Mini Crime and Thriller Book Reviews! #bookreview

I didn’t quite catch up on reviewing the books that I read in 2018 before the end of the year so here is another mini book review post 🙂

 

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A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay

I’ve read and enjoyed a couple of Barclay’s previous novels but A Noise Downstairs is by far my favourite of his to date. It was creepy and unnerving, and even when I was on the edge of my seat I simply couldn’t put this book down because I had to know how it was going to end. I do enjoy books where the premise could be that there is someone setting someone up to think they’re going mad, or the person could actually be losing their grip on reality and this book does this so well.  I did find I had to suspend disbelief with some aspects of this novel but it didn’t make it any less enjoyable, and the end when it comes is shocking and disturbing. I definitely recommend it!

 

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The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah

This is the first of Sophie Hannah’s takes on Agatha Christie that I’ve read and I did really enjoy it. My favourite thing about Christie is the puzzle element, her novels don’t always feel grounded in reality for me but the puzzle is always brilliant and I think Hannah did a good job with this. This book’s mystery was one that I managed to figure out elements of but not the whole thing, something that’s rare for me with Poirot but I liked feeling like I had a chance of solving the crime. I’ll definitely be picking up more of Sophie Hannah’s Poirot books and I’m really looking forward to reading them.

 

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All the Hidden Truths by Claire Askew

This is a stunning novel about the aftermath of a college shooting. It follows three characters as they are forced to face up to what has happened in their community. One is the mother of the shooter, then there is the mother of the first girl to be shot, and the third is the detective in charge of the investigation. The novel actually starts the day before and the build up is so tense because you know what’s going to happen but you’re not sure how or when. The three viewpoints make this such a heartbreaking read as we learn more about these women and their lives, and how the devastation has affected them. I highly recommend this novel.

 

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Bluebird Bluebird by Attica Locke

This is a beautifully written but also devastating novel looking at a community dealing with the aftermath of two apparent murders – one of a black man and the other of a white woman. The racial tensions within the town play a large part in how each person views everyone else. It felt quite claustrophobic at times, like I was right there in the town and seeing this situation unfold with my own eyes. I found this book so unsettling, and yet really hard to put down. This is an excellent, prescient and really important read. I definitely need to read more of Attica Locke’s work this year.

A huge #BookHaul this week in my Stacking the Shelves (1 April) post!

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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 have a HUGE book haul to share with you this week as I was lucky enough to win a TBR of Dreams run on twitter last weekend and the books arrived on Monday. I also was sent some gorgeous ARCs this week so it all adds up to a bumper Stacking the Shelves post this week!

 

These are the 1 print & 3 eBooks I bought this week:

Sleep It Off Lady by Jean Rhys

Sleep It Off Lady by Jean Rhys

I’ve been a huge fan of Jean Rhys for many years now but I’ve never sat and read all of this short story collection. My copy got lost a while ago so I finally bought another copy and it will be a real treat to sit and read this collection.

Synopsis:

Sleep It Off Lady, originally published in late 1976, was famed Dominican author Jean Rhys’ final collection of short stories. The sixteen stories in this collection stretch over an approximate 75-year period, starting from the end of the nineteenth century (November 1899) to the present time of writing (circa 1975).

A Life Between Us by Louise Walters

A Life Between Us by Louise Walters

Quite a few of my favourite bloggers have featured this book recently in the run up to publication so I knew I had to buy a copy as soon as it was released. The synopsis sounds really intriguing and I’m sure this will be a book I very much enjoy. This novel is currently just 99p on Kindle so it’s an absolute bargain!

Synopsis:

Tina Thornton’s twin sister Meg died in a childhood accident, but for almost forty years Tina has secretly blamed herself for her sister’s death. During a visit to her aging Uncle Edward and his sister Lucia, who both harbour dark secrets of their own, Tina makes a discovery that forces her to finally question her memories of the day her sister died.

Who, if anyone, did kill Meg? As Tina finds the courage to face the past, she unravels the tangled family mysteries of her estranged parents, her beautiful French Aunt Simone, the fading, compassionate Uncle Edward, and above all, the cold, bitter Aunt Lucia, whose spectral presence casts a long shadow over them all.

A Life Between Us is a beautifully evocative story of a family torn apart at the seams, which will appeal to readers who enjoy family sagas and modern-day mysteries.

Siren by AnneMarie Neary

Siren by Annemarie Neary

I’ve had this book on my wish list for a while now so when I spotted it in the spring sale for Kindle I snapped it up. I’m really keen to read this one so I’m putting it quite high on my TBR.

Synopsis:

Ireland, 2004

Róisín Burns has spent over twenty-five years living a lie.

Brian Lonergan, a rising politician, has used the time to reinvent himself.

But scandal is brewing around him, and Róisín knows the truth.

Lonergan stole her life as a young girl. And now she wants it back.

But he is still one step ahead …

It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis

It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis

I’m not sure where I first heard about this book but when I saw it was a kindle daily deal this week the title and cover were already familiar to me. I read the synopsis and it seems like one of those books that needs to be read at the moment. I think I’ll need to be in the right mood to read it but I hope I can get to it soon.

Synopsis:

A vain, outlandish, anti-immigrant, fearmongering demagogue runs for President of the United States – and wins. Sinclair Lewis’s chilling 1935 bestseller is the story of Buzz Windrip, ‘Professional Common Man’, who promises poor, angry voters that he will make America proud and prosperous once more, but takes the country down a far darker path. As the new regime slides into authoritarianism, newspaper editor Doremus Jessop can’t believe it will last – but is he right? This cautionary tale of liberal complacency in the face of populist tyranny shows it really can happen here.

 

I also received 7 ARCs:

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I Know My Name by CJ Cooke

I’m a real fan of CJ Cooke – one of her earlier novels, The Guardian Angel’s Journal is a favourite of mine so I was thrilled when she offered up a handful of copies of her forthcoming novel and I was quick enough to get one. It arrived yesterday and I was super excited to spot that it’s a signed copy. I can’t wait to read this book!

Synopsis:

…But what if that’s the only thing you can remember?

Komméno Island, Greece: I don’t know where I am, who I am. Help me.

A woman is washed up on a remote Greek island with no recollection of who she is or how she got there.

Potter’s Lane, Twickenham, London: Eloïse Shelley is officially missing.

Lochlan’s wife has vanished into thin air, leaving their toddler and twelve-week-old baby alone. Her money, car and passport are all in the house, with no signs of foul play. Every clue the police turn up means someone has told a lie…

Does a husband ever truly know his wife? Or a wife know her husband? Why is Eloïse missing? Why did she forget?

The truth is found in these pages…

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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

I can’t even put into words how excited I was when the publisher of this contacted me to ask if I’d like to review it. I have heard so many great things about this book and have been so keen to read it. I’ll be starting this one very, very soon!

Synopsis:

Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live

Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.

Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.

One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?

Did You See Melody? by Sophie Hannah

Did You See Melody? by Sophie Hannah

I’ve seen pics of this book on social media over the last week or so and have been so keen to find out more about it. I then spotted it was on NetGalley so requested it and was super excited to get approved the following day. The book’s not out until August so I feel like I should try and wait a little while before reading but I’m not sure I can resist it!

Synopsis:

Pushed to breaking point, Cara Burrows abandons her home and family and escapes to a five-star spa resort she can’t afford. Late at night, exhausted and desperate, she lets herself into her hotel room and is shocked to find it already occupied – by a man and a teenage girl.

A simple mistake on the part of the hotel receptionist – but Cara’s fear intensifies when she works out that the girl she saw alive and well in the hotel room is someone she can’t possibly have seen: the most famous murder victim in the country, Melody Chapa, whose parents are serving life sentences for her murder.

Cara doesn’t know what to trust: everything she’s read and heard about the case, or the evidence of her own eyes. Did she really see Melody? And is she prepared to ask herself that question and answer it honestly if it means risking her own life?

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The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis

This was my surprise book post of the week and I’m very happy to have received it. It sounds like the kind of book I’ll really get engrossed in so I’m keen to read it soon.

Synopsis:

A debut literary thriller from an incredible new voice. What do you do when the man who gave you everything turns out to be a killer? Perfect for fans of STATION ELEVEN by Emily St. John Mandel.

Trapper was my family even though I didn’t know a sure thing about him… Trapper was the kind a’ family you choose for yourself, the kind that gets closer’n blood.

He was what I chose and I chose wrong.

Lost in the harsh forest as a child, Elka was taken in and raised by the man she calls Trapper, the solitary hunter who taught her all she knows. So when Elka sees the Wanted poster in town, her simple existence is shattered. Her Trapper – Kreagar Hallet – is wanted for murder. Even worse, Magistrate Lyon is hot on his trail, and she wants to talk to Elka.

As winter sets in, Elka flees into the vast wilderness, determined to find her real parents. But Lyon is never far behind, and she’s not the only one following Elka’s every move. Soon Elka must confront the darkest memories of her past- and end Trapper’s killing spree for good.

The wild Air by Rebecca Mascull

The wild Air by Rebecca Mascull

I was contacted by the publisher about this book to see if I’d like to read it for the blog tour and I immediately said yes. I’ve read and enjoyed one of Rebecca’s previous novels and this one sounds like something I’ll love. I’m looking forward to starting this one.

Synopsis:

In Edwardian England, aeroplanes are a new, magical invention, while female pilots are rare indeed.

When shy Della Dobbs meets her mother’s aunt, her life changes forever. Great Auntie Betty has come home from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, across whose windswept dunes the Wright Brothers tested their historic flying machines. Della develops a burning ambition to fly and Betty is determined to help her.

But the Great War is coming and it threatens to destroy everything – and everyone – Della loves.

Uplifting and page-turning, THE WILD AIR is a story about love, loss and following your dreams against all odds.

New Boy by Tracy Chevalier

New Boy by Tracy Chevalier

I was invited to read this one on NetGalley, which felt very serendipitous as I’d earlier read about the book and very much wanted to read it! I don’t think this will be waiting on my TBR for very long.

Synopsis:

‘O felt her presence behind him like a fire at his back.’

Arriving at his fourth school in six years, diplomat’s son Osei Kokote knows he needs an ally if he is to survive his first day – so he’s lucky to hit it off with Dee, the most popular girl in school. But one student can’t stand to witness this budding relationship: Ian decides to destroy the friendship between the black boy and the golden girl. By the end of the day, the school and its key players – teachers and pupils alike – will never be the same again.

The tragedy of Othello is transposed to a 1970s’ suburban Washington schoolyard, where kids fall in and out of love with each other before lunchtime, and practise a casual racism picked up from their parents and teachers. Watching over the shoulders of four 11-year-olds – Osei, Dee, Ian and his reluctant girlfriend Mimi – Tracy Chevalier’s powerful drama of friends torn apart by jealousy, bullying and betrayal will leave you reeling.

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Reconciliation for the Dead by Paul E. Hardisty

I’m taking part in the blog tour for this book in May so am looking forward to reading the book before then. I’ve not read any of Paul Hardisty’s other books but I’m intrigued to see what this one is like.

Synopsis:

Fresh from events in Yemen and Cyprus, vigilante justice-seeker Claymore Straker returns to South Africa, seeking absolution for the sins of his past. Over four days, he testifies to Desmond Tutu’s newly established Truth and Reconciliation Commission, recounting the shattering events that led to his dishonourable discharge and exile, fifteen years earlier. It was 1980. The height of the Cold War. Clay is a young paratrooper in the South African Army, fighting in Angola against the Communist insurgency that threatens to topple the White Apartheid regime. On a patrol deep inside Angola, Clay, and his best friend, Eben Barstow, find themselves enmeshed in a tangled conspiracy that threatens everything they have been taught to believe about war, and the sacrifices that they, and their brothers in arms, are expected to make. Witness and unwitting accomplice to an act of shocking brutality, Clay changes allegiance and finds himself labelled a deserter and accused of high treason, setting him on a journey into the dark, twisted heart of institutionalised hatred, from which no one will emerge unscathed. Exploring true events from one of the most hateful chapters in South African history, Reconciliation for the Dead is a shocking, explosive and gripping thriller from one finest writers in contemporary crime fiction.

I also won a TBR of Dreams giveaway on twitter this week, which included NINE fabulous books.

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A Song for Tomorrow by Alice Peterson

I was super excited to win a copy of this as it was on my wish list and I’ve been so looking forward to reading it. I then read an article about Alice Martineau who inspired this novel so I’m intrigued to read it. I’m hoping to start reading this over the next week or so.

Synopsis:

Tom fell in love with Alice the moment he saw her. He realises that being with her will not be easy, but she is a force of nature, a burst of sunlight in his otherwise ordinary world.

Some people might look at Alice and think she has everything, but Alice knows she is not like other women. Her life is complicated, unpredictable, difficult. Alice does not like pity. All she wants to do, has ever wanted to do, is sing.

Alice has been told not to follow her dreams. But when fate has already dealt a tough hand, it’s time to stop listening to everyone else and only follow their hearts.

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Summer at Skylark Farm by Heidi Swain

This sounds like a lovely, light-hearted summer read and one I think will be perfect when I’m in need of a pick-me-up.

Synopsis:

For everyone dreaming of escaping to the country, fall in love this summer at Skylark Farm…

Amber is a city girl at heart. So when her boyfriend Jake Somerville suggests they move to the countryside to help out at his family farm, she doesn’t quite know how to react. But work has been hectic and she needs a break so she decides to grasp the opportunity and make the best of it.

Dreaming of organic orchards, paddling in streams and frolicking in fields, Amber packs up her things and moves to Skylark Farm. But life is not quite how she imagined – it’s cold and dirty and the farm buildings are dilapidated and crumbling.

But Amber is determined to make the best of it and throws herself into farm life. But can she really fit in here? And can she and Jake stay together when they are so different?

A story of love in the countryside from the author of the bestselling The Cherry Tree Café. Perfect for Escape to the Country dreamers, Cath Kidston fans and Country Living addicts!

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How Not to Fall in Love by Catherine Bennetto

I love the sound of this book from the synopsis, I think it’ll be another book to keep for when I need a feel-good read.

Synopsis:

Life is 10% planning, 10% design and 80% totally winging it…

Join Emma as she guides you through How Not to become accidentally knocked up at the age of 27, How Not to unceremoniously dump the father of your child, and then How Not to lose the job that (even though you hate it) is the only thing between you and being homeless…

Hilarious and heart-warming, How Not to Fall in Love, Actually will make you laugh, make you cry, and will reassure you that perhaps your life is not that bad, actually…

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A Year at the Star and Sixpence by Holly Hepburn

I actually read the first novella in this collected series at Christmas last year and wanted to read the rest of the novellas but hadn’t yet got around to it. So I was really happy to find this book in my giveaway win as I can now revisit the first part and then find out what happens in the rest of the novel.

Synopsis:

A Year at the Star and Sixpence is Holly Hepburn’s four Star and Sixpence novellas collected together as a novel for the first time. 
When sisters Nessie and Sam inherit a little pub in a beautiful country village they jump at the chance to escape their messy lives and start afresh. But when they arrive at the Star and Sixpence, it’s not quite what they imagined – it’s pretty much derelict, ruined by debts, and it’s going to be a huge job to get it up and running again. But they are determined to make the best of this new life and they set about making the pub the heart of the village once again. Their first year at the Star and Sixpence won’t be easy, though nothing worth doing ever is.
But when the sisters’ past comes back to haunt them, they start to think that the fresh start they needed is very far away indeed…

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All the Stars in the Heavens by Adriana Trigiani

I read a couple of Adriana Trigiani’s novels years ago and really enjoyed them but I haven’t picked one up since. I’d heard of this book and thought it sounded great but hadn’t picked a copy up as yet, so I was pleased to win a copy. I love the era that this book is set in so I think it’ll be making its way to the top of my TBR very soon.

Synopsis:

Clark Gable, Loretta Young, Spencer Tracy, David Niven, Carole Lombard lead a magnificent cast of characters, real and imagined, in Adriana Trigiani’s new novel set in the rich landscape of 1930s’ Los Angeles. In this spectacular saga as radiant, thrilling and beguiling as Hollywood itself, Trigiani takes us back to the golden age of movie-making and into the complex and glamorous world of a young actress hungry for fame, success – and love. With meticulous, beautiful detail, she paints a rich landscape, where European and American artisans flocked to pursue the ultimate dream: to tell stories on the silver screen.

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These Days of Ours by Juliet Ashton

This sounds like a gorgeous read and one I’m really keen to get to soon. I think this may be the book I read after the Alice Peterson novel!

Synopsis:

A novel about love. Raw important love. Small, beautiful love. And what happens when the person you love cannot be yours… Perfect for fans of Rowan Coleman, Jane Green and David Nicholls.

Kate and Becca are cousins and best friends. They have grown up together and shared all the most important milestones in their lives: childhood birthday parties, eighteenth birthdays, and now a wedding day as they each marry their childhood sweethearts, Charlie and Julian.

Kate has always loved Charlie – they were meant to be. Then she discovers that life never turns out quite how you expect it to. And love doesn’t always follow the journey it should.

But best friends are forever, and true love will find a way, won’t it…?

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The Love of a Lifetime by Melissa Hill

I’ve loved the three previous novels I’ve read by Melissa Hill so I have high hopes for this one. I’m really looking forward to reading this as soon as I can.

Synopsis:

Hollywood movies are Beth’s passion. She hopes her life will always be filled with ‘movie moments’, where things like serendipity and fate happen every day. Her boyfriend Danny has always been the embodiment of her perfect Hollywood hero – though after seven years together the initial silver-screen romance has settled into something more predictable.

And then, one morning at work, Beth receives an anonymous delivery of a take-out coffee cup with a cryptic message suggesting a meeting at Tiffany’s. From there, she is given a series of clues directing her to some of NYC’s most popular landmarks – a treasure hunt using unique rom-com-related prompts perfect for a movie-lover like Beth to decipher. And Beth is forced to wonder: has Danny realised their relationship needs a boost – or could it be that charming new work colleague Ryan, with his intense gaze, flirtatious smile and almost encyclopaedic movie knowledge, wants to sweep her off her feet? And how would she feel about taking a chance on a new leading man in her life?

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The Queen of Wishful Thinking by Milly Johnson

I’ve read a few reviews of this on blogs over the last week or two and it sounded like such a lovely, warm-hearted read. I was so happy to find I’d won a hardback copy in the giveaway and am definitely going to be reading this soon.

Synopsis:

When Lewis Harley has a health scare in his early forties, he takes it as a wake-up call. So he and his  wife Charlotte leave behind life in the fast lane and Lewis opens the antique shop he has dreamed of. Bonnie Brookland was brought up in the antiques trade and now works for the man who bought out her father’s business, but she isn’t happy there. So when she walks into Lew’s shop, she knows this is the place for her.

As Bonnie and Lew start to work together, they soon realise that there is more to their relationship than either thought. But Bonnie is trapped in an unhappy marriage, and Lew and Charlotte have more problems than they care to admit. Each has secrets in their past which are about to be uncovered. Can they find the happiness they both deserve?

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Orange Blossom Days by Patricia Scanlan

I haven’t read a Patricia Scanlan book for about fifteen years now but I have fond memories of enjoying escaping into one of her books. I’m looking forward to reading this new one for nostalgia’s sake.

Synopsis:

In a beautiful southern Spanish town, where the sea sparkles and orange blossoms scent the air, the gates of a brand new apartment complex, La Joya de Andalucía, glide open to welcome the new owners. 

Anna and Austen MacDonald, an Irish couple, are preparing to enjoy their retirement to the full. But the demands of family cause problems they have never foreseen and shake their marriage to the core.

Sally-Ann Connolly Cooper, a feisty Texan mother of two young teenagers, is reeling from her husband’s infidelity. La Joya becomes a place of solace for Sally-Ann, in more ways than one.

Eduardo Sanchez, a haughty Madrileño, has set out with single-minded determination to become El Presidente of the complex’s management committee. But pride comes before a fall.

Jutta Sauer Perez, a sophisticated German who aspires to own her very own apartment in La Joya, works hard to reach her goal. Then the unthinkable happens.

As their lives entwine and friendships and enmities develop, it becomes apparent that La Joya is not quite the haven they all expect it to be…


 

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.

February 2017 Wrap-Up!

Monthly Wrap Up post Copyrighted

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 (19 Feb)

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted

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.

Pre-2016 Books I Most Want to Read This Year!

On Friday I wrote a blog post about the 2016 book releases that I was most looking forward to (you can read that post here), then after posting it realised that there are a lot of books published prior to this year that I am equally excited to make time to read. So this post is about some of the books that I’ve already bought and just ran out of time to read last year so am definitely going to make time for this year.

How to be Brave by Louise Beech

How to be Brave by Louise Beech

 This is a book that I got in 2015 and was very keen to read but it felt like a book that I should keep until I had the time to read it slowly and really absorb it. So I’ve saved it and plan to make time for it very soon.

Synopsis:

All the stories died that morning … until we found the one we’d always known.

When nine-year-old Rose is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, Natalie must use her imagination to keep her daughter alive. They begin dreaming about and seeing a man in a brown suit who feels hauntingly familiar, a man who has something for them. Through the magic of storytelling, Natalie and Rose are transported to the Atlantic Ocean in 1943, to a lifeboat, where an ancestor survived for fifty days before being rescued. Poignant, beautifully written and tenderly told, How To Be Brave weaves together the contemporary story of a mother battling to save her child’s life with an extraordinary true account of bravery and a fight for survival in the Second World War. A simply unforgettable debut that celebrates the power of words, the redemptive energy of a mother’s love … and what it really means to be brave.


 

The Hidden Legacy by G. L. Minett

The Hidden Legacy by G. L. Minett

I bought this book on release day but had to hold off reading it as I had a lot of review books to read at the time. I still haven’t managed to read it but I’m going to make some time for it soon. I reckon it’ll be one of those books that once I start it I won’t be able to put it down until I’ve finished it!

Synopsis:

1966. A horrifying crime at a secondary school, with devastating consequences for all involved.

2008. A life-changing gift, if only the recipient can work out why . . .

Bearing the scars of a recent divorce – and the splatters of two young children – Ellen Sutherland is up to her elbows in professional and personal stress. When she’s invited to travel all the way out to Cheltenham to hear the content of an old woman’s will, she can barely be bothered to make the journey.

But when she arrives, the news is astounding. Eudora Nash has left Ellen a beautiful cottage, worth an amount of money that could turn her life around. There’s just one problem – Ellen has never even heard of Eudora Nash.

Her curiosity piqued, Ellen and her friend Kate travel to the West Country in search of answers. But they are not the only ones interested in the cottage, and Ellen little imagines how much she has to learn about her past . . .

Graham Minett’s debut novel, The Hidden Legacy, is a powerful and suspenseful tale exploring a mysterious and sinister past.


 

Katherine Carlyle by Rupert Thomson

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This book just sounds so intriguing and I know it won’t be on my TBR mountain for very much longer!

Synopsis:

Katherine Carlyle is Rupert Thomson’s breakthrough novel. Written in the beautifully spare, lucid, and cinematic prose Thomson is known for, and powered by his natural gift for storytelling, it uses the modern techniques of IVF to throw new light on the myth of origins. It is a profound and moving novel about identity, the search for personal meaning, and how we are loved.

Unmoored by her mother’s death and feeling her father to be an increasingly distant figure, Katherine Carlyle abandons the set course of her life and starts out on a mysterious journey to the ends of the world. Instead of going to college, she disappears, telling no one where she has gone. What begins as an attempt to punish her father for his absence gradually becomes a testing ground of his love for her, a coming-to-terms with the death of her mother, and finally the mise-en-scène for a courageous leap to true empowerment.


 

Dear Cathy… Love, Mary by Catherine Conlon and Mary Phelan

Dear Cathy... Love, Mary by Catherine Conlon and Mary Phelan

This book just sounds (and looks) gorgeous! I really wanted to read it last year but I had so many review books that I kept having to leave it for another day. This year I will definitely make the time to read it, it’s calling to me already!

Synopsis:

A warm, funny and nostalgic insight into two girls coming of age in more innocent times.

In 1983 in a south Tipperary town two 18-year-olds take a tentative step into the future: Mary to study accountancy, Cathy to become an au pair in Brittany. For the following year they exchange long gossipy letters.

Their letters are touching, funny, tender and gutsy, showing them sustaining a friendship across the miles, starting to grow up and to realise that the world is a more complex, challenging and exciting place than they had imagined. The letters also capture an era — the time of Kajagoogoo, Culture Club, Dynasty and Ronald Reagan — with charm, humour, pathos and a sense of wonderment about the future


 

The Museum of Things Left Behind by Seni Glaister

The Museum of Things Left Behind by Seni Glaister

The title of this book is what originally caught my eye, it’s excellent! When I read the synopsis I was sold, it sounds like something a bit different to what I’ve been reading and I can’t wait to read it.

Synopsis:

FIND YOURSELF IN VALLEROSA, A PLACE LOST IN TIME

Vallerosa is every tourist’s dream – a tiny, picturesque country surrounded by lush valleys and verdant mountains; a place sheltered from modern life and the rampant march of capitalism. But in isolation, the locals have grown cranky, unfulfilled and disaffected. In the Presidential Palace hostile Americans, wise to the country’s financial potential, are circling like sharks …

Can the town be fixed? Can the local bar owners be reconciled? Can an unlikely visitor be the agent of change and rejuvenation this broken idyll is crying out for?

Full of wisdom, humour and light, THE MUSEUM OF THINGS LEFT BEHIND is a heart-warming fable for our times that asks us to consider what we have lost and what we have gained in modern life. A book about bureaucracy, religion and the people that really get things done, it is above all else a hymn to the inconstancy of time and the pivotal importance of a good cup of tea.


 

The Silent Room by Mari Hannah

The Silent Room by Mari Hannah

I love Mari Hannah’s writing – her Kate Daniels’s series is brilliant and I’m always eagerly awaiting the next book. The Silent Room is a departure from Kate Daniels but I’m just as keen to read it, I’m sure it’ll be a great read!

Synopsis:

A security van sets off for Durham prison, a disgraced Special Branch officer in the back. It never arrives. On route it is hijacked by armed men, the prisoner sprung. Suspended from duty on suspicion of aiding and abetting the audacious escape of his former boss, Detective Sergeant Matthew Ryan is locked out of the investigation.

With a manhunt underway, Ryan is warned to stay away. Keen to preserve his career and prove his innocence, he backs off. But when the official investigation falls apart, under surveillance and with his life in danger, he goes dark, enlisting others in his quest to discover the truth. When the trail leads to the suspicious death of a Norwegian national, Ryan uncovers an international conspiracy that has claimed the lives of many.


 

My Everything by Katie Marsh

My Everything by Katie Marsh

I bought this book the day it was released and was very keen to start reading it immediately. Unfortunately real life got in the way of reading for me quite a lot last year and so I simply didn’t get a chance to read this, it absolutely had to be in my top picks to read in 2016 though!

Synopsis:

A thought-provoking, emotive and page-turning debut novel: Hannah’s thirty-two-year-old husband has a stroke . . . on the day she was going to leave him.

On the day Hannah is finally going to tell her husband of five and a half years that she is leaving him, she finds him lying on the floor by their bed, terrified and unable to move. He’s suffered a stroke.

It’s unbelievable – Tom’s only 32. And now Hannah has to put all her plans on hold to care for the husband she was all but ready to give up on, only now feels she can’t. Tom can’t walk, carry out basic tasks, or go out to work, but after months of neglecting and disconnecting from his wife, the long period of rehabilitation he’s faced with does mean one thing: he has the time and fresh perspective to re-evaluate his life. He decides he must make his marriage work: Hannah is the love of his life.

But can Tom remould himself into the man Hannah first met? And can Hannah let go of what she thought she wanted – the new life she had planned – and fall in love with him again?


 

Forever Yours by Daniel Glattauer

Forever Yours by Daniel Glattauer

I loved Glattauer’s earlier novels Love Virtually and Every Seventh Wave; in fact, Love Virtually is one of my favourite books! So I bought Forever Yours soon after it was released but then I’ve held off reading it, I’m not sure why though so this is definitely one to read this year!

Synopsis:

Judith, in her mid-thirties and single, meets Hannes when he steps on her foot in a crowded supermarket. Before long he turns up in the exclusive little lighting boutique that Judith runs with the help of her assistant Bianca.

Hannes is an architect – single and in the prime of life. Not only is he every mother-in-law’s dream, but Judith’s friends are also bowled over by him. At first Judith revels in being put on a pedestal by this determined man who seems to have eyes only for her. But as time goes by, she finds his constant displays of affection increasingly wearying and his intensive attention becomes oppressive and overwhelming.

In the end she feels cornered, controlled and stifled. All her attempts to get him out of her life fail. He seems to follow her all the way into her dreams, and when she wakes up he’s already waiting on her doorstep to pamper her afresh…


 

183 Times A Year by Eva Jordan

183 Times A Year by Eva Jordan

I’ve kept hearing about this book on twitter and was intrigued enough to buy it. I just didn’t get a chance to read it last year when it was released but it’s definitely one I want to read soon. It sounds like it’ll be a fab read!

Synopsis:

Mothers and daughters alike will never look at each other in quite the same way after reading this book—a brilliantly funny observation of contemporary family life.

Lizzie—exasperated Mother of Cassie, Connor and Stepdaughter Maisy—is the frustrated voice of reason to her daughters’ teenage angst. She gets by with good friends, cheap wine and talking to herself—out loud.

16-year-old Cassie—the Facebook-Tweeting, Selfie-Taking, Music and Mobile Phone obsessed teen—hates everything about her life. She longs for the perfect world of Chelsea Divine and her ‘undivorced’ parents—and Joe, of course.

However, the discovery of a terrible betrayal and a brutal attack throws the whole household into disarray. Lizzie and Cassie are forced to reassess the important things in life as they embark upon separate journeys of self-discovery—accepting some less than flattering home truths along the way.

Although tragic at times this is a delightfully funny exploration of domestic love, hate, strength and ultimately friendship. A poignant, heartfelt look at that complex and diverse relationship between a Mother and daughter set amongst the thorny realities of today’s divided and extended families.


 

The Year My Mother Came Back by Alice Eve Cohen

The Year My Mother Came Back by Alice Eve Cohen

This book showed up on my Amazon recommendations one day and I just couldn’t resist buying it once I read the synopsis. So many times I’ve wished my mum was with me, especially during the hardest times but also during the happiest times, so this book appeals greatly to me. I plan to read it this month as I think it will be a book that offers real solace.

Synopsis:

For the first time in decades I’m remembering Mom, all of her–the wonderful and terrible things about her that I’ve cast out of my thoughts for so long. I’m still struggling to prevent these memories from erupting from their subterranean depths. Trying to hold back the flood. I can’t, not today. The levees break.

Thirty years after her death, Alice Eve Cohen’s mother appears to her, seemingly in the flesh, and continues to do so during the hardest year Alice has had to face: the year her youngest daughter needs a harrowing surgery, her eldest daughter decides to reunite with her birth mother, and Alice herself receives a daunting diagnosis. As it turns out, it’s entirely possible for the people we’ve lost to come back to us when we need them the most.

Although letting her mother back into her life is not an easy thing, Alice approaches it with humor, intelligence, and honesty. What she learns is that she must revisit her childhood and allow herself to be a daughter once more in order to take care of her own girls. Understanding and forgiving her mother’s parenting transgressions leads her to accept her own and to realize that she doesn’t have to be perfect to be a good mother.


 

The Prodigal by Nicky Black

The Prodigal by Nicky Black

I always love finding a new crime series and this one set in the North East sounds just like my kind of book. I’m very much looking forward to starting this one.

Synopsis:

Exiled from his beloved Newcastle sixteen years ago, Detective Sergeant Lee Jamieson is returning home in search of the teenage daughter he’s never met. With a good promotion under his belt and his parents gone, he’s ready to return to his roots and the warm Geordie spirit he has missed so much.

Much to his surprise, his first assignment is in Valley Park, a forgotten sink estate and home to some of the worst social deprivation in the country – the estate where he grew up, and where Nicola Kelly, the wife of a renowned local villain, calls home.

As Lee and Nicola’s lives become entwined through a series of dramatic events, they fall in love and embark on a dangerous affair that will change both of their lives forever. Nicola’s husband, Micky, has few scruples, and, as he feels her slipping away, tightens his grip on her affections.

In order for Lee and Nicola to be together, Micky Kelly has to go.


 

A Game for all the Family by Sophie Hannah

A Game for all the Family by Sophie Hannah

I love Sophie Hannah’s Culver Valley series so when I spotted that she had written a standalone book, I was intrigued to see what that would be like. I’m sure it will be brilliant and hope to read it soon.

Synopsis:

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

After fleeing London and a career that nearly destroyed her, Justine Merrison plans to spend her days doing as little as possible. But soon after the move, her daughter Ellen starts to seem strangely withdrawn. Checking Ellen’s homework one day, Justine finds herself reading a chillingly articulate story about a series of sinister murders committed at the family’s new house. Can Ellen really have made all this up, as she claims? Why would she invent something so grotesque, set it in her own home and name one of the characters after herself? When Justine discovers that Ellen has probably also invented her best friend at school, who appears not to be known to any of the teachers, Justine’s alarm turns to panic.

Then the anonymous phone calls start: a stranger, making accusations and threats that suggest she and Justine share a traumatic past – yet Justine doesn’t recognise her voice. When the caller starts to talk about three graves – two big ones and a smaller one for a child – Justine fears for her family’s safety. If the police can’t help, she’ll have to confront the danger herself, but first she must work out who she’s supposed to be…


 

Sue Grafton Alphabet series A-W

I’m also contemplating a year (or more likely a two-year) long re-read of Sue Grafton’s alphabet series. I discovered this series a few years ago and devoured them up until the then latest book, which I think was R is for Ricochet.  I adore this series but I feel like I’ve left it so long since I read R that I want to go back and start again – maybe reading one or two books a month until I catch up to the latest book. I’m not a big re-reader but I just feel like I’d really enjoy re-visting Kinsey Millhone from the beginning! It seems like a good time to do it it with only Y and Z left to be published – by the time I’ve completed a re-read and catch up they are likely to already be out and I can read right through to the very end of the series!


 

Are there any books that you’re planning to make time for this year? Any books that you wish you’d read before now but just haven’t had a chance, or any books you’ve loved and plan to re-read? Please share in the comments below. 🙂

 

My Weekly Wrap-Up and Stacking the Shelves (31 October)

I can’t believe it’s Saturday again already, it’s been yet another busy bookish week here!

Bookouture Christmas week came to an end on 27th October. As you may remember, I ran a giveaway to win some fab ebooks. Thank you again to everyone who entered, the winners are all listed in this post in case you missed the announcement. By the way, Bookouture are now running a #BookoutureThriller week, read my post to the end to read details of how you can take part. There are great prizes on offer!

I was very excited this week to discover that I’d earned a new badge on Net Galley. I now have the Top Reviewer badge, which is the one you get when so many of your Net Galley reviews have been chosen to feature on publisher’s title pages.


This week I have read four books (Click the links in the list below the book pics to read my reviews)

robin talley what we left behind  record store of the mind  merry mistletoe  written in the scars

What We Left Behind by Robin Talley

The Record Store of the Mind by Josh Rosenthal

Merry Mistletoe by Emma Davies

Written in the Scars by Mel Sherratt


I’m currently reading:

12080721_10208053670124026_1305089176_n

The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin

I’m a part of the blog tour for this book so my review will be up on Monday (2nd November). I can tell you that it’s a wonderful novel and if you love reading books about books this one will be for you!

Blurb:

Le Vie En Rose

Bookshop owner Sarah Smith has been offered the opportunity to exchange bookshops with her new Parisian friend for 6 months! And saying yes is a no-brainer – after all, what kind of a romantic would turn down a trip to Paris…for Christmas?

Even if it does mean leaving the irresistible Ridge Warner behind, Sarah’s sure she’s in for the holiday of a lifetime – complete with all the books she can read!

Imagining days wandering around Shakespeare & Co, munching on croissants, sipping café au laits and watching the snow fall on the Champs-Élysées Sarah boards the plane.

But will her dream of a Parisian Happily-Ever-After come true? Or will Sarah realise that the dream of a Christmas fairytale in the city of love isn’t quite as rosy in reality…

time to die

Time to Die by Caroline Mitchell

I’m a real scaredy-cat but I couldn’t resist this one because it’s published by Bookouture and all of their books are amazing. I’m finding this book near impossible to put down, the supernatural elements in it make the book that bit different to other books in the genre. If you’re planning on reading this (or any other of their thrillers) please check out my BookoutureThriller info at the end of this post!)

Blurb:

He Will Predict you life… and your death.

Don’t ever cross his palm with silver.
He will reveal your most shameful secrets.
He will predict your death.
He is hiding a secret.
He is hiding a monster.
And all his predictions come true.
Investigating a series of chilling murders, Detective Jennifer Knight finds herself tracking a mysterious tarot card reader known only as The Raven.
As the death toll rises, Jennifer and her team build a picture of a serial killer on the edge of sanity, driven by dark forces. But these are not random killings. And the method behind the madness could be the most terrifying thing of all …
Especially when it seems the death of one of their own is on the cards.
Time to Die is an absolutely gripping serial killer thriller with a breath-taking supernatural twist.

A Notable Woman

A Notable Woman by Simon Garfield (Due to be published 5th Nov)

This book is a long one so I’m going to be reading it for a while but it’s completely and utterly wonderful. I adore it and highly recommend it to everyone.

Blurb:

In April 1925, Jean Lucey Pratt began writing a journal. She continued to write until just a few days before her death in 1986, producing well over a million words in 45 exercise books over the course of her lifetime. For sixty years, no one had an inkling of her diaries’ existence, and they have remained unpublished until now.
Jean wrote about anything that amused, inspired or troubled her, laying bare every aspect of her life with aching honesty, infectious humour, indelicate gossip and heartrending hopefulness. She recorded her yearnings and her disappointments in love, from schoolgirl crushes to disastrous adult affairs. She documented the loss of a tennis match, her unpredictable driving, catty friends, devoted cats and difficult guests. With Jean we live through the tumult of the Second World War and the fears of a nation. We see Britain hurtling through a period of unbridled transformation, and we witness the shifting landscape for women in society.
As Jean’s words propel us back in time, A Notable Woman becomes a unique slice of living, breathing British history and a revealing private chronicle of life in the twentieth century.

out of the darkness

Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan

This book is brilliant! It’s one of those books that I want to keep reading but I also want to really take my time with it. I’ve decided to read it slowly so I can really take in the story. It’s an incredibly moving book, and I’d definitely recommend it. I’m hoping to review it next week and may have a giveaway too so keep an eye out for that!

Blurb:

DOES EVERYTHING IN LIFE HAPPEN PURELY BY CHANCE? OR ARE WE GUIDED TOWARDS PEOPLE WHO CAN HELP US IN OUR HOUR OF NEED?
Following the sudden death of her beloved mother, Jessica Gibson’s world falls apart. But after meeting a man who seems heaven-sent, she starts to feel she has something to live for again, and soon discovers that their connection holds far more significance than she could ever have imagined. And when Jessica strikes an unlikely bond with Alexandra Green, the two new friends are taken on an emotional journey into the world of the supernatural, where psychic mediums pass on messages from beyond the grave. What — or who — is causing the strange goings-on in Alex’s home? What secret is she keeping from Jessica? And who is the young woman who so badly needs their help? In a series of surprising twists and turns, the pieces of the puzzle finally fall into place and a mystery is unwittingly solved — with life-changing consequences for all involved.

how to stuff up christmas

How to Stuff Up Christmas by Rosie Blake (Due to be published 5th Nov)

Blurb:

‘Tis the season to be jolly. Unless you’ve found an intimate picture of another woman on your fiance’s phone… 
Eve is heartbroken after discovering her fiance is cheating on her. Being surrounded by the joys of Christmas is more than Eve can bear, so she chooses to avoid the festivities by spending Christmas alone on a houseboat in Pangbourne. Eve gets gets an unexpected seasonal surprise when handsome local vet Greg comes to her rescue one day, and continues to visit Eve’s boat on a mission to transform her from Kitchen Disaster Zone to Culinary Queen.
But where does Greg keep disappearing to? What does Eve’s best friend Daisy know that she isn’t telling? And why is there an angry goose stalking Eve’s boat?
A hilarious and heart-warming novel about Christmas, catastrophes and cooking, containing exclusive Christmas recipes, from the talented Rosie Blake.


stacking-the-shelves

I’m also joining in with Stacking the Shelves (hosted by Tynga’s Reviews), which is all about sharing all the books you’ve acquired in the past week – ebooks or physical books, and books you’ve bought or borrowed or received an ARC of.

Books I’ve bought this week:

home is burning  the witches salem  bones in the nest muse  sunday dinners

Home is Burning: A Memoir by Dan Marshall

The Witches: Salem 1692 by Stacy Schiff

Bones in the Nest by Helen Cadbury

Muse by Jonathan Galassi

Sunday Dinners by Jon Rance

I was most excited to buy The Witches: Salem 1692 as I’ve heard so much about it but all of these books caught my eye over the course of the week and I couldn’t resist buying any of them. I hope to have time to read them soon.

Arcs I’ve received:

the widow  a game for all the family  the heart of winter  The Day of Second Chances  In Real Life by Jessica Love  Lost Girls by Angela Marsons  This Raging Light by Estelle Laure

The Widow by Fiona Barton (paperback)

A Game for all the Family by Sophie Hannah (hardback)

The Heart of Winter by Emma Hannifin (paperback)

The Day of Second Chances by Julie Cohen (ebook)

In Real Life by Jessica Love (ebook)

Lost Girls by Angela Marsons (ebook)

This Raging Light by Estelle Laure (ebook)

I’m so excited about all of these ARCs. I think I was most excited when I was offered a copy of The Widow because I’ve heard so much about it and have been so badly wanting to get my hands on a copy. All of the other books have been books I’d added to my wishlist so I was super excited to get approved for them.


From 31st October – 6th November Bookouture are running a Bookouture Thriller week on twitter. To join in all you need to do is read one (or more!) of their thrillers and tweet about it using the hashtag #BookoutureThriller.

More info in this pic:

BookoutureThriller

This pic shows the books you could pick from to read:

BookoutureThriller books