March Wrap-Up post!

Monthly Wrap Up post Copyrighted

March has been a tough month in my personal life due to my medication changes. It’s hard to get across just how difficult it is to have a condition that requires medication to manage symptoms, and how the medication then causes problems in itself. I’ve been on very strong pain medication since before I was diagnosed and now I know my condition will never improve, and may even worsen over time, I want to make the best of what I’m left with. So I took the decision to try and reduce my pain medication, in spite of the severe pain I live with. This has been a long term reduction programme and it’s been going ok. It was in March that I got to a low enough dose that I’m struggling. I do have other things that I do to help me manage my pain but it’s taken all my reserves of mental strength to cope. It’s only going to get worse over the coming weeks and I just have to prepare myself as best I can. Once I’m off this medication my pain levels will be assessed again and it may be that I end up on a different medication but I just want to see what I can cope with.

Here are the 22 books I read this month:

Scarlett Says by Scarlett Moffatt

Forever Yours by Daniel Glauttauer

The Escape by C. L. Taylor

Willow Walk by SJI Holliday

The Little Shop of Happy-Ever-After by Jenny Colgan

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

Sometimes I lie by Alice Feeney

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

And the Sun Shine Now by Adrian Tempany

Little Deaths by Emma Flint

The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

Year of No Clutter by Eve O. Schaub

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

The Sellout by Paul Beatty

Now We Are 40 by Tiffanie Darke

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

A Portrait of Bowie by Brian Hiatt

Hillsborough Untold by Norman Bettison


March Blog Posts & Reviews

I wrote my regular Weekly Wrap-Ups, Stacking the Shelves, and WWW Wednesday posts. Then I also managed to review twelve books, which I’m pleased about. It was my aim from the start of March to post three reviews a week on average and I’ve managed that. Ideally, I’d post more reviews than this but three feels manageable along side the regular posts I do each week (health permitting of course)

Here are my reviews that I shared in March:

Everything But the Truth by Gillian McAllister

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel 

It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris 

The Escape by C. L. Taylor

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia

Sometimes I lie by Alice Feeney

The Best We Could Do by Thi But

Year of No Clutter by Eve O. Schaub

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

I also shared a great guest post in March:

Mark Stewart, author of The Absence of Wings, wrote a post for my blog all about speaking up for the voiceless in his short story collection


the-state-of-my-2

The state of my TBR:

I’ve had a few people ask my about my TBR recently so I just want to clarify that my TBR consists purely of books that I already own. I don’t count wish list books as TBR. This goes for anywhere that you see my TBR so if you look at my Goodreads the books listed as ‘to read’ are all books that I own. Hence the need to reduce it – if these books were just wish list books I wouldn’t be bothered how big the list was.

The State of my TBR is not great at the moment. I’ve demonstrated a lack of willpower throughout March and my TBR is creeping up, and is now higher than it was at the start of January!

I started this year with 1885 books on my TBR, and was doing well for the first couple of months as in February my TBR was down to 1861. However, in March a combination of a couple of giveaway wins, review copies arriving, a kindle book sale and spending my birthday book vouchers my TBR has now increased to 1913! I was a bit shocked when I realised how much my TBR has grown in the course of a month.

I don’t want to stop buying books but I do think I need to get better at not buying so many books each week. I’d at least like to try and not acquire more than I can read in a month so that my TBR would then remain steady, so that’s what I’m going to try and do in March. Wish me luck (or maybe that should read wish my willpower!!)

I also want to get in the habit of regularly going through my TBR and making sure that I’m only keeping the books that I still want to read. I’m thinking this should be something I do every month, or at least every quarter.


Quarterly Stats!

I’ve been tracking my reading using a spreadsheet since the start of 2017, which is the first time I’ve ever done this and I’m really enjoying seeing how various aspects of my reading are going. So I’ve decided that at the end of every quarter (March, June, September and December) I’m going to add an extra section to those monthly wrap-ups to share some of the things I’ve noticed in my reading patterns.

screenshot3

I’ve read 71 books from January to March, and that amounts to 23,326 pages. I’m finding it really interesting to track pages read alongside books read as it shows that I’m not just reading short books to get my numbers up. The longest book I’ve read so far this year is The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, which has 849 pages. My average page count is 326, which is around the length of an average book so I’m pleased with that. 

I’m pleased to discover that in the first three months of this year that 65% of the books I’ve read have been by women. The diversity of my reading in other areas could be improved – I would like to read more work in translation, and also more books written in own voices but I’m otherwise pleased with the breadth of what I’ve been reading.

 

 

screenshot5

 

I’ve read from a variety of genres and am happy that of 71 books read, 21 have been non-fiction/memoir so far. I wanted to try and make sure that around a third of what I read this year was non-fiction so I’m not far off being on track for that.

 

screenshot2

I’ve also kept track of how I acquire my books so thought it would be interesting to show that here as well. Over half of the books I’ve got this year were ones I bought myself, and quite a few have been given to me as gifts. The percentage of review books are the smaller number.

 

 

 

 

All in all I’m pleased with how my reading, reviewing and blogging has been in March. I’m aware that I’m not sure how I’m going to be feeling during April so I’m not planning too much in the way of reading or blogging goals. I’ll read when I can and review when I can and see how it goes. I am going to be taking part in a couple of blog tours so am already reading those books so I can get the posts written and scheduled in advance. I’ll be using any good spells of health to read and review and write blog posts so I’m hoping to have regular content on here even if I’m not around quite as much in reality.

 

How was your March? I hope you all had a good month and that you read 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. 🙂

Weekly Wrap-Up (12 March)

 

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted

This week has been a better week than last. I had a bad weekend last weekend coping with medication changes but once my body adjusted the last few days have been okay.

IMG_8479

On Tuesday I went to the cinema with my husband to watch Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars and it was brilliant. First, they showed a new interview with Woody Woodmansey about his time in the Spiders and his new book (which I’ve read and reviewed so you can read that here if you’d like to). Then they showed the whole concert from 1973. We also got given a souvenir edition of Mojo magazine with Bowie on the cover. I suffered with higher pain levels for a couple of days afterwards but it was absolutely worth it. (photo is pinched from my husband’s instagram: StaticVinyl because he takes much better photos than me!)

This week I’ve finished reading eight books:

(Some of these books I’ve been reading on and off for a few weeks so whilst I finished eight books this week, I haven’t actually read eight books in full over the last seven days)

And the Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

I’ve been reading this book for the last month and have found it really interesting for the most part. A couple of chapters held less interest for me than others but generally this was a very good book about football and the politics surrounding it. I’d recommend it to all football fans.

The Best We could Do by Thi Bui

This is a graphic memoir, which is fascinating and heartbreaking. I got this for review so will try and have a full review up soon. It’s one I recommend though.

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

This book grabbed hold of me and didn’t let go – I literally read it in one sitting and was engrossed the whole way through. I’ll be reviewing this one soon.

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

This book has been on my currently reading for a few weeks as I was struggling to hold the hardback copy to read it. I had a fairly good afternoon one day this week so I picked it up and I was captivated by the novel. I completely and utterly fell in love with this story and know it will be one that stays with me for a very long time.

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia

This is another book at I devoured. I read it in two sittings and loved it. I’m on the blog tour for this book next week (16 March) so will be sharing my review then.

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

I bought this book when it first came out and I couldn’t get into it so put it to one side. I’d heard good things about it though so I didn’t get rid of my copy. It’s recently been adapted for TV in the UK and the adverts for it re-ignited my interest in the book. I picked this up late one morning this week and I literally lost half a day to the book – I did nothing from when I picked it up to when I finished it. It just hooked me from the start. I’m so pleased that I gave this book another chance. I can only assume that when I picked it up the first time that it was just the wrong time for me because this was absolutely a 5 star read!

The Little Shop of Happy-Ever-After by Jenny Colgan

This was my audio book for the last couple of weeks and I adored it. It’s such a gorgeous story about a mobile book shop and is perfect when you need a bit of escapism.

Willow Walk by SJI Holliday

This is the second book in the Banktoun trilogy and I read this in one sitting. It grabbed me with the opening and I simply had to know what had happened. I have the third book, The Damselfly, on my TBR and I don’t think it’ll be too long before I read that one.

This week I’ve blogged five times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up

Monday: Review of The Escape by C.L. Taylor

Wednesday: WWW Wednesdays

Friday: Review of The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

Now We Are 40 by Tiffanie Darke

I haven’t hauled this book yet as I got it yesterday after my Stacking the Shelves was posted. I’m loving it though – I’m not quite 40 yet but this is my generation and all the music and cultural references are bringing back so many memories. I don’t think I’ll be long in finishing this book.

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

I started this late last night and found it really captured my attention straight away. It seems like it’ll be a slow-burn but it’s intriguing from the off so I’m keen to get back to it.

Little Deaths by Emma Flint

I’ve had this on my TBR pile since the end of last year and I’m so glad to finally be getting around to it. I’m only about a quarter of the way through it so far but it’s got me hooked and I really want to know how it’s all going to turn out.

Portrait of Bowie by Brian Hiatt

I picked this up after we watched the Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars concert as I was in the mood to read something about David Bowie. This is a lovely book, with some really nice photos of him, all written by people who knew him. I’m really enjoying reading this.

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

I got approved for this on NetGalley and decided to pick it up straight away. It’s not exactly what I thought it was going to be, and I’m struggling to really get into it a little but I’ve seen good reviews so I’m going to keep going and hope it improves soon.

Year of No Clutter by Eve Schaub

I haven’t picked this up for a few days and I’m not sure why. I enjoyed what I read initially but it’s just not calling me back to it. I will read more of it soon though as I do like a book about clutter.

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

This is still a fascinating book – I’ve struggled a bit with heavier non-fiction this week so I’ve not read as much of this as I’d have liked to but I’ll definitely be getting back to this soon.

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

This is the audio book that I’m listening to with my husband and we’ve not had much chance to listen this week but we’re both really enjoying it so will be getting back to it as soon as we have the time.

 


 the-state-of-my-2

Update on my TBR…

TBR at the start of January 2017: 1885 (see my State of the TBR post)

TBR in last week’s Wrap-Up: 1870

Additions:

Books bought/received for review/gifts: 7 (See the books I added this week in my Stacking the Shelves post)

Subtractions:

Books read this week: 8

Books I’m currently reading: 8

TBR Books culled this week: 0

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1871


 

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.

 


 

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. 🙂

 

#BookReview: The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel @EmilyKitchin @HodderBooks

IMG_8285

About the Book:

Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.

After her mother’s suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother’s mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran fast and far away.

Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.

As it weaves between Lane s first Roanoke summer and her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart.

My Thoughts:

I have to admit that I didn’t really know what this book was about when I received a surprise copy in the post. I’d seen photos of the book cover, which is gorgeous, on social media but I hadn’t really taken in what it was about. I’m actually quite glad that I didn’t know what it was about as the secret running through this story is a topic that may have led me to thinking this book wasn’t for me and that would have meant I’d have missed out on this brilliant novel.

The Roanoke Girls is a really intense, dark and claustrophobic read. The dry heat that stifles Lane when she moves to Kansas emanates from this book so that even though I was reading it on a cold winter day I could feel the heat on me. I felt like I was trapped in this small town with Lane, that I was almost in her head and could almost see what had happened to Allegra but couldn’t quite shake it free from the recesses of my mind. 

This isn’t a fast-paced thriller; it’s more of a slow-burn noir that builds and builds until you feel like you can’t breathe (in a good way!). I was suspicious of everyone; there are lots of secrets in this book that are waiting to be discovered.

The cover of this novel is so perfect. It seems like a fairly innocuous, albeit very pretty and retro wallpaper that seemingly belies what the novel is actually about BUT that tear across the cover is so brilliant – the sneak peak of what lies beneath is just utter genius. The idea that something perfect and pretty can be damaged and ripped apart really does encapsulate what this novel is about.

The Roanoke girls seem to have a power over everyone they meet, they just captivate people, and they will get to you just the same. This book (and these girls) will weave a spell over you, it will pull you in and it won’t let you go until long after you’ve finished reading.

This book is disturbing and dark and twisted yet utterly brilliant! I highly recommend The Roanoke Girls and I already can’t wait to read whatever Amy Engel writes next.

I received a copy of this book from Hodder and Stoughton in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

engel-hp-portrait

Amy Engel is the author of the young adult series The Book of Ivy. A former criminal defense attorney, she lives in Missouri with her family. The Roanoke Girls is her first novel for adults.

February 2017 Wrap-Up!

Monthly Wrap Up post Copyrighted

February has been an up and down month. There have been stressful things to deal with, and medical appointments and tests to get through. There was also a broken Kindle Voyage (eek!). Things eventually began to be sorted out and towards the end of the month I got a replacement Kindle through the warranty, and we got some unexpected good news in the post. My husband had two weeks off from work and whilst I wasn’t well enough for us to do much, it was lovely to have the time together.

It’s been a fab reading month, I still can’t quite believe how many great books I read in February! Unfortunately, whilst I’ve been reading a lot I’m struggling to write reviews at the moment. This, in part, is because I lost my notes when my Kindle malfunctioned so I will have to write reviews from memory (and my memory is awful), but also because I’m in the middle of altering my medication and it’s a struggle for me to get my words down coherently. I may have to just write some very short, basic reviews in order to catch up as the amount I now have waiting to be written is starting to stress me out.

 

Here are the 26 books I read this month:

Well-Read Women by Samantha Hahn

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel

The Secrets of Happiness by Lucy Diamond

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian

Rage by Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

F*cking Apostrophes by Simon Griffin

Just Kids by Patti Smith

A Game for All the Family by Sophie Hannah

Watch Me by Angela Clarke

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

The Child Who by Simon Lelic

Final Girls by Riley Sager

The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

Black Wood by SJI Holliday

The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla

The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

Everything but the Truth by Gillian McAllister

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

 


Here are the blog posts I wrote:

I wrote my regular blog posts – WWW Wednesday, Stacking the Shelves every Saturday and a weekly wrap-up on a Sunday. Other than that I shared my January wrap-up post at the beginning of February. I also wrote about my fabulous birthday book haul too. I didn’t manage to write and post any reviews, which I’m really down about but as I said earlier life is getting in the way at the moment. Hopefully I can catch up soon.

 


 

the-state-of-my-2

The state of my TBR:

In January, I wrote a post about the state of my TBR and made a plan to try and read more of the books I already owned. This has already proved to be rather more difficult than I anticipated… I have read a lot more of my own books, rather than just focusing on new ones, but I’ve also been buying a lot of books. I did join the Mount TBR challenge on Goodreads in February though and have pledged to read at least 100 books that were on my TBR before the end of 2016 and have so far read 26 books that counted for that. This means that half of the books I’ve read this year so far have been my already owned books, and half were new or review books so am pleased with that ratio at the moment.

I’m also in the middle of a sort out of both my kindle books and my print books and am trying to make sure that all the books that are on my TBR are books that I really want to read. Anything that doesn’t appeal anymore is going to be deleted from my Kindle or taken to the charity shop. I’m also becoming much more okay with DNFing books – I’m fast realising that life is too short to push on with books that I’m really not enjoying. The combination of DNFing books and having an ongoing book cull has meant my TBR is currently going in the right direction! I now have 1861 unread books (as of 28 Feb), down from 1885 at the start of the year and hopefully I can keep reading my way through the TBR mountain.

 


 

How was your February? Did you read any good books? Please tell me what your favourite book from February was, and if you have a February wrap-up post on your blog please feel free to share the link below.

 

WWW Wednesday (15 Feb) What Are You Reading today?

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:

51prnxdtjtl-_sy344_bo1204203200_

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

I’ve had this on my Kindle for a while and yesterday afternoon (when my replacement Voyage finally arrived!) this book caught my eye. It’s one of those books that requires suspending disbelief but I’m enjoying it.

Synopsis:

This was meant to be the perfect trip.

The Northern Lights. A luxury press launch on a boutique cruise ship.

A chance for travel journalist Lo Blacklock to recover from a traumatic break-in that has left her on the verge of collapse, and to work out what she wants from her relationship.

Except things don’t go as planned.

Woken in the night by screams, Lo rushes to her window to see a body thrown overboard from the next door cabin. But the records show that no-one ever checked into that cabin, and no passengers are missing from the boat.

Exhausted, emotional and increasingly desperate, Lo has to face the fact that she may have made a terrible mistake. Or she is trapped on a boat with a murderer – and she is the sole witness…

strange-weather-in-tokyo-by-hiromi-kawakami

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

I bought this in the post-Christmas kindle sale as the cover and title caught my eye. I’m really enjoying this novel and looking forward to reading more now I have my Kindle sorted.

Synopsis:

Tsukiko is drinking alone in her local sake bar when by chance she meets one of her old high school teachers and, unable to remember his name, she falls back into her old habit of calling him ‘Sensei’. After this first encounter, Tsukiko and Sensei continue to meet. Together, they share edamame beans, bottles of cold beer, and a trip to the mountains to eat wild mushrooms. As their friendship deepens, Tsukiko comes to realise that the solace she has found with Sensei might be something more.

 

51zcfzxetgl-_sx327_bo1204203200_

And The Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

I’m still finding this a fascinating read and am learning things that I didn’t know before. I’d definitely recommend this to football fans, and anyone interested in the politics behind sport in the UK.

Synopsis:

On 15 April 1989, 96 people were fatally injured on a football terrace at an FA Cup semi-final in Sheffield. The Hillsborough disaster was broadcast live on the BBC; it left millions of people traumatised, and English football in ruins.

And the Sun Shines Now is not a book about Hillsborough. It is a book about what arrived in the wake of unquestionably the most controversial tragedy in the post-war era of Britain’s history. The Taylor Report. Italia 90. Gazza’s tears. All seater stadia. Murdoch. Sky. Nick Hornby. The Premier League. The transformation of a game that once connected club to community to individual into a global business so rapacious the true fans have been forgotten, disenfranchised.

In powerful polemical prose, against a backbone of rigorous research and interviews, Adrian Tempany deconstructs the past quarter century of English football and examines its place in the world. How did Hillsborough and the death of 96 Liverpool fans come to change the national game beyond recognition? And is there any hope that clubs can reconnect with a new generation of fans when you consider the startling statistic that the average age of season ticket holder here is 41, compared to Germany’s 21?

Perhaps the most honest account of the relationship between the football and the state yet written, And the Sun Shines Now is a brutal assessment of the modern game.

11181

The Good Immigrant ed. by Nikesh Shukla

This is a brilliant book of essays that I’m finding very interesting. I’m still reading one at a time and then giving myself time to think about what I’ve read. 

Synopsis:

How does it feel to be constantly regarded as a potential threat, strip-searched at every airport?

Or be told that, as an actress, the part you’re most fitted to play is ‘wife of a terrorist’? How does it feel to have words from your native language misused, misappropriated and used aggressively towards you? How does it feel to hear a child of colour say in a classroom that stories can only be about white people? How does it feel to go ‘home’ to India when your home is really London? What is it like to feel you always have to be an ambassador for your race? How does it feel to always tick ‘Other’?

Bringing together 21 exciting black, Asian and minority ethnic voices emerging in Britain today, The Good Immigrant explores why immigrants come to the UK, why they stay and what it means to be ‘other’ in a country that doesn’t seem to want you, doesn’t truly accept you – however many generations you’ve been here – but still needs you for its diversity monitoring forms.

Inspired by discussion around why society appears to deem people of colour as bad immigrants – job stealers, benefit scroungers, undeserving refugees – until, by winning Olympic races or baking good cakes, or being conscientious doctors, they cross over and become good immigrants, editor Nikesh Shukla has compiled a collection of essays that are poignant, challenging, angry, humorous, heartbreaking, polemic, weary and – most importantly – real.

days-without-end

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

This novel is brilliant, and the writing it stunningly beautiful. I’m reading this slowly on purpose as I want to savour every aspect of it.

Synopsis:

‘I am thinking of the days without end of my life…’

After signing up for the US army in the 1850s, aged barely seventeen, Thomas McNulty and his brother-in-arms, John Cole, go on to fight in the Indian wars and, ultimately, the Civil War.

Having fled terrible hardships they find these days to be vivid and filled with wonder, despite the horrors they both see and are complicit in. Their lives are further enriched and imperilled when a young Indian girl crosses their path, and the possibility of lasting happiness emerges, if only they can survive.

Moving from the plains of the West to Tennessee, Sebastian Barry’s latest work is a masterpiece of atmosphere and language. Both an intensely poignant story of two men and the lives they are dealt, and a fresh look at some of the most fateful years in America’s past, Days Without End is a novel never to be forgotten.

img_7957

The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

I’m still very much enjoying reading this book. If I didn’t have my disability I’d have devoured this book over a couple of days but actually I’m enjoying reading it slowly, it feels like a treat.

Synopsis:

Respected arts commentator Paul Morley, one of the team who curated the highly successful retrospective exhibition for the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, David Bowie Is . . . constructs the definitive story of Bowie that explores how he worked, played, aged, structured his ideas, invented the future and entered history as someone who could and would never be forgotten. Morley will capture the greatest moments of Bowie’s career; from the recording studio with the likes of Brian Eno and Tony Visconti; to iconic live performances from the 1970s, 80s and 90s, as well as the various encounters and artistic relationships he developed with rock luminaries John Lennon, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop. And of course, discuss in detail his much-heralded, and critically-acclaimed comeback with the release of Black Star just days before his shocking death in New York.
Morley will offer a startling biographical critique of David Bowie’s legacy, showing how he never stayed still even when he withdrew from the spotlight, how he always knew his own worth, and released a dazzling plethora of mobile Bowies into the world with a bloody-minded determination and a voluptuous imagination to create something amazing that was not there before.

 

What I recently finished reading:

51g8rpiawvl-_sx325_bo1204203200_

Watch Me by Angela Clarke

This was such a fast-paced read and I really enjoyed it. I love Freddie and Nas and I already can’t wait to read the next in this series whenever it’s released.

Synopsis:

YOU HAVE SIX SECONDS TO READ THIS MESSAGE…

The body of a 15-year-old is found hours after she sends a desperate message to her friends. It looks like suicide, until a second girl disappears.

This time, the message is sent directly to the Metropolitan Police – and an officer’s younger sister is missing.

DS Nasreen Cudmore and journalist Freddie Venton will stop at nothing to find her. But whoever’s behind the notes is playing a deadly game of hide and seek – and the clock is ticking.

YOU HAVE 24 HOURS TO SAVE THE GIRL’S LIFE.
MAKE THEM COUNT.

25182683

A Game For All the Family by Sophie Hannah

This book has been on my TBR since before it was released in 2015 but it got lost in amongst my other books. I spotted it when sorting out my bookshelves recently and couldn’t resist starting reading it at the weekend. I literally read it in two sittings, it had me utterly engrossed. I will be writing a review on this so please look out for that.

Synopsis:

Justine thought she knew who she was, until an anonymous caller seemed to know better…

After escaping London and a career that nearly destroyed her, Justine plans to spend her days doing as little as possible in her beautiful home in Devon.

But soon after the move, her daughter Ellen starts to withdraw when her new best friend, George, is unfairly expelled from school. Justine begs the head teacher to reconsider, only to be told that nobody’s been expelled – there is, and was, no George.

Then the anonymous calls start: a stranger, making threats that suggest she and Justine share a traumatic past and a guilty secret – yet Justine doesn’t recognise her voice. When the caller starts to talk about three graves – two big and one small, to fit a child – Justine fears for her family’s safety.

If the police can’t help, she’ll have to eliminate the danger herself, but first she must work out who she’s supposed to be…

41oxt7khoul-_sx331_bo1204203200_

Just Kids by Patti Smith

This book is beautiful and I adored every single paragraph. It is absolutely a five star read and will be one I re-read in the future. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend you get a copy asap!

Synopsis:

In Just Kids, Patti Smith’s first book of prose, the legendary American artist offers a never-before-seen glimpse of her remarkable relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the epochal days of New York City and the Chelsea Hotel in the late sixties and seventies. An honest and moving story of youth and friendship, Smith brings the same unique, lyrical quality to Just Kids as she has to the rest of her formidable body of work–from her influential 1975 album Horses to her visual art and poetry.

 

img_8287

F*cking Apostrophes by Simon Griffin

My husband bought me this as a surprise to cheer me up on Friday after I’d had a crappy week. The title alone made me giggle and I very much enjoyed reading the book. It’s perfect for apostrophe pedants like me, but is genuinely a good, light-hearted guide on how to use apostrophes correctly.

Synopsis:

A hilarious, furious and profoundly useful short guide to the most maddening punctuation in English….

img_8094

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

I managed to get a NetGalley copy of this book after struggling to hold the paperback to read it, and so flew through the final two thirds of the novel. I really enjoyed this book. I hope to get my review written and posted in the next week or two so keep an eye out for that.

Synopsis:

Beautiful. Rich. Mysterious. Everyone wants to be a Roanoke girl. But you won’t when you know the truth. Lane Roanoke is fifteen when she comes to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin at the Roanoke family’s rural estate following the suicide of her mother. Over one long, hot summer, Lane experiences the benefits of being one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But what she doesn’t know is being a Roanoke girl carries a terrible legacy: either the girls run, or they die. For there is darkness at the heart of Roanoke, and when Lane discovers its insidious pull, she must make her choice…

img_8282

The Breakdown by B. A. Paris

I picked this book up one afternoon last week and I read the whole novel in one sitting. It’s a fast-paced read that kept me hooked all the way through. I’ll be reviewing this book as soon as I can.

Synopsis:

If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman sitting inside―the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm. Her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she’d stopped.

But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby.

The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt.

Or the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her…

What I plan on reading next:

cover

Blue Light Yokohama by Nicolas Obregon

I was offered this for review recently and immediately said yes as it sounds like an intriguing novel. As I added the synopsis below though it actually sounds a lot more creepy than I’d initially thought so hopefully I’ll be able to read it.

Synopsis:

In a beautifully written, hauntingly original first novel, Tokyo Police Inspector Iwata, recently reinstated to a new post, is assigned to investigate a disturbing multiple murder.

Newly reinstated to the Homicide Division and transferred to a precinct in Tokyo, Inspector Iwata is facing superiors who don’t want him there and is assigned a recalcitrant partner, Noriko Sakai, who’d rather work with anyone else. After the previous detective working the case killed himself, Iwata and Sakai are assigned to investigate the slaughter of an entire family, a brutal murder with no clear motive or killer. At the crime scene, they find puzzling ritualistic details. Black smudges. A strange incense smell. And a symbol—a large black sun. Iwata doesn’t know what the symbol means but he knows what the killer means by it: I am here. I am not finished.

As Iwata investigates, it becomes clear that these murders by the Black Sun Killer are not the first, nor the last attached to that symbol. As he tries to track down the history of black sun symbol, puzzle out the motive for the crime, and connect this to other murders, Iwata finds himself racing another clock—the superiors who are trying to have him removed for good.

Haunted by his own past, his inability to sleep, and a song, ‘Blue Light Yokohama,’ Iwata is at the center of a compelling, brilliantly moody, layered novel sure to be one of the most talked about debuts in 2017.

30215662

Final Girls by Riley Sager

My wish for this was granted on NetGalley recently and I’ve been really looking forward to starting this book. Hopefully it’ll be as good as it sounds.

Synopsis:

Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

410dy16ibl-_sx323_bo1204203200_

Broken Harbour by Tana French

Tana French’s books passed me by for ages and then when I finally read the first one, In the Woods, I was an instant fan. I’m slowly working my way through the series as I don’t want to catch up too soon and then have a long wait for the next book. I can’t wait to start this though.

Synopsis:

In Broken Harbour, a ghost estate outside Dublin – half-built, half-inhabited, half-abandoned – two children and their father are dead. The mother is on her way to intensive care. Scorcher Kennedy is given the case because he is the Murder squad’s star detective. At first he and his rookie partner, Richie, think this is a simple one: Pat Spain was a casualty of the recession, so he killed his children, tried to kill his wife Jenny, and finished off with himself. But there are too many inexplicable details and the evidence is pointing in two directions at once.

Scorcher’s personal life is tugging for his attention. Seeing the case on the news has sent his sister Dina off the rails again, and she’s resurrecting something that Scorcher thought he had tightly under control: what happened to their family, one summer at Broken Harbour, back when they were children. The neat compartments of his life are breaking down, and the sudden tangle of work and family is putting both at risk . . .

 


 

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 (12 Feb)

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted

This week has been a bit of a stressful one at times. Last weekend was horrible  – both stressful and upsetting for me. Firstly there was a mix up over my pain medication, which was very worrying but eventually got sorted late in the evening on Friday. Then Saturday morning brought a stressful and upsetting letter, which couldn’t be dealt with until Monday so I spent the whole weekend feeling awful. It’s on the way to being sorted out now but it’s frustrating when you have to deal with the effects of companies being incompetent. The stress left me feeling really unwell for a few days so I had a quiet couple of days at the start of the week and tried to escape into some books. I haven’t managed to blog as much as I would have liked, or to read and share posts, but I’m trying to catch up now.

Then my Kindle Voyage died. I predominantly read on Kindle so I feel lost without it. I do have instant replacement warranty on it but the company aren’t replying to emails and Amazon are being very unhelpful. Luckily, I have my iPad so can read on the Kindle app  but it’s not so good on the eyes to read off a screen so I can’t read for long periods on it, plus my iPad is heavy for me to hold. All of my notes and highlights for recently read review books have been lost too so I’m going to have to try and write reviews from memory, which isn’t the best. I just hope I can get a replacement Kindle soon.

fb_icon_325x325

In better news, I’ve finally managed to regain access to my Facebook account. I still don’t know what happened with FB but I’m just glad it’s back up and running. If you want to like my page, you can find me here. Also, feel free to send me a friend request, my account is here.

unnamed

I also decided to join Instagram so I’m now sharing photos of what I’m up to and what I’m reading on there. You can find me here or search for me, I’m Rathertoofondofbooks on there.

 

This week I’ve finished reading eight books:

Just Kids by Patti Smith

This book was so beautiful, I loved it. It’s definitely a book that will stay with me and I’m sure I’ll re-read it in the future. 

F*cking Apostrophes by Simon Griffin

My husband bought this as a surprise to cheer me up this week and it was a perfect gift after a stressful week. The title alone made me giggle! I enjoyed reading this short book – it’s great for people who are pedantic about apostrophes but it’s also a great book for people who want to learn more about how to use apostrophes.

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

This book really got under my skin and once I had an ebook copy I flew through it in one sitting, I honestly couldn’t put it down. I hope to get my review written and posted soon.

The Breakdown by B. A. Paris

I read this novel in one sitting – it’s such a fast-paced book that hooked me in from the opening pages and next thing I knew it was a few hours later and I’d finished it. I was sent this for review so hopefully I can get that written very soon.

Rage by Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

I have no idea where my copy of this book came from, I found it when I was sorting out my books but I’m pretty sure I didn’t buy it. I opened it to see what it was about and before I knew it I’d read the whole thing. It’s a book about a school shooting but it focuses more on the mindset of the killer than his actions.

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian

I love Chris Bohjalian’s novels so was really looking forward to reading this one when I got it for my birthday. It was a good read, not my favourite by this author but still an enjoyable book.

The Secrets of Happiness by Lucy Diamond

I listened to the audio book of this earlier this week and really enjoyed it. It was the right book at the right time when I was feeling very stressed out. It was great escapism.

Last Night Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel

I very much enjoyed this novel. Like Station Eleven it has a lot of layering, and gradual adding to the depth of the story, and I loved it.

 


This week I’ve blogged three times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap Up (5 Feb) post where I shared all of my blogging, reading and real life news from the previous week

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday post where I shared what I was currently reading, what I’d  recently finished reading and what I was hoping to read next

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves post where I shared all the books I’d added to my bookcases in the last seven days

 


This is what I’m currently reading:

A Game For All the Family by Sophie Hannah

I’ve had this book on my TBR since it was published so it’s great to finally be reading it. It’s such an engrossing read, and it has a modern-day Agatha Christie feel with the way the mystery is being set out. I can’t wait to find out how it all turns out in the end!

Watch Me by Angela Clarke

I really enjoyed the previous book in this series so was looking forward to this one coming out. I finally got to start reading it yesterday and it’s very good. It’s so fast-paced and has me hooked!

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

I bought this book on a whim last month as I loved the cover and the title. I’ve only read the first couple of chapters so far but I’m enjoying it and keen to see where it goes.

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

This novel is beautifully written. I’m deliberately taking my time over this one as I want to savour everything about it. 

And The Sun Shines Now: How Hillsborough and the Premier League Changed Britain by Adrian Tempany

This book is a fascinating exploration of football since the 80s and how the political landscape of the time has had such an impact on how football has changed.

The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla

This is a collection of essays and is such an important read. I’m reading it slowly so that I can give myself time to really think about each essay in turn.

The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

I’m still reading this book and still very much enjoying it. 


Update on my TBR…

TBR at the start of January 2017: 1885 (see my State of the TBR post)

TBR in last week’s Wrap-Up: 1904

Additions:

Books bought/received for review/gifts: 16 (I did buy couple of audio versions of books I already owned so my TBR only increased by 13. See the books I added this week in my WWW Wednesday post)

Subtractions:

Books read this week: 8

Books I’m currently reading: 7

TBR Books culled this week: 2

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1900

 


 

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.

 


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 (8 Feb)

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:

img_8247

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

This books was one of my recent birthday gifts. I started reading it last night and it’s a beautiful read. I want to savour the writing so plan on reading this slowly but I highly recommend it.

Synopsis:

‘I am thinking of the days without end of my life…’

After signing up for the US army in the 1850s, aged barely seventeen, Thomas McNulty and his brother-in-arms, John Cole, go on to fight in the Indian wars and, ultimately, the Civil War.

Having fled terrible hardships they find these days to be vivid and filled with wonder, despite the horrors they both see and are complicit in. Their lives are further enriched and imperilled when a young Indian girl crosses their path, and the possibility of lasting happiness emerges, if only they can survive.

Moving from the plains of the West to Tennessee, Sebastian Barry’s latest work is a masterpiece of atmosphere and language. Both an intensely poignant story of two men and the lives they are dealt, and a fresh look at some of the most fateful years in America’s past, Days Without End is a novel never to be forgotten.

41oxt7khoul-_sx331_bo1204203200_

Just Kids by Patti Smith

I’ve owned the ebook of this for ages but it never seems to get to the top of my TBR… it was recently offered for free on Audible so I downloaded it. I started listening to the audio book today and am really enjoying it. Patti Smith is the narrator so that really adds to the listening experience.

Synopsis:

A prelude to fame, Just Kids recounts the friendship of two young artists–Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe – whose passion fueled their lifelong pursuit of art.

In 1967, a chance meeting between two young people led to a romance and a lifelong friendship that would carry each to international success never dreamed of. The backdrop is
Brooklyn, Chelsea Hotel, Max’s Kansas City, Scribner’s Bookstore, Coney Island, Warhol’s Factory and the whole city resplendent. Among their friends, literary lights, musicians and artists such as Harry Smith, Bobby Neuwirth, Allen Ginsberg, Sandy Daley, Sam Shepherd, William Burroughs, etc. It was a heightened time politically and culturally; the art and music worlds exploding and colliding. In the midst of all this two kids made a pact to always care for one another. Scrappy, romantic, committed to making art, they prodded and provided each other with faith and confidence during the hungry years–the days of cous-cous and lettuce soup.

Just Kids begins as a love story and ends as an elegy. Beautifully written, this is a profound portrait of two young artists, often hungry, sated only by art and experience. And an
unforgettable portrait of New York, her rich and poor, hustlers and
hellions, those who made it and those whose memory lingers near.

51zcfzxetgl-_sx327_bo1204203200_

And The Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

This book is a really interesting read. I remember watching the Hillsborough disaster on the TV with my parents and being horrified at what I was seeing. I’ve followed the investigations into what happened in recent years but what I had never really thought about was how much football was changed by what happened that day. I was only 10 so didn’t really remember what football was like before then. This book looks at what happened that day, the politics surrounding the aftermath and how the Premier League came to be what it is today.

Synopsis:

On 15 April 1989, 96 people were fatally injured on a football terrace at an FA Cup semi-final in Sheffield. The Hillsborough disaster was broadcast live on the BBC; it left millions of people traumatised, and English football in ruins.

And the Sun Shines Now is not a book about Hillsborough. It is a book about what arrived in the wake of unquestionably the most controversial tragedy in the post-war era of Britain’s history. The Taylor Report. Italia 90. Gazza’s tears. All seater stadia. Murdoch. Sky. Nick Hornby. The Premier League. The transformation of a game that once connected club to community to individual into a global business so rapacious the true fans have been forgotten, disenfranchised.

In powerful polemical prose, against a backbone of rigorous research and interviews, Adrian Tempany deconstructs the past quarter century of English football and examines its place in the world. How did Hillsborough and the death of 96 Liverpool fans come to change the national game beyond recognition? And is there any hope that clubs can reconnect with a new generation of fans when you consider the startling statistic that the average age of season ticket holder here is 41, compared to Germany’s 21?

Perhaps the most honest account of the relationship between the football and the state yet written, And the Sun Shines Now is a brutal assessment of the modern game.

books-for-living-by-will-schwalbe

Books for Living by Will Schwalbe

This is such a wonderful book. I loved Will Schwalbe’s previous book so have been keen to read this one. Unfortunately the NetGalley copy is really difficult to read because of all the copyrighting through the book so I may have to leave this one for now and wait until I can buy a copy. The actual writing is wonderful though.

Synopsis:

Why is it that we read? Is it to pass time? To learn something new? To escape into another reality?
For Will Schwalbe, reading is a way to entertain himself but also to make sense of the world, to become a better person, and to find the answers to the big (and small) questions about how to live his life. In this delightful celebration of reading, Schwalbe invites us along on his quest for books that speak to the specific challenges of living in our modern world, with all its noise and distractions.
In each chapter, he discusses a particular book-what brought him to it (or vice versa), the people in his life he associates with it, and how it became a part of his understanding of himself in the world. These books span centuries and genres (from classic works of adult and children’s literature to contemporary thrillers and even a cookbook), and each one relates to the questions and concerns we all share. Throughout, Schwalbe focuses on the way certain books can help us honour those we’ve loved and lost, and also figure out how to live each day more fully.
Rich with stories and recommendations, Books for Living is a treasure for everyone who loves books and loves to hear the answer to the question: “What are you reading?”

11181

The Good Immigrant ed. by Nikesh Shukla

This has been on my wishlist for a while so when I spotted it in the Kindle sale last week I snapped it up. I’m reading it slowly so that I can really take in and think about what is being said. I highly recommend it.

Synopsis:

How does it feel to be constantly regarded as a potential threat, strip-searched at every airport?

Or be told that, as an actress, the part you’re most fitted to play is ‘wife of a terrorist’? How does it feel to have words from your native language misused, misappropriated and used aggressively towards you? How does it feel to hear a child of colour say in a classroom that stories can only be about white people? How does it feel to go ‘home’ to India when your home is really London? What is it like to feel you always have to be an ambassador for your race? How does it feel to always tick ‘Other’?

Bringing together 21 exciting black, Asian and minority ethnic voices emerging in Britain today, The Good Immigrant explores why immigrants come to the UK, why they stay and what it means to be ‘other’ in a country that doesn’t seem to want you, doesn’t truly accept you – however many generations you’ve been here – but still needs you for its diversity monitoring forms.

Inspired by discussion around why society appears to deem people of colour as bad immigrants – job stealers, benefit scroungers, undeserving refugees – until, by winning Olympic races or baking good cakes, or being conscientious doctors, they cross over and become good immigrants, editor Nikesh Shukla has compiled a collection of essays that are poignant, challenging, angry, humorous, heartbreaking, polemic, weary and – most importantly – real.

img_8094

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

I’ve not managed to pick this up since last week as I’m still struggling to hold the print copy. I’ve really enjoyed what I have read but it’s just slow-going with my health being what it is at the moment.

Synopsis:

Beautiful.
Rich.
Mysterious.

The Roanoke girls seem to have it all. But there’s a dark truth about them which is never spoken. Every girl either runs away, or dies.

Lane is one of the lucky ones. When she was fifteen, over one long, hot summer at her grandparents’ estate in rural Kansas, she found out what it really means to be a Roanoke girl. Lane ran, far and fast. Until eleven years later, when her cousin Allegra goes missing – and Lane has no choice but to go back.

She is a Roanoke girl.

Is she strong enough to escape a second time?

img_7957

The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

I’ve managed to read a bit more of this over the last week as the section I’m up to is set out in really small segments, which are perfect for dipping in and out of as and when I can manage to hold the book. 

Synopsis:

Respected arts commentator Paul Morley, one of the team who curated the highly successful retrospective exhibition for the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, David Bowie Is . . . constructs the definitive story of Bowie that explores how he worked, played, aged, structured his ideas, invented the future and entered history as someone who could and would never be forgotten. Morley will capture the greatest moments of Bowie’s career; from the recording studio with the likes of Brian Eno and Tony Visconti; to iconic live performances from the 1970s, 80s and 90s, as well as the various encounters and artistic relationships he developed with rock luminaries John Lennon, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop. And of course, discuss in detail his much-heralded, and critically-acclaimed comeback with the release of Black Star just days before his shocking death in New York.
Morley will offer a startling biographical critique of David Bowie’s legacy, showing how he never stayed still even when he withdrew from the spotlight, how he always knew his own worth, and released a dazzling plethora of mobile Bowies into the world with a bloody-minded determination and a voluptuous imagination to create something amazing that was not there before.

 

What I recently finished reading:

3047956

Rage by Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

I was sorting through my books over the last few days and found I owned a copy of this. I don’t know where it came from as I’m sure it’s not mine but I opened it to see what it was about and ending up reading it in one sitting. It’s about a school shooting but has more depth to it than I expected.

Synopsis:

A disturbed high-school student with authority problems kills one of his teachers and takes the rest of his class hostage. Over the course of one long, tense and unbearable hot afternoon, Charlie Decker explains what led him to this drastic sequence of events, while at the same time deconstructing the personalities of his classmates, forcing each one to justify his or her existence.

img_8249

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian

This was another of my birthday gifts and I really enjoyed reading it. I would say that it’s not the best book by this author but it is a really good read. 

Synopsis:

Emily Shepard is on the run; the nuclear plant where her father worked has suffered a cataclysmic meltdown, and all fingers point to him. Now, orphaned, homeless, and certain that she s a pariah, Emily s taken to hiding out on the frigid streets of Burlington, Vermont, creating a new identity inspired by her favorite poet, Emily Dickinson.
Then she meets Cameron. Nine years old and with a string of foster families behind him, he sparks something in Emily, and she protects him with a fierceness she didn t know she possessed. But when an emergency threatens the fledgling home she s created, Emily realizes that she can’t hide forever.”

9781447299097the-secrets-of-happiness

The Secrets of Happiness by Lucy Diamond

I listened to the audiobook of this over the last few days and really enjoyed it. It was an easy read but one that I found engaging enough to keep me interested. It’s made me want to pick up more of Lucy Diamond’s novels in the future.

Synopsis:

The best things in life . . . can be just around the corner

Rachel and Becca aren’t real sisters, or so they say. They are stepsisters, living far apart, with little in common. Rachel is the successful one: happily married with three children and a big house, plus an impressive career. Artistic Becca, meanwhile, lurches from one dead-end job to another, shares a titchy flat, and has given up on love.

The two of them have lost touch, but when Rachel doesn’t come home one night, Becca is called in to help.
Once there, she quickly realizes that her stepsister’s life is not so perfect after all: Rachel’s handsome husband
has moved out, her children are rebelling, and her glamorous career has taken a nosedive. Worst of all,
nobody seems to have a clue where she might be.

As Becca begins to untangle Rachel’s secrets, she is forced to confront some uncomfortable truths about
her own life, and the future seems uncertain.

But sometimes happiness can be found in the most unexpected places . . .

last-night-in-montreal-by-emily

Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel

I very much enjoyed this book and am so glad I finally picked it up. It’s an intriguing story that is beautifully written. I can see how Emily St. John went from here to Station Eleven. I definitely want to read her other books soon.

Synopsis:

Lilia has been leaving people behind her entire life. Haunted by her inability to remember her early childhood, and by a mysterious shadow that seems to dog her wherever she goes, Lilia moves restlessly from city to city, abandoning lovers and friends along the way. But then she meets Eli, and he’s not ready to let her go, not without a fight.

Gorgeously written, charged with tension and foreboding, Emily St. John Mandel’s Last Night in Montreal is the story of a life spent at the centre of a criminal investigation. It is a novel about identity, love and amnesia, the depths and limits of family bonds and – ultimately – about the nature of obsession.

73-eleanorcatton-theluminaries

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

This book is huge but I still read it over just ten days and I loved it. The story goes round and around and the characters kept on surprising me. When I wasn’t reading it I couldn’t wait to get back to it and now I’ve finished it I really miss it. I highly recommend this.

Synopsis:

It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.
The Luminaries is an extraordinary piece of fiction. It is full of narrative, linguistic and psychological pleasures, and has a fiendishly clever and original structuring device. Written in pitch-perfect historical register, richly evoking a mid-19th century world of shipping and banking and goldrush boom and bust, it is also a ghost story, and a gripping mystery. It is a thrilling achievement and will confirm for critics and readers that Catton is one of the brightest stars in the international writing firmament.

img_8253

Well-Read Women by Samantha Hahn

This isn’t really a book to read but I’m including it because the paintings and quotes kept me engrossed looking at this for a whole afternoon, even though it’s only 112 pages long. I’d recommend this to all book lovers, it’s a gorgeous book. I think it’ll be one I often get out to look at.

Synopsis:

A treasure of a gift for the well-read woman, this collection brings together 50 stirring portraits, in watercolour and in word, of literature’s most well-read female characters. Anna Karenina, Clarissa Dalloway, Daisy Buchanan…each seems to live on the page through celebrated artist Samantha Hahn’s evocative portraits and hand-lettered quotations, with the pairing of art and text capturing all the spirit of the character as she was originally written. The book itself evokes vintage grace re-imagined for contemporary taste, with a cloth spine silk-screened in a graphic pattern, debossed cover, and pages that turn with the tactile satisfaction of watercolour paper. In the hand and in the reading, here is a new classic for the book lover’s library.

 

What I plan on reading next:

uk-paperback-savedfor-web

The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

I bought this at the end of last week and I can’t wait to start it, it sounds so good!

Synopsis:

After Sarah petitions for mercy, Edmund Fleetwood is appointed to investigate and consider whether justice has been done. Idealistic, but struggling with his own demons, Edmund is determined to seek out the truth. Yet Sarah refuses to help him, neither lying nor adding anything to the evidence gathered in court. Edmund knows she’s hiding something, but needs to discover just why she’s maintaining her silence. For how can it be that someone would willingly go to their own death?

 

51g8rpiawvl-_sx325_bo1204203200_

Watch Me by Angela Clarke

I really enjoyed Follow Me when I read it so have been eagerly awaiting the second book in this series. I hope to get a chance to start reading it over the next few days!

Synopsis:

YOU HAVE SIX SECONDS TO READ THIS MESSAGE…

The body of a 15-year-old is found hours after she sends a desperate message to her friends. It looks like suicide, until a second girl disappears.

This time, the message is sent directly to the Metropolitan Police – and an officer’s younger sister is missing.

DS Nasreen Cudmore and journalist Freddie Venton will stop at nothing to find her. But whoever’s behind the notes is playing a deadly game of hide and seek – and the clock is ticking.

YOU HAVE 24 HOURS TO SAVE THE GIRL’S LIFE.
MAKE THEM COUNT.

417m5yf5rel-_sy344_bo1204203200_

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

I can’t believe that I’ve not read this novel before! I finally bought myself a copy this week and don’t think it’ll be on my TBR for more than  few days as it sounds incredible.

Synopsis:

Latin terrorists storm an international gathering hosted by an underprivileged country to promote foreign interest and trade, only to find that their intended target, the President, has stayed home to watch his favourite soap opera on TV. Among the hostages are a world class opera singer and her biggest fan, a Japanese tycoon who has been persuaded to attend the party on the understanding that she will perform half a dozen arias after dinner.

The tycoon’s engaging and sympathetic translator plays a vital role in the subsequent relationships between so many different nationalities closeted together, interpreting not only the terrorists’ negotiations but also the language of love between lovers who cannot understand what the other is saying.

Ultimately, it is the terrorist strike that does more to promote foreign relations than anyone could have hoped to achieve with the party.


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 (5 Feb)

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted

I don’t have much news from this week, it’s been quite a quiet week really. I’ve been slowly carrying on with my decluttering and have filled another three huge bin bags with either things for the charity shop, or rubbish. I’m still feeling ruthless so will be carrying on with the decluttering for a while yet! I need to get around to clearing some shelf space as currently all the lovely books I got for my birthday are in a box as there is literally no space to put them on any of my bookcases or shelves! Eeeek!

This week I’ve finished reading three books:

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

I had the ebook of this on my TBR for ages but just never got around to it so when I spotted it on an Audible deal recently I snapped it up. I’ve listened to it over the course of a couple of days and it was ok. I think the book has been so hyped for so long that it was going to be a huge ask for it to live up to. It was enjoyable enough but I was a bit disappointed.

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

I love love love this book! It was close to 900 pages long and I’ve read it over the last ten days or so – I couldn’t stop thinking about it when I wasn’t reading it, and now I’ve finished it I really miss it. It made me remember how much I used to adore reading big books and I’m definitely going to make more effort to read longer books. I highly recommend this book if you haven’t read it yet.

Well-Read Women by Samantha Hahn

This is a book I got for my birthday and I adore it. It’s such a beautiful book and whilst it’s only 112 pages and is predominantly paintings I’ve added it as a read book here because I literally spent a few hours looking at the paintings and reading the quotes. This is a fabulous book for a book lover – I’m definitely going to be buying copies as gifts in the future.

This week I’ve blogged five times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up (29 Jan) where I shared all my book, blogging and real life news from the previous week.

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday (1 Feb) where I shared what I was currently reading, what I’d recently read and what I was hoping to read next.

Thursday: January Wrap-Up where I wrapped up the first month of 2017, sharing all the books I’d read, links to all my reviews and blog posts, and how my plan to reduce my TBR was going.

Friday: My Birthday Book Haul where I shared my huge haul of books that I was lucky enough to receive for my birthday last weekend.

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves where I wrote about the books I bought myself or received for review over the last seven days.

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

Books for Living by Will Schwalbe

I completely and utterly fell in love with Will Schwalbe’s previous book so I’ve been really keen to read this one. So far the book is wonderful but unfortunately my copy is from NetGalley and the formatting is making it very hard for me to read. I’m considering putting it to one side for now and buying my own copy to read. 

The Good Immigrant ed. by Nikesh Shukla 

This is a book that I’ve been wanting to read for ages so when I spotted it for the bargain price of £2.99 on Kindle this week I snapped it up. I’ve read the first four essays so far and it’s a very thought-provoking read. I want to read this slowly and give myself time to really think about what’s being said so I’m reading an essay or two each day. I definitely recommend it though. 

Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel

When I started reading this it seemed very different from Station Eleven (which I read a few years ago and completely adored) but as I get further into it and more and more layers are peeled back it’s really clear how the author got from here to there. I’m really enjoying this book.

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian

This book, like the two below, is a really enjoyable novel but my reading of it is being hampered by my struggles with holding a physical book at the moment. The novel itself is really engaging though and I would recommend it.

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

This is a really heavy , stiff paperback book to hold so I’m struggling to hold it open to read. I’m enjoying the story but may have to give up on this one until I can get hold of an ebook version.

The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

I’m still enjoying this book but the format is slowing my reading down. My husband is thinking of getting the audio book version as I’ve been recommending the book to him ever since I started reading it so I may well end up listening to it with him.

 


Update on my TBR…

TBR at the start of January 2017: 1885 (see my State of the TBR post)

TBR in last week’s Weekly Wrap-Up: 1889

Books bought/received for review: 12

TBR Books culled this week: 0

TBR now stands at: 1904

I really hope to at least get my TBR back under 1900 this month – ideally by reading lots of my own books and not accumulating more, but I do need to do a cull at some point too to make room for my birthday books.


 

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.

 


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 (1 Feb) What are you reading?

WWW pic

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

last-night-in-montreal-by-emily

Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel

I read Station Eleven a couple of years ago and loved it so much that I always wanted to read her earlier novels. I finally picked this one up this week and am enjoying it so far.

Synopsis:

Lilia has been leaving people behind her entire life. Haunted by her inability to remember her early childhood, and by a mysterious shadow that seems to dog her wherever she goes, Lilia moves restlessly from city to city, abandoning lovers and friends along the way. But then she meets Eli, and he’s not ready to let her go, not without a fight.

Gorgeously written, charged with tension and foreboding, Emily St. John Mandel’s Last Night in Montreal is the story of a life spent at the centre of a criminal investigation. It is a novel about identity, love and amnesia, the depths and limits of family bonds and – ultimately – about the nature of obsession.

 

close-your-eyes-hold-hands-by-chris-bohjalian

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian

This was one of the surprise birthday gifts from my husband at the weekend and I was so pleased to receive it. I love Chris Bohjalian’s novels so I immediately started reading this. It might take me a bit of time to read it as it’s a hardback but I’m very much enjoying it.

Synopsis:

Emily Shepard is on the run; the nuclear plant where her father worked has suffered a cataclysmic meltdown, and all fingers point to him. Now, orphaned, homeless, and certain that she s a pariah, Emily s taken to hiding out on the frigid streets of Burlington, Vermont, creating a new identity inspired by her favorite poet, Emily Dickinson.
Then she meets Cameron. Nine years old and with a string of foster families behind him, he sparks something in Emily, and she protects him with a fierceness she didn t know she possessed. But when an emergency threatens the fledgling home she s created, Emily realizes that she can’t hide forever.”

 

73-eleanorcatton-theluminaries

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

This book is HUGE and as a result has been languishing on my TBR since I bought it when it was first published. I’ve now got an ebook copy so it’s easier for me to read. It’s such a great novel and I’d highly recommend it. I’m about 40% through it now and really look forward to getting back to it when I’m not reading it.

Synopsis:

It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.
The Luminaries is an extraordinary piece of fiction. It is full of narrative, linguistic and psychological pleasures, and has a fiendishly clever and original structuring device. Written in pitch-perfect historical register, richly evoking a mid-19th century world of shipping and banking and goldrush boom and bust, it is also a ghost story, and a gripping mystery. It is a thrilling achievement and will confirm for critics and readers that Catton is one of the brightest stars in the international writing firmament.

 

img_8094

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

I’ve not managed to read much of this book since last week as I’m really struggling with print books at the moment. I’ve requested a NetGalley copy of it so if I get approved I reckon I’ll read it in one sitting as it’s a really good read.

Synopsis:

Beautiful.
Rich.
Mysterious.

The Roanoke girls seem to have it all. But there’s a dark truth about them which is never spoken. Every girl either runs away, or dies.

Lane is one of the lucky ones. When she was fifteen, over one long, hot summer at her grandparents’ estate in rural Kansas, she found out what it really means to be a Roanoke girl. Lane ran, far and fast. Until eleven years later, when her cousin Allegra goes missing – and Lane has no choice but to go back.

She is a Roanoke girl.

Is she strong enough to escape a second time?

 

img_7957

The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

As with the above book I’ve not managed to read much of this book this week either, entirely down to my pain levels and lack of dexterity in my hands. If I hadn’t been going through a bad few weeks I reckon I’d have read this within a day or two as it’s brilliant.

Synopsis:

Respected arts commentator Paul Morley, one of the team who curated the highly successful retrospective exhibition for the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, David Bowie Is . . . constructs the definitive story of Bowie that explores how he worked, played, aged, structured his ideas, invented the future and entered history as someone who could and would never be forgotten. Morley will capture the greatest moments of Bowie’s career; from the recording studio with the likes of Brian Eno and Tony Visconti; to iconic live performances from the 1970s, 80s and 90s, as well as the various encounters and artistic relationships he developed with rock luminaries John Lennon, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop. And of course, discuss in detail his much-heralded, and critically-acclaimed comeback with the release of Black Star just days before his shocking death in New York.
Morley will offer a startling biographical critique of David Bowie’s legacy, showing how he never stayed still even when he withdrew from the spotlight, how he always knew his own worth, and released a dazzling plethora of mobile Bowies into the world with a bloody-minded determination and a voluptuous imagination to create something amazing that was not there before.


What I recently finished reading:

blood-wedding-by-pierre-lemaitre

Blood Wedding by Pierre LeMaitre

I’ve had a rough few days health-wise and spent ages scrolling through my kindle looking for something to read. For some reason this book caught my eye and I literally read the whole thing in one sitting. It was brilliant, such a fast-paced engaging read.

Synopsis:

Sophie is haunted by the things she can’t remember – and visions from the past she will never forget.

One morning, she wakes to find that the little boy in her care is dead. She has no memory of what happened. And whatever the truth, her side of the story is no match for the evidence piled against her.

Her only hiding place is in a new identity. A new life, with a man she has met online.

But Sophie is not the only one keeping secrets . . .

For fans of Gone Girl and Lemaitre’s own internationally bestselling AlexBlood Weddingis a compelling psychological thriller with a formidable female protagonist

 

the-life-of-rylan

The Life of Rylan by Rylan Clark

This is another book I picked up on a whim whilst feeling unwell. I listened to the audio book and it was such a fun listen. I am a Big Brother (and Bit on the Side) fan and so it was interesting to learn more about Rylan. It’s a great listen for when you’re feeling in need to cheering up.

Synopsis:

Well hark at you, stumbling upon my autobiography. Bet you wouldn’t have put money on that three years ago, eh?! Please don’t stress yourself out too much though, it’s actually socially acceptable nowadays that you’re interested.
Firstly I’d like to emphasise that I have WRITTEN THIS BOOK MYSELF, so be assured you’re getting the TOOTH, the WHOLE TOOTH and NOTHING BUT THE TOOTH! (Which was my original choice of title, but babe, we’re so over that) This book documents my story, year by year, from my humble beginnings growing up in the East End of London, becoming one of the nation’s most talked-about people overnight to finally moving up the spectrum from guilty pleasure, and getting nearer to national treasure. It will make you laugh, cry, and most importantly you’ll discover who I really am. If it doesn’t do any of those things you’re not legally entitled to a refund – just clearing that up ;-). I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I have enjoyed writing it. This book has been like therapy, and LORD was I in need. Enjoy!

 

keeper-of-lost-things-hb

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

I finished reading this book at the end of last week and it was utterly wonderful. I loved everything about this book and highly recommend it. I hope to get my review written for this within the next week or so but am struggling to get my thoughts together at the moment, as is often the case with books I’ve loved.

Synopsis:

MEET THE ‘KEEPER OF LOST THINGS’…
Once a celebrated author of short stories now in his twilight years, Anthony Peardew has spent half his life lovingly collecting lost objects, trying to atone for a promise broken many years before.
Realising he is running out of time, he leaves his house and all its lost treasures to his assistant Laura, the one person he can trust to fulfil his legacy and reunite the thousands of objects with their rightful owners.
But the final wishes of the Keeper of Lost Things have unforeseen repercussions which trigger a most serendipitous series of encounters…

With an unforgettable cast of characters that includes young girls with special powers, handsome gardeners, irritable ghosts and an array of irresistible four-legged friends, The Keeper of Lost Things is a debut novel of endless possibilities and joyful discoveries that will leave you bereft once you’ve finished reading.
WE’RE ALL JUST WAITING TO BE FOUND…

 

ReadyPlayerOne RD 1 finals 2

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

This is such a fun read, I loved it. The 80s references are great, and the story is really engaging and engrossing. I recommend it.

Synopsis:

It’s the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We’re out of oil. We’ve wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty, and disease are widespread.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be, where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade is obsessed by the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this alternate reality: OASIS founder James Halliday, who dies with no heir, has promised that control of the OASIS – and his massive fortune – will go to the person who can solve the riddles he has left scattered throughout his creation.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that the riddles are based in the culture of the late twentieth century. And then Wade stumbles onto the key to the first puzzle.

Suddenly, he finds himself pitted against thousands of competitors in a desperate race to claim the ultimate prize, a chase that soon takes on terrifying real-world dimensions – and that will leave both Wade and his world profoundly changed.

 

the-girl-before-by-jp-delaney

The Girl Before by JP Delaney

This is a fast-paced read that keeps you hooked all the way through. I’ve already reviewed this so you can read that here if you’d like to.

Synopsis:

Jane stumbles on the rental opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to live in a beautiful ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect, on condition she abides by a long list of exacting rules. After moving in, she discovers that a previous tenant, Emma, met a mysterious death there – and starts to wonder if her own story will be a re-run of the girl before. As twist after twist catches the reader off guard, Emma’s past and Jane’s present become inexorably entwined in this tense, page-turning portrayal of psychological obsession.

Following in the footsteps of Gone Girl and The Girl on the TrainThe Girl Before is being brought to the big screen. The film is set to be directed by Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard.


What I plan on reading next:

days-without-end

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

This was another birthday present and I can’t wait to read it. As I’m typing up this post I’ve just seen that it’s won the Costa Book award so I’m even more keen to read it! 

Synopsis:

‘I am thinking of the days without end of my life…’

After signing up for the US army in the 1850s, aged barely seventeen, Thomas McNulty and his brother-in-arms, John Cole, go on to fight in the Indian wars and, ultimately, the Civil War.

Having fled terrible hardships they find these days to be vivid and filled with wonder, despite the horrors they both see and are complicit in. Their lives are further enriched and imperilled when a young Indian girl crosses their path, and the possibility of lasting happiness emerges, if only they can survive.

Moving from the plains of the West to Tennessee, Sebastian Barry’s latest work is a masterpiece of atmosphere and language. Both an intensely poignant story of two men and the lives they are dealt, and a fresh look at some of the most fateful years in America’s past, Days Without End is a novel never to be forgotten.

 

this-is-how-it-always-is-by-laurie-frankel

This is How it Always is by Laurie Frankel

I won a beautiful proof copy of this book last week and so plan to read it very soon as it sounds like a wonderful novel.

Synopsis:

Laurie Frankel’s THIS IS HOW IT ALWAYS IS is a warm, touching and bittersweet novel about a family that’s just like any other – until it’s not. For readers of WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY BESIDE OURSELVES and THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY. ‘A lively and fascinating story of a thoroughly modern family and the giant, multifaceted love that binds them… Sparkles with wit and wisdom’ Maria Semple, bestselling author of WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE. 

Rosie and Penn always wanted a daughter. Four sons later, they decide to try one last time – and their beautiful little boy Claude is born. Life continues happily for this big, loving family until the day when Claude says that, when he grows up, he wants to be a girl.

As far as Rosie and Penn are concerned, bright, funny and wonderful Claude can be whoever he or she wants. But as problems begin at school and in the community, the family faces a seemingly impossible dilemma: should Claude change, or should they and Claude try to change the world?

Warm, touching and bittersweet, THIS IS HOW IT ALWAYS IS is a novel about families, love and how we choose to define ourselves. It will make you laugh and cry – and see the world differently.

 


 

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 (29 Jan)

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted

This is my birthday weekend and by pure chance my husband has the weekend off so it’s been lovely spending time with him. He spoilt me with lots of new books, which I will either post pics of in a book haul this week or in my Stacking the Shelves post on Saturday. I did know about some of the books but some were surprises so it was a nice mix. He also had a beautiful bouquet of flowers delivered, which was lovely.

We celebrated my birthday with a takeaway as I wasn’t well enough to go out but that was still really lovely. I want to see the new Trainspotting film but the cinema is really difficult for me to manage but I’m hoping we can see it in the next week or so as a belated birthday treat.

I’ve been slowly de-cluttering my house again since the beginning of the year, having been inspired by reading Unf*ck Your Life by Rachel Hoffman. Yesterday my husband took ten full bin bags of clothes, shoes, handbags and books to the charity shop for me. It feels really good to have got rid of so much, and I still have more sorting out to do so I expect there to be more for the charity shop soon. I’ve been listening to audiobooks whilst decluttering so I’m still getting lots of reading done.

 


This week I’ve finished reading five books:

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

This book is wonderful, I adored every single second I spent reading it. I’ll be writing my review of this soon and hope to have it up on my blog in the next week or so.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

I can’t believe I thought this book wouldn’t be for me for such a long time purely because I’m not a gamer. I’m so glad I gave it a chance, it’s such a good read. I especially loved all of the 80s references and was on the edge of my seat as the quest reached it’s final stage! This wasn’t an ARC but I may still review it on my blog if I get time.

The Girl Before by JP Delaney

I enjoyed this thriller for the most part but it did take a turn that I thought was gimmicky and it took away from my enjoyment a little. I reviewed this book on my blog last week and you can read that here if you’d like to.

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

This book has been on my TBR since it was first published but the length of it it put me off picking it up. I’m so pleased that I finally got to it as it was a brilliant read. I still keep thinking about it and highly recommend it.

Rattle by Fiona Cummins

This is a brilliantly creepy and sinister read. I almost didn’t pick it up as I’m easily scared but the great writing in this book over-rode my fear factor and I couldn’t put it down. I reviewed it last week so you can read my thoughts here if you’d like to.

 


This week I’ve blogged six times:

(Click the links next to the day of the week if you’d like to read the posts)

Sunday: Weekly Wrap- Up

Monday: Review of Loving the Life Less Lived by Gail Marie Mitchell

Tuesday: Review of Rattle by Fiona Cummins

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Friday: Review of The Girl Before by JP Delaney

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves

 


This is what I’m currently reading:

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian

I haven’t hauled this book yet as it was one of my birthday gifts but I immediately started reading it so wanted to add it in to this post. I’m only a couple of chapters in so far but I’m enjoying it. I’m a big fan of Chris Bohjalian’s novels so was very excited to receive this surprise gift.

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

This book has been on my TBR for ages but I always put off picking it up because it’s huge! This year I’m trying to read as many books off my TBR as I can to reduce it but I wanted to make sure that I factor in reading the books that have been on my TBR for a really long time. I’m very much enjoying this novel, I’m about a third of the way through it and it’s keeping me hooked. 

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

I’ve been slow getting to read this book as it’s a print book and I’ve had a bad week so it’s been a struggle to hold print books. I am enjoying this novel though and now I’m feeling a bit better I hope to read this book in full over the next couple of days.

The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

I’m still very much enjoying this book. It’s taking me a while purely because it’s a big, heavy hardback and it’s a struggle for me to hold it and turn the pages at times. It’s a great biography  though and I recommend I highly recommend it.


 

Update on my TBR…

TBR at the start of January 2017: 1885 (see my State of the TBR post)

TBR in last week’s Weekly Wrap-Up: 1880

Books bought/received for review: 8

Birthday books added 28 Jan: 21

TBR Books culled this week: 4

TBR now stands at: 1899

WWW Wednesday (25 Jan)

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:

 

73-eleanorcatton-theluminaries

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

I started reading this yesterday afternoon and I’m enjoying it so far. This is another huge book that has been on my TBR for ages so it’s good to finally be getting to it.

Synopsis:

It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.
The Luminaries is an extraordinary piece of fiction. It is full of narrative, linguistic and psychological pleasures, and has a fiendishly clever and original structuring device. Written in pitch-perfect historical register, richly evoking a mid-19th century world of shipping and banking and goldrush boom and bust, it is also a ghost story, and a gripping mystery. It is a thrilling achievement and will confirm for critics and readers that Catton is one of the brightest stars in the international writing firmament.

 

the-girl-before-by-jp-delaney

The Girl Before by JP Delaney

I’ve been really looking forward to this book and finally got to start it this week. I’m finding it be a a very fast-paced read, which is great but I wasn’t expecting the slight Fifty Shades of Grey turn and am a bit unsure about that.

Synopsis:

Jane stumbles on the rental opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to live in a beautiful ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect, on condition she abides by a long list of exacting rules. After moving in, she discovers that a previous tenant, Emma, met a mysterious death there – and starts to wonder if her own story will be a re-run of the girl before. As twist after twist catches the reader off guard, Emma’s past and Jane’s present become inexorably entwined in this tense, page-turning portrayal of psychological obsession.

Following in the footsteps of Gone Girl and The Girl on the TrainThe Girl Before is being brought to the big screen. The film is set to be directed by Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard.

 

img_8094

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

I’m really enjoying this book but it’s taking me a while to read it purely because it’s a print book and my disability makes it very hard for me to read physical books at times and that slows my reading down. 

Synopsis:

Beautiful.
Rich.
Mysterious.

The Roanoke girls seem to have it all. But there’s a dark truth about them which is never spoken. Every girl either runs away, or dies.

Lane is one of the lucky ones. When she was fifteen, over one long, hot summer at her grandparents’ estate in rural Kansas, she found out what it really means to be a Roanoke girl. Lane ran, far and fast. Until eleven years later, when her cousin Allegra goes missing – and Lane has no choice but to go back.

She is a Roanoke girl.

Is she strong enough to escape a second time?

 

keeper-of-lost-things-hb

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

This book is beautiful and I adore it. The only reason I’m being slow to read this one is that it wasn’t the right book for me to be reading last week when I was feeling sad and melancholy. I’ll definitely be back reading this in the next day or so though.

Synopsis:

MEET THE ‘KEEPER OF LOST THINGS’…
Once a celebrated author of short stories now in his twilight years, Anthony Peardew has spent half his life lovingly collecting lost objects, trying to atone for a promise broken many years before.
Realising he is running out of time, he leaves his house and all its lost treasures to his assistant Laura, the one person he can trust to fulfil his legacy and reunite the thousands of objects with their rightful owners.
But the final wishes of the Keeper of Lost Things have unforeseen repercussions which trigger a most serendipitous series of encounters…

With an unforgettable cast of characters that includes young girls with special powers, handsome gardeners, irritable ghosts and an array of irresistible four-legged friends, The Keeper of Lost Things is a debut novel of endless possibilities and joyful discoveries that will leave you bereft once you’ve finished reading.
WE’RE ALL JUST WAITING TO BE FOUND…

 

ReadyPlayerOne RD 1 finals 2

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

This book is fab! It’s such a fun, easy read and I love all the 80s references.

Synopsis:

It’s the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We’re out of oil. We’ve wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty, and disease are widespread.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be, where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade is obsessed by the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this alternate reality: OASIS founder James Halliday, who dies with no heir, has promised that control of the OASIS – and his massive fortune – will go to the person who can solve the riddles he has left scattered throughout his creation.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that the riddles are based in the culture of the late twentieth century. And then Wade stumbles onto the key to the first puzzle.

Suddenly, he finds himself pitted against thousands of competitors in a desperate race to claim the ultimate prize, a chase that soon takes on terrifying real-world dimensions – and that will leave both Wade and his world profoundly changed.

 

img_7957

The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

This book is brilliant and I’m enjoying it so much. It’s a hardback copy though so it’s one I’m struggling with due to my disability but whenever I am able to hold a print book I am reading this one. 

Synopsis:

Respected arts commentator Paul Morley, one of the team who curated the highly successful retrospective exhibition for the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, David Bowie Is . . . constructs the definitive story of Bowie that explores how he worked, played, aged, structured his ideas, invented the future and entered history as someone who could and would never be forgotten. Morley will capture the greatest moments of Bowie’s career; from the recording studio with the likes of Brian Eno and Tony Visconti; to iconic live performances from the 1970s, 80s and 90s, as well as the various encounters and artistic relationships he developed with rock luminaries John Lennon, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop. And of course, discuss in detail his much-heralded, and critically-acclaimed comeback with the release of Black Star just days before his shocking death in New York.
Morley will offer a startling biographical critique of David Bowie’s legacy, showing how he never stayed still even when he withdrew from the spotlight, how he always knew his own worth, and released a dazzling plethora of mobile Bowies into the world with a bloody-minded determination and a voluptuous imagination to create something amazing that was not there before.

 


What I recently finished reading:

 

bookstrangenewthings_cover

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

I finished reading this yesterday and I completely and utterly adored it. It was such a wonderful read and I highly recommend it.

Synopsis:

‘I am with you always, even unto the end of the world . . .’

Peter Leigh is a missionary called to go on the journey of a lifetime. Leaving behind his beloved wife, Bea, he boards a flight for a remote and unfamiliar land, a place where the locals are hungry for the teachings of the Bible – his ‘book of strange new things’. It is a quest that will challenge Peter’s beliefs, his understanding of the limits of the human body and, most of all, his love for Bea.

The Book of Strange New Things is a wildly original tale of adventure, faith and the ties that might hold two people together when they are worlds apart. This momentous novel, Faber’s first since The Crimson Petal and the White, sees him at his expectation-defying best.

 

9781509812288rattle-400x0x0

Rattle by Fiona Cummins

I read this in a day at the weekend, it was such a creepy yet unputdownable book. I reviewed this yesterday so you can read my review here if you’d like to know more.

Synopsis:

A serial killer to chill your bones

A psychopath more frightening than Hannibal Lecter.

He has planned well. He leads two lives. In one he’s just like anyone else. But in the other he is the caretaker of his family’s macabre museum.

Now the time has come to add to his collection. He is ready to feed his obsession, and he is on the hunt.

Jakey Frith and Clara Foyle have something in common. They have what he needs.

What begins is a terrifying cat-and-mouse game between the sinister collector, Jakey’s father and Etta Fitzroy, a troubled detective investigating a spate of abductions.

Set in London’s Blackheath, Rattle by Fiona Cummins explores the seam of darkness that runs through us all; the struggle between light and shadow, redemption and revenge.

It is a glimpse into the mind of a sinister psychopath. And it’s also a story about not giving up hope when it seems that all hope is already lost.

 

41n7immud1l-_sx342_bo1204203200_

Hold Your Own by Kate Tempest

I’ve had this book for a while and finally made time to read it at the weekend. It’s an enjoyable collection of poetry and has made me want to start reading poetry again as I seem to have got out of that in recent years.

Synopsis:

Kate Tempest’s first full-length collection for Picador is an ambitious, multi-voiced work based around the mythical figure of Tiresias. This four-part work follows him through his transformations from child, man and woman to blind prophet; through this structure, Tempest holds up a mirror to contemporary life in a direct and provocative way rarely associated with poetry. A vastly popular and accomplished performance poet, Tempest commands a huge and dedicated following on the performance and rap circuit. Brand New Ancients, also available from Picador, won the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry and has played to packed concert halls on both sides of the Atlantic.

 

howards-end-is-on-the-landing

Howards End is on the Landing: A Year of Reading from Home by Susan Hill

I’ve been dipping in and out of this book for a couple of weeks and have been very much enjoying it. It’s a wonderful book about books and is one I’d recommend to all book lovers.

Synopsis:

Early one autumn afternoon in pursuit of an elusive book on her shelves, Susan Hill encountered dozens of others that she had never read, or forgotten she owned, or wanted to read for a second time. The discovery inspired her to embark on a year-long voyage through her books, forsaking new purchases in order to get to know her own collection again.

A book which is left on a shelf for a decade is a dead thing, but it is also a chrysalis, packed with the potential to burst into new life. Wandering through her house that day, Hill’s eyes were opened to how much of that life was stored in her home, neglected for years. Howard’s End is on the Landing charts the journey of one of the nation’s most accomplished authors as she revisits the conversations, libraries and bookshelves of the past that have informed a lifetime of reading and writing.

 

the-one-memory-of-flora-banks

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

I really enjoyed reading this YA novel. I intend to review this soon.

Synopsis:

HOW DO YOU KNOW WHO TO TRUST WHEN YOU CAN’T EVEN TRUST YOURSELF?

I look at my hands. One of them says FLORA BE BRAVE.

Flora has anterograde amnesia. She can’t remember anything day-to-day: the joke her friend made, the instructions her parents gave her, how old she is.

Then she kisses someone she shouldn’t, and the next day she remembers it. It’s the first time she’s remembered anything since she was ten.

But the boy is gone. She thinks he’s moved to the Arctic.

Will following him be the key to unlocking her memory? Who can she trust?

 

9781910453261

Loving The Life Less Lived by Gail Marie Mitchell

This is an interesting self-help/memoir about living with anxiety and depression. I reviewed this on Monday so you can read my thoughts here if you’d like to know more.

Synopsis:

An essential companion for anyone dealing with mental illness.
Like many people, Gail Marie Mitchell battled with anxiety and depression for many years, finding it exhausting, stressful and demoralising at times.

Realising that this approach to her condition was futile, Gail chose a different approach: acceptance.

Taking control in this way removed some of the pressure and enabled Gail to focus on developing coping strategies, creating the tips and tools that are included in this empathetic and practical book.

Gail focuses on the positive aspects of her condition, showing how a person living with mental illness is so much more than the label that society puts on them. She found acceptance empowering, enabling her to live her life to the full. Perhaps not the life she had planned, but one that is happy and fulfilling and that she loves. She is Loving the Life Less Lived.

By sharing her experiences and describing what she learnt from them as well as the resulting coping strategies, Gail has created an essential companion for anyone dealing with mental illness and their family and friends.

 


What I plan on reading next:

another-brooklyn-by-jacqueline-woodson

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

I was thrilled to be approved to read this book on NetGalley this week and am very much looking forward to reading it.

Synopsis:

Running into a long-ago friend sets memory from the 1970s in motion for August, transporting her to a time and a place where friendship was everything – until it wasn’t. For August and her girls, sharing confidences as they ambled through neighbourhood streets, Brooklyn was a place where they believed that they were beautiful, talented, brilliant – a part of a future that belonged to them.

But beneath the hopeful veneer, there was another Brooklyn, a dangerous place where grown men reached for innocent girls in dark hallways, where ghosts haunted the night, where mothers disappeared. A world where madness was just a sunset away and fathers found hope in religion.

 

 


 

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 Jan)

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted

This week I’ve been trying to keep my mind occupied so have been reading lots of books and have blogged every day. It’s the anniversary of my mum’s death this weekend and I always find January a month that drags me down as a result. I always make a conscious effort to keep myself busy as much as I can. It’s not easy because I still miss her so much but dwelling on pain and sadness doesn’t help.

Yesterday I managed to get out for the first time this year, in fact the first time in a month so that was nice. We spent an hour (unsuccessfully) shopping for a shed and then got a Subway on the way home. These days I value any time I manage to spend out of the house so I really enjoyed it. It was a lovely sunny day, which is always nice.

This week I’ve finished reading six books:

Hold Your Own by Kate Tempest

This is a fairly short poetry collection. I’ve not read much poetry at all over the last couple of years and reading this collection reminded me how much I used to love it. I’m definitely going to try and read some more poetry this year.

Howards End is on the Landing: A Year of Reading from Home by Susan Hill

I’ve been dipping in and out of this book for the last week or two and have very much enjoyed it. It’s inspired me to try and keep focused on the books I already own rather than constantly looking to acquire more. It’s also made me consider the books I do own and whether I still want to read them as much as I did when I bought them or whether the moment has passed.

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr (review ebook)

I really enjoyed this YA book and plan to review it soon, hopefully this week sometime.

Loving the Life Less Lived by Gail Marie Mitchell (review book)

This is a non-fiction book that I was sent for review. I’m on the blog tour for this book tomorrow so please look out for my review then if you’d like to know more.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

I can’t believe this book languished on my TBR in various formats since it was first published almost twenty years ago. It’s been a lesson in not leaving books for so long as from the very first few pages of this book I was hooked and I loved reading it.

Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson (review ebook)

This is a review book that I finished reading on Monday and I’ve already reviewed it. You can read my review here if you’d like to. I very much enjoyed this novel though, it really unnerved me and I loved that about it.


This week I’ve blogged seven times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up (15 Jan)

Monday: Review of Lies by TM Logan

Tuesday: Review of Relativity by Antonia Hayes

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday (18 Jan)

Thursday: Review of Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson

Friday: Review of While You Were Sleeping by Kathryn Croft

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves (21 Jan)


This is what I’m currently reading:

Rattle by Fiona Cummins (review ebook)

I deliberately kept this book to read over this weekend whilst my husband would be home as from what I’ve heard about it I knew it was likely to really scare me. So far it’s just quite creepy but the tension is beginning to ramp up. I hope to finish this today but it depends how scary it gets and whether I need a break at any point !

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel (review book)

This review book was sent to me as a total surprise and I was very happy to receive it. I’ve only read the first three chapters so far but I’m enjoying it. It’s not always easy for me to read print books (due to my disability) so that sometimes slows down my reading of print books.

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

This book is wonderful. It’s one of those books that I want to read slowly so I can savour it but at the same time I can’t stop thinking about it and want to just sit and read it all in one go.

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan (review ebook)

This is another review book and one that I’m completely and utterly adoring. It’s just everything I love in a story.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

This book is such a fun read and I’m loving all of the 80s references throughout.

 


 

Update on my TBR

TBR at the start of January 2017 (as of my State of the TBR post): 1885

TBR in last week’s Weekly Wrap-Up: 1887

Books added this week: 8 (find out which books I bought in my Stacking the Shelves post)

Books got rid of this week: 10

TBR now stands at: 1880

I realise that I’m not going to be able to resist buying books on occasion so I’m trying to balance any new books coming in with culling a few from my shelves that I know I’m not going to read.

 


 

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. :)

 


 

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.

WWW Wednesday (18 Jan) | What are you reading this week?

WWW pic

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

bookstrangenewthings_cover

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

I’ve had this book on my TBR since it was first published a couple of years ago. Faber’s earlier novel The Crimson Petal and the White is one of my all-time favourite books so I’ve been really looking forward to this one. Seeing as I’m making an effort to read my TBR this year, I knew this book had to be read asap! I’m really enjoying it so far.

Synopsis:

‘I am with you always, even unto the end of the world . . .’

Peter Leigh is a missionary called to go on the journey of a lifetime. Leaving behind his beloved wife, Bea, he boards a flight for a remote and unfamiliar land, a place where the locals are hungry for the teachings of the Bible – his ‘book of strange new things’. It is a quest that will challenge Peter’s beliefs, his understanding of the limits of the human body and, most of all, his love for Bea.

The Book of Strange New Things is a wildly original tale of adventure, faith and the ties that might hold two people together when they are worlds apart. This momentous novel, Faber’s first since The Crimson Petal and the White, sees him at his expectation-defying best.

the-one-memory-of-flora-banks

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr (review ebook)

I’m really enjoying this book so far. It’s an easy read but also one that really holds my attention. I’m looking forward to reading more and finding out what happens to Flora.

Synopsis:

HOW DO YOU KNOW WHO TO TRUST WHEN YOU CAN’T EVEN TRUST YOURSELF?

I look at my hands. One of them says FLORA BE BRAVE.

Flora has anterograde amnesia. She can’t remember anything day-to-day: the joke her friend made, the instructions her parents gave her, how old she is.

Then she kisses someone she shouldn’t, and the next day she remembers it. It’s the first time she’s remembered anything since she was ten.

But the boy is gone. She thinks he’s moved to the Arctic.

Will following him be the key to unlocking her memory? Who can she trust?

keeper-of-lost-things-hb

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan (review ebook)

I’ve been looking forward to this book for so long as I had a feeling it would be one of those books that I would fall in love with. So far I’ve only read the first few chapters but I adore it, it’s got me hooked!

Synopsis:

MEET THE ‘KEEPER OF LOST THINGS’…
Once a celebrated author of short stories now in his twilight years, Anthony Peardew has spent half his life lovingly collecting lost objects, trying to atone for a promise broken many years before.
Realising he is running out of time, he leaves his house and all its lost treasures to his assistant Laura, the one person he can trust to fulfil his legacy and reunite the thousands of objects with their rightful owners.
But the final wishes of the Keeper of Lost Things have unforeseen repercussions which trigger a most serendipitous series of encounters…

With an unforgettable cast of characters that includes young girls with special powers, handsome gardeners, irritable ghosts and an array of irresistible four-legged friends, The Keeper of Lost Things is a debut novel of endless possibilities and joyful discoveries that will leave you bereft once you’ve finished reading.
WE’RE ALL JUST WAITING TO BE FOUND…

howards-end-is-on-the-landing

Howards End is on the Landing: A Year of Reading From Home by Susan Hill

I’ve had this book on my TBR for ages too but it jumped out at me after I made the decision to read more of my own books this year rather than to continue buying new releases whilst other books languished on my shelves forevermore. This is different than I was expecting it to be but I’m really enjoying dipping in and out of it.

Synopsis:

Early one autumn afternoon in pursuit of an elusive book on her shelves, Susan Hill encountered dozens of others that she had never read, or forgotten she owned, or wanted to read for a second time. The discovery inspired her to embark on a year-long voyage through her books, forsaking new purchases in order to get to know her own collection again.

A book which is left on a shelf for a decade is a dead thing, but it is also a chrysalis, packed with the potential to burst into new life. Wandering through her house that day, Hill’s eyes were opened to how much of that life was stored in her home, neglected for years. Howard’s End is on the Landing charts the journey of one of the nation’s most accomplished authors as she revisits the conversations, libraries and bookshelves of the past that have informed a lifetime of reading and writing.

ReadyPlayerOne RD 1 finals 2

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

I’ve been reading blog posts about this book for so long and thought it wouldn’t be my thing as I’m not into gaming at all. Once I read that it has lots of 80s references and isn’t really about gaming I knew I had to read it. I’ve picked it up this week as I’ve just discovered that a film has been made of it so want to read it before I hear more about the film and risk spoilers. I’m really enjoying it so far and the 80s references are fab!

Synopsis:

It’s the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We’re out of oil. We’ve wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty, and disease are widespread.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be, where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade is obsessed by the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this alternate reality: OASIS founder James Halliday, who dies with no heir, has promised that control of the OASIS – and his massive fortune – will go to the person who can solve the riddles he has left scattered throughout his creation.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that the riddles are based in the culture of the late twentieth century. And then Wade stumbles onto the key to the first puzzle.

Suddenly, he finds himself pitted against thousands of competitors in a desperate race to claim the ultimate prize, a chase that soon takes on terrifying real-world dimensions – and that will leave both Wade and his world profoundly changed.

loving-the-life-less-lived-by-gail-marie-mitchell

The Life Less Lived by Gail Marie Mitchell (review book)

This is a review book for a blog tour I’m on next week (my stop is on the 23rd Jan) so I’ll definitely be finishing this book soon. I’m finding it an interesting read at the moment.

Synopsis:

An essential companion for anyone dealing with mental illness.
Like many people, Gail Marie Mitchell battled with anxiety and depression for many years, finding it exhausting, stressful and demoralising at times.

Realising that this approach to her condition was futile, Gail chose a different approach: acceptance.

Taking control in this way removed some of the pressure and enabled Gail to focus on developing coping strategies, creating the tips and tools that are included in this empathetic and practical book.

Gail focuses on the positive aspects of her condition, showing how a person living with mental illness is so much more than the label that society puts on them. She found acceptance empowering, enabling her to live her life to the full. Perhaps not the life she had planned, but one that is happy and fulfilling and that she loves. She is Loving the Life Less Lived.

By sharing her experiences and describing what she learnt from them as well as the resulting coping strategies, Gail has created an essential companion for anyone dealing with mental illness and their family and friends.

img_7957

The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

I’m still very much enjoying this book. The only reason I haven’t finished it yet is because it’s a big hardback book and when my pain levels are bad, I can’t hold books like this to read. I hope once I’ve recovered from the fall I had last week that I can get straight back to this.

Synopsis:

Respected arts commentator Paul Morley, one of the team who curated the highly successful retrospective exhibition for the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, David Bowie Is . . . constructs the definitive story of Bowie that explores how he worked, played, aged, structured his ideas, invented the future and entered history as someone who could and would never be forgotten. Morley will capture the greatest moments of Bowie’s career; from the recording studio with the likes of Brian Eno and Tony Visconti; to iconic live performances from the 1970s, 80s and 90s, as well as the various encounters and artistic relationships he developed with rock luminaries John Lennon, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop. And of course, discuss in detail his much-heralded, and critically-acclaimed comeback with the release of Black Star just days before his shocking death in New York.
Morley will offer a startling biographical critique of David Bowie’s legacy, showing how he never stayed still even when he withdrew from the spotlight, how he always knew his own worth, and released a dazzling plethora of mobile Bowies into the world with a bloody-minded determination and a voluptuous imagination to create something amazing that was not there before.

What I recently finished reading:

the-poisonwood-bible

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

I finished reading this book yesterday and I’m just in awe of it. I can’t quite put into words exactly how I feel about it yet… I will say that I feel like such a fool for letting this sit on my TBR (in various formats) for almost twenty years because the minute I started reading it I knew I would adore it.

Synopsis:

The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it–from garden seeds to Scripture–is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.

The novel is set against one of the most dramatic political chronicles of the twentieth century: the Congo’s fight for independence from Belgium, the murder of its first elected prime minister, the CIA coup to install his replacement, and the insidious progress of a world economic order that robs the fledgling African nation of its autonomy. Against this backdrop, Orleanna Price reconstructs the story of her evangelist husband’s part in the Western assault on Africa, a tale indelibly darkened by her own losses and unanswerable questions about her own culpability. Also narrating the story, by turns, are her four daughters–the self-centered, teenaged Rachel; shrewd adolescent twins Leah and Adah; and Ruth May, a prescient five-year-old. These sharply observant girls, who arrive in the Congo with racial preconceptions forged in 1950s Georgia, will be marked in surprisingly different ways by their father’s intractable mission, and by Africa itself. Ultimately each must strike her own separate path to salvation. Their passionately intertwined stories become a compelling exploration of moral risk and personal responsibility.

her-every-fear-by-peter-swanson

Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson (review ebook)

This is a review book that I’ve been so looking forward to reading. I picked it up on Sunday afternoon and I finished it Monday morning. It had me completely and utterly hooked the entire way through and my nerves are still fried! I’ll be reviewing this very soon!

Synopsis:

Following a brutal attack by her ex-boyfriend, Kate Priddy makes an uncharacteristically bold decision after her cousin, Corbin Dell, suggests a temporary apartment swap – and she moves from London to Boston.

But soon after her arrival Kate makes a shocking discovery: Corbin’s next-door neighbour, a young woman named Audrey Marshall, has been murdered. When the police begin asking questions about Corbin’s relationship with Audrey, and his neighbours come forward with their own suspicions, a shaken Kate has few answers, and many questions of her own.

Jetlagged and emotionally unstable, her imagination playing out her every fear, Kate can barely trust herself. so how can she trust any of the strangers she’s just met?

swimming-lessons-by-claire-fuller

Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller (review ebook)

This book is beautiful! I adored every single second that I spent reading it. It’s a review book so I hope to get my review up on here soon but right now I can’t fully express what this book meant to me. 

Synopsis:

Ingrid Coleman writes letters to her husband, Gil, about the truth of their marriage, but instead of giving them to him, she hides them in the thousands of books he has collected over the years. When Ingrid has written her final letter she disappears from a Dorset beach, leaving behind her beautiful but dilapidated house by the sea, her husband, and her two daughters, Flora and Nan.

Twelve years later, Gil thinks he sees Ingrid from a bookshop window, but he’s getting older and this unlikely sighting is chalked up to senility. Flora, who has never believed her mother drowned, returns home to care for her father and to try to finally discover what happened to Ingrid. But what Flora doesn’t realize is that the answers to her questions are hidden in the books that surround her. Scandalous and whip-smart, Swimming Lessons holds the Coleman family up to the light, exposing the mysterious truths of a passionate and troubled marriage.

lies-by-tm-logan

Lies by TM Logan (review ebook)

This is a fast-paced, enjoyable thriller. My full review is here: Lies by TM Logan

Synopsis:

WHAT IF YOUR WHOLE LIFE WAS BASED ON LIES? 

A gripping new psychological thriller of secrets and revenge.

When Joe Lynch sees his wife enter an underground car park in the middle of the day, he’s intrigued enough to follow her down.

And when he sees her in an angry altercation with family friend Ben, he naturally goes to her defence – and doesn’t for a minute believe the accusations Ben makes against her.

It’s pure misfortune that, just as the clash becomes violent and Ben is knocked unconscious, Joe’s son has an asthma attack, and Joe has to take him to safety.

how-much-the-heart-can-hold

How Much The Heart Can Hold by Carys Bray et al. (review book)

When I was sent this for review I actually squealed – it is one of the most beautiful hardback books I own. I’m so happy to say that the stories contained within the book are just as beautiful. I adored this book, it has become my favourite short story collection and I’ll be reviewing it soon.

Synopsis:

‘No one has measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold.’ 
Zelda Fitzgerald

Love is not a singular concept.

In this collection, seven award-winning authors explore seven concepts of love: from Philautia, self-love, to Agape, love for humanity; and from Storge, a natural affection for family, to Mania, a frenzied, obsessive love.

Seven authors; seven short stories; seven flashes of love.

What I plan on reading next:

img_8094

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel (review book)

This book was sent to me recently and was a total surprise, I didn’t know the publisher were posting me a copy. I was behind excited to open it though and have been so excited to read it. It’s not due for publication until later this year but I can’t wait any longer to start reading!

Synopsis:

Beautiful.
Rich.
Mysterious.

The Roanoke girls seem to have it all. But there’s a dark truth about them which is never spoken. Every girl either runs away, or dies.

Lane is one of the lucky ones. When she was fifteen, over one long, hot summer at her grandparents’ estate in rural Kansas, she found out what it really means to be a Roanoke girl. Lane ran, far and fast. Until eleven years later, when her cousin Allegra goes missing – and Lane has no choice but to go back.

She is a Roanoke girl.

Is she strong enough to escape a second time?

9781509812288rattle-400x0x0

Rattle by Fiona Cummins (review ebook)

This is a thriller that has a synopsis that makes me feel chilled to the bone and I don’t like being scared. That said, there is something about this book that makes me feel compelled to read it! Hopefully it won’t give me nightmares!

Synopsis:

A serial killer to chill your bones

A psychopath more frightening than Hannibal Lecter.

He has planned well. He leads two lives. In one he’s just like anyone else. But in the other he is the caretaker of his family’s macabre museum.

Now the time has come to add to his collection. He is ready to feed his obsession, and he is on the hunt.

Jakey Frith and Clara Foyle have something in common. They have what he needs.

What begins is a terrifying cat-and-mouse game between the sinister collector, Jakey’s father and Etta Fitzroy, a troubled detective investigating a spate of abductions.

Set in London’s Blackheath, Rattle by Fiona Cummins explores the seam of darkness that runs through us all; the struggle between light and shadow, redemption and revenge.

It is a glimpse into the mind of a sinister psychopath. And it’s also a story about not giving up hope when it seems that all hope is already lost.


 

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.