Wednesday, March 31, 2021

March Wrap Up!

March Wrap Up!!


Happy last day of March!! Wow this month seems to have gone quick compared to others. But spring is in the way and we’ve had nice weather here yesterday and today ☀️


Here is my March round up, I know I’m not going to finish my current book today. I read 11 books in March, and scratched 10 from my March Arc Madness pile (scroll to the bottom to see that photo). So I’m happy with that. But.... I accepted about 9 new ones so it hasn’t made much of a dent really 😂 


5 - 4 star reads

6 - 5 star reads


The Lip by Charlie Carroll ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Bright Burning Things by Lisa Harding ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

Rumaysa by Radiya Hafiza ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Breaking and Mending by Joanna Cannon ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A Taste of Home by Heidi Swain ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Islanders by S.V Leonard ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Whatever You Are is Beautiful by Richard Blandford ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

When I Ran Away by Ilona Bannister ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Damage by Caitlin Wahrer ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Snow Song by Sally Gardner ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Have you read any of these? What did you think?




WWW Wednesday 31.3.21

 


Hello again and thank for stopping by! We have another WWW Wednesday post here today. WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Taking on a World of Worlds, and asks 3 questions:

What are you currently reading? What have you recently finished? And what do you think you’ll read next?


What are you currently reading?

I only have 1 book on the go at the minute and that is All Girls by Emily Layden. I haven’t read much of it but its very intriguing so far.


What have you recently finished?

I finished 2 books this week. When I Ran Away by Ilona Bannister, which was a proof I was sent and loved it. I also read The Damage by Caitlin Wahrer which was a Netgalley arc, and again another really good one. Look out for both reviews soon on my blog.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Next I know I will be getting to The Circus of Wonders by Elizabeth Macneal as it’s our Tsundoku Squads April read. We’re doing this one in 2 parts and having a discussion at the end of each 2 week period. I also fancy getting round to The Other Black Girl which has been on my Netgalley pile for a while now.


Thnaks for having a look at what. I’ve been reading lately, and I hope it’s gave you some ideas for new books! 




Monday, March 29, 2021

The Islanders by S.V. Leonard

Her dream escape is about to become a nightmare...

Kimberley King has spent the last five years trying to outrun the reason she left the police force. Her life is a mess and she's desperate for change. So when she is randomly selected for the new series of the hit show LoveWrecked, she can't pass up the chance to win the GBP100,000 prize. All Kimberley needs to do is couple up with one of her fellow contestants, win the infamous LoveWrecked challenges, and she will have enough cash for a fresh start.


But the island isn't the paradise she was promised and within hours, one of the contestants is dead. Then the announcement comes: one of the islanders is a murderer and Kimberley must find out who, live on television. For every hour it takes her, one more person will die.


The game is rigged, everyone is hiding secrets, and time is running out…




I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Netgalley in return for an honest review.


This was the Tsundoku Squads Mach book, our third read together. We split it into 4 parts and had a discussion each Saturday at the end of the week. 


Now I really enjoyed this, I loved the murder mystery and trying to figure out what was going on, but I quite enjoyed the character of the Judge. The judge shows their face on the screens after the first death in the villa, and it reminded me of something along the lines of the Saw movies, mixed with the Hunger Games. There was a fun element to this, having the timer there to count down to the next murder, and them all trying to figure out who it was. 


I know some of the group said it reminded them of Love Island, now I’ve never watched it but you can guess that’s what it’s like. Not the murders of course, but the villa, the pool, the alcohol and partying. 


There was pieces of social media in the book, after certain chapters, which again was something I liked, it brought a real time aspect to it. They were tweets at first and comments from people watching, then emails to one certain person from different people. 


This book was quite fast paced and easy to read, but fun in my eyes, and a good one for a book group choice. I gave it 4 stars.


Check out Em’s group collective review over on her blog at emandherbooks.com




Thursday, March 25, 2021

Backstories by Simon Van Der Velde

Dreamers, singers, heroes and killers, they can dazzle with their beauty or their talent or their unmitigated evil, yet inside themselves they are as frail and desperate as the rest of us. But can you see them? Can you unravel the truth? These are people you know, but not as you know them. Peel back the mask and see.




TODAY IS PUBLICATION DAY!!


I received a copy of this from Simon himself back in January after he contacted me asking if I would like to review. I’m so glad I said yes!


Backstories is exactly that, they are ‘stories’ from well known people’s past. There are 14 stories, each only a few pages long, and there are little references in each to the person the story is about. I liked this, and you have to (or don’t have to, but want to), do a bit of research at the end of each one, trying to figure out who they all are (if you haven’t already guessed). They’re really interesting though, and make you wonder what kind of life some of them had.


They are all well known people, some good and some bad. But I guarantee you will know them all. There are references to sexual abuse, mental abuse, bullying in the stories, but it’s only small references. I had to get in touch with Simon and tell him I was stuck on a couple of the people, if he hadn’t of helped me out with clues I would have had no idea! 


A few of my book group pals also read it and had so much fun guessing and trying to figure out each person.


This is like nothing I’ve ever read before, a brilliant concept. If you like short stories I’m sure you will like this one.


Thank you again Simon for the advanced copy, the help with the clues, and I’m looking forward to book 2!




Wednesday, March 24, 2021

WWW Wednesday 24.3.21


Its WWW Wednesday again here, which is a meme hosted by Taking on a World of Worlds, and it asks 3 questions: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? And what do you think you’ll read next?


What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading When I Ran Away by Ilona Bannister. I love this already and have read about half of it in one day!! So a review should be coming soon. I also started Damage by Caitlin Wahrer but have only read a small amount so far.




What did you recently finish reading?

I finished 3 books this last week. Our Tsundoku Squad March read was finished this week and we have our final chat on Saturday, so my review will be up next week once we have all discussed it. I enjoyed it thoug, the best book group read so far this year. I read The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward, which I devoured and bloody loved! I’m struggling to write my review for it without giving any spoilers! I read Whatever You Are is Beautiful by Richard Blandford for a blog tour I have coming up in April. So look out for my stop and review next month.


What do you think you’ll read next?

Next I want to read The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris. And The Circus of Wonder by Elizabeth Macneal is our next Tsundoku Squad, so I will be starting that soon too.


Thanks for stopping by guys, have you read any of these or have any on your to read list?





Until next time :)

Monday, March 22, 2021

The Snow Song by Wray Delaney

Perched on a mountain in a land of ancient forests is a village, rife with secrets. Cut off from the outside world it is run by the elders, men to whom tradition is all.

Edith lives alone with her alcoholic father who is forcing her to marry the village butcher. But she is in love with a shepherd who promised to return to her.


As the village becomes isolated in a sea of snow, Edith loses her power of speech. And it is this enchantment that will have far-reaching consequences, not only for Edith but for the whole village.





I received a beautiful proof copy of this from HQ when I won one of their competitions late last year. I had my eye on this for ages so was very excited to win one. 


This is a book of love and sacrifice, but has some deep issues of abuse too.


It’s set in an old village, and everyone there lives a certain lifestyle. The Village Elders have the last say on everything, the men rule the families and households , and the women do as they are told. It’s full of ancient tales and stories, and makes me think of some magical tribe living in the mountains.


Edith’s Grandmother was a storyteller, and has passed her gift down to her Granddaughter, although Edith isn’t too fussed on telling stories to others. She meets a man and falls in love, the perfect and ideal life right? Well her father has other plans and promises her off to the butcher, who is as old as her father and seems like not a nice man. 


One thing I noticed in the story that stands out a lot, is all the women are known by their names, but the men by their trades: The Butcher, The Cabinet Maker, The Shephard, The Priest. But the women are strong, underrated but will get their time.


The love in the story is beautiful, the violin story I found especially nice and sweet, and I’m now off to google whether its true! But the love that Edith has for the Shepherd is real, and Ms Delaney really bring that out in her writing. 


Thank you very much to the publisher HQ for the proof, and as always, the author Wray Delaney (also known as Sally Gardner).




Thursday, March 18, 2021

A Taste of Home by Heidi Swain


Fliss Brown has grown up living with her mother on the Rossi family's Italian fruit farm. But when her mother dies, Fliss finds out she has a family of her own, and heads back to England with Nonna Rossi's recipe for cherry and almond tart and a piece of advice: connect with your family before it is too late...

Fliss discovers that her estranged grandfather owns a fruit farm himself, on the outskirts of Wynbridge, and she arrives to find a farm that has fallen into disrepair. Using her knowledge gleaned from working on the Rossi farm and her desire to find out more about her past, Fliss rolls her sleeves up and gets stuck in. But what will she discover, and can she resurrect the farm's glory days and find a taste of home...?






I received a copy of this from the publisher Simon & Schuster, and Netgalley in return for an honest review.


This is the first of Heidi’s books I’ve read, even though I have so many friends who love them, and wow do I agree! I loved this book and was pulled in quite quickly with the descriptions of lovely Puglia, then Fenviw Farm.


Fliss, or Felicity, is left a letter by her mum when she passes away, telling her about her childhood home back in the UK, and the farm she grew up on. Fliss’ mum never talked about her home life, after leaving and going to Italy at a young age when she fell pregnant. She heads back to the UK, and meets her Grandfather who runs a fruit farm. I loved this farm. Heidi draws you in to the surroundings and makes you feel like you’re there, in the warmth picking strawberries, siting under the apppe trees with a slice of cake and cup of tea. 


Fliss is a very likeable character, as is her Grandfather Bill. There are other characters in the story whom I wasn’t fussed on, and a big twist which I thought I had seen coming, but turns out I was wrong! 


I’m definitely recommending this one, and I guarantee I will read more of Heidi’s books.





Wednesday, March 17, 2021

BLOG TOUR The Lip by Charlie Carroll






Away from the hotels and holiday lets, there is an unseen side of Cornwall, where the shifting uncertainties of the future breed resentment and mistrust. 

Melody Janie is hidden. She lives alone in a caravan in Bones Break: a small cliff-top on Cornwall's north coast. She spends her time roaming her territory, spying on passing tourists and ramblers, and remembering. She sees everything and yet remains unseen. 

However, when a stranger enters her life, she is forced to confront not only him but the terrible tragedies of her past. 

The Lip is a novel about childhood, isolation and mental health, told in the unique and unforgettable voice of Melody Janie. 

'All of this is Bones Break. All of this is mine.

I know every inch of it; I know it as intimately as the seagulls. I stand at dead-centre, my feet teetering on the edge of the lip. Below, the thundering tattoo of waves on rock. Wind catches the tips of my hair, lifting them above my ribs: less force than it takes to knock me down; enough to make me right myself with a step to the left, and then another back again. Here on the lip, it is vital to know where my feet are.'



I was so excited to be included in the Instagram tour for this book! received a proof copy of this book from the publisher Two Roads Books/John Murray’s in return for an honest review. 

I read this book over 3 days. Day 1 page 34, day 2 page 62, day 3 I finished (page 384). I could not put it down.

We meet Melody Janie who lives in a small caravan by the Lip. The Lip is a small piece of cliff edge which hides under the overhang, and she often sneaks into it and lies where no-one can see her but she can hear them all. She listens to their stories, and wants to use them to drive the emmets (tourists) away. This is her land and she wants no-one else to be there, or to move in and take it from her.

We travel back and forth in time to her when she was a little child with her parents, to when she’s a bit older and it’s just her and her little sister Lucy, and to now when its just Melody Janie. I loved the aspect of this, not knowing what exact was going on, why was she bothered by all these people? She meets a new person, well actually she meets his dog first and loves him, but she wants to know more about this man, why he’s here, so she befriends him to do some digging.

There are huge underlying themes of isolation, loneliness and Mental Health issues in the story, and by the end my heart was breaking for Melody Janie , or Mellijane as her little sister Lucy calls her, and yes I cried.  

Please read this when it’s out, as it’s a really good story which digs deep. And please check out the other stops on the tour!

Thank you to Two Roads Books and Charlie Carrol for my physical proof.





WWW Wednesday 17.3.2021


Hello again! 

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Taking on a World of Worlds. WWW means 3 things: What are you currently reading? What have your recently finished reading? What do you think you’ll read next?


What are you currently reading?

The Tsundoku Squad are still reading out March book The Islanders, and are on the third part now. Last week we had our discussion and all seem to be enjoying it. I am starting my next book tour read, Whatever You Are Is Beautiful by Richard Blandford, which is a different book and sounds quite interesting. I started The Last House On Needless Street too which I’ve had forever and really should have got to it by now! Heard good things about it.


What have you recently finished reading?

This week I finished 2 books. A Taste of Home by Heidi Swain, which I loved so much. Look out for my review tomorrow. I also read The Snow Song by Wray Delaney, which I’ve had for a while, and really enjoyed it. Review next week.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Next up I think will be When I Ran Away by Ilona Bannister. I was sent a proof of this and have been looking forward to it. Also my next Netgalley read will probably be Damage by Caitlin Wahrer.






Thanks for stopping by! Until next time



Monday, March 15, 2021

Bright Burning Things by Lisa Harding

Tommy's mother is too much for Sonya. Too much love, too much fear, too much longing for the cool wine she gulps from the bottle each night. Because Sonya is burning the fish fingers, and driving too fast, and swimming too far from the shore, and Tommy's life is in her hands. Once there was the thrill of a London stage, a glowing acting career, fast cars, handsome men. But now there are blackouts and bare cupboards, and her estranged father showing up uninvited. There is Mrs O'Malley spying from across the road. There is the risk of losing Tommy - forever.



I received a copy of this from the publisher Bloomsbury Publishing, and Negalley in return for an honest review. 


I requested this book as soon as I saw someone compared it to Shuggie Bain, which is my favourite book ever, and although it is similar, it stands its own and is brilliant.


The story is based on Sonya, and is all told from her point of view, and her 4 year old son Tommy. Sonya is an alcoholic, and is living alone with Tommy and their dog Herbie. She loves Tommy, that much you can tell and feel from the pages, but the pull of the alcohol is too much and it takes over, the bad fairy comes out and it makes things seem more important than her son, or herself.  


A neighbour and Tonya’s father intervene, and she goes to a rehab facility which is ran by nuns. You can see how much she wants to succeed and live a good life, Tommy by her side, but it’s not going to be easy, and the pain I feel for her was real. 


Poor Tommy, growing up in such a bad environment, bringing his drunk hungover mam water in the mornings, not eating enough so much that his tummy hurts. But boy when he visited her, did my heart break for him. 


This book will pull at your emotions hugely, feel anger and sorrow for Tonya, and probably make you cry, I did.


Thank you to Bloomsbury Publishing and Netgalley for the advance ebook, and as always the author, Lisa Harding.



Friday, March 12, 2021

COVER REVEAL!! What’s Mine and Yours by Naima Coster

What’s Mine and Yours is a breath-taking new novel about identity, family, love and the ways in which race can affect even the closest of relationships.




When a county initiative in the Piedmont of North Carolina forces the students at a mostly black public school on the east side to move across town to a nearly all-white high school on the west, the community rises in outrage. For two students, quiet and aloof Gee and headstrong Noelle, these divisions will extend far beyond their schooling. As their paths collide and overlap over the course of thirty years, their two seemingly disconnected families begin to form deeply knotted, messy ties that shape the trajectory of their lives.


On one side of the school integration debate is Jade, Gee's steely, single, black mother, grieving for her murdered partner, and determined for her son to have the best chance at a better life. On the other, is Noelle's enterprising mother, Lacey May, who refuses to see her half-Latina daughters as anything but white. The choices these mothers make will resound for years to come. And twenty years later, when Lacey's daughters return home to visit her in hospital, they're forced to confront the ways their parents' decisions continue to affect the life they live and the people they love.

Find out more on Twitter and Instagram today!! 
Naima - @zafatista
Ellen Turner - @eturns_112
Trapeze Books - @TrapezeBooks

#WhatsMineAnd Yours



Thursday, March 11, 2021

A Very Merry Holiday Movie Guide by Rachel McMillan


The Movie Lover’s Guide to Yuletide.

Are you a holiday film fan? If so, you’re in good company. Fello made-for-TV movie buff Rachel McMillan invites you to skip the office Christmas party, put on your coziest pj’s, and crash on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate in one hand and your remote in the other to watch movies that have become the “hallmark” of the holiday season.

This one-of-a-kind illustrated guide features 15 themed celebrations featuring customized viewing lists, fun suggestions for starting new traditions, and festive facts about the happiest season of all. From baking to books, romance to royalty, and more, Rachel has put together a picure-perfect selection of holiday films to suit any interest.

A Very Merry Holiday Movie Guide is an idea gif to stocking stuffer for the Christmas movie lover in your life or a welcome addition to your family’s holiday traditions . 





I received a copy of this book from the publisher Harvest House Pulishers, and Netgalley in return for an honest review. 

This review got a bit lost so I do apologise that it’s a little late (yes ok 3 months late I know, bad book blogger). This was a nice book. I’ve not read anything like this before and was quite intrigued. 

The book was nice, a collection of different types of Christmas folk like the book lover’s Christmas, The Family Christmas, The Music Lover’s Christmas and so on. Each different Christmas chapter gives you ideas for what movies to watch, what snacks to have and new traditions to start, all of which tie in to the type of Christmas the chapter is about.

It was nice, but I do think I struggled to enjoy it fully reading the PDF, I will look out for a hard copy which I think might work better, the illustrations were gorgeous.

Thanks again to Harvest House Publishing, Netgalley, and as always the author, Rachel McMillan.





Wednesday, March 10, 2021

WWW Wednesday 10.3.21


 

Welcome back to WWW Wednesday!

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosed by Taking on a World of Worlds, which asks 3 questions... What are you currently reading? What have you recently finished? An what do you think you’ll read next. 


What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading 2 books. The Islanders is the Tsundoku Squads March read, and this week we are reading our second part, chapters 15 - 29. I read them on Monday and this group choice has been the best so far this year, and we’re only 2 weeks into 4! I’m also reading A Taste of Home by Heidi Swain. I’ve not read any of Heidi’s books before so I was looking forward to this, I’m enjoying it so far.


What have you recently finished? 

I recently finished 3 books. Bright Burning Things by Lisa Harding, which was really good, and sad. I read Rumaysa in one sitting, which was a lovely proof from Macmillan Children’s books. It’s a spin on 3 classic fairytales, fab for MG readers. Yesterday I eventually finished Breaking and Mending by Joanna Cannon, from page 21 to the end. It was so sad, my review is to come.


What do you think you’ll read next?

Next I think I will possibly read Whatever You Are is Beautufl by Richard Blandford, as I have a blog tour coming up soon for it. I may also move onto The Last House on Needless Street, and Damage by Caitlin Wahrer.




Thanks for stopping by! Until next time :)




Last Post

What Might have Been by Holly Miller