January Wrap-Up!

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January is always a tough month for me due to very sad memories but this year I focused on escaping into books as much as I could and as a result I’ve had a great reading month. Here are the 23 books I read in January….

Spiders from Mars by Woody Woodmansey (my review is here)

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

The Girl: A Life in the Shadow of Roman Polinski by Samantha Geimer

Everything You Told Me by Lucy Dawson (my review is here)

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher

Relativity by Antonia Hayes (my review is here)

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

How Much the Heart Can Hold by Carys Bray et al

Lies by TM Logan (my review is here)

Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller

Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson (my review is here)

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

Loving the Life Less Lived by Gail Marie Mitchell (my review is here)

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

Hold Your Own by Kate Tempest

Howards End is on the Landing: My Year of Reading from Home by Susan Hill

Rattle by Fiona Cummins (my review is here)

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

The Girl Before by JP Delaney (my review is here)

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

The Life of Rylan by Rylan Clark-Neal

Blood Wedding by Pierre Lemaitre

 

I managed to review eight of the above books, along with two the two titles below which I’d read at the end of 2016 but didn’t get a chance to review them at the time. Click the titles to read the reviews if you’d like to:

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

While You Were Sleeping by Kathryn Croft

I’m planning reviews for at least a few more of the above books so hopefully they’ll be up on my blog soon.

 

I also wrote blog posts about my Top Ten Fiction and Top Ten Non-Fiction reads of 2016. I shared my Reading Bingo 2016 results, which was a lot of fun. I hadn’t planned my reading to fit the bingo challenge so I was thrilled to find that I got a full house! I also wrote a post about my Christmas Book Haul.

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I then confessed to the State of my TBR and my plans to reduce it this year. I started the year with 1885 books (that I already own) on my TBR and as of the end of January my TBR stands at 1901 (not including the 6 books I’m currently reading). In fairness, I have read quite a few books off my TBR in January but I also had my birthday and my lovely husband bought me 21 books! I feel like I’m doing well with my TBR considering how many books I added to it with gifts and review books. I really hope to get my TBR back to around 1885 this month and then I’ll be (sort of) back on track to try and reduce it.

One of my other aims this year was to read some of the longer books that have been languishing on my shelves for a long time and I’m sticking to that so far. In January I read two books that were over 500 pages each – The Poisonwood Bible and The Book of Strange New Things so I’m pleased with that. I’m also currently reading The Luminaries, which is almost 900 pages long. It’s important to me to read books that I’ve owned for a long time and still not read so I need to focus on that a bit more this month.

I’ve used Goodreads to track my reading for quite a few years now and I’ll continue to do so but I recently found a spreadsheet online where I can track my reading in more detail. I’m finding it fascinating to see where my habits lie when it comes to the books I read. This is the lovely YouTuber who kindly shared her spreadsheet Portal in the Pages


 

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

 

Weekly Wrap-Up (22 Jan)

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This week I’ve been trying to keep my mind occupied so have been reading lots of books and have blogged every day. It’s the anniversary of my mum’s death this weekend and I always find January a month that drags me down as a result. I always make a conscious effort to keep myself busy as much as I can. It’s not easy because I still miss her so much but dwelling on pain and sadness doesn’t help.

Yesterday I managed to get out for the first time this year, in fact the first time in a month so that was nice. We spent an hour (unsuccessfully) shopping for a shed and then got a Subway on the way home. These days I value any time I manage to spend out of the house so I really enjoyed it. It was a lovely sunny day, which is always nice.

This week I’ve finished reading six books:

Hold Your Own by Kate Tempest

This is a fairly short poetry collection. I’ve not read much poetry at all over the last couple of years and reading this collection reminded me how much I used to love it. I’m definitely going to try and read some more poetry this year.

Howards End is on the Landing: A Year of Reading from Home by Susan Hill

I’ve been dipping in and out of this book for the last week or two and have very much enjoyed it. It’s inspired me to try and keep focused on the books I already own rather than constantly looking to acquire more. It’s also made me consider the books I do own and whether I still want to read them as much as I did when I bought them or whether the moment has passed.

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr (review ebook)

I really enjoyed this YA book and plan to review it soon, hopefully this week sometime.

Loving the Life Less Lived by Gail Marie Mitchell (review book)

This is a non-fiction book that I was sent for review. I’m on the blog tour for this book tomorrow so please look out for my review then if you’d like to know more.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

I can’t believe this book languished on my TBR in various formats since it was first published almost twenty years ago. It’s been a lesson in not leaving books for so long as from the very first few pages of this book I was hooked and I loved reading it.

Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson (review ebook)

This is a review book that I finished reading on Monday and I’ve already reviewed it. You can read my review here if you’d like to. I very much enjoyed this novel though, it really unnerved me and I loved that about it.


This week I’ve blogged seven times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up (15 Jan)

Monday: Review of Lies by TM Logan

Tuesday: Review of Relativity by Antonia Hayes

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday (18 Jan)

Thursday: Review of Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson

Friday: Review of While You Were Sleeping by Kathryn Croft

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves (21 Jan)


This is what I’m currently reading:

Rattle by Fiona Cummins (review ebook)

I deliberately kept this book to read over this weekend whilst my husband would be home as from what I’ve heard about it I knew it was likely to really scare me. So far it’s just quite creepy but the tension is beginning to ramp up. I hope to finish this today but it depends how scary it gets and whether I need a break at any point !

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel (review book)

This review book was sent to me as a total surprise and I was very happy to receive it. I’ve only read the first three chapters so far but I’m enjoying it. It’s not always easy for me to read print books (due to my disability) so that sometimes slows down my reading of print books.

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

This book is wonderful. It’s one of those books that I want to read slowly so I can savour it but at the same time I can’t stop thinking about it and want to just sit and read it all in one go.

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan (review ebook)

This is another review book and one that I’m completely and utterly adoring. It’s just everything I love in a story.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

This book is such a fun read and I’m loving all of the 80s references throughout.

 


 

Update on my TBR

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

TBR in last week’s Weekly Wrap-Up: 1887

Books added this week: 8 (find out which books I bought in my Stacking the Shelves post)

Books got rid of this week: 10

TBR now stands at: 1880

I realise that I’m not going to be able to resist buying books on occasion so I’m trying to balance any new books coming in with culling a few from my shelves that I know I’m not going 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. :)

 


 

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.

WWW Wednesday (18 Jan) | What are you reading this week?

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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


What I’m reading now:

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The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

I’ve had this book on my TBR since it was first published a couple of years ago. Faber’s earlier novel The Crimson Petal and the White is one of my all-time favourite books so I’ve been really looking forward to this one. Seeing as I’m making an effort to read my TBR this year, I knew this book had to be read asap! I’m really enjoying it so far.

Synopsis:

‘I am with you always, even unto the end of the world . . .’

Peter Leigh is a missionary called to go on the journey of a lifetime. Leaving behind his beloved wife, Bea, he boards a flight for a remote and unfamiliar land, a place where the locals are hungry for the teachings of the Bible – his ‘book of strange new things’. It is a quest that will challenge Peter’s beliefs, his understanding of the limits of the human body and, most of all, his love for Bea.

The Book of Strange New Things is a wildly original tale of adventure, faith and the ties that might hold two people together when they are worlds apart. This momentous novel, Faber’s first since The Crimson Petal and the White, sees him at his expectation-defying best.

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The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr (review ebook)

I’m really enjoying this book so far. It’s an easy read but also one that really holds my attention. I’m looking forward to reading more and finding out what happens to Flora.

Synopsis:

HOW DO YOU KNOW WHO TO TRUST WHEN YOU CAN’T EVEN TRUST YOURSELF?

I look at my hands. One of them says FLORA BE BRAVE.

Flora has anterograde amnesia. She can’t remember anything day-to-day: the joke her friend made, the instructions her parents gave her, how old she is.

Then she kisses someone she shouldn’t, and the next day she remembers it. It’s the first time she’s remembered anything since she was ten.

But the boy is gone. She thinks he’s moved to the Arctic.

Will following him be the key to unlocking her memory? Who can she trust?

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The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan (review ebook)

I’ve been looking forward to this book for so long as I had a feeling it would be one of those books that I would fall in love with. So far I’ve only read the first few chapters but I adore it, it’s got me hooked!

Synopsis:

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

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

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Howards End is on the Landing: A Year of Reading From Home by Susan Hill

I’ve had this book on my TBR for ages too but it jumped out at me after I made the decision to read more of my own books this year rather than to continue buying new releases whilst other books languished on my shelves forevermore. This is different than I was expecting it to be but I’m really enjoying dipping in and out of it.

Synopsis:

Early one autumn afternoon in pursuit of an elusive book on her shelves, Susan Hill encountered dozens of others that she had never read, or forgotten she owned, or wanted to read for a second time. The discovery inspired her to embark on a year-long voyage through her books, forsaking new purchases in order to get to know her own collection again.

A book which is left on a shelf for a decade is a dead thing, but it is also a chrysalis, packed with the potential to burst into new life. Wandering through her house that day, Hill’s eyes were opened to how much of that life was stored in her home, neglected for years. Howard’s End is on the Landing charts the journey of one of the nation’s most accomplished authors as she revisits the conversations, libraries and bookshelves of the past that have informed a lifetime of reading and writing.

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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

I’ve been reading blog posts about this book for so long and thought it wouldn’t be my thing as I’m not into gaming at all. Once I read that it has lots of 80s references and isn’t really about gaming I knew I had to read it. I’ve picked it up this week as I’ve just discovered that a film has been made of it so want to read it before I hear more about the film and risk spoilers. I’m really enjoying it so far and the 80s references are fab!

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

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The Life Less Lived by Gail Marie Mitchell (review book)

This is a review book for a blog tour I’m on next week (my stop is on the 23rd Jan) so I’ll definitely be finishing this book soon. I’m finding it an interesting read at the moment.

Synopsis:

An essential companion for anyone dealing with mental illness.
Like many people, Gail Marie Mitchell battled with anxiety and depression for many years, finding it exhausting, stressful and demoralising at times.

Realising that this approach to her condition was futile, Gail chose a different approach: acceptance.

Taking control in this way removed some of the pressure and enabled Gail to focus on developing coping strategies, creating the tips and tools that are included in this empathetic and practical book.

Gail focuses on the positive aspects of her condition, showing how a person living with mental illness is so much more than the label that society puts on them. She found acceptance empowering, enabling her to live her life to the full. Perhaps not the life she had planned, but one that is happy and fulfilling and that she loves. She is Loving the Life Less Lived.

By sharing her experiences and describing what she learnt from them as well as the resulting coping strategies, Gail has created an essential companion for anyone dealing with mental illness and their family and friends.

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The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

I’m still very much enjoying this book. The only reason I haven’t finished it yet is because it’s a big hardback book and when my pain levels are bad, I can’t hold books like this to read. I hope once I’ve recovered from the fall I had last week that I can get straight back to this.

Synopsis:

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

What I recently finished reading:

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The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

I finished reading this book yesterday and I’m just in awe of it. I can’t quite put into words exactly how I feel about it yet… I will say that I feel like such a fool for letting this sit on my TBR (in various formats) for almost twenty years because the minute I started reading it I knew I would adore it.

Synopsis:

The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it–from garden seeds to Scripture–is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.

The novel is set against one of the most dramatic political chronicles of the twentieth century: the Congo’s fight for independence from Belgium, the murder of its first elected prime minister, the CIA coup to install his replacement, and the insidious progress of a world economic order that robs the fledgling African nation of its autonomy. Against this backdrop, Orleanna Price reconstructs the story of her evangelist husband’s part in the Western assault on Africa, a tale indelibly darkened by her own losses and unanswerable questions about her own culpability. Also narrating the story, by turns, are her four daughters–the self-centered, teenaged Rachel; shrewd adolescent twins Leah and Adah; and Ruth May, a prescient five-year-old. These sharply observant girls, who arrive in the Congo with racial preconceptions forged in 1950s Georgia, will be marked in surprisingly different ways by their father’s intractable mission, and by Africa itself. Ultimately each must strike her own separate path to salvation. Their passionately intertwined stories become a compelling exploration of moral risk and personal responsibility.

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Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson (review ebook)

This is a review book that I’ve been so looking forward to reading. I picked it up on Sunday afternoon and I finished it Monday morning. It had me completely and utterly hooked the entire way through and my nerves are still fried! I’ll be reviewing this very soon!

Synopsis:

Following a brutal attack by her ex-boyfriend, Kate Priddy makes an uncharacteristically bold decision after her cousin, Corbin Dell, suggests a temporary apartment swap – and she moves from London to Boston.

But soon after her arrival Kate makes a shocking discovery: Corbin’s next-door neighbour, a young woman named Audrey Marshall, has been murdered. When the police begin asking questions about Corbin’s relationship with Audrey, and his neighbours come forward with their own suspicions, a shaken Kate has few answers, and many questions of her own.

Jetlagged and emotionally unstable, her imagination playing out her every fear, Kate can barely trust herself. so how can she trust any of the strangers she’s just met?

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Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller (review ebook)

This book is beautiful! I adored every single second that I spent reading it. It’s a review book so I hope to get my review up on here soon but right now I can’t fully express what this book meant to me. 

Synopsis:

Ingrid Coleman writes letters to her husband, Gil, about the truth of their marriage, but instead of giving them to him, she hides them in the thousands of books he has collected over the years. When Ingrid has written her final letter she disappears from a Dorset beach, leaving behind her beautiful but dilapidated house by the sea, her husband, and her two daughters, Flora and Nan.

Twelve years later, Gil thinks he sees Ingrid from a bookshop window, but he’s getting older and this unlikely sighting is chalked up to senility. Flora, who has never believed her mother drowned, returns home to care for her father and to try to finally discover what happened to Ingrid. But what Flora doesn’t realize is that the answers to her questions are hidden in the books that surround her. Scandalous and whip-smart, Swimming Lessons holds the Coleman family up to the light, exposing the mysterious truths of a passionate and troubled marriage.

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Lies by TM Logan (review ebook)

This is a fast-paced, enjoyable thriller. My full review is here: Lies by TM Logan

Synopsis:

WHAT IF YOUR WHOLE LIFE WAS BASED ON LIES? 

A gripping new psychological thriller of secrets and revenge.

When Joe Lynch sees his wife enter an underground car park in the middle of the day, he’s intrigued enough to follow her down.

And when he sees her in an angry altercation with family friend Ben, he naturally goes to her defence – and doesn’t for a minute believe the accusations Ben makes against her.

It’s pure misfortune that, just as the clash becomes violent and Ben is knocked unconscious, Joe’s son has an asthma attack, and Joe has to take him to safety.

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How Much The Heart Can Hold by Carys Bray et al. (review book)

When I was sent this for review I actually squealed – it is one of the most beautiful hardback books I own. I’m so happy to say that the stories contained within the book are just as beautiful. I adored this book, it has become my favourite short story collection and I’ll be reviewing it soon.

Synopsis:

‘No one has measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold.’ 
Zelda Fitzgerald

Love is not a singular concept.

In this collection, seven award-winning authors explore seven concepts of love: from Philautia, self-love, to Agape, love for humanity; and from Storge, a natural affection for family, to Mania, a frenzied, obsessive love.

Seven authors; seven short stories; seven flashes of love.

What I plan on reading next:

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The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel (review book)

This book was sent to me recently and was a total surprise, I didn’t know the publisher were posting me a copy. I was behind excited to open it though and have been so excited to read it. It’s not due for publication until later this year but I can’t wait any longer to start reading!

Synopsis:

Beautiful.
Rich.
Mysterious.

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

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

She is a Roanoke girl.

Is she strong enough to escape a second time?

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Rattle by Fiona Cummins (review ebook)

This is a thriller that has a synopsis that makes me feel chilled to the bone and I don’t like being scared. That said, there is something about this book that makes me feel compelled to read it! Hopefully it won’t give me nightmares!

Synopsis:

A serial killer to chill your bones

A psychopath more frightening than Hannibal Lecter.

He has planned well. He leads two lives. In one he’s just like anyone else. But in the other he is the caretaker of his family’s macabre museum.

Now the time has come to add to his collection. He is ready to feed his obsession, and he is on the hunt.

Jakey Frith and Clara Foyle have something in common. They have what he needs.

What begins is a terrifying cat-and-mouse game between the sinister collector, Jakey’s father and Etta Fitzroy, a troubled detective investigating a spate of abductions.

Set in London’s Blackheath, Rattle by Fiona Cummins explores the seam of darkness that runs through us all; the struggle between light and shadow, redemption and revenge.

It is a glimpse into the mind of a sinister psychopath. And it’s also a story about not giving up hope when it seems that all hope is already lost.


 

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.

#BookReview: Lies by TM Logan

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About the Book

WHAT IF YOUR WHOLE LIFE WAS BASED ON LIES? 

A gripping new psychological thriller of secrets and revenge.

When Joe Lynch sees his wife enter an underground car park in the middle of the day, he’s intrigued enough to follow her down.

And when he sees her in an angry altercation with family friend Ben, he naturally goes to her defence – and doesn’t for a minute believe the accusations Ben makes against her.

It’s pure misfortune that, just as the clash becomes violent and Ben is knocked unconscious, Joe’s son has an asthma attack, and Joe has to take him to safety.

My Thoughts

I was initially drawn to the cover of this book and then once I read the synopsis I knew it was one I had to read.

Lies is the story of an average man, who lives an average life and is perfectly happy with his lot. Then one day he sees his wife somewhere that she shouldn’t be and the story ramps up from there.

I did work out how this novel going to end part-way through, apart from one aspect of it, but it was actually really satisfying to be right and thinking back over the novel it did feel like all the clues were laid out for me to figure it all out. Sometimes thrillers have an ending that it’s impossible to work out and it can leave you feeling like it was just plucked from the ether but not this novel. It has a satisfying ending too, which I appreciated.

None of the characters in this book were particularly likeable but that really worked within the story because it meant that I really didn’t know who to trust throughout the novel.

I did find myself getting a bit annoyed at certain points in the novel where a character (no spoilers) seems quite tech-savvy in one moment and then in the next misses a really obvious thing that they could do, which would really help them. It took me out of the story a little when this happened but it’s possibly just me being picky and maybe the character just isn’t thinking logically due to the stress of the situation.

This is a novel that makes you think about the things you put out on social media, and whether you can ever really know a person just by what they write on their Facebook page. It also makes you think about the decisions you make and how things may have ended up completely different if you’d just not seen something, or reacted in a certain way. It highlights how those decisions we make in an instant can have such far-reaching consequences. I really enjoyed this aspect of the book.

This is a very fast-paced thriller. The story moves forward in every chapter and it never slows down for a second. It did have me hooked and wanting to know what was going to happen next. This isn’t a complex thriller but it is fun, quick read that I would recommend and I’m looking forward to reading whatever TM Logan publishes next.

I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Lies is due to be released in ebook format on 17 January, and in paperback on 4 May 2017.

Weekly Wrap-Up (15 Jan)

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I’ve had a really good reading and blogging week this week so I’m happy at that. My real life has been a bit up and down with another bad fall on Friday that has increased my pain levels. It could have been so much worse though as I had a glass in my hand at the time but thankfully didn’t cut myself. The increased pain has meant I’ve not managed to be around on social media, or to reply to comments on my blog as much as I would have liked to have been over the weekend. I will get around to replying as soon as I can but please know that I do always very much appreciate  comments and shares.

This week I’ve finished reading five books:

Relativity by Antonia Hayes (review book)

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

How Much The Heart Can Hold by Carys Bray et al. (review book)

Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller (review book)

Lies by TM Logan (review book)

 


This week I’ve blogged seven times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up (8 Jan)

Monday: 2017 Reading Plans and the State of My TBR

Tuesday: Review of Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday (11 Jan)

Thursday: Review of Everything You Told Me by Lucy Dawson

Friday: Review of Spider from Mars: My Life with Bowie by Woody Woodmansey

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves (14 Jan)

 


This is what I’m currently reading:

Loving the Life Less Lived by Gail Marie Mitchell (review book)

The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

Howards End is on the Landing: A Year of Reading from Home by Susan Hill

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson (review book)

 


 

Last week I wrote a post about the state of my TBR and how I wanted to try and focus on reading the books I already own this year. You can read that post here. To keep myself motivated I’m going to update my numbers as part of my weekly wrap-up post from now on.

Update on my TBR

TBR at the start of January 2017: 1885

Books added this week: 4

TBR now stands at: 1887 (due to my having now started reading two more books off my TBR since the four new books were added)


 

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. :)

 


 

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.

WWW Wednesdays (11 Jan) | What are you reading this week?

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:

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The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

This was a Christmas present from my husband and I’m very much enjoying reading it. It’s a book I want to take my time with but it’s a great read and so far I’d definitely recommend it.

Synopsis:

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

 

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Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller (due for release 26 Jan)

I am reading a review copy of this book and enjoying it so much. It’s a beautiful novel and there references to books are wonderful. I can’t decide how it’s going to turn out in the end but I’m sure it’s going to continue to be a beautiful read.

Synopsis:

Ingrid Coleman writes letters to her husband, Gil, about the truth of their marriage, but instead of giving them to him, she hides them in the thousands of books he has collected over the years. When Ingrid has written her final letter she disappears from a Dorset beach, leaving behind her beautiful but dilapidated house by the sea, her husband, and her two daughters, Flora and Nan.

Twelve years later, Gil thinks he sees Ingrid from a bookshop window, but he’s getting older and this unlikely sighting is chalked up to senility. Flora, who has never believed her mother drowned, returns home to care for her father and to try to finally discover what happened to Ingrid. But what Flora doesn’t realize is that the answers to her questions are hidden in the books that surround her. Scandalous and whip-smart, Swimming Lessons holds the Coleman family up to the light, exposing the mysterious truths of a passionate and troubled marriage.

 

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The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

I’ve had various copies of this novel on my shelves for around 17 years and yet I’ve managed to not read it in all that time. I have no idea why because it’s beautifully written and I am enjoying it so much. It’s one of those books that makes me look forward to getting back to it when I’m not reading.

Synopsis:

The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it–from garden seeds to Scripture–is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.

The novel is set against one of the most dramatic political chronicles of the twentieth century: the Congo’s fight for independence from Belgium, the murder of its first elected prime minister, the CIA coup to install his replacement, and the insidious progress of a world economic order that robs the fledgling African nation of its autonomy. Against this backdrop, Orleanna Price reconstructs the story of her evangelist husband’s part in the Western assault on Africa, a tale indelibly darkened by her own losses and unanswerable questions about her own culpability. Also narrating the story, by turns, are her four daughters–the self-centered, teenaged Rachel; shrewd adolescent twins Leah and Adah; and Ruth May, a prescient five-year-old. These sharply observant girls, who arrive in the Congo with racial preconceptions forged in 1950s Georgia, will be marked in surprisingly different ways by their father’s intractable mission, and by Africa itself. Ultimately each must strike her own separate path to salvation. Their passionately intertwined stories become a compelling exploration of moral risk and personal responsibility.

Dancing between the dark comedy of human failings and the breathtaking possibilities of human hope, “The Poisonwood Bible” possesses all that has distinguished Barbara Kingsolver’s previous work, and extends this beloved writer’s vision to an entirely new level. Taking its place alongside the classic works of postcolonial literature, this ambitious novel establishes Kingsolver as one of the most thoughtful and daring of modern writers.

 

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Lies by TM Logan

I requested this one from NetGalley on impulse because I loved the cover and knew it was a psychological thriller. It’s a fast-paced read and I’m enjoying it.

Synopsis:

WHAT IF YOUR WHOLE LIFE WAS BASED ON LIES? 

A gripping new psychological thriller of secrets and revenge.

When Joe Lynch sees his wife enter an underground car park in the middle of the day, he’s intrigued enough to follow her down.

And when he sees her in an angry altercation with family friend Ben, he naturally goes to her defence – and doesn’t for a minute believe the accusations Ben makes against her.

It’s pure misfortune that, just as the clash becomes violent and Ben is knocked unconscious, Joe’s son has an asthma attack, and Joe has to take him to safety.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Life Less Lived by Gail Marie Mitchell

I was contacted by the publisher asking if I’d read and review this book for a blog tour. I agreed as I’ve suffered with PTSD and severe anxiety in the past and whilst I’m ok now it’s something that I do need to be mindful of. I’m always interested to read books on the subject of mental health as I feel with the distance I have from my own experience that I can really assess their usefulness. I’ve only read a few chapters of this so far but it’s a good book with lots of helpful ideas and suggestions. My review of this will be up on my blog on 23rd Jan during the blog tour.

Synopsis:

An essential companion for anyone dealing with mental illness.
Like many people, Gail Marie Mitchell battled with anxiety and depression for many years, finding it exhausting, stressful and demoralising at times.

Realising that this approach to her condition was futile, Gail chose a different approach: acceptance.

Taking control in this way removed some of the pressure and enabled Gail to focus on developing coping strategies, creating the tips and tools that are included in this empathetic and practical book.

Gail focuses on the positive aspects of her condition, showing how a person living with mental illness is so much more than the label that society puts on them. She found acceptance empowering, enabling her to live her life to the full. Perhaps not the life she had planned, but one that is happy and fulfilling and that she loves. She is Loving the Life Less Lived.

By sharing her experiences and describing what she learnt from them as well as the resulting coping strategies, Gail has created an essential companion for anyone dealing with mental illness and their family and friends.

 


What I recently finished reading:

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Relativity by Antonia Hayes

I was offered the chance to read and review this book for a forthcoming blog tour and I jumped at the chance because the synopsis had me wanting more. I can’t quite express right now how much this book has meant to me as I read it, it’s really had me hooked. I’ll be reviewing this on as part of the tour on 17 Jan so please look out for it. 

Synopsis:

Ethan is a bright young boy obsessed with physics and astronomy who lives with his mother, Claire. Claire has been a wonderful parent to Ethan, but he’s becoming increasingly curious about his father’s absence in his life, wanting to fill in the gaps.

Claire’s life is centred on Ethan; she is fiercely protective of her talented, vulnerable son, and of her own feelings. When Ethan falls ill, tied to a tragic event from when he was a baby, Claire’s tightly held world is split open.

On the other side of the country, Mark is trying to forget about the events that tore his family apart. Then a sudden and unexpected call home forces him to confront his past, and the hole in his life that was once filled with his wife Claire and his son Ethan.

When Ethan secretly intercepts a letter from Mark to Claire, he unleashes long-suppressed forces that – like gravity – pull the three together again, testing the limits of love and forgiveness.

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Landline by Rainbow Rowell

I have never read a full-length Rainbow Rowell novel before and I’m not sure why I haven’t. This is such a lovely book – it’s easy to read but kept me hooked at the same time. I think I’ll be reading more by this author in the future.

Synopsis:

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble; it has been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems beside the point now.

Maybe that was always beside the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts…

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

 

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And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

I devoured Agatha Christie novels when I was around the age of 11 or 12 – they were the first books my local library would allow me to take out without my mum being present so I really associated them with feeling grown up. Somehow this novel is one I’ve never read so I snapped it up in the recent kindle sale and I devoured it. It was brilliant and I highly recommend it if you haven’t already read it.

Synopsis:

First, there were ten – a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they’re unwilling to reveal – and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. One by one they fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. And only the dead are above suspicion.

 

 

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The Girl: A Life in the Shadows of Roman Polanski by Samantha Geimer

I’m thinking of doing a review on this book so I won’t say too much here. My main thought on it is that I got more out of this book than I expected to and it really gave me pause for thought at various points. It’s a very interesting insight. 

Synopsis:

In this searing and surprising memoir, Samantha Geimer, “the girl” at the center of the infamous Roman Polanski sexual assault case, breaks a virtual thirty-five-year silence to tell her story and reflect on the events of that day and their lifelong repercussions.

March 1977, Southern California. Roman Polanski drives a rented Mercedes along Mulholland Drive to Jack Nicholson’s house. Sitting next to him is an aspiring actress, Samantha Geimer, recently arrived from York, Pennsylvania. She is thirteen years old.

The undisputed facts of what happened in the following hours appear in the court record: Polanski spent hours taking pictures of Samantha-on a deck overlooking the Hollywood Hills, on a kitchen counter, topless in a Jacuzzi. Wine and Quaaludes were consumed, balance and innocence were lost, and a young girl’s life was altered forever-eternally cast as a background player in her own story.

For months on end, the Polanski case dominated the media in the US and abroad. But even with the extensive coverage, much about that day-and the girl at the center of it all-remains a mystery. Just about everyone had an opinion about the renowned director and the girl he was accused of drugging and raping. Who was the predator? Who was the prey? Was the girl an innocent victim or a cunning Lolita artfully directed by her ambitious stage mother? How could the criminal justice system have failed all the parties concerned in such a spectacular fashion? Once Polanski fled the country, what became of Samantha, the young girl forever associated with one of Hollywood’s most notorious episodes? Samantha, as much as Polanski, has been a fugitive since the events of that night more than thirty years ago.

Taking us far beyond the headlines, The Girl reveals a thirteen-year-old who was simultaneously wise beyond her years and yet terribly vulnerable. By telling her story in full for the first time, Samantha reclaims her identity, and indelibly proves that it is possible to move forward from victim to survivor, from confusion to certainty, from shame to strength.

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Everything You Told Me by Lucy Dawson

This is a review book so I will be doing a full review very soon. For now I’ll say that it’s fast read and one that I enjoyed.

Synopsis:

You went to bed at home, just like every other night.
You woke up in the back of a taxi, over 250 miles away.
You have no idea how you got there and no memory of the last ten hours.
You have no phone, no money; just a suicide note in your coat pocket, in your own writing.
You know you weren’t planning to kill yourself.
Your family and friends think you are lying.

Someone knows exactly what happened to you.
But they’re not telling…

 

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Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher

I wanted to read this memoir before I read her latest one as I already had it on my audible account. It was a very emotional read, given that Carrie Fisher died recently, but it was lovely to hear her stories especially the ones that show the love she had for her mother. I definitely recommend reading this.

Synopsis:

In Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher tells the true and intoxicating story of her life with inimitable wit. Born to celebrity parents, she was picked to play a princess in a little movie called Star Wars when only 19 years old. “But it isn’t all sweetness and light sabres.” Alas, aside from a demanding career and her role as a single mother (not to mention the hyperspace hairdo), Carrie also spends her free time battling addiction, weathering the wild ride of manic depression and lounging around various mental institutions. It’s an incredible tale – from having Elizabeth Taylor as a stepmother, to marrying (and divorcing) Paul Simon, from having the father of her daughter leave her for a man, to ultimately waking up one morning and finding a friend dead beside her in bed.

 


What I plan on reading next:

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The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

This is another review book. I’m not going to get it read and reviewed before the release date but hopefully I’ll have a review in the next week or so. I love Emily Barr’s novels so was irrigated to read her venture into YA. I’ve heard good things about this so am looking forward to starting it soon.

Synopsis:

HOW DO YOU KNOW WHO TO TRUST WHEN YOU CAN’T EVEN TRUST YOURSELF?

I look at my hands. One of them says FLORA BE BRAVE.

Flora has anterograde amnesia. She can’t remember anything day-to-day: the joke her friend made, the instructions her parents gave her, how old she is.

Then she kisses someone she shouldn’t, and the next day she remembers it. It’s the first time she’s remembered anything since she was ten.

But the boy is gone. She thinks he’s moved to the Arctic.

Will following him be the key to unlocking her memory? Who can she trust?

 

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Little Deaths by Emma Flint

I was excited to be approved to read this on NetGalley recently. It just sounds like a noir novel with a psychological thriller edge and I’m really in the mood to read something like this. 

Synopsis:

It’s the summer of 1965, and the streets of Queens, New York shimmer in a heatwave. One July morning, Ruth Malone wakes to find a bedroom window wide open and her two young children missing. After a desperate search, the police make a horrifying discovery.

Noting Ruth’s perfectly made-up face and provocative clothing, the empty liquor bottles and love letters that litter her apartment, the detectives leap to convenient conclusions, fuelled by neighbourhood gossip and speculation. Sent to cover the case on his first major assignment, tabloid reporter Pete Wonicke at first can’t help but do the same. But the longer he spends watching Ruth, the more he learns about the darker workings of the police and the press. Soon, Pete begins to doubt everything he thought he knew.

Ruth Malone is enthralling, challenging and secretive – is she really capable of murder?

Haunting, intoxicating and heart-poundingly suspenseful, Little Deaths is a gripping novel about love, morality and obsession, exploring the capacity for good and evil within us all.

 


 

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.