WWW Wednesdays (24 Feb ’21)! What are you reading this week?

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading!

Current Reads

The Last thing to Burn by Will Dean

I bought this book on a whim the other day after reading some amazing reviews and I started reading it right away. I’m really gripped by this at the moment and can’t wait to sit and read more.

The Twenty Seven Club by Lucy Nichol

This book is so good! I’m enjoying it more than I can say. This is such a fun, nostalgic look at Hull in the 90s through the eyes of Emma (an almost 27 year old) in the wake of Kurt Cobain’s death. I love this book so far and can’t wait to read more!

Recent Reads

Life’s What You Make It by Phillip Schofield

My husband bought me this book for my birthday last month and I finally read it over the weekend, and I very much enjoyed it. It’s one that fans of Phillip Schofield will love!

Bound by Vanda Symon

I love Sam Shepherd and this book was another fab instalment to the series. I’ll be reviewing this one for the blog tour next month but in the meantime I highly recommend it!

What I Might Read Next

The Girl in the Missing Poster by Barbara Copperthwaite

The Festivals by Sarah Vaughan

The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed

As is the norm for me these days I don’t know what, or even if, I’ll be reading this week but these three books are the ones that most appeal to me from my TBR as I write this post.

Stacking the Shelves with a brand new Book Haul (20 Feb ’21)!

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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!

Review eBooks

Purchased eBooks

Purchased AudioBooks

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

WWW Wednesdays (17 Feb ’21)! What are you reading this week?

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading!

Current Reads

Life’s What You Make It by Phillip Schofield

I’ve only just started this book but I’m enjoying it so far. I just got this book for my birthday last month and have been so keen to read it so hopefully it keeps on being a good read!

Bound by Vanda Symon

I’m really enjoying this book. Sam Shepherd is my favourite fictional detective and I always love being back in her world. This book is really gripping and I’m intrigued to see what’s going to happen.

Recent Reads

The Arrangement by Robyn Harding

I’d been stalled on this book for a couple of weeks but I picked it back up on Monday night and finished it in one go. I was hooked reading the second part of this book and while I had my theories about what was going to happen, the novel still had surprises in store so I loved that.

The Disappearing Act by Florence de Changy

This is such a well-researched and fascinating look at the disappearance of Flight MH370. I had to read this a chapter at a time and to keep putting it down as it contains a lot of info but I’m really glad I read it and I recommend it.

I Survived by Victoria Cilliers

This is a memoir about a woman who almost died in a sky diving accident, only it turned out it wasn’t an accident but attempted murder. The book explores Victoria’s relationship with her husband and the effects of coercive control. This book was hard to read at times but I definitely recommend it.

What I Might Read Next

Perfect Tunes by Emily Gould

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

The Split by Sharon Bolton

As is usual for me these days I don’t know what I’ll be reading next but these three books are the ones that most appealled when I was looking through my bookcase and Kindle this week!

Mini Book Reviews: The Nothing Man | Fifty Fifty | House of Correction | The Island

Today I’m sharing some more mini reviews of books that I’ve read in recent months!

The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard

I love Catherine Ryan Howard’s novels so I was really keen to read this one and I’m so happy to say that I loved it! The Nothing Man follows two characters: Jim – a security guard who appears like an ordinary 60-something man; and Eve who has just published her memoir. Eve is the only surviver of the nothing man and her book is all about this man and how she desperately wants to find out who he is. I loved the cat and mouse element of this novel, and was really tense knowing that the nothing man knew about Eve’s book and was reading it. I also loved all the excerpts from Eve’s book and to see what she had written and uncovered about her attacker. This book was so gripping and I honestly couldn’t put it down. It was chilling at times, especially how much it echoes the Golden State Killer’s attacks. I definitely recommend this book!

Fifty Fifty by Steve Cavanagh

I’ve read and enjoyed a couple of Steve Cavanagh’s novels so was highly anticipating this one. The novel opens with two phone calls to 911 from two women both in the same house reporting a serious assault on their father. The novel the follows the lawyers representing each of the sisters as they try to work out what happened and how to defend their clients. I found this book really gripping and I just wanted to know how it was going to turn out. I felt I knew how it was going to end and I was right, and I did find that disappointing for many reasons but it didn’t stop my enjoyment of the rest of the novel. I definitely need to go back and catch up on the earlier books in this series!

House of Correction by Nicci French

I got an ARC of this on audiobook from NetGalley and I really enjoyed listening to it. The novel follows Tabitha who is in prison awaiting trial for murder but she can’t remember what happened when the murder occurred so is trying to work it all out. Tabitha is an unreliable narrator, and I always love this in books when you don’t know if you can trust the person telling the story! This was a really gripping read, and I loved that when Tabitha gets to trial she decides to defend herself and the plot becomes much faster paced. I really enjoyed this novel and am looking forward to reading more by Nicci French in the future.

The Island by C. L. Taylor

I listened to this on audiobook which I received from NetGalley. I found this a really engaging audiobook with different narrators for each of the characters which made it easy to follow. The novel follows a group of teens who go to an island for a survival holiday but when they get there unexpected things happen and they soon wonder if they’re really alone and if they’re safe. This isn’t my favourite C. L. Taylor novel but it was a fun read and one that had me listening every time I had a few minutes to spare.

WWW Wednesdays (10 Feb ’21)! What are you reading this week?

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading!

Current Reads

Bound by Vanda Symon

I just started reading this book last night and I am hooked! I love Vanda Symon’s writing and this book is one that grabs you from the opening chapter and I just want to see what is going to happen next.

The Disappearing Act by Florence de Changy

This is a book about the disappearence of flight MH370 and it’s fascinating. The book is written by a journalist who was in Malaysia during the investigation and it’s a very well-researched book. I’m struggling to read it a bit as it’s a NetGalley ARC and only available to read on the app so it’s harder for me to read much of it in one go but I definitely want to read more as and when I can.

The Arrangement by Robyn Harding

I haven’t read anymore of this book and I don’t really know why, I was enjoying it and I’m still really intrigued about what’s going to happen. I think I’m just easily distracted at the moment and books aren’t holding my attention as much as I would like. I will definitely get back to this one soon.

Recent Reads

One by One by Ruth Ware

After having a couple of false starts with this book I ended up devouring the second half in one go! There was a moment that grabbed me and from then on I couldn’t put it down. It was a fun read and one that kept me engaged for a few hours.

The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult

I’m really glad that I stuck with book after contemplating DNF it last week. Again, like with One by One, there came a point in the novel where I realised I was invested in the characters and wanted to know what was going to happen to them and I very much enjoyed it from that point on.

What I Might Read Next

Space Hopper by Helen Fisher

The Twenty-Seven Club by Lucy Nichol

Like a House on Fire by Caroline Hulse

I don’t really know what I’m going to read next as my reading mood is all over the place at the moment but the above three are the ones that caught my attention when I was scrolling through my kindle before writing this post. I’m looking forward to reading all three and hopefully in the coming week.

Mini Book Reviews: Because of You | The Sight of You | When the Lights Go Out | After the Silence

Today I’m sharing another selection of mini reviews of books that I’ve read and enjoyed recently. This time the selection is all novels and I thoroughly enjoyed all four of them!

Because of You by Dawn French

This is the first novel that I’ve read by Dawn French but it definitely won’t be the last as I completely and utterly adored it. It follows two women who both give birth on the same day but only one woman gets to take her baby home. The novel then follows each of the two women, and the child as she grows up, and we see what their lives have been like. I found this book so engrossing and I wanted to devour it but also to read it so slowly as I didn’t want it to ever end. I still keep thinking of the characters and wondering how they are. This was an emotional and beautiful novel and one I already want to read again!

The Sight of You by Holly Miller

This is a beautiful and moving novel that follows Callie as she tries to find a way through the grief of losing her best friend, and Joel who can’t allow himself to fall in love. When they meet there is an instant connection but both are wary for their own reasons. It turns out that Joel has premonition dreams and he can’t bear to fall in love with someone and risk dreaming about what might happen to them. I really enjoyed following Joel and Callie and felt invested in their relationship. The novel is a tear jerker but it’s also life-affirming and I recommend it!

When the Lights Go Out by Carys Bray

I’m a huge fan of Carys Bray’s writing so this has been one of my eagerly anticipated reads and I’m so pleased to say that it more than lived up to my hopes for it. This book follows Emma and her husband Chris. Emma wants to live a simple, happy life but Chris is obsessed with climate change and stockpiling for the end of days. Emma tries to be patient but it’s driving her mad, and Chris just can’t see beyond his own fears for what he believes is coming for them. The couple can’t communicate well with each other anymore and the situation becomes more and more tense. There is a sense of foreboding running right through this novel and so I knew something was going to happen but the ending was shocking. This is a brilliant novel that explores what it is to be married to someone with different ideals to yourself, and what happens when the ability to see each other’s point of view is lost. I loved this book and I recommend it!

After the Silence by Louise O’Neill

I was so keen to read this book as I loved Louise’s earlier novel Almost Love and I’m pleased to say that this one was every bit as good. This is billed as a thriller but for me it’s more an exploration of people in small towns, and relationships and what lengths people will go to to hide the truth when something terrible happens. The novel follows a cast of characters as a crime podcast is being made about the murder of a teenage girl ten years earlier. We slowly find out about the possible suspects and how the islanders view each other, and the suspicions that linger. For me, the novel really shows what it is like to be controlled by someone who has more power than you. There is a moment near the end of the novel that sent shivers down my spine as it explained coercive control better than anything I’ve ever read before. This is an excellent novel and I highly recommend it.

Mini Book Reviews: Dear Reader | No Win Race | Invisible Women | Let’s Do It

I’ve got so behind on writing reviews on the books I’ve been reading so I’ve decided to share some mini reviews in an attempt to catch up!

Dear Reader by Cathy Rentzenbrink

I really loved this book; it’s such a comforting and relatable read. The author discusses events in her life alongside the books that got her through and it’s a book that everyone will find something in; it’s really a love letter to books. Like Cathy, I’ve always turned to books throughout my life and they rarely let me down – they are my constant. Cathy talks about the awful times in her life through to how she got to where she is now and the part books have played all the way through. This is such a gorgeous book and is one I will not only re-read myself in the future, but will continue to buy copies to give to my friends as gifts. I highly recommend this one!

No Win Race by Derek A. Bardowell

I’m a huge football fan so was very interested in reading this book from that perspective. What I got was a fascinating, and at times heart breaking, memoir about what it is to be black and british in the UK. There is so much to this book and I would recommend it to everyone, you don’t need to be a sports fan to get something out of this book. The author relates how he felt when certain sporting events happened, and how he came to understand that black athletes were treated differently. He takes the reader from the Brixton riots to Brexit and covers so many things that happened in between. Derek is so open and honest in his writing and really brings it home how things have felt to him. I found this book devastating to read at times but I got so much out of it. I recommend this book to everyone.

Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez

I’ve wanted to read this book for ages and am so glad that I finally picked it up. Invisible Women looks at how the world was designed for male bodies, and so everything is more perilous if you have a female body: medicines have always been tested on men, cars are designed around an average male height and weight so that seatbelts don’t off as good protection for women. It is an anger-inducing read! The chapter that really made my blood boil was the one that discussed how scientists think viagra may help women with severe period pain but they mainly tested it on men and discovered the benefits to men and so that’s as far as it went! I’m still furious about this! This is such an insightful book and one that people need to read though, we need to know these things and I’m so glad I read it.

Let’s Do It by Jasper Rees

I’m a huge fan of Victoria Wood’s work, I remember being allowed to stay up late to watch her TV show back in the 80s when I was still a child. It felt like such a treat to watch it with my mum every week. I was delighted to get an ARC of the audio book of this biography from NetGalley and I very much enjoyed listening to it. Victoria’s friends and co-stars share narrating duties and it really brings the book to life. It’s quite a long biography but it didn’t ever feel slow. I loved hearing about Victoria’s childhood, and how she got into comedy. I particularly loved listening to the stories behind Acorn Antiques as I loved that show. This is a must-read biography for fans of Victoria Wood. I enjoyed it so much that I bought a hardback copy for my mum-in-law for Christmas (along with a DVD of Acorn Antiques)!

WWW Wednesdays (3 Feb ’21)! What are you reading this week?

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading!

Current Reads

The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult

I’ve read a couple more chapters of this book this week and I’m still not feeling hooked by it. I think I’m going to give it another few chapters to see if it grabs me by then.

One by One by Ruth Ware

This book got so good! I’m now gripped by this one and can’t wait to see what happens next!

The Arrangement by Robyn Harding

I haven’t read any more of this book this week but I was enjoying it so hope to get back to it very soon.

Recent Reads

Really Saying Something by Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward

I got this book for my birthday last week and had to read it right away! I’m so glad I did as I adored it, it was such an interesting and fun read. I loved it!

What I Might Read Next

Life’s What You Make It by Phillip Schofield

I got this book for my birthday and I’m so keen to read it so I plan on picking this one up next.

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam

I’ve had an ARC of this one from NetGalley for a while now and I really do want to get to this one soon so hopefully I will get to it this week.

Stacking the Shelves with my Birthday Book Haul (30 Jan ’21)!

It was my birthday this week and I had a really lovely day. We’re in lockdown in the UK so it was a stay at home birthday with just me and my husband but he made it such a nice day. I got some fabulous gifts (including a mix tape that he made for me of songs that were in the charts on the day I was born, which I love), and he cooked me a curry in the evening. We watched Joker and had an evening of music and wine, it couldn’t have been a nicer day.

It was weird having a lockdown birthday but it gave me time to reflect back over the last year. It’s now almost a whole year since I last went in a shop (the first week in February 2020) or anywhere at all in fact. I know it’s been an horrendous year for everyone but I was thinking back over my personal year and realised that I’ve actually achieved a lot over the year and I want to celebrate those achievements. I’ve lost over three stone since September, which I’m really proud about as I’ve been overweight for a long time and it’s nice to finally be doing something about it. I’ve still got weight to lose but I’m more than halfway to where I want to be. I’ve managed to come off some of my medication, it wasn’t easy but it was absolutely worth it and I’m glad I did it. I’ve discovered that between my husband and me we can cut my hair at home and make a decent job of it. He cut five inches off my hair and I cut myself a fringe in and a few layers at the front.

For my birthday I got lots of lovely presents, including some new clothes in my new size which is lovely. I was delighted to be given new books from my husband, my mum-in-law and my best friend and all were total surprises.

I’ve been wanting to get the Bananarama and Phillip Schofield memoirs so was thrilled with those and I think I’ll read one of those next. Push sounds so dark and so good and I’m keen to pick that up when I’ve finished my current reads. The Apollo book is a very heavy coffee table book full of stunning photos of the Apollo missions and I’m excited to sit and look through it. I’ve always been obsessed with space travel and the moon landings so this is a book to treasure. Pause for Thought is from my best friend and I’m looking forward to dipping in and out of this one. Finally I got Barack Obama‘s memoir from my Mum-in-law and I’m very happy to have a copy of this one. It’s a very big and heavy book but one I’m keen to read soon.

WWW Wednesdays (27 Jan ’21)! What are you reading this week?

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading!

Current Reads

The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult

I have a NetGalley ARC of this but I also recently bought the Audible book so I could part listen to it. I’m glad I did as I was finding the book very slow and information heavy but the audio book is helping me stay focused on the story and what is happening. I’m only a few chapters into this one so too early to say if I’m enjoying it but I will definitely read more this week.

One by One by Ruth Ware

I’ve only read a little bit of this one since last week (it’s just been a bit of a week and I haven’t been reading much but I’m hopefully back on track now) but I am intrigued to know more about the group of work colleagues and what is going to happen to each of them whilst they’re trapped in a chalet!

The Arrangement by Robyn Harding

I’ve not read much more of this since last week either but I am keen to get back to it as I was enjoying this one. I’m keen to find out what is going to happen next!

Recent Reads

Because of You by Dawn French

I really, really enjoyed this book! I thought I was going to like it but I enjoyed it way more than I was expecting. It had me gripped from the beginning and I felt really invested in all of the characters. I was sad to finish this one as I wanted to stay with them all for a bit longer!

The Sight of You by Holly Miller

I enjoyed this book too, I felt a little more removed from the story than I expected too but I think that was me rather than the book. It’s such a beautiful and emotional read and it’s one that will stay with me. I’m keen to read whatever the author publishes next!

What I Might Read Next

Perimenopause Power by Maisie Hill

I got this one from NetGalley recently as it’s something I need to understand more about. I’d really like to read this one as soon as I can and am hoping it will be useful.

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

I love this author’s books but this one sounds a bit scary to me so I want to pick it up but I’m also hesitant to do so!

The Girl in the Missing Poster by Barbara Copperthwaite

I got this book from NetGalley recently after reading a post about the author’s journey to writing this book and being intrigued. I hope I can get to this one as it’s been calling to me from my Kindle!

WWW Wednesdays (20 Jan ’21)! What are you reading this week?

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading!

Current Reads

The Sight of You by Holly Miller

I have an ARC of this book from NetGalley but I recently bought the audiobook in an Audible sale so I’m part listening and part reading to this one and I’m really enjoying it. I’m intrigued by the premise and am keen to listen to more to find out where this story is going. It feels like it might be a heartbreaker!

One by One by Ruth Ware

I started reading this one last night and I’m hooked! I love mystery books set in an isolated location where the murderer can only be one of the few people staying in the particular place. In this case the location is an isolated ski chalet where the group become trapped following an avalanche. It’s perfect for this time of year and I’m keen to get back to it.

The Arrangement by Robyn Harding

I picked this book off my Kindle on a whim and I’m really enjoying it. It’s fast-paced and gripping and I’m interested to see where this is going. The novel opens with a young woman calling her dad for help after she is arrested for murder and then it goes back to four months earlier and we get to see what leads up to the present day.

Because of You by Dawn French

I’ve had an ARC of this on my Kindle for a while now and I’m kicking myself because now I’ve started reading it I’m loving it. It’s one of those books that I want to keep reading to see how it’s going to end but I also don’t want to rush because I don’t want to finish it. This novel follows two women who both give birth on the same day but only one of them gets to take a baby home with her. We then see what happens in the years that follow.

Recent Reads

After the Silence by Louise O’Neill

This book wasn’t the thriller that I was expecting it to be but it was such a brilliant exploration of people and of the insidious way that one person exerts power and control over others. There is a moment towards the end of this book that gave me goosebumps and I can’t stop thinking about it.

Little White Lies by Philippa East

I borrowed the audio book of this one from the Borrowbox app and it was a good book to listen to. I didn’t love it as much as I thought I was going to but it did keep me hooked all the way to the end.

True Story by Kate Reed Petty

I finished this book a few days ago and I still aren’t sure how I feel about it. I think I need to let this one sit with me for a while before I attempt to write about it.

Fifty Fifty by Steve Cavanagh

This was one of those novels that is really hard to put down. We follow the case of two sisters who each blame the other for the murder of their father. I was racing to the end of this one to find out if I was right about whodunnit! I was a little disappointed with the way this novel ended but I did enjoy the time I spent reading the rest of it.

When the Lights Go Out by Carys Bray

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while as I’m a huge Carys Bray fan and I’m so pleased to say that this absolutely lived up to my expectations. I keep thinking about this one and wondering how the characters are doing now!

The Last Resort by Susi Holliday

This was an enjoyable, fast-paced thriller.

What I Might Read Next

The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult

The Hidden Girls by Rebecca Whitney

Intimations by Zadie Smith

WWW Wednesdays (13 Jan ’21)! What are you reading at the moment?

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading!

Current Reads

The Last Resort by Susi Holliday

I’ve read and enjoyed Susi Holliday’s previous novel so was keen to get to her new one. This is a really intriguing novel where seven people who have never met before are taken to an island where they think they are on a luxury break but actually a tech company has other ideas. I’m so keen to find out what is going on in this book and so I’ll be reading more of this asap!

Fifty Fifty by Steve Cavanagh

This is another intriguing novel! Two sisters each dialled 911 to report their father had been brutally attacked and that the person who’d done it was their sister who had killed him. I’m so keen to know what actually happened and how this novel is going to end!

Recent Reads

Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez

This was a fascinating read all about the way the world is designed around men and male bodies. I found it anger-inducing but also very interesting reading about things like how cars are designed around males and how medication is based on trials on male bodies. I knew, or had an idea, of some of the things in this book but it was still eye-opening. I’m really glad I read this one.

Blood Moon by Lucy Cuthew

I bought this book and read it straight away, which I don’t do often enough these days. I really enjoyed this YA novel about a teenage girl who gets her period during her first sexual encounter and what happens after that. I loved the issues explored through this novel and how it looks at how girls can be made to feel shame about such a natural bodily process. I wish this book had existed when I was a teenager but I still very much enjoyed it as a 40-something!

The Island by C. L. Taylor

I was approved to listen to the audio book of this one via NetGalley and I enjoyed it. I love C. L. Taylor’s writing and this was a thrilling YA mystery set on an island where a group of teens have gone for a survivalist experience but what they get is more than they bargained for.

Your Blue is Not My Blue by Aspen Matis

This is such a different book that I would normally stick with but there was something so compelling about the writing and I just couldn’t put it down. I was intrigued by Matis’ life and to find out what would happen to her and her marriage. I really did enjoy this book and I would recommend it.

What I Might Read Next

After the Silence by Louise O’Neill

I’ve had this on my TBR for a little while now and I keep seeing good reviews for it so I’m really keen to pick it up. Hopefully I will get to it over the coming week.

Just Ignore Him by Alan Davies

My husband surprised me with this book for Christmas and I’ve really want to read it very soon so hopefully I can also get to this one this week.

Homecoming by Luan Goldie

I’ve got an ARC of this from NetGalley but I recently bought the audio book from Audible so I think I’m going to part listen and part read this one soon!

Stacking the Shelves with a new Book Haul (9 Jan ’21)!

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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!

Purchased eBooks

Resistance: A Songwriter’s Story of Hope, Chance and Courage by Tori Amos

I’m hoping to read this one in the coming days as it’s calling to me from my Kindle!

Passing by Nella Larsen

This is a book that I’ve been meaning to pick up for a long while so when I spotted it this week I decided to grab it. I’m really keen to get to this one.

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

I’ve read and really enjoyed all of Riley Sager’s previous novels so had to buy this one even though the premise (haunted house) sounds utterly terrifying to me!

Blood Moon by Lucy Cuthew

I’ve already read this one and I thought it was excellent. It’s about a teenage girl and what happens when she gets her period during her first sexual encounter with a boy from school. It’s such a good read and I recommend it!

Review Books

The Ends of the Earth by Abbie Greaves

I was thrilled to be approved for this one on NetGalley as Abbie Greaves previous novel was one of my favourite books of 2020!

Perimenopause Power by Maisie Hill

I requested this book on a whim when I spotted it as it’s definitely a book that I need to be reading at the moment.

The Appeal by Janice Hallett

As soon as I read the premise of this one I had to request so I’m very happy to now have a copy on my Kindle.

Dead Head by C. J. Skuse

This is the third novel in the Rhiannon (Sweetpea) series so I was really keen to get my hands on it to find out what happened after the end of the previous book!

Purchased AudioBooks

Quite by Claudia Winkleman

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Another Planet: A Teenager in Suburbia by Tracey Thorn

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

My 2020 Reading Year in Stats!

Over the last few days I’ve shared my Reading Bingo 2020, my favourite novels read in 2020 and my favourite non-fiction read in 2020 posts so today it’s time for my reading statistics post!

2020 was such an awful and strange year and my reading has been very up and down. I did read at my normal pace up until February and then I was too anxious to read. I then started to read again but hit an awful reading slump around September/October and I’m only just starting to feel like reading again now. So I almost didn’t bother doing a reading stats post this year but I do enjoy putting the post together so I decided to go ahead anyway.

My original goal for this year was to read 275 books but I dropped that to 210 in the summer. I did manage to achieve the goal with a total of 215 books read in 2020. Quite a few of my more recent books were very, very short though so if I’d stuck to 300+ page novels I wouldn’t have read anywhere near as many books.

The longest book that I read in 2020 was Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman which is a whopping 1032 pages long. I loved the book and am so pleased that I took the time to read it over the summer. The shortest book I read was A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles M. Schulz at just 32 pages long. My average page count was 317, which is short for me but not too bad. According to Goodreads I read a total of 68,268 pages over the year.

Alongside Goodreads I track my reading and blogging stats on a spreadsheet and I just love seeing all the charts and seeing the patterns in my reading.

Of the 215 books I read in 2020 153 were by women, 54 were by men and three were co-authored by a woman and a man. I don’t seek out books based on the author’s gender but ever since I’ve tracked my reading on a spreadsheet I’ve read far more books by women than men. I am totally fine with this but still find it fascinating how it almost always naturally breaks down to two thirds or even three quarters women.

Usually I read quite steadily throughout the year but this year has been a bit all over the place as you can see from the chart above. I struggled to read in March, mainly before the lockdown happened as my anxiety was through the roof. I then began to feel calmer and stopped watching so much of the news and over the summer when I could spend time out in the garden I read quite a lot. Since the end of September my reading has tailed off a lot. It looks like I read a lot in December but to be honest most of those books were my really short cosy Christmas books that I read most years so the page count was pretty tiny. I’m okay with how my reading has been this year though because 2020 was such an horrendous year.

I read quite a variety of genres this year so I’m happy about that. I’m a bit sad that I didn’t read anywhere near as much nonfiction as I normally do but when I was reading I mainly wanted escapism so I mostly reached for novels.

The above pie chart breaks down where I got the books that I read through 2020. I’m really pleased that 44.8% of the books I read were books I had for review as it means my plan to make a dent in the pile of ARCs has been reasonably successful. I also used the BorrowBox app (my local library app for audiobooks) a lot more so am happy that I’m supporting library services and am trying books I might otherwise not have read too.

This pie chart shows where I acquired my books from in 2020. Almost two thirds of my books are ones that I bought for myself and only a quarter of books were ARCS, I’m really pleased about this. I love getting ARCs but I also want to support authors so want to buy books as much as I can.

I’ve been tracking how much of my TBR from pre- the beginning of 2020 to see how many of those books I’ve read versus how many books I bought and read in 2020. The above chart shows the break down. I’m really pleased with this chart. I love that it shows I’m reading a lot of books in the year I buy them whilst also still reading older books. I do think I need to try to buy fewer books and to read more of my existing TBR but I never stick to this kind of plan! In 2021 I would like to make re-reading some of my favourite books more of a priority. I always mean to go back to old favourites but I have so many unread books on my TBR mountain that I always go to those first. I would, as a minimum, like to re-read Maggie O’Farrell’s After You’d Gone this year. It’s a really special book to me and I haven’t re-read it in a few years now.

The above chart shows the formats of the books I read in 2020. In some ways I was surprised that the percentage of ebooks I read was so much higher than the audio books I listened to but then with my husband being furloughed I didn’t listen to as many books over the year. I wish I had managed to read more hardback and paperback books as my physical book TBR keeps on growing but a lot of the time I struggle to physically hold them and turn the pages so I just read them as and when I can. I would like to read more of my physical books this year if I can.

So that’s it, my 2020 reading year in statistics! I’ve got a spreadsheet started for 2021 so I’m tracking my reading again this year.

WWW Wednesdays (6 Jan 2021)! What are you reading this week?

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading!

Current Reads

The Island by C. L. Taylor

I was approved to listen to this audiobook on NetGalley and I’m really enjoying it. I love C. L. Taylor’s writing anyway and this YA thriller is really engaging and exactly what I want to be listening to at the moment. It follows a group of teens who have arrived on an island for a survivalist holiday but very quickly things begin to go wrong leaving them all questioning who could be doing this to them and why!

My Blue is not Your Blue: A Missing Person Memoir by Aspen Matis

I can’t remember where I heard about this book but I found it on Kindle Unlimited this week so downloaded it and immediately started reading it. It’s a memoir of a young woman who meets her future husband while hiking in the wilderness. They fall in love and are happy together but one day he goes to the funeral of a friend and never returns. I’m finding myself gripped by this one even though the writing style isn’t something I’d normally go for. I’m keen to read more!

A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote

This is a short story collection that I got from NetGalley before Christmas but I only managed to read the first two stories so I would like to pick this back up and finish the collection this week. I really enjoyed the stories I’ve read so far so I’m looking forward to seeing what the others are like.

Recent Reads

Not the Type by Camilla Thurlow

I’ve only ever watched one series of Love Island and it was the one with Camilla. I was fairly indifferent to it but it gripped me enough to keep watching to the end. When I saw this book was out I was drawn to pick it up and I’m really glad I did. It’s about Camilla’s life working in landmine disposal for Halo and also her struggles with anxiety and low self-esteem. I found it to be a really honest book and I enjoyed Camilla’s writing.

The Push by Claire McGowan

I got this book from Kindle Unlimited and I’m so glad I picked it up. It was a case of right book at the right time and I found it really hard to put down. The novel follows six couples who meet at an antenatal group. The novel opens with the aftermath of a get together post the babies being born and someone has fallen to their death from a balcony. The novel then follows the characters and goes back and forth in time. I found it a compulsive read and I really enjoyed it.

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

My husband bought me this book for Christmas and I picked it up on New Year’s Day and I read the whole thing in one sitting. It’s a long time since I’ve done that so it shows how much I enjoyed the book. This novel follows a group of people in a retirement village and they try to solve unsolved murders at their club. Then one day someone they know is murdered and they are on the case. I loved everything about this book and can’t wait for the sequel to be out later this year!

What I Might Read Next

The Last Resort by Susi Holliday

I downloaded this book from Kindle Unlimited this week and am really keen to get to it so hopefully I can pick it up this week. I love Susi Holliday’s writing so I feel sure that I’m going to love this one!

Resistance: A Songwriter’s Story of Hope, Change and Courage by Tori Amos

I treated myself to this book recently as I’m a real fan of Tori Amos’ music and so as soon as I heard about this book I had to get it! It seems like it might be a good read for right now and I can’t wait to get to this one!

One by One by Ruth Ware

I was approved to read this from NetGalley a few months ago now but due to my dreaded reading slump I haven’t managed to start it as yet. Given that it’s set in wintery weather it seems like it might be a perfect January read so I hope to get to it this week!

My Favourite Non-Fiction Books 2020!

Yesterday I shared my favourite novels that I read in 2020 so today it’s time to share my favourite non-fiction books that I read last year. I didn’t read as much non-fiction in 2020 as I normally do but then I didn’t read as much in general either.

Anyway, in no particular order, here are my favourite non-fiction books read in 2020!

Wham, George Michael and Me by Andrew Ridgeley

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

Notes to Self by Emilie Pine

Gone Fishing by Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse

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

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

Black and British: A Forgotten History by David Olusoga

Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham

Unfollow by Megan Phelps-Roper

A Year of Living Simply by Kate Humble

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

Dear Reader by Cathy Rentzenbrink

In Black and White by Alexandra Wilson

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

Let’s Do It by Jasper Rees

So there we have it, my top non-fiction reads of last year! I didn’t read as much non-fiction as I normally do but of the ones I read there were some incredible books.

What was you favourite non-fiction book that you read last year? I’d love to know! 🙂

My Favourite Novels of 2020!

Today I’m sharing my favourite novels that I read in 2020! This has been such a strange year and books have at times given me solace and escape but then at other times (such as the last three months) I’ve barely been able to read anything at all. It means my favourite books of the year really are stand out books that have kept me sane this year. In the end I read 215 books over the course of 2020 and these are my standouts from the year!

So, in no particular order, here goes..

It’s a Wonderful Night by Jaimie Admans

Wild Spinning Girls by Carol Lovekin

The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman

One Split Second by Caroline Bond

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel

The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper

Little Disasters by Sarah Vaughan

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

Heatstroke by Hazel Barkworth

Evening Primrose my Kopana Matlwa

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves

Be Careful What You Swipe For by Jemma Forte

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

The Mating Habits of Stags by Ray Robinson

The Confession by Jessie Burton

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

Summerwater by Sarah Moss

The Life We Almost Had by Amelia Henley

The Lost Love Song by Minnie Darke

Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard

Once Again by Catherine Wallace Hope

Keeper by Jessica Moor

So there you have it… my favourite novels of 2020! I will also be doing my top non-fiction books of 2020 soon too but that will be a shorter list as I’ve read fewer non-fiction books over the last year.

What was your best book of 2020? I’d love to know. 🙂

Reading Bingo 2020!

It’s Reading Bingo time again! Every year I join in with this I don’t look at the board until the very end of the year and I fill in the squares based on what I’ve read so I don’t plan my reading in order to complete it. This year has been a very up and down year of reading so I didn’t have much hope of getting a full house on my bingo board. Read on to find out how I did…

A book with more than 500 pages

Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman (with a whopping 1032 pages)!

A forgotten classic

The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie (which I know is a total cheat as it’s not a forgotten book but this is one of only two classics that I read this year and this one is the less well-known of the two).

A book that became a movie

Agatha Raisin and the Haunted House by M. C. Beaton. It became a TV series, which is the best I can do!

A book that was published this year

The Life We almost Had by Amelia Henley

A book with a number in the title

Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi

A book written by someone under 30

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

A book with non-human characters

Picky Eaters by S. J. Higbee

A funny book

Gone Fishing: Life, Death and the Thrill of the Catch by Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse

A book by a female author

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

A book with a mystery

The Holdout by Graham Moore

A book with a one-word title

Mine by Clare Empson

A book of short stories

Christmas with Dull People by Saki

Free square

The Mating Habits of Stags by Ray Robinson

A book set on a different continent

Evening Primrose by Kopano Matlwa

A book of non-fiction

Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham

The first book by a favourite author

The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy

A book you heard about online

The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale

A best-selling book

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

A book based on a true story

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell (it’s very loosely based on the author’s own experience when she was a teenager)

A book at the bottom of your to be read pile

You and Me, Always by Jill Mansell (it was on my TBR for five years!)

A book your friend loves

How To Disappear by Gillian McAllister

A book that scares you

The Murders at White House Farm by Carol Ann Lee

A book that is more than 10 years old

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

The second book in a series

dead wrong noelle holten

Dead Wrong by Noelle Holten

A book with a blue cover

Strangers by C. L. Taylor

Well, if you’ll allow me the couple of cheats then I got a full house but really I know I cheated a bit so I think I probably failed this year but that’s okay! This has been such a strange year and my reading has been affected all the way through so I’m just happy to have read some really enjoyable books throughout the year!

Festive Mini Book Reviews! #Christmas

Today I’m sharing some mini book reviews of books that I’ve managed to read over the last few weeks. These ones are all quite festive or set at Christmas!

All About Us by Tom Ellen

This book is stunning and I very much enjoyed this one. I had an ARC from NetGalley but I bought the Audio book from Audible so I could listen to it. The novel is a retelling of A Christmas Carol and it really is a brilliant story. Ben is unhappy in his marriage and as Christmas is approaching he’s thinking about an old flame and what could have been. The novel then follows Ben as he gets thrown back to the past numerous times and discovers that his memories of how things happened were perhaps skewed or even inaccurate and while what he learns won’t change the future he can change himself and his approach to life. I adored this book, it kept me engrossed at a time when reading has been a struggle and I’m sure I’ll revisit it again in the future. I definitely recommend this one!

If Every Day Was Christmas by Donna Ashcroft

This is a lovely, warm-hearted novel that follows Meg who runs a Christmas shop in the Scottish village of Lockton and she loves the festive period. This year things begin to go awry as she deals with family dramas, and she finds herself drawn to a new man. I loved that there was a focus on a budding romance but also on the friendships between women in the village. I also really liked that no one knew who Tom was or what he had done for a living before he arrived in Lockton. It made for a fun read wondering when people would find out and how they would react! I did enjoy this novel, it was really cute and romantic and I would recommend it.

Tinsel by Sibeal Pounder

This is a really sweet middle grade novel about Blanche Claus and the idea that the story we all know about Santa is wrong! I found this such a lovely, escapist read and really enjoyed it. I would have adored this book when I was younger, it’s always fun to read an alternative origin story for Father Christmas and this one has lots of magic, adventures and twists and I would recommend it to anyone who has young children.

A Surprise Christmas Wedding by Phillipa Ashley

I got an audio version of this book from NetGalley and I really enjoyed listening to it. It follows Lottie who is working at Firholme, her dream job in the Lake District. One day she finds she has a last minute Christmas wedding to organise and the groom turns out to be the man who broke her heart! This is a lovely, feel-good read that I really enjoyed listening to over a couple of weeks. The setting is beautiful and the characters are well-rounded and believable. The audio narration by Laura Kirman really added to my enjoyment and I will look out for more books narrated by her in the future. I definitely recommend this one!

Christmas at Fireside Cabins by Jenny Hale

I’ve read and enjoyed other festive novels by this author so I was delighted when I was approved to read this one on NetGalley a few weeks ago. This novel follows Lila who struggles with Christmas ever since her Dad died but she has made a new family in her group of friends and every year they celebrate the festive season together. This year might be the last time as they’re all moving on with careers or relationships so it needs to be a good one. They end up at Fireside Cabins which is more dilapidated than advertised but they decide to stay as the owner is such a lovely lady. Lila finds herself attracted to the sullen coffee shop owner but he’s clearly troubled. I loved seeing how this group of friends got on and seeing how things developed. I really cared about Eleanor, the owner of the Cabins and was rooting for her to be okay. I recommend this one too!

Christmas 2020 Book Haul!

Gosh, it’s been a little while since I last blogged! My reading slump has really lingered and I’ve barely been reading anything so I’ve not felt I had anything to blog about. I did get some lovely new books and bookish things for Christmas though and I’m already read one of those books and have started another so it feels like I might be starting to come out of this horrible slump at long last (fingers crossed)!

Book Haul

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

Just Ignore Him by Alan Davies

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy

How to be Safe by Tom McAllister

Pages and Co: Tilly and the Map of Stories by Anna James

Bookish Gifts

A gorgeous Yoshi handbag, which I love!

And this fabulous Yoshi purse, which is in my favourite colour and has my favourite book on it (Fahrenheit 451)!

My husband also surprised me with an iPad Mini!

My iPad bit the dust a few months ago but I couldn’t justify buying a new one so it was amazing to be surprised with a new one at Christmas. I mostly read on my Kindle but I sometimes read in iBooks so it’s good to have the bigger screen than on my phone, plus the NetGalley app works with this iPad (my old one was too old) and I can read blogs on it too.

How was your Christmas? I hope you and your family are safe and well. My husband and I had Christmas at home on our own having taken the decision that with me being vulnerable that it wasn’t worth the risk of seeing anyone. We had a lovely relaxing day filled with music (I bought him quite a few new records for Christmas) and books. He also had Boxing day off, which is the first time ever so that made it special that we had more than one day together over the festive season.

WWW Wednesdays (21 Oct 20)! What are you reading?

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading!

Current Reads

I’m still in my reading slump so I’m not really reading much of anything. We watched the Netflix series based on Vulgar Favours: The Assassination of Gianni Versace over the weekend so I thought I’d pick the book up now. I hope I can get into it. I’m still reading If I Can’t Have You from last week. I’m enjoying it but just aren’t very motivated to read in general at the moment.

The Assassination of Gianni Versace by Maureen Orth

If I Can’t Have You by Charlotte Levin

Recent Reads

This is a blog tour book for next week so given how slow my reading is at the moment I thought I better start it right away. I ended up getting gripped and read it in two sittings. It’s such a different and stunning read and I really enjoyed it. I recommend it! I hoped this might break my reading slump if it hasn’t. At least I know if I find the exact right book for my mood I can still concentrate to read.

Once Again by Catherine Wallace Hope

What I Might Read Next

I don’t know what I’ll read next, I’m going to see whatever grabs my attention in the coming days. I’m thinking I might start on some festive reads as they tend to be more cosy and easy to get into.

WWW Wednesdays (7 Oct 20)! What are you reading this week!

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading!

Current Reads

I’m still feeling really lacklustre with reading but I have found these two non-fiction books that are holding my attention. The New Jim Crow is an audiobook that I’ve borrowed from BorrowBox and I’m finding it so eye-opening. Just Eat it is about intuitive eating – it caught my attention recently given that I’m in the middle of trying to eat in a much more healthy way. It’s interesting so far and I’m keen to read more.

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

Just Eat It by Laura Thomas

Recent Reads

I haven’t read much at all this week. Gravity Well is a short poetry collection which I enjoyed. I’m on the blog tour for it today if you’d like to read my thoughts on it. House of Correction was a gripping audiobook that I really enjoyed. The Phone Box at the Edge of the World was ultimately a life-affirming read and I’m glad I picked it up.

The Phone Box at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina

Gravity Well by Marc Rahe

House of Correction by Nicci French

What I Might Read Next

To be honest I have no idea what I might read next so I’m not even going to pretend about what I might pick up. I hope I pick up something that gets my reading mojo back in full swing. If you have any recommendations I’d appreciate them. 🙂

What are you reading this week? I’d love to know! 🙂

That Was The Month That Was… September 2020!

I can’t believe it’s already October! Time has been so strange this year as it’s been both very slow and yet has flown by.

My reading mojo is still not really there. I have read quite a few books this month but a lot of them were either books that I’d part read the month before or they were audio books. I enjoy books when I’m reading but I don’t feel inclined to pick books up, even when it’s something I’ve started and was enjoying.

My blogging mojo is flagging a bit too at the moment. I’m struggling with typing and it’s harder to use my dictation software with the new WordPress so that’s not helping. I must apologise for not replying to all of your lovely comments in anything like a timely manner. Also, for not commenting on your blogs. I hope I can get back into the groove of it very soon.

September was a good month in other ways though. My healthy eating is going well and I’m definitely forming much better habits. I’m even eating breakfast every day (for the first time in my adult life!). Over the last few weeks I’ve lost over a stone and given that I can’t really exercise due to the nature of my disability I’m feeling quite proud of myself.

My husband is now off furlough and is working from home for the time being. It’s meant we’ve finally found a proper purpose for our spare room and it’s looking really good as an office. Today the picture frames we ordered arrived so we’ll finally be able to frame our music posters from various Isle of Wight festivals we’ve been to and when we saw Kate Bush. It’s only taken us 6 or 7 years to get around to this but better late than never!

The Books I Read

My September Blog Posts

That Was The Month That Was… August 2020!

WWW Wednesdays (2 Sep)

My 20 Books of Summer Wrap-Up

Book Haul (5 Sep)

WWW Wednesdays (9 Sep)

Mini Book Reviews of Three by D. A Mishani, Dead To Her by Sarah Pinborough, The Storm by Amanda Jennings, and Here is the Beehive by Sarah Crossan

WWW Wednesdays (16 Sep)

Review of A Year of Living Simply by Kate Humble

WWW Wednesdays (23 Sep)

Review of In Black and White by Alexandra Wilson

Review of The Stolen Sisters by Louise Jensen

WWW Wednesdays (30 Sep)

How was September for you? I hope you and your loved ones are safe and well and that the month has been okay. What was your favourite book from September? I’d love to know what you’ve been reading so please comment below. 

In Black and White by Alexandra Wilson | @RandomTTours

About the Book

Alexandra Wilson was a teenager when her dear family friend Ayo was stabbed on his way home from football. Ayo’s death changed Alexandra. She felt compelled to enter the legal profession in search of answers. 

As a junior criminal and family law barrister, Alexandra finds herself navigating a world and a set of rules designed by a privileged few. A world in which fellow barristers sigh with relief when a racist judge retires: ‘I’ve got a black kid today and he would have had no hope’. 

In her debut book, In Black and White, Alexandra re-creates the tense courtroom scenes, the heart-breaking meetings with teenage clients, and the moments of frustration and triumph that make up a young barrister’s life. 

Alexandra shows us how it feels to defend someone who hates the colour of your skin, or someone you suspect is guilty. We see what it is like for children coerced into county line drug deals and the damage that can be caused when we criminalise teenagers. 

Alexandra’s account of what she has witnessed as a young mixed-race barrister is in equal parts shocking, compelling, confounding and powerful. 

My Thoughts

In Black and White is such a brilliant and eye-opening read. Alexandra Wilson is a young mixed race woman from Essex who trained as a barrister. She worked very hard and is incredibly motivated and this book is her story as she navigated the system facing racism and misogyny all along the way.

When Alexandra Wilson was a teenager her cousin Ayo was murdered in an unprovoked attack when he was not far from his home. This had a profound effect on her and it compelled her to get her law degree to try and seek out answers and to make a difference.

This book is part memoir and part an introduction to the law and how it works. We learn about how you train to become a barrister, and how hard it is to not only get on the course but to find a job too. There are examples of the people Alexandra has defended, which give such an eye-opening look at how people end up in court and the wide-ranging cases that barristers work on.

It was sad to read how often people, particularly young people, end up in court and criminalised when perhaps they could have been dealt with before it got to this stage. It’s hard to read of people who have made a relatively minor mistake, or have genuine extenuating circumstances, are then hampered by a conviction from that point on.

Along the way we see the awful ways that Alexandra was judged for being black, at times being assumed to be the defendant rather than the barrister. She’s also in the minority being a woman in the profession so has that battle too. I really appreciated the way that some defendants felt more able to be open with Alexandra as they felt she was more like them. It really highlights Alexandra’s point that the Bar needs to be much more diverse than it is now.

I found In Black and White to be such an engaging, powerful and fascinating read and I’m so glad I picked it up. This is a very timely and must-read book – one I would recommend to everyone. It’s one of my favourite non-fiction books that I’ve read this year and it’s one that will stay with me.

Many thanks to Anne of Random Things Tours and Octopus Books for my copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

In Black and White is out now and available here.

A Year of Living Simply by Kate Humble | @RandomTTours

About the Book

If there is one thing that most of us aspire to, it is, simply, to be happy. And yet attaining happiness has become, it appears, anything but simple. Having stuff – The Latest, The Newest, The Best Yet – is all too often peddled as the sure fire route to happiness. So why then, in our consumer-driven society, is depression, stress and anxiety ever more common, affecting every strata of society and every age, even, worryingly, the very young? Why is it, when we have so much, that many of us still feel we are missing something and the rush of pleasure when we buy something new turns so quickly into a feeling of emptiness, or purposelessness, or guilt?

So what is the route to real, deep, long lasting happiness? Could it be that our lives have just become overly crowded, that we’ve lost sight of the things – the simple things – that give a sense of achievement, a feeling of joy or excitement? That make us happy. Do we need to take a step back, reprioritise? Do we need to make our lives more simple? 

Kate Humble’s fresh and frank exploration of a stripped-back approach to life is uplifting, engaging and inspiring – and will help us all find balance and happiness every day.

My Thoughts

A Year of Living Simply opens with Kate writing about the bereavements that she suffered quite close together and the realisation that she just need to re-connect with nature and to live a much simpler life. We follow her over a year as she meets with various people who are all living more simply and she takes inspiration and ideas from all of them.

I wanted to read this book as soon as I saw the title as it just feels with all the anxiety around world events at the moment that making life as simple as it can be is the way to go. A Year of Living Simply was written before the pandemic so isn’t about that but so much of what Kate writes about could be written about what a lot of us have learnt in recent months, about the things that really matter to us.

I knew I was going to love this book when I realised that what set Kate off on her journey was the loss of her father. I immediately identified with the urge to make changes in your life when you lost a parent, I was the same when my mum died. Kate starts by attempting to declutter cupboards in her house and I loved reading about that. As you may know I finally decluttered my house a couple of years ago and it has changed my life, it’s so much easier when you have less stuff.

Through the book Kate meets with people who build and live in self-sustaining eco homes, which was fascinating. The homes sound so beautiful and I could really imagine what they must be like to live in. She also meets a woman who set up a cafe that combines grabbing a coffee with having household items repaired, or being taught to repair your own belongings. This really was interesting and I wish there were more of these cafes around the country (and the world). I hate how much we throw away simply because we don’t know how to repair things or because it’s cheaper to buy a new one.

I loved reading about Kate’s attempts to start her own vegetable garden. I really appreciated that she shared her failures as well as successes, it made this book very down to earth. I have only attempted to grow vegetables once and it was a disaster as I had no real idea what I was doing. Kate has made me see that with a bit of research and persistence that I could get there if I tried again.

The book is written in such a way that feels so inclusive – it’s one woman’s journey to discover a simpler life but she absolutely brings you along with her. I loved that about it – Kate’s writing is really lovely.

A Year of Living Simply is a gorgeous book. It’s both soothing to read and also a book that will inspire you to think about how to make your own life simpler and to focus on the things that really matter to you. This book is perfect for anyone and I will definitely be buying copies for Christmas gifts this year! I highly recommend this one!

Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book and to Anne Cater for my blog tour invitation.

A Year of Living Simply is out now and available here.

WWW Wednesdays (16 Sep 20)! What are you reading this week?

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading!

Current Reads

I’m still struggling with my reading so am sticking to one ebook and one audiobook at a time. I’m really enjoying both of these books and am hoping they might break me out of this slump I’m in.

In Black and White by Alexandra Wilson

Writers and Lovers by Lily King

Recent Reads

I found Liar to be such an intriguing book and really enjoyed it. It was a book that made me think, I recommend it. Fallen Angel wasn’t a great read, it was predictable and full of stereotypical characters so didn’t really help with my reading slump. Dead to Her was an okay read – I’ve already reviewed it so you can find my full thoughts here.

The Liar by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen

Fallen Angel by Chris Brookmyre

Dead to Her by Sarah Pinborough

What I Might Read Next

I’m still reading by whim and hoping to find a way through this reading slump. These three books are the one that most appeal to me at the moment so I hope I can read them in the coming days.

Summer by Ali Smith

The Stolen Sisters by Louise Jensen

Life in Pieces by Dawn O’Porter

What are you reading at the moment? I’d love to chat about your current read in the comments. If you’ve posted a WWW Wednesdays post please feel free to share your link before and I’ll read your post. 🙂

My 20 Books of Summer Wrap-Up!

I can’t believe the 20 Books of Summer reading challenge (run by Cathy at 746 Books) is over already! This summer seems to have flown by even though I’ve spent the entirety of it in my home.

So I set myself a very rigid list of 20 physical books that I wanted to read this summer. (The rules for this challenge are very flexible but I wanted to make myself read a particular set of books). Unfortunately my disability flared up and I’m back to struggling to hold physical books so my 20 books of summer plan stalled a few weeks ago now. I did manage to read 12 of the books on my list before then (and I’m halfway through a 13th) and I’m really happy with what I managed to read. Also, one of the 12 that I read was the humongous Ducks, Newburyport (which at over a thousand pages could count as three novels!).

I did also read a lot of books on my Kindle and I listened to quite a few audiobooks so I did plenty of reading over the summer, I just didn’t manage to read what I planned on.

Here are the books that I managed to read this summer (from my original list).

I enjoyed all twelve of the books that I read but I think my favourite has to be Ducks, Newburyport. Once I got to grips with the way it’s written I just wanted to devour it, it really is an incredible novel and one I keep finding myself thinking about.

Did you take part in the 20 Books of Summer challenge? How did you get on? I hope you enjoyed all that you read over the summer, and here’s to an autumn full of fabulous books! 🙂

WWW Wednesdays (2 Sep 20)! What are you reading this week?

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading!

Current Reads

These are the four books that I’m currently reading. All of them are excellent but I’m really intrigued by The Upstairs Room at the moment so that is my main read.

Spring by Ali Smith

The Upstairs Room by Kate Murray-Browne

Here Is The Beehive by Sarah Crossan

Dear Reader by Cathy Rentzenbrink

Recent Reads

I really enjoyed all four of these books this week. I think Three was my favourite as it just went in a direction that I wasn’t expecting and completely shocked me. I also loved Long Bright River, I’m so pleased I finally got to read it.

Three by D. A. Mishani

Long Bright River by Liz Moore

Grace is Gone by Emily Elgar

My Friend Anna by Rachel DeLoache Williams

What I Might Read Next

I’m still not reading as much as I normally do, I just don’t feel motivated to pick a book up. Once I’m reading I do enjoy it though so I’m hoping this feeling passes soon. The books that most appeal to me at the moment are these four so hopefully I’ll get to read them this week. 🙂

The Storm by Amanda Jennings

In Black and White by Alexandra Wilson

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi

Writers and Lovers by Lily King

That Was The Month That Was… August 2020!

I really can’t get my head around the fact that it is September already, where has this year gone?! There have been weeks and months (particularly at the start of lockdown) that dragged by and yet the year itself has flown by.

August was spent much the same as July really. We watched the rest of the football season, we binge watched some more series (the new Dirty John about Betty Broderick on Netflix and The Looming Tower which has been on our SkyQ box since it aired early last year.

I did finally take my first trip out into the world for the first time in almost six months last week. My husband took me for a short drive around where we live. It still feels scary to me to be out and about after six months of shielding but it was good to make that first step into the outside world.

I’m struggling with my reading again at the moment. I’m enjoying what I’m reading and I want to be reading but I keep finding other things to do instead. I’m just going with it for now and reading by whim and hoping to avoid another reading slump.

I read 18 books in August, which is less than I had been reading but is still a lot of books.

The Books I read

My August Blog Posts

Book Haul (1 Aug)

July Wrap-Up

WWW Wednesdays (5 Aug)

Review: The Summer of Madness by Alexander Raphael

Book Haul (8 Aug)

Review: The Lost Love Song by Minnie Darke

Audiobook Review: All My Lies Are True by Dorothy Koomson

WWW Wednesdays (12 Aug)

Audiobook Review: Under a Starry Sky by Laura Kemp

Review: Summerwater by Sarah Moss

Book Haul (15 Aug)

Mini Book Reviews: The Holdout by Graham Moore, The Night Swim by Megan Goldin, The New Girl by Harriet Walker, & Where We Belong by Anstey Harris

WWW Wednesdays (19 Aug)

Book Haul (22 Aug)

Review: Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi

WWW Wednesdays (26 Aug)

Book Haul (29 Aug)

How was August for you? I hope you and your loved ones are safe and well and that the month has been okay. What was your favourite book from August? I’d love to know what you’ve been reading so please comment below. 

WWW Wednesdays (26 Aug 20)! What are you reading this week?

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading!

Current Reads

My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake Heiress by Rachel DeLoache Williams

I started reading this book yesterday and I’m just gobsmacked at this real life story. It’s written by Rachel who became friends with Anna and was completely taken advantage of. I’m only a couple of chapters in so I don’t know much about the story as yet but just the opening chapter had me stunned at the situation Rachel ended up in. I can’t wait to read more.

Grace is Gone by Emily Elgar

I bought this book earlier this year and have been so keen to read it. I finally picked it up yesterday and I’m so intrigued. A woman has been found murdered in her bed and her severely disabled teenage daughter is missing. Their neighbour’s daughter Cara found Meg’s body and now we’re following her perspective and that of a disgraced journalist Jon. I’m so keen to so where this book is going (I have my suspicions and have avoided all reviews so as not to get spoiled on what happens) and can’t wait to read more!

Dear Reader by Cathy Rentzenbrink

I’m still really enjoying this one. It’s a book where the author is relating her life story through the medium of books she has loved over the years. It’s a wonderful read, one that feels very nostalgic and sooting. I’m deliberately reading this one slowly as it feels like such a relaxing treat to pick it up.

Recent Reads

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

I keep hearing about this book so when I was looking for some easy, escapist reading at the weekend I picked it up. I read the whole thing in one sitting and really enjoyed it. It was exactly what I needed at the time. It follows Pippa, a studious teenager who for a school assignment decides to look into a murder that happened in her community five years ago. A teenage girl was murdered and her boyfriend was prime suspect but when he died by suicide the police closed the case. The novel does require some suspension of disbelief but it’s still such a good read.

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

I listened to the audiobook of this over a few days and I very much enjoyed it. It’s a fictionalised version of Hillary Clinton’s life and it imagines what might have happened had she not married Bill. I did find some of the book a bit icky (the sex scenes…) but for the most part I loved this book. It was easy to see how much of this novel could have happened were some decisions made differently. I recommend it!

No Win Race by Derek A. Bardowell

This is an excellent novel about the author’s own experiences of racism along with a wider look at society through the lens of sport. He raises some really important points about what it is to be British and black, and how society never quite sees him as fully British. He looks at various sports (boxing, basketball, Formula 1 and football) and how black sports men and women are treated. I’m still thinking about this book but once I’ve got my thoughts together I will write a review.

Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi

I really enjoyed this novel! It follows Julia (an editor) as she meets Grant (a mathematician and author) with a view to re-publishing his short story collection. The novel features all the stories in this collection and a discussion between Julia and Grant about them. I loved the stories, they’re all set in the 1930s and are very Christie-esque. There are layers of mystery in this novel and lots of shocks in store. I’ve already reviewed this one so you can find that here if you’d like to know more.

What I Might Read Next

I’ve been in a strange mood this week, I’ve still been reading and I’ve still been enjoying reading but I’m not drawn to picking up books as much as I want to. I’m hoping I’m not heading for another reading slump. In an attempt to ward it off I’m reading entirely by whim at the moment and the three books below are the ones that are really calling to me. I hope to read them in the coming days! 🙂

Here is the Beehive by Sarah Crossan

Tilly and the Lost Fairytales by Anna James

Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls

Stacking the Shelves with a new Book Haul (22 Aug 20)!

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

Purchased Books

All the Rage by Paul Magrs

I actually bought this book a few weeks ago (after reading a fabulous review on Liz’s blog) but put it straight onto my bookcase and forgot all about mentioning it in my book haul post. I’m struggling to hold physical books at the moment but as soon as my hands feel stronger I will be picking this one up!

It’s 1981, and the nation is going Eurovision-crazy. A young band, Things Fall Apart, are British hopefuls with their catchy hit, Let’s Be Famous. Europe is unimpressed. But the band won’t let go of their dream, and they persevere to become one of the most famous boy-girl pop acts of the eighties. And during their glory days they sample the cultural highlights of the decade. Living and working together constantly it’s little wonder that love soon blossoms in the band; nor that the cracks between them eventually begin to show. From their innocent early days to their ugly last fight, this is the story of a pop group – warts and all. Hugely funny and immensely readable, All The Rage is a fantastic novel encompassing the best (and the worst) of the decade that taste forgot. Amidst the sequinned boob tubes and spangly jump suits is a touching story about dreams, disappointments, and the highs and lows of fame.

Review Books

Three by D. A. Mishani

I requested this book from NetGalley as soon as they started having audiobooks on there. I’d never heard of it before but the premise really intrigued me. I think this will be my next audio book (once I’ve finished Rodham!).

An abandoned woman searching for love, a deeply religious immigrant caretaker, a disillusioned researcher trapped in her marriage. Three women whose lives seem as far apart as possible, united by a common secret. When Orna meets Gil on an online dating site, their lackluster affair seems like nothing more than a way to stave off the pain of her recent divorce. But soon it becomes clear that Gil may not be exactly who he claims to be. And Orna’s own lies may be weaving an unexpected trap for her. Set against the turbulent backdrop of the gritty Holon neighborhood in Tel Aviv, this enigmatic and intelligent novel is in fact an intricate puzzle. Mishani’s first standalone book explores Israel’s forgotten margins, unearthing complicated layers, conflicts, and prejudices. At turns shocking, deceptive, and subversive, Three is a slow burning psychological thriller from one of Israel’s most beloved writers. 

Purchased AudioBooks

Audible had a recent 2 for 1 sale on their website and the following books were all on my wish list so I snapped them up!

Happiness by Aminatta Forna

London. A fox makes its way across Waterloo Bridge. The distraction causes two pedestrians to collide–Jean, an American studying the habits of urban foxes, and Attila, a Ghanaian psychiatrist there to deliver a keynote speech. From this chance encounter, Aminatta Forna’s unerring powers of observation show how in the midst of the rush of a great city lie numerous moments of connection. Attila has arrived in London with two tasks: to deliver a keynote speech on trauma, as he has done many times before; and to contact the daughter of friends, his “niece” who hasn’t called home in a while. Ama has been swept up in an immigration crackdown, and now her young son Tano is missing. When, by chance, Attila runs into Jean again, she mobilizes the network of rubbish men she uses as volunteer fox spotters. Security guards, hotel doormen, traffic wardens–mainly West African immigrants who work the myriad streets of London–come together to help. As the search for Tano continues, a deepening friendship between Attila and Jean unfolds. Meanwhile a consulting case causes Attila to question the impact of his own ideas on trauma, the values of the society he finds himself in, and a grief of his own. In this delicate tale of love and loss, of cruelty and kindness, Forna asks us to consider the interconnectedness of lives, our co-existence with one another and all living creatures, and the true nature of happiness. 

James Baldwin: A Biography by David Leeming

James Baldwin was one of the great writers of the last century. In works that have become part of the American canon—Go Tell It on a Mountain, Giovanni’s Room, Another Country, The Fire Next Time, and The Evidence of Things Not Seen—he explored issues of race and racism in America, class distinction, and sexual difference. A gay, African American writer who was born in Harlem, he found the freedom to express himself living in exile in Paris. When he returned to America to cover the Civil Rights movement, he became an activist and controversial spokesman for the movement, writing books that became bestsellers and made him a celebrity, landing him on the cover of Time. In this biography, which Library Journal called “indispensable,” David Leeming creates an intimate portrait of a complex, troubled, driven, and brilliant man. He plumbs every aspect of Baldwin’s life: his relationships with the unknown and the famous, including painter Beauford Delaney, Richard Wright, Lorraine Hansberry, Marlon Brando, Harry Belafonte, Lena Horne, and childhood friend Richard Avedon; his expatriate years in France and Turkey; his gift for compassion and love; the public pressures that overwhelmed his quest for happiness, and his passionate battle for black identity, racial justice, and to “end the racial nightmare and achieve our country.”

Friday on My Mind by Nicci French

I haven’t started Nicci French’s Frieda Klein series yet but have most of them on my TBR so couldn’t resist grabbing another two. I plan on starting this series soon, I feel sure I’m going to love it!

When a bloated corpse is found floating in the River Thames the police can at least sure that identifying the victim will be straightforward. Around the dead man’s wrist is a hospital band. On it are the words Dr F. Klein. But psychotherapist Frieda Klein is very much alive. And, after evidence linking her to the murder is discovered, she becomes the prime suspect. Unable to convince the police of her innocence, Frieda is forced to make a bold decision in order to piece together the terrible truth before it’s too late either for her or for those she loves.

The Day of the Dead by Nicci French

At long last, a final reckoning is coming for Frieda Klein… On a north London high street, a runaway vehicle crashes to a halt. The man in the driving seat was murdered a week earlier. On Hampstead Heath, a bonfire blazes: in the flames lies the next victim. As autumn leaves fall, a serial killer runs amok in the capital, playing games with the police. The death toll is rising fast, and the investigation is floundering. But this is no ordinary killer, and every new victim is intended as a message to just one woman. Because psychologist Frieda Klein is in hiding. And someone is coming to find her . . . After seven stunning novels, Frieda Klein’s duel with her dark nemesis finally comes to a climax – and only one can make it out alive.

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

Mini Book Reviews: The Night Swim | The Holdout | The New Girl | Where We Belong

The Night Swim by Megan Goldin

I previously read The Escape Room and enjoyed it so was keen to read the author’s new novel. This one follows Rachel who makes a true crime podcast, and her new season is following a rape trial in the town of Neapolis. We see Rachel’s investigation and also snippets of her podcast, which I enjoyed. Alongside this Rachel is getting letters from a young woman called Hannah, who wants Rachel to investigate the murder of her older sister 25 years ago. This book was one I enjoyed but I did find that the first half was more engrossing and intriguing to me. I saw where the book was going from halfway and I was so hoping for a twist and there wasn’t one. I would still recommend this one because it did keep me reading. I enjoyed following Hannah’s story and I would love to read more featuring Rachel and her podcast!

The Holdout by Graham Moore

This was the last book that I had on my NetGalley shelf from before this year and I’m kicking myself for not reading it sooner! This book was so much more than I thought it was going to be (and I already had thought it was going to be good)! The novel mainly follows Maya Searle, a lawyer in Los Angeles. Ten years ago she served on a jury and was responsible for persuading her eleven fellow jurors to return a verdict of Not Guilty in the trial where Bobby Nock stood accused of murdering his student. Now the past is back to haunt Maya when one of the jurors finds her and asks her to come to a reunion for a TV show. I loved that the main narrative is Maya’s but throughout the novel we hear from other members of the jury and find out their perspectives on the trial. There is a lot of discussion about race and the unconscious, and sometimes very overt, opinions we form on others. This was such a gripping book, one of those that is very hard to put down. I highly recommend it!

The New Girl by Harriet Walker

This novel follows Margot who is a fashion editor at a top magazine and is looking for someone to take over her job while she goes on maternity leave. Maggie gets the job and very early on it’s apparent that there is an envy, that quickly grows into jealousy and mistrust between them. We also learn about Margot’s friendship with Winnie, who she’s known since school. From the opening of the novel we know that someone dies so I was intrigued to know who died and if someone committed murder. This was an enjoyable novel but it wasn’t what I was expecting. I thought this book was meant to be a dark thriller but it wasn’t. It’s domestic fiction with a darkish side. I found it a slow read for the most part but it did become much more fast-paced for the last third and this part of the book did lift the book for me. I recommend this one if you like domestic dramas!

Where We Belong by Anstey Harris

This novel follows Cate and her son at a very unhappy time in their lives. They’re having to move from their home after the death of Cate’s husband Richard due to financial difficulties, and they’re moving to his family home – a place they’ve never been before. When they arrive it’s to a cold welcome and Cate feels so isolated and worried. Over the novel we learn more about the past and what happened in Richard’s life and how it was for him living in this great house. We begin to see Cate find her strength and her son begins to come into his own too. I loved seeing these two characters come to terms with everything that had happened and to see their growth. This is such a beautiful novel, my first by Anstey Harris but I definitely want to read more of her work now. I highly recommend this one!

WWW Wednesdays (12 Aug 20)! What are you reading this week?

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading!

Current Reads

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

I started reading this one last night and I’m very much enjoying it. It follows two girls: Camino in the Dominican Republic and Yahaira in New York. On the same day they both get news that their father has died in a plane crash and whilst trying to come to terms with this tragedy they learn their father is the same man. They now have to work out how to deal with discovering they have a sister living in another part of the world. I’m only a little way into this one but the writing is beautiful and I’m engrossed.

Under A Starry Sky by Laura Kemp

This is my current audio book and I’m really enjoying it. It follows Wanda who has always wanted to travel but life keeps having other plans for her. She was due to leave her family in Wales when she was young but then her father died. Now it’s years later and she’s packing up to leave when her mum has an accident and her sister announces she’s pregnant. Wanda seems destined to have to stay and run the family’s rundown campsite for the summer and to face up to some ghosts from the past. I’m loving this audiobook so far and can’t wait to listen to more!

The Holdout by Graham Moore

This is now the last book that I have on my NetGalley shelf that I got before 2020 so I wanted to get to it this week. I’m now kicking myself for not picking it up sooner because I’m loving it so far. It follows Maya who is a successful lawyer but ten years ago she did jury duty and helped sway the jury to a not guilty verdict. Now the jury is meeting up again for a TV show as one member thinks he’s uncovered evidence that will change everything! I avoided knowing anymore than this about the book and I’m glad I did because I thought I knew what this was going to be and it’s turned out more is going on than I predicted! I love when a novel surprises me!

Keep Her Quiet by Emma Curtis

I’m reading this book on Pigeonhole but I’m way behind and all of the parts are now available. It’s taking me a while as I’m struggling to read on my phone screen at the moment. I am liking the novel so far though. You do have to suspend disbelief but it’s one I’m happy to do that with. It moves from past to present and focuses on a teenager who was kidnapped from the hospital soon after her birth sixteen years ago. I hope to be able to read more of this soon, I might buy it on kindle so that it’s easier on my eyes to read.

Recent Reads

The Night Swim by Megan Goldin

I read and quite enjoyed The Escape Room by this author and was keen to try another novel by her. The Night Swim started off so well – it’s gripping and fast-paced and there is a mystery there so I thought I was going to love it. However, the pace slows down and I did find it a bit predictable, I was hoping for a shock at the end but it all unfolded as I had suspected it would. This is more a mystery novel than a thriller but having said that it did keep me engrossed and I did enjoy it so I would recommend it.

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

This was such a great novel and I really enjoyed it. It follows Emira, a 20-something black woman who works as a babysitter for a white family. One night she is looking after Briar and a security guard starts asking questions believing Emira has kidnapped the child. What follows is alternating chapters of Emira, and Alix (Briar’s mother) as we see their lives. Emira needs to find a job with health insurance, but Alix is focused on Emira’s life and wanting to know more about her. She seems fascinated by Emira and the fact that she’s black. There is so much to this novel and I loved it. I recommend it.

Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman

This is the book I’ve mainly been reading for much of the last couple of weeks and I’ve loved every minute of it. It took me a few pages to get to grips with the way it’s written and then after that I just didn’t want to put it down. I love the random way the protagonist thinks and at times it felt like my own thoughts were being reflected back at me from the pages. The end when it comes is sheer perfection! This is an incredible novel and one I won’t ever forget. I highly, highly recommend it!

What I Might Read Next

I’m still mood reading for the most part but also trying to read my way through my NetGalley shelf. The first three books on my list for this week are NetGalley books and ones that I’m keen to get to very soon. The fourth is a library book and is one that I’ve been wanting to read for a while so I plan on starting that one next.

Here is the Beehive by Sarah Crossan

The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard

Dead To Her by Sarah Pinborough

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

All My Lies Are True by Dorothy Koomson

About the Book

Verity is telling lies…
And that’s why she’s about to be arrested for attempted murder.

Serena has been lying for years. . .
And that may have driven her daughter, Verity, to do something unthinkable…

Poppy’s lies have come back to haunt her . . .
So will her quest for the truth hurt everyone she loves?

Everyone lies.
But whose lies are going to end in tragedy?

My Thoughts

I read and loved The Ice Cream Girls when it was first published so was excited to discover a sequel was coming out. I’m pleased to say that I really enjoyed All My Lies Are True and it lived up to my expectations.

Serena and Poppy are the Ice Cream Girls and All My Lies Are True follows Serena’s daughter Verity and Poppy’s younger brother Logan. They meet up and between them decide to try and find out the truth about what happened all those years ago. They become more than friends but decide to hide this relationship from their loved ones.

One night something terrible happens at Verity’s flat and the repurcussions of this night are potentially be far-reaching. Verity finds herself a suspect and the truth begins to come out about her relationship with Logan and what they have been up to.

The novel also follows Poppy and Serena and we get to find out how their lives are now, and the impact the murder from years earlier has had on their lives. I loved catching up with them again and seeing how they were.

There are twists and turns as this novel progresses and definitely things I didn’t see coming! I love the way the story builds and you can sense things brewing but you don’t see the full impact of what’s coming until it happens. So many people have reasons to lie so I was never sure of who I could trust to be telling the truth! The title of this novel is sheer perfection! I like a novel that keeps me on my toes and this definitely did that!

My only slight negative in this review is that, at times, I found this book a little hard to follow on audiobook. It jumps around from character to character but also goes back and forth in time and there were moments as I was listening to this that I wasn’t sure at which point in time I was. For this reason I recommend listening to this book in big chunks in order to better keep track of what’s happening. I did love the multiple narrators: Adjoa Andoh, Julie Maisey, Luke Thompson, Maria Gbeleyi and Nicky Diss and they all sound distinct from each other so I did always know which character I was with. I already knew I loved Adjoa Andoh’s narration but I will now definitely look for more books narrated by the others in the future.

I think this novel would work as a standalone but The Ice Cream Girls is so good that I absolutely recommend reading it first.

I really enjoyed All My Lies Are True and I highly recommend it.

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

All My Lies Are True is out now and available here.

That Was The Month That Was… July 2020!

July seems to have flown by, I can’t believe it’s already August! July was mainly spent watching a lot of football and reading loads of great books. We also finally watched the last season of Orange is the New Black.

The Government says shielding is now over but given that I haven’t left the house in five months I’m not planning on rushing things. I hope to be able to at least go for a short drive with my husband before too much longer.

I had another amazing reading month and finished a lot of books. It helps that my new headphones mean I can listen to audio books again. My 20 Books of Summer has stalled though as I’m struggling to hold physical books for any length of time. I think I only read one of my planned TBR in July and started another. Hopefully I’ll be able to complete my challenge to read 20 physical books.

I read 29 books (mainly ebooks and audiobooks) in July and that came to a total of 10,588 pages. I’m really pleased with how much I read, and how many amazing books I got to in July. I hope August is as good!

The Books I read

My July Blog Posts

My Mid-Year Reading Stats!

Book Haul

My Favourite Books of the Year So Far!

Review of The Greatest of Enemies by B. R. Maycock

Book Haul

Mini Book Reviews of My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell, The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish, One Step Behind by Lauren North, and Who Did You Tell? by Lesley Kara

Audiobook Review of Come Again by Robert Webb

Review of Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell

Book Haul

Mini Book Reviews of Finders, Keepers by Sabine Durrant, Mine by Clare Empson, Our Little Cruelties by Liz Nugent, and Innocent or Guilty by A. M. Taylor

Audiobook Review of Imperfect Women by Araminta Hall

Audiobook Review of The Switch by Beth O’Leary

Book Haul

Mini Book Reviews of How To Be An AntiRacist by Ibram X. Kendi, The Search Party by Simon Lelic, The Mothers by Sarah J. Naughton, and How To Disappear by Gillian McAllister

Review of The Life We Almost Had by Amelia Henley

Book Haul

How was July for you? I hope you and your loved ones are safe and well and that July has been okay. What was your favourite book from July? I’d love to know what you’ve been reading so please comment below. 🙂

Stacking the Shelves with a new Book Haul (1 Aug 2020)!

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

Purchased eBooks

Red Dust Road by Jackie Kay

I’ve had my eye on this book for a little while now and decided to buy it this week. I’m keen to get to this one soon.

From the moment when, as a little girl, she realizes that her skin is a different colour from that of her beloved mum and dad, to the tracing and finding of her birth parents, her Highland mother and Nigerian father, Jackie Kay’s journey in Red Dust Road is one of unexpected twists, turns and deep emotions. In a book remarkable for its warmth and candour, she discovers that inheritance is about much more than genes: that we are shaped by songs as much as by cells, and that what triumphs, ultimately, is love…

Just Before I Died by S. K. Tremayne

I’ve read most of S. K. Tremayne’s novels to date but somehow missed this one being published. I spotted it on Kindle for 99p this week and so snapped it up!

Why did you do that to me Mummy, don’t you love me? Kath lives with her husband Adam and daughter Lyla in a desolate stone longhouse deep in Dartmoor National Park. She likes her life the moors are beautiful, if bleak and she counts herself as happy, even if they struggle with money, and work, and her daughter’s shyness. But one day Kath wakes up from a coma, with a vague memory of a near-fatal car accident. She hugs her daughter close, likewise her husband Adam. But there’s something wrong. Adam seems furious with her and Lyla is acting evermore strangely. They should be delighted to see her alive, snatched from certain death. But they won’t meet her gaze. Then Kath learns that the car crash wasn’t an accident, and her whole life collapses into a world of panic, and danger.

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

I downloaded this one on a whim when I spotted it on a daily deal this week!

También de este lado hay sueños. On this side, too, there are dreams. Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable. Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy—two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same. Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia—trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to.

Review Books

The Searcher by Tana French

I love Tana French’s writing so was beyond thrilled when I got sent a NetGalley widget for her forthcoming new novel this week. I’m so happy to have a copy of this one and can’t wait to read it!

Retired detective Cal Hooper moves to a remote village in rural Ireland. His plans are to fix up the dilapidated cottage he’s bought, to walk the mountains, to put his old police instincts to bed forever. Then a local boy appeals to him for help. His brother is missing, and no one in the village, least of all the police, seems to care. And once again, Cal feels that restless itch. Something is wrong in this community, and he must find out what, even if it brings trouble to his door. 

The Stolen Sisters by Louise Jensen

I also love Louise Jensen’s writing so when I heard she had a new one coming out and it was on NetGalley I immediately requested it. I’m so pleased to have this one on my kindle and plan on reading it soon.

Three little girls missing. One family torn apart… Leah’s perfect marriage isn’t what it seems but the biggest lie of all is that she’s learned to live with what happened all those years ago. Marie drinks a bit too much to help her forget. And Carly has never forgiven herself for not keeping them safe. Twenty years ago these three sisters were taken. What came after they disappeared was far worse. It should have brought them together, but how can a family ever recover? Especially when not everyone is telling the truth . . . 

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi

I requested this one on a whim when I spotted it on NetGalley. I love reading novels in verse, and I’m trying to read more diversely too so this one just jumped out at me. I’ll definitely read this one soon.

The story that I thought was my life didn’t start on the day I was born . Amal Shahid has always been an artist and a poet. But even in a diverse art school, he’s seen as disruptive and unmotivated by a biased system. Then one fateful night, an altercation in a gentrifying neighborhood escalates into tragedy. “Boys just being boys” turns out to be true only when those boys are white.  The story that I think will be my life starts today. Suddenly, at just sixteen years old, Amal’s bright future is upended: he is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and sent to prison. Despair and rage almost sink him until he turns to the refuge of his words, his art. This never should have been his story. But can he change it? 

Home Stretch by Graham Norton

I love A Keeper when I read it last year so am delighted to have a copy of his latest novel on my Kindle. This one sounds really good so I’m keen to get to it.

It is 1987 and a small Irish community is preparing for the wedding of two of its young inhabitants. They’re barely adults, not so long out of school and still part of the same set of friends they’ve grown up with. As the friends head home from the beach that last night before the wedding, there is a car accident. Three survive the crash but three are killed. And the reverberations are felt throughout the small town. Connor, the young driver of the car, lives. But staying among the angry and the mourning is almost as hard as living with the shame, and so he leaves the only place he knows for another life. Travelling first to Liverpool, then London, by the noughties he has made a home – of sorts – for himself in New York. The city provides shelter and possibility for the displaced, somewhere Connor can forget his past and forge a new life. But the secrets, the unspoken longings and regrets that have come to haunt those left behind will not be silenced. And before long, Connor will have to meet his past. 

The Night Swim by Megan Goldin

I read and enjoyed the author’s previous novel The Escape Room but have heard this new one is even better. The premise sounds like my kind of read so I can’t wait to pick this up, I may even make it my next read!

After the first season of her true crime podcast became an overnight sensation and set an innocent man free, Rachel Krall is now a household name―and the last hope for thousands of people seeking justice. But she’s used to being recognized for her voice, not her face. Which makes it all the more unsettling when she finds a note on her car windshield, addressed to her, begging for help. The small town of Neapolis is being torn apart by a devastating rape trial. The town’s golden boy, a swimmer destined for Olympic greatness, has been accused of raping a high school student, the beloved granddaughter of the police chief. Under pressure to make Season Three a success, Rachel throws herself into interviewing and investigating―but the mysterious letters keep showing up in unexpected places. Someone is following her, and she won’t stop until Rachel finds out what happened to her sister twenty-five years ago. Officially, Jenny Stills tragically drowned, but the letters insists she was murdered―and when Rachel starts asking questions, nobody seems to want to answer. The past and present start to collide as Rachel uncovers startling connections between the two cases that will change the course of the trial and the lives of everyone involved.

The Summer of Madness by Alexander Raphael

The author offered me a copy of this short story and the premise sounded really good so I accepted. I’ve already read this one and really enjoyed it. I hope to get my review written and posted soon.

In the summer of love, or rather of madness, a whole set of stories are emerging. But there is one that has got everyone talking. When Kurt decides to win back his ex-girlfriend with the help of a literary classic, he sets off a string of events that will build to a dramatic finale.

Pigeonhole App

Keep Her Quiet by Emma Curtis

I got this book on Pigeonhole and am already a couple of days behind in joining in on the read. I plan on starting this today though and can’t wait!

Jenny has just given birth to the baby she’s always wanted. She’s never been this happy. Her husband, Leo, knows this baby girl can’t be his. He’s never felt so betrayed. The same night, a vulnerable young woman, Hannah, wakes to find her newborn lifeless beside her. She’s crazed with grief. When chance throws Hannah into Leo’s path, they make a plan that will have shattering consequences for all of them. Years later, a sixteen-year-old girl reads an article in a newspaper, and embarks on a journey to uncover the truth about herself. But what she learns will put everything she has ever known – and her own life – in grave danger. Because some people will go to desperate lengths to protect the secrets their lives are built on . . .

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