My 20 Books of Summer 2020 TBR!

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

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

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

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

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

The Confession by Jessie Burton

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

You and Me, Always by Jill Mansell

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

The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan

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

Evening Primrose by Kopano Matlwa

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

Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks

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

The Old You by Louise Voss

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

While I Was Sleeping by Dani Atkins

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

Spring by Ali Smith

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

The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves

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

The 24-Hour Cafe by Libby Page

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

Yuki Means Happiness by Alison Jean Lester

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

Born Lippy by Jo Brand

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

Where We Belong by Anstey Harris

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

Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls

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

After Dark by Dominic Nolan

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

Unfollow by Megan Phelps-Roper

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

The High Moments by Sara-Ella Ozbek

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

Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham

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

Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman

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

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

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

Weekly Wrap-Up!

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

My 2019 Reading in Statistics!

Best Books of 2019 So far!

This week I’ve shared my Reading Bingo post, my runner ups for books of the year, my favourite fiction of 2019 and my favourite nonfiction of 2019. Today it’s time to look back over my reading in 2019! I’ve used a spreadsheet for the last couple of years to track my reading, alongside Goodreads, and I love being able to see the breakdown of what I was reading over the year.

My Goodreads goal for 2019 was 200 books… I’m still not sure how it happened but in 2019 I read 375 books in total, which is the most books I’ve ever read in twelve months! I don’t expect to ever reach this number again but it has been wonderful to read so many books!

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The longest book I read in 2019 was George Eliot’s Middlemarch – my edition had 923 pages! The shortest book I read was a recent read – The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore and had just 32 pages. I read quite a few longer books in 2019 but then over Christmas I read all my favourite festive reads which are short so that brought my page average down a little. I still averaged 345 pages per book though which I’m delighted about. It shows that overall I haven’t been reading short books just to attain a goal! According to Goodreads I read 127,454 pages in total in 2019!

 

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The above picture shows all of my four and five star reads from 2019. It’s lovely to have read so many great books over a year. I have rated some books lower than that but I just wanted to show the books that I’ve really loved.

 

Alongside Goodreads I also track my reading on a spreadsheet and I do love seeing all my stats for the year.

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Out of the 375 books I read in 2019 274 were by women and 94 were by men. The rest were co-authored by male and female authors. I don’t intentionally seek out books by female authors but ever since I’ve been tracking my reading on a spreadsheet it always works out that I’ve read more by women than men. I’m okay with this though and just find it interesting to note it.

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I read fairly steadily through the year but April was a quieter month on the reading front, I’m not sure why. Then August was full of books and I had an incredible reading month!

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I’m really pleased with the mix of genres that I read in 2019. It was definitely a year where I was very drawn to thrillers and I didn’t read as much nonfiction as I would have liked but overall I’m happy with the spread of genres my reading took.

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I’m intrigued by the diversity of my reading and a little disappointed that I didn’t read more that was diverse. Having said that almost half of my reading counted as diverse and that is something! In 2020 I definitely want to read more about experiences outside of my own so this is something I will focus on a bit more in my reading.

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The above pie chart shows the break down of where the books I read in 2019 were from. I made a real effort in the final quarter of last year to catch up on reading as many ARCs as I could so I’m really happy that the chart shows that half of my reading over the year were books from publishers directly or from NetGalley.

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Alongside the above pie chart it seems right to share this one which shows what percentage of books I read where acquired in 2019 and which had been on my TBR for longer. It worked out that I read 238 of the books that I acquired in 2019 and 125 books that had been on my TBR before the start of the year. I also re-read 12 books last year. I did have quite a few ARCs that I’d owned since before the start of last year so I was really pleased to get those read and reviewed before the end of the year.

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This chart shows the breakdown of where I acquired my books from in 2019. I wanted to share this chart really to show that whilst I am very lucky to receive books from publishers I do actually buy the majority of my books. I know Amazon is a problematic place to buy books but the vast majority of books I read are on my Kindle so it’s just the way it is for me. I joined my local library in the summer and whilst I can’t really use the actual library for borrowing books (the building isn’t accessible enough for me) I do love the BorrowBox app where I am now borrowing loads of audio books. I’m sure the percentage of borrowed books will increase in 2020!

I lost all control of my TBR in 2019 and gave up tracking it on my blog. I did still track it on my spreadsheet though so the above images show what happened…! I hoped to reduce my TBR a little each month but instead I increased it in all but one month. Oops! My TBR is now at 2618 (and this is books that I already own, it doesn’t include wish list books) so I have a lot of reading to do!

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In terms of my blog I’ve had my best year in terms of number of posts. I managed to write 237 blog posts, which is the most I’ve ever managed to publish in a year. I feel like I finally got back to a place where I’m reviewing books quite soon after I read them rather than letting them build up and because of that I’m enjoying blogging so much more. I hope I can keep that up in 2020 and I’d also like to try and review every book that I read, even if it’s only a mini review.

On the 1st January 2019 I had the most ever views on my blog in a 24 hour period so that was a lovely way to start last year. I shared my favourite books of 2018 on that day and it was fab to share the book love and have people share their favourite books with me.

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I was also thrilled beyond words to get an email from Reedsy in early October telling me that I’d made their list of Top 100 book bloggers for 2019. I’d been struggling a little with blogging when I got that email and it really gave me a boost to keep going and now I’m really back in the swing of things!

So all in all it’s been a wonderful year of reading for me in 2019 and I’m really excited to see what 2020 has in store.  I’m still pondering on what my plans are for blogging and reading in 2020 so I may write a post about that another day.

I hope 2019 was a fabulous reading year for you too! Happy New Year! 🙂

 

 

 

My Top 10 Favourite NonFiction Read in 2019!

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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!

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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!

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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

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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

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A Question of Trust by Penny Vincenzi

A Forgotten Classic

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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

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The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

A Book Published This Year

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

A Book With a Number in the Title

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

A Book Written By Someone Under 30

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

A Book With Non Human Characters

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

A Funny Book

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Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

A Book By A Female Author

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

A Book With a Mystery

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

A Book With A One Word Title

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

A Book of Short Stories

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

Free Square

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

A Book Set on a Different Continent

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

A Book of Non Fiction

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After the Eclipse by Sarah Perry

The First Book By A Favourite Author

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

A Book You Heard About Online

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

A Best-Selling Book

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The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

A Book Based on a True Story

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

A Book At The Bottom of Your TBR Pile

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Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell

A Book Your Friend Loves

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

A Book that Scares You

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

A Book That Is More Than Ten Years Old

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The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

The Second Book In A Series

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

A Book With a Blue Cover

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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. 🙂

Christmas Book Recommendations!

Today I wanted to share a selection of Christmas books that I’ve read and reviewed in recent years.

 

If you’re running short on time and want to fab festive read then I can recommend the following novellas and short stories:

The Christmas Spirit by Susan Buchanan

This is a lovely novella set in the four weeks running up to Christmas. It is magical and sweet and really makes you feel festive! My review is here.

Merry Mistletoe by Emma Davies

This is another beautiful novella set in the weeks running up to Christmas. It’s such a stunning book that I found immensely comforting and it’s a story that has really stayed with me. My review is here.

 

Christmas Spirit by Nicola May

Christmas Spirit is a beautiful, romantic and heart-warming novella and I highly recommend you grab a copy to read over Christmas! My review is here.

The Boy Under the Mistletoe by Katey Lovell

If you’re really, really short on time but want a cute Christmas read then this is the story for you. It’s part of the Meet Cute series and it will warm your heart. It’s the perfect read to escape into during a coffee break! My review is here.

 

If you have time to read a novel (or two or three…) over the festive period then I recommend all the following books:

One Wish in Manhattan by Mandy Baggot

This is a gorgeous novel set in New York in the run up to Christmas. It has echoes of A Christmas Carol running through it and it’s a wonderful festive novel. My review is here.

How To Stuff Up Christmas by Rosie Blake

This is such a fun read that is perfect to read around Christmas-time. It is full of friendships and romance and recipes (some more successful than others!)! My review is here.

Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale

This is a lovely romantic novel set in the lead up to Christmas. Interior designer Abby gets a job decorating Nick’s family home and things go from there. It’s really Christmassy and I very much enjoyed it. This has now been made into a film and I loved that too! My review is here.

Every Time A Bell Rings by Carmel Harrington

This is a a really gorgeous novel based on the ideas from It’s A Wonderful Life and I adored it. It really encapsulates so much of what Christmas is and the emotions it brings up. I love this book! My review is here.

The Mince Pie Mix-Up by Jennifer Joyce

This is such a brilliant Christmas novel. A married couple, Judy and Calvin, each feels that the other has the easier time of it so wish to switch lives in the run up to Christmas. One morning they wake up in each other’s bodies and fun ensues as they try to navigate their new roles! This is a really fun festive novel and I really want to re-read it! My review is here.

Snowy Nights at the Lonely Hearts Hotel by Karen King

This is such a lovely festive novel that really does capture Christmas spirit. It is one that I loved last year and I plan on reading it again in the years to come. My review is here.

What Happens At Christmas by T. A. Williams

This novel has everything you could possibly want in a Christmas story! It’s set at Christmas, it’s in a gorgeous location, it’s heart-breaking but more so it’s heart-warming, it has romance, it has crackly log fires, and it has snow! My review is here.

Winter’s Fairytale by Maxine Morrey

This novel won’t fail to give you that warm, fuzzy feeling. It’s just a gorgeous Christmas novel that will give you butterflies and will warm your heart. My review is here.

Christmas Camp by Karen Schaler

Christmas Camp is a really festive, feel-good novel and I highly recommend it. This is going on my list of books that I’ll read again in future at this time of year! My review is here.

Christmas at Lilac Cottage by Holly Martin

I highly recommend this book, it’s wonderful. It’s one of those books that you can curl up with on a cold day and just escape, and when you’ve finished reading you feel all content and warm and smiley. My review is here.

Snowflakes on Silver Cove by Holly Martin

This is a very funny and highly entertaining novel that will have you laughing out loud from the very first page! It’s also full of Christmas romance and just so gorgeous – you will not be able to put this book down! My review is here.

Snowday by B. R. Maycock

Snowday is a really engaging, fun read that shows the reality of life but with a fab dose of humour too. It’s such a gorgeous, wintery read and I absolutely loved it! I highly recommend adding this to your festive reading lists. My review is here.

The Snowman by Michael Morpurgo

This is such a lovely, magical book and I would have loved to have had this when I was a child. It’s always a bit of a worry when someone writes a variant of an old favourite but Morpurgo has been so respectful of the original story and this stands alongside it as an extra Snowman story that is just as wonderful. A gorgeous, magical and nostalgic read! My review is here.

And finally here are reviews of four of my favourite Christmas reads from this year.

One Week ‘Til Christmas by Belinda Missen

One Week ‘Til Christmas is a gorgeous, romantic read that will really get you in the festive spirit! I adored this book and I will definitely re-read it over Christmases to come. My review is here.

The Christmas Wish List by Heidi Swain

The Christmas Wish List is a very special festive book, one that has stolen a piece of my heart. It is firmly going on my shelf of treasured Christmas books that I try to read every year. I highly recommend this one – it’s truly gorgeous! My review is here.

One Christmas Night by Hayley Webster

This book has sadness and difficult times but it’s still the most gorgeous and festive novel. It’s full of forgiveness and finding solace, it’s about making new memories and finding ways to move on while still remembering what came before. It really does capture the spirit of Christmas and it really is the most beautiful book! I’ll definitely be re-reading it over Christmases to come! I can’t recommend it highly enough! My review is here.

The Other Side of Christmas by Sharon Booth

The Other Side of Christmas really is such a gorgeous festive read, it is the perfect length for the story being told and it leaves you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. My review is here.

 

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.

 

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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)!

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

 

Books and eBooks

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.

My Favourite Non-Fiction Books! #NonFictionNovember

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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! 🙂

Non-Fiction November: Become the Expert… on Gender!

This week as part of Non-Fiction November the prompt set by Katie at Doing Dewey is to Be the Expert / Ask the Expert / Become the Expert. I’ve decided to go with Become the Expert as there is a topic that I’ve bought a few books on but have yet to read any of them.

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I want to learn more about gender as it seems there is more and more in the media about this and I feel like I don’t know as much as I would like to. I often think back to my own childhood as a girl with brothers and I feel like back then we all played with dolls and tractors. Lego was made in primary colours and for everyone. But when I look back at photos I’m always wearing pretty dresses and my brothers wore more practical clothes.

So these are the books I’d like to read in the coming months:

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The Gender Agenda by Ros Ball and James Millar

I think this book would be a good place for me to start as it’s a book compiled from tweets and blogs that the parents kept as their children were growing up. It feels like it will be an accessible and fairly quick read that will give me an overview of how society views boys and girls differently, and how stereotypes keep being reinforced (even when we perhaps try not to do this).

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Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine

This book looks at gender from the angle of neuroscience and psychology to see whether men and women’s brains are wired differently, and to further understand what role the way we are brought up has on our adult lives. I’m fascinated to read this book, I think it will be one that really gives me much more understanding on the subject of gender.

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Girls Will Be Girls by Emer O’Toole

This book is slightly different in that it looks at gender but more specifically at women and how we dress and perform in order to fit society’s norms. I think the author is trying to challenge the stereotypes and to re-write the agenda. This book sounds so interesting to me and is one I’ve wanted to read for ages.

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The Gender Games by Juno Dawson

I had to add this book to my quest to understand more about gender as the sub-title to this book is ‘The Problem with Men and Women, from Someone Who Has Been Both’. Juno is a trans-woman so she is able to bring another perspective to my learning about gender. I’ve had this book on my TBR for a year now and haven’t managed to get to it but in putting this post together it’s reminded me how much I want to read it.

Do you have any recommendations of more books on gender that might give me further insight and understanding? I’d love to add to my TBR on this subject.

 

 

 

If You Like That, You’ll Love This! #Fiction #NonFiction #BookPairings

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It’s week 2 of Non-Fiction November and this week’s prompt is over on Sarah’s Book Shelves and it is all about pairing up non-fiction books with fiction.

I thought this was going to be really difficult but once I took a few minutes to think about it, and to scroll through my Goodreads account, I came up with a few!

Firstly I have a couple of nonfiction books to recommended.. If you loved one then I think you’ll love the other too!

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer + Dead Mountain by Donnie Eichar

I read both of these books in 2019 and they are both such fascinating reads. Each features explorations of very cold, inhospitable places and reflections on what happened along with some history. Dead Mountain is looking at a mysterious case from the 1950s where a group of experienced explorers all died in very strange circumstances. Into Thin Air is about a group who climb Everest in the 1990s but something goes wrong near the summit and people died. Afterwards there was a lot of discussion about the truth of what happened that day. I think if you enjoyed one of these books you would also enjoy the other.

The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink + Past Caring by Audrey Jenkinson

I read these books quite a long time ago but it’s testament to them that I still remember them so clearly. The Last Act of Love is an incredibly moving book about the aftermath of an accident that seriously injured Cathy’s brother. She and her family looked after him from then on until his death. Past Caring is a book that I discovered in the months after my mum died and it was a huge help to me. It’s all about how it feels, and how to cope, when you have been a carer for a loved one who has since died. It’s hard to suddenly not be a carer anymore, to not be needed when it’s been your life for so long. I recommend both of these books – the first is a book for everyone and the second is more for if you have been caring for someone, it really is an excellent resource.

 

Then I have some fiction books that I’ve read and enjoyed so have paired them with some non-fiction titles that are linked in some way.

Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett + How to Survive a Plague: The Story of How Activists and Scientists Tamed AIDS by David France AND And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic by Randy Schilts

I just finished reading Full Disclosure at the weekend so I haven’t yet written my review. As soon as I started writing this post though I knew I had to include it. It’s about a teenage girl who is HIV Positive (which she contracted from her birth mother). She lives with her two dads and lives a very normal life. The book is a brilliant portrayal of what it is to live with HIV in the present day and I recommend it. I wanted to pair it with two books that both give such an excellent overview of the history of HIV and AIDS. Randy Schilts book is an older book so it doesn’t cover more recent developments but it is still a very good read. David France’s book is very recent and I found it fascinating. Both non-fiction books are well-researched but they’re written in a very accessible way and I would recommend them to anyone wanting to know more.

The Things We Thought We Knew by Mahsuda Snaith + It’s All in Your Head: True Stories of Imaginary Illness by Suzanne O’Sullivan

The Things We Thought We Knew is a brilliant novel following a teenager who is bedbound with chronic pain. Through the novel we learn that her childhood best friend went missing and she has struggled to cope with the loss. Her situation is complex and I felt such sympathy for her. I adored the novel and am keen to re-read it. The non-fiction I recommend after reading the novel is It’s All in Your Head. I read this book whilst recovering from neurosurgery and I got engrossed in it. It’s a book by a doctor who is exploring illnesses where there is no apparent physical cause. She never says it’s all in your mind in a dismissive way, it’s more a fascinating look at how our minds can cause symptoms to present in the body. These symptoms need treating just as much as actual physical illness but O’Sullivan shows how patients and doctors need to be open to exploring other avenues such as psychotherapy. I loved the book and highly recommend it.

Carry You by Beth Thomas + Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss by Hope Edelman

I read Carry You about five years ago and it’s a book that’s really stayed with me. It’s a contemporary novel and the main character is trying to re-build her life after the death of her mum. I loved the book and want to re-read it soon. I’m pairing it with Motherless Daughters, which is a book I discovered in the months after my mum died. It was the book I needed in those months and I recommend it to anyone who has lost their mother. I liked how Hope tells her own story but the book also contains lots of other women’s stories too so it really is a book for any woman whose mother has died. It’s perhaps not a book if you haven’t experienced that loss but it’s one to make a note of, I have since gifted copies to friends who are grieving the loss of their own mother.

Still Lives by Maria Hummell + After the Eclipse by Sarah Perry 

I read Still Lives very recently and found it a really interesting read. It features an art exhibition by a female artist who has painted herself into the murder scene of women who became infamous after their deaths (such as Nicole Brown-Simpson). It’s a crime thriller but what stood out to me was the exploration of how society either fetishises murdered women, or it ignores them completely to focus on the killer. I’m pairing this with After the Eclipse, which is one of my favourite non-fiction books that I’ve read this year. In this book Sarah Perry writes about the murder of her mum when she was a young teenager. Sarah explores her own emotions from the time but also looks back on the time through her adult eyes. She really made me think about how in our fascination with true crime documentaries we often almost forget that the murdered woman was a person, she had a family and friends. This is a book I recommend to everyone.

The First Time Lauren Pailing by Alyson Rudd + I Am I Am I Am by Maggie O’Farrell

I read The First Time Lauren Pailing Died a few weeks ago and enjoyed it. It’s about Lauren Pailing and she has a fairly ordinary life but when she’s a teen she dies in an accident. At this point we see the aftermath of her death and how it affected her loved ones but we also see Lauren survive the accident and go on with her life. She later dies again and the splits occur once more and you follow all the timelines. It’s such a good read, and even though it sounds confusing I found it easy to follow. I think if you enjoyed this book you should read I Am I Am I Am by Maggie O’Farrell. I’m the biggest fan of her writing so was eager to read her first non-fiction writing and it’s a brilliant book. Maggie looks back on her life through each of the times that she had a brush with death. This book really resonated with me and I’m definitely going to re-read it next year. If you haven’t already read it, I highly recommend it.

Histories by Sam Guglani + Breaking and Mending by Joanna Cannon

Histories is an interlinked short story collection that I found really powerful. You see the hospital through the eyes of different people who are there – doctors, nurses, cleaners, admin staff and patients and each story adds depth to another story in the book. It’s a great read and really stays with you. Breaking and Mending is Joanna Cannon’s reflections on her time as a junior doctor and it’s an incredibly powerful book. I found it breathtaking in how she shows the realities of working in the NHS and it’s made such an impression on me. This is a book I recommend to everyone.

The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech + Good As You: From Prejudice to Pride – 30 Years of Gay Britain by Paul Flynn

The Lion Tamer Who Lost is one of my favourite novels so I recommend it if you haven’t already read it. It follows Ben who is working at a lion reserve in Africa, which he’s always dreamt of doing but he’s not happy. Over the novel we find out about Ben’s relationship with Andrew and it’s such a stunning read. It made me cry when I read it but now when I think of it I remember the beauty and hope in the early days of Ben and Andrew as they fall in love. I’m pairing this with Good As You, which is a book looking back at 30 years of what it is to be gay in Britain. It’s one of those non-fiction books that you learn things from but it’s written in such a way that you fly through it. I was picking it up every chance I had, just like I do with fiction. Both books have heartbreak and hope and I recommend them.

Accidental Emeralds by Vivienne Tuffnell + The Point of Poetry by Joe Nutt

Accidental Emeralds is a poetry collection that I read around the time I started reviewing books on my blog. It’s a beautiful collection that looks at longing and love through the changing of the seasons. I loved the collection and plan to re-read it but I was very apprehensive about reviewing it because I never feel like I’m clever enough to fully understand how to write about poetry. Earlier this year I read The Point of Poetry by Joe Nutt which is a brilliant book that looks at a selection of poems and explores them in a way that makes poetry feel so accessible. The book even made me re-read a poem that I detested while studying at school and I ended up finding I really enjoyed it. The Point of Poetry is for everyone and I recommend it to anyone who has ever felt intimidated to read poetry or to write about it.

The Evidence Against You by Gillian McAllister + Stand Against Injustice by Michelle Diskin Bates

This pairing was a late edition to this post but I wanted to include it anyway. The Evidence Against You is a crime thriller that follows a young woman as her father is about to be released from prison. He was convicted of killing her mother but now he’s  protesting his innocence. She doesn’t know what to believe but she decides to try and find out what the truth is. A couple of weeks ago I read Stand Against Injustice which is about a terrible miscarriage of justice. Barry George was wrongfully convicted of murdering TV presenter Jill Dando and this book, written by Barry’s sister, explores what the family have been through over the last twenty years. It really gives an insight into what it is having a loved one in prison, and how much it takes to fight for justice. I highly recommend this one.

 

 

My Year in Non-Fiction! #NonFicNov

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I’m taking part as Non-Fiction November again and this year there is a weekly prompt set by a different blogger each week. This week the prompt as been chosen by Julie at Julz Reads and it’s all about looking back over the non-fiction we’ve read this year.

Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions – What was your favourite nonfiction read of the year? Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year? What nonfiction book have you recommended the most? What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?

 

So far since the 1st January this year I’ve read 302 books and only 68 of them have been non-fiction, which I’m disappointed by. I love non-fiction and it usually makes up around a third of my reading. Hopefully Non-Fiction November will help me focus on non-fiction for the most part this month!

 

Thinking back over 2019 I thought I’d been most drawn to true crime but when I look through my year of reading on Goodreads it seems I’ve read more medical-related books. I’ve very much enjoyed most of the non-fiction that I’ve read this year.

 

 

I think the two books that have had the most impact on me this year have been Trauma by Dr Gordon Turnbull and After the Eclipse by Sarah Perry. Trauma because it was a history of how PTSD came to be recognised as a medical condition and how the treatment has evolved over the years. The author takes us back through cases that he has worked on and it’s fascinating. I suffered with PTSD for many years so this was of particular interest to me but I really do think it’s a book everyone would find very interesting. After the Eclipse is written by a woman whose mother was murdered when she was in the house and just a young teenager at the time. It really shows the love and the mixed up emotions around such a traumatic event at a young age but it also was an important reminder to me that in all the true crime documentaries we watch and read about that there is a victim and loved ones of that victim. It really humanises and shows the other side of a murder case. These are the two books that I would most recommend of my non-fiction reading this year.

 

I’m hoping that Non-Fiction November will help me focus more on non-fiction for a few weeks but also that it will allow me to get to some non-fiction that I’ve been putting off for one reason or another. I have such a huge stack of non-fiction books on my TBR and I’m so excited to read all of those books.

My 20 Books of Summer Wrap-Up!

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The 20 Books of Summer reading challenge has now ended and I’m so happy to say that, for the first time ever, I read all of the books on my planned TBR! Woo Hoo! I’ve always managed to read at least 20 books over the summer but I have never, ever managed to stick to my planned list. I picked 20 physical books this time so it was an even bigger challenge for me so I really am proud of myself for completing it. I didn’t get around to reviewing the books I read but I do intend to review at least some of them soon.

Before I go any further, a huge thank you to Cathy at 746 Books for running this challenge. I really do love taking part each year.

Here are the books I read over the summer (in the order I read them).

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames

The Trouble With Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahern

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor

A Question of Trust by Penny Vincenzi

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

The July Girls by Phoebe Locke

Still Lives by Maria Hummell

Take Me In by Sabine Durrant

Inhuman Resources by Pierre LeMaitre

The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith

After the Eclipse by Sarah Perry

The Word for Woman is Wilderness by Abi Andrews

Histories by Sam Guglani

We Own the Sky by Luke Allnutt

A Keeper by Graham Norton

Nevermoor #1: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

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

 

I have to say that I enjoyed every single book that was on my summer TBR, which is really something! I think if I was pushed to pick my favourites I would have to say that my favourite two novels were The Goldfinch and The Trouble With Goats and Sheep, and my two favourite non-fiction books were After the Eclipse and Take Courage. It was bittersweet reading A Question of Trust with it being the final book by Penny Vincenzi but I enjoyed it so much that I now want to make time to re-read some of her other novels.

The page count for my 20 books came to 7597, which is no surprise really considering how long The Goldfinch is and A Question of Trust is pretty huge too!

The fact that this year I made time to read my planned summer TBR as well as the other books that I needed to read (books for review and blog tour books) meant I was successful at completing this TBR. I’ve never done well with TBRs – I’m one of those people that absolutely loves planning what I’m going to read, and then the minute the challenge starts I want to read everything but what’s on my list! This time I planned it better and I feel so satisfied at getting to books that had been on my TBR bookcase for quite a while. I had a couple of books on my list that I’ve put off because they felt like they might be more difficult reads (like The Word for Woman is Wilderness for example) but I found I enjoyed them so much. It reminded me that I perhaps need to make a seasonal TBR to remind me of the books that I want to read but am intimidated by.

This year’s 20 Books of Summer has been absolutely wonderful and I already can’t wait for the next one! How did your summer reading go? Did you take part in the challenge? I hope you read some amazing books. 🙂

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Best Books of 2019… So Far!

Best Books of 2019 So far!

By the end of June this year I’d already read 162 books so I thought it might be nice to write a post about my favourite books that I’ve read this year so far. Some were published this year and some were published a while ago but all are books that I’ve read and loved between 1st January and 30th June this year!

These books are in no particular order, I loved them all!

So without further ado…

 

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Senseless by Anna Lickley

This book had to be on my list because it has such an honest portrayal of what it is to have a disability. I could identify with a lot in this novel and it’s so rare to see myself represented in a novel in this way so I feel a real connection to this book. It’s a really good novel all-round and I recommend it. My review is here if you’d like to know more.

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Song of the Robin by R.V. Biggs

This is a book I almost didn’t pick up but I am so glad I did because it’s such a brilliant novel. There is a real mystery running through the book, which had me enthralled. I also really connected with the exploration of grief. My full review is here.

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The Space Between Time by Charlie Laidlaw

This is quite a recent read but I keep finding myself thinking about it so I had to include it in this post. This is a novel that rewards the reader taking their time with it and once you’re invested it will have you hooked all the way to the end. I loved the way it captured how life is, how grief is and how time feels during pivotal moments in life. My review is here.

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The Rumour by Lesley Kara

I read this book very early on this year and it has really stayed with me. It’s a book that really looks at what it’s like to live in a small community and what happens when idle gossip fuels a rumour. I loved this book. My review is here.

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Dead Inside by Noelle Holten

This novel is such a brilliant look at domestic violence from so many angles and I found it really got under my skin. It’s such a great debut and I can’t wait for the second book in the series to be out! My review is here.

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Amazing Grace by Kim Nash

I was so excited to read this book and it completely and utterly lived up to my expectations. It’s a gorgeous feel-good novel! My review is here.

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Baxter’s Requiem by Matthew Crow

This book is beautiful – it’s funny and moving and just such a heart-warming novel to read. It’s definitely a book that I want to re-read at some point. Here is my review.

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The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

This is a recent read but Donna Tartt is one of my favourite authors and I loved The Goldfinch so much that it had to make my list. I haven’t managed to review this one yet but I hope to soon. In the meantime, I highly recommend it!

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The Conviction of Cora Burns by Carolyn Kirby

I found this book so gripping and moving, it had me under its spell from start to finish (and beyond because I still think of it now) so I had to have this one in my list! My review is here.

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Ideal Angels by Robert Welbourn

This book is incredible! It was such an incise look at how modern life is, at our obsessions with social media and appearing like we have the most perfect lives. It is shocking and moving, and I still can’t stop thinking about this novel! My full review is here.

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Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

This is such a brilliant thriller novel. It’s a prescient novel but also such a stunning read. My review is here.

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Death and Other Happy Endings by Melanie Cantor

I adored this book! It’s a look at what happens when someone is told they have three months to live but it’s such a life-affirming, uplifting read in spite of what has happened. It’s wonderful and I recommend it! My review is here.

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A Modern Family by Helga Flatland

This novel is the most stunning and accurate portrayal I have ever read about what it is to be a sibling. I found it breathtaking at times and I know this is a book I will be thinking about for a long time to come. My review is here.

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The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar

I got this book for Christmas and it was the very first book I read in 2019, and what a way to start a new year! This is such a stunning novel and it felt like such a treat to read it. I’m sad I didn’t manage to review it but I highly recommend it all the same!

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The Blue Bench by Paul Marriner

I listened to this book on audio and I just got lost in it. It’s such a beautifully written novel about the aftermath of the war on four characters, and I just loved it. I want everyone to read this book! My review is here.

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The Perfect Betrayal by Lauren North

I only read this psychological thriller very recently but it couldn’t not be on my list of best books. This is one of the best books in this genre that I’ve ever read and I can’t recommend it highly enough. My review is here.

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The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood by Susan Elliot Wright

I started reading this book one afternoon and I literally didn’t look up from the page until I finished reading. This is an incredible and stunning novel, one that will stay with me. My review is here.

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The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean

I read this book out in the garden over a couple of lovely sunny afternoons and I just got lost in its pages. There is a dreamlike quality to this novel and I still feel slightly under its spell now! My review is here.

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Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I part-read and part-listened to this book and I loved every single second of it. It’s one of my all-time favourite audio books and I highly recommend it. I haven’t managed to post a review yet but I plan on doing so soon.

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The Trouble With Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

This was one of my picks for my 20 Books of Summer and I completely and utterly feel in love with this novel. It’s such a gorgeous novel that is both laugh out loud funny, and heartbreakingly moving. I adored it and hope to review it soon.

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Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech

This book is amazing. I still don’t feel like I can do justice to it, I still feel like it’s got a hold on me that I can’t explain. My review is here and I just urge you to please go read this book if you haven’t already!

 

 

What are your favourite books of 2019 so far? I’d love to know!

 

 

 

 

That Was The Month That Was… May 2019!

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May was a month filled with books. I read 34 books this month – a mix of print, ebook and audiobooks and most were very good reads. This has been a bumper month of reading and I put it down to the lovely sunny days we had where I got to sit out in the garden, and then not been too well so needing more time to take it easy.

I was thrilled to discover that my blog now has over 9000 followers as of late May. Thank you to all of you that have stuck with my blog over the years, and to my newer followers, I appreciate you all.

Thank you also to everyone who has commented on my posts throughout May. I’ve been really struggling to type this month, and also with my eyes (looking at screens for more than a few minutes at a time is giving me awful headaches) so haven’t managed to keep up with replying but I do read and appreciate each one. I will try and reply to some of them but I likely won’t get to them all, so I’m saying thank you here.

 

Here are the books I read in May:

Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald

I loved this book about Mary, a menopausal probation officer who has reached the end of her tether. It’s a darkly comedic book and one that I think I’ll re-read at some point. Here’s my review.

Breakers by Doug Johnstone

This is a novel that captured my heart in a way that I wasn’t expecting. Tyler is such a great character and I was rooting for him to find a way to escape from the life his older brother had trapped him in. My review is here.

The Furies by Katie Sise

I enjoyed this novel about a group of teenage girls and the element of witchcraft that they are obsessed with. I plan to review it soon.

The Forgotten Sister by Caroline Bond

This was a really good novel about the fall out from adoption and what happens when you keep secrets. I reviewed it here.

Missing Molly by Natalie Barelli

I bought this on a whim in a kindle sale and it was an okay read. I found it a bit too predictable overall but at the same time it did keep mew reading to the end.

Song of the Robin by R. V. Biggs

This novel is beautiful and mysterious and I very much enjoyed it. I’m so glad that I was given the chance to read this for the blog tour as I’m not sure I’d have picked it up otherwise but now I’m a fan of the author and will definitely seek out other books by him. My review is here.

Keep Her Close by M. J. Ford

I listened to this on audio book and really enjoyed it. This is definitely a series that I will continue on with and so I’ll be eagerly looking out for the third book to be published!

How To Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind by Dana K. White

I still can’t resist books about organising homes so this one caught my eye. I actually enjoyed this one and as I struggle with pain and fatigue it was really helpful in showing me how even in just a very short period of time I can still have a housework routine.

By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham

I feel very torn about this book – there were parts of it that I loved but also a lot of parts of it that felt very self-indulgent. I do enjoy Cunningham’s writing but this isn’t his best work.

10 Things to do Before You Leave School by Bernard O’Keeffe

I loved this thoughtful and moving novel about a teenage girl coming to terms with the death of her dad, and her subsequent depression. She finds a list he’s left and spends her last year at school trying to complete it. My review is here.

The End of the End of the Earth by Jonathan Franzen

I won a copy of this in a giveaway earlier this year and it caught my eye on my shelf as I was in the mood for an essay collection. I actually really enjoyed reading this and it’s reminded me how much I enjoy reading essays.

We Are Not Such Things by Justine van der Luen

I’d heard good things about this book so when I spotted it on Scribd I decided to listen to it. I found it such a fascinating book about the murder of a young woman and the subsequent tensions in the area. It wasn’t exactly the book the synopsis made out it would be but it was still a really interesting read.

The Treatment by C. L. Taylor

I loved this fast-paced YA thriller and would recommend it!

Sunburn by Laura Lippman

I listened to this on Scribd having read some good reviews. I enjoyed it but I didn’t feel as gripped by it as I’d hoped I would be. I’ll definitely look out for more books by this author though as I loved the way the book was written.

At The Birth of Bowie by Phil Lancaster

I can’t seem to read enough biographies of David Bowie so I was looking forward to this one about his first band. I really enjoyed the stories in this book but it wasn’t quite as well written as I would have liked. I’d still recommend it if you’re a Bowie fan.

Dead Inside by Noelle Holten

I loved this debut novel! I won’t say anymore here as I’ll be sharing my full review tomorrow. I will say that I highly recommend it though!

The Family Man by Tim Lebbon

This is a book that had been on my TBR for ages so I decided to make the effort to read it this month. Unfortunately I didn’t get on with it all that well. It did keep me reading until the end but it wasn’t really for me.

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Orinkan Braithwaite

I’m so glad I picked this book up because it was so good and deserves all the praise it’s been getting. I was fascinated by the two sisters in the novel and the way their relationship works. This is a book that is really staying with me.

Take Me to the Edge by Katya Boirand

This is a beautiful poetry collection that also has fabulous photographs in it. I loved reading this and it’s a book that I will go back and dip in and out of in the future. I’ve already reviewed this one here.

Not Having It All by Jennie Ensor

This was such a funny novel but also a book that made me think. It’s a book all about whether the grass is always greener. I recommend it! My review is here.

Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff

I’ve had the audio book of this for ages but it felt like I’d missed the moment to read it. Then I saw that a follow-up book is coming out soon so I decided to listen to this one now. There wasn’t much in here that I hadn’t already heard but it was still shocking to hear all this stuff in the one book.

Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney

Sadly I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I’d hoped, I think perhaps I’m the wrong age for it. Also I couldn’t even identify with the characters when I thought back to how I’d been at their age. I did love the writing though and am planning on reading Normal People as part of my 20 books of summer challenge!

We Never Said Goodbye by Helene Fermont

This is the second book I’ve read by this author and I enjoyed it. I’ll be reviewing this book later this month so please keep your eye out for that!

Middlemarch by George Eliot

I completely and utterly fell in love with this novel, it was absolutely brilliant! I’m so glad that I finally picked it up. I enjoyed it so much that I now want to go back and re-read The Mill on the Floss. It was studying that novel under pressure at Uni that put me off reading anymore Eliot but reading a classic in my own time was wonderful and I feel sure that re-reading The Mill on the Floss with fresh eyes might be a completely different experience.

The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood by Susan Elliot Wright

I read this book in one afternoon because I just couldn’t put it down. It’s heartbreaking novel but so beautifully written. I hope to get my thoughts together soon so I can review it.

The Wych Elm by Tana French

I got an ARC of this but I also bought the audio book so I could part-read and part-listen and I’m so glad I did because it was such a brilliant book. I’m a fan of Tana French anyway but I think this might be my new favourite book by her. I hope to get my review posted on here soon!

The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean

I read this book out in my garden over the course of a couple of sunny afternoons and it was sheer perfection! This is such a haunting, yet gorgeous book and I loved it. This is a book that will stay with me. I’ll be sharing my review later this month for the blog tour.

A Modern Family by Helga Flatland

This is a book that really got to me. It’s about three siblings and is told from each of their perspectives. It’s such a brilliant portrayal of sibling relationships and I adored it. I’m still getting my thoughts in order on this one but I definitely recommend it!

Nobody’s Wife by Laura Pearson

This is another book about siblings – two sisters and their partners. It’s a look at family ties and where loyalties lie. This book got to me way more than I thought it would, it’s a brilliant read. I’ll review it once I get my thoughts together!

The Holiday by T. M. Logan

This is a gripping thriller about four women who’ve been friends since their university days and are now turning 40. They go on holiday with their respective husbands and children and as secrets and lies are uncovered one of the party ends up dead! I will be reviewing this one soon but in the meantime I recommend pre-ordering it for your summer holiday reading!

Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

I got a copy of this from NetGalley and then discovered the audio book on Scribd so I part-listened and part-read this. I really enjoyed it and was drawn to reading it every spare minute I could find. I’ll review this properly soon!

Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou

There’s a sticker on the front of this book warning that the reader will burn through it in one sitting and it turns out that’s absolutely true! Once I started reading this I knew I wouldn’t be able to put it down until I’d read to the end. I very much enjoyed this book and will be sharing my review later this month.

Death and Other Happy Endings by Melanie Cantor

This book was wonderful. It’s a book that I’d been much anticipating and it more than lived up to my hopes for it. I’ll be reviewing it later this month for the blog tour.

We Must Be Brave by Frances Liardet

I just finished reading this last night. It was a good read but it was lacking the emotional resonance that I was expecting it to have.

 

 

May Blog Posts & Reviews:

I managed to post reviews of fourteen books in May, which I’m really pleased with. I’m still reading more books than I’m managing to review but it feels good to be getting some written up and posted. I also wrote shared my regular weekly This Week in Books posts, my Stacking the Shelves posts.

I started off May by wrapping up Aprilwhich had been a good month of reading and blogging. I then reviewed The Tapestry Bag by Isabella Muir, which was such a fun audio book that I now plan on reading the rest of this series! My next review was of Doug Johnstone’s Breakers, which was a book that really got under my skin and I’m still thinking about now. I then read and reviewed The Forgotten Sister by Caroline Bond for the blog tour. This was a novel about adoption and was a great story plus it made me think. My next review was of R. V. Biggs’ Song of the Robin. I’m so glad that I was offered a chance to read this book because it is such a beautiful, surprising book and I highly recommend it. I was delighted to have the chance to read and review a wonderful poetry collection in May – Take Me to the Edge by Katya Boirand. This is a gorgeous book and one I will definitely continue to enjoy.  Next I did a summer thriller recommendations post which encompassed mini reviews of four really enjoyable novels (The Blame Game by C. J. Cooke, The Guilty Party by Mel McGrath, Don’t Turn Around by Amanda Brooke and Gone by Midnight by Candice Fox!).  I then read and reviewed a wonderful novel about a teenager coming to terms with the loss of her father in 10 Things to do Before You Leave School by Bernard O’Keeffe. The next book I reviewed was a brilliant, darkly comedic novel about menopausal Mary and I loved it – The Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald is one I won’t forget! After that I took part in the blog tour for Helene Fermont’s Because of You and shared my review. I was then hugely excited to finalise my planned TBR for the 20 Books of Summer reading challenge! It was hard to decide on a definite 20 but I got there in the end and I can’t wait to start reading! I was thrilled to be invited to read Jennie Ensor’s new novel Not Having It All for the blog tour and got to share my review a few days ago. I loved this book and recommend it! And last but most definitely not least I shared my review of The Blue Bench by Paul Marriner yesterday. This book has such an impact on me and I know I won’t ever forget it.

 

The state of my TBR:

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So my TBR…. Well, I’m starting to think that I’m wasting my time updating it here because I just can’t seem to control my book buying! At the start of May I had 2526 books on my TBR and now, even though I read so many books in May, my TBR stands at 2538! It’s only an increase of 12 but when I look at my plan to reduce my TBR by 20 each month this year my TBR should currently be at 2347! I just can’t resist the books! I am going to cut down a tiny bit on blog tours after June so that I can focus on reading the books I already own. I also need to try and stay away from NetGalley so that I can’t be tempted! Wish me luck!

 

 


 

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

This Week in Books (22 May 2019)! What are you reading this week?

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Today I’m taking in part in This Week in Books, which was started by Lipsyy Lost and Found! If you want to join in you just need to share what you’re reading now, what you’ve read over the last week, and what you hope to read next.

 

Now

The Wych Elm by Tana French

I’ve had the ARC of this book on my TBR for a little while now but decided to buy the audio book so I could part listen and part read. I picked it up yesterday and I’ve already read over half of it. It’s such an engrossing read, I’m loving it as much as her murder squad series so far!

A Modern Family by Helga Flatland

I also picked this up yesterday and am already completely invested in learning more about the family in this novel. It’s such a good book and I’m really looking forward to getting back to it tonight. Plus, hasn’t it got the most stunning cover?!

Nobody’s Wife by Laura Pearson

I’m really enjoying this novel too and it seems I’m all about family orientated novels this week as this one is about two sisters and their partners, but we know from the prologue that something terrible is going to happen to one of them. It’s really good so far!

The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean

I’m loving this book so much. It’s about three sisters who went missing but only one came back. Now it’s a few years later but the mystery is still haunting for the people who were around at the time. It’s beautifully written and I’m deliberately reading this one slowly.

The Holiday by T. M. Logan

This is a really great read and perfect for these sunny days, I’d recommend it for your holiday reading this summer. The sun and heat in the book really comes through and the drama between a group of old friends and their families is gripping!

 

Then

Middlemarch by George Eliot

I’ve been reading this a bit every day for the past four weeks and I’ve absolutely loved it. I finished the novel yesterday and I’m kicking myself for not reading this sooner. I don’t know when classics started feeling intimidating to me because they never used to but Middlemarch has reminded me why I love them and I will make more effort to read them from now on.

The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood by Susan Elliot Wright

I read this whole novel on one afternoon as it gripped me from the opening chapter and I just couldn’t put it down. It’ll be a hard back to review as I wouldn’t want to accidentally spoil anything but I will try and get a post up soon. In the meantime I definitely  recommend this one!

We Never Said Goodbye by Helene Fermont

I’m reading this one for a blog tour next month and I really enjoyed it. It’s the second novel I’ve read by this author and I do find that I get swept away in her novels.

Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

This was my second attempt with this novel and I’m sorry to say that while I did finish it it wasn’t for me. It did work better on audio than when I was reading it but I just couldn’t connect with the characters at all. It might be that I’m older than them and it didn’t reflect how I was at their age at all. I will say that the parts of the book when Frances suffers with her periods was brilliantly written, I don’t think I’ve read a novel that shows what this is like as well as this book does. I have Normal People on my TBR so I will read that at some point.

Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff

I bought the audio book of this in an Audible sale last year but because I didn’t listen to it sooner it felt like I’d missed the right moment. Then I saw that the author has another book on Trump coming out soon so decided I would listen to this. It was I thought it would be and even though I knew most of this stuff about Trump it was still eye-opening.

Not Having It All by Jennie Ensor

I read and loved Jennie’s previous novel last year (my review is here if you’d like to read it) so was thrilled to be offered the chance to read her new book. This is completely different to The Girl In His Eyes but it still showcases Jennie’s fabulous writing. I very much enjoyed this book and will be sharing my review on 30 May.

My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

I’ve been so looking forward to reading this one and I’m so happy to say that I loved it. It’s about a woman who’s sister is a serial killer but it’s more about their relationship and how they are with each other. I recommend this one!

 

Next

The Friend Who Lied by Rachel Amphlett

I’ve been really looking forward to reading this book ever since I first heard about it. It’ll be my first book by this author and I’ve read so many great reviews of her previous books so I feel sure that I’m going to love this!

Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou

I’m going to be on the blog tour for this book next month so have an ARC to read for that. I really like the premise for this novel and am really keen to start reading it.

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I’ve had an ARC of this novel for a while now but somehow haven’t managed to read it yet. I keep hearing amazing things about it and I definitely want to read it really soon – hopefully in the coming week.

 


 

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