That Was The Month That Was… January 2019!

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January is a month that I’ve struggled with in recent years but actually this January didn’t weigh on me quite as much so I feel like I’ve made progress in coming to terms with some things. I also turned 40 this month so am determined that my 40s will be fabulous!

I always plan ahead to keep my mind occupied in January so this time my plan was simple… read lots of good books! And I definitely succeeded with this! I read more books in January then ever before (since I started keeping record of what I read) and ended up finishing 34 books over the month! I can’t pick a single favourite as pretty much every book was really good but I have to give a special mention to Ideal Angels by Robert Welbourn because that book was incredible and it won’t let go of my thoughts!

I also managed a lot more blogging in January than I’ve done for a while and I’m really enjoying it. It feels like my blogging mojo is fully back now after the wobble I had over the summer so hopefully it will stick around now!

 

Here are the books I read in January:

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar

This was a Christmas present from my husband. I’ve been wanting to read it for a while and it was worth the wait because I loved it. I already feel that this will make my favourite books of the year so 2019 was off to an amazing start!

Ivy and Abe by Elizabeth Enfield

I had an ARC of this book but I decided to listen to the audio book while I was feeling unwell and I very much enjoyed it. I’m fascinated by the idea of fate so this book was right up my street. I do plan on reviewing it when I get a chance.

The Liar’s Girl by Catherine Ryan Howard

This was another excellent book that I just couldn’t put down! I’ve already reviewed this so you can see my full thoughts here if you’d like to.

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

This book a really good way to pass a cold, wintery day when I needed some escapism! My review is here if you’d like to know more.

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

I’ve had this book on my TBR for ages and so I decided to part listen to the audio and part read it and I adored it. It was everything I hoped it would be and more!

The Rumour by Lesley Kara

This book was brilliant, it more than lived up to my expectations for it and is another book that I think may well be on my top books of the year! My review is here if you’d like to read it.

The Story Keeper by Anna Mazzola

This book is so atmospheric and had me gripped from start to finish. Find out more in my review here.

No More Plastic by Martin Dorey

This was an interesting introduction to reducing plastic but I was hoping to learn more. I’d definitely recommend it if you’re looking for somewhere to start though.

The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton

I’d had an ARC of this on my TBR for quite a while and I finally picked it up in January and I ended up reading it in one sitting, it was so good! Here’s my full review!

The Second Sister by Claire Kendall

I bought this book sometime last year and I spotted it when I was tidying up my shelves last month so kept it out to read. It was a good thriller, it kept me turning the pages!

Ideal Angels by Robert Welbourn

This book is incredible. I loved it, even though it broke my heart. I know this book will be in my favourite reads of 2019, it just won’t let go of me. My full review is here if you’d like to know more.

The Party by Lisa Hall

This book was an okay read, it was one I read over the space of a couple of hours but it wasn’t as thrilling as I’d hoped.

Storyteller: The Authorised Biography of Roald Dahl by Donald Sturrock 

I’ve had the audio book of this for ages and it caught my eye when I was going through my Audible app recently. I very much enjoyed learning more about Roald Dahl, and I now want to read all my favourite of his books!

The Language of Kindness by Christie Watson

I’ve wanted to read this ever since I first heard about it so when I spotted it on an Audible deal recently I snapped it up. I listened to it over a couple of days and found it really interesting. It didn’t have the same lasting impression as Adam Kay’s book but it was a good listen.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

I was lucky to receive an ARC of this last year and finally picked it up a couple of weeks ago and I devoured it in one sitting. It is such a brilliant novel, I loved it! My review is here if you’d like to know more.

Into the Silent Sea by Claire Stibbe

This was a really good thriller and another book that I flew through as I simply had to know how it would all end. Here’s my review!

The Suspect by Fiona Barton

I’ve read and enjoyed Fiona Barton’s previous two novels so I was delighted to receive a copy of this one. This is a brilliant novel, definitely Fiona’s best yet and I loved it. My full review is here if you’d like to know more.

Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall

This is another ARC that has been on my TBR longer than it should but when I did pick it up I devoured it. I was gripped from start to finish. I hope to get my review finished and posted soon.

Only Child by Rhiannon Navin

This was a really good read, although I struggled at times with the child narrator. Here’s my review.

Need to Know by Karen Cleveland

I read this novel in one sitting over the course of an afternoon and I loved it. I was intrigued from the opening chapter and it had me hooked right to the end. I’ll be reviewing this one soon.

Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce

I had an ARC of this so I read it while also listening to the audio book and I really enjoyed it. It’s such a wonderful novel, one that I think I might re-read in the future. I hope to get my review posted soon.

Bring me Back by BA Paris

Sadly I didn’t really get on with this book, it was too far-fetched to me and it just didn’t gel at all. I have enjoyed a previous book by the author so maybe this just wasn’t the right book for me.

The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

This book has been on my TBR since it was first published but I’ve put off reading it because it felt like it was no longer for me. I’m so glad that I gave it a go though as I got a lot more out of it than I was expecting to so I recommend it.

Diversify by June Sarpong

This book was hit and miss for me. There were chapters that really struck a chord and others that didn’t. I’m glad I read it though, it was interesting for the most part.

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

I finally read this book and I can totally see why it got so much praise last year! I loved it too, it was so different to other books in this genre and I really appreciate how much work it must have taken.

Dead Girls by Graeme Cameron

This was a good read, it wasn’t as good as the previous book Normal but it was still a book that I read in just two sittings.

Notes on A Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

This was another Christmas present and I’m glad I picked it up when I did. I found it even more useful than I was expecting to and I think it is a book that I will go back to in the future.

A Very English Scandal by John Preston

This audio book was fascinating, shocking but really interesting. I already knew some things about this case but there was so much I didn’t know. I was hooked all the way through this book, it left me reeling!

Senseless by Anna Lickley

This is such a good novel. It’s got a great storyline, which I really enjoyed and it also has excellent disability representation, which I very much appreciate in a novel. I’ll be reviewing this in February for the blog tour!

Tilly and the Bookwanderers: Pages & Co. by Anna James

I got this book for Christmas and I saved it to read on the anniversary of my mum’s death when I knew I would need a comforting read. This book was everything I hope it would be and so much more besides, I adored it! I’m hoping to get a chance to re-read A Little Princess soon as it’s reminded me how much I loved that novel as a child.

The Six Loves of Billy Binns by Richard Lumsden

This book was beautiful, so much more more than I was expecting it to be and I loved it. I’ve already reviewed this so you can see that here if you’d like to know more.

The Cactus by Sarah Hayward

This book is gorgeous! I read it in one sitting and I completely and utterly fell in love with it. I’ll definitely be reviewing this one soon but in the meantime I highly recommend it!

Someone Like Me by MR Carey

I was sent an ARC of this and was told it was a thriller so I was a bit discombobulated when I started reading it. I’m still not sure what I think of it but I did read it in just a couple of sittings so it definitely gripped me!

Spare Room by Dreda Say Mitchell

I read this book in one sitting and it kept me up way past my bed time as I just couldn’t put it down! I reviewed this one yesterday so you can find that here if you’d like to know more.

 

January Blog Posts & Reviews:

My Favourite Novels Read in 2018

My Favourite Non-Fiction Read in 2018

Reading Bingo for 2018! Was it a full house for me??

2018 Reading Reflections, Statistics and Plans for Tackling the TBR

 

Stacking the Shelves (5th Jan)

Mini Crime and Thriller Book Reviews featuring A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay, The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah, All The Hidden Truths by Claire Askew and Bluebird Bluebird by Attica Locke)

Review of The Liar’s Girl by Catherine Ryan Hyde

New Year Book Tag

This Week in Books (9 Jan)

Review of The Story Keeper by Anna Mazzola

Review of The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton

Review of The Rumour by Lesley Kara

Stacking the Shelves (12 Jan)

Review of The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Review of The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

This Week in Books (16 Jan)

Review of Only Child by Rhiannon Navin

Review of Ideal Angels by Robert Welbourn

Stacking the Shelves (19 Jan)

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up and How the #KonMari Method Changed My Life!

This was a much more personal post than I normally share on my blog but I wanted to share how following Marie Kondo’s de-cluttering methods had actually made a huge difference to my life!

Music Monday: In My Life by The Beatles

Review of Into the Silent Sea by Claire Stibbe

Review of The Suspect by Fiona Barton

This Week in Books (23 Jan)

Stacking the Shelves (26 Jan)

The Six Loves of Billy Binns by Richard Lumsden

This Week in Books (30 Jan)

Review of Spare Room by Dreda Say Mitchell

 

The state of my TBR:

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Well, in 2018 I succeeded in reducing my mammoth TBR… but 2019 has been the month with all the books. I started January with 2447 books (this is books that I own, I don’t add books to my TBR if I don’t own them) and have ended the month with 2464 books. Oops! This is in spite of me reading 34 books off my TBR this month, the fact is that I’ve acquired 51 books so overall my TBR has increased by 17 books. My plan is to reduce my TBR by 20 books every month so I need to do some serious reading and/or unhauling (unhauling keeps autocorrecting to unfailing and I was so tempted to leave it at that! Haha!) in February to get back on track! In all seriousness though I’m not worried as last year the reduction of my TBR happened over the course of the year so I feel sure I’ll be back on track come December 31st!

 


 

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

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#BookReview: The Story Keeper by Anna Mazzola | @Anna_Mazz @TinderPress @annecater

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About the Book

From the author of The Unseeing comes a sizzling period novel of folktales, disappearances and injustice set on the Isle of Skye, sure to appeal to readers of Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites or Beth Underdown’s The Witch Finder’s Sister.

Audrey Hart is on the Isle of Skye to collect the folk and fairy tales of the people and communities around her. It is 1857, and the Highland Clearances have left devastation and poverty and a community riven by fear. The crofters are suspicious and hostile to a stranger, claiming they no longer know their fireside stories.

Then Audrey discovers the body of a young girl washed up on the beach, and the crofters reveal that it is only a matter of weeks since another girl disappeared. They believe the girls are the victims of the restless dead: spirits who take the form of birds.

Initially, Audrey is sure the girls are being abducted, but as events accumulate she begins to wonder if something else is at work. Something which may be linked to the death of her own mother many years before.

 

My Thoughts

Audrey Hart is a young woman who has left London to travel to Skye to work collecting folk tales from the local area. Her late mother had also been interested in folklore and had traveled to areas nearby so she is also wanting to know more about her. She moves in with Mrs Buchanan, the lady who she’ll be collecting the tales for, and begins to settle in. Soon after her arrival she finds a body on the beach and from this point on real life begins to blur with the folklore for Audrey.

The Story Keeper is a fantastic novel. The writing is wonderful and so atmospheric. I felt the oppressive atmosphere in a small place where people are very insular and don’t want to share their lives and their stories with incomers.

Audrey is a great character. I was in awe of her travelling from London to Skye on her own in a time when this would have been a scary and courageous thing for a young woman to do alone. I felt for her at the lack of a mother in her life, I know what it’s like to lose your mum and could see how lost she was and how at the root of everything she was looking to find a sense of her mum somewhere. As Audrey began to get more and more drawn into the folklore and to see some of the happenings that the islanders spoke about I was really hoping that she was going to be okay. I was rooting for her to be able to make a home and a life, and to feel settled again.

There is so much mystery in this novel and I loved how it was possible to find yourself believing that there must be something in the folklore as the horrible things happening on the island were so similar to the stories, whilst at the same time the rational side of your brain is thinking that there must be another reason for the coincidences and odd happenings.

I got so absorbed in this novel and felt really jolted when real life brought me back to where I was. It’s not often that a novel captures me to that degree and it was wonderful to be so enthralled. The Story keeper is a brilliant, atmospheric and utterly gripping novel and I highly recommend it!

Many thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours and the publisher for my copy of The Story Keeper and the invitation to be on the blog tour. All thoughts are my own.

The Story Keeper is out now in hardback and ebook, and can be pre-ordered in paperback here.

 

About the Author

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Anna is a writer who, due to some fault of her parents, is drawn to peculiar and dark historical subjects. Her novels, which have been described as literary crime fiction or historical crime, explore the psychological and social impact of crime and injustice. Anna’s influences include Sarah Waters, Daphne Du Maurier, Shirley Jackson and Margaret Atwood.

 

You can follow the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

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This Week in Books (9 Jan 2019)! What are you reading this week?

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Today I’m taking in part in This Week in Books, which was started by Lipsyy Lost and Found! If you want to join in you just need to share what you’re reading now, what you’ve read over the last week, and what you hope to read next.

Now

Only Child by Rhiannon Navin

I’ve had an unread ARC of this from NetGalley for longer than I should have but I finally picked it up this week and am finding it gripping so far.

Trauma: From Lockerbie to 7/7: How Trauma Affects Our Minds And How We Fight Back by Gordon Turnbull

I’ve been reading this one on and off for a week or so now and am finding it utterly fascinating. I’m always interested in reading about trauma having suffered from PTSD myself and this book is particularly good. This book looks at Turnbull’s career but also how he, and others in psychiatry, came to understand trauma and how best to treat it.

 

Then

No More Plastic by Martin Dorey

I bought this in the kindle sale this week and it was an okay read. I was a little disappointed because I didn’t really learn anything that I didn’t know before but it is a good book to get you motivated to think more about how much plastic we use and to start doing something about it.

The Story Keeper by Anna Mazzola

This is such a fantastic novel – really atmospheric and gripping. I’ve posted my review of this on my blog today so please check that out if you’d like to know more.

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

I half read and half listened to this book and I very much enjoyed it. It worked really well as an audio book and I think listening to it heightened my enjoyment.

The Rumour by Lesley Kara

This book was so good! I found it near impossible to put down and loved every minute that I spent reading it. I hope to have my review posted in the next few days so please look out for that.

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

This was an enjoyable read, and is a perfect book for this time of year. I would’ve liked a bit more depth to the characters but none-the-less this is a page turner.

The Liar’s Girl by Catherine Ryan Howard

I loved this novel – it was thrilling and gripping and I couldn’t put it down. I’ve already reviewed this one so if you’d like to read my thoughts on it please click here.

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar

I got this book for Christmas and it was my first read of 2019 and what a read it was! I absolutely adored this novel and feel sure that it will make my top books of this year. I already want to read it again!

 

Next

Ideal Angels by Robert Welbourn

This is a bit different to my usual reads so I’m really looking forward to reading it in the coming days, I think it’s going to be a good one!

Into the Silent Sea by Claire Stibbe

I’m on the blog tour for this one in a couple of weeks so am hoping to read it this week. I did read the opening chapter when the book arrived and I feel sure that I’m going to really enjoy this one.

Dirty Little Secrets by Jo Spain

I really enjoyed The Confession by Jo Spain so when I spotted her new one on NetGalley just before Christmas I couldn’t resist requesting it. It’s been calling to me ever since and I can’t resist any longer!


 

 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in This Week in Books or WWW Wednesday please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

February 2017 Wrap-Up!

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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.

 


 

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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 (1 March)

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

What I’m reading now:

Scarlett Says by Scarlett Moffatt

I bought this audio book in an Audible deal a few weeks ago and I started listening to it yesterday as I was having a really bad pain day and needed an easy listen. I’m really enjoying it even though it’s not what I would normally pick.

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

This is such a disturbing and uncomfortable read but it’s incredibly well-researched and written. I’ve tried reading this book once before and it was too much for me but I’m so glad I gave it another chance.

The Escape by C.L. Taylor

I love Cally Taylor’s novels and this one is just as good as her previous books. I really want to find time to just sit and read the rest of this in one sitting because it’s so frustrating every time I have to put it down to do anything.

Forever Yours by Daniel Glauttauer

This book is not grabbing me and I want to keep trying as I loved his previous two novels but if it doesn’t pull me in over the next few chapters I think I may have to DNF this.

 

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

I’m still listening to this audio book with my husband and we’re both enjoying it. We only listen to it occasionally so we may well be listening to it for a while.

Blue Light Yokohama by Nicolas Obregon

I haven’t read much of this book over the last week as my concentration isn’t good and I can’t seem to follow this book too well. I’m hoping to get back to it soon as I was enjoying it.

And the Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

I’ve read another couple of chapters of this book and it’s still really interesting. I know a fair bit of what has been written about but to read it all put together in this contest really has given me more to mull over. I’d definitely recommend this book to football fans.

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

My reading of this book is still suffering because it’s a hardback. I really hope to be able to sit and devour the rest of this novel very soon.

What I recently finished reading:

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

This book is so beautiful and I think it may well be in my favourite books of this year! The way Helen writes about her grief for her father was heartbreaking and I remember all of those feelings from when I lost my mum. I knew the grief elements of this book would hook me in but I didn’t expect to enjoy the story of Helen’s relationship with her hawk as much as I did. It’s a fascinating book and I’ll be recommending it to everyone.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

I’ve had this poetry collection on my TBR for a while and it caught my eye this week so I picked it up and read it in one sitting. I bookmarked so many poems in this collection, and I had to stop reading two or three times because it made me sob. The poems are very simple but the power than can be held in so few words is stunning.

Everything but the Truth by Gillian McAllister

I read an ARC of this so I hope to have a full review up on my blog soon but for now I’ll say that I enjoyed this book a lot. It’s a novel about how snooping on a partner and then realising that they appear to be keeping something from you can have huge ramifications for a relationship.

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

Last week I was debating giving up on this book but I’m so glad that I gave it one more go as I really loved this. I finally made time to sit and read it in one sitting and I got so much more out of it for doing that. It’s a quiet novel, where not much happens, and yet there are paragraphs that took my breath away.

It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot

This is an illustrated book about mental illness. I’ll be reviewing this on my blog soon so won’t say too much here. It’s a brilliant book though and I do recommend it.

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

This is a real wow book. I read it in two sittings as I just didn’t want to put it down. The writing is beautiful and the descriptions are so evocative that this book just pulls you in and doesn’t let you go. This isn’t a review book but I would like to try and get a review up on my blog at some point. I highly recommend pre-ordering this novel.

The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

This novel is also brilliant. I started reading it late at night and I kept saying to myself that I’d just read one more chapter and before I knew it it was gone 2am. I was fascinated by Sarah Gale, I couldn’t make my mind up whether she was innocent or guilty. I keep finding myself thinking about this book, it feels like one that will really stay with me. Go buy this book now, you won’t regret it!

What I plan on reading next:

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

I was sent this for review recently and am so intrigued by the synopsis. I feel sure that this is going to be a thrilling page-turner of a book and I can’t wait to start it.

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

This is another thriller novel that has a synopsis that grabbed me – the way we’re told three things about the protagonist and that also she lie so we from the start we don’t know what is true.

Days of Awe by Lauren Fox

I treated myself to this book a couple of days ago. It’s a book that’s been on my wishlist for ages and then I happened to read a quote someone had shared from the novel this week and I knew I had to read the book asap. Hopefully it’ll live up to my expectations!


 

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 (26 Feb)

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This week has been a quiet one for the most part so I’ve been able to do lots of reading. I’m also in the middle of sorting through my books and trying to get rid of some. I wanted to reduce my TBR this year but I’m still acquiring books faster than I’m reading them! In the process of sorting out the books on my new Kindle last week I realised that I have a lot of unread books that I’ve owned for ages and I just don’t think I’m ever going to read them so I’ve been deleting some books. The flip side of this is that I also found some kindle books that I hadn’t listed on Goodreads (and therefore weren’t included in my TBR count at the start of the year) so this means my total TBR is going to be up and down for a little while as I both delete and add books. Sorting through my Kindle books led to me looking over my bookcases and picking out some books that I also don’t think are to my taste anymore. Hopefully this will get my TBR down to the books I really want to read, and also help to reduce it somewhat!

This week I’ve finished reading six books:

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

I’ve been struggling to get into this novel for a week or two but I finally made time to sit and read it in one sitting and I enjoyed it much more when I did that. It’s a very gentle novel, that has moments in it that took my breath away. There is one moment in particular point where the loss of parents is mentioned and it was such a small sentence but it turned the novel around for me and made me notice all the pain and beauty beneath the surface.

It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot

This is a review book so I will be reviewing it soon (hopefully) but I’ll say here that it’s a really simple book about mental health issues but some of the illustrations and points made are so powerful for being so simple. It’s a book I recommend.

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

This book is stunning! I read it in two sittings and I can’t stop thinking about it. I’m so happy that I won a proof of this in a giveaway and that I got a chance to read it now. It’s definitely one to add to your lists to buy once it’s published.

The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

This is another brilliant read that I read in just a day or two. I was enthralled in Sarah Gale’s story and couldn’t put the book down for wanting to know the truth of what happened. I didn’t realise when I was reading it that a lot of it was based on a true story so it really made me pause once I knew that.

The Good Immigrant ed. by Nikesh Shukla

I have mixed feelings about this book. I’m glad I read it and some of the essays are brilliant and really made me think about things. Unfortunately, there were a couple of essays that I found offensive due to what my own family have been through and I just couldn’t get passed how that made me feel. I would still recommend the book though because it does give an insight into what it is to be an immigrant in Britain.

Black Wood by SJI Holliday

I’ve had this book on my TBR since it was published and when I saw that the third book in the trilogy was now out I decided to pick this first one up. I read it in one sitting and really enjoyed it. I’m going to read the second book this week and I can’t wait!

 

This week I’ve blogged three times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up where I share all of my bookish, blogging and real life news from the last week

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday where I share what I’m currently reading, what I’ve recently read and what I plan to read next

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves where I share my accumalated book haul from the last seven days

This is what I’m currently reading:

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

I’ve had this book on my TBR since it was published and I have tried picking it up before but my mind wasn’t in the right place to read it. I’m reading a lot of non-fiction at the moment so decided to give this another go and I’m so glad I did. It’s such a tough subject to read about but Seierstad has clearly done a lot of research and it’s very well written.

The Escape by C.L. Taylor

I was offered a copy of this from the publisher but it never arrived so I requested, and was approved, on NetGalley. I am finding this a fast-paced, intriguing book and I’m very much enjoying it.

Forever Yours by Daniel Glattauer

I absolutely adored this author’s previous two books so was keen to read this one. It’s been on my TBR for ages so as I’m trying to read through my TBR this year I picked this one up. It’s not grabbing me in the way I hoped it would but it’s interesting and I am keen to see where the plot goes.

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

This is my husband’s latest audio book pick and I wasn’t that interested in listening to it but once it was playing I found myself laughing at some of the stories Phil Collins was telling and before I knew it we’d been listening for over two hours! We’re going to listen to the rest of it together so I’m looking forward to that.

Everything but the Truth by Gillian McAllister

I’m really enjoying this novel – it’s got an intriguing premise and I can’t wait to find out what, if any, secret Jack is keeping from his girlfriend!

Blue Light Yokohama by Nicolas Obregon

This is a slow-paced but beautifully written crime novel and I’m really enjoying it. I’m keen to find out what happened to the main character in the past.

H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald

This is such a lovely book to listen to on audio and I’m really enjoying it. I’ve not had much time to listen to audio books this week but as soon as I have time I will be putting this on.

And the Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

I’ve read a couple more chapters of this since last week and am still finding it to be such an interesting and, at times, eye-opening read. 

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

I’m absolutely adoring the writing in this book and the only reason that I haven’t read it quicker is that it’s a hardback so I can only read when I can physically manage to hold it. I hope to be able to read more this week though.


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: 1912

Additions:

Books bought/received for review/gifts: 13 (See the books I added this week in my Stacking the Shelves post)

Subtractions:

Books read this week: 6

Books I’m currently reading: 9

TBR Books culled this week: 55

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1862


 

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 (22 Feb) What are you reading today?

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

What I’m reading now:

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See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

I won this proof in a giveaway right before Christmas and have been so keen to read it. I started it a couple of days ago and it’s everything I hoped it would be and more. The writing is stunning and the story itself is utterly engrossing. This is definitely a book to look out for this year!

Synopsis:

When her father and step-mother are found brutally murdered on a summer morning in 1892, Lizzie Borden – thirty two years old and still living at home – immediately becomes a suspect. But after a notorious trial, she is found innocent, and no one is ever convicted of the crime.

Meanwhile, others in the claustrophobic Borden household have their own motives and their own stories to tell: Lizzie’s unmarried older sister, a put-upon Irish housemaid, and a boy hired by Lizzie’s uncle to take care of a problem.

This unforgettable debut makes you question the truth behind one of the great unsolved mysteries, as well as exploring power, violence and the harsh realities of being a woman in late nineteenth century America.

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The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

I also started reading this earlier this week and am finding it very hard to put down. I’m intrigued by Sarah and really want to know what she knows!

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?

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Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

My husband isn’t a big reader but he’s recently started to listen to audio books as a change from the radio. This is his latest pick, which I wasn’t initially interested in but when he started listening to it while I was in the room I found myself really enjoying it. It’s now a book that we’re listening to together.

Synopsis:

Phil Collins pulls no punches—about himself, his life, or the ecstasy and heartbreak that’s inspired his music. In his much-awaited memoir, Not Dead Yet, he tells the story of his epic career, with an auspicious debut at age 11 in a crowd shot from the Beatles’ legendary film A Hard Day’s Night. A drummer since almost before he could walk, Collins received on the job training in the seedy, thrilling bars and clubs of 1960s swinging London before finally landing the drum seat in Genesis. Soon, he would step into the spotlight on vocals after the departure of Peter Gabriel and begin to stockpile the songs that would rocket him to international fame with the release of Face Value and In the Air Tonight. Whether he’s recalling jamming with Eric Clapton and Robert Plant, pulling together a big band fronted by Tony Bennett, or writing the music for Disney’s smash-hit animated Tarzan, Collins’s storytelling chops never waver. And of course he answers the pressing question on everyone’s mind: just what does Sussudio mean?

Not Dead Yet is Phil Collins’s candid, witty, unvarnished story of the songs and shows, the hits and pans, his marriages and divorces, the ascents to the top of the charts and into the tabloid headlines. As one of only three musicians to sell 100 million records both in a group and as a solo artist, Collins breathes rare air, but has never lost his touch at crafting songs from the heart that touch listeners around the globe. That same touch is on magnificent display here, especially as he unfolds his harrowing descent into darkness after his “official” retirement in 2007, and the profound, enduring love that helped save him. This is Phil Collins as you’ve always known him, but also as you’ve never heard him before.

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Everything But The Truth by Gillian McAllister

This book is really good – it’s a novel about a seemingly ordinary couple and is very easy to identify with the characters but then one day Rachel sees an email on her boyfriends’s iPad and it sows a seed of doubt in her mind. From then on we don’t know if she’s being paranoid and over thinking things or if he has something major to hide. I’m really enjoying it and am keen to find out what is going on in Jack’s life!

Synopsis:

It all started with the email.

It came through to her boyfriend’s iPad in the middle of the night. Rachel didn’t even mean to look. She loves Jack, and she’s pregnant with their child. She trusts him. But now she’s seen it, she can’t undo that moment, or the chain of events it has set in motion.

Why has Jack been lying about his past? Just what exactly is he hiding? And doesn’t Rachel have a right to know the truth at any cost?

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Blue Light Yokohama by Nicolas Obregon

I’m still enjoying this novel. It’s not what I thought it was going to be but it’s a great read. It’s a slow-paced crime novel, that has really gruesome moments but the writing is so beautiful that you just want to keep reading.

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.

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H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald

This is my latest audio read and I’m kicking myself for not picking this up before now. It’s a wonderful and moving memoir about a woman’s relationship with her hawk, and a story of her trying to come to terms with the loss of her father. There have been moments in this book where the pain of her loss was palpable and I’ve had to stop listening to take a breather. It’s a beautiful book though and I recommend it.

Synopsis:

When Helen Macdonald’s father died suddenly on a London street, she was devastated. An experienced falconer—Helen had been captivated by hawks since childhood—she’d never before been tempted to train one of the most vicious predators, the goshawk. But in her grief, she saw that the goshawk’s fierce and feral temperament mirrored her own. Resolving to purchase and raise the deadly creature as a means to cope with her loss, she adopted Mabel, and turned to the guidance of The Once and Future King author T.H. White’s chronicle The Goshawk to begin her challenging endeavor. Projecting herself “in the hawk’s wild mind to tame her” tested the limits of Macdonald’s humanity and changed her life.

Heart-wrenching and humorous, this book is an unflinching account of bereavement and a unique look at the magnetism of an extraordinary beast, with a parallel examination of a legendary writer’s eccentric falconry. Obsession, madness, memory, myth, and history combine to achieve a distinctive blend of nature writing and memoir from an outstanding literary innovator.

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Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

I’m a bit torn about this novel at the moment. There are parts of it that I’ve really enjoyed and other parts that I’m not sure about. I think it possibly is a book that needed to be read in one or two sittings so I may put it to one side and come back to it another time.

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.

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And the Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

I’m still finding this book fascinating, and at times, shocking. It’s a book I’d recommend to all football fans – I’d say it’s a must-read.

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.

 

 

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Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

This book is so beautiful and I’m really enjoying it. It’s just suffered from being a hardback as it’s hard for me to hold sometimes. I hope to be able to finish this soon though.

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.

What I recently finished reading:

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The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla

I finished this book last night so am still pondering over my thoughts on it. My initial opinion is that it’s an eye-opening and at times shocking read. Some of the essays are stronger than others but all are interesting. I do have issues with one essay in particular, but that is due to something personal to me, and I’m still trying to process exactly how I feel and may well go back and read that essay again. This is an important book and I’d definitely 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.

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Black Wood by SJI Holliday

I bought this book the day it was released and somehow managed to forget about it. I recently saw that the third book had been released and it made me want to immediately start reading the series… so I did. I really enjoyed this book – so much so that I read it in one sitting. I now can’t wait to read the second book!

Synopsis:

Something happened to Claire and Jo in Black Wood: something that left Claire paralysed and Jo with deep mental scars. But with Claire suffering memory loss and no evidence to be found, nobody believes Jo’s story. Twenty-three years later, a familiar face walks into the bookshop where Jo works, dredging up painful memories and rekindling her desire for vengeance. And at the same time, Sergeant Davie Gray is investigating a balaclava-clad man who is attacking women on a disused railway, shocking the sleepy village of Banktoun. But what is the connection between Jo’s visitor and the masked man? To catch the assailant, and to give Jo her long-awaited justice, Gray must unravel a tangled web of past secrets, broken friendship and tainted love. But can he crack the case before Jo finds herself with blood on her hands?

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The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

I finished reading this book a couple of days ago. It was a perfect biography for a Bowie fan, or indeed a music lover generally. It’s different to a standard biography and the author definitely puts himself into Bowie’s story but as a Bowie fan myself I loved that. This book is going on my favourite bookcase and I’m sure it’ll be one I re-read in the future.

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.

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Final Girls by Riley Sager

This was an ARC so I will be reviewing this on my blog soon. For now though I’ll say that I highly recommend this book. It’s a psychological thriller with elements of horror and it genuinely left me feeling very unsettled. I’m so glad I read this book.

Synopsis:

Each girl survived an unthinkable horror. Now someone wants them dead…

They were the victims of separate massacres. Grouped together by the press, and dubbed the Final Girls, they are treated like something fresh out of a slasher movie.

When something terrible happens to Lisa, put-together Quincy and volatile Sam finally meet. Each one influences the other. Each one has dark secrets. And after the bloodstained fingers of the past reach into the present, each one will never be the same.

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The Child Who by Simon Lelic

This book had been on my TBR for FIVE years despite it being one that I really wanted to read. I’m so pleased that I finally picked it up because it was very good. It gave a real insight into what it’s like to be defending a child accused of murder.

Synopsis:

A quiet English town is left reeling when twelve-year-old Daniel Blake is discovered to have brutally murdered his schoolmate Felicity Forbes.

For provincial solicitor Leo Curtice, the case promises to be the most high profile – and morally challenging – of his career. But as he begins his defence Leo is unprepared for the impact the public fury surrounding Felicity’s death will have on his family – and his teenage daughter Ellie, above all.

While Leo struggles to get Daniel to open up, hoping to unearth the reasons for the boy’s terrible crime, the build-up of pressure on Leo’s family intensifies. As the case nears its climax, events will take their darkest turn. For Leo, nothing will ever be the same again . . .

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The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

I enjoyed reading this novel. It’s not one that was particularly memorable but it’s one of those books that is perfect escapism and easy to read if you just need something engrossing enough to escape real life stress but not so taxing that you can’t keep up with the plot.

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…

What I plan on reading next:

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The Escape by C.L. Taylor

I was beyond excited when Avon Books contacted me to ask if I’d like to review an ARC of this book as I’ve read and loved all of CL Taylor’s previous novels. I will definitely be reading this book over the next week and I can’t wait to get started!

Synopsis:

“Look after your daughter’s things. And your daughter…”

When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn’t.

The stranger knows Jo’s name, she knows her husband Max and she’s got a glove belonging to Jo’s two year old daughter Elise.

What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo’s own husband turn against her.

No one believes that Elise is in danger. But Jo knows there’s only one way to keep her child safe – RUN.

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Willow Walk by SJI Holliday

This is the second book in the Banktoun series and whilst I don’t normally read books in a series so close together I enjoyed the first one so much that I just can’t wait to read this next one!

Synopsis:

When the past catches up, do you run and hide or stand and fight?

When a woman is brutally attacked on a lonely country road by an escaped inmate from a nearby psychiatric hospital, Sergeant Davie Gray must track him down before he strikes again. But Gray is already facing a series of deaths connected to legal highs and a local fairground, as well as dealing with his girlfriend Marie’s bizarre behaviour. As Gray investigates the crimes, he suspects a horrifying link between Marie and the man on the run – but how can he confront her when she’s pushing him away? As a terrified Marie is pulled back into a violent past she thought she’d escaped, she makes an irrevocable decision. And when events come to a head at a house party on Willow Walk, can Gray piece together the puzzle in time to stop the sleepy town of Banktoun being rocked by tragedy once more?

 


 

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 (19 Feb)

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This week has been much improved from last week for the most part. I finally got a replacement Kindle Voyage sorted out under warranty and that arrived early in the week, which cheered me up. I’ve been reading a lot on my kindle this week as I was so happy to have my ereader back.

I had another spinal injection mid-week as part of a regime of trying to get my pain levels under better control. Unfortunately this injection has left me in a lot of pain – more than last time so I’m having to take things easy. I’m still hoping I will get the benefits I got last time once the initial pain has worn off. Fingers crossed!

My husband is on holiday from work this week so it’s been lovely having him home with me. We haven’t done a huge amount but it’s just nice having the time together.

 


This week I’ve finished reading six books:

Final Girls by Riley Sager

This book was one of those books that I just couldn’t put down once I started it. It was very gruesome in places and genuinely freaked me out (I was glad I wasn’t home alone whilst reading but I am a wimp!). I’ll be reviewing this book at some point soon so please look out for that.

The Child Who by Simon Lelic

This book has been a lesson to me in why I need to read more from my TBR as this has been on my Kindle unread for five years but when I started reading it this week I just got completely engrossed in the story. It’s a novel about a child murderer and how the solicitor defending him deals with the case. 

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

I enjoyed this novel – it was fast-paced and kept me hooked right to the end. It wasn’t quite as good as I was hoping it would be but it was still an enjoyable read.

Watch Me by Angela Clarke

I loved Follow Me so was really looking forward to this follow up book and I wasn’t disappointed. It didn’t have me on the edge of my seat in the way Follow Me did, but it really got to me in a different way. I already can’t wait to see where this series takes the characters of Nad and Freddie next!

A Game for All the Family by Sophie Hannah

I’m going to be reviewing this novel as soon as I can so I won’t say too much here. I did find this novel completely and utterly engrossing all the way through and read it in two sittings over last weekend!

The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

I’ve been reading this biography on and off for a few weeks now (due to me struggling to hold the book as it’s a heavy hardback) but have very much enjoyed every single page. I think this will be a book I re-read in the future, and it’s certainly one I’ll be putting on my favourites bookcase in my living room.

 


This week I’ve blogged three times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up where I share all of my bookish, blogging and real life news from the last week

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday where I share what I’m currently reading, what I’ve recently read and what I plan to read next

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves where I share my book haul from the last seven days – this week I had a splurge on a favourite publisher’s books as they had a sale on so it was a big book haul!

 


This is what I’m currently reading:

The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

I started this book yesterday and it’s so good. I’m very intrigued by Sarah and really want to know how much she was involved in the murder and what, if anything, she’s hiding. 

Everything but the Truth by Gillian McAllister

I only started this book last night but I’m already really drawn into this plot and want to know what’s going on and whether Rachel’s suspicions are justified. I can’t wait to read more of this novel!

Blue Light Yokohama by Nicolas Obregon

This novel is a little different than I was expecting but it’s still really good. It seems to be a slow-paced novel, but the beautiful writing has me engrossed.

H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald

I started listening to the audiobook version of this a couple of days ago and I’m loving it. I can’t believe I’ve waited so long to read it. The descriptions of grief have taken my breath away at times, the pain is palpable and I know how much it hurts. I knew this aspect of the book would grab me but I wasn’t expecting to love the story of the hawks quite as much as I do. I recommend this book to everyone.

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawikama

I had to put this book on hold for a week with being kindle-less but now I have my kindle back I’m hoping I can get back into this novel as I was enjoying it.

And the Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

This book is still really interesting and I’m enjoying reading it. Again, like the above book, I’ve not had much chance to read it over the last week or so with not having a kindle but I’m definitely going to get back into this very soon.

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

This is such a beautiful novel – I think it may well become a new favourite of mine!

The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla

The essays in this book are really eye-opening. I’m continuing to read one  essay and then put the book down so that I can mull over what I’ve just read. I definitely recommend this book though.

 


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: 1900

Additions:

Books bought/received for review/gifts: 21 (See the books I added this week in my Stacking the Shelves post)

Subtractions:

Books read this week: 6

Books I’m currently reading: 8

TBR Books culled this week: 0

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1912

 


 

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)

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

What I’m reading now:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?”

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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.

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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?

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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:

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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.

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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.”

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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 . . .

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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?

 

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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.

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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.

Stacking the Shelves (4 Feb)

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


 

It was my birthday last weekend and I received 21 new books as gifts! I wanted to do a book haul for those books separate to my Stacking the Shelves post but if you want to know what other books I got this week please check out my Birthday Book Haul post.

This week I’ve bought 2 new print books:

How to Suppress Women’s Writing by Joanna Russ

A friend recommended this to me many years ago when I was doing my English Lit degree but I never did get around to borrowing it from the library. I’ve had it on my wish list for ages but as it’s out of print it’s always really expensive for a second-hand copy. I got lucky this week when I spotted it being sold in very good condition for £3.00 plus postage. This is a book that won’t be on my TBR for very long as I’m really keen to read it!

The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith

This was another bargain I spotted this week. I got a second-hand hardback copy on Amazon  Marketplace for £2.81 including the postage. I’ve had this on my wish list ever since I first heard about it so hope to read it soon.

I also got 6 new ebooks:

The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla (ed.)

I’ve been wanting to read this since I heard about it around the time it was published last year. I noticed it was available on ebook for £2.99 this week so I snapped it up. I’ve already started reading and it’s very good. I’ve just been reading one essay at a time and then putting it down for a while as it’s a book that makes you think and I want to take my time with it.

The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

I’ve had this book on my wish list since it came out but have kept putting off buying it for some unknown reason. Then this week I saw a brilliant review on a blog and I knew I had to get a copy. I plan on reading this in the next couple of weeks.

Flamingo Land: and Other Stories by Ellah Wakatama Allfrey

I’ve seen this book being hauled on a few YouTube channels recently and I’ve been intrigued by it. When I saw that it was available as an ebook I decided to take a chance on it. It’s a short story collection, and I really want to read more short stories this year, so I don’t think this will be on my TBR for very long!

Gut Symmetries by Jeanette Winterson

I spotted that this was available as part of Kindle Unlimited at the moment so I immediately downloaded it. I’m not sure that I’ll get to it in the immediate future but I do want to read it fairly soon.

Reader, I Married him by Tracy Chevalier (ed.)

This is another book that I’ve been aware of since it was first published but I couldn’t decide if I wanted to read it or not. Anyway, it’s currently in the kindle sale for £1.99 so I thought it was worth taking a chance on.

Watch Me by Angela Clarke

I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Follow Me, when it came out so have been eagerly awaiting the second book. I think this might be next up to be added to my currently reading pile!

And 3 new audio books:

The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain

I love Rose Tremain’s novels, I’ve found all the ones I’ve read before to be so beautiful so I’ve been wanting to get this latest one. It was an Audible deal of the day one day this week so I immediately bought it and can’t wait to listen to it!

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

I’ve actually owned this book on ebook for ages now and while it’s one I feel sure I’ll love it just never seems to get to the top of my TBR. I spotted the audible book in a recent sale and the idea of listen to it really appealed so I bought it.

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

I’ve been aware of this book for ages but wasn’t sure if it was for me or not. I’ve heard so many good things about it though so decided to grab the audible book in the recent sale on their website. I think it’ll be a nice, easy listen and I’m looking forward to it.

 

Books I received for review:

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The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

I love Paula Daly’s novels so was thrilled to be approved on NetGalley to read this new one by her. I’m really looking forward to it and am planning on reading it very soon.


 

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

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