Book Beginnings: This Raging Light by Estelle Laure (8th January)

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

My Book Beginning

This Raging Light by Estelle Laure

This Raging Light by Estelle Laure

Wrenny and me, at least for now. Wren and Lucille. Lucille and Wren. I will do whatever I have to. No one will ever pull us apart. That means keeping things as normal as possible. Faking it. Because things couldn’t be further from.

Normal got gone with Dad.

I’m really looking forward to reading this book, it’s been on my TBR for a little while and is now top of the list. From the way the opening paragraph is written we can tell that this novel has a child narrator because the language is simplistic. The line of the second paragraph ‘Normal got gone with Dad’ says so much in such simple language. Lucille’s dad has obviously left them and it’s had a huge impact on this family. Lucille appears to be very young and yet has been able to understand that when her dad left life changed and what had been normal before was not how things were going to be from now on. I’m not sure if Wren is a sibling or a friend but it’s obvious that Lucille is desperate not to lose her.

I’m definitely intrigued to read more, I’m so glad this book is on my TBR in the next week so I can find out what happens to Lucille and her family.

WWW Wednesday (6th January)

WWW pic

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?


What I’m reading now:

First by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

First by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
I received a copy of this book to review. I’ve only read a few chapters so far but am intrigued by it; it’s not a subject I’ve read about before in YA so it’s holding my interest.
Synopsis:
Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time-the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy – so far. Her mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn – or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her own reputation -and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, Laurie Elizabeth Flynn’s Firsts is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.

A Proper Family Christmas by Chrissie Manby

 

A Proper Family Christmas by Chrissie Manby

I started reading this just after Christmas but then got side-tracked with books I got for Christmas. I’ve just picked it back up and am really enjoying it. I read and reviewed the first book in this series (A Proper Family Holiday review) when I first started my blog and while I’m not sure that this is quite as good as that one, it’s still a very enjoyable read. I’m halfway through it and Christmas hasn’t even been mentioned yet so I’m guessing that it will end at the holiday season, meaning this book could be read at any time of year so don’t let the title put you off picking it up before December 2016!

Synopsis:

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


**Edited post** I wrote my WWW on Tuesday evening and scheduled it for this morning, as is the norm for me. I included a book that I bought yesterday and I’d only read three chapters when I put it in my post. I’ve since read a few more chapters and it’s not a book I feel I can read anymore of. I should have known it would be what it was but I got swept up in the hype and wanted to read it. It’s really not a book for me and I don’t feel comfortable having it on my blog so I’m removing it from my WWW post and obviously I won’t be reviewing it.


What I recently finished reading: 

(I’ve reviewed two of these books so far, please click on the highlighted links to read my reviews. I will be reviewing the other two books soon so keep an eye out for those!)

The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood

Every Time A Bell Rings by Carmel Harrington

Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

Mrs Scrooge by Carol Ann Duffy


What I plan on reading next:

Beside Myself by Ann Morgan

Beside Myself by Ann Morgan (Due out 14th January in the UK)

Synopsis:

Helen and Ellie are identical twins ? like two peas in a pod, everyone says.

The girls know this isnt true, though: Helen is the leader and Ellie the follower.

Until they decide to swap places: just for fun, and just for one day.

But Ellie refuses to swap back…

And so begins a nightmare from which Helen cannot wake up. Her toys, her clothes, her friends, her glowing record at school, the favour of her mother and the future she had dreamed of are all gone to a sister who blossoms in the approval that used to belong to Helen. And as the years pass, she loses not only her memory of that day but also herself ? until eventually only Smudge is left.

Twenty-five years later, Smudge receives a call from out of the blue. It threatens to pull her back into her sisters dangerous orbit, but if this is her only chance to face the past, how can she resist?

Beside Myself is a compulsive and darkly brilliant psychological drama about family and identity ? what makes us who we are and how very fragile it can be.

This Raging Light by Estelle Laure

This Raging Light by Estelle Laure (Due out 14th January in the UK)

Synopsis:

How is it that you suddenly notice a person? How is it that one day Digby was my best friend’s admittedly cute twin brother, and then the next he stole air, gave jitters, twisted my insides up?

Lucille has bigger problems than falling for her best friend’s unavailable brother. Her mom has gone, leaving her to look after her sister, Wren. With bills mounting up and appearances to keep, Lucille is raging against her life but holding it together – just.

A stunning debut to devour in one sitting, Laure captures completely the agony and ecstasy of first love.

The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells by Virginia MacGregor

The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells by Virginia MacGregor (Due out 14th January in the UK)

Synopsis:

One ordinary morning, Norah walked out of her house on Willoughby Street and never looked back. Six years later, she returns to the home she walked away from only to find another woman in her place. Fay held Norah’s family together after she disappeared, she shares a bed with Norah’s husband and Norah’s youngest daughter calls Fay ‘Mummy’.

Now that Norah has returned, everyone has questions. Where has she been? Why did she leave? And why is she back? As each member of the family tries to find the answers they each need, they must also face up to the most pressing question of all – what happens to The Mother Who Stayed when The Mother Who Left comes back?

From the author of What Milo Saw, comes this powerful, emotional and perceptive novel about what it takes to hold a family together and what you’re willing to sacrifice for the ones you love.

Year of Yes by Shonda Rimes

Year of Yes by Shonda Rimes (Out now in the UK)

I couldn’t resist buying this when it came out as I LOVE Shonda’s TV shows, plus it sounds like an inspiring read for the start of a brand new year!

In this poignant, hilarious and deeply intimate call to arms, Hollywood’s most powerful woman, the mega-talented creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How to Get Away with Murder, reveals how saying YES changed her life – and how it can change yours too.
With three hit shows on television and three children at home, Shonda Rhimes had lots of good reasons to say no when invitations arrived. Hollywood party? No. Speaking engagement? No. Media appearances? No.
And to an introvert like Shonda, who describes herself as ‘hugging the walls’ at social events and experiencing panic attacks before press interviews, there was a particular benefit to saying no: nothing new to fear.
Then came Thanksgiving 2013, when Shonda’s sister Delorse muttered six little words at her: You never say yes to anything.
Profound, impassioned and laugh-out-loud funny, in Year of Yes Shonda Rhimes reveals how saying YES changed – and saved – her life. And inspires readers everywhere to change their own lives with one little word: Yes.

The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck by Sarah Knight

The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k by Sarah Knight

I’ve been seeing this book everywhere for a couple of weeks now and just couldn’t resist buying it any longer. It just seems like it will be a very amusing and perfect read for the start of a new year!

Synopsis:

The surprising art of caring less and getting more 

Are you stressed out, overbooked and underwhelmed by life? Fed up with pleasing everyone else before you please yourself? Then it’s time to stop giving a f**k.

This irreverent and practical book explains how to rid yourself of unwanted obligations, shame, and guilt – and give your f**ks instead to people and things that make you happy.

From family dramas to having a bikini body, the simple ‘NotSorry Method’ for mental decluttering will help you unleash the power of not giving a f**k and will free you to spend your time, energy and money on the things that really matter.


 

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

My Weekly Wrap-Up and Stacking the Shelves (31 October)

I can’t believe it’s Saturday again already, it’s been yet another busy bookish week here!

Bookouture Christmas week came to an end on 27th October. As you may remember, I ran a giveaway to win some fab ebooks. Thank you again to everyone who entered, the winners are all listed in this post in case you missed the announcement. By the way, Bookouture are now running a #BookoutureThriller week, read my post to the end to read details of how you can take part. There are great prizes on offer!

I was very excited this week to discover that I’d earned a new badge on Net Galley. I now have the Top Reviewer badge, which is the one you get when so many of your Net Galley reviews have been chosen to feature on publisher’s title pages.


This week I have read four books (Click the links in the list below the book pics to read my reviews)

written in the scars

What We Left Behind by Robin Talley

The Record Store of the Mind by Josh Rosenthal

Merry Mistletoe by Emma Davies

Written in the Scars by Mel Sherratt


I’m currently reading:

 

The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin

I’m a part of the blog tour for this book so my review will be up on Monday (2nd November). I can tell you that it’s a wonderful novel and if you love reading books about books this one will be for you!

Blurb:

Le Vie En Rose

Bookshop owner Sarah Smith has been offered the opportunity to exchange bookshops with her new Parisian friend for 6 months! And saying yes is a no-brainer – after all, what kind of a romantic would turn down a trip to Paris…for Christmas?

Even if it does mean leaving the irresistible Ridge Warner behind, Sarah’s sure she’s in for the holiday of a lifetime – complete with all the books she can read!

Imagining days wandering around Shakespeare & Co, munching on croissants, sipping café au laits and watching the snow fall on the Champs-Élysées Sarah boards the plane.

But will her dream of a Parisian Happily-Ever-After come true? Or will Sarah realise that the dream of a Christmas fairytale in the city of love isn’t quite as rosy in reality…

 

Time to Die by Caroline Mitchell

I’m a real scaredy-cat but I couldn’t resist this one because it’s published by Bookouture and all of their books are amazing. I’m finding this book near impossible to put down, the supernatural elements in it make the book that bit different to other books in the genre. If you’re planning on reading this (or any other of their thrillers) please check out my BookoutureThriller info at the end of this post!)

Blurb:

He Will Predict you life… and your death.

Don’t ever cross his palm with silver.
He will reveal your most shameful secrets.
He will predict your death.
He is hiding a secret.
He is hiding a monster.
And all his predictions come true.
Investigating a series of chilling murders, Detective Jennifer Knight finds herself tracking a mysterious tarot card reader known only as The Raven.
As the death toll rises, Jennifer and her team build a picture of a serial killer on the edge of sanity, driven by dark forces. But these are not random killings. And the method behind the madness could be the most terrifying thing of all …
Especially when it seems the death of one of their own is on the cards.
Time to Die is an absolutely gripping serial killer thriller with a breath-taking supernatural twist.

 

A Notable Woman by Simon Garfield (Due to be published 5th Nov)

This book is a long one so I’m going to be reading it for a while but it’s completely and utterly wonderful. I adore it and highly recommend it to everyone.

Blurb:

In April 1925, Jean Lucey Pratt began writing a journal. She continued to write until just a few days before her death in 1986, producing well over a million words in 45 exercise books over the course of her lifetime. For sixty years, no one had an inkling of her diaries’ existence, and they have remained unpublished until now.
Jean wrote about anything that amused, inspired or troubled her, laying bare every aspect of her life with aching honesty, infectious humour, indelicate gossip and heartrending hopefulness. She recorded her yearnings and her disappointments in love, from schoolgirl crushes to disastrous adult affairs. She documented the loss of a tennis match, her unpredictable driving, catty friends, devoted cats and difficult guests. With Jean we live through the tumult of the Second World War and the fears of a nation. We see Britain hurtling through a period of unbridled transformation, and we witness the shifting landscape for women in society.
As Jean’s words propel us back in time, A Notable Woman becomes a unique slice of living, breathing British history and a revealing private chronicle of life in the twentieth century.

out of the darkness

Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan

This book is brilliant! It’s one of those books that I want to keep reading but I also want to really take my time with it. I’ve decided to read it slowly so I can really take in the story. It’s an incredibly moving book, and I’d definitely recommend it. I’m hoping to review it next week and may have a giveaway too so keep an eye out for that!

Blurb:

DOES EVERYTHING IN LIFE HAPPEN PURELY BY CHANCE? OR ARE WE GUIDED TOWARDS PEOPLE WHO CAN HELP US IN OUR HOUR OF NEED?
Following the sudden death of her beloved mother, Jessica Gibson’s world falls apart. But after meeting a man who seems heaven-sent, she starts to feel she has something to live for again, and soon discovers that their connection holds far more significance than she could ever have imagined. And when Jessica strikes an unlikely bond with Alexandra Green, the two new friends are taken on an emotional journey into the world of the supernatural, where psychic mediums pass on messages from beyond the grave. What — or who — is causing the strange goings-on in Alex’s home? What secret is she keeping from Jessica? And who is the young woman who so badly needs their help? In a series of surprising twists and turns, the pieces of the puzzle finally fall into place and a mystery is unwittingly solved — with life-changing consequences for all involved.

 

How to Stuff Up Christmas by Rosie Blake (Due to be published 5th Nov)

Blurb:

‘Tis the season to be jolly. Unless you’ve found an intimate picture of another woman on your fiance’s phone… 
Eve is heartbroken after discovering her fiance is cheating on her. Being surrounded by the joys of Christmas is more than Eve can bear, so she chooses to avoid the festivities by spending Christmas alone on a houseboat in Pangbourne. Eve gets gets an unexpected seasonal surprise when handsome local vet Greg comes to her rescue one day, and continues to visit Eve’s boat on a mission to transform her from Kitchen Disaster Zone to Culinary Queen.
But where does Greg keep disappearing to? What does Eve’s best friend Daisy know that she isn’t telling? And why is there an angry goose stalking Eve’s boat?
A hilarious and heart-warming novel about Christmas, catastrophes and cooking, containing exclusive Christmas recipes, from the talented Rosie Blake.


stacking-the-shelves

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

Books I’ve bought this week:

Home is Burning: A Memoir by Dan Marshall

The Witches: Salem 1692 by Stacy Schiff

Bones in the Nest by Helen Cadbury

Muse by Jonathan Galassi

Sunday Dinners by Jon Rance

I was most excited to buy The Witches: Salem 1692 as I’ve heard so much about it but all of these books caught my eye over the course of the week and I couldn’t resist buying any of them. I hope to have time to read them soon.

Arcs I’ve received:

a game for all the family    The Day of Second Chances  In Real Life by Jessica Love

The Widow by Fiona Barton (paperback)

A Game for all the Family by Sophie Hannah (hardback)

The Heart of Winter by Emma Hannifin (paperback)

The Day of Second Chances by Julie Cohen (ebook)

In Real Life by Jessica Love (ebook)

Lost Girls by Angela Marsons (ebook)

This Raging Light by Estelle Laure (ebook)

I’m so excited about all of these ARCs. I think I was most excited when I was offered a copy of The Widow because I’ve heard so much about it and have been so badly wanting to get my hands on a copy. All of the other books have been books I’d added to my wishlist so I was super excited to get approved for them.


From 31st October – 6th November Bookouture are running a Bookouture Thriller week on twitter. To join in all you need to do is read one (or more!) of their thrillers and tweet about it using the hashtag #BookoutureThriller.