That Was The Month That Was… May 2019!

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May was a month filled with books. I read 34 books this month – a mix of print, ebook and audiobooks and most were very good reads. This has been a bumper month of reading and I put it down to the lovely sunny days we had where I got to sit out in the garden, and then not been too well so needing more time to take it easy.

I was thrilled to discover that my blog now has over 9000 followers as of late May. Thank you to all of you that have stuck with my blog over the years, and to my newer followers, I appreciate you all.

Thank you also to everyone who has commented on my posts throughout May. I’ve been really struggling to type this month, and also with my eyes (looking at screens for more than a few minutes at a time is giving me awful headaches) so haven’t managed to keep up with replying but I do read and appreciate each one. I will try and reply to some of them but I likely won’t get to them all, so I’m saying thank you here.

 

Here are the books I read in May:

Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald

I loved this book about Mary, a menopausal probation officer who has reached the end of her tether. It’s a darkly comedic book and one that I think I’ll re-read at some point. Here’s my review.

Breakers by Doug Johnstone

This is a novel that captured my heart in a way that I wasn’t expecting. Tyler is such a great character and I was rooting for him to find a way to escape from the life his older brother had trapped him in. My review is here.

The Furies by Katie Sise

I enjoyed this novel about a group of teenage girls and the element of witchcraft that they are obsessed with. I plan to review it soon.

The Forgotten Sister by Caroline Bond

This was a really good novel about the fall out from adoption and what happens when you keep secrets. I reviewed it here.

Missing Molly by Natalie Barelli

I bought this on a whim in a kindle sale and it was an okay read. I found it a bit too predictable overall but at the same time it did keep mew reading to the end.

Song of the Robin by R. V. Biggs

This novel is beautiful and mysterious and I very much enjoyed it. I’m so glad that I was given the chance to read this for the blog tour as I’m not sure I’d have picked it up otherwise but now I’m a fan of the author and will definitely seek out other books by him. My review is here.

Keep Her Close by M. J. Ford

I listened to this on audio book and really enjoyed it. This is definitely a series that I will continue on with and so I’ll be eagerly looking out for the third book to be published!

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

I still can’t resist books about organising homes so this one caught my eye. I actually enjoyed this one and as I struggle with pain and fatigue it was really helpful in showing me how even in just a very short period of time I can still have a housework routine.

By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham

I feel very torn about this book – there were parts of it that I loved but also a lot of parts of it that felt very self-indulgent. I do enjoy Cunningham’s writing but this isn’t his best work.

10 Things to do Before You Leave School by Bernard O’Keeffe

I loved this thoughtful and moving novel about a teenage girl coming to terms with the death of her dad, and her subsequent depression. She finds a list he’s left and spends her last year at school trying to complete it. My review is here.

The End of the End of the Earth by Jonathan Franzen

I won a copy of this in a giveaway earlier this year and it caught my eye on my shelf as I was in the mood for an essay collection. I actually really enjoyed reading this and it’s reminded me how much I enjoy reading essays.

We Are Not Such Things by Justine van der Luen

I’d heard good things about this book so when I spotted it on Scribd I decided to listen to it. I found it such a fascinating book about the murder of a young woman and the subsequent tensions in the area. It wasn’t exactly the book the synopsis made out it would be but it was still a really interesting read.

The Treatment by C. L. Taylor

I loved this fast-paced YA thriller and would recommend it!

Sunburn by Laura Lippman

I listened to this on Scribd having read some good reviews. I enjoyed it but I didn’t feel as gripped by it as I’d hoped I would be. I’ll definitely look out for more books by this author though as I loved the way the book was written.

At The Birth of Bowie by Phil Lancaster

I can’t seem to read enough biographies of David Bowie so I was looking forward to this one about his first band. I really enjoyed the stories in this book but it wasn’t quite as well written as I would have liked. I’d still recommend it if you’re a Bowie fan.

Dead Inside by Noelle Holten

I loved this debut novel! I won’t say anymore here as I’ll be sharing my full review tomorrow. I will say that I highly recommend it though!

The Family Man by Tim Lebbon

This is a book that had been on my TBR for ages so I decided to make the effort to read it this month. Unfortunately I didn’t get on with it all that well. It did keep me reading until the end but it wasn’t really for me.

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Orinkan Braithwaite

I’m so glad I picked this book up because it was so good and deserves all the praise it’s been getting. I was fascinated by the two sisters in the novel and the way their relationship works. This is a book that is really staying with me.

Take Me to the Edge by Katya Boirand

This is a beautiful poetry collection that also has fabulous photographs in it. I loved reading this and it’s a book that I will go back and dip in and out of in the future. I’ve already reviewed this one here.

Not Having It All by Jennie Ensor

This was such a funny novel but also a book that made me think. It’s a book all about whether the grass is always greener. I recommend it! My review is here.

Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff

I’ve had the audio book of this for ages but it felt like I’d missed the moment to read it. Then I saw that a follow-up book is coming out soon so I decided to listen to this one now. There wasn’t much in here that I hadn’t already heard but it was still shocking to hear all this stuff in the one book.

Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney

Sadly I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I’d hoped, I think perhaps I’m the wrong age for it. Also I couldn’t even identify with the characters when I thought back to how I’d been at their age. I did love the writing though and am planning on reading Normal People as part of my 20 books of summer challenge!

We Never Said Goodbye by Helene Fermont

This is the second book I’ve read by this author and I enjoyed it. I’ll be reviewing this book later this month so please keep your eye out for that!

Middlemarch by George Eliot

I completely and utterly fell in love with this novel, it was absolutely brilliant! I’m so glad that I finally picked it up. I enjoyed it so much that I now want to go back and re-read The Mill on the Floss. It was studying that novel under pressure at Uni that put me off reading anymore Eliot but reading a classic in my own time was wonderful and I feel sure that re-reading The Mill on the Floss with fresh eyes might be a completely different experience.

The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood by Susan Elliot Wright

I read this book in one afternoon because I just couldn’t put it down. It’s heartbreaking novel but so beautifully written. I hope to get my thoughts together soon so I can review it.

The Wych Elm by Tana French

I got an ARC of this but I also bought the audio book so I could part-read and part-listen and I’m so glad I did because it was such a brilliant book. I’m a fan of Tana French anyway but I think this might be my new favourite book by her. I hope to get my review posted on here soon!

The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean

I read this book out in my garden over the course of a couple of sunny afternoons and it was sheer perfection! This is such a haunting, yet gorgeous book and I loved it. This is a book that will stay with me. I’ll be sharing my review later this month for the blog tour.

A Modern Family by Helga Flatland

This is a book that really got to me. It’s about three siblings and is told from each of their perspectives. It’s such a brilliant portrayal of sibling relationships and I adored it. I’m still getting my thoughts in order on this one but I definitely recommend it!

Nobody’s Wife by Laura Pearson

This is another book about siblings – two sisters and their partners. It’s a look at family ties and where loyalties lie. This book got to me way more than I thought it would, it’s a brilliant read. I’ll review it once I get my thoughts together!

The Holiday by T. M. Logan

This is a gripping thriller about four women who’ve been friends since their university days and are now turning 40. They go on holiday with their respective husbands and children and as secrets and lies are uncovered one of the party ends up dead! I will be reviewing this one soon but in the meantime I recommend pre-ordering it for your summer holiday reading!

Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

I got a copy of this from NetGalley and then discovered the audio book on Scribd so I part-listened and part-read this. I really enjoyed it and was drawn to reading it every spare minute I could find. I’ll review this properly soon!

Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou

There’s a sticker on the front of this book warning that the reader will burn through it in one sitting and it turns out that’s absolutely true! Once I started reading this I knew I wouldn’t be able to put it down until I’d read to the end. I very much enjoyed this book and will be sharing my review later this month.

Death and Other Happy Endings by Melanie Cantor

This book was wonderful. It’s a book that I’d been much anticipating and it more than lived up to my hopes for it. I’ll be reviewing it later this month for the blog tour.

We Must Be Brave by Frances Liardet

I just finished reading this last night. It was a good read but it was lacking the emotional resonance that I was expecting it to have.

 

 

May Blog Posts & Reviews:

I managed to post reviews of fourteen books in May, which I’m really pleased with. I’m still reading more books than I’m managing to review but it feels good to be getting some written up and posted. I also wrote shared my regular weekly This Week in Books posts, my Stacking the Shelves posts.

I started off May by wrapping up Aprilwhich had been a good month of reading and blogging. I then reviewed The Tapestry Bag by Isabella Muir, which was such a fun audio book that I now plan on reading the rest of this series! My next review was of Doug Johnstone’s Breakers, which was a book that really got under my skin and I’m still thinking about now. I then read and reviewed The Forgotten Sister by Caroline Bond for the blog tour. This was a novel about adoption and was a great story plus it made me think. My next review was of R. V. Biggs’ Song of the Robin. I’m so glad that I was offered a chance to read this book because it is such a beautiful, surprising book and I highly recommend it. I was delighted to have the chance to read and review a wonderful poetry collection in May – Take Me to the Edge by Katya Boirand. This is a gorgeous book and one I will definitely continue to enjoy.  Next I did a summer thriller recommendations post which encompassed mini reviews of four really enjoyable novels (The Blame Game by C. J. Cooke, The Guilty Party by Mel McGrath, Don’t Turn Around by Amanda Brooke and Gone by Midnight by Candice Fox!).  I then read and reviewed a wonderful novel about a teenager coming to terms with the loss of her father in 10 Things to do Before You Leave School by Bernard O’Keeffe. The next book I reviewed was a brilliant, darkly comedic novel about menopausal Mary and I loved it – The Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald is one I won’t forget! After that I took part in the blog tour for Helene Fermont’s Because of You and shared my review. I was then hugely excited to finalise my planned TBR for the 20 Books of Summer reading challenge! It was hard to decide on a definite 20 but I got there in the end and I can’t wait to start reading! I was thrilled to be invited to read Jennie Ensor’s new novel Not Having It All for the blog tour and got to share my review a few days ago. I loved this book and recommend it! And last but most definitely not least I shared my review of The Blue Bench by Paul Marriner yesterday. This book has such an impact on me and I know I won’t ever forget it.

 

The state of my TBR:

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So my TBR…. Well, I’m starting to think that I’m wasting my time updating it here because I just can’t seem to control my book buying! At the start of May I had 2526 books on my TBR and now, even though I read so many books in May, my TBR stands at 2538! It’s only an increase of 12 but when I look at my plan to reduce my TBR by 20 each month this year my TBR should currently be at 2347! I just can’t resist the books! I am going to cut down a tiny bit on blog tours after June so that I can focus on reading the books I already own. I also need to try and stay away from NetGalley so that I can’t be tempted! Wish me luck!

 

 


 

How was May 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. 🙂

That Was The Month That Was… April 2019! #ReadingWrapUp

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April was a busy month for me so I’ve been feeling shattered but it was a productive month so it was worth it.

My husband had two weeks holiday from work and most of our time was spent shopping for a new car, and it was harder work than I’d envisioned. Our current car is old and we got it before my disability happened so it’s really not practical for me. We’ve now chosen our new car and are awaiting a delivery date.

We then spent a lot of our time binge-watching Line of Duty (I’d seen a couple of series but he’d seen none of it so we watched from the beginning). It was stressful avoiding spoilers for the current series as we were catching up but we finally watched episode 5 of series 5  late on Sunday night so we’re up to date ready for the final episode this weekend!

 

Here are the books I read in April:

 

Chickens Eat Pasta by Clare Pedrick

The Innocent Man by John Grisham

Sleep by C. L. Taylor

Baxter’s Requiem by Matthew Crow

 

Adnan’s Story by Rabia Chaudry

The Ringmaster by Vanda Symon

Amazing Grace by Kim Nash

Between the Regions of Kindness by Alice Jolly

 

The Case of Mary Bell by Gitta Sereny

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

The Neighbour by Fiona Cummins

The Tapestry Bag by Isabella Muir

 

The Blame Game by C. J. Cooke

TWA 800: The Crash, The Cover-Up and The Conspiracy by Jack Cashill

The Blue Bench by Paul Marriner

Mary’s Household Tips and Tricks by Mary Berry

 

April Blog Posts & Reviews:

That Was The Month That Was… March

Review of Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech

Review of Sleep by C. L. Taylor

Review of Chickens Eat Pasta by Clare Pedrick

Review of 55 by James Delargy

This Week in Books (10 April)

Stacking the Shelves (13 April)

Review of Amazing Grace by Kim Nash

Review of The Ringmaster by Vanda Symon

This Week in Books (17 April)

Review of Baxter’s Requiem by Matthew Crow

Review of Between the Regions of Kindness by Alice Jolly

This Week in Books (24 April)

Ten Things You Didn’t Know about Samantha Henthorn, Author of Edna and Genevieve Escape From Curmudgeon Avenue (Guest Post)

 

The state of my TBR:

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So my TBR is completely and utterly out of control again! My plan to reduce my TBR by a small number each month so that it would be 200 books smaller by the end of this year has gone awry! Given my plan I should have 2367 or fewer books on my TBR but the actual number is 2526! Ooops! I was aware that I’m accumulating books faster than I’m reading them but I didn’t realise the numbers were so far apart from each other. I think I need to have another book cull and to really think more about the books I’m buying or accepting for review. (Or accept that I’m going to have a TBR mountain that I never get to the bottom of!).

 


 

How was April 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. 🙂

That Was The Month That Was… March 2019!

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March is the month that disappeared! I haven’t been up to much as my health’s not great at the moment and yet the days have flown by.  I have been doing lots of reading – mainly audio books as my eyes are still not great – but some print books too. I’m trying to spend less time looking at screens so apologies if I haven’t commented on your posts or shared things as often recently. I hope to get back to it soon.

 

Here are the 23 that books I read in March:

Ordinary People by Diana Evans

I’d had this book on my NetGalley shelf for almost a year but I finally picked it up in March and I loved it so I’m kicking myself for not reading it sooner. I will review it soon but in the meantime I definitely recommend it!

Sewing the Shadows Together by Alison Baillie

I loved this crime novel, it has such a good sense of place and great characters. I’ve already reviewed this one so click the title above if you’d like to know more.

Don’t You Cry by Cass Green

I listened to this on audio and it was an okay listen. I enjoyed it while I was listening but it’s not a book that’s really stayed with me.

Past Life by Dominic Nolan

This book is so good! It has so much depth to it and kept me hooked all the way through. I’ve reviewed this one so click the title to find out more of what I thought.

Welcome to the Heady Heights by David F. Ross

This book is so hard to define but it was impossible to put down! I really enjoyed it. My review is already up so click the title to learn more.

Entanglement by Katy Mahmood

I had this book on my NG but I also got the audio book so part read and part listened to it. I very much enjoyed this one and hope to get my review finished and posted soon.

The Guilty Party by Mel McGrath

This book is so good! It grabbed me from the first page and had me gripped right to the very end. I’ll be reviewing this one soon too!

Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

This is another really good read! I think I read this in one sitting pretty much and love how even though I thought I had it all sussed there was more to come! My review is posted so please click the title if you want to know more.

Hold My Hand by M. J. Ross

I downloaded this on audio after reading Meggy’s great review of the second book in the series. I loved this and already have the next book on my phone to listen to soon!

Not Fade Away by John Gribbin

This was a really enjoyable book looking at the music of Buddy Holly.

Goodnight Malaysian 370 by Ewan Wilson

I got this one on my Kindle Unlimited free trial and it was an interesting read but there was nothing in it that I hadn’t already read from articles online.

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

I’ve had a copy of this on my NG shelf for way too long so when I spotted the audio book on my Scribd trial I decided to listen to it while reading. I adored the writing in this novel and will definitely be looking to read more Jesmyn Ward in the future.

The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts

This book was brilliant! I finished it a couple of weeks ago but it’s still going round in my head. I will be reviewing it once I get my thoughts together but in the meantime I recommend it!

White Lies by Lucy Dawson

I listened to this on Audible and really enjoyed it. It was gripping and I was keen to find out who was telling the lies!

The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian

I listened to this one on Scribd too. It’s a book I’ve wanted to read for ages and I enjoyed it but it’s not the best book by the author.

It Happens All The Time by Amy Hatvany

This was also a Scribd listen and I was engrossed all the way through this book. It’s a great read and it really makes you think as you listen to both sides in the aftermath of a sexual assault.

The Conviction of Cora Burns by Carolyn Kirby

This book is incredible and I feel sure it will be in my top books of the year. I was utterly absorbed in the story and I feel sad to have finished it. I highly recommend it and if you want to know more click the title for my review.

C is for Corpse by Sue Grafton

I’m slowly re-reading all of this series so when I found this one on Scribd I decided to listen to it. It’s not my favourite in the series but I enjoy all of the books. Kinsey Millhone is great!

The Point Of Poetry by Joe Nutt

This book gave me some of my confidence back for reading poetry and got me to see poems I already knew in a new light. I recommend this book to everyone! Click the title to read my full thoughts.

Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech

This book is stunning! I loved every single second that I spent reading it and I’m sad to have finished it. This is also a contender for my top books of the year!

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

I’ve wanted to read this one for a while so when I saw it on Scribd I decided to listen to it. It’s a brilliant book and I now want to get a physical copy to have on my bookcase.

Milkman by Anna Burns

I had the book of this but decided to listen to the audio while also reading it and I completely and utterly adored it. I feel like my thoughts on this book will keep developing for a while but I 100% recommend it!

55 by James DeLargy

I finished this book yesterday and I’m still thinking about that ending! This is such a good read, it’ll be one that stays with me!

 

March Blog Posts & Reviews:

That Was The Month That Was… February

Stacking the Shelves on 2 Mar

Mini Book Reviews of The Trick to Time by Kit de Waal, Dear Mrs Bird by A. J. Pearce, Ivy and Abe by Elizabeth Enfield and Someone Like Me by M. R. Carey

Review of The Bridal Party by J. G. Murray

This Week in Books 6 Mar

Review of Last Ones Left Alive by Sarah Davis Goff

Stacking the Shelves 9 Mar

Review of Are You The F**king Doctor? by Dr. Liam Farrell

Review of Past Life by Dominic Nolan

Review of Sewing the Shadows Together by Alison Baillie

This Week in Books 13 Mar

Review of Welcome to the Heady Heights by David F. Ross

Stacking the Shelves 16 Mar

This Week in Books 20 Mar

Review of Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

Stacking the Shelves 23 Mar

Review of The Conviction of Cora Burns by Carolyn Kirby

This Week in Books 27 Mar

Review The Point of Poetry by Joe Nutt

Stacking the Shelves 30 Mar

 

The state of my TBR:

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So I said in my February TBR update that my plan to reduce my TBR had gone somewhat awry. Well, in March it’s done waaay beyond that! Ooops! My plan was to reduce my TBR each month so that by the end of the year it would have 200 fewer books on it. At the end of February it was at 2482 and now it’s at 2500. That doesn’t seem too bad but it should be at 2387 if I was sticking to my plan. Ah well, I can’t really complain about having lots of lovely books to read. 🙂

 

How was March 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. 🙂

That Was The Month That Was… February 2019!

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I can’t believe that February is already over… where is 2019 going?!

I got a new MacBook this month and it’s fab. My old MacBook was nearly seven years old and while it was still going okay the screen wasn’t helping my eyes. The Retina display on this new Mac is fabulous and much easier to look at. I’m also finding the new butterly keyboard easier to type on so while I do still use voice software a lot I’m hoping that easier typing might mean I can continue blogging when WordPress forces me to use the update that I’ve so far had to avoid.

I’m mortified to discover that WordPress wasn’t running right on my old MacBook and I now see that I’ve had a lot of lovely comments on my blog over the last few months that I hadn’t seen before. There’s no way I can catch up with them all but I will make sure to read them and will reply where I can manage to. Hopefully things will run smoothly now and I can reply to comments as they arrive. Thanks so much to all of you who’ve commented on any of my posts, I can only apologise for not replying to them.

 

Here are the 21 that books I read in January:

Birthday Girl by Haruki Murakami

This was a fab short story that I got for my birthday in January and I loved it. It reminded me why I love Murakami’s writing and has made me want to pick up the novels of his that I so far haven’t read.

The Jigsaw Man by Paul Britton

This was an interesting insight into how criminal psychology came to be used more in modern policing in this country. It’s one man’s story and look back over the cases he’s worked on.

Gone by Midnight by Candice Fox

This was a great read, so fast-paced and twisty. I hope to get a review written and posted before too much longer.

Trauma by Dr. Gordon Turnbull

This book is fascinating and I’m so glad I read it. It’s a look at how PTSD came to be a diagnosis in this country, and how the treatment of the condition has changed over the years. I definitely recommend this one!

East of England by Eamonn Griffin

I loved this book. It was so different to my normal kind of read but I very much enjoyed it. I’ve already reviewed this one so click the book title above if you’d like to know more.

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

I part listened and part read this book and I found it so interesting. It’s a doorstop of a book but I seemed to get through it in no time as it’s really engaging.

All the Little Lies by Chris Curran

I loved this book too and as I’ve already reviewed it you can find out more about if you click the title above.

Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

This book is brilliant and I already feel sure it’ll be in my best books of this year! I reviewed it this week so click the title above if you’d like to know more.

Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell

I can’t believe I’d never read this book before as I really enjoy Gaskell’s writing, but better late than never as I loved it.

Manhunt by Colin Sutton

I picked this book after recently watching the TV adaptation. I found it interesting but it wasn’t quite as interesting as I’d hoped it would be.

Don’t Turn Around by Amanda Brooke

This was such a gripping read, I found it hard to put down. Hopefully I’ll get a review posted on here soon.

My Last Lie by Ella Drummond

This was another great read in February! I’ve reviewed this one so click on the title if you want to know more.

I Invited Her In by Adele Parks

I enjoyed this book but it wasn’t quite as good as I’d hoped. I spotted all the twists early on but the writing was still great and that’s what kept me reading.

The One by John Marrs

I part read and part listened to this book and it was an okay read. I was expecting a bit more but at the same time I found it hard to put down so it definitely kept me engaged all the way through.

The Girl Next Door by Phoebe Morgan

This was such a good read. I listened to the audio book and it was one of those reads that made me begrudge real life interfering with me book listening time!

The Bridal Party by J. G. Murray

I really enjoyed this book! It was another book that was hard to put down and I love that it all turned out differently than I was expecting.

 

The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald

This book was so good! It was gripping from start to finish and was also a much more emotional read than I was expecting. I loved it and will definitely review it soon.

Last Ones Left Alive by Sarah David-Goff

This isn’t my usual kind of read but I loved it. It had so much depth to it and made me think, I really enjoyed it.

Are You The F**king Doctor? by Dr. Liam Farrell

This was another good read. It was funny and engaging and witty, I recommend it!

‘Kill The Black One First’ by Michael Fuller

I listened to this on audio and found it so interesting. It was shocking to read of the author’s experiences in the police force as a young black man but inspiring to see how he dealt with it and overcame it. The audio is narrated by the author too, which is always great with a memoir. I definitely recommend this one!

The Golden Child by Wendy James

I’ve had this ARC on my TBR for a few months now and finally picked it up yesterday. I ended up reading the whole book in one sitting, it’s such a good read!

 

January Blog Posts & Reviews:

I blogged 14 times in February which I’m happy with. Only six of those posts were reviews though which I need to improve on as I’m reading a lot and just haven’t been managing to get reviews written and posted. I think my new MacBook will help with that as it’s easier for me to use, and faster. Anyway, here are my blog posts and reviews from February…

That Was The Month That Was… January 2019

Stacking the Shelves (2 Feb)

This Week in Books (6 Feb)

Review of Senseless by Anna Lickley

Review of East of England by Eamonn Griffin

This Week in Books (13 Feb)

Review of All the Little Lies by Chris Curran

Stacking the Shelves (16 Feb)

Review of My Last Lie by Ella Drummond

This Week in Books (20 Feb)

Stacking the Shelves (23 Feb)

Review of Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

This Week in Books (27 Feb)

Review of Waco: A Survivor’s Story by David Thidebeau

 

The state of my TBR:

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Well my TBR has got a little bit out of control during February. My plan to reduce it by 200 books from the total at the start of the year to the total at the end as gone a bit awry. To be on target my TBR should now be down to 2407 owned books but it’s actually at 2482! Oops! In fairness though I am part-way through having a book sort out so I think there will be some books going to the charity shop that I no longer want to read. Other than I just need to keep reading, and perhaps be a bit better at not buying all of the books at once! Haha!

 

 

How was your February? 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. 🙂

 

That Was The Month That Was… January 2019!

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January is a month that I’ve struggled with in recent years but actually this January didn’t weigh on me quite as much so I feel like I’ve made progress in coming to terms with some things. I also turned 40 this month so am determined that my 40s will be fabulous!

I always plan ahead to keep my mind occupied in January so this time my plan was simple… read lots of good books! And I definitely succeeded with this! I read more books in January then ever before (since I started keeping record of what I read) and ended up finishing 34 books over the month! I can’t pick a single favourite as pretty much every book was really good but I have to give a special mention to Ideal Angels by Robert Welbourn because that book was incredible and it won’t let go of my thoughts!

I also managed a lot more blogging in January than I’ve done for a while and I’m really enjoying it. It feels like my blogging mojo is fully back now after the wobble I had over the summer so hopefully it will stick around now!

 

Here are the books I read in January:

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar

This was a Christmas present from my husband. I’ve been wanting to read it for a while and it was worth the wait because I loved it. I already feel that this will make my favourite books of the year so 2019 was off to an amazing start!

Ivy and Abe by Elizabeth Enfield

I had an ARC of this book but I decided to listen to the audio book while I was feeling unwell and I very much enjoyed it. I’m fascinated by the idea of fate so this book was right up my street. I do plan on reviewing it when I get a chance.

The Liar’s Girl by Catherine Ryan Howard

This was another excellent book that I just couldn’t put down! I’ve already reviewed this so you can see my full thoughts here if you’d like to.

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

This book a really good way to pass a cold, wintery day when I needed some escapism! My review is here if you’d like to know more.

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

I’ve had this book on my TBR for ages and so I decided to part listen to the audio and part read it and I adored it. It was everything I hoped it would be and more!

The Rumour by Lesley Kara

This book was brilliant, it more than lived up to my expectations for it and is another book that I think may well be on my top books of the year! My review is here if you’d like to read it.

The Story Keeper by Anna Mazzola

This book is so atmospheric and had me gripped from start to finish. Find out more in my review here.

No More Plastic by Martin Dorey

This was an interesting introduction to reducing plastic but I was hoping to learn more. I’d definitely recommend it if you’re looking for somewhere to start though.

The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton

I’d had an ARC of this on my TBR for quite a while and I finally picked it up in January and I ended up reading it in one sitting, it was so good! Here’s my full review!

The Second Sister by Claire Kendall

I bought this book sometime last year and I spotted it when I was tidying up my shelves last month so kept it out to read. It was a good thriller, it kept me turning the pages!

Ideal Angels by Robert Welbourn

This book is incredible. I loved it, even though it broke my heart. I know this book will be in my favourite reads of 2019, it just won’t let go of me. My full review is here if you’d like to know more.

The Party by Lisa Hall

This book was an okay read, it was one I read over the space of a couple of hours but it wasn’t as thrilling as I’d hoped.

Storyteller: The Authorised Biography of Roald Dahl by Donald Sturrock 

I’ve had the audio book of this for ages and it caught my eye when I was going through my Audible app recently. I very much enjoyed learning more about Roald Dahl, and I now want to read all my favourite of his books!

The Language of Kindness by Christie Watson

I’ve wanted to read this ever since I first heard about it so when I spotted it on an Audible deal recently I snapped it up. I listened to it over a couple of days and found it really interesting. It didn’t have the same lasting impression as Adam Kay’s book but it was a good listen.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

I was lucky to receive an ARC of this last year and finally picked it up a couple of weeks ago and I devoured it in one sitting. It is such a brilliant novel, I loved it! My review is here if you’d like to know more.

Into the Silent Sea by Claire Stibbe

This was a really good thriller and another book that I flew through as I simply had to know how it would all end. Here’s my review!

The Suspect by Fiona Barton

I’ve read and enjoyed Fiona Barton’s previous two novels so I was delighted to receive a copy of this one. This is a brilliant novel, definitely Fiona’s best yet and I loved it. My full review is here if you’d like to know more.

Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall

This is another ARC that has been on my TBR longer than it should but when I did pick it up I devoured it. I was gripped from start to finish. I hope to get my review finished and posted soon.

Only Child by Rhiannon Navin

This was a really good read, although I struggled at times with the child narrator. Here’s my review.

Need to Know by Karen Cleveland

I read this novel in one sitting over the course of an afternoon and I loved it. I was intrigued from the opening chapter and it had me hooked right to the end. I’ll be reviewing this one soon.

Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce

I had an ARC of this so I read it while also listening to the audio book and I really enjoyed it. It’s such a wonderful novel, one that I think I might re-read in the future. I hope to get my review posted soon.

Bring me Back by BA Paris

Sadly I didn’t really get on with this book, it was too far-fetched to me and it just didn’t gel at all. I have enjoyed a previous book by the author so maybe this just wasn’t the right book for me.

The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

This book has been on my TBR since it was first published but I’ve put off reading it because it felt like it was no longer for me. I’m so glad that I gave it a go though as I got a lot more out of it than I was expecting to so I recommend it.

Diversify by June Sarpong

This book was hit and miss for me. There were chapters that really struck a chord and others that didn’t. I’m glad I read it though, it was interesting for the most part.

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

I finally read this book and I can totally see why it got so much praise last year! I loved it too, it was so different to other books in this genre and I really appreciate how much work it must have taken.

Dead Girls by Graeme Cameron

This was a good read, it wasn’t as good as the previous book Normal but it was still a book that I read in just two sittings.

Notes on A Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

This was another Christmas present and I’m glad I picked it up when I did. I found it even more useful than I was expecting to and I think it is a book that I will go back to in the future.

A Very English Scandal by John Preston

This audio book was fascinating, shocking but really interesting. I already knew some things about this case but there was so much I didn’t know. I was hooked all the way through this book, it left me reeling!

Senseless by Anna Lickley

This is such a good novel. It’s got a great storyline, which I really enjoyed and it also has excellent disability representation, which I very much appreciate in a novel. I’ll be reviewing this in February for the blog tour!

Tilly and the Bookwanderers: Pages & Co. by Anna James

I got this book for Christmas and I saved it to read on the anniversary of my mum’s death when I knew I would need a comforting read. This book was everything I hope it would be and so much more besides, I adored it! I’m hoping to get a chance to re-read A Little Princess soon as it’s reminded me how much I loved that novel as a child.

The Six Loves of Billy Binns by Richard Lumsden

This book was beautiful, so much more more than I was expecting it to be and I loved it. I’ve already reviewed this so you can see that here if you’d like to know more.

The Cactus by Sarah Hayward

This book is gorgeous! I read it in one sitting and I completely and utterly fell in love with it. I’ll definitely be reviewing this one soon but in the meantime I highly recommend it!

Someone Like Me by MR Carey

I was sent an ARC of this and was told it was a thriller so I was a bit discombobulated when I started reading it. I’m still not sure what I think of it but I did read it in just a couple of sittings so it definitely gripped me!

Spare Room by Dreda Say Mitchell

I read this book in one sitting and it kept me up way past my bed time as I just couldn’t put it down! I reviewed this one yesterday so you can find that here if you’d like to know more.

 

January Blog Posts & Reviews:

My Favourite Novels Read in 2018

My Favourite Non-Fiction Read in 2018

Reading Bingo for 2018! Was it a full house for me??

2018 Reading Reflections, Statistics and Plans for Tackling the TBR

 

Stacking the Shelves (5th Jan)

Mini Crime and Thriller Book Reviews featuring A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay, The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah, All The Hidden Truths by Claire Askew and Bluebird Bluebird by Attica Locke)

Review of The Liar’s Girl by Catherine Ryan Hyde

New Year Book Tag

This Week in Books (9 Jan)

Review of The Story Keeper by Anna Mazzola

Review of The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton

Review of The Rumour by Lesley Kara

Stacking the Shelves (12 Jan)

Review of The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Review of The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

This Week in Books (16 Jan)

Review of Only Child by Rhiannon Navin

Review of Ideal Angels by Robert Welbourn

Stacking the Shelves (19 Jan)

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up and How the #KonMari Method Changed My Life!

This was a much more personal post than I normally share on my blog but I wanted to share how following Marie Kondo’s de-cluttering methods had actually made a huge difference to my life!

Music Monday: In My Life by The Beatles

Review of Into the Silent Sea by Claire Stibbe

Review of The Suspect by Fiona Barton

This Week in Books (23 Jan)

Stacking the Shelves (26 Jan)

The Six Loves of Billy Binns by Richard Lumsden

This Week in Books (30 Jan)

Review of Spare Room by Dreda Say Mitchell

 

The state of my TBR:

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Well, in 2018 I succeeded in reducing my mammoth TBR… but 2019 has been the month with all the books. I started January with 2447 books (this is books that I own, I don’t add books to my TBR if I don’t own them) and have ended the month with 2464 books. Oops! This is in spite of me reading 34 books off my TBR this month, the fact is that I’ve acquired 51 books so overall my TBR has increased by 17 books. My plan is to reduce my TBR by 20 books every month so I need to do some serious reading and/or unhauling (unhauling keeps autocorrecting to unfailing and I was so tempted to leave it at that! Haha!) in February to get back on track! In all seriousness though I’m not worried as last year the reduction of my TBR happened over the course of the year so I feel sure I’ll be back on track come December 31st!

 


 

How was your January? 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. 🙂

My January Wrap-Up post!

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January has been a strange old month. I always struggle with January as it comes filled with a lot of sad memories for me.

It was my birthday though, which I find tough but my husband made it really lovely for me. He cooked a lush meal in the evening and we shared a bottle of wine while I opened the pile of presents that he gave me. I got some fab new books so will be doing a book haul very soon!

I read a lot of fabulous books in January so my reading year is off to a great start! I can’t pick a favourite from the books that I read, they were all very enjoyable reads.

I didn’t manage to review as many books in January as I’d hoped to as I had a wobbly MacBook but I did get a few blog posts up and now my MacBook appears to be fixed I’m hoping to catch up on my reviews very soon.

 

Here are the 19 books I read this month:

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

I hadn’t read this in many years and couldn’t remember whodunnit so it was great to read this again with fresh eyes in a new edition. I really enjoyed this mystery and it got my reading year of to a brilliant start!

The Deaths of December by Susi Holliday

This was a really good crime thriller novel. It was ideal to read around the festive period but it could be read at another time of year if you’re keen to get to it.

Forgiveness is Really Strange by Masi Noor

This was an ARC so I will be reviewing it soon. I found it really made me think about the nature of forgiveness and gave me a lot to ponder on.

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

I’d had this ARC on my TBR for a while but when I finally read it I enjoyed it. It was an interesting novel about family dynamics and how and why people disappear.

South and West by Joan Didion

I read Blue Nights last year and found it to be a really honest memoir about the loss of her daughter so I was keen to pick this travel memoir up. I find that I get utterly engrossed in her writing and I adore it.

An Act of Silence by Colette McBeth

I got completely lost in this novel, it was such a prescient book and one that I’m still thinking about. I have already reviewed this one so you can read my thoughts here.

Friend Request by Laura Marshall

I read this novel in just two sittings (and the only reason that it wasn’t one sitting was because it was late at night and I needed sleep), it had me hooked right to the very end!

Out of Orange by Cleary Wolters

This was an audiobook and once I got into it I really enjoyed it. It’s definitely a must read for fans of Orange is the New Black.

The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie

I’ve had this book on my TBR for a long time and was hesitant to pick this up as I’d seen mixed reviews. I’m kicking myself for leaving it so long though as I really did enjoy this quirky and interesting novel.

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

This book was so good! It grabbed me from the start and had me engrossed into it right to the very end.

This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay

I got this book for Christmas and was so pleased as I’d been keen to read it. I read it in one sitting and it was such an interesting book – both funny and heartbreaking at the same time. It was certainly eye-opening!

In The Days Of Rain by Rebecca Stott

I’ve kept hearing about this book and when it won the Costa biography award I had to pick it up. I got the audiobook and found it really engrossing listening to this true story.

Three Things about Elsie by Joanna Cannon

This book was just incredible. I read it on a weekend when I badly needed solace and this book gave me that and so much more as well. I’m still struggling to finish my review because I loved it so much. This is definitely a new favourite and I already want to re-read it!

Meeting Lydia by Linda MacDonald

I listened to this book on audio and really enjoyed it. I’ve already reviewed this book so you can find out more of my thoughts here.

I Let Him Go by Denise Fergus

I bought this book on release day and read it in one go. It’s a heartbreaking read but it’s such an honest and open memoir.

This Is How It Ends by Eva Dolan

This is another book that I’ve loved this year. It was so refreshing to read a book that is told in two timelines going in different directions and I very much enjoyed it. I hope to get my review written and posted soon.

The Break by Marian Keyes

I struggled to get into this the first time I picked it up but I gave it another chance at the weekend and I’m so glad I did because I loved it.

Spaceman by Mike Massimino

This was a book that I got for my birthday at the weekend and after looking through all of my birthday books this was the one that called me to me the most. I read it in two sittings and I loved every minute of reading this book.

Winter by Ali Smith

This book took me a little while to read as I was struggling to physically hold the hardback but the novel itself was brilliant. This is another book that I feel sure will be in my favourites list at the end of this year!

 

January Blog Posts & Reviews:

My favourite novels that I read in 2017

My Favourite non-fiction books that I read in 2017

My 2017 reading reflections and plans for 2018, and the state of my TBR

My reading bingo results for 2017

Review of An Act of Silence by Colette McBeth

My Christmas book haul

My January book haul

An additional January book haul (oops!)

Review of Meeting Lydia by Linda MacDonald

 

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The state of my TBR:

I made the decision to work on my TBR more seriously this year; to try and read more of the books I already own rather than accumulating a lot more. I started the year with 2756 (this is books that I own)! Over the month it’s held steady-ish as I’ve been good at resisting buying too many books and I’ve also been better at DNFing books that I’m not enjoying. I had a little clear out too and got rid of a few books. Then at the end of the month it was my birthday and I got some books and also some book vouchers so my TBR has gone up again. I’m really pleased with myself overall that my current TBR is now 2752, which is four books less than it was on the first day of the year!

 


 

How was your January? 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. 🙂

June Wrap-Up post!

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June has flown by and I can’t believe it’s already July! The highlight of June for me was going to see Kraftwerk with my husband and it was absolutely brilliant. I still can’t believe that we managed to get tickets to see them!

I’m still going through my medication changes so I’m very up and down depending on where I am in the reduction plan. I was offered a new kind of treatment to potentially help with pain management and the person who is doing the treatment has ended up working with me on my PTSD. It’s been amazing for me to finally be shedding those symptoms, and once we’ve worked through those I’ll be starting on the pain protocol to see if it can help me cope better with my pain levels. It’s very draining, mentally and physically, but it’s worth it to be finally dealing with some very traumatic memories.

I also wanted to say here that I am so grateful to all of you who keep reading and sharing my posts, to those of you who comment and check in to see how I am. I honestly can’t tell you how much it means to me. I feel terrible that I’m not managing much time online at the moment and aren’t keeping up with all of your blogs just now. I promise that when I feel stronger I will be back commenting and catching up. In the meantime though – thank you so much.

 

Here are the 15 books I read this month:

 

Be Awesome by Hadley Freeman

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

The Lie of the Land by Amanda Craig

 

Fabrice Muamba: I’m Still Standing by Fabrice Muamba

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

A Year Lost and Found by Michael Mayne

 

The Things We Thought We Knew by Mahsuda Snaith

Exquisite by Sarah Stovell

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

 

Labor Day by Joyce Maynard

The Law of Similars by Chris Bohjalian

Based on a True Story by Delphine de Vigan

 

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

Guilty Innocence by Maggie James

The Hidden Legacy by G. J. Minett


June Blog Posts & Reviews:

I wrote my regular blog posts this month – my Weekly Wrap-Ups, WWW Wednesday posts and my Stacking the Shelves posts so I’m pleased that I didn’t miss any of those.  I didn’t manage to write as many reviews as I’d hoped but I did get five reviews posted which is better than nothing. I also had two fab guest posts from authors Kate Vane and Emily Benet.

Here are the reviews I shared in June:

I Know My Name by C.J. Cooke

The Lie of the Land by Amanda Craig

The Things We Thought We Knew by Mahsuda Snaith

Exquisite by Sarah Stovell

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

 

Here are my blog posts from June:

Kate Vane wrote a guest post for my blog all about choosing the title of her novel The Former Chief Executive

Emily Benet wrote about her perfect hen night in celebration of her brand new novel The Hen Party


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The state of my TBR:

As any of you who read my weekly wrap-ups will already know, my plan to reduce my TBR this year has gone completely awry! Books are my pick-me-up so when I’m having a tough time I end up looking at books online and often end up buying one or two. My TBR is now very out of control, not helped by the fact that I didn’t read as much this month as I normally do!

I began this year with a TBR (this is books that I own) of 1885 books and it now stands at 1981 owned but unread books! My aim now is to just really try not to let it get over 2000. I need to get back to at least not buying anymore books than I can read in a month so that my TBR doesn’t get any bigger. My willpower is weak at the moment though.

So far this year I’ve read 129 books, and my target for the year is 200 so I’m definitely on track to achieve that. My Goodreads Mount TBR Challenge to make 100 of those books ones I owned before 31 Dec 2016 is on track. Of the books I’ve read so far this year 52 count for this challenge, which I’m very pleased about.


Quarterly Stats!

 

At the beginning of this year I started tracking my reading and book buying on a spreadsheet for the first time and I’m finding it fascinating to see the patterns in my reading. This is something I’ll definitely be continuing with. I decided to show my stats every three months so it’s that time again!

 

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As I said above I’ve read 129 books this year so far, which amounts to 43,464 pages! I’m really interested in keeping an eye on my total page count as well as books read as it means I’m reading for enjoyment, regardless of how long a book is, rather than focusing on shorter books to get my books read numbers up.  Most of my books fall into the 300-399 pages bar but you can see I have read a couple of much longer books as well as a few shorter books.  The average length of book comes in at 339 pages, which I’m pleased with.

 

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I’ve used Goodreads to track my reading for many years now and I enjoy the stats that I get from there but it doesn’t give a great deal of info. One thing I’m really enjoying about having my own spreadsheet to track other data, and it’s fascinating me to see the breakdown of author genders. This year I’m not consciously picking authors by gender so this is purely how my reading naturally has been. It’s interesting to see that in the first six months of this year 70% of my reading has been books written by female authors.

 

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I read quite a lot of non-fiction last year and wanted to keep that up this year. It was my aim to try and make sure that at least a third of my reading was non-fiction or memoir. Of the 129 books I’ve read so far 35 are non-fiction, so this isn’t quite on target but I have had a month where I’ve needed escapism and fiction so it’s not surprising. I feel sure that my non-fiction mojo will come back and I’ll end up being back on target.  I am reading a wide variety of genres in general though, so I’m pleased overall. The genres I read most of are general fiction, thriller and non-fiction.

 

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I’m also tracking how I acquire my books, which is also interesting to me. I’m happy to say that I buy the majority of my books, or have received them as gifts. I do get quite a lot of books from NetGalley and from publishers, which I am so grateful for but I think it’s good to see that I’m buying more books than I get sent as I do want to always support authors by buying their books, as well as reviewing them.

 


 

How was your June? I hope you all had a good month and that you read 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. 🙂

May Wrap-Up post!

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May has been another quiet month for me. My pain medication change is ongoing at the moment and will be affecting me on and off for the next few weeks. I’m really pleased that it’s happening, even though it’s really hard.

I’ve managed to have a post up on my blog most days in May. I’ve been much more organised in writing posts on my better days and getting them scheduled on here, and for links to be posted on twitter and Facebook so that my blog is still running when I’m not around as much.

On Tuesday I was thrilled to get a notification telling me that my blog had had it’s most ever views in one day. I’m not obsessive about my blog stats but it’s always lovely when these notifications come through that show my blog is still interesting to people and is still growing.

 

Here are the 24 books I read this month:

Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson

My Dear I Wanted to Tell You by Louisa Young

Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton

The Elephant in the Room by Jon Ronson

The Heroes Welcome by Louisa Young

The Way Back Home by Freya North

The Comfort of Others by Kay Langdale

Fairytale Interrupted by RoseMarie Terenzio

The Zero by Jess Walter

Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner

Fragile Lives by Stephen Westaby

Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff

Becky by Darren Galsworthy

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor by Jason Gurley

Making Space by Sarah Tierney

Letting Go by Alex Hanscombe

Wishbones by Virginia MacGregor

Know My Name by C.J. Cooke

How We Met by Katy Regan

After Anna by Alex Lake

How to Survive a Plague by David France

 

May Blog Posts & Reviews:

May has been a good month on my blog. I’ve been much better at writing posts in advance and scheduling them. I’ve not been around as much due to not being well but I like that my blog still has regular posts, it gives me some sense of achievement. I managed to review eleven books this month, which I’m really pleased about. My aim was to post at least three reviews a week to try and catch up on my reviewing back log (I’m reading faster than I’ve been reviewing) so I’m glad to be on target. I still have some reviews to catch up on but I am closer to being caught up now.

Here are my reviews from May:

Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson (Blog Tour)

Little Deaths by Emma Flint

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr 

The People at Number 9 by Felicity Everett

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

The Power by Naomi Alderman

Final Girls by Riley Sager

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis

Making Space by Sarah Tierney (Blog Tour)

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

 

Here are my blog posts from May:

I wrote my regular posts each week, which are my WWW Wednesday posts, my Stacking the Shelves posts, and my Weekly Wrap-Up posts. Then I also wrote and shared the following posts:

April Wrap-Up post where I shared all my reviews, blog posts, the state of my TBR and my news from April.

Guest post about the evolution of Claymore Stryker by Paul Hardisty for theReconciliation for the Dead blog tour

My 20 Books of Summer TBR post where I finally made my mind up which of my own books I would like to challenge myself to read between June and September.

 

 

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The state of my TBR:

When it comes to the state of my TBR the honest truth is that it is in actual fact in a state! I started the year owning 1885 unread books and now have 1954 unread books. I am finding it interesting to track my book buying and reading on a spreadsheet though and it is helping me to focus a bit more than I used to on whether I should buy a book or not.

I’ve now read 114 books this year so far, and 49 of those were books that I owned before 31 December 2016 so I’m really happy with how my Mount TBR challenge on Goodreads is going (I challenged myself to read 100 books from my TBR this year). So, I’m really pleased with the balance between reading new books (20), older TBR books (49) and review books (45).

I’m listening to more audio books than I’ve done in a long time and I’m really enjoying that. I often read a bit and then listen to a bit and then go back to the book, and it works for me that way. My disability is such that I wouldn’t be reading half as much as I am if I could only read print or kindle books so I’m very grateful that audio books are so widely available now.

 

All-in-all it’s been a good month of reading. I’ve had to take it easy a lot more during May but I feel like I’ve been really productive with my blog, and I’ve read some amazing books. 🙂

 

How was your May? I hope you all had a good month and that you read 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. 🙂

April Wrap-Up post!

Monthly Wrap Up post Copyrighted

April has been a quiet month for the most part. I’m still adjusting to medication changes, although that has been slowed down a bit now, so I haven’t felt up to doing much beyond my normal daily stuff. I did go out once this month with my husband, which was fab. We went record shopping on record store day, you can read about that in my weekly wrap-up post from yesterday. My husband collects records in the same way I collect books so our house is getting a bit full with both of our collections but at least we understand each other’s hobby!

In terms of blogging it’s been a good month. I was thrilled to have a few of my reviews from this month move into my most liked posts on my sidebar – and even had the top spot change a couple of times. First SweetPea got there and that was then knocked into the number two spot by See What I Have Done. Yesterday I got a notification telling me that I’d had my most likes in one day ever so that was lovely to read. I don’t obsess over my stats but it’s always nice to have a gauge that my blog is steadily growing as time goes by. I was also thrilled to discover that my review of See What I Have Done has been quoted on the new Lounge Books website, it made my day!

 

Here are the 19 books I read this month:

First Love by Gwendoline Riley

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

Deconstructing Dirty Dancing by Stephen Lee Naish

Good as Gone by Amy Gentry

SweetPea by C.J. Skuse

The Cows by Dawn O’Porter

The Power by Naomi Alderman

The Affair by Amanda Brooke

The People at Number 9 by Felicity Everett

This Love by Dani Atkins

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

No Turning Back by Tracy Buchanan

Luuurve is a Many Trousered Thing by Louise Rennison

He Said / She Said by Erin Kelly

Titanic Lives by Richard Davenport-Hines

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald

Foxlowe by Eleanor Wasserberg

The Wild Air by Rebecca Mascull

April Blog Posts & Reviews

I managed to write and post eight reviews in April, which isn’t quite the three per week I was hoping to achieve but an average of two a week isn’t too bad. I did also post my regular posts: WWW Wednesday, Stacking the Shelves and Weekly Wrap-Up every week, which I’m happy about. Then I was lucky enough to interview two authors for my blog this month, and I got to feature a lovely author’s guest post. So all-in-all I’m happy with how many posts I shared on my blog this month but I would like to try and get some more reviews written and posted in May if I can.

Here are my reviews from April:

Good as Gone by Amy Gentry

Deconstructing Dirty Dancing by Stephen Lee Naish

The Cows by Dawn O’Porter

SweetPea by C.J. Skuse

Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller

The Affair by Amanda Brooke

This Love by Dani Atkins

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

 

Here are the author interviews I was lucky enough to do in April:

Jennifer Gilmour, author of Isolation Junction

Kay Langdale, author of The Comfort of Others

 

I also featured a guest post on my blog in April:

Lynda Renham, author of Remember Me, wrote a guest post about changing genres for her new novel

 

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The state of my TBR:

The state of my TBR is something I’m starting to wish I’d never shared on my blog as every month I’m becoming more aware of how little willpower I have when it comes to books! I started the year with 1885 books on my TBR (these are all books that I own but haven’t read yet) and as of the end of April I now have 1933 unread books! I’m very aware that the number is going in completely the wrong direction but have so far being quite powerless to stop it.

I joined the Mount TBR challenge on Goodreads a little while ago and challenged myself to read at least 100 books that were on my TBR before the start of this year. I began to realise that I would struggle with getting my TBR reduced (although I am still trying to work on that) so am now trying to at least make sure that I’m reading a similar number of books I’ve owned a while to the new books I acquire. I’ve so far read 90 books this year and 41 were on my TBR before the start of 2017 so I’m happy with that ratio and hope to keep it up.

 


 

How was your April? I hope you all had a good month and that you read 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. 🙂

March Wrap-Up post!

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March has been a tough month in my personal life due to my medication changes. It’s hard to get across just how difficult it is to have a condition that requires medication to manage symptoms, and how the medication then causes problems in itself. I’ve been on very strong pain medication since before I was diagnosed and now I know my condition will never improve, and may even worsen over time, I want to make the best of what I’m left with. So I took the decision to try and reduce my pain medication, in spite of the severe pain I live with. This has been a long term reduction programme and it’s been going ok. It was in March that I got to a low enough dose that I’m struggling. I do have other things that I do to help me manage my pain but it’s taken all my reserves of mental strength to cope. It’s only going to get worse over the coming weeks and I just have to prepare myself as best I can. Once I’m off this medication my pain levels will be assessed again and it may be that I end up on a different medication but I just want to see what I can cope with.

Here are the 22 books I read this month:

Scarlett Says by Scarlett Moffatt

Forever Yours by Daniel Glauttauer

The Escape by C. L. Taylor

Willow Walk by SJI Holliday

The Little Shop of Happy-Ever-After by Jenny Colgan

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

Sometimes I lie by Alice Feeney

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

And the Sun Shine Now by Adrian Tempany

Little Deaths by Emma Flint

The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

Year of No Clutter by Eve O. Schaub

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

The Sellout by Paul Beatty

Now We Are 40 by Tiffanie Darke

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

A Portrait of Bowie by Brian Hiatt

Hillsborough Untold by Norman Bettison


March Blog Posts & Reviews

I wrote my regular Weekly Wrap-Ups, Stacking the Shelves, and WWW Wednesday posts. Then I also managed to review twelve books, which I’m pleased about. It was my aim from the start of March to post three reviews a week on average and I’ve managed that. Ideally, I’d post more reviews than this but three feels manageable along side the regular posts I do each week (health permitting of course)

Here are my reviews that I shared in March:

Everything But the Truth by Gillian McAllister

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel 

It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris 

The Escape by C. L. Taylor

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia

Sometimes I lie by Alice Feeney

The Best We Could Do by Thi But

Year of No Clutter by Eve O. Schaub

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

I also shared a great guest post in March:

Mark Stewart, author of The Absence of Wings, wrote a post for my blog all about speaking up for the voiceless in his short story collection


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The state of my TBR:

I’ve had a few people ask my about my TBR recently so I just want to clarify that my TBR consists purely of books that I already own. I don’t count wish list books as TBR. This goes for anywhere that you see my TBR so if you look at my Goodreads the books listed as ‘to read’ are all books that I own. Hence the need to reduce it – if these books were just wish list books I wouldn’t be bothered how big the list was.

The State of my TBR is not great at the moment. I’ve demonstrated a lack of willpower throughout March and my TBR is creeping up, and is now higher than it was at the start of January!

I started this year with 1885 books on my TBR, and was doing well for the first couple of months as in February my TBR was down to 1861. However, in March a combination of a couple of giveaway wins, review copies arriving, a kindle book sale and spending my birthday book vouchers my TBR has now increased to 1913! I was a bit shocked when I realised how much my TBR has grown in the course of a month.

I don’t want to stop buying books but I do think I need to get better at not buying so many books each week. I’d at least like to try and not acquire more than I can read in a month so that my TBR would then remain steady, so that’s what I’m going to try and do in March. Wish me luck (or maybe that should read wish my willpower!!)

I also want to get in the habit of regularly going through my TBR and making sure that I’m only keeping the books that I still want to read. I’m thinking this should be something I do every month, or at least every quarter.


Quarterly Stats!

I’ve been tracking my reading using a spreadsheet since the start of 2017, which is the first time I’ve ever done this and I’m really enjoying seeing how various aspects of my reading are going. So I’ve decided that at the end of every quarter (March, June, September and December) I’m going to add an extra section to those monthly wrap-ups to share some of the things I’ve noticed in my reading patterns.

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I’ve read 71 books from January to March, and that amounts to 23,326 pages. I’m finding it really interesting to track pages read alongside books read as it shows that I’m not just reading short books to get my numbers up. The longest book I’ve read so far this year is The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, which has 849 pages. My average page count is 326, which is around the length of an average book so I’m pleased with that. 

I’m pleased to discover that in the first three months of this year that 65% of the books I’ve read have been by women. The diversity of my reading in other areas could be improved – I would like to read more work in translation, and also more books written in own voices but I’m otherwise pleased with the breadth of what I’ve been reading.

 

 

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I’ve read from a variety of genres and am happy that of 71 books read, 21 have been non-fiction/memoir so far. I wanted to try and make sure that around a third of what I read this year was non-fiction so I’m not far off being on track for that.

 

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I’ve also kept track of how I acquire my books so thought it would be interesting to show that here as well. Over half of the books I’ve got this year were ones I bought myself, and quite a few have been given to me as gifts. The percentage of review books are the smaller number.

 

 

 

 

All in all I’m pleased with how my reading, reviewing and blogging has been in March. I’m aware that I’m not sure how I’m going to be feeling during April so I’m not planning too much in the way of reading or blogging goals. I’ll read when I can and review when I can and see how it goes. I am going to be taking part in a couple of blog tours so am already reading those books so I can get the posts written and scheduled in advance. I’ll be using any good spells of health to read and review and write blog posts so I’m hoping to have regular content on here even if I’m not around quite as much in reality.

 

How was your March? I hope you all had a good month and that you read 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. 🙂

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.

 

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