January Wrap-Up!

Monthly Wrap Up post Copyrighted

January is always a tough month for me due to very sad memories but this year I focused on escaping into books as much as I could and as a result I’ve had a great reading month. Here are the 23 books I read in January….

Spiders from Mars by Woody Woodmansey (my review is here)

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

The Girl: A Life in the Shadow of Roman Polinski by Samantha Geimer

Everything You Told Me by Lucy Dawson (my review is here)

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher

Relativity by Antonia Hayes (my review is here)

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

How Much the Heart Can Hold by Carys Bray et al

Lies by TM Logan (my review is here)

Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller

Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson (my review is here)

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

Loving the Life Less Lived by Gail Marie Mitchell (my review is here)

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

Hold Your Own by Kate Tempest

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

Rattle by Fiona Cummins (my review is here)

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

The Girl Before by JP Delaney (my review is here)

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

The Life of Rylan by Rylan Clark-Neal

Blood Wedding by Pierre Lemaitre

 

I managed to review eight of the above books, along with two the two titles below which I’d read at the end of 2016 but didn’t get a chance to review them at the time. Click the titles to read the reviews if you’d like to:

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

While You Were Sleeping by Kathryn Croft

I’m planning reviews for at least a few more of the above books so hopefully they’ll be up on my blog soon.

 

I also wrote blog posts about my Top Ten Fiction and Top Ten Non-Fiction reads of 2016. I shared my Reading Bingo 2016 results, which was a lot of fun. I hadn’t planned my reading to fit the bingo challenge so I was thrilled to find that I got a full house! I also wrote a post about my Christmas Book Haul.

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I then confessed to the State of my TBR and my plans to reduce it this year. I started the year with 1885 books (that I already own) on my TBR and as of the end of January my TBR stands at 1901 (not including the 6 books I’m currently reading). In fairness, I have read quite a few books off my TBR in January but I also had my birthday and my lovely husband bought me 21 books! I feel like I’m doing well with my TBR considering how many books I added to it with gifts and review books. I really hope to get my TBR back to around 1885 this month and then I’ll be (sort of) back on track to try and reduce it.

One of my other aims this year was to read some of the longer books that have been languishing on my shelves for a long time and I’m sticking to that so far. In January I read two books that were over 500 pages each – The Poisonwood Bible and The Book of Strange New Things so I’m pleased with that. I’m also currently reading The Luminaries, which is almost 900 pages long. It’s important to me to read books that I’ve owned for a long time and still not read so I need to focus on that a bit more this month.

I’ve used Goodreads to track my reading for quite a few years now and I’ll continue to do so but I recently found a spreadsheet online where I can track my reading in more detail. I’m finding it fascinating to see where my habits lie when it comes to the books I read. This is the lovely YouTuber who kindly shared her spreadsheet Portal in the Pages


 

How was your January? Did you read any good books? Please tell me what your favourite book from January was, and if you have a January wrap-up post on your blog please feel free to share the link below.

 

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Weekly Wrap-Up (15 Jan)

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted

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

This week I’ve finished reading five books:

Relativity by Antonia Hayes (review book)

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

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

Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller (review book)

Lies by TM Logan (review book)

 


This week I’ve blogged seven times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up (8 Jan)

Monday: 2017 Reading Plans and the State of My TBR

Tuesday: Review of Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday (11 Jan)

Thursday: Review of Everything You Told Me by Lucy Dawson

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

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves (14 Jan)

 


This is what I’m currently reading:

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

The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

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

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson (review book)

 


 

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

Update on my TBR

TBR at the start of January 2017: 1885

Books added this week: 4

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


 

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

 


 

SundayBlogShare

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

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

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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


What I’m reading now:

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The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

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

Synopsis:

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

 

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

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

Synopsis:

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

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

 

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The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

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

Synopsis:

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

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

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

 

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Lies by TM Logan

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

Synopsis:

WHAT IF YOUR WHOLE LIFE WAS BASED ON LIES? 

A gripping new psychological thriller of secrets and revenge.

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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The Life Less Lived by Gail Marie Mitchell

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

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

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

 


What I recently finished reading:

relativity-by-antonia-hayes

Relativity by Antonia Hayes

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

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

landline-by-rainbow-rowell

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

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

Synopsis:

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

Maybe that was always beside the point.

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

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

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

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

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

 

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And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

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

Synopsis:

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

 

 

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

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

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

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

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Everything You Told Me by Lucy Dawson

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

Synopsis:

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

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

 

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Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher

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

Synopsis:

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

 


What I plan on reading next:

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The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

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

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Little Deaths by Emma Flint

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

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

 


 

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

Weekly Wrap-Up (8 Jan 2017)

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted

 

It’s been ages since I’ve done a weekly wrap-up post but I really want to get back into doing them on a more regular basis as I always used to enjoy putting them together.

I don’t have much news this week apart from what I’ve been reading. I have really enjoyed blogging most days over the past week, it’s been a while since I had so much to post. I’m hoping to get some reviews scheduled for the next week or so.

This week I’ve read five books:

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Spiders From Mars by Woody Woodmansey

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

The Girl by Samantha Geimer

Everything You Told Me by Lucy Dawson

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher (audio book)

 

This week I’ve blogged five times:

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Tuesday: My Top Ten Fiction Reads 2016

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Wednesday: My Top Ten Non-Fiction Reads 2016

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Thursday: My Christmas Book Haul

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Friday: My Reading Bingo Results 2016

Stacking the Shelves

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves (7 Jan 2016)

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

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Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller (review ebook)

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

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

Relativity by Antonia Hayes (review book)

The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

 


 

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


 

SundayBlogShare

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

 

 

My April Wrap-Up Post

 

 

Monthly Wrap Up post Copyrighted

This has been a great month on my blog. As some of you will have already noticed, I gave my blog a big makeover at the weekend. My lovely husband, who is a great photographer, took some fab photos of my books for me to use on my blog – his photo is now my blog header and I’m over the moon with it. You can read my post about my blog makeover here.

I also decided to register my blog’s domain so I now own rathertoofondofbooks.com and am really happy about that. It just cements that I’ve been blogging long enough now to know that it’s something I want to keep doing in the long term.

I started using dictation software in April and this has made a massive difference to me, it means I can write blog posts even when I’m unable to type. I also learnt how to schedule my blog posts, and found some software that allows me to schedule unpublished blog posts links on social media in advance. All of this combined has made blogging so much easier for me and means I can achieve more in my day.

My TBR is even more out of control than it was last month due to April bringing lots more new books my way. I’m in the middle of sorting out my enormous TBR into recent purchases/review books and then a separate TBR for books that I’ve been keeping for the right time (see my post on this here). I’m still trying to come up with a way to challenge myself to read these books because if I could stop myself waiting for the right time and just read them it would really help me clear my TBR! If anyone has any ideas for this please share in the comments below. I’m planning on making a TBR jar once I’ve finished my lists but I want a challenge to go with that.

Otherwise life is same old same old really. I’m still struggling to get my pain levels under control but I do finally have an appointment to see a specialist this month so I’m really hoping that something can be done to help me. If I can get my pain better controlled and I can find a medication that doesn’t make my head feel like it’s stuffed full of cotton wool then I’ll be able to get back to reading at my normal speed and will finally be able to start making headway with my TBR.


I managed to read fifteen books this month (three were short stories and two were novellas, and ten were full-length novels):

(Click the orange links to read my reviews; the titles in turquoise are books I’ve read but not yet reviewed)

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

The Summer I Met You by Victoria Walters

Dear Dad by Giselle Green

The Boy with the Boxes by Katey Lovell

The Boy on the Bus by Katey Lovell

Peter and Alice by John Logan

In Too Deep by Samantha Hayes

The Second Love of My Life by Victoria Walters

Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

Shame by Jasvinder Sanghera

Twisted River by Siobhan MacDonald

 Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom

The Real Book Thief by Ingrid Black

Shtum by Jem Lester

The Ice Twins by S. K. Tremayne


I also reviewed six books that I finished before April

Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan (re-blog)

The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

Between You and Me by Lisa Hall

The Good Mother by A. L. Bird

Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen


 

I was very lucky this month that I got to interview six authors:

Jannie Lund, author of Vintage Dreams

Sherry Mayes, author of Stop the World

Katye Nunn, author of Rose’s Vintage

Mike Russell, author of Nothing is Strange

Siobhan MacDonald, author of Twisted River

Greg Cope White, author of The Pink Marine

 

I also was delighted to have three authors write a guest post for my blog:

Rosy Stewart, author of Hope: Stories from a Women’s Refuge Rosy Stewart are a husband and wife writing team. They wrote a great post for my blog all about how it is to write as a duo.

Heidi Perks, author of Beneath the Surface Heidi Perks wrote a brilliant guest post for me in April all about marketing a book on a limited budget. It’s a really interesting post and I recommend reading it.

Sandra Nikolai, author of Fatal Whispers Sandra Nikolai wrote a great guest post for my blog all about how murder mystery writers keep one step ahead of readers. If you’re a fan of thrillers than I’m sure you will love reading this post.


 Also in April, I was very honoured when I was asked to guest post on Laura at 125 Pages blog as part of her first blogiverary celebrations. Laura asked me to write about how the way I approach blogging and how I’ve built my blog up. You can read the post here


 

So, that was my month! How was your April? Has it been a book-filled month for you? Please feel free to share in the comments below, or to leave a link to your own April Wrap-Up post.

Weekly Wrap-Up (24 April)

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SundayBlogShare

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

 


This week has been another up and down week for me. The beginning of the week was particularly difficult when my already severe pain levels increased further but thankfully they’ve settled a bit since. I’ve had a useful medical appointment this week that is hopefully going to finally lead on to me getting help with the pain. I’m also due to have another MRI scan tomorrow to check that there is nothing else going on in my spine that could be aggravating my pain.

I’m still only managing to concentrate for small periods of time so I’m not getting to read as much as I’d like. I’m grateful to be able to read even a little though and am hoping it will get easier in time. I did manage to finish some books this week that I’ve been reading for a few weeks so I was pleased about that.

It’s been a good week where my blog is concerned though. Thanks to my new scheduling pattern, I had enough posts set up ready to go so that my blog kept going as planned even when I wasn’t around much. It gives me real satisfaction to keep my blog running, even during the tough times so I was really glad that I’d worked out scheduling before this rough patch.


This week I’ve managed to finish reading five books (most of these books I’ve been reading for a few weeks and just finished this week):

Twisted River by Siobhan MacDonald

I really enjoyed reading this book, it was one of those reads that is really hard to put down once you’ve started reading it. It was different to anything else I’ve read recently and kept me guessing all the way through. I’m on the blog tour for this book today and so look out for my interview with Siobhan MacDonald.

Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom

Wonder Cruise is such a lovely novel, I found that I wanted to read it slowly to savour it and I really didn’t want it to end. I hope to get my review up this week. I’ll definitely be looking out for more of Ursula Bloom’s novels in the future.

The Second Love of My Life by Victoria Walters

This book is such a gorgeous read, I absolutely loved it! It had such depth to it and yet was never heavy-going. I hope to have my review of this up on my blog this week.

Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

This is a novella released for World Book Day and my first ever Rainbow Rowell book! I loved it, it’s such an adorable read! This is the only book I managed to read from start to finish in the course of this week.

Shame by Jasvinder Sanghera

This is a fascinating read about a young woman who runs away from her family to escape an arranged marriage, but that is only the beginning of what happened to Jasvinder. This is ultimately an inspiring read and I recommend it. I hope to have my review ready to post very soon.


 I’ve blogged twelve times this week (well, eleven times plus a re-blog of my guest post on another blog):

 

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up Post

Monday: Q&A with Kayte Nunn (author of Rose’s Vintage) plus giveaway of ebooks

Blog post: Addicted to Blogging (all about writing my first 200 posts!)

Tuesday: Review of In Too Deep by Samantha Hayes

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday Post

Review of The Boy with the Boxes (Meet Cute) by Katey Lovell

Thursday: Review of The Boy on the Bus (Meet Cute) by Katey Lovell

Q&A with Mike Russell (author of the short story collection, Nothing is Strange)

Friday: Guest post by Heidi Perks (author of Beneath the Surface) about marketing a book on a limited budget

Re-blog from Laura at 125Pages where I wrote a guest post for her about how I approach blogging.

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves Post


Coming up on my blog this week:

My usual WWW Wednesday Post, Stacking the Shelves Post and Weekly Wrap-Up Post. Plus more reviews and an author Q&A/guest post.


This is what I’m currently reading:

Shtum by Jem Lester

This book has got better as it’s gone along and I’m quite enjoying it now.

The Midnight Watch by David Dyer

It’s so frustrating that I can only read in short bursts at the moment because this is a book I would have devoured normally. It’s a brilliant novel though and I highly recommend it. When I’m not able to read I’m thinking about this book and wishing I could get back to it.

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

I’ve only managed to read the first few chapters of this due to my lack of concentration but I’ve loved what I’ve read and I’m so looking forward to reading more. They writing is so beautiful and every single page feels like a treat.


https://rathertoofondofbooks.wordpress.com/2016/03/27/weekly-wrap-up-27-march-2016/

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

WWW Wednesday (20 April)

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:

img_4731-1

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave 

I was thrilled to receive a copy of this book last week and have been saving it until I could read it in big chunks but I’ve had a tough couple of days so I decided to start reading this as I figured I deserved a treat. It is so good, I’m very much enjoying it.

Synopsis:

When war is declared, Mary North leaves finishing school unfinished, goes straight to the War Office, and signs up.

Tom Shaw decides to give it a miss – until his flatmate Alistair unexpectedly enlists, and the conflict can no longer be avoided.

Young, bright and brave, Mary is certain she’d be a marvelous spy. When she is – bewilderingly – made a teacher, she instead finds herself defying prejudice to protect the children her country would rather forget.

Tom, meanwhile, finds that he will do anything for Mary.

And when Mary and Alistair meet, it is love, as well as war, that will test them in ways they could not have imagined, entangling three lives in violence and passion, friendship and deception, inexorably shaping their hopes and dreams.

In a powerful combination of both humour and heartbreak, this dazzling novel weaves little-known history, and a perfect love story, through the vast sweep of the Second World War – daring us to understand that, against the great theatre of world events, it is the intimate losses, the small battles, the daily human triumphs, that change us most.

Twisted River by Siobhan MacDonald

Twisted River by Siobhan MacDonald

This book is really good, it’s a bit different to anything else I’ve read in a while and I’m finding it very hard to put down.

Synopsis:

An unmissable psychological thriller for fans of B A Paris’s Behind Closed Doors about two families in crisis and a house swap gone terribly wrong

Limerick, Ireland: Oscar Harvey finds the body of a woman in a car boot, beaten and bloody. But let’s start at the beginning…

Kate and Mannix O’Brien live in a lovely Limerick house they can barely afford. Their autistic son is bullied at school and their daughter Izzy wishes she could protect him. When she spots a gorgeous New York flat on a home-exchange website, Kate decides that her family needs a holiday.

Hazel and Oscar Harvey, and their two children, live on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Though they seem successful, Hazel has mysterious bruises and Oscar is hiding things about his dental practice.

Hazel is keen to revisit her native Limerick, and the house swap offers a perfect chance to soothe two troubled marriages.

But this will be anything but a perfect break. And the body is just the beginning.

img_4785

The Midnight Watch by David Dyer

I couldn’t resist starting this book at the weekend! I’ve only read the first few chapters so far as I’m still not able to read very much in one go at the moment but it’s very good. 

Synopsis:

On a black night in April 1912, fifteen hundred passengers and crew perish as the Titanic slowly sinks beneath the freezing waters of the North Atlantic. Charting the same perilous course through the icebergs is the SS Californian, close enough for her crew to see the eight white distress rockets fired by the Titanic. Yet the Californian fails to act, and later her crew insist that they saw nothing. As news of the disaster spreads throughout America, journalists begin a feeding frenzy, desperate for stories. John Steadman is one such reporter, a man broken by alcoholism, grief and a failed marriage. Steadman senses blood as he fixates on the Californian and his investigation reveals a tense and perplexing relationship between the ship’s captain and second officer, who hold the secrets of what occurred that night. Slowly he peels back the layers of deception, and his final, stunning revelation of what happened while the Titanic sank will either redeem the men of the Californian, or destroy them.

Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom

Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom

I’m still really enjoying this book, it’s one of those books that gives me such a lift every time I read some of it.

Synopsis:

Ann Clements is thirty-five and single, and believes nothing exciting will ever happen to her. Then, she wins a large sum of money in a sweepstake and suddenly can dare to dream of a more adventurous life. She buys a ticket for a Mediterranean cruise, against the wishes of her stern brother, the Rev. Cuthbert, who has other ideas about how she should spend her windfall. Ann steps out of the shadows of her mundane life into the heat of the Mediterranean sun. Travelling to Gibraltar, Marseilles, Naples, Malta and Venice, Ann’s eyes are opened to people and experiences far removed from her sheltered existence in the offices at Henrietta Street, and Mrs. Puddock’s lodging house. As Ann blossoms, discovering love and passion for the very first time, the biggest question is, can there be any going back?

shtum by jem lester

Shtum by Jem Lester

I’ve read a little bit more of this since last week and it’s a got a bit better so I’m going to keep reading.

Synopsis:

Ben Jewell has hit breaking point.

His ten-year-old son, Jonah, has never spoken. So when Ben and Jonah are forced to move in with Ben’s elderly father, three generations of men – one who can’t talk; two who won’t – are thrown together.

As Ben battles single fatherhood, a string of well-meaning social workers and his own demons, he learns some difficult home truths.

Jonah, blissful in his ignorance, becomes the prism through which all the complicated strands of personal identity, family history and misunderstanding are finally untangled.

Funny and heart-breaking in equal measure, Shtum is a story about families, forgiveness and finding a light in the darkest days.

 

Shame by Javinder Sanghera (My Pic)

Shame by Jasvinder Sanghera

This is a fascinating book. It’s due to be published tomorrow so look out for it. I’ve only read the first third so far but I’d definitely recommend it.

Synopsis:

When she was fourteen, Jasvinder Sanghera was shown a photo of the man chosen to be her husband. She was terrified. She’d witnessed the torment her sisters endured in their arranged marriages, so she ran away from home, grief-stricken when her parents disowned her. Shame is the heart-rending true story of a young girl’s attempt to escape from a cruel, claustrophobic world where family honour mattered more than anything – sometimes more than life itself. Jasvinder’s story is one of terrible oppression, a harrowing struggle against a punitive code of honour – and, finally, triumph over adversity.


What I recently finished reading: 

In Too Deep by Samantha Hayes

In Too Deep by Samantha Hayes

I really enjoyed this book. I posted my review yesterday so you can read it here if you’d like to.

Synopsis:

Four months ago, Rick went out to buy a newspaper. He never came back.

His wife, Gina, is struggling to deal with her loss, and her daughter’s mood swings are getting worse. Then she receives a phone call from a woman at a country hotel, confirming details of a booking Rick made before he vanished.

Desperate to find out more about his disappearance, Gina and her daughter take the trip. But there is something very strange about the hotel, and the family that run it.

Soon Gina is unsure that Rick even made the booking – but one thing is clear: both mother and daughter are in serious danger.

the second love of my life

The Second Love of My Life by Victoria Walters

I loved this book so much, it’s a definite 5 star read for me. I’m part way through writing my review now so I should have it up on my blog very soon. 

Synopsis:

In the Cornish town of Talting, everyone is famous for something.

Until recently Rose was known for many things: her infectious positivity; her unique artistic talent; and her devotion to childhood sweetheart Lucas.

But two years ago that changed in one unthinkable moment. Now, Rose is known for being the young woman who became a widow aged just twenty-four.

Though Rose knows that life must go on, the thought of carving out a new future for herself is one she can barely entertain. Until a newcomer, Robert, arrives in Talting for the summer…

Can Rose allow herself the chance to love again?

Get lost in Victoria Walters’ immensely touching debut novel, and discover a world that will capture your imagination and heart.

Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

This is the first Rainbow Rowell book that I’ve read and I really enjoyed it, it’s a sweet story. I do have a couple of Rainbow’s novels on my TBR and I’m more keen than ever to read them now.

Synopsis:

‘Everybody likes everything these days. The whole world is a nerd.’
‘Are you mad because other people like Star Wars? Are you mad because people like me like Star Wars?’
‘Maybe.’

If you broke Elena’s heart, Star Wars would spill out. So when she decides to queue outside her local cinema to see the new movie, she’s expecting a celebration with crowds of people who love Han, Luke and Leia just as much as she does.

What she’s not expecting is to be last in a line of only three people; to have to pee into a collectible Star Wars soda cup behind a dumpster or to meet that unlikely someone who just might truly understand the way she feels.

Kindred Spirits is an engaging short story by Rainbow Rowell, author of the bestselling Eleanor & Park, Fangirl and Carry On, and is part of a handful of selected short reads specially produced for World Book Day.


What I plan on reading next:

Beneath the Surface by Heidi Perks

Beneath the Surface by Heidi Perks

I’ve been excited to read this since before it was released and ever since I received a review copy I’ve been so keen to pick it up. I really hope to read it this week if I can, especially as I’m featuring Heidi Perks on my blog very soon.

Synopsis:

I donʼt know where you are…
I donʼt know what Iʼve done…
Teenager Abigail Ryder is devastated when she gets home from school to find her family gone.
Nothing makes sense. Things are missing from the house and her stepsistersʼ room is completely empty. But the police think sheʼs trouble, and when grandmother Eleanor tells her to forget them all and move on, thereʼs no choice other than face the future – alone.
Fourteen years on, Abi and Adam are a happy couple on the verge of parenthood. But when the past comes back to haunt Abi, the only way forward is to go back and uncover the truth – and reveal the dreadful secrets a mother has been hiding all these years.

The Second Chance Shoe Shop by Marcie Steele

The Second Chance Shoe Shop by Marcie Steele

I love Marcie Steele’s writing so I can’t wait to read her latest novel. I’m in need of another feel-good read at the moment and I feel sure this will fit the bill!

Synopsis:

All Riley Flynn wants is to meet someone who makes her happy. But attracting the right kind of man is not easy, and with her heart still hurting from her last break-up, Riley believes she’ll never find love again.

A year ago, Sadie Stewart’s whole world was shattered when her husband, Ross, died. She has struggled to keep herself together for the sake of their young daughter, but with the anniversary of his death approaching, Sadie finds herself overwhelmed by grief.

Sadie and Riley work at Chandlers shoe shop, in the charming town of Hedworth. But when Chandlers is threatened with closure, the friends are confronted with the loss of not only their jobs, but also their support network – the glue that holds them together when they are close to breaking.

As they put together a plan to save their beloved shop, Sadie realises that she might just be learning to live again. Could it be that new beginnings are just round the corner? The campaign also finds Riley unexpectedly crossing paths with charming photographer, Ethan. Maybe her second chance at love is right under her feet …

The Children Act by Ian McEwan

The Children Act by Ian McEwan

I still haven’t figured out how to challenge myself to read my best books in a way that I can track my progress on my blog (see this post here to find out what I mean about best books) but I’m going to make a start on reading some of my own books by adding one or two into my selected reads each week. I’m a fan of Ian McEwan and have had this book on my TBR since it first came out, I’ve been wanting to read it but haven’t found the right time so I’ve decided to just get on with it!

Synopsis:

Fiona Maye, a leading High Court judge, renowned for her fierce intelligence and sensitivity is called on to try an urgent case. For religious reasons, a seventeen-year-old boy is refusing the medical treatment that could save his life. Time is running out.

She visits the boy in hospital – an encounter which stirs long-buried feelings in her and powerful new emotions in the boy. But it is Fiona who must ultimately decide whether he lives or dies and her judgement will have momentous consequences for them both.

 


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 (12 March 2016)

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.)

This week I have received a few books for review and have bought a few as well so my TBR is showing no sign of shrinking as yet!

A Mother's Love by Santa Montefiore my book

 

I won a book in a twitter giveaway this week and my prize arrived within days, so that was really lovely. Here’s the book I won – a beautiful hardback copy of Santa Montefiore’s A Mother’s Love, I can’t wait to read it.

 

 

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

 

I was also chosen to review Louise Candlish’s forthcoming book The Swimming Pool for LoveReading, which I’m thrilled about. It will be my first time reviewing for them so I’m excited. The book arrived yesterday morning and I plan to start reading it very soon. I do love Louise Candlish’s novels!

 

 

Tell Me Lies by Rececca Muddiman

 

My other exciting book post this week was a copy of Rebecca Muddiman’s brand new book Tell Me Lies for review. I do love Rebecca’s writing and have enjoyed her previous books so I’m looking forward to this one.

 

 

 

The Finding of Martha Lost by Caroline Wallace

 

 

I requested one book on Net Galley this week (which was very restrained by my standards!) and was approved for it. The book is The Finding of Martha Lost by Caroline Wallace. I’ve heard only great things about this book so I’m very excited to read it soon.

 

I was also offered a couple of books to review privately and hope to have time to read these books soon.

East of Coker by Andy Owen (Andy is going to be featuring on my blog next week in an interview I did with him so look out for that.)

Dear Dad by Giselle Green


 

I also bought a few new books this week.

Lover by Anna Raverat

Eleanor by Jason Gurley

The Other Mrs Walker by Mary Paulson-Ellis

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (currently on sale for Kindle at £1.99)

In Her Shadow by Louise Douglas (currently on sale for Kindle at £1.99)

The Woman Who Upped and Left by Fiona Gibson (currently on sale for Kindle at 99p)


 

So, that’s all of my new books from the last two weeks. 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.

 

Stacking the Shelves (5th March 2016)

 

I usually do a weekly wrap-up and stacking the shelves post in one but I’ve decided to separate them so I can focus on each one individually. I may end up combining them again in the future but for now, my stacking the shelves post will be posted on a Saturday and my weekly wrap-up will be posted on a Sunday.

So, here goes…

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.)


 

I didn’t post a stacking the shelves post last week so all the books in this post are ones I’ve received over the last fortnight.

GHOSTBIRD

 

This week I received a gorgeous print copy of Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin. I’m going to be reviewing this book for the blog tour on 21st March so had already been sent an e-copy but it was really lovely to received a finished print copy in the post too.

 

I was also approved for a couple of titles on Net Galley this week:

Everything Love is by Claire King (I completely and utterly adored The Night Rainbow so I can’t wait to start reading this one. I feel sure I’ll fall in love with it just as much!)

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

In The Light Of What We See by Sarah Painter

 

I was contacted by the lovely author Sarah Painter to ask if I’d like to review her forthcoming book In The Light Of What We See, which I was thrilled about so I have a net galley copy of this to read too.

 

 

I also bought some more new books this week but in fairness I did still have some money left on a gift card from my birthday so I don’t think these purchases really count… 

The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan

Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner

What She Never Told Me by Kate McQuaile

Perfect Days by Raphael Montes

Cure: A Journey Into the Science of Mind Over Body by Jo Marchant

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad

These Days Of Ours by Juliet Ashton

Sweet Home by Carys Bray

Crush by Eve Ainsworth

Tony Visconti: The Autobiography by Toni Visconti

The Girl in the Ice by Robert Bryndza

Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks

 

 

The following books were in a recent Kindle sale:

Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

Here We Stand: Women Changing the World compiled & Edited by Helena Earnshaw & Angharad Penrhyn Jones

Cruel Summer by James Dawson

A Book for Her by Bridget Christie

The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall

Monsters by Emerald Fennell

 

So, that’s all of my new books from the last two weeks. 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.