Rewind, recap; Weekly update w/e 24/03/19

I have to be honest. I have absolutely no idea where this past week has gone or what I have done. Don’t think it was anything of note or I’m certain I’d have remembered. I woke up (good start), went to work, came home, read, maybe ate something (that’s a given seeing as how I’ve been watching my weight increase) slept and hit repeat. And I think that’s been about it. Oh, went for a nearly ten mile walk on Sunday. That was nice.

Didn’t have a particularly productive week reading wise but I am still (just about) on schedule so I’ll take it. The last couple of books I’ve been reading have been really addictive and fast reads so that’s helped me a lot. Did something bookish though – I booked to go to a talk at Stafford Library featuring Carol Wyer and Noelle Holten. Really looking forward to that. I’m on a short week at work this week so writing this post while working on a bucket of cappuccino. Must remember to add that to my food planner …

This week I received a lovely haul of books. First up was copies of The Closer I Get by Paul Burston and The Last Stage by Louise Voss, both courtesy of Orenda Books. Very excited about those two. I also had a copy of The Island by Ragnar Jonasson from Michael Joseph but as I had a copy at Christmas too, that one has been rehomed with Mandie. Next up was a copy of The Forgotten Village by Lorna Cook from Avon and I treated myself to a book for research, Being a Detective by Stephen Wade and Stuart Gibbon.

Netgalley wise it was just the one book this week – Sleep by CL Taylor. I’m on the tour in a week or so. *Might* have bought a few books though. Kill the Messenger by Ed James; Into the Woods: How stories work and why we tell them by John Yorke; Hold by Michael Donkor; On My Life by Angela Clarke; The Story Keeper by Anna Mazzola; The Rumour by Lesley Kara; One More Lie by Amy Lloyd; The Suspect by Fiona Barton; Everything But The Truth by Gillian McAllister and Places in the Darkness by Chris Brookmyre.

I know, I know. Hopeless case.

Books I have read

Hold – Michael Donkor

Moving between Ghana and London, Hold is an intimate, powerful coming-of-age novel. It’s a story of friendship and family, shame and forgiveness; of learning what we should cling to, and when we need to let go.

‘You have to imagine. That’s how I told myself.’
‘Imagine what?’
‘Imagine that you are the kind of girl that can cope with it, even if you are not.’

Belinda knows how to follow the rules. She has learnt the right way to polish water glasses, to wash and fold a hundred handkerchiefs, and to keep a tight lid on memories of the village she left behind when she came to Kumasi to be a housegirl.

Mary is still learning the rules. Eleven years old and irrepressible, the young housegirl-in-training is the little sister Belinda never had.

Amma has had enough of the rules. A straight-A pupil at her exclusive South-London school, she has always been the pride of her Ghanaian parents. Until now. Watching their once-confident teenager grow sullen and wayward, they decide that sensible Belinda might be just the shining example Amma needs.

So Belinda is summoned from Ghana to London, to befriend a troubled girl who shows no desire for her friendship. She encounters a city as bewildering as it is exciting, and as she tries to impose order on her unsettling new world, Belinda’s phonecalls back home to Mary become a lifeline.

As the Brixton summer turns to autumn, Belinda and Amma are surprised to discover the beginnings of an unexpected kinship. But when the cracks in their defences open up, the secrets they have both been holding tight to threaten to seep out…

I read this book as part of the blog tour for the Dylan Thomas prize and if I wasn’t, in all likelihood, I wouldn’t have picked it up. I’m glad I did though as I found it to be a very well written and intriguing coming of age story based around a culture I know little of. At times moving you are faced with a story of two teenage girls fighting for their own identities in a culture which by tradition and religion would ultimately determine what they are meant to be. I’ll be reviewing on Wednesday but you can order a copy of the book here.

Sleep – CL Taylor

All Anna wants is to be able to sleep. But crushing insomnia, terrifying night terrors and memories of that terrible night are making it impossible. If only she didn’t feel so guilty…

To escape her past, Anna takes a job at a hotel on the remote Scottish island of Rum, but when seven guests join her, what started as a retreat from the world turns into a deadly nightmare.

Each of the guests have a secret, but one of them is lying – about who they are and why they’re on the island. There’s a murderer staying in the Bay View hotel. And they’ve set their sights on Anna.

Seven strangers. Seven secrets. One deadly lie.

Someone’s going to sleep and never wake up…

The million-copy bestseller is back in her darkest, twistiest book to date. Read it if you dare!

This book couldn’t have come at a better time. I thought my reading mo had lost its companion, jo, but I whizzed through Sleep in less than a day. Completely hooked from the off, I think there is a lot that folk can relate to in this book if not (hopefully not) the actual central story. So many twists and turns I think this is CL Taylor on top, top form. You can order a copy of the book here.

That was it but I would say that either I’m falling very lucky with my book choices or Sleep has kickstarted something in me as I am whizzing through my next read too. Relatively quiet on the blog (even more so this week) but here’s a reminder below:

Runaway – Claire MacLeary

Wildflower Park: Oopsy Daisy – Bella Osborne

The Follow – Paul Grzegorzek

Welcome to the Heady Heights – David F. Ross

The Courier – Kjell Ola Dahl

It’s an ever leaner week this week with only two guaranteed posts. A review of Rogue Killer by Leigh Russell and Hold by Michael Donkor.

I’m hoping to get quite a bit of reading done this week, maybe a few audio books on my way into work as that’s what I’ve been missing lately. Until then, here are the kitties. I’ve given up trying to keep them out of my room now and have taken to hiding my hair bands instead. You live and learn, right?

Have a fabulous week everyone. See you on the other side.

Jen

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