My October Wrap-Up Post!

Thank You FreePiK

For my monthly wrap up this month I want start by taking the time to say a huge thank you to all of you who have ever read a post on my blog, or liked, or commented; to all of you who have share a post that I’ve written on social media; to all of you who have clicked to follow my blog. I have been blogging now since the end of August this year and never expected that anyone would read it. I started my blog because I needed a project, something fun to focus on, and a book blog seemed the perfect thing for a bookaholic like me.

I made it my aim to post something book-related every day and I think I’ve just about managed to keep to that. Mostly I write reviews but I also have my own bookish memories series, I join in with a couple of weekly memes, and I always do a weekly and monthly wrap up post as well. Since the end of August my blog has had almost 1200 visitors, over 2800 views and it has over 600 followers from various places. Last week I earned my Net Galley badge for Top Reviewer, which was a lovely surprise and a real confidence boost.

Through book blogging I have achieved something for me again, I have found something that I can do for myself and I don’t have the words to explain how big a deal that is for me right now (but trust me, it’s a huge deal!). To find that people are reading and sharing my blog posts has given me such a much-needed lift and I am so incredibly grateful.

Thank you so much!


Anyway, on with the books!

I read eighteen books in October and have reviewed seventeen of them (Please click the titles to read the reviews). The list is in the order I read them.

OCTOBER BOOKS 1 OF 3

Dying to be Slim by Abby Beverley

Six Poets: From Hardy to Larkin by Alan Bennett

The Lies We Tell by Meg Carter

Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain

24 Hours by Claire Seeber

The Broken Hearts Book Club by Lynsey James

OCTOBER BOOKS 2 OF 3

The Good Neighbor by Amy Sue Nathan

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

The Girl with no Past by Kathryn Croft

One Wish in Manhattan by Mandy Baggot

Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale

Get Yourself Organized for Christmas by Kathi Lipp

OCTOBER BOOKS 3 of 3

Snowflakes on Silver Cove by Holly Martin

The Record Store of the Mind by Josh Rosenthal

What We Left Behind by Robin Talley

Merry Mistletoe by Emma Davies

Written in the Scars by Mel Sherratt

The Little Bookshop on on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin (my review will be on my blog tomorrow as it’s my stop on the blog tour!)


This month’s reading has reminded my of two of the best things about being a reader and a book blogger:

(1) Discovering authors you’ve not read before and enjoying their book so much you feel compelled to buy all of their previous work right away! This month this happened to me FIVE times!! I read Mandy Baggot, Claire Seeber, Lynsey James and Emma Davies for the first time and have now bought just about all of their previous books. I also read my second Holly Martin book, which just confirmed what a fabulous writer she is and now all of her books are on my Kindle waiting to be read soon too!

(2) When an author you are a massive fan of releases a new book! Mel Sherratt’s new book, which was just released on Friday, is the fourth in her Estate series and I loved it (review here). I have read all of her previous books and they’re all completely brilliant! I bought and read Taunting the Dead back when it was self-published, and have been a huge a fan from that point on!


Which books did you read in October? Have you found any new-to-you authors? Please share with me in the comments below (and feel free to leave a link back to your own blog).

WWW Wednesday (14th October)

WWW Wednesdays

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:

13 mins

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

I’ve read 88% of this on my Kindle and it’s absolutely brilliant, I can’t wait to get back to it!

Here’s the blurb:

I was dead for 13 minutes.

I don’t remember how I ended up in the icy water but I do know this – it wasn’t an accident and I wasn’t suicidal.

They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but when you’re a teenage girl, it’s hard to tell them apart. My friends love me, I’m sure of it. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t try to kill me. Does it?

13 MINUTES by Sarah Pinborough is a gripping psychological thriller about people, fears, manuiplation and the power of the truth. A stunning read, it questions our relationships – and what we really know about the people closest to us . . .

AND

 

Wendy Darling by Colleen Oakes

I’ve only read the first six chapters so far and I really enjoyed them. The Darling children have just arrived at Neverland so I’m interested to see what Oakes does differently from the original Peter Pan story.

Here’s the blurb:

Wendy Darling has a perfectly agreeable life with her parents and brothers in wealthy London, as well as a budding romance with Booth, the neighborhood bookseller’s son. But one night, while their parents are at a ball, the charmingly beautiful Peter Pan comes to the Darling children’s nursery, and—dazzled by this flying boy with god-like powers—they follow him out of the window and straight on to morning into Neverland, an intoxicating island of freedom.
As time passes in Neverland, Wendy realizes that this Lost Boy’s paradise of turquoise seas, mermaids, and pirates holds terrible secrets rooted in blood and greed. As Peter’s grasp on her heart tightens, she struggles to remember where she came from—and begins to suspect that this island of dreams, and the boy who desires her, have the potential to transform into an everlasting nightmare.


I recently finished reading…

 

24 Hours by Claire Seeber (click here for my review)

I really enjoyed this book, it’s a brilliant thriller that I found genuinely impossible to put down!

Here’s the blurb:

Here today. Dead tomorrow?

My best friend, Emily, is dead – killed last night in a hotel fire.

But it was meant to be me.

Now I have 24 hours to find my daughter.

Before he finds out I’m still alive.

24 Hours is a fast-paced, intelligent psychological thriller that will leave you breathless.

AND

Broken Heart Book Club

The Broken Hearts Book Club by Lynsey James (Click here for my review)

I loved this book, I highly recommend it.

Here’s the blurb:

Secrets never stay buried for long…Lucy Harper has always been good at one thing: running from her past. But when her beloved Nana Lily passes away she has no choice except to return to the one place in the world she most wants to avoid…

Luna Bay hasn’t changed much in the eight years she has spent in London. The little Yorkshire village is still just as beautiful, but the new pub landlord is a gorgeous addition to the scenery!
Lucy only intended to stay for a day, yet when she discovers that Nana Lily has not only left her a cottage but also ‘The Broken Hearts Book Club’, Lucy is intrigued. Her Nana never have mentioned the club and Lucy can’t wait to get started, but walking into her first meeting she is more aware than ever that her past is finally catching up with her.
One way or another, Lucy must finally face the secrets she’s kept buried for so long – or spend the rest of her life on the run…
AND
Another very enjoyable read from this week, I read this in one sitting too. Amy Sue Nathan writes such great characters that you miss them when you finish reading.
Here’s the blurb:

Izzy Lane never thought of herself as a liar. In fact, she’s always played by the rules. She’s an excellent mother, has loyal friends, and a rich career as a school counselor. Fresh from a new divorce, however, Izzy feels like she needs a little fun. So when, on a whim, she starts a blog it seems like a rather benign indulgence. But as her online quips begin to gain traction, Izzy makes a slip. Somehow a new boyfriend winds his way into the picture. The problem? Izzy makes him up.

What, at first, feels like a harmless fib quickly spins out of control and Izzy must figure out how to balance fantasy and reality. Keeping up appearances while managing an absent ex-husband, two very nosy friends, a toddler son, and full-time job soon prove impossible, and Izzy feels utterly lost. It’s only when her long-time neighbor and surrogate mother, Mrs. Feldman, re-enters her life that Izzy begins to see the mess she’s made. And it’s with Mrs. Feldman’s guidance that Izzy learns to face reality, find comfort in new norms, and open herself up to the possibility of real love.


What I’ll be reading next:

the girl with no past

The Girl With No Past by Kathryn Croft

I’ve already read a couple of chapters of this and I think it’s going to be another one of those books that’s very hard to put down!

Here’s the blurb:

Leah Mills lives a life of a fugitive – kept on the run by one terrible day from her past. It is a lonely life, without a social life or friends until – longing for a connection – she meets Julian. For the first time she dares to believe she can live a normal life.
Then, on the twentieth anniversary of that day, she receives a card. Someone knows the truth about what happened. Someone who won’t stop until they’ve destroyed the life Leah has created.
But is Leah all she seems? Or does she deserve everything she gets?
Everyone has secrets. But some are deadly.

AND

Christmas wishes and mistletoe kisses

Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale

I love a good Christmas book and I cannot wait to start this one, I’m excited already!

Here’s the blurb:

Single mother Abbey Fuller loves her family more than anything, and doesn’t regret for a moment having had to put her dreams of being an interior designer on hold. But with her son, Max, growing up, when a friend recommends her for a small design job she jumps at the chance. How hard can it be?
Nick Sinclair needs his house decorated in time for his family’s festive visit – and money is no object. What he doesn’t need is to be distracted from his multi-million dollar business – even if it is Christmas.
When Abbey pulls up to the huge Sinclair mansion, she has a feeling she might be out of her depth. And when she meets the gorgeous, brooding Nicholas Sinclair, she knows that she’s in real trouble…
With the snow falling all around, can Abbey take the chance to make her dreams of being a designer come true? And can she help Nick to finally enjoy the magic of Christmas?

My Weekly Wrap Up and Stacking the Shelves!

I’ve decided to attempt to do a regular post where I wrap up everything bookish I’ve done over the previous week!

This week I read and reviewed four books:

Six Poets: From Hardy to Larkin by Alan Bennett, which is a joy to read.

The Lies We Tell by Meg Carter, which is a great debut thriller.

Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain, which is one of her best books to date!

24 Hours by Claire Seeber, a brilliant thriller that I honestly could not put down!


I started reading:

Broken Heart Book ClubThe Broken Hearts Book Club by Lynsey James (Out tomorrow on Amazon!)

Lucy Harper has always been good at one thing: running from her past. But when her beloved Nana Lily passes away she has no choice except to return to the one place in the world she most wants to avoid…
Luna Bay hasn’t changed much in the eight years she has spent in London. The little Yorkshire village is still just as beautiful, but the new pub landlord is a gorgeous addition to the scenery!
Lucy only intended to stay for a day, yet when she discovers that Nana Lily has not only left her a cottage but also ‘The Broken Hearts Book Club’, Lucy is intrigued. Her Nana never have mentioned the club and Lucy can’t wait to get started, but walking into her first meeting she is more aware than ever that her past is finally catching up with her.

 

Wendy Darling by Colleen Oakes (Out on Tuesday from Amazon)

Wendy Darling has a perfectly agreeable life with her parents and brothers in wealthy London, as well as a budding romance with Booth, the neighborhood bookseller’s son. But one night, while their parents are at a ball, the charmingly beautiful Peter Pan comes to the Darling children’s nursery, and—dazzled by this flying boy with god-like powers—they follow him out of the window and straight on to morning into Neverland, an intoxicating island of freedom.
As time passes in Neverland, Wendy realizes that this Lost Boy’s paradise of turquoise seas, mermaids, and pirates holds terrible secrets rooted in blood and greed. As Peter’s grasp on her heart tightens, she struggles to remember where she came from—and begins to suspect that this island of dreams, and the boy who desires her, have the potential to transform into an everlasting nightmare.

The Good Neighbor by Amy Sue Nathan (Out on Tuesday from Amazon).

Izzy Lane never thought of herself as a liar. In fact, she’s always played by the rules. She’s an excellent mother, has loyal friends, and a rich career as a school counselor. Fresh from a new divorce, however, Izzy feels like she needs a little fun. So when, on a whim, she starts a blog it seems like a rather benign indulgence. But as her online quips begin to gain traction, Izzy makes a slip. Somehow a new boyfriend winds his way into the picture. The problem? Izzy makes him up.

What, at first, feels like a harmless fib quickly spins out of control and Izzy must figure out how to balance fantasy and reality. Keeping up appearances while managing an absent ex-husband, two very nosy friends, a toddler son, and full-time job soon prove impossible, and Izzy feels utterly lost. It’s only when her long-time neighbor and surrogate mother, Mrs. Feldman, re-enters her life that Izzy begins to see the mess she’s made. And it’s with Mrs. Feldman’s guidance that Izzy learns to face reality, find comfort in new norms, and open herself up to the possibility of real love.


stacking-the-shelves

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

So Books I bought this week:

Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm by Rebecca Raisin (currently 99p in the Amazon Kindle autumn sale)

Lucy would do anything for her mom…but she never expected to end up promising to leave her. After her mom got sick, Lucy dropped everything to take care of her, working all hours in a greasy diner just to make ends meet and spending every spare moments she had by her mom’s hospital bedside.

Now, Lucy is faced with a whole year of living by her own rules, starting by taking the first bus out of town to anywhere…

Except she didn’t expect to find her next big adventure just around the corner! Especially when on her first day in town she bumps into grumpy, but oh-so-delicious Clay amidst the maple trees. Surrounded by the magic of Ashford, Lucy has the chance to change her life forever and finally discover a life she wants to live!

Christmas at Cranberry Cottage by Talli Roland

With a whirlwind lifestyle travelling the world, the one thing Jess Millward relies on is Christmas with her gran in cosy Cranberry Cottage. When her grandmother reveals the house is directly in the path of a new high-speed railway, Jess is determined to fight.
Can Jess save the cottage from demolition, or will she have no home to come to this Christmas?

A Very Big House in the Country by Claire Sandy currently (only 59p on Amazon).

‘Holidays are about surviving the gaps between one meal and another.’

For one long hot summer in Devon, three families are sharing one very big house in the country. The Herreras: made up of two tired parents, three grumbling children and one promiscuous dog; the Littles: he’s loaded (despite two divorces and five kids), she’s gorgeous, but maybe the equation for a truly happy marriage is a bit more complicated than that; and the Browns, who seem oddly jumpy around people, but especially each other.

By the pool, new friendships blossom; at the aga door, resentments begin to simmer. Secret crushes are formed and secret cigarettes cadged by the teens, as the adults loosen their inhibitions with litres of white wine and start to get perhaps a little too honest …

Mother hen to all, Evie Herreras has a life-changing announcement to make, one that could rock the foundations of her family. But will someone else beat her to it?

Life or Death by Michael Robotham (currently 99p on Amazon).

Why would a man escape from prison the day before he’s due to be released?
Audie Palmer has spent a decade in prison for an armed robbery in which four people died, including two of the gang. Seven million dollars has never been recovered and everybody believes that Audie knows where the money is.

For ten years he has been beaten, stabbed, throttled and threatened almost daily by prison guards, inmates and criminal gangs, who all want to answer this same question, but suddenly Audie vanishes, the day before he’s due to be released.

Everybody wants to find Audie, but he’s not running. Instead he’s trying to save a life . . . and not just his own.

Surviving the Rachel by Aven Ellis

Bree Logan is ready to start her post-college life, but when she’s dumped by The One, unable to land a professional job, and has to move back in with her parents, she doesn’t think things can get worse until she ends up with her hair chopped into The Rachel, the infamous haircut made famous by the show Friends. Which is not good since it’s no longer 1994. But sometimes you have to go through challenges to get what you really need, and for Bree, could that include a different career and a romance with Jack Chelten, the boy-next-door?

The SW19 Club by Nicola May

What would you do if you were told you could never have children?
Faced with this news, Gracie Davies is at an all-time low. But with the support of some new Wimbledon friends, an unorthodox therapist, her hippy-chick sister Naomi and Czech call-girl Maya, she sets up The SW19 Club and begins her rocky journey to inner peace and happiness. Add in a passionate fling with handsome landscaper Ed, a fairytale encounter with a Hollywood filmstar and the persistence of her adulterous ex, life is anything but predictable…

Believarexic by J. J. Johnson

Asking for help is only the first step
Jennifer can’t go on like this—binging, purging, starving, all while trying to appear like she’s got it all together. But when she finally confesses her secret to her parents and is hospitalized at the Samuel Tuke Center, her journey is only beginning.
As Jennifer progresses through her treatment, she learns to recognize her relationships with food, friends, and family—and how each relationship is healthy or unhealthy. She has to learn to trust herself and her own instincts, but that’s easier than it sounds. She has to believe—after many years of being a believarexic.
Using her trademark dark humor and powerful emotion, J. J. Johnson tells an inspiring story that is based on her own experience of being hospitalized for an eating disorder as a teenager. The innovative format—which tells Jennifer’s story through blank verse and prose, with changes in tense and voice, and uses forms, workbooks, and journal entries—mirrors the protagonist’s progress toward a healthy body and mind.

Review: 24 Hours by Claire Seeber

 

24 Hours should really come with a warning about just how addictive it is! I started reading it this morning thinking I’d just read a couple of chapters while I drank my coffee and I ended up so engrossed that the next thing I knew I’d finished the book and it was lunch time! This is such a brilliant thriller; it’s impossible to stop once you start reading!

24 Hours is the story of Laurie Smith; she has been caught up in a fire in a hotel and believes her best friend is dead and that her daughter may well be in grave danger. She is now in a race against time to find her.

The novel is told in alternating chapters – one from the past that gradually leads up to the present day, and one from each of the 24 Hours that Laurie is frantically searching for her daughter, Polly. It’s so well written because you’d think that the chapters told over the 24 Hours would be the most intense but the chapters set leading up to this day become increasingly more unsettling and there reaches point where there is such tension in every chapter that you almost can’t breathe.

Each of the 24 Hours is brilliantly plotted, you can almost feel Laurie’s increasing tiredness and exhaustion as the hours draw on and the way she starts to question herself and what she thinks she knows because she is almost delirious with fatigue, it begins to feel like you’re in it with her and you’re as unsure as she is. It’s such good writing.

I rate this book 10 out of 10 and highly recommend it. I read a lot of psychological thrillers and this one just felt so refreshingly different to a lot of others that I’ve read of late. Go buy this, you won’t regret it!

24 Hours is published today and is available from Amazon.

I received this book from Bookouture via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

WWW Wednesday (7th October)

WWW Wednesdays

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 Clasp by Sloane Crossley.

I’ve only read the first couple of chapters of this but I’m sure it’s going to be a great read!.

Here’s the blurb:

Reunited for the extravagant wedding of a college friend: Kezia, the second-in-command to an eccentric jewellery designer; Nathaniel, the former literary cool kid now selling his wares in Hollywood; and Victor, who has just been fired from a middling search engine. They soon slip back into their old roles – Victor loves Kezia. Kezia loves Nathaniel. Nathaniel loves Nathaniel.

In the midst of all this semi-merriment, Victor has a bizarre encounter with the mother of the groom that triggers an obsession over a legendary necklace. Lacking employment or any other kind of tie, Victor leaves New York in search of the jewellery, supposedly stashed away in an obscure small-town chateau. And, in a bid to save him from ruining whatever is left of his young ambitions, Kezia and Nathaniel set out to find him.

Heartfelt, suspenseful and told with Sloane Crosley’s inimitable spark and wit, THE CLASP is a story of friends struggling to fit together when their lives haven’t gone as planned and of learning how to tell the difference between what’s real and what’s fake.

and

 

24 Hours by Claire Seeber.

I’ve also just started reading this and I think it’s going to be a gripping read!

Here’s the blurb:

Here today. Dead tomorrow?

My best friend, Emily, is dead – killed last night in a hotel fire.

But it was meant to be me.

Now I have 24 hours to find my daughter.

Before he finds out I’m still alive.

24 Hours is a fast-paced, intelligent psychological thriller that will leave you breathless.

I recently finished reading…

 

Six Poets by Alan Bennett

I absolutely loved this book! I was a fan of Alan Bennett and Philip Larkin, which is what drew me to this book. This book was an utter joy to read and I highly recommend it.

Blurb:

The inimitable Alan Bennett selects and comments upon six favorite poets and the pleasures of their works

In this candid, thoroughly engaging book, Alan Bennett creates a unique anthology of works by six well-loved poets. Freely admitting his own youthful bafflement with poetry, Bennett reassures us that the poets and poems in this volume are not only accessible but also highly enjoyable. He then proceeds to prove irresistibly that this is so.

Bennett selects more than seventy poems by Thomas Hardy, A. E. Housman, John Betjeman, W. H. Auden, Louis MacNeice, and Philip Larkin. He peppers his discussion of these writers and their verse with anecdotes, shrewd appraisal, and telling biographical detail: Hardy lyrically recalls his first wife, Emma, in his poetry, although he treated her shabbily in real life. The fabled Auden was a formidable and off-putting figure at the lectern. Larkin, hoping to subvert snooping biographers, ordered personal papers shredded upon his death.

Simultaneously profound and entertaining, Bennett’s book is a paean to poetry and its creators, made all the more enjoyable for being told in his own particular voice. its creators, made all the more enjoyable for being told in his own particular voice.

and

 

Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain

I just finished reading this book last night and I very much enjoyed it. I’ll be reviewing this tomorrow so look out for that if you’re interested.

Blurb:

When the pretending ends, the lying begins . . . Molly Arnette is good at keeping secrets. As she and her husband try to adopt a baby, she worries that the truth she’s kept hidden about her North Carolina childhood will rise to the surface and destroy not only her chance at adoption, but her marriage as well. Molly ran away from her family twenty years ago after a shocking event left her devastated and distrustful of those she loved. Now, as she tries to find a way to make peace with her past and embrace a healthy future, she discovers that even she doesn’t know the truth of what happened in her family of pretenders.
Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain, the bestselling author of The Silent Sister, is a fascinating and deftly-woven novel, that reveals the devastating power of secrets.

What I’ll be reading next:

Broken Heart Book Club

The Broken Hearts Book Club by Lynsey James.

I’m really looking forward to reading this!

Blurb:

Secrets never stay buried for long…

Lucy Harper has always been good at one thing: running from her past. But when her beloved Nana Lily passes away she has no choice except to return to the one place in the world she most wants to avoid…
Luna Bay hasn’t changed much in the eight years she has spent in London. The little Yorkshire village is still just as beautiful, but the new pub landlord is a gorgeous addition to the scenery!
Lucy only intended to stay for a day, yet when she discovers that Nana Lily has not only left her a cottage but also ‘The Broken Hearts Book Club’, Lucy is intrigued. Her Nana never have mentioned the club and Lucy can’t wait to get started, but walking into her first meeting she is more aware than ever that her past is finally catching up with her.

One way or another, Lucy must finally face the secrets she’s kept buried for so long – or spend the rest of her life on the run…
and
The Good Neighbor by Amy Sue Nathan
I was lucky enough to be accepted for a review copy of this on NetGalley and am so excited to read it!
Blurb:

Izzy Lane never thought of herself as a liar. In fact, she’s always played by the rules. She’s an excellent mother, has loyal friends, and a rich career as a school counselor. Fresh from a new divorce, however, Izzy feels like she needs a little fun. So when, on a whim, she starts a blog it seems like a rather benign indulgence. But as her online quips begin to gain traction, Izzy makes a slip. Somehow a new boyfriend winds his way into the picture. The problem? Izzy makes him up.

What, at first, feels like a harmless fib quickly spins out of control and Izzy must figure out how to balance fantasy and reality. Keeping up appearances while managing an absent ex-husband, two very nosy friends, a toddler son, and full-time job soon prove impossible, and Izzy feels utterly lost. It’s only when her long-time neighbor and surrogate mother, Mrs. Feldman, re-enters her life that Izzy begins to see the mess she’s made. And it’s with Mrs. Feldman’s guidance that Izzy learns to face reality, find comfort in new norms, and open herself up to the possibility of real love.