Weekly Wrap-Up (5 March)

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

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

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

This week I’ve finished reading six books:

The Escape by C. L. Taylor

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

Forever Yours by Daniel Glauttauer

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

Scarlett Says by Scarlett Moffatt

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

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

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

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

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

Everything but the Truth by Gillian McAllister

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

This week I’ve blogged five times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Thursday: February Wrap-Up

Friday: Review of Everything but the Truth by Gillian McAllister

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

Willow Walk by SJI Holliday

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

Year of No Clutter by Eve Schaub

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

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

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

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

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

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

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

And the Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

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

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

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


Update on my TBR…

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

TBR in last week’s Wrap-Up: 1862

Additions:

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

Subtractions:

Books read this week: 6

Books I’m currently reading: 7

TBR Books culled this week: 0

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1870


 

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

 


 

How has your week been? What have you been reading? Please share in the comments below. If you write a wrap-up on your blog please feel free to share the link. 🙂

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February 2017 Wrap-Up!

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February has been an up and down month. There have been stressful things to deal with, and medical appointments and tests to get through. There was also a broken Kindle Voyage (eek!). Things eventually began to be sorted out and towards the end of the month I got a replacement Kindle through the warranty, and we got some unexpected good news in the post. My husband had two weeks off from work and whilst I wasn’t well enough for us to do much, it was lovely to have the time together.

It’s been a fab reading month, I still can’t quite believe how many great books I read in February! Unfortunately, whilst I’ve been reading a lot I’m struggling to write reviews at the moment. This, in part, is because I lost my notes when my Kindle malfunctioned so I will have to write reviews from memory (and my memory is awful), but also because I’m in the middle of altering my medication and it’s a struggle for me to get my words down coherently. I may have to just write some very short, basic reviews in order to catch up as the amount I now have waiting to be written is starting to stress me out.

 

Here are the 26 books I read this month:

Well-Read Women by Samantha Hahn

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel

The Secrets of Happiness by Lucy Diamond

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian

Rage by Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

F*cking Apostrophes by Simon Griffin

Just Kids by Patti Smith

A Game for All the Family by Sophie Hannah

Watch Me by Angela Clarke

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

The Child Who by Simon Lelic

Final Girls by Riley Sager

The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

Black Wood by SJI Holliday

The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla

The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

Everything but the Truth by Gillian McAllister

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

 


Here are the blog posts I wrote:

I wrote my regular blog posts – WWW Wednesday, Stacking the Shelves every Saturday and a weekly wrap-up on a Sunday. Other than that I shared my January wrap-up post at the beginning of February. I also wrote about my fabulous birthday book haul too. I didn’t manage to write and post any reviews, which I’m really down about but as I said earlier life is getting in the way at the moment. Hopefully I can catch up soon.

 


 

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The state of my TBR:

In January, I wrote a post about the state of my TBR and made a plan to try and read more of the books I already owned. This has already proved to be rather more difficult than I anticipated… I have read a lot more of my own books, rather than just focusing on new ones, but I’ve also been buying a lot of books. I did join the Mount TBR challenge on Goodreads in February though and have pledged to read at least 100 books that were on my TBR before the end of 2016 and have so far read 26 books that counted for that. This means that half of the books I’ve read this year so far have been my already owned books, and half were new or review books so am pleased with that ratio at the moment.

I’m also in the middle of a sort out of both my kindle books and my print books and am trying to make sure that all the books that are on my TBR are books that I really want to read. Anything that doesn’t appeal anymore is going to be deleted from my Kindle or taken to the charity shop. I’m also becoming much more okay with DNFing books – I’m fast realising that life is too short to push on with books that I’m really not enjoying. The combination of DNFing books and having an ongoing book cull has meant my TBR is currently going in the right direction! I now have 1861 unread books (as of 28 Feb), down from 1885 at the start of the year and hopefully I can keep reading my way through the TBR mountain.

 


 

How was your February? Did you read any good books? Please tell me what your favourite book from February was, and if you have a February wrap-up post on your blog please feel free to share the link below.

 

WWW Wednesday (1 March)

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

What I’m reading now:

Scarlett Says by Scarlett Moffatt

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

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

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

The Escape by C.L. Taylor

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

Forever Yours by Daniel Glauttauer

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

 

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

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

Blue Light Yokohama by Nicolas Obregon

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

And the Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

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

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

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

What I recently finished reading:

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

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

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

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

Everything but the Truth by Gillian McAllister

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

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

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

It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot

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

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

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

The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

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

What I plan on reading next:

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

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

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

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

Days of Awe by Lauren Fox

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


 

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

 

Weekly Wrap-Up (26 Feb)

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

This week I’ve finished reading six books:

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

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

It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot

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

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

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

The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

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

The Good Immigrant ed. by Nikesh Shukla

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

Black Wood by SJI Holliday

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

 

This week I’ve blogged three times:

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

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

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

This is what I’m currently reading:

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

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

The Escape by C.L. Taylor

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

Forever Yours by Daniel Glattauer

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

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

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

Everything but the Truth by Gillian McAllister

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

Blue Light Yokohama by Nicolas Obregon

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

H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald

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

And the Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

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

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

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


Update on my TBR…

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

TBR in last week’s Wrap-Up: 1912

Additions:

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

Subtractions:

Books read this week: 6

Books I’m currently reading: 9

TBR Books culled this week: 55

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1862


 

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


 

How has your week been? What have you been reading? Please share in the comments below. If you write a wrap-up on your blog please feel free to share the link. 🙂

WWW Wednesday (22 Feb) What are you reading today?

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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:

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See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

I won this proof in a giveaway right before Christmas and have been so keen to read it. I started it a couple of days ago and it’s everything I hoped it would be and more. The writing is stunning and the story itself is utterly engrossing. This is definitely a book to look out for this year!

Synopsis:

When her father and step-mother are found brutally murdered on a summer morning in 1892, Lizzie Borden – thirty two years old and still living at home – immediately becomes a suspect. But after a notorious trial, she is found innocent, and no one is ever convicted of the crime.

Meanwhile, others in the claustrophobic Borden household have their own motives and their own stories to tell: Lizzie’s unmarried older sister, a put-upon Irish housemaid, and a boy hired by Lizzie’s uncle to take care of a problem.

This unforgettable debut makes you question the truth behind one of the great unsolved mysteries, as well as exploring power, violence and the harsh realities of being a woman in late nineteenth century America.

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The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

I also started reading this earlier this week and am finding it very hard to put down. I’m intrigued by Sarah and really want to know what she knows!

Synopsis:

After Sarah petitions for mercy, Edmund Fleetwood is appointed to investigate and consider whether justice has been done. Idealistic, but struggling with his own demons, Edmund is determined to seek out the truth. Yet Sarah refuses to help him, neither lying nor adding anything to the evidence gathered in court. Edmund knows she’s hiding something, but needs to discover just why she’s maintaining her silence. For how can it be that someone would willingly go to their own death?

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Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

My husband isn’t a big reader but he’s recently started to listen to audio books as a change from the radio. This is his latest pick, which I wasn’t initially interested in but when he started listening to it while I was in the room I found myself really enjoying it. It’s now a book that we’re listening to together.

Synopsis:

Phil Collins pulls no punches—about himself, his life, or the ecstasy and heartbreak that’s inspired his music. In his much-awaited memoir, Not Dead Yet, he tells the story of his epic career, with an auspicious debut at age 11 in a crowd shot from the Beatles’ legendary film A Hard Day’s Night. A drummer since almost before he could walk, Collins received on the job training in the seedy, thrilling bars and clubs of 1960s swinging London before finally landing the drum seat in Genesis. Soon, he would step into the spotlight on vocals after the departure of Peter Gabriel and begin to stockpile the songs that would rocket him to international fame with the release of Face Value and In the Air Tonight. Whether he’s recalling jamming with Eric Clapton and Robert Plant, pulling together a big band fronted by Tony Bennett, or writing the music for Disney’s smash-hit animated Tarzan, Collins’s storytelling chops never waver. And of course he answers the pressing question on everyone’s mind: just what does Sussudio mean?

Not Dead Yet is Phil Collins’s candid, witty, unvarnished story of the songs and shows, the hits and pans, his marriages and divorces, the ascents to the top of the charts and into the tabloid headlines. As one of only three musicians to sell 100 million records both in a group and as a solo artist, Collins breathes rare air, but has never lost his touch at crafting songs from the heart that touch listeners around the globe. That same touch is on magnificent display here, especially as he unfolds his harrowing descent into darkness after his “official” retirement in 2007, and the profound, enduring love that helped save him. This is Phil Collins as you’ve always known him, but also as you’ve never heard him before.

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Everything But The Truth by Gillian McAllister

This book is really good – it’s a novel about a seemingly ordinary couple and is very easy to identify with the characters but then one day Rachel sees an email on her boyfriends’s iPad and it sows a seed of doubt in her mind. From then on we don’t know if she’s being paranoid and over thinking things or if he has something major to hide. I’m really enjoying it and am keen to find out what is going on in Jack’s life!

Synopsis:

It all started with the email.

It came through to her boyfriend’s iPad in the middle of the night. Rachel didn’t even mean to look. She loves Jack, and she’s pregnant with their child. She trusts him. But now she’s seen it, she can’t undo that moment, or the chain of events it has set in motion.

Why has Jack been lying about his past? Just what exactly is he hiding? And doesn’t Rachel have a right to know the truth at any cost?

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Blue Light Yokohama by Nicolas Obregon

I’m still enjoying this novel. It’s not what I thought it was going to be but it’s a great read. It’s a slow-paced crime novel, that has really gruesome moments but the writing is so beautiful that you just want to keep reading.

Synopsis:

In a beautifully written, hauntingly original first novel, Tokyo Police Inspector Iwata, recently reinstated to a new post, is assigned to investigate a disturbing multiple murder.

Newly reinstated to the Homicide Division and transferred to a precinct in Tokyo, Inspector Iwata is facing superiors who don’t want him there and is assigned a recalcitrant partner, Noriko Sakai, who’d rather work with anyone else. After the previous detective working the case killed himself, Iwata and Sakai are assigned to investigate the slaughter of an entire family, a brutal murder with no clear motive or killer. At the crime scene, they find puzzling ritualistic details. Black smudges. A strange incense smell. And a symbol—a large black sun. Iwata doesn’t know what the symbol means but he knows what the killer means by it: I am here. I am not finished.

As Iwata investigates, it becomes clear that these murders by the Black Sun Killer are not the first, nor the last attached to that symbol. As he tries to track down the history of black sun symbol, puzzle out the motive for the crime, and connect this to other murders, Iwata finds himself racing another clock—the superiors who are trying to have him removed for good.

Haunted by his own past, his inability to sleep, and a song, ‘Blue Light Yokohama,’ Iwata is at the center of a compelling, brilliantly moody, layered novel sure to be one of the most talked about debuts in 2017.

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H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald

This is my latest audio read and I’m kicking myself for not picking this up before now. It’s a wonderful and moving memoir about a woman’s relationship with her hawk, and a story of her trying to come to terms with the loss of her father. There have been moments in this book where the pain of her loss was palpable and I’ve had to stop listening to take a breather. It’s a beautiful book though and I recommend it.

Synopsis:

When Helen Macdonald’s father died suddenly on a London street, she was devastated. An experienced falconer—Helen had been captivated by hawks since childhood—she’d never before been tempted to train one of the most vicious predators, the goshawk. But in her grief, she saw that the goshawk’s fierce and feral temperament mirrored her own. Resolving to purchase and raise the deadly creature as a means to cope with her loss, she adopted Mabel, and turned to the guidance of The Once and Future King author T.H. White’s chronicle The Goshawk to begin her challenging endeavor. Projecting herself “in the hawk’s wild mind to tame her” tested the limits of Macdonald’s humanity and changed her life.

Heart-wrenching and humorous, this book is an unflinching account of bereavement and a unique look at the magnetism of an extraordinary beast, with a parallel examination of a legendary writer’s eccentric falconry. Obsession, madness, memory, myth, and history combine to achieve a distinctive blend of nature writing and memoir from an outstanding literary innovator.

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Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

I’m a bit torn about this novel at the moment. There are parts of it that I’ve really enjoyed and other parts that I’m not sure about. I think it possibly is a book that needed to be read in one or two sittings so I may put it to one side and come back to it another time.

Synopsis:

Tsukiko is drinking alone in her local sake bar when by chance she meets one of her old high school teachers and, unable to remember his name, she falls back into her old habit of calling him ‘Sensei’. After this first encounter, Tsukiko and Sensei continue to meet. Together, they share edamame beans, bottles of cold beer, and a trip to the mountains to eat wild mushrooms. As their friendship deepens, Tsukiko comes to realise that the solace she has found with Sensei might be something more.

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And the Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

I’m still finding this book fascinating, and at times, shocking. It’s a book I’d recommend to all football fans – I’d say it’s a must-read.

Synopsis:

On 15 April 1989, 96 people were fatally injured on a football terrace at an FA Cup semi-final in Sheffield. The Hillsborough disaster was broadcast live on the BBC; it left millions of people traumatised, and English football in ruins.

And the Sun Shines Now is not a book about Hillsborough. It is a book about what arrived in the wake of unquestionably the most controversial tragedy in the post-war era of Britain’s history. The Taylor Report. Italia 90. Gazza’s tears. All seater stadia. Murdoch. Sky. Nick Hornby. The Premier League. The transformation of a game that once connected club to community to individual into a global business so rapacious the true fans have been forgotten, disenfranchised.

In powerful polemical prose, against a backbone of rigorous research and interviews, Adrian Tempany deconstructs the past quarter century of English football and examines its place in the world. How did Hillsborough and the death of 96 Liverpool fans come to change the national game beyond recognition? And is there any hope that clubs can reconnect with a new generation of fans when you consider the startling statistic that the average age of season ticket holder here is 41, compared to Germany’s 21?

Perhaps the most honest account of the relationship between the football and the state yet written, And the Sun Shines Now is a brutal assessment of the modern game.

 

 

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Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

This book is so beautiful and I’m really enjoying it. It’s just suffered from being a hardback as it’s hard for me to hold sometimes. I hope to be able to finish this soon though.

Synopsis:

‘I am thinking of the days without end of my life…’

After signing up for the US army in the 1850s, aged barely seventeen, Thomas McNulty and his brother-in-arms, John Cole, go on to fight in the Indian wars and, ultimately, the Civil War.

Having fled terrible hardships they find these days to be vivid and filled with wonder, despite the horrors they both see and are complicit in. Their lives are further enriched and imperilled when a young Indian girl crosses their path, and the possibility of lasting happiness emerges, if only they can survive.

Moving from the plains of the West to Tennessee, Sebastian Barry’s latest work is a masterpiece of atmosphere and language. Both an intensely poignant story of two men and the lives they are dealt, and a fresh look at some of the most fateful years in America’s past, Days Without End is a novel never to be forgotten.

What I recently finished reading:

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The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla

I finished this book last night so am still pondering over my thoughts on it. My initial opinion is that it’s an eye-opening and at times shocking read. Some of the essays are stronger than others but all are interesting. I do have issues with one essay in particular, but that is due to something personal to me, and I’m still trying to process exactly how I feel and may well go back and read that essay again. This is an important book and I’d definitely recommend it.

Synopsis:

How does it feel to be constantly regarded as a potential threat, strip-searched at every airport?

Or be told that, as an actress, the part you’re most fitted to play is ‘wife of a terrorist’? How does it feel to have words from your native language misused, misappropriated and used aggressively towards you? How does it feel to hear a child of colour say in a classroom that stories can only be about white people? How does it feel to go ‘home’ to India when your home is really London? What is it like to feel you always have to be an ambassador for your race? How does it feel to always tick ‘Other’?

Bringing together 21 exciting black, Asian and minority ethnic voices emerging in Britain today, The Good Immigrant explores why immigrants come to the UK, why they stay and what it means to be ‘other’ in a country that doesn’t seem to want you, doesn’t truly accept you – however many generations you’ve been here – but still needs you for its diversity monitoring forms.

Inspired by discussion around why society appears to deem people of colour as bad immigrants – job stealers, benefit scroungers, undeserving refugees – until, by winning Olympic races or baking good cakes, or being conscientious doctors, they cross over and become good immigrants, editor Nikesh Shukla has compiled a collection of essays that are poignant, challenging, angry, humorous, heartbreaking, polemic, weary and – most importantly – real.

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Black Wood by SJI Holliday

I bought this book the day it was released and somehow managed to forget about it. I recently saw that the third book had been released and it made me want to immediately start reading the series… so I did. I really enjoyed this book – so much so that I read it in one sitting. I now can’t wait to read the second book!

Synopsis:

Something happened to Claire and Jo in Black Wood: something that left Claire paralysed and Jo with deep mental scars. But with Claire suffering memory loss and no evidence to be found, nobody believes Jo’s story. Twenty-three years later, a familiar face walks into the bookshop where Jo works, dredging up painful memories and rekindling her desire for vengeance. And at the same time, Sergeant Davie Gray is investigating a balaclava-clad man who is attacking women on a disused railway, shocking the sleepy village of Banktoun. But what is the connection between Jo’s visitor and the masked man? To catch the assailant, and to give Jo her long-awaited justice, Gray must unravel a tangled web of past secrets, broken friendship and tainted love. But can he crack the case before Jo finds herself with blood on her hands?

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The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

I finished reading this book a couple of days ago. It was a perfect biography for a Bowie fan, or indeed a music lover generally. It’s different to a standard biography and the author definitely puts himself into Bowie’s story but as a Bowie fan myself I loved that. This book is going on my favourite bookcase and I’m sure it’ll be one I re-read in the future.

Synopsis:

Respected arts commentator Paul Morley, one of the team who curated the highly successful retrospective exhibition for the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, David Bowie Is . . . constructs the definitive story of Bowie that explores how he worked, played, aged, structured his ideas, invented the future and entered history as someone who could and would never be forgotten. Morley will capture the greatest moments of Bowie’s career; from the recording studio with the likes of Brian Eno and Tony Visconti; to iconic live performances from the 1970s, 80s and 90s, as well as the various encounters and artistic relationships he developed with rock luminaries John Lennon, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop. And of course, discuss in detail his much-heralded, and critically-acclaimed comeback with the release of Black Star just days before his shocking death in New York.
Morley will offer a startling biographical critique of David Bowie’s legacy, showing how he never stayed still even when he withdrew from the spotlight, how he always knew his own worth, and released a dazzling plethora of mobile Bowies into the world with a bloody-minded determination and a voluptuous imagination to create something amazing that was not there before.

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Final Girls by Riley Sager

This was an ARC so I will be reviewing this on my blog soon. For now though I’ll say that I highly recommend this book. It’s a psychological thriller with elements of horror and it genuinely left me feeling very unsettled. I’m so glad I read this book.

Synopsis:

Each girl survived an unthinkable horror. Now someone wants them dead…

They were the victims of separate massacres. Grouped together by the press, and dubbed the Final Girls, they are treated like something fresh out of a slasher movie.

When something terrible happens to Lisa, put-together Quincy and volatile Sam finally meet. Each one influences the other. Each one has dark secrets. And after the bloodstained fingers of the past reach into the present, each one will never be the same.

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The Child Who by Simon Lelic

This book had been on my TBR for FIVE years despite it being one that I really wanted to read. I’m so pleased that I finally picked it up because it was very good. It gave a real insight into what it’s like to be defending a child accused of murder.

Synopsis:

A quiet English town is left reeling when twelve-year-old Daniel Blake is discovered to have brutally murdered his schoolmate Felicity Forbes.

For provincial solicitor Leo Curtice, the case promises to be the most high profile – and morally challenging – of his career. But as he begins his defence Leo is unprepared for the impact the public fury surrounding Felicity’s death will have on his family – and his teenage daughter Ellie, above all.

While Leo struggles to get Daniel to open up, hoping to unearth the reasons for the boy’s terrible crime, the build-up of pressure on Leo’s family intensifies. As the case nears its climax, events will take their darkest turn. For Leo, nothing will ever be the same again . . .

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The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

I enjoyed reading this novel. It’s not one that was particularly memorable but it’s one of those books that is perfect escapism and easy to read if you just need something engrossing enough to escape real life stress but not so taxing that you can’t keep up with the plot.

Synopsis:

This was meant to be the perfect trip.

The Northern Lights. A luxury press launch on a boutique cruise ship.

A chance for travel journalist Lo Blacklock to recover from a traumatic break-in that has left her on the verge of collapse, and to work out what she wants from her relationship.

Except things don’t go as planned.

Woken in the night by screams, Lo rushes to her window to see a body thrown overboard from the next door cabin. But the records show that no-one ever checked into that cabin, and no passengers are missing from the boat.

Exhausted, emotional and increasingly desperate, Lo has to face the fact that she may have made a terrible mistake. Or she is trapped on a boat with a murderer – and she is the sole witness…

What I plan on reading next:

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The Escape by C.L. Taylor

I was beyond excited when Avon Books contacted me to ask if I’d like to review an ARC of this book as I’ve read and loved all of CL Taylor’s previous novels. I will definitely be reading this book over the next week and I can’t wait to get started!

Synopsis:

“Look after your daughter’s things. And your daughter…”

When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn’t.

The stranger knows Jo’s name, she knows her husband Max and she’s got a glove belonging to Jo’s two year old daughter Elise.

What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo’s own husband turn against her.

No one believes that Elise is in danger. But Jo knows there’s only one way to keep her child safe – RUN.

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Willow Walk by SJI Holliday

This is the second book in the Banktoun series and whilst I don’t normally read books in a series so close together I enjoyed the first one so much that I just can’t wait to read this next one!

Synopsis:

When the past catches up, do you run and hide or stand and fight?

When a woman is brutally attacked on a lonely country road by an escaped inmate from a nearby psychiatric hospital, Sergeant Davie Gray must track him down before he strikes again. But Gray is already facing a series of deaths connected to legal highs and a local fairground, as well as dealing with his girlfriend Marie’s bizarre behaviour. As Gray investigates the crimes, he suspects a horrifying link between Marie and the man on the run – but how can he confront her when she’s pushing him away? As a terrified Marie is pulled back into a violent past she thought she’d escaped, she makes an irrevocable decision. And when events come to a head at a house party on Willow Walk, can Gray piece together the puzzle in time to stop the sleepy town of Banktoun being rocked by tragedy once more?

 


 

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.

Stacking the Shelves (4 Feb)

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


 

It was my birthday last weekend and I received 21 new books as gifts! I wanted to do a book haul for those books separate to my Stacking the Shelves post but if you want to know what other books I got this week please check out my Birthday Book Haul post.

This week I’ve bought 2 new print books:

How to Suppress Women’s Writing by Joanna Russ

A friend recommended this to me many years ago when I was doing my English Lit degree but I never did get around to borrowing it from the library. I’ve had it on my wish list for ages but as it’s out of print it’s always really expensive for a second-hand copy. I got lucky this week when I spotted it being sold in very good condition for £3.00 plus postage. This is a book that won’t be on my TBR for very long as I’m really keen to read it!

The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith

This was another bargain I spotted this week. I got a second-hand hardback copy on Amazon  Marketplace for £2.81 including the postage. I’ve had this on my wish list ever since I first heard about it so hope to read it soon.

I also got 6 new ebooks:

The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla (ed.)

I’ve been wanting to read this since I heard about it around the time it was published last year. I noticed it was available on ebook for £2.99 this week so I snapped it up. I’ve already started reading and it’s very good. I’ve just been reading one essay at a time and then putting it down for a while as it’s a book that makes you think and I want to take my time with it.

The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

I’ve had this book on my wish list since it came out but have kept putting off buying it for some unknown reason. Then this week I saw a brilliant review on a blog and I knew I had to get a copy. I plan on reading this in the next couple of weeks.

Flamingo Land: and Other Stories by Ellah Wakatama Allfrey

I’ve seen this book being hauled on a few YouTube channels recently and I’ve been intrigued by it. When I saw that it was available as an ebook I decided to take a chance on it. It’s a short story collection, and I really want to read more short stories this year, so I don’t think this will be on my TBR for very long!

Gut Symmetries by Jeanette Winterson

I spotted that this was available as part of Kindle Unlimited at the moment so I immediately downloaded it. I’m not sure that I’ll get to it in the immediate future but I do want to read it fairly soon.

Reader, I Married him by Tracy Chevalier (ed.)

This is another book that I’ve been aware of since it was first published but I couldn’t decide if I wanted to read it or not. Anyway, it’s currently in the kindle sale for £1.99 so I thought it was worth taking a chance on.

Watch Me by Angela Clarke

I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Follow Me, when it came out so have been eagerly awaiting the second book. I think this might be next up to be added to my currently reading pile!

And 3 new audio books:

The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain

I love Rose Tremain’s novels, I’ve found all the ones I’ve read before to be so beautiful so I’ve been wanting to get this latest one. It was an Audible deal of the day one day this week so I immediately bought it and can’t wait to listen to it!

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

I’ve actually owned this book on ebook for ages now and while it’s one I feel sure I’ll love it just never seems to get to the top of my TBR. I spotted the audible book in a recent sale and the idea of listen to it really appealed so I bought it.

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

I’ve been aware of this book for ages but wasn’t sure if it was for me or not. I’ve heard so many good things about it though so decided to grab the audible book in the recent sale on their website. I think it’ll be a nice, easy listen and I’m looking forward to it.

 

Books I received for review:

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The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

I love Paula Daly’s novels so was thrilled to be approved on NetGalley to read this new one by her. I’m really looking forward to it and am planning on reading it very soon.


 

So, that’s all of my new books from the past week. Have you bought any new books recently? Tell me all in the comments below, or if you have a stacking the shelves post on your blog feel free to post the link below too.:)

My weekly wrap up post will be on my blog tomorrow so please look out for that.