My Top Ten Non-Fiction Reads 2016

 

copy-of-weekly-wrap-upon-rather-too-fond-of-books-4

Yesterday I posted my Top Ten fiction reads of 2016 (which you can read here if you missed it) and today I’m sharing my Top Ten Non-Fiction reads. I’ve always enjoyed reading non-fiction but I tend to lean more towards fiction so this year I’ve made a real effort to read more non-fiction. Out of the 211 books I read in 2016, 67 were non-fiction. I’ve read quite a wide variety of books and these are the ten that have stayed with me.

A Mother's Reckoning- Living in the aftermath of the Columbine tragedy by Sue Klebold

A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold

This book is an honest memoir by the mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the Columbine shooters. She writes this book in a very open way, it felt like she held nothing back. It really showed the pain she feels at what her son did, but also the pain she feels at not realising what was going on his life leading up to the shooting. She is also a mother grieving the loss of her son, she raised him and has happy memories from when he was younger and you can feel the conflict and confusion and sheer pain radiate from the page. It’s one of the most honest memoirs I’ve ever read, it really felt like a no-holds-barred read and deserves all of the praise it has received.

another-day-in-the-death-of-america-by-gary-younge

Another Day in the Death of America by Gary Younge

This is a very involving, very moving and shocking account of the deaths of young people in America in the course of one day. All the young people were killed in shootings – some were innocent bystanders, some were caught up in gangs. The bigger picture is examined to a degree as to how and why this is happening. I found this to be a difficult read but it’s an important one and I would highly recommend it.

in-plain-sight-by-dan-davies

In Plain Sight by Dan Davies

This is an examination of the life and the despicable crimes committed by Jimmy Savile. It’s a long and detailed read that looks at what Jimmy Savile did and how he got away with it. It’s not an easy read in terms of subject matter but it’s well-written and really gives an insight into how and why people collude in such terrible crimes.

unbecoming-by-una

Unbecoming by Una

This is a graphic non-fiction book, one of the first I’ve ever read and I found it incredibly moving. It’s one woman’s story of her rape as a young teenager, whilst she was living in Yorkshire at the time the Yorkshire Ripper was still on the loose. The way she tells her story really got to me and there were times I had to take a break from reading before I could carry on. It’s such an important story and one of the best I’ve ever read on the subject of rape and abuse.

 

death-at-seaworld-by-david-kirby

Death at Seaworld by David Kirby

I feel very passionately that killer whales should not be kept in captivity anyway but this book opened my eyes to the level of mistreatment that these beautiful creatures are put through purely for the public’s entertainment. I’ve been to Seaworld, when I was a teenager, and it shocked me to see how tiny the pools were that the whales are kept in. Later on the same holiday I was lucky enough to go on a whale watching boat trip to see killer whales in the wild and it was shocking to see the difference between the captive whales and the wild ones. David Kirby’s book looks at these differences and explores what could be done with the captive whales in order to give them a better life given that they probably can’t be put back into the wild.

on-bowie-by-rob-sheffield

On Bowie by Rob Sheffield

This book was a joy to read. It’s not an in-depth biography and it doesn’t pretend to be – it’s basically a love letter to David Bowie from a fan, and reading it as a fan myself it was wonderful. It’s quite a short book, and it didn’t contain anything that I didn’t already know about David Bowie, or his music, but reading it in the aftermath of his death just felt like solace. It’s a moving and heartfelt book that I would highly recommend this book to all Bowie fans.

 

1971 - Never A Dull Moment- Rock's Golden Year by David Hepworth

1971: Never A Dull Moment by David Hepworth

My husband isn’t much of a reader – he collects records like I collect books – so when his mum bought him a copy of this for his birthday last year it was one that we both wanted to read. We ended up getting another copy of it on audible and we listened to it together. It was a lovely way to share the experience of reading a book. The book is set out with one chapter for each month of 1971 and whilst he does widen the narrative beyond each month, he always brings it back to the point nicely. At the end of each chapter is Hepworth’s song picks from that month so my husband made a playlist of all of the songs and it was fun to listen to after we’d finished the book.

 

spectacles-by-sue-perkins

Spectacles by Sue Perkins

This was one of my Christmas presents in 2015 and I’d been so looking forward to reading it at the time but got sidetracked with review books. When I finally did pick it up after my reading slump in the summer I found that I couldn’t put it down. It’s a wonderful book and  I think it’s one I may re-read in the future.

 

breaking-the-silence-by-jo-milne

Breaking the Silence by Jo Milne

This was a review book that I read a few weeks ago but have somehow forgotten to ever post my review so I will share a full review this month at some point. This is the story of Jo Milne was was deaf her whole life and then began to go blind. It was at this point that she was offered surgery to attempt to give her hearing. The story of Jo’s life up to the point she had the surgery was fascinating, it’s a real insight into what it must be like to be deaf. The story post-surgery had me in tears on more than one occasion. It’s a great read and I highly recommend it.

rise-by-sian-williams

Rise by Sian Williams

I was drawn to this book because I’d seen interviews with Sian on TV and was really interested to read her account of trauma. I’ve suffered with cPTSD in the past and whilst I consider myself to be recovered now, I do still have to be mindful of my triggers and probably will always be hyper-alert to certain things. It doesn’t affect my life anymore though. This book was so much more than I thought it would be. It’s a really honest account of what happened to her, but it’s also a very accessible look at various treatments and the different ways trauma affects people. It looks at why some people go on to be diagnosed with PTSD and others don’t. I highlighted so many parts of this book and am sure I’ll re-read it in the future. it’s a really interesting read and I’d definitely recommend it.


 

So, that’s my Top Ten non-fiction reads of 2016! Did you read much non-fiction last year? What were your stand-out books? I’d love some more non-fiction recommendations as I definitely want to carry on reading more in 2017.

If you missed my Top Ten Fiction reads of 2016, you can read it here.

 

 

My March Wrap-Up Post (2016)

Monthly Wrap-Up

Well, March has been a better month reading-wise and also personally. Personal news first, in case you’ve missed it, is that I finally got a stairlift fitted in my home, which means I can now safely go up and down the stairs on my own. I fought against this for so long and the minute it was in I felt like a weight had been lifted off me. It’s brilliant to be able to go downstairs whenever I want to without needing help on the stairs. 

I’ve been reading a lot more again during March, which is such a relief. My reading slump had been going on since the end of December and was starting to feel like it might never end. Unfortunately, we can’t seem to get my pain levels under any sort of control a lot of the time so I still can’t read as fast as before, or for as long a period as I lose concentration much more easily but it is great to be able to lose myself in a book even for just a short while at a time. I tend to spend my days reading a while, blogging a while, resting a longer while and then repeating! My blog really takes it out of me, it’s painful to type and it’s hard to think clearly but it gives me such a sense of having achieved something in my day that I refuse to give it up.

I managed to read seventeen books this month (well, sixteen books and a short story), which is not as many as I would have hoped but is way more than the previous two months when I was going through a major reading slump so I’m pleased at what I read. I’ve managed to review seven of these books so far, the ones I’ve reviewed are at the top of my list and have links so you can click to read them if you’d like to. I hope to review the other books but it’ll depend on time and my health situation.

Time to Say Goodbye by SD Robertson

Sisters and Lies by Bernice Barrington

Quicksand by Steve Toltz

You Sent Me A Letter by Lucy Dawson

Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin

The Missing by CL Taylor

The Stylist by Rosie Nixon

Bone by Bone by Sanjida Kay

A Woman in a Million by Monica Wood

The Art of Wearing Hats by Helena Sheffield

A Proper Family Christmas by Chrissie Manby

Sally Ride by Lynn Sherr

A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold

When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen

Between You and Me by Lisa Hall 

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

The Good Mother by AL Bird

 

I also reviewed three other books that I read in February but didn’t manage to review until March:

The Silent Girls by Ann Troup 

Look At Me by Sarah Duguid

The Butcher’s Hook by Janet Ellis


 

I was very lucky this month that I got to interview four authors on my blog. You can read them all at the links below:

Janet Ellis (author of The Butcher’s Hook)

 

Carol Lovekin (author of Ghostbird)

 

Caroline James (author of Coffee, Tea, The Caribbean and Me) 

 

East of Coker banner (2)

Andy Owen (author of East of Coker)

 


 

Also on my blog I featured a lovely guest post by Elle Turner (author of Tapestry) and took part in a cover reveal for The Joyce Girl by Annabel Abbs


 

Then to round off what has been a brilliant month of blogging, I wrote a blog post this week about keeping books for the right moment (you can read that here) and it has become one of the most read posts on my blog and is the most liked so I’m thrilled about that. I’m not very confident in writing posts, I usually stick to reviews, so it was really lovely that something I wrote struck such a chord with some of my readers. 

My blog is still growing, which is brilliant. I’ve been blogging for about seven months now and enjoy it so much, I couldn’t imagine not being a blogger now!

Over the course of the next month on my blog I want to make a new blog header, and to make some new headers for my posts. My husband is much better at taking photos than me so he’s very kindly agreed to take some pics of my favourite books so that we can make them into some nicer headers. I’m looking forward to getting that done. I do keep pondering about changing my WP theme as I’ve never really liked this one, but I know how to make changes in this theme and how to keep it up to date so I’m reluctant to mess about with that just at the moment. Hopefully a new header will at least brighten things up a bit!

 


 

So, that was my month! How was your March? Has it been a book-filled month for you? Please feel free to share in the comments below, or to leave a link to your own March Wrap-Up post.

WWW Wednesday (16 March 2016)

WWW pic

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’m reading now:

The missing

The Missing by C. L. Taylor

I was so excited when I saw that this book was going to be available on Net Galley and was thrilled when my request was approved. I *love* C. L. Taylor’s books so much. I actually already have this on pre-order but couldn’t resist the chance to read and review it sooner. I’ll still look forward to my copy arriving in the post though.

Synopsis:

You love your family. They make you feel safe. You trust them. Or do you…?

When fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson goes missing in the middle of the night, his mother, Claire, blames herself. She’s not the only one. There isn’t a single member of Billy’s family that doesn’t feel guilty. But the Wilkinson’s are so used to keeping secrets from one another that it isn’t until six months later, after an appeal for information goes horribly wrong, that the truth begins to surface.

Claire is sure of two things – that Billy is still alive and that her friends and family had nothing to do with his disappearance.

A mother’s instinct is never wrong. Or is it?

Sometimes those closest to us are the ones with the most to hide…

The Stylist by Rosie Nixon

The Stylist by Rosie Nixon

I am enjoying this book so much, it’s a very amusing novel and one I’m finding hard to put down.

Synopsis:

When Amber Green, a shop assistant in an exclusive London boutique is plucked from obscurity and mistakenly offered a job working with Mona Armstrong, the infamous, jet-setting ‘stylist to the stars’, she hits the ground running, helping to style some of Hollywood’s hottest (and craziest) starlets.

As awards season spins into action Mona is in hot demand and Amber’s life turned upside down. Suddenly she catching the attention of two very different suitors, TV producer Rob and Hollywood bad boy rising star Liam. How will Amber keep her head? And what the hell will everyone wear?

The One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood

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

I was lucky to win a signed copy of this novel in a competition and it’s definitely a book that I will treasure as it’s such a beautiful, moving story. I’m about halfway through it and whenever I’m not reading it I’m thinking about the characters. 

Synopsis:

A one-in-a-million story for anyone who loves to laugh, cry, and think about how extraordinary ordinary life can be. Not to be missed by readers who loved THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY, ELIZABETH IS MISSING or THE SHOCK OF THE FALL.

Miss Ona Vitkus has – aside from three months in the summer of 1914 – lived unobtrusively, her secrets fiercely protected. 

The boy, with his passion for world records, changes all that. He is eleven. She is one hundred and four years, one hundred and thirty three days old (they are counting). And he makes her feel like she might be really special after all. Better late than never…

Only it’s been two weeks now since he last visited, and she’s starting to think he’s not so different from all the rest.

Then the boy’s father comes, for some reason determined to finish his son’s good deed. And Ona must show this new stranger that not only are there odd jobs to be done, but a life’s ambition to complete . . .

The Day of Second Chances

The Day of Second Chances by Julie Cohen

I’ve hard this novel on my review shelf for a while now and this week it was calling to me. I wish I’d read it sooner now because it’s such a good book, another one that’s had to put down.

Synopsis:

Can you imagine keeping a secret so devastating, you couldn’t even tell the people you love?

Honor’s secret threatens to rob her of the independence she’s guarded ferociously for eighty years.

Jo’s secret could smash apart the ‘normal’ family life she’s fought so hard to build.

Lydia’s secret could bring her love – or the loss of everything that matters to her.

One summer’s day, grandmother, mother and daughter’s secrets will collide in a single dramatic moment.

Is it too late for second chances?

Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin

Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin

This novel is so enchantingly beautiful, I’m actually not sure how I will ever to justice to it in a review. I’m deliberately reading it slowly as I just want it to last forever. Ghostbird is released tomorrow so please go buy a copy, you won’t want to miss this book! My review will be up on Monday (the 21st March) as part of the blog tour and I’ll also have a Q&A with the author, Carol Lovekin, which I can’t wait to share.

Synopsis:

Nothing hurts like not knowing who you are. Nobody will tell Cadi anything about her father and her sister. Her mother Violet believes she can only cope with the past by never talking about it. Lili, Cadi’s aunt, is stuck in the middle, bound by a promise she shouldn’t have made. But this summer, Cadi is determined to find out the truth.

In a world of hauntings and magic, in a village where it rains throughout August, as Cadi starts on her search the secrets and the ghosts begin to wake up. None of the Hopkins women will be able to escape them.

truth lies and o-rings

Truth, Lies and, O-Rings: Inside the Space Shuttle Disaster by Allan J. McDonald & James R. Hansen

I’m still reading this book and I think I will be for a while. It’s a fascinating read but it’s not one to read in big chunks.

Synopsis:

On a cold January morning in 1986, NASA launched the Space Shuttle Challenger, despite warnings against doing so by many individuals, including Allan McDonald. The fiery destruction of Challenger on live television moments after launch remains an indelible image in the nation’s collective memory.

In Truth, Lies, and O-Rings, McDonald, a skilled engineer and executive, relives the tragedy from where he stood at Launch Control Center. As he fought to draw attention to the real reasons behind the disaster, he was the only one targeted for retribution by both NASA and his employer, Morton Thiokol, Inc., makers of the shuttle’s solid rocket boosters. In this whistle-blowing yet rigorous and fair-minded book, McDonald, with the assistance of internationally distinguished aerospace historian James R. Hansen, addresses all of the factors that led to the accident, some of which were never included in NASA’s Failure Team report submitted to the Presidential Commission.

Truth, Lies, and O-Rings is the first look at the Challenger tragedy and its aftermath from someone who was on the inside, recognized the potential disaster, and tried to prevent it. It also addresses the early warnings of very severe debris issues from the first two post-Challenger flights, which ultimately resulted in the loss of Columbia some fifteen years later.


 

What I recently finished reading: 

I’m so happy to report that my reading mojo is finally back! This week I have finished SIX books!! Some of these books I’ve been reading for a while and just finished them this week but I did read three whole books from start to finish since last Wednesday. I’ve only managed to review on of these books so far but I do plan on reviewing the rest very soon so look out for those.

Quicksand by Steve Toltz (I was on the blog tour for this book on Friday so you can read my review here if you’d like to)

You Sent Me A Letter by Lucy Dawson

When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen

A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold

Sally Ride by Lynn Sherr

A Proper Family Christmas by Chrissie Manby


 

What I plan on reading next:

the good mother

The Good Mother by A. L. Bird

I was super excited to received a review copy of this book as it sounds so good. I hope to start reading it in the next few days and I suspect it’ll be one of those that I can’t put down.

Synopsis:

The greatest bond. The darkest betrayal.

Susan wakes up alone in a room she doesn’t recognise, with no memory of how she got there. She only knows that she is trapped, and her daughter is missing.

The relief that engulfs her when she hears her daughter’s voice through the wall is quickly replaced by fear.

The person who has imprisoned her has her daughter, too.

Devising a plan to keep her daughter safe, Susan begins to get closer to her unknown captor. And suddenly, she realises that she has met him before.

the night that changed everthing

The Night That Changed Everything by Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice

I’m so looking forward to reading this book, it sounds like such a good read. I’ve heard lots of good things about it so I’m sure I’m going to really enjoy it.

Synopsis:

Rebecca is the only girl she knows who didn’t cry at the end of Titanic. Ben is the only man he knows who did. Rebecca’s untidy but Ben doesn’t mind picking up her pieces. Ben is laid back by Rebecca keeps him on his toes. They’re a perfect match.

Nothing can come between them. Or so they think.

When a throwaway comment reveals a secret from the past, their love story is rewritten.

Can they recover from the night that changed everything? And how do you forgive when you can’t forget?

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

I’m such a big fan of Louise Candlish’s novels so I can’t wait to start reading this one.

Synopsis:

In the heady swelter of a London summer, the Elm Hill lido opens.

For teacher Natalie Steele, the school holiday typically means weeks of carefully planned activities with her husband Ed and their daughter Molly. But not this year.

Despite Molly’s extreme phobia of the water, Natalie is drawn to the lido and its dazzling social scene, led by the glamorous Lara Channing. Soon Natalie is spending long, intoxicating days with Lara at the pool – and intimate evenings at her home. Natalie’s real life begins to feel very far away.

But is the new friendship everything it seems? Why is Natalie haunted by memories from another summer years ago? And, without realising, has she been swept dangerously out of her depth?

 


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 (13th March 2016)

Weekly wrap-up banner

SundayBlogShare

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.

 

This week has been a much better for week in terms of reading, I finally feel like my mojo is really, properly on its way back. I’ve finished five books (most were books that I’ve been part way through for a while, only one was a book I started and finished in the same week), I’ve started some new books and most importantly when I’m not reading I look forward to getting back to my books! It’s wonderful to feel like this again. Now I just need my reading speed to pick up as I’m not used to reading so slowly but I’m sure that will come back soon now I’m excited about reading again.

My real life has been up and down this week. I had an appointment on Monday that was important but it was very hard on my body and triggered off the very severe pain that I get. I had to spend the rest of the day flat on my back in bed as I could not move. It’s taken a couple of days for things to begin to ease but I’m finally back at a more normal level of pain for me now.

I’m excited for this week as I’m due to have my stairlift installed and I just can’t wait, I feel like a small child waiting for Christmas to arrive and I’m practically counting the minutes down now! I don’t want to have a stairlift but I do want the freedom to go downstairs in my own home when I want to.


This week I’ve finished reading five books:

Apart from Quicksand, which I did read within the last seven days, I’ve been reading these books for a while now and just managed to finish them this week.

Quicksand by Steve Toltz (I was on the blog tour for this book on Friday and I shared my review so please check that out here.)

Sally Ride by Lynn Sherr

A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold

The Art of Wearing Hats by Helena Sheffield

A Proper Family Christmas by Chrissie Manby

The four books that I haven’t reviewed yet are on my list to review so hopefully I’ll get those posted on my blog in the next couple of weeks or so.


 

I’ve managed to blog six times this week, which I’m very pleased about.

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up post

Tuesday: Review of Sisters and Lies by Bernice Barrington

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday post

Thursday: Review of Time to Say Goodbye by SD Robertson

Friday: Blog tour and review of Quicksand by Steve Toltz

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves post

 

Coming soon on my blog:

I don’t plan a set schedule for my blog unless I have blog tour scheduled in but I do usually know what I’d like to post on each day, health permitting! This week I will definitely have an interview with author Andy Owen about his new book, East of Coker. I also plan to review two or three of the books I’ve finished recently. And, of course, I’ll still be joining in with my regular WWW Wednesday, Stacking the Shelves on Saturday and on Sunday will be my Weekly Wrap-Up post.


 

Here’s what I’m currently reading:

Truth, Lies and O-Rings by Allan J. McDonald and James R. Hansen

I’m still finding this book to be fascinating but it’s quite technical so I’m just reading a chapter here and there. It’s also over 800 pages long so I reckon this will be an ongoing read for quite a while.

When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen

This is another fab book by Tammy Cohen, I’m now 62% through it and have got my suspicions about certain characters! I want to keep reading but real life keeps interrupting.

The Stylist by Rosie Nixon

This book was gifted to me on Net Galley a while ago and I’ve been really keen to read it but somehow haven’t got around to it until now. I’ve only read three chapters so far but I’m hooked and can’t wait to see what happens next to Amber Green!

The Day of Second Chances by Julie Cohen

This is another Net Galley book that I was so keen to read when I was approved for it but then real life got tough and my reading mojo upped and left. Now it’s back I couldn’t resist choosing this for my next read. It’s such a good book, I just wish I had more hours in the day to read!


 

What have you been reading this week? Please feel free to link to your weekly wrap-up post, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below! I love to hear what you’re all reading. 🙂

WWW Wednesday (9th March 2016)

WWW pic

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’m reading now:

Quicksand by Steve Toltz

Quicksand by Steve Toltz

This week I started reading Quicksand and am racing through it, I’ve almost finished it already. I’m not sure what I was expecting from this book, but what I got is very different to anything else I’ve read in quite a while. I’m really enjoying it and I’ll be reviewing it on Friday for the blog tour.

Synopsis:

A daring, brilliant work by one of our most original and fearless novelists.

‘Why should I let you write about me?’
‘Because you’ll inspire people. To count their blessings.’

Aldo Benjamin, relentlessly unlucky in every aspect of life, has always faced the future with despair and optimism in equal measure. His latest misfortune, however, may finally be his undoing. There’s still hope, but not for Aldo.

His mate Liam hasn’t been faring much better – a failed writer with a rocky marriage and a dangerous job he never wanted – until he finds inspiration in Aldo’s exponential disasters. What begins as an attempt to document these improbable but inevitable experiences spirals into a profound exploration of fate, fear and friendship.

Anarchically funny and wildly entertaining, Quicksand is a subversive portrait of 21st-century society in all its hypocrisy and absurdity, an exquisite interpretation of suffering and resilience, and a powerful story about taking risks and finding inspiration.


 

when she was bad tammy

When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen

I also started reading When She Was Bad this week. This book is an ARC that I was lucky to be approved for on Net Galley, it’s not out until April but I just couldn’t resist picking it up straight away. I love Tammy Cohen’s writing, and although her books always majorly give me the creeps and really unsettle me I just can’t resist them!

Synopsis:

YOU SEE THE PEOPLE YOU WORK WITH EVERY DAY.

BUT WHAT CAN’T YOU SEE?

Amira, Sarah, Paula, Ewan and Charlie have worked together for years – they know how each one likes their coffee, whose love life is a mess, whose children keep them up at night. But their comfortable routine life is suddenly shattered when an aggressive new boss walks in ….

Now, there’s something chilling in the air.

Who secretly hates everyone?

Who is tortured by their past?

Who is capable of murder?


 

truth lies and o-rings

Truth, Lies and, O-Rings: Inside the Space Shuttle Disaster by Allan J. McDonald & James R. Hansen

I’ve always been fascinated by all things space and space travel. I’ll never forget the day Challenger exploded because it happened on a day that was special to me and I’ll never forget my dad rushing in the door from work and putting the news on and us seeing the explosion. I was too young at the time to really grasp the wider significance of what had happened that day but over the years I’ve wanted to know more. This book is much more technical than any other book I’ve read on the subject so it’s going to take me a while to read it. It’s an eye-opening book though.

Synopsis:

On a cold January morning in 1986, NASA launched the Space Shuttle Challenger, despite warnings against doing so by many individuals, including Allan McDonald. The fiery destruction of Challenger on live television moments after launch remains an indelible image in the nation’s collective memory.

In Truth, Lies, and O-Rings, McDonald, a skilled engineer and executive, relives the tragedy from where he stood at Launch Control Center. As he fought to draw attention to the real reasons behind the disaster, he was the only one targeted for retribution by both NASA and his employer, Morton Thiokol, Inc., makers of the shuttle’s solid rocket boosters. In this whistle-blowing yet rigorous and fair-minded book, McDonald, with the assistance of internationally distinguished aerospace historian James R. Hansen, addresses all of the factors that led to the accident, some of which were never included in NASA’s Failure Team report submitted to the Presidential Commission.

Truth, Lies, and O-Rings is the first look at the Challenger tragedy and its aftermath from someone who was on the inside, recognized the potential disaster, and tried to prevent it. It also addresses the early warnings of very severe debris issues from the first two post-Challenger flights, which ultimately resulted in the loss of Columbia some fifteen years later.


 

This week has got off to a tough start with a medical appointment on Monday morning that has left me with increased pain and spasms so I haven’t managed to finish reading these books, which I started before this week. They’re all great reads though and are keeping me hooked.

A Proper Family Christmas by Chrissie Manby

Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin

A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold

Sally Ride by Lynn Sherr


 

What I recently finished reading: 

Bone by Bone by Sanjida Kay

Bone by Bone by Sanjida Kay

I started this book one day last week and finished it the following day. It just grabbed me straight away and I couldn’t put it down! I plan to review this on my blog in the next week or so.

Synopsis:

Laura loves her daughter more than anything in the world. 

But nine-year-old daughter Autumn is being bullied. Laura feels helpless.

When Autumn fails to return home from school one day, Laura goes looking for her. She finds a crowd of older children taunting her little girl.

In the heat of the moment, Laura makes a terrible choice. A choice that will have devastating consequences for her and her daughter…

A Woman in a Million by Monica Wood

A Woman in A Million by Monica Wood (short story)

This was a free short story available on Kindle. It’s the prequel to the forthcoming novel One in a Million Boy, which I cannot wait to read. This prequel has really got me very keen to start the book, it’s a wonderful story.

Synopsis:

If you loved The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and The Shock of the Fall, this is for you…
There’s someone you should meet. But, before you do…
She’s just turned one hundred. She doesn’t want a birthday party. Or a TV interview. She’s too busy practising for her driving test. And hoodwinking church visitors with magic tricks. She’s Miss Ona Vitkus. And she’s one in a million.
Warm, funny and heartbreaking, this short-story prequel to THE ONE IN A MILLION BOY – the book destined to be on everyone’s lips this summer – will make you laugh and cry with the turn of a page.

 


 

What I plan on reading next:

The Truth About Julia by Anna Schaffner

The Truth about Julia by Anna Schaffner

I was sent this review book unsolicited but it sounds so good and I really want to start reading it very soon. I reckon it’ll be a book that hooks me in very fast and will be one I want to read in one go!

Synopsis:

In June 2014, Julia White – a beautiful and intelligent young woman – blows up a coffee shop in central London, killing twenty-four people before turning herself in to the police. Apart from publishing a potentially ironic manifesto, she refuses to explain the reasons for her actions.

Clare Hardenberg, an investigative journalist, has been commissioned to write a biography of Julia but at the start of the novel she is on her way to prison herself. What has brought her to this point?

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

I spotted this one on Net Galley and couldn’t resist requesting it, it sounds like such a good read. It’s not due to be published until July but I don’t think I’ll be able to resist starting it for much longer!

Synopsis:

You never know what’s happening on the other side of the wall.

Your neighbour told you that she didn’t want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn’t stand her crying.

Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You’ll have the baby monitor and you’ll take it in turns to go back every half hour.

Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She’s gone.

You’ve never had to call the police before. But now they’re in your home, and who knows what they’ll find there.

What would you be capable of, when pushed past your limit?

 


 

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 (6th March 2016)

Weekly wrap-up banner

This week I decided to separate my Stacking the Shelves and Weekly Wrap-Up posts for the first time as I wanted to be able to focus on each individually. From now on my Stacking the Shelves post will remain on a Saturday (you can read yesterday’s post here) and Weekly Wrap-Ups will be on a Sunday. I’m going to see how it goes, I may end up going back to a combined post but we’ll see!

SundayBlogShare

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. 

I wrote my monthly wrap-up post a week ago and shared more about what has been happening in my real life of late (you can read that post here), thank you to all of you who sent me such lovely messages of support. 

This week it feels like I’m finally beginning to adjust to some of the changes in my life. I’ve got my stairlift ordered and it will be fitted in about a week and a half so I can’t wait for that. I’ve stopped hating the fact that I need it and have realised that I need to embrace the freedom and independence it will give me. I’ll be able to go downstairs in my own home by myself for the first time in ten months and that is something to celebrate and be happy about! 

Now I’m getting my head around things it seems some space has been freed up in my brainand finally my reading mojo is coming back! I’ve been in a slump for most of this year so far and it’s been horrible; life is so much harder when I can’t escape into a good book for a while. This week I’ve managed to read three full-length books and one short story, which is almost a normal amount for me on a good week so I’m thrilled! I haven’t reviewed these books yet but I will be doing in the next week or two so please look out for them. Here are the books I’ve read:

 

Time to Say Goodbye by S. D. Robertson

Sisters and Lies by Bernice Barrington

Bone by Bone by Sanjida Kay

A Woman in a Million by Monica Wood


 

I’ve also managed to blog every day this week, which has felt wonderful. I love blogging and really miss it when I’m not able to post anything. Here are this week’s posts in order:

Monday: February Wrap-Up Post

Tuesday: Q&A with Janet Ellis (author of The Butcher’s Hook)

Tuesday: Review of The Silent Girls by Ann Troup

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday post

Thursday: Review of Look At Me by Sarah Duguid

Friday: A guest post by Elle Turner (author of Tapestry)

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves post

I can’t promise to keep up this schedule – I’ve managed it this week as it’s the first time in ages that I haven’t had any medical appointments. This coming week is a bit busier so I probably won’t blog every day but I’ll definitely post some days.


I’m back to having lots of books on the go at once so here is what I’m currently reading:

Three novels…

Quicksand by Steve Toltz 

I just started reading this one yesterday and it’s very good. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this novel but it’s got me hooked very quickly and I’m enjoying it. I’m on the blog tour for this one so look out for my review on Friday (11th March)

When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen

I was super excited when I got approved for this one on Net Galley recently! I absolutely love Tammy Cohen’s novels (even though I’m a wimp and they majorly put me on edge!), I could not wait to start reading this and expect I’ll be racing through it.

A Proper Family Christmas by Chrissie Manby

I have a terrible confession about this book that I’m a little bit ashamed to admit to! I love Chrissie Manby’s novels, especially this series about the Benson family. I kept this one to read around Christmas (given the title, it seemed apt) and duly started reading it in December. I was really enjoying it and flying through it. Then in January I got the next book in the series for my birthday, which I picked up recently to start reading and it felt like I’d missed something. I quickly googled thinking I’d maybe missed a book out… and then it slowly dawned on me that even though I was sure that I’d finished A Proper Family Christmas but I actually hadn’t! How bad is it that you can forget you’re reading a book when it’s one that you were genuinely enjoying?! Anyway, I picked it back up in the early hours and am sure I’ll have finished it in no time and can get going with the next one.

Three non-fiction books…

Truth, Lies and, O-Rings: Inside the Space Shuttle Disaster by Allan J. McDonald & James R. Hansen

I’ve always been fascinated by anything to do with space and space travel and at the moment I seem to be seeking out a lot of books on the subject. This one is about the Challenger disaster and it’s an interesting, yet disturbing read. It is over 800 pages long and quite technical in places so I think this will be one I’m reading for a while yet.

A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold

This is such an interesting book. I was in two minds about reading it as sometimes books about terrible crimes can make me feel like i’m rubbernecking and I don’t like that. This book is not one of those books a . I’m finding it an intense read so am only reading a chapter at a time and then leaving it for a while but it is a book that I’d definitely recommend.

Sally Ride by Lynn Sherr

I’ve been reading this biography for a while now, it’s only taking me so long because it’s a hardback and some days I simply can’t hold a book that heavy so have to wait for the good days. It’s a brilliant book though, I’m enjoying it so much.

Square weekly wrap up banner

 


 

What have you been reading this week? Please feel free to link to your weekly wrap-up post, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below! I love to hear what you’re all reading. 🙂

 

WWW Wednesday (2nd March)

WWW pic

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’m reading now:

Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin

Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin

I jumped at the chance to read and review this novel for the upcoming blog tour and I’m so glad I did. It’s a very engrossing novel, one that I want to savour and take my time with. It’s beautifully written. My date on the blog tour is 21st March so please look out for my review then.

Synopsis:

Nothing hurts like not knowing who you are. Nobody will tell Cadi anything about her father and her sister. Her mother Violet believes she can only cope with the past by never talking about it. Lili, Cadi’s aunt, is stuck in the middle, bound by a promise she shouldn’t have made. But this summer, Cadi is determined to find out the truth.

In a world of hauntings and magic, in a village where it rains throughout August, as Cadi starts on her search the secrets and the ghosts begin to wake up. None of the Hopkins women will be able to escape them.

A Mother's Reckoning- Living in the aftermath of the Columbine tragedy by Sue Klebold

A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold

I started reading this soon after my last WWW Wednesday post and it’s a fascinating read. Sue Klebold has shown such courage in writing this book and being so open and honest about herself and her family. It’s not an easy read and so I’m just reading a chapter at a time and then putting it down for a while but it’s a worthwhile read.

Synopsis:

On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Over the course of minutes, they would kill twelve students and a teacher and wound twenty-four others before taking their own lives.

For the last sixteen years, Sue Klebold, Dylan’s mother, has lived with the indescribable grief and shame of that day. How could her child, the promising young man she had loved and raised, be responsible for such horror? And how, as his mother, had she not known something was wrong? Were there subtle signs she had missed? What, if anything, could she have done differently?

These are questions that Klebold has grappled with every day since the Columbine tragedy. In A Mother’s Reckoning, she chronicles with unflinching honesty her journey as a mother trying to come to terms with the incomprehensible. In the hope that the insights and understanding she has gained may help other families recognize when a child is in distress, she tells her story in full, drawing upon her personal journals, the videos and writings that Dylan left behind, and on countless interviews with mental health experts.

Filled with hard-won wisdom and compassion, A Mother’s Reckoning is a powerful and haunting book that sheds light on one of the most pressing issues of our time. And with fresh wounds from the recent Newtown and Charleston shootings, never has the need for understanding been more urgent.

Sally Ride by Lynn Shepp

Sally Ride by Lynn Sherr

I’m enjoying this biography of Sally Ride so much but because I bought it in hardback it’s taking me longer to read than it otherwise would have. It’s not easy for me to hold heavy books so I have to keep putting this down when I’m desperate to keep reading. It’s a brilliant biography though, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Synopsis:

The definitive biography of Sally Ride, America s first woman in space, with exclusive insights from Ride s family and partner, by the ABC reporter who covered NASA during its transformation from a test-pilot boys club to a more inclusive elite. Sally Ride made history as the first American woman in space. A member of the first astronaut class to include women, she broke through a quarter-century of white male fighter jocks when NASA chose her for the seventh shuttle mission, cracking the celestial ceiling and inspiring several generations of women. After a second flight, Ride served on the panels investigating the “Challenger “explosion and the “Columbia” disintegration that killed all aboard. In both instances she faulted NASA s rush to meet mission deadlines and its organizational failures. She cofounded a company promoting science and education for children, especially girls. Sherr also writes about Ride s scrupulously guarded personal life she kept her sexual orientation private with exclusive access to Ride s partner, her former husband, her family, and countless friends and colleagues. Sherr draws from Ride s diaries, files, and letters. This is a rich biography of a fascinating woman whose life intersected with revolutionary social and scientific changes in America. Sherr s revealing portrait is warm and admiring but unsparing. It makes this extraordinarily talented and bold woman, an inspiration to millions, come alive.

What I recently finished reading: 

Time To Say Goodbye

Time to Say Goodbye by S. D. Robertson

It’s taken me a little while to read this novel, longer than I’d thought it would. I think I was hesitant because I was expecting it to be a real tear-jerker and given that I’ve been feeling quite fragile lately I was wary of that. In the end I was left a little disappointed by it. It was a good read but not quite what I’d expected it to be. I’ll be reviewing it very soon on my blog so look out for my review.

Synopsis:

A heart-rending story about the unique bond between a father and his daughter, for fans of Jojo Moyes and John Green – for anyone who’s ever wondered what it would be like to get one last chance to say goodbye.

HOW DO YOU LEAVE THE PERSON YOU LOVE THE MOST?

Will Curtis’s six-year-old daughter, Ella, knows her father will never leave her. After all, he promised her so when her mother died. And he’s going to do everything he can to keep his word.

What Will doesn’t know is that the promise he made to his little girl might be harder to keep than he imagined. When he’s faced with an impossible decision, Will finds that the most obvious choice might not be the right one.

But the future is full of unexpected surprises. And father and daughter are about to embark on an unforgettable journey together . . .

The Butcher's Hook by Janet Ellis

The Butcher’s Hook by Janet Ellis

I loved this novel! It had me hooked from the first few pages and I just didn’t want to put it down. The times when I wasn’t reading it I was thinking about it and even now I’ve finished it, Anna is still in my head. I plan to review it in the next few days but in the meantime here’s a link to an interview that I was lucky enough to get to do with Janet Ellis as part of the blog tour for the book.

Synopsis:

Georgian London, in the summer of 1763.
At nineteen, Anne Jaccob is awakened to the possibility of joy when she meets Fub, the butcher’s apprentice, and begins to imagine a life of passion with him.
The only daughter of well-to-do parents, Anne lives a sheltered life. Her home is a miserable place. Though her family want for nothing, her father is uncaring, her mother is ailing, and the baby brother who taught her to love is dead. Unfortunately her parents have already chosen a more suitable husband for her than Fub.
But Anne is a determined young woman, with an idiosyncratic moral compass. In the matter of pursuing her own happiness, she shows no fear or hesitation. Even if it means getting a little blood on her hands.
A vivid and surprising tale, The Butcher’s Hook brims with the colour and atmosphere of Georgian London, as seen through the eyes of a strange and memorable young woman.
-~-~-~-~-~-
‘Do you know what this is?’ He holds a short twist of thick metal, in the shape of the letter ‘S’, sharpened at both ends. I shake my head.
‘A butcher’s hook,’ he says, testing the tip of his finger against each point. ‘A perfect design. Whichever way up you use it, it’s always ready. One end to hook, the other to hang. It has only one simple purpose.’ He stands on a stool and fixes it over the bar above him. It waits there, empty.
He climbs down. ‘Pleasing, isn’t it?’

The Silent Girls book cover

The Silent Girls by Ann Troup

I recently finished reading this book and really enjoyed it. Here’s a link to my review that I did as part of the blog tour.

Synopsis:

What if everything you knew was a lie…

This house has a past that won’t stay hidden, and it is time for the dead to speak.

Returning to Number 17, Coronation Square, Edie is shocked to find the place she remembers from childhood reeks of mould and decay. After her aunt Dolly’s death Edie must clear out the home on a street known for five vicious murders many years ago, but under the dirt and grime of years of neglect lurk dangerous truths.

For in this dark house there is misery, sin and dark secrets that can no longer stay hidden. The truth must come out. 

Finding herself dragged back into the horrific murders of the past, Edie must find out what really happened all those years ago. But as Edie uncovers the history of the family she had all but forgotten, she begins to wonder if sometimes it isn’t best to leave them buried.

the art of wearing hats

The Art of Wearing Hats by Helena Sheffield

I adored this book! I’m a hat wearer anyway but it’s really made me want to get out of my comfort zone and try some different styles! I’ll be reviewing this book as soon as I can.

Synopsis:

The perfect and practical pocket guide to being a hat wearer for novices and aficionados alike, complete with tips on where to buy them, how to wear them, who wears them best and tricks of the trade (yes hat hair, we’re looking at you).

Hats have been a mainstay of fashion for centuries, but now they’re back with a bang – overtaking the accessories departments of Topshop et al and gracing the celebrated heads of Taylor Swift, Cara Delevigne, Johnny Depp and the like day in and day out. But which one should you wear? Which will suit you best, how should you wear them and when?

The Art of Wearing Hats answers all these questions and more. Broken down into chapters covering everyday, outdoor and special occasion hats, you’ll soon discover the full range to choose from, alongside who in the Googlable world you can turn to for styling tips, and fun facts about where each originated from.

Complete with illustrations and tips on how to grow your hat-wearing confidence, it might be an idea to start making room in your wardrobe.

Sisters and Lies by Bernice Barrington

Sisters and Lies by Bernice Barrington

I finished reading Sisters and Lies in the early hours of this morning. I’ve been such a slow reader lately and struggle to get into books but once this one hooked me I struggled to put it down. I’ll be reviewing it as soon as I can.

Synopsis:

One hot August night, Rachel Darcy gets the call everyone fears. It’s the police. Her younger sister Evie’s had a car crash, she’s in a coma. Can Rachel fly to London right away?

With Evie injured and comatose, Rachel is left to pick up the pieces of her sister’s life. But it’s hard fitting them together, especially when she really doesn’t like what she sees.

Why was Evie driving when she doesn’t even own a licence?
Who is the man living in her flat and claiming Evie is his girlfriend?
How come she has never heard of him?

The more mysteries Rachel uncovers the more she starts asking herself how well she ever really knew her sister. And then she begins to wonder if the crash was really the accident everybody says it is.

Back in hospital, Evie, trapped inside an unresponsive body, is desperately trying to wake up. Because she’s got an urgent message for Rachel – a warning which could just save both their lives . . .

What I plan on reading next:

Quicksand by Steve Toltz

Quicksand by Steve Toltz

I was offered the chance to review this book as part of the blog tour this month and I couldn’t resist once I read the synopsis, it sounds like a very different and excellent read. I plan to start reading it in the next day or two and I’ll be reviewing it on 11th March for the blog tour.

Synopsis:

A daring, brilliant work by one of our most original and fearless novelists.

‘Why should I let you write about me?’
‘Because you’ll inspire people. To count their blessings.’

Aldo Benjamin, relentlessly unlucky in every aspect of life, has always faced the future with despair and optimism in equal measure. His latest misfortune, however, may finally be his undoing. There’s still hope, but not for Aldo.

His mate Liam hasn’t been faring much better – a failed writer with a rocky marriage and a dangerous job he never wanted – until he finds inspiration in Aldo’s exponential disasters. What begins as an attempt to document these improbable but inevitable experiences spirals into a profound exploration of fate, fear and friendship.

Anarchically funny and wildly entertaining, Quicksand is a subversive portrait of 21st-century society in all its hypocrisy and absurdity, an exquisite interpretation of suffering and resilience, and a powerful story about taking risks and finding inspiration.

Bone by Bone by Sanjida Kay

Bone by Bone by Sanjida Kay

I was thrilled to be sent a copy of this book to review and can’t wait to start reading. It sounds like the kind of book that once started cannot be put down and I’m craving a read like that at the moment!

Synopsis:

Laura loves her daughter more than anything in the world. 

But nine-year-old daughter Autumn is being bullied. Laura feels helpless.

When Autumn fails to return home from school one day, Laura goes looking for her. She finds a crowd of older children taunting her little girl.

In the heat of the moment, Laura makes a terrible choice. A choice that will have devastating consequences for her and her daughter…

 


 

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.

WWW Wednesday (17 February)

WWW pic

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?


What I’m reading now:

the art of wearing hats

The Art of Wearing Hats by Helena Sheffield

I had this book on pre-order for weeks and weeks so I was super excited when it was released and finally landed on my doormat. I’m reading it slowly and really enjoying it. I’ve always loved wearing hats but this book is making me want to try some new styles and get out of my comfort zone. 🙂

Synopsis:

The perfect and practical pocket guide to being a hat wearer for novices and aficionados alike, complete with tips on where to buy them, how to wear them, who wears them best and tricks of the trade (yes hat hair, we’re looking at you).

Hats have been a mainstay of fashion for centuries, but now they’re back with a bang – overtaking the accessories departments of Topshop et al and gracing the celebrated heads of Taylor Swift, Cara Delevigne, Johnny Depp and the like day in and day out. But which one should you wear? Which will suit you best, how should you wear them and when?

The Art of Wearing Hats answers all these questions and more. Broken down into chapters covering everyday, outdoor and special occasion hats, you’ll soon discover the full range to choose from, alongside who in the Googlable world you can turn to for styling tips, and fun facts about where each originated from.

Complete with illustrations and tips on how to grow your hat-wearing confidence, it might be an idea to start making room in your wardrobe.

Sally Ride by Lynn Shepp

Sally Ride by Lynn Shepp

I’ve been wanting to read this book for ages so I finally treated myself to it in hardback with my birthday money. My reading speed is so slow at the moment but I’m reading a bit of this every day and am finding it fascinating.

Synopsis:

The definitive biography of Sally Ride, America s first woman in space, with exclusive insights from Ride s family and partner, by the ABC reporter who covered NASA during its transformation from a test-pilot boys club to a more inclusive elite. Sally Ride made history as the first American woman in space. A member of the first astronaut class to include women, she broke through a quarter-century of white male fighter jocks when NASA chose her for the seventh shuttle mission, cracking the celestial ceiling and inspiring several generations of women. After a second flight, Ride served on the panels investigating the “Challenger “explosion and the “Columbia” disintegration that killed all aboard. In both instances she faulted NASA s rush to meet mission deadlines and its organizational failures. She cofounded a company promoting science and education for children, especially girls. Sherr also writes about Ride s scrupulously guarded personal life she kept her sexual orientation private with exclusive access to Ride s partner, her former husband, her family, and countless friends and colleagues. Sherr draws from Ride s diaries, files, and letters. This is a rich biography of a fascinating woman whose life intersected with revolutionary social and scientific changes in America. Sherr s revealing portrait is warm and admiring but unsparing. It makes this extraordinarily talented and bold woman, an inspiration to millions, come alive.

Sisters and Lies by Bernice Barrington

Sisters and Lies by Bernice Barrington

I started reading this book a couple of days ago and am so intrigued by it, I can’t wait to find out what happened and who can be trusted!

Synopsis:

One hot August night, Rachel Darcy gets the call everyone fears. It’s the police. Her younger sister Evie’s had a car crash, she’s in a coma. Can Rachel fly to London right away?

With Evie injured and comatose, Rachel is left to pick up the pieces of her sister’s life. But it’s hard fitting them together, especially when she really doesn’t like what she sees.

Why was Evie driving when she doesn’t even own a licence?
Who is the man living in her flat and claiming Evie is his girlfriend?
How come she has never heard of him?

The more mysteries Rachel uncovers the more she starts asking herself how well she ever really knew her sister. And then she begins to wonder if the crash was really the accident everybody says it is.

Back in hospital, Evie, trapped inside an unresponsive body, is desperately trying to wake up. Because she’s got an urgent message for Rachel – a warning which could just save both their lives . . .

Time To Say Goodbye

Time To Say Goodbye by S. D. Robertson

I’m enjoying this book but am dreading what I’m guessing is going to be a real tear-jerker of an ending.

Synopsis:

A heart-rending story about the unique bond between a father and his daughter, for fans of Jojo Moyes and John Green – for anyone who’s ever wondered what it would be like to get one last chance to say goodbye.

HOW DO YOU LEAVE THE PERSON YOU LOVE THE MOST?

Will Curtis’s six-year-old daughter, Ella, knows her father will never leave her. After all, he promised her so when her mother died. And he’s going to do everything he can to keep his word.

What Will doesn’t know is that the promise he made to his little girl might be harder to keep than he imagined. When he’s faced with an impossible decision, Will finds that the most obvious choice might not be the right one.

But the future is full of unexpected surprises. And father and daughter are about to embark on an unforgettable journey together . . .


What I recently finished reading: 

Look At Me by Sarah Duguid

Look At Me by Sarah Duguid

I’m struggling to concentrate to read at the moment but I picked this book up and it’s the first novel in ages that I couldn’t put down. It’s a stunning read and I can’t recommend it highly enough. I plan to review this book very soon.

Synopsis:

Lizzy lives with her father, Julian, and her brother, Ig, in North London. Two years ago her mother died, leaving a family bereft by her absence and a house still filled with her things: for Margaret was lively, beautiful, fun, loving; she kept the family together. So Lizzy thinks. Then, one day, Lizzy finds a letter from a stranger to her father, and discovers he has another child. Lizzy invites her into their world in an act of outraged defiance. Almost immediately, she realises her mistake.

Look at Me is a deft exploration of family, grief, and the delicate balance between moving forward and not quite being able to leave someone behind. It is an acute portrayal of how familial upheaval can cause misunderstanding and madness, damaging those you love most.

Viral by Helen Fitzgerald

Viral by Helen Fitzgerald

This book wasn’t quite what I was expecting but it was a really good read. I have written a review so I hope to post it soon.

Synopsis:

So far, twenty-three thousand and ninety six people have seen me online. They include my mother, my father, my little sister, my grandmother, my other grandmother, my grandfather, my boss, my sixth year Biology teacher and my boyfriend James.

When Leah Oliphant-Brotheridge and her adopted sister Su go on holiday together to Magaluf to celebrate their A-levels, only Leah returns home. Her successful, swotty sister remains abroad, humiliated and afraid: there is an online video of her, drunkenly performing a sex act in a nightclub. And everyone has seen it.

Ruth Oliphant-Brotheridge, mother of the girls, successful court judge, is furious. How could this have happened? How can she bring justice to these men who took advantage of her dutiful, virginal daughter? What role has Leah played in all this? And can Ruth find Su and bring her back home when Su doesn’t want to be found?


What I plan on reading next:

This Must Be the Place by Maggie O'Farrell

This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell

I pre-ordered Maggie O’Farrell’s debut novel After You’d Gone many years ago and after devouring it in one sitting I then immediately re-read it. I always pre-order her novels and read them as soon as I get them and she never disappoints. I was thrilled to pieces when I was lucky enough to be sent a proof copy of her next novel (due out in May 2016) and cannot wait to read it! It’s a beautiful proof and one I will treasure. 

Synopsis:

The dazzling new novel from bestselling, award-winning author Maggie O’Farrell, THIS MUST BE THE PLACE crosses time zones and continents to reveal an extraordinary portrait of a marriage.

Meet Daniel Sullivan, a man with a complicated life.

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

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

THIS MUST BE THE PLACE crosses continents and time zones, giving voice to a diverse and complex cast of characters. At its heart, it is an extraordinary portrait of a marriage, the forces that hold it together and the pressures that drive it apart.

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

The Butcher's Hook by Janet Ellis

The Butcher’s Hook by Janet Ellis

I can’t wait to start reading this novel, it sounds incredible.

Synopsis:

Georgian London, in the summer of 1763.
At nineteen, Anne Jaccob is awakened to the possibility of joy when she meets Fub, the butcher’s apprentice, and begins to imagine a life of passion with him.
The only daughter of well-to-do parents, Anne lives a sheltered life. Her home is a miserable place. Though her family want for nothing, her father is uncaring, her mother is ailing, and the baby brother who taught her to love is dead. Unfortunately her parents have already chosen a more suitable husband for her than Fub.
But Anne is a determined young woman, with an idiosyncratic moral compass. In the matter of pursuing her own happiness, she shows no fear or hesitation. Even if it means getting a little blood on her hands.
A vivid and surprising tale, The Butcher’s Hook brims with the colour and atmosphere of Georgian London, as seen through the eyes of a strange and memorable young woman.
-~-~-~-~-~-
‘Do you know what this is?’ He holds a short twist of thick metal, in the shape of the letter ‘S’, sharpened at both ends. I shake my head.
‘A butcher’s hook,’ he says, testing the tip of his finger against each point. ‘A perfect design. Whichever way up you use it, it’s always ready. One end to hook, the other to hang. It has only one simple purpose.’ He stands on a stool and fixes it over the bar above him. It waits there, empty.
He climbs down. ‘Pleasing, isn’t it?’

A Mother's Reckoning- Living in the aftermath of the Columbine tragedy by Sue Klebold

A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the aftermath of the Columbine tragedy by Sue Klebold

This is a new release but I’ve already heard so much about it so it was one I wanted to read.

Synopsis:

On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Over the course of minutes, they would kill twelve students and a teacher and wound twenty-four others before taking their own lives.

For the last sixteen years, Sue Klebold, Dylan’s mother, has lived with the indescribable grief and shame of that day. How could her child, the promising young man she had loved and raised, be responsible for such horror? And how, as his mother, had she not known something was wrong? Were there subtle signs she had missed? What, if anything, could she have done differently?

These are questions that Klebold has grappled with every day since the Columbine tragedy. In A Mother’s Reckoning, she chronicles with unflinching honesty her journey as a mother trying to come to terms with the incomprehensible. In the hope that the insights and understanding she has gained may help other families recognize when a child is in distress, she tells her story in full, drawing upon her personal journals, the videos and writings that Dylan left behind, and on countless interviews with mental health experts.

Filled with hard-won wisdom and compassion, A Mother’s Reckoning is a powerful and haunting book that sheds light on one of the most pressing issues of our time. And with fresh wounds from the recent Newtown and Charleston shootings, never has the need for understanding been more urgent.


 

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.