Fiction Mini Reviews: Louis and Louise, Something To Tell You, The BookShop of the Broken Hearted, and Ghost Wall!

MINI REVIEWS 5

Today I’m sharing yet more mini reviews of books I’ve read over the summer months.

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Louis and Louise by Julie Cohen

This is such an incredible book and I loved every single minute that I spent reading it. In the book a baby is born to a couple but in one chapter the baby is a boy – Louis, and in the other chapter the baby is a girl – Louise. We then see each of their lives alternating through the novel and it’s fascinating to see how similar their lives would have been a times, and how vastly different at other times. There is one chapter part-way through the novel where the male and female versions of this person merge and it is so incredibly moving. I loved the exploration of what it is to be female or male, the different things that are expected and the different way men and women see and feel things. I also adored the idea of fate that runs through the novel, the way that some things are perhaps pre-ordained for us no matter our gender or sexuality. I adored this book, and even though it’s now weeks since I read it I still find myself thinking about. I think this will be one of my books of the year so I highly recommend it!

 

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Something To Tell You by Lucy Diamond

I do love Lucy Diamond novels and this one was such a gorgeous read! Frankie’s mum recently died and she left behind a letter for her daughter. On reading it Frankie discovers the truth about her birth and who her father is. She decides to go and see him and walks right into the middle of a Mortimer family gathering. From there we follow Frankie as she tries to make a connection with her father and other family members. We also hear from other Mortimers and see how their lives are and how they feel about Frankie. Things aren’t always plain-sailing and there are some real heart-rending moments in this book but on the whole it’s a feel-good read and I very much enjoyed it!

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The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted by Robert Hillman

This is a beautiful, slow-burn novel following Tom Hope. His wife Trudy has left him taking her son Peter with her. Peter isn’t Tom’s biological son but he’s raised him and he thinks of him as his own and so is devastated to lose him. Meanwhile there’s a newcomer to the town, Hannah and she is opening a book shop. The locals are intrigued, and Tom can’t resist stopping by. He and Hannah form a bond and slowly we learn each of their histories and what has made them the way they are. Hannah’s story is incredibly moving, I wasn’t expecting it but it really did make me feel emotional. This is one of those books that slowly gets under your skin, and after you finish reading it you’ll find you can’t stop thinking abouit. I really did love this one!

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Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss

This is a stunning novella, and one that I still keep thinking about. It follows Silvie who is staying at an Iron Age reconstruction in the middle of nowhere with her mum and anthropologist father. There are moments where we see what happened to an iron age girl that are visceral and heart-breaking. We then see that whilst Silvie doesn’t face the same savage life as that girl, the pain and lack of understanding that teenagers go through perhaps is such as it ever was. The writing in this book is beautiful, there is so much said in so few words. It’s a book that still goes through my mind and it’s weeks since I read it. I think it’s a book that I will re-read in the future. I recommend it!

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WWW Wednesdays (3 Jul 2019)!

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

 

What I’m reading now:

The Last Stage by Louise Voss

I started reading this one last night and it’s one of those books where I begrudge real life interfering with my reading time. It’s such a brilliant read!

Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain by Barney Norris

I’ve had this on my TBR ever since it first came out so when I spotted it on BorrowBox this week I decided to listen to it while part reading it. I’m intrigued by it and am looking forward to listening to more.

The Wave by Virginia Moffatt

This book is really interesting. It’s about a disparate group of people who end up staying on a beach in Cornwall awaiting a tsunami; they know they don’t have time to escape so are trying to accept their fate and enjoy their last night. I’m completely invested in these characters and want them to survive!

Wrecking Crew: Demolishing the Case Against Steven Avery by John Ferak

I watched Making a Murderer season 1 and 2 and so when I spotted this book recently I decided to buy it and read more about the case. I’m only a little way in and so far it’s mostly what I’ve seen in the Netflix series but I’m still gripped.

 

What I recently finished reading:

Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahern

My husband bought me this hardback the year this book was published so I wanted to make sure I definitely finally read it this year. It’s the 4th book from my 20 Books of Summer challenge and I very much enjoyed it. It’s quite a slow, quiet novel but it was wonderful!

Me and the Table by Stephen Hendry

I downloaded the audio of this from Borrowbox on a whim as I’m a huge snooker fan and remember the years of poor Jimmy White never quite managing to beat Hendry in the World Championship Finals. This was a much better book than I expected and I really enjoyed it, I think it was it being on audio and having Hendry narrate it that really made it so good.

Something to Live For by Richard Roper

This book is such a life-affirming novel and I loved every minute that I spent reading it. I’ll be reviewing this one on the 7th July for the blog tour so please look out for my thoughts then!

Hard Pushed by Leah Hazard

I found this book about what it is to be a midwife in the NHS a fascinating read. I’m so glad I read it.

Something to Tell You by Lucy Diamond

This was a light-hearted read that I really enjoyed reading over the last few days. It kept me hooked all the way through.

 

What I plan on reading next:

Normal People by Sally Rooney

This is another pick from my 20 Books of Summer and I hope to get to it this week. I’ve found the audio on Scribd* so I may part-listen and part-read it if I struggle with the hardback. I’m keen to see if I enjoy this one anymore than Conversations with Friends!

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor

This is one of my 20 Books of Summer too and I’m just in the mood to read it so hopefully I’ll get to read it in the coming days.

The Closer I Get by Paul Burston

This is an ARC I was sent and I am so keen to get to this book, it sounds like one I’m going to love so it’s high on my list to get to in the next week or so!

Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas

I recently read Last Seen Alive by this author and it reminded me how much I love her writing so I’m even more keen to get to her new one. It sounds like a fab summer thriller so I want to read it asap!

 


 

*I’m a paid member of Scribd (as mentioned above) and they have given me a code that will allow you to sign up and get two months free (and I would get one month free). If you’d like to try them out here is the link. I love Scribd and highly recommend them.

 


 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesday 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. 🙂

That Was The Month That Was… June 2019!

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June was a month that was full of reading and blogging so I’m a happy blogger right now! I read 30 books. I was hoping to try and blog every day in June, which I didn’t manage but, having said that, I blogged 31 times over the month (a couple of days I had more than one post) so I’m really pleased with that.

Otherwise my highlight for June came on the penultimate day of the month when we finally got to pick up our new car! It’s highly unlikely that I’ll ever be able to drive again but our new car gives me and my husband more freedom as it has a hoist in the boot to life my mobility scooter/wheelchair. Also, because it’s an SUV the seats are higher and the doors open wider so it’s easier for me to get in and out of the car.

 

Here are the books I read in June:

I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney

This thriller was really enjoyable but the final 20% or so just didn’t work for me. I do love Alice Feeney’s writing though so will be looking out for her other books in the future.

The Space Between Time by Charlie Laidlaw

This book was such a beautiful read. It got to me in a way that I wasn’t expecting and I loved that about it.

I Heart Hawaii by Lindsey Kelk

This was a wonderful ending to a fab series, it really did tie everything up in such a gorgeous way and I loved it!

The Sea Refuses No River by Bethany Rivers

This is a stunning poetry collection that explores grief after the death of a parent. I really connected to this one and recommend it.

Horizontal Collaboration by Navie and Carole Maurel

This graphic novel was such an interesting and engaging book, it really got under my skin in ways I didn’t expect it to so I really recommend it.

The Friend Who Lied by Rachel Amphlett

This was my first novel by this author and it definitely won’t be the last because I very much enjoyed it.

Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka

I’d had an ARC of this on my TBR for over a year so I was glad to finally pick it up.  It was a really gripping read so I’m really glad I read it.

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

I listened to the audio book on Scribd* and found it really interesting but the way the book was written wasn’t quite as engaging as I hoped it would be.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

I finally read this book this month and I’m so happy that I did because I loved it! I’ve had the hardback of this on my TBR ever since it was first published but somehow hadn’t read it yet. It was my priority book from my 20 Books of Summer challenge and I loved every single second that I spent reading this one!

Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I had an ARC of this but I decided to buy the audiobook as I’d heard it was good and I’m so glad I did. I completely and utterly adored this book, I think it’s going to be one of my favourite reads of the year. I highly recommend it, especially the audio!

Every Mother’s Nightmare by Mark Thomas

I knew this would be a difficult read because of the subject matter but in the end it was the endless grammar, punctuation and formatting errors that almost made me give up on this. I did finish it but I wouldn’t recommend it.

What Red Was by Rosie Price

This was an okay read for me. I enjoyed the first half but then it just started to drag a little. The writing is really good but there were too many storylines for the length of the novel. I would look out for more books by this author in the future though.

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames

This was my second book for the 20 Books of Summer challenge and I adored it! It’s such a stunning novel and one that I keep finding myself thinking about.

The Lost Properties of Love by Sophie Ratcliffe

This book is part-fiction and part-memoir and I loved it. It’s such a beautiful novel and one that really made me think over things in my own life from a new perspective. I already know that I want to re-read this.

Nutshell by Ian McEwan

I really enjoyed this short novel about an unborn baby listening in to his mother and her boyfriend plotting the murder of his father! It’s reminded me how much I enjoy Ian McEwan’s writing.

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

I had an ARC of this but decided to listen to the audio and I’m so glad I did. I think the audio really added to this book and kept me engaged in the story all the way through.

After the End by Clare Mackintosh

This book is stunning! It’s such a heartbreaking read but it will also make you think. I loved this one and highly recommend it.

She’s Not There by Joy Fielding

I bought this book a while ago and have been so keen to read it so I’m glad to have got to it in June. It’s not a book that will really stay with me but I did really enjoy the time that I spent reading it.

The Swap by Fiona Mitchell

I enjoyed this book but it was lacking something for me. I think I just wanted a little bit more depth but that’s not to say that it wasn’t an enjoyable read.

Keep You Close by Karen Cleveland

I really enjoyed this spy thriller and pretty much read it in one sitting. It’s a great premise and it’s such a gripping story so I recommend it.

Last Seen Alive by Claire Douglas

I’ve had this book on my TBR ever since it was published so when I spotted the audio on my library BorrowBox app I decided to part-listen and part-read this book. I really did enjoy this book and now I’m even more excited to read the author’s new book!

Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss

I really enjoyed this book, I read it all in one sitting as it’s a short book and it had more of an impact on me than I was expecting.

The Perfect Betrayal by Lauren North

This is such a brilliant psychological thriller; it’s one of very, very few novels where I just didn’t work out what was going to happen. It’s a flawless thriller and I loved it. I highly recommend this one!

The Trouble With Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

This is another book from my 20 Books of Summer challenge and I fell in love with this one. It’s such a gorgeous book and it’s one I’ll never forget! I did part-read and part-listen to this one (I listened on *Scribd) and the narrator, Paula Wilcox, is so perfect for this book.

Dead Mountain by Donnie Eichar

This is such a fascinating and intriguing book. I enjoyed seeing the process of how the author believes he may have solved the mystery of what happened to the hikers. I still feel like there’s something more to the story though so if anyone has any recommendations I’d love to hear them.

Furious Hours by Casey Cep

I found this book so interesting, it was such a good read. I was intrigued by the case that this book focuses on and also to learn more about Harper Lee. I will try and review this one soon but in the meantime I definitely recommend it.

Something To Tell You by Lucy Diamond

This is another book where I had a NetGalley copy but listened to it on audio. It’s such an engaging story that ends up being a really heart-warming read.

Hard Pushed by Leah Hazard

I found this book so interesting, it’s really eye-opening to read about what life is like for midwives. I’ll be reviewing this one soon.

Something to Live For by Richard Roper

I loved this novel! It’s such a moving and heart-warming book and it was such a tonic on a couple of days when I was feeling a bit low and unwell. I’ll be reviewing this one next week for the blog tour.

Me and the Table by Stephen Hendry

I downloaded the audio of this on a whim when I saw it in the BorrowBox app, and I’m so glad I did because it was a really enjoyable memoir.

 


*I’m a paid member of Scribd (as mentioned above) and they have given me a code that will allow you to sign up and get two months free (and I would get one month free). If you’d like to try them out here is the link. I love Scribd and highly recommend them.


June Blog Posts & Reviews:

I started off June by Wrapping-Up May! May was a great reading month so June had a lot to live up to, and as you can see from this post it managed it! My first review of June was Dead Inside by Noelle Holten, a brilliant new crime novel by a fab blogger and author! I then continued on with my occasional Mini review series with my thoughts on Ordinary People by Diana Evans, Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward, The Furies by Katie Lowe, and Entanglement by Katy Mahood. I read the final book in the I Heart series I Heart Hawaii by Lindsey Kelk  and managed to review it straight away for once! It was then time for This Week in Books 5 June . My next review was of an incredible novel that I read in one sitting The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood by Susan Elliot Wright. It was then my turn on the blog tour for We Never Said Goodbye by Helene Fermont and I shared my review. It was then time for my first Book Haul  of the month!

In the second week of June I posted another selection of Mini reviews of Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka, I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney, The Golden Child by Wendy James, and Need to Know by Karen Cleveland. It was then time for my stop on the blog tour for A Modern Family by Helga Flatland, a book that left its mark on me and I’m sure it’ll be one of my books of the year! I also took part in the blog tour for The Space Between Time by Charlie Laidlaw, another fab book! I then decided to go back to WWW Wednesdays  and shared my current and recent reads plus what I hoped to read next! My next review was of another incredible novel The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean, which I’m still finding myself thinking about weeks after reading it! Then it was time for another Book Haul!

In the third week of June I shared my review of The Friend Who Lied by Rachel Amphlett as part of the blog tour. It was my first book by the author and it definitely won’t be the last as I really enjoyed it. My next review was of the brilliant Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou. Then it was time for my next WWW Wednesdays post! It was then my turn to share my review of the beautiful debut novel Death and Other Happy Endings by Melanie Cantor. My final review of this week was of the moving poetry collection The Sea Refuses No River by Bethany Rivers. Then it was time for another Book Haul (eek!).

In the last week of June I started by sharing another selection of Mini reviews of An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, The Neighbour by Fiona Cummins, What Red Rose by Rosie Price, and Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter. I then got to share my review of the stunning graphic novel Horizontal Collaboration by Navie and Carole Maurel. It was my turn on the blog tour for The Perfect Betrayal by Lauren North, this was one of the best psychological thrillers I’ve read in a long time as it completely blindsided me! I also shared my latest WWW Wednesdays  post. I was delighted to share my thoughts on a gorgeous book that was part novel and part memoir The Lost Properties of Love by Sophie Ratcliffe. Up next came my review of spy thriller Keep You Close by Karen Cleveland and that was followed by my thoughts on the incredible After the End by Clare Mackintosh! I then shared another book haul and that was followed with the audio book tag!

 

The state of my TBR:

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So I think I’m going to give up on tracking my TBR for the moment as it’s just completely out of control! I need to go through my books and have a sort out so once I’ve managed to get that done I may start tracking it again. I will be doing my mid-year book stats post later this week so my TBR will feature in that post. Eeeek!!

 

 

How was June for you? I hope you all had a good month and that you read lots of good books. Did you read many books? What was your favourite book of the month? Please tell me in the comments, I’d love to know. Also, if you have a blog please feel free to leave a link to your month’s wrap-up post and I’ll be sure to read and comment back. 🙂

 

Stacking the Shelves with my new #bookhaul (5 Jan 2019)! Have you added any new books to your TBR this week?

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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!

 

I went a bit 1-click happy online on the last day of 2018 so I have quite a few new books to tell you about today.  Thankfully because I bought them at the end of 2018 they were already on my TBR so only a couple of them count towards the TBR I’m starting 2019 with.

Books that I’ve bought in the last week:

 

The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club by Sophie Green

The Puppet Show by M. W. Craven

I Invited Her In by Adele Parks

Leon and June by June Bernicoff

On A Beautiful Day by Lucy Diamond

Dead Girls by Graeme Cameron

Unbroken by Martine Wright

In Shock by Rana Awdish

Ask Me His Name by Elle Wright

Hotel Silence by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir

The Heretics by Will Storr

In Your Defence by Sarah Langford

A Mind of its Own by Cordelia Fine

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata 

Too Close by Natalie Daniels

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Schadenfreude by Tiffany Watt Smith

 

 

Review books received in the last week:

 

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What Red Was by Rosie Price

 

 

Books that I won in a recent giveaway:

 

Driven by Rosemary Smith

The End of The End of The Earth by Jonathan Franzen

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

February 2017 Wrap-Up!

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February has been an up and down month. There have been stressful things to deal with, and medical appointments and tests to get through. There was also a broken Kindle Voyage (eek!). Things eventually began to be sorted out and towards the end of the month I got a replacement Kindle through the warranty, and we got some unexpected good news in the post. My husband had two weeks off from work and whilst I wasn’t well enough for us to do much, it was lovely to have the time together.

It’s been a fab reading month, I still can’t quite believe how many great books I read in February! Unfortunately, whilst I’ve been reading a lot I’m struggling to write reviews at the moment. This, in part, is because I lost my notes when my Kindle malfunctioned so I will have to write reviews from memory (and my memory is awful), but also because I’m in the middle of altering my medication and it’s a struggle for me to get my words down coherently. I may have to just write some very short, basic reviews in order to catch up as the amount I now have waiting to be written is starting to stress me out.

 

Here are the 26 books I read this month:

Well-Read Women by Samantha Hahn

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel

The Secrets of Happiness by Lucy Diamond

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian

Rage by Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

F*cking Apostrophes by Simon Griffin

Just Kids by Patti Smith

A Game for All the Family by Sophie Hannah

Watch Me by Angela Clarke

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

The Child Who by Simon Lelic

Final Girls by Riley Sager

The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

Black Wood by SJI Holliday

The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla

The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

Everything but the Truth by Gillian McAllister

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

 


Here are the blog posts I wrote:

I wrote my regular blog posts – WWW Wednesday, Stacking the Shelves every Saturday and a weekly wrap-up on a Sunday. Other than that I shared my January wrap-up post at the beginning of February. I also wrote about my fabulous birthday book haul too. I didn’t manage to write and post any reviews, which I’m really down about but as I said earlier life is getting in the way at the moment. Hopefully I can catch up soon.

 


 

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The state of my TBR:

In January, I wrote a post about the state of my TBR and made a plan to try and read more of the books I already owned. This has already proved to be rather more difficult than I anticipated… I have read a lot more of my own books, rather than just focusing on new ones, but I’ve also been buying a lot of books. I did join the Mount TBR challenge on Goodreads in February though and have pledged to read at least 100 books that were on my TBR before the end of 2016 and have so far read 26 books that counted for that. This means that half of the books I’ve read this year so far have been my already owned books, and half were new or review books so am pleased with that ratio at the moment.

I’m also in the middle of a sort out of both my kindle books and my print books and am trying to make sure that all the books that are on my TBR are books that I really want to read. Anything that doesn’t appeal anymore is going to be deleted from my Kindle or taken to the charity shop. I’m also becoming much more okay with DNFing books – I’m fast realising that life is too short to push on with books that I’m really not enjoying. The combination of DNFing books and having an ongoing book cull has meant my TBR is currently going in the right direction! I now have 1861 unread books (as of 28 Feb), down from 1885 at the start of the year and hopefully I can keep reading my way through the TBR mountain.

 


 

How was your February? Did you read any good books? Please tell me what your favourite book from February was, and if you have a February wrap-up post on your blog please feel free to share the link below.

 

Weekly Wrap-Up (12 Feb)

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This week has been a bit of a stressful one at times. Last weekend was horrible  – both stressful and upsetting for me. Firstly there was a mix up over my pain medication, which was very worrying but eventually got sorted late in the evening on Friday. Then Saturday morning brought a stressful and upsetting letter, which couldn’t be dealt with until Monday so I spent the whole weekend feeling awful. It’s on the way to being sorted out now but it’s frustrating when you have to deal with the effects of companies being incompetent. The stress left me feeling really unwell for a few days so I had a quiet couple of days at the start of the week and tried to escape into some books. I haven’t managed to blog as much as I would have liked, or to read and share posts, but I’m trying to catch up now.

Then my Kindle Voyage died. I predominantly read on Kindle so I feel lost without it. I do have instant replacement warranty on it but the company aren’t replying to emails and Amazon are being very unhelpful. Luckily, I have my iPad so can read on the Kindle app  but it’s not so good on the eyes to read off a screen so I can’t read for long periods on it, plus my iPad is heavy for me to hold. All of my notes and highlights for recently read review books have been lost too so I’m going to have to try and write reviews from memory, which isn’t the best. I just hope I can get a replacement Kindle soon.

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In better news, I’ve finally managed to regain access to my Facebook account. I still don’t know what happened with FB but I’m just glad it’s back up and running. If you want to like my page, you can find me here. Also, feel free to send me a friend request, my account is here.

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I also decided to join Instagram so I’m now sharing photos of what I’m up to and what I’m reading on there. You can find me here or search for me, I’m Rathertoofondofbooks on there.

 

This week I’ve finished reading eight books:

Just Kids by Patti Smith

This book was so beautiful, I loved it. It’s definitely a book that will stay with me and I’m sure I’ll re-read it in the future. 

F*cking Apostrophes by Simon Griffin

My husband bought this as a surprise to cheer me up this week and it was a perfect gift after a stressful week. The title alone made me giggle! I enjoyed reading this short book – it’s great for people who are pedantic about apostrophes but it’s also a great book for people who want to learn more about how to use apostrophes.

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

This book really got under my skin and once I had an ebook copy I flew through it in one sitting, I honestly couldn’t put it down. I hope to get my review written and posted soon.

The Breakdown by B. A. Paris

I read this novel in one sitting – it’s such a fast-paced book that hooked me in from the opening pages and next thing I knew it was a few hours later and I’d finished it. I was sent this for review so hopefully I can get that written very soon.

Rage by Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

I have no idea where my copy of this book came from, I found it when I was sorting out my books but I’m pretty sure I didn’t buy it. I opened it to see what it was about and before I knew it I’d read the whole thing. It’s a book about a school shooting but it focuses more on the mindset of the killer than his actions.

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian

I love Chris Bohjalian’s novels so was really looking forward to reading this one when I got it for my birthday. It was a good read, not my favourite by this author but still an enjoyable book.

The Secrets of Happiness by Lucy Diamond

I listened to the audio book of this earlier this week and really enjoyed it. It was the right book at the right time when I was feeling very stressed out. It was great escapism.

Last Night Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel

I very much enjoyed this novel. Like Station Eleven it has a lot of layering, and gradual adding to the depth of the story, and I loved it.

 


This week I’ve blogged three times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap Up (5 Feb) post where I shared all of my blogging, reading and real life news from the previous week

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday post where I shared what I was currently reading, what I’d  recently finished reading and what I was hoping to read next

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves post where I shared all the books I’d added to my bookcases in the last seven days

 


This is what I’m currently reading:

A Game For All the Family by Sophie Hannah

I’ve had this book on my TBR since it was published so it’s great to finally be reading it. It’s such an engrossing read, and it has a modern-day Agatha Christie feel with the way the mystery is being set out. I can’t wait to find out how it all turns out in the end!

Watch Me by Angela Clarke

I really enjoyed the previous book in this series so was looking forward to this one coming out. I finally got to start reading it yesterday and it’s very good. It’s so fast-paced and has me hooked!

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

I bought this book on a whim last month as I loved the cover and the title. I’ve only read the first couple of chapters so far but I’m enjoying it and keen to see where it goes.

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

This novel is beautifully written. I’m deliberately taking my time over this one as I want to savour everything about it. 

And The Sun Shines Now: How Hillsborough and the Premier League Changed Britain by Adrian Tempany

This book is a fascinating exploration of football since the 80s and how the political landscape of the time has had such an impact on how football has changed.

The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla

This is a collection of essays and is such an important read. I’m reading it slowly so that I can give myself time to really think about each essay in turn.

The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

I’m still reading this book and still very much enjoying it. 


Update on my TBR…

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

TBR in last week’s Wrap-Up: 1904

Additions:

Books bought/received for review/gifts: 16 (I did buy couple of audio versions of books I already owned so my TBR only increased by 13. See the books I added this week in my WWW Wednesday post)

Subtractions:

Books read this week: 8

Books I’m currently reading: 7

TBR Books culled this week: 2

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1900

 


 

I’m linking this post up to Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer’s Sunday Blog Share.  It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

 


How has your week been? What have you been reading? Please share in the comments below. If you write a wrap-up on your blog please feel free to share the link. 🙂

WWW Wednesday (8 Feb)

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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:

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Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

This books was one of my recent birthday gifts. I started reading it last night and it’s a beautiful read. I want to savour the writing so plan on reading this slowly but I highly recommend it.

Synopsis:

‘I am thinking of the days without end of my life…’

After signing up for the US army in the 1850s, aged barely seventeen, Thomas McNulty and his brother-in-arms, John Cole, go on to fight in the Indian wars and, ultimately, the Civil War.

Having fled terrible hardships they find these days to be vivid and filled with wonder, despite the horrors they both see and are complicit in. Their lives are further enriched and imperilled when a young Indian girl crosses their path, and the possibility of lasting happiness emerges, if only they can survive.

Moving from the plains of the West to Tennessee, Sebastian Barry’s latest work is a masterpiece of atmosphere and language. Both an intensely poignant story of two men and the lives they are dealt, and a fresh look at some of the most fateful years in America’s past, Days Without End is a novel never to be forgotten.

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Just Kids by Patti Smith

I’ve owned the ebook of this for ages but it never seems to get to the top of my TBR… it was recently offered for free on Audible so I downloaded it. I started listening to the audio book today and am really enjoying it. Patti Smith is the narrator so that really adds to the listening experience.

Synopsis:

A prelude to fame, Just Kids recounts the friendship of two young artists–Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe – whose passion fueled their lifelong pursuit of art.

In 1967, a chance meeting between two young people led to a romance and a lifelong friendship that would carry each to international success never dreamed of. The backdrop is
Brooklyn, Chelsea Hotel, Max’s Kansas City, Scribner’s Bookstore, Coney Island, Warhol’s Factory and the whole city resplendent. Among their friends, literary lights, musicians and artists such as Harry Smith, Bobby Neuwirth, Allen Ginsberg, Sandy Daley, Sam Shepherd, William Burroughs, etc. It was a heightened time politically and culturally; the art and music worlds exploding and colliding. In the midst of all this two kids made a pact to always care for one another. Scrappy, romantic, committed to making art, they prodded and provided each other with faith and confidence during the hungry years–the days of cous-cous and lettuce soup.

Just Kids begins as a love story and ends as an elegy. Beautifully written, this is a profound portrait of two young artists, often hungry, sated only by art and experience. And an
unforgettable portrait of New York, her rich and poor, hustlers and
hellions, those who made it and those whose memory lingers near.

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And The Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

This book is a really interesting read. I remember watching the Hillsborough disaster on the TV with my parents and being horrified at what I was seeing. I’ve followed the investigations into what happened in recent years but what I had never really thought about was how much football was changed by what happened that day. I was only 10 so didn’t really remember what football was like before then. This book looks at what happened that day, the politics surrounding the aftermath and how the Premier League came to be what it is today.

Synopsis:

On 15 April 1989, 96 people were fatally injured on a football terrace at an FA Cup semi-final in Sheffield. The Hillsborough disaster was broadcast live on the BBC; it left millions of people traumatised, and English football in ruins.

And the Sun Shines Now is not a book about Hillsborough. It is a book about what arrived in the wake of unquestionably the most controversial tragedy in the post-war era of Britain’s history. The Taylor Report. Italia 90. Gazza’s tears. All seater stadia. Murdoch. Sky. Nick Hornby. The Premier League. The transformation of a game that once connected club to community to individual into a global business so rapacious the true fans have been forgotten, disenfranchised.

In powerful polemical prose, against a backbone of rigorous research and interviews, Adrian Tempany deconstructs the past quarter century of English football and examines its place in the world. How did Hillsborough and the death of 96 Liverpool fans come to change the national game beyond recognition? And is there any hope that clubs can reconnect with a new generation of fans when you consider the startling statistic that the average age of season ticket holder here is 41, compared to Germany’s 21?

Perhaps the most honest account of the relationship between the football and the state yet written, And the Sun Shines Now is a brutal assessment of the modern game.

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Books for Living by Will Schwalbe

This is such a wonderful book. I loved Will Schwalbe’s previous book so have been keen to read this one. Unfortunately the NetGalley copy is really difficult to read because of all the copyrighting through the book so I may have to leave this one for now and wait until I can buy a copy. The actual writing is wonderful though.

Synopsis:

Why is it that we read? Is it to pass time? To learn something new? To escape into another reality?
For Will Schwalbe, reading is a way to entertain himself but also to make sense of the world, to become a better person, and to find the answers to the big (and small) questions about how to live his life. In this delightful celebration of reading, Schwalbe invites us along on his quest for books that speak to the specific challenges of living in our modern world, with all its noise and distractions.
In each chapter, he discusses a particular book-what brought him to it (or vice versa), the people in his life he associates with it, and how it became a part of his understanding of himself in the world. These books span centuries and genres (from classic works of adult and children’s literature to contemporary thrillers and even a cookbook), and each one relates to the questions and concerns we all share. Throughout, Schwalbe focuses on the way certain books can help us honour those we’ve loved and lost, and also figure out how to live each day more fully.
Rich with stories and recommendations, Books for Living is a treasure for everyone who loves books and loves to hear the answer to the question: “What are you reading?”

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The Good Immigrant ed. by Nikesh Shukla

This has been on my wishlist for a while so when I spotted it in the Kindle sale last week I snapped it up. I’m reading it slowly so that I can really take in and think about what is being said. I highly recommend it.

Synopsis:

How does it feel to be constantly regarded as a potential threat, strip-searched at every airport?

Or be told that, as an actress, the part you’re most fitted to play is ‘wife of a terrorist’? How does it feel to have words from your native language misused, misappropriated and used aggressively towards you? How does it feel to hear a child of colour say in a classroom that stories can only be about white people? How does it feel to go ‘home’ to India when your home is really London? What is it like to feel you always have to be an ambassador for your race? How does it feel to always tick ‘Other’?

Bringing together 21 exciting black, Asian and minority ethnic voices emerging in Britain today, The Good Immigrant explores why immigrants come to the UK, why they stay and what it means to be ‘other’ in a country that doesn’t seem to want you, doesn’t truly accept you – however many generations you’ve been here – but still needs you for its diversity monitoring forms.

Inspired by discussion around why society appears to deem people of colour as bad immigrants – job stealers, benefit scroungers, undeserving refugees – until, by winning Olympic races or baking good cakes, or being conscientious doctors, they cross over and become good immigrants, editor Nikesh Shukla has compiled a collection of essays that are poignant, challenging, angry, humorous, heartbreaking, polemic, weary and – most importantly – real.

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The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

I’ve not managed to pick this up since last week as I’m still struggling to hold the print copy. I’ve really enjoyed what I have read but it’s just slow-going with my health being what it is at the moment.

Synopsis:

Beautiful.
Rich.
Mysterious.

The Roanoke girls seem to have it all. But there’s a dark truth about them which is never spoken. Every girl either runs away, or dies.

Lane is one of the lucky ones. When she was fifteen, over one long, hot summer at her grandparents’ estate in rural Kansas, she found out what it really means to be a Roanoke girl. Lane ran, far and fast. Until eleven years later, when her cousin Allegra goes missing – and Lane has no choice but to go back.

She is a Roanoke girl.

Is she strong enough to escape a second time?

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The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

I’ve managed to read a bit more of this over the last week as the section I’m up to is set out in really small segments, which are perfect for dipping in and out of as and when I can manage to hold the book. 

Synopsis:

Respected arts commentator Paul Morley, one of the team who curated the highly successful retrospective exhibition for the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, David Bowie Is . . . constructs the definitive story of Bowie that explores how he worked, played, aged, structured his ideas, invented the future and entered history as someone who could and would never be forgotten. Morley will capture the greatest moments of Bowie’s career; from the recording studio with the likes of Brian Eno and Tony Visconti; to iconic live performances from the 1970s, 80s and 90s, as well as the various encounters and artistic relationships he developed with rock luminaries John Lennon, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop. And of course, discuss in detail his much-heralded, and critically-acclaimed comeback with the release of Black Star just days before his shocking death in New York.
Morley will offer a startling biographical critique of David Bowie’s legacy, showing how he never stayed still even when he withdrew from the spotlight, how he always knew his own worth, and released a dazzling plethora of mobile Bowies into the world with a bloody-minded determination and a voluptuous imagination to create something amazing that was not there before.

 

What I recently finished reading:

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Rage by Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

I was sorting through my books over the last few days and found I owned a copy of this. I don’t know where it came from as I’m sure it’s not mine but I opened it to see what it was about and ending up reading it in one sitting. It’s about a school shooting but has more depth to it than I expected.

Synopsis:

A disturbed high-school student with authority problems kills one of his teachers and takes the rest of his class hostage. Over the course of one long, tense and unbearable hot afternoon, Charlie Decker explains what led him to this drastic sequence of events, while at the same time deconstructing the personalities of his classmates, forcing each one to justify his or her existence.

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Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian

This was another of my birthday gifts and I really enjoyed reading it. I would say that it’s not the best book by this author but it is a really good read. 

Synopsis:

Emily Shepard is on the run; the nuclear plant where her father worked has suffered a cataclysmic meltdown, and all fingers point to him. Now, orphaned, homeless, and certain that she s a pariah, Emily s taken to hiding out on the frigid streets of Burlington, Vermont, creating a new identity inspired by her favorite poet, Emily Dickinson.
Then she meets Cameron. Nine years old and with a string of foster families behind him, he sparks something in Emily, and she protects him with a fierceness she didn t know she possessed. But when an emergency threatens the fledgling home she s created, Emily realizes that she can’t hide forever.”

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The Secrets of Happiness by Lucy Diamond

I listened to the audiobook of this over the last few days and really enjoyed it. It was an easy read but one that I found engaging enough to keep me interested. It’s made me want to pick up more of Lucy Diamond’s novels in the future.

Synopsis:

The best things in life . . . can be just around the corner

Rachel and Becca aren’t real sisters, or so they say. They are stepsisters, living far apart, with little in common. Rachel is the successful one: happily married with three children and a big house, plus an impressive career. Artistic Becca, meanwhile, lurches from one dead-end job to another, shares a titchy flat, and has given up on love.

The two of them have lost touch, but when Rachel doesn’t come home one night, Becca is called in to help.
Once there, she quickly realizes that her stepsister’s life is not so perfect after all: Rachel’s handsome husband
has moved out, her children are rebelling, and her glamorous career has taken a nosedive. Worst of all,
nobody seems to have a clue where she might be.

As Becca begins to untangle Rachel’s secrets, she is forced to confront some uncomfortable truths about
her own life, and the future seems uncertain.

But sometimes happiness can be found in the most unexpected places . . .

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Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel

I very much enjoyed this book and am so glad I finally picked it up. It’s an intriguing story that is beautifully written. I can see how Emily St. John went from here to Station Eleven. I definitely want to read her other books soon.

Synopsis:

Lilia has been leaving people behind her entire life. Haunted by her inability to remember her early childhood, and by a mysterious shadow that seems to dog her wherever she goes, Lilia moves restlessly from city to city, abandoning lovers and friends along the way. But then she meets Eli, and he’s not ready to let her go, not without a fight.

Gorgeously written, charged with tension and foreboding, Emily St. John Mandel’s Last Night in Montreal is the story of a life spent at the centre of a criminal investigation. It is a novel about identity, love and amnesia, the depths and limits of family bonds and – ultimately – about the nature of obsession.

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The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

This book is huge but I still read it over just ten days and I loved it. The story goes round and around and the characters kept on surprising me. When I wasn’t reading it I couldn’t wait to get back to it and now I’ve finished it I really miss it. I highly recommend this.

Synopsis:

It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.
The Luminaries is an extraordinary piece of fiction. It is full of narrative, linguistic and psychological pleasures, and has a fiendishly clever and original structuring device. Written in pitch-perfect historical register, richly evoking a mid-19th century world of shipping and banking and goldrush boom and bust, it is also a ghost story, and a gripping mystery. It is a thrilling achievement and will confirm for critics and readers that Catton is one of the brightest stars in the international writing firmament.

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Well-Read Women by Samantha Hahn

This isn’t really a book to read but I’m including it because the paintings and quotes kept me engrossed looking at this for a whole afternoon, even though it’s only 112 pages long. I’d recommend this to all book lovers, it’s a gorgeous book. I think it’ll be one I often get out to look at.

Synopsis:

A treasure of a gift for the well-read woman, this collection brings together 50 stirring portraits, in watercolour and in word, of literature’s most well-read female characters. Anna Karenina, Clarissa Dalloway, Daisy Buchanan…each seems to live on the page through celebrated artist Samantha Hahn’s evocative portraits and hand-lettered quotations, with the pairing of art and text capturing all the spirit of the character as she was originally written. The book itself evokes vintage grace re-imagined for contemporary taste, with a cloth spine silk-screened in a graphic pattern, debossed cover, and pages that turn with the tactile satisfaction of watercolour paper. In the hand and in the reading, here is a new classic for the book lover’s library.

 

What I plan on reading next:

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The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

I bought this at the end of last week and I can’t wait to start it, it sounds so good!

Synopsis:

After Sarah petitions for mercy, Edmund Fleetwood is appointed to investigate and consider whether justice has been done. Idealistic, but struggling with his own demons, Edmund is determined to seek out the truth. Yet Sarah refuses to help him, neither lying nor adding anything to the evidence gathered in court. Edmund knows she’s hiding something, but needs to discover just why she’s maintaining her silence. For how can it be that someone would willingly go to their own death?

 

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Watch Me by Angela Clarke

I really enjoyed Follow Me when I read it so have been eagerly awaiting the second book in this series. I hope to get a chance to start reading it over the next few days!

Synopsis:

YOU HAVE SIX SECONDS TO READ THIS MESSAGE…

The body of a 15-year-old is found hours after she sends a desperate message to her friends. It looks like suicide, until a second girl disappears.

This time, the message is sent directly to the Metropolitan Police – and an officer’s younger sister is missing.

DS Nasreen Cudmore and journalist Freddie Venton will stop at nothing to find her. But whoever’s behind the notes is playing a deadly game of hide and seek – and the clock is ticking.

YOU HAVE 24 HOURS TO SAVE THE GIRL’S LIFE.
MAKE THEM COUNT.

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Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

I can’t believe that I’ve not read this novel before! I finally bought myself a copy this week and don’t think it’ll be on my TBR for more than  few days as it sounds incredible.

Synopsis:

Latin terrorists storm an international gathering hosted by an underprivileged country to promote foreign interest and trade, only to find that their intended target, the President, has stayed home to watch his favourite soap opera on TV. Among the hostages are a world class opera singer and her biggest fan, a Japanese tycoon who has been persuaded to attend the party on the understanding that she will perform half a dozen arias after dinner.

The tycoon’s engaging and sympathetic translator plays a vital role in the subsequent relationships between so many different nationalities closeted together, interpreting not only the terrorists’ negotiations but also the language of love between lovers who cannot understand what the other is saying.

Ultimately, it is the terrorist strike that does more to promote foreign relations than anyone could have hoped to achieve with the party.


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

My February Wrap-Up Post

Monthly Wrap-Up

 

I can’t believe that it’s the last day of February already! I decided to do a wrap-up post even though I’ve not been up to doing much reading or blogging this month as it seems a good chance to write a general update as well as a bookish one!

So, in terms of reading I’ve managed to read ten books this month and have only reviewed one of them so far but I have prepared reviews for three more of these books so will post them in the next week or so. I am making a real effort to get better balance in my life and it’s beginning to pay off as I’m starting to enjoy reading again and can concentrate for a few minutes at a time so it’s progress!

Here are all the books that I read during February:

The Butcher’s Hook by Janet Ellis

I’m very excited to share my Q & A with her as part of the blog tour on my blog tomorrow and I’ll be reviewing the book later this week. I can tell you that it’s a fab read and one I highly recommend.

The Silent Girls by Ann Troup

I’m on the blog tour for this tomorrow too and can’t wait to share my review, it’s a book that really helped get me back into reading ad I just didn’t want to out it down!

Viral by Helen Fitzgerald 

My review is here if you’d like to read it.

Look At Me by Sarah Duguid

I adored this book, it was one of those that I was hooked on from the first page and couldn’t put down. I finished it a couple of weeks ago and still find myself thinking of the characters. I haven’t managed to type my notes up into a review yet but I hope to do it soon so look out for a review on my blog in the next couple of weeks.

A Baby at the Beach Cafe by Lucy Diamond

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading all of the books in the Beach Cafe series, so I couldn’t resist reading this one, which was published as part of the Quick Reads collection this month. It wasn’t my favourite of the series but it was still a great read and I would recommend it.

Psychedelic Suburbia: David Bowie and the Beckenham Arts Lab by Mary Finnigan

I spotted this one on Kindle Unlimited so decided to download it after seeing Mary Finnigan talking about the book on the news. Some parts of the book were really interesting but other parts just fell a little flat. I’d still recommend it to people who want to read more about this era.

Aaliyah: More Than a Woman by Christopher John Farley

I’ve had this book on my TBR for absolutely ages and yet despite being a massive Aaliyah fan I’ve never got around to reading it until this month! I quite enjoyed reading it, it was interesting to read more about her early life and the writing and recording of her albums. It’s definitely one her fans will enjoy.

5,742 Days by Anne-Marie Cockburn

Scotland’s Shame by John Ashton

Adequately Explained by Stupidity? by Morag G. Kerr

 

My reading mojo still hasn’t returned – a lot of the books I read this month were shorter reads otherwise I wouldn’t have got through as many as I have. I’m still drawn more to non-fiction than fiction so I’m just going with it because reading anything is better than reading nothing. It’s just a little stressful as most of my review books are novels so they’re all sitting looking at me making me feel guilty but I figure that anything that gets me enjoying books again is good as it will hopefully transfer to me being able to concentrate on novels again soon. Fingers crossed anyway!

I’m still trying to find better life balance but it’s not easy. I had an appointment with my neurosurgeon last week and he showed me my previous MRI & CT scans and explained that I’m not going to make any recovery as the damage to my central nervous system and spinal cord is too severe. It was very hard to hear that but I had the feeling that this was what he was going to say and had steeled myself for hearing it. Of course I wish I was going to get better, being permanently paralysed down the whole of one side of my body and having permanent severe, and as yet impossible-to-control pain is not what I wanted but living for months and months with wait and see has been very hard. We couldn’t make any plans because there was always that slim chance that I would improve. Now we know it’s not going to happen we can start making adaptations to our home and lifestyle to make things easier. We’ve already made enquiries about a stairlift, which will open up the downstairs of our home to me again (I’ve lived upstairs since June during the hours my husband works as I can’t get up and down stairs on my own). I’m waiting to see a couple of different pain specialists and am hoping they will have a suggestion that hasn’t already being tried for managing my pain. 

I’ve had some real down periods in recent weeks, wondering what was going to happen to me and feeling like I couldn’t cope with the pain and the level of disability anymore but weirdly now I know it’s permanent I feel ready to throw myself into finding any and all ways of making life better and easier. I think not knowing is often harder than having to face the reality head on.

I’m hoping that once we start to get the changes made in our home and we find ways of making life easier that I will begin to have more energy to concentrate again so I can get back to reading every spare second and writing lots of blog posts again. Reading is such a big part of who I am that I feel so lost when my reading mojo disappears, I just need to get through this next stage of changes and I feel sure it will come back though.

Thanks to all of you who have stuck with me while my blogging has been so sporadic, it really means a lot to me that you’re still here and reading the few things that I am able to post.


How was your February? 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 February Wrap-Up post.