March Wrap-Up post!

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March has been a tough month in my personal life due to my medication changes. It’s hard to get across just how difficult it is to have a condition that requires medication to manage symptoms, and how the medication then causes problems in itself. I’ve been on very strong pain medication since before I was diagnosed and now I know my condition will never improve, and may even worsen over time, I want to make the best of what I’m left with. So I took the decision to try and reduce my pain medication, in spite of the severe pain I live with. This has been a long term reduction programme and it’s been going ok. It was in March that I got to a low enough dose that I’m struggling. I do have other things that I do to help me manage my pain but it’s taken all my reserves of mental strength to cope. It’s only going to get worse over the coming weeks and I just have to prepare myself as best I can. Once I’m off this medication my pain levels will be assessed again and it may be that I end up on a different medication but I just want to see what I can cope with.

Here are the 22 books I read this month:

Scarlett Says by Scarlett Moffatt

Forever Yours by Daniel Glauttauer

The Escape by C. L. Taylor

Willow Walk by SJI Holliday

The Little Shop of Happy-Ever-After by Jenny Colgan

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

Sometimes I lie by Alice Feeney

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

And the Sun Shine Now by Adrian Tempany

Little Deaths by Emma Flint

The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

Year of No Clutter by Eve O. Schaub

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

The Sellout by Paul Beatty

Now We Are 40 by Tiffanie Darke

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

A Portrait of Bowie by Brian Hiatt

Hillsborough Untold by Norman Bettison


March Blog Posts & Reviews

I wrote my regular Weekly Wrap-Ups, Stacking the Shelves, and WWW Wednesday posts. Then I also managed to review twelve books, which I’m pleased about. It was my aim from the start of March to post three reviews a week on average and I’ve managed that. Ideally, I’d post more reviews than this but three feels manageable along side the regular posts I do each week (health permitting of course)

Here are my reviews that I shared in March:

Everything But the Truth by Gillian McAllister

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel 

It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris 

The Escape by C. L. Taylor

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia

Sometimes I lie by Alice Feeney

The Best We Could Do by Thi But

Year of No Clutter by Eve O. Schaub

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

I also shared a great guest post in March:

Mark Stewart, author of The Absence of Wings, wrote a post for my blog all about speaking up for the voiceless in his short story collection


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The state of my TBR:

I’ve had a few people ask my about my TBR recently so I just want to clarify that my TBR consists purely of books that I already own. I don’t count wish list books as TBR. This goes for anywhere that you see my TBR so if you look at my Goodreads the books listed as ‘to read’ are all books that I own. Hence the need to reduce it – if these books were just wish list books I wouldn’t be bothered how big the list was.

The State of my TBR is not great at the moment. I’ve demonstrated a lack of willpower throughout March and my TBR is creeping up, and is now higher than it was at the start of January!

I started this year with 1885 books on my TBR, and was doing well for the first couple of months as in February my TBR was down to 1861. However, in March a combination of a couple of giveaway wins, review copies arriving, a kindle book sale and spending my birthday book vouchers my TBR has now increased to 1913! I was a bit shocked when I realised how much my TBR has grown in the course of a month.

I don’t want to stop buying books but I do think I need to get better at not buying so many books each week. I’d at least like to try and not acquire more than I can read in a month so that my TBR would then remain steady, so that’s what I’m going to try and do in March. Wish me luck (or maybe that should read wish my willpower!!)

I also want to get in the habit of regularly going through my TBR and making sure that I’m only keeping the books that I still want to read. I’m thinking this should be something I do every month, or at least every quarter.


Quarterly Stats!

I’ve been tracking my reading using a spreadsheet since the start of 2017, which is the first time I’ve ever done this and I’m really enjoying seeing how various aspects of my reading are going. So I’ve decided that at the end of every quarter (March, June, September and December) I’m going to add an extra section to those monthly wrap-ups to share some of the things I’ve noticed in my reading patterns.

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I’ve read 71 books from January to March, and that amounts to 23,326 pages. I’m finding it really interesting to track pages read alongside books read as it shows that I’m not just reading short books to get my numbers up. The longest book I’ve read so far this year is The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, which has 849 pages. My average page count is 326, which is around the length of an average book so I’m pleased with that. 

I’m pleased to discover that in the first three months of this year that 65% of the books I’ve read have been by women. The diversity of my reading in other areas could be improved – I would like to read more work in translation, and also more books written in own voices but I’m otherwise pleased with the breadth of what I’ve been reading.

 

 

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I’ve read from a variety of genres and am happy that of 71 books read, 21 have been non-fiction/memoir so far. I wanted to try and make sure that around a third of what I read this year was non-fiction so I’m not far off being on track for that.

 

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I’ve also kept track of how I acquire my books so thought it would be interesting to show that here as well. Over half of the books I’ve got this year were ones I bought myself, and quite a few have been given to me as gifts. The percentage of review books are the smaller number.

 

 

 

 

All in all I’m pleased with how my reading, reviewing and blogging has been in March. I’m aware that I’m not sure how I’m going to be feeling during April so I’m not planning too much in the way of reading or blogging goals. I’ll read when I can and review when I can and see how it goes. I am going to be taking part in a couple of blog tours so am already reading those books so I can get the posts written and scheduled in advance. I’ll be using any good spells of health to read and review and write blog posts so I’m hoping to have regular content on here even if I’m not around quite as much in reality.

 

How was your March? I hope you all had a good month and that you read 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. 🙂

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WWW Wednesday (15 March) What are you reading?

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

What I’m reading now:

 

The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

I’ve read and loved Paula Daly’s previous novels so was excited to get approved to read this one on NetGalley. I started reading it last night and am hooked, I can’t wait to read more.

Now We Are 40 by Tiffanie Darke

This book is so good! I’m not quite 40 but this is my generation and the book is bringing back so many memories. I highly recommend this to anyone who is a generation X-er!

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

I was sent this for review recently and was excited to read it when I saw it was blurbed as being like ‘Gone Girl meets The Newsroom’. I’ve only read a few chapters so far and it’s a slow-burn book but it hooked me from the first chapter and I’m really keen to see what happened.

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

I started reading this last week and it wasn’t quite what I’d thought it was going to be so I put it to one side. I picked it up again earlier this week though and it has drawn me in. The descriptions of grief and loss are really heartbreaking at times as it’s believable and real, so this is definitely a book I will be continuing with.

A Portrait of Bowie by Brian Hiatt

I picked this up last week after we went to see the Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars concert from 1973 at the cinema. It’s a lovely book filled with great photos and short essays about Bowie by people who knew him. It’s one I’m dipping in and out of at the moment and I’m really enjoying it.

Year of No Clutter by Eve Schaub

I really want to get back into this book as I love books about clutter but, for some reason, it’s not grabbing my attention as much as I want it to. I think I’m going to give it another chance and if it still doesn’t grab me I may put it to one side and come back to it another time.

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

I’m still reading this as and when I feel up to it – it’s heavier non-fiction and with not being too well off and on at the moment I do struggle to take everything in. It’s a fascinating book though and I will keep picking it up when I feel up to it.

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

This is the audio book I’m listening to with my husband so we’re listening as and when we have time. We’re both really enjoying it but I’m finding myself getting annoyed with the way Collins seems to have very little consideration for the way he treats some of the women in his life. He’s either not wanted to be open in his book, or he has managed to convince himself that he did nothing wrong. I’d still recommend the book though.

What I recently finished reading:

Little Deaths by Emma Flint

I picked this up to read the first chapter whilst deciding what to read next and I just couldn’t put the book down. I ended up reading the whole novel in two sittings and was riveted. It’s a review book so I hope to have my review up soon.

And the Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

This was a really interesting look at football from the late 80s to the present day. If I’m to be honest a couple of chapters fell a little flat for me but on the whole this was a really good read and I’d recommend it to all football fans.

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

This is a graphic memoir, and it was a heart-rending read. I only started reading graphic novels last year and it still amazes me how much emotion can be packed into a book with so few words. I’ll be reviewing this on my blog as soon as I can but it is one I’ll definitely be recommending.

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia

This book was a brilliant read. It had me engrossed from very first chapter all the way through. I’m on the blog tour for this novel so my review will be up tomorrow as part of that.

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

I feel sure that this book will make my top books of this year – it’s a beautiful novel that I know will stay with me for a long time to come.

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

I read this book in one sitting – I just couldn’t put it down! I read an ARC so will be reviewing this as soon as I can. It’s a book not to be missed though.

What I plan on reading next:

The Cows by Dawn O’Porter

I’ve read and loved Dawn O’Porter’s previous novels so was really excited to see that she had another coming out soon. I can’t wait to start reading this and feel sure I’ll love it as much as the others.

A Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys

I was also thrilled to get approved to read this on NetGalley and I’m so keen to start reading once I’ve finished one of my current books.


 

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

Weekly Wrap-Up (12 March)

 

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This week has been a better week than last. I had a bad weekend last weekend coping with medication changes but once my body adjusted the last few days have been okay.

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On Tuesday I went to the cinema with my husband to watch Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars and it was brilliant. First, they showed a new interview with Woody Woodmansey about his time in the Spiders and his new book (which I’ve read and reviewed so you can read that here if you’d like to). Then they showed the whole concert from 1973. We also got given a souvenir edition of Mojo magazine with Bowie on the cover. I suffered with higher pain levels for a couple of days afterwards but it was absolutely worth it. (photo is pinched from my husband’s instagram: StaticVinyl because he takes much better photos than me!)

This week I’ve finished reading eight books:

(Some of these books I’ve been reading on and off for a few weeks so whilst I finished eight books this week, I haven’t actually read eight books in full over the last seven days)

And the Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

I’ve been reading this book for the last month and have found it really interesting for the most part. A couple of chapters held less interest for me than others but generally this was a very good book about football and the politics surrounding it. I’d recommend it to all football fans.

The Best We could Do by Thi Bui

This is a graphic memoir, which is fascinating and heartbreaking. I got this for review so will try and have a full review up soon. It’s one I recommend though.

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

This book grabbed hold of me and didn’t let go – I literally read it in one sitting and was engrossed the whole way through. I’ll be reviewing this one soon.

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

This book has been on my currently reading for a few weeks as I was struggling to hold the hardback copy to read it. I had a fairly good afternoon one day this week so I picked it up and I was captivated by the novel. I completely and utterly fell in love with this story and know it will be one that stays with me for a very long time.

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia

This is another book at I devoured. I read it in two sittings and loved it. I’m on the blog tour for this book next week (16 March) so will be sharing my review then.

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

I bought this book when it first came out and I couldn’t get into it so put it to one side. I’d heard good things about it though so I didn’t get rid of my copy. It’s recently been adapted for TV in the UK and the adverts for it re-ignited my interest in the book. I picked this up late one morning this week and I literally lost half a day to the book – I did nothing from when I picked it up to when I finished it. It just hooked me from the start. I’m so pleased that I gave this book another chance. I can only assume that when I picked it up the first time that it was just the wrong time for me because this was absolutely a 5 star read!

The Little Shop of Happy-Ever-After by Jenny Colgan

This was my audio book for the last couple of weeks and I adored it. It’s such a gorgeous story about a mobile book shop and is perfect when you need a bit of escapism.

Willow Walk by SJI Holliday

This is the second book in the Banktoun trilogy and I read this in one sitting. It grabbed me with the opening and I simply had to know what had happened. I have the third book, The Damselfly, on my TBR and I don’t think it’ll be too long before I read that one.

This week I’ve blogged five times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up

Monday: Review of The Escape by C.L. Taylor

Wednesday: WWW Wednesdays

Friday: Review of The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

Now We Are 40 by Tiffanie Darke

I haven’t hauled this book yet as I got it yesterday after my Stacking the Shelves was posted. I’m loving it though – I’m not quite 40 yet but this is my generation and all the music and cultural references are bringing back so many memories. I don’t think I’ll be long in finishing this book.

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

I started this late last night and found it really captured my attention straight away. It seems like it’ll be a slow-burn but it’s intriguing from the off so I’m keen to get back to it.

Little Deaths by Emma Flint

I’ve had this on my TBR pile since the end of last year and I’m so glad to finally be getting around to it. I’m only about a quarter of the way through it so far but it’s got me hooked and I really want to know how it’s all going to turn out.

Portrait of Bowie by Brian Hiatt

I picked this up after we watched the Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars concert as I was in the mood to read something about David Bowie. This is a lovely book, with some really nice photos of him, all written by people who knew him. I’m really enjoying reading this.

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

I got approved for this on NetGalley and decided to pick it up straight away. It’s not exactly what I thought it was going to be, and I’m struggling to really get into it a little but I’ve seen good reviews so I’m going to keep going and hope it improves soon.

Year of No Clutter by Eve Schaub

I haven’t picked this up for a few days and I’m not sure why. I enjoyed what I read initially but it’s just not calling me back to it. I will read more of it soon though as I do like a book about clutter.

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

This is still a fascinating book – I’ve struggled a bit with heavier non-fiction this week so I’ve not read as much of this as I’d have liked to but I’ll definitely be getting back to this soon.

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

This is the audio book that I’m listening to with my husband and we’ve not had much chance to listen this week but we’re both really enjoying it so will be getting back to it as soon as we have the time.

 


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Update on my TBR…

TBR at the start of January 2017: 1885 (see my State of the TBR post)

TBR in last week’s Wrap-Up: 1870

Additions:

Books bought/received for review/gifts: 7 (See the books I added this week in my Stacking the Shelves post)

Subtractions:

Books read this week: 8

Books I’m currently reading: 8

TBR Books culled this week: 0

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1871


 

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

 


 

How has your week been? What have you been reading? Please share in the comments below. If you write a wrap-up on your blog please feel free to share the link. 🙂

 

WWW Wednesdays (8 March) What are you reading

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

What I’m reading now:

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia

I started this book yesterday afternoon and am completely hooked. I can’t wait to get back to it and read more – it’s such an intriguing storyline.

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

This is a graphic memoir of a woman dealing with her family’s history and it’s incredibly moving.

Year of No Clutter by Eve Schaub

This is another book about clutter that I spotted on NetGalley a while ago and couldn’t resist requesting. It’s a good read but it’s about a clutter problem that’s on a whole other scale to what I was expecting. I’m intrigued to know whether Eve managed to deal with her clutter over the course of a year so I’ll definitely keep reading.

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

This book is such an interesting read but I have to keep stopping as the subject matter is very intense and it leaves me needing breathing space occasionally. I’m ok with working my way through it slowly though.

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

This is the audio book that I’m listening to with my husband. It was his choice of book, and I’m not really a Phil Collins fan, but I’m actually really enjoying it.

And the Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

This is still such an interesting read but one of two of the chapters have laboured the point and I end up needing a break before moving on to the next chapter. I think it’s not helped that I don’t have children so the chapter about football for kids and how it’s changing was not all that interesting to me at the level it was pitched at. I understand the bigger picture but the smaller details didn’t engage me enough. On to the next chapter soon though.

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

What I recently finished reading:

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

I have heard a lot about this book lately since the recent BBC adaptation so I was intrigued to pick it up again. I have tried to read this once before and gave up on it but I picked it up yesterday and felt like I was reading a different novel. I literally didn’t put the book down all day and read it in one sitting. It’s an incredible novel, so intense. I’m pleased the TV series is still on iplayer until the end of Wednesday as I somehow managed to record the series but missed the first episode. I’m looking forward to seeing how it translates onto the small screen.

The Little Shop of Happy-Ever-After by Jenny Colgan

This was my latest audio book and I loved it. It’s a gorgeous novel about a mobile bookshop, set in beautiful Scotland. I think I’ll be looking out for more of Jenny Colgan’s novels on audio.

Willow Walk by SJI Holliday

This is the second novel in the Banktoun trilogy and I devoured it in one sitting. I think it was even better than the first one, which I also recently enjoyed, and now I can’t wait to read the third novel!

The Escape by C.L. Taylor

I read this novel at the weekend and found it impossible to put down – I even missed the start of my team playing because I simply had to know how it was all going to end! I’ve already reviewed this book so you can read my thoughts on it here if you’d like to.

Scarlett Says by Scarlett Moffatt

This was an alright listen – it was good for passing the time when I was having a really bad day and couldn’t concentrate very well. I think it is aimed a people younger than me so I probably would have enjoyed it more if I was a good few years younger.

Forever Yours by Daniel Glattauer

I struggled with the early part of this novel and very nearly gave up on it but I very much enjoyed his previous two novels so wanted to give this one more go and I’m so glad I did. I decided to read the rest of the book in one sitting and I think the book works better when read like that, and I found myself very engrossed in the story and really wanting to know how it would end.

What I plan on reading next:

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

I’d hoped to read this book over the last week but I didn’t manage to get to it. It’s top of my list once I’ve finished one of my current reads though so I’ll definitely be getting to this one soon.

The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

I was approved for this book on NetGalley recently and have been really looking forward to reading it but haven’t had a chance as yet. Hopefully this will be the week!


 

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

Weekly Wrap-Up (5 March)

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This week has been an up and down week for me. I had a phone appointment with my neurosurgeon mid-week and I was told that there is no chance at all of me making any recovery from the damage to my spinal cord. It’s very hard to hear, even when you were expecting it. I’m trying to focus on the positives though and am thankful that at the moment my condition is relatively stable – the symptoms fluctuate but my neck is currently stable.

I’m working on pain management at the moment and it’s really hard but I’m determined to make my life as good as I possibly can in the circumstances. The next couple of months are going to be really tough with all the changes to my medication but I believe it’ll be worth it in the long run.

In better news I managed to write and post a review on my blog this week – the first one in weeks – so that felt like an achievement. I’ve got such a backlog of reviews to either write, edit or schedule so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get those posted very soon.

This week I’ve finished reading six books:

The Escape by C. L. Taylor

I’m going to be writing a full review of this book soon but for now I’ll just say that I found it impossible to put down and I loved it!

Forever Yours by Daniel Glauttauer

I really struggled with the first third of this book and was close to giving up on it but because I loved his previous two books I wanted to give it one more chance so I picked it back up during an afternoon when I had plenty of time to read. I read the final part of this in one go and I enjoyed it. It’s not my favourite of his novels but it was a good read and I’m glad I finished it. I would recommend that anyone thinking of reading this that they should maybe try and read it in one go.

Scarlett Says by Scarlett Moffatt

This isn’t my normal type of read but I bought it on a whim in an audible daily deal recently and it seemed a nice, easy kind of  book to listen to when I was having a couple of really bad days this week. I think I’m too old to really enjoy this book but it was entertaining enough.

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

This book is beautiful and I adored it. I knew the parts about Helen’s grief for her father would get to me but I didn’t expect to love the parts about her relationship with her hawk so much. I found it fascinating and very much enjoyed reading this book. I think it may well be one I read again in the future. I highly recommend reading this if you haven’t already.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

I’ve had this poetry book on my TBR since it first came out but it hadn’t caught my attention on my shelves since then. I spotted it again this week and I just really wanted to read it right away. The poems are very simply written but they still pack a real punch. I cried a few times whilst reading this collection and I bookmarked quite a few of the poems that I want to go back and read again. I really recommend this poetry collection.

Everything but the Truth by Gillian McAllister

I very much enjoyed this debut domestic noir and recommend pre-ordering it asap. I posted my review on Friday so you can read that here if you’d like to know more about the book and what I thought of it.

This week I’ve blogged five times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Thursday: February Wrap-Up

Friday: Review of Everything but the Truth by Gillian McAllister

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

Willow Walk by SJI Holliday

I recently read Black Wood, the first book in this trilogy, and enjoyed it so much that I knew I wanted to read the next book very soon. I picked this up last night and am already quite a way through it as it’s such an engrossing book. I’m really enjoying this one.

Year of No Clutter by Eve Schaub

I do love a book about de-cluttering so when I spotted this on NetGalley a little while ago I couldn’t resist requesting. I started reading it this week and am weirdly fascinated by it. I’m constantly working on de-cluttering as my natural tendency to keep things but even so I really struggle to understand how you can be happy with a room full of clutter knowing that your cat has peed all over the carpet and that there are dead mice in amongst your stuff. I’m really intrigued to see how this turns out and whether Eve ever managed to deal with her clutter.

The Little Shop of Happy-Ever-After by Jenny Colgan

I’m going through a rough patch at the moment so wanted an easy-listening audio book and this one caught my eye. It’s a gorgeous book about a woman starting up a mobile book shop and I’m very much enjoying it.

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

This book has been left to one side a bit this week as my head just hasn’t been in the right place to read it but I am keen to get back to it as soon as I can.

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

This is the audio book that I’m currently listening to with my husband and we’re both enjoying it. I’m not as much of a Phil Collins fan as my husband is but this book is still really interesting – Phil Collins has such great stories to tell and the fact that he narrated his memoir himself just adds to it.

And the Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

This is another book that has been on the back burner a bit this week – I have read some of it but not much as my brain hasn’t been good at concentrating on non-fiction over the last few days. I definitely want to get back to this soon though as I was finding it fascinating.

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

This book has also been neglected again this week as I just can’t manage to hold and read a hardback book. If I don’t manage to make progress with it this week I’m going to put it back on my bookcase to come back to at another time. The writing in this book is beautiful and I don’t want to spoil it for myself because I’m in pain whilst reading. I have loved what I’ve read so far though.


Update on my TBR…

TBR at the start of January 2017: 1885 (see my State of the TBR post)

TBR in last week’s Wrap-Up: 1862

Additions:

Books bought/received for review/gifts: 13 (See the books I added this week in my Stacking the Shelves post)

Subtractions:

Books read this week: 6

Books I’m currently reading: 7

TBR Books culled this week: 0

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1870


 

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

 


 

How has your week been? What have you been reading? Please share in the comments below. If you write a wrap-up on your blog please feel free to share the link. 🙂

WWW Wednesday (1 March)

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

What I’m reading now:

Scarlett Says by Scarlett Moffatt

I bought this audio book in an Audible deal a few weeks ago and I started listening to it yesterday as I was having a really bad pain day and needed an easy listen. I’m really enjoying it even though it’s not what I would normally pick.

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

This is such a disturbing and uncomfortable read but it’s incredibly well-researched and written. I’ve tried reading this book once before and it was too much for me but I’m so glad I gave it another chance.

The Escape by C.L. Taylor

I love Cally Taylor’s novels and this one is just as good as her previous books. I really want to find time to just sit and read the rest of this in one sitting because it’s so frustrating every time I have to put it down to do anything.

Forever Yours by Daniel Glauttauer

This book is not grabbing me and I want to keep trying as I loved his previous two novels but if it doesn’t pull me in over the next few chapters I think I may have to DNF this.

 

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

I’m still listening to this audio book with my husband and we’re both enjoying it. We only listen to it occasionally so we may well be listening to it for a while.

Blue Light Yokohama by Nicolas Obregon

I haven’t read much of this book over the last week as my concentration isn’t good and I can’t seem to follow this book too well. I’m hoping to get back to it soon as I was enjoying it.

And the Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

I’ve read another couple of chapters of this book and it’s still really interesting. I know a fair bit of what has been written about but to read it all put together in this contest really has given me more to mull over. I’d definitely recommend this book to football fans.

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

My reading of this book is still suffering because it’s a hardback. I really hope to be able to sit and devour the rest of this novel very soon.

What I recently finished reading:

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

This book is so beautiful and I think it may well be in my favourite books of this year! The way Helen writes about her grief for her father was heartbreaking and I remember all of those feelings from when I lost my mum. I knew the grief elements of this book would hook me in but I didn’t expect to enjoy the story of Helen’s relationship with her hawk as much as I did. It’s a fascinating book and I’ll be recommending it to everyone.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

I’ve had this poetry collection on my TBR for a while and it caught my eye this week so I picked it up and read it in one sitting. I bookmarked so many poems in this collection, and I had to stop reading two or three times because it made me sob. The poems are very simple but the power than can be held in so few words is stunning.

Everything but the Truth by Gillian McAllister

I read an ARC of this so I hope to have a full review up on my blog soon but for now I’ll say that I enjoyed this book a lot. It’s a novel about how snooping on a partner and then realising that they appear to be keeping something from you can have huge ramifications for a relationship.

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

Last week I was debating giving up on this book but I’m so glad that I gave it one more go as I really loved this. I finally made time to sit and read it in one sitting and I got so much more out of it for doing that. It’s a quiet novel, where not much happens, and yet there are paragraphs that took my breath away.

It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot

This is an illustrated book about mental illness. I’ll be reviewing this on my blog soon so won’t say too much here. It’s a brilliant book though and I do recommend it.

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

This is a real wow book. I read it in two sittings as I just didn’t want to put it down. The writing is beautiful and the descriptions are so evocative that this book just pulls you in and doesn’t let you go. This isn’t a review book but I would like to try and get a review up on my blog at some point. I highly recommend pre-ordering this novel.

The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

This novel is also brilliant. I started reading it late at night and I kept saying to myself that I’d just read one more chapter and before I knew it it was gone 2am. I was fascinated by Sarah Gale, I couldn’t make my mind up whether she was innocent or guilty. I keep finding myself thinking about this book, it feels like one that will really stay with me. Go buy this book now, you won’t regret it!

What I plan on reading next:

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

I was sent this for review recently and am so intrigued by the synopsis. I feel sure that this is going to be a thrilling page-turner of a book and I can’t wait to start it.

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

This is another thriller novel that has a synopsis that grabbed me – the way we’re told three things about the protagonist and that also she lie so we from the start we don’t know what is true.

Days of Awe by Lauren Fox

I treated myself to this book a couple of days ago. It’s a book that’s been on my wishlist for ages and then I happened to read a quote someone had shared from the novel this week and I knew I had to read the book asap. Hopefully it’ll live up to my expectations!


 

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

 

Weekly Wrap-Up (26 Feb)

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This week has been a quiet one for the most part so I’ve been able to do lots of reading. I’m also in the middle of sorting through my books and trying to get rid of some. I wanted to reduce my TBR this year but I’m still acquiring books faster than I’m reading them! In the process of sorting out the books on my new Kindle last week I realised that I have a lot of unread books that I’ve owned for ages and I just don’t think I’m ever going to read them so I’ve been deleting some books. The flip side of this is that I also found some kindle books that I hadn’t listed on Goodreads (and therefore weren’t included in my TBR count at the start of the year) so this means my total TBR is going to be up and down for a little while as I both delete and add books. Sorting through my Kindle books led to me looking over my bookcases and picking out some books that I also don’t think are to my taste anymore. Hopefully this will get my TBR down to the books I really want to read, and also help to reduce it somewhat!

This week I’ve finished reading six books:

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

I’ve been struggling to get into this novel for a week or two but I finally made time to sit and read it in one sitting and I enjoyed it much more when I did that. It’s a very gentle novel, that has moments in it that took my breath away. There is one moment in particular point where the loss of parents is mentioned and it was such a small sentence but it turned the novel around for me and made me notice all the pain and beauty beneath the surface.

It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot

This is a review book so I will be reviewing it soon (hopefully) but I’ll say here that it’s a really simple book about mental health issues but some of the illustrations and points made are so powerful for being so simple. It’s a book I recommend.

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

This book is stunning! I read it in two sittings and I can’t stop thinking about it. I’m so happy that I won a proof of this in a giveaway and that I got a chance to read it now. It’s definitely one to add to your lists to buy once it’s published.

The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

This is another brilliant read that I read in just a day or two. I was enthralled in Sarah Gale’s story and couldn’t put the book down for wanting to know the truth of what happened. I didn’t realise when I was reading it that a lot of it was based on a true story so it really made me pause once I knew that.

The Good Immigrant ed. by Nikesh Shukla

I have mixed feelings about this book. I’m glad I read it and some of the essays are brilliant and really made me think about things. Unfortunately, there were a couple of essays that I found offensive due to what my own family have been through and I just couldn’t get passed how that made me feel. I would still recommend the book though because it does give an insight into what it is to be an immigrant in Britain.

Black Wood by SJI Holliday

I’ve had this book on my TBR since it was published and when I saw that the third book in the trilogy was now out I decided to pick this first one up. I read it in one sitting and really enjoyed it. I’m going to read the second book this week and I can’t wait!

 

This week I’ve blogged three times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up where I share all of my bookish, blogging and real life news from the last week

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday where I share what I’m currently reading, what I’ve recently read and what I plan to read next

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves where I share my accumalated book haul from the last seven days

This is what I’m currently reading:

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

I’ve had this book on my TBR since it was published and I have tried picking it up before but my mind wasn’t in the right place to read it. I’m reading a lot of non-fiction at the moment so decided to give this another go and I’m so glad I did. It’s such a tough subject to read about but Seierstad has clearly done a lot of research and it’s very well written.

The Escape by C.L. Taylor

I was offered a copy of this from the publisher but it never arrived so I requested, and was approved, on NetGalley. I am finding this a fast-paced, intriguing book and I’m very much enjoying it.

Forever Yours by Daniel Glattauer

I absolutely adored this author’s previous two books so was keen to read this one. It’s been on my TBR for ages so as I’m trying to read through my TBR this year I picked this one up. It’s not grabbing me in the way I hoped it would but it’s interesting and I am keen to see where the plot goes.

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

This is my husband’s latest audio book pick and I wasn’t that interested in listening to it but once it was playing I found myself laughing at some of the stories Phil Collins was telling and before I knew it we’d been listening for over two hours! We’re going to listen to the rest of it together so I’m looking forward to that.

Everything but the Truth by Gillian McAllister

I’m really enjoying this novel – it’s got an intriguing premise and I can’t wait to find out what, if any, secret Jack is keeping from his girlfriend!

Blue Light Yokohama by Nicolas Obregon

This is a slow-paced but beautifully written crime novel and I’m really enjoying it. I’m keen to find out what happened to the main character in the past.

H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald

This is such a lovely book to listen to on audio and I’m really enjoying it. I’ve not had much time to listen to audio books this week but as soon as I have time I will be putting this on.

And the Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

I’ve read a couple more chapters of this since last week and am still finding it to be such an interesting and, at times, eye-opening read. 

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

I’m absolutely adoring the writing in this book and the only reason that I haven’t read it quicker is that it’s a hardback so I can only read when I can physically manage to hold it. I hope to be able to read more this week though.


Update on my TBR…

TBR at the start of January 2017: 1885 (see my State of the TBR post)

TBR in last week’s Wrap-Up: 1912

Additions:

Books bought/received for review/gifts: 13 (See the books I added this week in my Stacking the Shelves post)

Subtractions:

Books read this week: 6

Books I’m currently reading: 9

TBR Books culled this week: 55

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1862


 

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


 

How has your week been? What have you been reading? Please share in the comments below. If you write a wrap-up on your blog please feel free to share the link. 🙂

WWW Wednesday (22 Feb) What are you reading today?

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

What I’m reading now:

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See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

I won this proof in a giveaway right before Christmas and have been so keen to read it. I started it a couple of days ago and it’s everything I hoped it would be and more. The writing is stunning and the story itself is utterly engrossing. This is definitely a book to look out for this year!

Synopsis:

When her father and step-mother are found brutally murdered on a summer morning in 1892, Lizzie Borden – thirty two years old and still living at home – immediately becomes a suspect. But after a notorious trial, she is found innocent, and no one is ever convicted of the crime.

Meanwhile, others in the claustrophobic Borden household have their own motives and their own stories to tell: Lizzie’s unmarried older sister, a put-upon Irish housemaid, and a boy hired by Lizzie’s uncle to take care of a problem.

This unforgettable debut makes you question the truth behind one of the great unsolved mysteries, as well as exploring power, violence and the harsh realities of being a woman in late nineteenth century America.

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The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

I also started reading this earlier this week and am finding it very hard to put down. I’m intrigued by Sarah and really want to know what she knows!

Synopsis:

After Sarah petitions for mercy, Edmund Fleetwood is appointed to investigate and consider whether justice has been done. Idealistic, but struggling with his own demons, Edmund is determined to seek out the truth. Yet Sarah refuses to help him, neither lying nor adding anything to the evidence gathered in court. Edmund knows she’s hiding something, but needs to discover just why she’s maintaining her silence. For how can it be that someone would willingly go to their own death?

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Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

My husband isn’t a big reader but he’s recently started to listen to audio books as a change from the radio. This is his latest pick, which I wasn’t initially interested in but when he started listening to it while I was in the room I found myself really enjoying it. It’s now a book that we’re listening to together.

Synopsis:

Phil Collins pulls no punches—about himself, his life, or the ecstasy and heartbreak that’s inspired his music. In his much-awaited memoir, Not Dead Yet, he tells the story of his epic career, with an auspicious debut at age 11 in a crowd shot from the Beatles’ legendary film A Hard Day’s Night. A drummer since almost before he could walk, Collins received on the job training in the seedy, thrilling bars and clubs of 1960s swinging London before finally landing the drum seat in Genesis. Soon, he would step into the spotlight on vocals after the departure of Peter Gabriel and begin to stockpile the songs that would rocket him to international fame with the release of Face Value and In the Air Tonight. Whether he’s recalling jamming with Eric Clapton and Robert Plant, pulling together a big band fronted by Tony Bennett, or writing the music for Disney’s smash-hit animated Tarzan, Collins’s storytelling chops never waver. And of course he answers the pressing question on everyone’s mind: just what does Sussudio mean?

Not Dead Yet is Phil Collins’s candid, witty, unvarnished story of the songs and shows, the hits and pans, his marriages and divorces, the ascents to the top of the charts and into the tabloid headlines. As one of only three musicians to sell 100 million records both in a group and as a solo artist, Collins breathes rare air, but has never lost his touch at crafting songs from the heart that touch listeners around the globe. That same touch is on magnificent display here, especially as he unfolds his harrowing descent into darkness after his “official” retirement in 2007, and the profound, enduring love that helped save him. This is Phil Collins as you’ve always known him, but also as you’ve never heard him before.

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Everything But The Truth by Gillian McAllister

This book is really good – it’s a novel about a seemingly ordinary couple and is very easy to identify with the characters but then one day Rachel sees an email on her boyfriends’s iPad and it sows a seed of doubt in her mind. From then on we don’t know if she’s being paranoid and over thinking things or if he has something major to hide. I’m really enjoying it and am keen to find out what is going on in Jack’s life!

Synopsis:

It all started with the email.

It came through to her boyfriend’s iPad in the middle of the night. Rachel didn’t even mean to look. She loves Jack, and she’s pregnant with their child. She trusts him. But now she’s seen it, she can’t undo that moment, or the chain of events it has set in motion.

Why has Jack been lying about his past? Just what exactly is he hiding? And doesn’t Rachel have a right to know the truth at any cost?

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Blue Light Yokohama by Nicolas Obregon

I’m still enjoying this novel. It’s not what I thought it was going to be but it’s a great read. It’s a slow-paced crime novel, that has really gruesome moments but the writing is so beautiful that you just want to keep reading.

Synopsis:

In a beautifully written, hauntingly original first novel, Tokyo Police Inspector Iwata, recently reinstated to a new post, is assigned to investigate a disturbing multiple murder.

Newly reinstated to the Homicide Division and transferred to a precinct in Tokyo, Inspector Iwata is facing superiors who don’t want him there and is assigned a recalcitrant partner, Noriko Sakai, who’d rather work with anyone else. After the previous detective working the case killed himself, Iwata and Sakai are assigned to investigate the slaughter of an entire family, a brutal murder with no clear motive or killer. At the crime scene, they find puzzling ritualistic details. Black smudges. A strange incense smell. And a symbol—a large black sun. Iwata doesn’t know what the symbol means but he knows what the killer means by it: I am here. I am not finished.

As Iwata investigates, it becomes clear that these murders by the Black Sun Killer are not the first, nor the last attached to that symbol. As he tries to track down the history of black sun symbol, puzzle out the motive for the crime, and connect this to other murders, Iwata finds himself racing another clock—the superiors who are trying to have him removed for good.

Haunted by his own past, his inability to sleep, and a song, ‘Blue Light Yokohama,’ Iwata is at the center of a compelling, brilliantly moody, layered novel sure to be one of the most talked about debuts in 2017.

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H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald

This is my latest audio read and I’m kicking myself for not picking this up before now. It’s a wonderful and moving memoir about a woman’s relationship with her hawk, and a story of her trying to come to terms with the loss of her father. There have been moments in this book where the pain of her loss was palpable and I’ve had to stop listening to take a breather. It’s a beautiful book though and I recommend it.

Synopsis:

When Helen Macdonald’s father died suddenly on a London street, she was devastated. An experienced falconer—Helen had been captivated by hawks since childhood—she’d never before been tempted to train one of the most vicious predators, the goshawk. But in her grief, she saw that the goshawk’s fierce and feral temperament mirrored her own. Resolving to purchase and raise the deadly creature as a means to cope with her loss, she adopted Mabel, and turned to the guidance of The Once and Future King author T.H. White’s chronicle The Goshawk to begin her challenging endeavor. Projecting herself “in the hawk’s wild mind to tame her” tested the limits of Macdonald’s humanity and changed her life.

Heart-wrenching and humorous, this book is an unflinching account of bereavement and a unique look at the magnetism of an extraordinary beast, with a parallel examination of a legendary writer’s eccentric falconry. Obsession, madness, memory, myth, and history combine to achieve a distinctive blend of nature writing and memoir from an outstanding literary innovator.

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Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

I’m a bit torn about this novel at the moment. There are parts of it that I’ve really enjoyed and other parts that I’m not sure about. I think it possibly is a book that needed to be read in one or two sittings so I may put it to one side and come back to it another time.

Synopsis:

Tsukiko is drinking alone in her local sake bar when by chance she meets one of her old high school teachers and, unable to remember his name, she falls back into her old habit of calling him ‘Sensei’. After this first encounter, Tsukiko and Sensei continue to meet. Together, they share edamame beans, bottles of cold beer, and a trip to the mountains to eat wild mushrooms. As their friendship deepens, Tsukiko comes to realise that the solace she has found with Sensei might be something more.

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And the Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

I’m still finding this book fascinating, and at times, shocking. It’s a book I’d recommend to all football fans – I’d say it’s a must-read.

Synopsis:

On 15 April 1989, 96 people were fatally injured on a football terrace at an FA Cup semi-final in Sheffield. The Hillsborough disaster was broadcast live on the BBC; it left millions of people traumatised, and English football in ruins.

And the Sun Shines Now is not a book about Hillsborough. It is a book about what arrived in the wake of unquestionably the most controversial tragedy in the post-war era of Britain’s history. The Taylor Report. Italia 90. Gazza’s tears. All seater stadia. Murdoch. Sky. Nick Hornby. The Premier League. The transformation of a game that once connected club to community to individual into a global business so rapacious the true fans have been forgotten, disenfranchised.

In powerful polemical prose, against a backbone of rigorous research and interviews, Adrian Tempany deconstructs the past quarter century of English football and examines its place in the world. How did Hillsborough and the death of 96 Liverpool fans come to change the national game beyond recognition? And is there any hope that clubs can reconnect with a new generation of fans when you consider the startling statistic that the average age of season ticket holder here is 41, compared to Germany’s 21?

Perhaps the most honest account of the relationship between the football and the state yet written, And the Sun Shines Now is a brutal assessment of the modern game.

 

 

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Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

This book is so beautiful and I’m really enjoying it. It’s just suffered from being a hardback as it’s hard for me to hold sometimes. I hope to be able to finish this soon though.

Synopsis:

‘I am thinking of the days without end of my life…’

After signing up for the US army in the 1850s, aged barely seventeen, Thomas McNulty and his brother-in-arms, John Cole, go on to fight in the Indian wars and, ultimately, the Civil War.

Having fled terrible hardships they find these days to be vivid and filled with wonder, despite the horrors they both see and are complicit in. Their lives are further enriched and imperilled when a young Indian girl crosses their path, and the possibility of lasting happiness emerges, if only they can survive.

Moving from the plains of the West to Tennessee, Sebastian Barry’s latest work is a masterpiece of atmosphere and language. Both an intensely poignant story of two men and the lives they are dealt, and a fresh look at some of the most fateful years in America’s past, Days Without End is a novel never to be forgotten.

What I recently finished reading:

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The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla

I finished this book last night so am still pondering over my thoughts on it. My initial opinion is that it’s an eye-opening and at times shocking read. Some of the essays are stronger than others but all are interesting. I do have issues with one essay in particular, but that is due to something personal to me, and I’m still trying to process exactly how I feel and may well go back and read that essay again. This is an important book and I’d definitely recommend it.

Synopsis:

How does it feel to be constantly regarded as a potential threat, strip-searched at every airport?

Or be told that, as an actress, the part you’re most fitted to play is ‘wife of a terrorist’? How does it feel to have words from your native language misused, misappropriated and used aggressively towards you? How does it feel to hear a child of colour say in a classroom that stories can only be about white people? How does it feel to go ‘home’ to India when your home is really London? What is it like to feel you always have to be an ambassador for your race? How does it feel to always tick ‘Other’?

Bringing together 21 exciting black, Asian and minority ethnic voices emerging in Britain today, The Good Immigrant explores why immigrants come to the UK, why they stay and what it means to be ‘other’ in a country that doesn’t seem to want you, doesn’t truly accept you – however many generations you’ve been here – but still needs you for its diversity monitoring forms.

Inspired by discussion around why society appears to deem people of colour as bad immigrants – job stealers, benefit scroungers, undeserving refugees – until, by winning Olympic races or baking good cakes, or being conscientious doctors, they cross over and become good immigrants, editor Nikesh Shukla has compiled a collection of essays that are poignant, challenging, angry, humorous, heartbreaking, polemic, weary and – most importantly – real.

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Black Wood by SJI Holliday

I bought this book the day it was released and somehow managed to forget about it. I recently saw that the third book had been released and it made me want to immediately start reading the series… so I did. I really enjoyed this book – so much so that I read it in one sitting. I now can’t wait to read the second book!

Synopsis:

Something happened to Claire and Jo in Black Wood: something that left Claire paralysed and Jo with deep mental scars. But with Claire suffering memory loss and no evidence to be found, nobody believes Jo’s story. Twenty-three years later, a familiar face walks into the bookshop where Jo works, dredging up painful memories and rekindling her desire for vengeance. And at the same time, Sergeant Davie Gray is investigating a balaclava-clad man who is attacking women on a disused railway, shocking the sleepy village of Banktoun. But what is the connection between Jo’s visitor and the masked man? To catch the assailant, and to give Jo her long-awaited justice, Gray must unravel a tangled web of past secrets, broken friendship and tainted love. But can he crack the case before Jo finds herself with blood on her hands?

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The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

I finished reading this book a couple of days ago. It was a perfect biography for a Bowie fan, or indeed a music lover generally. It’s different to a standard biography and the author definitely puts himself into Bowie’s story but as a Bowie fan myself I loved that. This book is going on my favourite bookcase and I’m sure it’ll be one I re-read in the future.

Synopsis:

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

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Final Girls by Riley Sager

This was an ARC so I will be reviewing this on my blog soon. For now though I’ll say that I highly recommend this book. It’s a psychological thriller with elements of horror and it genuinely left me feeling very unsettled. I’m so glad I read this book.

Synopsis:

Each girl survived an unthinkable horror. Now someone wants them dead…

They were the victims of separate massacres. Grouped together by the press, and dubbed the Final Girls, they are treated like something fresh out of a slasher movie.

When something terrible happens to Lisa, put-together Quincy and volatile Sam finally meet. Each one influences the other. Each one has dark secrets. And after the bloodstained fingers of the past reach into the present, each one will never be the same.

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The Child Who by Simon Lelic

This book had been on my TBR for FIVE years despite it being one that I really wanted to read. I’m so pleased that I finally picked it up because it was very good. It gave a real insight into what it’s like to be defending a child accused of murder.

Synopsis:

A quiet English town is left reeling when twelve-year-old Daniel Blake is discovered to have brutally murdered his schoolmate Felicity Forbes.

For provincial solicitor Leo Curtice, the case promises to be the most high profile – and morally challenging – of his career. But as he begins his defence Leo is unprepared for the impact the public fury surrounding Felicity’s death will have on his family – and his teenage daughter Ellie, above all.

While Leo struggles to get Daniel to open up, hoping to unearth the reasons for the boy’s terrible crime, the build-up of pressure on Leo’s family intensifies. As the case nears its climax, events will take their darkest turn. For Leo, nothing will ever be the same again . . .

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The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

I enjoyed reading this novel. It’s not one that was particularly memorable but it’s one of those books that is perfect escapism and easy to read if you just need something engrossing enough to escape real life stress but not so taxing that you can’t keep up with the plot.

Synopsis:

This was meant to be the perfect trip.

The Northern Lights. A luxury press launch on a boutique cruise ship.

A chance for travel journalist Lo Blacklock to recover from a traumatic break-in that has left her on the verge of collapse, and to work out what she wants from her relationship.

Except things don’t go as planned.

Woken in the night by screams, Lo rushes to her window to see a body thrown overboard from the next door cabin. But the records show that no-one ever checked into that cabin, and no passengers are missing from the boat.

Exhausted, emotional and increasingly desperate, Lo has to face the fact that she may have made a terrible mistake. Or she is trapped on a boat with a murderer – and she is the sole witness…

What I plan on reading next:

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The Escape by C.L. Taylor

I was beyond excited when Avon Books contacted me to ask if I’d like to review an ARC of this book as I’ve read and loved all of CL Taylor’s previous novels. I will definitely be reading this book over the next week and I can’t wait to get started!

Synopsis:

“Look after your daughter’s things. And your daughter…”

When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn’t.

The stranger knows Jo’s name, she knows her husband Max and she’s got a glove belonging to Jo’s two year old daughter Elise.

What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo’s own husband turn against her.

No one believes that Elise is in danger. But Jo knows there’s only one way to keep her child safe – RUN.

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Willow Walk by SJI Holliday

This is the second book in the Banktoun series and whilst I don’t normally read books in a series so close together I enjoyed the first one so much that I just can’t wait to read this next one!

Synopsis:

When the past catches up, do you run and hide or stand and fight?

When a woman is brutally attacked on a lonely country road by an escaped inmate from a nearby psychiatric hospital, Sergeant Davie Gray must track him down before he strikes again. But Gray is already facing a series of deaths connected to legal highs and a local fairground, as well as dealing with his girlfriend Marie’s bizarre behaviour. As Gray investigates the crimes, he suspects a horrifying link between Marie and the man on the run – but how can he confront her when she’s pushing him away? As a terrified Marie is pulled back into a violent past she thought she’d escaped, she makes an irrevocable decision. And when events come to a head at a house party on Willow Walk, can Gray piece together the puzzle in time to stop the sleepy town of Banktoun being rocked by tragedy once more?

 


 

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

Weekly Wrap-Up (19 Feb)

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This week has been much improved from last week for the most part. I finally got a replacement Kindle Voyage sorted out under warranty and that arrived early in the week, which cheered me up. I’ve been reading a lot on my kindle this week as I was so happy to have my ereader back.

I had another spinal injection mid-week as part of a regime of trying to get my pain levels under better control. Unfortunately this injection has left me in a lot of pain – more than last time so I’m having to take things easy. I’m still hoping I will get the benefits I got last time once the initial pain has worn off. Fingers crossed!

My husband is on holiday from work this week so it’s been lovely having him home with me. We haven’t done a huge amount but it’s just nice having the time together.

 


This week I’ve finished reading six books:

Final Girls by Riley Sager

This book was one of those books that I just couldn’t put down once I started it. It was very gruesome in places and genuinely freaked me out (I was glad I wasn’t home alone whilst reading but I am a wimp!). I’ll be reviewing this book at some point soon so please look out for that.

The Child Who by Simon Lelic

This book has been a lesson to me in why I need to read more from my TBR as this has been on my Kindle unread for five years but when I started reading it this week I just got completely engrossed in the story. It’s a novel about a child murderer and how the solicitor defending him deals with the case. 

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

I enjoyed this novel – it was fast-paced and kept me hooked right to the end. It wasn’t quite as good as I was hoping it would be but it was still an enjoyable read.

Watch Me by Angela Clarke

I loved Follow Me so was really looking forward to this follow up book and I wasn’t disappointed. It didn’t have me on the edge of my seat in the way Follow Me did, but it really got to me in a different way. I already can’t wait to see where this series takes the characters of Nad and Freddie next!

A Game for All the Family by Sophie Hannah

I’m going to be reviewing this novel as soon as I can so I won’t say too much here. I did find this novel completely and utterly engrossing all the way through and read it in two sittings over last weekend!

The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

I’ve been reading this biography on and off for a few weeks now (due to me struggling to hold the book as it’s a heavy hardback) but have very much enjoyed every single page. I think this will be a book I re-read in the future, and it’s certainly one I’ll be putting on my favourites bookcase in my living room.

 


This week I’ve blogged three times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up where I share all of my bookish, blogging and real life news from the last week

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday where I share what I’m currently reading, what I’ve recently read and what I plan to read next

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves where I share my book haul from the last seven days – this week I had a splurge on a favourite publisher’s books as they had a sale on so it was a big book haul!

 


This is what I’m currently reading:

The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

I started this book yesterday and it’s so good. I’m very intrigued by Sarah and really want to know how much she was involved in the murder and what, if anything, she’s hiding. 

Everything but the Truth by Gillian McAllister

I only started this book last night but I’m already really drawn into this plot and want to know what’s going on and whether Rachel’s suspicions are justified. I can’t wait to read more of this novel!

Blue Light Yokohama by Nicolas Obregon

This novel is a little different than I was expecting but it’s still really good. It seems to be a slow-paced novel, but the beautiful writing has me engrossed.

H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald

I started listening to the audiobook version of this a couple of days ago and I’m loving it. I can’t believe I’ve waited so long to read it. The descriptions of grief have taken my breath away at times, the pain is palpable and I know how much it hurts. I knew this aspect of the book would grab me but I wasn’t expecting to love the story of the hawks quite as much as I do. I recommend this book to everyone.

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawikama

I had to put this book on hold for a week with being kindle-less but now I have my kindle back I’m hoping I can get back into this novel as I was enjoying it.

And the Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

This book is still really interesting and I’m enjoying reading it. Again, like the above book, I’ve not had much chance to read it over the last week or so with not having a kindle but I’m definitely going to get back into this very soon.

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

This is such a beautiful novel – I think it may well become a new favourite of mine!

The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla

The essays in this book are really eye-opening. I’m continuing to read one  essay and then put the book down so that I can mull over what I’ve just read. I definitely recommend this book though.

 


Update on my TBR…

TBR at the start of January 2017: 1885 (see my State of the TBR post)

TBR in last week’s Wrap-Up: 1900

Additions:

Books bought/received for review/gifts: 21 (See the books I added this week in my Stacking the Shelves post)

Subtractions:

Books read this week: 6

Books I’m currently reading: 8

TBR Books culled this week: 0

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1912

 


 

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

 


How has your week been? What have you been reading? Please share in the comments below. If you write a wrap-up on your blog please feel free to share the link. 🙂

WWW Wednesday (15 Feb) What Are You Reading today?

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

What I’m reading now:

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The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

I’ve had this on my Kindle for a while and yesterday afternoon (when my replacement Voyage finally arrived!) this book caught my eye. It’s one of those books that requires suspending disbelief but I’m enjoying it.

Synopsis:

This was meant to be the perfect trip.

The Northern Lights. A luxury press launch on a boutique cruise ship.

A chance for travel journalist Lo Blacklock to recover from a traumatic break-in that has left her on the verge of collapse, and to work out what she wants from her relationship.

Except things don’t go as planned.

Woken in the night by screams, Lo rushes to her window to see a body thrown overboard from the next door cabin. But the records show that no-one ever checked into that cabin, and no passengers are missing from the boat.

Exhausted, emotional and increasingly desperate, Lo has to face the fact that she may have made a terrible mistake. Or she is trapped on a boat with a murderer – and she is the sole witness…

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Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

I bought this in the post-Christmas kindle sale as the cover and title caught my eye. I’m really enjoying this novel and looking forward to reading more now I have my Kindle sorted.

Synopsis:

Tsukiko is drinking alone in her local sake bar when by chance she meets one of her old high school teachers and, unable to remember his name, she falls back into her old habit of calling him ‘Sensei’. After this first encounter, Tsukiko and Sensei continue to meet. Together, they share edamame beans, bottles of cold beer, and a trip to the mountains to eat wild mushrooms. As their friendship deepens, Tsukiko comes to realise that the solace she has found with Sensei might be something more.

 

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And The Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

I’m still finding this a fascinating read and am learning things that I didn’t know before. I’d definitely recommend this to football fans, and anyone interested in the politics behind sport in the UK.

Synopsis:

On 15 April 1989, 96 people were fatally injured on a football terrace at an FA Cup semi-final in Sheffield. The Hillsborough disaster was broadcast live on the BBC; it left millions of people traumatised, and English football in ruins.

And the Sun Shines Now is not a book about Hillsborough. It is a book about what arrived in the wake of unquestionably the most controversial tragedy in the post-war era of Britain’s history. The Taylor Report. Italia 90. Gazza’s tears. All seater stadia. Murdoch. Sky. Nick Hornby. The Premier League. The transformation of a game that once connected club to community to individual into a global business so rapacious the true fans have been forgotten, disenfranchised.

In powerful polemical prose, against a backbone of rigorous research and interviews, Adrian Tempany deconstructs the past quarter century of English football and examines its place in the world. How did Hillsborough and the death of 96 Liverpool fans come to change the national game beyond recognition? And is there any hope that clubs can reconnect with a new generation of fans when you consider the startling statistic that the average age of season ticket holder here is 41, compared to Germany’s 21?

Perhaps the most honest account of the relationship between the football and the state yet written, And the Sun Shines Now is a brutal assessment of the modern game.

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The Good Immigrant ed. by Nikesh Shukla

This is a brilliant book of essays that I’m finding very interesting. I’m still reading one at a time and then giving myself time to think about what I’ve read. 

Synopsis:

How does it feel to be constantly regarded as a potential threat, strip-searched at every airport?

Or be told that, as an actress, the part you’re most fitted to play is ‘wife of a terrorist’? How does it feel to have words from your native language misused, misappropriated and used aggressively towards you? How does it feel to hear a child of colour say in a classroom that stories can only be about white people? How does it feel to go ‘home’ to India when your home is really London? What is it like to feel you always have to be an ambassador for your race? How does it feel to always tick ‘Other’?

Bringing together 21 exciting black, Asian and minority ethnic voices emerging in Britain today, The Good Immigrant explores why immigrants come to the UK, why they stay and what it means to be ‘other’ in a country that doesn’t seem to want you, doesn’t truly accept you – however many generations you’ve been here – but still needs you for its diversity monitoring forms.

Inspired by discussion around why society appears to deem people of colour as bad immigrants – job stealers, benefit scroungers, undeserving refugees – until, by winning Olympic races or baking good cakes, or being conscientious doctors, they cross over and become good immigrants, editor Nikesh Shukla has compiled a collection of essays that are poignant, challenging, angry, humorous, heartbreaking, polemic, weary and – most importantly – real.

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Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

This novel is brilliant, and the writing it stunningly beautiful. I’m reading this slowly on purpose as I want to savour every aspect of it.

Synopsis:

‘I am thinking of the days without end of my life…’

After signing up for the US army in the 1850s, aged barely seventeen, Thomas McNulty and his brother-in-arms, John Cole, go on to fight in the Indian wars and, ultimately, the Civil War.

Having fled terrible hardships they find these days to be vivid and filled with wonder, despite the horrors they both see and are complicit in. Their lives are further enriched and imperilled when a young Indian girl crosses their path, and the possibility of lasting happiness emerges, if only they can survive.

Moving from the plains of the West to Tennessee, Sebastian Barry’s latest work is a masterpiece of atmosphere and language. Both an intensely poignant story of two men and the lives they are dealt, and a fresh look at some of the most fateful years in America’s past, Days Without End is a novel never to be forgotten.

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The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

I’m still very much enjoying reading this book. If I didn’t have my disability I’d have devoured this book over a couple of days but actually I’m enjoying reading it slowly, it feels like a treat.

Synopsis:

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

 

What I recently finished reading:

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Watch Me by Angela Clarke

This was such a fast-paced read and I really enjoyed it. I love Freddie and Nas and I already can’t wait to read the next in this series whenever it’s released.

Synopsis:

YOU HAVE SIX SECONDS TO READ THIS MESSAGE…

The body of a 15-year-old is found hours after she sends a desperate message to her friends. It looks like suicide, until a second girl disappears.

This time, the message is sent directly to the Metropolitan Police – and an officer’s younger sister is missing.

DS Nasreen Cudmore and journalist Freddie Venton will stop at nothing to find her. But whoever’s behind the notes is playing a deadly game of hide and seek – and the clock is ticking.

YOU HAVE 24 HOURS TO SAVE THE GIRL’S LIFE.
MAKE THEM COUNT.

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A Game For All the Family by Sophie Hannah

This book has been on my TBR since before it was released in 2015 but it got lost in amongst my other books. I spotted it when sorting out my bookshelves recently and couldn’t resist starting reading it at the weekend. I literally read it in two sittings, it had me utterly engrossed. I will be writing a review on this so please look out for that.

Synopsis:

Justine thought she knew who she was, until an anonymous caller seemed to know better…

After escaping London and a career that nearly destroyed her, Justine plans to spend her days doing as little as possible in her beautiful home in Devon.

But soon after the move, her daughter Ellen starts to withdraw when her new best friend, George, is unfairly expelled from school. Justine begs the head teacher to reconsider, only to be told that nobody’s been expelled – there is, and was, no George.

Then the anonymous calls start: a stranger, making threats that suggest she and Justine share a traumatic past and a guilty secret – yet Justine doesn’t recognise her voice. When the caller starts to talk about three graves – two big and one small, to fit a child – Justine fears for her family’s safety.

If the police can’t help, she’ll have to eliminate the danger herself, but first she must work out who she’s supposed to be…

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Just Kids by Patti Smith

This book is beautiful and I adored every single paragraph. It is absolutely a five star read and will be one I re-read in the future. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend you get a copy asap!

Synopsis:

In Just Kids, Patti Smith’s first book of prose, the legendary American artist offers a never-before-seen glimpse of her remarkable relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the epochal days of New York City and the Chelsea Hotel in the late sixties and seventies. An honest and moving story of youth and friendship, Smith brings the same unique, lyrical quality to Just Kids as she has to the rest of her formidable body of work–from her influential 1975 album Horses to her visual art and poetry.

 

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F*cking Apostrophes by Simon Griffin

My husband bought me this as a surprise to cheer me up on Friday after I’d had a crappy week. The title alone made me giggle and I very much enjoyed reading the book. It’s perfect for apostrophe pedants like me, but is genuinely a good, light-hearted guide on how to use apostrophes correctly.

Synopsis:

A hilarious, furious and profoundly useful short guide to the most maddening punctuation in English….

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The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

I managed to get a NetGalley copy of this book after struggling to hold the paperback to read it, and so flew through the final two thirds of the novel. I really enjoyed this book. I hope to get my review written and posted in the next week or two so keep an eye out for that.

Synopsis:

Beautiful. Rich. Mysterious. Everyone wants to be a Roanoke girl. But you won’t when you know the truth. Lane Roanoke is fifteen when she comes to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin at the Roanoke family’s rural estate following the suicide of her mother. Over one long, hot summer, Lane experiences the benefits of being one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But what she doesn’t know is being a Roanoke girl carries a terrible legacy: either the girls run, or they die. For there is darkness at the heart of Roanoke, and when Lane discovers its insidious pull, she must make her choice…

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The Breakdown by B. A. Paris

I picked this book up one afternoon last week and I read the whole novel in one sitting. It’s a fast-paced read that kept me hooked all the way through. I’ll be reviewing this book as soon as I can.

Synopsis:

If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman sitting inside―the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm. Her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she’d stopped.

But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby.

The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt.

Or the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her…

What I plan on reading next:

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Blue Light Yokohama by Nicolas Obregon

I was offered this for review recently and immediately said yes as it sounds like an intriguing novel. As I added the synopsis below though it actually sounds a lot more creepy than I’d initially thought so hopefully I’ll be able to read it.

Synopsis:

In a beautifully written, hauntingly original first novel, Tokyo Police Inspector Iwata, recently reinstated to a new post, is assigned to investigate a disturbing multiple murder.

Newly reinstated to the Homicide Division and transferred to a precinct in Tokyo, Inspector Iwata is facing superiors who don’t want him there and is assigned a recalcitrant partner, Noriko Sakai, who’d rather work with anyone else. After the previous detective working the case killed himself, Iwata and Sakai are assigned to investigate the slaughter of an entire family, a brutal murder with no clear motive or killer. At the crime scene, they find puzzling ritualistic details. Black smudges. A strange incense smell. And a symbol—a large black sun. Iwata doesn’t know what the symbol means but he knows what the killer means by it: I am here. I am not finished.

As Iwata investigates, it becomes clear that these murders by the Black Sun Killer are not the first, nor the last attached to that symbol. As he tries to track down the history of black sun symbol, puzzle out the motive for the crime, and connect this to other murders, Iwata finds himself racing another clock—the superiors who are trying to have him removed for good.

Haunted by his own past, his inability to sleep, and a song, ‘Blue Light Yokohama,’ Iwata is at the center of a compelling, brilliantly moody, layered novel sure to be one of the most talked about debuts in 2017.

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Final Girls by Riley Sager

My wish for this was granted on NetGalley recently and I’ve been really looking forward to starting this book. Hopefully it’ll be as good as it sounds.

Synopsis:

Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

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Broken Harbour by Tana French

Tana French’s books passed me by for ages and then when I finally read the first one, In the Woods, I was an instant fan. I’m slowly working my way through the series as I don’t want to catch up too soon and then have a long wait for the next book. I can’t wait to start this though.

Synopsis:

In Broken Harbour, a ghost estate outside Dublin – half-built, half-inhabited, half-abandoned – two children and their father are dead. The mother is on her way to intensive care. Scorcher Kennedy is given the case because he is the Murder squad’s star detective. At first he and his rookie partner, Richie, think this is a simple one: Pat Spain was a casualty of the recession, so he killed his children, tried to kill his wife Jenny, and finished off with himself. But there are too many inexplicable details and the evidence is pointing in two directions at once.

Scorcher’s personal life is tugging for his attention. Seeing the case on the news has sent his sister Dina off the rails again, and she’s resurrecting something that Scorcher thought he had tightly under control: what happened to their family, one summer at Broken Harbour, back when they were children. The neat compartments of his life are breaking down, and the sudden tangle of work and family is putting both at risk . . .

 


 

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

Weekly Wrap-Up (12 Feb)

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This week has been a bit of a stressful one at times. Last weekend was horrible  – both stressful and upsetting for me. Firstly there was a mix up over my pain medication, which was very worrying but eventually got sorted late in the evening on Friday. Then Saturday morning brought a stressful and upsetting letter, which couldn’t be dealt with until Monday so I spent the whole weekend feeling awful. It’s on the way to being sorted out now but it’s frustrating when you have to deal with the effects of companies being incompetent. The stress left me feeling really unwell for a few days so I had a quiet couple of days at the start of the week and tried to escape into some books. I haven’t managed to blog as much as I would have liked, or to read and share posts, but I’m trying to catch up now.

Then my Kindle Voyage died. I predominantly read on Kindle so I feel lost without it. I do have instant replacement warranty on it but the company aren’t replying to emails and Amazon are being very unhelpful. Luckily, I have my iPad so can read on the Kindle app  but it’s not so good on the eyes to read off a screen so I can’t read for long periods on it, plus my iPad is heavy for me to hold. All of my notes and highlights for recently read review books have been lost too so I’m going to have to try and write reviews from memory, which isn’t the best. I just hope I can get a replacement Kindle soon.

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In better news, I’ve finally managed to regain access to my Facebook account. I still don’t know what happened with FB but I’m just glad it’s back up and running. If you want to like my page, you can find me here. Also, feel free to send me a friend request, my account is here.

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I also decided to join Instagram so I’m now sharing photos of what I’m up to and what I’m reading on there. You can find me here or search for me, I’m Rathertoofondofbooks on there.

 

This week I’ve finished reading eight books:

Just Kids by Patti Smith

This book was so beautiful, I loved it. It’s definitely a book that will stay with me and I’m sure I’ll re-read it in the future. 

F*cking Apostrophes by Simon Griffin

My husband bought this as a surprise to cheer me up this week and it was a perfect gift after a stressful week. The title alone made me giggle! I enjoyed reading this short book – it’s great for people who are pedantic about apostrophes but it’s also a great book for people who want to learn more about how to use apostrophes.

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

This book really got under my skin and once I had an ebook copy I flew through it in one sitting, I honestly couldn’t put it down. I hope to get my review written and posted soon.

The Breakdown by B. A. Paris

I read this novel in one sitting – it’s such a fast-paced book that hooked me in from the opening pages and next thing I knew it was a few hours later and I’d finished it. I was sent this for review so hopefully I can get that written very soon.

Rage by Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

I have no idea where my copy of this book came from, I found it when I was sorting out my books but I’m pretty sure I didn’t buy it. I opened it to see what it was about and before I knew it I’d read the whole thing. It’s a book about a school shooting but it focuses more on the mindset of the killer than his actions.

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian

I love Chris Bohjalian’s novels so was really looking forward to reading this one when I got it for my birthday. It was a good read, not my favourite by this author but still an enjoyable book.

The Secrets of Happiness by Lucy Diamond

I listened to the audio book of this earlier this week and really enjoyed it. It was the right book at the right time when I was feeling very stressed out. It was great escapism.

Last Night Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel

I very much enjoyed this novel. Like Station Eleven it has a lot of layering, and gradual adding to the depth of the story, and I loved it.

 


This week I’ve blogged three times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap Up (5 Feb) post where I shared all of my blogging, reading and real life news from the previous week

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday post where I shared what I was currently reading, what I’d  recently finished reading and what I was hoping to read next

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves post where I shared all the books I’d added to my bookcases in the last seven days

 


This is what I’m currently reading:

A Game For All the Family by Sophie Hannah

I’ve had this book on my TBR since it was published so it’s great to finally be reading it. It’s such an engrossing read, and it has a modern-day Agatha Christie feel with the way the mystery is being set out. I can’t wait to find out how it all turns out in the end!

Watch Me by Angela Clarke

I really enjoyed the previous book in this series so was looking forward to this one coming out. I finally got to start reading it yesterday and it’s very good. It’s so fast-paced and has me hooked!

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

I bought this book on a whim last month as I loved the cover and the title. I’ve only read the first couple of chapters so far but I’m enjoying it and keen to see where it goes.

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

This novel is beautifully written. I’m deliberately taking my time over this one as I want to savour everything about it. 

And The Sun Shines Now: How Hillsborough and the Premier League Changed Britain by Adrian Tempany

This book is a fascinating exploration of football since the 80s and how the political landscape of the time has had such an impact on how football has changed.

The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla

This is a collection of essays and is such an important read. I’m reading it slowly so that I can give myself time to really think about each essay in turn.

The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

I’m still reading this book and still very much enjoying it. 


Update on my TBR…

TBR at the start of January 2017: 1885 (see my State of the TBR post)

TBR in last week’s Wrap-Up: 1904

Additions:

Books bought/received for review/gifts: 16 (I did buy couple of audio versions of books I already owned so my TBR only increased by 13. See the books I added this week in my WWW Wednesday post)

Subtractions:

Books read this week: 8

Books I’m currently reading: 7

TBR Books culled this week: 2

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1900

 


 

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

 


How has your week been? What have you been reading? Please share in the comments below. If you write a wrap-up on your blog please feel free to share the link. 🙂

WWW Wednesday (8 Feb)

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

What I’m reading now:

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Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

This books was one of my recent birthday gifts. I started reading it last night and it’s a beautiful read. I want to savour the writing so plan on reading this slowly but I highly recommend it.

Synopsis:

‘I am thinking of the days without end of my life…’

After signing up for the US army in the 1850s, aged barely seventeen, Thomas McNulty and his brother-in-arms, John Cole, go on to fight in the Indian wars and, ultimately, the Civil War.

Having fled terrible hardships they find these days to be vivid and filled with wonder, despite the horrors they both see and are complicit in. Their lives are further enriched and imperilled when a young Indian girl crosses their path, and the possibility of lasting happiness emerges, if only they can survive.

Moving from the plains of the West to Tennessee, Sebastian Barry’s latest work is a masterpiece of atmosphere and language. Both an intensely poignant story of two men and the lives they are dealt, and a fresh look at some of the most fateful years in America’s past, Days Without End is a novel never to be forgotten.

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Just Kids by Patti Smith

I’ve owned the ebook of this for ages but it never seems to get to the top of my TBR… it was recently offered for free on Audible so I downloaded it. I started listening to the audio book today and am really enjoying it. Patti Smith is the narrator so that really adds to the listening experience.

Synopsis:

A prelude to fame, Just Kids recounts the friendship of two young artists–Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe – whose passion fueled their lifelong pursuit of art.

In 1967, a chance meeting between two young people led to a romance and a lifelong friendship that would carry each to international success never dreamed of. The backdrop is
Brooklyn, Chelsea Hotel, Max’s Kansas City, Scribner’s Bookstore, Coney Island, Warhol’s Factory and the whole city resplendent. Among their friends, literary lights, musicians and artists such as Harry Smith, Bobby Neuwirth, Allen Ginsberg, Sandy Daley, Sam Shepherd, William Burroughs, etc. It was a heightened time politically and culturally; the art and music worlds exploding and colliding. In the midst of all this two kids made a pact to always care for one another. Scrappy, romantic, committed to making art, they prodded and provided each other with faith and confidence during the hungry years–the days of cous-cous and lettuce soup.

Just Kids begins as a love story and ends as an elegy. Beautifully written, this is a profound portrait of two young artists, often hungry, sated only by art and experience. And an
unforgettable portrait of New York, her rich and poor, hustlers and
hellions, those who made it and those whose memory lingers near.

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And The Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

This book is a really interesting read. I remember watching the Hillsborough disaster on the TV with my parents and being horrified at what I was seeing. I’ve followed the investigations into what happened in recent years but what I had never really thought about was how much football was changed by what happened that day. I was only 10 so didn’t really remember what football was like before then. This book looks at what happened that day, the politics surrounding the aftermath and how the Premier League came to be what it is today.

Synopsis:

On 15 April 1989, 96 people were fatally injured on a football terrace at an FA Cup semi-final in Sheffield. The Hillsborough disaster was broadcast live on the BBC; it left millions of people traumatised, and English football in ruins.

And the Sun Shines Now is not a book about Hillsborough. It is a book about what arrived in the wake of unquestionably the most controversial tragedy in the post-war era of Britain’s history. The Taylor Report. Italia 90. Gazza’s tears. All seater stadia. Murdoch. Sky. Nick Hornby. The Premier League. The transformation of a game that once connected club to community to individual into a global business so rapacious the true fans have been forgotten, disenfranchised.

In powerful polemical prose, against a backbone of rigorous research and interviews, Adrian Tempany deconstructs the past quarter century of English football and examines its place in the world. How did Hillsborough and the death of 96 Liverpool fans come to change the national game beyond recognition? And is there any hope that clubs can reconnect with a new generation of fans when you consider the startling statistic that the average age of season ticket holder here is 41, compared to Germany’s 21?

Perhaps the most honest account of the relationship between the football and the state yet written, And the Sun Shines Now is a brutal assessment of the modern game.

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Books for Living by Will Schwalbe

This is such a wonderful book. I loved Will Schwalbe’s previous book so have been keen to read this one. Unfortunately the NetGalley copy is really difficult to read because of all the copyrighting through the book so I may have to leave this one for now and wait until I can buy a copy. The actual writing is wonderful though.

Synopsis:

Why is it that we read? Is it to pass time? To learn something new? To escape into another reality?
For Will Schwalbe, reading is a way to entertain himself but also to make sense of the world, to become a better person, and to find the answers to the big (and small) questions about how to live his life. In this delightful celebration of reading, Schwalbe invites us along on his quest for books that speak to the specific challenges of living in our modern world, with all its noise and distractions.
In each chapter, he discusses a particular book-what brought him to it (or vice versa), the people in his life he associates with it, and how it became a part of his understanding of himself in the world. These books span centuries and genres (from classic works of adult and children’s literature to contemporary thrillers and even a cookbook), and each one relates to the questions and concerns we all share. Throughout, Schwalbe focuses on the way certain books can help us honour those we’ve loved and lost, and also figure out how to live each day more fully.
Rich with stories and recommendations, Books for Living is a treasure for everyone who loves books and loves to hear the answer to the question: “What are you reading?”

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The Good Immigrant ed. by Nikesh Shukla

This has been on my wishlist for a while so when I spotted it in the Kindle sale last week I snapped it up. I’m reading it slowly so that I can really take in and think about what is being said. I highly recommend it.

Synopsis:

How does it feel to be constantly regarded as a potential threat, strip-searched at every airport?

Or be told that, as an actress, the part you’re most fitted to play is ‘wife of a terrorist’? How does it feel to have words from your native language misused, misappropriated and used aggressively towards you? How does it feel to hear a child of colour say in a classroom that stories can only be about white people? How does it feel to go ‘home’ to India when your home is really London? What is it like to feel you always have to be an ambassador for your race? How does it feel to always tick ‘Other’?

Bringing together 21 exciting black, Asian and minority ethnic voices emerging in Britain today, The Good Immigrant explores why immigrants come to the UK, why they stay and what it means to be ‘other’ in a country that doesn’t seem to want you, doesn’t truly accept you – however many generations you’ve been here – but still needs you for its diversity monitoring forms.

Inspired by discussion around why society appears to deem people of colour as bad immigrants – job stealers, benefit scroungers, undeserving refugees – until, by winning Olympic races or baking good cakes, or being conscientious doctors, they cross over and become good immigrants, editor Nikesh Shukla has compiled a collection of essays that are poignant, challenging, angry, humorous, heartbreaking, polemic, weary and – most importantly – real.

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The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

I’ve not managed to pick this up since last week as I’m still struggling to hold the print copy. I’ve really enjoyed what I have read but it’s just slow-going with my health being what it is at the moment.

Synopsis:

Beautiful.
Rich.
Mysterious.

The Roanoke girls seem to have it all. But there’s a dark truth about them which is never spoken. Every girl either runs away, or dies.

Lane is one of the lucky ones. When she was fifteen, over one long, hot summer at her grandparents’ estate in rural Kansas, she found out what it really means to be a Roanoke girl. Lane ran, far and fast. Until eleven years later, when her cousin Allegra goes missing – and Lane has no choice but to go back.

She is a Roanoke girl.

Is she strong enough to escape a second time?

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The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

I’ve managed to read a bit more of this over the last week as the section I’m up to is set out in really small segments, which are perfect for dipping in and out of as and when I can manage to hold the book. 

Synopsis:

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

 

What I recently finished reading:

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Rage by Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

I was sorting through my books over the last few days and found I owned a copy of this. I don’t know where it came from as I’m sure it’s not mine but I opened it to see what it was about and ending up reading it in one sitting. It’s about a school shooting but has more depth to it than I expected.

Synopsis:

A disturbed high-school student with authority problems kills one of his teachers and takes the rest of his class hostage. Over the course of one long, tense and unbearable hot afternoon, Charlie Decker explains what led him to this drastic sequence of events, while at the same time deconstructing the personalities of his classmates, forcing each one to justify his or her existence.

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Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian

This was another of my birthday gifts and I really enjoyed reading it. I would say that it’s not the best book by this author but it is a really good read. 

Synopsis:

Emily Shepard is on the run; the nuclear plant where her father worked has suffered a cataclysmic meltdown, and all fingers point to him. Now, orphaned, homeless, and certain that she s a pariah, Emily s taken to hiding out on the frigid streets of Burlington, Vermont, creating a new identity inspired by her favorite poet, Emily Dickinson.
Then she meets Cameron. Nine years old and with a string of foster families behind him, he sparks something in Emily, and she protects him with a fierceness she didn t know she possessed. But when an emergency threatens the fledgling home she s created, Emily realizes that she can’t hide forever.”

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The Secrets of Happiness by Lucy Diamond

I listened to the audiobook of this over the last few days and really enjoyed it. It was an easy read but one that I found engaging enough to keep me interested. It’s made me want to pick up more of Lucy Diamond’s novels in the future.

Synopsis:

The best things in life . . . can be just around the corner

Rachel and Becca aren’t real sisters, or so they say. They are stepsisters, living far apart, with little in common. Rachel is the successful one: happily married with three children and a big house, plus an impressive career. Artistic Becca, meanwhile, lurches from one dead-end job to another, shares a titchy flat, and has given up on love.

The two of them have lost touch, but when Rachel doesn’t come home one night, Becca is called in to help.
Once there, she quickly realizes that her stepsister’s life is not so perfect after all: Rachel’s handsome husband
has moved out, her children are rebelling, and her glamorous career has taken a nosedive. Worst of all,
nobody seems to have a clue where she might be.

As Becca begins to untangle Rachel’s secrets, she is forced to confront some uncomfortable truths about
her own life, and the future seems uncertain.

But sometimes happiness can be found in the most unexpected places . . .

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Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel

I very much enjoyed this book and am so glad I finally picked it up. It’s an intriguing story that is beautifully written. I can see how Emily St. John went from here to Station Eleven. I definitely want to read her other books soon.

Synopsis:

Lilia has been leaving people behind her entire life. Haunted by her inability to remember her early childhood, and by a mysterious shadow that seems to dog her wherever she goes, Lilia moves restlessly from city to city, abandoning lovers and friends along the way. But then she meets Eli, and he’s not ready to let her go, not without a fight.

Gorgeously written, charged with tension and foreboding, Emily St. John Mandel’s Last Night in Montreal is the story of a life spent at the centre of a criminal investigation. It is a novel about identity, love and amnesia, the depths and limits of family bonds and – ultimately – about the nature of obsession.

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The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

This book is huge but I still read it over just ten days and I loved it. The story goes round and around and the characters kept on surprising me. When I wasn’t reading it I couldn’t wait to get back to it and now I’ve finished it I really miss it. I highly recommend this.

Synopsis:

It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.
The Luminaries is an extraordinary piece of fiction. It is full of narrative, linguistic and psychological pleasures, and has a fiendishly clever and original structuring device. Written in pitch-perfect historical register, richly evoking a mid-19th century world of shipping and banking and goldrush boom and bust, it is also a ghost story, and a gripping mystery. It is a thrilling achievement and will confirm for critics and readers that Catton is one of the brightest stars in the international writing firmament.

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Well-Read Women by Samantha Hahn

This isn’t really a book to read but I’m including it because the paintings and quotes kept me engrossed looking at this for a whole afternoon, even though it’s only 112 pages long. I’d recommend this to all book lovers, it’s a gorgeous book. I think it’ll be one I often get out to look at.

Synopsis:

A treasure of a gift for the well-read woman, this collection brings together 50 stirring portraits, in watercolour and in word, of literature’s most well-read female characters. Anna Karenina, Clarissa Dalloway, Daisy Buchanan…each seems to live on the page through celebrated artist Samantha Hahn’s evocative portraits and hand-lettered quotations, with the pairing of art and text capturing all the spirit of the character as she was originally written. The book itself evokes vintage grace re-imagined for contemporary taste, with a cloth spine silk-screened in a graphic pattern, debossed cover, and pages that turn with the tactile satisfaction of watercolour paper. In the hand and in the reading, here is a new classic for the book lover’s library.

 

What I plan on reading next:

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The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

I bought this at the end of last week and I can’t wait to start it, it sounds so good!

Synopsis:

After Sarah petitions for mercy, Edmund Fleetwood is appointed to investigate and consider whether justice has been done. Idealistic, but struggling with his own demons, Edmund is determined to seek out the truth. Yet Sarah refuses to help him, neither lying nor adding anything to the evidence gathered in court. Edmund knows she’s hiding something, but needs to discover just why she’s maintaining her silence. For how can it be that someone would willingly go to their own death?

 

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Watch Me by Angela Clarke

I really enjoyed Follow Me when I read it so have been eagerly awaiting the second book in this series. I hope to get a chance to start reading it over the next few days!

Synopsis:

YOU HAVE SIX SECONDS TO READ THIS MESSAGE…

The body of a 15-year-old is found hours after she sends a desperate message to her friends. It looks like suicide, until a second girl disappears.

This time, the message is sent directly to the Metropolitan Police – and an officer’s younger sister is missing.

DS Nasreen Cudmore and journalist Freddie Venton will stop at nothing to find her. But whoever’s behind the notes is playing a deadly game of hide and seek – and the clock is ticking.

YOU HAVE 24 HOURS TO SAVE THE GIRL’S LIFE.
MAKE THEM COUNT.

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Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

I can’t believe that I’ve not read this novel before! I finally bought myself a copy this week and don’t think it’ll be on my TBR for more than  few days as it sounds incredible.

Synopsis:

Latin terrorists storm an international gathering hosted by an underprivileged country to promote foreign interest and trade, only to find that their intended target, the President, has stayed home to watch his favourite soap opera on TV. Among the hostages are a world class opera singer and her biggest fan, a Japanese tycoon who has been persuaded to attend the party on the understanding that she will perform half a dozen arias after dinner.

The tycoon’s engaging and sympathetic translator plays a vital role in the subsequent relationships between so many different nationalities closeted together, interpreting not only the terrorists’ negotiations but also the language of love between lovers who cannot understand what the other is saying.

Ultimately, it is the terrorist strike that does more to promote foreign relations than anyone could have hoped to achieve with the party.


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 Birthday Book Haul!

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It was my birthday at the weekend and I was very lucky to receive lots of lovely new books so wanted to do a haul post.

My husband gave me 21 books! Some of them he chose from my wish list but others were brilliant surprises. I’m very excited to read all of my new books but I have to be honest and admit to an immediate favourite because it’s such a beautiful book.

 

It’s Well-Read Women by Samantha Hahn. I’d not heard of this book before but it’s a perfect gift for a book lover. Samantha has picked some iconic women from literature and a favourite quote by them, and has then painted their portrait. I’ve added a photo of one of the spreads so you can see how gorgeous this book is. This is definitely a book that I’ll treasure.

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This was such a great surprise pick for me. I read Sebastian Barry’s Secret Scripture last year and really enjoyed it so I was really wanting to read this one. My husband must have had great foresight to pick this up for me as it won the Costa Book award this week!

 

These are two books that caught my eye online recently as I really wanted to read them both so added them to my wish list. They’re both huge hardbacks so will have to wait until I feel a bit stronger but I’m really looking forward to reading them.

 

These were two surprise books and both are perfect picks for me. I love Chris Bohjalian’s novels so am thrilled to have this one in hardback. It’s a beautiful book, the photo I’ve taken doesn’t do the cover justice. I’ve already started reading this one and am very much enjoying it. Whitegirl sounds fascinating and I’m looking forward to reading it.

 

These three children’s books are lovely. The Literature Book has lots of snippets about books and some great quotes in it, it’s perfect for me to flick through when I’m not feeling well enough to read a book. The Teddy Robinson Storybook is one my mum used to read to me when I was little but my copy got lost many years ago. This is part of the same series as my copy of The Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse that I got for my birthday last year so I’m really happy to have matching editions. The Dylan Thomas book is a gorgeous clothbound hardback, with lovely illustrations. This will definitely be on my December TBR for this year!

 

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I really like the Penguin Little Black Classics so these were great choices for me. He picked up books by three classic authors that I love and all three of these books are ones I’ve never read before.

 

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I’ve never read any Angela Thirkell but she’s an author that I’ve heard great things avid recently so I asked for a selection of her novels. I’m really looking forward to starting these lovely Virago editions.

 

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The Regeneration trilogy by Pat Barker is another set of books that I’ve wanted to read for ages and have never got around to so I put these on my wishlist too. I hope to read these soon.

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Edna O’Brien has been an author I’ve wanted to read for the last couple of years but quite a few of her books seem to be out of print. I was so happy to receive these three books from my wish list and I really can’t wait to start reading!

 

 

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My husband also got me David Bowie’s Let’s Dance on CD. This is one of first albums I loved as a child, and whilst I fully acknowledge that it’s not his best work it is the album that made me love his music, and as I got older I gradually bought and fell in love with every single album he made. I can’t play records anymore as I don’t have the dexterity in my hands to use the turntable so I’m really happy to have this on CD again!

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I also received this gorgeous bouquet of flowers that had a lovely box of chocolates with them!

My lovely mum-in-law came round to see in my on my birthday and she gave me, amongst other things, some Amazon vouchers and I’m so tempted to spend them on some new books but am trying to resist for now!

I wasn’t well enough to go out and celebrate my birthday but still had a really lovely day at home. Books are such an amazing gift, especially for someone who’s housebound most of the time, as they are a gift that lasts for such a long time.

 

I’ll still be joining in with Stacking the Shelves tomorrow as I have bought a couple of audio and ebooks this week so look out for that post then.

 

WWW Wednesday (1 Feb) What are you reading?

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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


What I’m reading now:

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Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel

I read Station Eleven a couple of years ago and loved it so much that I always wanted to read her earlier novels. I finally picked this one up this week and am enjoying it so far.

Synopsis:

Lilia has been leaving people behind her entire life. Haunted by her inability to remember her early childhood, and by a mysterious shadow that seems to dog her wherever she goes, Lilia moves restlessly from city to city, abandoning lovers and friends along the way. But then she meets Eli, and he’s not ready to let her go, not without a fight.

Gorgeously written, charged with tension and foreboding, Emily St. John Mandel’s Last Night in Montreal is the story of a life spent at the centre of a criminal investigation. It is a novel about identity, love and amnesia, the depths and limits of family bonds and – ultimately – about the nature of obsession.

 

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Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian

This was one of the surprise birthday gifts from my husband at the weekend and I was so pleased to receive it. I love Chris Bohjalian’s novels so I immediately started reading this. It might take me a bit of time to read it as it’s a hardback but I’m very much enjoying it.

Synopsis:

Emily Shepard is on the run; the nuclear plant where her father worked has suffered a cataclysmic meltdown, and all fingers point to him. Now, orphaned, homeless, and certain that she s a pariah, Emily s taken to hiding out on the frigid streets of Burlington, Vermont, creating a new identity inspired by her favorite poet, Emily Dickinson.
Then she meets Cameron. Nine years old and with a string of foster families behind him, he sparks something in Emily, and she protects him with a fierceness she didn t know she possessed. But when an emergency threatens the fledgling home she s created, Emily realizes that she can’t hide forever.”

 

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The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

This book is HUGE and as a result has been languishing on my TBR since I bought it when it was first published. I’ve now got an ebook copy so it’s easier for me to read. It’s such a great novel and I’d highly recommend it. I’m about 40% through it now and really look forward to getting back to it when I’m not reading it.

Synopsis:

It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.
The Luminaries is an extraordinary piece of fiction. It is full of narrative, linguistic and psychological pleasures, and has a fiendishly clever and original structuring device. Written in pitch-perfect historical register, richly evoking a mid-19th century world of shipping and banking and goldrush boom and bust, it is also a ghost story, and a gripping mystery. It is a thrilling achievement and will confirm for critics and readers that Catton is one of the brightest stars in the international writing firmament.

 

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The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

I’ve not managed to read much of this book since last week as I’m really struggling with print books at the moment. I’ve requested a NetGalley copy of it so if I get approved I reckon I’ll read it in one sitting as it’s a really good read.

Synopsis:

Beautiful.
Rich.
Mysterious.

The Roanoke girls seem to have it all. But there’s a dark truth about them which is never spoken. Every girl either runs away, or dies.

Lane is one of the lucky ones. When she was fifteen, over one long, hot summer at her grandparents’ estate in rural Kansas, she found out what it really means to be a Roanoke girl. Lane ran, far and fast. Until eleven years later, when her cousin Allegra goes missing – and Lane has no choice but to go back.

She is a Roanoke girl.

Is she strong enough to escape a second time?

 

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The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

As with the above book I’ve not managed to read much of this book this week either, entirely down to my pain levels and lack of dexterity in my hands. If I hadn’t been going through a bad few weeks I reckon I’d have read this within a day or two as it’s brilliant.

Synopsis:

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


What I recently finished reading:

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Blood Wedding by Pierre LeMaitre

I’ve had a rough few days health-wise and spent ages scrolling through my kindle looking for something to read. For some reason this book caught my eye and I literally read the whole thing in one sitting. It was brilliant, such a fast-paced engaging read.

Synopsis:

Sophie is haunted by the things she can’t remember – and visions from the past she will never forget.

One morning, she wakes to find that the little boy in her care is dead. She has no memory of what happened. And whatever the truth, her side of the story is no match for the evidence piled against her.

Her only hiding place is in a new identity. A new life, with a man she has met online.

But Sophie is not the only one keeping secrets . . .

For fans of Gone Girl and Lemaitre’s own internationally bestselling AlexBlood Weddingis a compelling psychological thriller with a formidable female protagonist

 

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The Life of Rylan by Rylan Clark

This is another book I picked up on a whim whilst feeling unwell. I listened to the audio book and it was such a fun listen. I am a Big Brother (and Bit on the Side) fan and so it was interesting to learn more about Rylan. It’s a great listen for when you’re feeling in need to cheering up.

Synopsis:

Well hark at you, stumbling upon my autobiography. Bet you wouldn’t have put money on that three years ago, eh?! Please don’t stress yourself out too much though, it’s actually socially acceptable nowadays that you’re interested.
Firstly I’d like to emphasise that I have WRITTEN THIS BOOK MYSELF, so be assured you’re getting the TOOTH, the WHOLE TOOTH and NOTHING BUT THE TOOTH! (Which was my original choice of title, but babe, we’re so over that) This book documents my story, year by year, from my humble beginnings growing up in the East End of London, becoming one of the nation’s most talked-about people overnight to finally moving up the spectrum from guilty pleasure, and getting nearer to national treasure. It will make you laugh, cry, and most importantly you’ll discover who I really am. If it doesn’t do any of those things you’re not legally entitled to a refund – just clearing that up ;-). I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I have enjoyed writing it. This book has been like therapy, and LORD was I in need. Enjoy!

 

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The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

I finished reading this book at the end of last week and it was utterly wonderful. I loved everything about this book and highly recommend it. I hope to get my review written for this within the next week or so but am struggling to get my thoughts together at the moment, as is often the case with books I’ve loved.

Synopsis:

MEET THE ‘KEEPER OF LOST THINGS’…
Once a celebrated author of short stories now in his twilight years, Anthony Peardew has spent half his life lovingly collecting lost objects, trying to atone for a promise broken many years before.
Realising he is running out of time, he leaves his house and all its lost treasures to his assistant Laura, the one person he can trust to fulfil his legacy and reunite the thousands of objects with their rightful owners.
But the final wishes of the Keeper of Lost Things have unforeseen repercussions which trigger a most serendipitous series of encounters…

With an unforgettable cast of characters that includes young girls with special powers, handsome gardeners, irritable ghosts and an array of irresistible four-legged friends, The Keeper of Lost Things is a debut novel of endless possibilities and joyful discoveries that will leave you bereft once you’ve finished reading.
WE’RE ALL JUST WAITING TO BE FOUND…

 

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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

This is such a fun read, I loved it. The 80s references are great, and the story is really engaging and engrossing. I recommend it.

Synopsis:

It’s the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We’re out of oil. We’ve wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty, and disease are widespread.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be, where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade is obsessed by the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this alternate reality: OASIS founder James Halliday, who dies with no heir, has promised that control of the OASIS – and his massive fortune – will go to the person who can solve the riddles he has left scattered throughout his creation.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that the riddles are based in the culture of the late twentieth century. And then Wade stumbles onto the key to the first puzzle.

Suddenly, he finds himself pitted against thousands of competitors in a desperate race to claim the ultimate prize, a chase that soon takes on terrifying real-world dimensions – and that will leave both Wade and his world profoundly changed.

 

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The Girl Before by JP Delaney

This is a fast-paced read that keeps you hooked all the way through. I’ve already reviewed this so you can read that here if you’d like to.

Synopsis:

Jane stumbles on the rental opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to live in a beautiful ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect, on condition she abides by a long list of exacting rules. After moving in, she discovers that a previous tenant, Emma, met a mysterious death there – and starts to wonder if her own story will be a re-run of the girl before. As twist after twist catches the reader off guard, Emma’s past and Jane’s present become inexorably entwined in this tense, page-turning portrayal of psychological obsession.

Following in the footsteps of Gone Girl and The Girl on the TrainThe Girl Before is being brought to the big screen. The film is set to be directed by Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard.


What I plan on reading next:

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Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

This was another birthday present and I can’t wait to read it. As I’m typing up this post I’ve just seen that it’s won the Costa Book award so I’m even more keen to read it! 

Synopsis:

‘I am thinking of the days without end of my life…’

After signing up for the US army in the 1850s, aged barely seventeen, Thomas McNulty and his brother-in-arms, John Cole, go on to fight in the Indian wars and, ultimately, the Civil War.

Having fled terrible hardships they find these days to be vivid and filled with wonder, despite the horrors they both see and are complicit in. Their lives are further enriched and imperilled when a young Indian girl crosses their path, and the possibility of lasting happiness emerges, if only they can survive.

Moving from the plains of the West to Tennessee, Sebastian Barry’s latest work is a masterpiece of atmosphere and language. Both an intensely poignant story of two men and the lives they are dealt, and a fresh look at some of the most fateful years in America’s past, Days Without End is a novel never to be forgotten.

 

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This is How it Always is by Laurie Frankel

I won a beautiful proof copy of this book last week and so plan to read it very soon as it sounds like a wonderful novel.

Synopsis:

Laurie Frankel’s THIS IS HOW IT ALWAYS IS is a warm, touching and bittersweet novel about a family that’s just like any other – until it’s not. For readers of WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY BESIDE OURSELVES and THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY. ‘A lively and fascinating story of a thoroughly modern family and the giant, multifaceted love that binds them… Sparkles with wit and wisdom’ Maria Semple, bestselling author of WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE. 

Rosie and Penn always wanted a daughter. Four sons later, they decide to try one last time – and their beautiful little boy Claude is born. Life continues happily for this big, loving family until the day when Claude says that, when he grows up, he wants to be a girl.

As far as Rosie and Penn are concerned, bright, funny and wonderful Claude can be whoever he or she wants. But as problems begin at school and in the community, the family faces a seemingly impossible dilemma: should Claude change, or should they and Claude try to change the world?

Warm, touching and bittersweet, THIS IS HOW IT ALWAYS IS is a novel about families, love and how we choose to define ourselves. It will make you laugh and cry – and see the world differently.

 


 

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.