Netgalley, review

Review: Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks


I was lucky enough to have an ARC of this and then received as part of a Ninja trick or treat book swap– this was my treat! I didn’t read it straight away as I had quite a few books to read but I started it January 11th and it was my first book for Beat the Backlist, so finally I have read my first Backlist book and can move on to my second.

The second is called Thin Air by Michelle Paver, it was from a Book Fairy ring I joined (I’m a sucker for giving and receiving surprise books!) Anyway:

 Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks.

Tom Hanks is a natural storyteller, each gem of a story is engaging with interesting characters that come to life off the page. Stories that dip into the heads of the characters and make you feel for them and follow them until the last sentence.

I’ve never been to America but these stories capture the atmosphere of the US so much that I feel as though I have been. There’s such a variety of tales: modern, nostalgic stories set in the 50s, stories about: time travel, a trip into space,  a struggling actress, a man named Assam travelling to America with such a story! Even news articles. Not one of these stories are boring and each one features a photo of a typewriter and mentions a different model. There’s even a story about a women with a typewriter.

There is something so likeable and charming (just like the author) about these well told stories and I could read them over and over again.


This book is like a homage to the typewriter, this is a picture of mine, which I received for Christmas not too long after receiving this book. It’s funny how things coincide.




A Confession

A comment on my last blog post about my Beat The Backlist Challenge from Jared@DABOOKCLUB inspired this post. Jared said: “Good post! I love that you are getting them done! Unlike you, I just keep getting more and more.” 

Thanks for the comment 🙂

I have to confess. I did say that I’m not buying anymore books and I haven’t since my last spend right after Christmas, which is when I said I’M NOT ALLOWED TO BUY MORE and I’m not buying more.

However, (I haven’t bought more!)


I signed up to a Book Fairy ring on a forum I love readitswapit in December, the original swap site shut down due to technical issues so someone had the idea to do this. The idea is you send a pre-loved book,  every quarter I think. This is the book I received!

I still haven’t broken my rule, I didn’t buy it and I signed up before I said ‘no more buying books’

In February I receive my next Ninja book box! You can find my review for my last box here. That’s the box where I had the book ‘2084’ (which I may have forgotten to add to my backlist!) And in the first box I ever bought I had ‘Dragon’s Green’ you can see my review and find a link to my unboxing here

This still doesn’t count as buying books because I subscribed last year and it doesn’t count!

I love the idea of a book subscription box I really want to buy one I’ve just seen on twitter from Wildest Dreams, after seeing this video: it’s a YA book (don’t read much of YA I need to read more)  and a bath gift and tea every month. But I’m not going too, I have my backlist and my Ninja Book Box, which I love!

Both my Ninja Book Box and the fairy book ring are surprises and may help my willpower because you can’t always avoid the bookshops. The Ninja Book Box is great because its little gifts, supporting indie shops and publishers and so much thought goes into each box and it’s great having a surprise book, knowing it’s been pre-approved and it may not have been something I’d have picked out myself, so I’m broadening my horizons expanding my reading and maybe even getting out of my comfort zone. Sorry… I can’t stop going on about it.

So although I said: I’M NOT BUYING MORE BOOKS!

I’M NOT  I still am getting books, but it’s only every quarter! So really it doesn’t count, but in the interests of being accountable I thought I’d mention in. Too honest me!

Oh, and I did support a project on Kickstarter called The Eden Book Society  the first novella is out in April though, more on that another day. It’s amazing! Again, this was before so it doesn’t count and I’m helping out a book project. (see too honest!)

Update: Nearly finished The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers, so deciding what book to start next off my backlist….thoughts appreciated 🙂



Beat The Backlist: thoughts on my Backlist

Currently Reading: three books, only one counts as a backlist book it is: Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks.

My backlist is here it’s mainly books I’ve bought over the years and haven’t got around to reading.  There may be more to list but I have to sort through my books (at the moment my nasty cold has zapped my energy so it’s something I have to put off again).

Master of Shadows by Neil Oliver and Three Quarters of an Orange by Joanne Harris are examples of books I’ve bought in bulk which I wanted at the time but never really felt like reading them!

The Poldark series and Song of Ice and Fire series are books I am looking forward to and would’ve read anyway.

But the main challenge for me is reading the books I keep piling up but never want to read, usually one’s I’ve bought at the same time that I really wanted but never got in the mood to read for whatever reason. Impulse buys?

It might seem silly because I could just give them all away but… I can’t do that!  It’s like an addiction.

There are two books on this list I’m not sure of:


I bought The Alchemist because it’s one of those ‘must-read’ books and I’m concerned that it won’t live up to the hype. I thought about reading it but never actually sat down and committed to it beyond reading the first page to see if it hooks me.

I have mixed thoughts about Diary of a Young Girl, it seems wrong to criticise this book but again I’m wondering if I’ll enjoy it so it’s one I have put off. That and I know it’s going to be a sad book to read, however it’s something that I really want to read.

Sometimes I feel like I need to get myself in the mood to read books like reading the positive reviews or watching the film/tv adapation and then just stick with it. I do read books I’ve bought straight away sometimes: usually when I’ve read the first page and can’t put it down so have had to buy it. I had that with Foxlowe by Eleanor Wasserberg last year (there’s be others in the past too).

Maybe if I read two I can treat myself to a book off list, I keep meaning to read Catcher in the Rye or maybe reread a favourite! That’s a good incentive, as long as I use the library and don’t buy more!

Do you have any books you’ve bought but for some reason have not started reading? Any thoughts on my backlist?



Review: How to be Champion by Sarah Millican

I’m guilty of not waiting until the new year to read this book to add it to my Beat the Backlist challenge. But like a typical bookworm I  could not let this book sit in a shop and not give it a home -it’s easier to not go shopping- but I could also not let this book sit on my bookshelf- or stack, because I don’t have room on my bookcases anymore- without starting it.

A co-worker told me about Sarah Millican and since then I’ve watched all her comedy shows (on the telly, I haven’t seen a live one yet) and she is hilarious! I missed having a funny autobiography to read in January (Lee Evans, John Barrowman, Miranda being read in previous Januarys) so after waiting a while and trying not to buy another book I just bought it (I’m not buying anymore, I promise).


My Review

Obviously- if you’re a fan you’ll know- this book is hilarious. It’s described as being for those who have  “… ever worn glasses at the age of six, worn an off-the-shoulder gown with no confidence, been contacted by an old school bully, lived in your childhood bedroom in your thirties, been gloriously dumped in a Frankie and Benny’s, cried so much you felt great, been for a romantic walk with a dog, worn leggings two days in a row even though they smelt of wee from a distance, then this is YOUR BOOK. If you haven’t done those things but wish you had, THIS IS YOUR BOOK. If you just want to laugh on a train/sofa/toilet or under your desk at work, THIS IS YOUR BOOK.” 

and it’s exactly what it says it is. It’s a book you can relate to if you’ve been bullied or shy or a person. I laughed out loud and felt like someone understands what it’s like to not be the confident person in the room who doesn’t like having their photo taken (hence no photos of me on my blog). It is definitely a pick-me-up book, a book to read when you’re not having a good day etc and a must if you’re a fan. It’s an honest autobiography of a very funny lady.

My favourite part of the book (it’s all my favourite really) is the recipe at the end, if only all recipes were written this way “Put the oven on. It’s the cupboard that gets hot” the only danger is in laughing so much that you might not be able to make the cake.

Reading this book is like having a conversation with your friend, Sarah is funny, down to earth and .. go get yourself copy I’m stopping before I start rambling. It’s just so good!



My Year In Books

I read 37 books in 2017 37 which is 10 more than in 2016. See my year in books on goodreads here:
I read more ARCs this year and read them fairly quickly in order to review them. That may be why I read so many. I haven’t decided what my goal should be this year, aiming for 40 might be too much.

Least favourites/books I didn’t finish

  • The Devil Rides Out by Dennis Wheatley- started reading in January and I enjoyed it at the start but then got bored and hated the outdated idea of witches. The Satanism plot was just absurd, but would’ve been perfect for people during the era it was written.
  • The Cellar by Richard Laymon- I’ve read some by Laymon that I’ve enjoyed. This one didn’t hold my interest and there were scenes involving child abuse which I just couldn’t read.
  • Devil’s Day by Andrew Michael Hurley- I loved The Loney and couldn’t wait to start reading this book but it wasn’t as good. It seemed more of a yarn than a horror and meandered on until I lost interest because it didn’t seem to be going anywhere.
  • Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte – didn’t hold my interest not as good as other classics I’ve read. Wondering if I should try it again one day.

Disappointing/average reads:

  • The Blackhouse by Peter May- I read it expecting a crime novel but it was more of a drama or biographical story, although it was good the end disappointed me and I have not continued with the trilogy. I loved the setting.
  • The Travelling Bag by Susan Hill- I love her novels but her short stories are disappointing.

Sometimes I might be in the wrong mood for a book and that might mean I don’t enjoy it, or if it’s a slow read that needs a lot of attention and I’m reading something more adsorbing I might lose interest in that book. Other times you just have to think this book wasn’t for me and move on.

Books out of my comfort zone:

  • The Little Beach Street series by Jenny Colgan. I am now a fan.
  • Did you see Melody by Sophie Hannah- enjoyed it but I think I prefer slow paced novels rather than this brilliant fast paced, can’t stop reading or take a breath until it’s over book. Great crime thriller and I’d read more but not all the time.

This could actually be a lot longer list. And it would take awhile to add all the amazing books I’ve read this year, and I can’t pick one that is my favourite.

Outlander (Outlander, #1)Little Beach Street Bakery

New authors discovered: Jenny Colgan, Diana Gabaldon,

FoxloweDragon's Green (Worldquake Sequence, #1)The Coffin Path

Eleanor Wasserberg, Scarlett Thomas, Katherine Clements.


Series Continued:

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R.Martin, Poldark by Winston Graham and the Morganville series by Rachel Caine -but not finished.

Books that were different:

American Godswp-1514579399538..jpg

I enjoyed new books by: Jesse Burton, Anne Rice (new Lestat book) Elizabeth Kostova. I could go on and on about the books I’ve enjoyed but my blog and Goodreads year in review should say it all!


Plans for 2018:

To read more of my tbr doing the Beat The Backlist challenge, more on that to come.

Outlander series: I’ve got back into the tv series thanks to my mother 🙂  (who has bought the books! I’ve only read one) and I am itching to read the next but not yet.

I’m putting it on here for all to see: I can’t buy anymore books!

So looking ahead to 2018 I don’t know if there’s any new books that I’m looking forward to reading, I want to continue the series I’ve started and read more of my to be read list, don’t buy any books for a few months!!!!!!!

How many books do you think I should read in 2018? Higher challenge or lower? What did you think about these books? Happy Reading 🙂