Top Five Tuesday – A-Z Authors

A new Top Five Tuesday, the prompts are created by Bionic Book Worm. This month’s topics are A-Z authors, this week it’s K-O. I did struggle with some of the letters this week!

K: Sue Monk Kidd

I discovered Sue Monk Kidd when I read The Secret Life of Bees a couple of summers ago. It was the perfect summer read, set in South Carolina in 1964, Lily and her ‘stand in mother’ Rosaleen go on the run when Rosaleen insults some horrible racists and faces a jail sentence. They find a place that Lily’s real mother visited, a safe place where three eccentric sisters look after bees. It’s such a profound story and you get to learn about bees!

L: C.S. Lewis

I used to love the Chronicles of Narnia, my favourite is of course The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, the Pevensie children’s stories are the best of the bunch. I re-read some of them a while ago and they bring back a feeling of comfort and warmth. We still have my Mum’s set of books from when she was a child so they’re very precious.

M: Kate Morton

Possibly my favourite author ever! Every one of her books is beautiful, complex and full of brilliant characters. The first book I read was The Forgotten Garden which still remains my favourite, nothing can quite top my connection with the characters, especially Eliza Makepeace, a young girl from the early 1900s, a writer who was treated horribly by her family. The Lake House and The Clockmaker’s Daughter are some of my other favourites.

N: Naomi Alderman

I have only read one of her books but it is one of the most thought provoking books I’ve ever read. The Power is set both in the present and the future, young girls suddenly gain an ability to harness electricity and shock others, they realise they can awake this ability in women as well, evolution has worked in our favour to level the playing ground. But is a matriarchy any better? Humans are still violent and cruel at their core. This book really shook me, I want to read more of Naomi Alderman’s work.

P: Terry Pratchett

I couldn’t find anyone for O so I’ve chosen one of my favourite authors ever: Terry Pratchett. The world that he created is so chaotic, vibrant and funny, I couldn’t help but love the Discworld novels when I first discovered them. The first Pratchett book I read was The Carpet People which isn’t from the Discworld series but I still loved it. My favourites are probably Mort, Night Watch and Hogfather so far but I still have some left to read!

Top Five Tuesday – Books that have caused a hangover

A new Top Five Tuesday, the prompts are created by Bionic Book Worm. This weeks topic is what books have given youna hangover, I put a picture of tea as it’s my cure for hangovers (or anything really). I’ve never really thought about book hangovers before, but my definition is not being able to stop thinking about the book and its events, because it’s so emotional so on that basis, here is my list:

931241. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling

I remember when I first read this staying up late to finish it and being heartbroken by the ending so then I couldn’t really sleep. It definitely affected me for days, especially knowing that the next book would be completely different because Harry wasn’t going back to Hogwarts.


133641112. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

The book as a whole is so suspenseful but we have the worst shock towards the end of the book. I was so traumatised but the flash forward at the very end saved me from complete despair, it was so beautiful. But the shock this book gave me stayed with me.



63079643. A Storm of Swords by George R.R Martin

Three words: The Red Wedding. I will never get over what happened to my babies. I still ugly sob everytime I read that chapter, I re-read the book recently and put off this chapter for days! There are more surprising deaths in the book but this is the part that caused me the most pain.


38530939. sy475 4. The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

This book left me in a haze, a good haze. It ends with the knowledge that places hold memories and ghosts sometimes but that doesn’t have to be bad, it might be that someone is looking out for us. My full review is here.



8203435. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling

Saying goodbye to my favourite childhood characters was so tough! Mainly the last half of the book was the most difficult but when I finished reading the epilogue, I remember wondering how Harry’s life was in the nineteen years in between the last chapters.

What are some books that gave you a hangover?

End of the Decade – My Favourite Books from the Past Ten Years!

It is so strange to think we are at the end of the 2010s, it’s been a pretty dodgy decade in many respects but I have read some fantastic books! Most of the books weren’t published in the last 10 years but it’s when I discovered them.

11059675. sy475 1. A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin

The fullness and complexity of these books and the characters has kept me coming back to it, I’ve read the first three books a few times already. The more you read it the more in depth you see the story. I am so happy I’ve found ASOIAF, even if it does make me cry a lot!


157709272. Dominion by C.J Sansom

The book is set in the 1950s in Britain except the Nazis have taken over, we never fought them. It is one of the most terrifying and genius books I’ve ever read. It felt so real, I was so distressed! Our main character works for the government and is unhappy with the changes taking place so he joins the freedom movement lead by Winston Churchill. He feeds them important files but then he gets involved with protecting a Jewish scientist who has been locked in an asylum. If the Nazis find out where he is, the world is doomed. I strongly recommend this book, it’s incredible.

27329773. The Millennium series by Stieg Larsson and David Lagercrantz

This series is so brilliant and dark, it’s terrifying at moments but it always comes back to the characters and how genius they are. Lisbeth who has had to fight her whole life against truly evil people who are still out to get her and Mikael who thrives on exposing conspiracies, which has got him into trouble a few times.

893136. sy475 4. The Book Thief by Markus Zukos

Just genius, narrated by Death as he tells us about his run-ins with Liesel as she discovers her love of reading. Her foster father teaches her to read, soon she is stealing books from Nazi book burnings. Liesel lives in Germany during WWII and her world is made more dangerous when her foster family hide a Jewish man in their cellar. This is one of the best books I’ve ever read, I’d never read a book that centred around the innocent German people during WWII before and this was written superbly.

186245855. The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins

These books have so many important themes about corruption and controlling governments and its such a chilling premise, children fighting to the death for the entertainment of the elite. As a reader it made me have a good look at our own media and how toxic it can be. Aside from that the characters are real and flawed and I love them.


182735216. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

This book is one of my favourites ever! It’s like my dream book with past lives/WWII but it’s better than anything I could have imagined. We follow Ursula through her life from birth to her many different deaths. In each life different choices are made. It’s such a magical book and so different from everything I had read from Kate Atkinson before, I’m so glad I found it!


131472307. The Long Earth series by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

Sci-fi heaven, one day on Earth, hundreds of children disappeared at once, they moved to a parallel world with a devise that had gone viral on the internet. Soon adults realised what was happening and humanity was changed forever. Humanity spread out into the connected worlds where we made new homes for ourselves. In my favourite book of the series, scientists found a way to reach Mars and found its own string of parallels.

6514. sy475 8. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

This book is about Esther Greenwood’s struggle with mental health, Esther has moved to New York to try and be a journalist but soon finds herself breaking down. It is so powerful and such an important book, I’m very glad I read it.



33871762. sy475 9. The Power by Naomi Alderman

Just epic! Through some strange evolution young girls suddenly gain the power to channel electricity through their hands. They can shock others, hurt them and kill them. They can also release the gift in older women. A shift is happening, no longer are men more powerful. The book follows different young women and one young man on their journeys through this fascinating time. But is life better under woman’s rule or are all humans inherently corrupt?

38530939. sy475 10. The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

I love this book so much! I read it this summer and fell in love with it. It’s a story about time and how precious stories are. How houses can hold memories forever but not always in a bad way, Birchwood Manor is a place of safety and comfort.


There we are, bring on the 2020s and all the books they will bring!

Quotes of the Week

I started watching the OA on Netflix this week, it is so incredible, really clever and beautiful. Here are my favourite quotes from this week:

“It is an uncanny feeling, that rare occasion when one catches a glimpse of oneself in repose. An unguarded moment, stripped to artifice, when one forgets to fool even oneself.” – Grace, The House At Riverton

I would love to be able to see myself from the outside, we’re so tough on ourselves these days but we would never be that mean to one of our friends, it would be nice to see all our own little quirks and our genuine smile, not posing for a picture but in our natural state.

“Remember the pain, pain is good, it means you’re out of the cave.” – Jim Hopper, Stranger Things season 3 episode 8

This whole episode broke my heart but this quote really got to me, it’s so true! When you’re out there living you can feel!

My biggest mistake was thinking if I cast a beautiful net then I would only catch beautiful things.” – Prairie, The OA season 1 episode 2

Such a powerful quote and a very powerful show. There are so many layers of genius to unravel!

I hope you all have a great weekend.

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton Review

“All past is present.”

I absolutely adored reading this book, especially reading it in the middle of summer, it just made it feel more magical and I felt more connected to the events as most of the book takes part in the summer (many different years but all at the same house). The book starts with our main narrator, a ghost of Birchwood Manor, she tells us parts of her life and the ‘visitors’ who she connects with over the decades that have passed since her death. The clever language used during these chapters kept me guessing B’s story and even her name (which I won’t reveal)!

In 2017 we meet Elodie, an archivist who is about to get married. She lost her mother when she was six, she has few memories of her but she remembers a fairy story, about a house on a river, a safe space for those who needed it. At work Elodie sees a sketch of a house that brings those memories flooding back to her, along with a photograph of a beautiful young woman. She can’t stop thinking about how they are connected and why she feels such a pull towards them.

There is a lot of time jumping throughout the book, Birchwood Manor is home to a broken soldier in the 1920s, a family from London during the Blitz in the 1940s and it was a school for girls in the late 1800s. And our ghost sees all of this, meets all of them. A special few can see her and talk to her, I too connected with them, Elodie, Ada, Leonard and Tip are all quiet and clever. B’s story gripped me the most, I wanted to know what happened to her, how she died and before.

The whole book is so beautiful how all these people throughout are connected, their stories are woven flawlessly together. It’s a story about time and how precious stories are. How houses can hold memories forever but not always in a bad way, Birchwood Manor is a place of safety and comfort.

I’m just so glad I got to read this book, I have cried tears of joy and sorrow and right until the end I was surprised at how perfectly everything was tied together.

“I am the stars in the dark when you feel yourself alone.”

Quotes of the Week

I’ve had a good week, I’m close to finishing The Clockmaker’s Daughter (and all my quotes are from it) this book is so beautiful, I don’t want it to end!

He’d lost his way, but hope still fluttered in and out of focus like a bird, singing that if he kept putting one foot in front of the other, he might just make it home.” – Leonard, The Clockmaker’s Daughter

This is so beautiful and I reminded me of Emily Dickinson’s poem “Hope is the thing with feathers, That perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words, And never stops at all.” Leonard was a soilder in WWI and has PTSD, he found hope in a heartbroken artist and the house he loved so much.

All past is present.” – The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

When I first read this I thought about how old memories are present wherever we are, like ghosts, all the people that have come before us left their emotions floating in the air.

One generation passes to the next a suitcase filled with jumbled jigsaw pieces from countless puzzles collected over time and says, ‘See what you can make out of these.’” – Birdie, The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

Adults don’t know what they’re doing either, a chilling realisation! As a child we think everyone has it all sorted out we trust the adults in our lives to guide us but it doesn’t always end well as Birdie will tell you! This also reminded me of ASOIAF quote “It all goes back and back,” Tyrion thought, “to our mothers and fathers and theirs before them. We are puppets dancing on the strings of those who came before us, and one day our own children will take up our strings and dance in our steads.”

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Top Ten Tuesday – Auto-Buy Authors

I do have a collection of authors that I have to read everything they’ve ever written!

1. George R.R. Martin

This man though….he’s honestly a genius. I’ve read all of A Song of Ice and Fire and the first part of Fire and Blood which is about the Targaryen kings and queens. I’ve got Nightflyers waiting on my bookshelf which is a completely different genre from ASOIAF. It’s set in space in the future and I’m really looking forward to reading it.

2. Kate Morton

All of her books are stand alone but they all have a similar style. Set in different times but centred around the same place, usually an old house. The characters are so well written and I always form a strong connection to them. I love Kate’s descriptions of the houses and the different time periods feel real. I’m reading the Clockmaker’s Daughter at the moment which goes from 1862-2017 and lots in between but every time we switch there’s a different feel to the chapter, I don’t know how she does it. I’m always eagerly awaiting her next book!

3. Kate Atkinson

I first discovered Kate Atkinson when I read When Will There Be Good News? which is part of her Jackson Brodie series, he’s a private detective but the books aren’t so much focused on the crimes in them, more about the characters and how they’re affected. I read the rest of the series and when Life After Life came out I was bowled over with the incredible writing and depth of this book, it’s so beautiful and covers the theory of parallel worlds but not in a super sci-fi way. I recently read Transcription which was again historical fiction and I loved it.

4. Nicci French

Nicci French is actually a husband and wife duo! Their books are crime/psychological thrillers and some of them are super scary. I can’t stand scary films but these are different they’re full of suspense. The Frieda Klein series is really good, Frieda is a psychologist who consults with the police and seems to attract trouble. I’ve still got two books left to read from that series and then I’m going to tackle all the ones I haven’t yet read.

5. Laura Andersen

I’ve read her first trilogy The Boleyn Trilogy which is written as if Anne Boleyn had given birth to a son, she survived Henry and her son and daughter are heirs to England. It’s great historical fiction with a twist, the new characters who are friends of the Prince and Princess are Minuette and Dominic all four of them are true friends and have to try and navigate court life together. I’ve started the second trilogy which is set twenty years after the first, I can’t wait to read the rest. I really like Andersen’s style and choice of genre!

6. Lucinda Riley

I am loving her series of The Seven Sisters, every book tells the story of one of the D’Apliese sisters on the journey to discover where they were born. They also flashback to characters in history of each place, so far we’ve discovered Brazil and Norway! I really enjoy reading about the sister’s dynamics, I only have two sisters but they still reminded me of us a little bit! I’m really excited to read the rest of the series.

7. Ian McEwan

I read Atonement for the first time years ago and fell in love with it, since then I’ve read Sweet Tooth which is set in England during the Cold War, Solar and The Children Act. I love how all his novels are completely different, I’ve got all of his older ones on my TBR list and the newest one about robots!

8. Katherine Webb

Webb’s style is similar to Kate Morton, based in the past with ties to the present. The Legacy was the first book I read by Katherine Webb and I was completely hooked. Her others look just as intriguing, The Unseen is next on my list, it’s set in the early 1900s in a small village in England, when two strangers show up and change the town forever.

9. Stephen Fry

I’ve been reading Stephen’s books about Greek Mythology, the way he ties them all together is so clever. Mythos was great, I used to love learning about the many Greek Gods and Goddesses at school but I had forgotten how funny they were. I’ve started Heroes and there’s a third book still to come!

10. J K Rowling

Although we haven’t had anything from Rowling for a while and despite the epic disappointment the was Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (which wasn’t written by Rowling), I would probably still read anything she writes. After Harry Potter we had the Casual Vacancy about a small town, it’s residents and their complicated relationships and biases, I really enjoyed the book, I might re-read it soon.

So there they are, who are your must buy authors?

Quotes of the Week

This week has been super hot, I’ve tried to sit out in the garden with a book as much as possible! Here are my favourite quotes of the week:

She was clearly intended to be the pawn in this game. But I am a queen, she thought. Able to move in any direction.” – Juliet Armstrong, Transcription by Kate Atkinson

This quote is so empowering, definitely going to add it to my mantra for when I start spiralling.

“She always left a gathering, no matter how intimate, feeling depleted as if she’d accidentally left behind some vital layers of herself she’d never get back.” – Elodie Winslow, The Clockmakers Daughter

This summed up being an introvert so perfectly. I love having meaningful and deep conversations with people but big groups or dull conversations are like hell, I just feel awkward.

Hope you have a lovely summer weekend!

Top Ten Tuesday – Summer TBR

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic by thatartsyreadergirl is the top books on my Summer TBR list. It’s the summer! Although it really doesn’t feel like it at the moment, the weather is rubbish!

375398201. Transcription by Kate Atkinson

I’m reading it at the moment and absolutely loving it! We follow Juliet’s story through WWII when she joins MI5 and then through the Cold War.



2336792. Guards! Guards! By Terry Pratchett

A dragon has taken over Ankh-Morpork, and is burning or eating everything in sight. The City Watch are in disarray and even the Wizards haven’t got a clue what to do. I’m really looking forward to this one, the City Watch are my favourites also dragons!



377566543. The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

Kate Morton’s books are always great summer reads. This book is set in the summer of 1862 in London, a group of artists spend the summer in a beautiful manor on the Thames. But by the end of their time there one woman has been shot dead and a family heirloom is missing. In the present day, a young archivist finds drawings of the manor with a photograph of a beautiful woman, will she be able to uncover the truth?

309692714. The Shadow Sister by Lucinda Riley

This is the third book in the series and I’m really looking forward to finding out more about Star and her roots. These books are so well written, they really take you on the sisters journeys with them.



12787525. The House At Riverton by Kate Morton

This will be a re-read and a wonderful pick for the summer. This is Kate Morton’s first book it’s set in the 1920s/30s and it’s been a while since I read it so I’ve forgotten what happ, it’ll be nice to fall back in love with the book.



345002356. Sunday Morning Coming Down by Nicci French

The seventh Frieda Klein novel this leads straight from the end of Saturday Requiem which ended dramatically with Frieda finding the dead body of a policeman under her floorboards. Frieda is sure her stalker Dean Reeve is behind it but he’s been (supposedly) dead for seven years.


405134447. Nightflyers by George R.R Martin

I saw this book in a shop a little while ago and I didn’t know George had written any space books, I’m so excited to read it.




251493358. The Virgin’s Spy by Laura Andersen

I really enjoyed the first book in this series and meeting some of the knew characters. The Tudors are so fascinating, Elizabeth I is on the throne and her daughter has finally been allowed to join the court in London.



9309749. One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson

Another re-read, I’ve started reading the Jackson Brodie series again and this is the second book. Jackson is a private investigator and former police officer. This time he’s in Edinburgh and witnesses a brutal attack on a man stuck in a traffic jam.



3539655510. The Day of the Dead by Nicci French

I think this is the last Frieda Klein novel which makes me sad! I didn’t want to read the blurb because it might have spoilers from the seventh book! But I know however they decide to end it it’ll be a brilliant read.



So there are my Summer TBRs, I don’t think I’ll make it through all of them but we’ll see!

Top Five Tuesday – Debut Novels

A new Top Five Tuesday, the prompts are created by Bionic Book Worm. I’ve realised that I don’t read enough debut novels as I struggled to make this list! I do tend to stick with what I know so I might need to branch out and find different authors more. Anyway here are my top five debut novels:

1. The House at Riverton by Kate Morton, Published in 2007

This is such a good book and already Kate’s style is clear, the theme of past mysteries, old houses and brilliant written characters that stay with you. It’s set in England between WWI and WWII, a story about an aristocratic family their house and a mysterious death, told in flashbacks by a woman who witnessed it all.

2. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, Published 2015

It is hard to believe this is a debut novel, it’s full of suspense and really clever. It follows three women and their involvement in each others lives. Rachel gets the same train into London every day and it stops opposite some lovely town houses, every morning she sees a couple on their balcony having breakfast together, she makes up a story about them. But one day the woman goes missing.

3. The Boleyn King by Laura Andersen, Published 2013

I absolutely love this book and the rest of the trilogy. What if Anne Boleyn had given Henry a son? Would she have been executed? In this story Anne gives birth to a baby boy and survives to raise her children. Henry IX becomes King at age seventeen. He’s known to his friends as William and there are only three people in the world that he truly trusts, his older sister Elizabeth, his best friend Dominic and Minuette a young orphan raised as a royal ward by Anne. It has all the drama of a Tudor court, a really brilliant read.

4. The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett, Published 1985

The whole Discworld series is quirky, funny and genius and the Colour of Magic is no exception. Our introduction to the Discworld and the wizards is led by Rincewind, a former wizard who was thrown out of the University for reading one of the spells that could end the world.

5. The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan, Published 2012

This book is set in the early 1900s, a ship to the USA goes down, the passengers are huried on to lifeboats and have to watch as the ship goes down. Now they are stuck in the middle of the ocean not knowing if help is on its way. The survivors on one lifeboat soon realise they are over capacity. Their supplies are dwindling and the weather is worsening. If they are going to survive they will have to make sacrifices. This book is chilling and thought provoking, as the reader I was constantly wondering what I would have done in the same situation. A fascinating take on humanity’s determination to survive at any cost.

What are some of your favourite debut novels?