Wow! I have no idea where October has gone. Work is so busy and we are also learning lots of new processes so my brain is fried. Weekends have also been pretty busy with University open days to help my son choose where he’d like to study next year. I have managed to attend two great bookish events though (more below) and read 8 books which I’m pretty pleased with!
The first event at the beginning of October was the Quercus Word of Mouth Bestsellers evening. I met up with a couple of my favourite bookstagrammers before hand and I met so many other lovely people. I really came away from the event feeling I had met my people!
We also got to listen to Candice Brathwaite speak, whose book, I Am Not Your Baby Mother is due out in May 2020. I read a sampler and it looks at what life is like for black mothers, how they are treated differently by the medical profession and what other bias they face. What she said was fascinating and I’m looking forward to the book!
I came away a little bit tipsy after a couple of swamp cocktails but on a real high having met so many wonderful people. These are the books I picked up – all due in 2020 and all very exciting indeed!
Last week, I was lucky enough to attend the Christmas launch preview at the Folio Society. The books were all beautiful of course – you can read all about it here!
I managed a very respectable 8 books in October – 5 were for blog tours, 2 were ARCs and 1 was my book club read. Top books were Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden and Seven Days by Alex Lake. As always, follow the link to see my reviews…
Three Little Truths by Eithne Shortall
One happy street. Three pretty houses. So many lies
Martha used to be a force of nature: calm, collected, and in charge. But since moving her husband and two daughters to Dublin under sudden and mysterious circumstances, she can’t seem to find her footing. Robin was the “it” girl in school, destined for success. Now she’s back at her parents’ with her four-year-old son, vowing that her ne’er-do-well ex is out of the picture for good. Edie has everything she could want, apart from a baby, and the acceptance of her new neighbours. She longs to be one of the girls, and to figure out why her perfect husband seems to be avoiding their perfect future. Three women looking for a fresh start on idyllic Pine Road. Their friendship will change their lives, and reveal secrets they never imagined.
How did I get it? Received a finished copy Readers First for an honest review.
For the past two weeks, seventeen-year-old Kate Bennet has lived against her will in an isolated cabin in a remote beach town–brought there by a mysterious man named Bill. Part captor, part benefactor, Bill calls her Evie and tells her he’s hiding her to protect her. That she did something terrible one night back home in Melbourne–something so unspeakable that he had no choice but to take her away. The trouble is, Kate can’t remember the night in question.
The fragments of Kate’s shattered memories of her old life seem happy: good friends, a big house in the suburbs, a devoted boyfriend. Bill says he’ll help her fill in the blanks–but his story isn’t adding up. And as she tries to reconcile the girl she thought she’d been with the devastating consequences Bill claims she’s responsible for, Kate will unearth secrets about herself and those closest to her that could change everything.
A riveting debut novel that fearlessly plumbs the darkest recesses of the mind, Call Me Evie explores the fragility of memory and the potential in all of us to hide the truth, even from ourselves.
How did I get it? I received a finished copy from Little Brown for a Instagram tour.
The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden
One girl can make a difference…
Moscow is in flames, leaving its people searching for answers – and someone to blame. Vasilisa, a girl with extraordinary gifts, must flee for her life, pursued by those who blame their misfortune on her magic.
Then a vengeful demon returns, stronger than ever. Determined to engulf the world in chaos, he finds allies among men and spirits. Mankind and magical creatures alike find their fates resting on Vasya’s shoulders.
But she may not be able to save them all.
How did I get it? I received a copy from Del Ray for the blog tour.
The Perfect Dress by Louisa Leaman
Fran’s wedding dress shop isn’t like any other. A treasure trove of history, filled with gowns from every decade for every type of bride. But not as you’d expect.
Something bold for the shy and retiring.
Something simple for the woman who is unafraid to stand out.
And something dazzling for the bride who wouldn’t normally dare to be different.
No matter your expectations, you’d never guess your own perfect dress. But Fran knows… she feels the wisdom woven into every gown, a gift from the previous owner waiting to be handed down to the next bride.
When Fran finds a dress that seems to be perfect for her she can’t wait to know its complex history which starts with her getting to know the son of the previous owner…
How did I get it? I received a proof from Penguin for the blog tour.
The Hippopotamus by Stephen Fry
“I’ve suffered for my art, now it’s your turn.” So begins the tale of Ted Wallace, unaffectionately known as the Hippopotamus. Failed poet, failed theatre critic, failed father and husband, Ted is a shameless womanizer, drinks too much, and is at odds in his cranky but maddeningly logical way with most of modern life. Fired from his newspaper, Ted seeks a few months’ repose and free liquor at Swafford Hall, the country mansion of his old friend Michael Logan. This world of boozy dinners, hunting parties, and furtive liaisons has recently been turned on its head by miracles, healings, and phenomena beyond Ted’s comprehension. As the mysteries deepen, The Hippopotamus builds into “a deliciously wicked and amusing little fable” (The New York Times).
How did I get it? I bought a second hand copy for book club.
A race against time to save her child…
In seven days, Maggie’s son, Max, turns three. But she’s not planning a party or buying presents or updating his baby book. She’s dreading it. Because in her world, third birthdays are the days on which the unthinkable happens… she loses her child.
For the last twelve years Maggie has been imprisoned in a basement. Abducted aged fifteen, she gave birth to two sons before Max, and on their third birthdays her captor came and took them from her.
She cannot let it happen again. But she has no idea how to stop it. And the clock is ticking…
How did I get it? I received a proof from HarperCollins.
Ghoster by Jason Arnopp (review to follow for the blog tour)
Kate Collins has been ghosted.
She was supposed to be moving in with her new boyfriend Scott, but all she finds after relocating to Brighton is an empty apartment. Scott has vanished. His possessions have all disappeared.
Except for his mobile phone.
Kate knows she shouldn’t hack into Scott’s phone. She shouldn’t look at his Tinder, his calls, his social media. But she can’t quite help herself.
That’s when the trouble starts. Strange, whispering phone calls from numbers she doesn’t recognise. Scratch marks on the walls that she can’t explain. And the growing feeling that she’s being watched.
Kate refuses to leave the apartment – she’s not going anywhere until she’s discovered what happened to Scott. But the deeper she dives into Scott’s digital history the more Kate realises just how little she really knows about the man she loves.
How did I get it? I received a copy from Orbit for the blog tour.
The Unadjusteds by Marisa Noelle (review to follow)
Sixteen-year-old Silver Melody lives in a world where 80% of the population has modified their DNA. Known as the altereds, those people now possess enhancements like wings, tails, and increased strength or intelligence. Although Silver’s parents created the nanite pill used to deliver these genetic modifications, Silver is proud of her unadjusted state.
However, when the president declares all unadjusteds must take a nanite, Silver has no choice but to flee the city with her father and some friends to prevent the extinction of the unadjusteds.
With Silver’s mother in prison for treason, Silver’s father is the unadjusteds’ only hope at finding a cure. But time is running out as Silver’s father is captured by the president’s almost immortal army. Vicious hellhounds are on Silver’s trail, and her only chance to recover her father involves teaming up with a new group of unlikely friends before all humanity is lost.
How did I get it? I received a proof copy from the author.
Movies & TV
In the Tall Grass (2019)
A brother and sister enter a field of tall grass to rescue a boy, but they soon realize they cannot escape and something evil lurks in the grass.
Based on a novel by Stephen King and Joe Hill, this was a claustrophobic feeling thriller. Who knew a field of tall grass could be so scary? Reviews have been mixed but I enjoyed it and it filled that Saturday night slot perfectly.
Thirty years after starring in “The Wizard of Oz,” beloved actress and singer Judy Garland arrives in London to perform sold-out shows at the Talk of the Town nightclub. While there, she reminisces with friends and fans and begins a whirlwind romance with musician Mickey Deans, her soon-to-be fifth husband.
Oh this was just wonderful! Renée Zellweger is just fantastic as Judy Garland – the music scenes were amazing and the whole film just felt so moving and sad, but also funny! So good!
In the near future, a weary Logan (Hugh Jackman) cares for an ailing Professor X (Patrick Stewart) at a remote outpost on the Mexican border. His plan to hide from the outside world gets upended when he meets a young mutant (Dafne Keen) who is very much like him. Logan must now protect the girl and battle the dark forces that want to capture her.
A great action film, but moving too. It was sad seeing Wolverine and Professor X as old men. Still plenty of action sequences and gore though! This felt like a superhero film for grown ups.
Lots of University visits this month with my 17 year old son who is hoping to study psychology after his A-levels next year. We visited Winchester, Brighton (my old Uni!), Sussex and Chichester. We saw the last one today so now he has to decide which ones he’d like to apply for, then work really hard at those A-levels so he can get in!
We had a new addition to the family in October too with a new baby niece called Eden! We’ve already seen her twice and her and the rest of the family will be joining us for Christmas! Having boys, it’s nice to have some girls in the family whom I can buy pink clothes and girly books for!
Also at the beginning of the month I got to take part in a cookalong for the new Nigel Slater cookbook, Greenfeast. As a family we are trying really hard to eat less meat. We have started using Quorn as a substitute but my husband and I are trying to eat what I call proper veggie food! For the cookalong I made a Mushroom, Butternut and Soured Cream soup and it was delicious. I’ve since made a Parsnip, Cashew and Spice Curry which was also really tasty. If you are after a new cook book, I would highly recommend this one. The recipes are easy to follow and are very generous in their portions.
Thanks for reading my ramblings! I hope you have a great November!
Busy month and you still got quite a bit of reading done! Congrats on tour new niece!
Thank you! Can’t say I had much to do with it but it’s lovely to have some young children in the family to make up for the fact that my kids are as big (if not bigger) than me!
Sounds like you had a fantastic October! And what a gorgeous photo of your niece! x
[…] picked up an early proof of Dear Child at the Quercus Word of Mouth Bestsellers Event back in October 2019. They had the proofs captured in a cage and only “released” them […]