Fiction Mini Reviews: Louis and Louise, Something To Tell You, The BookShop of the Broken Hearted, and Ghost Wall!

MINI REVIEWS 5

Today I’m sharing yet more mini reviews of books I’ve read over the summer months.

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Louis and Louise by Julie Cohen

This is such an incredible book and I loved every single minute that I spent reading it. In the book a baby is born to a couple but in one chapter the baby is a boy – Louis, and in the other chapter the baby is a girl – Louise. We then see each of their lives alternating through the novel and it’s fascinating to see how similar their lives would have been a times, and how vastly different at other times. There is one chapter part-way through the novel where the male and female versions of this person merge and it is so incredibly moving. I loved the exploration of what it is to be female or male, the different things that are expected and the different way men and women see and feel things. I also adored the idea of fate that runs through the novel, the way that some things are perhaps pre-ordained for us no matter our gender or sexuality. I adored this book, and even though it’s now weeks since I read it I still find myself thinking about. I think this will be one of my books of the year so I highly recommend it!

 

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Something To Tell You by Lucy Diamond

I do love Lucy Diamond novels and this one was such a gorgeous read! Frankie’s mum recently died and she left behind a letter for her daughter. On reading it Frankie discovers the truth about her birth and who her father is. She decides to go and see him and walks right into the middle of a Mortimer family gathering. From there we follow Frankie as she tries to make a connection with her father and other family members. We also hear from other Mortimers and see how their lives are and how they feel about Frankie. Things aren’t always plain-sailing and there are some real heart-rending moments in this book but on the whole it’s a feel-good read and I very much enjoyed it!

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The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted by Robert Hillman

This is a beautiful, slow-burn novel following Tom Hope. His wife Trudy has left him taking her son Peter with her. Peter isn’t Tom’s biological son but he’s raised him and he thinks of him as his own and so is devastated to lose him. Meanwhile there’s a newcomer to the town, Hannah and she is opening a book shop. The locals are intrigued, and Tom can’t resist stopping by. He and Hannah form a bond and slowly we learn each of their histories and what has made them the way they are. Hannah’s story is incredibly moving, I wasn’t expecting it but it really did make me feel emotional. This is one of those books that slowly gets under your skin, and after you finish reading it you’ll find you can’t stop thinking abouit. I really did love this one!

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Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss

This is a stunning novella, and one that I still keep thinking about. It follows Silvie who is staying at an Iron Age reconstruction in the middle of nowhere with her mum and anthropologist father. There are moments where we see what happened to an iron age girl that are visceral and heart-breaking. We then see that whilst Silvie doesn’t face the same savage life as that girl, the pain and lack of understanding that teenagers go through perhaps is such as it ever was. The writing in this book is beautiful, there is so much said in so few words. It’s a book that still goes through my mind and it’s weeks since I read it. I think it’s a book that I will re-read in the future. I recommend it!

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This Week in Books (23 Jan 2019)! What are you reading at the moment?

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Today I’m taking in part in This Week in Books, which was started by Lipsyy Lost and Found! If you want to join in you just need to share what you’re reading now, what you’ve read over the last week, and what you hope to read next.

Now

Tilly and the BookWanderers: Pages and Co. #1 by Anna James

I got this book for Christmas and I saved it to read this week when I knew I would want a comforting read. This is such a perfect book, I adore it!

Senseless by Anna Lickley

I’m really enjoying this book, there is real honesty about living with disability in various forms but above all it’s a really good novel. I’ll be reviewing this one soon.

Gone by Midnight by Candice Fox

This is such a good read too. I had to put it down for a couple of days as I needed a quieter kind of read but I’ll be picking it back up in the next day or so.

Trauma: From Lockerbie to 7/7: How Trauma Affects Our Minds And How We Fight Back by Gordon Turnbull

I haven’t read any more of this book this week as it wasn’t the right time for me but I will definitely be getting back to it very soon.

 

Then

Dead Girls by Graeme Cameron

I loved Normal by this author so have been wanting to read Dead Girls and finally listened to the audio book this week. It didn’t quite live up to the first book for me but it was still a really good read.

Diversify by June Sarpong

I also listened to this on audio this week and I’m not sure how I feel about it. Some parts were good and struck a chord with me but others didn’t.

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hugo by Stuart Turton

I have been wanting to read this since it first came out and I’m so glad I finally got to read it. It’s a definite five star read and I loved it!

The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

I’ve had this on my TBR for such  a long time and something kept putting me off picking it up. It caught my eye this week though and I think I read it at just the right time as I got more out of it than I was expecting to.

Bring Me Back by BA Paris

I’m afraid I didn’t really get on with this book. There was enough in it to keep me listening to the audio book but it wasn’t as good as The Breakdown.

Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce

This book is wonderful, I loved every minute that I spent reading it!

Need to Know by Karen Cleveland

This was another one sitting book, I was gripped all the way through!

Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall

I loved this book too. It’s one that keeps coming into my head, it’s not letting go of me which is always the sign of a good book.

Only Child by Rhiannon Navin

I finished this book this week and enjoyed it. My full review is here.

The Suspect by Fiona Barton

This is my favourite of Fiona Barton’s novels to date, it was so good! I’ve reviewed it today so you should be able to find it if you’d like to know more.

 

Next

The Six Love of Billy Binns by Richard Lumsden

I was hoping to read this book this week but it wasn’t the right time for what seemed like could be an emotional read so I’m going to pick it up this coming week instead and I’m looking forward to it.

East of England by Eamonn Griffin

I’m on the blog tour for this next month so am hoping to pick it up this week.

All the Little Lies by Chris Curran

I love Chris Curran’s writing so I’m delighted to have an ARC of her latest book and really want to read it asap!

Louis and Louise by Julie Cohen

I’ve seen some fab reviews of this on the blog tour this week so when I realised I had an ARC from NetGalley on my Kindle I knew I had to pick it up as soon as I can.

 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in This Week in Books or WWW Wednesday please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

See my new #bookhaul in this week’s Stacking the Shelves post (27 May)!

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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!

 

Here are the books I bought this week:

the radium girls by kate Moore

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

I’ve seen this book around and thought it sounded really interesting. Then I read a fab interview with the author on the lovely Avalinah’s book blog I couldn’t resist any longer! I’m really looking forward to reading this book.

Synopsis:

Ordinary women in 1920s America.

All they wanted was the chance to shine.

Be careful what you wish for.

‘The first thing we asked was, “Does this stuff hurt you?” And they said, “No.” The company said that it wasn’t dangerous, that we didn’t need to be afraid.’

1917. As a war raged across the world, young American women flocked to work, painting watches, clocks and military dials with a special luminous substance made from radium. It was a fun job, lucrative and glamorous – the girls themselves shone brightly in the dark, covered head to toe in the dust from the paint. They were the radium girls.
As the years passed, the women began to suffer from mysterious and crippling illnesses. The very thing that had made them feel alive – their work – was in fact slowly killing them: they had been poisoned by the radium paint. Yet their employers denied all responsibility. And so, in the face of unimaginable suffering – in the face of death – these courageous women refused to accept their fate quietly, and instead became determined to fight for justice.
Drawing on previously unpublished sources – including diaries, letters and court transcripts, as well as original interviews with the women’s relatives  – The Radium Girls is an intimate narrative account of an unforgettable true story. It is the powerful tale of a group of ordinary women from the Roaring Twenties, who themselves learned how to roar.

Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

I’ve read this book many moons ago but have been wanting to re-read some Steinbeck so I snapped this ebook up for 99p in a kindle deal this week. I already own the print book but it’s so big I wouldn’t manage to read it that way now.

Synopsis:

Shocking and controversial when it was first published in 1939, Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning epic remains his undisputed masterpiece.

Set against the background of dust bowl Oklahoma and Californian migrant life, it tells of the Joad family, who, like thousands of others, are forced to travel West in search of the promised land. Their story is one of false hopes, thwarted desires and broken dreams, yet out of their suffering Steinbeck created a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision; an eloquent tribute to the endurance and dignity of the human spirit.

I received three review books:

The Fact of a Body by

The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

I’ve read lots of great reviews of this book so I’ve been really keen to read it, especially seeing the comparisons to In Cold Blood which is an incredible book. I was really pleased when NetGalley approved my request this week and I’m planning to read this very soon.

Synopsis:

Before Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working on the retrial defence of death-row convicted murderer and child molester, Ricky Langley, she thinks her position is clear. The child of two lawyers, she is staunchly anti death penalty. But the moment Ricky’s face flashes on the screen as she reviews old tapes, the moment she hears him speak of his crimes, she is overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by her reaction, she digs deeper and deeper into the case, realizing that despite their vastly different circumstances, something in his story is unsettlingly, uncannily familiar.

Crime, even the darkest and most unspeakable acts, can happen to any one of us, and as Alexandria pores over the facts of the murder, she finds herself thrust into the complicated narrative of Ricky’s childhood. And by examining minute details of Ricky’s case, she is forced to face her own story, to unearth long-buried family secrets, to reckon with how her own past colours her view of his crime.

As enthralling as true-crime classics such as In Cold Blood and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and broadcast phenomena such as Making a Murderer and Serial, The Fact of a Bodyis a groundbreaking, heart-stopping investigation into how the law is personal, composed of individual stories and proof that arriving at the truth is more complicated, and powerful, than we could ever imagine.

together by julie cohen

Together by Julie Cohen

This book has such a beautiful cover and it sounds like such a gorgeous read so I’ve been keen to read it. I requested it ages ago on NetGalley and had actually forgotten I’d done it so it was a lovely surprise when I got approved to read it this week. I’m really looking forward to reading this one.

Synopsis:

This is not a great love story.
This is a story about great love.

On a morning that seems just like any other, Robbie wakes in his bed, his wife Emily asleep beside him, as always. He rises and dresses, makes his coffee, feeds his dogs, just as he usually does. But then he leaves Emily a letter and does something that will break her heart. As the years go back all the way to 1962, Robbie’s actions become clearer as we discover the story of a couple with a terrible secret – one they will do absolutely anything to protect.

Perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes’s Me Before You, David Nicholls’s One Day and M L Stedman’s The Light Between Oceans.

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

I requested this from NetGalley on a whim this week and was surprised and delighted when it got approved literally two minutes after I hit request! This is a short book so I’m hoping to squeeze it in soon.

Synopsis:

In the midst of a mysterious environmental crisis, as London is submerged below flood waters, a woman gives birth to her first child, Z. Days later, the family are forced to leave their home in search of safety. As they move from place to place, shelter to shelter, their journey traces both fear and wonder as Z’s small fists grasp at the things he sees, as he grows and stretches, thriving and content against all the odds.

This is a story of new motherhood in a terrifying setting: a familiar world made dangerous and unstable, its people forced to become refugees. Startlingly beautiful, Megan Hunter’s The End We Start From is a gripping novel that paints an imagined future as realistic as it is frightening. And yet, though the country is falling apart around them, this family’s world – of new life and new hope – sings with love.

Giveaway win

Bad Sons by Oliver Tidy

Bad Sons by Oliver Tidy

I was thrilled to find out that I’d won an ecopy of Bad Sons by Oliver Tidy in the lovely BooksaremyCwtches’ blog giveaway this week. I love the sound of the book and hope to read it soon.

Synopsis:

David Booker returns to Romney Marsh on the south coast of England for a holiday. He is expecting to spend time helping his aunt and uncle pack up the stock of their second-hand bookshop in preparation for a happy retirement.

He arrives in Dymchurch on a miserable April night to find his relatives missing without word or clue regarding their whereabouts.

As events unravel, the outlook of the local police pushes Booker to search for his own answers to the questions surrounding his family’s disappearance. To unravel the mystery he will have to put himself in danger.

Will Booker find the answers he needs and make it out alive?

 

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.

Weekly Wrap-Up (27 March 2016)

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SundayBlogShare

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.

 

 

This week has been a fab week on my blog. I was thrilled to pass 300 WordPress followers earlier in the week and then just yesterday I noticed that I’d passed 2000 total followers! I’ve only been blogging since the end of August so am feeling quite overwhelmed to find that I have so many people reading my blog. Thank you so much to each and every one of you. I started my blog after a really tough time in my real life as it gave me something positive to focus on every day. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to explain how much this blog and the support I’ve received has meant to me but I am so very, very grateful.


 

This week I’ve read three books:

The Missing by C. L. Taylor

This was a great read – a very intense, hard to put down novel about a family trying to come to terms with a missing teenager. It’s more of a mystery than a psychological thriller but it’s definitely one not to be missed. I hope to have a review of it up on my blog this week.

Between You and Me by Lisa Hall

There were aspects of this novel that were really well done and others that I feel conflicted about so I’m struggling to review it at the moment. I hope to find the words for a review and to have it up on my blog soon.

The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

I just finished reading this novel last night and it had me in tears, I found it to be such a moving novel but ultimately very uplifting. I’m hoping to run a giveaway for a hardback copy of the novel along with my review so I’m intending to have this ready to go in the next week or two, so please keep an eye out for that.


 

I’ve managed to blog five times this week.

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up Post

Monday: Blog Tour – Review of Ghostbird and interview with its author, Carol Lovekin

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday Post

Thursday: Q&A with Caroline James, author of Coffee, Tea, The Caribbean and Me

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves Post


 

Coming soon on my blog:

I have a busy time ahead this week with medical appointments that I know will take a lot out of me so I’m just going to blog if I’m up to it. I do have an author interview almost written up, and I have a couple of reviews ready for posting so hopefully I’ll manage to get this content on my blog over the course of this week.


 

Here’s what I’m currently reading:

Dear Dad by Giselle Green

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

The Stylist by Rosie Nixon

Truth, Lies and O-Rings by Allan J. McDonald and James R. Hansen

I had started reading The Day of Second Chances by Julie Cohen but I hadn’t realised that the release date has been put back to July so as I’d only read a few chapters I’ve decided to put this book to one side until nearer the publication date. It is a book I was enjoying and I’ll look forward to reading it in its entirety closer to July.

 


 

What have you been reading this week? Please feel free to link to your weekly wrap-up post, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below! I love to hear what you’re all reading. 🙂

WWW Wednesday (23 March 2016)

WWW pic

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’m reading now:

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

I started reading this novel yesterday and am really enjoying it. I’m only a few chapters in but I can already sense the slightly sinister atmosphere that is beginning to build. I hope to be well enough to read more of this very soon.

Synopsis:

In the heady swelter of a London summer, the Elm Hill lido opens.

For teacher Natalie Steele, the school holiday typically means weeks of carefully planned activities with her husband Ed and their daughter Molly. But not this year.

Despite Molly’s extreme phobia of the water, Natalie is drawn to the lido and its dazzling social scene, led by the glamorous Lara Channing. Soon Natalie is spending long, intoxicating days with Lara at the pool – and intimate evenings at her home. Natalie’s real life begins to feel very far away.

But is the new friendship everything it seems? Why is Natalie haunted by memories from another summer years ago? And, without realising, has she been swept dangerously out of her depth?

I’m also still reading these books from last week as I’ve not felt up to reading as much in the last few days:

The Stylist by Rosie Nixon

The Day of Second Chances by Julie Cohen

The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

Truth, Lies and O-Rings by Allan J. McDonald and James R. Hansen


What I recently finished reading: 

ghostbird cover final  front only

Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin

I adored this book – so much so that it was near impossible for me to put into words how I felt about it. I was on the blog tour yesterday so shared my review (along with an interview with the author), you can read that HERE if you’d like to. I honestly can’t recommend this book highly enough through, it’s definitely one not to be missed!

Synopsis:

Nothing hurts like not knowing who you are. Nobody will tell Cadi anything about her father and her sister. Her mother Violet believes she can only cope with the past by never talking about it. Lili, Cadi’s aunt, is stuck in the middle, bound by a promise she shouldn’t have made. But this summer, Cadi is determined to find out the truth.

In a world of hauntings and magic, in a village where it rains throughout August, as Cadi starts on her search the secrets and the ghosts begin to wake up. None of the Hopkins women will be able to escape them.

 

The Missing by C. L. Taylor

The Missing by C. L. Taylor

I’ve been reading this on and off for the past few days and really enjoyed it. The novel does centre around a mystery and there are some thriller elements to it but it doesn’t really feel like a psychological thriller to me. It is a good read though and I would recommend it.  I hope to have my review up on my blog in the next week or so.

Synopsis:

You love your family. They make you feel safe. You trust them. Or do you…?

When fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson goes missing in the middle of the night, his mother, Claire, blames herself. She’s not the only one. There isn’t a single member of Billy’s family that doesn’t feel guilty. But the Wilkinson’s are so used to keeping secrets from one another that it isn’t until six months later, after an appeal for information goes horribly wrong, that the truth begins to surface.

Claire is sure of two things – that Billy is still alive and that her friends and family had nothing to do with his disappearance.

A mother’s instinct is never wrong. Or is it?

Sometimes those closest to us are the ones with the most to hide…


What I plan on reading next:

dear dad by giselle green

Dear Dad by Giselle Green

I plan to start reading this in the next day or two so that I can (hopefully) have my review ready for released day on 31st March. I’ve enjoyed the previous Giselle Green novels that I’ve read so I’m really looking forward to starting this one.

Synopsis:

Handsome, 28-year old, Nate Hardman is a frontline reporter with a big problem. Suffering from shell-shock and unable to leave his house, he’s already lost his social life and his girlfriend. Now his career prospects are sinking fast. 

9 year-old Adam Boxley who lives alone with his ageing nan, also has big problems. Neglected at home and bullied at school, he’s desperate to reach out to his dad – and that’s when he sends his first letter to Nate. Only Nate’s not who he thinks he is. Will he help? More importantly – can he? 

Across town meanwhile, caring but impulsive teacher Jenna Tierney really wants to help Adam – except the feisty redhead has already had enough of teaching. Recently hurt by yet another cheating boyfriend, Jenna’s now set her sights on pursuing a dream career abroad … only she’s about to meet Nate – her dream man who’ll make her re-think everything.  

The big question is; can three people desperate to find love, ever find happiness when they’re only connected by one big lie?

I hope to start reading a couple of other books this week too but I need to finish my current reads first, hopefully I’ll be back to reading at normal speed very soon and can catch up a bit 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.

Weekly Wrap-Up (20 March 2016)

Weekly wrap-up banner

SundayBlogShare

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.

 

This week has been a busy week for me with a lot of things that have really taken it out of me but it’s been a productive week too.

The biggest and best thing to happen this week was that I got my stairlift installed! I can’t quite put into words how much happier I feel already at being able to get down the stairs. It’s wonderful and I now wish I hadn’t resisted for so long. Finally being able to spend time in a different room of the house has been lovely but it’s really taken it out of me, I’ve been exhausted the last couple of days. It was worth it this week though just to experience the freedom of getting down the stairs again.

Due to the busy week and increased pain levels and fatigue I haven’t managed to read as much as I would have liked this week. I have still being able to read for a little while on most days though, which I’m pleased about. I hate when I have whole days where I don’t manage to read anything at all.


 

This week I’ve read three books:

When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen

You Sent Me a Letter by Lucy Dawson I reviewed this book on my blog on Friday so you can read it HERE if you’d like to.

Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin I’ll be sharing my review of this book on my blog tomorrow as part of the blog tour so please look out for that.


 

I’ve managed to blog seven times this week, which I’m very happy about. I miss blogging on the times when I’m not able to.

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up Post

Monday: Q&A with Andy Owen (author of East of Coker)

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday post

Thursday: Review of The Butcher’s Hook by Janet Ellis

 Cover reveal for The Joyce Girl by Annabel Abbs

Friday: Review of You Sent Me A Letter by Lucy Dawson

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves post


 

Coming soon on my blog:

Monday: I’m on the blog tour for Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin so will be able to share my review of this wonderful novel and also a Q&A with the author herself!

I haven’t got the rest of my blog week scheduled yet but I do know that I will have a Q&A with author Caroline James, and I have some reviews to write and post too of books that I’ve read over the last couple of weeks.


 

Here’s what I’m currently reading:

 

The Missing by C. L. Taylor

The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

Truth, Lies and O-Rings by Allan J. McDonald and James R. Hansen

The Stylist by Rosie Nixon

The Day of Second Chances by Julie Cohen


 

What have you been reading this week? Please feel free to link to your weekly wrap-up post, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below! I love to hear what you’re all reading. 🙂

 

WWW Wednesday (16 March 2016)

WWW pic

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’m reading now:

The missing

The Missing by C. L. Taylor

I was so excited when I saw that this book was going to be available on Net Galley and was thrilled when my request was approved. I *love* C. L. Taylor’s books so much. I actually already have this on pre-order but couldn’t resist the chance to read and review it sooner. I’ll still look forward to my copy arriving in the post though.

Synopsis:

You love your family. They make you feel safe. You trust them. Or do you…?

When fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson goes missing in the middle of the night, his mother, Claire, blames herself. She’s not the only one. There isn’t a single member of Billy’s family that doesn’t feel guilty. But the Wilkinson’s are so used to keeping secrets from one another that it isn’t until six months later, after an appeal for information goes horribly wrong, that the truth begins to surface.

Claire is sure of two things – that Billy is still alive and that her friends and family had nothing to do with his disappearance.

A mother’s instinct is never wrong. Or is it?

Sometimes those closest to us are the ones with the most to hide…

The Stylist by Rosie Nixon

The Stylist by Rosie Nixon

I am enjoying this book so much, it’s a very amusing novel and one I’m finding hard to put down.

Synopsis:

When Amber Green, a shop assistant in an exclusive London boutique is plucked from obscurity and mistakenly offered a job working with Mona Armstrong, the infamous, jet-setting ‘stylist to the stars’, she hits the ground running, helping to style some of Hollywood’s hottest (and craziest) starlets.

As awards season spins into action Mona is in hot demand and Amber’s life turned upside down. Suddenly she catching the attention of two very different suitors, TV producer Rob and Hollywood bad boy rising star Liam. How will Amber keep her head? And what the hell will everyone wear?

The One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood

The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

I was lucky to win a signed copy of this novel in a competition and it’s definitely a book that I will treasure as it’s such a beautiful, moving story. I’m about halfway through it and whenever I’m not reading it I’m thinking about the characters. 

Synopsis:

A one-in-a-million story for anyone who loves to laugh, cry, and think about how extraordinary ordinary life can be. Not to be missed by readers who loved THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY, ELIZABETH IS MISSING or THE SHOCK OF THE FALL.

Miss Ona Vitkus has – aside from three months in the summer of 1914 – lived unobtrusively, her secrets fiercely protected. 

The boy, with his passion for world records, changes all that. He is eleven. She is one hundred and four years, one hundred and thirty three days old (they are counting). And he makes her feel like she might be really special after all. Better late than never…

Only it’s been two weeks now since he last visited, and she’s starting to think he’s not so different from all the rest.

Then the boy’s father comes, for some reason determined to finish his son’s good deed. And Ona must show this new stranger that not only are there odd jobs to be done, but a life’s ambition to complete . . .

The Day of Second Chances

The Day of Second Chances by Julie Cohen

I’ve hard this novel on my review shelf for a while now and this week it was calling to me. I wish I’d read it sooner now because it’s such a good book, another one that’s had to put down.

Synopsis:

Can you imagine keeping a secret so devastating, you couldn’t even tell the people you love?

Honor’s secret threatens to rob her of the independence she’s guarded ferociously for eighty years.

Jo’s secret could smash apart the ‘normal’ family life she’s fought so hard to build.

Lydia’s secret could bring her love – or the loss of everything that matters to her.

One summer’s day, grandmother, mother and daughter’s secrets will collide in a single dramatic moment.

Is it too late for second chances?

Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin

Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin

This novel is so enchantingly beautiful, I’m actually not sure how I will ever to justice to it in a review. I’m deliberately reading it slowly as I just want it to last forever. Ghostbird is released tomorrow so please go buy a copy, you won’t want to miss this book! My review will be up on Monday (the 21st March) as part of the blog tour and I’ll also have a Q&A with the author, Carol Lovekin, which I can’t wait to share.

Synopsis:

Nothing hurts like not knowing who you are. Nobody will tell Cadi anything about her father and her sister. Her mother Violet believes she can only cope with the past by never talking about it. Lili, Cadi’s aunt, is stuck in the middle, bound by a promise she shouldn’t have made. But this summer, Cadi is determined to find out the truth.

In a world of hauntings and magic, in a village where it rains throughout August, as Cadi starts on her search the secrets and the ghosts begin to wake up. None of the Hopkins women will be able to escape them.

truth lies and o-rings

Truth, Lies and, O-Rings: Inside the Space Shuttle Disaster by Allan J. McDonald & James R. Hansen

I’m still reading this book and I think I will be for a while. It’s a fascinating read but it’s not one to read in big chunks.

Synopsis:

On a cold January morning in 1986, NASA launched the Space Shuttle Challenger, despite warnings against doing so by many individuals, including Allan McDonald. The fiery destruction of Challenger on live television moments after launch remains an indelible image in the nation’s collective memory.

In Truth, Lies, and O-Rings, McDonald, a skilled engineer and executive, relives the tragedy from where he stood at Launch Control Center. As he fought to draw attention to the real reasons behind the disaster, he was the only one targeted for retribution by both NASA and his employer, Morton Thiokol, Inc., makers of the shuttle’s solid rocket boosters. In this whistle-blowing yet rigorous and fair-minded book, McDonald, with the assistance of internationally distinguished aerospace historian James R. Hansen, addresses all of the factors that led to the accident, some of which were never included in NASA’s Failure Team report submitted to the Presidential Commission.

Truth, Lies, and O-Rings is the first look at the Challenger tragedy and its aftermath from someone who was on the inside, recognized the potential disaster, and tried to prevent it. It also addresses the early warnings of very severe debris issues from the first two post-Challenger flights, which ultimately resulted in the loss of Columbia some fifteen years later.


 

What I recently finished reading: 

I’m so happy to report that my reading mojo is finally back! This week I have finished SIX books!! Some of these books I’ve been reading for a while and just finished them this week but I did read three whole books from start to finish since last Wednesday. I’ve only managed to review on of these books so far but I do plan on reviewing the rest very soon so look out for those.

Quicksand by Steve Toltz (I was on the blog tour for this book on Friday so you can read my review here if you’d like to)

You Sent Me A Letter by Lucy Dawson

When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen

A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold

Sally Ride by Lynn Sherr

A Proper Family Christmas by Chrissie Manby


 

What I plan on reading next:

the good mother

The Good Mother by A. L. Bird

I was super excited to received a review copy of this book as it sounds so good. I hope to start reading it in the next few days and I suspect it’ll be one of those that I can’t put down.

Synopsis:

The greatest bond. The darkest betrayal.

Susan wakes up alone in a room she doesn’t recognise, with no memory of how she got there. She only knows that she is trapped, and her daughter is missing.

The relief that engulfs her when she hears her daughter’s voice through the wall is quickly replaced by fear.

The person who has imprisoned her has her daughter, too.

Devising a plan to keep her daughter safe, Susan begins to get closer to her unknown captor. And suddenly, she realises that she has met him before.

the night that changed everthing

The Night That Changed Everything by Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice

I’m so looking forward to reading this book, it sounds like such a good read. I’ve heard lots of good things about it so I’m sure I’m going to really enjoy it.

Synopsis:

Rebecca is the only girl she knows who didn’t cry at the end of Titanic. Ben is the only man he knows who did. Rebecca’s untidy but Ben doesn’t mind picking up her pieces. Ben is laid back by Rebecca keeps him on his toes. They’re a perfect match.

Nothing can come between them. Or so they think.

When a throwaway comment reveals a secret from the past, their love story is rewritten.

Can they recover from the night that changed everything? And how do you forgive when you can’t forget?

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

I’m such a big fan of Louise Candlish’s novels so I can’t wait to start reading this one.

Synopsis:

In the heady swelter of a London summer, the Elm Hill lido opens.

For teacher Natalie Steele, the school holiday typically means weeks of carefully planned activities with her husband Ed and their daughter Molly. But not this year.

Despite Molly’s extreme phobia of the water, Natalie is drawn to the lido and its dazzling social scene, led by the glamorous Lara Channing. Soon Natalie is spending long, intoxicating days with Lara at the pool – and intimate evenings at her home. Natalie’s real life begins to feel very far away.

But is the new friendship everything it seems? Why is Natalie haunted by memories from another summer years ago? And, without realising, has she been swept dangerously out of her depth?

 


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 (13th March 2016)

Weekly wrap-up banner

SundayBlogShare

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.

 

This week has been a much better for week in terms of reading, I finally feel like my mojo is really, properly on its way back. I’ve finished five books (most were books that I’ve been part way through for a while, only one was a book I started and finished in the same week), I’ve started some new books and most importantly when I’m not reading I look forward to getting back to my books! It’s wonderful to feel like this again. Now I just need my reading speed to pick up as I’m not used to reading so slowly but I’m sure that will come back soon now I’m excited about reading again.

My real life has been up and down this week. I had an appointment on Monday that was important but it was very hard on my body and triggered off the very severe pain that I get. I had to spend the rest of the day flat on my back in bed as I could not move. It’s taken a couple of days for things to begin to ease but I’m finally back at a more normal level of pain for me now.

I’m excited for this week as I’m due to have my stairlift installed and I just can’t wait, I feel like a small child waiting for Christmas to arrive and I’m practically counting the minutes down now! I don’t want to have a stairlift but I do want the freedom to go downstairs in my own home when I want to.


This week I’ve finished reading five books:

Apart from Quicksand, which I did read within the last seven days, I’ve been reading these books for a while now and just managed to finish them this week.

Quicksand by Steve Toltz (I was on the blog tour for this book on Friday and I shared my review so please check that out here.)

Sally Ride by Lynn Sherr

A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold

The Art of Wearing Hats by Helena Sheffield

A Proper Family Christmas by Chrissie Manby

The four books that I haven’t reviewed yet are on my list to review so hopefully I’ll get those posted on my blog in the next couple of weeks or so.


 

I’ve managed to blog six times this week, which I’m very pleased about.

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up post

Tuesday: Review of Sisters and Lies by Bernice Barrington

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday post

Thursday: Review of Time to Say Goodbye by SD Robertson

Friday: Blog tour and review of Quicksand by Steve Toltz

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves post

 

Coming soon on my blog:

I don’t plan a set schedule for my blog unless I have blog tour scheduled in but I do usually know what I’d like to post on each day, health permitting! This week I will definitely have an interview with author Andy Owen about his new book, East of Coker. I also plan to review two or three of the books I’ve finished recently. And, of course, I’ll still be joining in with my regular WWW Wednesday, Stacking the Shelves on Saturday and on Sunday will be my Weekly Wrap-Up post.


 

Here’s what I’m currently reading:

Truth, Lies and O-Rings by Allan J. McDonald and James R. Hansen

I’m still finding this book to be fascinating but it’s quite technical so I’m just reading a chapter here and there. It’s also over 800 pages long so I reckon this will be an ongoing read for quite a while.

When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen

This is another fab book by Tammy Cohen, I’m now 62% through it and have got my suspicions about certain characters! I want to keep reading but real life keeps interrupting.

The Stylist by Rosie Nixon

This book was gifted to me on Net Galley a while ago and I’ve been really keen to read it but somehow haven’t got around to it until now. I’ve only read three chapters so far but I’m hooked and can’t wait to see what happens next to Amber Green!

The Day of Second Chances by Julie Cohen

This is another Net Galley book that I was so keen to read when I was approved for it but then real life got tough and my reading mojo upped and left. Now it’s back I couldn’t resist choosing this for my next read. It’s such a good book, I just wish I had more hours in the day to read!


 

What have you been reading this week? Please feel free to link to your weekly wrap-up post, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below! I love to hear what you’re all reading. 🙂

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

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

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

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


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

robin talley what we left behind  record store of the mind  merry mistletoe  written in the scars

What We Left Behind by Robin Talley

The Record Store of the Mind by Josh Rosenthal

Merry Mistletoe by Emma Davies

Written in the Scars by Mel Sherratt


I’m currently reading:

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The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin

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

Blurb:

Le Vie En Rose

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

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

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

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

time to die

Time to Die by Caroline Mitchell

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

Blurb:

He Will Predict you life… and your death.

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

A Notable Woman

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

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

Blurb:

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

out of the darkness

Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan

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

Blurb:

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

how to stuff up christmas

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

Blurb:

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


stacking-the-shelves

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

Books I’ve bought this week:

home is burning  the witches salem  bones in the nest muse  sunday dinners

Home is Burning: A Memoir by Dan Marshall

The Witches: Salem 1692 by Stacy Schiff

Bones in the Nest by Helen Cadbury

Muse by Jonathan Galassi

Sunday Dinners by Jon Rance

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

Arcs I’ve received:

the widow  a game for all the family  the heart of winter  The Day of Second Chances  In Real Life by Jessica Love  Lost Girls by Angela Marsons  This Raging Light by Estelle Laure

The Widow by Fiona Barton (paperback)

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

The Heart of Winter by Emma Hannifin (paperback)

The Day of Second Chances by Julie Cohen (ebook)

In Real Life by Jessica Love (ebook)

Lost Girls by Angela Marsons (ebook)

This Raging Light by Estelle Laure (ebook)

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


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

More info in this pic:

BookoutureThriller

This pic shows the books you could pick from to read:

BookoutureThriller books

Book Beginnings (30 October)

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

My Book Beginning

The Day of Second Chances

The Day of Second Chances by Julie Cohen

‘The last stage of Honor Levinson’s life began at the top of the stairs in her home in North London.’

What a brilliant opening line to a novel! I just want to keep reading immediately to find out what happened. Does she fall down the stairs, does someone push her? Or from the way the sentence is written it could be that Honor Levinson walks safely down the stairs and something else happens to her at a later stage. I’m fascinated to know. I hope I get a chance to read more very soon!

The Day of Second Chances is due to be published on 28 January 2016.