Review: My Favourite Manson Girl by Alison Umminger

My Favourite Manson Girl by Alison Umminger

Anna has had a miserable year. Everything feels wrong with her life. And rather than stay and face the mess, she steals a credit card and books herself a seat on the first flight out of town to Los Angeles, to crash with her sister. But soon after she lands, cold reality soon dawns on her: Hollywood isn’t the escape she needs. She is trapped in a town full of lost souls and wannabes, with no friends, no cash and no return ticket.

When she’s offered a job researching the murderous Manson girls for a dubious film, she reluctantly accepts – she needs the money. But soon enough, among the fake smiles and glitter-fuelled parties, things turn from strange, to dark, to dangerous . . .

This is not going to be the summer Anna had in mind. 

My Favourite Manson Girl is a chilling story about being young, lost and female. This is a story about how girls disappear.

Anna is a fifteen year old girl who is really struggling to deal with her family situation and so she stole $500 from her mum and got on a plane to LA to visit her older sister. She’s definitely at a point in life where she feels like an adult but doesn’t yet have any rights to do what she wants so she acts out. Her home life hasn’t been easy and once I got to know more about that I felt quite sorry for her – she is definitely someone who is lost and who needs someone to pay attention to her otherwise she may well go properly off the rails.

I have to be honest and say that some of the initial sections about Charles Manson felt like an information dump and I wish it had been better incorporated into the novel. Once I was passed this part though all the references to some of the Manson girls were better because they were written from the perspective of how Anna identified with them. The idea of a teenage girl being fascinated by the Manson girls and wondering how they ended up where they did was really interesting to me. I read my mum’s copy of Helter Skelter when I was 15 and it scared me so much, I still shiver when I think of that book, but the murder of Sharon Tate was the thing that particularly got to me. So Anna’s fixation with these girls and the murder of a movie star made some sense to me; I think I was far more horrified and much  less understanding of what they did than Anna but I could understand why she got so drawn into the lives of these women and how they ended up as murderers. It’s apparent that Anna can identify with how a couple to the girls were before they got involved with Manson,  which leads to a compulsion to learn more but also terrifies her to an even greater degree.

Anna doesn’t feel like she really fits in but she so badly wants to – it’s the age old struggle for teenagers. She makes silly choices and isn’t good at seeing the consequences of her actions but she’s not a bad person. Ultimately, she worries for her sister and tries to make sure that she is ok. The side story of Delia having a sort of stalker was interesting and fitted well with what Anna was learning about the Manson family. It seemed quite apparent to me why Delia wasn’t overly concerned about the stalker but I could see why Anna, paranoid from reading books on Charles Manson, was really worried that something sinister was going on.

I really liked Dex in this book, the way he took Anna under his wing and looked out for her a little. It felt like she really needed that from someone so it was good he was there over the summer. Roger was seriously weird, he was hard to get the measure of but I know that he gave me the creeps.

It was sweet that there is a small element of summer romance in this book too but it was very refreshing that it didn’t come to dominate the story. I think the romance, and who it was with, was the thing that showed that Anna grew up over the summer. I felt that she came to understand that nothing is forever and that she needs to make amends with some people on her life.

This was an interesting novel about the many ways in which girls can be lost. The Manson girls were lost in the most extreme way – drawn into a murderous cult that trapped them, whereas Anna was lost in the way that many of us were at that age – she wanted to be seen by the people around her but they were all so focused on their own lives that she felt she had to do something drastic in order to get attention. In reality, the adults in her life had a lot of problems and needed Anna to just be ok but the lack of proper communication and understanding led to her running away.

Los Angeles felt like a character in its own right in this book and I really enjoyed that aspect of the novel. There was a real sense of the heat and the claustrophobic world of celebrity, and wannabe celebrity. The feeling that once you put a foot wrong you’d be cast our forever, which Olivia was teetering on the brink of and desperate to cling on. There were points when it felt quite dream-like – as if the haze of smog and sun and heat  were so oppressive that it was as if the summer wasn’t real. I think Anna had a sense of this as she went through this summer, like it was almost as if she weren’t there either.

This novel wasn’t what I was expecting it to be – I thought it would be a darker novel but having said that it is aimed at a younger audience than me and so for its target market it is a dark read. It’s still a  good read for all ages though. I rated it 4 out of 5 and would recommend it.

My Favourite Manson Girl is due to be published on 7th June in the UK and can be pre-ordered now.

I received a copy of this book from Atom/Little Brown via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

WWW Wednesday (25 May)

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?

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


What I’m reading now:

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All is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker

I’ve only read the first few chapters of this but it’s compulsive reading and had I not been ill yesterday I’d have finished it in one go. It’s such a fascinating idea for a novel.

Synopsis:

You can erase the memory. But you cannot erase the crime.

Jenny’s wounds have healed.
An experimental treatment has removed the memory of a horrific and degrading attack.
She is moving on with her life.

That was the plan. Except it’s not working out.
Something has gone. The light in the eyes. And something was left behind. A scar. On her lower back. Which she can’t stop touching.
And she’s getting worse.
Not to mention the fact that her father is obsessed with finding her attacker and her mother is in toxic denial.

It may be that the only way to uncover what’s wrong is to help Jenny recover her memory. But even if it can be done, pulling at the threads of her suppressed experience will unravel much more than the truth about her attack.

SockPuppet by Matthew Blakstad

Sockpuppet by Matthew Blackstad

This is a really good read, a very modern tale and very interesting. I’m enjoying it.

Synopsis:

Twitter. Facebook. Whatsapp. Google Maps. Every day you share everything about yourself – where you go, what you eat, what you buy, what you think – online. Sometimes you do it on purpose. Usually you do it without even realizing it. At the end of the day, everything from your shoe-size to your credit limit is out there. Your greatest joys, your darkest moments. Your deepest secrets.

If someone wants to know everything about you, all they have to do is look.

But what happens when someone starts spilling state secrets? For politician Bethany Leherer and programmer Danielle Farr, that’s not just an interesting thought-experiment. An online celebrity called sic_girl has started telling the world too much about Bethany and Dani, from their jobs and lives to their most intimate secrets. There’s just one problem: sic_girl doesn’t exist. She’s an construct, a program used to test code. Now Dani and Bethany must race against the clock to find out who’s controlling sic_girl and why… before she destroys the privacy of everyone in the UK.

Where Did I Go by Polly Williamson

Where Did I Go? by Polly Williamson

This is a really interesting read. Polly Williamson has been so open and honest about what it’s like to recover from a brain injury. It’s a moving read.

Synopsis:

“8 December 2011: I went to a small horse competition in the morning. That much I do remember. After that absolutely nothing …”

Polly Williamson’s life changed the day a dramatic incident with a young horse left her with a horrific head injury. She was a horse trainer and former Junior European Champion eventer. She was a wife and mother to two young boys. The accident severed her connection to this former life. It stole away her ability to care for her children and left her struggling to rediscover who she was.

Surviving a near fatal brain injury brings a person face to face with the very basis of their identity. Some will be lucky and pick up their former lives with barely a missed step. Others will have everything that holds them to who they were stripped away by brain damage.

Polly has had her world shattered and seen the fragments of her identity laid bare. Where did I go? is her powerful record of her efforts to pick up the pieces and put her life back together again.

My Favourite Manson Girl by Alison Umminger

My Favourite Manson Girl by Alison Umminger

I’ve almost finished reading this and have enjoyed it. It’s not what I thought it was going to be but it’s a good read.

Synopsis:

Anna has had a miserable year. Everything feels wrong with her life. And rather than stay and face the mess, she steals a credit card and books herself a seat on the first flight out of town to Los Angeles, to crash with her sister. But soon after she lands, cold reality soon dawns on her: Hollywood isn’t the escape she needs. She is trapped in a town full of lost souls and wannabes, with no friends, no cash and no return ticket.

When she’s offered a job researching the murderous Manson girls for a dubious film, she reluctantly accepts – she needs the money. But soon enough, among the fake smiles and glitter-fuelled parties, things turn from strange, to dark, to dangerous . . .

This is not going to be the summer Anna had in mind.


What I recently finished reading:

The Treachery of Trains by Sylvia Ashby

The Treachery of Trains by Sylvia Ashby

I very much enjoyed this novel. I’ve already reviewed it (you can read my review here) and I interviewed the author (which you can read here). I highly recommend this book though, it’s so good.

Synopsis:

Sky has made an abominable mistake at work. Something so awful she doesn’t dare stay in the HR office of XIM Technics for fear of being lynched by her colleagues.

So she gets on a train…

What happens when it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year?

Sky Candy is about to find out.

 

This Secret We're Keeping by Rebecca Done

This Secret We’re Keeping by Rebecca Done

This is an interesting novel that left me with a lot to think about. I’ve reviewed this already and you can read my review here.

Synopsis:

A pupil and a teacher. Is it ever right to break the rules?
Jessica Hart has never forgotten Matthew Landley.
After all, he was her first love when she was fifteen years old. But he was also her school maths teacher, and their forbidden affair ended in scandal with his arrest and imprisonment.
Now, seventeen years later, Matthew returns to Norfolk, with a new identity and a long-term girlfriend and a young daughter, who know nothing of what happened before. Yet when he runs into Jessica, neither of them can ignore the emotional ties that bind them together.
With so many secrets to keep hidden, how long can Jessica and Matthew avoid the dark mistakes of their past imploding in the present?
From debut author Rebecca Done, This Secret We’re Keeping is a powerful and provocative novel about the ties which can keep us together – or tear us apart.

The Barn on Half Moon Hill by Milly Johnson

The Barn on Half Moon Hill by Milly Johnson

This is a really sweet novella that I very much enjoyed. It’s been sold for a really good cause so I absolutely recommend you buy a copy.

Synopsis:

Cariad Williams has been writing to Franco Mezzaluna since they were kids. But he has never written back. And now he has become a famous film star. What’s more, he is due to visit Winterworld, the Christmas theme park where Cariad works. The only problem is that she has boasted to her friends that he is her boyfriend and now everyone will find out about her lie…
An exclusive short story from Milly Johnson to raise funds for the Care for Claire charity.

 


What I plan on reading next:

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Nina is Not O.K. by Shappi Khorsandi

I’ve been looking forward to starting this novel ever since it arrived so am definitely going to try and read it this week.

Synopsis:

Nina does not have a drinking problem. She likes a drink, sure. But what 17-year-old doesn’t?

Nina’s mum isn’t so sure. But she’s busy with her new husband and five year old Katie. And Nina’s almost an adult after all.

And if Nina sometimes wakes up with little memory of what happened the night before , then her friends are all too happy to fill in the blanks. Nina’s drunken exploits are the stuff of college legend.

But then one dark Sunday morning, even her friends can’t help piece together Saturday night. All Nina feels is a deep sense of shame, that something very bad has happened to her…

A dark, funny – sometimes shocking – coming of age novel from one of the UK’s leading comedians. NINA IS NOT O.K. will appeal to fans of Caitlin Moran and Lena Dunham.


 

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.

Weekly Wrap-Up (22 May)

 

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted

 

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.

 


It’s been a busy week for me this week, which has really taken it out of me but it’s been worth it.

The best part about the week was that I finally managed to have my hair cut for the first time since my surgery. I had really long hair but when you can’t wash it, or even brush it yourself it starts to feel like another burden so I decided it would be better for me to have it cut off. It took me a while to persuade my hairdresser to cut it as short as I wanted it as she was worried it was too drastic but I’m really happy with how it looks now. My head feels lighter, which has got to be better for my neck, and it’s going to be so much easier to look after. It’s made me realise that I need to start looking at where else  changes can possibly be made in order to try and make life easier.


I’ve managed to get a post up every day this week, which feels like an achievement. They were all scheduled in advance where possible and otherwise were done in stages as I felt up to it.

The biggest news this week is that my blog has been nominated for a Bloggers Bash award!! I’m up for Best Book Review Blog 2016 and I’m still utterly gobsmacked. Thank you to whoever it was that nominated me, you’ve made me so happy! I’m up against some incredible blogs that are much more established than me so I know I won’t win but I feel like I’ve already won as it’s such an honour to be nominated. If you’d like to vote for me I’m listed as Hayley in the Best Book Review Blog category, you can also vote in all the other categories at this link: Bloggers Bash Awards 2016

A lot of you will know that this blog started off as a little hobby as I was recovering from major spinal surgery last year but as it became apparent that my disability would remain severe my blog has become so much more to me. I don’t know how I would have got through this without having my blog to focus on and all you lovely bloggers that have followed me and supported me.


This week I’ve managed to read two novel and two short stories:

The Treachery of Trains by Sylvia Ashby

This Secret We’re Keeping by Rebecca Done

The Boy with the Board (Meet Cute series) by Katey Lovell

The Boy at the BBQ (Meet Cute series) by Katey Lovell


 I’ve blogged ten (plus one reblog) times this week:

Sunday:

Weekly Wrap-Up Post

Monday:

My Bookish Memories/Review of After You’d Gone by Maggie O’Farrell (linked to the 3 Quotes Challenge)

Tuesday:

My Bookish Memories/Review of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (linked to the 3 Quotes Challenge)

 

Wednesday:

My Bookish Memories/Review of The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (linked to the 3 Quotes Challenge)

WWW Wednesday Post

Thursday:

Review of The Treachery of Trains by Sylvia Ashby

Guest post about making something happen in your novel by Sue Fortin, author of The Girl Who Lied for the Blog Tour

ReBlog: Bloggers Bash Awards Nominations Announcement

Friday:

Review of The Boy with the Board (Meet Cute series) by Katey Lovell

Book Beginnings: The Trap by Melanie Raabe

Saturday:

Stacking the Shelves Post


Coming up on my blog this week:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up Post

Monday: Interview with Sylvia Ashby, author of The Treachery of Trains

Tuesday: Review

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday Post

Thursday: Review

Friday: Book Beginnings Post

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves Post


This is what I’m currently reading:

My Favourite Manson Girl by Alison Umminger

Sockpuppet by Matthew Blakstad

Where Did I Go? by Polly Williamson


 

 

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. :)

WWW Wednesday (18 May)

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?

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


What I’m reading now:

The Treachery of Trains by Sylvia Ashby

The Treachery of Trains by Sylvia Ashby

I spent most of yesterday afternoon reading this novel as once I got into it I didn’t want to stop reading it. I’m on the blog tour for it tomorrow and will be posting my review then so please look out for that.

Synopsis:

Sky has made an abominable mistake at work. Something so awful she doesn’t dare stay in the HR office of XIM Technics for fear of being lynched by her colleagues.

So she gets on a train…

What happens when it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year?

Sky Candy is about to find out.

 

SockPuppet by Matthew Blakstad

Sockpuppet by Matthew Blakstad

I started this book last week and am sure if I hadn’t had a rough week health-wise that I would have read it in a day or so as it’s such a great read. It’s different to anything else I’ve read in a long while and it’s very much a tale of the modern age. I hope to be able to read more of this book this week.

Synopsis:

Twitter. Facebook. Whatsapp. Google Maps. Every day you share everything about yourself – where you go, what you eat, what you buy, what you think – online. Sometimes you do it on purpose. Usually you do it without even realizing it. At the end of the day, everything from your shoe-size to your credit limit is out there. Your greatest joys, your darkest moments. Your deepest secrets.

If someone wants to know everything about you, all they have to do is look.

But what happens when someone starts spilling state secrets? For politician Bethany Leherer and programmer Danielle Farr, that’s not just an interesting thought-experiment. An online celebrity called sic_girl has started telling the world too much about Bethany and Dani, from their jobs and lives to their most intimate secrets. There’s just one problem: sic_girl doesn’t exist. She’s an construct, a program used to test code. Now Dani and Bethany must race against the clock to find out who’s controlling sic_girl and why… before she destroys the privacy of everyone in the UK.

This Secret We're Keeping by Rebecca Done

This Secret We’re Keeping by Rebecca Done

I have to be honest and say that I’m finding this novel to be much slower-paced than I’d expected and because of my current short attention span I’m struggling with it. I feel sure if I could sit and read it in bigger chunks that I would enjoy it more so the issue is definitely with me. I’m going to pick this back up as soon as my brain is in gear again.

Synopsis:

A pupil and a teacher. Is it ever right to break the rules?
Jessica Hart has never forgotten Matthew Landley.
After all, he was her first love when she was fifteen years old. But he was also her school maths teacher, and their forbidden affair ended in scandal with his arrest and imprisonment.
Now, seventeen years later, Matthew returns to Norfolk, with a new identity and a long-term girlfriend and a young daughter, who know nothing of what happened before. Yet when he runs into Jessica, neither of them can ignore the emotional ties that bind them together.
With so many secrets to keep hidden, how long can Jessica and Matthew avoid the dark mistakes of their past imploding in the present?
From debut author Rebecca Done, This Secret We’re Keeping is a powerful and provocative novel about the ties which can keep us together – or tear us apart.

My Favourite Manson Girl by Alison Umminger

My Favourite Manson Girl by Alison Umminger

I’m enjoying this novel but it’s a bit different to what I was expecting and I’m not sure yet where it’s going. I’m looking forward to reading more soon.

Synopsis:

Anna has had a miserable year. Everything feels wrong with her life. And rather than stay and face the mess, she steals a credit card and books herself a seat on the first flight out of town to Los Angeles, to crash with her sister. But soon after she lands, cold reality soon dawns on her: Hollywood isn’t the escape she needs. She is trapped in a town full of lost souls and wannabes, with no friends, no cash and no return ticket.

When she’s offered a job researching the murderous Manson girls for a dubious film, she reluctantly accepts – she needs the money. But soon enough, among the fake smiles and glitter-fuelled parties, things turn from strange, to dark, to dangerous . . .

This is not going to be the summer Anna had in mind.

Where Did I Go by Polly Williamson

Where Did I go? by Polly Williamson

This is an interesting and inspiring novel about a woman recovering from a brain injury.  It’s a tough read in places because I can empathise with some of what she went through but it’s a good read.

Synopsis:

“8 December 2011: I went to a small horse competition in the morning. That much I do remember. After that absolutely nothing …”

Polly Williamson’s life changed the day a dramatic incident with a young horse left her with a horrific head injury. She was a horse trainer and former Junior European Champion eventer. She was a wife and mother to two young boys. The accident severed her connection to this former life. It stole away her ability to care for her children and left her struggling to rediscover who she was.

Surviving a near fatal brain injury brings a person face to face with the very basis of their identity. Some will be lucky and pick up their former lives with barely a missed step. Others will have everything that holds them to who they were stripped away by brain damage.

Polly has had her world shattered and seen the fragments of her identity laid bare. Where did I go? is her powerful record of her efforts to pick up the pieces and put her life back together again.


What I recently finished reading:

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Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

This novel is incredible and I feel sure it’ll be in my top books of the year! I’m struggling to write my review due to the fact I loved it so much but I hope to get my thoughts in order in the next few days. I can’t recommend this book highly enough though!

Synopsis:

When war is declared, Mary North leaves finishing school unfinished, goes straight to the War Office, and signs up.

Tom Shaw decides to give it a miss – until his flatmate Alistair unexpectedly enlists, and the conflict can no longer be avoided.

Young, bright and brave, Mary is certain she’d be a marvelous spy. When she is – bewilderingly – made a teacher, she instead finds herself defying prejudice to protect the children her country would rather forget.

Tom, meanwhile, finds that he will do anything for Mary.

And when Mary and Alistair meet, it is love, as well as war, that will test them in ways they could not have imagined, entangling three lives in violence and passion, friendship and deception, inexorably shaping their hopes and dreams.

In a powerful combination of both humour and heartbreak, this dazzling novel weaves little-known history, and a perfect love story, through the vast sweep of the Second World War – daring us to understand that, against the great theatre of world events, it is the intimate losses, the small battles, the daily human triumphs, that change us most.

Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard

I bought this book on release day and decided to read it straight away as a little treat to myself; I’m so glad I did as it was such a compulsive read that it got me out of my little reading slump. It’s one of those books that once you start reading it’s near impossible to stop because it’s got lots of little twists and turns running all the way through it. I hope to get my review up in the next few days.

Synopsis:

Did she leave, or was she taken?

The day Adam Dunne’s girlfriend, Sarah, fails to return from a Barcelona business trip, his perfect life begins to fall apart. Days later, the arrival of her passport and a note that reads ‘I’m sorry – S’ sets off real alarm bells. He vows to do whatever it takes to find her.

Adam is puzzled when he connects Sarah to a cruise ship called the Celebrate – and to a woman, Estelle, who disappeared from the same ship in eerily similar circumstances almost exactly a year before. To get the answers, Adam must confront some difficult truths about his relationship with Sarah. He must do things of which he never thought himself capable. And he must try to outwit a predator who seems to have found the perfect hunting ground…

The Boy with the Board (Meet Cute) by Katey Lovell

The Boy with the Board by Katey Lovell (Meet Cute series)

I love the Meet Cute short stories, they never fail to be a wonderful pick-me-up. This one was so gorgeous! I’ll be reviewing this on Friday.

Synopsis:

When her beloved mum dies suddenly, Helena escapes to sunny California. Determined to live for the moment, she puts aside her fears and signs up for the surfing lessons she’s always dreamed of – with the added distraction of hunky instructor Ashton. 

The Boy with the BBQ by Katey Lovell

The Boy with the BBQ by Katey Lovell (Meet Cute series)

As I’ve just said above, I love this series of short stories. This one was as lovely as all the others. I’ll be reviewing this very soon.

Synopsis:

Betsy and Seb spent their early childhood playing together in the sandpit at the park, but lost touch when Seb’s family moved away. Since he moved back to the area Betsy’s developed quite the crush on him, but she’s not even sure he knows she exists…


What I plan on reading next:

The Girls by Emma Cline

The Girls by Emma Cline

I was thrilled to be approved for this book last week and I really can’t wait to read it.

Synopsis:

California. The summer of 1969. In the dying days of a floundering counter-culture a young girl is unwittingly caught up in unthinkable violence, and a decision made at this moment, on the cusp of adulthood, will shape her life….

‘This book will break your heart and blow your mind.’ Lena Dunham

Evie Boyd is desperate to be noticed. In the summer of 1969, empty days stretch out under the California sun. The smell of honeysuckle thickens the air and the sidewalks radiate heat.

Until she sees them. The snatch of cold laughter. Hair, long and uncombed. Dirty dresses skimming the tops of thighs. Cheap rings like a second set of knuckles. The girls.

And at the centre, Russell. Russell and the ranch, down a long dirt track and deep in the hills. Incense and clumsily strummed chords. Rumours of sex, frenzied gatherings, teen runaways.

Was there a warning, a sign of things to come? Or is Evie already too enthralled by the girls to see that her life is about to be changed forever?

The Safe Word by Karen Long

The Safe Word by Karen Long

I’m on the blog tour for this book later this month so I definitely plan to start reading it very soon. I’m looking forward to it.

Synopsis:

There are rules that every player of every game must abide by, no matter how dangerous the sport.
Toronto has become the backdrop to a macabre set of artistic installations: women kidnapped, tortured and horrifically displayed by a killer with a vision.
Only someone capable of understanding the killer’s creative desire will be able to stop the murders and D I Eleanor Raven is uniquely qualified. Driven by a complex personality she pursues only the facts, only the things she can see, but never casts a judgement.

But she also has a dark and dangerous secret – one that will threaten her very survival.

All is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker

All is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker

This book intrigues me for quite a few reasons and I can’t wait to read it!

Synopsis:

You can erase the memory. But you cannot erase the crime.

Jenny’s wounds have healed.
An experimental treatment has removed the memory of a horrific and degrading attack.
She is moving on with her life.

That was the plan. Except it’s not working out.
Something has gone. The light in the eyes. And something was left behind. A scar. On her lower back. Which she can’t stop touching.
And she’s getting worse.
Not to mention the fact that her father is obsessed with finding her attacker and her mother is in toxic denial.

It may be that the only way to uncover what’s wrong is to help Jenny recover her memory. But even if it can be done, pulling at the threads of her suppressed experience will unravel much more than the truth about her attack.


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.

Weekly Wrap-Up (15 May)

 

 

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted

I’m linking this post up to Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer’s Sunday Blog Share.


It’s been quite a rough week this week and I’m still recovering from it but I wanted to try to get my wrap-up post up on time. I had my appointment with the pain specialist earlier this week, it went ok but there isn’t an easy answer. For now, I’ve had some injections into my spine which I’m hoping will help but they’ve initially caused a flare up of pain. It was horrible for the first three days but I feel slightly more human today. I’ve been told to rest as much as I can so I’m trying to be good!


As a result of all of this I’ve not been around much this week. I had posts scheduled so they’ve gone out as planned but I’ve not been able to read blogs like I normally do, or to comment and share so I apologise if I’ve missed any important news. Please leave links to your posts in my comments if there’s something I’ve not seen that you think I would enjoy reading. I hope to catch up in the next few days. Thank you to all of you who have read, liked, commented or shared my posts despite me not reciprocating – I appreciate it so much.


This week I’ve managed to finish reading three books:

(Links to reviews are in orange)

Tapestry by Elle Turner

Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave


 I’ve blogged eight times this week:

Sunday: 

Weekly Wrap-Up Post

Monday:

Review of Shame by Jasvinder Sanghera

Tuesday:

Review of The Midnight Watch by David Dyer

Wednesday:

WWW Wednesday Post

Review of The Ice Twins by S. K. Tremayne

Thursday:

Review of Tapestry by Elle Turner

Friday:

The A-Z of Books tag

Saturday:

Stacking the Shelves Post


Coming up on my blog this week:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up post

Monday: Review

Tuesday: Review

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday post

Thursday: Blog tour | Review of The Treachery of Trains by Sylvia Ashby

Friday: Review of The Boy with the Board by Katey Lovell

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves post

 


This is what I’m currently reading:

This Secret We’re Keeping by Rebecca Done

Sockpuppet by Matthew Blakstad

My Favourite Manson Girl by Alison Umminger

The Treachery of Trains by Sylvia Ashby

Where Did I Go? by Polly Williamson


 

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. :)

Stacking the Shelves (14 May)

 

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(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 bought some new books:

As If I Were A River by Amanda Saint

I’ve read a couple of reviews of this book recently and it sounds like such a good read so I treated myself to it. I hope to read it very soon.

Lying About Last Summer by Sue Wallman

This is another book that I discovered through blog reviews and I can’t wait to read it.

When I Lost You by Kelly Rimmer

I really enjoyed Kelly’s previous novel and so this was a must buy for me!

Books I received for review:

How To Find Your (First) Husband by Rosie Blake

I was thrilled to get the chance to read and review this for Corvus books. I love Rosie Blake’s novels, especially her Christmas one, so I can’t wait to read this one. I just know I’ll love it!

The Girls by Emma Cline 

I requested this one NetGalley a little while ago but had forgotten about it so when I got the approval email this week I was really pleased. This book definitely won’t be on my TBR pile for very long because I’m so keen to read it!

The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armantrout

I was offered the chance to review this book and I couldn’t accept quick enough, it sounds like a brilliant read and I plan to read it soon!

Paris Mon Amour by Isabel Costello

I was offered this book for review this week too and it was another one that I absolutely couldn’t say no too, it sounds like such a great read and I hope to read it very soon!

My Favourite Manson Girl by Alison Umminger

This was a book I spotted on Net Galley when I logged on to give feedback for another book and I couldn’t resist hitting request! I’m reading it now and enjoying it so far.

The Safe Word by Karen Long

I’m going to be on the blog tour for this book so plan on reading it soon so I can review it on my date. I’m looking forward to starting it in the next week or so.

 

I was also thrilled to win a signed copy of These Days of Ours by Juliet Ashton recently and it arrived in the post yesterday.

 


So, that’s all of my new books from the past week. 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.

The A-Z of Books tag

I spotted the A-Z Book Tag on Pretty Purple Polka Dots blog this week and loved reading it so much that I simply had to join in and answer the questions myself!

 

Author You’ve Read the Most Books From

I’m not sure, there are quite a few prolific authors whose books I always read. I reckon it would probably be Enid Blyton as I adored her books when I was a child! Of all the authors I love as an adult it would probably be Sue Grafton or Peter Robinson as I love their series books and have read almost all of them.

Best Sequel Ever

I can’t think of a sequel that I would say is the best sequel ever but I adored The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce, which was a companion novel to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (which I also loved).

Currently Reading

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

My Favourite Manson Girl by Alison Umminger

Sockpuppet by Matthew Blakstad

The Treachery of Trains by Sylvia Ashby

 

Drink of Choice While Reading

It’d have to be either a cup of coffee or a bottle of water.

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E-Reader or Physical Book

I read both but due to my disability it is easier for me to read on my Kindle as it’s difficult for me to turn pages of a print book. So my answer is e-reader.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated in High School

It’d have to be Ron Weasley!

out of the darkness

Glad You Gave this Book a Chance

Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan. It wasn’t a book I’d heard of at the time but I was offered a chance to review it and I’m so very glad that I agreed because it is now one of my all-time favourite books. I’ve made it my mission to shout about this book every chance I get because it’s brilliant, I’ve recommended it to so many people and have bought copies to give as gifts.

ghostbird cover final  front only

Hidden Gem Book

Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin. I’ve got to know Carol a little on social media so when it was announced that her novel was due to be published I immediately put myself forward to review it. I did it to support Carol because at the time I knew very little about this book. I don’t know that I would have discovered this book so soon had I not been a book blogger so this is another book that I’m championing every chance I get. It’s beautiful and magical and I want everyone to read it!

Rather Too Fondof Books-6

Important Moment in Your Reading Life

This is a tough one. I’m torn between sharing a childhood memory of reading or going with something more recent! I think actually starting this book blog last summer was a very important moment for me. I’ve wanted to do this for years and never had the confidence but then I found myself bed bound recovering from major surgery and I needed a project… and my book blog was born! My body recovered from the effects of surgery but the damage that had already been done beforehand is something I’m learning to live with but my blog has kept me sane through the really tough days. I’m housebound when my husband is at work as I can’t physically do anything independently anymore and blogging has given me a new lease of life. I don’t have time to dwell on what might have been because I’m too focused on writing about all the amazing books I’m lucky enough to read.

Just Finished

Tapestry by Elle Turner – a short story collection and I highly recommend it. I also just finished reading Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Hyde and it was brilliant!

Kind of Books You Won’t Read

I won’t read horror as I don’t like to be scared!

Longest Book You’ve Read

I’m not sure… I think maybe either Ulysses by James Joyce or The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber

Major Book Hangover

The Headmaster’s Wife by Thomas Christopher Greene. I read this book a couple of years ago but I can still remember the story so vividly. I can also remember how long it took me to move on from it and be able to get engrossed in another book afterwards, it had such a lasting impact on me.

Number of Bookcases You Own

I own two bookcases and three huge bookshelves.

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One Book You’ve Read Multiple Times

 

After You’d Gone by Maggie O’Farrell – I read it twice on the day it was released and I usually go back to it every couple of years.

Preferred Place to Read

In my comfy recliner armchair in my living room. I have a reading lamp behind me and opposite me in the room is my bookcase with all of my favourite books on it, and to the side of me is my TBR book case. Perfect!

Quote that Inspires You/Gives You all the Feels from a Book You’ve Read

“The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.”
― Alan Bennett, The History Boys

Reading Regret

I used to buy books faster than I could read them because I had a genuine fear of running out of books to read. I’ve now reached that tipping point age where I now know that I’m never going to have enough time to read all the books and that makes me feel quite melancholy and regretful at times.

Series You Started and Need to Finish

Sue Grafton’s alphabet series. I absolutely love this series but I know that the end is near because it’s getting ever closer to Z. I’ve deliberately slowed down reading these books because I’m dreading the point where there will be no more new novels!

Three of Your All-Time Favorite Books

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes

The Story of You by Julie Myerson

Unapologetic Fangirl For

Maggie O’Farrell – I always look forward to her books so much!

Very Excited for this Release more than All Others

I would have said This Must Be The Place by Maggie O’Farrell but I was very lucky to be sent a  review copy so have already read it. I’m still very excited for my hardback copy that I have on pre-order to arrive though! If I have to pick a book that’s not released yet I’d probably say To The Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey as I adored The Snow Child.

Worst Bookish Habit

This is a terrible confession but I do have a good explanation for it… I’ve become a spine breaker! Up until the last year I had honestly never broken a spine on a book EVER but now it’s a case of needs must. It’s very hard to read a print book when one hand is paralysed – I need to be able to hold a book open and turn the page one-handed and often this leads to accidental spine breaking. Sometimes a book is too hard to hold and I have to break the spine on purpose… eeeek! It took me a while to come to terms with this but as time goes on I feel less guilty about it because at the the end of the day books are for reading!

X Marks the Sport: Start on the Top Left of Your Shelf and Pick the 27th Book

I went along my favourites book case and the 27th book was… Where the Heart is by Billie Letts. The order of my books is unique to me – I know where every single book I own is in my house but I don’t alphabetise them or even keep the same genres together.

Your Latest Purchase

As If I Were a River by Amanda Saint and I’m really looking forward to reading it.

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Zzzzz-Snatcher Book (Last Book that Kept You up Way too late) 

This Must Be The Place by Maggie O’Farrell – I just didn’t want to put it down!

WWW Wednesday (11 May)

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?

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

What I’m reading now:

My Favourite Manson Girl by Alison Umminger

My Favourite Manson Girl by Alison Umminger

I logged into NetGalley this week to leave feedback for another book and this was on the front page so I couldn’t resist requesting it. I’ve only read the first three chapters so far but it feels like it’s going to be a great read.

Synopsis:

Anna has had a miserable year. Everything feels wrong with her life. And rather than stay and face the mess, she steals a credit card and books herself a seat on the first flight out of town to Los Angeles, to crash with her sister. But soon after she lands, cold reality soon dawns on her: Hollywood isn’t the escape she needs. She is trapped in a town full of lost souls and wannabes, with no friends, no cash and no return ticket.

When she’s offered a job researching the murderous Manson girls for a dubious film, she reluctantly accepts – she needs the money. But soon enough, among the fake smiles and glitter-fuelled parties, things turn from strange, to dark, to dangerous . . .

This is not going to be the summer Anna had in mind.

My Favourite Manson Girl is a chilling story about being young, lost and female. This is a story about how girls disappear.

 

SockPuppet by Matthew Blakstad

Sockpuppet by Matthew Blakstad

This is another NetGalley book but one I requested a while ago and just got approved for the other day. I started reading it immediately because I’ve been so keen to read it. It’s brilliant so far!

Synopsis:

Twitter. Facebook. Whatsapp. Google Maps. Every day you share everything about yourself – where you go, what you eat, what you buy, what you think – online. Sometimes you do it on purpose. Usually you do it without even realizing it. At the end of the day, everything from your shoe-size to your credit limit is out there. Your greatest joys, your darkest moments. Your deepest secrets.

If someone wants to know everything about you, all they have to do is look.

But what happens when someone starts spilling state secrets? For politician Bethany Leherer and programmer Danielle Farr, that’s not just an interesting thought-experiment. An online celebrity called sic_girl has started telling the world too much about Bethany and Dani, from their jobs and lives to their most intimate secrets. There’s just one problem: sic_girl doesn’t exist. She’s an construct, a program used to test code. Now Dani and Bethany must race against the clock to find out who’s controlling sic_girl and why… before she destroys the privacy of everyone in the UK.

 

 

 

This Secret We're Keeping by Rebecca Done

This Secret We’re Keeping by Rebecca Done

I’ve been reading this one on and off for the last week or so but it’s not really grabbing me. I feel like it’s going to be a good read but it’s perhaps the fact that I’m not in the right mood to read it at the moment. I’m going to try picking it up again in a few days time.

Synopsis:

A pupil and a teacher. Is it ever right to break the rules?
Jessica Hart has never forgotten Matthew Landley.
After all, he was her first love when she was fifteen years old. But he was also her school maths teacher, and their forbidden affair ended in scandal with his arrest and imprisonment.
Now, seventeen years later, Matthew returns to Norfolk, with a new identity and a long-term girlfriend and a young daughter, who know nothing of what happened before. Yet when he runs into Jessica, neither of them can ignore the emotional ties that bind them together.
With so many secrets to keep hidden, how long can Jessica and Matthew avoid the dark mistakes of their past imploding in the present?
From debut author Rebecca Done, This Secret We’re Keeping is a powerful and provocative novel about the ties which can keep us together – or tear us apart.

 

Where Did I Go by Polly Williamson

Where Did I go? by Polly Williamson

I bought this book on a whim the other day as it sounded like it could be a fascinating read. I’m really interested in reading about any kind of brain or spinal injury at the moment and I think this one is going to be quite an inspiring read. 

Synopsis:

“8 December 2011: I went to a small horse competition in the morning. That much I do remember. After that absolutely nothing …”

Polly Williamson’s life changed the day a dramatic incident with a young horse left her with a horrific head injury. She was a horse trainer and former Junior European Champion eventer. She was a wife and mother to two young boys. The accident severed her connection to this former life. It stole away her ability to care for her children and left her struggling to rediscover who she was.

Surviving a near fatal brain injury brings a person face to face with the very basis of their identity. Some will be lucky and pick up their former lives with barely a missed step. Others will have everything that holds them to who they were stripped away by brain damage.

Polly has had her world shattered and seen the fragments of her identity laid bare. Where did I go? is her powerful record of her efforts to pick up the pieces and put her life back together again.

 

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Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

This book is so good! I want to devour it but I’m still struggling with it being a hardback book. I’m actually debating buying the kindle version so that I can read it quicker. I’m enjoying it so much but can only manage to read a few pages and then either can’t hold it or can’t turn the pages.

Synopsis:

When war is declared, Mary North leaves finishing school unfinished, goes straight to the War Office, and signs up.

Tom Shaw decides to give it a miss – until his flatmate Alistair unexpectedly enlists, and the conflict can no longer be avoided.

Young, bright and brave, Mary is certain she’d be a marvelous spy. When she is – bewilderingly – made a teacher, she instead finds herself defying prejudice to protect the children her country would rather forget.

Tom, meanwhile, finds that he will do anything for Mary.

And when Mary and Alistair meet, it is love, as well as war, that will test them in ways they could not have imagined, entangling three lives in violence and passion, friendship and deception, inexorably shaping their hopes and dreams.

In a powerful combination of both humour and heartbreak, this dazzling novel weaves little-known history, and a perfect love story, through the vast sweep of the Second World War – daring us to understand that, against the great theatre of world events, it is the intimate losses, the small battles, the daily human triumphs, that change us most.


What I recently finished reading:

This Must Be the Place by Maggie O'Farrell

This Must Be The Place by Maggie O’Farrell

This book was incredible- it was everyone I was hoping it would be and more! This Must Be The Place is published on 17th May and I urge you all to go pre-order it now. I’ve already reviewed it and you can read that here.

Synopsis:

Meet Daniel Sullivan, a man with a complicated life. A New Yorker living in the wilds of Ireland, he has children he never sees in California, a father he loathes in Brooklyn and a wife, Claudette, who is a reclusive ex-film star given to shooting at anyone who ventures up their driveway.

He is also about to find out something about a woman he lost touch with twenty years ago, and this discovery will send him off-course, far away from wife and home. Will his love for Claudette be enough to bring him back?

Maggie O’Farrell’s seventh novel is a dazzling, intimate epic about who we leave behind and who we become as we search for our place in the world.

 

Tapestry

Tapestry by Elle Turner

I started reading this short story collection a couple of nights ago and finished it yesterday. It was such a great collection and I very much enjoyed it. I plan to review it very soon but I definitely recommend it.

Synopsis:

In hope, in pain,
we lose, we gain,
but always and forever
the human heart braves life
in light and in shade

A collection of twelve short stories exploring the complexities of life and love.

 

The Children Act by Ian McEwan

The Children Act by Ian McEwan

This was a great read. It’s a short read but a very dense one so it takes time to read but it was very good. It leaves you with a lot to think about. I read my own copy but I still plan to review it when I get a chance.

Synopsis:

Fiona Maye, a leading High Court judge, renowned for her fierce intelligence and sensitivity is called on to try an urgent case. For religious reasons, a seventeen-year-old boy is refusing the medical treatment that could save his life. Time is running out.

She visits the boy in hospital – an encounter which stirs long-buried feelings in her and powerful new emotions in the boy. But it is Fiona who must ultimately decide whether he lives or dies and her judgement will have momentous consequences for them both.

The Wacky Man by Lynn G. Farrell

The Wacky Man by Lyn G. Farrell

This book is a brilliant debut and another book that I absolutely recommend. It’s not the easiest read in terms of the subject matter but the writing is so good that you just want to keep reading. I’ve already reviewed this book and you can read my review here.

Synopsis:

My new shrink asks me, ‘What things do you remember about being very young?’
It’s like looking into a murky river, I say. Memories flash near the surface like fish coming up for flies. The past peeps out, startles me, and then is gone…
Amanda secludes herself in her bedroom, no longer willing to face the outside world. Gradually, she pieces together the story of her life: her brothers have had to abandon her, her mother scarcely talks to her, and the Wacky Man could return any day to burn the house down. Just like he promised.
As her family disintegrates, Amanda hopes for a better future, a way out from the violence and fear that has consumed her childhood. But can she cling to her sanity, before insanity itself is her only means of escape?


What I plan on reading next:

Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard

I pre-ordered this book and was very happy to discover it on my Kindle on Thursday morning. I’ve been trying to resist reading it as I have review books I should be reading first but I’ve decided to let myself read it this week as it’s a rough week and I figure I deserve a treat! I can’t wait to start it!

Synopsis:

Did she leave, or was she taken?

The day Adam Dunne’s girlfriend, Sarah, fails to return from a Barcelona business trip, his perfect life begins to fall apart. Days later, the arrival of her passport and a note that reads ‘I’m sorry – S’ sets off real alarm bells. He vows to do whatever it takes to find her.

Adam is puzzled when he connects Sarah to a cruise ship called the Celebrate – and to a woman, Estelle, who disappeared from the same ship in eerily similar circumstances almost exactly a year before. To get the answers, Adam must confront some difficult truths about his relationship with Sarah. He must do things of which he never thought himself capable. And he must try to outwit a predator who seems to have found the perfect hunting ground…

Summer at Rose Island by Holly Martin

Summer at Rose Island by Holly Martin

I was pleased to be approved for this on NetGalley and I can’t wait to start reading it. I loved the two Christmas books Holly set in the same location so I can’t wait to go there in the summer! I think this will be a perfect pick-me-up book and it’s another one I can’t wait to start!

Synopsis:

Fall in love with the gorgeous seaside town of White Cliff Bay this summer and enjoy long sunny days, beautiful beaches and… a little romance.

Darcy Davenport is ready for a fresh start. Determined to leave a string of disastrous jobs and relationships behind her, she can’t wait to explore White Cliff Bay and meet the locals.

When Darcy swims in the crystal clear waters of the bay, she discovers the charming Rose Island Lighthouse. But it’s not just the beautiful building that she finds so intriguing…

Riley Eddison doesn’t want change. Desperate to escape the memories of his past, he lives a life of solitude in the lighthouse. Yet he can’t help but notice the gorgeous woman who swims out to his island one day.

Darcy is drawn to the mysterious and sexy Riley, but when it seems the town is trying to demolish his home, she soon finds herself having to pick sides.

She’s fallen in love with White Cliff Bay. But is that all Darcy’s fallen for?

Pull up a deck chair, sink back with a bowl of strawberry ice cream and pick up the summer read you won’t be able to put down.


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.