My Favourite Books of 2019

The time has come!! Time to look back at the amazing books that have made me laugh and cry in equal measures over 2019. And there has been a lot!!! Making this list never gets any easier!!

GoodReads informs me – I’d be so lost without it! – that I’ve managed to read 248 books this year! GoodReads 2019 Reading List  So that hasn’t helped me in narrowing my list down as so many books have made an impact on me this year, for various reasons!  But I’ve spent the last few days going through reviews and have come up with this list, of which I think there are 25 titles, of the books that have stayed with me the most. I could have easily done a Top 50 or 75! There’s been that many good books this year that I’m glad to have read!

So thank you to the authors and publishers of all the books on my ‘read’ pile this year as it’s been another unforgettable reading year and I’m already itching to start on those 2020 books!!

So, in no particular order, these are the books that have stood out the most for me in 2019 and been my favourite reads, all with 5 star ratings…. click on the book titles to take you to the GoodReads page….

DUCKS, NEWBURYPORT by LUCY ELLMAN

HE by JOHN CONNOLLY

THE FIVE by HALLIE RUBENHOLD

THE SECRET COMMONWEALTH by PHILIP PULLMAN

THE BUMBLEBEE FLIES ANYWAY by KATE BRADBURY

LEONARD AND HUNGRY PAUL by RONAN HESSION

BONE CHINA by LAURA PURCELL

THE HUNTINGFIELD PAINTRESS by PAMELA HOLMES

THE WARLOW EXPERIMENT by ALIX NATHAN

LANNY by MAX PORTER

RECURSION by BLAKE CROUCH

BIRD THERAPY by JOE HARKNESS

THE MURDER OF HARRIET MONCKTON by ELIZABETH HAYNES

THINGS IN JARS by JESS KIDD

THE OVERSTORY by RICHARD POWERS

CALL ME STAR GIRL by LOUISE BEECH

DAISY JONES & THE SIX by TAYLOR JENKINS REID

DARK MATTER by BLAKE CROUCH

LITTLE by EDWARD CAREY

WOLF COUNTRY by TUNDE FARRAND

THE SIX LOVES OF BILLY BINNS by RICHARD LUMSDEN

THE BEAT OF THE PENDULUM by CATHERINE CHIDGEY

THE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE LOST by CATHERINE SCOTT

THE WILD REMEDY by EMMA MITCHELL

THE CHOKE by SOFIE LAGUNA

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So there we have it! Any of your faves appear on this list?! Hope I’ve alerted you to a few different titles as well, as I always love looking through other bloggers lists to find books I’ve not heard much about!  And then hopefully I can add some of those to my faves for 2020………

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 28th December 2019

Hello!! Happy ‘it’s not Christmas’ anymore!  Didn’t it fly by quickly?! I’m even tempted now to take down the tree as it’s sitting there looking sad with no pressies underneath it anymore!

On the bookish front it’s been a very good week for bookhaul – My Christmas Bookhaul – and, despite the madness, it’s been quite good on the reading front with 4 books finished so I’m still pushing up my GoodReads total for the year!

BOOKS FINISHED

Estuary by Rachel Lichtenstein – 5 stars

One Christmas Star by Mandy Baggot – 4 stars

The Castle of Inside Out by David Henry Wilson – 4 stars

Inside Out by Demi Moore – 4 stars

BOOKPOST

I’ve stayed away from Netgalley!!!! It’s a Christmas miracle!!

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And in the post today I received a beautiful finished and signed copy of THE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE LOST by CAROLINE SCOTT which was a lovely surprise. I worked on the Blog Tour earlier in the year and couldn’t stop raving about this book – it’s in my favourite reads of the year post (coming soon!) – and it was just lovely to be thanked in this way!

CURRENTLY READING

THE FOUNDLING by STACEY HALLS

reading/listening to this via the Pigeonhole app

London, 1754.

Six years after leaving her illegitimate daughter Clara at London’s Foundling Hospital, Bess Bright returns to reclaim the child she has never known. Dreading the worst – that Clara has died in care – the last thing she expects to hear is that her daughter has already been reclaimed – by her. Her life is turned upside down as she tries to find out who has taken her little girl – and why. Less than a mile from Bess’ lodgings in the city, in a quiet, gloomy townhouse on the edge of London, a young widow has not left the house in a decade. When her close friend – an ambitious young doctor at the Foundling Hospital – persuades her to hire a nursemaid for her daughter, she is hesitant to welcome someone new into her home and her life. But her past is threatening to catch up with her and tear her carefully constructed world apart.

From the bestselling author of The Familiars, and set against the vibrant backdrop of Georgian London, The Foundling explores families, secrets, class, equality, power and the meaning of motherhood.

WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE by SHIRLEY JACKSON

Living in the Blackwood family home with only her sister Constance and her Uncle Julian for company, Merricat just wants to preserve their delicate way of life. But ever since Constance was acquitted of murdering the rest of the family, the world isn’t leaving the Blackwoods alone. And when Cousin Charles arrives, armed with overtures of friendship and a desperate need to get into the safe, Merricat must do everything in her power to protect the remaining family. This Penguin edition includes an afterword by the acclaimed novelist Joyce Carol Oates.

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HAPPY READING!

My Christmas 2019 Bookhaul #bookstack

Hello!!! Just thought I would share a little post abut my Christmas Book Haul as I’ve been very lucky to have been spoilt by Santa, family and friends this year! And I know how much I enjoy looking at what other people got for Christmas! Nosey lot aren’t we!! Ooh got a cute Puffin cushion too so he wanted in on the photo!!

Click on the link to take you to the GoodReads blurb page!

Pan’s Labryinth by Guillermo del Toro

The Boy, The Fox, The Mole and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy

Starling Days by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

Things We Say In The Dark by Kirsty Logan

The Ten Loves of Mr Nishino by Hiromi Kawakami

Transcription by Kate Atkinson

The Gospel Of Loki by Joanne M.Harris

Runelight by Joanne M Harris

Runemarks by Joanne M Harris

We Have Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson

Anyone read any of these?! A number of them have been on my wishlist for a while so it’s nice to finally have my grubby little mitts on them!

There was also a couple of other bookish related gifts I received including a day to day calendar – 1,000 books to read before you die! –  which should add a few more books to my TBR pile and also a BOOK BUCKET LIST notebook which is nicely sectioned with places to write reviews, book shopping lists, favourite quotes etc!

So did you get any bookish  gifts this Christmas!?  I’ve also been lucky enough to receive some book tokens so I’m already having fun putting together a list of what I’m planning on spending those on! Watch this space for the arrival of more books coming soon!!

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#BookReview INSIDE OUT by DEMI MOORE #nonfiction #LibraryLoveChallenge

ABOUT THE  BOOK

Famed American actress Demi Moore at last tells her own story in a surprisingly intimate and emotionally charged memoir.

For decades, Demi Moore has been synonymous with celebrity. From iconic film roles to high-profile relationships, Moore has never been far from the spotlight—or the headlines.

Even as Demi was becoming the highest paid actress in Hollywood, however, she was always outrunning her past, just one step ahead of the doubts and insecurities that defined her childhood. Throughout her rise to fame and during some of the most pivotal moments of her life, Demi battled addiction, body image issues, and childhood trauma that would follow her for years—all while juggling a skyrocketing career and at times negative public perception. As her success grew, Demi found herself questioning if she belonged in Hollywood, if she was a good mother, a good actress—and, always, if she was simply good enough.

As much as her story is about adversity, it is also about tremendous resilience. In this deeply candid and reflective memoir, Demi pulls back the curtain and opens up about her career and personal life—laying bare her tumultuous relationship with her mother, her marriages, her struggles balancing stardom with raising a family, and her journey toward open heartedness. Inside Out is a story of survival, success, and surrender—a wrenchingly honest portrayal of one woman’s at once ordinary and iconic life.

my review

This was a really fascinating insight into the life of a movie star – from a trouble and very unconventional childhood, through to dealing with fame and the stresses of family life in the public eye.


I love watching her films so to get a glimpse of the life she was living off camera was a real eye opener and
she wasn’t afraid to share the darker side of her life, alongside the good times, and it was so interesting to look back on her childhood and the impact that her warring parents had on her and how she never had a settled home life.


I loved reading about the ‘brat pack’ movies she was part of along with her marriages to Bruce Willis and Ashton Kucher, and how motherhood was the time she felt happiest and content. I never knew about the ill health she suffered as a child and how addictions really plagued her and seeing her childhood you can understand why she often sought comfort in the wrong things.


There are some great photographs as well which I always love to see in a memoir and it was fascinating to read about the good, the bad and the ugly parts of her life. Many shy away from confronting the darker times in their life but she speaks honestly about the self doubt she was plagued by and how she tried, and often failed, as a mother to bring some stability to her children despite the fact she never had that when she was growing up.


It’s always nice to see behind the tabloid stories and get a different perspective on someone  in the public eye and I found this memoir refreshingly honest and quick and easy to read as well!


★★★★

#MusicMonday LAST CHRISTMAS by WHAM

Ho Ho Ho!! Merry Music Monday to you all!  A weekly tag hosted by The Grinch himself (!), Drew at The Tattooed Book Geek which gives us a chance to share our favourite music each week!

And there could be no other choice this week than a festive tune! Turn the volume off and look away now if you’re still in Whamaggeddon!! I got caught at a garden centre the other week so I’m out so I can play this song as loud as I want now!

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart
But the very next day you gave it away
This year, to save me from tears
I’ll give it to someone special

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart
But the very next day you gave it away
This year, to save me from tears
I’ll give it to someone special

Once bitten and twice shy
I keep my distance
But you still catch my eye
Tell me, baby
Do you recognize me?
Well, it’s been a year
It doesn’t surprise me
(Merry Christmas!) I wrapped it up and sent it
With a note saying, “I love you, ” I meant it
Now, I know what a fool I’ve been
But if you kissed me now
I know you’d fool me again

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart
But the very next day you gave it away
This year, to save me from tears
I’ll give it to someone special

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart
But the very next day you gave it away
This year, to save me from tears
I’ll give it to someone special

A crowded room, friends with tired eyes
I’m hiding from you, and your soul of ice
My god, I thought you were someone to rely on
Me? I guess I was a shoulder to cry on

A face on a lover with a fire in his heart
A man under cover but you tore me apart
Now, I’ve found a real love you’ll never fool me again

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart
But the very next day you gave it away
This year, to save me from tears
I’ll give it to someone special

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart
But the very next day you gave it away
This year, to save me from tears
I’ll give it to someone special

A face on a lover with a fire in his heart
A man under cover but you tore him apart
Maybe next year I’ll give it to someone
I’ll give it to someone special

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: George Michael

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 21st December 2019

Season’s Greetings to you!! We made it to Christmas!! AArrggghhh!!  And dspite he tree finally being put up, I’m still not feeling in a festive mood! Maybe the mood will hit me in the New Year!

I can tell it’s Christmas though as my reading mojo has disappeared! I appear to be on a go slow! Not good when I’m trying to get ahead and start on the 2020 books – before Santa brings me a load of new books!  But I have managed to fit in 3 books this week, visited Netgalley to add 3 more to the overloaded shelves there, and even sneaked in visit to the library to bring home 2 more books!  Here’s my look back..

BOOKS FINISHED

The Twelve Strange Days of Christmas by Syd Moore – 4 stars

a frightening and fun short story collection!

The Secret Messenger by Mandy Robotham – 4 stars

enthralling historical fiction set over a dual timeline

The Sight Of You by Holly Miller – 5 stars

Out June 2020 – read via the Secret Readers app

made me sob!!

BOOKHAUL

time for a look at Netgalley newbies!

THE 24 HOUR CAFE by LIBBY PAGE

out January 2020

Welcome to the café that never sleeps. Day and night Stella’s Café opens its doors for the lonely and the lost, the morning people and the night owls. It is many things to many people but most of all it is a place where life can wait at the door. A place of small kindnesses. A place where anyone can be whoever they want, where everyone is always welcome.

Meet Hannah and Mona: best friends, waitresses, dreamers. They work at Stella’s but they dream of more, of leaving the café behind and making their own way in life.

Come inside and spend twenty-four hours at Stella’s Café; a day when Hannah and Mona’s friendship will be tested, when the community will come together and when lives will be changed…

THE MERCIES by KIRAN MILLWOOD HARGRAVE

out February 2020

Finnmark, Norway, 1617. Twenty-year-old Maren Magnusdatter stands on the craggy coast, watching the sea break into a sudden and reckless storm. Forty fishermen, including her brother and father, are drowned and left broken on the rocks below. With the menfolk wiped out, the women of the tiny Arctic town of Vardø must fend for themselves.

Three years later, a sinister figure arrives. Absalom Cornet comes from Scotland, where he burned witches in the northern isles. He brings with him his young Norwegian wife, Ursa, who is both heady with her husband’s authority and terrified by it. In Vardø, and in Maren, Ursa sees something she has never seen before: independent women. But Absalom sees only a place untouched by God, and flooded with a mighty evil.

As Maren and Ursa are drawn to one another in ways that surprise them both, the island begins to close in on them, with Absalom’s iron rule threatening Vardø’s very existence.

Inspired by the real events of the Vardø storm and the 1621 witch trials, The Mercies is a story of love, evil, and obsession, set at the edge of civilization.

STAUNCH by ELEANOR WOOD

out March 2020

A late 30s The Wrong Knickers meets Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Eleanor finds herself in her late 30s on a beach in India with three old ladies, trying to ‘find herself’ and ‘discover her family history’ like some sad middle-class crisis cliché. How did she get here?

Truthfully, it could be for any one of the below reasons, if not all combined:

• Stepmum dying/Stepdad leaving – family falling apart, subsequent psychotic break; both parents now on third marriage
• Breaking up with J after 12 years – breaking up a whole life, a whole fucking universe – for reasons that may have been… misguided?
• New boyfriend moving in immediately, me insisting ‘it’s not a rebound!’ even after everyone has stopped listening, being cited in his messy divorce, him being sectioned, then breaking up with me
• Going into therapy after dating a potentially violent, certainly threatening, narcissist (the most pertinent point of which should be noted: I did not break up with him – he ghosted me)

How to address this situation? Take a trip to India with your octogenarian nan and two great aunts of course. The perfect, if somewhat unusual, distraction from Eleanor’s ongoing crisis.

But the trip offers so much more than Eleanor could ever have hoped for.

Through the vivid and worldly older women in her life, she learns what it means to be staunch in the face of true adversity.

Library Haul

INSIDE OUT by DEMI MOORE

Famed American actress Demi Moore at last tells her own story in a surprisingly intimate and emotionally charged memoir.

For decades, Demi Moore has been synonymous with celebrity. From iconic film roles to high-profile relationships, Moore has never been far from the spotlight—or the headlines.

Even as Demi was becoming the highest paid actress in Hollywood, however, she was always outrunning her past, just one step ahead of the doubts and insecurities that defined her childhood. Throughout her rise to fame and during some of the most pivotal moments of her life, Demi battled addiction, body image issues, and childhood trauma that would follow her for years—all while juggling a skyrocketing career and at times negative public perception. As her success grew, Demi found herself questioning if she belonged in Hollywood, if she was a good mother, a good actress—and, always, if she was simply good enough.

As much as her story is about adversity, it is also about tremendous resilience. In this deeply candid and reflective memoir, Demi pulls back the curtain and opens up about her career and personal life—laying bare her tumultuous relationship with her mother, her marriages, her struggles balancing stardom with raising a family, and her journey toward open heartedness. Inside Out is a story of survival, success, and surrender—a wrenchingly honest portrayal of one woman’s at once ordinary and iconic life. 

ESTUARY; OUT FROM LONDON TO THE SEA by RACHEL LICHTENSTEIN

The Thames Estuary is one of the world’s great deltas, providing passage in and out of London for millennia. It is silted up with the memories and artefacts of past voyages. It is the habitat for an astonishing range of wildlife. And for the people who live and work on the estuary, it is a way of life unlike any other – one most would not trade for anything, despites its dangers.

Rachel Lichtenstein has travelled the length and breadth of the estuary many times and in many vessels, from hardy tug boats to stately pleasure cruisers to an inflatable dinghy. And during these crossing she has gathered an extraordinary chorus of voices: mudlarkers and fishermen, radio pirates and champion racers, the men who risk their lives out on the water and the women who wait on the shore.

From the acclaimed author of Brick Lane and Rodinsky’s Room, Estuary is a thoughtful and intimate portrait of a profoundly British place. With a clear eye and a sharp ear, Rachel Lichtenstein captures the essence of a community and an environment, examining how each has shaped and continues to shape the other.

THE CASTLE OF INSIDE OUT by DAVID HENRY WILSON 

Alma Classics Edition

Lorina, a young schoolgirl, is led by a black rabbit through a wood to a magical land. There she finds a race of green people, who are all overworked, starving and suffering from the toxic fumes billowing out of a nearby castle. She decides to gain access to the castle for the poor green people, and within its walls she meets the “insiders”, selfish creatures who hoard all the resources and treat the outsiders as slaves. Her quest leads her to encounter the bureaurat, the superviper, the farmadillo and, eventually, the awful Piggident himself.Will she be able to save the green people from the cruelty of these “insiders”?

CURRENTLY READING

SNOW, DOG, FOOT by Claudio Morandini

published by Peirene Press

Publication – February 2020

When winter comes, man and dog are snowed in. With stocks of wine and bread depleted, they pass the time squabbling over scraps, debating who will eat the other first. Spring brings a more sinister discovery that threatens to break Adelmo Farandola’s already faltering grip on reality: a man’s foot poking out of the receding snow.

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Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas an dhope Santa brings you lots of books!!

#BookReview THE TWELVE STRANGE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS by SYD MOORE

ABOUT THE BOOK

Christmas is around the corner…so too are all manner of spooky apparitions at the Essex Witch Museum

Feisty Rosie Strange can’t seem to catch a break. The past always seems to come knocking in Adders Fork, forcing her and partner Sam Stone to investigate. In this collection of twelve short stories, Rosie and Sam are seen to do battle with all manner of creepy ghosts.


Published by  Point Blank Books


PURCHASE LINKS


Amazon

hive.co.uk

whsmith

Author Website

MY REVIEW


A short story collection full of the frightening and the fun and I loved the variety of the stories included as they seemed to be a little bit of everything, which was perfect for dipping into on a dark evening – even if it meant I had some rather peculiar dreams/nightmares afterwards!!

Linked to the Essex Witch Museum series – of which I still have a couple to catch up with – this collection is a mix of the weird and wonderful, the dark and twisted and all set in a variety of locations and featuring a range of different characters! It’s not full on horror and gore, but often the more subtle sides to the supernatural, which can often be the most unsettling!

My favourites were In The Bag – a possessed hoover anyone?!!!! – and The House on Savage Lane which was the darkest tale for me and quite terrifying! There are ghostly goings on galore, evil cats and the Reaper and I just really enjoyed the different mix of stories and it’s just made me even more eager to revisit the Essex Witch Museum series in full – bring on even more weird nightmares for me!!


★★★★