Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking the Shelves (October 17)

Stacking the shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you’re adding to your shelves, be it buying or borrowing. From ‘real’ books you’ve purchased, a book you’ve borrowed, a book you’ve been given or an e-book they can all be shared.

My trip to Bath last week was a wonderful and much needed break and Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights was fabulous, while I was there a lady was having one of the reading spas, the depth of knowledge and passion displayed while explaining the choices made meant that there was no doubt that this is a shop full of staff who truly love books. Bath Mr Bs

One of the suggestions was Pascal Garnier‘s The Front Seat Passenger and by coincidence I have a copy of The A26 to read from NetGalley.

The A26


The future is on its way to Picardy with the construction of a huge motorway. But nearby is a house where nothing has changed since 1945. Traumatised by events that year, Yolande hasn’t left her home since. And life has not been kinder to Bernard, her brother, who is now in the final months of a terminal illness. Realizing that he has so little time left, Bernard’s gloom suddenly lifts. With no longer anything to lose, he becomes reckless – and murderous. NetGalley

I’m keen to see what else this author has to offer after being delighted by the language in Boxes by the same author.

Whilst browsing in the shop, mindful that I only had a carry-on bag for the flight home, I narrowed my book choices to a mere three books! Next time, and there will be another visit, not just for the books, Bath is beautiful, the boat tour was delightful and I have never been to a Spa with a view like the Thermae Baths.

Bath Thermae Spa

The Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain is a book I’ve been meaning to read for quite some time and was begging to be purchased.

Testament of Youth


In 1914 Vera Brittain was eighteen and, as war was declared, she was preparing to study at Oxford. Four years later her life – and the life of her whole generation – had changed in a way that was unimaginable in the tranquil pre-war era.
TESTAMENT OF YOUTH, one of the most famous autobiographies of the First World War, is Brittain’s account of how she survived the period; how she lost the man she loved; how she nursed the wounded and how she emerged into an altered world. A passionate record of a lost generation, it made Vera Brittain one of the best-loved writers of her time. Amazon

I also picked up The Secret Rooms by Catherine Bailey, a book I’d never heard of but sounds just my kind of read – this is the beauty of a well-stocked independent bookshop, I love newly published books but sometimes it is good to find treasures that have been missed.

The Secret Rooms


At 6 am on 21 April 1940 John the 9th Duke of Rutland, and one of Britain’s wealthiest men, ended his days, virtually alone, lying on a makeshift bed in a dank cramped suite of rooms in the servants’ quarters of his own home, Belvoir Castle, in Leicestershire.
For weeks, as his health deteriorated, his family, his servants – even the King’s doctor – pleaded with him to come out, but he refused.
After his death, his son and heir, Charles, the 10th Duke of Rutland, ordered that the rooms be locked up and they remained untouched for sixty years.
What lay behind this extraordinary set of circumstances?
For the first time, in The Secret Rooms, Catherine Bailey unravels a complex and compelling tale of love, honour and betrayal, played out in the grand salons of Britain’s stately homes at the turn of the twentieth century, and on the battlefields of the Western Front. At its core is a secret so dark that it consumed the life of the man who fought to his death to keep it hidden. This extraordinary mystery from the author of Black Diamonds, perfect for lovers of Downton Abbey, Brideshead Revisited and The Suspicions of Mr Whicher. Goodreads

Having recently been delighted by Sarah Waters novel The Night Watch, I decided to pick up The Little Stranger.

The Little Strange


The Little Stranger follows the strange adventures of Dr Faraday, the son of a maid who has built a life of quiet respectability as a country doctor. One dusty post war summer in his home of rural Warwickshire, he is called to a patient at Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for more than two centuries, the Georgian house, once grand and handsome, is now in decline, its masonry crumbling, its gardens choked with weeds, the clock in its stable yard permanently fixed at twenty to nine. But are the Ayreses haunted by something more ominous than a dying way of life? Little does Dr Faraday know how closely, and how terrifyingly, their story is about to become entwined with his. Goodreads

Of course now the charge for plastic bags has been introduced in England (something that we have had in Jersey since 2008) I bought myself a canvas bag to hold my precious purchases and to remind myself of a wonderful visit.

Finally, but by no means last for my finds for this week, I have a copy of Lost Girls by Angela Marsons, whose previous books Silent Scream and Evil Games both garnered 5 stars from me. Lost Girls will be published on 6 November 2015

Lost Girls


Two girls go missing. Only one will return.
The couple that offers the highest amount will see their daughter again. The losing couple will not. Make no mistake. One child will die.
When nine-year-old best friends Charlie and Amy disappear, two families are plunged into a living nightmare. A text message confirms the unthinkable; that the girls are the victims of a terrifying kidnapping.
And when a second text message pits the two families against each other for the life of their children, the clock starts ticking for D.I. Kim Stone and the squad.
Seemingly outwitted at every turn, as they uncover a trail of bodies, Stone realises that these ruthless killers might be the most deadly she has ever faced. And that their chances of bringing the girls home alive, are getting smaller by the hour…
Untangling a dark web of secrets from the families’ past might hold the key to solving this case. But can Kim stay alive long enough to do so? Or will someone’s child pay the ultimate price? NetGalley

What have you found to read this week? Do share!


A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

27 thoughts on “Stacking the Shelves (October 17)

  1. Now how can I wangle a trip to Bath to go to this Emporium????? need to work on that strategy a bit. Small correction, the plastic bag charge has been in operation in Scotland and Wales for years, it was only England that was way behind. And oh my gosh are they making a fuss about it.


    1. The point I was making about the charge was the huge fuss the English are making (or at least the media) when it’s been in force here in Jersey for seven years – no fuss whatsoever. I’d recommend finding a flimsy excuse, the staff are amazingly knowledgeable.


  2. I like the sound of Angela Marsons – I have Evil Games to read and really liked Silent Scream. Sarah Waters is one I enjoyed very much…hope you do too.


  3. What a lovely visit you had, Cleo! And you found some terrific books. I really hope you’ll enjoy The A-26; in my opinion, Garnier wrote some very solid noir. And the Bailey and the Waters look great, too.


    1. It was just what I needed Margot – a very good friend and a relaxing break in such beautiful surroundings along with a long awaited visit to the book shop has really helped. Of course I’m thrilled with my books, especially the surprise find, The Secret Rooms.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sounds like a lovely little trip – will have to visit that bookshop as soon as I move back to the UK. I am a huge Garnier fan (although perhaps The A26, I have to confess, is not my favourite), but several of the others look tempting too. Well done!


  5. Thanks for all the suggestions.
    I’ve been reading the latest installment of The Vinyl Cafe series books based on a cbc radio program that I love. Vinyl Cafe Turns The Page.
    One story in particular about grappa got me buying the stuff. …coffee correcto…and all.
    Anyway ..I had a b’day present to purchase for a son-in-law so I bought a bottle ….for a sampling. It did not go well. Maybe it was the lack of official tulip grappa glasses or maybe it’s an acquired taste thing. But I’ve been anxious to give the stuff a try. Brunetti’s swilling of the stuff in Donna Leon’s Venice series has always tweaked my interest of the stuff. The group concensus. ..on the grappa…smells like cleaning fluid and tastes like drain cleaner??? Well if anyone actually knows the taste of drain cleaner….
    But we’re buying at least one tulip glass the weekend to give it another go….you know…in the interest of mankind and all.
    But we haven’t tried the “coffee correcto” yet…soooo still might be a thumbs up yet.

    Read the Vinyl Cafe series. …You’ll love it


    1. I hadn’t heard of the Vinyl Café stories but I’ve now checked them out and they sound great fun. I also have a friend who loves grappa but I’m afraid I don’t see the appeal, as you say, maybe it is an acquired taste?


  6. Glad you enjoyed your trip – the Emporium sounds wonderful! I also have a copy of A26 – still haven’t read Boxes yet, but I’m trusting your review…

    If you enjoy Testament of Youth, can I suggest you might sometime like to try Shirley William’s autobiography Climbing the Bookshelves? It gives a slightly different slant on Vera Brittain as seen through the eyes of her daughter.


    1. The whole trip was absolutely lovely, but the Emporium especially so! As you know I enjoyed the writing in Boxes and the woman who was recommending the author to another customer just made me even more convinced that I have to read more. I will look out for Climbing The Bookshelves although to be honest I have been meaning to read The Testament of Youth for not just years but probably decades 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It is absolutely wonderful and well worth the trip by itself. I’ve been on a real Sarah Waters kick since The Paying Guests and then realising I’d missed The Night Watch which was stunning, I decided to treat myself to one I read some time ago.


  7. Bath – what an amazing place! Sounds like you had a wonderful time. Great collection of books, Cleopatra. I’m currently reading ‘Hunting the Wild Pineapple’ by Thea Astley (great Australian writer who based a lot of her work in Queensland) and also wanting to get into a collection of Daphne du Maurier I found in a second-hand shop! 😉


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