Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (August 8)

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.

My opening paragraph this week comes from The Lying Game by Ruth Ware which was published in June 2017.



Blurb

The text message arrives in the small hours of the night. It’s just three words: I need you.
Isa drops everything, takes her baby daughter and heads straight to Salten. She spent the most significant days of her life at boarding school on the marshes there, days which still cast their shadow over her.

At school Isa and her three best friends used to play the Lying Game. They competed to convince people of the most outrageous stories. Now, after seventeen years of secrets, something terrible has been found on the beach. Something which will force Isa to confront her past, together with the three women she hasn’t seen for years, but has never forgotten.

Theirs is no cosy reunion: Salten isn’t a safe place for them, not after what they did. It’s time for the women to get their story straight… Amazon

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

Rule One
Tell a Lie

The sound is just an ordinary text alert, a quiet ‘beep beep’ in the night that does not wake Owen and would not have woken me except that I was already awake, lying there, staring into the darkness, the baby at my breast snuffling, not quite feeding, not quite unlatching.
I lie there for a moment thinking about the test, wondering who it could be. Who’d be texting at this hour? None of my friends would be awake… unless it’s Milly gone into labour already… God, it can’t be Milly, can it? I’d promised to take Noah if Milly’s parents couldn’t get up from Devon in time to look after him but I never really thought…

An intriguing start of that not quite real quality that only happens in the dead of night – I’m keen to read more – what about you?

Have you read this book – do you want to – whatever your thoughts please let me know in the comments below.

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

The House – Simon Lelic

Psychological Thriller
5*s

Wow!! Words fail me – well almost because this wouldn’t be much of a review if it had no words at all.

In short this book is scary, not altogether surprising since it features an old house in London jam-packed with the previous owner’s belongings including a collection of stuffed birds.

Told through a written letter between Sydney Baker and Jack Walsh detailing all the events and most intriguingly the secrets they’ve kept from each other. The author’s choice of this somewhat unusual writing style becomes absolutely clear but not until far later, in the meantime the freshness of the exchanges between the pair are hypnotic and make for totally compelling reading.

When you’re caught inside a dungeon, even the faintest flicker in the dark is like a promise of daylight. And if it turns out not to be, if it turns out instead to be a burning staircase… Well. You take your chances anyway.”

Now I don’t usually go in for gothic type books but if they are all as excellent as The House, I might well change my opinion. Only incrementally are the cause of the strange smells, the sounds that keep Jack on edge at night and the other events that turn their new beginning into a nightmare revealed in what I think is a masterclass of suspense writing. Yes, so far, all so textbook, albeit in the advanced section, but there is an element which really brings this book to life. The narrative in the first person is so well written, so close to actual speech that you can hear Syd and Jack talking to you it felt that real. There are moments of tenderness which alternate with phrases that capture the language those who practice defiant guilt, we hear of hard times behind the couple and hopeful times ahead and mixed amongst all of this are some genuinely funny moments as well as phrases that conjure up a whole heap of emotions behind what appears to be the throw-away lines.

Now I’ve seen enough horror films in my time to know never to go wandering about alone when there’s a suspected zombie in the vicinity, feline or otherwise. But there was no way I was going back to sleep, not until I’d at least had a quick look around. Plus, countering whatever fear I felt, I heard my dad’s voice telling me to stop behaving like a six-year-old.

About the only thing my father was afraid of was the prospect of maybe one day being called upon to express and emotion that wasn’t indignation.

There is misdirection aplenty and with a setting in a creepy house, two very dissimilar protagonists, ex-junkie Syd and the more laid back, but not entirely without issues Jack. Add to that the background of the purchase I was unsure what direction the book was going to take from the outset, but boy did I enjoy the journey.

But honestly right? The truth, the whole truth and nothing but. Honestly then, what I thought when I walked into the house was that it was somewhere Jack and I could be together until we were old. A forever house, that’s what they call it on the property shows, which when I hear it always makes me want to puke. But that didn’t stop me thinking it even so.

In case you haven’t got it, I loved this book, it is definitely one of my books of the year because not only was it compelling reading (if I’d known how compelling I would have waited for a less busy time so that I didn’t keep having to put it aside) but it had dark parts, light parts and each one was perfectly placed. The House delighted me whilst scaring me, it engaged me and inspired me to really look at the writing to try and work out what it was about it that made this book one that I’d have happily started all over again the instant I turned the last page.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Penguin who allowed me to read a copy of The House prior to publication on 17 August 2017 (psst it is currently at an absolute bargain price for pre-order for the eBook in the UK) and the author Simon Lelic for delighting me, this review is my totally gushy but absolutely unbiased thanks to them.

First Published UK: 17 August 2017
Publisher: Penguin
No of Pages: 342
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Amazon UK
Amazon US (Audible only)

 

 

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (August 6)

Weekly Wrap Up

With another exceptionally busy week on the work front I decided that I would reinvent myself as a bit of a domestic goddess this weekend, so chose the most important area to keep spick and span, yes you’ve guessed it, the bookcases. I can now confirm that the excel spreadsheet is up to date and complete and there are no longer random piles of books strategically placed throughout the house.

              Bookshelf and cupboard where the TBR lives

I then turned my hand to making some chutney and now have a stack of bramley apple and walnut chutney which tastes divine and should be even better once it has sat a while – if it lasts that long!

This Week on the Blog

The week got off to a cracking start when I took my turn on the blog tour with my review for Death Knocks Twice by Robert Thorogood, the third in the Death in Paradise series.

My extract post was from The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham which was published on 11 July 2017.

This Week in Books featured the authors Agatha Christie, Simon Lelic and Peter Robinson.

On Thursday I published my review of Shelter by Sarah Franklin set in The Forest of Dean (where I grew up) during World War II – I was really taken with this story, the setting was lovingly recreated and the story of the lumberjill’s a piece of history that is a little known one.

I moved further south when I reviewed the seventh book in my 20 Books of Summer challenge, That Girl from Nowhere by Dorothy Koomson

And then I changed continents for my review of the non-fiction book, Midnight in Peking by Paul French. This true crime story not only took me across the world but back in time to 1937 when Pamela Werner was killed and mutilated.

This Time Last Year…

I was reading The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie the book that is considered by many people as one of the best of the Queen of Crimes books, and I certainly can’t disagree. Poor old Roger Ackroyd was stabbed quite literally in the back, and that was how our narrator, Doctor James Shepard found him in the locked room of his study.

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

Blurb

Agatha Christie’s most daring crime mystery – an early and particularly brilliant outing of Hercule Poirot, ‘The Murder of Roger Ackroyd’, with its legendary twist, changed the detective fiction genre for ever.

Roger Ackroyd knew too much. He knew that the woman he loved had poisoned her brutal first husband. He suspected also that someone had been blackmailing her. Now, tragically, came the news that she had taken her own life with a drug overdose.

But the evening post brought Roger one last fatal scrap of information. Unfortunately, before he could finish the letter, he was stabbed to death… Amazon

Stacking the Shelves

With life here still difficult I decided I needed something a little bit lighter for relief and was approved for One Day in December by Shari Low which seems to fit the bill perfectly.

Blurb

By the stroke of midnight, a heart would be broken, a cruel truth revealed, a devastating secret shared, and a love betrayed. Four lives would be changed forever, One Day in December.
One morning in December…
Caro set off on a quest to find out if her relationship with her father had been based on a lifetime of lies.
Lila decided today would be the day that she told her lover’s wife of their secret affair.
Cammy was on the way to pick up the ring for the surprise proposal to the woman he loved.
And Bernadette vowed that this was the day she would walk away from her controlling husband of 30 years and never look back.

One day, four lives on a collision course with destiny… NetGalley

I made a purchase of Death of a Cuckoo by Wendy Percival which is a short story featuring genealogist Esme Quentin who has her own series…

Blurb

A letter. A photograph. A devastating truth.

When Gina Vincent receives a letter of condolence from a stranger following her mother’s death, a photograph slipped inside reveals a disturbing truth – everything she’s ever known is based on a lie. Shocked and disorientated, she engages genealogy detective Esme Quentin to help search for answers.

The trail leads to an isolated and abandoned property on the edge of Exmoor, once the home of a strict Victorian institution called The House of Mercy and its enigmatic founder, whose influence seems to linger still in the fabric of the derelict building.

As they dig deeper, Esme realises that the house itself hides a dark and chilling secret, one which must be exposed to unravel the mystery behind Gina’s past.

But someone is intent on keeping the secret hidden. Whatever it takes. Amazon

I was also forced to purchase a copy of The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books by Martin Edwards, because Fiction Fan featured this in her Bookish Selfie post last week. I’ve been steadfastly resisting the British Library Crime Classics series as I knew I could easily end up acquiring the whole set and so I fear this book will open the floodgates.

Blurb

The main aim of detective stories is to entertain, but the best cast a light on human behaviour, and display both literary ambition and accomplishment. Even unpretentious detective stories, written for unashamedly commercial reasons, can give us clues to the past, and give us insight into a long-vanished world that, for all its imperfections, continues to fascinate.

This book, written by award-winning crime writer and president of the Detection Club, Martin Edwards, serves as a companion to the British Library’s internationally acclaimed series of Crime Classics. Long-forgotten stories republished in the series have won a devoted new readership, with several titles entering the bestseller charts and sales outstripping those of highly acclaimed contemporary thrillers. Amazon

tbr-watch

Since my last post I’ve read 3 books and gained 3 plus I found a couple of books to remove and a few more to add to the spreadsheet!

The current total is therefore 178
Physical Books – 103
Kindle Books – 16
NetGalley Books – 15

Posted in #20 Books of Summer 2017, Book Review, Books I have read

Midnight in Peking – Paul French #20booksofsummer

Non-Fiction – True Crime
4*s

Midnight in Peking is an intriguing book which looks at the gruesome murder of Pamela Werner at the same time as the Japanese were poised to invade China.

ETC Werner was Pamela’s adoptive father, a retired Consul who was an academic of Chinese with a particular interest in mythology and language. When his daughter Pamela failed to come home that cold winter’s evening in 1937 he searched for her, sadly her mutilated body was found at the bottom of Fox Tower with her heart and other organs removed.

The book is seriously well researched with many documents examined which gives the reader the feel of the ex-pat community in Peking, and it is telling that Pamela had been ice skating before bicycling home, activities that her peers living in the UK could easily have been doing. What Paul French evocatively describes is the gated community, Legation Quarter, where most of the ex-pats lived, although not Pamela and her father who lived outside, and then there was the were the ‘Badlands’ where life was a whole lot more tawdry and where the Russians congregated eager to sample its fast food outlets and brothels. Through the whole book you can’t fault the descriptions of the places that were familiar to Pamela.

The book is of course focussed on who killed Pamela and it comes up with a valid scenario based on his combing of the archives and not least the efforts of her father who made it his mission to keep the investigation into his daughter’s death alive. ETC Werner is painted as a complex character and he clearly didn’t set out in life to win friends, indeed quite the opposite so when he bombarded anyone who he thought had power with letters full of his suspicions about the perpetrator with letter after letter. In a link to ETC Werner’s work we also hear about the Chinese superstitions which relate to the spirits that haunt Fox Tower where Pamela’s dismembered body was discovered.

Equally interesting is the history of the creeping invasion of the Japanese through China and the knock on effect that had on the ex-pat community as well as the wider implications for the Chinese. This is a slice of history that was new to me and although my geography is particularly poor this part is explained well enough that I easily followed the time-lines and could visualise the widening of the areas under Japanese control.

This is a non-fiction book although the majority of the book is very readable, however I did get bogged down in the early section of who was who in the ex-pat community in China with its lengthy section on not just who did what now but what they’d done before without any real idea of the part they would play in Pamela’s story. This is a minor criticism of a book that bought a time and place to life long after both had disappeared.

Having read the investigation carried out by the author I felt his theory worked although the fact that the case was never solved seemed to be for people in high places supressing the truth rather than it was never known. The real mystery that remains is ‘who was Pamela Warner?’ because this is a young woman, despite being represented as a school girl she was in her late teens, who was a mass of contradictions.

Midnight in Peking was my eight read of my 20 Books of Summer Challenge 2017

First Published UK: April 2013
Publisher: Penguin
No of Pages: 272
Genre: Non-Fiction – True Crime
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in #20 Books of Summer 2017, Book Review, Books I have read

The Girl From Nowhere – Dorothy Koomson #20booksofsummer

Contemporary Fiction
4*s

A box decorated with butterflies is all that Clemency Smittson has to link her to her birth family and she has carted the box, designed for a baby to sleep in through all the ups and downs of her life. Now it is packed into a van once more as Clemency makes the move to Brighton following the breakup of a relationship. Unfortunately her new beginning comes with unexpected baggage, her Mother is moving into the perfect flat that Clemency has found to run her business making re-loved jewellery.

A chance meeting sets off a chain of events that causes Clemency to reassess her relationships with her mother her deceased father and her new-found birth family. You can’t help but feel for someone whose life story isn’t quite what they believed it to be and yet Clemency knew she was adopted, after all her parents were white. One of my favourite scenes was when Clemency was young her father who took her to a hairdressers to learn to treat her hair properly while her mother tried to ignore the fact that her daughter had a different heritage.

As much as I felt for Clemency I have to admit my true sympathy was reserved for Clemency’s mother who bravely faces up to the fact that her daughter’s birth family also have something to offer, and I could see why she was genuinely worried about is the price Clemency might have to pay for the privilege.

The setting is brilliant with the quirky shops and seaside café complete with hunky barista. This is a Dorothy Koomson book and there are few writers that manage to play on my emotions with such a deft hand. One minute I’m furiously turning the pages to see what decisions characters are going to make while wondering how I would react in a similar situation and then BAM I’ve got a lump in my throat as a touching, but never mawkish, scene arrives leaving me struggling to swallow my cocktail.

As is often the case with this author’s books there are a number of issues explored but always with the lightest of touches leaving the reader to draw their own conclusions. The intricacy mirrors Clemency’s work to take an old and unworn pieces of jewellery and recreate them into something that the owner will wear. The smaller tales that her customers relate at the start of this process add layers to the story and serve to make the overall story seem realistic. Clemency is a real woman, with values which are challenged in numerous ways by a variety of people and as a result I was totally involved in her story despite on the surface leading a very different life with few of the concealed elements that our protagonist has to contend with.

One of the strengths of this book is that it doesn’t pretend not everything is resolved in the way of a happy-ever-after but after all, real life isn’t like that, people aren’t like that but it does finish in a way that makes you feel that Clemency in some way gets to belong in a fundamental way, something that she’s never felt before.

That Girl From Nowhere is my 7th read of my 20 Books of Summer  Challenge 2017

First Published UK: April 2015
Publisher: Century
No of Pages: 464
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Books I have read, Book Review

Shelter – Sarah Franklin

Historical Fiction
4*s

It’s springtime 1944 and two lonely people find themselves in the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, both have already suffered during the war years and now, amongst the closed community of Foresters, they learn new skills while they face the next hurdle in their journey of life.

I knew as soon as I heard about this book that I wanted to read it because it is set in the Forest of Dean, the place where I grew up and in the World War II time period which is of huge interest to me, especially when it focusses on the changing role of women. Sarah Franklin surpassed my expectations weaving a story about a Lumberjill alongside that of an Italian POW.

Connie Granger hails from Coventry until the war her life was going along predictable lines, but this is a young woman who wanted more than working in the factory until she met a man and got married. Connie wants to see the world and when the Americans come to the UK there is nothing she likes more than to don her pretty dress and dance with them. Maybe one of these young men could be her ticket to seeing more than Coventry, more than helping her mother out with her younger siblings and more than the life she sees stretching before her on a path strewn with a generation of expectations. Connie veers off the path and has joined the Timbre Corps and has been sent to the Forest of Dean for her training.

The true woman finds her greatest joy in life in building up a ‘happy home for her husband and children’.
Advertisement, Dean Forest Mercury, 7th April 1944

Nearby Seppe is contemplating his fate in a truck transporting him to the POW camp at the top of a hill. Seppe carves wood, he is good with his hands and he’s relieved he has been captured. This was one young man who was fighting a war that he doesn’t believe in but that just means he also feels apart from many of his fellow prisoners some of whom hail from the same small town he does, a place where his father doesn’t just rule his family with a sharp tongue and an even worse bite; a whole community reveres the man.

So our two main protagonists have had a tough time with the causes not just created by the war when they are put to work in the Forest to clear the timber to keep up with the quotas demanded by the Ministry of War and we witness the struggle as Seppe and Connie make life-changing decisions

The strength in this book is not just the accurate portrayal of a community one that even when I lived their in the 80s was distinctly separate from those that surround it, at a time when for those living there leaving the Forest was a big deal, but also in the brilliant characters Sarah Franklin has created. Every character is special, these lifelike people take in not just Connie and Seppe, but the whole supporting cast from Amos whose house Connie lives in, a house where she sleeps in his son’s bed while Billy is off fighting his ow war, to Joyce the next door neighbour who has a heart of gold but is no pushover, all are real people with characteristics that reminded me of the older generation of Foresters that I grew up amongst. They also give depth to a story that is both emotional and yet speaks of a generation for whom duty was threaded through their bodies despite what their hearts yearned for.

With letters home from Billy and excerpts from the paper lightly scattered in between the, at times, heart-wrenching story, there was simply so much to savour and enjoy in this historical novel.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Bonnier Zaffre for an ARC of this wonderful tale that took me back to my roots (pun fully intended) and to Sarah Franklin who made me almost homesick for a place that I detested as I grew up amongst the trees and the customs. You made me recall the inevitable Dean Forest Mercury which confirmed just how little in the way of excitement was to be had and yet now, with older and wiser eyes I see the comfort in a world that was almost untouched by events outside it while the community within protected each other.

First Published UK: 27 July 2017
Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre
No of Pages: 432
Genre: Historical Fiction
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (August 2)

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 have just started The House by Simon Lelic which will be published on 17 August 2017.

Blurb

Whose story do YOU believe?

Londoners Jack and Syd moved into the house a year ago. It seemed like their dream home: tons of space, the perfect location, and a friendly owner who wanted a young couple to have it.
So when they made a grisly discovery in the attic, Jack and Syd chose to ignore it. That was a mistake.
Because someone has just been murdered outside their back door. And now the police are watching them.

THIS STORY IS THEIR CHANCE…
TO PROVE THEY’RE INNOCENT.
OR TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER. Amazon

I have just finished Murder is Easy by Agatha Christie which was my thirteenth read for 20 Books of Summer 2017  (yes, for those of you keeping up, this is just how far I am with my review writing!!)

Blurb

Luke Fitzwilliam could not believe Miss Pinkerton’s wild allegation that a multiple murderer was at work in the quiet English village of Wychwood – or her speculation that the local doctor was next in line.

But within hours, Miss Pinkerton had been killed in a hit-and-run car accident. Mere coincidence? Luke was inclined to think so – until he read in The Times of the unexpected demise of Dr Humbleby… Amazon

Up next is Before the Poison by Peter Robison from my 20 Books of Summer Challenge

Blurb

After years of Hollywood success composer Chris Lowndes wanted only one thing: to take his beloved wife home to the Yorkshire Dales.
But Laura is gone, and Chris is on his own.
He welcomes the isolation of Kilnsgate House, and the beauty of the dale. And it doesn’t surprise him that a man died there, sixty years ago.
That his wife was convicted of murder.
That something is pulling him deeper and deeper into the story of Grace Elizabeth Fox, who was hanged by the neck until she was dead . . . Amazon

So that’s my reading week – What are you reading? Do share in the comments box below

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (August 1)

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.

This week my opening paragraph comes from The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham which was published on 11 July 2017.



Blurb

Everyone has an idea of what their perfect life is. For Agatha, it’s Meghan Shaughnessy’s.

These two women from vastly different backgrounds have one thing in common – a dangerous secret that could destroy everything they hold dear.

Both will risk everything to hide the truth, but their worlds are about to collide in a shocking act that cannot be undone. Amazon

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

Agatha

I am not the most important person in this story. That honour belongs to Meg who is married to Jack and they are the perfect parents of two perfect children, a boy and a girl, blond and blue-eyed and sweeter than honey cakes. Meg is pregnant again and I couldn’t be more excited because I am having a baby too.

~ ~ ~ 

So that’s Agatha’s voice and as this novel is one with a dual narrative I’ve decided to give you a treat with the opening from Meghan too.

~ ~ ~ 

Meghan

Another Friday. I am counting them down, crossing them off the calendar, scratching tally marks on the wall. This pregnancy seems to be longer than my other two. It’s almost as though my body has rebelled against the idea, demanding to know it wasn’t consulted.

~ ~ ~

I’m looking forward to finding out more about these two women although something tells me it isn’t going to end well!

What do you think? Would you read on, or have you read it already?

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Death Knocks Twice – Robert Thorogood #Blogtour #bookreview

Crime Fiction
4*s

I was delighted to be asked to take part in the blog tour for the third book in the Death in Paradise series which sees this somewhat buttoned up, yet brilliant detective solve murders on the island of Saint-Marie. This gorgeous Caribbean setting has an unsettling amount of murders all of which can only be solved using lateral thinking. Yes the influence of Agatha Christie’s style of mystery novels looms large and equally as devilish.

This murder investigation is kicked off when a distressed young woman presents herself at the small police station about a prowler at the historic Beaumont coffee plantation where she lives with her parents and two brothers. The team immediately go off to investigate – or some of them do as the imposing Commander whose interests lie far more in line with the PR aspect of policing, than in detection wants whoever is selling boot-leg rum on the island apprehended immediately.

Up at the plantation DI Richard Poole and his worthy side-kick Camille are speaking to the worried Lucy Beaumont about the stalker when they hear two gun-shots. Inside the locked shower room is a body of an unidentified man. There’s no fooling DI Poole who quickly realises this is a murder and not suicide but who would have the audacity to kill a man when the police are nearby? And how did he escape from that locked room?

What follows is an old-fashioned tale with a minimal number of suspects and a fiendishly difficult puzzle to solve with plenty of red-herrings thrown into the mix. And then Death knocks again and another body is discovered in equally baffling circumstances! With no-one being quite what they seem and it quickly becoming clear that the coffee plantation, built up with the use of slaves, is not as prosperous as the family’s standing in the community might suggest DI Poole along with Camille, Fidel and Dwayne use age-old techniques to get to the bottom of the mystery. One of the things that I find really appealing about this series is the need to rely on old-fashioned police work due to the remoteness of Saint-Marie so we have DI Poole reading old FBI books to work out how to read writing on burnt paper and dusting the safe to find fingerprints in order to discover who opened it. DI Poole’s refusal to relax his standards and remove his wool suit in exchange for more suitable clothes for the Caribbean weather, well apart from the time he dons a Hawaiian shirt and shorts, complete with lace up black shoes, to go undercover and the mention of Eton really adds to the feeling that the modern world hasn’t truly reached the little island.

As is traditional the ending sees the suspects gathered together for the big reveal and although I’d worked out some parts, there were still aspects that I simply hadn’t worked out beforehand.

Robert Thorogood provided the scripts for the first five episodes for the BBC TV series Death in Paradise which is firm winter favourite viewing for me, and this original story featuring the original cast was an absolute delight to read.

I’d like to thank Midas PR and the publishers HQ for providing me with an ARC prior to publication on 27 July 2017 and for inviting me to take part in this blog tour.

First Published UK: 27 July 2017
Publisher: HQ
No of Pages: 384
Genre: Crime Fiction – Series
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Previous Books by Robert Thorogood
A Meditation on Murder
The Killing of Polly Carter

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (July 30)

Weekly Wrap Up

The end of an exceptionally busy week catching up on all I missed during my absence with work, friends and family. Sadly my phone didn’t like the Spanish  which is making the sharing of posts etc. more problematic than I would like, so please bear with me until it is fixed.

I have however managed to read three books this week which is causing its own problems as I’ve still got stacks of reviews to write from June and my sketchy notes are not really providing as much assistance as I need!

On a more personal front I’ve received a couple of photo albums that my Grandmother kept complete with her annotations and just had to share this one for the summer – My Grandmother is the stylish lady on the right!

 

Modern Girls & their ‘Modern’ Bathing Suits on Clapham Sands circa 1930

It’s taking a long time to decode some of these and although I’m fairly sure the writing says Clapham Sands I’m not really sure if that is correct or not – there’s definitely sand in the picture, but in Clapham?

This Week on the Blog

The week started with me publishing the planned second set of my 20 Books of Summer Challenge – I’ve got just over a month to read these and once again, I’m not entirely sure I’m going to make it but I will give it my best shot!

On that note, I reviewed book 6 of the selection, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote and kind commenters have pointed me in the direction of a couple of films to check out linked to that stunning read.

In This Week in Books I shared my reading by authors: Robert Thorogood, Sarah Franklin and Isabel Ashdown.

My second review of the week was for Lisa Jewell’s latest novel, her darkest yet, Then She Was Gone which was awarded the full five stars by Cleopatra Loves Books

On Friday I reviewed Little Sister by Isabel Ashdown which was published on 27 July 2017 an excellent read which also received five stars.

My week was rounded up with my Six in Six -2017 Edition categorising my favourite reads of the first half of  the year under six different headings.

This Time Last Year…

I was reading I See You by Claire Mackintosh a chilling story set on the London Tube – my review for this starts with memories of travelling on the tube with my beloved Grandmother sans fetching bathing suit, it being a good forty plus years after the photo above was taken and not really tube travelling attire!

Claire Mackintosh has really produced a fantastically scary yet all too believable story with all the characters lifelike enough that you feel you know them warts and all.

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

Blurb

When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. There’s no explanation: just a grainy image, a website address and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it’s just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.

Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make . . Amazon

Stacking the Shelves

I was absolutely thrilled to be approved for a copy of Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan which I’ve had my eye on since I first saw it mentioned on social media – it isn’t out until January 2018 but I doubt whether I will be able to wait until then to read it.

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

I also have a copy of The Foster Child by Jenny Blackhurst, another win as I really enjoyed this author’s previous two books How I Lost You and Before I Let You In . The Foster Child will be published on 16 November 2017.

Blurb

When child psychologist Imogen Reid takes on the case of 11-year-old Ellie Atkinson, she refuses to listen to warnings that the girl is dangerous.

Ellie was the only survivor of a fire that killed her family. Imogen is convinced she’s just a sad and angry child struggling to cope with her loss.

But Ellie’s foster parents and teachers are starting to fear her. When she gets upset, bad things seem to happen. And as Imogen gets closer to Ellie, she may be putting herself in danger… NetGalley

And finally while I was away I received Need to Know by Karen Cleveland which looks to be a hot release for 2018!

Blurb

Vivian Miller is a dedicated CIA counter-intelligence analyst assigned to uncover Russian sleeper cells in the United States. On track for a much-needed promotion, she’s developed a system for identifying Russian agents – seemingly normal people living in plain sight.

After accessing the computer of a potential Russian operative, Vivian stumbles on a secret dossier of deep-cover agents within America’s borders. A few clicks later, everything that matters to her is threatened – her job, her husband, even her four children.

Vivian has vowed to defend her country against all enemies, foreign and domestic. But now she’s facing impossible choices. Torn between loyalty and betrayal, allegiance and treason, love and suspicion, who can she trust? Amazon

tbr-watch

Since my last post I’ve read 3 books and gained 2

The current total is therefore 176
Physical Books – 102
Kindle Books – 59
NetGalley Books – 15