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 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 Book Review, Books I have read

Three Things About Elsie – Joanna Cannon

Contemporary Fiction
4*s

Florence Claybourne is in her eighties and lives in sheltered accommodation named Cherry Tree. One afternoon she falls and contemplates the events of the previous few weeks, and her life. Elsie is Florence’s best friend, the one who keeps her on the straight and narrow, even more important now that she has been threatened with expulsion due to her behaviour.

It was called sheltered accommodation, but I’d never quite been able to work out what we were being sheltered from. The world was still out there. It crept in through the newspapers and the television. It slid between the cracks of other people’s conversation and sang out from mobile telephones. We were the ones hidden away, collected up and ushered out of sight, and I often wondered if it was actually the world that was being sheltered from us.

In some ways this book reminds me of Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey, a book I found too hard to properly enjoy because reading a story about a woman with dementia when my own mother was suffering of this awful disease, meant that I made unfair comparisons with the real-life situation whereas the book was by its very nature fictional. I have a feeling that if I’d read this book at the same time, I might have drawn similar comparisons. I mention this because I firmly believe that each of us brings our own life’s experiences, our hopes and our fears with us to each book we read, and because of that our take on the story is bound to be slightly different. Fortunately I found this a charming read albeit one with a solid mystery which kept me entertained and softened the sometimes harsher intrusive thoughts about the realities of old age.

Florence is clearly in the early stages of dementia but she’s a fighter. When a man she recognises from some sixty years before turns up in the same sheltered housing complex, a man she believes died all those years ago, she’s switched on enough to try to find some proof. With the help of Elsie and the brilliantly portrayed General Jack, she finds out the man’s name is Gabriel Price although once she finally remembers, she believes he is in fact is Ronnie Butler. What significance Ronnie Butler played in Florence’s life is very gradually revealed during the time she lays on the floor of her flat, waiting for help and looking at ‘all manner of nonsense under that sideboard.’

The characters make this book, Florence and her friend Elsie are a wonderful double act with some gentle, wry humour to lift the spirits. The Manager of the care home Miss Bissell who seems to need to lie down a lot of the time, when she isn’t doing Sudoku. Miss Bissell wisely lets Miss Ambrose, one of our third person narrators, a supervisor at Cherry Tree, have the difficult conversations, even if she’s rarely allowed to make any decisions. Through Miss Ambrose’s eyes we get to see a different view of Florence. A woman who is decidedly not keen on joining in with the other residents, a woman who talks or quite often shouts to herself and someone who buys twenty three Battenberg cakes that are stacked high in the sideboard, a fact Florence staunchly denies.  The other third person narrator is the adorable Handy Simon, the handyman who over the course of the book has a leap forward in terms of character development from a shy young man welded to the image of his hero fireman father to a man who begins to imagine, and realise. that there is a world outside the facts he’s been so attached to.

With the time ticking away while Florence lies on the floor, imagining who her saviour will be, the story is bought up to the present, although the truth of course is buried deep in the past.

One thing that can’t be denied is that this is a story that will imprint itself on your mind, the language is absolutely beautiful, the observations knife-sharp so although the story on the surface is seemingly gentle, has a hard kernel at the centre which made spending some time with the residents of Cherry Tree an absolute delight.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to the publishers HaperCollins UK who allowed me to read Three Things About Elsie ahead of publication on 11 January 2018, this unbiased review is my thank you to them and the hugely talented Joanna Cannon.

First Published UK: 11 January 2018
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
No of Pages: 464
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Amazon UK
Amazon US

 

 

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (December 20)

This Week In Books
Hosted by Lipsy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

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

Blurb

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

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

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

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

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

Blurb

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

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

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

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

Blurb

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (December 3)

Well here we are in December again already!

The lovely Susan the unique book blogger at The Booktrail sent me a message to let me know that I am quoted in The Apprentice of Split Crow Lane by Jane Housham, one of the non-fiction Victorian True Crime books that I read last year. I haven’t managed to look inside the book itself, but here is my quote on the Amazon Product page

I don’t talk about my work that much, mainly because Intellectual Property Law is of limited interest to many people and I work in the Legal Department of a company that renews Patents, Designs and Trademarks worldwide. This week I completed 15 years service, although I hasten to add that I’ve had a number of different roles in that time. To mark this achievement I was presented with some beautiful flowers and a code that allows me to buy some vouchers – I’m contemplating whether it is wrong to go for Amazon vouchers bearing in mind the size of my TBR?

This Week on the Blog

My first of the three reviews this week was for the brilliant The CWA Short Story Anthology: Mystery Tour which was jam-packed with a whole range of crime stories by some fabulous authors.

My excerpt post came from His Kidnappers Shoes by Maggie James having recently finished her novella, Blackwater Lake which was my second review of the week and prompted me to read more by this talented author. Thankfully I had one of her books on the TBR.

This Week in Books post featured the authors Natalie Meg Evans, Helen Barrell and Mel McGrath.

My final review of the week was for Ruth Ware’s latest novel The Lying Game which had an atmospheric setting along with one of my favourite relationships to feature in psychological novels, that of female friendship.

This Time Last Year…

I was reading My Name is Leon by Kit De Waal a touching story set in 1981 with a child narrator Leon who believes he is the only one that can truly care for his baby brother Jake. His mother is somewhat distracted by trying to win over Jake’s father and it is almost inevitable that both boys end up being taken into care. This story moved me far more than I expected, probably because I fear the tale is only reflecting a reality for many boys within the social care system even today.

Please click here or on the book cover to read my review

Blurb

It’s 1981, a year of riots and royal weddings. The Dukes of Hazzard is on TV. Curly Wurlys are in the shops. And trying to find a place in it all is nine-year-old Leon. He and his little brother Jake have gone to live with Maureen. They’ve lost one home, but have they found another?

Maureen feeds and looks after them. She has wild red hair and mutters swearwords under her breath when she thinks they can’t hear. She claims everything will be okay. But will they ever see their mother again? Who are the couple who secretly visit Jake? Between the street violence and the street parties, Leon must find a way to reunite his family… Amazon

Stacking the Shelves

First up following my review of The CWA Short Story Anthology: Mystery Tour I was contacted by one of the authors I called out, Christine Poulson. Now as regular readers know I have iron-clad willpower when being offered books but there were two reasons to gratefully accept her latest book Cold, Cold Heart. One I really did enjoy her short story Accounting for Murder and secondly the story features a Patent Lawyer, I have quite a bit of contact with this breed of lawyers including my direct boss, so it seemed fitting in this, my long-service award week.

Blurb

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

Now I promise not to acquire books in December, this plan always goes so well that for some reason I feel the need to stock up in readiness. I have therefore got a few new books…

One of my new purchases is The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon, I was looking out for a copy of this book at the recent book sale but there wasn’t a copy  so I bought one!

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… Amazon

From NetGalley I have a copy of Hell Bay from Kate Rhodes. This is a the beginning of a new series from this author which will be published on 25 January 2018.

Blurb

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

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

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

Finally for this week’s post I have a copy of The Last Day by Clare Dyer which will be published on 15 February 2018.

Blurb

They say three’s a crowd but when Boyd moves back into the family home with his now amicably estranged wife, Vita, accompanied by his impossibly beautiful twenty-seven-year-old girlfriend, Honey, it seems the perfect solution: Boyd can get his finances back on track while he deals with his difficult, ailing mother; Honey can keep herself safe from her secret, troubled past; and Vita can carry on painting portraits of the pets she dislikes and telling herself she no longer minds her marriage is over.

But the house in Albert Terrace is small and full of memories, and living together is unsettling.

For Vita, Boyd and Honey love proves to be a surprising, dangerous thing and, one year on, their lives are changed forever. Amazon

tbr-watch

Since my last post I have read 6 books and appear to have gained just a few more than that, my TBR now has stands at a total of 184
Physical Books – 110
Kindle Books – 57
NetGalley Books –17

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (November 12)

Last weekend I met up with my very best friend in Bath and we spent a long weekend talking, visiting the Roman Baths, drinking gin, some more talking, a bit of shopping and visiting the Fashion Museum in this beautiful city.

Fashion Museum Bath

As you can see I completely looked the part!

This Week on the Blog

My excerpt post this week was from Anything You Do Say by Gillian McAllister which promises to explore a moral dilemma.

I completed my third TBR Book Tag whereby I spill all the beans on my ability to keep the beast under some sort of control. Since 2015 the change has been a massive decline of three books!

I’ve had a fantastic run of books lately and the week is rounded off with three five star reads.

First up was my review for Verdict of Twelve by Raymond Postgate originally published in 1940 this was a story in three parts which felt far less dated than I expected.

Then came my review of Three Days and a Life by Pierre Lemaitre which drew me in tight and didn’t let me go, yes this is a tale that will be remembered for some time to come.

The hat trick was rounded off with my review for Flowers for the Dead by Barbara Copperthwaite which accompanied me on my journey to Bath and made the train carriage with no air conditioning far less bothersome than it might otherwise have been!

This Time Last Year…

I was reading the magnificent In Her Wake by Amanda Jennings, which was  one of those stories that has not let  me go! From the off it filled me with unease and reminded me what the original psychological thrillers felt like as I followed Bella in her quest to find out the truth following a bombshell revelation that indicated that her whole life might have been a lie. With brilliantly drawn characters this book in one amazing setting, it was a sheer delight to read.

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

Blurb

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 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.

Stacking the Shelves

Skoobs Book Stall – Bath Indoor Market

I went to Bath years ago and my abiding memory was of the fantastic second-hand book stall where I bought a number of Barbara Vine books in the indoor market. Well, surprise, surprise it is still there and purely as a mark of nostalgia I felt it was only polite to peruse it’s offerings all these years later – bearing in mind other shopping had used up the very limited space on my carry-on bag for the flight home. I would like to point out that I suggested a number of great books to other browsers to make up for my own lack of space, before I finally and reluctantly left the stall.

 

I found a copy of The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie , it’s a private challenge of mine to only buy her books second-hand and in good condition – the one I found was in practically perfect condition which it would have been downright rude to leave on the stack.



Blurb

There’s a serial killer on the loose, bent on working his way through the alphabet. And as a macabre calling card he leaves beside each victim’s corpe the ABC Railway Guide open at the name of the town where the murder has taken place.
Having begun with Andover, Bexhill and then Churston, there seems little chance of the murderer being caught – until he makes the crucial and vain mistake of challenging Hercule Poirot to frustrate his plans… Amazon

I also picked up a copy of The Dry by Jane Harper as it became clear from all the wonderful reviews I have read that this is a book I need!

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. Amazon

From NetGalley I have a copy of Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon which will be published on 11 January 2018. Although it should be noted that although I don’t have a copy yet, I also want to read The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by the same author.

Blurb

There are three things you should know about Elsie.

The first thing is that she’s my best friend.
The second is that she always knows what to say to make me feel better.
And the third thing… might take a little bit more explaining.

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

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

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

I also have a copy of True Stories by Helen Garner, a non-fiction book that sounds perfect for dipping in and out of, her book The House of Grief being one of my favourite non-fiction reads of all time.

Blurb

Helen Garner visits the morgue, and goes cruising on a Russian ship. She sees women giving birth, and gets the sack for teaching her students about sex. She attends a school dance and a gun show. She writes about dreaming, about turning fifty, and the storm caused by The First Stone. Her story on the murder of the two-year-old Daniel Valerio wins her a Walkley Award.

Garner looks at the world with a shrewd and sympathetic eye. Her non-fiction is always passionate and compelling. True Stories is an extraordinary book, spanning fifty years of work, by one of Australia’s great writers. Amazon

tbr-watch

Since my last post I’ve read 7 books and gained just 4 so my TBR now has a total of 170
Physical Books – 97
Kindle Books – 55
NetGalley Books – 18