0

Books read in February 2017

First of all – happy World Book Day everyone! A perfect day to look back on the books I read in February I think.

  

It wasn’t a bumper book month for me. I was concentrating on editing my own book but I managed to read three novels and one non-fiction – a humorous self-help guide. 
  
My favourite of the books I read is this little gem. It’s not released until May but a proof arrived at work and I’m so happy it did!

  

I don’t want to talk too much about it as it’s one of those books that you should just read and fall in love with but essentially it’s about a woman called Eleanor who lives a lonely life in Scotland and how she comes to terms with her past and opens up her heart finally. It’s almost a coming of age novel although she’s grown up. 

It’s funny in places and so moving in others and I had tears in my eyes at the end. It’s really original especially Eleanor’s voice and I hope it finds lots of readers when it’s published.

What book did you love this month?

Victoria 

xoxo 

1

Books read January – June 2016

Last year I listed all the books I read each month and picked my favourite but this year I’ve failed miserably to keep track on here what I’ve read! So, instead I’m going to look back at the books I’ve read in the first half of the year and will do the same in December so I’ll still have a list of my favourite twelve books by the end of the year.

Here are the books I’ve read from January to June …

   
    
    
   

 And here are the six that stood out to me the most: 

    
I loved Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic last year so thought it was about time I read this one! I really enjoyed it, her style is accessible and the story is inspiring and she is definitely one of my favourite non-fiction writers.

    
This is a short and unusual novel told from Lucy’s point of view as she ends up in hospital and attempts to heal her relationship with her mother. It drew me in and I think it’s one I’d revisit as there’s so much to think about.

    
This is a gorgeous hardback and an absorbing Victorian novel that is rich in detail and brilliantly written. 

    
I really loved The Muse – set across two timelines London in the 1960’s and Spain during The Civil War it follows two women and is really compelling with wonderfully drawn characters and lots of twists and turns.

    
I have been meaning to read this for a long time – it’s a modern classic about three women in the works of celebrity. It’s almost like reading a long gossip column, a delicious guilty pleasure. 

    
I had to pick a YA book as well. I love Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series and this first book on her new series is an interesting mix of Elizabethian and frontier worlds and as the author wheats does, the world is flipped on its head by the leading lady. Lots of fun.

What books have you loved so far this year? Hit us with your recommendations in the comments!!

Victoria

xoxo 

4

2015 – a year in books

For the first time in 2015 I decided to list all the books I read each month and pick my favourite one. It was really interesting keeping track of what I was reading and has provided me a list of my twelve favourite books of the year.

  
Looking at the twelve confirms that I enjoy a wide range of books and this has definitely become more the case since working at Waterstones as I choose books I never would have picked up before. 

  
My favourite books are ones that I enjoyed but also ones that inspired me or ones I had a strong emotional reaction too. Some were easy to pick but some months I loved all the books I read so it was a harder task.

I enjoyed the challenge though and it’s really interesting to see look back at the twelve books that made the biggest impact on me in 2015.

  
I don’t tend to read a lot of non-fiction but I loved both WILD and BIG MAGIC this year so I will definitely be looking out for more in 2016.

In terms of fiction I think the two books that I’m still thinking about the most are A LITTLE LIFE and STATION ELEVEN. 

So now I need to decide whether to write about the books I’m reading each month in 2016. What do you guys think? And what books stood out for you in 2015?

Victoria

xoxo 

0

Books read in December 2015

Books read in the last month of 2015 were:

  
Nancy Mitford  – The Pursuit Of Love

9780141044019.jpg

Oh, the tedium of waiting to grow up! Longing for love, obsessed with weddings and sex, Linda and her sisters and cousin Fanny are on the lookout for the perfect lover.

But finding Mr Right is much harder than any of the sisters had thought. Linda must suffer marriage first to a stuffy Tory MP and then to a handsome and humourless communist, before finding real love in war-torn Paris. . .

Rebecca Raisin – A Gingerbread Cafe Christmas 

51cimHUgT0L._SX314_BO1,204,203,200_

Christmas is the season the Gingerbread Café was made for and Lil has every recipe down, from gingerbread men to cinnamon muffins. So when gorgeous outsider Damon opens a shop opposite The Gingerbread Café in the lead up to Christmas, Lil refuses to let him steal her customers without a fight – no matter how much he makes her heart flutter.

When it comes to love, Lil’s never quite got the method right! But as the snow begins to fall, it looks like this time deviating from the recipe might just lead Lil to the magic ingredient she’s been missing all along…

Victoria Aveyard – Glass Sword

23174274

If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different. Mare’s blood is Red – the colour of common folk – but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control. The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from the prince and friend who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind. Pursued by the Silver king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors. But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat. Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

Book of the month:

01-big-magic-book-review

Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now, this beloved author shares her wisdom and unique understanding of creativity, shattering the perceptions of mystery and suffering that surround the process – and showing us all just how easy it can be.

By sharing stories from her own life, as well as those from her friends and the people that have inspired her, Elizabeth Gilbert challenges us to embrace our curiosity, tackle what we most love and face down what we most fear.

Whether you long to write a book, create art, cope with challenges at work, embark on a long-held dream, or simply to make your everyday life more vivid and rewarding, Big Magic will take you on a journey of exploration filled with wonder and unexpected joys.

Big Magic is a must read for anyone wanting to live a creative life – I think it would be useful whatever stage of the creative process you’re at. I found it really inspiring and it confirmed a lot of things I thought about writing and I found myself nodding along with Ms Gilbert. Let’s face it we all suffer with self doubt and this book is really helpful with how to deal with it and shake it off. I think it’s a book I will return to whenever I feel unsure about my writing (which will likely be a lot!)

What did you enjoy reading in December?

Victoria

xoxo

0

Books read in November 2015

  

Jill Mansell – Three Amazing Things About You

51cIvv7viGL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Hallie has a secret. She’s in love. He’s perfect for her in every way, but he’s seriously out of bounds. And her friends aren’t going to help her because what they do know is that Hallie doesn’t have long to live. Time is running out…

Flo has a dilemma. She really likes Zander. But his scary sister won’t be even faintly amused if she thinks Zander and Flo are becoming friends – let alone anything more.

Tasha has a problem. Her new boyfriend is the adventurous type. And she’s afraid one of his adventures will go badly wrong.

THREE AMAZING THINGS ABOUT YOU begins as Hallie goes on a journey. A donor has been found and she’s about to be given new lungs. But whose?

Colleen Hoover – November 9

25111004

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

Can Ben’s relationship with Fallon – and simultaneously his novel – be considered a love story if it ends in heartbreak?

Anne Tyler – A Spool Of Blue Thread

spool_of_thread_3188819a

‘It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon…’

This is the way Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she and Red fell in love that summer’s day in 1959. The whole family on the porch, half-listening as their mother tells the same tale they have heard so many times before.

From that porch we spool back through the generations, witnessing the events, secrets and unguarded moments that have come to define the family. From Red’s father and mother, newly arrived in Baltimore in the 1920s, to Abby and Red’s grandchildren carrying the family legacy boisterously into the twenty-first century – four generations of Whitshanks, their lives unfolding in and around the sprawling, lovingly worn Baltimore house that has always been their home…

Huntley Fitzpatrick – My Life Next Door

12294652

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them…until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase’s family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself? A dreamy summer read, full of characters who stay with you long after the story is over.

Book of the month:

Jessica Knoll – The Luckiest Girl Alive

51HMfl5xx9L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Ani FaNelli is the woman who has it all: the glamorous job, the designer wardrobe, the handsome and rich fiancé. But behind her sharp edges and meticulously crafted facade lies the darkest of pasts . . .

When a documentary producer invites Ani to tell her side of the chilling and violent incident that took place when she was a teenager at the prestigious Bradley school, she hopes it will be an opportunity to prove how far she’s turned her life around since then. She’ll even let the production company film her lavish wedding, the final step in her transformation.

But as the wedding and filming converge, Ani’s past threatens to come back and haunt her. And as her immaculate veneer starts to crack, she is forced to question: will breaking her silence destroy all that she has worked for – or, will it at long last, set Ani free?

This book has a unique voice – Ani’s first person commentary is vivid and draws you in from the first page but there will be points where you really dislike her, points where you think ‘uh-oh I think like that too’ and as her past unravels, moments where you will realise why she is the way she is and have great sympathy for her. Ani’s past is a dark and tragic one and there are a fair few shocking moments as the story unfolds.

The novel has been pitched as a thriller but I found it to be more of a dark and compelling coming-of-age story. It was a page turner definitely and a complex character study. PREP meets GONE GIRL. It’s due to be made into a film by Reese Wetherspoon and I hope it keeps it’s bite when it transitions from book to movie.

What was your favourite read this month?

Victoria

xoxo

 

0

Books read in October 2015

  

Life and Death (Twilight tenth anniversary edition) – Stephanie Meyer

81qBmqMWSvL

The Twelve Dates Of Christmas – Lisa Dickenson

tdoc

At thirty, Claudia’s life is stale and the romance with long-term boyfriend, Seth, has disappeared. Determined to inject some festive spark back into their love life, Claudia and Seth go on their first date in a very long time. But when the night ends in disaster, Claudia suddenly finds herself facing life – and Christmas – alone.

Life alone is exciting, scary and full of soon-forgotten exercise regimes and ill-advised attempts at crafting sexy underwear. It’s also filling up with dates, surprisingly. With best friends Penny and Nick at her side, a surplus of festive markets, mulled wine and Christmas tunes, Claudia attempts to face all this change with gusto. One thing’s for certain: this year, Christmas is going to be very different . . .

This is the story of Claudia and her twelve dates of Christmas. Hilarious, uplifting and romantic, it’s a story about losing love, finding love, and discovering what’s been there all along. Expect Christmas sparkle, butterflies-in-your-stomach romance and a lot of very funny moments in The Twelve Dates of Christmas.

Did I Mention I Need You? – Estelle Maskame

9781845029852

It’s been a year since eighteen-year-old Eden Munro last saw Tyler Bruce: her stepbrother… and her secret love. Although they called time on their forbidden relationship for the sake of their family, Eden can’t help but feel excited when Tyler invites her to join him in New York City for the summer.

Anyway, Eden is happy with her boyfriend Dean, and surely Tyler has moved on too. But as they spend a long, hot summer in the excitement of the city that never sleeps, it soon becomes obvious that they aren’t over each other. But can they resist temptation?

In Did I Mention I Need You?, the second volume of Estelle Maskame’s phenomenal DIMILY trilogy, Tyler and Eden must face up to their feelings and decide what to do next. Is their love strong enough to face the challenges that lie ahead?

Book of the month:

The Paying Guests – Sarah Waters

If you’re looking for a fun, romantic Christmas read then Lisa Dickenson’s book is perfect for you, it made me feel all warm and fuzzy and definitely festive! I’m really enjoying the Did I Mention I Love You? series and can’t wait for the final instalment next year as book 2 has ended on a cliffhanger! But my favourite read of the month I have chosen ….

PayingGuest_DFinalOnline

It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned, the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa, a large silent house now bereft of brothers, husband and even servants, life is about to be transformed, as impoverished widow Mrs Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.

For with the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the ‘clerk class’, the routines of the house will be shaken up in unexpected ways. And as passions mount and frustration gathers, no one can foresee just how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be.

This is the fourth book by Sarah Waters I’ve read and is set in a new era the 1920’s and is at essence a love story with a crime thread to it too. I was drawn in from the first page, she really is an excellent writer, and although it’s a long book I remained captivated for all of it. I must say though that I didn’t think I would be at the end when I suddenly was (there’s extra material in my copy at the back) and so I finished it with a “huh”. I wish there could have been an epilogue as I really wanted to know where the characters went from there, what happened next and it’s because I had spent so long desperately hoping things would work out. For such a long book I suppose I hoped for a stronger resolution but it is a really entertaining story, dark and twisty with strong characters and the typical Waters forbidden lesbian romance that you’ll be rooting for even when you’re not sure you should be.

Has anyone else read it?

Victoria

xoxo

9

Books read in September 2015

IMG_5992

After You – Jojo Moyes

After-You-by-Jojo-Moyes-Photographed-mock-up-SINGLE

Lou Clark has lots of questions.

Like how it is she’s ended up working in an airport bar, spending every shift watching other people jet off to new places.

Or why the flat she’s owned for a year still doesn’t feel like home.

Whether her close-knit family can forgive her for what she did eighteen months ago.

And will she ever get over the love of her life.

What Lou does know for certain is that something has to change.

Then, one night, it does.

But does the stranger on her doorstep hold the answers Lou is searching for – or just more questions?

Close the door and life continues: simple, ordered, safe.

Open it and she risks everything.

But Lou once made a promise to live. And if she’s going to keep it, she has to invite them in . . .

All Of The Above – James Dawson

tumblr_ntjngpzH7N1rzwavso1_500

When sixteen-year-old Toria Bland arrives at her new school she needs to work out who her friends are, all in a crazy whirl of worry, exam pressure and anxiety over fitting in. Things start looking up when Toria meets the funny and foul-mouthed Polly, who’s the coolest girl Toria has ever seen. Polly and the rest of the ‘alternative’ kids take Toria under their wing. And that’s when she meets the irresistible Nico Mancini, lead singer of a local band – and it’s instalove at first sight! Toria likes Nico, Nico likes Toria . . . but then there’s Polly.

Love and friendship have a funny way of going round in circles.

Why Not Me? – Mindy Kaling

920x920

Mindy Kaling has found herself at a turning point. So in Why Not Me?, she shares her ongoing journey to find fulfilment and adventure in her adult life, be it falling in love at work, seeking new friendships inunlikely places, or attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behaviour modification whatsoever.

In “How to Look Spectacular”, she reveals her tongue-in-cheek solutions for guaranteed on-camera beauty. “Player” tells the story of Mindy being seduced, then dumped, by a female friend in LA. And in “Soup Snakes”, she spills some secrets on her relationship with ex-boyfriend and close friend, B. J. Novak.

Mindy has put the anxieties, the glamour and the celebrations of her second coming-of-age into this book, to which anyone can relate. (And, if they can’t, they can skip to the parts where she talks about meeting Bradley Cooper.)

Book of the Month:

Hanya Yanagihara-A Little Life

I enjoyed all the books I read this month especially All Of The Above, which is a great contemporary YA novel set in the UK but for my book of the month, I had to pick the 700 page epic A Little Life. Here’s what it’s about:

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara is an immensely powerful and heartbreaking novel of brotherly love and the limits of human endurance.

When four graduates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their centre of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome – but that will define his life forever.

The first thing to say about this book is not everyone is going to want to read this. Based on reviews I’ve seen, it’s a Marmite book. It’s an epic read and it’s one of the darkest and saddest books I’ve ever read. Seriously, it will break your heart. I’m still devastated about it!

This book is so emotive, you care so much about the characters and the author really puts them through hell. It deals with some pretty tough subjects such as child abuse and for this reason, it’s hard to say that I liked this book but I admire it a lot. It’s compelling and I found it brilliantly written with such well-drawn characters that at one point, I threw the book down unable to bear what was happening to them. I picked it back up again though. I couldn’t stop thinking about the book and hoping that things would turn out okay. I think the book had to end how it ended but I’m still upset about it.

So, I’ve never read anything like this book before. However, I won’t recommended it to everyone because of the subjects it deals with and how difficult it is to read about them. I think reading the blurb and reviews will help you decide if it’s for you or not. And if you do read it, just have a light-hearted book ready to pick up when you’re done!

Has anyone else read these books? What did you think?

Victoria

xoxo

Come and see me over at Goodreads!