WWW Wednesday (28 Jun) 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 Hidden Legacy by G. J. Minett

This is one of my picks for my #20BooksOfSummer challenge. I’ve had this on my TBR ever since it was first published so I’m really happy to finally have got to it. I’m really engrossed in it and wondering where it’s going to go.

The Child by Fiona Barton

I’m really enjoying this book, it grabbed me in the first few chapters and I’m finding myself thinking about it when I’m not reading it which is always the sign of a great novel. The only reason I’ve not read it quicker is because my copy is a large paperback so it’s difficult to hold for longer periods of time.

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

This is a novella and I thought it would be a quick, easy read. It’s actually a book that has really got under my skin and I’m finding it an emotional read at the moment so now I’m savouring every page. It’s a beautiful novella.

Baby Lost by Hannah Robert

I still haven’t managed to read any more of this book but the issue is entirely with me, not the book. I’m really hoping my non-fiction reading mojo returns soon so I can get back to this because it is such an interesting and moving book.

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

I did read a couple more chapters of this at the weekend and am finding it fascinating but my mood really isn’t for non-fiction just now so I’m just going to dip in and out of this and hope my mojo returns soon.

What I recently finished reading:

Guilty Innocence by Maggie James

This book was brilliant! I got the ebook a few months ago after reading reviews on some of my favourite blogs and it caught my eye on my kindle this week. It’s a very difficult subject matter to write fiction about children who murder but Maggie James got the balance right. I’m going to try and review this at some point but for now I definitely recommend it.

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

This was one of my #20BooksOfSummer and it was excellent. I have to be honest here and say that I’m not the biggest fan on Pride and Prejudice but it is a book I’ve read a few times over the years so I know it well, and this take on it was just brilliant! I very much enjoyed every minute that I spent reading this and highly recommend it.

Based on a True Story by Delphine de Vigan

I loved this book. It was one of those novels that really makes you think about what you’re reading as you’re reading it. I was engrossed in the pages but at the same time my brain was ticking over about what was going on. The writing is so good! I’ll be reviewing this one as soon as I get my thoughts together (hopefully soon!).

What I plan on reading next:

Last Seen by Lucy Clarke

I was planning to read this last week but didn’t get around to it so I’m putting it in my plan to read this week as I really want to read this asap!

Not A Sound by Heather Gudenkauf

I was sent a copy of this book for review last week and I’m really keen to read it so hopefully I can get to it this week too.

 

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.

Weekly Wrap-Up! (25 Jun)

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted

 

This week has been very quiet, and yet eventful at the same time. I’ve made a huge leap forward in terms of finally beating my PTSD once and for all. I faced a big fear this week and it was actually okay so I feel like that’s been a huge achievement. It’s left me feeling very drained so I’ve not been reading as much, or blogging ,but hopefully I’ll be back to normal soon.

 

This week I’ve finished reading three books:

Based on a True Story by Delphine de Vigan

I really enjoyed reading this. It was different than I was expecting but it’s one of those books that is really unsettling and gives you a lot to think about. I’m hoping to get my thoughts together so I can review this soon but I definitely recommend it.

The Law of Similars by Chris Bohjalian

This is the first book I’ve finished from my #20BooksOfSummer challenge. This was one of my three alternates but it was the one I most felt like reading so I went with it. I enjoyed this, it kept me hooked all the way through but I felt it was lacking something. I’m still planning to review it but need to get my thoughts together first.

Labor Day by Joyce Maynard

This book has been on my TBR for ages so when I spotted the audio book on my subscription service I decided to part listen and part read it. I very much enjoyed this one, it had an intensity to it that I wasn’t expecting and it really made an impression on me.

This week I’ve blogged five times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up post

                 Review of Exquisite by Sarah Stovell for the blog tour

Monday: Review of One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday post

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves post

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

Guilty Innocence by Maggie James

I bought this book a while ago after reading some great reviews and it caught my eye on my kindle yesterday so I started reading. It’s such a good book – one of those books that stays in my head even when I’m not reading and that I can’t wait to get back to. I definitely recommend this and it’s currently only 99p on kindle, which is such a bargain for a great read.

The Child by Fiona Barton

I was sent a surprise copy of this for review a few weeks ago and I finally got to start reading it this week. I’m really enjoying it, it’s great to see journalist Kate back as she was my favourite character in The Widow.

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

I was expecting this to be a book that really grabbed me but I wasn’t expecting it to be such an emotional read. I love when a book surprises me in this way and I’m really looking forward to reading more of it.

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

I’ve really been loving reading this one, it’s a perfect summer read. I’m reading this as part of my #20BooksOfSummer challenge and I’m so glad I finally picked this up.

Baby Lost by Hannah Robert

I’ve not read anymore of this over the last week as I just haven’t been in the right frame of mind to read this but it is such an incredibly moving book and I will get back to it soon.

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

I’m still not in much of a non-fiction mood but I did read another couple of chapters of this book this week and it’s so interesting. I hope to be able to read a bigger chunk of this soon.

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Update on my TBR:

TBR at the start of January 2017: 1885 (see my State of the TBR post)

TBR in last week’s Wrap-Up: 1956

Additions:

Books bought/received for review/gifts: 20

Subtractions:

Books read this week: 3

TBR Books culled this week: 0

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1973

See my huge #bookhaul in my Stacking the Shelves post! (24 Jun)

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!

So last week I had a small book haul with just three books being added to my bookcase. Well, this week is a humungous book haul – I’m not quite sure how it happened but I’ve well and truly gone to town with the new books this week!!

 

I bought these books:

If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio

If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio

I’ve heard lots of good things about this book and am very intrigued by the comparisons to The Secret History (one of my all-time favourite books) so had to pre-order this one. I hope to read this soon.

Synopsis:

Oliver Marks has just served ten years for the murder of one of his closest friends – a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day he’s released, he’s greeted by the detective who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, but before he does, he wants to know what really happened ten years ago. As a young actor studying Shakespeare at an elite arts conservatory, Oliver noticed that his talented classmates seem to play the same roles onstage and off – villain, hero, tyrant, temptress – though Oliver felt doomed to always be a secondary character in someone else’s story. But when the teachers change up the casting, a good-natured rivalry turns ugly, and the plays spill dangerously over into life. When tragedy strikes, one of the seven friends is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless.

Fierce Kingdom by Gin Philips

Fierce Kingdom by Gin Philips

I’ve seen some fab reviews of this book on blogs so decided to treat myself on release day this week. It sounds like a bit of a different read to what I’ve read recently so I’m hoping to squeeze this one in between review books soon.

Synopsis:

Lincoln is a good boy. At the age of four, he is curious, clever and well behaved. He does as his mum says and knows what the rules are.

‘The rules are different today. The rules are that we hide and do not let the man with the gun find us.’

When an ordinary day at the zoo turns into a nightmare, Joan finds herself trapped with her beloved son. She must summon all her strength, find unexpected courage and protect Lincoln at all costs – even if it means crossing the line between right and wrong; between humanity and animal instinct.

It’s a line none of us would ever normally dream of crossing.

But sometimes the rules are different.

Marlena by Julie Buntin

Marlena by Julie Buntin

I’d seen this book around before it was released and thought it sounds like a really good read. I went to buy the ebook yesterday and it was the bargain price of £2.84! 

Synopsis:

Everything about fifteen-year-old Cat’s new town in rural Michigan is lonely and off-kilter, until she meets her neighbour, the manic, beautiful, pill-popping Marlena. Cat, inexperienced and desperate for connection, is quickly lured into Marlena’s orbit by little more than an arched eyebrow and a shake of white-blonde hair. As the two girls turn the untamed landscape of their desolate small town into a kind of playground, Cat catalogues a litany of firsts – first drink, first cigarette, first kiss – while Marlena’s habits harden and calcify. Within the year, Marlena is dead, drowned in six inches of icy water in the woods nearby. Now, decades later, when a ghost from that pivotal year surfaces unexpectedly, Cat must try to forgive herself and move on, even as the memory of Marlena keeps her tangled in the past.

The Living by Anjali Joseph

The Living by Anjali Joseph

I bought this on a whim when I got an email telling me it was on sale for £2.99. It seems to have very mixed reviews but I really like the sound of it so am hoping I’ll enjoy it. 

Synopsis:

There is a certain number of breaths each of us have to take, and no amount of care or carelessness can alter that.

This is the story of two lives. Claire is a young single mother working in one of England’s last remaining shoe factories, her adult life formed by a teenage relationship. Is she ready to move on from memory and the routine of her days? Arun makes hand-sewn chappals at his home in Kolhapur. A recovered alcoholic, now a grandfather, he negotiates the newfound indignities of old age while returning in thought to the extramarital affair he had years earlier.

These are lives woven through with the ongoing discipline of work and the responsibility and tedium of family life. Lives laced with the joys of friendship, the pleasure of sex, and the redemptive kindness of one’s own children. This is the story of the living.

 

Holding by Graham Norton

Holding by Graham Norton

I’ve been aware of this for ages but have never got around to buying it. I’m not sure if it’ll be my type of read or not but it was 99p in a kindle deal so I thought I’d give it a go.

Synopsis:

The remote Irish village of Duneen has known little drama; and yet its inhabitants are troubled. Sergeant PJ Collins hasn’t always been this overweight; mother of two Brid Riordan hasn’t always been an alcoholic; and elegant Evelyn Ross hasn’t always felt that her life was a total waste. So when human remains are discovered on an old farm, suspected to be that of Tommy Burke – a former love of both Brid and Evelyn – the village’s dark past begins to unravel.

As the frustrated PJ struggles to solve a genuine case for the first time in his life, he unearths a community’s worth of anger and resentments, secrets and regret.

The Doll Funeral by Kate Hamer

The Doll Funeral by Kate Hamer

I’ve yet to read Kate Hamer’s previous novel (although it is on my TBR somewhere) but I couldn’t resist this one at its current price of 98p on kindle).

Synopsis:

My name is Ruby. I live with Barbara and Mick. They’re not my real parents, but they tell me what to do, and what to say. I’m supposed to say that the bruises on my arms and the black eye came from falling down the stairs.

But there are things I won’t say. I won’t tell them I’m going to hunt for my real parents. I don’t say a word about Shadow, who sits on the stairs, or the Wasp Lady I saw on the way to bed.

I did tell Mick that I saw the woman in the buttercup dress, hanging upside down from her seat belt deep in the forest at the back of our house. I told him I saw death crawl out of her. He said he’d give me a medal for lying.

I wasn’t lying. I’m a hunter for lost souls and I’m going to be with my real family. And I’m not going to let Mick stop me.

 

I got these books on my Kindle Unlimited subscription:

Why People Believe Weird Things by Michael Shermer

Why People Believe Weird Things by Michael Shermer

I saw this book when looking through what had been added to Kindle Unlimited recently and I thought it sounded intriguing. I’m not sure when I’ll get to read it but hopefully before too long.

Synopsis:

In this age of supposed scientific enlightenment, many people still believe in mind reading, past-life regression theory, New Age hokum, and alien abduction. A no-holds-barred assault on popular superstitions and prejudices, with more than 80,000 copies in print, Why People Believe Weird Things debunks these nonsensical claims and explores the very human reasons people find otherworldly phenomena, conspiracy theories, and cults so appealing. In an entirely new chapter, “Why Smart People Believe in Weird Things,” Michael Shermer takes on science luminaries like physicist Frank Tippler and others, who hide their spiritual beliefs behind the trappings of science.

Shermer, science historian and true crusader, also reveals the more dangerous side of such illogical thinking, including Holocaust denial, the recovered-memory movement, the satanic ritual abuse scare, and other modern crazes. Why People Believe Strange Things is an eye-opening resource for the most gullible among us and those who want to protect them.

The Life of Elves by Muriel Barbery

The Life of Elves by Muriel Barbery

I’ve got another book by this author on my TBR so when I saw this one I was keen to add it to my list. I love the sound of it from the synopsis.

Synopsis:

The villagers had never seen anything like it: dense white curtains of snow that instantly transformed the landscape. Not in autumn, not here in Burgundy. And on the same night a baby was discovered, dark-eyed little Maria, who would transform all their lives.

Hundreds of miles away in the mountains of Abruzzo, another foundling, Clara, astonishes everyone with her extraordinary talent for piano-playing. But her gifts go far beyond simple musicianship.

As a time of great danger looms, though the girls know nothing of each other, it is the bond that unites them and others like them, which will ultimately offer the only chance for good to prevail in the world.

The Dead Lake by Hamid Ismailov

The Dead Lake by Hamid Ismailov

I’ve read a couple of books by this publisher a while ago and have been keen to read more so when I spotted this book and the one below I couldn’t resist.

Synopsis:

A haunting Russian tale about the environmental legacy of the Cold War.

Yerzhan grows up in a remote part of Soviet Kazakhstan where atomic weapons are tested. As a young boy he falls in love with the neighbour’s daughter and one evening, to impress her, he dives into a forbidden lake. The radioactive water changes Yerzhan. He will never grow into a man. While the girl he loves becomes a beautiful woman.

Why Peirene chose to publish this book: Like a Grimm’s fairy tale, this story transforms an innermost fear into an outward reality. We witness a prepubescent boy’s secret terror of not growing up into a man. We also wander in a beautiful, fierce landscape unlike any other we find in Western literature. And by the end of Yerzhana’s tale we are awe-struck by our human resilience in the face of catastrophic, man-made, follies.

The Brothers by Asko Sahlberg

The Brothers by Asko Sahlberg

Synopsis:

A Shakespearean drama from icy Finland.

Finland, 1809. Henrik and Erik are brothers who fought on opposite sides in the war between Sweden and Russia. With peace declared, they both return to their snowed-in farm. But who is the master? Sexual tensions, old grudges, family secrets: all come to a head in this dark and gripping saga.

Why Peirene chose to publish this book: ‘This is a historical novel in miniature form. It deals in dark passions and delivers as many twists as a 500-page epic. And if that were not enough, each character speaks in a distinct voice and expresses a unique take on reality. I’m thrilled to be publishing a book that is as Finnish as a forest in winter – but that resembles a work from the American South: William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying.’

I received seven review books:

Is Monogamy Dead? by Rosie Wilby

Is Monogamy Dead? by Rosie Wilby

I was offered the chance to read and review this for the forthcoming blog tour and am really looking forward to starting this. It sounds like a really interesting and fun read.

Synopsis:

In early 2013, comedian Rosie Wilby found herself at a crossroads with everything she’d ever believed about romantic relationships. When people asked, ‘who’s the love of your life?’ there was no simple answer. Did they mean her former flatmate who she’d experienced the most ecstatic, heady, yet ultimately doomed, fling with? Or did they mean the deep, lasting companionate partnerships that gave her a sense of belonging and family? Surely, most human beings need both.

Mixing humour, heartache and science, Is Monogamy Dead? details Rosie’s very personal quest to find out why Western society is clinging to a concept that doesn’t work that well for some of us and is laden with ambiguous assumptions.

Yesterday by Felicia Yap

Yesterday by Felicia Yap

I’ve seen this book around a lot on social media and I’ve been so keen to get hold of a copy so I was thrilled when I spotted it on NetGalley this week. I can’t wait to read this one!

Synopsis:

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?

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

This is another book that I’ve been eager to get my hands on so I’m thrilled to have a copy now. This isn’t due out until the end of the year so I’m going to try and not read it too far ahead of publication but I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to hold out for!

Synopsis:

Anatomy of a Scandal centres on a high-profile marriage that begins to unravel when the husband is accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is sure her husband, James, is innocent and desperately hopes to protect her precious family from the lies which might ruin them. Kate is the barrister who will prosecute the case – she is equally certain that James is guilty and determined he will pay for his crimes.

A high-profile marriage thrust into the spotlight. A wife, determined to keep her family safe, must face a prosecutor who believes justice has been a long time coming. A scandal that will rock Westminster. And the women caught at the heart of it.

Aches and Gains by Paul Christo

Aches and Gains by Paul Christo

I spotted this on the read now section of NetGalley and immediately downloaded it. I suffer with severe chronic pain so am always open to things that may help me and this book grabbed my attention and I plan to read it soon (once my non-fiction mojo returns!).

Synopsis:

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(R), 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.

Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber

Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber

This is another book that has been on my radar for a while now so when I also spotted this on read now on NetGalley I simply had to download it. I’m really keen to read this one too!

Synopsis:

The only thing more dangerous than a lie . . . is the truth

Josie Buhrman has spent the last ten years trying to escape her family’s reputation and with good reason: her father was murdered, her mother ran away to join a cult, and her twin sister Lanie, once Josie’s closest friend and confidant, betrayed her. Now, Josie has settled in New York with her boyfriend Caleb, and that’s where she intends to stay.

The only problem is that she has lied to Caleb about every detail of her past – starting with her last name.

Then investigative reporter Poppy Parnell sets off a media firestorm with a hit podcast that reopens the case of her father’s murder and Josie’s carefully constructed world begins to unravel. She is forced to return to her hometown where she must confront the lies from her past – as well as those on which she has staked her future.

The Death of Her by Debbie Howells

The Death of Her by Debbie Howells

I requested this book on a whim as I love the sound of the synopsis, it really has me intrigued to know what’s going on so I’m looking forward to reading this.

Synopsis:

A woman’s body is discovered on a Cornish farm, battered and left for dead in a maize field. Airlifted to hospital, her life hanging in the balance, no one’s sure who she is. Three days later she comes round, but her memory is damaged. She knows her name – Evie – but no more, until she remembers another name. Angel – her three-year-old daughter.

As the police circulate Evie’s photo, someone recognizes her. Charlotte knew her years ago, at school, when another child went missing. Leah Danning, who vanished whilst in Evie’s care.

When the police search Evie’s home, there’s no sign of Angel. More disturbingly, there’s no evidence that she ever lived there, forcing the police to question whether Evie’s having some kind of breakdown.

But even from the darkest place she’s ever known, Evie believes her daughter is alive. The police remain unconvinced – unaware that on the fringes of Evie’s life, there’s someone else. Someone hidden, watching her every move, with their own agenda and their own twisted version of reality.

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Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf

I was contacted by the publisher about this book and as soon as I heard what it was about I immediately accepted a copy. It sounds like it’s a bit different to other books in the genre and I’m really keen to read this. I think I’ll be picking this up in the next week or so.

Synopsis:

‘I’m going to die tonight. But I won’t go quietly.’

Amelia Winn has a lot of regrets. She regrets the first drink after she lost her hearing. She regrets destroying her family as she spiralled into depression. Mostly, she regrets not calling Gwen Locke back.

Because now Gwen is dead. And as Amelia begins to unearth the terrible secrets that led to Gwen’s naked body being dumped in the freezing water, she realises that she might be next.

But how do you catch a killer when you can’t hear him coming?

 

Giveaway Win:

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I was over the moon to get an email from Quercus to tell me I had won this fabulous goody bag!

The books inside are:

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Mend the Living by Maylis de Kerangal

I was so pleased to discover this in my goody bag as it was on my wish list. I’ve read quite a few books that have been on the Wellcome prize shortlist and all have been incredible so I have high hopes for this one. 

Synopsis:

A twenty-four-hour whirlwind of death and life.

In the depths of a winter’s night, the heart of Simon Limbeau is resting, readying itself for the day to come. In a few hours’ time, just before six, his alarm will go off and he will venture into the freezing dawn, drive down to the beach, and go surfing with his friends. A trip he has made a hundred times and yet, today, the heart of Simon Limbeau will encounter a very different course.

But for now, the black-box of his body is free to leap, swell, melt and sink, just as it has throughout the years of Simon’s young life.

5.50 a.m.

This is his heart.

And here is its story.

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The Book of Forgotten Authors by Christopher Fowler

I’d not heard of this book before but I love the sound of it from the synopsis, plus it’s a gorgeous looking book too! I think this is due to be published later in the summer so I’ll aim to read it and review around its publication date.

Synopsis:

Absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder. It makes people think you’re dead.

So begins Christopher Fowler’s foray into the back catalogues and backstories of 99 authors who, once hugely popular, have all but disappeared from our shelves.

Whether male or female, domestic or international, flash-in-the-pan or prolific, mega-seller or prize-winner – no author, it seems, can ever be fully immune from the fate of being forgotten. And Fowler, as well as remembering their careers, lifts the lid on their lives, and why they often stopped writing or disappeared from the public eye.

These 99 journeys are punctuated by 12 short essays about faded once-favourites: including the now-vanished novels Walt Disney brought to the screen, the contemporary rivals of Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie who did not stand the test of time, and the women who introduced us to psychological suspense many decades before it conquered the world.

This is a book about books and their authors. It is for book lovers, and is written by one who could not be a more enthusiastic, enlightening and entertaining guide.

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Not That Kind of Love by Clare Wise and Greg Wise

I’d not heard of this book before either but it sounds like a life-affirming and heart-breaking book. I’ll need to be in the right place to read this but I know it’s a book I’ll get a lot out of. The fact that it’s compared to The Last Act of Love makes me want to read it soon as I adored that book. I think this is due to be published early next year.

Synopsis:

A moving, thought-provoking and surprisingly humorous book which is both a description of a journey to death and a celebration of the act of living.
Based on Clare Wise’s blog, which she started when she was first diagnosed with cancer in 2013, Not That Kind of Love charts the highs and lows of the last three years of Clare’s life.
The end result is not a book that fills you with despair and anguish. On the contrary, Not That Kind of Love should be read by everybody for its candour, and for its warmth and spirit. Clare is an astonishingly dynamic, witty and fun personality, and her positivity and energy exude from every page.
As she becomes too weak to type, her brother – the actor Greg Wise – takes over, and the book morphs into a beautiful meditation on life, and the necessity of talking about death.
With echoes of Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal and Cathy Rentzenbrink’s The Last Act of Love, it is a very special read that rejoices in the extraordinary and often underestimated sibling bond, and the importance of making the most of the ordinary pleasures life has to offer. As Greg Wise writes in the book: ‘Celebrate the small things, the small moments. If you find yourself with matching socks as you leave the house in the morning, that is a cause for celebration. If the rest of the day is spent finding the cure for cancer, or brokering world peace, then that’s a bonus.’

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The Confession by Jo Spain

This book sounds super intriguing and I’m really excited to have an early proof copy to read. I love the idea that we find out who did it on the first page and that it’s more of a whydunnit than a whodunnit. I think this book is also due out early next year.

Synopsis:

Late one night a man walks into the luxurious home of disgraced banker Harry McNamara and his wife Julie. The man launches an unspeakably brutal attack on Harry as a horror-struck Julie watches, frozen by fear.

Just an hour later the attacker, JP Carney, has handed himself in to the police. He confesses to beating Harry to death, but JP claims that the assault was not premeditated and that he didn’t know the identity of his victim. With a man as notorious as Harry McNamara, the detectives cannot help wondering, was this really a random act of violence or is it linked to one of Harry’s many sins: corruption, greed, betrayal?

 

So, that’s all of my new books from the past week. 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 (21 Jun) 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:

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

This was one of my choices for my #20BookofSummer and it’s such a great read for this time of year. I’m really enjoying this novel and definitely recommend it.

Baby Lost by Hannah Robert

As I think I said last week I’m not really in the mood for non-fiction so this book is still on the back burner. I’m hoping my non-fiction mojo returns soon as I definitely want to get back to this soon.

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

This is my other non-fiction read and it’s also been put to one side this week but again I hope to get back to it soon. Fingers crossed for the non-fiction vibe returning before too long.

Based on a True Story by Delphine de Vigan

I had to put this to one side this week as I was reading another review book that had similar themes and didn’t want to get the two mixed up in my head. I’m back reading this now and am really enjoying it.

 

What I recently finished reading:

Labor Day by Joyce Maynard

This is a book that has been on my TBR for ages but has never reached the top but when I spotted it on my audio book subscription the other day I decided to listen to it. I got so engrossed in this novel, it really grabbed me and I recommend it.

The Law of Similars by Chris Bohjalian

This was one of my alternate choices for #20BooksofSummer but it ended up being the one that called to me the most so I decided to read it. I feel a bit conflicted about it as I really enjoyed reading it, it held my attention throughout but it left me feeling a little deflated. I’m hoping to review it if I can get my thoughts together about it soon.

Exquisite by Sarah Stovell

I loved this novel and read it in one sitting as there just wasn’t a place where I could stop reading – I simply had to know what was going to happen. I’ve already reviewed this so you can read my thoughts on it here if you’d like to.

The Things We Thought We Knew by Mahsuda Snaith

This novel was incredible. It was one of those books that I picked up at exactly the right time and it was such a moving and soothing novel. I honestly think this will be one of my books of the year! I’ve already reviewed it so you can see why I loved it so much here.

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

I’ve been reading this over the last couple of weeks and I have enjoyed it so much. There was so much more to the book than I was expecting and I think it’s one that will stay in my mind for a while to come.

 

What I plan on reading next:

Last Seen by Lucy Clarke

I’ve been so excited about this book as I’m a big fan of Lucy Clarke’s writing and I simply can’t wait any longer to read this!

Three Days and a Life by Pierre LeMaitre

This arrived just the other day and I’m so keen to read it so am hoping to get to it this week!

 

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.

#BookReview: One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

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About the Book

Five students go to detention. Only four leave alive.

On Thursday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention. Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule. Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess. Nate, the bad boy, is already on probation for dealing. Cooper, the jock, is the all-star baseball pitcher. And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app. Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investi­gators, his death wasn’t an accident.

On Thursday, he died. But on Friday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they just the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose? Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

My Thoughts

I was thrilled when I was approved to read this book from NetGalley as it has such an intriguing premise. I loved the movie The Breakfast Club so for it to have comparisons to that gave me high hopes!

The opening chapters of this novel are really intense, they grabbed me immediately and had me wondering what was going to happen next. The novel is then told from each of the perspectives of the four students who survived detention – we gradually get to see what their lives are like and it seems that they all have a potential motive for killing their classmate.

I really enjoyed how the teenagers changed as the novel progressed; it was also nice to see how, even though they all hung around in different groups before Simon’s death, they began to look out for one another in the aftermath. It made it really interesting as a reader too because as you get to know more about their pasts, you grow to like them more and it adds to the suspense that you don’t know for sure who you can trust. I did have my suspicions early on about what had happened in detention, and I was right, but there was more to the story than I had figured out so there were still shocks in store as the novel moves on. I would say that while this book does have the element of suspense there is much more to it than that. It’s more about the people left behind who suspicion falls on and we get to see how they cope with being under such scrutiny.

I have to be honest though and say that I did struggle to follow this novel because the voices of the main characters were not distinct enough from each other. I kept having to flick back because I couldn’t remember whose chapter I was currently reading and it made this novel a slower read for me than it might have been. It’s a small criticism but it would be remiss of me not to mention it because it did affect my enjoyment of the novel to a degree. That said, I would still recommend this novel because aside from this issue everything else is great and very enjoyable.

I’m a lot older than the target audience for this book but I have to say that, in terms of plot, it was one of the best YA books I’ve read in a long while so there are definite positives to this novel and I will be looking out for whatever Karen McManus writes next.

One of Us is Lying is out now!

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

About the Author

Karen McManus

Karen M. McManus earned her BA in English from the College of the Holy Cross and her MA in journalism from Northeastern University. Her debut young adult novel, ONE OF US IS LYING, will be released from Delacorte Press/Random House on May 30, 2017. It will also be published internationally in 18 territories including the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, The Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Indonesia, Brazil, Turkey, Russia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Serbia, and Slovakia.

(Author Bio and Photo taken from Goodreads)

#BookReview: Exquisite by Sarah Stovell @Sarahlovescrime @OrendaBooks

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About the Book

Bo Luxton has it all – a loving family, a beautiful home in the Lake District, and a clutch of bestselling books to her name. Enter Alice Dark, an aspiring writer who is drifting through life, with a series of dead-end jobs and a freeloading boyfriend. When they meet at a writers’ retreat, the chemistry is instant, and a sinister relationship develops … Or does it?

My Thoughts

This book has such a stunning cover and from the moment I first saw it on twitter I was desperate to get my hands on a copy. I’m thrilled to say that the book is just as stunning looking in real life and, more importantly, the novel inside that cover is even better!

This is a fascinating and tense novel about two women – one a successful writer who is married with two young children, and the other is a younger woman who is unsure about her life and what she wants, although writing really appeals to her. Initially it seems that Bo sees something in Alice’s writing and wants to encourage her but when she meets her she feels such a connection to her. Alice just wants to be accepted onto a writing course and when she is, she’s thrilled. There she meets Bo, the course leader, and they fall into what seems a really natural and easy friendship.

The novel initially has alternate chapters about Alice and then Bo, but then we get a whole section on one woman and then we see a similar timeline from the other woman. This is really well done because you come to think you know who the innocent party is but then you read another bit and you’re really not sure; it really builds the suspense at a hefty pace. As Alice and Bo each narrate their own section of this novel it becomes clear that one of them has to be an unreliable narrater because they can’t both be telling the truth, although this did lead me at one point to consider whether a third party had done some meddling and inflamed the situation so it really does have you wondering. Both women have had difficult times in their pasts and they each have traits that might lead them to become unhealthily attached to someone so it was impossible to work for a long time who was likely to be the most obsessive one. I did have more sympathy for one woman over the other for most of the novel but that did waiver at points because Sarah Stovell is a master manipulator of a writer and had me second-guessing myself more than once as I was reading!

There is a lot in this novel about mothers – both Alice and Bo seem to have had a complex relationship with each of their mothers and it seems to have shaped who they are now. It made me wonder if they were looking for mother or child substitutes in their lives but it was so much more complicated than that! The novel does explore whether the things that happen in people’s younger years can affect them when they’re adults, and whether a tough time in childhood can ever be an excuse for who people become as adults.

Exquisite is a claustrophobic, tense and thrilling novel that will grab you on the first page and won’t let you go until long after you’ve read the last page. I was literally sitting stock still with the book in my hands for a good few minutes when I read the ending, and I’m still thinking about it now and mulling it over! I love when a book leaves me feeling like this!

This is one of those novels that is impossible to put down, I honestly read it in one sitting because there just wasn’t a moment where I could stop reading – I simply had to know how this book was going to end! I highly recommend you go buy a copy of Exquisite right away, you won’t regret it!

Exquisite is out now!

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

About the Author

sarah stovell

 

Sarah Stovell was born in 1977 and spent most of her life in the Home Counties before a season working in a remote North Yorkshire youth hostel made her realise she was a northerner at heart. She now lives in Northumberland with her partner and two children and is a lecturer in Creative Writing at Lincoln University. Her debut psychological thriller, Exquisite, is set in the Lake District.

(Bio & Author pic taken from: Orenda Books)

Weekly Wrap-Up! (18 Jun)

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted

 

 

This week has been a week of taking it easy so I’ve not had as many posts up on my blog, but it has been for a good reason. My husband and I went to see Kraftwerk on Wednesday night and it was an incredible show. They’re a band I never thought I would get to see live so it was brilliant. We didn’t take any photos of the concert but here’s the 3D glasses and a painted mural outside the venue 🙂 My pain levels and my neuro symptoms have been really bad the last couple of days but it was absolutely worth it to have had such a good night out.

 

This week I’ve finished reading five books:

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

I’ve been reading this book on and off for a couple of weeks now and have really enjoyed it. There was so much more in this novel than I was expecting and it’s one I definitely recommend.

Exquisite by Sarah Stovell

I read this novel in one sitting as I just couldn’t put it down. I’ve actually got my review on my blog today so you can read that here if you’d like to.

The Things We Thought We Knew by Mahsuda Snaith

This is a beautiful novel that I fell completely and utterly in love with. I’ve already reviewed this so you can read more of what I thought here if you’d like to. I highly recommend this book though, it’s stunning.

A Year Lost and Found by Michael Mayne

This is a very short book about the year Michael Mayne contracted a chronic illness and how he felt about that, and the role his strong religious beliefs played in how he coped. I found it a really soothing read, even though I’m not a religious person.

One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus

This is another book that I’ve been reading on and off for a couple of weeks. I enjoyed it but it didn’t completely wow me. I’m still trying to write my review but hopefully I’ll have it posted soon.

 

This week I’ve blogged four times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up post

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday post

Friday: Review of The Things We Thought We Knew by Mahsuda Snaith

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves post

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

I only just started reading this last night but I’m a few chapters in and enjoying it. I think it’s a good pick for one of my #20bookofsummer reads.

The Law of Similars by Chris Bohjalian

This was one of my three spare picks for my #20booksofsummer and it’s the one that has been calling to me the most. It grabbed me in the first chapter and I’m really hooked.

Baby Lost by Hannah Robert

I’ve not read much more of this over the last week as I just haven’t been in the mood for non-fiction. I’m hoping to get back to it soon as it’s such an interesting and moving read.

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

This has been on hold over the last couple of weeks too but I knew when I started this book that it would be a book that I read on and off as I felt up to it. I do hope to get back to it as soon as my non-fiction mojo returns.

Based on a True Story by Delphine de Vigan

I did read a bit more of this over the last week but I put it down again for the last few days as I was reading a book for a blog tour that was giving me a similar vibe and I didn’t want to risk them getting confused in my head. I will be picking this back up in the next day or so though.

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Update on my TBR: 

TBR at the start of January 2017: 1885 (see my State of the TBR post)

TBR in last week’s Wrap-Up: 1958

Additions:

Books bought/received for review/gifts: 3

Subtractions:

Books read this week: 5

TBR Books culled this week: 0

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1956

 


 

I’m linking this post up to Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer’s Sunday Blog Share.  It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.


 

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. 🙂

See my new #bookhaul in my Stacking the Shelves post (17 Jun)

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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!

 

Guess what? I didn’t buy any new books this week! None. at. all! I can’t remember the last time that happened. I did receive some books for review though so I do still have a small book haul to share today…

 

I received three review books:

 

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Three Days and a Life by Pierre LeMaitre

I’m a huge fan of Pierre LeMaitre so I was thrilled when I received a copy of his forthcoming novel to review. I can’t wait to start reading this, it sounds brilliant!

Synopsis:

Antoine is twelve years old. His parents are divorced and he lives with his mother in Beauval, a small, backwater town surrounded by forests, where everyone knows everyone’s business, and nothing much ever happens. But in the last days of 1999, a series of events unfolds, culminating in the shocking vanishing without trace of a young child. The adults of the town are at a loss to explain the disappearance, but for Antoine, it all begins with the violent death of his neighbour’s dog. From that one brutal act, his fate and the fate of his neighbour’s six year old son are bound forever.

In the years following Rémi’s disappearance, Antoine wrestles with the role his actions played. As a seemingly inescapable net begins to tighten, breaking free from the suffocating environs of Beauval becomes a gnawing obsession. But how far does he have to run, and how long will it take before his past catches up with him again?

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The Unquiet Dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan

I’ve been getting some really intriguing postcards over the last week or so and then yesterday another one arrived along with this book. I’d not heard of the book before but it sounds like a really intense crime thriller and I’m looking forward to reading it.

Synopsis:

One man is dead. But thousands are his victims. Can a single murder avenge that of many?

When Christopher Drayton’s body is found at the foot of the Scarborough Bluffs, Detectives Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty are called to investigate his death. But as the secrets of his role in the 1995 Srebrenica Massacre surface, the harrowing significance of the case makes it difficult to remain objective. In a community haunted by the atrocities of war, anyone could be a suspect. And when the victim is a man with far more deaths to his name, could it be that justice has at long last been served?

In this striking debut, Ausma Zehanat Khan has written a compelling and provocative mystery exploring the complexities of identity, loss, and redemption.

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Chasing the Rainbow by Poorna Bell

I’d already received a proof of this book so it was a lovely surprise when a finished hardback arrived this week. I’m planning to read this very soon.

Synopsis:

An honest yet uplifting account of a woman’s life affected (but not defined) by the suicide of her husband and the deadly paradox of modern-day masculinity.

Punk rocker, bird nerd and book lover Rob Bell had a full, happy life. He had a loving wife, a big-bottomed dog named Daisy and a career as a respected science journalist. But beneath the carefully cultivated air of machoism and the need to help other people, he struggled with mental health and a drug addiction that began as a means to self-medicate his illness. In 2015, he ended his life in New Zealand on a winter’s night.

But what happened? How did a middle-class Catholic boy from the suburbs, who had an ocean of people who loved him, and a brain the size of a planet, end up dying alone by his own hand? How did it get to this point?

In the search to find out about the man she loved, and how he arrived at that desperate, dark moment, Poorna Bell, Executive Editor of The Huffington Post UK, went on a journey spanning New Zealand, India and England to discover more about him.

A month after his death, she shared her personal tragedy in an open letter to Rob on the site, which went on to be read by hundreds of thousands of people across the world. This is Poorna’s story, not only of how she met the man of her dreams and fell in love, but also Rob’s story and how he suffered with depression since childhood and had secretly been battling addiction as a means to cope with the illness.
Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 and a staggering 1 in 4 of us will experience mental illness disease at some point in our lives, but the stigma surrounding mental health means that millions still suffer in silence.

Chase the Rainbow is an affecting, poetic, and deeply personal journey which teaches to seek hope and happiness, even in the most tragic of circumstances. Shattering the stigma surrounding depression and suicide, Poorna Bell challenges us talk about what we most fear, and to better understand the personal struggles of those closest to us.

 

 

So, that’s all of my new books from the past week. 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.

 

#BookReview: The Things We Thought We Knew by @MahsudaSnaith @ThomasssHill @doubledayuk

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About the Book

Ravine and Marianne were best friends. They practised handstands together, raced slugs and went into the woods to play.

But now everything has changed.

Ten years later, Ravine lies in a bed plagued by chronic pain syndrome. And her best friend Marianne is gone.

How did their last adventure go so wrong? Who is to blame? And where is Marianne?

 

My Thoughts

I’ve been eagerly anticipating the release of The Things We Thought We Knew for a little while now so I was thrilled when the publisher offered me an ARC to review recently. I’m so happy to say that this book was even more incredible than I was hoping it would be and I loved every minute that I was reading it.

I initially wanted to read The Things We Thought We Knew because I was fascinated to read a novel where the main character suffers from chronic pain, as it’s not something that is often found in novels. Mahsuda Snaith examines, in such a sensitive way, the complexities of pain – the way that pain can be physical and very real, and yet have roots to it that are emotional. I suffer with severe pain due to my spinal cord injury so am really drawn to books that explore pain in any way. In this book the character does recover early in the story but it’s the exploration of the reasons for her pain that moved me deeply. It takes a gentle hand to explore this without patronising people, like me, whose pain is unlikely to ever be better, and I really admire that in this book. Ravine ends up pretending about her physical pain but because I could see the other pain she was in I genuinely always felt sympathy for her – the physical pain that was real at one stage in her life became the only way she could block out the pain of her friend being gone.

‘There isn’t a constellation for pain, but if there were it would sweep over half the sky and be connected by a hundred stars.’

I was immediately drawn into the intrigue as to where Ravine’s best friend Marianne had gone. The novel opens in the present day and Marianne and her family have been gone from next door for a long time. Yet Ravine is in a state of limbo wondering where her best friend has gone. The picture of the childhood friendship of these two girls is gradually built up and I very much enjoyed reading this part of the book. It’s heartbreaking knowing that something pulled the two girls apart – the mystery of this had me hooked but it was more the way Ravine wrote about Marianne, a friend she clearly adored. These two girls had such a bond and Ravine lost herself when Marianne went away, and this affected me so deeply. This quote actually made me cry, it’s so poignant:

‘Even as a child I knew my life was rooted in yours. How am I meant to carry on when the roots have been pulled out?’

This is a coming-of-age novel about finding your place in the world, and about coming to an understanding of why people are the way they are. I really enjoyed reading about Ravine’s childhood as an asian girl growing up on a council estate in Leicester. The way it’s a multi-cultural city and yet a child can still stand out as being different because of the way her family express their beliefs, for Ravine it’s the way her mother dresses, and the way she has her dress. Ravine compares herself in childhood to her best friend Marianne, whose family is also asian but they dress in jeans and t-shirts and so fit in better. There are many memorable characters who live near Ravine, who are all so richly-drawn and memorable – even the ones we only hear about, such as the old lady across the landing from Ravine’s family. There is a real sense that everyone has their own problems to deal with and gradually through the book we get to see this. Ravine as a child, and then as a teenager stuck in her bedroom, doesn’t get to see the subtitles of why people are the way they are but we, the reader, really see the pain in what some people have to live through.

Ultimately though, this is a novel about memories; it’s a look at how we can, through no fault of our own, remember things differently than they were; it’s a look at how sometimes we choose to delude ourselves because the truth is just too painful to bear. It’s a novel about how we  protect ourselves from the most painful parts of life, it’s about how we survive when the worst thing we can imagine happens. It’s also a look at whether redemption ever comes, whether someone should suffer for what they’re perceived to have done or whether the pain they feel inside is enough punishment. Ravine’s pain is very, very real – some of it is physical and some of it emotional but all of it is real and she has spent a more than half of her life hurting. I was rooting for Ravine all the way through this novel, and she’s someone I absolutely won’t forget any time soon.

‘Memories pretend to leave you but they’re always there. Always ready to catch you off guard, to remind you that life is never as simple as what you happen to be dealing with at the time.

There is always the past, waiting to pounce.’

This novel is stunningly beautiful for so many reasons – the gorgeous writing and the wonderful turns of phrase, the brilliant and complex characters, and for the most heartbreaking descriptions of pain, in all its forms, that I’ve read in a long time. Very occasionally, if you’re really lucky, a book will come into your life at exactly the right moment and it will break your heart but then it will mend it again and make you feel so much better; this is that book for me. I am sure that this novel will be in my top books for this year, it’s definitely one I will remember and think about for a long time to come.

The Things We Thought We Knew is out now and I highly recommend you grab a copy as soon as you can!

I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

mahsuda snaith

Mahsuda Snaith was born in Luton and brought up on a Leicester council estate.  She is a writer of novels, short stories and plays, and is the winner of the SI Leeds Literary Prize 2014, Bristol Short Story Prize 2014 as well as a finalist for the Mslexia Novel Competition 2013.  Mahsuda leads creative writing workshops at De Montfort University, has performed her work at literary festivals and has been anthologised by The Asian Writer, Words with Jam and Closure: Contemporary Black British Stories.

Mahsuda’s first novel is The Things We Thought We Knew. It will be published by Transworld in 2017 in the UK.

(Bio taken from: http://www.watsonlittle.com/client/mahsuda-snaith. Author photo taken from twitter.)

 

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

The Things We Thought We Knew Tour Poster

 

WWW Wednesday (14 Jun) 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 Things We Thought We Knew by Mahsuda Snaith

I was thrilled when I was offered the chance to read and review this book as it’s one that’s been on my wish list ever since I first heard about it. I started reading it yesterday and it hooked me in straight away and I feel sure this is going to be a book that I’ll love.

Baby Lost by Hannah Robert

I haven’t read much more of this book since my last WWW Wednesday post as I’ve been struggling with non-fiction this week due to needing more my books to give me escapism. This is such a great book though and I hope to get back to it very soon.

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

This is my other non-fiction book and this has also been put to one side since my last post. The book had really grabbed me so I’m hoping to get back to it soon, it just wasn’t the right book for me this week.

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

I discovered the audio book version of this book on my audio subscription app this week so I’m half-listening and half-reading this and am enjoying it so much. I had high hopes for the book and it’s actually even better than I was expecting.

Based on a True Story by Delphine de Vigan

This book has been on the back burner for most of the last week but I did pick it back up last night and read quite a few pages of it so I’m hoping I can continue and finish this soon. It’s such a great read, I just wish life hadn’t got in the way of me reading it quicker.

What I recently finished reading:

A Year Lost and Found by Michael Mayne

I bought this book a few weeks ago after reading about it in another book I read earlier this year. If I’m to be completely honest it was more religious than I normally like to read but in the context of illness and recovery and how people deal with life-changing conditions it was a really soothing read for me and I’m so glad I read it.

One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus

I finished reading this book earlier this week but haven’t managed to write my review as yet. I did enjoy the book but it fell a bit flat for me so I’m letting it settle for a few days before I write my review.

The Lie of the Land by Amanda Craig

This book is brilliant and I highly recommend it! I’ve already reviewed it so you can read my thoughts here if you’d like to.

What I plan on reading next:

Exquisite by Sarah Stovell

I’ve been so excited to read this book but have been holding off until nearer my date on the blog tour… and now it’s finally time to start reading it! I’ve heard only great things about this book.

Bluets by Maggie Nelson

I treated myself to this book a couple of weeks ago and it’s been calling to me from my bookcase ever since so I can’t hold off reading it any longer!

Bad Choices by Ali Almossawi

This book was sent to me for review at the weekend and it looks like such a fun and interesting read and a book that I can dip in and out of so I’d like to start it soon.

 

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.

Weekly Wrap-Up! (11 Jun)

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This week has been a quiet-ish week but a tiring one. I’ve been feeling really unsettled after hearing about the death of my great-aunty last week, and when I feel like this it’s always so much harder to read. It’s frustrating that at the times I most need escape I struggle to read but it’s just the way it is with me.

I had a really difficult but ultimately very positive appointment this week to do with my PTSD. I’ve long considered myself better but there are still triggers that I have to be mindful of and by chance I’m having a treatment that is making a real difference. I don’t want to talk in any detail but it is an amazing experience when the wonderful memories that have been blocked by the trauma suddenly come flooding back. It made for a very emotional day but a really good step forward.

This week I’ve finished reading three books:

Fabrice Muamba: I’m Still Standing by Fabrice Muamba

I’ve had this book on my TBR for a long time so this week when I picked it out of my TBR jar I decided to read it. It was a really moving and inspiring read. Fabrice Muamba has had such an interesting life and it was really enjoyable to read about his childhood. It’s incredible to read about his more recent years and to know just how amazing it is that he survived his cardiac arrest.

The Lie of the Land by Amanda Craig

This is such a brilliant novel. I honestly loved it from the first chapter all the way through and I highly recommend it. I’ve already reviewed it on my blog so you can read that here if you’d like to know more.

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

I finished reading this last weekend and really enjoyed it. I think I preferred The Girl on the Train but I would definitely still recommend this one.

 

This week I’ve blogged five times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up Post

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday post

Thursday: Author Kate Vane guest posted about the title of her new novel, The Former Chief Executive

Friday: Review of The Lie of the Land by Amanda Craig

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves post

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

Baby Lost by Hannah Robert

This is such a sad and moving memoir but it’s a book I definitely recommend. It’s about a woman who was in a car accident when 8 months pregnant and her baby died, she then had to deal with the horrendous legal fact that her baby wasn’t considered a person because she wasn’t born at the time of the accident. I haven’t read much of this book this week as I haven’t felt up to reading an emotional book. I will be getting back to is as soon as I can though.

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

I also haven’t read any more of this book this week as I just haven’t been in the mood to read it. I was very much enthralled in it so will be getting back to it once my reading mojo returns.

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

This is another book that’s been left to one side this week but again I will get back to it soon.

One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus

I’ve read a bit more of this book over the last few days as it’s been easier for me to concentrate on this and has been a good distraction.

Based on a True Story by Delphine de Vigan

This book has fallen by the wayside a bit too this week but it’s entirely down to my mood and nothing to do with the book. I’ll be picking this up once I feel brighter but I want to leave it until then as I don’t want my current slump to affect my opinion of this brilliant book.

 

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Update on my TBR:

TBR at the start of January 2017: 1885 (see my State of the TBR post)

TBR in last week’s Wrap-Up: 1948

Additions:

Books bought/received for review/gifts: 13

Subtractions:

Books read this week: 3

TBR Books culled this week: 0

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1958

 


 

I’m linking this post up to Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer’s Sunday Blog Share.  It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.


 

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. 🙂

See my new #bookhaul in my Stacking the Shelves post today! (10 Jun)

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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’ve had a bit of a book buying splurge this week. I think it’s come from having cabin fever, and I felt like I deserved a treat…

 

Here are the books I bought this week:

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Bluets by Maggie Nelson

This has been one of my most anticipated books of this year so I couldn’t resist treating myself this week. It’s a beautiful looking book, and I can hardly wait to start reading it.

Synopsis:

Suppose I were to begin by saying that I had fallen in love with a color . . .

A lyrical, philosophical, and often explicit exploration of personal suffering and the limitations of vision and love, as refracted through the color blue. With Bluets, Maggie Nelson has entered the pantheon of brilliant lyric essayists.

the hate race by maxine beneba clarke

The Hate Race by Maxine Beneba Clarke

I’ve heard so much advanced praise for this book that I’ve been very keen to read it. I treated myself this week and really want to read this book very soon.

Synopsis:

‘Against anything I had ever been told was possible, I was turning white. On the surface of my skin, a miracle was quietly brewing . . .’

Suburban Australia. Sweltering heat. Three bedroom blonde-brick. Family of five. Beat-up Ford Falcon. Vegemite on toast. Maxine Beneba Clarke’s life is just like all the other Aussie kids on her street.

Except for this one, glaring, inescapably obvious thing.

Our Young Man by Edmund White

Our Young Man by Edmund White

This book has been calling to me since I spotted it a couple of weeks ago and I just had to order it in the end. I want to read this book but I also want to pick it up when I have time to just sit and read it in one go… hopefully very soon!

Synopsis:

‘Has everyone always been in love with you? Of course they have, who am I kidding? What did they say about Helen of Troy? That her face launched a thousand ships? That’s you, you’re that beautiful. A thousand ships’

New York City in the eighties, and at its decadent heart is Guy. The darling of Fire Island’s gay community and one of New York’s top male models, Guy is gliding his way to riches that are a world away from his modest provincial upbringing back home in France. Like some modern-day Dorian Gray he seems untouched by time: the decades pass, fashions change, yet his beauty remains as transcendent and captivating as ever.

Such looks cannot help but bring him adoration. From sweet yet pathetic Fred to the wealthy and masochistic Baron, from the acerbic and cynical Pierre-Georges to Andre, fabricating Dalí fakes and hurtling towards prison and the abyss, all are in some way fixated on him. In return for the devotion and expensive gifts they lavish on him, he plays with unswerving loyalty whatever role they project onto him: unattainable idol, passionate lover, malleable client. But just as the years are catching up on his smooth skin and perfect body, so his way of life is closing in on him and destroying the men he loves.

Monte Carlo by Peter Terrin

Monte Carlo by Peter Terrin

I saw a fab review of this on a blog recently (apologies that I can’t find where I noted down whose blog so if it was you, please tell me and I’ll amend this) and knew I had to read it. It’s a short book so I’m hoping to read this in one go in the next couple of weeks.

Synopsis:

It is the Monaco Grand Prix in May 1968. Jack Preston, a mechanic for Team Sutton, is making the final checks on his car as the beau mondemingles with the drivers under the eyes of the world’s press and the galleries of spectators. DeeDee, a starlet of great beauty, seems to be walking towards him, or perhaps towards the royal box. Without warning a fireball rips across the starting grid. Preston will always bear the scars as a consequence of his unthinking heroism, his saving the life and the beauty of the girl, but details of the accident remain vague – no photographs capturing the moment have come to light.

Weeks later, Preston emerges from hospital and goes home to his wife in a remote English village from which the drab atmosphere of the 1950s has yet to recede. There, as he slowly recovers, he awaits word from his employers and some sign of DeeDee’s gratitude, an acknowledgment that it was he who saved her life.

Modern Lovers by Emma Straub

Modern Lovers by Emma Straub

I bought this book on a whim when I spotted in the sale on Kindle this week. It sounds like a great summer read so I’m looking forward to getting to it.

Synopsis:

Twenty years later and they were supposed to be grown-ups…

Ditmas Park, Brooklyn.
Summer in the city . . .

College friends Elizabeth, Zoe and Andrew had a band, grew up, settled in New York and now they were still living round the corner from one another (and in each other’s pockets).

One hot summer as their kids come of age, making those first hesitant steps into adulthood, it’s the parents who find that the lives they’ve so carelessly stitched together begin to slowly unravel . . .

Dark Chapter by Winnie M. Li

Dark Chapter by Winnie M. Li

I happened to see this book being discussed online this week and immediately I wanted to get hold of a copy. I was happy to spot it was part of Kindle Unlimited so I downloaded it and I want to read it soon. It does sound like an intense read though so I’m going to wait until I’m feeling a bit less fragile.

Synopsis:

Vivian is a cosmopolitan Taiwanese-American tourist who often escapes her busy life in London through adventure and travel. Johnny is a 15-year-old Irish teenager, living a neglected life on the margins of society.

On a bright spring afternoon in West Belfast, their paths collide during a horrifying act of violence.

In the aftermath, each is forced to confront the chain of events that led to the attack.

Inspired by true events, this is a story of the dark chapters and chance encounters that can irrevocably determine the shape of our lives.

Here I Am by Jonathan Saffron Foer

Here I Am by Jonathan Saffron Foer

I’ve had this on my wishlist for a while and have been undecided about it as I love his earlier novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close but I’ve heard mixed reviews of this new one. When I saw it in the kindle sale this week though I decided to take a chance on it and if I love it I’ll be buying a print copy to go on my bookcase.

Synopsis:

Jacob and Julia Bloch are about to be tested . . .

By Jacob’s grandfather, who won’t go quietly into a retirement home.
By the family reunion, that everyone is dreading.
By their son’s heroic attempts to get expelled.
And by the sexting affair that will rock their marriage.

A typical modern American family, the Blochs cling together even as they are torn apart. Which is when catastrophe decides to strike . . .

Confronting the enduring question of what it means to be human with inventiveness, playfulness and compassion, Here I Am is a great American family novel for our times, an unmissable read for fans of Jonathan Franzen and Michael Chabon, a masterpiece about how we live now.

I received seven review books:

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The Things We Thought We Knew by Mahsuda Snaith

I was thrilled when I was contacted about reading and reviewing this book as it’s another book that I’ve been eagerly anticipating. It arrived yesterday and I read the first few pages and I feel sure this is going to be a book I won’t want to put down once I pick it up properly.

Synopsis:

Ravine and Marianne were best friends. They practised handstands together, raced slugs and went into the woods to play.

But now everything has changed.

Ten years later, Ravine lies in a bed plagued by chronic pain syndrome. And her best friend Marianne is gone.

How did their last adventure go so wrong? Who is to blame? And where is Marianne?

Dodgers by Bill Beverly

Dodgers by Bill Beverly

The publishers of this book very kindly emailed me a copy of Dodgers this week, which made my day as this is another book that I’ve been keen to read. I’m snowed under with review books just now but I hope I can squeeze this book in soon.

Synopsis:

Dodgers is a dark, unforgettable coming-of-age journey that recalls the very best of Richard Price, Denis Johnson, and J.D. Salinger.

When East, a low-level lookout for a Los Angeles drug organisation, loses his watch house in a police raid, his boss recruits him for a very different job: a road trip – straight down the middle of white, rural America – to assassinate a judge in Wisconsin.

Having no choice, East and a crew of untested boys – including his trigger-happy younger brother, Ty – leave the only home they’ve ever known in a nondescript blue van, with a roll of cash, a map and a gun they shouldn’t have.

Along the way, the country surprises East. The blood on his hands isn’t the blood he expects. And he reaches places where only he can decide which way to go – or which person to become.

The Detriment by David Videcette

The Detriment by David Videcette

I won’t lie, I squealed when the author contacted me to see if I’d like an advanced ecopy of this. The previous novel, The Theseus Paradox, was one of my favourite books of 2015 so this has been a book I’ve been waiting for. I’m hoping to read and review it around publication day at the end of June.

Synopsis:

“The truth costs nothing, but a lie can cost you everything…”

June 2007: a barbaric nail bomb is planted outside a London nightclub, a spy is found dead in his garden, and a blazing Jeep is driven into Glasgow airport. Three events bound by an earth-shattering connection that should have remained buried forever.

From the author of ‘The Theseus Paradox’, the smash-hit 7/7 thriller based on true events, comes the sequel about a real-life mystery that threatens to destroy a nation. Detective Inspector Jake Flannagan must uncover how a series of astonishing events are inextricably linked, before the past closes in on him.

We all have secrets we say we’ll never tell…

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Bad Choices by Ali Almossawi

This review book arrived yesterday and I’m really intrigued to read it. It looks like a book that can be read in between other books, so I might pick it up soon.

Synopsis:

Readers around the world have embraced Ali Almossawi’s whimsical illustrations and his funny, clarifying explanations of complex subjects. In Bad Choices Almossawi demystifies a new topic of increasing relevance to our lives: algorithms. This is a book for anyone who’s looked at a given task and wondered if there was a better, faster way to get it done. What’s the best way to organize a grocery list? What’s the secret to being more productive at work? How can we better express ourselves in 140-characters?

Presenting us with alternative methods for tackling each scenario, Almossawi guides us to better choices that borrow from same systems that underline a computer word processor, a Google search engine, or a Facebook ad. Once you recognise what makes a method faster and more efficient, you’ll become a more nimble, creative problem-solver, ready to face new challenges.

baby lost hannah robert

Baby Lost by Hannah Robert

I’ve already started reading this book and it’s so moving. It’s a tough read but it’s one I’d recommend.

Synopsis:

What happens when a death occurs within your body, but you survive? Two days after Christmas, law lecturer Hannah Robert, eight months pregnant, was driving her partner and stepkids home from a picnic when their car was crushed by a four-wheel-drive. Hannah’s baby didn’t survive.

When Hannah told her story in court, the judge wept. In her struggle to make sense of the personal and legal aftermath, Hannah had to find out what it means to mother a dead child and to renegotiate her own relationship with hope. Her powerful story is written with clarity and beauty, shining light on an unimaginably dark event and is, unexpectedly, tempered with life and promise.

The Scandal by Fredrick Backman

The Scandal by Fredrik Backman

I got an email from NetGalley about this book and I downloaded it based on the synopsis before I even took notice of who wrote it. I’m even more keen to read it now I have noticed – I hope to get to this soon.

Synopsis:

‘Late one evening towards the end of March, a teenager picked up a double-barrelled shotgun, walked into the forest, put the gun to someone else’s forehead and pulled the trigger.

This is the story of how we got there.’ Beartown is a small town in a large Swedish forest. For most of the year it is under a thick blanket of snow, experiencing the kind of cold and dark that brings people closer together – or pulls them apart. Its isolation means that Beartown has been slowly shrinking with each passing year. But now the town is on the verge of an astonishing revival. Everyone can feel the excitement. Change is in the air and a bright new future is just around the corner. Until the day it is all put in jeopardy by a single, brutal act. It divides the town into those who think it should be hushed up and forgotten, and those who’ll risk the future to see justice done. At last, it falls to one young man to find the courage to speak the truth that it seems no one else wants to hear. With the town’s future at stake, no one can stand by or stay silent. Everyone is on one side or the other.

Which side would you be on?

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Last Seen by Lucy Clarke

I was thrilled to be offered a copy of this to read and review for the forthcoming blog tour. I’m a fan of Lucy Clarke’s novels and am really excited to have a copy of this.

Synopsis:

Seven years ago, two boys went missing at sea – and only one was brought to shore. The Sandbank, a remote stretch of coast dotted with beach huts, was scarred forever.

Sarah’s son survived, but on the anniversary of the accident, he disappears without trace. As new secrets begin to surface, The Sandbank hums with tension and unanswered questions. Sarah’s search grows more desperate and she starts to mistrust everyone she knows – and she’s right to.

Someone saw everything on that fateful day seven years ago. And they’ll do anything to keep the truth buried.

 

 

So, that’s all of my new books from the past week. 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.

 

#BookReview: The Lie of the Land by @AmandaPCraig @LittleBrownUK @millsreid11 #BlogTour

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About the Book

Quentin and Lottie Bredin, like many modern couples, can’t afford to divorce. Having lost their jobs in the recession, they can’t afford to go on living in London; instead, they must downsize and move their three children to a house in a remote part of Devon. Arrogant and adulterous, Quentin can’t understand why Lottie is so angry; devastated and humiliated, Lottie feels herself to have been intolerably wounded.

Mud, mice and quarrels are one thing – but why is their rent so low? What is the mystery surrounding their unappealing new home? The beauty of the landscape is ravishing, yet it conceals a dark side involving poverty, revenge, abuse and violence which will rise up to threaten them.

Sally Verity, happily married but unhappily childless knows a different side to country life, as both a Health Visitor and a sheep farmer’s wife; and when Lottie’s innocent teenage son Xan gets a zero-hours contract at a local pie factory, he sees yet another. At the end of their year, the lives of all will be changed for ever.

My Thoughts

I was thrilled to be offered the chance to read and review this book for the blog tour as I love Amanda Craig’s writing. I’m happy to say that The Lie of the Land did not disappoint!

Lottie and Quentin can’t afford to divorce as the family home will not sell for enough to allow them both to buy a new place in London. So now the family is in financial trouble and Lottie decides they should rent a place in Devon, where property is cheaper and let out their own house. The hope is that house prices in London will continue to rise so they can sell.

The novel is told from the perspective of multiple narrators:

Quentin Bredlin is a serial adulterer who is completely self-obessed and selfish. He blames his wife for putting their children first when they were babies and sees his cheating as something he simply had to do, almost as if he was powerless to do otherwise. It becomes apparent that his mother has doted on him and he’s spent his life looking for a woman who will fulfil that role. He’s not remotely likeable but as the novel goes on there are moments where we see a different side to him and we get to see that he has more layers to his personality.

Lottie Bredlin is utterly sick of her philandering husband and she just wants him out of her life so that she can figure out what is next in her life. She feels very put upon and can’t seem to figure a way out now they can’t afford to divorce.

‘Each minute of each hour, she feels maddened by sharing the same air, let alone the same roof…. She accuses him of being shallow, promiscuous, irresponsible and a liar. He accuses her of being a sociopath, frigid and the most controlling person on earth.’

Lottie has a son, Xan, from a previous relationship and his chapters are really interesting. He’s a teenager, who failed to get into his choice of Uni so now has to move to Devon with the rest of his family. He’s mixed race and so feels very out of place in Trelorn but he soon begins to find his feet a little more when he gets a job in a local factory. He’s working with the poorest people in the community, and meets Polish girl, who quickly becomes his girlfriend. He has a fast-growing awareness of the way his family’s so-called poverty is nothing in comparison to how others life. Xan adapts to his new life and begins to plan for his future.

Lottie and Quentin have two young daughters together who immediately fall in love with country living, with no concept of how they lives have changed due to finances. They quickly adapt and get on with things, although they do ask questions about they way their mum and dad are with each other.

‘But why don’t you love each other any more?, Stella asks.

‘We just can’t,’ Lottie told them. She longs to be able to say, ‘Because your daddy is a selfish, lying philandering bastard,’ but must not.

The other narrator is a Trelorn local, Sally Verity. She is the county’s health visitor and mainly does home visits checking on new mums and babies. Sally is desperate for a baby of her own but it doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen for her and her husband, but her longing is palpable at times. Her husband is a farmer and she is very involved in running the farm too and deals with lambing, which is also hard for her because of her own need for a baby. I could really feel Sally’s pain – I’m of a similar age and have friends who are going through the incredibly difficult time of trying for a baby but being aware that age is not on their side. It’s also easier to identify with Sally than Lottie, especially in the way her marriage is. Sally is happy with her husband but it’s clear that she goes along with his opinion rather than pushing for what she wants, there is a moment where she rues the fact that she promised to obey him in her marriage vows, whereas Lottie seems like a strong woman who is stuck because predominantly because of finances.

There is a also a mystery running through the novel – the body of a headless local man is found prior to the Bredlin family moving to the village but the killer has never been caught. At times this felt like it was almost a metaphor for the way life can blind-side us but at the same time it was a genuine mystery that I was intrigued to see how it would be  resolved before the end of the novel.

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.

‘Remind me how men came to rule the world?’

‘Women have children,’ Marta says.

I got completely and utterly caught up in this novel – once I started reading I just got lost in the pages and didn’t want to put it down. Some of the characters are not very likeable but other characters made me feel such sympathy for them, and the whole melting pot made for a brilliant read. The Lie of the Land is a novel I will be thinking about for a good while to come and I highly recommend you grab a copy of this book – you won’t regret it!

I was sent a copy of the book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Lie of the Land is due to be published on 15th June and can be pre-ordered now.

About the Author

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Amanda Craig is a British novelist, short-story writer and critic. Born in South Africa in 1959, she grew up in Italy, where her parents worked for the UN, and was educated at Bedales School and Clare College Cambridge.

After a brief time in advertising and PR, she became a journalist for newspapers such as The Sunday Times, the Observer, The Daily Telegraph and the Independent, winning both the Young Journalist of the Year and the Catherine Pakenham Award. She was the children’s critic for The Independent on Sunday and The Times, and one of the first to spot the Harry Potter books, Phlip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, Twilight, How to Train Your Dragon and The Hunger Games.

She still reviews children’s books for The New Statesman, and literary fiction for The Observer, but is mostly a full-time novelist. Her last novel, Hearts And Minds, was long-listed for the Bailey’s Prize for Women’s Fiction.
In 2017 she will publish two works with Little,Brown: The Other Side of You (a novella for Galaxy Quick Reads) and The Lie Of the Land.

Each novel can be read separately, but is part of an interconnected contemporary cast of characters, in which minor protagonists become major. Though her novels often contain a detective or genre plot, they are literary fiction, most often compared to Dickens and Balzac. She is regarded as a state of the nation novelist, commenting on the gulf between rich and poor.

(Author photo and bio taken from: Amanda Craig‘s website)

 

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

Amanda Craig blog tour final

Author Kate Vane on the story behind the title of #TheFormerChiefExecutive @k8vane

 

Today on my blog I’m thrilled to welcome Kate Vane, author of The Former Chief Executive. It’s publication day for Kate’s novel and she’s very kindly written a fab post for my blog about the story behind her title for this novel. 

 

The Story Behind the Title – The Former Chief Executive

I usually only give my books a title quite late in the writing process. While I was writing The Former Chief Executive, the name of the file on my computer was ‘garden novel’ because the garden setting was key for me. I had an image in my mind of the garden almost as a theatre set, where key interactions take place, and are observed and overheard.

In The Former Chief Executive, Deborah has been forced into early retirement following a tragedy at the hospital she ran. She is experiencing a number of losses – the death of her husband has come on top of the end of her career and the damage to her reputation. She comes to know Luca through a garden share scheme, where he takes care of her garden in exchange for a share of the produce. Luca is young but appears to have had a troubled past.

While the setting is important, for me, character is key. Deborah is a strong woman and the title reflects it. It was partly a reaction against the plethora of titles in recent years with ‘wife’ or ‘daughter’ in the title (and don’t get me started on ‘girl’). I believe ‘wife’ was initially used ironically, to say that beside the man in the title there is a woman with talents and feelings and aspirations who should be judged on her own terms, but that meaning soon became lost.

I wanted to play with the reader’s assumptions. Most people will, on first hearing the term ‘chief executive’, instinctively think of a man, even if we wish we didn’t. The cover, though, prominently features a woman (thanks to Ilaria Rosselli Del Turco who kindly allowed me to use this gorgeous portrait). I hope the juxtaposition of the title and the image will pique the reader’s interest.

The title crucially refers to the fact that Deborah is a former chief executive. Her role was a key part of her identity but she no longer feels that she is that person. It is also the language of the media, which describes people in cold, concrete terms, without nuance. It is a description she recognises. Her very sense of self is undermined.

The Former Chief Executive is about a woman who feels that all her achievements and happiness are behind her. A woman who is afraid to even say her name. Luca, by contrast, is trying to leave his past behind, to live in the present and to build a new life. Their relationship forces her to assess her past and asks her to make choices about who she is and what matters to her.

 

About the Book

The Former Chief Executive by Kate Vane medium

Without your past, who are you?

Deborah was a respected hospital manager until a tragedy destroyed her reputation. She has lost her career, her husband and even her name.

Luca wants to stay in the moment. For the first time in his life he has hope and a home. But a fresh start is hard on a zero-hours contract, harder if old voices fill your mind.

When a garden share scheme brings them together, Deborah is beguiled by Luca’s youth and grace. He makes her husband’s garden live again. He helps her when she’s at her lowest. But can she trust him? And when the time comes to confront her past, can she find the strength?

This sharply drawn short novel explores the distance between the generations – between health and wealth, owners and workers, guilt and blame.

The Former Chief Executive is published on 8 June in paperback and Kindle

 

About the Author

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 Kate Vane is the author of three novels, The Former Chief Executive, Not the End and Recognition.

She has written for BBC drama Doctors and was a shortlisted BBC Talent Drama Writer. She has had short stories and articles published in various publications and anthologies, including Mslexia and Scotland on Sunday, and received a Yorkshire Arts award for her first novel.

She lived in Leeds for a number of years where she worked as a probation officer. She now lives on the Devon coast.

You can find Kate on her blog: katevane.wordpress.com

Twitter: @k8vane

WWW Wednesday (7 June) 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:

Baby Lost by Hannah Robert

This is an incredible moving memoir about a woman who was in a car accident when 8 months pregnant and her baby didn’t survive. She ends up in a court battle to try and have her baby recognised as a victim of the crash.

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

This has been a book that I’ve heard about so many time and I finally bought a copy last week and I wanted to read it right away. It’ll be a book that I read on and off for the next few weeks.

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

I bought this book earlier this year and have been really looking forward to reading it so it was my pick this week. I’m really enjoying reading this novel.

One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus

This book has ended up being a little different to what I was expecting but it’s drawn me in and I’m now hooked. I’m really intrigued to know whodunnit now!

The Lie of the Land by Amanda Craig

This is a fascinating novel about the break-up of a marriage. I’ve only got a couple of chapters left to read and I’ve loved every minute that I’ve spent reading it. My review will be on my blog on Friday so please look out for it then.

Based on a True Story by Delphine de Vigan

I’m afraid that I haven’t read anymore of this book since last week. It’s entirely down to my real life interfering with my reading mojo, and I was enjoying this book so much that I decided to put it to one side rather than risk my current mood affecting my enjoyment. I hope to pick it back up very soon.

What I recently finished reading:

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

I finished reading this at the weekend and it’s still swirling around in my mind. I definitely recommend this one!

Be Awesome by Hadley Freeman

I’m sorry to say that this book was a disappointment for me. It’s one of the books that has been on my TBR for a while and I picked it up the other day expecting a real mood boost of a book but it wasn’t that. It may have been that I’m older than the target audience but I’m not sure that I’d recommend this to anyone.

How to Survive a Plague by David France

This book was incredible! It was so moving and powerful. I was furious at the way people were treated back then, I was heartbroken reading some of the personal stories. It  was awful to read of the politics that led to delays in treatment. I recommend this book to everyone. Please go read it!

After Anna by Alex Lake

This is another book that has been on my TBR for a while and I ended up listening to the audio last week. It was a fast-paced read that kept me hooked but it was very predictable. I’m still interested to read another novel by the author though.

What I plan on reading next:

The Child by Fiona Barton

I was sent an ARC of this book a few weeks ago and it’s really calling to me from my TBR so I’m hoping to start reading it in the next week.

Idaho by Emily Ruskovich

I got approved for this on NetGalley recently and have been so keen to read it. I hope to be able to start it this week.

 

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.

Weekly Wrap-Up! (4 June)

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted

 

This week has been one of those up and down weeks.

My medication changes are going okay, there have been some tough days but not every day has been horrendous so I’m grateful for that.

Sadly, I found out on Friday night that my great aunty has died. She was a lovely lady, and I will miss her. It’s made me doubly sad to think that she was the last member of my mum’s side of the family from a previous generation. It’s hard to think that all the memories she held are gone forever. I find these days that any loss brings back the grief of my mum’s death and it hits me harder for that. It’s left me in a reflective mood. I’m trying to lose myself in books.

This week I’ve finished reading seven books:

Be Awesome by Hadley Freeman

I’ve owned a copy of this book for ages but when I saw it on my audio subscription app I decided to listen to it. I have to be honest and say that I didn’t enjoy it very much. There were some parts that really spoke to me but most of it was just not that great. It wasn’t the book that I was expecting it to be. It was my first book of June so I’m hoping the rest of the month goes better!

How to Survive a Plague by David France

This book is incredible, I honestly can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s non-fiction and about the AIDS crisis in the 80s and early 90s. I’ve read other books about it but there was something about this book that really got to me. It made me so angry at how people were treated, at the lack of care from the system and it was made even more sad by the way some of the delays in finding a treatment happened. It’s a very powerful and moving book. I was thinking of reviewing it but I’m not sure that I could in any way do it justice.

After Anna by Alex Lake

This is another pick that has been on my TBR for ages. I found it a fast-paced, quick read but it was predictable. I did work out what had happened straight away so it was a bit disappointing. It’s an alright read though, and I would still read the author’s next book to see how I find it.

How We Met by Katy Regan

This is another pick from my older TBR and I enjoyed it. It’s contemporary fiction but had a bit of depth to it, which I appreciated. It’s not a book that I would be drawn to buying these days but it made a nice change from my usual reads.

I Know My Name by C.J. Cooke

This book is brilliant! It’s a real psychological thriller – it was near impossible to put down and it had me feeling really unnerved. I’ve already reviewed this so you can read more of what I thought of it here if you’d like to. I highly recommend reading this book though – it’s the best psychological thriller I’ve read this year so far!

Wishbones by Virginia McGregor

I spotted this on my audio book app this week and I was in the mood for listening to something a bit lighter. I really enjoyed this middle-grade book and would definitely recommend it.

Letting Go by Alex Hanscombe

This is another audio book that I finished listening to this week. It’s the memoir of Alex Hanscombe, all about how he came to terms with the murder of his mother Rachel Nickell, when he was a young child. It’s a really moving and inspiring book, I recommend it.

This week I’ve blogged six times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up Post 

Tuesday: My TBR for the #20BooksofSummer challenge

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday Post

Thursday: May Wrap-Up Post

Friday: Review of I Know My Name by C.J. Cooke

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves post

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus

I’ve finally got around to starting this review book and although it’s not exactly what I thought it was going to be, I am really enjoying it. I’m intrigued to find out how it’s all going to end up.

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

This book has been recommended to me so many times so I finally decided to buy a copy this week and I immediately started reading it. It’s a fascinating look at the Chicago World Fair, which I knew a little bit about, and the serial killer H. H. Holmes, who I’d never heard of before. I’ll be reading this book on and off for the next few weeks in between other books.

The Lie of the Land by Amanda Craig

This is an engrossing character-driven novel about a couple whose marriage has broken down but they can’t afford to get divorced. It’s a really insightful look at relationships and I’m really enjoying it.

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

I bought this book a few months ago on a whim and have since seen good things about it so was keen to start reading it. I’m really enjoying it. It’s a book about a family who are expecting a substantial inheritance but the mother of the family goes against what the adult children thought would happen and now the family are at loggerheads with each other.

Based on a True Story by Delphine de Vigan

I haven’t read much more of this book this week as it’s a book I wanted to be engrossed in but my mind has needed much easier reads. I definitely want to get back to this as soon as I can though as I’m very much enjoying it.

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

I’m back reading this book this week and am gripped! It’s such a good read and so far I’m suspicious of most of the characters and am keen to know how it will all turn out in the end.

 

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Update on my TBR: 

TBR at the start of January 2017: 1885 (see my State of the TBR post)

TBR in last week’s Wrap-Up: 1944

Additions:

Books bought/received for review/gifts: 11

Subtractions:

Books read this week: 7

TBR Books culled this week: 0

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1948

 


 

I’m linking this post up to Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer’s Sunday Blog Share.  It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.


 

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. 🙂

See my new #BookHaul in my Stacking the Shelve post! (3 Jun)

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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’ve had a bit of a book buying splurge this week. I think it’s come from having cabin fever, and I felt like I deserved a treat…

 

Here are the books I bought this week:

4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster

4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster

I’ve been wanting to read this book ever since I first heard about it so this week I decided to treat myself this week. It’s a huge book so I’m going to save it for when I have a few days where I can mainly relax and read. I’m looking forward to it though.

Synopsis:

On March 3, 1947, in the maternity ward of Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is born. From that single beginning, Ferguson’s life will take four simultaneous and independent fictional paths. Four Fergusons made of the same genetic material, four boys who are the same boy, will go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives. Family fortunes diverge. Loves and friendships and intellectual passions contrast. Chapter by chapter, the rotating narratives evolve into an elaborate dance of inner worlds enfolded within the outer forces of history as, one by one, the intimate plot of each Ferguson’s story rushes on across the tumultuous and fractured terrain of mid twentieth-century America. A boy grows up-again and again and again.

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

I’ve heard so many good things about this book so I finally decided to get it. I’ve already started reading this so it will be the non-fiction that I read on and off over the next couple of weeks.

Synopsis:

The Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 and its amazing ‘White City’ was one of the wonders of the world. This is the incredible story of its realization, and of the two men whose fates it linked: one was an architect, the other a serial killer.

The architect was Daniel H. Burnham, the driving force behind the White City, the massive, visionary landscape of white buildings set in a wonderland of canals and gardens. The killer was H. H. Holmes, a handsome doctor with striking blue eyes. He used the attraction of the great fair – and his own devilish charms – to lure scores of young women to their deaths. While Burnham overcame politics, infighting, personality clashes and Chicago’s infamous weather to transform the swamps of Jackson Park into the greatest show on Earth, Holmes built his own edifice just west of the fairground. He called it the World’s Fair Hotel. In reality it was a torture palace, a gas chamber, a crematorium.

These two disparate but driven men together with a remarkable supporting cast of colourful characters, including as Buffalo Bill, George Ferris, Thomas Edison and some of the 27 million others who converged on the dazzling spectacle of the White City, are brought to life in this mesmerizing, murderous tale of the legendary Fair that transformed America and set it on course for the twentieth century.

Deceit and Self-Deception by Robert Trivers

Deceit and Self-Deception by Robert Trivers

I’ve always been fascinated by psychology and so this book caught my eye recently. I’m hoping to read this very soon but I think I need to be able to concentrate a bit better than I can at the moment. Hopefully it’ll be before too long!

Synopsis:

Deception is everywhere in nature. And nowhere more so than in our own species. We humans are especially good at telling others less – or more – than the truth. Why, however, would organisms both seek out information and then act to destroy it? In short, why practice self-deception?

After decades of research, Robert Trivers has at last provided the missing theory to answer these questions. What emerges is a picture of deceit and self-deception as, at root, different sides of the same coin. We deceive ourselves the better to deceive others, and thereby reap the advantages. From space and aviation disasters to warfare, politics and religion, and the anxieties of our everyday social lives, Deceit and Self-Deception explains what really underlies a whole host of human problems. But can we correct our own biases? Are we doomed to indulge in fantasies, inflate our egos, and show off? Is it even a good idea to battle self-deception?

Cut- One Woman's Fight Against FGM in Britain Today by Hibo Wardere

Cut: One Woman’s Fight Against FGM in Britain Today by Hibo Wardere

I’d not heard about this book until I spotted it in the recent kindle sale but it felt like a book that I need to read. I think this will be a harrowing read so I will keep it until I’m feeling a bit stronger.

Synopsis:

Imagine for a moment that you are 6-years-old and you are woken in the early hours, bathed and then dressed in rags before being led down to an ominous looking tent at the end of your garden. And there, you are subjected to the cruellest cut, ordered by your own mother.

Forced down on a bed, her legs held apart, Hibo Warderewas made to undergo female genital cutting, a process so brutal, she nearly died.

As a teenager she moved to London in the shadow of the Somalian Civil War where she quickly learnt the procedure she had undergone in her home country was not ‘normal’ in the west. She embarked on a journey to understand FGM and its roots, whilst raising her own family and dealing with the devastating consequences of the cutting in her own life. Today Hibo finds herself working in London as an FGM campaigner, helping young girls whose families plan to take them abroad for the procedure. She has vowed to devote herself to the campaign against FGM.

Hanging with the Elephant by Michael Harding

Hanging with the Elephant by Michael Harding

This book was recommended to me on Amazon and I decided to get it as I’m really into books about overcoming things in life at the moment. I plan to pick this book up quite soon.

Synopsis:

‘In public or on stage, it’s different. I’m fine. I have no bother talking to three hundred people, and sharing my feelings. But when I’m in a room on a one-to-one basis, I get lost. I can never find the right word. Except for that phrase – hold me.’
Michael Harding’s wife has departed for a six-week trip, and he has been left alone in their home in Leitrim. Faced with the realities of caring for himself for the first time since his illness two years before, Harding endeavours to tame the ‘elephant’ – an Asian metaphor for the unruly mind. As he does, he finds himself finally coming to terms with the death of his mother – a loss that has changed him more than he knows.
Funny, searingly honest and profound, Hanging with the Elephant pulls back the curtain and reveals what it is really like to be alive.

Little Girl Lost by Carol Wyer

Little Girl Lost by Carol Wyer

I’ve heard so many good things about this series and couldn’t resist buying this first book this week. 

Synopsis:

Her breath rose and fell in fearful gasps but it was too late. She could already see what she dreaded most. The back seat was empty.

Her little girl was gone.

Abigail lives the perfect life with her doting husband and adorable baby Izzy. But someone knows a secret about Abigail and they want the truth to be told.

When Izzy is snatched from a carpark, it becomes a case for Detective Robyn Carter. Someone has been sending threatening messages to Abigail from an anonymous number. What is Abigail hiding?

Robyn’s instincts tell her there’s a connection between Izzy’s abduction and two murders she is investigating. But the last time she acted on impulse her fiancé was killed. To break this case and earn her place back on the force, she must learn to trust herself again – and fast. Robyn is on the hunt for a ruthless serial killer. And unless she gets to the twisted individual in time a little girl will die …

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Girl Up by Laura Bates

This was also in the kindle sale this week. I wasn’t intending to buy this but I read a bit on the look inside feature and then felt that I wanted to read on so I bought it! It’s aimed at much younger people than me but I’m still interested to read it.

Synopsis:

They told you you need to be thin and beautiful.

They told you to wear longer skirts, avoid going out late at night and move in groups – never accept drinks from a stranger, and wear shoes you can run in more easily than heels.

They told you to wear just enough make-up to look presentable but not enough to be a slut; to dress to flatter your apple, pear, hourglass figure, but not to be too tarty.

They warned you that if you try to be strong, or take control, you’ll be shrill, bossy, a ballbreaker. Of course it’s fine for the boys, but you should know your place.

They told you ‘that’s not for girls’ – ‘take it as a compliment’ – ‘don’t rock the boat’ – ‘that’ll go straight to your hips’.

They told you ‘beauty is on the inside’, but you knew they didn’t really mean it.

Well I’m here to tell you something different.

 

I received four review books:

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The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce

I was beyond excited when this book arrived this week! I’m a huge fan of Rachel Joyce – Harold Fry is one of my all-time favourite books – so I am always eagerly anticipating new books from her. I can barely wait to start reading this!

Synopsis:

From the author of the world-wide bestseller, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, a new novel about learning how to listen and how to feel; and about second chances and choosing to be brave despite the odds. Because in the end, music can save us all …

1988. Frank owns a music shop. It is jam-packed with records of every speed, size and genre. Classical, jazz, punk – as long as it’s vinyl he sells it. Day after day Frank finds his customers the music they need.

Then into his life walks Ilse Brauchmann.

Ilse asks Frank to teach her about music. His instinct is to turn and run. And yet he is drawn to this strangely still, mysterious woman with her pea-green coat and her eyes as black as vinyl. But Ilse is not what she seems. And Frank has old wounds that threaten to re-open and a past he will never leave behind …

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

I spotted this book on NetGalley this week and immediately hit the request button. I loved Wendy Walker’s previous novel All is Not Forgotten so wanted to read this one. It sounds so good!

Synopsis:

Two sisters go missing.
Only one returns.

We believe what we want to believe. We believe what we need to believe.

When my sister and I disappeared three years ago, they found Emma’s car at the beach. Some people believed she had gone there to find a party or meet a friend who never showed. They believed that she’d gone for a swim. They believed that she’d drowned. Maybe by accident. Maybe a suicide.

Everyone believed Emma was dead.

As for me, well – it was not as simple as that.

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Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee

I’ve been anticipating this book arriving and it finally got her this week. It sounds like a really interesting novel but I’m a little apprehensive about the reviews saying it’s a horror. I will attempt to read it and hopefully it won’t be too scary for me.

Synopsis:

‘Family curses don’t exist. Sure, some families seem to suffer more pain than others, but a curse? An actual curse? I don’t think so.’

A family tragedy was the catalyst for Ian Perkins to return to the isolated cottage with his wife and young son. But now they are back, it seems yet more grief might befall the family.

There is still time to act, but that means Ian must face the uncomfortable truth about his past. And in doing so, he must uncover the truth behind the supposed family curse.

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Chase the Rainbow by Poorna Bell

This was surprise book post this week, I had no idea it was coming. It sounds like a really moving, and very important memoir about suicide. I’m very passionate about mental health so this is definitely a book I want to read soon.

Synopsis:

An honest yet uplifting account of a woman’s life affected (but not defined) by the suicide of her husband and the deadly paradox of modern-day masculinity.

Punk rocker, bird nerd and book lover Rob Bell had a full, happy life. He had a loving wife, a big-bottomed dog named Daisy and a career as a respected science journalist. But beneath the carefully cultivated air of machoism and the need to help other people, he struggled with mental health and a drug addiction that began as a means to self-medicate his illness. In 2015, he ended his life in New Zealand on a winter’s night.

But what happened? How did a middle-class Catholic boy from the suburbs, who had an ocean of people who loved him, and a brain the size of a planet, end up dying alone by his own hand? How did it get to this point?

In the search to find out about the man she loved, and how he arrived at that desperate, dark moment, Poorna Bell, Executive Editor of The Huffington Post UK, went on a journey spanning New Zealand, India and England to discover more about him.

A month after his death, she shared her personal tragedy in an open letter to Rob on the site, which went on to be read by hundreds of thousands of people across the world. This is Poorna’s story, not only of how she met the man of her dreams and fell in love, but also Rob’s story and how he suffered with depression since childhood and had secretly been battling addiction as a means to cope with the illness.
Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 and a staggering 1 in 4 of us will experience mental illness disease at some point in our lives, but the stigma surrounding mental health means that millions still suffer in silence.

 


 

So, that’s all of my new books from the past week. 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.

#BookReview: I Know My Name by C.J. Cooke @CJ_Cooke_Author @HarperCollinsUK

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About the Book

Komméno Island, Greece: I don’t know where I am, who I am. Help me.

A woman is washed up on a remote Greek island with no recollection of who she is or how she got there.

Potter’s Lane, Twickenham, London: Eloïse Shelley is officially missing.

Lochlan’s wife has vanished into thin air, leaving their toddler and twelve-week-old baby alone. Her money, car and passport are all in the house, with no signs of foul play. Every clue the police turn up means someone has told a lie…

Does a husband ever truly know his wife? Or a wife know her husband? Why is Eloïse missing? Why did she forget?

The truth is found in these pages…

My Thoughts

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When CJ Cooke offered a few copies of I Know My Name to bloggers on twitter I immediately asked if I could have one as the book sounded so good. It didn’t click with me until later that CJ Cooke wrote one of my favourite ever books, The Guardian Angel’s Journal, so when I found that my copy of I know My Name was signed I actually squealed with delight and was even more thrilled.

I’m so happy to say that I Know My Name doesn’t disappoint, I would go so far as to say that it’s the best psychological thriller that I’ve read this year. It had me on the edge of my seat at times and it really got under my skin.

I Know My Name is told in two strands. One is on a remote Greek island where a woman is washed ashore, she doesn’t know her name or where she came from or how she got to be there but she is lucky to be rescued by a group of writers that are staying on the island. The second strand is set in London where a man is called to come home from work by a neighbour as it seems his wife has gone missing leaving their two very young children behind.

This novel is thrilling, it’s unnerving and it gives you so much to consider as to what might have happened. But it’s so much more than that too. It’s a novel about how much you really know about a person, it’s about how much pain and damage people can hide from their loved ones and it’s about how easy it is to not see what is happening in your own home right in front of you.

I loved this book because it truly is a psychological thriller, it looks at a terrifying scenario of memory loss, of a creepy neglected island but also a look at how the mind works. The things people will do to survive, the things people sometimes have to do to survive.

I read this book in two sittings, the only reason I didn’t finish it in one is because I started reading late at night and fatigue overcame me. I immediately picked it up again the following morning and didn’t stop reading until I turned the last page. It’s now a few days since I read this book and I still find myself thinking about it, it really has made such a lasting impact on me and I know I won’t forget this story any time soon.

This is truly an outstanding psychological thriller that will unnerve you, it will give you the creeps and it will deeply unsettle you as it all begins to come together. It will grab you and it won’t let you go, even when you’ve finished reading it.

This is an incredible novel and I highly, highly recommend it. I feel certain that this book will be in my top books of this year!

I Know My Name is due to be published in paperback on 15th June.

I was sent a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

About the Author

CJ Cooke twitter

C.J. Cooke is an acclaimed, award-winning poet, novelist and academic with numerous other publications under the name of Carolyn Jess-Cooke. Born in Belfast, she has a PhD in Literature from Queens University, Belfast, and is currently Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow, where she researches creative writing interventions for mental health.
I KNOW MY NAME is C.J. Cooke’s first psychological drama and was inspired by her creative work in mental health. It is being published in several other languages and a TV adaptation is in development.

C.J. Cooke lives by the sea with her family.

May Wrap-Up post!

Monthly Wrap Up post Copyrighted

May has been another quiet month for me. My pain medication change is ongoing at the moment and will be affecting me on and off for the next few weeks. I’m really pleased that it’s happening, even though it’s really hard.

I’ve managed to have a post up on my blog most days in May. I’ve been much more organised in writing posts on my better days and getting them scheduled on here, and for links to be posted on twitter and Facebook so that my blog is still running when I’m not around as much.

On Tuesday I was thrilled to get a notification telling me that my blog had had it’s most ever views in one day. I’m not obsessive about my blog stats but it’s always lovely when these notifications come through that show my blog is still interesting to people and is still growing.

 

Here are the 24 books I read this month:

Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson

My Dear I Wanted to Tell You by Louisa Young

Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton

The Elephant in the Room by Jon Ronson

The Heroes Welcome by Louisa Young

The Way Back Home by Freya North

The Comfort of Others by Kay Langdale

Fairytale Interrupted by RoseMarie Terenzio

The Zero by Jess Walter

Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner

Fragile Lives by Stephen Westaby

Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff

Becky by Darren Galsworthy

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor by Jason Gurley

Making Space by Sarah Tierney

Letting Go by Alex Hanscombe

Wishbones by Virginia MacGregor

Know My Name by C.J. Cooke

How We Met by Katy Regan

After Anna by Alex Lake

How to Survive a Plague by David France

 

May Blog Posts & Reviews:

May has been a good month on my blog. I’ve been much better at writing posts in advance and scheduling them. I’ve not been around as much due to not being well but I like that my blog still has regular posts, it gives me some sense of achievement. I managed to review eleven books this month, which I’m really pleased about. My aim was to post at least three reviews a week to try and catch up on my reviewing back log (I’m reading faster than I’ve been reviewing) so I’m glad to be on target. I still have some reviews to catch up on but I am closer to being caught up now.

Here are my reviews from May:

Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson (Blog Tour)

Little Deaths by Emma Flint

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr 

The People at Number 9 by Felicity Everett

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

The Power by Naomi Alderman

Final Girls by Riley Sager

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis

Making Space by Sarah Tierney (Blog Tour)

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

 

Here are my blog posts from May:

I wrote my regular posts each week, which are my WWW Wednesday posts, my Stacking the Shelves posts, and my Weekly Wrap-Up posts. Then I also wrote and shared the following posts:

April Wrap-Up post where I shared all my reviews, blog posts, the state of my TBR and my news from April.

Guest post about the evolution of Claymore Stryker by Paul Hardisty for theReconciliation for the Dead blog tour

My 20 Books of Summer TBR post where I finally made my mind up which of my own books I would like to challenge myself to read between June and September.

 

 

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The state of my TBR:

When it comes to the state of my TBR the honest truth is that it is in actual fact in a state! I started the year owning 1885 unread books and now have 1954 unread books. I am finding it interesting to track my book buying and reading on a spreadsheet though and it is helping me to focus a bit more than I used to on whether I should buy a book or not.

I’ve now read 114 books this year so far, and 49 of those were books that I owned before 31 December 2016 so I’m really happy with how my Mount TBR challenge on Goodreads is going (I challenged myself to read 100 books from my TBR this year). So, I’m really pleased with the balance between reading new books (20), older TBR books (49) and review books (45).

I’m listening to more audio books than I’ve done in a long time and I’m really enjoying that. I often read a bit and then listen to a bit and then go back to the book, and it works for me that way. My disability is such that I wouldn’t be reading half as much as I am if I could only read print or kindle books so I’m very grateful that audio books are so widely available now.

 

All-in-all it’s been a good month of reading. I’ve had to take it easy a lot more during May but I feel like I’ve been really productive with my blog, and I’ve read some amazing books. 🙂

 

How was your May? I hope you all had a good month and that you read good books. Did you read many books? What was your favourite book of the month? Please tell me in the comments, I’d love to know. Also, if you have a blog please feel free to leave a link to your month’s wrap-up post and I’ll be sure to read and comment back. 🙂

WWW Wednesday (31 May) What are you reading today?

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:

After Anna by Alex Lake

This is another book that I’ve had on my TBR since it first came out so I decided to make it my next read. It’s a fast-paced novel and easy to follow but I suspect it may be a little predictable – I haven’t got to the full reveal yet though so I’ll reserve judgement for now.

Based on a True Story by Delphine de Vigan

I’m finding this book fascinating – I keep stopping reading and pondering over the part I’ve just read. I’m deliberately taking my time with this as I’m enjoying it so much.

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

This is a really good read but I’ve been in a non-fiction mood over the last few days so I’ve put this to one side. I will be picking it up again soon though.

How to Survive a Plague by David France

I’ve been engrossed in this book at every chance I’ve had over the last week. It’s such a moving book, and even though I’ve read other books about the AIDS crisis in the 80s, I’m finding that I’ve been utterly shocked and furious at what happened back then. The way people were treated, the missed chances for treatment options. It’s such a powerful read, and one I think everyone should pick up.

 

What I recently finished reading:

How We Met by Katy Regan

This is another book that I’ve had on my TBR for ages now so when I spotted it on my audio subscription a couple of days ago I decided to make it my next listen. I enjoyed it and would recommend it if you like light fiction with a bit more depth to it.

I Know My Name by C.J. Cooke

This book! I picked this up late at night and read until I couldn’t keep my eyes open, then I picked it up again in the morning and didn’t put it down until I’d finished it. It had me on edge, it had my second-guessing myself – it was brilliant. I hope to get my thoughts together to write my review later this week.

Wishbones by Virginia MacGregor

This was another audio book that I listened to this week. This was picked on a whim as I wanted something light and easy. Wishbones was a wonderful novel for young people (mid-grade) that really gives an insight into eating disorders. I recommend this.

Letting Go by Alex Hanscombe

This is the memoir of Rachel Nickell’s son. He was with her when she was murdered on Wimbledon Common, he witnessed it at just three years old. This memoir is so candid and very moving. It’s also a really inspiring and thought-provoking read.

What I plan on reading next:

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

I was approved to read this from NetGalley a week or so ago and I’ve heard such good things about it that I really want to read it as soon as I can.

 

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 TBR for the 20 Books of Summer!

20-books of summer

It’s 20 Books of Summer time! This is organised by Cathy at 746 Books and I’ve decided to join in this year and am really looking forward to making a start on my summer 2017 reading. I don’t normally make TBRs as the minute I make a list of books to read I almost immediately then want to read anything but those choices so this will be a real challenge for me! I’ve decided to just put books from my own TBR on this list and I will read review books in between these books.

So, here are my 20 Book of Summer for 2017!

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The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

My husband bought me this for my birthday last year and I was so excited to read it and yet somehow it’s still on my TBR so this book is one I definitely want to make the time to read this summer.

Synopsis:

England,1976.

Mrs Creasy is missing and The Avenue is alive with whispers. As the summer shimmers endlessly on, ten-year-olds Grace and Tilly decide to take matters into their own hands.

And as the cul-de-sac starts giving up its secrets, the amateur detectives will find much more than they imagined…

The Green Road by Anne Enright

The Green Road by Anne Enright

I love Anne Enright’s novels so I bought this one when it was published and then I’ve been saving it for the right time. I really do want to read this so I’m not saving it anymore, I’m determined to read it this summer.

Synopsis:

Hanna, Dan, Constance and Emmet return to the west coast of Ireland for a final family Christmas in the home their mother is about to sell. As the feast turns to near painful comedy, a last, desperate act from Rosaleen – a woman who doesn’t quite know how to love her children – forces them to confront the weight of family ties and the road that brought them home.

 

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The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D by Nichole Bernier

I so badly wanted to read this book when I first heard about it that I bought an American copy and had to wait three weeks for it to arrive. Then it got put on my bookcase and has stayed there ever since. As soon as I started making my books for the summer TBR I knew this book had to be on my list.

Synopsis:

Summer vacation on Great Rock Island was supposed to be a restorative time for Kate, who d lost her close friend Elizabeth in a sudden accident. But when she inherits a trunk of Elizabeth’s journals, they reveal a woman far different than the cheerful wife and mother Kate thought she knew.
The complicated portrait of Elizabeth her troubled upbringing, and her route to marriage and motherhood makes Kate question not just their friendship, but her own deepest beliefs about loyalty and honesty at a period of uncertainty in her own marriage.When an unfamiliar man s name appears in the pages, Kate realizes the extent of what she didn t know about her friend, including where she was really going on the day she died.
The more Kate reads, the more she learns the complicated truth of who Elizabeth really was, and rethinks her own choices as a wife, mother, and professional, and the legacy she herself would want to leave behind.

Christodora by Tim Murphy

Christodora by Tim Murphy

This book only came out this year and I’m determined not to leave it on my TBR for ages as I’m so keen to read it. It’s one of those books that I want to make time to read in big chunks and the summer seems the perfect time for doing that.

Synopsis:

In this vivid and compelling novel, Tim Murphy follows a diverse set of characters whose fates intertwine in an iconic building in Manhattan’s East Village, the Christodora. The Christodora is home to Milly and Jared, a privileged young couple with artistic ambitions. Their neighbour, Hector, a Puerto Rican gay man who was once a celebrated AIDS activist but is now a lonely addict, becomes connected to Milly’s and Jared’s lives in ways none of them can anticipate. Meanwhile, the couple’s adopted son, Mateo, grows to appreciate the opportunities for both self-realization and oblivion that New York offers.

As the junkies and protestors of the 1980s give way to the hipsters of the 2000s and they, in turn, to the wealthy residents of the crowded, glass-towered city of the 2020s, enormous changes rock the personal lives of Milly and Jared and the constellation of people around them. Moving kaleidoscopically from the Tompkins Square Riots and attempts by activists to galvanize a response to the AIDS epidemic, to the New York City of the future, Christodora recounts the heartbreak wrought by AIDS, illustrates the allure and destructive power of hard drugs, and brings to life the ever-changing city itself.

The Hidden Legacy by G.J. Minnett

The Hidden Legacy by G.J. Minnett

This is another book that I bought when it was first released and never got around to reading it. I still really want to read it so it had to be on my summer reading pile.

Synopsis:

1966. A horrifying crime at a secondary school, with devastating consequences for all involved.

2008. A life-changing gift, if only the recipient can work out why . . .

Recently divorced and with two young children, Ellen Sutherland is up to her elbows in professional and personal stress. When she’s invited to travel all the way to Cheltenham to hear the content of an old woman’s will, she’s far from convinced the journey will be worthwhile.

But when she arrives, the news is astounding. Eudora Nash has left Ellen a beautiful cottage worth an amount of money that could turn her life around. There’s just one problem – Ellen has never even heard of Eudora Nash.

Her curiosity piqued, Ellen and her friend Kate travel to the West Country in search of answers. But they are not the only ones interested in the cottage, and Ellen little imagines how much she has to learn about her past . . .

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The Life of Hunger by Amelie Nothomb

This is a book that has been on my wish list for over a decade and I finally got around to buying a copy in the edition I wanted a couple of months ago so I’m definitely going to make time to read this very soon.

Synopsis:

In a wistful, funny, clever, and eccentric fictional memoir, Amélie Nothomb casts herself as hunger – in all its many guises. Recounting the formative journeys of her youth, from Tokyo to Peking to Paris to New York, The Life of Hunger is a brilliant and moving examination of the self.

 

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

I’m starting to feel a little embarrassed now at how many books are on my summer list that I’ve owned since they were first out… but this is another one. I’m really keen to read this one as the premise intrigues me.

Synopsis:

The Bennet sisters have been summoned from New York City.

Liz and Jane are good daughters. They’ve come home to suburban Cincinnati to get their mother to stop feeding their father steak as he recovers from heart surgery, to tidy up the crumbling Tudor-style family home, and to wrench their three sisters from their various states of arrested development.

Once they are under the same roof, old patterns return fast. Soon enough they are being berated for their single status, their only respite the early morning runs they escape on together. For two successful women in their late thirties, it really is too much to bear. That is, until the Lucas family’s BBQ throws them in the way of some eligible single men…

Chip Bingley is not only a charming doctor, he’s a reality TV star too. But Chip’s friend, haughty neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy, can barely stomach Cincinnati or its inhabitants. Jane is entranced by Chip; Liz, sceptical of Darcy. As Liz is consumed by her father’s mounting medical bills, her wayward sisters and Cousin Willie trying to stick his tongue down her throat, it isn’t only the local chilli that will leave a bad aftertaste.

But where there are hearts that beat and mothers that push, the mysterious course of love will resolve itself in the most entertaining and unlikely of ways. And from the hand of Curtis Sittenfeld, Pride & Prejudice is catapulted into our modern world singing out with hilarity and truth.

Nutshell by Ian McEwan

Nutshell by Ian McEwan

I’m a fan of Ian McEwan’s writing, although he can be a bit hit or miss. The premise for this book sounds fascinating so it’s another one that I had to put on my summer reading pile.

Synopsis:

Trudy has betrayed her husband, John. She’s still in the marital home – a dilapidated, priceless London townhouse – but not with John. Instead, she’s with his brother, the profoundly banal Claude, and the two of them have a plan. But there is a witness to their plot: the inquisitive, nine-month-old resident of Trudy’s womb.

 

The Summer of Secrets by Sarah Jamson

The Summer of Secrets by Sarah Jasmon

I’ve had this book on my TBR for a while too and have been keen to read it but it has felt like a book I should save for the summer so this absolutely had to make my summer reading plan.

Synopsis:

The summer the Dovers move in next door, sixteen-year-old Helen’s lonely world is at once a more thrilling place. She is infatuated with the bohemian family, especially the petulant and charming daughter Victoria.

As the long, hot days stretch out in front of them, Helen and Victoria grow inseparable. But when a stranger appears, Helen begins to question whether the secretive Dover family are really what they seem.

It’s the kind of summer when anything seems possible . . .

Until something goes wrong.

New World Fairy Tales by Cassandra Parkin

New World Fairy Tales by Cassandra Parkin

I only bought this book fairly recently but I’m so looking forward to reading this short story collection so have added it to my summer reading.

Synopsis:

In contemporary America, an un-named college student sets out on an obsessive journey of discovery to collect and record the life-stories of total strangers. The interviews that follow have echoes of another, far more famous literary journey, undertaken long ago and in another world.Drawing on the original, unexpurgated tales collected by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, six of their most famous works are re-imagined in the rich and endlessly varied landscapes of contemporary America.From the glass towers of Manhattan to the remoteness of the Blue Ridge mountains; from the swamps of Louisiana to the jaded glamour of Hollywood, New World Fairy Tales reclaims the fairy tale for the modern adult audience. A haunting blend of romance and realism, these stripped-back narratives of human experience are the perfect read for anyone who has read their child a bedtime fairy story, and wondered who ever said these were stories meant for children.

The Past by Tessa Hadley.png

The Past by Tessa Hadley

I’m a huge Tessa Hadley fan so have been very much looking forward to this novel. It’s one I’ve been saving for the warmer weather as it feels like summer is the right time for this book.

Synopsis:

These three weeks may be their last time in their family home; the upkeep is prohibitive, and they may be forced to sell this beloved house filled with memories of their shared past (their mother took them there to live when she left their father). Yet beneath the idyllic pastoral surface, hidden passions, devastating secrets, and dangerous hostilities threaten to consume them.

Sophisticated and sleek, Roland’s new wife (his third) arouses his sisters’ jealousies and insecurities. Kasim, the twenty-year-old son of Alice’s ex-boyfriend, becomes enchanted with Molly, Roland’s sixteen-year-old daughter. Fran’s young children make an unsettling discovery in a dilapidated cottage in the woods that shatters their innocence. Passion erupts where it’s least expected, leveling the quiet self-possession of Harriet, the eldest sister.

Over the course of this summer holiday, the family’s stories and silences intertwine, small disturbances build into familial crises, and a way of life–bourgeois, literate, ritualized, Anglican–winds down to its inevitable end.

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Almost Famous Women by Megan Mayhew Bergman

I’ve had this book for a while and have been keeping it to read as a treat but now feels like the time. I’m really excited to read this book.

Synopsis:

From a prizewinning, beloved young author, a provocative collection that explores the lives of colorful, intrepid women in history. “These stories linger in one’s memory long after reading them” (Star Tribune, Minneapolis).
The fascinating characters in Megan Mayhew Bergman’s “collection of stories as beautiful and strange as the women who inspired them” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) are defined by their creative impulses, fierce independence, and sometimes reckless decisions. In “The Siege at Whale Cay,” cross-dressing Standard Oil heiress Joe Carstairs seduces Marlene Dietrich. In “A High-Grade Bitch Sits Down for Lunch,” aviator and writer Beryl Markham lives alone in Nairobi and engages in a battle of wills with a stallion. In “Hell-Diving Women,” the first integrated, all-girl swing band sparks a violent reaction in North Carolina.
Other heroines, born in proximity to the spotlight, struggle to distinguish themselves: Lord Byron’s illegitimate daughter, Allegra; Oscar Wilde’s wild niece, Dolly; Edna St. Vincent Millay’s talented sister, Norma; James Joyce’s daughter, Lucia. Almost Famous Women offers an elegant and intimate look at artists who desired recognition. “By assiduously depicting their intimacy and power struggles, Bergman allows for a close examination of the multiplicity of women’s experiences” (The New York Times Book Review).
The world wasn’t always kind to the women who star in these stories, but through Mayhew Bergman’s stunning imagination, they receive the attention they deserve.

Upstairs at the Party by Linda Grant

Upstairs at the Party by Linda Grant

Oh dear, this is another book that I’ve owned since it was published but haven’t managed to read it as yet. It sounds like such a great read so I’m putting it on my summer list and really hope to get to it.

Synopsis:

‘If you go back and look at your life there are certain scenes, acts, or maybe just incidents on which everything that follows seems to depend. If only you could narrate them, then you might be understood. I mean the part of yourself that you don’t know how to explain.’

In the early seventies, a glamorous and androgynous couple known as Evie/Stevie appear out of nowhere on the isolated concrete campus of a new university. To a group of teenagers experimenting with radical ideas, they seem blown back from the future, unsettling everything and uncovering covert desires. But their mesmerising flamboyant self-expression hides deep anxieties and hidden histories.

For Adele, who also has something to conceal, Evie becomes an obsession – an obsession which becomes lifelong after the night of Adele’s twentieth birthday party. What happened that evening and who was complicit are questions that have haunted Adele ever since. A set of school exercise books might reveal everything, but they have been missing for the past forty years.

From summers in 1970s Cornwall to London in the twenty-first century, long after she has disappeared, Evie will go on challenging everyone’s ideas of how their lives should turn out.

One True Thing by Anna Quindlen

One True Thing by Anna Quindlen

I’ve been wanting to read this book for such a long time but I keep putting it off because it’s such an emotive subject matter. It caught my eye in amongst my books when I was deciding on this TBR so I’m adding it and hope I’ll be okay to read it this summer.

Synopsis:

Ellen Gulden is a successful, young New York journalist. But when her mother, Kate, is diagnosed with cancer, she leaves her life in the city to return home and care for her. In the short time they have left, the relationship between mother and daughter – tender, awkward and revealing – deepens, and Ellen is forced to confront painful truths about her adored father.

But in the weeks that follow Kate’s death, events take a shocking and unexpected turn. Family emotions are laid bare as a new drama is played out, and overnight Ellen goes from devoted daughter to prime suspect, accused of the mercy killing of her ‘one true thing’.

One True Thing is the devastating story of a mother and daughter, of love and loss, and of shattering choices.

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In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

My husband surprised me with this lovely signed hardback of Judy Blume’s latest novel Christmas 2015 and I was so excited to read it as I’m a huge fan. It’s another book that I’ve been saving for the right time, which now seems silly so I’m going to enjoy it over the summer.

Synopsis:

In 1987, Miri Ammerman returns to her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey, to attend a commemoration of the worst year of her life.

Thirty-five years earlier, when Miri was fifteen and in love for the first time, three planes fell from the sky within three months, leaving a community reeling. Against this backdrop of actual events in the early 1950s, when airline travel was new and exciting and everyone dreamed of going somewhere, Judy Blume weaves a haunting story of three generations of families, friends, and strangers, whose lives are for ever changed in the aftermath.

The plane crashes bring some people closer together and tear others apart; they create myths and unlock secrets. As Miri experiences the ordinary joys and pains of growing up in extraordinary circumstances, a young journalist makes his name reporting tragedy. And through it all, one generation reminds another that life goes on.

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Take Courage: Anne Bronte and the Art of Life by Samantha Ellis

I treated myself to this book a few months ago and it’s been calling to me recently so I’m adding it to my summer TBR. Anne Bronte is my favourite writer of the Bronte sisters so I’m really looking forward to sitting down with this book. I hope it lives up to my expectations.

Synopsis:

Anne Brontë is the forgotten Brontë sister, overshadowed by her older siblings — virtuous, successful Charlotte, free-spirited Emily and dissolute Branwell. Tragic, virginal, sweet, stoic, selfless, Anne. The less talented Brontë, the other Brontë.

Or that’s what Samantha Ellis, a life-long Emily and Wuthering Heights devotee, had always thought. Until, that is, she started questioning that devotion and, in looking more closely at Emily and Charlotte, found herself confronted by Anne instead.

Take Courage is Samantha’s personal, poignant and surprising journey into the life and work of a woman sidelined by history. A brave, strongly feminist writer well ahead of her time — and her more celebrated siblings — and who has much to teach us today about how to find our way in the world.

Significance by Jo Mazelis

Significance by Jo Mazelis

I’ve had this book for quite a while too but recently I’ve seen a couple of reviews of it and it sounds like such a brilliant read that I simply had to add it to my TBR for the next couple of months.

Synopsis:

Lucy Swann is trying on a new life. She s cut and dyed her hair and bought new clothes, but she s only got as far as a small town in northern France when her flight is violently cut short. When Inspector Vivier and his handsome assistant Sabine Pelat begin their investigation the chance encounters of her last days take on a new significance. Lucy s death, like a stone thrown into a pool, sends out far-reaching ripples, altering the lives of people who never knew her as well as those of her loved ones back home.”

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Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

I can’t believe that I’ve not read this book before now. I’ve had it on my wish list for such a long time and only treated myself to a copy recently. This is a book that feels right for a long summer evening when I can just sit and read.

Synopsis:

In an unnamed South American country, a world-renowned soprano sings at a birthday party in honor of a visiting Japanese industrial titan. His hosts hope that Mr. Hosokawa can be persuaded to build a factory in their Third World backwater. Alas, in the opening sequence, just as the accompanist kisses the soprano, a ragtag band of 18 terrorists enters the vice-presidential mansion through the air conditioning ducts. Their quarry is the president, who has unfortunately stayed home to watch a favorite soap opera. And thus, from the beginning, things go awry.

Among the hostages are not only Hosokawa and Roxane Coss, the American soprano, but an assortment of Russian, Italian, and French diplomatic types. Reuben Iglesias, the diminutive and gracious vice president, quickly gets sideways of the kidnappers, who have no interest in him whatsoever. Meanwhile, a Swiss Red Cross negotiator named Joachim Messner is roped into service while vacationing. He comes and goes, wrangling over terms and demands, and the days stretch into weeks, the weeks into months.

With the omniscience of magic realism, Ann Patchett flits in and out of the hearts and psyches of hostage and terrorist alike, and in doing so reveals a profound, shared humanity.

girls on fire robin wasserman

Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman

I originally had a review copy of this from NetGalley but it was right before life got on top of me last year and I didn’t managed to read it. I knew it would be a book I’d enjoy so I bought myself a copy and really want to read it soon.

Synopsis:

Girls on Fire tells the story of Hannah and Lacey and their obsessive teenage female friendship so passionately violent it bloodies the very sunset its protagonists insist on riding into, together, at any cost. Opening with a suicide whose aftermath brings good girl Hannah together with the town’s bad girl, Lacey, the two bring their combined wills to bear on the community in which they live; unconcerned by the mounting discomfort that their lust for chaos and rebellion causes the inhabitants of their parochial small town, they think they are invulnerable.

But Lacey has a secret, about life before her better half, and it’s a secret that will change everything…

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I feel like this book is a bit of a cheat because I only bought it very recently but I really want to read it as soon as I can so wanted to add it to this list.

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

 

I’ve also picked three extra books just in case I don’t get on with any of the books above…

 

The Long, Hot Summer by Kathleen MacMahon

The Long, Hot Summer by Kathleen MacMahon

I’ve had this book on my bookshelf for quite a long while but it never seems to get to the top of my TBR during the summer months. I’m adding it as an extra in case one of my other books doesn’t end up grabbing me, but hopefully I will get a chance to read it this summer regardless.

Synopsis:

Nine Lives. Four Generations. One Family. The MacEntees are no ordinary family.
Determined to be different from other people, they have carved out a place for themselves in Irish life by the sheer force of their personalities. But when a series of misfortunes befall them over the course of one long hot summer, even the MacEntees will struggle to make sense of who they are.
As media storms rage about them and secrets rise to the surface, Deirdre plans a family party for her 80th birthday-and with it one final, shocking surprise.

The Law of Similars by Chris Bohjalian

The Law of Similars by Chris Bohjalian

Initially this book was in my 20 books of summer but I’ve already read a book by this author this year so it seems only fair to read some of my other books first. I really want to read this book soon though so if I have a good summer of reading and get through all of my other choices I will read this one too.

Synopsis:

From the number one bestselling author of Midwives comes this riveting medical thriller about a lawyer, a homeopath, and a tragic death.

When one of homeopath Carissa Lake’s patients falls into an allergy-induced coma, possibly due to her prescribed remedy, Leland Fowler’s office starts investigating the case. But Leland is also one of Carissa’s patients, and he is beginning to realize that he has fallen in love with her. As love and legal obligations collide, Leland comes face-to-face with an ethical dilemma of enormous proportions.

Graceful, intelligent, and suspenseful, The Law of Similars is a powerful examination of the links between hope and hubris, love and deception.

The Longings of Wayward Girls by Karen Brown

The Longings of Wayward Girls by Karen Brown

This was also in my initial 20 books but I decided it might be a bit similar to another book on my list so I’m adding it here as an extra option. I love the sound of the book though so it’s another one that I will try to get to as well as all of my other selections.

Synopsis:

It’s an idyllic New England summer, and Sadie is a precocious only child on the edge of adolescence. It seems like July and August will pass lazily by, just as they have every year before. But one day, Sadie and her best friend play a seemingly harmless prank on a neighborhood girl. Soon after, that same little girl disappears from a backyard barbecue; and she is never seen again. Twenty years pass, and Sadie is still living in the same quiet suburb. She’s married to a good man, has two beautiful children, and seems to have put her past behind her. But when a boy from her old neighborhood returns to town, the nightmares of that summer will begin to resurface, and its unsolved mysteries will finally become clear.

 


 

Anyone is welcome to join in with this challenge – just pick your 20 books (or 10, or 5) for over the summer and write a post about them. Then sign up to the page on 746 Books on 1st June! The challenge will run from 1st June to 3rd September 2017. You can share your lists and your progress on twitter using #20BooksofSummer

 

Will you be joining in with #20BooksofSummer this year? What are you planning to read over the coming months?

Weekly Wrap-Up! (28 May)

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted

 

This week has a quiet one due to all the medication changes I have going on, and this alongside the hot weather has floored me over the last few days. I’m just taking things as they come at the moment and will be doing so for the next week or two at least. I do have some posts scheduled on my blog so they will still appear, and will be tweeted and posted on Facebook but I’ll only be around occasionally as and when I feel up to it. I really appreciate all of you for bearing with me in the meantime.

This week I’ve finished reading three books:

Making Space by Sarah Tierney

I loved every minute that I spent reading this novel, it just really grabbed me and I could identify so much with both of the main characters in the book. I’ve already reviewed this book so you can read my thoughts on it here if you’d like to.

Eleanor by Jason Gurley

This was my latest pick from my pre-2017 TBR and while it turned out to be not what I was expecting, I did enjoy it. There was more sci-fi elements to the book than I thought there would be but it was an interesting novel and I’m glad I read it.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

This book is stunning. I was hooked from the very first page and I feel quite bereft at having finished it. Eleanor Oliphant is one of those characters that gets under your skin and I’m sure she’ll stay with me for a very long time to come. I’ve also already reviewed this book so you can find that here if you want to read more about what I thought of it.

 

This week I’ve blogged six times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up post

Monday: Review of The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday post

Thursday: Review of Making Space by Sarah Tierney for the blog tour

Friday: Review of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves post

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

Letting Go by Alex Hanscombe

This is an incredibly moving and interesting memoir written by the son of Rachel Nickell, the young mum who was murdered on Wimbledon Common as her 3 year old watched on. Alex is such a pragmatic and thoughtful man and it’s very inspiring to read how he came to terms with losing his mother in such an horrific way.

Based on a True Story by Delphine de Vigan

I’ve been really looking forward to reading this book and it absolutely doesn’t disappoint.  Every time I pick this book up I get completely enthralled and am fascinated by this book.

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

This is such a good read, I’m really enjoying reading it.

How to Survive a Plague by David France

I’ve been reading more of this book this week and have got so engrossed in it that it’s taken me away from my other books.

 

the-state-of-my-2

Update on my TBR:

TBR at the start of January 2017: 1885 (see my State of the TBR post)

TBR in last week’s Wrap-Up: 1941

Additions:

Books bought/received for review/gifts: 6

Subtractions:

TBR Books culled this week: 3

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1944

 


 

I’m linking this post up to Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer’s Sunday Blog Share.  It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.


 

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. 🙂

See my new #bookhaul in this week’s Stacking the Shelves post (27 May)!

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!

 

Here are the books I bought this week:

the radium girls by kate Moore

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

I’ve seen this book around and thought it sounded really interesting. Then I read a fab interview with the author on the lovely Avalinah’s book blog I couldn’t resist any longer! I’m really looking forward to reading this book.

Synopsis:

Ordinary women in 1920s America.

All they wanted was the chance to shine.

Be careful what you wish for.

‘The first thing we asked was, “Does this stuff hurt you?” And they said, “No.” The company said that it wasn’t dangerous, that we didn’t need to be afraid.’

1917. As a war raged across the world, young American women flocked to work, painting watches, clocks and military dials with a special luminous substance made from radium. It was a fun job, lucrative and glamorous – the girls themselves shone brightly in the dark, covered head to toe in the dust from the paint. They were the radium girls.
As the years passed, the women began to suffer from mysterious and crippling illnesses. The very thing that had made them feel alive – their work – was in fact slowly killing them: they had been poisoned by the radium paint. Yet their employers denied all responsibility. And so, in the face of unimaginable suffering – in the face of death – these courageous women refused to accept their fate quietly, and instead became determined to fight for justice.
Drawing on previously unpublished sources – including diaries, letters and court transcripts, as well as original interviews with the women’s relatives  – The Radium Girls is an intimate narrative account of an unforgettable true story. It is the powerful tale of a group of ordinary women from the Roaring Twenties, who themselves learned how to roar.

Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

I’ve read this book many moons ago but have been wanting to re-read some Steinbeck so I snapped this ebook up for 99p in a kindle deal this week. I already own the print book but it’s so big I wouldn’t manage to read it that way now.

Synopsis:

Shocking and controversial when it was first published in 1939, Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning epic remains his undisputed masterpiece.

Set against the background of dust bowl Oklahoma and Californian migrant life, it tells of the Joad family, who, like thousands of others, are forced to travel West in search of the promised land. Their story is one of false hopes, thwarted desires and broken dreams, yet out of their suffering Steinbeck created a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision; an eloquent tribute to the endurance and dignity of the human spirit.

I received three review books:

The Fact of a Body by

The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

I’ve read lots of great reviews of this book so I’ve been really keen to read it, especially seeing the comparisons to In Cold Blood which is an incredible book. I was really pleased when NetGalley approved my request this week and I’m planning to read this very soon.

Synopsis:

Before Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working on the retrial defence of death-row convicted murderer and child molester, Ricky Langley, she thinks her position is clear. The child of two lawyers, she is staunchly anti death penalty. But the moment Ricky’s face flashes on the screen as she reviews old tapes, the moment she hears him speak of his crimes, she is overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by her reaction, she digs deeper and deeper into the case, realizing that despite their vastly different circumstances, something in his story is unsettlingly, uncannily familiar.

Crime, even the darkest and most unspeakable acts, can happen to any one of us, and as Alexandria pores over the facts of the murder, she finds herself thrust into the complicated narrative of Ricky’s childhood. And by examining minute details of Ricky’s case, she is forced to face her own story, to unearth long-buried family secrets, to reckon with how her own past colours her view of his crime.

As enthralling as true-crime classics such as In Cold Blood and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and broadcast phenomena such as Making a Murderer and Serial, The Fact of a Bodyis a groundbreaking, heart-stopping investigation into how the law is personal, composed of individual stories and proof that arriving at the truth is more complicated, and powerful, than we could ever imagine.

together by julie cohen

Together by Julie Cohen

This book has such a beautiful cover and it sounds like such a gorgeous read so I’ve been keen to read it. I requested it ages ago on NetGalley and had actually forgotten I’d done it so it was a lovely surprise when I got approved to read it this week. I’m really looking forward to reading this one.

Synopsis:

This is not a great love story.
This is a story about great love.

On a morning that seems just like any other, Robbie wakes in his bed, his wife Emily asleep beside him, as always. He rises and dresses, makes his coffee, feeds his dogs, just as he usually does. But then he leaves Emily a letter and does something that will break her heart. As the years go back all the way to 1962, Robbie’s actions become clearer as we discover the story of a couple with a terrible secret – one they will do absolutely anything to protect.

Perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes’s Me Before You, David Nicholls’s One Day and M L Stedman’s The Light Between Oceans.

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

I requested this from NetGalley on a whim this week and was surprised and delighted when it got approved literally two minutes after I hit request! This is a short book so I’m hoping to squeeze it in soon.

Synopsis:

In the midst of a mysterious environmental crisis, as London is submerged below flood waters, a woman gives birth to her first child, Z. Days later, the family are forced to leave their home in search of safety. As they move from place to place, shelter to shelter, their journey traces both fear and wonder as Z’s small fists grasp at the things he sees, as he grows and stretches, thriving and content against all the odds.

This is a story of new motherhood in a terrifying setting: a familiar world made dangerous and unstable, its people forced to become refugees. Startlingly beautiful, Megan Hunter’s The End We Start From is a gripping novel that paints an imagined future as realistic as it is frightening. And yet, though the country is falling apart around them, this family’s world – of new life and new hope – sings with love.

Giveaway win

Bad Sons by Oliver Tidy

Bad Sons by Oliver Tidy

I was thrilled to find out that I’d won an ecopy of Bad Sons by Oliver Tidy in the lovely BooksaremyCwtches’ blog giveaway this week. I love the sound of the book and hope to read it soon.

Synopsis:

David Booker returns to Romney Marsh on the south coast of England for a holiday. He is expecting to spend time helping his aunt and uncle pack up the stock of their second-hand bookshop in preparation for a happy retirement.

He arrives in Dymchurch on a miserable April night to find his relatives missing without word or clue regarding their whereabouts.

As events unravel, the outlook of the local police pushes Booker to search for his own answers to the questions surrounding his family’s disappearance. To unravel the mystery he will have to put himself in danger.

Will Booker find the answers he needs and make it out alive?

 

So, that’s all of my new books from the past week. 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.

#BookReview: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by @GailHoneyman ‏@HarperCollinsUK

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About the book

Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live

Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.

Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.

One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?

My thoughts

I was really happy when the publicist for Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine contacted me to ask if I’d like a review copy as I’d seen the book mentioned quite a lot on social media and was really keen to read it.

Eleanor Oliphant is a brilliant character. She is very stuck in her ways, and at first, seems quite abrasive. She is in her thirties but dresses and behaves like someone much older. Very soon it starts to become apparent that Eleanor has had a very difficult childhood and is just trying to cope with life as best she can. I felt like she was very enmeshed in how her mother had treated her when she was young and that she is talking in her mother’s voice and has adopted all her mother’s beliefs and attitudes to people and life. It broke my heart to see how much Eleanor, whilst maintaining that she was completely fine, was drinking vodka to get through the weekends on her own and the loneliness just emanated from her. I very quickly realised that Eleanor actually wasn’t okay and that she longs to have the same things that everyone else wants.

‘I have always taken great pride in managing life alone. I’m a sole survivor – I’m Eleanor Oliphant. I don’t need anyone else – there’s no big hole in my life, no missing part of my own particular puzzle. I’m a self-contained entity. That’s what I’ve always told myself at any rate’.

Eleanor’s loneliness really comes through when she goes to see a local band with one of her colleagues from work, and she immediately realises that the lead singer of this band is the man for her. Her attempts to get to know more about him make her seem very obsessive but I really believed that she just has never had anyone to learn from when it comes to meeting a potential partner. Eleanor has never even had a friend, she grew up in care and no one has ever shown her true kindness so how could she know how to approach making a friend or forming a relationship.

Eleanor does have such resilience in life though and I really admired how she didn’t let what people said about her get to her. She sometimes overhears colleagues laughing at her but she just takes it in her stride. It’s sad that she doesn’t seem to know that it doesn’t have to be that way, but also I really respect how she could just let things go. Eleanor’s thought processes as she finds her way through life are very amusing at times.

If I’m ever unsure as to the correct course of action, I’ll think, ‘What would a ferret do?’ or, ‘How would a salamander respond to this situation?’ Invariably, I find the right answer.

I loved seeing how Eleanor began to find her way in the world as she finds herself in a situation with another colleague, Raymond, when they end up helping an elderly man who falls in the street in front of them. Raymond is such a lovely man and seemed to see through Eleanor’s abrasiveness and he takes her under his wing. It was wonderful to see Eleanor beginning to understand how friendship works, and she starts to blossom. Eleanor’s manner in replying to a message from Raymond about going out for lunch shows how she is finding her way in this new situation of having a friend.

‘That would be fine. Thank you’. Daringly, I didn’t put my name, because I realised he’d know it was from me.

 

The book then moves on to the bad days where we start to find out what happened in Eleanor’s past to make her how she is. This section of the book was really hard to read because I’d formed such a soft spot for her so to find out what she had lived through was heartbreaking. Her problem with alcohol is also much more apparent as a real problem, and seeing the level of desperation and distress in Eleanor made me want to reach through the pages to try and help her.

Eleanor is a truly memorable character, she’s not someone I’ll forget in a hurry. This is a brilliant novel, I savoured every minute of reading it and it’s one I will keep and re-read in the future. I actually feel genuinely quite bereft at having to leave Eleanor behind now I’ve finished the book.

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.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is out now!

I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

gail honeyman

Gail Honeyman wrote her debut novel, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, while working a full time job, and it was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize as a work in progress. She has also been awarded the Scottish Book Trust’s Next Chapter Award 2014, and was longlisted for BBC Radio 4’s Opening Lines, and shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. Gail lives in Glasgow.

(Author photo and bio taken from Goodreads)

#BookReview: Making Space by @SarahTierney @sandstonepress #MakingSpace

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About the Book

Why do we hold onto things we don’t need? And let go of the things we do? Miriam is twenty-nine: temping, living with a flatmate who is no longer a friend, and still trying to find her place in life. She falls in love with Erik after he employs her to clear out his paper-packed home. They are worlds apart: he is forty-five, a successful photographer and artist and an obsessive hoarder still haunted by the end of his marriage. Miriam has an unsuccessful love life and has just got rid of most of her belongings. Somehow, they must find a way to reach each other.

My Thoughts

I was thrilled when I was offered a copy of Making Space to review because it sounded like exactly my type of book. Regular readers of my blog will know I love books, both fiction and non-fiction, about dealing with clutter so you can imagine how excited I was about reading this novel!

Making Space is about Miriam and Erik. Miriam is in her late twenties, single and still flat-sharing with her friend from uni. Erik is in his forties and struggles to deal with all the stuff he’s collected to use in his art. His daughter wants to move in with him so he urgently needs to at least clear out a bedroom for her. Miriam is sent to help re-organise Erik’s papers as part of her new office job, and the relationship that builds between these characters is fascinating to read. Both have issues that on the surface seem not at all alike but as we get to know more about these two people it becomes apparent that they have more in common than we see at first.

Erik sees himself as a collector, which is interesting because seeing his house through Miriam’s eyes we know very quickly that he is a hoarder, that he cannot bear to let things go. Once I knew this about him I was intrigued – I wanted to know if he genuinely felt he was collecting things or if he knew he had a problem but just didn’t want to face up to it. It made me feel claustrophobic as Miriam explores Erik’s home for the first time – all those books, magazines and cuttings stacked up everywhere with barely any room to walk through. It also made me remember how I have been in the past. I grew up with a family member who collected newspapers and books – it was confined to one room and as a child it felt like a treasure trove but as an adult it was stifling. My own ‘collecting tendencies’ have been a bit much in the past but as I always spread my books through the house, and so it never seemed so bad.

‘The answer wasn’t rational, I knew that. He collected because he had to. It was a compulsion not a choice.’

Miriam seems to be the polar opposite of Erik – she is renting a tiny flat with a friend and has ended up with the smallest room and yet her friend still manages to make her feel like she’s a guest in her own home. Miriam decides on a whim to pack up nearly all of her belongings and take them to the charity shop with barely a backwards glance. Her reason was that she felt like it.

‘I didn’t want what they stood for anymore […]. I was just sick of it. I was sick of myself’.

There is a real poignancy running throughout this novel and I loved that. I soon came to feel that Erik’s hoarding was likely a reaction to what his childhood had been like, and that made me understand him more. Later we find out that it’s more complex than that and that just adds to the depth of his character. Then there are moments when Miriam has so few clothes left that she’s having to put the washing machine on most days, and when her flatmate comments about the electric bill Miriam laughingly retorts to her that ‘You have a boyfriend. I have my washing’ before realising how tragic that sounds. Miriam is lonely, she is trying to get by in life unable to find the thing that will make her happy. Miriam and Erik are each protecting themselves by either having too much stuff around them, or too little – it feels like comfort and safety but in reality it’s dragging you down when you’re either imprisoned by your belongings or untethered by your lack of things. They both need to find some middle ground.

The further you get into this book the more the title begins to gain meaning. Miriam is making space in her room but actually it’s more about her trying to find herself and her place in the world. Clearing out all of her belongings leads her to things that she might otherwise have not done but it also makes her feel cast adrift and a bit lost for a while. Erik needs to make space in his home for his daughter but his problem is more to do with him needing space in his head. Miriam’s need to get back a postcard that her father had sent her when she was little, and what she does with it towards the end of the book was so moving to me. Her realisation about her need for space, but also her need to let people into her life makes for a really fascinating read. As space is made, or in some cases un-made, by each of these characters, the more they become able to allow people and opportunities into their lives.

This is such a beautiful novel about how we can’t help but bring the pain of our past into the present. It’s about finding your place in the world in whatever way you can. It’s about learning to be okay with who you are. It’s about letting go of the endings and making space for new beginnings.

When I was offered this book I knew I was going to enjoy it, but I didn’t realise just how moving the book would be, and how much it would come to hold a place in my heart. I loved every minute that I spent reading Making Space and it’s one of my favourite books of this year so far.

I highly recommend making space on your bookcase for Making Space. It’s out now and the ebook is currently on offer this week for just £1, which is an absolute bargain for such a wonderful novel.

I was sent a copy of this book by Sandstone Press in exchange for an honest review.

 

About the Author

sarah tierney

Sarah Tierney is a graduate of the MA in Novel Writing at Manchester University, and her short story, ‘Five Miles Out’, was made into a short film by the acclaimed director Andrew Haigh. Sarah has worked as a journalist, editor and copywriter. She lives in Derbyshire with her husband and daughter.

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

 

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

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WWW Wednesday (24 May) What are you reading today?

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:

Based on a True Story by Delphine de Vigan

I picked this book up at the weekend but when I went to mark it as ‘currently reading’ on Goodreads I noticed a reviewer I trust mention that the book contains huge spoilers for the film The Usual Suspects, which I’d never seen. So I put the book down for a couple of days until I had a chance to watch the film (which I loved and am kicking myself for not having watched it before now). I picked the book up again last night and am really enjoying it.

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

I pre-ordered this book ages ago so it arrived on my kindle on release day but I’ve been keeping it to read when I could sit and read it in big chunks. I’ve read about a third of this now and am really enjoying it, it’s swirling around in my mind during the time when I’m not reading it and that’s always the sign of a compelling book!

Eleanor by Jason Gurley

This is my latest pick from my pre-2017 TBR and I’m enjoying it. It’s not what I thought it was going to be but it’s holding my attention so I’m keeping on with it.

How to Survive a Plague by David France

I’ve not managed to read any more of this book this week but I hope to read a chunk of it over the weekend. I just feel like it’s a book that I need to read when I can really take it all in so I like to wait until the right time to pick it up.

What I recently finished reading:

Making Space by Sarah Tierney

I read this in two sittings earlier this week and I really enjoyed it. I’m on the blog tour for the book tomorrow and will be sharing my review so look out for that.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

I loved this book so much, I feel quite bereft at having finished it. I was sent this for review so I’ll be reviewing this book soon but in the meantime I highly recommend you buying a copy of this, you won’t regret it.

The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis

I found this to be such a gripping read, it has an increasing sense of malices the book goes on and I didn’t want to put it down. I’ve already reviewed this book on my blog so you can read that here if you’d like to.

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

I adored this book, it’s such a beautiful and moving novel. I reviewed this on my blog last week so you can read my review here if you’d like to know more about my thoughts on it.

Becky by Darren Galsworthy

This is such a moving memoir by the father of Becky Watts, the teenager who was murdered by her step-brother a couple of years ago. It’s such an open and honest book, it’s heartbreaking to read.

What I plan on reading next:

The Lie of the Land by Amanda Craig

I was contacted by the publicist for this book to ask if I’d like to read it for the blog tour and I immediately said yes as I’ve read and enjoyed a couple of Amanda’s previous novels. I’m really looking forward to starting this book in the next couple of days.

One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus

I was sent a copy of this book to review a few weeks ago and am really keen to start reading it soon. I’m aiming to get to it over the weekend.

 

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.

#BookReview: The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis @MichaelJBooks @tinaseskis ‏

The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis

About the Book

There’s trouble in paradise. . .

For as long as she can remember, Jemma has been planning the perfect honeymoon. A fortnight’s retreat to a five-star resort in the Maldives, complete with luxury villas, personal butlers and absolute privacy. It should be paradise, but it’s turned into a nightmare.

Because the man Jemma married a week ago has just disappeared from the island without a trace. And now her perfect new life is vanishing just as quickly before her eyes. After everything they’ve been through together, how can this be happening? Is there anyone on the island who Jemma can trust? And above all – where has her husband gone?

My Thoughts

I read and enjoyed Tina Seskis’ first novel a little while ago and loved it so when I heard she had a new book coming out I was keen to read it. I was thrilled when NetGalley approved my request recently.

Jemma and Jamie are on their honeymoon on a beautiful and exclusive island resort in the Maldives. One morning Jemma wakes up to find her new husband is missing and from there the novel slowly builds as we find out what led up to him disappearing and what actually happened to him.

The novel is told in alternating chapters of past and present, and this worked really well as I found myself engrossed in both parts of the story and wanting to see how the timeline would converge and where it was all leading. It’s also told in four parts, and I have to say that at the end of the first part my head was spinning and I simply had to read on as fast as I possibly could.

The atmosphere on this beautiful island becomes increasingly stifling as Jemma feels that everyone, staff and other guests alike, are suspecting her of harming her husband. Even the couple she had become friends with start being a bit more distant with her. She is unsure how to behave and worries about how people who see her around the island are perceiving her. The paranoia she feels grows and grows – it emanates off the page to the point it was making me nervous about what was going to happen next.

As the book went on I became more and more unnerved by the whole situation. I’m scared of open water as it is so the idea of being on a small island resort isn’t my idea of fun, but there is an underlying sense of malice in this book that you can never quite put your finger on why. It gave me that feeling you have when you’re seriously sleep-deprived and everything has that slightly unreal feeling to it. This isn’t a scary book but there is a real creepiness to it and it gets under your skin – the feeling doesn’t let up until well after you’ve finished reading. The writing in this book is brilliant in the way it really evokes these feelings in the reader, almost mimicking some of what Jemma is feeling.

I suspected just about everyone in this book of having had something to do with Jamie’s disappearance. During the times when I wasn’t reading, my mind was constantly pondering on various scenarios that could have happened. Tina Seskis throws in so many brilliant red herrings and twists that it’s impossible to know how it will all turn out. One of my suspicions did prove to be partially correct but I defy anyone to work out what exactly happened on this island!

This is a slow-burn thriller that builds the tension and the claustrophobic atmosphere to such a degree that it feels like you’re enmeshed in the situation yourself. It’s dark and twisty, gripping and impossible to put down! I highly recommend The Honeymoon.

The Honeymoon is due to be published on 1st June and can be pre-ordered now.

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

About the Author

tina seskis

Tina Seskis grew up in Hampshire, before going off to study in the beautiful city of Bath and then moving to London, where she has lived on and off ever since.

Tina’s first novel One Step Too Far was released in 2013, and has since been published in 17 languages in over 60 countries. Her latest novel, The Honeymoon, will finally be released on 1st June 2017.

Tina lives in North London with her husband and son.

(Author photo and bio taken from: Goodreads)

Weekly Wrap-Up (21 May)

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted

 

This week has been a strange week. I was meant to switch my pain meds last weekend but the NHS cyber attack last week has held that up. I’m hoping to be able to get started on this in the couple of days or so though. So, as I said last week, I may be around less in the coming days, so please bear with me if I miss replying to any comments, or sharing posts etc.

I also had an appointment at home with my lovely neuro-physio and we’ve been talking about changing to a less-cumbersome leg brace now that my foot is holding a better position. I will need to wear my old one some of the time but it’s really fab to think that I might be able to change to something more comfortable.

 

This week I’ve finished reading six books:

The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis

This book has taken me longer to read than I thought it would and I’m not sure why because I really loved it. I think it was just a bad time for me to pick it up. It’s a brilliant read though, I recommend it.

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

I adored this book – it’s such a beautiful novel and one that will really stay with me for a long time to come. I reviewed it on my blog yesterday so you can read that here if you’d like to.

Becky by Darren Galsworthy

I saw this on my audio book site this week and decided to listen to it. It was such a moving read. I’m sure many people remember the news when teenager Becky Watts went missing a couple of years ago and it turned out her step-brother had murdered her. Her dad is so open in this book and I really admire his strength and openness.

Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff

This book has been on my TBR for ages and if I’m to be honest I have no idea when or why I bought it. I’m trying to read through some of my TBR this year so decided to give this a go. It was actually a good read, but because I’m older then the target audience I don’t think I got as much out of it as others may do.

Fragile Lives by Stephen Westaby

I really enjoyed reading this memoir. Stephen Westaby is an esteemed heart-surgeon in this book he shares some of his most memorable surgeries and patients. I’ll be reviewing this book soon but I highly recommend it.

Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner

This is yet another book that has been languishing on my TBR. I actually bought this the day it was released and then never got around to reading it. I’m kicking myself about that now though as very much enjoyed this book and now am really looking forward to reading the next book in the series which is out soon.

 

This week I’ve blogged seven times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up

Monday: Review of The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

Tuesday: Review of The Power by Naomi Alderman

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday post

Thursday: Review of Final Girls by Riley Sager

Friday: Review of The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves post

This is what I’m currently reading:

Making Space by Sarah Tierney

I’m almost finished reading this book and have really enjoyed reading it. I’m on the blog tour for this book later this week so look out for my review on Thursday (25th May).

Eleanor by Jason Gurley

I spotted this on my TBR this week and decided to make it my next read. I have to be honest and say that sci-fi isn’t really my thing these days so I’m enjoying the parts of this book set in the present reality more than the other parts but it is a really engaging read so I’ll keep going with this.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

I’m enjoying this book so much – I’m trying to savour it because I know I’ll feel bereft when I get to the end of Eleanor’s story. It’s such an excellent novel.

How to Survive a Plague by David France

I haven’t read much more of this week but I will be getting back to it as soon as I can. It’s such a powerful book.

 

the-state-of-my-2

Update on my TBR: 

TBR at the start of January 2017: 1885 (see my State of the TBR post)

TBR in last week’s Wrap-Up: 1932

Additions:

Books bought/received for review/gifts: 9

Subtractions:

 

TBR Books culled this week: 0

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1941

Oops! My TBR has increased this week after two weeks of keeping it fairly stable… ah well!


 

I’m linking this post up to Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer’s Sunday Blog Share.  It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.


 

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. 🙂