May Wrap-Up post!

Monthly Wrap Up post Copyrighted

May has been another quiet month for me. My pain medication change is ongoing at the moment and will be affecting me on and off for the next few weeks. I’m really pleased that it’s happening, even though it’s really hard.

I’ve managed to have a post up on my blog most days in May. I’ve been much more organised in writing posts on my better days and getting them scheduled on here, and for links to be posted on twitter and Facebook so that my blog is still running when I’m not around as much.

On Tuesday I was thrilled to get a notification telling me that my blog had had it’s most ever views in one day. I’m not obsessive about my blog stats but it’s always lovely when these notifications come through that show my blog is still interesting to people and is still growing.

 

Here are the 24 books I read this month:

Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson

My Dear I Wanted to Tell You by Louisa Young

Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton

The Elephant in the Room by Jon Ronson

The Heroes Welcome by Louisa Young

The Way Back Home by Freya North

The Comfort of Others by Kay Langdale

Fairytale Interrupted by RoseMarie Terenzio

The Zero by Jess Walter

Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner

Fragile Lives by Stephen Westaby

Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff

Becky by Darren Galsworthy

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor by Jason Gurley

Making Space by Sarah Tierney

Letting Go by Alex Hanscombe

Wishbones by Virginia MacGregor

Know My Name by C.J. Cooke

How We Met by Katy Regan

After Anna by Alex Lake

How to Survive a Plague by David France

 

May Blog Posts & Reviews:

May has been a good month on my blog. I’ve been much better at writing posts in advance and scheduling them. I’ve not been around as much due to not being well but I like that my blog still has regular posts, it gives me some sense of achievement. I managed to review eleven books this month, which I’m really pleased about. My aim was to post at least three reviews a week to try and catch up on my reviewing back log (I’m reading faster than I’ve been reviewing) so I’m glad to be on target. I still have some reviews to catch up on but I am closer to being caught up now.

Here are my reviews from May:

Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson (Blog Tour)

Little Deaths by Emma Flint

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr 

The People at Number 9 by Felicity Everett

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

The Power by Naomi Alderman

Final Girls by Riley Sager

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis

Making Space by Sarah Tierney (Blog Tour)

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

 

Here are my blog posts from May:

I wrote my regular posts each week, which are my WWW Wednesday posts, my Stacking the Shelves posts, and my Weekly Wrap-Up posts. Then I also wrote and shared the following posts:

April Wrap-Up post where I shared all my reviews, blog posts, the state of my TBR and my news from April.

Guest post about the evolution of Claymore Stryker by Paul Hardisty for theReconciliation for the Dead blog tour

My 20 Books of Summer TBR post where I finally made my mind up which of my own books I would like to challenge myself to read between June and September.

 

 

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The state of my TBR:

When it comes to the state of my TBR the honest truth is that it is in actual fact in a state! I started the year owning 1885 unread books and now have 1954 unread books. I am finding it interesting to track my book buying and reading on a spreadsheet though and it is helping me to focus a bit more than I used to on whether I should buy a book or not.

I’ve now read 114 books this year so far, and 49 of those were books that I owned before 31 December 2016 so I’m really happy with how my Mount TBR challenge on Goodreads is going (I challenged myself to read 100 books from my TBR this year). So, I’m really pleased with the balance between reading new books (20), older TBR books (49) and review books (45).

I’m listening to more audio books than I’ve done in a long time and I’m really enjoying that. I often read a bit and then listen to a bit and then go back to the book, and it works for me that way. My disability is such that I wouldn’t be reading half as much as I am if I could only read print or kindle books so I’m very grateful that audio books are so widely available now.

 

All-in-all it’s been a good month of reading. I’ve had to take it easy a lot more during May but I feel like I’ve been really productive with my blog, and I’ve read some amazing books. 🙂

 

How was your May? I hope you all had a good month and that you read 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. 🙂

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WWW Wednesday (24 May) 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:

Based on a True Story by Delphine de Vigan

I picked this book up at the weekend but when I went to mark it as ‘currently reading’ on Goodreads I noticed a reviewer I trust mention that the book contains huge spoilers for the film The Usual Suspects, which I’d never seen. So I put the book down for a couple of days until I had a chance to watch the film (which I loved and am kicking myself for not having watched it before now). I picked the book up again last night and am really enjoying it.

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

I pre-ordered this book ages ago so it arrived on my kindle on release day but I’ve been keeping it to read when I could sit and read it in big chunks. I’ve read about a third of this now and am really enjoying it, it’s swirling around in my mind during the time when I’m not reading it and that’s always the sign of a compelling book!

Eleanor by Jason Gurley

This is my latest pick from my pre-2017 TBR and I’m enjoying it. It’s not what I thought it was going to be but it’s holding my attention so I’m keeping on with it.

How to Survive a Plague by David France

I’ve not managed to read any more of this book this week but I hope to read a chunk of it over the weekend. I just feel like it’s a book that I need to read when I can really take it all in so I like to wait until the right time to pick it up.

What I recently finished reading:

Making Space by Sarah Tierney

I read this in two sittings earlier this week and I really enjoyed it. I’m on the blog tour for the book tomorrow and will be sharing my review so look out for that.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

I loved this book so much, I feel quite bereft at having finished it. I was sent this for review so I’ll be reviewing this book soon but in the meantime I highly recommend you buying a copy of this, you won’t regret it.

The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis

I found this to be such a gripping read, it has an increasing sense of malices the book goes on and I didn’t want to put it down. I’ve already reviewed this book on my blog so you can read that here if you’d like to.

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

I adored this book, it’s such a beautiful and moving novel. I reviewed this on my blog last week so you can read my review here if you’d like to know more about my thoughts on it.

Becky by Darren Galsworthy

This is such a moving memoir by the father of Becky Watts, the teenager who was murdered by her step-brother a couple of years ago. It’s such an open and honest book, it’s heartbreaking to read.

What I plan on reading next:

The Lie of the Land by Amanda Craig

I was contacted by the publicist for this book to ask if I’d like to read it for the blog tour and I immediately said yes as I’ve read and enjoyed a couple of Amanda’s previous novels. I’m really looking forward to starting this book in the next couple of days.

One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus

I was sent a copy of this book to review a few weeks ago and am really keen to start reading it soon. I’m aiming to get to it over the weekend.

 

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 (21 May)

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted

 

This week has been a strange week. I was meant to switch my pain meds last weekend but the NHS cyber attack last week has held that up. I’m hoping to be able to get started on this in the couple of days or so though. So, as I said last week, I may be around less in the coming days, so please bear with me if I miss replying to any comments, or sharing posts etc.

I also had an appointment at home with my lovely neuro-physio and we’ve been talking about changing to a less-cumbersome leg brace now that my foot is holding a better position. I will need to wear my old one some of the time but it’s really fab to think that I might be able to change to something more comfortable.

 

This week I’ve finished reading six books:

The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis

This book has taken me longer to read than I thought it would and I’m not sure why because I really loved it. I think it was just a bad time for me to pick it up. It’s a brilliant read though, I recommend it.

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

I adored this book – it’s such a beautiful novel and one that will really stay with me for a long time to come. I reviewed it on my blog yesterday so you can read that here if you’d like to.

Becky by Darren Galsworthy

I saw this on my audio book site this week and decided to listen to it. It was such a moving read. I’m sure many people remember the news when teenager Becky Watts went missing a couple of years ago and it turned out her step-brother had murdered her. Her dad is so open in this book and I really admire his strength and openness.

Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff

This book has been on my TBR for ages and if I’m to be honest I have no idea when or why I bought it. I’m trying to read through some of my TBR this year so decided to give this a go. It was actually a good read, but because I’m older then the target audience I don’t think I got as much out of it as others may do.

Fragile Lives by Stephen Westaby

I really enjoyed reading this memoir. Stephen Westaby is an esteemed heart-surgeon in this book he shares some of his most memorable surgeries and patients. I’ll be reviewing this book soon but I highly recommend it.

Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner

This is yet another book that has been languishing on my TBR. I actually bought this the day it was released and then never got around to reading it. I’m kicking myself about that now though as very much enjoyed this book and now am really looking forward to reading the next book in the series which is out soon.

 

This week I’ve blogged seven times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up

Monday: Review of The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

Tuesday: Review of The Power by Naomi Alderman

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday post

Thursday: Review of Final Girls by Riley Sager

Friday: Review of The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves post

This is what I’m currently reading:

Making Space by Sarah Tierney

I’m almost finished reading this book and have really enjoyed reading it. I’m on the blog tour for this book later this week so look out for my review on Thursday (25th May).

Eleanor by Jason Gurley

I spotted this on my TBR this week and decided to make it my next read. I have to be honest and say that sci-fi isn’t really my thing these days so I’m enjoying the parts of this book set in the present reality more than the other parts but it is a really engaging read so I’ll keep going with this.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

I’m enjoying this book so much – I’m trying to savour it because I know I’ll feel bereft when I get to the end of Eleanor’s story. It’s such an excellent novel.

How to Survive a Plague by David France

I haven’t read much more of this week but I will be getting back to it as soon as I can. It’s such a powerful book.

 

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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: 1932

Additions:

Books bought/received for review/gifts: 9

Subtractions:

 

TBR Books culled this week: 0

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1941

Oops! My TBR has increased this week after two weeks of keeping it fairly stable… ah well!


 

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. 🙂

 

#BookReview: The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo @HQstories @JillSantopolo

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About the Book

Two people. One choice. What if?

Every love story has a beginning…

11th September 2001. Lucy and Gabe meet in New York on a day that will change their lives – and the world – forever. As the city burns behind them, they kiss for the very first time.

Over the next thirteen years they are torn apart, then brought back together, time and time again. It’s a journey of dreams, of desires, of jealousy, of forgiveness – and above all, love.

And as Lucy is faced with a devastating choice, she wonders whether their love is a matter of destiny or chance.

…what if this is how their story ends?

My Thoughts

The cover of The Light We Lost caught my eye first, and then when I read the synopsis I knew I had to get hold of this book. I was so happy when NetGalley approved me to read it.

The Light We Lost begins with two people, Lucy and Gabe, who meet on 11th September 2001 in New York. They experience that day together just a few miles away from where the twin towers fell, and the instant attraction they had to one another was heightened by being so close to such an horrific event. The book is then told from the viewpoint of Lucy, in short chapters as she looks over her relationship with Gabe, and all the things that have happened in their lives since that day.

‘The air was clear, the sky was blue – and everything had changed. We just didn’t know it yet’.

There is a real sense running through this book of fate and destiny. Lucy and Gabe do get together after a false start and everything in their relationship is passionate, every emotion is heightened and they fall so hard for each other. There was a sense of everything being on fast forward and it made me wonder about the nature of how we meet our partners. The idea that meeting on such a tragic and distressing day could give a real sense of needing to live in the now, of not being able to wait and see.  Everyone remembers where they were on 9/11 so clearly, it’s seared into all of our memories so it’s entirely possible to see the affect it would have on two young people who met on that day, who saw it from their rooftop.

‘There is an element of peace in believing that we’re only players on a stage, acting out stories directed by someone else.’

There was such a sense of yearning running through this book and from very early on it gave me the feeling that something awful was going to happen. The way it is told, with Lucy going back and forth in time in the way she tells her story, gives the feeling that something has already happened and we, the reader, just don’t know what it is yet. This book made me feel so many emotions – it made me feel hopeful and happy, it reminded me of that awful day in 2001, it made me cry, and it made me want to reach out through the pages to give Lucy and Gabe some advice, to make them see what is important in life.

There is so much love between Gabe and Lucy but it’s often so raw, and intense it’s still complicated and messy and not always how they want it to be. The novel explores how we have different relationships with different partners over the years, and there is a real sense of how it must be if you feel that you met the right person for you at the wrong time in your life.

This book is beautifully written, and it’s gorgeous to read. It’s one of those books that you want to read slowly and savour but at the same time you don’t want to be pulled out of this world. I felt such a connection to this novel, and I feel really quite bereft now I’ve finished reading it. I think this is a story that will stay with me, and this is one of those rare books that I’m sure I will re-read in the future.

The Light We Lost is out now!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

jill santopolo credit to charles grantham

Photo Credit: Charles Grantham

Jill Santopolo received a BA in English literature from Columbia University and an MFA in writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She’s the author of three successful children’s and young-adult series and works as the editorial director of Philomel Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers group. An adjunct professor in The New School’s MFA program, Jill travels the world to speak about writing and storytelling. She lives in New York City.

(Bio taken from: penguinrandomhouse.com)

WWW Wednesday (17 May) 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:

Becky by Darren Galsworthy

I saw this on my audio book subscription yesterday and decided to make it my next listen. It’s a really sad book by the father of Becky Watts. It’s a very open and honest book, but very emotional to read.

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

This book isn’t what I thought it was going to be but it has me hooked. It’s a really heartfelt, emotional read with some intrigue mixed in so I’m keen to know where this book is going.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

This is such a great read. I’m so intrigued by Eleanor and am looking forward to reading more of this book and finding out more about her.

The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis

This book is a brilliant read – it’s one of those books that grabs you from the first page and keeps you gripped. I don’t know who to trust and am so keen to find out what’s going on!

How to Survive a Plague by David France

I’m still finding this book a fascinating read. I need to be in the right headspace to read this so it’s taking me a while but it is an excellent book and I recommend it.

 

What I recently finished reading:

Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff

I’ve had this on my TBR for ages so when I spotted it on my audio subscription yesterday I decided to listen to it. It’s an enjoyable enough book and I’m glad I finally read it.

Fragile Lives by Stephen Westaby

This memoir of one of our top heart surgeon’s was an incredible read. I’m trying to write my review of it now and hope to get that finished and posted soon but I can definitely recommend it.

Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner

This book has been on my TBR since it was published over a year ago and I’m kicking myself for not reading it sooner because I really enjoyed it. At least reading it now means I’m ready for the sequel coming out soon. I’ll definitely be buying that and will read it soon.

The Zero by Jess Walter

I’ve had this book on my TBR for a long time but it finally caught my eye last week so I started reading and found it very hard to put down again. It’s a novel based around the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and it follows a police officer who is working at Ground Zero. He begins to have lapses in memory and is increasingly confused so the novel jumps around a lot and gradually the pieces come together for the reader and it all falls into place. I really enjoyed this book and I recommend it.

 

What I plan on reading next:

I Know My Name by CJ Cooke

I was sent a copy of this book by the author and have been excited to read it ever since it arrived. I can’t wait any longer to read it so am planning to pick it up this week.

New Boy by Tracy Chevalier

I was pre-approved to read this on NetGalley a couple of weeks ago and have been very much looking forward to it. I really hope I can finally get to read it this week.

 

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.

 

See my new #bookhaul in my Stacking the Shelves post! (11 March)

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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!

This week I received five ARCS:

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Sweet Pea by S.J. Skuse

This was surprise book post this week and I was thrilled when I opened it. Firstly, it has a stunning cover, and secondly, the synopsis sounds brilliant. I hope to get a chance to read this in the next couple of weeks.

Synopsis:

The last person who called me ‘Sweetpea’ ended up dead…

I haven’t killed anyone for three years and I thought that when it happened again I’d feel bad. Like an alcholic taking a sip of whisky. But no. Nothing. I had a blissful night’s sleep. Didn’t wake up at all. And for once, no bad dream either. This morning I feel balanced. Almost sane, for once.

Rhiannon is your average girl next door, settled with her boyfriend and little dog…but she’s got a killer secret.

Although her childhood was haunted by a famous crime, Rhinannon’s life is normal now that her celebrity has dwindled. By day her job as an editorial assistant is demeaning and unsatisfying. By evening she dutifully listens to her friend’s plans for marriage and babies whilst secretly making a list.

A kill list.

From the man on the Lidl checkout who always mishandles her apples, to the driver who cuts her off on her way to work, to the people who have got it coming, Rhiannon’s ready to get her revenge.

Because the girl everyone overlooks might be able to get away with murder…

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The Good Guy by Susan Beale

This was the gorgeous book post that arrived on Thursday and I was so happy to receive it. I really want to read this one soon as it sounds so good.

Synopsis:

A deeply compelling novel set in 1960s suburban America for fans of The Engagements and Tigers in Red Weather.

Ted, a car-tyre salesman in 1960s suburban New England, is a dreamer who craves admiration. His wife, Abigail, longs for a life of the mind. Single-girl Penny just wants to be loved. When a chance encounter brings Ted and Penny together, he becomes enamoured and begins inventing a whole new life with her at its centre. But when this fantasy collides with reality, the fallout threatens everything, and everyone, he holds dear.

The Good Guy is a deeply compelling debut about love, marriage and what happens when good intentions and self-deception are taken to extremes.

The Lauras by Sara Taylor

The Lauras by Sara Taylor

I’ve had this book on my wish list for a while so when I saw a NetGalley email yesterday that it was available as a Read Now book I immediately went and downloaded it. I really want to read this soon. Also, isn’t is another gorgeous cover?!

Synopsis:

I didn’t realise my mother was a person until I was thirteen years old and she pulled me out of bed, put me in the back of her car, and we left home and my dad with no explanations. I thought that Ma was all that she was and all that she had ever wanted to be. I was wrong…

As Ma and Alex make their way from Virginia to California, each new state prompts stories and secrets of a life before Alex. Together they put to rest unsettled scores, heal old wounds, and search out lost friends. But Alex can’t forget the life they’ve left behind.

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

I can’t remember how I heard about this book but I’ve had a request pending on NetGalley for a couple of weeks now so was really happy to get an approval email this week. The book’s not out for a couple of months so I’m going to try and leave this one for a little while as I have other review books to read that are out sooner, but it’s going to be tough resisting it.

Synopsis:

Two people. One choice. What if?

11th September 2001. Lucy and Gabe meet at Columbia University on a day that will change their lives – and the world – forever. And as the city burns behind them, they kiss for the very first time.

Over the next thirteen years they are torn apart, then brought back together, time and time again. It’s a journey of dreams, of desires, of jealousy, of forgiveness – and above all, love.

And as Lucy is faced with a decision she thought she’d never have to make, she wonders whether their love is a matter of destiny, or chance. What if they should have been living a different life all along?

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Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

This is another NetGalley book and I’ve already started reading this one. I have to be honest that the book isn’t exactly what I thought it was going to be when I requested it, but I am enjoying it and it’s holding my attention so far.

Synopsis:

Can a text message destroy your life?

Carver Briggs never thought a simple text would cause a fatal crash, killing his three best friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake. Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident and even worse, there could be a criminal investigation into the deaths.

Then Blake’s grandmother asks Carver to remember her grandson with a ‘goodbye day’ together. Carver has his misgivings, but he starts to help the families of his lost friends grieve with their own memorial days, along with Eli’s bereaved girlfriend Jesmyn. But not everyone is willing to forgive. Carver’s own despair and guilt threatens to pull him under into panic and anxiety as he faces punishment for his terrible mistake. Can the goodbye days really help?

 

These are the two print & eBooks I bought:

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Because I was Lonely by Hayley Mitchell

I’ve seen this book reviewed on some of my favourite blogs recently so I was unable to resist buying a copy on release day! I really like the sound of the plot and don’t think this will be on my TBR for very long.

Synopsis:

“Meet Rachel. She is caught in a spiral of endless crying, dirty nappies, and sleepless nights. She fears for her sanity – and the safety of her children.

She’s lonely.

Meet Adam. Suffering from the pain and trauma of a terrible accident that he blames himself for, he stays at home, unable to bring himself to leave the house.

He’s lonely.

So when Rachel and Adam rekindle their long lost friendship online, what starts as a little harmless flirtation, soon becomes an unhealthy obsession, and slowly the threads of their lives unravel before them.

Four lonely people. Two unhappy marriages. One dangerous, but inevitable climax.”

Beautiful Affliction by Lene Fogelberg

Beautiful Affliction by Lene Fogelberg

A lovely blogger, BelleUnruh, mentioned this book in a comment on my post last week and when I looked it up I decided to buy a copy right away. It sounds like an emotional, but very life-affirming book and I’m sure it won’t be on my TBR for very long.

Synopsis:

Lene Fogelberg is dying—she is sure of it—but no doctor in Sweden, her home country, believes her. Love stories enfold her, with her husband, her two precious daughters, her enchanting surroundings, but the question she has carried in her heart since childhood—Will I die young?—is threatening all she holds dear, even her sanity. When her young family moves to the US, an answer, a diagnosis, is finally found: she is in the last stages of a fatal congenital heart disease. But is it too late?

 


 

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.