My Christmas Book Haul!

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It seems a little late to be doing a Christmas book haul but I really wanted to share the books that I got for Christmas and haven’t been able to get this post together until now. As a lifelong bookworm I sometimes get one or two books for Christmas but up until I met my husband these book were always books I had asked for as most people say that they can’t buy me books because either they think I already have everything, or they think books are boring! My husband has always given me some books for Christmas as stocking fillers and I’ve always been so happy and grateful for them. This year though I got a book mountain. I think there are twenty-six books in total…

Firstly, I got this gorgeous set of eight Vintage Christmas books

They were in a lovely set together and I’ve already read two of them. The titles are:

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg

Dickens at Christmas by Charles Dickens

Christmas Holiday by W. Somerset Maugham

Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow by Peter Hoeg

If On A Winter’s Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino

Winter Holiday by Arthur Ransome

I love that some of them are more winter reads than Christmas reads as it means I can continue reading them now Christmas is over. I’ll definitely be looking forward to the more festive ones as next Christmas gets here.

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I also got this beautiful Puffin hardback edition of A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. This book was one of my all-time favourite reads a a child and whilst I still have my original copy, it’s so old and battered that I wouldn’t dare re-read that edition. I’ve kept looking at this hardback copy online but couldn’t justify buying it for myself, I’m over the moon to finally own it and will definitely be re-reading it this year!

Continuing the theme of childhood reads, he also gave me this beautiful slipcase edition of Alice in Wonderland, and Through the Looking Glass. It’s such a beautiful set and I’m looking forward to re-reading these books.

I have a pet guinea pig (called Robson), who is so adorable, so these next two books were perfect for me. I’m now wondering whether I could bribe Robson into dressing up as Oliver  Twist! Haha!

Back to serious reading now… Here are the novels that I was given:

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

What I Had Before I Had You by Sarah Cornwell

Romancing the Dark in the City of Light by Ann Jacobus

Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahern

The Girl from the Garden by Parnaz Foroutan

Unbecoming by Rebecca Sherm

The Whole Golden World by Kristina Riggle

The Non-Fiction books I got:

The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

Irritable Hearts: A PTSD Love Story by Mac McClelland

Turn Around Bright Eyes by Rob Sheffield

The Girl by Samantha Geimer

There was one short story collection:

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This book is called Music for Wartime by Rebecca Makkai and it sounds like such a brilliant book. I can’t wait to dip into these stories. Also, what a gorgeous cover!

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It’s become something of a tradition to get me one of the illustrated Carol Ann Duffy poem books for Christmas and this year he chose Another Night Before Christmas because it is illustrated by Rob Ryan, whose illustrations I love.

 

The final gifts weren’t books but they were partly related to books…

Two Penguin mugs – A Common Reader by Virginia Woolf and A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf. I’m still not sure how my husband knew I adored Virginia Woolf but I’m over the moon with these mugs!

An Aladdin Sane necklace that I first saw earlier this year and have wanted ever since. I’m so happy to finally own it (and it fits with me also getting another Bowie biography). I also got a gorgeous sunflower necklace from the same company as it’s my favourite flower.


 

I was very spoilt and don’t think receiving so many books for Christmas will ever be topped! It was wonderful… and my husband, who hates wrapping presents, wrapped everything individually too so it was like being a kid again having so much to open on Christmas morning!

 

Did you have a nice Christmas? Were you given any new books, or have you bought some yourself for Christmas?

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WWW Wednesday (6th January)

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?


What I’m reading now:

First by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

First by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
I received a copy of this book to review. I’ve only read a few chapters so far but am intrigued by it; it’s not a subject I’ve read about before in YA so it’s holding my interest.
Synopsis:
Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time-the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy – so far. Her mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn – or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her own reputation -and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, Laurie Elizabeth Flynn’s Firsts is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.

A Proper Family Christmas by Chrissie Manby

 

A Proper Family Christmas by Chrissie Manby

I started reading this just after Christmas but then got side-tracked with books I got for Christmas. I’ve just picked it back up and am really enjoying it. I read and reviewed the first book in this series (A Proper Family Holiday review) when I first started my blog and while I’m not sure that this is quite as good as that one, it’s still a very enjoyable read. I’m halfway through it and Christmas hasn’t even been mentioned yet so I’m guessing that it will end at the holiday season, meaning this book could be read at any time of year so don’t let the title put you off picking it up before December 2016!

Synopsis:

Take one Queen Bee: Annabel Buchanan, with a perfect house in the country, a rich husband and a beautiful daughter, Izzy . . .
. . . and one large, loud family: the Bensons.
What happens when their worlds collide?
When Izzy suddenly falls dangerously ill, adoptee Annabel has to track down her biological family to see if they can help her daughter. But can she see past the Bensons’ brash exteriors to the warm, loving people they are at heart?
With December just around the corner, is it too much to hope that the Bensons and the Buchanans can have a proper family Christmas?


**Edited post** I wrote my WWW on Tuesday evening and scheduled it for this morning, as is the norm for me. I included a book that I bought yesterday and I’d only read three chapters when I put it in my post. I’ve since read a few more chapters and it’s not a book I feel I can read anymore of. I should have known it would be what it was but I got swept up in the hype and wanted to read it. It’s really not a book for me and I don’t feel comfortable having it on my blog so I’m removing it from my WWW post and obviously I won’t be reviewing it.


What I recently finished reading: 

(I’ve reviewed two of these books so far, please click on the highlighted links to read my reviews. I will be reviewing the other two books soon so keep an eye out for those!)

The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood

Every Time A Bell Rings by Carmel Harrington

Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

Mrs Scrooge by Carol Ann Duffy


What I plan on reading next:

Beside Myself by Ann Morgan

Beside Myself by Ann Morgan (Due out 14th January in the UK)

Synopsis:

Helen and Ellie are identical twins ? like two peas in a pod, everyone says.

The girls know this isnt true, though: Helen is the leader and Ellie the follower.

Until they decide to swap places: just for fun, and just for one day.

But Ellie refuses to swap back…

And so begins a nightmare from which Helen cannot wake up. Her toys, her clothes, her friends, her glowing record at school, the favour of her mother and the future she had dreamed of are all gone to a sister who blossoms in the approval that used to belong to Helen. And as the years pass, she loses not only her memory of that day but also herself ? until eventually only Smudge is left.

Twenty-five years later, Smudge receives a call from out of the blue. It threatens to pull her back into her sisters dangerous orbit, but if this is her only chance to face the past, how can she resist?

Beside Myself is a compulsive and darkly brilliant psychological drama about family and identity ? what makes us who we are and how very fragile it can be.

This Raging Light by Estelle Laure

This Raging Light by Estelle Laure (Due out 14th January in the UK)

Synopsis:

How is it that you suddenly notice a person? How is it that one day Digby was my best friend’s admittedly cute twin brother, and then the next he stole air, gave jitters, twisted my insides up?

Lucille has bigger problems than falling for her best friend’s unavailable brother. Her mom has gone, leaving her to look after her sister, Wren. With bills mounting up and appearances to keep, Lucille is raging against her life but holding it together – just.

A stunning debut to devour in one sitting, Laure captures completely the agony and ecstasy of first love.

The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells by Virginia MacGregor

The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells by Virginia MacGregor (Due out 14th January in the UK)

Synopsis:

One ordinary morning, Norah walked out of her house on Willoughby Street and never looked back. Six years later, she returns to the home she walked away from only to find another woman in her place. Fay held Norah’s family together after she disappeared, she shares a bed with Norah’s husband and Norah’s youngest daughter calls Fay ‘Mummy’.

Now that Norah has returned, everyone has questions. Where has she been? Why did she leave? And why is she back? As each member of the family tries to find the answers they each need, they must also face up to the most pressing question of all – what happens to The Mother Who Stayed when The Mother Who Left comes back?

From the author of What Milo Saw, comes this powerful, emotional and perceptive novel about what it takes to hold a family together and what you’re willing to sacrifice for the ones you love.

Year of Yes by Shonda Rimes

Year of Yes by Shonda Rimes (Out now in the UK)

I couldn’t resist buying this when it came out as I LOVE Shonda’s TV shows, plus it sounds like an inspiring read for the start of a brand new year!

In this poignant, hilarious and deeply intimate call to arms, Hollywood’s most powerful woman, the mega-talented creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How to Get Away with Murder, reveals how saying YES changed her life – and how it can change yours too.
With three hit shows on television and three children at home, Shonda Rhimes had lots of good reasons to say no when invitations arrived. Hollywood party? No. Speaking engagement? No. Media appearances? No.
And to an introvert like Shonda, who describes herself as ‘hugging the walls’ at social events and experiencing panic attacks before press interviews, there was a particular benefit to saying no: nothing new to fear.
Then came Thanksgiving 2013, when Shonda’s sister Delorse muttered six little words at her: You never say yes to anything.
Profound, impassioned and laugh-out-loud funny, in Year of Yes Shonda Rhimes reveals how saying YES changed – and saved – her life. And inspires readers everywhere to change their own lives with one little word: Yes.

The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck by Sarah Knight

The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k by Sarah Knight

I’ve been seeing this book everywhere for a couple of weeks now and just couldn’t resist buying it any longer. It just seems like it will be a very amusing and perfect read for the start of a new year!

Synopsis:

The surprising art of caring less and getting more 

Are you stressed out, overbooked and underwhelmed by life? Fed up with pleasing everyone else before you please yourself? Then it’s time to stop giving a f**k.

This irreverent and practical book explains how to rid yourself of unwanted obligations, shame, and guilt – and give your f**ks instead to people and things that make you happy.

From family dramas to having a bikini body, the simple ‘NotSorry Method’ for mental decluttering will help you unleash the power of not giving a f**k and will free you to spend your time, energy and money on the things that really matter.


 

What are you reading at the moment? Have you finished any good books recently? Any books you’re looking forward to reading soon? Please feel free to join in with this meme and share your link below, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below.

Weekly Wrap up and Stacking the Shelves (2nd January)

It’s time for my first weekly wrap up of 2016! Firstly, I’d like to take the time to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped and supported me as I found my feet in the book blogging world, I am more grateful than I can say. Starting this blog was one of the best things I did in 2015. I never expected that people would read my reviews or follow my blog, and I never knew that I would make genuine friends as a result of becoming a book blogger. It’s really not an understatement to say that starting this blog has changed my life already.

I last did a weekly wrap up post on 19th December so I’m going to use this post to recap all that has happened since then. My reading pace has slowed down massively since I was poorly at the start of December. I’m still not 100% well and due to my physio schedule becoming more intensive I’m exhausted and in increased amounts of pain a lot of the time and reading is near impossible when I feel like that. As a result of illness I barely blogged in December and I’m not going to be back at full blogging speed for a while yet. I am planning to post regular posts from now on though, they just won’t be daily as they were before.

Anyway, my recent posts have included:

My Christmas Novel Recommendations, where I shared my favourite Christmas reads of 2015.

My Favourite Ten Books of 2015, which was so hard to compile as I’ve read so many great books this year.

I also shared the 2015 Year in Review post that WordPress emailed to me.

Yesterday, I posted about My Most Anticipated Books of 2016, where I shared some of the books I’m most excited about reading when they’re released this year.


 

I’ve read five books (since 19th December) and have so far managed to review three of them, I hope to review the other two soon (click on the links below the images to read my reviews).

Snowed in for her Wedding by Emma Bennet

The Christmas Bus by Melody Carlson

Every Time a Bell Rings by Carmel Harrington 

Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

Mrs Scrooge by Carol Ann Duffy (which was my first read of 2016!)

 


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

 

For Christmas I received four books, which was fab! Three were from my husband and the fourth was a gift from the publisher HarperImpulse.

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My husband gave me:

Spectacles by Sue Perkins (which I’ve been wanting to read since it was published back in October, so I’m very happy to have a copy now)

Mrs Scrooge by Carol Ann Duffy (this is a gorgeous, illustrated poem that I adored. I now want to collect her previous Christmas poems!)

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume (I have an ebook of this but haven’t read it yet as I’ve been saving it – as I often do with books by favourite authors – I’m thrilled to not only now have a hardback copy but it’s also signed by Judy!)

HarperImpulse sent me a copy of Miracle at Macy’s by Lynn Marie Hulsman, which was a lovely surprise!


 

Books I’ve bought since 19 December:

Public Library and Other Stories by Ali Smith

Jihadi by Yusuf Toropov

The Green Road by Anne Enright

We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley

A Daughter’s Secret by Eleanor Moran

A Line of Blood by Ben McPherson

Love, Love Me Do by Mark Haysom


 

Books I’ve received for review (since 19 December):

The Chimes by Anna Smaill (print copy)

One More Day by Kelly Simmons (ecopy)

The Girl You Lost by Kathryn Croft (ecopy)


 

 

What have you been reading this week? Did you get any books for Christmas? Have you bought any new books? Please feel free to link to your wrap-up post, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below! 🙂