Summerwater by Sarah Moss

About the Book

On the longest day of the summer, twelve people sit cooped up with their families in a faded Scottish cabin park. The endless rain leaves them with little to do but watch the other residents.

A woman goes running up the Ben as if fleeing; a retired couple reminisce about neighbours long since moved on; a teenage boy braves the dark waters of the loch in his red kayak. Each person is wrapped in their own cares but increasingly alert to the makeshift community around them. One particular family, a mother and daughter without the right clothes or the right manners, starts to draw the attention of the others. Tensions rise and all watch on, unaware of the tragedy that lies ahead as night finally falls.

My Thoughts

I love Sarah Moss’ writing so I was delighted to get my hands on a copy of Summerwater and I can honestly say that I adored it!

Summerwater is set during the longest day of the year at a very rainy summer in a holiday cabin park in Scotland. Each chapter is told from the perspective of the people staying in one of the cabins so we get there own experiences and their views on everyone else. Then the story moves along and eventually we meet almost all the people in the cabins and see how their holidays are going. There is a real sense of building tension through this novel as it works towards it’s shocking conclusion.

This book is brilliant. I loved meeting a person in each of the cabins, it felt like I was right there with them and watching their neighbours on this wet, miserable holiday. We follow a young mum who just wants a few minutes to relax but when her husband takes the children out for an hour she doesn’t know what to do with the time. We meet a young couple who are meant to be having a romantic getaway but the boy is obsessed with working on their simultaneous orgasms and the girl who loves him dearly but is thinking about how she’d just quite like to fry some bacon. There is the family with a teenage daughter who wants to get out and meet up with a man she’s getting to know who’s camping nearby. Also we meet an older couple, the husband likes to walk on holidays but the wife is struggling. We see things through each of their eyes in two different chapters and I found their story really moving. Alongside them is a family we don’t get to meet, they are Ukranian and everyone who watches them seems to be suspicious of them. They play loud music every night and people on the holiday park are judging their every move. The tension slowly builds in the background of everyone else’s story as they each have an existing judgement about this family that they allow to be compounded by the loud music.

I loved the way the author shows us the public side of the holidaymakers but then we get to see their inside selves, how they behave with their family and the glimpses into their secret selves; the things you’d never say but you think.

There are moments in this book where I was holding my breath as various holiday makers have near misses – accidents that could have had a different outcome, childish pranks that felt sinister and dark. The ending when it comes though is still stark and shocking. The reactions of the people around was fascinating and it leaves you thinking about how you would do in that situation.

This is a claustrophobic novella; we all know what it is to be on holiday when the weather is horrendous and there’s nothing to do. I love the way it broadly explores the perspectives of all age groups, it evokes memories we likely all have of this holiday experience.

This is an incredible novella; I finished it a few weeks ago now and I still keep thinking about it. I think it might be one of my favourite books of the year so far. I loved it and I highly recommend it!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All thoughts are my own.

Summerwater is due to be published on 20th August and can be pre-ordered here.

WWW Wednesdays (22 Jul 20)! What are you reading?

WWW pic

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading!

Current Reads

The Mothers by Sarah J. Naughton

This novel follows a police detective Iona as she starts investigating the disappearance of a married man. I’m only a couple of chapters into this one but we’ve met the group of mothers, one of whom is married to the missing man. There seems to be a class divide in the mothers’ group, and they almost seem like frenemies at the moment. I’m keen to find out what’s going on and also to see how the prologue, where someone seems to be about to smother a baby, fits into the whole story. This is definitely intriguing and I want to know more!

How To Disappear by Gillian McAllister

This is about a family who are split apart when two of them have to go into witness protection. Lauren and her daughter Zara are trying to figure out their new lives and who they have to be now. Lauren’s husband Aidan is trying to figure out how he can help them be safe. This novel is so tense, every time anyone does anything that might potentially put them at risk I find myself holding my breath. It’s really good and I can’t wait to find out what happens and if everyone will be okay!

Small Island by Andrea Levy

I read this book many years ago and remember enjoying it. I’ve heard people talking about it again recently and decided to buy the audio book so I could listen to it. Andrea Levy narrates the book and it’s excellent hearing her voice her own characters. I’m very much enjoying this one and recommend the audio book.

Recent Reads

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

I’ve had this book on my TBR for three years but I finally picked it up this week and I read it in one sitting. It’s one of the most powerful and eye-opening book on race that I’ve read to date. There is a lot of focus on Serena Williams, as well as the micro-aggressions that are so appalling and shocking. It’s a brilliant book and I recommend it to everyone.

Imperfect Women by Araminta Hall

I listened to the audio book of this from NetGalley and I really enjoyed it. It follows three women in their 40s: Eleanor, Nancy and Mary. The novel opens with Eleanor learning that Nancy has been murdered. It then is told in three parts: first Eleanor in the present, then Nancy in the past leading up to her murder, and finally it concludes with Mary. I loved the exploration of female friendship and all the complexities that come with being a group of three. I’ve already reviewed this one so you can find my thoughts here.

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

This is another audio book that I listened to on the NetGalley app. I really enjoyed this one too. It follows Leena who is given two months off work and she ends up swapping homes with her beloved Grandma Eileen. The novel alternates between them and I really loved getting to know their back story and seeing what was going to happen to them in their new lives. It’s a really heartwarming book and lovely escapism. I’ll be reviewing this soon but in the meantime I recommend it!

I Am Not Your Negro by James Baldwin

I recently watched the documentary film of the same name and found it such an emotional and interesting watch so decided to read the book soon afterwards. Raoul Peck sought permission from the Baldwin estate to look at the 30 pages of notes James Baldwin had made on a book he intended to write called Remember This House about the murders of Medgar Evans, Malcom X and Martin Luther King. He then took these notes and fleshed them out to make the documentary and accompanying book I Am Not Your Negro. It’s really well done and I’m so glad I read this one. I recommend it.

Summerwater by Sarah Moss

I couldn’t resist reading this one very soon after I was approved to read it from NetGalley as I love Sarah Moss’ writing. Summerwater is set all in one day on a Scottish cabin park. It follows twelve characters, and each has their own chapter so you really get to know them. You can sense that it’s all building towards something and this makes this slow-burn character novel impossible to put down. I read it all in one sitting and I highly recommend it.

Mine by Clare Empson

I loved Clare Empson’s previous novel Him so was really keen to read her new one and I loved it. It follows Luke in the present day as he meets his birth mother Alice for the first time and gets to know her. Then in alternating chapters it follows Alice back in the 70s as she falls in love for the first time with the lead singer of a band. This is an emotional and absorbing read and I adored it. I’ve reviewed it here.

Innocent or Guilty by A. M. Taylor

This is the oldest book on my NetGalley shelf so in my attempt to catch up I wanted to read it and I’m so pleased I finally go to it as it was a good read. It follows Olivia as she gets involved with a true crime podcast in an attempt to clear her twin brother Ethan. He’s in prison for the murder of Tyler Washington a decade earlier when they were all 18. I loved the podcast element of this novel and the short transcripts that feature throughout the novel. I did predict some of it but it didn’t spoil my enjoyment. I’ve already reviewed this book here.

Come Again by Robert Webb

This is another audiobook that I got from NetGalley and I enjoyed it. It follows Kate who is grieving after the sudden death of her husband Luke. It’s told in three parts: the first in the present day where Kate is mired in grief; the second where Kate wakes up back in the 1990s where she is about to meet Luke for the first time; and the third where Kate is back in the present and in the midst of a car chase! Olivia Colman narrates this audiobook and she really adds to the novel, I really recommend the audio. I reviewed this book here.

What I Might Read Next

I’m still working on catching up with some of my NetGalley books at the moment so in the coming days I’m likely to be reading more of them. I’m reading by whim just now but these four are the ones that appeal to me the most as I’m writing this post!

The Life We Almost Had by Amelia Henley

The Split by Sharon Bolton

The Weekend by Charlotte Wood

Watch Over You by M. J. Ford

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesdays or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

Stacking the Shelves with a brand new Book Haul (18 Jul 20)!

new sts.png
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

Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

I read and enjoyed An American Marriage last year so when I spotted this book by the author on Kindle this week I decided to treat myself. It sounds like such a good read and I’m looking forward to getting to it.

With the opening line of Silver Sparrow, “My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist,” author Tayari Jones unveils a breathtaking story about a man’s deception, a family’s complicity, and two teenage girls caught in the middle.  Set in a middle-class neighbourhood in Atlanta in the 1980s, the novel revolves around James Witherspoon’s two families—the public one and the secret one. When the daughters from each family meet and form a friendship, only one of them knows they are sisters. It is a relationship destined to explode when secrets are revealed and illusions shattered. As Jones explores the backstories of her rich yet flawed characters ”the father, the two mothers, the grandmother, and the uncle ”she also reveals the joy, as well as the destruction, they brought to one another’s lives.

Review Books

Summerwater by Sarah Moss

I was delighted to be approved to read this one on NetGalley this week as I’ve been keen to read it. I actually picked it up yesterday and read it all in one sitting. It’s such a brilliant novella! I’ll be reviewing it soon but in the meantime I highly recommend it.

On the longest day of the summer, twelve people sit cooped up with their families in a faded Scottish cabin park. The endless rain leaves them with little to do but watch the other residents. A woman goes running up the Ben as if fleeing; a retired couple reminisce about neighbours long since moved on; a teenage boy braves the dark waters of the loch in his red kayak. Each person is wrapped in their own cares but increasingly alert to the makeshift community around them. One particular family, a mother and daughter without the right clothes or the right manners, starts to draw the attention of the others. Tensions rise and all watch on, unaware of the tragedy that lies ahead as night finally falls.

Perfect Tunes by Emily Gould

I requested this one from NetGalley on a whim as I can’t resist books about music. This sounds like such a good read and I can’t wait to get to it.

It’s the early days of the new millennium, and Laura has arrived in New York City’s East Village in the hopes of recording her first album. A songwriter with a one-of-a-kind talent, she’s just beginning to book gigs with her beautiful best friend when she falls hard for a troubled but magnetic musician whose star is on the rise. Their time together is stormy and short-lived – but will reverberate for the rest of Laura’s life. Fifteen years later, Laura’s teenage daughter is asking questions about her father, questions Laura does not want to answer. Laura has built a stable life in Brooklyn that bears little resemblance to the one she envisioned all those years ago, and she’s taken pains to close the door on what was and what might have been. When her best friend – now a famous musician – comes to town, opportunity knocks for Laura for a second time. Has growing older changed who she is and what she most wants? After all the sacrifices and compromises she’s made along the way, how much is she still that girl from Ohio, with big talent and big dreams?

Imperfect Women by Araminta Hall

I read and loved Araminta Hall’s previous novel Our Kind of Cruelty so when I spotted her new book on the Listen Now section of NetGalley I couldn’t download it fast enough. I think this will be my next audiobook listen once I’ve finished my current one.

When Nancy Hennessy is murdered, she leaves behind two best friends, a loving husband and daughter, and a secret lover whose identity she took to the grave. Nancy was gorgeous and wealthy, with adoring friends and family—from the outside, her life was perfect. But as the investigation into her death flounders and her friends Eleanor and Mary wrestle with their grief, dark details surface that reveal how little they knew their friend, each other, maybe even themselves. Their enduring, complex friendship is the knot the reader must untangle to answer the question: who killed Nancy?

All The Lonely People by Mike Gayle

I’ve read some great reviews of this one so requested it on NetGalley. I’m so pleased to be approved to read this one and plan on reading it soon.

Life is waiting to happen to Hubert Bird. But first he has to open his front door and let it in. In weekly phone calls to his daughter in Australia, widower Hubert Bird paints a picture of the perfect retirement, packed with fun, friendship and fulfilment. But Hubert Bird is lying. The truth is day after day drags by without him seeing a single soul. Until, that is, he receives some good news – good news that in one way turns out to be the worst news ever, news that will force him out again, into a world he has long since turned his back on. Now Hubert faces a seemingly impossible task: to make his real life resemble his fake life before the truth comes out. Along the way Hubert stumbles across a second chance at love, renews a cherished friendship and finds himself roped into an audacious community scheme that seeks to end loneliness once and for all . . . Life is certainly beginning to happen to Hubert Bird. But with the origin of his earlier isolation always lurking in the shadows will he ever get to live the life he’s pretended to have for so long?

The Lost Love Song by Minnie Darke

I was offered the chance to read and review this book for the blog tour and I immediately said yes! This is another book that centres around a song and I love the sound of it.

This is the story of a love song . . . And like any good love song, it has two parts. In Australia, Arie Johnson waits impatiently for classical pianist Diana Clare to return from a world tour, hopeful that after seven years together she’ll finally agree to marry him. On her travels, Diana composes a song for Arie. It’s the perfect way to express her love, knowing they’ll spend their lives together . . . Won’t they? Then late one night, her love song is overheard, and begins its own journey across the world. In Scotland, Evie Greenlees is drifting. It’s been years since she left Australia with a backpack, a one-way ticket and a dream of becoming a poet. Now she spends her days making coffee and her nights serving beer. And she’s not even sure whether the guy she lives with is really her boyfriend or just a flatmate. Then one day she hears an exquisite love song. One that will connect her to a man with a broken heart . . .

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

I read and loved The Flatshare by this author last year so have been keen to read her new one. I was lucky to get this audiobook from NetGalley this week and I’m already listening to it. It’s such a lovely book and Alison Steadman and Daisy Edgar-Jones are perfect narraters. I’m very much enjoying this one!

When overachiever Leena Cotton is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen. Once Leena learns of Eileen’s romantic predicament, she proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire. But with gossiping neighbours and difficult family dynamics to navigate up north, and trendy London flatmates and online dating to contend with in the city, stepping into one another’s shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected. Leena learns that a long-distance relationship isn’t as romantic as she hoped it would be, and then there is the annoyingly perfect – and distractingly handsome – school teacher, who keeps showing up to outdo her efforts to impress the local villagers. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, but is her perfect match nearer home than she first thought?

Under A Starry Sky by Laura Kemp

This is another audiobook that I got from NetGalley this week (I’m so excited about audiobooks now being on there for review!). I downloaded this one on a whim as it sounds like such a lovely read for the summer. I’m looking forward to this one.

One summer to change her life… Wanda Williams has always dreamed of leaving her wellies behind her and travelling the world! Yet every time she comes close to following her heart, life always seems to get in the way. So, when her mother ends up in hospital and her sister finds out she’s pregnant with twins, Wanda knows that only she can save the crumbling campsite at the family farm. Together with her friends in the village, she sets about sprucing up the site, mowing the fields, replanting the allotment and baking homemade goodies for the campers. But when a long-lost face from her past turns up, Wanda’s world is turned upside-down. And under a starry sky, anything can happen…

Come Again by Robert Webb

I was thrilled to spot this audiobook on NetGalley as I’ve been so keen to read it. I’ve actually already read and reviewed this one so you can find my full thoughts here.

Kate’s husband Luke – the man she loved from the moment she met him twenty-eight years ago – died suddenly. Since then she has pushed away her friends, lost her job and everything is starting to fall apart. One day, she wakes up in the wrong room and in the wrong body. She is eighteen again but remembers everything. This is her college room in 1992. This is the first day of Freshers’ Week. And this was the day she first met Luke. But he is not the man that she lost: he’s still a boy – the annoying nineteen-year-old English student she first met. Kate knows how he died and that he’s already ill. If they can fall in love again she might just be able to save him. She’s going to try to do everything exactly the same…

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! 🙂

WWW Wednesdays (15 Jul 20)! 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!

Current Reads

Come Again by Robert Webb

I was thrilled to find that NetGalley have launched audiobooks this week and I immediately downloaded this one. I started listening to it straight away and am already halfway through it. Olivia Colman is narrating it and she is perfect for this book! The novel follows Kate whose husband has recently died and she’s not coping. Then one day she wakes up and finds herself in her 18 year old body and realises she can find Luke again and maybe this time she can save him. I’m really enjoying it and am intrigued to see where it’s going.

Innocent or Guilty? by A. M. Taylor (This also seems to be known as The Killer You Know)

This is the oldest book on my NetGalley shelf so I attempt to catch up I wanted to get to it. I did start reading this early into lockdown and just couldn’t get into it. I’m so glad I came back to it and started it again this week though as I’m totally gripped. It follows Olivia whose twin brother is in prison for murdering a boy at their school. She is persuaded to allow a true crime podcast to investigate what happened and as she is sure her brother is innocent she thinks they will help get him a re-trial. At the moment I have my suspicions about who the guilty party is but I have no idea how its all going to play out. I can’t wait to read more!

Recent Reads

How to Be An AntiRacist by Ibram X. Kendi

I’ve been reading this one all week and am glad I read it slowly so I could take in what was being said. I found this a good introduction to why it’s important to be an antiracist and why being not racist is not enough. I appreciated how the author reflects on his own racist ideas as this made the book feel very inclusive in the way it’s asking us to all look at ourselves to see how we can do better. I need to mull the book over a little more but I will review it soon.

The Search Party by Simon Lelic

I think this is my new favourite book by this author! It follows a group of friends who form a search party to look for their missing friend Sadie. Things aren’t quite as they seem though and there are quite a few secrets within this group and everyone has their own reason for wanting Sadie to be found. I enjoyed how the detective has his own tragic ties to the town and how that played into his thoughts on what might have happened. I recommend this one!

The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish

This is another gripping thriller that I devoured in one sitting! It follows two couples and the power dynamics in their relationships. It looks a lot at the obsession over money and how it is when others have more than you. There is more than one reveal in this novel as it goes along and my head was spinning by the end. I loved it though. I’ve already reviewed this one here if you’d like to know more.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

I’ve had a copy of this book since it was published but decide to borrow the audio book from the library and I’m glad I did. It works so well on audio. It follows a very privileged white woman in New York who decides to take a year out of her life and sleep it away using various medications prescribed by an unscrupulous psychiatrist. She treats her best friend appallingly and is so self-obsessed. And yet I couldn’t help but be fascinated and to care what would happen to her in the end. I loved this book and now want to read everything this author has ever written!

Finders, Keepers by Sabine Durrant

This is another book that I read in one sitting over the course of an afternoon and I loved it. It’s a novel about obsessive behaviours and it’s so good. It follows Verity who has her neighbour Ailsa living with her and we gradually learn about how they became friends and what happened to Ailsa’s husband. There is so much more to the story and I was engrossed in this one. I recommend it!

Who Did You Tell? by Lesley Kara

This novel follows Astrid, a recovering alcoholic who is back living with her mum. She starts attending AA meetings and there she meets two women – one who she forms a bond with and one who she’s immediately suspicious about. Astrid has a secret but fears someone has found out as she feels like she’s being followed and watched. I enjoyed this one! I’ve already reviewed this one so you can find that here if you’d like to know more.

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

This was one of my most anticipated reads of the year and it more than lived up to my expectations. It follows Vanessa in the past when she as 15 and in the present day. She had what she thinks as a relationship with her teacher whilst at school but it’s clear that he was actually grooming her. In the present Vanessa is forced to confront her memories of that relationship and to face that fact that maybe she, like other girls at the school, was also abused. I recommend that everyone reads this book, it’s stunning! It’s not always easy to read but it’s so powerful and so well-written. I’ve reviewed this one already so you can find my thoughts here if you’d like to know more.

Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell

This was another great read from the last week (although I had read most of it the week before)! I love Lisa Jewell’s writing and this book is every bit as good as her previous novels. It follows three people: Saffyre, a troubled teenager who goes missing; Kate whose family has moved into a flat in a new area and she’s paranoid about her husband and suspicious of the man across the road; Owen who is that man, and he is a little odd which makes people target him. Saffyre goes missing outside Owen’s house. I loved how this book gives insight into why people think the way they do and how it shows the complexity of people. I really enjoyed this book!

What I Might Read Next

I’m trying to catch up with some of my NetGalley books at the moment so the first three books that I’d like to read this week are all from my NG shelf. The fourth book is the next book that I want to read from my 20 Books of Summer TBR as I’m aware it’s nearly the halfway point of the challenge and I need to not lose momentum now!

The Mothers by Sarah J. Naughton

Mine by Clare Empson

Summerwater by Sarah Moss

Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesdays or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

Stacking the Shelves with a brand new Book Haul (23 May 20)!

new sts.png

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!

Pigeonhole Books

Afraid of the Light by Alex North

I got this book on the Pigeonhole app. It’s a collection of short crime fiction stories featuring fourteen crime writers. On Pigeonhole you get one story per day and I’m very much enjoying it. All of the stories have been brilliant so far and I can’t wait to read the rest over the coming few days.

The Babysitter by Phoebe Morgan

This is another book that I got from Pigeonhole this week and I’m already reading this one. I’ve read the first stave and am engrossed. It’s an intriguing premise for a book – a woman is found dead over the cot of the baby she was looking after, and it feels like it’s going to have lots of twists and turns!

Review Books

Precious You by Helen Takhar Monks

This is a thriller that I requested from Netgalley and is one that I’ve kept hearing about and have been intrigued. It’s a novel about obsession and how seeing something of yourself in someone else can lead you down a dark path. I think this book will be full of secrets and lies and I’m looking forward to reading it.

Dead Perfect by Noelle Holten

I was super excited yesterday afternoon when I got an email from the publisher that had a widget for me to download this right away. I loved the first two books in this series and as the previous one ended on a cliffhanger I’ve been so looking forward to getting my hands on this one. I don’t think this will be on my TBR for very long!

True Story by Kate Reed Petty

I saw this book on twitter and was so intrigued that I immediately requested a copy from NetGalley. I was approved yesterday and am thrilled. This book is described as being a campus novel, a horror novel, a psychological thriller, and a crime noir – how could you not be intrigued?! I can’t wait to pick this one up and find out what it’s all about!

Purchased eBooks

Stranger, Baby by Emily Berry

This is a poetry collection about the lasting grief from losing your mother. I’ve wanted to read this for a while so when I finally bought it this week I read it straight away. It’s a really interesting collection – some of the poems I really identified with and others required more time being taken over them. It’s a brilliant collection though and I recommend it.

The Liar by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen

I was drawn to this book by the cover but when I read the blurb I knew I had to buy it. It’s all about a girl who one day tells an awful lie and she gets a lot of attention from it. She then meets someone who is also living a lie but for completely different reasons. It sounds like such a fascinating novel and I’m keen to pick it up really soon.

Names for the Seas by Sarah Moss

I’ve had this book on my wish list for ages so when I was sorting out my wish list this week and saw it was a good price I decided to buy it. It’s a non-fiction account of when the author and. her family moved to Iceland and had to adapt to a completely different landscape and way of life. I feel like it might be quite a comforting, escapist read at the moment so I may pick this one up soon.

Lost Dog: A Love Story by Kate Spicer

I can’t remember why I put this book on my wish list but I saw a couple of negative reviews of it recently and they made me suddenly want to read it so I decided to buy it! Sometimes the reasons a person doesn’t like a book are the exact things I’m looking for in a book so I’m hoping I’ll enjoy this one.

Purchased AudioBooks

Grown-Ups by Marian Keyes

I’ve wanted to read this one every since it came out so decided to use my latest Audible credit and treat myself to the audio book. I’m excited to get lost in another Marian Keyes’ novel, she’s such a good writer. I love the premise of becoming a grown up, and when we know (if ever!) that we are one!

Blood & Sugar by Laura Shepherd-Robinson

I bought this audio book on a whim when it was an Audible daily deal one day this week. I always think I don’t like historical fiction but in reality, like with all genres, there’s probably something for everyone if you can find the element of it that you like. This book sounds like it’s the exception for me and is one I think I’m going to love!

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! 🙂

Non-Fiction November: Books I’ve Added to my TBR!

nonficnovgraphic-e1569211904841-768x768

I can’t believe that we’re already in the final week of Non-Fiction November! I’ve really enjoyed taking part this year and have not only read some fabulous books but I’ve discovered some brilliant-sounding books recommended by other bloggers. So, as part of today’s Non-Fiction November prompt from Rennie from What’s Nonfiction I’m sharing some of the books I’ve added to my To Be Read stack!

41018069._SY475_

I discovered Dope Sick by Beth Macy on Deb aka Curly Geek’s blog and found her review so compelling that I not only bought a copy of the book but I’m reading it now. It’s not an easy read because of the subject matter but it’s such a fascinating book. I also spotted The Library Book by Susan Orlean in the same post and have added this book to my wish list and plan to get hold of this one soon as it sounds really good.

the outrun by amy liptrot

On a similar theme, I read a brilliant review of The Outrun by Amy Liptrot on WhatCathyReadNext’s blog this week so I’m definitely going to be adding this book to my TBR. I find books about addiction and recovery really interesting and helpful so I’m keen to get to this one.

38085814._SY475_

During the first week of Non-Fiction November I enjoyed reading Karen at Booker Talk’s post about her favourite non-fiction and saw she recommended The Salt Path by Raynor Winn. It sounded like such a good read so I decided to buy the audio book and hope to listen to this one soon.

Over on Liz at LibroFullTime’s blog I’ve enjoyed a couple of posts. One was where she paired Bernadine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other with Lovers and Strangers by Clair Wills. I’m hoping to read the former very soon so am really interested to get hold of a copy of the latter to read alongside it. I also really enjoyed her Be the Expert / Become the Expert post. I’ve bought a copy of Bird Therapy by Joe Harkness as it sounds like a calming read, and I’ve added Names for the Sea by Sarah Moss to my wish list along with the other books about Iceland mentioned as I’m intrigued to know more.

44287149

I love reading reviews at What’s Nonfiction and it was here that I discovered that Susannah Cahalan had written another book (I loved her previous book Brain on Fire). The great Pretender sounds like my kind of book as I’m always so interested in reading about illness and diagnosis so I’ve added this one to my wish list and plan to read it soon.

34145295

On SpiritBlog’s Year in Nonfiction post I spotted a book called Bringing Columbia Home by Michael D. Leinbach and Jonathan H. Ward and I immediately looked it up. It’s about the space shuttle Columbia and as I’ve been fascinated by space ever since I was a small child I had to put this book on my wish list.

Also on the subject of space travel I was reminded by NeverEnoughNovels’ blog of The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe, which is on my TBR but I’ve never made the time to read it. I also discovered Rocket Men by Robert Kurson on this blog, it’s a book that I’ve never heard of before but it sounds like my kind of read so it’s on my wish list.

On Bookish Beck’s blog I read a great review of Unfollow by Megan Phelps-Roper, a book that was already on my radar and alongside this review was a review of Leaving the Witness: Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life by Amber Scorah, which is in a similar vein looking at what it is to leave religion and make a new life. Both of these books are on my wish list and I hope to get to them very soon.

In the week we did Book Pairings as a prompt you may recall that I recommended Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer alongside Dead Mountain by Donnie Eichar so it was great to discover on MusingsOfALiteraryWanderer’s blog recommendations for these two books along with two more: The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger and The Ledge by Jim Davidson and Kevin Vaughan. I’ve added both to my wish list and hope to get to read them soon.

UnrulyReader shared a post on Being an Expert on home organisation, which I loved reading. I second her recommendation of Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying! I discovered a few more organising books that I hadn’t heard of before so have made a note of the titles. I’m particularly interested in Good Housekeeping’s Simple Organising Wisdom.

I found HappiestWhenReading’s blog post about the best books on grief. I also recommended Motherless Daughters by Hope Edelman in one of my Non-Fiction November posts but I discovered a few new-to-me books in this post. The one that most stood out to me is  After This, and Anxiety: The Missing Stage of Grief both by Claire Bidwell-Smith so I’ve added both of these to my wish list and intend to buy them very soon.

Over on BookdOut blog a post about becoming an expert caught my attention. In the post is a selection of books about Australian true crime featuring female perpetrators and I actually can’t name just one book from this post as I’ve actually added all the books to my wish list! I can’t help but be intrigued about crime and what makes people do the things they do so I’m keen to read these books.

In another post written that week is one about books about the Royal Family over on Hopewell’s Library of Life’s blog. Again this is a post where I can’t really choose a single book as all of them look fascinating and I’ve made a note of all of the titles!

 


 

So all in all it’s been a bumper Non-Fiction November for me as I’ve found loads of new books to add to my TBR. Have you added any books to your TBR stacks during Non-Fiction November? I hope you’ve discovered some fab new books, I’d love to hear about them. 🙂

 

Fiction Mini Reviews: Louis and Louise, Something To Tell You, The BookShop of the Broken Hearted, and Ghost Wall!

MINI REVIEWS 5

Today I’m sharing yet more mini reviews of books I’ve read over the summer months.

39331412

Louis and Louise by Julie Cohen

This is such an incredible book and I loved every single minute that I spent reading it. In the book a baby is born to a couple but in one chapter the baby is a boy – Louis, and in the other chapter the baby is a girl – Louise. We then see each of their lives alternating through the novel and it’s fascinating to see how similar their lives would have been a times, and how vastly different at other times. There is one chapter part-way through the novel where the male and female versions of this person merge and it is so incredibly moving. I loved the exploration of what it is to be female or male, the different things that are expected and the different way men and women see and feel things. I also adored the idea of fate that runs through the novel, the way that some things are perhaps pre-ordained for us no matter our gender or sexuality. I adored this book, and even though it’s now weeks since I read it I still find myself thinking about. I think this will be one of my books of the year so I highly recommend it!

 

42181331._SY475_

Something To Tell You by Lucy Diamond

I do love Lucy Diamond novels and this one was such a gorgeous read! Frankie’s mum recently died and she left behind a letter for her daughter. On reading it Frankie discovers the truth about her birth and who her father is. She decides to go and see him and walks right into the middle of a Mortimer family gathering. From there we follow Frankie as she tries to make a connection with her father and other family members. We also hear from other Mortimers and see how their lives are and how they feel about Frankie. Things aren’t always plain-sailing and there are some real heart-rending moments in this book but on the whole it’s a feel-good read and I very much enjoyed it!

cover161901-medium

The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted by Robert Hillman

This is a beautiful, slow-burn novel following Tom Hope. His wife Trudy has left him taking her son Peter with her. Peter isn’t Tom’s biological son but he’s raised him and he thinks of him as his own and so is devastated to lose him. Meanwhile there’s a newcomer to the town, Hannah and she is opening a book shop. The locals are intrigued, and Tom can’t resist stopping by. He and Hannah form a bond and slowly we learn each of their histories and what has made them the way they are. Hannah’s story is incredibly moving, I wasn’t expecting it but it really did make me feel emotional. This is one of those books that slowly gets under your skin, and after you finish reading it you’ll find you can’t stop thinking abouit. I really did love this one!

cover139875-medium

Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss

This is a stunning novella, and one that I still keep thinking about. It follows Silvie who is staying at an Iron Age reconstruction in the middle of nowhere with her mum and anthropologist father. There are moments where we see what happened to an iron age girl that are visceral and heart-breaking. We then see that whilst Silvie doesn’t face the same savage life as that girl, the pain and lack of understanding that teenagers go through perhaps is such as it ever was. The writing in this book is beautiful, there is so much said in so few words. It’s a book that still goes through my mind and it’s weeks since I read it. I think it’s a book that I will re-read in the future. I recommend it!

That Was The Month That Was… June 2019!

monthly-wrap-up-post-copyrighted-4

June was a month that was full of reading and blogging so I’m a happy blogger right now! I read 30 books. I was hoping to try and blog every day in June, which I didn’t manage but, having said that, I blogged 31 times over the month (a couple of days I had more than one post) so I’m really pleased with that.

Otherwise my highlight for June came on the penultimate day of the month when we finally got to pick up our new car! It’s highly unlikely that I’ll ever be able to drive again but our new car gives me and my husband more freedom as it has a hoist in the boot to life my mobility scooter/wheelchair. Also, because it’s an SUV the seats are higher and the doors open wider so it’s easier for me to get in and out of the car.

 

Here are the books I read in June:

I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney

This thriller was really enjoyable but the final 20% or so just didn’t work for me. I do love Alice Feeney’s writing though so will be looking out for her other books in the future.

The Space Between Time by Charlie Laidlaw

This book was such a beautiful read. It got to me in a way that I wasn’t expecting and I loved that about it.

I Heart Hawaii by Lindsey Kelk

This was a wonderful ending to a fab series, it really did tie everything up in such a gorgeous way and I loved it!

The Sea Refuses No River by Bethany Rivers

This is a stunning poetry collection that explores grief after the death of a parent. I really connected to this one and recommend it.

Horizontal Collaboration by Navie and Carole Maurel

This graphic novel was such an interesting and engaging book, it really got under my skin in ways I didn’t expect it to so I really recommend it.

The Friend Who Lied by Rachel Amphlett

This was my first novel by this author and it definitely won’t be the last because I very much enjoyed it.

Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka

I’d had an ARC of this on my TBR for over a year so I was glad to finally pick it up.  It was a really gripping read so I’m really glad I read it.

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

I listened to the audio book on Scribd* and found it really interesting but the way the book was written wasn’t quite as engaging as I hoped it would be.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

I finally read this book this month and I’m so happy that I did because I loved it! I’ve had the hardback of this on my TBR ever since it was first published but somehow hadn’t read it yet. It was my priority book from my 20 Books of Summer challenge and I loved every single second that I spent reading this one!

Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I had an ARC of this but I decided to buy the audiobook as I’d heard it was good and I’m so glad I did. I completely and utterly adored this book, I think it’s going to be one of my favourite reads of the year. I highly recommend it, especially the audio!

Every Mother’s Nightmare by Mark Thomas

I knew this would be a difficult read because of the subject matter but in the end it was the endless grammar, punctuation and formatting errors that almost made me give up on this. I did finish it but I wouldn’t recommend it.

What Red Was by Rosie Price

This was an okay read for me. I enjoyed the first half but then it just started to drag a little. The writing is really good but there were too many storylines for the length of the novel. I would look out for more books by this author in the future though.

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames

This was my second book for the 20 Books of Summer challenge and I adored it! It’s such a stunning novel and one that I keep finding myself thinking about.

The Lost Properties of Love by Sophie Ratcliffe

This book is part-fiction and part-memoir and I loved it. It’s such a beautiful novel and one that really made me think over things in my own life from a new perspective. I already know that I want to re-read this.

Nutshell by Ian McEwan

I really enjoyed this short novel about an unborn baby listening in to his mother and her boyfriend plotting the murder of his father! It’s reminded me how much I enjoy Ian McEwan’s writing.

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

I had an ARC of this but decided to listen to the audio and I’m so glad I did. I think the audio really added to this book and kept me engaged in the story all the way through.

After the End by Clare Mackintosh

This book is stunning! It’s such a heartbreaking read but it will also make you think. I loved this one and highly recommend it.

She’s Not There by Joy Fielding

I bought this book a while ago and have been so keen to read it so I’m glad to have got to it in June. It’s not a book that will really stay with me but I did really enjoy the time that I spent reading it.

The Swap by Fiona Mitchell

I enjoyed this book but it was lacking something for me. I think I just wanted a little bit more depth but that’s not to say that it wasn’t an enjoyable read.

Keep You Close by Karen Cleveland

I really enjoyed this spy thriller and pretty much read it in one sitting. It’s a great premise and it’s such a gripping story so I recommend it.

Last Seen Alive by Claire Douglas

I’ve had this book on my TBR ever since it was published so when I spotted the audio on my library BorrowBox app I decided to part-listen and part-read this book. I really did enjoy this book and now I’m even more excited to read the author’s new book!

Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss

I really enjoyed this book, I read it all in one sitting as it’s a short book and it had more of an impact on me than I was expecting.

The Perfect Betrayal by Lauren North

This is such a brilliant psychological thriller; it’s one of very, very few novels where I just didn’t work out what was going to happen. It’s a flawless thriller and I loved it. I highly recommend this one!

The Trouble With Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

This is another book from my 20 Books of Summer challenge and I fell in love with this one. It’s such a gorgeous book and it’s one I’ll never forget! I did part-read and part-listen to this one (I listened on *Scribd) and the narrator, Paula Wilcox, is so perfect for this book.

Dead Mountain by Donnie Eichar

This is such a fascinating and intriguing book. I enjoyed seeing the process of how the author believes he may have solved the mystery of what happened to the hikers. I still feel like there’s something more to the story though so if anyone has any recommendations I’d love to hear them.

Furious Hours by Casey Cep

I found this book so interesting, it was such a good read. I was intrigued by the case that this book focuses on and also to learn more about Harper Lee. I will try and review this one soon but in the meantime I definitely recommend it.

Something To Tell You by Lucy Diamond

This is another book where I had a NetGalley copy but listened to it on audio. It’s such an engaging story that ends up being a really heart-warming read.

Hard Pushed by Leah Hazard

I found this book so interesting, it’s really eye-opening to read about what life is like for midwives. I’ll be reviewing this one soon.

Something to Live For by Richard Roper

I loved this novel! It’s such a moving and heart-warming book and it was such a tonic on a couple of days when I was feeling a bit low and unwell. I’ll be reviewing this one next week for the blog tour.

Me and the Table by Stephen Hendry

I downloaded the audio of this on a whim when I saw it in the BorrowBox app, and I’m so glad I did because it was a really enjoyable memoir.

 


*I’m a paid member of Scribd (as mentioned above) and they have given me a code that will allow you to sign up and get two months free (and I would get one month free). If you’d like to try them out here is the link. I love Scribd and highly recommend them.


June Blog Posts & Reviews:

I started off June by Wrapping-Up May! May was a great reading month so June had a lot to live up to, and as you can see from this post it managed it! My first review of June was Dead Inside by Noelle Holten, a brilliant new crime novel by a fab blogger and author! I then continued on with my occasional Mini review series with my thoughts on Ordinary People by Diana Evans, Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward, The Furies by Katie Lowe, and Entanglement by Katy Mahood. I read the final book in the I Heart series I Heart Hawaii by Lindsey Kelk  and managed to review it straight away for once! It was then time for This Week in Books 5 June . My next review was of an incredible novel that I read in one sitting The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood by Susan Elliot Wright. It was then my turn on the blog tour for We Never Said Goodbye by Helene Fermont and I shared my review. It was then time for my first Book Haul  of the month!

In the second week of June I posted another selection of Mini reviews of Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka, I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney, The Golden Child by Wendy James, and Need to Know by Karen Cleveland. It was then time for my stop on the blog tour for A Modern Family by Helga Flatland, a book that left its mark on me and I’m sure it’ll be one of my books of the year! I also took part in the blog tour for The Space Between Time by Charlie Laidlaw, another fab book! I then decided to go back to WWW Wednesdays  and shared my current and recent reads plus what I hoped to read next! My next review was of another incredible novel The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean, which I’m still finding myself thinking about weeks after reading it! Then it was time for another Book Haul!

In the third week of June I shared my review of The Friend Who Lied by Rachel Amphlett as part of the blog tour. It was my first book by the author and it definitely won’t be the last as I really enjoyed it. My next review was of the brilliant Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou. Then it was time for my next WWW Wednesdays post! It was then my turn to share my review of the beautiful debut novel Death and Other Happy Endings by Melanie Cantor. My final review of this week was of the moving poetry collection The Sea Refuses No River by Bethany Rivers. Then it was time for another Book Haul (eek!).

In the last week of June I started by sharing another selection of Mini reviews of An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, The Neighbour by Fiona Cummins, What Red Rose by Rosie Price, and Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter. I then got to share my review of the stunning graphic novel Horizontal Collaboration by Navie and Carole Maurel. It was my turn on the blog tour for The Perfect Betrayal by Lauren North, this was one of the best psychological thrillers I’ve read in a long time as it completely blindsided me! I also shared my latest WWW Wednesdays  post. I was delighted to share my thoughts on a gorgeous book that was part novel and part memoir The Lost Properties of Love by Sophie Ratcliffe. Up next came my review of spy thriller Keep You Close by Karen Cleveland and that was followed by my thoughts on the incredible After the End by Clare Mackintosh! I then shared another book haul and that was followed with the audio book tag!

 

The state of my TBR:

the-state-of-my-2

So I think I’m going to give up on tracking my TBR for the moment as it’s just completely out of control! I need to go through my books and have a sort out so once I’ve managed to get that done I may start tracking it again. I will be doing my mid-year book stats post later this week so my TBR will feature in that post. Eeeek!!

 

 

How was June for you? I hope you all had a good month and that you read lots of good books. Did you read many books? What was your favourite book of the month? Please tell me in the comments, I’d love to know. Also, if you have a blog please feel free to leave a link to your month’s wrap-up post and I’ll be sure to read and comment back. 🙂

 

WWW Wednesdays (26 Jun 2019)!

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:

Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident by Donnie Eichar

This is a book that I heard about a while ago and then forgot the author and title but I had remembered the blurb, so when I got an email from Amazon this week recommending it to me I immediately bought it! I’m reading this now and it’s such a disturbing and yet fascinating read about a group of hikers in 1959 who went missing and were found dead in strange and unexplained circumstances. A lot of the book is recreating who the people were and the trail they walked before they came to harm and I’m finding it so interesting.

Something To Live For by Richard Roper

I’m only a few chapters into this novel but I can tell it’s going to be a book that I love. It follows a man who has a lonely life, and his job is to deal with the funerals of people who have died alone and have no family. His work colleagues want to start a Come Dine With Me idea of each member of staff cooking for the rest of their team at their home on rotation so I’m really keen to see what this leads to!

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep

I finally picked this book back up this week and I read most of it yesterday! I’m so glad I got back into this because it’s such an interesting read. I’m up to the final section now and learning how much input Harper Lee had into Truman Capote’s research for In Cold Blood is fascinating.

 

What I recently finished reading:

The Trouble With Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

This was my third pick for my 20 Books of Summer challenge and I’m so happy that I finally read this. What a gorgeous novel – so funny in places and moving in others. I have a lovely hardback of this but I found the audio on Scribd* so I part-listened and part-read it. The narrator, Paula Wilcox, is so perfect for this book and she really added to the novel. I will try to write a full review of this one soon.

The Perfect Betrayal by Lauren North

This book was everything a psychological thriller should be and I loved it. I’ve already reviewed this so you can find my full thoughts here if you’d like to know more.

Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss

I’ve had an ARC of this on my TBR for way too long but I finally picked it up at the weekend and I read it in one sitting. I found this a really engrossing read, it had so much more to it than I was expecting and I really enjoyed it.

Last Seen Alive by Claire Douglas

I’ve finally replaced my library card and downloaded BorrowBox so I can borrow audiobooks from there. I had an ebook of this but when I saw the audio I decided to listen to it. I flew through it and was listening to it every spare minute I had as I was so keen to find out what was going on and how it was all going to end. I recommend this one.

Keep You Close by Karen Cleveland

I really enjoyed this new thriller and found it hard to put down. I’m going to be sharing my review of this one tomorrow so please look out for that then.

 

What I plan on reading next:

The Last Stage by Louise Voss

I love Louise Voss’ writing and was hoping to get to this book this week but didn’t quite manage it but it’s definitely on my stack to read next! I can’t wait!

The Hidden Wife by Amanda Reynolds

I was delighted to be approved for this book on NetGalley recently and am really keen to read it so I’m planning on making it one of my reads for the coming week!

Normal People by Sally Rooney

This is likely going to be my next pick from my 20 Books of Summer Challenge as I’ve found the audio on Scribd* so I’m going to part read my hardback and part listen to the audio. I found Conversations With Friends easier to get through on audio so am hoping it also adds to the reading experience of this one too.

 


 

*I’m a paid member of Scribd (as mentioned above) and they have given me a code that will allow you to sign up and get two months free (and I would get one month free). If you’d like to try them out here is the link. I love Scribd and highly recommend them.

 


 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesday or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

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!)

img_8009

A book with more than 500 pages

john-lennon-philip-norman

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

the-life-and-adventures-of-santa-claus-by-l-frank-baum

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

9780224060394-uk

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

eleven-hours-by-pamela-erens

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

where-am-i-now-by-mara-wilson

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

letters-from-father-christmas-by-j-r-r-tolkein

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

bossypants-by-tina-fey

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

one sarah crossan

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

img_7975

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

the second love of my life

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

mindfulness-for-health-by-vidyamala-burch

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

sweet-home-by-carys-bray

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

ghostbird cover final  front only

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

acts-of-violence-by-david-ryan-jahn

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

travelling-to-infinity-by-jane-hawking

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

restless-by-william-boyd

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

edward-adrift-by-craig-lancaster

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

IMG_5015

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.

My Top Ten Fiction Reads 2016

copy-of-weekly-wrap-upon-rather-too-fond-of-books-2

At the start of 2016 I was undecided on what to set my Goodreads target at so I asked my husband to pick a number between 150 and 200 – he chose 180 (we were possibly watching darts on the telly at the time!). I was on target for the first part of the year and then over the summer I hit a horrible reading slump. I just couldn’t get into any books at all and barely read a thing for about three months. Eventually I got back into the swing of things but was fairly convinced I’d never make my reading goal. The thing that got me back into reading again was re-discovering my love for non-fiction and that joy led me to ending the year having read 211 books! I’m thrilled with what I’ve had the chance to read this year but it has made narrowing it down to a top ten near impossible. I’ve decided that as I read a real mix of fiction and non-fiction that I’d do a top ten of each – I don’t really consider it cheating seeing as 20 books in total is still under 10% of what I read this year.

Before I do my top ten I do want to do a couple of honourable mentions.

The first is to Katey Lovell for the wonderful The Boy in… series. I’ve spent a fair bit of time feeling rotten as my pain levels left me unable to concentrate and Katey Lovell’s series of short stories have got me through some really horrible days. They take 5 or ten mins to read and have honestly always left me feeling that little bit happier than I was before. These stories hold a special place in my heart and I love knowing I can always re-read one to cheer myself up.

Also, this is the year that I decided to try giving graphic novels a go. I’ve always felt a bit odd about them as, having never looked at one before, I assumed they were just like comics (and I never liked comics even when I was a child). However, I picked up Raymond Brigg’s Ethel and Ernest during my hideous reading slump and it was the perfect read in that moment. I couldn’t believe how much detail could be packed into a book with very few words and it really opened my eyes to this genre. I also bought my husband The Gigantic Beard that was Evil as a sort of joke and when I read it I couldn’t believe what a brilliant social commentary it was.


So now for my top ten fiction books of 2016! These books are in no particular order but I have picked two books that are my joint favourite books of the year!

This Must Be the Place by Maggie O'Farrell

This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell

I adore Maggie O’Farrell’s writing – I read her first novel After You’d Gone on the day it was released and it’s still one of my all-time favourite novels. I greatly look forward to a new novel by her and was thrilled to receive a proof of this one ahead of publication. This Must Be the Place is a brilliant novel, one that will stay with me for a long time to come.

You can read my original review here: This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell

The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss

The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss

This is the first Sarah Moss book I’ve read and it absolutely won’t be the last. I picked this up when I was in a major reading slump in the summer and somehow this grabbed my attention from the very first page and held me right until the end. I read this during my blogging break so I sadly haven’t reviewed it but I can assure you that it’s a stunning read and highly recommend you pick it up if you haven’t already.

img_4731-1

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

This book is stunning and simply had to be part of my top ten of 2016, I knew it would make it as I was reading it. It’s a beautiful read and I recommend it to everyone.

Final front cover

The Joyce Girl by Annabel Abbs

This is a fascinating novel about Lucia Joyce, the daughter of James Joyce. It’s a book that will hook you in and will hold you in its spell right to the end. It made me want to learn more about Lucia Joyce.

You can read my original review here: The Joyce Girl by Annabel Abbs

autumn-ali-smith

Autumn by Ali Smith

This is one of the more recent reads in my Top Ten but it absolutely had to be included. Ali Smith is an incredible writer, I’ve loved everything that I’ve read of hers. Autumn is a book that got to me in so many ways on so many different levels and I’m sure it will stay with me for a very long time to come.

You can read my original review here: Autumn by Ali Smith

IMG_4703

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

This book just captured me from the very start – I loved the two main characters and the bond they formed over such a short space of time. I think the thing that moved me most in this book was the idea of how life can be lost in an instant but the legacy, the memory left behind can still have such great impact on those that remain. This is a book I will definitely re-read in the future.

You can read my original review here: The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

museum of you HB front

The Museum of You by Carys Bray

I loved Carys Bray’s first novel and so was very excited to be sent a proof of this one ahead of release. I read this over a couple of days, finding it very hard to put down. The idea of a young girl trying to piece together the memory of her mother in a tangible way is heart-breaking, and I felt so much for her. The reader knows more than the daughter, which makes it even more poignant to read her journey to put together what she knows of her mum. It’s a beautiful story that is ultimately heart-warming and one I still find myself thinking about months after I finished reading the novel.

You can read my original review here: The Museum of You by Carys Bray

the-easy-way-out

The Easy Way Out by Steven Amsterdam

I only read this novel recently but it had such an impact on me that I couldn’t not include it in my Top Ten of the year. A novel that explores assisted suicide, and yet is never mawkish and at times has a fair bit of black humour on the subject was always going to make for a fascinating read.

You can read my original review here: The Easy Way Out by Steven Amsterdam

And my joint favourite books of 2016 are…

Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin

I read Ghostbird way back in March and fell completely and utterly in love with Carol Lovekin’s writing. It’s such a beautiful, moving and, at times, devastating novel with magical elements weaved throughout. It captured me from the very first page and I devoured it. It’s one of those novels that seems to cast magic from it, it made me feel soothed and healed as I read. I’ve been recommending this book to everyone I know since I read it, and I’m going to say it again here – if you haven’t already read it then please go grab a copy now, I promise you won’t regret it!

You can read my original review here: Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin

How to be Brave by Louise Beech

This is a lesson for me in not getting my Top Ten books of the year done too early in December! I had this post prepared and ready to go and then I read How To Be Brave and knew there was going to have to be a re-jig as this novel went right to the top of my list! It’s a beautifully moving debut novel, that weaves together the story of a young girl and her mum coming to terms with serious illness alongside her grandfather’s battle for survival on a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean. It’s a novel that had such an impact on me and I keep finding myself thinking back to it. It’s another novel that gave me great solace when I really needed it and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

You can read my original review here: How To Be Brave by Louise Beech


So, that’s my Top Ten fiction books of 2016. What have your favourite reads of this year been? Have you had a good reading year?

Look out for my Top Ten non-fiction books post coming up tomorrow!

WWW Wednesday (27 July)

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:

On Bowie by Rob Sheffield

On Bowie by Rob Sheffield

I was beyond excited to receive a finished hardback copy of this book for review recently. I’m a massive Bowie fan and have always been quick to read new books about him. This one is wonderful because it’s a love letter about Bowie and is a must read for all fans. I’ve almost finished reading so will be reviewing soon.

Synopsis:

On Bowie is a thoughtful and loving meditation on the life of the late David Bowie that explores his creative legacy and the enduring and mutual connection he enjoyed with his fans

Innovative. Pioneering. Brave. Until his death in January 2016, David Bowie created art that not only pushed boundaries, but helped fans understand themselves and view the world from fantastic new perspectives.

When the shocking news of his death on January 10, 2016 broke, the outpouring of grief and adulation was immediate and ongoing. Fans around the world and across generations paid homage to this brilliant, innovate, ever-evolving artist who both shaped and embodied our times.

In this concise and penetrating book, highly-regarded Rolling Stone critic, bestselling author, and lifelong Bowie fan Rob Sheffield shares his own feelings about the passing of this icon and explains why Bowie’s death has elicited such an unprecedented emotional outpouring from so many.

The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss

The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss

I treated myself to this book after it showed up on my recommendations on Amazon. It sounded like a powerful read and it’s not disappointing. It’s a book I want to read slowly because it’s so beautifully written.

Synopsis:

Adam is a stay-at-home dad who is also working on a history of the bombing and rebuilding of Coventry Cathedral. He is a good man and he is happy. But one day, he receives a call from his daughter’s school to inform him that, for no apparent reason, fifteen-year-old Miriam has collapsed and stopped breathing. In that moment, he is plunged into a world of waiting, agonising, not knowing. The story of his life and the lives of his family are rewritten and re-told around this shocking central event, around a body that has inexplicably failed.

In this exceptionally courageous and unflinching novel of contemporary life Sarah Moss goes where most of us wouldn’t dare to look, and the result is riveting – unbearably sad, but also miraculously funny and ultimately hopeful. The Tidal Zone explores parental love, overwhelming fear, illness and recovery. It is about clever teenagers and the challenges of marriage. It is about the NHS, academia, sex and gender in the twenty-first century, the work-life juggle, and the politics of packing lunches and loading dishwashers. It confirms Sarah Moss as a unique voice in modern fiction and a writer of luminous intelligence.

 


What I recently finished reading:

The Sister by Louise Jensen

The Sister by Louise Jensen

This is a review book from Bookouture and it was so good. I found it hard to put down! I’ll hopefully be reviewing it soon.

Synopsis:

“I did something terrible Grace. I hope you can forgive me …”

Grace hasn’t been the same since the death of her best friend Charlie. She is haunted by Charlie’s last words, and in a bid for answers, opens an old memory box of Charlie’s. It soon becomes clear there was a lot she didn’t know about her best friend.

When Grace starts a campaign to find Charlie’s father, Anna, a girl claiming to be Charlie’s sister steps forward. For Grace, finding Anna is like finding a new family, and soon Anna has made herself very comfortable in Grace and boyfriend Dan’s home.

But something isn’t right. Things disappear, Dan’s acting strangely and Grace is sure that someone is following her. Is it all in Grace’s mind? Or as she gets closer to discovering the truth about both Charlie and Anna, is Grace in terrible danger?

There was nothing she could have done to save Charlie …or was there?

 

#ReadWithout Prejudice by Jodi Picoult

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (#ReadWithoutPrejudice)

This was a review book and I was so excited to receive a copy – I read it as the #readwithoutprejudice book so had no idea what it was about, who wrote it or what it was called! I devoured this book and it definitely got me out of my recent reading slump. I highly recommend pre-ordering it!

Synopsis:

When a newborn baby dies after a routine hospital procedure, there is no doubt about who will be held responsible: the nurse who had been banned from looking after him by his father.

What the nurse, her lawyer and the father of the child cannot know is how this death will irrevocably change all of their lives, in ways both expected and not.

Small Great Things is about prejudice and power; it is about that which divides and unites us.

It is about opening your eyes. 

 


What I plan on reading next:

If I Forget You by Thomas Christopher Greene

If I Forget You by Thomas Christopher Greene

One of my favourite books is The Headmaster’s Wife by this author – I’ve read it three times now and every time I love it more so I was thrilled to receive this surprise book post last week! It’s a gorgeous edition and I can’t wait to start reading.

Synopsis:

When Margot and Henry meet, they fall deeply in love.

And then they lose each other.

But Henry can’t forget Margot and Margot is haunted by her memories of Henry. They live in each other’s minds.

Twenty-one years later, they meet, by chance, on a Manhattan street. And that’s where their story truly begins…

If I Forget You is a beautiful exploration of what it means to find the person you are destined to be with, but then spend a lifetime apart.

 

The Beauty of the End by Debbie Howells

The Beauty of the End by Debbie Howells

This was a book I wished for on Net Galley a while ago so was excited to have my wish granted recently. I’ll definitely be starting this book in the next day or so and I’m looking forward to it.

Synopsis:

From the acclaimed author of The Bones of You comes a haunting and heartbreaking new psychological thriller about a man thrust into the middle of a murder investigation, forced to confront the secrets of his ex-lover’s past.

“I was fourteen when I fell in love with a goddess. . .”

So begins the testimony of Noah Calaway, an ex-lawyer with a sideline in armchair criminal psychology. Now living an aimless life in an inherited cottage in the English countryside, Noah is haunted by the memory of the beguiling young woman who left him at the altar sixteen years earlier. Then one day he receives a troubling phone call. April, the woman he once loved, lies in a coma, the victim of an apparent overdose–and the lead suspect in a brutal murder. Deep in his bones, Noah believes that April is innocent. Then again, he also believed they would spend the rest of their lives together.

While Noah searches for evidence that will clear April’s name, a teenager named Ella begins to sift through the secrets of her own painful family history. The same age as April was when Noah first met her, Ella harbors a revelation that could be the key to solving the murder. As the two stories converge, there are shocking consequences when at last, the truth emerges.

Or so everyone believes. . .

Set in a borderland where the past casts its shadow on the present, with a time-shifting narrative that will mesmerize and surprise, The Beauty of the End is both a masterpiece of suspense and a powerful rumination on lost love.

 

 


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.