WWW Wednesdays (26 Jan ’22)! 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

I started Idol by Louise O’Neill yesterday afternoon and have been struggling to put it down ever since. It grabbed me from the first chapter and I really want to know where the story is going to go!

I also started reading When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole and am intrigued by this one. I’m enjoying all the dynamics between the neighbours and am keen to see what is happening.

Recent Reads

The first book I finished since my last WWW post was The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett and I absolutely loved it. I found it gripping and intriguing and even when I thought I had it figured out there was still more surprises in store!

I also finished listening to Girl in the Dark by Anna Lyndsey. I found parts of this book fascinating and parts of it a bit self-indulgent at times. It was a 3 star read for me.

I started and finished the audiobook of My Mess is a Bit of a Life by Georgia Pritchett and I adored this one. It really shows what it is like to live with anxiety and I connected with quite a lot of it.

I read Tall Bones by Anna Bailey and also loved this one. It was very atmospheric and brutal at times but the writing is beautiful.

Yesterday I read Reputation by Sarah Vaughan all in one sitting – it had me hooked from start to finish and it feels like a book that will stay with me. I recommend it!

I’m reading my way through my NetGalley shelf at the moment so the next three from there that are calling to me are A Tidy Ending by Joanna Cannon, The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley and The Curfew by TM Logan.

What are you reading at the moment? I’d love to know 🙂

WWW Wednesdays (19 Jan ’22)! 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

I only started reading The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett last night so am only a short way into it but I’m definitely intrigued and am keen to read more.

I’m really gripped by Tall Bones by Anna Bailey, a book I’ve been anticipating for a while so I’m glad it’s as good as I’d hoped.

I’m also part-reading and part-listening to Girl in the Dark by Anna Lyndsey and I’m not sure what I make of this one so far but I’m going to continue reading it for a bit longer to see where it goes.

Recent Reads

The first book I finished this week was my audiobook of The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama and I found it an okay book. I didn’t enjoy it as much as his first book but it was engaging enough and I’m keen to move on to his new memoir soon.

I also finished reading And Away by Bob Mortimer and I completely and utterly adored this one! It was such a brilliant read and I can see me reading it again in the future.

I then read a thriller – The Weekend Away by Sarah Alderson and found it so engrossing, I read it all in pretty much one sitting!

I’ve had The Finding of Martha Lost by Caroline Wallace on my TBR for nearly six years and I’m kicking myself for leaving it so long because I loved this novel. It’s beautiful and heartwarming and I already want to read it again!

I also finished reading Fingersmith by Sarah Waters and I loved this one too. I was hooked all the way through and all the unexpected twists and turns kept me on my toes.

The last book I read this week was a NetGalley Arc – The Truth About Her by Jacqueline Maley and I quite enjoyed it. It was different to what I was expecting it to be but still a good read.

I don’t know what I’ll be reading next but the books I’m most in the mood to read at the moment are When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole and The Other Black Girl by Zaklya Dalila Harris from my TBR. And also Reputation by Sarah Vaughan from my NetGalley shelf.

What are you reading at the moment? I’d love to know 🙂

WWW Wednesdays (12 Jan ’22)! 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

I started reading And Away by Bob Mortimer yesterday and I am loving it every bit as much as I thought I was going to.

I also started reading Fingersmith by Sarah Waters a couple of days ago on my Kindle. I’ve had this book on my TBR for about six years but I was saving it for the right time. Anyway, I’m trying this year to read the books I know I’m going to love now instead of saving them so I’m happy to finally be reading this one.

My current audiobook The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama and I’m finding this one really interesting so far. This has also been on my TBR for a long time but I wanted to get to it as I got his new memoir for my birthday almost a year ago and I really want to get to that one soon.

Recent Reads

I finished reading The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse and really enjoyed this one. Some of it was predictable but I didn’t mind because I loved the atmospheric, creepy setting. I can’t wait to read the author’s forthcoming second book now!

I also read Skin Deep by Liz Nugent this week and enjoyed this one too. I part listened on audio and part read it and found it such an engaging read that kept me on my toes throughout!

I loved reading The Couple at the Table by Sophie Hannah, it was such a gripping novel and my brain was working away trying to work out whodunnit and how. The ending was satisfying and I’m so glad I read this one.

I also finished reading I Wanna Be Yours by John Cooper Clarke and I very much enjoyed this one. I’m so happy that my husband got me this for Christmas and it was definitely a successful surprise gift!

I listened to I Know What You’ve Done by Dorothy Koomson on Audible and thought it was so good! I found it really hard to stop listening to this one and was always keen to get back to it.

I also listened to The Secret Midwife by Katy Weitz and Philippa George and found it such an interesting book. It made me angry and it made me sad but it was also a lovely read too.

I’m very much mood reading at the moment and so want to continue to do that so the books that are jumping out to me the most from my TBR stack are The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett and The Truth About Her by Jacqueline Maley from my NetGalley shelf, and Tall Bones by Anna Bailey, which I bought recently and am keen to get to.

What are you reading at the moment? I’d love to know 🙂

WWW Wednesdays (5 Jan ’22)! 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

I started reading I Wanna Be Yours by John Cooper Clarke, which I got for Christmas and I love it. It’s such a pleasure to read and I feel like I can hear Clarke’s voice as I’m reading it.

I also started reading The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse on my Kindle and am engrossed in it. I love how atmospheric it is, and creepy at times.

Recent Reads

I always seem to hit my reading groove at the start of a new year and 2022 has been no different. I’ve finished off some books that I was almost at the end of in my last post, and then I’ve been in a real reading mood the last few days so have been getting through my books.

My plan to read my backlog books in 2022 is going well – my most recently finished book was How You See Me by S. E. Craythorne which had been on my TBR for 6.5 years. I ended up reading it all in one sitting and it was such an engrossing and brilliant read.

I also read Other Parents by Sarah Stovell from my NetGalley shelf, which is from last year too. I enjoyed this one.

Another book from my TBR backlog was Animal by Sara Pascoe and I very much enjoyed it. It had more depth than I was expecting and made me think. I recommend it.

I only had a couple of chapters left of A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg and so finished that this week. It was a sentimental, old-fashioned novel but it was perfect for the time of year and I really liked it.

I also only had a few more pages of The Christmas Chronicles by Nigel Slater to read so decided to finish it so that I can put it away with the Christmas decorations this week. I love re-reading this each festive period, it’s such a beautiful book.

Happy Fat by Sofie Hagen was also on my TBR backlog and I’m sorry to say I didn’t really enjoy this one. It’s strange because I bought it when I was a lot heavier and I wonder if I’d have felt differently if I’d read it then, I suspect that I would have done. But now I see how much better life can be when you stop medicating emotional pain with food and so this book just annoyed me for the most part.

My first read of 2022 was The Storyteller by Dave Grohl and I adored it! I love Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters so this was a perfect read and I loved every second that I spent reading it.

The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont and The Couple at the Table by Sophie Hannah are both on my NetGalley shelf and as they’re due to be published this month I’d like to read and review them soon so hope to read them this week. I’d also like to get to Significance by Jo Mazelis as this keeps catching my eye and has been on my Kindle for years now.

What are you reading at the moment? I’d love to know 🙂

My 2021 Reading Stats!

Happy New Year! Over the last few days I’ve shared my favourite novels read in 2021, my favourite non-fiction read in 2021, and my Reading Bingo posts so today it’s time for my reading statistics post! I love going through my Goodreads, Storygraph and my spreadsheet to see the patterns in my reading and I hope you enjoy reading this post.

2021 was a much better reading year for me than 2021 and I found that my books gave me the escapism and solace that I needed from them.

I’m really happy that I read 265 books in 2021. I feel like this is a normal pace of reading for me so it was good to have something that felt normal in a world that still feels upside down.

The longest book I read in 2021 was The Romanovs at 784 pages and it was such a fascinating read, I’m so glad that I finally picked it up. My shortest read was my annual re-read of The Night Before Christmas with just 32 pages.

This chart is the breakdown of genres that I’ve read in 2021. It doesn’t surprise me that general fiction and thrillers make up the biggest chunks on the chart as I mostly read for escapism and I am happy that I found books that provided me with that when reality has been so stressful at times. I’m sad that, like last year, I didn’t read as much non-fiction as I usually do. When you add non-fiction, memoir and true crime together they make up around a quarter of my reading, which isn’t bad but I would have liked it to have been more like a third or even half. I hope to rectify this in 2022 but I’m not going to pressure myself as just reading at all is the important thing for me.

I don’t ever choose books by the gender of the author but every year I read more books by women than men, and the percentage always seems to fall around three quarters. I’m happy with this stat.

This chart is no real surprise to me as I pick my Kindle up way more than a print book these days. I have problems with my vision in one eye so being able to change the size of the font and the colour of the screen is vital to me. Also being disabled a Kindle is so much easier to hold than a book. I am surprised that the percentage of audio books isn’t higher as I feel like I listen to a lot of audio books but I think I maybe listen to longer books on audio and so they take longer to get through.

This chart shows how I acquired the books I actually read this year. I’m really pleased that my ARC number is as high as it is as I’ve been really focused on reading my way through my NetGalley shelf. I did really well but right before Christmas I requested more books so now have fifteen to read and review but that feels like a manageable number. I’m also very happy that I read nearly as many books that I either bought myself or was given as a gift as I really wanted to make more effort to read books I own and to balance that with books for review.

To balance the previous chart this one shows how I’ve been acquiring books over 2021 and I’m very pleased that the biggest section by a long way is purchased. I love getting advanced copies of books to read and review but it’s so important to support authors by buying their books too and I’m pleased that I’ve been doing this.

I debated whether to share this chart because I’m a little bit ashamed but I want to hold myself accountable so here it is. The blue bars are the number of books I read every month in 2021 and the red bars are the number of books I bought in 2021. As is very glaringly apparent the numbers aren’t even close to balancing! Ooops! Towards the end of the year I decided to have a huge clear out of my print books, Kindle books and Audio books though and I literally halved my book collection so overall that’s a win in terms of the size of my TBR. In 2022 I really want to read more of the books that I owned before this year so that’s my aim. I’ll still be buying books and requesting on NetGalley but I want to make sure that now I’ve sorted my books down to only the ones I still want to read that I actually do make a start on reading them.

So to hold myself accountable… the total number of books I own is 2192! 145 are print books, 312 are audio books and the other 1735 are Kindle books. Obviously I own way more books than I can read in a year but I’d like to make a decent dent in the number I own before the end of 2022.

So that’s 2021 in statistics and some plans for 2022! I love seeing how my reading breaks down over a year and spotting patterns, it helps me see what I want to aim for in the coming year. Do you like looking back on your reading?

Happy New Year!

Reading Bingo 2021!

Today I’m playing reading bingo on my blog to see if I got a full house for my reading in 2021! I never look at the card through the year so its always interesting putting this post together and seeing if I can cross off all of the squares!

A book with more than 500 pages

The Romanovs: 1618-1918 by Simon Sebag Montefiore

A forgotten classic

Therese Raquin by Emile Zola

A book that became a movie

I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid

A book that was published this year

Safe at Home by Lauren North

A book with a number in the title

When I Was Ten by Fiona Cummins

A book written by someone under 30

A Kind of Spark by Elle McNicoll

A book with non-human characters

How Winston Delivered Christmas by Alex T. Smith

A funny book

Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour

A book by a female author

Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult

A book with a mystery

Truth Be Told by Kia Abdullah

A book with a one-word title

Consent by Vanessa Springora

A book of short stories

Where Snow Angels Go by Maggie O’Farrell

Free square

Homecoming by Luan Goldie

A book set on a different continent

The Disappearance of Stephanie Mailer by Joel Dicker

A book of non-fiction

Illness as a Metaphor and AIDS and its Metaphors by Susan Sontag

The first book by a favourite author

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

A book you heard about online

The Missing Girl by Jenny Quintana

A best-selling book

No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood

A book based on a true story

Orphans of the Storm by Celia Imrie

A book at the bottom of your to be read pile

Just Me by Sheila Hancock

A book your friend loves

The Pact by Sharon Bolton

A book that scares you

This Little Family by Ines Bayard

A book that is more than 10 years old

We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates

The second book in a series

Tuesdays Gone by Nicci French

A book with a blue cover

The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell

So as you’ll be able to tell I didn’t really complete Reading Bingo this year as I didn’t read a collection of short stories – the book I put for that was just a single story. I also didn’t really read a forgotten classic as Emile Zola’s Therese Raquin is well known (although it was kind of forgotten to me as it had languished unread on my TBR for years before I finally picked it up so maybe it should count). I’m happy with what I did manage to check off on my bingo card though and it’s a nice chance to show off some more great books!

My Favourite Non-Fiction Read in 2021!

Yesterday I shared my favourite novels that I read in 2021 and today it’s time for my favourite non-fiction books. I read fewer non-fiction books than I usually do but it still made up around a quarter of my reading and I enjoyed so much of what I read.

Here are my favourite non-fiction books from 2021…

Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez

Really Saying Something by Sara Dallin & Keren Woodward

Hungry by Grace Dent

This Party’s Dead by Erika Buist

How To Be Broken by Emma Kavanagh

Don’t Touch My Hair by Emma Dabiri

All The Young Men by Ruth Coker Burks

Unwell Women by Emma Cleghorn

Sitting Pretty by Rebecca Taussig

Finding Suzy by David Videcette

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

The Romanovs: 1618-1918 by Simon Sebag Montefiore

Kitty Genovese by Catherine Polenero

What are your favourite non-fiction books from last year? I hope you read some great books. Happy New Year! 🙂

My Favourite Novels Read in 2021!

Today I’m sharing my most favourite novels that I read in 2021! At the time of writing this I’ve read 265 books in total so it was very hard to pick the top reads but these are the books that have stayed with me the most. I highly recommend all of them!

So, in no particular order here are my favourite novels read in 2021!

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

The Twenty Seven Club by Lucy Nichol

All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle

The Disappearance of Stephanie Mailer by Joel Dicker

Truth Be Told by Kia Abdullah

The Weekend by Charlotte Wood

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

Mountain Road, Late At Night by Alan Rossi

Perfect Tunes by Emily Gould

Home Stretch by Graham Norton

Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour

One Last Time by Helga Flatland

The Outsiders by James Corbett

Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason

This Is How We Are Human by Louise Beech

Leaving Atlanta by Tayari Jones

56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard

The Heights by Louise Candlish

All My Mothers by Joanna Glen

Kim Jiyoung, Born 1983 by Cho Nam-Joo

Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers

Nothing Can Hurt You by Nicola Maye Goldberg

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz

Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan

What are your favourite books that you read in 2021? I’d love to know, and if you’ve written a blog post please feel free to leave your link below and I will make sure to read your post.

I will soon share my favourite non-fiction books so please look out for that post!

Christmas Book Haul!

Today I’m sharing my Christmas book (and book-related). I had hoped to share this sooner but I’ve been ill this week and today’s the first day I’ve felt somewhat human again. Anyway, I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and that you got some fab new books to read. I was very spoilt this year and am over the moon with all my gifts.

My husband gave me a huge stack of presents and all were book related! So first up the books…

In fiction he gave me Carol Ann Duffy’s Christmas Poems, Emma Donoghue’s The Lotterys More or Less, and Richard Osman’s The Man Who Died Twice. I’ve now read Christmas Poems and The Man Who Died Twice and I recommend them both.

In Non-Fiction he outdid himself! He gave me Elton John’s Me, Dave Grohl’s The Storyteller, and Bob Mortimer’s And Away – all were top of my wishlist but I didn’t actually ask for them. I was thrilled that he knew me well enough to get them for me.

And then there were two books that not only have I not already read but I had never even heard of, despite them being by people I like. First up is Stevie Van Zandt’s Unrequited Infatuations, which sounds so interesting. I love Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, and I adored The Sopranos earlier this year so I can’t wait to read this one. Then I opened I Wanna Be Yours by John Cooper Clarke, which I am over the moon with. I love seeing him on TV and hearing him read his brilliant poetry and this book sounds like one I will completely and utterly adore so I can’t wait to read it. It’s very rare for me to be bought books that I’ve never even heard of but are exactly my taste so these two gifts made my Christmas!

He also gave me a new Kindle Oasis, which I’m delighted about. My Oasis broke a few weeks ago and I’ve been lost without it so I’m very happy to have a new one.

Then in book-related gifts he surprised me with these bookish pyjamas, which I love! Aren’t they perfect pyjamas for a book lover?! I think I’m going to wear them for the New Year as it’s good to get dressed up to stay home watching darts followed by Jools Holland’s Hootenanny! Ha!

I got a bit teary with this last gift (apologies for the photo – I don’t have one of me wearing it as yet so it’s just a pic of it folded up). It’s a Joanie Clothing book dress. I first saw this dress on their website a couple of years ago and I wanted it but it didn’t go up to my size. I said to myself that if I ever lost weight this would be the dress that I treated myself to (never believing that I would ever lose weight). Anyway my husband bought me the dress in a UK size 12 and it fits me! I’ve lost almost six and a half stone since September 2020 and this feels like such a perfect reward for sticking with it.

My lovely Mum-in-Law also spoilt us both and one of our gifts was a book to share called Renegades by Barak Obama and Bruce Springsteen. This is another book that I’d not heard of before but I’m really keen to read it, it looks like it’ll be an excellent read.

Now I need to make space on my bookcase for my new books… I do enjoy having a sort through my books though so I’ll look forward to doing that in the new year!

I hope you had a lovely Christmas and that the new year is kind to you all.

WWW Wednesdays (29 Dec ’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!

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and that you got some new books to read. I was very spoilt with books and book-related gifts so will be doing a book haul post soon. At the moment I’m ill so haven’t had the energy to do much of anything the last couple of days. My Covid test is negative (at the moment) but I have all the symptoms so I’m keeping away from people until I’m feeling better. Unfortunately my concentration has left me so all the books I’ve read this week were read before Christmas day and I’ve not read anything since then.

Current Reads

I started reading A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg on Christmas Eve and am really enjoying it so I hope to be able to finish it before New Year.

My Christmas audio book is Miracle on Regent Street by Ali Harris, which is a re-read but I would still like to finish it this week if I can.

I’m also still reading The Christmas Chronicles by Nigel Slater on the relevant days but I usually read through the last entries before New Year so that I can put the book away with my Christmas decorations so I hope to finish this one this week too.

Recent Reads

I love Carol Ann Duffy’s individually published Christmas poem books so it was a lovely surprise to receive the collected The Christmas Poems by Carol Ann Duffy as a gift. I read this one in one go and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s a beautiful book.

I re-read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens on Christmas Eve, which is a long-standing tradition of mine.

I finished reading The Miracle on Ebenezer Street by Catherine Doyle, which was a sweet Christmas read.

I treated myself to Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan and read it all in one day, I loved this one and it feels like a book that will really stay with me.

I also read Hide by Nell Pattison and enjoyed it so hope to read more by her in 2022.

I finished In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware and very much enjoyed it, it was great escapism and kept me gripped all the way through.

I don’t know what I’ll read next as it depends on my mood and if I’m feeling better but the two books that are appealing to me the most at the moment are Other Parents by Sarah Stovell from my NetGalley shelf. And Storyteller by Dave Grohl, which I got for Christmas and am so keen to read!

What are you reading at the moment? I’d love to know 🙂

WWW Wednesdays (22 Dec ’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

I spotted In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware on my Kindle and was just in the mood for a read like this and I’m really enjoying it.

I’m also really enjoying The Miracle on Ebenezer Street by Catherine Doyle as my next festive read. It’s a lovely middle grade book and making me feel very Christmassy.

I’m still loving my re-read of The Christmas Chronicles by Nigel Slater.

Recent Reads

I very much enjoyed reading Stay Another Day by Juno Dawson over the last few days. It’s Christmassy and chaotic and has lots of great representation throughout.

I also loved Where Snow Angels Go by Maggie O’Farrell last week. This is a beautiful book and one I will re-read in the future.

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz was such a gripping read, I found this near impossible to put down and would recommend it.

It’s now so close to Christmas that I think I might have time for only one more Christmas novel and I think it’s going to be In A Holidaze by Christina Laurens!

I have a copy of The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont and it feels like a book to be read over the Christmas period so I hope to get to this one this week.

I’m really enjoying thrillers at the moment and Hide by Nell Pattison looks very wintery and gripping so seems apt for this week.

What are you reading at the moment? I’d love to know 🙂 And I hope you all have a lovely Christmas time filled with books! x

WWW Wednesdays (15 Dec ’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

I’ve only just started reading The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz but I think I’m going to really enjoy it. I seem to be needing easy reads that are also engrossing at the moment and this seems to fit the bill.

I’ve only read the opening chapters of Stay Another Day by Juno Dawson as well but I’m enjoying reading a modern Christmas novel.

I’m still enjoying my re-read of The Christmas Chronicles by Nigel Slater. I can’t remember when his diary ends but I’m reading each section on the corresponding day so I’ll be reading this one until it finishes (although I might read ahead once Christmas is over).

Recent Reads

I have an ebook of Murder for Christmas by Francis Duncan but I spotted the audio on my library app so I borrowed it and have part listened and part read this one. It wasn’t exactly what I thought it was going to be but I did enjoy it.

Fat Cow, Fat Chance by Jenni Murray was a book of two halves for me. The first part I was engrossed in and could identify with a lot of the author’s struggles with weight but then it felt like it descends into excuses and finding a way for it to not be her fault at all. I was disappointed with her attitude (and I write as someone who has lost over six stone because I dealt with my issues around food and learnt about portion control) to weight loss and found this quite a negative book by the end.

I finally read Carol by Patricia Highsmith this week! It’s been on my TBR for ages so I’m kicking myself for not picking it up sooner as I found it such an intense and engrossing read.

I also read Kitty Genovese: A True Account of a Public Murder and it’s Private Consequences by Catherine Polenero and am still processing this one. I had heard of this case before but to read such a detailed account of the witnesses is chilling. This was well-researched and I’m glad I read it.

I finished reading The Murder of Mr Moonlight by Catherine Fegan this week as well. This is such a sad case but also unnerving seeing how the killer kept his tracks hidden for as long as he did.

I love reading children’s books as it gets close to Christmas so I’m really looking forward to reading The Night I Met Father Christmas by Ben Miller this week. This is a new one for me so I can’t wait!

I pre-ordered Hide by Nell Pattison and then forgot all about it so it was a lovely surprise when it appeared on my Kindle the other day. I’m keen to get to this one in the coming days.

I really enjoyed The Appeal so was delighted when I was approved to read The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett this week via NetGalley. I have high hopes for this one.

What are you reading at the moment? I’d love to know 🙂

WWW Wednesdays (8 Dec ’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

I can’t remember when I bought The Murder of Mr Moonlight by Catherine Fegan but it was on my Kindle and I decided to read it this week.

I’m also still reading the relevant sections of The Christmas Chronicles by Nigel Slater on the relevant days and am very much enjoying it.

Recent Reads

I seem to have read a lot of Christmas books this week and I’ve enjoyed them all but to varying degrees. Christmas at Frozen Falls by Kiley Dunbar was good and I adored the setting but it wasn’t as festive as I was hoping. Mistletoe on 34th Street by Lisa Dickenson on the other hand was everything I wanted in a Christmas read this week and I very much enjoyed it. I also really enjoyed reading The Christmas Murder Game by Alexandra Benedict, which is a take on a locked room Christmas mystery and I found myself completely engrossed in it. My other Christmas read was I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day by Milly Johnson, which I listened to on audio and it was another one that I found really festive and lovely.

The only non-Christmas book that I read this week was Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson and I enjoyed this one. I’ve already reviewed it here if you’ve like to know more.

I don’t know what I’ll be reading next but I just treated myself to Christmas Pudding by Nancy Mitford and am really keen to read it so I think I may pick it up. I also bought The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox on Kindle and would like to get to it before Christmas so hopefully I get to it this week. Aside from Christmas reads the book that caught my eye as I was writing this post was The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz so maybe I’ll read this one next.

What are you reading at the moment? I’d love to know 🙂

Mini Book Reviews: Wish You Were Here | Real Men Knit | Woke Up This Morning | How to Be a Rock Star

Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult

I’ve read most of Jodi Picoult’s novels and enjoyed them but have found her latest books a bit hit and miss. Even so I was excited to read Wish You Were Here and I’m so pleased to say that I loved it, it’s her best book in a while! Wish You Were Here follows Diana who is busy at work in an art gallery and is about to embark on a holiday of a lifetime to the Galapagos Islands with her boyfriend. But then Covid hits and he has to stay behind as he’s a doctor. She goes on her own and as she gets there the island is locking down so she is trapped there. I loved the descriptions of the island and the relationships Diana forms while there. I don’t want to say much more because I’m anxious to avoid any spoilers but this novel takes the reader on an unexpected journey through isolation and longing and I loved it. There is so much I want to say but I can’t… just trust me and read this one, it’s so good!

Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson

I was keen to read Real Men Knit after reading some recommendations by bloggers that I trust so I was delighted to get a copy from NetGalley. I finally picked it up recently and really enjoyed it. It’s set in a wool shop in the aftermath of the owner’s death. Her four adopted sons are deciding what to do and one of them wants a chance to run the shop and make it a success along with the help of Kerry, who worked there alongside his Mama. I enjoyed the family dynamics in this novel, and I really liked Kerry. I wasn’t so keen on all the will they won’t they romance plot, it felt very over the top at times, but on the whole this was a really cosy, lovely read and I’m glad I picked it up.

Woke Up This Morning by Michael Imperioli & Steve Schirripa

I have to admit that I somehow only watched The Sopranos for the first time earlier this year (I don’t know how it took me so long but it did!) but when I finally got to it I adored it, it jumped right to the top of my favourite TV shows ever list! So when I spotted this book all about the making of The Sopranos with interviews with the cast and behind the scenes info I knew I had to read it. I really enjoyed this book. I believe it’s based on a podcast which I haven’t listened to so I’m not sure how much of the story in the book is new. I loved finding out more about the making of certain episodes and how the show was cast. It’s a definite must read for fans of the show!

How to Be A Rock Star by Shaun Ryder

I’m a big Shaun Ryder fan so when I spotted this audio book on NetGalley I immediately requested it. Shaun narrates it himself which made the book for me, I could listen to him tell his stories all day long! I enjoyed this one but given it’s a how to book I did find it a bit repetitive, with some elements from earlier sections being referred to again later on. I also already knew most of his stories from having read his autobiography a few years ago. I did still enjoy this one though so I would recommend it if you’re a Happy Mondays fan and want to know more about how to get into the world of rock and roll!

WWW Wednesdays (1 Dec ’21)! What are you reading?

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 latest festive read is The Christmas Murder Game by Alexandra Benedict and I’m really enjoying this one. It’s set in an old house and a family who don’t get on are competing with each other to inherit the house.

I’ve also started my annual re-read of The Christmas Chronicles by Nigel Slater. I very much enjoy reading each day of this book every year, Nigel Slater really captures the build up to the festive season so beautifully.

I’m also reading Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson, which is the oldest book on my NetGalley shelf. It’s set around a wool shop as the adult children of the late owner have to decide what to do with it. I’m enjoying this one and keen to see where it goes.

Recent Reads

I bought What My Husband Did by Kerry Wilkinson in a recent Kindle sale and I enjoyed it. I found the first half gripping and hard to put down but the reveals were a little disappointing as the book went on.

I really enjoyed Somebody to Love by Matt Richards, a biography of Freddie Mercury which also follows how HIV spread around the world.

I also listened to How to be a Rock Star by Shaun Ryder this week and I really enjoyed listening to him tell his stories. The book itself wasn’t quite as good as I’d hoped though as a lot of the stories I’d already read in his memoir and it does get repetitive as various sections overlap with previous chapters. I’d still recommend it if you’re a fan of his though.

I read Little Bandaged Days by Kyra Wilder too this week. This was a disturbing read about a woman with undiagnosed post-natal psychosis. It was a book I wanted to keep reading but at times had to put down just so I could breathe. It was very well written and I recommend it.

My Christmas book last week was The Post Box at the North Pole by Jaimie Admans and I adored it. It’s my favourite festive read of the season so far! My review is here.

I’m not sure what I’ll read in the coming week as I’m back to mood reading rather than planning ahead. At the moment the books that have caught my eye are Stay Another Day by Juno Dawson, which is a new Christmas book that sounds great; The Winter Garden by Heidi Swain, which I have on audio and think will be a festive, heartwarming listen; and a thriller When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole that I bought right at the beginning of the year and am still really keen to read it.

What are you reading at the moment? I’d love to know 🙂

Mini Christmas Book Reviews!

Today I’m sharing some mini reviews of Christmas books that I’ve read recently!

Flora’s Travelling Christmas Shop by Rebecca Raisin

This is a lovely Christmas read that follows Flora in the aftermath of losing her job and deciding to buy a van and start a travelling Christmas shop. She loves Christmas and is determined to surround herself with the joys of the season. I loved Flora and really enjoyed seeing her move to Lapland and how she got on at her first Christmas market. The way she meets Connor, who runs the site, was amusing and I loved seeing how they got to know each other better. Flora meets some great characters throughout the novel and I felt like I was right there along with her. This is such a sweet Christmas novel and I recommend it.

Eight Days of Christmas by Starla DeKruyf

Eight Days of Christmas follows Isabella as she’s making her way to her family home for the first time in years as her sister is getting married at Christmas. Her sister is marrying the brother of Isabella’s ex so she has a lot on her mind. Their family love Christmas and make a huge deal out of it every year so are thrilled that Isabella is coming home. Unfortunately this book just wasn’t for me. The relationship will they won’t they situation just didn’t feel believable to me, it felt very forced. I also found the big reveal of why Isabella hadn’t been home for so long was just so ridiculous and silly that the book lost me at this point. I did read to the end but sadly I didn’t love this one.

The Best Christmas Ever by Karen King

I’ve become quite the fan of Karen King’s Christmas novels so I was excited to read her latest one recently and I’m so happy to say that I really enjoyed it. The Best Christmas Ever follows Lexi who adores Christmas but this year she finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her so she dumps him and heads home to her family. I adored Lexi’s family, especially her Grandma Mabe! Lexi is upset to find the local council want to chop down the village Christmas tree and throws herself into saving the tree. In the process she meets some of the locals and I loved the bond she makes with people. This is a really cute, heartwarming Christmas novel that is full of festive joy. I definitely recommend this one!

The Post Box at the North Pole by Jaimie Admans

A year or two ago I read my first Jaimie Admans’ novel and I adored it so I’ve been eagerly anticipating this new Christmas novel by her and I’m so happy to say that I completely and utterly adored it! This book follows Sasha who has flown to help out her dad at a Lapland resort that is not doing so well. When she gets there she meets Taavi and some reindeers called Rudolph. Sasha wants to help her dad and so when she finds a sack of letters to Santa she decides to reply and spread some festive cheer (and maybe some magic!). I loved this book so much – it’s full of all things heartwarmingly festive from start to finish, which is exactly what I’ve been looking for in my Christmas reads this year. I highly recommend this one, it’s a perfect Christmas read!

WWW Wednesdays (24 Nov ’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 only book I’m currently reading is The Best Christmas Ever by Karen King! I’m only a few chapters in but so far it feels festive and like it could be a really lovely read.

Recent Reads

I had an ebook of S**ged, Married, Annoyed by Rosie and Chris Ramsey but then I spotted the audio was available on my local library app so I decided to listen to it. It was an easy listen and fun escapism.

I also read Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult and loved it! I think this is her best book in a while and I very much enjoyed it. I will be writing a review as soon as I get my thoughts together but I definitely recommend it in the meantime.

I picked up Eight Days of Christmas by Stayla DeKruyf from my NetGalley shelf this week but sadly I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I hoped I would.

I also read We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates, which was one of the books that had been on my TBR the longest and I’m kicking myself for not picking it up sooner as I really enjoyed this one.

The other Christmas book I read last week was Flora’s Travelling Christmas Shop by Rebecca Raisin, a really sweet Christmas read.

I also finished reading Woke Up This Morning by Michael Imperioli last week and I’m sad to have got to the end of this one. I now want to listen to the podcast that led to this book (and also to watch The Sopranos all over again!).

This week I really want to listen to the audio book of How to be a Rockstar by Shaun Ryder.

My next Christmas read will be The Postbox at the North Pole by Jaimie Admans and I can’t wait to get to this one.

I also recently bought The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz and I’d really like to read it soon.

What are you reading at the moment? I’d love to know 🙂

Mini Book Reviews: Survive the Night | The Impossible Truths of Love | We Are Not Like Them | My Mother, Munchausen’s and Me

Today I’m sharing some more mini reviews of recent NetGalley books that I’ve read and enjoyed.

Survive the Night by Riley Sager

I can never resist a new Riley Sager book and have been eagerly anticipating this one. I picked it up and read it all in one day as it was written in such a way that I just didn’t want to put it down. We’re following Charlie who is really struggling after her best friend was murdered and now she’s leaving Uni. She finds Josh on the ride share board at school and says goodbye to her boyfriend. We find out that Charlie has had a tough life and when things are really bad she sees movies in her head overlaying what is really happening. The first half of this novel was gripping, I was unnerved with suspicions (and to be honest hopes) of where the novel might go as Charlie becomes increasingly unnerved by Josh. Unfortunately, the novel instead went in a much more predictable direction and ultimately left me feeling a bit disappointed. Having said that, I couldn’t put the book down so it was clearly gripping and it was enjoyable enough for the most part.

The Impossible Truths of Love by Hannah Beckerman

This novel is told in two timelines: the present day follows Nell as she’s left reeling following a deathbed confession by her father; and it follows Annie 35 years earlier as we see her starting her family and making decisions that will have consequences down the line. I love Hannah Beckerman’s writing and this book is beautiful. I really felt for Nell to have to deal with what her dad said and then not be able to talk to anyone about it as her mum has dementia and now her dad is gone, and to know she might never be able to find out what he meant. The fraught relationship that Nell has with her two older sisters felt really realistic and I ended up feeling for all of them. The two timelines move forwards and you’re left wondering how they’ll converge and what happened in the past. It wasn’t something I saw coming but it felt completely believable and was heartbreaking. I definitely recommend this book!

We Are Not Like Them by Christina Pride & Jo Piazza

Riley and Jen have been friends for many years and now they’re excited to be back living in the same city again. Jen is white and Riley is black but this has never been something they’ve thought about. But now Jen’s white police officer husband has been involved in the shooting of an unarmed black teenager and suddenly they have to confront what this means for their friendship. I found this book quite hard to get into but once it clicked I found it really hard to put down. There are so many issues covered within this story and it really felt believable and realistic. I was much more on Riley’s side and felt that Jen was at times wilfully being ignorant of why her friend felt the way she did, but then we’d be back with Jen and I could see why she was torn. This is such a prescient novel that really makes you think and it’s one that I would recommend to everyone.

My Mother, Munchausen’s and Me by Helen Naylor

This book is heartbreaking. Helen has grown up with a mother who is often cold and cruel, who is always ill and needs rest every afternoon so Helen as a child had to learn to play in complete silence. She doesn’t know any different than how her own home life is and accepts this as being how it is for everyone but it does start to affect her own mental health. Helen really shows how complex her relationship to her mother is, that she loved her mother but also feared being trapped into looking after her for ever. There is a real exploration of how complicated the aspect of looking back on her mother’s life was for Helen and it’s these parts towards the end of the book that really struck a chord with me. This is the point when it felt the reader was really let in to how everything has affected Helen. Helen’s mother behaved monstrously, not just to Helen but to others as well, and it’s uncomfortable to think about whether this woman was a monster or whether she was mentally unwell. I think this contradiction is something Helen must waiver on too as the title says Munchausen’s but in the book her mother is referred to as a narcissist. It is always so difficult to confront who a parent really was, and I definitely felt for Helen as she grappled with this throughout the book. This book isn’t always easy to read but it’s a book that I would recommend.

WWW Wednesdays (17 Nov ’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

I’ve been sorting out my Kindle and audiobooks recently and The Perfect Wife by JP Delaney caught my eye as I was doing that so it’s my current listen. It’s more intriguing than I thought it was going to be and I’m enjoying it so far.

My current festive read is the lovely Flora’s Travelling Christmas Shop by Rebecca Raisin.

I’m also still reading Woke Up This Morning by Michael Imperioli but I’m not far off finishing it now. I’m going to miss this one once I’m done as I’ve really enjoyed dipping in and out of this book in recent weeks.

Recent Reads

I just finished reading My Mother, Munchausen’s and Me by Helen Naylor last night. I found this book hard to read at times because of the subject matter but it was a fascinating exploration of living with a narcissistic mother and dealing with all the repercussions of her behaviour.

I’m trying to get to some of the older books on my TBR at the moment as well as new releases so this week I listened to the audiobook of Sleep Tight by Rachel Abbott, which I’ve owned since 2014. I really enjoyed this one. I’m struggling with a bad back at the moment and this was perfect escapism.

I also read Survive the Night by Riley Sager from my NetGalley shelf and I enjoyed it. I thought the first half was better than the second but it did keep me hooked all the way through.

I finished reading The Twelve Wishes of Christmas by Ruby Basu and loved it. You can read my review here.

I also finished listening to Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama and enjoyed it. I also have The Audacity of Hope on my Audible and a hardback copy of his memoir so hope to read more by him soon.

I really enjoyed reading The Little Christmas Tree House by Tracy Rees last week too, it was a lovely festive read. My review is here.

As I’ve been sorting through my Kindle books I’ve been taking note of the books I’ve owned the longest and it seems We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates has been on my Goodreads since I first set up my account (in early 2010!) but I know I’ve owned it longer than that. So I’d really like to finally start reading it this week!

I also hope to read The Best Christmas Ever by Karen King which is the next Christmas book on my NetGalley shelf.

I’d also like to get back to the Frieda Klein series so I have Waiting for Wednesday by Nicci French on this week’s TBR!

What are you reading at the moment? I’d love to know 🙂

WWW Wednesdays (3 Nov ’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

I’ve been slowly reading my way through some of my older Christmas books and while Christmas at the Beach Hut by Veronica Henry hasn’t been on my kindle all that long I couldn’t resist picking it up this week. I’m really enjoying this one and am so glad I made this my next read.

I’m not taking part in Non-Fiction November properly this year as I’m still in a place where I need to mood read and that often leads me to pick up lighter fiction. I was drawn to the audio book of The Romanovs: 1613 – 1918 by Simon Sebag Montefiore yesterday though so I’ve started listening to this one. I don’t know very much about the Romanovs and so have been engrossed in this boook.

I’m also still dipping in and out of Woke Up This Morning by Michael Imperioli and enjoying it. It’s making me want to re-watch The Sopranos (and I only watched it for the first time earlier this year!).

Recent Reads

I seem to have read a lot of books this week and I’m not sure how that happened but I’m happy that it did.

The most recent book I finished was The Visitor by Zoe Miller. I picked this one as it seemed to be a thriller set near Christmas and it was an okay read – I enjoyed the first part more than the rest.

Before that I finally read Therese Raquin by Emile Zola, which had been on my TBR for quite some time. I very much enjoyed this one and am so glad that I’ve finally read it (although I’m kicking myself now for not picking it up sooner).

I also read and loved The Impossible Truths of Love by Hannah Beckerman. I adored the author’s previous two novels so had very high hopes for this one and it absolutely lived up to them.

I had a hardback and audiobook copy of Look What You Made Me Do by Helene Walmsley-Johnson so I part read and part listened to this one. It was a tough read because of the subject matter (it’s a memoir about coercive control) but I’m glad I read it.

Another festive read this week was Baby It’s Cold Outside by Emily Bell and I really enjoyed it. It wasn’t as much about Christmas as I’d thought it would be but it was a gorgeous and cosy winter read. I recommend it!

I’ve had a paperback of Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman on my TBR for years but the text is so small I can’t read it so when I spotted the audio was available as part of the new Audible lending library I grabbed it. This book was published in 1985 but so much of it is just as relevant to us today and I highly recommend it. It’s made me want to re-read Brave New World so that might be a book I pick up in the new year!

I also finished reading A Bookshop Christmas by Rachel Burton. I enjoyed this one but was a little disappointed that whilst it’s set at Christmas there isn’t much Christmas in it. I did enjoy the story though and I loved that it was set in York.

What I Might Read Next

I’m very much a mood reader at the moment but the two books that are catching my attention from my TBR at the moment are The Perfect Christmas Gift by Katie Ginger and My Mother, Munchausen’s and Me by Helen Naylor so I hope to read both of these in the coming days.

What are you reading at the moment? I’d love to know 🙂

WWW Wednesdays (27 Oct ’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

I started reading A Bookshop Christmas by Rachel Burton from my NetGalley shelf this week and I’m really enjoying it. I didn’t realise it was set in York so I’m loving references to places that I know well from my younger years.

I’m also still reading Woke Up This Morning by Michael Imperioli. I’m finding this book is great to dip in and out of so I’m going to carry on reading it like this in between other books. I’m very much enjoying it though and I definitely recommend it to fans of The Sopranos.

Recent Reads

It’s been a great week of reading for me this week with my finish six books! I’ve been busy so have listened to a few audio books and then have enjoyed sitting down for a rest to read a print or kindle book later in the day.

I read Blackberry and Wild Rose by Sonia Velton in just two sittings this week and I really enjoyed it. I always say I’m not a fan of historical fiction but then occasionally I stumble across a book like this and am reminded that there are historical fiction books for me and this is definitely one of them.

I also finished We Are Not Like Them by Christina Pride & Jo Piazza, which I’ve been reading for the past week and a half. I struggled to connect with the characters in the beginning but once I got into the novel it was hard to put down. It’s a thought-provoking book and I’m glad I read it.

I’ve had Not That Kind of Love by Clare & Greg Wise for a really long time so when I spotted it as I was sorting my books out this week I decided to read it next. This is an incredibly moving memoir of Clare’s illness and Greg’s story of his love for his sister and how he became her carer. This is a beautiful book and one that will really stay with me.

Another book that I’ve had on my bookcase for quite a while is Wally Funk’s Race for Space by Sue Nelson so when I picked it up this week and read it all in one sitting I was kicking myself for not picking it up sooner. Wally Funk is an incredible woman who has lived such a fascinating life. I know she finally made it to space very recently, which is amazing. I highly recommend this book.

I listened to It’s a Love Story by Shirlie & Martin Kemp on audio book and loved it. This is such a lovely book about their relationship and I just adored it!

I also finished reading Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris and am so glad I finally picked up this author’s debut novel as I’ve enjoyed her later books. This one was really good and kept my turning the pages!

What I Might Read Next

I’ve realised that my NetGalley shelf is growing again so need to focus on reading some of those books this week so these are the three that I’ve picked: Baby It’s Cold Outside by Emily Bell, which will be my next Christmas read. I also hope to read The Impossible Truths of Love by Hannah Beckerman as I’ve loved her previous two novels and have been eagerly anticipating this one. I also want to pick up Survive the Night by Riley Sager as I didn’t manage to get to it this week so I really hope to get a chance to read it in the coming days.

WWW Wednesdays (13 Oct ’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

This week I started reading the Frieda Klein series and loved Blue Monday so much that I immediately picked up the next book: Tuesday’s Gone by Nicci French! I don’t think I’ve read a series back to back since I was a child but it’s really nice to get absorbed in a series, especially one where all the books are already published so no having to wait for the next one!

My husband and I were very late getting to The Sopranos and only watched it for the first time this year! Better late than never though as we both absolutely loved it. So when I spotted Woke Up This Morning: The Definitive History of the Sopranos by Michael Imperioli on NetGalley I immediately requested and it as soon as I was approved I started reading it. It’s based on a podcast and I’m definitely going to check that out once I’ve read the book.

Recent Reads

As I said above I picked up Blue Monday by Nicci French this week and loved it. Freida Klein is such an interesting character and I can’t wait to find out more about her.

I also listened to Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam on audio book this week and found it gripping! I’d heard good things about this one and it lived up to the hype. I’ve now heard that Netflix are adapting this book so I’m really keen to see what they do with it as I think it would make a great film.

I bought and read People Like Them by Samira Sedira this week and found it such a chilling but also brilliant novel. It’s based on a real life murder, which I don’t remember hearing about, but knowing how close to true it is made it really hard to read at times. The writing is great though and I would read more by this author if any of her other work gets translated.

I bought Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner with an Audible credit and listened to it straight away. I connected so much with this book – a memoir about the author’s mother’s diagnosis and death from cancer. She really captures what the loss is like and the ways it affects a person. This is a book that will stay with me and I think is going to be one of my favourite non-fiction reads of the year.

What I Might Read Next

If I enjoyed Tuesday as much I enjoyed Monday then I plan on reading Waiting for Wednesday by Nicci French over the next week.

Both Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson and My Mother, Munchausen’s and Me by Helen Naylor are from my NetGalley shelf and are really appealing to me at the moment so I hope to read them in the coming days.

Mini Reviews: The Fell | The Man Who Died Twice | Orphans of the Storm | Freckles

Today I’m sharing another selection of mini reviews of books that I’ve read and enjoyed during my blogging break. I got all four of these books from NetGalley and I loved all of them.

The Fell by Sarah Moss

I’ve read and enjoyed quite a few of Sarah Moss’s previous novels but I think this one is my new favourite. The Fell follows Kate who is having to self-isolate with her teenage son due to having had contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid. She is really struggling with being trapped indoors and convinces herself that a walk on the moor won’t hurt anyone and no one will ever know she’s done it. We also follow her neighbour Alice, who has cancer and has had to shield throughout the pandemic. Alice sees Kate leave but doesn’t stop her so when Kate’s son tells Alice Kate is missing she immediately fears the worst and they call the police. This novel explores so many points of view regarding the pandemic, the restrictions and human nature in the face of all that has happened in the last year and a half. Moss makes you understand all the different views and to have some understanding of why people have struggled in different ways with different aspects of the pandemic. This is a short novel but it’s one that took me a few days to read as I wanted to really digest what I was reading. I really loved this novel and I highly recommend it.

The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman

This is the second book in the Thursday Murder Club series and while I didn’t love it quite as much as the first I did still very much enjoy it and I definitely enjoyed catching up with all the characters again. This book begins with Elizabeth receiving a letter from an old colleague who wants to see her because he needs her help. He’s got himself into a situation involving a diamond robbery! Needless to say people start being murdered and the murder club start investigating again. I do love the characters in this novel and finding out more about them was my favourite aspect to the story. This is such a fun series and I will definitely be looking out for a third book!

Orphans of the Storm by Celia Imrie

I requested this novel from NetGalley as soon as I heard about it as I can’t resist stories about the Titanic. This novel follows a young Marcella in France in 1911. She meets a man and marries him after a whirlwind romance against the advice of her family. They go on to have two children but the marriage is not a happy one and Marcella seeks advice about filing for divorce. We also meet Margaret, a New York socialite who has managed to get tickets for the maiden voyage of the Titanic. This is a wonderful novel that had me turning the pages late into the night and I very much enjoyed it. It was tense knowing that it’s building to some of the characters ending up on the Titanic but not knowing what their fate will be. I loved Marcella, I was rooting for her all the way through the book. I loved this novel and was really shocked to learn how much of it is based on real people and a true story – not just the Titanic part! It was fascinating to read what is known and how Imrie created a fictional story based on the little that was known of these people. I definitely recommend this one!

Freckles by Cecelia Ahern

I’m a huge fan of Cecelia Ahern so I’m always excited to learn of a new novel from her. Freckles felt different from her previous novels but I still really enjoyed it. Allegra Bird, known as Freckles, is quite a sad and lonely young woman. She wanted to join the police but was rejected so now she’s a traffic warden. One day someone tells her that everyone is the product of the five people closest to them and this sends her on a journey to surround herself with five strong people. I felt quite an affinity with Freckles, she is lost and searching for a connection and meaning in her life. Her mother abandoned her and her father is an eccentric man who did his best but Freckles has always felt absence in her life. I was rooting for her to find what she needed to feel complete and happy. I did find this novel a little hard to get into but once I got there I just didn’t want to put it down. I adored Freckles and I still keep thinking of her and wondering what she’s up to now. I recommend this one!

Mini Book Reviews: Safe at Home | All For You | Next of Kin | The Heights | A Slow Fire Burning

I’ve not read a huge amount of books whilst on my blogging break but I have read a few and they’ve been so good. Today I’m sharing some mini reviews of recent NetGalley reads and I highly recommend all five of these books!

Safe at Home by Lauren North

I loved Lauren North’s first novel so am always keen to read anything new by her and I’m so pleased to say that I enjoyed this one. Safe at Home follows Anna who is a very anxious mother. One evening she leaves her eleven year old daughter home alone for a short period but she gets held up. When she gets back her daughter has unexplained bruising but won’t talk about it. The next day a businessman is reported missing. I found this novel to be very gripping. I was immediately curious about why Anna was so anxious and over-protective and wanted to know what could have happened to her daughter. Throughout the novel we see snippets of the local mums’ whatsapp group, which I loved as we see the way they appear nice and supportive and then the way they talk behind other mums’ backs. The gradual reveals of what has happened were really good and this novel definitely kept me on my toes. I didn’t see the ending coming and I love that it shocked me. I recommend this one!

All For You by Louise Jensen

I’ve read and enjoyed all of Louise Jensen’s previous novels and this one was just as good. It follows three members of a family: Lucy the mum, Aidan the dad and Connor their teenage son. In this novel all three of them have their secrets so when threatening messages begin appearing each of them believes these messages are aimed at them. Then one day two of Connor’s best friends go missing and the worry is that Connor might be next. I loved how this novel kept me on my toes. I had my suspicions throughout the novel and some of them proved correct but most were completely wrong as I just didn’t see the bigger picture of what was going on. I sped through this novel and didn’t want to put it down so I definitely recommend it!

Next of Kin by Kia Abdullah

Next of Kin is a brilliant novel but it’s not always easy to read. It follows Leila who one day is asked to take her very young nephew to nursery on her way to work. She agrees but later in the day when the baby’s father rings her to ask why his son isn’t at nursery Leila realises her mistake and races to her car. There are distressing scenes in this book but the story is really well written and the issues are sensitively handled. The novel follows the aftermath of Leila’s discovery and the guilt of various members of the family. I love how it explored the ramifications for Leila and her sister’s relationship. This is the third book I’ve read by Kia Abdullah and her writing just keeps getting better and better – I already can’t wait to read whatever she writes next.

The Heights by Louise Candlish

The Heights follows Ellen a couple of years previously as she tries to deal with her teenage son making a new friend at school who seems to be a really bad influence. She tries her hardest to split them up but never manages it. The novel also follows her in the present as one day whilst at work she sees Kieron, he son’s friend, but it can’t really be him because she knows he’s dead! The novel then goes back and forth in time as we learn what happened with her son and Kieron and what revenge Ellen exacted to get him out of her son’s life. I was completely engrossed in this novel and read it in one sitting – it’s absolutely my favourite of all of Louise Candlish’s novels to date and I highly recommend it!

A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins

I listened to the audio book of this, which is narrated brilliantly by Rosamund Pike. The novel follows three women: Laura who is hot-headed and often judged for it; Miriam who sees Laura fleeing the scene of a murder but who knows you can’t always believe everything you see; and Carla who is reeling the shock from finding out that her nephew has been murdered. These three women are all fascinating and I loved getting to know more about all of them and seeing the layers of what makes them who they are slowly getting peeled back. They all have damage and they all have issues but they’re all so interesting to get to know. I wanted to know who the murderer was and why but it was almost secondary to getting to know the women. I very much enjoyed this novel and I recommend it!

WWW Wednesdays (18 Aug ’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

Orphans of the Storm by Celia Imrie

I just got approved to read this book from NetGalley yesterday and I couldn’t resist picking it up straight away. It’s a novel about the Titanic and it sounds really engrossing and interesting.

Recent Reads

I’ve not been reading much recently, hence why I haven’t posted a WWW for a couple of weeks but these are the five books I’ve finished since my last post.

All For You by Louise Jensen

This was another really good, fast-paced and gripping thriller by Louise Jensen. It captured my attention at a time when I’ve been struggling to read.

Freckles by Cecelia Ahern

I did struggle to get into this novel but once I did I found it hard to put down. It follows Freckles as she tries to navigate her way through life and to work out which people are the most important and influential to her.

The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman

I really enjoyed this sequel to The Thursday Murder Club, it was gripping and fun as well as being an intriguing mystery.

The Long Long Afternoon by Inga Vesper

I bought this ebook a while ago and picked it up recently and I was engrossed from start to finish. It follows the mystery of a suburban housewife who suddenly disappears one day.

The Sleeping Beauties by Suzanne O’Sullivan

This is a fascinating non-fiction book looking at mysterious illnesses around the world that all seem to have something in common. It explores the different terminology around what is now called Functional Neurological Disorder and it’s very interesting and thought-provoking.

What I Might Read Next

Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson

We Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride

I’m still not reading very much at the moment but these two books are the next ones on my NetGalley shelf so I’m hoping to get to them over the coming week.

That Was The Month That Was… July 2021

I can’t believe I’m writing my July wrap-up already, I really don’t know where this year is going! July has been a good month for me. I’m double vaccinated now so have been making attempts to get back to some kind of normality.

My husband and I have been shopping a few times and have finally bought some much-needed new clothes. We hadn’t bought anything since our weight loss so all of our clothes were hanging off us. It still feels so bizarre to me to be buying and wearing clothes in a UK14 when eleven months ago I was five and a half stone heavier and five dress sizes bigger! It also felt very strange to go in shops for the first time in a year and half but once I got over the initial anxiety it was just so nice to be doing something normal again.

My reading time has been somewhat hampered by the Euros and now the Olympics but I don’t mind because I’ve been really enjoying all the sport. Also we finished watching The Sopranos early in the month and I still feel lost now that we’ve seen it all. It was brilliant though – it might even be my new favourite TV series of all time!

Here are the books I read in July…

The Miracle Pill by Peter Walker

The Lucky Eight by Sheila Bugler

Stronger by Poorna Bell

The Other Wife by Claire McGowan

Safe at Home by Lauren North

Hope Close by Tina Seskis

Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

Fragile by Sarah Hilary

Death on Ocean Boulevard by Caitlin Rother

The Island Home by Libby Page

Yours Cheerfully by AJ Pearce

A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins

The Last Days of August by Jon Ronson

The Heights by Louise Candlish

All My Mothers by Joanna Glen

Next of Kin by Kia Abdullah

Unwell Women by Elinor Cleghorn

Nothing But Blue Sky by Kathleen MacMahon

Justice for Helen by Marie McCourt

How to Save a Life by Liz Fenton

Sitting Pretty by Rebekah Taussig

How was July for you? I hope it was a good month and that you’re keeping well. What was your favourite book read in July? I’d love to know! 🙂

WWW Wednesdays (28 Jul ’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 Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman

I’ve only read the first couple of chapters of this one so far but I’m enjoying it. I loved the first book in the series so I have high hopes for this!

Freckles by Cecelia Ahern

I love Cecelia Ahern’s writing so have been really keen to get to this one and I’m really enjoying it. It feels different to some of her other novels but it’s very good and I can’t wait to read more.

Intimations by Zadie Smith

This is an essay collection written during the early days of the pandemic. I love Zadie Smith’s writing so I’m enjoying that aspect but the actual content isn’t engaging me as much as I hoped it would. I’m still keen to read more though.

Recent Reads

Sitting Pretty by Rebekah Taussig

This is a brilliant book all about Rebekah’s life as a disabled person and I found it so relatable. The things that she has experienced and the ignorance some people show towards her is both eye-opening and so similar to my own experiences of being a wheelchair user. I would recommend this book to everyone, it’s such a good read.

How to Save a Life by Liz Fenton

I got the ebook of this one on Kindle Unlimited and it came with the audio version so I listened to it. It was an okay read but it’s not one that’ll stay with me. It follows a man who bumps into his ex girlfriend and they agree to go on a date but on that date she dies. The novel is then him stuck in groundhog day as he keeps waking up on the same day and trying to save her life.

Justice for Helen by Marie Mccourt

This is a non-fiction book that Marie wrote about her daughter Helen. Helen was murdered in 1986 and her killer was convicted but to this day has refused to say where her body is. Marie has successfully campaigned for Helen’s Law whereby at parole hearings it must be taken into account how much the killer has complied with authorities. Sadly the bill was passed after Helen’s killer was released. Marie has written such a moving account of her daughter’s life, and of the years she has had without her. It’s a book that will really stay with me and I absolutely recommend it.

Nothing But Blue Sky by Kathleen MacMahon

I listened to this on audio and loved it. I will admit that the first chapter didn’t grab me and I wasn’t sure it was going to be for me but then a moment came where I just fell in love with it and I couldn’t stop listening. This follows a man in the aftermath of his wife’s death – it’s a novel about grief and loss but also about love and about how you learn to live after the worst has happened.

Unwell Women by Elinor Cleghorn

I’ve already reviewed this book so you can find my thoughts here.

Next of Kin by Kia Abdullah

This was another really good read! This is a novel that is hard to read at times due to the subject matter but it’s a great read and so I would recommend it. It follows two sisters in the aftermath of a tragedy where a young child dies due to one sister forgetting he was in her car. The court case that follows threatens to tear the sisters apart. The exploration of all the different emotions and actions in this case is handled really well and I did enjoy this one (if enjoy is the right word).

What I Might Read Next

Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson

We Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride

I got both of these books from NetGalley a few days ago and I’m really keen to start them so I’ll hopefully be picking them up once I’ve finished my current reads.

Mini Book Reviews: The Island Home | Yours Cheerfully | All My Mothers | Unwell Women

The Island Home by Libby Page

I love Libby Page’s writing and this book was every bit as lovely as her previous novels! The Island Home follows two characters in alternating chapters – Lorna who left the island of Kip under a cloud when she was a teenager and has never been back; and Alice who is Lorna’s sister-in-law but the two women have never met. The two women have daughters the same age who have been chatting online and now Lorna is going back to Kip. This is a gorgeous novels that really explores family dynamics, female friendship and found family in an honest and believable way. Kip has a wonderful community and all the characters in this novel felt like real people and I now want to go there and meet them! This book has it’s darker moments but on the whole it’s a feel-good novel that really pulls at your heartstrings. I loved it and definitely recommend it!

Yours Cheerfully by AJ Pearce

This is the sequel to Dear Mrs Bird so we’re back with Emmie at Women’s Friend magazine in the months following the end of the previous novel. I loved this book, it was just as lovely as the first one and I got completely swept up in it. This time Emmie gets involved with a campaign to encourage more women into war work and I loved it. We see the strength of the women but also their vulnerabilities and how much harder life is made for them by bosses who think they should be the same as men and yet also keep their home and raise their children but with no support from anyone. I was glad Bunty was back in this novel as I adore her friendship with Emmie. This is such a lovely read and I recommend it!

All My Mothers by Joanna Glen

This novel is simply stunning! I loved Joanna Glen’s previous novel and this one is every bit as good, if not even better! All My Mothers follows Eva (sounds like ever not evil!) from being a young child and realising that there are gaps in her childhood photos and memories and she wants to know why. We see the lovely friend she makes on her first day of school and the way that girl’s family take Eva under their wing. I adored the book with the rainbow mothers and how this comes up time and again throughout the novel as Eva tries to work out who she is and where she comes from. It’s a novel about found family and how you can find real love and a real bond with people who aren’t blood relations, and that this is just as good. I was moved to tears more than once as I read this novel but I was completely swept away in Eva’s story and I just couldn’t put it down – I read it all in one sitting. I already want to go back and read it again! I highly recommend this one!

Unwell Women by Elinor Cleghorn

This is an incredibly powerful non-fiction book looking at the history of how women have been treated in western medicine over the centuries – it covers ancient Greece and medieval times right up to the present day. It’s such a fascinating book but also anger-inducing at the way women have suffered – and still suffer – due to the lack of research and understanding into female diseases and illnesses. I’m someone who has dealt with more than my fair share of doctors who have been very dismissive of me only for it to later turn out that they made a huge mistake that has cost me dearly in terms of health. This book really highlights how entrenched medicine has always been in maintaining something of a status quo but it also gives hope seeing the rise of female doctors, and male doctors who want to understand and further others’ understanding of female diseases. It’s a shocking read and one that will make you angry but it’s very comprehensive and well written and I definitely recommend it.

WWW Wednesdays (21 July ’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

Unwell Women by Elinor Cleghorn

I’ve read the first five chapters of this one so far and I can’t wait to read more. It’s a fascinating look at the history of how women have been treated by medical professionals over the years.

Next of Kin by Kia Abdullah

I started this book yesterday and I am gripped. It follows the awful story of a young child dying in a hot car having been forgotten about. The novel then follows the child’s parents and his mother’s sister, who left the child as we find out what happened. I feel like there are going to be twists and turns in this novel and I’m intrigued to see where it’s going.

Recent Reads

All My Mothers by Joanna Glen

This book is beautiful, I adored it! It follows Eva who lives with her parents who are quite cold and she never feels like she fits with them. Over the years she enjoys other people’s families and sees what she has missed out on. Ultimately this is a novel about found family and how that can bring you so much, and be just as important as the family you start out with. I loved this novel and I highly recommend it.

The Heights by Louise Candlish

Wow, this book is so good. I was gripped from start to finish and definitely think this is Candlish’s best book to date! This book follows a mother who becomes fixated on the boy who she knows is a bad influence on her son but things get out of control. I couldn’t put this book down, and now I’ve finished it I keep thinking about it!

A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins

This was one of my most anticipated reads for this year and I’m really happy to say that it didn’t disappoint! It follows three women in the aftermath of a murder and it’s so gripping!

Yours Cheerfully by AJ Pearce

I very much enjoyed this audiobook. It is the sequel to Dear Mrs Bird and it was lovely to be back with Emmie and seeing how her life is going. This is a book looking at women’s issues during the war and it manages to both highlight how difficult it was while at the same time being a feel-good read. I loved this and I recommend it.

The Island Home by Libby Page

This is a lovely read and I very much enjoyed it. I loved reading about the characters and the island of Kip, it’s such a feel-good read. I recommend this one.

What I Might Read Next

Freckles by Cecelia Ahern

The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman

These are the next two books to be read from my NetGalley shelf and while they’re not published until September I’m so keen to get to them so will hopefully get to read them this week.

What are you at the moment? Have you read any good books recently? I’d love to know 🙂

Mini Book Reviews: Fragile | Rock Paper Scissors | The Couple at No. 9 | 56 Days

Fragile by Sarah Hilary

I listened to this book on audio from NetGalley and I found it really engrossing. It follows Nell who has had a difficult childhood. She ended up in foster care but her foster mum was quite neglectful and left her and Joe to pretty much look after a younger child, Rosie, on their own. One day something terrible happens and Nell and Joe end up running away to London. Time has moved on a little when we first meet Nell and she is trying to find Joe but also to find somewhere to live and she ends up becoming a house keeper for Dr Wilder. This novel has an insidious sense of foreboding running through it – both in the present and as we slowly learn about the past – and I really enjoyed that element. This felt quite an intense book, I felt really invested in Nell’s story and finding out about her but at the same time it felt quite claustrophobic. I listened to this book in just two sittings though because I just wanted to know what was going to happen and how it was all going to end!

This book is out now!

Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

I loved this book! Rock Paper Scissors follows Adam and Amelia in alternating chapters as they go on a mini break for their tenth wedding anniversary. Also interspersed throughout the novel are also letters to Adam from his wife. The couple are clearly not the happiest of couples and when they arrive at their destination it’s clear this is not the cosy escape and chance to reignite their love that each might have hoped. They’re staying in a converted church in the middle of nowhere, it’s snowing and isolated and a bit creepy. It’s clear from the start that something isn’t right but I couldn’t put my finger on what was going on. I had so many things running through my head about what might be happening and I was wrong every single time, which I loved! This book had me hooked from start to finish and I read it all in one sitting as I just couldn’t put it down! This is Alice Feeney at her best and I very much enjoyed this one. If you loved Sometimes I Lie then you’ll adore this!

This book is due to be published on 19th August.

The Couple at No. 9 by Claire Douglas

The premise of this novel gave me chills – Tom and Saffron, who is pregnant with their first baby, have moved into their dream home which she has inherited from her Grandmother. They’re in the middle of a renovation project when their builders find two skeletons buried in the back garden! Police begin investigating and it seems there might be a connection to Saffy’s grandma Rose. We also get chapters set in the past when Rose first moved to the cottage and slowly the two timelines build up a picture of all the people who have lived in this house and how any of them might be connected to the present day discovery. I found this novel really gripping, I loved both timelines and I couldn’t figure out what was going to happen. This novel kept me on my toes and I really enjoyed it!

This book is due to be published on 19th August.

56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard

This book is brilliant! It follows Ciara and Oliver who randomly meet one day and seem to click straight away. But then lockdown is announced and they decide to move in together for this period of time so that they can keep seeing each other. This is 56 days ago. In the present day we follow the police as a body has been found in an apartment and it’s the place this new couple were living! I was gripped from the very first pages of this novel and I devoured it as I just didn’t want to put it down. This is a novel that seems like it’s going one way and then the rug is pulled out from under you and I loved that. I was stunned by some of the reveals that come along and it had me unnerved that I hadn’t seen certain things coming. This is my favourite thriller of the year so far and I highly recommend it!

This book is due to be published on 19th August.

I received all four of these books from the publishers via NetGalley. All thoughts are my own.

WWW Wednesdays (14 Jul ’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 Island Home by Libby Page

Yours Cheerfully by AJ Pearce

Recent Reads

Death on Ocean Boulevard by Caitlin Rother

Fragile by Sarah Hilary

Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

What I Might Read Next

All My Mothers by Joanna Glen

The Heights by Louise Candlish

Next of Kin by Kia Abdullah

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

My 2021 Reading Stats (so far)!

I can’t believe that we’re halfway through 2021 already, I really don’t know where the time has gone. I always love looking at my reading spreadsheets at this point in the year to see how my reading looks like so far.

I set my reading goal at 100 books for this year and I’ve already completed my Goodreads challenge. I set my goal to less than normal as I was hoping to focus on reading some bigger books this year but so far that hasn’t really happened. I’m happy to have finished 116 books already though and am looking forward to reading lots more books over the second half of the year.

The longest book that I’ve read so far this year is The Disappearance of Stephanie Mailer by Joel Dicker – my edition had 640 pages. The shortest book I’ve read was one I grabbed on a whim while I have a free trial of Kindle Unlimited – Suzy Lamplugh: Missing by Netta Newbound which had 49 pages. The average page count of books I’ve read this year is 344, which I’m very happy with.

This is the breakdown of genres that I’ve read this year. I’m fairly happy with the spread of what I’m reading although I’m a little disappointed that the nonfiction reads amount to a combined total of just 19.1% as I usually read more. I think it’s down to life being stressful and my anxiety levels being high and so I’ve sought out escapism in thrillers and general fiction. I hope as life begins to feel more normal that my reading tastes will start to go back to how they used to be and I might get more nonfiction read then.

As is definitely the norm for me I’ve read far more female authors than male this year. I’ve never consciously picked more books by female authors it’s just how my reading naturally seems to fall and I’m happy with this.

This chart shows the format of books that I’ve been reading this year. I’m surprised that the audiobook percentage is so low but I think this is because my husband only went back to work (after being on furlough) a month or so ago so up until then I didn’t have as much chance to listen to books. I have still been buying audiobooks though so I have lots to look forward to listening to over the rest of the year. My ebook reading percentage is very high but I’ve been reading my way through my NetGalley books and also due to my new eye problem I struggle to read print books now and need to be able to adjust the size of font. I think going forward my reading will be pretty much all ebooks and audiobooks, with the occasional print book in the mix as I do still have print books on my bookcase that I’d like to read if I can.

This chart shows where I acquired the books that I’ve been reading in 2021. This breakdown is about what I expected it to be as I’ve really been focusing on reading NetGalley books this year as I try to catch up on ARCs. A lot of my review copies were acquired last year so it’s been good to finally get those read and reviewed.

This chart shows where I’ve been getting my books from in 2021. I always like to look at this chart in my spreadsheet as it shows that while I am lucky to receive and read ARCs I do still buy the vast majority of my books. I always want to support authors and publishers so I’m really pleased with how my acquisitions breakdown.

So that’s my 2021 reading so far in statistics!

How is your reading going this year? I hope you’re reading lots of lovely books. 🙂

WWW Wednesdays (7 Jul ’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

Death on Ocean Boulevard by Caitlin Rother

This is a true crime book about the death of Rebecca who was found dead in an apparent suicide but the way her body was found makes it seem very implausible that she did this to herself. The crime scene was compromised early on due to it initially being called in as a suicide. I don’t remember this case at the time so I know nothing about what happens but it’s devastating to read about what happened.

Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

I’m about a quarter of the way into this one and so far this is Alice Feeney at her best! The novel so far follows a married couple who are having a weekend away in the middle of nowhere to try and get their marriage back on track. We follow each of their points of view in alternating chapters interspersed with a letter from the wife to her husband that she has written on each of their anniversaries. There is a real sense of unease from the start with this novel and I feel quite on edge reading it – I can’t wait to read more though and to see where this novel is going!

Recent Reads

Safe at Home by Lauren North

This is such a gripping read following an anxious woman who feels the need to keep her children close. One night she trusts one of her eleven year old daughters to stay home alone for twenty minutes but she gets delayed and when she gets home it’s clear something has happened but her daughter won’t talk about it. I really enjoyed this novel, it kept me guessing all the way through.

Hope Close by Tina Seskis

I got this one on audio from Kindle Unlimited and I enjoyed listening to it. It follows a handful of residents on Hope Close, all with their secrets to hide and it follows them as things begin to resurface and cause issues in the present.

The Other Wife by Claire McGowan

I also listened to this one on Kindle Unlimited and it was an okay book. It follows three women who all seem separate from one another but it seems certain that their paths will cross at some point. There are twists in store and some of them caught me off guard but it was just an okay read for me.

The Lucky Eight by Sheila Bugler

This was a fun read following a group of people who all survived the same plane crash and are now bound together as being part of the media-dubbed ‘lucky eight’. There are secrets and lies amongst this group and so when one of them is found dead – presumed murdered – the pressure mounts. I enjoyed this one, it kept me gripped all the way through.

Stronger by Poorna Bell

I love Poorna Bell’s writing so was keen to get to this one. I borrowed the audiobook from the library and I listened to it over two days. This is the author’s story of how she found sport after her husband’s sudden death. She got into weight lifting and the book is all about how sport can help in all aspects of life – physical and mental – and I found it fascinating. I can’t exercise in any meaningful way because of my disability but I am working on losing weight to improve my health and I know the difference it makes when your body starts to feel stronger and healthier.

The Miracle Pill by Peter Walker

This is another fascinating audiobook about how our sedentary lives are damaging our health in so many ways. It’s full of science and anecdotal evidence along with the author’s own experiences and I found it to be so interesting. I would recommend this to everyone and I’m planning on buying a kindle copy so I can read it and highlight relevant sections.

What I Might Read Next

Fragile by Sarah Hilary

Unwell Women by Elinor Cleghorn

The Pact by Sharon Bolton

As usual I don’t know what I’ll read this week but the above three are the ones that are calling to me the most right now!

My Favourite NonFiction of 2021 So Far!

Yesterday I shared my favourite novels that I’ve read this year so far and today it’s the turn of nonfiction books. I’ve not read as much nonfiction this year as I normally do but the books I have read have been excellent, and these eight books are the best of the best.

Best nonfiction read in 2021 so far!

How to be Broken by Dr Emma Kavanagh

This Party’s Dead by Erica Buist

Don’t Touch My Hair by Emma Dabiri

Super Sick by Allison Alexander

Invisible Women by Caroline Cried Perez

Really Saying Something by Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward

Hungry by Grace Dent

All the Young Men by Ruth Coker Burks

What’s your favourite nonfiction read of this year so far? I’d love to know! 🙂

My Favourite Novels of 2021 so far!

I can’t believe we’re halfway through 2021 already! This means that it’s time to pick my favourite books that I’ve read this year so far though, and while making this list is hard I do love putting this post together and showcasing my favourite books.

Today I’m sharing my favourite novels that I’ve read this year and tomorrow I will share my favourite nonfiction books.

The books I’ve chosen are all books that have made a difference to my life in some way this year and I’m so grateful to have found so many wonderful books. My list is in no particular order as it was impossible to pick a favourite, all 21 of these books are well worth a read. 🙂

Here are my favourite novels of 2021 so far…

The Disappearance of Stephanie Mailer by Joel Dicker

One Last Time by Helga Flatland

Leaving Atlanta by Tayari Jones

Home Stretch by Graham Norton

Mountain Road, Late at Night by Alan Rossi

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard

This Is How We Are Human by Louise Beech

The Twenty Seven Club by Lucy Nichol

The Girl in the Missing Poster by Barbara Copperthwaite

All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle

Truth by Told by Kia Abdullah

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

Dear Justyce by Nic Stone

Perfect Tunes by Emily Gould

The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth

Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Outsiders by James Corbett

Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason

True Crime Story by Joseph Knox

What are your favourite novels of the year so far? I’d love to know! 🙂

Mini Book Reviews: Both of You | The First Day of Spring | The Murder of Graham Catton | Passenger List

Today I’m sharing some more of my mini reviews of books that I’ve enjoyed recently. All four of these books are from NetGalley but are out now!

Both of You by Adele Parks

Both of You is the story of Leigh who is happily married with two step-children but one day she disappears. Her husband is slow to report her missing as she works away during the week so he wasn’t sure when exactly she disappeared. We follow him, and the detective who is working on the case. Then soon after another woman is reported missing by her husband and it’s in similar circumstances and this is when the tension begins to ramp up. I found this book really fast-paced and while I spotted whodunnit early on my enjoyment was not marred by this as I was so invested in the why and the how. There are quite a few suspects and suspicious happenings throughout the book which does put you off the scent somewhat, which I liked. I read this book in just a day as I didn’t want to put it down, I needed to know if my suspicions were correct and to see how it would end. I would say that the ending is very abrupt and you are left reeling a little bit by that but the more the book sits with you the more it makes sense for it to end the way it does. I recommend this one for your summer reading plans!

The First Day of Spring by Nancy Tucker

I really enjoyed The First Day of Spring – I listened to the audiobook and I read it every single chance I had as I just wanted to know how this novel was going to go. The story follows Chrissie who seems quite neglected and has a difficult home life – her mother is very cold and her father is often absent. One day she kills a younger child and does all she can to avoid being caught. This novel is so delicately written that you can’t help but have sympathy and compassion for Chrissie, even when you know what she’s done. It’s actually heartbreaking when you hear her thoughts of what death means and it’s awful when you realise how little she understands. The novel also follows Chrissie as an adult when she has a young child of her own and is struggling to know how to nurture a child when she was never nurtured. I found this such a moving novel, which is rare in crime fiction. It really got to me and I keep finding myself thinking about it. It’s definitely a novel that makes you pause and think, whilst also being such a gripping and engaging thriller. I recommend this one!

The Murder of Graham Catton by Katie Lowe

I can’t help but be drawn to novels featuring a crime podcast so this one seemed like it was for me. The novel follows Hannah whose husband was murdered in the family home a decade before. Hannah can’t remember all the details of what happened but a man named Mike was convicted of the crime. Now a true crime podcast is going over the case and looking at potential new evidence. Hannah works at a psychiatric clinic and has had her own mental health battles so this is a very stressful time for her. She felt like quite an unreliable narrator to me and I was never sure whether I could believe what she was portraying. This novel does requite some suspension of disbelief but it didn’t stop my enjoyment nor did it stop me reading at every opportunity as I wanted to know whodunnit and why. There wasn’t as much of the actual podcast in this novel as I’d hoped there would be – we hear about it second hand as Hannah and her family talk about it whereas I’d been expecting some transcripts. I enjoyed this novel all the same though and will definitely read more by this author in the future.

Passenger List by John Dryden

I seem to be reading a lot of books recently about bad things that happen involving planes but I’m finding them all quite addictive. Passenger List follows Kaitlin as she tries to find out what happened to the flight that went missing with her twin brother on board. She doesn’t believe the official explanation and is determined to get to the truth. This novel does require a lot of suspension of disbelief but if you can do that then it is a very fast paced page turner and one that will keep you guessing all the way to the end. There are lots dark alleys and red herrings in the novel alongside quite a few shady characters but all this serves to keep you on your toes, and I quite liked not knowing who to trust and not knowing if Kaitlin was making good decisions or not. This would make a great holiday read!

That Was The Month That Was… June 2021!

June has really flown by! My husband is back at work and we’re back in a normal routine again now. I’ve had my second vaccine (well, I will have had it when this post goes live) so it’s good to finally be fully vaccinated. I’m hoping to start getting out and about a bit more from now on.

We did go to the opticians in June as we were overdue for eye tests. My vision has been getting worse so I was expecting to need new varifocals but actually my vision hasn’t changed much, the problem is my eye. The optician thinks it’s linked to the damage in my spinal cord, which sadly means nothing much can be done. He has given me some eye exercises to do so I’m working on those in the hope it will help strengthen the muscles in my eye. I’ve also got reading glasses for when I’m spending longer periods reading. It all means that I’m struggling to read print books and this isn’t going to change so I have to accept more reading on Kindle (where I can make the font bigger) and listening to audio books from now on. I’m struggling with reading on a computer screen so I can only apologise for being so slow to read and reply to comments. I do always appreciate comments on my posts and feel awful that I can’t reply very quickly or to comment on your blogs as much as I would dearly like to.

I didn’t read as much in June as I’d planned to but we’ve been watching a lot of the Euros and also squeezing in episodes of The Sopranos where we can. We’re now only a few episodes from the end and part of me is keen to see how it ends and the other part of me doesn’t want it to end because it’s been so good.

Here are the books I read in June…

The Outsiders by James Corbett

Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason

Don’t Touch My Hair by Emma Dabiri

True Crime Story by Joseph Knox

This is How We Are Human by Louise Beech

The First Day of Spring by Nancy Tucker

Super Sick by Allison Alexander

Everything Happens for a Reason by Katie Allen

Leaving Atlanta by Tayari Jones

Suzy Lamplugh: Missing by Netta Newbound

Claudia Lawrence: Missing by Netta Newbound

The Final Revival of Opal and Nev by Dawnie Walton

Passenger List by John Dryden

Both of You by Adele Parks

The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell

56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard

All the Young Men by Ruth Coker Burks

How was June for you? I hope it was a good month and that you’re keeping well. What was your favourite book read in June? I’d love to know! 🙂

WWW Wednesdays (30 Jun ’21)! What are you reading?

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 Home by Libby Page

I wanted to save this book to read this week as when this post goes live I’ll have had my second vaccine (and hopefully I won’t be feeling as ill as with the first) and know that Libby Page writes such engaging, comforting books. I’ve only read the first couple of chapters so far but I know I’m going to love this one.

The Miracle Pill by Peter Walker

I bought this audio book on a whim in the recent Audible sale and I’m so glad I did. This is a really interesting book about how we got so sedentary and how we can change. There is so much information about how the smallest changes can have a huge impact on our bodies and I’m finding it so motivating as I continue on my weight loss journey.

Recent Reads

All the Young Men by Ruth Coker-Burks

I bought a copy of this on Kindle in the end as I was struggling to read the print book and I’m so glad I did. This book is so moving but such an incredible read. Ruth is an amazing woman, the way she reached out to men who were dying from AIDS and ostracised from their families as a result is incredible. She acknowledged her fear but she pushed through because her compassion won through. This is a book everyone should read.

56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard

I devoured this thriller in one sitting, I honestly just didn’t want to put it down for a minute! It’s a lockdown novel focusing on a couple who have been on a handful of dates at the beginning of Coronavirus restrictions and they decide to move in together so they can still see each other in lockdown. The novel opens with a body being found and then goes back and forth in time as we learn who is dead, what happened and how the couple are connected. It’s such a gripping book, I loved it!

The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell

I read most of this novel in one sitting too as it was just so gripping and I wanted to know what happened! It follows a young mum as she struggles in her relationship with her boyfriend, and is captivated by a new friend at college. We also follow her mum in the aftermath of her daughter’s disappearance. This book had me so enthralled, I was annoyed when real life pulled me away from the story. I recommend this one too!

Both of You by Adele Parks

This is another great read from this week. It’s a novel about a woman that goes missing, and her husband as he tries to work out what happened. We also get the perspective of the police. The case becomes even more intense when another woman goes missing and her husband seems a little off. I really enjoyed this book, it kept me on my toes all the way through. I had to suspend disbelief at times, and I did work out what was going on quite early but none of that stopped me enjoying the novel.

Passenger List by John Dryden

This novel follows Kaitlin as she desperately hunts for the truth when the plane her twin brother was travelling on goes missing. She doesn’t believe the official story and is determined to find out what happened to her brother and the other passengers. This novel was different to what I was expecting and it requires a lot of suspension of disbelief but it was a quick, fun read.

What I Might Read Next