#BookReview: Open Your Eyes by Paula Daly @PaulaDalyAuthor ‏@TransworldBooks #RandomThingsTours

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About the Book

Haven’t we all wanted to pretend everything is fine?

Jane doesn’t like confrontation. Given the choice, she’d prefer to focus on what’s going well, the good things in life.

But when her husband, Leon, is brutally attacked in the driveway of their home, in front of their two young children, Jane has to face reality. As he lies in a coma, Jane must open her eyes to the problems in her life, and the secrets that have been kept from her, if she’s to find out who hurt her husband – and why.

Maybe it’s time to face up to it all. Who knows what you might find . . .

 

My Thoughts

I’m a huge fan of Paula Daly so I jumped at the chance to take part in this blog tour for her new novel, Open Your Eyes!

Open Your Eyes begins with Jane and her husband Leon bickering about having to go to his mother’s house on his birthday; one of those silly rows that we’ve all had at one point or another. Their neighbour, who they have a long-running mild dispute with, comes over to moan about something and Jane goes in the house to get the beer they’ve forgotten. What happens next is utterly shocking – something happens to Leon and this family’s world is turned upside down.

Jane suddenly finds herself having to pick up the pieces of what’s happened while also trying to keep her children’s routine as normal, but at the same time dealing with the aftermath and coping with the fear she’s left with. Some of her decisions were odd to me but I know how your mind is thrown into utter disarray when something so shocking happens to someone in your family.

I loved all the references to writing in this book. Leon is a successful traditionally published author while Jane is a writer who is still looking for a publishing deal. She feels a bit belittled by her husband’s success but is determined to keep going. There is an element of her feeling diminished as a writer due to her husband’s success and I felt like this spread out into other parts of their life together. This all plays such a brilliant and unexpected part in this novel and I loved that element of it. Jane isn’t a confident woman and she hates confrontations of any kind but as the novel goes on she finds her voice and her ability to face up to the situations grows.

There are so many people to suspect in this book so it keeps you on your toes as you’re reading. As the book progresses and Jane and the police dig deeper into Leon and his history there are more and more potential reasons for what happened to him and more people who may have wished him harm. I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t work out what had happened and I loved that I was in suspense until all was revealed. This book has such a brilliant ending; it’s definitely one that I’ll remember!

I raced through Open Your Eyes; it’s a compulsive read that will keep you up at night thinking ‘just one more chapter…’ until you turn the final page at 2am because you will get so drawn on that you simply won’t be able to rest until you know whodunnit and whydunnit! I loved this book and I highly, highly recommend it!

I received a copy of the book from the publisher. All thoughts are my own.

Open Your Eyes is out now and available here.

 

About the Author

Paula Daly is the critically acclaimed author of five novels. Her work has been sold in fifteen countries, shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger for Crime Novel of the Year award, and her books are currently being developed for television. She was born in Lancashire and lives in the Lake District with her husband, three children, and whippet Skippy.

 

You can follow the rest of the tour at the following stops:

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Stacking the Shelves with a brand new #bookhaul (21 July 2018)!

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

 

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

I somehow missed putting this book in last week’s book haul so I’m adding it on to this one. I’ve already read this book and I loved it – I read it in one sitting and was completely gripped all the way through!

Dead Blind by Rebecca Bradley

I was certain that I’d already bought this book but when I went to look for it on my kindle the other day it wasn’t there. I’ve bought it now though and I can’t wait to read it, I love Rebecca Bradley’s writing.

It Ends With You by S. K. Wright

I requested this one on NetGalley on a whim as I loved the sound of the blurb. I was thrilled to be approved to read it and plan on picking it up very soon.

Open Your Eyes by Paula Daly

I was offered the chance to be on the blog tour for this book and I jumped at the chance as I’m such a huge fan of Paula Daly. I’m already halfway through this book and am hooked!

You Let Me In by Lucy Clarke

I’ve loved all of Lucy Clarke’s novels so when I spotted this new one on NetGalley I immediately downloaded it. I can’t wait to read it!

The Man I Think I Know by Mike Gayle

I used to love Mike Gayle’s novels but haven’t read one in absolutely ages. I saw this new one on Zoe Ball’s book club on Sunday and just had to get hold of a copy. I’m looking forward to reading this!


 

Have you got any new books recently? I’d love to know. Have you read any of the books in my book haul? Are there any that you recommend me getting to sooner rather than later? Feel free to leave a link to your own Stacking the Shelves post in the comments! 🙂

March Wrap-Up post!

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

Here are the 22 books I read this month:

Scarlett Says by Scarlett Moffatt

Forever Yours by Daniel Glauttauer

The Escape by C. L. Taylor

Willow Walk by SJI Holliday

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

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

Sometimes I lie by Alice Feeney

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

And the Sun Shine Now by Adrian Tempany

Little Deaths by Emma Flint

The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

Year of No Clutter by Eve O. Schaub

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

The Sellout by Paul Beatty

Now We Are 40 by Tiffanie Darke

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

A Portrait of Bowie by Brian Hiatt

Hillsborough Untold by Norman Bettison


March Blog Posts & Reviews

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

Here are my reviews that I shared in March:

Everything But the Truth by Gillian McAllister

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel 

It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris 

The Escape by C. L. Taylor

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia

Sometimes I lie by Alice Feeney

The Best We Could Do by Thi But

Year of No Clutter by Eve O. Schaub

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

I also shared a great guest post in March:

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


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The state of my TBR:

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

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

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

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

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


Quarterly Stats!

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

Weekly Wrap-Up (2 April)

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This week has been a bit rubbish if I’m honest. The effects of reducing my pain meds have really kicked in and I just feel horrid a lot of the time. I was meant to be going to a gig in the week with my husband, and we’d had the tickets for ages, but there was no way I was going to manage it. We stayed in and treated ourselves to a takeaway instead, which was lovely but I still wish we could have gone out.

I’ve barely managed to read anything all week – the two books I have finished are the ones I managed to pick up again just yesterday and were books I’ve been reading on and off for a little while now.

I’m going to be starting a new treatment soon, which is more experimental, but I’m going into it with a positive mindset and am hoping that it helps me.

This week I’ve finished reading two books:

First Love by Gwendoline Riley

I found this to be such a compelling read, it really drew me in. Some of the things that happen hit a nerve with me but it’s so well written that even then I didn’t want to stop reading. I love books that make me uncomfortable but still have me under their spell, and this one was definitely one of those. I definitely recommend this.

Hillsborough Untold by Norman Bettison

I didn’t notice who this book was by when it arrived so it was only when I started reading this that I realised. I wouldn’t have picked this up had I have known but once I had the book I was intrigued to know what he had to say. I do think it’s important to hear all sides but in this case, when the police have been held responsible after so many years, it does feel like there’s nothing more to be heard from them that can add anything. Having said that, I do think it’s wrong that officers can take early retirement in order to get out of facing an investigation into their alleged wrong-doing, and that, because the other officers involved did this, Bettison bore more of the criticism in his career. I wouldn’t recommend this.

This week I’ve blogged seven times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up post

Monday: Review of Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

Tuesday: Review of The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday post

Thursday: A guest post by Mark Stewart, author of The Absence of Wings, all about how he speaks up for the voiceless in his short story collection

Friday: Review of The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves post

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

Good as Gone by Amy Gentry

I just started this book last night and it’s got me hooked already so I reckon, concentration span permitting, that this may be one of those books that I finish in one sitting!

Deconstructing Dirty Dancing by Stephen Lee Naish

This is a really interesting look at the film Dirty Dancing and what the backdrop to the film was in terms of politics of the time it was made, and the time it was set. It’s a short book so I hope to be able to finish it this week.

The Cows by Dawn O’Porter

This is a brilliant novel, I’m really enjoying it. I actually missed this book when I had a few days of not being well enough to read this week so I’m really looking forward to picking it up again.

Sweet Pea by C.J. Skuse

This is such a great read. I’ll be honest and say that I haven’t managed to read anymore of it this week due to lack of concentration but also due to horrible lack of dexterity in my hands meaning print books aren’t the easiest to read at the moment. I’m so keen to see where this story is going though so hopefully I’ll be able to get back to it this week.

One of Us by Asne Serierstad

I’ve managed to read a bit more of this over the last week and am really hoping that my brain power will be back to full(ish) strength soon so that I can finish this book. It’s such an interesting book but I wish I could have managed to read it in fewer sittings.

 

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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: 1895

Additions:

Books bought/received for review/gifts:  23

Subtractions:

Books read this week: 2

Books I’m currently reading: 5

TBR Books culled this week: 0

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1913

 


 

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. I’ll be posting my monthly wrap-up for March on here tomorrow so please look out for that! 🙂

#BookReview: The Trophy Child by Paula Daly @GroveAtlantic

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About the book

Karen Bloom is not the coddling mother type. She believes in raising her children for success. Some in the neighborhood call her assertive, others say she’s driven, but in gossiping circles she’s known as: the tiger mother. Karen believes that tough discipline is the true art of parenting and that achievement leads to ultimate happiness. She expects her husband and her children to perform at 200 percent—no matter the cost. But in an unending quest for excellence, her seemingly flawless family start to rebel against her.

Her husband Noel is a handsome doctor with a proclivity for alcohol and women. Their prodigy daughter, Bronte, is excelling at school, music lessons, dance classes, and yet she longs to run away. Verity, Noel’s teenage daughter from his first marriage, is starting to display aggressive behavior. And Karen’s son from a previous relationship falls deeper into drug use. When tragedy strikes the Blooms, Karen’s carefully constructed facade begins to fall apart—and once the deadly cracks appear, they are impossible to stop.

My thoughts

I’m a big fan of Paula Daly’s writing so was eagerly anticipating The Trophy Child and I have to say that it didn’t disappoint.

Karen is a real tiger mum. She puts all her hope and ambition onto her daughter, trying to mould her into the perfect person. Karen won’t accept failure, won’t even accept good enough – Bronte has to be perfect. Bronte is obviously struggling at not being allowed to be a normal child with time to play with friends, and the situation is like a giant pressure cooker. Bronte’s step-sister Verity has already lashed out at Karen once, and there is still such a fury simmering under the surface in their relationship. Karen’s husband, and father of both girls, is quite ineffectual when it comes to to his family – he basically wants to keep the peace and if he can’t keep the peace he’ll do his best to stay out of the situation.

I think what I loved the most about this novel was all the layers. I thought it was going to be a novel about a child who goes missing and the way the family copes but it’s about so much more than that. There are so many different dynamics to the family at the centre of this novel that it makes for a fascinating look at why people are the way they are. We see how it feels to be the second wife, the step-child, the half-sister, the first wife, and the husband who seems to be caught between his wife and ex-wife, his children and step-child. It was the relationships between all the characters that fascinated me the most, especially when the police become involved. It’s the characters that make this novel so brilliant, even more so than the great plot. None of the characters are particularly likeable and that made this book so fascinating as I wasn’t sure how I felt when they were in turmoil. It made me consider my own emotions and I love when a novel draws me into it to this degree.

I have to admit that I did not see where this book was going. I was so confident for a fair bit of this novel that I knew how it was going to end and I was completely wrong. It’s not often that a book has me stumped but this one got me and I loved it for that!

This is definitely one of those ‘just one more chapter…’ books that you end up staying up ’til the early hours reading because you just can’t put it down. It’s a gripping read, and really does have you turning the pages at a frantic rate as you want to know what is going on.

The Trophy Child is a disturbing look at how tense and difficult trying to integrate children from one relationship, and a child from a second relationship into one family can be. This novel takes the situation to an extreme but the the day-to-day issues within this family will resonate with readers, and will likely send a cold shiver down some spines!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The Trophy Child is out now and available to buy here.

About the author

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Paula Daly was born in Lancashire. Before beginning her first novel JUST WHAT KIND OF MOTHER ARE YOU? she was a self-employed physiotherapist. She lives in the Lake District with her husband, three children and whippet Skippy.

WWW Wednesdays (22 March) 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:

The Cows by Dawn O’Porter

This book is so good. I’m really loving it – I want to try and read it slowly because I’m enjoying it so much but it’s calling to me to just read it all in one go.

The Power by Naomi Alderman

I can’t believe I’ve left this on my TBR for four months before picking it up because it’s such a good read. I started reading it last night and I can’t wait to get back to it today.

Sweet Pea by C.J. Skuse

This is a book that was sent to me as a complete surprise so I didn’t really know what it was about. I picked it up this week and am finding it a really good read – it’s got a lot of dark humour in it but it’s great.

Now We Are 40 by Tiffanie Darke

This is still such an enjoyable read. It’s covering a wide-range of topics relating mainly to the 90s, some good and some not-so good but it’s really interesting.

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

I’m still reading this on and off. It’s a good read and I’m finding that I’m enjoying it whilst I’m reading it but when I put it down it isn’t calling me back to it.

A Portrait of Bowie by Brian Hiatt

This is a book that is really lovely to dip in and out of. It has gorgeous photos of David Bowie and recollections of him from various friends and collaborators from various points in his life.

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

I’ll be honest, I haven’t picked this up in the last week so it maybe shouldn’t be in this post. It’s a brilliant book, I’ve just not been in the right frame of mind to read heavier non-fiction but I definitely want to keep reading this as soon as I feel better. Hopefully it won’t be long.

What I recently finished reading:

The Sellout by Paul Beatty

I finished listening to this audio book yesterday and very much enjoyed it. It was easy to read and yet really kept making me pause for thought at what I was reading. I can see why this won the Man Booker last year.

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

I was engrossed in this book for most of Monday. I really enjoyed reading a book set out as podcasts. I’m debating whether to review this or not on my blog, I feel like I have a fair bit to say but there are already a lot of reviews of this out there.

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

I loved this book. It felt refreshingly different to me to have a book set in a newsroom, and to see a news producer investigating a crime. I reviewed this on Tuesday so you read my full thoughts here if you’d like to.

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

This was an enjoyable listen but I think I enjoyed it more for listening to the audio with my husband as it was good to discuss it with him. I found myself getting annoyed by Phil Collins’s lack of consideration for each of his wives but the stories he tells of early in his career, and of Live Aid are really interesting.

Year of No Clutter by Eve O. Schaub

I really enjoyed this book and found it really opened my eyes to some of my own issues with keeping things. I reviewed this on my blog on Monday so feel free to check that out here if you’d like to know more.

The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

I read this over a couple of days at the end of last week and really enjoyed it. I hope to get my review written and posted soon but in the meantime I do recommend it.

What I plan on reading next:

The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne

I’ve had a review copy of this on my TBR since the end of 2016 so I think it’s time I started reading. It sounds like a really gripping read.

First Love by Gwendoline Riley

I bought this at the weekend with my birthday vouchers and I’m really keen to read it so I’m putting it on my up next pile.

 


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 March)

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This week has been a bit of rough week. I’ve reduced my pain meds again and it’s left me feeling really unwell at times. This is going to be par for the course on and off for the next couple of months so I just need to get on with it as best as I can.

I did cheer myself up with an online book buying splurge as I still had my birthday book vouchers so that was lovely. I shared what I got in my Stacking the Shelves post yesterday if you’d like to see that.

This week I’ve finished reading five books:

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

This is such a good read. It’s a crime thriller but the focus is on the newsroom, and how they report a crime, the way they get information, and also how easily a reporter can become obsessed with a case. It’s not a fast-paced, twisty novel so far but it does grip you from the the opening chapter. I highly recommend this one. I’ll be writing my review of this one soon.

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

This is the audio book I’ve been listening to with my husband over the last month. I’m not really a Phil Collins fan but I found myself really enjoying this book. The first half was better than the second half for me. I enjoyed hearing about how his career got started, and about the people he worked with etc, and hearing what was going on behind the scenes at Live Aid was very amusing, but I didn’t like the way he was so dismissive of how his treatment of each of his wives affected them. I know we all paint ourselves in our best light but it’s hard to listen to someone have seemingly no awareness of how he made other people feel. Aside from that aspect of the book, Phil Collins shared some great stories that did make us laugh, or caused a few raised eyebrows so I would recommend this to fans of his, but be ready to grit your teeth when he talks about his various relationships with women.

Year of No Clutter by Eve Schaub

I struggled to get into this book but I’m glad I persevered. I found that as the book went on I could identify with a lot of how Eve felt about her clutter, and the reasons why she had let it build up. I’ll be reviewing this on my blog soon.

The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

I’m a big fan of Paula Daly’s novels so was very excited to read this one. It kept me engrossed all the way through but I’m still unsure how to rate it. I read an ARC so I will be reviewing it as soon as I’ve got my thoughts in order.

Little Deaths by Emma Flint

This is also a review book and I’ve had it on my TBR for a little while now but I’m annoyed with myself for being so slow to pick it up as I loved it. It grabbed me from the opening and I’m still thinking about it now, days after I finished reading. I hope to get my review finished and posted on my blog soon.

 

This week I’ve blogged six times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up

Monday: Review of It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Thursday: Review of The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia

Friday: Review of Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

I’ve only read the first few pages of this novel so far but I can tell it’s going to be one that I won’t be able to put down once I pick it up again!

The Sellout by Paul Beatty

This is my current audio book and I’m really enjoying it. It’s such a clever book that really gives you a lot to think about, whilst remaining easy to read and enjoyable.

Now We Are 40 by Tiffanie Darke

This is such a good read. The first few chapters bring back memories of the 90s, with talk of pre-internet/mobile phone, the fashion, the music, the obsession we all had with The Body Shop (I loved Dewberry body spray from there!). Then the book discusses the internet boom and the impact it had on the creative industries, and on women. I’d definitely recommend this to Generation X-ers!

 

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

I’m enjoying this book but it’s suffering from me being in the middle of it but not really in the mood to read it. I hope to get back to it in the next few days.

A Portrait of Bowie by Brian Hiatt

This is a lovely book to dip in and out of as it’s a collaborative book featuring people who knew David Bowie, and it has some great photos in it too.

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

I’m still struggling to read serious non-fiction so I haven’t read much of this over the last week. Hopefully, if I feel a bit better this week I’ll be able to read more of it. It’s a great read, it’s just bad timing for me to be reading it right now.

 

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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: 1871

Additions:

Books bought/received for review/gifts: 16 

Subtractions:

Books read this week: 5

Books I’m currently reading: 6

TBR Books culled this week: 0

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1882


 

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 March) What are you reading?

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:

 

The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

I’ve read and loved Paula Daly’s previous novels so was excited to get approved to read this one on NetGalley. I started reading it last night and am hooked, I can’t wait to read more.

Now We Are 40 by Tiffanie Darke

This book is so good! I’m not quite 40 but this is my generation and the book is bringing back so many memories. I highly recommend this to anyone who is a generation X-er!

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

I was sent this for review recently and was excited to read it when I saw it was blurbed as being like ‘Gone Girl meets The Newsroom’. I’ve only read a few chapters so far and it’s a slow-burn book but it hooked me from the first chapter and I’m really keen to see what happened.

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

I started reading this last week and it wasn’t quite what I’d thought it was going to be so I put it to one side. I picked it up again earlier this week though and it has drawn me in. The descriptions of grief and loss are really heartbreaking at times as it’s believable and real, so this is definitely a book I will be continuing with.

A Portrait of Bowie by Brian Hiatt

I picked this up last week after we went to see the Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars concert from 1973 at the cinema. It’s a lovely book filled with great photos and short essays about Bowie by people who knew him. It’s one I’m dipping in and out of at the moment and I’m really enjoying it.

Year of No Clutter by Eve Schaub

I really want to get back into this book as I love books about clutter but, for some reason, it’s not grabbing my attention as much as I want it to. I think I’m going to give it another chance and if it still doesn’t grab me I may put it to one side and come back to it another time.

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

I’m still reading this as and when I feel up to it – it’s heavier non-fiction and with not being too well off and on at the moment I do struggle to take everything in. It’s a fascinating book though and I will keep picking it up when I feel up to it.

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

This is the audio book I’m listening to with my husband so we’re listening as and when we have time. We’re both really enjoying it but I’m finding myself getting annoyed with the way Collins seems to have very little consideration for the way he treats some of the women in his life. He’s either not wanted to be open in his book, or he has managed to convince himself that he did nothing wrong. I’d still recommend the book though.

What I recently finished reading:

Little Deaths by Emma Flint

I picked this up to read the first chapter whilst deciding what to read next and I just couldn’t put the book down. I ended up reading the whole novel in two sittings and was riveted. It’s a review book so I hope to have my review up soon.

And the Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

This was a really interesting look at football from the late 80s to the present day. If I’m to be honest a couple of chapters fell a little flat for me but on the whole this was a really good read and I’d recommend it to all football fans.

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

This is a graphic memoir, and it was a heart-rending read. I only started reading graphic novels last year and it still amazes me how much emotion can be packed into a book with so few words. I’ll be reviewing this on my blog as soon as I can but it is one I’ll definitely be recommending.

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia

This book was a brilliant read. It had me engrossed from very first chapter all the way through. I’m on the blog tour for this novel so my review will be up tomorrow as part of that.

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

I feel sure that this book will make my top books of this year – it’s a beautiful novel that I know will stay with me for a long time to come.

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

I read this book in one sitting – I just couldn’t put it down! I read an ARC so will be reviewing this as soon as I can. It’s a book not to be missed though.

What I plan on reading next:

The Cows by Dawn O’Porter

I’ve read and loved Dawn O’Porter’s previous novels so was really excited to see that she had another coming out soon. I can’t wait to start reading this and feel sure I’ll love it as much as the others.

A Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys

I was also thrilled to get approved to read this on NetGalley and I’m so keen to start reading once I’ve finished one of my current books.


 

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 Wednesdays (8 March) What are you reading

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:

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia

I started this book yesterday afternoon and am completely hooked. I can’t wait to get back to it and read more – it’s such an intriguing storyline.

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

This is a graphic memoir of a woman dealing with her family’s history and it’s incredibly moving.

Year of No Clutter by Eve Schaub

This is another book about clutter that I spotted on NetGalley a while ago and couldn’t resist requesting. It’s a good read but it’s about a clutter problem that’s on a whole other scale to what I was expecting. I’m intrigued to know whether Eve managed to deal with her clutter over the course of a year so I’ll definitely keep reading.

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

This book is such an interesting read but I have to keep stopping as the subject matter is very intense and it leaves me needing breathing space occasionally. I’m ok with working my way through it slowly though.

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

This is the audio book that I’m listening to with my husband. It was his choice of book, and I’m not really a Phil Collins fan, but I’m actually really enjoying it.

And the Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

This is still such an interesting read but one of two of the chapters have laboured the point and I end up needing a break before moving on to the next chapter. I think it’s not helped that I don’t have children so the chapter about football for kids and how it’s changing was not all that interesting to me at the level it was pitched at. I understand the bigger picture but the smaller details didn’t engage me enough. On to the next chapter soon though.

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

What I recently finished reading:

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

I have heard a lot about this book lately since the recent BBC adaptation so I was intrigued to pick it up again. I have tried to read this once before and gave up on it but I picked it up yesterday and felt like I was reading a different novel. I literally didn’t put the book down all day and read it in one sitting. It’s an incredible novel, so intense. I’m pleased the TV series is still on iplayer until the end of Wednesday as I somehow managed to record the series but missed the first episode. I’m looking forward to seeing how it translates onto the small screen.

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

This was my latest audio book and I loved it. It’s a gorgeous novel about a mobile bookshop, set in beautiful Scotland. I think I’ll be looking out for more of Jenny Colgan’s novels on audio.

Willow Walk by SJI Holliday

This is the second novel in the Banktoun trilogy and I devoured it in one sitting. I think it was even better than the first one, which I also recently enjoyed, and now I can’t wait to read the third novel!

The Escape by C.L. Taylor

I read this novel at the weekend and found it impossible to put down – I even missed the start of my team playing because I simply had to know how it was all going to end! I’ve already reviewed this book so you can read my thoughts on it here if you’d like to.

Scarlett Says by Scarlett Moffatt

This was an alright listen – it was good for passing the time when I was having a really bad day and couldn’t concentrate very well. I think it is aimed a people younger than me so I probably would have enjoyed it more if I was a good few years younger.

Forever Yours by Daniel Glattauer

I struggled with the early part of this novel and very nearly gave up on it but I very much enjoyed his previous two novels so wanted to give this one more go and I’m so glad I did. I decided to read the rest of the book in one sitting and I think the book works better when read like that, and I found myself very engrossed in the story and really wanting to know how it would end.

What I plan on reading next:

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

I’d hoped to read this book over the last week but I didn’t manage to get to it. It’s top of my list once I’ve finished one of my current reads though so I’ll definitely be getting to this one soon.

The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

I was approved for this book on NetGalley recently and have been really looking forward to reading it but haven’t had a chance as yet. Hopefully this will be the week!


 

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.

Stacking the Shelves (4 Feb)

stacking-the-shelves

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


 

It was my birthday last weekend and I received 21 new books as gifts! I wanted to do a book haul for those books separate to my Stacking the Shelves post but if you want to know what other books I got this week please check out my Birthday Book Haul post.

This week I’ve bought 2 new print books:

How to Suppress Women’s Writing by Joanna Russ

A friend recommended this to me many years ago when I was doing my English Lit degree but I never did get around to borrowing it from the library. I’ve had it on my wish list for ages but as it’s out of print it’s always really expensive for a second-hand copy. I got lucky this week when I spotted it being sold in very good condition for £3.00 plus postage. This is a book that won’t be on my TBR for very long as I’m really keen to read it!

The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith

This was another bargain I spotted this week. I got a second-hand hardback copy on Amazon  Marketplace for £2.81 including the postage. I’ve had this on my wish list ever since I first heard about it so hope to read it soon.

I also got 6 new ebooks:

The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla (ed.)

I’ve been wanting to read this since I heard about it around the time it was published last year. I noticed it was available on ebook for £2.99 this week so I snapped it up. I’ve already started reading and it’s very good. I’ve just been reading one essay at a time and then putting it down for a while as it’s a book that makes you think and I want to take my time with it.

The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

I’ve had this book on my wish list since it came out but have kept putting off buying it for some unknown reason. Then this week I saw a brilliant review on a blog and I knew I had to get a copy. I plan on reading this in the next couple of weeks.

Flamingo Land: and Other Stories by Ellah Wakatama Allfrey

I’ve seen this book being hauled on a few YouTube channels recently and I’ve been intrigued by it. When I saw that it was available as an ebook I decided to take a chance on it. It’s a short story collection, and I really want to read more short stories this year, so I don’t think this will be on my TBR for very long!

Gut Symmetries by Jeanette Winterson

I spotted that this was available as part of Kindle Unlimited at the moment so I immediately downloaded it. I’m not sure that I’ll get to it in the immediate future but I do want to read it fairly soon.

Reader, I Married him by Tracy Chevalier (ed.)

This is another book that I’ve been aware of since it was first published but I couldn’t decide if I wanted to read it or not. Anyway, it’s currently in the kindle sale for £1.99 so I thought it was worth taking a chance on.

Watch Me by Angela Clarke

I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Follow Me, when it came out so have been eagerly awaiting the second book. I think this might be next up to be added to my currently reading pile!

And 3 new audio books:

The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain

I love Rose Tremain’s novels, I’ve found all the ones I’ve read before to be so beautiful so I’ve been wanting to get this latest one. It was an Audible deal of the day one day this week so I immediately bought it and can’t wait to listen to it!

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

I’ve actually owned this book on ebook for ages now and while it’s one I feel sure I’ll love it just never seems to get to the top of my TBR. I spotted the audible book in a recent sale and the idea of listen to it really appealed so I bought it.

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

I’ve been aware of this book for ages but wasn’t sure if it was for me or not. I’ve heard so many good things about it though so decided to grab the audible book in the recent sale on their website. I think it’ll be a nice, easy listen and I’m looking forward to it.

 

Books I received for review:

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The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

I love Paula Daly’s novels so was thrilled to be approved on NetGalley to read this new one by her. I’m really looking forward to it and am planning on reading it very soon.


 

So, that’s all of my new books from the past week. Have you bought any new books recently? Tell me all in the comments below, or if you have a stacking the shelves post on your blog feel free to post the link below too.:)

My weekly wrap up post will be on my blog tomorrow so please look out for that.

Top Ten Tuesday: 2015 Releases I Meant to Read

toptentuesday

Today I’m taking part in the Top Ten Tuesday meme for the first time. Top Ten Tuesday runs weekly at The Broke and The Bookish; to join in just check out the blog and see what the list is for the week and then share your post, making sure to link back to The Broke and the Bookish.

This week the these is top ten 2015 releases that we meant to read but didn’t get around to. I’ve already written a blog post about books from prior to 2016 that I didn’t manage to read last year that are now my top priorities for this year (you can read that post here). There are so many books on my Kindle that were published last year that I haven’t already talked about so I thought I’d still join in with this meme as a chance to share more books.

My Top Ten 2015 releases that I meant to read

Readers of the Broken Wheel Recommend

Readers of the Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

Sara is 28 and has never been outside Sweden – except in the (many) books she reads. When her elderly penfriend Amy invites her to come and visit her in Broken Wheel, Iowa, Sara decides it’s time. But when she arrives, there’s a twist waiting for her – Amy has died. Finding herself utterly alone in a dead woman’s house in the middle of nowhere was not the holiday Sara had in mind.

But Sara discovers she is not exactly alone. For here in this town so broken it’s almost beyond repair are all the people she’s come to know through Amy’s letters: poor George, fierce Grace, buttoned-up Caroline and Amy’s guarded nephew Tom.

Sara quickly realises that Broken Wheel is in desperate need of some adventure, a dose of self-help and perhaps a little romance, too. In short, this is a town in need of a bookshop.

The Summer of Secrets by Sarah Jamson

The Summer of Secrets by Sarah Jasmon

The summer the Dovers move in next door, sixteen-year-old Helen’s lonely world is at once a more thrilling place. She is infatuated with the bohemian family, especially the petulant and charming daughter Victoria.

As the long, hot days stretch out in front of them, Helen and Victoria grow inseparable. But when a stranger appears, Helen begins to question whether the secretive Dover family are really what they seem.

It’s the kind of summer when anything seems possible . . .

Until something goes wrong.

Night Owls by Jenn Bennett

Night Owls by Jenn Bennett

Meeting Jack on the Owl – San Francisco’s night bus – turns Beatrix’s world upside down. Jack is charming, wildly attractive . . . and possibly one of San Francisco’s most notorious graffiti artists.

On midnight rides and city rooftops, Beatrix begins to see who this enigmatic boy really is. But Jack is hiding much more – and can she uncover the truth that leaves him so wounded?

A unique and profoundly moving novel, Night Owlswill linger in your memory long after the final page.

The Mistake I Made by Paula Daly

The Mistake I Made by Paula Daly

We all think we know who we are.

What we’re capable of.

Roz is a single mother, a physiotherapist, a sister, a friend. She’s also desperate.

Her business has gone under, she’s crippled by debt and she’s just had to explain to her son why someone’s taken all their furniture away.

But now a stranger has made her an offer. For one night with her, he’ll pay enough to bring her back from the edge.

Roz has a choice to make.

We Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman

We Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman

Do not miss me, because I will always be with you…I am the air, the moon, the stars. For we are all made of stars, my beloved… Wherever you look, I will be there.

Stella Carey exists in a world of night. Married to a soldier who has returned from Afghanistan injured in body and mind, she leaves the house every evening as Vincent locks himself away, along with the secrets he brought home from the war.

During her nursing shifts, Stella writes letters for her patients to their loved ones – some full of humour, love and practical advice, others steeped in regret or pain – and promises to post these messages after their deaths.

Until one night Stella writes the letter that could give her patient one last chance at redemption, if she delivers it in time…

We Are all Made of Stars is an uplifting and heartfelt novel about life, loss and what happens in between from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Memory Book.

How You See Me by S. E. Craythorne

How You See Me by S. E. Craythorne

Taut and suspenseful, How You See Me examines the terrifying power of the mind to deceive, not only others but – most destructively of all – ourselves. ‘I’ve probably lied to you. That’s habit. I lie to everyone about my family…’ Daniel Laird has returned to Norfolk after a nine-year absence to care for his ailing artist father. He describes his uneasy homecoming in a series of letters to his sister, his boss, and to Alice, his one true love. But it is not until he discovers a hidden cache of his father’s paintings that the truth begins to surface about why he left all those years ago. The more Daniel writes, the more we learn about his past – and the more we begin to fear for those he holds dear.

The Past by Tessa Hadley

The Past by Tessa Hadley

Over five novels and two collections of stories Tessa Hadley has earned a reputation as a fiction writer of remarkable gifts, and been compared with Elizabeth Bowen and Alice Munro. In her new novel three sisters and a brother meet up in their grandparents’ old house for three long, hot summer weeks. The house is full of memories of their childhood and their past — their mother took them there when she left their father – but now they may have to sell it. And under the idyllic surface, there are tensions.

Roland has come with his new wife and his sisters don’t like her. Kasim, the twenty-year-old son of Alice’s ex-boyfriend, makes plans to seduce Molly, Roland’s teenage daughter. Fran’s children uncover an ugly secret in a ruined cottage in the woods. Passion erupts where it’s least expected, blasting the quiet self-possession of Harriet, the oldest sister. A way of life – bourgeois, literate, ritualised – winds down to its inevitable end.

With uncanny precision and extraordinary sympathy, Tessa Hadley charts the squalls of lust and envy disrupting this ill-assorted house party, as well as the consolations of memory and affection, the beauty of the natural world, the shifting of history under the social surface. From the first page the reader is absorbed and enthralled, watching a superb craftsman at work.

Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase

Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase

One golden family. One fateful summer. Four lives changed forever.

Amber Alton knows that the hours pass differently at Black Rabbit Hall, her London family’s country estate where no two clocks read the same. Summers there are perfect, timeless. Not much ever happens. Until, one stormy evening in 1968, it does.

The idyllic world of the four Alton children is shattered. Fiercely bonded by the tragic events, they grow up fast. But when a glamorous stranger arrives, these loyalties are tested. Forbidden passions simmer. And another catastrophe looms…

Decades later, Lorna and her fiancé wind their way through the countryside searching for a wedding venue. Lorna is drawn to a beautiful crumbling old house she hazily remembers from her childhood, feels a bond she does not understand. When she finds a disturbing message carved into an old oak tree by one of the Alton children, she begins to realise that Black Rabbit Hall’s secret history is as dark and tangled as its woods, and that, much like her own past, it must be brought into the light.

A thrilling spiral into the hearts of two women separated by decades but inescapably linked by Black Rabbit Hall. A story of forgotten childhood and broken dreams, secrets and heartache, and the strength of a family’s love.

At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen

At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen

After embarrassing themselves at the social event of the year in high society Philadelphia on New Year’s Eve of 1944, Maddie and Ellis Hyde are cut off financially by Ellis’s father, a former army Colonel who is already ashamed of his colour-blind son’s inability to serve in WWII.
To Maddie’s horror, Ellis decides that the only way to regain his father’s favour (and generosity) is to succeed in a venture his father attempted and very publicly failed at: he will hunt the famous Loch Ness monster and when he finds it he will restore his father’s name and return to his father’s good graces.
In January 1945 they hitch a ride on a ship across the Atlantic while the war is still raging all around them. And Maddie, now alone and virtually abandoned in a foreign country, must begin to work out who she is and what she wants – the vacuous life she left behind or something more real?
What she discovers – about the larger world and about herself – opens her eyes not only to the dark forces that exist around her but to the beauty and surprising possibilities of life.

The Other Side of the World by Stephanie Bishop

The Other Side of the World by Stephanie Bishop

In the tradition of Rachel Cusk’s A Life’s Work or Maggie O’Farrell’s The Hand That First Held Mine comes a complex, tender and gorgeously written novel of parenthood, love and marriage that is impossible to put down.

Cambridge 1963. Charlotte struggles to reconnect with the woman she was before children, and to find the time and energy to paint. Her husband, Henry, cannot face the thought of another English winter. A brochure slipped through the letterbox gives him the answer: ‘Australia brings out the best in you’.

Charlotte is too worn out to resist, and before she knows it is travelling to the other side of the world. But on their arrival in Perth, the southern sun shines a harsh light on both Henry and Charlotte and slowly reveals that their new life is not the answer either was hoping for. Charlotte is left wondering if there is anywhere she belongs, and how far she’ll go to find her way home…


Do you have books from 2015 that you didn’t get a chance to read? Share them in the comments or please feel free to link to your own list on your blog. 🙂