Book Reviews: Almost Love | How To Say Goodbye | The Other Half of Augusta Hope | Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel

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Today I’m sharing some more of my mini book reviews of books that I’ve read and loved recently.

 

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Almost Love by Louise O’Neill

Almost Love is such a powerful novel, it’s one of the best portrayals of how a person can lose themselves in the midst of a destructive relationship. It follows Sarah in the before when she meets Matthew, an older man, and gets into a sexual relationship with him. This is alternated with Sarah a couple of years in the future when she’s living with a different man in a committed relationship. Sarah falls for Matthew very quickly, she has feelings for him and she wants to be with him. Matthew wants something else from Sarah and she makes herself into the person he wants. He does things she doesn’t like but she can’t say no because she wants to be perfect for him even when she’s hurt by him. I found this so hard to read because I could absolutely see my younger self in her. I think a lot of women will be able to. It’s obvious he will never give her what she wants but she believes this will change. Somewhat inevitably she begins to self-destruct. The pain and hurt from this relationship is something she carries with her, it’s damaged her. She then hurts others without meaning too because her self-worth is so low. Sarah isn’t always likeable in this novel but she is relatable. This is a novel that I haven’t stopped thinking about since I read it. It was a tough read at times but it’s absolutely worth reading!

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How to Say Goodbye by Katy Colins

This is a wonderful novel that I very much enjoyed. It follows Grace Salmon. She works at a funeral parlour and she goes above and beyond in giving her clients the very best send off. She spends her time researching the deceased so she can make each funeral service personal and special. Grace seems quite a lonely person, she’s so focused on her job. One day she sets up a group for people to come and ask a funeral organiser questions and while the first group isn’t as busy as she’d hoped, she does begin to make connections with people who all have something in common. Grace begins to talk about her own life and you start to really understand who she is and why she is so conscientious in her job. This is such a brilliant novel – it’s a fun, light read whilst exploring loss in a very real way. It’s such a talent to mix the two and I was so impressed with this book. I cried whilst reading it but I also laughed out loud. I can’t wait to read more of Katy Colins’ writing. I highly recommend this book!

 

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The Other Half of Augusta Hope by Joanna Glen

This is a beautiful novel! Augusta Hope is such a relatable character and I was rooting for her from the beginning of this novel all the way through. Augusta grows up with her twin sister Julia, but in between the chapters on their lives the novel also follows Parfait who lives in another part of the world and seems unconnected to the two sisters at first. This novel is all about finding the strength to get through the darkest of times, about accepting who you are in the wake of tragedy and finding happiness and contentment again. I don’t have enough superlatives to describe how stunning this book is, it really has made such an impact on me and I think it’s a book I will read again in the future. I particularly loved its exploration of fate, coincidence – about how in the aftermath of things we go over and over them and wonder if we could have known, could have acted differently. In the end it’s a novel about forgiving yourself for the things you couldn’t have known, couldn’t have changed. It made me cry, it made me smile and in the end I just felt really content. I highly recommend this book!

 

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Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel by Ruth Hogan

I loved Ruth Hogan’s first novel The Keeper of Lost Things so am delighted to say that this book lives up to it. This book follows Tilda in two timelines – we see her as a child as she’s struggling to understand the loss of her father and her struggling mother. This alternates with Tilda as an adult in the present now interested in re-visiting her past in the wake of her mother’s death. I really enjoyed this book, it’s very much character driven and you really get to understand Tilda and why she is the way she is. Through the novel we’re introduced to a wonderful cast of characters including the fabulous Queenie Malone! This book is a really emotional read at times but it’s also fun and beautiful… and there are plenty of surprises along the way too! It really captures life and I adored it. I recommend this one!

 

 

 

 

WWW Wednesdays (16 Oct 19)! What are you reading this week?

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

 

What I’m reading now: 

Platform Seven by Louise Doughty

I have an eARC of this book but when I spotted the audio book on Scribd I decided to part-listen and part-read it and I’m really enjoying it. I’m about 15% into the book and it’s intriguing and different so I’m keen to listen to more of it soon.

Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain by Oliver Sacks

This is an audio book I downloaded from my local library and I’m very much enjoying this one. It’s so interesting how the brain works and the way neurological illness or damage to the brain can change how people experience music.

Innocent or Guilty? by A. M. Taylor

I haven’t read much more of this book this week as it’s on my kindle and my kindle is playing up at the moment. I was really enjoying the book though and hope to be able to read more of this soon.

The Eleventh Day by Anthony Summers

I finally picked this one back up this week and I’m really engrossed in it. I read a huge chunk of it in one sitting so hopefully I’ll be finishing this book soon.

 

What I recently finished reading:

You Are What You Read by Jodie Jackson

I’d been really looking forward to this book which looks at how what we read in the media affects us but unfortunately it wasn’t really for me. The book feels disjointed and not in-depth enough for me but I’d still recommend it as an introduction to people wanting to start learning more about how the way news is reported affects the way we think about things.

I Confess by Alex Barclay

I enjoyed this thriller, it’s one of those super-fast novels that you can find escapism in for a few hours. I reviewed this yesterday so you can find my full thoughts here.

Almost Love by Louise O’Neill

I made time to focus on this novel this week and I loved it! The main character is not always likeable but there are moments in this book that really chimed with the younger me, which meant I couldn’t help but find connection in this novel. I do plan on reviewing this once I’ve got my thoughts together.

Through the Wall by Caroline Corcoran

I was really looking forward to reading this book and it ended up being an okay read. I really enjoyed the first half but it fell away a bit in the second half. I’ve already reviewed this one so you can find my thoughts here if you want to know more.

The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and the People’s Temple by Jeff Guin

I finished listening to this audiobook a few days ago and it was such a good book. It’s so well researched and written and I found it fascinating. All I knew before about this cult was how it ended so it was really interesting, and scary, how it came to be formed. I recommend this one.

Breaking and Mending by Joanna Cannon

This book is stunning and one that I keep thinking about since finishing it a week ago. It is about a junior doctor starting work in a hospital and it was eye-opening! This book is so beautifully written and is so honest, it made me cry more than once. It made me reflect on things. I’d like to write a full review if I can ever get my thoughts together but in the meantime I highly recommend this to everyone.

 

What I plan on reading next:

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

I’ve had the ebook of this on my kindle for a couple of years now so when I spotted it available on audio from the library I immediately downloaded it. This will definitely be my next nonfiction book!

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain

This is another instance where I have the ebook but have borrowed the audio from the library. I enjoyed this author’s writing so I’m looking forward to starting this one.

The Accidental Love Letter by Olivia Beirne

I didn’t manage to get to this one over the last week so it’s top of my list to read this week. I’m really keen to get to this one!

The Christmas Wish List by Heidi Swain

I was delighted to win a copy of this book in a giveaway recently and then I won a spot on the blog tour, which is exciting! So I hope to have time to start reading this one this week, it sounds like wonderful and festive escapism!

 

 

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

WWW Wednesdays (9 Oct 2019)! What are you reading this week?

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

 

What I’m reading now: 

Innocent or Guilty by A. M. Taylor

I’ve only just started reading this book but it definitely grabbed my attention from the opening chapter and I feel like this will be a book that’s hard to put down. I’m already looking forward to getting back to it.

Breaking and Mending by Joanna Cannon

I only just realised that this book was out yesterday so I immediately bought a copy and started reading right away. This is such an eye-opening and stunning book, I keep stopping and thinking about what I’ve just read after each chapter. This is a book that everyone should read.

Almost Love by Louise O’Neill

I’ve read quite a bit more of this book over the last few days and may well have finished it by the time this post goes live. It’s a brilliant novel, one that really resonates with me. I think a lot of people would connect with this book so I recommend it.

The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and the People’s Temple by Jeff Guin

I’m still listening to the audio of this and am still utterly fascinated. I only have a few hours of the book left so I should definitely finish this over the coming week.

What I recently finished reading:

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

I read this book in one sitting yesterday afternoon and I adored it! Both the story and the writing are stunning! It’s another reminder to me that when I say I don’t generally like historical fiction that actually when I find the right fit of the genre for me that I do love it! I will review this one when I’ve got my thoughts together but in the meantime I definitely recommend it.

The Family by Louise Jensen

This is another novel that I pretty much read in one sitting! I love Louise Jensen’s writing so a new book from her is always a real treat. This was such a great look at the relationship between a mother and daughter as they get drawn into a cult. I recommend this one.

Fiona and the Whale by Hannah Lynn

I adored this novel – it’s a quirky book that both moved me and had me laughing out loud. I actually reviewed this one yesterday so you can find my full thoughts here if you’d like to know more.

The Evidence Against You by Gillian McAllister

I’ve been so looking forward to this book and whilst I had an eARC I downloaded the audio from my library to listen to. I very much enjoyed this one. Gillian McAllister is fast becoming one of my favourite authors!

The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce

I’ve had this book on my TBR for way too long and now I’m really kicking myself because when I finally picked it up this week I completely and utterly fell in love with it. It really is a beautiful book about community and also a love letter to music. If you haven’t read this yet then I urge you to pick up a copy!

The Other Half of Augusta Hope by Joanna Glen

I also had an eARC of this book but downloaded the audio from Scribd.  I really enjoyed listening to this book and can definitely recommend the audio version. This is one of those novel that gets you so engrossed that you feel bereft at finishing it. I recommend this book.

(If you join  (If you join Scribd through my link you’ll get the first two months free and I will get a month free).

What I plan on reading next:

The Accidental Love Letter by Olivia Beirne

I loved Olivia Beirne’s previous novel, The List That Changed My Life, so jumped at the chance to read and review her new book. I am so looking forward to this book and hope to get to it this week.

Platform Seven by Louise Doughty

I’m really intrigued by this book, it sounds ghostly and perfect for this time of year as the nights draw in so I’m keen to start this one soon.

Constellations by Sinead Gleason

I’ve had an eARC of this book for a few months now and have been waiting to be in the right mood to read it. It feels like a book to pick up after the Joanna Cannon book I’m currently reading so I hope to get to this one in the coming days.

The Last by Hanna Jameson

This was on my must read list for this week and I didn’t manage to get to it but I’m still in the mood to read it so I’m planning on getting to it in the week ahead!

 

 

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

WWW Wednesdays (2 Oct 2019)! What are you reading this week?

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

 

What I’m reading now: 

Forget Me Not by Claire Allan

I started this one yesterday evening and am loving it! It’s such a good read with believable characters and a great plot!

Fiona and the Whale by Hannah Lynn

I’ve only read the first chapter of this one so far but I can tell I’m going to love it. I previously read another of Hannah’s books (The Afterlife of Walter Augustus) and it became a favourite so I’m really looking forward to reading this one.

Almost Love by Louise O’Neill

I’m still really enjoying this book but it’s definitely a book to be read slowly. It’s such a moving book and one that I think a lot of people will see elements of their younger selves in.

The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and the People’s Temple by Jeff Guin

I’m still finding this audiobook fascinating. I knew about this cult and how things ended for the people but I had no idea about how it was set up and how he got people to join. It’s so interesting and also utterly chilling.

The Eleventh Day by Anthony Summers

I’ve read a couple more chapters of this book this week and it’s such an interesting book. I know quite a bit about the account of how 9/11 was handled but it’s still eye-opening in parts to see how different the people in positions of power told the story of how and when decisions were (or weren’t) taken.

What I recently finished reading:

Dirty Little Secrets by Jo Spain

I read this entire book in one sitting this week as once I started it I just didn’t want to put it down. I very much enjoyed this and will be sharing a review once I’ve got my thoughts together.

The Carer by Deborah Moggach

I had an eARC of this one but decided to buy the audio book in a recent Audible sale. It was a brilliant novel to get absorbed in and I loved it even more than I thought I would. I recommend it!

Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson

I’ve been reading this book on and off for a week now and whilst I did enjoy it, it didn’t keep me gripped as much as I’d hoped. I’m not sure if I read it at the wrong time or if the book just wasn’t for me. I’d still recommend it if you like the sound of it though.

Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel by Ruth Hogan

When I Lost You by Merrilyn Davies

This is another book where I had an ebook but decided to get the audio so I could part-listen and part-read. I read this in one sitting too as it’s another book that had me engrossed all the way through.

The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh

I also read this book whilst listening along to the audiobook and I think I enjoyed it more for reading it like this. I’m not sure how I feel about this book yet, it feels like a book that I need to digest before trying to write my thoughts down.

How to Say Goodbye by Katy Colins

This is such a gorgeous book. It’s a combination of a really lovely story and an exploration of grief that is so real and yet never maudlin. I adored this one and I already want to read it all over again!

 

What I plan on reading next:

The Family by Louise Jensen

I’m a huge fan of Louise Jensen’s writing so am super excited to read her brand new thriller so am planning on picking it up this week at some point.

The Last by Hanna Jameson

I’m really embarrassed to have had this print ARC for as long as I have without reading it so whilst I’m trying to catch up with my review backlog I’d like to try and read this one this week.

Innocent or Guilty by A. M. Taylor

I got this book on NetGalley recently and have been so looking forward to reading it so am hoping to have chance to start it in the coming days.

The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce

This is another ARC that somehow got lost on my bookcase and I forgot all about it, which I’m mortified about. I’m definitely going to be reading this one soon as I love Rachel Joyce’s writing and this feels like it’ll be a real treat!

 

 

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

WWW Wednesdays (25 Sep 2019)! What are you reading this week?

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

 

What I’m reading now:

How To Say Goodbye by Katy Colins

I was delighted to get an ARC of this book from NetGalley a little while ago as I’d read an interview with Katy and knew I had to get my hands on this book. I started reading it yesterday and I’m really loving it so far. I love the main character and how hard she works to give people the best possible send off. I’m really looking forward to getting back to this one.

Almost Love by Louise O’Neill

I’ve had this book on my TBR for ages and somehow haven’t managed to get to it. I finally picked it up a couple of days ago and am loving it! I’m trying to read it slowly because I want to take it all in – it’s quite eye-opening how much I can relate to this book when I think back over past relationships, particularly from when I was younger. I can see why so many people have raved about this book.

The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and the People’s Temple by Jeff Guinn

I’ve wanted to read this book for a really long time so when I realised I had a spare Audible credit this week I decided to buy it and I started listening right away. It’s a long audio book so it’ll take me a little while to read it but I’m finding it fascinating. I’m so glad I finally picked this one up!

The Eleventh Day: The Full Story of 9/11 by Anthony Summers

I’ve been reading this book on and off for a couple of months now but I’m really in the mood for non-fiction at the moment so am going to try and focus on this book over the coming week or so.

 

What I recently finished reading:

Lake Child by Isabel Ashdown

I love Isabel Ashdown’s novels so have been eagerly anticipating this new book. I picked it up yesterday and read it in one sitting! I really did love this book and will be posting a full review as soon as I can. In the meantime I highly recommend it!

Minimalism: Live A Meaningful Life by Joshua Fields Milburn

As some of you will know I’m obsessed with de-cluttering books and while I now seem to have my clutter under control (see my post on how the KonMari method changed my life) I can’t resist books on the subject. So I was really looking forward to reading this book but I have to be honest and say it was such a disappointment. It was all about health and relationships, with a huge amount of repetition about the writer’s own life. I did finish the book but I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re looking for a book about minimalism itself.

Postscript by Cecelia Ahern

I read PS I Love You when it was first published so have been eagerly anticipating this sequel ever since it was announced. I have to say that I loved this book, it was everything I hoped for and more. It made me smile, it made me sob and I adored it. I’ll be reviewing this one soon.

The Honeymoon by Rona Halsall

I had an ARC of this book but when I spotted it on Scribd I decided to listen to the book. I’m really glad I did as the audio was an enjoyable listen.

Chase Your Shadow: The Trials of Oscar Pistorius by John Carlin

I finally picked this book back up this week and finished reading it. I was shocked when marking as read on GoodReads to discover that I initially began reading it in November last year! I’m not sure why I put it down because it was such an interesting book following the trial of Oscar Pistorius but also looking at his childhood and his disability. There is also a wider look at how the law works in South Africa, which I found fascinating. I would recommend this book and am so glad I finally read it.

The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted by Robert Hillman

This is a beautiful slow novel that I really enjoyed. I’ve already written a mini review of this which will appear on my blog this week.

I Found My Tribe by Ruth Fitzmaurice

I’ve wanted to read this book ever since last year when I read the book Ruth’s husband Simon wrote. This is Ruth’s story as she explores her emotions around her husband’s Motor Neurone Disease diagnosis and how it changed their lives. She takes up swimming with a group of women in similar circumstances and this helps her to cope. I didn’t connect with this book as much as I hoped to but I did enjoyed it.

 

What I plan on reading next:

The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor

As I continue to try and catch up on my review books before the end of the year The Dangerous Kind is going to be my next read. I’m really looking forward to reading this book and think it will be one I devour!

The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh

This is another review book that I’m been keen to get to. I think this will be a slower read and I’m looking forward to that.

Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson

I’ve been so excited to get to this book and now I’m focusing predominantly on review books I’m going to make this book a priority for the coming days. I can’t wait to start it!

 

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

This Week in Books (6 Mar 2019)! What are you reading at the moment?

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

 

Now

Entanglement by Katy Mahmood

I’ve heard so many good things about this novel that I just couldn’t resist picking up a copy. I’m struggling to read off the page at the moment so I’m not listening to the audio book and I’m very much enjoying it.

Welcome to the Heady Heights by David F. Ross

This book is different to what I was expecting it to be but I’m loving it! It’s such a good read and if it wasn’t for my eye problems and horrible headaches I’m sure I’d have read this in one sitting.

Past Life by Dominic Nolan

This book is also brilliant and I’m sad that I’m struggling to read at the moment because I think this would have been a one or two sitting book. None-the-less I’m loving it and am so intrigued about where it’s going.

Not Fade Away: The Life and Music of Buddy Holly by John Gribbin

I haven’t managed to read anymore of this over the last week as it’s a kindle book and screens are not my friend at the moment.

 

Then

Don’t You Cry by Cass Green

I listened to the audio book of this on a whim as I’d enjoyed the author’s previous book. Unfortunately I didn’t love this one. It was an enjoyable enough book to listen to but it was lacking something for me.

Sewing the Shadows Together by Alison Baillie

I’ve had this book on my TBR ever since it first came out so I’m kicking myself for not reading it until now as I thought it was brilliant. It was one of those books that’s so hard to put down as the story is so compelling. I definitely recommend this one.

‘Kill The Black One First’ by Michael Fuller

This was a fascinating memoir about the author’s time in the police and how it was for him as a black man at a time of such racial tension. I’d highly recommend this book. Also, the audio book is narrated by the author which really adds to a book for me.

Ordinary People by Diana Evans

I’m mortified to say that I’ve had this on my NetGalley list for months and months but this week I bought the audio book and listened to it over a couple of days. I thought this was such a good read, I was engrossed in the characters’ lives from start to finish.

The Golden Child by Wendy James

This is another book that I’ve had a NG copy of for ages so I bought the audio book of this too and have loved listening to it this week. It was a fast-paced read that also gave me pause for thought. I recommend it!

 

Next

The Conviction of Cora Burns by Carolyn Kirby

I’ve been so keen to get to this ever since a copy arrived at my house and it feels like this week is the time. I feel sure that I’m going to love this one!

Almost Love by Louise O’Neill

This is a book that I’ve wanted to read ever since it was first published and I’m just in the mood for it now so hope to get to it in the coming week.

The Point of Poetry by Joe Nutt

I loved studying poetry at uni but these days I’ve lost the habit of reading it as often, and as a result have lost my confidence at analysing and feeling like I fully understand it. So when I was offered an ARC of this book I jumped at the chance and I really can’t wait to read it.

 


 

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. 🙂

 

Stacking the Shelves With A New Book Haul (2nd Feb 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!

 

Books I Bought This week

How To Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind by Dana K. White

I read Dana’s book about decluttering last year and enjoyed so when I spotted this book in a recent Kindle sale I snapped it up. I still can’t resist books about tidying up or about decluttering (see my post here about doing the #konmari method if you want to know more about my decluttering experience).

The Geography of Friendship by Sally Piper

I saw a fab review of this book on Linda’s Book Bag recently and immediately pre-ordered a copy. It arrived yesterday and I can’t wait to read it.

The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

I’ve wanted to read this book for such a long time so I’m happy to finally have a copy on my TBR.

Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery by Scott Kelly

I hadn’t heard of this book until it got recommended to me on Amazon this week but I immediately bought it. I love books about space!

First Man: The Life of Neil Armstrong by James Hansen

I missed seeing the film based on this book at the cinema so while I’m waiting for it to be on Sky I decided to buy and read the book.

Misogynies by Joan Smith

This is a book I’ve wanted to read for such a long time so I grabbed it when I spotted it in a sale this week. I don’t think this will be on my TBR for very long at all.

The Jigsaw Man by Paul Britton

I’m really enjoying reading about psychology at the moment so when this book about forensic psychology and profiling was recommended to me this week I couldn’t resist buying it right away. I’m reading it already and it’s really interesting.

What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt

I read this book years ago and adored it but my copy seems to have got lost so I bought a replacement copy this week and would like to try and re-read it this year at some point.

Birdman by Mo Hayder

This is another book that I owned and read a long time ago but somehow have lost my copy so I’m happy to have a replacement now. Mo Hayder is one of my favourite authors and I live in hope that one day she will publish another book, it’s been a few years now since her last one.

 

Books I got on Pigeonhole

I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella

I’m really enjoying reading this new one by Sophie Kinsella. It’s a fun novel and great escapism.

Gallowstree Lane by Kate London

The first instalment of this arrived on my app yesterday so I hope to start reading it over the weekend. I’m looking forward to it.

 

Birthday Books

Birthday Girl by Haruki Murakami

My husband got me this for my birthday this week and I’ve already read it. I loved it!

At The Birth of Bowie by Phil Lancaster

My mum-in-law gave me this book as part of my birthday gift and I’m really looking forward to reading it soon.

 

Books I Received for Review

Spare Room by Dreda Say Mitchell

I’ve already read and reviewed this one so you can find my full thoughts here if you’d like to know more.

The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald

I’ve been eagerly anticipating this novel as it sounds so good! I was thrilled to then get a review copy and I can’t wait to read it!

Almost Love by Louise O’Neill

This is another book that I’ve had my eye one and have been waiting for the paperback release so I’m delighted to have a review copy to read.

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames

This book sounds so good, I am thrilled to have a gorgeous paperback proof to read. It definitely won’t be on my TBR for very long as I’m really keen to read it asap!

 


 

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.

WWW Wednesday (6th January)

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:

First by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

First by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
I received a copy of this book to review. I’ve only read a few chapters so far but am intrigued by it; it’s not a subject I’ve read about before in YA so it’s holding my interest.
Synopsis:
Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time-the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy – so far. Her mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn – or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her own reputation -and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, Laurie Elizabeth Flynn’s Firsts is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.

A Proper Family Christmas by Chrissie Manby

 

A Proper Family Christmas by Chrissie Manby

I started reading this just after Christmas but then got side-tracked with books I got for Christmas. I’ve just picked it back up and am really enjoying it. I read and reviewed the first book in this series (A Proper Family Holiday review) when I first started my blog and while I’m not sure that this is quite as good as that one, it’s still a very enjoyable read. I’m halfway through it and Christmas hasn’t even been mentioned yet so I’m guessing that it will end at the holiday season, meaning this book could be read at any time of year so don’t let the title put you off picking it up before December 2016!

Synopsis:

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


**Edited post** I wrote my WWW on Tuesday evening and scheduled it for this morning, as is the norm for me. I included a book that I bought yesterday and I’d only read three chapters when I put it in my post. I’ve since read a few more chapters and it’s not a book I feel I can read anymore of. I should have known it would be what it was but I got swept up in the hype and wanted to read it. It’s really not a book for me and I don’t feel comfortable having it on my blog so I’m removing it from my WWW post and obviously I won’t be reviewing it.


What I recently finished reading: 

(I’ve reviewed two of these books so far, please click on the highlighted links to read my reviews. I will be reviewing the other two books soon so keep an eye out for those!)

The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood

Every Time A Bell Rings by Carmel Harrington

Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

Mrs Scrooge by Carol Ann Duffy


What I plan on reading next:

Beside Myself by Ann Morgan

Beside Myself by Ann Morgan (Due out 14th January in the UK)

Synopsis:

Helen and Ellie are identical twins ? like two peas in a pod, everyone says.

The girls know this isnt true, though: Helen is the leader and Ellie the follower.

Until they decide to swap places: just for fun, and just for one day.

But Ellie refuses to swap back…

And so begins a nightmare from which Helen cannot wake up. Her toys, her clothes, her friends, her glowing record at school, the favour of her mother and the future she had dreamed of are all gone to a sister who blossoms in the approval that used to belong to Helen. And as the years pass, she loses not only her memory of that day but also herself ? until eventually only Smudge is left.

Twenty-five years later, Smudge receives a call from out of the blue. It threatens to pull her back into her sisters dangerous orbit, but if this is her only chance to face the past, how can she resist?

Beside Myself is a compulsive and darkly brilliant psychological drama about family and identity ? what makes us who we are and how very fragile it can be.

This Raging Light by Estelle Laure

This Raging Light by Estelle Laure (Due out 14th January in the UK)

Synopsis:

How is it that you suddenly notice a person? How is it that one day Digby was my best friend’s admittedly cute twin brother, and then the next he stole air, gave jitters, twisted my insides up?

Lucille has bigger problems than falling for her best friend’s unavailable brother. Her mom has gone, leaving her to look after her sister, Wren. With bills mounting up and appearances to keep, Lucille is raging against her life but holding it together – just.

A stunning debut to devour in one sitting, Laure captures completely the agony and ecstasy of first love.

The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells by Virginia MacGregor

The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells by Virginia MacGregor (Due out 14th January in the UK)

Synopsis:

One ordinary morning, Norah walked out of her house on Willoughby Street and never looked back. Six years later, she returns to the home she walked away from only to find another woman in her place. Fay held Norah’s family together after she disappeared, she shares a bed with Norah’s husband and Norah’s youngest daughter calls Fay ‘Mummy’.

Now that Norah has returned, everyone has questions. Where has she been? Why did she leave? And why is she back? As each member of the family tries to find the answers they each need, they must also face up to the most pressing question of all – what happens to The Mother Who Stayed when The Mother Who Left comes back?

From the author of What Milo Saw, comes this powerful, emotional and perceptive novel about what it takes to hold a family together and what you’re willing to sacrifice for the ones you love.

Year of Yes by Shonda Rimes

Year of Yes by Shonda Rimes (Out now in the UK)

I couldn’t resist buying this when it came out as I LOVE Shonda’s TV shows, plus it sounds like an inspiring read for the start of a brand new year!

In this poignant, hilarious and deeply intimate call to arms, Hollywood’s most powerful woman, the mega-talented creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How to Get Away with Murder, reveals how saying YES changed her life – and how it can change yours too.
With three hit shows on television and three children at home, Shonda Rhimes had lots of good reasons to say no when invitations arrived. Hollywood party? No. Speaking engagement? No. Media appearances? No.
And to an introvert like Shonda, who describes herself as ‘hugging the walls’ at social events and experiencing panic attacks before press interviews, there was a particular benefit to saying no: nothing new to fear.
Then came Thanksgiving 2013, when Shonda’s sister Delorse muttered six little words at her: You never say yes to anything.
Profound, impassioned and laugh-out-loud funny, in Year of Yes Shonda Rhimes reveals how saying YES changed – and saved – her life. And inspires readers everywhere to change their own lives with one little word: Yes.

The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck by Sarah Knight

The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k by Sarah Knight

I’ve been seeing this book everywhere for a couple of weeks now and just couldn’t resist buying it any longer. It just seems like it will be a very amusing and perfect read for the start of a new year!

Synopsis:

The surprising art of caring less and getting more 

Are you stressed out, overbooked and underwhelmed by life? Fed up with pleasing everyone else before you please yourself? Then it’s time to stop giving a f**k.

This irreverent and practical book explains how to rid yourself of unwanted obligations, shame, and guilt – and give your f**ks instead to people and things that make you happy.

From family dramas to having a bikini body, the simple ‘NotSorry Method’ for mental decluttering will help you unleash the power of not giving a f**k and will free you to spend your time, energy and money on the things that really matter.


 

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

Weekly Wrap up and Stacking the Shelves (2nd January)

It’s time for my first weekly wrap up of 2016! Firstly, I’d like to take the time to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped and supported me as I found my feet in the book blogging world, I am more grateful than I can say. Starting this blog was one of the best things I did in 2015. I never expected that people would read my reviews or follow my blog, and I never knew that I would make genuine friends as a result of becoming a book blogger. It’s really not an understatement to say that starting this blog has changed my life already.

I last did a weekly wrap up post on 19th December so I’m going to use this post to recap all that has happened since then. My reading pace has slowed down massively since I was poorly at the start of December. I’m still not 100% well and due to my physio schedule becoming more intensive I’m exhausted and in increased amounts of pain a lot of the time and reading is near impossible when I feel like that. As a result of illness I barely blogged in December and I’m not going to be back at full blogging speed for a while yet. I am planning to post regular posts from now on though, they just won’t be daily as they were before.

Anyway, my recent posts have included:

My Christmas Novel Recommendations, where I shared my favourite Christmas reads of 2015.

My Favourite Ten Books of 2015, which was so hard to compile as I’ve read so many great books this year.

I also shared the 2015 Year in Review post that WordPress emailed to me.

Yesterday, I posted about My Most Anticipated Books of 2016, where I shared some of the books I’m most excited about reading when they’re released this year.


 

I’ve read five books (since 19th December) and have so far managed to review three of them, I hope to review the other two soon (click on the links below the images to read my reviews).

Snowed in for her Wedding by Emma Bennet

The Christmas Bus by Melody Carlson

Every Time a Bell Rings by Carmel Harrington 

Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

Mrs Scrooge by Carol Ann Duffy (which was my first read of 2016!)

 


stacking-the-shelves

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

 

For Christmas I received four books, which was fab! Three were from my husband and the fourth was a gift from the publisher HarperImpulse.

IMG_3775

My husband gave me:

Spectacles by Sue Perkins (which I’ve been wanting to read since it was published back in October, so I’m very happy to have a copy now)

Mrs Scrooge by Carol Ann Duffy (this is a gorgeous, illustrated poem that I adored. I now want to collect her previous Christmas poems!)

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume (I have an ebook of this but haven’t read it yet as I’ve been saving it – as I often do with books by favourite authors – I’m thrilled to not only now have a hardback copy but it’s also signed by Judy!)

HarperImpulse sent me a copy of Miracle at Macy’s by Lynn Marie Hulsman, which was a lovely surprise!


 

Books I’ve bought since 19 December:

Public Library and Other Stories by Ali Smith

Jihadi by Yusuf Toropov

The Green Road by Anne Enright

We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley

A Daughter’s Secret by Eleanor Moran

A Line of Blood by Ben McPherson

Love, Love Me Do by Mark Haysom


 

Books I’ve received for review (since 19 December):

The Chimes by Anna Smaill (print copy)

One More Day by Kelly Simmons (ecopy)

The Girl You Lost by Kathryn Croft (ecopy)


 

 

What have you been reading this week? Did you get any books for Christmas? Have you bought any new books? Please feel free to link to your wrap-up post, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below! 🙂

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

WWW Wednesday (23 December)

WWW pic

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

 


 

What I’m reading now:

a boy called christmas

A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig

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

A Proper Family Christmas by Chrissie Manby

A Proper Family Christmas by Chrissie Manby

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

The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood

The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood

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

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

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

But what really happened to Coco?

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

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

Asking For It by Louise O'Neill

Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

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

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

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

She doesn’t know why she’s in pain.

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

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


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

Every Time A Bell Rings by Carmel Harrington

The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson

The Theseus Paradox by David Videcette

The Boy Under the Mistletoe by Katey Lovell

Snowed in for her Wedding by Emma Bennet


 

What I plan on reading next:

Sugar and Snails by Anne Goodwin (1)

Sugar and Snails by Anne Goodwin

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

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

How to Get Ahead in Television by Sophie Cousens

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

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

Thicker than Water by Brigid Kemmerer

Thicker than Water by Brigid Kemmerer

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

the children's home charles lambert

The Children’s Home by Charles Lambert

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


 

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