The gift that keeps on giving

I’ve talked about it before, very recently, that it is such an honour to be sent books to review and I really appreciate it when authors ask me to review a book, even it’s not really my preferred genre.

Even more lovely, is receiving the physical copy of a book in the mail, all the way from the US. I’ve also said that I enjoy reading books on my kindle rather than physical books, but there is something about reading the physical copy of a book when it is gifted to you. This is the first actual book I have been sent and it is rather exciting.

I’m looking forward to reading Craig M Dial’s Bully Brother. Memoires and biographies is another of my favourite genres (aside from thrillers). At the moment I’m reading Educated by Tara Westover, which is also a memoir. So I might need a break from the genre before reading Bully Brother. It’s also such a personal experience and I think when an author is sharing that much of themselves, I need to give it my full attention. To be honest, Educated is almost taking it out of me emotionally. I’ll be reading a thriller next. Not sure which one yet…that will be a suprise.

Books really are a gift. When you recommend them, lend them buy them or borrow them. I think that’s what I love most about books and reading. The ideas and stories can be shared and through the sharing comes enjoyment. I enjoy the book and I want everyone else to read it and know what I know. It’s like a shared secret. Except I have the opportunity to share that secret with you. ūüėČ

Sleeplessness makes for more reading (and blogging) time

Coming to you live from my bed where I should be sleeping…

I’ve had a few sleepless nights recently, which is unlike me. Usually I just lay down at 9:30pm and I’m off to sleep before I know it. I’ve had a few things on my mind of late.

The great thing about this is that I have more time for reading and blogging and I’m utilising this time for both. The You Tube meditation vids were just not cutting it for me.

I wanted to give you a general update, so you don’t feel neglected and to let you know where I’m at because I fear I may have given you a couple of false promises (sorry in advance).

The January wellbeing thing:

I know I promised you a wellbeing theme in January, with some reviews of self-improvement books and recipe books. I have not forgotten about this, it is still coming – just probably not in January…I have a few things in the works and up my sleeve for future blog posts. But yeah, you keep that January spirit alive until I get to it, ok? We actually need to look after ourselves all year round not just in Jan.

Authors reaching out to me:

I’ve had some authors reach out to me directly to review their books. I think this is incredibly flattering and I’m very grateful that authors would trust me to read and give an honest review for them. Plus I love reading – so we all get something out of it right?

I’ve been a little slack at getting back to some people, but I really will try to. If the genre/storyline of the book doesn’t appeal to me I’m going to be honest and tell the author it’s not my cup of tea. I don’t review just anything, I need to have some interest in the topic or story to be invested in reading and reviewing the book.

Thank you to the authors who have reached out and sought my review and trusted me in that process. I have a great one coming up…well…tonight!

Regularity of posts:

No one has specifically complained to me about this, but I am aware I may not be posting as frequently. Believe me I would like to post more often. I’m just a handicapped reader. Ha ha ha. I am a slow reader and I really like to immerse myself in a book and process it. I like to take notes whilst I’m reading and highlight important sections where I love the language and/or feeling evoked and might want to use it as a quote in my blog. I like to note down my first impressions of the book, details about the characters, the overall feeling I have whilst reading and if that changes and notes about the author too. I do a bit of research about the book and the author. This level of perfection takes time and probably slows my reading down a little more. I don’t mind because I love it, but it does mean the reviews take a little longer to be posted.

I actually wrote this last night and fell asleep! Sooooo, blogging also appears to cure my intermittent insomnia. There is much more to come. Stay Tuned.

Book Review – Something in the water by Catherine Steadman

Book Review – Something in the water by Catherine SteadmanSomething in the Water by Catherine Steadman
Published by Random House Publishing Group on June 5, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Suspense, Psychological, Women
Pages: 352
Format: eBook
Goodreads
five-stars

Fan – tas – tic.!!!

On my list of favourites and I have already been blabbing about it and recommending it to others. So they might find this post boring.

I want to start off by saying, what a talented woman. Not only a great actress, but clearly an amazing author also. This is Catherine’s debut novel and I had heard about it a long time before reading. I actually wish I hadn’t waited so long to read it. Catherine captured my attention straight away and I wasn’t disappointed by the events that followed.

Something in the water is part of Reese Witherspoon’s book club ( I thought it was just Oprah who had one of those?) Word on the grapevine is that Something in the Water is going to be made into a film, produced by Reece and I am front and centre at that movie. You know how excited I get about books being adapted to the screen. I’m not going to lie, I did imagine Reece as the protagonist, Erin, whilst reading. This book would make an amazing movie.

The book was also nominated in the Goodread’s Choice Awards in the best mystery and thriller category. I would have definitely voted for this one had I read it before voting ended.

There may have been a brief moment in time at the start of the book where I was impatient and I wanted things to move along a little faster, but that was just me being greedy, because I was spoiled when the action began. It just didn’t stop and any feelings I had about a slow pace were quickly forgotten.

There were also possibly some eye – rolling, sickening, romantic sections, whereby I had to strategically swallow my puke whilst reading on the train. Again, all is forgiven here, because the plot is by no means just a mushy, love fest. It is thrillaaaahhhhh personified.

The Best Bits

  • The story is from Erin’s perspective – I loved hearing just from Erin, I admired her as quite a strong woman and an enjoyable character to follow
  • Heart racing plot – what a page turner after the discovery in the water! It really does change things for the couple and the pace of the book
  • There were step by step instructions on how to use a Glock 22 – for those innocent types, this is a gun. I was smiling ear to ear when reading this…hey, no judgement, a girl has to know these things
  • The juxtaposition of Erin’s world making a documentary about criminals and her own world about to drastically change and mirror that of her subjects – thoroughly enjoyed this aspect of the book, some great characters introduced here too

In summary:

You need to read this one. You.just. do. If you don’t, you will be watching the movie, loving it and then I’ll be screaming “I told you so” from the rooftops. Which is something I quite enjoy doing by the way….

I’m prepared to cop it if you don’t like it too. I will stick my neck comfortably on the line with this one. It’s my fave of 2019 so far (and once again, I’m late to the party on this one – don’t be like me…)

Synopsis

If you could make one simple choice that would change your life forever, would you?   Erin is a documentary filmmaker on the brink of a professional breakthrough, Mark a handsome investment banker with big plans. Passionately in love, they embark on a dream honeymoon to the tropical island of Bora Bora, where they enjoy the sun, the sand, and each other. Then, while scuba diving in the crystal blue sea, they find something in the water. . . .   Could the life of your dreams be the stuff of nightmares?   Suddenly the newlyweds must make a dangerous choice: to speak out or to protect their secret. After all, if no one else knows, who would be hurt? Their decision will trigger a devastating chain of events. . . .   Have you ever wondered how long it takes to dig a grave?   Wonder no longer. Catherine Steadman‚Äôs enthralling voice shines throughout this spellbinding debut novel. With piercing insight and fascinating twists, Something in the Water challenges the reader to confront the hopes we desperately cling to, the ideals we‚Äôre tempted to abandon, and the perfect lies we tell ourselves.

five-stars

About Catherine Steadman

Catherine Steadman is an actress and writer based in North London. She is known for her roles in Downton Abbey and Tutankhamun, starring alongside Sam Neill, as well as shows including Breathless, The Inbetweeners, The Tudors, and Fresh Meat.

In 2017 Catherine will feature in political thriller Fearless and new BBC comedy Bucket. She also has appeared on stage in the West End including Oppenheimer for the RSC, for which she was nominated for a 2016 Laurence Olivier Award.

Friday Night Delights

It’s Friday night here in Australia (believe me when I say I have international readers) and my grand plan was rest and relaxation.

What better way to relax than a bathtub, surrounded by candles, a glass of red wine and my kindle?

Rhetorical question. We all know the answer to the above.

It was actual bliss though. Nothing but the sound of a clock ticking in the other room. No phone, no other distraction. My favorite way to read. It was lovely to disconnect from everything for a few hours.

It prompted thoughts about social media, media in general and technology in general. It’s difficult to escape. It stresses me out (I don’t watch the news and some people think this is weird), I just need to disassociate from everything sometimes and then I come back feeling recharged. I do wonder if there are more people who feel the way I do.

Is retreating a reward for you too and if so, what does this tell us about ourselves, the world and everything around us?

I’m also well aware of the irony that I am using technology to communicate my thoughts right now and will most definitely share it on social media.

I was in the tub longer than I thought and had those delightful skin wrinkles. They don’t bother me at all because I know I’ve completely disappeared in my own little bliss world. I really do love my bathtub more than many many things. I have considered that I may be part mermaid.

Of course I did the face mask, face treatment, body scrub, foot scrub … can I get any kind of other scrub because I want to be buried in it. Yes, I know how to do this pampering stuff properly.

I know what you are really interested in, this is a book blog after all…

I was reading Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. If anyone has read this (and I’m sure many, many of you have – I’m tremendously late to the party on this one, forgive me) – you will know that it’s not exactly gentle, light reading. The topic matter is a tad distressing. Of course I like it, but it’s not usually something one would read to relax.

Regardless, I am very relaxed and there will of course be a full review of Nineteen Minutes. All I can say at this stage is that I’m enjoying it but it’s not easy to read. It’s challenging, upsetting and frankly, such a courageous topic to write about. School shootings. I’m very glad it was written – I say this before I’ve finished reading but I appreciate everything Jodi has done with it so far (40% read on my kindle). It makes me angry about guns in the US and lack of gun laws in the US – but I will silence myself on this for now. Watch out for my review – it may contain profanity, not about the book, but the topic that we all wish wasn’t a topic or a reality.

On that note, I leave you. Take some time to relax, look after yourself and think thoughts.

10th Annual Goodreads Choice Awards

Have you voted???

There are several important votes to be made of late (in the US anyway) and the 10th Annual Goodreads Choice Awards is currently taking votes in lots of genre categories.

I always love to browse Goodreads for book recommendations and I think the Choice Awards is a good way to acknowledge those wonderful authors who write the books we love, as well as get ideas for the next fantastic read.

Voting is now in the semi – final round so it’s getting close. Please check out the link below to browse the categories and cast your vote!

Voting Schedule 

Opening Round Oct. 30 –
Nov. 4
Semifinal Round Nov. 6 – 11
Final Round Nov. 13 – 26
Winners Announced Dec. 4

Best Mystery & Thriller

Of particular interest to me was the Best Mystery & Thriller category, where I have read the the most books in any category. I am most excited about the book I voted for,¬†The Wife Between Us – by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen,¬†being in the semi final round of voting. I also enjoyed The Woman in the Window – A.J Flinn & Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeny and I’m so glad they made it to the semi final round. I’m very exited to read Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman¬† as I have heard great things about this book. Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone also looks incredibly interesting to me from reading the synopsis.

Best Horror

I also had a browse of the Horror category, where I voted for Zoje Stage’s Baby Teeth, loved it and recently reviewed and am happy to see this book is also in the semi final round of voting. In this category, I am most excited to read Ian Reid’s Foe (again, heard great things, also in relation to his other novel, I’m thinking of Ending Things).

Best of the Best 

There is a new category, Best of the Best, with some amazing reads. I had read quite a few of these and I found it very difficult to choice one to vote for. I voted for Room by Emma Donoghue, but unfortunately it did not made the semi final round. There are so many great books in this category though, its going to be a tough one!

Best Memoir/Autobiography

Of course I browsed all the categories. I can’t always be thrilled or terrified. Sometimes I like to be inspired or motivated. ¬†Another favourite category of mine was the non fiction and biographies and memoirs categories. Again, including a lot of books I hadn’t yet read, but am very well aware of and very much want to read – I see you Educated by Tara Westover.

I encourage all and any readers to take a look. Browsing Goodreads at any time is a great way to find awesome books and the reading community is lovely.

https://www.goodreads.com/choiceawards/best-books-2018

When life gets in the way of reading

Sometimes life gets in the way of reading.

I’ve just had surgery on my knee. I thought this would be a great time to catch up on reading, watching shows on netflix and relaxing. There has been a little netflixing and reading, but because of the medication I’m taking my ability to focus is limited.

I start to read and I just drift off. Perhaps the sleep is needed right now for recovery. I just thought I’d still have some brain power to be able to focus. I’m also excited to read the book Ive just started – The Affair by Sheryl Browne. The Affair is off to a great start and I’m already hooked, but I find I’m having to take it slowly.

It’s also a little difficult to get comfortable. Laying on my back can hurt my knee after a while, but it’s also a gamble to lay on my side. I’m hoping in a few more days I’ll be in a little less pain. My ability to concentrate will be improved. I’ll be back to my reading and blog loving self.

Today’s post is a little different. I think it’s good to acknowledge that sometimes things get in the way. Sometimes circumstances aren’t exactly what we expect. It’s ok. We all have days or moments when we are a little off. Right now my body needs time to repair. I just didn’t expect my mind to take a break too.

I’ll be back before you know it.

 

Hunter taking care of me.

 

 

 

 

Reading Challenge – Progress? HELP

I’m currently completing a reading challenge on Goodreads ¬†– how many books I am going to read in 2018.

Now I like commitment, I’m committed to my job, friends, my dog, but this reading challenge…I’m sorry to say but I have not been committed. I may have overestimated how many books I would read in a 12 month period. Just a little.

I have to go easy myself, because it is the first reading challenge I’ve attempted in a looooong time. Those of you in my age group and from Australia will remember the primary school reading challenge for charity – the MS Readathon (raising money for multiple sclerosis). So, it has been quite a long time since I attempted such a task. Back in the day, I did quite well at the MS Readathon and I was always an avid reader. Especially in primary school, when just turning up to school and the MS Readathon were my biggest and only obligations. Back when life was easy. So perhaps…I was a little eager and excited to complete this challenge.

I’m also quite a slow reader, so we do need to give consideration to that.

I committed to reading 50 books in 2018.

I know what you are thinking.. that is a lot, especially for someone who has not completed any sort of reading challenge since early school years and who is a self confessed slow reader.

I am a little embarrassed to disclose my progress to date. I’m hoping we are all friends here and there will be limited judgement.¬†

So out of the 50 books…I have read…

Wait for it…

wait for it…

uuuggghhhh….

12.

Yep. I have read 12 books for the whole of 2018. Sad but true.

I admit it. This is a poor effort for someone who has a reading blog. I want you to know that I am willing to change. Despite my renewed motivation to read more, I have to face facts that I am not going to complete 50 books by the end of the year. In fact, Goodreads reminds me every time I log in that I am 28 books behind schedule.

So I need advice from other bloggers, book nerds and avid readers as to how to integrate reading back into my life. Any tips and hints are appreciated.

I already have several ideas.

  1. Cut down TV time for book time
  2. Choose good books ( this requires lot of research on my part, but I figure the more I enjoy the book, the more likely I am going to be able to complete it and possibly the faster I will read)
  3. My new blog will give me a sense of renew enthusiasm for reading
  4. I’m committed to reading on the train every day to and from work

Ok, that’s it.

That’s all I have for now. Pleeeeeeasee let me know if you have completed a reading challenge before and any strategies or advice you have for me. I may not end on 50 books in 2018, but I would like to increase that number a little by the end of the year. I will update you on my progress of course.

The Art of Reading

There are many choices to make when reading. First our choices are about the book, topic, genre or author. These decisions are arguably the most important. I will blog about this in the future.

A good read is also about the setting. Is it possible to be fully immersed in a book if you are uncomfortable, there is too much background noise or the temperature isn’t right? Those who know me well know that I don’t like too much noise when I’m trying to concentrate, whether I’m reading or otherwise. Other really enjoy having music playing or background noise whilst concentrating. The environment is a key factor when it comes to reading.

My favourite places to read currently include the train (on my way to work) and the bathtub. I love to relax in the bath with candles burning and soapy suds. Its is heaven. Even if it is difficult to get out of the tub when the story gets exciting.

Lots of people like to read in bed and do I too, although I tend to relax a little too much and fall asleep much sooner than I would have liked. I love reading on the beach, with the sea air and sand all around me. Sand is probably a nightmare combination with a Kindle, but I just love laying on my back or tummy on a towel, with my feet burrowing into the sand. There is something sensory about the experience that adds to the reading.

Where do you like to read?

These days I read books on my kindle. I know some people will never enjoy reading books on a Kindle and more power to them for not conforming to technology. I have to say though, I really love my kindle. I love that it is easy to hold, convenient for travelling and if I’m bored with a book, there are many others in my library to choose from. People use different devices from Kobos to other readers. The one thing I miss about paperbacks is not seeing the blurb and the cover (in colour anyway). I used to spend hours in bookshops when I was younger just reading blurbs of books with interesting covers. I still do this, but now I spend more time online browsing the NY Times Best Seller List and ¬†Goodreads for suggestions. It’s great, but it’s not quite the same.

How do you like to read?

There is also another part of reading which I enjoy immensely. I love to find out what great books my friends or family are reading. I like to discuss storylines, the author’s writing style and what I have or haven’t enjoyed about a particular book. For me, it’s not enough just to read a great book. I feel a strong urge to share it with others and discuss it. ¬†I liken it to watching a great movie. I’ve never really been one to just passively watch a movie. I want to learn more about it. I find out who the director or writer is. I watch interviews with the cast members. I discuss the plot with others. There is something in the sharing of a great story that connects us with other people. I love that stories can connect us together that way.

Do you share your books with others? How?

I’d love to hear from you about how you read, where you like to read and how you share your reading with others. I always get great ideas from other people about books to read and how to read. I recently discovered digital libraries and I’m enjoying ¬†a new way of borrowing books (another future post!) so all recommendations are fantastic.

 

Why Blog? Why Books? Why Now?

The answer is simple. Demand.

Ha ha ha.. just kidding.

Some of my friends who read a few facebook posts about books I enjoyed, books I hated and books I was indifferent about thought a blog about my thoughts would be helpful and they would read it.

Poor fools!

The personal reason for starting a blog about books is that I love reading. I enjoy blogging and if it helps someone make a decision about what to read next that’s fantastic. I’m humbled to think my opinions could influence readers.

My favourite genre to read is fiction, specifically, thrillers, however, I’m open to new and different things. I also enjoy biographies and self help occasionally. I’ve even been known to enjoy the odd romance (don’t ask, it was after a break up).

I like to write about books I’ve enjoyed reading and books I haven’t enjoyed reading. Its important to know that these are just my opinions and while reading my blog or the books in question, you might disagree. I’m ok with that. We all look for different things in ¬†a story and some of us enjoy characters and specific events, while others do not. I welcome other opinions. ¬†I also welcome any reading recommendations. I can not promise I’ll love your suggestion but I’m open to adding it to my reading list.

With all that said and done. Welcome…

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