My 20 Books of Summer Wrap-Up!

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The 20 Books of Summer reading challenge has now ended and I’m so happy to say that, for the first time ever, I read all of the books on my planned TBR! Woo Hoo! I’ve always managed to read at least 20 books over the summer but I have never, ever managed to stick to my planned list. I picked 20 physical books this time so it was an even bigger challenge for me so I really am proud of myself for completing it. I didn’t get around to reviewing the books I read but I do intend to review at least some of them soon.

Before I go any further, a huge thank you to Cathy at 746 Books for running this challenge. I really do love taking part each year.

Here are the books I read over the summer (in the order I read them).

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames

The Trouble With Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahern

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor

A Question of Trust by Penny Vincenzi

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

The July Girls by Phoebe Locke

Still Lives by Maria Hummell

Take Me In by Sabine Durrant

Inhuman Resources by Pierre LeMaitre

The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith

After the Eclipse by Sarah Perry

The Word for Woman is Wilderness by Abi Andrews

Histories by Sam Guglani

We Own the Sky by Luke Allnutt

A Keeper by Graham Norton

Nevermoor #1: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

Take Courage: Anne Bronte and the Art of Life by Samantha Ellis

 

I have to say that I enjoyed every single book that was on my summer TBR, which is really something! I think if I was pushed to pick my favourites I would have to say that my favourite two novels were The Goldfinch and The Trouble With Goats and Sheep, and my two favourite non-fiction books were After the Eclipse and Take Courage. It was bittersweet reading A Question of Trust with it being the final book by Penny Vincenzi but I enjoyed it so much that I now want to make time to re-read some of her other novels.

The page count for my 20 books came to 7597, which is no surprise really considering how long The Goldfinch is and A Question of Trust is pretty huge too!

The fact that this year I made time to read my planned summer TBR as well as the other books that I needed to read (books for review and blog tour books) meant I was successful at completing this TBR. I’ve never done well with TBRs – I’m one of those people that absolutely loves planning what I’m going to read, and then the minute the challenge starts I want to read everything but what’s on my list! This time I planned it better and I feel so satisfied at getting to books that had been on my TBR bookcase for quite a while. I had a couple of books on my list that I’ve put off because they felt like they might be more difficult reads (like The Word for Woman is Wilderness for example) but I found I enjoyed them so much. It reminded me that I perhaps need to make a seasonal TBR to remind me of the books that I want to read but am intimidated by.

This year’s 20 Books of Summer has been absolutely wonderful and I already can’t wait for the next one! How did your summer reading go? Did you take part in the challenge? I hope you read some amazing books. 🙂

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Review: Reunion by R. V. Biggs | @RVBiggs @annecater #RandomThingsTours

Reunion Cover Picture

About the Book

One random, violent act is enough to change Sarah Macintyre’s life forever.

Left unsettled, and yearning for a new beginning, Sarah is unsure of what to do with her life. But one day she discovers an anonymous letter hidden amidst a pile of unopened mail.

The note, however, contains nothing more than a confusing riddle.

Intrigued and excited, Sarah’s hunger for a new life compels her to search for the author to understand the puzzle and solve the mystery.

Embarking on a journey that will shape the rest of her life and that of her family, Sarah uncovers a past of which she had no knowledge, a present she must find a path through, and a future filled with intense grief and utmost joy.

 

My Thoughts

Earlier this year I read and fell in love with Song of the Robin, the first book in the Sarah McIntyre series, so I was delighted to be offered the chance to read the follow up book. Song of the Robin is one of those really special books that has made its mark on me and I’m so happy to say that I also completely and utterly adored Reunion!

Reunion picks up right after the end of Song of the Robin. Sarah is still struggling with the assault that happened in the previous book, she feels fear about it but she’s also still having strange symptoms. She feels anxious and worried but can’t seem to express to her loved ones what exactly is happening to her. Then one day she receives a strange letter in the post and this leads to Sarah uncovering some secrets and some answers!

I loved this novel, I was under its spell from the opening page until after I turned the final page. Sarah is such a great character and I constantly root for her to be well and to be happy again. I had such a connection to Song of the Robin because of the way grief is explored, it really struck a chord with me, and whilst Reunion moves on from that story the way lost loved ones are spoke of in this book was so wonderful.

This novel follows Sarah and her family for the most part but it also has short chapters from a time in the 1700s as we follow a young woman trying to survive and avenge the trauma that has been inflicted on her family. It’s not clear initially what this has to do with the main plot but it soon begins to come clear and I loved the way we get to put it all together. The atmosphere in this book is wonderful, there is such a sense of time and place, and the people are all so real and believable.

I loved seeing more of Sarah’s friendship with Rachel, they are two women who clearly have such a strong bond. Their relationship is so true to life – the way that sometimes you can’t even tell the people closest to you how you’re feeling and they can sense you holding back but you can’t break through the walls. You get to see more of Rachel in this book and to understand why she is the way she is. I wasn’t expecting the cause of her pain to be what it was but it was so believable and my heart broke for her.

There is loss and pain in this book, things that moved me to tears at times but the overriding feel is one of healing – both physically and emotionally, but it’s also about the act of healing and this is so beautiful.

I love the way the author explores fate and destiny in this book, I’m really drawn to stories about these things. I never used to believe in fate but in my own life, a few years ago, over the course of five months the very worst thing happened to me and then the very best thing happened to me. So many people have said that perhaps it was my late mum who made sure my husband arrived in my life when he did and I take so much comfort from the thought of that. Reunion looks at how the past continues to run through us and it explores how those we’ve lost are never really gone.

There is a mystery running through this book that had me utterly fascinated. I was trying to figure out what was going on along with Sarah and her family, and was utterly gripped by the way the story unfolds in this book. It’s such a great story, and told so brilliantly.

I don’t want to say too much more because future readers should read this book as I did, without knowing too much about it going into it so you get to experience the stunning journey these characters go on for yourself.

I don’t really have the words to describe how much I loved this book (and the previous one). It’s one of those times where I connected with it so much and it now means such a lot to me and I just can’t do it any kind of justice. The first book in the series made my top books of 2019 so far list back at the end of June and I can say for sure that Reunion will be on my favourite books list at the end of the year! Song of the Robin was cathartic and comforting for me, and Reunion was incredibly moving and healing. R. V. Biggs writes such stunning and special novels – I can’t wait to read whatever he publishes next. I highly recommend this series of books, they really are so different and so beautiful.

Many thanks to Anne of Random Things Tours for my copy of this book and my invitation to take part in the blog tour. All thoughts are my own.

Reunion is out now and available here.

I’ve previously reviewed the first book in this series, Song of the Robinhere.

 

About the Author

R V Biggs Author Photo

R V Biggs lives in a small ex-mining village near Wolverhampton, England, with his wife Julie, and Mags the black lab. He has four grown up children and six grandchildren.

Walking with the dog is a favorite pastime and much of the story line for his first novel was developed during these lengthy outings.

Robert worked for 35 years in telecommunications but changed career paths to a managerial supporting role within a local Mental Health NHS trust. It was during the period between these roles that the concept for Song of the Robin was born.

Robert is a firm believer that destiny and co-incidence exist hand in hand and this conviction extends to his writing. He has a passion for holistic well-being and after first-hand experience of the potential healing powers of Reiki, a form of energy therapy, took a Reiki level 1 training course to heighten his spiritual awareness. Robert’s experiences in these areas helped conceive the ideas that led to Song of the Robin and its sequel Reunion, novels with central themes of fate, love and the strength of family. His writing however is not fantasy but is set in modern times involving real people living real lives.

Twitter @RVBiggs

 

You can find the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

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Review: Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson | @JoGustawsson @OrendaBooks @annecater

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About the Book

Spain, 1938: The country is wracked by civil war, and as Valencia falls to Franco’s brutal dictatorship, Republican Therese witnesses the murders of her family. Captured and sent to the notorious Las Ventas women’s prison, Therese gives birth to a daughter who is forcibly taken from her.

Falkenberg, Sweden, 2016: A wealthy family is found savagely murdered in their luxurious home. Discovering that her parents have been slaughtered, Aliénor Lindbergh, a new recruit to the UK’s Scotland Yard, rushes back to Sweden and finds her hometown rocked by the massacre.

Profiler Emily Roy joins forces with Aliénor and soon finds herself on the trail of a monstrous and prolific killer. Little does she realise that this killer is about to change the life of her colleague, true-crime writer Alexis Castells. Joining forces once again, Roy and Castells’ investigation takes them from the Swedish fertility clinics of the present day back to the terror of Franco’s rule, and the horrifying events that took place in Spanish orphanages under its rule.

 

My Thoughts

Blood Song is the third novel in the Roy and Castells series (the first is Block 46 and the second is Keeper) and I have to say that this is a crime/noir series that goes from strength to strength. I still find myself thinking about the first book, and now we have the third one and it is every bit as good (if not even better if that’s possible!).

Blood Song is told in two timelines: it’s predominantly set in the present where a wealthy family has been brutally murdered but we also follow a timeline in 1938 Spain where a family are taken by force during the civil war, and this leads to horrendous trauma that has repercussions down the years.

This is such a compelling and engrossing novel and I keep thinking about it. The scenes set in 1938 Spain are so real, they have left their mark on me to the point that I feel the want to learn more about what happened during the civil war. I love when I read a novel and it leads me to want to learn more detail about something and Blood Song has definitely done that. Johana Gustawsson has taken real historical events in all three novels in this series and has fictionalised them whilst leaving in the important details to give readers a very real sense of a harrowing time in history.

The brutal murder of the family of Emily Roy’s team member Aliénor was harrowing to read about. I was really disturbed by one of the murders in particular, it was all too real but never gratuitous. The detail is necessary and that becomes apparent as the novel progresses. I loved learning so much more about Aliénor in Blood Song. I feel like the previous two novels have given readers so much more understanding of Emily Roy and Alexis Castells, and as Aliénor has become an increasingly important part of the team it was great to know more about her. It was awful to learn about her in such sad circumstances but it’s given me so much more of a sense of who she is and now I just want to protect her from anything that might happen in future novels!

I loved the way the bond between Roy and Castells is strengthened in Blood Song, and the way they work together to support Aliénor and to find out who is responsible for the murder of her family.  It’s so empowering to see three strong women – who each have their flaws and difficulties but use them to solve crime, to gain insight into other people – shine through in these novels. These women are some of my favourite characters in crime/noir fiction now, and this series is right up there with my most favourite ever crime/noir series.

Blood Song is a dark, harrowing and shocking novel but also one that you just can’t (don’t want to and shouldn’t) look away from. The writing is so good, as is the brilliant translation by David Warriner. You get a real sense of the location and the languages in this novel even though it’s entirely translated into English, which is no mean feat. I loved Blood Song and I already can’t wait for the next book in the series!

Many thanks to the Orenda Books for my copy of this book and to Anne for my blog tour invitation. All thoughts are my own.

Blood Song is out now in ebook and available for pre-order in paperback here.

 

About the Author

Johana Gustawsson

Born in Marseille, France, and with a degree in Political Science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French and Spanish press and television. Her critically acclaimed Roy & Castells series, including Block 46, Keeper and, soon to be published, Blood Song, has won the Plume d’Argent, Balai de la découverte, Balai d’Or and Prix Marseillais du Polar awards, and is now published in nineteen countries. A TV adaptation is currently underway in a French, Swedish and UK co-production. Johana lives in London with her Swedish husband and their three sons.

 

You can find the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

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Review: Truth Hurts by Rebecca Reid | @RebeccaCNReid @TransworldBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours

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About the Book

Poppy has a secret. 
Drew has nothing to hide.

Theirs was a whirlwind romance.

And when Drew, caught up in the moment, suggests that he and Poppy don’t tell each other anything about their past lives, that they live only for the here and now, for the future they are building together, Poppy jumps at the chance for a fresh start.

But it doesn’t take long for Poppy to see that this is a two-way deal. Drew is hiding something from her. And Poppy suddenly has no idea who the man she has married really is, or what he might be capable of.

Poppy has a secret. 
Drew has nothing to hide. 
Drew is lying.
Which is more dangerous, a secret or a lie?

 

My Thoughts

Oh my goodness, I loved loved loved Rebecca Reid’s previous novel Perfect Liars but Truth Hurts is even better! I literally didn’t put this book down once I started reading it – it was just impossible to!

Truth Hurts follows Poppy who is sacked from her job as an au pair late at night and she ends up in a bar wondering what on earth she’s going to do next. She gets talking to Drew and they have such a great connection and end up going home together. Drew is a mysterious and handsome man and Poppy can’t believe how lucky she is to have met him. Their romance is a whirlwind and within a month they decide to get married. Drew then suggests that they make this the beginning and that they never talk about anything in their lives prior to when they met. Poppy has a secret that she can never tell and so she agrees.

I was on edge from the moment Poppy met Drew because he seemed too good to be true but at the same time I know what it is to meet Mr Right and to fall in love very quickly so I got swept up in their story. Alarm bells did ring when he surprises Poppy with a home he’s bought for them but I could absolutely see why Poppy didn’t hear those alarm bells.

I love the idea of a romantic relationship where one partner has a secret and the other is lying and yet they have agreed never to discuss the past. It’s such a great idea for a thriller and it made this book so different to other thrillers that I’ve read before. I tried to imagine agreeing to something like this and I just can’t but at the same time I absolutely believed in Poppy and why she agreed to it.

The house that Drew buys for them to live in was the third character in this novel (and in their marriage!) and I loved this element. I could really envisage this house and could feel all the creepy things that Poppy could sense. It’s not a haunted house story but the house is definitely metaphorically haunted by what happened there before Poppy and Drew moved in. It’s a creaky old house – it’s draughty, dark and dingy and for Poppy who is home alone a lot it begins to play on her mind that there is something sinister about it.

The truths in this book were shocking when they were revealed, I genuinely didn’t guess the secret or the lie. It’s so rare for a novel to keep me guessing until all is revealed so kudos to this one for that! I love how we get little bits of the past throughout the novel, which just heightens the tension and teases the possibilities of what might have happened.

Truth Hurts is a novel that had me literally on the edge of my seat and I just had to keep reading one more chapter (and one more until I was turning the final page very late at night!). I absolutely loved this book – it’s a real page turner and genuinely thrilling! Rebecca Reid is right up there now with my favourite thriller authors and I already can’t wait to read whatever she writes next! I highly recommend this one, it’s brilliant!

Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book and to Anne of Random Things Tours for my blog tour invitation. All thoughts are my own.

Truth Hurts is out now in ebook and is due to be published in paperback on 23 January 2020 and is available here.

 

About the Author

Rebecca Reid Author Pic

Rebecca is a freelance journalist. She is a columnist for the Telegraph Women’s section, works for Metro Online and has written for Marie Claire, the Guardian, the Saturday Telegraph, the Independent, Stylist, Glamour, the iPaper, the Guardian, Indy100, LOOK and the New Statesmen amongst others.

Rebecca is a regular contributor to Sky News and ITV’s This Morning as well as appearing on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, LBC, BBC News 24 and the BBC World Service to discuss her work.

She graduated from Royal Holloway’s Creative Writing MA in 2015 and Perfect Liars is her debut novel.

Rebecca lives in North London with her husband.

 

 

You can find the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

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Review: Shelf Life by Livia Franchini | @LivFranchini @DoubledayUK @annecater #RandomThingsTours

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About the Book

Ruth is thirty years old. She works as a nurse in a care home and her fiancé has just broken up with her. The only thing she has left of him is their shopping list for the upcoming week.

And so she uses that list to tell her story. Starting with six eggs, and working through spaghetti and strawberries, and apples and tea bags, Ruth discovers that her identity has been crafted from the people she serves; her patients, her friends, and, most of all, her partner of ten years. Without him, she needs to find out – with conditioner and single cream and a lot of sugar – who she is when she stands alone.

 

My Thoughts

Shelf Life is a fascinating novel that follows Ruth who is coming to terms with her fiance breaking up with her. She finds a shopping list that is the only thing left of him in their home and the novel then is told in chapters headed by each item on the list.

I loved this book. I found it was quite a meandering novel and it begged to be read slowly. I’m naturally a fast reader but I really enjoyed the fact that this book made me slow down, it made me want to take it all in and to take time to ponder what I had read.

Ruth is blindsided by her fiance deciding to end their long term relationship. She is mid-way through washing up when Neil announces that it’s over. I really felt for Ruth, I know what it’s like to have to re-evaluate life after a break up as it happened to me at the same age. It’s like a rug has been pulled from under you and suddenly you’re not sure who you are anymore, or how you relate to other people in your life.

Shelf Life is predominantly told from Ruth’s perspective but we get the occasional chapter from Neil. It’s interesting to see how Ruth feels about herself and her life, and how she related herself to Neil. Neil’s chapters are increasingly uncomfortable to read though as you get a slow realisation that he’s not the man Ruth thought he was. He inserts himself into women’s lives and seems to become the man they think they need.

There is also an occasional chapter from Alanna. This is a girl that Ruth was at school with, and later at nursing college. They then end up working together at the same care home. I found Alanna a character that I couldn’t quite work out. I got the feeling that she had been quite antagonistic through school, perhaps being part of the popular gang that Ruth was on the outside of. She seems to care about Ruth now they’re adults but I was on edge reading her perspective as I felt sure she was setting Ruth up for something. As time went on I came to quite like her but I never one hundred per cent felt sure of her. I loved this aspect of the novel though because that’s how it is in life, you can never be sure of another person’s motives even if you have known them a long time and especially if they’ve always just been on the edge of your life.

Shelf Life really captures life, and it does it in all its glory – there is humour and heartbreak all mixed in together. There are some moments in this novel that made me cringe because the descriptions are so real, and we’ve all been there, but that’s the beauty of this novel. It takes a great writer to really capture how life is and Livia Franchini is an incredible writer!

Shelf Life is a novel that I very much enjoyed as I was reading it and I’ve found that my love for it has grown even more since I finished it. I find myself thinking about it, and about Ruth, and relating it to my own life and it just won’t let go of me. It really is a novel that has so much depth and so many layers to it, some that only become apparent when you give yourself the space to ponder on it. I adored this book and I highly recommend it!

Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

Shelf Life is out now and available here.

 

About the Author

Livia Franchini Author Picture

 

Livia Franchini is a writer and translator from Tuscany, Italy, whose work has been published in numerous publications and anthologies. She has translated Michael Donaghy, Sam Riviere and James Tiptree Jr. among many others. In 2018, she was one of the inaugural writers-in-residence for the Connecting Emerging Literary Artist project, funded by Creative Europe. She lives in London, where she is completing a PhD in experimental women’s writing at Goldsmiths.

 

 

You can find the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

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Review: Meditation for Children by Shelley Wilson | @ShelleyWilson72 @BHCPressBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours

Meditation For Children Cover

About the Book

Author and meditation tutor Shelley Wilson takes you on a magical journey to a calm and happy place that you and your child will love.

Children of all ages can learn and enjoy the benefits of meditation.

Designed to help access creative abilities through relaxation and imagination, these stories help develop the necessary tools needed at a young age for lifelong healthy habits of managing stress and anxiety while also improving learning skills.

Meditation for Children is a simple way to introduce children to mindfulness through guided visualization. Includes a handy reference guide and instructions.

 

My Thoughts

Meditation for Children is a wonderful book that parents can share with their children to help them relax and come to enjoy meditation as part of their everyday lives.

I don’t have children but I am someone who very much enjoys mindfulness and mediation so I was fascinated to read this book.

I very much enjoyed reading Meditation for Children, it’s a lovely book and I loved the way Shelley Wilson has made it a wonderful story book that can be enjoyed as such but has left space to imagine and to take some breaths to relax and to slow down. I can absolutely see how this is the perfect way to introduce a younger child to the idea of meditating, which as they grow can be such a great tool to help them cope with the stresses that go with growing up, going through school etc.

The book opens with a how to guide that explains how meditation can be helpful and also suggests ways to use the book and how to incorporate meditating into your and your child’s lives. There are then ten very short stories (that each take under 5 minutes to read aloud) that are fabulous and really help you visualise the world being described. Each story is accompanied with gorgeous illustrations that are vivid and bright and really give a sense of the world you’re about to travel in to. They all follow a similar idea of closing your eyes, slowly breathing in and out and then imagining the story that is being read to you. This is great as it will help a child know that this is a special story and as they grow older they will understand how to use the tools that meditation gives us – being able to relax and unwind.

I very much enjoyed this book and love how it makes coming to meditation easy for children but it’s clearly been properly researched and will definitely create a helpful skill that a child can use throughout their life. I can see echoes of how I was taught to meditate as an adult, and how I use it in my life now so it’s absolutely going to be a fantastic resource for children and their parents. Meditation for Children is a book that I wish I had when I was a child. Knowing how much meditation helps me in my every day life now I feel sure it would have been just as beneficial when I was younger. I highly recommend this book if you have young children in your life, it really is an invaluable book for helping your child to relax and find inner calm.

Many thanks to Anne of Random Things Tours for my copy of this book and my invitation to take part in this blog tour. All thoughts are my own.

Meditation for Children is out now and available here.

 

About the Author

Shelley Wilson Author Picture

 

Shelley Wilson is an award-winning motivational blogger, speaker, meditation tutor, Reiki master, and author. Her multi-award winning motivational and personal development blog has received several awards and has been named a Top 10 UK Personal Development Blog. She resides in Solihull, West Midlands, UK, where she lives with her three teenagers.

 

You can find the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

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Review: Head Shot Victoria Nixon | @VictoriaNixon_ @annecater @Unbounders #RandomThingsTours

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About the Book

A girl from a Yorkshire mining town is barely thirteen when her father kills himself – her brother finds him dying. At sixteen she’s spotted by a rock star and becomes an international Vogue model. Seven years later her brother kills himself in her New York apartment and her mother dies too. With no family left, her life is now one of extreme choices. Fifty years later, Victoria confronts her past and takes her readers on an unflinching voyage through her experiences as a model and beyond. Speaking frankly about loss, love, friendship and ambition, Head Shot is a book of inspiration and purpose. Packed with astonishing images by the photographers Victoria worked with, and the defiant fashions she wore throughout her career, it also bears witness to a time of unparalleled cultural energy and invention; it’s a story in which bags and shoes can, and do, sit right next to life and death.

 

My Thoughts

Head Shot is an incredible memoir; Victoria Nixon so honestly and openly looks back on her life and career. I finished reading this book a few days ago now and am still trying to find the words for this review.

My main reason for wanting to read this book was because the Victoria Nixon lost her mum at a similar age that I was when I lost my mum and I find myself drawn to books where people explore how they cope with losing their mother whilst in their 20s. The book that I got gave me what I was expecting but so much more besides.

Victoria Nixon takes us through how she came to be a model, you get to hear of the photographers she has worked with and other models she has got to know. I loved hearing about the stars of the day that she came into contact with – such as Brian Eno! There is no name-dropping in this book, all the stories Victoria shares feel a real part of her life story and so come up in an organic way. She never seemed to be affected by the showbiz life but seemed to just be enjoying her life and working hard to be a success.

It was heartbreaking to read of her father’s death when she was only a young teenager. I can’t imagine the pain of that and how it affects a person. Victoria shares her emotions and how it led to her life becoming what it did. I very much appreciated how sensitively and honestly she looks back at her father’s death, you can see how much she loved him. Sadly for Victoria she also lost her brother to suicide when she was in her 20s. This was an incredibly moving part of the book to read. The struggles Nick had had and the way his family had tried so hard to help him were very moving to read about. Victoria doesn’t shy away from discussing mental health in her book, she clearly cares very deeply about the subject.

The loss of her mother also when she was in her 20s was a shock for her and it changed how she felt about her life. I can really identify with this. I think when you’re very close to a parent and you lose them when you’re at a stage in life of being independent but also knowing that you can always go home if you need to, it’s very hard. I have such admiration for how Victoria dealt with her grief, and how she coped with all the pain life has thrown at her. She doesn’t dwell, she reflects on things but she always knew she had to pick herself up and keep going. I found her such an inspiring person to read about.

I very much enjoyed learning about the modelling industry in the 60s and 70s. I’m not really into fashion but it was fascinating to read about what it was like to be a model, and to hear about the not-so-glamourous side of things. Nixon is clearly a very driven and determined woman and she continued to push through during the difficult times. There are lighter moments throughout the book too, moments that will make you giggle and some stories that might make you raise an eyebrow.

There are photos throughout this book and I loved seeing them. They relate to stories Nixon has shared and it really brought the book to life. I love hearing the back story to an image and so this was a joy to have in this book.

Head Shot is such an incredible memoir! It’s a stunning and candid look back at a life that will leave you feeling inspired. Victoria Nixon’s passion and determination shines through and I’m so glad I got to read about her life. I loved this book so much, it’s one of the best memoirs I’ve read! I very highly recommend this!

Many thanks to Anne of Random Things Tours for my copy of this book and the blog tour invitation. All thoughts are my own.

Head Shot is out now in hardback and available here. The ebook is due for release on 15 August and can be pre-ordered at the same link.

 

About the Author

Victoria-Nixon-Author-pic

Victoria Nixon was eighteen when she was discovered by Helmut Newton, who photographed her for Vogue . This launched her international modelling career, which led to her being named the Daily Mail ’s ‘Face of 1968’.

After modelling, she went on to become an award-winning advertising copywriter, television producer and magazine editor. In the 1990s she opened the first deli in the UK to ban plastic packaging, and in 2002 her first book, ‘Supermodels’ Beauty Secrets‘ , was published, followed by ‘Supermodels’ Diet Secrets‘ in 2004. She is cofounder and managing director of a company which designs and manufactures humanitarian aid products used worldwide

Links-http://www.victorianixon.com/

Twitter @VictoriaNixon_

 

You can find the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

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Review: Gone by Leona Deakin | @LeonaDeakin1 @annecater #RandomThingsTours

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About the Book

Four strangers are missing. Left at their last-known locations are birthday cards that read:

YOUR GIFT IS THE GAME.
DARE TO PLAY?

The police aren’t worried – it’s just a game. But the families are frantic. As psychologist and private detective Dr Augusta Bloom delves into the lives of the missing people, she finds something that binds them all.

And that something makes them very dangerous indeed.

As more disappearances are reported and new birthday cards uncovered, Dr Bloom races to unravel the mystery and find the missing people.

But what if, this time, they are the ones she should fear?

 

My Thoughts

I couldn’t resist this book when I read the blurb, it sounded so intriguing and I’m so glad I picked it up! Gone is a novel about four strangers who have all disappeared after receiving a card asking them if they dare to play. Psychologist Dr Augusta Bloom and ex detective Marcus Jameson are tasked with looking into one of the missing people and find that things are more serious and involved than they ever could have imagined!

Gone is such a good psychological thriller and is something a bit different. I loved following Augusta and getting her psychological insights into what might be going on. I was also really intrigued as we meet some of the families of the missing people. I couldn’t work out what they could possibly have in common so felt like I was tailing the investigation and trying to figure it all out.

I loved how prescient this novel is with the way it looks at how the game these strangers were invited to play might have been set up. It explores the idea of how people can use quizzes on social media that people fill in to find out what cartoon character they’d be (for example) can be put together with other easily discovered info on the same sites to see who would be a perfect target for this game. I’ve always been really suspicious of quizzes on FB and this book proves I’m right to be! I’m definitely not going near them now!

I loved the exploration of who the type of person behind the game might be, and also who the people who were invited to play the game were underneath. I’ve always been fascinated by psychology and this book is so much about what makes a person tick, what makes someone do the things they do. It was brilliant to see psychological ideas applied to the missing people and then as the book went on to wonder about those traits in other characters. It made for such a good read!

It turns out that nothing is quite as it seems in this novel and there is so much more underneath the surface than you see at first. I found it quite a slow-burn to begin with but this was perfect because it allowed me to be curious about what was going on before I was pulled right in to a novel that becomes an unputdownable rollercoaster of a read!

This was such a fascinating psychological thriller and I very much enjoyed it! I’m already looking forward to reading more from Leona Deakin (and also hoping we might get more about Dr Augusta Bloom in the future…!). I recommend this one!

Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book and Anne of Random Things Tours for my blog tour invitation. All thoughts are my own.

Gone is out now in ebook here and also available for pre-order in paperback here.

 

 

You can find the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

Gone BT Poster

WWW Wednesdays (31 Jul 2019)! What are you reading this week?

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

 

What I’m reading now:

Gone by Leona Deakin

I was delighted to receive an ARC of this book as it sounded so intriguing and I’m happy to say that I’m really enjoying it so far. It’s about people who have gone missing after receiving birthday cards with a code to enter a game!

The Eleventh Day by Anthony Summers 

I bought this book a few days ago and immediately started reading it after rating another book by this author earlier this week. It’s a detailed account of 9/11 and whilst hard to read in places it’s really interesting to have insight into the wider picture of what led up to it and how the security services investigated it.

 

What I recently finished reading:

Unnatural Causes by Richard Shepherd

I just finished reading this last night and it was such a good book. I found it really fascinating to learn what is involved for a forensic pathologist. I also appreciated the author’s honesty about how the work has affected him.

Bone Deep by Sandra Ireland

I also finished listening to this audio book yesterday and really enjoyed this one. It was different to what I was expecting but so engaging and hard to put down. I’ll be reviewing this one soon for the blog tour.

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

This was such a fun thriller read! I was gripped from start to finish so recommend it!

Someone We Know by Shari Lapena

I read this book in one sitting and very much enjoyed it. I do love Shari Lapena’s writing, she never lets me down! I’ll be reviewing this one for the blog tour in a few days time so please look out for that post if you want to know more.

The Back Road by Rachel Abbott

I’ve had a few of this author’s books on my TBR for ages so after enjoying the first book in this series late last year I was keen to get to the next one. This book was even better and I can’t wait to carry on with the series!

Looking for Madeleine by Anthony Summers

I bought this book after watching the recent Netflix series about the case. I ended up listening to the audio book from my library and found it such an interesting book. It gave me a different perspective to the case than I previously had.

A Nearly Normal Family by M. T. Edvardsson

I had an ARC of this but listened to the audio book instead. I enjoyed this one but felt a little too distanced from the characters so didn’t feel as invested as I might have done. It was an interesting story though and I did find it really hard to put down.

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

I really enjoyed this one and am so glad that I finally got to read it as part of 20 Books of Summer.

 

The July Girls by Phoebe Locke

I was thrilled to receive an ARC of this a while ago and have put it on my 20 Books of Summer list so really want to get to this one in the coming week if I can.

The Wayward Girls by Amanda Mason

This is another ARC that feels like it should be read over the summer so I’d like to get to this one this week too.

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

I’ve been so keen to read this one so am hoping I get a chance to start it this week.

Those People by Louise Candlish

I love this author’s writing so am also hoping to get to this one too!

 

 


 

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. 🙂

Review: The Closer I Get by Paul Burston | @OrendaBooks @PaulBurston @annecater

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About the Book

Tom is a successful author, but he’s struggling to finish his novel. His main distraction is an online admirer, Evie, who simply won’t leave him alone.

Evie is smart, well read and unstable; she lives with her father and her social-media friendships are not only her escape, but everything she has.

When she’s hit with a restraining order, her world is turned upside down, and Tom is free to live his life again, to concentrate on writing.

But things aren’t really adding up. For Tom is distracted but also addicted to his online relationships, and when they take a darker, more menacing turn, he feels powerless to change things. Because maybe he needs Evie more than he’s letting on.

 

My Thoughts

Oh my goodness, this book! I knew I was going to love The Closer I Get as soon as I read the blurb but it was even better than I was expecting it to be!

Tom Hunter is a successful author but he’s struggling with the mounting pressure of writing his next novel in large part due to the stress of a woman who just won’t leave him alone. Evie is a huge fan of Tom’s work, she got to meet him once at a book signing and felt they had a real connection. It’s a thrill when he follows her back on social media and she believes this means something. Evie doesn’t have an easy life, she’s back living with her dad who isn’t well so when she’s hit with a restraining order her life begins to unravel.

This book is brilliant! It’s such a prescient novel – definitely one for our times! Most of us use social media and we’re used to people following us on these networks and often we follow people back but we don’t pay a whole lot of attention to who any of these people are. We assume they’re just like us. I mainly use twitter to share posts but I also use it to chat to friends and connect with people. I even met my husband on twitter so it is possible to make genuine mutual connections on there.

However, I also know what it is to have a stalker and it is utterly terrifying. My experience was pre-social media so it’s different to what happens in this book but the feeling of having someone turn up everywhere you go, someone who sits outside your house is so frightening. The feeling that you might be being watched never fully leaves you even when the situation is completely over. This has made me much more wary of social media, and forming friendships, even though I’ve used it for over ten years now.  Paul Burston has shared his experiences of being stalked in an article in The Guardian recently and how this inspired him to write this novel, I recommend reading that when you have a few minutes to spare.

Anyway, back to The Closer I get... This novel is told in alternating chapters from Tom and Evie and I loved that. It meant that I would read one chapter and think one thing and then read the other person’s perspective and could see their side too. The novel blurs the lines somewhat so that although Evie is clearly stalking Tom, the background to this leaves you with much to question and think about. This isn’t always a black and white story, it really shows the shades of grey.  It was fascinating, and unnerving, to be in Evie’s mind and to see how she viewed things along the way.

We also get to meet Tom’s best friend Emma, and their relationship was also fascinating to read about. Emma seems devoted to Tom, she is always there for him and it seemed that she might be in love with him. It is just friendship to Tom though but as the novel progresses it becomes apparent that he takes advantage of her good nature more than is fair. These parts of the book make Tom a much more rounded character but a whole lot less likeable!

I have to say that neither Tom nor Evie are particularly likeable in this novel but there are moments in each of their stories where you feel absolute sympathy for them, and moments where you question what it is you previously thought. It’s such a compelling novel with so many fascinating elements to it, this really is an incredible read!

The Closer I Get has tension right from the start, and it gets more and more tense as you read each chapter. You know it’s building to something but I defy you to predict what’s coming because every time I thought I had it worked out the rug was pulled from under me yet again! By the final pages of this novel I was literally on the edge of my seat. The denouement when it comes is shocking, and one I won’t ever forget!

The Closer I Get is such a clever thriller; it’s a true psychological thriller and it really makes you think. It’s a novel that stays with you long after you’ve finished reading it. I already can’t wait to read more by Paul Burston, I’ll definitely be first in line to buy whatever he writes next!

PS. I will add a quick warning here – don’t start this book late at night if you have to be up early the next day because once you start reading you won’t be able to put this down until you’ve turned the final page! It’s a real sleep stealer (but totally worth it!)!

Many thanks to Orenda Books and Anne Cater for my digital copy of this book and the invitation to take part in this blog tour. All thoughts are my own.

The Closer I Get is out now and available here.

 

About the Author

Paul Burston Author Photo

Paul Burston is the author of five novels and the editor of two short story collections. His most recent novel ‘The Black Path’, was longlisted for the Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize 2016 and was a bestseller at WH Smith. His first novel, ‘Shameless’, was shortlisted for the State of Britain Award. His third novel, ‘Lovers & Losers’ was shortlisted for a Stonewall Award. His fourth, ‘The Gay Divorcee’, was optioned for television. He was a founding editor of Attitude magazine and has written for many publications including The GuardianThe IndependentTime OutThe Times and The Sunday Times. In March 2016, he was featured in the British Council’s #FiveFilms4Freedom Global List 2016, celebrating “33 visionary people who are promoting freedom, equality and LGBT rights around the world”. He is the founder and host of London’s award-winning LGBT+ literary salon Polari and founder and chair of The Polari First Book Prize for new writing.

 

You can find the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

closer I get blog poster 2019

WWW Wednesdays (24 Jul 2019)! What are you reading this week?

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

 

What I’m reading now:

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

This is the eighth book from my 20 Books of Summer choices and I’m really enjoying it. I’ve had this book on my TBR for about three years so am glad to get to it and am so happy that it’s living up to my hopes for it.

Unnatural Causes by Richard Shepherd

I treated myself to a copy of this last week as I keep seeing great reviews for it and am fascinated by it. It’s a really interesting book.

 

What I recently finished reading:

The Guilty Mother by Diane Jeffrey

This book is so good! I was gripped by it from the opening pages and it’s a book I read in just two sittings. I’ll be reviewing this one very soon,

The Closer I Get by Paul Burston

This is another great read, one that I also read in two sittings (and only because I started it late at night and had to sleep!). I’m reviewing this one tomorrow for the blog tour so please look out for my post.

Looker by Laura Sims

This is such a brilliant novel about a woman’s obsession with her neighbour. I really did love this one. My full review is here if you’d like to know more.

The Darkest Summer by Ella Drummond

I really enjoyed this book, it was a perfect thriller for the summer and I recommend it. My review is already posted so you can find my thoughts here if you want to know more.

A Question of Trust by Penny Vincenzi

This was the seventh book from my TBR for the 20 Books of Summer and I adored it. I love getting completely lost in a Penny Vincenzi novel and am sad this is the last one. I now want to make time to re-read all her other books!

 

What I plan on reading next:

Someone We Know by Shari Lapena

I’ve been so eagerly anticipating reading this novel as I love Shari Lapena’s writing so I plan on getting to this on in the coming days!

Bone Deep by Sandra Ireland

I’m on the blog tour for the audio book of this one and I’m keen to read it soon so hopefully I can get to it this week.

What You Did by Claire McGowan

I’ve seen some fab reviews of this book so when I found it was in the Kindle First selection for this month I grabbed it and really want to read it soon!

Stop At Nothing by Tammy Cohen

I’ve got an ARC of this book on my Kindle and I’m so keen to read it. Fingers crossed I get to it in the next few days!

 


 

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. 🙂

Review: Looker by Laura Sims | @ljsims50 @annecater #RandomThingsTours

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About the Book

The Professor lives in Brooklyn; her partner Nathan left her when she couldn’t have a baby. All she has now is her dead-end teaching job, her ramshackle apartment, and Nathan’s old moggy, Cat. Who she doesn’t even like.

The Actress lives a few doors down. She’s famous and beautiful, with auburn hair, perfect skin, a lovely smile. She’s got children – a baby, even. And a husband who seems to adore her. She leaves her windows open, even at night.

There’s no harm, the Professor thinks, in looking in through the illuminated glass at that shiny, happy family, fantasizing about them, drawing ever closer to the actress herself. Or is there?

 

My Thoughts

Looker is an incisive portrayal of a woman who becomes fixated on an actress who lives across the street from her. She sees in her everything she needs to make herself happy and she wants to be closer to that life!

I loved this book from the very beginning. I really enjoy books where we’re in the protagonist’s head for the duration of the novel. The Professor was successful at work, she was married to a man she loved and they were trying for a baby. She was on the cusp of having everything she wanted but then she miscarries and her fertility journey becomes fraught and heartbreaking. She closes herself off and then her husband leaves her. The book begins at this point but we get bits of her back story as we start to fill in the pieces to really get who this person is.

She obsesses over the actress. She watches her, she watches her home and she sometimes drifts off into fantasies about what might happen if she met her or her husband. The actress leaves unwanted things outside her house and the Professor squirrels these things away into the empty spare room of her apartment.

I began to feel that perhaps the Professor’s obsession with filling up her spare room was really her trying to fill her very empty life, and perhaps her empty uterus. She clearly has psychological problems, and really who wouldn’t after all the pain and heartbreak she has endured. The obsession with the actress is taking things to another level though and yet I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. She’s clearly lonely and has fixated on the actress as she believes she has a perfect, happy life. The Professor isn’t a particularly likeable character but she’s sympathetic at the same time. I very much appreciated that Laura Sims doesn’t go down a predictable route of the bitter woman who can’t get pregnant, instead it’s an incredible exploration of what happens when everything you wanted is slowly stripped from you and you’re left with no one and nothing left to lose.

Looker is a novel that creeps up on you. I was enthralled from the start but I gradually felt more and more uneasy about how the protagonist was behaving to the point that I was completely on edge because you just know something is going to happen. You can’t work out what or when or where but you know it’s coming. I thought when I picked up this book that it was going to go a particular way and I was so glad that it didn’t, instead Laura Sims keeps you wondering and that makes it so much more unnerving than if the Professor behaved in the way you believed she would!

This isn’t a full-on fast-paced psychological thriller and yet it’s a book that’s to be devoured in one sitting. It’s a psychological study of a character and the thriller element is knowing that she may only have developed her obsessive nature because of what she’s been through, and that means she could easily be you or someone you know!

I have to mention how perfect the title of this book is. It obviously refers to the protagonist and her obsessive watching of the actress, but the more of the novel I read the most I began to get a sense that I was the looker, that I was also intruding into the professor’s life and wanting to know more and more about her. It’s an uncomfortable realisation to suddenly feel for a moment that you might just understand the obsession, the wanting and needing to know about someone else’s life!

Looker is a brilliant, incisive and disturbing psychological novel and I loved it! I couldn’t put it down, and even now I’ve finished reading I keep thinking about it. I already want to go back and read it all again. I highly recommend this one!

Many thanks to the Tinder Press for my copy of this book and to Anne of Random Things Tours for my blog tour invitation. All thoughts are my own.

Looker is out now in ebook and available here. It’s due to be published in paperback on 25th July and can be pre-ordered at the same link.

 

About the Author

Laura Sims Author Picture

Laura Sims is the author of four books of poetry, and LOOKER is her debut novel. She lives in Brooklyn.

 

 

You can find the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

Looker BT Poster

Review: The Darkest Summer by Ella Drummond | @drummondella1 @HeraBooks @BOTBSPublicity

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About the Book

One hot summer, Dee disappeared. Now she’s back…but she’s not the girl you knew.

Sera and Dee were the best of friends.

Until the day that Dee and her brother Leo vanished from Sera’s life, during a long hot summer fifteen years ago.

Now Sera is an adult, with her own child, five-year-old Katie, and has returned to her childhood home after her husband’s death.

While she grieves, the past haunts Sera at every turn … and then Dee and Leo return to their small Hampshire village, along with Dee’s young daughter.

But Dee is silent and haunted by her demons; no longer the fun-loving girl that Sera loved. And when Sera uncovers the shocking secret that Dee is hiding, it’s clear that the girl she knew is long gone – and that the adult she has grown into might put all of them in danger…

 

My Thoughts

I have to start by saying that I loved Ella Drummond’s previous novel My Last Lie and The Darkest Summer is even better! I could not put it down!

The Darkest Summer follows Sera as she’s trying to rebuild her life after her husband’s death. She’s living with her mother and five-year-old daughter in her childhood home and can’t help but think back to years gone by and her best friend Dee whose family disappeared suddenly one summer day. Then one day she thinks she spots Dee’s brother in the street and her life is about to be turned upside down all over again.

I was gripped from the very start of this book and I just didn’t want to put it down for a second. It’s one of those books where you say just one more chapter, then one more, and one more and before you know it you’re turning the last page and it’s way past your bedtime!

The Darkest Summer is mainly set in the present day but it also flashes back to fifteen years ago in the lead up to when Dee and her family disappear. We also get a few chapters from the early 1980s following Sera’s mum, Mimi. I loved this way of telling the story as I was equally invested in all three timelines and this kept me flying through the pages as I wanted to know how the past fitted with the present and where Dee’s family had gone, and why they left without trace!

I love books that explore female friendship, it’s endlessly fascinating for me to read books like this. I really enjoyed seeing Dee and Sera as girls on the cusp of being teenagers where they still loved running wild and swimming in the lake, but were also becoming aware of their own bodies and the power they might possess. It was really interesting to see how they related to each other on meeting up again years later, and how different it can be to how you imagined it might. It was the same seeing Sera’s mum when she was a young adult finding her feet in London and trying to make it as an actress. Her friendship back then gave her an unbreakable bond to someone because of what happened but still life pulled them apart, and yet not quite! The women were so believable in this book and I keep thinking of them all, especially Sera, and wondering how she is.

I loved the setting of this book, and the way the heat of the summer emanated from the pages. I could envision it all so clearly as if I’d been there. Ella Drummond really is a great writer who writes such beautiful, evocative paragraphs. She brings her books to life and it makes them so memorable.

I was curious by what might have happened to Dee and her family, and was shocked when we finally find out. I had worked out elements of it but I couldn’t put it all together to figure it out fully. I was also intrigued by what Mimi’s story from years earlier had to do with the present day and didn’t figure that out either. I love when a novel keeps me guessing, it’s a rare thing for a book to do that but this one did!

The Darkest Summer is the perfect summer thriller read! It’s gripping, mysterious and it will keep you up way past your bedtime! I loved it and highly recommend it!

Many thanks to the Hera Books for my copy of this book and to Sarah of Books on the Bright Side Publicity for my blog tour invitation. All thoughts are my own.

The Darkest Summer is out now and available here.

 

About the Author

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Ella Drummond recently signed a two-book deal with Hera Books. Her first psychological thriller, My Last Lie will be published in February 2019 and is available for pre-order now.
She lives with her husband on the island of Jersey and you can follow her on Twitter @drummondella1 and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EllaDrummondWrites/

 

 

 

 

You can find the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

BLOG TOUR (1)

Review: The Hidden Wife by Amanda Reynolds | @AmandaReynoldsJ @Wildfirebks @annecater #RandomThingsTours

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About the Book

Every marriage has its problems.
But would Julia Blake really have just walked out of hers, leaving no trace?

Max Blake knows more about his wife’s disappearance than he’s letting on.
That’s what the police think anyway. But with no body, the case is growing cold…

One young journalist thinks she can find out the truth.
But the more time she spends with Max at the couple’s remote estate, the higher the risk to her own safety. And whatever happened to Julia Blake may be her fate next…

 

My Thoughts

The Hidden Wife is such a good book! Seren is a junior reporter for a local newspaper and she’s just been given her first big story. She’s been tasked to interview famous novelist Max Blake, who’s wife Julia has been missing for months. So far he’s refused all interview requests by the media so this is a big deal for Seren and could make her career!

I was intrigued from the very beginning of this book as it opens just a few hours after Julia has been reported missing and we don’t know what’s happened to her. The novel then moves forward a few months and Seren is given the assignment to interview Julia’s husband Max. Max is a famous author and has so far resisted talking about Julia in the media so Seren is thrilled, and a little apprehensive, to be given such a job! There is something of a connection between Max and Seren as she knows what it’s like to lose a loved one and not have all the answers. I was curious as to whether Max knew this and would play on it for his own advantage as he seemed a very clever man.

The Hidden Wife kept me on my toes throughout. There are moments where I thought I had the mystery cracked but then something else would happen and I would be questioning everything all over again. The novel is a slow-burn to begin with. You really get to know Seren, which I loved as it meant I was with her all the way as she gradually starts to try to learn more about Max. There is a point in the novel though where it becomes utterly compelling and from there on I just couldn’t put it down!

The further I got into this novel the more it became apparent how everyone has a face they wear for others. It’s easy to think Max is slick and clearly hiding something but we don’t know for sure that he harmed his wife, we just presume he has. Seren has some real sadness in her life and she seems to keep people at something of a distance, even the people she’s closer to. Even the housekeeper seems besotted with Max and suspicious, even a little antagonistic towards Seren but there is more to her and I enjoyed finding out what was behind her facade.

I got Rebecca vibes from some elements of this book – the missing wife Julia, who we only really see through her husband’s, and occasionally the housekeeper’s, eyes. The somewhat naive junior reporter Seren who feels a little anxious around Max but is drawn to him at the same time. And Max, the enigmatic husband – did he harm his wife? Does he know where she is? I loved that there was a sense of Rebecca in the novel whilst at the same time it is absolutely its own story.

I very much enjoyed The Hidden Wife and have found since I finished reading it that I keep thinking about it. I definitely recommend putting it on your summer holiday reading plans if you like gripping, thrilling and hard to put down novels!

Many thanks to Wildfire for my copy of this book and to Anne of Random Things Tours for my blog tour invitation. All thoughts are my own.

The Hidden Wife is out now and available here.

 

About the Author

Amanda Reynolds Author Pic

Photo credit: David Churchill Photography

Amanda Reynolds lives in the Cotswolds with her family where she writes full-time. Her debut novel, Close To Me, is a #1 e-book best- seller. The Hidden Wife is her third book.

Follow Amanda on Twitter: @AmandaReynoldsJ

amandareynoldsauthor.com

 

You can find the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

FINAL Hidden Wife BT Poster

My New Book Haul (Stacking the Shelves 20 Jul 2019)!

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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!

 

Purchased Books / eBooks

The Farm by Joanne Ramos

I’ve had a reservation for this one at the library for ages and I really want to read it so decided to buy the kindle version when it was on a daily deal this week. I can’t wait to get to this!

Till The Cows Come Home by Sara Cox

I bought this one on a whim as I really like Sara Cox and think this will be a fun and interesting read!

Unnatural Causes by Richard Shepherd

I’ve wanted to read this one for a while too so decided to treat myself. I’ve already started reading this and it’s fascinating!

Her Closest Friend by Clare Boyd

I thought I’d already bought this one but I hadn’t so I’ve put that right now and hope to get to this soon.

 

Borrowed AudioBooks

The Spider and The Fly by Claudia Rowe

This was a really interesting read about a reporter’s fascination with a serial killer and her exploration of why she became so fascinated by him.

The Stranger on the Bridge by Jonny Benjamin

This was a really moving book about a man’s battle with mental illness and his relationship with the man that stopped and saved him the day he was planning to jump off a bridge.

Pain-Free Life: My Journey to Wellness by Andrea Hayes

This was such a good book and I’m so glad I listened to it. It reinforced for me the strength I’ve had to get to where I am in my battle to control my pain levels. I recommend this book.

A Better Me by Gary Barlow

I downloaded this from the library after seeing it recommended in an online book group. It was really interesting and I’m glad I got to read it.

 

ARCs

So Lucky by Dawn O’Porter

I am excited beyond words to have a copy of this book! I loved The Cows and have been so eagerly anticipating this new book. It definitely won’t be on my TBR for very long!

The Most Difficult Thing by Charlotte Philby

This is another book that I’ve been interested in for a while so I was delighted to get a copy on NetGalley, I’m really looking forward to reading it!

The Silent Ones by K. L. Slater

I downloaded this one from NG too as I saw the blurb on FB and knew I simply had to read it!

Magic Under the Mistletoe by Lucy Coleman

I got this book for a blog tour later in the year so I won’t be reading it quite yet but I am looking forward to reading it as we get into autumn!

 

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 (17 Jul 2019)!

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

 

What I’m reading now:

The Darkest Summer by Ella Drummond

This book is so good! I really enjoyed Ella Drummond’s first novel and this one is even better, it gripped me from the first chapter and I’m keen to read more asap!

A Question of Trust by Penny Vincenzi

This is one of my 20 Books of Summer picks and I’m thoroughly enjoying this one. I’m trying to savour is because it but it’s hard not to keep reading when I pick it up. I recommend this one!

Gary Speed: Unspoken by John Richardson

I bought this one recently and started reading it straight away. It’s not really the book I thought it was going to be but I do want to finish it. I was hoping for more of a biography but really it’s more his friends sharing memories of him.

What I recently finished reading:

A Simple Favour by Darcey Bell

I’ve had this on my TBR mountain for about a year so when I spotted the audio book on BorrowBox (my local library’s audio book service) I decided to download it and listen. The novel wasn’t as good as I hoped it would be but listening to it on audio kept me engaged when I might have put the ebook down.

A Better Me by Gary Barlow

I also downloaded the audio book of this on a whim from BorrowBox after seeing a recommendation in a book group on FB. I actually enjoyed this more than I was expecting and I’m glad I listened to it.

Pain-Free Life: My Journey to Wellness by Andrea Hayes

This is another audiobook from BorrowBox and the title just caught my eye. I’ve worked really hard on finding ways of treating and coping with my severe neuropathic pain so am interested to read the stories of other people who’ve been through similar. Andrea’s story is so similar to mine in many ways so I found this book really life-affirming and recommend it.

The Spider and the Fly: A Reporter, A Serial Killer and the Meaning of Murder by Claudia Rowe

This is a book I’ve wanted to read for ages but have only seen quite expensive secondhand copies that are in not great condition so I was really pleased to spot the audio book on BorrowBox. I found this an interesting book about a reporter’s obsession with a serial killer, and her exploration of her own obsession.

The Stranger on the Bridge: My Journey from Despair to Hope by Jonny Benjamin

I finally got to read this book which I’ve been wanting to read since it first came out as I’d seen interviews with the author on TV.  This was a really moving book about the author’s struggle with mental illness.

Watching You by Lisa Jewell

I finally read this book having had an ARC on my TBR for over a year. I’m not sure how I missed reading it before now but I’m glad to have read it. I very much enjoyed this thriller and have already reviewed it. You can find my thoughts here if you’d like to know more.

Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving an American Obsession by Alice Bolin

I was really keen to listen to this book but I found myself disappointed with it as it just wasn’t the book it’s made out to be. It’s more about the author moving to L.A. and her obsession with Joan Didion’s work than it is about America’s obsession with young women who have been murdered.

 

What I plan on reading next:

Fire Sermon by Jamie Quatro

This book has been on my wish list for a while so when I spotted it on BorrowBox I decided to request it. I now have the book on my phone so it will be my next audio book.

Looker by Laura Sims

I hoped to read this one over the last week but I could only manage audio books so had to put this one on hold. I’m still keen to read it so fingers crossed for the coming week.

The Closer I Get by Paul Burston

I’ve been desperate to read this book so again I’m hoping I’ll be able to read print this week so that I can get to this one.


 

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. 🙂

Mini Reviews: Watching You, Nobody’s Wife, The Night Olivia Fell, and The Flower Girls!

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Today I’m sharing another selection of mini book reviews as I try to catch up. I LOVED all four of these books so wanted to make sure I shared my thoughts here.

 

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Watching You by Lisa Jewell

This book is such a brilliant psychological thriller. From the title you can guess that someone is being watched but what is so good about this book is the way that lots of people are being watched, or feel like they are, and sometimes it’s by people who are unaware that they shouldn’t be so invasively tracking someone’s movements and other times it’s by people who have more sinister motives. The novel opens with a body having been found and there appears to be an important piece of evidence left at the scene. We then get a picture gradually built up of who the victim is but also who might have wanted to hurt this person. The novel follows quite a few characters and figuring out how they might connect to each other, if at all and in what possible way, was brilliant! I really did enjoy this book and I already can’t wait to read Lisa jewell’s next novel!

 

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The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts

I read this novel quite a while ago now so I’m embarrassed that I’ve somehow managed not to review it before now. I will say that despite the gap the novel is still really quite fresh in my mind so it shows it’s a book that really gets under your skin! This is about two sisters who murdered a young child when they were also young children. One of them was old enough to face trial and the other wasn’t. They’re now adults and Laurel is out of prison and trying to build a new life under her new identity. This all comes unstuck when she goes on holiday with her partner and a child goes missing from the hotel. This is such a brilliant novel that explores lots of angles to a case like this in a sensitive and thought-provoking way. I flew through the book because I was desperate to know what was going to happen in the end. I highly recommend this book if you haven’t already read it.

 

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The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald

This is another book that I’m mortified to realise I haven’t reviewed yet, especially when I loved the novel so much. This is an incredible novel that is a great thriller but more than that it’s a brilliant exploration of the relationship between mothers and daughters. Abi is a single mum to Olivia, and one morning she’s woken to a phone call telling her that her daughter has been in an accident and is badly hurt. It turns out that Olivia had secrets from her mum and Abi is devastated that her daughter hadn’t felt she could confide in her. We also get Olivia’s story and gradually build up to the night she fell, and what actually happened to her. This is another book that I just didn’t want to put down, it  is a real page turner and I wanted to know how things were going to turn out. More than that I felt so emotionally invested in Abi and Olivia’s stories. It really reminded me of being a teenager and even though I was incredibly close to my mum there is always going to be a point when a teen begins to pull away and wants to keep some things private. This is a book that is really staying with me, and I can’t wait to read more by the author.

 

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Nobody’s Wife by Laura Pearson

This is another novel that I got utterly emotionally invested in very quickly. Initially the opening chapter made me think this was going to have thriller elements but it hasn’t really, it’s much more an exploration of the relationship between two sisters and their relationships with their respective partners. The characters in this book aren’t particularly likeable but they are all so real, and I could see bits of me and bits of people I’ve known in them. It’s easy to judge matters of the heart when they don’t affect you but this novel by showing the perspectives of all four characters really does show that nothing is black and white and it’d be so easy for us all to make a decision that has consequences we never could have foreseen. I only read this fairly recently but it’s really lodged itself in my heart, I keep thinking of the characters and wondering what’s happening in their lives since the final page. I definitely recommend this one!

 

 

A New Book Haul (Stacking the Shelves 13 Jul 2019)!

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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!

 

Purchased Books / eBooks

 

The Gifts of the Body by Rebecca Brown

I’ve wanted to read this book for a while and decided to buy it this week. It’s a collection of linked short stories about care workers during the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.

What You Did by Claire McGowan

I feel that getting this book was serendipity as I wasn’t able to sign up to the blog tour when it was offered to me but I made a note of the title to pre-order it and when I went to do that I saw it was on the Kindle First book selection for July. So I got a copy ahead of publication and I can’t wait to read it!

Prognosis: A Memoir of My Brain by Sarah Vallance

This is my other Kindle First pick for July as it sounds like a fascinating memoir about one woman’s experience of traumatic brain injury.

 

Borrowed AudioBooks

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Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving an American Obsession by Alice Bolin 

I borrowed this audio book from Scribd and while I found it quite interesting it just isn’t the book that its set up to be so it was disappointing. It’s much more about the author and her time in LA and her obsession with Joan Didion than it is about society’s obsession with murdered young women.

 

ARCs

I got a lovely surprise package from Orenda Books this week that contained the first four books mentioned below.

 

Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson

I love this author’s writing and have very much enjoyed the first two books of hers that I’ve read so I’m thrilled to have a copy of this one.

Cage by Lilja Sigurdottir

I’m so keen to read this next book in the series so it was wonderful to get a surprise copy in the post!

 

In The Absence of Miracles by Michael J. Malone

I haven’t read anything by this author before (although I do have two of his other novels on my TBR) but this book sounds brilliant so I’m very happy to have it.

Little Siberia by Antti Tuomainen

This is a new-to-me author who I’ve heard such good things about so I’m really looking forward to reading this book.

 

The Guilty Mother by Diane Jeffrey

I was offered a copy of this by the author and I jumped at the chance to read it as it sounds like my kind of book. I hope to read this one very soon.

Maigret’s Childhood Friend by Georges Simenon

This was another surprise book that arrived in the post this week. I’ve not read any Maigret novels before but I’m happy to have the chance to read this one.

 


 

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 (10 Jul 2019)! What are you reading this week?

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

 

What I’m reading now:

Forget Me Not by Claire Allan

I just started reading this late last night but it’s such a gripping read. The opening is really different to anything I’ve read before and it just had me wanting to read more and more.

The Hidden Wife by Amanda Reynolds

This is another really gripping read. I’m very intrigued about where the wife in the title might be and what could have happened to her.

Wrecking Crew: Demolishing the Case Against Steven Avery by John Ferak

I haven’t read much more of this over the last week as I wasn’t in much of a non-fiction mood but I’ll definitely get back to it soon.

 

What I recently finished reading:

How To Walk Away by Katherine Center

I’ve had this on my Kindle for a while now so when I spotted it on BorrowBox I decided to download the audio and listen to it instead. I really enjoyed this one and found it really uplifting.

The Murder of Harriet Monckton by Elizabeth Haynes

I part-read and part-listened to this one and absolutely loved it! I love Elizabeth Haynes’ writing anyway and this book lived up to all her others that I’ve read. I found it fascinating how she blended fact with some fiction in such a brilliant way. I recommend this one!

The Last Stage by Louise Voss

I reviewed this one yesterday so you can find my full review here if you’d like to know more. I can say that I loved this book though and recommend it!

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor

This was one of my 20 Books of Summer picks and I’m so happy that I finally got to this. I very much enjoyed it, it was such an interesting novel that got me really invested in all of the characters. I’m now looking forward to reading The Reservoir Tapes soon.

Normal People by Sally Rooney

This was another of my 20 Books of Summer and I’m so happy I read this. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Conversations with Friends as it just didn’t quite feel believable to me but I did like Sally Rooney’s writing so decided to try this one. I loved this book, it really reminded me of being the age of the characters and how miscommunications so easily happen in intimate relationships.

Fiver Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain

I’ve had this one on my TBR for way too long so when I spotted the audio book on my subscription service I decided to listen to it. I did enjoy this one but I think it would have worked better if I’d actually read it. I might come back and re-read the print version of this in the future.

The Wave by Virginia Moffatt

I really enjoyed this novel! It didn’t have as much depth as I might have liked but I loved the premise and I really enjoyed getting to know all of the characters and seeing how they dealt with what was going to happen.

 

What I plan on reading next:

The Darkest Summer by Ella Drummond

I really enjoyed Ella Drummond’s first novel (my review is here) so I was delighted to be offered a spot on the blog tour for her next book. I’m planning to read this one this coming week and I can’t wait!

Looker by Laura Sims

I’ve been so keen to read this book so now I own a copy I don’t want to wait any longer to start reading it!

A Question of Trust by Penny Vincenzi

This is another of my 20 Books of Summer and I’m in the mood for getting lost in a longer book so I think this fits the bill. I love Penny Vincenzi’s writing so I know I’m going to love this one.

Inhuman Resources by Pierre LeMaitre

I’ve been wanting to read this one for absolutely ages and I put it on my 20 Books of Summer so I didn’t forget I had it and I think the time has come to pick it up! I hope to get to this one this week too. 🙂

 


 

I’m a paid member of Scribd (as mentioned above) and they have given me a code that will allow you to sign up and get two months free (and I would get one month free). If you’d like to try them out here is the link. I love Scribd and highly recommend them.

 


 

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. 🙂

Review: The Last Stage by Louise Voss | @LouiseVoss1 @OrendaBooks @annecater

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About the Book

A violent and horrific incident forces a young woman to go into hiding, at the peak of her career as lead singer of an indie pop band. Years later, strange things start to happen and it becomes clear that some know who she is…

At the peak of her career as lead singer of a legendary 1980s indie band, Meredith Vincent was driven off the international stage by a horrific incident. Now living a quiet existence in a cottage on the grounds of an old stately home, she has put her past behind her and come to terms with her new life.

When a body is found in the manicured gardens of her home, and a series of inexplicable and unsettling events begins to occur, it becomes clear that someone is watching, someone who knows who she is … Someone who wants vengeance.

And this is only the beginning…

 

My Thoughts

The Last Stage follows Meredith. In the late 1980s she was a hugely successful indie star but something happened which led to her quitting her band at the height of their fame and she made sure to become unrecognisable by starting a new life working at a stately home. One night someone she works with goes missing in strange circumstances and Meredith starts to fear that the past is coming back to get her.

I’m a huge fan of Louise Voss (and have been ever since I bought her first novel To Be Someone, which is still one of my favourite and most read books!) and I’m so happy to say that this book more than lived up to my high expectations. The prologue is so creepy that it gave me chills and I knew then I was going to be hooked all the way through this book (and I was right!). The idea of waking up in the middle of the night to hear footsteps on the stairs and then your bedroom door handle starting to turn is terrifying!

The Last Stage is set in the present but we get chapters from the past from when a 17 year old Meredith goes off to Greenham Common and meets a girl there. I felt equally invested in both timelines and I was desperate to know how the past and present fit together to explain why Meredith was so scared by the thought of things from the past catching up with her.

Louise Voss has created such an interesting and intriguing protagonist in Meredith and I wanted to know more about her from the start. She does make some bad decisions in this book and at times I wanted to reach into the pages and make her do things differently but I could see why she chose to keep quiet about the unnerving things that were happening to her and around her. I think fear affects people in all kinds of ways and while some people would immediately beg for help and support, other people almost shut it down and believe that if they don’t acknowledge it out loud then it can’t possibly be really happening. I really felt for Meredith and was rooting for her to be okay.

I love the title of this book and how over the course of the novel you sense a different meaning in it. I initially thought it was about the last stage Meredith might have performed on as a rock star before she quit, then I thought it might be the last stage of her life but then I wondered if it might not be about Meredith but rather a reference to the last stage of a campaign to ruin her life.  Or maybe it’s more to do with the way Meredith has to confront her fears from her past (last as in previous stage) before she can move on. I love when a title gives me lots of possibilities to ponder over!

This book kept me guessing right to the end! I didn’t trust anyone in this novel, they all seemed like they might have something to hide and this made for such a thrilling read. The tension in The Last Stage is there from the start and it slowly builds and builds until you’re literally on the edge of your seat. I even found myself holding my breath during the more tense moments! I loved this novel so much, it was a perfect psychological thriller and one that I’ll be thinking about for a while. It’s tense, thrilling and will keep you up way past your bedtime (and by this point you’ll be nervously wondering if you can hear footsteps on the stairs and if the bedroom door handle is moving!!). An utterly brilliant read!

Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

The Last Stage is out now in ebook and is available for pre-order in paperback here.

 

About the Author

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Over her eighteen-year writing career, Louise Voss has had 13 novels published – seven solo and six co-written with Mark Edwards: a combination of psychological thrillers, police procedurals and contemporary fiction – and sold over 350,000 books. Her most recent book, The Old You, was a number-one bestseller in ebook. Louise has an MA (Dist) in Creative Writing and also works as a literary consultant and mentor for writers at http://www.thewritingcoach.co.uk. She lives in Salisbury and is a proud member of two female crime-writing collectives, The Slice Girls and Killer Women.

 

You can find the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

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Best Books of 2019… So Far!

Best Books of 2019 So far!

By the end of June this year I’d already read 162 books so I thought it might be nice to write a post about my favourite books that I’ve read this year so far. Some were published this year and some were published a while ago but all are books that I’ve read and loved between 1st January and 30th June this year!

These books are in no particular order, I loved them all!

So without further ado…

 

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Senseless by Anna Lickley

This book had to be on my list because it has such an honest portrayal of what it is to have a disability. I could identify with a lot in this novel and it’s so rare to see myself represented in a novel in this way so I feel a real connection to this book. It’s a really good novel all-round and I recommend it. My review is here if you’d like to know more.

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Song of the Robin by R.V. Biggs

This is a book I almost didn’t pick up but I am so glad I did because it’s such a brilliant novel. There is a real mystery running through the book, which had me enthralled. I also really connected with the exploration of grief. My full review is here.

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The Space Between Time by Charlie Laidlaw

This is quite a recent read but I keep finding myself thinking about it so I had to include it in this post. This is a novel that rewards the reader taking their time with it and once you’re invested it will have you hooked all the way to the end. I loved the way it captured how life is, how grief is and how time feels during pivotal moments in life. My review is here.

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The Rumour by Lesley Kara

I read this book very early on this year and it has really stayed with me. It’s a book that really looks at what it’s like to live in a small community and what happens when idle gossip fuels a rumour. I loved this book. My review is here.

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Dead Inside by Noelle Holten

This novel is such a brilliant look at domestic violence from so many angles and I found it really got under my skin. It’s such a great debut and I can’t wait for the second book in the series to be out! My review is here.

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Amazing Grace by Kim Nash

I was so excited to read this book and it completely and utterly lived up to my expectations. It’s a gorgeous feel-good novel! My review is here.

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Baxter’s Requiem by Matthew Crow

This book is beautiful – it’s funny and moving and just such a heart-warming novel to read. It’s definitely a book that I want to re-read at some point. Here is my review.

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The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

This is a recent read but Donna Tartt is one of my favourite authors and I loved The Goldfinch so much that it had to make my list. I haven’t managed to review this one yet but I hope to soon. In the meantime, I highly recommend it!

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The Conviction of Cora Burns by Carolyn Kirby

I found this book so gripping and moving, it had me under its spell from start to finish (and beyond because I still think of it now) so I had to have this one in my list! My review is here.

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Ideal Angels by Robert Welbourn

This book is incredible! It was such an incise look at how modern life is, at our obsessions with social media and appearing like we have the most perfect lives. It is shocking and moving, and I still can’t stop thinking about this novel! My full review is here.

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Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

This is such a brilliant thriller novel. It’s a prescient novel but also such a stunning read. My review is here.

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Death and Other Happy Endings by Melanie Cantor

I adored this book! It’s a look at what happens when someone is told they have three months to live but it’s such a life-affirming, uplifting read in spite of what has happened. It’s wonderful and I recommend it! My review is here.

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A Modern Family by Helga Flatland

This novel is the most stunning and accurate portrayal I have ever read about what it is to be a sibling. I found it breathtaking at times and I know this is a book I will be thinking about for a long time to come. My review is here.

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The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar

I got this book for Christmas and it was the very first book I read in 2019, and what a way to start a new year! This is such a stunning novel and it felt like such a treat to read it. I’m sad I didn’t manage to review it but I highly recommend it all the same!

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The Blue Bench by Paul Marriner

I listened to this book on audio and I just got lost in it. It’s such a beautifully written novel about the aftermath of the war on four characters, and I just loved it. I want everyone to read this book! My review is here.

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The Perfect Betrayal by Lauren North

I only read this psychological thriller very recently but it couldn’t not be on my list of best books. This is one of the best books in this genre that I’ve ever read and I can’t recommend it highly enough. My review is here.

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The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood by Susan Elliot Wright

I started reading this book one afternoon and I literally didn’t look up from the page until I finished reading. This is an incredible and stunning novel, one that will stay with me. My review is here.

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The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean

I read this book out in the garden over a couple of lovely sunny afternoons and I just got lost in its pages. There is a dreamlike quality to this novel and I still feel slightly under its spell now! My review is here.

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Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I part-read and part-listened to this book and I loved every single second of it. It’s one of my all-time favourite audio books and I highly recommend it. I haven’t managed to post a review yet but I plan on doing so soon.

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The Trouble With Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

This was one of my picks for my 20 Books of Summer and I completely and utterly feel in love with this novel. It’s such a gorgeous novel that is both laugh out loud funny, and heartbreakingly moving. I adored it and hope to review it soon.

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Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech

This book is amazing. I still don’t feel like I can do justice to it, I still feel like it’s got a hold on me that I can’t explain. My review is here and I just urge you to please go read this book if you haven’t already!

 

 

What are your favourite books of 2019 so far? I’d love to know!

 

 

 

 

Stacking the Shelves with a new Book Haul (6 Jul 2019)!

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!

 

Purchased Books/eBooks

And So It Begins by Rachel Abbott

I’ve been wanting to read this ever since it came out so I’m thrilled to finally have my own copy. I hope to get to this one soon!

Cape May by Chip Creek

This is a book where I’ve seen great reviews by bloggers and have been wondering if it was for me. I then saw it in the kindle sale this week and I snapped it up. I love the cover of this book so if I enjoy it I will buy the print copy for my book case!

A Double Life by Flynn Berry

I bought this one on a whim as it sounded like my kind of read!

The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed

This was another impulse buy as the cover caught my eye and when I read the blurb I decided to give this one a go!

Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter

I’ve now read two of Karin Slaughter’s standalone novels and I keep hearing such good things about her series so I grabbed this one in a recent sale. I’m hoping to start this soon!

Wrecking Crew: Demolishing the Case Against Steven Avery by John Ferak

I watched and was fascinated by Making a Murderer so when I spotted this book that was published quite recently I couldn’t resist buying it. I’ve already started reading it and it’s interesting although so far doesn’t stray far from what is known from the documentary series.

 

Purchased AudioBooks (Audible UK’s 14th birthday sale has had some great books on offer!)

The Night Watch by Sarah Waters

I read this book years ago and loved it, I’ve been wanting to re-read it so when I spotted it in the recent Audible sale I snapped it up. I might save this one to read later in the year.

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

I’ve heard great things about this book so it’s another audio book that I couldn’t resist in the recent Audible sale.

The Romanovs: 1613-1918 by Simon Sebag Montefiore

I bought this on a whim from the Audible sale as it’s a period of history that I know virtually nothing about and I’m intrigued to learn more.

In At The Deep End by Kate Davies

I bought this one as it sounded like it might be a fun summer book to listen to so I expect to get to this one quite soon.

 

Borrowed AudioBooks

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Me and the Table by Stephen Hendry

I borrowed this book from my library via the BorrowBox app and I’ve already listened to it. It’s one of those books that I think I enjoyed more for listening to it, especially as Stephen Hendry narrates the audio. I recommend it if you’re a snooker fan!

 

ARCs

Looker by Laura Sims

I’ve been so keen to read this book so when I was offered a spot on the blog tour I jumped at the chance. I’ll definitely be reading this book soon and I can’t wait!

How It Was by Janet Ellis

I loved Janet Ellis’ previous novel The Butcher’s Hook so was keen to get her new book. I was really lucky to spot this in an email that was Read Now so I immediately went to NetGalley and downloaded it. I love the cover of this book and am drawn to wanting to read it asap!

The Poison Garden by Alex Marwood

I LOVE Alex Marwood’s writing and have been eagerly anticipating a new book from her so I grabbed this one as soon as I saw it on NetGalley. I just know I’m going to love this novel!

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

I also got this from NetGalley this week. I requested it but didn’t hold out much hope as I know how popular this book is going to be so I was super excited when I got the approval email!

The Hiding Game by Louise Phillips

I requested this one on a whim when I saw it mentioned on FB, it sounds like my kind of book so I’m really happy to have a copy to read 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.

WWW Wednesdays (3 Jul 2019)!

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

 

What I’m reading now:

The Last Stage by Louise Voss

I started reading this one last night and it’s one of those books where I begrudge real life interfering with my reading time. It’s such a brilliant read!

Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain by Barney Norris

I’ve had this on my TBR ever since it first came out so when I spotted it on BorrowBox this week I decided to listen to it while part reading it. I’m intrigued by it and am looking forward to listening to more.

The Wave by Virginia Moffatt

This book is really interesting. It’s about a disparate group of people who end up staying on a beach in Cornwall awaiting a tsunami; they know they don’t have time to escape so are trying to accept their fate and enjoy their last night. I’m completely invested in these characters and want them to survive!

Wrecking Crew: Demolishing the Case Against Steven Avery by John Ferak

I watched Making a Murderer season 1 and 2 and so when I spotted this book recently I decided to buy it and read more about the case. I’m only a little way in and so far it’s mostly what I’ve seen in the Netflix series but I’m still gripped.

 

What I recently finished reading:

Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahern

My husband bought me this hardback the year this book was published so I wanted to make sure I definitely finally read it this year. It’s the 4th book from my 20 Books of Summer challenge and I very much enjoyed it. It’s quite a slow, quiet novel but it was wonderful!

Me and the Table by Stephen Hendry

I downloaded the audio of this from Borrowbox on a whim as I’m a huge snooker fan and remember the years of poor Jimmy White never quite managing to beat Hendry in the World Championship Finals. This was a much better book than I expected and I really enjoyed it, I think it was it being on audio and having Hendry narrate it that really made it so good.

Something to Live For by Richard Roper

This book is such a life-affirming novel and I loved every minute that I spent reading it. I’ll be reviewing this one on the 7th July for the blog tour so please look out for my thoughts then!

Hard Pushed by Leah Hazard

I found this book about what it is to be a midwife in the NHS a fascinating read. I’m so glad I read it.

Something to Tell You by Lucy Diamond

This was a light-hearted read that I really enjoyed reading over the last few days. It kept me hooked all the way through.

 

What I plan on reading next:

Normal People by Sally Rooney

This is another pick from my 20 Books of Summer and I hope to get to it this week. I’ve found the audio on Scribd* so I may part-listen and part-read it if I struggle with the hardback. I’m keen to see if I enjoy this one anymore than Conversations with Friends!

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor

This is one of my 20 Books of Summer too and I’m just in the mood to read it so hopefully I’ll get to read it in the coming days.

The Closer I Get by Paul Burston

This is an ARC I was sent and I am so keen to get to this book, it sounds like one I’m going to love so it’s high on my list to get to in the next week or so!

Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas

I recently read Last Seen Alive by this author and it reminded me how much I love her writing so I’m even more keen to get to her new one. It sounds like a fab summer thriller so I want to read it asap!

 


 

*I’m a paid member of Scribd (as mentioned above) and they have given me a code that will allow you to sign up and get two months free (and I would get one month free). If you’d like to try them out here is the link. I love Scribd and highly recommend them.

 


 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesday 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. 🙂

That Was The Month That Was… June 2019!

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June was a month that was full of reading and blogging so I’m a happy blogger right now! I read 30 books. I was hoping to try and blog every day in June, which I didn’t manage but, having said that, I blogged 31 times over the month (a couple of days I had more than one post) so I’m really pleased with that.

Otherwise my highlight for June came on the penultimate day of the month when we finally got to pick up our new car! It’s highly unlikely that I’ll ever be able to drive again but our new car gives me and my husband more freedom as it has a hoist in the boot to life my mobility scooter/wheelchair. Also, because it’s an SUV the seats are higher and the doors open wider so it’s easier for me to get in and out of the car.

 

Here are the books I read in June:

I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney

This thriller was really enjoyable but the final 20% or so just didn’t work for me. I do love Alice Feeney’s writing though so will be looking out for her other books in the future.

The Space Between Time by Charlie Laidlaw

This book was such a beautiful read. It got to me in a way that I wasn’t expecting and I loved that about it.

I Heart Hawaii by Lindsey Kelk

This was a wonderful ending to a fab series, it really did tie everything up in such a gorgeous way and I loved it!

The Sea Refuses No River by Bethany Rivers

This is a stunning poetry collection that explores grief after the death of a parent. I really connected to this one and recommend it.

Horizontal Collaboration by Navie and Carole Maurel

This graphic novel was such an interesting and engaging book, it really got under my skin in ways I didn’t expect it to so I really recommend it.

The Friend Who Lied by Rachel Amphlett

This was my first novel by this author and it definitely won’t be the last because I very much enjoyed it.

Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka

I’d had an ARC of this on my TBR for over a year so I was glad to finally pick it up.  It was a really gripping read so I’m really glad I read it.

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

I listened to the audio book on Scribd* and found it really interesting but the way the book was written wasn’t quite as engaging as I hoped it would be.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

I finally read this book this month and I’m so happy that I did because I loved it! I’ve had the hardback of this on my TBR ever since it was first published but somehow hadn’t read it yet. It was my priority book from my 20 Books of Summer challenge and I loved every single second that I spent reading this one!

Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I had an ARC of this but I decided to buy the audiobook as I’d heard it was good and I’m so glad I did. I completely and utterly adored this book, I think it’s going to be one of my favourite reads of the year. I highly recommend it, especially the audio!

Every Mother’s Nightmare by Mark Thomas

I knew this would be a difficult read because of the subject matter but in the end it was the endless grammar, punctuation and formatting errors that almost made me give up on this. I did finish it but I wouldn’t recommend it.

What Red Was by Rosie Price

This was an okay read for me. I enjoyed the first half but then it just started to drag a little. The writing is really good but there were too many storylines for the length of the novel. I would look out for more books by this author in the future though.

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames

This was my second book for the 20 Books of Summer challenge and I adored it! It’s such a stunning novel and one that I keep finding myself thinking about.

The Lost Properties of Love by Sophie Ratcliffe

This book is part-fiction and part-memoir and I loved it. It’s such a beautiful novel and one that really made me think over things in my own life from a new perspective. I already know that I want to re-read this.

Nutshell by Ian McEwan

I really enjoyed this short novel about an unborn baby listening in to his mother and her boyfriend plotting the murder of his father! It’s reminded me how much I enjoy Ian McEwan’s writing.

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

I had an ARC of this but decided to listen to the audio and I’m so glad I did. I think the audio really added to this book and kept me engaged in the story all the way through.

After the End by Clare Mackintosh

This book is stunning! It’s such a heartbreaking read but it will also make you think. I loved this one and highly recommend it.

She’s Not There by Joy Fielding

I bought this book a while ago and have been so keen to read it so I’m glad to have got to it in June. It’s not a book that will really stay with me but I did really enjoy the time that I spent reading it.

The Swap by Fiona Mitchell

I enjoyed this book but it was lacking something for me. I think I just wanted a little bit more depth but that’s not to say that it wasn’t an enjoyable read.

Keep You Close by Karen Cleveland

I really enjoyed this spy thriller and pretty much read it in one sitting. It’s a great premise and it’s such a gripping story so I recommend it.

Last Seen Alive by Claire Douglas

I’ve had this book on my TBR ever since it was published so when I spotted the audio on my library BorrowBox app I decided to part-listen and part-read this book. I really did enjoy this book and now I’m even more excited to read the author’s new book!

Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss

I really enjoyed this book, I read it all in one sitting as it’s a short book and it had more of an impact on me than I was expecting.

The Perfect Betrayal by Lauren North

This is such a brilliant psychological thriller; it’s one of very, very few novels where I just didn’t work out what was going to happen. It’s a flawless thriller and I loved it. I highly recommend this one!

The Trouble With Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

This is another book from my 20 Books of Summer challenge and I fell in love with this one. It’s such a gorgeous book and it’s one I’ll never forget! I did part-read and part-listen to this one (I listened on *Scribd) and the narrator, Paula Wilcox, is so perfect for this book.

Dead Mountain by Donnie Eichar

This is such a fascinating and intriguing book. I enjoyed seeing the process of how the author believes he may have solved the mystery of what happened to the hikers. I still feel like there’s something more to the story though so if anyone has any recommendations I’d love to hear them.

Furious Hours by Casey Cep

I found this book so interesting, it was such a good read. I was intrigued by the case that this book focuses on and also to learn more about Harper Lee. I will try and review this one soon but in the meantime I definitely recommend it.

Something To Tell You by Lucy Diamond

This is another book where I had a NetGalley copy but listened to it on audio. It’s such an engaging story that ends up being a really heart-warming read.

Hard Pushed by Leah Hazard

I found this book so interesting, it’s really eye-opening to read about what life is like for midwives. I’ll be reviewing this one soon.

Something to Live For by Richard Roper

I loved this novel! It’s such a moving and heart-warming book and it was such a tonic on a couple of days when I was feeling a bit low and unwell. I’ll be reviewing this one next week for the blog tour.

Me and the Table by Stephen Hendry

I downloaded the audio of this on a whim when I saw it in the BorrowBox app, and I’m so glad I did because it was a really enjoyable memoir.

 


*I’m a paid member of Scribd (as mentioned above) and they have given me a code that will allow you to sign up and get two months free (and I would get one month free). If you’d like to try them out here is the link. I love Scribd and highly recommend them.


June Blog Posts & Reviews:

I started off June by Wrapping-Up May! May was a great reading month so June had a lot to live up to, and as you can see from this post it managed it! My first review of June was Dead Inside by Noelle Holten, a brilliant new crime novel by a fab blogger and author! I then continued on with my occasional Mini review series with my thoughts on Ordinary People by Diana Evans, Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward, The Furies by Katie Lowe, and Entanglement by Katy Mahood. I read the final book in the I Heart series I Heart Hawaii by Lindsey Kelk  and managed to review it straight away for once! It was then time for This Week in Books 5 June . My next review was of an incredible novel that I read in one sitting The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood by Susan Elliot Wright. It was then my turn on the blog tour for We Never Said Goodbye by Helene Fermont and I shared my review. It was then time for my first Book Haul  of the month!

In the second week of June I posted another selection of Mini reviews of Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka, I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney, The Golden Child by Wendy James, and Need to Know by Karen Cleveland. It was then time for my stop on the blog tour for A Modern Family by Helga Flatland, a book that left its mark on me and I’m sure it’ll be one of my books of the year! I also took part in the blog tour for The Space Between Time by Charlie Laidlaw, another fab book! I then decided to go back to WWW Wednesdays  and shared my current and recent reads plus what I hoped to read next! My next review was of another incredible novel The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean, which I’m still finding myself thinking about weeks after reading it! Then it was time for another Book Haul!

In the third week of June I shared my review of The Friend Who Lied by Rachel Amphlett as part of the blog tour. It was my first book by the author and it definitely won’t be the last as I really enjoyed it. My next review was of the brilliant Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou. Then it was time for my next WWW Wednesdays post! It was then my turn to share my review of the beautiful debut novel Death and Other Happy Endings by Melanie Cantor. My final review of this week was of the moving poetry collection The Sea Refuses No River by Bethany Rivers. Then it was time for another Book Haul (eek!).

In the last week of June I started by sharing another selection of Mini reviews of An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, The Neighbour by Fiona Cummins, What Red Rose by Rosie Price, and Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter. I then got to share my review of the stunning graphic novel Horizontal Collaboration by Navie and Carole Maurel. It was my turn on the blog tour for The Perfect Betrayal by Lauren North, this was one of the best psychological thrillers I’ve read in a long time as it completely blindsided me! I also shared my latest WWW Wednesdays  post. I was delighted to share my thoughts on a gorgeous book that was part novel and part memoir The Lost Properties of Love by Sophie Ratcliffe. Up next came my review of spy thriller Keep You Close by Karen Cleveland and that was followed by my thoughts on the incredible After the End by Clare Mackintosh! I then shared another book haul and that was followed with the audio book tag!

 

The state of my TBR:

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So I think I’m going to give up on tracking my TBR for the moment as it’s just completely out of control! I need to go through my books and have a sort out so once I’ve managed to get that done I may start tracking it again. I will be doing my mid-year book stats post later this week so my TBR will feature in that post. Eeeek!!

 

 

How was June for you? I hope you all had a good month and that you read lots of good books. Did you read many books? What was your favourite book of the month? Please tell me in the comments, I’d love to know. Also, if you have a blog please feel free to leave a link to your month’s wrap-up post and I’ll be sure to read and comment back. 🙂

 

My New Book Haul! (Stacking the Shelves 29 Jun 2019)

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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!

 

Purchased Books

The No You Never Listened To by Maggie Royer

This poetry collection has been on my wish list for ages but when I was sorting through the list this week it caught my eye again and I decided now was the time to buy it. I think this will be a tough read but also a cathartic one.

Bad Girls With Perfect Faces by Lynn Weingarten

I read and enjoyed one of the author’s previous novels so I bought this one without knowing a huge amount about it. I’m looking forward to reading it.

 

Purchased eBooks

Dead Mountain by Donnie Eichar

I’ve already read this book and it was fascinating. It was all about a journalist who tries to uncover what happened to a group of hikers who died on a mountain in 1959, a case that has remained unresolved.

Bird Therapy by Joe Harkness

I’ve seen some fab reviews of this from the recent blog tour so decided to treat myself. I’m not particularly interested in birds but it seems this book is much more about how the author helped himself through a tough time, and that really interests me.

Like Other Girls by Claire Hennesey

This was an impulse buy when it was a kindle daily deal this week!

 

Purchased AudioBooks (Audible UK’s 14th birthday sale has had some great books on offer!)

The Lost Man by Jane Harper

I was so excited to spot this book in the Audible sale as I loved Jane Harper’s first book and I’m hoping to read her second one soon. It’s fab to now have the third one waiting for me!

Company of Liars by Karen Maitland

I’ve heard of this book before but I wasn’t sure if it fully appealed to me but spotting it on sale made me take a chance on it and I’m looking forward to listening to something a bit different.

Alone in Berlin by Hans Falluda

I had a paperback of this ages ago but never got around to reading it. I think this might be a book that works better for me on audio so I’m really glad to have this copy now.

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

I bought this one entirely on the recommendation of a lovely lady in a FB book group. It doesn’t sound like my kind of read but I’m happy to try something a bit different and I’m looking forward to it.

Lost At Sea by Jon Ronson

I love Jon Ronson’s non-fiction books so am delighted to have another one to listen to soon.

Runaway by Peter May

I bought this audio book on a whim as it sounds like a good novel. I do like a crime novel that is set in the past and present so I think I’ll really enjoy this one.

 

ARCs

The Closer I Get by Paul Burston

I actually got this book a couple of weeks ago but somehow missed if off my book haul. I’m so keen to get to this one as it sounds so good, I’ll definitely be reading this one very soon!

Lake Child by Isabel Ashdown

I love Isabel Ashdown’s writing so was delighted to get approved to read her forthcoming novel on NetGalley!

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

I requested this one on NG after seeing some good reviews of it so I’m really keen to start this one, it sounds like it’s going to be a really fast-paced thriller!

 


 

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.

Review: After the End by Clare Mackintosh

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About the Book

Max and Pip are the strongest couple you know. They’re best friends, lovers—unshakable. But then their son gets sick and the doctors put the question of his survival into their hands. For the first time, Max and Pip can’t agree. They each want a different future for their son.

What if they could have both?

 

My Thoughts

After the End is the story of Max and Pip, a happily married couple with a young son, Dylan. But one day Dylan gets ill and a decision has to be made about what to do next, about what might be best for him and they just can’t agree.

After the End is a stunning novel. It looks at Max and Pip and how they cope with looking after a very ill child, how they cope in their different ways and how they view things so differently. Max needs to earn money so he continues to go to work, often this involves travelling but he is always thinking of his family. Pip has given up everything to be there with Dylan. She is always with him in the hospital, she looks after him there and she is the one that bears the brunt of seeing how ill he is day in, day out. They both adore him, they both want what’s best for him but they’ve had such a different experience of his illness that when the time comes to make the ultimate decision, they are just completely unable to agree.

I knew going into this book that it was going to be emotional but I wasn’t prepared for how much it would make me cry. The exploration of what it is to deal with a loved one being so ill was written so incredibly well. I don’t have children but I cared for my mum in the final months of her life and I know how much of a toll is takes on a person. Because of this I was on Pip’s side for the most part because, for me, it’s the person who is there the most that really understands the suffering, who understands that however much you love someone you sometimes have to step away and think what’s best for them. What I didn’t expect was how much reading Max’s point of view would affect me. At first, because of my own experiences, I thought he was selfish for not listening to his wife more. But then I could see that he loved Dylan every bit as much as Pip and he believed that what he wanted for their son was right, just as much as she thought she was right. It really made me pause.

The novel follows Max and Pip’s perspectives but we also get to hear from Dylan’s primary doctor, and that was really interesting. It added to the novel for me to know how she experienced the situation and how she felt about it all. The things that she goes through felt very real and believable.

So many issues are raised and dealt with in this book that are so relevant to modern society. Clare Mackintosh sensitively and intelligently deals with all of them so well, she covers so many angles and really makes you think about how you feel about these things, and what you would do in a similar situation.

After the End isn’t an easy read but it’s such a stunning novel and I’m so glad I read it. I definitely recommend this one, but I also recommend keeping a stash of tissues nearby to soak up the tears that will inevitably fall.

Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

After the End is out now and available here.

 

Review: The Lost Properties of Love by Sophie Ratcliffe | @WmCollinsBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours

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About the Book

What if you could tell the truth about who you are, without risking losing the one you love? This is a book about love affairs and why we choose to have them; a book for anyone who has ever loved and wondered what it is all about.

This is a book about the things we hide from other people. Love affairs, grief, domestic strife and the mess at the bottom of your handbag. Part memoir, part imagined history, in The Lost Properties of Love, Sophie Ratcliffe combines her own experience of childhood bereavement, a past lover, the reality about motherhood and marriage, with undiscovered stories about Tolstoy and trains, handbags and honeymoons to muse on the messiness of everyday life.

An extended train journey frames the action – and the author turns not to self-help manuals but to the fictions that have shaped our emotional and romantic landscape. Readers will find themselves propelled into Anna Karenina’s world of steam, commuting down the Northern Line, and checking out a New York El-train with Anthony Trollope’s forgotten muse, Kate Field.

As scenes in her own life collide with the stories of real and imaginary heroines, The Lost Properties of Love asks how we might find new ways of thinking about love and intimacy in the twenty-first century. Frank and painfully funny, this contemporary take on Brief Encounter – told to a backing track of classic 80s songs- is a compelling look at the workings of the human heart.

 

My Thoughts

The Lost Properties of Love is a beautiful book that is part fiction and part memoir. Each chapter takes place during a different train journey and it’s a stunning look at life and love.

The book is set out in chapters that are headed with a train journey’s departure and end point and a date. It roughly follows a chapter of the author’s reminisces about her own life followed by a chapter about Trollope and his muse, Kate Field, or of thoughts on the fictional Anna Karenina.

You soon get a sense that Sophie Ratcliffe is exploring the pivotal moments in her life that have made her who she is. The loss of her father when she was just a young teenager, the affair she had with an older married man a few years later are the main events and she ruminates on these from different angles, and from different stages in her life. She compares her emotions to how Anna Karenina might have felt, and she considers the affair Trollope possibly had with his muse Kate Field and how she may have felt.

There are different textures of loss. The lost hope we find again, and the lost that we think is gone for ever. The loss of an object in the silt of mud, the loss of a smell or sound. People are lost to us, or make themselves lost.

The author’s thoughts on the loss of her beloved father were what I most identified with. The loss of a parent changes you in ways you can’t imagine until you’ve experienced it. The quote below, for all its simplicity, took all the air out of my lungs for a few moments because this is exactly how it is. You have belongings and people and one day you may well lose them, and they may well be lost forever.

The thing about having stuff, like handbags, or mementos, or fathers, is that you might lose them.

The book also explores our relationship to objects, and to the way we all lead our lives. The protagonist in this book struggles to organise the mess in her home, and at one stage ruminates that the mess is now condensed in her handbag. I could really identify with this. I finally got on top of all of my mess last year but I still feel the pull to gather stuff around me when I’m feeling down. Sophie Ratcliffe’s description of Anna Karenina’s red handbag and the things inside it brought a lump to my throat.

There are some gorgeous references to books in this book too, which I adored and so identified with. Also The Lost Properties of Love has really made me want to re-read Anna Karenina very soon, and it’s always good to be reminded of a book that you loved many years ago and have yet to revisit.

There’s a reason one of the greatest novels in English begins with it heroine’s delight that there was no possibility of taking a walk that day. There’s a reason Jane Eyre appeals to teenagers. There are no window seats on family walks. You cannot read a book while walking with your family.

This whole book is a meander through a life, in the way a train journey meanders through landscapes; it’s a gorgeous way to reflect on life. The time on a train gives us a chance to ponder and to think and this book is such a wonderful reading experience; it also made me think about events in my own life and to ponder them from different angles.

The Lost Properties of Love is such a beautiful book, and one that has been lingering in my mind ever since I finished reading it. I already feel that it’s a book I want to re-read, that it’s a book that will reward me for re-reading it and I don’t often get that feeling about a book. I recommend this one!

Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

The Lost Properties of Love is out now and available here.

 

About the Author

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Sophie Ratcliffe is an academic, writer, and literary critic. 

She teaches English at the University of Oxford, where she is an Associate Professor and Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall. 

She is the author of On Sympathy (Oxford University Press), and edited the authorised edition of P. G. Wodehouse’s letters. 

In her academic work, she is interested in ideas of emotion and the history of how we feel. 

She reviews regularly for the national press, and has served as a judge of a number of literary prizes, including the Baillie Gifford and Wellcome Book Prize.

Twitter @soratcli

 

You can find the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

Lost Properties of Love BT Poster

WWW Wednesdays (26 Jun 2019)!

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

 

What I’m reading now:

Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident by Donnie Eichar

This is a book that I heard about a while ago and then forgot the author and title but I had remembered the blurb, so when I got an email from Amazon this week recommending it to me I immediately bought it! I’m reading this now and it’s such a disturbing and yet fascinating read about a group of hikers in 1959 who went missing and were found dead in strange and unexplained circumstances. A lot of the book is recreating who the people were and the trail they walked before they came to harm and I’m finding it so interesting.

Something To Live For by Richard Roper

I’m only a few chapters into this novel but I can tell it’s going to be a book that I love. It follows a man who has a lonely life, and his job is to deal with the funerals of people who have died alone and have no family. His work colleagues want to start a Come Dine With Me idea of each member of staff cooking for the rest of their team at their home on rotation so I’m really keen to see what this leads to!

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep

I finally picked this book back up this week and I read most of it yesterday! I’m so glad I got back into this because it’s such an interesting read. I’m up to the final section now and learning how much input Harper Lee had into Truman Capote’s research for In Cold Blood is fascinating.

 

What I recently finished reading:

The Trouble With Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

This was my third pick for my 20 Books of Summer challenge and I’m so happy that I finally read this. What a gorgeous novel – so funny in places and moving in others. I have a lovely hardback of this but I found the audio on Scribd* so I part-listened and part-read it. The narrator, Paula Wilcox, is so perfect for this book and she really added to the novel. I will try to write a full review of this one soon.

The Perfect Betrayal by Lauren North

This book was everything a psychological thriller should be and I loved it. I’ve already reviewed this so you can find my full thoughts here if you’d like to know more.

Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss

I’ve had an ARC of this on my TBR for way too long but I finally picked it up at the weekend and I read it in one sitting. I found this a really engrossing read, it had so much more to it than I was expecting and I really enjoyed it.

Last Seen Alive by Claire Douglas

I’ve finally replaced my library card and downloaded BorrowBox so I can borrow audiobooks from there. I had an ebook of this but when I saw the audio I decided to listen to it. I flew through it and was listening to it every spare minute I had as I was so keen to find out what was going on and how it was all going to end. I recommend this one.

Keep You Close by Karen Cleveland

I really enjoyed this new thriller and found it hard to put down. I’m going to be sharing my review of this one tomorrow so please look out for that then.

 

What I plan on reading next:

The Last Stage by Louise Voss

I love Louise Voss’ writing and was hoping to get to this book this week but didn’t quite manage it but it’s definitely on my stack to read next! I can’t wait!

The Hidden Wife by Amanda Reynolds

I was delighted to be approved for this book on NetGalley recently and am really keen to read it so I’m planning on making it one of my reads for the coming week!

Normal People by Sally Rooney

This is likely going to be my next pick from my 20 Books of Summer Challenge as I’ve found the audio on Scribd* so I’m going to part read my hardback and part listen to the audio. I found Conversations With Friends easier to get through on audio so am hoping it also adds to the reading experience of this one too.

 


 

*I’m a paid member of Scribd (as mentioned above) and they have given me a code that will allow you to sign up and get two months free (and I would get one month free). If you’d like to try them out here is the link. I love Scribd and highly recommend them.

 


 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesday 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. 🙂

Review: The Perfect Betrayal by Lauren North | @Lauren_C_North @TransworldBooks @damppebbles

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About the Book

After the sudden death of her husband, Tess is drowning in grief. All she has left is her son, Jamie, and she’ll do anything to protect him – but she’s struggling to cope.

When grief counsellor Shelley knocks on their door, everything changes. Shelley is understanding and kind, and promises she can help Tess through the hardest time of her life.

But when a string of unsettling events happens and questions arise over her husband’s death, Tess starts to suspect that Shelley may have an ulterior motive. Tess knows she must do everything she can to keep Jamie safe – but she’s at her most vulnerable, and that’s a dangerous place to be.

 

My Thoughts

The Perfect Betrayal is a psychological thriller that follows Tess. She is grief-stricken at the death of her husband Mark. She’s now alone with her young son Jamie and doesn’t see how she’s ever going to get through it. Then Shelley, a grief counsellor, arrives on her doorstep and shows Tess real kindness and she wants to help.

The Perfect Betrayal opens with Tess in hospital having sustained a stab wound and her son is missing! The novel then goes back in time to 55 days previously and the novel is then predominantly told in the weeks after Mark’s death leading up to Jamie’s 8th birthday party a few weeks later. It counts down the weeks in each chapter. Interspersed with this are snippets of Tess in hospital, and an interview with the police. This makes for a gripping and fast-paced read because I just wanted to know what on earth had happened! The tension builds slowly at first but then becomes so heightened that I felt like I was holding my breath at what I thought might happen next.

Oh my goodness, this book was brilliant! I was drawn into Tess’ story from the start, I really felt for her as she struggles to keep going after her husband’s sudden and shocking death. Her son Jamie is also devastated and Tess knows she has to keep going for him but she doesn’t know how to put one foot in front of the other. The depiction of grief in this book is so well done, so believable and I couldn’t see how Tess was ever going to get through it.

To make things worse for Tess her husband’s brother, Ian, is putting pressure on her to start Probate so that Mark’s finances can be put in order. He seems too aggressive and pushy with Tess at a time when she’s so vulnerable and she starts to feel quite threatened by him, which I completely understood.

I was suspicious of Shelley, the grief counsellor, as the way she comes into Tess’ life seemed strange at first and she seems to cross the boundaries of how a counsellor would behave. At the same time I could see she was offering friendship to Tess at a time when Tess was feeling so vulnerable and alone. I was never sure if I could trust Tess and had a feeling that she might have ulterior motives.

I’m keeping this review fairly vague because I want future readers to get the same experience as I did reading this book. So I will just end by saying that the characters in The Perfect Betrayal are so perfectly drawn and the storyline is breathtakingly brilliant. I had so many suspicions about everyone in this book and genuinely had no real idea of what might happen. This book is flawless; it really is the perfect psychological thriller! This is a book that I won’t ever forget and I already can’t wait to read more by Lauren North!

Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

The Perfect Betrayal is out now and available here.

 

About the Author

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Lauren North writes psychological suspense novels that delve into the darker side of relationships and families. She has a lifelong passion for writing, reading, and all things books. Lauren’s love of psychological suspense has grown since childhood and her dark imagination of always wondering what’s the worst thing that could happen in every situation.

Lauren studied psychology before moving to London where she lived and worked for many years. She now lives with her family in the Suffolk countryside. 

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lauren_C_North

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LaurenNorthAuthor/

 

You can find the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

Perfect Betrayal Blog Tour poster for PB

Mini Book Reviews: An Anonymous Girl, The Neighbour, What Red Was, and Pieces of Her!

 

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Today I’m sharing another selection of mini reviews of books I’ve read recently!

 

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An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

This is a novel about a woman who ends up taking part in a psychological study that seems to be about morality but ends up being so much more than it seemed. The novel becomes something of a cat and mouse game between the characters and it was hard to predict how it might all ends! I enjoyed the authors’ previous novel The Wife Between Us so was delighted to be approved to read this one on NetGalley. I ended up downloading the audio book and am really glad I did. The audio book was really well done with a clear distinction in the voice of the two main characters. I listened to this over the course of a couple of days and while it isn’t a book that will stay with me, I did enjoy it.

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The Neighbour by Fiona Cummins

I’ve read and very much enjoyed one of Fiona Cummins’ previous novels so was very keen to read her latest. The Neighbours is a novel that follows the resident in a street where a series of murders have happened and a new family are just moving in. We also follow the killer and see the unravelling of their story. This is such a gripping and well-written crime thriller and I was hooked all the way through. It was fascinating to read the different character perspectives and to build up a picture of who each of the residents were. The reveal of the killer was shocking and I didn’t work out who it was, so that was brilliant for me as it’s rare that I don’t see an ending coming! I highly recommend this book!

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What Red Was by Rosie Price

This was one of the books I was most anticipating this year so I was delighted to get a copy on NetGalley. I’m really torn as to how I feel about this book because I loved the first half and flew through it, but the second half just dragged for me and I didn’t feel a real pull to pick the book back up. The central plot of this book is about an assault and I do have to say that this was incredibly well written and dealt with. It was so realistic and believable, and following Kate’s reaction to what happened to her was very moving. I think there were perhaps too many storylines competing with each other and that slightly took away from the main premise. I did love the writing though and I would look out for future books by Rosie Price.

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Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

This is the second book I’ve read by Karin Slaughter and I loved it! It follows Andrea who one day sees her mother react in a way she wouldn’t have expected her to be capable of during a shooting and this leads to Andrea’s life being turned upside down as she slowly uncovers her mother’s past. This book has so many twists and turns but all felt believable in the context of the novel. I did have an ARC of this book but I part-read and part-listened to the audio book. It works so well as both but the audio narration really added to the book for me and I highly recommend it.

Stacking the Shelves with a #bookhaul (22 Jun 2019)!

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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!

 

Purchased Books and eBooks

Rinse Spin Repeat by Edith Fassnidge

I’ve been wanting to read this book for ages so decided to treat myself with the little bit of money left on my book voucher from my birthday. This is a graphic novel memoir so I’ll probably read this very soon.

You Are What You Read by Jodie Jackson

I read some great reviews of this book on its recent blog tour and have been intrigued by it so decided to buy a copy. It’s a look at how what we read and see in the media affects us. It sounds fascinating and it’s not a big book so I hope to read this one quite soon.

 

Purchased AudioBooks

Melmoth by Sarah Perry

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while as I really enjoyed The Essex Serpent. I spotted it as a daily deal on Audible this week so I snapped it up!

The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins

This was an impulse buy when I saw this was a daily deal on Audible. I read one of Richard Dawkins’ books a few years ago now and found it really interesting so I’m intrigued by this one.

 

ARCs

Someone We Know by Shari Lapena

I was super excited when this parcel arrived through my letterbox yesterday! I love Shari Lapena’s writing so can’t wait to read her latest!

Keep You Close by Karen Cleveland

This book arrived at the start of this week and I’ve actually already read it. I really enjoyed this thriller and will be reviewing it soon for the blog tour.

Clear My Name by Paula Daly

I’m a huge fan of Paula Daly so couldn’t resist requesting this one on NetGalley. I was thrilled to be approved to read it and plan on getting to this very soon. I love Paula Daly’s writing so much that I didn’t even look what this book was about, I just knew I had to read it!

The Darkest Summer by Ella Drummond

I read and enjoyed Ella’s first novel last year so was delighted to be invited to read her new novel for the blog tour. I’ll be reading this one in the coming weeks!

 

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Poppy’s Recipe for Life by Heidi Swain

A lovely blogger friend of mine so kindly offered to send me her copy of this book as I’ve been so keen to read it. It looks like a lovely summery read and I’m hoping for some nice weather so that I can read it out in the garden!


 

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.

Book Review: Death and Other Happy Endings by Melanie Cantor | @melaniecantor @TransworldBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours

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About the Book

Jennifer Cole has just been told that she has a terminal blood disease. She has three months to live — ninety days to say goodbye to friends and family and put her affairs in order. Trying to focus on the positives (at least she’ll never lose her teeth) Jennifer realises she has one overriding regret: the words she’s left unsaid.
Rather than pursuing a frantic bucket list, she chooses to stay put, and write letters to three significant people in her life: her overbearing, selfish sister, her jelly-spined, cheating ex-husband, and her charming, unreliable ex-boyfriend finally telling them the things she’s always wanted to say but never dared.
At first, Jennifer feels cleansed by her catharsis. Liberated, even. But once you start telling the truth, it’s hard to stop. And, as she soon discovers, the truth isn’t always as straightforward as it seems, and death has a way of surprising you ..

 

My Thoughts

Death and Other Happy Endings follows Jennifer who has been feeling exhausted recently and after undergoing blood tests at the doctors is told she has a terminal illness and has three months left to live. She buys a calendar and starts counting the days, trying to work out what she should do with her final days. She decides to write letters to her sister, her ex-husband and her ex-boyfriend telling them all the things she wanted to say but never dared to!

I have to start by saying that the way I’ve described this book may make it seem a bit depressing but I swear to you that it’s absolutely not! It’s funny and moving, and it has you cheering Jennifer on. On hearing that she’s going to die soon she goes off for a walk and ends up doing something she never, ever would have done before she got the news. I knew then that this novel was going to be life-affirming and it was.

I loved that Jennifer wrote the letters that she did to her self-centred sister, her horrible ex-husband and her smarmy ex-boyfriend. She found it so cathartic, and it made me think of the kind of letters I might have written at points in my life to people who have treated me badly. It was satisfying to see her get it all out of her system. When my mum was diagnosed with terminal cancer she got an urge to shred her wedding dress (she was long divorced but had kept her dress), I told her to just do it if it helped so she did. She felt so much better afterwards and wished she’d done it long ago. So I was thinking of her at times as I was reading Jennifer’s story and how she reacted to the diagnosis she received.

I also lost my best friend to cancer when I was in my early 20s and the last weeks I spent with her were full of laughter, and at times there were tears, but we were both so focused on wanting to live and have fun while we could. So I found it very moving when Jennifer and her best friend were talking about the wedding that Jennifer would likely not live to attend. It brought a lump to my throat but also happiness that at least Jennifer knew about the wedding and could help with the plans and choosing the dress.

This isn’t in any way a heavy-going book despite the subject matter but by the same token there is a believability in how Jennifer deals with the news she’s been given, and the way she grieves for the life she won’t get to have and the things she won’t get to do. Melanie Cantor has such a deft touch in the way she has written this book, it’s remarkable to deal with such a hard topic and never down play it whilst also retaining humour and lightness. It’s an utterly incredible novel.

Death and Other Happy Endings is a book that reminds you to live your life, to make time for the people that matter and to walk away from those that don’t. We all need a reminder of this from time to time and this book was the reminder I needed. I also felt like this novel gave me my best friend back for a little while as after I finished reading this I my mind was flooded with memories of her and that’s been wonderful for me.

There is so much life and joy in this book, it really is life-affirming. It’s a novel about friendships, about coming to terms with the past and finding a way forward when life has other plans for us. I adored this book – it made me cry, it made me laugh and I just felt a sense of the joy that can be found during even the hardest times. This book was solace for me and I will treasure it, it’s definitely going to be on my books of the year list! I highly recommend grabbing a copy of this book and reading it as soon as you possibly can!

Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

Death and Other Happy Endings is out now and available here.

 

About the Author

Melanie Cantor Author Picture

Melanie Cantor was a celebrity agent and publicist for over thirty years. Her clients included Ulrika Jonsson, Melinda Messenger and Melanie Sykes.

In 2004, she hosted a makeover show on Channel 4 called Making Space and in 2017 having just turned 60 she was scouted on Kings Cross station, subsequently appearing as a ‘real model’ in the most recent Dove campaign.

She turned her hand to writing in 2008. Death and other Happy Endings is her first published novel.

Twitter @melaniecantor

 

 

You can find the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

Death and Other Happy Endings BT Poster

WWW Wednesdays (19 Jun 2019)!

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

 

What I’m reading now:

The Perfect Betrayal by Lauren North

I’m only a few chapters into this book but it’s got my gripped so far! I’m really keen to see where it’s going to go!

Keep You Close by Karen Cleveland

I received an ARC of this through the post earlier this week and it sounded so good that I’ve started reading it already!

Furious Hours by Casey Kep

I haven’t read anymore of this over the last week as I just wasn’t in the mood for non-fiction but I will be getting back to this over the coming week.

 

What I recently finished reading:

 

The Swap by Fiona Mitchell

I’ve been reading this on and off for the last couple of weeks. It really grabbed me initially but then I lost my way with it a bit. I’d still recommend it, I think it’s a case of it being me not the books.

She’s Not There by Joy Fielding

I’ve had this book on my TBR for a while so was glad to get to it this week. I enjoyed it.

After the End by Clare Mackintosh

This book is incredible! It’s beautifully written, and it made me think. I will review this once I can get my thoughts down in a coherent fashion. I definitely recommend pre-ordering this though!

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendriks and Sarah Pekkanen

I had an ARC of this but decided to listen to the audiobook and I’m glad I did. I enjoyed listening to it but I’m not sure I would have got through it so quickly if I was reading it. I’ll review it when I’ve got my thoughts together.

Nutshell by Ian McEwan

I’ve been wanting to read this for ages and it caught my eye on my bookshelf this week so I picked it up. I enjoyed it, it was certainly different from anything else I’ve read!

The Lost Properties of Love by Sophie Ratcliffe

This book is stunning and I loved every minute that I spent reading it. It was a different read for me and I definitely recommend it. I’ll be reviewing this next week for the blog tour so please look out for that.

 

What I plan on reading next:

The Last Stage by Louise Voss

I couldn’t resist buying the ebook of this last week when it was on offer (I have the paperback on pre-order but I’m just so keen to read it!) so this is going to be my next read. I love Louise Voss’ writing and have been a fan since her first book came out years ago!

Something to Live For by Richard Roper

I’ve been looking forward to reading this book for a while now so definitely want to make it a priority to read in the coming week.

A Nearly Normal Family by M. T. Edvardsson

I was thrilled to get approved for this on NetGalley a little while ago and it’s been calling to me ever since. I’m going to try and make time to read it this week!

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

I’ve had this book on my TBR ever since it was first published and I’m so keen to read it this summer. I’ve picked it for my 20 Books of Summer and would really like to make it the next book I read off the list.


 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesday 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. 🙂

Book Review: The Friend Who Lied by Rachel Amphlett | @RachelAmphlett @BOTBSPublicity #TheFriendWhoLied

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About the Book

What she doesn’t know might kill her…Lisa Ashton receives a last-minute reprieve from death two weeks before her birthday. Regaining consciousness, she is horrified to learn one of her friends has been killed – and saved her life.

As she recovers, she uncovers a trail of carefully guarded reputations, disturbing rumours, and lies. Soon, Lisa begins to wonder if one of her friends is hiding a terrible secret.

Because five of them entered the escape room that day, and only four got out alive.

And someone is determined to cover their tracks before she can find out the truth.

Can Lisa find the killer before someone else dies?

 

My Thoughts

The Friend Who Lied follows Lisa, who as the book opens is just regaining consciousness and she has no idea what has happened. The novel then opens out as we follow the four friends as the secrets and lies that bound their group together may be about to break them apart!

The opening to this book is brilliant because we see things through Lisa’s eyes as she begins to come round, and for a moment I wasn’t sure what was happening! I wondered if she was being held somewhere but it quickly becomes clear that she is in hospital recovering from surgery that saved her life. We soon learn that five friends have been to an escape room but something has gone horribly wrong and one of them died.

Lisa’s friends are behaving oddly, they’re not visiting her as often as she would have expected and when she does see them she feels they’re keeping things from her. Then the police turn up asking questions about what happened in the escape room but Lisa can’t remember anything.

Lisa is the main character in this novel but we get the different perspectives of all four friends, and this made for a fascinating read. They have been friends since university, and I’m always intrigued by groups of people that remain friends long after they leave school/university as I never maintained my group of friends from that time because our lives moved in different directions. I’m in touch with some of them but not as a group. It seems this group of friends have things in common that will always bond them and I wanted to know more! The novel is mainly set in the present but there are chapters from their university days and that really ramps up the tension in this book as you start to understand who they are.

I didn’t trust anyone in this book – Hayley, David and Bec all seemed like they were out for themselves and very focused on how things would reflect on them. They all I loved how the focus shifted from one to another though because just as I thought I’d got to grips with what might be going on I got another viewpoint and my thoughts shifted again.

As you get further into the book you do feel the claustrophobia of the police closing in on this group as the investigation goes along. I thought it was really clever how these friends had done an escape room – a game where they were locked in and have to try and escape – and what happened there has led to them being in a real life escape room where their actual freedom is at stake!

I did have a growing suspicion about one of the characters as I got further into the book and I was proved right about them but there is more than one reveal as this book reaches its climax and I was stunned by most of them!

The Friend Who Lied is such a gripping thriller that had me hooked from start to finish! It was my first Rachel Amphlett novel but it absolutely won’t be my last, I can’t wait to read more from her! The Friend Who Lied is fast-paced, suspenseful and unputdownable; an all-round brilliant thriller!

Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

The Friend Who Lied is out now and available here.

 

About the Author

Rachel Amphlett author photo

Before turning to writing, USA Today bestselling author Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance pr