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Favourite books read in 2015

In no particular order, here are my favourite reads of 2015:

  • The Hollow Crown - Dan Jones
  • Silent Scream and Evil Games - Angela Marsons
  • The Martian - Andy Weir
  • Royal Wedding - Meg Cabot
  • The Wayward Pines series - Blake Crouch
  • The Paper Magician series - Charlie N. Holmberg
  • The Day We Disappeared - Lucy Robinson
  • Sweet Girl - Rachel Hollis
  • The Throne of Glass series - Sarah J. Maas
  • The Road to Little Dribbling - Bill Bryson
  • Career of Evil - Robert Galbraith



Which books have you enjoyed reading the most this year? x

Books read in 2015

In 2015 I read 279 books, abandoned reading 35 books, and listened to one audiobook. You can find out how I rated them over on Goodreads, and I'll also be sharing my favourite reads of the year on the blog in the next few days.
  1. A Winter Flame - Milly Johnson [B]
  2. Eats, Shoots & Leaves - Lynne Truss [B]
  3. Philomena - Martin Sixsmith [B]
  4. Solo - William Boyd [B]
  5. Sleepyhead - Mark Billingham [B]  
  6. Burial Rites - Hannah Kent [B]
  7. The Hollow Crown - Dan Jones [B] 
  8. The Worst Witch - Jill Murphy [R]
  9. Shall We Dance? - Maggie Alderson [B]
  10. Around the World in Eighty Days - Jules Verne [B] 
  11. Shopaholic on Honeymoon - Sophie Kinsella [B] 
  12. The Killables - Gemma Malley [B] 
  13. Thirteen Weddings - Paige Toon [B]
  14. The Forgotten Holocaust - Scott Mariani [B]
  15. When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit - Judith Kerr [B]
  16. The Tea Chest - Josephine Moon [B]
  17. Red Rising - Pierce Brown [B]
  18. The Tudors - Jane Bingham [B] 
  19. Silent Scream - Angela Marsons [B] 
  20. Black Flagged - Steven Konkoly [B]
  21. The No-Kids Club - Talli Roland [B]
  22. The Martian - Andy Weir [B]
  23. Northern Lights - Philip Pullman [R]
  24. The Venice Bucket List - Ella Fairlie [B]
  25. Slated - Teri Terry [B]
  26. Doubting Abbey - Samantha Tonge [B]
  27. Conditional Love - Cathy Bramley [B] 
  28. Trouble in Tinseltown - Aimee Duffy [B] 
  29. Misbehaving in Miami - Aimee Duffy [B]
  30. Prada and Prejudice - Katie Oliver [B] 
  31. Dan Taylor is Giving Up on Women - Neal Doran [B]
  32. Letters From My Sister - Alice Peterson [B]
  33. How to Get a (Love) Life - Rosie Blake [B]
  34. Not Quite Perfect - Annie Lyons [B]
  35. The Subtle Knife - Philip Pullman [R]
  36. Tied up with Love - Amelia Thorne [B] 
  37. Prey - James Carol [B] 
  38. In Search of a Love Story - Rachel Schurig [B]
  39. Black Wood - S.J.I. Holliday [B] 
  40. The Little Things - Jane Costello [B]
  41. Foxglove Summer - Ben Aaronovitch [B]
  42. One Hundred Proposals - Holly Martin [B]
  43. You're the One That I Want - Giovanna Fletcher [B]
  44. There's More To Life Than Cupcakes - Poppy Dolan [B]
  45. Departure - A.G. Riddle [B]
  46. The Paper Magician - Charlie N. Holmberg [B]
  47. The Glass Magician - Charlie N. Holmberg [B]
  48. Follow the Leader - Mel Sherratt [B]
  49. The One That Got Away - Simon Wood [B]
  50. Alan Turing: Unlocking the Enigma - David Boyle [B]
  51. Stranger Child - Rachel Abbott [B] 
  52. From the Cradle - Louise Voss and Mark Edwards [B] 
  53. Because She Loves Me - Mark Edwards [B]
  54. Fat Chance - Nick Spalding [B] 
  55. The Venus Trap - Louise Voss [B]
  56. Poppy Day - Amanda Prowse [B]
  57. Second Time Lucky - Sophie King [B]
  58. Paying the Piper - Simon Wood [B]
  59. City of Bones - Cassandra Clare [R] 
  60. City of Ashes - Cassandra Clare [B]
  61. City of Glass - Cassandra Clare [B]
  62. Connectivity - Aven Ellis [B]
  63. Decoy - Scott Mariani [B]
  64. City of Fallen Angels - Cassandra Clare [B]  
  65. Spin - Catherine McKenzie [B] 
  66. House of Malice - Scott Mariani [B] 
  67. The Man Who Can't Be Moved - Tilly Tennant [B] 
  68. City of Lost Souls - Cassandra Clare [B]   
  69. Arranged - Catherine McKenzie [B] 
  70. City of Heavenly Fire - Cassandra Clare [B]
  71. Forgotten - Catherine McKenzie [B]
  72. Hidden - Catherine McKenzie [B]
  73. More Ketchup than Salsa - Joe Cawley [B] 
  74. Custard Tarts and Broken Hearts - Mary Gibson [B] 
  75. Golden Son - Pierce Brown [B] 
  76. The Wronged Sons - John Marrs [B]
  77. Runaway Summer - Ruth Saberton [B] 
  78. Bad Blood - Casey Kelleher [B] 
  79. Pines - Blake Crouch [B] 
  80. Wayward - Blake Crouch [B]  
  81. The Last Town - Blake Crouch [B]    
  82. The Lie - C.L. Taylor [B]
  83. The Bride Wore Size 12 - Meg Cabot [B]
  84. Here Come the Girls - Milly Johnson [B]
  85. The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins [B] 
  86. #Forfeit - Caroline Batten [B]
  87. One Plus One - Jojo Moyes [B]
  88. The Allegra Biscotti Collection - Olivia Bennett [B]
  89. The Amber Spyglass - Philip Pullman [R]
  90. Winter of the World - Ken Follett [B] 
  91. Evil Games - Angela Marsons [B] 
  92. The Bone Clocks - David Mithcell [B]
  93. The Martyr's Curse - Scott Mariani [B] 
  94. Feed - Mira Grant [B]
  95. Fresh Doubt - Eva Hudson [B] 
  96. Lullaby Girl - Aly Sidgwick [B] 
  97. The Day We Disappeared - Lucy Robinson [B] 
  98. The Miniaturist - Jessie Burton [B] 
  99. The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance - Kirsty Greenwood [B] 
  100. The Perfume Collector - Kathleen Tessaro [B] 
  101. The Year of Taking Chances - Lucy Diamond [B] 
  102. The Shape of Water - Andrea Camilleri [B] 
  103. Kiss Heaven Goodbye - Tasmina Perry [B] 
  104. Ladies Who Launch - Milly Johnson [B]
  105. Ransom - Rachel Schurig [B] 
  106. Shallow Waters - Rebecca Bradley [B] 
  107. Whatever It Takes - Adele Parks [B] 
  108. Us - David Nicholls [B] 
  109. The One You Really Want - Jill Mansell [B]
  110. Royal Wedding - Meg Cabot [B]
  111. The Wolf of Wall Street - Jordan Belfort [B] 
  112. Not What They Were Expecting - Neal Doran [B]
  113. You Had Me at Merlot: Part 1 - Lisa Dickenson [B]
  114. You Had Me at Merlot: Part 2 - Lisa Dickenson [B]
  115. You Had Me at Merlot: Part 3 - Lisa Dickenson [B]
  116. You Had Me at Merlot: Part 4 - Lisa Dickenson [B] 
  117. The White Princess - Philippa Gregory [B]
  118. Catch Me If You Cannes: Part 1 - Lisa Dickenson [B]
  119. Catch Me If You Cannes: Part 2 - Lisa Dickenson [B]
  120. Catch Me If You Cannes: Part 3 - Lisa Dickenson [B]
  121. Catch Me If You Cannes: Part 4 - Lisa Dickenson [B] 
  122. The Duff - Kody Keplinger [B]
  123. The Guestbook - Holly Martin [B] 
  124. The Silver Linings Playbook - Matthew Quick [B]
  125. Deep Blue Sea - Tasmina Perry [B]
  126. You, Me and Him - Alice Peterson [B]
  127. Johnny's Girl - Paige Toon [B]
  128. Hostile Witness - Rebecca Forster [B]
  129. What Might Have Been - Matt Dunn [B]
  130. White Wedding - Milly Johnson [B]
  131. Travelling to Infinity - Jane Hawking [B]
  132. Someone Else's Fairytale - E.M. Tippetts [B]
  133. Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell [B]
  134. The Longest Holiday - Paige Toon [B] 
  135. The Breeders - Katie French [B]
  136. Secrets on the Estate - Mel Sherratt [B]
  137. Izzy's Cold Feet - Sarah Louise Smith [B]
  138. The Memory Game - Sharon Sant [B]
  139. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling [R]
  140. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves - Karen Joy Fowler [B]
  141. Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez [B] 
  142. Over You - Lucy Diamond [B]
  143. Soldier's Wives - Fiona Field [B]
  144. Committed - Elizabeth Gilbert [B]
  145. A Brief History of Walt Disney - Brain J. Robb [B]
  146. The Story of You - Katy Regan [B]
  147. I Knew You Were Trouble - Paige Toon [B]
  148. Finding Audrey - Sophie Kinsella [B]
  149. Somewhere Only We Know - Erin Lawless [B]
  150. Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn [R] 
  151. The Wild Places - Robert Macfarlane [B]
  152. The Good Girls - Sara Shepard [B]
  153. Forrest Gump - Winston Groom [B]
  154. Water Wings - Lauren McCrossan [B]
  155. The Bourne Ultimatum - Robert Ludlum [B]
  156. Corporate America - Jack Dougherty [B]
  157. Ugly Love - Colleen Hoover [B]
  158. The Girl Who Wouldn't Die - Marnie Riches [B]
  159. Finding Cinderella - Colleen Hoover [B]
  160. X - Jack Croxall [B]
  161. Confessions of a Chocoholic - Lynda Renham [B]
  162. Throne of Glass - Sarah J. Maas [B]
  163. The Stranger Within - Kathryn Croft [B]
  164. No-One Ever has Sex in the Suburbs - Tracy Bloom [B]
  165. Only the Brave - Mel Sherratt [B] 
  166. Perfect Little Town - Blake Crouch [B]
  167. Wreckage - Emily Bleeker [B]
  168. Follow You Home - Mark Edwards [B]
  169. Run - Blake Crouch [B]
  170. To Be Someone - Louise Voss [B]
  171. Snowbound - Blake Crouch [B]
  172. Hidden - Kendra Elliot [B]
  173. Chilled - Kendra Elliot[B]
  174. Abandon - Blake Crouch [B]
  175. Buried - Kendra Elliot [B]
  176. Veiled - Kendra Elliot [B]
  177. Alone - Kendra Elliot [B]
  178. The Generation Game - Sophie Duffy [B]
  179. Stirred with Love - Marcie Steele [B]
  180. Letting in Light - Emma Davies [B]
  181. Paris Time Capsule - Ella Carey [B]
  182. A Time for Living - Ruth Saberton [B]
  183. The Good Neighbour - A.J. Banner [B] 
  184. Escape for Christmas - Ruth Saberton [B]
  185. About That Fling - Tawna Fenske [B]
  186. The Evil Beneath - A.J. Waines [B]
  187. Crown of Midnight - Sarah J. Maas [B]
  188. Vanished - Kendra Elliot [B]
  189. Bridged - Kendra Elliot [B]
  190. Spiralled - Kendra Elliot [B]
  191. Heir of Fire - Sarah J. Maas [B]
  192. The Master Magician - Charlie N. Holmberg [B]
  193. Addicted - Nigel May [B]
  194. The Shell Collector - Hugh Howey [B]
  195. Trinity - Nigel May [B]
  196. Half Way Home - Hugh Howey [B]
  197. The Birds and the Bees - Milly Johnson [B]
  198. On Her Father's Grave - Kendra Elliot [B]
  199. Gone to Her Grave - Melinda Leigh [B]
  200. Her Grave Secrets - Kendra Elliot [B]
  201. Walking on Her Grave - Melinda Leigh [B]
  202. The Hunter's Prayer - Kevin Wignall [B]
  203. Girl on a Train - A.J. Waines [B]
  204. Dead Wrong - Helen H. Durrant [B]
  205. The Tunnel - Scott Mariani [B]
  206. Party Girl - Rachel Hollis [B]
  207. My Name Is - Angela Marsons [B]
  208. Sweet Girl - Rachel Hollis [B]
  209. Dead Silent - Helen H. Durrant [B]
  210. Dead List - Helen H. Durrant [B]
  211. Followed by Frost - Charlie N. Holmberg [B]
  212. Beacon 23: The Complete Novel - Hugh Howey [B]
  213. Marriage to Measure - Talli Roland [B]
  214. Where the Memories Lie - Sibel Hodge [B]
  215. Married by Midnight - Talli Roland [B]
  216. Last Christmas - Talli Roland [B]
  217. The Rose Girls - Victoria Connelly [B]
  218. The Middle Child - Angela Marsons [B]
  219. The Lie of You - Jane Lythell [B]
  220. Welcome To Wherever You Are - John Marrs [B]
  221. The King's Hounds - Martin Jensen [B]
  222. Oathbreaker - Martin Jensen [B]
  223. A Man's Word - Martin Jensen [B]
  224. The Blissfully Dead - Louise Voss and Mark Edwards [B] 
  225. Dark Place to Hide - A.J. Waines [B]
  226. Strawberries at Wimbledon - Nikki Moore [B]
  227. Queen of Shadows - Sarah J. Maas [B]
  228. Zoo Station - David Downing [B] 
  229. Don't Turn Around - Caroline Mitchell [B]
  230. Emerge - S.E. Hall [B]
  231. The Vintage Girl - Hester Browne [B]
  232. The Martian - Andy Weir [R]
  233. Somewhere to Hide - Mel Sherratt [R] 
  234. The Bad Beginning - Lemony Snicket [R]
  235. The Reptile Room - Lemony Snicket [B]
  236. The Wide Window - Lemony Snicket [B]
  237. Behind a Closed Door - Mel Sherratt [R] 
  238. The Road to Little Dribbling - Bill Bryson [B]
  239. The Miserable Mill - Lemony Snicket [B]
  240. The Leftovers - Tom Perrotta [B]
  241. The Austere Academy - Lemony Snicket [B]
  242. Wish Upon A Star - Oliva Goldsmith [B]
  243. Written in the Stars - Mel Sherratt [B]
  244. The Assassin and the Pirate Lord - Sarah J. Maas [B]
  245. The Assassin and the Healer - Sarah J. Maas [B] 
  246. Little Black Lies - Sharon Bolton [B]
  247. The Short Drop - Matthew FitzSimmons [B]
  248. Deadline - Mira Grant [B]
  249. Lost Girls - Angela Marsons[B]
  250. The Assassin and the Desert - Sarah J. Maas [B] 
  251. The Assassin and the Underworld - Sarah J. Maas [B] 
  252. The Assassin and the Empire - Sarah J. Maas [B] 
  253. Heresy - S.J. Parris [B]
  254. From Italy With Love - Jules Wake [B]
  255. From Paris With Love This Christmas [B]
  256. Blackout - Mira Grant [B]
  257. The Twelve Dates of Christmas - Lisa Dickenson [B]
  258. Red Queen - Victoria Aveyard [B]
  259. Dead Gone - Luca Veste [B]
  260. Mishaps & Mistletoe - Tilly Tennant [B]
  261. The Queen of the Tearling - Erika Johansen [B]
  262. The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton [B]
  263. I'll Take New York - Miranda Dickinson [B]
  264. Coming Home for Christmas - Jenny Hale [B]
  265. One Hundred Christmas Proposals - Holly Martin [B]
  266. My Christmas Wish - Julia Williams [B]
  267. Dad's Christmas Wish - Julia Williams [B]
  268. Granny's Christmas Wish - Julia Williams [B]
  269. A Christmas Gift - Stella Wilkinson [B]
  270. When He Fell - Kate Hewitt [B]
  271. Notebooks of a Middle School Princess - Meg Cabot [B]
  272. The Kiss Before Midnight - Sophie Pembroke [B]
  273. Christmas at the Gingerbread Cafe - Rebecca Raisin [B]
  274. Terms of Use - Scott Allan Morrison [B]
  275. How to Stuff up Christmas - Rosie Blake [B]
  276. A Cottage in the Country - Linn B. Halton [B]
  277. And the Mountains Echoed - Khaled Hosseini [B]
  278. The Snow Angel - Lulu Taylor [B]
  279. Picture Perfect - Holly Smale [B]
  280. The Kind Worth Killing - Peter Swanson [B]

  281. Did not finish:

    The House of Mirth - Edith Wharton
    Alpha - Colin F. Barnes
    Star Fish - Nicola May
    The Gemini Effect - Chuck Grossart
    Minette - Melanie Clegg
    The School Run - Sophie King
    A Little Love - Amanda Prowse
    Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
    The Mangle Street Murders - M.R.C. Kasasian
    The Nostradamus File - Alex Lukeman
    The New York Trilogy - Paul Auster
    The Italian Lesson - Frankie McGowan
    The Woodlands - Lauren Nicolle Taylor
    Twinkle, Twinkle... My Year Observing the Implosion of a Little Star - Mary Roulston
    The Agincourt Bride - Joanna Hickson
    Humanity's Global Era: A Dual Paradigm Change - Shlomo Yishai
    Providence - Jamie McGuire
    Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes - Sue Watson
    The List - Joanna Bolouri
    Gone - Michael Grant
    Surface Tension - Christine Kling
    Silver - Steven Savile
    The Seven Steps to Closure - Donna Joy Usher
    Twenty-Five - Rachel L. Hamm
    Boys for Sale - Marc Finks
    Sky Song - Sharon Sant
    As The Crow Flies - Damien Boyd
    A Beautiful Lie - T.E. Sivec
    Matches - Carlie Pettit
    The Detective's Daughter - Lesley Thomson
    A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother - Christie Barlow
    Avenged - Jacqui Rose
    The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists - Robert Tressell
    Winter's Children - Leah Fleming
    Humbugs and Heartstrings - Catherine Ferguson

November 2015: The Hand and Flowers

The Hand and Flowers, 126 West Street, Marlow, SL7 2PB.

Last month we headed to Marlow for dinner at the two-Michelin star gastropub, The Hand and Flowers. We ate there last November as well so knew we'd be in for a treat! Once again we'd booked the restaurant back in January this year but, and is it just me, this year has flown by so it didn't feel like such a long wait.

I slightly preferred our visit the first time round, though that's not to say there was anything wrong with this visit. The food was still as beautiful as ever, and the dessert that I had this time was incredible. I picked the lime and white chocolate bavarois with 70% cacao sorbet and white chocolate tuile, which is that rather planet-like picture below. Easily the best dessert I've had, probably ever.

What always strikes me about The Hand and Flowers is that it is exceptional value for a two-Michelin star rated place. Prices have pretty much remained the same as when we went in November 2014. If you can, I'd definitely recommend you go - I'm sure we'll be back there next November. x

The month that was: November

What happened:
We celebrated Olly's birthday at the start of the month, and his present from me was the BB8 droid (my nephew got the toy version for his birthday). Needless to say, he was very happy with it! We also headed to Kent the weekend after his birthday to celebrate with his family, catch up with friends, and watch a firework display. As for his birthday itself, we had a relaxing day. That's something to be said about working two days, having Wednesday off, then it's only two more working days until the weekend!

This month I finally listened to the Undisclosed podcast, which is a follow-up podcast to Serial, plus some of the Truth and Justice episodes. I thought that Serial was eye-opening but I am even more astounded after listening to Undisclosed that the case wasn't thrown out because of the missing /shoddy and seemingly tampered with evidence/witnesses. Has anyone else listened to these? I also started listening to Limetown, a fictional podcast - I'm not quite convinced about the story at the moment, but I'll see how it plays out - and I've also been listening to some of the BookD podcasts.

We headed to Marlow to have dinner at Tom Kerridge's The Hand and Flowers and stayed over, then headed to Bicester the next day for a bit of shopping. To be honest, I didn't really rate Bicester (Arielle would be appalled!) as I found a few things that I'd bought recently online to be more expensive at Bicester!

Other than that I've been hard at work earning money to ensure that I can take some months off at the start of next year to get Found finished. The cover is finished, and I'll be revealing it once it's available for pre-order.

What I ate:
We headed to Honest Burgers at Brixton Village which was Olly's first visit. Thankfully, especially as it was his birthday, he loved it. We ate at The Vineyard in Lamberhurst with Olly's sister and her husband and enjoyed some delicious gastropub/hearty country food. I had a beautiful wild boar meatball starter; other dishes we ordered included a yummy game pie, succulent scallops (below) and tasty venison medallions. Definitely go if you're in the area.

I discovered Taqueria on Westbourne Grove, which is an awesome Mexican restaurant if you're in the Notting Hill area. (I still love Wahaca, but it's always nice to try new places, especially since Wahaca is considered a chain nowadays!) Tacos from there pictured above right.

I was lucky enough to do some two Michelin Star dining at Tom Kerridge's The Hand and Flowers. We ate there last November, too, so it's becoming something of a November tradition! I'll review it soon, but we had a lovely meal, and I was particularly thrilled with my dessert (above right). It's a mini planet - how awesome is that! The next morning we had breakfast at The Coach, Tom's other Marlow eatery, which was nice enough.

What I watched:
TV-wise I followed Hugh's War on Waste with a super keen interest, and I urge you all to sign the pledge but also make sure that you recycle and try not to waste food. We also started watching the last season of Peep Show and season 7 of Nurse Jackie.

Movies watched: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Fast & Furious 7, Cleaner, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, The Wedding Ringer, Paris When it Sizzles, Pitch Perfect 2, Independence Day, Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, X-Men: First Class, Angels and Demons, Tangled, Taken 3, Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace, Sister Act and Inside Out.

What I read:
In November I read 16 books and abandoned reading 3 books. I enjoyed reading From Italy With Love and From Paris With Love This Christmas by Jules Wake, The Assassin and the Desert by Sarah J. Maas, The Short Drop by Mattthew FitzSimmons, Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton, Blackout by Mira Grant and The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen.

How was your November? (And how is it December already?!) x

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