WWW Wednesdays! 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: 

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

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

What She Saw Last Night by Mason Cross

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

Only Fools and Stories by David Jason

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

 

What I recently finished reading:

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

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

The Murders at White House Farm by Carol Ann Lee

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

Dare Me by Megan Abbott

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

 

What I plan on reading next:

The Mothers by Sarah Naughton

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

Who Did You Tell? by Lesley Kara

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

The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper

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

 

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

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

mini reviews

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

32877155._SY475_

One Little Mistake by Emma Curtis

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

45015934._SY475_

17 Church Row by James Carol

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

14062212

Dare Me by Megan Abbott

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

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

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

40611376._SY475_

It’s A Wonderful Night by Jaimie Admans

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

34846987

The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale

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

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

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: 

What She Saw Last Night by Mason Cross

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

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

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

Only Fools and Stories by David Jason

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

What I recently finished reading:

The Home by Sarah Stovell

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

17 Church Row by James Carol

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

One Little Mistake by Emma Curtis

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

The Choice by Claire Wade

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

The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale

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

It’s A Wonderful Night by Jaimie Admans

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

Wham! George and Me by Andrew Ridgeley

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

What I plan on reading next:

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

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

I Want You Gone by Miranda Rijks

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

Look What You Made Me Do by Helen Walmsley-Johnson

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

 

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

Weekly Wrap-Up (5 Jan 20)!

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted

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

IMG_1045

 

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

40611376._SY475_

 

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

34846987

 

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

41121395._SY475_

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

new sts.png

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

Books and eBooks

42413688

 

The Choke by Sofie Laguna

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

 

45734653._SY475_

 

Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman

I’ve been wanting to read this one ever since it was published last year so when I spotted it in the latest Kindle book sale I snapped it up. I hope to get to this soon.

 

45870053._SY475_

 

Five Steps to Happy by Ella Dove

I also bought this in this Kindle sale as it sounds like such an interesting novel. It’s fiction and about coming to terms with disability so I really want to read this one as soon as I can.

 

Audiobooks

35659678._SY475_

 

A Poem For Every Day of the Year by Allie Esiri

This was an Audible daily deal earlier this week and I snapped it up. I think it’ll be lovely to listen to a poem each day and I’m keen to start this one.

 

Review Books

49231235

 

After Dark by Dominic Nolan

I squealed when a surprise copy of this book arrived in the post for me last week! I loved the author’s previous book (it was only of my Top 40 books of 2019!) so I’m super excited to have a copy of the sequel! I’ll definitely be reading this soon.

 

48084543

 

Mine by Clare Empson

I was surprised and delighted to get approved to read this one on NetGalley yesterday. I must have requested it long enough ago that I’d forgotten about it but I’m very happy to have a copy to read as I loved the author’s previous novel.

 

46667059._SY475_

 

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

I was sorting through my email this week and spotted an email I’d missed from the publisher about this book – they’d sent me a pre-approved link to read this from NetGalley so I was thrilled to click it and find the book was still there.

 

 


 

Have you bought any new books over the last week? Please tell me below. 🙂 If you join in with Stacking the Shelves please feel free to leave your link and I’ll make sure to read and comment on your post.

My Top 10 Favourite NonFiction Read in 2019!

Social Media Day

This week so far I’ve posted my Top fiction books of the year posts (Counting down from 40 to 21, and the Top 20!) and so today it’s time for my favourite nonfiction reads of 2019! I read 91 nonfiction books in 2019 and these are the top 10 books that have stayed with me!

Click on the book titles if you’d like to read my review 🙂

I Carried a Watermelon: Dirty Dancing and Me by Katy Brand

Meditation for Children by Shelley Wilson

The Dark Side of the Mind by Kerry Daynes

Dopesick by Beth Macy

Trauma by Gordon Turnbull

The Point of Poetry by Joe Nutt

Breaking and Mending by Joanna Cannon

Becoming by Michelle Obama

After the Eclipse by Sarah Perry

The Five: The Untold Stories of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold

My Top 20 Favourite Fiction Read in 2019!

Social Media Day-2

I read so many books in 2019 (375 of them to be exact!) that I couldn’t narrow my favourite books down any further than my Top 40. Yesterday I posted the first part of my countdown of favourite books read 2019 and today I’m so happy to share the Top 20. This list is counted down from 20 to my number 1 book of the year!! 

Click on the book’s title if you’d like to know more or to read my review! 🙂

 

Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver

This was a really intense read, one that invaded my dreams and haunted me as I was reading it but it’s such a unique novel and one that has stayed with me that it absolutely had to be in my Top 20 books of the year!

Senseless by Anna Lickley

I read this book earlier in the year and I still remember it really clearly, it’s such a brilliant novel and features characters with disabilities in such a real way. I hope more people pick this book up in 2020, I recommend it!

Louis and Louise by Julie Cohen

This is such a good novel that begins with a baby being born and what follows are alternating chapters where in one timeline the baby was born male, and in the other born female. We see how things are different for them and I found it fascinating and such a good read.

Baxter’s Requiem by Matthew Crow

This is a gorgeous novel following a teenage boy who isn’t sure where he’s going in life and an older man who wants to make peace with his past. It’s such a beautiful novel and one that I still find myself thinking about.

Song of the Robin & Reunion by R. V. Biggs

This is a slight cheat as I’ve put both of R.V. Biggs novels here but they are the first two in a series so I’m allowing myself the cheat! I’ve never been able to put into words what these books meant to me – it was one of those serendipitous happenings where a book found me at the exact right time and I just adored it.

The Perfect Betrayal by Lauren North

I read a lot of thrillers and because of that I usually see what’s going on early on but this book blew my mind! I got so engrossed in the story and I had no idea how it was going to end. It’s a brilliant psychological thriller and I highly recommend it!

Still Lives by Maria Hummel

This is a great crime mystery novel but it’s also a book that really made me think about the way we view female murder victims, and how often they get lost in the story of who killed them. This book really made a mark on me and it’s one I keep thinking about.

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

I loved this book, it’s such an engrossing story following various characters in the aftermath of an explosion. It has so much depth and is a really affecting story.

Death and Other Happy Endings by Melanie Cantor

This is a gorgeous, life-affirming novel and one that I know I will re-read at some point.

Amazing Grace by Kim Nash

This is another gorgeous novel that I really connected with. It made me tearful at times but mostly it made me smile and left me feeling all of the feels!

The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood by Susan Elliot Wright

I read this book in one sitting as I just got so wrapped up in the story of Cornelia. It’s beautifully written and utterly heartbreaking but I absolutely recommend it.

Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

I read this book earlier in the year but it’s really stayed fresh in my mind. It’s such a good thriller but it’s also such a good exploration of how society treats women who aren’t perfect. I loved this one and can’t wait to read whatever Harriet Tyce writes next!

Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This was one of the most hyped books of this year and I’m so pleased to say that it absolutely lived up to the hype for me!

The Blue Bench by Paul Marriner

This is such a stunning and moving book, I loved every single minute that I spent reading it. I’ve since bought the audio book and am thinking of re-reading it in that format in 2020.

The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean

I devoured this book whilst sitting in the garden in the sunshine this summer and I got completely lost in this novel. It still haunts me, it’s such an incredible read.

The Conviction of Cora Burns by Carolyn Kirby

I read this book earlier this year and it’s really stayed with me. I often think about Cora Burns and wonder about her, and that’s the mark of a wonderful novel for me.

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

I love The Handmaid’s Tale so had been eagerly anticipating this follow-up ever since it was announced. As soon as my pre-order arrived I started reading and I got completely lost in the pages. I loved this book, it was everything I hoped it would be.

A Modern Family by Helga Flatland

This had to be high on this list because it’s such a brilliant and incisive look at sibling relationships and it really did make me think. The book is really well-written and has stayed with me ever since I finished reading it.

 

 

And I simply couldn’t pick between the following two for the number 1 spot so my joint favourite books read in 2019 are:

 

 

 

Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech

I adore Louise’s writing and always look forward to a new book from her. This one was a bit different but I loved it. This book haunted my dreams, it really got under my skin and I still find myself thinking about it. If you haven’t read this one already then I highly recommend you put it at the top of your 2020 reading list!

Ideal Angels by Robert Welbourn

I read this book early on in 2019 and I’ve kept thinking about it ever since. It’s a book that felt different to other things I read this year and it’s one that I’ll never forget. This is a dark read at times but it’s still one that I recommend. It’s a stunning book!

My Top 40 Favourite Books Read in 2019… Counting Down From 40 to 21!

Dark Blue Colorful Confetti New Year Social Media Graphic-2

So it’s time for me to share my favourite books that I read in 2019 and I have to say that this list has been weeks in the making! 2019 was my best ever year of reading in terms of how many books I read (at the time of writing this post I’ve read 375 books over the year), I have no idea how I read so many and I don’t expect it to ever happen again! It’s also been a year where so many wonderful books have found me and it’s been a near impossible task to make this list.

So I finally got my list down to forty books and am splitting it into two. Today I’m sharing the books that were listed from 40 – 21 on my countdown and I’m sharing them in no particular order – these books were all fabulous and I highly recommend them!

Click on the title of a book if you’d like to see my review! 🙂

 

The Family by Louise Jensen

I’m a huge fan of Louise Jensen’s writing and have loved every novel she’s published and The Family was every bit as good, if not better, than her previous books.

Nobody’s Wife by Laura Pearson

This is one of those books that made me feel emotional as I was reading it but it’s continued to run through my mind in the months since I read it. I found it a quiet book that has such a huge impact.

Do Not Feed the Bear by Rachel Elliott

I read this book fairly recently and I adored it. It’s a quirky book that has such emotional impact. I keep thinking about this one and I already want to re-read it.

How To Say Goodbye by Katy Colins

This is a novel I picked up after reading an interview with the author and the book more than lived up to my hopes for it. It made me tearful at times but it’s such a beautiful book and one I really loved.

Platform Seven by Louise Doughty

I didn’t expect this novel to make as much of an impression on me as it did but it’s a book that won’t let go of me. It’s so much more than I thought it was going to be and again it’s one I keep thinking about.

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

This is such a wonderful novel about books and libraries, I adored it. I think it might actually be my new favourite Jojo Moyes book!

Dead Inside by Noelle Holten

This is a debut novel and it’s so well-written. I found this book really hard to put down and I loved the depth to the story being told. I can’t wait for the next book in the series!

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

I read this in one sitting, I just couldn’t stop reading and it’s a book that’s really stayed with me so it had to be on this list.

The Space Between Time by Charlie Laidlaw

This was a book that took me a little while to get into but I’m so glad I stuck with it because it was a book that left such a profound impact on me. I still think of this novel and I will re-visit it in the future.

Breakers by Doug Johnstone

This was my first Doug Johnstone book and I loved it so much that I’ve since bought most of his previous novels and plan on reading my way through them in the new year.

Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald

This is such a brilliant book, it’s so dark and so funny! Plus the menopausal main character is so memorable and I could identify with some of her thinking!

Looker by Laura Sims

This book is a fascinating look at what leads someone to obsession and really gives an insight into where this behaviour may lead.

Postscript (PS I Love You #2) by Cecelia Ahern

I love PS I Love You when it was first published and so this sequel is one I was highly anticipating. I loved it, I think it may even be better than the first book!

Violet by SJI Holliday

This is such a brilliant novel following two women and you’re never quite sure if what they tell you is true and if they can be trusted. It’s a real cat and mouse novel and I loved it!

Rewind by Catherine Ryan Howard

I also loved this book! It’s such a clever way of setting out a novel with the play, pause and rewind elements. It’s one that is really staying with me.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

I’m a huge Donna Tartt fan so I’ve been saving this to read and I finally got to it in the summer and I adored it. It’s a huge book but I read it in just a few days as I just got completely engrossed in the story. It’s brilliant!

The First Time Lauren Pailing Died by Alyson Rudd

I had to include this book as it was such a different and unique read. You follow Lauren in her life but early on in the novel she has an accident and at this point you begin to follow Lauren as she continues on after she survives, and also you follow her loved ones as they come to terms with her death. It seems like it might be hard to follow but it really isn’t. This book is wonderful!

Past Life by Dominic Nolan

This is another book that I devoured! I loved the crime mystery that runs through the novel but more than that I loved the main character. She’s really stayed with me and I keep thinking about her and wondering how she is.

The Other Half of Augusta Hope by Joanna Glen

I adored this book, it’s such a moving and at times heartbreaking book but it leaves you full of hope. I hope more people pick this one up.

The Wayward Girls by Amanda Mason

This is a book I was so nervous about reading because I’m such a wimp but I ended up reading the whole novel in one sitting as I just couldn’t put it down. It’s such a fascinating novel about two girls and their family and the haunted house they live in. I loved it!

 

Tomorrow on my blog I’ll be sharing the next part of my favourite books 2019 with the Top 20 so please look out for that then. What are your favourite books that you read this year? I’d love to know. 🙂

 

It’s Reading Bingo Time! Will it be a full house for 2019? #ReadingBingo

img_8009

I’ve really enjoyed doing Reading Bingo over the last couple of years so couldn’t resist the chance to see whether I’d successfully filled in my bingo card for 2019. As ever, I don’t look at the bingo card during the year I just read what I want to read and then at the end of the year look through my reading to see if I’ve managed a full house.

So without further ado…

A Book With More Than 500 Pages

IMG_3383

A Question of Trust by Penny Vincenzi

A Forgotten Classic

15994588

Middlemarch by George Eliot!

This obviously isn’t a forgotten classic so I’m cheating a bit here but I’m counting it because it kind of was a forgotten book on my TBR as I’ve owned it ever since I was a teenager but had never read it before 2019, which is shameful especially as when I finally read it I loved it!

A Book That Became a Movie

IMG_3388

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

A Book Published This Year

42166500

Dead Inside by Noelle Holten (Click here for my review!)

A Book With a Number in the Title

43170926

55 by James Delargy (Click here for my review!)

A Book Written By Someone Under 30

40048962

The Last by Hanna Jameson (Click here for my review!)

A Book With Non Human Characters

38203746

Last Ones Left Alive by Sarah Davis-Goff (Click here for my review!)

A Funny Book

43811208._SY475_

Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

A Book By A Female Author

Cora Burns Cover

The Conviction of Cora Burns by Carolyn Kirby(Click here for my review!)

A Book With a Mystery

44150852

Alice Teale is Missing by H. A. Linskey (Click here for my review!)

A Book With A One Word Title

43804834

Rewind by Catherine Ryan Howard (Click here for my review!)

A Book of Short Stories

Heroes Front Cover NEW

When Stars Will Shine by Emma Mitchell (Click here for my review!)

Free Square

40136896

Ideal Angels by Robert Welbourn (Click here for my review!)

A Book Set on a Different Continent

44288564._SY475_

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes (Click here for my review!)

A Book of Non Fiction

IMG_3390

After the Eclipse by Sarah Perry

The First Book By A Favourite Author

43805454

Amazing Grace by Kim Nash (Click here for my review!)

A Book You Heard About Online

41KSz5gaveL

How To Say Goodbye by Katy Colins (Click here for my review!)

A Best-Selling Book

IMG_0512

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

A Book Based on a True Story

43080856._SY475_

The Closer I Get by Paul Burston(Click here for my review!)

A Book At The Bottom of Your TBR Pile

15827057

Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell

A Book Your Friend Loves

40950983

Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid(Click here for my review!)

A Book that Scares You

cover161932-medium

The Wayward Girls by Amanda Mason(Click here for my review!)

A Book That Is More Than Ten Years Old

6251566

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

The Second Book In A Series

54524275_10157743243918974_7833832279876042752_o

The Ringmaster by Vanda Symon (Click here for my review!)

A Book With a Blue Cover

Not Having it all_(1)

Not Having It All by Jennie Ensor (Click here for my review!)

 

So if I can get away with my cheat on Middlemarch then I’ve achieved a full house! Woo Hoo! I do love doing this every year, it’s so nice to look back over my reading and pick books for categories different to just which are my favourite reads. If you do Reading Bingo please link to your post below as I love reading these posts. 🙂

WWW Wednesdays (18 Dec 2019)! What are you reading at the moment?

WWW pic

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

 

What I’m reading now: 

The Fallout by Rebecca Thornton

I just started reading this late last night so have only read a couple of chapters but I’m gripped already and am looking forward to reading more soon.

The Christmasaurus and the Winter Witch by Tom Fletcher

This book is gorgeous! I’m really enjoying it and whilst I wanted to read it all in one sitting yesterday afternoon I’m determined to make it last a little bit longer. It really is such a lovely read though, I recommend it!

The Great Christmas Knit-Off by Alexandra Brown

I love this book so really wanted to re-read it this Christmas and I’m so glad I made time for it. This book gives me all the feels and I always enjoy it so much.

The Christmas Chronicles by Nigel Slater

This is another re-read! I bought it a couple of years ago and it’s become a must re-read every festive season. It’s such a beautiful book, it feels like such a treat to read.

IMG_0918

This obviously isn’t a book but it is the one time of year when I absolutely have to get a copy of the Christmas Radio Times. It was a tradition in my house as I was growing up and it’s a tradition in my own house now. It always makes me happy to read through this magazine in the week before Christmas and to mark the things that I’d like to watch over the festive season. 🙂

 

What I recently finished reading:

Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton

I finally picked this back up this week and got completely engrossed in it. I found this gripping and impossible to look away from even when it was incredibly nerve-racking!

Last Christmas by Emma Thompson & Greg Wise

I very much enjoyed dipping in and out of this book over a few days, it’s covers such a wide range of experiences of Christmas and I’d recommend it to everyone. I reviewed this one yesterday so you can find that here if you’d like to know more.

Let It Snow by John Green, Lauren Myracle & Maureen Johnson

This is a collection of three interlinked short stories and it’s been on my TBR for years! I finally picked it up as it’s now a film on Netflix but I’m sad to say the book was just an okay read for me. I enjoyed the first story but the following two weren’t quite as good.

Finding Christmas by Karen Schaler

This book is Christmas personified and I very much enjoyed it. If you want a Christmas book that is full of festive spirit then this is the book for you! I reviewed this on Monday so you can find that here if you’d like to know more.

Poetry for Christmas by Orna Ross

This is a gorgeous poetry collection that really reflects on this time of year. I really did enjoyed this one. My review is here if you want to know more.

Christmas at the Little Knitting Box by Helen J. Rolfe

This is another really lovely Christmas novel, and I really enjoyed it. It felt so romantic and Christmassy! I’m delighted to find that this is the first in a series and there are already quite a few books out so I’m going to enjoy catching up on those.

An Almost Perfect Christmas by Nina Stibbe

I got the audio book of this from my library and it was a really good listen. The author narrates her stories herself, which really added to the book. I always enjoy hearing about other people’s Christmases so this was a fun book.

Daisy’s Christmas Gift Shop by Hannah Pearl

I bought the ebook of this and then the audio as well and I enjoyed it. Unfortunately the title feels very misleading to me as this isn’t really a book about Christmas. It’s set near Christmas but that’s the only link and it was barely mentioned so that left me a little disappointed.

 

What I plan on reading next:

The Night Before Christmas by Scarlett Bailey

I read this book when it first came out a few years ago and whenever I think of it I feel Christmassy so have wanted to re-read it. I’m so looking forward to it.

Miracle on Regent Street by Ali Harris

This is another favourite! I’ve re-read this one a few times in recent years as I just love it so much. It always feels like a real treat!

Meet Me Under the Mistletoe by Abby Clements

This is another festive book that I read and loved when it was first published and I remember it so fondly that I’d really like to re-read it if I get time this week.

Christmas With Dull People by Saki

I treated myself to this book a few weeks ago and have been saving it until nearer Christmas so it’s finally time that I can read it! I can’t wait!

 

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

It’s a Secret-Santa-off today as I review Love, Secret Santa by S. A. Domingo and The Secret Santa by Trish Harnetiaux!

Today I’m sharing mini reviews in the battle of the secret santas!

47567134.jpg

The Secret Santa by Trish Harnetiaux

I love reading festive books in December and it’s always nice to mix up the romance with the crime fiction to keep it interesting! The Secret Santa is about secrets and murder in Aspen in the run up to Christmas! Real estate agent Claudine decides to combine the office secret santa with showing off a fabulous house to a pop star who is a potential buyer. It seems this house has a lot of history and someone in this group knows more than they’re letting on. I do love stories where a group of people come together and you know the past is going to catch up with them so this book was right up my street. I loved the snowy Aspen location and I enjoyed getting to know the characters. The secret santa game is done in such a way that it’s intense and people are clearly on edge as the gift giving goes along. The only thing for me was that I didn’t think the reader really had a chance at solving the whole mystery, it all felt a little out of nowhere but having said that there are more than one elements to the secret and the other reveals were brilliant. I enjoyed this book and will definitely look out for more by this author.

cover173422-medium

Love, Secret Santa by S. A. Domingo

This book is set in a secondary school and follows Angel Green as she’s revising hard for her scholarship exam and also gets involved in organising the school Christmas fundraiser with her estranged friend Caspar. This school also has an annual secret santa so throughout the month of December everyone receives gifts from a person chosen at random. Angel’s gifts seem really quite meaningful and she’s incredibly curious about who might be behind them. As Angel and Caspar work together on the fundraiser they begin to remember how much fun they had together as children and wonder if they could be friends again but Caspar is flaky and often leaves Angel to deal with the fundraiser at the last minute. She is frustrated by this and can’t work out what is going on with him. I enjoyed this book, it’s an incredibly sweet YA novel set in the run up to Christmas. It reminded me of being a teen and the way you would have no idea if someone likes you or not, and you’re too scared to try and find out. It’s a nostalgic read and I’m really glad I read it.

WWW Wednesdays (11 Dec 2019)! 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: 

Daisy’s Christmas Gift Shop by Hannah Pearl

I bought this on kindle and then I spotted I could also get the audio book from Audible for £2.99 so I have both versions and am switching between the two. I’m enjoying this book but so far there’s no Christmas so I’m hoping there is some festive stuff soon.

Finding Christmas by Karen Schaler

This book is FULL of Christmas and I am loving it! It’s exactly what I want in a festive book and it’s really making me feel Christmassy.

Last Christmas by Emma Thompson & Greg Wise

I’m really enjoying dipping in and out of this book and reading about how other people spend Christmas. It’s making me think, and it’s also making me feel nostalgic. It’s a great collection so far.

Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton

This book got put to one side last week but I picked it back up yesterday and am gripped so I expect to finish this one very soon.

 

What I recently finished reading:

It Must Have Been the Mistletoe by Judy Astley

I’ve had this book on my TBR ever since it was first published so I’m glad to have finally got to it. I enjoyed this one, it’s set at Christmas which I appreciated and has family dramas galore. It didn’t make me feel quite as festive as I’d hoped but I did really enjoy it.

A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan

I borrowed the audiobook of this from BorrowBox and really enjoyed listening to it. It was my first Sarah Morgan book but it definitely won’t be the last!

Love, Secret Santa by S. A. Domingo

This is a really sweet YA book set in the run-up to Christmas. I found this cute and it made me remember what it was like to be a teenager.

Pushing Her Luck by B. R. Maycock

I read this book over the weekend and it was exactly what I needed. I got swept up in Holly’s life and it was fab escapism. I reviewed this yesterday so you can find my full thoughts here.

When Stars Will Shine by Emma Mitchell

This is a brilliant collection of short stories by different authors and I loved it. I’ll be reviewing it tomorrow for the blog tour so please look out for my post then.

Coming Home for Christmas by Jenny Hale

I’ve read and enjoyed a couple of this author’s previous Christmas novels Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses, and It Started With Christmas so I was looking forward to this one. I enjoyed it but it wasn’t as Christmassy and romantic as I’d hoped it would be.

Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

I am so happy that I picked up this audio book as it’s a return to form for the Shopaholic series and I loved this. It was so fun and festive and Becky is as hilarious as ever! I recommend it!

 

What I plan on reading next:

Let It Snow by John Green, Lauren Myracle & Maureen Johnson

I’ve had this book on my TBR for a couple of years and am determined to get to it this week so that I can watch the new Netflix film of it!

The Christmasaurus and the Winter Witch by Tom Fletcher

I read and loved The Christmasaurus last year so I couldn’t resist buying the sequel this year and I can’t wait to read it!

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

Book Reviews: Do Not Feed the Bear | Body Tourists | Snowglobe | All the Water in the World

mini reviews

Today I’m sharing a selection of mini book reviews of books that I’ve read and loved recently!

IMG_3420

Do Not Feed the Bear by Rachel Elliott

This book was sent to me by the publisher and it was a total surprise but I am so glad I got this book. Do Not Feed The Bear is a quirky, moving and brilliant novel that follows free-runner Sydney. She never feels like she can be still in life ever since something awful happened in her family the summer she was ten. This is a novel that really shows what grief is like, what feeling like you don’t belong is like but also what it is to find people who love you. I cried quite a bit when I read this book but I also smiled a lot and when I turned the final page my takeaway feeling was solace. This is a stunning book and one that has stolen a piece of my heart. I adore it and I highly recommend it!

 

47136362._SY475_

Body Tourists by Jane Rogers

This is not my usual kind of read but I spotted it on SJHigbee’s blog and her post made me want to read it and I’m so glad I did. This is set in a future where a private clinic has pioneered a medical technique that enables people to be brought back to life by having their memory bank transferred into young people’s bodies for fourteen days at a time. It’s a chance for people to put things right, to say a proper goodbye to their loved ones. The story is told from multiple viewpoints – the people who are brought back, the people who agree to give up their body for a time and the people running the clinic. There is so much in this novel, it’s so moving to think of having the chance to spend time with a loved one again and to have one more conversation so that really got to me. The novel is also so much about the ethics of paying people to sacrifice their own body for two weeks, the secrecy surrounding what actually happens and the way the truth is buried if anything goes wrong. It really is such a thought-provoking novel and it’s one that I’m sure I’ll be thinking about for a long time to come. I recommend this one, and if you’re not sure it’s your type of book I urge you to give it a try.

 

48330889._SY475_

All the Water in the World by Karen Raney

This is a really moving novel told from dual perspectives – Maddy who is sixteen and has cancer, and her mum Eve. We hear from both of them in alternating chapters and it really is an exploration of coming to terms with loss and of trying to connect when things are going wrong. I really enjoyed that it fully explored both perspectives not just from the point of view of them as mother and daughter but also who they are as people. There is real honesty in this book and these two characters felt so real to me. This book really got me in the gut for so many reasons and it’s one that I keep finding myself thinking about. It’s tender, honest and stunning – I definitely recommend this book.

40203682

Snowglobe by Amy Wilson

This is a gorgeous middle grade novel that follows 12 year old Clementine. Her mum disappeared when she was younger and now it’s just her and her dad. She one day finds a house and inside it’s full of snowglobes and people seem to be trapped inside them. This leads to Clem making huge discoveries about her lost mum, and herself. I don’t normally read fantasy but this is a lovely magical novel that I know I would have loved as a child. It’s a beautiful read that I’d recommend to everyone, it’s a perfect winter read to curl up with!

Stacking the Shelves with a new Book Haul (7 Dec 2019)!

new sts.png

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

Books and eBooks

Parkland by Dave Cullen

I read Columbine by this author when it came out a few years ago and it was so well-written and researched so I’ve been keen to read this book about the Parkland shootings and how the students reacted afterwards. I’ll definitely be picking this one up early in the new year.

A Faculty of Dreams by Sara Stridsberg

This has been on my wish list for a while and I decided to treat myself this week. It’s a novel but it’s based on the real life attempted assassination of Andy Warhol and follows the female perpetrator of the crime. It sounds fascinating and I’m keen to get to this one.

I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron

I can’t believe that not only have I not read this but I also seem to have lost my copy so this is a new purchase as I really want to read this one soon.

25 Days ‘Til Christmas by Poppy Alexander

This was an impulse buy after I read a couple of fab reviews and it was a bargain at 99p on kindle this week. I can’t resist a Christmas novel (although I already have more than I can read between now and Christmas! Oops!)

Lanny by Max Porter

Grief is the Thing with Feathers is one of the first books I got for review after I started my blog and it’s a book that has really stayed with me so I was keen to get a copy of Lanny. I bought it this week and I think I need to be in the right mood to read this one but I am looking forward to it.

 

Audiobooks

Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

I’ve been so keen to read this as I love a Christmas book but I’ve found the more recent Shopaholic books not as good as the early ones. Anyway, I had a credit on Audible and I decided to download the audio book. I’ve already starting listening to this and it’s already made me laugh so this is definitely a return to form for this series and I’m so happy about that!

Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

I’ve read Peter Pan numerous times over the years but I spotted that Audible have this free for members for Christmas so I couldn’t resist downloading it. I’ve never listened to it on audio before so I’m looking forward to experiencing it in a different format.

The Magnificent Mrs Mayhew by Milly Johnson

I really enjoy Milly Johnson’s novels on audio so when I saw this on a daily deal on Audible this week I snapped it up. I’m saving this for when I need a cosy, comfort read.

Everybody Died So I Got a Dog by Emily Dean

I’d never heard of this book before but when I saw it in the recent Audible sale and read the blurb it called to me. I’m drawn to books about grief and recovery so I think I’ll really connect to this and I’m looking forward to listening to this one.

 

ARCS

Poetry for Christmas by Orna Ross

I’ve been really looking forward to reading this collection ever since I was offered a spot on the blog tour so I’m delighted to have a copy and I’ll be reading this one very soon.

What She Saw Last Night by M. J. Cross

I’ve seen some fab reviews of this book on the blog tour so I requested it on NetGalley and I got approved yesterday so I’m thrilled to have a copy of this. I plan on reading this soon.


 

Have you bought any new books over the last week? Please tell me below. 🙂 If you join in with Stacking the Shelves please feel free to leave your link and I’ll make sure to read and comment on your post.

WWW Wednesdays (4 Dec 2019)! 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: 

Love, Secret Santa by S. Domingo

I started reading this last night and it’s such a lovely YA Christmas read, I’m very much enjoying this one.

When Stars Will Shine by Emma Mitchell

I’m thoroughly enjoying dipping in and out of this short story collection, it’s such a good read. As this is a book that is raising money for charity I took part in a cover reveal for it a few weeks ago and since then there’s been an issue with pre-orders but that is now all up and running. So if you’d like to know more about the book and to pre-order it please click here.

Pushing Her Luck by B. R. Maycock

I’ve only just started this one but I’m already hooked and I can’t wait to read more of it  over the next couple of days!

A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan

This is my current audio book which I got from the library. It’s an enjoyable listen so far and I’m looking forward to getting back to it.

I’ll Have What She’s Having by Erin Carlson

I bought this at the weekend and am really enjoying it. It’s a non-fiction book about Nora Ephron’s three rom-coms and it’s such a fun read. I now want to watch When Harry Met Sally for the umpteenth time! 🙂

Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton

I haven’t read much more of this book since last week I as I got caught up with Christmas reading but I will be getting back to this one very soon.

 

What I recently finished reading:

Body Tourists by Jane Rogers

This was such a good read, something completely different for me but I’m so glad I picked it up. I’ll be reviewing this once I’ve got my thoughts in order.

The Secret Santa by Trish Harnetiaux

This was a fun read about a group gathering and secrets being uncovered. It was a quick, enjoyable book.

Home Truths by Tina Seskis

I really enjoyed this thriller, I read it all in one sitting as I was desperate to know what was going on. I reviewed this yesterday so you can read my full thoughts here if you’d like to know more.

Bowie’s Bookshelf by John O’Connell

I really enjoyed dipping in and out of this book during Non-Fiction November. I wrote a mini review of this on Monday as part of my wrap-up post so you can read that here if you’d like to.

All the Water in the World by Karen Raney

This book was different than I was expecting but it was a good read and I’m glad I read it. I hope to get a review up of this one very soon.

Dopesick by Beth Macy

This book was such an interesting and moving read and I’m so glad I read it. I knew a reasonable amount about the opioid crisis but this book was still eye-opening to me. I wrote a mini review on Monday which you can find here.

Snowglobe by Amy Wilson

This is a lovely, moving middle grade read and I really enjoyed it.

Christmas Under the Stars by Karen Swan

I’m sorry to say that I found this such a disappointing read. I downloaded the audio from the library and was looking forward to a festive read but it has nothing to do with Christmas at all. There is a blink and you miss it mention of Christmas and that’s it. It was an okay read but not what it was billed to be.

 

What I plan on reading next:

Finding Christmas by Karen Schaler

This was on my TBR for last week and I didn’t quite get to it so it’s definitely a priority for the coming week, I’m looking forward to this one.

Last Christmas by Emma Thompson & Greg Wise

I’m also really keen to get to this as I love having a Christmas book that I can dip in and out of in December.

The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale

I’ve had the ebook of this on my TBR ever since it was first published so when I spotted the audio book on my library app this week I immediately downloaded it. This will definitely be my next audio book and I can’t wait!

One Christmas Star by Mandy Baggot

I got this book on Kindle when it was free recently so I think I’m going to buy the audio book so I can part-read and part-listen to this one. I love Mandy’s Christmas books so I have high hopes for this one. I’ve previously read and reviewed One Wish in Manhattan by Mandy Baggot and I adored it!

 

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

Non-Fiction November Round-Up and Mini Book Reviews!

Today I wanted to write a post to wrap-up my Non-Fiction November as I had such a lovely reading month. I didn’t fully stick to my planned TBR but I managed to read a lot of non-fiction and I enjoyed everything I read. Some books I’ve already reviewed so will link back to those and the others I will briefly review in this post.

Chase the Rainbow by Poorna Bell

This book had been on my TBR for quite a while so I wanted to make sure I got to it in November and I’m really glad I did. My review is here.

Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division by Peter Hook

I’ve had this book on my TBR ever since it was published so I’m really glad I finally picked it up. I really enjoyed reading this and found it so interesting. I’m a huge Joy Division fan so already knew a lot about the band but I still learnt things in this book that I didn’t know before. Peter Hook is so open in this book and it was really interesting to see Ian Curtis through his bandmate’s eyes, it gave a different perspective. I already have Peter Hook’s second memoir so I’m looking forward to reading it soon.

Gotta Get Theroux This: My Life and Strange Times on Television by Louis Theroux

I love Louis Theroux’s documentaries on TV, I find his approach so different and engaging and he really brings so much out of his subjects. I was really keen to read this book so when I saw it on my library’s audio book app I immediately downloaded it. This book covers his life and how he got into TV. He takes you through his work and the different TV shows he’s made, along with his reflections as he looks back. There was quite a bit about Jimmy Savile, which I found really interesting. Louis narrates the audio book himself so I definitely recommend this format.

I Carried A Watermelon: Dirty Dancing and Me by Katy Brand

I only got this book after I’d made my TBR list for non-fiction November but I couldn’t resist reading it as soon as I got it. I loved this one and have reviewed it here.

The Undying: A Meditation on Modern Illness by Anne Boyer

This is another ARC that I wanted to make sure I got to in November. It was a tough read because of the subject matter but it’s very well-written and it made me think. My review is here.

My Autobiography by David Jason

I’m a real fan of David Jason, I’ve watched and loved so many series that he’s been in over the years (in particular Only Fools and Horses, and A Touch of Frost) so I was really keen to finally read his autobiography. This was such a fun read learning about his life and how he got into showbusiness. He has so many great stories from over the years – some hilarious and some very moving, and I very much enjoyed reading all of them. I recommend this book if you’re a fan, it’s such a good read.

The Dark Side of the Mind by Kerry Daynes

I bought this book a few weeks ago and have been so keen to read it. I’m so glad I picked it up as it’s such a good read. I’ve reviewed it here.

Chavs: The Demonisation of the Working Class by Owen Jones

I’m not a fan of Owen Jones at all so I’m not sure how I came to own a copy of this book but I’m really glad that I decided to take a chance on it as it was a really interesting look at the working class.

The Death of a President by William Manchester

I’ve wanted to read this book for ages so when I finally bought the audio book a few months ago I knew I had to put it on my TBR for nonfiction November. This book covers the brief period before JFK was assassinated and then the days afterwards. It’s a really comprehensive look at what happened and how people reacted to it. I already knew a lot of what was in this book but there were still things that I didn’t know. It’s a fascinating book and I recommend it.

James Baldwin and the 1980s by Joseph Vogel

This book has been on my TBR for a couple of years as I’ve felt intimidated by it. I’m so pleased that I finally read it though as it was so interesting and it’s sparked off my interest in some other books as I want to know more. My review is here.

Becoming by Michelle Obama

I bought the audio book of this and I’m so glad I did as it was a joy to listen to. I really enjoyed learning more about Michelle Obama and the life she has lived. It was fascinating to read about how her life was before she met Obama, to hear how she grew up and what her family was like. I then loved hearing the story of how she and Obama met and discovering how she felt about him getting into politics, also how it was for her and their daughters once he became president. This is a really open and honest memoir and I loved it!

Soulless: The Case Against R. Kelly by Jim DeRogatis

I spotted this book on my library’s audio book app and immediately downloaded it. I hadn’t heard of the book before but I was intrigued to read it and I’m glad I did. This is an incredible piece of writing that is very well researched and put together. The journalist has followed the stories around R. Kelly for many years and eventually decided to put a book together. He interviews so many people, including R. Kelly’s accusers and the result is a brilliant expose. This isn’t always an easy book to read because of the subject matter but if you’re at all interested in this case I recommend it.

Logical Family: A Memoir by Armistead Maupin

I bought this book on kindle when it was first published but I ended up listening to the audio book during the month. I adored it as it’s read by Armistead Maupin himself so it was a lovely experience to hear him tell his own story. This is such a fascinating memoir of a life well-lived. He talks of how he was inspired to create some of the characters in Tales of the City, he shares about his upbringing and all the loss he experienced during the AIDS crisis. There is humour and sadness, and it’s just a wonderful memoir.

How To Be Human: A Manual by Ruby Wax

This is another book that I wanted to make sure to get to in November and I found it a good read. My review is here.

The Heretics by Will Storr

I found this book on my library audio book service so downloaded it on a whim and I’m glad I did. This wasn’t as in depth on any of the subjects covered as I was expecting but it was still such an engaging book. I enjoyed it.

The Five by Hallie Rubenhold

This book is such an incredible read and one I’m so pleased I read. I’m in awe of how much work and research must have gone into this book as the author put together a biography of each of these five women. It’s all about their lives, rather than about who killed them and it really made them real to me. I found this such a moving read and I felt so emotional about each of the women, I won’t ever forget them. This is one of the best nonfiction books I’ve read this year and I’ll be recommending it to everyone.

Constellations by Sinead Gleason

I really enjoyed this essay collection and got a lot so much out of reading it. My review is here if you’d like to know more.

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson

I read Oranges are not the Only Fruit many years ago but despite buying this memoir when it was published I had never got to read it. I’m so glad I spotted it on my library’s audio book app as it meant I could listen to the author read it to me. This is such an interesting and moving book, one that really made me think as I was reading it. There is such honesty in the book and I’m so glad I finally read it.

Dopesick by Beth Macy

This is such an important book and one I’m so glad I read but it was a tough read. I’ve been interested in the rise of the opioid epidemic for a few years now but even so this book was still so eye-opening to me. Macy gives the stats and the politics but she also really focuses on the personal giving us the stories of people from all walks of life who have ended up addicted to opioids in one form or another. This book made me angry at how people are being failed by the system but it was also incredibly moving, I felt so emotional as I got to the end. This is not an easy read but it’s a book I highly recommend.

Bowie’s Bookshelf by John O’Connell

I’m a huge David Bowie fan so was very keen to read this book. It’s a really enjoyable book about the one hundred books that David Bowie considered the most influential. It’s a real mix of books and it’s fascinating to learn more about the ones I haven’t read yet (quite a few are now on my wish list now!). There is a list of all the books at the start so you get an overview of the titles. Then you get each title with a short essay about the book and what Bowie liked about it or what he took from it. At the end the author suggests a song or two that would work well with the book and I really liked that element. It made me take time to sit and think about the books and Bowie’s music and the influence that he took from what he was reading. Some of the links seems somewhat tenuous but others I knew of and it was interesting to get more understanding of them. I also have to mention how fab it was to see that the author thinks Tin Machine may get proper recognition one of these days – I’ve always thought they were under-rated and I love both of the Tin Machine albums. I definitely recommend this book to fans of David Bowie but I think readers in general who are looking to find some new books to read would also enjoy this.

 

Book Reviews: Constellations | If I Forget You | Histories | The School Friend

mini reviews 1 dec

Today I’m sharing a selection of mini reviews of books I’ve read recently!

 

36508441._SY475_

Constellations by Sinead Gleason

I added this book to my TBR after reading one of the essays in a newspaper article. The one I read was probably the one that had the biggest emotional impact on me as its about the death of a close friend, and it’s incredibly moving. The moment when you get a phone call telling you that someone the same age as you, someone you love, has died is something that never leaves you. I also really connected with all the stories Sinead told about her medical battles over the years as I know what it is to have a lifetime of health struggles and to have to adapt to them. I smiled at the story of when Sinead was in a wheelchair as a teenager and was dreading how the other teens would react to her but the boys just immediately started messing about with her chair and made her feel so normal. I had that exact same experience at age 13 and to this day I think about it whenever I’m feeling self-conscious about my disability. I definitely identified with Sinead’s take on the pain scale, I had a wry smile on my face reading that as it’s so hard to explain to others how pain feels and how bad it is. This is a beautiful collection that takes you through what it is to be a woman and I very much enjoyed it. I recommend it!

44806003._SY475_

The School Friend by Alison James

This is the kind of thriller I’m always drawn to – a novel told in past and present about something that people did as children that has been kept secret until now! It seems Lucy has the perfect life – a happy marriage, a lovely house and good friends but all is not as it seems and she needs to get away. This leads her to being back in contact with her childhood best friend Adele. Adele has lived a tough life never having money or much stability so seems opposite to Lucy but the two share a secret about the death of a friend they had as pre-teens. This book gripped me from start to finish, it did require suspension of disbelief but that didn’t stop it being a really enjoyable read!

IMG_3391

Histories by Sam Guglani

This is a collection of interlinked short stories set in an NHS hospital. I loved the way you get to see from the perspectives of lots of different people in the hospital – the doctors and nurses, the cleaners, the patients and the receptionists. Each person had their own story to tell but in the background or on the periphery you see other people’s stories. Later you see some of the background from the perspective of the person involved and it feels like being really close to a story and then slowly pulling back from it to make a fuller picture. I really enjoyed this book and found it’s one that is really staying with me. I highly recommend it!

26114427

If I Forget You by Thomas Christopher Greene

Thomas Christopher Greene wrote one of my favourite books – The Headmaster’s Wife so I’ve been really looking forward to reading this book. I’m pleased to say that I really enjoyed it. The novel is told in alternating chapters from Henry and Margot, and also in the past and the present. This couple met and dated at university but were forced apart and they moved on with their lives. Then one day Henry sees Margot in New York and he wants to talk to her, to know what happened in her life. The longing and the missed opportunities in this book makes it such a bittersweet read. I read this in one sitting and I keep thinking about Henry and Margot ever since I finished reading it. I definitely recommend this one!

 

WWW Wednesdays (27 Nov 2019)! 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: 

 

Dopesick by Beth Macy

I discovered this book during Non-Fiction November and decided to read it straight away. It’s a hard book as its looking at drug addiction but it’s well-written and really interesting.

Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton

I’m a fan of this author so was thrilled to get to read her forthcoming novel Three Hours. I’m finding this book to be gripping and tense… it’s hard to put down!

Bowie’s Bookshelf by John O’Connell

I’m really enjoying dipping in and out of this book and learning more about the books that Bowie loved plus a bit more about said books.

Snowglobe by Amy Wilson

This is a gorgeous winter read and I’m kicking myself for not reading it sooner. It’s a middle grade/YA book and it’s stunning!

 

What I recently finished reading:

Alice Teale is Missing by Howard Linskey

I read this book over the last two days and it was so good. I loved the two detectives in this novel and am hoping this might become a series and that we’ll get to see them again.

Christmas at the Chateau by Lorraine Wilson

This is a short novella that I read in about an hour but it’s a really lovely story. It’s set at Christmas and is full of romance. I’ll be reviewing this one on 5th December for the blog tour so please look out for that then. In the meantime I recommend it!

One Christmas Night by Hayley Webster

This book is gorgeous, I loved every single minute that I spent reading it. It’s a Christmas novel that is different from other books I’ve read and I just adored it. I’ll be reviewing this one soon.

If I Forget You by Thomas Christopher Greene

I’d had this book on my TBR for 3.5 years, which is terrible as I know I love the author’s writing. Anyway, I finally picked it up this week and it was a lovely short read. It’s all about relationships, secrets and regret.

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson

I can’t believe I’ve never read this one before but it was such a good book. I found it such a moving and open read, one that will stay with me.

Constellations by Sinead Gleason

This is a brilliant book of essays all about Sinead’s life and about being a woman. I did love some of the essays more than others but all are excellently written. I recommend it.

The Five by Hallie Rubenhold

This book is brilliant. I’m in awe of the author and the amount of research she must have done to put these women’s stories together. I love that the focus is entirely on each of them and isn’t about who killed them. I recommend this to everyone, it’s one of the best nonfiction books I’ve read this year.

The Assistant by S. K. Tremayne

I really enjoyed this thriller, it was one of those that’s unnerving and unputdownable at the same time. I reviewed this one yesterday so you can find my full thoughts here if you’d like to know more.

 

What I plan on reading next:

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

I was delighted to get an ARC of this a while ago and have held off reading it until nearer publication but given that I’ll be focussed on Christmas reading soon I thought I’d sneak this one in this week!

Home Truths by Tina Seskis

This is another book that I really wanted to get to before publication day so I’m determined to pick this one up in the next day or two!

Finding Christmas by Karen Schaler

This is the next Christmas book I want to get to and I’m looking forward to this one. I read a book, Christmas Camp, by the author last year and loved it so I have high hopes for this one

The Secret Santa by Trish Harnetiaux

This is a festive thriller and I’m so keen to get to this one so I might pick this one up in the coming days too!

 

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

Non-Fiction November: Books I’ve Added to my TBR!

nonficnovgraphic-e1569211904841-768x768

I can’t believe that we’re already in the final week of Non-Fiction November! I’ve really enjoyed taking part this year and have not only read some fabulous books but I’ve discovered some brilliant-sounding books recommended by other bloggers. So, as part of today’s Non-Fiction November prompt from Rennie from What’s Nonfiction I’m sharing some of the books I’ve added to my To Be Read stack!

41018069._SY475_

I discovered Dope Sick by Beth Macy on Deb aka Curly Geek’s blog and found her review so compelling that I not only bought a copy of the book but I’m reading it now. It’s not an easy read because of the subject matter but it’s such a fascinating book. I also spotted The Library Book by Susan Orlean in the same post and have added this book to my wish list and plan to get hold of this one soon as it sounds really good.

the outrun by amy liptrot

On a similar theme, I read a brilliant review of The Outrun by Amy Liptrot on WhatCathyReadNext’s blog this week so I’m definitely going to be adding this book to my TBR. I find books about addiction and recovery really interesting and helpful so I’m keen to get to this one.

38085814._SY475_

During the first week of Non-Fiction November I enjoyed reading Karen at Booker Talk’s post about her favourite non-fiction and saw she recommended The Salt Path by Raynor Winn. It sounded like such a good read so I decided to buy the audio book and hope to listen to this one soon.

Over on Liz at LibroFullTime’s blog I’ve enjoyed a couple of posts. One was where she paired Bernadine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other with Lovers and Strangers by Clair Wills. I’m hoping to read the former very soon so am really interested to get hold of a copy of the latter to read alongside it. I also really enjoyed her Be the Expert / Become the Expert post. I’ve bought a copy of Bird Therapy by Joe Harkness as it sounds like a calming read, and I’ve added Names for the Sea by Sarah Moss to my wish list along with the other books about Iceland mentioned as I’m intrigued to know more.

44287149

I love reading reviews at What’s Nonfiction and it was here that I discovered that Susannah Cahalan had written another book (I loved her previous book Brain on Fire). The great Pretender sounds like my kind of book as I’m always so interested in reading about illness and diagnosis so I’ve added this one to my wish list and plan to read it soon.

34145295

On SpiritBlog’s Year in Nonfiction post I spotted a book called Bringing Columbia Home by Michael D. Leinbach and Jonathan H. Ward and I immediately looked it up. It’s about the space shuttle Columbia and as I’ve been fascinated by space ever since I was a small child I had to put this book on my wish list.

Also on the subject of space travel I was reminded by NeverEnoughNovels’ blog of The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe, which is on my TBR but I’ve never made the time to read it. I also discovered Rocket Men by Robert Kurson on this blog, it’s a book that I’ve never heard of before but it sounds like my kind of read so it’s on my wish list.

On Bookish Beck’s blog I read a great review of Unfollow by Megan Phelps-Roper, a book that was already on my radar and alongside this review was a review of Leaving the Witness: Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life by Amber Scorah, which is in a similar vein looking at what it is to leave religion and make a new life. Both of these books are on my wish list and I hope to get to them very soon.

In the week we did Book Pairings as a prompt you may recall that I recommended Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer alongside Dead Mountain by Donnie Eichar so it was great to discover on MusingsOfALiteraryWanderer’s blog recommendations for these two books along with two more: The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger and The Ledge by Jim Davidson and Kevin Vaughan. I’ve added both to my wish list and hope to get to read them soon.

UnrulyReader shared a post on Being an Expert on home organisation, which I loved reading. I second her recommendation of Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying! I discovered a few more organising books that I hadn’t heard of before so have made a note of the titles. I’m particularly interested in Good Housekeeping’s Simple Organising Wisdom.

I found HappiestWhenReading’s blog post about the best books on grief. I also recommended Motherless Daughters by Hope Edelman in one of my Non-Fiction November posts but I discovered a few new-to-me books in this post. The one that most stood out to me is  After This, and Anxiety: The Missing Stage of Grief both by Claire Bidwell-Smith so I’ve added both of these to my wish list and intend to buy them very soon.

Over on BookdOut blog a post about becoming an expert caught my attention. In the post is a selection of books about Australian true crime featuring female perpetrators and I actually can’t name just one book from this post as I’ve actually added all the books to my wish list! I can’t help but be intrigued about crime and what makes people do the things they do so I’m keen to read these books.

In another post written that week is one about books about the Royal Family over on Hopewell’s Library of Life’s blog. Again this is a post where I can’t really choose a single book as all of them look fascinating and I’ve made a note of all of the titles!

 


 

So all in all it’s been a bumper Non-Fiction November for me as I’ve found loads of new books to add to my TBR. Have you added any books to your TBR stacks during Non-Fiction November? I hope you’ve discovered some fab new books, I’d love to hear about them. 🙂

 

Stacking the Shelves with a brand new Book Haul (23 Nov 2019)!

new sts.png

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

 

Books and eBooks

The Body Lies by Jo Baker

This book has been on my radar for age so when I spotted it for 99p on kindle yesterday I snapped it up! I don’t think this one will be on my TBR for very long as I’m keen to get to it.

With the End in Mind by Kathryn Mannix

I bought this one on a whim when I spotted it on a Kindle Daily Deal yesterday. I think this sounds fascinating and it’s one I’ll have to be in the right mood for but I’m glad to own it.

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

I’ve read the first two books in this series and have the third one so I couldn’t resist getting this fourth book in a deal this week. I do enjoy these books so I’m happy to have the next two to read now.

Ma’am Darling by Craig Brown

I’ve been wanting to read this book as I’ve heard such good things about it so I’m glad to have my own copy. I did get it on audio from the library a while back but I heard it has a lot of photos in it so I wanted to get it in ebook format instead.

Snowflakes at the Little Christmas Tree Farm by Jaimie Admans

I bought this as it sounds like such a lovely Christmas read and I’m gearing up to begin my festive reading properly as soon as December arrives!

Christmas at the Lakeside Resort by Susan Schild

I downloaded this book for my kindle on a total whim as I love the cover so much! It looks like such a Christmassy book and I’m really looking forward to reading this one.

 

Audio Books

Gone Fishing by Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse

I bought this one on an Audible daily deal as I thought it might be something my husband might enjoy listening to. It sounds like an interesting and relaxing audio book so I’m looking forward to this one.

Where the Light Gets In by Lucy Dillon

I bought this one on a whim when it was on an Audible daily deal earlier this week. I’ve read and enjoyed one of the author’s earlier novels so I’m glad to have this one on my TBR.

 

ARCs

Keeper by Jessica Moor

This is one of my most anticipated books for 2020 so I was thrilled to be approved to read it on NetGalley. I’m trying to hold off reading it until nearer the release date but I may give in and read this early!

Christmas at the Chateau by Lorraine Wilson

I couldn’t reply fast enough when I was offered the chance to read this book for the forthcoming blog tour as it sounds like such a lovely Christmas read. I’ll be picking this up very soon!

 

Have you bought any new books over the last week? Please tell me below. 🙂 If you join in with Stacking the Shelves please feel free to leave your link and I’ll make sure to read and comment on your post.

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

44288564._SY475_

About the Book

The greatest love story is the one you least expect . . .

Alice is stifled, bored, and misunderstood.

So when she meets wealthy and handsome American, Bennett Van Cleve, she is quickly swept off her feet.

Marrying him and moving to America seems like a great adventure – but life as a newlywed in stuffy Baileyville, Kentucky, is not at all what she hoped for.

Until, that is, she responds to a call for volunteers to start a travelling library, surprising herself by saying yes, before her husband can say no . . .

Led by feisty and rebellious Margery O’Hare, this unlikely group of women travel far and wide on their mission to bring books and reading to those that need it, and Alice finally finds the freedom, friendship and love that she’s been looking for.

But not everyone approves of what they are doing, especially her new father-in-law. And when the town turns against them, will their belief in each other and their work be enough?

 

My Thoughts

The Giver of Stars is the perfect book for people who love reading! This is such a stunning novel following five women who were all leading very different lives and all get brought together to become part of a travelling library! It’s set in depression-era Kentucky and it does immediately transport you to this time and I got swept up in it right from the very start.

I have to admit that I’ve found some Jojo Moyes books just okay but others I have loved. My favourite up to reading this one was The Last Letter To Your Lover but The Giver of Stars has beaten it for me. I got completely swept up in the story of these women and I can’t stop thinking about them and the lives they led. I want to know more about the women who really did do this work and I loved when a book sparks off an interest in me.

The novel is all about this small group of women and we see the bonds that gradually form between them. It really feels like such an empowering book, I adored it. The travelling library is based in a township but the patrons all live out in the most rural of areas so the women go out on horses to deliver books to these families. They go out in all weathers all year round each on their own route and I found it so inspiring.

The Giver of Stars predominantly follows Alice who is newly married and expects to learn about life with her new husband but things aren’t right with him from the start. She looks for ways to make it work and to make things better but nothing seems to help so she throws herself increasingly into her work at the library trying to at least find satisfaction in her own life. I loved Alice, I was rooting for her the whole way through the novel.

I was thrilled to be approved for an ARC of this book from NetGalley but I decided to buy a copy of the audio book from Audible so that I could part-read and part-listen and this really worked well for this book. The audio is wonderful and really brought the book to life even more for me so I recommend it.

I so often say that historical fiction isn’t my favourite genre but then I read a book like this that I fall in love with and immediately want to re-read and it reminds me that there are books out there for everyone in all genres, we just have to find the right ones for us. I highly recommend this book!

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

The Giver of Stars is out now and available here.

WWW Wednesdays (20 Nov 2019)! 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 Five by Hallie Rubenhold

This book is so good! The amount of research that the author must have had to do in order to give such a full picture of each of these women’s life is so impressive. I’m in awe of her. This is a book that I want to both savour and devour, it’s brilliant. I have no doubt that this will be one of my standout books of the year.

Constellations by Sinead Gleason

This is also a brilliant read and I’m really enjoying it. I’ve been dipping in and out of it but I’ve reached a point where I don’t want to put it down, it’s so good.

Bowie’s Bookshelf by John O’Connell

I only started this book last night so I’m not very far into it but I know I’m going to to enjoy it. I think it might be one I dip in and out of over the next week or two.

Snowglobe by Amy Wilson

In my quest to catch up with my NetGalley ARCS as much as I can before the year is out this book is the next on my list. I’ve only read the opening chapter so far but it feels like a very lovely, magical book.

 

What I recently finished reading:

Magic Under the Mistletoe by Lucy Coleman

This is such a lovely, romantic book and I really enjoyed it. I’ll be reviewing it next week for the blog tour so please look out for my thoughts then.

The School Friend by Alison James

This is an ARC that has been on my NetGalley shelf for a while so I finally read it this week and it was an enjoyable read.

How to be Human by Ruby Wax

This was one of my Non-Fiction November picks and I’m glad I finally read it. It’s a good overview of how to deal with emotions around certain things and has a decent guide to easy mindfulness exercises in the back. My full review is here.

Logical Family: A Memoir by Armistead Maupin

I listened to the audio book of this and really enjoyed it. Armistead Maupin narrates it himself which really added to my enjoyment of his memoir. It’s made me want to start reading Tales of the City all over again so I may do that in the new year!

Soulless: The Case Against R. Kelly by Jim Rogatis

I borrowed this book from the library audio books app on a whim and I’m really glad I got to listen to this one. It’s written by a journalist who has been looking into the revelations about R. Kelly since the 90s so it’s a really interesting and insightful book. I recommend it.

James Baldwin and the 1980s by Joseph Vogel

I’d almost finished this book when I wrote my post last week and I’m really pleased that I stuck with this one as it turned out to be such a fascinating book. It’s sparked my interest to want to read all of James Baldwin’s writing (I’ve only read a couple of his books before). My thoughts on it are here if you’d like to know more.

Becoming by Michelle Obama

I listened to this on audio and I’m so glad I did. There’s nothing like a memoir that’s read by the author and this book was such a treat. I adored this book and I highly recommend it.

 

What I plan on reading next:

One Christmas Night by Hayley Webster

This is my next planned Christmas read and I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve got an ARC from NetGalley but I think I’m going to get the audio book so I can listen to it as I read.

When Stars Will Shine by Emma Mitchell

This is a Christmas short story collection and I’ve been so keen to start reading it so I think I’m going to dip in and out of this one over the next week or two.

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

This is the next book I want to read from my Non-Fiction November TBR. I’ve heard such good things about this and I can’t wait to start it.

Lost Connections by Johann Hari

This is also on my Non-Fiction November TBR and I think this is the one I’ll pick up after Three Women as I’m keen to read this one before the end of the month.

 


 

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

My Favourite Non-Fiction Books! #NonFictionNovember

nonficnovgraphic-e1569211904841-768x768

This week as part of Non-Fiction November Shelf Aware has set the prompt for us to talk about what makes a book a favourite. What qualities do you look for in non-fiction?

 

I love reading non-fiction and definitely read more of it in recent years than I ever used to before. I’m one of those readers that always has multiple books on the go at once and at least one of my books is always non-fiction.

When I first starting getting into non-fiction it was mainly through reading memoirs and biographies of people that I was interested in and I’m still drawn to them. They’re generally quite easy reads and the focus is on one person so they’re easy to follow. I find them good when my pain levels are high and I need a book that doesn’t require huge amounts of concentration. Alongside my love of memoirs are the easier non-fiction books that read almost like fiction because they’re so unputdownable!

The first grown-up non-fiction book I remember reading is The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. I read it the summer I was 8 and I can still remember the devastating, eye-opening impact that it had on me. The next biography that made an impact was Still Me by Christopher Reeve. I bought this in hardback the day it was released and I read it in one sitting. I was so moved by his struggle and his openness in the book. I didn’t know when I read it that one day I would be partially paralysed, it doesn’t compare to what happened to him but it does give me even more insight. I’m also recommending The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey. This is a memoir of a woman who whilst ill and confined to bed takes to watching nature, this is such a beautiful book and is one I stumbled across and am so glad it found me. On a lighter note I also included Lucy Mangan’s Bookworm, which is a must-read if you were a child and teenage reader (particularly if you’re in your 40s now). I adore this book! A fun read, also for 40+ year olds is Now We Are 40 which is all about Generation X and I loved it. Finally I recommend The Christmas Chronicles by Nigel Slater – it’s part Christmas memoir and part cookbook and it’s such a gorgeous book to read as the festive season comes around.

 

I also enjoy reading non-fiction to learn and often find myself drawn to factual books when I’ve been reading a novel or watching something on TV and want to know more. I’m more likely to fall down a rabbit-hole of one book leading to another these days and I love it when that happens. It so often ends with a book that is quite a distance subject-wise from where I started which then sends me off on another track.

In this section I’ve included Pain-Free Life by Andrea Hayes and Mindfulness for Health by Vidyamala Burch as both have massively helped me find a way to live with the chronic pain I’m permanently. I recommend them if you’re a pain sufferer. In Plain Sight is about Jimmy Savile and is such a well-written book about how his crimes were discovered. The Emperor of all Maladies and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks are both about cancer. The first is a history of cancer told in such a fascinating way, it’s a brilliant book. The second is about the cells doctors took from Henrietta that are still used today but her family weren’t informed about what was done. It’s such a moving and interesting book. Death at Seaworld is a brilliant book that really opens your eyes to what is happening at Seaworld. This book made me so angry but that’s a good thing and it’s a book more people should read. Hillsborough: The Truth is the full story of what happened and is a must-read. I’ve read it twice and it’s still so shocking for so many reasons. The Looming Tower is an excellent read about the factors that led up to 9/11 and has since been adapted for TV. The Red Parts is a memoir about Nelson’s Aunt’s murder, which happened before she was born and I’ve found this has really stayed with me. Last but not least is Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space, which was such an interesting read. It’s incredible to read her story and find out how she came to be an astronaut but also the extra struggles she had being the first woman, and how things had to be considered that never had before.

 

My concentration for more academic non-fiction isn’t great these days but when I want to read something to learn or to gain much more depth on a subject I will still pick these books up. I loved all the academic books that I read when I was doing my degree many years ago but I struggle now I’m out of the habit and do find these books more daunting.

Here I’m recommending just four books. The first is A Literature of their Own, which I bought in my first week at Uni when I heard Elaine Showalter was going to be giving a guest lecture. I’m such a fan of her writing now and want to re-read this one soon. I’ve also included Aspects of the Novel, which I devoured immediately after buying it and really enjoyed it. The Case of Peter Pan came in really useful for an essay I was writing but I’ve since re-read the book and find it such an interesting read. I want to read more by the author. I’m also including James Baldwin and the 1980s, which I’ve only recently finished but it’s sparked me into wanting to read so many other books so it feels right to include it.

Ultimately, I think my favourite kind of non-fiction is books that are the ones where I’m learning more about something but without the book being too academic. It means I can learn whilst enjoying my reading and it feels less pressured for me when my health isn’t so good.

 

Also, I have to squeeze in a mention that I do have something of an addiction to books about de-cluttering. I love Marie Kondo’s books (The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy as it’s her method that finally clicked with me to sort my whole house out (and it’s stayed tidy ever since! Here is a post about my clutter journey.)  but if I see a book about hoarding or de-cluttering I still have to read them! I also found Banish Clutter Forever, which helped me with re-organising my house after I’d decluttered. It’s based on the idea that we always know where our toothbrush is because we keep it right where we use it so if we apply that principle to everything else we own our homes should be easier to tidy and it should be easier to find things. I’ve reviewed Un*fuck Your Habitat here if you’d like to know more about this one.

 

What are some of your favourite types of non-fiction? What are your favourite non-fiction books? If you have any recommendations for me based on any of the books in this post please let me know, I’m always looking for more books to read! 🙂

Stacking the Shelves with my new Book Haul!

new sts.png

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

 

Books and eBooks

Born Lippy: How to do Female by Jo Brand

A lovely blogger friend very kindly sent me her copy of this book this week. It’s a book that I’m really keen to read so I’m going to try and get to it this month while it’s Non-Fiction November!

Christmas With Dull People by Saki

I spotted this book online this week and bought it purely based on the title as I was really intrigued by it. It’s a tiny book with a couple of short stories in so I’m looking forward to reading this one next month.

A Fabulous Creation: How LPs Saved Our Lives by David Hepworth

I’ve previously read one of David Hepworth’s books and very much enjoyed it so when I spotted this one on sale on kindle this week I immediately downloaded it. I can never resist books about music and records!

The Corset by Laura Purcell

This was another impulse buy when I saw this was on a kindle daily deal this week. It sounds like my kind of novel and it’s one I think will be good to read as the nights draw in so I don’t think this will be on my TBR for very long.

What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton

And another impulse buy from the kindle daily deal! I grabbed this one as I noticed that if I bought this I could download the audio version for £2.99 so I think I’ll do that and listen to this one. It sounds like an interesting book!

One Christmas Star by Mandy Baggot

I read and loved a Christmas book by this author a couple of years ago so I couldn’t resist adding this one to my TBR this week! It sounds like a really lovely festive romance!

 

Audio Books

43618595._SY475_

Soulless: The Case Against R. Kelly by Jim DeRogartis

I downloaded this book from my library audio book app this week on a whim. I’ve already started listening to this one and it’s really interesting – I’m about 90 mins into the book and I’ve already found out things that I didn’t know before so I’m keen to get back to this one.

 


 

Audible had a 2 for 1 book sale on last weekend and I had a couple of credits so I bought these four audio books!

Winter Solstice by Rosamund Pilcher

I chose this book on a whim as it sounded like a really engrossing family saga set around Christmas and I thought it would make a good listen throughout December.

One of Your Own: The Life and Death of Myra Hindley by Carol Ann Lee

I spotted this book and decided to get it as I’m always intrigued to know more about the backgrounds and psychology of people like Myra Hindley.

You Left Early by Louisa Young

I’ve had this book on my wish list for ages so I snapped this up when I saw it in the offer.

Look What You Made Me Do by Helena Walmsley-Johnson

I also got this book off my wish list as I’ve been wanting to read it ever since it was first published.

 

ARCs

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo

I’ve been so keen to read this book so when I saw it on NetGalley this week I immediately requested it and was delighted to be approved. If I love this as much as I think I’m going to I will definitely be buying it in hardback to have on my bookcase.

When Stars Will Shine edited by Emma Mitchell

This book should have been in last week’s book haul but I somehow managed to miss adding it so I’m sharing it now. This is a Christmas short story collection that is raising money for charity to Help the Heroes. I’m really looking forward to starting this one!


 

Have you bought any new books over the last week? Please tell me below. 🙂 If you join in with Stacking the Shelves please feel free to leave your link and I’ll make sure to read and comment on your post.

WWW Wednesdays (13 Nov 2019)! 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: 

Becoming by Michelle Obama

I’ve been so looking forward to listening to this on audio book and am so happy to say that I’m enjoying it even more than I thought I would. Michelle Obama’s life is so interesting and I can’t wait to read more.

Constellations by Sinead Gleason

I’ve only read the first essay in this book so far but I really enjoyed it so I’m very glad that I finally picked this book up.

Magic Under the Mistletoe by Lucy Coleman

I started reading this last night when I wasn’t feeling well and it’s perfect escapism. I’m sure I’m going to fly through this one tomorrow when I pick it back up!

James Baldwin and the 1980s: Witnessing the Reagan Era by Joseph Vogel

I’ve been really enjoying this book this week and at the time of writing this post only have 20% of it left to read so I may well have finished it by the time this post goes live. This is such a fascinating book, I recommend it if you’re a James Baldwin fan.

 

What I recently finished reading:

The Death of a President by William Manchester

I’ve been listening to this on audio for the past couple of weeks and have found it such an interesting look at the short period leading up to the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and the few days following his funeral. I recommend this to anyone who is interested in this period of history.

Chavs: The Demonisation of the Working Class by Owen Jones

I can’t stand Owen Jones so I’m not sure how I ended up buying this book on Audible but I’m actually glad I did. It’s an interesting look at how society views the working class. There is definite bias in the book but it’s still a book that gives you something to think about.

The Dark Side of the Mind by Kerry Daynes

I’ve been so looking forward to this book and I’m pleased to say it didn’t disappoint. The author relates insights into patients and illness that she has encountered during her career as a forensic psychologist. I recommend this one as it’s so interesting but also very readable.

The Undying: A Meditation on Modern Illness by Anne Boyer

This was a hard read because of the subject matter but it was also really interesting. The author has a lot to say about the way we look at cancer and cancer patients, along with the campaigns run around the illness. I will review this one once I’ve had time to mull over my thoughts on it.

David Jason: My Autobiography by David Jason

I’ve had this book on my TBR ever since it first came out six years ago but I finally read it this week and I very much enjoyed it. It covers most of David Jason’s life from his childhood through to Frost. I’ve got his next memoir on my TBR so I’m tempted to start that soon!

I Carried a Watermelon by Katy Brand

This book was such a fun, nostalgic read and I really enjoyed it. I will be reviewing it soon but can already say that if you love Dirty Dancing then this is a book for you!

 

What I plan on reading next:

Bowie’s Bookshelf: The Hundred Books That Changed David Bowie’s Life by John O’Connell

This is both a Non-Fiction November pick and one of my NetGalley must-read books plus it’s a book I’m really keen to read so I’m hoping to get to this one in the coming days.

The Five by Hallie Rubenhold

I’d hoped to pick this book up last week but didn’t quite get to it but it’s definitely next up from the audio books on my Non-Fiction November TBR and I’m so looking forward to this one.

Deceit and Self-Deception by Robert Trivers

This is another of my Non-Fiction November TBR picks and I’d really like to make a start on it this week. I have tried to read this once before and failed but I’m still keen to read it so now is the time!

The School Friend by Alison James

I’m continuing on my quest to catch up on my NetGalley reads before the end of the year and this book is up next on my list. I think I’m going to love this one!

 

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

 

Stacking the Shelves with a new Book Haul!

new sts.png

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

 

Books and eBooks

 

The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall

I’ve been wanting to read this book ever since I first heard about it so I was delighted when a lovely blogger offered to send me her copy. I hope to read this in the coming weeks after non-fiction November.

Illness as a Metaphor & AIDS as its Metaphors by Susan Sontag

I’ve wanted to read this book for the longest time so I finally decided to buy it this week. I think I may add it to my Non-Fiction November TBR. as I really want to read it now.

 

They Can’t Kill Us All: The Story of Black Lives Matter by Wesley Lowery

This is another book I’ve had on my wish list for a while now and decided to buy it this week. I may add this on to my Non-Fiction November stack too!

The Evil Beneath by A. J. Waines

I’m such a fan of A. J. Waines (see my reviews of Lost in the Lake and Perfect Bones) so when I saw her tweet that this book was free I immediately downloaded it. I’ve somehow missed reading this book before now so I’m looking forward to getting to it.

 

Audio Books

41018069._SY475_.jpg

Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors and the Drugs Company that Addicted America by Beth Macy

I’ve wanted to read this book for ages and I got the ebook a while ago but then spotted that I could add the audio to it so I did that this week. I’m really keen to read this one as it’s a subject that I’m really interested in so I don’t think I’ll be too long getting to this!

ARCs

The 24-Hour Cafe by Libby Page

I loved Libby Page’s previous novel The Lido was so thrilled to receive a copy of this book. I’m going to try and hold off reading it until the new year but I’m really keen to read it soon.

All the Water in the World by Karen Raney

I downloaded this ARC from NetGalley on the Read Now section entirely on a whim as I was intrigued by the premise. I hope it’s as good as it sounds.

The Holdout by Graham Moore

I requested this one on NetGalley as I loved the idea of a book set around a jury and I’m so thrilled that I got approved to read it this week!

 

Have you bought any new books over the last week? Please tell me below. 🙂 If you join in with Stacking the Shelves please feel free to leave your link and I’ll make sure to read and comment on your post.