Books.  I’ve always enjoyed reading a good book, particularly on holiday where it’s not unknown for me to get through a book a day!  It’s my favourite way to read which does mean I don’t tend to read when I’m home in the UK as I don’t think I’d ever find time to sleep!  But please don’t be fooled by the cover photo of this blog – I certainly do not read my holiday books sat on a knobbly rock!  Oh, no!  The reality is, you’d find me lay vertically on a beach or by the pool, under a parasol with a cap and my sunnies on, looking like some undercover agent.  A very sweaty undercover agent!  Lol!  But, y’know, you may not have been compelled to click “read more” if I’d treated you to that image!  Anyway, I digress, books……

Of course, over the years my book tastes have changed.  In my early years I was a fan of the Royal Family Ladybird series and my Auntie Anne’s vast collection of books on the Royals.  From that I fell head over heels in love with Princess Diana and have read pretty much every book about her going.  In fact, my obsession was such that I even convinced my sister she was my real Mum!  Yep.  True story!

Then, alongside my love of Lady Di, I got in to Judy Blume.  I mean, who hasn’t had a good giggle at the “rude” bits in Forever & Are You There God It’s Me Margaret?  A personal fave of mine was Blubber as I was also obsessed with whales and dolphins throughout my teenage years (even though the book isn’t actually about whales!).  And yes, before you ask, I did sponsor a dolphin and have the obligatory Athena poster of the whale tail on my bedroom wall (alongside a poster of Kermit the Frog in his Calvin Kleins – I was just too cool for school, me)!  I genuinely think I learnt more about growing up from Judy Blume than I did from my parents and school combined!  Such brilliant and informative books.

After that, I moved on to autobiographies and biographies as, to be honest, I am just fascinated by people (in particular celebs if I’m being totally honest!) and love anything “real life”.  In addition to my fascination with the Royals, I’ve read about Sharron Davies, Victoria Beckham and even Martine McCutcheon.

And then, in more recent times, I’ve been partial to a self development book or ten, 4 of which I have reviewed here, here, here and here if you fancy a peek.

So, with 10 weeks in Ibiza ahead of me, I reached out to my Instagram and Facebook followers for some recommendations as feel I need to experiment with books outside of my usual genres of self development and true stories/biographies.  And they didn’t disappoint!  I have therefore picked 10 books – 1 for every week – that I hope to get through whilst I’m here:

Please note – all the blurbs have been taking directly from Amazon and all  book links are affiliate links meaning if you click and buy from them, I get a few pennies to spend on more books to write about!

 

Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live.

Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.

Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.

One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?

An astonishing story that powerfully depicts the loneliness of life, and the simple power of a little kindness.

Thanks to my Facebook followers Georgie & Deb for this recommendation.  And, let’s face it, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock these past few months, you are likely to have seen this book being read by loads of peeps so I figured it’d gotta be good!  Reading the blurb just sealed the deal to be honest.  Minus the vodka, sounds like it’s describing me back in my corporate days!

COW [n.]
/kaʊ/

A piece of meat; born to breed; past its sell-by-date; one of the herd.

Three women. A whole world of judgement.

Tara, Cam and Stella are very different women. Yet in a society that sets the agenda, there’s something about being a woman that ties invisible bonds between us.

When one extraordinary event rockets Tara to online infamy, their three worlds collide in ways they could never imagine – and they discover that one woman’s catastrophe might just be another’s inspiration.

Through friendship and conflict, difference and likeness, they’ll learn to find their own voices.

Because sometimes it’s OK not to follow the herd.

Thanks to Amelie Design Creative Director and Instagram follower, Sally for this one.  I love Dawn O’Porter.  I always looked forward to her monthly Glamour magazine column (RIP – sob!) and, to be honest, have always been everso slightly envious of her bold style and bob-of-dreams!  It’s a book that I’ve heard about and has been on my “to-read” list for a while but I’ve just never got round to it so thank you Sally for reminding me about it.  Another solid blurb and I have high hopes.

Even the darkest secrets can’t stay buried forever…

Five figures gather round a shallow grave. They had all taken turns to dig. An adult-sized hole would have taken longer. An innocent life had been taken but the pact had been made. Their secrets would be buried, bound in blood…

Years later, a headmistress is found brutally strangled, the first in a spate of gruesome murders which shock the Black Country.

But when human remains are discovered at a former children’s home, disturbing secrets are also unearthed. D.I. Kim Stone fast realises she’s on the hunt for a twisted individual whose killing spree spans decades.

As the body count rises, Kim needs to stop the murderer before they strike again. But to catch the killer, can Kim confront the demons of her own past before it’s too late?

I’m not going to lie : crime/thrillers have never been high up my list of books to read. However, this series comes very highly recommended by my former Digit-Ninja colleague and Instagram follower, Clare, so I’m willing to give it a whirl as the reviews I’ve read also seem very favourable.  And because the last thriller I read following a recommendation – Gone Girl – was so blummin’ good, it has made me more open to the genre for sure.  Plus this one is set in the Black Country – near to where I’m from – so be rude not to!

Their future is written in the stars.

Maia D’Aplièse and her five sisters gather together at their childhood home, ‘Atlantis’ – a fabulous, secluded castle situated on the shores of Lake Geneva – having been told that their beloved father, the elusive billionaire they call Pa Salt, has died. Maia and her sisters were all adopted by him as babies and, discovering he has already been buried at sea, each of them is handed a tantalising clue to their true heritage – a clue which takes Maia across the world to a crumbling mansion in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Once there, she begins to put together the pieces of where her story began.

Eighty years earlier, in the Belle Epoque of Rio, 1927, Izabela Bonifacio’s father has aspirations for his daughter to marry into aristocracy. Meanwhile, architect Heitor da Silva Costa is working on a statue, to be called Christ the Redeemer, and will soon travel to Paris to find the right sculptor to complete his vision. Izabela – passionate and longing to see the world – convinces her father to allow her to accompany him and his family to Europe before she is married. There, at Paul Landowski’s studio and in the heady, vibrant cafés of Montparnasse, she meets ambitious young sculptor Laurent Brouilly, and knows at once that her life will never be the same again.

This book comes recommended by another former colleague and Instagram follower, Cathy.  Again, part of a series and maybe not one I’d usually go for, but as Cathy listened to countless boring presentations I delivered over the years – although, I might add, didn’t always laugh at my terrible jokes (including one particularly terrible example referencing a-ga-do) – I do owe it to her to listen to her for a change.  And the reviews are really very good so I am looking forward to reading it.  I’m positive it’ll be more entertaining than Money Laundering or Data Protection!

This was not the start of a short trip to deliver supplies. It was the beginning of a one-way journey to start a new life. Life on a leper colony. Life on Spinalonga.

Fifty years later, making a life-changing journey of her own, Alexis Fielding feels the pull of the abandoned island. A distant shadow off the coast of Crete, she knows it holds the secrets to her mother’s past, buried for so long but surely not forgotten . . .

This book came recommended to me way back by my good friend, Carla, and I’ve had it on my Kindle ever since but never actually got round to reading it.  My sister also highly recommends Victoria Hislop’s books so, this summer, it’s time to finally read it.  I’m told it’ll make me want to go to Greece which I won’t tell Mr W about as I think 10 weeks in Ibiza is already pushing it!

Bernadette Fox is notorious.

To Elgie Branch, a Microsoft wunderkind, she’s his hilarious, volatile, talented, troubled wife.

To fellow mothers at the school gate, she’s a menace.

To design experts, she’s a revolutionary architect.

And to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, quite simply, mum.

Then Bernadette disappears. And Bee must take a trip to the end of the earth to find her.

WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE is a compulsively readable, irresistibly written, deeply touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s place in the world.

My sister-in-law, Val, recommended this book ages ago so I’m finally going to read it.  The fact it’s set in Seattle and has a link to Microsoft also makes it more appealing after many trips to visit Val when she lived there and worked for Microsoft.  Although I must point out, that’s where the similarities end as Val has never gone awol leaving her 3 girls to find her!  Well, not as far as I’m aware anyway 😉

If you’ve ever felt a crumpling in your chest when another friend tells you that they’re pregnant… If you’ve ever wondered why everyone else seems to find it so easy… If you’ve ever experienced the pursuit of motherhood… This book is for you. 

It is currently estimated that one in five couples have difficulty conceiving. Hepburn’s book which describes her long and, at times, heartbreaking journey to have a child has been called a cross between Bridget Jones Diary and Eat Pray Love for the infertile generation.

Yes, yes and YES to all 3 of those blurb opening questions!  Think it’s fair to say I qualify to read it!  During one of my many visits to Pikes in Ibiza last year, I was stood waiting for Mr W to return from the bar.  And, as is customary in Ibiza, I started chatting to some strangers.  A group of ladies and gents who were enjoying a child free night out, trying to stay awake past midnight.  During the conversation, one of the ladies asked if I had children.  I replied that I hadn’t and she asked if it was OK to ask why.  Bold, I thought, but I told her I couldn’t have them and about our IVF journey to which she replied she’d had to have fertility treatment for her child.  Cue a heart-to-heart about IVF and infertility – cheery subject for a night of partying, I know – where she also told me about a book she’d read that she had gone on to buy for all her friends and family when she was going through treatment to help them better understand the journey as she thought it was that good.  So, no sooner as I got home, I ordered it on Amazon……only for it to have gone out of print 🙁  And I forgot about it again until The Fertility Network UK featured the sequel (21 Miles – see below) on their Instagram feed.  To my delight, both this book and the sequel were both available on Kindle so I downloaded them pronto!

After a decade of trying to become a mother – eleven rounds of unsuccessful IVF, multiple miscarriages and a pregnancy which proved almost fatal – Jessica Hepburn knew it was time to do something different.

So she decided to swim the twenty-one miles across the English Channel – no easy feat, especially for someone with an aversion to exercise who couldn’t swim very well. As the punishing training commenced, Jessica learned you need to put on weight to stave off the cold. This then led to another idea: what if she wrote to a collection of inspiring women, asking if they would meet and eat with her to answer the question: does motherhood make you happy?

The response was overwhelming. From baronesses and professors to award-winners and record-breakers, amazing women from different walks of life – some mothers, some not – all with compelling truths to tell about female fulfilment and the meaning of motherhood. On 2 September 2015, Jessica set out from Dover beach in the dark, taking the words that each of the women had given to sea in her bid to answer the question.

The sequel to the book above.  And it’s about infertility and swimming.  I mean, it was literally written especially for me!  Although, no, I have no designs on swimming the English Channel.  Fair weather swimmer, me 🙂

If you could share one lesson from your life with every woman, what would it be?

Stylist magazine has asked that question of remarkable women from the worlds of entertainment, politics, sport and fashion. With honesty, wit and a serious no-BS attitude, their lessons address the challenges every woman faces today, from climbing the career ladder and finding inner fulfilment, to forging authentic relationships and overcoming life’s setbacks.

Each of these impressive women, including actress Romola Garai and comedian Francesca Martinez, has a tale to tell and an experience to share. Empowering, engaging and unapologetically impassioned, their incisive observations will make you think, reflect – and kick serious ass. These are life lessons for women, by women.

This book makes the list as it features my Insta-crush, Laura Jane Williams (aka Superlatively LJ).  She’s a writer and just does Instagram so well!  She’s smart, funny, has such fantastic values and generally makes me feel decidedly less educated for my years.  I could go on but it might get weird! Lol!  Anyway, she’s contributed to this book and, after reading Ice Cream For Breakfast last year (which I reviewed here if you’re interested), this just had to make the list!  It sounds amaze.  And yes, it might be another self development book in disguise.  What can I say?  I’m a sucker for them!

Fragments of a Great Secret have been found in the oral traditions, in literature, in religions and philosophies throughout the centuries. For the first time, all the pieces of The Secret come together in an incredible revelation that will be life-transforming for all who experience it.

In this book, you’ll learn how to use The Secret in every aspect of your life – money, health, relationships, happiness, and in every interaction you have in the world. You’ll begin to understand the hidden, untapped power that’s within you, and this revelation can bring joy to every aspect of your life.

The Secret contains wisdom from modern-day teachers – men and women who have used it to achieve health, wealth and happiness. By applying the knowledge of The Secret, they bring to light compelling stories of eradicating obstacles, and achieving what many would regard as impossible.

Discover the book which has been changing millions of lives around the world. No matter who you are, where you are right now, no matter what you want – when you realise The Secret you can have anything.

And finally, there’s no hiding this is the self help book of ALL self help books.  Apparently anyway!  As anyone following my blog for a while will know, I’ve become rather intrigued and amazed by the universe as it’s sent some pretty amazing things my way over the past year or so.  Might be a bit woo-woo for some peeps, but I am a converted believer in the Law of Attraction so thanks to my very good Crossfit and running buddy, Rachel, for buying me this and to one of my very good friends, G, for recommending it many moons ago.  It makes some pretty big statements about how it’s changed lives so my expectation is high.  Will report back!

So (assuming you’ve made it this far as this is quite the blog post!) : 10 weeks, 10 books.  But as we’re already a week down and I’ve nearly finished my second book, I have a feeling I may be needing to add some more.  However, with a couple of series already part of the list and a nod in the direction of The Cold Water Book Club (run by my mate, Dawn O’Porter) and The Erica Davies Book Club (thanks, Rachel off of Instagram), I shouldn’t be short of good reads, I’m sure 🙂

Let me know what you’re reading this summer – would love to know!

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