My Top Ten Fiction Reads 2016

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

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

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

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


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

This Must Be the Place by Maggie O'Farrell

This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell

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

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

The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss

The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss

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

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Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

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

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The Joyce Girl by Annabel Abbs

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

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

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Autumn by Ali Smith

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

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

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

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

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

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The Museum of You by Carys Bray

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

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

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The Easy Way Out by Steven Amsterdam

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

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

And my joint favourite books of 2016 are…

Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin

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

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

How to be Brave by Louise Beech

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

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


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

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

My April Wrap-Up Post

 

 

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

The Summer I Met You by Victoria Walters

Dear Dad by Giselle Green

The Boy with the Boxes by Katey Lovell

The Boy on the Bus by Katey Lovell

Peter and Alice by John Logan

In Too Deep by Samantha Hayes

The Second Love of My Life by Victoria Walters

Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

Shame by Jasvinder Sanghera

Twisted River by Siobhan MacDonald

 Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom

The Real Book Thief by Ingrid Black

Shtum by Jem Lester

The Ice Twins by S. K. Tremayne


I also reviewed six books that I finished before April

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

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

Between You and Me by Lisa Hall

The Good Mother by A. L. Bird

Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen


 

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

Jannie Lund, author of Vintage Dreams

Sherry Mayes, author of Stop the World

Katye Nunn, author of Rose’s Vintage

Mike Russell, author of Nothing is Strange

Siobhan MacDonald, author of Twisted River

Greg Cope White, author of The Pink Marine

 

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

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

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

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


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


 

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

Weekly Wrap-Up (17 April 2016)

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SundayBlogShare

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

 


I’ve not had the best week in terms of my health, I’m still struggling to find the balance between controlling pain but not ending up feeling out of it on painkillers. The result at the moment is that I’m feeling quite awful all of the time, so my reading is suffering as I can’t concentrate on books for more than around ten minutes at a time.

I’ve had a good week in terms of blogging though. It’s made such a huge difference to me having my dictation software, I’m dictating just about everything now (even tweets & Facebook updates) so it’s great. Finally working out how to schedule posts in advance, and also how to schedule links to my blog posts to go out on social media using an app, has been a revelation. I’m managing my time better now and it’s been great this week that I’ve had posts up every day on my blog as it was all scheduled in advance during the short periods when I’ve felt a little better.


 

This week I’ve managed to read two books:

Peter and Alice by John Hogan

This is actually a play script but it was easy enough to read as it’s predominantly got just the two characters throughout. This a fictional conversation between Alice (who Alice in Wonderland was based on) and Peter (who Peter Pan was based on) and it’s fascinating. I bought this book a while ago but wish I’d read it sooner now as it was brilliant. I plan to review this on my blog quite soon.

In Too Deep by Samantha Hayes

I finished reading this very late on Friday night and so haven’t managed to review it yet but I will be doing very soon. I really enjoyed this book, it kept me hooked all the way through it.


 

 I’ve blogged ten times this week:

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

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up Post

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Monday: Q&A with Sherry Mayes (author of Stop the World)

dear dad by giselle green

Tuesday: Review of Dear Dad by Giselle Green

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Wednesday: WWW Wednesday post

First by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Thursday: Review of Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

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Announcement of the winner of The One-in-a-Million Boy giveaway

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Friday: Review of When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen

Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom

Blog post about Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom

Stacking the Shelves

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves post

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Guest post by Rosy Stewart (Author of Hope: Stories from a Women’s Refuge)


 

Coming up on my blog this week:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up (Sunday Post)

Monday: Q&A with Kayte Nunn (author of Rose’s Vintage) PLUS an international giveaway!

Tuesday: Review or Author Q&A/Interview

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday Post

Thursday: Review or Author Q&A/Interview

Friday: Review or Author Q&A/Interview

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves Post


 

This is what I’m currently reading:

The Midnight Watch by David Dyer

I treated myself to this book last week and couldn’t resist starting it the other day. It’s about the Titanic disaster but focuses on the Californian – the ship who was near enough to potentially help but they didn’t react. It’s a novel but has been very heavily researched.  I’ve only read the first few chapters so far but it’s very good.

The Second Love of My Life by Victoria Walters

I’m very much enjoying this book, it’s brilliant. The only reason for me not finishing it sooner is due to me not being able to read much this week. I hope to read more of it very soon.

Shtum by Jem Lester

I’ve read the first third of this book but I’m not feeling very motivated to pick it back up, it just isn’t grabbing me at all. 

Shame by Jasvinder Sanghera

This is non-fiction and whilst I know it’s probably going to be quite a tough read later on, at the moment it’s fascinating reading about the family dynamics and how they all got on before the problems started.

Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom

This book is wonderful. It was written in the 1930s and is about a spinster, Ann, who always listens to what her brother tells her and lives a very sheltered existence. Then one day she comes into a sum of money and on a whim books a cruise! I’ve only read the first few chapters but it’s such an enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to reading more when I feel better. If you want to know more about this book, I wrote a post about it on my blog yesterday – you can read that here.

Twisted River by Siobhan MacDonald

I only started reading this late last night so have only read a couple of chapters so far but I really want to read more of it as soon as I can. I’m on the blog tour for this book on Sunday so look out for my post then.

 


 

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

What have you been reading this week? Please feel free to link to your weekly wrap-up post, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below! I love to hear what you’re all reading. :)

 

Weekly Wrap-Up (10 April 2016)

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SundayBlogShare

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

 

This week’s been another up-and-down week in my real life. I’m still struggling with a combination of increased pain and the side-effects from my increased painkillers. This has meant that I’m having days where I haven’t managed to read anything at all, and on the days where I can read I’m only managing to read in short periods, which is very frustrating when you have TBR as big as mine but hopefully things will being to settle soon.

Dragon Software

On the plus side this week I finally decided to go ahead and get some voice activation/dictation software. I’ve used Dragon software in the past but found it really difficult to train, which is why I’ve been unsure whether it was worth trying again now. Anyway, I got this new software a few days ago fully expecting it to take ages to train so I was stunned when, after just running through the setup and then opening a pages document to see how well it worked, that it actually didn’t need any further training! Only an hour after opening the box I was able to dictate an entire review and found that the few tiny mistakes it made were easy enough to correct. I’m definitely converted to Dragon! 

Thanks to everyone who gave me advice on finding better life balance last week. Things have come together in quite a serendipitous way this week. Firstly, the Dragon software is allowing me to dictate all of my blog posts which means no more typing so my pain levels aren’t being quite so aggravated by my blogging. Secondly, I discovered how to schedule blog posts that haven’t yet been published, and I found some software that I can then use schedule my links to post to my social media accounts at set intervals during the day. All of this means that I can now schedule in a regular time during the week where I can work on my blog schedule a few blog posts at time, then on my bad days I don’t have to stress about it. It’s early days yet but I think this compromise will work really well for me and I’m really grateful everyone who suggested that I consider scheduling posts in advance rather than doing it on a day-to-day basis. My blog is very important to me and gives me such a sense of fulfilment so I don’t want to compromise on the number of posts I write but at least this new way will allow me to work on my blog in blocks of time, meaning I can give myself time away from it too.


This week I’ve managed to read four  books (actually one novel, one novella and two short stories):

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

The Boy With the Boxes by Katey Lovell (Meet Cute series)

Dear Dad by Giselle Green

The Summer I Met You by Victoria Walters


 

 I’ve blogged six times this week:

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

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-up Post

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Tuesday: Review and Giveaway: The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Ward.  This giveaway is for a brand-new hardback copy of the book and it’s open internationally so everyone can enter. The giveaway closes on Wednesday so you still have time!

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Wednesday: WWW Wednesday Post

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

Thursday: Review: The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

The Good Mother by A. L. Bird

Friday: Review: The Good Mother by A. L. Bird

Stacking the Shelves

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves Post


 

Coming up on my blog this week:

Monday: Author interview with Sherry Mayes (Stop the World)

Tuesday: Book Review or guest post/author Q&A

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday Post

Thursday: Book Review or guest post/author Q&A

Friday: Book Review or guest post/author Q&A

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves Post

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up Post

 


 

 This is what I’m currently reading:

In The Light of What We See by Sarah Painter

Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom

Shtum by Jem Lester

Shame by Jasvinder Sanghera

The Second Love of My Life by Victoria Walters

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


 

What have you been reading this week? Please feel free to link to your weekly wrap-up post, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below! I love to hear what you’re all reading. :)

 

Review & Int. #Giveaway: The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

The One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood

Miss Ona Vitkus has – aside from three months in the summer of 1914 – lived unobtrusively, her secrets fiercely protected.

The boy, with his passion for world records, changes all that. He is eleven. She is one hundred and four years, one hundred and thirty three days old (they are counting). And he makes her feel like she might be really special after all. Better late than never…

Only it’s been two weeks now since he last visited, and she’s starting to think he’s not so different from all the rest.

Then the boy’s father comes, for some reason determined to finish his son’s good deed. And Ona must show this new stranger that not only are there odd jobs to be done, but a life’s ambition to complete . . . 

The One-in-a-Million Boy has been compared favourably to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and that immediately caught my attention as I adored Harold Fry, and have never read another book that even remotely made me feel similar to how that book did. This book deserves the comparison and it is every bit as wonderful.

It’s a remarkable tale of a young boy scout who has been assigned to Miss Ona Viktus to help her every Saturday throughout the summer. Miss Viktus is quick to judge the boys sent to her and often finds them wanting. This boy surprises her and she ends up being very taken with him. However, one day he fails to show up and after two missed Saturdays Ona starts to think she was mistaken and that he is just the same as all the rest. Then, after a fortnight, the boy’s father arrives to do his son’s work and so begins this beautiful exploration of a boy’s life, and a healing process for many of the people left behind.

I have to say that I completely and utterly fell in love with this novel, it is so beautiful. I wasn’t expecting it to be such an emotional read, but it both broke my heart and mended it.

The boy is such a wonderful character, he is only in the book for a short time and yet he is in it the whole way through. He is a larger than life boy who had so much to offer the world, he is often misunderstood but is actually so clever. He sees the world in a slightly different way, and he is obsessed with order and counting but his insights stopped me in my tracks at times.

The boy’s innocence combined with Ona’s age and life experience makes for a wonderful pairing. He gives Ona a new lease of life when he decides that he will find a world record that she can break. It becomes his mission to find one that can be hers and together they embark on this task. The boy also has to write a paper for school and decides to interview Miss Viktus about her life because she is 104 and he is sure that no one in his class will find someone older than her to speak to. There are segments running through the novel of Ona’s recorded interview – but only her side as while the boy was present he didn’t want to speak on tape. This makes for a real insight into Ona’s life but one that really brings you up short at times as the simplicity of the way she says things belies some of the heartbreaking things that she has experienced in her life. It’s possible to read so much into her responses as the boy has obviously whispered a question to her. 

The boy’s father, Quinn, enters Ona’s life in a grudging way, seeing it as both a form of punishment and a way of making up a lifetime of being a mostly absent father. Quinn and On a eventually come to accept each other and become friends of a sort. Quinn is trying to absolve himself of all the things he’s got wrong and Ona, having experienced loss herself comes to understand what has made quinn the way he is.

This is such a well-written novel. It’s so clever how the boy is never named and yet by the end you feel as if you know him, as if he is a real person you know. It’s a poignant reminder that even the more invisible people in society have something to contribute, and something to leave behind when they go.

The novel is beautiful and moving, I was in tears reading the last chapter. The One-in-a-Million Boy really does leave a lasting legacy of hope; it shows how we can overcome grief and tragedy, how we can atone for our sins, and how we can find happiness again when we think it is gone forever. It is a novel that will make you laugh, it will make you think about your own life and your loved ones but it is never mawkish. It is written in the ordered way the boy would have approved off and it manages to avoid the sentimentalism that Ona so disliked. It’s ultimately all about love and loss and redemption.

I rate this book 5 out of 5 and my copy will now have pride of place on my all-time favourites bookcase. I already want to go back and read this novel again, I miss the boy and Ona already!

The One-in-a-Million Boy is published today and available from all good book shops.

GIVEAWAY!

To celebrate this wonderful novel I’m running a giveaway for one brand new hardback copy of The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood; it’s an international giveaway so is open to everyone. Please click the link below to enter:

Giveaway of The One-in-a-Million Boy!

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My March Wrap-Up Post (2016)

Monthly Wrap-Up

Well, March has been a better month reading-wise and also personally. Personal news first, in case you’ve missed it, is that I finally got a stairlift fitted in my home, which means I can now safely go up and down the stairs on my own. I fought against this for so long and the minute it was in I felt like a weight had been lifted off me. It’s brilliant to be able to go downstairs whenever I want to without needing help on the stairs. 

I’ve been reading a lot more again during March, which is such a relief. My reading slump had been going on since the end of December and was starting to feel like it might never end. Unfortunately, we can’t seem to get my pain levels under any sort of control a lot of the time so I still can’t read as fast as before, or for as long a period as I lose concentration much more easily but it is great to be able to lose myself in a book even for just a short while at a time. I tend to spend my days reading a while, blogging a while, resting a longer while and then repeating! My blog really takes it out of me, it’s painful to type and it’s hard to think clearly but it gives me such a sense of having achieved something in my day that I refuse to give it up.

I managed to read seventeen books this month (well, sixteen books and a short story), which is not as many as I would have hoped but is way more than the previous two months when I was going through a major reading slump so I’m pleased at what I read. I’ve managed to review seven of these books so far, the ones I’ve reviewed are at the top of my list and have links so you can click to read them if you’d like to. I hope to review the other books but it’ll depend on time and my health situation.

Time to Say Goodbye by SD Robertson

Sisters and Lies by Bernice Barrington

Quicksand by Steve Toltz

You Sent Me A Letter by Lucy Dawson

Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin

The Missing by CL Taylor

The Stylist by Rosie Nixon

Bone by Bone by Sanjida Kay

A Woman in a Million by Monica Wood

The Art of Wearing Hats by Helena Sheffield

A Proper Family Christmas by Chrissie Manby

Sally Ride by Lynn Sherr

A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold

When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen

Between You and Me by Lisa Hall 

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

The Good Mother by AL Bird

 

I also reviewed three other books that I read in February but didn’t manage to review until March:

The Silent Girls by Ann Troup 

Look At Me by Sarah Duguid

The Butcher’s Hook by Janet Ellis


 

I was very lucky this month that I got to interview four authors on my blog. You can read them all at the links below:

Janet Ellis (author of The Butcher’s Hook)

 

Carol Lovekin (author of Ghostbird)

 

Caroline James (author of Coffee, Tea, The Caribbean and Me) 

 

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Andy Owen (author of East of Coker)

 


 

Also on my blog I featured a lovely guest post by Elle Turner (author of Tapestry) and took part in a cover reveal for The Joyce Girl by Annabel Abbs


 

Then to round off what has been a brilliant month of blogging, I wrote a blog post this week about keeping books for the right moment (you can read that here) and it has become one of the most read posts on my blog and is the most liked so I’m thrilled about that. I’m not very confident in writing posts, I usually stick to reviews, so it was really lovely that something I wrote struck such a chord with some of my readers. 

My blog is still growing, which is brilliant. I’ve been blogging for about seven months now and enjoy it so much, I couldn’t imagine not being a blogger now!

Over the course of the next month on my blog I want to make a new blog header, and to make some new headers for my posts. My husband is much better at taking photos than me so he’s very kindly agreed to take some pics of my favourite books so that we can make them into some nicer headers. I’m looking forward to getting that done. I do keep pondering about changing my WP theme as I’ve never really liked this one, but I know how to make changes in this theme and how to keep it up to date so I’m reluctant to mess about with that just at the moment. Hopefully a new header will at least brighten things up a bit!

 


 

So, that was my month! How was your March? 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 March Wrap-Up post.

WWW Wednesdays (30 March 2016)

WWW pic

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’m reading now:

The Good Mother by A. L. Bird

The Good Mother by A. L. Bird

This book has me utterly engrossed – I literally only put it down when real life forces me too! I cannot figure out what is going on but I can sense there is going to be a shock in store. I hope to have some reading time later on today and so will probably finish it then.

Synopsis:

The greatest bond. The darkest betrayal.

Susan wakes up alone in a room she doesn’t recognise, with no memory of how she got there. She only knows that she is trapped, and her daughter is missing.

The relief that engulfs her when she hears her daughter’s voice through the wall is quickly replaced by fear.

The person who has imprisoned her has her daughter, too.

Devising a plan to keep her daughter safe, Susan begins to get closer to her unknown captor. And suddenly, she realises that she has met him before.

dear dad by giselle green

Dear Dad by Giselle Green

This is such a great read. I knew it was going to be good but I wasn’t expecting it to get to me in the way it has, I can’t stop thinking about these characters and I want to get back to reading about them as soon as I possibly can. Dear Dad is due out tomorrow so I’d really like to finish it as soon as I can to have my review ready but at the same time I want to take my time reading to make the book last longer as I don’t want to finish it, it’s so good.

Synopsis:

Handsome, 28-year old, Nate Hardman is a frontline reporter with a big problem. Suffering from shell-shock and unable to leave his house, he’s already lost his social life and his girlfriend. Now his career prospects are sinking fast. 

9 year-old Adam Boxley who lives alone with his ageing nan, also has big problems. Neglected at home and bullied at school, he’s desperate to reach out to his dad – and that’s when he sends his first letter to Nate. Only Nate’s not who he thinks he is. Will he help? More importantly – can he? 

Across town meanwhile, caring but impulsive teacher Jenna Tierney really wants to help Adam – except the feisty redhead has already had enough of teaching. Recently hurt by yet another cheating boyfriend, Jenna’s now set her sights on pursuing a dream career abroad … only she’s about to meet Nate – her dream man who’ll make her re-think everything.  

The big question is; can three people desperate to find love, ever find happiness when they’re only connected by one big lie?

 

I am also still reading these books that I started before this week:

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

The Stylist by Rosie Nixon

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


What I recently finished reading: 

The One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood

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

I plan to have my review up for this book in the next few days… at the moment I’m struggling to get it written as I just adored this book. I find it so hard to review books that I loved as I can never do them justice but I will do my best. I will say that I finished this book almost a week ago and I still find myself thinking about the characters and actually wondering how they are!

Synopsis:

Miss Ona Vitkus has – aside from three months in the summer of 1914 – lived unobtrusively, her secrets fiercely protected. 

The boy, with his passion for world records, changes all that. He is eleven. She is one hundred and four years, one hundred and thirty three days old (they are counting). And he makes her feel like she might be really special after all. Better late than never…

Only it’s been two weeks now since he last visited, and she’s starting to think he’s not so different from all the rest.

Then the boy’s father comes, for some reason determined to finish his son’s good deed. And Ona must show this new stranger that not only are there odd jobs to be done, but a life’s ambition to complete . . .

Between You and Me by Lisa Hall

Between You and Me by Lisa Hall

I finished this book a couple of days ago but has yet haven’t managed to finish my review. I’m struggling with this one because I have conflicting thoughts about it and so am trying to get them written down in a coherent review. Hopefully I’ll have it ready to post very soon.

Synopsis:

They say every marriage has its secrets.
But no one sees what happens behind closed doors.
And sometimes those doors should never be opened…

Sal and Charlie are married. They love each other. But they aren’t happy. Sal cannot leave, no matter what Charlie does – no matter how much it hurts.


 

What I plan on reading next:

In The Light Of What We See by Sarah Painter

In The Light of What We See by Sarah Painter

I’m very excited to start reading this book, it sounds so good. I hope to be reading it later today.

Synopsis:

Brighton, 1938: Grace Kemp is pushed away by the family she has shamed. Rejected and afraid, she begins a new life as a nurse. But danger stalks the hospital too, and she’ll need to be on her guard to avoid falling into familiar traps. And then there are the things she sees…Strange portents that have a way of becoming real.

Eighty years later, Mina Morgan is brought to the same hospital after a near-fatal car crash. She is in terrible pain but recalls nothing. She’s not even sure whom to trust. Mina too sees things that others cannot, but now, in hospital, her visions are clearer than ever…

Two women, separated by decades, are drawn together by a shared space and a common need to salvage their lives.


 

I posted a piece on Monday about how I’ve realised that I keep a lot of books (you can read my post HERE if you’d like to), that I badly want to read, for the right moment but then the build up is so big that the right moment never comes. So I’m trying to think of the best way to set myself a challenge to start reading these books. I think it will help if I make sure I list one in my WWW Wednesday post every week and then make sure I at least start reading it before the following week comes around.


 

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 (27 March 2016)

Weekly wrap-up banner

SundayBlogShare

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

 

 

This week has been a fab week on my blog. I was thrilled to pass 300 WordPress followers earlier in the week and then just yesterday I noticed that I’d passed 2000 total followers! I’ve only been blogging since the end of August so am feeling quite overwhelmed to find that I have so many people reading my blog. Thank you so much to each and every one of you. I started my blog after a really tough time in my real life as it gave me something positive to focus on every day. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to explain how much this blog and the support I’ve received has meant to me but I am so very, very grateful.


 

This week I’ve read three books:

The Missing by C. L. Taylor

This was a great read – a very intense, hard to put down novel about a family trying to come to terms with a missing teenager. It’s more of a mystery than a psychological thriller but it’s definitely one not to be missed. I hope to have a review of it up on my blog this week.

Between You and Me by Lisa Hall

There were aspects of this novel that were really well done and others that I feel conflicted about so I’m struggling to review it at the moment. I hope to find the words for a review and to have it up on my blog soon.

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

I just finished reading this novel last night and it had me in tears, I found it to be such a moving novel but ultimately very uplifting. I’m hoping to run a giveaway for a hardback copy of the novel along with my review so I’m intending to have this ready to go in the next week or two, so please keep an eye out for that.


 

I’ve managed to blog five times this week.

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up Post

Monday: Blog Tour – Review of Ghostbird and interview with its author, Carol Lovekin

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday Post

Thursday: Q&A with Caroline James, author of Coffee, Tea, The Caribbean and Me

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves Post


 

Coming soon on my blog:

I have a busy time ahead this week with medical appointments that I know will take a lot out of me so I’m just going to blog if I’m up to it. I do have an author interview almost written up, and I have a couple of reviews ready for posting so hopefully I’ll manage to get this content on my blog over the course of this week.


 

Here’s what I’m currently reading:

Dear Dad by Giselle Green

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

The Stylist by Rosie Nixon

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

I had started reading The Day of Second Chances by Julie Cohen but I hadn’t realised that the release date has been put back to July so as I’d only read a few chapters I’ve decided to put this book to one side until nearer the publication date. It is a book I was enjoying and I’ll look forward to reading it in its entirety closer to July.

 


 

What have you been reading this week? Please feel free to link to your weekly wrap-up post, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below! I love to hear what you’re all reading. 🙂

WWW Wednesday (23 March 2016)

WWW pic

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’m reading now:

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

I started reading this novel yesterday and am really enjoying it. I’m only a few chapters in but I can already sense the slightly sinister atmosphere that is beginning to build. I hope to be well enough to read more of this very soon.

Synopsis:

In the heady swelter of a London summer, the Elm Hill lido opens.

For teacher Natalie Steele, the school holiday typically means weeks of carefully planned activities with her husband Ed and their daughter Molly. But not this year.

Despite Molly’s extreme phobia of the water, Natalie is drawn to the lido and its dazzling social scene, led by the glamorous Lara Channing. Soon Natalie is spending long, intoxicating days with Lara at the pool – and intimate evenings at her home. Natalie’s real life begins to feel very far away.

But is the new friendship everything it seems? Why is Natalie haunted by memories from another summer years ago? And, without realising, has she been swept dangerously out of her depth?

I’m also still reading these books from last week as I’ve not felt up to reading as much in the last few days:

The Stylist by Rosie Nixon

The Day of Second Chances by Julie Cohen

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

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


What I recently finished reading: 

ghostbird cover final  front only

Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin

I adored this book – so much so that it was near impossible for me to put into words how I felt about it. I was on the blog tour yesterday so shared my review (along with an interview with the author), you can read that HERE if you’d like to. I honestly can’t recommend this book highly enough through, it’s definitely one not to be missed!

Synopsis:

Nothing hurts like not knowing who you are. Nobody will tell Cadi anything about her father and her sister. Her mother Violet believes she can only cope with the past by never talking about it. Lili, Cadi’s aunt, is stuck in the middle, bound by a promise she shouldn’t have made. But this summer, Cadi is determined to find out the truth.

In a world of hauntings and magic, in a village where it rains throughout August, as Cadi starts on her search the secrets and the ghosts begin to wake up. None of the Hopkins women will be able to escape them.

 

The Missing by C. L. Taylor

The Missing by C. L. Taylor

I’ve been reading this on and off for the past few days and really enjoyed it. The novel does centre around a mystery and there are some thriller elements to it but it doesn’t really feel like a psychological thriller to me. It is a good read though and I would recommend it.  I hope to have my review up on my blog in the next week or so.

Synopsis:

You love your family. They make you feel safe. You trust them. Or do you…?

When fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson goes missing in the middle of the night, his mother, Claire, blames herself. She’s not the only one. There isn’t a single member of Billy’s family that doesn’t feel guilty. But the Wilkinson’s are so used to keeping secrets from one another that it isn’t until six months later, after an appeal for information goes horribly wrong, that the truth begins to surface.

Claire is sure of two things – that Billy is still alive and that her friends and family had nothing to do with his disappearance.

A mother’s instinct is never wrong. Or is it?

Sometimes those closest to us are the ones with the most to hide…


What I plan on reading next:

dear dad by giselle green

Dear Dad by Giselle Green

I plan to start reading this in the next day or two so that I can (hopefully) have my review ready for released day on 31st March. I’ve enjoyed the previous Giselle Green novels that I’ve read so I’m really looking forward to starting this one.

Synopsis:

Handsome, 28-year old, Nate Hardman is a frontline reporter with a big problem. Suffering from shell-shock and unable to leave his house, he’s already lost his social life and his girlfriend. Now his career prospects are sinking fast. 

9 year-old Adam Boxley who lives alone with his ageing nan, also has big problems. Neglected at home and bullied at school, he’s desperate to reach out to his dad – and that’s when he sends his first letter to Nate. Only Nate’s not who he thinks he is. Will he help? More importantly – can he? 

Across town meanwhile, caring but impulsive teacher Jenna Tierney really wants to help Adam – except the feisty redhead has already had enough of teaching. Recently hurt by yet another cheating boyfriend, Jenna’s now set her sights on pursuing a dream career abroad … only she’s about to meet Nate – her dream man who’ll make her re-think everything.  

The big question is; can three people desperate to find love, ever find happiness when they’re only connected by one big lie?

I hope to start reading a couple of other books this week too but I need to finish my current reads first, hopefully I’ll be back to reading at normal speed very soon and can catch up a bit more.


 

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 (20 March 2016)

Weekly wrap-up banner

SundayBlogShare

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

 

This week has been a busy week for me with a lot of things that have really taken it out of me but it’s been a productive week too.

The biggest and best thing to happen this week was that I got my stairlift installed! I can’t quite put into words how much happier I feel already at being able to get down the stairs. It’s wonderful and I now wish I hadn’t resisted for so long. Finally being able to spend time in a different room of the house has been lovely but it’s really taken it out of me, I’ve been exhausted the last couple of days. It was worth it this week though just to experience the freedom of getting down the stairs again.

Due to the busy week and increased pain levels and fatigue I haven’t managed to read as much as I would have liked this week. I have still being able to read for a little while on most days though, which I’m pleased about. I hate when I have whole days where I don’t manage to read anything at all.


 

This week I’ve read three books:

When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen

You Sent Me a Letter by Lucy Dawson I reviewed this book on my blog on Friday so you can read it HERE if you’d like to.

Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin I’ll be sharing my review of this book on my blog tomorrow as part of the blog tour so please look out for that.


 

I’ve managed to blog seven times this week, which I’m very happy about. I miss blogging on the times when I’m not able to.

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up Post

Monday: Q&A with Andy Owen (author of East of Coker)

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday post

Thursday: Review of The Butcher’s Hook by Janet Ellis

 Cover reveal for The Joyce Girl by Annabel Abbs

Friday: Review of You Sent Me A Letter by Lucy Dawson

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves post


 

Coming soon on my blog:

Monday: I’m on the blog tour for Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin so will be able to share my review of this wonderful novel and also a Q&A with the author herself!

I haven’t got the rest of my blog week scheduled yet but I do know that I will have a Q&A with author Caroline James, and I have some reviews to write and post too of books that I’ve read over the last couple of weeks.


 

Here’s what I’m currently reading:

 

The Missing by C. L. Taylor

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

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

The Stylist by Rosie Nixon

The Day of Second Chances by Julie Cohen


 

What have you been reading this week? Please feel free to link to your weekly wrap-up post, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below! I love to hear what you’re all reading. 🙂

 

Weekly Wrap-Up (6th March 2016)

Weekly wrap-up banner

This week I decided to separate my Stacking the Shelves and Weekly Wrap-Up posts for the first time as I wanted to be able to focus on each individually. From now on my Stacking the Shelves post will remain on a Saturday (you can read yesterday’s post here) and Weekly Wrap-Ups will be on a Sunday. I’m going to see how it goes, I may end up going back to a combined post but we’ll see!

SundayBlogShare

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

I wrote my monthly wrap-up post a week ago and shared more about what has been happening in my real life of late (you can read that post here), thank you to all of you who sent me such lovely messages of support. 

This week it feels like I’m finally beginning to adjust to some of the changes in my life. I’ve got my stairlift ordered and it will be fitted in about a week and a half so I can’t wait for that. I’ve stopped hating the fact that I need it and have realised that I need to embrace the freedom and independence it will give me. I’ll be able to go downstairs in my own home by myself for the first time in ten months and that is something to celebrate and be happy about! 

Now I’m getting my head around things it seems some space has been freed up in my brainand finally my reading mojo is coming back! I’ve been in a slump for most of this year so far and it’s been horrible; life is so much harder when I can’t escape into a good book for a while. This week I’ve managed to read three full-length books and one short story, which is almost a normal amount for me on a good week so I’m thrilled! I haven’t reviewed these books yet but I will be doing in the next week or two so please look out for them. Here are the books I’ve read:

 

Time to Say Goodbye by S. D. Robertson

Sisters and Lies by Bernice Barrington

Bone by Bone by Sanjida Kay

A Woman in a Million by Monica Wood


 

I’ve also managed to blog every day this week, which has felt wonderful. I love blogging and really miss it when I’m not able to post anything. Here are this week’s posts in order:

Monday: February Wrap-Up Post

Tuesday: Q&A with Janet Ellis (author of The Butcher’s Hook)

Tuesday: Review of The Silent Girls by Ann Troup

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday post

Thursday: Review of Look At Me by Sarah Duguid

Friday: A guest post by Elle Turner (author of Tapestry)

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves post

I can’t promise to keep up this schedule – I’ve managed it this week as it’s the first time in ages that I haven’t had any medical appointments. This coming week is a bit busier so I probably won’t blog every day but I’ll definitely post some days.


I’m back to having lots of books on the go at once so here is what I’m currently reading:

Three novels…

Quicksand by Steve Toltz 

I just started reading this one yesterday and it’s very good. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this novel but it’s got me hooked very quickly and I’m enjoying it. I’m on the blog tour for this one so look out for my review on Friday (11th March)

When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen

I was super excited when I got approved for this one on Net Galley recently! I absolutely love Tammy Cohen’s novels (even though I’m a wimp and they majorly put me on edge!), I could not wait to start reading this and expect I’ll be racing through it.

A Proper Family Christmas by Chrissie Manby

I have a terrible confession about this book that I’m a little bit ashamed to admit to! I love Chrissie Manby’s novels, especially this series about the Benson family. I kept this one to read around Christmas (given the title, it seemed apt) and duly started reading it in December. I was really enjoying it and flying through it. Then in January I got the next book in the series for my birthday, which I picked up recently to start reading and it felt like I’d missed something. I quickly googled thinking I’d maybe missed a book out… and then it slowly dawned on me that even though I was sure that I’d finished A Proper Family Christmas but I actually hadn’t! How bad is it that you can forget you’re reading a book when it’s one that you were genuinely enjoying?! Anyway, I picked it back up in the early hours and am sure I’ll have finished it in no time and can get going with the next one.

Three non-fiction books…

Truth, Lies and, O-Rings: Inside the Space Shuttle Disaster by Allan J. McDonald & James R. Hansen

I’ve always been fascinated by anything to do with space and space travel and at the moment I seem to be seeking out a lot of books on the subject. This one is about the Challenger disaster and it’s an interesting, yet disturbing read. It is over 800 pages long and quite technical in places so I think this will be one I’m reading for a while yet.

A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold

This is such an interesting book. I was in two minds about reading it as sometimes books about terrible crimes can make me feel like i’m rubbernecking and I don’t like that. This book is not one of those books a . I’m finding it an intense read so am only reading a chapter at a time and then leaving it for a while but it is a book that I’d definitely recommend.

Sally Ride by Lynn Sherr

I’ve been reading this biography for a while now, it’s only taking me so long because it’s a hardback and some days I simply can’t hold a book that heavy so have to wait for the good days. It’s a brilliant book though, I’m enjoying it so much.

Square weekly wrap up banner

 


 

What have you been reading this week? Please feel free to link to your weekly wrap-up post, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below! I love to hear what you’re all reading. 🙂

 

Weekly Wrap-Up and Stacking the Shelves (20 February)

Wow, it’s been six weeks since I last posted a weekly wrap-up/stacking the shelves post! I had planned to take a week off from blogging but as is so often the way real life got completely in the way. I’ve been really struggling with my medical situation and have had a lot of things to contend with. I’m slowly getting back on track but I am still struggling with lack of energy, which is affecting my reading mojo. I need to find better life balance so now I’m working on making time to read and blog and still do all of my physio etc. I don’t think I’ll be blogging at the rate I was before for a while yet but I hope to blog once or twice a week. I’m hoping that having more of a schedule with blogging will help me get back to reading again.

Anyway, in recent weeks on my blog I posted a review of The Chimes for the blog tour I was on. It was my birthday in January and I got lots of gorgeous new books so I shared a birthday book haul post. This week I did a WWW Wednesday post, which I always enjoyed joining in with so it was nice to be able to join in again. 


This week I’ve managed to read three books, mostly they were short books but it’s still such a huge improvement on how much I’ve been able to read prior to this week. I’ve managed to review one of the books. (Please click the link below the image to read my review).

Viral by Helen Fitzgerald

Viral by Helen Fitzgerald


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.

This week I’ve bought a few new books with money I had left from my birthday.

The Art of Wearing Hats by Helena Sheffield (hardback)

A Home in Sunset Bay by Rebecca Pugh (ebook)

Sally Ride by Lynn Sherr (hardback)

The Time It Takes To Fall by Margaret Lazarus Dean (hardback)

 

 

I received a prize that I won at the end of last year – it’s a gorgeous signed hardback of One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood.

 

Books I’ve received for review:

This Must Be The Place by Maggie O’Farrell (paperback)

Butterfly Summer by Harriet Evans (paperback)

The Last Kiss Goodbye by Tasmania Perry (paperback)

The Truth About Julia by Anna Schaffner (paperback)

Painkiller by N. J. Fountain (ebook)

Dear Amy by Hellen Callaghan (ebook)

Trust No One by Clare Donaghue (ebook)

Fragile by Eve Francis (ebook)

The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North (ebook)

Between You and Me by Lisa Hall (ebook)


What have you been reading this week? 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 Most Anticipated Books of 2016

Books 2016 copy

Happy new year!

I decided that the first day of a new year would be a good time to write a post about the books I’m most looking forward to reading this year. I’ve been adding to my 2016 wish list for a while and it’s already got a rather large number of books on it! The most exciting thing I’ve noticed is that it appears my birthday this year falls on a Thursday and a large number of my most anticipated reads of this year are published that day!! My husband keeps asking what I’d like for my birthday so I think it’s either going to be book vouchers or a list of books for him to pre-order soon!

 

the trouble with goats and sheep

The book that I am most excited about has to be The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon. I’ve been hearing about this novel for over a year now and I am practically counting the days until it’s released (it’s due out on 28th January). This is one of the books that comes out on my birthday and I’ve already pre-ordered it as a birthday present to myself!

Synopsis:

England,1976.

Mrs Creasy is missing and The Avenue is alive with whispers. As the summer shimmers endlessly on, ten-year-olds Grace and Tilly decide to take matters into their own hands.

And as the cul-de-sac starts giving up its secrets, the amateur detectives will find much more than they imagined…


 

How to Disappear by Clare Furniss

I am also eagerly awaiting the release of How Not to Disappear by Clare Furniss, also out on 28th January.

Synopsis:

Our memories are what make us who we are. Some are real. Some are made up. But they are the stories that tell us who we are. Without them we are nobody.

Hattie’s summer isn’t going as planned. Her two best friends have abandoned her: Reuben has run off to Europe to ‘find himself” and Kat is in Edinburgh with her new girlfriend. Meanwhile Hattie is stuck babysitting her twin siblings and dealing with endless drama around her mum’s wedding. Oh, and she’s also just discovered that she’s pregnant with Reuben’s baby…Then Gloria, Hattie’s great-aunt who no one even knew existed, comes crashing into her life. Gloria’s fiercely independent, rather too fond of a gin sling and is in the early stages of dementia. Together the two of them set out on a road trip of self-discovery – Gloria to finally confront the secrets of her past before they are erased from her memory forever and Hattie to face the hard choices that will determine her future…
Non Pratt’s Trouble meets Thelma and Louise with a touch of Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey, Clare Furniss’ remarkable How Not To Disappear is an emotional rollercoaster of a novel that will make you laugh and break your heart.


 

The One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood

I am super excited about The One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood, due out on 5th April. My excitement levels went even higher when I was very lucky to win a hardback copy of the book, which is being sent out to me this month at some point. I cannot wait for it to arrive, I know it’ll be one that I’ll simply have to drop everything for to read it!

Synopsis:

A one-in-a-million story for anyone who loves to laugh, cry, and think about how extraordinary ordinary life can be. Not to be missed by those who loved The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold FryElizabeth Is Missing or The Shock of the Fall.

Miss Ona Vitkus has – aside from three months in the summer of 1914 – lived unobtrusively, her secrets fiercely protected. The boy, with his passion for world records, changes all that. He is 11. She is 104 years, 133 days old (they are counting). And he makes her feel like she might be really special after all.

Better late than never…only it’s been two weeks now since he last visited, and she’s starting to think he’s not so different from all the rest. Then the boy’s father comes, for some reason determined to finish his son’s good deed. And Ona must show this new stranger that not only are there odd jobs to be done but a life’s ambition to complete….


 

Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard

Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard, due out on 11 February is another book I cannot wait to read. From the moment I saw the gorgeous cover in a tweet, I knew this book was one I had to read. Once I read the synopsis I was completely sold on it!

Synopsis:

I was brave
She was reckless
We were trouble

Best friends Caddy and Rosie are inseparable. Their differences have brought them closer, but as she turns sixteen Caddy begins to wish she could be a bit more like Rosie – confident, funny and interesting. Then Suzanne comes into their lives: beautiful, damaged, exciting and mysterious, and things get a whole lot more complicated. As Suzanne’s past is revealed and her present begins to unravel, Caddy begins to see how much fun a little trouble can be. But the course of both friendship and recovery is rougher than either girl realizes, and Caddy is about to learn that downward spirals have a momentum of their own.


 

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

Another book that I’ve heard a lot about and am very keen to read is This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp. This book is out on 5th January so not much longer to wait!

Synopsis:

10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03
The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05
Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.


 

Shtum by Jem Lester

I was very lucky to get approved for Shtum by Jem Lester on Net Galley recently so I may well read this before publication day (which is 7th April). It looks like a brilliant read!

Synopsis:

Ben Jewell has hit breaking point.

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

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

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


 

girls on fire robin wasserman

Another books that looks like it’ll be a brilliant read is Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman; it’s due out on 5th May 2016.

Synopsis:

This is not a cautionary tale about too much – or the wrong kind – of fucking. This is not a story of bad things happening to bad girls. I say this because I know you, Dex, and I know how you think. 

I’m going to tell you a story, and this time, it will be the truth. 

Hannah Dexter is a nobody, ridiculed at school by golden girl Nikki Drummond and bored at home. But in their junior year of high school, Nikki’s boyfriend walks into the woods and shoots himself. In the wake of the suicide, Hannah finds herself befriending new girl Lacey and soon the pair are inseparable, bonded by their shared hatred of Nikki.

Lacey transforms good girl Hannah into Dex, a Doc Marten and Kurt Cobain fan, who is up for any challenge Lacey throws at her. The two girls bring their combined wills to bear on the community in which they live; unconcerned by the mounting discomfort that their lust for chaos and rebellion causes the inhabitants of their parochial small town, they think they are invulnerable.

But Lacey has a secret, about life before her better half, and it’s a secret that will change everything . . .

Starting – and ending – with tragedy, Girls on Fire stands alongside The Virgin Suicides in its brilliant portrayal of female adolescence, but with a power and assurance all its own.


 

The Girl You Lost kathryn croft

I very much enjoyed Kathryn Croft’s The Girl with No Past in 2015 so am thrilled to have an ARC of her next book The Girl You Lost, which is due out on 5th February.

Synopsis:

Eighteen years ago your baby daughter was snatched. Today, she came back.

A sinister and darkly compelling psychological thriller from the No.1 bestselling author of The Girl With No Past.

Eighteen years ago, Simone Porter’s six-month-old daughter, Helena, was abducted. Simone and husband, Matt, have slowly rebuilt their shattered lives, but the pain at losing their child has never left them.

Then a young woman, Grace, appears out of the blue and tells Simone she has information about her stolen baby. But just who is Grace – and can Simone trust her?

When Grace herself disappears, Simone becomes embroiled in a desperate search for her daughter and the woman who has vital clues about her whereabouts.

Simone is inching closer to the truth but it’ll take her into dangerous and disturbing territory.

Simone lost her baby. Will she lose her life trying to find her?

 


 

What are your most anticipated books of this year? Please share in the comments below.

 

Weekly Wrap Up and Stacking the Shelves (14 November)

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

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

On my blog this week:

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

What Rosie Found Next by Helen J. Rolfe

Lost Girls by Angela Marsons

Wendy Darling by Colleen Oakes

What Happens at Christmas by T A Wiliams


stacking-the-shelves

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

Books I’ve bought this week: 

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

The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

All The Major Constellations by Pratima Cranse

Paint My Body Red by Heidi R. Kling

The Sunlit Night by Rebecca Dinerstein

183 Times a Year by Eva Jordan

The Christmas Getaway by Jill Barry

ARCS I’ve received this week:

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

The One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood

The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood

The Theseus Paradox by David Videcette

Did You Ever Have A Family? by Bill Clegg

Thicker than Water by Brigid Kemmerer

Alice Takes Back Wonderland by David D. Hammons

The Children’s Home by Charles Lambert

Sugar and Snails by Anne Goodwin

How To Get Ahead in Television by Sophie Cousens