Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (May 20)

I do hope you have all had a great week full of sunshine and books. After conquering the ability to listen to audio books my journey home from work has been accompanied by a podcast (how on trend am I?) via Audible. West Cork is fascinating and so well produced and narrated by Sam Bungey and Jennifer Forde, with the soundtrack summoning up the winds and feeling of remoteness of the scene of the crime. The investigators successfully compressing over twenty years of information into a coherent narrative yet never forgetting that there was a victim, and her family, at the heart of the tragedy.

About

This much we do know: Sophie Toscan du Plantier was murdered days before Christmas in 1996, her broken body discovered at the edge of her property near the town of Schull in West Cork, Ireland. The rest remains a mystery.
Gripping, yet ever elusive, join the real-life hunt for answers in the year’s first not-to-be-missed, true-crime series. Investigative journalist Sam Bungey and documentarian Jennifer Forde guide listeners through the brutal, unsolved murder and the tangled web of its investigation, while introducing an intricate cast of characters, a provocative prime suspect, and a recovering community whose story begs to be heard. Audible Original

This Week on the Blog

It’s been a week of five star reviews this week starting on Monday with my spot on the blog tour for The Dissent of Annie Lang by Ros Franey, set in the midlands during the 1930s this book really got under my skin.

My excerpt post came from The Portrait of a Murderer by Anne Meredith one of the books in the British Library Crime Classic series which I intend to read very soon.

This Week in Books featured the authors Martin EdwardsMarie Belloc Lowndes and Peter James.

My second review of the week was for the latest in the Roy Grace series, Dead If You Don’t by Peter James an action packed police procedural that was awarded the full five stars.

This was followed up by another five star review, this time for Isabelle Grey’s latest book featuring DI Grace Fisher; Wrong Way Home.

I rounded the week off with the tag My Name in TBR Books a bit of fun but also a way for you to help me prioritise the best of these books.

This Time Last Year…

I was reading In Deep Water by Sam Blake, the second book in this crime fiction series featuring Cathy Connolly. The story around a journalist warned off covering a story because it is simply too dangerous then turns into  a missing persons crime. This is a superbly well-researched novel, a proper police procedural with the aspects of the investigation qualified with plenty of explanations which only rarely impinged on the flow of the storyline as the story gets darker, and darker.

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



Blurb

Good intentions can be deadly . . .

Cat Connolly is back at work after the explosion that left her on life support. Struggling to adjust to the physical and mental scars, her work once again becomes personal when her best friend Sarah Jane Hansen, daughter of a Pulitzer-winning American war correspondent, goes missing.

Sarah Jane is a journalism student who was allegedly working on a story that even her father thought was too dangerous.

With Sarah Jane’s father uncontactable, Cat struggles to find a connection between Sarah Jane’s work and her disappearance. But Sarah Jane is not the only one in deep water when Cat comes face to face with a professional killer . . . Amazon

Stacking the Shelves

I have been approved to read a few new titles this week starting with Lisa Jewell‘s latest novel Watching You which will be published on 12 July 2018.

Blurb

You’re back home after four years working abroad, new husband in tow.

You’re keen to find a place of your own. But for now you’re crashing in your big brother’s spare room.
That’s when you meet the man next door.

He’s the head teacher at the local school. Twice your age. Extraordinarily attractive. You find yourself watching him.

All the time.

But you never dreamed that your innocent crush might become a deadly obsession.

Or that someone is watching you. NetGalley

I also have a bit of historical fiction with Summer of Secrets by Nikola Scott at the moment sporting a plain jacket until closer to publication in early September 2018



Blurb

August 1939. At peaceful Summerhill, orphaned Maddy hides from the world and the rumours of war. Then her adored sister Georgina returns from a long trip with a new friend, the handsome Victor. Maddy fears that Victor is not all he seems, but she has no idea just what kind of danger has come into their lives…

Today. Chloe is newly pregnant. This should be a joyful time, but she is fearful for the future, despite her husband’s devotion. When chance takes her to Summerhill, she’s drawn into the mystery of what happened there decades before. And the past reaches out to touch her in ways that could change everything… NetGalley

My new acquisitions are rounded off with a copy of The Love Letter by Lucinda Riley which was originally published under the title Seeing Double author, Lucinda Edmonds back in 2000 but has been repackaged in the wake of this author’s rising star.

Blurb

Joanna Haslam, bright young investigative journalist, covers the funeral of a great actor, the greatest of his generation. It seems like a straight story, but a chance encounter at the service leads her into a dramatic chain of discoveries that will force her to abandon the man she loves and uncover a ruthlessly guarded secret that threatens to bring down the very highest in the land.

Lucinda Edmonds’ latest, most searing novel weaves sharply through forbidden domains of British society, culminating in a compelling revelation. Amazon

tbr-watch

Since my last post I have read 2 books and I have gained 3 the TBR has risen by one to 179
Physical Books – 112
Kindle Books – 48
NetGalley Books –18
Audio Books –1

I haven’t reviewed any of my own books this week so I’m still 1 2/3 of a book in credit!


Posted in Uncategorized

On My Bookshelf – A Rainbow of Books

On My Bookshelfv1

I decided to look at the rainbow in this occasional series of posts where I take a look at books that are sitting on my bookshelf – and yes I’ve made one!

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The eagle-eyed amongst you may notice that these aren’t the usual book-covers but fortunately for this post, proof copies don’t always look like the finished article!

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Death at the Priory by James Ruddick, read in June 2014.

This book takes a look at the unsolved Victorian murder of Charles Bravo, a man who died a painful death having ingested antimony in 1876. With three suspects, his wife, Florence, the housekeeper Mrs Fox and Dr Gully who had previously had a relationship with Florence, this book examines why the case wasn’t solved. An interesting well-written book which I thought took a fair and measured look at the evidence. For Agatha Christie lovers, this case was referred to in her novel Ordeal by Innocence

 

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The Secret Place by Tana French, read August 2014

If you haven’t read Tana French’s brilliant novels, you really should!
When a boy is found murdered in the grounds of an exclusive girl’s school the police need to penetrate the secretive world of teenage girls, not a task for the faint-hearted. Not only does this book have all the requisite ingredients for a great read; characters, plot and pace, it is also an enormously fun read, so much so I dubbed it ‘Mallory Towers for Grown Ups’
This book made my Top Ten of 2014 reads, it was in the parlance of some of the characters – amazeballs!

 

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Interlude by Rupert Smith, read November 2014

What book-lover can resist a book about a book? Not me that’s for sure.

In this wonderful novel we meet Helen, a bored wife and mother who decides to do something for herself, she joins an evening class in creative writing. Helen’s grandfather was a literary novelist and she decides to investigate his life – with excerpts from his book Interlude the truth in the past is unveiled. A perfect book for lovers of past and present connections that should have been more widely celebrated.
This book also made my Top Ten list for 2014.

 

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The Moon Field by Judith Allnatt, read November 2013

No list is complete in my view without a good war-time story, this one is set in World War I. A combination of coming of age and the true horrors of war Judith Allnatt spins a convincing and emotional tale which begins with George meets Violet, in the course of his rounds as a postman. At just eighteen, George heads off to war with his friends, on the front-line trying to stop the German advance into France. A great book that was out in time to mark the centenary of the start of WWI.

 

 

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The Hidden Legacy by G.J. Minett, read October 2015

This book starts with an absolutely riveting piece of writing about a boy who sets fire to two girls in a school playground – but, there is far more to this story than might appear. In a story that spans decades the themes of revenge are obvious but the undercurrent question of what is morally right, and what is wrong is a compelling one. It is a rare book that asks such big questions while still producing a tale full of action and surprises.

 

 

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The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters, read December 2014

One of my favourite reads of last year, and one that has had me determined to re-read all this authors previous books, The Paying Guests is a sumptuous read. In the hands of this author I positively embrace the small details that may seem insignificant but all go towards building a picture of a household, events that culminate in a court case, no less. As well as being an enjoyable read the author is treated to what life was like for women from different classes in England in the 1920s.

 

 

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The Girl on the Cliff by Lucinda Riley, read December 2011

As you can see I had to go much further back to find an offering for violet, and this is another book with a historical bent, this one has the tale of Grania in modern day Ireland combined with a wartime romance in London. The Ryan family and the Lisles’s have been entangled for a century. With a cast of characters that are appealing including a foundling child, this is a book to get lost in and enjoy!

 

So that is my trip through the rainbow complete, I do hope you enjoyed it!

More posts from my bookshelf can be found here:
On My Bookshelf
On My Bookshelf – What’s in a Name?
On My Bookshelf – Women’s Lives

Posted in Weekly Posts

WWW Wednesday (March 12)

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 The Toy Taker which is the third in the DI Corrigan Series written by former Detective is certainly feeling authentic!

The Toy Taker
Blurb

Your child has been taken…
Snatched in the dead of night from the safety of the family home. There’s no sign of forced entry, no one heard or saw a thing.
DI Sean Corrigan investigates.
He needs to find four-year-old George Bridgeman before abduction becomes murder. But his ability to see into dark minds, to think like those he hunts, has deserted him – just when he needs it most.
Another child vanishes.
What kind of monster is Corrigan hunting? And will he work it out in time to save the children? Goodreads

I have recently finished reading the epic dual time-line tale of Anahita Chevran with the historical setting around World War I
Click on the book cover to read my review.
The Midnight Rose

Next I am going to read The Other Half by Sarah Rayner, an author I love for her realistic portrayal of characters.

The Other Half

Blurb

Chloe, bright, hip and single, is a feature writer with ambitions to launch a magazine of her own. When she meets James, her potential new boss, she knows she shouldn’t mix business with pleasure, but finds it impossible to resist… Maggie appears to have it all. She’s beautiful, a talented writer, and has a gorgeous husband. But something’s not quite right: his job as a magazine publisher is keeping him in the city until late most evenings, and some nights he doesn’t come home at all… Told in the alternating voices of the mistress and the wife, this story of an affair is a sharp, seductive take on modern love. Who, if anyone, comes out unscathed? NetGalley

What are you reading this week? Please share your link or let me know by leaving a comment.

Posted in Books I have read

The Midnight Rose – Lucinda Riley

Historical Fiction 4*'s
Historical Fiction
4*’s

I’m a big fan of fiction written against a well-researched historical background and this 688 page novel delivers the tale of young Indian Anahita Chevran which weaves between her homeland and England where she is trapped at the beginning of World War I.  During her time in England she spent time at Astbury Hall as the companion to Princess Indira.  Lady Maud Astbury makes it quite clear that poor Anahita is an unwelcome addition to the household but with few options as an orphan, it is clear that she has to endure her time spent in this remote stately home.

In the present day Rebecca Bradley is an actress filming a period drama set in the 1920’s at Astbury Hall, in Dartmoor.  Rebecca is eager to escape the press interest about her private life and so the trip to England is the perfect solution.  There is a surprise in store when she becomes friendly with the resident Lord Astbury who is amazed at her likeness to his Grandmother Violet.

I can only admire Lucinda Riley’s story-telling as a large part of this story not only demanded that the historical details felt authentic, but also that the tale of Anahita’s life in India felt equally genuine and on both counts she succeeded.  Although romantic attachments are key to the lives of a number of the characters there is also a dark mystery to be uncovered.

For me the power of a dual time-line novel depends on the past and the present being equally believable and although for me understanding what the truth was of Anahita’s life was what kept me reading the tie-in to the present day story was integral to the whole tale, one could simply not have existed without the other.

The pacing of this story is masterfully done, after all this is a long book yet one that I immersed myself in  as letters, diaries and long-held family secrets were slowly uncovered.  The central character in this book is Anahita and her character was well fleshed out although what stopped me awarding this book five stars is although there were other engaging characters including Princess Indira and Mrs Trevathan I did find a few of them quite wishy-washy but this wasn’t enough to spoil what is an epic story which beautifully contrasts different cultures, different times all wrapped up with a tale set perfectly within its time period.

I received a free copy of this book from the publishers Atria Books in return for my honest review.

This is the fourth novel  Lucinda Riley has published her previous books are:

The Hothouse Flower which I have just realised is on my bookshelf, unread.  This was one of the Richard and Judy picks for 2011.

The Hothouse Flower

Blurb

A heart-rending page turner which sweeps from war-torn Europe to Thailand and back again . . .
As a child Julia Forrester spent many idyllic hours in the hothouse of Wharton Park estate, where her grandfather tended the exotic flowers.
So when a family tragedy strikes, Julia returns to the tranquility of Wharton Park and its hothouse. Recently inherited by charismatic Kit Crawford, the estate is undergoing renovation. This leads to the discovery of an old diary, prompting the pair to seek out Julia’s grandmother to learn the truth behind a love affair that almost destroyed Wharton Park.
Julia is taken back to the 1940s where the fortunes of young couple Olivia and Harry Crawford will have terrible consequences on generations to come. For as war breaks out Olivia and Harry are cruelly separated . . .Goodreads

The Girl on the Cliff which was an enjoyable read also set around the time of World War I
The Girl on the Cliff

Blurb

Why has a secret from 1914 caused a century of heartache?
Troubled by recent loss, Grania Ryan has returned to Ireland and the arms of her loving family. And it is here, on a cliff edge, that she first meets a young girl, Aurora, who will profoundly change her life.
Mysteriously drawn to Aurora, Grania discovers that the histories of their families are strangely and deeply entwined . . .
From a bittersweet romance in wartime London to a troubled relationship in contemporary New York, from devotion to a foundling child to forgotten memories of a lost brother, the Ryans and the Lisles, past and present, have been entangled for a century. Ultimately, it will be Aurora whose intuition and remarkable spirit help break the spell and unlock the chains of the past.
Haunting, uplifting and deeply moving, Aurora’s story tells of the triumph of hope over loss.Goodreads

and my favourite, The Light Behind The Window whose historical setting was World War II

The Light Behind The Window

Blurb

The present
Emilie de la Martiniéres has always fought against her aristocratic background, but after the death of her glamorous, distant mother, she finds herself alone in the world and sole inheritor of her grand childhood home in the south of France. An old notebook of poems leads her in search of the mysterious and beautiful Sophia, whose tragic love affair changed the course of her family history. As Emilie unravels the story, she too embarks on her own journey of discovery, realising that the château may provide clues to her own difficult past and finally unlock the future.
The past
London 1943. A young office clerk, Constance Carruthers, is drafted into the SOE, arriving in occupied Paris during the climax of the conflict. Separated from her contact in her very first hours in France, she stumbles into the heart of a wealthy family who are caught up in a deadly game of secrets and lies. Forced to surrender her identity and all ties to her homeland and her beloved husband, Constance finds herself drawn into a complex web of deception, the repercussions of which will affect generations to come.
From the author of the international bestseller, Hothouse Flower, Lucinda Riley’s new novel is a breathtaking and intense story of love, war and, above all, forgiveness. Goodreads

The Midnight Rose

Posted in Weekly Posts

WWW Wednesday (March 5)

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 That Dark Remembered Day by Tom Vowler

That Dark Remembered Day

Blurb

One family, one town, devastated by one tragic event.
Can you ever know what those closest to you are really capable of?
When Stephen gets a phone call to say his mother isn’t well, he knows he must go to her straight away. But he dreads going back there. He has never been able to understand why his mother chose to stay in the town he grew up in, after everything that happened. One day’s tragic events years before had left no one living there untouched.
Stephen’s own dark memories are still poisoning his life, as well as his marriage. Perhaps now is the time to go back and confront the place and the people of his shattered childhood. But will he ever be able to understand the crime that punctured their lives so brutally? How can a community move on from such a terrible legacy? Amazon

I have just finished another five star read, Sleep Tight by Rachel Abbott
Click on the book cover to read my review

Sleep Tight

This is an absolute page-turner of a book about obsession with brilliant characterisation that keeps you believing in the events that unfold….

Next up is something completely different. The Midnight Rose by Lucinda Riley

The Midnight Rose

Blurb

Spanning four generations, The Midnight Rose sweeps from the glittering palaces of the great maharajas of India to the majestic stately homes of England, following the extraordinary life of a remarkable girl, Anahita Chaval, from 1911 to the present day . . .
In the heyday of the British Raj, eleven-year-old Anahita, from a noble but impov­erished family, forms a lifelong friendship with the headstrong Princess Indira, the privileged daughter of Indian royalty. As the princess’s official companion, Anahita accompanies her friend to England just before the outbreak of WorldWar I. There, she meets young Donald Astbury—reluctant heir to the magnifi­cent, remote Astbury Estate—and his scheming mother.
Ninety years later, Rebecca Bradley, a young American film star, has the world at her feet. But when her turbulent relationship with her equally famous boyfriend takes an unexpected turn, she’s relieved that her latest role, playing a 1920s debutante, will take her away from the glare of publicity to a distant cor­ner of the English countryside. Shortly after filming begins at the now-crumbling Astbury Hall, Ari Malik, Anahita’s great-grandson, arrives unexpectedly, on a quest for his family’s past. What he and Rebecca discover begins to unravel the dark secrets that haunt the Astbury dynasty . NetGalley

I love this meme as it is good to see what everyone is reading so please share your links with me.

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