My Favourite books of 2020… so far!

Last year I decided to do a post about my favourite books of the year so far (as of 30 June) and whilst this year I haven’t read quite as many books as last year at this point I decided to still do it. It’s always lovely to have the chance to celebrate amazing books!

At the time of writing this post I’ve read 115 books and have 20 five star reads that I simply can’t narrow down any further. These aren’t necessarily books published this year but the books I loved most that I’ve read this year. The books are in no particular order, I loved them all!

So here are my top 20 books of 2020 so far!

It’s A Wonderful Night by Jaimie Admans

A new spin on It’s A Wonderful Life and it’s gorgeous. It doesn’t shy away from the severity of depression but manages to still be a feel-good novel. I loved this one and will re-read it again one Christmas!

dead wrong noelle holten

Dead Wrong by Noelle Holten

A brilliant crime novel that will have you on the edge of your seat. This is fast becoming a favourite new crime series!

Containment by Vanda Symon

This is the third book in the Sam Shephard series and she is now one of my most favourite characters. I love spending time with her in a new novel and I can’t wait to read more!

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

I haven’t managed to review this one as yet but I absolutely recommend it. It’s a novel about a teenage boy called Justyce who’s dealing with the racism in the society around him – from the police and from people in his school. He deals with it by writing letters to Martin Luther King. It’s a prescient novel and I still find myself thinking about it.

Little Disasters by Sarah Vaughan

This is my new favourite Sarah Vaughan novel. It’s a novel about toxic friendships, about not feeling like you can be your true self with even your closest friends and what happens when suspicion sets in. I loved this book!

The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves

This is a stunning novel that looks at what caused a man to stop talking to his wife for six months, and what happens when she suddenly stops talking to him. We learn about what happened from both of their perspectives and it’s so moving. I adored this book and I already want to re-read it!

Heatstroke by Hazel Barkworth

This is a stunning, claustrophobic novel about the immediate aftermath of a teenage girl going missing. It has a dream-like quality to it and I got swept away in this book.

Black and British by David Olusoga

I haven’t reviewed this book yet but it’s a brilliant and eye-opening non-fiction book that I recommend to everyone. It’s the forgotten history of black people in the UK and I learnt so much from this book. It helps you join the dots of the things you learnt at school and the full story of why and how things happened.

One Split Second by Caroline Bond

This book is heartbreaking but it’s a book I couldn’t stop reading (I read it in just two sittings). It follows the aftermath of an horrific car accident as the survivors come to terms what happened and the impact it’s had on their lives. I loved this book and it’s one that is really staying with me.

Evening Primrose by Kopano Matlwa

This is a brilliant novel that packs so much into it’s few pages (it’s only around 200 pages long). It follows a doctor as she deals with race issues in her life in South Africa. Her struggles with her periods were so relatable in a way that I’ve never found in a novel before. Later something horrific happens to her and it was hard to read and yet I couldn’t look away. This is such a powerful and compelling book.

The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman

This novel follows a disparate group of people on a normal morning but who get caught up in a hostage situation. I loved learning about the characters in this book and how they coped in the terrifying situation they found themselves in. It’s an excellent novel and I recommend it.

Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie

I’ve not reviewed this book as yet but it’s one that I read as I was trying to get out of my reading slump and I just got completely engrossed in this story. It follows a few characters who live in a tower block in London before and after a terrible event occurs. I loved these characters, and how the novel explored how the event affects them. I recommend this one and can’t wait to see what Luan Goldie writes next!

The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel

I read and loved The Roanoke Girls a few years back so was keen to read the author’s new novel. I devoured it! It’s such a dark, unsettling novel but one that I just couldn’t put down. I still keep finding myself thinking about this book, it’s one that haunts you. I loved it.

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Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

This was one of my most anticipated reads of this year and it absolutely lived up to my hopes for it. It follows Edward in the aftermath of a plane crash where he was the sole survivor. His parents and brother died in the crash so he has to live with his Aunt and Uncle. The novel also shows what happened on the day of the plane crash – you get to know, briefly, the people onboard, which makes it even more heartbreaking. I adored this novel and want to re-read it one day.

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

This is such a powerful and moving memoir, I’m so glad I read it. Chanel Miller is the young woman who was sexually assaulted by Brock Turner. This book is her telling her own story in her own words and she is such a courageous woman. I recommend that everyone read this one.

The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper

I had this novel on my TBR for ages before I picked it up, which I’m kicking myself about as when I did pick it up I read it in just a couple of sittings. This is such a beautiful novel, one that makes you wonder about fate and destiny, and also makes you want to live in the moment. It’s a book you need tissues for but it’s such a gorgeous read.

Wild Spinning Girls by Carol Lovekin

I’m a huge fan of Carol Lovekin’s writing and this novel was another stunning book. It explores grief and the loss of a mother, and it’s so beautiful. I highlighted so many paragraphs as I was reading it and I keep thinking about it. I know I will re-visit this one of these days.

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

This is another stunning book following a teenage girl in the present whilst also filling in her back story with chapters about her mum, dad and grandparents. She knows her mum was her age when she was born and that is the catalyst for everything that happens down the line. This book is short and at times spare in the writing but it packs such an emotional punch. I recommend it.

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

This is one of my most favourite books of this year so far. I wanted to read it because it’s premise is intriguing (an engaged woman dreams of a different life with a different man and five years later she bumps into this man) but the real love story in this is the one between the two women who are the best of friends. It’s an incredible book, one that made me cry but also made me smile. I adored this one!

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo

If I had to pick just one book that was my favourite of 2020 so far it would have to be this one. Before reading I felt a little intimidated by it but from a couple of pages in I was gripped. I love all the interweaved stories running through this book, I love the characters and the surprises along the way. It’s a stunning novel and one I will never forget.

Okay, so I said I had a top 20 books of 2020 and I do… all of the above. I always like to sit with a book for a while before I put it on a list of favourites but I read a book on the very last day of June and it just feels like it should be on this list. So I’m adding an honourable mention at the end. I know I’m cheating but it’s my blog, my rules! So the 21st book in my Top 20 is…

The Mating Habits of Stags by Ray Robinson

This is a stunning novel, one that I’m struggling to write about as yet because I loved it so much. It’s set on the North Yorkshire Moors and follows Jake, a man on the run from a murder charge. It explores his memories of his relationship with his late wife, and his lost son. It also looks at his complicated relationship with his new love. I’m originally from this part of the country and I felt I was right back there with Jake. This novel mixes utter desolation, hardship and violence with such beautiful, poetic writing. I loved this book and I highly recommend it!

What are you favourite books of 2020 so far? I’d love to know. 🙂

Mini Book Reviews: Living My Best Life | One Split Second | In Five Years | The Babysitter

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

Living My Best Life by Claire Frost

This is a lovely feel-good novel that follows two women in alternating chapters. Bell is struggling to move on after her long-term boyfriend dumps her. She keeps scrolling through social media and comparing other people’s perfect lives to her own. Millie is a single mum who is a successful instagram influencer and from the outside her life seems utterly perfect but the reality is she borrows the clothes she models and she filters everything to make it look sunnier and happier. Eventually the two women cross paths and find a friendship that enriches both of their lives. I found this a lovely summer read and really enjoyed it. I appreciated that both women were in their 30s, with Bell close to 40 and it felt I could really identify with them. I’d recommend this one if you are looking for a light, fun read for the summer.

One Split Second by Caroline Bond

This is a heartbreaking novel that follows five young people and their families in the aftermath of an horrific car accident. It opens with the accident and the parents all waiting to hear if their teenagers are alive or badly hurt and then follows the before and after as we see the fall out from that awful night. This was one of those books that I was thinking about whenever I wasn’t reading it. All of the characters felt real to me and I was absorbed in seeing how they all had different battles to face and how they all dealt with what had happened. This is a novel of resilience, of how people find their way through the darkest of times and eventually find a way to be okay in the new world they’ve found themselves in. I highly recommend this one!

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

I was intrigued to read this book after reading the blurb – Dannie has the most amazing night when her boyfriend finally proposes and she accepts but then later that night she has a dream of five years in the future when she’s living with a different man in a different apartment and it unnerves her. Then one day she meets that very man and it starts to unravel her life. I really enjoyed reading all about this and was really intrigued but the thing I loved most about this novel was the gorgeous friendship Dannie has with Bella. For me, they had the true love story and it was their story more than any other in this book that broke my heart and mended it again. It was so relatable and believable and I just adored it. It reminded me of my late best friend, Bella is so like her and it felt like I had her back for the time I was reading this novel. I read this book a few weeks ago now and it’s still swirling through my mind, I already want to go back and read it all over again. I can’t recommend this one highly enough!

The Babysitter by Phoebe Morgan

I read this book on the Pigeonhole app so I got one stave a day for ten days and this book was perfect for reading on there. Every time I reached the end of a stave I was practically counting the hours waiting for the next stave as I just had to know more! The Babysitter follows a cast of characters in the aftermath of Caroline Harvey being found murdered and the baby she was looking after has gone missing. The prime suspect is her married lover Callum but there is a whole list of people who have a potential motive. We follow the suspects and the police and it’s such a rollercoaster ride of a novel with twists and turns galore! I didn’t trust a single person in this book, I kept changing my mind about who could have done it and I only worked it out a few pages before it was actually revealed whodunit! I very much enjoyed this one and highly recommend it!

That Was The Month That Was… May 2020!

I can’t believe that May has been and gone and now it’s June already! It’s now almost twelve weeks since I last left the house as I’m in the high risk group for Coronavirus and my last trip out of the house was a couple of weeks before lock down. It’s been okay. I feel lucky that we have a small garden so I’ve been able to get fresh air most days. My husband is still on furlough at the moment so it helps that I’ve not been on my own. We’ve been enjoying the sunshine when it’s here and we’ve caught up on a few films and TV shows when it’s been too cold to sit outside.

The biggest thing that happened in May is that my reading mojo finally returned, closely followed by my bloggging mojo! I’ve read more books than I thought I had in May so I’m really pleased. I still need to remind myself to pick up a book when I’m in the house but when I’m in the garden I only take a book or my kindle outside and that stops me wasting time on my phone.

Here is my May in Books and Blogging!

Reading

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

The Alibi Girl by C. J. Skuse

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

Just My Luck by Adele Parks

We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker

One Split Second by Caroline Bond

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo

One Hundred and Fifty Two Days by Giles Paley Phillips

Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

Haven’t They Grown by Sophie Hannah

The Catch by T. M. Logan

Stranger, Baby by Emily Berry

Just Mercy by Bryan A. Stevenson

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

His and Hers by Alice Feeney

The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel

Afraid of the light by Alex North

Living My Best Life by Claire Frost

The Babysitter by Phoebe Morgan

The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper

Funny Weather: Art in an Emergency by Olivia Laing

Blurred Lines by Hannah Begbie

Blogging

I managed to post fairly regularly on my blog in May which I’m really happy about. I started with my April wrap-up where I shared how that month had been. This was followed by a book haul. Then I shared a post with four mini reviews of recent reads: Dear Edward by Anna Napolitano, Rules for Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson, What She Saw Last Night by Mason Cross and I Want You Gone by Miranda Rijks.

Mid-week that week I shared my WWW Wednesday post and on the Saturday I posted another book haul. Next up was my next mini review post with four more books featured: The Alibi Girl by CJ Skuse, The Last Flight by Julie Clark, The Guest List by Lucy Foley and The Recovery of Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel. Then it was WWW Wednesdays time again!

My next post was a book haul and this was followed by another selection of mini book reviews: Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo, Made to be Broken by Rebecca Bradley, Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain, and An Almost Zero Waste Life by Megan Weldon. On the Wednesday of that week I shared my review of The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman and my regular WWW Wednesdays post. Then it was time to stack my shelves again with a new book haul.

On the Monday I shared another mini book review post featuring Just My Luck by Adele Parks, One Hundred and Fifty Two Days by Giles Paley-Phillips, The Catch by T. M. Logan and A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone. Towards the end of May it was time to decide what my 20 Books of Summer TBR was going to be! Then it was WWW Wednesdays time again. And my final post in May was another book haul!

How was your May? It’s such a weird time at the moment and I hope you’re all doing as okay as you can be. I’d love to hear about the books you’ve been reading or if you have any TV/Netflix recommendations.

WWW Wednesdays (13 May 20)! What are you reading this week?

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?

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

What I’m reading now: 

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan A. Stevenson

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a really long time so I was really pleased to discover the audio book on BorrowBox this week. I immediately downloaded it and started listening last night. I’ve read so many positive reviews of this book so I’m sure it’s one I’ll find interesting.

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

This is a tough read but I’m so glad I picked it up. Chanel Miller is the young woman who was raped by Brock Turner and for a long time she was anonymous until she decided to tell her own story. I’m only a few chapters in but Chanel is so open and honest in the way she’s telling her truth and I’ve found it such an emotional book.

Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

I’m glad I had a sense of what this novel is and how it flips things when I started reading because I’m only on part one and at the moment it’s just a man bragging about his sex life since his divorce. The writing is good and I’m intrigued to see where the novel goes. The fact that it made the Women’s Prize longlist gives me hope that it will go somewhere worthwhile in the end!

A Fabulous Creation: How LPs Saved Lives by David Hepworth

This is another audio book that I got on BorrowBox and my husband and I are listening to it together. It’s such an interesting book about the history of the LP (it begins with Sgt Pepper and ends with Thriller). I love the social history and the way music evolved as artists took more risks after seeing what others were doing. We’re both really enjoying this one.

 

What I recently finished reading:

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo

Oh my goodness, I can’t believe I waited so long to read this book! It’s incredible! I’ve been reading it over the last couple of days and loved every single second of it. I feel quite sad to have finished it and already want to read it again. If you haven’t read it yet I highly recommend you do so as soon as you can.

One Split Second by Caroline Bond

This book was also excellent. It follows a group of teens and their parents in the aftermath of an horrific car crash. We see the parents at the hospital waiting to hear if their child was okay, and through the book we see what they were like before the accident and what the repercussions are for everyone involved. I got so invested in these characters, they felt very real to me. This is a stunning novel and I highly recommend it!

We Begin At The End by Chris Whitaker

This is another brilliant novel that I read this week. This is such a beautifully written, and also deeply emotional read. I cried a few times as I was reading. It follows a community, but two children and a police officer mainly, in the years after a terrible crime has been committed. There are repercussions rippling through time, through generations and it’s heartbreaking how things that happen to a parent can come to damage a child so much. There is such brutality in this novel but moments of such heart-aching kindness too. I loved this book and keep finding myself thinking about it and wondering how Duchess, Robin and Walk are doing. I whole-heartedly recommend it!

 

What I plan on reading next:

His and Hers by Alice Feeney

I adored Alice Feeney’s first novel Sometimes I Lie but didn’t really get on with her second book. This new one sounds so good though so I’m hoping this will be a thriller for me. It sounds very intriguing!

The Catch by T. M. Logan

I think I’ve read and enjoyed all of T. M. Logan’s previous novels but his last one The Holiday was my favourite so far. I’ve read some fab reviews of The Catch and have very high hopes for it, I feel like I’m going to love it!

One Hundred and Fifty Two Days by Giles Paley-Phillips

This sounds like a very emotional read as it explores grief and loss but it’s one I’ve very much wanted to read so I’m going to try and pick it up this week.

 

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

WWW Wednesdays (6 May 20)! What are you reading this week?

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?

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

What I’m reading now: 

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We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker

I’ve been wanting to read this book since before it was published so when I spotted the audio book on BorrowBox I immediately requested it. I started listening to it yesterday and I’ve been engrossed in it. It’s one of those novels that you find yourself thinking about whenever you’re not reading it.

 

What I recently finished reading:

Just My Luck by Adele Parks

This was such a good read! I love Adele Parks’ novels and this one is my favourite of hers from recent years. It follows a family that win the lottery and the fallout from that is further reaching than anyone could have foreseen. I worked out some elements of what was going on but there were still shocks in store, it definitely kept me on my toes.

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

I loved this book! It follows two characters in two time periods – Anna in 1939 and Morgan in 2018 as they each come to live in the same small town. I loved both timelines equally and was so keen to find out what was going to happen to both of these women and the people around them. This book was much-needed escapism and I’m so glad I read it.

The Alibi Girl by C. J. Skuse

I got a copy of this from NetGalley a while ago but decided to buy the audio book so that I could listen along to it as I read. I loved it! The story is so intriguing and gripping and I got completely absorbed in the story of this young woman who seems to enjoy pretending to be many different people. There is so much more to her than you see at first and I loved getting to know the real her. The ending was brilliant, so perfect and I have a feeling this is a novel that is really going to stay with me.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

I also got a copy of this from NetGalley and found myself racing through it. I enjoyed Lucy Foley’s previous novel The Hunting Party but this one was even better! I loved to hate quite a few of the characters, and I enjoyed the way my opinions on some of them changed as the book went along. I thought I worked out what was going on quite early but there was far more to this story that I ever predicted so I love that it shocked me. I recommend this one!

 

What I plan on reading next:

Haven’t They Grown by Sophie Hannah

I bought this last week and it’s a book I’d been curious about for a while so I think I’m going to try and get to it in the coming days. I love the series that Sophie Hannah writes so I’m intrigued to see how I get on with a standalone by her.

One Split Second by Caroline Bond

I requested this one on NetGalley as I’ve previously enjoyed another book by this author. This sounds like it could be an emotional rollercoaster but I’m just in the mood to pick it up so hopefully I can read it this week.

Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

This is another NetGalley book and is one I’ve been intrigued by. I’ve seen it get quite a few mixed reviews but the plot has continued to draw me in so I’m going to try and get to it this week.

 

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

That Was The Month That Was… May 2019!

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May was a month filled with books. I read 34 books this month – a mix of print, ebook and audiobooks and most were very good reads. This has been a bumper month of reading and I put it down to the lovely sunny days we had where I got to sit out in the garden, and then not been too well so needing more time to take it easy.

I was thrilled to discover that my blog now has over 9000 followers as of late May. Thank you to all of you that have stuck with my blog over the years, and to my newer followers, I appreciate you all.

Thank you also to everyone who has commented on my posts throughout May. I’ve been really struggling to type this month, and also with my eyes (looking at screens for more than a few minutes at a time is giving me awful headaches) so haven’t managed to keep up with replying but I do read and appreciate each one. I will try and reply to some of them but I likely won’t get to them all, so I’m saying thank you here.

 

Here are the books I read in May:

Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald

I loved this book about Mary, a menopausal probation officer who has reached the end of her tether. It’s a darkly comedic book and one that I think I’ll re-read at some point. Here’s my review.

Breakers by Doug Johnstone

This is a novel that captured my heart in a way that I wasn’t expecting. Tyler is such a great character and I was rooting for him to find a way to escape from the life his older brother had trapped him in. My review is here.

The Furies by Katie Sise

I enjoyed this novel about a group of teenage girls and the element of witchcraft that they are obsessed with. I plan to review it soon.

The Forgotten Sister by Caroline Bond

This was a really good novel about the fall out from adoption and what happens when you keep secrets. I reviewed it here.

Missing Molly by Natalie Barelli

I bought this on a whim in a kindle sale and it was an okay read. I found it a bit too predictable overall but at the same time it did keep mew reading to the end.

Song of the Robin by R. V. Biggs

This novel is beautiful and mysterious and I very much enjoyed it. I’m so glad that I was given the chance to read this for the blog tour as I’m not sure I’d have picked it up otherwise but now I’m a fan of the author and will definitely seek out other books by him. My review is here.

Keep Her Close by M. J. Ford

I listened to this on audio book and really enjoyed it. This is definitely a series that I will continue on with and so I’ll be eagerly looking out for the third book to be published!

How To Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind by Dana K. White

I still can’t resist books about organising homes so this one caught my eye. I actually enjoyed this one and as I struggle with pain and fatigue it was really helpful in showing me how even in just a very short period of time I can still have a housework routine.

By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham

I feel very torn about this book – there were parts of it that I loved but also a lot of parts of it that felt very self-indulgent. I do enjoy Cunningham’s writing but this isn’t his best work.

10 Things to do Before You Leave School by Bernard O’Keeffe

I loved this thoughtful and moving novel about a teenage girl coming to terms with the death of her dad, and her subsequent depression. She finds a list he’s left and spends her last year at school trying to complete it. My review is here.

The End of the End of the Earth by Jonathan Franzen

I won a copy of this in a giveaway earlier this year and it caught my eye on my shelf as I was in the mood for an essay collection. I actually really enjoyed reading this and it’s reminded me how much I enjoy reading essays.

We Are Not Such Things by Justine van der Luen

I’d heard good things about this book so when I spotted it on Scribd I decided to listen to it. I found it such a fascinating book about the murder of a young woman and the subsequent tensions in the area. It wasn’t exactly the book the synopsis made out it would be but it was still a really interesting read.

The Treatment by C. L. Taylor

I loved this fast-paced YA thriller and would recommend it!

Sunburn by Laura Lippman

I listened to this on Scribd having read some good reviews. I enjoyed it but I didn’t feel as gripped by it as I’d hoped I would be. I’ll definitely look out for more books by this author though as I loved the way the book was written.

At The Birth of Bowie by Phil Lancaster

I can’t seem to read enough biographies of David Bowie so I was looking forward to this one about his first band. I really enjoyed the stories in this book but it wasn’t quite as well written as I would have liked. I’d still recommend it if you’re a Bowie fan.

Dead Inside by Noelle Holten

I loved this debut novel! I won’t say anymore here as I’ll be sharing my full review tomorrow. I will say that I highly recommend it though!

The Family Man by Tim Lebbon

This is a book that had been on my TBR for ages so I decided to make the effort to read it this month. Unfortunately I didn’t get on with it all that well. It did keep me reading until the end but it wasn’t really for me.

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Orinkan Braithwaite

I’m so glad I picked this book up because it was so good and deserves all the praise it’s been getting. I was fascinated by the two sisters in the novel and the way their relationship works. This is a book that is really staying with me.

Take Me to the Edge by Katya Boirand

This is a beautiful poetry collection that also has fabulous photographs in it. I loved reading this and it’s a book that I will go back and dip in and out of in the future. I’ve already reviewed this one here.

Not Having It All by Jennie Ensor

This was such a funny novel but also a book that made me think. It’s a book all about whether the grass is always greener. I recommend it! My review is here.

Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff

I’ve had the audio book of this for ages but it felt like I’d missed the moment to read it. Then I saw that a follow-up book is coming out soon so I decided to listen to this one now. There wasn’t much in here that I hadn’t already heard but it was still shocking to hear all this stuff in the one book.

Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney

Sadly I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I’d hoped, I think perhaps I’m the wrong age for it. Also I couldn’t even identify with the characters when I thought back to how I’d been at their age. I did love the writing though and am planning on reading Normal People as part of my 20 books of summer challenge!

We Never Said Goodbye by Helene Fermont

This is the second book I’ve read by this author and I enjoyed it. I’ll be reviewing this book later this month so please keep your eye out for that!

Middlemarch by George Eliot

I completely and utterly fell in love with this novel, it was absolutely brilliant! I’m so glad that I finally picked it up. I enjoyed it so much that I now want to go back and re-read The Mill on the Floss. It was studying that novel under pressure at Uni that put me off reading anymore Eliot but reading a classic in my own time was wonderful and I feel sure that re-reading The Mill on the Floss with fresh eyes might be a completely different experience.

The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood by Susan Elliot Wright

I read this book in one afternoon because I just couldn’t put it down. It’s heartbreaking novel but so beautifully written. I hope to get my thoughts together soon so I can review it.

The Wych Elm by Tana French

I got an ARC of this but I also bought the audio book so I could part-read and part-listen and I’m so glad I did because it was such a brilliant book. I’m a fan of Tana French anyway but I think this might be my new favourite book by her. I hope to get my review posted on here soon!

The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean

I read this book out in my garden over the course of a couple of sunny afternoons and it was sheer perfection! This is such a haunting, yet gorgeous book and I loved it. This is a book that will stay with me. I’ll be sharing my review later this month for the blog tour.

A Modern Family by Helga Flatland

This is a book that really got to me. It’s about three siblings and is told from each of their perspectives. It’s such a brilliant portrayal of sibling relationships and I adored it. I’m still getting my thoughts in order on this one but I definitely recommend it!

Nobody’s Wife by Laura Pearson

This is another book about siblings – two sisters and their partners. It’s a look at family ties and where loyalties lie. This book got to me way more than I thought it would, it’s a brilliant read. I’ll review it once I get my thoughts together!

The Holiday by T. M. Logan

This is a gripping thriller about four women who’ve been friends since their university days and are now turning 40. They go on holiday with their respective husbands and children and as secrets and lies are uncovered one of the party ends up dead! I will be reviewing this one soon but in the meantime I recommend pre-ordering it for your summer holiday reading!

Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

I got a copy of this from NetGalley and then discovered the audio book on Scribd so I part-listened and part-read this. I really enjoyed it and was drawn to reading it every spare minute I could find. I’ll review this properly soon!

Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou

There’s a sticker on the front of this book warning that the reader will burn through it in one sitting and it turns out that’s absolutely true! Once I started reading this I knew I wouldn’t be able to put it down until I’d read to the end. I very much enjoyed this book and will be sharing my review later this month.

Death and Other Happy Endings by Melanie Cantor

This book was wonderful. It’s a book that I’d been much anticipating and it more than lived up to my hopes for it. I’ll be reviewing it later this month for the blog tour.

We Must Be Brave by Frances Liardet

I just finished reading this last night. It was a good read but it was lacking the emotional resonance that I was expecting it to have.

 

 

May Blog Posts & Reviews:

I managed to post reviews of fourteen books in May, which I’m really pleased with. I’m still reading more books than I’m managing to review but it feels good to be getting some written up and posted. I also wrote shared my regular weekly This Week in Books posts, my Stacking the Shelves posts.

I started off May by wrapping up Aprilwhich had been a good month of reading and blogging. I then reviewed The Tapestry Bag by Isabella Muir, which was such a fun audio book that I now plan on reading the rest of this series! My next review was of Doug Johnstone’s Breakers, which was a book that really got under my skin and I’m still thinking about now. I then read and reviewed The Forgotten Sister by Caroline Bond for the blog tour. This was a novel about adoption and was a great story plus it made me think. My next review was of R. V. Biggs’ Song of the Robin. I’m so glad that I was offered a chance to read this book because it is such a beautiful, surprising book and I highly recommend it. I was delighted to have the chance to read and review a wonderful poetry collection in May – Take Me to the Edge by Katya Boirand. This is a gorgeous book and one I will definitely continue to enjoy.  Next I did a summer thriller recommendations post which encompassed mini reviews of four really enjoyable novels (The Blame Game by C. J. Cooke, The Guilty Party by Mel McGrath, Don’t Turn Around by Amanda Brooke and Gone by Midnight by Candice Fox!).  I then read and reviewed a wonderful novel about a teenager coming to terms with the loss of her father in 10 Things to do Before You Leave School by Bernard O’Keeffe. The next book I reviewed was a brilliant, darkly comedic novel about menopausal Mary and I loved it – The Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald is one I won’t forget! After that I took part in the blog tour for Helene Fermont’s Because of You and shared my review. I was then hugely excited to finalise my planned TBR for the 20 Books of Summer reading challenge! It was hard to decide on a definite 20 but I got there in the end and I can’t wait to start reading! I was thrilled to be invited to read Jennie Ensor’s new novel Not Having It All for the blog tour and got to share my review a few days ago. I loved this book and recommend it! And last but most definitely not least I shared my review of The Blue Bench by Paul Marriner yesterday. This book has such an impact on me and I know I won’t ever forget it.

 

The state of my TBR:

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So my TBR…. Well, I’m starting to think that I’m wasting my time updating it here because I just can’t seem to control my book buying! At the start of May I had 2526 books on my TBR and now, even though I read so many books in May, my TBR stands at 2538! It’s only an increase of 12 but when I look at my plan to reduce my TBR by 20 each month this year my TBR should currently be at 2347! I just can’t resist the books! I am going to cut down a tiny bit on blog tours after June so that I can focus on reading the books I already own. I also need to try and stay away from NetGalley so that I can’t be tempted! Wish me luck!

 

 


 

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

This Week in Books (8 May 2019)! What are you reading at the moment?

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

 

Now

By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham

I’ve owned a copy of this book ever since it was first published but have only just got around to picking it up to read this week. I’m in two minds about it but I think on the whole it’s an engrossing read.

10 Things To Do Before You Leave School by Bernard O’Keeffe

This is great read. It’s really emotional at times but it also takes me back to what it was like being a teenager. I’m on the blog tour for this one so I’ll be reviewing it on 21 May.

The End of The End of The Earth by Jonathan Frantzen

I won a copy of this book a couple of months ago and was just in the mood to read an essay collection recently so I started this one. It’s really interesting and I’m enjoying it so far.

Dead Inside by Noelle Holton

This is such a good read, I’m finding it hard to put down!

Middlemarch by George Eliot

I’ve been reading this over the last couple of weeks and am loving it! I don’t know why I’ve put off reading it all these years.

 

Then

Keep Her Close by M. J. Ford

I really enjoyed this second book in the series and will definitely be looking out for the third when it’s published. I really like the lead character and am keen to see what’s next in her life!

How To Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind by Dana K. White

I read this author’s book on decluttering a few months ago and was keen to read this one too. I struggle to have a cleaning routine with my health and disability being the way they are and this book made me reminded me that the small tasks do add up over time.

Song of the Robin by R. V. Biggs

This book was really different to what I normally read but I very much enjoyed it. It was a much more emotional read than I was expecting and one I won’t forget. I’m reviewing this book on Friday so please keep an eye out for that.

The Forgotten Sister by Caroline Bond

I really enjoyed this novel about adoption. It was emotional and thought-provoking, and a book that I think will stay with me. I’ve already reviewed this one so you can find my full thoughts here if you’d like to know more.

Missing Molly by Natalie Barelli

I bought this on kindle in a recent sale and then discovered it on my audio book subscription so I part read and part listened to it. It was a good read but not one that will stay with me.

The Furies by Katie Lowe

I had a review copy of this book but again found it on my audio subscription so I listened to most of it. I very much enjoyed this one and definitely recommend it.

Breakers by Doug Johnstone

I adored this novel! I wasn’t expecting it to affect me as much as it did but it was so good. I’ve already reviewed it so you can find that here if you’d like to know more.

Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald

This book was brilliant! I’ve read and enjoyed other books by this author but this book was in another league. I loved every minute that I spent reading it. I’ll be reviewing this one later this month but in the meantime I recommend it!

 

Next

Not Having It All by Jennie Ensor

I loved Jennie’s previous novel (which I reviewed here) so I’m really looking forward to reading her next one this week!

We Never Said Goodbye by Helene Fermont

I also read and enjoyed Helene’s earlier novel (review here) so I’m keen to get to this one.

Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou

I’m on the blog tour for this book next month and my copy of the book arrived a couple of days ago so I’m really keen to pick it up.

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep

I requested this on NetGalley a couple of weeks ago and was delighted to be approved for it. I’m really intrigued by the book so I think I’m going to try and pick it up this week!


 

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

#BookReview: The Forgotten Sister by Caroline Bond | @Bond2Caroline @CorvusBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours

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About the Book

To lose your family is heart-breaking.

To be forgotten by them is unforgiveable.

Cassie and Erin are sisters. They are close – in age, looks and personality – but there is one crucial difference: Cassie is adopted.

At seventeen, Cassie sets out to find her birth mother. She is hungry for the truth, but she discovers her adoption was far more complicated than even she could have imagined. In uncovering her birth identity Cassie learns that her adoptive parents have kept a terrible secret from her her whole life, a secret that now threatens to destroy everything she has ever held dear.

 

My Thoughts

The Forgotten Sister is the story of Cassie, who was adopted by her parents when she was two. She’s had a happy, safe life with them but she is beginning to wonder about her birth mother. This leads to secrets and lies being uncovered and life as Cassie knew it could be about to be destroyed.

This novel is told predominantly in the present day, with some flashbacks to a few years previously. It opens with Cassie’s parents getting a phone call that she’s been hurt and then goes back to four months previously. I was gripped by this novel right from the beginning. The characters are all so real and believable and I was intrigued by how they got to where they were.

Cassie is such a great character. She has a normal relationship with her parents, and a close relationship with her younger sister Erin. She has a boyfriend who her parents don’t fully approve of so there is some normal teenage sneaking around but on the whole she’s honest with her family. Then one day she realises she wants to know more about her birth mother but when she asks her parents she senses that they’re not telling her the whole truth. Her parents do go down the route of trying social services to see if her mother can be found but in the meantime Cassie takes things into her own hands. Cassie now has secrets and she becomes very determined to do what she has to to find her birth mother. She develops quite an attitude at times, but whilst I could see how reckless and naive she was at times I never stopped sympathising with her.

I can’t imagine what it’s like to be adopted and to not know anything about your birth parents. The moment Cassie has the realisation that she doesn’t know if there are any illnesses in her family was startling to me, and I really felt for her as she reacted with shock at all the things she doesn’t know, and might never get to know.

I did feel for Cassie’s parents too. They made a decision when they adopted Cassie and have had to live with that ever since. I was shocked at the way they behaved at times but over the course of the novel I could see that they had done the best they could with the place they were in. What initially seemed like a cut and dry situation actually had many degrees to it, and this is what gave this novel its strength.

Ultimately, this is a novel that explores what makes a family, and how keeping secrets – even with the best of intentions – will always have consequences down the line. I felt that this novel was a very real, and emotional look at adoption from many angles and I really appreciated the insight it gave me.

The Forgotten Sister is a powerful and emotional novel that is very readable; it will linger in your head long after you’ve finished reading. I recommend it!

Many thanks to Corvus Books and Anne of Random Things Tours for my copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

The Forgotten Sister is out now in ebook and paperback and is available here.

 

About the Author

Caroline Bond Author Picture

Caroline Bondwas born in Scarborough and studied English at Oxford University before working as a market researcher for 25 years. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Leeds Trinity University, and lives in Leeds with her husband and three children. Her first novel, The Second Child, was published in 2018.

 

 

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

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This Week in Books (24 Apr 2019)! What are you reading this week?

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

 

Now

Middlemarch by George Eliot

This is a book that I’ve put off reading for years and I don’t know why. I started reading it yesterday and I’m very much enjoying it. It’s lovely to be engrossed in such a chunky book and I can’t wait to read more.

The Forgotten Sister by Caroline Bond

This is an intriguing book so far and I’m looking forward to reading more of it.

Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald

This book is brilliant! It has such a great opening line and has had me gripped from then on. I love the dark humour running through it!

TWA 800: The Crash, The Cover Up and The Conspiracy by Jack Cashill

I’ve not read much more of this book as it requires more brain power than I’ve had recently. It’s been a busy week so I’ve been too tired to concentrate but I will definitely get back to this in the coming week.

 

Then

The Blame Game by C. J. Cooke

I’m a huge fan of C. J. Cooke and am so happy to say that I loved this novel, her newest release. I hope to review this one soon.

The Tapestry Bag by Isabella Muir

I listened to this on audio and really enjoyed it. I was expecting it to be darker than it was but actually once I got into the story I was enthralled the whole way through. I will definitely be picking up the second book in the series!

The Neighbour by Fiona Cummins

This book was so good. It was everything you could want in a crime thriller and I definitely recommend it.

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

I listened to this on audio and really enjoyed it. It was heartbreaking at times but I loved the way it focused on people figuring out who they are more than what actually happened in the school.

 

Next

Breakers by Doug Johnstone

I’m so looking forward to reading this book so it’s firmly on my TBR for the coming week.

Dead Inside by Noelle Holton

I’ve been so keen to start reading this novel and it’s finally time for me to pick it up and I can’t wait!

Song of the Robin by R. V. Biggs

I intended to read this last week but it wasn’t the right time so I’m hoping to pick it back up in the coming week.

10 Things to Do Before You Leave School by Bernard O’Keeffe

I’m on the blog tour for this book in May and have been so keen to read it so it’s going on the list and hopefully I’ll get to read it over the next few days!

 


 

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

This Week in Books (17 Apr 2019)! What are you reading at the moment?

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

 

Now

Song of the Robin by R. V. Biggs

I just started this book last night but it’s got me gripped already and I’m looking forward to reading more of it over the coming days.

The Neighbour by Fiona Cummins

I loved Fiona Cummins first novel and I’m enjoying this one even more! It’s full of intrigue and it’s really creepy!

The Hate List by Jennifer Brown

This is my current audio book and I’m enjoying it, I’m intrigued to see where the story is going to go.

TWA 800: The Crash, The Cover-Up and The Conspiracy by Jack Cashill

I’ve read a bit more of this book over the last week and I am finding it really interesting. There’s just a lot of people and references throughout and my brain is struggling to keep track at the moment but I hope to get back to this properly very soon.

 

Then

The Case of Mary Bell by Gitta Sereny

This book was fascinating and it’s left me with lots to think about with regards to how children who kill are dealt with. I loved Gitta’s writing style and I definitely want to read more of her non-fiction books in the future.

Amazing Grace by Kim Nash

I adored this novel, it’s one of my favourite books of the year so far! I reviewed it on here yesterday so you can read my full thoughts here if you’d like to know more.

Between the Regions of Kindness by Alice Jolly

This book was chunkier than I was expecting it to be but I still read it in just two sittings as it’s such a brilliant and absorbing novel. I really did love this one and keep thinking about it ever since I finished it. I’ll be reviewing it on Friday for the blog tour so please keep a look out for that.

 

Next

The Forgotten Sister by Caroline Bond

I’ve got a copy of this one on my kindle and I’ve been so looking forward to reading it so this feels like it might be the week to pick it up!

Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald

This is another ARC and as I’ve loved previous books by the author I’m really keen to read it asap so hopefully I’ll get chance to start it this week.

The Upstairs Room by Kate Murray-Browne

I’ve had this book on my TBR for a while now and I’ve kept putting it off because it sounds a bit too creepy for me. I’m just in the mood for it now though so I think as soon as I’ve finished reading The Neighbour I’ll be picking this one up!

Furious Hours by Casey Cep

This is a non-fiction book that I got from NetGalley and I’m really intrigued by it so I think this will be my next non-fiction read!

 


 

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

New Book Haul! (Stacking the Shelves 30 March 2019)

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

 

Books I Borrowed This Week

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

I borrowed this audio book from Scribd as part of my free trial and I adored it. It’s such a brilliant book and I’ve now added it to my wish list to remind me that I must get hold of a print copy for my bookcase.

Milkman by Anna Burns

I do already own this in print but I’d heard it was a good book to listen to so I borrowed it from Scribd and am very much enjoying it. I think this could be a five star read!

 

ARCS I Was Sent This Week

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The July Girls by Phoebe Locke

It was a brilliant surprise last Saturday to received a leaflet with a bracelet about the magpie choosing me. Then in the week a copy of The July Girls arrived! This book sounds like my kind of read so I can’t wait to get to it!

The Wayward Girls by Amanda Mason

I read a sample of this a little while ago and have been keen to read more ever since so I was delighted to be sent an auto-approval link for NetGalley yesterday!

Those People by Louise Candlish

I love Louise Candlish’s writing so I immediately requested this one when I spotted it on NetGalley! I know I’ll enjoy this book.

As Long As We Both Shall Live by JoAnn Chaney

I saw this in the Read Now section of NetGalley this week and it sounds so gripping and fast-paced that I couldn’t resist downloading it!

What Dementia Teaches Us About Love by Nicci Gerrard

I downloaded this one from NG too. I know what it is to care for a loved one who is losing themselves so am very interested in this book. I need to be in the right frame of mind to read this but hopefully I can read it soon.

I Want You Gone by Miranda Rijks

I downloaded this one from NG on a whim as the blurb just grabbed me! I don’t think I’ll be long getting to this one as I’m must in the mood for fast-paced thrillers.

The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted by Robert Hillman

I didn’t realise how many books I’d got from NG this week until I started writing this post! This was another one I downloaded on a whim… this time because I love the title!

Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou

I’m going to be on the blog tour for this book in a few weeks time so will definitely be reading this NG book soon.

The Forgotten Sister by Caroline Bond

I’m also on the blog tour for this one and am really keen to read it as soon as I can.

 

 


 

Have you bought any new books over the last week? Please tell me below. 🙂 If you join in with Stacking the Shelves please feel free to leave your link and I’ll make sure to read and comment on your post.