Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Talking To The Dead (Helen Dunmore)



Title: Talking To The Dead
Author: Helen Dunmore
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
First published: 1996
Edition: Hardback, published by Little Brown and Company, 1997

I bought this book many years ago because of its beautiful cover and can I just say that without its dust jacket the book is still so so pretty!

I finally picked it up to read it and it has been an easy enough read and there were aspects I really enjoyed. I love the author’s prose and how natural the words seem to flow. Her descriptions of food especially make your mouth water!

All the characters are very human, with flaws and fears and desires. The story is told from Nina’s viewpoint and we follow her to the Sussex countryside where her sister Isabel has just had a baby. She is a few years younger than her sister. They are both haunted by events from their past. Nina’s actions are morally very questionable and she is a bit of a twit, but you cannot help but kind of like her. The romance in this book I did not feel at all. I mean… at all… No!

The end feels a little rushed to me as well and is that really the way people react to such a tragic event? I have no idea, but I bloody hope I wouldn’t!

The writing saves this book for sure. I will keep this book as it is a pretty little thing and I maybe I will re-read one day…

4 out of 7 stars


Books · Tags

Tag Time – The TBR Tag

I saw this tag on and wanted to do it, so I am! 🙂

This is the TBR (To Be Read) Tag and is all about the books that are on my to-read pile! I will stick to the books I actually already own rather than the mythical Goodreads to-read list.

If you fancy doing this tag as well, please do and link your list!

Let’s get started!

How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

I don’t. Well, I do, kind of, in my head. I know which books on my shelves I have read and which I haven’t, but I don’t really have an actual way of keeping track. I keep considering using an actual shelf for books I have not read yet, but I never do!

Is your TBR mostly print or e-book?

Pretty much all of it print, though I have a couple of audio books I want to listen to. I am considering getting an e-reader though. Maybe for Christmas?

How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

I pick whatever I feel like, though at the moment I am trying to get through the TBR books that have been sitting on my shelves the longest. If I don’t feel like any of those, I will pick another.

A book that has been on your TBR shelf the longest.

Both books that I am reading at the moment had been sitting on my shelves for almost twenty (!!!) years. They are Talking To The Dead by Helen Dunmore and Waterloo Story by Peter Prince.

Waterloo Story     Talking to the Dead: A Novel

A book that you have recently added to your TBR.

The last books I added were the last ones I bought, which were Chocolat by Joanne Harris, Around The World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne and Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. All three bought in the same Oxfam charity shop.

Rivers of London   Chocolat (Chocolat #1)   Around the World in 80 Days

A book that is on your TBR strictly because it has a beautiful cover.The Nest


Well, I picked up The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney at the airport a couple of months ago simply because the cover caught my eye. Hopefully I will read it some time this year.

A book on your TBR that you never plan on actually reading.

What? No! I will read all the books… eventually. No point having books you’re not planning on reading!

An unpublished book on you TBR that you are excited for.

Wicked Like a Wildfire (Hibiscus Daughter, #1)Well, since I have limited my TBR for this exercise to the book I already own… But a book that’s on my to-read list on Goodreads that is not out yet is Wicked Like A Wildfire by Lara Popovic. I love the premise and the cover is just gorgeous!

It’s out next week!


A book on your TBR that basically everyone has read but you.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1)






A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you.

My husband is forever saying Brave New World by Aldous Huxley is really good and he is not much of a reader, so it must be! A few female friends have recommended Sophie Kinsella books. It is not really my thing, but I actually picked up Can You Keep A Secret? from a charity shop recently, which I am planning to read this month, preferably outside lounging in the sun!

Brave New World    Can You Keep a Secret?

A book on you TBR that you are dying to read.

This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity, #1)


This Savage Song by V. E. Schwab. I have heard so many good things about Schwab’s books that I am looking forward to reading this one.



The number of books on your Goodreads TBR.

Including all the books I don’t own (!!!), there are 231 at this moment, but the number is ever increasing! I try not to go too crazy though…


Books · Book Haul

British Book Haul

With a trip to the UK for a family visit on the cards I could not resist the temptation of stocking up on some books!

I ordered some used and new books via Amazon and had them delivered to my in-laws. I managed to pop into a couple of charity shops as well while I was there and picked up some more!

170809 England Trip - Box

Safely back home again, I have fattened up my TBR shelf nicely!

Firstly, the books I got via Amazon, whether it’s the Marketplace or Amazon itself:

So, without further ado, here are the books I had ordered in advance, mostly second-hand from Amazon or their Marketplace:

The Cemetery of Forgotton Books #2: The Angel’s Game (Carlos Ruiz Zafon)

The Cemetery of Forgotten Books #3: The Prisoner of Heaven (Carlos Ruiz Zafon)

The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern)

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Laini Taylor)

Imagine Me Gone (Adam Haslett)

Hyddenworld #2: Awakening (William Horwood)

Hyddenworld #4: Winter (William Horwood)

The Dark Legacy of Shannara #2: Bloodfire Quest (Terry Brooks)

The Dark Legacy of Shannara #3: Witch Wraith (Terry Brooks)

The Blood of Flowers (Anita Amirrezvani)

Monsters of Verity #1: This Savage Song (V.E. Schwab)

Monsters of Verity #2: Our Dark Duet (V.E. Schwab)

The Bees (Laline Paull)

I had a myriad of reasons to order the above books. The Terry Brooks, William Horwood and Carlos Ruiz Zafon book I bought to complete a series I have already started and enjoyed. Though in the case of the Hyddenworld series by William Horwood, I still need to get my hands on book #3 Harvest.

I really wanted to read The Night Circus and by now I have already done so! I forgot to include that book in the pictures as well… Oops!

Imagine Me Gone is a book I have been wanting to read for ages after reading a review in a magazine somewhere a few months ago.

I wanted to try the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series and I wanted to read something by V. E. Schwab.

The Bees sounded really intriguing and fits in with my love of bees and books written from an animal perspective.

The Blood of Flowers is a book I have already read when I borrowed it from a library and I loved it, so I was keen to own it and read it again at some point in the future.


170809 England Trip - paperbacks170809 England Trip

That is already quite a few books, but I could not resist the pull of the charity shops. What I love about going into a charity shop is that I never know what I will come out with. Maybe I might buy a book simply because the cover looks nice, or the spine, or the title is intriguing, not because it is on my ‘want to read’ list, and I like that. I tried not to go crazy. My husband was giving me that look! Ha!

Anyway, I got the following books from Cancer Research, Oxfam and FARA:

Rivers of London (Ben Aaronovitch)

Northanger Abbey (Jane Austen) – also includes some shorter stories I have not read yet!

Red Rising (Pierce Brown)

The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Albino’s Treasure  (Stuart Douglas)

Looking For Alaska (John Green)

The Red Queen (Philippa Gregory)

Written in the Stars (Ali Harris)

Chocolat (Joanna Harris)

The Ruby in the Smoke (Philip Pullman)

Around The World in Eighty Days (Jules Verne)

There you go, a nice eclectic bunch of books.

Excluding The Night Circus, there are still 22 books to read! Yay!



Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern)

Morgenstern, Erin - The Night Circus


Title: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy
First published: 2011
Edition: Paperback, published by Vintage Books in 2012

WARNING! Minor spoilers.

This book had been on my to-read list for a while. Its artwork as intriguing to me as its title.

As soon as I started reading I knew I would love this book. The images it weaves are as magical as the circus it is set in and I found it a joy to read.

However, throughout I kind of felt the characters could do with fleshing out a bit more, and I felt disconnected from some of them. I cared about them, but not as much as I sometimes felt I should. I felt myself most drawn to characters such as Bailey and the Murray twins rather than Celia and Marco, whose romance I sometimes did not quite believe enough.

This is a minor gripe though and I am glad I finally read this book. I will be keeping it on my shelf as I am sure I will be reading it again in the future.

It would give bonus points for using the word ‘discombobulated’ on page 422, but I think six stars is quite enough!

6 out of 7 stars

Books · Currently Reading · Reading Challenges

‘Currently Reading’ Update

I finished I, The Aboriginal  a couple of days ago, which I unexpectedly really loved.Lockwood, Douglas - I, The Aboriginal It told me so much about a culture I knew little about and did it so beautifully. I chose the memoir for my self-imposed reading challenge, which I call BookTube-A-Thon Stretched. It is basically all the challenged for the BookTube-A-Thon that took place at the end of the last month, but over a month instead of a week. I read Douglas Lockwood’s book for challenge 4 (Read a book about a character very different from you). 6 out of 7 stars for that one.

I started The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern straight after. I chose this book for Morgenstern, Erin - The Night Circus - detailchallenge 2 (Read a hyped book), as I have seen it mentioned a lot. It was a book I really wanted to read, so I ordered a second-hand copy and I have been looking forward to reading it so much. I am just over halfway and I am loving it so far! Sometimes I wish the character were a bit more fleshed out, but maybe the point is to keep an air of mystery, to not get too intimately acquainted with the characters. Nonetheless, I am enjoying my read very much!

What are you reading?

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: I, The Aboriginal (Douglas Lockwood)

Lockwood, Douglas - I, The Aboriginal


Title: I, the Aboriginal
Author: Douglas Lockwood
Genre: Non-fiction, memoir
First published: 1962
Edition: Paperback, published by Rigby Limited, Adelaide, in 1973

I found this book in an old box with books that had sat in my parents’ loft for at least ten years. I have always been fascinated by Australia, its animals and its indigenous people and I must have gotten this book for that reason. I never got round to reading it though.

This is the story of an aboriginal man called Waipuldanya or Phillip Roberts which is his ‘white-feller’ name, written by Douglas Lockwood, who spent a lot of time with Waipuldanya getting his story right.

The memoir was first published in 1962, so it was never going to be politically correct, but having read it, I do not really think it matters. It gives a frank picture of Aboriginal life in  the 1950s in the remote bush in the Northern Territory and how contact with white people changed one man’s life.

Overall I found this book a joy to read. I loved reading about aboriginal culture (even if it’s a highly sexist one!). Tribal life was explained, matter-a-factly, without making excuses and you could almost taste the kangaroo meat and barramundi, and hear the feet dancing and voices singing. I felt sad reading about the diseases white people brought that ravished the natives and amazed at how the narrator embraced western medicine to help his fellow aboriginals.

This is largely a positive story of change. This is an account written by a white man, but told by an aboriginal, and I would hope it is true to the stories he told.

I have been to Australia, and I have seen forlorn aboriginals sitting by the side of the road, smoking and drinking. The Western world has treated them harshly, forcing change upon them.

Years ago I stood on the banks of the Roper River, where large parts of this book are set, and it reminded me of the magic of the bush, of the great big skies where the milky way shines bright.

I would thoroughly recommend this book if you’re interested in different cultures, because this is a fascinating look into a culture that is rapidly disappearing…

Books · Top 5 Wednesday

Top 5 Wednesday: Book Covers You’d Live In

When I can, I like to give a Top 5 Wednesday list. Check out the group on Goodreads if you fancy joining in the fun!

This one was quite interesting, as so many books have quite abstract covers, and how should I actually interpret the question? I decided to take it literally! I went through my read-list on Goodreads scouring for covers that fit the category. Surprisingly, I managed without too much trouble!

Here we go, in no particular order. In fact I prefer to live in all of them, so I could hop to where I would want to be that day.

1. Tim Book Two: Vinyl Adventures from Istanbul to San Francisco (Tim Burgess)

Burgess, Tim - Tim Book Two Vinyl Adventures from Istanbul to San Francisco

There is a street full of record shops in the background. How awesome would that be?

2. The Book of Silence #3: Duncton Stone – William Horwood

Horwood, William - The Book of Silence #3 Duncton Stone

Beautiful woods in a gorgeous landscape. Yep, build me a hut on that spot and I will be happy!

3. The Hobbit (J R R Tolkien)

Tolkien, J R R - The Hobbit

I guess I like scenery. How about this one on the cover of The Hobbit. I can imagine living there in some idyllic village!

4. A Hidden Fire (Elizabeth Hunter)

Hunter, Elizabeth - A Hidden Fire

This one has a massive library on the front cover. How could I not want to live there?

5. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M Auel)

Auel, Jean M - Earth's Children #1 The Clan of the Cave Bear

Looks like a pretty idyllic spot to me!

I am looking forward to seeing other people’s covers they would like to live in!