My Reading Bingo Results for 2016!

I couldn’t resist joining in with reading bingo as it’s a great opportunity to look back at some of the books I read in 2016. (I did have this post almost written up to post at the end of 2016 but then pesky health stuff got in the way. I didn’t want my efforts to go to waste though so I hope no one minds me discussing my 2016 reads a week into 2017!)

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A book with more than 500 pages

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John Lennon: The Life by Philip Norman

I really enjoyed reading this biography, it was such an in-depth look at Lennon’s life and I even learnt some things that I hadn’t known about him before. This book has 851 pages and was the longest book I read in 2016 so definitely fits this square!

A forgotten classic

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The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum

I’ll be honest, I’d never heard of this book before 2016 but as soon as I knew about it I had to read it. It’s such a gorgeous book and quite possibly one that will go on my Christmas must-read list every year.

A book that became a movie

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Ethel and Ernest by Raymond Briggs

I can’t believe that I’d passed this book by until 2016! I was so wrong to not bother with graphic novels because it meant I missed out on novels like this one. It’s a gorgeous read and has opened my eyes to a whole new genre of books that I’m now very much enjoying. Ethel and Ernest was made into a film in late 2016 and was on TV over Christmas.

A book published this year

The Butcher's Hook by Janet Ellis

The Butcher’s Hook by Janet Ellis

I read quite a lot of novels that were published in 2016 during the year but I wanted to mention this one as I very much enjoyed reading it and often find it swirling around in my head. I’m eagerly anticipating whatever Janet Ellis writes next. I reviewed this book, and interviewed Janet Ellis, which you can read here: The Butcher’s Hook

A book with a number in the title

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Eleven Hours by Pamela Erens

I read a few books with a number in the title but chose this one because it’s a novel that has stayed with me. This is a book about a woman in labour and is a really interesting read. Whilst in the midst of giving birth she reflects on events in her life that led to where she is now, and this adds to the intensity of the novel. I’m not sure how I first heard about this book but it was one I really enjoyed reading and I would recommend it.

A book written by someone under 30

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Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson

Mara Wilson is 29 so this fits for this category. I bought this book very soon after it came out as I was such a fan of Mara Wilson when she was an actress. I adored her in Miracle on 34th Street, Mrs Doubtfire and Matilda, so was intrigued to find out what she’s doing now but also to read her insights into what it had been like to be a child star. It’s an interesting read.

A book with non-human characters

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Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien

I really enjoyed reading this over Christmas. It obviously does have some human characters but there are a lot of references to a bear and goblins amongst other creatures. It’s a lovely book to read over the festive period and I’d recommend it.

A funny book

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Bossypants by Tina Fey

I listened to this on audio book and as it’s narrated by Tina Fey herself it really added to the reading experience. I didn’t know much about her before but some of her stories are very amusing.

A book by a female author

Look At Me by Sarah Duguid

Look At Me by Sarah Duguid

I read quite a lot of books by female authors in 2016 but this one deserves to be mentioned again so that’s why I chose it. This is such a brilliant novel and it so nearly made me top ten books of 2016. It’s a look at families and relationships between siblings following the death of their mother. It’s a quirky book but has such depth to it. I reviewed this one when I read it so you can read that here: Look At Me

A book with a mystery

The Sister by Louise Jensen

The Sister by Louise Jensen

The Sister is the debut novel by Louise Jensen and it’s such a good read. It kept me guessing as to what had happened and I really enjoyed reading it. You can read my review here: The Sister

A book with a one-word title

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One by Sarah Crossan

I put off reading this book for ages and I don’t know why because it’s a brilliant read. It’s a novel written in verse about conjoined twins. There is so much packed into this short novel and it’s one that has really stayed with me.

A book of short stories

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Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

This book was a Christmas present in 2016 so was one of my final reads of the year and I very much enjoyed it. I have to be honest and say that I was expecting there to be more festive stories in the collection, but, that aside, it was a really good read. I read a few stories every day between Christmas and New Year and it felt like a little treat. I’m definitely going to make an attempt to read more Stella Gibbons in 2017. It’s also made me want to read more short story collections so I’m making that another aim for 2017.

Free square

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The Second Love of My Life by Victoria Walters

Obviously I could have picked anything for this square but I wanted to show this novel some more love! I really enjoyed this novel, it had a great story and had moments of lightness and moments that really got to me. I’m looking forward to reading whatever Victoria Walters writes next. You can read my review here: The Second Love of My Life

A book set on a different continent

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

This is an American novel (and I live in the UK) so it counts towards this square. I really enjoyed this twisty novel, it kept me guessing for most of the way through – every time I thought I had it all figured out there would be another twist. You can read my review here: The Couple Next Door

A book of non-fiction

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Mindfulness for Health by Vidyamala Burch

I read a lot of non-fiction in 2016 but wanted to pick a book for this square that meant a lot to me even though I haven’t written about it on my blog before. This book was recommended to me as part of my physio programme and it’s been such a useful read for me. I would recommend this book to anyone who suffers with chronic pain, or long-term illness, it’s really helped me to feel like I have a bit more control over my condition. It doesn’t make the pain go away but it does help you to learn how to put it in the background a bit so that it stops feeling completely overwhelming.

The first book by a favourite author

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Sweet Home by Carys Bray

I adore Carys Bray’s writing. I first read A Song for Issy Bradley when it came out and I loved it, and in 2016 I read her second novel The Museum of You and then soon after read Sweet Home, a short story collection, that was actually the first book that she had published. I highly recommend all three books, Carys Bray is a brilliant writer.

A book you heard about online

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Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin

I first heard about Ghostbird on social media and knew I simply had to read it as soon as I possibly could. This is why I love blogging so much – it’s led to me discovering even more wonderful books, and authors, that I may had missed otherwise. Ghostbird was my book of 2016, it is an incredibly debut novel. You can read my review here: Ghostbird

A best-selling book

The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss

The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss

This book is incredible and I urge all of you to go read it as soon as you can if you haven’t already.

A book based on a true story

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Acts of Violence by David Ryan Jahn

This is one of the books that I read as I was coming out of my horrendous reading slump in the summer of 2016 and it really captured my attention. I was fascinated with the idea that numerous people in an apartment complex could hear a woman screaming in terror and yet do nothing to help her. On finishing reading it I discovered that it was based on a true story and I was stunned that people really had literally turned their backs as this young woman was fighting for her life right outside their windows. It’s a harrowing read but one I’d recommend.

A book at the bottom of your TBR pile

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Travelling to Infinity by Jane Hawking

This is the book that has been on my TBR longest our of all the books I read in 2016. I don’t know why I didn’t read it before because I really enjoyed it once I got into it.

A book your friend loves

Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton

Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton

I bought this book as one of my mum-in-law’s birthday presents last year and she loved it. I already owned a copy but hadn’t read it at that point but after she told me how much she’d enjoyed it I made it my next read and loved it too. You can read my review here: Daisy in Chains

A book that scares you

The Ice Twins by S. K. Tremayne

The Ice Twins by SK Tremayne

I put off reading this book for so long because I was so scared of the premise. There is something about thrillers that have twins in them that adds to the fear factor for me (possibly a legacy of watching The Shining years ago). Anyway, I finally decided to give it a go and I just couldn’t put this down, it had my engrossed from the very first chapter. It did give me the creeps on more than one occasion, and I ended up reading the end once my husband was home as I didn’t want to read it when I was on my own (I’m a total wimp!) but I loved it. It’s such a great story. You can read my review here: The Ice Twins

A book that is more than ten years old

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Restless by William Boyd

I’ve had this book for ages but finally got around to reading to it in 2016 and I really enjoyed it. It’s made me want to read more of William Boyd in the future.

The second book in a series

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Edward Adrift by Craig Lancaster

I read the first book in this series in 2016 as well and I quite enjoyed them both. The first book left me wanting to know more so I ended up reading the second one quite soon after. They’re been on my TBR a while and I’m not sure why I hadn’t read them before as they’re really enjoyable reads.

A book with a blue cover

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The Midnight Watch by David Dyer

I actually read quite a few books with blue covers in 2016 but this was the one that came to mind when I saw this square on the bingo sheet. It’s a brilliant read about what happened on the Californian the night the titanic sunk to stop it coming to the aid of the stricken ship. It was one of those books that I couldn’t put down and I’d definitely recommend it. You can read my review here: The Midnight Watch


I successfully completely all the squares in reading bingo for 2016 so am very happy at that! Have you had a go at reading bingo 2016? I’d love to read your posts if you have, please feel free to leave links below.

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Weekly Wrap-Up (15 May)

 

 

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted

I’m linking this post up to Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer’s Sunday Blog Share.


It’s been quite a rough week this week and I’m still recovering from it but I wanted to try to get my wrap-up post up on time. I had my appointment with the pain specialist earlier this week, it went ok but there isn’t an easy answer. For now, I’ve had some injections into my spine which I’m hoping will help but they’ve initially caused a flare up of pain. It was horrible for the first three days but I feel slightly more human today. I’ve been told to rest as much as I can so I’m trying to be good!


As a result of all of this I’ve not been around much this week. I had posts scheduled so they’ve gone out as planned but I’ve not been able to read blogs like I normally do, or to comment and share so I apologise if I’ve missed any important news. Please leave links to your posts in my comments if there’s something I’ve not seen that you think I would enjoy reading. I hope to catch up in the next few days. Thank you to all of you who have read, liked, commented or shared my posts despite me not reciprocating – I appreciate it so much.


This week I’ve managed to finish reading three books:

(Links to reviews are in orange)

Tapestry by Elle Turner

Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave


 I’ve blogged eight times this week:

Sunday: 

Weekly Wrap-Up Post

Monday:

Review of Shame by Jasvinder Sanghera

Tuesday:

Review of The Midnight Watch by David Dyer

Wednesday:

WWW Wednesday Post

Review of The Ice Twins by S. K. Tremayne

Thursday:

Review of Tapestry by Elle Turner

Friday:

The A-Z of Books tag

Saturday:

Stacking the Shelves Post


Coming up on my blog this week:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up post

Monday: Review

Tuesday: Review

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday post

Thursday: Blog tour | Review of The Treachery of Trains by Sylvia Ashby

Friday: Review of The Boy with the Board by Katey Lovell

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves post

 


This is what I’m currently reading:

This Secret We’re Keeping by Rebecca Done

Sockpuppet by Matthew Blakstad

My Favourite Manson Girl by Alison Umminger

The Treachery of Trains by Sylvia Ashby

Where Did I Go? by Polly Williamson


 

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. :)

Review: The Ice Twins by S. K. Tremayne

 

The Ice Twins by S. K. Tremayne

A year after one of their identical twin daughters, Lydia, dies in an accident, Angus and Sarah Moorcraft move to the tiny Scottish island Angus inherited from his grandmother, hoping to put together the pieces of their shattered lives.

But when their surviving daughter, Kirstie, claims they have mistaken her identity—that she, in fact, is Lydia—their world comes crashing down once again.

As winter encroaches, Angus is forced to travel away from the island for work, Sarah is feeling isolated, and Kirstie (or is it Lydia?) is growing more disturbed. When a violent storm leaves Sarah and her daughter stranded, Sarah finds herself tortured by the past—what really happened on that fateful day one of her daughters died?

I have avoided buying The Ice Twins for so long because I was convinced it was going to be too scary for me (I openly admit that I’m a complete and utter wimp!) but I’ve continued to be intrigued by it so when I saw it in a recent Kindle book sale I decided to buy it.

I started reading it straight away just to see what it was like and I literally didn’t put it down again until I’d finished reading! This book is so fast-paced and has so many twists and turns that there really isn’t a good place to stop, and to be honest nor did I really want a stopping place as I was desperate to know the truth about which twin had died!

I found this book intriguing from the start; the idea of giving birth to two completely identical twins and there being no way at all to tell them apart is such a great basis for this novel. Sarah was encouraged by a nurse to have one of the twins subtly tattooed with a small dot just so they would always know which one was which but Sarah and Angus, understandably, didn’t want to mark either of their perfect daughters in any way. So, they decided to always dress them in at least one item of clothing of a particular colour – so one twin always had a yellow item and the other always had a blue item. The sense of foreboding from this early point on in the book was great though because it is quite obvious that as soon as the twins were old enough they would love playing tricks on people and swapping clothes etc, which is what they had begun to do during the summer in the year that Lydia died.

This book does require the reader to suspend disbelief a little because when you have two young children who have enjoyed swapping identities and one of them dies, it seems very odd to me that you would take the word of the surviving twin about who had died. Children are unable to fully comprehend death or the idea of forever so cannot be trusted in a situation like this because to them it could all be a game. I was happy to suspend disbelief though as I wanted to see where the novel went from here.

The family decide to move to a very remote island that Angus has recently inherited. It’s a very bleak, atmospheric place that needs a lot of work doing to it, and works perfectly for this novel. The sense of isolation and despair mirrors perfectly the grief and conflicted emotions that Angus and Sarah, and Kirstie were feeling at this point in time.

It’s hard to review this book without giving any spoilers but what I loved was the way all the characters played their part in the confusion about which twin died so as the layers of the story were gradually pulled back I was never sure who to believe. It seemed plausible that these parents had actually buried the wrong child but it seem equally likely that Kirstie was just continuing on with her childhood game and didn’t understand the terror she was causing in her parents.

I loved the psychological elements of this book, the idea of identity and how it isn’t necessarily a fixed thing. It was great how the family were being haunted by Lydia, or Kirstie, whichever one of them was  actually dead, but it was written in such a way that this could have been a ghost story, or it could have been sheer hysteria that they got swept up in, or it could have been a mix of the two. At times it was a little like a modern day Turn of the Screw – the way that someone could be being haunted, or they could be mad or, and this is perhaps the most scary idea, they could be experiencing both. Just because someone is paranoid, it doesn’t mean they’re not right about the strange, seemingly unexplained things that are happening around them.

It was brilliant how, as the novel began building towards the climax, I began to question absolutely everything, I was so wrapped up in it that I felt I was right there with the characters and unsure what was real and what was not. The interchanging personality of the surviving twin, be it Kirstie or Lydia, just heightened it. The ending of the novel was brilliant, it’s one of those endings that will stay with me for a really long time.

The Ice Twins is a very creepy, unnerving novel and once it has you in its clasps it won’t let go until long after you’ve finished reading! I rated this novel 4.5 out of 5 and highly recommend it.

The Ice Twins is available to buy from all good book shops.

WWW Wednesdays (4 May)

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 Wacky Man by Lynn G. Farrell

The Wacky Man by Lyn G. Farrell

I was thrilled when the publisher of this book contacted me to ask if I’d like a copy to review for the blog tour as I’d already seen it reviewed on a couple of blogs and knew it was a book I simply had to read. I’ve read about half of it already and while it’s a tough subject matter, it’s brilliantly written. I’ll be sharing my review on Saturday.

Synopsis:

My new shrink asks me, ‘What things do you remember about being very young?’
It’s like looking into a murky river, I say. Memories flash near the surface like fish coming up for flies. The past peeps out, startles me, and then is gone…
Amanda secludes herself in her bedroom, no longer willing to face the outside world. Gradually, she pieces together the story of her life: her brothers have had to abandon her, her mother scarcely talks to her, and the Wacky Man could return any day to burn the house down. Just like he promised.
As her family disintegrates, Amanda hopes for a better future, a way out from the violence and fear that has consumed her childhood. But can she cling to her sanity, before insanity itself is her only means of escape?

This Secret We're Keeping by Rebecca Done

This Secret We’re Keeping by Rebecca Done

I’ve had a review copy of this book for a little while and I’ve been so keen to start reading but had other books I needed to read first. I’m so pleased to finally get to it though and it’s worth the wait. I’ve only read a few chapters so far but it’s a good read that raises some very interesting questions.

Synopsis:

A pupil and a teacher. Is it ever right to break the rules?
Jessica Hart has never forgotten Matthew Landley.
After all, he was her first love when she was fifteen years old. But he was also her school maths teacher, and their forbidden affair ended in scandal with his arrest and imprisonment.
Now, seventeen years later, Matthew returns to Norfolk, with a new identity and a long-term girlfriend and a young daughter, who know nothing of what happened before. Yet when he runs into Jessica, neither of them can ignore the emotional ties that bind them together.
With so many secrets to keep hidden, how long can Jessica and Matthew avoid the dark mistakes of their past imploding in the present?
From debut author Rebecca Done, This Secret We’re Keeping is a powerful and provocative novel about the ties which can keep us together – or tear us apart.

The Children Act by Ian McEwan

The Children Act by Ian McEwan

This is a short read but a very dense one so it’s taking me a little while to read it. It’s a very good read though, one that really makes you think about legality versus morality in cases involving children.

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.

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Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

This book is brilliant, the writing is incredible and I’m enjoying it very much. It’s taking me a while to read purely because it’s a hardback copy and typically my condition has flared up and holding a print book isn’t an easy feat at the moment. I highly recommend grabbing a copy of this book though, you won’t regret 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.

What I recently finished reading:

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The Midnight Watch by David Dyer

I finished reading this book really late last night, and felt quite bereft on finishing it. It’s such a brilliant book – it’s harrowing at times but it’s so well written. I hope to review it soon but it’s absolutely one I recommend. 

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.

The Ice Twins by S. K. Tremayne

The Ice Twins by S. K. Tremayne

I’ve avoided buying this book for so long because I was convinced it would be too scary for me (I’m such a wimp) but I’m so glad I finally picked it up because it was such a good read. I finished it in two sittings and whilst it is very creepy at times, it’s more unsettling than scary and I loved it. I plan to review it soon.

Synopsis:

A year after one of their identical twin daughters, Lydia, dies in an accident, Angus and Sarah Moorcraft move to the tiny Scottish island Angus inherited from his grandmother, hoping to put together the pieces of their shattered lives.

But when their surviving daughter, Kirstie, claims they have mistaken her identity – that she, in fact, is Lydia – their world comes crashing down once again.

As winter encroaches, Angus is forced to travel away from the island for work, Sarah is feeling isolated, and Kirstie (or is it Lydia?) is growing more disturbed. When a violent storm leaves Sarah and her daughter stranded, Sarah finds herself tortured by the past – what really happened on that fateful day one of her daughters died?

shtum by jem lester

Shtum by Jem Lester

I’ve got such mixed feelings about this book – there were some good things about it and some things that I really didn’t like. I’ve about finished writing my review so I’ll be sharing that soon. 

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.

What I plan on reading next:

This Must Be the Place by Maggie O'Farrell

This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell

I’ve been wanting to read this for ages but haven’t managed to read many print books lately due to my condition but I can’t wait any longer. I’ll definitely be starting it in the next couple of days.

Synopsis:

Meet Daniel Sullivan, a man with a complicated life. A New Yorker living in the wilds of Ireland, he has children he never sees in California, a father he loathes in Brooklyn and a wife, Claudette, who is a reclusive ex-film star given to shooting at anyone who ventures up their driveway.

He is also about to find out something about a woman he lost touch with twenty years ago, and this discovery will send him off-course, far away from wife and home. Will his love for Claudette be enough to bring him back?

Maggie O’Farrell’s seventh novel is a dazzling, intimate epic about who we leave behind and who we become as we search for our place in the world.

Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman

Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman

This is another review book that I’ve had on my TBR for a while but have had to hold off reading due to others that were out first. It’s finally almost at the top of my pile and I can’t wait to start reading. I’m intrigued by how it compares to The virgin Suicides as that is a book that I loved, and which haunted me for a while after reading.

Synopsis:

This is not a cautionary tale about too much – or the wrong kind – of fucking. This is not a story of bad things happening to bad girls. I say this because I know you, Dex, and I know how you think. I’m going to tell you a story, and this time, it will be the truth.

Hannah Dexter is a nobody, ridiculed at school by golden girl Nikki Drummond and bored at home. But in their junior year of high school, Nikki’s boyfriend walks into the woods and shoots himself. In the wake of the suicide, Hannah finds herself befriending new girl Lacey and soon the pair are inseparable, bonded by their shared hatred of Nikki. Lacey transforms good girl Hannah into Dex, a Doc Marten and Kurt Cobain fan, who is up for any challenge Lacey throws at her. The two girls bring their combined wills to bear on the community in which they live; unconcerned by the mounting discomfort that their lust for chaos and rebellion causes the inhabitants of their parochial small town, they think they are invulnerable.

But Lacey has a secret, about life before her better half, and it’s a secret that will change everything . . .

Starting – and ending – with tragedy, Girls on Fire stands alongside The Virgin Suicides in its brilliant portrayal of female adolescence, but with a power and assurance all its own.

Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan

Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan

I’ve been so keen to read this book as the synopsis sounds really good and very intriguing. I hope to start reading it by the weekend and I’m looking forward to it.

Synopsis:

Margot Lewis is the agony aunt for The Cambridge Enquirer. Her advice column, Dear Amy, gets all kinds of letters – but none like the one she’s just received:

Dear Amy,
I don’t know where I am. I’ve been kidnapped and am being held prisoner by a strange man. I’m afraid he’ll kill me. 
Please help me soon,
Bethan Avery

Bethan Avery has been missing for years. This is surely some cruel hoax. But, as more letters arrive, they contain information that was never made public. How is this happening? Answering this question will cost Margot everything . . .


 

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.

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 (1 May)

 

 

 

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I’m linking this post up to Kimba’s Caffeinated Book Reviewer’s Sunday Blog Share.  


My husband had a week holiday from work this week so it’s been lovely having him home with me. We didn’t plan on doing much as it’s impossible to know how I’m going to be from one day to the next at the moment but it was nice just to have time together.

My pain levels are still up and down but I finally have an appointment to see a pain specialist this month. I’m hoping that he can help me.


My husband has been helping me re-design my blog this week – he’s taken some gorgeous photos of my books for me to use in my posts so I can’t wait to have a chance to use those. I’ve also registered RatherTooFondofBooks as my domain so my blog is now rathertoofondofbooks.com, which looks great and makes me smile to see it. I changed my blog to the new look last night and I’m very happy with it. It was a lot more work than I was expecting for various reasons but worth it.


This week I’ve managed to read three books:

The Real Book Thief by Ingrid Black

Shtum by Jem Lester

The Ice Twins by S. K. Tremayne


 I’ve blogged twelve times this week:

(Click the links if you’d like to read any of these posts)

Sunday:

Blog tour Q&A with Siobhan Macdonald (author of Twisted River)

Weekly Wrap-Up Post

Monday:

Review of Between You and Me by Lisa Hall

Tuesday: 

Review of The Second Love of My Life by Victoria Walters

Winner of my Rose’s Vintage ebook giveaway announcement post

Wednesday:

Guest Post by Sandra Nikolai (author of Fatal Whispers) about keeping one step ahead of readers when you’re a murder mystery writer

WWW Wednesday Post

Thursday:

Review of Twisted River by Siobhan MacDonald

Friday: 

Q&A with Greg Cope White (author of The Pink Marine)

Re-blog of my review of Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan

Saturday:

Stacking the Shelves Post

New Look for my Blog!


Coming up on my blog this week:

My monthly wrap-up post will be up either later today or tomorrow morning. I’ll also be joining in with WWW Wednesday, Stacking the Shelves on Saturday, and my Weekly Wrap-up on Sunday.

 


This is what I’m currently reading:

The Wacky Man by Lyn G. Ferrell

The Midnight Watch by David Dyer

The Children Act by Ian McEwan

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

This Secret We’re Keeping by Rebecca Done

Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke


 

 

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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. :)

Stacking the Shelves (30 April)

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’ve bought a few new books:

Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

I’ve heard so much about this book in recent weeks that I just knew I had to read it so I pre-ordered it. It arrived on my kindle this week and I hope to read it soon.

Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain by Barney Norris

I’ve read reviews of this book on some of my favourite blogs this week and so I knew it was a book I simply had to read. I bought a copy and it arrived a couple of days ago, I don’t think this will be on my TBR for very long as I’m very keen to read it.

Sunset City by Melissa Ginsburg

This is another book I’ve seen around a lot lately and like the sound of, hopefully it will be as good as it sounds.

Underwater by Marisa Reichardt

I’ve been wanting to read this book since it was first published but I could only see it in print format and I really wanted it on kindle so I’ve been waiting and hoping. This week I happened to notice it in an Amazon email so I rushed to buy it, I’m sure I won’t be long getting to this one.

After She Fell by Mary-Jane Riley

This book was only released this week but I’ve had it on pre-order for a while. It sounds like such an interesting premise and I hope to read it soon. It’s currently £1.99 on kindle in the UK if you want to grab a copy!

After the Lie by Kerry Fisher

I nearly downloaded this one from NetGalley to read before it was released but I knew I wouldn’t have time so I decided to pre-order it so I can read it in my own time. It arrived on my kindle this morning and I really want to read it very soon. It’s currently only 99p on Kindle!

Night blind by Ragnar Jonasson

This book was a kindle daily deal earlier this week so I snapped it up. I’ve heard such great things about this and I hope to read it soon as I feel I’m missing out by not having read it yet!

Breaking Dead by Corrie Jackson

This is a fairly new release too (I think), I spotted it in the recent Kindle sale for 99p so grabbed a copy.

The Dark Inside by Rod Reynolds

I have heard nothing but good things about this book since it was released but I put off buying it as I wasn’t sure it was for me. I saw it in the kindle sale this week and decided to take a punt, I’m sure I won’t regret it.

The Ice Twins by S. K. Tremayne

This is another book that I’ve wanted to read for ages but if I’m honest I was worried it would be too scary for me as I’m a complete and utter wimp, and this book sounds super creepy. Anyway, it was another one in the recent kindle sale so I thought I’d give it a go – I’m so glad I did as I start reading it a couple of days ago and am really enjoying it. It’s keeping me hooked!

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

This is one of those books that I’ve always meant to read but have never got around to. When I saw that Helen Simonson had a new book out recently it spurred me on to buy this one. I love the cover of the edition I bought, it’s gorgeous!

No Kiss Goodbye by Janelle Harris

I’d not heard of this book before I spotted it on my Amazon recommendations page and it sounded like a good read so I snapped it up. I’m hoping it will be as gripping as it sounds!

Books I got as part of my Kindle Unlimited Subscription:

The Accidental Life of Greg Millar by Aimee Alexander

I hadn’t realised this book was even out yet so I was surprised to see it on the Kindle Unlimited subscription, I didn’t hesitate to download it though and I can’t wait tor had it.

No Longer Safe by A. J. Waines

I’ve heard so much great stuff about this author’s books so when I saw this one in Kindle Unlimited I immediately downloaded it. I hope to read it soon.

The Insignificance of You by Tammy Robinson

This is another book that I’d seen in print form but was waiting to see if it came out in a kindle version, I was very happy to discover that it was not only out as an ebook but also in the Unlimited section. I don’t think this will be on my TBR for too long.

Judith Wants to Be Your Friend by Annie Weir

I downloaded this one purely based on the title, it sounds kind of creepy to me and I’m very intrigued to read this book!


Books I received for review:

The Wacky Man by Lyn G. Farrell (Net Galley)

I was contacted by the author of this book asking if I’d like to review the book as part of the blog tour soon. I jumped at the chance as I’d recently seen a couple of great reviews of this book and had already added it to my wishlist. I’ll definitely be reading this book in the next week as I’m on the blog tour on 7th May.

Nina is Not OK by Shappi Khorsandi (LoveReading panel)

I was thrilled to be selected to receive a copy of this book to review as it’s one I’ve been so keen to read. My review needs to be written before the end of May so I’ll be reading it in the next couple of weeks.


I was also very lucky to win a book this week, and it’s a signed copy!

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The Two of Us by Andy Jones

This is a book that I’ve been really wanting to read so I was super happy to win a signed copy this week, I can’t wait to read it!


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

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