See my new #bookhaul in my Stacking the Shelves post today! (10 Jun)

stacking-the-shelves

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

I’ve had a bit of a book buying splurge this week. I think it’s come from having cabin fever, and I felt like I deserved a treat…

 

Here are the books I bought this week:

IMG_9311

Bluets by Maggie Nelson

This has been one of my most anticipated books of this year so I couldn’t resist treating myself this week. It’s a beautiful looking book, and I can hardly wait to start reading it.

Synopsis:

Suppose I were to begin by saying that I had fallen in love with a color . . .

A lyrical, philosophical, and often explicit exploration of personal suffering and the limitations of vision and love, as refracted through the color blue. With Bluets, Maggie Nelson has entered the pantheon of brilliant lyric essayists.

the hate race by maxine beneba clarke

The Hate Race by Maxine Beneba Clarke

I’ve heard so much advanced praise for this book that I’ve been very keen to read it. I treated myself this week and really want to read this book very soon.

Synopsis:

‘Against anything I had ever been told was possible, I was turning white. On the surface of my skin, a miracle was quietly brewing . . .’

Suburban Australia. Sweltering heat. Three bedroom blonde-brick. Family of five. Beat-up Ford Falcon. Vegemite on toast. Maxine Beneba Clarke’s life is just like all the other Aussie kids on her street.

Except for this one, glaring, inescapably obvious thing.

Our Young Man by Edmund White

Our Young Man by Edmund White

This book has been calling to me since I spotted it a couple of weeks ago and I just had to order it in the end. I want to read this book but I also want to pick it up when I have time to just sit and read it in one go… hopefully very soon!

Synopsis:

‘Has everyone always been in love with you? Of course they have, who am I kidding? What did they say about Helen of Troy? That her face launched a thousand ships? That’s you, you’re that beautiful. A thousand ships’

New York City in the eighties, and at its decadent heart is Guy. The darling of Fire Island’s gay community and one of New York’s top male models, Guy is gliding his way to riches that are a world away from his modest provincial upbringing back home in France. Like some modern-day Dorian Gray he seems untouched by time: the decades pass, fashions change, yet his beauty remains as transcendent and captivating as ever.

Such looks cannot help but bring him adoration. From sweet yet pathetic Fred to the wealthy and masochistic Baron, from the acerbic and cynical Pierre-Georges to Andre, fabricating Dalí fakes and hurtling towards prison and the abyss, all are in some way fixated on him. In return for the devotion and expensive gifts they lavish on him, he plays with unswerving loyalty whatever role they project onto him: unattainable idol, passionate lover, malleable client. But just as the years are catching up on his smooth skin and perfect body, so his way of life is closing in on him and destroying the men he loves.

Monte Carlo by Peter Terrin

Monte Carlo by Peter Terrin

I saw a fab review of this on a blog recently (apologies that I can’t find where I noted down whose blog so if it was you, please tell me and I’ll amend this) and knew I had to read it. It’s a short book so I’m hoping to read this in one go in the next couple of weeks.

Synopsis:

It is the Monaco Grand Prix in May 1968. Jack Preston, a mechanic for Team Sutton, is making the final checks on his car as the beau mondemingles with the drivers under the eyes of the world’s press and the galleries of spectators. DeeDee, a starlet of great beauty, seems to be walking towards him, or perhaps towards the royal box. Without warning a fireball rips across the starting grid. Preston will always bear the scars as a consequence of his unthinking heroism, his saving the life and the beauty of the girl, but details of the accident remain vague – no photographs capturing the moment have come to light.

Weeks later, Preston emerges from hospital and goes home to his wife in a remote English village from which the drab atmosphere of the 1950s has yet to recede. There, as he slowly recovers, he awaits word from his employers and some sign of DeeDee’s gratitude, an acknowledgment that it was he who saved her life.

Modern Lovers by Emma Straub

Modern Lovers by Emma Straub

I bought this book on a whim when I spotted in the sale on Kindle this week. It sounds like a great summer read so I’m looking forward to getting to it.

Synopsis:

Twenty years later and they were supposed to be grown-ups…

Ditmas Park, Brooklyn.
Summer in the city . . .

College friends Elizabeth, Zoe and Andrew had a band, grew up, settled in New York and now they were still living round the corner from one another (and in each other’s pockets).

One hot summer as their kids come of age, making those first hesitant steps into adulthood, it’s the parents who find that the lives they’ve so carelessly stitched together begin to slowly unravel . . .

Dark Chapter by Winnie M. Li

Dark Chapter by Winnie M. Li

I happened to see this book being discussed online this week and immediately I wanted to get hold of a copy. I was happy to spot it was part of Kindle Unlimited so I downloaded it and I want to read it soon. It does sound like an intense read though so I’m going to wait until I’m feeling a bit less fragile.

Synopsis:

Vivian is a cosmopolitan Taiwanese-American tourist who often escapes her busy life in London through adventure and travel. Johnny is a 15-year-old Irish teenager, living a neglected life on the margins of society.

On a bright spring afternoon in West Belfast, their paths collide during a horrifying act of violence.

In the aftermath, each is forced to confront the chain of events that led to the attack.

Inspired by true events, this is a story of the dark chapters and chance encounters that can irrevocably determine the shape of our lives.

Here I Am by Jonathan Saffron Foer

Here I Am by Jonathan Saffron Foer

I’ve had this on my wishlist for a while and have been undecided about it as I love his earlier novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close but I’ve heard mixed reviews of this new one. When I saw it in the kindle sale this week though I decided to take a chance on it and if I love it I’ll be buying a print copy to go on my bookcase.

Synopsis:

Jacob and Julia Bloch are about to be tested . . .

By Jacob’s grandfather, who won’t go quietly into a retirement home.
By the family reunion, that everyone is dreading.
By their son’s heroic attempts to get expelled.
And by the sexting affair that will rock their marriage.

A typical modern American family, the Blochs cling together even as they are torn apart. Which is when catastrophe decides to strike . . .

Confronting the enduring question of what it means to be human with inventiveness, playfulness and compassion, Here I Am is a great American family novel for our times, an unmissable read for fans of Jonathan Franzen and Michael Chabon, a masterpiece about how we live now.

I received seven review books:

IMG_9376

The Things We Thought We Knew by Mahsuda Snaith

I was thrilled when I was contacted about reading and reviewing this book as it’s another book that I’ve been eagerly anticipating. It arrived yesterday and I read the first few pages and I feel sure this is going to be a book I won’t want to put down once I pick it up properly.

Synopsis:

Ravine and Marianne were best friends. They practised handstands together, raced slugs and went into the woods to play.

But now everything has changed.

Ten years later, Ravine lies in a bed plagued by chronic pain syndrome. And her best friend Marianne is gone.

How did their last adventure go so wrong? Who is to blame? And where is Marianne?

Dodgers by Bill Beverly

Dodgers by Bill Beverly

The publishers of this book very kindly emailed me a copy of Dodgers this week, which made my day as this is another book that I’ve been keen to read. I’m snowed under with review books just now but I hope I can squeeze this book in soon.

Synopsis:

Dodgers is a dark, unforgettable coming-of-age journey that recalls the very best of Richard Price, Denis Johnson, and J.D. Salinger.

When East, a low-level lookout for a Los Angeles drug organisation, loses his watch house in a police raid, his boss recruits him for a very different job: a road trip – straight down the middle of white, rural America – to assassinate a judge in Wisconsin.

Having no choice, East and a crew of untested boys – including his trigger-happy younger brother, Ty – leave the only home they’ve ever known in a nondescript blue van, with a roll of cash, a map and a gun they shouldn’t have.

Along the way, the country surprises East. The blood on his hands isn’t the blood he expects. And he reaches places where only he can decide which way to go – or which person to become.

The Detriment by David Videcette

The Detriment by David Videcette

I won’t lie, I squealed when the author contacted me to see if I’d like an advanced ecopy of this. The previous novel, The Theseus Paradox, was one of my favourite books of 2015 so this has been a book I’ve been waiting for. I’m hoping to read and review it around publication day at the end of June.

Synopsis:

“The truth costs nothing, but a lie can cost you everything…”

June 2007: a barbaric nail bomb is planted outside a London nightclub, a spy is found dead in his garden, and a blazing Jeep is driven into Glasgow airport. Three events bound by an earth-shattering connection that should have remained buried forever.

From the author of ‘The Theseus Paradox’, the smash-hit 7/7 thriller based on true events, comes the sequel about a real-life mystery that threatens to destroy a nation. Detective Inspector Jake Flannagan must uncover how a series of astonishing events are inextricably linked, before the past closes in on him.

We all have secrets we say we’ll never tell…

IMG_9367

Bad Choices by Ali Almossawi

This review book arrived yesterday and I’m really intrigued to read it. It looks like a book that can be read in between other books, so I might pick it up soon.

Synopsis:

Readers around the world have embraced Ali Almossawi’s whimsical illustrations and his funny, clarifying explanations of complex subjects. In Bad Choices Almossawi demystifies a new topic of increasing relevance to our lives: algorithms. This is a book for anyone who’s looked at a given task and wondered if there was a better, faster way to get it done. What’s the best way to organize a grocery list? What’s the secret to being more productive at work? How can we better express ourselves in 140-characters?

Presenting us with alternative methods for tackling each scenario, Almossawi guides us to better choices that borrow from same systems that underline a computer word processor, a Google search engine, or a Facebook ad. Once you recognise what makes a method faster and more efficient, you’ll become a more nimble, creative problem-solver, ready to face new challenges.

baby lost hannah robert

Baby Lost by Hannah Robert

I’ve already started reading this book and it’s so moving. It’s a tough read but it’s one I’d recommend.

Synopsis:

What happens when a death occurs within your body, but you survive? Two days after Christmas, law lecturer Hannah Robert, eight months pregnant, was driving her partner and stepkids home from a picnic when their car was crushed by a four-wheel-drive. Hannah’s baby didn’t survive.

When Hannah told her story in court, the judge wept. In her struggle to make sense of the personal and legal aftermath, Hannah had to find out what it means to mother a dead child and to renegotiate her own relationship with hope. Her powerful story is written with clarity and beauty, shining light on an unimaginably dark event and is, unexpectedly, tempered with life and promise.

The Scandal by Fredrick Backman

The Scandal by Fredrik Backman

I got an email from NetGalley about this book and I downloaded it based on the synopsis before I even took notice of who wrote it. I’m even more keen to read it now I have noticed – I hope to get to this soon.

Synopsis:

‘Late one evening towards the end of March, a teenager picked up a double-barrelled shotgun, walked into the forest, put the gun to someone else’s forehead and pulled the trigger.

This is the story of how we got there.’ Beartown is a small town in a large Swedish forest. For most of the year it is under a thick blanket of snow, experiencing the kind of cold and dark that brings people closer together – or pulls them apart. Its isolation means that Beartown has been slowly shrinking with each passing year. But now the town is on the verge of an astonishing revival. Everyone can feel the excitement. Change is in the air and a bright new future is just around the corner. Until the day it is all put in jeopardy by a single, brutal act. It divides the town into those who think it should be hushed up and forgotten, and those who’ll risk the future to see justice done. At last, it falls to one young man to find the courage to speak the truth that it seems no one else wants to hear. With the town’s future at stake, no one can stand by or stay silent. Everyone is on one side or the other.

Which side would you be on?

IMG_9368

Last Seen by Lucy Clarke

I was thrilled to be offered a copy of this to read and review for the forthcoming blog tour. I’m a fan of Lucy Clarke’s novels and am really excited to have a copy of this.

Synopsis:

Seven years ago, two boys went missing at sea – and only one was brought to shore. The Sandbank, a remote stretch of coast dotted with beach huts, was scarred forever.

Sarah’s son survived, but on the anniversary of the accident, he disappears without trace. As new secrets begin to surface, The Sandbank hums with tension and unanswered questions. Sarah’s search grows more desperate and she starts to mistrust everyone she knows – and she’s right to.

Someone saw everything on that fateful day seven years ago. And they’ll do anything to keep the truth buried.

 

 

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.

 

My Top 10 Books of 2015!

top books copy

I’ve read 167 books this year, which isn’t quite as many as I normally read but it’s not bad considering I had major surgery in the summer and didn’t read anything at all for quite a few weeks. It was still very hard to get it down to a top ten though as I have read so many great books this year. I only started blogging at the start of September and I’ve compiled my top ten from books I’ve read over the whole year so some of these books don’t have reviews.

The first nine books in my list are in no particular order as they were all fab, and are all books that are still swirling around in my mind. There was one book that I read this year that simply had to be number one, so I have made a top pick this time around!

Here goes…

(The books that I’ve reviewed have clickable links underneath the images)

My Top 10 books of 2015

Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten

 

Suicide Notes for Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten

I read this book before I started my blog so I haven’t reviewed it but I’ve picked it for my top ten because I read it earlier this year and I can still remember the plot vividly and still think about the characters. Of all the thrillers I’ve read this year, this one was the best because it was so twisty that I just couldn’t work out who to trust or how it might end.


 

Isabelle Day Refuses to Die of a Broken Heart by Jane St. Anthony

Isabelle Day Refuses to Die of a Broken Heart by Jane St. Anthony

I requested this book on Net Galley soon after signing up as the title just jumped out at me. This is a YA/MG novel but, like all the best books written for young people, it explores things in a way that while seemingly simple, have a huge impact on the reader. This is a brilliant novel exploring loss and grief but is also an uplifting read.


 

Things We Have in Common by Tasha Kavanagh

Things We Have in Common by Tasha Kavanagh

This is another novel that I read before I started my blog so I haven’t reviewed it but even though it’s months after I read it, I still keep thinking about it and even though I know how it ends it’s definitely a book that I’d like to re-read at some point. This novel has one of the best endings, it’s so unsettling, but it works brilliantly.


 

The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink

The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink

This is one of the most beautiful and heart-breaking books I have read in a really long time. Cathy’s love for her brother shines off the page and I could feel her devastation at what happened to him. It’s a very moving read.


 

The Secret by the Lake by Louise Douglas

The Secret by the Lake by Louise Douglas

I read this novel quite recently and it’s made my top ten because I still feel unsettled by it. The story and the characters really got under my skin and I’m still thinking about the book even now. It had a similar effect on me as Du Maurier’s Rebecca; it unnerved me and yet I want to read it again and again (even though I’m generally someone who doesn’t like to be unnerved to the degree these books make me feel!).


 

The Theseus Paradox by David Videcette

The Theseus Paradox by David Videcette

I only finished this book a week or two before Christmas but it made my list because when I compared it to other contenders for my top ten, it just kept jumping out at me. It’s so different to anything I’ve read in a really long time. It made me think, it was thrilling from the first page to the last, and I really hope it becomes the first in a series!


 

Asking For It by Louise O'Neill

Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

This book is a prime example of why I never compile my top books of the year list until the very last day of the year. I only read this book over the last couple of days (and at the time of compiling this post I haven’t even finished writing my review of it!) but it had such an impact that it simply had to be in my list. This is a book I’ll be thinking about for a long time to come. It raises such important issues around rape, consent and the social media age we live in. It’s a book I urge everyone to read. It’s a disturbing read but a must-read all the same.


 

normal by graeme cameron

Normal by Graeme Cameron

This was one of those books that I just couldn’t put down. I have never read a book before where I was in the mind of a serial killer and yet he seemed like an okay sort of man. He appears normal except for when he’s killing people, and that messes with your head in such a clever way that this book will stay with you for such a long time after you’ve read it.


 

 

The Jazz Files by Fiona Veitch Smith

The Jazz Files by Fiona Veitch Smith

I was offered the chance to review this book for a blog tour and I am so glad that I said yes. I devoured this novel and absolutely adored it. It’s a mystery novel set in 1920s London and I loved everything about it. The author really captures the period so well and she has such feisty, believable characters that it was impossible to put down. It was one of only two books to be added to my favourites this year and I already can’t wait for the next in the series. I highly recommend reading this.


 

and my top book of 2015 is…

 

 

*drum roll*

 

 

Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan

Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan

This book is incredible! It’s a very moving exploration of grief that will make you cry but by the end you feel such a sense of solace. Hogan looks at the different ways people grieve and the ways people try to move on; this novel is one that can be read on so many different levels. It’s a book that I know I will re-read many times in the future; I got so much comfort from it and it’s one I simply had to own in print so I could have it on my favourites book shelf where I could see it. I honestly can’t recommend this novel highly enough!

 

 

 

 

 

 

WWW Wednesday (23 December)

WWW pic

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

 


 

What I’m reading now:

a boy called christmas

A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig

You are about to read the true story of Father Christmas.
It is a story that proves that nothing is impossible.
A Boy Called Christmas is a tale of adventure, snow, kidnapping, elves, more snow, and a boy called Nikolas, who isn’t afraid to believe in magic.
From the winner of The Smarties Book Prize and the Blue Peter Book Award. With illustrations by Chris Mould.

A Proper Family Christmas by Chrissie Manby

A Proper Family Christmas by Chrissie Manby

Take one Queen Bee: Annabel Buchanan, with a perfect house in the country, a rich husband and a beautiful daughter, Izzy . . .
. . . and one large, loud family: the Bensons.
What happens when their worlds collide?
When Izzy suddenly falls dangerously ill, adoptee Annabel has to track down her biological family to see if they can help her daughter. But can she see past the Bensons’ brash exteriors to the warm, loving people they are at heart?
With December just around the corner, is it too much to hope that the Bensons and the Buchanans can have a proper family Christmas?

The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood

The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood

Apologies for the general email, but I desperately need your help.

My goddaughter, Coco Jackson, disappeared from her family’s holiday home in Bournemouth on the night of Sunday/Monday August 29/30th, the bank holiday weekend just gone. Coco is three years old.

When identical twin Coco goes missing during a family celebration, there is a media frenzy. Her parents are rich and influential, as are the friends they were with at their holiday home by the sea.

But what really happened to Coco?

Over two intense weekends – the first when Coco goes missing and the second twelve years later at the funeral of her father – the darkest of secrets will gradually be revealed…

Taut, emotive and utterly compelling, an unputdownable ‘ripped from the headlines’ novel that you will want to talk about with everyone you know.

Asking For It by Louise O'Neill

Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

It’s the beginning of the summer in a small town in Ireland. Emma O’Donovan is eighteen years old, beautiful, happy, confident.

One night, there’s a party. Everyone is there. All eyes are on Emma.

The next morning, she wakes on the front porch of her house. She can’t remember what happened, she doesn’t know how she got there.

She doesn’t know why she’s in pain.

But everyone else does. Photographs taken at the party show, in explicit detail, what happened to Emma that night.

But sometimes people don’t want to believe what is right in front of them, especially when the truth concerns the town’s heroes . . .


What I recently finished reading (Click on the links under the images to read my reviews):

Every Time A Bell Rings by Carmel Harrington

The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson

The Theseus Paradox by David Videcette

The Boy Under the Mistletoe by Katey Lovell

Snowed in for her Wedding by Emma Bennet


 

What I plan on reading next:

Sugar and Snails by Anne Goodwin (1)

Sugar and Snails by Anne Goodwin

The past lingers on, etched beneath our skin …
At fifteen, Diana Dodsworth took the opportunity to radically alter the trajectory of her life, and escape the constraints of her small-town existence. Thirty years on, she can’t help scratching at her teenage decision like a scabbed wound.
To safeguard her secret, she’s kept other people at a distance… until Simon Jenkins sweeps in on a cloud of promise and possibility. But his work is taking him to Cairo, and he expects Di to fly out for a visit. She daren’t return to the city that changed her life; nor can she tell Simon the reason why.
Sugar and Snails takes the reader on a poignant journey from Diana’s misfit childhood, through tortured adolescence to a triumphant mid-life coming-of-age that challenges preconceptions about bridging the gap between who we are and who we feel we ought to be.

How To Get Ahead in Television by Sophie Cousens (1)

How to Get Ahead in Television by Sophie Cousens

Poppy Penfold desperately wants a career in television. After months of dead-end applications, she gets her big break with a temporary job as a runner for RealiTV. But to land a permanent role, Poppy will need to go head-to-head with fellow runner Rhidian: arrogant, highly competitive – and ridiculously good looking.

Poppy goes all out to impress, but somehow things don’t go to plan. Whether failing to prevent a washed-up soap star from becoming roaring drunk during Scottish game show Last Clan Standing, or managing to scare the horses during the filming of Strictly Come Prancing, Poppy gets noticed for all the wrong reasons. With highly strung presenters and distractingly handsome producers in the mix, it’s Poppy’s determination that will see her win or lose her dream job, and maybe her dream man too…

Thicker than Water by Brigid Kemmerer

Thicker than Water by Brigid Kemmerer

Thomas Bellweather hasn’t been in town long. Just long enough for his newlywed mother to be murdered, and for his new stepdad’s cop colleagues to decide Thomas is the primary suspect.
Not that there’s any evidence. But before Thomas got to Garretts Mill there had just been one other murder in twenty years.
The only person who believes him is Charlotte Rooker, little sister to three cops and, with her soft hands and sweet curves, straight-up dangerous to Thomas. Her friend was the other murder vic. And she’d like a couple answers….Answers that could get them both killed, and reveal a truth Thomas would die to keep hidden.
Answers that could get them both killed, and reveal a truth Thomas would die to keep hidden…

the children's home charles lambert

The Children’s Home by Charles Lambert

In a sprawling estate, willfully secluded, lives Morgan Fletcher, the disfigured heir to a fortune of mysterious origins. Morgan spends his days in quiet study, avoiding his reflection in mirrors and the lake at the end of his garden.
One day, two children, Moira and David, appear. Morgan takes them in, giving them free rein of the mansion he shares with his housekeeper, Engel. Then more children start to show up.
The Children’s Home is an inversion of a modern day fairy tale. Lambert writes from the perspective of the visited, weaving elements of psychological suspense, abandonment, isolation, and the grotesque -as well as the glimmers of goodness- buried deep within the soul.


 

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 and Stacking the Shelves (19th December)

I wasn’t going to do a wrap-up post this week as I’ve not been reading much and don’t have a lot of bookish news to share but I wanted to post an update and this seemed a good chance to do it.

Yesterday I posted a book review, which was the first post I’ve published in two weeks. Up until a fortnight ago I’d managed to blog every single day for over two months but then I came down with a very severe infection and have been really unwell. I was on two kinds of antibiotics and told to stay in bed and rest. I felt so ill that I couldn’t focus my eyes and I was so sick, all I could do was sleep. I’m feeling better now but am still suffering with the after-effects of being ill so I’m still not reading anywhere near as much as usual. On top of this I had a breakthrough in my physio just before I got ill with this infection and I’m now working hard to get back on track with that, which is exhausting.

I miss blogging though, it’s become such a big part of my life so I’ve decided to get back to it but I’m just going to be posting as and when I can until I’m feeling better – I don’t want to put pressure on myself with a schedule until I know I’m up to reading at my normal pace again. I did finish a few books before I was ill and have my notes on those so I may be able to get reviews typed up and posted this week then after that my blogging schedule will depend on how much I manage to read until I’m feeling better. Please bear with me in the meantime.

So, back to the books!

I’ve read two books in the last couple of weeks and have managed to post reviews for them this week (please click the links below the images to read my reviews):

 

The Theseus Paradox by David Videcette

The boy Under the Mistletoe by Katey Lovell

 


 

stacking-the-shelves

I’m also joining in with Stacking the Shelves (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.

 

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve hardly been online so I’ve not bought many books or requested many for review. I did get a few books though!

Books I’ve bought over the last two weeks:

 

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Death at Seaworld by David Kirby

Dickens at Christmas by Charles Dickens

Then You Were Gone by Lauren Strasnick

High Dive by Jonathan Lee

 

Books I’ve received for review:

 

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

The Good Liar by Nicholas Searle

Keep You Close by Lucie Whitehouse

After the Last Dance by Sarra Manning

 

Books that I’ve won in competitions that have arrived recently:

 

The Double Life of Liliane by Lily Tuck

The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood

 


 

What have you been reading this week? Have you bought any new books? Please feel free to link to your wrap-up post, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below! 🙂

 

 

 

Review: The Theseus Paradox by David Videcette

 

The Theseus Paradox

Synopsis

We accepted it was terrorism.
What if we were wrong?
What if London’s 7/7 bombings were the greatest criminal deception of our time?

July 2005: in the midst of Operation Theseus, the largest terrorist investigation that the UK has ever known, Detective Inspector Jake Flannagan begins to ask difficult questions that lead to the mysterious disappearance of his girlfriend and his sudden suspension from the Metropolitan Police.

Who masterminded London’s summer of terror?
Why can’t Flannagan make headway in the sprawling investigation?
Are the bombings the perfect ploy to mask a different plot entirely?
Is Jake’s absent Security Service girlfriend really who she claims to be?

While hunting for the answers to the most complex terrorist case in British history, one man will uncover the greatest criminal deception of our time.

Terror, extremism and fear of the unknown,
Sometimes the answer is much closer to home.

David says, ‘I can’t tell you the truth, but I can tell you a story…’

My Review

I read a review of The Theseus Paradox and was immediately intrigued by the book so when I was offered a copy by the author, I couldn’t refuse.

This novel is a work of fiction based on the 7/7 bombings in London in 2005. It’s a very intriguing novel and held my attention from start to finish. I haven’t read many works of fiction that are so closely based on real life events, and at times it’s difficult to get your head around the fact that this is fiction because the real life events of 7/7 are still so fixed in memory, and Videcette’s writing is so good that it makes the fictional elements feel entirely believable.

DI Jake Flanagan is a brilliant character, like many fictional detectives he has his flaws and vices – in Jake’s case it’s alcohol and women, but he is a very likeable character and I was willing him to hold it together to find out what and who was behind the bombings. Jake bends, and sometimes breaks, the rules but everything he does is for the greater good. He desperately needs to solve this crime.

The short chapters, each headed with a time, date and location stamp, kept the novel moving at a very high pace and the book never lost intensity for a second. There wasn’t any filler in this novel, everything was relevant to solving the crime and I found that very impressive.

The way the book ended came as a complete surprise to me – I thought I had some of it worked out but I was completely wrong!  The things that Flanagan finds out do make absolute sense though and it was a very plausible ending. After I finished reading this book I found that I couldn’t stop thinking about it for a while afterwards, my mind was mulling it all over and I can see how all the pieces fit together to get the ending.  This novel is still swirling around in my head even now, a couple of weeks after finishing it. It was such a great read!

I really hope that there will be more books featuring Jake Flanagan. I enjoyed this novel immensely and will definitely be looking out for more by David Videcette. I rate this 5 out of 5 and highly recommend it.

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Theseus Paradox is out now and available from Amazon.

 

About the Author

David Videcette

Former Scotland Yard investigator, David Videcette, has searched hundreds of properties, placed bugs on countless vehicles, chased numerous dangerous criminals and interviewed thousands of witnesses.

He was a lead investigator in the London terrorist bombings and is a former Scotland Yard detective with twenty years policing experience, including counter-terrorist operations and organised crime.

He currently consults on security operations for high-net-worth individuals and is an expert media commentator on crime, terrorism, extremism and the London 7/7 bombings.

David also now puts his police knowledge to good use in his crime novels.

WWW Wednesday (2nd December)

WWW pic

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’m reading now:

The Theseus Paradox by David Videcette

The Theseus Paradox by David Videcette

I’m finding this book to be such a compelling read – whenever I have to stop reading I look forward to getting back to it.

Synopsis:

We accepted it was terrorism. But what if we were wrong? What if London’s July bombings were the greatest criminal deception of our time? 7 July 2005: In the midst of Operation Theseus, the largest terrorist investigation that the UK has ever known, Detective Inspector Jake Flannagan begins to ask difficult questions that lead to the mysterious disappearance of his girlfriend and his sudden suspension from the Metropolitan Police. Who masterminded London’s summer of terror? Why can’t Flannagan make headway in the sprawling investigation? Are the bombers the perfect pretext to mask a different plot entirely? Is Jake’s absent Security Service girlfriend really who she claims to be? While hunting for the answers to the most complex terrorist case in British history, one man will uncover the greatest criminal deception of our time. Terror, extremism and fear of the unknown, Sometimes the answer is much closer to home.

make a christmas wish

Make a Christmas Wish by Julia Williams

I’m finding this book to be much more emotional than I expected.

Synopsis:

Last Christmas, when Livvy was knocked down in the supermarket car park she certainly wasn’t ready to actually be dead! For months now she’s floated on the edge of the afterlife, generally making a nuisance of herself.
And she’s not ready to go just yet! She’s furious about the new woman in her husband’s life and she’s worried about her beloved son who doesn’t seem to be adjusting to life without her at all.
This Christmas, Livvy is given one last magical chance to make everything right. Will she take it and give her family the perfect Christmas?

Beneath the Surface- Killer Whales

Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, Seaward, and the Truth Beyond Blackfish by John Hargrove

I watched the Blackfish documentary a while ago and ever since have wanted to know more so when this book caught my eye I couldn’t resist buying it. I’ve only read the first couple of chapters so far but it’s very interesting.

Synopsis:

Over the course of two decades, John Hargrove worked with 20 different whales on two continents and at two of SeaWorld’s U.S. facilities. For Hargrove, becoming an orca trainer fulfilled a childhood dream. However, as his experience with the whales deepened, Hargrove came to doubt that their needs could ever be met in captivity. When two fellow trainers were killed by orcas in marine parks, Hargrove decided that SeaWorld’s wildly popular programs were both detrimental to the whales and ultimately unsafe for trainers. After leaving SeaWorld, Hargrove became one of the stars of the controversial documentary Blackfish. The outcry over the treatment of SeaWorld’s orca has now expanded beyond the outlines sketched by the award-winning documentary, with Hargrove contributing his expertise to an advocacy movement that is convincing both federal and state governments to act. In Beneath the Surface, Hargrove paints a compelling portrait of these highly intelligent and social creatures, including his favourite whales Takara and her mother Kasatka, two of the most dominant orcas in SeaWorld. And he includes vibrant descriptions of the lives of orcas in the wild, contrasting their freedom in the ocean with their lives in SeaWorld. Hargrove’s journey is one that humanity has just begun to take-toward the realization that the relationship between the human and animal worlds must be radically rethought.

the mince pie mix up

The Mince Pie Mix Up by Jennifer Joyce

This is such a fun read! I can never resist a body swap movie or book, and this one is everything you could wish for. Fab!

Synopsis:

‘I wish I could live your life. I’d happily swap lives with you.’

’Tis the season to be jolly but for Calvin and Judy the usual festive bickering has already begun! Judy’s convinced that her husband has it easy – no glittery wrapping paper, no playground gossip and absolutely no Christmas baking.

Calvin wishes he could trade in his obnoxious boss and dull nine-to-five job to spend more time kicking back with his kids – how hard can Judy’s life really be?

But after a magical mince pie mix-up, one thing’s for certain – by Christmas Day, life for Judy and Calvin will never be the same again. Perhaps the grass isn’t always greener after all…

A hilarious, feel-good festive read, perfect to curl up with this Christmas. Fans of Carole MatthewsJane Costello and Mandy Baggot will love this story! As will fans of Freaky Friday or 13 Going on 30!

IMG_3340

100 Poem Challenge Pamphlet by Jen Campbell

I bought this a while ago and have been eagerly awaiting its arrival. It was delivered yesterday and I’m forcing myself to read the poems slowly so I can savour them. It’s utterly beautiful though, I’m so glad I bought a copy.

Synopsis

On 6th & 7th October 2015, author Jen Campbell wrote 100 Poems in 48 hours to raise money for The Book Bus – a charity which funds mobile libraries across Africa, Ecuador and India. These poems were made into a limited edition pamphlet.

I’m also still reading A Notable Woman ed. by Simon Garfield.

What I recently finished reading: 

Click the links in the list below the images to read my reviews.

The Widow by Fiona Barton

Winter’s Fairytale by Maxine Morrey

Search for the Truth by Kathryn Freeman

Don’t Jump by Vicky Abelson

What I plan on reading next:

Snowed in for her Wedding

Snowed in for her Wedding by Emma Bennet

Synopsis:

A lovely Christmas romance short read that you won’t want to put down
Christmas is coming to the little Welsh town of Tonnadulais, and the much-loved characters from ‘The Green Hills of Home.’ But this year it’s somewhat overshadowed by a rather special wedding taking place on Christmas Eve.
Local girl Gwen Jones is finally marrying her man, London publisher John Thatcher, and she couldn’t be happier. Though as her friends and beloved mother help her prepare for the big day, Gwen can’t suppress the little nagging doubt that John shouldn’t still be stuck working in London the day before their wedding. Has the city boy changed his mind about marrying his country girl?
When a huge snow storm hits, it seems John might not to be able to make it back to her, whether he wants to or not.
Join Gwen, John, and Oscar the dog, in this Christmassy treat guaranteed to get you in the festive spirit!

Even Angels Fall by F. L. Darbyshire

Even Angels Fall by F. L. Darbyshire

Synopsis:

After suffering an unthinkable loss, Abbey Miller and her family move to Leeds to rebuild their lives and start again, but the pain and grief that Abbey carries with her is impossible to escape. As she finds herself becoming increasingly isolated from her family, she develops a firm friendship with Lucy, Nathan and Liam, who introduce her to a brand new and exciting world, far removed from all of her problems. But will her new friends bring her the light hearted relief she has longed for? Or will she find herself getting drawn deep into their dangerous and intoxicating world?

The Accidental Guest by Tilly Tennant

The Accidental Guest by Tilly Tennant

Synopsis:

Soulmates don’t just fall from the sky… do they?
Hannah Meadows doesn’t believe in fate or destiny, or any of the other things people reach for when they lose control of their lives. That is, until a man arrives on her doorstep on Christmas Day begging for help. Hannah’s not the sort of woman to turn her back on someone in need, but this isn’t what compels her to aid the handsome stranger, nor is it his intense dark eyes, or the inexplicable feelings she quickly develops for him.
Something magical is coming her way, something that will turn her life completely upside down. Hannah Meadows may not believe in fate or destiny, but they seem to have other ideas…


 

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 and Stacking the Shelves (14 November)

It’s Saturday again so it’s time for my weekly wrap up post!

This week I was chosen to be an official Harper Impulse supporter, which was a lovely surprise. I filled in the form but didn’t expect to be picked so It made my day when I got the email through.

On my blog this week:

I picked a winner for my Out of the Darkness giveaway. The winner was announced here, just in case you missed my blog post on Wednesday.

I joined in the TBR (To Be Read) Book Tag and confessed to exactly how big my TBR is! You can read all my TBR confessions here.

I did a cover reveal for the lovely Holly Martin’s new novel, The Revenge. You can find that post here.

And finally, my regular WWW Wednesday and Book Beginnings posts in case you missed them.

I chose to rate books that I’ve read from 1-10 but have now decided I prefer a 1-5 rating system. I’m not going to go back and change the ratings on previous reviews but starting from today all the books that I read will be rated under my new system.


I’ve read four books and two short stories this week, and have reviewed all of them. (Click on the titles in the list below the pics to read my reviews)

The Boy in the Bookshop the boy at the beach What Rosie Found Next Lost Girls by Angela Marsonswendy darling What Happens at Christmas_FINAL

The Boy in the Bookshop by Katey Lovell (short story)

The Boy at the Beach by Katey Lovell (short story)

What Rosie Found Next by Helen J. Rolfe

Lost Girls by Angela Marsons

Wendy Darling by Colleen Oakes

What Happens at Christmas by T A Wiliams


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.

Books I’ve bought this week: 

year of yes  all the major constellations  Paint My Body Red The Sunlit Night  183 Times a Year  The Christmas Getaway

The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

All The Major Constellations by Pratima Cranse

Paint My Body Red by Heidi R. Kling

The Sunlit Night by Rebecca Dinerstein

183 Times a Year by Eva Jordan

The Christmas Getaway by Jill Barry

ARCS I’ve received this week:

The One in a Million Boy  The Darkest Secret The Theseus Paradox by David Videcette    Did You Ever Have A Family? by Bill Clegg    Thicker than Water by Brigid Kemmerer  Alice Takes Back Wonderland by David D. Hammons The Children's Home by Charles Lambert How To Get Ahead in Television by Sophie Cousens (1) Sugar and Snails by Anne Goodwin (1)

The One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood

The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood

The Theseus Paradox by David Videcette

Did You Ever Have A Family? by Bill Clegg

Thicker than Water by Brigid Kemmerer

Alice Takes Back Wonderland by David D. Hammons

The Children’s Home by Charles Lambert

Sugar and Snails by Anne Goodwin

How To Get Ahead in Television by Sophie Cousens