Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Holding (Graham Norton)

Norton, Graham - Holding

★★★★★☆☆

Title: Holding
Author: Graham Norton
Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Mystery
First published: 2016
Edition: Kindle e-book

The remote Irish village of Duneen has known little drama; and yet its inhabitants are troubled. Sergeant PJ Collins hasn’t always been this overweight; mother of­ two Brid Riordan hasn’t always been an alcoholic; and elegant Evelyn Ross hasn’t always felt that her life was a total waste.

So when human remains are discovered on an old farm, suspected to be that of Tommy Burke – a former­ love of both Brid and Evelyn – the village’s dark past begins to unravel. As the frustrated PJ struggles to solve a genuine case for the first time in his life, he unearths a community’s worth of anger and resentments, secrets and regret.

I was not sure what to expect from this novel. I know Graham Norton as a charming talkshow host, but I was a bit reluctant to read a novel written by him. However, I kept hearing good things, so decided to to give it a try anyway. I am grateful I did.

This is quite a well crafted novel, set in a tiny village in rural Ireland. The characters feel like people you could meet every day and are well developed.

It is a quiet storyline, so although there is a mystery involved, at its heart it is about the people rather than the solution. I really enjoyed that, but I tend to like quiet character-based novels. If you do not, then this may feel a little dull.

I really enjoyed the characters, the writing and the story as a whole and I am looking forward to reading more by Graham Norton. I would definitely consider this debut novel a resounding success.

5 out of 7 stars

Books · WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesdays: 18 September 2019

Apologies for being a rubbish blogger at the moment, but life is sort of getting in the way! I hope to catch up with all of you over the next week or so. Fingers crossed I will have a bit more time on my hands. IMG_1384-0

WWW Wednesdays is a meme hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words.

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you will read next?

***

What am I currently reading?

I am about to finish Becoming by Michelle Obama, which I have been listening to on audio. I have only an hour to go, so I hope I will finish it today. I loved it!

I am almost 500 pages into Knife of Dreams, book 11 in The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. This is a re-read. About 300 pages left.

Finally, I am reading Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy, which I am also loving!

I am very tired today (after a very broken night sleep due to mice gnawing away in my ceiling!), so I doubt I will read much today.

What did I recently finish reading?

Since last Wednesday I have finished A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby, which I did not really like that much, and Sleep by C L Taylor, which was really good bar a few minor flaws.

What do I think I will be reading next?

Next I will read either Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie or Never Greener by Ruth Jones.

Books · Tags

TAG TIME: The Mid-Year Book Freak-Out Tag! (2019)

I have seen this tag all over the shop – and probably you have as well! Thought I would run through this tag today 🙂

-THE QUESTIONS-

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2019.

I had three 7*-books so far this year, which is pretty good going! Two of those were fiction; The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and  A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, and one non-fiction, which was Centaur by Declan Murphy and Ami Rao. Maybe A Man Called Ove has the slight edge? I adored it!

 

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2019.

Arden, Katherine - Winternight Trilogy 3 The Winter of the WitchMaybe The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden? I really loved The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater as well.)

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.

I can’t think of anything in particular.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

I am looking forward to reading Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff, though I am yet to read Godsgrave – I will probably read the latter in July or August.

5. Biggest disappointment.

Thorne, Sally - The Hating GameJaster, Natalia - Foolish Kingdoms 2 DareMaybe The Hating Game. Every person I look to for book tips loved it so much, but it was just ok for me. Sure, it’s a cute hate-to-love romance, but there was nothing particularly new about it. Also, Dare by Natalia Jaster, since I had loved the first book Trick so much and its follow-up really fell flat.

6. Biggest surprise.

I guess I was really surprised by how much I loved This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen.

7. Favourite new author. (Debut or new to you)

I definitely want to read more by Fredrik Backman!

Jaster, Natalia - Foolish Kingdoms 1 Trick8. Newest fictional crush.

I don’t tend to have fictional crushes. I am quite fond of Poet from Trick though. 😁❤

9. Newest favourite character.

See previous question. 😜

10. Book that made you cry.

Centaur by Declan Murphy and Ami Rao. I can’t even imagine what Declan and his family have gone through.

11. Book that made you happy.

Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Andersen. So funny, so true!

12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

I bought a beautiful illustrated edition of A Game of Thrones by George R R Martin, even if I have vowed not to continue the series until the author actually has announced firm dates for the next book. I still don’t believe he ever will. I still could not resist this book though…

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

See my 2019 TBR!

Books · WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesdays: 5 June 2019

It’s a dreary rainy day this Wednesday. It has not been a warm spring this year, but hopefully there is lots of good weather to come!

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WWW Wednesdays is a meme hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words.

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you will read next?

***

O'Farrell, Maggie - After You'd GoneWhat am I currently reading?

I am reading After You’d Gone by Maggie O’Farrell. I have about 75 pages left to go. I have really enjoyed this book. I like O’Farrell’s writing quite a bit, though the books jumps about in time and perspective just a tad too much. I wonder how the story will unfold in these final pages. I definitely plan to finish it today.

What did I recently finish reading? 

Since last week I have finished The Raven King, which I loved quite a bit and I read a childhood favourite, The Black Stallion, which was quite the nostalgia trip for all the right reasons.

Sanderson, Brandon - ElantrisWhat do I think I will be reading next?

I am not entirely sure. I did not have much of a TBR for this month, apart from reading the three book I bought in June last year (one of which was After You’d Gone). I quite fancy reading some fantasy. I may well finally start reading some Brandon Sanderson. Maybe Elantris, which I have on my Kindle?

Book Unhaul · Books

Book Unhaul – Spring 2019

I felt it was time to look at the books I have removed from my shelves in the last year or so. Most of them are banned to the shelves in my Airbnb cottage, but inbetween guests I gathered the ones already there and the ones still sitting in my house ready to be moved, and got them together for a reunion snap.

Unhaul

These are all books I have read or tried to read and DNFd. Most of them since starting this blog and some before. These are all books I don’t think I would ever read again. Some may surprise you… Well, let’s dive into them!

Let’s start top to botton, left to right. I will add if I read them and what rating I gave them.

1. A Wizard of Earthsea (Ursula Le Guin) ★★★☆☆☆☆ – I was so ready to read this one and I just did not get on with it.

2. The Clocks (Agatha Christie) ★★★☆☆☆☆ – this one bored me. Not the best example of an Agatha Christie mystery…

3. The Bookseller of Kabul (Asne Seierstad) ★★★★☆☆☆ – interesting, but it did not quite sit right with me.

4. A Tiny Bit Marvellous (Dawn French) ★★★★☆☆☆ – this one was ok, but not one I would ever re-read.

5. Can You Keep A Secret? (Sophie Kinsella) ★★★★☆☆☆ – again, ok enough, but nothing worth keeping…

6. Strictly Between Us (Jane Fallon) ★★★☆☆☆☆ – *shrugs*

7. The Ruby in the Smoke (Philip Pullman) ★★★☆☆☆☆ – The story simply did nothing for me.

8. Prozac Nation (Elizabeth Wurtzel) ★★★★☆☆☆ – Non-fiction I did not care to keep

9. The Ugliest House in the World (Peter Ho Davies) ★★★☆☆☆☆ – A short story collection that was not bad, but I simply didn’t care for it.

10. The Name of the Wind (Patrick Rothfuss) BB (before blog) I probably would have rated it ★★★★☆☆☆ or thereabouts. Controversial I know, but I hated the main character and the plot did not grab me.

11. The Cuckoo’s Calling (Robert Galbraith) ★★★★☆☆☆ – this was ok, but did not blow me away by any means.

12. The Snow Child (Eowyn Ivey) ★★★★★☆☆ – I liked this, but it is not the type of book that I would ever read again.

13. Throne of Glass (Sarah J Maas) ★★★★☆☆☆ – not continuing the series, so no reason to keep this.

14. Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Laini Taylor) ★★★★★☆☆ – I liked the first book, but after reading the second book I am not finishing the series, so letting this go.

15. Waterloo Story (Peter Prince) ★★★☆☆☆☆ – a story about nothing. I did not hate it, but it made no impact.

16. The Muse (Jessie Burton) ★★★★☆☆☆ – Meh…

17. A Winter Flame (Milly Johnson) ★★★☆☆☆☆ – Did I give it 3 stars? Really? It was rubbish!

18. The Grace of Kings (Ken Liu) ★★★★☆☆☆ – This was actually not bad, but really not by kind of fantasy.

19. Lord of Misrule (Jaimy Gordon) DNF – There were horses in it, but that was the only positive about this novel in my opinion. I really did not like it.

20. The Quiet Gentleman (Georgette Heyer) ★★★☆☆☆☆ – the first book I reviewed on my blog! It was not that good…

21. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho) ★★★☆☆☆☆ – I was so disappointed in this book. I had heard such great things and it was just… not that interesting.

22. The Hippopotamus (Stephen Fry) ★★★★☆☆☆ (BB) – I love Stephen Fry and this book was ok, but some of the themes made me feel way too icky. It’s gotta go!

23. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Ransom Riggs) ★★★☆☆☆☆ (BB) – I started out loving this idea and as the book went on I liked it less and less.

24. New York, Actually (Sarah Morgan) ★★★☆☆☆☆ – I can’t remember much about this…

25. The Lord of the Rings (J R R Tolkien) – I am unhauling the bind-up copy. I will keep my three-book trilogy, even if I will probably never read it again.

***

BB = Before Blog

***

25 less books on my shelves!!!

 

Books · WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesdays: 8 May 2019

It’s my daughter’s 7th birthday! Yay!

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WWW Wednesdays is a meme hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words.

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you will read next?

***

McQuiston, Casey - Red, White and Royal BlueWhat am I currently reading?

I am currently reading Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuistin. I am about 25% and so far it’s a good time. I am enjoying it 🙂

What did I recently finish reading?

I finished Spring at Blueberry Bay by Holly Martin (rubbish) and I finally a finished  a series by reading Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo (which I loved).

Brooks, Terry - Shannara #2 The Elfstones of ShannaraWhat do I think I will read next?

I am planning to re-read The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks to erase the memory of the terrible TV show. A buddy read was a good excuse for this!

***

What are you reading?

Books · WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesdays: 17 April 2019

My reading is much better at the moment, so yay!

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WWW Wednesdays is a meme hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words.

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you will read next?

***

What am I currently reading?

I am currently 270 pages (of 797) into Crossroads of Twilight by Robert Jordan. This is the tenth book in The Wheel of Time series, which is apparently being turned into a TV show at the end of the year (an apprehensive ‘yay!’ is appropriate here). It’s a re-read, which makes it a pretty easy read. I am also reading Strictly Between Us by Jane Fallon. Although I am not feeling as slumpy as I have been, I still feel like reading lighter books, so picked this one off my shelves. I have been reading this one in bed, as Crossroads is so unwieldy! I am only about 30 pages in and I am not sure so far. Not the biggest fan of the writing style, but maybe I will get used to it.

What did I recently finish reading?

Since last week I finished Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater, which enjoyed but did not love (5/7 stars), Dutch Girl by Robert Matzen, which was fascinating (6/7 stars) and Adulthood is a Myth (Sarah Andersen), a comic book, which I loved (6/7 stars). I am pretty pleased with that.

What do I think I will read next? 

Watkins, Sarah-Beth - The Tragic Daughters of Charles I

Well, I will definitely start reading The Tragic Daughters of Charles I by Sarah-Beth Watkins in the next week. This is my third biography by this author and so far I have liked them a lot. They are informative and interesting without being too dry. I expect more of the same.

Apart from that I will probably mood read.