My Top Ten Fiction Reads 2016

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At the start of 2016 I was undecided on what to set my Goodreads target at so I asked my husband to pick a number between 150 and 200 – he chose 180 (we were possibly watching darts on the telly at the time!). I was on target for the first part of the year and then over the summer I hit a horrible reading slump. I just couldn’t get into any books at all and barely read a thing for about three months. Eventually I got back into the swing of things but was fairly convinced I’d never make my reading goal. The thing that got me back into reading again was re-discovering my love for non-fiction and that joy led me to ending the year having read 211 books! I’m thrilled with what I’ve had the chance to read this year but it has made narrowing it down to a top ten near impossible. I’ve decided that as I read a real mix of fiction and non-fiction that I’d do a top ten of each – I don’t really consider it cheating seeing as 20 books in total is still under 10% of what I read this year.

Before I do my top ten I do want to do a couple of honourable mentions.

The first is to Katey Lovell for the wonderful The Boy in… series. I’ve spent a fair bit of time feeling rotten as my pain levels left me unable to concentrate and Katey Lovell’s series of short stories have got me through some really horrible days. They take 5 or ten mins to read and have honestly always left me feeling that little bit happier than I was before. These stories hold a special place in my heart and I love knowing I can always re-read one to cheer myself up.

Also, this is the year that I decided to try giving graphic novels a go. I’ve always felt a bit odd about them as, having never looked at one before, I assumed they were just like comics (and I never liked comics even when I was a child). However, I picked up Raymond Brigg’s Ethel and Ernest during my hideous reading slump and it was the perfect read in that moment. I couldn’t believe how much detail could be packed into a book with very few words and it really opened my eyes to this genre. I also bought my husband The Gigantic Beard that was Evil as a sort of joke and when I read it I couldn’t believe what a brilliant social commentary it was.


So now for my top ten fiction books of 2016! These books are in no particular order but I have picked two books that are my joint favourite books of the year!

This Must Be the Place by Maggie O'Farrell

This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell

I adore Maggie O’Farrell’s writing – I read her first novel After You’d Gone on the day it was released and it’s still one of my all-time favourite novels. I greatly look forward to a new novel by her and was thrilled to receive a proof of this one ahead of publication. This Must Be the Place is a brilliant novel, one that will stay with me for a long time to come.

You can read my original review here: This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell

The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss

The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss

This is the first Sarah Moss book I’ve read and it absolutely won’t be the last. I picked this up when I was in a major reading slump in the summer and somehow this grabbed my attention from the very first page and held me right until the end. I read this during my blogging break so I sadly haven’t reviewed it but I can assure you that it’s a stunning read and highly recommend you pick it up if you haven’t already.

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Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

This book is stunning and simply had to be part of my top ten of 2016, I knew it would make it as I was reading it. It’s a beautiful read and I recommend it to everyone.

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The Joyce Girl by Annabel Abbs

This is a fascinating novel about Lucia Joyce, the daughter of James Joyce. It’s a book that will hook you in and will hold you in its spell right to the end. It made me want to learn more about Lucia Joyce.

You can read my original review here: The Joyce Girl by Annabel Abbs

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Autumn by Ali Smith

This is one of the more recent reads in my Top Ten but it absolutely had to be included. Ali Smith is an incredible writer, I’ve loved everything that I’ve read of hers. Autumn is a book that got to me in so many ways on so many different levels and I’m sure it will stay with me for a very long time to come.

You can read my original review here: Autumn by Ali Smith

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

This book just captured me from the very start – I loved the two main characters and the bond they formed over such a short space of time. I think the thing that moved me most in this book was the idea of how life can be lost in an instant but the legacy, the memory left behind can still have such great impact on those that remain. This is a book I will definitely re-read in the future.

You can read my original review here: The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

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The Museum of You by Carys Bray

I loved Carys Bray’s first novel and so was very excited to be sent a proof of this one ahead of release. I read this over a couple of days, finding it very hard to put down. The idea of a young girl trying to piece together the memory of her mother in a tangible way is heart-breaking, and I felt so much for her. The reader knows more than the daughter, which makes it even more poignant to read her journey to put together what she knows of her mum. It’s a beautiful story that is ultimately heart-warming and one I still find myself thinking about months after I finished reading the novel.

You can read my original review here: The Museum of You by Carys Bray

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The Easy Way Out by Steven Amsterdam

I only read this novel recently but it had such an impact on me that I couldn’t not include it in my Top Ten of the year. A novel that explores assisted suicide, and yet is never mawkish and at times has a fair bit of black humour on the subject was always going to make for a fascinating read.

You can read my original review here: The Easy Way Out by Steven Amsterdam

And my joint favourite books of 2016 are…

Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin

I read Ghostbird way back in March and fell completely and utterly in love with Carol Lovekin’s writing. It’s such a beautiful, moving and, at times, devastating novel with magical elements weaved throughout. It captured me from the very first page and I devoured it. It’s one of those novels that seems to cast magic from it, it made me feel soothed and healed as I read. I’ve been recommending this book to everyone I know since I read it, and I’m going to say it again here – if you haven’t already read it then please go grab a copy now, I promise you won’t regret it!

You can read my original review here: Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin

How to be Brave by Louise Beech

This is a lesson for me in not getting my Top Ten books of the year done too early in December! I had this post prepared and ready to go and then I read How To Be Brave and knew there was going to have to be a re-jig as this novel went right to the top of my list! It’s a beautifully moving debut novel, that weaves together the story of a young girl and her mum coming to terms with serious illness alongside her grandfather’s battle for survival on a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean. It’s a novel that had such an impact on me and I keep finding myself thinking back to it. It’s another novel that gave me great solace when I really needed it and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

You can read my original review here: How To Be Brave by Louise Beech


So, that’s my Top Ten fiction books of 2016. What have your favourite reads of this year been? Have you had a good reading year?

Look out for my Top Ten non-fiction books post coming up tomorrow!

Weekly Wrap-Up (22 May)

 

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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.

 


It’s been a busy week for me this week, which has really taken it out of me but it’s been worth it.

The best part about the week was that I finally managed to have my hair cut for the first time since my surgery. I had really long hair but when you can’t wash it, or even brush it yourself it starts to feel like another burden so I decided it would be better for me to have it cut off. It took me a while to persuade my hairdresser to cut it as short as I wanted it as she was worried it was too drastic but I’m really happy with how it looks now. My head feels lighter, which has got to be better for my neck, and it’s going to be so much easier to look after. It’s made me realise that I need to start looking at where else  changes can possibly be made in order to try and make life easier.


I’ve managed to get a post up every day this week, which feels like an achievement. They were all scheduled in advance where possible and otherwise were done in stages as I felt up to it.

The biggest news this week is that my blog has been nominated for a Bloggers Bash award!! I’m up for Best Book Review Blog 2016 and I’m still utterly gobsmacked. Thank you to whoever it was that nominated me, you’ve made me so happy! I’m up against some incredible blogs that are much more established than me so I know I won’t win but I feel like I’ve already won as it’s such an honour to be nominated. If you’d like to vote for me I’m listed as Hayley in the Best Book Review Blog category, you can also vote in all the other categories at this link: Bloggers Bash Awards 2016

A lot of you will know that this blog started off as a little hobby as I was recovering from major spinal surgery last year but as it became apparent that my disability would remain severe my blog has become so much more to me. I don’t know how I would have got through this without having my blog to focus on and all you lovely bloggers that have followed me and supported me.


This week I’ve managed to read two novel and two short stories:

The Treachery of Trains by Sylvia Ashby

This Secret We’re Keeping by Rebecca Done

The Boy with the Board (Meet Cute series) by Katey Lovell

The Boy at the BBQ (Meet Cute series) by Katey Lovell


 I’ve blogged ten (plus one reblog) times this week:

Sunday:

Weekly Wrap-Up Post

Monday:

My Bookish Memories/Review of After You’d Gone by Maggie O’Farrell (linked to the 3 Quotes Challenge)

Tuesday:

My Bookish Memories/Review of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (linked to the 3 Quotes Challenge)

 

Wednesday:

My Bookish Memories/Review of The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (linked to the 3 Quotes Challenge)

WWW Wednesday Post

Thursday:

Review of The Treachery of Trains by Sylvia Ashby

Guest post about making something happen in your novel by Sue Fortin, author of The Girl Who Lied for the Blog Tour

ReBlog: Bloggers Bash Awards Nominations Announcement

Friday:

Review of The Boy with the Board (Meet Cute series) by Katey Lovell

Book Beginnings: The Trap by Melanie Raabe

Saturday:

Stacking the Shelves Post


Coming up on my blog this week:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up Post

Monday: Interview with Sylvia Ashby, author of The Treachery of Trains

Tuesday: Review

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday Post

Thursday: Review

Friday: Book Beginnings Post

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves Post


This is what I’m currently reading:

My Favourite Manson Girl by Alison Umminger

Sockpuppet by Matthew Blakstad

Where Did I Go? by Polly Williamson


 

 

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. :)

Review: The Boy with the Board by Katey Lovell

The Boy with the Board (Meet Cute) by Katey Lovell

When her beloved mum dies suddenly, Helena escapes to sunny California. Determined to live for the moment, she puts aside her fears and signs up for the surfing lessons she’s always dreamed of – with the added distraction of hunky instructor Ashton.

As regular readers of my blog will all know, I have adored all of the Meet Cute series of stories to date and I have to say it’s no exception with this new one! In fact, this might even be my new favourite out of all of them!

Helena has recently lost her mum and is feeling lost. Her mum had always told her that she must live her life well so when she gets her share of the inherence from the sale of her mum’s house Helena decides to have an adventure.

I could really identify with Helena, I remember the way I felt when my mum died – I suddenly didn’t want the life I’d had before. I had a heightened awareness of just how short life could be and I wanted to find what made me happy. I didn’t travel the world but I did start saying yes to more things and it led to me meeting the man who is now my husband and moving right across the country to start a new life with him. Helena seemed to react in a similar way, she wanted to see what life had to offer and to discover who she really was.

I love that she decided to learn to surf and found the confidence to wear a wetsuit even though it exposed her body that she was self-conscious about. It seemed that once Helena was in the water and having fun, all her cares seemed to float away for a while. I loved the way she and Aston met while surfing and I really felt like he could make such a difference to the break that Helena was having. I so hope they got a happy ever after!

This story was so summery and so full of hopes and dreams that it’s impossible not to fall in love with it.

I rated it  5 out of 5 and highly recommend it to everyone, but especially to anyone who is in real need of a mood boost because this story cannot fail to make you smile and feel better for a little while.

The Boy with the Board is out now and available from Amazon.

I received a review copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

WWW Wednesday (18 May)

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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:

The Treachery of Trains by Sylvia Ashby

The Treachery of Trains by Sylvia Ashby

I spent most of yesterday afternoon reading this novel as once I got into it I didn’t want to stop reading it. I’m on the blog tour for it tomorrow and will be posting my review then so please look out for that.

Synopsis:

Sky has made an abominable mistake at work. Something so awful she doesn’t dare stay in the HR office of XIM Technics for fear of being lynched by her colleagues.

So she gets on a train…

What happens when it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year?

Sky Candy is about to find out.

 

SockPuppet by Matthew Blakstad

Sockpuppet by Matthew Blakstad

I started this book last week and am sure if I hadn’t had a rough week health-wise that I would have read it in a day or so as it’s such a great read. It’s different to anything else I’ve read in a long while and it’s very much a tale of the modern age. I hope to be able to read more of this book this week.

Synopsis:

Twitter. Facebook. Whatsapp. Google Maps. Every day you share everything about yourself – where you go, what you eat, what you buy, what you think – online. Sometimes you do it on purpose. Usually you do it without even realizing it. At the end of the day, everything from your shoe-size to your credit limit is out there. Your greatest joys, your darkest moments. Your deepest secrets.

If someone wants to know everything about you, all they have to do is look.

But what happens when someone starts spilling state secrets? For politician Bethany Leherer and programmer Danielle Farr, that’s not just an interesting thought-experiment. An online celebrity called sic_girl has started telling the world too much about Bethany and Dani, from their jobs and lives to their most intimate secrets. There’s just one problem: sic_girl doesn’t exist. She’s an construct, a program used to test code. Now Dani and Bethany must race against the clock to find out who’s controlling sic_girl and why… before she destroys the privacy of everyone in the UK.

This Secret We're Keeping by Rebecca Done

This Secret We’re Keeping by Rebecca Done

I have to be honest and say that I’m finding this novel to be much slower-paced than I’d expected and because of my current short attention span I’m struggling with it. I feel sure if I could sit and read it in bigger chunks that I would enjoy it more so the issue is definitely with me. I’m going to pick this back up as soon as my brain is in gear again.

Synopsis:

A pupil and a teacher. Is it ever right to break the rules?
Jessica Hart has never forgotten Matthew Landley.
After all, he was her first love when she was fifteen years old. But he was also her school maths teacher, and their forbidden affair ended in scandal with his arrest and imprisonment.
Now, seventeen years later, Matthew returns to Norfolk, with a new identity and a long-term girlfriend and a young daughter, who know nothing of what happened before. Yet when he runs into Jessica, neither of them can ignore the emotional ties that bind them together.
With so many secrets to keep hidden, how long can Jessica and Matthew avoid the dark mistakes of their past imploding in the present?
From debut author Rebecca Done, This Secret We’re Keeping is a powerful and provocative novel about the ties which can keep us together – or tear us apart.

My Favourite Manson Girl by Alison Umminger

My Favourite Manson Girl by Alison Umminger

I’m enjoying this novel but it’s a bit different to what I was expecting and I’m not sure yet where it’s going. I’m looking forward to reading more soon.

Synopsis:

Anna has had a miserable year. Everything feels wrong with her life. And rather than stay and face the mess, she steals a credit card and books herself a seat on the first flight out of town to Los Angeles, to crash with her sister. But soon after she lands, cold reality soon dawns on her: Hollywood isn’t the escape she needs. She is trapped in a town full of lost souls and wannabes, with no friends, no cash and no return ticket.

When she’s offered a job researching the murderous Manson girls for a dubious film, she reluctantly accepts – she needs the money. But soon enough, among the fake smiles and glitter-fuelled parties, things turn from strange, to dark, to dangerous . . .

This is not going to be the summer Anna had in mind.

Where Did I Go by Polly Williamson

Where Did I go? by Polly Williamson

This is an interesting and inspiring novel about a woman recovering from a brain injury.  It’s a tough read in places because I can empathise with some of what she went through but it’s a good read.

Synopsis:

“8 December 2011: I went to a small horse competition in the morning. That much I do remember. After that absolutely nothing …”

Polly Williamson’s life changed the day a dramatic incident with a young horse left her with a horrific head injury. She was a horse trainer and former Junior European Champion eventer. She was a wife and mother to two young boys. The accident severed her connection to this former life. It stole away her ability to care for her children and left her struggling to rediscover who she was.

Surviving a near fatal brain injury brings a person face to face with the very basis of their identity. Some will be lucky and pick up their former lives with barely a missed step. Others will have everything that holds them to who they were stripped away by brain damage.

Polly has had her world shattered and seen the fragments of her identity laid bare. Where did I go? is her powerful record of her efforts to pick up the pieces and put her life back together again.


What I recently finished reading:

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Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

This novel is incredible and I feel sure it’ll be in my top books of the year! I’m struggling to write my review due to the fact I loved it so much but I hope to get my thoughts in order in the next few days. I can’t recommend this book highly enough though!

Synopsis:

When war is declared, Mary North leaves finishing school unfinished, goes straight to the War Office, and signs up.

Tom Shaw decides to give it a miss – until his flatmate Alistair unexpectedly enlists, and the conflict can no longer be avoided.

Young, bright and brave, Mary is certain she’d be a marvelous spy. When she is – bewilderingly – made a teacher, she instead finds herself defying prejudice to protect the children her country would rather forget.

Tom, meanwhile, finds that he will do anything for Mary.

And when Mary and Alistair meet, it is love, as well as war, that will test them in ways they could not have imagined, entangling three lives in violence and passion, friendship and deception, inexorably shaping their hopes and dreams.

In a powerful combination of both humour and heartbreak, this dazzling novel weaves little-known history, and a perfect love story, through the vast sweep of the Second World War – daring us to understand that, against the great theatre of world events, it is the intimate losses, the small battles, the daily human triumphs, that change us most.

Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard

I bought this book on release day and decided to read it straight away as a little treat to myself; I’m so glad I did as it was such a compulsive read that it got me out of my little reading slump. It’s one of those books that once you start reading it’s near impossible to stop because it’s got lots of little twists and turns running all the way through it. I hope to get my review up in the next few days.

Synopsis:

Did she leave, or was she taken?

The day Adam Dunne’s girlfriend, Sarah, fails to return from a Barcelona business trip, his perfect life begins to fall apart. Days later, the arrival of her passport and a note that reads ‘I’m sorry – S’ sets off real alarm bells. He vows to do whatever it takes to find her.

Adam is puzzled when he connects Sarah to a cruise ship called the Celebrate – and to a woman, Estelle, who disappeared from the same ship in eerily similar circumstances almost exactly a year before. To get the answers, Adam must confront some difficult truths about his relationship with Sarah. He must do things of which he never thought himself capable. And he must try to outwit a predator who seems to have found the perfect hunting ground…

The Boy with the Board (Meet Cute) by Katey Lovell

The Boy with the Board by Katey Lovell (Meet Cute series)

I love the Meet Cute short stories, they never fail to be a wonderful pick-me-up. This one was so gorgeous! I’ll be reviewing this on Friday.

Synopsis:

When her beloved mum dies suddenly, Helena escapes to sunny California. Determined to live for the moment, she puts aside her fears and signs up for the surfing lessons she’s always dreamed of – with the added distraction of hunky instructor Ashton. 

The Boy with the BBQ by Katey Lovell

The Boy with the BBQ by Katey Lovell (Meet Cute series)

As I’ve just said above, I love this series of short stories. This one was as lovely as all the others. I’ll be reviewing this very soon.

Synopsis:

Betsy and Seb spent their early childhood playing together in the sandpit at the park, but lost touch when Seb’s family moved away. Since he moved back to the area Betsy’s developed quite the crush on him, but she’s not even sure he knows she exists…


What I plan on reading next:

The Girls by Emma Cline

The Girls by Emma Cline

I was thrilled to be approved for this book last week and I really can’t wait to read it.

Synopsis:

California. The summer of 1969. In the dying days of a floundering counter-culture a young girl is unwittingly caught up in unthinkable violence, and a decision made at this moment, on the cusp of adulthood, will shape her life….

‘This book will break your heart and blow your mind.’ Lena Dunham

Evie Boyd is desperate to be noticed. In the summer of 1969, empty days stretch out under the California sun. The smell of honeysuckle thickens the air and the sidewalks radiate heat.

Until she sees them. The snatch of cold laughter. Hair, long and uncombed. Dirty dresses skimming the tops of thighs. Cheap rings like a second set of knuckles. The girls.

And at the centre, Russell. Russell and the ranch, down a long dirt track and deep in the hills. Incense and clumsily strummed chords. Rumours of sex, frenzied gatherings, teen runaways.

Was there a warning, a sign of things to come? Or is Evie already too enthralled by the girls to see that her life is about to be changed forever?

The Safe Word by Karen Long

The Safe Word by Karen Long

I’m on the blog tour for this book later this month so I definitely plan to start reading it very soon. I’m looking forward to it.

Synopsis:

There are rules that every player of every game must abide by, no matter how dangerous the sport.
Toronto has become the backdrop to a macabre set of artistic installations: women kidnapped, tortured and horrifically displayed by a killer with a vision.
Only someone capable of understanding the killer’s creative desire will be able to stop the murders and D I Eleanor Raven is uniquely qualified. Driven by a complex personality she pursues only the facts, only the things she can see, but never casts a judgement.

But she also has a dark and dangerous secret – one that will threaten her very survival.

All is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker

All is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker

This book intrigues me for quite a few reasons and I can’t wait to read it!

Synopsis:

You can erase the memory. But you cannot erase the crime.

Jenny’s wounds have healed.
An experimental treatment has removed the memory of a horrific and degrading attack.
She is moving on with her life.

That was the plan. Except it’s not working out.
Something has gone. The light in the eyes. And something was left behind. A scar. On her lower back. Which she can’t stop touching.
And she’s getting worse.
Not to mention the fact that her father is obsessed with finding her attacker and her mother is in toxic denial.

It may be that the only way to uncover what’s wrong is to help Jenny recover her memory. But even if it can be done, pulling at the threads of her suppressed experience will unravel much more than the truth about her attack.


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.

My April Wrap-Up Post

 

 

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This has been a great month on my blog. As some of you will have already noticed, I gave my blog a big makeover at the weekend. My lovely husband, who is a great photographer, took some fab photos of my books for me to use on my blog – his photo is now my blog header and I’m over the moon with it. You can read my post about my blog makeover here.

I also decided to register my blog’s domain so I now own rathertoofondofbooks.com and am really happy about that. It just cements that I’ve been blogging long enough now to know that it’s something I want to keep doing in the long term.

I started using dictation software in April and this has made a massive difference to me, it means I can write blog posts even when I’m unable to type. I also learnt how to schedule my blog posts, and found some software that allows me to schedule unpublished blog posts links on social media in advance. All of this combined has made blogging so much easier for me and means I can achieve more in my day.

My TBR is even more out of control than it was last month due to April bringing lots more new books my way. I’m in the middle of sorting out my enormous TBR into recent purchases/review books and then a separate TBR for books that I’ve been keeping for the right time (see my post on this here). I’m still trying to come up with a way to challenge myself to read these books because if I could stop myself waiting for the right time and just read them it would really help me clear my TBR! If anyone has any ideas for this please share in the comments below. I’m planning on making a TBR jar once I’ve finished my lists but I want a challenge to go with that.

Otherwise life is same old same old really. I’m still struggling to get my pain levels under control but I do finally have an appointment to see a specialist this month so I’m really hoping that something can be done to help me. If I can get my pain better controlled and I can find a medication that doesn’t make my head feel like it’s stuffed full of cotton wool then I’ll be able to get back to reading at my normal speed and will finally be able to start making headway with my TBR.


I managed to read fifteen books this month (three were short stories and two were novellas, and ten were full-length novels):

(Click the orange links to read my reviews; the titles in turquoise are books I’ve read but not yet reviewed)

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

The Summer I Met You by Victoria Walters

Dear Dad by Giselle Green

The Boy with the Boxes by Katey Lovell

The Boy on the Bus by Katey Lovell

Peter and Alice by John Logan

In Too Deep by Samantha Hayes

The Second Love of My Life by Victoria Walters

Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

Shame by Jasvinder Sanghera

Twisted River by Siobhan MacDonald

 Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom

The Real Book Thief by Ingrid Black

Shtum by Jem Lester

The Ice Twins by S. K. Tremayne


I also reviewed six books that I finished before April

Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan (re-blog)

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

Between You and Me by Lisa Hall

The Good Mother by A. L. Bird

Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen


 

I was very lucky this month that I got to interview six authors:

Jannie Lund, author of Vintage Dreams

Sherry Mayes, author of Stop the World

Katye Nunn, author of Rose’s Vintage

Mike Russell, author of Nothing is Strange

Siobhan MacDonald, author of Twisted River

Greg Cope White, author of The Pink Marine

 

I also was delighted to have three authors write a guest post for my blog:

Rosy Stewart, author of Hope: Stories from a Women’s Refuge Rosy Stewart are a husband and wife writing team. They wrote a great post for my blog all about how it is to write as a duo.

Heidi Perks, author of Beneath the Surface Heidi Perks wrote a brilliant guest post for me in April all about marketing a book on a limited budget. It’s a really interesting post and I recommend reading it.

Sandra Nikolai, author of Fatal Whispers Sandra Nikolai wrote a great guest post for my blog all about how murder mystery writers keep one step ahead of readers. If you’re a fan of thrillers than I’m sure you will love reading this post.


 Also in April, I was very honoured when I was asked to guest post on Laura at 125 Pages blog as part of her first blogiverary celebrations. Laura asked me to write about how the way I approach blogging and how I’ve built my blog up. You can read the post here


 

So, that was my month! How was your April? Has it been a book-filled month for you? Please feel free to share in the comments below, or to leave a link to your own April Wrap-Up post.

Weekly Wrap-Up (24 April)

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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 another up and down week for me. The beginning of the week was particularly difficult when my already severe pain levels increased further but thankfully they’ve settled a bit since. I’ve had a useful medical appointment this week that is hopefully going to finally lead on to me getting help with the pain. I’m also due to have another MRI scan tomorrow to check that there is nothing else going on in my spine that could be aggravating my pain.

I’m still only managing to concentrate for small periods of time so I’m not getting to read as much as I’d like. I’m grateful to be able to read even a little though and am hoping it will get easier in time. I did manage to finish some books this week that I’ve been reading for a few weeks so I was pleased about that.

It’s been a good week where my blog is concerned though. Thanks to my new scheduling pattern, I had enough posts set up ready to go so that my blog kept going as planned even when I wasn’t around much. It gives me real satisfaction to keep my blog running, even during the tough times so I was really glad that I’d worked out scheduling before this rough patch.


This week I’ve managed to finish reading five books (most of these books I’ve been reading for a few weeks and just finished this week):

Twisted River by Siobhan MacDonald

I really enjoyed reading this book, it was one of those reads that is really hard to put down once you’ve started reading it. It was different to anything else I’ve read recently and kept me guessing all the way through. I’m on the blog tour for this book today and so look out for my interview with Siobhan MacDonald.

Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom

Wonder Cruise is such a lovely novel, I found that I wanted to read it slowly to savour it and I really didn’t want it to end. I hope to get my review up this week. I’ll definitely be looking out for more of Ursula Bloom’s novels in the future.

The Second Love of My Life by Victoria Walters

This book is such a gorgeous read, I absolutely loved it! It had such depth to it and yet was never heavy-going. I hope to have my review of this up on my blog this week.

Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

This is a novella released for World Book Day and my first ever Rainbow Rowell book! I loved it, it’s such an adorable read! This is the only book I managed to read from start to finish in the course of this week.

Shame by Jasvinder Sanghera

This is a fascinating read about a young woman who runs away from her family to escape an arranged marriage, but that is only the beginning of what happened to Jasvinder. This is ultimately an inspiring read and I recommend it. I hope to have my review ready to post very soon.


 I’ve blogged twelve times this week (well, eleven times plus a re-blog of my guest post on another blog):

 

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up Post

Monday: Q&A with Kayte Nunn (author of Rose’s Vintage) plus giveaway of ebooks

Blog post: Addicted to Blogging (all about writing my first 200 posts!)

Tuesday: Review of In Too Deep by Samantha Hayes

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday Post

Review of The Boy with the Boxes (Meet Cute) by Katey Lovell

Thursday: Review of The Boy on the Bus (Meet Cute) by Katey Lovell

Q&A with Mike Russell (author of the short story collection, Nothing is Strange)

Friday: Guest post by Heidi Perks (author of Beneath the Surface) about marketing a book on a limited budget

Re-blog from Laura at 125Pages where I wrote a guest post for her about how I approach blogging.

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves Post


Coming up on my blog this week:

My usual WWW Wednesday Post, Stacking the Shelves Post and Weekly Wrap-Up Post. Plus more reviews and an author Q&A/guest post.


This is what I’m currently reading:

Shtum by Jem Lester

This book has got better as it’s gone along and I’m quite enjoying it now.

The Midnight Watch by David Dyer

It’s so frustrating that I can only read in short bursts at the moment because this is a book I would have devoured normally. It’s a brilliant novel though and I highly recommend it. When I’m not able to read I’m thinking about this book and wishing I could get back to it.

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

I’ve only managed to read the first few chapters of this due to my lack of concentration but I’ve loved what I’ve read and I’m so looking forward to reading more. They writing is so beautiful and every single page feels like a treat.


https://rathertoofondofbooks.wordpress.com/2016/03/27/weekly-wrap-up-27-march-2016/

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. :)

Review: The Boy on the Bus by Katey Lovell

The Boy on the Bus (Meet Cute) by Katey Lovell

I had another bad day earlier this week when I couldn’t concentrate to read but I needed something to cheer me up and then I remembered that I had a new Meet Cute story on my Kindle and I knew this would be the perfect time to read it. This series has never failed to put a smile on my face so I had high hopes that this would at least give me a distraction and might brighten my day a little. It actually brightened my day quite a lot because I loved this story so much!

This story is told over several days, and I loved how we got little snippets of Lucy’s bus journey over the course of this particular week. Each day we get a snippet of Lucy being on the same bus that she gets every day, and we see her watching the gorgeous boy who also get this bus every day. She is desperate to find out more about him as she doesn’t even know his name but she can’t seem to pluck up the courage to speak to him.

I adored this story from the very first paragraph. I could feel the chemistry that was building for Lucy over this boy as she daydreams about him each day. It reminded me of being back at school when you have a crush on a boy and would so badly want to speak to him but you just can’t, and on the days when he didn’t turn up at school it felt like the end of the world. I felt like I was right there with Lucy, I could feel her heart sink on the day he didn’t get on the bus and could feel how her heart would leap into her mouth on the days when he did. Katey has captured these emotions so well and gave it an intensity that I could feel it emanating from the page, I was willing Lucy on to speak to this boy.

This story properly left me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside, I completely fell in love with it and have to say that I think it has become my joint favourite of this series along with The Boy at the Beach. I’ve loved all the stories in the Meet Cute series but these two are my favourites because I could so identify with them, and the stories build so perfectly!

I rated this story five out of five and can’t recommend it highly enough.  This story will not fail to make you feel better, it’s like a giant hug in story form it will put a great big grin on your face. Go download The Boy on the Bus right now, I promise you won’t regret it!

I have previously reviewed four others of the make use stories on my blog you can find them on the following links:

The Boy in the Bookshop

The Boy at the Beach

The Boy Under the Mistletoe

The Boy with the Boxes

Review: The Boy with the Boxes by Katey Lovell

The boy with the boxes by katey lovell

Those of you who’ve been reading my blog for a while will know already how much I adore the Meet Cute series of stories. I was so excited last week when not one but two more of these stories were published on the very same day and there was no way that I was going to be able to hold off reading them for long!

Rosie is moving into a new flat having recently moved out of the place she shared with her friend Carmen during three years at university. Carmen has now moved to Australia and Roses feel a little bit uncertain about life as she moves into this new flat on her own. Unbeknown to her she is about to meet a gorgeous new man who may be just what she needs to give her life a bit of excitement again!

The very first paragraph in this story had me laughing to myself in a wry sort of way. Reading about Rosie moving into her new flat and realising she had more wineglasses than friends really struck a chord with me. Then reading about her wishing she’d decluttered more and also packed her stuff in smaller boxes so they weighted less – it just reminded me so much of when I first moved in with my now husband. I did get rid of half of my books before I moved in with him but I still had literally thousands that I couldn’t part with and I packed them into whatever boxes I could find and most were quite big. His apartment was on the second floor and there was no lift so I knew right there and then how much he loved me when he carried box after box after box of these books up all those stairs without complaining and he isn’t even a reader!

The love interest in this story, Connor,  seems to ooze sex appeal from his accent to the clothes that he is wearing so I can see how he immediately caught Rosie’s eye! There isn’t such a build up of chemistry between Rosie and Connor as they don’t meet until halfway through the story but when they first catch sight of each other there is an instant, sizzling sort of chemistry, which is fab. You just know these two are going to have lots of fun together.

I rated this short story 4.5 out of 5 and highly recommend it. All of the books in the meet cute series are fab five-ten minute reads and are the perfect pick-me-ups for those times when you just need a bit of escapism or your day needs brightening up.

The Boy with the Boxes is out now and available from Amazon.

I have previously reviewed three other Meet Cute stories on my blog and you can find them on the following links:

The Boy in the Bookshop

The Boy at the Beach

The Boy Under the Mistletoe

WWW Wednesday (13 April 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?

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


Please  forgive any formatting errors in my post this week, my home wifi is playing up and web pages keep either failing to load or partially loading so it’s quite hard to get a post ready. On top of that WordPress hasn’t been working too well for me this week either. 


What I’m reading now:

 

In Too Deep by Samantha Hayes

In Too Deep by Samantha Hayes

I was thrilled to get the chance to read this book through THE Book Club recently.  I’m about halfway through the book at the moment and finding it really hard to put down, and so far I still haven’t worked out what is going on (which is great, I love being kept guessing until the end!).

Synopsis:

Four months ago, Rick went out to buy a newspaper. He never came back.

His wife, Gina, is struggling to deal with her loss, and her daughter’s mood swings are getting worse. Then she receives a phone call from a woman at a country hotel, confirming details of a booking Rick made before he vanished. 

Desperate to find out more about his disappearance, Gina and her daughter take the trip. But there is something very strange about the hotel, and the family that run it. 

Soon Gina is unsure that Rick even made the booking – but one thing is clear: both mother and daughter are in serious danger.


the second love of my life

The Second Love of My Life by Victoria Walters

I knew I was going to enjoy this novel, but I didn’t expect it to get to me in the way that it is doing. This novel has made me laugh and it’s made me cry; it’s so good! I want to know how things will turn out for everyone but I also don’t want the book to end as I’m enjoying it so much!

Synopsis:

It wasn’t love at first sight. It was a summer of love…

When Emma leaves her Cornish hometown of Talting for a summer in Devon, the last thing she dreams of is falling in love. But sometimes the people who affect us the most come along when we least expect it. As the summer comes to the end, will it herald the start of something that could last for ever?


Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom

Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom

I haven’t been well this week so have only managed to read a few chapters of this so far but it is utterly wonderful. It’s been quite a long time since I read a book set in the 1930s and I’m just absolutely adoring it, it’s so refreshing. I’m willing Ann on to break free of Cuthbert and to experience some of what life has to offer her.

Synopsis:

Ann Clements is thirty-five and single, and believes nothing exciting will ever happen to her. Then, she wins a large sum of money in a sweepstake and suddenly can dare to dream of a more adventurous life. She buys a ticket for a Mediterranean cruise, against the wishes of her stern brother, the Rev. Cuthbert, who has other ideas about how she should spend her windfall. Ann steps out of the shadows of her mundane life into the heat of the Mediterranean sun. Travelling to Gibraltar, Marseilles, Naples, Malta and Venice, Ann’s eyes are opened to people and experiences far removed from her sheltered existence in the offices at Henrietta Street, and Mrs. Puddock’s lodging house. As Ann blossoms, discovering love and passion for the very first time, the biggest question is, can there be any going back?


Shame by Javinder Sanghera (My Pic)

Shame by Jasvinder Sanghera

This is another boak that I’ve only managed to read the first few chapters of this week, due to not being well again. It’s quite apparent already though that this is going to be a fascinating read and I’m keen to get back to it to read more.

Synopsis:

When she was fourteen, Jasvinder Sanghera was shown a photo of the man chosen to be her husband. She was terrified. She’d witnessed the torment her sisters endured in their arranged marriages, so she ran away from home, grief-stricken when her parents disowned her. Shame is the heart-rending true story of a young girl’s attempt to escape from a cruel, claustrophobic world where family honour mattered more than anything – sometimes more than life itself. Jasvinder’s story is one of terrible oppression, a harrowing struggle against a punitive code of honour – and, finally, triumph over adversity.


shtum by jem lester

Shtum by Jem Lester

If I’m going to be completely honest I have to say that I am struggling to read this one. It’s had so much hype and so many people have loved but I’m really struggling to read it. I don’t mind reading books where I don’t like any of the main characters but I do find it really difficult when they don’t feel rounded out enough for me to get a feel for who they are. I’m going to persevere with this little bit longer because it’s a review book and I have only read about a third of it so far so I’m going to give it a bit longer and maybe my opinion will change.

Synopsis:

Ben Jewell has hit breaking point. 

His ten-year-old son, Jonah, has never spoken. So when Ben and Jonah are forced to move in with Ben’s elderly father, three generations of men – one who can’t talk; two who won’t – are thrown together. 

As Ben battles single fatherhood, a string of well-meaning social workers and his own demons, he learns some difficult home truths. 

Jonah, blissful in his ignorance, becomes the prism through which all the complicated strands of personal identity, family history and misunderstanding are finally untangled. 

Funny and heart-breaking in equal measure, Shtum is a story about families, forgiveness and finding a light in the darkest days.


 

truth lies and o-rings

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

Due to my not being well this week, I’ve not managed to read any more of this book at all. It’s such a fascinating read and I really do want to finish it but I’m thinking of maybe putting it to one side for a while until I’m feeling more able to read it in bigger chunks and to take in better what I’m reading.

 

 


What I recently finished reading: 

dear dad by giselle green

Dear Dad by Giselle Green 

I loved this novel, it was an incredible read. I’ve already reviewed it, you can read my review on the link above.

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?


The boy with the boxes by katey lovell

The Boy with the Boxes by Katey Lovell

This was a new short story in the Meet Cute series and it’s no secret that I’ve adored all of them so far. This was a lovely addition to the series, I’ll have my review up very soon.

Synopsis:

A gorgeously romantic short story, part of The Meet Cute series.

Rosie’s starting afresh. Her best friend and former housemate is starting a new life in Australia leaving Rosie to move into a new flat on her own. But when she meets her next door neighbour, Rosie realises she may not be quite so alone after all…

 


The Boy on the Bus (Meet Cute) by Katey Lovell

The Boy on the Bus by Katey Lovell

This was another new Meet Cute short story, which was released last week, and I think this one is going to have to be placed joint favourite with The Boy at the Beach as I completely and utterly adored it! I’m part way through writing my review now so that will be up on my blog soon.
Synopsis:
A gorgeously romantic short story, part of The Meet Cute series.
Lucy’s morning bus journey is the highlight of her day – it’s the only time she sees her crush. But how can he take up so many of her thoughts when she doesn’t even know his name

 


peter and alice john logan script

Peter and Alice by John Logan

This was an absolutely fascinating book. It’s a short read, and is actually a script for a play but it’s easy to read as it just focuses on the two characters. It’s an imagined conversation that is taking place between the real Alice (who Alice in Wonderland was based on) and the real Peter (who Peter Pan was based on). There is so much packed into this short script that really makes you think, it’s truly brilliant. I’m working on my review at the moment so should have that ready to post on my blog soon.

Synopsis:

When Alice Liddell Hargreaves met Peter Llewelyn Davies at the opening of a Lewis Carroll exhibition in 1932, the original Alice in Wonderland came face to face with the original Peter Pan. In John Logan’s remarkable new play, enchantment and reality collide as this brief encounter lays bare the lives of these two extraordinary characters.


What I plan on reading next:

 

Twisted River by Siobhan MacDonald

Twisted River by Siobhan MacDonald

I was offered the chance to review this book and when I read the synopsis there was no way I could refuse, it sounds so intriguing! I was also offered a place on the blog tour, which I accepted to I will have a Q&A with the author and, all-being-well, my review of the book on 24th April so please look out for that.

Synopsis:

An unmissable psychological thriller for fans of B A Paris’s Behind Closed Doors about two families in crisis and a house swap gone terribly wrong

Limerick, Ireland: Oscar Harvey finds the body of a woman in a car boot, beaten and bloody. But let’s start at the beginning…

Kate and Mannix O’Brien live in a lovely Limerick house they can barely afford. Their autistic son is bullied at school and their daughter Izzy wishes she could protect him. When she spots a gorgeous New York flat on a home-exchange website, Kate decides that her family needs a holiday.

Hazel and Oscar Harvey, and their two children, live on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Though they seem successful, Hazel has mysterious bruises and Oscar is hiding things about his dental practice.

Hazel is keen to revisit her native Limerick, and the house swap offers a perfect chance to soothe two troubled marriages.

But this will be anything but a perfect break. And the body is just the beginning.


 

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

It made my week when I was offered a review copy of this book at the end of last week! I’ve been wanting to read this since I first heard about it and can’t wait to start reading. I’ve loved all of Chris Cleave’s previous novels so have very high hopes for this one!

Synopsis:

When war is declared, Mary North leaves finishing school unfinished, goes straight to the War Office, and signs up.

Tom Shaw decides to give it a miss – until his flatmate Alistair unexpectedly enlists, and the conflict can no longer be avoided.

Young, bright and brave, Mary is certain she’d be a marvelous spy. When she is – bewilderingly – made a teacher, she instead finds herself defying prejudice to protect the children her country would rather forget.

Tom, meanwhile, finds that he will do anything for Mary.

And when Mary and Alistair meet, it is love, as well as war, that will test them in ways they could not have imagined, entangling three lives in violence and passion, friendship and deception, inexorably shaping their hopes and dreams.

In a powerful combination of both humour and heartbreak, this dazzling novel weaves little-known history, and a perfect love story, through the vast sweep of the Second World War – daring us to understand that, against the great theatre of world events, it is the intimate losses, the small battles, the daily human triumphs, that change us most.


The Midnight Watch by David Dyer

I recently read a review of this on a blog I follow and immediately pre-ordered a copy! I’m drawn to novels about the Titanic but this is from a different perspective so sounds fascinating. I really want to start reading it right away but I need to finish up some review books first and then I’ll be straight on to this!

Synopsis:

 On a black night in April 1912, fifteen hundred passengers and crew perish as the Titanic slowly sinks beneath the freezing waters of the North Atlantic. Charting the same perilous course through the icebergs is the SS Californian, close enough for her crew to see the eight white distress rockets fired by the Titanic. Yet the Californian fails to act, and later her crew insist that they saw nothing. As news of the disaster spreads throughout America, journalists begin a feeding frenzy, desperate for stories. John Steadman is one such reporter, a man broken by alcoholism, grief and a failed marriage. Steadman senses blood as he fixates on the Californian and his investigation reveals a tense and perplexing relationship between the ship’s captain and second officer, who hold the secrets of what occurred that night. Slowly he peels back the layers of deception, and his final, stunning revelation of what happened while the Titanic sank will either redeem the men of the Californian, or destroy them.


 

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

Stacking the Shelves (9 April 2016)

stacking-the-shelves

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

This week I’ve bought a few new books:

They Are Trying to Break Your Heart by David Savil 

I can’t remember where I first heard about this book but it’s been on my wishlist for ages as I waited for publication day. I couldn’t resist buying it yesterday and I really hope to read it soon.

The Boy on the Bus (Meet Cute) by Katey Lovell and The Boy With the Boxes (Meet Cute) by Katey Lovell

These are the latest two short stories in the Meet Cute series and as I had them pre-ordered they were there on my Kindle when I switched it on yesterday. I expect I’ll be reading these very soon as I have adored all the previous stories in the collection. You can read my reviews of the earlier stories here:  The Boy in the BookshopThe Boy at the Beach and The Boy Under the Mistletoe

The Privileged by Emily Hourican

I just happened to spot this on Amazon yesterday and when I read the synopsis I just couldn’t resist buying it. It sounds like a brilliant read and it’s another one that I really hope to get to soon.

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

I’ve seen this book reviewed on quite a few blogs that I love recently and so I decided to pre-order this novel. I hadn’t realised that it was due out yesterday so it was a lovely surprise to find it had arrived on my Kindle!

The Midnight Watch by David Dyer

I can never resist books (be they fiction or non-fiction) about the Titanic so when I read Carrie at Carries Book Reviews fab review  I simply had to pre-order the book! This is one of those books where I just want to start reading it right away but I must catch up with some of my review books first. This will be high on my list of books to read after that though!

Somewhere Inside of Happy by Anna McPartlin

I’ve heard such a lot about this novel and about her previous novel but I’ve yet to read anything by Anna McPartlin. I’ve treated myself to this book as it sounds great, albeit a weepy but that’s ok, and I really hope to read it in the coming weeks.

The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald

I used to own a print copy of this novella but it’s got lost somewhere over the years. I hadn’t realised that there was also a kindle version so I treated myself to it and as this is a short read I plan to squeeze a re-read of it in soon. 

The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

This is another book that I’ve seen on quite a few blogs and on twitter in recent weeks and the synopsis really appealed to me. 

Where Love begins by Judith Hermann

This was another impulse by this week when it came up on Amazon on the if you liked this then you might also like this page. I read a few pages of the sample and it sounds like it’s going to be a really good read.

The Quiet Ones by Betsy Reavley

This is free for Kindle Unlimited members at the moment so I decided to download it. It sounds fab so I hope I get a chance to read it soon.

The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows by Marnie Riches

I pre-ordered this a while ago so have been anticipating it arriving on my Kindle. I definitely want to start reading this series as soon as I can.


 

Books I received for review:

 

 

The Museum of Us by Carys Bray

I adored Issy Bradley and have recently bought Carys’ short story collection Sweet Home (which I’m going to read soon) so I was THRILLED when Carys offered me a copy of her new novel as part of the blog tour. The Museum of You isn’t out until June so I feel very lucky to have an advanced copy and I can’t wait to read it.

Shame by Ravinder Sanghera

I requested this  on book bridgr a while ago as  it sounds like a fascinating read. 

Twisted River by Siobhan MacDonald

I was offered the chance to review this book a couple of days ago and when I read the synopsis there was no way I was going to turn it down. I’m going to be reading and reviewing this book for the blog tour later this month so I plan to read this book very soon!

Perfect Weddings by Lynda Renham

I was offered a copy of Perfect Weddings a while ago and this week my copy arrived. I’m looking forward to reading this.


 

 

This week I also won a copy of The Santangelos by Jackie CollinsI read my first Jackie Collins book way back when I was a teenager and have always remember those books and those days fondly. I was thrilled to win a copy of Jackie’s final book this week, I’m going to save it to read in the garden in the summer for nostalgia’s sake. This edition of the book also contains the very last interview that Jackie gave so that will be emotional but I’m glad to be able to read it.

The Santangelos by Jackie Collins (My Pic)


 

IMG_4703

 

I’m currently running an international giveaway where you have the chance to win a brand new hardback copy of The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood. You can read my review and enter the giveaway here.

 


 

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.

 

WWW Wednesday (23 December)

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:

a boy called christmas

A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig

You are about to read the true story of Father Christmas.
It is a story that proves that nothing is impossible.
A Boy Called Christmas is a tale of adventure, snow, kidnapping, elves, more snow, and a boy called Nikolas, who isn’t afraid to believe in magic.
From the winner of The Smarties Book Prize and the Blue Peter Book Award. With illustrations by Chris Mould.

A Proper Family Christmas by Chrissie Manby

A Proper Family Christmas by Chrissie Manby

Take one Queen Bee: Annabel Buchanan, with a perfect house in the country, a rich husband and a beautiful daughter, Izzy . . .
. . . and one large, loud family: the Bensons.
What happens when their worlds collide?
When Izzy suddenly falls dangerously ill, adoptee Annabel has to track down her biological family to see if they can help her daughter. But can she see past the Bensons’ brash exteriors to the warm, loving people they are at heart?
With December just around the corner, is it too much to hope that the Bensons and the Buchanans can have a proper family Christmas?

The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood

The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood

Apologies for the general email, but I desperately need your help.

My goddaughter, Coco Jackson, disappeared from her family’s holiday home in Bournemouth on the night of Sunday/Monday August 29/30th, the bank holiday weekend just gone. Coco is three years old.

When identical twin Coco goes missing during a family celebration, there is a media frenzy. Her parents are rich and influential, as are the friends they were with at their holiday home by the sea.

But what really happened to Coco?

Over two intense weekends – the first when Coco goes missing and the second twelve years later at the funeral of her father – the darkest of secrets will gradually be revealed…

Taut, emotive and utterly compelling, an unputdownable ‘ripped from the headlines’ novel that you will want to talk about with everyone you know.

Asking For It by Louise O'Neill

Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

It’s the beginning of the summer in a small town in Ireland. Emma O’Donovan is eighteen years old, beautiful, happy, confident.

One night, there’s a party. Everyone is there. All eyes are on Emma.

The next morning, she wakes on the front porch of her house. She can’t remember what happened, she doesn’t know how she got there.

She doesn’t know why she’s in pain.

But everyone else does. Photographs taken at the party show, in explicit detail, what happened to Emma that night.

But sometimes people don’t want to believe what is right in front of them, especially when the truth concerns the town’s heroes . . .


What I recently finished reading (Click on the links under the images to read my reviews):

Every Time A Bell Rings by Carmel Harrington

The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson

The Theseus Paradox by David Videcette

The Boy Under the Mistletoe by Katey Lovell

Snowed in for her Wedding by Emma Bennet


 

What I plan on reading next:

Sugar and Snails by Anne Goodwin (1)

Sugar and Snails by Anne Goodwin

The past lingers on, etched beneath our skin …
At fifteen, Diana Dodsworth took the opportunity to radically alter the trajectory of her life, and escape the constraints of her small-town existence. Thirty years on, she can’t help scratching at her teenage decision like a scabbed wound.
To safeguard her secret, she’s kept other people at a distance… until Simon Jenkins sweeps in on a cloud of promise and possibility. But his work is taking him to Cairo, and he expects Di to fly out for a visit. She daren’t return to the city that changed her life; nor can she tell Simon the reason why.
Sugar and Snails takes the reader on a poignant journey from Diana’s misfit childhood, through tortured adolescence to a triumphant mid-life coming-of-age that challenges preconceptions about bridging the gap between who we are and who we feel we ought to be.

How To Get Ahead in Television by Sophie Cousens (1)

How to Get Ahead in Television by Sophie Cousens

Poppy Penfold desperately wants a career in television. After months of dead-end applications, she gets her big break with a temporary job as a runner for RealiTV. But to land a permanent role, Poppy will need to go head-to-head with fellow runner Rhidian: arrogant, highly competitive – and ridiculously good looking.

Poppy goes all out to impress, but somehow things don’t go to plan. Whether failing to prevent a washed-up soap star from becoming roaring drunk during Scottish game show Last Clan Standing, or managing to scare the horses during the filming of Strictly Come Prancing, Poppy gets noticed for all the wrong reasons. With highly strung presenters and distractingly handsome producers in the mix, it’s Poppy’s determination that will see her win or lose her dream job, and maybe her dream man too…

Thicker than Water by Brigid Kemmerer

Thicker than Water by Brigid Kemmerer

Thomas Bellweather hasn’t been in town long. Just long enough for his newlywed mother to be murdered, and for his new stepdad’s cop colleagues to decide Thomas is the primary suspect.
Not that there’s any evidence. But before Thomas got to Garretts Mill there had just been one other murder in twenty years.
The only person who believes him is Charlotte Rooker, little sister to three cops and, with her soft hands and sweet curves, straight-up dangerous to Thomas. Her friend was the other murder vic. And she’d like a couple answers….Answers that could get them both killed, and reveal a truth Thomas would die to keep hidden.
Answers that could get them both killed, and reveal a truth Thomas would die to keep hidden…

the children's home charles lambert

The Children’s Home by Charles Lambert

In a sprawling estate, willfully secluded, lives Morgan Fletcher, the disfigured heir to a fortune of mysterious origins. Morgan spends his days in quiet study, avoiding his reflection in mirrors and the lake at the end of his garden.
One day, two children, Moira and David, appear. Morgan takes them in, giving them free rein of the mansion he shares with his housekeeper, Engel. Then more children start to show up.
The Children’s Home is an inversion of a modern day fairy tale. Lambert writes from the perspective of the visited, weaving elements of psychological suspense, abandonment, isolation, and the grotesque -as well as the glimmers of goodness- buried deep within the soul.


 

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.

 

Christmas novel recommendations!

merry christmas

Today I’m posting a round-up of Christmas books that I’ve read and reviewed this festive period in case you’re looking for a last minute Christmas read or Christmas book gift!

merry mistletoe

I’ve read some wonderful and magical Christmas books this year so it’s near impossible to pick my favourites. I do have a real soft spot for Emma Davies’ Merry Mistletoe as it was different to any Christmas book I’ve read in a long time, not just this year, and I loved all the comforting imagery around feathers and robins. This is a short novel and I highly recommend it, especially to anyone looking for a comforting read this Christmas.

The Boy Under the Mistletoe by Katey Lovell

I also adored Katey Lovell’s latest Meet Cute short story The Boy Under the Mistletoe. It’s a delicious five-minute read that will warm your heart and will instantly having you feeling more festive!

One Wish in Manhattan

One Wish in Manhattan by Mandy Baggot became an instant favourite of mine and I know it’s a novel that I will come back to for many Christmases to come. It’s a gorgeous novel set entirely in the build up to Christmas, it has elements of A Christmas Carol running through it and won’t fail to make anyone feel festive.

the mince pie mix up

The Mince Pie Mix-Up by Jennifer Joyce was brilliant! It’s perfect for anyone who loves films like Freaky Friday – I love body-swap books where characters become someone else and literally have to walk in their shoes for a period of time and setting this over the festive period just made it even better. It’s a fab read!

The Winter Wedding

Abby Clements’ latest novel The Winter Wedding is more of a winter themed book than a Christmas one and yet it made me feel so festive. I think it’s the build up to a winter wedding – snow combined with romance is such a magical mix!

Holly Martin released two Christmas novels this year, both set in White Cliff Bay (Christmas at Lilac Cottage and Snowflakes on Silver Cove) but featuring different characters (although if you read both you may spot some familiar characters popping up). I adored both of these novels – Holly just writes with a perfect mix of humour, romance, and festivity!

winter's fairytale (1)

Winter’s Fairytale by Maxine Morrey is such a perfect Christmas romance. The whole novel is set in the couple of weeks before Christmas so it’s as festive as can be!

What Happens at Christmas_FINAL

T. A. Williams Christmas novel What Happens at Christmas is a lovely Christmas novel. It’s set in a beautiful village, with Chocolate box cottages and friendly locals. I loved it.

how to stuff up christmas

I adored How To Stuff Up Christmas by Rosie Blake. It’s a perfect mix of being hilariously funny and incredibly heart-warming!

Christmas wishes and mistletoe kisses

I read Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale as part of Bookouture Christmas and am so glad I got the chance to read this novel. It’s a really sweet story about what is really important at Christmas and how spending time with other people can really help us be better versions of ourselves.

The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson

I just read The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson this week and I loved it. It’s all how opening yourself up to new experiences can lead to unexpected and wonderful things happening.

Snowed in for her Wedding

Snowed in the for her Wedding by Emma Bennet is a short novella, but it’s a lovely story. I loved how a whole community pulled together at Christmas to help their local girl Gwen have her Christmas Eve wedding despite the heavy snow.

christmas at cranberry cottage

Christmas at Cranberry Cottage by Talli Roland is a lovely novella. I most enjoyed the nostalgia in this story, as the main character tries to save her Gran’s cottage and reminisces about growing up there and all the Christmases spent in that lovely home.


 

**Amendment 23 December 2015**

every time a bell rings

Last night I finished reading Every Time A Bell Rings by Carmel Harrington and it simply has to be added to this list, it’s such a gorgeous and utterly perfect Christmas read! It’s inspired by It’s A Wonderful Life and is just magical, go read it! It’s up there with my all-time favourite Christmas reads!


 

I hope this helps you find the perfect Christmas read for over the next week or so. You really can’t go wrong with any of the above books, they’re all wonderful.

Wishing you all a very happy and book-filled Christmas!

 

Review: The Boy Under the Mistletoe by Katey Lovell

The Boy Under the Mistletoe by Katey Lovell

It’s no secret that I adore this Meet Cute series, so I was very excited to discover that there was to be a Christmas story in the series! I had hoped to read and review it before now but with being ill I just haven’t been able to. It was the perfect story to get me back into reading though!

This latest Meet Cute is a gorgeous Christmas short story all about Chelsea, who is home from University for Christmas but she’s exhausted and fed up after working long hours in her family’s flower shop; the last thing she feels like doing is putting on a Christmas jumper and going to her Gran’s annual Christmas party with the rest of her family.

We briefly meet Chelsea’s Gran and because of Katey’s wonderful, succinct writing I felt like I knew her even though she was just in the story fleetingly. The way she tries to feed Chelsea up shows how caring she is. I loved the descriptions of the antique baubles on her Gran’s Christmas tree too. The scene brought back lovely memories of my own Nan, and of the beautiful and fragile tree ornaments she had.

The description of Chelsea looking like a Refresher bar with the combination of her auburn hair and her face blushing red with embarrassment made me properly laugh out loud. As someone who is similarly auburn-haired, I have been there many times. I’ve not heard this description before but it’s definitely one I’ll remember and laugh about next time I show myself up!

I loved how Chelsea’s meet cute moment happened and how it was like a fairy tale but with added feistiness! It was just perfect how Chelsea had wanted to watch a certain popular Christmas film and instead got her own moment that was just like one that could have quite easily occurred in said film. Yet again, Katey has somehow managed to get so much detail into the story about Chelsea and Simeon to leave me feeling completely satisfied that these characters will be happy together. I swear there is something magical to Katey’s writing in the way she manages to convey so much in such short stories!

This Christmas story has everything you could possibly want to warm your heart this festive period. It’s a perfect read to curl up with when you just need a few minutes away from it all. Grab a hot chocolate (or Baileys), a mince pie and escape into this gorgeous romantic story!

I highly recommend this book and rate it 5 out of 5.

The Boy Under the Mistletoe is out now and available from Amazon.

I received a copy of this story from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Here are my reviews of The Boy in the Bookshop and The Boy at the Beach, two of the other short stories in this fab series.

My November Wrap-Up Post!

Monthly Wrap-Up

I can’t believe I’m writing my November wrap-up post already, I don’t know where this month has gone! I’m loving blogging more and more as the weeks go by and it’s become such a massive part of my life now, I can’t imagine not being a blogger. It’s absolutely second nature to me now to make notes as I’m reading and to write a review as soon as I’ve finished a book. I’m slowly getting to grips with WordPress too.

This month I added a new section to my blog… a shelf were I can add all my favourite books. Please check that out here. I’ve posted a list on there for now but plan to gradually add mini reviews of all my favourite books that I’ve read previously. This month I added two books to this shelf – the only new additions this year. It takes a lot to be added to my favourites, only the most special of books make it there. I’ve revealed the two books at the end of this post!

My blog has now had over 6000 page views and over 2500 visitors. It amazes me every time I check my stats to find that people are reading my posts, it really has made such a difference in my life to have found blogging and the support from everyone just increases it tenfold!

Thanks to all of you who have read a post on my blog, or liked or commented or shared. Thanks to all of you who have followed my blog, or on social media.


 

In November I read 20 books and managed to review all of them. If I didn’t keep a record of the books I read I wouldn’t have believed I’d read that many, I think blogging has got me reading even more than I was before! Please click on the links below the images to read my reviews.

Time to Die by Caroline Mitchell

Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan

How to Stuff Up Christmas by Rosie Blake

The Boy in the Bookshop by Katey Lovell

The Boy at the Beach by Katey Lovell

What Rosie Found Next by Helen J. Rolfe

Wendy Darling by Colleen Hoover

What Happens at Christmas by T. A. Williams

Lost Girls by Angela Marsons

The Single Feather by R. F. Hunt

Sky Lantern by Matt Mikalatos

The Winter Wedding by Abby Clements

Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith

Christmas at Cranberry Cottage by Talli Roland

The Jazz Files by Fiona Veitch Smith

Follow Me by Angela Clarke

The Secret by the Lake by Louise Douglas

The Widow by Fiona Barton

Winter’s Fairytale by Maxine Morrey

Search for the Truth by Kathryn Freeman


 

This month I have received books for review from authors I’d not read before but I now want to go back and read all of their previous books. I love this part of blogging, it’s got me reading more widely and as a result I’ve found so many books that I might otherwise have missed.

The best thing about this month though is that for the first time this year I’ve added two new books to my favourite books collection.

9781782641759

The Jazz Files by Fiona Veitch Smith is just such a delightful mystery novel, with a brilliant protagonist in Poppy and I already can’t wait to read the next book! I’m planning on buying copies of this book for friends who I’m sure will also enjoy it.

 

out of the darkness

Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan is one of those books that arrived in my life in the most serendipitous of ways and I just fell in love with it. It’s a novel that made me sob my heart out, it made me think about things in my own life, but by the end I felt better. I felt like the novel helped me make sense of things and it made me feel comforted. I was so lucky that Katy very kindly sent me a signed copy to keep and I will treasure it. It literally takes centre stage on my favourites bookcase and it’s a book I know I will read again and again. I’ve already bought couple of copies to give to friends who I know will get as much out of it as I did, and I’m sure I’ll be buying more copies in the future. I just want everyone to read this book!

Weekly Wrap-Up and Stacking the Shelves (28 November)

It’s been another busy week on my blog.

I was very lucky to get to do an author interview with Lynda Renham.

I had a promo post and giveaway of The Lost Girl by Liz Harris.

I’ve joined in with my usual WWW Wednesday and Book Beginnings memes.


My week in books:

I’ve read five books this week and have reviewed all of them. (Please click on the titles in the list below the pics to read my reviews)

 

Christmas at Cranberry Cottage by Talli Roland 

The Jazz Files by Fiona Veitch Smith

Follow Me by Angela Clarke

The Secret by the Lake by Louise Douglas

The Widow by Fiona Barton

 


 

stacking-the-shelves

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

Books I’ve bought this week: 

The Past by Tessa Hadley

Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff

Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales by John Hargrove

Head for the Edge, Keep Walking by Kate Tough

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

 

ARCS I’ve received this week:

The Boy Under the Mistletoe by Katey Lovell

When Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel Reid

Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate

This Secret We’re Keeping by Rebecca Done

Perfectly Broken by Robert Burke Warren

 


 

 

How bookish has your week been? Have you added any books on to your TBR pile? Have you bought a book that you’re particularly excited to read? Let me know in the comments and feel free to link back to your own blog.

Weekly Wrap Up and Stacking the Shelves (14 November)

It’s Saturday again so it’s time for my weekly wrap up post!

This week I was chosen to be an official Harper Impulse supporter, which was a lovely surprise. I filled in the form but didn’t expect to be picked so It made my day when I got the email through.

On my blog this week:

I picked a winner for my Out of the Darkness giveaway. The winner was announced here, just in case you missed my blog post on Wednesday.

I joined in the TBR (To Be Read) Book Tag and confessed to exactly how big my TBR is! You can read all my TBR confessions here.

I did a cover reveal for the lovely Holly Martin’s new novel, The Revenge. You can find that post here.

And finally, my regular WWW Wednesday and Book Beginnings posts in case you missed them.

I chose to rate books that I’ve read from 1-10 but have now decided I prefer a 1-5 rating system. I’m not going to go back and change the ratings on previous reviews but starting from today all the books that I read will be rated under my new system.


I’ve read four books and two short stories this week, and have reviewed all of them. (Click on the titles in the list below the pics to read my reviews)

The Boy in the Bookshop the boy at the beach What Rosie Found Next Lost Girls by Angela Marsonswendy darling What Happens at Christmas_FINAL

The Boy in the Bookshop by Katey Lovell (short story)

The Boy at the Beach by Katey Lovell (short story)

What Rosie Found Next by Helen J. Rolfe

Lost Girls by Angela Marsons

Wendy Darling by Colleen Oakes

What Happens at Christmas by T A Wiliams


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: 

year of yes  all the major constellations  Paint My Body Red The Sunlit Night  183 Times a Year  The Christmas Getaway

The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

All The Major Constellations by Pratima Cranse

Paint My Body Red by Heidi R. Kling

The Sunlit Night by Rebecca Dinerstein

183 Times a Year by Eva Jordan

The Christmas Getaway by Jill Barry

ARCS I’ve received this week:

The One in a Million Boy  The Darkest Secret The Theseus Paradox by David Videcette    Did You Ever Have A Family? by Bill Clegg    Thicker than Water by Brigid Kemmerer  Alice Takes Back Wonderland by David D. Hammons The Children's Home by Charles Lambert How To Get Ahead in Television by Sophie Cousens (1) Sugar and Snails by Anne Goodwin (1)

The One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood

The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood

The Theseus Paradox by David Videcette

Did You Ever Have A Family? by Bill Clegg

Thicker than Water by Brigid Kemmerer

Alice Takes Back Wonderland by David D. Hammons

The Children’s Home by Charles Lambert

Sugar and Snails by Anne Goodwin

How To Get Ahead in Television by Sophie Cousens

WWW Wednesday (11 November)

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:

what happens at christmas

What Happens at Christmas by T. A. Williams

I started reading this book last night and it’s so good, I can’t wait to have the time to sit and read more!

Blurb:

For the perfect Christmas…

When career-girl Holly Brice learns that her estranged father has died, she decides to take a trip down memory lane and find out about the man she never knew.

Arriving in the sleepy little Dartmoor village, she’s shocked to discover that she’s inherited the cosy little cottage she remembers so fondly, a whole load of money – and her father’s adorable dog, too!

Head to snow-covered Devon! And as the first snowflakes begin to fall and Holly bumps into her gorgeous neighbour, Jack Nelson, life gets even more complicated! Men have always been off the cards for high-flying Holly, but there’s something about mysterious writer Jack that has her re-thinking her three-date rule…

hello goodbye and everything in between

Hello, Goodbye and Everything In Between by Jennifer E. Smith

Blurb:

One night. A life-changing decision. And a list…

Of course Clare made a list. She creates lists for everything. That’s just how she is.

But tonight is Clare and Aidan’s last night before college and this list will decide their future, together or apart.

It takes them on a rollercoaster ride through their past – from the first hello in science class to the first conversation at a pizza joint, their first kiss at the beach and their first dance in a darkened gymnasium – all the way up to tonight.

A night of laughs, fresh hurts, last-minute kisses and an inevitable goodbye.

But will it be goodbye forever or goodbye for now?

winter's fairytale

Winter’s Fairytale by Maxine Morrey

I’m really enjoying this book, it’s such a lovely Christmassy book that’s perfect for this cold, wintery weather.

Blurb:

A few weeks before Christmas and a sudden blanketing of snow has closed the roads and brought public transport grinding to a halt, stranding Izzy miles from home and in desperate need of rescuing.

That doesn’t mean she’s looking to bump into Rob and spend a cosy weekend holed up in his swanky flat watching London become a winter wonderland! Because Izzy and Rob have history…

Six months ago, they were standing in the vestry of a beautiful country church, while best man Rob delivered the news that every bride dreads on their big day.

But at the time of year when anything is possible, can Rob and Izzy let go of the past and let Christmas work its magic? Or will this be one holiday wish that Izzy lets walk right out of her life…

Lost Girls by Angela Marsons

Lost Girls by Angela Marsons

This book is brilliant, it’s one of those books that’s really hard to put down once you start reading.

Blurb:

Two girls go missing. Only one will return.

The couple that offers the highest amount will see their daughter again. The losing couple will not. Make no mistake. One child will die.

When nine-year-old best friends Charlie and Amy disappear, two families are plunged into a living nightmare. A text message confirms the unthinkable; that the girls are the victims of a terrifying kidnapping.

And when a second text message pits the two families against each other for the life of their children, the clock starts ticking for D.I. Kim Stone and the squad.

Seemingly outwitted at every turn, as they uncover a trail of bodies, Stone realises that these ruthless killers might be the most deadly she has ever faced. And that their chances of bringing the girls home alive, are getting smaller by the hour…

Untangling a dark web of secrets from the families’ past might hold the key to solving this case. But can Kim stay alive long enough to do so? Or will someone’s child pay the ultimate price?

A Notable Woman

A Notable Woman ed. by Simon Garfield

I keep dipping in and out of this book as I just want it to last as long as possible, it’s wonderful.

Blurb:

In April 1925, Jean Lucey Pratt started a journal that she would keep for the rest of her life, producing over a million words in 45 exercise books. 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 her life with aching honesty, infectious humour, indelicate gossip and heartrending hopefulness. She recorded her yearnings and disappointments in love. 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 the shifting landscape for women in society. A unique slice of living, breathing British history, Jean’s diaries are a revealing chronicle of life in the twentieth century.


What I recently finished reading: 

(Click the titles in the list below the pics to read my reviews and to find out more about the books)

how to stuff up christmas   The Boy in the Bookshop   the boy at the beach   What Rosie Found Next   wendy darling

How to Stuff Up Christmas by Rosie Blake

The Boy in the Bookshop: Short Story (Meet Cute series) by Katey Lovell

The Boy at the Beach: Short Story (Meet Cute series) by Katey Lovell 

What Rosie Found Next by Helen J. Rolfe

Wendy Darling by Colleen Oakes


What I plan on reading next:

the silent dead

The Silent Dead by Claire McGowan (Due to be published 19th November)

I can barely wait to start this one, I absolutely love this series and can’t wait to see what’s happening with Paula Maguire!

Blurb:

Victim: Male. Mid-thirties. 5’7″.

Cause of death: Hanging. Initial impression – murder.

ID: Mickey Doyle. Suspected terrorist and member of the Mayday Five.

The officers at the crime scene know exactly who the victim is.
Doyle was one of five suspected bombers who caused the deaths of sixteen people.
The remaining four are also missing and when a second body is found, decapitated, it’s clear they are being killed by the same methods their victims suffered.
Forensic psychologist Paula Maguire is assigned the case but she is up against the clock – both personally and professionally.
With moral boundaries blurred between victim and perpetrator, will be Paula be able to find those responsible? After all, even killers deserve justice, don’t they?

the secret by the lake

The Secret by the Lake by Louise Douglas (Due to be published 19th November)

I’m on the blog tour for this book so my review won’t be up until a week after publication day but I can’t wait any longer to start reading this book. It sounds so good and very intriguing!

Blurb:

A FAMILY TRAGEDY
Amy’s always felt like something’s been missing in her life. When a tragedy forces the family she works for as a nanny to retreat to a small lakeside cottage, she realises she cannot leave them now.
A SISTER’S SECRET
But Amy finds something unsettling about the cottage by the lake. This is where the children’s mother spent her childhood – and the place where her sister disappeared mysteriously at just seventeen.
A WEB OF LIES
Soon Amy becomes tangled in the missing sister’s story as dark truths begin rising to the surface. But can Amy unlock the secrets of the past before they repeat themselves?

sky lantern matt mikalatos

Sky Lantern by Matt Mikalatos (Due to be published 17th November)

The cover of this book is stunning. I’m sure this will be an emotional read but ultimately an uplifting one. I’m looking forward to starting it very soon.

Blurb:

Matt Mikalatos offers a poignant and compassionate look at a father’s relationship with his children, the healing power of a small act of kindness, and the certainty that even death can’t stop love in a deeply moving memoir inspired by a sky lantern with a scribbled note and the journey to find the child who wrote it.
Love you, Daddy. Miss you so much. Steph.
Steph scribbled those words on a sky lantern before sending it off to her father in heaven who had passed away from cancer. Halfway across the country, Steph’s lantern landed in Matt Mikalatos’s yard.
As a father of three daughters, Matt could not let Steph’s note go unanswered, so he posted an open letter to her on his blog. Matt never could have expected the viral response to his letter that led him on a journey to find Steph—and to bring healing to thousands of others in desperate need of the loving words of a father.
Filled with paternal wisdom and reflections on the relationship between a father­ and their child, Sky Lantern shows how the miraculous events that followed Matt finding the sky lantern in his yard—and the widespread and lasting impact his letter had—prove that the bond between a parent and their child is everlasting.

The Winter Wedding my pic

The Winter Wedding by Abby Clements (This book is out now!)

I’m a huge fan of Abby Clements, and I especially loved her last Christmas book so I’m beyond excited to read this one. I’m going to be starting it this week, and I just know that I’m in for a treat!

Blurb:

Hazel never set out to be a wedding planner. She was just helping her stressed sister Lila with cakes and décor for her big day. But when Lila and Ollie’s summer ceremony is a runaway success, with guests raving about the food and styling at the pretty venue, word about Hazel’s expertise soon spreads.

But Hazel’s clients expect the very best – she’s promised lawyers Gemma and Eliot a snow-covered castle in the Scottish Highlands, and laidback couple Josh and Sarah a bohemian beach wedding in a Caribbean paradise. But as weather, in-laws and wilful brides conspire against her, can Hazel get two very different couples to walk up two very different aisles to say ‘I do’? And will she find her own happy ending if she does?


What are you reading this Wednesday? What are you planning on reading next? Please share your links below if you’ve joined in with this meme on your blog. If you’re not a blogger then please share your answers in the comments below. 

Happy Reading! 

Review: The Boy at the Beach – Short Story (Meet Cute) by Katey Lovell

the boy at the beach

This is the second short story in Katey Lovell’s new Meet Cute series. I loved the first one because I can’t resist books or stories about bookshops (my review for that one is here). This second book was irresistible to me because it’s about two people who meet online. I met my husband on twitter many years ago so stories about couples who met online always interest me.

This story is a little different from the first one in that the majority of the story is about the two characters getting to know each other online, but it always feels absolutely believable that Lauren was beginning to fall for this boy through emails. I could feel the butterflies that Lauren had in the build up to her meeting Toby; she had already developed feelings for him and so badly wants to feel the same way when he’s standing in front of her, to find out if the chemistry they’ve felt through emails is there in real life. For me, this story had more depth to it than the first one because there is naturally more back story with them communicating online from the start.

The actual meet up is gorgeous. I reckon a few years from now these two could well be happily married and planning their whole lives together!

The amount of detail Katey packs into these short stories is incredible, she is such a talented writer. I’m not the biggest fan of short stories but these stories have me hooked, I found myself completely absorbed in this one. They are so succinctly written, it feels like it surely must have been longer than it was because it’s such a complete story – it has everything you could want in a meet cute!

I was very pleasantly surprised at just how different this story is to the first one, I did wonder if a series of very short stories all with the same theme of a meet cute might seem a little formulaic but I could not have been more wrong. Katey’s writing style is recognisable but beyond that this story is completely different. I can’t wait for the next one now!

This story cannot fail to make you feel smiley; it’s impossible for it not to give you a mood boost too so it’s perfect for a coffee break when you might want a little escape to a different place for ten minutes. I highly recommend this story, it’s fabulous! I rate it 10 out of 10.

The Boy at the Beach is available now on Amazon. The third story in this series, The Boy at the Bakery is available for pre-order on Amazon and is due to be published on 12th November.

Here are my reviews of The Boy in the Bookshop and The Boy Under the Mistletoe, two of the other short stories in this fab series.

Review: The Boy in the Bookshop – A Short Story (Meet Cute) by Katey Lovell

The Boy in the Bookshop

The Boy in the Bookshop is the first in a new series of short stories. I don’t normally buy single short stories but I just couldn’t resist giving this one a try; I’m utterly powerless to resist a book or short story set in a book shop and I’m so glad I picked this up, it’s gorgeous!

This is a very short read and is absolutely perfect for a coffee break. Katey has packed so much into this story, it’s wonderful. The Beautiful Books bookshop sounds amazing and I really want to go there. Jade works in the book shop, and the cute boy is a customer; it’s very succinctly written with all the detail you need to fall in love with the characters and the story itself. You’re left with such a warm, fuzzy feeling by the end of the story!

This is such a fabulous meet cute, I love Katey’s writing style and I can’t wait to read more by her. In fact, I’ve just been to Amazon and bought the second one in the series, and pre-ordered the third! I’m hooked on these Meet Cute books!

I rate this 10 out of 10.

The Boy in the Bookshop is out now and available from Amazon.

Here are my reviews of The Boy at the Beach and The Boy Under the Mistletoe, two of the other short stories in this fab series.