An accidental #bookhaul… Stacking the Shelves (27 Jan)!

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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!

 

Today on my blog I’m stacking the shelves with all the books I’ve bought this week. I did buy more than I intended to but it was a tough week and my willpower was weak. In fairness, as you’ll see tomorrow in my weekly wrap-up, I have got rid of a few books from my TBR so it’s not too bad!

 

Here are the books that I’ve bought this week:

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Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

I’ve had my eye on this book ever since I first heard about it and I finally decided to just buy it this week. This definitely won’t be on my TBR for very long as I’m keen to read it.

Synopsis:

In 2014, award-winning journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge wrote about her frustration with the way that discussions of race and racism in Britain were being led by those who weren’t affected by it. She posted a piece on her blog, entitled: ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race’.

Her words hit a nerve. The post went viral and comments flooded in from others desperate to speak up about their own experiences. Galvanised by this clear hunger for open discussion, she decided to dig into the source of these feelings.

 

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I Let Him Go by Denise Fergus

I bought this book on Thursday and have already read it. It’s an incredibly moving and honest memoir.

Synopsis:

On 12th February 1993, Denise Fergus’ life changed forever. As she was running errands at New Strand Shopping Centre, she let go of her two-year-old son’s hand for a few seconds to take out her purse. Denise never saw her son again.

For the first time since that moment 25 years ago, Denise tells her extraordinary story in this heart-wrenching book, an unflinching account of that terrible day. What if she had never taken James shopping? What if she had turned right coming out of the butcher’s, instead of left? Denise’s initial hope after seeing her son on CCTV with other children quickly turned to devastation when, two days later, James’ body was found.

His death reverberated around the world and his killers became the youngest ever convicted murderers in UK legal history. Four minutes is all it took for them to lead James away from his mother to his death. Denise took up a tortuous legal battle for James, and it was her astonishing strength and love for her son that ultimately helped to change the way the law treats victims of crime.

 

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Random Acts of Kindness Part 1 by Victoria Walters

I downloaded this ebook when it was free this week. I don’t normally buy books when they’re released in parts, I tend to wait until they’re published as a complete novel but I love the sound of this, and I’m a fan of the author, so I decided to get it. I’m looking forward to reading it.

Synopsis:

Welcome to Littlewood, a small town community with a big heart. Abbie has fled London and the humiliation of not being able to make rent after being made redundant. Louise, seriously unlucky in love, has thrown herself into her career at the local hospital. And Eszter, who has travelled from Hungary with her daughter, Zoe, hopes to reach out to the mother-in-law she never met while her husband was still alive…

 

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Close to Home by Cara Hunter

I’ve read some good reviews of this book and so have been thinking of buying it for a while. This week I spotted it was 99p on Kindle so decided to download it. I’m hoping to read this soon as I think the second book in the series is due out this year.

Synopsis:

Someone took Daisy Mason. Someone YOU KNOW.

Last night, 8-year-old Daisy Mason disappeared from her parents’ summer party. No one in the quiet suburban street saw anything – or at least that’s what they’re saying. DI Adam Fawley is trying to keep an open mind. But he knows that nine times out of ten, it’s someone the victim knew. That means someone is lying. And that Daisy’s time is running out…

 

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Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

I saw Simon from SavidgeReads on YouTube talking about this book in a couple of his recent videos and he sold me on it. I like the sound of the synopsis and hearing a rave review made me want to read it. This is also 99p on Kindle at the moment!

Synopsis:

Should you ever go back?

It has been ten years since Abby Williams left home and scrubbed away all visible evidence of her small town roots. Now working as an environmental lawyer in Chicago, she has a thriving career, a modern apartment, and her pick of meaningless one-night stands.

But when a new case takes her back home to Barrens, Indiana, the life Abby painstakingly created begins to crack. Tasked with investigating Optimal Plastics, the town’s most high-profile company and economic heart, Abby begins to find strange connections to Barrens’ biggest scandal from more than a decade ago involving the popular Kaycee Mitchell and her closest friends—just before Kaycee disappeared for good.

Abby knows the key to solving any case lies in the weak spots, the unanswered questions. But as Abby tries to find out what really happened to Kaycee, she unearths an even more disturbing secret—a ritual called “The Game,” which will threaten the reputations, and lives, of the community and risk exposing a darkness that may consume her.

 

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Tuesday’s Gone by Nicci French

This is another book that is on sale for 99p on Kindle and it was a must buy for me because somehow I own Monday and Wednesday but not Tuesday so if I’m going to start the series this year, as I intend to, I’m going to need Tuesday!

Synopsis:

A London social worker makes a routine home visit only to discover her client serving afternoon tea to a naked, decomposing corpse. With no clues as to the dead man’s identity, Chief Inspector Karlsson again calls upon Frieda for help. She discovers that the body belongs to Robert Poole, con man extraordinaire. But Frieda can’t shake the feeling that the past isn’t done with her yet. Did someone kill Poole to embroil her in the investigation? And if so, is Frieda herself the next victim?

 

Giveaway win:

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I also won a giveaway of an ebook copy of Prosecco Christmas by Sylvia Ashby, which I’m looking forward to reading. It’s part 3 in a series and I have the first two books on my TBR so I’m hoping to get to read those soon so that I can then read this one before too long.

Synopsis:

Family is where life begins.
And what better time to spend with your family than Christmas week?

Ashley and Giacomo go to Upper Swainswick, a postcard village ten minutes’ drive from Bath, to stay with Ashley’s mum and stepdad. It’s their last visit before the arrival of their first child.

But babies have a habit of being unpredictable.

So when Ashley goes into labour on Christmas Eve, three weeks ahead of schedule, it takes everyone by surprise.
She’s not ready! Her perfect Birth Plan is packed away in her hospital bag two hundred miles away, she has no going home outfit, and she has a live event planned for New Year’s Eve for her YouTube channel, The Sinking Chef. People have been signing up for it for weeks. She can’t possibly disappoint them on the last day of the year. What is she to do?

The tinsel gets even more tangled when Giacomo’s parents decide to fly from Italy to meet their first grandchild. Hotels are fully booked, so everyone has to stay under the same roof.

Would eleven people in the house, not counting the baby, turn out to be simply too much for Ashley?

 


 

So, that’s all of my new books from this 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.

My Reading Bingo Results for 2016!

I couldn’t resist joining in with reading bingo as it’s a great opportunity to look back at some of the books I read in 2016. (I did have this post almost written up to post at the end of 2016 but then pesky health stuff got in the way. I didn’t want my efforts to go to waste though so I hope no one minds me discussing my 2016 reads a week into 2017!)

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A book with more than 500 pages

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John Lennon: The Life by Philip Norman

I really enjoyed reading this biography, it was such an in-depth look at Lennon’s life and I even learnt some things that I hadn’t known about him before. This book has 851 pages and was the longest book I read in 2016 so definitely fits this square!

A forgotten classic

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The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum

I’ll be honest, I’d never heard of this book before 2016 but as soon as I knew about it I had to read it. It’s such a gorgeous book and quite possibly one that will go on my Christmas must-read list every year.

A book that became a movie

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Ethel and Ernest by Raymond Briggs

I can’t believe that I’d passed this book by until 2016! I was so wrong to not bother with graphic novels because it meant I missed out on novels like this one. It’s a gorgeous read and has opened my eyes to a whole new genre of books that I’m now very much enjoying. Ethel and Ernest was made into a film in late 2016 and was on TV over Christmas.

A book published this year

The Butcher's Hook by Janet Ellis

The Butcher’s Hook by Janet Ellis

I read quite a lot of novels that were published in 2016 during the year but I wanted to mention this one as I very much enjoyed reading it and often find it swirling around in my head. I’m eagerly anticipating whatever Janet Ellis writes next. I reviewed this book, and interviewed Janet Ellis, which you can read here: The Butcher’s Hook

A book with a number in the title

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Eleven Hours by Pamela Erens

I read a few books with a number in the title but chose this one because it’s a novel that has stayed with me. This is a book about a woman in labour and is a really interesting read. Whilst in the midst of giving birth she reflects on events in her life that led to where she is now, and this adds to the intensity of the novel. I’m not sure how I first heard about this book but it was one I really enjoyed reading and I would recommend it.

A book written by someone under 30

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Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson

Mara Wilson is 29 so this fits for this category. I bought this book very soon after it came out as I was such a fan of Mara Wilson when she was an actress. I adored her in Miracle on 34th Street, Mrs Doubtfire and Matilda, so was intrigued to find out what she’s doing now but also to read her insights into what it had been like to be a child star. It’s an interesting read.

A book with non-human characters

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Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien

I really enjoyed reading this over Christmas. It obviously does have some human characters but there are a lot of references to a bear and goblins amongst other creatures. It’s a lovely book to read over the festive period and I’d recommend it.

A funny book

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Bossypants by Tina Fey

I listened to this on audio book and as it’s narrated by Tina Fey herself it really added to the reading experience. I didn’t know much about her before but some of her stories are very amusing.

A book by a female author

Look At Me by Sarah Duguid

Look At Me by Sarah Duguid

I read quite a lot of books by female authors in 2016 but this one deserves to be mentioned again so that’s why I chose it. This is such a brilliant novel and it so nearly made me top ten books of 2016. It’s a look at families and relationships between siblings following the death of their mother. It’s a quirky book but has such depth to it. I reviewed this one when I read it so you can read that here: Look At Me

A book with a mystery

The Sister by Louise Jensen

The Sister by Louise Jensen

The Sister is the debut novel by Louise Jensen and it’s such a good read. It kept me guessing as to what had happened and I really enjoyed reading it. You can read my review here: The Sister

A book with a one-word title

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One by Sarah Crossan

I put off reading this book for ages and I don’t know why because it’s a brilliant read. It’s a novel written in verse about conjoined twins. There is so much packed into this short novel and it’s one that has really stayed with me.

A book of short stories

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Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

This book was a Christmas present in 2016 so was one of my final reads of the year and I very much enjoyed it. I have to be honest and say that I was expecting there to be more festive stories in the collection, but, that aside, it was a really good read. I read a few stories every day between Christmas and New Year and it felt like a little treat. I’m definitely going to make an attempt to read more Stella Gibbons in 2017. It’s also made me want to read more short story collections so I’m making that another aim for 2017.

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The Second Love of My Life by Victoria Walters

Obviously I could have picked anything for this square but I wanted to show this novel some more love! I really enjoyed this novel, it had a great story and had moments of lightness and moments that really got to me. I’m looking forward to reading whatever Victoria Walters writes next. You can read my review here: The Second Love of My Life

A book set on a different continent

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

This is an American novel (and I live in the UK) so it counts towards this square. I really enjoyed this twisty novel, it kept me guessing for most of the way through – every time I thought I had it all figured out there would be another twist. You can read my review here: The Couple Next Door

A book of non-fiction

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Mindfulness for Health by Vidyamala Burch

I read a lot of non-fiction in 2016 but wanted to pick a book for this square that meant a lot to me even though I haven’t written about it on my blog before. This book was recommended to me as part of my physio programme and it’s been such a useful read for me. I would recommend this book to anyone who suffers with chronic pain, or long-term illness, it’s really helped me to feel like I have a bit more control over my condition. It doesn’t make the pain go away but it does help you to learn how to put it in the background a bit so that it stops feeling completely overwhelming.

The first book by a favourite author

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Sweet Home by Carys Bray

I adore Carys Bray’s writing. I first read A Song for Issy Bradley when it came out and I loved it, and in 2016 I read her second novel The Museum of You and then soon after read Sweet Home, a short story collection, that was actually the first book that she had published. I highly recommend all three books, Carys Bray is a brilliant writer.

A book you heard about online

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Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin

I first heard about Ghostbird on social media and knew I simply had to read it as soon as I possibly could. This is why I love blogging so much – it’s led to me discovering even more wonderful books, and authors, that I may had missed otherwise. Ghostbird was my book of 2016, it is an incredibly debut novel. You can read my review here: Ghostbird

A best-selling book

The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss

The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss

This book is incredible and I urge all of you to go read it as soon as you can if you haven’t already.

A book based on a true story

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Acts of Violence by David Ryan Jahn

This is one of the books that I read as I was coming out of my horrendous reading slump in the summer of 2016 and it really captured my attention. I was fascinated with the idea that numerous people in an apartment complex could hear a woman screaming in terror and yet do nothing to help her. On finishing reading it I discovered that it was based on a true story and I was stunned that people really had literally turned their backs as this young woman was fighting for her life right outside their windows. It’s a harrowing read but one I’d recommend.

A book at the bottom of your TBR pile

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Travelling to Infinity by Jane Hawking

This is the book that has been on my TBR longest our of all the books I read in 2016. I don’t know why I didn’t read it before because I really enjoyed it once I got into it.

A book your friend loves

Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton

Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton

I bought this book as one of my mum-in-law’s birthday presents last year and she loved it. I already owned a copy but hadn’t read it at that point but after she told me how much she’d enjoyed it I made it my next read and loved it too. You can read my review here: Daisy in Chains

A book that scares you

The Ice Twins by S. K. Tremayne

The Ice Twins by SK Tremayne

I put off reading this book for so long because I was so scared of the premise. There is something about thrillers that have twins in them that adds to the fear factor for me (possibly a legacy of watching The Shining years ago). Anyway, I finally decided to give it a go and I just couldn’t put this down, it had my engrossed from the very first chapter. It did give me the creeps on more than one occasion, and I ended up reading the end once my husband was home as I didn’t want to read it when I was on my own (I’m a total wimp!) but I loved it. It’s such a great story. You can read my review here: The Ice Twins

A book that is more than ten years old

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Restless by William Boyd

I’ve had this book for ages but finally got around to reading to it in 2016 and I really enjoyed it. It’s made me want to read more of William Boyd in the future.

The second book in a series

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Edward Adrift by Craig Lancaster

I read the first book in this series in 2016 as well and I quite enjoyed them both. The first book left me wanting to know more so I ended up reading the second one quite soon after. They’re been on my TBR a while and I’m not sure why I hadn’t read them before as they’re really enjoyable reads.

A book with a blue cover

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The Midnight Watch by David Dyer

I actually read quite a few books with blue covers in 2016 but this was the one that came to mind when I saw this square on the bingo sheet. It’s a brilliant read about what happened on the Californian the night the titanic sunk to stop it coming to the aid of the stricken ship. It was one of those books that I couldn’t put down and I’d definitely recommend it. You can read my review here: The Midnight Watch


I successfully completely all the squares in reading bingo for 2016 so am very happy at that! Have you had a go at reading bingo 2016? I’d love to read your posts if you have, please feel free to leave links below.

My April Wrap-Up Post

 

 

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This has been a great month on my blog. As some of you will have already noticed, I gave my blog a big makeover at the weekend. My lovely husband, who is a great photographer, took some fab photos of my books for me to use on my blog – his photo is now my blog header and I’m over the moon with it. You can read my post about my blog makeover here.

I also decided to register my blog’s domain so I now own rathertoofondofbooks.com and am really happy about that. It just cements that I’ve been blogging long enough now to know that it’s something I want to keep doing in the long term.

I started using dictation software in April and this has made a massive difference to me, it means I can write blog posts even when I’m unable to type. I also learnt how to schedule my blog posts, and found some software that allows me to schedule unpublished blog posts links on social media in advance. All of this combined has made blogging so much easier for me and means I can achieve more in my day.

My TBR is even more out of control than it was last month due to April bringing lots more new books my way. I’m in the middle of sorting out my enormous TBR into recent purchases/review books and then a separate TBR for books that I’ve been keeping for the right time (see my post on this here). I’m still trying to come up with a way to challenge myself to read these books because if I could stop myself waiting for the right time and just read them it would really help me clear my TBR! If anyone has any ideas for this please share in the comments below. I’m planning on making a TBR jar once I’ve finished my lists but I want a challenge to go with that.

Otherwise life is same old same old really. I’m still struggling to get my pain levels under control but I do finally have an appointment to see a specialist this month so I’m really hoping that something can be done to help me. If I can get my pain better controlled and I can find a medication that doesn’t make my head feel like it’s stuffed full of cotton wool then I’ll be able to get back to reading at my normal speed and will finally be able to start making headway with my TBR.


I managed to read fifteen books this month (three were short stories and two were novellas, and ten were full-length novels):

(Click the orange links to read my reviews; the titles in turquoise are books I’ve read but not yet reviewed)

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

The Summer I Met You by Victoria Walters

Dear Dad by Giselle Green

The Boy with the Boxes by Katey Lovell

The Boy on the Bus by Katey Lovell

Peter and Alice by John Logan

In Too Deep by Samantha Hayes

The Second Love of My Life by Victoria Walters

Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

Shame by Jasvinder Sanghera

Twisted River by Siobhan MacDonald

 Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom

The Real Book Thief by Ingrid Black

Shtum by Jem Lester

The Ice Twins by S. K. Tremayne


I also reviewed six books that I finished before April

Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan (re-blog)

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

Between You and Me by Lisa Hall

The Good Mother by A. L. Bird

Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen


 

I was very lucky this month that I got to interview six authors:

Jannie Lund, author of Vintage Dreams

Sherry Mayes, author of Stop the World

Katye Nunn, author of Rose’s Vintage

Mike Russell, author of Nothing is Strange

Siobhan MacDonald, author of Twisted River

Greg Cope White, author of The Pink Marine

 

I also was delighted to have three authors write a guest post for my blog:

Rosy Stewart, author of Hope: Stories from a Women’s Refuge Rosy Stewart are a husband and wife writing team. They wrote a great post for my blog all about how it is to write as a duo.

Heidi Perks, author of Beneath the Surface Heidi Perks wrote a brilliant guest post for me in April all about marketing a book on a limited budget. It’s a really interesting post and I recommend reading it.

Sandra Nikolai, author of Fatal Whispers Sandra Nikolai wrote a great guest post for my blog all about how murder mystery writers keep one step ahead of readers. If you’re a fan of thrillers than I’m sure you will love reading this post.


 Also in April, I was very honoured when I was asked to guest post on Laura at 125 Pages blog as part of her first blogiverary celebrations. Laura asked me to write about how the way I approach blogging and how I’ve built my blog up. You can read the post here


 

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

Weekly Wrap-Up (1 May)

 

 

 

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I’m linking this post up to Kimba’s Caffeinated Book Reviewer’s Sunday Blog Share.  


My husband had a week holiday from work this week so it’s been lovely having him home with me. We didn’t plan on doing much as it’s impossible to know how I’m going to be from one day to the next at the moment but it was nice just to have time together.

My pain levels are still up and down but I finally have an appointment to see a pain specialist this month. I’m hoping that he can help me.


My husband has been helping me re-design my blog this week – he’s taken some gorgeous photos of my books for me to use in my posts so I can’t wait to have a chance to use those. I’ve also registered RatherTooFondofBooks as my domain so my blog is now rathertoofondofbooks.com, which looks great and makes me smile to see it. I changed my blog to the new look last night and I’m very happy with it. It was a lot more work than I was expecting for various reasons but worth it.


This week I’ve managed to read three books:

The Real Book Thief by Ingrid Black

Shtum by Jem Lester

The Ice Twins by S. K. Tremayne


 I’ve blogged twelve times this week:

(Click the links if you’d like to read any of these posts)

Sunday:

Blog tour Q&A with Siobhan Macdonald (author of Twisted River)

Weekly Wrap-Up Post

Monday:

Review of Between You and Me by Lisa Hall

Tuesday: 

Review of The Second Love of My Life by Victoria Walters

Winner of my Rose’s Vintage ebook giveaway announcement post

Wednesday:

Guest Post by Sandra Nikolai (author of Fatal Whispers) about keeping one step ahead of readers when you’re a murder mystery writer

WWW Wednesday Post

Thursday:

Review of Twisted River by Siobhan MacDonald

Friday: 

Q&A with Greg Cope White (author of The Pink Marine)

Re-blog of my review of Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan

Saturday:

Stacking the Shelves Post

New Look for my Blog!


Coming up on my blog this week:

My monthly wrap-up post will be up either later today or tomorrow morning. I’ll also be joining in with WWW Wednesday, Stacking the Shelves on Saturday, and my Weekly Wrap-up on Sunday.

 


This is what I’m currently reading:

The Wacky Man by Lyn G. Ferrell

The Midnight Watch by David Dyer

The Children Act by Ian McEwan

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

This Secret We’re Keeping by Rebecca Done

Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke


 

 

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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. :)

Review: The Second Love of My Life by Victoria Walters

the second love of my life

In the small Cornish town of Talting, everyone is known for something.

Up to the age of twenty-four, artist Rose Walker was known for lots of things: her infectious positivity; her unique artistic talent; her second-to-none cookery skills; and, of course, her devotion to childhood sweetheart and husband Lucas.

But, two years ago, all of that changed in one, unthinkable moment. Now, Rose is known for being a young woman who became a widow aged just twenty-four.

Rose knows that life must – should – go on. But the prospect of trying to carve out a future for herself is one she can still barely entertain. Until a newcomer, Robert Green, arrives in Talting for the summer…

Can Rose allow herself the chance to love again?

I knew from the second I started reading this book that I was going to love it, and I was proved to be absolutely right. This is such a beautiful novel about love, grief and second chances.

I loved Rose from the start of this novel, she just felt like a real person to me. I could feel her pain, her  sadness and her desire to honour Lucas, but also her will to live life. I think a lot of people will identify quite strongly with her. She has been through a lot in her life and even if you haven’t been through the same things, the way she feels and approaches things is so believable and true to life.

I loved how this book is in large part also about the families that we create for ourselves, how you may have lost your family, or you may not have a good relationship with them but so often other people come into your life who become your family. Rose’s relationship with Lucas’s parents, particularly his mother, seemed so spot-on, and I was willing them to be able to remain family to each other as Rose’s life began to change. Rose’s relationship with Emma’s mother was also lovely, we don’t see much of them together in the book but the closeness is referred to quite a few times.

I really liked how the town of Talting enveloped the characters in this book, and that in a way it became a character in its own right. I could picture the place so vividly that I began to feel like I’d actually been there. The warmth of the people and place was just wonderful.

I cried so many times reading this book. All the sections where Rose talks about losing her mum just broke my heart because I’ve been there too and Victoria Walters just got those feelings exactly right. I’ve always felt that since losing my mum all the difficult times in my life have been more difficult because I didn’t have my mum to turn to and that’s how it was for Rose, it’s sadly how it is for everyone who has had a good relationship with their parent.

I really enjoyed reading Emma and John’s story too. I’d previously read the short story prequel to this novel called The Summer I Met You and fell in love with this couple then so I was really pleased to find that they feature quite a lot through The Second Love of My Life. It was lovely to see how close Emma and Rose were, and how they remained such good friends throughout everything they each go through.

It’s beautiful how Lucas’ presence is felt throughout this whole novel even though he’d actually died before the point where the book began. We really get to understand how Rose and Lucas’ relationship worked and just how happy they had been together. Rose’s grief for him felt so real and so believable, and I so often wanted to give her a hug, but the book is never maudlin. We feel Rose’s pain but we fall in love with her character so much that we want her to move on we want her to find love and true happiness again. Victoria Walters has spanned this novel over a few years and it allows us to see the progression of Rose’s healing process in such a way that you cant help but feel joy when she starts to feel like she can move on.

There is sadness and grief in this novel but there are also so many moments that made me smile and some moments that made me properly laugh out loud. I think I went through the whole range of emotions while reading this novel, it is just completely and utterly wonderful. I think this novel will become my new comfort read, the book that I turn to when I need a pick me up!

I rated this novel 5 out of 5 and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s a gorgeous novel that will make you laugh and cry, but it will ultimately leave you feeling warm and fuzzy and very, very happy! I can’t wait to see what Victoria Walters writes next.

The Second Love of My Life is out now and available from all good bookshops.

I received this book from Net Galley via Headline in exchange for an honest review.

Weekly Wrap-Up (24 April)

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SundayBlogShare

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

 


This week has been another up and down week for me. The beginning of the week was particularly difficult when my already severe pain levels increased further but thankfully they’ve settled a bit since. I’ve had a useful medical appointment this week that is hopefully going to finally lead on to me getting help with the pain. I’m also due to have another MRI scan tomorrow to check that there is nothing else going on in my spine that could be aggravating my pain.

I’m still only managing to concentrate for small periods of time so I’m not getting to read as much as I’d like. I’m grateful to be able to read even a little though and am hoping it will get easier in time. I did manage to finish some books this week that I’ve been reading for a few weeks so I was pleased about that.

It’s been a good week where my blog is concerned though. Thanks to my new scheduling pattern, I had enough posts set up ready to go so that my blog kept going as planned even when I wasn’t around much. It gives me real satisfaction to keep my blog running, even during the tough times so I was really glad that I’d worked out scheduling before this rough patch.


This week I’ve managed to finish reading five books (most of these books I’ve been reading for a few weeks and just finished this week):

Twisted River by Siobhan MacDonald

I really enjoyed reading this book, it was one of those reads that is really hard to put down once you’ve started reading it. It was different to anything else I’ve read recently and kept me guessing all the way through. I’m on the blog tour for this book today and so look out for my interview with Siobhan MacDonald.

Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom

Wonder Cruise is such a lovely novel, I found that I wanted to read it slowly to savour it and I really didn’t want it to end. I hope to get my review up this week. I’ll definitely be looking out for more of Ursula Bloom’s novels in the future.

The Second Love of My Life by Victoria Walters

This book is such a gorgeous read, I absolutely loved it! It had such depth to it and yet was never heavy-going. I hope to have my review of this up on my blog this week.

Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

This is a novella released for World Book Day and my first ever Rainbow Rowell book! I loved it, it’s such an adorable read! This is the only book I managed to read from start to finish in the course of this week.

Shame by Jasvinder Sanghera

This is a fascinating read about a young woman who runs away from her family to escape an arranged marriage, but that is only the beginning of what happened to Jasvinder. This is ultimately an inspiring read and I recommend it. I hope to have my review ready to post very soon.


 I’ve blogged twelve times this week (well, eleven times plus a re-blog of my guest post on another blog):

 

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up Post

Monday: Q&A with Kayte Nunn (author of Rose’s Vintage) plus giveaway of ebooks

Blog post: Addicted to Blogging (all about writing my first 200 posts!)

Tuesday: Review of In Too Deep by Samantha Hayes

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday Post

Review of The Boy with the Boxes (Meet Cute) by Katey Lovell

Thursday: Review of The Boy on the Bus (Meet Cute) by Katey Lovell

Q&A with Mike Russell (author of the short story collection, Nothing is Strange)

Friday: Guest post by Heidi Perks (author of Beneath the Surface) about marketing a book on a limited budget

Re-blog from Laura at 125Pages where I wrote a guest post for her about how I approach blogging.

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves Post


Coming up on my blog this week:

My usual WWW Wednesday Post, Stacking the Shelves Post and Weekly Wrap-Up Post. Plus more reviews and an author Q&A/guest post.


This is what I’m currently reading:

Shtum by Jem Lester

This book has got better as it’s gone along and I’m quite enjoying it now.

The Midnight Watch by David Dyer

It’s so frustrating that I can only read in short bursts at the moment because this is a book I would have devoured normally. It’s a brilliant novel though and I highly recommend it. When I’m not able to read I’m thinking about this book and wishing I could get back to it.

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

I’ve only managed to read the first few chapters of this due to my lack of concentration but I’ve loved what I’ve read and I’m so looking forward to reading more. They writing is so beautiful and every single page feels like a treat.


https://rathertoofondofbooks.wordpress.com/2016/03/27/weekly-wrap-up-27-march-2016/

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

WWW Wednesday (20 April)

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:

img_4731-1

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave 

I was thrilled to receive a copy of this book last week and have been saving it until I could read it in big chunks but I’ve had a tough couple of days so I decided to start reading this as I figured I deserved a treat. It is so good, I’m very much enjoying it.

Synopsis:

When war is declared, Mary North leaves finishing school unfinished, goes straight to the War Office, and signs up.

Tom Shaw decides to give it a miss – until his flatmate Alistair unexpectedly enlists, and the conflict can no longer be avoided.

Young, bright and brave, Mary is certain she’d be a marvelous spy. When she is – bewilderingly – made a teacher, she instead finds herself defying prejudice to protect the children her country would rather forget.

Tom, meanwhile, finds that he will do anything for Mary.

And when Mary and Alistair meet, it is love, as well as war, that will test them in ways they could not have imagined, entangling three lives in violence and passion, friendship and deception, inexorably shaping their hopes and dreams.

In a powerful combination of both humour and heartbreak, this dazzling novel weaves little-known history, and a perfect love story, through the vast sweep of the Second World War – daring us to understand that, against the great theatre of world events, it is the intimate losses, the small battles, the daily human triumphs, that change us most.

Twisted River by Siobhan MacDonald

Twisted River by Siobhan MacDonald

This book is really good, it’s a bit different to anything else I’ve read in a while and I’m finding it very hard to put down.

Synopsis:

An unmissable psychological thriller for fans of B A Paris’s Behind Closed Doors about two families in crisis and a house swap gone terribly wrong

Limerick, Ireland: Oscar Harvey finds the body of a woman in a car boot, beaten and bloody. But let’s start at the beginning…

Kate and Mannix O’Brien live in a lovely Limerick house they can barely afford. Their autistic son is bullied at school and their daughter Izzy wishes she could protect him. When she spots a gorgeous New York flat on a home-exchange website, Kate decides that her family needs a holiday.

Hazel and Oscar Harvey, and their two children, live on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Though they seem successful, Hazel has mysterious bruises and Oscar is hiding things about his dental practice.

Hazel is keen to revisit her native Limerick, and the house swap offers a perfect chance to soothe two troubled marriages.

But this will be anything but a perfect break. And the body is just the beginning.

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The Midnight Watch by David Dyer

I couldn’t resist starting this book at the weekend! I’ve only read the first few chapters so far as I’m still not able to read very much in one go at the moment but it’s very good. 

Synopsis:

On a black night in April 1912, fifteen hundred passengers and crew perish as the Titanic slowly sinks beneath the freezing waters of the North Atlantic. Charting the same perilous course through the icebergs is the SS Californian, close enough for her crew to see the eight white distress rockets fired by the Titanic. Yet the Californian fails to act, and later her crew insist that they saw nothing. As news of the disaster spreads throughout America, journalists begin a feeding frenzy, desperate for stories. John Steadman is one such reporter, a man broken by alcoholism, grief and a failed marriage. Steadman senses blood as he fixates on the Californian and his investigation reveals a tense and perplexing relationship between the ship’s captain and second officer, who hold the secrets of what occurred that night. Slowly he peels back the layers of deception, and his final, stunning revelation of what happened while the Titanic sank will either redeem the men of the Californian, or destroy them.

Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom

Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom

I’m still really enjoying this book, it’s one of those books that gives me such a lift every time I read some of it.

Synopsis:

Ann Clements is thirty-five and single, and believes nothing exciting will ever happen to her. Then, she wins a large sum of money in a sweepstake and suddenly can dare to dream of a more adventurous life. She buys a ticket for a Mediterranean cruise, against the wishes of her stern brother, the Rev. Cuthbert, who has other ideas about how she should spend her windfall. Ann steps out of the shadows of her mundane life into the heat of the Mediterranean sun. Travelling to Gibraltar, Marseilles, Naples, Malta and Venice, Ann’s eyes are opened to people and experiences far removed from her sheltered existence in the offices at Henrietta Street, and Mrs. Puddock’s lodging house. As Ann blossoms, discovering love and passion for the very first time, the biggest question is, can there be any going back?

shtum by jem lester

Shtum by Jem Lester

I’ve read a little bit more of this since last week and it’s a got a bit better so I’m going to keep reading.

Synopsis:

Ben Jewell has hit breaking point.

His ten-year-old son, Jonah, has never spoken. So when Ben and Jonah are forced to move in with Ben’s elderly father, three generations of men – one who can’t talk; two who won’t – are thrown together.

As Ben battles single fatherhood, a string of well-meaning social workers and his own demons, he learns some difficult home truths.

Jonah, blissful in his ignorance, becomes the prism through which all the complicated strands of personal identity, family history and misunderstanding are finally untangled.

Funny and heart-breaking in equal measure, Shtum is a story about families, forgiveness and finding a light in the darkest days.

 

Shame by Javinder Sanghera (My Pic)

Shame by Jasvinder Sanghera

This is a fascinating book. It’s due to be published tomorrow so look out for it. I’ve only read the first third so far but I’d definitely recommend it.

Synopsis:

When she was fourteen, Jasvinder Sanghera was shown a photo of the man chosen to be her husband. She was terrified. She’d witnessed the torment her sisters endured in their arranged marriages, so she ran away from home, grief-stricken when her parents disowned her. Shame is the heart-rending true story of a young girl’s attempt to escape from a cruel, claustrophobic world where family honour mattered more than anything – sometimes more than life itself. Jasvinder’s story is one of terrible oppression, a harrowing struggle against a punitive code of honour – and, finally, triumph over adversity.


What I recently finished reading: 

In Too Deep by Samantha Hayes

In Too Deep by Samantha Hayes

I really enjoyed this book. I posted my review yesterday so you can read it here if you’d like to.

Synopsis:

Four months ago, Rick went out to buy a newspaper. He never came back.

His wife, Gina, is struggling to deal with her loss, and her daughter’s mood swings are getting worse. Then she receives a phone call from a woman at a country hotel, confirming details of a booking Rick made before he vanished.

Desperate to find out more about his disappearance, Gina and her daughter take the trip. But there is something very strange about the hotel, and the family that run it.

Soon Gina is unsure that Rick even made the booking – but one thing is clear: both mother and daughter are in serious danger.

the second love of my life

The Second Love of My Life by Victoria Walters

I loved this book so much, it’s a definite 5 star read for me. I’m part way through writing my review now so I should have it up on my blog very soon. 

Synopsis:

In the Cornish town of Talting, everyone is famous for something.

Until recently Rose was known for many things: her infectious positivity; her unique artistic talent; and her devotion to childhood sweetheart Lucas.

But two years ago that changed in one unthinkable moment. Now, Rose is known for being the young woman who became a widow aged just twenty-four.

Though Rose knows that life must go on, the thought of carving out a new future for herself is one she can barely entertain. Until a newcomer, Robert, arrives in Talting for the summer…

Can Rose allow herself the chance to love again?

Get lost in Victoria Walters’ immensely touching debut novel, and discover a world that will capture your imagination and heart.

Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

This is the first Rainbow Rowell book that I’ve read and I really enjoyed it, it’s a sweet story. I do have a couple of Rainbow’s novels on my TBR and I’m more keen than ever to read them now.

Synopsis:

‘Everybody likes everything these days. The whole world is a nerd.’
‘Are you mad because other people like Star Wars? Are you mad because people like me like Star Wars?’
‘Maybe.’

If you broke Elena’s heart, Star Wars would spill out. So when she decides to queue outside her local cinema to see the new movie, she’s expecting a celebration with crowds of people who love Han, Luke and Leia just as much as she does.

What she’s not expecting is to be last in a line of only three people; to have to pee into a collectible Star Wars soda cup behind a dumpster or to meet that unlikely someone who just might truly understand the way she feels.

Kindred Spirits is an engaging short story by Rainbow Rowell, author of the bestselling Eleanor & Park, Fangirl and Carry On, and is part of a handful of selected short reads specially produced for World Book Day.


What I plan on reading next:

Beneath the Surface by Heidi Perks

Beneath the Surface by Heidi Perks

I’ve been excited to read this since before it was released and ever since I received a review copy I’ve been so keen to pick it up. I really hope to read it this week if I can, especially as I’m featuring Heidi Perks on my blog very soon.

Synopsis:

I donʼt know where you are…
I donʼt know what Iʼve done…
Teenager Abigail Ryder is devastated when she gets home from school to find her family gone.
Nothing makes sense. Things are missing from the house and her stepsistersʼ room is completely empty. But the police think sheʼs trouble, and when grandmother Eleanor tells her to forget them all and move on, thereʼs no choice other than face the future – alone.
Fourteen years on, Abi and Adam are a happy couple on the verge of parenthood. But when the past comes back to haunt Abi, the only way forward is to go back and uncover the truth – and reveal the dreadful secrets a mother has been hiding all these years.

The Second Chance Shoe Shop by Marcie Steele

The Second Chance Shoe Shop by Marcie Steele

I love Marcie Steele’s writing so I can’t wait to read her latest novel. I’m in need of another feel-good read at the moment and I feel sure this will fit the bill!

Synopsis:

All Riley Flynn wants is to meet someone who makes her happy. But attracting the right kind of man is not easy, and with her heart still hurting from her last break-up, Riley believes she’ll never find love again.

A year ago, Sadie Stewart’s whole world was shattered when her husband, Ross, died. She has struggled to keep herself together for the sake of their young daughter, but with the anniversary of his death approaching, Sadie finds herself overwhelmed by grief.

Sadie and Riley work at Chandlers shoe shop, in the charming town of Hedworth. But when Chandlers is threatened with closure, the friends are confronted with the loss of not only their jobs, but also their support network – the glue that holds them together when they are close to breaking.

As they put together a plan to save their beloved shop, Sadie realises that she might just be learning to live again. Could it be that new beginnings are just round the corner? The campaign also finds Riley unexpectedly crossing paths with charming photographer, Ethan. Maybe her second chance at love is right under her feet …

The Children Act by Ian McEwan

The Children Act by Ian McEwan

I still haven’t figured out how to challenge myself to read my best books in a way that I can track my progress on my blog (see this post here to find out what I mean about best books) but I’m going to make a start on reading some of my own books by adding one or two into my selected reads each week. I’m a fan of Ian McEwan and have had this book on my TBR since it first came out, I’ve been wanting to read it but haven’t found the right time so I’ve decided to just get on with it!

Synopsis:

Fiona Maye, a leading High Court judge, renowned for her fierce intelligence and sensitivity is called on to try an urgent case. For religious reasons, a seventeen-year-old boy is refusing the medical treatment that could save his life. Time is running out.

She visits the boy in hospital – an encounter which stirs long-buried feelings in her and powerful new emotions in the boy. But it is Fiona who must ultimately decide whether he lives or dies and her judgement will have momentous consequences for them both.

 


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 (17 April 2016)

Weekly wrap-up banner

SundayBlogShare

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

 


I’ve not had the best week in terms of my health, I’m still struggling to find the balance between controlling pain but not ending up feeling out of it on painkillers. The result at the moment is that I’m feeling quite awful all of the time, so my reading is suffering as I can’t concentrate on books for more than around ten minutes at a time.

I’ve had a good week in terms of blogging though. It’s made such a huge difference to me having my dictation software, I’m dictating just about everything now (even tweets & Facebook updates) so it’s great. Finally working out how to schedule posts in advance, and also how to schedule links to my blog posts to go out on social media using an app, has been a revelation. I’m managing my time better now and it’s been great this week that I’ve had posts up every day on my blog as it was all scheduled in advance during the short periods when I’ve felt a little better.


 

This week I’ve managed to read two books:

Peter and Alice by John Hogan

This is actually a play script but it was easy enough to read as it’s predominantly got just the two characters throughout. This a fictional conversation between Alice (who Alice in Wonderland was based on) and Peter (who Peter Pan was based on) and it’s fascinating. I bought this book a while ago but wish I’d read it sooner now as it was brilliant. I plan to review this on my blog quite soon.

In Too Deep by Samantha Hayes

I finished reading this very late on Friday night and so haven’t managed to review it yet but I will be doing very soon. I really enjoyed this book, it kept me hooked all the way through it.


 

 I’ve blogged ten times this week:

https://rathertoofondofbooks.wordpress.com/2016/03/27/weekly-wrap-up-27-march-2016/

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up Post

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Monday: Q&A with Sherry Mayes (author of Stop the World)

dear dad by giselle green

Tuesday: Review of Dear Dad by Giselle Green

WWW pic

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday post

First by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Thursday: Review of Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

IMG_4703

Announcement of the winner of The One-in-a-Million Boy giveaway

when she was bad tammy

Friday: Review of When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen

Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom

Blog post about Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom

Stacking the Shelves

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves post

hope-stories-from-a-womens-refuge

Guest post by Rosy Stewart (Author of Hope: Stories from a Women’s Refuge)


 

Coming up on my blog this week:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up (Sunday Post)

Monday: Q&A with Kayte Nunn (author of Rose’s Vintage) PLUS an international giveaway!

Tuesday: Review or Author Q&A/Interview

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday Post

Thursday: Review or Author Q&A/Interview

Friday: Review or Author Q&A/Interview

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves Post


 

This is what I’m currently reading:

The Midnight Watch by David Dyer

I treated myself to this book last week and couldn’t resist starting it the other day. It’s about the Titanic disaster but focuses on the Californian – the ship who was near enough to potentially help but they didn’t react. It’s a novel but has been very heavily researched.  I’ve only read the first few chapters so far but it’s very good.

The Second Love of My Life by Victoria Walters

I’m very much enjoying this book, it’s brilliant. The only reason for me not finishing it sooner is due to me not being able to read much this week. I hope to read more of it very soon.

Shtum by Jem Lester

I’ve read the first third of this book but I’m not feeling very motivated to pick it back up, it just isn’t grabbing me at all. 

Shame by Jasvinder Sanghera

This is non-fiction and whilst I know it’s probably going to be quite a tough read later on, at the moment it’s fascinating reading about the family dynamics and how they all got on before the problems started.

Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom

This book is wonderful. It was written in the 1930s and is about a spinster, Ann, who always listens to what her brother tells her and lives a very sheltered existence. Then one day she comes into a sum of money and on a whim books a cruise! I’ve only read the first few chapters but it’s such an enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to reading more when I feel better. If you want to know more about this book, I wrote a post about it on my blog yesterday – you can read that here.

Twisted River by Siobhan MacDonald

I only started reading this late last night so have only read a couple of chapters so far but I really want to read more of it as soon as I can. I’m on the blog tour for this book on Sunday so look out for my post then.

 


 

https://rathertoofondofbooks.wordpress.com/2016/03/27/weekly-wrap-up-27-march-2016/

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

 

WWW Wednesday (13 April 2016)

 

WWW pic

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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


Please  forgive any formatting errors in my post this week, my home wifi is playing up and web pages keep either failing to load or partially loading so it’s quite hard to get a post ready. On top of that WordPress hasn’t been working too well for me this week either. 


What I’m reading now:

 

In Too Deep by Samantha Hayes

In Too Deep by Samantha Hayes

I was thrilled to get the chance to read this book through THE Book Club recently.  I’m about halfway through the book at the moment and finding it really hard to put down, and so far I still haven’t worked out what is going on (which is great, I love being kept guessing until the end!).

Synopsis:

Four months ago, Rick went out to buy a newspaper. He never came back.

His wife, Gina, is struggling to deal with her loss, and her daughter’s mood swings are getting worse. Then she receives a phone call from a woman at a country hotel, confirming details of a booking Rick made before he vanished. 

Desperate to find out more about his disappearance, Gina and her daughter take the trip. But there is something very strange about the hotel, and the family that run it. 

Soon Gina is unsure that Rick even made the booking – but one thing is clear: both mother and daughter are in serious danger.


the second love of my life

The Second Love of My Life by Victoria Walters

I knew I was going to enjoy this novel, but I didn’t expect it to get to me in the way that it is doing. This novel has made me laugh and it’s made me cry; it’s so good! I want to know how things will turn out for everyone but I also don’t want the book to end as I’m enjoying it so much!

Synopsis:

It wasn’t love at first sight. It was a summer of love…

When Emma leaves her Cornish hometown of Talting for a summer in Devon, the last thing she dreams of is falling in love. But sometimes the people who affect us the most come along when we least expect it. As the summer comes to the end, will it herald the start of something that could last for ever?


Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom

Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom

I haven’t been well this week so have only managed to read a few chapters of this so far but it is utterly wonderful. It’s been quite a long time since I read a book set in the 1930s and I’m just absolutely adoring it, it’s so refreshing. I’m willing Ann on to break free of Cuthbert and to experience some of what life has to offer her.

Synopsis:

Ann Clements is thirty-five and single, and believes nothing exciting will ever happen to her. Then, she wins a large sum of money in a sweepstake and suddenly can dare to dream of a more adventurous life. She buys a ticket for a Mediterranean cruise, against the wishes of her stern brother, the Rev. Cuthbert, who has other ideas about how she should spend her windfall. Ann steps out of the shadows of her mundane life into the heat of the Mediterranean sun. Travelling to Gibraltar, Marseilles, Naples, Malta and Venice, Ann’s eyes are opened to people and experiences far removed from her sheltered existence in the offices at Henrietta Street, and Mrs. Puddock’s lodging house. As Ann blossoms, discovering love and passion for the very first time, the biggest question is, can there be any going back?


Shame by Javinder Sanghera (My Pic)

Shame by Jasvinder Sanghera

This is another boak that I’ve only managed to read the first few chapters of this week, due to not being well again. It’s quite apparent already though that this is going to be a fascinating read and I’m keen to get back to it to read more.

Synopsis:

When she was fourteen, Jasvinder Sanghera was shown a photo of the man chosen to be her husband. She was terrified. She’d witnessed the torment her sisters endured in their arranged marriages, so she ran away from home, grief-stricken when her parents disowned her. Shame is the heart-rending true story of a young girl’s attempt to escape from a cruel, claustrophobic world where family honour mattered more than anything – sometimes more than life itself. Jasvinder’s story is one of terrible oppression, a harrowing struggle against a punitive code of honour – and, finally, triumph over adversity.


shtum by jem lester

Shtum by Jem Lester

If I’m going to be completely honest I have to say that I am struggling to read this one. It’s had so much hype and so many people have loved but I’m really struggling to read it. I don’t mind reading books where I don’t like any of the main characters but I do find it really difficult when they don’t feel rounded out enough for me to get a feel for who they are. I’m going to persevere with this little bit longer because it’s a review book and I have only read about a third of it so far so I’m going to give it a bit longer and maybe my opinion will change.

Synopsis:

Ben Jewell has hit breaking point. 

His ten-year-old son, Jonah, has never spoken. So when Ben and Jonah are forced to move in with Ben’s elderly father, three generations of men – one who can’t talk; two who won’t – are thrown together. 

As Ben battles single fatherhood, a string of well-meaning social workers and his own demons, he learns some difficult home truths. 

Jonah, blissful in his ignorance, becomes the prism through which all the complicated strands of personal identity, family history and misunderstanding are finally untangled. 

Funny and heart-breaking in equal measure, Shtum is a story about families, forgiveness and finding a light in the darkest days.


 

truth lies and o-rings

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

Due to my not being well this week, I’ve not managed to read any more of this book at all. It’s such a fascinating read and I really do want to finish it but I’m thinking of maybe putting it to one side for a while until I’m feeling more able to read it in bigger chunks and to take in better what I’m reading.

 

 


What I recently finished reading: 

dear dad by giselle green

Dear Dad by Giselle Green 

I loved this novel, it was an incredible read. I’ve already reviewed it, you can read my review on the link above.

Synopsis:

Handsome, 28-year old, Nate Hardman is a frontline reporter with a big problem. Suffering from shell-shock and unable to leave his house, he’s already lost his social life and his girlfriend. Now his career prospects are sinking fast. 

9 year-old Adam Boxley who lives alone with his ageing nan, also has big problems. Neglected at home and bullied at school, he’s desperate to reach out to his dad – and that’s when he sends his first letter to Nate. Only Nate’s not who he thinks he is. Will he help? More importantly – can he? 

Across town meanwhile, caring but impulsive teacher Jenna Tierney really wants to help Adam – except the feisty redhead has already had enough of teaching. Recently hurt by yet another cheating boyfriend, Jenna’s now set her sights on pursuing a dream career abroad … only she’s about to meet Nate – her dream man who’ll make her re-think everything.  

The big question is; can three people desperate to find love, ever find happiness when they’re only connected by one big lie?


The boy with the boxes by katey lovell

The Boy with the Boxes by Katey Lovell

This was a new short story in the Meet Cute series and it’s no secret that I’ve adored all of them so far. This was a lovely addition to the series, I’ll have my review up very soon.

Synopsis:

A gorgeously romantic short story, part of The Meet Cute series.

Rosie’s starting afresh. Her best friend and former housemate is starting a new life in Australia leaving Rosie to move into a new flat on her own. But when she meets her next door neighbour, Rosie realises she may not be quite so alone after all…

 


The Boy on the Bus (Meet Cute) by Katey Lovell

The Boy on the Bus by Katey Lovell

This was another new Meet Cute short story, which was released last week, and I think this one is going to have to be placed joint favourite with The Boy at the Beach as I completely and utterly adored it! I’m part way through writing my review now so that will be up on my blog soon.
Synopsis:
A gorgeously romantic short story, part of The Meet Cute series.
Lucy’s morning bus journey is the highlight of her day – it’s the only time she sees her crush. But how can he take up so many of her thoughts when she doesn’t even know his name

 


peter and alice john logan script

Peter and Alice by John Logan

This was an absolutely fascinating book. It’s a short read, and is actually a script for a play but it’s easy to read as it just focuses on the two characters. It’s an imagined conversation that is taking place between the real Alice (who Alice in Wonderland was based on) and the real Peter (who Peter Pan was based on). There is so much packed into this short script that really makes you think, it’s truly brilliant. I’m working on my review at the moment so should have that ready to post on my blog soon.

Synopsis:

When Alice Liddell Hargreaves met Peter Llewelyn Davies at the opening of a Lewis Carroll exhibition in 1932, the original Alice in Wonderland came face to face with the original Peter Pan. In John Logan’s remarkable new play, enchantment and reality collide as this brief encounter lays bare the lives of these two extraordinary characters.


What I plan on reading next:

 

Twisted River by Siobhan MacDonald

Twisted River by Siobhan MacDonald

I was offered the chance to review this book and when I read the synopsis there was no way I could refuse, it sounds so intriguing! I was also offered a place on the blog tour, which I accepted to I will have a Q&A with the author and, all-being-well, my review of the book on 24th April so please look out for that.

Synopsis:

An unmissable psychological thriller for fans of B A Paris’s Behind Closed Doors about two families in crisis and a house swap gone terribly wrong

Limerick, Ireland: Oscar Harvey finds the body of a woman in a car boot, beaten and bloody. But let’s start at the beginning…

Kate and Mannix O’Brien live in a lovely Limerick house they can barely afford. Their autistic son is bullied at school and their daughter Izzy wishes she could protect him. When she spots a gorgeous New York flat on a home-exchange website, Kate decides that her family needs a holiday.

Hazel and Oscar Harvey, and their two children, live on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Though they seem successful, Hazel has mysterious bruises and Oscar is hiding things about his dental practice.

Hazel is keen to revisit her native Limerick, and the house swap offers a perfect chance to soothe two troubled marriages.

But this will be anything but a perfect break. And the body is just the beginning.


 

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

It made my week when I was offered a review copy of this book at the end of last week! I’ve been wanting to read this since I first heard about it and can’t wait to start reading. I’ve loved all of Chris Cleave’s previous novels so have very high hopes for this one!

Synopsis:

When war is declared, Mary North leaves finishing school unfinished, goes straight to the War Office, and signs up.

Tom Shaw decides to give it a miss – until his flatmate Alistair unexpectedly enlists, and the conflict can no longer be avoided.

Young, bright and brave, Mary is certain she’d be a marvelous spy. When she is – bewilderingly – made a teacher, she instead finds herself defying prejudice to protect the children her country would rather forget.

Tom, meanwhile, finds that he will do anything for Mary.

And when Mary and Alistair meet, it is love, as well as war, that will test them in ways they could not have imagined, entangling three lives in violence and passion, friendship and deception, inexorably shaping their hopes and dreams.

In a powerful combination of both humour and heartbreak, this dazzling novel weaves little-known history, and a perfect love story, through the vast sweep of the Second World War – daring us to understand that, against the great theatre of world events, it is the intimate losses, the small battles, the daily human triumphs, that change us most.


The Midnight Watch by David Dyer

I recently read a review of this on a blog I follow and immediately pre-ordered a copy! I’m drawn to novels about the Titanic but this is from a different perspective so sounds fascinating. I really want to start reading it right away but I need to finish up some review books first and then I’ll be straight on to this!

Synopsis:

 On a black night in April 1912, fifteen hundred passengers and crew perish as the Titanic slowly sinks beneath the freezing waters of the North Atlantic. Charting the same perilous course through the icebergs is the SS Californian, close enough for her crew to see the eight white distress rockets fired by the Titanic. Yet the Californian fails to act, and later her crew insist that they saw nothing. As news of the disaster spreads throughout America, journalists begin a feeding frenzy, desperate for stories. John Steadman is one such reporter, a man broken by alcoholism, grief and a failed marriage. Steadman senses blood as he fixates on the Californian and his investigation reveals a tense and perplexing relationship between the ship’s captain and second officer, who hold the secrets of what occurred that night. Slowly he peels back the layers of deception, and his final, stunning revelation of what happened while the Titanic sank will either redeem the men of the Californian, or destroy them.


 

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 (10 April 2016)

Weekly wrap-up banner

SundayBlogShare

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

 

This week’s been another up-and-down week in my real life. I’m still struggling with a combination of increased pain and the side-effects from my increased painkillers. This has meant that I’m having days where I haven’t managed to read anything at all, and on the days where I can read I’m only managing to read in short periods, which is very frustrating when you have TBR as big as mine but hopefully things will being to settle soon.

Dragon Software

On the plus side this week I finally decided to go ahead and get some voice activation/dictation software. I’ve used Dragon software in the past but found it really difficult to train, which is why I’ve been unsure whether it was worth trying again now. Anyway, I got this new software a few days ago fully expecting it to take ages to train so I was stunned when, after just running through the setup and then opening a pages document to see how well it worked, that it actually didn’t need any further training! Only an hour after opening the box I was able to dictate an entire review and found that the few tiny mistakes it made were easy enough to correct. I’m definitely converted to Dragon! 

Thanks to everyone who gave me advice on finding better life balance last week. Things have come together in quite a serendipitous way this week. Firstly, the Dragon software is allowing me to dictate all of my blog posts which means no more typing so my pain levels aren’t being quite so aggravated by my blogging. Secondly, I discovered how to schedule blog posts that haven’t yet been published, and I found some software that I can then use schedule my links to post to my social media accounts at set intervals during the day. All of this means that I can now schedule in a regular time during the week where I can work on my blog schedule a few blog posts at time, then on my bad days I don’t have to stress about it. It’s early days yet but I think this compromise will work really well for me and I’m really grateful everyone who suggested that I consider scheduling posts in advance rather than doing it on a day-to-day basis. My blog is very important to me and gives me such a sense of fulfilment so I don’t want to compromise on the number of posts I write but at least this new way will allow me to work on my blog in blocks of time, meaning I can give myself time away from it too.


This week I’ve managed to read four  books (actually one novel, one novella and two short stories):

The Boy on the Bus by Katey Lovell (Meet Cute series)

The Boy With the Boxes by Katey Lovell (Meet Cute series)

Dear Dad by Giselle Green

The Summer I Met You by Victoria Walters


 

 I’ve blogged six times this week:

https://rathertoofondofbooks.wordpress.com/2016/03/27/weekly-wrap-up-27-march-2016/

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-up Post

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Tuesday: Review and Giveaway: The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Ward.  This giveaway is for a brand-new hardback copy of the book and it’s open internationally so everyone can enter. The giveaway closes on Wednesday so you still have time!

WWW pic

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday Post

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

Thursday: Review: The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

The Good Mother by A. L. Bird

Friday: Review: The Good Mother by A. L. Bird

Stacking the Shelves

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves Post


 

Coming up on my blog this week:

Monday: Author interview with Sherry Mayes (Stop the World)

Tuesday: Book Review or guest post/author Q&A

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday Post

Thursday: Book Review or guest post/author Q&A

Friday: Book Review or guest post/author Q&A

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves Post

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up Post

 


 

 This is what I’m currently reading:

In The Light of What We See by Sarah Painter

Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom

Shtum by Jem Lester

Shame by Jasvinder Sanghera

The Second Love of My Life by Victoria Walters

Truth, Lies and O-Rings by Alan J MacDonald and James R Hansen


 

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

 

WWW Wednesdays (6 April 2016)

WWW pic

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

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

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


 

What I’m reading now:

the second love of my life

The Second Love of My Life by Victoria Walters

I’m kind of cheating a little in putting this novel in my ‘what I’m reading now’ section as I have only read the first chapter so far. I loved the prequel novella that I finished earlier though and couldn’t resist going straight on to this!

Synopsis:

In the Cornish town of Talting, everyone is famous for something.

Until recently Rose was known for many things: her infectious positivity; her unique artistic talent; and her devotion to childhood sweetheart Lucas.

But two years ago that changed in one unthinkable moment. Now, Rose is known for being the young woman who became a widow aged just twenty-four.

Though Rose knows that life must go on, the thought of carving out a new future for herself is one she can barely entertain. Until a newcomer, Robert, arrives in Talting for the summer…

Can Rose allow herself the chance to love again?

In The Light Of What We See by Sarah Painter

In the Light of What We See by Sarah Painter

This book was offered to me for review and I couldn’t resist after I read the synopsis. I’ve only read a few chapters so far but I’m really enjoying it. I really hope that my body begins to settle down on my new meds very soon so that I can get back to reading at my normal rate. I can’t wait to get back to this book, it’s one to read in chunks and be completely engrossed in.

Synopsis:

Brighton, 1938: Grace Kemp is pushed away by the family she has shamed. Rejected and afraid, she begins a new life as a nurse. But danger stalks the hospital too, and she’ll need to be on her guard to avoid falling into familiar traps. And then there are the things she sees…Strange portents that have a way of becoming real.

Eighty years later, Mina Morgan is brought to the same hospital after a near-fatal car crash. She is in terrible pain but recalls nothing. She’s not even sure whom to trust. Mina too sees things that others cannot, but now, in hospital, her visions are clearer than ever…

Two women, separated by decades, are drawn together by a shared space and a common need to salvage their lives.

I’m also still reading from last week:

Dear Dad by Giselle Green

I literally only have a few chapters left to read of this fab novel so will definitely finish it soon – had I not have had a rough week health-wise I would have finished it by now. It’s so good though that I’ve kept on thinking about the characters even when I haven’t been up to reading about them and that’s always the sign of a great novel.

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

I’ve ground to a halt on this book with not feeling well as my brain just can’t seem to take in much info but I hope to get back to it soon as it is a really interesting read.


 

What I recently finished reading: 

the summer i met you

The Summer I Met You by Victoria Walters

I picked this up one night this week and couldn’t put it down, it’s a lovely novella about a couple falling in love. I’ve now started the novel which follows on from this and am interested to see where the story picks up years later.

Synopsis:

It wasn’t love at first sight. It was a summer of love…

When Emma leaves her Cornish hometown of Talting for a summer in Devon, the last thing she dreams of is falling in love.

But sometimes the people who affect us the most come along when we least expect it.

As the summer comes to the end, will it herald the start of something that could last for ever?

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

I devoured this novel, it’s such an intense read that hooks you in and doesn’t let go. I’ve just reviewed it for LoveReading and will be sharing my review on my blog in the next few days so keep an eye out for that. I loved it though and recommend that you pre-order it for your summer read!

Synopsis

It’s summer when Elm Hill lido opens, having stood empty for years. For Natalie Steele – wife, mother, teacher – it offers freedom from the tightly controlled routines of work and family. Especially when it leads her to Lara Channing, a charismatic former actress with a lavish bohemian lifestyle, who seems all too happy to invite Natalie into her elite circle.

Soon Natalie is spending long days at the pool, socializing with new friends and basking in a popularity she didn’t know she’d been missing. Real life, and the person she used to be, begins to feel very far away.

But is such a change in fortunes too good to be true? Why are dark memories of a summer long ago now threatening to surface? And, without realizing, could Natalie have been swept dangerously out of her depth?

The Stylist by Rosie Nixon

The Stylist by Rosie Nixon

I enjoyed this novel but it wasn’t quite as good as I’d hoped it might be. I’ve already reviewed this and you can read my review by here.

Synopsis:

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

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


 

What I plan on reading next:

Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom

Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom

I was offered the chance to review this book by the publisher and I can’t wait to start reading it. It sounds like a fab read – and I adore the gorgeous cover!

Synopsis:

Ann Clements is thirty-five and single, and believes nothing exciting will ever happen to her. Then, she wins a large sum of money in a sweepstake and suddenly can dare to dream of a more adventurous life. She buys a ticket for a Mediterranean cruise, against the wishes of her stern brother, the Rev. Cuthbert, who has other ideas about how she should spend her windfall. Ann steps out of the shadows of her mundane life into the heat of the Mediterranean sun. Travelling to Gibraltar, Marseilles, Naples, Malta and Venice, Ann’s eyes are opened to people and experiences far removed from her sheltered existence in the offices at Henrietta Street, and Mrs. Puddock’s lodging house. As Ann blossoms, discovering love and passion for the very first time, the biggest question is, can there be any going back?

shtum by jem lester

Shtum by Jem Lester

I’ve had a review copy of this book for ages but just haven’t got around to reading it as yet. It’s now release week and I keep seeing people talking about it so I feel drawn to reading it now.

Synopsis:

Ben Jewell has hit breaking point. 

His ten-year-old son, Jonah, has never spoken. So when Ben and Jonah are forced to move in with Ben’s elderly father, three generations of men – one who can’t talk; two who won’t – are thrown together. 

As Ben battles single fatherhood, a string of well-meaning social workers and his own demons, he learns some difficult home truths. 

Jonah, blissful in his ignorance, becomes the prism through which all the complicated strands of personal identity, family history and misunderstanding are finally untangled. 

Funny and heart-breaking in equal measure, Shtum is a story about families, forgiveness and finding a light in the darkest days.

In Too Deep by Samantha Hayes

In Too Deep by Samantha Hayes

I was thrilled to get the chance to review this book before it’s released and I can’t wait to get started. I’ve read a couple of Samantha Hayes’ other novels (before I was a book blogger) and really enjoyed them so I have high hopes for this one!

Synopsis:

Four months ago, Rick went out to buy a newspaper. He never came back.

His wife, Gina, is struggling to deal with her loss, and her daughter’s mood swings are getting worse. Then she receives a phone call from a woman at a country hotel, confirming details of a booking Rick made before he vanished. 

Desperate to find out more about his disappearance, Gina and her daughter take the trip. But there is something very strange about the hotel, and the family that run it. 

Soon Gina is unsure that Rick even made the booking – but one thing is clear: both mother and daughter are in serious danger.


 

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Don’t forget to check out my giveaway post from yesterday (here) – I’m offering you the chance to win a HB copy of The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood. The giveaway is international so is open to everyone. 

 


 

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 and Stacking the Shelves (9th January)

I can’t believe it’s Saturday again already!

This week I’ve posted about the books published in 2015 or before that I most want to read this year. You can read that post here if you’d like to. I’d previously posted my most anticipated new releases of 2016 (which can be read here), and I realised that there were so many books that were on my list to read last year that I’d not time to get to so I wanted to even things up.

Also this week I posted an interview that I did with the author of Search for the Truth, Kathryn Freeman.

I did my usual book memes – WWW Wednesday and Book Beginnings.

I’m struggling with reading at the moment. I’m still not 100% health-wise and my physio schedule is really taking it out of me. I’m trying to find to find balance in my life so that I can keep on blogging regularly but at the moment I’m coming unstuck because I don’t have the energy and concentration to read as much as I’d like to. Anyway,  I’ll figure it out eventually!


 

I only managed to read one book this week but I did get a review of it posted (please click on the link below the image to read my review).

The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood

The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood

 

stacking-the-shelves

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

This week I’ve treated myself to a few new Kindle books with my Christmas money.

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k by Sarah Knight 

Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon

The Big Lie by Julie Mayhew

The Looking Glass House by Vanessa Tait

The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine by Alex Brunkhorst

The Country Girls by Edna O’Brien

The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson

An Invisible Sign of My Own by Aimee Bender

 

I received some fab ARCS this week too:

The Poison Artist by Jonathan Moore

The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells by Virginia MacGregor

If I forget You by Thomas Christopher Greene

I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Roisin Meaney

The Birthday that Changed Everything by Debbie Johnson

Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris

The Second Love of My Life by Victoria Walters

The Missing Hours by Emma Kavanagh

 


What have you been reading this week? Have you bought any new books? Please feel free to link to your wrap-up post, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below! 🙂