Good morning! It is Friday again, so time for another Book Blogger Hop 🙂

Book Blogger HopThis is a weekly meme hosted by Jen over at Crazy For Books. Sign up and go visit new blogs!

To help us get to know each other, Jen asks a question each week. This week’s is:

How many books do you have on your ‘to be read shelf’?

Like Jen, mine is more than just one shelf. However, I don’t have as many! I have 25 review books to read and 52 to be read. This doesn’t sound a lot compared to others, but my husband thinks it is too many! To see what the books are check out My Book Piles.

If you are hopping by do leave a comment so I can come see you!

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I opened the door to the postman earlier to discover a parcel of books from a friend – yay! My friends are the best!

I got:

  • Lazy Ways to Make a Living by Abigail Bosanko
  • The Peacock Emporium by Jojo Moyes
  • Certainty by Madeleine Thien
  • Acting Up by Melissa Nathan

I am one very happy girl! Thanks Beverley!

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I’m a little late in posting this but here is how I did during July’s To Be Read Weel:

Finished:

One of these books was planned, the other two were unexpected! Click on the name below for review!

I really liked all of them so I’m pleased to have finished them!

Started:

  • Whitethorn Woods by Maeve Binchy

I started this at the end of the week and didn’t have time to finish it so I will continue reading it over the course of the next few weeks.

So, did you join in? How did you do?

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Book Type: Paperback – own copy

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

Holly Macintosh is sitting round her kitchen table with her oldest friends – friends she hasn’t seen since school – now reunited by an unexpected tragedy and catching up on the past 20 years.

On the surface, they are all successful and happy. But scratch a little deeper after that extra glass of wine and it’s not quite so straightforward: Paul and Anna are struggling to have a baby, Saffron the actress is still waiting for that really big break that – at 39 – is looking less and less likely, and Olivia, always the wallflower of the group, is newly single and mourning her lost love.

And what about Holly Mac? Can she and her husband Marcus get their marriage back on track for the sake of the children? Or has someone just come back into her life who will change everything forever?

This is the first Jane Green novel I have read and I really enjoyed it. This is grown up chick-literature, and it was entertaining and a quick read. I was gripped from the beginning. This really is a roller coaster of emotions. It was easy to fall in love with the characters and I found myself cheering them on and sharing their pain.

The main character is Holly Mac. She has not seen her oldest friends in nearly twenty years – and it is an awful tragedy that has brought them back together – one of the group has been killed in a terrorist attack on a train in America. Tom was the centre of the group, the one who kept in contact with everyone, and his death has drawn them all together. They sit at Holly’s house and catch-up and grieve. From there they go on to Tom’s memorial service. There they run into his younger brother Will, who joins their circle of friends. During this time they all experience other pain. Olivia has a fling, that has consequences; Paul and his wife Anna are struggling to have children; Saffron is a recovering alcoholic and Holly’s marriage is in trouble. They group together and help each other through every crisis. Tom’s death has reformed the group but they still feel the pain of his absence.

The way Green deals with the issues of death, old friends and marriage is wonderful. I thought she was sensible with her outcomes – although I personally would of liked Holly’s story to end differently. Green is sensitive and delicate. Her writing is humorous and gripping. I found the story easy to follow and engaging.

I found the characters realistic and wonderful. The friendship is gorgeous – the way they will drop everything for each other. I was so happy when they all ended up in Gloucestershire for Saffron. Her Hollywood life is not all that glamorous but they are all there for her. I liked Holly but some of her choices I didn’t like. My favourite character was probably Anna – Paul’s wife. She wasn’t part of the original circle of friends but she slipped into the group with ease. She felt pain but still looked out for others. She makes crisis calls, works hard, and is just easy to like. She was a realistic character and someone I would have picked as a friend in real life.

I enjoyed this book and it did not take long to read. It is easy to see why Jane Green is such a popular author and I will be reading more of her novels.

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Synopsis:

A captivating new saga set in Liverpool and Ireland, from the bestselling author of DAYS OF HOPE and FAR FROM HOME Angela O’Rourke is six when her parents hand her over to an aunt and uncle in a distant village. It’s a common practice for large, hard-up families in 1950s Ireland, but for Angela it means that her mother and father don’t love her any more. Still, she’s well cared for till she’s sixteen, when her uncle starts to take too much of an interest in her. Moving to Liverpool in the early 1960s, she becomes a success in the world of fashion design. The pain of a disastrous love affair sends her home to Ireland just after the death of her aunt: and there, among old papers, Angela makes an astonishing discovery. As she learns the truth about the past, a brighter new future beckons.

This is the first Lyn Andrews novel that I have read and I enjoyed it. The book begins in Ireland, where Angela’s parents are too poor to keep her. Devote Catholics, they have a lot of children, and another is on the way. Angela’s dad is struggling to find work, so they make the decision to send Angela off to live with her Aunt Mary. Her aunt gives her a good life, but Angela misses her family and resents them for sending her away. Life is OK until her Uncle starts drinking. Life becomes unsafe for her. Then her best friend Emer leaves for America – this is the motivation Angela needs to start thinking about leaving. She works hard and is accepted to do nursing at Liverpool. She moves away – to the anger of her uncle, but soon learns that the academic side of nursing is too much for her. By chance she meets Rox and her family. Whilst with them she has the courage to leave nursing and start her own business in fashion design. For a long time she is happy without a man, but then she falls in love. However, her boyfriend is not a nice guy and result is a broken heart. Shortly after this she has to return to Ireland because her aunt is seriously ill. After her aunt dies she discovers papers that had been hidden from her all her life. This startlingly discovery changes her life and her outlook on family.

This is a very simple read – the language is not difficult and the story is not complicated. I read the majority of this book in one day. It was interesting, fun and engaging. The characters were believable and most of them I liked! The story is set in the 1960s and I felt that life in this time was depicted well. The poverty and the contrast between people and countries was astonishing but also realistic. This did mean there were heartbreaking moments in this book, like at the beginning when a six year old Angela learns she is being sent to live somewhere else.

I liked Angela, although I’m not convinced she would of had such a successful business simply because she was a woman, and in the 1960s it was a male dominated world. However, I liked her determination and her caring heart. She worked hard and was selfless. She understands poverty and when the chance to help out others arises she takes it, helping to pull others out of hardship. My other favourite character was Rox. I loved her shopping obsession! She was cool, chic and stylish, yet had a big heart. When Angela needed her she was there, and helped her through some tough situations.

This was a nice read and I enjoyed it. I’m happy to recommend this book to others and I will be looking out for other Lyn Andrews books. The ending was a bit of a disappoint – the cliff hanger, where we wonder what will happen to Angela, I wanted the book to keep going so I could find out how Angela’s life would change. That is probably my only complaint with the book.

This is simple chick-lit and I would recommend it to those who like a good girly book. 4/5 from me.

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Synopsis:

High in his attic bedroom, twelve-year-old David mourns the death of his mother, with only the books on his shelf for company. But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness. Angry and alone, he takes refuge in his imagination and soon finds that reality and fantasy have begun to meld. While his family falls apart around him, David is violently propelled into a world that is a strange reflection of his own — populated by heroes and monsters and ruled by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a mysterious book, The Book of Lost Things

I didn’t know what to expect when I started this, but in truth: I loved it. John Connolly has played with the idea of fairy tales and children’s nightmares – he has taken them and made them into an adventure. The story centres around David, a boy whose life changes when his mother dies. His father re-marries and they move to the country. There David finds himself spending most of his time in the attic surrounded by old books. World War 2 is taking place, and one night, having thought he had heard his mother calling him David goes into the garden, just as a German bomber crash lands. David finds himself transported into another world. Here he faces wolves that have started to morph into men, monsters and Crooked Man.

I loved what Connolly did with this. The wolves, or Loups, came out of the story of Little Red Riding Hood, the monster which followed David came from his nightmares and the enchantress in the tower came from Rapunzel. Connolly has taken these childhood fairy tales and made them into violent, adult stories, and battles which David has to face. The worst for me was the Crooked Man, who steals children to expand his life. The descriptions of his actions and his torture chambers were horrific and not for the faint hearted.

I wouldn’t call this book scary but it is intense and some of the things David and his friends fight are quite chilling. This is quite violent and graphic, but so readable. I didn’t want to put this down, I was engrossed. I wanted to know what David would have to battle, what happened to the king and how the story would end. This book was exciting and full of adventure. There was not a dull moment in this book.

I loved the characters Connolly created and how they evolved. At first I felt empathy for David, then I was anxious for his welfare, and by the end I was confident in him and happily cheering him on. He matured and became fearless, and I liked how things worked out for him. The men who helped David were courageous and fun to read. I loved the dwarfs the most. They are not like they are in Snow White – and neither is she in this book. All I could do was laugh at the situation and their attitudes – they were very funny!

There was nothing to dislike about this book. I can easily give it 5/5. I loved it 🙂

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This week (Sunday to Saturday) I will only read books on my To Be Shelf! I have a lot of work to do on my dissertation so I am only hoping to get these two books read:

A Daughter’s Journey by Lyn Andrews

Whitethorn Woods by Maeve Binchy

Last night I finished The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly, which is also from my To Be Read pile, so I guess that counts towards this week’s challenge 🙂

Will you be joining in this week with the To Be Read challenge? Don’t forget to leave a comment 🙂

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