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Monday, 31 December 2018

My Favourite Books of 2018 #bookblogger #bestbooks2018


Where did it go?!  As we reach the last day of the year I thought it was about time I looked back on the books I read in 2018 - and it's been an absolutely astonishing year in terms of numbers of books I managed to read, and the quality of the stories I've discovered!    GoodReads is currently telling me I've read 256 books this year.... yep I'm shocked too!   If you'd like to look at all the books I got through then click here and you'll be able to see them in all their glory!  You'd also think that reading that many books would mean your bookshelves at home would be empty and your TBR pile was a now manageable amount.... you'd be very, very wrong!!!

So choosing my favourite reads of the year has been a nightmare!! My thanks to ALL the authors  and publishers of books that I read this past year for so many wonderful stories! I could have included about 50 of these books that have been outstanding, but have narrowed it down to my Top 25 of books that have just stayed with me, stolen my heart and blown my socks off this year!  In no particular order here they are......click on the title for my GoodReads review link



















































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What a year!  Looking back at those just makes me want to pick them all up again and re-read!! Any of these make your final lists?!  Could so easily have picked so many more but very happy with this little lot as the outstanding reads of 2018 for me!

Roll on 2019!!








































Saturday, 29 December 2018

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up - December 29th 2018


Hello!  Hope you are well! I've got a stinking cold so am not a very happy bunny today! Currently sneezing, sniffing and coughing my way through the day and leaving a trail of tissues in my wake!  

Christmas is already seeming like a distant memory, and it did affect my reading time for a couple of days as it was all just too much! BUT  I still managed to finish 4 books this week so keeping the pace up so happy with that!  Book hauls weren't my fault this week - I'm blaming Santa and those who bought me gift vouchers and I've already posted the results of those up - so I'm claiming this week as a 'no book' haul week!

Here's a quick look back at how my week shaped up book wise!

BOOKS FINISHED










CURRENTLY READING

The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden (Winternight Trilogy #3)
I love this series so really don't want it to end!


One girl can make a difference...

Moscow has burned nearly to the ground, leaving its people searching for answers - and someone to hold accountable. Vasya finds herself on her own, amid a rabid mob that calls for her death, blaming her witchery for their misfortune.

Then a vengeful demon returns, renewed and stronger than ever, determined to spread chaos in his wake and never be chained again. Enlisting the hateful priest Konstantin as his servant, turmoil plagues the Muscovites and the magical creatures alike, and all find their fates resting on the shoulders of Vasya.

With an uncertain destiny ahead of her, Vasya learns surprising truths of her past as she desperately tries to save Russia, Morozko, and the magical world she treasures. But she may not be able to save them all...
 


The Beat of the Pendulum by Catherine Chidgey
Published by Eye Books - 1st January 2019


Every day for a year, Catherine Chidgey recorded the words and language she came across during her day-to-day life – phone calls, television commercials, emails, radio shows, conversations with her family, street signs and satnav instructions. From these seemingly random snippets, she creates a fascinating portrait of modern life, focusing on the things that most people filter out.

Chidgey listens in as her daughter, born through surrogacy, begins to speak and develop a personality, and her mother slips into dementia. With her husband, she debates the pros and cons of moving to a new town. With her publisher, she discusses the novel she is writing. While, all around, the world is bombarding her with information.

In The Beat of the Pendulum, Chidgey approaches the idea of the novel from an experimental new direction. It is bold, exciting, funny, moving and utterly compelling.


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Wonder how long I can keep the no haul weeks going.... it definitely needs to be a thing in 2019 as the books are taking over my home again!  Hope your bookish week has been good too!

Wishing you all a Happy New Year - may there be yet more wonderful books for us all to explore and enjoy!!

HAPPY READING!










Post Christmas Book Haul!


What happens when you give a bookish person a book token or two for Christmas?! And then mix in a sale at Waterstones.... you get this!!!  And there's still money left over so I might have to force myself to buy more!  How awful for me!

Anyway, here's a little look at the latest books that have arrived for me to enjoy!  

The Little Book of Sloth Philosophy by Jennifer McCartney


Relax, unwind and soak up the wisdom of the sloth with the slowest page turner you’ll ever read.

From tidying and Hygge, to living Lagom, the endless pressure to be happier, live better, sleep soundly, and eat mindfully can be exhausting. But this year’s lifestyle trend finally delivers the perfect antidote – welcome to the year of the sloth.

Sloths are mindfulness in action. Contemplative, deliberate, relaxed, and focused. They resist the rat race, the incessant pressures from society to be more productive, and they don’t care how many steps they’ve logged on their fitness tracker. Long-limbed, a little bit shaggy, and a lot wide-eyed, they’re wonderful creatures, not to mention completely adorable.

Here you can enjoy take-it-slow wisdom inspired by sloths; including advice on sleep (more restorative than a 6am run), eating and ‘exercise’ (sloths are the original pioneers of slow food and yoga after all), work (did you know that lazy people have higher IQs?), family life, and love.

Dispelling over-complicated myths about productivity, this brilliant book confirms that it really is OK to be a sloth.

A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne


A psychological drama of cat and mouse, A Ladder to the Skyshows how easy it is to achieve the world if you are prepared to sacrifice your soul.

If you look hard enough, you can find stories pretty much anywhere. They don’t even have to be your own. Or so would-be writer Maurice Swift decides very early on in his career.

A chance encounter in a Berlin hotel with celebrated novelist Erich Ackermann gives him an opportunity to ingratiate himself with someone more powerful than him. For Erich is lonely, and he has a story to tell. Whether or not he should do so is another matter entirely.

Once Maurice has made his name, he sets off in pursuit of other people’s stories. He doesn’t care where he finds them – or to whom they belong – as long as they help him rise to the top.

Stories will make him famous but they will also make him beg, borrow and steal. They may even make him do worse.

The Glorious Life of the Oak by John Lewis-Stempel


The Glorious Life of the Oak explores our long relationship with this iconic tree; it considers the life-cycle of the oak, the flora and fauna that depend on the oak, the oak as medicine, food and drink, where Britain's mightiest oaks can be found, and it tells of oak stories from folklore, myth and legend.


The Wood by John Lewis-Stempel


From 'one of the best nature-writers of his generation' (Country Life) and 2017 winner of the Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing, this BBC Radio 4 'Book of the Week' is the story of a wood - both its natural daily life and its historical times. Cockshutt is a particular wood - three and half acres of mixed woodland in south west Herefordshire - but it stands as exemplar for all the small woods of England.

For four years John Lewis-Stempel managed the wood. He coppiced the trees and raised cows and pigs who roamed free there. This is the diary of the last year, by which time he had come to know it from the bottom of its beech roots to the tip of its oaks, and to know all the animals that lived there - the fox, the pheasants, the wood mice, the tawny owl - and where the best bluebells grew. For many fauna and flora, woods like Cockshutt are the last refuge. It proves a sanctuary for John too.

To read The Wood is to be amongst its trees as the seasons change, following an easy path until, suddenly the view is broken by a screen of leaves, or your foot catches on a root, or a bird startles overhead. Lyrical, informative, steeped in poetry and folklore, it is both very real and very magical.

Fierce Fairytales by Nikita Gill


Poet, writer, and Instagram sensation Nikita Gill returns with a collection of fairytales poetically retold for a new generation of women. 

Traditional fairytales are full of clichΓ© and gender stereotypes:beautiful, silent princesses; ugly, jealous, and bitter villainesses; girls who need rescuing; and men who take the glory.

But in Nikita Gill's new prose and poetry collection, Fierce Fairytales: And Other Stories to Stir Your Soul, she rewrites the fairytale classics and reworks their old-fashioned tropes into empowering and inspirational stories. Meet the grief-stricken Ursula, the troubled Wendy Darling, the wolf in the concrete jungle, and the courageous Gretel who can bring down monsters on her own...

Wabi Sabi by Beth Kempton


A whole new way of looking at the world - and your life - inspired by centuries-old Japanese wisdom.
Wabi sabi ("wah-bi sah-bi") is a captivating concept from Japanese aesthetics, which helps us to see beauty in imperfection, appreciate simplicity and accept the transient nature of all things. With roots in Zen and the Way of Tea, the timeless wisdom of wabi sabi is more relevant than ever for modern life, as we search for new ways to approach life's challenges and seek meaning beyond materialism.
Wabi sabi is a refreshing antidote to our fast-paced, consumption-driven world, which will encourage you to slow down, reconnect with nature, and be gentler on yourself. It will help you simplify everything, and concentrate on what really matters.
From honouring the rhythm of the seasons to creating a welcoming home, from reframing failure to ageing with grace, wabi sabi will teach you find more joy and inspiration throughout your perfectly imperfect life.
This book is the definitive guide to applying the principles of wabi sabi to transform every area of your life, and finding happiness right where you are.

Someone Like Me by M.R.Carey


SHE LOOKS LIKE ME. SHE SOUNDS LIKE ME. NOW SHE'S TRYING TO TAKE MY PLACE.

Liz Kendall wouldn't hurt a fly. She's a gentle woman devoted to bringing up her kids in the right way, no matter how hard times get.

But there's another side to Liz---one which is dark and malicious. A version of her who will do anything to get her way, no matter how extreme or violent.

And when this other side of her takes control, the consequences are devastating.

The only way Liz can save herself and her family is if she can find out where this new alter-ego has come from, and how she can stop it.
 


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Friday, 28 December 2018

2019 Reading Challenge - The Award Winner Challenge





It's that time of year again! The reading challenges are being set for the year ahead, and one of my favourites to join in with is run by the lovely Paul over at The Book Vipers over at GoodReads, who always sets amazing challenges to get you reading a wide variety of books over the next 12 months.

And 2019 is a corker!  The challenge this year is to read books that have won the  book prizes and made the short and longlists over the years.  You can choose to read from 1 to 21 of the categories below - it's up to you!!



So my head is already hurting trying to work out which books to pick for each topic.  I've made a preliminary list of books I already have that will fit with topics, alongside ones I plan to get from the library, although I am sure my list may change over the year! And I'm still struggling for a few topics so if you have any recommendations that you think I need to read then please let me know as I'd love to hear them!!  I need help!!!!





Fiction Prize Winner - Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor

Non-Fiction Winner - H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

Poetry Prize Winner - Inside the Wave by Helen Dunmore

Crime (fiction or non fiction winner) - 

History (fiction or non fiction winner) -

Debut Prize Winner - The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley

Female Prize Winner - The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

Any Shortlisted Book - The Clocks in this House by Xan Brooks

Any Shortlisted Book - Sing, Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Natural History Prize Winner - The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Stephen Brusatte

Children's/YA Winner - The Bombs That Brought Us Together by Brian Conaghan

Any Shortlisted Book - Elmet by Fiona Mozley

Any BAME Longlist Book - The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Any Shortlisted Book - The Lighthouse by Alison Moore

Memoir/Autobio Winner

Translated Fiction/Non Fiction Winner -

Any Longlisted Book -

Science Fiction or Non winner

A Nobel Prize Winners Book - Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

Any Longlisted Book -

Travel Fiction or non Prize Winner


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Should make for some interesting reading ahead!!








#BookReview Tin Man by Sarah Winman


About the book

This is almost a love story.

Ellis and Michael are twelve when they first become friends, and for a long time it is just the two of them, cycling the streets of Oxford, teaching themselves how to swim, discovering poetry, and dodging the fists of an overbearing father. And then one day this closest of friendships grows into something more.

But then we fast forward a decade or so, to find that Ellis is married to Annie, and Michael is nowhere in sight. Which leads to the question, what happened in the years between?

This is almost a love story. But it's not as simple as that.
 

Published by Tinder Press

Purchase Links



MY REVIEW


I didn't think this book had captured my heart totally UNTIL the last page which I read through teary eyes and realised how much this simply beautifully written book had crept inside my soul, and I'd lived the lives of these characters alongside them and felt every high and low of life with them.

It's not a simple story of love but one of friendship, adoration and grief. Told from the point of view of both Michael and Ellis, it follows both men over the years and the impact that their connection has on each other, and also how the role of Annie is so pivotal and important to both men and their relationships. The 3 of them are integral to one another.

It features the tougher parts of their lives as they both are trying to figure out how their pasts have affected their behaviour and emotions - whether they are shutting out feelings or behaving erratically in their later lives - and it is tenderly dealt with by the author who gives them space to breathe and discover themselves.

Incredibly this book is only just over 200 pages long and packs so much in to keep your heart and mind captivated. Stunning.


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Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Christmas 2018 Book Haul


Hello!  Merry Christmas!!  Hope Santa treated you all! He appears to have thought I've been a good girl this past year, so was treated to a lovely haul of book shaped items this year - along with some book vouchers (so I'll be posting up what I've bought with those when I've been out shopping!!) - so I just thought I'd share with you what I got, as I know we're all nosey and love looking at a few books!



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Not a bad little haul eh! Didn't come with extra bookshelf space though so now to wonder where to put them all!

Click on the title for a link to the GoodReads page if you want to read more about each book!


















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Very happy with that little lot!! Where to start?! If you've read any of them I'd love to hear which one you'd start with!

 And 2019 definitely needs a self imposed book buying ban for a month... or 12!!