My Favourite Novels read in 2017!

My top fiction reads of

In 2017 I read 252 books, many of them were such brilliant reads, so it’s been really hard picking my top books of the year. Today I’m sharing my top novels read last year, and tomorrow I will share my top non-fiction reads so please look out for that post.

In no particular order the novels that I have loved, and the ones that are really staying with me are:

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The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

This book had (shamefully) been on my TBR for almost TWENTY years! I originally bought it in hardback soon after it was published and over the years have also bought a paperback and ebook copy but was still intimidated to start reading it. Well, I finally picked it up in 2017 and it’s been a huge lesson to me in not avoiding books because I adored it from start to finish. It really got to me and I still find myself thinking about it now.

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The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

This book made the list because I love the way it explored the idea of fate and whether some things are meant to be, or not. It really got to me and it’s a book that I often find myself thinking about. You can find my full review here.

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The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

I loved this novel because I’m someone who wonders about lost things and this book gave me hope and comfort that the precious things I’ve lost over the years might be somewhere being looked after. You can find my full review here.

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The Way Back to Us by Kay Langdale

This is a novel that I read in one sitting, it just had me hooked from the very first page and I still find myself thinking about the family and wondering how they are now. The Way Back to Us explores family dynamics in a way that really makes you think and feel about each and every person involved. I highly recommend this book. You can find my full review here.

The wild Air by Rebecca Mascull

The Wild Air by Rebecca Mascull

This is a wonderful novel about Della who wants to be a pilot in a time when it was near impossible for a woman to train as such a thing. I adored this book, and the characters in it. The writing is so evocative that I really felt I was with Della every step of the way throughout this book. You can find my full review here.

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All the Wicked Girls by Chris Whitaker

All the Wicked Girls is one of those really special novels that just gets under your skin very early on. I still find myself thinking about the characters in this small town and wondering how their lives turned out. This book is just incredible and I implore you to read it if you haven’t already.  You can find my full review here.

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Little Deaths by Emma Flint

This is a fascinating novel looking at how women are viewed in the wake of something terrible happening. Ruth is a single mum who enjoys nights out once her children are in bed. One night her children go missing and the spotlight is on Ruth intensely from that moment on. She is judged by everyone for everything. This is a novel that really stays with you and I definitely recommend it. You can find my full review here.

Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson

Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson

This is a brilliant crime thriller, one that has really stayed with me in the months since I read it. It’s a harrowing read at times but the writing, and the characters make it a book that you need to keep reading. I’m eagerly anticipating the next novel! You can find my full review here.

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Final Girls by Riley Sager

This novel is so good! I was a little apprehensive about it as I don’t like horror, I don’t like to feel properly scared but this book was just so brilliant that I couldn’t put it down. I loved every minute that I spent reading it and I can’t wait to see what the author writes next. You can find my full review here.

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Sweetpea by CJ Skuse

This is another brilliant novel that I loved reading in 2017. It’s very disconcerting when you read a book about a serial killer but find yourself agreeing with some of the things that annoy her. It’s full of dark humour but it’s such a good read, one I’m sure I’ll go back to in the future. You can find my full review here.

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Exquisite by Sarah Stovell

This was a novel that I was desperate to get my hands on from the minute I first saw the publisher share a photo of the cover. The novel did not let me down! It grabbed me from the start and it kept me engrossed to the very end. It’s a novel about female friendship and obsession and it’s brilliant! You can find my full review here.

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The Lie of the Land by Amanda Craig

A quote from my own review of this book: ‘This is such a modern novel. On face value this is a novel about the breakdown of a marriage but it’s really about so much more than that. It’s such an incisive, multi-layered novel about the society we live in. It’s a character-driven story, which looks at class and race issues; it looks at how we define poverty. Amanda Craig really captures our society in a genuine and honest way, whilst also giving it a good dose of dark humour, wryness and wit’. The novel has really stayed in my mind since I read it so I highly recommend it! You can find my full review here.

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The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia

This is such a gripping and compelling novel that really got to me. I hadn’t heard of it before I was offered the chance to read and review it but I fell in love with it on reading it. Hattie Hoffman is one of those characters that really got under my skin and my heart was breaking for her as I read her story. Go read this book if you haven’t already. You can find my full review here.

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Maria in the Moon by Louise Beech

This book appealed to me because Louise’s first novel was one of my favourite books last year, and also because this one is set during the floods in Hull. I knew this book would be one I loved but it even surpassed that very high expectation. I got so engrossed in Catherine’s story and felt at such a loss after finishing this book. I still think about this novel and wonder how Catherine is. You can find my full review here.

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See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

I won an advance proof of this book and was so excited when it arrived. It was one of the first books that I read in 2017 and it stayed with me throughout the year and absolutely deserves a place as one of my favourite reads of the year. This is such a visceral and evocative novel and I still feel like I’ve been in that house where Lizzie Borden took her axe. If you haven’t read this novel yet, go grab a copy and read it asap! You can find my full review here.

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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

I loved this book from start to finish! Eleanor Oliphant is such a fascinating character, and one I couldn’t help but like. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is a tender and moving look at loneliness, at how it is to be given a chance and what it is to find a friend having had a lifetime of just getting through the days. A beautiful novel that I highly recommend. You can find my full review here.

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The Things We Thought We Knew by Mahsuda Snaith

This book came into my life at such a perfect time that it seemed meant to be. It’s an exploration of the complexities of pain, in all its forms, and how we deal with the darkest moments of life. Ravine is someone who will really stay in my heart, I won’t ever forget this book and what it means to me. You can find my full review here.

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Snow Sisters by Carol Lovekin

I adored this novel, almost beyond being able to put into words. It had a lot to live up to as Ghostbird, Carol’s previous novel, very quickly became one of my all-time favourite books but I’m happy to say that Snow Sisters did live up to it. Carol is an incredible writer that weaves stories that just wrap around you and pull you right in. I highly, highly recommend this book. You can find my full review here.

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Tin Man by Sarah Winman

This book broke my heart – I read it in one sitting and I fell completely and utterly in love with it. It was stunning and it’s definitely a book that I want to re-read soon. I didn’t manage to write a review when I read it but I will review it when I read it again. It’s a beautiful novel and it’s stolen my heart!

So, there’s my list of the best novels that I read in 2017! It was an amazing reading year and I’m already so excited to be in a new year and discovering lots more fabulous books. What was your favourite novel from 2017? If you’ve blogged about it please feel free to leave a link and I will go read your post and leave a comment.

Tomorrow (all being well!) I’ll be sharing my top non-fiction reads from last year so please look out for that post!

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#BookReview: All the Wicked Girls by Chris Whitaker @WhittyAuthor @BonnierZaffre

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About the Book

Everyone loves Summer Ryan. A model student and musical prodigy, she’s a ray of light in the struggling small town of Grace, Alabama – especially compared to her troubled sister, Raine.

Then Summer goes missing. Grace is already simmering, and with this new tragedy the police have their hands full keeping the peace. Only Raine throws herself into the search, supported by a most unlikely ally.

But perhaps there was always more to Summer than met the eye . . .

 

My Thoughts

I was thrilled when I received a copy of All the Wicked Girls as it sounded like such a great read; the book ended up being so much more than I even expected and even though I read it a few weeks ago now I still have it swirling around in my head.

All the Wicked Girls is set in the town of Grace, Alabama where a teenage girl, Summer, has gone missing. There is already cloud hanging over this town as a few years previously a series of murders were committed and her twin sister Raine is convinced that Summer’s disappearance is connected. She begins a search for her sister and it leads to many a secret being uncovered.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about Raine in the early part of the book as she seemed quite abrasive at times, but I soon found myself really intrigued by her and wanting to know how she became who she was; in time I was rooting for her and wanting her be okay. As the novel goes on I was absolutely behind her and wanting her to get the answers she needed and to find the inner strength to make something of her life; I wanted her to escape Grace. Some of the other characters in this book really got to me too, like Purv and Noah, and I keep finding myself thinking about them and wondering if they were okay after the book ended. It’s not often that characters stay with me as if they were real people but this book made these characters feel so real to me that I almost can’t believe that they weren’t.

I wasn’t expecting the town of Grace to get under my skin as much as it did. This is a book where the location is a character in its own right; it feels like such a claustrophobic town where everyone knows your business. The weather is similar, the literal dark cloud hanging over this town is so oppressive, it mirrors the growing tension within. The heavy atmosphere was palpable as it was reading, it really did feel like the walls were closing in on me. I honestly can’t express well enough just how much this book draws you right into the heart of it.

The tension builds and builds as the novel progresses. I found that the the opening chapter sets up the mystery really well and then the story progression felt quite slow for a little while but the tension is slowly building right from the start and it does reach that point where you just can’t put the book down; you simply have to find out what has happened to Summer, and what will happen with the other people in this book that you’ve come to know and care about. You do get answers in the novel but there is so much more to this book than a build to a big reveal, because you question the morality of people in this book so much; you wonder about people’s motives and by the end you have people you feel desperately sorry for and others who you feel have somehow got away with something, albeit in side stories to the main plot. This book will make you feel all of the feelings and it will make you think and question and wonder. It’s a great mystery novel but it’s also so much more than that. The characters, the atmosphere, the sense of place – all of it together make this one of the best novels I’ve read this year.

All the Wicked Girls will slowly get under your skin, it will creep up on you until you feel like you are in this town with these people and once it does it won’t let you go. It’s such a brilliantly, atmospheric thriller of a book and is one that I’m sure will stay with me for a very long time to come. This book has got to me so much that I already want to re-read it (and I’m not someone who re-reads very often these days). It will definitely be on my top books of 2017 list and I honestly can’t recommend it highly enough. If you haven’t already read it, go buy a copy asap as you won’t regret it!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All thoughts on the book are my own.

All the Wicked Girls is out now!

 

About the Author

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Chris Whitaker was born in London and spent ten years working as a financial trader in the city. His debut novel, Tall Oaks, won the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger. Chris’s second novel, All The Wicked Girls, was published in August 2017. He lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and two young sons.

Weekly Wrap-Up! (22 Oct)

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This week has been okay. I’ve been unwell for a few days so had to rest up and I got a lot of reading done. I managed to finish a couple of books that I’ve been reading for a little while so that was nice.

Yesterday was really upsetting when I found out that because someone has reported me to Facebook for not using my surname on there. Facebook are holding me to ransom saying that unless I give them two documents with my real name on (which they’d then use on my account) they’ll delete not only my account but also my Facebook page. I have good reason for not using my surname online so refuse to give it to Facebook. This means I’ll no longer be able to have a presence on Facebook unless I can find a way around this. Being housebound social media is really important to me so I’m really sad that someone has caused this to happen to me. My husband is looking into if we can appeal to Facebook but unless I can figure something out then I’ll no longer be on there once they delete my account and page. So if you follow me on there and see my page disappear this is why.

Anyway, on to the books…

 

This week I’ve finished reading seven books:

Where Love Begins by Judith Hermann

I have to admit that whilst this is a short novel I did struggle with it a bit. It’s one of those books that I really enjoyed when I was reading it but when I put it down I just wasn’t drawn to pick it back up. Yesterday evening I made the time to just read it through to the end and it was more enjoyable that way but it still left me feeling a bit indifferent to it. The idea for the novel was great so it may just be a case of right book wrong time for me.

Sofa So Good: Me Life Story by Scarlett Moffatt

I was sent a copy of this for review and it was the perfect read for me this week. I read it in one sitting and I enjoyed it so much. I’ll be reviewing this one very soon!

In A Cottage in a Wood by Cass Green

This is a book I got from NetGalley recently so picked it up this week and I devoured it. I was expecting it to be a bit more unnerving than it was but it had me hooked all the way through and it was good escapism.

Trust Me by Zosia Wand

I very much enjoyed this book, it’s another one that I read in one sitting as I just didn’t want to put it down. It made for a late night but it was worth it! I’ve already reviewed this one so you can read more of what I thought here if you’d like to.

All the Wicked Girls by Chris Whitaker

I’m ashamed to say that I was sent a copy of this book for review quite a while ago not but I just haven’t been able to manage holding a physical book over the summer so it’s had to wait. It was worth the wait though because this was such a brilliant read. I’m still trying to get my thoughts together but I will review it soon – in the meantime I definitely recommend it!

Titanic Love Stories by Gill Paul

I’ve had this on my TBR for ages so as I’m trying to mix reading review books with reading books that I’ve owned since before the start of the year I decided to pick this one up. It was an enjoyable and moving read but I just wish it had had a bit more depth. It’s worth picking up if you’re interested in books about the Titanic though.

Anything You Do Say by Gillian McAllister

This book is so good! I love Sliding Doors type books anyway but this one is done so well and I’m still thinking about it now. I hope to get my review written and posted soon but I can say now that I highly recommend this book!

 

This week I’ve blogged four times:

Sunday: Life Update and Weekly Wrap-Up

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday post

Thursday: Extract from Bad Sister by Sam Carrington for the blog tour

Friday: Review of Trust Me by Zosia Wand for the blog tour

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

Agatha Raisin and the Day the Floods Came by M.C. Beaton

I haven’t read an Agatha Raisin book for ages but I picked this one off my TBR last night as it seemed it would be perfect escapism when I was feeling so down last night. It was the right choice because I’m loving this book.

All the Good Things by Clare Fisher

I’ve had an ARC of this on my kindle for a few months now so decided it was time to pick it up. I’m really enjoying this – it’s hooked me in very quickly and I’m keen to get back to it to see where this novel is going.

This House of Grief by Helen Garner

I’ve only read a couple more chapters of this since last week as I just wasn’t in the right mood to read it but I do want to get back to it soon.

Good Night and Good Riddance: How Thirty-Five Years of John Peel Helped to Shape Modern Life by David Cavanagh

I’m still dipping in and out of this book and I love it. There are some wonderful stories from John Peel’s radio shows and I feel like I can almost hear his voice as I’m reading.

Aches and Gains: A Comprehensive Guide to Overcoming Your Pain by Paul L. Christo

I’m also still reading this book on and off – it’s not a book I can read straight through as I want to take in what he’s saying. This is a great book for anyone who suffers from chronic pain, or cares for someone who does.


 

How has your week been? What have you been reading? Please share in the comments below. If you write a wrap-up on your blog please feel free to share the link. 🙂

WWW Wednesdays (18 Oct)! What are you reading this week?

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

 

What I’m reading now:

In a Cottage in a Wood by Cass Green

I got a copy of this book from NetGalley recently and was keen to read it so picked it up yesterday. It’s a really fast-paced book and I found myself drawn in very easily. I’m looking forward to getting back to this one very soon.

This House of Grief: The Story of a Murder Trial by Helen Garner

This is a book that’s been on my TBR for a while and so when I spotted it on the pile the other day I decided to give it a try. It’s a really engrossing account of a murder trial; it’s one of those books that whilst being non-fiction it reads like fiction so is easy to get into and follow. I’m intrigued by the story and to see what happens later in the book.

Where Love Begins by Judith Hermann

This is a short novel and one I enjoy whilst I’m reading it but I’m finding that when I put it down I’m not drawn back to it. I think I maybe need to make the time to just sit and read to the end in one sitting as it’s perhaps a book that needs to be read like that.

Trust Me by Zosia Wand

I’m really enjoying this book, it’s got me enthralled. The only reason I haven’t read it in one sitting is because it’s a print book (rather than an ebook) so is harder for me to hold for long periods. I definitely recommend this book though.

Good Night and Good Riddance: How Thirty-Five Years of John Peel Helped to Shape Modern Britain by David Cavanagh

This is my current dip in and out of book and I’m enjoying it so much. I loved listening to John Peel so this is a wonderful book to re-live his radio shows and to think back over the music I’ve discovered because of him. I recommend this one to music fans.

Aches and Gains: A Comprehensive Guide to Overcoming Your Pain by Paul L. Christo

This is a really useful book for anyone who suffers from chronic pain, or anyone who is close to, or cares for, someone with chronic pain. I’ll be reviewing this book once I’ve finished reading it.

 

What I recently finished reading:

Titanic Love Stories by Gill Paul

This is another book that has been on my TBR for ages but I finally picked it up a couple of days ago. It’s a short book with some background on the Titanic but the focus is on the honeymooners who were on the ship. I found this to be a much more emotional read than I was expecting, it’s heartbreaking to think of those young couples and all their hopes and dreams.

All the Wicked Girls by Chris Whitaker

I’m ashamed to say that this is a review book that I’ve had on my TBR since earlier this year. It’s been too difficult for me to read print books in recent months so this has just had to wait until I was stronger. I finally picked it up this week and read it in just a couple of sittings. It’s such an engrossing read and I found it really got under my skin. I’ll be reviewing this one very soon.

Anything You Do Say by Gillian McAllister

This is a take on the Sliding Doors idea and is such a great read. I found this very difficult to put down as I was desperate to know how things were going to turn out in both scenarios. I’ll be reviewing this one soon too but I recommend it.

Blue Nights by Joan Didion

I’ve had this one for a while too and decided to pick it up at the weekend. It’s such a moving and honest memoir of the love Joan had for her daughter, and how she is coping with the loss of her. This is one of those books that is painful to read but at the same time I found I could identify with a lot of the emotions. It’s a book I feel sure I will pick up and re-read in the future.

 

What I plan on reading next:

Snare by Lijia Sigurdardóttir

I was sent a copy of this to review for the blog tour so I will definitely be reading this in the next week or so. I’m really looking forward to this one – the cover on its own was enough to have me intrigued about the story and to want to read the novel.

The One That Got Away by Annabel Kantaria

This is another review book that’s on my TBR and I’ve been so keen to read it. Now I feel a bit more able to read print books I’ve put this one at the top of the pile. I hope to read it in the next week or two.

 

 

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 (16 April 2016)

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(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.)

This week I’ve bought a few new books:

Tall Oaks by Chris Whitaker

I’ve seen this book reviewed on quite a few blogs recently and it sounded so good that I couldn’t resist buying a copy. Hasn’t it got a gorgeous cover?

1971 – Never A Dull Moment: Rock’s Golden Year by David Hepworth

I’m such a big music fan, and my husband collects records so we always have great music on in our house. This book showed up in an Amazon Recommends emails and it just sounds so good that I had to get a copy. I’m still enjoying a lot of non-fiction at the moment so I will definitely be starting this one soon.

Fever at Dawn by Peter Gardos

I’ve been wanting to read this book for ages as it sounds like such a fascinating novel. I was thrilled to see my pre-order appear on my Kindle on Thursday. I really hope to read this soon but want to be sure to start it on a day when I have lots of time to read so I can just let myself be engrossed in it.

The Loving Husband by Christobel Kent

I loved Christobel Kent’s previous novel The Crooked House so this new novel was a must buy for me.

Outstanding by Kathryn Flett

I’ve seen this book talked about a lot recently and it sounds like a good read so I’m keen to read it. 

Whispers Through a Megaphone by Rachel Elliott

This book has been on my wishlist since before it was released but somehow I hadn’t got around to buying a copy. I spotted it again recently and decided to treat myself. I think this will be a book where I can identify with it to a degree so it’s another one that I want to save for when I’m able to concentrate better and can read in big chunks.

The Mother by Yvette Edwards

This was an impulse buy as I liked the sound of the synopsis, hopefully I was right to take a chance on it.

The Last Day I Saw Her by Lucy Lawrie

I completely forgot that I’d had this on pre-order so it was like past me had send present me a gift when it appeared on my Kindle as if from nowhere. I can’t wait to read it.

The Assistants by Camille Perri

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while so when I spotted it for £2.99 I couldn’t resist grabbing a copy. It sounds like a fun read with a bit of depth to it so I’m keen to read it soon.

The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir by Lesley Allen

This was another impulse buy when I read the synopsis as it just sounds so good. I definitely want to read this book before too long.

Most Wanted by Lisa Scottoline

I’ve found Lisa Scottoline’s novels to be a bit hit and miss – some of her books are really good but others have fallen flat for me. I decided to give this one a go based purely on the synopsis as it sounds brilliant. I’ve since seen other reviewers rate it highly so I’m excited to read it.

Scarred by Joanne Macgregor

I’d never heard of this book before but I entered a giveaway to win a copy as it sounded good. I didn’t win the giveaway but when I saw the kindle version of the book on offer for £1.99 I treated myself.

I Blame Morrissey by Jamie Jones

This book is 99p on Kindle so I bought it after the title made me smile. I’m expecting this to be a quite light-hearted look at the way music has affected this man’s life, I’ll probably read this quite soon.


 

Books I received for review:

Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton

I was super excited to be approved for a copy of this on Net Galley this week! I love Sharon Bolton’s novels, they’ve all been such brilliant reads and I’ve been keenly awaiting this new one. I’ll definitely be reading this one very soon!

The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner

I happened to see this on Net Galley, the cover really caught my eye. I read the synopsis and it sounds like such a fascinating read so I was thrilled when I got approved. The book’s not out until September so I need to try and resist reading this for a little while but I’m not sure I’ll be able to hold out for long!

The Second Chance Shoe Shop by Marcie Steele

I love Marcie Steele’s novels so there was no way I could resist requesting a copy of her latest!

Summer at Rose Island by Holly Martin

I completely and utterly adored Holly Martin’s two Christmas books last year so was very excited when I heard there was to be a summer book based in the same location. I’ll definitely be reading this book very, very soon!

Bloq by Alan Jones

I’ve read a lot of great reviews of Bloq recently so when Alan Jones contacted me to offer me a review copy I was thrilled. 

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I was also thrilled to be offered a finished copy of Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave last week. My copy arrived last weekend and it’s gorgeous, look at the red sprayed page edges! I really hope to feel well enough to be able to read again soon so that I can start this.


 

So, that’s all of my new books from the past week. 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.