Mini Book Reviews: Home Stretch | Perfect Tunes | Dear Justyce | Hush Little Baby

Today I’m sharing another selection of mini reviews of books that I’ve read over the last week or so. I got all of these books from NetGalley and am now slowly catching up on my review books. This selection were all great reads and I recommend them!

Home Stretch by Graham Norton

This is such a stunning novel – I read it all in one sitting because I just didn’t want to put it down for a second. Home Stretch follows a small community in rural Ireland who are reeling from an horrific car crash that has killed three young people and seriously injured a fourth. Two young men escaped with no injuries. The ramifications are huge for the town as parents and siblings and friends try to come to terms with what happened. The novel starts in 1987 but goes back and forth in time up to 2019. We mainly follow Connor, a young gay man who was driving the car, and we see how much this has affected him and his family. The snippets we get from the other families affected by the accident are so moving. Norton really captures people’s thoughts in such a real way – there is a moment at one of the funeral’s when one mother is relieved that the wedding didn’t happen when she see’s what the bride’s mother is wearing at her daughter’s funeral and this felt so true to life. We all know these people in our own lives. There are twists and turns, and things that I didn’t see coming, but more than that this is a beautiful novel about finding your way in the world, and about how you find home again when the absolute worst thing has happened to you. I adored this book; it will absolutely be in my top books of this year! I highly recommend it!

Perfect Tunes by Emily Gould

This novel follows Laura as she moves to New York at the start of the new millenium. She dreams of making it as a singer/song writer but she is quite shy and always seems to be in her best friend’s shadow. One night she goes to see a band and meets the singer, Dylan, and her life begins to change in so many ways. She is besotted with Dylan, wanting to spend every second with him but life has other plans for her. The novel then moves quickly forward in time as we see Laura trying to navigate life with her teenage daughter. She still yearns to be a song writer but never seems to have time to sit and be creative. She’s not inspired anymore and is instead fully focused on her daughter and making ends meet. This is a novel about falling madly in love when you’re young, of having big dreams and feeling like they really might come true but then the reality of life and how we cope when we end up on a different path. Laura is a very passive character but I couldn’t help but root for her, I know what it is like to let life sweep you along because it’s easier than pushing forward for what you want. The end left me with mixed feelings but at the same time it was a perfect ending to Laura’s story. I really enjoyed this novel and I recommend it.

Dear Justyce by Nic Stone

This is the companion novel to Dear Martin, which I read and loved last year. Each can be read as a standalone but I recommend reading them both in order. In Dear Justyce we follow Quan, who is in juvenile detention and we slowly get his back story. He knew Justyce when he was younger but their lives have taken very different roads. Justyce is doing well at college and Quan is imprisoned with no idea when he’ll ever see freedom again. He begins writing letters to Justyce and we gradually see how he ended up here. I found this such a moving novel, it’s really hard hitting at times with just how unjust the criminal justice system is and how rigged it is against non-white people. You can see as you read that Quan is a good person who just wanted better for his siblings but he had such a tough start in life and got caught up in things he couldn’t get out of. I loved how Justyce rallied support for Quan and how his group of friends are determined to make things right for him. This is a book that I know will stay with me. It’s such a powerful and stunning novel, it’s one that everyone should read.

Hush Little Baby by Jane Isaac

This novel follows DC Beth Chamberlain as she investigates the murder of a young baby whose body has been found on a building site. It is believed the baby could be Alicia Owens who has been missing for fifteen years so Beth has to go back through the case and to re-investigate everything. This is a mysterious novel which has you wondering where the baby had been kept for all the intervening years and who could have killed her, and why. Alicia’s mother, Marie, is quite a closed book but has re-married and had another child whereas her ex-husband hasn’t moved on at all and still isn’t coping too well. The wider family all seem like they might have secrets to hide and as the novel goes on things start to unravel. I enjoyed this book, it was the third in a series but the first one I’ve read and it works perfectly well as a standalone. I found the central mystery intriguing and was shocked when the reveal of who and how and why comes. I’d recommend this one if you like British crime fiction!

Mini Book Reviews: Hungry | Space Hopper | The Weekend | Five Hundred Miles From You

Today I’m sharing another selection of mini reviews of books that I’ve read and enjoyed recently!

Hungry

I completely and utterly adored this book! Hungry is Grace Dent’s memoir and in it she details her life through with real emphasis on food. I’m just a little bit younger than Dent so a lot of her food memories are very similar to mine – the thrill of a Sara Lee Gateau as a very special treat is one such memory. I loved reading about her childhood in Carlisle, a place I know well, and her love for her family. There is so much love that shines out of these pages. Anyone who grew up in the north in the 70s and 80s will identify with this book so much. As Dent gets a little older and starts to move away from her family and to build a career for herself we see how she got into being a food critic and this was every bit as interesting as her childhood. There is sadness and worry along the way too as her dad starts to show signs of dementia and her mum suffers with ill health too but the way Dent and her siblings rally around was wonderful to read about. I can’t put into words just how much I loved this book, I enjoyed every single bit of it and I would recommend it to everyone. This will definitely be one of my top books of 2021, I’m certain of it!

The Weekend

This novel follows three older women who are returning to their friend Sylvie’s home to clear it out after her death. The four women had been friends for many years but there are secrets being kept and also the difficulties of how they’ve all changed over the years that all have to be dealt with over the course of one weekend. Jude is very self-controlled and likes everything to be just so. Wendy is more eccentric and goes with the flow so when she turns up with her elderly, incontinent dog Jude is horrified. Adele is an out of work actress who is on the brink of being homeless and can’t bring herself to tell her oldest friends of her latest plight. I loved the writing in this novel; it’s the first I’ve read by Charlotte Wood and it won’t be the last. I found it hard to warm to any of the characters at first but as the novel goes on and we see the vulnerabilities of the women I couldn’t help but feel sadness at what life had thrown at them. This is a melancholy, reflective novel but it still left me feeling hopeful. I enjoyed this novel and I recommend it!

Space Hopper

This novel follows Faye who is happily married with children but she still misses her mum who died when she was 8. One day she finds her old Space Hopper box in the attic and it transports her back to the 70s in the year or so before her mother died! There is so much I loved about this novel. I really connected with how much Faye was desperate to travel back to her mother as she missed her so much. I think anyone who has lost their parent would find it hard to resist having one more day with them, even when you realise you might sacrifice things in the present. I loved seeing Faye connect with her mum and getting to know her as an adult. It’s a novel where the time travel element doesn’t really make sense, even within the story, so I definitely had to suspend my disbelief but I was so invested in Faye and her desire to have more time with her mum that I was happy to do that. This novel was so soothing to me in the week when it should have been my mum’s 70th birthday and I’m so glad that I picked it up when I did. I recommend it.

Five Hundred Miles From You

This novel follows Lissa and Corman. Lissa lives in London and loves her job as a community nurse but when one day she witnesses a traumatic incident she struggles to cope and is offered a three-month job swap with Cormac. He lives in a remote Scottish village and loves his life as a nurse there. Over time Lissa and Cormac have to swap notes about patients and a bond starts to form. I loved reading about how each of them had to find their feet in a completely new place, and it was fun seeing their friends too and how they coped with the swap. I didn’t enjoy this as much as previous novels by the author but it was still a really fun read and I’m glad I read it. This book is the third in a series but can definitely be read a standalone. An enjoyable summer read!

WWW Wednesdays (14 Apr ’21)! What are you reading this week?

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!

Current Reads

Space Hopper by Helen Fisher

Five Hundred Miles from You by Jenny Colgan

Mountain Road, Late at Night by Alan Rossi

The first two are NetGalley books and I’m really enjoying them both. Mountain Road was a gift from my husband recently and I’m finding it utterly engrossing and very moving.

Recent Reads

The Split by Sharon Bolton

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam

Her Last Holiday by C. L. Taylor

The Gin O’Clock Club by Rosie Blake

The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

Hostage by Clare Mackintosh

It’s been a good reading week this week. My husband was watching golf all weekend and so I sat and read a lot of books. It’s been a long time since I read books back to back and finishing them in one sitting. I’m hoping my reading mojo is properly coming back now as I really miss reading how I used to. The above books are all the ones I finished this week – a couple I started the week before and have now finished and others I’ve read in their entirety. The ones in green have already been reviewed so click if you want to know more. 🙂

What I Might Read Next

Hush Little Baby by Jane Isaac

Dear Justyce by Nic Stone

Perfect Tunes by Emily Gould

I’m really focusing on reading my NetGalley books at the moment so the above three books are the ones that are catching my eye as I put this post together and I hope to read and review them this week. 🙂

What are you reading this week? I’d love to know! 🙂

Mini Book Reviews: Dead Head | Truth Be Told | The Split | Punching the Air

Dead Head by C. J. Skuse

This was one of my most anticipated books for this year and it more than lived up to my hopes for it! This is the third instalment in the SweetPea series and I loved this book. In Dead Head we are back with Rhiannon at a book launch and then the novel goes back in time and we find out what she has been up to since the last book. She is now on the run and trying to evade the authorities and she is on form! Her kill lists are absolutely brilliant, and yet again it’s disconcerting to find yourself nodding your head in agreement with some of her hates and then realising she is actually a serial killer and perhaps would kill people for these reasons. This is such a fun series though – it’s dark and at times gory but Rhiannon is one of the best fictional characters I’ve ever read about. I don’t want to say much more about this book as you really need to read the first two books first and I don’t want to risk spoiling anything. I do highly recommend this whole series though, it’s utterly brilliant!

Truth Be Told by Kia Abdullah

Truth Be Told book is an incredible read. In it we follow Kamran, a teenage boy who is the victim of rape by another boy at his boarding school. Kamran goes to see Zara Kaleel at a rape crisis centre and she agrees to help him. This is such a powerful novel that explores so many issues around rape and consent, race and gender, and the impact on the victim, but also the people around the victim when a rape accusation is made. It was very hard to read at times but the issues are handled really sensitively and in a way that is so believable. This is the second novel that features Zara but this novel does work as a standalone. I enjoyed the author’s previous book but this one is even better. I didn’t want to put this one down and now I’ve finished it I keep finding myself thinking about it. I highly recommend this one!

The Split by Sharon Bolton

I’m just finding my way out of a horrible reading slump and this book was exactly what I needed to remind me what it’s like to get completely lost in a great novel. The Split opens with the main character, Felicity, at work in Antarctica. She is on edge about a passenger cruise that is due to arrive and she decides to leave her station for a little while. The novel soon goes back in time to nine months earlier in Cambridge, which was a real jolt but I was soon absorbed in what was going on there. I had my suspicions about elements of what was going on but I didn’t see the whole picture until it was revealed to me. I was completely along for the ride with this one and that was the best way to read it. Felicity is struggling with absences and she finds herself in places without knowing how she got there, and she feels like someone has been in her home. She has to go and see a counsellor, Joe, and we follow his perspective too. My favourite character in the novel is Delilah, a police detective who is Joe’s mother. She does not suffer fools and always says what she thinks. This was a dark read at times but also such a fun novel to read. I definitely recommend it!

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi & Yusef Salaam

This is a really powerful young adult novel told in verse and follows a young black man, Amal, as he is convicted of a brutal assault and sent to prison. Parts of drawings and scribbles are interspersed throughout the narrative, which really added to Amal’s story and to my understanding of who he is and how he expresses himself best. He’s clearly a boy who loves his family and wants to do well at school but he is, understandably and justifiably, angry at his art class teacher’s focus on white artists. One day he’s in the wrong place at the wrong time and while he isn’t entirely innocent, he didn’t do the thing he is convicted of. His anger and confusion is palpable, and I could feel the claustrophobia of the prison as if I was right there too. Over time we see the moments of hope that keep Amal going, and I loved the letters he gets from Zenobia. There are small acts of kindness, that come alongside the really dark moments, and it is those that make this book hopeful. It doesn’t shy away from racism and race issues, or the injustice suffered by the wrongly convicted but there is definitely some hope in there. This is a book that I would recommend to everyone.

WWW Wednesdays (7 Apr ’21)! What are you reading this week?

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!

Current Reads

Truth by Told by Kia Abdullah

The Split by Sharon Bolton

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

Recent Reads

Dead Head by C. J. Skuse

Like a House on Fire by Caroline Hulse

Hungry by Grace Dent

What I Might Read Next

The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed

Her Last Holiday by C. L. Taylor

The Gin O’Clock Club by Rosie Blake

I don’t know what I’m going to read for definite this week but the three above are the ones that most appeal to me at the moment.

Mini Book Reviews: No One is Talking About This | Like A House on Fire | Homecoming | Life in Pieces

Today I’m sharing another selection of mini book reviews of books I’ve read and enjoyed recently. I’m slowly getting my reading and blogging mojo back but in the meantime I hope you find some books you enjoy from these mini review posts.

Like a House on Fire by Caroline Hulse

I really enjoyed this novel – it’s both light-hearted and a very realistic portrayal of family dynamics! The novel follows a family as they are all about to come together in a murder mystery party organised by the mum. Stella and George and the central characters – they’ve both recently agreed to divorce and are living separately but Stella has yet to tell her parents so persuades George to go to the party with her and to pretend all is fine. Stella is the middle child – her older sister Helen is ‘perfect’. She’s married with two children and always does the right thing. Pete is the youngest and he is very wayward but can do no wrong in his mum’s eyes. I loved the dynamic between the three grown up children – it’s one I know and understand very well and the author captures it perfectly. The murder mystery party begins around halfway through the book and it’s just brilliantly written. I adored how the novel played out and the way the denouement comes about. This is such a fun read and I highly recommend it.

No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood

I listened to this on audiobook via NetGalley and I really enjoyed it. I finished it a while ago now and have been struggling with how to review it. I don’t really know how to express my thoughts on this one. It follows a woman who is obsessed with the Portal, her posts regularly go viral and she is famous within this social network. She thinks in social media soundbites and her life seems to revolve around what would make a good post and how best to express her thoughts online. She questions this life though and wonders about whether this life online is hell and is it going to be what we’re doing forever. Then one day she gets a text from her mum to say that something is very wrong. All of a sudden she has to confront real life and the potential for tragedy in her own family whilst still feeling very much under the influence of the Portal. The second half of the novel is her dealing with what has happened and the juxtaposition between the portal and the very real situation her family has to confront and cope with. I loved this novel, I found it very thought provoking and it’s one that I keep finding myself musing on. I think I’d like to buy myself a physical copy of the book so that I can read it again in print form as it feels like a book to be experienced in both forms. I definitely recommend this one, particularly if you find yourself obsessively scrolling through social media on a frequent basis!

Homecoming by Luan Goldie

Nightingale Point was one of my favourite books of last year so I was very highly anticipating Luan Goldie’s next book and I’m so happy to say that I very much enjoyed it. This novel follows three characters: Yvonne who has buried her demons and is trying so hard to move on with her life and to ignore her guilt. Kiama who has grown up without his mum and he desperately wants to know more about her. And Lewis, Kiama’s father, who just wants to protect his son and to keep him from the pain of the past. I loved Kiama and Yvonne in this novel and was intrigued at how she had been in his life when he was a young child but then lost touch with him over the last decade. The two end up going back to Kenya to try and resolve what happened in the past. I found this such a beautiful and moving novel. I could understand everyone’s point of view and so felt for all of the characters. The setting of London and Kenya were so vividly written that I felt I was right there along with Yvonne and Kiama. I just adored this novel and keep finding myself thinking about the characters and wondering how they are now. I recommend this one!

Life in Pieces by Dawn O’Porter

I’ve read and loved Dawn O’Porter’s novels so was keen to read her non-fiction book. I got a copy of this one from NetGalley and I read it a little while ago now. This is the author’s diary and blog posts from the first few months of the Covid-19 pandemic. I couldn’t read it when I first got it as it all felt too recent but when I finally did pick it up I quite enjoyed it. I like her writing style and could hear her voice in my head as I was reading. There are quite a few sections in the book that I could identify with and found very moving but some of it felt very self-indulgent and unaware of how other people might be feeling as they read her words. It was jarring at times as she complained about being stuck in her big house with her big garden. At the same time I think that the general fears around Covid and grief, and they way our priorities have changed throughout the pandemic and what we want in life has become much more apparent to all of us. These parts of the book I very much enjoyed and could identify with. Ultimately, this was a mixed bag but I did quite enjoy it for the most part.

Mini Book Reviews: The Girl in the Missing Poster | The Festival | The Castaways | Lockdown #Thrillers

It’s time for some more mini reviews today and this time it’s thrillers that I’ve read and enjoyed in recent weeks!

The Girl in the Missing Poster by Barbara Copperthwaite

This is the first novel by Barbara Copperthwaite that I’ve read and I can absolutely say that it won’t be my last. I loved this novel, it had my hooked from the very start and is one of those books that I was picking up every spare few minutes that I had. It follows Stella whose twin sister Leila disappeared after a family party and has never been found. Stella still looks for her sister and is always hiding from herself because she sees her sister every time she looks in the mirror. She agrees to take part in a Netflix documentary about Leila’s disappearance and I loved how transcripts of this programme are interspersed throughout the novel. I was intrigued from the start about this book and I loved that as we get to see viewers’ thoughts on the documentary people had theories that were the same as mine. I didn’t spot whodunnit or why and I loved that the ending when it came was so shocking to me. I’m not often surprised in a thriller so I love it when one gets me. I keep thinking about this novel and am quite envious of people who have yet to read it for the first time. I recommend this one!

The Castaways by Lucy Clarke

I love Lucy Clarke’s writing and have enjoyed all of her previous novel so I had very high hopes for this one and I’m so pleased to say that it more than lived up to them! This novel follows sisters Lori and Erin. They went on holiday together and one night had a row which led to Lori getting on a plane and Erin walking away. The plane disappears and Erin is left full of regret and a desperate need to know what happened to her sister. The novel follows Erin in the present and Lori a couple of years earlier and I loved this way of telling the story. It meant the reader was privy to more knowledge than the characters but it was still twisty and gripping. I had my suspicions about what had happened to Lori and while I was partly right there was so much more to this novel than I ever could have seen! I love the fierceness of Erin’s determination to find out what happened, and the single-mindedness she showed in trying to find out. I was rooting for her the whole way through. The love that was there between the sisters shines off the pages in the novel and I found that incredibly moving. I loved that this is a twisty mystery novel with real heart and love at its centre. I highly recommend this one!

The Festival by Sarah J. Naughton

I loved this novel! It follows four almost 40-year-old women who have been friends since school. Life is pulling them in different directions but as Lenny is about to turn 40 they decide to go back to the festival that they first went to together as teenagers 20 years ago. The first part of the novel lets us see who these women are and where they are in life and how they got there, then the second part is all about what happens at the festival. I really enjoyed the way the story unfolded and that I felt I really knew these women before the story got more action-packed. Everyone is carrying baggage and this spills out over the course of the weekend and the consequences of this end up being deadly. I had no idea who it was that would die and I didn’t spot who the killer was either. I found some moments in this book quite chilling and was on the edge of my seat. I very much enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it. I got my copy from NetGalley but the book will be available to buy this month.

Lockdown by Peter May

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley a while ago now but was hesitant to read it as as the subject of pandemic flu felt a little bit close to home. However, I finally picked it up recently and I’m really glad that I did. The flu pandemic is the backdrop to the story and it affects the way people behave but it’s not the main story. This is a novel about a horrendous crime that the main character is in a race against time to solve and the pandemic restrictions aren’t helping. I found this a really compelling story and one that I devoured in two sittings. I wasn’t expecting to be so gripped but I didn’t want to put the book down until I knew how it was going to be resolved. I enjoyed following D.I. Jack MacNeil as he tried to track down the killer but my favourite character was Amy. It was great to see some disability representation in this novel that was entirely believable and true to life. This was the first book by Peter May that I’ve read but I’ll definitely look out for more of his work in the future!

Mini Book Reviews: All the Lonely People | The Things We Left Unsaid | Everything is Beautiful | The Illustrated Child

I’m sharing another selection of mini reviews today of FOUR incredible novels that I’ve finished reading recently.

All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle

I’ve enjoyed all of the Mike Gayle novels that I’ve read to date but I think I have to say that All the Lonely People is my new favourite novel by him. I was invested in this novel and the characters from the opening pages and I was enthralled by the story from start to finish! This novel is about Hubert Bird, an older gentleman who has lost his wife and has become increasingly isolated. He speaks to his daughter on the phone every week but she lives in Australia. One day a young woman and her daughter knock at Hubert’s door as they’re looking to make friends as they’re new to the area and this sets in motion this beautiful and moving story. The novel goes back and forth in time between when Hubert first came to the UK and the racial abuse that he suffered. We see him meet and fall in love with his wife and how their lives were; and the present day where Hubert is alone and his world has become very small and he doesn’t know how to change it. The novel covers what it is to be a part of the Windrush Generation, grief, love and more than anything hope! I adored this book so much, it’s an incredible read and a book that we all need in our lives at the moment. I highly recommend this one!

The Things We Left Unsaid by Emma Kennedy

I adored this book, it’s one of those books that I never wanted to end! The Things We Left Unsaid follows Rachel in the present and her mum Eleanor in the past. The novel opens when Rachel has been jilted by her fiance only six weeks after her father’s death. Rachel is reeling and doesn’t know where to turn. In the alternating chapters we see Eleanor start her first term at Uni and find her independence for the first time. This novel is just so warm and inviting, I didn’t want to put it down once I started reading. I loved Eleanor’s timeline and all the people she met, but I was also invested in seeing what was going to happen to Rachel in the present. This is a beautiful novel and one that I still keep thinking about and it’s a couple of weeks since I finished reading it. I highly recommend it!

Everything is Beautiful by Eleanor Ray

I received an audiobook of this one from NetGalley and I adored it! The novel follows Amy who is a hoarder, she struggles with the idea of letting go of any part of any of her collections. We find out early on in the story that her boyfriend upped and left her eleven years ago and Amy has never been able to find out where he went or why. Over the course of the novel we learn more about Amy’s past and how that has made her the way she is now. I loved seeing her deal with her new neighbours and having to cope with their inquisitive children. I could really identify with Amy at times, I’ve been someone who after difficult times have found my hoarding tendencies have returned and it took a long time for me to let go of all the stuff. I really felt for Amy and I was rooting for her the whole way through this beautiful novel. This is such a charming read and one that I never wanted to stop listening to. The narrator is Eilidh Beaton and her voice felt perfect for the character of Amy, she really added to my enjoyment of the novel. I recommend it!

The Illustrated Child by Polly Crosby

This novel is one that took a while to draw me in but once it did I just didn’t want to stop reading. It follows Romilly, a young child who is living with her father in a ramshackle home. They live quite an isolated existence that Romilly loves, her father makes things magical and encourages Romilly’s imagination. One day he writes a children’s book featuring Romilly and their life and suddenly there is a lot more attention on them and their home. As time goes by and Romilly gets older there starts to be more neglect and clearly there is something going on with her dad but it’s not apparent what for quite a while. The novel does become something different than I was expecting it to but there is something so moving and beautiful in the way this book is written that I just didn’t want to put it down. I recommend it!

Mini Book Reviews: The Disappearance of Stephanie Mailer | Just Like The Other Girls | The Searcher | The Hidden Girls

My reading mojo is slowly returning, although still not back to normal, but my blogging mojo is still lagging behind so now I have lots of reviews to catch up with. Today I’m sharing mini reviews of books that I’ve read recently.

The Disappearance of Stephanie Mailer by Joel Dicker

I read and adored The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair when it was published so I had very high hopes for his new one and I’m so happy to say that the novel lived up to them. It’s quite a long book and I read it in just two sittings as I just didn’t ever want to put it down, I wanted to know what was going on in this small town. Back in 1994 four brutal murders happened, and the case was solved by a cop duo who have a 100% success rate. Only now 20 years later a journalist, Stephanie Mailer, has turned up and is certain that the cops missed something obvious at the crime scene. Now the detective from the 1994 murders is on the brink of retirement but can’t bear that he might have missed something so he goes back through the case to see if they did miss anything. The novel follows a large cast of characters and goes back and forth between 1994 and the present day, and we get the backgrounds of the main characters. I just loved everything about this book, I already feel like going back and reading it all again! I recommend this one.

Just Like the Other Girls by Claire Douglas

I’ve read and really enjoyed all of Claire Douglas’ previous novels so was keen to pick her new one up. I found this one every bit as gripping as her previous books and read it all in one day! The novel follows a young woman, Una, as she gets a job in an imposing house as a carer to an older lady, Elspeth. Una soon discovers that the previous two girls who had her job died in strange circumstances and so she is immediately suspicious and wants to know more. As is usually the case with this author’s novels, there are blind alleys and red herrings scattered throughout so it really keeps you on your toes and wondering who on earth the culprit is. The end was a shock to me, I had thought I’d figured it all out but I was wrong and I loved that I was. This is a fast-paced and gripping read, I recommend it!

The Searcher by Tana French

I’m a huge Tana French fan and have loved all of her previous novels so was keen to pick her new one up. The Searcher isn’t my favourite of French’s novels but I honestly think it’s a case of right book, wrong time though so I wanted to still share what it’s about on here. The novel follows Cal, a former Chicago cop who has moved to rural Ireland to start a new life. Once there he sets about renovating the house he has bought and he starts to meet people in the community. The relationship he forms with Trey was my favourite part of the book, their growing trust in each other which starts out with such wariness was lovely to read. There are also beautiful descriptions of the landscape, so much so that I could really visualise the setting and the weather to the point of feeling like I was there. The blurb of the novel reads as though this is a novel about Cal seeking out a missing young man but that isn’t really the focus and I think had I known that I might have had a better reading experience as I was expecting one thing and got another. Ultimately, this is a novel about small towns and the secrets buried there. I think I may try re-reading this another time as I really did want to love it.

The Hidden Girls by Rebecca Whitney

This novels follows Ruth, a new mother who is recovering from post-partum psychosis. She is still struggling and her husband is hesitant to leave her alone with their baby for very long. Ruth starts hearing screams in the night and seeing things happening down the road from her house and she calls the police. It soon becomes clear that Ruth has experienced this before so the reader is then wondering what is real and what is not. The premise of this novel really intrigued me but unfortunately I didn’t really gel with the book. I think it was me and not the book though so if it sounds interesting to you then it’s worth picking up a copy.

WWW Wednesdays (24 Mar ’21)! What are you reading this week?

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!

Current Reads

The Silent Friend by Diane Jeffrey

I only have a few chapters left to read of this one and I’m so keen to see how it will end. I didn’t know much about the novel going into it but I’m glad I picked it up and I will review it once I’ve finished it.

Like a House on Fire by Caroline Hulse

I only picked this one up last night so I haven’t read very much of it but I love the writing style and I’m intrigued by the characters so am looking forward to reading more.

No Time Like the Future by Michael J. Fox

I haven’t read anymore of this one this week (still due to the small font) but my eyes are feeling a bit better so I’m planning to get back to this one in the coming days.

Recent Reads

Lockdown by Peter May

I was wary of picking this book up with it being set during a pandemic lockdown in the UK but I’m wanting to read all of my outstanding ARCs and this was the next one on my list. I actually found this to be quite a gripping read and the pandemic was the backdrop but wasn’t the main focus os the novel.

The Things We Left Unsaid by Emma Kennedy

This novel is such a beautiful read and I enjoyed every single second that I spent reading it. I read it slowly as I just didn’t want it to end.

The Disappearance of Stephanie Mailer by Joel Dicker

I read and loved The Harry Quebert Affair by this author when it was published so have been eagerly anticipating this new book. It’s quite a big book and I pretty much read it all in one day as I just didn’t want to put it down. I miss this novel now I’ve finished it!

Homecoming by Luan Goldie

This is another novel that I read in one day and I loved this one. It’s about race, grief and trauma but also how we have this remarkable resilience after the worst has happened.

All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle

This is a gorgeous novel with characters that I know will stay with me for a long time to come. Hubert Bird is a wonderful man and I really wanted to climb into the pages of this novel so that I could be his friend.

The Castaways by Lucy Clarke

I love Lucy Clarke’s novels and this was every bit as good as I was hoping it would be. I found this so gripping and it was one of those ‘just one more chapter’ novels that you end up finishing way past your bedtime!

What I Might Read Next

Just Like the Other Girls by Claire Douglas

The Searcher by Tana French

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam

As is now the norm for me I have no idea what I might read this week but when I was scrolling through my Kindle these three books are the one that jumped out at me the most.

WWW Wednesdays (17 Mar ’21)! What are you reading at the moment?

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!

Current Reads

The Castaways by Lucy Clarke

I’ve read and really enjoyed all of Lucy Clarke’s previous novels so was keen to get to this one and I’m so pleased to say that I’m loving it. It’s really gripping and while I have my suspicions at this stage (I’m halfway through) about where some of the story might be going I have no idea how it’s going to end. I can’t wait to read more and find out!

No Time Like the Future by Michael J. Fox

Sadly I haven’t managed to read any more of this book this week as I’m struggling to read small type so have only been reading on my Kindle or listening to audio books. I hope to get back to this one very soon though as I am very much enjoying it.

The Things We Left Unsaid by Emma Kennedy

This has been my main read this week and I am loving it! The story is engrossing and I really care about the characters and want to see where life takes them.

Recent Reads

Negroland by Margo Jefferson

I’ve had an ebook of this one on my TBR for over three years but I managed to get the audio book on my library app this week so I part-read and part-listened to it. I found this a really interesting read and I got a lot out of it. I recommend it!

The Illustrated Child by Polly Crosby

I also part-read and part-listened to this one and I really enjoyed reading it this way. I found this an enchanting and intriguing book that took a direction that I wasn’t expecting. This feels like a novel that will stay on my mind for a long while to come.

Agatha Raisin and the Perfect Paragon by M. C. Beaton

I’m still slowly reading my way through this series and still enjoying them. I find them such good escapist reads!

New Boy by Tracy Chevalier

This book had been on my TBR for way longer than it should have been and I’m kicking myself now because when I picked it up this week I read it all in one sitting. I was gripped from start to finish and I found it to be such an impactful read.

What I Might Read Next

Mountain Road, Late at Night by Alan Rossi

The Disappearance of Stephanie Mailer by Joel Dicker

The Hidden Girls by Rebecca Whitney

As usual I have no idea what I’ll read next but these three books are the ones that are calling to me the most at the moment.

#BookReview: Bound Vanda Symon | @VandaSymon @OrendaBooks #Bound #SamShephard

About the Book

The passionate, young police officer Sam Shephard returns in
a taut, atmospheric and compelling police procedural, which sees her take matters into her own hands when the official investigation into the murder of a local businessman fails to add up…

The New Zealand city of Dunedin is rocked when a wealthy and apparently respectable businessman is murdered in his luxurious home while his wife is bound and gagged, and forced to watch. But when Detective Sam Shephard and her team start investigating the case, they discover that the victim had links with some dubious characters.

The case seems cut and dried, but Sam has other ideas. Weighed down by her dad’s terminal cancer diagnosis, and by complications in her relationship with Paul, she needs a distraction, and launches her own investigation. And when another murder throws the official case into chaos, it’s up to Sam to prove that the killer is someone no one could ever suspect.

My Thoughts

I’m a huge fan of Vanda Symon’s writing so knew I was going to love this book and I was absolutely right! Bound is the fourth book in the Sam Shephard series and the books just keep getting better and better!

Bound opens with a shocking prologue – a home invasion where a man has been shot dead and his wife is tied up and seriously injured. The novel then follows Sam as she tries to figure out what on earth has led to this seemingly respectable businessman being killed in his own home.

I love Sam Shephard, she’s my favourite fictional detective and I adore following her as she solves crimes. In this novel we see some more of her personal life too, which I appreciated. She is much more vulnerable through parts of this novel and I found what she was going through very moving to read. Sam is good at putting on her work face though and whilst dealing with the things in her private life she continues to be focused on her job and solving this murder.

I had my suspicions about whodunnit and why but I was so wrong! I love when a crime novel wrong-foots me as it so rarely happens but this one got me and the ending was genuinely a shock to me. I’m already so keen to read book five in this series and see what happens next for Sam!

Bound is a brilliant crime novel and one that I keep finding myself thinking about. I highly recommend it (and the rest of the series if you haven’t already read the previous books)!

I received an ecopy of this book from the publisher. All thoughts are my own.

About the Author

Vanda Symon is a crime writer, TV presenter and radio host from Dunedin, New Zealand, and the chair of the Otago Southland branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors. The Sam Shephard series has climbed to number one on the New Zealand bestseller list, and has also been shortlisted for the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel and for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger. She currently lives in Dunedin, with her husband and two sons.

WWW Wednesdays (10 Mar ’21)! What are you reading this week?

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!

Current Reads

No Time Like the Future by Michael J. Fox

The Things We Left Unsaid by Emma Kennedy

Recent Reads

Beside Myself by Ann Morgan

People Like Her by Ellery Lloyd

Everything is Beautiful by Eleanor Ray

No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood

What I Might Read Next

The Illustrated Child by Polly Crosby

The Castaways by Lucy Clarke

The Louder I Will Sing by Lee Lawrence

The Twenty Seven Club by Lucy Nichol | @LucyENichol @RandomTTours

About the Book

It’s 1994. The music industry is mourning Kurt Cobain, Right Said Fred have re-emerged as an ‘ironic’ pop act and John Major is the country’s prime minister. Nothing is as it should be. 

Emma, a working-class rock music fan from Hull, with a penchant for a flaming Drambuie and a line of coke with her best mate Dave down The Angel, is troubled. 

Trev, her beloved whippet, has doggy IBS, and her job ordering bathroom supplies at the local caravan company is far from challenging. So when her dad, Tel, informs her that Kurt Cobain has killed himself aged 27, Emma is consumed with anxiety. 

Janis Joplin, Brian Jones, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix…why have so many rock musicians died aged 27? And will Emma be next to join The Twenty Seven Club?

My Thoughts

As soon as I read the blurb of The Twenty Seven Club I knew I had to read it, I knew it was going to be a ‘me’ book and I was absolutely right!

This book held so much nostalgia for me, it really captured the mid-90s and what it was like back then. I’m a bit younger than Emma, the main character, as I was 15 in 1994 but I could still identify with her so much. I remember the shock and devastation on finding out that Kurt Cobain had died (I was a huge Nirvana fan), and wondering why so many rock stars seemed to die aged 27.

I didn’t know when I picked the novel up that it was set in Hull and this was a brilliant surprise trip down memory lane for me. I lived in Hull for a while in my 20s and prior to that had grown up fairly near by. The references to Spiders night club brought back so many memories for me. I loved going there, some of the best nights out ended in Spiders and I still miss it now. Also the Adelphi, I loved going to gigs there. Oh and American chip spice – it’s never the same when you try it anywhere other than Hull!

Emma is a great character and I found it so easy to identify with her and the things that happened to her. I actually found myself laughing out loud at some of the moments in this novel and it’s rare for a novel to make me properly laugh like that. Emma is so well-rounded – I could certainly relate to her constant anxiety and over-thinking, her worrying about everything and never feeling quite sure of herself in a situation. I loved her fierce loyalty to her closest friend and her dad, she really cares for them and will do anything to keep them safe and make them happy.

I didn’t see where the novel was ultimately taking me but when I got to the end I was in tears because it all makes sense of why Emma is the way she is. It spoke to me personally as well because I have the similar fears for similar reasons and it made Emma all the more real to me.

The Twenty Seven Club has everything you could want in a novel – nostalgia; humour and warmth mixed with existential angst; and a protagonist who cares a lot and feels things deeply and is just so relatable. I adored this book more than I can say! I finished reading it a couple of weeks ago and I still keep thinking about Emma and wondering how she is now. I know she’s not real but she absolutely feels real when you read this book.

The Twenty Seven Club is my favourite read of 2021 so far and I already want to go back to the start and read it all over again. I’m so happy that I got to read this novel and I highly recommend it!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley and Anne of Random Things Tours. All thoughts are my own.

About the Author

Lucy is a mental health campaigner and PR consultant, and a former columnist with Sarah Millican’s Standard Issue magazine.  She has written for The IndependentThe I PaperNME, Red Magazine, Den of Geek, Men’s Fitness, Metro and Huff Post.  Her first book, A Series of Unfortunate Stereotypes, a non-fiction mental health memoir, was published by Trigger in 2018. Lucy has worked with the media in PR and marketing for almost 20 years and has experienced Generalised Anxiety Disorder for even longer.  

The Twenty Seven Club is immediately available in paperback from Amazon. You can also sign up to Lucy’s author newsletter.

WWW Wednesdays (3 Mar ’21)! What are you reading this week?

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!

Current Reads

No Time Like the Future by Michael J. Fox

My husband bought me this book in hardback as a surprise and I was so thrilled when I opened it. I’m a huge fan of Michael J. Fox and am inspired by the way he has dealt with his Parkinson’s Disease and disability so I’m really enjoying reading this one. I can really identify with a lot of what he says about how you find ways to adapt your life to what your abilities are so I’m keen to read more of this one.

People Like Her by Ellory Lloyd

I’ve only just started this one after buying it in the Kindle sale on Monday but I’ve been eagerly anticipating it and I’m really enjoying it so far. It’s all about how a woman makes out her life as a mother is more messy and hectic that it really is in order to build her social media profile!

Everything is Beautiful by Eleanor Ray

I’m listening to this one on audiobook from NetGalley and am hooked. It follows a woman who has become isolated and she lives in a house filled with her treasures. I’m only a short way into this one but I feel really connected to this story and I’m really looking forward to getting a chance to listening to more.

The Things We Left Unsaid by Emma Kennedy

I’ve shamefully had an ARC of this one on my NetGalley shelf for about a year and to make it worse when I finally picked it up I fell in love with the writing and the story within a few pages so I’m really kicking myself for not picking it up so sooner. Anyway, the main thing is that I am loving this book and have been reading it every chance I get.

Recent Reads

The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean

This is my first Will Dean novel and it definitely won’t be my last! This novel is incredibly hard to read at times but it’s one of those books that you can’t look away from (and nor should you). This is a book that I’m sure will stay with me for a long time to come.

Life in Pieces by Dawn O’Porter

This is the author’s story of what the first few months of the pandemic were like for her and her family. I love O’Porter’s writing, her novels are fabulous, but this was a little hit and miss for me. Some parts of it were very funny and some very moving but then there were sections that just didn’t hold my interest. It was still a good read though and I’m glad I finally picked it up.

The Twenty Seven Club by Lucy Nichol

This book was such a brilliant, nostalgic and moving read. I loved every single minute that I spent reading it! I’ll be reviewing this one next week so look out for my full thoughts then but in the meantime I highly recommend it!

The Girl in the Missing Poster by Barbara Copperthwaite

This was the first book I’ve read by this author but it absolutely won’t be my last! I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was kept on my toes all the way through, which doesn’t happen to me very often with thrillers.

What I Might Read Next

The Louder I Will Sing by Lee Lawrence

New Boy by Tracy Chevalier

The Hidden Girls by Rebecca Whitney

As is now the norm for me, I have no idea what I’ll read next but the above books are the ones that most appeal to me as I’m writing this post. 🙂

Mini Book Reviews: The Book of Two Ways | One by One | The Disappearing Act | A Christmas Memory

Today I’m sharing a new selection of mini reviews of books that I’ve enjoyed recently.

The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult

I generally really enjoy Jodi Picoult’s writing but it’s no secret that I struggled to get into this one. It follows Dawn, who after surviving a plane crash decides to go back to Egypt where she had studied years earlier. In her real life Dawn is happily married with a teenage daughter but now it seems she is unravelling and seeking something that even she is not sure of. I struggled with the opening chapters of the book as I felt I couldn’t connect to Dawn, or the other characters, and there was a lot of egyptology running through the pages. However, I am so glad I persevered as there was a moment when this book just really connected with me and from that point on I honestly couldn’t put it down. I was enthralled reading about Dawn’s work as a death doula and found these sections incredibly moving and heartfelt. I then was invested in knowing more about Dawn and how she got to where she was when we met her at the start of the book. I ended up very much enjoying this book and I would recommend it!

One by One by Ruth Ware

This novel follows a group of people who all work on the Snoop app (a music streaming service that allows you to listen to what someone else is listening to at the exact same time as them) as they arrive at their holiday chalet in Saint Antoine. The novel is narrated by Erin, who works at the chalet, and Liz, a former employee and now share-holder at Snoop. The group all seem to have strong personalities and it seemed from the start that there would be fireworks. No one predicted that there would be an avalanche that would isolate the group at the chalet with no means of contacting the outside world. And then a murder happens! I love a closed circle mystery and this one was a fun read. I did spot whodunnit very early on but it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the story as I wanted to know how and why! This was a good read on a cold winter’s day and I recommend it!

A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote

I started reading this short story collection around Christmas but then it languished part-read on my Kindle until I finally picked it back up recently. I do enjoy Capote’s writing but I did find this collection a mixed bag. There are six stories in the book – some entirely fiction and some autobiographical. I found that some stories were overly sentimental for me and I struggled to connect with them but I did enjoy a couple of the stories. I would say that while the stories are all set around Christmas that this could be read any time of year. I think I’m going to try re-reading this over Christmas at some point in the future as I think I might get more out of it on a second read.

The Disappearing Act by Florence de Changy

This is a fascinating and very well-researched non-fiction book looking at what might have happened to flight MH 370, which disappeared seemingly without trace in March 2014. The author is a journalist and she has closely followed the story from the very start. In the book we see that she has interviewed people from all walks of life – from the conspiracy theorists, to the politicians, to the eye witnesses and more to try and piece together what the most likely scenario is as to what happened to the plane. Some parts of this book felt a little bogged down in detail and I had to re-read sections to fully grasp them but other parts of the book had me completely engrossed and unable to put the book down. de Changy’s ultimate theories on what might have happened to the plane sound incredibly plausible and believable. It’s shocking that so many mistakes and mis-steps (and possible deliberate cover-ups) have meant the mystery of MH 370 might never be solved. This is a well written book and I recommend it.

WWW Wednesdays (24 Feb ’21)! What are you reading this week?

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!

Current Reads

The Last thing to Burn by Will Dean

I bought this book on a whim the other day after reading some amazing reviews and I started reading it right away. I’m really gripped by this at the moment and can’t wait to sit and read more.

The Twenty Seven Club by Lucy Nichol

This book is so good! I’m enjoying it more than I can say. This is such a fun, nostalgic look at Hull in the 90s through the eyes of Emma (an almost 27 year old) in the wake of Kurt Cobain’s death. I love this book so far and can’t wait to read more!

Recent Reads

Life’s What You Make It by Phillip Schofield

My husband bought me this book for my birthday last month and I finally read it over the weekend, and I very much enjoyed it. It’s one that fans of Phillip Schofield will love!

Bound by Vanda Symon

I love Sam Shepherd and this book was another fab instalment to the series. I’ll be reviewing this one for the blog tour next month but in the meantime I highly recommend it!

What I Might Read Next

The Girl in the Missing Poster by Barbara Copperthwaite

The Festivals by Sarah Vaughan

The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed

As is the norm for me these days I don’t know what, or even if, I’ll be reading this week but these three books are the ones that most appeal to me from my TBR as I write this post.

WWW Wednesdays (17 Feb ’21)! What are you reading this week?

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!

Current Reads

Life’s What You Make It by Phillip Schofield

I’ve only just started this book but I’m enjoying it so far. I just got this book for my birthday last month and have been so keen to read it so hopefully it keeps on being a good read!

Bound by Vanda Symon

I’m really enjoying this book. Sam Shepherd is my favourite fictional detective and I always love being back in her world. This book is really gripping and I’m intrigued to see what’s going to happen.

Recent Reads

The Arrangement by Robyn Harding

I’d been stalled on this book for a couple of weeks but I picked it back up on Monday night and finished it in one go. I was hooked reading the second part of this book and while I had my theories about what was going to happen, the novel still had surprises in store so I loved that.

The Disappearing Act by Florence de Changy

This is such a well-researched and fascinating look at the disappearance of Flight MH370. I had to read this a chapter at a time and to keep putting it down as it contains a lot of info but I’m really glad I read it and I recommend it.

I Survived by Victoria Cilliers

This is a memoir about a woman who almost died in a sky diving accident, only it turned out it wasn’t an accident but attempted murder. The book explores Victoria’s relationship with her husband and the effects of coercive control. This book was hard to read at times but I definitely recommend it.

What I Might Read Next

Perfect Tunes by Emily Gould

Kitty Genovese: A True Account of a Public Murder and its Private Consequences by Catherine Pelonero

The Split by Sharon Bolton

As is usual for me these days I don’t know what I’ll be reading next but these three books are the ones that most appealled when I was looking through my bookcase and Kindle this week!

Mini Book Reviews: Because of You | The Sight of You | When the Lights Go Out | After the Silence

Today I’m sharing another selection of mini reviews of books that I’ve read and enjoyed recently. This time the selection is all novels and I thoroughly enjoyed all four of them!

Because of You by Dawn French

This is the first novel that I’ve read by Dawn French but it definitely won’t be the last as I completely and utterly adored it. It follows two women who both give birth on the same day but only one woman gets to take her baby home. The novel then follows each of the two women, and the child as she grows up, and we see what their lives have been like. I found this book so engrossing and I wanted to devour it but also to read it so slowly as I didn’t want it to ever end. I still keep thinking of the characters and wondering how they are. This was an emotional and beautiful novel and one I already want to read again!

The Sight of You by Holly Miller

This is a beautiful and moving novel that follows Callie as she tries to find a way through the grief of losing her best friend, and Joel who can’t allow himself to fall in love. When they meet there is an instant connection but both are wary for their own reasons. It turns out that Joel has premonition dreams and he can’t bear to fall in love with someone and risk dreaming about what might happen to them. I really enjoyed following Joel and Callie and felt invested in their relationship. The novel is a tear jerker but it’s also life-affirming and I recommend it!

When the Lights Go Out by Carys Bray

I’m a huge fan of Carys Bray’s writing so this has been one of my eagerly anticipated reads and I’m so pleased to say that it more than lived up to my hopes for it. This book follows Emma and her husband Chris. Emma wants to live a simple, happy life but Chris is obsessed with climate change and stockpiling for the end of days. Emma tries to be patient but it’s driving her mad, and Chris just can’t see beyond his own fears for what he believes is coming for them. The couple can’t communicate well with each other anymore and the situation becomes more and more tense. There is a sense of foreboding running right through this novel and so I knew something was going to happen but the ending was shocking. This is a brilliant novel that explores what it is to be married to someone with different ideals to yourself, and what happens when the ability to see each other’s point of view is lost. I loved this book and I recommend it!

After the Silence by Louise O’Neill

I was so keen to read this book as I loved Louise’s earlier novel Almost Love and I’m pleased to say that this one was every bit as good. This is billed as a thriller but for me it’s more an exploration of people in small towns, and relationships and what lengths people will go to to hide the truth when something terrible happens. The novel follows a cast of characters as a crime podcast is being made about the murder of a teenage girl ten years earlier. We slowly find out about the possible suspects and how the islanders view each other, and the suspicions that linger. For me, the novel really shows what it is like to be controlled by someone who has more power than you. There is a moment near the end of the novel that sent shivers down my spine as it explained coercive control better than anything I’ve ever read before. This is an excellent novel and I highly recommend it.

WWW Wednesdays (3 Feb ’21)! What are you reading this week?

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!

Current Reads

The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult

I’ve read a couple more chapters of this book this week and I’m still not feeling hooked by it. I think I’m going to give it another few chapters to see if it grabs me by then.

One by One by Ruth Ware

This book got so good! I’m now gripped by this one and can’t wait to see what happens next!

The Arrangement by Robyn Harding

I haven’t read any more of this book this week but I was enjoying it so hope to get back to it very soon.

Recent Reads

Really Saying Something by Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward

I got this book for my birthday last week and had to read it right away! I’m so glad I did as I adored it, it was such an interesting and fun read. I loved it!

What I Might Read Next

Life’s What You Make It by Phillip Schofield

I got this book for my birthday and I’m so keen to read it so I plan on picking this one up next.

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam

I’ve had an ARC of this one from NetGalley for a while now and I really do want to get to this one soon so hopefully I will get to it this week.

Stacking the Shelves with my Birthday Book Haul (30 Jan ’21)!

It was my birthday this week and I had a really lovely day. We’re in lockdown in the UK so it was a stay at home birthday with just me and my husband but he made it such a nice day. I got some fabulous gifts (including a mix tape that he made for me of songs that were in the charts on the day I was born, which I love), and he cooked me a curry in the evening. We watched Joker and had an evening of music and wine, it couldn’t have been a nicer day.

It was weird having a lockdown birthday but it gave me time to reflect back over the last year. It’s now almost a whole year since I last went in a shop (the first week in February 2020) or anywhere at all in fact. I know it’s been an horrendous year for everyone but I was thinking back over my personal year and realised that I’ve actually achieved a lot over the year and I want to celebrate those achievements. I’ve lost over three stone since September, which I’m really proud about as I’ve been overweight for a long time and it’s nice to finally be doing something about it. I’ve still got weight to lose but I’m more than halfway to where I want to be. I’ve managed to come off some of my medication, it wasn’t easy but it was absolutely worth it and I’m glad I did it. I’ve discovered that between my husband and me we can cut my hair at home and make a decent job of it. He cut five inches off my hair and I cut myself a fringe in and a few layers at the front.

For my birthday I got lots of lovely presents, including some new clothes in my new size which is lovely. I was delighted to be given new books from my husband, my mum-in-law and my best friend and all were total surprises.

I’ve been wanting to get the Bananarama and Phillip Schofield memoirs so was thrilled with those and I think I’ll read one of those next. Push sounds so dark and so good and I’m keen to pick that up when I’ve finished my current reads. The Apollo book is a very heavy coffee table book full of stunning photos of the Apollo missions and I’m excited to sit and look through it. I’ve always been obsessed with space travel and the moon landings so this is a book to treasure. Pause for Thought is from my best friend and I’m looking forward to dipping in and out of this one. Finally I got Barack Obama‘s memoir from my Mum-in-law and I’m very happy to have a copy of this one. It’s a very big and heavy book but one I’m keen to read soon.

WWW Wednesdays (27 Jan ’21)! What are you reading this week?

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!

Current Reads

The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult

I have a NetGalley ARC of this but I also recently bought the Audible book so I could part listen to it. I’m glad I did as I was finding the book very slow and information heavy but the audio book is helping me stay focused on the story and what is happening. I’m only a few chapters into this one so too early to say if I’m enjoying it but I will definitely read more this week.

One by One by Ruth Ware

I’ve only read a little bit of this one since last week (it’s just been a bit of a week and I haven’t been reading much but I’m hopefully back on track now) but I am intrigued to know more about the group of work colleagues and what is going to happen to each of them whilst they’re trapped in a chalet!

The Arrangement by Robyn Harding

I’ve not read much more of this since last week either but I am keen to get back to it as I was enjoying this one. I’m keen to find out what is going to happen next!

Recent Reads

Because of You by Dawn French

I really, really enjoyed this book! I thought I was going to like it but I enjoyed it way more than I was expecting. It had me gripped from the beginning and I felt really invested in all of the characters. I was sad to finish this one as I wanted to stay with them all for a bit longer!

The Sight of You by Holly Miller

I enjoyed this book too, I felt a little more removed from the story than I expected too but I think that was me rather than the book. It’s such a beautiful and emotional read and it’s one that will stay with me. I’m keen to read whatever the author publishes next!

What I Might Read Next

Perimenopause Power by Maisie Hill

I got this one from NetGalley recently as it’s something I need to understand more about. I’d really like to read this one as soon as I can and am hoping it will be useful.

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

I love this author’s books but this one sounds a bit scary to me so I want to pick it up but I’m also hesitant to do so!

The Girl in the Missing Poster by Barbara Copperthwaite

I got this book from NetGalley recently after reading a post about the author’s journey to writing this book and being intrigued. I hope I can get to this one as it’s been calling to me from my Kindle!

WWW Wednesdays (20 Jan ’21)! What are you reading this week?

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!

Current Reads

The Sight of You by Holly Miller

I have an ARC of this book from NetGalley but I recently bought the audiobook in an Audible sale so I’m part listening and part reading to this one and I’m really enjoying it. I’m intrigued by the premise and am keen to listen to more to find out where this story is going. It feels like it might be a heartbreaker!

One by One by Ruth Ware

I started reading this one last night and I’m hooked! I love mystery books set in an isolated location where the murderer can only be one of the few people staying in the particular place. In this case the location is an isolated ski chalet where the group become trapped following an avalanche. It’s perfect for this time of year and I’m keen to get back to it.

The Arrangement by Robyn Harding

I picked this book off my Kindle on a whim and I’m really enjoying it. It’s fast-paced and gripping and I’m interested to see where this is going. The novel opens with a young woman calling her dad for help after she is arrested for murder and then it goes back to four months earlier and we get to see what leads up to the present day.

Because of You by Dawn French

I’ve had an ARC of this on my Kindle for a while now and I’m kicking myself because now I’ve started reading it I’m loving it. It’s one of those books that I want to keep reading to see how it’s going to end but I also don’t want to rush because I don’t want to finish it. This novel follows two women who both give birth on the same day but only one of them gets to take a baby home with her. We then see what happens in the years that follow.

Recent Reads

After the Silence by Louise O’Neill

This book wasn’t the thriller that I was expecting it to be but it was such a brilliant exploration of people and of the insidious way that one person exerts power and control over others. There is a moment towards the end of this book that gave me goosebumps and I can’t stop thinking about it.

Little White Lies by Philippa East

I borrowed the audio book of this one from the Borrowbox app and it was a good book to listen to. I didn’t love it as much as I thought I was going to but it did keep me hooked all the way to the end.

True Story by Kate Reed Petty

I finished this book a few days ago and I still aren’t sure how I feel about it. I think I need to let this one sit with me for a while before I attempt to write about it.

Fifty Fifty by Steve Cavanagh

This was one of those novels that is really hard to put down. We follow the case of two sisters who each blame the other for the murder of their father. I was racing to the end of this one to find out if I was right about whodunnit! I was a little disappointed with the way this novel ended but I did enjoy the time I spent reading the rest of it.

When the Lights Go Out by Carys Bray

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while as I’m a huge Carys Bray fan and I’m so pleased to say that this absolutely lived up to my expectations. I keep thinking about this one and wondering how the characters are doing now!

The Last Resort by Susi Holliday

This was an enjoyable, fast-paced thriller.

What I Might Read Next

The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult

The Hidden Girls by Rebecca Whitney

Intimations by Zadie Smith

WWW Wednesdays (13 Jan ’21)! What are you reading at the moment?

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!

Current Reads

The Last Resort by Susi Holliday

I’ve read and enjoyed Susi Holliday’s previous novel so was keen to get to her new one. This is a really intriguing novel where seven people who have never met before are taken to an island where they think they are on a luxury break but actually a tech company has other ideas. I’m so keen to find out what is going on in this book and so I’ll be reading more of this asap!

Fifty Fifty by Steve Cavanagh

This is another intriguing novel! Two sisters each dialled 911 to report their father had been brutally attacked and that the person who’d done it was their sister who had killed him. I’m so keen to know what actually happened and how this novel is going to end!

Recent Reads

Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez

This was a fascinating read all about the way the world is designed around men and male bodies. I found it anger-inducing but also very interesting reading about things like how cars are designed around males and how medication is based on trials on male bodies. I knew, or had an idea, of some of the things in this book but it was still eye-opening. I’m really glad I read this one.

Blood Moon by Lucy Cuthew

I bought this book and read it straight away, which I don’t do often enough these days. I really enjoyed this YA novel about a teenage girl who gets her period during her first sexual encounter and what happens after that. I loved the issues explored through this novel and how it looks at how girls can be made to feel shame about such a natural bodily process. I wish this book had existed when I was a teenager but I still very much enjoyed it as a 40-something!

The Island by C. L. Taylor

I was approved to listen to the audio book of this one via NetGalley and I enjoyed it. I love C. L. Taylor’s writing and this was a thrilling YA mystery set on an island where a group of teens have gone for a survivalist experience but what they get is more than they bargained for.

Your Blue is Not My Blue by Aspen Matis

This is such a different book that I would normally stick with but there was something so compelling about the writing and I just couldn’t put it down. I was intrigued by Matis’ life and to find out what would happen to her and her marriage. I really did enjoy this book and I would recommend it.

What I Might Read Next

After the Silence by Louise O’Neill

I’ve had this on my TBR for a little while now and I keep seeing good reviews for it so I’m really keen to pick it up. Hopefully I will get to it over the coming week.

Just Ignore Him by Alan Davies

My husband surprised me with this book for Christmas and I’ve really want to read it very soon so hopefully I can also get to this one this week.

Homecoming by Luan Goldie

I’ve got an ARC of this from NetGalley but I recently bought the audio book from Audible so I think I’m going to part listen and part read this one soon!

WWW Wednesdays (6 Jan 2021)! What are you reading this week?

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!

Current Reads

The Island by C. L. Taylor

I was approved to listen to this audiobook on NetGalley and I’m really enjoying it. I love C. L. Taylor’s writing anyway and this YA thriller is really engaging and exactly what I want to be listening to at the moment. It follows a group of teens who have arrived on an island for a survivalist holiday but very quickly things begin to go wrong leaving them all questioning who could be doing this to them and why!

My Blue is not Your Blue: A Missing Person Memoir by Aspen Matis

I can’t remember where I heard about this book but I found it on Kindle Unlimited this week so downloaded it and immediately started reading it. It’s a memoir of a young woman who meets her future husband while hiking in the wilderness. They fall in love and are happy together but one day he goes to the funeral of a friend and never returns. I’m finding myself gripped by this one even though the writing style isn’t something I’d normally go for. I’m keen to read more!

A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote

This is a short story collection that I got from NetGalley before Christmas but I only managed to read the first two stories so I would like to pick this back up and finish the collection this week. I really enjoyed the stories I’ve read so far so I’m looking forward to seeing what the others are like.

Recent Reads

Not the Type by Camilla Thurlow

I’ve only ever watched one series of Love Island and it was the one with Camilla. I was fairly indifferent to it but it gripped me enough to keep watching to the end. When I saw this book was out I was drawn to pick it up and I’m really glad I did. It’s about Camilla’s life working in landmine disposal for Halo and also her struggles with anxiety and low self-esteem. I found it to be a really honest book and I enjoyed Camilla’s writing.

The Push by Claire McGowan

I got this book from Kindle Unlimited and I’m so glad I picked it up. It was a case of right book at the right time and I found it really hard to put down. The novel follows six couples who meet at an antenatal group. The novel opens with the aftermath of a get together post the babies being born and someone has fallen to their death from a balcony. The novel then follows the characters and goes back and forth in time. I found it a compulsive read and I really enjoyed it.

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

My husband bought me this book for Christmas and I picked it up on New Year’s Day and I read the whole thing in one sitting. It’s a long time since I’ve done that so it shows how much I enjoyed the book. This novel follows a group of people in a retirement village and they try to solve unsolved murders at their club. Then one day someone they know is murdered and they are on the case. I loved everything about this book and can’t wait for the sequel to be out later this year!

What I Might Read Next

The Last Resort by Susi Holliday

I downloaded this book from Kindle Unlimited this week and am really keen to get to it so hopefully I can pick it up this week. I love Susi Holliday’s writing so I feel sure that I’m going to love this one!

Resistance: A Songwriter’s Story of Hope, Change and Courage by Tori Amos

I treated myself to this book recently as I’m a real fan of Tori Amos’ music and so as soon as I heard about this book I had to get it! It seems like it might be a good read for right now and I can’t wait to get to this one!

One by One by Ruth Ware

I was approved to read this from NetGalley a few months ago now but due to my dreaded reading slump I haven’t managed to start it as yet. Given that it’s set in wintery weather it seems like it might be a perfect January read so I hope to get to it this week!

My Favourite Non-Fiction Books 2020!

Yesterday I shared my favourite novels that I read in 2020 so today it’s time to share my favourite non-fiction books that I read last year. I didn’t read as much non-fiction in 2020 as I normally do but then I didn’t read as much in general either.

Anyway, in no particular order, here are my favourite non-fiction books read in 2020!

Wham, George Michael and Me by Andrew Ridgeley

Truth, Lies and O-Rings by Allan J. McDonald

Notes to Self by Emilie Pine

Gone Fishing by Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse

The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 by Garratt M. Graff

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

Black and British: A Forgotten History by David Olusoga

Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham

Unfollow by Megan Phelps-Roper

A Year of Living Simply by Kate Humble

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

Dear Reader by Cathy Rentzenbrink

In Black and White by Alexandra Wilson

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

Let’s Do It by Jasper Rees

So there we have it, my top non-fiction reads of last year! I didn’t read as much non-fiction as I normally do but of the ones I read there were some incredible books.

What was you favourite non-fiction book that you read last year? I’d love to know! 🙂

My Favourite Novels of 2020!

Today I’m sharing my favourite novels that I read in 2020! This has been such a strange year and books have at times given me solace and escape but then at other times (such as the last three months) I’ve barely been able to read anything at all. It means my favourite books of the year really are stand out books that have kept me sane this year. In the end I read 215 books over the course of 2020 and these are my standouts from the year!

So, in no particular order, here goes..

It’s a Wonderful Night by Jaimie Admans

Wild Spinning Girls by Carol Lovekin

The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman

One Split Second by Caroline Bond

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel

The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper

Little Disasters by Sarah Vaughan

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

Heatstroke by Hazel Barkworth

Evening Primrose my Kopana Matlwa

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves

Be Careful What You Swipe For by Jemma Forte

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

The Mating Habits of Stags by Ray Robinson

The Confession by Jessie Burton

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

Summerwater by Sarah Moss

The Life We Almost Had by Amelia Henley

The Lost Love Song by Minnie Darke

Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard

Once Again by Catherine Wallace Hope

Keeper by Jessica Moor

So there you have it… my favourite novels of 2020! I will also be doing my top non-fiction books of 2020 soon too but that will be a shorter list as I’ve read fewer non-fiction books over the last year.

What was your best book of 2020? I’d love to know. 🙂

Reading Bingo 2020!

It’s Reading Bingo time again! Every year I join in with this I don’t look at the board until the very end of the year and I fill in the squares based on what I’ve read so I don’t plan my reading in order to complete it. This year has been a very up and down year of reading so I didn’t have much hope of getting a full house on my bingo board. Read on to find out how I did…

A book with more than 500 pages

Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman (with a whopping 1032 pages)!

A forgotten classic

The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie (which I know is a total cheat as it’s not a forgotten book but this is one of only two classics that I read this year and this one is the less well-known of the two).

A book that became a movie

Agatha Raisin and the Haunted House by M. C. Beaton. It became a TV series, which is the best I can do!

A book that was published this year

The Life We almost Had by Amelia Henley

A book with a number in the title

Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi

A book written by someone under 30

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

A book with non-human characters

Picky Eaters by S. J. Higbee

A funny book

Gone Fishing: Life, Death and the Thrill of the Catch by Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse

A book by a female author

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

A book with a mystery

The Holdout by Graham Moore

A book with a one-word title

Mine by Clare Empson

A book of short stories

Christmas with Dull People by Saki

Free square

The Mating Habits of Stags by Ray Robinson

A book set on a different continent

Evening Primrose by Kopano Matlwa

A book of non-fiction

Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham

The first book by a favourite author

The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy

A book you heard about online

The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale

A best-selling book

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

A book based on a true story

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell (it’s very loosely based on the author’s own experience when she was a teenager)

A book at the bottom of your to be read pile

You and Me, Always by Jill Mansell (it was on my TBR for five years!)

A book your friend loves

How To Disappear by Gillian McAllister

A book that scares you

The Murders at White House Farm by Carol Ann Lee

A book that is more than 10 years old

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

The second book in a series

dead wrong noelle holten

Dead Wrong by Noelle Holten

A book with a blue cover

Strangers by C. L. Taylor

Well, if you’ll allow me the couple of cheats then I got a full house but really I know I cheated a bit so I think I probably failed this year but that’s okay! This has been such a strange year and my reading has been affected all the way through so I’m just happy to have read some really enjoyable books throughout the year!

Festive Mini Book Reviews! #Christmas

Today I’m sharing some mini book reviews of books that I’ve managed to read over the last few weeks. These ones are all quite festive or set at Christmas!

All About Us by Tom Ellen

This book is stunning and I very much enjoyed this one. I had an ARC from NetGalley but I bought the Audio book from Audible so I could listen to it. The novel is a retelling of A Christmas Carol and it really is a brilliant story. Ben is unhappy in his marriage and as Christmas is approaching he’s thinking about an old flame and what could have been. The novel then follows Ben as he gets thrown back to the past numerous times and discovers that his memories of how things happened were perhaps skewed or even inaccurate and while what he learns won’t change the future he can change himself and his approach to life. I adored this book, it kept me engrossed at a time when reading has been a struggle and I’m sure I’ll revisit it again in the future. I definitely recommend this one!

If Every Day Was Christmas by Donna Ashcroft

This is a lovely, warm-hearted novel that follows Meg who runs a Christmas shop in the Scottish village of Lockton and she loves the festive period. This year things begin to go awry as she deals with family dramas, and she finds herself drawn to a new man. I loved that there was a focus on a budding romance but also on the friendships between women in the village. I also really liked that no one knew who Tom was or what he had done for a living before he arrived in Lockton. It made for a fun read wondering when people would find out and how they would react! I did enjoy this novel, it was really cute and romantic and I would recommend it.

Tinsel by Sibeal Pounder

This is a really sweet middle grade novel about Blanche Claus and the idea that the story we all know about Santa is wrong! I found this such a lovely, escapist read and really enjoyed it. I would have adored this book when I was younger, it’s always fun to read an alternative origin story for Father Christmas and this one has lots of magic, adventures and twists and I would recommend it to anyone who has young children.

A Surprise Christmas Wedding by Phillipa Ashley

I got an audio version of this book from NetGalley and I really enjoyed listening to it. It follows Lottie who is working at Firholme, her dream job in the Lake District. One day she finds she has a last minute Christmas wedding to organise and the groom turns out to be the man who broke her heart! This is a lovely, feel-good read that I really enjoyed listening to over a couple of weeks. The setting is beautiful and the characters are well-rounded and believable. The audio narration by Laura Kirman really added to my enjoyment and I will look out for more books narrated by her in the future. I definitely recommend this one!

Christmas at Fireside Cabins by Jenny Hale

I’ve read and enjoyed other festive novels by this author so I was delighted when I was approved to read this one on NetGalley a few weeks ago. This novel follows Lila who struggles with Christmas ever since her Dad died but she has made a new family in her group of friends and every year they celebrate the festive season together. This year might be the last time as they’re all moving on with careers or relationships so it needs to be a good one. They end up at Fireside Cabins which is more dilapidated than advertised but they decide to stay as the owner is such a lovely lady. Lila finds herself attracted to the sullen coffee shop owner but he’s clearly troubled. I loved seeing how this group of friends got on and seeing how things developed. I really cared about Eleanor, the owner of the Cabins and was rooting for her to be okay. I recommend this one too!

Christmas 2020 Book Haul!

Gosh, it’s been a little while since I last blogged! My reading slump has really lingered and I’ve barely been reading anything so I’ve not felt I had anything to blog about. I did get some lovely new books and bookish things for Christmas though and I’m already read one of those books and have started another so it feels like I might be starting to come out of this horrible slump at long last (fingers crossed)!

Book Haul

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

Just Ignore Him by Alan Davies

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy

How to be Safe by Tom McAllister

Pages and Co: Tilly and the Map of Stories by Anna James

Bookish Gifts

A gorgeous Yoshi handbag, which I love!

And this fabulous Yoshi purse, which is in my favourite colour and has my favourite book on it (Fahrenheit 451)!

My husband also surprised me with an iPad Mini!

My iPad bit the dust a few months ago but I couldn’t justify buying a new one so it was amazing to be surprised with a new one at Christmas. I mostly read on my Kindle but I sometimes read in iBooks so it’s good to have the bigger screen than on my phone, plus the NetGalley app works with this iPad (my old one was too old) and I can read blogs on it too.

How was your Christmas? I hope you and your family are safe and well. My husband and I had Christmas at home on our own having taken the decision that with me being vulnerable that it wasn’t worth the risk of seeing anyone. We had a lovely relaxing day filled with music (I bought him quite a few new records for Christmas) and books. He also had Boxing day off, which is the first time ever so that made it special that we had more than one day together over the festive season.

That Was The Month That Was… September 2020!

I can’t believe it’s already October! Time has been so strange this year as it’s been both very slow and yet has flown by.

My reading mojo is still not really there. I have read quite a few books this month but a lot of them were either books that I’d part read the month before or they were audio books. I enjoy books when I’m reading but I don’t feel inclined to pick books up, even when it’s something I’ve started and was enjoying.

My blogging mojo is flagging a bit too at the moment. I’m struggling with typing and it’s harder to use my dictation software with the new WordPress so that’s not helping. I must apologise for not replying to all of your lovely comments in anything like a timely manner. Also, for not commenting on your blogs. I hope I can get back into the groove of it very soon.

September was a good month in other ways though. My healthy eating is going well and I’m definitely forming much better habits. I’m even eating breakfast every day (for the first time in my adult life!). Over the last few weeks I’ve lost over a stone and given that I can’t really exercise due to the nature of my disability I’m feeling quite proud of myself.

My husband is now off furlough and is working from home for the time being. It’s meant we’ve finally found a proper purpose for our spare room and it’s looking really good as an office. Today the picture frames we ordered arrived so we’ll finally be able to frame our music posters from various Isle of Wight festivals we’ve been to and when we saw Kate Bush. It’s only taken us 6 or 7 years to get around to this but better late than never!

The Books I Read

My September Blog Posts

That Was The Month That Was… August 2020!

WWW Wednesdays (2 Sep)

My 20 Books of Summer Wrap-Up

Book Haul (5 Sep)

WWW Wednesdays (9 Sep)

Mini Book Reviews of Three by D. A Mishani, Dead To Her by Sarah Pinborough, The Storm by Amanda Jennings, and Here is the Beehive by Sarah Crossan

WWW Wednesdays (16 Sep)

Review of A Year of Living Simply by Kate Humble

WWW Wednesdays (23 Sep)

Review of In Black and White by Alexandra Wilson

Review of The Stolen Sisters by Louise Jensen

WWW Wednesdays (30 Sep)

How was September for you? I hope you and your loved ones are safe and well and that the month has been okay. What was your favourite book from September? I’d love to know what you’ve been reading so please comment below. 

WWW Wednesdays (9 Sep 20)! What are you reading at the moment?

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!

Current Reads

I’m trying out reading one book at a time at the moment. I like being in the middle of lots of books but my brain just isn’t up for that right now so I’m hoping reading one at once will help. It feels very strange!

Dead To Her by Sarah Pinborough

Recent Reads

I really focused my mind on finishing off the numerous books that I’ve had part-read for a while now so I managed to do that. My husband is now no longer on furlough and is working from home so I’m listening to more audiobooks during the day, which is helping me read more. I’m still struggling to read ebooks but am enjoying listening to books.

Dear Reader by Cathy Rentzenbrink

Watch Over You by M. J. Ford

Precious You by Helen Monks Takhar

The Storm by Amanda Jennings

Here is the Beehive by Sarah Crossan

Spring by Ali Smith

The Upstairs Room by Kate Murray-Browne

What I Might Read Next

I don’t know what I’ll read next as I’m still reading by whim but I know that audiobooks are better for me at the moment so I’ve picked three audiobooks this week that are catching my eye the most, and then one ebook (The Turn of the Key) that I can read at night.

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

I Thought I Knew You by Penny Hancock

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

Writers and Lovers by Lily King

My 20 Books of Summer Wrap-Up!

I can’t believe the 20 Books of Summer reading challenge (run by Cathy at 746 Books) is over already! This summer seems to have flown by even though I’ve spent the entirety of it in my home.

So I set myself a very rigid list of 20 physical books that I wanted to read this summer. (The rules for this challenge are very flexible but I wanted to make myself read a particular set of books). Unfortunately my disability flared up and I’m back to struggling to hold physical books so my 20 books of summer plan stalled a few weeks ago now. I did manage to read 12 of the books on my list before then (and I’m halfway through a 13th) and I’m really happy with what I managed to read. Also, one of the 12 that I read was the humongous Ducks, Newburyport (which at over a thousand pages could count as three novels!).

I did also read a lot of books on my Kindle and I listened to quite a few audiobooks so I did plenty of reading over the summer, I just didn’t manage to read what I planned on.

Here are the books that I managed to read this summer (from my original list).

I enjoyed all twelve of the books that I read but I think my favourite has to be Ducks, Newburyport. Once I got to grips with the way it’s written I just wanted to devour it, it really is an incredible novel and one I keep finding myself thinking about.

Did you take part in the 20 Books of Summer challenge? How did you get on? I hope you enjoyed all that you read over the summer, and here’s to an autumn full of fabulous books! 🙂

WWW Wednesdays (2 Sep 20)! What are you reading this week?

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!

Current Reads

These are the four books that I’m currently reading. All of them are excellent but I’m really intrigued by The Upstairs Room at the moment so that is my main read.

Spring by Ali Smith

The Upstairs Room by Kate Murray-Browne

Here Is The Beehive by Sarah Crossan

Dear Reader by Cathy Rentzenbrink

Recent Reads

I really enjoyed all four of these books this week. I think Three was my favourite as it just went in a direction that I wasn’t expecting and completely shocked me. I also loved Long Bright River, I’m so pleased I finally got to read it.

Three by D. A. Mishani

Long Bright River by Liz Moore

Grace is Gone by Emily Elgar

My Friend Anna by Rachel DeLoache Williams

What I Might Read Next

I’m still not reading as much as I normally do, I just don’t feel motivated to pick a book up. Once I’m reading I do enjoy it though so I’m hoping this feeling passes soon. The books that most appeal to me at the moment are these four so hopefully I’ll get to read them this week. 🙂

The Storm by Amanda Jennings

In Black and White by Alexandra Wilson

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi

Writers and Lovers by Lily King

That Was The Month That Was… August 2020!

I really can’t get my head around the fact that it is September already, where has this year gone?! There have been weeks and months (particularly at the start of lockdown) that dragged by and yet the year itself has flown by.

August was spent much the same as July really. We watched the rest of the football season, we binge watched some more series (the new Dirty John about Betty Broderick on Netflix and The Looming Tower which has been on our SkyQ box since it aired early last year.

I did finally take my first trip out into the world for the first time in almost six months last week. My husband took me for a short drive around where we live. It still feels scary to me to be out and about after six months of shielding but it was good to make that first step into the outside world.

I’m struggling with my reading again at the moment. I’m enjoying what I’m reading and I want to be reading but I keep finding other things to do instead. I’m just going with it for now and reading by whim and hoping to avoid another reading slump.

I read 18 books in August, which is less than I had been reading but is still a lot of books.

The Books I read

My August Blog Posts

Book Haul (1 Aug)

July Wrap-Up

WWW Wednesdays (5 Aug)

Review: The Summer of Madness by Alexander Raphael

Book Haul (8 Aug)

Review: The Lost Love Song by Minnie Darke

Audiobook Review: All My Lies Are True by Dorothy Koomson

WWW Wednesdays (12 Aug)

Audiobook Review: Under a Starry Sky by Laura Kemp

Review: Summerwater by Sarah Moss

Book Haul (15 Aug)

Mini Book Reviews: The Holdout by Graham Moore, The Night Swim by Megan Goldin, The New Girl by Harriet Walker, & Where We Belong by Anstey Harris

WWW Wednesdays (19 Aug)

Book Haul (22 Aug)

Review: Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi

WWW Wednesdays (26 Aug)

Book Haul (29 Aug)

How was August for you? I hope you and your loved ones are safe and well and that the month has been okay. What was your favourite book from August? I’d love to know what you’ve been reading so please comment below. 

WWW Wednesdays (26 Aug 20)! What are you reading this week?

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!

Current Reads

My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake Heiress by Rachel DeLoache Williams

I started reading this book yesterday and I’m just gobsmacked at this real life story. It’s written by Rachel who became friends with Anna and was completely taken advantage of. I’m only a couple of chapters in so I don’t know much about the story as yet but just the opening chapter had me stunned at the situation Rachel ended up in. I can’t wait to read more.

Grace is Gone by Emily Elgar

I bought this book earlier this year and have been so keen to read it. I finally picked it up yesterday and I’m so intrigued. A woman has been found murdered in her bed and her severely disabled teenage daughter is missing. Their neighbour’s daughter Cara found Meg’s body and now we’re following her perspective and that of a disgraced journalist Jon. I’m so keen to so where this book is going (I have my suspicions and have avoided all reviews so as not to get spoiled on what happens) and can’t wait to read more!

Dear Reader by Cathy Rentzenbrink

I’m still really enjoying this one. It’s a book where the author is relating her life story through the medium of books she has loved over the years. It’s a wonderful read, one that feels very nostalgic and sooting. I’m deliberately reading this one slowly as it feels like such a relaxing treat to pick it up.

Recent Reads

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

I keep hearing about this book so when I was looking for some easy, escapist reading at the weekend I picked it up. I read the whole thing in one sitting and really enjoyed it. It was exactly what I needed at the time. It follows Pippa, a studious teenager who for a school assignment decides to look into a murder that happened in her community five years ago. A teenage girl was murdered and her boyfriend was prime suspect but when he died by suicide the police closed the case. The novel does require some suspension of disbelief but it’s still such a good read.

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

I listened to the audiobook of this over a few days and I very much enjoyed it. It’s a fictionalised version of Hillary Clinton’s life and it imagines what might have happened had she not married Bill. I did find some of the book a bit icky (the sex scenes…) but for the most part I loved this book. It was easy to see how much of this novel could have happened were some decisions made differently. I recommend it!

No Win Race by Derek A. Bardowell

This is an excellent novel about the author’s own experiences of racism along with a wider look at society through the lens of sport. He raises some really important points about what it is to be British and black, and how society never quite sees him as fully British. He looks at various sports (boxing, basketball, Formula 1 and football) and how black sports men and women are treated. I’m still thinking about this book but once I’ve got my thoughts together I will write a review.

Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi

I really enjoyed this novel! It follows Julia (an editor) as she meets Grant (a mathematician and author) with a view to re-publishing his short story collection. The novel features all the stories in this collection and a discussion between Julia and Grant about them. I loved the stories, they’re all set in the 1930s and are very Christie-esque. There are layers of mystery in this novel and lots of shocks in store. I’ve already reviewed this one so you can find that here if you’d like to know more.

What I Might Read Next

I’ve been in a strange mood this week, I’ve still been reading and I’ve still been enjoying reading but I’m not drawn to picking up books as much as I want to. I’m hoping I’m not heading for another reading slump. In an attempt to ward it off I’m reading entirely by whim at the moment and the three books below are the ones that are really calling to me. I hope to read them in the coming days! 🙂

Here is the Beehive by Sarah Crossan

Tilly and the Lost Fairytales by Anna James

Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls

Stacking the Shelves with a new Book Haul (22 Aug 20)!

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week!

Purchased Books

All the Rage by Paul Magrs

I actually bought this book a few weeks ago (after reading a fabulous review on Liz’s blog) but put it straight onto my bookcase and forgot all about mentioning it in my book haul post. I’m struggling to hold physical books at the moment but as soon as my hands feel stronger I will be picking this one up!

It’s 1981, and the nation is going Eurovision-crazy. A young band, Things Fall Apart, are British hopefuls with their catchy hit, Let’s Be Famous. Europe is unimpressed. But the band won’t let go of their dream, and they persevere to become one of the most famous boy-girl pop acts of the eighties. And during their glory days they sample the cultural highlights of the decade. Living and working together constantly it’s little wonder that love soon blossoms in the band; nor that the cracks between them eventually begin to show. From their innocent early days to their ugly last fight, this is the story of a pop group – warts and all. Hugely funny and immensely readable, All The Rage is a fantastic novel encompassing the best (and the worst) of the decade that taste forgot. Amidst the sequinned boob tubes and spangly jump suits is a touching story about dreams, disappointments, and the highs and lows of fame.

Review Books

Three by D. A. Mishani

I requested this book from NetGalley as soon as they started having audiobooks on there. I’d never heard of it before but the premise really intrigued me. I think this will be my next audio book (once I’ve finished Rodham!).

An abandoned woman searching for love, a deeply religious immigrant caretaker, a disillusioned researcher trapped in her marriage. Three women whose lives seem as far apart as possible, united by a common secret. When Orna meets Gil on an online dating site, their lackluster affair seems like nothing more than a way to stave off the pain of her recent divorce. But soon it becomes clear that Gil may not be exactly who he claims to be. And Orna’s own lies may be weaving an unexpected trap for her. Set against the turbulent backdrop of the gritty Holon neighborhood in Tel Aviv, this enigmatic and intelligent novel is in fact an intricate puzzle. Mishani’s first standalone book explores Israel’s forgotten margins, unearthing complicated layers, conflicts, and prejudices. At turns shocking, deceptive, and subversive, Three is a slow burning psychological thriller from one of Israel’s most beloved writers. 

Purchased AudioBooks

Audible had a recent 2 for 1 sale on their website and the following books were all on my wish list so I snapped them up!

Happiness by Aminatta Forna

London. A fox makes its way across Waterloo Bridge. The distraction causes two pedestrians to collide–Jean, an American studying the habits of urban foxes, and Attila, a Ghanaian psychiatrist there to deliver a keynote speech. From this chance encounter, Aminatta Forna’s unerring powers of observation show how in the midst of the rush of a great city lie numerous moments of connection. Attila has arrived in London with two tasks: to deliver a keynote speech on trauma, as he has done many times before; and to contact the daughter of friends, his “niece” who hasn’t called home in a while. Ama has been swept up in an immigration crackdown, and now her young son Tano is missing. When, by chance, Attila runs into Jean again, she mobilizes the network of rubbish men she uses as volunteer fox spotters. Security guards, hotel doormen, traffic wardens–mainly West African immigrants who work the myriad streets of London–come together to help. As the search for Tano continues, a deepening friendship between Attila and Jean unfolds. Meanwhile a consulting case causes Attila to question the impact of his own ideas on trauma, the values of the society he finds himself in, and a grief of his own. In this delicate tale of love and loss, of cruelty and kindness, Forna asks us to consider the interconnectedness of lives, our co-existence with one another and all living creatures, and the true nature of happiness. 

James Baldwin: A Biography by David Leeming

James Baldwin was one of the great writers of the last century. In works that have become part of the American canon—Go Tell It on a Mountain, Giovanni’s Room, Another Country, The Fire Next Time, and The Evidence of Things Not Seen—he explored issues of race and racism in America, class distinction, and sexual difference. A gay, African American writer who was born in Harlem, he found the freedom to express himself living in exile in Paris. When he returned to America to cover the Civil Rights movement, he became an activist and controversial spokesman for the movement, writing books that became bestsellers and made him a celebrity, landing him on the cover of Time. In this biography, which Library Journal called “indispensable,” David Leeming creates an intimate portrait of a complex, troubled, driven, and brilliant man. He plumbs every aspect of Baldwin’s life: his relationships with the unknown and the famous, including painter Beauford Delaney, Richard Wright, Lorraine Hansberry, Marlon Brando, Harry Belafonte, Lena Horne, and childhood friend Richard Avedon; his expatriate years in France and Turkey; his gift for compassion and love; the public pressures that overwhelmed his quest for happiness, and his passionate battle for black identity, racial justice, and to “end the racial nightmare and achieve our country.”

Friday on My Mind by Nicci French

I haven’t started Nicci French’s Frieda Klein series yet but have most of them on my TBR so couldn’t resist grabbing another two. I plan on starting this series soon, I feel sure I’m going to love it!

When a bloated corpse is found floating in the River Thames the police can at least sure that identifying the victim will be straightforward. Around the dead man’s wrist is a hospital band. On it are the words Dr F. Klein. But psychotherapist Frieda Klein is very much alive. And, after evidence linking her to the murder is discovered, she becomes the prime suspect. Unable to convince the police of her innocence, Frieda is forced to make a bold decision in order to piece together the terrible truth before it’s too late either for her or for those she loves.

The Day of the Dead by Nicci French

At long last, a final reckoning is coming for Frieda Klein… On a north London high street, a runaway vehicle crashes to a halt. The man in the driving seat was murdered a week earlier. On Hampstead Heath, a bonfire blazes: in the flames lies the next victim. As autumn leaves fall, a serial killer runs amok in the capital, playing games with the police. The death toll is rising fast, and the investigation is floundering. But this is no ordinary killer, and every new victim is intended as a message to just one woman. Because psychologist Frieda Klein is in hiding. And someone is coming to find her . . . After seven stunning novels, Frieda Klein’s duel with her dark nemesis finally comes to a climax – and only one can make it out alive.

Have you acquired any new books this week? I’d love to know what you got. Or have you read any of my new books and recommend I get to any of them sooner rather than later? If you’ve shared a book haul post this week then please feel free to share you link below and I’ll make sure to visit your post! 🙂

Mini Book Reviews: The Night Swim | The Holdout | The New Girl | Where We Belong

The Night Swim by Megan Goldin

I previously read The Escape Room and enjoyed it so was keen to read the author’s new novel. This one follows Rachel who makes a true crime podcast, and her new season is following a rape trial in the town of Neapolis. We see Rachel’s investigation and also snippets of her podcast, which I enjoyed. Alongside this Rachel is getting letters from a young woman called Hannah, who wants Rachel to investigate the murder of her older sister 25 years ago. This book was one I enjoyed but I did find that the first half was more engrossing and intriguing to me. I saw where the book was going from halfway and I was so hoping for a twist and there wasn’t one. I would still recommend this one because it did keep me reading. I enjoyed following Hannah’s story and I would love to read more featuring Rachel and her podcast!

The Holdout by Graham Moore