops:

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Weekly Wrap-Up (29 Oct)

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This week I got a notification from Goodreads letting me know that I’d completed my reading goal for the year. I was really surprised that I’ve achieved my goal already as my reading has been hit and miss this year but it’s great to have done it. I’m not going to increase my goal but I will still be reading lots of books as the year continues! I want to try and read from my existing TBR as much as I can from now on to try and decrease that as much as possible before the start of 2018!

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I also spotted that I’d passed 6000 followers on twitter, which was a lovely thing to discover. Thanks to everyone who follows me on there too. 🙂

 

This week I’ve finished reading five books: