My April Wrap-Up Post

 

 

Monthly Wrap Up post Copyrighted

This has been a great month on my blog. As some of you will have already noticed, I gave my blog a big makeover at the weekend. My lovely husband, who is a great photographer, took some fab photos of my books for me to use on my blog – his photo is now my blog header and I’m over the moon with it. You can read my post about my blog makeover here.

I also decided to register my blog’s domain so I now own rathertoofondofbooks.com and am really happy about that. It just cements that I’ve been blogging long enough now to know that it’s something I want to keep doing in the long term.

I started using dictation software in April and this has made a massive difference to me, it means I can write blog posts even when I’m unable to type. I also learnt how to schedule my blog posts, and found some software that allows me to schedule unpublished blog posts links on social media in advance. All of this combined has made blogging so much easier for me and means I can achieve more in my day.

My TBR is even more out of control than it was last month due to April bringing lots more new books my way. I’m in the middle of sorting out my enormous TBR into recent purchases/review books and then a separate TBR for books that I’ve been keeping for the right time (see my post on this here). I’m still trying to come up with a way to challenge myself to read these books because if I could stop myself waiting for the right time and just read them it would really help me clear my TBR! If anyone has any ideas for this please share in the comments below. I’m planning on making a TBR jar once I’ve finished my lists but I want a challenge to go with that.

Otherwise life is same old same old really. I’m still struggling to get my pain levels under control but I do finally have an appointment to see a specialist this month so I’m really hoping that something can be done to help me. If I can get my pain better controlled and I can find a medication that doesn’t make my head feel like it’s stuffed full of cotton wool then I’ll be able to get back to reading at my normal speed and will finally be able to start making headway with my TBR.


I managed to read fifteen books this month (three were short stories and two were novellas, and ten were full-length novels):

(Click the orange links to read my reviews; the titles in turquoise are books I’ve read but not yet reviewed)

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

The Summer I Met You by Victoria Walters

Dear Dad by Giselle Green

The Boy with the Boxes by Katey Lovell

The Boy on the Bus by Katey Lovell

Peter and Alice by John Logan

In Too Deep by Samantha Hayes

The Second Love of My Life by Victoria Walters

Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

Shame by Jasvinder Sanghera

Twisted River by Siobhan MacDonald

 Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom

The Real Book Thief by Ingrid Black

Shtum by Jem Lester

The Ice Twins by S. K. Tremayne


I also reviewed six books that I finished before April

Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan (re-blog)

The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

Between You and Me by Lisa Hall

The Good Mother by A. L. Bird

Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen


 

I was very lucky this month that I got to interview six authors:

Jannie Lund, author of Vintage Dreams

Sherry Mayes, author of Stop the World

Katye Nunn, author of Rose’s Vintage

Mike Russell, author of Nothing is Strange

Siobhan MacDonald, author of Twisted River

Greg Cope White, author of The Pink Marine

 

I also was delighted to have three authors write a guest post for my blog:

Rosy Stewart, author of Hope: Stories from a Women’s Refuge Rosy Stewart are a husband and wife writing team. They wrote a great post for my blog all about how it is to write as a duo.

Heidi Perks, author of Beneath the Surface Heidi Perks wrote a brilliant guest post for me in April all about marketing a book on a limited budget. It’s a really interesting post and I recommend reading it.

Sandra Nikolai, author of Fatal Whispers Sandra Nikolai wrote a great guest post for my blog all about how murder mystery writers keep one step ahead of readers. If you’re a fan of thrillers than I’m sure you will love reading this post.


 Also in April, I was very honoured when I was asked to guest post on Laura at 125 Pages blog as part of her first blogiverary celebrations. Laura asked me to write about how the way I approach blogging and how I’ve built my blog up. You can read the post here


 

So, that was my month! How was your April? Has it been a book-filled month for you? Please feel free to share in the comments below, or to leave a link to your own April Wrap-Up post.

Weekly Wrap-Up (10 April 2016)

Weekly wrap-up banner

SundayBlogShare

I’m linking this post up to Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer’s Sunday Blog Share.  It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

 

This week’s been another up-and-down week in my real life. I’m still struggling with a combination of increased pain and the side-effects from my increased painkillers. This has meant that I’m having days where I haven’t managed to read anything at all, and on the days where I can read I’m only managing to read in short periods, which is very frustrating when you have TBR as big as mine but hopefully things will being to settle soon.

Dragon Software

On the plus side this week I finally decided to go ahead and get some voice activation/dictation software. I’ve used Dragon software in the past but found it really difficult to train, which is why I’ve been unsure whether it was worth trying again now. Anyway, I got this new software a few days ago fully expecting it to take ages to train so I was stunned when, after just running through the setup and then opening a pages document to see how well it worked, that it actually didn’t need any further training! Only an hour after opening the box I was able to dictate an entire review and found that the few tiny mistakes it made were easy enough to correct. I’m definitely converted to Dragon! 

Thanks to everyone who gave me advice on finding better life balance last week. Things have come together in quite a serendipitous way this week. Firstly, the Dragon software is allowing me to dictate all of my blog posts which means no more typing so my pain levels aren’t being quite so aggravated by my blogging. Secondly, I discovered how to schedule blog posts that haven’t yet been published, and I found some software that I can then use schedule my links to post to my social media accounts at set intervals during the day. All of this means that I can now schedule in a regular time during the week where I can work on my blog schedule a few blog posts at time, then on my bad days I don’t have to stress about it. It’s early days yet but I think this compromise will work really well for me and I’m really grateful everyone who suggested that I consider scheduling posts in advance rather than doing it on a day-to-day basis. My blog is very important to me and gives me such a sense of fulfilment so I don’t want to compromise on the number of posts I write but at least this new way will allow me to work on my blog in blocks of time, meaning I can give myself time away from it too.


This week I’ve managed to read four  books (actually one novel, one novella and two short stories):

The Boy on the Bus by Katey Lovell (Meet Cute series)

The Boy With the Boxes by Katey Lovell (Meet Cute series)

Dear Dad by Giselle Green

The Summer I Met You by Victoria Walters


 

 I’ve blogged six times this week:

https://rathertoofondofbooks.wordpress.com/2016/03/27/weekly-wrap-up-27-march-2016/

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-up Post

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Tuesday: Review and Giveaway: The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Ward.  This giveaway is for a brand-new hardback copy of the book and it’s open internationally so everyone can enter. The giveaway closes on Wednesday so you still have time!

WWW pic

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday Post

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

Thursday: Review: The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

The Good Mother by A. L. Bird

Friday: Review: The Good Mother by A. L. Bird

Stacking the Shelves

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves Post


 

Coming up on my blog this week:

Monday: Author interview with Sherry Mayes (Stop the World)

Tuesday: Book Review or guest post/author Q&A

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday Post

Thursday: Book Review or guest post/author Q&A

Friday: Book Review or guest post/author Q&A

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves Post

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up Post

 


 

 This is what I’m currently reading:

In The Light of What We See by Sarah Painter

Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom

Shtum by Jem Lester

Shame by Jasvinder Sanghera

The Second Love of My Life by Victoria Walters

Truth, Lies and O-Rings by Alan J MacDonald and James R Hansen


 

What have you been reading this week? Please feel free to link to your weekly wrap-up post, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below! I love to hear what you’re all reading. :)

 

Review: The Good Mother by A. L. Bird

The Good Mother by A. L. Bird

The greatest bond. The darkest betrayal.

Susan wakes up alone in a room she doesn’t recognise, with no memory of how she got there. She only knows that she is trapped, and her daughter is missing.

The relief that engulfs her when she hears her daughter’s voice through the wall is quickly replaced by fear, knowing that whoever has imprisoned her has her daughter, too.

Devising a plan to keep her daughter safe, Susan begins to get closer to her unknown captor. And suddenly, she realises that she has met him before.

I was keen to read this novel from the moment I first saw the great cover image so I was really pleased when my request was approved on Net Galley.

I found that the opening chapters of The Good Mother really hooked me in. It worked very well that when Suze wakes up in the strange room, the reader knows no more than she does. This makes for a very intriguing read and had me guessing along with her about where she might be and what might have happened to her. She senses that her daughter Cara has been taken with her but has no proof of this to begin with. In time she hears Cara in the room next to her and they begin to communicate by passing notes through a grate. The notes are interesting at first because they show Suze’s conflicted state of mind as she frantically tries to think of ways to keep Cara safe but at the same time she needs her to be able to help them try to escape. Cara is understandably terrified and struggles to find the emotional strength needed for the two of them to attempt to get away.

Unfortunately the book fell a little flat for me in the middle section; it felt like I was in limbo just waiting for something to happen. The notes keep being passed, Suze keeps on trying to come up with a plan; it felt a little padded out and I just wanted to see more progression of the story. It soon starts to pick up again though as Suze realises that she knows her attacker from somewhere and slowly she begins to piece together who he is. The novel really begins to gather momentum after this as we see how the kidnapper reacts to Suze’s realisation and we also find out more about what happened to Cara in the run up to the kidnapping; in fact it becomes so fast-paced at this point that I didn’t put the book down again until I’d finished reading it!

I love an unreliable narrator and Suze is certainly that. A protagonist who has been kidnapped and repeatedly drugged is not able to know the truth let alone tell is so it worked very well for this novel.  The Good Mother is told from two perspectives  – Suze is the main voice but we also get the perspective of the kidnapper. This aspect of the book fascinated me because in parts I started to wonder if we were really getting the kidnapper’s viewpoint or whether Suze was imagining what he was getting up to and this is discombobulating in a good way. 

There wasn’t a lot that came as a shock to me in this novel in terms of what was really happening with Suze but even though I was expecting the big stuff, there were smaller elements within the twists that were actually very shocking in terms of behaviours and the way certain characters were treated. I also found the reality of what happened to Suze really quite disturbing. The very end of the novel was properly shocking albeit it made sense in terms of the character in question after what we’d learnt about them earlier in the book, but it was still horrifying. As I could sense what was about to happen it was like being in an accident and everything feeling like it’s going in slow motion and high speed at the same time. I wanted it to be so different for the character because they deserved something better, but sometimes damage done is so great that wheels are set in motion that can’t be altered and it felt like that’s what happened in this book. I won’t say anymore as I don’t want to give any spoilers.

For the most part, this was quite a fast paced, engrossing novel and while there were some parts that didn’t absolutely work for me, overall I rated it 4 out of 5 and I would recommend it.

I received a copy of The Good Mother from Carina via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

The Good Mother is out now and available from all good bookshops.

My March Wrap-Up Post (2016)

Monthly Wrap-Up

Well, March has been a better month reading-wise and also personally. Personal news first, in case you’ve missed it, is that I finally got a stairlift fitted in my home, which means I can now safely go up and down the stairs on my own. I fought against this for so long and the minute it was in I felt like a weight had been lifted off me. It’s brilliant to be able to go downstairs whenever I want to without needing help on the stairs. 

I’ve been reading a lot more again during March, which is such a relief. My reading slump had been going on since the end of December and was starting to feel like it might never end. Unfortunately, we can’t seem to get my pain levels under any sort of control a lot of the time so I still can’t read as fast as before, or for as long a period as I lose concentration much more easily but it is great to be able to lose myself in a book even for just a short while at a time. I tend to spend my days reading a while, blogging a while, resting a longer while and then repeating! My blog really takes it out of me, it’s painful to type and it’s hard to think clearly but it gives me such a sense of having achieved something in my day that I refuse to give it up.

I managed to read seventeen books this month (well, sixteen books and a short story), which is not as many as I would have hoped but is way more than the previous two months when I was going through a major reading slump so I’m pleased at what I read. I’ve managed to review seven of these books so far, the ones I’ve reviewed are at the top of my list and have links so you can click to read them if you’d like to. I hope to review the other books but it’ll depend on time and my health situation.

Time to Say Goodbye by SD Robertson

Sisters and Lies by Bernice Barrington

Quicksand by Steve Toltz

You Sent Me A Letter by Lucy Dawson

Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin

The Missing by CL Taylor

The Stylist by Rosie Nixon

Bone by Bone by Sanjida Kay

A Woman in a Million by Monica Wood

The Art of Wearing Hats by Helena Sheffield

A Proper Family Christmas by Chrissie Manby

Sally Ride by Lynn Sherr

A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold

When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen

Between You and Me by Lisa Hall 

The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

The Good Mother by AL Bird

 

I also reviewed three other books that I read in February but didn’t manage to review until March:

The Silent Girls by Ann Troup 

Look At Me by Sarah Duguid

The Butcher’s Hook by Janet Ellis


 

I was very lucky this month that I got to interview four authors on my blog. You can read them all at the links below:

Janet Ellis (author of The Butcher’s Hook)

 

Carol Lovekin (author of Ghostbird)

 

Caroline James (author of Coffee, Tea, The Caribbean and Me) 

 

East of Coker banner (2)

Andy Owen (author of East of Coker)

 


 

Also on my blog I featured a lovely guest post by Elle Turner (author of Tapestry) and took part in a cover reveal for The Joyce Girl by Annabel Abbs


 

Then to round off what has been a brilliant month of blogging, I wrote a blog post this week about keeping books for the right moment (you can read that here) and it has become one of the most read posts on my blog and is the most liked so I’m thrilled about that. I’m not very confident in writing posts, I usually stick to reviews, so it was really lovely that something I wrote struck such a chord with some of my readers. 

My blog is still growing, which is brilliant. I’ve been blogging for about seven months now and enjoy it so much, I couldn’t imagine not being a blogger now!

Over the course of the next month on my blog I want to make a new blog header, and to make some new headers for my posts. My husband is much better at taking photos than me so he’s very kindly agreed to take some pics of my favourite books so that we can make them into some nicer headers. I’m looking forward to getting that done. I do keep pondering about changing my WP theme as I’ve never really liked this one, but I know how to make changes in this theme and how to keep it up to date so I’m reluctant to mess about with that just at the moment. Hopefully a new header will at least brighten things up a bit!

 


 

So, that was my month! How was your March? Has it been a book-filled month for you? Please feel free to share in the comments below, or to leave a link to your own March Wrap-Up post.

WWW Wednesdays (30 March 2016)

WWW pic

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’m reading now:

The Good Mother by A. L. Bird

The Good Mother by A. L. Bird

This book has me utterly engrossed – I literally only put it down when real life forces me too! I cannot figure out what is going on but I can sense there is going to be a shock in store. I hope to have some reading time later on today and so will probably finish it then.

Synopsis:

The greatest bond. The darkest betrayal.

Susan wakes up alone in a room she doesn’t recognise, with no memory of how she got there. She only knows that she is trapped, and her daughter is missing.

The relief that engulfs her when she hears her daughter’s voice through the wall is quickly replaced by fear.

The person who has imprisoned her has her daughter, too.

Devising a plan to keep her daughter safe, Susan begins to get closer to her unknown captor. And suddenly, she realises that she has met him before.

dear dad by giselle green

Dear Dad by Giselle Green

This is such a great read. I knew it was going to be good but I wasn’t expecting it to get to me in the way it has, I can’t stop thinking about these characters and I want to get back to reading about them as soon as I possibly can. Dear Dad is due out tomorrow so I’d really like to finish it as soon as I can to have my review ready but at the same time I want to take my time reading to make the book last longer as I don’t want to finish it, it’s so good.

Synopsis:

Handsome, 28-year old, Nate Hardman is a frontline reporter with a big problem. Suffering from shell-shock and unable to leave his house, he’s already lost his social life and his girlfriend. Now his career prospects are sinking fast. 

9 year-old Adam Boxley who lives alone with his ageing nan, also has big problems. Neglected at home and bullied at school, he’s desperate to reach out to his dad – and that’s when he sends his first letter to Nate. Only Nate’s not who he thinks he is. Will he help? More importantly – can he? 

Across town meanwhile, caring but impulsive teacher Jenna Tierney really wants to help Adam – except the feisty redhead has already had enough of teaching. Recently hurt by yet another cheating boyfriend, Jenna’s now set her sights on pursuing a dream career abroad … only she’s about to meet Nate – her dream man who’ll make her re-think everything.  

The big question is; can three people desperate to find love, ever find happiness when they’re only connected by one big lie?

 

I am also still reading these books that I started before this week:

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

The Stylist by Rosie Nixon

Truth, Lies and O-Rings by Allan J. McDonald & James R. Hansen


What I recently finished reading: 

The One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood

The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

I plan to have my review up for this book in the next few days… at the moment I’m struggling to get it written as I just adored this book. I find it so hard to review books that I loved as I can never do them justice but I will do my best. I will say that I finished this book almost a week ago and I still find myself thinking about the characters and actually wondering how they are!

Synopsis:

Miss Ona Vitkus has – aside from three months in the summer of 1914 – lived unobtrusively, her secrets fiercely protected. 

The boy, with his passion for world records, changes all that. He is eleven. She is one hundred and four years, one hundred and thirty three days old (they are counting). And he makes her feel like she might be really special after all. Better late than never…

Only it’s been two weeks now since he last visited, and she’s starting to think he’s not so different from all the rest.

Then the boy’s father comes, for some reason determined to finish his son’s good deed. And Ona must show this new stranger that not only are there odd jobs to be done, but a life’s ambition to complete . . .

Between You and Me by Lisa Hall

Between You and Me by Lisa Hall

I finished this book a couple of days ago but has yet haven’t managed to finish my review. I’m struggling with this one because I have conflicting thoughts about it and so am trying to get them written down in a coherent review. Hopefully I’ll have it ready to post very soon.

Synopsis:

They say every marriage has its secrets.
But no one sees what happens behind closed doors.
And sometimes those doors should never be opened…

Sal and Charlie are married. They love each other. But they aren’t happy. Sal cannot leave, no matter what Charlie does – no matter how much it hurts.


 

What I plan on reading next:

In The Light Of What We See by Sarah Painter

In The Light of What We See by Sarah Painter

I’m very excited to start reading this book, it sounds so good. I hope to be reading it later today.

Synopsis:

Brighton, 1938: Grace Kemp is pushed away by the family she has shamed. Rejected and afraid, she begins a new life as a nurse. But danger stalks the hospital too, and she’ll need to be on her guard to avoid falling into familiar traps. And then there are the things she sees…Strange portents that have a way of becoming real.

Eighty years later, Mina Morgan is brought to the same hospital after a near-fatal car crash. She is in terrible pain but recalls nothing. She’s not even sure whom to trust. Mina too sees things that others cannot, but now, in hospital, her visions are clearer than ever…

Two women, separated by decades, are drawn together by a shared space and a common need to salvage their lives.


 

I posted a piece on Monday about how I’ve realised that I keep a lot of books (you can read my post HERE if you’d like to), that I badly want to read, for the right moment but then the build up is so big that the right moment never comes. So I’m trying to think of the best way to set myself a challenge to start reading these books. I think it will help if I make sure I list one in my WWW Wednesday post every week and then make sure I at least start reading it before the following week comes around.


 

What are you reading at the moment? Have you finished any good books recently? Any books you’re looking forward to reading soon? Please feel free to join in with this meme and share your link below, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below.

 

Stacking the Shelves (19 March 2016)

stacking-the-shelves

(Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week – ebooks or physical books, and books you’ve bought or borrowed or received an ARC of.)

This week I’ve tried to be more restrained in my book buying and I have been to a degree but I still couldn’t resist buying a few books!

Here are the new books that I purchased this week:

Love Like Salt: A Memoir by Helen Stevenson I’ve heard so much about this book on social media and have been really wanting to read it. I hope to get to it soon.

Mrs Houdini by Victoria Kelly I bought this book on a bit of a whim! I saw the cover and thought it looked fab and then when I read the synopsis it sounded like a really good read.

When We Were Alive by C. J. Fisher This is book I’ve seen reviewed on quite a few blogs recently so when I spotted it at a good price on Kindle I thought I’d download it.

Sewing the Shadows Together by Alison Baillie I saw this reviewed on MyChesnutReadingTree‘s blog this week and went straight to my Kindle and downloaded it. I can’t wait to read it, it sounds like my type of book.

Case 48 by Emma Kavanagh (a free short story on Amazon Kindle) I’ve loved all of Emma Kavanagh’s novels so when I spotted this free short story it was a no brainer to download it.


I also received these books for review:

The Missing by C. L. Taylor I was thrilled that my request for this book was approved, I adore C. L. Taylor’s writing and wanted to read this book asap! I do have it on pre-order so will still have a print copy on release day but I couldn’t resist the chance to read and review it sooner! I’ve started reading it already so should be able to review it next week.

The Good Mother by A. L. Bird I’m really looking forward to reading this review book too, so much so that it’s next on my list when I’ve finished The Missing.

Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom I was offered the chance to read and review Wonder Cruise this week and I’m looking forward to starting it. 

The Treachery of Trains by Sylvia Ashby I was also offered the chance to review this book too, it may be a little while before I get to it but I am looking forward to reading it.


 

So, that’s all of my new books from the last two weeks. Have you bought any new books recently? Tell me all in the comments below, or if you have a stacking the shelves post on your blog feel free to post the link below too. 🙂 

My weekly wrap up post will be on my blog tomorrow so please look out for that.

WWW Wednesday (16 March 2016)

WWW pic

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’m reading now:

The missing

The Missing by C. L. Taylor

I was so excited when I saw that this book was going to be available on Net Galley and was thrilled when my request was approved. I *love* C. L. Taylor’s books so much. I actually already have this on pre-order but couldn’t resist the chance to read and review it sooner. I’ll still look forward to my copy arriving in the post though.

Synopsis:

You love your family. They make you feel safe. You trust them. Or do you…?

When fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson goes missing in the middle of the night, his mother, Claire, blames herself. She’s not the only one. There isn’t a single member of Billy’s family that doesn’t feel guilty. But the Wilkinson’s are so used to keeping secrets from one another that it isn’t until six months later, after an appeal for information goes horribly wrong, that the truth begins to surface.

Claire is sure of two things – that Billy is still alive and that her friends and family had nothing to do with his disappearance.

A mother’s instinct is never wrong. Or is it?

Sometimes those closest to us are the ones with the most to hide…

The Stylist by Rosie Nixon

The Stylist by Rosie Nixon

I am enjoying this book so much, it’s a very amusing novel and one I’m finding hard to put down.

Synopsis:

When Amber Green, a shop assistant in an exclusive London boutique is plucked from obscurity and mistakenly offered a job working with Mona Armstrong, the infamous, jet-setting ‘stylist to the stars’, she hits the ground running, helping to style some of Hollywood’s hottest (and craziest) starlets.

As awards season spins into action Mona is in hot demand and Amber’s life turned upside down. Suddenly she catching the attention of two very different suitors, TV producer Rob and Hollywood bad boy rising star Liam. How will Amber keep her head? And what the hell will everyone wear?

The One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood

The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

I was lucky to win a signed copy of this novel in a competition and it’s definitely a book that I will treasure as it’s such a beautiful, moving story. I’m about halfway through it and whenever I’m not reading it I’m thinking about the characters. 

Synopsis:

A one-in-a-million story for anyone who loves to laugh, cry, and think about how extraordinary ordinary life can be. Not to be missed by readers who loved THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY, ELIZABETH IS MISSING or THE SHOCK OF THE FALL.

Miss Ona Vitkus has – aside from three months in the summer of 1914 – lived unobtrusively, her secrets fiercely protected. 

The boy, with his passion for world records, changes all that. He is eleven. She is one hundred and four years, one hundred and thirty three days old (they are counting). And he makes her feel like she might be really special after all. Better late than never…

Only it’s been two weeks now since he last visited, and she’s starting to think he’s not so different from all the rest.

Then the boy’s father comes, for some reason determined to finish his son’s good deed. And Ona must show this new stranger that not only are there odd jobs to be done, but a life’s ambition to complete . . .

The Day of Second Chances

The Day of Second Chances by Julie Cohen

I’ve hard this novel on my review shelf for a while now and this week it was calling to me. I wish I’d read it sooner now because it’s such a good book, another one that’s had to put down.

Synopsis:

Can you imagine keeping a secret so devastating, you couldn’t even tell the people you love?

Honor’s secret threatens to rob her of the independence she’s guarded ferociously for eighty years.

Jo’s secret could smash apart the ‘normal’ family life she’s fought so hard to build.

Lydia’s secret could bring her love – or the loss of everything that matters to her.

One summer’s day, grandmother, mother and daughter’s secrets will collide in a single dramatic moment.

Is it too late for second chances?

Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin

Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin

This novel is so enchantingly beautiful, I’m actually not sure how I will ever to justice to it in a review. I’m deliberately reading it slowly as I just want it to last forever. Ghostbird is released tomorrow so please go buy a copy, you won’t want to miss this book! My review will be up on Monday (the 21st March) as part of the blog tour and I’ll also have a Q&A with the author, Carol Lovekin, which I can’t wait to share.

Synopsis:

Nothing hurts like not knowing who you are. Nobody will tell Cadi anything about her father and her sister. Her mother Violet believes she can only cope with the past by never talking about it. Lili, Cadi’s aunt, is stuck in the middle, bound by a promise she shouldn’t have made. But this summer, Cadi is determined to find out the truth.

In a world of hauntings and magic, in a village where it rains throughout August, as Cadi starts on her search the secrets and the ghosts begin to wake up. None of the Hopkins women will be able to escape them.

truth lies and o-rings

Truth, Lies and, O-Rings: Inside the Space Shuttle Disaster by Allan J. McDonald & James R. Hansen

I’m still reading this book and I think I will be for a while. It’s a fascinating read but it’s not one to read in big chunks.

Synopsis:

On a cold January morning in 1986, NASA launched the Space Shuttle Challenger, despite warnings against doing so by many individuals, including Allan McDonald. The fiery destruction of Challenger on live television moments after launch remains an indelible image in the nation’s collective memory.

In Truth, Lies, and O-Rings, McDonald, a skilled engineer and executive, relives the tragedy from where he stood at Launch Control Center. As he fought to draw attention to the real reasons behind the disaster, he was the only one targeted for retribution by both NASA and his employer, Morton Thiokol, Inc., makers of the shuttle’s solid rocket boosters. In this whistle-blowing yet rigorous and fair-minded book, McDonald, with the assistance of internationally distinguished aerospace historian James R. Hansen, addresses all of the factors that led to the accident, some of which were never included in NASA’s Failure Team report submitted to the Presidential Commission.

Truth, Lies, and O-Rings is the first look at the Challenger tragedy and its aftermath from someone who was on the inside, recognized the potential disaster, and tried to prevent it. It also addresses the early warnings of very severe debris issues from the first two post-Challenger flights, which ultimately resulted in the loss of Columbia some fifteen years later.


 

What I recently finished reading: 

I’m so happy to report that my reading mojo is finally back! This week I have finished SIX books!! Some of these books I’ve been reading for a while and just finished them this week but I did read three whole books from start to finish since last Wednesday. I’ve only managed to review on of these books so far but I do plan on reviewing the rest very soon so look out for those.

Quicksand by Steve Toltz (I was on the blog tour for this book on Friday so you can read my review here if you’d like to)

You Sent Me A Letter by Lucy Dawson

When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen

A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold

Sally Ride by Lynn Sherr

A Proper Family Christmas by Chrissie Manby


 

What I plan on reading next:

the good mother

The Good Mother by A. L. Bird

I was super excited to received a review copy of this book as it sounds so good. I hope to start reading it in the next few days and I suspect it’ll be one of those that I can’t put down.

Synopsis:

The greatest bond. The darkest betrayal.

Susan wakes up alone in a room she doesn’t recognise, with no memory of how she got there. She only knows that she is trapped, and her daughter is missing.

The relief that engulfs her when she hears her daughter’s voice through the wall is quickly replaced by fear.

The person who has imprisoned her has her daughter, too.

Devising a plan to keep her daughter safe, Susan begins to get closer to her unknown captor. And suddenly, she realises that she has met him before.

the night that changed everthing

The Night That Changed Everything by Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice

I’m so looking forward to reading this book, it sounds like such a good read. I’ve heard lots of good things about it so I’m sure I’m going to really enjoy it.

Synopsis:

Rebecca is the only girl she knows who didn’t cry at the end of Titanic. Ben is the only man he knows who did. Rebecca’s untidy but Ben doesn’t mind picking up her pieces. Ben is laid back by Rebecca keeps him on his toes. They’re a perfect match.

Nothing can come between them. Or so they think.

When a throwaway comment reveals a secret from the past, their love story is rewritten.

Can they recover from the night that changed everything? And how do you forgive when you can’t forget?

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

I’m such a big fan of Louise Candlish’s novels so I can’t wait to start reading this one.

Synopsis:

In the heady swelter of a London summer, the Elm Hill lido opens.

For teacher Natalie Steele, the school holiday typically means weeks of carefully planned activities with her husband Ed and their daughter Molly. But not this year.

Despite Molly’s extreme phobia of the water, Natalie is drawn to the lido and its dazzling social scene, led by the glamorous Lara Channing. Soon Natalie is spending long, intoxicating days with Lara at the pool – and intimate evenings at her home. Natalie’s real life begins to feel very far away.

But is the new friendship everything it seems? Why is Natalie haunted by memories from another summer years ago? And, without realising, has she been swept dangerously out of her depth?

 


What are you reading at the moment? Have you finished any good books recently? Any books you’re looking forward to reading soon? Please feel free to join in with this meme and share your link below, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below.