WWW Wednesdays (6 Nov 2019)! What are you reading this week?

WWW pic

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

 

What I’m reading now: 

I Carried a Watermelon by Katy Brand

I’ve only read a tiny bit of this book at the time I’m writing this post but I can tell it’s going to be a fun, nostalgic read and I can’t wait to read more!

The Dark Side of the Mind by Kerry Daynes

I bought this book recently and have been so keen to read it so am glad to finally have started it. It’s a really good read so far.

The Death of a President by William Manchester

This is such an interesting audio book and I’ve listened to it quite a lot over the last few days. I think I’m about half-way through it and will definitely be listening to more in the coming days.

James Baldwin and the 1980s: Witnessing the Reagan Era by Joseph Vogel

I’m still reading this one in short bursts, I’m finding it really interesting but it feels a little more academic than I was expecting and my brain’s not always up to that at the moment. It’s a good book though, I recommend it.

 

What I recently finished reading:

I should say here that whilst I finished nine books this week, half of them were books that I’d read a lot of before this week!

 

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

I loved this book, it’s my new favourite Agatha Christie novel! I now want to make time to re-read more of her books in the new year.

Nothing Important Happened Here by Will Carver

This is such a hard book to write about as it was like nothing I’ve read before and the issue of suicide is a difficult subject matter but it was a brilliant book. I’m reviewing this one for the blog tour next week so please look out for that.

Gotta Get Theroux This: My Life and Strange Times in Television by Louis Theroux

I borrowed this book on audio from my local library and I very much enjoyed it. Louis Theroux narrates the book (I always love it when the author of a memoir narrates the audio, it adds to the story for me). I think I might like to have the hardback of this one to have on my bookcase!

So Lucky by Dawn O’Porter

I loved this novel and reviewed it yesterday so you can read my full thoughts here if you’d like to know more. I read it in one sitting and definitely recommend it.

Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division by Peter Hook

I almost put this on my Non-Fiction November TBR but having left it off the list I was just in the mood to read it so I picked it up anyway. It was such a good read and I’m glad I finally got to it.

Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett

This is such a good YA novel about a teenage girl living with HIV. It’s a really good portrayal of teenage life, as well as featuring diverse characters and a very believable plot. I’ll review this very soon.

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain

This is the first Diane Chamberlain that I’ve picked up in a really long time but it was such a good read and has reminded me of how much I used to enjoy her books. This one might even be my new favourite of hers!

Chase the Rainbow by Poorna Bell

I’ve had this book on my TBR for quite a long time now so I made sure it was on my Non-Fiction November TBR this year. I’m really glad I finally picked it up as it was such an honest exploration of what it’s like to live with someone with depression and addiction. I’ll be reviewing this one soon.

One Week ‘Til Christmas by Belinda Missen

I loved this Christmas novella and have already reviewed it here if you’d like to know more.

 

What I plan on reading next:

I Want You Gone by Miranda Rijks

This thriller has been on my NetGalley shelf for quite a few months now and is the next book I hope to get to in my plan to catch up before the end of the year. I’m looking forward to this one, it sounds intriguing!

Magic Under the Mistletoe by Lucy Coleman

This is the next Christmas book that I plan on reading and I’m really looking forward to getting to it.

Turning the Tide on Plastic by Lucy Siegle

I’m trying really hard to reduce the single-use plastics in our home and this is a book that can help me achieve more than I’m already managing.

The Five by Hallie Rubenhold

This is a book I’ve been really keen to get to so I’d like to make this one of my next Non-Fiction November reads.

 

 

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

Stacking the Shelves with my new Book Haul (2 Nov 2019)!

new sts.png

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

 

Books and eBooks

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi

I’ve had this book on my wish list for ages now so when I spotted it in a deal this week I snapped it up. I think this will be a hard and in-depth read so I’m not sure when I’ll get to it but hopefully it won’t be on my TBR stack for too long.

Unbelievable by T. Christopher Miller

I recently watched the Netflix drama which is based on this book and I was gripped by it so I wanted to read the book. I downloaded the sample onto my kindle but that was as far as I got then yesterday I saw the ebook in the Kindle sale so I grabbed it. I know I’ve already posted my Non-Fiction November TBR but I might swap one of those books for this one!

My Sh*t Therapist and Other Mental Health Stories by Michelle Thomas

The title of this book caught my eye in last month’s kindle sale and after getting engrossed in the sample I downloaded I had to buy it. It feels like an easy read but one that will also be helpful and interesting.

Catching a Serial Killer: My Hunt for Murderer Christopher Halliwell by Stephen Fulcher

I’ve just started watching the ITV drama A Confession and as often happens I wanted to know more about this case so when I saw this book I had to get it. I might try and squeeze this one in during Non-Fiction November if I can as I’m keen to read it soon.

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

This is one of those books that has been on my radar for such a long time and yet somehow I’ve never picked up a copy of it. I’ve not put that right and I hope I can finally get to read this book before too much longer.

Tuesday Mooney Wore Black by Kate Racculia

This is a book that I keep seeing and every time I see it I wonder if it’s for me or not. I’m still not sure why I’m not sure but I think it’s one my husband might enjoy so I decided to buy a copy anyway and we can both try reading it.

A Gift in December by Jenny Gladwell

This was an impulse buy because it sounds super festive and I do love a good Christmas read in December!

The Memory Collector by Fiona Harper

I love the sound of this book so this was another impulse buy!

The Visitor by Zoe Miller

This is another book set at Christmas but it’s more of a crime/thriller and I do like a book like this during the festive season so I’m glad to have a copy of this one.

 

Audio Books

The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century by Ian Mortimer

This book has been on my radar for years now but I’ve always held back from buying the paperback so when I saw it was in Audible’s recent sale I decided that this was the format I wanted to read it in so I snapped it up! I do love an interesting read where I can learn something as well as it being a really fun read.

Justice: What’s the Right Thing To Do? by Michael J. Sandel

I’m not sure where I first heard of this book but it’s been on my wish list for ages now so I bought it immediately when I saw it in the Audible sale.

The Disappearance of Adele Bedeau bu Graeme Macrae Burnet

I’ve not read anything by this author before but I do have his more famous book on my TBR and I do love the sound of this writing so decided to take a punt on this one when it appeared in the Audible sale.

The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain

I’ve just finished listening to The Dream Daughter by this author and very much enjoyed it. It reminded me just how much I used to love reading Diane Chamberlain’s novels so I couldn’t resist buying this book in the Audible sale.

The Thirteen Problems by Agatha Christie

I’m currently reading The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and loving it so when this book popped up as an Audible daily deal one day this week I decided it was time to re-visit Miss Marple and bought it! Joan Hickson narrates this audio book so I think it will be wonderfully nostalgic to listen to it as I always think of her portrayal of Miss Marple whenever I read the books.

 

ARCs

Home Truths by Tina Seskis

I was delighted to get a copy of this from NetGalley as I’ve really enjoyed the author’s previous novels. I’m hoping to read this one this month in amongst my Non-Fiction November books.

I Carried a Watermelon by Katy Brand

I requested this one from NetGalley on a whim as I have a complex relationship with the film Dirty Dancing but have recently being able to love it again. This book sounds like it will be a real nostalgia fest and I’m definitely going to add it to my Non-Fiction November TBR!

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

I’ve heard so much about this book and have been so keen to read it. I have pre-ordered it but I also requested it on NetGalley recently so I was thrilled when I got approved. I don’t think I’m going to be able to resist reading this one for very long so I may have to fit this in amongst all my non-fiction books too!

 


 

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

WWW Wednesdays (16 Oct 19)! What are you reading this week?

WWW pic

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

 

What I’m reading now: 

Platform Seven by Louise Doughty

I have an eARC of this book but when I spotted the audio book on Scribd I decided to part-listen and part-read it and I’m really enjoying it. I’m about 15% into the book and it’s intriguing and different so I’m keen to listen to more of it soon.

Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain by Oliver Sacks

This is an audio book I downloaded from my local library and I’m very much enjoying this one. It’s so interesting how the brain works and the way neurological illness or damage to the brain can change how people experience music.

Innocent or Guilty? by A. M. Taylor

I haven’t read much more of this book this week as it’s on my kindle and my kindle is playing up at the moment. I was really enjoying the book though and hope to be able to read more of this soon.

The Eleventh Day by Anthony Summers

I finally picked this one back up this week and I’m really engrossed in it. I read a huge chunk of it in one sitting so hopefully I’ll be finishing this book soon.

 

What I recently finished reading:

You Are What You Read by Jodie Jackson

I’d been really looking forward to this book which looks at how what we read in the media affects us but unfortunately it wasn’t really for me. The book feels disjointed and not in-depth enough for me but I’d still recommend it as an introduction to people wanting to start learning more about how the way news is reported affects the way we think about things.

I Confess by Alex Barclay

I enjoyed this thriller, it’s one of those super-fast novels that you can find escapism in for a few hours. I reviewed this yesterday so you can find my full thoughts here.

Almost Love by Louise O’Neill

I made time to focus on this novel this week and I loved it! The main character is not always likeable but there are moments in this book that really chimed with the younger me, which meant I couldn’t help but find connection in this novel. I do plan on reviewing this once I’ve got my thoughts together.

Through the Wall by Caroline Corcoran

I was really looking forward to reading this book and it ended up being an okay read. I really enjoyed the first half but it fell away a bit in the second half. I’ve already reviewed this one so you can find my thoughts here if you want to know more.

The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and the People’s Temple by Jeff Guin

I finished listening to this audiobook a few days ago and it was such a good book. It’s so well researched and written and I found it fascinating. All I knew before about this cult was how it ended so it was really interesting, and scary, how it came to be formed. I recommend this one.

Breaking and Mending by Joanna Cannon

This book is stunning and one that I keep thinking about since finishing it a week ago. It is about a junior doctor starting work in a hospital and it was eye-opening! This book is so beautifully written and is so honest, it made me cry more than once. It made me reflect on things. I’d like to write a full review if I can ever get my thoughts together but in the meantime I highly recommend this to everyone.

 

What I plan on reading next:

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

I’ve had the ebook of this on my kindle for a couple of years now so when I spotted it available on audio from the library I immediately downloaded it. This will definitely be my next nonfiction book!

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain

This is another instance where I have the ebook but have borrowed the audio from the library. I enjoyed this author’s writing so I’m looking forward to starting this one.

The Accidental Love Letter by Olivia Beirne

I didn’t manage to get to this one over the last week so it’s top of my list to read this week. I’m really keen to get to this one!

The Christmas Wish List by Heidi Swain

I was delighted to win a copy of this book in a giveaway recently and then I won a spot on the blog tour, which is exciting! So I hope to have time to start reading this one this week, it sounds like wonderful and festive escapism!

 

 

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

Stacking the Shelves with a New Book Haul (16 Mar 2019)!

new sts.png

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

 

Books I Bought This week

After the Eclipse by Sarah Perry

I’ve been wanting to read this book for absolutely ages so I finally treated myself to it with part of my birthday book voucher. I started reading it yesterday and it’s really hard going in places but it’s so well written. It’s a non-fiction book about the murder of the author’s mother.

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

This has also been on my wish list ever since it was published so when I spotted it on kindle for 99p yesterday I snapped it up. I think this is a book I’ll want to own in physical format but I like having it on kindle too.

The Case of Mary Bell by Gitta Sereny

This is another book that I’ve been intrigued by for a while and finally bought it this week. I’ll need to be in the right frame of mind to read this one but I hope to get to it soon.

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain

I haven’t read any Diane Chamberlain for absolutely ages but this new one really appeals to me so I grabbed a copy. I don’t think I’ll be long getting to this one.

Operation Lighthouse by Luke Hart and Ryan Hart

I can’t remember where I read an excellent review of this book fairly recently but the title stuck in my head and when I saw it on the kindle daily deal yesterday I snapped it up.

Perfect Remains by Helen Fields

This is a recent audio book purchase from Audible. It was on a daily deal as I already have the second and third in the series on my TBR it seemed perfect timing to grab the first one. I can’t wait to get started on this series!

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

This was another Audible daily deal purchase. I’ve enjoyed other Kate Morton books on audio so I’m really looking forward to this one.

 

Books I Borrowed This Week

36589644

Hold My Hand by M. J. Ford

I borrowed the audio book of this from my audio book subscription service after reading Meggy’s fab review of the second book in the series. I’ve already listened to this whole book and I loved it so I plan on borrowing the second book very soon!

 

ARCS I Received This Week

The Ringmaster by Vanda Symon

I was so excited to open a package yesterday and find The Ringmaster inside! I read and reviewed the first book in this series last year and it was brilliant. I can’t wait to read this next installment!

Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech

This book also arrived yesterday and I squealed when I saw it! I’m a massive fan of Louise Beech’s writing and have been eagerly anticipating this book. I’ll be reading this one very, very soon!

 


 

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

My October Wrap-Up Post!

Thank You FreePiK

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

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

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

Thank you so much!


Anyway, on with the books!

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

OCTOBER BOOKS 1 OF 3

Dying to be Slim by Abby Beverley

Six Poets: From Hardy to Larkin by Alan Bennett

The Lies We Tell by Meg Carter

Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain

24 Hours by Claire Seeber

The Broken Hearts Book Club by Lynsey James

OCTOBER BOOKS 2 OF 3

The Good Neighbor by Amy Sue Nathan

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

The Girl with no Past by Kathryn Croft

One Wish in Manhattan by Mandy Baggot

Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale

Get Yourself Organized for Christmas by Kathi Lipp

OCTOBER BOOKS 3 of 3

Snowflakes on Silver Cove by Holly Martin

The Record Store of the Mind by Josh Rosenthal

What We Left Behind by Robin Talley

Merry Mistletoe by Emma Davies

Written in the Scars by Mel Sherratt

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


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

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

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


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

My Weekly Wrap Up and Stacking the Shelves!

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

This week I read and reviewed four books:

six poets

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

the lies we tell

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

pretending to dance

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

24 hours

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


I started reading:

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

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

wendy darlingWendy Darling by Colleen Oakes (Out on Tuesday from Amazon)

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

The Good Neighbor

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

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

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


stacking-the-shelves

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

So Books I bought this week:

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

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

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

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

cranberry cottageChristmas at Cranberry Cottage by Talli Roland

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

very big house countryA Very Big House in the Country by Claire Sandy currently (only 59p on Amazon).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

surviving the rachelSurviving the Rachel by Aven Ellis

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

sw19 clubThe SW19 Club by Nicola May

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

believarexicBelievarexic by J. J. Johnson

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

Review: Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain

 

517cr-6yull-_sx327_bo1204203200_

Pretending to Dance is a moving novel about the damage that secrets can do. Molly is happily married to Aidan, they have a good life together but something is missing. Molly can’t have children so they are going through the process of adopting a baby, it’s something they both want but Aidan is throwing himself into the process and Molly is much more reserved and nervous. She doesn’t want to risk anyone to find out about the secrets she is keeping.

The novel then goes back to 1990 when Molly was 14. She was growing up in a tight knit family, with her extended family all living close by. Molly was a typical teenage girl, obsessed with New Kids on the Block and Jonny Depp. She was a very naive girl, having lived a sheltered life, but on meeting a new friend, Stacie, her eyes soon become open to new things, particularly boys, and her focus in life begins to change.

Molly had a very close bond with her dad, Graham, she idolised him and she helped him in his work as a pretend therapist. He was suffering from MS and Molly did everything she could to help him and to make his life happier, it’s a wonderful relationship to read about. Molly was unable to see, or perhaps didn’t want to face, the fact that her dad’s health was deteriorating. So when he died it seemed very sudden and seemed out of nowhere to her. She was utterly distraught and began to question everything she thought she knew about her family, which eventually led to her leaving them behind and starting a new life but the secrets she carries are still haunting her.

I absolutely loved this book, it is Diane Chamberlain at her best. The novel is part mystery, part coming of age, part family and domestic drama; it’s got a bit of everything and it’s brilliant, I found it near impossible to put it down.

The opening of this book hooks you in immediately when you hear Molly tell how she is not only a liar but a good liar. Straight away you want to know more about her. Is she a pathological liar? Can we trust anything she says? Or is she lying to protect someone? So many questions and you feel compelled to keep reading. Molly is actually very good at keeping secrets much more than she is a liar but there is a fine line between the two – when does a secret become a lie? This is a question I kept asking myself all through this novel because I never really saw Molly as a liar, just someone burdened with a difficult secret but because she never shared her secret, it becomes a lie of omission and she really struggled with that. The idea of whether a secret is a lie, or can become a lie runs through this book and really gives you pause for thought.

The storyline focuses a lot on Molly’s dad Graham’s MS and this was so well written. I found it very difficult to read for personal reasons but you know a story is done well when it really gets to you like that. There was clearly a lot of research done into the disease and nothing is shied away from. It was apparent to everyone, including the reader, that Graham was deteriorating but the family colluded in shielding it from Molly, which in the end leaves her feeling very left out and lost. I felt increasingly more sympathetic for everyone in this family, no one had an easy time of it. Molly’s father was trying to keep going as long as he could but was obviously suffering. Molly’s mother was still very much in love with her husband but knew she was going to have to let go very soon, and this meant she became very focused on him which left Molly feeling unloved. Molly was just a normal teenage girl who wanted everyone to be okay, she didn’t have enough life experience to know that loving someone isn’t enough to keep them alive when they’ve had enough of suffering. It made me so sad that Molly and her mother couldn’t find a way to communicate, there were so many missed chances when they could have talked and formed a better bond together. It’s so true to life though that sometimes a misunderstanding, and the keeping of secrets drives such a wedge between people that it seems like it will never be able to be mended.

I was fascinated by Graham’s job as a pretend therapist, I love how it was woven through the book along with Amalia’s interpretative dancing sessions with Molly; it all revolved around the idea of finding out who you are and if you’re not the person you want to be then pretend for a while and eventually you’ll become that person. I don’t know if pretend therapy is a real therapy or even based on a real therapy, but the idea of it seems quite wonderful. I’m going to take the idea of pretending to dance and remind myself of it on the bad days, it really is a great lesson for us all.

I rated this book 10 out of 10 and can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s a compelling read that has something for everyone, it’s a book not to be missed!

Thank you to St. Martins Press via Net Galley for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book is published today in paperback and is available on Amazon.

WWW Wednesday (7th October)

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 clasp

The Clasp by Sloane Crossley.

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

Here’s the blurb:

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

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

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

and

24 hours

24 Hours by Claire Seeber.

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

Here’s the blurb:

Here today. Dead tomorrow?

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

But it was meant to be me.

Now I have 24 hours to find my daughter.

Before he finds out I’m still alive.

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

I recently finished reading…

six poets

Six Poets by Alan Bennett

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

Blurb:

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

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

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

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

and

pretending to dance

Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain

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

Blurb:

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

What I’ll be reading next:

Broken Heart Book Club

The Broken Hearts Book Club by Lynsey James.

I’m really looking forward to reading this!

Blurb:

Secrets never stay buried for long…

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

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

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

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

Book Beginnings

BB.Button

Book beginnings is a meme set up by Rose City Reader. Every Friday post the first line of the book you’re reading along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Then add a link to your post on Rose City Reader’s blog.

My Book Beginning

Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain

pretending to dance

‘I’m a good liar. I take comfort in that fact as Aidan and I sit next to each other on our leather sectional, so close together that our thighs touch.’

The thing that strikes me most about this opener is how the narrator openly admits that she is not only a liar but that she takes comfort in being good at it. This is very intriguing and straight away I want to know more about her and how she has come to be comforted by her ability to lie so well. Most people feel guilty about telling lies so I absolutely want to keep reading to find out whether she is a horrible person, or if she is lying to protect others. I want to know what her story is. I’m also intrigued by Aidan, the fact they are sitting so close would imply they are a couple, so I want to know if she is lying to him or if the lies are something he is involved in. I can’t wait to get back to this novel and find out more about these people.

WWW Wednesday (September 30th)

I hope I get this right as it’s my very first time joining in with a meme on this blog!

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 this week 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… (currently reading two books so I’ll share them both)

dying to be slimDying to be Slim by Abby Beverley, it’s completely different to what I was expecting but I’m very much enjoying it.

Here’s the blurb:

By the age of eighteen, Clara finds herself a single mother to two sets of twins. With her own mother absent from early childhood and the death of her father in her late teens, food becomes Clara’s crutch. Several decades on, Clara has a new partner and a fifth child. She oozes love and pride towards her flawless family, despite the fact that she is now thirty-four stone and housebound.
An unusual turn of events presents Clara with the ability to step out of her own body and, stumbling upon a problem within her ‘perfect’ family, Clara sets off in search of a solution. Far from finding answers, however, Clara encounters complications which question all she has ever believed to be true about her children, their partners and her man.
Thrust into the world outside her cosy home, Clara becomes confused to the point where she is barely able to distinguish truth from the perceived fantasy that is slowly becoming a reality…

AND

pretending to dance

Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain. I started this late last night and only managed a couple of chapters but it’s already got me hooked!

Here’s the blurb:

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

The last books I read were…

bright stars

Bright Stars by Sophie Duffy, which was excellent. Once I got into it I found it hard to put down, and now a day after I finished it I still keep thinking about it.

Here’s the blurb:

Four students are involved in a tragedy that rips their friendship apart. What happens when they are reunited 25 years later? 
Cameron Spark’s life is falling apart. He is separated from his wife, and awaiting a disciplinary following an incident in the underground vaults of Edinburgh where he works as a Ghost Tour guide. On the day he moves back home to live with his widowed dad, he receives a letter from Canada. It is from Christie.
Twenty-five years earlier, Cameron attends Lancaster University and despite his crippling shyness, makes three unlikely friends: Christie, the rich Canadian, Tommo, the wannabe rock star and Bex, the feminist activist who has his heart. In a whirlwind of alcohol, music, and late night protests, Cameron feels as though he’s finally living; until a horrific accident shatters their friendship and alters their futures forever. Christie’s letter offers them a reunion after all these years. But has enough time passed to recover from the lies, the guilt, and the mistakes made on that tragic night? Or is this one ghost too many for Cameron?

AND

Breaking away

Breaking Away by Anna Gavalda. A wonderful book that really celebrates the relationships between siblings.

Here’s the blurb:

On a car journey to a family wedding, Garance reflects on how adult life, with its disappointments and responsibilities, has not always gone to plan for herself or her three siblings. But just around the corner lies the chance for them to revisit their younger, carefree selves. A touching, funny and insightful story by one of France’s most successful authors.

What I’ll Read Next…

the claspThe Clasp By Sloane Crossley, which I was lucky enough to receive an arc for and am so looking forward to reading.

Here’s the blurb:

Reunited for the extravagant wedding of a college friend: Kezia, the second-in-command to an eccentric jewellery designer; Nathaniel, the former literary cool kid now selling his wares in Hollywood; and Victor, who has just been fired from a middling search engine. They soon slip back into their old roles – Victor loves Kezia. Kezia loves Nathaniel. Nathaniel loves Nathaniel.
In the midst of all this semi-merriment, Victor has a bizarre encounter with the mother of the groom that triggers an obsession over a legendary necklace. Lacking employment or any other kind of tie, Victor leaves New York in search of the jewellery, supposedly stashed away in an obscure small-town chateau. And, in a bid to save him from ruining whatever is left of his young ambitions, Kezia and Nathaniel set out to find him.
Heartfelt, suspenseful and told with Sloane Crosley’s inimitable spark and wit, THE CLASP is a story of friends struggling to fit together when their lives haven’t gone as planned and of learning how to tell the difference between what’s real and what’s fake.

AND

after you

After You by Jojo Moyes, which I treated myself to and am so excited to read. I adored Me Before You so I have high hopes for this.

Here’s the blurb:

How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?
Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.
Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future. . . .
For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.