Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (January 17)

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

I am currently reading Hell Bay by Kate Rhodes set on the tiny Scilly island of Bryher Hell Bay will be published on 25 January 2018.

Blurb

DI Ben Kitto needs a second chance. After ten years working for the murder squad in London, a traumatic event has left him grief-stricken. He’s tried to resign from his job, but his boss has persuaded him to take three months to reconsider.

Ben plans to work in his uncle Ray’s boatyard, on the tiny Scilly island of Bryher where he was born, hoping to mend his shattered nerves. His plans go awry when the body of sixteen year old Laura Trescothick is found on the beach at Hell Bay. Her attacker must still be on the island because no ferries have sailed during a two-day storm.

Everyone on the island is under suspicion. Dark secrets are about to resurface. And the murderer could strike again at any time. NetGalley

The last book I finished was The Story of Our Lives by Helen Warner which covers four women over a time-span of twenty years through the highs and lows. This book will be published on 8 February 2018.


Blurb

Four friends. Twenty years. One powerful secret.

There are certain dates on which you’ll always remember where you were…The day Princess Diana died. 9/11. The London 2012 opening ceremony.

The same is true for Sophie, Emily, Amy and Melissa who have been best friends since they met twenty years ago.
As history has moved on around them, they have seen each other through everything. From Sophie’s secret fear that she doesn’t actually want to be a mother despite having two kids, to Amy’s perfect-on-the-outside-abusive-on-the inside marriage to Melissa’s spiralling alcoholism and Emily’s single motherhood.

But could a lie that spans just as long tear them apart?
A moving, unputdownable novel about four incredible friendships, and the stories we all share. Amazon

Next, because I am going away for a long weekend in the Peak District and I like my reading to be relevant, I’m going to be reading A Patient Fury by Sarah Ward.

Blurb

When Detective Constable Connie Childs is dragged from her bed to the fire-wrecked property on Cross Farm Lane she knows as she steps from the car that this house contains death.

Three bodies discovered – a family obliterated – their deaths all seem to point to one conclusion: One mother, one murderer.
But D.C. Childs, determined as ever to discover the truth behind the tragedy, realises it is the fourth body – the one they cannot find – that holds the key to the mystery at Cross Farm Lane.

What Connie Childs fails to spot is that her determination to unmask the real murderer might cost her more than her health – this time she could lose the thing she cares about most: her career. Amazon

What does your reading week look like? Have you read any of my choices? Are you planning to?

Please leave your comments in the box below.

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (January 16)

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.

My extract today is from The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths a book that will be published on 5 February 2018 and the tenth in the Dr Ruth Galloway series of which I am a big fan.

Blurb

Dr Ruth Galloway is flattered when she receives a letter from Italian archaeologist Dr Angelo Morelli, asking for her help. He’s discovered a group of bones in a tiny hilltop village near Rome but doesn’t know what to make of them. It’s years since Ruth has had a holiday, and even a working holiday to Italy is very welcome!

So Ruth travels to Castello degli Angeli, accompanied by her daughter Kate and friend Shona. In the town she finds a baffling Roman mystery and a dark secret involving the war years and the Resistance. To her amazement she also soon finds Harry Nelson, with Cathbad in tow. But there is no time to overcome their mutual shock – the ancient bones spark a modern murder, and Ruth must discover what secrets there are in Castello degli Angeli that someone would kill to protect. Amazon

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

This book has a prologue which I will give a taster of before moving to Chapter One.

PROLOGUE

‘This grave has lain undisturbed for over two thousand years.’ Professor Angelo Morelli speaks directly to the camera. The countryside has been the scene of invasion and battle from the Neolithic times until the Second World War, when the German troops fought Italian partisans in the Liri Valley. In all that time, this body has lain under the earth. Now, we are going to exhume it.’

CHAPTER 1

The confetti is still blowing in the street. Ruth watches as Clough and Cassandra get into the white Rolls-Royce – Cassandra laughing as she shakes the pink and yellow hearts from her hair – and drive away.
They’re an unlikely pair, no-nonsense policeman DS Dave Clough and beautiful actress and daughter of local aristocrats Cassandra Blackstock – but they met in the course of work and fell in love. And to prove it, they are getting married. Bully for them, thinks Ruth, although that sounds bitter even to her own ears.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Well talk about wildly different pictures being painted from prologue to chapter one here – although it’s good to have a bit about Clough before the adventure switches from Norfolk to Rome.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (January 14)

Well I’m finally on the mend and returned to work on Wednesday so all is far better in my world than it has been. On the book front I am strongly considering joining The Classic Club in part due to my New Year’s resolution to read or re-read at least six classic books in 2018. The other part is my fellow blogger Fiction Fan has been putting the pressure on and I’ve been raiding her own list of classics for this challenge, in my search for books for my own list.

So far my list stands at around 25 books with a surprisingly large bias towards female writers. I have to find at least another 30 books to find and I suspect some of these may well be crime fiction classics sourced from The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books compiled by Martin Edwards. Any suggestions will be gratefully received, my definition of a classic being fairly loose with any book that is more than approximately 50 years old qualifying.

This Week on the Blog

A busy week with four reviews posted over the course of the week starting with my one for Faking Friends by Jane Fallon which was one of five of my reads published on 11 January 2018.

My extract post this week was from The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin which will be published on 1 February 2018.

On Wednesday I was part of the Blog Tour for Peter May’s novel I’ll Keep You Safe which included an intense extract from the book which was followed on publication day of my review of the novel. Peter May’s descriptions of the Outer Hebrides was once again the backdrop to this crime fiction novel.

Friday was another Blog Tour, this time I posted a review for Turning for Home by Barney Norris a thoughtful and insightful novel centred around an eighty year old widower and his grand-daughter.

Finally my week finished with my review of some historical crime fiction inspired by the trail of Madeline Smith in Glasgow for the murder of her lover, Emile L’Anglier; Blackmail, Sex and Lies is written by Kathryn McMaster

This Time Last Year…

I was reading After She Fell by Mary-Jane Riley the second book in the Alex Devlin series which features the protagonist as a reporter investigating the apparent suicide of a friend’s daughter at an exclusive boarding school in North Norfolk. Mary-Jane Riley has painted a wonderful selection of characters, some nastier than others, against the brilliant backdrop of the setting, all with a lightness of touch so that the picture is painted while the action is taking place.

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

Blurb

There are so many ways to fall…

Catriona needs help. Her seventeen-year-old daughter Elena was found dead at the bottom of a cliff near her boarding school. The death has been ruled a suicide, but Catriona isn’t convinced.

When her old friend, journalist Alex Devlin, arrives in Hallow’s Edge to investigate, she quickly finds that life at private boarding school The Drift isn’t as idyllic as the bucolic setting might suggest.

Amidst a culture of drug-taking, bullying and tension between school and village, no one is quite who they seem to be, and there are several people who might have wanted Elena to fall… Amazon

If you haven’t read this one yet, now is the time to do so as not only does it have a fab new cover but the third in the series, Dark Water is due to be published on 16 March 2018.

Stacking the Shelves

Well I still haven’t bought any new books but I do have some acquisitions nevertheless.

From Lovereading UK I have a copy of The Story of Our Lies by Helen Warner which will be published on 8 February 2018.

Blurb

Four friends. Twenty years. One powerful secret.

There are certain dates on which you’ll always remember where you were… The day Princess Diana died. 9/11. The London 2012 opening ceremony.

The same is true for Sophie, Emily, Amy and Melissa who have been best friends since they met twenty years ago.

As history has moved on around them, they have seen each other through everything. From Sophie’s secret fear that she doesn’t actually want to be a mother despite having two kids, to Amy’s perfect-on-the-outside-abusive-on-the inside marriage to Melissa’s spiralling alcoholism and Emily’s single motherhood.

But could a lie that spans just as long tear them apart? Amazon

From NetGalley I have a copy of Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall which I was exceptionally pleased about having been a fan of this author for a while and chose her last book Dot as one of my top ten published books of 2013. Our Kind of Cruelty will be published on 3 May 2018.

Blurb

This is a love story. This is a tragedy.

This is a book about a break up so bad that when you put the pieces of the love story back together, what you get is murder.
Mike understands that most of us travel through the world as one half of a whole, desperately searching for that missing person to make us complete.

But he and Verity are different. They have found each other and nothing and no one will tear them apart.

It doesn’t matter that Verity is marrying another man.

It’s all just part of a plan: you see, Verity and Mike play a game together, a secret game they call ‘the crave’, the aim being to demonstrate what they both know: that Verity needs Mike, and only Mike.

Verity’s upcoming marriage is the biggest game she and Mike have ever played. And it’s for the highest stakes.
Except this time in order for Mike and Verity to be together someone has to die … NetGalley

I was also lucky enough to be provided with a copy of The Girl in the Woods by Camilla Läckberg, the tenth in the tenth in the Fjällbacka Series which will be published on 22 February 2018.

Blurb

A missing child
When a four-year-old girl disappears in the woods just outside Fjällbacka, the community is horror-struck. Thirty years ago, a young girl went missing from the exact same spot, and was later discovered, murdered.
A murder
Back then, two teenage girls were found guilty of the killing. Could it really be a coincidence that one of the girls – now a world-famous actress – has just returned to Fjällbacka? Detective Patrik Hedström starts investigating, with his wife, bestselling crime writer Erica Falck, by his side.
A community torn apart
But as Patrik and Erica dig deeper, the truth becomes ever murkier, because it seems that everyone in the tight-knit community is hiding something. And soon, the residents must confront the fact that they could be harbouring a murderer in their midst… NetGalley

And lastly I ‘met’ Vicky Newham through social media and distinctly remember the day she announced that she had a publisher for her novel Turn A Blind Eye. Vicky has kindly supplied me with a copy of her book which will be published on 5 April 2018.

Blurb

A dead girl.
A wall of silence.
DI Maya Rahman is running out of time.

A headmistress is found strangled in her East London school, her death the result of a brutal and ritualistic act of violence. Found at the scene is a single piece of card, written upon which is an ancient Buddhist precept:
I shall abstain from taking the ungiven.

At first, DI Maya Rahman can’t help but hope this is a tragic but isolated murder. Then, the second body is found.
Faced with a community steeped in secrets and prejudice, Maya must untangle the cryptic messages left at the crime scenes to solve the deadly riddle behind the murders – before the killer takes another victim. Amazon

2018 appears to be continuing with some appetising books – what do you think? Any of these take your fancy?

tbr-watch

Since my last post I have read 3 books and appear to have gained 6 so my TBR has taken a swift about turn to 188

Physical Books – 110
Kindle Books – 55
NetGalley Books –23

 

I have banked another third of book token this week and therefore purchased no new books in 2018.

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (January 9)

First Chapter
Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea 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.

Today I’ve chosen the opening from a book I will be reading soon; The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin which will be published on 1 February 2018.

Blurb

We have no need to protect ourselves from the bad sort
because we ARE the bad sort . . .’

Down the murky alleyways of London, acts of unspeakable wickedness are taking place and the city’s vulnerable poor are disappearing from the streets. Out of these shadows comes Hester White, a bright young woman who is desperate to escape the slums by any means possible.

When Hester is thrust into the world of the aristocratic Brock family, she leaps at the chance to improve her station in life under the tutelage of the fiercely intelligent and mysterious Rebekah Brock.

But whispers from her past slowly begin to poison her new life and both she and Rebekah are lured into the most sinister of investigations, dragging them into the blackest heart of a city where something more depraved than either of them could ever imagine is lurking. . . Amazon

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

The Morning Herald

Tuesday 13 September 1831

SUPPOSED DISAPPEARANCE IN THE BELVEDERE ROAD

This newspaper has taken note that the past month has been remarkable for the prevalence of cases where men, women and children are declared missing. Scarcely a week passes without the occurrence of an incident of this type

Such fears may indeed be well-founded and made but too evident by the following account, the particulars of which we are about to lay before our readers.

We study the tale of an unfortunate, known familiarly by the name Jonnie Hogget.

On Tuesday afternoon of the 6th inst. between five and six o’clock, Jonnie Hogget, fourteen years of age, was making his way from his place of industry at Mr Sturtevant’s, the soap boilers.

Master Hogget had been seen for some time loitering in the region of the Belvedere Road and it was in this quarter that the lad was last witnessed and then seen no more.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I’m one of those people who have got lost for hours reading historical newspapers so I love this opening, the language and phrasing absolutely setting the murky scene that is about to unfold.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

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.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (January 3)

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

I am currently reading the latest novel by Peter May, I’ll Keep You Safe, which like the Lewis Trilogy is set in part on the Outer Hebrides and will be published on 11 January 2018.

Blurb

WHATEVER HAPPENS
Niamh and Ruairidh Macfarlane co-own the Hebridean company Ranish Tweed. On a business trip to Paris to promote their luxury brand, Niamh learns of Ruairidh’s affair, and then looks on as he and his lover are killed by a car bomb. She returns home to Lewis, bereft.
I’LL ALWAYS BE THERE FOR YOU
Niamh begins to look back on her life with Ruairidh, desperate to identify anyone who may have held a grudge against him. The French police, meanwhile, have ruled out terrorism, and ruled in murder – and sent Detective Sylvie Braque to shadow their prime suspect: Niamh.
I’LL KEEP YOU SAFE, NO MATTER WHAT
As one woman works back through her memories, and the other moves forward with her investigation, the two draw ever closer to a deadly enemy with their own, murderous, designs. Amazon

The last book I finished was the thirteenth in the Hercule Poirot series; The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie in keeping with my vow to read more of my own books in 2018.

Blurb

Agatha Christie’s world-famous serial killer mystery.

There’s a serial killer on the loose, bent on working his way through the alphabet. And as a macabre calling card he leaves beside each victim’s corpe the ABC Railway Guide open at the name of the town where the murder has taken place.

Having begun with Andover, Bexhill and then Churston, there seems little chance of the murderer being caught – until he makes the crucial and vain mistake of challenging Hercule Poirot to frustrate his plans… Amazon

Next, I will be reading Turning for Home by Barney Norris, which after the pleasure of Five River Met on a Wooded Plain, I’m really looking forward to.

 

Blurb


‘Isn’t the life of any person made up out of the telling of two tales, after all? People live in the space between the realities of their lives and the hopes they have for them. The whole world makes more sense if you remember that everyone has two lives, their real lives and their dreams, both stories only a tape’s breadth apart from each other, impossibly divided, indivisibly close.’

Every year, Robert’s family come together at a rambling old house to celebrate his birthday. Aunts, uncles, distant cousins – it has been a milestone in their lives for decades. But this year Robert doesn’t want to be reminded of what has happened since they last met – and neither, for quite different reasons, does his granddaughter Kate. Neither of them is sure they can face the party. But for both Robert and Kate, it may become the most important gathering of all. Amazon

What does your reading week look like? Have you read any of my choices? Are you planning to?

Please leave your comments in the box below.

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (January 2)

First Chapter
Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea 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.

Well it’s a while since I’ve joined in with this meme!

This week I’m featuring a book I will be reading later this month; Hell Bay by Kate Rhodes will be published on 25 January 2018. This is a new series from this author whose previous Alice Quentin series was a huge hit with me.

Blurb

DI Ben Kitto needs a second chance. After ten years working for the murder squad in London, a traumatic event has left him grief-stricken. He’s tried to resign from his job, but his boss has persuaded him to take three months to reconsider.

Ben plans to work in his uncle Ray’s boatyard, on the tiny Scilly island of Bryher where he was born, hoping to mend his shattered nerves. His plans go awry when the body of sixteen year old Laura Trescothick is found on the beach at Hell Bay. Her attacker must still be on the island because no ferries have sailed during a two-day storm.

Everyone on the island is under suspicion. Dark secrets are about to resurface. And the murderer could strike again at any time.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

Laura steals out of bed while the rest of the island sleeps. By 6 a.m. she’s in the kitchen, cramming toast into her mouth, staring out at the late winter darkness. North wind batters her face as she leaves the cottage, a whiplash of blonde hair streaming across her shoulders. All of her sixteen years have been spent her; she only has to glance at the sky to second-guess its moods. A line of pink is gathering over Gweal Hill as she climbs its sharp incline, careful not to snag her tights on the bracken and coarse grass.

Excerpt taken from an ARC

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Personally I think that sets the scene very well indeed in conjunction with the synopsis, already in just a couple of sentences I have a feel for Laura’s world.

So would you keep reading?
Your thoughts in the comments box are always gratefully received.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (December 20)

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 last read was The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne which was a sumptuous and delightful read – so much so that there is in danger that I need to recalibrate that all important Top Ten list that will be posted at the end of the year.

Blurb

Forced to flee the scandal brewing in her hometown, Catherine Goggin finds herself pregnant and alone, in search of a new life at just sixteen. She knows she has no choice but to believe that the nun she entrusts her child to will find him a better life.

Cyril Avery is not a real Avery, or so his parents are constantly reminding him. Adopted as a baby, he’s never quite felt at home with the family that treats him more as a curious pet than a son. But it is all he has ever known.

And so begins one man’s desperate search to find his place in the world. Unspooling and unseeing, Cyril is a misguided, heart-breaking, heartbroken fool. Buffeted by the harsh winds of circumstance towards the one thing that might save him from himself, but when opportunity knocks, will he have the courage, finally, take it? NetGalley

This was my last read for publication in 2017 and I have six books with a publication date of 11 January 2018 so I’m cracking on with them now.

At the moment I am reading Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan which I’ve been longing to read ever since I first got wind of this one back in the summer as I love a courtroom drama.

Blurb

Part courtroom thriller; part portrait of a marriage; part exploration of how our memories still haunt us, Anatomy of a Scandal is a disarming and provocative psychological drama.

Sophie’s husband, James, is a loving father and a successful public figure. Yet he stands accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is convinced he is innocent and desperate to protect her precious family from the lies that threaten to engulf him. She’s kept his darkest secret ever since they were first lovers, at Oxford. And if she stood by him then, she can do it now.
Kate is the barrister prosecuting his case. She’s certain that James is guilty and determined he should pay. No stranger to suffering herself, she doesn’t flinch from posing the questions few want to hear. About what happens between a man a woman when they’re alone: alone in bed, alone in an embrace, alone in a lift . . .

Is James the victim of an unfortunate misunderstanding or the perpetrator of something sinister? Who is right: Sophie or Kate? This scandal – which forces Sophie to appraise her marriage and Kate her demons – will have far-reaching consequences for them all. NetGalley

Next up is Three Things About Elise by Joanna Cannon, a stunning sounding book which has garnered some stunning early reviews.

Blurb

There are three things you should know about Elsie.
The first thing is that she’s my best friend.
The second is that she always knows what to say to make me feel better.
And the third thing… might take a little bit more explaining.

84-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she waits to be rescued, Florence wonders if a terrible secret from her past is about to come to light; and, if the charming new resident is who he claims to be, why does he look exactly a man who died sixty years ago?

From the author of THE TROUBLE WITH GOATS AND SHEEP, this book will teach you many things, but here are three of them:

1) The fine threads of humanity will connect us all forever.
2) There is so very much more to anyone than the worst thing they have ever done.
3) Even the smallest life can leave the loudest echo. NetGalley

Now of course it’s that time of year when my house fills up and reading time is few and far between so I’m fully expecting this week’s read to take longer than a week but hey, I can be sociable once a year, can’t I?

What do you think of these choices, have you read any of them? Do you want to? Please let me know in the comments box below.

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (December 17)

This Week on the Blog

Well the final wrap up from me before Christmas so I am going to start this post by wishing you all a Very Happy Christmas, I do hope Santa is kind to you all and brings you lots of lovely books.

This Week on the Blog

The week started with a review of Melanie McGrath’s Give Me the Child in which I made some commentators snigger with my attitude towards one of the characters.

I also posted a review on Tuesday, this time I had been waiting patiently for my stop on the blog tour for G.J. Minett’s Anything for Her. All three of this author’s books have now gained the full five stars from me.

This Week in Books featured the authors Emma Donoghue, Christine Poulson and Maggie James

On Thursday I posted a Christmas Thank You to NetGalley where I featured a tiny fraction of the brilliant books I’ve read through this fantastic resource.

My third review of the week was for The Dress Thief by Natalie Meg Evans, a historical story set in the world of haute couture in Paris in the 1930s.

My final review of the week was for His Kidnapper’s Shoes by Maggie James which had also lingered on the TBR for quite some time.

This Time Last Year…

I was reading A Mother’s Confession by Kelly Rimmer, a book that I confess that I would never have picked up on the basis of the cover, but fortunately I have a whole selection of brilliant book bloggers to make sure I don’t choose my books on misconceptions but on the basis of your reviews. This was a fabulous, if somewhat horrific read (again that cover doesn’t even begin to hint at the darkness within its pages) about a woman whose husband is dead, a mother who mourns him and their story of the past and the present. More than that I really can’t say but after nearly a year of me badgering one friend who I thought would recognise some of the character types, she finally read it and sent me a huge thank you for the recommendation.

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

Blurb

Your husband took his own life. Tell the truth and destroy what’s left of your family. Or keep a secret that will tear you apart. What would you do?

Olivia and David were the perfect couple with their whole lives in front of them. When beautiful baby daughter Zoe came along, their world seemed complete.

But now David is dead and Olivia’s world is in pieces. While she is consumed with grief, her mother-in-law Ivy is also mourning the loss of her son. Both women are hiding secrets about the man they loved. Secrets that have put the family in danger.

Something was very wrong in Olivia and David’s marriage. Can Olivia and Ivy break their silence and speak the truth? A mother should protect her child, whatever the cost… shouldn’t she? Amazon

Stacking the Shelves

Now I didn’t expect to have any ‘brand new’ books to share with you this week, but I was wrong – I was absolutely thrilled to receive a copy of Elly Griffiths‘ latest book in the Ruth Galloway series, The Dark Angel. This, the tenth book in the series will be published on 8 February 2018.

Blurb

Dr Ruth Galloway is flattered when she receives a letter from Italian archaeologist Dr Angelo Morelli, asking for her help. He’s discovered a group of bones in a tiny hilltop village near Rome but doesn’t know what to make of them. It’s years since Ruth has had a holiday, and even a working holiday to Italy is very welcome!

So Ruth travels to Castello degli Angeli, accompanied by her daughter Kate and friend Shona. In the town she finds a baffling Roman mystery and a dark secret involving the war years and the Resistance. To her amazement she also soon finds Harry Nelson, with Cathbad in tow. But there is no time to overcome their mutual shock – the ancient bones spark a modern murder, and Ruth must discover what secrets there are in Castello degli Angeli that someone would kill to protect. NetGalley

I have also been following the blog tour for Blackmail, Sex and Lies by Kathryn McMaster which tells the story of Madeline Smith accused of poisoning her lover Pierre L’Angelier who’d moved from Jersey to Glasgow in the 1850s. Now I know this story having read some other books on the subject but who am I to resist another? Especially as it is on special offer during the blog tour.

Blurb

Blackmail, Sex and Lies is a story of deception, scandal, and fractured traditional Victorian social values. It is the tale of Madeleine Hamilton Smith, a naïve, young woman caught up in a whirlwind romance with an older man, Pierre Emile L’Angelier. However, both lovers have personality flaws that result in poor choices, ultimately leading to a tragic end. For 160 years, people have believed Madeleine Smith was guilty of murder. But was she? Could she have been innocent after all?

This Victorian murder mystery, based on a true story, takes place in Glasgow, Scotland, 1857. It explores the disastrous romance between the vivacious socialite and her working class lover. After a two-year torrid and forbidden relationship with L’Angelier, continuing against her parents’ wishes, the situation changes dramatically when William Minnoch enters the scene. Minnoch is handsome, rich, and of her social class. Everything L’Angelier is not. Insane jealous rages and threats of blackmail are suddenly silenced by an untimely death.

Written in British English, in the creative nonfiction style, this Scottish Noir will be enjoyed by those who enjoy Victorian murder mysteries, unsolved crimes, or fictionalised accounts of true crime. Amazon

And while I was perusing this book I thought it wise to check out the author’s first book, Who Killed Little Johnny Gill? Another Victorian true crime, so I bought that one too!

Blurb

Johnny Gill, a young seven-year-old from Bradford, comes from the poor end of town. Despite being poor, his family are tight-knit, loving and well-respected within their community. One foggy morning, just a few days after Christmas, Johnny’s mother sees her son off from the front door as he climbs into the milk wagon of William Barrett. As Mary Ann Gill waves goodbye to her eldest son that morning, she has 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.

“Who Killed Little Johnny Gill?” is a fictionalised account of the true murder of a young boy in Bradford, England that is still considered today to be one of the worst British murders in England, despite the fact that it occurred in 1888 of Victorian Times. After the author presents the facts of this fascination English crime fiction novel, will you think William Barrett is innocent? Well, you will have to read the book to find out for yourself. Amazon

Lastly I have a copy of Murder on the Home Front by Molly Lefebure, a memoir written by the secretary to the Home Office’s chief forensic pathologist during the Second World War.

Blurb

It is 1941. While the ‘war of chaos’ rages in the skies above London, an unending fight against violence, murder and the criminal underworld continues on the streets below.

One ordinary day, in an ordinary courtroom, forensic pathologist Dr Keith Simpson asks a keen young journalist to be his secretary. Although the ‘horrors of secretarial work’ don’t appeal to Molly Lefebure, she’s intrigued to find out exactly what goes on behind a mortuary door.

Capable and curious, ‘Miss Molly’ quickly becomes indispensible to Dr Simpson as he meticulously pursues the truth. Accompanying him from sombre morgues to London’s most gruesome crime scenes, Molly observes and assists as he uncovers the dark secrets that all murder victims keep.

With a sharp sense of humour and a rebellious spirit, Molly tells her own remarkable true story here with warmth and wit, painting a vivid portrait of wartime London. Amazon

I think that little lot should set me up for some fantastic reading in 2018 – what do you think? Any of these take your fancy?

tbr-watch

Since my last post I have read 3 books and appear to have gained 3 so my TBR is holding steady at 186

Physical Books – 108
Kindle Books – 56
NetGalley Books –22

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (December 13)

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 Cold, Cold Heart by Christine Poulson which was published on 17 November 2017 and features to my delight a Patent Attorney.



Blurb

Midwinter in Antarctica. Six months of darkness are about to begin. Scientist Katie Flanagan has an undeserved reputation as a trouble-maker and her career has foundered. When an accident creates an opening on a remote Antarctic research base she seizes it, flying in on the last plane before the subzero temperatures make it impossible to leave. Meanwhile patent lawyer Daniel Marchmont has been asked to undertake due diligence on a breakthrough cancer cure. But the key scientist is strangely elusive and Daniel uncovers a dark secret that leads to Antarctica. Out on the ice a storm is gathering. As the crew lock down the station they discover a body and realise that they are trapped with a killer… Amazon

The last book I finished was His Kidnapper’s Shoes, a psychological thriller by Maggie James that had been lingering on my TBR for quite a while.

Blurb


Daniel is my son. He has always been mine. And he always will be.

On some level deep inside, Laura Bateman knows something is wrong. That her relationship with her son is not what it should be. That it is based on lies.

But bad things have happened to Laura. Things that change a person. Forever.

For twenty-six-year-old Daniel, the discovery that his mother is not who he thought comes close to destroying him. As his world turns upside down, he searches for sanity in the madness that has become his life. Daniel is left with nothing but questions. Why did Laura do something so terrible? Can he move past the demons of his childhood?

And the biggest question of all: can he ever forgive Laura? Amazon

Next I plan to read Room by Emma Donoghue which I purchased all the way back in August 2012 and still haven’t read. This one is for my most certainly failed Mount TBR Challenge 2017.

 

Blurb

Today I’m five. I was four last night going to sleep in Wardrobe, but when I wake up in Bed in the dark I’m changed to five, abracadabra.

Jack lives with his Ma in Room. Room has a single locked door and a skylight, and it measures ten feet by ten feet. Jack loves watching TV but he knows that nothing he sees on the screen is truly real – only him, Ma and the things in Room. Until the day Ma admits there is a world outside. Amazon

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