WWW Wednesday (16-01-2019)

WWW Wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a book list hosted by Taking on a World of Words, and I’m happy to participate today.

The three W’s are:
What did you recently finish reading?
What are you currently reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

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What I finished reading:

I loved the YA novel One of Us Is Lying (it was on my fav list in 2017) so I couldn’t believe my luck when I was invited to read the sequel Two Can Keep A Secret. It’s enjoyable and entertaining so it’s a good read but I still feel her debut One of Us is Lying was better. I was expecting bigger and more shocking twists but they never really came. I’m still gathering my thoughts to draw up a review.

Two Can Keep A Secret by Karen McManus

TwoCanKeepASecret def 

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What I’m reading now:

I signed up for the blog tour of The Woman Inside and I don’t sign up often for book tours so it’s obvious that the book blurb sounded very interesting. I always love a game of cat and mouse 🙂 but this is quite a deadly game it turns out. I like it although you have to suspend some belief about what’s happening.

The Woman Inside by E.G. Scott

TheWomanInside def

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What I’ll (probably) read soon:

A lovely blogfriend recommended and praised this book so highly that I decided to go for it and request it on Netgalley.

The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts

Blank bookcover with clipping path

The Flower Girls. Laurel and Primrose.

One convicted of murder, the other given a new identity.

Now, nineteen years later, another child has gone missing.

And The Flower Girls are about to hit the headlines all over again…

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New BFF: Reviews by Chloe

BFF

Happy Wednesday everyone! Maybe I can brighten your day a little bit by introducing my very lovely blogfriend Chloé.

She’s such a sweetheart, I mean it! We would probably never ever meet and work together irl (science, really?!) but as for reading we are definitely a perfect match, I love ALL the books she reads! She also seems to love pizza as much as I do so she’s on my list of bloggers I really want to meet someday :-). Maybe she can explain me a little about her favorite app Instagram then too.

Before we get to the interview, don’t forget to check some of the reviews she posted on her blog Reviews by Chloé, where you can find books, books and more books :-). Done? OK let’s get down to it:

QandA

Name: Chloé Douglas

Age: 27

Birthday: end of October

What did you study or do you study now / what is your current job? I’m a science nerd and have two degrees to prove it! I have worked in both the nuclear and rail industry and love nothing more than spreadsheets, calculations and writing a good paper!

Do you have any other hobbies? I love going out for walks especially at National Trust places all over the UK, there are some absolutely incredible places that you can explore and they usually always have a handy walking map to show you the trails.

Erddig-Cup-And-Saucer

I am also an avid Formula 1 fan, so often I spend my weekend watching that!

F1

Your favourite color? Yellow! It’s been my favourite colour since I was very small! I don’t tend to wear it (although mustard seems to work on me!) but I love having yellow themed items

Cloe1.png

Do you collect anything (besides books)? I don’t think I’ve got room to collect anything else! But I am obsessed with stationery so you could probably say I collect that… as who needs 20 notebooks all at the same time!

What’s the name of the book that you’ve had the longest? Have you read it? I feel like I’d have to ask my mum! Maybe The Tale of Peter Rabbit? I have definitely read that a few times… the pages prove that!

Have you ever regretted a book you purchased? A book that sounded so promising but you wished you’d have spent your money on another book after reading it? The Essex Serpent – I was really, really looking forward to reading it, bloggers had raved about it, colleagues were reading it etc. I just assumed I would like it. I couldn’t seem to find it anywhere other than Waterstones, so I believe it was purchased at full RRP price and I don’t think I got past 50 pages. I wish I had just gone to the local supermarket and spent the money on a few paperbacks! Although it still sits wistfully staring at me from my DNF pile, I do hope that one day I pick it up.

Blurb

London, 1893. When Cora Seaborne’s controlling husband dies, she steps into her new life as a widow with as much relief as sadness. Along with her son Francis – a curious, obsessive boy – she leaves town for Essex, in the hope that fresh air and open space will provide refuge.

On arrival, rumours reach them that the mythical Essex Serpent, once said to roam the marshes claiming lives, has returned to the coastal parish of Aldwinter. Cora, a keen amateur naturalist with no patience for superstition, is enthralled, convinced that what the local people think is a magical beast may be a yet-undiscovered species. As she sets out on its trail, she is introduced to William Ransome, Aldwinter’s vicar, who is also deeply suspicious of the rumours, but thinks they are a distraction from true faith.

As he tries to calm his parishioners, Will and Cora strike up an intense relationship, and although they agree on absolutely nothing, they find themselves at once drawn together and torn apart, affecting each other in ways that surprise them both.
The Essex Serpent is a celebration of love, and the many different shapes it can take.

Do you listen to audio books? I do and I don’t. When I was a child, my grandmother bought me Harry Potter tapes and I used to listen to them to fall asleep in the evenings…. and after so many years I still do, although now I’ve got them on my iPhone! But other than falling asleep to Harry Potter, I don’t think I have listened to one.

Harry Potter tapes

Do you have a favorite genre? I’ll go broad and just say the Thriller genre. Usually I’m more specific and state it’s psychological thrillers, but at the moment I am enjoying legal and crime thrillers a lot!

What is the book highest on your wishlist right now? I absolutely ADORED The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances and I’ve just spotted that she has a new book out now called The Temp. I can not wait to get my hands on it, it’s already sitting in my amazon wish list… just waiting for my excuse to hit BUY!

Michelle Frances graduated from Bournemouth Film School and then from the Masters programme at the American Film Institute, Los Angeles. Returning to London, she has worked for several years in film and TV as a script editor and producer for both the independent sector and the BBC. Find out more at http://michellefrancesbooks.com

How is your library organized? I have two main bookshelves, one is organised by colour which looks beautiful but only contains finished books so I don’t touch it and ruin it! The other is organised in piles of TBRs, DNFs and books I’ve completed.

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Do you read more ebooks or physical books? Physical books, I’m not a big fan of eBooks (although I will read them occasionally, maybe 1 to 5 a year), I just love holding a book in my hands and being able to see how far in I am, smell that fresh book smell, walk through bookstores and pick a special book etc…

BookSniffing

 

Do you have a favorite book? Ok this might not be my favourite but it’s definitely my most memorable – The Litigators by John Grisham. Before that book, I’d been in a bit of a reading slump and only picking up maybe 1 to 2 books a month, but after reading The Litigators, I became obsessed with reading all over again and was picking up 2 books a week… and have ever since!

What’s the cover in your collection that you’re most proud of? It would have to be one of these two: Little Women and A Little Princess. Both of these books have such a big place in my heart from my childhood so when I saw these special edition covers I had to buy them, even though I’ve already got copies of them both!

Cloe3

Do you have any idea how many books you own? <100, >100, >200, >300 …? Over 300, probably more like 600? I tend to hoard books and never give them away!

Book hoarder

What’s the title of the last book you purchased? Typical me…. I bought five books: Copy Cat by Alex Lake, Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane, The Darkness Within by Lisa Stone, Shame On You by Amy Heydenrych and Odd Child Out by Gilly Macmillan. These were all on offer on amazon so I scooped them up for less than a tenner!

What was your favorite author when you were a child? JK Rowling, without a doubt. I grew up near enough same age as Harry each year so I really related to the books and I loved that everyone around me was reading the same book, so that I could discuss them all day long!

From which author do you have most books? Definitely John Grisham, I think I have nearly all his books. I LOVE his books! (Although I do agree with my fellow Grisham fans – the last few are not as good 😦 )

Are there books you’ve read 2 or 3 times? No, for some reason I have never been able to read a book a second time. I have tried, but within the first ten pages the entire plot comes back to me and it seems pointless to re read, since there are so many lovely other books out there in the world for me to read!

How many books are there on your Goodreads challenge this year and how many have you read already? I don’t use Goodreads for my challenge as I tend to just use my diary to tally my books. My aim last year was to read 100 books and I ended up reading 103 – very happy with that. I’m aiming for the same again this year, another 100. I’m on my third book this year, having finished Scrublands by Chris Hammer and Blackberry and Wild Rose by Sonia Velton – both AMAZING books btw! I’m currently reading the Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle.

Can you spell your name with the first letters of titles in your book case ?

Chloe name in books

(The) Cactus by Sarah Haywood
(The) Honeymoon by Tina Seskis,
Lie With Me By Sabine Durrant,
Our House by Louise Candlish,
Eve of Man by Giovanna & Tom Fletcher

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In case you missed it, here are the 5 last BFF’s (Blog Friends Forever) I posted about. If you want to read the previous posts, you can find the tab with links on my home page.

Vera – Unfiltered Tales
Kelly – Another Book In The Wall
Zoë – What’s Better Than Books
Umut – Umut Reviews
Luci – Lunarlucibooks

I don’t want my BFF club to be complete just yet! There’s still room for plenty more so give me a shout if you want to be featured in April! 

Happy New Year! #personal announcement and bookish resolutions

New Year

 

Happy 2019 everyone.. my best wishes to you all!

I can’t believe another year has flown by! It’s been a year of ups and downs, for me as a blogger and on a personal level. I have to admit the personal part really affected the blogging part too sometimes.

If I look back I have to admit it was actually quite a stressful year for me. The source of most of it is the fact that *official announcement following now* I have bought my own crib this year and I’m moving house (or appartement really) in 2020! I know it’s still a long time but I’ve been sitting on this news for 6 months already and I thought it’d be nice to finally share.

It might sound silly but I really pushed my limits this year. I had to make a life-changing decision (oh horror) and I’m really not good at making decisions, I had to meet strangers at banks for a loan, negotiate, have grown-up talk… it was all way out of my very introvert comfort zone (I need a printed route when I go somewhere new and have to virtually go over it at least 5 times beforehand, just to let you know I’m not as easy as other people with the unknown) and I had a serious dip in July that even made me go to the doctor for something to control these overwhelming feelings. I also felt very lonely. They only gave me stupid homeopathic pills that didn’t do anything though but I pulled through regardless and I did it, the deed is signed and I have a loan I’m already paying back.

Stage 2 is still to come in 2020  – the moving part – which won’t be easy either and I don’t look forward to the practical side or the emotional side of it all but there’s no way back now (you can’t imagine how many times I have wished for it though).

I will have lived ‘here’ for almost 20 years by then (11 years with my boyfriend/husband and the rest on my own) so saying goodbye pains me already but the owner is selling the building (with 2 apartments) which means I have had visitors coming over the floor almost every week for over 5 months and yes the wait to hear someone wants to buy (please not yet) is also very stressful. I don’t want to be kicked out yet and even if they let me stay at first I don’t know if I can stay on for years so I don’t want to wait. My grandmother also sold her house last year, lives with my parents now and gifted me a certain amount of money and thirdly it’s just better for me to live in a city, especially when I’m getting older, because I don’t have a car (or license) and everything seems so far away and it makes life just more difficult. It’s a way of taking care of myself really. Sometimes your head tells you what you have to do even if your heart isn’t completely in it.

But there you go, I made a decision for the best, not feeling very happy atm but I hope that will come when I’m settled. It’s all still a long way to go but here you can see where I’ll be (on the fourth floor so not really):

App 01

App 02

It should become this:

Appartement

It’s going to be as big as I live now (which isn’t so big at all, only 70m²) and I’m already worried how to fit all my books in ;-). I’ll make it work though, don’t worry about that.

So for 2019 I’m going to try and be happy and I’m also going to try and have more positive thoughts.

As for the blog:

1. I plan to take it easy this year about posting. In the past I was very strict and posted like clockwork on Monday, Wednesday and Sunday. It needed to be this way, nice and clean and I wanted to meet everyone’s expectations but ever since I broke the rhythm I’m strangely okay with it. Nobody’s forgetting about me if I skip one of these days and ok my OCD side isn’t too happy how my blogging bar looks but I can live with it, I can :-).

2. I hope to read more of my own books this year. Wait didn’t I already say this last year? Well I did read some but maybe not as much as I planned.

I’m setting my Goodreads challenge this year on the same number as last year and the year before because I’m fairly sure I can reach my goal. In 2018 I read 69 books and my challenge was set at 60. In 2017 I read 65 and in 2015 I also read 69 books.

3. I haven’t read a series last year because it’s so hard to keep up but I really want to try to read at least one this year. I have several in mind: I want to read Carol Wyer’s series of Natalie Ward, I want to read Angela Marson’s series, I still haven’t read all the books by Robert Bryndza, I haven’t started Helen Fields’ books yet although I have an ecopy of book 1..

On a final note, I only want to thank YOU for being here for me last year, for commenting and reading. I have had almost 30.000 total views (and 14.500 visitors) last year which is so amazing! It has warmed my heart, it has helped me with my confidence, it has done more for me than you know. I hope to see you again and again this year and I wish you all the best!

So there you have it, my resolutions for this year. What about yours?

Pieces of Me by Natalie Hart #BookReview

PiecesofMe def

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Emma did not go to war looking for love, but Adam is unlike any other.

Under the secret shadow of trauma, Emma decides to leave Iraq and joins Adam to settle in Colorado. But isolation and fear find her, once again, when Adam is re-deployed.

Torn between a deep fear for Adam’s safety and a desire to be back there herself, Emma copes by throwing herself into a new role mentoring an Iraqi refugee family.

But when Adam comes home, he brings the conflict back with him. Emma had onsidered the possibility that her husband might not come home from war. She had not considered that he might return a stranger.

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

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Pieces of Me is a novel told in 3 separate parts: pre-deployment, during deployment and past-deployment, told through Emma’s POV.

I enjoyed this poignant novel as a whole but the first part is definitely my favorite because it’s the most happy and romantic part of the novel. It’s here that Emma works (as a civilian) in the International Zone (or IZ) where she spends her days helping people with their visa applications and meets Adam. I not only loved reading how they met but I felt I was invited to a very interesting sneak peek behind the scenes of camp life in a war zone. As an outsider you never really know what goes on at a base camp and how you should imagine their daily life. Reading this made me feel as if I was momentarily there too. This author must have true knowledge because it was written so naturally, it certainly felt as a slice of true life. People have quite normal lives and just like everybody, they do things outside of work too. Emma also goes to the bar, follows yoga lessons and spends her Friday afternoons at the pool with the friend she made (not only to Emma, this felt contradictory to me too that you could simply sit around a pool in a war zone). The war is never really far away though, sometimes there are bomb threats and is the danger close by. It was touching, hard and sad to read how the war can tear that little bubble apart in an instant.

In the second part of the novel Adam leaves for another mission and Emma stays at home. Adapting to a normal life clearly isn’t easy. Emma admits that there’s a longing to be there, to go on an adventure too, that is difficult to admit. She stays behind and is trying to find a purpose. She placed me in her shoes effortlessly and I could feel her loneliness, how she doesn’t belong nor here nor there and how she misses her husband. When he finally comes back in the third part something has changed though, he’s maybe even further away from her then when he was really overseas. The novel shows how grief and PTSD can cause a wedge between the tightest of couples. I felt an overwhelming sadness for Adam and Emma and what the war did to them, and I wished nothing more than that they would find each other again.

This was a great and interesting novel. The only remark I want to make is that I expected the ‘pieces of glass’ that Emma collects over time (hence the wonderful cover) and which I thought was a wonderful and clever idea in the book would play a bigger part in the end and that they would form a pinnacle, a closure of sorts, an acceptance and gratefulness for every important moment she had. I don’t feel this received the attention it deserved or that I really saw what they became in the end.

Pieces of Me is a touching novel about the impact of a deployment on a couple. They go through a myriad of emotions and were able to touch me too. It was really well-written and I can recommend this novel if you enjoyed The Flight of Cordelia Blackwood.

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher, Legend Press, in exchange for my honest opinion.

Same book, different cover #09

battle-of-the-books

I’m back with 5 new book covers to pick and choose your favorite one. This is just for fun so there are no wrong answers! OK, I’ll go first, then it’s up to you:

An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

AnUnwantedGuest  An Unwanted Guest 02

I pick cover 1. It pops out more and I’m not a fan of winter at all so maybe that’s why I’m not attracted to the cold cover nr. 2.

The Confession by Jo Spain

The Confession 02  The Confession 01  The Confession 03

Number 3. Then number 2. Not number 1 :-). Number 1 could be used as well for the cover of The Breakdown by B.A. Paris. The third cover gives something away about this novel and the first and second don’t really.

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

 The Kiss Quotient 01  The Kiss Quotient 02

I kind of like them both. The quotient sign in the title of the first cover is a nice addition but my final choice is cover 2 because of the color.

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier 

Jar of Hearts 01  Jar of Hearts 02

The most difficult choice of all. Maybe a slight advantage for cover 1 over number 2 because I do like the red petals, they catch my attention immediately.

Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

Last Time I Lied 02  Last Time I Lied 01

Cover 1. His first novel, Final Girls, had pink edges and I like how the same technique – with another colour – is repeated in the second novel. If you have both novels it’s going to be lovely to look at  🙂

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So that’s it. Tell me your thoughts! If you can’t get enough, check out Battle Of The Books #1 – #2#3 – #4 – #5#6 – #7#8

My favourite reads of 2018

 

Top 10 favs

Here it is, THE LIST! Why did I choose these books? Well because these are the books that were the most surprising, the most emotional, the most twisty turny and sensational of all the books I read this year.

I had a top 10 initially but then I started seeing bloggers list more than 10 books and I saw titles that I wanted on my list too so I eventually added them to my selection and ended up with 15 favorites this year.

You might agree, you might disagree, and you’re very welcome to tell me, but here’s what I chose for my top 15:

Hydra by Matt Wesolowski

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Keeper by Johana Gustawsson

Where The Light Gets In by Lucy Dillon

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

The Fear by C.L. Taylor

The Man Who Didn’t Call by Rosie Walsh

Guess Who by Chris McGeorge

A Scorned Woman by Jack Jordan

Never Go There by Rebecca Tinnelly

Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

Resin by Ane Riel

The Corset by Laura Purcell

If you were to ask me for my number one and most favorite book of the year then I have to say I was absolutely the most surprised by The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle!

If you like to see my favorites of last year and the year before, you can find them in my Home menu under the Reading tab or here: Top 10 2017Top 10 2016

I can’t wait to see what’s in your favorites list! Are there any from my list on yours?

Reading in a new book format (since 2009) #dwarsligger #flipback

Dwarsligger

Do you know what a ‘dwarsligger‘ is? I happen to have a few of these at home so I’ll explain it a little and then I’ll show you my small collection.

A dwarsligger is a teeny tiny book the size of a small smartphone with text that is printed horizontally (hence the Dutch name which basically means something similar to ‘landscape’). One page of a conventional book is printed on two horizontal pages of 8 x 12 cm.

It was a publisher of Christian books that invented this new book format in 2009. If you haven’t heard of it it’s probably because there were only Dutch titles at first, then in 2010 there was a launch on the Spanish market and a year later Hodder and Stoughton published some titles in English (using the term flipback) but it’s only now in 2018 that it’s growing even more with Penguin Books who will publish John Green’s titles in the US. Good going, right?!

So the dwarsligger/flipback is held horizontally and the idea is that you can flip the pages with one hand. It’s ideal if you commute and you only have one hand free. The paper is super thin, similar to the pages of the Bible. I personally really like the idea of the format but I’m not a fan of the paper.

So here’s my little collection. They are all numbered at the back too so you can easily keep track of the ones you already have. I think I’ve only read one of them since I had them though (as a birthday gift some 10 years ago), but maybe I should give it another chance. I have to admit that it IS indeed a great idea if you go somewhere where you’re not supposed to take a book with you, it’s so small it fits in the pocket of your jeans ;-), or if you go on vacation and you want to read a paper copy.

Dwarsligger 1

If you don’t have a lot of space in your library, then this is a great solution to invest in, it’s very compact :-).

Dwarsligger 2

As for the price, it’s a little bit cheaper than a regular book but not that much. It’s 12,50 euro (most books have a price set at 19,99 euro, some 13,95 euro). It might be a lot cheaper in other countries though, as it is with traditional books.

Dwarsligger 3

I read there also exist special leather pockets to keep them in (gah that’s so cute!)

If you want to read more about it and see all the titles they already have (close to 500 in Dutch), you can check out the sites about the Flipbackbook (in English) or Dwarsligger (in Dutch).

So what do you think? Would you ever consider reading one of these babies? Why not give a few as a Christmas gift (or ask them) to another bookworm? Oh and have you read my post about Bookazines (another Dutch invention!). Check out my post on that topic here.