That Was The Month That Was… June 2019!

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

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

 

Here are the books I read in June:

I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney

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

The Space Between Time by Charlie Laidlaw

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

I Heart Hawaii by Lindsey Kelk

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

The Sea Refuses No River by Bethany Rivers

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

Horizontal Collaboration by Navie and Carole Maurel

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

The Friend Who Lied by Rachel Amphlett

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

Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka

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

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

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

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

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

Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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

Every Mother’s Nightmare by Mark Thomas

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

What Red Was by Rosie Price

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

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames

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

The Lost Properties of Love by Sophie Ratcliffe

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

Nutshell by Ian McEwan

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

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

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

After the End by Clare Mackintosh

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

She’s Not There by Joy Fielding

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

The Swap by Fiona Mitchell

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

Keep You Close by Karen Cleveland

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

Last Seen Alive by Claire Douglas

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

Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss

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

The Perfect Betrayal by Lauren North

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

The Trouble With Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

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

Dead Mountain by Donnie Eichar

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

Furious Hours by Casey Cep

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

Something To Tell You by Lucy Diamond

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

Hard Pushed by Leah Hazard

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

Something to Live For by Richard Roper

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

Me and the Table by Stephen Hendry

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

 


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


June Blog Posts & Reviews:

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

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

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

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

 

The state of my TBR:

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

 

 

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

 

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Review: Horizontal Collaboration by Carole Maurel and Navie | @rolcamaurel @KoreroPress #GraphicNovel @annecater #RandomThingsTours

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About the Book

“Horizontal Collaboration” is a term used to describe the sexual and romantic relationships that some French women had with members of the occupying German forces during World War II. In this poignant, female-centered graphic novel created by writer/artist duo Carole Maurel and Mademoiselle Navie, the taboo of “sleeping with the enemy” is explored through the story of a passionate, and forbidden, affair. In June 1942, married Rose (whose husband is a prisoner of war) intervenes in the detainment of her Jewish friend and then accidentally embarks on a secret relationship with the investigating German officer, Mark. There is only one step between heroism and treason, and it’s often a dangerous one. Inside an apartment building on Paris’s 11th arrondissement, little escapes the notice of the blind husband of the concierge. Through his sightless but all-knowing eyes, we learn of Rose and Mark’s hidden relationship, and also of the intertwined stories and problems of the other tenants, largely women and children, who face such complex issues as domestic violence, incest, and prostitution. This fascinating graphic novel tackles the still-sensitive topic of who it is acceptable to love, and how, and the story’s drama is brought vividly to life by intimate and atmospheric illustrations.

 

My Thoughts

Horizontal Collaboration is a stunning graphic novel telling the story of women in World War 2. The book opens with Virginie and her grandmother Rose in the present day talking about love, and this leads to Rose reflecting back on the man she truly loved (not the man she married). We then discover the stories of three women whose lives overlap during the war, and get to understand things from each of their perspectives.

The novel is set in an apartment building and we get to see inside each of the inhabitants’ lives and how they all intertwine.

Rose is married to Raymond, who is away at war, and she is raising their young son Lucien. Over the course of the memoir we see her relationship with a German soldier, which she desperately needs to be kept secret but she has fallen in love with him and can’t stop seeing him. This is such a dangerous situation for Rose, but I couldn’t help but feel for her.

Josephine is another young woman who works at a cabaret club but is also working as an escort as its the only way she can make ends meet. I really liked her and felt so anxious that things weren’t going to work out for her. She seemed so lonely and sad, never giving her full self to anyone.

Then there is Madam Flament. She was something of an enigma to begin with. She seems to be quite scatty; she’s obsessed with her cats in the basement and seems to care more about them than the people living in her building. But there’s something that made me think she was watching and taking in everything that was happening, and this made me nervous about what this might lead to.

I will say that when I initially started reading this book I found it a little confusing as the story does jump from character to character. I soon realised that I needed to take my time with this novel and read it slowly, to properly appreciate the story being told and to enjoy the beautiful illustrations. Once I did this I became fully immersed in this book and I was captivated by what I was reading and seeing.

The illustrations throughout this novel are stunning. The colour palette is predominantly sepia toned but there is colour, and the way things like the way candles light up a room are captured so beautifully. The images capture the mood; the happy and the heartbreaking in such a way that I so many times had to pause for a few moments just to take in an image before moving on to the next part.

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Camile is one of the only men in this book and I found that his story was the thread that pulled the others together. He is a kindly, older man that the other people in the building seem to gravitate towards. Camile is blind and it’s fascinating that for all the atmosphere of the time made people suspicious of each other and jump to conclusions; it is the one who is blind that really saw the full picture. He heard all the things that weren’t been said, he put the pieces together but he also keeps his counsel.

It felt to me all the way through this book that it was going to have a tragic ending. I think it’s partly the time the book is set in but also there is a feeling of pressure building inside the individual characters in this book and you can feeling it simmering but you know some part of it is going to give way. The tension is palpable at times, and I spent a lot of the time I was reading this book holding my breath.

This novel really captures the fear of living through a war, and also the way that people had to find happiness where they could and to survive however they could. I really felt that this book showed how nothing is ever black and white, and that in war there are so many more shades of grey than you could ever imagine.

Horizontal Collaborations is a beautiful novel is every way. The story is incredibly written and so moving, and the illustrations are stunning. I’d recommend this book to everyone, and if you’ve never read a graphic novel before I urge you to give this one a try. This is such a poignant book that has imprinted itself on my heart and I won’t forget it!

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Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book and Anne of Random Things Tours for my invitation to take part in this blog tour. All thoughts are my own.

Horizontal Collaboration is out now and available here.

 

About the Authors

Navie and Carol Maurel Author pic

Carole Maurel cut her teeth on animated films before devoting herself to illustration, in particular, graphic novels. Her 2017 book The Apocalypse According to Magda was awarded the Artémisia Avenir award, which celebrates women in comics.

Navie is a screenwriter for press, cinema and television. She has a degree in history from The Sorbonne in Paris, where she specialized in the history of fascism – making Horizontal Collaboration an excellent fit for her first graphic novel.

Twitter @rolcamaurel

 

You can find the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

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A Brand New Book Haul (Stacking the Shelves 8 Jun 2019)!

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

 

So, I haven’t shared a book haul for a couple of weeks so this is a rather large haul. I’m blaming Audible for having a fabulous sale (with books from my wish list in it!) when I actually had a few spare credits! Also, I went on NetGalley to leave some reviews and accidentally requested some more books… oops!

 

Purchased eBooks

The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen

I’ve seen so many fabulous reviews of this book so when I spotted the ebook on sale recently I couldn’t resist downloading it. I love the idea of a lost letter department so am excited to read this!

Feel Free: Essays by Zadie Smith

I bought this essay collection on a whim because I love Zadie Smith’s writing. I’ve recently enjoyed a couple of essay collections so I’m looking forward to dipping in and out of this one very soon.

A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne

I still haven’t read The Heart’s Invisible Furies but I feel sure I’m going to love it so I couldn’t resist buying another book by the author!

Unfollow Me by Charlotte Duckworth

I forgot that I’d pre-ordered this book so I was delighted when I discovered it on my kindle the other day. It felt like a present from past me to now me! I’m really keen to read this one so am going to try and get to it in the next week or so.

The Girl Before You by Nicola Rayner

I bought this on a whim too after seeing some reviews by bloggers that I trust so am looking forward to getting to this one.

Anna by Patricia Dixon

I bought this book after the author posted a really lovely post on her publication day and I could empathise with what she wrote so immediately went and ordered a copy of her book.

Happiness for Beginners by Carole Matthews

This was a kindle daily deal this week so I snapped it up. I really enjoy Carole Matthews’ novels so am happy to have another one on my TBR stack.

Every Mother’s Nightmare by Mark Thomas

I bought this one this week and am now half-way through it. The formatting of the book is awful though, which is such a shame, and I’m not sure I’ll continue with it.

 

Purchased Audiobooks

Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde and The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde

I bought both of these audiobooks in a recent Audible sale when they had the first few books in a selection of series for £3 each! I’ve already got the first book so I can’t wait to start listening to these books!

People Who Eat Darkness by Richard Parry

This has been on my wish list for such a long time after a good friend recommended it to me. I decided to get the audio book in the recent Audible 2 for 1 sale!

Milkshakes and Morphine by Genevieve Fox

This memoir is a recent addition to my wish list so I was delighted to spot it in the same sale as the book above. I’m definitely going to be listening to this very soon.

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

This is one of those books that I’ve heard so much about for so many years that I feel like I must have already read it but I actually haven’t. I do have a print copy of this on my TBR but couldn’t resist getting the audio book in the 2 for 1 sale.

The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf

This is another wish list book that was in the sale so I had to get to it. I’ve wanted to read this for a long time so I’m really happy to have a copy of it.

Tennison by Lynda la Plante

I’ve read quite a few books from this series but I’ve never read them in order so when I saw this first book in the Audible sale I decided to get it. I think it’s nice to re-read books in a different format than I first read it in to get a different experience of a story.

Mrs Pankhurst’s Purple Feather by Tessa Boase

I needed another book to go with the one above to get 2 for 1 and this one jumped out at me. It sounds like such an interesting read so I’m really glad I got it.

Help Me! by Marianne Power

This was an Audible daily deal recently and it sounded like an interesting listen. I went through a phase of reading self help books when I was in my teens and so this book seemed like it would be a fun look at those kind of books.

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

I love The Book Thief so couldn’t resist grabbing this new one by the author when it was on an Audible daily deal. I’m looking forward to getting to this one.

Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally

This was also an Audible daily deal so I decided to get it. I have tried to read the book when it was first published but I just couldn’t finish it. I’m hoping that I might cope better with it on audio.

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

I actually downloaded this book via Scribd and have just finished listening to it. It was an interesting book but I was hoping for something more from it.

 

ARCs

After the End by Claire Macintosh

This is one of my most anticipated books of the year so I was thrilled to get approved for it on NetGalley recently. I’m planning to read this as soon as I finished one of my current reads!

Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson

This is another book that I’ve been keen to get my hands on so again it was great to get approved on NetGalley to read it.

Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas

I love Claire Douglas’ novels so was delighted to get an email saying that I was pre-approved on NG for this new one. I love the premise of this one and hope to get to it very soon.

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

I also got pre-approved for this one on NG and while it wasn’t on my radar at the time I’ve since seen some brilliant reviews of it and I think this will be a great read.

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

This book isn’t due out until next year so I was surprised to get approved to read it straight away. I really want to read this one but feel like I should hold off until a bit nearer publication.

The Au Pair by Emma Rous

I requested this on a whim after seeing reviews of it. It sounds like my kind of book and one that I will likely devour over an afternoon!

The Friendship Pact by Alison James

I downloaded this on NG when I was browsing. It sounds like my kind of book and I can’t wait to get to it.

Horizontal Collaborations by Navie

I’ve already read this graphic novel set during the second world war. It’s got beautiful artwork and the story was very moving. I’ll be reviewing this one for the blog tour later this month.

The Sea Refuses No River by Bethany Rivers

I’ve also already read this poetry collection. It’s a beautiful collection looking at grief and I found it very moving. I’m on the blog tour for it this month so will be reviewing it then.

Don’t Feed the Bear by Rachel Elliott

This was a lovely surprise ARC that arrived a couple of weeks ago. It’s such a gorgeous book and I’m looking forward to reading it.


 

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

This Week in Books (5 June 2019)!

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

 

Now

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

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

What Red Was by Rosie Price

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

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

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

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

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

The Lost Properties of Love by Sophie Ratcliffe

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

 

Then

The Friend Who Lied by Rachel Amphlett

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

I Heart Hawaii by Lindsey Kelk

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

The Sea Refuse No River by Bethany Rivers

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

Horizontal Collaboration by Navie

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

I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney

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

The Space Between Time by Charlie Laidlaw

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

We Must Be Brave by Frances Liardet

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

 

Next

Histories by Sam Guglani

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

After the End by Claire Macintosh

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

Something to Live For by Richard Roper

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

 

 

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