Sunday 27 November 2016

Happy Sunday!

Sunday mornings are my favourite time of the week, especially during late Autumn when it's all dressing gowns and fluffy socks! In fact, I have cosied up that much the last week or so that I forgot to blog. Oops!

I have read a fair few books in that period. All of which I have enjoyed immensely and will include a short review and links below. 

It seems my 'to be read' pile (TBR for short) is getting longer by the day! I have discovered a fair few new authors in 2016 including Alex Lake and K.L. Slater and I cannot wait to read their next installments!

Speaking of K.L. Slater, I read the brilliant Safe With Me last week. A gripping psychological thriller.

Thirteen years ago someone did something very bad to Anna. Now it’s her turn to get even …
Anna lives a solitary existence, taking solace in order and routine. Her only friend is the lonely old lady next door. She doesn’t like to let people to get too close – she knows how much damage they can do.
Then one ordinary day Anna witnesses a devastating road accident and recognises the driver as Carla, the woman who ruined her life all those years ago. Now it’s Anna’s chance to set things straight but her revenge needs to be executed carefully …
First she needs to get to know Liam, the man injured in the accident. She needs to follow the police investigation. She needs to watch Carla from the shadows…
But as Anna’s obsession with Carla escalates, her own secrets start to unravel. Is Carla really dangerous or does Anna need to worry about someone far closer to home?
I devoured this in one day and sort of worked out what was happening before it happened, but don't let this dissuade you from reading it; I seem to have that uncanny ability sometimes and often think that I should be writing, not reading! But I digress, this was a brilliant thriller and the Kindle edition is currently only 99p on Amazon!

Next on my list was Claire Seeber's The Stepmother. Another great psychological thriller with plenty of twists. An enthralling read and perfect for those who like books such as Behind Closed Doors (which I highly recommend if you haven't read it!) and Between Me and You (also another fantastic plot twister!).

The perfect wife. A fairytale family. Don’t believe your eyes…
Jeanie and Matthew are a happily married couple who both have teenage children from previous relationships.
No one said it would be easy to raise a blended family under one roof but Jeanie and Matthew are strong. They will make it work.
And whilst Jeanie’s step-daughter Scarlett rejects her, Jeanie will just have to try harder to win her over.
But Jeanie has a past. A terrible secret she thought she’d buried a long time ago. And now, it’s coming to the surface, threatening to destroy her new marriage.
Someone is playing a terrifying game on Jeanie and she must put a stop to it once and for all. After all, a fairytale needs a happy ending…doesn’t it?

I have read a further 5 books this week (yes 5!) including the amazing My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout. I devoured it in a matter of hours and savoured every turn of the page! It's not often I read physical books anymore, so when I do I can't get enough of the smell!

Next up was The Child's Secret by Amanda Brooke. This was the first I had read from this author and I thoroughly enjoyed it. An eight-year-old girl goes missing which, as a parent myself, makes the novel seem that much more fast-paced, perhaps knowing what is at stake if they fail to find her. Great storyline.

Following this was one of the classics. I decided to Google what were the top selling books of all time. I recognised many and had read a few, but there were others that I did not recognise and others that I suddenly had an urge to read. Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird was one and I decided to dive right in. I found it a little slow to start, set in 1930s southern America it was far from the modern British thrillers I have indulged in lately. I persevered and I am extremely glad that I did. A bittersweet coming-of-age tale that made me truly appreciate how different today's society is. Rape and racism rife throughout, as well as class differences show a stark contrast to modern life. It is one that I would recommend to anyone, and will be passing on to my children to help them understand that no matter what your background, we are all human beings. I was pleased to learn that the book is widely used in schools throughout America, a humble tale for young minds to absorb before heading out into the big wide world as adults.

Finally, over the last two days I have read two offerings from another new author, Alex Lake. First up was After Anna, another British psychological thriller centred around the disappearance of a five year old girl. Even though I (again) guessed what the outcome would be, it did not spoil my enjoyment of reading it. In fact, I enjoyed it so much I immediately dived in to Lake's next offering, Killing Kate. Very similar structure, which I enjoyed as it felt familiar and felt like I really knew the author and the style. Another gripping storyline with plenty of twists and turns. Highly recommend Alex Lake and looking forward to the next novel.

So a busy two weeks, but thoroughly enjoyed every one of them. Now to decide what to read next...

Tuesday 15 November 2016

Book book or e-book?

The universe seems to be pretty undecided on this one! It's a debate that has raged on since the first e-readers were made available in the early 2000's and especially since the launch of Amazon's first Kindle, released in 2007.

I grew up surrounded by books. My whole family are readers and when I was younger I couldn't wait for my next trip with my Mum to Waterstones to spend my pocket money on the next Goosebumps book! Even now, as an adult, there is a certain aura when you walk into a book shop. A sense of adventure and wonderment and, of course, the smell! For me nothing beats the smell of a new (or old) book.

I will readily admit that I miss that smell, and the trips into the City to browse and choose my next adventure. Of course, the convenience of just clicking a button to add to your collection and having it delivered instantly is brilliant, but it's just not the same.

I have owned various tablets over the past few years and occasionally used them for reading but I finally dove in to the world of e-readers in 2014 when I was bought the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite for my birthday. I loved it instantly and rarely put it down! It travels everywhere with me and contains around 300 books at the moment which, in physical terms, would fill my car boot and leave very little room for us!

I'm also quite spontaneous when it comes to what I read, so it's great to be chatting with a friend and be able to download the book they have recommended almost immediately. Also great if you suddenly decide you want to read Moby Dick during your extended stay in hospital and don't have to wait for someone to buy it for you! The ability to see which book comes next in a series is a great tool, as is being able to look up words with just a tap on the screen.

This debate will probably never be settled. E-books have been leading the sales over the last few years but it emerged recently that physical books are making a comeback and for the first time in four years sales grew in 2015. It has also been reported that the number of independent small book shops has risen, which is fantastic news!

Whatever platform you prefer, the story remains the same. I am an e-reader convert for the reasons shared by most; portability and convenience. I am truly a woman of the 21st century and embrace all things speedy like Netflix, Uber and Amazon Prime. It doesn't stop me dreaming of one day living in a Castle with a library of physical books to rival that of Beauty and the Beast!

Monday 14 November 2016

The great e-reader debate!

My post tomorrow will be on e-readers. Love them or loathe them, they have certainly made their mark on the book world! In anticipation of getting the new Kindle Oasis next month, I will be reviewing my current Kindle Paperwhite and delving in to the abyss that is 'plastic or paper'?

Until tomorrow.


I'm still here!

So as it's been about 3 weeks since my last post I thought I had better jump back on the wagon! As any parent knows, the summer holidays are super busy, especially when you're a parent of 3! They have kept me immensely busy the past few weeks but I have also been busy delving into some amazing books. I am currently reading another offering from Liane Moriarty which I will review after I have finished. The main one that I would like to review next is very different from what you may have come to expect from me.

As well as being a busy mum-of-3 and a complete bookworm I am also a huge motorsports fan. Speedway in particular. For those of you that are unfamiliar with it, it involves 4 riders racing on an oval shaped shale track for 4 laps on bikes up to 500cc with no brakes and capable of hitting 60mph faster than a Formula 1 car. It is a highly dangerous but breathtakingly exciting sport to watch. Take a look at some examples on YouTube here.

The reason for my explanation of my other hobby is my choice of book review. Despite being a huge fan of Speedway for more than 18 years I have never read a book on the subject until now. I came across Tragedy: The Kenny Carter Story on a Speedway related Facebook group and the story appealed to me despite not being my usual choice of genre.

I can without any hesitation say that this is one of, if not the best book I have read so far this year. As the title suggests it is indeed a tragic story. One of early childhood heartache, growing up too fast, International success and fame at a young age and perhaps inevitably, jealousy, rage and murder-suicide.

It is very well written in a chronological fashion to really let the reader travel through time and understand the man behind the name. The boy who grew up to be an international Speedway icon and would have undoubtedly gone on to become World Champion and be a huge influence within the sport had the tragic events of his past not taken place.

I finished this lengthy read in just a few short days. I literally couldn't put it down. Despite the subject matter I thoroughly enjoyed it. There are dark elements for sure but the hilarious anecdotes and fond memories relayed throughout helped to lift the overall tone of the book.

I highly recommend reading it, even if you have never heard of the sport. I promise it is worth the read. It is available in paperback and kindle format from Amazon today.

I'm still alive!

Wow, can't believe how long it has been since my last post! What a year it has been too. 2015 finished amazingly as always with a beautiful family Christmas and New Year. 2016 has been incredibly bittersweet so far with some amazing things and some not so good. My lovely Dad was diagnosed with bowel cancer, but thankfully he made a full recovery quite swiftly. I don't know what I would do without him.

The little ones are not so little anymore. The smallest started nursery and we had a visit to the 'big school' for the eldest. Cannot believe this time next year she will be in Year 7! We had a new addition to the family of the canine variety. A beautiful Cavalier King Charles Spaniel called Cooper! He keeps me busy and we are enjoying going out for walks and snuggling up on the sofa together.

I have had a difficult year personally, and was recently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. It's a daily struggle with the energy required to raise 3 children and keep house, but I am so blessed to be able to do it and not worry about an employer. I have also really began to understand myself a lot better this year including doing lots of research on the Myers-Briggs Personality Types. I'm the rarest type which, coupled with the Fibromyalgia, means I can be pretty difficult to live with! I have a super supportive partner and I couldn't ask for more.

I have also read some incredible books this last year, some of which I will be posting reviews on. I set a huge goal of 100 books to read in 2016, which I think may have been a little overzealous considering I struggle to keep my eyes open now past 9pm!

I am hoping to start to blog very regularly, and widen the topics to include more about Fibromyalgia and the day to day life of a Fibro Mum.

Rachael x