March Wrap-Up post!

Monthly Wrap Up post Copyrighted

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

Here are the 22 books I read this month:

Scarlett Says by Scarlett Moffatt

Forever Yours by Daniel Glauttauer

The Escape by C. L. Taylor

Willow Walk by SJI Holliday

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

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

Sometimes I lie by Alice Feeney

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

And the Sun Shine Now by Adrian Tempany

Little Deaths by Emma Flint

The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

Year of No Clutter by Eve O. Schaub

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

The Sellout by Paul Beatty

Now We Are 40 by Tiffanie Darke

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

A Portrait of Bowie by Brian Hiatt

Hillsborough Untold by Norman Bettison


March Blog Posts & Reviews

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

Here are my reviews that I shared in March:

Everything But the Truth by Gillian McAllister

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel 

It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris 

The Escape by C. L. Taylor

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia

Sometimes I lie by Alice Feeney

The Best We Could Do by Thi But

Year of No Clutter by Eve O. Schaub

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

I also shared a great guest post in March:

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


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The state of my TBR:

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

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

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

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

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


Quarterly Stats!

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

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WWW Wednesday (29 March) 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:

First Love by Gwendoline Riley

I started this book yesterday and am finding it an engrossing read. It’s not exactly what I thought it was going to be but it is such a good read so far.

Deconstructing Dirty Dancing by Stephen Lee Naish

I accidentally ended up with this book on NetGalley and wasn’t sure about reading it but decided to give it a go. It’s an interesting look at the movie and I’ve already learnt some things I didn’t know about it (and I was a mega fan back in the day).

The Cows by Dawn O’Porter

I’m enjoying this book so much. It really does look at they way some are treated in society but there is humour there too. I’m excited that I’m on the blog tour for this book and can’t wait to share my thoughts!

The Power by Naomi Alderman

This is my audio book for this week and I’m enjoying it.

Sweet Pea by C.J. Skuse

This is such a great read. The main character is fascinating and has me utterly inrigued. The only reason I haven’t read this in one sitting is because my copy is a large paperback and I’ve been struggling with the dexterity in my hands again this week.

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

I’ve finally got back to reading more of this over the last couple of days. It’s such a horrifying read but so well-written.

What I recently finished reading:

A Portrait of Bowie by Brian Hiatt

This is such a lovely book and I recommend it to all David Bowie fans. It has essays from lots of people who knew with him over the years, and so many gorgeous photos.

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

This is a heartbreaking but ultimately healing YA book about coping with grief. I reviewed this on my blog yesterday so if you click the title you can read my thoughts there.

Now We Are 40 by Tiffanie Darke

This is a great read for all Generation X-ers – it covers all the good and the not-so-good from the 90s. I very much enjoyed it.

What I plan on reading next:

A Song for Tomorrow by Alice Peterson

I won a giveaway at the end of last week and was sent a stack of gorgeous books, and this was one of them. This sounds like such an incredible novel that I can’t wait to start it. (I’ll be writing about all of the books I won in my Stacking the Shelves post on Saturday or you can see a photo on my Instagram now)

This Love by Dani Atkins

I was sent this for review at the end of last week and I’m so keen to read it as soon as I can so this is also on my TBR for the next few days.

 

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

Weekly Wrap-Up (26 March)

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted

This week I’ve not done much as I’m physically struggling with the adjustments to my pain medication. I’ve been in need of distraction so have been trying to get some long-overdue reviews posted on my blog, and also have been reading and listening to books.

This week I’ve finished reading five books:

Portrait of Bowie by Brian Hiatt

This is a lovely book and I really enjoyed reading all the stories from various people who knew David Bowie. The photos are great too. I’d recommend this to David Bowie fans.

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

I just finished reading this yesterday and found it such a moving novel. I’ve already written my review so that’ll be up on my blog tomorrow if you’d like to read it.

Now We Are 40 by Tiffanie Darke

I really enjoyed reading this book – it really does bring back so many memories from the 90s. Some great memories and some not so good but it is a journey on how we, as a society, got from there to here. I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone who is around the age of 40.

The Sellout by Paul Beatty

I listened to the audio of this book and very much enjoyed it. The narrater was great and I found the book easy to listen to. It’s a novel that really gives you a lot to think about though – every time I stopped the book I found I was thinking about all of the issues and ideas that I’d just been reading about. I can see why this book won the Man Booker last year, and I would absolutely recommend reading it if you haven’t already.

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

This book is so refreshing to read because it’s such a modern concept – a novel told in a series of podcasts! I enjoyed it and will be looking out to see what the author writes next.

This week I’ve blogged six times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up

Monday: Review of Year of No Clutter by Eve O. Schaub

Tuesday: Review of The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

Wednesday: WWW Wednesdays

Friday: Review of The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

The Power by Naomi Alderman

This is my current audio book and I’m really enjoying it. I’ve had the book on my TBR since the end of last year and now I’m kicking myself for not picking it up sooner because it’s so good. It’s an interesting premise for a novel and has a very strong message throughout.

Sweet Pea by C.J. Skuse

This is such a good read – if it wasn’t such a big paperback I’m sure I’d have read it in one or two sittings but I’m just physically struggling to hold it at the moment. I do keep thinking about it when I’m not reading and when I do manage to read some of it, it feels like a treat. The black humour running through this novel is brilliant.

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

I’ve managed to read a few more chapters of this week and am hoping to be able to finish it this week. It’s such a fascinating and horrifying book, the only reason I’ve not read it sooner is because I’ve not had the concentration for heavier non-fiction in recent weeks. I’d absolutely recommend this though.

 

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Update on my TBR…

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

TBR in last week’s Wrap-Up: 1882

Additions:

Books bought/received for review/gifts: 15 

Subtractions:

Books read this week: 5

Books I’m currently reading: 3

TBR Books culled this week: 0

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1895

 


 

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

 


 

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

WWW Wednesdays (22 March) What are you reading?

WWW pic

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

What I’m reading now:

The Cows by Dawn O’Porter

This book is so good. I’m really loving it – I want to try and read it slowly because I’m enjoying it so much but it’s calling to me to just read it all in one go.

The Power by Naomi Alderman

I can’t believe I’ve left this on my TBR for four months before picking it up because it’s such a good read. I started reading it last night and I can’t wait to get back to it today.

Sweet Pea by C.J. Skuse

This is a book that was sent to me as a complete surprise so I didn’t really know what it was about. I picked it up this week and am finding it a really good read – it’s got a lot of dark humour in it but it’s great.

Now We Are 40 by Tiffanie Darke

This is still such an enjoyable read. It’s covering a wide-range of topics relating mainly to the 90s, some good and some not-so good but it’s really interesting.

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

I’m still reading this on and off. It’s a good read and I’m finding that I’m enjoying it whilst I’m reading it but when I put it down it isn’t calling me back to it.

A Portrait of Bowie by Brian Hiatt

This is a book that is really lovely to dip in and out of. It has gorgeous photos of David Bowie and recollections of him from various friends and collaborators from various points in his life.

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

I’ll be honest, I haven’t picked this up in the last week so it maybe shouldn’t be in this post. It’s a brilliant book, I’ve just not been in the right frame of mind to read heavier non-fiction but I definitely want to keep reading this as soon as I feel better. Hopefully it won’t be long.

What I recently finished reading:

The Sellout by Paul Beatty

I finished listening to this audio book yesterday and very much enjoyed it. It was easy to read and yet really kept making me pause for thought at what I was reading. I can see why this won the Man Booker last year.

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

I was engrossed in this book for most of Monday. I really enjoyed reading a book set out as podcasts. I’m debating whether to review this or not on my blog, I feel like I have a fair bit to say but there are already a lot of reviews of this out there.

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

I loved this book. It felt refreshingly different to me to have a book set in a newsroom, and to see a news producer investigating a crime. I reviewed this on Tuesday so you read my full thoughts here if you’d like to.

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

This was an enjoyable listen but I think I enjoyed it more for listening to the audio with my husband as it was good to discuss it with him. I found myself getting annoyed by Phil Collins’s lack of consideration for each of his wives but the stories he tells of early in his career, and of Live Aid are really interesting.

Year of No Clutter by Eve O. Schaub

I really enjoyed this book and found it really opened my eyes to some of my own issues with keeping things. I reviewed this on my blog on Monday so feel free to check that out here if you’d like to know more.

The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

I read this over a couple of days at the end of last week and really enjoyed it. I hope to get my review written and posted soon but in the meantime I do recommend it.

What I plan on reading next:

The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne

I’ve had a review copy of this on my TBR since the end of 2016 so I think it’s time I started reading. It sounds like a really gripping read.

First Love by Gwendoline Riley

I bought this at the weekend with my birthday vouchers and I’m really keen to read it so I’m putting it on my up next pile.

 


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

Weekly Wrap-Up (19 March)

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This week has been a bit of rough week. I’ve reduced my pain meds again and it’s left me feeling really unwell at times. This is going to be par for the course on and off for the next couple of months so I just need to get on with it as best as I can.

I did cheer myself up with an online book buying splurge as I still had my birthday book vouchers so that was lovely. I shared what I got in my Stacking the Shelves post yesterday if you’d like to see that.

This week I’ve finished reading five books:

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

This is such a good read. It’s a crime thriller but the focus is on the newsroom, and how they report a crime, the way they get information, and also how easily a reporter can become obsessed with a case. It’s not a fast-paced, twisty novel so far but it does grip you from the the opening chapter. I highly recommend this one. I’ll be writing my review of this one soon.

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

This is the audio book I’ve been listening to with my husband over the last month. I’m not really a Phil Collins fan but I found myself really enjoying this book. The first half was better than the second half for me. I enjoyed hearing about how his career got started, and about the people he worked with etc, and hearing what was going on behind the scenes at Live Aid was very amusing, but I didn’t like the way he was so dismissive of how his treatment of each of his wives affected them. I know we all paint ourselves in our best light but it’s hard to listen to someone have seemingly no awareness of how he made other people feel. Aside from that aspect of the book, Phil Collins shared some great stories that did make us laugh, or caused a few raised eyebrows so I would recommend this to fans of his, but be ready to grit your teeth when he talks about his various relationships with women.

Year of No Clutter by Eve Schaub

I struggled to get into this book but I’m glad I persevered. I found that as the book went on I could identify with a lot of how Eve felt about her clutter, and the reasons why she had let it build up. I’ll be reviewing this on my blog soon.

The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

I’m a big fan of Paula Daly’s novels so was very excited to read this one. It kept me engrossed all the way through but I’m still unsure how to rate it. I read an ARC so I will be reviewing it as soon as I’ve got my thoughts in order.

Little Deaths by Emma Flint

This is also a review book and I’ve had it on my TBR for a little while now but I’m annoyed with myself for being so slow to pick it up as I loved it. It grabbed me from the opening and I’m still thinking about it now, days after I finished reading. I hope to get my review finished and posted on my blog soon.

 

This week I’ve blogged six times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up

Monday: Review of It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Thursday: Review of The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia

Friday: Review of Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

I’ve only read the first few pages of this novel so far but I can tell it’s going to be one that I won’t be able to put down once I pick it up again!

The Sellout by Paul Beatty

This is my current audio book and I’m really enjoying it. It’s such a clever book that really gives you a lot to think about, whilst remaining easy to read and enjoyable.

Now We Are 40 by Tiffanie Darke

This is such a good read. The first few chapters bring back memories of the 90s, with talk of pre-internet/mobile phone, the fashion, the music, the obsession we all had with The Body Shop (I loved Dewberry body spray from there!). Then the book discusses the internet boom and the impact it had on the creative industries, and on women. I’d definitely recommend this to Generation X-ers!

 

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

I’m enjoying this book but it’s suffering from me being in the middle of it but not really in the mood to read it. I hope to get back to it in the next few days.

A Portrait of Bowie by Brian Hiatt

This is a lovely book to dip in and out of as it’s a collaborative book featuring people who knew David Bowie, and it has some great photos in it too.

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

I’m still struggling to read serious non-fiction so I haven’t read much of this over the last week. Hopefully, if I feel a bit better this week I’ll be able to read more of it. It’s a great read, it’s just bad timing for me to be reading it right now.

 

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Update on my TBR… 

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

TBR in last week’s Wrap-Up: 1871

Additions:

Books bought/received for review/gifts: 16 

Subtractions:

Books read this week: 5

Books I’m currently reading: 6

TBR Books culled this week: 0

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1882


 

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


 

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

See my latest #bookhaul in my Stacking the Shelves (18 March)

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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’ve had a spending spree this week as I finally spent some of my birthday book vouchers! My birthday was back in January but I have a thing where I like to keep vouchers for a while so I can have a splurge a bit later on in the year!

 

These are the print & eBooks I bought:

Christodora by Tim Murphy

Christodora by Tim Murphy

I’ve had this book on my wish list ever since I heard about it last year. It was published this year so I had to get it! I’m really looking forward to reading this but I’d like to save it for when I have time to read it in big chunks. It won’t be on my TBR for long though.

Synopsis:

In this vivid and compelling novel, Tim Murphy follows a diverse set of characters whose fates intertwine in an iconic building in Manhattan’s East Village, the Christodora. The Christodora is home to Milly and Jared, a privileged young couple with artistic ambitions. Their neighbour, Hector, a Puerto Rican gay man who was once a celebrated AIDS activist but is now a lonely addict, becomes connected to Milly’s and Jared’s lives in ways none of them can anticipate. Meanwhile, the couple’s adopted son, Mateo, grows to appreciate the opportunities for both self-realization and oblivion that New York offers.

As the junkies and protestors of the 1980s give way to the hipsters of the 2000s and they, in turn, to the wealthy residents of the crowded, glass-towered city of the 2020s, enormous changes rock the personal lives of Milly and Jared and the constellation of people around them. Moving kaleidoscopically from the Tompkins Square Riots and attempts by activists to galvanize a response to the AIDS epidemic, to the New York City of the future, Christodora recounts the heartbreak wrought by AIDS, illustrates the allure and destructive power of hard drugs, and brings to life the ever-changing city itself.

our hearts will burn us down

Our Hearts Will Burn Us Down by Anne Valente

I heard about this on a youtube channel and it sounded like a book I had to read. I’m intrigued by the comparisons to Station Eleven as I adored that book. I’m always a bit wary of novels about school shootings as it needs to be handled very carefully and sensitively but I’ve heard really good things about this book. I hope to read this very soon.

Synopsis:

The lives of four teenagers are capsized by a shocking school shooting and its aftermath in this powerful debut novel, a coming-of-age story with the haunting power of Station Eleven and the bittersweet poignancy of Everything I Never Told You.

As members of the yearbook committee, Nick, Zola, Matt, and Christina are eager to capture all the memorable moments of their junior year at Lewis and Clark High School—the plays and football games, dances and fund-drives, teachers and classes that are the epicenter of their teenage lives. But how do you document a horrific tragedy—a deadly school shooting by a classmate?

Struggling to comprehend this cataclysmic event—and propelled by a sense of responsibility to the town, their parents, and their school—these four “lucky” survivors vow to honor the memories of those lost, and also, the memories forgotten in the shadow of violence. But the shooting is only the first inexplicable trauma to rock their small suburban St. Louis town. A series of mysterious house fires have hit the families of the victims one by one, pushing the grieving town to the edge.

Nick, the son of the lead detective investigating the events, plunges into the case on his own, scouring the Internet to uncover what could cause a fire with no evident starting point. As their friend pulls farther away, Matt and Christina battle to save damaged relationships, while Zola fights to keep herself together.

New World Fairy Tales by Cassandra Parkin

New World Fairy Tales by Cassandra Parkin

I’ve been trying to read more short story collections in recent times and this is one I heard about recently and thought it sounded wonderful.  I’m excited to read this so will be starting it very soon. (on a side note, I have a fear of dolls though so this cover is terrifying for me…eeek!)

Synopsis:

In contemporary America, an un-named college student sets out on an obsessive journey of discovery to collect and record the life-stories of total strangers. The interviews that follow have echoes of another, far more famous literary journey, undertaken long ago and in another world.Drawing on the original, unexpurgated tales collected by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, six of their most famous works are re-imagined in the rich and endlessly varied landscapes of contemporary America.From the glass towers of Manhattan to the remoteness of the Blue Ridge mountains; from the swamps of Louisiana to the jaded glamour of Hollywood, New World Fairy Tales reclaims the fairy tale for the modern adult audience. A haunting blend of romance and realism, these stripped-back narratives of human experience are the perfect read for anyone who has read their child a bedtime fairy story, and wondered who ever said these were stories meant for children.

First Love by Gwendoline Riley

First Love by Gwendoline Riley

I’ve been hearing about this book everywhere at the moment and have found myself swept up in the hype and wanting to read it. It’s a short novel that I think I’ll want to read in one sitting so I’ll be starting this in the next few days.

Synopsis:

Neve is a writer in her mid-30s married to an older man, Edwyn. For now they are in a place of relative peace, but their past battles have left scars. As Neve recalls the decisions that led her to this marriage, she tells of other loves and other debts, from her bullying father and her self-involved mother to a musician who played her and a series of lonely flights from place to place.

Drawing the reader into the battleground of her relationship, Neve spins a story of helplessness and hostility, an ongoing conflict in which both husband and wife have played a part. But is this, nonetheless, also a story of love?

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Memoirs of a Polar Bear by Yoko Tawada

This is another book that I’ve had my eye on for a while. It sounds like it could be a heartbreaking and harrowing read at times but also a beautiful read. And look at the cover – isn’t it stunning? I’ll need to be in the right frame of mind to read this one but I definitely want to get to it soon.

Synopsis:

Someone tickled me behind my ears, under my arms. I curled up, became a full moon, and rolled on the floor. I may also have emitted a few hoarse shrieks. Then I lifted my rump to the sky and tucked my head beneath my belly: Now I was a sickle moon, still too young to imagine any danger. Innocent, I opened my anus to the cosmos and felt it in my bowels.

A bear, born and raised in captivity, is devastated by the loss of his keeper; another finds herself performing in the circus; a third sits down one day and pens a memoir which becomes an international sensation, and causes her to flee her home.

Through the stories of these three bears, Tawada reflects on our own humanity, the ways in which we belong to one another and the ways in which we are formed. Delicate and surreal, Memoirs of a Polar Bear takes the reader into foreign bodies and foreign climes, and immerses us in what the New Yorker has called ‘Yoko Tawada’s magnificent strangeness’.

How to Survive a Plague- The Story of Activists and Scientists by David France

How to Survive a Plague: The Story of Activists and Scientists by David France

I saw this book was on the shortlist for the Wellcome prize and knew I had to read it. I’ve found previous picks of theirs to be fascinating reads and I’m sure this will be too. This is a long book so it might be one that I start soon and then read on and off as and when my brain is up to serious non-fiction.

Synopsis:

How to Survive a Plague by David France is the riveting, powerful and profoundly moving story of the AIDS epidemic and the grass-roots movement of activists, many of them facing their own life-or-death struggles, who grabbed the reins of scientific research to help develop the drugs that turned HIV from a mostly fatal infection to a manageable disease. Around the globe, the 15.8 million people taking anti-AIDS drugs today are alive thanks to their efforts.

Not since the publication of Randy Shilts’s now classic And the Band Played On in 1987 has a book sought to measure the AIDS plague in such brutally human, intimate, and soaring terms.

Weaving together the stories of dozens of individuals, this is an insider’s account of a pivotal moment in our history and one that changed the way that medical science is practised worldwide.

Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift

Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift

I’ve heard so many good things about this book so when I spotted it in a Kindle Daily Deal for 99p last weekend I snapped it up. This is only a short book so I hope to find a free afternoon soon where I can sit and read this in one sitting.

Synopsis:

It is March 30th 1924.

It is Mothering Sunday.

How will Jane Fairchild, orphan and housemaid, occupy her time when she has no mother to visit? How, shaped by the events of this never to be forgotten day, will her future unfold?

Beginning with an intimate assignation and opening to embrace decades, Mothering Sundayhas at its heart both the story of a life and the life that stories can magically contain. Constantly surprising, joyously sensual and deeply moving, it is Graham Swift at his thrilling best.

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Now We Are 40 by Tiffanie Darke

I’ve been wanting to read this book so badly so I decided to treat myself seeing as I had the vouchers, and I started reading it straight away. I’m not quite 40 yet but I’m a Generation X-er (just!), and my husband is in his mid-40s so he definitely is, so this book is bringing back memories. 

Synopsis:

What happened to Generation X? Millenials dominate our Facebook feeds and people bang on about the baby boomers – but what about us? The lost generation, the middle youth, the middle child of today. Are we still cool?

Generation X? Remember them? The kids who believed they’d never grow up. The generation Douglas Coupland immortalised in his novel of the same name. The wry, knowing navel-gazers obsessed with cool and being cool who today are sandwiched between the boomers of the 60s and the millennials.

Gen X’ers came of age against a backdrop of Britpop and the Spice Girls, Tarantino and Pulp Fiction, Madchester and the Stone Roses, acid house and rave, super clubs, Ministry and Cream. They holidayed in Ibiza high on hooch and E and never ever believed there’d be a comedown.

So whatever happened to them?

We turned 40. And as Tiffanie Darke points out in this witty exploration of the generation who defied generalisation, we’re not handling it all that well…

Where once we wore floaty skirts and Doc Martins, now we’re sporting Scandi fashion and ‘interesting’ trainers. We still party in Ibiza but now bodyboard in Cornwall. Where once mixtapes were the ultimate mating call, now we take selfies and swap Spotify playlists – all the while conspicuously wearing large Dr Beats headphones and casually leaving old packets of Kingsize Rizla lying round our open plan kitchens.

 

This week I received one ARC:

Greatest Hits by Laura Barnett

Greatest Hits by Laura Barnett

I was thrilled to get approved for this on NetGalley as it sounds like such a good read and I’m really looking forward to starting it.

Synopsis:

Cass Wheeler – a British singer-songwriter, hugely successful since the early 70s, whose sudden disappearance from the music world three decades later has been the subject of intense speculation among her fans – is in the studio that adjoins her home, taking a journey back into her past. Her task is to choose sixteen songs from among the hundreds she has written since her early teens, for a uniquely personal Greatest Hits record, describing the arc of her life through song.

It has been over a decade since Cass last put out an album; ten years since a tragedy catapulted her into a breakdown. In the course of this one day – both ordinary and extraordinary – each song Cass plays sets off a chain of memories, leading us deep into her past, and into the creative impulse that has underpinned her work.

This is the story of a life – the highs and lows, love and separation, success and failure. Of what it is to live a fulfilled life, and how to make peace with our mistakes.

 


 

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

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

WWW Wednesday (15 March) What are you reading?

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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

What I’m reading now:

 

The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

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

Now We Are 40 by Tiffanie Darke

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

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

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

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

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

A Portrait of Bowie by Brian Hiatt

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

Year of No Clutter by Eve Schaub

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

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

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

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

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

What I recently finished reading:

Little Deaths by Emma Flint

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

And the Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

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

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

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

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia

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

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

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

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

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

What I plan on reading next:

The Cows by Dawn O’Porter

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

A Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys

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


 

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

Weekly Wrap-Up (12 March)

 

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted

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

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

This week I’ve finished reading eight books:

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

And the Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

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

The Best We could Do by Thi Bui

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

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

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

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

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

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia

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

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

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

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

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

Willow Walk by SJI Holliday

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

This week I’ve blogged five times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up

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

Wednesday: WWW Wednesdays

Friday: Review of The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

Now We Are 40 by Tiffanie Darke

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

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

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

Little Deaths by Emma Flint

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

Portrait of Bowie by Brian Hiatt

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

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

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

Year of No Clutter by Eve Schaub

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

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

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

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

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

 


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Update on my TBR…

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

TBR in last week’s Wrap-Up: 1870

Additions:

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

Subtractions:

Books read this week: 8

Books I’m currently reading: 8

TBR Books culled this week: 0

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1871


 

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

 


 

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