This Week in Books (5 June 2019)!

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

 

Now

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

This is one of my picks for my 20 Books of Summer and is the one I wanted to prioritise so I picked this up on Monday. It’s really drawn me in and I’m definitely hooked. I’m reading a heavy hardback and the font is quite small for my poor eyes so this is a book I’ll take my time with but I’m very much enjoying it!

What Red Was by Rosie Price

I’ve had an ARC of this on my TBR for a few months now and I finally picked it up this week. I’m really enjoying this book and am intrigued to see what’s going to happen.

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

I just started listening to the audio book of this yesterday but I’m finding it a really interesting, albeit very sad, listen. I’ve heard so much about this book so I’m glad to be getting to it now.

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep

I’ve been wanting to read this one for a while so couldn’t resist starting it yesterday. I didn’t know anything about the case in the book until I started reading and it’s utterly horrifying. I’m interested to see how Harper Lee became interested in the case.

The Lost Properties of Love by Sophie Ratcliffe

I’m very much enjoying this book, it’s a really beautiful and thoughtful book and one that I want to read slowly to really appreciate it.

 

Then

The Friend Who Lied by Rachel Amphlett

This was my first Rachel Amphlett and it definitely won’t be the last! I was intrigued by the opening chapter, and that feeling of wanting to know what was going on and what had happened in the past was there throughout the book. It was a really good read! I’ll be reviewing this one for the blog tour later this month!

I Heart Hawaii by Lindsey Kelk

This was such a fitting finale for this much-loved series. I reviewed this yesterday so you can read my full thoughts here.

The Sea Refuse No River by Bethany Rivers

This is a beautiful poetry collection that I found very moving. I’ll be reading it again before I finish my review but in the meantime I recommend it.

Horizontal Collaboration by Navie

This is a graphic novel set during the second world war and I found it a really moving book.

I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney

I was eagerly anticipating this novel as I loved Alice Feeney’s previous book (my review of Sometimes I Lie is here). I really enjoyed the first three quarters of this novel but I didn’t like the ending so I’m still weighing up how I feel about this book.

The Space Between Time by Charlie Laidlaw

This novel took me a chapter or so to feel like I was invested in it but once I got grabbed by it I honestly couldn’t put it down. It’s novel that really struck a chord with me and it’s one that will stay with me. I’ll be reviewing this soon.

We Must Be Brave by Frances Liardet

I found this an enjoyable audiobook but I didn’t feel the emotional pull from it that I was expecting. I would still recommend it though as the writing is lovely.

 

Next

Histories by Sam Guglani

I’ve had this book on my TBR for way longer than I should have but I’ve made it one of my 20 Books of Summer so I’m planning on reading it next. It’s a short story collection about hospitals so I think it could be a moving read but also an interesting one.

After the End by Claire Macintosh

I got approved for this one on NetGalley just a few days ago and I can’t wait to read it, I’ve loved the author’s previous books and this one sounds brilliant! I really hope to get to it in the coming days.

Something to Live For by Richard Roper

I’ve been really keen to read this book ever since receiving an ARC so I’m going to try and pick it up this week.

 

 

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

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Book Review: I Heart Hawaii by Lindsey Kelk

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About the Book

When Angela Clark’s best friend Jenny invites her to join a press trip to Hawaii, three days of sun, sea and sleep sounds like the perfect antidote to her crazed life.

At work in New York, she’s supposed to be the face of Having It All. But the only thing Angela feels she excels at is hiding in the printer cupboard, eating Mini Cheddars and watching Netflix on her phone and if this is living the dream, she’s more than ready to wake up.

A few days away with Jenny sounds like exactly what she needs but Angela’s talent for getting into a scrape guarantees nothing goes to plan – and not even the most beautiful beaches, blue skies and daiquiris will get her off the hook…

 

My Thoughts

I have read and loved all of the I Heart… series and was really quite sad to discover that I Heart Hawaii is to be the last book. I’m very happy to say that it lives up to all the previous books though and is a fitting finale!

In I Heart Hawaii we catch up with Angela as she starts back at work, in a new job, following her maternity leave. She also gets invited to join a top mommy group and is immediately suspicious of why they want to recruit her. Jenny then invites Angela, plus their friend Louise, to join her on a work trip to Hawaii and it’s something they can’t refuse!

I Heart Hawaii had all the elements that I’ve loved in this series – humour mixed in with the occasional poignant moment. Angela is doing great as a new mum, and is as in love with her husband Alex as ever but she’s struggling to get everything done and to get back into professional mode. Jenny is as brilliant as ever – she is quite manically trying to pull together the few days in Hawaii to maximise the press and influencer coverage so her and Angela don’t get as much time together as had been hoped. The usual Jenny hi-jinx ensue when there’s a mishap with a firework but all’s well that ends well!

The ending of this book is sheer perfection. I don’t think I’ve ever shed tears over a contemporary fiction book before but I did cry towards the end of this book. The way Angela writes about friendship is so moving and so beautiful. It made me miss my best friend all over again.

I don’t know if this book would work as a standalone as I’m so invested in the series as a whole now – I suspect you probably would need to read the other books to really appreciate this one. It’s absolutely worth your time to start at the beginning though, it really is such a wonderful series!

I Heart Hawaii was a perfect end to a brilliant series, and is one I won’t forget. I’m sure I’ll re-visit Angela and Jenny one of these days as I love them too much not to!

Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book via NetGalley. All thoughts are my own.

I Heart Hawaii is out now and available here.

My New Book Haul | Stacking the Shelves (25 May 2019)!

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

 

Purchased eBooks

Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella

I love Sophie Kinsella’s writing and did originally get a copy of this through Pigeonhole but I couldn’t manage to read on my phone screen so I was delighted to find Surprise Me on the kindle daily deal this week. I’ll either read it on my kindle or I might also buy the audible version so I can listen. Either way I’m excited to get to this book!

Degrees of Guilt by H. S. Chandler

I read a fab review of this book on Kaisha’s blog (The Writing Garnet)  recently and just had to immediately buy a copy. I’m really looking forward to reading this book, I do love a thriller that gives you something to think about.

 

ARCs

A Modern Family by Helga Flatland

I forgot to put this book on my Stacking the Shelves post last week so I’m adding it now. I’m halfway through reading this already and I’m loving it. It’s a family drama told from different sibling’s perspectives and it’s so good, and so believable.

The Friend Who Lied by Rachel Amphlett

I also missed this one off my post last week so it’s also being added a week late. I am so looking forward to reading my first thriller by this author so think this may well be the next book I grab off my TBR.

The Lost Properties of Love by Sophie Ratcliffe

I was delighted to be invited to take part in the blog tour for this novel as it sounds like such a brilliant and different novel. I’m really keen to get to this one too!

Death and Other Happy Endings by Melanie Cantor

This book was already on my radar as being one I needed to read as soon as it was released so you can imagine how excited I was to get an ARC. I think this will be a moving read but one that I can tell I’m going to love.

The Honeymoon by Rona Halsall

I’m going to be honest and say that I was drawn to this book by the stunning cover! Once I read the blurb I knew I had to grab this one on NetGalley. I love books about relationships, especially thrillers and this one sounds like the perfect thriller to read over the summer!

I Heart Hawaii by Lindsey Kelk

I’ve really loved reading this series and am sad that this one is the last one but at the same time I can’t wait to find out what Angela and Jenny are getting up to now.

I Spy by Claire Kendall

I read my first Claire Kendall book a few months ago and really enjoyed it so I was delighted to find she has a new book coming out. The premise of this one sounds really gripping so I couldn’t resist it on NetGalley.

Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

I also downloaded this book on NG this week. I somehow thought this was Karin Slaughter’s new novel (she actually has a newer one due out soon) but none-the-less I’m really intrigued by this one. I love the idea of someone reacting out of character when in a difficult situation and then us getting to find out what happened in her past. I can’t wait to get engrossed in this one!

 


 

Have you bought any new books over the last week? Please tell me below. 🙂 If you join in with Stacking the Shelves please feel free to leave your link and I’ll make sure to read and comment on your post.

A selection of mini #bookreviews of some fabulous fiction that I’ve read recently!

 

FICTION MINI REVIEW PICS

Today I’m sharing some more mini reviews! As I said in my post yesterday I really want to be caught up on my reviews as much as I can be before the end of the year so I hope no one minds reading shorter reviews of the books I’ve loved in recent weeks.

 

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All the Good Things by Clare Fisher

This novel is such an incredible read, it’s one of those books that really got under my skin  and I still find myself thinking about Beth. I loved the idea of the novel – we know from the start that Beth is in prison and she’s working with a therapist to find good things in her life that she can focus on. The novel is told via the stories Beth is writing down. I knew I was going to like this novel but I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did. The novel slowly shows how Beth’s life has been, and we gradually begin to fit it all together and to really understand how she has been let down. I began to get a sense of why Beth might be in prison but I was hoping I was wrong. This book broke my heart, I actually shed tears as I was reading and I just wanted to reach into the page and make things be different than they were. This is a book that will stay with me, and one I’d like to re-read again in the future. I highly recommend this book, it’s stunning!

 

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

This book is brilliant; I finished reading it a couple of months ago and still find it coming to mind even now. This on face value is a dystopian novel set in a London that is badly flooded and local people are having to flee to safety. The main character is heavily pregnant and resists leaving but is eventually forced to. What follows is her journey as she tries to survive in a rapidly changing landscape but it felt to me that it was really more about motherhood and all the changes and anxieties that this stage in life brings. At times the rising water seems to mirror the anxiety around her new baby and how they were going to get through. This is a short book but it really is worth reading it slowly and making time to take in all the layers within the story. I highly recommend this book.

 

Based on a True Story by Delphine de Vigan

Based on a True Story by Delphine de Vigan

The premise of this book drew me to it – the question posed is What would you do if your closest friend tried to steal your life? The story follows the main character, a writer, who meets a fan at a signing and the fan increasingly encroaches on her life. The novel is written in such a way that at times you feel like you’re reading a true story, and then you realise it’s a work of fiction. There are so many layers and much to muse on as you read. This book took me quite a while to read because I kept putting it down to mull over what I’d been reading. It’s a brilliant novel though and I absolutely recommend it!

 

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I Heart Forever by Lindsey Kelk

I’ve been a fan of the characters in this series of books from the very beginning and am happy to say that this book is really good. I pretty much read it in one sitting and loved being back in the world of Angela, and Jenny. This novel sees Angela being stressed about what is happening at the magazine she works for but there is still plenty of very funny antics and hilarious moments throughout the book. This is a lovely end to this series and it’s made me want to go back to the beginning and start them all over again. I recommend this one, especially if you’ve read the other books.

 

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31 Days of Wonder by Tom Winter

 

This book was such a delightful surprise of a novel for me. From the synopsis, and my assumptions based on the cover, I was expecting this to be a straightforward boy meets girl novel, but I was wrong. 31 Days of Wonder is a quirky look at two characters, Alice and Ben, who meet briefly in a park at the start of the novel and then spend the rest of the book discovering more about themselves as they search for what is missing. Ben actively tries to find the Alice who he imagines to be the perfect woman for him. Alice is unhappy with her weight and her job and has no idea that the man in the park thought she was beautiful. The novel spans the 31 days as Alice and Ben move towards finding the thing they need to be fulfilled and happy. I loved the way it was more about how one moment can change the course of your life for the better in ways you don’t expect. I thought this book was going to be a bit predictable but it really wasn’t – it was lovely and surprising and I really enjoyed it.

 


 

I received all of these books from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

All five of these books are out now!

Life Update and a Weekly Wrap-Up!

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It has been ages since I was blogging regularly and I can’t even remember the last time I posted a proper update. I have honoured my commitments to blog tours so they are the only things I’ve posted since early in the summer. I do want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has continued to read my blog, and to comment even when I’ve not been around, it really does mean a lot to me.

So some of you will know that a year ago I took the decision to start reducing my pain meds. I’d been on incredibly strong meds since before my diagnosis but my pain levels have remained high despite the meds. So I did a lot of research and the general consensus in the medical profession seemed to be that painkillers don’t really work for people with chronic pain like mine. I discussed things with my doctor and I started a reduction plan. It has been a rough year as every time I reduced I had a period of feeling very unwell with pain throughout my body but it would eventually settle again. A few weeks ago I finally got completely off my long-acting pain medication, which was a big achievement. I was still taking the short-acting morphine though so that was the next thing to tackle. I was meant to wean myself off it but I decided to go cold turkey. It was hell. It was worse than I was expecting, and I’d planned for it to be awful! My husband is a huge support to me and he got me through it. I’m now almost six weeks down the line and while I still don’t feel great, I do feel like my body is very gradually beginning to adjust. I am on a lower level pain medication now but I’m continuing to utilise all the things I’ve learnt in the last two years and hope that in time I can reduce these meds too. I will be in pain for the rest of my life because it’s just the nature of the damage done in my neck and spine but I really want to see if I can find a way to live with the pain rather than taking loads of painkillers.

As you can probably imagine, for a lot of the summer and into autumn my reading has tapered off quite a lot. I haven’t been able to concentrate very well, plus I’ve had a lot of headaches etc. This past week I treated myself to a book I’ve been so keen to read and I devoured it, and that made me happier than I can even put into words. My reading mojo feels like it’s on its way back as I’ve read quite a few books this week so I’m really hoping that this trend continues!

Now I’m reading closer to my normal level again I’ve felt like I want to get back to blogging but it’s been such a long, and unplanned for, break that I haven’t felt like I could just start. So I’m writing this weekly wrap-up and life update as a way of letting you all know what’s been happening with me and a way of just feeling my way back into the blogging world!

 

 

So without further ado, here are the books I’ve finished reading this week:

Lily Alone by Vivien Brown

I got a review copy of this from NetGalley but also discovered the audio version on my subscription service so I part read and part listened to this. This book wasn’t exactly what I was expecting it to be but I flew through it because it had me engrossed from the very first chapter. I will write a full review of this on my blog soon.

Queer: A Graphic History by Meg-John Barker

I’m sorry to say that I didn’t really get on with this book, which is a shame because I was really keen to read it. I think the cover makes it seem like this is more of a graphic novel than it is, and also it doesn’t make it clear that this is a brief overview of queer theory. I’ve already studied queer theory as part of my degree so there was nothing new for me in here, but I’m not sure I’d even recommend it to someone who wanted to know more as it all felt very dry and it skimmed over lots of things and gave very little detail in my opinion.

Good as You: From Prejudice to Pride – 30 Years of Gay Britain by Paul Flynn

This is a book that I’ve wanted ever since I first heard it of it earlier this year and I finally treated myself to the lovely hardback this week. I’m so happy to say that this book is brilliant, I loved every minute that I spent reading this. This is a great non-fiction book because it’s informative but written in such an easy-to-read style. This is the book that I flew through over a couple of days… I highly recommend this one!

I Heart Forever by Lindsey Kelk

I love the I Heart… books so when I saw a new one was coming out I was super excited to read it. I picked this up at a perfect time when I just needed a light-hearted read and I found I just couldn’t put it down. I read an ARC so I will be reviewing this one on my blog soon.

Blue Nights by Joan Didion

I’ve wanted to read this book for ages and it caught my eye on my bookshelf this week. I read it two sittings and found it to be such an open and honest exploration of her love for her daughter and grief at her loss. This is one of those books that I will re-read, and it’s certainly one that will stay with me.

 

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

Anything You Do Say by Gillian McAllister

This book is so good! I love the way it’s a take on the sliding doors idea and takes the reader through two alternate realities of happened next in the aftermath of a terrible incident after a night out. I’ve been racing through this book because I just don’t want to put it down, and I’m so keen to find out how it will all turn out in the end.

Trust Me by Zosia Wand

I was thrilled to be sent a copy of this novel to review as it’s one I was aware of and was looking forward to reading. I’m really enjoying it so far and can’t wait to read more.

Where Love Begins by Judith Hermann

This is one of those books that I don’t really know what to say about it. When I’m reading it it has me engaged and wanting to know more but when I put it down the plot drifts away from me. I am enjoying it though and am keen to see where it’s going.

Good Night and Good Riddance: How Thirty-Five Years of John Peel Helped to Shape Modern Life by David Cavanagh

I’ve had this on my TBR for a little while now but I was keen to pick it up after listening to some of the highlights of John Peel’s radio shows during Radio 1’s recent 50th birthday weekend. I loved listening to John Peel over the years and still miss discovering new music via his recommendations. This book is a look at some of his shows and his relationship to the music and the artists. It’s easy to dip in and out of, but it’s also easy to lose and hour or two of time as you read and reminisce. I definitely recommend this one!

Aches and Gains: A Comprehensive Guide to Overcoming Your Pain by Paul L. Christo

This is a non-fiction book about the different types of pain, and various conditions that cause pain; plus a look at the range of treatment options available. I’m finding it interesting, in particular where it relates to my own conditions. I’m reading an ARC so I will be reviewing this once I’ve finished reading it.

 


 

As you may remember I decided to track my TBR on my blog this year and have been showing the sums of how my TBR has increased or decreased over the course of this year. I’ve recently got rid of a stack of books and am in the process of sorting through my kindle books so my TBR numbers are a bit all over the place just now and I’ve lost track of it a bit. I do want to continue with following the state of my TBR but I’ve decided to put this to one side for the rest of this year and will start it again in 2018.

 

How has your week (or even the last few months) been for you? Have you read any good books recently? I’d love to catch up so please feel free to leave a link to your latest wrap-up in the comments below.