My Weekly Wrap-Up (4 Feb)!

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This week started off okay but has been a bit rubbish latterly. It’s affected my reading and so far I haven’t read a single thing in February – not even a chapter of a book let alone an entire book. I did finish a couple of books before January ended so have read those this week but it’s not been a good week. I’m hoping my concentration returns very soon so that I can get back to my reading.

My MacBook has had another wobble, which has made blogging quite difficult. I’m so glad that I do prepare some posts in advance so that I can edit them on my phone but it makes it hard to keep up with reading blogs and commenting. We think the issue with my MacBook is something to do with a recent software update so it’s trial and error at the moment trying to find a workaround until a patch is released.

 

This week I’ve finished reading two books:

Spaceman by Mike Massimino

This book was a surprise birthday present from my husband and I adored it. It grabbed me from the first page and I didn’t put this book down from that moment on until I finished it. It’s such an interesting insight into astronaut training at NASA and I think it may well be a book that I re-read at some point.

Winter by Ali Smith

This took me a while to read because my copy was very tightly bound, making it hard for me to hold, but it was actually nice in a way to be forced to read slowly and to savour it because it’s a brilliant novel. I love Ali Smith’s writing and I think this might be my new favourite by her!

 

This week I’ve blogged four times:

My Weekly Wrap-Up Post

My WWW Wednesday Post

My January Wrap-Up Post

My Birthday Book Haul

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton

I’ve been intending to start re-reading this series for a little while now but learning of the death of Sue Grafton in December really made me think I needed to make an effort to pick the books up again. I do love Kinsey Millhone, she’s a great character and I’m really enjoying being back in her world.

The Note by Zoe Folbigg

I read the first couple of chapters of this book before I hit my slump and was enjoying it so I’m looking forward to getting back into it.

The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd

This book is really good and I’m so intrigued about where it’s going to go so I’m very keen to pick this back up. I don’t want my mood to affect my reading enjoyment though so I’ve been waiting until my head was in the right place again.

Spark Joy by Marie Kondo

I’ve not read anymore of this since last week but I hope to get back to this one very soon as non-fiction is often the thing that gets me back reading after a slump.

 


 

How has your week been? What have you been reading? Please share in the comments below. If you write a wrap-up on your blog please feel free to share the link. 🙂

 

 

 

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My January Wrap-Up post!

Monthly Wrap Up post Copyrighted

January has been a strange old month. I always struggle with January as it comes filled with a lot of sad memories for me.

It was my birthday though, which I find tough but my husband made it really lovely for me. He cooked a lush meal in the evening and we shared a bottle of wine while I opened the pile of presents that he gave me. I got some fab new books so will be doing a book haul very soon!

I read a lot of fabulous books in January so my reading year is off to a great start! I can’t pick a favourite from the books that I read, they were all very enjoyable reads.

I didn’t manage to review as many books in January as I’d hoped to as I had a wobbly MacBook but I did get a few blog posts up and now my MacBook appears to be fixed I’m hoping to catch up on my reviews very soon.

 

Here are the 19 books I read this month:

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

I hadn’t read this in many years and couldn’t remember whodunnit so it was great to read this again with fresh eyes in a new edition. I really enjoyed this mystery and it got my reading year of to a brilliant start!

The Deaths of December by Susi Holliday

This was a really good crime thriller novel. It was ideal to read around the festive period but it could be read at another time of year if you’re keen to get to it.

Forgiveness is Really Strange by Masi Noor

This was an ARC so I will be reviewing it soon. I found it really made me think about the nature of forgiveness and gave me a lot to ponder on.

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

I’d had this ARC on my TBR for a while but when I finally read it I enjoyed it. It was an interesting novel about family dynamics and how and why people disappear.

South and West by Joan Didion

I read Blue Nights last year and found it to be a really honest memoir about the loss of her daughter so I was keen to pick this travel memoir up. I find that I get utterly engrossed in her writing and I adore it.

An Act of Silence by Colette McBeth

I got completely lost in this novel, it was such a prescient book and one that I’m still thinking about. I have already reviewed this one so you can read my thoughts here.

Friend Request by Laura Marshall

I read this novel in just two sittings (and the only reason that it wasn’t one sitting was because it was late at night and I needed sleep), it had me hooked right to the very end!

Out of Orange by Cleary Wolters

This was an audiobook and once I got into it I really enjoyed it. It’s definitely a must read for fans of Orange is the New Black.

The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie

I’ve had this book on my TBR for a long time and was hesitant to pick this up as I’d seen mixed reviews. I’m kicking myself for leaving it so long though as I really did enjoy this quirky and interesting novel.

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

This book was so good! It grabbed me from the start and had me engrossed into it right to the very end.

This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay

I got this book for Christmas and was so pleased as I’d been keen to read it. I read it in one sitting and it was such an interesting book – both funny and heartbreaking at the same time. It was certainly eye-opening!

In The Days Of Rain by Rebecca Stott

I’ve kept hearing about this book and when it won the Costa biography award I had to pick it up. I got the audiobook and found it really engrossing listening to this true story.

Three Things about Elsie by Joanna Cannon

This book was just incredible. I read it on a weekend when I badly needed solace and this book gave me that and so much more as well. I’m still struggling to finish my review because I loved it so much. This is definitely a new favourite and I already want to re-read it!

Meeting Lydia by Linda MacDonald

I listened to this book on audio and really enjoyed it. I’ve already reviewed this book so you can find out more of my thoughts here.

I Let Him Go by Denise Fergus

I bought this book on release day and read it in one go. It’s a heartbreaking read but it’s such an honest and open memoir.

This Is How It Ends by Eva Dolan

This is another book that I’ve loved this year. It was so refreshing to read a book that is told in two timelines going in different directions and I very much enjoyed it. I hope to get my review written and posted soon.

The Break by Marian Keyes

I struggled to get into this the first time I picked it up but I gave it another chance at the weekend and I’m so glad I did because I loved it.

Spaceman by Mike Massimino

This was a book that I got for my birthday at the weekend and after looking through all of my birthday books this was the one that called me to me the most. I read it in two sittings and I loved every minute of reading this book.

Winter by Ali Smith

This book took me a little while to read as I was struggling to physically hold the hardback but the novel itself was brilliant. This is another book that I feel sure will be in my favourites list at the end of this year!

 

January Blog Posts & Reviews:

My favourite novels that I read in 2017

My Favourite non-fiction books that I read in 2017

My 2017 reading reflections and plans for 2018, and the state of my TBR

My reading bingo results for 2017

Review of An Act of Silence by Colette McBeth

My Christmas book haul

My January book haul

An additional January book haul (oops!)

Review of Meeting Lydia by Linda MacDonald

 

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The state of my TBR:

I made the decision to work on my TBR more seriously this year; to try and read more of the books I already own rather than accumulating a lot more. I started the year with 2756 (this is books that I own)! Over the month it’s held steady-ish as I’ve been good at resisting buying too many books and I’ve also been better at DNFing books that I’m not enjoying. I had a little clear out too and got rid of a few books. Then at the end of the month it was my birthday and I got some books and also some book vouchers so my TBR has gone up again. I’m really pleased with myself overall that my current TBR is now 2752, which is four books less than it was on the first day of the year!

 


 

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

WWW Wednesdays (31 Jan)! What are you reading this week?

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

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

 

What I’m reading now:

The Note by Zoe Folbigg

I have an ARC of this which I got after seeing the author interviewed on TV around the time the book was released so I’m happy to finally be reading this one. It’s an easy read and I’m really enjoying it so far.

The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd

I picked this book up yesterday and am hooked! I didn’t know much about this book going into it and have no idea where it’s going to go. It’s got me guessing though and I’m keen to read more!

Spark Joy by Marie Kondo

I’m still dipping in and out of this book and finding lots to motivate me.

 

What I recently finished reading:

Spaceman by Mike Massimino

This was a birthday present from my husband and I started reading it the minute I finished opening my presents (a birthday book haul post will be up soon!). It was such a brilliant read, I loved every minute of reading it.

Winter by Ali Smith

I’ve been reading this for a while as I was struggling with physically holding the book but yesterday I managed to read the second half of the book in one go and I adored it. This is a brilliant book and I’m already looking forward to the next in the quartet!

The Break by Marian Keyes

I couldn’t get into this the first time I started it but wanted to give it another go as I do love Marian Keyes writing. I picked it up at the weekend and ended up reading it in two sittings and I very much enjoyed it. I’ll hopefully get my review of this posted soon.

This Is How It Ends by Eva Dolan

This book was so good! I love the way it was told with the two main characters timelines moving in opposite directions, and it kept me on my toes all the way through. I’m still trying to write my review but hopefully I’ll get it finished soon, I recommend this though.

I Let Him Go by Denise Fergus

I bought this book last Thursday and read it the same day. It’s a very open and honest and heartbreaking memoir.

Meeting Lydia by Linda MacDonald

I read and reviewed this one last week so you can read my thoughts here if you’d like to know more. I enjoyed this book.

 

What I plan on reading next:

Waco by David Thibodeau

I put this in my planned reading a couple of weeks ago and didn’t manage to start it so I’m going to aim to get to it in the coming week.

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

I really want to read this book as I’ve heard so many great things so it’s on my next-to-read pile and I definitely want to get to it this week.

The Reunion by Samantha Hayes

I downloaded an ARC of this from NetGalley recently and have been keen to read it as soon as possible. It’s due out in February (I think!) so now seems a good time to pick it up!

 

 

 


 

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.

My Weekly Wrap-Up (28 Jan)!

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This week has been a mixed week really. It was the anniversary of my mum’s death earlier in the week, which hit me harder this year than in previous years. It’s strange how grief can still catch you offguard even after the passing of time.

In happier news my husband took me out for coffee and cake mid-week – it was the first time I’ve left the house since before Christmas (apart from a couple of hospital appointments) so it was really lovely.

It’s my birthday this weekend. I won’t be opening my presents until later on today but there are a few book-shaped parcels so I’m thinking I might have another book haul soon!

 

This week I’ve finished reading four books:

This is How it Ends by Eva Dolan

I finished this book yesterday and it was so good! I read an ARC so I hope to get my review written and posted very soon but in the meantime I definitely recommend this book!

I Let Him Go by Denise Fergus

I bought this last week and read it the same day. It’s a very moving and honest memoir; a book that will stay with me.

Meeting Lydia by Linda MacDonald

I listened to the audio book of this and really enjoyed it. I got completely swept up in Marianne’s story. I reviewed this book yesterday so you can read more of my thoughts here if you’d like to.

Three Things about Elsie by Joanna Cannon

I read this book last weekend and I still don’t have the words. It was so stunningly beautiful and I already want to read it again. This is my new favourite book and I highly, highly recommend it!

 

This week I’ve blogged four times:

My Weekly Wrap-Up post

WWW Wednesday post

Stacking the Shelves post

Review of Meeting Lydia by Linda MacDonald

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

The Break by Marian Keyes

I picked this up yesterday afternoon and am really enjoying it. I wasn’t sure about the premise at first but Marian Keyes’ writing is so lovely that I got completely hooked and am now loving it!

Spark Joy by Marie Kondo

I’ve read a couple more chapters of this book this week and am now really in the mood to find some de-cluttering to do. I don’t agree with all of Marie Kondo’s ideas but I still enjoy her books.

Winter by Ali Smith

I was finally able to pick this up again this week and managed to read another chunk of it. I had hoped to finish it yesterday but alas my hands let me down and I couldn’t read a print book. Hopefully I’ll get to read to the end very soon because it really is a brilliant read.

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The State of the TBR:

Well, if you saw my Stacking the Shelves post yesterday you will know that I’ve added seven books to my TBR this week. I was good though and have already read one of my new books so only six are being added to the TBR. I’m feeling really pleased with myself though because I also got rid of 24 books over the past week, which means my TBR has actually decreased by seventeen to 2737!

 

 

 


 

How has your week been? What have you been reading? Please share in the comments below. If you write a wrap-up on your blog please feel free to share the link. 🙂

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

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

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

 

What I’m reading now:

This is How it Ends by Eva Dolan

I picked this up the other day and I’m really enjoying it. I love how it’s told in a non-linear fashion so that a picture of what is going on is gradually being built up. It’s a book that I keep thinking about when I’m not reading it, which is always the sign of a good read.

Meeting Lydia by Linda MacDonald

This is my audio book for this week and I’m enjoying it. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book when I accepted it for review but it’s got me wanting to listen to more whenever I can. I’ll be reviewing this on Saturday so look out for my thoughts then if you want to know more.

Spark Joy by Marie Kondo

I’m still reading a chapter of this here and there and enjoying it. I don’t agree with all Marie Kondo’s ideas but all books on de-cluttering get me in the right mindset to have a sort out, which I love.

Winter by Ali Smith

I managed to read a bit more of this book this week and am still finding it such an incredible novel. I just wish the hardcover wasn’t as tightly bound as it is because it means I just can’t hold it to read for more than a few minutes at a time.

 

What I recently finished reading:

Three Things about Elsie by Joanna Cannon

I read this over the weekend and I just completely and utterly adored it. It’s a stunning book and I already want to pick it up and read it again! I’m in the middle of writing my review so I hope to get that posted soon.

This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay

This book was eye-opening! I found it so readable, and I read it in just two sittings, but it was heartbreaking at times. It’s a real insight into the NHS and I highly recommend it to everyone.

In These Days of Rain by Rebecca Stott

I listened to this on audio book and got completely engrossed in it. It’s such an honest and moving memoir, one that feels like it will stay with me for a long time to come.

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

I really loved this book, it was so good. I’m struggling to review it because I enjoyed it so much but I definitely recommend it.

 

What I plan on reading next:

The Confession by Jo Spain

I won a copy of this book a while ago and have been so keen to read it, especially after seeing the rave reviews it’s getting, so I’m going to try and pick it up this week.

The Break by Marian Keyes

This is a review book that I’ve had for a little while but have been keen to read it. I did start it once before but it was the wrong time so I put it to one side and now I feel like I’m just in the right mood to read a Marian Keyes so I’m putting this on my TBR for the coming week.

A Book of Untruths by Miranda Doyle

This is another review book that I’ve had for a little while now and it was calling to me when I was looking for my next read so I’m going to try and start this over the next week or so.

 


 

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.

My Weekly Wrap-Up (21 Jan)!

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This coming week is a tough one for me… it’s the anniversary of my mum’s death and also my birthday. I’ve struggled with this week ever since my mum died, as the two dates became so linked together in the year she died that I’ve never quite been able to separate them ever since.  I always feel melancholy until my birthday is over and then the mood lifts again. It’s hard to distract myself when feeling like this but I always do my best to escape into books.

In better news, I had a really helpful first appointment at the hospital with a new consultant. It was refreshing to be listened to and taken seriously, now it’s just the long wait for the results.

Annoyingly, a couple of days ago I opened my MacBook to write some reviews and it was not working at all. My husband has got it working again now but neither of us trust it to keep working as it’s still behaving oddly. Urgh! I can only blog on my MacBook as my dictation software doesn’t work with anything else so if I end up not being around so much in the near future it’s because it’s bit the dust. Hopefully it will keep working for the foreseeable though.

 

 

This week I’ve finished reading four books:

This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay

This book was one of my Christmas presents and I’ve been so keen to read it. I picked it up the other day and it was brilliant, even better than I expected. There is a real mix of humour and heartbreak, and it felt like it really represented what it must be like to work as a junior doctor in the NHS. I highly recommend this book.

In the Days of Rain by Rebecca Stott

I’ve had this book on my audio book TBR for a while and somehow hadn’t listened to it. I then saw a few reviews of it after it won the biography category in the Costa Book Awards so immediately started listening. This is such an open and honest memoir, it’s a book that I feel will stay with me.

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

This is a review book that I’ve had for a little while now but I finally got to read it this week and I loved it. It had me hooked from start to finish and it feels like a book that will really stay with me. I’m struggling to write my review because I loved the book so much. Hopefully I’ll manage to get my words together very soon though.

Out of Orange by Cleary Wolters

This was my other audio book from this week and I enjoyed it. I wasn’t sure of it to start with but once I got into it I found it interesting. I recommend it for fans of Orange is the New Black.

 

This week I’ve blogged three times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday post

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves with my latest book haul

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

Three Things about Elsie by Joanna Cannon

I started reading this book last night and I’ve already had a little cry over it. It’s just so believable and so beautifully written; it feels like this might become a new favourite book. I will be reviewing this once I’ve read it but I can already recommend it.

This is How it Ends by Eva Dolan

This book is so good. I love the way it’s told in a non-linear way and so the story is slowly unfolding, it’s got me engrossed and it’s a book I really look forward to picked it up and reading a bit more.

Spark Joy by Marie Kondo

I haven’t read much more of this book this week as I just haven’t been in the mood for it. I hope to get back to it in the coming week though as I am enjoying it.

Winter by Ali Smith

I’m still very much enjoying this book but I’m struggling to read it because my copy is really tightly bound so it’s impossible for me to hold when I’m not doing so well. I will get properly back to this as soon as the strength in my hands improves again.

Rest in Power by Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin

I’ve read a couple more chapters of this book this week and I’m finding it such a heartbreaking read. I may put this to one side for the next week and pick it back up once I’m feeling on more of an even keel.

 

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The State of the TBR:

Well, I’m really happy to report that three weeks into 2018 my TBR is holding steady at 2753 owned books, which is the same as it was last week! I have looked at books but have resisted buying any. I did get a couple of books from NetGalley but because of the books I’ve read this week my TBR has remained at the same number! I really want to reduce my TBR over this year but to not be increasing it is still something of an achievement for me! You can see my latest book haul here.

 

 


 

How has your week been? What have you been reading? Please share in the comments below. If you write a wrap-up on your blog please feel free to share the link. 🙂

WWW Wednesday (17 Jan)! What are you reading this week?

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

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

 

What I’m reading now:

 

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

This book is so good! If it wasn’t for the fact I’ve had a rough couple of days I think I would have finished this in one or two sittings. It feels like this is going to be a five star read!

Spark Joy by Marie Kondo

I’m enjoying this book and it’s definitely getting me in the right mindset to have another de-clutter once I feel better.

Winter by Ali Smith

This book is incredible and the only reason I haven’t finished yet is because I’m struggling to hold hardback books at the moment. I will get back to this asap though because it’s fabulous!

 

What I recently finished reading:

The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie

I’ve had this on my TBR since it first came out but I’ve kept putting it off and I don’t know why. I ended up reading the whole novel in one sitting on Sunday, I just couldn’t put it down. It’s an interesting novel and is one that I think will stay with me.

Out of Orange by Cleary Wolters

This was my audio book pick for the last week and I ended up really enjoying it. I wasn’t sure about it at first but it ended up being really interesting. It’s must-read for fans of Orange is the New Black!

Friend Request by Laura Marshall

This book grabbed me on the first page and held my attention all the way to the end. It was one of those novels that I just didn’t want to put down until I knew what was going on. I’ll try to get my review written and posted on here soon.

An Act of Silence by Colette McBeth

This book is such a powerful and prescient novel, I highly recommend it. If you want to know more of my thoughts please click on the title to read my full review.

 

What I plan on reading next:

Three Things about Elsie by Joanna Cannon

I’m so excited to read this book and didn’t manage to get to it over the last few days but I really hope to start it over the coming week. I just know that this is going to be a real treat, and I’m in need of that just now.

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

I got approved for this book on NetGalley just the other day and I’m so keen to read it. It’s due out on 25th Jan so I’m bumping it straight to the top of my TBR!

Trying by Emily Philips

I was sent a surprise copy of this book around Christmas and it sounds like such a good read that I want to make sure I read it soon. It’ll be in my next book haul so this is a bit of a spoiler for that!

 

 

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.

My Weekly Wrap-Up (14 Jan)!

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This week I am finally starting to feel human again after a horrible flu virus that floored me for a couple of weeks. Now my headache has gone I’ve been able to catch up on some blogging and to get some reading done. It’s nice to be back blogging again and I hope to have regular reviews and other posts up from now on as it’s been a while since I was in a routine with it.

 

This week I’ve finished reading four books:

Friend Request by Laura Marshall

I read this book in just two sittings because I didn’t want to put it down. It grabbed me from the opening chapter and kept me hooked all the way through. I’ll hopefully have my review up on my blog this week.

An Act of Silence by Colette McBeth

This is such a powerful novel and one I definitely recommend. I’ve already reviewed this so if you’d like to know more of my thoughts on it please click on the title above.

South and West by Joan Didion

I read Blue Nights towards the end of last year so I was keen to read this new book by Joan Didion. It was a really interesting book and I’m glad I read it.

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

I’ve had this on my review TBR for quite a while now but I finally picked it up in the week and I really enjoyed it. I’m hoping to get my review finished and posted this week so please look out for that.

 

This week I’ve blogged seven times:

My Favourite Novels Read in 2017

My Favourite Non-Fiction Read in 2017

2017 Reading Reflections, Bookish Plans for 2018 & The State of my TBR!

WWW Wednesdays

Reading Bingo Results from 2017

Review of An Act of Silence by Colette McBeth

Stacking the Shelves with my Christmas Book Haul!

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

This book is so good! I started reading it yesterday morning and had to force myself to put it down otherwise nothing would have got done. I then waited until I could sit down for the evening so I could just read and read.

Winter by Ali Smith

This is such a brilliant novel. I want to devour it but I’m reading slowly so that I can take in everything. I loved Autumn but I think Winter is possibly even better!

Out of Orange by Cleary Wolters

I started this listening book the other day and wasn’t initially sure that it was for me but I’ve actually been hooked listening to it over the last couple of days. It’s an interesting book and one that fans of Orange is the New Black will likely enjoy.

Spark Joy by Marie Kondo

I do love a book about de-cluttering and this is my latest pick. I’m enjoying this because it re-affirms what was in Kondo’s previous book and is motivating me all over again.

Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin by Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin

I haven’t read much more of this book this week but it’s definitely properly back in my currently reading pile and I will be reading more of it in the coming days.

 

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The State of the TBR:

So as I posted in my Reading Reflections post this week I’m going to try really hard to work on reducing my TBR this year. At the start of 2018 my owned books TBR totalled 2756 books. As of writing this post it’s 2753 so it’s going in the right direction so far! It’s hard to resist buying new books but I’m trying to keep in mind that I should wait to buy a book until I’m ready to read it. We’ll see how it goes!

 


 

How has your week been? What have you been reading? Please share in the comments below. If you write a wrap-up on your blog please feel free to share the link. 🙂

My Christmas book haul… Stacking the Shelves (13 Jan)!

Christmas Book Haul!

It’s Stacking the Shelves day! 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!

I was very spoilt at Christmas by my husband who got me lots of fabulous gifts including a Sonos speaker with built-in Alexa, which I love because I can now just ask it to read me my audiobooks! Seeing as my blog is a book blog though today’s Stacking the Shelves post is all about my Christmas book haul! I know we’re already well into January now but I’ve had a horrible virus and so am slower than usual to post this.

Anyway, here is the book mountain I received…

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There are twenty-four books in total and I’m so excited to read every single one of them!

 

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Winter by Ali Smith

The books included the gorgeous new Ali Smith book, Winter, which I’m currently reading and very much enjoying.

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Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

I also got the beautiful new hardback edition of Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. I’ve already read this – I spent a whole afternoon curled up reading it from cover to cover and it felt like such a treat.

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David Bowie: A Life by Dylan Jones

I can’t resist biographies of David Bowie so I was very happy to open this new one on Christmas morning. It’s a doorstop of a book so I haven’t started reading this one year but I hope to very soon.

 

I hadn’t heard of these two books but they both sound very interesting and I’m looking forward to reading them.

 

I was thrilled to get these two books about space travel! One is a non-fiction look at the final days of spaceflight and the other is short stories based around space travel. I’ve always been fascinated by space and astronauts so I’m very keen to read these books soon!

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Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley

This is a book I’ve been wanting to get so it was lovely to open it on Christmas day. I hadn’t seen it in real life before I got it so it was fab to see how it’s a gorgeous naked hardback. I’m always interested to read more about Jane Austen so it’s lovely to have this one to read.

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How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

This is such another gorgeous hardback book and one that I’m intrigued to read soon.

 

I’ve wanted to read both of these books for a while so I’m certain that these won’t be on my TBR for very long.

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Noughts and Crosses series by Malorie Blackman

This set of books is a series that I’ve been wanting to read for a long time now so I’m hoping to start reading it soon. I’ve heard only good things about it!

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Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks

I’ve wanted to read this short story collection ever since I first heard about it so I’m beyond excited to have my own copy!

 

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The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson

I read The Red Parts by Maggie Nelson in 2017 and I found the writing utterly stunning so I’ve been wanting to read more of her books. I’m thrilled to have a copy of The Argonauts and am really looking forward to reading it.

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Women & Power by Mary Beard

This is such a gorgeous hardback book, and I’m really keen to read it very soon. I’m enjoying non-fiction so this will be high on my TBR for this year.

 

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Excellent Women, No Fond Return of Love & Crampton Hodnet. All by Barbara Pym

I’ve never read any Barbara Pym before but she’s an author that I’ve been interested in reading. It was lovely to open these three books by her in the gorgeous Virago editions.

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Angels in America by Tony Kushner

I’ve had this book on my wish list for absolutely ages but never got around to buying it so I was very happy to open a copy on Christmas day. I really want to read this one soon but am saving it for the right time.

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The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

I first read The Handmaid’s Tale many years ago. I’ve been wanting to re-read it ever since watching the recent TV adaptation but my battered old copy seems to have got lost in one of my house moves so I was very happy to get this brand new hardback edition. It’s such a beautiful looking book and I’ll be making sure this one doesn’t get lost!

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A Guinea Pig Romeo and Juliet

I’ve had pet guinea pigs for years and my husband has bought me one of these guinea pig re-tellings of a famous novel or play and I just adore them! This is the latest one and I’m so excited to read it. I would’ve tried to get a photo of the book with my guinea pig but he  likely would have eaten the pages!

 


 

Did you get any books for Christmas? Or have you had a recent spending splurge on books? I’d love to know about your most recent book purchases, and if you take part in Stacking the Shelves please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll check out your post!

WWW Wednesday (10 Jan)! What are you reading this week?

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

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

 

What I’m reading now:

Winter by Ali Smith

This book was one of my Christmas gifts from my husband and it’s such an incredible novel. I’m deliberately reading it slowly because I want to savour it, to make sure I don’t miss a thing.

An Act of Silence by Colette McBeth

This book is so good! It’s one of those books that’s really hard to put down and I may even finish reading it before this post goes up. I’m on the blog tour for it on Friday so my review will be up then.

Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin by Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin

I started reading this before Christmas but got side-tracked by Christmas reading. I’ve been wanting to get back to it though so I’ve picked it back up this week. It’s such a heartbreaking book but so important.

Spark Joy by Marie Kondo

I can never resist a de-cluttering book and this is my latest pick! I’m enjoying reading this and making paragraphs that I can refer back to. It’s inspiring me to want to have another clear out in my house once I recover from this horrible lingering virus that I have.

Out of Orange by Cleary Wolters

This is my latest audio book and it’s okay. I was intrigued when I spotted it as it’s by the woman who inspired the character of Alex in Orange is the New Black. So far it’s not grabbing me but I want to give it a bit longer to see if it picks up.

 

What I recently finished reading:

South and West by Joan Didion

I picked this up after really enjoying reading Blue Nights towards the end of last year. South and West didn’t move me in the same way but it was a really fascinating read non-the-less. I recommend this one.

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

This is a review book that has languished on my TBR for way longer than it should have but I’m pleased to say that when I read it over the last few days I enjoyed it. I’m hoping to get my review written and posted for next week so pleased look out for that.

Forgiveness is Really Strange by Masi Noor

This is a graphic non-fiction novel and I’ve been really keen to read it so I was thrilled to spot it on Netgalley recently. It’s a short book but it really made me think. Once I’ve digested it a bit more I will be writing a review on here.

The Deaths of December by Susi Holliday

This was such a good read for around Christmas time and I’m really glad I picked it up. It’s a fast-paced read and I really enjoyed it.

What I plan on reading next:

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

I’ve had this book on my review pile for a while now and time has got away from me but I’m finally going to make this one of my next reads. I’m really looking forward to this, it’s one of my anticipated reads of this year.

Three Things about Elsie by Joanna Cannon

I’ve been saving this book to read this month because Joanna Cannon’s writing always feels like a solace. I’m planning to find an afternoon where I can just curl up and get lost in this book. It’s another of my highly anticipated reads for 2018.

Waco by David Thibodeau and Leon Whiteson

This is another review book and I’ve been really intrigued to read this one as I’ve always been fascinated by cults so this book caught my eye.

 

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.

My Top Ten Fiction Reads 2016

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At the start of 2016 I was undecided on what to set my Goodreads target at so I asked my husband to pick a number between 150 and 200 – he chose 180 (we were possibly watching darts on the telly at the time!). I was on target for the first part of the year and then over the summer I hit a horrible reading slump. I just couldn’t get into any books at all and barely read a thing for about three months. Eventually I got back into the swing of things but was fairly convinced I’d never make my reading goal. The thing that got me back into reading again was re-discovering my love for non-fiction and that joy led me to ending the year having read 211 books! I’m thrilled with what I’ve had the chance to read this year but it has made narrowing it down to a top ten near impossible. I’ve decided that as I read a real mix of fiction and non-fiction that I’d do a top ten of each – I don’t really consider it cheating seeing as 20 books in total is still under 10% of what I read this year.

Before I do my top ten I do want to do a couple of honourable mentions.

The first is to Katey Lovell for the wonderful The Boy in… series. I’ve spent a fair bit of time feeling rotten as my pain levels left me unable to concentrate and Katey Lovell’s series of short stories have got me through some really horrible days. They take 5 or ten mins to read and have honestly always left me feeling that little bit happier than I was before. These stories hold a special place in my heart and I love knowing I can always re-read one to cheer myself up.

Also, this is the year that I decided to try giving graphic novels a go. I’ve always felt a bit odd about them as, having never looked at one before, I assumed they were just like comics (and I never liked comics even when I was a child). However, I picked up Raymond Brigg’s Ethel and Ernest during my hideous reading slump and it was the perfect read in that moment. I couldn’t believe how much detail could be packed into a book with very few words and it really opened my eyes to this genre. I also bought my husband The Gigantic Beard that was Evil as a sort of joke and when I read it I couldn’t believe what a brilliant social commentary it was.


So now for my top ten fiction books of 2016! These books are in no particular order but I have picked two books that are my joint favourite books of the year!

This Must Be the Place by Maggie O'Farrell

This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell

I adore Maggie O’Farrell’s writing – I read her first novel After You’d Gone on the day it was released and it’s still one of my all-time favourite novels. I greatly look forward to a new novel by her and was thrilled to receive a proof of this one ahead of publication. This Must Be the Place is a brilliant novel, one that will stay with me for a long time to come.

You can read my original review here: This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell

The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss

The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss

This is the first Sarah Moss book I’ve read and it absolutely won’t be the last. I picked this up when I was in a major reading slump in the summer and somehow this grabbed my attention from the very first page and held me right until the end. I read this during my blogging break so I sadly haven’t reviewed it but I can assure you that it’s a stunning read and highly recommend you pick it up if you haven’t already.

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Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

This book is stunning and simply had to be part of my top ten of 2016, I knew it would make it as I was reading it. It’s a beautiful read and I recommend it to everyone.

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The Joyce Girl by Annabel Abbs

This is a fascinating novel about Lucia Joyce, the daughter of James Joyce. It’s a book that will hook you in and will hold you in its spell right to the end. It made me want to learn more about Lucia Joyce.

You can read my original review here: The Joyce Girl by Annabel Abbs

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Autumn by Ali Smith

This is one of the more recent reads in my Top Ten but it absolutely had to be included. Ali Smith is an incredible writer, I’ve loved everything that I’ve read of hers. Autumn is a book that got to me in so many ways on so many different levels and I’m sure it will stay with me for a very long time to come.

You can read my original review here: Autumn by Ali Smith

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

This book just captured me from the very start – I loved the two main characters and the bond they formed over such a short space of time. I think the thing that moved me most in this book was the idea of how life can be lost in an instant but the legacy, the memory left behind can still have such great impact on those that remain. This is a book I will definitely re-read in the future.

You can read my original review here: The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

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The Museum of You by Carys Bray

I loved Carys Bray’s first novel and so was very excited to be sent a proof of this one ahead of release. I read this over a couple of days, finding it very hard to put down. The idea of a young girl trying to piece together the memory of her mother in a tangible way is heart-breaking, and I felt so much for her. The reader knows more than the daughter, which makes it even more poignant to read her journey to put together what she knows of her mum. It’s a beautiful story that is ultimately heart-warming and one I still find myself thinking about months after I finished reading the novel.

You can read my original review here: The Museum of You by Carys Bray

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The Easy Way Out by Steven Amsterdam

I only read this novel recently but it had such an impact on me that I couldn’t not include it in my Top Ten of the year. A novel that explores assisted suicide, and yet is never mawkish and at times has a fair bit of black humour on the subject was always going to make for a fascinating read.

You can read my original review here: The Easy Way Out by Steven Amsterdam

And my joint favourite books of 2016 are…

Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin

I read Ghostbird way back in March and fell completely and utterly in love with Carol Lovekin’s writing. It’s such a beautiful, moving and, at times, devastating novel with magical elements weaved throughout. It captured me from the very first page and I devoured it. It’s one of those novels that seems to cast magic from it, it made me feel soothed and healed as I read. I’ve been recommending this book to everyone I know since I read it, and I’m going to say it again here – if you haven’t already read it then please go grab a copy now, I promise you won’t regret it!

You can read my original review here: Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin

How to be Brave by Louise Beech

This is a lesson for me in not getting my Top Ten books of the year done too early in December! I had this post prepared and ready to go and then I read How To Be Brave and knew there was going to have to be a re-jig as this novel went right to the top of my list! It’s a beautifully moving debut novel, that weaves together the story of a young girl and her mum coming to terms with serious illness alongside her grandfather’s battle for survival on a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean. It’s a novel that had such an impact on me and I keep finding myself thinking back to it. It’s another novel that gave me great solace when I really needed it and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

You can read my original review here: How To Be Brave by Louise Beech


So, that’s my Top Ten fiction books of 2016. What have your favourite reads of this year been? Have you had a good reading year?

Look out for my Top Ten non-fiction books post coming up tomorrow!

#BookReview: Autumn by Ali Smith

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About the Book

A breathtakingly inventive new novel from the Man Booker-shortlisted and Baileys Prize-winning author of How to be both

Fusing Keatsian mists and mellow fruitfulness with the vitality, the immediacy and the colour-hit of Pop Art – via a bit of very contemporary skulduggery and skull-diggery – Autumn is a witty excavation of the present by the past. The novel is a stripped-branches take on popular culture, and a meditation, in a world growing ever more bordered and exclusive, on what richness and worth are, what harvest means.

Autumn is the first installment in Ali Smith’s novel quartet Seasonal: four standalone books, separate yet interconnected and cyclical (as the seasons are), exploring what time is, how we experience it, and the recurring markers in the shapes our lives take and in our ways with narrative.

From the imagination of the peerless Ali Smith comes a shape-shifting series, wide-ranging in timescale and light-footed through histories, and a story about ageing and time and love and stories themselves.

My Thoughts

This book is simply stunning! I think it may be my new favourite by Ali Smith and is a real contender to be my book of 2016.

Ali Smith captures the way autumn feels – the drift away from the warm summer and the move towards winter. It’s written in a literal sense but also metaphorically to mimic what is happening politically at the moment. There is a real sense of the aftermath of Brexit in this novel, without it ever feeling like you’re being hit over the head with it all over again. There’s a subtly to it – the graffiti on a neighbour’s wall, the electric fence that appears near where the characters live. It’s beautifully written and leaves you feeling really quite meloncholy at times.

The novel opens with a man washed ashore. He is naked and lost, and becomes aware of people he vaguely knows passing him by. He isn’t sure how old he is but feels as if his body is younger than he was before. It seems he’s in some kind of limbo. At the same time a young woman is waiting in the Post Office to renew her passport, but her turn never seems to come. She is also in limbo. There is a sense that neither of them is sure of who they are, or where they are going. Perhaps a reference to the sense of isolation people are feeling in the current climate, and also the sense of being other in a world that is feeling less inclusive than before. It certainly reflects the limbo we all feel right now as we wait to see what will happen next.

We then learn of the two main characters and how they met. Daniel is around 80 years old and lives next door to the child Elisabeth. She wants to go round to his house and have him answer questions for her school project but her mother is adamant that she mustn’t. It feels like her mother is very distrustful of the man next door but it’s never stated why, it left me feeling like he was perhaps an other, an outsider – or maybe that Elisabeth and her mother are outsiders. There are other references to Elisabeth as a child feeling like people are looking at her in the street. The relationship that builds between Daniel and Elisabeth when they finally do meet is so lovely. He always speaks to her like she is his equal, and not a child, and they connect on so many levels. It was heartwarming to read how the relationship lasted and how Elisabeth is determined to keep the bond between them.

This book becomes very meta at points and I loved that aspect. The way that Daniel describes a painting to Elisabeth, and then says it isn’t real but she really feels like she has seen it. Then later she sees it reproduced and knows it is real. This made me go search online for Pauline Boty so that I could see the paintings after having such a clear image in my mind. I felt how I was sure Elisabeth must have felt when she finally saw them, because they were like a daydream made real. I felt sure that I had seen them before, like I knew them. Yet I was also seeing them at a step removed – paintings through a computer screen, so even then I’ve not seen the reality of the work, just as Elisabeth hadn’t either. I wasn’t there, in the moment when the paintings existed in a studio – a real awakening to the idea of a set moment in time and how when something has passed, it has passed. We can seek it out, we can reflect but once the leaves have fallen from the trees, they are gone.

Autumn jumps back and forth in time throughout, filling in small details and reminding us of what came before and what came after. This is beautifully illustrated in a moment where Daniel throws his watch in the air to demonstrate to Elisabeth how easily and quickly time flies. Ali Smith’s writing is profound and stunningly beautiful throughout. I’m still thinking about this book weeks after finishing it, and I’m sure it will be with me for a long time to come.

I can’t wait to read the next instalment in this series now! I’ve been recommending this novel to everyone and have already bought a few copies to give as Christmas gifts.

I received a copy of this book from Penguin Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Weekly Wrap up and Stacking the Shelves (2nd January)

It’s time for my first weekly wrap up of 2016! Firstly, I’d like to take the time to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped and supported me as I found my feet in the book blogging world, I am more grateful than I can say. Starting this blog was one of the best things I did in 2015. I never expected that people would read my reviews or follow my blog, and I never knew that I would make genuine friends as a result of becoming a book blogger. It’s really not an understatement to say that starting this blog has changed my life already.

I last did a weekly wrap up post on 19th December so I’m going to use this post to recap all that has happened since then. My reading pace has slowed down massively since I was poorly at the start of December. I’m still not 100% well and due to my physio schedule becoming more intensive I’m exhausted and in increased amounts of pain a lot of the time and reading is near impossible when I feel like that. As a result of illness I barely blogged in December and I’m not going to be back at full blogging speed for a while yet. I am planning to post regular posts from now on though, they just won’t be daily as they were before.

Anyway, my recent posts have included:

My Christmas Novel Recommendations, where I shared my favourite Christmas reads of 2015.

My Favourite Ten Books of 2015, which was so hard to compile as I’ve read so many great books this year.

I also shared the 2015 Year in Review post that WordPress emailed to me.

Yesterday, I posted about My Most Anticipated Books of 2016, where I shared some of the books I’m most excited about reading when they’re released this year.


 

I’ve read five books (since 19th December) and have so far managed to review three of them, I hope to review the other two soon (click on the links below the images to read my reviews).

Snowed in for her Wedding by Emma Bennet

The Christmas Bus by Melody Carlson

Every Time a Bell Rings by Carmel Harrington 

Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

Mrs Scrooge by Carol Ann Duffy (which was my first read of 2016!)

 


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I’m also joining in with Stacking the Shelves (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.

 

For Christmas I received four books, which was fab! Three were from my husband and the fourth was a gift from the publisher HarperImpulse.

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My husband gave me:

Spectacles by Sue Perkins (which I’ve been wanting to read since it was published back in October, so I’m very happy to have a copy now)

Mrs Scrooge by Carol Ann Duffy (this is a gorgeous, illustrated poem that I adored. I now want to collect her previous Christmas poems!)

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume (I have an ebook of this but haven’t read it yet as I’ve been saving it – as I often do with books by favourite authors – I’m thrilled to not only now have a hardback copy but it’s also signed by Judy!)

HarperImpulse sent me a copy of Miracle at Macy’s by Lynn Marie Hulsman, which was a lovely surprise!


 

Books I’ve bought since 19 December:

Public Library and Other Stories by Ali Smith

Jihadi by Yusuf Toropov

The Green Road by Anne Enright

We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley

A Daughter’s Secret by Eleanor Moran

A Line of Blood by Ben McPherson

Love, Love Me Do by Mark Haysom


 

Books I’ve received for review (since 19 December):

The Chimes by Anna Smaill (print copy)

One More Day by Kelly Simmons (ecopy)

The Girl You Lost by Kathryn Croft (ecopy)


 

 

What have you been reading this week? Did you get any books for Christmas? Have you bought any new books? Please feel free to link to your wrap-up post, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below! 🙂