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Tuesday, 29 December 2020

WHAT'S IN A NAME 2021 CHALLENGE SIGN UP - #WhatsInAName2021

 


Let the book challenge sign ups begin!! I spotted this challenge over at The Secret Library Site today and thought it sounded lots of fun, so I wanted in!

It's hosted by Carolina over at Carolina Book Nook and it's pretty simple to follow!

The challenge runs from January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021. You can sign up any time, but only count books that you read between those dates.

Read a book in any format (hard copy, ebook, audio) with a title that fits into each category.

Don’t use the same book for more than one category.

Creativity for matching the categories is not only allowed, it’s encouraged!

You can choose your books as you go or make a list ahead of time.

And here's the list of categories for 2021;



I've got a couple of titles in mind already but will have fun hunting out options for the other categories!! Should be a fun reading challenge!!


My Favourite Books of 2020 #bookblogger

 


We made it!! The year that we never imagined could turn out the way it did!  I'll be crossing my fingers extra tight this New Year's Eve in the hope that the year ahead of us doesn't turn out the same!

But there is always books and they've been more important than ever, for me especially this year!  And this task of choosing my favourites from the past year never gets any easier! As of today, I've read just over 200 books and they've all played their part in keeping me sane (ish!) over the past 12 months, so thank you to ALL the authors who help us escape the world through words!!

So, this list of 20 books is in no particular order, but are just the books that have stayed with me the longest - the books that made me laugh, made me cry (a lot!) and had me on the edge of my seat!! Click on the book title for a link to my GoodReads reviews!









Monday, 28 December 2020

#MusicMonday DECEMBER SONG by GEORGE MICHAEL

 


Happy Monday - at least I think it is!  Monday means music thanks to Music Monday, the weekly tag hosted by Drew at  The Tattooed Book Geek and gives you a chance to share a favourite song or video!

Any excuse to play George Michael is fine by me - can't believe we lost him 4 years ago - so here's another favourite of mine of his - December Song


Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas
May your every New Year dream come true
Sweet December song
The melody that saved me
On those less than silent nights
When snow would fall upon my bed
White sugar from Jesus
And take me to the day
She could always smile
The Virgin Child would always show, you see
Just to save me
(Just to save me)
There was always Christmas time
To wipe the year away
I guess that morning they'd decided
That the war would have to wait
There was always Christmas time
Jesus came to stay
I could believe in peace on Earth
And I could watch TV all day
So I dreamed of Christmas
Maybe since you've gone
I went a little crazy
God knows they can see the child
But the snow that falls upon my bed
That loving that I needed
Falls every single day
For each and every child
The Virgin smiles for all to see
But you kept her from me
There was always Christmas time
To wipe the year away
I guess that morning they'd decided
That the war would have to wait
There was always Christmas time
Jesus came to stay
I could believe in peace on Earth
And I could watch TV all day
So I dreamed of Christmas, yes, I dreamed like you
Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas
May your every New Year dream come true
Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: George Michael / Jule Styne / Sammy Cahn / David Austin
December Song (I Dreamed Of Christmas) lyrics © Aegean Music, Notting Hill Music (uk) Ltd., Cahn Music Company, Producers Music Publ. Co., Inc.








Sunday, 27 December 2020

My Christmas 2020 BookHaul

 


Santa spoilt me this year! I must have been good... stop laughing!!  So I thought I'd share this little Santa bookhaul that I woke up to on Christmas Day!  Should keep me busy for a little while....


READY PLAYER TWO by ERNEST CLINE

An unexpected quest. Two worlds at stake. Are you ready?

Days after Oasis founder James Halliday's contest, Wade Watts makes a discovery that changes everything. Hidden within Halliday's vault, waiting for his heir to find, lies a technological advancement that will once again change the world and make the Oasis a thousand times more wondrous, and addictive, than even Wade dreamed possible. With it comes a new riddle and a new quest. A last Easter egg from Halliday, hinting at a mysterious prize. And an unexpected, impossibly powerful, and dangerous new rival awaits, one who will kill millions to get what he wants. Wade's life and the future of the Oasis are again at stake, but this time the fate of humanity also hangs in the balance.

THE NIGHT OF THE FLOOD by ZOE SOMERVILLE

An atmospheric literary thriller set in north Norfolk in the shadow of the Cold War, in which a love triangle turns murderous.

Her heart beat hard. There was a crazed beauty to the storm. It was almost miraculous, the way it took away the mess of life, sweeping all in its path...

No-one could have foreseen the changes the summer of 1952 would bring. Cramming for her final exams on her family's farm on the Norfolk coast, Verity Frost feels trapped between past and present: the devotion of her childhood friend Arthur, just returned from National Service, and her strange new desire to escape.

When Verity meets Jack, a charismatic American pilot, he seems to offer the glamour and adventure she so craves, and Arthur becomes determined to uncover the dirt beneath his rival's glossy sheen.

As summer turns to winter, a devastating storm hits the coast, flooding the land and altering everything in its path. In this new, watery landscape, Verity's tangled web of secrets, lies and passion will bring about a crime that will change all their lives forever.

SAD JANET by LUCIE BRITSCH

For as long as I can remember feeling things, I’ve felt sadness. Now, for example, I feel sad that we have no money. Also a little mad that a bunch of idiots seem to have it all. But sad, mostly, because I think that’s just the way things are. It’s an all-encompassing feeling, like my lungs are filled with it instead of air.
You’d think it would feel better to be at one with the world.


Janet works at a rundown dog shelter in the woods. She wears black, loves the Smiths, and can’t wait to get rid of her passive-aggressive boyfriend. Her brain is full of anxiety, like “one of those closets you never want to open because everything will fall out and crush you.” She has a meddlesome family, eccentric coworkers, one old friend who’s left her for Ibiza, and one new friend who’s really just a neighbor she sees in the hallway. Most of all, Janet has her sadness—a comfortable cloak she uses to insulate herself from the oppressions of the wider world.

That is, until one fateful summer when word spreads about a new pill that offers even cynics like her a short-term taste of happiness . . . just long enough to make it through the holidays without wanting to stab someone with a candy cane. When her family stages an intervention, her boyfriend leaves, and the prospect of making it through Christmas alone seems like too much, Janet decides to give them what they want. What follows is life-changing for all concerned—in ways no one quite expects.

Hilarious, bitterly wise, and surprisingly warm, Sad Janet is the depression comedy you never knew you needed.

YOU LET ME IN by CAMILLA BRUCE

I wanted someone to know, you see. To know my truth, now that I am gone. How everything and none of it happened.

Everyone knew bestselling novelist Cassandra Tipp had twice got away with murder.

Even her family were convinced of her guilt.

So when she disappears, leaving only a long letter behind, they can but suspect that her conscience finally killed her.

But the letter is not what anyone expected. It tells two chilling, darkly disturbing stories. One is a story of bloody nights and magical gifts, of children lost to the woods, of husbands made from twigs and leaves and feathers and bones . . .

The other is the story of a little girl who was cruelly treated and grew up crooked in the shadows . . .

But which story is true? And where is Cassie now?

THE CAT AND THE CITY by NICK BRADLEY

In Tokyo - one of the world's largest megacities - a stray cat is wending her way through the back alleys. And, with each detour, she brushes up against the seemingly disparate lives of the city-dwellers, connecting them in unexpected ways.

But the city is changing. As it does, it pushes her to the margins where she chances upon a series of apparent strangers - from a homeless man squatting in an abandoned hotel, to a shut-in hermit afraid to leave his house, to a convenience store worker searching for love. The cat orbits Tokyo's denizens, drawing them ever closer.

THE READERS' ROOM by ANTOINE LAURAIN

When the manuscript of a debut crime novel arrives at a Parisian publishing house, everyone in the readers’ room is convinced it’s something special. And the committee for France’s highest literary honour, the Prix Goncourt, agrees.

But when the shortlist is announced, there’s a problem for editor Violaine Lepage: she has no idea of the author’s identity. As the police begin to investigate a series of murders strangely reminiscent of those recounted in the book, Violaine is not the only one looking for answers. And, suffering memory blanks following an aeroplane accident, she’s beginning to wonder what role she might play in the story …

Antoine Laurain, bestselling author of The Red Notebook, combines intrigue and charm in this dazzling novel of mystery, love and the power of books.

THE SWALLOWED MAN by EDWARD CAREY

I am writing this account, in another man's book, by candlelight, inside the belly of a fish. I have been eaten. I have been eaten, yet I am living still. From the acclaimed author of Little comes this beautiful and haunting imagining of the years Geppetto spends within the belly of a sea beast.

Drawing upon the Pinocchio story while creating something entirely his own, Carey tells an unforgettable tale of fatherly love and loss, pride and regret, and of the sustaining power of art and imagination.

THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE by V.E.SCHWAB

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever-and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore, and he remembers her name.

GRACELAND by BETHAN ROBERTS

What if your son was the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll?

From the moment she first holds him, Gladys Presley loves her son Elvis ferociously. She is the one by his side when his father is in the jailhouse; as they move from place to place skirting poverty; as Elvis’s obsession with music grows and he begins his whirlwind rise to never-before-seen success. But while he brings audiences across the land to their knees and achieves unimagined wealth and fame, there is another story – of drinking and diet pills, loneliness and loss – and at the height of his power Elvis finds that even kings must go on alone.

ASPHYXIA by VIOLETTE LEDUC

In a small French town, a young girl grows up under the hard blue gaze of a mother who will not hold her hand. Her only comfort lies in the warmth of her ill grandmother. 

Yet the world around her is humming with curiosity. From the obsessive Madame Barbaroux and her endless spring cleaning, to the homeless Monsieur Dezaille and his beloved collection of saucepans, Leduc exposes the eccentricities of provincial life with unflinching candour and striking beauty. 

An extraordinary tale of a stifled childhood and an unrelenting love of life from the protΓ©gΓ©e of Simone de Beauvoir.


ANY HUMAN HEART by WILLIAM BOYD

Every life is both ordinary and extraordinary, but Logan Mountstuart's - lived from the beginning to the end of the twentieth century - contains more than its fair share of both. As a writer who finds inspiration with Hemingway in Paris and Virginia Woolf in London, as a spy recruited by Ian Fleming and betrayed in the war and as an art-dealer in '60s New York, Logan mixes with the movers and shakers of his times. But as a son, friend, lover and husband, he makes the same mistakes we all do in our search for happiness. Here, then, is the story of a life lived to the full - and a journey deep into a very human heart.

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So, which one should I read first?! Suggestions very welcome!!














Saturday, 26 December 2020

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up - Boxing Day 2020

                                                       


Hello and Merry Boxing Day to you all! A very weird Christmas this year but there was books so all was good! I'll have to share a separate post of my Christmas bookish presents from Santa as there were quite a few! And then there may have been a spend up at the Waterstones sale thanks to gift vouchers received!! Time to clear out the old books again from my shelves to find room for newbies!!

It's been a fairly good bookish reading week despite the weirdness! 5 books finished, including 2 audiobooks which have been perfect for me to listen to while doing cross stitch! Plus there was a visit to Netgalley and some bookpost!!  Here's my look back...

BOOKS FINISHED

CHARLOTTE by HELEN MOFFETT - audiobook - 3 STARS






audiobook - 3 STARS





BOOKHAUL

Off to Netgalley we go...

THE SPANISH GIRL by JULES HAYES
out March 2021

A country torn apart by war.
Two love stories divided by decades.
One chance to discover the truth...

Feisty journalist Isabella has never known the truth about her family. Escaping from a dangerous assignment in the turbulent Basque country, she finds her world turned upside down, firstly by her irresistible attraction to the mysterious Rafael, and then by a new clue to her own past.

As she begins to unravel the tangled story of her identity, Isabella uncovers a story of passion, betrayal and loss that reaches back to the dark days of Spain's civil war - when a passionate Spanish girl risked everything for her country, and for the young British rebel who captured her heart.

But can Isabella trust the man she's fallen in love with? Or are some wartime secrets better left undisturbed...?

Heartbreaking, gripping historical fiction about the tragedy of war, and the redemption of love. Perfect for fans of Angela Petch's The Tuscan Secret and Kathryn Hughes' The Letter.

And in the postbox this week..

THE LAST HOUSE ON NEEDLESS STREET by CATRIONA WARD
out March 2021 - copy for review

This is the story of a serial killer. A stolen child. Revenge. Death. And an ordinary house at the end of an ordinary street.

All these things are true. And yet they are all lies...

You think you know what's inside the last house on Needless Street. You think you've read this story before. That's where you're wrong.

In the dark forest at the end of Needless Street, lies something buried. But it's not what you think...

SOULJOURNER by PAUL STEVEN STONE

Where to start with Souljourner?

Let’s start with the author - Paul Steven Stone is either a madman or a genius – probably both – and he’s written one of the most gripping and enjoyable books we’ve ever come across.

It begins with a quote from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

“We are not human beings on a spiritual journey, we are spiritual beings on a human journey.”

– and that my friends sets the tone for everything that’s to come.

David Rockwood Worthington is in prison serving a life sentence for the murder of his 3rd wife and his incarceration is not going smoothly.

He’s being terrorised by rival gangs who insist he owes them each $6 million dollars – debts of which David claims to be entirely unaware. This perilous situation is complicated by the fact that the Internal Revenue Service wants to talk to him about the $18 million dollars he has stashed in secret Cayman Island accounts – accounts which David also claims to be entirely unaware of.

On top of all that, his prison psychologist doesn’t seem to like him very much.

The central premise of this novel - if it is indeed a novel (the narrator insists it is in fact a warning letter from your soul’s previous incarnation) - is that our souls make their eternal journey towards enlightenment in the company of a single unchanging ‘karmic pod’ of companion souls who take on different roles in each of our incarnations.

In one life a soul may appear as your mother, in the next your best friend, in the next your sworn enemy, in the next your lover and so on for eternity.

The identities of the souls in your ‘karmic pod’ are hidden from you in life – this letter/novel seeks to wise you up to who’s who in your karmic pod to help you avoid making the same mistakes that landed our David in prison.

A SONG FOR A NEW DAY by SARAH PINSKER
copy for review

An unnervingly prescient, Nebula-award-winning novel explores life in a world permanently locked down in the aftermath of a pandemic.

Before: Luce Cannon is on the road. Success is finally within her grasp: her songs are getting airtime; the venues she's playing are getting larger. But mass shootings, bombings and now a strange contagion are closing America down around her.

The gig Luce plays tonight will turn out to be the last-ever rock show as the world's stadiums, arenas and concert halls go dark for good.

After: Rosemary is too young to remember the Before. She grew up, went to school and works in the virtual world of Hoodspace. Only a few weeks ago she was a customer service rep for Superwally, the corporate monolith of automated warehouses and drone deliveries that services almost every consumer need, but now she's about to do something she's never done before... she's going to take to the road, in the real world.

Working for StageHoloLive, which controls what is left of the music industry, her job is to find new talent, search out the illegal backroom jams and bring musicians into the Hoodspace hologaphic limelight they deserve.

But when Rosemary sees how the world could actually be, that won't be enough.

THE HEALER'S SECRET by HELEN PRYKE
kindle freebie

All families have secrets. This family has a secret worse than most.
Jennifer’s life isn’t going as she planned. Fired from her job and on the brink of divorce, her only salvation lies at the bottom of a wine bottle. When her mother insists she get away from everything, she reluctantly agrees to explore her Italian roots in Tuscany.

Staying in her family’s centuries-old cottage, she becomes embroiled in a mysterious tragedy involving her great-grandmother. As she delves further into her ancestors’ history, she discovers there is more to her heritage than meets the eye.

Ghosts from the past could give Jennifer something she thought she’d never have: a future. But that depends on whether she can resist temptation and avoid slipping back into her old ways.

Will she be able to conquer her inner demons and discover the healer’s secret?


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