Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (January 7)

Well welcome to 2018, I hope the start has been a good one for you all. Sadly I had to leave the New Year celebrations due to feeling ill and have been cycling through all the lovely symptoms ever since, including intense dizziness which curtailed my reading for a couple of days – I mean what’s the point of being ill if you can’t even read?

This Week on the Blog

Fortunately in light of my New Year resolution to write my reviews as I read the books rather than doing one marathon write-up each weekend I had most of this week’s posts prepared and ready to go.

On Monday I participated in the New Year Book Tag where I pledged to read some more classics and have therefore spent many hours perusing lists of classics trying to decide which ones to read or reread – needless to say in my apathetic state I haven’t made even one choice yet.

My excerpt post came from Hell Bay by Kate Rhodes,  a crime fiction novel set on one of the Scilly isles which promises dark secrets.

This Week in Books featured the authors Peter May, Agatha Christie and Barney Norris giving quite a range of reading matter to start off 2018.

My first review of 2018 was for Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan. I awarded this psychological thriller that centres around a Junior Minster on trial for rape the full five stars.

On Friday I reviewed Joanna Cannon’s upcoming novel Three Things About Elsie whose chief protagonist is the resident of a care home trying to discover why a man she thought had died years ago has suddenly turned up as a resident.

My last review of the week was for my first read of 2018; The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie where the clues are provided to my dear friend Hercule Poirot by means of anonymous letters and a railway timetable book, called the A.B.C. As always a fantastic mystery with a twist I failed to foresee.

This Time Last Year…

I was reading The Sixth Window by Rachel Abbott, the sixth in the DCI Tom Douglas series set in Manchester. Having fled her home after reading something on her partner’s laptop widow Natalie rents a flat in a refurbished warehouse for her, and her daughter Scarlett. Then, strange things begin happening and our favourite DCI is perturbed about some of the things he learns following the death of Natalie’s husband, a former Policeman. This was a fast-paced story with superb plotting and plenty of intrigue.

You can read my full review here or click on the book cover.

Blurb

Every instinct told her to run…

Natalie Grey is living a nightmare. She has discovered a disturbing website link on her new partner’s computer and fears he has a dark side, and even darker intentions. When her husband died in a hit and run accident, Ed had seemed like a safe harbour. Now where can she turn?

Concerned for the safety of her fifteen-year-old daughter Scarlett, she moves them both to a new home beyond his reach, unaware that the apartment holds secrets of its own. Left alone during the long days of the school holiday, Scarlett investigates strange sounds coming from the other side of the wall, never anticipating the danger that awaits her there.

DCI Tom Douglas’s investigation into the apparent suicide of a teenage girl draws him ever closer to Natalie and Scarlett. But will he be too late to protect them from the danger they face, or from the truths that will tear their lives apart?

Will they ever feel safe again?

Stacking the Shelves

I have a few new finds to share with you a selection of which are below as luckily despite my New Year’s Resolution which means I have vowed to read three of my own books before buying any new ones, NetGalley has had an influx of great looking books.

First to the Christmas books!

I have a copy of: American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst by Jeffrey Toobin which has been on my wishlist since it was first published in August 2016.

Blurb

On February 4, 1974, Patty Hearst, a sophomore in college and heiress to the Hearst family fortune, was kidnapped by a ragtag group of self-styled revolutionaries calling itself the Symbionese Liberation Army. The already sensational story took the first of many incredible twists on April 3, when the group released a tape of Patty saying she had joined the SLA and had adopted the nom de guerre “Tania.”

The weird turns of the tale are truly astonishing–the Hearst family trying to secure Patty’s release by feeding all the people of Oakland and San Francisco for free; the bank security cameras capturing “Tania” wielding a machine gun during a robbery; a cast of characters including everyone from Bill Walton to the Black Panthers to Ronald Reagan to F. Lee Bailey; the largest police shoot-out in American history; the first breaking news event to be broadcast live on television stations across the country; Patty’s year on the lam, running from authorities; and her circuslike trial, filled with theatrical courtroom confrontations and a dramatic last-minute reversal, after which the term “Stockholm syndrome” entered the lexicon.

The saga of Patty Hearst highlighted a decade in which America seemed to be suffering a collective nervous breakdown. Based on more than a hundred interviews and thousands of previously secret documents, American Heiress thrillingly recounts the craziness of the times (there were an average of 1,500 terrorist bombings a year in the early 1970s).

Toobin portrays the lunacy of the half-baked radicals of the SLA and the toxic mix of sex, politics, and violence that swept up Patty Hearst and re-creates her melodramatic trial. American Heiress examines the life of a young woman who suffered an unimaginable trauma and then made the stunning decision to join her captors’ crusade. Amazon

I also have a copy of My Sister and Other Liars by Ruth Dugdall an author whose work I’ve followed since discovering her back in 2011.



Blurb

Sam is seventeen, starving herself and longing for oblivion. Her sister, Jena, is mentally scarred and desperate to remember. Between them, they share secrets too terrible to recall.

Eighteen months earlier, Sam was still full of hope: hope that she could piece together Jena’s fragmented memory after the vicious attack that changed their family forever. But digging into the past unearthed long-hidden lies and betrayals, and left Sam feeling helpless and alone in a world designed to deceive her.

Now, in a last bid to save her from self-imposed shutdown, Sam’s therapist is helping her confront her memories. But the road to recovery is a dangerous one. Because Sam has not only been lying to her doctors: she’s been hiding dark secrets from herself. Amazon

Whilst buying books for other people’s Christmas presents I came across a copy of Common People: The History of an English Family by Alison Light which somehow found its way into the purchases.

Blurb

Family history is a massive phenomenon of our times but what are we after when we go in search of our ancestors? Beginning with her grandparents, Alison Light moves between the present and the past, in an extraordinary series of journeys over two centuries, across Britain and beyond.

Epic in scope and deep in feeling, Common People is a family history but also a new kind of public history, following the lives of the migrants who travelled the country looking for work. Original and eloquent, it is a timely rethinking of who the English were – but ultimately it reflects on history itself, and on our constant need to know who went before us and what we owe them. Amazon

And from NetGalley I have a copy of Skin Deep by Liz Nugent which will be published on 5 April 2018, another author who is on my ‘must-read’ list.

Blurb

‘Once I had cleared the bottles away and washed the blood off the floor, I needed to get out of the flat.’

Cordelia Russell has been living on the Côte d’Azur for ten years, posing a posh English woman fallen on hard times. But her luck is running out. Desperate to escape her grotty flat and grim reality, Cordelia spends a night at a glittering party. Surrounded by the young, beautiful and privileged she feels her age and her poverty. As dawn breaks she stumbles home through the back streets. Even before she opens her door she can hear the flies buzzing. It hasn’t taken long for the corpse in her bedroom to commence decomposing …

Liz Nugent’s novel is the dark, twisted and shocking story of what takes Cordelia from an island childhood in Ireland to ruin in Nice. NetGalley

All in all some exciting books for 2018 – what do you think? Any of these take your fancy?

tbr-watch

Since my last post I have read 9 books and appear to have gained 8 so my TBR is plummeting downwards to 185

Physical Books – 109
Kindle Books – 56
NetGalley Books –20

I have banked one-third of a book token and therefore purchased a big fat zero number of books in 2018.

Author:

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

40 thoughts on “Weekly Wrap Up (January 7)

  1. Sorry you’ve not been well – it’s not a good time of year to be ill and not being able to read just adds to the misery. The book that really takes my fancy is Common People – I think I’ll have to get a copy of that! I’ve been doing my family history for a few years and have been thinking I’d like to write about it in some way and this could inspire me to get going.

    Despite being determined to read more of my ‘old’ TBRs I’ve managed to gain 6 new books – and now reading your post I’ve added more to my wish list as I also like the sound of the Nugent book.

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    1. Thank you – not the start to 2018 I’d hoped for but I’m pleased to say I’m feeling marginally better this morning. I can’t believe I hadn’t come across Common People before- like you I’ve got an interest in my family history.
      I have so many good books on the TBR and yet I can’t keep my eye off new offerings 😊

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  2. So sorry you’ve been sick, Cleo! I hate it when I’m so sick that I can’t read. I agree – what’s the point? LOL

    That Liz Nugent book looks very promising. Will make note of it. Patty Hearst – hadn’t thought about her in years. And COMMON PEOPLE also looks interesting. Lovely books!

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  3. Hope you’re feeling a bit better now, Cleo. I totally agree, if you’re poorly you at least need to be able to read.

    Thanks for posting about Common People. I love the sound of it. Have you read Home by Julie Myerson? It’s one of my favourite non-fiction books (I read very few) and is about all the people who lived in her house. It’s fascinating and it came to mind when I read about Common People.

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    1. Haha indeed – I’m better than I was but not quite there yet.

      I love the sound of this book and I’m really looking forward to read it – I remember hearing about Home but haven’t read it and I believe Margaret Forster did a similar sort of thing called Houses that I also want to read.

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          1. I love her non-fiction (and the fiction that reads like non-fiction – The Diary of an Ordinary Woman) but I’ve never been able to get on with her fiction for some reason. Hope you enjoy My Life In Houses. I shall await the review!

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            1. I first discovered her reading Shadow Baby which must be over twenty years ago – I then read Hidden Lives and realised that it was inspired by her Grandmother who didn’t say anything about her life before she was married – then I was hooked.

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  4. I hope you’re feeling better now, Cleo. It’s rotten to feel ill at any time, but especially at this time of year. You had a good reading/reviewing week – impressive. And you’ve got a few new ones that have me interested. The Toobin looks really interesting, and so does the Dugdall.

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  5. Glad you are feeling better and yes, the irony of having the time to read because you are sick, but not being up to it, is not lost on me – been there! I’d be interested in reading more about Patty Hearst because I remember the news stories when I was a kid. I was pretty clueless about the news back then, but the pictures of her in the paper were something that stuck in my mind. Happy reading!

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  6. Hope you feel better soon not nice to have come home early from a party. I’ve just discovered a new App called Serial Reader that delivers small parts of a classic book to your mobile making the classics more palatable. I’ve started reading A Tale of Two Cities and can’t wait for next segment to be delivered tomorrow. 😊

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  7. I loved American Heiress! I remember how the events of early 1974 affected me, and then, in the book, I enjoyed seeing behind the scenes to things that were not publicized at the time.

    Skin Deep is definitely going on my list…and I just downloaded The Sixth Window. Thanks, Cleo! LOL

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  8. Ooh, I’ve wanted that Toobin book for ages! Can’t wait to hear what you think of it! Aren’t you tempted to join the Classics Club? It’s great fun… and it’s not compulsory to read Moby Dick! 😉

    Hope you’re feeling better – what a rotten way to start the year. Don’t forget the medicinal chocolate to build your strength back up!

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    1. I know my brother bought it – I suspect he wants to ‘borrow’ it when I’m done!
      I am tempted and I actually reviewed your list when seeking inspiration but having been unable to come up with one book I wanted to read I thought aiming for fifty might be pushing it. My problem is with all the lists I read, I’ve read so many of them or discounted them, like Moby Dick. Now I’m feeling a bit brighter (and I’ve started The Story of Classic Crime I remembered I have a copy of The Moonstone which I haven’t read before so I think I’ll start there
      Thank you – the stomach problems which accompanied this flu virus put the kibosh on chocolate as well as reading but fortunately I can now enjoy the ones removed from the Christmas tree!

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      1. You could always include lots of the classic crime novels you’re just about to add to your TBR from the Martin Edwards book! I’m kinda wishing I’d put more classic crime on my list and fewer of the big chunksters now, but I hadn’t got quite so addicted to classic crime at that point. And the chunksters can be quite fun too when I’m in the right mood… 😀

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  9. The Patty Hearst book by Jeff Toobin is terrific! I listened to it on audio last year and was transfixed by it. 5 stars. It’s such a wild story — you can’t make this stuff up! Enjoy.

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