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

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

Current Reads

The Last thing to Burn by Will Dean

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

The Twenty Seven Club by Lucy Nichol

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

Recent Reads

Life’s What You Make It by Phillip Schofield

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

Bound by Vanda Symon

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

What I Might Read Next

The Girl in the Missing Poster by Barbara Copperthwaite

The Festivals by Sarah Vaughan

The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed

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

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

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

Current Reads

Life’s What You Make It by Phillip Schofield

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

Bound by Vanda Symon

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

Recent Reads

The Arrangement by Robyn Harding

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

The Disappearing Act by Florence de Changy

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

I Survived by Victoria Cilliers

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

What I Might Read Next

Perfect Tunes by Emily Gould

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

The Split by Sharon Bolton

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

Mini Book Reviews: The Thursday Murder Club | True Story | Watch Over You | Precious You

I’m sharing some more mine reviews today of books that I’ve read over the last couple of months.

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

This was one of my most anticipated books of last year so I was thrilled when I got a copy for Christmas and I devoured it in one sitting! Needless to say I completely and utterly loved it! The novel follows four people in a retirement village who meet up every Thursday to look at old murder cases to try and solve them. So when a murder happens to someone connected to their home they can’t resist investigating the case. I loved the wonderful mix of characters in this novel, and I just found it such an engaging and warm read. I already can’t wait for the next book in the series to be published!

True Story by Kate Reed Petty

I read this novel a couple of weeks ago now and to be honest I’m still not sure what I thought of it so this mini review is rather hard to write! The novel is billed as the story of the aftermath of a sexual assault and is told in different genres – the first part is correct but I’m not sure that the different genres were really that different from each other. Having said that I did read this novel in one sitting and was intrigued by the strange paths it took me down as it went along. True Story is about a teenage girl who may or may not have been sexually assaulted on her way home from a party. She can’t remember what happened but it hugely affects her that men could have done this to her when she wasn’t conscious. We also follows the young men involved and see the story from their side and what happens to them as a result. I must admit that I didn’t know where this novel was going and the ending initially left me feeling angry and confused but the more it sits with me the more I feel like it makes sense. I still don’t know whether I enjoyed this book or not but it’s staying with me and I kind of want to re-read it a year or so from now to see how I feel then.

Watch Over You by M. J. Ford

This is the third book in a series and as I had really enjoyed the first two books I was keen to read this one and I’m happy to say that I really enjoyed it. This novel follows DS Josie Masters as she attends a murder scene and discovers the deceased is a former colleague of hers. As she looks around the house she realises her friend must have had someone staying with him and now the police urgently need to find this person. And this is only the beginning, Josie needs to work fast to find the killer before they strike again. I found this novel really hard to put down. I loved that we follow Josie as she gets back to work following the birth of her baby, and we also follow the killer but we’re still trying to join the dots along with Josie and her team. This is fast-paced, gripping read and I recommend it! I can’t wait for the next book in the series!

Precious You by Helen Monks Takhar

This novel follows Katherine as she meets her new intern Lily. Initially Katherine likes Lily but soon doubts start to creep in but Katherine can’t put her finger on what is making her distrust Lily. Lily seems like a perfect young intern doing all she can to fit in and learn so no one wants to hear what Katherine thinks. What follows is a fascinating and disturbing novel about how far a rivalry can go and what one woman is prepared to do to destroy another. I couldn’t put this book down once I started it, I just had to know what was going to happen. There were moments where I wanted to look away but I couldn’t stop myself reading more. I recommend this one!

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

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

Because of You by Dawn French

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

The Sight of You by Holly Miller

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

When the Lights Go Out by Carys Bray

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

After the Silence by Louise O’Neill

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

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

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

Current Reads

The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult

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

One by One by Ruth Ware

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

The Arrangement by Robyn Harding

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

Recent Reads

Really Saying Something by Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward

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

What I Might Read Next

Life’s What You Make It by Phillip Schofield

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

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam

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

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

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

Current Reads

The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult

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

One by One by Ruth Ware

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

The Arrangement by Robyn Harding

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

Recent Reads

Because of You by Dawn French

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

The Sight of You by Holly Miller

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

What I Might Read Next

Perimenopause Power by Maisie Hill

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

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

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

The Girl in the Missing Poster by Barbara Copperthwaite

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

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

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

Current Reads

The Sight of You by Holly Miller

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

One by One by Ruth Ware

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

The Arrangement by Robyn Harding

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

Because of You by Dawn French

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

Recent Reads

After the Silence by Louise O’Neill

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

Little White Lies by Philippa East

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

True Story by Kate Reed Petty

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

Fifty Fifty by Steve Cavanagh

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

When the Lights Go Out by Carys Bray

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

The Last Resort by Susi Holliday

This was an enjoyable, fast-paced thriller.

What I Might Read Next

The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult

The Hidden Girls by Rebecca Whitney

Intimations by Zadie Smith

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

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

Current Reads

The Last Resort by Susi Holliday

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

Fifty Fifty by Steve Cavanagh

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

Recent Reads

Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez

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

Blood Moon by Lucy Cuthew

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

The Island by C. L. Taylor

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

Your Blue is Not My Blue by Aspen Matis

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

What I Might Read Next

After the Silence by Louise O’Neill

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

Just Ignore Him by Alan Davies

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

Homecoming by Luan Goldie

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

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

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

Current Reads

The Island by C. L. Taylor

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

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

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

A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote

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

Recent Reads

Not the Type by Camilla Thurlow

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

The Push by Claire McGowan

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

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

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

What I Might Read Next

The Last Resort by Susi Holliday

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

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

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

One by One by Ruth Ware

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

My Favourite Non-Fiction Books 2020!

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

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

Wham, George Michael and Me by Andrew Ridgeley

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

Notes to Self by Emilie Pine

Gone Fishing by Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse

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

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

Black and British: A Forgotten History by David Olusoga

Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham

Unfollow by Megan Phelps-Roper

A Year of Living Simply by Kate Humble

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

Dear Reader by Cathy Rentzenbrink

In Black and White by Alexandra Wilson

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

Let’s Do It by Jasper Rees

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

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

My Favourite Novels of 2020!

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

So, in no particular order, here goes..

It’s a Wonderful Night by Jaimie Admans

Wild Spinning Girls by Carol Lovekin

The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman

One Split Second by Caroline Bond

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel

The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper

Little Disasters by Sarah Vaughan

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

Heatstroke by Hazel Barkworth

Evening Primrose my Kopana Matlwa

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves

Be Careful What You Swipe For by Jemma Forte

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

The Mating Habits of Stags by Ray Robinson

The Confession by Jessie Burton

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

Summerwater by Sarah Moss

The Life We Almost Had by Amelia Henley

The Lost Love Song by Minnie Darke

Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard

Once Again by Catherine Wallace Hope

Keeper by Jessica Moor

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

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

Reading Bingo 2020!

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

A book with more than 500 pages

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

A forgotten classic

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

A book that became a movie

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

A book that was published this year

The Life We almost Had by Amelia Henley

A book with a number in the title

Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi

A book written by someone under 30

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

A book with non-human characters

Picky Eaters by S. J. Higbee

A funny book

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

A book by a female author

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

A book with a mystery

The Holdout by Graham Moore

A book with a one-word title

Mine by Clare Empson

A book of short stories

Christmas with Dull People by Saki

Free square

The Mating Habits of Stags by Ray Robinson

A book set on a different continent

Evening Primrose by Kopano Matlwa

A book of non-fiction

Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham

The first book by a favourite author

The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy

A book you heard about online

The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale

A best-selling book

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

A book based on a true story

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

A book at the bottom of your to be read pile

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

A book your friend loves

How To Disappear by Gillian McAllister

A book that scares you

The Murders at White House Farm by Carol Ann Lee

A book that is more than 10 years old

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

The second book in a series

dead wrong noelle holten

Dead Wrong by Noelle Holten

A book with a blue cover

Strangers by C. L. Taylor

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

Mini Book Reviews: Keeper |The Phone Box at the Edge of the World | Tales From the Cafe | Writers and Lovers | Summer

Today I’m sharing another selection of mini book reviews. I read most of these books before my reading slump really took hold so am now trying to get back to blogging and catch up on my reviews.

Keeper by Jessica Moor

I’ve been in an awful reading slump recently but I kept thinking about this book so decided to pick it up and I’m so glad I did. I found this to be such a stunning read and I found it really hard to put down. The novel opens with Katie Shaw meeting a man in a nightclub, the storyline then splits into past and present as we learn what happened to Katie and how she got to where she is now. I found this to be such a powerful read with a really sensitive and realistic portrayal of the aftermath of domestic violence and stalking. I know how hard it is for women to access support and this book really explores so many angles to this. The story is compelling and it is such a page turner as well as it being eye-opening. I finished reading this book a while ago now and I still keep thinking about it. I’m currently trying to work out my favourite books of the year post and I’m sure this book will be on my list. I highly recommend it!

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

This novel is such a beautiful and moving read, I loved it. It follows Yui who lost her mum and her daughter in the tsunami. She discovers that there is a place where you can go and use a phone and talk to those you’ve lost and she decides to go there. While there she meets Takeshi and his young daughter who hasn’t spoken since her mum died. The novel follows both characters as they work through their pain and grief and as they try to find solace and a way to hold on to the past whilst also moving on. I found this book so hard to put down, it’s a novel that made me really tearful at times as I thought about that phone and how it must be to find some way of talking to those you’ve lost but ultimately I found this a really beautiful book and I very much enjoyed it.

Before the Coffee gets Cold: Tales from the Cafe by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

I got a copy of this book from NetGalley and I read it before reading the first book about the cafe but it worked fine as a standalone. This novel all takes place in a cafe in Japan but it’s not an ordinary cafe. There is a table and chair in the cafe and if you sit down there you can go back in time to meet up with someone from your past but you have to leave them before the coffee gets cold. I loved this book, it was really moving to read the back stories of the characters and to find out why they have come to the cafe and why they feel they need closure regarding the past. I hope to read more about this cafe in the future!

Writers and Lovers by Lily King

This novel follows Casey who is dealing with heartbreak over a break-up and the grief of losing her beloved mother. She is working as a waitress and also working on her novel, which has been a work in progress for quite a few years now but she never seems to finish it. Then she finds herself in the middle of a love triangle and is finally pushed to make a decision about what she wants from life. I really enjoyed this book. I picked it up after reading the blurb as Casey seemed like her life was in a similar place to mine when I was her age. Casey’s life gets way more complicated than mine ever did but I could really identify with the grief she had for her mum and the way this seems to impact on her decision making. I read this novel quite a while ago now and it hasn’t stayed with me as much as I thought it would but I did really enjoyed it and I would recommend it.

Summer by Ali Smith

I’ve read and loved the previous three novels in this seasonal quarter so had been eagerly anticipating Summer and I’m so pleased to say that I loved it every bit as much, if not even more, than the previous books. Summer is set during World War 2 and during the pandemic in 2020 and I found it incredible. It was strange to read about the pandemic while we’re still living through it but it never felt too much. I loved how characters from previous books in the quartet appear in Summer and it felt like it brought us full circle. I will miss this quartet now it’s completed but I think I would read all of the books again in the future, it will be interesting years down the line to look back and see how they feel then. I definitely recommend all four books but start at the beginning with Autumn.

Festive Mini Book Reviews! #Christmas

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

All About Us by Tom Ellen

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

If Every Day Was Christmas by Donna Ashcroft

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

Tinsel by Sibeal Pounder

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

A Surprise Christmas Wedding by Phillipa Ashley

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

Christmas at Fireside Cabins by Jenny Hale

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

WWW Wednesdays (4 Nov 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 the midst of the horrible reading slump but am continuing to keep trying to read. These are the three books that I find myself in the middle of this week!

Let’s Do It by Jasper Rees

I was thrilled to get the audiobook of this from NetGalley recently and am very much enjoying listening to it. I was a huge fan of Victoria Wood so it’s lovely to learn more about her life.

If Every Day Was Christmas by Donna Ashcroft

I’ve only just started this one but I’m really enjoying it so far. I do love a good Christmas read!

Vulgar Favours by Maureen Orth

I haven’t read much more of this one this week but I hope to get back to it soon.

Recent Reads

The Clause in Christmas by Rachael Bloome

I managed to finish reading a book this week, the first in a few weeks now, and I did enjoy it. It’s a really sweet festive romance all set in December so it’s one to read if you want to start feeling Christmassy!

What I Might Read Next

Fifty Fifty by Steve Cavanagh

I don’t really know what I’ll read next but I’m enjoying watching the book series Between the Covers on BBC2 and this was their featured book last week. It reminded me all over again how much I wanted to read this so I think I might try and pick this up next.

#BookReview: Once Again by Catherine Wallace Hope | @catwallacehope @RandomTTours

About the Book

What if you had one chance to save someone you lost?

Isolated in the aftermath of tragedy, Erin Fullarton has felt barely alive since the loss of her young daughter, Korrie. She tries to mark the milestones her therapist suggests–like today, the 500th day without Korri–but moving through grief is like swimming against a dark current.

Her estranged husband, Zac, a brilliant astrophysicist, seems to be coping better. Lost in his work, he’s perfecting his model of a stunning cosmological phenomenon, one he predicts will occur today–an event so rare, it keeps him from being able to acknowledge Erin’s coinciding milestone.

But when Erin receives a phone call from her daughter’s school, the same call she received five hundred days earlier when Korrie was still alive, Erin realizes something is happening. Or happening again. Struggling to understand the sudden shifts in time, she pieces together that the phenomenon Zac is tracking may have presented her with the gift of a lifetime: the chance to save her daughter.

Unable to reach Zac or convince the authorities of what is happening, Erin is forced to find the answer on her own, Erin must battle to keep the past from repeating–or risk losing her daughter for good.

My Thoughts

I have to start this review by saying that this book is incredible and even though I read it in the midst of a reading slump I could not put it down! I finished reading this a couple of weeks ago now and I still keep thinking about it.

Once Again is the story of Erin whose 6 year old daughter died eighteen months ago. She is mired in grief and cannot come to terms with what happened. Erin had been happily married to her husband Zac and life was pretty good but now they’re so far apart and neither can see a way back. On the 500th day since Korrie died Zac, an astrophysicist, is working on a momentous project and it has far reaching implications.

On this horrible anniversary Erin receives a call from Korrie’s school asking her to come and collect her daughter, a call she should have taken on the day her daughter went missing but she didn’t. Now Erin realises that time is shifting and she needs to get hold of Zac to figure out what is going on.

I adored this book. It really captures what it is to be lost in grief and unable to see a way through it. Erin is really struggling and this is so believable and so beautifully written. As the novel unfolds we see what happened in the past the day Korrie disappeared, and why Erin missed a phone call that might have saved her daughter. We also see what seems to be time shifts in the present as Erin finds herself falling back to that fateful day. It’s not clear straight away if something is actually happening to Erin or if her mind is playing tricks on her. I was completely rooting for Erin and wanted her to be able to go back and to get to the school in time to save her daughter.

I had no idea how this novel was going to unfold or how it might end. I had my suspicions and I was completely wrong. I love that this novel kept me on my toes when it came to the action but that it held me under its spell when it came to the emotional impact.

Once Again is truly an incredible read. I read it in two sittings and ever since I finished reading it I keep finding myself thinking of Erin and wondering what is happening in her life now. It’s such a poignant novel but also action packed and fast-paced as we see Erin’s race against time, and the odds, to stop the past repeating itself. There really aren’t enough superlatives to describe how brilliant this novel is! I highly recommend it and I strongly urge you all to read it. It is for sure one of my favourite books of this year and I already want to go back and read it all again!

Many thanks to Anne of Random Things Tours, and Alcove Press for my copy of this book and the invitation to take part in this blog tour. All thoughts are my own.

Come Again is out now and available here.

WWW Wednesdays (28 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

The Clause in Christmas by Rachael Bloome

I started reading this last night and am enjoying it. It’s a cute festive romance read and I’m keen to read more.

Vulgar Favours: The Assassination of Gianni Versace by Maureen Orth

I’ve read a few more chapters of this since last week and am finding it fascinating. I just wish my concentration was better and my reading slump would go so I could read more of it.

Recent Reads

I haven’t finished reading anything this week as my slump is continuing.

What I Might Read Next

I don’t know what I’ll read next, I just hope I find something that holds my attention. I think Christmas reads are going to be the way to go so I’ll see what I have and which catch my attention.

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 (14 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

My reading slump is continuing and seems to be getting worse so I’ve not read much more of Just Eat It since last week but I hope to get back to it soon. I treated myself to If I Can’t Have You as it’s a book I’ve been keen to read. I’m enjoying it but I’m still only reading it a few pages at a time.

If I Can’t Have You by Charlotte Levin

Just Eat It by Laura Thomas

Recent Reads

I’ve only managed to finish one book since last week and at least I can say it was a brilliant read. The New Jim Crow is a fascinating and eye-opening read, it’s one I highly recommend.

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

What I Might Read Next

I’m not sure what I might read next. My reading slump is worse than it was and I just don’t seem to be reading much of anything. I did treat myself to some new books over the last couple of days though in the hope that one of them might capture my interest. Watch this space (and please cross your fingers that one of them gets my reading mojo back)!

Gravity Well by Marc Rahe | @RandomTTours @RescuePress #GravityWell

About the Book

In Gravity Well, Marc Rahe’s incisive third collection, the poems beckon readers through an ever-shifting series of landscapes, drawing our gaze across a dynamic tableau—an octopus wearing a sweater, a white sky over the bridge we’re standing on, flowers pressed into a forgotten book—as a means of revealing the most particular thrills and anxieties of the human condition. Unafraid and unwavering, careful and concerned, Gravity Well propels its reader through the imagined apertures of the universe one striking image at a time, leaving us ocularly magnified in a world now seen anew. A singular voice in American poetry, Rahe deftly centers the body in relation to ailments such as love, decay, aging, friendship, and grief. His powerful, meditative plea is resounding: “Earth, turn me.”


My Thoughts

Gravity Well is a stunning poetry collection that flows through so many themes and emotions.

It opens with poems in the section entitled Waxing Crescent Waxing Gibbous and later follows the section Waning Gibbous Waning Crescent. I love the way there is light in the dark and dark in the light, it really gave me an insight into what the poems I was about to read may be.

There were quite a few poems that really stood out to me, and it felt like I had a connection to them. Previous Lives is one poem that I’ve already re-read quite a few times and each time I see something else in it. The references to the squares on a calendar alongside random memories and the title itself. It made me think of the day my beloved nan died and how it was her calendar that finally made what had happened sink in.

Birthday is another poem that really connected with me – I have a spinal cord injury so the line about numbness ‘Downriver from the forest in my neck’ took my breath away. And the way Rahe writes of trying to be helpful but ‘To look for change in my pockets meant having to look’ is a line that gave me a wry smile in recognition of that feeling.

A line that I just found stunning comes in the wonderful poem Fable of the Cephalopod, which is a description of a cough using octopus imagery: ‘I hear it barking up the wrong bronchial tree’.

One of my favourite poems in the whole collection is Stellar, which is a reflection of happy times. The lines ‘Uncanny when it’s raining and it’s sunny at the same time. / As if being in someone’s presence and feeling the presence of their ghost.’ Rahe captures that feeling so beautifully and it brought a lump to my throat as I read it.

I found Gravity Well to be a beautiful poetry collection that really rewards the reader who takes their time and re-reads it. I’ll be honest and say that on first reading I found some of the poems were beyond my understanding but on further re-reading they began to speak to me. Now this is a collection that I know I will come back to time and again as it feels it will keep giving more to me every time. I highly recommend this one!

Gravity Well is out now in paperback and available here.

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. 

WWW Wednesdays (30 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 just reading one book this week and it’s an audio book. I’ve only just started listening to it but I’m enjoying it so far!

House of Correction by Nicci French

Recent Reads

I’ve finished five books this week and enjoyed all of them. Two of them were shorter reads and two were audiobooks so it meant I got more books read than I might have done. I’m still not feeling much like picking up print or kindle books but when I do pick books up I enjoy them. I hope this mood passes soon.

Older and Wider by Jenny Eclair

The Power in You by Henry Fraser

The Stolen Sisters by Louise Jensen

Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Takes from the Cafe by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Summer by Ali Smith

What I Might Read Next

These are two of the oldest books on my NetGalley shelf and I’m still really keen to read them both so hopefully I can read them this week.

The Hidden Girls by Rebecca Whitney

The Sight of You by Holly Miller

WWW Wednesdays (23 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 to pick up books so I’m sticking to one Kindle book and one audio book and this seems to be working for me at the moment. The Stolen Sisters is really good and I’m intrigued to see where this book is going. I’ve only just started listening to Summer but am enjoying it so far and am looking forward to listening to more.

The Stolen Sisters by Louise Jensen

Summer by Ali Smith

Recent Reads

Four of the books I finished this week were audiobooks and this is definitely the way for me to read just now. I enjoyed all five of these books and would recommend them. My review of In Black and White will be posted on my blog on Friday so please look out for it then.

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

I Thought I Knew You by Penny Hancock

In Black and White by Alexandra Wilson

The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard

Writers and Lovers by Lily King

What I Might Read Next

I’m still reading by whim just now but would like to read through some of my NetGalley books this week so these are the three that are jumping out to me the most at the moment. I’ve also Tales from the Cafe on audio so will be able to listen to that one as I read.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Tales from the Cafe by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

The Split by Sharon Bolton

Home Stretch by Graham Norton

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. 🙂

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. 🙂

Mini Book Reviews: Three | The Storm | Here Is The Beehive | Dead To Her

Today I’m sharing a selection of mini reviews for books that I’ve recently read.

Three by D. A. Mishani

I requested this audio book on whim from NetGalley as I was intrigued by the premise and I’m so glad I got to read this book. It follows three women – each of them initially seem unconnected but we soon find out that they have all have an encounter with the same man. Orna is a newly divorced single mother looking for a relationship, Emilia from Lativia who is looking to belong and to be more grounded and settled in her life, and Ella a mother of three who is returning to University now her three children are a bit older. The man is Gil and he’s not entirely honest when he tells us his story! The novel is told in three parts and each one twists what we thought we knew, it’s so brilliantly done. Three is brilliantly translated from the Israeli by Jessica Cohen. It’s such a compelling story, one I was gripped by from the very first few pages and I was spellbound by it. I didn’t expect it be what it was and I loved that it surprised me. The narration by Lucy Pearson was also excellent, I felt she really made the women’s voices distinct from each other and found the perfect tone for this book. This is the first novel I’ve read by this author and I definitely want to read more. I highly recommend this one!

The Storm by Amanda Jennings

This novel follows Hannah who appears to have a perfect marriage to Nathan. They have a teenage son and a lovely house in Cornwall. All is not as it seems though. Nathan is very controlling and Hannah has no freedom at all. She seems to view this as penance for something though and over the course of the novel we learn more about her. The story is told in the present day and in the past when Hannah was a teenager and we gradually find out more about how she got to where she is and why she stays with Nathan. I loved this book. It’s atmospheric, it’s tense and it’s very hard to put down. I read it in two sittings as I simply had to know what had happened to make Hannah the way she is and how the past had led up to the now. This is one of those slow burn novels that hits you right in the feels. I loved this one and I definitely recommend it!

Here is The Beehive by Sarah Crossan

This is a novel in verse about Ana. She is married and has been having an affair with Connor for three years. Connor is also married and when he tragically dies Ana is faced with Connor’s wife due to her work as a solicitor. This is a novel that explores the complexities of having an affair and the toll it takes on everyone’s life, but more so the heartbreak of losing the person you love but you not being able to openly grieve because he was never yours. This is a beautifully written book but I found it difficult to connect with. I think reading about grief at the moment is hard and this book captures Ana’s feelings so well that at times I had to look away. This is my issue though and not at all an issue with the book. This is one I would like to re-read at another time because I’m sure it’s one I’ll love. The writing is stunning and I would absolutely recommend it if you feel you’re in the right headspace to read it.

Dead to Her by Sarah Pinborough

This novels follows a wealthy group of friends in Savannah. Marcie was the youngest, newest wife when she married Jason but now their friend (and Jason’s boss) William has arrived home from Europe with a very young and very beautiful wife, which immediately unsettles the group. The writing in this book is so good, I felt the heat and the claustrophobia and the tension radiate off the page and this is what kept me reading. Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy the storyline as much as I normally do with Sarah Pinborough’s novels, it just felt like there wasn’t as much depth to it. The characters are quite similar to each other and all have similar horrible agendas, I wanted to understand more about them. There was enough in the writing to keep me reading to the end though and it was a fun read. I think maybe it was me that was the issue rather than the book.

All of these books are from NetGalley and all opinions are entirely my own.

Stacking the Shelves with a new Book Haul (12 Sep 20)!

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

Purchased eBooks

Natives by Akala

This book has been on my radar for a little while now and I finally bought it this week. I’m keen to read this one as soon as my concentration levels are back up to speed.

From the first time he was stopped and searched as a child, to the day he realised his mum was white, to his first encounters with racist teachers – race and class have shaped Akala’s life and outlook. In this unique book he takes his own experiences and widens them out to look at the social, historical and political factors that have left us where we are today. Covering everything from the police, education and identity to politics, sexual objectification and the far right, Natives speaks directly to British denial and squeamishness when it comes to confronting issues of race and class that are at the heart of the legacy of Britain’s racialised empire. Natives is the searing modern polemic and Sunday Timesbestseller from the BAFTA and MOBO award-winning musician and political commentator, Akala.

Review Books

Tinsel by Sibeal Pounder

This is a middle grade book that I requested from NetGalley on a whim because it sounds like such a wonderful read. I can’t wait to read this one a little nearer to Christmas!

How did the world come to believe Santa Claus is a man? It’s all just a big misunderstanding! This tale of friendship, sleigh rides and two formidable girls is THE Christmas book of the year – a gloriously funny, festive adventure that will delight even the biggest Grinch. Join Blanche Claus and her best friend Rinki for a funny festive sleigh ride you’ll never forget! From Sibéal Pounder, bestselling author of the Witch Wars and Bad Mermaids series, this tale of friendship and mince-pie feasts is the perfect book to curl up with this winter. Funny, feminist and with a huge heart. 

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 (9 Sep 20)! What are you reading at the moment?

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

Current Reads

I’m trying out reading one book at a time at the moment. I like being in the middle of lots of books but my brain just isn’t up for that right now so I’m hoping reading one at once will help. It feels very strange!

Dead To Her by Sarah Pinborough

Recent Reads

I really focused my mind on finishing off the numerous books that I’ve had part-read for a while now so I managed to do that. My husband is now no longer on furlough and is working from home so I’m listening to more audiobooks during the day, which is helping me read more. I’m still struggling to read ebooks but am enjoying listening to books.

Dear Reader by Cathy Rentzenbrink

Watch Over You by M. J. Ford

Precious You by Helen Monks Takhar

The Storm by Amanda Jennings

Here is the Beehive by Sarah Crossan

Spring by Ali Smith

The Upstairs Room by Kate Murray-Browne

What I Might Read Next

I don’t know what I’ll read next as I’m still reading by whim but I know that audiobooks are better for me at the moment so I’ve picked three audiobooks this week that are catching my eye the most, and then one ebook (The Turn of the Key) that I can read at night.

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

I Thought I Knew You by Penny Hancock

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

Writers and Lovers by Lily King

Stacking the Shelves with a new Book Haul (5 Sep 20)!

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

Purchased eBooks

The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor

I have wanted to read this book ever since I first heard about it months ago so when I spotted it in a Kindle deal this week I snapped it up! I’m originally from Yorkshire so I’m really keen to read this one very soon!

July, 1962 Sixteen year-old Evie Epworth stands on the cusp of womanhood. But what kind of a woman will she become? The fastest milk bottle-delivery girl in East Yorkshire, Evie is tall as a tree and hot as the desert sand. She dreams of an independent life lived under the bright lights of London (or Leeds). The two posters of Adam Faith on her bedroom wall (‘brooding Adam’ and ‘sophisticated Adam’) offer wise counsel about a future beyond rural East Yorkshire. Her role models are Charlotte Bronte, Shirley MacLaine and the Queen. But, before she can decide on a career, she must first deal with the malign presence of her future step-mother, the manipulative and money-grubbing Christine. If Evie can rescue her bereaved father, Arthur, from Christine’s pink and over-perfumed clutches, and save the farmhouse from being sold off then maybe she can move on with her own life and finally work out exactly who it is she is meant to be.  

I Am Not Your Baby Mother by Candice Braithwaite

I’ve seen some good reviews of this one recently so when I spotted in a Kindle daily deal this week I grabbed it. It sounds like it will be an interesting read so I hope to get to it soon.

When Candice fell pregnant and stepped into the motherhood playing field, she found her experience bore little resemblance to the glossy magazine experience in Great Britain today. Leafing through the piles of prenatal paraphernalia, she found herself wondering: “Where are all the black mothers?”. Candice started blogging about motherhood in 2016 after making the simple but powerful observation that the way motherhood is portrayed in the British media is wholly unrepresentative of our society at large. The author writes with humour, but with straight-talk about facing hurdles such as white privilege, racial micro-aggression and unconscious bias at every point. 

Review Books

Gravity Well by Mark Rahe

I was sent this one to review for the blog tour next month and I’m really looking forward to it. I enjoy poetry so I think I’m going to really like this collection.

In GRAVITY WELL, Marc Rahe’s incisive third collection, the poems beckon readers through an ever-shifting series of landscapes, drawing our gaze across a dynamic tableau–an octopus wearing a sweater, a white sky over the bridge we’re standing on, flowers pressed into a forgotten book–as a means of revealing the most particular thrills and anxieties of the human condition.  Unafraid and unwavering, careful and concerned, GRAVITY WELL propels its reader through the imagined apertures of the universe one striking image at a time, leaving us ocularly magnified in a world now seen anew. A singular voice in American poetry, Rahe deftly centers the body in relation to ailments such as love, decay, aging, friendship, and grief. His powerful, meditative plea is resounding: “Earth, turn me.”

Library Books (BorrowBox App)

I Thought You Knew by Penny Hancock

This book caught my eye when I was browsing the Borrowbox app this week so I decided to request it. It ended up being available sooner than I was expecting but I hope to get to it in the next few weeks.

Who do you know better? Your oldest friend? Or your child? 
And who should you believe when one accuses the other of an abhorrent crime? Jules and Holly have been best friends since university. They tell each other everything, trading revelations and confessions, and sharing both the big moments and the small details of their lives: Holly is the only person who knows about Jules’s affair; Jules was there for Holly when her husband died. And their two children – just three years apart – have grown up together. So when Jules’s daughter Saffie makes a serious allegation against Holly’s son Saul, neither woman is prepared for the devastating impact this will have on their friendship or their families. Especially as Holly, in spite of her principles, refuses to believe her son is guilty.

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

My 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. 

Stacking the Shelves with a new Book Haul (29 Aug 20)!

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

Purchased eBooks

A Half Baked Idea by Olivia Potts

I read a review of this one a few days ago and loved the sound of it so much that I immediately bought it on Kindle. I think this one will really resonate with me and I can’t wait to read it!

At the moment her mother died, Olivia Potts was baking a cake, badly. She was trying to impress the man who would later become her husband. Afterwards, grief pushed Olivia into the kitchen. She came home from her job as a criminal barrister miserable and tired, and baked soda bread, pizza, and chocolate banana cake. Her cakes sank and her custard curdled. But she found comfort in jams and solace in pies, and what began as a distraction from grief became a way of building a life outside grief, a way of surviving, and making sense of her life without her mum. And so she concocted a plan: she would begin a newer, happier life, filled with fewer magistrates and more macaroons. She left the bar and enrolled on the Diplôme de Pâtisserie at Le Cordon Bleu, plunging headfirst into the eccentric world of patisserie, with all its challenges, frustrations and culinary rewards – and a mind-boggling array of knives to boot. Interspersed with recipes ranging from passionfruit pavlova to her mother’s shepherd’s pie, this is a heart-breaking, hilarious, life-affirming memoir about dealing with grief, falling in love and learning how to bake a really, really good cake.

The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle

I spotted this book in the Kindle sale this week and immediately hit the 1-click button. I read and loved In Five Years earlier this year and now I want to read everything this author has written.

At one point or another, we’ve all been asked to name five people, living or dead, with whom we’d like to have dinner. Why do we choose the people we do? And what if that dinner was to actually happen? These are the questions Rebecca Serle contends with in her utterly captivating novel, THE DINNER LIST, a story imbued with the same delightful magical realism as One Day, and the life-changing romance of Me Before You. When Sabrina arrives at her thirtieth birthday dinner she finds at the table not just her best friend, but also three significant people from her past, and well, Audrey Hepburn. As the appetizers are served, wine poured, and dinner table conversation begins, it becomes clear that there’s a reason these six people have been gathered together.

The Power in You by Henry Fraser

I was immediately drawn to this book when I spotted it as I follow Henry Fraser on twitter and I love his attitude to life. I’m partially paralysed and so much of what he says strikes a chord with me so I’m looking forward to reading this book.

Mouth artist, motivational speaker and author of the inspirational memoir The Little Big Things, Henry Fraser, explores the transformative power of acceptance in this motivational guide. If The Little Big Things was about Henry’s past, The Power in You is about his present and his future. And through understanding his daily experience, Henry teaches us all how best we can live. This book is about right now, and it’s about tomorrow. It’s about recognising progress, it’s about accepting our past to become free of it, it’s about living in the now to avoid anxiety. It’s future focused on the positive. Henry discusses acceptance, how to adapt and deal with our pasts, how to forgive ourselves, and how to forgive others. He will remind us to live in the present and just how empowering that can be, how to work through self-doubt, how to become aware of our progress, and how everything you need in life comes from within you. The power is in you.

To Love and Let Go by Rachel Brathen

I bought this book on a whim when I was browsing the Kindle sale as it sounded like such an emotional buy ultimately positive read. I’m keen to get to this one.

While on her way to teach a yoga retreat in March 2014, Rachel Brathen collapses at an airport, brought to her knees by excruciating stomach pains. She is rushed to the hospital on the tiny island of Bonaire, and hours later forced to undergo surgery. When she wakes up from anesthesia, her boyfriend is weeping at her bedside. While Rachel was struck down with seemingly mysterious pain, her best friend, Andrea, sustained fatal injuries as a result of a car accident. Rachel and Andrea had a magical friendship. Though they looked nothing alike—one girl tall, blond, and Swedish, the other short, brunette, and Colombian—everyone called them gemelas: twins. Over the three years following Andrea’s death, at what might appear from the outside to be the happiest time—with her engagement to the man she loves and a blossoming career that takes her all over the world—Rachel faces a series of trials that have the potential to define her life. Unresolved grief and trauma from her childhood make the weight of her sadness unbearable. At each turn, she is confronted again and again with a choice: Will she lose it all, succumb to grief, and grasp for control that’s beyond her reach? Or can she move through the loss and let go? When Rachel and her husband conceive a child, pregnancy becomes a time to heal and an opportunity to be reborn herself. As she recounts this transformative period, Rachel shares her hard-won wisdom about life and death, love and fear, what it means to be a mother and a daughter, and how to become someone who walks through the fire of adversity with the never-ending practice of loving hard and letting go.

Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes by Jessica Redland

I read some lovely reviews of this book recently so when the author let me know it was free on Amazon I couldn’t resist downloading it. I’m saving this one to read nearer Christmas and I already can’t wait!

Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes is a cosy heartwarming tale of friendship, family, putting the past behind, and embracing the future.  It’s Christmas in Whitsborough Bay. With fairy lights connecting the shops and cafés on either side of the cobbles, Castle Street seems magical. And in such a magical place, surely Christmas wishes can come true.  Carly Travis, owner of Carly’s Cupcakes, has two Christmas wishes this year. Her first is for her younger sister, Bethany, to focus on the positives in her life, including her Christmas wedding, instead of writing herself off as a failure. Bethany’s attempts at cake-decorating aren’t going to win any awards, but she’s certainly great with customers. Carly’s second wish is for her best friend, Liam, to come home for Christmas.  When Liam calls to say he’s been granted leave from the army, Carly makes a third Christmas wish. It’s the one she’s made every year since she was a teenager and, if she’s really brave, could this be the year when it finally comes true?  With Liam coming home, the shop having its best year yet, and a wedding to look forward to, it’s shaping up to be the best Christmas ever for Carly. But for Bethany, things are starting to unravel …

Review Books

The End of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird

I keep seeing this book on social media and was so intrigued by it that I went straight to NetGalley and downloaded it. I hope to read this one soon.

Only men are affected by the virus; only women have the power to save us all.  The year is 2025, and a mysterious virus has broken out in Scotland–a lethal illness that seems to affect only men. When Dr. Amanda MacLean reports this phenomenon, she is dismissed as hysterical. By the time her warning is heeded, it is too late. The virus becomes a global pandemic–and a political one. The victims are all men. The world becomes alien–a women’s world. What follows is the immersive account of the women who have been left to deal with the virus’s consequences, told through first-person narratives. Dr. MacLean; Catherine, a social historian determined to document the human stories behind the “male plague;” intelligence analyst Dawn, tasked with helping the government forge a new society; and Elizabeth, one of many scientists desperately working to develop a vaccine. Through these women and others, we see the uncountable ways the absence of men has changed society, from the personal–the loss of husbands and sons–to the political–the changes in the workforce, fertility and the meaning of family.

Purchased AudioBooks

The Perfectly Imperfect Woman by Milly Johnson

I bought this book on an Audible daily deal this week. It was an impulse buy as I’ve really enjoyed previous novels by this author on audio. I think this will be another lovely read (listen).

Marnie Salt has made so many mistakes in her life that she fears she will never get on the right track. But when she ‘meets’ an old lady on a baking chatroom and begins confiding in her, little does she know how her life will change. Arranging to see each other for lunch, Marnie finds discovers that Lilian is every bit as mad and delightful as she’d hoped – and that she owns a whole village in the Yorkshire Dales, which has been passed down through generations. And when Marnie needs a refuge after a crisis, she ups sticks and heads for Wychwell – a temporary measure, so she thinks. But soon Marnie finds that Wychwell has claimed her as its own and she is duty bound not to leave. Even if what she has to do makes her as unpopular as a force 12 gale in a confetti factory! But everyone has imperfections, as Marnie comes to realise, and that is not such a bad thing – after all, your flaws are perfect for the heart that is meant to love you.

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 (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

Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi

About the Book

There are rules for murder mysteries. There must be a victim. A suspect. A detective. The rest is just shuffling the sequence. Expanding the permutations. Grant McAllister, a professor of mathematics, once sat down and worked them all out – calculating the different orders and possibilities of a mystery into seven perfect detective stories he quietly published. But that was thirty years ago. Now Grant lives in seclusion on a remote Mediterranean island, counting the rest of his days.

Until Julia Hart, a sharp, ambitious editor knocks on his door. Julia wishes to republish his book, and together they must revisit those old stories: an author hiding from his past, and an editor, keen to understand it.

But there are things in the stories that don’t add up. Inconsistencies left by Grant that a sharp-eyed editor begins to suspect are more than mistakes. They may be clues, and Julia finds herself with a mystery of her own to solve.

My Thoughts

This is a book that I have been much anticipating and I’m so pleased to say that it absolutely lived up to my expectations!

Eight Detectives is different to anything I’ve read before. It follows Julia Hart, an editor for an independent publisher, who is staying with author Grant McAllister, a maths professor who many years ago wrote a short story collection to show how all murder mysteries are based on mathematic equations.

The novel was discombobulating in the beginning as you find yourself reading the first story in Grant’s collection. I was expecting to meet Julia first but I was delighted to be wrong-footed. The first story is engaging and intriguing, and a bit creepy – which sets the reader up for a brilliant novel. After each short story Julia and Grant discuss them and what she has noticed about them.

The short stories are very Agatha Christie-esque and all are set in the 1930s so if you like those then I think you’ll love this novel. The whole novel is a mystery and it all interconnects; it really is very clever and engaging. Julia Hart is a brilliant character, I loved following her in this book!

There is so much in this novel that I can’t write about as it’s definitely a book that works best by throwing yourself into it knowing very little. It really is such a clever, intriguing and ultimately very satisfying read. I highly recommend it!

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

Eight Detectives is out now and available here.

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

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

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! 🙂

WWW Wednesdays (19 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

No Win Race by Derek A. Bardowell

I bought the ebook of this one forgetting that I had a pending request on NetGalley for the audio book. So now I’m part listening and part reading this and it’s such an eye-opening book about race. The author is a black British man who grew up in London and was a huge sports fan. He documents his experiences of racism along with that in wider society and mainly through the eye of sports. His Jamaican father followed cricket and boxing and at the point I’m up to Derek is very into basketball. It’s shocking to see the racism documented in this book, and how insidious it is. The author is a bit older than me so the book is building on my very vague knowledge of the time. I recommend this one.

Dear Reader by Cathy Rentzenbrink

This is such a lovely book where the author is looking back on the books she has enjoyed and been influenced by in her life. I’m still at the part about her childhood but her descriptions of trips to the library and the books she was reading are so similar to my own childhood that this feels so nostalgic and joyous so far. I’m trying to read this one slowly so I can enjoy it for the longest possible time. It’s really wonderful though and I highly recommend it.

Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi

I only started this one last night but I’m fascinated by it. I requested it from NetGalley based on the premise but when I started reading I had forgotten the detail of what the book was about so it’s been brilliant finding my way through. It’s basically a novel about Grant who wrote a murder mystery short story collection years earlier and it’s been rediscovered by a small publishing house. Their editor Julia is now with Grant and they’re reading each story in turn and discussing it. We get each of the stories and their thoughts about them, plus Grant’s theories about murder mysteries. It’s such a good book and I think all murder mystery/crime fiction fans will love it.

Recent Reads

The Love Square by Laura Jane Williams

I listened to this on audio from NetGalley and sadly I didn’t really like it. It started off well and I liked the main character Penny. She has had a difficult time of it, her mum died when she was young and then she herself had cancer. Life is good now though and she’s looking for love. She meets Francesco and they quickly fall for each other. So far so good! However Penny then has to go away and this novel veers into tropes I hate where suddenly she doesn’t communicate properly with people and it leads to all kinds of dramas that could have so easily been avoided. I felt really let down by how much Penny changed from being so open and honest and I just didn’t enjoy the second half of the book much at all. The narrator, Carrie Hope Fletcher, was very good though. Her voice really suited the story and I would listen to more books narrated by her in the future.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

This is a novel told in verse and it follows two teenage girls who find out their father has been killed in a plane crash off New York. Camino lives in the Dominican Republic with her aunt and had been excitedly awaiting her father’s arrival for the summer. Yahaira lives in New York with her mother and had let her dad leave without a word. Over the novel the girls learn the secrets of this man and that they are half-sisters. I really enjoyed this book. I found the spare writing really suited the narrative. The descriptions of grief were visceral at times, and the shock of each girl realising the other exists felt so believable. I recommend this one.

The Holdout by Graham Moore

This was the last book on my NetGalley shelf from before 2020 so I wanted to get to it and I’m so pleased that I finally picked it up. It follows Maya who served on a jury ten years ago. It was a murder case and Bobby Nock, a black man, was accused of murdering his white student Jessica. Maya was responsible for persuading the rest of the jury to vote not guilty. Now it’s ten years later and the past is catching up with Maya. A TV show is being made about the case and the jury are all reuniting to film their thoughts now. This novel had so much more to it than I was expecting and I was gripped all the way through. I’ve already reviewed this one here if you’d like to know more – I highly recommend it!

Under a Starry Sky by Laura Kemp

This is a lovely novel, perfect for some summer escapism. It follows Wanda who has always wanted to travel the world but things keep conspiring to keep her in the Welsh town where she grew up. Her sister is pregnant and on her own, and their mum has just had an accident. Now Wanda has to face up to the past when she bumps into her ex-best friend Annie in the town. I loved this book, it’s such a feel-good read and is one I recommend. I’ve reviewed it here if you’d like to know more.

What I Might Read Next

I have so many books that I want to read but I’m often struggling to settle to read anything at the moment but these four books are the ones that most appeal to me as I’m writing this. The first is a library book and one I’ve wanted to read for a long time. The second is an Audible book I treated myself to very recently. The third is a kindle book I bought not long ago and is a collection of essays, which I’m keen to get to. The last one is a NetGalley book that I’m so intrigued by!

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby

True Story by Kate Reed Petty

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!

Stacking the Shelves with a brand new Book Haul (15 Aug 20)

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

Review Books

Life in Pieces by Dawn O’Porter

Dawn O’Porter has been thinking about life. In lockdown. Mostly from a cupboard. From reflections on grief and identity, bad hair and parenting, sleep and spirituality, to the things we can control and the things we cannot, Dawn’s daily diaries track the journey – for a hilarious, heartbreaking and highly entertaining glimpse into the new normal. LIFE IN PIECES is a book for anyone who’s been thrown into a life they didn’t plan, or who just wants to stick it to 2020. When it looks like everything’s falling apart, we’ll piece it back together.

Dear Reader by Cathy Rentzenbrink

‘Reading has saved my life, again and again, and has held my hand through every difficult time’ For as long as she can remember, Cathy Rentzenbrink has lost and found herself in stories. Growing up she was rarely seen without her nose in a book and read in secret long after lights out. When tragedy struck, books kept her afloat. Eventually they lit the way to a new path, first as a bookseller and then as a writer. No matter what the future holds, reading will always help. Dear Reader is a moving, funny and joyous exploration of how books can change the course of your life, packed with recommendations from one reader to another.

In Black and White by Alexandra Wilson

Alexandra is 25, mixed-race and from Essex. As a trainee criminal barrister, she finds herself navigating a world and a set of rules designed by a privileged few. This is her story. We follow Alexandra through a criminal justice system still divided by race and class. We hear about the life-changing events that motivated her to practice criminal law, beginning with the murder of a close family friend and her own experiences of knife crime. She shows us how it feels to defend someone who hates the colour of your skin or someone you suspect is guilty, and the heart-breaking cases of youth justice she has worked on. We see what it’s like for the teenagers coerced into county line drug deals and the damage that can be caused when we criminalise teenagers. Her story is unique in a profession still dominated by a privileged section of society with little first-hand experience of the devastating impact of violent crime.

Library Books (BorrowBox App)

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

“Jarvious Cotton’s great-great-grandfather could not vote as a slave. His great-grandfather was beaten to death by the Klu Klux Klan for attempting to vote. His grandfather was prevented from voting by Klan intimidation; his father was barred by poll taxes and literacy tests. Today, Cotton cannot vote because he, like many black men in the United States, has been labeled a felon and is currently on parole.” As the United States celebrates the nation’s “triumph over race” with the election of Barack Obama, the majority of young black men in major American cities are locked behind bars or have been labeled felons for life. Although Jim Crow laws have been wiped off the books, an astounding percentage of the African American community remains trapped in a subordinate status–much like their grandparents before them. In this incisive critique, former litigator-turned-legal-scholar Michelle Alexander provocatively argues that we have not ended racial caste in America: we have simply redesigned it. Alexander shows that, by targeting black men and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control, even as it formally adheres to the principle of color blindness. The New Jim Crow challenges the civil rights community–and all of us–to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America.

The Illness Lesson by Clare Beams

The year is 1871. In Ashwell, Massachusetts, at the farm of Samuel Hood and his daughter Caroline, a mysterious flock of red birds descends. Samuel, whose fame as a philosopher has waned in recent years, takes the birds’ appearance as an omen that the time is ripe for his newest venture. He will start a school for young women, guiding their intellectual development as he has so carefully guided his daughter’s. Despite Caroline’s misgivings, Samuel’s vision–revolutionary, as always; noble, as always; full of holes, as always–takes shape. It’s not long before the students begin to manifest bizarre symptoms. Rashes, fits, headaches, verbal tics, night wanderings. In desperation, the school turns to the ministering of a sinister physician–based on a real historic treatment–just as Caroline’s body, too, begins its betrayal. As the girls’ conditions worsens, long-buried secrets emerge, and Caroline must confront the all-male, all-knowing authorities around her, the ones who insist the voices of the sufferers are unreliable. In order to save herself, Caroline may have to destroy everything she’s ever known.

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 (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 liki