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.

 

WWW Wednesday (22 Feb) What are you reading today?

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

What I’m reading now:

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See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

I won this proof in a giveaway right before Christmas and have been so keen to read it. I started it a couple of days ago and it’s everything I hoped it would be and more. The writing is stunning and the story itself is utterly engrossing. This is definitely a book to look out for this year!

Synopsis:

When her father and step-mother are found brutally murdered on a summer morning in 1892, Lizzie Borden – thirty two years old and still living at home – immediately becomes a suspect. But after a notorious trial, she is found innocent, and no one is ever convicted of the crime.

Meanwhile, others in the claustrophobic Borden household have their own motives and their own stories to tell: Lizzie’s unmarried older sister, a put-upon Irish housemaid, and a boy hired by Lizzie’s uncle to take care of a problem.

This unforgettable debut makes you question the truth behind one of the great unsolved mysteries, as well as exploring power, violence and the harsh realities of being a woman in late nineteenth century America.

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The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

I also started reading this earlier this week and am finding it very hard to put down. I’m intrigued by Sarah and really want to know what she knows!

Synopsis:

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

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Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

My husband isn’t a big reader but he’s recently started to listen to audio books as a change from the radio. This is his latest pick, which I wasn’t initially interested in but when he started listening to it while I was in the room I found myself really enjoying it. It’s now a book that we’re listening to together.

Synopsis:

Phil Collins pulls no punches—about himself, his life, or the ecstasy and heartbreak that’s inspired his music. In his much-awaited memoir, Not Dead Yet, he tells the story of his epic career, with an auspicious debut at age 11 in a crowd shot from the Beatles’ legendary film A Hard Day’s Night. A drummer since almost before he could walk, Collins received on the job training in the seedy, thrilling bars and clubs of 1960s swinging London before finally landing the drum seat in Genesis. Soon, he would step into the spotlight on vocals after the departure of Peter Gabriel and begin to stockpile the songs that would rocket him to international fame with the release of Face Value and In the Air Tonight. Whether he’s recalling jamming with Eric Clapton and Robert Plant, pulling together a big band fronted by Tony Bennett, or writing the music for Disney’s smash-hit animated Tarzan, Collins’s storytelling chops never waver. And of course he answers the pressing question on everyone’s mind: just what does Sussudio mean?

Not Dead Yet is Phil Collins’s candid, witty, unvarnished story of the songs and shows, the hits and pans, his marriages and divorces, the ascents to the top of the charts and into the tabloid headlines. As one of only three musicians to sell 100 million records both in a group and as a solo artist, Collins breathes rare air, but has never lost his touch at crafting songs from the heart that touch listeners around the globe. That same touch is on magnificent display here, especially as he unfolds his harrowing descent into darkness after his “official” retirement in 2007, and the profound, enduring love that helped save him. This is Phil Collins as you’ve always known him, but also as you’ve never heard him before.

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Everything But The Truth by Gillian McAllister

This book is really good – it’s a novel about a seemingly ordinary couple and is very easy to identify with the characters but then one day Rachel sees an email on her boyfriends’s iPad and it sows a seed of doubt in her mind. From then on we don’t know if she’s being paranoid and over thinking things or if he has something major to hide. I’m really enjoying it and am keen to find out what is going on in Jack’s life!

Synopsis:

It all started with the email.

It came through to her boyfriend’s iPad in the middle of the night. Rachel didn’t even mean to look. She loves Jack, and she’s pregnant with their child. She trusts him. But now she’s seen it, she can’t undo that moment, or the chain of events it has set in motion.

Why has Jack been lying about his past? Just what exactly is he hiding? And doesn’t Rachel have a right to know the truth at any cost?

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Blue Light Yokohama by Nicolas Obregon

I’m still enjoying this novel. It’s not what I thought it was going to be but it’s a great read. It’s a slow-paced crime novel, that has really gruesome moments but the writing is so beautiful that you just want to keep reading.

Synopsis:

In a beautifully written, hauntingly original first novel, Tokyo Police Inspector Iwata, recently reinstated to a new post, is assigned to investigate a disturbing multiple murder.

Newly reinstated to the Homicide Division and transferred to a precinct in Tokyo, Inspector Iwata is facing superiors who don’t want him there and is assigned a recalcitrant partner, Noriko Sakai, who’d rather work with anyone else. After the previous detective working the case killed himself, Iwata and Sakai are assigned to investigate the slaughter of an entire family, a brutal murder with no clear motive or killer. At the crime scene, they find puzzling ritualistic details. Black smudges. A strange incense smell. And a symbol—a large black sun. Iwata doesn’t know what the symbol means but he knows what the killer means by it: I am here. I am not finished.

As Iwata investigates, it becomes clear that these murders by the Black Sun Killer are not the first, nor the last attached to that symbol. As he tries to track down the history of black sun symbol, puzzle out the motive for the crime, and connect this to other murders, Iwata finds himself racing another clock—the superiors who are trying to have him removed for good.

Haunted by his own past, his inability to sleep, and a song, ‘Blue Light Yokohama,’ Iwata is at the center of a compelling, brilliantly moody, layered novel sure to be one of the most talked about debuts in 2017.

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H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald

This is my latest audio read and I’m kicking myself for not picking this up before now. It’s a wonderful and moving memoir about a woman’s relationship with her hawk, and a story of her trying to come to terms with the loss of her father. There have been moments in this book where the pain of her loss was palpable and I’ve had to stop listening to take a breather. It’s a beautiful book though and I recommend it.

Synopsis:

When Helen Macdonald’s father died suddenly on a London street, she was devastated. An experienced falconer—Helen had been captivated by hawks since childhood—she’d never before been tempted to train one of the most vicious predators, the goshawk. But in her grief, she saw that the goshawk’s fierce and feral temperament mirrored her own. Resolving to purchase and raise the deadly creature as a means to cope with her loss, she adopted Mabel, and turned to the guidance of The Once and Future King author T.H. White’s chronicle The Goshawk to begin her challenging endeavor. Projecting herself “in the hawk’s wild mind to tame her” tested the limits of Macdonald’s humanity and changed her life.

Heart-wrenching and humorous, this book is an unflinching account of bereavement and a unique look at the magnetism of an extraordinary beast, with a parallel examination of a legendary writer’s eccentric falconry. Obsession, madness, memory, myth, and history combine to achieve a distinctive blend of nature writing and memoir from an outstanding literary innovator.

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Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

I’m a bit torn about this novel at the moment. There are parts of it that I’ve really enjoyed and other parts that I’m not sure about. I think it possibly is a book that needed to be read in one or two sittings so I may put it to one side and come back to it another time.

Synopsis:

Tsukiko is drinking alone in her local sake bar when by chance she meets one of her old high school teachers and, unable to remember his name, she falls back into her old habit of calling him ‘Sensei’. After this first encounter, Tsukiko and Sensei continue to meet. Together, they share edamame beans, bottles of cold beer, and a trip to the mountains to eat wild mushrooms. As their friendship deepens, Tsukiko comes to realise that the solace she has found with Sensei might be something more.

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And the Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

I’m still finding this book fascinating, and at times, shocking. It’s a book I’d recommend to all football fans – I’d say it’s a must-read.

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

 

 

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Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

This book is so beautiful and I’m really enjoying it. It’s just suffered from being a hardback as it’s hard for me to hold sometimes. I hope to be able to finish this soon though.

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

What I recently finished reading:

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The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla

I finished this book last night so am still pondering over my thoughts on it. My initial opinion is that it’s an eye-opening and at times shocking read. Some of the essays are stronger than others but all are interesting. I do have issues with one essay in particular, but that is due to something personal to me, and I’m still trying to process exactly how I feel and may well go back and read that essay again. This is an important book and I’d definitely recommend it.

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

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Black Wood by SJI Holliday

I bought this book the day it was released and somehow managed to forget about it. I recently saw that the third book had been released and it made me want to immediately start reading the series… so I did. I really enjoyed this book – so much so that I read it in one sitting. I now can’t wait to read the second book!

Synopsis:

Something happened to Claire and Jo in Black Wood: something that left Claire paralysed and Jo with deep mental scars. But with Claire suffering memory loss and no evidence to be found, nobody believes Jo’s story. Twenty-three years later, a familiar face walks into the bookshop where Jo works, dredging up painful memories and rekindling her desire for vengeance. And at the same time, Sergeant Davie Gray is investigating a balaclava-clad man who is attacking women on a disused railway, shocking the sleepy village of Banktoun. But what is the connection between Jo’s visitor and the masked man? To catch the assailant, and to give Jo her long-awaited justice, Gray must unravel a tangled web of past secrets, broken friendship and tainted love. But can he crack the case before Jo finds herself with blood on her hands?

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The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

I finished reading this book a couple of days ago. It was a perfect biography for a Bowie fan, or indeed a music lover generally. It’s different to a standard biography and the author definitely puts himself into Bowie’s story but as a Bowie fan myself I loved that. This book is going on my favourite bookcase and I’m sure it’ll be one I re-read in the future.

Synopsis:

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

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Final Girls by Riley Sager

This was an ARC so I will be reviewing this on my blog soon. For now though I’ll say that I highly recommend this book. It’s a psychological thriller with elements of horror and it genuinely left me feeling very unsettled. I’m so glad I read this book.

Synopsis:

Each girl survived an unthinkable horror. Now someone wants them dead…

They were the victims of separate massacres. Grouped together by the press, and dubbed the Final Girls, they are treated like something fresh out of a slasher movie.

When something terrible happens to Lisa, put-together Quincy and volatile Sam finally meet. Each one influences the other. Each one has dark secrets. And after the bloodstained fingers of the past reach into the present, each one will never be the same.

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The Child Who by Simon Lelic

This book had been on my TBR for FIVE years despite it being one that I really wanted to read. I’m so pleased that I finally picked it up because it was very good. It gave a real insight into what it’s like to be defending a child accused of murder.

Synopsis:

A quiet English town is left reeling when twelve-year-old Daniel Blake is discovered to have brutally murdered his schoolmate Felicity Forbes.

For provincial solicitor Leo Curtice, the case promises to be the most high profile – and morally challenging – of his career. But as he begins his defence Leo is unprepared for the impact the public fury surrounding Felicity’s death will have on his family – and his teenage daughter Ellie, above all.

While Leo struggles to get Daniel to open up, hoping to unearth the reasons for the boy’s terrible crime, the build-up of pressure on Leo’s family intensifies. As the case nears its climax, events will take their darkest turn. For Leo, nothing will ever be the same again . . .

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The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

I enjoyed reading this novel. It’s not one that was particularly memorable but it’s one of those books that is perfect escapism and easy to read if you just need something engrossing enough to escape real life stress but not so taxing that you can’t keep up with the plot.

Synopsis:

This was meant to be the perfect trip.

The Northern Lights. A luxury press launch on a boutique cruise ship.

A chance for travel journalist Lo Blacklock to recover from a traumatic break-in that has left her on the verge of collapse, and to work out what she wants from her relationship.

Except things don’t go as planned.

Woken in the night by screams, Lo rushes to her window to see a body thrown overboard from the next door cabin. But the records show that no-one ever checked into that cabin, and no passengers are missing from the boat.

Exhausted, emotional and increasingly desperate, Lo has to face the fact that she may have made a terrible mistake. Or she is trapped on a boat with a murderer – and she is the sole witness…

What I plan on reading next:

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The Escape by C.L. Taylor

I was beyond excited when Avon Books contacted me to ask if I’d like to review an ARC of this book as I’ve read and loved all of CL Taylor’s previous novels. I will definitely be reading this book over the next week and I can’t wait to get started!

Synopsis:

“Look after your daughter’s things. And your daughter…”

When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn’t.

The stranger knows Jo’s name, she knows her husband Max and she’s got a glove belonging to Jo’s two year old daughter Elise.

What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo’s own husband turn against her.

No one believes that Elise is in danger. But Jo knows there’s only one way to keep her child safe – RUN.

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Willow Walk by SJI Holliday

This is the second book in the Banktoun series and whilst I don’t normally read books in a series so close together I enjoyed the first one so much that I just can’t wait to read this next one!

Synopsis:

When the past catches up, do you run and hide or stand and fight?

When a woman is brutally attacked on a lonely country road by an escaped inmate from a nearby psychiatric hospital, Sergeant Davie Gray must track him down before he strikes again. But Gray is already facing a series of deaths connected to legal highs and a local fairground, as well as dealing with his girlfriend Marie’s bizarre behaviour. As Gray investigates the crimes, he suspects a horrifying link between Marie and the man on the run – but how can he confront her when she’s pushing him away? As a terrified Marie is pulled back into a violent past she thought she’d escaped, she makes an irrevocable decision. And when events come to a head at a house party on Willow Walk, can Gray piece together the puzzle in time to stop the sleepy town of Banktoun being rocked by tragedy once more?

 


 

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

Weekly Wrap-Up (19 Feb)

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This week has been much improved from last week for the most part. I finally got a replacement Kindle Voyage sorted out under warranty and that arrived early in the week, which cheered me up. I’ve been reading a lot on my kindle this week as I was so happy to have my ereader back.

I had another spinal injection mid-week as part of a regime of trying to get my pain levels under better control. Unfortunately this injection has left me in a lot of pain – more than last time so I’m having to take things easy. I’m still hoping I will get the benefits I got last time once the initial pain has worn off. Fingers crossed!

My husband is on holiday from work this week so it’s been lovely having him home with me. We haven’t done a huge amount but it’s just nice having the time together.

 


This week I’ve finished reading six books:

Final Girls by Riley Sager

This book was one of those books that I just couldn’t put down once I started it. It was very gruesome in places and genuinely freaked me out (I was glad I wasn’t home alone whilst reading but I am a wimp!). I’ll be reviewing this book at some point soon so please look out for that.

The Child Who by Simon Lelic

This book has been a lesson to me in why I need to read more from my TBR as this has been on my Kindle unread for five years but when I started reading it this week I just got completely engrossed in the story. It’s a novel about a child murderer and how the solicitor defending him deals with the case. 

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

I enjoyed this novel – it was fast-paced and kept me hooked right to the end. It wasn’t quite as good as I was hoping it would be but it was still an enjoyable read.

Watch Me by Angela Clarke

I loved Follow Me so was really looking forward to this follow up book and I wasn’t disappointed. It didn’t have me on the edge of my seat in the way Follow Me did, but it really got to me in a different way. I already can’t wait to see where this series takes the characters of Nad and Freddie next!

A Game for All the Family by Sophie Hannah

I’m going to be reviewing this novel as soon as I can so I won’t say too much here. I did find this novel completely and utterly engrossing all the way through and read it in two sittings over last weekend!

The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

I’ve been reading this biography on and off for a few weeks now (due to me struggling to hold the book as it’s a heavy hardback) but have very much enjoyed every single page. I think this will be a book I re-read in the future, and it’s certainly one I’ll be putting on my favourites bookcase in my living room.

 


This week I’ve blogged three times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up where I share all of my bookish, blogging and real life news from the last week

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday where I share what I’m currently reading, what I’ve recently read and what I plan to read next

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves where I share my book haul from the last seven days – this week I had a splurge on a favourite publisher’s books as they had a sale on so it was a big book haul!

 


This is what I’m currently reading:

The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

I started this book yesterday and it’s so good. I’m very intrigued by Sarah and really want to know how much she was involved in the murder and what, if anything, she’s hiding. 

Everything but the Truth by Gillian McAllister

I only started this book last night but I’m already really drawn into this plot and want to know what’s going on and whether Rachel’s suspicions are justified. I can’t wait to read more of this novel!

Blue Light Yokohama by Nicolas Obregon

This novel is a little different than I was expecting but it’s still really good. It seems to be a slow-paced novel, but the beautiful writing has me engrossed.

H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald

I started listening to the audiobook version of this a couple of days ago and I’m loving it. I can’t believe I’ve waited so long to read it. The descriptions of grief have taken my breath away at times, the pain is palpable and I know how much it hurts. I knew this aspect of the book would grab me but I wasn’t expecting to love the story of the hawks quite as much as I do. I recommend this book to everyone.

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawikama

I had to put this book on hold for a week with being kindle-less but now I have my kindle back I’m hoping I can get back into this novel as I was enjoying it.

And the Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

This book is still really interesting and I’m enjoying reading it. Again, like the above book, I’ve not had much chance to read it over the last week or so with not having a kindle but I’m definitely going to get back into this very soon.

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

This is such a beautiful novel – I think it may well become a new favourite of mine!

The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla

The essays in this book are really eye-opening. I’m continuing to read one  essay and then put the book down so that I can mull over what I’ve just read. I definitely recommend this book though.

 


Update on my TBR…

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

TBR in last week’s Wrap-Up: 1900

Additions:

Books bought/received for review/gifts: 21 (See the books I added this week in my Stacking the Shelves post)

Subtractions:

Books read this week: 6

Books I’m currently reading: 8

TBR Books culled this week: 0

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1912

 


 

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

 


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

WWW Wednesday (15 Feb) What Are You Reading today?

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

What I’m reading now:

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The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

I’ve had this on my Kindle for a while and yesterday afternoon (when my replacement Voyage finally arrived!) this book caught my eye. It’s one of those books that requires suspending disbelief but I’m enjoying it.

Synopsis:

This was meant to be the perfect trip.

The Northern Lights. A luxury press launch on a boutique cruise ship.

A chance for travel journalist Lo Blacklock to recover from a traumatic break-in that has left her on the verge of collapse, and to work out what she wants from her relationship.

Except things don’t go as planned.

Woken in the night by screams, Lo rushes to her window to see a body thrown overboard from the next door cabin. But the records show that no-one ever checked into that cabin, and no passengers are missing from the boat.

Exhausted, emotional and increasingly desperate, Lo has to face the fact that she may have made a terrible mistake. Or she is trapped on a boat with a murderer – and she is the sole witness…

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Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

I bought this in the post-Christmas kindle sale as the cover and title caught my eye. I’m really enjoying this novel and looking forward to reading more now I have my Kindle sorted.

Synopsis:

Tsukiko is drinking alone in her local sake bar when by chance she meets one of her old high school teachers and, unable to remember his name, she falls back into her old habit of calling him ‘Sensei’. After this first encounter, Tsukiko and Sensei continue to meet. Together, they share edamame beans, bottles of cold beer, and a trip to the mountains to eat wild mushrooms. As their friendship deepens, Tsukiko comes to realise that the solace she has found with Sensei might be something more.

 

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And The Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

I’m still finding this a fascinating read and am learning things that I didn’t know before. I’d definitely recommend this to football fans, and anyone interested in the politics behind sport in the UK.

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

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The Good Immigrant ed. by Nikesh Shukla

This is a brilliant book of essays that I’m finding very interesting. I’m still reading one at a time and then giving myself time to think about what I’ve read. 

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

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Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

This novel is brilliant, and the writing it stunningly beautiful. I’m reading this slowly on purpose as I want to savour every aspect of it.

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

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The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

I’m still very much enjoying reading this book. If I didn’t have my disability I’d have devoured this book over a couple of days but actually I’m enjoying reading it slowly, it feels like a treat.

Synopsis:

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

 

What I recently finished reading:

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Watch Me by Angela Clarke

This was such a fast-paced read and I really enjoyed it. I love Freddie and Nas and I already can’t wait to read the next in this series whenever it’s released.

Synopsis:

YOU HAVE SIX SECONDS TO READ THIS MESSAGE…

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

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

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

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

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A Game For All the Family by Sophie Hannah

This book has been on my TBR since before it was released in 2015 but it got lost in amongst my other books. I spotted it when sorting out my bookshelves recently and couldn’t resist starting reading it at the weekend. I literally read it in two sittings, it had me utterly engrossed. I will be writing a review on this so please look out for that.

Synopsis:

Justine thought she knew who she was, until an anonymous caller seemed to know better…

After escaping London and a career that nearly destroyed her, Justine plans to spend her days doing as little as possible in her beautiful home in Devon.

But soon after the move, her daughter Ellen starts to withdraw when her new best friend, George, is unfairly expelled from school. Justine begs the head teacher to reconsider, only to be told that nobody’s been expelled – there is, and was, no George.

Then the anonymous calls start: a stranger, making threats that suggest she and Justine share a traumatic past and a guilty secret – yet Justine doesn’t recognise her voice. When the caller starts to talk about three graves – two big and one small, to fit a child – Justine fears for her family’s safety.

If the police can’t help, she’ll have to eliminate the danger herself, but first she must work out who she’s supposed to be…

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Just Kids by Patti Smith

This book is beautiful and I adored every single paragraph. It is absolutely a five star read and will be one I re-read in the future. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend you get a copy asap!

Synopsis:

In Just Kids, Patti Smith’s first book of prose, the legendary American artist offers a never-before-seen glimpse of her remarkable relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the epochal days of New York City and the Chelsea Hotel in the late sixties and seventies. An honest and moving story of youth and friendship, Smith brings the same unique, lyrical quality to Just Kids as she has to the rest of her formidable body of work–from her influential 1975 album Horses to her visual art and poetry.

 

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F*cking Apostrophes by Simon Griffin

My husband bought me this as a surprise to cheer me up on Friday after I’d had a crappy week. The title alone made me giggle and I very much enjoyed reading the book. It’s perfect for apostrophe pedants like me, but is genuinely a good, light-hearted guide on how to use apostrophes correctly.

Synopsis:

A hilarious, furious and profoundly useful short guide to the most maddening punctuation in English….

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The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

I managed to get a NetGalley copy of this book after struggling to hold the paperback to read it, and so flew through the final two thirds of the novel. I really enjoyed this book. I hope to get my review written and posted in the next week or two so keep an eye out for that.

Synopsis:

Beautiful. Rich. Mysterious. Everyone wants to be a Roanoke girl. But you won’t when you know the truth. Lane Roanoke is fifteen when she comes to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin at the Roanoke family’s rural estate following the suicide of her mother. Over one long, hot summer, Lane experiences the benefits of being one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But what she doesn’t know is being a Roanoke girl carries a terrible legacy: either the girls run, or they die. For there is darkness at the heart of Roanoke, and when Lane discovers its insidious pull, she must make her choice…

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The Breakdown by B. A. Paris

I picked this book up one afternoon last week and I read the whole novel in one sitting. It’s a fast-paced read that kept me hooked all the way through. I’ll be reviewing this book as soon as I can.

Synopsis:

If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman sitting inside―the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm. Her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she’d stopped.

But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby.

The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt.

Or the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her…

What I plan on reading next:

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Blue Light Yokohama by Nicolas Obregon

I was offered this for review recently and immediately said yes as it sounds like an intriguing novel. As I added the synopsis below though it actually sounds a lot more creepy than I’d initially thought so hopefully I’ll be able to read it.

Synopsis:

In a beautifully written, hauntingly original first novel, Tokyo Police Inspector Iwata, recently reinstated to a new post, is assigned to investigate a disturbing multiple murder.

Newly reinstated to the Homicide Division and transferred to a precinct in Tokyo, Inspector Iwata is facing superiors who don’t want him there and is assigned a recalcitrant partner, Noriko Sakai, who’d rather work with anyone else. After the previous detective working the case killed himself, Iwata and Sakai are assigned to investigate the slaughter of an entire family, a brutal murder with no clear motive or killer. At the crime scene, they find puzzling ritualistic details. Black smudges. A strange incense smell. And a symbol—a large black sun. Iwata doesn’t know what the symbol means but he knows what the killer means by it: I am here. I am not finished.

As Iwata investigates, it becomes clear that these murders by the Black Sun Killer are not the first, nor the last attached to that symbol. As he tries to track down the history of black sun symbol, puzzle out the motive for the crime, and connect this to other murders, Iwata finds himself racing another clock—the superiors who are trying to have him removed for good.

Haunted by his own past, his inability to sleep, and a song, ‘Blue Light Yokohama,’ Iwata is at the center of a compelling, brilliantly moody, layered novel sure to be one of the most talked about debuts in 2017.

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Final Girls by Riley Sager

My wish for this was granted on NetGalley recently and I’ve been really looking forward to starting this book. Hopefully it’ll be as good as it sounds.

Synopsis:

Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

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Broken Harbour by Tana French

Tana French’s books passed me by for ages and then when I finally read the first one, In the Woods, I was an instant fan. I’m slowly working my way through the series as I don’t want to catch up too soon and then have a long wait for the next book. I can’t wait to start this though.

Synopsis:

In Broken Harbour, a ghost estate outside Dublin – half-built, half-inhabited, half-abandoned – two children and their father are dead. The mother is on her way to intensive care. Scorcher Kennedy is given the case because he is the Murder squad’s star detective. At first he and his rookie partner, Richie, think this is a simple one: Pat Spain was a casualty of the recession, so he killed his children, tried to kill his wife Jenny, and finished off with himself. But there are too many inexplicable details and the evidence is pointing in two directions at once.

Scorcher’s personal life is tugging for his attention. Seeing the case on the news has sent his sister Dina off the rails again, and she’s resurrecting something that Scorcher thought he had tightly under control: what happened to their family, one summer at Broken Harbour, back when they were children. The neat compartments of his life are breaking down, and the sudden tangle of work and family is putting both at risk . . .

 


 

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

Weekly Wrap-Up (12 Feb)

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

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

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

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

 

This week I’ve finished reading eight books:

Just Kids by Patti Smith

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

F*cking Apostrophes by Simon Griffin

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

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

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

The Breakdown by B. A. Paris

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

Rage by Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

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

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian

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

The Secrets of Happiness by Lucy Diamond

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

Last Night Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel

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

 


This week I’ve blogged three times:

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

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

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

 


This is what I’m currently reading:

A Game For All the Family by Sophie Hannah

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

Watch Me by Angela Clarke

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

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

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

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

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

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

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

The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla

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

The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

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


Update on my TBR…

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

TBR in last week’s Wrap-Up: 1904

Additions:

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

Subtractions:

Books read this week: 8

Books I’m currently reading: 7

TBR Books culled this week: 2

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1900

 


 

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

 


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

WWW Wednesday (8 Feb)

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

What I’m reading now:

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Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

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

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

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Just Kids by Patti Smith

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

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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And The Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

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

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

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Books for Living by Will Schwalbe

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

Synopsis:

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

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The Good Immigrant ed. by Nikesh Shukla

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

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

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The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

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

Synopsis:

Beautiful.
Rich.
Mysterious.

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

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

She is a Roanoke girl.

Is she strong enough to escape a second time?

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The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

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

Synopsis:

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

 

What I recently finished reading:

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Rage by Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

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

Synopsis:

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

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Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian

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

Synopsis:

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

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The Secrets of Happiness by Lucy Diamond

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

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

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

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Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel

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

Synopsis:

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

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

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The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

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

Synopsis:

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

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Well-Read Women by Samantha Hahn

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

Synopsis:

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

 

What I plan on reading next:

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The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

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

Synopsis:

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

 

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Watch Me by Angela Clarke

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

Synopsis:

YOU HAVE SIX SECONDS TO READ THIS MESSAGE…

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

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

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

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

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Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

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

Synopsis:

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

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

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


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

Weekly Wrap-Up (5 Feb)

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted

I don’t have much news from this week, it’s been quite a quiet week really. I’ve been slowly carrying on with my decluttering and have filled another three huge bin bags with either things for the charity shop, or rubbish. I’m still feeling ruthless so will be carrying on with the decluttering for a while yet! I need to get around to clearing some shelf space as currently all the lovely books I got for my birthday are in a box as there is literally no space to put them on any of my bookcases or shelves! Eeeek!

This week I’ve finished reading three books:

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

I had the ebook of this on my TBR for ages but just never got around to it so when I spotted it on an Audible deal recently I snapped it up. I’ve listened to it over the course of a couple of days and it was ok. I think the book has been so hyped for so long that it was going to be a huge ask for it to live up to. It was enjoyable enough but I was a bit disappointed.

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

I love love love this book! It was close to 900 pages long and I’ve read it over the last ten days or so – I couldn’t stop thinking about it when I wasn’t reading it, and now I’ve finished it I really miss it. It made me remember how much I used to adore reading big books and I’m definitely going to make more effort to read longer books. I highly recommend this book if you haven’t read it yet.

Well-Read Women by Samantha Hahn

This is a book I got for my birthday and I adore it. It’s such a beautiful book and whilst it’s only 112 pages and is predominantly paintings I’ve added it as a read book here because I literally spent a few hours looking at the paintings and reading the quotes. This is a fabulous book for a book lover – I’m definitely going to be buying copies as gifts in the future.

This week I’ve blogged five times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up (29 Jan) where I shared all my book, blogging and real life news from the previous week.

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday (1 Feb) where I shared what I was currently reading, what I’d recently read and what I was hoping to read next.

Thursday: January Wrap-Up where I wrapped up the first month of 2017, sharing all the books I’d read, links to all my reviews and blog posts, and how my plan to reduce my TBR was going.

Friday: My Birthday Book Haul where I shared my huge haul of books that I was lucky enough to receive for my birthday last weekend.

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves where I wrote about the books I bought myself or received for review over the last seven days.

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

Books for Living by Will Schwalbe

I completely and utterly fell in love with Will Schwalbe’s previous book so I’ve been really keen to read this one. So far the book is wonderful but unfortunately my copy is from NetGalley and the formatting is making it very hard for me to read. I’m considering putting it to one side for now and buying my own copy to read. 

The Good Immigrant ed. by Nikesh Shukla 

This is a book that I’ve been wanting to read for ages so when I spotted it for the bargain price of £2.99 on Kindle this week I snapped it up. I’ve read the first four essays so far and it’s a very thought-provoking read. I want to read this slowly and give myself time to really think about what’s being said so I’m reading an essay or two each day. I definitely recommend it though. 

Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel

When I started reading this it seemed very different from Station Eleven (which I read a few years ago and completely adored) but as I get further into it and more and more layers are peeled back it’s really clear how the author got from here to there. I’m really enjoying this book.

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian

This book, like the two below, is a really enjoyable novel but my reading of it is being hampered by my struggles with holding a physical book at the moment. The novel itself is really engaging though and I would recommend it.

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

This is a really heavy , stiff paperback book to hold so I’m struggling to hold it open to read. I’m enjoying the story but may have to give up on this one until I can get hold of an ebook version.

The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

I’m still enjoying this book but the format is slowing my reading down. My husband is thinking of getting the audio book version as I’ve been recommending the book to him ever since I started reading it so I may well end up listening to it with him.

 


Update on my TBR…

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

TBR in last week’s Weekly Wrap-Up: 1889

Books bought/received for review: 12

TBR Books culled this week: 0

TBR now stands at: 1904

I really hope to at least get my TBR back under 1900 this month – ideally by reading lots of my own books and not accumulating more, but I do need to do a cull at some point too to make room for my birthday books.


 

SundayBlogShare

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

 


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

WWW Wednesday (1 Feb) What are you reading?

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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


What I’m reading now:

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Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel

I read Station Eleven a couple of years ago and loved it so much that I always wanted to read her earlier novels. I finally picked this one up this week and am enjoying it so far.

Synopsis:

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

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

 

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Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian

This was one of the surprise birthday gifts from my husband at the weekend and I was so pleased to receive it. I love Chris Bohjalian’s novels so I immediately started reading this. It might take me a bit of time to read it as it’s a hardback but I’m very much enjoying it.

Synopsis:

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

 

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The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

This book is HUGE and as a result has been languishing on my TBR since I bought it when it was first published. I’ve now got an ebook copy so it’s easier for me to read. It’s such a great novel and I’d highly recommend it. I’m about 40% through it now and really look forward to getting back to it when I’m not reading it.

Synopsis:

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

 

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The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

I’ve not managed to read much of this book since last week as I’m really struggling with print books at the moment. I’ve requested a NetGalley copy of it so if I get approved I reckon I’ll read it in one sitting as it’s a really good read.

Synopsis:

Beautiful.
Rich.
Mysterious.

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

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

She is a Roanoke girl.

Is she strong enough to escape a second time?

 

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The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

As with the above book I’ve not managed to read much of this book this week either, entirely down to my pain levels and lack of dexterity in my hands. If I hadn’t been going through a bad few weeks I reckon I’d have read this within a day or two as it’s brilliant.

Synopsis:

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


What I recently finished reading:

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Blood Wedding by Pierre LeMaitre

I’ve had a rough few days health-wise and spent ages scrolling through my kindle looking for something to read. For some reason this book caught my eye and I literally read the whole thing in one sitting. It was brilliant, such a fast-paced engaging read.

Synopsis:

Sophie is haunted by the things she can’t remember – and visions from the past she will never forget.

One morning, she wakes to find that the little boy in her care is dead. She has no memory of what happened. And whatever the truth, her side of the story is no match for the evidence piled against her.

Her only hiding place is in a new identity. A new life, with a man she has met online.

But Sophie is not the only one keeping secrets . . .

For fans of Gone Girl and Lemaitre’s own internationally bestselling AlexBlood Weddingis a compelling psychological thriller with a formidable female protagonist

 

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The Life of Rylan by Rylan Clark

This is another book I picked up on a whim whilst feeling unwell. I listened to the audio book and it was such a fun listen. I am a Big Brother (and Bit on the Side) fan and so it was interesting to learn more about Rylan. It’s a great listen for when you’re feeling in need to cheering up.

Synopsis:

Well hark at you, stumbling upon my autobiography. Bet you wouldn’t have put money on that three years ago, eh?! Please don’t stress yourself out too much though, it’s actually socially acceptable nowadays that you’re interested.
Firstly I’d like to emphasise that I have WRITTEN THIS BOOK MYSELF, so be assured you’re getting the TOOTH, the WHOLE TOOTH and NOTHING BUT THE TOOTH! (Which was my original choice of title, but babe, we’re so over that) This book documents my story, year by year, from my humble beginnings growing up in the East End of London, becoming one of the nation’s most talked-about people overnight to finally moving up the spectrum from guilty pleasure, and getting nearer to national treasure. It will make you laugh, cry, and most importantly you’ll discover who I really am. If it doesn’t do any of those things you’re not legally entitled to a refund – just clearing that up ;-). I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I have enjoyed writing it. This book has been like therapy, and LORD was I in need. Enjoy!

 

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The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

I finished reading this book at the end of last week and it was utterly wonderful. I loved everything about this book and highly recommend it. I hope to get my review written for this within the next week or so but am struggling to get my thoughts together at the moment, as is often the case with books I’ve loved.

Synopsis:

MEET THE ‘KEEPER OF LOST THINGS’…
Once a celebrated author of short stories now in his twilight years, Anthony Peardew has spent half his life lovingly collecting lost objects, trying to atone for a promise broken many years before.
Realising he is running out of time, he leaves his house and all its lost treasures to his assistant Laura, the one person he can trust to fulfil his legacy and reunite the thousands of objects with their rightful owners.
But the final wishes of the Keeper of Lost Things have unforeseen repercussions which trigger a most serendipitous series of encounters…

With an unforgettable cast of characters that includes young girls with special powers, handsome gardeners, irritable ghosts and an array of irresistible four-legged friends, The Keeper of Lost Things is a debut novel of endless possibilities and joyful discoveries that will leave you bereft once you’ve finished reading.
WE’RE ALL JUST WAITING TO BE FOUND…

 

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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

This is such a fun read, I loved it. The 80s references are great, and the story is really engaging and engrossing. I recommend it.

Synopsis:

It’s the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We’re out of oil. We’ve wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty, and disease are widespread.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be, where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade is obsessed by the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this alternate reality: OASIS founder James Halliday, who dies with no heir, has promised that control of the OASIS – and his massive fortune – will go to the person who can solve the riddles he has left scattered throughout his creation.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that the riddles are based in the culture of the late twentieth century. And then Wade stumbles onto the key to the first puzzle.

Suddenly, he finds himself pitted against thousands of competitors in a desperate race to claim the ultimate prize, a chase that soon takes on terrifying real-world dimensions – and that will leave both Wade and his world profoundly changed.

 

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The Girl Before by JP Delaney

This is a fast-paced read that keeps you hooked all the way through. I’ve already reviewed this so you can read that here if you’d like to.

Synopsis:

Jane stumbles on the rental opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to live in a beautiful ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect, on condition she abides by a long list of exacting rules. After moving in, she discovers that a previous tenant, Emma, met a mysterious death there – and starts to wonder if her own story will be a re-run of the girl before. As twist after twist catches the reader off guard, Emma’s past and Jane’s present become inexorably entwined in this tense, page-turning portrayal of psychological obsession.

Following in the footsteps of Gone Girl and The Girl on the TrainThe Girl Before is being brought to the big screen. The film is set to be directed by Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard.


What I plan on reading next:

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Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

This was another birthday present and I can’t wait to read it. As I’m typing up this post I’ve just seen that it’s won the Costa Book award so I’m even more keen to read it! 

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

 

this-is-how-it-always-is-by-laurie-frankel

This is How it Always is by Laurie Frankel

I won a beautiful proof copy of this book last week and so plan to read it very soon as it sounds like a wonderful novel.

Synopsis:

Laurie Frankel’s THIS IS HOW IT ALWAYS IS is a warm, touching and bittersweet novel about a family that’s just like any other – until it’s not. For readers of WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY BESIDE OURSELVES and THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY. ‘A lively and fascinating story of a thoroughly modern family and the giant, multifaceted love that binds them… Sparkles with wit and wisdom’ Maria Semple, bestselling author of WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE. 

Rosie and Penn always wanted a daughter. Four sons later, they decide to try one last time – and their beautiful little boy Claude is born. Life continues happily for this big, loving family until the day when Claude says that, when he grows up, he wants to be a girl.

As far as Rosie and Penn are concerned, bright, funny and wonderful Claude can be whoever he or she wants. But as problems begin at school and in the community, the family faces a seemingly impossible dilemma: should Claude change, or should they and Claude try to change the world?

Warm, touching and bittersweet, THIS IS HOW IT ALWAYS IS is a novel about families, love and how we choose to define ourselves. It will make you laugh and cry – and see the world differently.

 


 

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

 

 

Weekly Wrap-Up (29 Jan)

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted

This is my birthday weekend and by pure chance my husband has the weekend off so it’s been lovely spending time with him. He spoilt me with lots of new books, which I will either post pics of in a book haul this week or in my Stacking the Shelves post on Saturday. I did know about some of the books but some were surprises so it was a nice mix. He also had a beautiful bouquet of flowers delivered, which was lovely.

We celebrated my birthday with a takeaway as I wasn’t well enough to go out but that was still really lovely. I want to see the new Trainspotting film but the cinema is really difficult for me to manage but I’m hoping we can see it in the next week or so as a belated birthday treat.

I’ve been slowly de-cluttering my house again since the beginning of the year, having been inspired by reading Unf*ck Your Life by Rachel Hoffman. Yesterday my husband took ten full bin bags of clothes, shoes, handbags and books to the charity shop for me. It feels really good to have got rid of so much, and I still have more sorting out to do so I expect there to be more for the charity shop soon. I’ve been listening to audiobooks whilst decluttering so I’m still getting lots of reading done.

 


This week I’ve finished reading five books:

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

This book is wonderful, I adored every single second I spent reading it. I’ll be writing my review of this soon and hope to have it up on my blog in the next week or so.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

I can’t believe I thought this book wouldn’t be for me for such a long time purely because I’m not a gamer. I’m so glad I gave it a chance, it’s such a good read. I especially loved all of the 80s references and was on the edge of my seat as the quest reached it’s final stage! This wasn’t an ARC but I may still review it on my blog if I get time.

The Girl Before by JP Delaney

I enjoyed this thriller for the most part but it did take a turn that I thought was gimmicky and it took away from my enjoyment a little. I reviewed this book on my blog last week and you can read that here if you’d like to.

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

This book has been on my TBR since it was first published but the length of it it put me off picking it up. I’m so pleased that I finally got to it as it was a brilliant read. I still keep thinking about it and highly recommend it.

Rattle by Fiona Cummins

This is a brilliantly creepy and sinister read. I almost didn’t pick it up as I’m easily scared but the great writing in this book over-rode my fear factor and I couldn’t put it down. I reviewed it last week so you can read my thoughts here if you’d like to.

 


This week I’ve blogged six times:

(Click the links next to the day of the week if you’d like to read the posts)

Sunday: Weekly Wrap- Up

Monday: Review of Loving the Life Less Lived by Gail Marie Mitchell

Tuesday: Review of Rattle by Fiona Cummins

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Friday: Review of The Girl Before by JP Delaney

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves

 


This is what I’m currently reading:

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian

I haven’t hauled this book yet as it was one of my birthday gifts but I immediately started reading it so wanted to add it in to this post. I’m only a couple of chapters in so far but I’m enjoying it. I’m a big fan of Chris Bohjalian’s novels so was very excited to receive this surprise gift.

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

This book has been on my TBR for ages but I always put off picking it up because it’s huge! This year I’m trying to read as many books off my TBR as I can to reduce it but I wanted to make sure that I factor in reading the books that have been on my TBR for a really long time. I’m very much enjoying this novel, I’m about a third of the way through it and it’s keeping me hooked. 

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

I’ve been slow getting to read this book as it’s a print book and I’ve had a bad week so it’s been a struggle to hold print books. I am enjoying this novel though and now I’m feeling a bit better I hope to read this book in full over the next couple of days.

The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

I’m still very much enjoying this book. It’s taking me a while purely because it’s a big, heavy hardback and it’s a struggle for me to hold it and turn the pages at times. It’s a great biography  though and I recommend I highly recommend it.


 

Update on my TBR…

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

TBR in last week’s Weekly Wrap-Up: 1880

Books bought/received for review: 8

Birthday books added 28 Jan: 21

TBR Books culled this week: 4

TBR now stands at: 1899

WWW Wednesday (25 Jan)

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:

 

73-eleanorcatton-theluminaries

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

I started reading this yesterday afternoon and I’m enjoying it so far. This is another huge book that has been on my TBR for ages so it’s good to finally be getting to it.

Synopsis:

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

 

the-girl-before-by-jp-delaney

The Girl Before by JP Delaney

I’ve been really looking forward to this book and finally got to start it this week. I’m finding it be a a very fast-paced read, which is great but I wasn’t expecting the slight Fifty Shades of Grey turn and am a bit unsure about that.

Synopsis:

Jane stumbles on the rental opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to live in a beautiful ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect, on condition she abides by a long list of exacting rules. After moving in, she discovers that a previous tenant, Emma, met a mysterious death there – and starts to wonder if her own story will be a re-run of the girl before. As twist after twist catches the reader off guard, Emma’s past and Jane’s present become inexorably entwined in this tense, page-turning portrayal of psychological obsession.

Following in the footsteps of Gone Girl and The Girl on the TrainThe Girl Before is being brought to the big screen. The film is set to be directed by Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard.

 

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The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

I’m really enjoying this book but it’s taking me a while to read it purely because it’s a print book and my disability makes it very hard for me to read physical books at times and that slows my reading down. 

Synopsis:

Beautiful.
Rich.
Mysterious.

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

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

She is a Roanoke girl.

Is she strong enough to escape a second time?

 

keeper-of-lost-things-hb

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

This book is beautiful and I adore it. The only reason I’m being slow to read this one is that it wasn’t the right book for me to be reading last week when I was feeling sad and melancholy. I’ll definitely be back reading this in the next day or so though.

Synopsis:

MEET THE ‘KEEPER OF LOST THINGS’…
Once a celebrated author of short stories now in his twilight years, Anthony Peardew has spent half his life lovingly collecting lost objects, trying to atone for a promise broken many years before.
Realising he is running out of time, he leaves his house and all its lost treasures to his assistant Laura, the one person he can trust to fulfil his legacy and reunite the thousands of objects with their rightful owners.
But the final wishes of the Keeper of Lost Things have unforeseen repercussions which trigger a most serendipitous series of encounters…

With an unforgettable cast of characters that includes young girls with special powers, handsome gardeners, irritable ghosts and an array of irresistible four-legged friends, The Keeper of Lost Things is a debut novel of endless possibilities and joyful discoveries that will leave you bereft once you’ve finished reading.
WE’RE ALL JUST WAITING TO BE FOUND…

 

ReadyPlayerOne RD 1 finals 2

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

This book is fab! It’s such a fun, easy read and I love all the 80s references.

Synopsis:

It’s the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We’re out of oil. We’ve wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty, and disease are widespread.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be, where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade is obsessed by the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this alternate reality: OASIS founder James Halliday, who dies with no heir, has promised that control of the OASIS – and his massive fortune – will go to the person who can solve the riddles he has left scattered throughout his creation.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that the riddles are based in the culture of the late twentieth century. And then Wade stumbles onto the key to the first puzzle.

Suddenly, he finds himself pitted against thousands of competitors in a desperate race to claim the ultimate prize, a chase that soon takes on terrifying real-world dimensions – and that will leave both Wade and his world profoundly changed.

 

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The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

This book is brilliant and I’m enjoying it so much. It’s a hardback copy though so it’s one I’m struggling with due to my disability but whenever I am able to hold a print book I am reading this one. 

Synopsis:

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

 


What I recently finished reading:

 

bookstrangenewthings_cover

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

I finished reading this yesterday and I completely and utterly adored it. It was such a wonderful read and I highly recommend it.

Synopsis:

‘I am with you always, even unto the end of the world . . .’

Peter Leigh is a missionary called to go on the journey of a lifetime. Leaving behind his beloved wife, Bea, he boards a flight for a remote and unfamiliar land, a place where the locals are hungry for the teachings of the Bible – his ‘book of strange new things’. It is a quest that will challenge Peter’s beliefs, his understanding of the limits of the human body and, most of all, his love for Bea.

The Book of Strange New Things is a wildly original tale of adventure, faith and the ties that might hold two people together when they are worlds apart. This momentous novel, Faber’s first since The Crimson Petal and the White, sees him at his expectation-defying best.

 

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Rattle by Fiona Cummins

I read this in a day at the weekend, it was such a creepy yet unputdownable book. I reviewed this yesterday so you can read my review here if you’d like to know more.

Synopsis:

A serial killer to chill your bones

A psychopath more frightening than Hannibal Lecter.

He has planned well. He leads two lives. In one he’s just like anyone else. But in the other he is the caretaker of his family’s macabre museum.

Now the time has come to add to his collection. He is ready to feed his obsession, and he is on the hunt.

Jakey Frith and Clara Foyle have something in common. They have what he needs.

What begins is a terrifying cat-and-mouse game between the sinister collector, Jakey’s father and Etta Fitzroy, a troubled detective investigating a spate of abductions.

Set in London’s Blackheath, Rattle by Fiona Cummins explores the seam of darkness that runs through us all; the struggle between light and shadow, redemption and revenge.

It is a glimpse into the mind of a sinister psychopath. And it’s also a story about not giving up hope when it seems that all hope is already lost.

 

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Hold Your Own by Kate Tempest

I’ve had this book for a while and finally made time to read it at the weekend. It’s an enjoyable collection of poetry and has made me want to start reading poetry again as I seem to have got out of that in recent years.

Synopsis:

Kate Tempest’s first full-length collection for Picador is an ambitious, multi-voiced work based around the mythical figure of Tiresias. This four-part work follows him through his transformations from child, man and woman to blind prophet; through this structure, Tempest holds up a mirror to contemporary life in a direct and provocative way rarely associated with poetry. A vastly popular and accomplished performance poet, Tempest commands a huge and dedicated following on the performance and rap circuit. Brand New Ancients, also available from Picador, won the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry and has played to packed concert halls on both sides of the Atlantic.

 

howards-end-is-on-the-landing

Howards End is on the Landing: A Year of Reading from Home by Susan Hill

I’ve been dipping in and out of this book for a couple of weeks and have been very much enjoying it. It’s a wonderful book about books and is one I’d recommend to all book lovers.

Synopsis:

Early one autumn afternoon in pursuit of an elusive book on her shelves, Susan Hill encountered dozens of others that she had never read, or forgotten she owned, or wanted to read for a second time. The discovery inspired her to embark on a year-long voyage through her books, forsaking new purchases in order to get to know her own collection again.

A book which is left on a shelf for a decade is a dead thing, but it is also a chrysalis, packed with the potential to burst into new life. Wandering through her house that day, Hill’s eyes were opened to how much of that life was stored in her home, neglected for years. Howard’s End is on the Landing charts the journey of one of the nation’s most accomplished authors as she revisits the conversations, libraries and bookshelves of the past that have informed a lifetime of reading and writing.

 

the-one-memory-of-flora-banks

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

I really enjoyed reading this YA novel. I intend to review this soon.

Synopsis:

HOW DO YOU KNOW WHO TO TRUST WHEN YOU CAN’T EVEN TRUST YOURSELF?

I look at my hands. One of them says FLORA BE BRAVE.

Flora has anterograde amnesia. She can’t remember anything day-to-day: the joke her friend made, the instructions her parents gave her, how old she is.

Then she kisses someone she shouldn’t, and the next day she remembers it. It’s the first time she’s remembered anything since she was ten.

But the boy is gone. She thinks he’s moved to the Arctic.

Will following him be the key to unlocking her memory? Who can she trust?

 

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Loving The Life Less Lived by Gail Marie Mitchell

This is an interesting self-help/memoir about living with anxiety and depression. I reviewed this on Monday so you can read my thoughts here if you’d like to know more.

Synopsis:

An essential companion for anyone dealing with mental illness.
Like many people, Gail Marie Mitchell battled with anxiety and depression for many years, finding it exhausting, stressful and demoralising at times.

Realising that this approach to her condition was futile, Gail chose a different approach: acceptance.

Taking control in this way removed some of the pressure and enabled Gail to focus on developing coping strategies, creating the tips and tools that are included in this empathetic and practical book.

Gail focuses on the positive aspects of her condition, showing how a person living with mental illness is so much more than the label that society puts on them. She found acceptance empowering, enabling her to live her life to the full. Perhaps not the life she had planned, but one that is happy and fulfilling and that she loves. She is Loving the Life Less Lived.

By sharing her experiences and describing what she learnt from them as well as the resulting coping strategies, Gail has created an essential companion for anyone dealing with mental illness and their family and friends.

 


What I plan on reading next:

another-brooklyn-by-jacqueline-woodson

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

I was thrilled to be approved to read this book on NetGalley this week and am very much looking forward to reading it.

Synopsis:

Running into a long-ago friend sets memory from the 1970s in motion for August, transporting her to a time and a place where friendship was everything – until it wasn’t. For August and her girls, sharing confidences as they ambled through neighbourhood streets, Brooklyn was a place where they believed that they were beautiful, talented, brilliant – a part of a future that belonged to them.

But beneath the hopeful veneer, there was another Brooklyn, a dangerous place where grown men reached for innocent girls in dark hallways, where ghosts haunted the night, where mothers disappeared. A world where madness was just a sunset away and fathers found hope in religion.

 

 


 

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

WWW Wednesday (18 Jan) | What are you reading this week?

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:

bookstrangenewthings_cover

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

I’ve had this book on my TBR since it was first published a couple of years ago. Faber’s earlier novel The Crimson Petal and the White is one of my all-time favourite books so I’ve been really looking forward to this one. Seeing as I’m making an effort to read my TBR this year, I knew this book had to be read asap! I’m really enjoying it so far.

Synopsis:

‘I am with you always, even unto the end of the world . . .’

Peter Leigh is a missionary called to go on the journey of a lifetime. Leaving behind his beloved wife, Bea, he boards a flight for a remote and unfamiliar land, a place where the locals are hungry for the teachings of the Bible – his ‘book of strange new things’. It is a quest that will challenge Peter’s beliefs, his understanding of the limits of the human body and, most of all, his love for Bea.

The Book of Strange New Things is a wildly original tale of adventure, faith and the ties that might hold two people together when they are worlds apart. This momentous novel, Faber’s first since The Crimson Petal and the White, sees him at his expectation-defying best.

the-one-memory-of-flora-banks

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr (review ebook)

I’m really enjoying this book so far. It’s an easy read but also one that really holds my attention. I’m looking forward to reading more and finding out what happens to Flora.

Synopsis:

HOW DO YOU KNOW WHO TO TRUST WHEN YOU CAN’T EVEN TRUST YOURSELF?

I look at my hands. One of them says FLORA BE BRAVE.

Flora has anterograde amnesia. She can’t remember anything day-to-day: the joke her friend made, the instructions her parents gave her, how old she is.

Then she kisses someone she shouldn’t, and the next day she remembers it. It’s the first time she’s remembered anything since she was ten.

But the boy is gone. She thinks he’s moved to the Arctic.

Will following him be the key to unlocking her memory? Who can she trust?

keeper-of-lost-things-hb

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan (review ebook)

I’ve been looking forward to this book for so long as I had a feeling it would be one of those books that I would fall in love with. So far I’ve only read the first few chapters but I adore it, it’s got me hooked!

Synopsis:

MEET THE ‘KEEPER OF LOST THINGS’…
Once a celebrated author of short stories now in his twilight years, Anthony Peardew has spent half his life lovingly collecting lost objects, trying to atone for a promise broken many years before.
Realising he is running out of time, he leaves his house and all its lost treasures to his assistant Laura, the one person he can trust to fulfil his legacy and reunite the thousands of objects with their rightful owners.
But the final wishes of the Keeper of Lost Things have unforeseen repercussions which trigger a most serendipitous series of encounters…

With an unforgettable cast of characters that includes young girls with special powers, handsome gardeners, irritable ghosts and an array of irresistible four-legged friends, The Keeper of Lost Things is a debut novel of endless possibilities and joyful discoveries that will leave you bereft once you’ve finished reading.
WE’RE ALL JUST WAITING TO BE FOUND…

howards-end-is-on-the-landing

Howards End is on the Landing: A Year of Reading From Home by Susan Hill

I’ve had this book on my TBR for ages too but it jumped out at me after I made the decision to read more of my own books this year rather than to continue buying new releases whilst other books languished on my shelves forevermore. This is different than I was expecting it to be but I’m really enjoying dipping in and out of it.

Synopsis:

Early one autumn afternoon in pursuit of an elusive book on her shelves, Susan Hill encountered dozens of others that she had never read, or forgotten she owned, or wanted to read for a second time. The discovery inspired her to embark on a year-long voyage through her books, forsaking new purchases in order to get to know her own collection again.

A book which is left on a shelf for a decade is a dead thing, but it is also a chrysalis, packed with the potential to burst into new life. Wandering through her house that day, Hill’s eyes were opened to how much of that life was stored in her home, neglected for years. Howard’s End is on the Landing charts the journey of one of the nation’s most accomplished authors as she revisits the conversations, libraries and bookshelves of the past that have informed a lifetime of reading and writing.

ReadyPlayerOne RD 1 finals 2

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

I’ve been reading blog posts about this book for so long and thought it wouldn’t be my thing as I’m not into gaming at all. Once I read that it has lots of 80s references and isn’t really about gaming I knew I had to read it. I’ve picked it up this week as I’ve just discovered that a film has been made of it so want to read it before I hear more about the film and risk spoilers. I’m really enjoying it so far and the 80s references are fab!

Synopsis:

It’s the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We’re out of oil. We’ve wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty, and disease are widespread.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be, where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade is obsessed by the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this alternate reality: OASIS founder James Halliday, who dies with no heir, has promised that control of the OASIS – and his massive fortune – will go to the person who can solve the riddles he has left scattered throughout his creation.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that the riddles are based in the culture of the late twentieth century. And then Wade stumbles onto the key to the first puzzle.

Suddenly, he finds himself pitted against thousands of competitors in a desperate race to claim the ultimate prize, a chase that soon takes on terrifying real-world dimensions – and that will leave both Wade and his world profoundly changed.

loving-the-life-less-lived-by-gail-marie-mitchell

The Life Less Lived by Gail Marie Mitchell (review book)

This is a review book for a blog tour I’m on next week (my stop is on the 23rd Jan) so I’ll definitely be finishing this book soon. I’m finding it an interesting read at the moment.

Synopsis:

An essential companion for anyone dealing with mental illness.
Like many people, Gail Marie Mitchell battled with anxiety and depression for many years, finding it exhausting, stressful and demoralising at times.

Realising that this approach to her condition was futile, Gail chose a different approach: acceptance.

Taking control in this way removed some of the pressure and enabled Gail to focus on developing coping strategies, creating the tips and tools that are included in this empathetic and practical book.

Gail focuses on the positive aspects of her condition, showing how a person living with mental illness is so much more than the label that society puts on them. She found acceptance empowering, enabling her to live her life to the full. Perhaps not the life she had planned, but one that is happy and fulfilling and that she loves. She is Loving the Life Less Lived.

By sharing her experiences and describing what she learnt from them as well as the resulting coping strategies, Gail has created an essential companion for anyone dealing with mental illness and their family and friends.

img_7957

The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

I’m still very much enjoying this book. The only reason I haven’t finished it yet is because it’s a big hardback book and when my pain levels are bad, I can’t hold books like this to read. I hope once I’ve recovered from the fall I had last week that I can get straight back to this.

Synopsis:

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

What I recently finished reading:

the-poisonwood-bible

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

I finished reading this book yesterday and I’m just in awe of it. I can’t quite put into words exactly how I feel about it yet… I will say that I feel like such a fool for letting this sit on my TBR (in various formats) for almost twenty years because the minute I started reading it I knew I would adore it.

Synopsis:

The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it–from garden seeds to Scripture–is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.

The novel is set against one of the most dramatic political chronicles of the twentieth century: the Congo’s fight for independence from Belgium, the murder of its first elected prime minister, the CIA coup to install his replacement, and the insidious progress of a world economic order that robs the fledgling African nation of its autonomy. Against this backdrop, Orleanna Price reconstructs the story of her evangelist husband’s part in the Western assault on Africa, a tale indelibly darkened by her own losses and unanswerable questions about her own culpability. Also narrating the story, by turns, are her four daughters–the self-centered, teenaged Rachel; shrewd adolescent twins Leah and Adah; and Ruth May, a prescient five-year-old. These sharply observant girls, who arrive in the Congo with racial preconceptions forged in 1950s Georgia, will be marked in surprisingly different ways by their father’s intractable mission, and by Africa itself. Ultimately each must strike her own separate path to salvation. Their passionately intertwined stories become a compelling exploration of moral risk and personal responsibility.

her-every-fear-by-peter-swanson

Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson (review ebook)

This is a review book that I’ve been so looking forward to reading. I picked it up on Sunday afternoon and I finished it Monday morning. It had me completely and utterly hooked the entire way through and my nerves are still fried! I’ll be reviewing this very soon!

Synopsis:

Following a brutal attack by her ex-boyfriend, Kate Priddy makes an uncharacteristically bold decision after her cousin, Corbin Dell, suggests a temporary apartment swap – and she moves from London to Boston.

But soon after her arrival Kate makes a shocking discovery: Corbin’s next-door neighbour, a young woman named Audrey Marshall, has been murdered. When the police begin asking questions about Corbin’s relationship with Audrey, and his neighbours come forward with their own suspicions, a shaken Kate has few answers, and many questions of her own.

Jetlagged and emotionally unstable, her imagination playing out her every fear, Kate can barely trust herself. so how can she trust any of the strangers she’s just met?

swimming-lessons-by-claire-fuller

Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller (review ebook)

This book is beautiful! I adored every single second that I spent reading it. It’s a review book so I hope to get my review up on here soon but right now I can’t fully express what this book meant to me. 

Synopsis:

Ingrid Coleman writes letters to her husband, Gil, about the truth of their marriage, but instead of giving them to him, she hides them in the thousands of books he has collected over the years. When Ingrid has written her final letter she disappears from a Dorset beach, leaving behind her beautiful but dilapidated house by the sea, her husband, and her two daughters, Flora and Nan.

Twelve years later, Gil thinks he sees Ingrid from a bookshop window, but he’s getting older and this unlikely sighting is chalked up to senility. Flora, who has never believed her mother drowned, returns home to care for her father and to try to finally discover what happened to Ingrid. But what Flora doesn’t realize is that the answers to her questions are hidden in the books that surround her. Scandalous and whip-smart, Swimming Lessons holds the Coleman family up to the light, exposing the mysterious truths of a passionate and troubled marriage.

lies-by-tm-logan

Lies by TM Logan (review ebook)

This is a fast-paced, enjoyable thriller. My full review is here: Lies by TM Logan

Synopsis:

WHAT IF YOUR WHOLE LIFE WAS BASED ON LIES? 

A gripping new psychological thriller of secrets and revenge.

When Joe Lynch sees his wife enter an underground car park in the middle of the day, he’s intrigued enough to follow her down.

And when he sees her in an angry altercation with family friend Ben, he naturally goes to her defence – and doesn’t for a minute believe the accusations Ben makes against her.

It’s pure misfortune that, just as the clash becomes violent and Ben is knocked unconscious, Joe’s son has an asthma attack, and Joe has to take him to safety.

how-much-the-heart-can-hold

How Much The Heart Can Hold by Carys Bray et al. (review book)

When I was sent this for review I actually squealed – it is one of the most beautiful hardback books I own. I’m so happy to say that the stories contained within the book are just as beautiful. I adored this book, it has become my favourite short story collection and I’ll be reviewing it soon.

Synopsis:

‘No one has measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold.’ 
Zelda Fitzgerald

Love is not a singular concept.

In this collection, seven award-winning authors explore seven concepts of love: from Philautia, self-love, to Agape, love for humanity; and from Storge, a natural affection for family, to Mania, a frenzied, obsessive love.

Seven authors; seven short stories; seven flashes of love.

What I plan on reading next:

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The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel (review book)

This book was sent to me recently and was a total surprise, I didn’t know the publisher were posting me a copy. I was behind excited to open it though and have been so excited to read it. It’s not due for publication until later this year but I can’t wait any longer to start reading!

Synopsis:

Beautiful.
Rich.
Mysterious.

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

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

She is a Roanoke girl.

Is she strong enough to escape a second time?

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Rattle by Fiona Cummins (review ebook)

This is a thriller that has a synopsis that makes me feel chilled to the bone and I don’t like being scared. That said, there is something about this book that makes me feel compelled to read it! Hopefully it won’t give me nightmares!

Synopsis:

A serial killer to chill your bones

A psychopath more frightening than Hannibal Lecter.

He has planned well. He leads two lives. In one he’s just like anyone else. But in the other he is the caretaker of his family’s macabre museum.

Now the time has come to add to his collection. He is ready to feed his obsession, and he is on the hunt.

Jakey Frith and Clara Foyle have something in common. They have what he needs.

What begins is a terrifying cat-and-mouse game between the sinister collector, Jakey’s father and Etta Fitzroy, a troubled detective investigating a spate of abductions.

Set in London’s Blackheath, Rattle by Fiona Cummins explores the seam of darkness that runs through us all; the struggle between light and shadow, redemption and revenge.

It is a glimpse into the mind of a sinister psychopath. And it’s also a story about not giving up hope when it seems that all hope is already lost.


 

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

Weekly Wrap-Up (15 Jan)

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted

I’ve had a really good reading and blogging week this week so I’m happy at that. My real life has been a bit up and down with another bad fall on Friday that has increased my pain levels. It could have been so much worse though as I had a glass in my hand at the time but thankfully didn’t cut myself. The increased pain has meant I’ve not managed to be around on social media, or to reply to comments on my blog as much as I would have liked to have been over the weekend. I will get around to replying as soon as I can but please know that I do always very much appreciate  comments and shares.

This week I’ve finished reading five books:

Relativity by Antonia Hayes (review book)

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

How Much The Heart Can Hold by Carys Bray et al. (review book)

Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller (review book)

Lies by TM Logan (review book)

 


This week I’ve blogged seven times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up (8 Jan)

Monday: 2017 Reading Plans and the State of My TBR

Tuesday: Review of Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday (11 Jan)

Thursday: Review of Everything You Told Me by Lucy Dawson

Friday: Review of Spider from Mars: My Life with Bowie by Woody Woodmansey

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves (14 Jan)

 


This is what I’m currently reading:

Loving the Life Less Lived by Gail Marie Mitchell (review book)

The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

Howards End is on the Landing: A Year of Reading from Home by Susan Hill

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson (review book)

 


 

Last week I wrote a post about the state of my TBR and how I wanted to try and focus on reading the books I already own this year. You can read that post here. To keep myself motivated I’m going to update my numbers as part of my weekly wrap-up post from now on.

Update on my TBR

TBR at the start of January 2017: 1885

Books added this week: 4

TBR now stands at: 1887 (due to my having now started reading two more books off my TBR since the four new books were added)


 

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

 


 

SundayBlogShare

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

WWW Wednesdays (11 Jan) | What are you reading this week?

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:

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The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

This was a Christmas present from my husband and I’m very much enjoying reading it. It’s a book I want to take my time with but it’s a great read and so far I’d definitely recommend it.

Synopsis:

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

 

swimming-lessons-by-claire-fuller

Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller (due for release 26 Jan)

I am reading a review copy of this book and enjoying it so much. It’s a beautiful novel and there references to books are wonderful. I can’t decide how it’s going to turn out in the end but I’m sure it’s going to continue to be a beautiful read.

Synopsis:

Ingrid Coleman writes letters to her husband, Gil, about the truth of their marriage, but instead of giving them to him, she hides them in the thousands of books he has collected over the years. When Ingrid has written her final letter she disappears from a Dorset beach, leaving behind her beautiful but dilapidated house by the sea, her husband, and her two daughters, Flora and Nan.

Twelve years later, Gil thinks he sees Ingrid from a bookshop window, but he’s getting older and this unlikely sighting is chalked up to senility. Flora, who has never believed her mother drowned, returns home to care for her father and to try to finally discover what happened to Ingrid. But what Flora doesn’t realize is that the answers to her questions are hidden in the books that surround her. Scandalous and whip-smart, Swimming Lessons holds the Coleman family up to the light, exposing the mysterious truths of a passionate and troubled marriage.

 

the-poisonwood-bible

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

I’ve had various copies of this novel on my shelves for around 17 years and yet I’ve managed to not read it in all that time. I have no idea why because it’s beautifully written and I am enjoying it so much. It’s one of those books that makes me look forward to getting back to it when I’m not reading.

Synopsis:

The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it–from garden seeds to Scripture–is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.

The novel is set against one of the most dramatic political chronicles of the twentieth century: the Congo’s fight for independence from Belgium, the murder of its first elected prime minister, the CIA coup to install his replacement, and the insidious progress of a world economic order that robs the fledgling African nation of its autonomy. Against this backdrop, Orleanna Price reconstructs the story of her evangelist husband’s part in the Western assault on Africa, a tale indelibly darkened by her own losses and unanswerable questions about her own culpability. Also narrating the story, by turns, are her four daughters–the self-centered, teenaged Rachel; shrewd adolescent twins Leah and Adah; and Ruth May, a prescient five-year-old. These sharply observant girls, who arrive in the Congo with racial preconceptions forged in 1950s Georgia, will be marked in surprisingly different ways by their father’s intractable mission, and by Africa itself. Ultimately each must strike her own separate path to salvation. Their passionately intertwined stories become a compelling exploration of moral risk and personal responsibility.

Dancing between the dark comedy of human failings and the breathtaking possibilities of human hope, “The Poisonwood Bible” possesses all that has distinguished Barbara Kingsolver’s previous work, and extends this beloved writer’s vision to an entirely new level. Taking its place alongside the classic works of postcolonial literature, this ambitious novel establishes Kingsolver as one of the most thoughtful and daring of modern writers.

 

lies-by-tm-logan

Lies by TM Logan

I requested this one from NetGalley on impulse because I loved the cover and knew it was a psychological thriller. It’s a fast-paced read and I’m enjoying it.

Synopsis:

WHAT IF YOUR WHOLE LIFE WAS BASED ON LIES? 

A gripping new psychological thriller of secrets and revenge.

When Joe Lynch sees his wife enter an underground car park in the middle of the day, he’s intrigued enough to follow her down.

And when he sees her in an angry altercation with family friend Ben, he naturally goes to her defence – and doesn’t for a minute believe the accusations Ben makes against her.

It’s pure misfortune that, just as the clash becomes violent and Ben is knocked unconscious, Joe’s son has an asthma attack, and Joe has to take him to safety.

 

 

 

 

 

loving-the-life-less-lived-by-gail-marie-mitchell

The Life Less Lived by Gail Marie Mitchell

I was contacted by the publisher asking if I’d read and review this book for a blog tour. I agreed as I’ve suffered with PTSD and severe anxiety in the past and whilst I’m ok now it’s something that I do need to be mindful of. I’m always interested to read books on the subject of mental health as I feel with the distance I have from my own experience that I can really assess their usefulness. I’ve only read a few chapters of this so far but it’s a good book with lots of helpful ideas and suggestions. My review of this will be up on my blog on 23rd Jan during the blog tour.

Synopsis:

An essential companion for anyone dealing with mental illness.
Like many people, Gail Marie Mitchell battled with anxiety and depression for many years, finding it exhausting, stressful and demoralising at times.

Realising that this approach to her condition was futile, Gail chose a different approach: acceptance.

Taking control in this way removed some of the pressure and enabled Gail to focus on developing coping strategies, creating the tips and tools that are included in this empathetic and practical book.

Gail focuses on the positive aspects of her condition, showing how a person living with mental illness is so much more than the label that society puts on them. She found acceptance empowering, enabling her to live her life to the full. Perhaps not the life she had planned, but one that is happy and fulfilling and that she loves. She is Loving the Life Less Lived.

By sharing her experiences and describing what she learnt from them as well as the resulting coping strategies, Gail has created an essential companion for anyone dealing with mental illness and their family and friends.

 


What I recently finished reading:

relativity-by-antonia-hayes

Relativity by Antonia Hayes

I was offered the chance to read and review this book for a forthcoming blog tour and I jumped at the chance because the synopsis had me wanting more. I can’t quite express right now how much this book has meant to me as I read it, it’s really had me hooked. I’ll be reviewing this on as part of the tour on 17 Jan so please look out for it. 

Synopsis:

Ethan is a bright young boy obsessed with physics and astronomy who lives with his mother, Claire. Claire has been a wonderful parent to Ethan, but he’s becoming increasingly curious about his father’s absence in his life, wanting to fill in the gaps.

Claire’s life is centred on Ethan; she is fiercely protective of her talented, vulnerable son, and of her own feelings. When Ethan falls ill, tied to a tragic event from when he was a baby, Claire’s tightly held world is split open.

On the other side of the country, Mark is trying to forget about the events that tore his family apart. Then a sudden and unexpected call home forces him to confront his past, and the hole in his life that was once filled with his wife Claire and his son Ethan.

When Ethan secretly intercepts a letter from Mark to Claire, he unleashes long-suppressed forces that – like gravity – pull the three together again, testing the limits of love and forgiveness.

landline-by-rainbow-rowell

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

I have never read a full-length Rainbow Rowell novel before and I’m not sure why I haven’t. This is such a lovely book – it’s easy to read but kept me hooked at the same time. I think I’ll be reading more by this author in the future.

Synopsis:

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble; it has been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems beside the point now.

Maybe that was always beside the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts…

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

 

d-then-there-were-none-by-agatha-christie

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

I devoured Agatha Christie novels when I was around the age of 11 or 12 – they were the first books my local library would allow me to take out without my mum being present so I really associated them with feeling grown up. Somehow this novel is one I’ve never read so I snapped it up in the recent kindle sale and I devoured it. It was brilliant and I highly recommend it if you haven’t already read it.

Synopsis:

First, there were ten – a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they’re unwilling to reveal – and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. One by one they fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. And only the dead are above suspicion.

 

 

the-girl-by-samantha-geimer

The Girl: A Life in the Shadows of Roman Polanski by Samantha Geimer

I’m thinking of doing a review on this book so I won’t say too much here. My main thought on it is that I got more out of this book than I expected to and it really gave me pause for thought at various points. It’s a very interesting insight. 

Synopsis:

In this searing and surprising memoir, Samantha Geimer, “the girl” at the center of the infamous Roman Polanski sexual assault case, breaks a virtual thirty-five-year silence to tell her story and reflect on the events of that day and their lifelong repercussions.

March 1977, Southern California. Roman Polanski drives a rented Mercedes along Mulholland Drive to Jack Nicholson’s house. Sitting next to him is an aspiring actress, Samantha Geimer, recently arrived from York, Pennsylvania. She is thirteen years old.

The undisputed facts of what happened in the following hours appear in the court record: Polanski spent hours taking pictures of Samantha-on a deck overlooking the Hollywood Hills, on a kitchen counter, topless in a Jacuzzi. Wine and Quaaludes were consumed, balance and innocence were lost, and a young girl’s life was altered forever-eternally cast as a background player in her own story.

For months on end, the Polanski case dominated the media in the US and abroad. But even with the extensive coverage, much about that day-and the girl at the center of it all-remains a mystery. Just about everyone had an opinion about the renowned director and the girl he was accused of drugging and raping. Who was the predator? Who was the prey? Was the girl an innocent victim or a cunning Lolita artfully directed by her ambitious stage mother? How could the criminal justice system have failed all the parties concerned in such a spectacular fashion? Once Polanski fled the country, what became of Samantha, the young girl forever associated with one of Hollywood’s most notorious episodes? Samantha, as much as Polanski, has been a fugitive since the events of that night more than thirty years ago.

Taking us far beyond the headlines, The Girl reveals a thirteen-year-old who was simultaneously wise beyond her years and yet terribly vulnerable. By telling her story in full for the first time, Samantha reclaims her identity, and indelibly proves that it is possible to move forward from victim to survivor, from confusion to certainty, from shame to strength.

everything-you-told-me

 

Everything You Told Me by Lucy Dawson

This is a review book so I will be doing a full review very soon. For now I’ll say that it’s fast read and one that I enjoyed.

Synopsis:

You went to bed at home, just like every other night.
You woke up in the back of a taxi, over 250 miles away.
You have no idea how you got there and no memory of the last ten hours.
You have no phone, no money; just a suicide note in your coat pocket, in your own writing.
You know you weren’t planning to kill yourself.
Your family and friends think you are lying.

Someone knows exactly what happened to you.
But they’re not telling…

 

wishful-drinking-by-carrie-fisher

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher

I wanted to read this memoir before I read her latest one as I already had it on my audible account. It was a very emotional read, given that Carrie Fisher died recently, but it was lovely to hear her stories especially the ones that show the love she had for her mother. I definitely recommend reading this.

Synopsis:

In Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher tells the true and intoxicating story of her life with inimitable wit. Born to celebrity parents, she was picked to play a princess in a little movie called Star Wars when only 19 years old. “But it isn’t all sweetness and light sabres.” Alas, aside from a demanding career and her role as a single mother (not to mention the hyperspace hairdo), Carrie also spends her free time battling addiction, weathering the wild ride of manic depression and lounging around various mental institutions. It’s an incredible tale – from having Elizabeth Taylor as a stepmother, to marrying (and divorcing) Paul Simon, from having the father of her daughter leave her for a man, to ultimately waking up one morning and finding a friend dead beside her in bed.

 


What I plan on reading next:

the-one-memory-of-flora-banks

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

This is another review book. I’m not going to get it read and reviewed before the release date but hopefully I’ll have a review in the next week or so. I love Emily Barr’s novels so was irrigated to read her venture into YA. I’ve heard good things about this so am looking forward to starting it soon.

Synopsis:

HOW DO YOU KNOW WHO TO TRUST WHEN YOU CAN’T EVEN TRUST YOURSELF?

I look at my hands. One of them says FLORA BE BRAVE.

Flora has anterograde amnesia. She can’t remember anything day-to-day: the joke her friend made, the instructions her parents gave her, how old she is.

Then she kisses someone she shouldn’t, and the next day she remembers it. It’s the first time she’s remembered anything since she was ten.

But the boy is gone. She thinks he’s moved to the Arctic.

Will following him be the key to unlocking her memory? Who can she trust?

 

little-deaths-emma-flint

Little Deaths by Emma Flint

I was excited to be approved to read this on NetGalley recently. It just sounds like a noir novel with a psychological thriller edge and I’m really in the mood to read something like this. 

Synopsis:

It’s the summer of 1965, and the streets of Queens, New York shimmer in a heatwave. One July morning, Ruth Malone wakes to find a bedroom window wide open and her two young children missing. After a desperate search, the police make a horrifying discovery.

Noting Ruth’s perfectly made-up face and provocative clothing, the empty liquor bottles and love letters that litter her apartment, the detectives leap to convenient conclusions, fuelled by neighbourhood gossip and speculation. Sent to cover the case on his first major assignment, tabloid reporter Pete Wonicke at first can’t help but do the same. But the longer he spends watching Ruth, the more he learns about the darker workings of the police and the press. Soon, Pete begins to doubt everything he thought he knew.

Ruth Malone is enthralling, challenging and secretive – is she really capable of murder?

Haunting, intoxicating and heart-poundingly suspenseful, Little Deaths is a gripping novel about love, morality and obsession, exploring the capacity for good and evil within us all.

 


 

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

My Christmas Book Haul!

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It seems a little late to be doing a Christmas book haul but I really wanted to share the books that I got for Christmas and haven’t been able to get this post together until now. As a lifelong bookworm I sometimes get one or two books for Christmas but up until I met my husband these book were always books I had asked for as most people say that they can’t buy me books because either they think I already have everything, or they think books are boring! My husband has always given me some books for Christmas as stocking fillers and I’ve always been so happy and grateful for them. This year though I got a book mountain. I think there are twenty-six books in total…

Firstly, I got this gorgeous set of eight Vintage Christmas books

They were in a lovely set together and I’ve already read two of them. The titles are:

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg

Dickens at Christmas by Charles Dickens

Christmas Holiday by W. Somerset Maugham

Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow by Peter Hoeg

If On A Winter’s Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino

Winter Holiday by Arthur Ransome

I love that some of them are more winter reads than Christmas reads as it means I can continue reading them now Christmas is over. I’ll definitely be looking forward to the more festive ones as next Christmas gets here.

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I also got this beautiful Puffin hardback edition of A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. This book was one of my all-time favourite reads a a child and whilst I still have my original copy, it’s so old and battered that I wouldn’t dare re-read that edition. I’ve kept looking at this hardback copy online but couldn’t justify buying it for myself, I’m over the moon to finally own it and will definitely be re-reading it this year!

Continuing the theme of childhood reads, he also gave me this beautiful slipcase edition of Alice in Wonderland, and Through the Looking Glass. It’s such a beautiful set and I’m looking forward to re-reading these books.

I have a pet guinea pig (called Robson), who is so adorable, so these next two books were perfect for me. I’m now wondering whether I could bribe Robson into dressing up as Oliver  Twist! Haha!

Back to serious reading now… Here are the novels that I was given:

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

What I Had Before I Had You by Sarah Cornwell

Romancing the Dark in the City of Light by Ann Jacobus

Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahern

The Girl from the Garden by Parnaz Foroutan

Unbecoming by Rebecca Sherm

The Whole Golden World by Kristina Riggle

The Non-Fiction books I got:

The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

Irritable Hearts: A PTSD Love Story by Mac McClelland

Turn Around Bright Eyes by Rob Sheffield

The Girl by Samantha Geimer

There was one short story collection:

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This book is called Music for Wartime by Rebecca Makkai and it sounds like such a brilliant book. I can’t wait to dip into these stories. Also, what a gorgeous cover!

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It’s become something of a tradition to get me one of the illustrated Carol Ann Duffy poem books for Christmas and this year he chose Another Night Before Christmas because it is illustrated by Rob Ryan, whose illustrations I love.

 

The final gifts weren’t books but they were partly related to books…

Two Penguin mugs – A Common Reader by Virginia Woolf and A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf. I’m still not sure how my husband knew I adored Virginia Woolf but I’m over the moon with these mugs!

An Aladdin Sane necklace that I first saw earlier this year and have wanted ever since. I’m so happy to finally own it (and it fits with me also getting another Bowie biography). I also got a gorgeous sunflower necklace from the same company as it’s my favourite flower.


 

I was very spoilt and don’t think receiving so many books for Christmas will ever be topped! It was wonderful… and my husband, who hates wrapping presents, wrapped everything individually too so it was like being a kid again having so much to open on Christmas morning!

 

Did you have a nice Christmas? Were you given any new books, or have you bought some yourself for Christmas?