WWW Wednesdays (26 Aug 20)! What are you reading this week?

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!

Current Reads

My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake Heiress by Rachel DeLoache Williams

I started reading this book yesterday and I’m just gobsmacked at this real life story. It’s written by Rachel who became friends with Anna and was completely taken advantage of. I’m only a couple of chapters in so I don’t know much about the story as yet but just the opening chapter had me stunned at the situation Rachel ended up in. I can’t wait to read more.

Grace is Gone by Emily Elgar

I bought this book earlier this year and have been so keen to read it. I finally picked it up yesterday and I’m so intrigued. A woman has been found murdered in her bed and her severely disabled teenage daughter is missing. Their neighbour’s daughter Cara found Meg’s body and now we’re following her perspective and that of a disgraced journalist Jon. I’m so keen to so where this book is going (I have my suspicions and have avoided all reviews so as not to get spoiled on what happens) and can’t wait to read more!

Dear Reader by Cathy Rentzenbrink

I’m still really enjoying this one. It’s a book where the author is relating her life story through the medium of books she has loved over the years. It’s a wonderful read, one that feels very nostalgic and sooting. I’m deliberately reading this one slowly as it feels like such a relaxing treat to pick it up.

Recent Reads

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

I keep hearing about this book so when I was looking for some easy, escapist reading at the weekend I picked it up. I read the whole thing in one sitting and really enjoyed it. It was exactly what I needed at the time. It follows Pippa, a studious teenager who for a school assignment decides to look into a murder that happened in her community five years ago. A teenage girl was murdered and her boyfriend was prime suspect but when he died by suicide the police closed the case. The novel does require some suspension of disbelief but it’s still such a good read.

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

I listened to the audiobook of this over a few days and I very much enjoyed it. It’s a fictionalised version of Hillary Clinton’s life and it imagines what might have happened had she not married Bill. I did find some of the book a bit icky (the sex scenes…) but for the most part I loved this book. It was easy to see how much of this novel could have happened were some decisions made differently. I recommend it!

No Win Race by Derek A. Bardowell

This is an excellent novel about the author’s own experiences of racism along with a wider look at society through the lens of sport. He raises some really important points about what it is to be British and black, and how society never quite sees him as fully British. He looks at various sports (boxing, basketball, Formula 1 and football) and how black sports men and women are treated. I’m still thinking about this book but once I’ve got my thoughts together I will write a review.

Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi

I really enjoyed this novel! It follows Julia (an editor) as she meets Grant (a mathematician and author) with a view to re-publishing his short story collection. The novel features all the stories in this collection and a discussion between Julia and Grant about them. I loved the stories, they’re all set in the 1930s and are very Christie-esque. There are layers of mystery in this novel and lots of shocks in store. I’ve already reviewed this one so you can find that here if you’d like to know more.

What I Might Read Next

I’ve been in a strange mood this week, I’ve still been reading and I’ve still been enjoying reading but I’m not drawn to picking up books as much as I want to. I’m hoping I’m not heading for another reading slump. In an attempt to ward it off I’m reading entirely by whim at the moment and the three books below are the ones that are really calling to me. I hope to read them in the coming days! 🙂

Here is the Beehive by Sarah Crossan

Tilly and the Lost Fairytales by Anna James

Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls

WWW Wednesdays (19 Aug 20)! What are you reading this week?

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!

Current Reads

No Win Race by Derek A. Bardowell

I bought the ebook of this one forgetting that I had a pending request on NetGalley for the audio book. So now I’m part listening and part reading this and it’s such an eye-opening book about race. The author is a black British man who grew up in London and was a huge sports fan. He documents his experiences of racism along with that in wider society and mainly through the eye of sports. His Jamaican father followed cricket and boxing and at the point I’m up to Derek is very into basketball. It’s shocking to see the racism documented in this book, and how insidious it is. The author is a bit older than me so the book is building on my very vague knowledge of the time. I recommend this one.

Dear Reader by Cathy Rentzenbrink

This is such a lovely book where the author is looking back on the books she has enjoyed and been influenced by in her life. I’m still at the part about her childhood but her descriptions of trips to the library and the books she was reading are so similar to my own childhood that this feels so nostalgic and joyous so far. I’m trying to read this one slowly so I can enjoy it for the longest possible time. It’s really wonderful though and I highly recommend it.

Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi

I only started this one last night but I’m fascinated by it. I requested it from NetGalley based on the premise but when I started reading I had forgotten the detail of what the book was about so it’s been brilliant finding my way through. It’s basically a novel about Grant who wrote a murder mystery short story collection years earlier and it’s been rediscovered by a small publishing house. Their editor Julia is now with Grant and they’re reading each story in turn and discussing it. We get each of the stories and their thoughts about them, plus Grant’s theories about murder mysteries. It’s such a good book and I think all murder mystery/crime fiction fans will love it.

Recent Reads

The Love Square by Laura Jane Williams

I listened to this on audio from NetGalley and sadly I didn’t really like it. It started off well and I liked the main character Penny. She has had a difficult time of it, her mum died when she was young and then she herself had cancer. Life is good now though and she’s looking for love. She meets Francesco and they quickly fall for each other. So far so good! However Penny then has to go away and this novel veers into tropes I hate where suddenly she doesn’t communicate properly with people and it leads to all kinds of dramas that could have so easily been avoided. I felt really let down by how much Penny changed from being so open and honest and I just didn’t enjoy the second half of the book much at all. The narrator, Carrie Hope Fletcher, was very good though. Her voice really suited the story and I would listen to more books narrated by her in the future.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

This is a novel told in verse and it follows two teenage girls who find out their father has been killed in a plane crash off New York. Camino lives in the Dominican Republic with her aunt and had been excitedly awaiting her father’s arrival for the summer. Yahaira lives in New York with her mother and had let her dad leave without a word. Over the novel the girls learn the secrets of this man and that they are half-sisters. I really enjoyed this book. I found the spare writing really suited the narrative. The descriptions of grief were visceral at times, and the shock of each girl realising the other exists felt so believable. I recommend this one.

The Holdout by Graham Moore

This was the last book on my NetGalley shelf from before 2020 so I wanted to get to it and I’m so pleased that I finally picked it up. It follows Maya who served on a jury ten years ago. It was a murder case and Bobby Nock, a black man, was accused of murdering his white student Jessica. Maya was responsible for persuading the rest of the jury to vote not guilty. Now it’s ten years later and the past is catching up with Maya. A TV show is being made about the case and the jury are all reuniting to film their thoughts now. This novel had so much more to it than I was expecting and I was gripped all the way through. I’ve already reviewed this one here if you’d like to know more – I highly recommend it!

Under a Starry Sky by Laura Kemp

This is a lovely novel, perfect for some summer escapism. It follows Wanda who has always wanted to travel the world but things keep conspiring to keep her in the Welsh town where she grew up. Her sister is pregnant and on her own, and their mum has just had an accident. Now Wanda has to face up to the past when she bumps into her ex-best friend Annie in the town. I loved this book, it’s such a feel-good read and is one I recommend. I’ve reviewed it here if you’d like to know more.

What I Might Read Next

I have so many books that I want to read but I’m often struggling to settle to read anything at the moment but these four books are the ones that most appeal to me as I’m writing this. The first is a library book and one I’ve wanted to read for a long time. The second is an Audible book I treated myself to very recently. The third is a kindle book I bought not long ago and is a collection of essays, which I’m keen to get to. The last one is a NetGalley book that I’m so intrigued by!

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby

True Story by Kate Reed Petty

Stacking the Shelves with a new Book Haul (8 Aug 20)!

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

Purchased eBooks

The Other Girl by C. D. Major

I’ve been so keen to get my hands on this book so when I discovered it was part of the Amazon Prime First Reads this month I immediately downloaded it on my Kindle. I can’t wait to read this one!

They thought she was insane. But what if she was telling the truth? 1942, New Zealand. Edith’s been locked away for a long time. She was just five years old when she was sent to Seacliff Lunatic Asylum. Fifteen years later, she has few memories of her life before the asylum, but longs for one beyond it. When she survives a devastating fire that destroys her ward, Edith is questioned by the police and a young doctor, Declan Harris. Intrigued by his beautiful patient, Declan begins to doubt the official reasons for her incarceration. Is she truly mad—or could the impossible stories she told as a child actually be true? Time is running out. With Edie awaiting a new and permanent treatment, soon there will be little of her left to save. Meanwhile intrigue has tipped into obsession—Declan needs to uncover the truth, but in doing so he will risk losing everything. As he sets out to save her mind, will he lose his own?

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

This is a book I’ve been wanting to read for a while now so I bought it this week and I’m really keen to pick it up. It might even be my next read!

Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people… In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash. Separated by distance – and Papi’s secrets – the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other. Papi’s death uncovers all the painful truths he kept hidden, and the love he divided across an ocean. And now, Camino and Yahaira are both left to grapple with what this new sister means to them, and what it will now take to keep their dreams alive.

I Love the Bones of You by Christopher Eccleston

This is another book that I’ve wanted to read ever since it was first published so when I spotted it on a Kindle deal for 99p this week I bought it right away. I think this will be an interesting and emotional memoir, and it’s one I hope to get to soon.

Drawing on his memories, Chris will describe a vivid life of growing up in a Salford, working-class household in the 1970s with his siblings, a loving mother, and the totemic figure of his hardworking, serious-minded and socialist father – Ronnie. How his life changed from a potential future as ‘factory fodder’ in his native Northwest, to a deep-rooted desire to perform on stage, and what developed into a burgeoning acting career – from his stunning film debut Let Him Have It; to the BBC’s landmark drama miniseries Our Friends in the North; his remarkable relaunch of the iconic Doctor Who franchise; and many more BAFTA-nominated roles over the past three decades such as starring in the current production of Macbeth for the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford; and, playing the role of the grandfather in the BBC1 hit drama series The A Word.
Along this path of fame and fortune also lay a man still bonded to his home city of Salford, his politics, his family, and especially his beloved parents. Chris will discuss openly the loss of his father and his family’s struggle to cope with his condition over the past decade of his life as they watched his health deteriorate. A journey thousands of British families travel on each year. A heart-rending, honest and often touching memoir of a man embedded in his roots and mourning the loss of the father who nurtured those roots. 

Lost You by Haylen Beck

I bought this Kindle book on a total whim as the cover caught my eye and I liked the sound of the premise. I hope it’s as good as it sounds!

YOU’RE LOOKING FOR YOUR SON. BUT SHE FOUND HIM FIRST Libby would do anything for her three-year-old son Ethan. And after a traumatic year, a holiday seems the perfect antidote for them both. Their hotel is peaceful, safe and friendly, yet Libby can’t help feeling that someone is watching her. Watching Ethan. Because, for years, Libby has lived with a secret. Just when Libby is starting to relax, Ethan steps into an elevator on his own, and the doors close before Libby can stop them. Moments later, Ethan is gone. Libby thought she had been through the worst, but her nightmare is only just beginning. And in a desperate hunt for her son, it becomes clear she’s not the only one looking for him…

Review Books

Homecoming by Luan Goldie

I read and loved Luan Goldie’s previous novel so when I spotted her forthcoming book on NetGalley I had to request it. I was delighted to be approved to read it this week and will definitely be reading this very soon!

For years Yvonne has tried to keep her demons buried and focus on moving forward. But her guilt is always with her and weighs heavily on her heart. Kiama has had to grow up without a mother, and while there is so much he remembers about her, there is still plenty he doesn’t know. And there’s only one person who can fill in the gaps. Lewis wants nothing more than to keep Kiama, his son, safe, but the thought of Kiama dredging up the past worries Lewis deeply. And Lewis doesn’t know if he’s ready to let the only woman he’s ever loved back into his life. When Kiama seeks Yvonne out and asks her to come with him to Kenya, the place that holds the answers to his questions, she knows she can’t refuse. And this one act sets in motion an unravelling of the past that no one is ready for.

Purchased AudioBooks

I’ve had an Audible membership for years and years now and have been paying monthly for one book but I realised that it was much better value to pay for a year’s membership upfront and get 24 credits to spend. It meant I had to use up the six credits I already had or I would have lost them so I decide to buy the following six books from my wish list. I can’t wait to listen to all of these!

The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donohue

Dublin, 1918: three days in a maternity ward at the height of the Great Flu. In an Ireland doubly ravaged by war and disease, Nurse Julia Power works at an understaffed hospital in the city center, where expectant mothers who have come down with the terrible new Flu are quarantined together. Into Julia’s regimented world step two outsiders—Doctor Kathleen Lynn, on the run from the police, and a young volunteer helper, Bridie Sweeney. In the darkness and intensity of this tiny ward, over three days, these women change each other’s lives in unexpected ways. They lose patients to this baffling pandemic, but they also shepherd new life into a fearful world. With tireless tenderness and humanity, carers and mothers alike somehow do their impossible work.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect? Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

In 1971, Hillary Rodham is a young woman full of promise: Lifemagazine has covered her Wellesley commencement speech, she’s attending Yale Law School, and she’s on the forefront of student activism and the women’s rights movement. And then she meets Bill Clinton. A handsome, charismatic southerner and fellow law student, Bill is already planning his political career. In each other, the two find a profound intellectual, emotional, and physical connection that neither has previously experienced. In the real world, Hillary followed Bill back to Arkansas, and he proposed several times; although she said no more than once, as we all know, she eventually accepted and became Hillary Clinton. But in Curtis Sittenfeld’s powerfully imagined tour-de-force of fiction, Hillary takes a different road. Feeling doubt about the prospective marriage, she endures their devastating breakup and leaves Arkansas. Over the next four decades, she blazes her own trail—one that unfolds in public as well as in private, that involves crossing paths again (and again) with Bill Clinton, that raises questions about the tradeoffs all of us must make in building a life.

Pain and Prejudice by Gabrielle Jackson

‘Women are in pain, all through their bodies; they’re in pain with their periods, and while having sex; they have pelvic pain, migraine, headaches, joint aches, painful bladders, irritable bowels, sore lower backs, muscle pain, vulval pain, vaginal pain, jaw pain, muscle aches. And many are so, so tired … But women’s pain is all too often dismissed, their illnesses misdiagnosed or ignored. In medicine, man is the default human being. Any deviation is atypical, abnormal, deficient.’ Fourteen years after being diagnosed with endometriosis, Gabrielle Jackson couldn’t believe how little had changed in the treatment and knowledge of the disease. In 2015, her personal story kick-started a worldwide investigation into the disease by The Guardian; thousands of women got in touch to tell their own stories and many more read and shared the material. What began as one issue led Jackson to explore how women – historically and through to the present day – are under-served by the systems that should keep them happy, healthy and informed about their bodies. Pain and Prejudice is a vital testament to how social taboos and medical ignorance keep women sick and in anguish. The stark reality is that women’s pain is not taken as seriously as men’s. Women are more likely to be disbelieved and denied treatment than men, even though women are far more likely to be suffering from chronic pain.

The Great Pretender by Susannah Cahalan

For centuries, doctors have struggled to define mental illness–how do you diagnose it, how do you treat it, how do you even know what it is? In search of an answer, in the 1970s a Stanford psychologist named David Rosenhan and seven other people–sane, normal, well-adjusted members of society–went undercover into asylums around America to test the legitimacy of psychiatry’s labels. Forced to remain inside until they’d “proven” themselves sane, all eight emerged with alarming diagnoses and even more troubling stories of their treatment. Rosenhan’s watershed study broke open the field of psychiatry, closing down institutions and changing mental health diagnosis forever.  But, as Cahalan’s explosive new research shows, very little in this saga is exactly as it seems. What really happened behind those closed asylum doors, and what does it mean for our understanding of mental illness today?

Me by Elton John

In his only official autobiography, music icon Elton John writes about his extraordinary life, which is also the subject of the film Rocketman. Christened Reginald Dwight, he was a shy boy with Buddy Holly glasses who grew up in the London suburb of Pinner and dreamed of becoming a pop star. By the age of twenty-three, he was on his first tour of America, facing an astonished audience in his tight silver hotpants, bare legs and a T-shirt with ROCK AND ROLL emblazoned across it in sequins. Elton John had arrived and the music world would never be the same again. His life has been full of drama, from the early rejection of his work with song-writing partner Bernie Taupin to spinning out of control as a chart-topping superstar; from half-heartedly trying to drown himself in his LA swimming pool to disco-dancing with the Queen; from friendships with John Lennon, Freddie Mercury and George Michael to setting up his AIDS Foundation. All the while, Elton was hiding a drug addiction that would grip him for over a decade. In Me Elton also writes about getting clean and changing his life, about finding love with David Furnish and becoming a father.

Library Books (BorrowBox App)

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

This is the next non-fiction book I plan on reading, it’s one I’ve heard a lot about and I think it’ll be a good one to read alongside the others I’ve either already read or got on my TBR stack.

The New York Times best-selling book exploring the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged, and how these reactions maintain racial inequality. Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, anti-racist educator Robin DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what can be done to engage more constructively.

Have you acquired any new books this week? I’d love to know what you got. Or have you read any of my new books and recommend I get to any of them sooner rather than later? If you’ve shared a book haul post this week then please feel free to share you link below and I’ll make sure to visit your post! 🙂