#BookReview: Snow Sisters by @CarolLovekin @Honno #BlogTour

snow sisters blog tour poster

About the Book

Two sisters, their grandmother’s old house and Angharad… the girl who cannot leave.

Meredith discovers a dusty sewing box in a disused attic. Once open the box releases the ghost of Angharad, a Victorian child-woman with a horrific secret she must share. Angharad slowly reveals her story to Meredith who fails to convince her more pragmatic sister of the visitations until Verity sees Angharad for herself on the eve of an unseasonal April snowstorm.

Forced by her flighty mother to abandon Gull House for London, Meredith struggles to settle, still haunted by Angharad and her little red flannel hearts. This time, Verity is not sure she will be able to save her…

Two parallel coming of age stories – one tragic, the other holding out the hope of salvation.

 

My Thoughts

I read Carol Lovekin’s novel Ghostbird last year and it now has a very special place in my heart. It was my favourite book of 2016 and is now my go-to book when I’m in need of solace so you can probably imagine just how much I’ve been looking forward to Snow Sisters. I was thrilled beyond words when I was invited to read an advance copy for the blog tour and I’m so happy to say that it exceeded all my (very high) expectations!

Snow Sisters is the story of Verity and Meredith Pryce. Verity is the elder sister and seems to be more grounded and more sure of how her future might look whereas Meredith is much more whimsical. She can’t seem to see a future beyond where she is now at her beloved Gull House surrounded by magic and fae.  Slowly Meredith realises she is being visited by the ghost of Angharad, a girl who lived in the house a hundred years ago.

This novel is so breathtakingly beautiful. Carol Lovekin has such a wonderful way of writing that draws you right in and makes you feel like you’re right inside the story she is weaving. From the very beginning of this book it felt like magic had been cast on me and I was living this life with these girls. The novel is very ethereal and otherworldly at times with the presence of Angharad and the sense of magic around Gull House, and at it’s heart it’s also a gorgeous and moving story about the bond between two sisters.

She was made from air and impulse and she hung a fishing net outside her bedroom window to catch falling stars.

This is very much a novel about spirited women and girls who are trying to find their way in life, and also the ways in which so many women can find themselves sidelined in their own lives and made invisible like a ghostly presence. I loved that we saw flashes of spirit in Angharad in 1879 but then heartbreakingly life beats her down to a point where she can no longer find a way back, but those earlier moments of spirit really made me think of Meredith, and Allegra to a degree. Allegra is very single-minded and when she decides on a path in life she follows it at all cost regardless of the people around her. She is a mass of contradictions – she mocks Verity’s growing interest in feminism and yet will have a go at her because she is too passive in life. Meredith seemed like such an emotionally fragile girl in the early part of this book and it seemed that when Angharad first appeared to her that her spirit might overtake Meredith and overshadow her completely as Meredith seems to retreat into herself and begins to fade away. In the end it felt like the two girls, one hundred years apart, seemed somehow destined to come together, to converge, to try and make things right.

She leaned on her handlebars afraid she might cry. It isn’t that children don’t understand adult feelings or motives. They understand them only too well. It’s because children don’t have the words their powerless. I want my mother to be superior to us, the way mothers are supposed to be.

This novel is also very much about mothers and daughters and the relationships that run through the generations. Angharad’s mother seemed to believe what her daughter told her in the words she couldn’t say and yet she was unable to stop what would happen to her. She was a prisoner of her time, of her situation and of the men around her. Allegra Pryce appears to be really cold-hearted towards her oldest daughter, perhaps because she reminds her so much of the girls’ father who left her, but as the novel went on I found myself more intrigued by her. I think she was a damaged soul who just couldn’t find the solace that others could, she was a lost spirit herself and seemed to always be looking for a home, just like the ghost of Angharad. It felt like Allegra had spent her adult like searching for a man who could give her the love and adoration her father had given her up until his death, as once he died she just floundered and has been floundering ever since. Even as an adult she seeks to blame her mother for leaving her, and the anger seems too much for her to cope with but she’s like a small child looking for someone to notice her, to notice her pain. I just wanted her to step up and not hurt her children irreparably due to her being so blindsided by her own needs but I could understand that she was possibly just too broken.

Whilst I felt sympathy for Allegra, I couldn’t help but be angry at the way her inability to deal with her emotions wrought damage on her daughters, and her selfish nature hurt them both very badly. I adored the relationship Verity and Meredith had with their Grandmother though – she was more a mum to them and was the person who did the nurturing they both needed. All the magic that is woven around the garden at Gull House also felt like it was literally there but was also a metaphor of love and security that Nain had invested in the girls. It reminded me of how safe I always felt with my lovely Nan.

The bond between Verity and Meredith was wonderful to read. I loved the way that Verity was more grounded in reality but was happy to being the person her sister needed her to be. She allowed herself to be open to the idea of Angharad because her sister was so adamant that she was real and needed their help. It was also lovely to see how Meredith loved her sister just as much and while knew that she was her mother’s favourite she never once used that against Verity. These two girls have such a strong bond and it felt like they would get through anything together. It gave me such a sense of hope that things might just work out okay in the end, in the future long after this novel has ended. This quote brought such a lump to my throat because it says everything you need to know about Verity’s love for Meredith:

My sister never doubted the presence of magic and when she was five years old she told me she could grow flowers from her fingertips. Her solemn conviction was such, I half believed her.

This is a novel that almost defies genre – it’s part mystery, part ghost story and part family drama; it’s a novel about people trying to find their place in the world and it’s magical and lyrical and heartbreakingly beautiful. Snow Sisters is a novel to savour; it’s a story to really take your time with and to give yourself the chance to really appreciate what an incredible story it is. I turned the final page of this novel feeling like my life had been enriched in so many ways.

Snow Sisters is a stunningly beautiful novel that will weave it’s magic around you and it will hold you in its spell until long after you’ve finished reading it. I don’t think this book is going to let me go for a very long time, and I really don’t want it too. I want to stay held in the magic of that special garden in Gull House. I know that this will be a novel, like Ghostbird, that I return to time and time again and I can already say for certain that Snow Sisters will be on my top books of the year list! Go buy a copy right now, I promise you won’t regret it.

I received a copy of Snow Sisters from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Snow Sisters is out now!

 

About the Author

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My name is Carol Lovekin. I’m a writer of stories, a feminist & a flâneuse. I’m published by Honno, the Welsh Women’s Press. My first novel, Ghostbird was published in March 2016. It was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2016 and in the same year was longlisted for the Not the Booker Prize.

Snow Sisters, my second novel, was published on 21 September 2017. It has been chosen by the Welsh Books Council as their October Book of the Month (for independent shops.)

My stories concern the nature of magic and how it threads through the fabric of our lives. I explore possibilities: the fine line between the everyday and the world of enchantment. They are also firmly rooted in reality. I write about family relationships: how people, women in particular, respond to loss and how they survive. My books are set in Wales, where I’ve lived for decades: a place whose legends and landscapes inform my writing.

I write because I can’t tap-dance on a tightrope. Or juggle. And because I’d like to leave something attached to whatever exists after I’m gone. And where publishing is concerned, I’m the living proof that it’s never too late. If you have written a story you feel passionate about, one you believe in, persevere and don’t give up.

 

You can follow the rest of this blog tour at the following stops:

SS blog tour poster - full list

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My Reading Bingo Results for 2016!

I couldn’t resist joining in with reading bingo as it’s a great opportunity to look back at some of the books I read in 2016. (I did have this post almost written up to post at the end of 2016 but then pesky health stuff got in the way. I didn’t want my efforts to go to waste though so I hope no one minds me discussing my 2016 reads a week into 2017!)

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A book with more than 500 pages

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John Lennon: The Life by Philip Norman

I really enjoyed reading this biography, it was such an in-depth look at Lennon’s life and I even learnt some things that I hadn’t known about him before. This book has 851 pages and was the longest book I read in 2016 so definitely fits this square!

A forgotten classic

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The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum

I’ll be honest, I’d never heard of this book before 2016 but as soon as I knew about it I had to read it. It’s such a gorgeous book and quite possibly one that will go on my Christmas must-read list every year.

A book that became a movie

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Ethel and Ernest by Raymond Briggs

I can’t believe that I’d passed this book by until 2016! I was so wrong to not bother with graphic novels because it meant I missed out on novels like this one. It’s a gorgeous read and has opened my eyes to a whole new genre of books that I’m now very much enjoying. Ethel and Ernest was made into a film in late 2016 and was on TV over Christmas.

A book published this year

The Butcher's Hook by Janet Ellis

The Butcher’s Hook by Janet Ellis

I read quite a lot of novels that were published in 2016 during the year but I wanted to mention this one as I very much enjoyed reading it and often find it swirling around in my head. I’m eagerly anticipating whatever Janet Ellis writes next. I reviewed this book, and interviewed Janet Ellis, which you can read here: The Butcher’s Hook

A book with a number in the title

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Eleven Hours by Pamela Erens

I read a few books with a number in the title but chose this one because it’s a novel that has stayed with me. This is a book about a woman in labour and is a really interesting read. Whilst in the midst of giving birth she reflects on events in her life that led to where she is now, and this adds to the intensity of the novel. I’m not sure how I first heard about this book but it was one I really enjoyed reading and I would recommend it.

A book written by someone under 30

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Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson

Mara Wilson is 29 so this fits for this category. I bought this book very soon after it came out as I was such a fan of Mara Wilson when she was an actress. I adored her in Miracle on 34th Street, Mrs Doubtfire and Matilda, so was intrigued to find out what she’s doing now but also to read her insights into what it had been like to be a child star. It’s an interesting read.

A book with non-human characters

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Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien

I really enjoyed reading this over Christmas. It obviously does have some human characters but there are a lot of references to a bear and goblins amongst other creatures. It’s a lovely book to read over the festive period and I’d recommend it.

A funny book

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Bossypants by Tina Fey

I listened to this on audio book and as it’s narrated by Tina Fey herself it really added to the reading experience. I didn’t know much about her before but some of her stories are very amusing.

A book by a female author

Look At Me by Sarah Duguid

Look At Me by Sarah Duguid

I read quite a lot of books by female authors in 2016 but this one deserves to be mentioned again so that’s why I chose it. This is such a brilliant novel and it so nearly made me top ten books of 2016. It’s a look at families and relationships between siblings following the death of their mother. It’s a quirky book but has such depth to it. I reviewed this one when I read it so you can read that here: Look At Me

A book with a mystery

The Sister by Louise Jensen

The Sister by Louise Jensen

The Sister is the debut novel by Louise Jensen and it’s such a good read. It kept me guessing as to what had happened and I really enjoyed reading it. You can read my review here: The Sister

A book with a one-word title

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One by Sarah Crossan

I put off reading this book for ages and I don’t know why because it’s a brilliant read. It’s a novel written in verse about conjoined twins. There is so much packed into this short novel and it’s one that has really stayed with me.

A book of short stories

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Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

This book was a Christmas present in 2016 so was one of my final reads of the year and I very much enjoyed it. I have to be honest and say that I was expecting there to be more festive stories in the collection, but, that aside, it was a really good read. I read a few stories every day between Christmas and New Year and it felt like a little treat. I’m definitely going to make an attempt to read more Stella Gibbons in 2017. It’s also made me want to read more short story collections so I’m making that another aim for 2017.

Free square

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The Second Love of My Life by Victoria Walters

Obviously I could have picked anything for this square but I wanted to show this novel some more love! I really enjoyed this novel, it had a great story and had moments of lightness and moments that really got to me. I’m looking forward to reading whatever Victoria Walters writes next. You can read my review here: The Second Love of My Life

A book set on a different continent

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

This is an American novel (and I live in the UK) so it counts towards this square. I really enjoyed this twisty novel, it kept me guessing for most of the way through – every time I thought I had it all figured out there would be another twist. You can read my review here: The Couple Next Door

A book of non-fiction

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Mindfulness for Health by Vidyamala Burch

I read a lot of non-fiction in 2016 but wanted to pick a book for this square that meant a lot to me even though I haven’t written about it on my blog before. This book was recommended to me as part of my physio programme and it’s been such a useful read for me. I would recommend this book to anyone who suffers with chronic pain, or long-term illness, it’s really helped me to feel like I have a bit more control over my condition. It doesn’t make the pain go away but it does help you to learn how to put it in the background a bit so that it stops feeling completely overwhelming.

The first book by a favourite author

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Sweet Home by Carys Bray

I adore Carys Bray’s writing. I first read A Song for Issy Bradley when it came out and I loved it, and in 2016 I read her second novel The Museum of You and then soon after read Sweet Home, a short story collection, that was actually the first book that she had published. I highly recommend all three books, Carys Bray is a brilliant writer.

A book you heard about online

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Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin

I first heard about Ghostbird on social media and knew I simply had to read it as soon as I possibly could. This is why I love blogging so much – it’s led to me discovering even more wonderful books, and authors, that I may had missed otherwise. Ghostbird was my book of 2016, it is an incredibly debut novel. You can read my review here: Ghostbird

A best-selling book

The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss

The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss

This book is incredible and I urge all of you to go read it as soon as you can if you haven’t already.

A book based on a true story

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Acts of Violence by David Ryan Jahn

This is one of the books that I read as I was coming out of my horrendous reading slump in the summer of 2016 and it really captured my attention. I was fascinated with the idea that numerous people in an apartment complex could hear a woman screaming in terror and yet do nothing to help her. On finishing reading it I discovered that it was based on a true story and I was stunned that people really had literally turned their backs as this young woman was fighting for her life right outside their windows. It’s a harrowing read but one I’d recommend.

A book at the bottom of your TBR pile

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Travelling to Infinity by Jane Hawking

This is the book that has been on my TBR longest our of all the books I read in 2016. I don’t know why I didn’t read it before because I really enjoyed it once I got into it.

A book your friend loves

Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton

Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton

I bought this book as one of my mum-in-law’s birthday presents last year and she loved it. I already owned a copy but hadn’t read it at that point but after she told me how much she’d enjoyed it I made it my next read and loved it too. You can read my review here: Daisy in Chains

A book that scares you

The Ice Twins by S. K. Tremayne

The Ice Twins by SK Tremayne

I put off reading this book for so long because I was so scared of the premise. There is something about thrillers that have twins in them that adds to the fear factor for me (possibly a legacy of watching The Shining years ago). Anyway, I finally decided to give it a go and I just couldn’t put this down, it had my engrossed from the very first chapter. It did give me the creeps on more than one occasion, and I ended up reading the end once my husband was home as I didn’t want to read it when I was on my own (I’m a total wimp!) but I loved it. It’s such a great story. You can read my review here: The Ice Twins

A book that is more than ten years old

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Restless by William Boyd

I’ve had this book for ages but finally got around to reading to it in 2016 and I really enjoyed it. It’s made me want to read more of William Boyd in the future.

The second book in a series

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Edward Adrift by Craig Lancaster

I read the first book in this series in 2016 as well and I quite enjoyed them both. The first book left me wanting to know more so I ended up reading the second one quite soon after. They’re been on my TBR a while and I’m not sure why I hadn’t read them before as they’re really enjoyable reads.

A book with a blue cover

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The Midnight Watch by David Dyer

I actually read quite a few books with blue covers in 2016 but this was the one that came to mind when I saw this square on the bingo sheet. It’s a brilliant read about what happened on the Californian the night the titanic sunk to stop it coming to the aid of the stricken ship. It was one of those books that I couldn’t put down and I’d definitely recommend it. You can read my review here: The Midnight Watch


I successfully completely all the squares in reading bingo for 2016 so am very happy at that! Have you had a go at reading bingo 2016? I’d love to read your posts if you have, please feel free to leave links below.

My Top Ten Fiction Reads 2016

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At the start of 2016 I was undecided on what to set my Goodreads target at so I asked my husband to pick a number between 150 and 200 – he chose 180 (we were possibly watching darts on the telly at the time!). I was on target for the first part of the year and then over the summer I hit a horrible reading slump. I just couldn’t get into any books at all and barely read a thing for about three months. Eventually I got back into the swing of things but was fairly convinced I’d never make my reading goal. The thing that got me back into reading again was re-discovering my love for non-fiction and that joy led me to ending the year having read 211 books! I’m thrilled with what I’ve had the chance to read this year but it has made narrowing it down to a top ten near impossible. I’ve decided that as I read a real mix of fiction and non-fiction that I’d do a top ten of each – I don’t really consider it cheating seeing as 20 books in total is still under 10% of what I read this year.

Before I do my top ten I do want to do a couple of honourable mentions.

The first is to Katey Lovell for the wonderful The Boy in… series. I’ve spent a fair bit of time feeling rotten as my pain levels left me unable to concentrate and Katey Lovell’s series of short stories have got me through some really horrible days. They take 5 or ten mins to read and have honestly always left me feeling that little bit happier than I was before. These stories hold a special place in my heart and I love knowing I can always re-read one to cheer myself up.

Also, this is the year that I decided to try giving graphic novels a go. I’ve always felt a bit odd about them as, having never looked at one before, I assumed they were just like comics (and I never liked comics even when I was a child). However, I picked up Raymond Brigg’s Ethel and Ernest during my hideous reading slump and it was the perfect read in that moment. I couldn’t believe how much detail could be packed into a book with very few words and it really opened my eyes to this genre. I also bought my husband The Gigantic Beard that was Evil as a sort of joke and when I read it I couldn’t believe what a brilliant social commentary it was.


So now for my top ten fiction books of 2016! These books are in no particular order but I have picked two books that are my joint favourite books of the year!

This Must Be the Place by Maggie O'Farrell

This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell

I adore Maggie O’Farrell’s writing – I read her first novel After You’d Gone on the day it was released and it’s still one of my all-time favourite novels. I greatly look forward to a new novel by her and was thrilled to receive a proof of this one ahead of publication. This Must Be the Place is a brilliant novel, one that will stay with me for a long time to come.

You can read my original review here: This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell

The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss

The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss

This is the first Sarah Moss book I’ve read and it absolutely won’t be the last. I picked this up when I was in a major reading slump in the summer and somehow this grabbed my attention from the very first page and held me right until the end. I read this during my blogging break so I sadly haven’t reviewed it but I can assure you that it’s a stunning read and highly recommend you pick it up if you haven’t already.

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Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

This book is stunning and simply had to be part of my top ten of 2016, I knew it would make it as I was reading it. It’s a beautiful read and I recommend it to everyone.

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The Joyce Girl by Annabel Abbs

This is a fascinating novel about Lucia Joyce, the daughter of James Joyce. It’s a book that will hook you in and will hold you in its spell right to the end. It made me want to learn more about Lucia Joyce.

You can read my original review here: The Joyce Girl by Annabel Abbs

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Autumn by Ali Smith

This is one of the more recent reads in my Top Ten but it absolutely had to be included. Ali Smith is an incredible writer, I’ve loved everything that I’ve read of hers. Autumn is a book that got to me in so many ways on so many different levels and I’m sure it will stay with me for a very long time to come.

You can read my original review here: Autumn by Ali Smith

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

This book just captured me from the very start – I loved the two main characters and the bond they formed over such a short space of time. I think the thing that moved me most in this book was the idea of how life can be lost in an instant but the legacy, the memory left behind can still have such great impact on those that remain. This is a book I will definitely re-read in the future.

You can read my original review here: The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

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The Museum of You by Carys Bray

I loved Carys Bray’s first novel and so was very excited to be sent a proof of this one ahead of release. I read this over a couple of days, finding it very hard to put down. The idea of a young girl trying to piece together the memory of her mother in a tangible way is heart-breaking, and I felt so much for her. The reader knows more than the daughter, which makes it even more poignant to read her journey to put together what she knows of her mum. It’s a beautiful story that is ultimately heart-warming and one I still find myself thinking about months after I finished reading the novel.

You can read my original review here: The Museum of You by Carys Bray

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The Easy Way Out by Steven Amsterdam

I only read this novel recently but it had such an impact on me that I couldn’t not include it in my Top Ten of the year. A novel that explores assisted suicide, and yet is never mawkish and at times has a fair bit of black humour on the subject was always going to make for a fascinating read.

You can read my original review here: The Easy Way Out by Steven Amsterdam

And my joint favourite books of 2016 are…

Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin

I read Ghostbird way back in March and fell completely and utterly in love with Carol Lovekin’s writing. It’s such a beautiful, moving and, at times, devastating novel with magical elements weaved throughout. It captured me from the very first page and I devoured it. It’s one of those novels that seems to cast magic from it, it made me feel soothed and healed as I read. I’ve been recommending this book to everyone I know since I read it, and I’m going to say it again here – if you haven’t already read it then please go grab a copy now, I promise you won’t regret it!

You can read my original review here: Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin

How to be Brave by Louise Beech

This is a lesson for me in not getting my Top Ten books of the year done too early in December! I had this post prepared and ready to go and then I read How To Be Brave and knew there was going to have to be a re-jig as this novel went right to the top of my list! It’s a beautifully moving debut novel, that weaves together the story of a young girl and her mum coming to terms with serious illness alongside her grandfather’s battle for survival on a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean. It’s a novel that had such an impact on me and I keep finding myself thinking back to it. It’s another novel that gave me great solace when I really needed it and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

You can read my original review here: How To Be Brave by Louise Beech


So, that’s my Top Ten fiction books of 2016. What have your favourite reads of this year been? Have you had a good reading year?

Look out for my Top Ten non-fiction books post coming up tomorrow!

The A-Z of Books tag

I spotted the A-Z Book Tag on Pretty Purple Polka Dots blog this week and loved reading it so much that I simply had to join in and answer the questions myself!

 

Author You’ve Read the Most Books From

I’m not sure, there are quite a few prolific authors whose books I always read. I reckon it would probably be Enid Blyton as I adored her books when I was a child! Of all the authors I love as an adult it would probably be Sue Grafton or Peter Robinson as I love their series books and have read almost all of them.

Best Sequel Ever

I can’t think of a sequel that I would say is the best sequel ever but I adored The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce, which was a companion novel to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (which I also loved).

Currently Reading

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

My Favourite Manson Girl by Alison Umminger

Sockpuppet by Matthew Blakstad

The Treachery of Trains by Sylvia Ashby

 

Drink of Choice While Reading

It’d have to be either a cup of coffee or a bottle of water.

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E-Reader or Physical Book

I read both but due to my disability it is easier for me to read on my Kindle as it’s difficult for me to turn pages of a print book. So my answer is e-reader.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated in High School

It’d have to be Ron Weasley!

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Glad You Gave this Book a Chance

Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan. It wasn’t a book I’d heard of at the time but I was offered a chance to review it and I’m so very glad that I agreed because it is now one of my all-time favourite books. I’ve made it my mission to shout about this book every chance I get because it’s brilliant, I’ve recommended it to so many people and have bought copies to give as gifts.

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Hidden Gem Book

Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin. I’ve got to know Carol a little on social media so when it was announced that her novel was due to be published I immediately put myself forward to review it. I did it to support Carol because at the time I knew very little about this book. I don’t know that I would have discovered this book so soon had I not been a book blogger so this is another book that I’m championing every chance I get. It’s beautiful and magical and I want everyone to read it!

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Important Moment in Your Reading Life

This is a tough one. I’m torn between sharing a childhood memory of reading or going with something more recent! I think actually starting this book blog last summer was a very important moment for me. I’ve wanted to do this for years and never had the confidence but then I found myself bed bound recovering from major surgery and I needed a project… and my book blog was born! My body recovered from the effects of surgery but the damage that had already been done beforehand is something I’m learning to live with but my blog has kept me sane through the really tough days. I’m housebound when my husband is at work as I can’t physically do anything independently anymore and blogging has given me a new lease of life. I don’t have time to dwell on what might have been because I’m too focused on writing about all the amazing books I’m lucky enough to read.

Just Finished

Tapestry by Elle Turner – a short story collection and I highly recommend it. I also just finished reading Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Hyde and it was brilliant!

Kind of Books You Won’t Read

I won’t read horror as I don’t like to be scared!

Longest Book You’ve Read

I’m not sure… I think maybe either Ulysses by James Joyce or The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber

Major Book Hangover

The Headmaster’s Wife by Thomas Christopher Greene. I read this book a couple of years ago but I can still remember the story so vividly. I can also remember how long it took me to move on from it and be able to get engrossed in another book afterwards, it had such a lasting impact on me.

Number of Bookcases You Own

I own two bookcases and three huge bookshelves.

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One Book You’ve Read Multiple Times

 

After You’d Gone by Maggie O’Farrell – I read it twice on the day it was released and I usually go back to it every couple of years.

Preferred Place to Read

In my comfy recliner armchair in my living room. I have a reading lamp behind me and opposite me in the room is my bookcase with all of my favourite books on it, and to the side of me is my TBR book case. Perfect!

Quote that Inspires You/Gives You all the Feels from a Book You’ve Read

“The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.”
― Alan Bennett, The History Boys

Reading Regret

I used to buy books faster than I could read them because I had a genuine fear of running out of books to read. I’ve now reached that tipping point age where I now know that I’m never going to have enough time to read all the books and that makes me feel quite melancholy and regretful at times.

Series You Started and Need to Finish

Sue Grafton’s alphabet series. I absolutely love this series but I know that the end is near because it’s getting ever closer to Z. I’ve deliberately slowed down reading these books because I’m dreading the point where there will be no more new novels!

Three of Your All-Time Favorite Books

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes

The Story of You by Julie Myerson

Unapologetic Fangirl For

Maggie O’Farrell – I always look forward to her books so much!

Very Excited for this Release more than All Others

I would have said This Must Be The Place by Maggie O’Farrell but I was very lucky to be sent a  review copy so have already read it. I’m still very excited for my hardback copy that I have on pre-order to arrive though! If I have to pick a book that’s not released yet I’d probably say To The Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey as I adored The Snow Child.

Worst Bookish Habit

This is a terrible confession but I do have a good explanation for it… I’ve become a spine breaker! Up until the last year I had honestly never broken a spine on a book EVER but now it’s a case of needs must. It’s very hard to read a print book when one hand is paralysed – I need to be able to hold a book open and turn the page one-handed and often this leads to accidental spine breaking. Sometimes a book is too hard to hold and I have to break the spine on purpose… eeeek! It took me a while to come to terms with this but as time goes on I feel less guilty about it because at the the end of the day books are for reading!

X Marks the Sport: Start on the Top Left of Your Shelf and Pick the 27th Book

I went along my favourites book case and the 27th book was… Where the Heart is by Billie Letts. The order of my books is unique to me – I know where every single book I own is in my house but I don’t alphabetise them or even keep the same genres together.

Your Latest Purchase

As If I Were a River by Amanda Saint and I’m really looking forward to reading it.

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Zzzzz-Snatcher Book (Last Book that Kept You up Way too late) 

This Must Be The Place by Maggie O’Farrell – I just didn’t want to put it down!

My March Wrap-Up Post (2016)

Monthly Wrap-Up

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

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

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

Time to Say Goodbye by SD Robertson

Sisters and Lies by Bernice Barrington

Quicksand by Steve Toltz

You Sent Me A Letter by Lucy Dawson

Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin

The Missing by CL Taylor

The Stylist by Rosie Nixon

Bone by Bone by Sanjida Kay

A Woman in a Million by Monica Wood

The Art of Wearing Hats by Helena Sheffield

A Proper Family Christmas by Chrissie Manby

Sally Ride by Lynn Sherr

A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold

When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen

Between You and Me by Lisa Hall 

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

The Good Mother by AL Bird

 

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

The Silent Girls by Ann Troup 

Look At Me by Sarah Duguid

The Butcher’s Hook by Janet Ellis


 

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

Janet Ellis (author of The Butcher’s Hook)

 

Carol Lovekin (author of Ghostbird)

 

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

 

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Andy Owen (author of East of Coker)

 


 

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


 

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

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

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

 


 

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

Weekly Wrap-Up (27 March 2016)

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SundayBlogShare

I’m linking this post up to Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer’s Sunday Blog Share.  It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

 

 

This week has been a fab week on my blog. I was thrilled to pass 300 WordPress followers earlier in the week and then just yesterday I noticed that I’d passed 2000 total followers! I’ve only been blogging since the end of August so am feeling quite overwhelmed to find that I have so many people reading my blog. Thank you so much to each and every one of you. I started my blog after a really tough time in my real life as it gave me something positive to focus on every day. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to explain how much this blog and the support I’ve received has meant to me but I am so very, very grateful.


 

This week I’ve read three books:

The Missing by C. L. Taylor

This was a great read – a very intense, hard to put down novel about a family trying to come to terms with a missing teenager. It’s more of a mystery than a psychological thriller but it’s definitely one not to be missed. I hope to have a review of it up on my blog this week.

Between You and Me by Lisa Hall

There were aspects of this novel that were really well done and others that I feel conflicted about so I’m struggling to review it at the moment. I hope to find the words for a review and to have it up on my blog soon.

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

I just finished reading this novel last night and it had me in tears, I found it to be such a moving novel but ultimately very uplifting. I’m hoping to run a giveaway for a hardback copy of the novel along with my review so I’m intending to have this ready to go in the next week or two, so please keep an eye out for that.


 

I’ve managed to blog five times this week.

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up Post

Monday: Blog Tour – Review of Ghostbird and interview with its author, Carol Lovekin

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday Post

Thursday: Q&A with Caroline James, author of Coffee, Tea, The Caribbean and Me

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves Post


 

Coming soon on my blog:

I have a busy time ahead this week with medical appointments that I know will take a lot out of me so I’m just going to blog if I’m up to it. I do have an author interview almost written up, and I have a couple of reviews ready for posting so hopefully I’ll manage to get this content on my blog over the course of this week.


 

Here’s what I’m currently reading:

Dear Dad by Giselle Green

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

The Stylist by Rosie Nixon

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

I had started reading The Day of Second Chances by Julie Cohen but I hadn’t realised that the release date has been put back to July so as I’d only read a few chapters I’ve decided to put this book to one side until nearer the publication date. It is a book I was enjoying and I’ll look forward to reading it in its entirety closer to July.

 


 

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

WWW Wednesday (23 March 2016)

WWW pic

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’m reading now:

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

I started reading this novel yesterday and am really enjoying it. I’m only a few chapters in but I can already sense the slightly sinister atmosphere that is beginning to build. I hope to be well enough to read more of this very soon.

Synopsis:

In the heady swelter of a London summer, the Elm Hill lido opens.

For teacher Natalie Steele, the school holiday typically means weeks of carefully planned activities with her husband Ed and their daughter Molly. But not this year.

Despite Molly’s extreme phobia of the water, Natalie is drawn to the lido and its dazzling social scene, led by the glamorous Lara Channing. Soon Natalie is spending long, intoxicating days with Lara at the pool – and intimate evenings at her home. Natalie’s real life begins to feel very far away.

But is the new friendship everything it seems? Why is Natalie haunted by memories from another summer years ago? And, without realising, has she been swept dangerously out of her depth?

I’m also still reading these books from last week as I’ve not felt up to reading as much in the last few days:

The Stylist by Rosie Nixon

The Day of Second Chances by Julie Cohen

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

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


What I recently finished reading: 

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Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin

I adored this book – so much so that it was near impossible for me to put into words how I felt about it. I was on the blog tour yesterday so shared my review (along with an interview with the author), you can read that HERE if you’d like to. I honestly can’t recommend this book highly enough through, it’s definitely one not to be missed!

Synopsis:

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

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

 

The Missing by C. L. Taylor

The Missing by C. L. Taylor

I’ve been reading this on and off for the past few days and really enjoyed it. The novel does centre around a mystery and there are some thriller elements to it but it doesn’t really feel like a psychological thriller to me. It is a good read though and I would recommend it.  I hope to have my review up on my blog in the next week or so.

Synopsis:

You love your family. They make you feel safe. You trust them. Or do you…?

When fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson goes missing in the middle of the night, his mother, Claire, blames herself. She’s not the only one. There isn’t a single member of Billy’s family that doesn’t feel guilty. But the Wilkinson’s are so used to keeping secrets from one another that it isn’t until six months later, after an appeal for information goes horribly wrong, that the truth begins to surface.

Claire is sure of two things – that Billy is still alive and that her friends and family had nothing to do with his disappearance.

A mother’s instinct is never wrong. Or is it?

Sometimes those closest to us are the ones with the most to hide…


What I plan on reading next:

dear dad by giselle green

Dear Dad by Giselle Green

I plan to start reading this in the next day or two so that I can (hopefully) have my review ready for released day on 31st March. I’ve enjoyed the previous Giselle Green novels that I’ve read so I’m really looking forward to starting this one.

Synopsis:

Handsome, 28-year old, Nate Hardman is a frontline reporter with a big problem. Suffering from shell-shock and unable to leave his house, he’s already lost his social life and his girlfriend. Now his career prospects are sinking fast. 

9 year-old Adam Boxley who lives alone with his ageing nan, also has big problems. Neglected at home and bullied at school, he’s desperate to reach out to his dad – and that’s when he sends his first letter to Nate. Only Nate’s not who he thinks he is. Will he help? More importantly – can he? 

Across town meanwhile, caring but impulsive teacher Jenna Tierney really wants to help Adam – except the feisty redhead has already had enough of teaching. Recently hurt by yet another cheating boyfriend, Jenna’s now set her sights on pursuing a dream career abroad … only she’s about to meet Nate – her dream man who’ll make her re-think everything.  

The big question is; can three people desperate to find love, ever find happiness when they’re only connected by one big lie?

I hope to start reading a couple of other books this week too but I need to finish my current reads first, hopefully I’ll be back to reading at normal speed very soon and can catch up a bit more.


 

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

Blog Tour | #Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin ~ Q&A and Review

Today I am thrilled to be on the blog tour for Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin and I’m happy to be able to share my review of this fabulous novel and I also have a lovely Q&A to share with you. 

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Hi Carol, please tell my blog readers a little bit about yourself.

My home is in the beautiful countryside of West Wales. I share a small flat with a small cat. She and I look out over the hills where, some mornings, when the mist overlays the view, I could imagine the Avalon barge emerging through the mist. When I’m not writing, I’m generally reading; I swim twice a week and love walking. I’m a committed feminist and like most writers, a nosy-parker and always carry a notebook! One of my dear friends is my co-conspirator: we are the only members of the smallest writing group in Wales. We meet once a week to brainstorm and share our writing progress.

How did you first come to be a writer?

I don’t necessarily subscribe to the myth of the ‘tortured artist’ who is incomplete without her writing; I do know it’s an activity I’d find hard to set aside. As a child I was an early free-reader as opposed to one able to handle her numbers. (I still have to take my shoes off to count to eleven!) Words made far more sense to me than figures and making things up, the way the writers of the books I read did, seemed like a lot more fun. Writing is one of the ways children learn to express themselves and how we all start out. 

There are dim drawers in my study inhabited by dusty spiders who guard the remnants of my previous efforts and who are tasked with never letting them see the light of day. They’re part of my process but in the early days I adopted a somewhat laissez-faire approach to my writing; maybe because I thought there was plenty of time. It wasn’t until I was considerably older and a lot wiser that I decided to treat my writing with more respect and aim for publication. 

What is your book Ghostbird about?

It concerns, Cadi Hopkins, a young girl in the dark about her past. No one will tell her the truth about her father or her baby sister, both of whom died just before she was born. Her mother deals with her grief in a state of isolated silence; her aunt is caught in the middle. The myth of Blodeuwedd – a character from the ancient Welsh legend, The Mabinogion – runs through the story. When Cadi begins her search for the truth, the ghost of her little sister wakes up and old secrets surface.

Where do you get your inspiration from? 

Via the word birds? Inside my head, aided and abetted by the landscape I live in? From my dreams? All of the above and who knows where else. Inspiration comes from all manner of sources and if you conflate inspiration and ideas it becomes an impossible question to answer albeit a fascinating one to ponder! Inspiration and an idea never comes from nowhere. It can be as simple as a name or an image, a line from a song, an old memory or a half-forgotten dream. I sometimes forget to be honest, and it doesn’t matter. Once the idea is there, the inspiration is irrelevant. What matters is, something is working and the story follows.

What is your writing routine?

I’m an Aquarian, Hayley, and I like a good plan! I aim to be at my computer by ten o’clock and to work for four hours minimum. I don’t beat myself up if I can’t manage this. Not writing is a thing I never refer to as writer’s block. If the writing stalls, I edit; or I walk and think, lie in the bath and think (a good place for light bulb moments!) Or I read a book and pretty soon, I’m writing again.

What’s your favourite book that you’ve read this year?
It’s been a brilliant year for new books thus far. I can’t, in all honesty confine my answer to one. I began the year reading The Night Watch by Sarah Waters which for personal reasons was very special. Someone Else’s Skin by Sarah Hilary blew my mind and Song of the Sea Maid by Rebecca Mascull impressed me more than I can say. I was fortunate to be sent a proof copy of This Must Be The Place by the astonishingly talented Maggie O’Farrell who is one of my favourite authors. If you push me, I’ll say that one. 

What are you reading at the moment?

A Year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman. I read her first book, When God Was a Rabbit and loved it; my expectation for this second one was high. I am not being disappointed.

Is there a question that you wish an interviewer would ask that you’ve never been asked? What’s your answer to that question?

That in itself is a great question! People always ask writers what they write and rarely why they do. The clichéd answer is a variation on, ‘It’s who I am’ but it’s the easy one and a given, surely? The flippant answer is I write because I can’t juggle or play the tuba. The more serious one is, I’m not done yet and I’d like to leave something attached to whatever exists after I’m gone. And also, because when I tested myself and discovered I could write, it felt like a precious gift. 

How can people connect with you on social media?

Blog: carollovekinauthor.com

Twitter: @carollovekin

Facebook

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions.


 

Synopsis

Someone needs to be forgiven. Someone needs to forgive.

Nothing hurts like not knowing who you are.

Nobody will tell Cadi anything about her father and her sister. Her mother Violet believes she can only cope with the past by never talking about it. Lili, Cadi’s aunt, is stuck in the middle, bound by a promise she shouldn’t have made. But this summer, Cadi is determined to find out the truth.

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


 

My Review

Ghostbird is one of the most exquisitely beautiful books that I’ve read in a really long time. It is written in such a way that I wanted to read it as slowly as I could savour every aspect of the story and to make it last as long as possible, I never wanted it to end. 

This novel has an almost dream-like quality to it and the writing is so evocative, I could feel the dampness in the air and I could smell the rain as it was falling in the novel. I feel like I’ve been to the Hopkins’ family home and to the lake, I can picture them so vividly in my head. I can’t remember another novel that I’ve read in recent times where I felt like I was actually inside it, feeling everything. It is as if the magical nature of the novel has cast its own spell over me.

The complex relationship between the three females in this novel is fascinating. The idea of secrecy between two out of three and whether it’s ever okay to keep the secrets, and whether it’s ever okay to share someone else’s secret. 

‘It doesn’t matter whose fault it is. We’re all in it now: dancing the same old dance, tripping over each other’s bloody red shoes’

The dynamic between Lily, Violet and Cadi was so believable; it was at times very tense to the point it radiated off the page and at other times, particularly between Lily and Cadi, the strong bond between them was clear. Relationships between women are often very taut, and especially so in this instance when Violet and Lily are sisters-in-law, not blood relatives, but still stuck living next door to each other, and Cadi who is Violet’s daughter but the relationship between them is strained and Cadi feels closer to her Aunt Lily. The past is haunting the three of them – two are haunted by what they know and one by what no one will tell her. 

I adore Lovekin’s turns of phrase throughout this novel. She is very creative with how her sentences are put together and with the words she uses. The writing has such a poetic and lyrical quality.

‘She smelled of roses and secrets…’ 

I love the idea that a person can smell of secrets, that they are holding a feeling inside them that you sense so strongly it’s as if you can smell it. Wonderful!

‘She possessed a look of otherness, as if her eyes saw too far.’

This line resonated so strongly with me. It’s incredibly moving the idea that someone sees too far, that they are so trapped by how haunting the future feels that they can’t fully embrace living in the now.

I had to pause many times whilst reading this book to re-read a sentence or two because I really wanted to make sure I absorbed the wonderful language used. There are so many sentences and passages in this novel that I highlighted because they were simply beautiful and I never want to forget them. The following line genuinely made me feel very emotional and it’s one of my favourite sentences in the novel:

‘…in August, when it rained so hard the drains overflowed, good dreams were washed away and no one could tell if you were crying’.

I rated this novel 5 out of 5 and I honestly can’t recommend it highly enough. As I said at the start of my review it is exquisitely beautiful – there aren’t enough superlatives to describe it; it’s simply a book not to be missed!

Ghostbird will now have pride of my place on my all-time favourites bookcase, both on my blog and in my home. My words cannot express how wonderful this novel is, but I can honestly say that it is a book I will treasure and one I all absolutely re-vist time and time again!

Book Links

Amazon UK

Goodreads 

Honno

 


About the Author

gate 14 large - Copy

©Janey Stevens

Carol Lovekin was born in Warwickshire. She has Irish blood and a Welsh heart, and has lived in mid Wales for 36 years. She has worked as a cleaner, a freelance journalist, a counsellor, a legal secretary and a shop assistant. She began writing with a view to publication in her late fifties has published short stories, reviews and is a prolific letter writer. She has been blogging for over nine years. Ghostbird is her first traditionally published novel.


 

 

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Weekly Wrap-Up (20 March 2016)

Weekly wrap-up banner

SundayBlogShare

I’m linking this post up to Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer’s Sunday Blog Share.  It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

 

This week has been a busy week for me with a lot of things that have really taken it out of me but it’s been a productive week too.

The biggest and best thing to happen this week was that I got my stairlift installed! I can’t quite put into words how much happier I feel already at being able to get down the stairs. It’s wonderful and I now wish I hadn’t resisted for so long. Finally being able to spend time in a different room of the house has been lovely but it’s really taken it out of me, I’ve been exhausted the last couple of days. It was worth it this week though just to experience the freedom of getting down the stairs again.

Due to the busy week and increased pain levels and fatigue I haven’t managed to read as much as I would have liked this week. I have still being able to read for a little while on most days though, which I’m pleased about. I hate when I have whole days where I don’t manage to read anything at all.


 

This week I’ve read three books:

When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen

You Sent Me a Letter by Lucy Dawson I reviewed this book on my blog on Friday so you can read it HERE if you’d like to.

Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin I’ll be sharing my review of this book on my blog tomorrow as part of the blog tour so please look out for that.


 

I’ve managed to blog seven times this week, which I’m very happy about. I miss blogging on the times when I’m not able to.

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up Post

Monday: Q&A with Andy Owen (author of East of Coker)

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday post

Thursday: Review of The Butcher’s Hook by Janet Ellis

 Cover reveal for The Joyce Girl by Annabel Abbs

Friday: Review of You Sent Me A Letter by Lucy Dawson

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves post


 

Coming soon on my blog:

Monday: I’m on the blog tour for Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin so will be able to share my review of this wonderful novel and also a Q&A with the author herself!

I haven’t got the rest of my blog week scheduled yet but I do know that I will have a Q&A with author Caroline James, and I have some reviews to write and post too of books that I’ve read over the last couple of weeks.


 

Here’s what I’m currently reading:

 

The Missing by C. L. Taylor

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

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

The Stylist by Rosie Nixon

The Day of Second Chances by Julie Cohen


 

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

 

WWW Wednesday (16 March 2016)

WWW pic

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’m reading now:

The missing

The Missing by C. L. Taylor

I was so excited when I saw that this book was going to be available on Net Galley and was thrilled when my request was approved. I *love* C. L. Taylor’s books so much. I actually already have this on pre-order but couldn’t resist the chance to read and review it sooner. I’ll still look forward to my copy arriving in the post though.

Synopsis:

You love your family. They make you feel safe. You trust them. Or do you…?

When fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson goes missing in the middle of the night, his mother, Claire, blames herself. She’s not the only one. There isn’t a single member of Billy’s family that doesn’t feel guilty. But the Wilkinson’s are so used to keeping secrets from one another that it isn’t until six months later, after an appeal for information goes horribly wrong, that the truth begins to surface.

Claire is sure of two things – that Billy is still alive and that her friends and family had nothing to do with his disappearance.

A mother’s instinct is never wrong. Or is it?

Sometimes those closest to us are the ones with the most to hide…

The Stylist by Rosie Nixon

The Stylist by Rosie Nixon

I am enjoying this book so much, it’s a very amusing novel and one I’m finding hard to put down.

Synopsis:

When Amber Green, a shop assistant in an exclusive London boutique is plucked from obscurity and mistakenly offered a job working with Mona Armstrong, the infamous, jet-setting ‘stylist to the stars’, she hits the ground running, helping to style some of Hollywood’s hottest (and craziest) starlets.

As awards season spins into action Mona is in hot demand and Amber’s life turned upside down. Suddenly she catching the attention of two very different suitors, TV producer Rob and Hollywood bad boy rising star Liam. How will Amber keep her head? And what the hell will everyone wear?

The One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood

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

I was lucky to win a signed copy of this novel in a competition and it’s definitely a book that I will treasure as it’s such a beautiful, moving story. I’m about halfway through it and whenever I’m not reading it I’m thinking about the characters. 

Synopsis:

A one-in-a-million story for anyone who loves to laugh, cry, and think about how extraordinary ordinary life can be. Not to be missed by readers who loved THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY, ELIZABETH IS MISSING or THE SHOCK OF THE FALL.

Miss Ona Vitkus has – aside from three months in the summer of 1914 – lived unobtrusively, her secrets fiercely protected. 

The boy, with his passion for world records, changes all that. He is eleven. She is one hundred and four years, one hundred and thirty three days old (they are counting). And he makes her feel like she might be really special after all. Better late than never…

Only it’s been two weeks now since he last visited, and she’s starting to think he’s not so different from all the rest.

Then the boy’s father comes, for some reason determined to finish his son’s good deed. And Ona must show this new stranger that not only are there odd jobs to be done, but a life’s ambition to complete . . .

The Day of Second Chances

The Day of Second Chances by Julie Cohen

I’ve hard this novel on my review shelf for a while now and this week it was calling to me. I wish I’d read it sooner now because it’s such a good book, another one that’s had to put down.

Synopsis:

Can you imagine keeping a secret so devastating, you couldn’t even tell the people you love?

Honor’s secret threatens to rob her of the independence she’s guarded ferociously for eighty years.

Jo’s secret could smash apart the ‘normal’ family life she’s fought so hard to build.

Lydia’s secret could bring her love – or the loss of everything that matters to her.

One summer’s day, grandmother, mother and daughter’s secrets will collide in a single dramatic moment.

Is it too late for second chances?

Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin

Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin

This novel is so enchantingly beautiful, I’m actually not sure how I will ever to justice to it in a review. I’m deliberately reading it slowly as I just want it to last forever. Ghostbird is released tomorrow so please go buy a copy, you won’t want to miss this book! My review will be up on Monday (the 21st March) as part of the blog tour and I’ll also have a Q&A with the author, Carol Lovekin, which I can’t wait to share.

Synopsis:

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

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

truth lies and o-rings

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

I’m still reading this book and I think I will be for a while. It’s a fascinating read but it’s not one to read in big chunks.

Synopsis:

On a cold January morning in 1986, NASA launched the Space Shuttle Challenger, despite warnings against doing so by many individuals, including Allan McDonald. The fiery destruction of Challenger on live television moments after launch remains an indelible image in the nation’s collective memory.

In Truth, Lies, and O-Rings, McDonald, a skilled engineer and executive, relives the tragedy from where he stood at Launch Control Center. As he fought to draw attention to the real reasons behind the disaster, he was the only one targeted for retribution by both NASA and his employer, Morton Thiokol, Inc., makers of the shuttle’s solid rocket boosters. In this whistle-blowing yet rigorous and fair-minded book, McDonald, with the assistance of internationally distinguished aerospace historian James R. Hansen, addresses all of the factors that led to the accident, some of which were never included in NASA’s Failure Team report submitted to the Presidential Commission.

Truth, Lies, and O-Rings is the first look at the Challenger tragedy and its aftermath from someone who was on the inside, recognized the potential disaster, and tried to prevent it. It also addresses the early warnings of very severe debris issues from the first two post-Challenger flights, which ultimately resulted in the loss of Columbia some fifteen years later.


 

What I recently finished reading: 

I’m so happy to report that my reading mojo is finally back! This week I have finished SIX books!! Some of these books I’ve been reading for a while and just finished them this week but I did read three whole books from start to finish since last Wednesday. I’ve only managed to review on of these books so far but I do plan on reviewing the rest very soon so look out for those.

Quicksand by Steve Toltz (I was on the blog tour for this book on Friday so you can read my review here if you’d like to)

You Sent Me A Letter by Lucy Dawson

When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen

A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold

Sally Ride by Lynn Sherr

A Proper Family Christmas by Chrissie Manby


 

What I plan on reading next:

the good mother

The Good Mother by A. L. Bird

I was super excited to received a review copy of this book as it sounds so good. I hope to start reading it in the next few days and I suspect it’ll be one of those that I can’t put down.

Synopsis:

The greatest bond. The darkest betrayal.

Susan wakes up alone in a room she doesn’t recognise, with no memory of how she got there. She only knows that she is trapped, and her daughter is missing.

The relief that engulfs her when she hears her daughter’s voice through the wall is quickly replaced by fear.

The person who has imprisoned her has her daughter, too.

Devising a plan to keep her daughter safe, Susan begins to get closer to her unknown captor. And suddenly, she realises that she has met him before.

the night that changed everthing

The Night That Changed Everything by Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice

I’m so looking forward to reading this book, it sounds like such a good read. I’ve heard lots of good things about it so I’m sure I’m going to really enjoy it.

Synopsis:

Rebecca is the only girl she knows who didn’t cry at the end of Titanic. Ben is the only man he knows who did. Rebecca’s untidy but Ben doesn’t mind picking up her pieces. Ben is laid back by Rebecca keeps him on his toes. They’re a perfect match.

Nothing can come between them. Or so they think.

When a throwaway comment reveals a secret from the past, their love story is rewritten.

Can they recover from the night that changed everything? And how do you forgive when you can’t forget?

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

I’m such a big fan of Louise Candlish’s novels so I can’t wait to start reading this one.

Synopsis:

In the heady swelter of a London summer, the Elm Hill lido opens.

For teacher Natalie Steele, the school holiday typically means weeks of carefully planned activities with her husband Ed and their daughter Molly. But not this year.

Despite Molly’s extreme phobia of the water, Natalie is drawn to the lido and its dazzling social scene, led by the glamorous Lara Channing. Soon Natalie is spending long, intoxicating days with Lara at the pool – and intimate evenings at her home. Natalie’s real life begins to feel very far away.

But is the new friendship everything it seems? Why is Natalie haunted by memories from another summer years ago? And, without realising, has she been swept dangerously out of her depth?

 


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.

 

 

WWW Wednesday (9th March 2016)

WWW pic

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’m reading now:

Quicksand by Steve Toltz

Quicksand by Steve Toltz

This week I started reading Quicksand and am racing through it, I’ve almost finished it already. I’m not sure what I was expecting from this book, but what I got is very different to anything else I’ve read in quite a while. I’m really enjoying it and I’ll be reviewing it on Friday for the blog tour.

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

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


 

when she was bad tammy

When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen

I also started reading When She Was Bad this week. This book is an ARC that I was lucky to be approved for on Net Galley, it’s not out until April but I just couldn’t resist picking it up straight away. I love Tammy Cohen’s writing, and although her books always majorly give me the creeps and really unsettle me I just can’t resist them!

Synopsis:

YOU SEE THE PEOPLE YOU WORK WITH EVERY DAY.

BUT WHAT CAN’T YOU SEE?

Amira, Sarah, Paula, Ewan and Charlie have worked together for years – they know how each one likes their coffee, whose love life is a mess, whose children keep them up at night. But their comfortable routine life is suddenly shattered when an aggressive new boss walks in ….

Now, there’s something chilling in the air.

Who secretly hates everyone?

Who is tortured by their past?

Who is capable of murder?


 

truth lies and o-rings

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

I’ve always been fascinated by all things space and space travel. I’ll never forget the day Challenger exploded because it happened on a day that was special to me and I’ll never forget my dad rushing in the door from work and putting the news on and us seeing the explosion. I was too young at the time to really grasp the wider significance of what had happened that day but over the years I’ve wanted to know more. This book is much more technical than any other book I’ve read on the subject so it’s going to take me a while to read it. It’s an eye-opening book though.

Synopsis:

On a cold January morning in 1986, NASA launched the Space Shuttle Challenger, despite warnings against doing so by many individuals, including Allan McDonald. The fiery destruction of Challenger on live television moments after launch remains an indelible image in the nation’s collective memory.

In Truth, Lies, and O-Rings, McDonald, a skilled engineer and executive, relives the tragedy from where he stood at Launch Control Center. As he fought to draw attention to the real reasons behind the disaster, he was the only one targeted for retribution by both NASA and his employer, Morton Thiokol, Inc., makers of the shuttle’s solid rocket boosters. In this whistle-blowing yet rigorous and fair-minded book, McDonald, with the assistance of internationally distinguished aerospace historian James R. Hansen, addresses all of the factors that led to the accident, some of which were never included in NASA’s Failure Team report submitted to the Presidential Commission.

Truth, Lies, and O-Rings is the first look at the Challenger tragedy and its aftermath from someone who was on the inside, recognized the potential disaster, and tried to prevent it. It also addresses the early warnings of very severe debris issues from the first two post-Challenger flights, which ultimately resulted in the loss of Columbia some fifteen years later.


 

This week has got off to a tough start with a medical appointment on Monday morning that has left me with increased pain and spasms so I haven’t managed to finish reading these books, which I started before this week. They’re all great reads though and are keeping me hooked.

A Proper Family Christmas by Chrissie Manby

Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin

A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold

Sally Ride by Lynn Sherr


 

What I recently finished reading: 

Bone by Bone by Sanjida Kay

Bone by Bone by Sanjida Kay

I started this book one day last week and finished it the following day. It just grabbed me straight away and I couldn’t put it down! I plan to review this on my blog in the next week or so.

Synopsis:

Laura loves her daughter more than anything in the world. 

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

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

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

A Woman in a Million by Monica Wood

A Woman in A Million by Monica Wood (short story)

This was a free short story available on Kindle. It’s the prequel to the forthcoming novel One in a Million Boy, which I cannot wait to read. This prequel has really got me very keen to start the book, it’s a wonderful story.

Synopsis:

If you loved The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and The Shock of the Fall, this is for you…
There’s someone you should meet. But, before you do…
She’s just turned one hundred. She doesn’t want a birthday party. Or a TV interview. She’s too busy practising for her driving test. And hoodwinking church visitors with magic tricks. She’s Miss Ona Vitkus. And she’s one in a million.
Warm, funny and heartbreaking, this short-story prequel to THE ONE IN A MILLION BOY – the book destined to be on everyone’s lips this summer – will make you laugh and cry with the turn of a page.

 


 

What I plan on reading next:

The Truth About Julia by Anna Schaffner

The Truth about Julia by Anna Schaffner

I was sent this review book unsolicited but it sounds so good and I really want to start reading it very soon. I reckon it’ll be a book that hooks me in very fast and will be one I want to read in one go!

Synopsis:

In June 2014, Julia White – a beautiful and intelligent young woman – blows up a coffee shop in central London, killing twenty-four people before turning herself in to the police. Apart from publishing a potentially ironic manifesto, she refuses to explain the reasons for her actions.

Clare Hardenberg, an investigative journalist, has been commissioned to write a biography of Julia but at the start of the novel she is on her way to prison herself. What has brought her to this point?

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

I spotted this one on Net Galley and couldn’t resist requesting it, it sounds like such a good read. It’s not due to be published until July but I don’t think I’ll be able to resist starting it for much longer!

Synopsis:

You never know what’s happening on the other side of the wall.

Your neighbour told you that she didn’t want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn’t stand her crying.

Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You’ll have the baby monitor and you’ll take it in turns to go back every half hour.

Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She’s gone.

You’ve never had to call the police before. But now they’re in your home, and who knows what they’ll find there.

What would you be capable of, when pushed past your limit?

 


 

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

Stacking the Shelves (5th March 2016)

 

I usually do a weekly wrap-up and stacking the shelves post in one but I’ve decided to separate them so I can focus on each one individually. I may end up combining them again in the future but for now, my stacking the shelves post will be posted on a Saturday and my weekly wrap-up will be posted on a Sunday.

So, here goes…

stacking-the-shelves

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


 

I didn’t post a stacking the shelves post last week so all the books in this post are ones I’ve received over the last fortnight.

GHOSTBIRD

 

This week I received a gorgeous print copy of Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin. I’m going to be reviewing this book for the blog tour on 21st March so had already been sent an e-copy but it was really lovely to received a finished print copy in the post too.

 

I was also approved for a couple of titles on Net Galley this week:

Everything Love is by Claire King (I completely and utterly adored The Night Rainbow so I can’t wait to start reading this one. I feel sure I’ll fall in love with it just as much!)

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

In The Light Of What We See by Sarah Painter

 

I was contacted by the lovely author Sarah Painter to ask if I’d like to review her forthcoming book In The Light Of What We See, which I was thrilled about so I have a net galley copy of this to read too.

 

 

I also bought some more new books this week but in fairness I did still have some money left on a gift card from my birthday so I don’t think these purchases really count… 

The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan

Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner

What She Never Told Me by Kate McQuaile

Perfect Days by Raphael Montes

Cure: A Journey Into the Science of Mind Over Body by Jo Marchant

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad

These Days Of Ours by Juliet Ashton

Sweet Home by Carys Bray

Crush by Eve Ainsworth

Tony Visconti: The Autobiography by Toni Visconti

The Girl in the Ice by Robert Bryndza

Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks

 

 

The following books were in a recent Kindle sale:

Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

Here We Stand: Women Changing the World compiled & Edited by Helena Earnshaw & Angharad Penrhyn Jones

Cruel Summer by James Dawson

A Book for Her by Bridget Christie

The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall

Monsters by Emerald Fennell

 

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

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

WWW Wednesday (2nd March)

WWW pic

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’m reading now:

Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin

Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin

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

Synopsis:

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

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

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

A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold

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

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

Sally Ride by Lynn Shepp

Sally Ride by Lynn Sherr

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

Synopsis:

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

What I recently finished reading: 

Time To Say Goodbye

Time to Say Goodbye by S. D. Robertson

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

Synopsis:

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

HOW DO YOU LEAVE THE PERSON YOU LOVE THE MOST?

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

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

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

The Butcher's Hook by Janet Ellis

The Butcher’s Hook by Janet Ellis

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

Synopsis:

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

The Silent Girls book cover

The Silent Girls by Ann Troup

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

Synopsis:

What if everything you knew was a lie…

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

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

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

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

the art of wearing hats

The Art of Wearing Hats by Helena Sheffield

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

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

Sisters and Lies by Bernice Barrington

Sisters and Lies by Bernice Barrington

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

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

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

What I plan on reading next:

Quicksand by Steve Toltz

Quicksand by Steve Toltz

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

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

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

Bone by Bone by Sanjida Kay

Bone by Bone by Sanjida Kay

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

Synopsis:

Laura loves her daughter more than anything in the world. 

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

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

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

 


 

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