Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Books I Read In 2013

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme by The Broke and the Bookish and each week there's a different topic. As always, even if you can't think of 10, do as many as you can. 

Here's my list (in no particular order) of the top ten books that I've read this year. You can click on the picture cover for more information on the book and reviews for most of them are on my review page.

 

Heading Out To Wonderful by Robert Goolrick

The Ghost Hunters by Neil Spring

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Instructions For A Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell

Heading Out to Wonderful The Ghost Hunters Doctor Sleep (The Shining, #2) Instructions for a Heatwave

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Looking For Me by Beth Hoffman

The Night Rainbow by Claire King

Perfect by Rachel Joyce

Life After Life  Looking for Me The Night Rainbow Perfect

The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan

Rush Home Road by Lori Lansens

The Spinning Heart Rush Home Road



 

  


Monday, 30 December 2013

Musing Mondays (30th December)

MusingMondays5Musing Mondays is run by Should Be Reading and asks you to muse about one of the following each week…
• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).

• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it! 

• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.

• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!

• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

 

 

I didn't ask for any books for Christmas this year, I still have a large TBR pile I'm going through both of tree and kindle books. I did get some titles from the 12 days of Kindle sale using some of my giftcard balance and my husband did give me another Amazon giftcard so I shall be treating myself again very soon. 

These are the eBooks I bought:

 

Familiar  Naomi's Room Sarah's Key Sophie's Choice

 

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (30th December)

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Its Monday! What Are You Reading is a weekly meme run by Book Journey and you can mention books you've just finished, are currently reading and any you plan to read this week. You can leave a link to your blog and read other bloggers posts.

 

 

FamiliarNaomi's RoomI hope everyone had a great Christmas, I certainly did and haven't had much time for reading. I did finish Naomi's Room  by Jonathan Aycliffe and I'm currently reading Familiar by J. Robert Lennon. I heard about this novel a few weeks ago on another blog and thought it sounded interesting, then saw it was in the 12 days of Kindle sale so treated myself.

 

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Naomi's Room by Jonathan Aycliffe

On Christmas Eve Charles Hillenbrand takes his four year old daughter Naomi shopping in London when the unthinkable happens. She disappears from a toy shop and the next day her murdered body is discovered in a field. Her heartbroken parents are soon experiencing hauntings in their Cambridge home and Charles is determined to find out what is going on.

 

Naomi's RoomNaomi's Room started well and I found it scary, particularly when Charles is shown the ghostly photographs. However I felt the last quarter of this short novel lost its way and the ending seemed as though it had been rushed. Once the cause of the hauntings was revealed and the story became gory then it ceased to be creepy for me.

 

 

Rating: 3 out of 5

 

 

 

 

Book Blurb:

On Christmas Eve, four-year-old Naomi Hillenbrand disappears from her father's side in a crowded toy store; on Christmas Day, her mutilated body is discovered in a field. But a part of Naomi remains, unwilling or unable to leave this world. Ghostly photographs capture her playing with two other little girls dressed in Victorian garb while a sinister man in black watches...watches them all.

Charles Hillenbrand is tormented by grief. When sinister whispers in the night begin to taunt him, he tries to uncover the evil truth behind Naomi's death. But long-buried secrets await him and threaten to take him beyond the brink of sanity, to a place where he could lose his very soul.
 

Friday, 27 December 2013

Book Blogger Hop 27th December - 2nd January

The Book Blogger Hop is hosted at Ramblings Of A Coffee Addicted Writer and this week's question is:

 

What books are you looking forward to reading in 2014?

 

The one I'm most looking forward to is Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King which is due to be published in June. Also Mother Island by Bethan Roberts, Road Ends by Mary Lawson and The Dynamite Room by Jason Hewitt are on my wishlist.

Mr. Mercedes

 

 

Friday, 20 December 2013

Book Beginnings On Fridays (Naomi's Room)

Book Beginnings on Fridays is hosted by Rose City Reader and as she says the idea of this meme is for you to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name. There's a linky list on the website and you can use #BookBeginnings on Twitter.

 

My book beginning is Naomi's Room by Jonathan Aycliffe 

 

I found them yesterday, quite by chance. The photographs. The ones we took at Christmas all those years ago. And the later ones, the photographs we took in Egypt. Memories of an entire winter. I had thought them lost or destroyed. Perhaps I had wanted it that way.

 17189668 

Book Blurb:

On Christmas Eve, four-year-old Naomi Hillenbrand disappears from her father's side in a crowded toy store; on Christmas Day, her mutilated body is discovered in a field. But a part of Naomi remains, unwilling or unable to leave this world. Ghostly photographs capture her playing with two other little girls dressed in Victorian garb while a sinister man in black watches...watches them all.

Charles Hillenbrand is tormented by grief. When sinister whispers in the night begin to taunt him, he tries to uncover the evil truth behind Naomi's death. But long-buried secrets await him and threaten to take him beyond the brink of sanity, to a place where he could lose his very soul.
 
 

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - New To Me Authors That I Read In 2013

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme by The Broke and the Bookish and each week there's a different topic. As always, even if you can't think of 10, do as many as you can. 

Here is my list of authors that were new to me this year, a few of them published  debut novels but I've still included them as I shall definitely read their next books.


Kate Atkinson
David Moody
Robert Goolrick
Beth Hoffman
Life After Life Hater (Hater, #1) Heading Out to Wonderful Looking for Me
Donal Ryan
Jasper Fforde
Jojo Moyes
Claire King
The Spinning Heart The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next, #1)  The One Plus One The Night Rainbow
Alex Marwood
Susan Stairs
The Wicked Girls  The Story of Before

 

Thursday, 12 December 2013

My Top Ten NetGalley Reads of 2013

NetGalley have asked for members to post their top ten reads from them this year, then tweet a link using #NGbestof13 

My thoughts on most of these can be found on my reviews page

 

 

 

The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan

 

The Spinning HeartIn the aftermath of Ireland's financial collapse, dangerous tensions surface in an Irish town. As violence flares, the characters face a battle between public persona and inner desires. Through a chorus of unique voices, each struggling to tell their own kind of truth, a single authentic tale unfolds.  






Heading Out To Wonderful by Robert Goolrick

 

Heading Out to WonderfulIt is the summer of 1948 when a handsome, charismatic stranger, Charlie Beale, recently back from the war in Europe, shows up in the town of Brownsburg, a sleepy village nestled in the Valley of Virginia. All he has with him are two suitcases: one contains his few possessions, including a fine set of butcher knives; the other is full of money. A lot of money. Heading Out to Wonderful is a haunting, heart-stopping novel of love gone terribly wrong in a place where once upon a time such things could happen.



The Thing About December by Donal Ryan

 

The Thing About December While the Celtic Tiger rages, and greed becomes the norm, Johnsey Cunliffe desperately tries to hold on to the familiar, even as he loses those who all his life have protected him from a harsh world. Village bullies and scheming land-grabbers stand in his way, no matter where he turns.
Set over the course of one year of Johnsey's life, The Thing About December breathes with his grief, bewilderment, humour and agonizing self-doubt. This is a heart-twisting tale of a lonely man struggling to make sense of a world moving faster than he is.
 





Perfect by Rachel Joyce

 

PerfectIn 1972, two seconds were added to time. It was in order to balance clock time with the movement of the earth. Byron Hemming knew this because James Lowe had told him and James was the cleverest boy at school. But how could time change? The steady movement of hands around a clock was as certain as their golden futures.Then Byron's mother, late for the school run, makes a devastating mistake. Byron's perfect world is shattered. Were those two extra seconds to blame? Can what follows ever be set right?  



The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood

 

The Wicked GirlsOne fateful summer morning in 1986, two 11-year-old girls meet for the first time and by the end of the day are charged with murder.Twenty-five years later, journalist Kirsty Lindsay is reporting on a series of attacks on young female tourists in a seaside town when her investigation leads her to interview funfair cleaner Amber Gordon. For Kirsty and Amber, it's the first time they've seen each other since that dark day when they were just children. But with new lives – and families – to protect, will they really be able to keep their secret hidden?  



Whistling Past The Graveyard by Susan Crandall

 

Whistling Past the GraveyardThe summer of 1963 begins like any other for nine-year-old Starla Claudelle. Born to teenage parents in Mississippi, Starla is being raised by a strict paternal grandmother, Mamie, whose worst fear is that Starla will turn out like her mother. Starla hasn’t seen her momma since she was three, but is convinced that her mother will keep her promise to take Starla and her daddy to Nashville, where her mother hopes to become a famous singer—and that one day her family will be whole and perfect.When Starla is grounded on the Fourth of July, she sneaks out to see the parade. After getting caught, Starla’s fear that Mamie will make good on her threats and send her to reform school cause her to panic and run away from home. Once out in the country, Starla is offered a ride by a black woman, Eula, who is traveling with a white baby. She happily accepts a ride, with the ultimate goal of reaching her mother in Nashville. As the two unlikely companions make their long and sometimes dangerous journey, Starla’s eyes are opened to the harsh realities of 1963 southern segregation.  


Until You're Mine by Samantha Hayes

 

Until You're MineClaudia seems to have the perfect life.
She's heavily pregnant with a much-wanted baby, she has a loving husband, and a beautiful home.
And then Zoe steps into her life. Zoe has come to help Claudia when her baby arrives.
But there's something about Zoe that Claudia doesn't like. Or trust.
And when she finds Zoe in her bedroom, Claudia's anxiety turns to real fear.
 
 





Snowblind by Christopher Golden

 

SnowblindThe small New England town of Coventry had weathered a thousand blizzards...but never one like this. Icy figures danced in the wind and gazed through children's windows with soul-chilling eyes. People wandered into the whiteout and were never seen again. Families were torn apart, and the town would never be the same. Now, as a new storm approaches twelve years later, the folks of Coventry are haunted by the memories of that dreadful blizzard and those who were lost in the snow.
Police detective Joe Keenan has never been the same since that night, when he failed to save the life of a young boy . . . and the boy’s father vanished in the storm only feet away. And all the way on the other side of the country, Miri Ristani receives a phone call . . . from a man who died twelve years ago.  



A Pleasure And A Calling by Phil Hogan

 

A Pleasure and a Calling
You won't remember Mr Heming. He showed you round your comfortable home, suggested a sustainable financial package, negotiated a price with the owner and called you with the good news. The less good news is that, all these years later, he still has the key. 







Don't Stand So Close by Luana Lewis

 

Don't Stand So CloseWhat would you do if a young girl knocked on your door and asked for your help?
If it was snowing and she was freezing cold, but you were afraid and alone?
What would you do if you let her in, but couldn't make her leave?
What if she told you terrible lies about someone you love, but the truth was even worse?
Stella has been cocooned in her home for three years. Severely agoraphobic, she knows she is safe in the stark, isolated house she shares with her husband, Max. The traumatic memories of her final case as a psychologist are that much easier to keep at a distance, too.
But the night that Blue arrives on her doorstep with her frightened eyes and sad stories, Stella's carefully controlled world begins to unravel around her
.

 

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Don't Stand So Close by Luana Lewis

Don't Stand So Close 


Blue, a teenage girl, arrives at Stella's door one night making claims that could change her life. Stella doesn't want to let her in, she is agoraphobic and hasn't had contact with anyone except her husband Max for a few years. Eventually, because it's snowing and extremely cold outside, she relents and lets Blue into her home and sanctuary from the outside world. It soon becomes clear that Blue has some mental health problems of her own and may even be a danger to others as well as herself. Are her accusations true and who can we believe?

 

Over the course of the book we learn about Stella's last case when she was working as a psychologist, what caused her agoraphobia, her marriage to Max and also some of Blue's past.

 

This is another good psychological story with twists and turns, it kept me guessing about who was telling the truth and who was lying right up until the end. The only thing I wasn't so keen on was the last chapter, it didn't seem to fit in with the rest of the novel but overall this is another excellent addition to this increasingly popular genre.

 

I received a copy of this from Netgalley in return for an honest review

 

Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Publication date: 13th February 2014 

 

Book Blurb:

What would you do if a young girl knocked on your door and asked for your help?

If it was snowing and she was freezing cold, but you were afraid and alone?

What would you do if you let her in, but couldn't make her leave?

What if she told you terrible lies about someone you love, but the truth was even worse?

Stella has been cocooned in her home for three years. Severely agoraphobic, she knows she is safe in the stark, isolated house she shares with her husband, Max. The traumatic memories of her final case as a psychologist are that much easier to keep at a distance, too.

But the night that Blue arrives on her doorstep with her frightened eyes and sad stories, Stella's carefully controlled world begins to unravel around her.
  

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Rush Home Road by Lori Lansens

Rush Home Road


Sharla Cody is only 5 years old when her mother sends her to stay with Addy, an elderly black neighbour on the trailer park in Canada where they all live, for the summer. It soon becomes apparent to Addy that this is going to be a permanent arrangement and, as she's not getting any younger, she starts to worry what will become of the girl once she has gone. We are also told of Addy's life from the time she was a teenager. She had a lot of heartbreaking things to deal with over the years, including something which meant she had to leave her parents and home town to fend for herself from the age of fifteen.

 

Although I have read and enjoyed The Girls by this author I hadn't heard of this book until I saw it in my recommendations on Goodreads last week. I wasn't sure what to read next and as my local library had a copy of this sitting on the shelf I decided to give it a go. I'm so glad I did as the story of Addy's life had me completely gripped as well as in tears on a couple of occasions; not many books have done that to me. This is by no means a depressing read though, despite some of the awful things that happen, but is life affirming. I loved the ending (and had another little cry).

 

Rating: 5 out of 5

Friday, 6 December 2013

Book Beginnings On Fridays (Rush Home Road)

Book Beginnings on Fridays is hosted by Rose City Reader and as she says the idea of this meme is for you to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name. There's a linky list on the website and you can use #BookBeginnings on Twitter.

 

My book beginning is from Rush Home Road by Lori Lansens

 

It stinks of piss in the room. Sharla Cody breathes it in, thinking it's a sweet stink. Reminds her of the little white flowers Mum Addy planted instead of grass on the square out front of her trailer. They keep coming up, those little flowers, year after year. Sharla likes the notion of seeing them each spring, like an expected but unreliable guest.

Rush Home Road 

I've almost finished this book and have thoroughly enjoyed it.

Book Blurb:

When 5-year old Sharla Cody is dumped on the doorstep of Addy Shadd, a 70-year old woman living in a trailer park, Addy does not know how completely her life is about to change. She's hardly used to company and the troubled Sharla is not the sweet, beautiful angel she had envisioned. Over time, Addy and Sharla form a bond that neither of them expected-and Sharla begins to undergo a transformation under Addy's patient and loving care. But much to Addy's surprise and dismay, Sharla's presence brings back memories of her own tumultuous childhood. As she reminisces about her days growing up in Rusholme, a town settled by fugitive slaves in the mid 1800s, she remembers her family and her first love and confronts the painful experience that drove her away from home, never to return.