The A-Z of Books tag

I spotted the A-Z Book Tag on Pretty Purple Polka Dots blog this week and loved reading it so much that I simply had to join in and answer the questions myself!

 

Author You’ve Read the Most Books From

I’m not sure, there are quite a few prolific authors whose books I always read. I reckon it would probably be Enid Blyton as I adored her books when I was a child! Of all the authors I love as an adult it would probably be Sue Grafton or Peter Robinson as I love their series books and have read almost all of them.

Best Sequel Ever

I can’t think of a sequel that I would say is the best sequel ever but I adored The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce, which was a companion novel to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (which I also loved).

Currently Reading

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

My Favourite Manson Girl by Alison Umminger

Sockpuppet by Matthew Blakstad

The Treachery of Trains by Sylvia Ashby

 

Drink of Choice While Reading

It’d have to be either a cup of coffee or a bottle of water.

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E-Reader or Physical Book

I read both but due to my disability it is easier for me to read on my Kindle as it’s difficult for me to turn pages of a print book. So my answer is e-reader.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated in High School

It’d have to be Ron Weasley!

out of the darkness

Glad You Gave this Book a Chance

Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan. It wasn’t a book I’d heard of at the time but I was offered a chance to review it and I’m so very glad that I agreed because it is now one of my all-time favourite books. I’ve made it my mission to shout about this book every chance I get because it’s brilliant, I’ve recommended it to so many people and have bought copies to give as gifts.

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Hidden Gem Book

Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin. I’ve got to know Carol a little on social media so when it was announced that her novel was due to be published I immediately put myself forward to review it. I did it to support Carol because at the time I knew very little about this book. I don’t know that I would have discovered this book so soon had I not been a book blogger so this is another book that I’m championing every chance I get. It’s beautiful and magical and I want everyone to read it!

Rather Too Fondof Books-6

Important Moment in Your Reading Life

This is a tough one. I’m torn between sharing a childhood memory of reading or going with something more recent! I think actually starting this book blog last summer was a very important moment for me. I’ve wanted to do this for years and never had the confidence but then I found myself bed bound recovering from major surgery and I needed a project… and my book blog was born! My body recovered from the effects of surgery but the damage that had already been done beforehand is something I’m learning to live with but my blog has kept me sane through the really tough days. I’m housebound when my husband is at work as I can’t physically do anything independently anymore and blogging has given me a new lease of life. I don’t have time to dwell on what might have been because I’m too focused on writing about all the amazing books I’m lucky enough to read.

Just Finished

Tapestry by Elle Turner – a short story collection and I highly recommend it. I also just finished reading Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Hyde and it was brilliant!

Kind of Books You Won’t Read

I won’t read horror as I don’t like to be scared!

Longest Book You’ve Read

I’m not sure… I think maybe either Ulysses by James Joyce or The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber

Major Book Hangover

The Headmaster’s Wife by Thomas Christopher Greene. I read this book a couple of years ago but I can still remember the story so vividly. I can also remember how long it took me to move on from it and be able to get engrossed in another book afterwards, it had such a lasting impact on me.

Number of Bookcases You Own

I own two bookcases and three huge bookshelves.

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One Book You’ve Read Multiple Times

 

After You’d Gone by Maggie O’Farrell – I read it twice on the day it was released and I usually go back to it every couple of years.

Preferred Place to Read

In my comfy recliner armchair in my living room. I have a reading lamp behind me and opposite me in the room is my bookcase with all of my favourite books on it, and to the side of me is my TBR book case. Perfect!

Quote that Inspires You/Gives You all the Feels from a Book You’ve Read

“The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.”
― Alan Bennett, The History Boys

Reading Regret

I used to buy books faster than I could read them because I had a genuine fear of running out of books to read. I’ve now reached that tipping point age where I now know that I’m never going to have enough time to read all the books and that makes me feel quite melancholy and regretful at times.

Series You Started and Need to Finish

Sue Grafton’s alphabet series. I absolutely love this series but I know that the end is near because it’s getting ever closer to Z. I’ve deliberately slowed down reading these books because I’m dreading the point where there will be no more new novels!

Three of Your All-Time Favorite Books

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes

The Story of You by Julie Myerson

Unapologetic Fangirl For

Maggie O’Farrell – I always look forward to her books so much!

Very Excited for this Release more than All Others

I would have said This Must Be The Place by Maggie O’Farrell but I was very lucky to be sent a  review copy so have already read it. I’m still very excited for my hardback copy that I have on pre-order to arrive though! If I have to pick a book that’s not released yet I’d probably say To The Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey as I adored The Snow Child.

Worst Bookish Habit

This is a terrible confession but I do have a good explanation for it… I’ve become a spine breaker! Up until the last year I had honestly never broken a spine on a book EVER but now it’s a case of needs must. It’s very hard to read a print book when one hand is paralysed – I need to be able to hold a book open and turn the page one-handed and often this leads to accidental spine breaking. Sometimes a book is too hard to hold and I have to break the spine on purpose… eeeek! It took me a while to come to terms with this but as time goes on I feel less guilty about it because at the the end of the day books are for reading!

X Marks the Sport: Start on the Top Left of Your Shelf and Pick the 27th Book

I went along my favourites book case and the 27th book was… Where the Heart is by Billie Letts. The order of my books is unique to me – I know where every single book I own is in my house but I don’t alphabetise them or even keep the same genres together.

Your Latest Purchase

As If I Were a River by Amanda Saint and I’m really looking forward to reading it.

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Zzzzz-Snatcher Book (Last Book that Kept You up Way too late) 

This Must Be The Place by Maggie O’Farrell – I just didn’t want to put it down!

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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 (1 May)

 

 

 

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted

I’m linking this post up to Kimba’s Caffeinated Book Reviewer’s Sunday Blog Share.  


My husband had a week holiday from work this week so it’s been lovely having him home with me. We didn’t plan on doing much as it’s impossible to know how I’m going to be from one day to the next at the moment but it was nice just to have time together.

My pain levels are still up and down but I finally have an appointment to see a pain specialist this month. I’m hoping that he can help me.


My husband has been helping me re-design my blog this week – he’s taken some gorgeous photos of my books for me to use in my posts so I can’t wait to have a chance to use those. I’ve also registered RatherTooFondofBooks as my domain so my blog is now rathertoofondofbooks.com, which looks great and makes me smile to see it. I changed my blog to the new look last night and I’m very happy with it. It was a lot more work than I was expecting for various reasons but worth it.


This week I’ve managed to read three books:

The Real Book Thief by Ingrid Black

Shtum by Jem Lester

The Ice Twins by S. K. Tremayne


 I’ve blogged twelve times this week:

(Click the links if you’d like to read any of these posts)

Sunday:

Blog tour Q&A with Siobhan Macdonald (author of Twisted River)

Weekly Wrap-Up Post

Monday:

Review of Between You and Me by Lisa Hall

Tuesday: 

Review of The Second Love of My Life by Victoria Walters

Winner of my Rose’s Vintage ebook giveaway announcement post

Wednesday:

Guest Post by Sandra Nikolai (author of Fatal Whispers) about keeping one step ahead of readers when you’re a murder mystery writer

WWW Wednesday Post

Thursday:

Review of Twisted River by Siobhan MacDonald

Friday: 

Q&A with Greg Cope White (author of The Pink Marine)

Re-blog of my review of Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan

Saturday:

Stacking the Shelves Post

New Look for my Blog!


Coming up on my blog this week:

My monthly wrap-up post will be up either later today or tomorrow morning. I’ll also be joining in with WWW Wednesday, Stacking the Shelves on Saturday, and my Weekly Wrap-up on Sunday.

 


This is what I’m currently reading:

The Wacky Man by Lyn G. Ferrell

The Midnight Watch by David Dyer

The Children Act by Ian McEwan

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

This Secret We’re Keeping by Rebecca Done

Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke


 

 

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted

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: Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan

out of the darkness

 

 

Out of the Darkness is genuinely one of the best books I’ve read in years and will absolutely be in my top 10 books of this year!

It is an incredibly moving, and very beautiful novel about three women who are each dealing with a loss; it’s a really honest look at the ways people grieve and how it affects everyone around them, but it’s also about the way people heal after loss and the novel is ultimately a very uplifting read that brings real solace with it.

Jessica is heartbroken over the death of her mum, they were best friends and life just doesn’t feel worth anything to her anymore. She sleepwalks through the things she has to do but nothing is enjoyable to her, she just can’t see a way through life without her mum. Then one evening she meets Finn and the two of them just really connect. Finn is the first person to make Jess feel like there might be something to be happy about again and she hopes he will be in touch again after they go their separate ways the following morning.

Hannah attends the same bereavement group as Jess but she is completely closed down about her loss. She is grief-stricken and it’s affecting every aspect of her life, she is consumed with guilt but just can’t bring herself to share what has happened.

Alex has just moved to Brighton, and is now living in the house next to where the bereavement group is held. Soon after moving in strange things begin happening in her home and she starts to think the place is haunted.

One day, after the bereavement group, Jess faints outside and Alex and Hannah rush to help her and make sure she is okay. From this point the three women become friends and offer a much-needed support to each other. Their lives begin to become intwined and the psychic medium they later go and see together plays a huge part in the bond they form.

This novel is an exploration of how people deal with grief. Jess and Hannah both grieve differently for their losses loved ones but ultimately they relate to each other because they have both experienced loss. The three women have such different expectations when they begin to explore mediums and experts in the paranormal. Hannah wants to know her loved one is okay, Alex wants to know if her house is haunted and what she can do to be rid of the ghosts, and Jessica doesn’t really believe in any of it. Yet they all ultimately find comfort from what they learn. I found it fascinating how the idea of ghosts and the spirits that come through for psychic mediums were explored as one and the same thing in this novel. I think most of us think of ghosts as being a spooky or malevolent entity, and yet when we think of the possibly of an afterlife for lost loved ones, it is seen as a comforting concept. Katy Hogan has brought the two together as one thing, considering the idea that perhaps ghosts can be lost loved ones trying to contact or help those left behind. It gave me a lot to ponder over.

This is also a novel that really celebrates how wonderful and strong female friendship can be. Jess and Hannah meet at a bereavement group at the lowest points of their lives, and they meet Alex right after one of these meetings. They begin to let each other in to their respective lives and they form such a close bond very quickly, and the bond is never broken. To see women support each other was really lovely. There was never a moment of jealousy or cattiness between these women, it’s quite a rare thing in a novel. It was refreshing to see how their relationship to each other is bonded by how they support and look out for each other.

I deliberately took my time with this book and I read it slowly over quite a few days as I wanted to savour it and take it all in, I’m so glad I did as it gave me chance to really absorb what I was reading each day. This novel has so much depth to it and works on so many levels, it is such brilliant writing. The friendship between Jess, Alex and Hannah is a wonderful story in itself and gives the novel a grounding in reality that then makes the exploration of mediums and the afterlife much more intense and real. I think the biggest theme in this book though is the exploration of fate and destiny. From the very start of this book it felt like these women were destined to meet, like they were being brought together for a reason. I had no idea why but it just felt that way. Even Jess meeting Finn and him making her feel like she might be able to be happy again just seemed like either fate or like something was pushing them towards each other. This again gave me so much to think about because fate can be considered as just a series of coincidences that when we look back and see how things came together it seems like it was engineered that way, or it can be seen as our lost loved ones finding ways to point us in the direction we need to go in to find happiness again.

This novel can also be read on a very metaphorical and at times allegorical way, I loved the part of the book where Alex goes out on a boat called Guiding Light. It seemed like she was almost out of her own body and seeing the world from a different angle, and at the same time like she was receiving a message about the direction of her own life. I don’t want to post any spoilers for this novel so I’m being careful in what I write but I highly recommend taking your time with this novel so you can fully appreciate how much meaning and depth there is in it.

Out of the Darkness broke my heart in the first few chapters; I could feel Jess’s devastation at the loss of her mum. I wanted to reach through the pages of the book and tell her that in time she would feel better, that she would be able to deal with it once the rawness of her initial grief began to pass. I understood her feelings about visiting The Beacon to see a paranormal expert for the first time with Alex. I’m very like Jessica in that I’ve never really believed in an afterlife but then I still have moments where I can smell my mum’s perfume all of a sudden and it’s like she’s right there in the room, and just for that moment I stop and wonder. Perhaps it’s just a memory popping up but you can’t help but feel comforted when it happens, just like how Jess does.

Katy Hogan explores grief in such a beautiful and gentle way. She has written a book that will more than likely make you cry but it will ultimately leave you feeling healed. I wish I could put into words exactly how this book made me feel when I got to the end but I can’t seem to express it, it’s just the most amazing and brilliant novel and it made me feel better. I read this as an ebook but now so badly wish I had a paper copy so I could just hold it for a little while and then put it down where I can see it. I think I need a physical reminder in my home of all that this book stands for. It doesn’t shy away from death, it doesn’t take an easy road. At times the story turns in a way you don’t expect and it leaves you quite breathless. But ultimately this book makes death feel a lot less scary, and it makes the weight of grief feel that little bit easier to bear.

Out of the Darkness is absolutely going to be my book of the year. It’s both broken my heart and healed it; it was moving and beautiful and perfect. I’d rate it a hundred out of ten if I could, but as I can’t it’s a huge ten out of ten and it’s getting a very rare place on my favourites book shelf.

Out of the Darkness: A Tale of Love, Loss and Life After Death is out now and available from Amazon.

For more information about Katy and Out of the Darkness, check out her website here: http://www.outofthedarknessnovel.com


**This post is a re-blog of a review I originally posted on 4th November 2015**

My Top 10 Books of 2015!

top books copy

I’ve read 167 books this year, which isn’t quite as many as I normally read but it’s not bad considering I had major surgery in the summer and didn’t read anything at all for quite a few weeks. It was still very hard to get it down to a top ten though as I have read so many great books this year. I only started blogging at the start of September and I’ve compiled my top ten from books I’ve read over the whole year so some of these books don’t have reviews.

The first nine books in my list are in no particular order as they were all fab, and are all books that are still swirling around in my mind. There was one book that I read this year that simply had to be number one, so I have made a top pick this time around!

Here goes…

(The books that I’ve reviewed have clickable links underneath the images)

My Top 10 books of 2015

Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten

 

Suicide Notes for Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten

I read this book before I started my blog so I haven’t reviewed it but I’ve picked it for my top ten because I read it earlier this year and I can still remember the plot vividly and still think about the characters. Of all the thrillers I’ve read this year, this one was the best because it was so twisty that I just couldn’t work out who to trust or how it might end.


 

Isabelle Day Refuses to Die of a Broken Heart by Jane St. Anthony

Isabelle Day Refuses to Die of a Broken Heart by Jane St. Anthony

I requested this book on Net Galley soon after signing up as the title just jumped out at me. This is a YA/MG novel but, like all the best books written for young people, it explores things in a way that while seemingly simple, have a huge impact on the reader. This is a brilliant novel exploring loss and grief but is also an uplifting read.


 

Things We Have in Common by Tasha Kavanagh

Things We Have in Common by Tasha Kavanagh

This is another novel that I read before I started my blog so I haven’t reviewed it but even though it’s months after I read it, I still keep thinking about it and even though I know how it ends it’s definitely a book that I’d like to re-read at some point. This novel has one of the best endings, it’s so unsettling, but it works brilliantly.


 

The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink

The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink

This is one of the most beautiful and heart-breaking books I have read in a really long time. Cathy’s love for her brother shines off the page and I could feel her devastation at what happened to him. It’s a very moving read.


 

The Secret by the Lake by Louise Douglas

The Secret by the Lake by Louise Douglas

I read this novel quite recently and it’s made my top ten because I still feel unsettled by it. The story and the characters really got under my skin and I’m still thinking about the book even now. It had a similar effect on me as Du Maurier’s Rebecca; it unnerved me and yet I want to read it again and again (even though I’m generally someone who doesn’t like to be unnerved to the degree these books make me feel!).


 

The Theseus Paradox by David Videcette

The Theseus Paradox by David Videcette

I only finished this book a week or two before Christmas but it made my list because when I compared it to other contenders for my top ten, it just kept jumping out at me. It’s so different to anything I’ve read in a really long time. It made me think, it was thrilling from the first page to the last, and I really hope it becomes the first in a series!


 

Asking For It by Louise O'Neill

Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

This book is a prime example of why I never compile my top books of the year list until the very last day of the year. I only read this book over the last couple of days (and at the time of compiling this post I haven’t even finished writing my review of it!) but it had such an impact that it simply had to be in my list. This is a book I’ll be thinking about for a long time to come. It raises such important issues around rape, consent and the social media age we live in. It’s a book I urge everyone to read. It’s a disturbing read but a must-read all the same.


 

normal by graeme cameron

Normal by Graeme Cameron

This was one of those books that I just couldn’t put down. I have never read a book before where I was in the mind of a serial killer and yet he seemed like an okay sort of man. He appears normal except for when he’s killing people, and that messes with your head in such a clever way that this book will stay with you for such a long time after you’ve read it.


 

 

The Jazz Files by Fiona Veitch Smith

The Jazz Files by Fiona Veitch Smith

I was offered the chance to review this book for a blog tour and I am so glad that I said yes. I devoured this novel and absolutely adored it. It’s a mystery novel set in 1920s London and I loved everything about it. The author really captures the period so well and she has such feisty, believable characters that it was impossible to put down. It was one of only two books to be added to my favourites this year and I already can’t wait for the next in the series. I highly recommend reading this.


 

and my top book of 2015 is…

 

 

*drum roll*

 

 

Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan

Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan

This book is incredible! It’s a very moving exploration of grief that will make you cry but by the end you feel such a sense of solace. Hogan looks at the different ways people grieve and the ways people try to move on; this novel is one that can be read on so many different levels. It’s a book that I know I will re-read many times in the future; I got so much comfort from it and it’s one I simply had to own in print so I could have it on my favourites book shelf where I could see it. I honestly can’t recommend this novel highly enough!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 (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

Weekly Wrap-Up and Stacking the Shelves (7 November)

This week has flown by! I’ve had a lot going on in real life this week and so haven’t read quite as much as I would have liked to but I still have lots of bookish things to share with you today.

I started my blog on 19th August this year but didn’t post my first review until 9th September so I’m almost at my two month anniversary of my first book review on here. It was lovely to notice that this week I actually posted my 40th review! I do review every book I read but I hadn’t realised that I’d already reviewed so many. It’s given me a much-needed boost after a week of not-so great news in real life.

I decided this week to add a new page link to the menu at the top of my blog. It is a list of my all-time favourite books. Even before I was a blogger I had a favourites shelf on my Goodreads account and a real-life favourite bookshelf in my home, and I realised when I read an incredible book this week that I really wanted to make a feature out of those books that are in another league of special. The books that rate 10 out of 10 and have that extra magical something that makes you want to treasure that book forever and ever, and you want to shout from the rooftops that everyone should read it! I haven’t yet got the skills to make this part of my blog look super fancy so it’s a work in progress but at least it’s there and every author that makes that section of my blog is very highly honoured. Here’s a link to the page: My Favourite Books of All-TIme! I also have a sideshow in my side-bar showing a loop of covers of the all-time favourite books!

This led me on to the realisation that as I’m a newbie blogger I’ve so far only reviewed one book that is on my favourites book shelf. So, for now I’m adding a list of my favourite books and ideally I’d like to re-read them all and do proper reviews. I don’t have time to do that as well as keep up with new books so I’m thinking i might start a mini reviews section on my blog where I share the blurb of a book and a few words about what it meant to me. This would just be for books on my favourites shelf so that you can all start to see why I love these books so much.


Also on my blog this week:

I currently have a fabulous giveaway (UK only) running for a gorgeous prize courtesy of Katy Hogan.

KATY HOGAN PRIZE GIVEAWAY

Katy Hogan has very kindly offered me this fabulous prize package so that I can run a giveaway. The giveaway is UK only this time. The prize is for one paperback copy of Out of the Darkness, a gorgeous Yankee Candle and a box of chocolates from Hotel Chocolat. 

Please click here to read my review of this incredible book and to find the link to enter the giveaway. Good luck!



This week I have read four books and have posted reviews on all of them. (Click on the titles in the list below the pics to read my reviews)

out of the darkness   12080721_10208053670124026_1305089176_n  time to die  how to stuff up christmas

Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan (This book is the first book I’ve read since I started reviewing that has made it on to my all-time favourites shelf, it’s an incredible novel and I can’t recommend it highly enough)

The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin

Time to Die by Caroline Mitchell

How To Stuff Up Christmas by Rosie Blake


stacking-the-shelves

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

Books I’ve bought this week: 

the marble collector   katherine carlyle   night owlsabout sisterland   The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet   Indecent Acts by Nick Brooks   The Storytellers by Laurisa White Reyes  Snowdrops at the Star and Sixpence by Holly Hepburn  The Prodigal by Nicky Black

The Marble Collector by Cecelia Ahern

Katherine Carlyle by Rupert Thomson

Night Owls by Jenn Bennett

About Sisterland by Martina Devlin

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Indecent Acts by Nick Brooks

The Storytellers by Laurisa White Reyes

Snowdrops at the Star and Sixpence by Holly Hepburn

The Prodigal by Nicky Black

ARCS I’ve received this week:

The Winter Wedding   look at me sarah duguid  Dead Pretty by David Mark  The Stylist by Rosie Nixon   The Secret by the Lake by Louise Douglas  The Mince Pie Mix-Up by Jennifer Joyce   Follow Me by Angela Clarke   Don't Jump by Vicki Abelson

The Winter Wedding by Abby Clements (Paperback)

Look At Me Sarah Duguid (Paperback)

Dead Pretty by David Mark (ebook)

The Stylist by Rosie Nixon (ebook)

The Secret by the Lake by Louise Douglas (ebook)

The Mince Pie Mix-Up by Jennifer Joyce (ebook)

Follow Me by Angela Clarke (ebook)

Don’t Jump by Vicki Abelson (ebook)

Also, I won this lovely signed book in a giveaway this week. It’s How to be Brave by Louise Beech and I can’t wait to read it.

IMG_3031   IMG_3032

WWW Wednesday (4th 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:

Lost Girls by Angela Marsons

Lost Girls by Angela Marsons (Due to be published 6th November 2015) I started reading this book yesterday and it’s so good. It’s one of those books that’s really hard to put down once you’ve started 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?

What Rosie Found Next

What Rosie Found Next by Helen Rolfe (Out now) I started reading this book yesterday too and am really enjoying it. I’m on the blog tour for this book so my review will be posted as part of that on 9th November.

Blurb:

A shaky upbringing has left Rosie Stevens craving safety and security. She thinks she knows exactly what she needs to make her life complete – the stable job and perfect house-sit she’s just found in Magnolia Creek. The only thing she wants now is for her long-term boyfriend, Adam, to leave his overseas job and come home for good.
Owen Harrison is notoriously nomadic, and he roars into town on his Ducati for one reason and one reason only – to search his parents’ house while they’re away to find out what they’ve been hiding from him his entire life. When he meets Rosie, who refuses to quit the house-sit in his parents’ home, sparks fly.
Secrets are unearthed, promises are broken, friendships are put to the test and the real risk of bushfires under the hot Australian sun threatens to undo Rosie once and for all.
Will Rosie and Owen be able to find what they want or what they really need?

the single feather ruth hunt

The Single Feather by Ruth F. Hunt (Out now) I just picked this book up a little while ago and am really intrigued by it, I’m looking forward to reading more!

Blurb:

Rachel had to escape from where she was living, and that was hard enough, but now the 31 year old, paraplegic has to regain her independence and feel accepted in her new town. The problem is to do that, she feels she has to hide how and why she got injured and her recent experiences with the ‘guards’.
She joins an art group, unaware her fellow members also have secrets. As tension rises and the group splits into factions, with the ever-present possibility of being returned to her former life, Rachel realises to move on means confronting her past.

how to stuff up christmas

How to Stuff Up Christmas by Rosie Blake (Due to be published 5th November 2015) I started reading this at the weekend and am very much enjoying it. I’m a little slower reading it purely because it’s a paperback rather than a kindle copy so it’s a bit harder for me to hold and read due to my disability. It’s a fab book though, I definitely recommend buying it tomorrow!

Blurb:

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

A Notable Woman

A Notable Woman ed. by Simon Garfield (Due to be published on 5th November 2015) I started reading this book last week and am thoroughly enjoying it. It’s such a beautiful and fascinating read, I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s a long book and I want to take my time to read it and savour it all.

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 more about the books)

out of the darkness   time to die   12080721_10208053670124026_1305089176_n   written in the scars   merry mistletoe

Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan I am currently running a giveaway where you can win one paperback copy of this book plus a gorgeous Yankee candle and a box of chocolates from Hotel Chocolat. Please click on my review to find out how to enter!

Time to Die by Caroline Mitchell

The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin

Written in the Scars by Mel Sherratt

Merry Mistletoe by Emma Davies


What I plan on reading next:

winter's fairytale

Winter’s Fairytale by Maxine Morrey (Due to be published on 10th November 2015)

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…

for the record

For the Record by Charlotte Huang (Due to be published 10th November 2015)

Blurb:

Chelsea thought she knew what being a rock star was like . . . until she became one. After losing a TV talent show, she slid back into small-town anonymity. But one phone call changed everything

Now she’s the lead singer of the band Melbourne, performing in sold-out clubs every night and living on a bus with three gorgeous and talented guys. The bummer is that the band barely tolerates her. And when teen hearthrob Lucas Rivers take an interest in her, Chelsea is suddenly famous, bringing Melbourne to the next level—not that they’re happy about that. Her feelings for Beckett, Melbourne’s bassist, are making life even more complicated.

Chelsea only has the summer tour to make the band—and their fans—love her. If she doesn’t, she’ll be back in Michigan for senior year, dying a slow death. The paparazzi, the haters, the grueling schedule . . . Chelsea believed she could handle it. But what if she can’t?

what happens at christmas

What Happens at Christmas by T. A. Williams (Out Now) I’m part of the blog tour for this book so my review will be posted as part of that in a couple of weeks time.

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…


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! 

ENDED! Review & Giveaway of Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan

out of the darkness

EDIT: The Giveaway associated with this posted has ended!

Out of the Darkness is genuinely one of the best books I’ve read in years and will absolutely be in my top 10 books of this year!

it is an incredibly moving, and very beautiful novel about three women who are each dealing with a loss; it’s a really honest look at the ways people grieve and how it affects everyone around them, but it’s also about the way people heal after loss and the novel is ultimately a very uplifting read that brings real solace with it.

Jessica is heartbroken over the death of her mum, they were best friends and life just doesn’t feel worth anything to her anymore. She sleepwalks through the things she has to do but nothing is enjoyable to her, she just can’t see a way through life without her mum. Then one evening she meets Finn and the two of them just really connect. Finn is the first person to make Jess feel like there might be something to be happy about again and she hopes he will be in touch again after they go their separate ways the following morning.

Hannah attends the same bereavement group as Jess but she is completely closed down about her loss. She is grief-stricken and it’s affecting every aspect of her life, she is consumed with guilt but just can’t bring herself to share what has happened.

Alex has just moved to Brighton, and is now living in the house next to where the bereavement group is held. Soon after moving in strange things begin happening in her home and she starts to think the place is haunted.

One day, after the bereavement group, Jess faints outside and Alex and Hannah rush to help her and make sure she is okay. From this point the three women become friends and offer a much-needed support to each other. Their lives begin to become intwined and the psychic medium they later go and see together plays a huge part in the bond they form.

This novel is an exploration of how people deal with grief. Jess and Hannah both grieve differently for their losses loved ones but ultimately they relate to each other because they have both experienced loss. The three women have such different expectations when they begin to explore mediums and experts in the paranormal. Hannah wants to know her loved one is okay, Alex wants to know if her house is haunted and what she can do to be rid of the ghosts, and Jessica doesn’t really believe in any of it. Yet they all ultimately find comfort from what they learn. I found it fascinating how the idea of ghosts and the spirits that come through for psychic mediums were explored as one and the same thing in this novel. I think most of us think of ghosts as being a spooky or malevolent entity, and yet when we think of the possibly of an afterlife for lost loved ones, it is seen as a comforting concept. Katy Hogan has brought the two together as one thing, considering the idea that perhaps ghosts can be lost loved ones trying to contact or help those left behind. It gave me a lot to ponder over.

This is also a novel that really celebrates how wonderful and strong female friendship can be. Jess and Hannah meet at a bereavement group at the lowest points of their lives, and they meet Alex right after one of these meetings. They begin to let each other in to their respective lives and they form such a close bond very quickly, and the bond is never broken. To see women support each other was really lovely. There was never a moment of jealousy or cattiness between these women, it’s quite a rare thing in a novel. It was refreshing to see how their relationship to each other is bonded by how they support and look out for each other.

I deliberately took my time with this book and I read it slowly over quite a few days as I wanted to savour it and take it all in, I’m so glad I did as it gave me chance to really absorb what I was reading each day. This novel has so much depth to it and works on so many levels, it is such brilliant writing. The friendship between Jess, Alex and Hannah is a wonderful story in itself and gives the novel a grounding in reality that then makes the exploration of mediums and the afterlife much more intense and real. I think the biggest theme in this book though is the exploration of fate and destiny. From the very start of this book it felt like these women were destined to meet, like they were being brought together for a reason. I had no idea why but it just felt that way. Even Jess meeting Finn and him making her feel like she might be able to be happy again just seemed like either fate or like something was pushing them towards each other. This again gave me so much to think about because fate can be considered as just a series of coincidences that when we look back and see how things came together it seems like it was engineered that way, or it can be seen as our lost loved ones finding ways to point us in the direction we need to go in to find happiness again.

This novel can also be read on a very metaphorical and at times allegorical way, I loved the part of the book where Alex goes out on a boat called Guiding Light. It seemed like she was almost out of her own body and seeing the world from a different angle, and at the same time like she was receiving a message about the direction of her own life. I don’t want to post any spoilers for this novel so I’m being careful in what I write but I highly recommend taking your time with this novel so you can fully appreciate how much meaning and depth there is in it.

Out of the Darkness broke my heart in the first few chapters; I could feel Jess’s devastation at the loss of her mum. I wanted to reach through the pages of the book and tell her that in time she would feel better, that she would be able to deal with it once the rawness of her initial grief began to pass. I understood her feelings about visiting The Beacon to see a paranormal expert for the first time with Alex. I’m very like Jessica in that I’ve never really believed in an afterlife but then I still have moments where I can smell my mum’s perfume all of a sudden and it’s like she’s right there in the room, and just for that moment I stop and wonder. Perhaps it’s just a memory popping up but you can’t help but feel comforted when it happens, just like how Jess does.

Katy Hogan explores grief in such a beautiful and gentle way. She has written a book that will more than likely make you cry but it will ultimately leave you feeling healed. I wish I could put into words exactly how this book made me feel when I got to the end but I can’t seem to express it, it’s just the most amazing and brilliant novel and it made me feel better. I read this as an ebook but now so badly wish I had a paper copy so I could just hold it for a little while and then put it down where I can see it. I think I need a physical reminder in my home of all that this book stands for. It doesn’t shy away from death, it doesn’t take an easy road. At times the story turns in a way you don’t expect and it leaves you quite breathless. But ultimately this book makes death feel a lot less scary, and it makes the weight of grief feel that little bit easier to bear.

Out of the Darkness is absolutely going to be my book of the year. It’s both broken my heart and healed it; it was moving and beautiful and perfect. I’d rate it a hundred out of ten if I could, but as I can’t it’s a huge ten out of ten and it’s getting a very rare place on my favourites book shelf.

Out of the Darkness: A Tale of Love, Loss and Life After Death is out now and available from Amazon.

For more information about Katy and Out of the Darkness, check out her website here: http://www.outofthedarknessnovel.com


PLEASE NOTE: The giveaway below has now ended. You can find out who the winner was here.


GIVEAWAY BANNER! copy

KATY HOGAN PRIZE GIVEAWAY

Katy Hogan has very kindly offered me this fabulous prize package so that I can run a giveaway. The giveaway is UK only this time. The prize is for one paperback copy of Out of the Darkness, a gorgeous Yankee Candle and a box of chocolates from Hotel Chocolat. 

To enter, please click HERE to be taken to the Rafflecopter page

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

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

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

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


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

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

What We Left Behind by Robin Talley

The Record Store of the Mind by Josh Rosenthal

Merry Mistletoe by Emma Davies

Written in the Scars by Mel Sherratt


I’m currently reading:

12080721_10208053670124026_1305089176_n

The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin

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

Blurb:

Le Vie En Rose

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

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

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

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

time to die

Time to Die by Caroline Mitchell

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

Blurb:

He Will Predict you life… and your death.

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

A Notable Woman

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

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

Blurb:

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

out of the darkness

Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan

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

Blurb:

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

how to stuff up christmas

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

Blurb:

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


stacking-the-shelves

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

Books I’ve bought this week:

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

Home is Burning: A Memoir by Dan Marshall

The Witches: Salem 1692 by Stacy Schiff

Bones in the Nest by Helen Cadbury

Muse by Jonathan Galassi

Sunday Dinners by Jon Rance

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

Arcs I’ve received:

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

The Widow by Fiona Barton (paperback)

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

The Heart of Winter by Emma Hannifin (paperback)

The Day of Second Chances by Julie Cohen (ebook)

In Real Life by Jessica Love (ebook)

Lost Girls by Angela Marsons (ebook)

This Raging Light by Estelle Laure (ebook)

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


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

More info in this pic:

BookoutureThriller

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

BookoutureThriller books

WWW Wednesdays (28 October)

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:

written in the scars

Written in the Scars by Mel Sherratt

I started reading this yesterday and am very much enjoying it. Mel Sherratt’s books never disappoint! Written in the Scars is out on Friday.

Blurb:

Scars. Sometimes they’re visible. Sometimes they’re hidden deep within.
After years of living as a single parent, all Donna Adams longs for is someone to make her smile, to share hopes and dreams with, to keep her warm at night. But when that certain someone gives her the attention she craves, true love doesn’t always follow the right path.
Home from the army, Lewis is a changed man. Angry and consumed by grief, troubled by nightmares and flashbacks, his mind is worse now than ever. Shutting out what he’s seen isn’t easy, but he risks losing everything he’s come back to if he doesn’t, including his sanity.
Megan Cooper hides her scars for fear of being rejected. Mary Marshall can’t always remember how she got hers.
If the past could be erased to make a better future, we’d all want that, wouldn’t we? But life is never that easy for the residents of The Mitchell Estate…
WRITTEN IN THE SCARS is the fourth book in The Estate Series but each one can be read as a standalone novel.

out of the darkness

Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan

I started reading this a couple of days ago and just want to savour it so I’m deliberately trying to read it slowly. I’m hoping to review this next week at some point so look out for my review.

Blurb:

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

merry mistletoe

Merry Mistletoe by Emma Davies

I started reading this book late last night and plan on finishing it this morning, it’s such a lovely Christmas read.

Blurb:

Sherbourne Mistletoe has been prized and sold at the annual Mistletoe Fair for over a hundred years; but could this year possibly be the last? With her father’s sudden death and debts mounting up it looks as though Freya’s only hope for the future is to sell her beloved family home. And to make matters worse, the only contenders to buy Appleyard Farm, are the people she’d least like to sell it to – her rival growers, the Henderson brothers, who seem always to make life so difficult for her.
It’s magical stuff though, mistletoe, and the arrival of the mysterious Amos Fry, brings a glimmer of hope that might just mean Freya can fall in love with Christmas all over again.
As the snow begins to fall, cosy up and find your sparkle this Christmas with another big-hearted, and wonderfully warm read from the author of Letting in Light.

A Notable Woman

A Notable Woman by Jean Lucey Pratt

I’ve only read the very beginning of this book but I can tell it’s going to be a brilliant read. I can’t wait to read more!

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.


I recently finished reading…

record store of the mind

The Record Store of the Mind by Josh Rosenthal

This is a great celebration of music and was a chance for me to learn about some artists I’d not heard of before. I highly recommend it! Click the link above to read my review.

Blurb:

Grammy-nominated producer and Tompkins Square label founder Josh Rosenthal presents his first book, The Record Store of the Mind. Part memoir, part “music criticism”, the author ruminates over unsung musical heroes, reflects on thirty years of toil and fandom in the music business, and shamelessly lists some of the LPs in his record collection. Crackling with insightful untold stories, The Record Store of the Mind will surely delight and inspire passionate music lovers … especially those who have spent way too many hours in record stores.

Celebrating ten years in 2015, Rosenthal’s San Francisco-based independent record label Tompkins Square has received seven Grammy nominations and wide acclaim for its diverse catalog of new and archival recordings.

snowflakes at silver cove

Snowflakes on Silver Cove by Holly Martin

I adored this book, it was wonderful to be back in White Cliff Bay. It’s a great story with a mix of Christmas romance and brilliant humour.

Blurb:
Libby Joseph is famous for her romantic Christmas stories. Every December, readers devour her books of falling in love against the magical backdrop of the Christmas season. If only Libby believed in the magic herself…
Struggling to finish her current novel, Libby turns to her best friend and neighbour George Donaldson to cheer her up. But George also needs a bit of support himself. Nervous about getting back into the dating saddle after splitting from his wife, he and Libby strike a deal. She will teach George how to win over the ladies, and Libby will in turn be inspired to inject her novel with a good dose of romance.
As Libby and George explore the beautiful White Cliff Bay on a series of romantic Christmas-themed dates, Libby finds herself having more fun than she’s had in ages and…discovers feelings that she never knew she had for George.
But is it too late? Will George win someone else’s heart or can Libby act like the heroine in one of her stories and reach for her own love under the mistletoe this Christmas?
Snuggle up with a piece of Christmas cake and mulled wine, and spend the festive season at White Cliff Bay. You won’t want to leave! Christmas at Lilac Cottage also out now.


What I’ll be reading next:

12080721_10208053670124026_1305089176_n

The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin

I’m lucky enough to be on the blog tour for this book so my review will be posted on the 2nd November so please keep an eye out for it.

Le Vie En Rose

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

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

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

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

A deliciously feel-good Christmas romance perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson and Julia Williams

how to be brave katherine

How to be Brave by E. Katherine Kottaras

Reeling from her mother’s death, Georgia has a choice: become lost in her own pain, or enjoy life right now, while she still can. She decides to start really living for the first time and makes a list of fifteen ways to be brave – all the things she’s wanted to do but never had the courage to try. As she begins doing the things she’s always been afraid to do – including pursuing her secret crush, she discovers that life doesn’t always go according to plan. Sometimes friendships fall apart and love breaks your heart. But once in a while, the right person shows up just when you need them most – and you learn that you’re stronger and braver than you ever imagined.

meet me in manhattan

Meet Me in Manhattan by Claudia Carroll

I’ve been looking forward to this book since I first heard about it earlier this year. I actually pre-ordered it as soon as that was an option but when I was offered a review copy I couldn’t resist so I’ll be reading this very soon!

Blurb:

In a New York minute, everything can change …

You don’t mess with aspiring journalist Holly Johnson! The man she fell for is not all that he seems – because sometimes dating online doesn’t quite go to plan. She’s decided to fly to the Big Apple to surprise him and to get some answers. And if her plan works she’ll also get the scoop of her career …

But as she steps out of her yellow taxi and the first snowflakes start to fall, it’s Holly who has the surprise of her life.

What should be a dream come true is looking a little like a nightmare. But Holly is determined to get her New York happy ending!

My Weekly Wrap Up and Stacking the Shelves

This week has flown by, I can’t believe it’s Saturday already and time for my weekly wrap up!

#BC banner

Lots has been happening this week and my blog is probably the busiest it’s ever been to date! I’m part of the fabulous publisher Bookouture’s Christmas week over on twitter. Every day between the 22nd and 27th October fifteen bloggers, including me, are posting reviews, guest posts, Q&As and giveaways all to do with Bookouture’s Christmas books.

Here are the links to my posts so far. Please check them out and enter the great giveaways for a chance to win some ebooks.

Bookouture Christmas Week

Bella’s Christmas Bake Off by Sue Watson

One Wish in Manhattan by Mandy Baggot

And here’s a page where you can go straight to the giveaways (I have more giveaways in the coming days so will keep updating this link so please check it out:

Giveaway Page (BookoutureXmas)

BC BOOKS BANNER (MINE) copy


This week I read four books (click the links to read my reviews):

One Wish in Manhattan  get yourself organized for christmas  Christmas wishes and mistletoe kisses  snowflakes at silver cove

One Wish in Manhattan by Mandy Baggot

Get Yourself Organized for Christmas by Kathi Lipp

Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale

Snowflakes in Silver Cove by Holly Martin (review will be on my blog on Monday 26th October)


I’m currently reading:

robin talley what we left behind

What We Left Behind by Robin Talley

I’m still reading this one and very much enjoying it. I had to focus on other books for review this week to meet a deadline but now I’m planning on spending the weekend reading this.

Blurb:

From the critically acclaimed author of Lies We Tell Ourselves comes an emotional, empowering story of what happens when love isn’t enough to conquer all.
Toni and Gretchen are the couple everyone envied in high school. They’ve been together forever. They never fight. They’re deeply, hopelessly in love. When they separate for their first year at college—Toni to Harvard and Gretchen to NYU—they’re sure they’ll be fine. Where other long-distance relationships have fallen apart, their relationship will surely thrive.
The reality of being apart, however, is a lot different than they expected. As Toni, who identifies as genderqueer, falls in with a group of transgender upperclassmen and immediately finds a sense of belonging that has always been missing, Gretchen struggles to remember who she is outside their relationship.
While Toni worries that Gretchen, who is not trans, just won’t understand what is going on, Gretchen begins to wonder where she fits in Toni’s life. As distance and Toni’s shifting gender identity begins to wear on their relationship, the couple must decide—have they grown apart for good, or is love enough to keep them together?

record store of the mind

The Record Store of the Mind by Josh Rosenthal

I started reading this yesterday and it’s very good. Anyone who loves, or has ever loved, listening to music on vinyl should go buy this book when it’s released soon.

Blurb:

“Josh Rosenthal is a record man’s record man. He is also a musician’s record man. He is in the line of Samuel Charters and Harry Smith. In this age where we have access to everything and know the value of nothing, musicians need people like Josh to hear them when no one else can.”
– T Bone Burnett
Grammy-nominated producer and Tompkins Square label founder Josh Rosenthal presents his first book, The Record Store of the Mind. Part memoir, part “music criticism,” the author ruminates over unsung musical heroes, reflects on thirty years of toil and fandom in the music business, and shamelessly lists some of the LPs in his record collection. Crackling with insightful untold stories, The Record Store of the Mind will surely delight and inspire passionate music lovers … especially those who have spent way too many hours in record stores.
Celebrating ten years in 2015, Rosenthal’s San Francisco-based independent record label Tompkins Square has received seven Grammy nominations and wide acclaim for its diverse catalog of new and archival recordings.

Books I plan on reading this week:

out of the darkness

Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan

I was offered the chance to review this book and I couldn’t resist, it sounds like an excellent read. I’ve been so looking forward to reading it and am really hoping I can start it early next week.

Blurb:

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

A Notable Woman

A Notable Woman: The Romantic Journals of Jean Lucey Pratt edited by Simon Garfield

This is a review copy that I was lucky enough to receive recently, it’s a long book so I expect to be reading it over the next few weeks but it sounds wonderful.

Blurb:

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


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:

aristotle and dante  city on fire  one sarah crossan  a miracle at macys

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg

One by Sarah Crossan

A Miracle at Macy’s by Lynn Marie Hulsman

ARCS I’ve received this week:

how to stuff up christmas  rest of your life   written in the scars   winters fairytale

How To Stuff Up Christmas by Rosie Blake

The Rest of My Life by Sheryl Browne

Written in the Scars by Mel Sherratt

Winter’s Fairytale by Maxine Morrey

Competition Prize:

Christmas Jumper

I was very excited to win a Harper Impulse ebook in a competition last week and even more excited when the book arrived on my Kindle and it was a book I’ve been dying to read. The book is Never Kiss A Man in a Christmas Jumper by Debbie Johnson. Isn’t that just the BEST title for a book? I’m sure it’s going it be a fab read!


So, that’s my week in books! What have you read this week? Have you bought any books that you can’t wait to read? Have you any other book-related news to share? Please tell me in the comments below! 🙂