Posted in #20 Books of Summer 2019

20 Books of Summer 2019 #20BooksofSummer


Well once again I am joining Cathy746 with her annual 20 books of summer challenge, a challenge I have met with varying degrees of success (or failure). Normally I choose only physical books from my own shelves but with my lacklustre reading this year I have decided that I need to keep this easy with a wide variety of genres and types to keep me going…

So like Cathy from 3 June until 3 September I will be attempting to read my 20 Books of Summer.

You join in with your own 20 (or 10, or 15!), and link your post with your choices to the Linky on Cathy’s blog so we can all cheer each other on!

So without further ado here are my books:

1. The Adventures of Maud West, Lady Detective by Susannah Stapleton.

NetGalley – eBook – Non-Fiction

Maud West ran her detective agency in London for more than thirty years, having started sleuthing on behalf of society’s finest in 1905.

Her exploits grabbed headlines throughout the world but, beneath the public persona, she was forced to hide vital aspects of her own identity in order to thrive in a class-obsessed and male-dominated world. And – as Susannah Stapleton reveals – she was a most unreliable witness to her own life.

Who was Maud? And what was the reality of being a female private detective in the Golden Age of Crime? Interweaving tales from Maud West’s own ‘casebook’ with social history and extensive original research,
Stapleton investigates the stories Maud West told about herself in a quest to uncover the truth. With walk-on parts by Dr Crippen and Dorothy L. Sayers, Parisian gangsters and Continental blackmailers, The Adventures of Maud West, Lady Detective is both a portrait of a woman ahead of her time and a deliciously salacious glimpse into the underbelly of ‘good society’ during the first half of the twentieth century.

2. The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

Own Copy – Physical – Crime Fiction

England,1976.

Mrs Creasy is missing and The Avenue is alive with whispers. As the summer shimmers endlessly on, ten-year-olds Grace and Tilly decide to take matters into their own hands.

And as the cul-de-sac starts giving up its secrets, the amateur detectives will find much more than they imagined…

 

3. Perfect Remains by Helen Fields

Own Copy – eBook – Crime Fiction – Series

On a remote Highland mountain, the body of Elaine Buxton is burning. All that will be left to identify the respected lawyer are her teeth and a fragment of clothing.

In the concealed back room of a house in Edinburgh, the real Elaine Buxton screams into the darkness…

Detective Inspector Luc Callanach has barely set foot in his new office when Elaine’s missing persons case is escalated to a murder investigation. Having left behind a promising career at Interpol, he’s eager to prove himself to his new team. But Edinburgh, he discovers, is a long way from Lyon, and Elaine’s killer has covered his tracks with meticulous care.

It’s not long before another successful woman is abducted from her doorstep, and Callanach finds himself in a race against the clock. Or so he believes … The real fate of the women will prove more twisted than he could have ever imagined.

 

4. I know Who You Are by Alice Feeney

Own Copy – Audiobook – Psychological Thriller

Aimee Sinclair: the actress everyone thinks they know but can’t remember where from. But I know exactly who you are. I know what you’ve done. And I am watching you.
When Aimee comes home and discovers her husband is missing, she doesn’t seem to know what to do or how to act. The police think she’s hiding something and they’re right, she is – but perhaps not what they thought. Aimee has a secret she’s never shared, and yet, she suspects that someone knows. As she struggles to keep her career and sanity intact, her past comes back to haunt her in ways more dangerous than she could have ever imagined.

 

5. Victorian Murders by Jan Bondeson

Own Copy – Physical Book – Non-Fiction

This book features fifty-six Victorian cases of murder covered in the sensational weekly penny journal the Illustrated Police News between 1867 and 1900.
Some of them are famous, like the Bravo Mystery of 1876, the Llangibby Massacre of 1878 and the Mrs Pearcey case of 1890; others are little-known, like the Acton Atrocity of 1880, the Ramsgate Mystery of 1893 and the Grafton Street Murder of 1894. Take your ticket for the house of horrors.

 

 

6. Conviction by Denise Mina

NetGalley – eBook – Psychological Thriller

It’s just a normal morning for Anna McDonald. Gym kits, packed lunches, getting everyone up and ready. Until she opens the front door to her best friend, Estelle. Anna turns to see her own husband at the top of the stairs, suitcase in hand. They’re leaving together and they’re taking Anna’s two daughters with them.

Left alone in the big, dark house, Anna can’t think, she can’t take it in. With her safe, predictable world shattered, she distracts herself with a story: a true-crime podcast. There’s a sunken yacht in the Mediterranean, multiple murders and a hint of power and corruption. Then Anna realises she knew one of the victims in another life. She is convinced she knows what happened. Her past, so carefully hidden until now, will no longer stay silent.

This is a murder she can’t ignore, and she throws herself into investigating the case. But little does she know, her past and present lives are about to collide, sending everything she has worked so hard to achieve into freefall.

 

7. Saplings by Noel Streatfeild

Own Copy – Physical Book – Classic

Noel Streatfeild is best known as a writer for children, but had not thought of writing for them until persuaded to re-work her first novel as Ballet Shoes; this had sold ten million copies by the time of her death.

Saplings (1945), her tenth book for adults, is also about children: a family with four of them, to whom we are first introduced in all their secure Englishness in the summer of 1939.

‘Her purpose is to take a happy, successful, middle-class pre-war family – and then track in miserable detail the disintegration and devastation which war brought to tens of thousands of such families,’ writes the psychiatrist Dr Jeremy Holmes in his Afterword. Her ‘supreme gift was her ability to see the world from a child’s perspective’ and ‘she shows that children can remain serene in the midst of terrible events as long as they are handled with love and openness.’ She understood that ‘the psychological consequences of separating children from their parents was glossed over in the rush to ensure their physical survival… It is fascinating to watch Streatfeild casually and intuitively anticipate many of the findings of developmental psychology over the past fifty years.’ ‘A study of the disintegration of a middle-class family during the turmoil of the Second World War, and quite shocking’ wrote Sarah Waters in the Guardian. Saplings was a ten-part serial on BBC Radio 4 in 2004.

 

8. Oustide Looking In by Michael Wood

Own Copy – eBook – Crime Fiction – Series

When elderly George Rainsford goes to investigate a suspicious noise one night, the last thing he expects to find is a bloodbath. A man has been killed and a woman brutally beaten, left for dead.

The victims are Lois Craven and Kevin Hardaker – both married, but not to each other. Their spouses swear they knew nothing of the affair and, besides, they both have alibis for the attack. With nothing else to link the victims, the investigation hits a dead end.

The pressure is on for investigating officer, DCI Matilda Darke: there’s a violent killer on the loose, and it looks like her team members are the new targets. With no leads and no suspects, it’s going to take all Matilda’s wits to catch him, before he strikes again.

 

9. Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

Own Copy – Audiobook – Contemporary Fiction

For as long as anyone can remember, Britt-Marie has been an acquired taste. It’s not that she’s judgemental, or fussy, or difficult – she just expects things to be done in a certain way. A cutlery drawer should be arranged in the right order, for example (forks, knives, then spoons). We’re not animals, are we?

But behind the passive-aggressive, socially awkward, absurdly pedantic busybody is a woman who has more imagination, bigger dreams and a warmer heart than anyone around her realizes.

So when Britt-Marie finds herself unemployed, separated from her husband of 20 years, left to fend for herself in the miserable provincial backwater that is Borg – of which the kindest thing one can say is that it has a road going through it – and somehow tasked with running the local football team, she is a little unprepared. But she will learn that life may have more to offer her that she’s ever realised, and love might be found in the most unexpected of places.

10. 99 Red Balloons by Elisabeth Carpenter

Own Copy – eBook – Psychological Thriller

wo girls go missing, decades apart. What would you do if one was your daughter?
When eight-year-old Grace goes missing from a sweetshop on the way home from school, her mother Emma is plunged into a nightmare. Her family rallies around, but as the police hunt begins, cracks begin to emerge.
What are the secret emails sent between Emma’s husband and her sister? Why does her mother take so long to join the search? And is Emma really as innocent as she seems?
Meanwhile, ageing widow Maggie Taylor sees Grace’s picture in the newspaper. It’s a photograph that jolts her from the pain of her existence into a spiralling obsession with another girl – the first girl who disappeared…

 

11. The Other Mrs Miller by Allison Dickson

NetGalley – eBook – Psychological Thriller

Two women are watching each other.
Phoebe isn’t sure when the car started showing up. At first she put it down to the scandal around her late father, but she’s certain now it’s there for her. What’s interesting about an unhappily married housewife, who barely leaves her house?

Only one knows why.
Every morning, not long before your husband leaves for work, I wait for the blinds beside your front door to twitch. You might think I’m sitting out here waiting to break into your house and add a piece of your life to my collection. Things aren’t quite that simple. It’s not a piece of your life I want.
When a new family move in across the street, it provides Phoebe with a distraction. But with her head turned she’s no longer focused on the woman in the car. And Phoebe really should be, because she’s just waiting for an opportunity to upend Phoebe’s life…

 

 

12. They Walk Among Us by Benjamin Fitton, Rosanna Fitton

Own Copy – Audiobook – Non-Fiction

A Chilling Casebook of Horrifying Hometown Crimes
How well do you really know your friends?

Neighbours, friends, doctors and colleagues. We see them every day. We trust them implicitly. But what about the British army sergeant who sabotaged his wife’s parachute? Or the lodger who took his landlady on a picnic from which she never returned? From dentists to PAs, these normal-seeming people were quietly wrecking lives, and nobody suspected a thing.

In this first book from the addictive award-winning podcast They Walk Among Us, Benjamin and Rosanna serve up small-town stories in gripping detail. They’ve hooked millions of listeners with their intricate and disturbing cases, and now they dig into ten more tales, to provide an unforgettably sinister true-crime experience, scarily close to home.

It could happen to you.

 

13. Roar by Cecilia Ahern

Borrowed – Physical Book – Short Stories

Have you ever imagined a different life?

Have you ever stood at a crossroads, undecided? Have you ever had a moment when you wanted to roar?

From much-loved, international bestseller Cecelia Ahern come stories for all of us: the women who befriend us, the women who encourage us, the women who make us brave. From The Woman Who Slowly Disappeared to The Woman Who Returned and Exchanged her Husband, discover thirty touching, often hilarious, stories and meet thirty very different women. Each discovers her strength; each realizes she holds the power to make a change.

Witty, tender, surprising, these keenly observed tales speak to us all, and capture the moment when we all want to roar.

 

 

14. The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

NetGalley – eBook – Psychological Thriller

In a large house in London’s fashionable Chelsea, a baby is awake in her cot. Well-fed and cared for, she is happily waiting for someone to pick her up.
In the kitchen lie three decomposing corpses. Close to them is a hastily scrawled note.
They’ve been dead for several days.

Who has been looking after the baby?
And where did they go?
Two entangled families.
A house with the darkest of secrets.

 

 

15. The House of Stairs by Barbara Vine

Own Copy (Re read)- Physical Book – Psychological Thriller

Lizzie hasn’t seen her old friend, Bell, for some fourteen years, but when she spots her from a taxi in a London street she jumps out and pursues her despite ‘all the terrible things’ that passed between them. As Lizzie reveals those events, little by little, the women rekindle their friendship, with terrifying results …

 

 

 

16.. The Hireling by L.P. Hartley

Own Copy – Physical Book – Classic

Overcome with grief at her husband’s death, Lady Franklin, an eligible young widow, unburdens herself to Leadbitter – a gallant, hard-bitten ex-soldier who has invested his savings in the car he drives for hire – as he takes her on a series of journeys.

He in turn beguiles her with stories of his non-existent wife and children, drawing her out of her self-absorption and weaving a dream-life with Lady Franklin at its heart. Half-hoping to make his dream come true, Leadbitter takes a bold, not to say reckless, step which costs him dearly, and brings these characters’ tangled story to a dramatic and unexpected conclusion.

 

17. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Own Copy – Audiobook – Contemporary Fiction

Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live

Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.

Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.
One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?

 

18. The Girl in the Letter by Emily Gunis

Own Copy – eBook – Historical Fiction

A heartbreaking letter. A girl locked away. A mystery to be solved.
1956. When Ivy Jenkins falls pregnant she is sent in disgrace to St Margaret’s, a dark, brooding house for unmarried mothers. Her baby is adopted against her will. Ivy will never leave.
Present day. Samantha Harper is a journalist desperate for a break. When she stumbles on a letter from the past, the contents shock and move her. The letter is from a young mother, begging to be rescued from St Margaret’s. Before it is too late.

Sam is pulled into the tragic story and discovers a spate of unexplained deaths surrounding the woman and her child. With St Margaret’s set for demolition, Sam has only hours to piece together a sixty-year-old mystery before the truth, which lies disturbingly close to home, is lost for ever…
Read her letter. Remember her story…

 

19. The Poison Garden by Alex Marwood

NetGalley – eBook – Crime Fiction

Where Romy grew up, if someone died you never spoke of them again.

Now twenty-two, she has recently escaped the toxic confines of the cult she was raised in. But Romy is young, pregnant and completely alone – and if she is to keep herself safe in this new world, she has some important lessons to learn.

Like how there are some people you can trust, and some you must fear. And about who her family really is, and why her mother ran away from them all those years ago.

And that you can’t walk away from a dark past without expecting it to catch up with you…

 

20. The Black Sheep by Sophie McKenzie

Own Copy – Physical Book – Psychological Thriller

Your life is in danger – and the death threats are coming from someone close to you. But who?
Someone in your family is lying to you.

Francesca was widowed a year ago. Since then she has focused on her children, trying to soothe their grief as well as her own. Her husband and father never quite saw eye to eye but no one could have cared more for her in the past year than her close-knit family. Finally, she feels she might be ready to move on with life.

Until she is contacted out of the blue by someone who says he must get information to her. That her husband’s death wasn’t what it seemed. And that her family know more than they say ….

Who can Francesca trust? And what will happen to her if she puts her faith in the wrong person?

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (February 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 Death of a Dancer by Jill McGown, number three in the Lloyd and Hill series. I originally read many of these books many years ago on loan from the library, but was thrilled to find them published for the kindle a few years ago – sadly I only made it to book two then but here I am picking up the thread again after a break.



Blurb

The murder of a deputy headmaster’s wife on the night of the Sesquicentennial Ball at a minor-league boys’ public school brings together the team of Inspector Lloyd and Judy Hill. Diana Hamlyn’s body has been found on the school’s playing field. Death had been caused by the traditional blunt instrument, her clothing was disarrayed, her underclothes missing. It was a particularly disturbing killing.

As Lloyd and Hill begin the harrowing routine of a murder investigation they rapidly learn that the woman had been a nymphomaniac – her conquests many, her fidelities few, the list of suspects for her killing appallingly long. That list includes her husband, her lovers and her colleagues, none with perfect alibis, some ostentatiously lying. Amazon

The last book I finished was The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie although strictly speaking I listened to the book, rather than read it! Miss Marple did it again using the voice of June Whitfield!

Blurb

Lymstock is a town with more than its share of shameful secrets – a town where even a sudden outbreak of anonymous hate-mail causes only a minor stir.

But all that changes when one of the recipients, Mrs Symmington, commits suicide. Her final note said ‘I can’t go on’. Only Miss Marple questions the coroner’s verdict of suicide. Was this the work of a poison-pen? Or of a poisoner? Amazon

Next up I think I’ll step away from murder for a moment and read The Girl in the Letter by Emily Gunnis.


Blurb

A heartbreaking letter. A girl locked away. A mystery to be solved.

1956. When Ivy Jenkins falls pregnant she is sent in disgrace to St Margaret’s, a dark, brooding house for unmarried mothers. Her baby is adopted against her will. Ivy will never leave.

Present day. Samantha Harper is a journalist desperate for a break. When she stumbles on a letter from the past, the contents shock and move her. The letter is from a young mother, begging to be rescued from St Margaret’s. Before it is too late.

Sam is pulled into the tragic story and discovers a spate of unexplained deaths surrounding the woman and her child. With St Margaret’s set for demolition, Sam has only hours to piece together a sixty-year-old mystery before the truth, which lies disturbingly close to home, is lost for ever…
Read her letter. Remember her story… Amazon

 

What does your reading week look like?

Posted in Uncategorized

New Year Book Tag!


Last year I celebrated by doing this book tag and I decided to revisit it to start my posting for 2019, especially as I have been missing in action for a while.

I think it originated from Bookables which is a You Tube channel. The questions also echo a few posts I’ve seen from other bloggers about books they’ve not managed to squeeze into 2018 so it seems like a good tag take part in to kick off the new year!

How many books are you planning to read in 2019?

My Goodreads Challenge has been set at 130 for the last few years and I plan to set the same goal in 2019 as this works out at 10 books per month and a bonus 10 for holidays.

I read a total of 146 books in 2018n which is slightly down on 2017’s total of 150 but not as much as I expected since I felt I’ve read very little in the last couple of months.

Name five books you didn’t get to read this year but want to make a priority in 2018?

Only five?? Well here goes!

In no particular order Day of the Dead by Nicci French, the eighth and final book in the Frieda Klein series

 

 

Blurb

At long last, a final reckoning is coming for Frieda Klein…

On a north London high street, a runaway vehicle crashes to a halt, but the man in the driving seat was murdered a week earlier.
On Hampstead Heath, a bonfire blazes: in the flames lies the next victim.
As autumn leaves fall, a serial killer runs amok in the capital, playing games with the police. The death toll is rising fast, and the investigation is floundering.
But this is no ordinary killer, and every new victim is intended as a message to just one woman – psychologist Freida Klein.
And the message is very simple.
You’re next. . .
Frieda Klein’s duel with her dark nemesis is finally coming to a climax – and only one can make it out alive.

Force of Nature by Jane Harper, the follow up to The Dry which was on 2018 list of books to get to in 2018 – I did but I’m still trailing!

Blurb

Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along a muddy track.
Only four come out on the other side.

The hike through the rugged Giralang Ranges is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and encourage teamwork and resilience. At least, that’s what the corporate retreat website advertises.

Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk has a keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing hiker, Alice Russell. Because Alice knew secrets, about the company she worked for and the people she worked with.

The four returning women tell Falk a tale of fear, violence and fractured trust during their days in the remote Australian bushland. And as Falk delves into the disappearance of Alice, he begins to suspect some dangers ran far deeper than anyone knew.

 

I fell in love with Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life which I read last summer and so I’m determined to read another book featuring some of the same characters A God in Ruins in 2019.

Blurb

A God in Ruins relates the life of Teddy Todd – would-be poet, heroic World War II bomber pilot, husband, father, and grandfather – as he navigates the perils and progress of the 20th century. For all Teddy endures in battle, his greatest challenge will be to face living in a future he never expected to have.

This gripping, often deliriously funny yet emotionally devastating book looks at war – that great fall of Man from grace – and the effect it has, not only on those who live through it, but on the lives of the subsequent generations. It is also about the infinite magic of fiction. Few will dispute that it proves once again that Kate Atkinson is one of the most exceptional novelists of our age.

I also need to read The Trouble With Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon having been delighted by Three Things about Elsie early in 2018, sadly my copy of her earlier book went walkabout to my daughter’s house and has only recently returned.

 


Blurb

England,1976.

Mrs Creasy is missing and The Avenue is alive with whispers. As the summer shimmers endlessly on, ten-year-olds Grace and Tilly decide to take matters into their own hands.

And as the cul-de-sac starts giving up its secrets, the amateur detectives will find much more than they imagined…

My final choice is a book that was published in December 2018, The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley.




Blurb

Everyone’s invited. Everyone’s a suspect.

Nine friends ring in the New Year in the remote Scottish Highlands.
As the curtain falls on another year, the celebrations begin.

The next 48 hours see the friends catching up, reminiscing over past stories, scratching old wounds. . . And guarding friendship-destroying secrets.

The clock has barely struck 12 when a broken body is found in the snow.

Not an accident – a murder among friends.

When a thick blizzard descends, the group are trapped.
No-one can get in. And no-one can get out.
Not even the killer.

Name a genre you want to read more of?

I adore crime fiction but in 2018 I joined The Classics Club and so my aim is to read more books from the 50 books I’ve chosen for the challenge. So far I’ve had a pretty good run of books but along with all other reading this tailed off dramatically towards the end of last year.

Three non book related goals for 2019?

I haven’t really made any resolutions for 2019 but I will continue to strive to be healthier and happier.

What’s a book you’ve had forever that you still need to read?

So many but one of the non-fiction books I really want to read that I’ve had for an age is Inconvenient People: Lunacy, Liberty and the Mad-Doctors in Victorian England by Sarah Wise which I bought in September 2013 is high on the list.

3rd October

Blurb

The nineteenth century saw repeated panics about sane individuals being locked away in lunatic asylums. With the rise of the ‘mad-doctor’ profession, English liberty seemed to be threatened by a new generation of medical men willing to incarcerate difficult family members in return for the high fees paid by an unscrupulous spouse or friend.

Sarah Wise uncovers twelve shocking stories, untold for over a century and reveals the darker side of the Victorian upper and middle classes – their sexuality, fears of inherited madness, financial greed and fraudulence – and chillingly evoke the black motives at the heart of the phenomenon of the ‘inconvenient person’.

 

One word that you’re hoping 2019 will be?

Fun… I am getting married in 2019 and greatly looking forward to celebrating with our friends and family.

Tag a friend…..

There’s still time to join in if you haven’t already…

 

Happy New Year – I hope 2019 is full of bookish delights!

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Cleopatra Loves Books is Five!


Five whole years ago (yesterday) Cleopatra Loves Books was born. Initially set up in a vacuum as I had no idea about the community of book bloggers, it was a place to record my thoughts on the books I had read. Who’d have thought it would become such an important part of my life.

I’ve typed so much, and hopefully used far more words than the average five year old knows, 2,200, although I confess to frequently scratching my head to find a new way to say I really did enjoy this book! My old laptop’s keys had been pounded so fiercely, its files were full of book covers and reviews that by the start of 2018 you could only see half of the letters and it was time to upgrade to a newer lighter model.

One thing is certain I’m sure I wouldn’t have devoted so much time and energy to this hobby without the interaction with those of you who visit me. Whether you come to tell me you liked my review, that meme was interesting or sometimes if you disagree with my thoughts on a particular book I smile. For the first time in my longish life I have been free to discuss books with like-minded people i.e. the ones who don’t think I’m strange for reading every day or the fact that I’d often prefer to curl up with imaginary people than socialise, although I do this too from time to time!

The birthday tradition at Cleopatra Loves Books is to share some facts and figures with you so hang onto your hats…

This post will be the 1,627 published post on Cleopatra Loves Blogs – no wonder those keys had faded away!

The top reviews in respect of views on my blog of all time are:

Come A Little Closer by Rachel Abbott – Reviewed 25 February 2018
The Book of You y Claire Kendal – Reviewed 6 February 2014
The Girl in the Woods by Camilla Läckberg – Reviewed 19 February 2018
He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly – Reviewed 10 February 2018
Sleep Tight by Rachel Abbott – Reviewed 2 March 2014

It seems to me that books read and reviewed in February/March are the ones that catch the reader’s eye!

The top five reviews in the last year are:

Come A Little Closer by Rachel Abbott – Reviewed 25 February 2018
The Girl in the Woods by Camilla Läckberg – Reviewed 19 February 2018
Blackmail, Sex and Lies by Kathryn McMaster – Reviewed 13 January 2018
The Missing Girl by Jenny Quintana – Reviewed 18 December 2017
The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths – reviewed 5 February 2018

Of course I don’t just write reviews I join in memes and this year I have joined The Classics Club so in theory I will be blogging until at least January 2023 when my 5 year challenge completes!

My favourite memes are those where I look back over time and select books that I have read, or want and my yearly delight in attempting the Reading Bingo shows no sign of abating.

At the 6 month stage I join in Jo’s Six in Six where I divide the first half of the years book into categories and the I Spy Book Challenge had me hunting through my bookshelves to complete each item on the list.

I can waste hours on these challenges but the one maxim I have learnt to follow is that reading comes first, without the wonderful books, there would be no blog so writers, please keep them coming!

So all that remains is for me to say a HUGE thank you to you all – I couldn’t do it without the encouragement and so I invite you to help yourself to a virtual drink of your choosing, and of course a slice of cake!

 

A Slice of Cake!
Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (April 4)

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

Now that I’ve read all the millions of books which were being published on 5 April 2018, I hoping to squeeze some of my own books into April’s schedule as well as some exciting upcoming publications.

I am currently reading Smash all the Windows by Jane Davies which will be published on 12 April 2018.

Blurb

For the families of the victims of the St Botolph and Old Billingsgate disaster, the undoing of a miscarriage of justice should be a cause for rejoicing. For more than thirteen years, the search for truth has eaten up everything. Marriages, families, health, careers and finances.

Finally, the coroner has ruled that the crowd did not contribute to their own deaths. Finally, now that lies have been unravelled and hypocrisies exposed, they can all get back to their lives.
If only it were that simple.

Tapping into the issues of the day, Davis delivers a highly charged work of metafiction, a compelling testament to the human condition and the healing power of art. Written with immediacy, style and an overwhelming sense of empathy, Smash all the Windows will be enjoyed by readers of How to Paint a Dead Man by Sarah Hall and How to be Both by Ali Smith.

That was after catching up on the seventh in the superb DI Kim Stone series, Broken Bones by Angela Marsons before the eighth is published in May!

Blurb

They thought they were safe. They were wrong.

The murder of a young prostitute and a baby found abandoned on the same winter night signals the start of a disturbing investigation for Detective Kim Stone – one which brings her face to face with someone from her own horrific childhood.

As three more sex workers in the Black Country are murdered in quick succession, each death more violent than the last, Kim and her team realise that the initial killing was no one-off frenzied attack, but a twisted serial killer preying on the vulnerable.

At the same time, the search begins for the desperate woman who left her newborn baby at the station – but what at first looks like a tragic abandonment soon takes an even more sinister turn.

When another young woman goes missing, the two investigations bring the team into a terrifying, hidden world, and a showdown puts Kim’s life at risk as secrets from her own past come to light.

As Kim battles her own demons, can she stop the killer, before another life is lost? Amazon

And next I am catching up on another series, this time Rebecca Muddiman’s Murder in Slow Motion, the fourth in the Gardner and Freeman series which was published on 25 February 2018.

Blurb

Katy Jackson is missing, last seen at her neighbour’s house. DI Gardner and DS Freeman think Katy’s boyfriend, Andrew, is overreacting. She’s been gone just a few hours. But next door there’s evidence of a struggle and blood throughout the house. When they realise Katy’s neighbour is police officer Dawn Lawton, and that Dawn is missing too, it becomes impossible for Gardner to put his personal feelings aside, driving him to put his own career on the line as he tries to find his friend.

As Gardner and Freeman unravel both Katy and Dawn’s secrets, they discover neither woman’s life is what it seems. And when everyone has something to hide, how do you know who to trust? Amazon

So what do you think? Have you read any of these? Would you like to?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (March 4)

Well this has been an interesting week! While the UK was under mounds of snow good old Jersey managed a massive 1 cm (in places) by Thursday morning which meant that I had no excuse not to tramp to work complete with laptop which I’d taken home on the promise of some real snowfall. I hope all of you have managed to stay safe and warm during the ‘real’ snow.

This Week on the Blog

I was in Leicester last weekend celebrating a friend’s birthday and so didn’t do my normal wrap up last week. What I did have was a very generous 15% discount code for World of Books – if you didn’t see my post and you want to take advantage of the discount, it runs until the 31 March 2018.

On Monday I posted my review for Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer which was published on 27 February 2018.

My excerpt post came from The Trick to Time by Kit De Waal which is out on 22 March 2018.

This Week in Books featured the authors Clare Mackintosh, Simon Bourke and Mary-Jane Riley

On Thursday I posted my review for one of my favourite non-fiction reads of all time: Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading by Lucy Mangan.

Friday had me featuring 5 five star reads from February 2014 to 2018 a reminder of how brilliant books don’t ever fade.

Finally another list, this time my preparation for the Classic Club Spin which will take place on Friday – spin gods, if you could give the first five lengthy books a miss, I’d appreciate it as I have about a thousand books due a read and review before 5 April!

This Time Last Year…

I was reading Quieter than Killing by Sarah Hilary. This is the fourth book in the series featuring DI Marnie Rome and her partner DS Jake Noah and another which uses contemporary issues as a basis for the crimes, in this instance the pair find themselves investigating the gangs and their increasingly young recruits. There is outstanding characterisation, not just of the main protagonists, but many of the secondary characters too. With perfect plotting and plenty of twists and turns Sarah Hilary’s books are not to be missed.

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


Blurb

It’s winter, the nights are dark and freezing, and a series of assaults is pulling DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake out onto streets of London. When Marnie’s family home is ransacked, there are signs that the burglary can have only been committed by someone who knows her.

Someone out there is playing games. It is time for both Marnie and Noah to face the truth about the creeping, chilling reaches of a troubled upbringing. Amazon

Stacking the Shelves

I have a copy of Rebecca Muddiman’s latest book Murder in Slow Motion which is the fourth in the Gardner and Freeman series and was published on 24 February 2018. I really enjoyed the first two books in this series and am now wondering if I can fit in the third before reading this one – I suspect not since the author would probably like the review before the end of 2018!!

 

Blurb

Katy Jackson is missing, last seen at her neighbour’s house.

DI Gardner and DS Freeman think Katy’s boyfriend, Andrew, is overreacting. She’s been gone just a few hours. But next door there’s evidence of a struggle and blood throughout the house.

When they realise Katy’s neighbour is police officer Dawn Lawton, and that Dawn is missing too, it becomes impossible for Gardner to put his personal feelings aside, driving him to put his own career on the line as he tries to find his friend.

As Gardner and Freeman unravel both Katy and Dawn’s secrets, they discover neither woman’s life is what it seems. And when everyone has something to hide, how do you know who to trust? Amazon

And from NetGalley I have a copy of The Liar’s Room by Simon Lelic which will be published on 2 August 2018. This is another author whose previous books have wowed me!



Blurb

Susanna Fenton has a secret. Fourteen years ago she left her identity behind, reinventing herself as a counsellor and starting a new life.

It was the only way to keep her daughter safe. But everything changes when Adam Geraghty walks into her office. She’s never met this young man before – so why does she feel like she knows him?

Adam starts to tell her about a girl. A girl he wants to hurt. And that’s when Susanna realises she was wrong.

She doesn’t know him.
He knows her.
And the girl he plans to hurt is her daughter. NetGalley

Do either of these take your fancy?

tbr-watch

Since my last post I have only read 4 books and since I have gained rather more than 4 thanks to David the nice man from World of Books, my TBR has risen to its highest level yet this year 188

Physical Books – 113
Kindle Books – 55
NetGalley Books –21

I haven’t banked any book tokens this week but nor have I bought any books, so I’m still 2 whole books in credit!

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 (December 10)

This Week on the Blog

A busy week on the blog this week that started with my favourite post of the year Reading Bingo 2017 Edition – if you want to join in with your own choices, I’d be thrilled to see what they are.

I followed that up with my extract post which came from Faking Friends by Jane Fallon which will be published in January 2018

My This Week in Books featured the authors Helen Garner, Jenny Quintana and G.J. Minett.

All of that excitement meant it wasn’t until Thursday that I posted my first review of the week which was for One Bad Turn by Sinéad Crowley, the third, and fastest paced novel in the DS Claire Boyle series which is set in Dublin.

My next review was for the fabulous Good Friday by Lynda La Plante which takes us back to Covent Garden in 1975 when the IRA were active. I loved this and questioned how I’d missed out on this author for so many years.

My last review was for Poison Panic by Helen Barrell which examines arsenic deaths in Essex in the 1840s. A fascinating and well researched non-fiction book.

 

This Time Last Year…

I was reading the amazing, the fabulous and one of those books that once read, is not forgotten in a hurry; Blood Wedding by Pierre Lemaitre. Despite my wariness at the death of a young child in the care of nanny Sophie Duguet; his nanny, and the somewhat graphic violent scenes this book gripped hard and would not let me know. In short Sophie Duguet who suffered with memory problems goes on the run as we follow weakly in her wake we learn more.

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



Blurb

Sophie is haunted by the things she can’t remember – and visions from the past she will never forget.

One morning, she wakes to find that the little boy in her care is dead. She has no memory of what happened. And whatever the truth, her side of the story is no match for the evidence piled against her.
Her only hiding place is in a new identity. A new life, with a man she has met online.
But Sophie is not the only one keeping secrets . . .
For fans of Gone Girl and Lemaitre’s own internationally bestselling Alex, Blood Wedding is a compelling psychological thriller with a formidable female protagonist. Amazon

Stacking the Shelves

You’ll all be delighted to hear that my vow not to acquire any books in December has got off to a roaring success with only 6 books being added to my shelf since last Sunday!

In my defence, there have been some absolute brilliant books added to NetGalley this week – here a few to whet your appetite (I’m saving the other half for next week when obviously I won’t have any new books to show you!))

First up is from a series I have followed (in order, no less) since the beginning. The Killing House by Claire McGowan, the sixth in the Paula McGuire series set on the boarder between Northern and Southern Ireland where her speciality is missing persons. The Killing House will be published in the UK on 5 April 2018.

Blurb

When a puzzling missing persons’ case opens up in her hometown, forensic psychologist Paula Maguire can’t help but return once more.

Renovations at an abandoned farm have uncovered two bodies: a man known to be an IRA member missing since the nineties, and a young girl whose identity remains a mystery.

As Paula attempts to discover who the girl is and why no one is looking for her, an anonymous tip-off claims that her own long-lost mother is also buried on the farm.

When another girl is kidnapped, Paula must find the person responsible before more lives are destroyed. But there are explosive secrets still to surface. And even Paula can’t predict that the investigation will strike at the heart of all she holds dear. NetGalley

I was also lucky enough to be approved to the latest by a now favourite author of mine, Louise Candlish. Our House will also be published on 5 April 2018 in the UK.

Blurb

On a bright January morning in the London suburbs, a family moves into the house they’ve just bought in Trinity Avenue.
Nothing strange about that. Except it is your house. And you didn’t sell it.

For better, for worse.

When Fi arrives home to find a removals van outside her house, she is completely blind-sided. Trinity Avenue has been her family’s home for years. Where are all her belongings? How could this have happened? Desperately calling her ex-husband, Bram, who owns the house with her, Fi discovers he has disappeared.

For richer, for poorer.

The more Fi uncovers, the more she realises their lives have been turned upside by a nightmare of their own making. A devastating crime has been committed, but who exactly is the guilty party? What has Bram hidden from her – and what has she hidden from him?

Till death us do part. NetGalley

And finally from NetGalley I had my fingers firmly crossed for a copy of this book ever since I first heard about it and I have to confess I’ve already read the first chapter which is just as delightful as I hoped it would be. Bookworm A Memoir of Childhood Reading by Lucy Mangan is one of those books that firmly should be shelved under the library classification ‘for booklovers’ and it will be published on 1 March 2018.

Blurb

The Cat in the Hat? Barbar? The Very Hungry Caterpillar? Whoever it was for you, it’s very hard to forget the vivid intensity of your first encounter with a book.

As a bespectacled young bookworm, Lucy Mangan devoured books: from early picture books, to Swallows and Amazons, Enid Blyton to Little Women, and from trashy teen romances to her first proper ‘grown-up’ novels. In Bookworm, she revisits this early enthusiasm; celebrating the enduring classics, and disinterring some forgotten treasures.

This is a love letter to the joys of childhood reading, full of enthusiasm and wit, telling the colourful story of our best-loved children’s books, the extraordinary people who created them, and the thousand subtle ways they shape our lives. It also comes packed with brilliant recommendations to inspire the next generation of bookworms and set them on their way.

This impassioned book will bring the unforgettable characters of our collective childhoods back to life – prompting endless re-readings, rediscoveries, and, inevitably, fierce debate. It will also act as an invaluable guide to anyone looking to build a children’s library and wondering where to start, or where to go next. NetGalley

A recent acquisition which hasn’t yet been featured but I assure you all was purchased before 1 December is Sanctum by Denise Mina, an author who I have a huge admiration for.

Blurb

When Dr Susie Harriot is convicted of the brutal murder of Andrew Gow, a serial killer in her care, it looks certain that she will be given a life sentence, depriving her of her home, her family and her two-year-old daughter.

Susie’s husband, Lachlan, is convinced his wife is innocent, and is determined to find evidence to support an appeal. Every night he sits in Susie’s study and goes through her papers – her case notes, her interviews with Gow, and the press cuttings from the trial.

But the more Lachlan uncovers, the more questions arise, leaving him wondering about the secrets his wife was hiding… Amazon

tbr-watch

Since my last post I have read 3 books and appear to have gained 6 so my TBR now stands at a magnificent 186
Physical Books – 108
Kindle Books – 56
NetGalley Books –22

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (November 22)

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 Lying Game by Ruth Ware which was published back in the summer and chosen by me because I enjoyed the author’s previous books In a Dark Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10

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

That was after finishing Sinéad Crowley’s third book in the DS Claire Boyle series; One Bad Turn.

Blurb

How could your good friend become your worst enemy?

Being held hostage at gunpoint by her childhood friend is not Dr Heather Gilmore’s idea of a good day at work. It only gets worse when she hears that her nineteen-year-old daughter Leah has been kidnapped.

Sergeant Claire Boyle wasn’t expecting to get caught up in a hostage situation during a doctor’s appointment. When it becomes apparent that the kidnapping is somehow linked to the hostage-taker, a woman called Eileen Delaney, she is put in charge of finding the missing girl.

What happened between Eileen and Heather to make Eileen so determined to ruin her old friend? Claire Boyle must dig up the secrets from their pasts to find out – and quickly, because Leah is still missing, and time is running out to save her. Amazon

Next I plan to read Good Friday by Linda La Plante which takes us back to 1974 and Tennison’s early days as a young Detective.

Blurb

Every legend has a beginning . . .

During 1974 and 1975 the IRA subjected London to a terrifying bombing campaign. In one day alone, they planted seven bombs at locations across central London. Some were defused – some were not.

Jane Tennison is now a fully-fledged detective. On the way to court one morning, Jane passes through Covent Garden Underground station and is caught up in a bomb blast that leaves several people dead, and many horribly injured. Jane is a key witness, but is adamant that she can’t identify the bomber. When a photograph appears in the newspapers, showing Jane assisting the injured at the scene, it puts her and her family at risk from IRA retaliation.

‘Good Friday’ is the eagerly awaited date of the annual formal CID dinner, due to take place at St Ermin’s Hotel. Hundreds of detectives and their wives will be there. It’s the perfect target. As Jane arrives for the evening, she realises that she recognises the parking attendant as the bomber from Covent Garden. Can she convince her senior officers in time, or will another bomb destroy London’s entire detective force? Amazon

So it looks like November is ending on a crime filled note, what could be better?

What do you think? Any of these take your fancy? Please do leave your thoughts in the comments box below.

Posted in Uncategorized

The TBR Book Tag or Still No Change

PicMonkey Collage TBR

 

On 6 November 2015 I put on my big girl pants and tackled the TBR tag which I saw on  The Quirky Book Nerd,  in a bid to get a grip on just how many books were sitting on the TBR, especially focussing on those books I already own.

Last year I did a follow-up post which might have indicated that the TBR had grown, but only by a net value of 8 books from the original count of 173 to 181 books owned and waiting to be read. So what will be the result a year on, after using maximum willpower…

To help me along I designated June and December as book acquisition free months – now there was a flaw there because at Christmas time I get given books, and vouchers so I gained a few. I was away for a good proportion of June and had no time for requesting books although I did receive quite a pile of unsolicited books at this time – not my fault guv’nor!

So onto the questions

How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

My answer is still the same – a good old excel spread sheet although I did realise the downfall of this approach when it didn’t travel with me – but I’m confident it is back up to date now.

My spread sheet has separate tabs for physical books, kindle books and lastly one for NetGalley approved books. There is of course, a colour code, required because some on the first two tabs are also review copies and another one to track the books I’m reading for challenges such as 20 Books of Summer and Mount TBR (I might just fail this latter challenge)

Each Sunday, within my weekly wrap up I publish the total which reminds me how well I’m doing. I can hear you all cheering with approval, those measures are guaranteed to make a huge difference.

Is your TBR mostly print or e-book?

Overwhelmingly print books even when I combine the NetGalley reads and purchased eBooks mainly because if I’m buying my own books I tend to go for print versions but like everything, it depends on a number of factors. At the time of writing this post I have 97 down from a high of 115 back in February.

How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

I go by publication date, all of which are entered into the spread sheet. I’ve learnt the hard way to check on Amazon for these and not to trust NetGalley. Each month of the year has ten spaces to fill, three of which should be from my TBR which I usually choose on a Sunday when I do my blog admin. In practice the choices get endlessly shuffled as my magpie eye alights on a newer shinier book.

A book that’s been on your TBR the longest?

There is a story behind the fact that the answer is identical to that of last year, oh and the year before – Room by Emma Donoghue went onto my kindle in August 2011 and after vowing to read it at long last, it had a slot earlier this year but disaster struck and I couldn’t locate it on my kindle and so removed it. Whilst perusing my books on the kindle just a couple of weeks ago, it had reappeared – I have a feeling it was something to do with the fact my edition has been replaced by a newer one following the film – anyway, end result is that I won’t be answering the same next year – I promise.

Room

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.
Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it’s not enough…not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son’s bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.
Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another. Goodreads

 

A book you recently added to your TBR?

The most recent addition to the TBR which isn’t a review copy is Broken Bones by Angela Marsons which I pre-ordered despite being behind with this wonderful series – Dead Souls by the same author is still on the TBR, something I hope to remedy soon. Broken Bones was published on 3 November 2017.

The murder of a young prostitute and a baby found abandoned on the same winter night signals the start of a disturbing investigation for Detective Kim Stone – one which brings her face to face with someone from her own horrific childhood.

As more sex workers are murdered in quick succession, each death more violent than the last, Kim and her team realise that the initial killing was no one-off frenzied attack, but a twisted serial killer preying on the vulnerable.

At the same time, the search begins for the desperate woman who left her newborn baby at the station – but what looks like a tragic abandonment turns even more sinister when a case of modern slavery is uncovered.

The two investigations bring the team into a terrifying world of human exploitation and cruelty – and a showdown that puts Kim’s life at risk as shocking secrets from her own past come to light. Amazon

A book on your TBR that you never plan on reading?

No, periodically I go through my TBR and any I don’t plan on reading go in the donation bag for the charity shop, this rarely happens.

An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for?

So many with a varied list that isn’t all crime fiction – I’m going to choose Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan which is due to be published on 11 January 2018 so I’ll be reading it soon.


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

A book on your TBR that everyone has read but you?

So many but I’m going to pick Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase which I resolutely resisted when it was being widely raved about and then crumpled as soon as I read the wonderful The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde earlier this year.

Blurb

Amber Alton knows that the hours pass differently at Black Rabbit Hall, her London family’s country estate where no two clocks read the same. Summers there are perfect, timeless. Not much ever happens. Until, one stormy evening in 1968, it does.

The idyllic world of the four Alton children is shattered. Fiercely bonded by the tragic events, they grow up fast. But when a glamorous stranger arrives, these loyalties are tested. Forbidden passions simmer. And another catastrophe looms . . .

Decades later, Lorna and her fiancé wind their way through the countryside searching for a wedding venue. Lorna is drawn to a beautiful crumbling old house she hazily remembers from her childhood, feels a bond she does not understand. When she finds a disturbing message carved into an old oak tree by one of the Alton children, she begins to realise that Black Rabbit Hall’s secret history is as dark and tangled as its woods, and that, much like her own past, it must be brought into the light.

A thrilling spiral into the hearts of two women separated by decades but inescapably linked by Black Rabbit Hall. A story of forgotten childhood and broken dreams, secrets and heartache, and the strength of a family’s love. Amazon

A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you?

Oh so many to choose from but one of my recent additions is The Dry by Jane Harper that so many other bloggers have raved about over the year.

Blurb

WHO REALLY KILLED THE HADLER FAMILY?

I just can’t understand how someone like him could do something like that.

Amid the worst drought to ravage Australia in a century, it hasn’t rained in small country town Kiewarra for two years. Tensions in the community become unbearable when three members of the Hadler family are brutally murdered. Everyone thinks Luke Hadler, who committed suicide after slaughtering his wife and six-year-old son, is guilty.

Policeman Aaron Falk returns to the town of his youth for the funeral of his childhood best friend, and is unwillingly drawn into the investigation. As questions mount and suspicion spreads through the town, Falk is forced to confront the community that rejected him twenty years earlier. Because Falk and Luke Hadler shared a secret, one which Luke’s death threatens to unearth. And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, secrets from his past and why he left home bubble to the surface as he questions the truth of his friend’s crime.

A book on your TBR that you’re dying to read?

All of them! I’m going to pick one that isn’t due out until next year that I’m very tempted to read well ahead of the publication date – I won’t as that would throw my system into disarray but hey a girl can dream – Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce sounds quite unlike my normal reads and that’s always a draw.

Blurb

London, 1940. Emmeline Lake and her best friend Bunty are trying to stay cheerful despite the Luftwaffe making life thoroughly annoying for everyone. Emmy dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent and when she spots a job advertisement in the newspaper she seizes her chance – but after a rather unfortunate misunderstanding, she finds herself typing letters for the formidable Henrietta Bird, the renowned agony aunt of Woman’s Friend magazine.

Mrs Bird is very clear: letters containing any form of Unpleasantness must go straight into the bin. Emmy finds herself dismissing problems from lovelorn, grief-stricken and morally conflicted readers in favour of those who fear their ankles are unsightly or have trouble untangling lengths of wool. But soon the thought of desperate women going unanswered becomes too much to bear and Emmy decides the only thing for it is to secretly write back . . .

Irresistibly funny and enormously moving, Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce is a love letter to female friendship, Blitz spirit, the kindness of strangers and the art of letter-writing itself.

 

How many books are in your Goodreads TBR shelf?

There are currently 207 books but to be honest there are lots of duplicates of books I’ve already read – this site needs some serious housekeeping and my Amazon wishlist no longer has a counter – perhaps it’s decided that the number is simply too high – there are loads of books on here. However, my TBR count is books that I own that I haven’t read and so without further ado…

This year…

On the TBR there are a grand total of 170 books which means that in an entire year (and a couple of days) I have reduced the pile by a staggering 11 books!!

 

The make up of the pile is:

Physical Books: 96
Kindle Books: 55
NetGalley Books: 18

I’m not tagging anyone, but of course I want to feel better about my TBR, so if you have more than 170 books on your TBR, please share in the comments box below!