Stacking the Shelves with a new #bookhaul (30 Jun)!

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

My TBR has increased again this week… I do need to get back on track with reducing my TBR but for now YAY for fab new books! 🙂

Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman

I’ve seen this book on social media and have been intrigued by it so when I spotted it as a read now on NetGalley I snapped it up. I’m really hooked on thrillers at the moment so I plan to read this one very soon.

The Golden Child by Wendy James

This is another book that I spotted as read now on NetGalley and it sounded like a really prescient novel so I couldn’t resist downloading it as well.

I Did It For Us by Alison Bruce

I’ve kept seeing this book around and the cover really intrigues me so I grabbed this one on NetGalley too.

Only Ever You by Rebecca Drake

I bought this book online this week as it’s been on my wish list for ages and I thought I deserved a treat. The premise of this book sounds so good and I hope to squeeze it in between review books soon.

Where The Missing Go by Emma Rowley

This book has been reviewed on some of my favourite blogs recently and every time I see it I want to read it so I decided to buy it on Kindle this week. It’s already calling to me so I don’t think it’ll be long before I read it.

My Mother’s Secret by Sanjida Kay

I loved Sanjida Kay’s first novel so when I saw this book on Amazon I immediately one-clicked! I don’t know when I’ll get to this one but hopefully it’ll be before too long.

Home Fires by Kamila Shamsie

Home Fires has been on my radar for so long but I hadn’t got around to buying a copy so when I spotted it in a daily deal this week I grabbed it. I feel like I’ll need to be in just the right mood to read this one but I’m definitely looking forward to getting to it.

Believe Me by JP Delaney

I read and reviewed JP Delaney’s first book The Girl Before (you can read my review of that here if you’d like to) when it came out and so when I spotted a new book I couldn’t resist downloading it from NetGalley. I’m really intrigued by the blurb for this book, it sounds very fast-paced so I expect to read this soon.

Old Baggage by Lissa Evans

I received a copy of this gorgeous book in the post yesterday and I was thrilled as I’ve been so keen to get my hands on this novel. It sounds wonderful and I plan on reading it whilst sitting out in the garden in this lovely weather we’re having at the moment.

 


 

Have you got any new books recently? I’d love to know. Have you read any of the books in my book haul? Are there any that you recommend me getting to sooner rather than later? Feel free to leave a link to your own Stacking the Shelves post in the comments! 🙂

 

 

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January Wrap-Up!

Monthly Wrap Up post Copyrighted

January is always a tough month for me due to very sad memories but this year I focused on escaping into books as much as I could and as a result I’ve had a great reading month. Here are the 23 books I read in January….

Spiders from Mars by Woody Woodmansey (my review is here)

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

The Girl: A Life in the Shadow of Roman Polinski by Samantha Geimer

Everything You Told Me by Lucy Dawson (my review is here)

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher

Relativity by Antonia Hayes (my review is here)

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

How Much the Heart Can Hold by Carys Bray et al

Lies by TM Logan (my review is here)

Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller

Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson (my review is here)

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

Loving the Life Less Lived by Gail Marie Mitchell (my review is here)

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

Hold Your Own by Kate Tempest

Howards End is on the Landing: My Year of Reading from Home by Susan Hill

Rattle by Fiona Cummins (my review is here)

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

The Girl Before by JP Delaney (my review is here)

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

The Life of Rylan by Rylan Clark-Neal

Blood Wedding by Pierre Lemaitre

 

I managed to review eight of the above books, along with two the two titles below which I’d read at the end of 2016 but didn’t get a chance to review them at the time. Click the titles to read the reviews if you’d like to:

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

While You Were Sleeping by Kathryn Croft

I’m planning reviews for at least a few more of the above books so hopefully they’ll be up on my blog soon.

 

I also wrote blog posts about my Top Ten Fiction and Top Ten Non-Fiction reads of 2016. I shared my Reading Bingo 2016 results, which was a lot of fun. I hadn’t planned my reading to fit the bingo challenge so I was thrilled to find that I got a full house! I also wrote a post about my Christmas Book Haul.

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I then confessed to the State of my TBR and my plans to reduce it this year. I started the year with 1885 books (that I already own) on my TBR and as of the end of January my TBR stands at 1901 (not including the 6 books I’m currently reading). In fairness, I have read quite a few books off my TBR in January but I also had my birthday and my lovely husband bought me 21 books! I feel like I’m doing well with my TBR considering how many books I added to it with gifts and review books. I really hope to get my TBR back to around 1885 this month and then I’ll be (sort of) back on track to try and reduce it.

One of my other aims this year was to read some of the longer books that have been languishing on my shelves for a long time and I’m sticking to that so far. In January I read two books that were over 500 pages each – The Poisonwood Bible and The Book of Strange New Things so I’m pleased with that. I’m also currently reading The Luminaries, which is almost 900 pages long. It’s important to me to read books that I’ve owned for a long time and still not read so I need to focus on that a bit more this month.

I’ve used Goodreads to track my reading for quite a few years now and I’ll continue to do so but I recently found a spreadsheet online where I can track my reading in more detail. I’m finding it fascinating to see where my habits lie when it comes to the books I read. This is the lovely YouTuber who kindly shared her spreadsheet Portal in the Pages


 

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

 

WWW Wednesday (1 Feb) What are you reading?

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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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Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel

I read Station Eleven a couple of years ago and loved it so much that I always wanted to read her earlier novels. I finally picked this one up this week and am enjoying it so far.

Synopsis:

Lilia has been leaving people behind her entire life. Haunted by her inability to remember her early childhood, and by a mysterious shadow that seems to dog her wherever she goes, Lilia moves restlessly from city to city, abandoning lovers and friends along the way. But then she meets Eli, and he’s not ready to let her go, not without a fight.

Gorgeously written, charged with tension and foreboding, Emily St. John Mandel’s Last Night in Montreal is the story of a life spent at the centre of a criminal investigation. It is a novel about identity, love and amnesia, the depths and limits of family bonds and – ultimately – about the nature of obsession.

 

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Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian

This was one of the surprise birthday gifts from my husband at the weekend and I was so pleased to receive it. I love Chris Bohjalian’s novels so I immediately started reading this. It might take me a bit of time to read it as it’s a hardback but I’m very much enjoying it.

Synopsis:

Emily Shepard is on the run; the nuclear plant where her father worked has suffered a cataclysmic meltdown, and all fingers point to him. Now, orphaned, homeless, and certain that she s a pariah, Emily s taken to hiding out on the frigid streets of Burlington, Vermont, creating a new identity inspired by her favorite poet, Emily Dickinson.
Then she meets Cameron. Nine years old and with a string of foster families behind him, he sparks something in Emily, and she protects him with a fierceness she didn t know she possessed. But when an emergency threatens the fledgling home she s created, Emily realizes that she can’t hide forever.”

 

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The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

This book is HUGE and as a result has been languishing on my TBR since I bought it when it was first published. I’ve now got an ebook copy so it’s easier for me to read. It’s such a great novel and I’d highly recommend it. I’m about 40% through it now and really look forward to getting back to it when I’m not reading it.

Synopsis:

It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.
The Luminaries is an extraordinary piece of fiction. It is full of narrative, linguistic and psychological pleasures, and has a fiendishly clever and original structuring device. Written in pitch-perfect historical register, richly evoking a mid-19th century world of shipping and banking and goldrush boom and bust, it is also a ghost story, and a gripping mystery. It is a thrilling achievement and will confirm for critics and readers that Catton is one of the brightest stars in the international writing firmament.

 

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The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

I’ve not managed to read much of this book since last week as I’m really struggling with print books at the moment. I’ve requested a NetGalley copy of it so if I get approved I reckon I’ll read it in one sitting as it’s a really good read.

Synopsis:

Beautiful.
Rich.
Mysterious.

The Roanoke girls seem to have it all. But there’s a dark truth about them which is never spoken. Every girl either runs away, or dies.

Lane is one of the lucky ones. When she was fifteen, over one long, hot summer at her grandparents’ estate in rural Kansas, she found out what it really means to be a Roanoke girl. Lane ran, far and fast. Until eleven years later, when her cousin Allegra goes missing – and Lane has no choice but to go back.

She is a Roanoke girl.

Is she strong enough to escape a second time?

 

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The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

As with the above book I’ve not managed to read much of this book this week either, entirely down to my pain levels and lack of dexterity in my hands. If I hadn’t been going through a bad few weeks I reckon I’d have read this within a day or two as it’s brilliant.

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.


What I recently finished reading:

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Blood Wedding by Pierre LeMaitre

I’ve had a rough few days health-wise and spent ages scrolling through my kindle looking for something to read. For some reason this book caught my eye and I literally read the whole thing in one sitting. It was brilliant, such a fast-paced engaging read.

Synopsis:

Sophie is haunted by the things she can’t remember – and visions from the past she will never forget.

One morning, she wakes to find that the little boy in her care is dead. She has no memory of what happened. And whatever the truth, her side of the story is no match for the evidence piled against her.

Her only hiding place is in a new identity. A new life, with a man she has met online.

But Sophie is not the only one keeping secrets . . .

For fans of Gone Girl and Lemaitre’s own internationally bestselling AlexBlood Weddingis a compelling psychological thriller with a formidable female protagonist

 

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The Life of Rylan by Rylan Clark

This is another book I picked up on a whim whilst feeling unwell. I listened to the audio book and it was such a fun listen. I am a Big Brother (and Bit on the Side) fan and so it was interesting to learn more about Rylan. It’s a great listen for when you’re feeling in need to cheering up.

Synopsis:

Well hark at you, stumbling upon my autobiography. Bet you wouldn’t have put money on that three years ago, eh?! Please don’t stress yourself out too much though, it’s actually socially acceptable nowadays that you’re interested.
Firstly I’d like to emphasise that I have WRITTEN THIS BOOK MYSELF, so be assured you’re getting the TOOTH, the WHOLE TOOTH and NOTHING BUT THE TOOTH! (Which was my original choice of title, but babe, we’re so over that) This book documents my story, year by year, from my humble beginnings growing up in the East End of London, becoming one of the nation’s most talked-about people overnight to finally moving up the spectrum from guilty pleasure, and getting nearer to national treasure. It will make you laugh, cry, and most importantly you’ll discover who I really am. If it doesn’t do any of those things you’re not legally entitled to a refund – just clearing that up ;-). I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I have enjoyed writing it. This book has been like therapy, and LORD was I in need. Enjoy!

 

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The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

I finished reading this book at the end of last week and it was utterly wonderful. I loved everything about this book and highly recommend it. I hope to get my review written for this within the next week or so but am struggling to get my thoughts together at the moment, as is often the case with books I’ve loved.

Synopsis:

MEET THE ‘KEEPER OF LOST THINGS’…
Once a celebrated author of short stories now in his twilight years, Anthony Peardew has spent half his life lovingly collecting lost objects, trying to atone for a promise broken many years before.
Realising he is running out of time, he leaves his house and all its lost treasures to his assistant Laura, the one person he can trust to fulfil his legacy and reunite the thousands of objects with their rightful owners.
But the final wishes of the Keeper of Lost Things have unforeseen repercussions which trigger a most serendipitous series of encounters…

With an unforgettable cast of characters that includes young girls with special powers, handsome gardeners, irritable ghosts and an array of irresistible four-legged friends, The Keeper of Lost Things is a debut novel of endless possibilities and joyful discoveries that will leave you bereft once you’ve finished reading.
WE’RE ALL JUST WAITING TO BE FOUND…

 

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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

This is such a fun read, I loved it. The 80s references are great, and the story is really engaging and engrossing. I recommend it.

Synopsis:

It’s the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We’re out of oil. We’ve wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty, and disease are widespread.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be, where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade is obsessed by the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this alternate reality: OASIS founder James Halliday, who dies with no heir, has promised that control of the OASIS – and his massive fortune – will go to the person who can solve the riddles he has left scattered throughout his creation.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that the riddles are based in the culture of the late twentieth century. And then Wade stumbles onto the key to the first puzzle.

Suddenly, he finds himself pitted against thousands of competitors in a desperate race to claim the ultimate prize, a chase that soon takes on terrifying real-world dimensions – and that will leave both Wade and his world profoundly changed.

 

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The Girl Before by JP Delaney

This is a fast-paced read that keeps you hooked all the way through. I’ve already reviewed this so you can read that here if you’d like to.

Synopsis:

Jane stumbles on the rental opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to live in a beautiful ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect, on condition she abides by a long list of exacting rules. After moving in, she discovers that a previous tenant, Emma, met a mysterious death there – and starts to wonder if her own story will be a re-run of the girl before. As twist after twist catches the reader off guard, Emma’s past and Jane’s present become inexorably entwined in this tense, page-turning portrayal of psychological obsession.

Following in the footsteps of Gone Girl and The Girl on the TrainThe Girl Before is being brought to the big screen. The film is set to be directed by Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard.


What I plan on reading next:

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Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

This was another birthday present and I can’t wait to read it. As I’m typing up this post I’ve just seen that it’s won the Costa Book award so I’m even more keen to read it! 

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.

 

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This is How it Always is by Laurie Frankel

I won a beautiful proof copy of this book last week and so plan to read it very soon as it sounds like a wonderful novel.

Synopsis:

Laurie Frankel’s THIS IS HOW IT ALWAYS IS is a warm, touching and bittersweet novel about a family that’s just like any other – until it’s not. For readers of WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY BESIDE OURSELVES and THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY. ‘A lively and fascinating story of a thoroughly modern family and the giant, multifaceted love that binds them… Sparkles with wit and wisdom’ Maria Semple, bestselling author of WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE. 

Rosie and Penn always wanted a daughter. Four sons later, they decide to try one last time – and their beautiful little boy Claude is born. Life continues happily for this big, loving family until the day when Claude says that, when he grows up, he wants to be a girl.

As far as Rosie and Penn are concerned, bright, funny and wonderful Claude can be whoever he or she wants. But as problems begin at school and in the community, the family faces a seemingly impossible dilemma: should Claude change, or should they and Claude try to change the world?

Warm, touching and bittersweet, THIS IS HOW IT ALWAYS IS is a novel about families, love and how we choose to define ourselves. It will make you laugh and cry – and see the world differently.

 


 

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 (29 Jan)

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This is my birthday weekend and by pure chance my husband has the weekend off so it’s been lovely spending time with him. He spoilt me with lots of new books, which I will either post pics of in a book haul this week or in my Stacking the Shelves post on Saturday. I did know about some of the books but some were surprises so it was a nice mix. He also had a beautiful bouquet of flowers delivered, which was lovely.

We celebrated my birthday with a takeaway as I wasn’t well enough to go out but that was still really lovely. I want to see the new Trainspotting film but the cinema is really difficult for me to manage but I’m hoping we can see it in the next week or so as a belated birthday treat.

I’ve been slowly de-cluttering my house again since the beginning of the year, having been inspired by reading Unf*ck Your Life by Rachel Hoffman. Yesterday my husband took ten full bin bags of clothes, shoes, handbags and books to the charity shop for me. It feels really good to have got rid of so much, and I still have more sorting out to do so I expect there to be more for the charity shop soon. I’ve been listening to audiobooks whilst decluttering so I’m still getting lots of reading done.

 


This week I’ve finished reading five books:

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

This book is wonderful, I adored every single second I spent reading it. I’ll be writing my review of this soon and hope to have it up on my blog in the next week or so.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

I can’t believe I thought this book wouldn’t be for me for such a long time purely because I’m not a gamer. I’m so glad I gave it a chance, it’s such a good read. I especially loved all of the 80s references and was on the edge of my seat as the quest reached it’s final stage! This wasn’t an ARC but I may still review it on my blog if I get time.

The Girl Before by JP Delaney

I enjoyed this thriller for the most part but it did take a turn that I thought was gimmicky and it took away from my enjoyment a little. I reviewed this book on my blog last week and you can read that here if you’d like to.

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

This book has been on my TBR since it was first published but the length of it it put me off picking it up. I’m so pleased that I finally got to it as it was a brilliant read. I still keep thinking about it and highly recommend it.

Rattle by Fiona Cummins

This is a brilliantly creepy and sinister read. I almost didn’t pick it up as I’m easily scared but the great writing in this book over-rode my fear factor and I couldn’t put it down. I reviewed it last week so you can read my thoughts here if you’d like to.

 


This week I’ve blogged six times:

(Click the links next to the day of the week if you’d like to read the posts)

Sunday: Weekly Wrap- Up

Monday: Review of Loving the Life Less Lived by Gail Marie Mitchell

Tuesday: Review of Rattle by Fiona Cummins

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Friday: Review of The Girl Before by JP Delaney

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves

 


This is what I’m currently reading:

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian

I haven’t hauled this book yet as it was one of my birthday gifts but I immediately started reading it so wanted to add it in to this post. I’m only a couple of chapters in so far but I’m enjoying it. I’m a big fan of Chris Bohjalian’s novels so was very excited to receive this surprise gift.

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

This book has been on my TBR for ages but I always put off picking it up because it’s huge! This year I’m trying to read as many books off my TBR as I can to reduce it but I wanted to make sure that I factor in reading the books that have been on my TBR for a really long time. I’m very much enjoying this novel, I’m about a third of the way through it and it’s keeping me hooked. 

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

I’ve been slow getting to read this book as it’s a print book and I’ve had a bad week so it’s been a struggle to hold print books. I am enjoying this novel though and now I’m feeling a bit better I hope to read this book in full over the next couple of days.

The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

I’m still very much enjoying this book. It’s taking me a while purely because it’s a big, heavy hardback and it’s a struggle for me to hold it and turn the pages at times. It’s a great biography  though and I recommend I highly recommend it.


 

Update on my TBR…

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

TBR in last week’s Weekly Wrap-Up: 1880

Books bought/received for review: 8

Birthday books added 28 Jan: 21

TBR Books culled this week: 4

TBR now stands at: 1899

#BookReview: The Girl Before by JP Delaney

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About the Book

Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.

The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.

Emma
Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.

Jane
After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.

My Thoughts

I was really intrigued by the synopsis to this book and simply had to request it as soon as I spotted it on NetGalley. The initial sentence of the synopsis about making a list of all the possessions you consider essential to your life just made me want to read more!

This is such a fast-paced read, I flew through the first half of the book when I’d only intended to read a couple of chapters to decide whether this would be my next read. I love how the book is told in a dual timeline – the girl before Emma in the past and then Jane in the present day. It’s really well put together that we see Emma view the house and then we see Jane doing the same thing but each time we switch character the story advances a bit more and it really hooks you in. You want to know what happens to Emma and whether Jane will suffer the same fate.

The house in this book is a character in its own right, which was really interesting. I could picture the house so clearly and even though it sounded very cold and sterile the way Jane and Emma felt safe there made me intrigued. I’m not sure that I would have felt safe having every aspect of my home controlled by an app… having said that it did make me think about how much of my own home is wifi dependent.

A lot of the premise of this  book is down to control. The house is controlled by the owner, and therefore whoever lives there is at his mercy. There was elements of control in some of the romantic relationships the women were involved in. That was all great and I love the way the story hinged on control. The downside for me was the sex scenes; it all just felt a bit unnecessary. It actually seemed like Edward was written the way he was in a deliberate attempt to gain comparisons to Fifty Shades of Grey and it felt a bit gimmicky.

On the whole though this was a really good read. It did keep me hooked; you can’t beat a twisty thriller with unreliable narrators! I worked out what was going on before the characters did but I still wanted to keep reading to see exactly how it all panned out. I’d recommend this book to anyone who loves a fast-paced thriller.

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

The Girl Before is out now and available here.

WWW Wednesday (25 Jan)

WWW pic

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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


What I’m reading now:

 

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The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

I started reading this yesterday afternoon and I’m enjoying it so far. This is another huge book that has been on my TBR for ages so it’s good to finally be getting to it.

Synopsis:

It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.
The Luminaries is an extraordinary piece of fiction. It is full of narrative, linguistic and psychological pleasures, and has a fiendishly clever and original structuring device. Written in pitch-perfect historical register, richly evoking a mid-19th century world of shipping and banking and goldrush boom and bust, it is also a ghost story, and a gripping mystery. It is a thrilling achievement and will confirm for critics and readers that Catton is one of the brightest stars in the international writing firmament.

 

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The Girl Before by JP Delaney

I’ve been really looking forward to this book and finally got to start it this week. I’m finding it be a a very fast-paced read, which is great but I wasn’t expecting the slight Fifty Shades of Grey turn and am a bit unsure about that.

Synopsis:

Jane stumbles on the rental opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to live in a beautiful ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect, on condition she abides by a long list of exacting rules. After moving in, she discovers that a previous tenant, Emma, met a mysterious death there – and starts to wonder if her own story will be a re-run of the girl before. As twist after twist catches the reader off guard, Emma’s past and Jane’s present become inexorably entwined in this tense, page-turning portrayal of psychological obsession.

Following in the footsteps of Gone Girl and The Girl on the TrainThe Girl Before is being brought to the big screen. The film is set to be directed by Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard.

 

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The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

I’m really enjoying this book but it’s taking me a while to read it purely because it’s a print book and my disability makes it very hard for me to read physical books at times and that slows my reading down. 

Synopsis:

Beautiful.
Rich.
Mysterious.

The Roanoke girls seem to have it all. But there’s a dark truth about them which is never spoken. Every girl either runs away, or dies.

Lane is one of the lucky ones. When she was fifteen, over one long, hot summer at her grandparents’ estate in rural Kansas, she found out what it really means to be a Roanoke girl. Lane ran, far and fast. Until eleven years later, when her cousin Allegra goes missing – and Lane has no choice but to go back.

She is a Roanoke girl.

Is she strong enough to escape a second time?

 

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The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

This book is beautiful and I adore it. The only reason I’m being slow to read this one is that it wasn’t the right book for me to be reading last week when I was feeling sad and melancholy. I’ll definitely be back reading this in the next day or so though.

Synopsis:

MEET THE ‘KEEPER OF LOST THINGS’…
Once a celebrated author of short stories now in his twilight years, Anthony Peardew has spent half his life lovingly collecting lost objects, trying to atone for a promise broken many years before.
Realising he is running out of time, he leaves his house and all its lost treasures to his assistant Laura, the one person he can trust to fulfil his legacy and reunite the thousands of objects with their rightful owners.
But the final wishes of the Keeper of Lost Things have unforeseen repercussions which trigger a most serendipitous series of encounters…

With an unforgettable cast of characters that includes young girls with special powers, handsome gardeners, irritable ghosts and an array of irresistible four-legged friends, The Keeper of Lost Things is a debut novel of endless possibilities and joyful discoveries that will leave you bereft once you’ve finished reading.
WE’RE ALL JUST WAITING TO BE FOUND…

 

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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

This book is fab! It’s such a fun, easy read and I love all the 80s references.

Synopsis:

It’s the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We’re out of oil. We’ve wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty, and disease are widespread.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be, where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade is obsessed by the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this alternate reality: OASIS founder James Halliday, who dies with no heir, has promised that control of the OASIS – and his massive fortune – will go to the person who can solve the riddles he has left scattered throughout his creation.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that the riddles are based in the culture of the late twentieth century. And then Wade stumbles onto the key to the first puzzle.

Suddenly, he finds himself pitted against thousands of competitors in a desperate race to claim the ultimate prize, a chase that soon takes on terrifying real-world dimensions – and that will leave both Wade and his world profoundly changed.

 

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The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

This book is brilliant and I’m enjoying it so much. It’s a hardback copy though so it’s one I’m struggling with due to my disability but whenever I am able to hold a print book I am reading this one. 

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.

 


What I recently finished reading:

 

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The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

I finished reading this yesterday and I completely and utterly adored it. It was such a wonderful read and I highly recommend it.

Synopsis:

‘I am with you always, even unto the end of the world . . .’

Peter Leigh is a missionary called to go on the journey of a lifetime. Leaving behind his beloved wife, Bea, he boards a flight for a remote and unfamiliar land, a place where the locals are hungry for the teachings of the Bible – his ‘book of strange new things’. It is a quest that will challenge Peter’s beliefs, his understanding of the limits of the human body and, most of all, his love for Bea.

The Book of Strange New Things is a wildly original tale of adventure, faith and the ties that might hold two people together when they are worlds apart. This momentous novel, Faber’s first since The Crimson Petal and the White, sees him at his expectation-defying best.

 

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Rattle by Fiona Cummins

I read this in a day at the weekend, it was such a creepy yet unputdownable book. I reviewed this yesterday so you can read my review here if you’d like to know more.

Synopsis:

A serial killer to chill your bones

A psychopath more frightening than Hannibal Lecter.

He has planned well. He leads two lives. In one he’s just like anyone else. But in the other he is the caretaker of his family’s macabre museum.

Now the time has come to add to his collection. He is ready to feed his obsession, and he is on the hunt.

Jakey Frith and Clara Foyle have something in common. They have what he needs.

What begins is a terrifying cat-and-mouse game between the sinister collector, Jakey’s father and Etta Fitzroy, a troubled detective investigating a spate of abductions.

Set in London’s Blackheath, Rattle by Fiona Cummins explores the seam of darkness that runs through us all; the struggle between light and shadow, redemption and revenge.

It is a glimpse into the mind of a sinister psychopath. And it’s also a story about not giving up hope when it seems that all hope is already lost.

 

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Hold Your Own by Kate Tempest

I’ve had this book for a while and finally made time to read it at the weekend. It’s an enjoyable collection of poetry and has made me want to start reading poetry again as I seem to have got out of that in recent years.

Synopsis:

Kate Tempest’s first full-length collection for Picador is an ambitious, multi-voiced work based around the mythical figure of Tiresias. This four-part work follows him through his transformations from child, man and woman to blind prophet; through this structure, Tempest holds up a mirror to contemporary life in a direct and provocative way rarely associated with poetry. A vastly popular and accomplished performance poet, Tempest commands a huge and dedicated following on the performance and rap circuit. Brand New Ancients, also available from Picador, won the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry and has played to packed concert halls on both sides of the Atlantic.

 

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Howards End is on the Landing: A Year of Reading from Home by Susan Hill

I’ve been dipping in and out of this book for a couple of weeks and have been very much enjoying it. It’s a wonderful book about books and is one I’d recommend to all book lovers.

Synopsis:

Early one autumn afternoon in pursuit of an elusive book on her shelves, Susan Hill encountered dozens of others that she had never read, or forgotten she owned, or wanted to read for a second time. The discovery inspired her to embark on a year-long voyage through her books, forsaking new purchases in order to get to know her own collection again.

A book which is left on a shelf for a decade is a dead thing, but it is also a chrysalis, packed with the potential to burst into new life. Wandering through her house that day, Hill’s eyes were opened to how much of that life was stored in her home, neglected for years. Howard’s End is on the Landing charts the journey of one of the nation’s most accomplished authors as she revisits the conversations, libraries and bookshelves of the past that have informed a lifetime of reading and writing.

 

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The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

I really enjoyed reading this YA novel. I intend to review this soon.

Synopsis:

HOW DO YOU KNOW WHO TO TRUST WHEN YOU CAN’T EVEN TRUST YOURSELF?

I look at my hands. One of them says FLORA BE BRAVE.

Flora has anterograde amnesia. She can’t remember anything day-to-day: the joke her friend made, the instructions her parents gave her, how old she is.

Then she kisses someone she shouldn’t, and the next day she remembers it. It’s the first time she’s remembered anything since she was ten.

But the boy is gone. She thinks he’s moved to the Arctic.

Will following him be the key to unlocking her memory? Who can she trust?

 

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Loving The Life Less Lived by Gail Marie Mitchell

This is an interesting self-help/memoir about living with anxiety and depression. I reviewed this on Monday so you can read my thoughts here if you’d like to know more.

Synopsis:

An essential companion for anyone dealing with mental illness.
Like many people, Gail Marie Mitchell battled with anxiety and depression for many years, finding it exhausting, stressful and demoralising at times.

Realising that this approach to her condition was futile, Gail chose a different approach: acceptance.

Taking control in this way removed some of the pressure and enabled Gail to focus on developing coping strategies, creating the tips and tools that are included in this empathetic and practical book.

Gail focuses on the positive aspects of her condition, showing how a person living with mental illness is so much more than the label that society puts on them. She found acceptance empowering, enabling her to live her life to the full. Perhaps not the life she had planned, but one that is happy and fulfilling and that she loves. She is Loving the Life Less Lived.

By sharing her experiences and describing what she learnt from them as well as the resulting coping strategies, Gail has created an essential companion for anyone dealing with mental illness and their family and friends.

 


What I plan on reading next:

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Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

I was thrilled to be approved to read this book on NetGalley this week and am very much looking forward to reading it.

Synopsis:

Running into a long-ago friend sets memory from the 1970s in motion for August, transporting her to a time and a place where friendship was everything – until it wasn’t. For August and her girls, sharing confidences as they ambled through neighbourhood streets, Brooklyn was a place where they believed that they were beautiful, talented, brilliant – a part of a future that belonged to them.

But beneath the hopeful veneer, there was another Brooklyn, a dangerous place where grown men reached for innocent girls in dark hallways, where ghosts haunted the night, where mothers disappeared. A world where madness was just a sunset away and fathers found hope in religion.

 

 


 

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.