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. 🙂

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?

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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 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.

Weekly Wrap-Up (12 March)

 

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This week has been a better week than last. I had a bad weekend last weekend coping with medication changes but once my body adjusted the last few days have been okay.

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On Tuesday I went to the cinema with my husband to watch Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars and it was brilliant. First, they showed a new interview with Woody Woodmansey about his time in the Spiders and his new book (which I’ve read and reviewed so you can read that here if you’d like to). Then they showed the whole concert from 1973. We also got given a souvenir edition of Mojo magazine with Bowie on the cover. I suffered with higher pain levels for a couple of days afterwards but it was absolutely worth it. (photo is pinched from my husband’s instagram: StaticVinyl because he takes much better photos than me!)

This week I’ve finished reading eight books:

(Some of these books I’ve been reading on and off for a few weeks so whilst I finished eight books this week, I haven’t actually read eight books in full over the last seven days)

And the Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

I’ve been reading this book for the last month and have found it really interesting for the most part. A couple of chapters held less interest for me than others but generally this was a very good book about football and the politics surrounding it. I’d recommend it to all football fans.

The Best We could Do by Thi Bui

This is a graphic memoir, which is fascinating and heartbreaking. I got this for review so will try and have a full review up soon. It’s one I recommend though.

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

This book grabbed hold of me and didn’t let go – I literally read it in one sitting and was engrossed the whole way through. I’ll be reviewing this one soon.

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

This book has been on my currently reading for a few weeks as I was struggling to hold the hardback copy to read it. I had a fairly good afternoon one day this week so I picked it up and I was captivated by the novel. I completely and utterly fell in love with this story and know it will be one that stays with me for a very long time.

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia

This is another book at I devoured. I read it in two sittings and loved it. I’m on the blog tour for this book next week (16 March) so will be sharing my review then.

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

I bought this book when it first came out and I couldn’t get into it so put it to one side. I’d heard good things about it though so I didn’t get rid of my copy. It’s recently been adapted for TV in the UK and the adverts for it re-ignited my interest in the book. I picked this up late one morning this week and I literally lost half a day to the book – I did nothing from when I picked it up to when I finished it. It just hooked me from the start. I’m so pleased that I gave this book another chance. I can only assume that when I picked it up the first time that it was just the wrong time for me because this was absolutely a 5 star read!

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

This was my audio book for the last couple of weeks and I adored it. It’s such a gorgeous story about a mobile book shop and is perfect when you need a bit of escapism.

Willow Walk by SJI Holliday

This is the second book in the Banktoun trilogy and I read this in one sitting. It grabbed me with the opening and I simply had to know what had happened. I have the third book, The Damselfly, on my TBR and I don’t think it’ll be too long before I read that one.

This week I’ve blogged five times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up

Monday: Review of The Escape by C.L. Taylor

Wednesday: WWW Wednesdays

Friday: Review of The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

Now We Are 40 by Tiffanie Darke

I haven’t hauled this book yet as I got it yesterday after my Stacking the Shelves was posted. I’m loving it though – I’m not quite 40 yet but this is my generation and all the music and cultural references are bringing back so many memories. I don’t think I’ll be long in finishing this book.

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

I started this late last night and found it really captured my attention straight away. It seems like it’ll be a slow-burn but it’s intriguing from the off so I’m keen to get back to it.

Little Deaths by Emma Flint

I’ve had this on my TBR pile since the end of last year and I’m so glad to finally be getting around to it. I’m only about a quarter of the way through it so far but it’s got me hooked and I really want to know how it’s all going to turn out.

Portrait of Bowie by Brian Hiatt

I picked this up after we watched the Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars concert as I was in the mood to read something about David Bowie. This is a lovely book, with some really nice photos of him, all written by people who knew him. I’m really enjoying reading this.

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

I got approved for this on NetGalley and decided to pick it up straight away. It’s not exactly what I thought it was going to be, and I’m struggling to really get into it a little but I’ve seen good reviews so I’m going to keep going and hope it improves soon.

Year of No Clutter by Eve Schaub

I haven’t picked this up for a few days and I’m not sure why. I enjoyed what I read initially but it’s just not calling me back to it. I will read more of it soon though as I do like a book about clutter.

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

This is still a fascinating book – I’ve struggled a bit with heavier non-fiction this week so I’ve not read as much of this as I’d have liked to but I’ll definitely be getting back to this soon.

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

This is the audio book that I’m listening to with my husband and we’ve not had much chance to listen this week but we’re both really enjoying it so will be getting back to it as soon as we have the time.

 


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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: 1870

Additions:

Books bought/received for review/gifts: 7 (See the books I added this week in my Stacking the Shelves post)

Subtractions:

Books read this week: 8

Books I’m currently reading: 8

TBR Books culled this week: 0

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1871


 

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 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.

Weekly Wrap-Up (5 March)

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This week has been an up and down week for me. I had a phone appointment with my neurosurgeon mid-week and I was told that there is no chance at all of me making any recovery from the damage to my spinal cord. It’s very hard to hear, even when you were expecting it. I’m trying to focus on the positives though and am thankful that at the moment my condition is relatively stable – the symptoms fluctuate but my neck is currently stable.

I’m working on pain management at the moment and it’s really hard but I’m determined to make my life as good as I possibly can in the circumstances. The next couple of months are going to be really tough with all the changes to my medication but I believe it’ll be worth it in the long run.

In better news I managed to write and post a review on my blog this week – the first one in weeks – so that felt like an achievement. I’ve got such a backlog of reviews to either write, edit or schedule so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get those posted very soon.

This week I’ve finished reading six books:

The Escape by C. L. Taylor

I’m going to be writing a full review of this book soon but for now I’ll just say that I found it impossible to put down and I loved it!

Forever Yours by Daniel Glauttauer

I really struggled with the first third of this book and was close to giving up on it but because I loved his previous two books I wanted to give it one more chance so I picked it back up during an afternoon when I had plenty of time to read. I read the final part of this in one go and I enjoyed it. It’s not my favourite of his novels but it was a good read and I’m glad I finished it. I would recommend that anyone thinking of reading this that they should maybe try and read it in one go.

Scarlett Says by Scarlett Moffatt

This isn’t my normal type of read but I bought it on a whim in an audible daily deal recently and it seemed a nice, easy kind of  book to listen to when I was having a couple of really bad days this week. I think I’m too old to really enjoy this book but it was entertaining enough.

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

This book is beautiful and I adored it. I knew the parts about Helen’s grief for her father would get to me but I didn’t expect to love the parts about her relationship with her hawk so much. I found it fascinating and very much enjoyed reading this book. I think it may well be one I read again in the future. I highly recommend reading this if you haven’t already.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

I’ve had this poetry book on my TBR since it first came out but it hadn’t caught my attention on my shelves since then. I spotted it again this week and I just really wanted to read it right away. The poems are very simply written but they still pack a real punch. I cried a few times whilst reading this collection and I bookmarked quite a few of the poems that I want to go back and read again. I really recommend this poetry collection.

Everything but the Truth by Gillian McAllister

I very much enjoyed this debut domestic noir and recommend pre-ordering it asap. I posted my review on Friday so you can read that here if you’d like to know more about the book and what I thought of it.

This week I’ve blogged five times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Thursday: February Wrap-Up

Friday: Review of Everything but the Truth by Gillian McAllister

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

Willow Walk by SJI Holliday

I recently read Black Wood, the first book in this trilogy, and enjoyed it so much that I knew I wanted to read the next book very soon. I picked this up last night and am already quite a way through it as it’s such an engrossing book. I’m really enjoying this one.

Year of No Clutter by Eve Schaub

I do love a book about de-cluttering so when I spotted this on NetGalley a little while ago I couldn’t resist requesting. I started reading it this week and am weirdly fascinated by it. I’m constantly working on de-cluttering as my natural tendency to keep things but even so I really struggle to understand how you can be happy with a room full of clutter knowing that your cat has peed all over the carpet and that there are dead mice in amongst your stuff. I’m really intrigued to see how this turns out and whether Eve ever managed to deal with her clutter.

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

I’m going through a rough patch at the moment so wanted an easy-listening audio book and this one caught my eye. It’s a gorgeous book about a woman starting up a mobile book shop and I’m very much enjoying it.

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

This book has been left to one side a bit this week as my head just hasn’t been in the right place to read it but I am keen to get back to it as soon as I can.

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

This is the audio book that I’m currently listening to with my husband and we’re both enjoying it. I’m not as much of a Phil Collins fan as my husband is but this book is still really interesting – Phil Collins has such great stories to tell and the fact that he narrated his memoir himself just adds to it.

And the Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

This is another book that has been on the back burner a bit this week – I have read some of it but not much as my brain hasn’t been good at concentrating on non-fiction over the last few days. I definitely want to get back to this soon though as I was finding it fascinating.

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

This book has also been neglected again this week as I just can’t manage to hold and read a hardback book. If I don’t manage to make progress with it this week I’m going to put it back on my bookcase to come back to at another time. The writing in this book is beautiful and I don’t want to spoil it for myself because I’m in pain whilst reading. I have loved what I’ve read so far 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: 1862

Additions:

Books bought/received for review/gifts: 13 (See the books I added this week in my Stacking the Shelves post)

Subtractions:

Books read this week: 6

Books I’m currently reading: 7

TBR Books culled this week: 0

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1870


 

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 March)

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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:

Scarlett Says by Scarlett Moffatt

I bought this audio book in an Audible deal a few weeks ago and I started listening to it yesterday as I was having a really bad pain day and needed an easy listen. I’m really enjoying it even though it’s not what I would normally pick.

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

This is such a disturbing and uncomfortable read but it’s incredibly well-researched and written. I’ve tried reading this book once before and it was too much for me but I’m so glad I gave it another chance.

The Escape by C.L. Taylor

I love Cally Taylor’s novels and this one is just as good as her previous books. I really want to find time to just sit and read the rest of this in one sitting because it’s so frustrating every time I have to put it down to do anything.

Forever Yours by Daniel Glauttauer

This book is not grabbing me and I want to keep trying as I loved his previous two novels but if it doesn’t pull me in over the next few chapters I think I may have to DNF this.

 

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

I’m still listening to this audio book with my husband and we’re both enjoying it. We only listen to it occasionally so we may well be listening to it for a while.

Blue Light Yokohama by Nicolas Obregon

I haven’t read much of this book over the last week as my concentration isn’t good and I can’t seem to follow this book too well. I’m hoping to get back to it soon as I was enjoying it.

And the Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

I’ve read another couple of chapters of this book and it’s still really interesting. I know a fair bit of what has been written about but to read it all put together in this contest really has given me more to mull over. I’d definitely recommend this book to football fans.

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

My reading of this book is still suffering because it’s a hardback. I really hope to be able to sit and devour the rest of this novel very soon.

What I recently finished reading:

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

This book is so beautiful and I think it may well be in my favourite books of this year! The way Helen writes about her grief for her father was heartbreaking and I remember all of those feelings from when I lost my mum. I knew the grief elements of this book would hook me in but I didn’t expect to enjoy the story of Helen’s relationship with her hawk as much as I did. It’s a fascinating book and I’ll be recommending it to everyone.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

I’ve had this poetry collection on my TBR for a while and it caught my eye this week so I picked it up and read it in one sitting. I bookmarked so many poems in this collection, and I had to stop reading two or three times because it made me sob. The poems are very simple but the power than can be held in so few words is stunning.

Everything but the Truth by Gillian McAllister

I read an ARC of this so I hope to have a full review up on my blog soon but for now I’ll say that I enjoyed this book a lot. It’s a novel about how snooping on a partner and then realising that they appear to be keeping something from you can have huge ramifications for a relationship.

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

Last week I was debating giving up on this book but I’m so glad that I gave it one more go as I really loved this. I finally made time to sit and read it in one sitting and I got so much more out of it for doing that. It’s a quiet novel, where not much happens, and yet there are paragraphs that took my breath away.

It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot

This is an illustrated book about mental illness. I’ll be reviewing this on my blog soon so won’t say too much here. It’s a brilliant book though and I do recommend it.

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

This is a real wow book. I read it in two sittings as I just didn’t want to put it down. The writing is beautiful and the descriptions are so evocative that this book just pulls you in and doesn’t let you go. This isn’t a review book but I would like to try and get a review up on my blog at some point. I highly recommend pre-ordering this novel.

The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

This novel is also brilliant. I started reading it late at night and I kept saying to myself that I’d just read one more chapter and before I knew it it was gone 2am. I was fascinated by Sarah Gale, I couldn’t make my mind up whether she was innocent or guilty. I keep finding myself thinking about this book, it feels like one that will really stay with me. Go buy this book now, you won’t regret it!

What I plan on reading next:

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

I was sent this for review recently and am so intrigued by the synopsis. I feel sure that this is going to be a thrilling page-turner of a book and I can’t wait to start it.

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

This is another thriller novel that has a synopsis that grabbed me – the way we’re told three things about the protagonist and that also she lie so we from the start we don’t know what is true.

Days of Awe by Lauren Fox

I treated myself to this book a couple of days ago. It’s a book that’s been on my wishlist for ages and then I happened to read a quote someone had shared from the novel this week and I knew I had to read the book asap. Hopefully it’ll live up to my expectations!


 

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 (26 Feb)

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This week has been a quiet one for the most part so I’ve been able to do lots of reading. I’m also in the middle of sorting through my books and trying to get rid of some. I wanted to reduce my TBR this year but I’m still acquiring books faster than I’m reading them! In the process of sorting out the books on my new Kindle last week I realised that I have a lot of unread books that I’ve owned for ages and I just don’t think I’m ever going to read them so I’ve been deleting some books. The flip side of this is that I also found some kindle books that I hadn’t listed on Goodreads (and therefore weren’t included in my TBR count at the start of the year) so this means my total TBR is going to be up and down for a little while as I both delete and add books. Sorting through my Kindle books led to me looking over my bookcases and picking out some books that I also don’t think are to my taste anymore. Hopefully this will get my TBR down to the books I really want to read, and also help to reduce it somewhat!

This week I’ve finished reading six books:

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

I’ve been struggling to get into this novel for a week or two but I finally made time to sit and read it in one sitting and I enjoyed it much more when I did that. It’s a very gentle novel, that has moments in it that took my breath away. There is one moment in particular point where the loss of parents is mentioned and it was such a small sentence but it turned the novel around for me and made me notice all the pain and beauty beneath the surface.

It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot

This is a review book so I will be reviewing it soon (hopefully) but I’ll say here that it’s a really simple book about mental health issues but some of the illustrations and points made are so powerful for being so simple. It’s a book I recommend.

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

This book is stunning! I read it in two sittings and I can’t stop thinking about it. I’m so happy that I won a proof of this in a giveaway and that I got a chance to read it now. It’s definitely one to add to your lists to buy once it’s published.

The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

This is another brilliant read that I read in just a day or two. I was enthralled in Sarah Gale’s story and couldn’t put the book down for wanting to know the truth of what happened. I didn’t realise when I was reading it that a lot of it was based on a true story so it really made me pause once I knew that.

The Good Immigrant ed. by Nikesh Shukla

I have mixed feelings about this book. I’m glad I read it and some of the essays are brilliant and really made me think about things. Unfortunately, there were a couple of essays that I found offensive due to what my own family have been through and I just couldn’t get passed how that made me feel. I would still recommend the book though because it does give an insight into what it is to be an immigrant in Britain.

Black Wood by SJI Holliday

I’ve had this book on my TBR since it was published and when I saw that the third book in the trilogy was now out I decided to pick this first one up. I read it in one sitting and really enjoyed it. I’m going to read the second book this week and I can’t wait!

 

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 accumalated book haul from the last seven days

This is what I’m currently reading:

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

I’ve had this book on my TBR since it was published and I have tried picking it up before but my mind wasn’t in the right place to read it. I’m reading a lot of non-fiction at the moment so decided to give this another go and I’m so glad I did. It’s such a tough subject to read about but Seierstad has clearly done a lot of research and it’s very well written.

The Escape by C.L. Taylor

I was offered a copy of this from the publisher but it never arrived so I requested, and was approved, on NetGalley. I am finding this a fast-paced, intriguing book and I’m very much enjoying it.

Forever Yours by Daniel Glattauer

I absolutely adored this author’s previous two books so was keen to read this one. It’s been on my TBR for ages so as I’m trying to read through my TBR this year I picked this one up. It’s not grabbing me in the way I hoped it would but it’s interesting and I am keen to see where the plot goes.

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

This is my husband’s latest audio book pick and I wasn’t that interested in listening to it but once it was playing I found myself laughing at some of the stories Phil Collins was telling and before I knew it we’d been listening for over two hours! We’re going to listen to the rest of it together so I’m looking forward to that.

Everything but the Truth by Gillian McAllister

I’m really enjoying this novel – it’s got an intriguing premise and I can’t wait to find out what, if any, secret Jack is keeping from his girlfriend!

Blue Light Yokohama by Nicolas Obregon

This is a slow-paced but beautifully written crime novel and I’m really enjoying it. I’m keen to find out what happened to the main character in the past.

H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald

This is such a lovely book to listen to on audio and I’m really enjoying it. I’ve not had much time to listen to audio books this week but as soon as I have time I will be putting this on.

And the Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

I’ve read a couple more chapters of this since last week and am still finding it to be such an interesting and, at times, eye-opening read. 

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

I’m absolutely adoring the writing in this book and the only reason that I haven’t read it quicker is that it’s a hardback so I can only read when I can physically manage to hold it. I hope to be able to read more this week 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: 1912

Additions:

Books bought/received for review/gifts: 13 (See the books I added this week in my Stacking the Shelves post)

Subtractions:

Books read this week: 6

Books I’m currently reading: 9

TBR Books culled this week: 55

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1862


 

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 (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.