Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (May 23)

This Week In Books
Hosted by Lipsy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

My current read is Sweet William by Iain Maitland which has been on my TBR since the end of last year following an excellent review by trusted blogger FictionFan

Blurb


Life and death played out over 48 hours.

A father desperate to be with his young son escapes from a secure psychiatric hospital, knowing he has just one chance for the two of them to start a new life together.

His goal is to snatch the three-year-old – a diabetic who needs insulin to stay alive – and run away to France… but first he must find the boy, evade his foster family and stay well clear of the police, already in pursuit.

A real page-turner cut through with dark humour, Sweet William zeroes in on a potent mix: mental illness, a foster family under pressure, and an aggrieved father separated from his precious child. The result is an incisive and deeply affecting literary thriller. Amazon

The last book I finished was Who Killed Little Johnny Gill by Kathryn McMaster, a tale that heavily uses the details of a horrific Victorian child murder in Bradford.

Blurb

One foggy morning, just a few days after Christmas, John Gill’s mother waves goodbye to her eldest son that morning with no idea that this will be the last time she will see him. Johnny doesn’t come home for his lunch and his mother starts to worry about him. The family search frantically for him for three days and nights. They search Manningham, and wider Bradford until someone finds him early on the Saturday morning, just meters from their home.

His little body has been hacked up, drained of blood, thoroughly washed, his organs displaced and his intestines are draped around his neck eerily similar to the murders that have been happening in London done by Jack the Ripper. Several letters were sent by Jack stating that he would murder a little boy soon. After the murder another letter was sent stating that he had been up to Bradford. However, was this murder committed by the infamous Jack the Ripper? There are other clues involving Masonic rituals found in a local house at the same time of Johnny’s death that point to the possibility that it was. And yet, William Barrett was the last one to see Johnny. The modus operandi could well be a copy-cat murder. In addition, William Barrett isn’t saying much. Amazon

Next I intend The Perfect Affair by Clare Dyer a book that has been on my TBR since March 2014. I actually ‘discovered’ this author earlier this year when I read, and enjoyed, The Last Day.

Blurb

What happens if you fall in love with the wrong person?

Rose knows only too well the exhilaration and devastation of loving a married man. So she watches with a keen eye as Eve – her closest companion, the granddaughter she never had – meets Myles, the new tenant in her downstairs flat.

Quietly and softly and against the backdrop of their own unsatisfactory marriages, Myles and Eve fall in love and, as they try to have the perfect affair like Rose did before them, they come to learn about the pain of lost opportunities, to decide whether it is ever better to follow your head or your heart, to know what it is to be torn between love and duty. Amazon

I’ve finally powered my way through those books I needed to read for review purposes before I go on holiday next month with all three choices this week coming from my personal collection.

What do you think? Any of these take your fancy?

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (May 22)

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Vicky from I’d Rather Be At The Beach who posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

This week I’m sharing the opening paragraph of Cry for Help by Steve Mosby which has been sitting patiently on my kindle since August 2011!

Blurb

Dave Lewis is a man with a history. Haunted by his brother’s murder when they were children, and scarred by his parents’ grief, he’s built a bitter life denying everything they ever stood for. He spends his time working as a magician, running a cynical magazine that derides his parents. New Age beliefs, and drowning his sorrows over his lost love, Tori. He’s trying to convince himself the past is the past. A promise he made to Tori has got him into trouble before, and Dave’s determined to move on and not let that happen again.

Detective Sam Currie is a man with a past. His failure to prevent his son’s death has ended his marriage and cast a shadow over his life and career. He’s directed his hatred towards the one man he sees as responsible, but he has other priorities right now. A killer is stalking the city, abducting girls and sending texts and emails to their families before he kills them. When Dave Lewis appears to connect both investigations, it’s an opportunity Currie can’t resist… Amazon

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

There is a prologue to this book but I’ve skipped that for the purpose of this post.

Chapter One

Sunday 7th August

I met Tori by magic two years ago.
It was on an otherwise average night at Edward’s Bar in the city centre. It was one of those places where they don’t serve pints, only bottles, shots or cocktails, all at prices that make you feel you should be somewhere better. There was bar space for about five people, assuming they hunched their shoulders. If you actually wanted to sit with your drink, you had the choice of perching on stools with supermodel legs, or else hunkering down on fat leather settees round shin-high coffee tables. That was if you got in early. Otherwise you had to stand, and ignore the sensation of your shoes slowly sticking to the tiles.

That opening ring any bells with you, sadly it does only too loudly for me!

So what do you think? Would you keep reading

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (May 20)

I do hope you have all had a great week full of sunshine and books. After conquering the ability to listen to audio books my journey home from work has been accompanied by a podcast (how on trend am I?) via Audible. West Cork is fascinating and so well produced and narrated by Sam Bungey and Jennifer Forde, with the soundtrack summoning up the winds and feeling of remoteness of the scene of the crime. The investigators successfully compressing over twenty years of information into a coherent narrative yet never forgetting that there was a victim, and her family, at the heart of the tragedy.

About

This much we do know: Sophie Toscan du Plantier was murdered days before Christmas in 1996, her broken body discovered at the edge of her property near the town of Schull in West Cork, Ireland. The rest remains a mystery.
Gripping, yet ever elusive, join the real-life hunt for answers in the year’s first not-to-be-missed, true-crime series. Investigative journalist Sam Bungey and documentarian Jennifer Forde guide listeners through the brutal, unsolved murder and the tangled web of its investigation, while introducing an intricate cast of characters, a provocative prime suspect, and a recovering community whose story begs to be heard. Audible Original

This Week on the Blog

It’s been a week of five star reviews this week starting on Monday with my spot on the blog tour for The Dissent of Annie Lang by Ros Franey, set in the midlands during the 1930s this book really got under my skin.

My excerpt post came from The Portrait of a Murderer by Anne Meredith one of the books in the British Library Crime Classic series which I intend to read very soon.

This Week in Books featured the authors Martin EdwardsMarie Belloc Lowndes and Peter James.

My second review of the week was for the latest in the Roy Grace series, Dead If You Don’t by Peter James an action packed police procedural that was awarded the full five stars.

This was followed up by another five star review, this time for Isabelle Grey’s latest book featuring DI Grace Fisher; Wrong Way Home.

I rounded the week off with the tag My Name in TBR Books a bit of fun but also a way for you to help me prioritise the best of these books.

This Time Last Year…

I was reading In Deep Water by Sam Blake, the second book in this crime fiction series featuring Cathy Connolly. The story around a journalist warned off covering a story because it is simply too dangerous then turns into  a missing persons crime. This is a superbly well-researched novel, a proper police procedural with the aspects of the investigation qualified with plenty of explanations which only rarely impinged on the flow of the storyline as the story gets darker, and darker.

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



Blurb

Good intentions can be deadly . . .

Cat Connolly is back at work after the explosion that left her on life support. Struggling to adjust to the physical and mental scars, her work once again becomes personal when her best friend Sarah Jane Hansen, daughter of a Pulitzer-winning American war correspondent, goes missing.

Sarah Jane is a journalism student who was allegedly working on a story that even her father thought was too dangerous.

With Sarah Jane’s father uncontactable, Cat struggles to find a connection between Sarah Jane’s work and her disappearance. But Sarah Jane is not the only one in deep water when Cat comes face to face with a professional killer . . . Amazon

Stacking the Shelves

I have been approved to read a few new titles this week starting with Lisa Jewell‘s latest novel Watching You which will be published on 12 July 2018.

Blurb

You’re back home after four years working abroad, new husband in tow.

You’re keen to find a place of your own. But for now you’re crashing in your big brother’s spare room.
That’s when you meet the man next door.

He’s the head teacher at the local school. Twice your age. Extraordinarily attractive. You find yourself watching him.

All the time.

But you never dreamed that your innocent crush might become a deadly obsession.

Or that someone is watching you. NetGalley

I also have a bit of historical fiction with Summer of Secrets by Nikola Scott at the moment sporting a plain jacket until closer to publication in early September 2018



Blurb

August 1939. At peaceful Summerhill, orphaned Maddy hides from the world and the rumours of war. Then her adored sister Georgina returns from a long trip with a new friend, the handsome Victor. Maddy fears that Victor is not all he seems, but she has no idea just what kind of danger has come into their lives…

Today. Chloe is newly pregnant. This should be a joyful time, but she is fearful for the future, despite her husband’s devotion. When chance takes her to Summerhill, she’s drawn into the mystery of what happened there decades before. And the past reaches out to touch her in ways that could change everything… NetGalley

My new acquisitions are rounded off with a copy of The Love Letter by Lucinda Riley which was originally published under the title Seeing Double author, Lucinda Edmonds back in 2000 but has been repackaged in the wake of this author’s rising star.

Blurb

Joanna Haslam, bright young investigative journalist, covers the funeral of a great actor, the greatest of his generation. It seems like a straight story, but a chance encounter at the service leads her into a dramatic chain of discoveries that will force her to abandon the man she loves and uncover a ruthlessly guarded secret that threatens to bring down the very highest in the land.

Lucinda Edmonds’ latest, most searing novel weaves sharply through forbidden domains of British society, culminating in a compelling revelation. Amazon

tbr-watch

Since my last post I have read 2 books and I have gained 3 the TBR has risen by one to 179
Physical Books – 112
Kindle Books – 48
NetGalley Books –18
Audio Books –1

I haven’t reviewed any of my own books this week so I’m still 1 2/3 of a book in credit!


Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (May 16)

This Week In Books
Hosted by Lipsy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

My current read is The Lodger by Marie Belloc Lowndes which is one of the books I have chosen for The Classics Club challenge.

Blurb

The Buntings are an elderly London couple who have fallen on hard times. They take in a lodger with the strange name of Mr. Sleuth, who pays handsomely for their shabby rooms. He seems to be a perfect gentleman but none the less they begin to suspect that he may be the Jack-the-Ripper-like serial killer known in the press as ‘The Avenger’.

As the number of murders in the city begins to mount, and Mr. Bunting’s teenage daughter from an earlier marriage comes to stay, the couple must decide what to do about the man in their upstairs rooms. An early example of a psychological suspense story and a brilliant evocation of the fog-bound and gaslit streets of late Victorian London, The Lodger is still a wonderfully compelling thriller. Amazon

The last book I have read is one of my highly anticipated books of the year – Dead If you Don’t, the fourteenth book in the Roy Grace series written by Peter James.

Blurb

Kipp Brown, successful businessman and compulsive gambler, is having the worst run of luck of his life. He’s beginning to lose, big style. However, taking his teenage son, Mungo, to their club’s Saturday afternoon football match should have given him a welcome respite, if only for a few hours. But it’s at the stadium where his nightmare begins.

Within minutes of arriving at the game, Kipp bumps into a client. He takes his eye off Mungo for a few moments, and in that time, the boy disappears. Then he gets the terrifying message that someone has his child, and to get him back alive, Kipp will have to pay.

Defying instruction not to contact the police, Kipp reluctantly does just that, and Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is brought in to investigate. At first it seems a straightforward case of kidnap. But rapidly Grace finds himself entering a dark, criminal underbelly of the city, where the rules are different and nothing is what it seems . . . Amazon

Up next I plan to read one from my own bookshelf, The Arsenic Labyrinth my Martin Edwards which is the third in the Lake District Murders.

Blurb

‘You’d never believe it to look at me now, but once upon a time I killed a man’

Historian Daniel Kind is finding winter in the Lake District tough, especially as his relationship with Miranda seems to be on the rocks. Far from the bright lights of London, Miranda feels increasingly isolated, and Daniel fears that she will just up and leave. She wouldn’t be the first.

Years ago, Emma Bestwick left her cottage and never came back, her disappearance never resolved, much to the chagrin of DCI Hannah Scarlett, head of the local Cold Case Review Team. But recently there are been calls to the local newspaper dropping hints about Emma’s death. With the case reopened, Hannah and Daniel are thrown together again, and soon discover that someone is desperate to preserve the secrets of the past, whatever the cost. Amazon

So that’s my reading week, what does yours look like?

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (May 15)

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Vicky from I’d Rather Be At The Beach who posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

This week I’m sharing the opening paragraph of Portrait of a Murderer by Anne Meredith, after all what is better than a good old fashioned Christmas story in May?

Blurb

Adrian Gray was born in May 1862 and met his death through violence, at the hands of one of his own children, at Christmas, 1931. Thus begins a classic crime novel published in 1933, a riveting portrait of the psychology of a murderer. Each December, Adrian Gray invites his extended family to stay at his lonely house, Kings Poplars. None of Gray’s six surviving children is fond of him; several have cause to wish him dead. The family gathers on Christmas Eve – and by the following morning, their wish has been granted. This fascinating and unusual novel tells the story of what happened that dark Christmas night; and what the murderer did next.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

Part I: Christmas Eve

1. Adrian

Adrian Gray was born in May 1862 and met his death through violence at the hands of one of his own children, at Christmas 1931. The crime was instantaneous and unpremeditated, and the murderer was left staring from the weapon on the table to the dead man in the shadows of the tapestry curtains, not apprehensive, not yet afraid, but incredulous and dumb.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Oh the season to be merry and all that jazz…. I’m intrigued because as Martin Edwards informs us in the introduction Dorothy Sayers herself considered this a detective novel with ‘less emphasis on clues and more on character’ unusual in 1933 when Portrait of a Murderer was first published.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (May 13)

I hope you my UK readers had a fab and sunny Bank Holiday Weekend last week. I decided to take a few days off blogging to enjoy the sunshine and devoted my time to learning a new knitting technique which meant watching YouTube videos, a lot of muttering (well actually swearing) but I eventually cracked it. I can know brioche stitch in two colours!

Thanks to Margot at Joyfully Retired giving me a handy tip to pretend a famous storyteller had come to visit to tell my their story, I have also mastered listening to audio books – she was right pretending there is someone there made a difference to my concentration and I am now converted and have another scarf well underway! I’ve now had to add an extra tab (and colour) to my excel spreadsheet to keep a count of audio books too!

Anyway I returned to blogging to find that WordPress had altered the font which confused me for a while but I expect I’ll get used to it and with a renewed enthusiasm for a month of reading before I go on my holiday.

This Week on the Blog

I have reviewed three books, two of which are due to be published on 17 May 2018, even better they were all really enjoyable!

My first review was for Three-Martini Lunch by Suzanne Rindell, set in 1950s New York this tale in the world of publishing gained the full five stars from me.

I then reviewed my copy of The Cliff House by Amanda Jennings; a dark gothic tale set in Cornwell in the summer of 1986.

My final review of the week took me to Brighton with The Brighton Mermaid by Dorothy Koomson, a dark tale from this accomplished author.

This Time Last Year…

I was reading one of my favourite books of 2017 – The Night Visitor by Lucy Atkins was both engaging and memorable as I immersed myself into a story of a book about a book. There is always something absolutely irresistible in a this device, but The Night Visitor has taken this kernel and added the most memorable characters, a plot that is underpinned by meticulous timing so that I became bound up in Olivia’s fight for her reputation long before I understood why she was needing to fight in the first place.

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

Blurb

You have the perfect life . . . How far would you go to protect it?

Professor Olivia Sweetman has worked hard to achieve the life she loves, with a high-flying career as a TV presenter and historian, three children and a talented husband. But as she stands before a crowd at the launch of her new bestseller she can barely pretend to smile. Her life has spiralled into deceit and if the truth comes out, she will lose everything.

Only one person knows what Olivia has done. Vivian Tester is the socially awkward sixty-year-old housekeeper of a Sussex manor who found the Victorian diary on which Olivia’s book is based. She has now become Olivia’s unofficial research assistant. And Vivian has secrets of her own.

As events move between London, Sussex and the idyllic South of France, the relationship between these two women grows more entangled and complex. Then a bizarre act of violence changes everything. Amazon

Stacking the Shelves

Well my self-imposed ARC ban in April is over and I have some lovely new books to share with you all.

First up is one that I was longing to read, and I have to confess I requested my copy at the end of April but hey rules are meant to be broken!

Fatal Inheritance by Rachel Rhys is the second historical novel by this author (aka Tammy Cohen) with a stunning cover to be published on 26 July 2018.

Blurb

1948: an English housewife trapped in a dull marriage escapes to the South of France to claim a mystery inheritance. But rivals to her unexplained fortune begin to emerge, and now they want her out of the way …

She didn’t have an enemy in the world…
until she inherited a fortune

London 1948: Eve Forrester is trapped in a loveless marriage, in a gloomy house, in a grey suburb.
Out of the blue, she received a solicitor’s letter. A wealthy stranger has left her a mystery inheritance but in order to find out more, she must travel to the glittering French Riviera.

Eve discovers her legacy is an enchanting villa overlooking the Mediterranean sea and suddenly, life could not be more glamorous.

But while she rubs shoulders with film-stars and famous writers, under the heat of the golden sun, rivals to her unexplained fortune begin to emerge. Rivals who want her out of the way.

Alone in paradise, Eve must unlock the story behind her surprise bequest – before events turn deadly…

Reminiscent of a Golden Age mystery, Fatal Inheritance is an intoxicating story of dysfunctional families and long-hidden secrets, set against the razzle-dazzle and decadence of the French Riviera. Amazon

I also was lucky enough to be approved for a copy of The Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware which will be published on 28 June 2018.



Blurb

When Harriet Westaway receives an unexpected letter telling her she’s inherited a substantial bequest from her Cornish grandmother, it seems like the answer to her prayers. She owes money to a loan shark and the threats are getting increasingly aggressive: she needs to get her hands on some cash fast.

There’s just one problem – Hal’s real grandparents died more than twenty years ago. The letter has been sent to the wrong person. But Hal knows that the cold-reading techniques she’s honed as a seaside fortune teller could help her con her way to getting the money. If anyone has the skills to turn up at a stranger’s funeral and claim a bequest they’re not entitled to, it’s her.

Hal makes a choice that will change her life for ever. But once she embarks on her deception, there is no going back. She must keep going or risk losing everything, even her life… Amazon

I also have a copy of Us Against You by Fredrik Backman which is the sequel to The Scandal which I adored. Us Against You will be published on 14 June 2018.

Blurb

Can a broken town survive a second tragedy?

The follow-up to the international bestseller Beartown. A small, broken town sits on the edge of a frozen lake surrounded by a forest, its wounds still raw from a tragedy that tore its fragile community in two. Beartown has lost its way. Now the cold and dark that surround the snowbound town creep in, and so do new conflicts and tensions.

What was once a friendly rivalry with the neighbouring town is beginning to turn sinister and Beartown braces itself for another tragic blow. How far will the people of Beartown go to preserve their reputations for a second, deadly time?

Us Against You is a spell-binding exposition of small-town life in all its flawed complexity. NetGalley

tbr-watch

Since my last post I have read 6 books and I have gained 5 the TBR has fallen by one to 178
Physical Books – 112
Kindle Books – 49
NetGalley Books –16
Audio Books –1

 

 

Since my last post I have two thirds of a  token so it looks like I will be able to have a small treat for my holiday reading as I’m 1 2/3 of a book in credit!

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (May 1)

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Vicky from I’d Rather Be At The Beach who posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

This week I’m sharing the opening paragraph of The Lodgerby Marie Belloc Lowndes which will be my next choice from my Classics Club reading list. This thriller has been filmed five times and was originally published in 1913 so I’m really looking forward to seeing what this one has to offer!

Blurb

The Buntings are an elderly London couple who have fallen on hard times. They take in a lodger with the strange name of Mr. Sleuth, who pays handsomely for their shabby rooms. He seems to be a perfect gentleman but none the less they begin to suspect that he may be the Jack-the-Ripper-like serial killer known in the press as ‘The Avenger’. As the number of murders in the city begins to mount, and Mr. Bunting’s teenage daughter from an earlier marriage comes to stay, the couple must decide what to do about the man in their upstairs rooms. An early example of a psychological suspense story and a brilliant evocation of the fog-bound and gaslit streets of late Victorian London, The Lodger is still a wonderfully compelling thriller. Amazon

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

1

Robert Bunting and Ellen his wife sat before their dully burning, carefully banked-up fire.

The room, especially when it be known that it was part of a house standing in a grimy, if not exactly sordid, London thoroughfare, was exceptionally clean and well cared-for. A casual stranger, more particularly one of a Superior class to their own, on suddenly opening the door of that sitting room, would have thought that Mr and Mrs Bunting presented a very pleasant, cosy picture of comfortable married life. Bunting, who was leaning back in a deep leather armchair, was clean-shaven and dapper, still in appearance what he had been for many years of his life – a self-respecting manservant
On his wife, now sitting up in an uncomfortable straight-backed chair, the marks of past servitude were less apparent; but they were there all the same – in her neat black stuff dress, and in her scrupulously clean, plain collar and cuffs. Mrs Bunting, as a single woman, had been what is known as a useful maid..

So that’s a snapshot of the Buntings, how I’m wonder will the lodger measure up?

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (April 29)

So we are now nigh on a third of the way through 2018… already? And my week has been as normal and non-descript as ever so straight into…

This Week on the Blog

I plunged straight into the week with my review of Don’t Make a Sound by David Jackson – another five star read from this author.

My excerpt post was from one of my own books which I’m listening to in audio format for a change – Crippen: A Novel by John Byrne is currently accompanying me on my walk home from work to brighten up the end of my day!

This Week in Books featured the authors Suzanne Rindell, Juliet Nicholson and Belinda Bauer.

My second five star review of the week was given to The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton with the bold claim that this will be one of my Top Ten reads of 2018.

My final review of the week was for The House Swap by Rebecca Fleet – those of you who are booked into Airbnb might just want to give this one a miss!

This Time Last Year…

I was reading The Fact of A Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich which is definitely one of the most memorable non-fiction reads. The book is part memoir, part true-crime and the blend is perfect. The author marks the point when she, a daughter of two crime lawyers found herself incapable of holding on to her conviction that the death penalty was wrong. As she watches a video of an interview with Rick Langley who was convicted of the murder of a child she is compelled to understand why this case has hit her so hard. The results make for compelling reading.

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



Blurb

When law student Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich is asked to work on a death-row hearing for convicted murderer and child molester Ricky Langley, she finds herself thrust into the tangled story of his childhood. As she digs deeper and deeper into the case she realizes that, despite their vastly different circumstances, something in his story is unsettlingly, uncannily familiar.

The Fact of a Body is both an enthralling memoir and a groundbreaking, heart-stopping investigation into how the law is personal, composed of individual stories, and proof that arriving at the truth is more complicated, and powerful, than we could ever imagine. Amazon

Stacking The Shelves

Shocker – absolutely no books added this week and please note that in the entire month of April I have not requested one NetGalley book and only accepted one invite of an ARC which hasn’t arrived… yet.

 

As there are no books, and it is nearly the end of April I thought I’d give you an update on my book and blog related resolutions/challenges for 2018

  • In 2017 I discovered what a wonderful array of books I have already in my possession and so the target is to read 40% of my own books in 2018.

I have read 14 of my own books so far this year which equates to nearly 30% but I’m hoping to push the percentage up with the 20 Books of Summer Challenge – more on this soon.

  • To give me some motivation I have decided to allow myself to buy one book for every three of my own that I read – of course there are some get-out clauses – the annual book sales held on the island are exempt and I will be visiting the library for any must-reads that I don’t own.

I have stuck to this – I have purchased a mere three books and only after I had read (and reviewed) nine of my own books – and I have two books that are awaiting reviews…

I have also visited the library which reminds me, I have to return some books!

  • The latter clause is important as I really want to up my reading or re-reading of classic novels, I shelved just one book in this category in 2017 although two others could have been put there but I felt they belonged better elsewhere. My target is to read at least 6 so one every other month and the library is the place to go for these. Despite being a library member all of my life, I haven’t visited anywhere near enough in more recent years which is something I feel guilty about.


Well so far this year I have read and reviewed four classic books but will be aiming for twelve in the year as I joined The Classics Club and so have a list of 50 to read before 27 January 2023!

 

 

  • I am taking part in the Mount TBR Challenge again with an aim of reading 36 books purchased before 1 January 2018 – let’s see if I make it this year.

Well of course as I’m not buying so many books, most of my own books fall into this challenge, in fact 13 so exceeding expectations!

And now for the abject failures for my blog related resolutions!

  • I am (very) slowly amalgamating the tabs with the aim of putting all the reviews for 2013-2015 onto one tab – this ongoing project must be completed by the end of March 2018.

Nope – nowhere close although I have more done than I did when I wrote the resolution if that helps?

  • My about me page is in dire need of an update especially as it is visited far more often than I expected with 660 views in the last year.

This has had some minor amendments made to it, but I can’t really claim wholesale change

  • And of course I will shortly display an updated shelf as my header to welcome in the start of 2018.

Of course I will, hahaha – that’s a big fat NO!

    • I always used to write my book review before starting a new book and this habit is being resumed in 2018 – this has been a very busy year and as much as I love blogging it has been a real struggle to fit everything in and I’m hoping this will help me get a better balance, rather than frantically writing reviews at the weekend when I need to endlessly check names (I have a real blind-spot in this department) as well as other elusive details.

This started off well but since my last trip away I am back to writing the reviews as and when I need to – must try harder. However, I aim to try harder because it did make life an awful lot easier.

Another resolution that started well but I can’t remember the last review I posted on Facebook – if I’m honest I simply don’t have enough time…

https://giphy.com/embed/3o6gE2SmFWRmpwCE2Q

via GIPHY

So overall a great start on the book related resolutions and I have to admit I really feel as though I’ve read more widely and therefore appreciated more books so far this year. Sadly on the blog front I find that I lack the time to make the changes I intended to, but there’s still time…

tbr-watch

Since my last post I have read 3 books and since I have gained 0 so my TBR has fallen to its lowest level yet since mid-way through November 2017, only 179
Physical Books – 112
Kindle Books – 49
NetGalley Books –18

 

Since my last post I have banked no tokens at all so I’m still just 1 book in credit!

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (April 25)

This Week In Books
Hosted by Lipsy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

The last book I have read is Three Martini Lunch by Suzanne Rindell which combines the story of three characters in 1950s Manhattan.

‘Back in those days My Old Man was king of what they called the three-martini lunch. This meant that in dimly lit steakhouses all over Manhattan my father made bold, impetuous deals over gin and oysters. That was how it was done.’

Blurb

Cliff Nelson, the privileged son of a New York publishing house editor, is slumming it around Greenwich village in 1958, enjoying the booze, drugs and the idea that he’s the next Kerouac.

Fresh-faced Eden Katz arrives in New York with the ultimate ambition to become an editor, but she’s shocked at the stumbling blocks she encounters.

Miles Tillman, a black publishing house messenger boy, is an aspiring writer who feels he straddles various worlds and belongs to none.

Their choices, concealments and betrayals ripple outwards leaving none of them unchanged. Amazo

I’m currently reading a selection of books with my non-fiction read of the month being The Great Silence by Juliet Nicholson.

Blurb

Peace at last, after Lloyd George declared it had been ‘the war to end all wars’, would surely bring relief and a renewed sense of optimism? But this assumption turned out to be deeply misplaced as people began to realise that the men they loved were never coming home.

The Great Silence is the story of the pause between 1918 and 1920. A two-minute silence to celebrate those who died was underpinned by a more enduring silence born out of national grief. Those who had danced through settled Edwardian times, now faced a changed world. Some struggled to come to terms with the last four years, while others were anxious to move towards a new future.

Change came to women, who were given the vote only five years after Emily Davidson had thrown herself on the ground at Ascot race course, to the poor, determined to tolerate their condition no longer, and to those permanently scarred, mentally and physically, by the conflict. The British Monarchy feared for its survival as monarchies around Europe collapsed and Eric Horne, one time butler to the gentry, found himself working in a way he considered unseemly for a servant of his calibre. Whether it was embraced or rejected, change had arrived as the impact of a tragic war was gradually absorbed.

With her trademark focus on daily life, Juliet Nicolson evokes what England was like during this fascinating hinge in history. Amazon

Next I plan on reading Snap by Belinda Bauer. I’m a huge fan of this writer so I’m excited to read her latest book which is due to be published in eBook on 3 May 2018 with the hardcover coming out on 17 May 2018.

Blurb

SNAP DECISIONS CAN BE DANGEROUS . . .

On a stifling summer’s day, eleven-year-old Jack and his two sisters sit in their broken-down car, waiting for their mother to come back and rescue them. Jack’s in charge, she’d said. I won’t be long.

But she doesn’t come back. She never comes back. And life as the children know it is changed for ever.

Three years later, Jack is still in charge – of his sisters, of supporting them all, of making sure nobody knows they’re alone in the house, and – quite suddenly – of finding out the truth about what happened to his mother. . . Amazon

 

What do you think? Do any of these books take your fancy, or perhaps you’ve already read them? Let me know what you think in the comments box below.

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (April 24)

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Vicky from I’d Rather Be At The Beach who posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

This week I’m sharing the opening paragraph of Crippen: A Novel by John Boyne which I’m listening to as an audio book. Regular readers of this blog will know I haven’t had a great deal of success with this format in the past, but I’m giving it another go in the hope that I can listen and knit at the same time. So far I’ve listened while walking and it’s going ok but I’m going to practice a little bit before adding anything more complex into the mix!

Blurb

July 1910: The grisly remains of Cora Crippen, music hall singer and wife of Dr Hawley Crippen, are discovered in the cellar of 39 Hilldrop Crescent, Camden. But the Doctor and his mistress, Ethel Le Neve, have vanished, much to the frustration of Scotland Yard and the outrage of a horrified London.

Across the Channel in Antwerp, the SS Montrose sets sail on its two week voyage to Canada. Amongst its passengers are the overbearing Antonia Drake and her daughter Victoria, who is hell-bent on romance, the enigmatic Mathieu Zela and the modest Martha Hayes. Also on board are the unassuming Mr John Robinson and his seventeen-year-old son Edmund. But all is not as it seems… Amazon

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

1

The Melrose

Antwerp: Wednesday, 20 July 1910

SHE WAS OVER 575 feet in length, with a beam almost an eighth of that size. She weighed approximately 16,500 tons and had a capacity of over eighteen hundred passengers, although today she was only three-quarters full. Stately and impressive, her hull and paintwork gleaming in the July sun, she seemed almost impatient to depart, her chimneys piping steam cautiously as the Scheldt river crashed noisily against her side. She was the SS Montrose, part of the Canadian Pacific fleet of passenger ships, and she was preparing to set sail from the Port of Antwerp in Belgium for the city of Quebec in Canada, some three thousand miles away.

I think you will agree this is a striking description of the SS Montrose but of course we want to meet the infamous Dr Crippen.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?