WWW Wednesday 23rd December 2015


This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions in a post and then put a link to that post in the Comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

The questions are:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

As always, clicking on the cover image will take you to the book’s Goodreads page.

1. What I’m reading at the moment

The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman book coverI have mixed feelings about this one. The setting is wonderful and the descriptions of the lighthouse are perfect, but some of the crucial characters aren’t all that sympathetic. Hopefully I’ll have a review up tomorrow evening.

What it’s about (very long version): After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

M. L. Stedman’s mesmerizing, beautifully written novel seduces us into accommodating Isabel’s decision to keep this “gift from God.” And we are swept into a story about extraordinarily compelling characters seeking to find their North Star in a world where there is no right answer, where justice for one person is another’s tragic loss.

2. The last books I read

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi book coverHere’s my full review. I encourage everyone to read this. A unique insight into growing up in the social and political turmoil of a revolution and counter-revolution. With lots of surprisingly humorous bits. I suppose that’s life…

What it’s about: Here, in one volume: Marjane Satrapi’s best-selling, internationally acclaimed memoir-in-comic-strips.

Persepolis is the story of Satrapi’s unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming–both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland. It is the chronicle of a girlhood and adolescence at once outrageous and familiar, a young life entwined with the history of her country yet filled with the universal trials and joys of growing up.

Edgy, searingly observant, and candid, often heartbreaking but threaded throughout with raw humor and hard-earned wisdom–Persepolis is a stunning work from one of the most highly regarded, singularly talented graphic artists at work today.


Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff book coverMy full 5* review. Another 5-star review of Illuminae from me. If you’re a sci-fi fan or just looking for something gripping you should pick this up.

The (very short) blurb: Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes..


3. What I’ll read next

The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness

The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness book coverYou all knew I wouldn’t be able to stay away from him for long! This will be the first piece of adult fiction by Patrick Ness I’ve read (although I would argue that most of his “YA” books are suitable for everyone).

The blurb: The extraordinary happens every day…

One night, George Duncan – decent man, a good man – is woken by a noise in his garden. Impossibly, a great white crane has tumbled to earth, shot through its wing by an arrow. Unexpectedly moved, George helps the bird, and from the moment he watches it fly off, his life is transformed.

The next day, a kind but enigmatic woman walks into George’s shop. Suddenly a new world opens up for George, and one night she starts to tell him the most extraordinary story.

Wise, romantic, magical and funny, The Crane Wife is a hymn to the creative imagination and a celebration of the disruptive and redemptive power of love.


Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller

Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller book coverI’ve seen a lot of positive reviews for this recently, so I requested it from the publisher via NetGalley and, lo and behold, I was approved!

The blurb: 1976: Peggy Hillcoat is eight. She spends her summer camping with her father, playing her beloved record of The Railway Children and listening to her mother’s grand piano, but her pretty life is about to change.

Her survivalist father, who has been stockpiling provisions for the end which is surely coming soon, takes her from London to a cabin in a remote European forest. There he tells Peggy the rest of the world has disappeared. And so her life is reduced to a piano which makes music but no sound, a forest where all that grows is a means of survival. And a tiny wooden hut that is Everything.

Peggy is not seen again for another nine years.

1985: Peggy has returned to the family home. But what happened to her in the forest? And why has she come back now?

Have you read/are reading any of these? What are you reading? Let me know! 🙂

You can also find me on Twitter @ClaraVal and on Goodreads.

Christmas cookie biscuit selection mini gingerbread men, pink hearts and Christmas tree decoration

If you missed them, check out my vanilla Christmas biscuits/cookies 🙂 My attempt at festive baking turned out surprisingly well!

 Claire Huston / Art and Soul


49 thoughts on “WWW Wednesday 23rd December 2015

  1. I’ve been seeing Illuminae for quite a while but I never got around checking it out. It seems like a good book (seeing the high scores and outstanding reviews) so maybe I should read it..?

    The Crane Wife looks like an interesting romance book. I don’t think I’ve read many romance books that I really liked so I’ll keep this one in mind, in case I needed to read one.

    I enjoyed reading your WWW. Quite a varied selection. Hope you get around reading them all!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Illuminae is excellent. It’s another one of those sci-fi books which gets it right in that the focus is on the characters and the fact they’re in space, etc. is just incidental.
      I hope I get round to it all too. It can be tough over Christmas to make time for reading.
      Thanks for visiting and Happy Christmas!

      Liked by 1 person

      • That seems to solve my problems with Sci-fi. I always found the genre a tedious read because it tends to prioritize world-building over the characters. But that’s basing on my handful pile of Sci-fi reads. I suppose I should try this out then =D

        Liked by 1 person

    • I can understand that. I thought it would be far quicker to read than a novel, but no, it took me longer to read and the print in the captions was SO tiny… I could have done with the large print version for people with poor eyesight!
      Thanks for visiting and Happy Christmas!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The Light Between Oceans has been on my tbr for a while, but I just never want to read it. And Our Endless Numbered Days was really good! Definitely read it! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by my post and Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so excited to read Illuminae!!! Unfortunately, it is not exactly at the top of my list. The Crane Wife sounds a lot like various myths, especially the Celestial Maiden/Seal Wife variety, and I’m curious how Ness is going to twist those tales. And Our Endless Numbered Days sounds simply fascinating!
    Thanks for visiting my WWW post, and happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I hope you end up enjoying The Light Between Oceans no really enjoyed it when my book club read it bi believe there’s a movie coming! Happy reading and thanks for participating in WWW Wednesday!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You can’t go wrong with Patrick Ness. Some of his books are better than others but they’re all well-written and they’ve got interesting characters and ideas behind them. Illuminae is wonderful – well worth using your Christmas vouchers on 🙂
      Thanks for visiting and Happy Christmas!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m so excited about Illuminae and it’s great to hear you loved it as well! It will probably be one of my first 2016 reads. And I’m sorry to hear The Light Between Oceans wasn’t that good for you; it sounded like a really interesting read. I love your cookies by the way! Mine didn’t turn out nearly as nice as yours did. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! The biscuits were an unexpected success. I really just wanted to make some biscuits with my son. He likes rolling out the dough and cutting out the shapes.
      I was worried that Iluminae would be another victim of over-hype but, while it’s not perfect, it’s still brilliant.
      Thanks for visiting and Happy Christmas!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m going to make ‘owl’ muffins for New Year’s Eve with my niece for the same reason; luckily some kids love baking. 😀
        I can’t wait to start Illuminae… Happy Christmas !

        Liked by 1 person

    • It is and the setting is wonderful. Review up later today! Your review of The Jazz Files has convinced me. I particularly like the sound of a mostly female cast who are supportive of each other.
      Thanks for visiting and happy reading 🙂


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