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! 🙂

WWW Wednesdays (29 Jul 20)! What are you reading?

WWW pic

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

Current Reads

Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid

I just started reading this last night so have only read the first couple of chapters so far but I can’t wait to read more. It follows Emira, a young black woman who babysits for a white couple. One night they ask her to take their child to the store and while there she is accused of kidnapping the child. It also follows Alix, the mother of the child, and she is a busy and successful woman who is very media savvy and aware of optics. I’m really keen to read more about these two women and to see where this novel is going.

The New Girl by Harriet Walker

This novel follows two women: Margot who is a fashion editor at a high end magazine, she’s also pregnant and will be going on maternity leave soon; and Maggie, the woman who is brought in to replace her. Margot finds out that her best friend Winnie has suffered a stillbirth on the day she hires Maggie and it sends he into a spiral. She doesn’t handle any of it very well. I’m only a few chapters into this one but I’m intrigued to see where it’s going. We know from the prologue that a woman dies but we don’t know who! It seems both Margot and Maggie are driven and it feels like there is already jealousy and competitiveness between them. I’m looking forward to reading more.

All My Lies Are True by Dorothy Koomson

This is one of my most anticipated reads of the year as I loved The Ice Cream Girls. I’m really enjoying this one. It follows lots of characters but the core story is about the daughter of one of the Ice Cream Girls and the younger brother of the other. This goes back and forth in time through multiple perspectives as we explore how the next generation views what the previous was accused, and in one case, convicted of. It is a little confusing to follow on audio book at times as it jumps around in time and through characters so frequently so it’s one to listen to in big chunks. I’m really enjoying this one though and am keen to see how it’s all going to end!

Recent Reads

The Life We Almost Had by Amelia Henley

This is a stunning novel and one I won’t forget. This one follows Anna and Adam, a couple who fall in love on holiday and decide to stay together afterwards. We know from the very start that something has gone wrong but we don’t know what. I adored reading about the holiday romance, it was so lovely and believable. Even when they begin to have problems once back to reality the love was still there. I reviewed this one yesterday so you can find my full review here if you’d like to know more.

Small Island by Andrea Levy

I read this book many years ago at University but I’ve been wanting to listen to the audio book as Andrea Levy narrates it and I finally got to it over the last week. I really enjoyed the audio, it’s brilliantly done. The novel follows Hortense as she arrives in the UK from Jamaica to join her new husband. We also meet Queenie, Gilbert’s landlady. The novel really puts you into the mindset of what it was to come to this country as a black person in the 40s, and how the English viewed even war heroes like Gilbert as second-class citizens. I very much enjoyed this novel and I recommend it.

The Mothers by Sarah J. Naughton

This novel follows a police detective Iona as she starts investigating the disappearance of a married man. I’m only a couple of chapters into this one but we’ve met the group of mothers, one of whom is married to the missing man. There seems to be a class divide in the mothers’ group, and they almost seem like frenemies at first but there is way more to these women than we see at first. I really enjoyed this book. I had to suspend disbelief at times but I didn’t mind as I was so engrossed in the book I just wanted to know what was going to happen! I’ve already reviewed this one here.

Where We Belong by Anstey Harris

This is one of my 20 Books of Summer and I’m so pleased to have read it. It follows Cate and her son Leo as having found themselves homeless they have to go to her late husband’s family home, the Hatters Museum, for the summer. There they meet the formidable Araminta and have to find their feet in this new world they’ve found themselves in. There are secrets and lies that begin to come to the fore and Cate finds that she’s not the only person hiding things. I loved the characters in this novel, and seeing how they all found their way with each other. It’s such an engrossing and beautiful novel, I recommend it!

How To Disappear by Gillian McAllister

This is about a family who are split apart when two of them have to go into witness protection. Lauren and her daughter Zara are trying to figure out their new lives and who they have to be now. Lauren’s husband Aidan is trying to figure out how he can help them be safe. This novel is so tense, every time anyone does anything that might potentially put them at risk I find myself holding my breath. I really enjoyed this one and have already reviewed it here.

What I Might Read Next

I’m still mood reading whilst also trying to focus on the books on my NetGalley shelf so these books are the ones that I think I’ll be reading next. The first three are NetGalley books. I’ve been wanting to read Ducks, Newburyport for ages and have had a copy since my birthday earlier this year. I feel like I’m ready to face picking up such a long read so we’ll see how I get on!

The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed

The Gin O’Clock Club by Rosie Blake

True Story by Kate Reed Petty

Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman

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

WWW Wednesdays (22 Jul 20)! What are you reading?

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

Current Reads

The Mothers by Sarah J. Naughton

This novel follows a police detective Iona as she starts investigating the disappearance of a married man. I’m only a couple of chapters into this one but we’ve met the group of mothers, one of whom is married to the missing man. There seems to be a class divide in the mothers’ group, and they almost seem like frenemies at the moment. I’m keen to find out what’s going on and also to see how the prologue, where someone seems to be about to smother a baby, fits into the whole story. This is definitely intriguing and I want to know more!

How To Disappear by Gillian McAllister

This is about a family who are split apart when two of them have to go into witness protection. Lauren and her daughter Zara are trying to figure out their new lives and who they have to be now. Lauren’s husband Aidan is trying to figure out how he can help them be safe. This novel is so tense, every time anyone does anything that might potentially put them at risk I find myself holding my breath. It’s really good and I can’t wait to find out what happens and if everyone will be okay!

Small Island by Andrea Levy

I read this book many years ago and remember enjoying it. I’ve heard people talking about it again recently and decided to buy the audio book so I could listen to it. Andrea Levy narrates the book and it’s excellent hearing her voice her own characters. I’m very much enjoying this one and recommend the audio book.

Recent Reads

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

I’ve had this book on my TBR for three years but I finally picked it up this week and I read it in one sitting. It’s one of the most powerful and eye-opening book on race that I’ve read to date. There is a lot of focus on Serena Williams, as well as the micro-aggressions that are so appalling and shocking. It’s a brilliant book and I recommend it to everyone.

Imperfect Women by Araminta Hall

I listened to the audio book of this from NetGalley and I really enjoyed it. It follows three women in their 40s: Eleanor, Nancy and Mary. The novel opens with Eleanor learning that Nancy has been murdered. It then is told in three parts: first Eleanor in the present, then Nancy in the past leading up to her murder, and finally it concludes with Mary. I loved the exploration of female friendship and all the complexities that come with being a group of three. I’ve already reviewed this one so you can find my thoughts here.

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

This is another audio book that I listened to on the NetGalley app. I really enjoyed this one too. It follows Leena who is given two months off work and she ends up swapping homes with her beloved Grandma Eileen. The novel alternates between them and I really loved getting to know their back story and seeing what was going to happen to them in their new lives. It’s a really heartwarming book and lovely escapism. I’ll be reviewing this soon but in the meantime I recommend it!

I Am Not Your Negro by James Baldwin

I recently watched the documentary film of the same name and found it such an emotional and interesting watch so decided to read the book soon afterwards. Raoul Peck sought permission from the Baldwin estate to look at the 30 pages of notes James Baldwin had made on a book he intended to write called Remember This House about the murders of Medgar Evans, Malcom X and Martin Luther King. He then took these notes and fleshed them out to make the documentary and accompanying book I Am Not Your Negro. It’s really well done and I’m so glad I read this one. I recommend it.

Summerwater by Sarah Moss

I couldn’t resist reading this one very soon after I was approved to read it from NetGalley as I love Sarah Moss’ writing. Summerwater is set all in one day on a Scottish cabin park. It follows twelve characters, and each has their own chapter so you really get to know them. You can sense that it’s all building towards something and this makes this slow-burn character novel impossible to put down. I read it all in one sitting and I highly recommend it.

Mine by Clare Empson

I loved Clare Empson’s previous novel Him so was really keen to read her new one and I loved it. It follows Luke in the present day as he meets his birth mother Alice for the first time and gets to know her. Then in alternating chapters it follows Alice back in the 70s as she falls in love for the first time with the lead singer of a band. This is an emotional and absorbing read and I adored it. I’ve reviewed it here.

Innocent or Guilty by A. M. Taylor

This is the oldest book on my NetGalley shelf so in my attempt to catch up I wanted to read it and I’m so pleased I finally go to it as it was a good read. It follows Olivia as she gets involved with a true crime podcast in an attempt to clear her twin brother Ethan. He’s in prison for the murder of Tyler Washington a decade earlier when they were all 18. I loved the podcast element of this novel and the short transcripts that feature throughout the novel. I did predict some of it but it didn’t spoil my enjoyment. I’ve already reviewed this book here.

Come Again by Robert Webb

This is another audiobook that I got from NetGalley and I enjoyed it. It follows Kate who is grieving after the sudden death of her husband Luke. It’s told in three parts: the first in the present day where Kate is mired in grief; the second where Kate wakes up back in the 1990s where she is about to meet Luke for the first time; and the third where Kate is back in the present and in the midst of a car chase! Olivia Colman narrates this audiobook and she really adds to the novel, I really recommend the audio. I reviewed this book here.

What I Might Read Next

I’m still working on catching up with some of my NetGalley books at the moment so in the coming days I’m likely to be reading more of them. I’m reading by whim just now but these four are the ones that appeal to me the most as I’m writing this post!

The Life We Almost Had by Amelia Henley

The Split by Sharon Bolton

The Weekend by Charlotte Wood

Watch Over You by M. J. Ford

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

Mini Book Reviews: Finders, Keepers | Mine | Our Little Cruelties | Innocent or Guilty?

Finders, Keepers by Sabine Durrant

I loved this book, it’s my new favourite Sabine Durrant novel! It follows Verity who lives alone in the only house she’s ever lived in. One day she has new neighbours move in next door and she goes out of her way to befriend the couple and their children, particularly their son Max. When the novel opens Ailsa is living with Verity so straight away I was keen to find out why and what had happened. The novel then slowly unfolds and we go discover how Verity became so close to her neighbours, and a little about how they viewed her. We also see her bond with Max, as she begins to tutor him. This is a slow-burn novel but it’s so gripping that I read it all in one sitting! I loved the slow reveals and the way the plot and the characters developed. There is more to Verity than you know at first and the gradual peeling back of layers in her character is fascinating. I highly recommend this one!

Mine by Clare Empson

This novel is stunning! I loved the author’s debut novel and this one absolutely lives up to it. It follows two characters – Luke and Alice. Luke’s storyline is set in 2000 where he’s married and has a young baby. Luke was adopted as a baby and he’s finally meeting his birth mum Alice. The alternate chapters are told from her perspective in 1972 when aged almost nineteen she meets a singer and falls head over heels in love. I was enthralled equally by both timelines and I wanted to know what was going to happen. There are such devastating moments in this novel that broke my heart and actually made me cry. It made me feel such sympathy for both characters, and I never lost that sympathy for them even when things begin to go wrong. There is so much depth to this novel, and so much is explored about adoption and the affect it can have. I loved this novel and already wish I could go back and read it all over again.

Our Little Cruelties by Liz Nugent

The premise of this book is so intriguing – three brothers who have a complex relationship and now one of them is dead, but which one? The novel is told in three parts – each told from a different brother’s point of view and I loved this. It was fascinating to go back and forth in time in each perspective and see all the little cruelties (sometimes real and sometimes perceived) done, and then to see another brother’s different take on what happened. It really built up such a vivid picture of sibling relationships and the pressures put on each of them. This is a slow-burn book but it’s gripping and it keeps you turning the pages. I love that it was impossible to work out who was dead and which brother had killed him, and I don’t even know how Liz Nugent managed to do that. I’m in awe though! This was such a good read and I definitely recommend it!

Innocent or Guilty? by A. M. Taylor

This book has been on my NetGalley shelf for ages and I finally read it last week and I’m so glad I picked it up, it was a good read. It follows Olivia Hall who is asked to take part in a true crime podcast investigating her twin brother Ethan. Ethan is in prison for killing Tyler Washington a decade earlier when they were all 18. I really enjoyed following Olivia and the podcast team as they went back to the town where the murder happened. I also enjoyed the sections where we got transcripts of the podcast. I did work out whodunnit really early on but that didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the book as I wanted to know why and how, and what was going to happen as the book progressed. I enjoyed this one and would look out for more books by this author.

Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell

About the Book

It is nearly midnight, and very cold. Yet in this dark place of long grass and tall trees where cats hunt and foxes shriek, a girl is waiting… When Saffyre Maddox was ten something terrible happened and she’s carried the pain of it around with her ever since. The man who she thought was going to heal her didn’t, and now she hides from him, invisible in the shadows, learning his secrets; secrets she could use to blow his safe, cosy world apart. Owen Pick is invisible too. He’s thirty-three years old and he’s never had a girlfriend, he’s never even had a friend. Nobody sees him. Nobody cares about him. But when Saffyre Maddox disappears from opposite his house on Valentine’s night, suddenly the whole world is looking at him. Accusing him. Holding him responsible. Because he’s just the type, isn’t he? A bit creepy?

My Thoughts

I love Lisa Jewell’s writing so was thrilled to be approved to read her forthcoming novel on NetGalley. I’m so happy to say that it more than lived up to my expectations, it’s my new favourite novel by her!

Invisible Girl follows three characters. Saffyre is a troubled teenager who has had a terrible life so far. She’s been in therapy for quite a long time but feels unable to open up fully in her sessions. Owen is a 33 year old man who lives in a flat with his Aunt. He lives an unhappy life, unable to find love and people are quick to judge him odd and creepy. Cate lives opposite Owen with her husband and two teenagers, and she is increasingly wary of Owen. One night Saffyre goes missing and the last sighting of her was outside Owen’s home.

I loved this novel. It’s a great thriller, it builds quite slowly and the tension as you wonder what is going to happen becomes palpable. It’s brilliant how you have the space to get to know each of the characters and to understand a bit more about why they are the way they are, and then the pacing begins to ramp up.

Cate initially seems very paranoid about quite a few things, and suspicious of her husband. She seems quite a nervous person so when her daughter’s best friend claims to have been assaulted just across from their flat Cate is immediately suspicious of Owen.

As the novel progresses we get to understand why Owen finds it difficult to form relationships with women, and I began to feel sorry for him. We also learn more about Saffyre and it turns out she has a connection to the street where Owen and Cate live!

I love how this novel really makes you think about the snap judgements we make of others: how quickly the media, and people in general, can turn on the person who looks a little odd, the one who keeps to themselves even if there’s no evidence of wrongdoing. I can think of a few prominent real life cases where this has happened and it’s shocking. The novel also made me think about how slow we are to question ourselves about the people in our lives when they may have a motive.

This is a real page-turner of a novel, I read it in a couple of sittings because I was completely gripped and I needed to know how it was all going to turn out for everyone. I felt so invested in some of these character’s lives and I needed to know if they were going to be okay. I loved this book and it’s highly recommended by me!

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

Invisible Girl is due to be published on 6th August and can be pre-ordered here.

WWW Wednesdays (15 Jul 20)! What are you reading this week?

WWW pic

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

Current Reads

Come Again by Robert Webb

I was thrilled to find that NetGalley have launched audiobooks this week and I immediately downloaded this one. I started listening to it straight away and am already halfway through it. Olivia Colman is narrating it and she is perfect for this book! The novel follows Kate whose husband has recently died and she’s not coping. Then one day she wakes up and finds herself in her 18 year old body and realises she can find Luke again and maybe this time she can save him. I’m really enjoying it and am intrigued to see where it’s going.

Innocent or Guilty? by A. M. Taylor (This also seems to be known as The Killer You Know)

This is the oldest book on my NetGalley shelf so I attempt to catch up I wanted to get to it. I did start reading this early into lockdown and just couldn’t get into it. I’m so glad I came back to it and started it again this week though as I’m totally gripped. It follows Olivia whose twin brother is in prison for murdering a boy at their school. She is persuaded to allow a true crime podcast to investigate what happened and as she is sure her brother is innocent she thinks they will help get him a re-trial. At the moment I have my suspicions about who the guilty party is but I have no idea how its all going to play out. I can’t wait to read more!

Recent Reads

How to Be An AntiRacist by Ibram X. Kendi

I’ve been reading this one all week and am glad I read it slowly so I could take in what was being said. I found this a good introduction to why it’s important to be an antiracist and why being not racist is not enough. I appreciated how the author reflects on his own racist ideas as this made the book feel very inclusive in the way it’s asking us to all look at ourselves to see how we can do better. I need to mull the book over a little more but I will review it soon.

The Search Party by Simon Lelic

I think this is my new favourite book by this author! It follows a group of friends who form a search party to look for their missing friend Sadie. Things aren’t quite as they seem though and there are quite a few secrets within this group and everyone has their own reason for wanting Sadie to be found. I enjoyed how the detective has his own tragic ties to the town and how that played into his thoughts on what might have happened. I recommend this one!

The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish

This is another gripping thriller that I devoured in one sitting! It follows two couples and the power dynamics in their relationships. It looks a lot at the obsession over money and how it is when others have more than you. There is more than one reveal in this novel as it goes along and my head was spinning by the end. I loved it though. I’ve already reviewed this one here if you’d like to know more.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

I’ve had a copy of this book since it was published but decide to borrow the audio book from the library and I’m glad I did. It works so well on audio. It follows a very privileged white woman in New York who decides to take a year out of her life and sleep it away using various medications prescribed by an unscrupulous psychiatrist. She treats her best friend appallingly and is so self-obsessed. And yet I couldn’t help but be fascinated and to care what would happen to her in the end. I loved this book and now want to read everything this author has ever written!

Finders, Keepers by Sabine Durrant

This is another book that I read in one sitting over the course of an afternoon and I loved it. It’s a novel about obsessive behaviours and it’s so good. It follows Verity who has her neighbour Ailsa living with her and we gradually learn about how they became friends and what happened to Ailsa’s husband. There is so much more to the story and I was engrossed in this one. I recommend it!

Who Did You Tell? by Lesley Kara

This novel follows Astrid, a recovering alcoholic who is back living with her mum. She starts attending AA meetings and there she meets two women – one who she forms a bond with and one who she’s immediately suspicious about. Astrid has a secret but fears someone has found out as she feels like she’s being followed and watched. I enjoyed this one! I’ve already reviewed this one so you can find that here if you’d like to know more.

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

This was one of my most anticipated reads of the year and it more than lived up to my expectations. It follows Vanessa in the past when she as 15 and in the present day. She had what she thinks as a relationship with her teacher whilst at school but it’s clear that he was actually grooming her. In the present Vanessa is forced to confront her memories of that relationship and to face that fact that maybe she, like other girls at the school, was also abused. I recommend that everyone reads this book, it’s stunning! It’s not always easy to read but it’s so powerful and so well-written. I’ve reviewed this one already so you can find my thoughts here if you’d like to know more.

Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell

This was another great read from the last week (although I had read most of it the week before)! I love Lisa Jewell’s writing and this book is every bit as good as her previous novels. It follows three people: Saffyre, a troubled teenager who goes missing; Kate whose family has moved into a flat in a new area and she’s paranoid about her husband and suspicious of the man across the road; Owen who is that man, and he is a little odd which makes people target him. Saffyre goes missing outside Owen’s house. I loved how this book gives insight into why people think the way they do and how it shows the complexity of people. I really enjoyed this book!

What I Might Read Next

I’m trying to catch up with some of my NetGalley books at the moment so the first three books that I’d like to read this week are all from my NG shelf. The fourth book is the next book that I want to read from my 20 Books of Summer TBR as I’m aware it’s nearly the halfway point of the challenge and I need to not lose momentum now!

The Mothers by Sarah J. Naughton

Mine by Clare Empson

Summerwater by Sarah Moss

Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks

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

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

WWW pic

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

Current Reads

How To Be An Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi

I started reading this book last night and have been engrossed in it. It’s a book that has a really good mix of education on what antiracism is along with it being part-memoir. The author explores his own experiences of having racist ideas and internalised racism. It’s an eye-opening read and one that I’m finding very useful and interesting.

Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell

I started reading this yesterday too and am so intrigued by where this one’s going to go. It follows two characters: Saffyre, a teenage girl who has had a tough life and is now in therapy; and Cate a married mother of two whose husband is Saffyre’s therapist. Cate seems to be very edgy and easily tipped into paranoia and I can’t quite weigh her up as yet. It feels like this novel is slowly building up to something but I’m not sure what as yet but I can’t wait to read more and find out!

Recent Reads

The Confession by Jessie Burton

My husband bought me this book for Christmas and I saved it to read over the summer and I’m so glad I got to read this one now. It’s such a stunning book, I read it in just two sittings as I didn’t want to put it down. It follows Elise in the 1980s when she meets Constance and their relationship changes the course of Elise’s life. It also follows Rose in the present day as she’s searching for her mother. She knows Constance was the last person to see her and now she wants answers. I loved this book, how the past and present interweave and how it all unfolds. It’s excellent and I recommend it!

Unfollow by Megan Phelps-Roper

This is another book my husband bought me and I’ve been so keen to read it. I picked it up this week and was quickly engrossed in it. I love how open and honest Megan has been in sharing the awful things she was taught to believe, it was hard to read at times. It was interesting to learn how the structure of the Westboro Baptist Church operated and how easily someone could be frozen out of the family. I was most fascinated by how Megan came to question the teachings she had grown up with and how ultimately she left the church. I’m so glad I read this book and I recommend it!

The Greatest of Enemies by B. R. Maycock

I go this book from Kindle Unlimited and I loved it. It’s a gorgeous novella following two women, Bex and Louise, who are thrown together and they really don’t like each other, they have nothing at all in common apart from they’re both really good friends with Holly (but she’s currently out of the country!). It follows what’s been happening in each of their lives and the impact it has on them. I’ve already reviewed this one so you can find out more of my thoughts here if you’d like to know more.

Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham

This was another gift from my husband, he bought it for me as a surprise as I’d been saying I wanted to know about what happened after watching the TV mini series Chernobyl last year. This is such a well-written and well-researched book and I’m so pleased I read it. I liked the structure of the book – in the beginning there are alternate chapters of the build up to the accident, alongside the history of nuclear power and the accidents that had happened prior to Chernobyl. Then when the accident happens the structure follows various people and what they were doing and what happened. I definitely recommend this one!

The Mating Habits of Stags by Ray Robinson

I got this book on a whim from Kindle Unlimited and I’m so happy that I picked it up. This is a stunning novel and one that I can’t stop thinking about. It follows Jake as he’s on the run in the North Yorkshire Moors trying to escape a murder charge. The novel moves around in time as he thinks about his late wife and his lost son. The mix of desolation with the tenderness of the writing makes this such a poignant read. I highly recommend this one.

What I Might Read Next

Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls

With the books above that count towards my 20 Books of Summer challenge I’m now read 11 of the 20 I picked. So it’s time to get to the next book and I think it’s going to be Sweet Sorrow. I’ve been so keen to read this one and I know I’m going to love it. I think it follows a budding romance between two teenagers and given that it’s set in 1997 I think it’s going to feel like a wonderful nostalgic read.

The Search Party by Simon Lelic

I’ve read most of this author’s books now and this one sounds like it potentially could be his best yet! It’s a novel about a young woman who’s gone missing, and her best friends decide to look for her. It seems though that all know secrets about Sadie that they don’t want to share and the search party becomes a witch hunt! I’m so intrigued by this one and can’t wait to read it!

Black, Listed by Jeffrey Boakye

Here is the Goodreads blurb for this one: Taking a panoramic look at global black history, interrogating both contemporary and historical culture, Black, Listed investigates the ways in which black communities (and individuals) have been represented, oppressed, mimicked, celebrated, and othered. Part historical study, part autobiographical musing, part pop culture vivisection, it’s a comprehensive attempt to make sense of blackness from the vantage point of the hilarious and insightful psyche of Jeffrey Boakye.

I’m really looking forward to get to this one, it sounds like another fascinating read that will give me another insight as I read more books by BIPOC authors to better educate myself on how to be antiracist.

Grace is Gone by Emily Elgar

I’m so intrigued by this book. It follows the aftermath of a beloved and caring mother who has been murdered and her teenage daughter is missing. The community is shocked and no one can understand what has happened or why. Once the police and journalists start digging around the past starts to come to fore nothing will be the same again. I bought this book a few weeks ago on a whim now reading the blurb again I want to read this book asap!

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

My Favourite books of 2020… so far!

Last year I decided to do a post about my favourite books of the year so far (as of 30 June) and whilst this year I haven’t read quite as many books as last year at this point I decided to still do it. It’s always lovely to have the chance to celebrate amazing books!

At the time of writing this post I’ve read 115 books and have 20 five star reads that I simply can’t narrow down any further. These aren’t necessarily books published this year but the books I loved most that I’ve read this year. The books are in no particular order, I loved them all!

So here are my top 20 books of 2020 so far!

It’s A Wonderful Night by Jaimie Admans

A new spin on It’s A Wonderful Life and it’s gorgeous. It doesn’t shy away from the severity of depression but manages to still be a feel-good novel. I loved this one and will re-read it again one Christmas!

dead wrong noelle holten

Dead Wrong by Noelle Holten

A brilliant crime novel that will have you on the edge of your seat. This is fast becoming a favourite new crime series!

Containment by Vanda Symon

This is the third book in the Sam Shephard series and she is now one of my most favourite characters. I love spending time with her in a new novel and I can’t wait to read more!

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

I haven’t managed to review this one as yet but I absolutely recommend it. It’s a novel about a teenage boy called Justyce who’s dealing with the racism in the society around him – from the police and from people in his school. He deals with it by writing letters to Martin Luther King. It’s a prescient novel and I still find myself thinking about it.

Little Disasters by Sarah Vaughan

This is my new favourite Sarah Vaughan novel. It’s a novel about toxic friendships, about not feeling like you can be your true self with even your closest friends and what happens when suspicion sets in. I loved this book!

The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves

This is a stunning novel that looks at what caused a man to stop talking to his wife for six months, and what happens when she suddenly stops talking to him. We learn about what happened from both of their perspectives and it’s so moving. I adored this book and I already want to re-read it!

Heatstroke by Hazel Barkworth

This is a stunning, claustrophobic novel about the immediate aftermath of a teenage girl going missing. It has a dream-like quality to it and I got swept away in this book.

Black and British by David Olusoga

I haven’t reviewed this book yet but it’s a brilliant and eye-opening non-fiction book that I recommend to everyone. It’s the forgotten history of black people in the UK and I learnt so much from this book. It helps you join the dots of the things you learnt at school and the full story of why and how things happened.

One Split Second by Caroline Bond

This book is heartbreaking but it’s a book I couldn’t stop reading (I read it in just two sittings). It follows the aftermath of an horrific car accident as the survivors come to terms what happened and the impact it’s had on their lives. I loved this book and it’s one that is really staying with me.

Evening Primrose by Kopano Matlwa

This is a brilliant novel that packs so much into it’s few pages (it’s only around 200 pages long). It follows a doctor as she deals with race issues in her life in South Africa. Her struggles with her periods were so relatable in a way that I’ve never found in a novel before. Later something horrific happens to her and it was hard to read and yet I couldn’t look away. This is such a powerful and compelling book.

The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman

This novel follows a disparate group of people on a normal morning but who get caught up in a hostage situation. I loved learning about the characters in this book and how they coped in the terrifying situation they found themselves in. It’s an excellent novel and I recommend it.

Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie

I’ve not reviewed this book as yet but it’s one that I read as I was trying to get out of my reading slump and I just got completely engrossed in this story. It follows a few characters who live in a tower block in London before and after a terrible event occurs. I loved these characters, and how the novel explored how the event affects them. I recommend this one and can’t wait to see what Luan Goldie writes next!

The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel

I read and loved The Roanoke Girls a few years back so was keen to read the author’s new novel. I devoured it! It’s such a dark, unsettling novel but one that I just couldn’t put down. I still keep finding myself thinking about this book, it’s one that haunts you. I loved it.

dear edward ann napolitano

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

This was one of my most anticipated reads of this year and it absolutely lived up to my hopes for it. It follows Edward in the aftermath of a plane crash where he was the sole survivor. His parents and brother died in the crash so he has to live with his Aunt and Uncle. The novel also shows what happened on the day of the plane crash – you get to know, briefly, the people onboard, which makes it even more heartbreaking. I adored this novel and want to re-read it one day.

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

This is such a powerful and moving memoir, I’m so glad I read it. Chanel Miller is the young woman who was sexually assaulted by Brock Turner. This book is her telling her own story in her own words and she is such a courageous woman. I recommend that everyone read this one.

The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper

I had this novel on my TBR for ages before I picked it up, which I’m kicking myself about as when I did pick it up I read it in just a couple of sittings. This is such a beautiful novel, one that makes you wonder about fate and destiny, and also makes you want to live in the moment. It’s a book you need tissues for but it’s such a gorgeous read.

Wild Spinning Girls by Carol Lovekin

I’m a huge fan of Carol Lovekin’s writing and this novel was another stunning book. It explores grief and the loss of a mother, and it’s so beautiful. I highlighted so many paragraphs as I was reading it and I keep thinking about it. I know I will re-visit this one of these days.

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

This is another stunning book following a teenage girl in the present whilst also filling in her back story with chapters about her mum, dad and grandparents. She knows her mum was her age when she was born and that is the catalyst for everything that happens down the line. This book is short and at times spare in the writing but it packs such an emotional punch. I recommend it.

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

This is one of my most favourite books of this year so far. I wanted to read it because it’s premise is intriguing (an engaged woman dreams of a different life with a different man and five years later she bumps into this man) but the real love story in this is the one between the two women who are the best of friends. It’s an incredible book, one that made me cry but also made me smile. I adored this one!

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo

If I had to pick just one book that was my favourite of 2020 so far it would have to be this one. Before reading I felt a little intimidated by it but from a couple of pages in I was gripped. I love all the interweaved stories running through this book, I love the characters and the surprises along the way. It’s a stunning novel and one I will never forget.

Okay, so I said I had a top 20 books of 2020 and I do… all of the above. I always like to sit with a book for a while before I put it on a list of favourites but I read a book on the very last day of June and it just feels like it should be on this list. So I’m adding an honourable mention at the end. I know I’m cheating but it’s my blog, my rules! So the 21st book in my Top 20 is…

The Mating Habits of Stags by Ray Robinson

This is a stunning novel, one that I’m struggling to write about as yet because I loved it so much. It’s set on the North Yorkshire Moors and follows Jake, a man on the run from a murder charge. It explores his memories of his relationship with his late wife, and his lost son. It also looks at his complicated relationship with his new love. I’m originally from this part of the country and I felt I was right back there with Jake. This novel mixes utter desolation, hardship and violence with such beautiful, poetic writing. I loved this book and I highly recommend it!

What are you favourite books of 2020 so far? I’d love to know. 🙂

My 2020 Half-Year Reading Stats!

I can’t believe we’re already halfway through 2020! I always like to look over my reading spreadsheets at the end of June to see what my reading has looked like so far. This year I’m finally (very slowly) learning how to amend the spreadsheet I got from someone else to make it track more of what I want to track. So seeing as I’ve been looking through my stats I thought it would be fun to share them.

I set my reading goal at 250 this year based on the fact that I had a phenomenal reading year in 2019. Unfortunately, I didn’t know that illness and then a pandemic were going to derail my reading for a few weeks. Thankfully my reading slump is over now and I’m slowly catching up to where I would like to be. As you can see above I’m 8 books behind my target but I started June 24 books behind so I’m getting there!

The longest book that I’ve read this year so far was Truth, Lies and O-Rings: Inside the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster by Allan J. McDonald (at 656 pages) and the shortest was Picky Eaters by S. J. Higbee (at 68 pages). The average page length of the books I’ve read is 337, which I’m happy about.

I’m reasonably happy with the breakdown of the genres I’ve read this year so far. I’m pleased that there is a good variety and even some genres that I normally avoid (horror, sci fi and fantasy). I’m a bit disappointed at the ratio of fiction to non-fiction with only 22.9% of my reading being non-fiction. Having said that it has been such a strange year that I’ve needed more escapism and it’s not really a surprise that I’ve been picking up much more fiction. Hopefully the rest of the year will balance this out a bit.

As seems to be the norm for me I’ve read way more female authors than male and I’m okay with that. I don’t consciously chose a book based on gender but ever since I’ve been tracking my reading I’ve noticed that it’s a pattern for me to read more by women.

This is the picture of which format I read the most and it doesn’t surprise me that it looks like this at the moment. I’ve been reading more on my Kindle as I physically struggle to hold print books so I always read less of them, and my audio book listening has been reduced whilst my husband has been on furlough (although I have now bought some new wireless headphones so that I can listen when in the same room as him without forcing him to listen along with me!).

I’m really pleased with this breakdown. It shows that I’m dividing my reading time fairly evenly between catching on on review copies and reading books I’ve bought but it also shows that I’m making use of my library’s BorrowBox app. I think this is the most satisfied I’ve been with how my reading breakdown is.

To add balance to the previous chart this one shows where I’ve been acquiring books this year. I like to show this chart as it shows that even though I’m a blogger I do buy most of my books with just over a quarter of the books I’ve got this year have been for review.

I’ve completely lost control of my TBR again this year. My excuse for January is that it was my birthday and I got a lot of books. My excuse for February is that I had book tokens from my birthday to spend (and spend them I did!). I don’t have an excuse for the rest of the year, although in April I did get a lot of review books from NetGalley so that perhaps explains that spike. The end result is the following graph…

You can see the black line is the planned gentle reduction in my TBR for this year and the blue line is where I am! Ooops! I’ve even had an unhaul of my books but still there is a big gap between the plan and the reality. I do need to curb my book buying in the coming months so hopefully my TBR will be in a better state by the end of the year. Just for reference my TBR is all the print books, ebooks and audio books I own but haven’t read yet and it currently stands at 2811 (yep two thousand, eight hundred and eleven!)!!

This graph shows what my TBR was at the very start of the year and this part of my spreadsheet tracks how many of those pre-2020 books I’ve read, DNF or unhauled. I’m really pleased that 52 of the 115 books I’ve read so far this year were off my TBR from before this year but it shows how big my TBR is when the slice of pie is still so tiny. I like this chart as it makes me face up to just how many books I own and it makes me want to read more of them.

I’m still tracking the diversity in my reading as I’m so aware that I need to make a conscious effort to be better in this area. The above chart is a simplified version of my tracking which shows 36% of the books I’ve read this year so far were either diverse or own voices books, which is okay but I want to do better. At the moment I’m reading a lot of books by BIPOC authors as I want to educate myself as much as I possibly can. I also want to read more books by or about people with disabilities as I don’t often see myself reflected in books and realise I need to make more effort to seek these books out. Hopefully the diversity in my reading by the end of the year when I look at these stats again will be better.

This graph isn’t really about reading stats but I wanted to include it as this year I had space on my spreadsheet to track my reading speed. As people often ask me how I read so much this chart shows how many pages I read in an hour (averaged out per month). I don’t speed read but I am naturally a relatively fast reader.

So that’s my 2020 reading so far in statistics! I’m pleased with the books I’ve read and the variety in my reading. I know I need to work on my TBR but I suspect I’m never going to get control of that. I’m a bookaholic, what can I say?! 😉

How is your reading going this year? I hope you’re reading lots of lovely books. 🙂

That Was The Month That Was… June 2020!

June was one of those strange months that has sped by whilst also going really slowly. Does that even make sense?!

I’m still shielding and it looks like I will be until 1 August so nothing has really changed for me even though from what I see on the news a lot of the country is slowly returning to some kind of normality. I haven’t left the house yet, mainly because my asthma is really bad at the moment and it’s impossible to wear a mask when my breathing is already bad. My husband is still on furlough and we still don’t know when he’ll be returning to work, we’re waiting to hear.

Football is back so we’re enjoying watching that. It’s great having all of the matches televised although it does mean that some days we’re in danger of having square eyes! The waiting to see what’s happening with Newcastle United is getting endless now but what can you do?! At least it looks like we’re not going to be relegated!

My reading mojo is back in full swing and I read 30 books in June! It was helped by some sunny days in the garden where I only take a book out with me (no phone or laptop!) so I’m not distracted by anything. I also treated myself to some new wireless headphones so that I can listen to more of my audio books.

The Books I Read

The Posts I Blogged

Mini Book Reviews: The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper, The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel, His and Hers by Alice Feeney, and Funny Weather by Olivia Laing

Monthly Wrap-Up: That Was The Month That Was… May 2020

Mini Book Reviews: The Babysitter by Phoebe Morgan, One Split Second by Caroline Bond, Living My Best Life by Claire Frost, and In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

Mini Book Reviews: You and Me, Always by Jill Mansell, When the Time Comes by Adele O’Neill, Evening Primrose by Kopano Matlwa, and Born Lippy by Jo Brand

Review: Picky Eaters by S. J. Higbee

Mini Book Reviews: The Old You by Louise Voss, Little Disasters by Sarah Vaughan, While I Was Sleeping by Dani Atkins, and Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

Review: Be Careful What You Swipe For by Jemma Forte

Mini Book Reviews: Heatstoke by Hazel Barkworth, Blurred Lines by Hannah Begbie, All The Lonely People by David Owen, The 24-Hour Cafe by Libby Page

Review: The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves

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

WWW Wednesdays (1 Jul 20)! What are you reading this week?

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

Current Reads

The Mating Habits of Stags by Ray Robinson

I have a month of Kindle Unlimited at the moment and this book was one that really caught my eye. I started reading it late last night and I’ve been engrossed in it. It follows Jack – a man on the run following the murder of another man in a nursing home. The novel goes back and forth in time through Jack’s memories as he travels the North Yorkshire Moors in an attempt to escape. It’s beautifully written and reminds me of home. I’m thoroughly enjoying this one.

Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham

My husband bought me this for my birthday earlier this year after we’d been engrossed in the TV drama Chernobyl and he knew I wanted to know more about what happened. I finally picked the book up this week (one of my 20 Books of Summer TBR) and have been gripped by it. It’s really well-written and very readable. I’ve already learnt things I didn’t know before and am keen to read more of this in the coming days.

Recent Reads

When They Call You A Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors

I finished reading this yesterday and I can’t stop thinking about it. This is Patrisse’s memoir and she tells the story of her life, and of her father and her brother Monte and how they got trapped in the system. It’s heartbreaking and it will make you angry, it should make you angry. It was interesting to see how all the things in Patrisse’s life led to her, along with two other women, beginning the Black Lives Matter movement. This is a book that everyone should read and it’s certainly one that will stay with me.

One Step Behind by Lauren North

I read and loved Lauren North’s previous novel The Perfect Betrayal so was keen to get to this one. While it wasn’t quite as good it was still a very good read and it kept me guessing all the way to the reveal, which doesn’t happen very often so I was thrilled by that. It follows Jenna, and A&E doctor who has a stalker and one day the stalker is admitted to hospital after an accident. The story is narrated by Jenna, and Sophie, the sister of Jenna’s stalker and it’s really gripping.

The Hope Family Calendar by Mike Gayle

I was a huge Mike Gayle fan back in the day but somehow haven’t read anything by him in quite a few years now. I spotted this book on my Audible account when I was looking for something to listen to and it was lovely to get back to a book by him. This follows a man trying to cope with life and his two young daughters after the sudden death of his wife. It also follows his late wife’s mum who moves in to help the family cope. It was an enjoyable listen.

The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton

I read this book a stave at a time on the Pigeonhole app and that was such a fun way to read this book, I quite enjoy being left on a cliffhanger and eagerly anticipating the next stave the following day. This novel follows Marie, whose best friend Nina has recently died. Marie wants to help Nina’s family and soon makes herself indispensable to them. It feels like Marie is far too obsessed but there is more to this novel than meets the eye and I really enjoyed the ride!

Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon

This is a memoir that explores what it is to struggle with your weight – both the physical weight of your own body but also the weight of being black in America and the weight of all the things that make you who you are. I listened to the audio of this and it was excellent. Kiese writes in such an open way about the things he has experienced and the affect it’s had on him and it’s impossible not to be moved by his story. I recommend this one.

The 24-Hour Cafe by Libby Page

This is a lovely novel about the love between two friends – Hannah and Mona, who work together at the 24-hour cafe. The novel is first narrated by Hannah and later by Mona so we get to see both of their perspectives and to understand how they got to where they are. We also get to meet some of the customers of the cafe and I loved the snapshots we get of other people’s lives. I’ve already reviewed this one so you can find my full thoughts here.

All The Lonely People by David Owen

This is a thought-provoking novel that explores loneliness in such a different way. Kat is lonely but finds her people online, until one day a ‘prank’ is played on her that is so vile she feels she has no choice but to delete everything. She then literally begins to fade away. Wesley is one of the boys involved in the prank but he is also lonely. I found this such an interesting novel and it’s one I keep thinking about. I reviewed it here if you’d like to know more. I recommend it.

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

I loved this book! Queenie is such a real character, I was fully invested in her story. She’s in a relationship with a man who is gaslighting her, she medicates herself using sex and she’s trying to make a success of her career. She’s so feisty and no-nonsense but you start to see her vulnerable side and you just root for her all the way through his book. I was so angry at the way men treat her at times and wanted her to kick them all into touch and be happy. I definitely recommend this one.

What I Might Read Next

Who Did You Tell? by Lesley Kara

I’ve had this on my NetGalley shelf since before it was published and I don’t know why I haven’t read it yet as I loved the author’s previous novel, The Rumour. This book is about Astrid, an alcoholic who is going to meetings and is working on righting her wrongdoings. But now someone knows what Astrid is running away from and they’re going to make sure she knows just what she did. This sounds great and I’m looking forward to picking it up.

Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell

I love Lisa Jewell’s novels so am delighted to have a copy of her new book from NetGalley. This is about Saffyre, a troubled woman who is dealing with the trauma of her past. One day she goes missing, and the last sighting of her is outside Owen’s house. He’s a loner who’s invisible in his own life, and now the finger of blame is pointing at him because he’s different. I can’t wait to read this one, it sounds so good!

Spring by Ali Smith

This week I got approved to read Ali Smith’s Summer on NetGalley so I really need to get on and read Spring asap. Spring is one of my 20 Books of Summer so I was planning to read it this summer anyway but now I have a push to read it sooner rather than later. I’ve really enjoyed the first two parts of this quartet so can’t wait to read more.

The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan

I was sent a copy of this book for review quite a while ago now and I love Ruth Hogan’s writing so I don’t know why I haven’t read it before now. I added it to my 20 Books of Summer TBR as it sounded like a summery read and I can’t wait to get to it. It’s a novel that explores grief and the way the chance encounters we make with other people can bring us back to life again.

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

Book Review: The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves | @AbbieGreaves1

About the Book

A lifetime together. Six months of silence. One last chance.

Frank hasn’t spoken to his wife Maggie for six months.

For weeks they have lived under the same roof, slept in the same bed and eaten at the same table – all without words.

Maggie has plenty of ideas as to why her husband has gone quiet.

But it will take another heartbreaking turn of events before Frank finally starts to unravel the secrets that have silenced him.

Is this where their story ends?
Or is it where it begins?

My Thoughts

I picked this book up to read in the garden one sunny afternoon and I literally didn’t put the book down until I’d finished reading it. I was enthralled by it and needed to know how it was all going to end!

Maggie and Frank have been married for over forty years. They love each other dearly but one day, six months ago, Frank stopped speaking. He was still every bit as loving towards Maggie but he hasn’t spoken a single word in all that time. Maggie struggles to understand what is going on and the novel opens with her writing her journal and taking some tablets.

What follows is Frank’s distress as his wife has now fallen silent and he slowly sits with her and begins to tell the story of their lives together and how he got to here. Alongside this Frank finds Maggie’s journal and he beings to understand how she got to where she is.

Maggie has always wanted to be a mother and it becomes a big focus for her, but it seems like it’s never going to happen so her and Frank have to accept what they have – each other. Then one day Maggie discovers she is pregnant and is delighted. Motherhood isn’t quite the dream she imagined it would be though, it’s so much harder and there is so much scope for miscommunication and misunderstanding. Maggie and Frank love their child but sometimes that isn’t enough, and they have to deal with the way their child wants to live her life her own way.

This is a novel about a beautiful and loving relationship that has faced hugely difficult times. Maggie and Frank have tried so hard to do the right thing for each other and for their daughter, and each in their own way has tried to protect the other from heartbreak. This is the thing that was almost their undoing though because when the worst happened neither could tell the other their story of what happened.

I love how this is such a believable story of a marriage, and I love how Frank and Maggie never stop loving each other even through the most difficult of times. Everything they do is out of love, even when it’s inadvertently pulling them in different directions.

This is such a moving, and at times utterly heartbreaking, read but the writing is stunning and you get so invested in Frank and Maggie’s story that you just can’t stop reading. I miss these two people, they felt so real to me and I wanted to climb into the book and make everything okay. I finished reading this book a couple of weeks or so ago and I still keep thinking about them. I adored it.

The Silent Treatment is one of my favourite books of the year and it’s one I think I’ll re-read in the future. It’s one that I highly recommend!

The Silent Treatment is out now and available here.

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

Mini Book Reviews: Heatstroke | Blurred Lines | All The Lonely People | The 24-Hour Cafe

Today I’m sharing another selection of books that I’ve read and enjoyed recently.

Heatstroke by Hazel Barkworth

This is such a brilliant read – so intense and claustrophobic but impossible to put down! The novel follows Rachel, mum to Mia and also teacher to her peers so when Mia’s friend Lily goes missing Rachel becomes increasingly obsessed with what might have happened. I read this book in the garden on a very hot day and it really added to the tension emanating from the pages I was reading. There are shocks in store in the novel but there is also a blending of what is actually happening and what is imagined to be happening, which gives the book a dreamlike feel. I got completely swept up in this and had no idea how it would all play out in the end. I definitely recommend this one!

Blurred Lines by Hannh Begbie

Blurred Lines is a prescient novel that really makes you think. It follows Becky who is on the verge of real success in her career but one night she walks into her boss’ house and sees him with a woman who is not his wife. Later the woman accuses him of rape and Becky is forced to think that what she saw may not have been consensual and is paralysed over what to do about it. The novel also goes back in time to Becky’s past and the awful thing that happened to her as a teenager which altered the course of her own life. I found this to be a really gripping novel and one that makes you put yourself in these women’s shoes and think about what you would do. It’s not always black and white especially when past trauma is still affecting you. I did find some aspects of the novel to be predictable but that didn’t stop me being gripped because I just wanted to know if Becky was going to be okay. I recommend this one.

All the Lonely People by David Owen

I had this novel on my NetGalley shelf unread for way longer than I should have and I’m kicking myself now because I very much enjoyed this book. It follows Kat who is very lonely, she has no friends at school but lives for her online friends. She becomes the victim of a cruel ‘prank’ which forces her to close her online accounts and she begins to literally fade away. It also follows Wesley who is part of the group who pranked her but we soon see he’s not like the other boys involved and he feels very guilty. We soon learn that he also has a lonely life and has more responsibility on his young shoulders than he should have. I found this such an insightful novel that really explores loneliness and what it’s like to just want to disappear from your own life. It moved me more than I thought it would and it made me think. The use of the fade is really clever and poignant. This is a book that I keep thinking about it and is one that I’m sure will stay with me. I highly recommend it.

The 24-Hour Cafe by Libby Page

This is book 7 from my 20 Books of Summer TBR!

I was lucky to receive an ARC of this earlier this year but somehow it lingered on my bookcase until last week. When I finally picked it up I devoured it in just two sittings and very much enjoyed it. It follows Hannah and Mona who work shifts in a 24-hour cafe in London. The novel first follows Hannah’s story, and then halfway through it switches to Mona. We see how they came to be friends and how close they are but also the way small hurts become bigger ones when not acknowledged. I really felt for both of them as the novel progressed. We also meet quite a few of the customers to the cafe as they briefly pass through and I loved this part of the book. There are small acts of kindness that run through the novel and it warmed my heart. I recommend this one, it’s a perfect novel to escape into during these strange times we’re currently living in. It will warm your heart!

WWW Wednesdays (24 Jun 20)! What are you reading this week?

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

Current Reads

When They Call You A Terrorist by Patrisse Khan Cullors & Asha Bandele

At the time of writing this I’ve only read the opening pages of this book but I can tell that this is going to be a memoir that is completely engrossing. I wanted to read this one while They Can’t Kill Us All is still fresh in my mind as I feel this is going to be a good companion book to that one in understanding how the Black Lives Matter movement is evolving.

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

I started reading this novel in March and was really enjoying it but then my mind become so full of anxiety over Coronavirus that I hit a reading slump and just couldn’t read anything. I knew this was a book that I wanted to come back to so yesterday I picked it back up and started it again from the beginning and I’m enjoying it every bit as much as I was before.

The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton

I’m reading this book on the Pigeonhole app and am utterly gripped, I find myself eagerly refreshing the app after midnight each day waiting for the next stave (set of chapters) to arrive on my phone. This book follows Marie who is most definitely an unreliable narrator! Her best friend Nina has died and Marie is determined to help her grieving husband and children through this awful time. She inserts herself into their life and is fixated on being a part of their family. I’m really enjoying this one!

All the Lonely People by David Owen

This is a NetGalley book that I’ve had on my Kindle for quite a long time. I’m so pleased that I finally picked it up now as it’s such an interesting read. It follows Kat and Wesley, two teenagers who go to the same school. Kat has been the victim of a horrible campaign that has forced her offline and isolated her and she finds herself literally fading. Wesley got involved with two other boys who are behind the attacks on Kat but he feels awful about what he’s done and wants to somehow fix it. It’s a very prescient and powerful novel.

Recent Reads

Black and British: A Forgotten History by David Olusoga

I’ve been reading this book over the last couple of weeks and have deliberately taken my time with it as I wanted to really take in what I was reading and process it. Olusoga takes us through the forgotten history of black people in Britain and I learnt so much that I didn’t know before. I really appreciated how this book joined so many dots for me that I hadn’t fully connected before. I learnt about the white parts of some of this history in school but it was never, ever taught to us how it connected to what was happening in America and across the world as part of the slave trade. I’m ashamed that I’ve never properly sought out this history before but now I know better I’m determined to do better. As an aside I’ve discovered that the TV series of the same name which accompanies this book is being repeated on BBC4 if anyone is interested in watching it.

Be Careful What You Swipe For by Jemma Forte

This book is brilliant! It follows Charlotte as she shares her dating disasters but the novel has so much depth and it deals with some very serious issues. Charlotte has had quite a few dating dramas but through the novel she meets her Mr Right on Tinder but things don’t work out and we slowly find out what happened. I couldn’t put this book down, I read it all in one sitting as I just wanted to know what was going to happen. I reviewed this book yesterday so you can find my full thoughts here but I absolutely recommend this one.

#MeToo by Patricia Dixon

I got a month of Kindle Unlimited a few days ago and downloaded this book as I’ve seen it featured on quite a few blogs recently. It was a quick and gripping read. It follows three characters – Stan who is in prison convicted of raping his girlfriend; Billie who was Stan’s ex-girlfriend; and Kelly the woman who accused Stan of rape. I enjoyed seeing how this story played out and getting the different perspectives as a picture gradually emerges of just what happened the night of the rape. I read this in a couple of sittings and was gripped by it.

The Old You by Louise Voss

This is one of my 20 Books of Summer and I’m so pleased I finally picked it up. It follows Lynn as she comes to terms with her husband being diagnosed with early-onset dementia. Strange things start happening in and around the house and Lynn begins to doubt her own sanity. This is such a twisty book that you completely derails you on more than one occasion. I love Louise’s writing and this is one of her best novels. I’ve already reviewed it so you can find out more here.

Moonrise by Sarah Crossan

I borrowed this book from BorrowBox this week and read it in one sitting. It follows a teenage boy whose brother has been on death row for most of his life and he gets to visit him during the two months before he’s due to be put to death. This is an emotional read and I got swept up in this story. It’s heartbreaking but also beautifully written.

Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

I started reading a NetGalley Arc of this but switched to audio book when I was struggling with it. It worked better for me on audio but ultimately this wasn’t really a book for me. I have reviewed this so you can see more of my thoughts here.

What I Might Read Next

How to be an AntiRacist by Ibram X. Kendi

I want to read this book as soon as I’ve finished reading When They Call You A Terrorist. I have Stamped from the Beginning by this author on my TBR but I think How to be an AntiRacist is the one I want to read first. As I watch documentaries and news reports and listen to the discussions that are happening in the wake of George Floyd’s murder I am increasingly aware of the insidious nature of the racism that people think isn’t racism and how we need to be better at calling this out. I think this book will open my eyes even further so I’m keen to read it very soon.

One Step Behind by Lauren North

I read and loved Lauren North’s previous novel The Perfect Betrayal so am excited to read her new one, I have such high hopes for this one. This book follows Jenna – a wife, mother and a doctor but she’s also the victim of a stalker. But one day her stalker is brought into the hospital after an accident and she suddenly finds the power back in her hands. I’m so intrigued by this and can’t wait to start reading it!

The Life We Almost Had by Amelia Henley

I’ve read and loved all of Louise Jenson’s thrillers so when I found out she had a book coming out under a pseudonym in a different genre I knew I had to read it! This follows a couple – Anna and Adam – who believed they’d be together forever but now a few years down the line cracks are showing and something happens to break them apart. This sounds like such an emotional read but one I’m really looking forward to picking up.

The 24 Hour Cafe by Libby Page

I was sent a copy of this book a while ago for review and haven’t managed to pick it up so I put it on my 20 Books of Summer TBR and hope to pick it up this week. I’m hoping for the predicted heatwave to finally arrive so that I can read it in the garden. This book follows Stella who runs a cafe that never sleeps, and two women who work there – Hannah and Mona. People come to the cafe for all sorts of reasons and I’m looking forward to meeting the staff and customers in this novel. It sounds like a lovely summer read!

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

Mini Book Reviews: The Old You | While I Was Sleeping | Little Disasters | Fleishman is in Trouble

Today I’m sharing a new selection of books that I’ve read recently. The first two are from my 20 Books of Summer TBR so I’m still doing well with that. I think I’ve read six book from my stack now and have reviewed five of them, which makes me happy. The other two books are from NetGalley so I’m still getting through my review books, which I’m really pleased about.

The Old You by Louise Voss

I’ve had this book on my TBR for over a year and I’m kicking myself for not picking it up sooner because I very much enjoyed it. The novel follows Lynn Naismith who is shocked and devastated when her husband Ed is diagnosed with early-onset Dementia. She struggles with the manifestations of his symptoms but then strange things start happening in and around the house and she begins to question herself. This novel is so twisty and just when you think you have a grip of it the rug is pulled from under you yet again. As it progresses we learn more about Lynn, and more about Ed’s past and nothing is quite as it seemed at the start. I devoured this book in a couple of sittings and highly recommend it.

While I Was Sleeping by Dani Atkins

This is a book I was sent from a publicist a couple of years ago and it got forgotten about on my bookcase. I do love Dani Atkins’ writing so I picked it up whilst sitting out in the garden one day last week and I read the whole book in one go! The novel follows Maddie as she wakes from a coma after being hit by a car. Life has change quite a bit for her and she has a lot to get used to. It also follows Chloe who is a hospital volunteer who gets to know Maddie’s fiance Ryan. We spend a lot of time getting to know both of these women, and there is so much heart in this book. It’s a novel that will bring a lump to your throat more than once but it will also restore your faith in human nature. While I Was Sleeping was so much more than I thought it was going to be and I very much enjoyed it. I definitely recommend this one!

Little Disasters by Sarah Vaughan

I read and enjoyed Anatomy of a Scandal by this author but Little Disasters is even better! This book follows Jess – all her friends think she’s a perfect stay-at-home mum devoted to her children but when an incident happens and her baby is badly hurt conclusions are jumped to. Liz is Jess’ best friend and also the hospital consultant on duty when Jess brings her baby in. The novel follows the two women as they struggle with what happened and the fall out from it. There is the thriller element to this novel of wanting to know what happened and how but more than that it’s an exploration of the pressures on women, and the tension that runs through some female friendships which makes it hard to be honest when you’re struggling. This is an intense, gripping novel and one that refuses to leave me – I’m still thinking about it and I read it a few weeks ago now. I recommend it!

Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

This is a novel that I got from NetGalley and I had a couple of false starts with it before deciding to borrow the audio book from the library and I have to admit that it did work better for me on audio. The novel opens with Toby Fleishman – a recently separated 41 year old who is suddenly having to cope with his two children on his own as his wife Rachel has seemingly had enough. What follows is a self-obsessed, arrogant man who spends pages and pages telling us all about the women he’s slept with or is flirting with online. In between that he’s constantly bad-mouthing Rachel. He never lets up! I had heard that this novel has a big twist partway through that makes it so worth the first half but to be honest I guessed what would happen. Ultimately, I just felt very sorry for the two children caught up in this, and to a lesser extent for Rachel. I did enjoy the latter stage of the book more than the first part but ultimately it wasn’t a novel for me.

Stacking the Shelves with a Book Haul (20 Jun 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 eBooks

Chase Darkness With Me: How One True Crime Writer Started Solving Murders by Billy Jensen

This is a true crime book about a writer that began solving murders. Billy Jensen was good friends with Michelle McNamara (author of I’ll Be Gone in the Dark) and helped to complete her book after she died. I hadn’t heard of the book until it popped up in an email from Amazon and I was immediately intrigued so I bought it!

Review Books

The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed

I requested this book from NetGalley after reading about it in an email from them and I was delighted to be approved. This is a YA novel set in LA in 1992 in the wake of the assault on Rodney King. It follows Ashley and her friends as they try to live their lives as the riots begin all around them. Ashley finds herself having to confront her own race and how this makes her different from her friends in a way that it hadn’t seem to before. She finds herself questioning who is the us? And who is the them? I can’t wait to read this one.

Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi

I’ve seen this book on social media and I’ve been so keen to read it so I was thrilled to be approved to read it from NetGalley this week. It’s about a crime novelist who’s living a reclusive life these days. His editor turns up at his home so they can look through his early work to ready it for being republished. Julia notices that there seem to be clues through his work that seem to reference an unsolved murder from 30 years earlier. The book then becomes a battle of wits! This one sounds so good and I can’t wait to start reading it!

Library Books (BorrowBox App)

MoonRise by Sarah Crossan

I borrowed the ebook of this on BorrowBox and I’m already reading it. It follows Joe who’s older brother Ed was put on death row for the murder of a police officer when Joe was only 6. Now Joe is 17 and Ed wants to see him. The novel goes back and forth in time as we learn more about their family and what happened to break them apart. I love the way Sarah Crossan writes and am enjoying this novel.

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 Jun 20)! What are you reading this week?

WWW pic

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

Current Reads

The Old You by Louise Voss

I’ve only read the first couple of chapters of this novel but I’m already gripped. This is about a married couple – Lynn and Ed. Lynn gave up her career when she married Ed and now he’s been diagnosed with early onset dementia. But as strange things begin to happen, she wonders if it’s her mind playing tricks rather than Ed’s. I can’t wait to read more!

All the Lonely People by David Owen

This book has been on my NetGalley shelf for a lot longer than it should have been but I finally picked it up a couple of days ago and am enjoying it. It is following two teenagers – Kat who has been the victim of a horrible campaign to get her to delete her blog and all of her social media, and Wesley who played his part in the campaign but is already feeling guilty about it. Kat suddenly begins to literally fade and become translucent and I’m so intrigued about what is going on!

Black and British: A Forgotten History by David Olusoga

This is a fascinating social history of black people in Britain. The author has researched all the way back to roman times and it’s such an eye-opening and interesting book. It’s a book that I’m learning a lot from but at the same time it’s incredibly readable. I highly recommend this one and I’m keen to keep picking it up.

Recent Reads

While I was Sleeping by Dani Atkins

I picked this book up from my 20 Books of Summer TBR yesterday and read the first couple of hundred pages while sitting out in the garden. By then I was too gripped to put it down so I read the rest last night! This book follows Maddie as she wakes from a come after being hit by a car. Life has change quite a bit for her and she has a lot to get used to. It also follows Chloe who is a hospital volunteer who gets to know Maddie’s fiance Ryan. This book was so much more than I thought it was going to be and I very much enjoyed it.

When the Time Comes by Adele O’Neill

I enjoyed this book, which I picked from my NetGalley shelf last week. It’s about Liam who moves back into his ex-wife’s home when she’s diagnosed with a terminal illness. When Jennifer dies Liam is convinced it’s suicide but the police think it’s murder. I’m intrigued to read more and to find out what did happen to Jennifer and who, if anyone, is involved. I’ve already reviewed this one so you can find out more here.

The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves

This was another pick from my 20 Books of Summer TBR and is another book that I read in one sitting. This is a beautiful, heartbreaking read that I utterly adored. It follows a couple who have been married for over 40 years but Frank hasn’t spoken to his wife Maggie for the last 6 months. The novel opens with Maggie attempting suicide and what follows is the story of their lives, of why Frank stopped speaking and why Maggie took those pills. This book is stunning, I was enthralled the whole way through it and I still keep thinking of Frank and Maggie. I highly recommend this one.

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

I’ve had a copy of this book on my TBR for around a year but I’ve seen so many recommendations of it that I picked it up this week and I read it all in one go. It follows Justyce, a black teenager who one night finds himself wrongly arrested because of the colour of his skin. He then begins writing letters to Martin Luther King and he tries to live more as Martin did. This novel explores so many aspects of racism, and of how insidious it is. This is a book that will smash your heart into a million pieces but it does leave room for hope. I can’t put into words how brilliant this novel is and I’m so glad I read it.

Picky Eaters by S. J. Higbee

This is a short story that is being published this week (my review will be posted in the coming days!) and all proceeds are being donated to NHS charities. This is a story about grumpy grandfather dragon who just wants a quiet life but now he has to look after his grandchildren, and they want to do their own thing. It’s a great escape of a read and I recommend it!

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

I listened to this book on audio and I definitely recommend this medium as it follows Bri who wants to become a top rapper and throughout the audiobook you hear the raps she has written and performed. Bri is such a great character, she truly believes in herself and her music and doesn’t want to let anyone stand in her way. She faces a battle when people assume her lyrics are saying things she didn’t mean and then is judged as being an another angry black girl. She continues to fight her corner and to stand up for herself and her music. I recommend this one!

Evening Primrose by Kopano Matlwa

This is an incredible novella that explores xenophobia through the viewpoint of Masechaba, a young doctor in South Africa. This book packs so much into its few pages and I was spellbound by it. Masechaba’s struggles with her own body through her periods was so visceral and relatable, and later the horrific thing that happens to her along with the aftermath was so hard to read and yet I couldn’t look away. I very much recommend this one!

What I Might Read Next

The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish

On the morning of Monday 23rd December, Jamie Buckby takes the commuter riverboat from his home in St Mary’s, southeast London, to work in Central London, noting that his good friend and neighbour Kit Roper has not turned up for the 7.30am service they usually catch together. At the London Eye, where he disembarks for his job in a café behind the South Bank Centre, Jamie is met by the police. Kit has been reported missing by his wife. As Jamie is taken in for questioning, he discovers someone saw him arguing with Kit on the boat home late on Friday night. The other passenger believes Jamie committed murder. But what really happened? 

I’ve enjoyed Louise Candlish’s previous novels and the blurb of this one sounds so good and I can’t wait to read it!

The Gin O’Clock Club by Rosie Blake

Lottie is always in a hurry, rushing through her days ticking tasks off her to-do lists. Teddy is worried about his granddaughter – and he knows that his late wife, Lily, would have known exactly what to say to make things better. Now that Lily has gone, it’s up to Teddy to talk some sense into Lottie. With the help of Arjun, Geoffrey and Howard, the elderly reprobates who make up his Gin O’Clock Club, Teddy makes a plan to help Lottie find her way back to the things that really matter – family, friendship and love. But as Lottie balances a high-powered job with her reluctant attendance at whist drives, ballroom dances and bingo, Teddy wonders if she’s really ready to open up her heart to the possibility of true happiness…

This sounds like a fun summer read so I’m adding it the TBR of books I hope to read in the coming week.

How to Disappear by Gillian McAllister

You can run, you can hide, but can you disappear for good? Lauren’s daughter Zara witnessed a terrible crime. But speaking up comes with a price, and when Zara’s identity is revealed online, it puts a target on her back. The only choice is to disappear. From their family, their friends, even from Lauren’s husband. No goodbyes. Just new names, new home, new lives. One mistake – a text, an Instagram like – could bring their old lives crashing into the new. As Lauren will learn, disappearing is easy. Staying hidden is much harder . . .

The blurb of this book sounds so good and so intriguing so I’m keen to get to it as soon as I can.

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

Warwickshire in the 1580s. Agnes is a woman as feared as she is sought after for her unusual gifts. She settles with her husband in Henley street, Stratford, and has three children: a daughter, Susanna, and then twins, Hamnet and Judith. The boy, Hamnet, dies in 1596, aged eleven. Four years or so later, the husband writes a play called Hamlet. 

I was very lucky to receive an ARC of this book and have been so looking forward to reading it as I’m a massive Maggie O’Farrell fan. I didn’t want to pick it up in the midst of my reading slump so I’ve been waiting until I was back on track and now I simply can’t wait any longer to read it!

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

Mini Book Reviews: Evening Primrose | When the Time Comes | Born Lippy | You and Me, Always

Today I’m sharing mini reviews of some of the books that I’ve read and enjoyed recently. The first is one that I’ve had on my NetGalley shelf for a little while and the other three are all books from my 20 Books of Summer TBR so I’m happy to have got to all of these books.

When the Time Comes by Adele O’Neill

I didn’t realise this was the third book in a series until after I’d finished it but it works perfectly as a standalone. This novel follows what happens in the wake of Jenny Buckley’s death. Her estranged husband says it was suicide but the police think it was murder. The novel follows the perspectives of quite a few characters and goes back and time to just before and after Jenny’s death. I loved the way we slowly build up a picture of who everyone is and begin to suspect what might have happened and whether anyone else was involved. I did think there were perhaps too many story strands going on and one in particular involving the detective was distracting. Having said that I was invested in finding out what happened and I did enjoy reading it.

You and Me, Always by Jill Mansell

This novel was different to what I was expecting but I very much enjoyed it all the same. It opens with Lily opening the last letter her late mother had written for her and this leads to Lily going looking for her mother’s first love. She also discovers that her best friend Patsy is hiding a man in her flat, and she accidentally meets this man! The book follows Lily and the people in her life and it’s so heartwarming and such a lovely read. It’s perfect for some escapist summer reading and I recommend it.

Evening Primrose by Kopana Matlwa

This is an incredible novella that explores xenophobia through the viewpoint of Masechaba, a young doctor in South Africa. This book packs so much into its few pages and I was spellbound by it. Masechaba’s struggles with her own body through her periods was so visceral and relatable, and later the horrific thing that happens to her along with the aftermath was so hard to read and yet I couldn’t look away. I added this book to my 20 Books of Summer TBR and I’m so glad that I finally got to read it because it’s an incredible book and I highly recommend it.

Born Lippy: How To Do Female by Jo Brand

This was one of my 20 Books of Summer TBR and the first one I read and I really enjoyed it. Jo Brand tells her stories and gives advice in her own unique way and it was exactly the book I needed. I sometimes feel (even as a 41 year old) lost that I don’t have my mum and when you need advice or guidance that you haven’t anyone else to ask where do you go? Jo Brand writes in a no-nonsense fashion about all kinds of situations that woman find themselves in and I really appreciated it. There is her trademark humour running through the book too, which lightens is where lightness is needed. I’m so glad that I got the chance to read this book and I recommend it.

WWW Wednesdays (10 Jun 20)! What are you reading this week?

WWW pic

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

Current Reads

Picky Eaters (part 1) by S. J. Higbee

I’m cheating slightly putting this one on my currently reading as I haven’t started it yet but it’s a short story that I’m planning on reading today so I’m counting it here. This is a story about grumpy grandfather dragon who just wants a quiet life but now he has to look after his grandchildren, and they want to do their own thing. It sounds like the escapist read a lot of us need and I can’t wait to read this one this afternoon. All proceeds from the sale of this short story are going to mental health charities so it’s for a great cause. You can find out more about this short story here.

Evening Primrose by Kopana Matlwa

This is the next book I’ve picked from my 20 Books of Summer TBR. I’ve had this one my TBR for around three years and I finally picked it up yesterday and am very much engrossed in this novel. It’s exploring race and gender from the perspective of a junior doctor in South Africa. The protagonist is having to deal with increasingly xenophobic attitudes and has to decide how to handle this in the wake of the life she is building for herself.

When the Time Comes by Adele O’Neill

I only read a few pages of this one before I went to bed last night but it’