Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (October 2)

Weekly Wrap Up

A brief post today as I came down with a nasty bug which has meant not only impacted my posts; just one review of Ruth Ware’s The Woman in Cabin 10, but also my reading. Dear readers will appreciate this was no normal chest infection, it must have been serious if I was unable to read!!

My weekly posts for Tuesday and Wednesday were already scheduled and went out without me but I did manage to support blogging buddy Lipsyy from Lipsyy  Lost and Found for her inspirational event for Horror October this year – she’s organised some writers to come up with a story based on our ideas – hope over to yesterday’s post, or Lipsyy’s blog to vote!


This Time Last Year….

I was reading Boxes by Pascal Garnier, the first dark and disturbing novella I read by this man who reminds me a little of Roald Dahl with his acute observations with sinister undertones.



He was the sole survivor of the natural disaster that at one time or another strikes us all, known as ‘moving house’. Brice and Emma had bought their new home in the countryside together. And then she disappeared.

Stacking the Shelves

So even though I’ve been in my sick-bed the books have continued to roll in – amazing!

I ordered myself the The Man Booker shortlisted book His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet



The year is 1869. A brutal triple murder in a remote community in the Scottish Highlands leads to the arrest of a young man by the name of Roderick Macrae. A memoir written by the accused makes it clear that he is guilty, but it falls to the country’s finest legal and psychiatric minds to uncover what drove him to commit such merciless acts of violence. Was he mad? Only the persuasive powers of his advocate stand between Macrae and the gallows.

Graeme Macrae Burnet tells an irresistible and original story about the provisional nature of truth, even when the facts seem clear.
His Bloody Project is a mesmerising literary thriller set in an unforgiving landscape where the exercise of power is arbitrary. Amazon

And because I can’t ever just order one book I decided my stock of books about poisoning wasn’t nearly huge enough I also have a copy of Poison Panic by Helen Barrell.



For a few years in the 1840s, Essex was notorious in the minds of Victorians as a place where women stalked the winding country lanes looking for their next victim to poison with arsenic. It’s a terrible image – and also one that doesn’t seem to have much basis in truth – but this was a time of great anxiety.
The 1840s were also known as the ‘hungry ’40s’, when crop failures pushed up food prices and there was popular unrest across Europe. The decade culminated in a cholera epidemic in which tens of thousands of people in the British Isles died. It is perhaps no surprise that people living through that troubled decade were captivated by the stories of the ‘poisoners’: that death was down to ‘white powder’ and the evil intentions of the human heart.
Sarah Chesham, Mary May and Hannah Southgate are the protagonists of this tale of how rural Essex, in a country saturated with arsenic, was touched by the tumultuous 1840s. Amazon

From NetGalley I was approved for The Blood Card by Elly Griffiths as I’m a big fan of this series featuring Stephens & Mesphito with their historical mysteries.



On the eve of the Queen’s coronation, DI Stephens and Max Mephisto uncover an anarchist plot and a ticking bomb at the same time as solving the murder of a man close to them – from the author of the bestselling Dr Ruth Galloway mysteries.
Elizabeth II’s coronation is looming, but the murder of their wartime commander, Colonel Cartwright, spoils the happy mood for DI Edgar Stephens and magician Max Mephisto. A playbill featuring another deceased comrade is found in Colonel Cartwright’s possession, and a playing card, the ace of hearts: the blood card. The wartime connection and the suggestion of magic are for Stephens and Mephisto to be summoned to the case.

Edgar’s ongoing investigation into the death of Brighton fortune-teller Madame Zabini is put on hold. Max is busy rehearsing for a spectacular Coronation Day variety show – and his television debut – so it’s Edgar who is sent to New York, a land of plenty worlds away from still-rationed England. He’s on the trail of a small-town mesmerist who may provide the key, but someone silences him first. It’s Edgar’s colleague, DS Emma Holmes, who finds the clue, buried in the files of the Zabini case, that leads them to an anarchist group intent on providing an explosive finale to Coronation Day.

Now it’s up to Edgar, Max and Emma to foil the plot, and find out who it is who’s been dealing the cards . . . NetGalley

I also was lucky enough to win a copy of The Devil’s Work by Mark Edwards from Abbie at Bloomin’ Brilliant Books, a blog full of reviews of just the kind of books I love, in fact, they are Bloomin’ Brilliant so if you haven’t already done so!



It was the job she had dreamed of since childhood. But on her very first day, when an unnerving encounter drags up memories Sophie Greenwood would rather forget, she wonders if she has made a mistake. A fatal mistake.
What is her ambitious young assistant really up to? And what exactly happened to Sophie’s predecessor? When her husband and daughter are pulled into the nightmare, Sophie is forced to confront the darkest secrets she has carried for years.
As her life begins to fall apart at work and at home, Sophie must race to uncover the truth about her new job…before it kills her. Amazon

PicMonkey Collage TBR


Since my last post I have only read 3 books, and gained 4 and so my TBR now totals 181 books!

92 physical books
69 e-books
20 books on NetGalley

What have you found to read this week?

Posted in Books I have read

Because She Loves Me – Mark Edwards

Psychological Thriller 4*'s
Psychological Thriller

I was a huge fan of The Magpies and so I was delighted to hear that Mark Edwards had written another psychological thriller.

Andrew is being treated for a serious eye condition at the famous Moorfield’s Hospital when he meets Charlie, a stunning red-head, with a sense of humour to match his and is someone who isn’t afraid to stand-up for herself. Andrew is smitten but then everything in his life appears to go in a downward spiral.

This is an incredibly hard book to review because Mark Edwards is a master at introducing the unexpected and I don’t want to reveal anything that will spoil the story for others so suffice to say some seriously scary stuff happens.

The story is told from Andrew’s perspective but with enough detail given about the rest of the cast of characters that they too become realistic people from his sister Tilly, disabled in a car accident to his Albanian cleaner Krissi who does little in the way of actual cleaning. The emotions Andrew feels are not over-dramatised but rather reflect the confusion he feels about what is happening around him, only rising to a higher level when events escalate leaving him in no doubt that something sinister is going on. The only downside to the story being wholly narrated by Andrew is that in the early part of the book his feelings for Charlie, Tilly and best-friend Sasha are overly laboured and dissected, I’m not a big fan of monologues ruminating on the nature of various nature of relationships which tend to feel a little bit ‘staged.’

This book is about obsession and jealousy, twinned emotions which makes any relationship between the best-matched couples difficult to balance but makes for a great subject for a psychological novel and one that most of us have had some brushes with in life, either our own or those close to us and in the letter from the author he explains that he has first-hand knowledge of the difficulty of dealing with this particular emotion. This book definitely has more than a hint of Fatal Attraction, but you will be relieved to hear minus the bunny.

A cracking good read and best read in as few sessions as possible to get the full force of the screws in the tension meter being tightened.

I’d like to thank Amazon Publishers for allowing me to read a copy of this book in return for this honest review. Because She Loves Me was published on 2 September and at the time of writing this review is #1 Best Seller in Psychological Thrillers.

Posted in Weekly Posts

WWW Wednesday (September 3)

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 Mysterious Affair at Castaway House by Stephanie Lam

The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House


It’s 1965 and eighteen year-old Rosie Churchill has run away to the beautiful but run-down Castaway House in the seaside town of Helmstone. But when she uncovers a scandal locked away in the walls of the old house, she soon comes to realise that neither her own troubled past nor that of the house will stay buried for long. . .
In 1924 fresh-faced Robert Carver comes to Castaway House to spend a languid summer in the company of his much wealthier cousin, Alec Bray. But the Brays are a damaged family, with damaging secrets. And little does Robert know that his world is about to change for ever.
As Rosie begins to learn more about Robert, the further she is drawn into the mysterious history of the house, and their stories, old and new, entwine. NetGalley

I have just finished The Sea Garden by Deborah Lawrenson, a historical novel told in three separate parts which are cleverly drawn together for a fantastic finale.

Click on the book cover to read my review

The Sea Garden

Next I am going to read Because She Loves Me by Mark Edwards after really enjoying, and book-pushing The Magpies by the same author, I have high hopes for this one.

Because She Loves Me


When Andrew Sumner meets beautiful, edgy Charlie, he is certain his run of bad luck has finally come to an end.
But as the two of them embark on an intense affair, Andrew wonders if his grasp on reality is slipping. Items go missing in his apartment. Somebody appears to be following him. And as misfortune and tragedy strike his friends and loved ones, Andrew is forced to confront the frightening truth…
Is Charlie really the girl of his dreams – or the woman of his nightmares? NetGalley

Please share your reads for the week with me in the comments below.

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (July 11)

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 was feeling smug having knocked 15 books off the TBR whilst on my holidays and the internet access was so poor that no new purchases were possible and then it all went wrong…

From NetGalley I have the following new finds:

I couldn’t resist Victorian Murderesses by Mary S. Hartman and published by Dover Publications on 14 June 2014.

Victorian Murderesses


This riveting combination of true crime and social history examines a dozen cases from the 1800s involving thirteen French and English women charged with murder. Each incident was a cause célèbre, and this mixture of scandal and scholarship offers illuminating details of backgrounds, deeds, and trials.
“The real delight is that historian Mary S. Hartman does more than reconstruct twelve famous trials. She has written a piece on the social history of nineteenth-century women from an illuminating perspective: their favorite murders.” — Time Magazine. NetGalley

I’m also delighted to have a copy of Because She Loves Me by Mark Edwards having recommended his solo debut novel The Magpies to everyone I know.  This novel will be published by Thomas & Mercer on 2 September 2014.

Because She Loves Me


When Andrew Sumner meets beautiful, edgy Charlie, he is certain his run of bad luck has finally come to an end.
But as the two of them embark on an intense affair, Andrew wonders if his grasp on reality is slipping. Items go missing in his apartment. Somebody appears to be following him. And as misfortune and tragedy strike his friends and loved ones, Andrew is forced to confront the frightening truth…
Is Charlie really the girl of his dreams – or the woman of his nightmares? NetGalley

I came across a review for The Sea Garden by Deborah Lawrenson at The Book Musings and Orion Publishing Group were kind enough to let me have a copy ahead of the publication date of 28 August 2014.

The Sea Garden


Present day. On a lush Mediterranean island off the French coast, Ellie has accepted a commission to restore an abandoned garden. It seems idyllic, but the longer Ellie spends at the house and garden, the more she senses darkness, and a lingering evil that seems to haunt her.
Second World War. Two very different women have their lives irrevocably changed: Iris, a junior intelligence officer in London and Marthe, a blind girl who works in the lavender fields of Provence and is slowly drawn into the heart of the Resistance. As secret messages are passed in scent and planes land by moonlight, danger comes ever closer…NetGalley

Lastly I have a copy of Your Beautiful Lies by Louise Douglas from the Random House UK. This book is due to be published on 14 August 2014.

Your Beautiful Lies

Annie Howarth is living a restless life in a restless town. It’s 1987 and for a mining community in South Yorkshire, the strikes mean tensions are running high. Then a murdered girl is found on the moors and the anxiety levels are pushed to a dangerous breaking point.
Married to the Chief of Police, Annie should feel safe – William can be secretive, though surely whatever he’s hiding is for her own good.
But Annie is keeping her own secrets. Ten years ago the man she loved was ripped from her life in a scandal that still haunts the both of them, and now his return will put her family, her marriage, even her life, at risk. NetGalley

I also had a birthday while I was on holiday and my lovely brother sent me two new books for my return. Rather meanly he also wrapped and posted a collection of scouring pads which I can’t even think about without pulling a face that looks like I’m sucking a lemon (I know a strange phobia but it does mean I can’t do any cleaning with this particular product!) Needless to say they were unwrapped and scattered as I shouted an impressive array of expletives.
Scouring Pads

So back to the books!
I have a copy of The Great Silence by Juliet Nicolson which details the period following the First World War from 1918 to 1920.

The Great Silence


The euphoria of Armistice Day 1918 vaporizes to reveal the carnage that war has left in its wake. But from Britain’s despair emerges new life. For veterans with faces demolished in the trenches, surgeon Harold Gillies brings hope with his miraculous skin-grafting procedure. Women win the vote, skirt hems leap, and Brits forget their troubles at packed dance halls. The remains of a nameless soldier are laid to rest in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Westminster Abbey. “The Great Silence,” observed in memory of the countless dead, halts citizens in silent reverence.
Nicolson crafts her narrative using a lively cast of characters: from an aging butler to a pair of newlyweds, from the Prince of Wales to T.E. Lawrence, the real-life Lawrence of Arabia. The Great Silence depicts a nation fighting the forces that threaten to tear it apart and discovering the common bonds that hold it together. Goodreads

..and I have a copy of Stranger In The House by Julie Summers which explores the effects of the Second World War.

Stranger in the house

‘It is as if I have been waiting for someone to ask me these questions for almost the whole of my life’
From 1945, more than four million British servicemen were demobbed and sent home after the most destructive war in history. Damaged by fighting, imprisonment or simply separation from their loved ones, these men returned to a Britain that had changed in their absence. In Stranger in the House, Julie Summers tells the women’s story, interviewing over a hundred women who were on the receiving end of demobilisation: the mothers, wives, sisters, who had to deal with an injured, emotionally-damaged relative; those who assumed their fiances had died only to find them reappearing after they had married another; women who had illegitimate children following a wartime affair as well as those whose steadfast optimism was rewarded with a delightful reunion. Many of the tales are moving, some are desperately sad, others are full of humour but all provide a fascinating account of how war altered ordinary women’s lives forever. Amazon

From Amazon Vine I have a copy of The Arsonist by Sue Miller based on the fact that I haven’t read any of her books for a few years. I don’t know why she dropped of my radar.

The Arsonist


Troubled by the feeling that she belongs nowhere after working in East Africa for fifteen years, Frankie Rowley has come home—home to the small New Hampshire village of Pomeroy and the farmhouse where her family has always summered. On her first night back, a house up the road burns to the ground. Then another house burns, and another, always the houses of the summer people. In a town where people have never bothered to lock their doors, social fault lines are opened, and neighbors begin to regard one another with suspicion. Against this backdrop of menace and fear, Frankie begins a passionate, unexpected affair with the editor of the local paper, a romance that progresses with exquisite tenderness and heat toward its own remarkable risks and revelations. Amazon

Lastly I had a delivery of two more of Margaret Yorke’s books, fortunately I enjoyed A Small Deceit which I read on holiday (review will follow but I have something of a backlog now) and can’t wait to sample more from this author.

False Pretences by Margaret Yorke was originally published in 1998 but has been reissued in 2013.

False Pretences

When Isabel’s god-daughter Emily turns up after years of no contact and in need of help she feels duty-bound to take her under her wing. To her surprise Emily is determined to be independent and takes a job as nanny. Emily’s charge turns out to be the illegitimate child of the naïve daughter of a well-to-do couple and a ne’er-do-well conman who disappeared before the baby was born. And now he is back intent on exploiting his parental status in return for cash.
Before she knows it Emily is caught up in his botched attempts at blackmail trying desperately to protect her charge from harm while also shielding Isabel from becoming entangled in the drama. But when events beyond her control force her to act instinctively with horrendous effect all their lives are put terribly at risk. Amazon

While my last find The Small Hours Of The Morning by Margaret Yorke was originally published nearly 40 years ago in 1975!

The Small Hours of the Morning


Lorna couldn’t stop spying on Cecil Titmuss. His life was her idea of perfection – a loving family and spouse, and respect in the community. But when she finds out Mrs Titmuss’s secret – which threatens Cecil’s security – Lorna must do something to save the family. How far will she go? Amazon

So by my reckoning my impressive 15 book reduction has rapidly reduced to 6 in the space of a few days!

What have you found to read?

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Killing Cupid – Louise Voss & Mark Edwards

Psychological Thriller 3*'s
Psychological Thriller

Having thoroughly enjoyed The Magpies by Mark Edwards I decided to try one of the books he had written with his writing partner Louise Voss. This isn’t a bad book and the three stars awarded are partly due to my high expectations following Mark’s excellent debut.

Killing Cupid begins with Siobhan preparing for her first writing class, having one published book she is excited yet nervous about the prospect. The class of six includes Alex who becomes infatuated with Sinead, unsure how to proceed he crosses the line between showing his affection to stalking her. The story however doesn’t follow the conventional path as new characters and circumstances are bought into play when Alex meets someone else.

Both Alex and Siobhan write a journal giving the reader the insight into their thoughts and of course giving others evidence of the truth….

This is an enjoyable light read, often funny but you really do have to suspend belief for this story to work. I often found myself cringing on behalf of many of the characters but it is not deep enough for it to be scary.

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

The Magpies – Mark Edwards

Psychological Thriller 5*'s
Psychological Thriller

I had my first nightmare directly relating to a book I was reading with The Magpies indicating the way that the writing gets under your skin. I’m not sure if that is a recommendation or more of a warning indicating how much of a psychological thriller this actually is!

Mark Edwards tells the tale of nightmare neighbours. Kirsty, a nurse, and Jamie, a computer expert, move into their perfect flat in London, they soon meet all the neighbours in their block of four flats and begin to make friends. All too soon things start to happen that can’t be easily explained and from there on in their lives begin to unravel. Unable to tell anyone about what’s happening they feel helpless. The characters are quite bland to begin with but as time goes on Jamie becomes more angry and shows more spirit which made me warm to him a little more.

There is a slow ratcheting up of the tension in this tale, carefully managed and quite insidious. A well written tale and on the strength of this I have added Killing Cupid & Catch Your Death Pack written by Mark Edwards and his writing partner Louise Voss to my wishlist.