Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (September 25)

Weekly Wrap Up

Another horrendously busy week here, so sorry that I haven’t kept anywhere near up to date with your comments & tweets, I will get around to them all today, I hope.

Last Week on the Blog

Following last weekend’s blogathon for Agatha Christie’s birthday Monday continued the theme with a review of The Woman on the Orient Express by Lindsay Jayne Ashford, a fictionalised account about the Queen of Crime.

My excerpt on Tuesday came from The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware, the second psychological thriller I’ve read this year set on a ship, the first being Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard.

Wednesday’s post captured my reading for the week – all crime this week!

Friday saw me post a review one of the books I didn’t get to in my 20 Books of Summer Challenge, Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight.

The last review of the week was one of my own books; A Deadly Thaw by Sarah Ward which I had to buy because In Bitter Chill, her first book, was an exceptional read.

 

This Time Last Year…

Coincidently last year I was reading the second book by Kimberly McCreight, Where They Found Her which tells the tale of a fledgling reporter who investigates the death of a small child whilst being conflicted by personal issues.

A snippet from my review indicates that she coped!

A very satisfying and intricate novel which I really enjoyed, this is very much a character driven novel and although the police are involved to be honest it is lucky for them that they have someone who is as keen to get answers as Molly because they don’t seem to have much of a sense of urgency, or even the most basic detection skills.

Where They Found Her

Blurb

Motherhood hasn’t come at all easy for Molly Anderson. But she’s finally enjoying life as mother to five-year-old Ella and as Arts reporter for the small but respectable Ridgedale Reader. That is, until a body is found in the woods adjacent to Ridgedale University’s ivy-covered campus. This is a discovery that threatens to unearth secrets long buried by the town’s most powerful residents, and brings Molly to two women who are far more deeply connected than they have ever realised.

Where They Found Heris a riveting domestic thriller which offers a searing portrait of motherhood, marriage, class distinctions and the damage wrought by betrayal.

 

Stacking the Shelves

Well it was the annual book sale here on the island, held to raise money for the Guide Dogs for the Blind. Sadly rumour has it that this is the last one and consequently there were fewer books than normal as they are running down the stocks rather than adding to them. Even so I managed to add a few to the stack, all in a good cause of course.

booksale-2016An Agatha Christie featuring Miss Marple – The Thirteen Problems
Bones and Silence by Reginald Hill – the only book I could find by this author, this being the 11th in the Dalziel and Pascoe Series
The Island by Victoria Hislop because I visited the former leper colony Spingola on my holiday to Crete this year
The Murder Room by PD James for  nostalgia’s sake
I’ll Be There For You by Louise Candlish for a lighter reading moment
and a portrait of Henry James written by Colm Tóibín in The Master
The London Train by Tessa Hadley, I’ve already read so this can go to the charity shop!

I also was a winner! From Linda’s Book Bag, a blog really worth following for the sheer breadth of books she reviews,  I won a copy of The Conversation’s We Never Had by Jeffrey H. Konis

the-conversations-we-never-had

Blurb

This is the dream of a grandson, who had taken his grandmother for granted, to have a second chance, the opportunity to learn about his family from the only person in the world who knew them, who remembered them. My father remembers nothing about his real parents for they were dead by the time he was nine. Olga, his mother’s younger sister, survived the Holocaust, found my father hiding on a farm in Poland and later brought him to America to raise as her own. He never asked her any questions about his parents. Though I later moved in with Olga for a period of time, I repeated history and never asked her the questions my father never asked. Olga has been gone for more than twenty years, along with everything she could have told me, leaving me with a sense of guilt and profound regret. The Conversations We Never Had is a chronicle of my time spent with Grandma “Ola” and tells the stories she might have shared had I asked the questions. Amazon

I was delighted to get a copy of Her Husband’s Lover by Julia Crouch through the post with a lovely message from the author! This book will be published on 26 January 2017.

her-husbands-lover
Blurb

She stole her husband. Now she wants to take her life.

After the horrors of the past, Louisa Williams is desperate to make a clean start.
Her husband Sam is dead. Her children, too, are gone, victims of the car accident in which he died.
Sam said that she would never get away from him. That he would hound her to death if she tried to leave. Louisa never thought that he would want to harm their children though.
But then she never thought that he would betray her with a woman like Sophie.
And now Sophie is determined to take all that Louisa has left. She wants to destroy her reputation and to take what she thinks is owed her – the life she would have had if Sam had lived.
Her husband’s lover wants to take her life. The only question is will Louisa let her? Goodreads

I also did a bit of shameless begging for the latest, long-awaited book, by one of my favourite authors, Erin Kelly called He Said/She Said. This book has a publication date of 23 February 2017 and as you can see is still awaiting its cover design.

he-said-she-said

Blurb

He said it was consensual.
The woman said nothing.
But Laura saw it…
… didn’t she?

In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura and Kit interrupt something awful.
Laura is sure about what happened. Later, in a panic, she tells a little white lie – and four lives are changed irreparably.
When the victim turns up on their doorstep, her gratitude spills into dangerous obsession. Laura and Kit decide to run – but Beth knows they have pledged to see every eclipse together. They will never be able to entirely escape her.
As the next eclipse draws near, Laura must confront the fallout from what she saw in the darkness. Confessing will cost her marriage; keeping the secret might prove fatal.
But all secrets, sooner or later, will come to light. Amazon

From NetGalley I was incredibly excited to receive a copy of The Fifth in the Kim Stone Series, Blood Lines by Angela Marsons which will be published on 4 November 2016. If you haven’t started this series yet, you’ve got time before the latest episode is released!

blood-lines

Blurb

How do you catch a killer who leaves no trace?
A victim killed with a single, precise stab to the heart appears at first glance to be a robbery gone wrong. A caring, upstanding social worker lost to a senseless act of violence. But for Detective Kim Stone, something doesn’t add up.

When a local drug addict is found murdered with an identical wound, Kim knows instinctively that she is dealing with the same killer. But with nothing to link the two victims except the cold, calculated nature of their death, this could be her most difficult case yet.

Desperate to catch the twisted individual, Kim’s focus on the case is threatened when she receives a chilling letter from Dr Alex Thorne, the sociopath who Kim put behind bars. And this time, Alex is determined to hit where it hurts most, bringing Kim face-to-face with the woman responsible for the death of Kim’s little brother – her own mother.

As the body count increases, Kim and her team unravel a web of dark secrets, bringing them closer to the killer. But one of their own could be in mortal danger. Only this time, Kim might not be strong enough to save them… NetGalley

PicMonkey Collage TBR

TBR WATCH

Since my last post I have only read 2 books, and gained 10 and so my TBR now totals a diabolical 180 books!

90 physical books
70 e-books
20 books on NetGalley

What have you found to read this week?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (May 15)

Weekly Wrap Up

Life has overtaken in the last few weeks with the result that I have read far less than normal but despite that, I thought I’d use this wrap-up post to share what I have read and which new books I have gained.

Last Week on the Blog

I took part in the Extract tour of Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard which had the unusual setting of a cruise ship for her psychological thriller.

I wrote a review for Little Bones by Sam Blake, a Dublin based crime novel, which was full of good things: action, great characters and a credible plot with an equally believable solution.

My Tuesday Post had an extract from the wonderful Play Dead by Angela Marsons which is out 20 May 2016. If you haven’t read the first three in this series, you are missing out!

Wednesday’s post  confirmed t that I have finished Mary Kubica’s third book, Don’t You Cry, the review will be posted next week as part of the book tour.

I then took part in the latest fun meme ‘My A-Z of Books’ which had me reflecting on those books I love from the past as well as the more recent additions.

Stacking the Shelves

It’s quite a while since I featured new additions to my bookshelves so here is what I’ve got!

There have been some irresistible bargains for kindle on Amazon recently so I purchased this one from my wishlist: Pariah by David Jackson which is the first in his Callum Doyle series. I loved his latest book A Tapping at my Door – one of my favourite reads of the year, so I now have a back-catalogue to explore.

Pariah

Blurb

Where can you turn when your very presence brings death to those around you?
That’s the question Detective Callum Doyle is about to face. It begins with the calculated murder of his partner on a vacant lot. But more death is to follow, and when the chilling anonymous messages arrive, Doyle is left in no doubt that this is about him.
You cannot go near your friends, your colleagues, or even your family. Because if you do… they will be killed.
To save others, Doyle is forced to cut himself off from society. But with the investigation getting nowhere and his isolation becoming unbearable, Doyle has to ask himself how much he’s willing to sacrifice to get his life back. Goodreads

The many excellent reviews I’ve read of In Her Wake by Amanda Jennings made buying a copy of this at a bargain price a no-brainer

In Her Wake

Blurb

A perfect life … until she discovered it wasn’t her own.
A tragic family event reveals devastating news that rips apart Bella’s comfortable existence. Embarking on a personal journey to uncover the truth, she faces a series of traumatic discoveries that take her to the ruggedly beautiful Cornish coast, where hidden truths, past betrayals and a 25-year-old mystery threaten not just her identity, but also her life.
Chilling, complex and profoundly moving, In Her Wake is a gripping psychological thriller that questions the nature of family – and reminds us that sometimes the most shocking crimes are committed closest to home. Goodreads

The lovely Alice from Midas PR sent me a copy of Love You Dead by Peter James which arrived Friday to squeals of excitement, the Roy Grace series has been a firm favourite of mine for years now, a whole twelve in fact.

Love You Dead

Blurb

An ugly duckling as a child, Jodie Bentley had two dreams in life – to be beautiful and rich. She’s achieved the first, with a little help from a plastic surgeon, and now she’s working hard on the second. Her philosophy on money is simple: you can either earn it or marry it. Marrying is easy, it’s getting rid of the husband afterwards that’s harder, that takes real skill. But hey, practice makes perfect . . .
Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is feeling the pressure from his superiors, his previous case is still giving him sleepless nights, there have been major developments with his missing wife Sandy, and an old adversary is back. But worse than all of this, he now believes a Black Widow is operating in his city. One with a venomous mind . . . and venomous skills. Soon Grace comes to the frightening realization that he may have underestimated just how dangerous this lady is. Goodreads

And finally while out with a friend just yesterday I came across a used copy of Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín which has also been on my wishlist since reading Nora Webster by the same author.

Brooklyn

Blurb

Colm Tóibín’s sixth novel, Brooklyn, is set in Brooklyn and Ireland in the early 1950s, when one young woman crosses the ocean to make a new life for herself.
Eilis Lacey has come of age in small-town Ireland in the hard years following World War Two. When an Irish priest from Brooklyn offers to sponsor Eilis in America — to live and work in a Brooklyn neighbourhood “just like Ireland” — she decides she must go, leaving her fragile mother and her charismatic sister behind.
Eilis finds work in a department store on Fulton Street, and when she least expects it, finds love. Tony, who loves the Dodgers and his big Italian family, slowly wins her over with patient charm. But just as Eilis begins to fall in love with Tony, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future. Goodreads

PicMonkey Collage TBR

TBR WATCH
Since my last count I have read 8 books, and gained, 4 so the total has plummeted to 176 books!
94 physical books
69 e-books
13 books on NetGalley

What have you found to read this week? Please don’t tempt me too much!

Posted in Books I have read

Nora Webster – Colm Tóibín

Historical Fiction 4*s
Historical Fiction
4*s

At times, unsurprisingly, I found myself struggling with the true portrayal of grief that rolls off the pages of this novel. Nora Webster is forty when we first meet her. Having been a traditional wife, she both fights against and leans into the role of a traditional widow. With her two eldest daughters away studying Nora is reunited with her two young sons, two boys that were looked after by her aunt Josie whilst Nora attended to Maurice during his stay in hospital. It is 1969 and Nora is living on the cusp of a changing world, a world she wasn’t even aware that she wanted to change, after all it was Maurice who was the political one, everyone loved Maurice’s conversation.

‘She wondered now that Maurice was dead if this would change, if she would have to say more’

This is a book, unlike Nora, has a lot to say, but it does so in an almost unobtrusive manner; an author who allows the reader to make the connections through the vignettes of Nora’s life, this being a book that allows us a glimpse of Nora’s life, as well as those of her family, before moving on. It isn’t a book where huge action takes place, rather a lot happens as this family find a new way in a changing world, without Maurice to guide them. So the book details the visitors, the wider family, the day Nora had her hair dyed, the day she sells the holiday home until we are able to build a picture of what life had been like, and what life looks like now. But rest assured, Nora is no wispy character, she can be a formidable opponent and can turn a spiky turn of phrase when necessary!

‘The golf club is a great place for information,’ Nora replied. ‘I’d join it myself if I could play, or if I was nosy enough.’

The story is set in Wexford, Ireland and Maurice had rescued Nora from an unhappy home with a mother who seemingly despised her. When left alone Nora is initially displays the very truisms of grief, wanting to be with people and yet longing for the time when she is left alone:

‘In future, she hoped, fewer people would call. In future, once the boys went to bed, she might have the house to herself more often. She would learn how to spend these hours. In the peace of these winter evenings, she would work out how she was going to live.’

Finding other’s expectation of how a widow should behave, intrusive:

‘And they would stand looking at her until she could not wait to get away from them. There was something hungry in the way they held her hand or looked into their eyes. She wondered if she had ever done that to anybody, and thought that she had not.’

And that was without the practical considerations of how they were to live now that there was little income. Rescue came in the form of her old job, the one she had before Maurice at Gibney’s. Reluctantly Nora goes to work leaving the boys to look after themselves on their return from work until it becomes apparent that this simply isn’t working. It takes Nora some time before she acknowledges that the loss of Maurice has had a massive impact on the two boys – the poignant scenes where they sit in the classroom, learning, the very rooms where they used to meet him after he had finished teaching for the day struggling with the new order of life. A life that isn’t helped because Nora’s grief seems to have disconnected her from her children, she views them and their problems from a distance, mindful of her own mother’s interference in her life, never wondering if this apparent disinterest is just as damaging.

A touching and emotional book, rooted in a specific time with the help of Donal’s obsession with the moon landing as we see Nora learn a new way, a time when she is more involved in the present and finds her own interests including some that she would never have explored if Maurice had live.

I’d like to thank the publishers Viking for giving me a copy of this evocative and insightful novel.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week In Books (November 18)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lypsyy 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

At the moment I am reading Nora Webster by Colm Tóibín, a book that has been on my TBR for far too long. It is in fact over a year since I read Fiction Fan’s review of this book!

Nora Webster

Blurb

It is the late 1960s in Ireland. Nora Webster is living in a small town, looking after her four children, trying to rebuild her life after the death of her husband. She is fiercely intelligent, at times difficult and impatient, at times kind, but she is trapped by her circumstances, and waiting for any chance which will lift her beyond them.
Colm Tóibín’s Nora is a character as resonant as Anna Karenina or Madame Bovary and Nora Webster is a novel that illuminates our own lives in a way that is rare in literature. Its humanity and compassion forge an unforgettable reading experience. NetGalley

I have recently finished the very enjoyable The Killing of Polly Carter by Robert Thorogood.

The Killing of Polly Carter

You can read the synopsis and an excerpt of this one in yesterday’s post

Next up I’m catching up on the Nicci French days of the week series with Friday On My Mind

Friday on my Mind

Blurb

When a bloated corpse is found floating in the River Thames the police can at least sure that identifying the victim will be straightforward. Around the dead man’s wrist is a hospital band. On it are the words Dr F. Klein.
But psychotherapist Frieda Klein is very much alive. And, after evidence linking her to the murder is discovered, she becomes the prime suspect.
Unable to convince the police of her innocence, Frieda is forced to make a bold decision in order to piece together the terrible truth before it’s too late either for her or for those she loves. NetGalley

What are you reading this week? Do share!

See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (October 31)

Friday Finds Hosted by Should be Reading

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

So, come on — share with us your FRIDAY FINDS

This week I’m thrilled to say NetGalley was kind enough to approve me for a copy of Nora Webster by Colm Tóibín after reading a fantastic review of this book on FictionFan’s Book Reviews, although I have a horrible feeling that I may have to add more books by Colm Tóibín if this lives up to my expectations.

Nora Webster

Blurb

Set in Wexford, Ireland, Colm Tóibín’s superb seventh novel introduces the formidable, memorable and deeply moving Nora Webster. Widowed at forty, with four children and not enough money, Nora has lost the love of her life, Maurice, the man who rescued her from the stifling world to which she was born. And now she fears she may be drawn back into it. Wounded, strong-willed, clinging to secrecy in a tiny community where everyone knows your business, Nora is drowning in her own sorrow and blind to the suffering of her young sons, who have lost their father. Yet she has moments of stunning empathy and kindness, and when she begins to sing again, after decades, she finds solace, engagement, a haven—herself. Amazon

I also have a copy of a book not out until June 2015 which seems slightly ridiculous and required another tab on the TBR excel spreadsheet! I requested After We Fall by Emma Kavanagh after reading so many good reviews of Falling by the same author.

After We Fall

Blurb

A moody, intense debut psychological thriller by a former police psychologist, this debut novel explores four lives that fall apart in the tense aftermath of a plane crash, perfect for fans of Tana French, S. J. Watson, and Alice LaPlante. Unraveling what holds these four together is a tense, taut tale about good people who make bad decisions that ultimately threaten to destroy them. Debut author Emma Kavanagh deftly weaves together the stories of those who lost someone or something of themselves in one tragic incident, exploring how swiftly everything we know can come crashing down. NetGalley

Somehow I managed to make a couple of purchases too this week. After reading a Tuesday Teaser about My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni on My Dog Eared Purpose I was sold,and promptly bought a kindle copy for the bargain price of 99p as a Kindle First Reads. I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of this program before; basically you can get one of four books that is yet to be released for 99p each month. I can see that this will add another twelve books a year to the already sky high TBR. Anyway back to the book, My Dog Eared Purpose has now written a great review that endorses my choice.

My Sister's Grave

Blurb

Tracy Crosswhite has spent twenty years questioning the facts surrounding her sister Sarah’s disappearance and the murder trial that followed. She doesn’t believe that Edmund House—a convicted rapist and the man condemned for Sarah’s murder—is the guilty party. Motivated by the opportunity to obtain real justice, Tracy became a homicide detective with the Seattle PD and dedicated her life to tracking down killers.
When Sarah’s remains are finally discovered near their hometown in the northern Cascade mountains of Washington State, Tracy is determined to get the answers she’s been seeking. As she searches for the real killer, she unearths dark, long-kept secrets that will forever change her relationship to her past—and open the door to deadly danger. Amazon

Finally I also weakened when reading Margot Kinberg’s In the Spotlight post featuring The Dying Light by Alison Joseph.

The Dying Light

Blurb

Young and fiercely independent, Sister Agnes Bourdillon has never felt the need of a wimple to express her spirituality. But her strength is tested by her secondment to Silworth, a South London women’s prison. She does, however, find the work compelling, as she attempts to negotiate the network of bullies and victims, loyalties and hatreds, prisoners and jailers, searching to understand the often violent histories that lie behind each woman.
Then the father of Cally Fisher, one of the most turbulent inmates, is shot dead. The chief suspect is Cally’s boyfriend. Reminded unnervingly of how she is losing her own mother, who is rapidly retreating from reality in a French nursing home, Agnes finds that she too has become entangled in a dark world that stretches further than the prison walls… Amazon

What did you find to read this week?