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.


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 (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:



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.


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.



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.


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.



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. 



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?



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.


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.


ReadyPlayerOne RD 1 finals 2

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

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


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.



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. 


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:



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.


‘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.



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.


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.



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.


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.



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.


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.



The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

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



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?



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.


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:


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.


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.

Weekly Wrap-Up (22 Jan)

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted

This week I’ve been trying to keep my mind occupied so have been reading lots of books and have blogged every day. It’s the anniversary of my mum’s death this weekend and I always find January a month that drags me down as a result. I always make a conscious effort to keep myself busy as much as I can. It’s not easy because I still miss her so much but dwelling on pain and sadness doesn’t help.

Yesterday I managed to get out for the first time this year, in fact the first time in a month so that was nice. We spent an hour (unsuccessfully) shopping for a shed and then got a Subway on the way home. These days I value any time I manage to spend out of the house so I really enjoyed it. It was a lovely sunny day, which is always nice.

This week I’ve finished reading six books:

Hold Your Own by Kate Tempest

This is a fairly short poetry collection. I’ve not read much poetry at all over the last couple of years and reading this collection reminded me how much I used to love it. I’m definitely going to try and read some more poetry this year.

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 the last week or two and have very much enjoyed it. It’s inspired me to try and keep focused on the books I already own rather than constantly looking to acquire more. It’s also made me consider the books I do own and whether I still want to read them as much as I did when I bought them or whether the moment has passed.

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr (review ebook)

I really enjoyed this YA book and plan to review it soon, hopefully this week sometime.

Loving the Life Less Lived by Gail Marie Mitchell (review book)

This is a non-fiction book that I was sent for review. I’m on the blog tour for this book tomorrow so please look out for my review then if you’d like to know more.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

I can’t believe this book languished on my TBR in various formats since it was first published almost twenty years ago. It’s been a lesson in not leaving books for so long as from the very first few pages of this book I was hooked and I loved reading it.

Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson (review ebook)

This is a review book that I finished reading on Monday and I’ve already reviewed it. You can read my review here if you’d like to. I very much enjoyed this novel though, it really unnerved me and I loved that about it.

This week I’ve blogged seven times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up (15 Jan)

Monday: Review of Lies by TM Logan

Tuesday: Review of Relativity by Antonia Hayes

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday (18 Jan)

Thursday: Review of Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson

Friday: Review of While You Were Sleeping by Kathryn Croft

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves (21 Jan)

This is what I’m currently reading:

Rattle by Fiona Cummins (review ebook)

I deliberately kept this book to read over this weekend whilst my husband would be home as from what I’ve heard about it I knew it was likely to really scare me. So far it’s just quite creepy but the tension is beginning to ramp up. I hope to finish this today but it depends how scary it gets and whether I need a break at any point !

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel (review book)

This review book was sent to me as a total surprise and I was very happy to receive it. I’ve only read the first three chapters so far but I’m enjoying it. It’s not always easy for me to read print books (due to my disability) so that sometimes slows down my reading of print books.

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

This book is wonderful. It’s one of those books that I want to read slowly so I can savour it but at the same time I can’t stop thinking about it and want to just sit and read it all in one go.

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan (review ebook)

This is another review book and one that I’m completely and utterly adoring. It’s just everything I love in a story.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

This book is such a fun read and I’m loving all of the 80s references throughout.



Update on my TBR

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

TBR in last week’s Weekly Wrap-Up: 1887

Books added this week: 8 (find out which books I bought in my Stacking the Shelves post)

Books got rid of this week: 10

TBR now stands at: 1880

I realise that I’m not going to be able to resist buying books on occasion so I’m trying to balance any new books coming in with culling a few from my shelves that I know I’m not going 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. :)




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.