Violet by SJI Holliday | @SJIHolliday @OrendaBooks @annecater

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About the Book

Carrie’s best friend has an accident and can no longer make the round-the-world trip they’d planned together, so Carrie decides to go it alone.

Violet is also travelling alone, after splitting up with her boyfriend in Thailand. She is also desperate for a ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express, but there is nothing available.

When the two women meet in a Beijing Hotel, Carrie makes the impulsive decision to invite Violet to take her best friend’s place.

Thrown together in a strange country, and the cramped cabin of the train, the women soon form a bond. But as the journey continues, through Mongolia and into Russia, things start to unravel – because one of these women is not who she claims to be…

 

My Thoughts

I’m a huge fan of SJI Holliday’s writing, in particular her previous novel The Lingering, but I have to say that Violet is absolutely her best book yet! I read the whole thing in one sitting, I got completely and utterly engrossed in it!

We meet Violet as she’s alone outside a train station in Thailand, she’s been dumped by her boyfriend and she needs a train ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express. Carrie is also travelling alone as her best friend broke her ankle right before they were due to leave and Carrie decided to go on her own. She still has Laura’s ticket and as luck would have it she bumps into Violet and the two get drunk together and realise they could take then next part of the trip with each other. So far, so good!

The novel is told from Violet’s perspective but we do get to see some of Carrie’s thoughts in the form of emails she sends home, predominantly to her best friend Laura. This makes it really interesting as we get to see how they really feel about each other. At the same time I was never sure how honest they were being, either to themselves or to other people!

I soon noticed that there was something off about Violet, a sense that she isn’t completely honest about who she is and this got me interested. At the same time I wasn’t entirely sure about Carrie either. It’s great to start off a novel like this though because I didn’t know who I could trust and I certainly didn’t know if one of them had just made a huge mistake in joining forces with the other.

‘I’m from Nottingham,’ I say, laughing. I throw a peanut in the air and catch it in my mouth. I’ve not idea where that came from. The city, or the peanut trick.

[…]

‘Would you believe […] I’m quite good at accents, actually.’ She throws a peanut and tries to catch it, but it goes way wide of the mark. She swears under her breath, but she’s grinning. ‘Oh damn it,’ she says in a good approximation of my accent. She’s right. She’s a decent mimic.

It soon becomes clear that Carrie is vivacious and outgoing, she likes to get to know other travellers on the train but Violet is much more reserved and had been hoping that she and Carrie could spend time alone together. This leads to tensions between the girls and the dynamic starts to get really interesting. It’s really clever because, in my experience, women are always weighing each other up at the beginning of a friendship so there are things here that seem off but could just be the two women being perfectly normal and keeping their guards up. Yet there is a sense that there is more to the undercurrent between these two women!

Neither girl is particularly likeable, which is perfect in this novel as it adds to you feeling wary of both of them and it makes it harder to work out who is not who she says she is. I loved how they initially both seem so friendly with each other but you soon start to see the cracks appear. Carrie wonders if she was wrong to let Violet travel with her. Violet wonders if Carrie really likes her and if she’d be better off moving on alone. It slowly becomes apparent that these two are more like frenemies than friends! You can sense the cat and mouse game but you can’t ever put your finger on who is in which role… or even if they’re chasing each other first one way and then the other.

This book kept me on my toes right the way to the end. There is a moment when I smugly had it all worked out, I could see what was going on and I knew how it was going to go. And then BAM, I was so completely and utterly wrong! I love it when a book goes a different way to what I was expecting, it doesn’t happen often so when it does it’s hugely satisfying. Violet is an incredible psychological thriller, the best I’ve read this year! It’s dark, disturbing and utterly impossible to put down! I highly recommend it!

Many thanks to Anne Cater and Orenda Books for my copy of this book and for my blog tour invitation. All Thoughts are my own.

Violet is out now in ebook and available for pre-order in paperback here.

 

You can find the rest of this blog tour at the following stops:

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WWW Wednesdays (30 Oct 2019)! What are you reading this week?

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

 

What I’m reading now: 

One Week ‘Til Christmas by Belinda Missen

This book is gorgeous! It’s so festive and fun and I’m really loving reading it. I’ll be reviewing this on 1st November so please look out for my full thoughts then.

Nothing Important Happened Here by Will Carver

This book is brilliant – it’s so dark and like nothing I’ve read before but it’s so good. I do have to keep taking a little break because of the subject matter so I’m taking my time with this one but I’m still loving the writing.

James Baldwin and the 1980s: Witnessing the Reagan Era by Joseph Vogel

I didn’t read as much of this book as I’d hoped this week as my kindle is playing up but I hope I can get back to it soon.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

I’m reading this one slowly because I am loving it so much! It’s really reminded me how much I loved Agatha Christie’s novels when I was younger and now I want to re-read them all.

 

What I recently finished reading:

Do Not Feed the Bear by Rachel Elliott

This is a stunning novel that I adored! I read it in two sittings and I keep thinking about it ever since I finished it. I will review this one as soon I get my thoughts together but I can say now that I highly recommend it!

The Seven Imperfect Rules of Elvira Carr by Frances Maynard

I’ve had a proof of this on my TBR for a while now and so was glad to make time to read it this week. I enjoyed this one, it was a lovely way to spend a couple of afternoons this week. I do plan on reviewing this one soon.

Trying by Emily Phillips

I’ve also had a proof copy of this for a long time and finally picked it up this week. I did enjoy this one for the most part but it was lacking something for me. I’m still mulling over how I feel about it but I will write a review once I’ve thought about it a bit more.

Violet by SJI Holliday

This was such a good book, so twisted and hard to put down! I actually read it all in one sitting as it had me so engrossed that I simply had to know how it was going to end. I’ll be reviewing this one on 6th November but in the meantime I recommend it!

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

I’ve been wanting to read this book for ages so when I spotted the audio book in my library app I decided to download it. I found this such a fascinating book, and really appreciated all the extra information the author added in a later addition correcting errors in the way he told the story. It’s made me want to read the books other climbers on the same expedition have written to see their perspectives more fully.

The Eleventh Day by Anthony Summers

I finished reading this soon after last week’s WWW Wednesdays post and I’m so glad that I stuck with it as it was a really interesting look at all the politics before and after 9/11. I learnt things that I didn’t know before, which is always good in a non-fiction book.

 

What I plan on reading next:

Magic Under the Mistletoe by Lucy Coleman

This is the next festive book that I plan on reading and as Non-Fiction November is almost upon us I’d like to read this very soon so I can focus on non-fiction for the most part through the month.

Constellations by Sinead Gleason

This is a book that I’ve wanted to read for ages and I’ve saved it for Non-Fiction November so I’m thrilled that I will finally be picking it up this week.

How to be Human by Ruby Wax

This is another proof that I’ve had on my TBR for a while now so I’m keen to read it during November.

Bowie’s Bookshelf by John O’Connell

I only got an ARC of this from NetGalley very recently and I’m so keen to read it. I’m a huge fan of David Bowie and am excited to read more about the books that he loved.

 

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

My New Book Haul (26 Oct 2019)!

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

 

Books / eBooks

Escape to Giddywell Grange by Kim Nash

I loved Kim Nash’s first novel so have been meaning to buy a copy of her second book and finally got to it this week. I’m really looking forward to escaping into this book!

Chernobyl Prayer by Svetlana Alexievich

I’ve been wanting to read a book about Chernobyl ever since watching the recent drama that was on Sky. I’ve seen some good reviews of this one so decided to buy a copy. I may pick this one up next month for non-fiction November.

 

AudioBooks

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The Sewing Machine by Natalie Fergie

I remember seeing some fab reviews of this book when it was first published so when I spotted the audio book in the Audible sale this week I immediately bought it.

ARCs

The Alibi Girl by C. J. Skuse

Ever since I read Sweet Pea by this author I’ve been such a fan of her and so when I spotted this book on NetGalley this week I requested it straight away. I was delighted to be approved and am keen to read this one soon!

The Recovery of Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel

I’ve been desperate to get my hands on this book ever since reading the premise so when I saw it on NetGalley I immediately requested it. I am thrilled to have a copy on my Kindle now and really want to read it right away. It’s not due to be published until next year though so feel like I need to catch up on some other reading first.

Violet by S.J.I. Holliday

I’ve actually already read this book – I read it all yesterday afternoon and I loved it. It’s such a brilliant book and I highly recommend it! I will post a full review for the blog tour on 6th November so pleased look out for that.

Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver

This is another book that I’ve been eagerly anticipating and am so excited to have a copy. I loved Will Carver’s previous novel Good Samaritans and have really high hopes for his new book. I’ve read the first couple of chapters and it’s so intriguing, I can’t wait to read more!

The Secret Santa by Trish Harnetiaux

I requested this one on a whim from NetGalley as I do enjoy a crime thriller set at Christmas and this one looks really good!

Dead to Her by Sarah Pinborough

I was so excited to spot this on NetGalley yesterday afternoon and I couldn’t click the download now button fast enough! I love Sarah Pinborough’s writing, especially Behind Her Eyes which was brilliant!

 

Have you bought any new books over the last week? Please tell me below. 🙂 If you join in with Stacking the Shelves please feel free to leave your link and I’ll make sure to read and comment on your post.

My Favourite Novels of 2018!

My Favourite Books 0f 2018!

Firstly, happy new year to you all! I hope 2019 brings you good health, peace and happiness!

2018 has been an amazing reading year for me. I read 290 books, which is the most I’ve read in one year since I started keeping track of my reading! Of the 290, 211 were fiction so that has made it so hard to pick a top 10 or even a top 20 so in the end I made a list of the books that have stayed with me the most and 27 novels have made my list! (My non-fiction picks will be in a separate post tomorrow).

Some of these books have stayed with me because they were well-written, some were impossible to put down and others brought out such an emotional reaction in me that they simply had to be on this list.

So without further ado, here are my favourite books of 2018 (click the title if you’d like to read my full review on each of these books)…

 

In reverse order: 

27. Dead in Venice by Fiona Leitch

This is one of the best audio books I listened to this year and had to be on my list as it’s really stick with me.

26. The Lingering by SJI Holliday

This was an unsettling, creepy novel that I couldn’t put down!

25. You Let Me In by Lucy Clarke

I love Lucy Clarke’s writing and this has joined The Sea Sisters as my favourite books by her!

24. The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas

This was such a different read for me and I utterly adored it.

23. Perfect Bones by AJ Waines

This is a crime fiction novel that haunted me in the times when I wasn’t reading it, it definitely earned its place on my list.

22. The Date by Louise Jensen

I love Louise Jensen’s writing and this book was another brilliant read by her. It gave me an insight into a condition I knew nothing much about and the ending of the book gave me chills!

21. An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

I read this book in one sitting on a boiling hot day but the writing was so good that I could feel the snowy cold and the oppressive atmosphere of those trapped in the hotel with a murderer on the loose!

20. Odette by Jessica Duchen

This is such a beautiful book and it really resonated with me so it had to be on this list!

19. Attend by West Camel

This is a recent read but I keep finding myself thinking about the characters and it’s staying in my mind so I had to have this in my top books.

18. Daisy Belle by Caitlin Davies

This is a wonderful story about a young girl who wants to make it as a champion swimmer in a time when it’s not the done thing for females. It’s inspiring and beautiful and I knew it would make my top books of the year as soon as I finished reading it.

17. The Afterlife of Walter Augustus by Hannah M. Lynn

This is a bit different from my usual reads but it’s so beautiful and very moving in places and I still think about it.

16. Old Baggage by Lissa Evans

This was such a brilliant novel, and is another book that really has stayed with me.

 

15. The Girl in His Eyes by Jennie Ensor

This was a very prescient and moving novel, and while it was hard to read at times for me personally the writing is so sensitive and honest that I couldn’t put it down.

14. Fukushima Dreams by Zelda Rhiando

I wasn’t expecting to love this book as much as I did but it’s so stunningly written and the story is still swirling in my mind. It was an unforgettable read for me and deserves its place on my list.

13. Narcissism for Beginners by Martine McDonagh

This is another book that was a bit different to my usual read but I devoured it. It’s funny and emotional and I adored it.

12. Good Samaritans by Will Carver

This is such a brilliant read, one I’ve been recommending to people ever since I finished reading it.

11. Overkill by Vanda Symon

This is my new favourite crime thriller series and I’m desperate to get my hands on the second book as soon as it’s out!

10. Him by Clare Empson

I got this book on a whim from NetGalley and I’m so glad I did. This really got under my skin and I couldn’t put it down until I’d read all the way to the end.

9. Miss Marley by Vanessa LaFaye with Rebecca Mascull

This is the only book on this list that I haven’t managed to review but I highly recommend it. It’s gorgeous and moving and just brilliant. It honours A Christmas Carol so beautifully whilst also standing on its own as a novella. The final couple of chapters were incredibly moving. I know this will be a book that I read every Christmas from now on so it absolutely deserves to be on this list.

8. Roar by Cecelia Ahern

This short story collection is brilliant. I loved every story and enjoyed finding the ones that resonated with me. It’s fabulous!

7. Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

This is such a magical and lyrical novel, it’s another book that is staying with me and I know I’ll want to read it again in the future.

6. The Long Forgotten by David Whitehouse 

I was looking forward to reading this novel but I wasn’t expecting it to get to me in the way it did. It’s very moving and so fascinating, and the writing is stunning.

5. Snap by Belinda Bauer

This was my favourite crime thriller of the year, I loved it. I don’t think I’ve read a crime novel before that has made me cry in the way this did. It’s such a brilliant novel.

4. Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon

This novel really connected with me in so many ways and my review ended up being very personal as the story got so entwined with my emotions at the time I was reading. It’s a beautiful novel and I urge you to read it if you haven’t already.

 

 

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3. Love and Fame by Susie Boyt

This book is why I love blog tours – I was offered a copy of Love and Fame, a book I hadn’t heard of before and decided to give it a go. It’s such a witty, funny and moving novel about grief and loss in various forms. I absolutely fell in love with this book and it’s one I consider to be a firm favourite. I’m so glad this book found me!

 

 

And the next two books are jointly my favourite books of the year because I just couldn’t pick between them…

 

 

The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech

I adore Louise Beech’s writing anyway but The Lion Tamer Who Lost stole my heart in a way that no other book has done in 2018. I keep thinking of the characters and wondering how they are, I keep thinking of how cruel life can be but how a novel like this does ultimately remind you why you need to keep going. I cried buckets reading parts of this book but I fell in love with it and it absolutely deserves this number one spot!

 

Let Me Be Like Water by S. K. Perry

I hadn’t heard of this book before a copy got sent to me for review but it was serendipity that it came into my life at the perfect moment. This is such a beautiful, lyrical novel that had me sobbing one moment and feeling consoled the next. The characters are wonderful and the depiction of grief is so real, as is the way we find a way to start living with grief. A stunning book that I will treasure forever and ever!

 


Tomorrow I’ll be sharing my Top Non-Fiction books of the year so look out for that then. In the meantime what were your favourite books of 2018? If you have a blog post please feel free to leave the link below. Happy New Year! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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. 🙂

Weekly Wrap-Up (12 March)

 

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted

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.

 


 the-state-of-my-2

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. 🙂

February 2017 Wrap-Up!

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February has been an up and down month. There have been stressful things to deal with, and medical appointments and tests to get through. There was also a broken Kindle Voyage (eek!). Things eventually began to be sorted out and towards the end of the month I got a replacement Kindle through the warranty, and we got some unexpected good news in the post. My husband had two weeks off from work and whilst I wasn’t well enough for us to do much, it was lovely to have the time together.

It’s been a fab reading month, I still can’t quite believe how many great books I read in February! Unfortunately, whilst I’ve been reading a lot I’m struggling to write reviews at the moment. This, in part, is because I lost my notes when my Kindle malfunctioned so I will have to write reviews from memory (and my memory is awful), but also because I’m in the middle of altering my medication and it’s a struggle for me to get my words down coherently. I may have to just write some very short, basic reviews in order to catch up as the amount I now have waiting to be written is starting to stress me out.

 

Here are the 26 books I read this month:

Well-Read Women by Samantha Hahn

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel

The Secrets of Happiness by Lucy Diamond

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian

Rage by Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

F*cking Apostrophes by Simon Griffin

Just Kids by Patti Smith

A Game for All the Family by Sophie Hannah

Watch Me by Angela Clarke

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

The Child Who by Simon Lelic

Final Girls by Riley Sager

The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

Black Wood by SJI Holliday

The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla

The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

Everything but the Truth by Gillian McAllister

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

 


Here are the blog posts I wrote:

I wrote my regular blog posts – WWW Wednesday, Stacking the Shelves every Saturday and a weekly wrap-up on a Sunday. Other than that I shared my January wrap-up post at the beginning of February. I also wrote about my fabulous birthday book haul too. I didn’t manage to write and post any reviews, which I’m really down about but as I said earlier life is getting in the way at the moment. Hopefully I can catch up soon.

 


 

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The state of my TBR:

In January, I wrote a post about the state of my TBR and made a plan to try and read more of the books I already owned. This has already proved to be rather more difficult than I anticipated… I have read a lot more of my own books, rather than just focusing on new ones, but I’ve also been buying a lot of books. I did join the Mount TBR challenge on Goodreads in February though and have pledged to read at least 100 books that were on my TBR before the end of 2016 and have so far read 26 books that counted for that. This means that half of the books I’ve read this year so far have been my already owned books, and half were new or review books so am pleased with that ratio at the moment.

I’m also in the middle of a sort out of both my kindle books and my print books and am trying to make sure that all the books that are on my TBR are books that I really want to read. Anything that doesn’t appeal anymore is going to be deleted from my Kindle or taken to the charity shop. I’m also becoming much more okay with DNFing books – I’m fast realising that life is too short to push on with books that I’m really not enjoying. The combination of DNFing books and having an ongoing book cull has meant my TBR is currently going in the right direction! I now have 1861 unread books (as of 28 Feb), down from 1885 at the start of the year and hopefully I can keep reading my way through the TBR mountain.

 


 

How was your February? Did you read any good books? Please tell me what your favourite book from February was, and if you have a February wrap-up post on your blog please feel free to share the link 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. 🙂

See my new #bookhaul in my Stacking the Shelves post (25 Feb)

 

stacking-the-shelves

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

I got 13 new books this week…

I was very lucky to receive some brilliant-sounding books for review over the last seven days. Some were sent to me in the post and some I was approved for on NetGalley.

These are the ARCS I received:

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

I was very happy to be offered a copy of this novel to read as it sounds like a really thrilling read. It’s described as ‘The Newsroom meets Gone Girl’ and I couldn’t resist that!

Fragile Lives by Stephen Westaby

I saw an interview with Stephen Westaby recently and thought his book sounded fascinating so I was thrilled to be offered a copy to review by the publisher. I’m reading quite a lot of non-fiction at the moment so this will be a book I definitely read soon.

The Escape by C.L. Taylor

I was also offered a copy of this book by the publisher but it didn’t arrive so I requested it on Netgalley and am very happy that I got approved. I’ve read and loved all of C.L. Taylor’s previous books and I’m sure I’ll love this one too.  I actually started reading it last night and it’s a really addictive read.

The Baltimore Boys by Joel Dicker

I squealed when I got the email from NetGalley to say I’d been approved for this novel as I absolutely loved The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair. I can’t wait to read this!

The People at Number 9 by Felicity Everett

This book sounds intriguing and I’m looking forward to reading it.

One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus

This is a YA novel that is described as being like Breakfast Club but where one of the teens doesn’t get out of homeroom alive. It immediately grabbed my attention and I’m sure it’ll be a fast-paced read.

Books I bought:

Is Shame Necessary by Jennifer Jacquet 

The title of this book caught my eye in a book shop this week, and when I picked it up and found it was in the sale for just £5 I couldn’t resist buying it. It sounds like a really interesting read all about shame.

America’s Queen: The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis by Sarah Bradford

This book was in a Kindle daily deal this week and I immediately one-clicked to buy. I don’t know that I’ll get to read it any time soon as it’s a long read but I may read it on and off in amongst other books.

The North Water by Ian McGuire

This was another Kindle daily deal and it’s a book that I’d heard about recently so again I clicked to buy. I hope to read this one soon.

The Damselfly by SJI Holliday

I’ve just read Black Wood, the first in the series, in one sitting this week  and am about to start book two so decided to grab the third book in the trilogy as I think I’ll want to read these books very soon after each other.

Crash Land by Doug Johnstone

I’ve had this book on my wish list for a few months so when I spotted it for £1 I grabbed it! It sounds like a really interesting read.

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

I already have this book on my TBR but the audio book was on the Audible daily deal this week and I thought it might be a nice one to listen to so I bought it.

 


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And finally, in my very first week on Instagram I won a copy of You, Me and Tiramisu by Charlotte Butterfield in a HarperImpulse giveaway! The book arrived this week and made my day, it looks like a lovely spring read, which will be perfect escape from the gloomy, cold weather we’re having at the moment.

 


 

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

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

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.