My March Wrap-Up Post (2016)

Monthly Wrap-Up

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

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

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

Time to Say Goodbye by SD Robertson

Sisters and Lies by Bernice Barrington

Quicksand by Steve Toltz

You Sent Me A Letter by Lucy Dawson

Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin

The Missing by CL Taylor

The Stylist by Rosie Nixon

Bone by Bone by Sanjida Kay

A Woman in a Million by Monica Wood

The Art of Wearing Hats by Helena Sheffield

A Proper Family Christmas by Chrissie Manby

Sally Ride by Lynn Sherr

A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold

When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen

Between You and Me by Lisa Hall 

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

The Good Mother by AL Bird

 

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

The Silent Girls by Ann Troup 

Look At Me by Sarah Duguid

The Butcher’s Hook by Janet Ellis


 

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

Janet Ellis (author of The Butcher’s Hook)

 

Carol Lovekin (author of Ghostbird)

 

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

 

East of Coker banner (2)

Andy Owen (author of East of Coker)

 


 

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


 

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

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

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

 


 

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

Weekly Wrap-Up (6th March 2016)

Weekly wrap-up banner

This week I decided to separate my Stacking the Shelves and Weekly Wrap-Up posts for the first time as I wanted to be able to focus on each individually. From now on my Stacking the Shelves post will remain on a Saturday (you can read yesterday’s post here) and Weekly Wrap-Ups will be on a Sunday. I’m going to see how it goes, I may end up going back to a combined post but we’ll see!

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. 

I wrote my monthly wrap-up post a week ago and shared more about what has been happening in my real life of late (you can read that post here), thank you to all of you who sent me such lovely messages of support. 

This week it feels like I’m finally beginning to adjust to some of the changes in my life. I’ve got my stairlift ordered and it will be fitted in about a week and a half so I can’t wait for that. I’ve stopped hating the fact that I need it and have realised that I need to embrace the freedom and independence it will give me. I’ll be able to go downstairs in my own home by myself for the first time in ten months and that is something to celebrate and be happy about! 

Now I’m getting my head around things it seems some space has been freed up in my brainand finally my reading mojo is coming back! I’ve been in a slump for most of this year so far and it’s been horrible; life is so much harder when I can’t escape into a good book for a while. This week I’ve managed to read three full-length books and one short story, which is almost a normal amount for me on a good week so I’m thrilled! I haven’t reviewed these books yet but I will be doing in the next week or two so please look out for them. Here are the books I’ve read:

 

Time to Say Goodbye by S. D. Robertson

Sisters and Lies by Bernice Barrington

Bone by Bone by Sanjida Kay

A Woman in a Million by Monica Wood


 

I’ve also managed to blog every day this week, which has felt wonderful. I love blogging and really miss it when I’m not able to post anything. Here are this week’s posts in order:

Monday: February Wrap-Up Post

Tuesday: Q&A with Janet Ellis (author of The Butcher’s Hook)

Tuesday: Review of The Silent Girls by Ann Troup

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday post

Thursday: Review of Look At Me by Sarah Duguid

Friday: A guest post by Elle Turner (author of Tapestry)

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves post

I can’t promise to keep up this schedule – I’ve managed it this week as it’s the first time in ages that I haven’t had any medical appointments. This coming week is a bit busier so I probably won’t blog every day but I’ll definitely post some days.


I’m back to having lots of books on the go at once so here is what I’m currently reading:

Three novels…

Quicksand by Steve Toltz 

I just started reading this one yesterday and it’s very good. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this novel but it’s got me hooked very quickly and I’m enjoying it. I’m on the blog tour for this one so look out for my review on Friday (11th March)

When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen

I was super excited when I got approved for this one on Net Galley recently! I absolutely love Tammy Cohen’s novels (even though I’m a wimp and they majorly put me on edge!), I could not wait to start reading this and expect I’ll be racing through it.

A Proper Family Christmas by Chrissie Manby

I have a terrible confession about this book that I’m a little bit ashamed to admit to! I love Chrissie Manby’s novels, especially this series about the Benson family. I kept this one to read around Christmas (given the title, it seemed apt) and duly started reading it in December. I was really enjoying it and flying through it. Then in January I got the next book in the series for my birthday, which I picked up recently to start reading and it felt like I’d missed something. I quickly googled thinking I’d maybe missed a book out… and then it slowly dawned on me that even though I was sure that I’d finished A Proper Family Christmas but I actually hadn’t! How bad is it that you can forget you’re reading a book when it’s one that you were genuinely enjoying?! Anyway, I picked it back up in the early hours and am sure I’ll have finished it in no time and can get going with the next one.

Three non-fiction books…

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

I’ve always been fascinated by anything to do with space and space travel and at the moment I seem to be seeking out a lot of books on the subject. This one is about the Challenger disaster and it’s an interesting, yet disturbing read. It is over 800 pages long and quite technical in places so I think this will be one I’m reading for a while yet.

A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold

This is such an interesting book. I was in two minds about reading it as sometimes books about terrible crimes can make me feel like i’m rubbernecking and I don’t like that. This book is not one of those books a . I’m finding it an intense read so am only reading a chapter at a time and then leaving it for a while but it is a book that I’d definitely recommend.

Sally Ride by Lynn Sherr

I’ve been reading this biography for a while now, it’s only taking me so long because it’s a hardback and some days I simply can’t hold a book that heavy so have to wait for the good days. It’s a brilliant book though, I’m enjoying it so much.

Square weekly wrap up banner

 


 

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

 

WWW Wednesday (2nd March)

WWW pic

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’m reading now:

Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin

Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin

I jumped at the chance to read and review this novel for the upcoming blog tour and I’m so glad I did. It’s a very engrossing novel, one that I want to savour and take my time with. It’s beautifully written. My date on the blog tour is 21st March so please look out for my review then.

Synopsis:

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

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

A Mother's Reckoning- Living in the aftermath of the Columbine tragedy by Sue Klebold

A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold

I started reading this soon after my last WWW Wednesday post and it’s a fascinating read. Sue Klebold has shown such courage in writing this book and being so open and honest about herself and her family. It’s not an easy read and so I’m just reading a chapter at a time and then putting it down for a while but it’s a worthwhile read.

Synopsis:

On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Over the course of minutes, they would kill twelve students and a teacher and wound twenty-four others before taking their own lives.

For the last sixteen years, Sue Klebold, Dylan’s mother, has lived with the indescribable grief and shame of that day. How could her child, the promising young man she had loved and raised, be responsible for such horror? And how, as his mother, had she not known something was wrong? Were there subtle signs she had missed? What, if anything, could she have done differently?

These are questions that Klebold has grappled with every day since the Columbine tragedy. In A Mother’s Reckoning, she chronicles with unflinching honesty her journey as a mother trying to come to terms with the incomprehensible. In the hope that the insights and understanding she has gained may help other families recognize when a child is in distress, she tells her story in full, drawing upon her personal journals, the videos and writings that Dylan left behind, and on countless interviews with mental health experts.

Filled with hard-won wisdom and compassion, A Mother’s Reckoning is a powerful and haunting book that sheds light on one of the most pressing issues of our time. And with fresh wounds from the recent Newtown and Charleston shootings, never has the need for understanding been more urgent.

Sally Ride by Lynn Shepp

Sally Ride by Lynn Sherr

I’m enjoying this biography of Sally Ride so much but because I bought it in hardback it’s taking me longer to read than it otherwise would have. It’s not easy for me to hold heavy books so I have to keep putting this down when I’m desperate to keep reading. It’s a brilliant biography though, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Synopsis:

The definitive biography of Sally Ride, America s first woman in space, with exclusive insights from Ride s family and partner, by the ABC reporter who covered NASA during its transformation from a test-pilot boys club to a more inclusive elite. Sally Ride made history as the first American woman in space. A member of the first astronaut class to include women, she broke through a quarter-century of white male fighter jocks when NASA chose her for the seventh shuttle mission, cracking the celestial ceiling and inspiring several generations of women. After a second flight, Ride served on the panels investigating the “Challenger “explosion and the “Columbia” disintegration that killed all aboard. In both instances she faulted NASA s rush to meet mission deadlines and its organizational failures. She cofounded a company promoting science and education for children, especially girls. Sherr also writes about Ride s scrupulously guarded personal life she kept her sexual orientation private with exclusive access to Ride s partner, her former husband, her family, and countless friends and colleagues. Sherr draws from Ride s diaries, files, and letters. This is a rich biography of a fascinating woman whose life intersected with revolutionary social and scientific changes in America. Sherr s revealing portrait is warm and admiring but unsparing. It makes this extraordinarily talented and bold woman, an inspiration to millions, come alive.

What I recently finished reading: 

Time To Say Goodbye

Time to Say Goodbye by S. D. Robertson

It’s taken me a little while to read this novel, longer than I’d thought it would. I think I was hesitant because I was expecting it to be a real tear-jerker and given that I’ve been feeling quite fragile lately I was wary of that. In the end I was left a little disappointed by it. It was a good read but not quite what I’d expected it to be. I’ll be reviewing it very soon on my blog so look out for my review.

Synopsis:

A heart-rending story about the unique bond between a father and his daughter, for fans of Jojo Moyes and John Green – for anyone who’s ever wondered what it would be like to get one last chance to say goodbye.

HOW DO YOU LEAVE THE PERSON YOU LOVE THE MOST?

Will Curtis’s six-year-old daughter, Ella, knows her father will never leave her. After all, he promised her so when her mother died. And he’s going to do everything he can to keep his word.

What Will doesn’t know is that the promise he made to his little girl might be harder to keep than he imagined. When he’s faced with an impossible decision, Will finds that the most obvious choice might not be the right one.

But the future is full of unexpected surprises. And father and daughter are about to embark on an unforgettable journey together . . .

The Butcher's Hook by Janet Ellis

The Butcher’s Hook by Janet Ellis

I loved this novel! It had me hooked from the first few pages and I just didn’t want to put it down. The times when I wasn’t reading it I was thinking about it and even now I’ve finished it, Anna is still in my head. I plan to review it in the next few days but in the meantime here’s a link to an interview that I was lucky enough to get to do with Janet Ellis as part of the blog tour for the book.

Synopsis:

Georgian London, in the summer of 1763.
At nineteen, Anne Jaccob is awakened to the possibility of joy when she meets Fub, the butcher’s apprentice, and begins to imagine a life of passion with him.
The only daughter of well-to-do parents, Anne lives a sheltered life. Her home is a miserable place. Though her family want for nothing, her father is uncaring, her mother is ailing, and the baby brother who taught her to love is dead. Unfortunately her parents have already chosen a more suitable husband for her than Fub.
But Anne is a determined young woman, with an idiosyncratic moral compass. In the matter of pursuing her own happiness, she shows no fear or hesitation. Even if it means getting a little blood on her hands.
A vivid and surprising tale, The Butcher’s Hook brims with the colour and atmosphere of Georgian London, as seen through the eyes of a strange and memorable young woman.
-~-~-~-~-~-
‘Do you know what this is?’ He holds a short twist of thick metal, in the shape of the letter ‘S’, sharpened at both ends. I shake my head.
‘A butcher’s hook,’ he says, testing the tip of his finger against each point. ‘A perfect design. Whichever way up you use it, it’s always ready. One end to hook, the other to hang. It has only one simple purpose.’ He stands on a stool and fixes it over the bar above him. It waits there, empty.
He climbs down. ‘Pleasing, isn’t it?’

The Silent Girls book cover

The Silent Girls by Ann Troup

I recently finished reading this book and really enjoyed it. Here’s a link to my review that I did as part of the blog tour.

Synopsis:

What if everything you knew was a lie…

This house has a past that won’t stay hidden, and it is time for the dead to speak.

Returning to Number 17, Coronation Square, Edie is shocked to find the place she remembers from childhood reeks of mould and decay. After her aunt Dolly’s death Edie must clear out the home on a street known for five vicious murders many years ago, but under the dirt and grime of years of neglect lurk dangerous truths.

For in this dark house there is misery, sin and dark secrets that can no longer stay hidden. The truth must come out. 

Finding herself dragged back into the horrific murders of the past, Edie must find out what really happened all those years ago. But as Edie uncovers the history of the family she had all but forgotten, she begins to wonder if sometimes it isn’t best to leave them buried.

the art of wearing hats

The Art of Wearing Hats by Helena Sheffield

I adored this book! I’m a hat wearer anyway but it’s really made me want to get out of my comfort zone and try some different styles! I’ll be reviewing this book as soon as I can.

Synopsis:

The perfect and practical pocket guide to being a hat wearer for novices and aficionados alike, complete with tips on where to buy them, how to wear them, who wears them best and tricks of the trade (yes hat hair, we’re looking at you).

Hats have been a mainstay of fashion for centuries, but now they’re back with a bang – overtaking the accessories departments of Topshop et al and gracing the celebrated heads of Taylor Swift, Cara Delevigne, Johnny Depp and the like day in and day out. But which one should you wear? Which will suit you best, how should you wear them and when?

The Art of Wearing Hats answers all these questions and more. Broken down into chapters covering everyday, outdoor and special occasion hats, you’ll soon discover the full range to choose from, alongside who in the Googlable world you can turn to for styling tips, and fun facts about where each originated from.

Complete with illustrations and tips on how to grow your hat-wearing confidence, it might be an idea to start making room in your wardrobe.

Sisters and Lies by Bernice Barrington

Sisters and Lies by Bernice Barrington

I finished reading Sisters and Lies in the early hours of this morning. I’ve been such a slow reader lately and struggle to get into books but once this one hooked me I struggled to put it down. I’ll be reviewing it as soon as I can.

Synopsis:

One hot August night, Rachel Darcy gets the call everyone fears. It’s the police. Her younger sister Evie’s had a car crash, she’s in a coma. Can Rachel fly to London right away?

With Evie injured and comatose, Rachel is left to pick up the pieces of her sister’s life. But it’s hard fitting them together, especially when she really doesn’t like what she sees.

Why was Evie driving when she doesn’t even own a licence?
Who is the man living in her flat and claiming Evie is his girlfriend?
How come she has never heard of him?

The more mysteries Rachel uncovers the more she starts asking herself how well she ever really knew her sister. And then she begins to wonder if the crash was really the accident everybody says it is.

Back in hospital, Evie, trapped inside an unresponsive body, is desperately trying to wake up. Because she’s got an urgent message for Rachel – a warning which could just save both their lives . . .

What I plan on reading next:

Quicksand by Steve Toltz

Quicksand by Steve Toltz

I was offered the chance to review this book as part of the blog tour this month and I couldn’t resist once I read the synopsis, it sounds like a very different and excellent read. I plan to start reading it in the next day or two and I’ll be reviewing it on 11th March for the blog tour.

Synopsis:

A daring, brilliant work by one of our most original and fearless novelists.

‘Why should I let you write about me?’
‘Because you’ll inspire people. To count their blessings.’

Aldo Benjamin, relentlessly unlucky in every aspect of life, has always faced the future with despair and optimism in equal measure. His latest misfortune, however, may finally be his undoing. There’s still hope, but not for Aldo.

His mate Liam hasn’t been faring much better – a failed writer with a rocky marriage and a dangerous job he never wanted – until he finds inspiration in Aldo’s exponential disasters. What begins as an attempt to document these improbable but inevitable experiences spirals into a profound exploration of fate, fear and friendship.

Anarchically funny and wildly entertaining, Quicksand is a subversive portrait of 21st-century society in all its hypocrisy and absurdity, an exquisite interpretation of suffering and resilience, and a powerful story about taking risks and finding inspiration.

Bone by Bone by Sanjida Kay

Bone by Bone by Sanjida Kay

I was thrilled to be sent a copy of this book to review and can’t wait to start reading. It sounds like the kind of book that once started cannot be put down and I’m craving a read like that at the moment!

Synopsis:

Laura loves her daughter more than anything in the world. 

But nine-year-old daughter Autumn is being bullied. Laura feels helpless.

When Autumn fails to return home from school one day, Laura goes looking for her. She finds a crowd of older children taunting her little girl.

In the heat of the moment, Laura makes a terrible choice. A choice that will have devastating consequences for her and her daughter…

 


 

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.

Blog Tour | Review: The Silent Girls by Ann Troup

The Silent Girls banner

Today is my stop on The Silent Girls blog tour!

Synopsis

What if everything you knew was a lie…

This house has a past that won’t stay hidden, and it is time for the dead to speak.

Returning to Number 17, Coronation Square, Edie is shocked to find the place she remembers from childhood reeks of mould and decay. After her aunt Dolly’s death Edie must clear out the home on a street known for five vicious murders many years ago, but under the dirt and grime of years of neglect lurk dangerous truths.

For in this dark house there is misery, sin and dark secrets that can no longer stay hidden. The truth must come out. 

Finding herself dragged back into the horrific murders of the past, Edie must find out what really happened all those years ago. But as Edie uncovers the history of the family she had all but forgotten, she begins to wonder if sometimes it isn’t best to leave them buried.

My Review

I started reading The Silent Girls without knowing too much about it and by the time I’d read the prologue I was hooked!

The prologue is set in 1964 and describes a convicted murderer being hanged and a murder taking place on the same day. The novel then moves to thirty years later where Edie’s Aunt Dolly has died and Edie has come to clear out her house. Almost immediately she walks into the middle of a group on a murder tour and being told all about the gruesome murders that had happened on the Square all those years ago. Edie shrugs it off but I was immediately on edge, yet unable to wait to find out more about this infamous Square.

Edie soon meets Sophie, a homeless young person in need of a safe place to sleep, and the two start to become friends. I loved Sophie’s character. Edie is in a vulnerable place, she is going through a divorce and is dealing with the death of her aunt, and it seems that some of the people around her on the Square might not be all they appear to be, so when Sophie turned up it felt like Edie might finally have someone on her side.

The atmosphere in the novel is so claustrophobic and stifling; at times I really felt like I was inside Number 17 with Edie. Troup is such a great scene setter; I read a lot of this book during the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep and I swear I could smell the damp and rot – I could feel the sinister atmosphere and I really did feel very unsettled by some of the things in that house. The story of the house continues to unfold in such an unnerving way that I was honestly actually sat on the edge of my seat at some points!

It seems like just about everyone on Coronation Square is hiding something, some secrets being more horrific than others. I enjoyed the mystery aspects of this novel and the gradual reveal of who knew what and when. I also liked that the novel isn’t really about whodunnit so much as it’s a look at a mix of characters and the pasts they are trying to keep hidden, it felt refreshing and different.

This was the first book I’ve read by Ann Troup but I’ve already bought her previous novel and plan to read it very soon. I’m definitely now a fan and will be looking out for her next novel!

I rated this novel 4.5 out of 5 and highly recommend it.

Thank you to Jenny at Neverland Blog Tours for sending me a copy of the book to review as part of this blog tour.

The Silent Girls is out now, you can find it here:

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B015QM8AP8/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_uk-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=6738

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28441057-the-silent-girls?ac=1&from_search=1

The Silent Girls book cover

About the Author

Ann Troup

Ann Troup tells tales and can always make something out of nothing (which means she writes books and can create unique things from stuff other people might not glance twice at). She was once awarded 11 out of 10 for a piece of poetry at school – she now holds that teacher entirely responsible for her inclination to write.

Her writing space is known as ‘the empty nest’, having formerly been her daughters bedroom. She shares this space with ten tons of junk and an elderly Westie, named Rooney, who is her constant companion whether she likes it or not. He likes to contribute to the creative process by going to sleep on top of her paperwork and running away with crucial post-it notes, which have inadvertently become stuck to his fur. She is thinking of renaming him Gremlin.

She lives by the sea in Devon with her husband and said dog. Two children have been known to remember the place that they call home, but mainly when they are in need of a decent roast dinner, it’s Christmas or when only Mum will do. She also has extremely decent stepchildren.

In a former incarnation she was psychiatric nurse, an experience which frequently informs her writing. She has also owned a cafe and an art/craft gallery. Now she only makes bacon sandwiches as a sideline, but does continue to dabble with clay, paint, paper, textiles, glue…you name it. Occasionally she may decide to give away some of these creations (you have been warned!).

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/TroupAnn

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anntroupauthor/

Website: https://anntroup.wordpress.com/

 

My February Wrap-Up Post

Monthly Wrap-Up

 

I can’t believe that it’s the last day of February already! I decided to do a wrap-up post even though I’ve not been up to doing much reading or blogging this month as it seems a good chance to write a general update as well as a bookish one!

So, in terms of reading I’ve managed to read ten books this month and have only reviewed one of them so far but I have prepared reviews for three more of these books so will post them in the next week or so. I am making a real effort to get better balance in my life and it’s beginning to pay off as I’m starting to enjoy reading again and can concentrate for a few minutes at a time so it’s progress!

Here are all the books that I read during February:

The Butcher’s Hook by Janet Ellis

I’m very excited to share my Q & A with her as part of the blog tour on my blog tomorrow and I’ll be reviewing the book later this week. I can tell you that it’s a fab read and one I highly recommend.

The Silent Girls by Ann Troup

I’m on the blog tour for this tomorrow too and can’t wait to share my review, it’s a book that really helped get me back into reading ad I just didn’t want to out it down!

Viral by Helen Fitzgerald 

My review is here if you’d like to read it.

Look At Me by Sarah Duguid

I adored this book, it was one of those that I was hooked on from the first page and couldn’t put down. I finished it a couple of weeks ago and still find myself thinking of the characters. I haven’t managed to type my notes up into a review yet but I hope to do it soon so look out for a review on my blog in the next couple of weeks.

A Baby at the Beach Cafe by Lucy Diamond

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading all of the books in the Beach Cafe series, so I couldn’t resist reading this one, which was published as part of the Quick Reads collection this month. It wasn’t my favourite of the series but it was still a great read and I would recommend it.

Psychedelic Suburbia: David Bowie and the Beckenham Arts Lab by Mary Finnigan

I spotted this one on Kindle Unlimited so decided to download it after seeing Mary Finnigan talking about the book on the news. Some parts of the book were really interesting but other parts just fell a little flat. I’d still recommend it to people who want to read more about this era.

Aaliyah: More Than a Woman by Christopher John Farley

I’ve had this book on my TBR for absolutely ages and yet despite being a massive Aaliyah fan I’ve never got around to reading it until this month! I quite enjoyed reading it, it was interesting to read more about her early life and the writing and recording of her albums. It’s definitely one her fans will enjoy.

5,742 Days by Anne-Marie Cockburn

Scotland’s Shame by John Ashton

Adequately Explained by Stupidity? by Morag G. Kerr

 

My reading mojo still hasn’t returned – a lot of the books I read this month were shorter reads otherwise I wouldn’t have got through as many as I have. I’m still drawn more to non-fiction than fiction so I’m just going with it because reading anything is better than reading nothing. It’s just a little stressful as most of my review books are novels so they’re all sitting looking at me making me feel guilty but I figure that anything that gets me enjoying books again is good as it will hopefully transfer to me being able to concentrate on novels again soon. Fingers crossed anyway!

I’m still trying to find better life balance but it’s not easy. I had an appointment with my neurosurgeon last week and he showed me my previous MRI & CT scans and explained that I’m not going to make any recovery as the damage to my central nervous system and spinal cord is too severe. It was very hard to hear that but I had the feeling that this was what he was going to say and had steeled myself for hearing it. Of course I wish I was going to get better, being permanently paralysed down the whole of one side of my body and having permanent severe, and as yet impossible-to-control pain is not what I wanted but living for months and months with wait and see has been very hard. We couldn’t make any plans because there was always that slim chance that I would improve. Now we know it’s not going to happen we can start making adaptations to our home and lifestyle to make things easier. We’ve already made enquiries about a stairlift, which will open up the downstairs of our home to me again (I’ve lived upstairs since June during the hours my husband works as I can’t get up and down stairs on my own). I’m waiting to see a couple of different pain specialists and am hoping they will have a suggestion that hasn’t already being tried for managing my pain. 

I’ve had some real down periods in recent weeks, wondering what was going to happen to me and feeling like I couldn’t cope with the pain and the level of disability anymore but weirdly now I know it’s permanent I feel ready to throw myself into finding any and all ways of making life better and easier. I think not knowing is often harder than having to face the reality head on.

I’m hoping that once we start to get the changes made in our home and we find ways of making life easier that I will begin to have more energy to concentrate again so I can get back to reading every spare second and writing lots of blog posts again. Reading is such a big part of who I am that I feel so lost when my reading mojo disappears, I just need to get through this next stage of changes and I feel sure it will come back though.

Thanks to all of you who have stuck with me while my blogging has been so sporadic, it really means a lot to me that you’re still here and reading the few things that I am able to post.


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