My 20 Books of Summer Wrap-Up!

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The 20 Books of Summer reading challenge has now ended and I’m so happy to say that, for the first time ever, I read all of the books on my planned TBR! Woo Hoo! I’ve always managed to read at least 20 books over the summer but I have never, ever managed to stick to my planned list. I picked 20 physical books this time so it was an even bigger challenge for me so I really am proud of myself for completing it. I didn’t get around to reviewing the books I read but I do intend to review at least some of them soon.

Before I go any further, a huge thank you to Cathy at 746 Books for running this challenge. I really do love taking part each year.

Here are the books I read over the summer (in the order I read them).

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames

The Trouble With Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahern

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor

A Question of Trust by Penny Vincenzi

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

The July Girls by Phoebe Locke

Still Lives by Maria Hummell

Take Me In by Sabine Durrant

Inhuman Resources by Pierre LeMaitre

The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith

After the Eclipse by Sarah Perry

The Word for Woman is Wilderness by Abi Andrews

Histories by Sam Guglani

We Own the Sky by Luke Allnutt

A Keeper by Graham Norton

Nevermoor #1: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

Take Courage: Anne Bronte and the Art of Life by Samantha Ellis

 

I have to say that I enjoyed every single book that was on my summer TBR, which is really something! I think if I was pushed to pick my favourites I would have to say that my favourite two novels were The Goldfinch and The Trouble With Goats and Sheep, and my two favourite non-fiction books were After the Eclipse and Take Courage. It was bittersweet reading A Question of Trust with it being the final book by Penny Vincenzi but I enjoyed it so much that I now want to make time to re-read some of her other novels.

The page count for my 20 books came to 7597, which is no surprise really considering how long The Goldfinch is and A Question of Trust is pretty huge too!

The fact that this year I made time to read my planned summer TBR as well as the other books that I needed to read (books for review and blog tour books) meant I was successful at completing this TBR. I’ve never done well with TBRs – I’m one of those people that absolutely loves planning what I’m going to read, and then the minute the challenge starts I want to read everything but what’s on my list! This time I planned it better and I feel so satisfied at getting to books that had been on my TBR bookcase for quite a while. I had a couple of books on my list that I’ve put off because they felt like they might be more difficult reads (like The Word for Woman is Wilderness for example) but I found I enjoyed them so much. It reminded me that I perhaps need to make a seasonal TBR to remind me of the books that I want to read but am intimidated by.

This year’s 20 Books of Summer has been absolutely wonderful and I already can’t wait for the next one! How did your summer reading go? Did you take part in the challenge? I hope you read some amazing books. 🙂

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WWW Wednesdays (10 Jul 2019)! What are you reading this week?

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

 

What I’m reading now:

Forget Me Not by Claire Allan

I just started reading this late last night but it’s such a gripping read. The opening is really different to anything I’ve read before and it just had me wanting to read more and more.

The Hidden Wife by Amanda Reynolds

This is another really gripping read. I’m very intrigued about where the wife in the title might be and what could have happened to her.

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

I haven’t read much more of this over the last week as I wasn’t in much of a non-fiction mood but I’ll definitely get back to it soon.

 

What I recently finished reading:

How To Walk Away by Katherine Center

I’ve had this on my Kindle for a while now so when I spotted it on BorrowBox I decided to download the audio and listen to it instead. I really enjoyed this one and found it really uplifting.

The Murder of Harriet Monckton by Elizabeth Haynes

I part-read and part-listened to this one and absolutely loved it! I love Elizabeth Haynes’ writing anyway and this book lived up to all her others that I’ve read. I found it fascinating how she blended fact with some fiction in such a brilliant way. I recommend this one!

The Last Stage by Louise Voss

I reviewed this one yesterday so you can find my full review here if you’d like to know more. I can say that I loved this book though and recommend it!

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor

This was one of my 20 Books of Summer picks and I’m so happy that I finally got to this. I very much enjoyed it, it was such an interesting novel that got me really invested in all of the characters. I’m now looking forward to reading The Reservoir Tapes soon.

Normal People by Sally Rooney

This was another of my 20 Books of Summer and I’m so happy I read this. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Conversations with Friends as it just didn’t quite feel believable to me but I did like Sally Rooney’s writing so decided to try this one. I loved this book, it really reminded me of being the age of the characters and how miscommunications so easily happen in intimate relationships.

Fiver Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain

I’ve had this one on my TBR for way too long so when I spotted the audio book on my subscription service I decided to listen to it. I did enjoy this one but I think it would have worked better if I’d actually read it. I might come back and re-read the print version of this in the future.

The Wave by Virginia Moffatt

I really enjoyed this novel! It didn’t have as much depth as I might have liked but I loved the premise and I really enjoyed getting to know all of the characters and seeing how they dealt with what was going to happen.

 

What I plan on reading next:

The Darkest Summer by Ella Drummond

I really enjoyed Ella Drummond’s first novel (my review is here) so I was delighted to be offered a spot on the blog tour for her next book. I’m planning to read this one this coming week and I can’t wait!

Looker by Laura Sims

I’ve been so keen to read this book so now I own a copy I don’t want to wait any longer to start reading it!

A Question of Trust by Penny Vincenzi

This is another of my 20 Books of Summer and I’m in the mood for getting lost in a longer book so I think this fits the bill. I love Penny Vincenzi’s writing so I know I’m going to love this one.

Inhuman Resources by Pierre LeMaitre

I’ve been wanting to read this one for absolutely ages and I put it on my 20 Books of Summer so I didn’t forget I had it and I think the time has come to pick it up! I hope to get to this one this week too. 🙂

 


 

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

 


 

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

WWW Wednesdays (3 Jul 2019)!

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

 

What I’m reading now:

The Last Stage by Louise Voss

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

Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain by Barney Norris

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

The Wave by Virginia Moffatt

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

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

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

 

What I recently finished reading:

Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahern

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

Me and the Table by Stephen Hendry

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

Something to Live For by Richard Roper

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

Hard Pushed by Leah Hazard

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

Something to Tell You by Lucy Diamond

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

 

What I plan on reading next:

Normal People by Sally Rooney

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

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor

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

The Closer I Get by Paul Burston

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

Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas

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

 


 

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

 


 

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

WWW Wednesdays (26 Jun 2019)!

WWW pic

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

 

What I’m reading now:

Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident by Donnie Eichar

This is a book that I heard about a while ago and then forgot the author and title but I had remembered the blurb, so when I got an email from Amazon this week recommending it to me I immediately bought it! I’m reading this now and it’s such a disturbing and yet fascinating read about a group of hikers in 1959 who went missing and were found dead in strange and unexplained circumstances. A lot of the book is recreating who the people were and the trail they walked before they came to harm and I’m finding it so interesting.

Something To Live For by Richard Roper

I’m only a few chapters into this novel but I can tell it’s going to be a book that I love. It follows a man who has a lonely life, and his job is to deal with the funerals of people who have died alone and have no family. His work colleagues want to start a Come Dine With Me idea of each member of staff cooking for the rest of their team at their home on rotation so I’m really keen to see what this leads to!

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

I finally picked this book back up this week and I read most of it yesterday! I’m so glad I got back into this because it’s such an interesting read. I’m up to the final section now and learning how much input Harper Lee had into Truman Capote’s research for In Cold Blood is fascinating.

 

What I recently finished reading:

The Trouble With Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

This was my third pick for my 20 Books of Summer challenge and I’m so happy that I finally read this. What a gorgeous novel – so funny in places and moving in others. I have a lovely hardback of this but I found the audio on Scribd* so I part-listened and part-read it. The narrator, Paula Wilcox, is so perfect for this book and she really added to the novel. I will try to write a full review of this one soon.

The Perfect Betrayal by Lauren North

This book was everything a psychological thriller should be and I loved it. I’ve already reviewed this so you can find my full thoughts here if you’d like to know more.

Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss

I’ve had an ARC of this on my TBR for way too long but I finally picked it up at the weekend and I read it in one sitting. I found this a really engrossing read, it had so much more to it than I was expecting and I really enjoyed it.

Last Seen Alive by Claire Douglas

I’ve finally replaced my library card and downloaded BorrowBox so I can borrow audiobooks from there. I had an ebook of this but when I saw the audio I decided to listen to it. I flew through it and was listening to it every spare minute I had as I was so keen to find out what was going on and how it was all going to end. I recommend this one.

Keep You Close by Karen Cleveland

I really enjoyed this new thriller and found it hard to put down. I’m going to be sharing my review of this one tomorrow so please look out for that then.

 

What I plan on reading next:

The Last Stage by Louise Voss

I love Louise Voss’ writing and was hoping to get to this book this week but didn’t quite manage it but it’s definitely on my stack to read next! I can’t wait!

The Hidden Wife by Amanda Reynolds

I was delighted to be approved for this book on NetGalley recently and am really keen to read it so I’m planning on making it one of my reads for the coming week!

Normal People by Sally Rooney

This is likely going to be my next pick from my 20 Books of Summer Challenge as I’ve found the audio on Scribd* so I’m going to part read my hardback and part listen to the audio. I found Conversations With Friends easier to get through on audio so am hoping it also adds to the reading experience of this one too.

 


 

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

 


 

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

20 Books of Summer for 2019!

 

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I’ve decided to join in with Cathy at 746 Books challenge to read 20 book over the summer! The challenge is running from 3rd June to 3rd September and you can challenge yourself to read either 10, 15 or 20 books over the three months.

My previous attempts at this challenge have always gone somewhat awry. I’ve always managed to read twenty books but generally tend to deviate completely from my planned reading but I really want to be strict this year and try my best to read the books I’ve picked!

I’ve decided to attempt to read 20 physical books this year as I tend to read more ebooks or listen to audio books these days so I’m using this summer reading challenge as a push to focus on print books for a while. I’ve also picked a couple of very chunky books that have been on my TBR for such a long time so it really will be a challenge!

 

So, without further ado… here are my 20 books of summer!

 

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The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

This is my number one book that I want to read this summer and if I read nothing else off this list this is the one I have to get to! I’m a huge Donna Tartt fan so I’ve been saving this one but it’s been calling to me from my TBR so now is the time! Also, I feel bad that my lovely mum-in-law bought me this gorgeous hardback edition when it was first published and that was a few years ago now.

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A Question of Trust by Penny Vincenzi

I bought this in hardback as soon as it was published but have put off reading this one because it’s the last Penny Vincenzi book and that makes me sad. She has been my go-to author for so many years but I do really want to read this and this summer feels like the time. Once I’ve read this one I can try and make time to go and re-read some of her older books.

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After the Eclipse by Sarah Perry

This is my must-read non-fiction pick for this summer. I have wanted to read this book for a long while now and I finally treated myself a couple of months back but I wasn’t in the right headspace to read it. I definitely want to devote some time to reading this one in the coming months.

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Take Courage by Samantha Ellis

This is another book that I bought in hardback when it first came out and then put it on my TBR bookcase and there it has stayed. I’m finally getting back into reading classics this year though and as Anne Bronte’s novels are some of my favourites it seems like the perfect time to pick this biography of her up.

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Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor

My husband bought me this for my birthday a couple of years ago and I’m really sad that I haven’t read it yet. I love Jon McGregor’s writing and I know I will love this book so it’s time that I get to it.

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Normal People by Sally Rooney

This is a recent purchase but I’m quite keen to read it. I just finished reading Conversations with Friends which I didn’t like but I’ve seen quite a few reviews now that seem to show that quite a lot of people who didn’t like it did go on to love Normal People so I’m wanting to read this while the first book is still fresh in my head.

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A Keeper by Graham Norton

I got this book for Christmas and I’m so excited to read it so I’m putting it on my Summer TBR so that it doesn’t end up languishing on my shelves like so many other books. I’ve heard good things about this!

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In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

This is already getting embarrassing but this is another book that my husband gave me for Christmas three years ago, and it’s a signed edition and I was so excited to get it… and yet I still haven’t read it. It has such a summery cover so it seems perfect to put it on my TBR for this summer.

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The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

Yep, this is another gift from my husband. I read and adored Three Things about Elsie so am excited to read Joanna’s first novel. This is set over the summer so it absolutely had to make my TBR!

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Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahern

Another gift that was bought for me when this was first published… I am just in the mood for this book though and very nearly started reading it this weekend. Then I realised it was perfect for my summer reading challenge so I’m going to hold off a bit longer.

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The Way I Used To Be by Amber Smith

I can’t remember where I got this book from but when I was sorting through my books the blurb does sound like a book I would be interested in so I’m adding it to the TBR. This is one of those books that I don’t have a connection to it as an object so if I don’t get to it this summer I’m going to pass it on to charity.

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Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

I got this book for Christmas 2018 and I’m so excited to read this. The blurb of it sounds like exactly the kind of book I would have adored when I was a child so I feel nostalgic to read it even though I’ve not read it before (if that makes sense!).

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We Own the Sky by Luke Allnutt

I got this book in a bookswap and was so keen to read it but then it disappeared into the TBR bookcase (which has shelves that are three books deep…). I think this will be an emotional read but it’s good to have a tearjerker on the TBR.

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Histories by Sam Guglani

I was sent this book for review quite a long time ago now and I just didn’t get to it but I do still want to read it so it’s going on the summer TBR stack. I think it’ll be good to have a short story collection in there to give a bit of variety.

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The Word for Woman is Wilderness by Abi Andrews

This is another book that I was sent for review (unrequested) but it sounded good so I kept it. I have an awful feeling that I may have put this book on my summer challenge last year and didn’t get to it so I’m going to really try and get to this one this year.

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Inhuman Resources by Pierre LeMaitre

This is a more recent review book that I requested and was thrilled to be sent as I love this author’s writing. His books always unnerve me and yet I can never put them down so I can’t wait to start this one.

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The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames

This was a very, very recent review book so I was intending to get to it very soon anyway so adding it to this list gives me an extra incentive to read it before too much longer.

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Take Me In by Sabine Durrant

I love this author’s books and this one sounds like it’ll be a good thriller to read in the summer so it absolutely had to make the list!

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Still Lives by Maria Hummel

This book is one I’ve been wanting to get to for the last couple of months but haven’t been in the right mood for it but I think it is one I will enjoy reading over the summer.

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The July Girls by Phoebe Morgan

This book was sent to me very recently and isn’t due out until July so it was calling out to be added to my summer reading stack!

 


 

So all in all quite a daunting amount of reading with the stack including a couple of huge books but I’m so looking forward to getting started! What are you planning, or hoping, to read over the summer months? Are you joining in with the 20 Book of Summer Challenge?

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A New #BookHaul – Stacking the Shelves (23 Feb 2019)!

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

 

Books I Bought This week

Blackberry and Wild Rose by Sonia Velton

I’ve seen some great reviews for this book, and it has such a gorgeous cover, that I couldn’t resist treating myself with some birthday money this week. I’m really looking forward to getting lost in this book.

Normal People by Sally Rooney

I couldn’t get on with Conversations with Friends at all, I think perhaps I’m just too old for that book but Normal People really appeals to me so I decided to treat myself to a copy. I’m hoping it lives up to the comparisons reviewers are making to other books that I’ve loved!

Educated by Tara Westover

This book has been on my radar for quite a while now so when I spotted it in a kindle deal earlier this week I snapped it up. I hope to get to this one quite soon.

London Triptych by Jonathan Kemp

I bought this book on a whim – I’d not heard of it before I saw it but when I read the blurb I knew I wanted to read it.

The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy

This is another book that has been on my radar for a while so when I spotted it in the kindle sale I grabbed it.

This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Philipps

I was a big fan of Dawson’s Creek back in the day so this memoir has caught my eye a few times now and I finally decided to buy it!

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Mary’s Household Tips and Tricks by Mary Berry

This was an impulse by in a book sale this week! It appeals to me since I’ve decluttered as I still feel like I need to be better organised in some aspects of my home (mainly my very small kitchen!).

 

Books I Borrowed

‘Kill the Black One First’ by Michael Fuller

I borrowed this on my audio book subscription this week and am listening to it now. It’s a tough listen at times because of the appalling way he was treated at times during his career as a police officer but it’s also a fascinating book. I recommend it.

The Girl Next Door by Phoebe Morgan

I got a copy of this book to read on Pigeonhole but there’s no way I can read on my phone at the moment so I was delighted to find the book on my audio book subscription and I’ve devoured it! It’s such a good read, I definitely recommend it.

 

Books I Received for Review

Welcome to the Heady Heights by David F. Ross

I love the sound of this book so was delighted to be sent a copy, I’ll definitely be reading this one very soon.

The Conviction of Cora Burns by Carolyn Kirby

This book has been on my eagerly anticipated list so I was thrilled to be sent a copy and an invitation to be on the blog tour. I’ll be reading this one in the next week or so, I can’t wait!

I Know You Know by Gilly Macmillan

I love this author’s novels so am really happy to have a copy of her new book on my kindle. I don’t think this one will be on my TBR for very long!

The Neighbour by Fiona Cummins

I also love this author’s writing so am really keen to read this book as soon as I can. I adore the cover of it, there’s something very creepy about 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.