March Wrap-Up post!

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March has been a tough month in my personal life due to my medication changes. It’s hard to get across just how difficult it is to have a condition that requires medication to manage symptoms, and how the medication then causes problems in itself. I’ve been on very strong pain medication since before I was diagnosed and now I know my condition will never improve, and may even worsen over time, I want to make the best of what I’m left with. So I took the decision to try and reduce my pain medication, in spite of the severe pain I live with. This has been a long term reduction programme and it’s been going ok. It was in March that I got to a low enough dose that I’m struggling. I do have other things that I do to help me manage my pain but it’s taken all my reserves of mental strength to cope. It’s only going to get worse over the coming weeks and I just have to prepare myself as best I can. Once I’m off this medication my pain levels will be assessed again and it may be that I end up on a different medication but I just want to see what I can cope with.

Here are the 22 books I read this month:

Scarlett Says by Scarlett Moffatt

Forever Yours by Daniel Glauttauer

The Escape by C. L. Taylor

Willow Walk by SJI Holliday

The Little Shop of Happy-Ever-After by Jenny Colgan

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

Sometimes I lie by Alice Feeney

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

And the Sun Shine Now by Adrian Tempany

Little Deaths by Emma Flint

The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

Year of No Clutter by Eve O. Schaub

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

The Sellout by Paul Beatty

Now We Are 40 by Tiffanie Darke

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

A Portrait of Bowie by Brian Hiatt

Hillsborough Untold by Norman Bettison


March Blog Posts & Reviews

I wrote my regular Weekly Wrap-Ups, Stacking the Shelves, and WWW Wednesday posts. Then I also managed to review twelve books, which I’m pleased about. It was my aim from the start of March to post three reviews a week on average and I’ve managed that. Ideally, I’d post more reviews than this but three feels manageable along side the regular posts I do each week (health permitting of course)

Here are my reviews that I shared in March:

Everything But the Truth by Gillian McAllister

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel 

It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris 

The Escape by C. L. Taylor

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia

Sometimes I lie by Alice Feeney

The Best We Could Do by Thi But

Year of No Clutter by Eve O. Schaub

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

I also shared a great guest post in March:

Mark Stewart, author of The Absence of Wings, wrote a post for my blog all about speaking up for the voiceless in his short story collection


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The state of my TBR:

I’ve had a few people ask my about my TBR recently so I just want to clarify that my TBR consists purely of books that I already own. I don’t count wish list books as TBR. This goes for anywhere that you see my TBR so if you look at my Goodreads the books listed as ‘to read’ are all books that I own. Hence the need to reduce it – if these books were just wish list books I wouldn’t be bothered how big the list was.

The State of my TBR is not great at the moment. I’ve demonstrated a lack of willpower throughout March and my TBR is creeping up, and is now higher than it was at the start of January!

I started this year with 1885 books on my TBR, and was doing well for the first couple of months as in February my TBR was down to 1861. However, in March a combination of a couple of giveaway wins, review copies arriving, a kindle book sale and spending my birthday book vouchers my TBR has now increased to 1913! I was a bit shocked when I realised how much my TBR has grown in the course of a month.

I don’t want to stop buying books but I do think I need to get better at not buying so many books each week. I’d at least like to try and not acquire more than I can read in a month so that my TBR would then remain steady, so that’s what I’m going to try and do in March. Wish me luck (or maybe that should read wish my willpower!!)

I also want to get in the habit of regularly going through my TBR and making sure that I’m only keeping the books that I still want to read. I’m thinking this should be something I do every month, or at least every quarter.


Quarterly Stats!

I’ve been tracking my reading using a spreadsheet since the start of 2017, which is the first time I’ve ever done this and I’m really enjoying seeing how various aspects of my reading are going. So I’ve decided that at the end of every quarter (March, June, September and December) I’m going to add an extra section to those monthly wrap-ups to share some of the things I’ve noticed in my reading patterns.

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I’ve read 71 books from January to March, and that amounts to 23,326 pages. I’m finding it really interesting to track pages read alongside books read as it shows that I’m not just reading short books to get my numbers up. The longest book I’ve read so far this year is The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, which has 849 pages. My average page count is 326, which is around the length of an average book so I’m pleased with that. 

I’m pleased to discover that in the first three months of this year that 65% of the books I’ve read have been by women. The diversity of my reading in other areas could be improved – I would like to read more work in translation, and also more books written in own voices but I’m otherwise pleased with the breadth of what I’ve been reading.

 

 

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I’ve read from a variety of genres and am happy that of 71 books read, 21 have been non-fiction/memoir so far. I wanted to try and make sure that around a third of what I read this year was non-fiction so I’m not far off being on track for that.

 

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I’ve also kept track of how I acquire my books so thought it would be interesting to show that here as well. Over half of the books I’ve got this year were ones I bought myself, and quite a few have been given to me as gifts. The percentage of review books are the smaller number.

 

 

 

 

All in all I’m pleased with how my reading, reviewing and blogging has been in March. I’m aware that I’m not sure how I’m going to be feeling during April so I’m not planning too much in the way of reading or blogging goals. I’ll read when I can and review when I can and see how it goes. I am going to be taking part in a couple of blog tours so am already reading those books so I can get the posts written and scheduled in advance. I’ll be using any good spells of health to read and review and write blog posts so I’m hoping to have regular content on here even if I’m not around quite as much in reality.

 

How was your March? I hope you all had a good month and that you read 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. 🙂

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WWW Wednesdays (8 March) What are you reading

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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:

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia

I started this book yesterday afternoon and am completely hooked. I can’t wait to get back to it and read more – it’s such an intriguing storyline.

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

This is a graphic memoir of a woman dealing with her family’s history and it’s incredibly moving.

Year of No Clutter by Eve Schaub

This is another book about clutter that I spotted on NetGalley a while ago and couldn’t resist requesting. It’s a good read but it’s about a clutter problem that’s on a whole other scale to what I was expecting. I’m intrigued to know whether Eve managed to deal with her clutter over the course of a year so I’ll definitely keep reading.

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

This book is such an interesting read but I have to keep stopping as the subject matter is very intense and it leaves me needing breathing space occasionally. I’m ok with working my way through it slowly though.

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

This is the audio book that I’m listening to with my husband. It was his choice of book, and I’m not really a Phil Collins fan, but I’m actually really enjoying it.

And the Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

This is still such an interesting read but one of two of the chapters have laboured the point and I end up needing a break before moving on to the next chapter. I think it’s not helped that I don’t have children so the chapter about football for kids and how it’s changing was not all that interesting to me at the level it was pitched at. I understand the bigger picture but the smaller details didn’t engage me enough. On to the next chapter soon though.

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

What I recently finished reading:

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

I have heard a lot about this book lately since the recent BBC adaptation so I was intrigued to pick it up again. I have tried to read this once before and gave up on it but I picked it up yesterday and felt like I was reading a different novel. I literally didn’t put the book down all day and read it in one sitting. It’s an incredible novel, so intense. I’m pleased the TV series is still on iplayer until the end of Wednesday as I somehow managed to record the series but missed the first episode. I’m looking forward to seeing how it translates onto the small screen.

The Little Shop of Happy-Ever-After by Jenny Colgan

This was my latest audio book and I loved it. It’s a gorgeous novel about a mobile bookshop, set in beautiful Scotland. I think I’ll be looking out for more of Jenny Colgan’s novels on audio.

Willow Walk by SJI Holliday

This is the second novel in the Banktoun trilogy and I devoured it in one sitting. I think it was even better than the first one, which I also recently enjoyed, and now I can’t wait to read the third novel!

The Escape by C.L. Taylor

I read this novel at the weekend and found it impossible to put down – I even missed the start of my team playing because I simply had to know how it was all going to end! I’ve already reviewed this book so you can read my thoughts on it here if you’d like to.

Scarlett Says by Scarlett Moffatt

This was an alright listen – it was good for passing the time when I was having a really bad day and couldn’t concentrate very well. I think it is aimed a people younger than me so I probably would have enjoyed it more if I was a good few years younger.

Forever Yours by Daniel Glattauer

I struggled with the early part of this novel and very nearly gave up on it but I very much enjoyed his previous two novels so wanted to give this one more go and I’m so glad I did. I decided to read the rest of the book in one sitting and I think the book works better when read like that, and I found myself very engrossed in the story and really wanting to know how it would end.

What I plan on reading next:

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

I’d hoped to read this book over the last week but I didn’t manage to get to it. It’s top of my list once I’ve finished one of my current reads though so I’ll definitely be getting to this one soon.

The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

I was approved for this book on NetGalley recently and have been really looking forward to reading it but haven’t had a chance as yet. Hopefully this will be the week!


 

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

Weekly Wrap-Up (5 March)

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This week has been an up and down week for me. I had a phone appointment with my neurosurgeon mid-week and I was told that there is no chance at all of me making any recovery from the damage to my spinal cord. It’s very hard to hear, even when you were expecting it. I’m trying to focus on the positives though and am thankful that at the moment my condition is relatively stable – the symptoms fluctuate but my neck is currently stable.

I’m working on pain management at the moment and it’s really hard but I’m determined to make my life as good as I possibly can in the circumstances. The next couple of months are going to be really tough with all the changes to my medication but I believe it’ll be worth it in the long run.

In better news I managed to write and post a review on my blog this week – the first one in weeks – so that felt like an achievement. I’ve got such a backlog of reviews to either write, edit or schedule so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get those posted very soon.

This week I’ve finished reading six books:

The Escape by C. L. Taylor

I’m going to be writing a full review of this book soon but for now I’ll just say that I found it impossible to put down and I loved it!

Forever Yours by Daniel Glauttauer

I really struggled with the first third of this book and was close to giving up on it but because I loved his previous two books I wanted to give it one more chance so I picked it back up during an afternoon when I had plenty of time to read. I read the final part of this in one go and I enjoyed it. It’s not my favourite of his novels but it was a good read and I’m glad I finished it. I would recommend that anyone thinking of reading this that they should maybe try and read it in one go.

Scarlett Says by Scarlett Moffatt

This isn’t my normal type of read but I bought it on a whim in an audible daily deal recently and it seemed a nice, easy kind of  book to listen to when I was having a couple of really bad days this week. I think I’m too old to really enjoy this book but it was entertaining enough.

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

This book is beautiful and I adored it. I knew the parts about Helen’s grief for her father would get to me but I didn’t expect to love the parts about her relationship with her hawk so much. I found it fascinating and very much enjoyed reading this book. I think it may well be one I read again in the future. I highly recommend reading this if you haven’t already.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

I’ve had this poetry book on my TBR since it first came out but it hadn’t caught my attention on my shelves since then. I spotted it again this week and I just really wanted to read it right away. The poems are very simply written but they still pack a real punch. I cried a few times whilst reading this collection and I bookmarked quite a few of the poems that I want to go back and read again. I really recommend this poetry collection.

Everything but the Truth by Gillian McAllister

I very much enjoyed this debut domestic noir and recommend pre-ordering it asap. I posted my review on Friday so you can read that here if you’d like to know more about the book and what I thought of it.

This week I’ve blogged five times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Thursday: February Wrap-Up

Friday: Review of Everything but the Truth by Gillian McAllister

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

Willow Walk by SJI Holliday

I recently read Black Wood, the first book in this trilogy, and enjoyed it so much that I knew I wanted to read the next book very soon. I picked this up last night and am already quite a way through it as it’s such an engrossing book. I’m really enjoying this one.

Year of No Clutter by Eve Schaub

I do love a book about de-cluttering so when I spotted this on NetGalley a little while ago I couldn’t resist requesting. I started reading it this week and am weirdly fascinated by it. I’m constantly working on de-cluttering as my natural tendency to keep things but even so I really struggle to understand how you can be happy with a room full of clutter knowing that your cat has peed all over the carpet and that there are dead mice in amongst your stuff. I’m really intrigued to see how this turns out and whether Eve ever managed to deal with her clutter.

The Little Shop of Happy-Ever-After by Jenny Colgan

I’m going through a rough patch at the moment so wanted an easy-listening audio book and this one caught my eye. It’s a gorgeous book about a woman starting up a mobile book shop and I’m very much enjoying it.

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

This book has been left to one side a bit this week as my head just hasn’t been in the right place to read it but I am keen to get back to it as soon as I can.

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

This is the audio book that I’m currently listening to with my husband and we’re both enjoying it. I’m not as much of a Phil Collins fan as my husband is but this book is still really interesting – Phil Collins has such great stories to tell and the fact that he narrated his memoir himself just adds to it.

And the Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

This is another book that has been on the back burner a bit this week – I have read some of it but not much as my brain hasn’t been good at concentrating on non-fiction over the last few days. I definitely want to get back to this soon though as I was finding it fascinating.

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

This book has also been neglected again this week as I just can’t manage to hold and read a hardback book. If I don’t manage to make progress with it this week I’m going to put it back on my bookcase to come back to at another time. The writing in this book is beautiful and I don’t want to spoil it for myself because I’m in pain whilst reading. I have loved what I’ve read so far though.


Update on my TBR…

TBR at the start of January 2017: 1885 (see my State of the TBR post)

TBR in last week’s Wrap-Up: 1862

Additions:

Books bought/received for review/gifts: 13 (See the books I added this week in my Stacking the Shelves post)

Subtractions:

Books read this week: 6

Books I’m currently reading: 7

TBR Books culled this week: 0

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1870


 

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

 


 

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 Wednesday (1 March)

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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:

Scarlett Says by Scarlett Moffatt

I bought this audio book in an Audible deal a few weeks ago and I started listening to it yesterday as I was having a really bad pain day and needed an easy listen. I’m really enjoying it even though it’s not what I would normally pick.

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

This is such a disturbing and uncomfortable read but it’s incredibly well-researched and written. I’ve tried reading this book once before and it was too much for me but I’m so glad I gave it another chance.

The Escape by C.L. Taylor

I love Cally Taylor’s novels and this one is just as good as her previous books. I really want to find time to just sit and read the rest of this in one sitting because it’s so frustrating every time I have to put it down to do anything.

Forever Yours by Daniel Glauttauer

This book is not grabbing me and I want to keep trying as I loved his previous two novels but if it doesn’t pull me in over the next few chapters I think I may have to DNF this.

 

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

I’m still listening to this audio book with my husband and we’re both enjoying it. We only listen to it occasionally so we may well be listening to it for a while.

Blue Light Yokohama by Nicolas Obregon

I haven’t read much of this book over the last week as my concentration isn’t good and I can’t seem to follow this book too well. I’m hoping to get back to it soon as I was enjoying it.

And the Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

I’ve read another couple of chapters of this book and it’s still really interesting. I know a fair bit of what has been written about but to read it all put together in this contest really has given me more to mull over. I’d definitely recommend this book to football fans.

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

My reading of this book is still suffering because it’s a hardback. I really hope to be able to sit and devour the rest of this novel very soon.

What I recently finished reading:

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

This book is so beautiful and I think it may well be in my favourite books of this year! The way Helen writes about her grief for her father was heartbreaking and I remember all of those feelings from when I lost my mum. I knew the grief elements of this book would hook me in but I didn’t expect to enjoy the story of Helen’s relationship with her hawk as much as I did. It’s a fascinating book and I’ll be recommending it to everyone.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

I’ve had this poetry collection on my TBR for a while and it caught my eye this week so I picked it up and read it in one sitting. I bookmarked so many poems in this collection, and I had to stop reading two or three times because it made me sob. The poems are very simple but the power than can be held in so few words is stunning.

Everything but the Truth by Gillian McAllister

I read an ARC of this so I hope to have a full review up on my blog soon but for now I’ll say that I enjoyed this book a lot. It’s a novel about how snooping on a partner and then realising that they appear to be keeping something from you can have huge ramifications for a relationship.

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

Last week I was debating giving up on this book but I’m so glad that I gave it one more go as I really loved this. I finally made time to sit and read it in one sitting and I got so much more out of it for doing that. It’s a quiet novel, where not much happens, and yet there are paragraphs that took my breath away.

It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot

This is an illustrated book about mental illness. I’ll be reviewing this on my blog soon so won’t say too much here. It’s a brilliant book though and I do recommend it.

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

This is a real wow book. I read it in two sittings as I just didn’t want to put it down. The writing is beautiful and the descriptions are so evocative that this book just pulls you in and doesn’t let you go. This isn’t a review book but I would like to try and get a review up on my blog at some point. I highly recommend pre-ordering this novel.

The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

This novel is also brilliant. I started reading it late at night and I kept saying to myself that I’d just read one more chapter and before I knew it it was gone 2am. I was fascinated by Sarah Gale, I couldn’t make my mind up whether she was innocent or guilty. I keep finding myself thinking about this book, it feels like one that will really stay with me. Go buy this book now, you won’t regret it!

What I plan on reading next:

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

I was sent this for review recently and am so intrigued by the synopsis. I feel sure that this is going to be a thrilling page-turner of a book and I can’t wait to start it.

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

This is another thriller novel that has a synopsis that grabbed me – the way we’re told three things about the protagonist and that also she lie so we from the start we don’t know what is true.

Days of Awe by Lauren Fox

I treated myself to this book a couple of days ago. It’s a book that’s been on my wishlist for ages and then I happened to read a quote someone had shared from the novel this week and I knew I had to read the book asap. Hopefully it’ll live up to my expectations!


 

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

 

Weekly Wrap-Up (26 Feb)

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This week has been a quiet one for the most part so I’ve been able to do lots of reading. I’m also in the middle of sorting through my books and trying to get rid of some. I wanted to reduce my TBR this year but I’m still acquiring books faster than I’m reading them! In the process of sorting out the books on my new Kindle last week I realised that I have a lot of unread books that I’ve owned for ages and I just don’t think I’m ever going to read them so I’ve been deleting some books. The flip side of this is that I also found some kindle books that I hadn’t listed on Goodreads (and therefore weren’t included in my TBR count at the start of the year) so this means my total TBR is going to be up and down for a little while as I both delete and add books. Sorting through my Kindle books led to me looking over my bookcases and picking out some books that I also don’t think are to my taste anymore. Hopefully this will get my TBR down to the books I really want to read, and also help to reduce it somewhat!

This week I’ve finished reading six books:

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

I’ve been struggling to get into this novel for a week or two but I finally made time to sit and read it in one sitting and I enjoyed it much more when I did that. It’s a very gentle novel, that has moments in it that took my breath away. There is one moment in particular point where the loss of parents is mentioned and it was such a small sentence but it turned the novel around for me and made me notice all the pain and beauty beneath the surface.

It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot

This is a review book so I will be reviewing it soon (hopefully) but I’ll say here that it’s a really simple book about mental health issues but some of the illustrations and points made are so powerful for being so simple. It’s a book I recommend.

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

This book is stunning! I read it in two sittings and I can’t stop thinking about it. I’m so happy that I won a proof of this in a giveaway and that I got a chance to read it now. It’s definitely one to add to your lists to buy once it’s published.

The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

This is another brilliant read that I read in just a day or two. I was enthralled in Sarah Gale’s story and couldn’t put the book down for wanting to know the truth of what happened. I didn’t realise when I was reading it that a lot of it was based on a true story so it really made me pause once I knew that.

The Good Immigrant ed. by Nikesh Shukla

I have mixed feelings about this book. I’m glad I read it and some of the essays are brilliant and really made me think about things. Unfortunately, there were a couple of essays that I found offensive due to what my own family have been through and I just couldn’t get passed how that made me feel. I would still recommend the book though because it does give an insight into what it is to be an immigrant in Britain.

Black Wood by SJI Holliday

I’ve had this book on my TBR since it was published and when I saw that the third book in the trilogy was now out I decided to pick this first one up. I read it in one sitting and really enjoyed it. I’m going to read the second book this week and I can’t wait!

 

This week I’ve blogged three times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up where I share all of my bookish, blogging and real life news from the last week

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday where I share what I’m currently reading, what I’ve recently read and what I plan to read next

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves where I share my accumalated book haul from the last seven days

This is what I’m currently reading:

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

I’ve had this book on my TBR since it was published and I have tried picking it up before but my mind wasn’t in the right place to read it. I’m reading a lot of non-fiction at the moment so decided to give this another go and I’m so glad I did. It’s such a tough subject to read about but Seierstad has clearly done a lot of research and it’s very well written.

The Escape by C.L. Taylor

I was offered a copy of this from the publisher but it never arrived so I requested, and was approved, on NetGalley. I am finding this a fast-paced, intriguing book and I’m very much enjoying it.

Forever Yours by Daniel Glattauer

I absolutely adored this author’s previous two books so was keen to read this one. It’s been on my TBR for ages so as I’m trying to read through my TBR this year I picked this one up. It’s not grabbing me in the way I hoped it would but it’s interesting and I am keen to see where the plot goes.

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

This is my husband’s latest audio book pick and I wasn’t that interested in listening to it but once it was playing I found myself laughing at some of the stories Phil Collins was telling and before I knew it we’d been listening for over two hours! We’re going to listen to the rest of it together so I’m looking forward to that.

Everything but the Truth by Gillian McAllister

I’m really enjoying this novel – it’s got an intriguing premise and I can’t wait to find out what, if any, secret Jack is keeping from his girlfriend!

Blue Light Yokohama by Nicolas Obregon

This is a slow-paced but beautifully written crime novel and I’m really enjoying it. I’m keen to find out what happened to the main character in the past.

H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald

This is such a lovely book to listen to on audio and I’m really enjoying it. I’ve not had much time to listen to audio books this week but as soon as I have time I will be putting this on.

And the Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

I’ve read a couple more chapters of this since last week and am still finding it to be such an interesting and, at times, eye-opening read. 

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

I’m absolutely adoring the writing in this book and the only reason that I haven’t read it quicker is that it’s a hardback so I can only read when I can physically manage to hold it. I hope to be able to read more this week though.


Update on my TBR…

TBR at the start of January 2017: 1885 (see my State of the TBR post)

TBR in last week’s Wrap-Up: 1912

Additions:

Books bought/received for review/gifts: 13 (See the books I added this week in my Stacking the Shelves post)

Subtractions:

Books read this week: 6

Books I’m currently reading: 9

TBR Books culled this week: 55

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1862


 

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


 

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. 🙂

Pre-2016 Books I Most Want to Read This Year!

On Friday I wrote a blog post about the 2016 book releases that I was most looking forward to (you can read that post here), then after posting it realised that there are a lot of books published prior to this year that I am equally excited to make time to read. So this post is about some of the books that I’ve already bought and just ran out of time to read last year so am definitely going to make time for this year.

How to be Brave by Louise Beech

How to be Brave by Louise Beech

 This is a book that I got in 2015 and was very keen to read but it felt like a book that I should keep until I had the time to read it slowly and really absorb it. So I’ve saved it and plan to make time for it very soon.

Synopsis:

All the stories died that morning … until we found the one we’d always known.

When nine-year-old Rose is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, Natalie must use her imagination to keep her daughter alive. They begin dreaming about and seeing a man in a brown suit who feels hauntingly familiar, a man who has something for them. Through the magic of storytelling, Natalie and Rose are transported to the Atlantic Ocean in 1943, to a lifeboat, where an ancestor survived for fifty days before being rescued. Poignant, beautifully written and tenderly told, How To Be Brave weaves together the contemporary story of a mother battling to save her child’s life with an extraordinary true account of bravery and a fight for survival in the Second World War. A simply unforgettable debut that celebrates the power of words, the redemptive energy of a mother’s love … and what it really means to be brave.


 

The Hidden Legacy by G. L. Minett

The Hidden Legacy by G. L. Minett

I bought this book on release day but had to hold off reading it as I had a lot of review books to read at the time. I still haven’t managed to read it but I’m going to make some time for it soon. I reckon it’ll be one of those books that once I start it I won’t be able to put it down until I’ve finished it!

Synopsis:

1966. A horrifying crime at a secondary school, with devastating consequences for all involved.

2008. A life-changing gift, if only the recipient can work out why . . .

Bearing the scars of a recent divorce – and the splatters of two young children – Ellen Sutherland is up to her elbows in professional and personal stress. When she’s invited to travel all the way out to Cheltenham to hear the content of an old woman’s will, she can barely be bothered to make the journey.

But when she arrives, the news is astounding. Eudora Nash has left Ellen a beautiful cottage, worth an amount of money that could turn her life around. There’s just one problem – Ellen has never even heard of Eudora Nash.

Her curiosity piqued, Ellen and her friend Kate travel to the West Country in search of answers. But they are not the only ones interested in the cottage, and Ellen little imagines how much she has to learn about her past . . .

Graham Minett’s debut novel, The Hidden Legacy, is a powerful and suspenseful tale exploring a mysterious and sinister past.


 

Katherine Carlyle by Rupert Thomson

Katherine carlyle

 

This book just sounds so intriguing and I know it won’t be on my TBR mountain for very much longer!

Synopsis:

Katherine Carlyle is Rupert Thomson’s breakthrough novel. Written in the beautifully spare, lucid, and cinematic prose Thomson is known for, and powered by his natural gift for storytelling, it uses the modern techniques of IVF to throw new light on the myth of origins. It is a profound and moving novel about identity, the search for personal meaning, and how we are loved.

Unmoored by her mother’s death and feeling her father to be an increasingly distant figure, Katherine Carlyle abandons the set course of her life and starts out on a mysterious journey to the ends of the world. Instead of going to college, she disappears, telling no one where she has gone. What begins as an attempt to punish her father for his absence gradually becomes a testing ground of his love for her, a coming-to-terms with the death of her mother, and finally the mise-en-scène for a courageous leap to true empowerment.


 

Dear Cathy… Love, Mary by Catherine Conlon and Mary Phelan

Dear Cathy... Love, Mary by Catherine Conlon and Mary Phelan

This book just sounds (and looks) gorgeous! I really wanted to read it last year but I had so many review books that I kept having to leave it for another day. This year I will definitely make the time to read it, it’s calling to me already!

Synopsis:

A warm, funny and nostalgic insight into two girls coming of age in more innocent times.

In 1983 in a south Tipperary town two 18-year-olds take a tentative step into the future: Mary to study accountancy, Cathy to become an au pair in Brittany. For the following year they exchange long gossipy letters.

Their letters are touching, funny, tender and gutsy, showing them sustaining a friendship across the miles, starting to grow up and to realise that the world is a more complex, challenging and exciting place than they had imagined. The letters also capture an era — the time of Kajagoogoo, Culture Club, Dynasty and Ronald Reagan — with charm, humour, pathos and a sense of wonderment about the future


 

The Museum of Things Left Behind by Seni Glaister

The Museum of Things Left Behind by Seni Glaister

The title of this book is what originally caught my eye, it’s excellent! When I read the synopsis I was sold, it sounds like something a bit different to what I’ve been reading and I can’t wait to read it.

Synopsis:

FIND YOURSELF IN VALLEROSA, A PLACE LOST IN TIME

Vallerosa is every tourist’s dream – a tiny, picturesque country surrounded by lush valleys and verdant mountains; a place sheltered from modern life and the rampant march of capitalism. But in isolation, the locals have grown cranky, unfulfilled and disaffected. In the Presidential Palace hostile Americans, wise to the country’s financial potential, are circling like sharks …

Can the town be fixed? Can the local bar owners be reconciled? Can an unlikely visitor be the agent of change and rejuvenation this broken idyll is crying out for?

Full of wisdom, humour and light, THE MUSEUM OF THINGS LEFT BEHIND is a heart-warming fable for our times that asks us to consider what we have lost and what we have gained in modern life. A book about bureaucracy, religion and the people that really get things done, it is above all else a hymn to the inconstancy of time and the pivotal importance of a good cup of tea.


 

The Silent Room by Mari Hannah

The Silent Room by Mari Hannah

I love Mari Hannah’s writing – her Kate Daniels’s series is brilliant and I’m always eagerly awaiting the next book. The Silent Room is a departure from Kate Daniels but I’m just as keen to read it, I’m sure it’ll be a great read!

Synopsis:

A security van sets off for Durham prison, a disgraced Special Branch officer in the back. It never arrives. On route it is hijacked by armed men, the prisoner sprung. Suspended from duty on suspicion of aiding and abetting the audacious escape of his former boss, Detective Sergeant Matthew Ryan is locked out of the investigation.

With a manhunt underway, Ryan is warned to stay away. Keen to preserve his career and prove his innocence, he backs off. But when the official investigation falls apart, under surveillance and with his life in danger, he goes dark, enlisting others in his quest to discover the truth. When the trail leads to the suspicious death of a Norwegian national, Ryan uncovers an international conspiracy that has claimed the lives of many.


 

My Everything by Katie Marsh

My Everything by Katie Marsh

I bought this book the day it was released and was very keen to start reading it immediately. Unfortunately real life got in the way of reading for me quite a lot last year and so I simply didn’t get a chance to read this, it absolutely had to be in my top picks to read in 2016 though!

Synopsis:

A thought-provoking, emotive and page-turning debut novel: Hannah’s thirty-two-year-old husband has a stroke . . . on the day she was going to leave him.

On the day Hannah is finally going to tell her husband of five and a half years that she is leaving him, she finds him lying on the floor by their bed, terrified and unable to move. He’s suffered a stroke.

It’s unbelievable – Tom’s only 32. And now Hannah has to put all her plans on hold to care for the husband she was all but ready to give up on, only now feels she can’t. Tom can’t walk, carry out basic tasks, or go out to work, but after months of neglecting and disconnecting from his wife, the long period of rehabilitation he’s faced with does mean one thing: he has the time and fresh perspective to re-evaluate his life. He decides he must make his marriage work: Hannah is the love of his life.

But can Tom remould himself into the man Hannah first met? And can Hannah let go of what she thought she wanted – the new life she had planned – and fall in love with him again?


 

Forever Yours by Daniel Glattauer

Forever Yours by Daniel Glattauer

I loved Glattauer’s earlier novels Love Virtually and Every Seventh Wave; in fact, Love Virtually is one of my favourite books! So I bought Forever Yours soon after it was released but then I’ve held off reading it, I’m not sure why though so this is definitely one to read this year!

Synopsis:

Judith, in her mid-thirties and single, meets Hannes when he steps on her foot in a crowded supermarket. Before long he turns up in the exclusive little lighting boutique that Judith runs with the help of her assistant Bianca.

Hannes is an architect – single and in the prime of life. Not only is he every mother-in-law’s dream, but Judith’s friends are also bowled over by him. At first Judith revels in being put on a pedestal by this determined man who seems to have eyes only for her. But as time goes by, she finds his constant displays of affection increasingly wearying and his intensive attention becomes oppressive and overwhelming.

In the end she feels cornered, controlled and stifled. All her attempts to get him out of her life fail. He seems to follow her all the way into her dreams, and when she wakes up he’s already waiting on her doorstep to pamper her afresh…


 

183 Times A Year by Eva Jordan

183 Times A Year by Eva Jordan

I’ve kept hearing about this book on twitter and was intrigued enough to buy it. I just didn’t get a chance to read it last year when it was released but it’s definitely one I want to read soon. It sounds like it’ll be a fab read!

Synopsis:

Mothers and daughters alike will never look at each other in quite the same way after reading this book—a brilliantly funny observation of contemporary family life.

Lizzie—exasperated Mother of Cassie, Connor and Stepdaughter Maisy—is the frustrated voice of reason to her daughters’ teenage angst. She gets by with good friends, cheap wine and talking to herself—out loud.

16-year-old Cassie—the Facebook-Tweeting, Selfie-Taking, Music and Mobile Phone obsessed teen—hates everything about her life. She longs for the perfect world of Chelsea Divine and her ‘undivorced’ parents—and Joe, of course.

However, the discovery of a terrible betrayal and a brutal attack throws the whole household into disarray. Lizzie and Cassie are forced to reassess the important things in life as they embark upon separate journeys of self-discovery—accepting some less than flattering home truths along the way.

Although tragic at times this is a delightfully funny exploration of domestic love, hate, strength and ultimately friendship. A poignant, heartfelt look at that complex and diverse relationship between a Mother and daughter set amongst the thorny realities of today’s divided and extended families.


 

The Year My Mother Came Back by Alice Eve Cohen

The Year My Mother Came Back by Alice Eve Cohen

This book showed up on my Amazon recommendations one day and I just couldn’t resist buying it once I read the synopsis. So many times I’ve wished my mum was with me, especially during the hardest times but also during the happiest times, so this book appeals greatly to me. I plan to read it this month as I think it will be a book that offers real solace.

Synopsis:

For the first time in decades I’m remembering Mom, all of her–the wonderful and terrible things about her that I’ve cast out of my thoughts for so long. I’m still struggling to prevent these memories from erupting from their subterranean depths. Trying to hold back the flood. I can’t, not today. The levees break.

Thirty years after her death, Alice Eve Cohen’s mother appears to her, seemingly in the flesh, and continues to do so during the hardest year Alice has had to face: the year her youngest daughter needs a harrowing surgery, her eldest daughter decides to reunite with her birth mother, and Alice herself receives a daunting diagnosis. As it turns out, it’s entirely possible for the people we’ve lost to come back to us when we need them the most.

Although letting her mother back into her life is not an easy thing, Alice approaches it with humor, intelligence, and honesty. What she learns is that she must revisit her childhood and allow herself to be a daughter once more in order to take care of her own girls. Understanding and forgiving her mother’s parenting transgressions leads her to accept her own and to realize that she doesn’t have to be perfect to be a good mother.


 

The Prodigal by Nicky Black

The Prodigal by Nicky Black

I always love finding a new crime series and this one set in the North East sounds just like my kind of book. I’m very much looking forward to starting this one.

Synopsis:

Exiled from his beloved Newcastle sixteen years ago, Detective Sergeant Lee Jamieson is returning home in search of the teenage daughter he’s never met. With a good promotion under his belt and his parents gone, he’s ready to return to his roots and the warm Geordie spirit he has missed so much.

Much to his surprise, his first assignment is in Valley Park, a forgotten sink estate and home to some of the worst social deprivation in the country – the estate where he grew up, and where Nicola Kelly, the wife of a renowned local villain, calls home.

As Lee and Nicola’s lives become entwined through a series of dramatic events, they fall in love and embark on a dangerous affair that will change both of their lives forever. Nicola’s husband, Micky, has few scruples, and, as he feels her slipping away, tightens his grip on her affections.

In order for Lee and Nicola to be together, Micky Kelly has to go.


 

A Game for all the Family by Sophie Hannah

A Game for all the Family by Sophie Hannah

I love Sophie Hannah’s Culver Valley series so when I spotted that she had written a standalone book, I was intrigued to see what that would be like. I’m sure it will be brilliant and hope to read it soon.

Synopsis:

Justine thought she knew who she was, until an anonymous caller seemed to know better…

After fleeing London and a career that nearly destroyed her, Justine Merrison plans to spend her days doing as little as possible. But soon after the move, her daughter Ellen starts to seem strangely withdrawn. Checking Ellen’s homework one day, Justine finds herself reading a chillingly articulate story about a series of sinister murders committed at the family’s new house. Can Ellen really have made all this up, as she claims? Why would she invent something so grotesque, set it in her own home and name one of the characters after herself? When Justine discovers that Ellen has probably also invented her best friend at school, who appears not to be known to any of the teachers, Justine’s alarm turns to panic.

Then the anonymous phone calls start: a stranger, making accusations and threats that suggest she and Justine share a traumatic past – yet Justine doesn’t recognise her voice. When the caller starts to talk about three graves – two big ones and a smaller one for a child – Justine fears for her family’s safety. If the police can’t help, she’ll have to confront the danger herself, but first she must work out who she’s supposed to be…


 

Sue Grafton Alphabet series A-W

I’m also contemplating a year (or more likely a two-year) long re-read of Sue Grafton’s alphabet series. I discovered this series a few years ago and devoured them up until the then latest book, which I think was R is for Ricochet.  I adore this series but I feel like I’ve left it so long since I read R that I want to go back and start again – maybe reading one or two books a month until I catch up to the latest book. I’m not a big re-reader but I just feel like I’d really enjoy re-visting Kinsey Millhone from the beginning! It seems like a good time to do it it with only Y and Z left to be published – by the time I’ve completed a re-read and catch up they are likely to already be out and I can read right through to the very end of the series!


 

Are there any books that you’re planning to make time for this year? Any books that you wish you’d read before now but just haven’t had a chance, or any books you’ve loved and plan to re-read? Please share in the comments below. 🙂