Weekly Wrap-Up! (25 Jun)

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This week has been very quiet, and yet eventful at the same time. I’ve made a huge leap forward in terms of finally beating my PTSD once and for all. I faced a big fear this week and it was actually okay so I feel like that’s been a huge achievement. It’s left me feeling very drained so I’ve not been reading as much, or blogging ,but hopefully I’ll be back to normal soon.

 

This week I’ve finished reading three books:

Based on a True Story by Delphine de Vigan

I really enjoyed reading this. It was different than I was expecting but it’s one of those books that is really unsettling and gives you a lot to think about. I’m hoping to get my thoughts together so I can review this soon but I definitely recommend it.

The Law of Similars by Chris Bohjalian

This is the first book I’ve finished from my #20BooksOfSummer challenge. This was one of my three alternates but it was the one I most felt like reading so I went with it. I enjoyed this, it kept me hooked all the way through but I felt it was lacking something. I’m still planning to review it but need to get my thoughts together first.

Labor Day by Joyce Maynard

This book has been on my TBR for ages so when I spotted the audio book on my subscription service I decided to part listen and part read it. I very much enjoyed this one, it had an intensity to it that I wasn’t expecting and it really made an impression on me.

This week I’ve blogged five times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up post

                 Review of Exquisite by Sarah Stovell for the blog tour

Monday: Review of One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday post

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves post

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

Guilty Innocence by Maggie James

I bought this book a while ago after reading some great reviews and it caught my eye on my kindle yesterday so I started reading. It’s such a good book – one of those books that stays in my head even when I’m not reading and that I can’t wait to get back to. I definitely recommend this and it’s currently only 99p on kindle, which is such a bargain for a great read.

The Child by Fiona Barton

I was sent a surprise copy of this for review a few weeks ago and I finally got to start reading it this week. I’m really enjoying it, it’s great to see journalist Kate back as she was my favourite character in The Widow.

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

I was expecting this to be a book that really grabbed me but I wasn’t expecting it to be such an emotional read. I love when a book surprises me in this way and I’m really looking forward to reading more of it.

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

I’ve really been loving reading this one, it’s a perfect summer read. I’m reading this as part of my #20BooksOfSummer challenge and I’m so glad I finally picked this up.

Baby Lost by Hannah Robert

I’ve not read anymore of this over the last week as I just haven’t been in the right frame of mind to read this but it is such an incredibly moving book and I will get back to it soon.

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

I’m still not in much of a non-fiction mood but I did read another couple of chapters of this book this week and it’s so interesting. I hope to be able to read a bigger chunk of this soon.

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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: 1956

Additions:

Books bought/received for review/gifts: 20

Subtractions:

Books read this week: 3

TBR Books culled this week: 0

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1973

WWW Wednesday (21 Jun) 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:

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

This was one of my choices for my #20BookofSummer and it’s such a great read for this time of year. I’m really enjoying this novel and definitely recommend it.

Baby Lost by Hannah Robert

As I think I said last week I’m not really in the mood for non-fiction so this book is still on the back burner. I’m hoping my non-fiction mojo returns soon as I definitely want to get back to this soon.

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

This is my other non-fiction read and it’s also been put to one side this week but again I hope to get back to it soon. Fingers crossed for the non-fiction vibe returning before too long.

Based on a True Story by Delphine de Vigan

I had to put this to one side this week as I was reading another review book that had similar themes and didn’t want to get the two mixed up in my head. I’m back reading this now and am really enjoying it.

 

What I recently finished reading:

Labor Day by Joyce Maynard

This is a book that has been on my TBR for ages but has never reached the top but when I spotted it on my audio book subscription the other day I decided to listen to it. I got so engrossed in this novel, it really grabbed me and I recommend it.

The Law of Similars by Chris Bohjalian

This was one of my alternate choices for #20BooksofSummer but it ended up being the one that called to me the most so I decided to read it. I feel a bit conflicted about it as I really enjoyed reading it, it held my attention throughout but it left me feeling a little deflated. I’m hoping to review it if I can get my thoughts together about it soon.

Exquisite by Sarah Stovell

I loved this novel and read it in one sitting as there just wasn’t a place where I could stop reading – I simply had to know what was going to happen. I’ve already reviewed this so you can read my thoughts on it here if you’d like to.

The Things We Thought We Knew by Mahsuda Snaith

This novel was incredible. It was one of those books that I picked up at exactly the right time and it was such a moving and soothing novel. I honestly think this will be one of my books of the year! I’ve already reviewed it so you can see why I loved it so much here.

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

I’ve been reading this over the last couple of weeks and I have enjoyed it so much. There was so much more to the book than I was expecting and I think it’s one that will stay in my mind for a while to come.

 

What I plan on reading next:

Last Seen by Lucy Clarke

I’ve been so excited about this book as I’m a big fan of Lucy Clarke’s writing and I simply can’t wait any longer to read this!

Three Days and a Life by Pierre LeMaitre

This arrived just the other day and I’m so keen to read it so am hoping to get to it this 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! (18 Jun)

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This week has been a week of taking it easy so I’ve not had as many posts up on my blog, but it has been for a good reason. My husband and I went to see Kraftwerk on Wednesday night and it was an incredible show. They’re a band I never thought I would get to see live so it was brilliant. We didn’t take any photos of the concert but here’s the 3D glasses and a painted mural outside the venue 🙂 My pain levels and my neuro symptoms have been really bad the last couple of days but it was absolutely worth it to have had such a good night out.

 

This week I’ve finished reading five books:

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

I’ve been reading this book on and off for a couple of weeks now and have really enjoyed it. There was so much more in this novel than I was expecting and it’s one I definitely recommend.

Exquisite by Sarah Stovell

I read this novel in one sitting as I just couldn’t put it down. I’ve actually got my review on my blog today so you can read that here if you’d like to.

The Things We Thought We Knew by Mahsuda Snaith

This is a beautiful novel that I fell completely and utterly in love with. I’ve already reviewed this so you can read more of what I thought here if you’d like to. I highly recommend this book though, it’s stunning.

A Year Lost and Found by Michael Mayne

This is a very short book about the year Michael Mayne contracted a chronic illness and how he felt about that, and the role his strong religious beliefs played in how he coped. I found it a really soothing read, even though I’m not a religious person.

One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus

This is another book that I’ve been reading on and off for a couple of weeks. I enjoyed it but it didn’t completely wow me. I’m still trying to write my review but hopefully I’ll have it posted soon.

 

This week I’ve blogged four times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up post

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday post

Friday: Review of The Things We Thought We Knew by Mahsuda Snaith

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves post

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

I only just started reading this last night but I’m a few chapters in and enjoying it. I think it’s a good pick for one of my #20bookofsummer reads.

The Law of Similars by Chris Bohjalian

This was one of my three spare picks for my #20booksofsummer and it’s the one that has been calling to me the most. It grabbed me in the first chapter and I’m really hooked.

Baby Lost by Hannah Robert

I’ve not read much more of this over the last week as I just haven’t been in the mood for non-fiction. I’m hoping to get back to it soon as it’s such an interesting and moving read.

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

This has been on hold over the last couple of weeks too but I knew when I started this book that it would be a book that I read on and off as I felt up to it. I do hope to get back to it as soon as my non-fiction mojo returns.

Based on a True Story by Delphine de Vigan

I did read a bit more of this over the last week but I put it down again for the last few days as I was reading a book for a blog tour that was giving me a similar vibe and I didn’t want to risk them getting confused in my head. I will be picking this back up in the next day or so though.

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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: 1958

Additions:

Books bought/received for review/gifts: 3

Subtractions:

Books read this week: 5

TBR Books culled this week: 0

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1956

 


 

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 (14 Jun) What are you reading this week?

WWW pic

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

What I’m reading now:

The Things We Thought We Knew by Mahsuda Snaith

I was thrilled when I was offered the chance to read and review this book as it’s one that’s been on my wish list ever since I first heard about it. I started reading it yesterday and it hooked me in straight away and I feel sure this is going to be a book that I’ll love.

Baby Lost by Hannah Robert

I haven’t read much more of this book since my last WWW Wednesday post as I’ve been struggling with non-fiction this week due to needing more my books to give me escapism. This is such a great book though and I hope to get back to it very soon.

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

This is my other non-fiction book and this has also been put to one side since my last post. The book had really grabbed me so I’m hoping to get back to it soon, it just wasn’t the right book for me this week.

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

I discovered the audio book version of this book on my audio subscription app this week so I’m half-listening and half-reading this and am enjoying it so much. I had high hopes for the book and it’s actually even better than I was expecting.

Based on a True Story by Delphine de Vigan

This book has been on the back burner for most of the last week but I did pick it back up last night and read quite a few pages of it so I’m hoping I can continue and finish this soon. It’s such a great read, I just wish life hadn’t got in the way of me reading it quicker.

What I recently finished reading:

A Year Lost and Found by Michael Mayne

I bought this book a few weeks ago after reading about it in another book I read earlier this year. If I’m to be completely honest it was more religious than I normally like to read but in the context of illness and recovery and how people deal with life-changing conditions it was a really soothing read for me and I’m so glad I read it.

One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus

I finished reading this book earlier this week but haven’t managed to write my review as yet. I did enjoy the book but it fell a bit flat for me so I’m letting it settle for a few days before I write my review.

The Lie of the Land by Amanda Craig

This book is brilliant and I highly recommend it! I’ve already reviewed it so you can read my thoughts here if you’d like to.

What I plan on reading next:

Exquisite by Sarah Stovell

I’ve been so excited to read this book but have been holding off until nearer my date on the blog tour… and now it’s finally time to start reading it! I’ve heard only great things about this book.

Bluets by Maggie Nelson

I treated myself to this book a couple of weeks ago and it’s been calling to me from my bookcase ever since so I can’t hold off reading it any longer!

Bad Choices by Ali Almossawi

This book was sent to me for review at the weekend and it looks like such a fun and interesting read and a book that I can dip in and out of so I’d like to start it soon.

 

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! (11 Jun)

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This week has been a quiet-ish week but a tiring one. I’ve been feeling really unsettled after hearing about the death of my great-aunty last week, and when I feel like this it’s always so much harder to read. It’s frustrating that at the times I most need escape I struggle to read but it’s just the way it is with me.

I had a really difficult but ultimately very positive appointment this week to do with my PTSD. I’ve long considered myself better but there are still triggers that I have to be mindful of and by chance I’m having a treatment that is making a real difference. I don’t want to talk in any detail but it is an amazing experience when the wonderful memories that have been blocked by the trauma suddenly come flooding back. It made for a very emotional day but a really good step forward.

This week I’ve finished reading three books:

Fabrice Muamba: I’m Still Standing by Fabrice Muamba

I’ve had this book on my TBR for a long time so this week when I picked it out of my TBR jar I decided to read it. It was a really moving and inspiring read. Fabrice Muamba has had such an interesting life and it was really enjoyable to read about his childhood. It’s incredible to read about his more recent years and to know just how amazing it is that he survived his cardiac arrest.

The Lie of the Land by Amanda Craig

This is such a brilliant novel. I honestly loved it from the first chapter all the way through and I highly recommend it. I’ve already reviewed it on my blog so you can read that here if you’d like to know more.

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

I finished reading this last weekend and really enjoyed it. I think I preferred The Girl on the Train but I would definitely still recommend this one.

 

This week I’ve blogged five times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up Post

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday post

Thursday: Author Kate Vane guest posted about the title of her new novel, The Former Chief Executive

Friday: Review of The Lie of the Land by Amanda Craig

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves post

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

Baby Lost by Hannah Robert

This is such a sad and moving memoir but it’s a book I definitely recommend. It’s about a woman who was in a car accident when 8 months pregnant and her baby died, she then had to deal with the horrendous legal fact that her baby wasn’t considered a person because she wasn’t born at the time of the accident. I haven’t read much of this book this week as I haven’t felt up to reading an emotional book. I will be getting back to is as soon as I can though.

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

I also haven’t read any more of this book this week as I just haven’t been in the mood to read it. I was very much enthralled in it so will be getting back to it once my reading mojo returns.

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

This is another book that’s been left to one side this week but again I will get back to it soon.

One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus

I’ve read a bit more of this book over the last few days as it’s been easier for me to concentrate on this and has been a good distraction.

Based on a True Story by Delphine de Vigan

This book has fallen by the wayside a bit too this week but it’s entirely down to my mood and nothing to do with the book. I’ll be picking this up once I feel brighter but I want to leave it until then as I don’t want my current slump to affect my opinion of this brilliant book.

 

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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: 1948

Additions:

Books bought/received for review/gifts: 13

Subtractions:

Books read this week: 3

TBR Books culled this week: 0

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1958

 


 

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. 🙂

Review: Wendy Darling by Colleen Oakes

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I can never resist books that are in any way connected to Peter Pan, I’m just fascinated by Neverland and what it represents. So when I was offered the chance to review Wendy Darling, I couldn’t say yes fast enough!

Wendy Darling is a re-telling of Peter Pan told from 16 year old Wendy’s perspective. John is Mr Darling’s favourite child and Wendy feels desperate to be noticed by her father, she tries so hard to see the star that John can see so easily but she struggles and the disappointment she feels from her father is palpable.

Wendy spends as much time as she can visiting the local bookshop. She loves to read, but even more than that she loves to visit the bookseller’s son Booth. The two are growing closer but their romance seems to be doomed from the start as society dictates that Booth is just not an appropriate suitor so they meet in secret.

One night Mr and Mrs Darling go out for the evening and something very strange happens at the house. It is really quite sinister and leaves the children feeling very shaken, until Peter Pan appears at the window and takes them all off on an adventure.

I have to be honest and say I found some of the things that happened in Neverland a little long-winded and slow, I was initially more captivated by Wendy’s romance with Booth and was longing to see more of that, I didn’t want to be taken away from that storyline. Having said that, where the book keeps you hooked is with this much more overtly sinister version of Neverland. It was always possible to see the darkness in JM Barrie’s original story but it’s much more extreme in Oakes’ re-telling. Oakes takes the nightmarish elements to fantastic extremes and danger is everywhere, especially for Wendy. It’s about how nothing is as it seems, and the idealism of a perfect world is never going to be as you’d thought.

Peter Pan has always felt a little creepy to me but in this version he is sociopathic. He appears very loving and kind one minute and the next his personality becomes very menacing, and actually often downright evil. I loved that Wendy was older in this re-telling as it gives a whole new dynamic to her and Peter’s relationship. There is an undeniable sexual chemistry from the beginning of the book, Wendy is drawn to him and cannot stop herself from staring at him and wanting to be closer to him. Peter ultimately uses this against her though and there are a couple of scenes later in the book that are very shocking and disturbing. The contrast between the rather innocent kissing with Booth and the way that Peter Pan treats Wendy really highlights the way that Neverland represents the desires of a teenage girl and her inability to fully comprehend how dangerous the world can be for someone still so naive and innocent.

Wendy Darling is ultimately the story of an awakening, it’s about Wendy discovering her power as a young woman and how she can fight back against the things that imprison her. It’s about her discovering her longing to be a mother; the way Wendy takes to nurturing the lost boys is beautiful, she seems to have found her place with them and they adoringly look up to her wanting her to be their mother. I did very much appreciate how empowered Wendy is in this re-telling; she’s been taken from a character who is almost always portrayed as weak just because she’s just a girl to a young woman who can stand her ground, and who will speak up when she feels she needs to. It was fascinating to see the character of Wendy in this way.

I do have a real bugbear with this book though and that is that even when a book is a part of a series I strongly feel that each book in the series should have some sort of ending. I know they have to lead into the next book so you will want to buy it but this novel just stops and ends with the title of the next book. I have to be honest and say that this really irritated me and I’m not sure that I would read the next one because I would always be wondering if I was ever going to get an ending. I love open endings, I enjoy being left with lots to think about but to just stop dead at the end of a scene and announce the next book is actually infuriating.

There are aspects of this novel that are fascinating and compelling, but there are times when it falls a little flat and the lack of an ending is something I can’t ignore so I rate this novel 7 out of 10. I still highly recommend it, especially to people who are fascinated by Peter Pan, it’s a brilliant look at his character and it takes him to really sinister levels that always seem to be underlying his character in the original story.

I received this book from SparkPress in exchange for an honest review.

Wendy Darling is out now and available from Amazon.

My Favourite Books Read in 2012

In 2012 I set myself a target to read 200 books, it was an ambitious target but I was determined to try and reduce the size of my To Be Read mountain. Anyway, I’ve surprised myself in managing to read 243 books! I’ve read a real mix of books including a re-read of James Joyce’s Ulysses so I haven’t stuck to reading short books in order to meet the challenge I’d set myself.

I keep track of all my books on Goodreads and so have been adding and removing books on my fave reads of 2012 as the year has gone on. I have cheated slightly in that I’ve made two Top 10 lists – a fiction and a non-fiction list as it was just too difficult to pick ten books from 243.

So here goes, in no particular order…

Top 10 fiction reads of 2012

  1. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  2. The Fault is in our Stars by John Green
  3. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
  4. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Fry
  5. Every Last One by Anna Quindlen
  6. The Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen
  7. Nutmeg by Maria Goodin
  8. Wonder by RJ Palacio
  9. Playing on Cotton Clouds by Michela O’Brien
  10. Once More With Feeling by Megan Crane

My Top 10 Fiction reads of 2012

  1. The End of Your Life Bookclub by Will Schwalbe
  2. The Secret Race by Tyler Hamilton
  3. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
  4. On Writing by Stephen King
  5. The Long Goodbye by Meghan O’Rourke
  6. The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey
  7. And The Band Played on by Christopher Ward
  8. Mother, Lover, Brother: Selected Lyrics by Jarvis Cocker
  9. Gift of Time: A Family’s Diary of Cancer by Rory MacLean
  10. Mortality by Christopher Hitchens

Now I’m looking forward to all the books I have to read in 2013!