Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (November 21) A change to the norm

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).

This week I don’t have any new finds instead this is a plea for you to help me out.

As those who regularly visit my blog know I schedule my reading well in advance but I have deliberately not picked any books due out in December, instead I decided to catch up on the TBR which normally gets added to each week.  All fine in theory but as the December approaches I don’t feel at all comfortable with no books on my excel spreadsheet so I’m going to employ different methods of choosing which books to read.  Yes, I am that sad that I can’t simply pick one of a huge number available and say I’ll read that next!

I have four books on my physical bookshelf and I’ll read the one who gets the highest marks for one of my December reads. Which one do you like the sound of? Even better have you read any of these and would recommend that I do?

Please take the poll at the end of this post!

The Missing One by Lucy Atkins

The Missing One


The loss of her mother has left Kali McKenzie with too many unanswered questions. But while clearing out Elena’s art studio, she finds a drawer packed with postcards, each bearing an identical one-line message a Canadian gallery owner called Susannah Gillespie: thinking of you. Who is this woman and what does she know about Elena’s hidden past?
Desperate to find out, Kali travels with her toddler, Finn, to Susannah’s isolated home on a remote British Columbian island, a place of killer whales and storms. But as bad weather closes in, Kali quickly realises she has made a big mistake. The handsome and enigmatic Susannah refuses to talk about the past, and as Kali struggles to piece together what happened back in the 1970s, Susannah’s behaviour grows more and more erratic. Most worrying of all, Susannah is becoming increasingly preoccupied with little Finn . . .
A tense, thrilling novel about a family divided by secrets, and the lengths a mother will go to protect her child. Amazon

Every Contact Leaves A Trace by Elanor Dymott

Every Contact Leaves a Trace


Alex is in his thirties, a solitary man who has finally found love in the form of his beautiful and vivacious wife, Rachel. When Rachel is brutally murdered one Midsummer Night by the lake in the grounds of their alma mater, Worcester College, Oxford, Alex’s life as he knew it vanishes. He returns to Oxford that winter, and through the shroud of his shock and grief, begins to try to piece together the mystery surrounding his wife’s death. Playing host to Alex’s winter visit is Harry, Rachel’s former tutor and trusted mentor, who turns out to have been involved in some way in almost every significant development of their relationship throughout their undergraduate years. In his exploration of Rachel’s history, Alex also turns to Evie, Rachel’s self-centred and difficult godmother, whose jealousy of her charge has waxed and waned over the years. And then there are her university friends, Anthony and Cissy, who shared with Rachel her love of Browning and a taste for the illicit. Goodreads

Before The Poison by Peter Robinson

Before the Poison


Through years of success in Hollywood composing music for Oscar-winning films, Chris Lowndes always imagined he would come full circle, home to Yorkshire with his beloved wife Laura.
Now he’s back in the Yorkshire Dales, but Laura is dead, and Chris needs to make a new life for himself. The isolated house he buys sight unseen should give him the space to come to terms with his grief and the quiet to allow him to work.
Kilnsgate House turns out to be rather more than he expected, however. A man died there, sixty years ago. His wife was convicted of murder. And something is pulling Chris deeper and deeper into the story of Grace Elizabeth Fox, who was hanged by the neck until she was dead . . .Goodreads

Unhallowed Ground by Gillian White

Unhallowed Ground


A single woman living alone in the middle of nowhere, amid a handful of peculiar neighbours and with a past that continues to haunt her–what more is needed as the basis for a thriller? Only things that go bump in the night and a mysterious figure that appears in the fields. White delivers all this and more to produce a classic that tingles the spine, just as it promises.
When a child under her jurisdiction is murdered at the hands of an abusive family, social worker Georgina Jefferson suffers an inevitable, and unbearable backlash. Desperate to escape the adverse media attention, she moves to the cottage of her recently deceased brother. Not only does she believe this to be a good way to discover more about a brother she never knew, she also feels a winter spent on her own in the country will help her get her life back on track. Foolish sentiments indeed, as it transpires, especially when a burnt doll is discovered in the woodshed….Amazon

Thank you so much for your help.

What have you found to read this week?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (September 12)

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

Well I’m now in serious trouble as the number of physical books entering the house has far exceeded the limit I was given of a miserly five books per month – yes I’ve had more than that and it is only early in the month!

As I’ve pointed out it isn’t my fault – the first book for this week was a complete surprise as I won it! I am the proud owner of a signed copy of The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters which I’m delighted to have as I loved the previous books by this author, even better this one is set in one of my favourite time periods.

The Paying Guests


It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned; the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa — a large, silent house now bereft of brothers, husband, and even servants — life is about to be transformed as impoverished widow Mrs. Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.
With the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the “clerk class,” the routines of the house will be shaken up in unexpected ways. Little do the Wrays know just how profoundly their new tenants will alter the course of Frances’s life — or, as passions mount and frustration gathers, how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be.

From NetGalley I have the latest in the Jefferson Tayte series from the genealogical mystery writer Steve Robinson, this one has the impressive title The Lost Empress

The Lost Empress


From acclaimed author Steve Robinson comes a bold new Jefferson Tayte mystery. On a foggy night in 1914, the ocean liner Empress of Ireland sank en route to England and now lies at the bottom of Canada’s St Lawrence River. The disaster saw a loss of life comparable to the Titanic and the Lusitania, and yet her tragedy has been forgotten. When genealogist Jefferson Tayte is shown a locket belonging to one of the Empress’s victims, a British admiral’s daughter named Alice Stilwell, he must travel to England to understand the course of events that led to her death. Tayte is expert in tracking killers across centuries. In The Lost Empress, his unique talents draw him to one of the greatest tragedies in maritime history as he unravels the truth behind Alice’s death amidst a backdrop of pre-WWI espionage. This is the fourth book in the Jefferson Tayte mystery series but can be enjoyed as a stand-alone story. NetGalley

Almost exactly a year ago I wrote a post about Genealogy in Fiction that include information about the previous books in this series, if you’re interested you can read ithere

I also received a copy of One Last Dance by Judith Lennox which is another WWI
One Last Dance

‘Times change, and sometimes for the better…’
As the twentieth century draws to a close, Esme Reddaway knows that she must uncover the truth. A truth that began during the First World War when Devlin Reddaway fell passionately in love with Esme’s elder sister, Camilla, and promised to rebuild his ancestral home, Rosindell, for her.
But the war changes everything and Devlin returns to England to find that Camilla is engaged to someone else. Angry and vengeful, he marries Esme, who has been secretly in love with him for years. Esme tries to win Devlin’s heart by reviving the annual summer dance. But as the years pass she fears that Rosindell has a malign influence on those who live there, and the revelation of a shocking secret on the night of the dance at Rosindell tears her life apart. Decades later, it is she who must lay the ghosts of Rosindell to rest.
Spanning the last century, Esme’s story of sibling rivalry, heartbreak, betrayal and forgiveness is sure to appeal to fans of Kate Morton, Rachel Hore and Downton Abbey. Goodreads

… and then I went to a book sale where the books were only 50p each. As I explained to the keeper of book tally, I left a lot of books behind but I did pick up this little pile.

Book Sale Sept 2014

Great finds in this list include The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society which I’ve been meaning to read for ages and seeing as it features our sister Channel Island should not be missed,  Before the Poison by Peter Robinson which has been on my wishlist since April as well as two PD James books which although I’ve read, are missing from my collection.

What have you found to read this week?

Posted in Books I have read

Copycat: A Novel – Gillian White

Psychological Thriller 5*'s
Psychological Thriller

Towards the end of 2013 I learnt that Gillian White’s enthralling psychological thrillers had been republished. I had read some of these over a decade ago but I soon exhausted the library’s supply but have been on the lookout for second-hand copies ever since. In November I was fortunate enough to be given a copy of The Sleeper to review by the publishers Open Road Media and was relieved to find that the has stood the test of time. In celebration I bought a copy of Copycat: A Novel.

The opening chapter foretells the end by detailing a life-sentence for murder, the mystery of the book is what happened? How does a neighbourhood friendship degenerate to such a level?

On the day Martha Frazer moved into Mulberry Close, Jennie, her neighbour was captivated this heavily pregnant and full of life young woman. After all Jennie had been the first occupant of Mulberry Close, an aspirational group of executive lodges, close to what soon becomes a sink estate, has already assumed a territorial attitude. As the two women got on with their lives first as wives, and then as mothers, Martha with her large group of friends and laissez-fait attitude appears to be everything Jennie is not, but nevertheless the two women’s lives soon become intertwined.

Told in alternating chapters each picking up the narrative by using the last line of the previous chapter to start the next

‘And I think she never learned how to love.’

Although the words used are the same, the meaning behind them illustrates the completely different outlook on life that the two women have.

As the book isn’t told in chronological order, the reader will soon be in no doubt that Jennie’s early admiration for the laid-back Martha soon turned to jealousy and obsession, but then, Martha’s life isn’t the trouble-free existence that Jennie believes it is either. The tension is raised by the fact that everything described is only too believable, the children playing together whilst their mothers exchange confidences over a glass of wine. Petty childhood arguments diffused by fraught mothers while something dark bubbles beneath the surface. Shared holidays with other friends which only serve to highlight not only the difference between the parents but also their offspring, all the while Martha’s attitude fluctuates between sympathy and frustrations with her neighbour.

This review has my firm recommendation for any lover of psychological thrillers in a domestic setting. If you want to ponder, as I did, what would I do? Well this is the book for you. Without a doubt this is one of the darkest of any of the domestic dramas I have read.

This is one of Gillian White’s later novels, first published in 2002 and it is definitely one of my favourites.

Click on the book cover to read my review of The Sleeper by Gillian White

Psychological Thriller 5*'s
Psychological Thriller
Posted in Books I have read, Challenge

The Sleeper – Gillian White

Psychological Thriller 5*'s
Psychological Thriller

If ever there was an antidote to a Merry Christmas, this book is it! Set during a wintry Christmas, in the middle of a storm the electricity goes off while Violet Moon is visiting her son and daughter-in-law at the farm she owned and ran with her now dead husband William.  Away from her cosy house and her séances she holds Violet Moon is dreading Christmas on the farm which once meant so much to her…

This is a fantastic study of human life, but don’t expect to find fluffy nice characters within the pages of this book. The Sleeper has a collection of people trapped in lives they don’t want to be in, those looking for others to provide their happiness, those who want to turn back time, and too many who think they can orchestrate a different future. Jealousy, suspicion and dastardly deeds are the presents for Christmas this year.

At the same time at The Happy Haven Hotel in Torquay one of the elderly residents is missing. No family is known of and no clue to where she may have gone to, her roommate is concerned and the police are called…

With the roots to this unhappy Christmas originating in some part in the past the reader is let in on events involving Violet and the loss of her mother over fifty years previously. The narrative to this book is unusual using a narrator viewing events as a whole inviting the reader to question each person’s actions, thoughts and adding pertinent information to enrich those tales being told in the present.

I really enjoyed this most claustrophobic of novels, the isolated farmhouse with its aga, candles and a pervading darkness hiding more than anyone would have expected.

This book, reminiscent of those written by Barbara Vine, was first published in the 1990’s. Open Road Media has re-published this book, and others by Gillian White, for the kindle. Excellent news for anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure of this talented writer before, or those of us who missed some titles the first time around.

I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley for my honest review.
The Sleeper: A Novel

This is my third read in the COYER challenge

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Posted in Weekly Posts

WWW Wednesday (November 6)

WWW Wednesday green

Hosted by Miz B at Should be Reading
To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading Morning Frost by James Henry the third of the prequels he has written to the wonderful series by R.D. Wingfield which started with Frost at Christmas.

Set in 1982 Inspector Frost is burying his wife Mary at the start of this book when all the crimes start piling up in Denton.

Morning Frost

This book is due to be published on Thursday 7 November 2013 by Bantam Press.

I just finished reading The Moment Keeper by Buffy Andrews.

Click on the beautiful book cover to read my review of this book which explores the choices we make through the lives of Sarah and Olivia.

The Moment Keeper

Published 1 November 2013 by Carina

Next I plan to read The Sleeper by Gillian White

The Sleeper


The sins of the past haunt an isolated farmhouse as a snowstorm rages outside . . .
It’s not shaping up to be a very merry Christmas. Clover Moon feels trapped in her life as a farmer’s wife. She certainly doesn’t enjoy hosting Fergus’s mother, Violet, who always finds new ways to publicly humiliate her unsatisfactory daughter-in-law. But would Violet ever seek a more violent way of expressing her disapproval?
Violet is a medium, and the voices of the dead sometimes encourage her to do disturbing things. During her stay at the farmhouse, she claims to sense an intrusive presence. Fergus then discovers the dead body of a woman floating in their flooded cellar, and elderly Miss Bates, resident of a nearby senior home and a client of Violet’s, is missing . . .
With her acute sense of human nature and gift for suspense, reminiscent of Barbara Vine, Gillian White will leave you guessing until the very end. Amazon

Fiction Fan let me in on the secret that Gillian White’s books had been republished earlier this year by Open Road Media. I read several of her books years ago and was lucky enough to get this free copy through Netgalley. I am really looking forward to reading The Sleeper and all the others that I missed the first time round are now on my Wishlist!