Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (January 23)

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 current read is Day of the Dead by Nicci French, the eight and final part to the series featuring Freida Klein.

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. Amazon

The last book I finished was The Shape of Lies by Rachel Abbott in her series featuring Tom Douglas and if anything it was even better than the six that preceded it!

Blurb

Yesterday, Scott was dead. Today, he’s back.
And Anna doesn’t believe in ghosts.

Scott was Anna’s boyfriend. She loved him, but he ruined her life. When he died, she should have been free, but today Scott is on the radio, threatening to spill her secrets.

Anna is a mother, a wife, and head teacher of a primary school.
And she’s a good liar.

She made one mistake, and now she is having to pay for it. Scott is the only person who knows the truth about her past, but how can he be alive?

Soon, DCI Tom Douglas is going to knock on her door looking for answers. But Anna is already running scared: from the man she loved; the man she watched die; the man who has come back to life.

She has one week to find him. One week to stop him.

Next I am planning to read a bit of classic crime fiction, not one from my list this time though. And Death Came Too by Richard Hull was originally published in 1939.


Blurb

After three nights of celebration in the humid heat of August, four friends weigh up a very particular request to visit Y Bryn House. Tired and restless, they begrudgingly accept the invitation…

But upon their arrival, their host is no where to be seen. A man plays an odd game of solitaire, a strange woman wafts in and out of the room before fleeing out of the back door. Becoming all the more concerned for their host’s welfare, their worst suspicions are confirmed when a police constable saunters in, has a drink, and announces that Mr Yeldham has been found stabbed next to a lit fireplace.

Who had the motive and means to kill Yeldham? With the odd woman missing, the clock is ticking to solve this case before the four friends are accused of murder.

And Death Came Too is another golden age mystery from the sardonic and sly Richard Hull. Blurb

So that’s my reading week – what does yours look like?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (January 13)

Well my first weekly wrap up post of 2019 is here already and I’m pleased to say I have actually read and reviewed some books this week.

In short I had a bit of a reading/blogging crisis towards the end of 2018 which in part I am blaming my desire to cut down on the TBR by restricting my purposes throughout 2018. I did really well but as the choices on my own TBR became less attractive the aim of the project actually put the brakes on my reading full stop.

But this is a new year and although I am hoping not to purchase numerous books with wild abandon, I will be carrying out regular clear outs on the TBR assigning those of my own books that I have no wish to read either to the virtual bin (eBooks) or handing them off to charity shops (physical books).

On the plus side my break from blogging does mean  I have a few books to review in hand, this week I began by clearing off those read towards the end of November 2018.

This Week on the Blog

My week started with a review of a book that was published on Thursday, Jane Fallon’s Tell Me a Secret switched her usual revenge on men or friends to a work colleague. The story told with the author’s trademark eye for what makes people tick and despite it all the result is a light-hearted look at life.

My excerpt post was taken from a book I have already read; To Catch a Killer by Emma Kavanagh, which will be published by Orion on 24 January 2019.

This Week in Books featured the authors Robert Thorogood, Sofia Lundberg and Fiona Barton.

This was followed by my review of a true crime book that I selected from NetGalley way back in 2016 but didn’t read as I felt I probably needed to watch the connected Netflix series Making a Murderer first. That didn’t happen until the end of 2018. The Innocent Killer by Michael Griesbach was interesting in parts but I felt let down by the amount of bias in the account.

I then reviewed The Wych Elm by Tana French, the author of the Dublin Series, who has now penned this standalone book. This was crime fiction which concentrated on the chief protagonist and looked at society and the beliefs we tell ourselves and each other as well as a solid mystery of how there came to be a skull in a tree!

My last review of the week was for another true crime, this one a historical one set in 1931 which has stumped crime writers ever since. Move to Murder by Antony M Brown like the other two books currently in the series, is linked to a website which holds some of the ‘evidence’ used as well as giving the reader the opportunity to vote for the most likely scenario.

This Time Last Year…

I was reading Close to Home by Cara Hunter, later on in the year I read In The Dark, the second in the series which features Adam Fawley, and currently have an ARC of the third No Way Out which is due out later this year.

The book was an instant winner for me. Number one the characters well-formed although I have a feeling some will be universally disliked although Adam Fawley is a likeable detective, not an alcoholic although he does have a bit of baggage, but who doesn’t and it’s the kind of problem which is likely to produce a hefty amount of sympathy. He has a good team who are in the main supportive of each other, a fairly inoffensive bit of rivalry between a couple of officers but not the angst ridden teams with endless pressure piled on from above that is the normal crime fiction fare.

Secondly the plot was great – there are multiple strands and there was no doubt in my mind that some rigorous editing had taken place to ensure that they were all kept straight as the story progressed. If that weren’t enough the structure of the book whist not being wacky so it becomes bigger than the story itself was different enough to give a ‘fresh feel’ to this crime fiction novel.

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

Blurb

HOW CAN A CHILD GO MISSING WITHOUT A TRACE?

Last night, eight-year-old Daisy Mason disappeared from a family party. No one in the quiet suburban street saw anything – or at least that’s what they’re saying.

DI Adam Fawley is trying to keep an open mind. But he knows the nine times out of ten, it’s someone the victim knew.

That means someone is lying…
And that Daisy’s time is running out.

Introducing DI Fawley and his team of Oxford detectives, and a Richard and Judy Book Club pick for Spring 2018, CLOSE TO HOME is the new crime thriller series to get addicted to. Amazon

Stacking the Shelves

Unsurprisingly I’ve done a fair bit of stacking the old shelves since the clock struck midnight on 1 January 2019.  To keep the list to a minimum I’m going to share one from each type of book this week.

 

From NetGalley I have a copy of The Evidence Against You by Gillian McAllister who is one of the new authors that have really wowed me over the last couple of years.  This book isn’t due to be published until 18 April 2019 but I’m going to have to read it long before then!

Blurb

It’s the day her father will be released from jail. Izzy English has every reason to feel conflicted – he’s the man who gave her a childhood filled with happy memories. But he has also just served seventeen years for the murder of her mother.

Now, Izzy’s father sends her a letter. He wants to talk, to defend himself against each piece of evidence from his trial. But should she give him the benefit of the doubt? Or is her father guilty as charged, and luring her into a trap? Amazon

For my kindle I have purchased a copy of Day of the Dead by Nicci French, the eighth and last book in the Freida Klein series which I’ve been longing to read for a while.

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. Amazon

My audio selection is Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman as this seemed to be in a similar vein to other books I’ve chosen to listen to, rather than read, although I’m slightly concerned by the ‘heartbreaking tag’ as that may cause me some issues on my daily walk home from work.

Blurb

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? Amazon

And in physical book format I have been purchasing some of the books I will need to crack on with my reads for The Classic Club, something I’m determined to do in 2019.  One of the books I want to read is The Saplings by Noel Streatfeild, the author being one of my favourite in childhood.


Blurb

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. Amazon

As mentioned at the start of this post the TBR is being culled and I no longer feel I ‘must’ read books I’ve bought but that no longer interest me, however to keep an eye on the running total I intend to continue to keep track of the various ups and downs.

tbr-watchThis week it is standing a respectable and appealing 170

Physical Books – 115
Kindle Books – 36
NetGalley Books –16
Audio Books –4

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, Five Star Reads

Sunday Morning Coming Down – Nicci French

Crime Fiction
5*s

Well I’ve been an avid follower of this series since Blue Monday which was published back in 2012 and thought that this might be the last in the series but I’m pleased to report that we have on more book to go – Day of the Dead will be published in July 2018.

Frieda Klein is in a pensive mood from the off in this novel, probably not helped by the fact that a body has been found under the floorboards in her cottage. Not some random body but an ex-policeman who Frieda had employed. Despite the extreme provocation Frieda, as usual, doesn’t behave the way she is expected to. She is calm under the provocation of yet another message being sent to her by the man she believes has stalked her over the years Dean Reeve. As the police crowd in her friend DCI Karlsson currently on leave due to a broken leg turns up at the behest of the woman in charge of the investigation, Petra Burge.

Out of all the novels in this series this has the fastest pace, unsurprisingly given the opening, and we see far less of Frieda carrying out her work as a psychotherapist as she is consumed by trying to keep her friends safe from an unseen source. There is various moving around of the cast of friends that Frieda has amassed over the series; for someone who is supposedly such a difficult woman, she commands a hell of a lot of loyalty. As people move from one house to another shoring up their defences as the unlucky ones get all manner of payback for being her friend or associate, we see this wonderful bunch (well minus Olivia who needs a reality check, and fast) in action. I know they are fictional but the characters are friends and even outside the mayhem that surrounds Frieda they have their own issues which are far from small.

The plotting is amazing with a number of strands to follow although the police have little choice but to follow Frieda’s guidance, they also lay down some conditions of their own so Frieda has to co-operate with the media. Not the outcome a lady who values her privacy so highly would want but it illustrates perfectly that the loyalty shown to her by her friends is justified. I really don’t know how this duo turn out such complicated, yet immensely readable books. In some of the earlier books I tried to guess whether Nicci or Sean had penned various scenes, this book gave me no time to wonder on such things as I was so wrapped up in the action, but however they do it, the finished item is superb. Not for these authors warping the characters, the only one who has significantly changed along the way is Chloe and that is completely expected since she has grown into a young woman and fortunately doesn’t have to deal with the unhinged Olivia on a daily basis any longer – did I mention, I don’t rate Olivia as a character although it’s good to have someone like this in the mix, after all we all have someone who has to be tolerated as they can’t possibly be loved!

To say I’m excited about the release of book eight, Day of the Dead, the finale is a complete understatement but I really don’t know how the authors are going to top this one in terms of excitement or even if I’m going to survive saying goodbye to my fictional friends.

I’d like to say thank you to Penguin UK who allowed me to read a review copy of Sunday Morning Coming Down and thank you to Nicci French for keeping me thoroughly entertained. This unbiased review is my thanks to them all.

First Published UK: 13 July 2017
Publisher: Penguin
No of Pages: 416
Genre: Crime Fiction Series
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Previous Books by Nicci French featuring Frieda Klein

Blue Monday
Tuesday’s Gone
Waiting For Wednesday
Thursday’s Child
Friday On My Mind
Saturday Requiem 

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (November 15)

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

I’m currently reading The CWA Short Story Anthology: Mystery Tour edited by Martin Edwards and full of stories from many of my favourite crime writers.

Blurb

Crime spreads across the globe in this new collection of short stories from the Crime Writer’s Association, as a conspiracy of prominent crime authors take you on a world mystery tour. Highlights of the trip include a treacherous cruise to French Polynesia, a horrifying trek in South Africa, a murderous train-ride across Ukraine and a vengeful killing in Mumbai. But back home in the UK, life isn’t so easy either. Dead bodies turn up on the backstreets of Glasgow, crime writers turn words into deeds at literary events, and Lady Luck seems to guide the fate of a Twickenham hood. Showcasing the range, breadth and vitality of the contemporary crime-fiction genre, these twenty-eight chilling and unputdownable stories will take you on a trip you’ll never forget. Amazon

Having just finished Anything You Do Say by Gillian McAllister, a remarkable and addictive ‘sliding doors’ psychological thriller.

Blurb

I could run, or I could stay and call him an ambulance. Now it is decision time . . . ‘
It’s the end of the night. You’re walking home on your own.
Then you hear the sound every woman dreads. Footsteps. Behind you. Coming fast.
You’re sure it’s him – the man from the bar who wouldn’t leave you alone.
You make a snap decision. You turn. You push. Your pursuer tumbles down the steps. He lies motionless, face-down on the floor.
Now What?
Call 999
Wait for the police to arrive. For judgement, for justice, whatever that may be. You just hope you husband, family and friends, everyone you love, will stand by you.
OR:
Run

Stay silent. You didn’t mean to do it. You were scared, you panicked. And no one saw. No one will ever know. If you leave now. If you keep quiet. Forever.
Which is it to be? Amazon

Next up is Sunday Morning Coming Down which number seven out of what is going to be eight books in the Frieda Klein series by Nicci French

Blurb

Psychotherapist Frieda Klein’s home is her refuge until she returns to find it has become a disturbingly bloody crime scene. Beneath the floorboards the police have found the body of a man she had hired to help protect her.
The killer’s message is all too clear: you’re mine.

When those closest to Frieda begin to be targeted, the picture becomes more skewed: the patterns unclear.
Unless Frieda can find and stop whoever is threatening her friends and family, her love and loyalty could come at a truly fatal cost . . . Amazon

What do you think? Any of these take your fancy? Please do leave your thoughts in the comments box below.

Posted in #20 Books of Summer 2017, Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Saturday Requiem – Nicci French #20booksofsummer

Crime Fiction
5*s

In 2011 the talented duo Sean French and Nicci Gerrard published the first book in a new series about a psychotherapist called Frieda Klein under their pen name Nicci French with each of the titles featuring a day of the week. Originally I assumed that there would be a total of seven books but I’ve heard a rumour that there may in fact be eight in total. Saturday Requiem was the sixth in the series and published in 2016 but due to a NetGalley fail on my part, I missed reading a copy around publication time and later treated myself to the paperback copy in readiness for the seventh book which will be published later this month – Sunday Morning Coming Down.

Frieda Klein has vowed not to work with the police following some difficult moments which are covered in previous books, but… well of course there would be no book if she wasn’t in some way involved… she is drawn into the historic murder of Hannah Docherty’s family. Hannah had been tried and convicted of murder in her teens and has spent the last thirteen years in prison. Frieda agrees to meet her and is shocked to see that she is a shell of a person, almost mute and clearly injured. Because Frieda cares she is concerned that the treatment Hannah has received has caused her mental difficulties and decides to dig back to find out what sort of girl Hannah was before she apparently killed her mother, step-father and younger brother, Rory.

One of the reasons I get hooked on series is the relationships the key protagonists has with those around them and Nicci French has provided the readers with a real bunch of characters. Sadly DCI Malcolm Karlsson didn’t feature quite so much in this book having broken a fair few bones in his most recent crime fighting effort but the Polish builder Josef, Frieda’s biggest fan and protector, is there ready to lend a hand whenever the occasion demands it, and these occasions happen often! Jack and Chloe are also in the thick of things along with Karlsson’s loan of his deputy Valerie Long to investigate the historic murders, one that obviously needs more scrutiny following a recent discovery. Frieda is a complicated character but the validation of those around her ensures that I have warmed to her over the series. Dean Reeve, Frieda’s long-standing stalker is still elusively present and the set-up is still ongoing for what I hope will be an explosive showdown.

Apart from the characters of course what all readers need in crime fiction is a good puzzle with plenty of clues that don’t quite fit together until they are put into the right order. Nicci French gives us this in spades with each interview slowly moving the pieces around, and increasing the tension, until there is only one answer that makes sense. I don’t usually mention the endings to books, but this one blew me away!!

What more can I say, book six is up there with the best in the series, it sent me through the whole range of emotion with the plot, characterisation and pacing absolutely spot-on.

Saturday Requiem was my third read of my 20 Books of Summer  Challenge 2017

First Published UK: 30 June 2016
Publisher: Penguin
No of Pages: 400
Genre: Crime Fiction Series
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Previous Books by Nicci French featuring Frieda Klein

Blue Monday
Tuesday’s Gone
Waiting For Wednesday
Thursday’s Child
Friday On My Mind

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (June 7)

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

The last couple of weeks have been madly busy so as I have only just finished last week’s books I’m tweaking the format to show you my next three reads.

Up first is Winter Garden by Beryl Bainbridge, an author I only discovered relatively recently with her dark novel Harriet Said.

Blurb

Quiet and reliable, Douglas Ashburner has never been much of a womaniser. So when he begins an extra-marital affair with Nina, a bossy, temperamental artist with a penchant for risky sex, he finds adultery a terrible strain.
He tells his wife that he needs a rest, so she happily packs him off for a fishing holiday in the Highlands. Only, unknown to her, Douglas is actually flying off to Moscow with Nina, as a guest of the Soviet Artists’ Union. It is then that things begin to get very complicated indeed… Amazon

Next up is Blood Sisters by Jane Corry which will be published 29 June 2017 with an intriguing premise. Blood Sisters will be published on 29 June 2017.

Two women. Two versions of the truth.
Kitty lives in a care home. She can’t speak properly, and she has no memory of the accident that put her here. At least that’s the story she’s sticking to.
Art teacher Alison looks fine on the surface. But the surface is a lie. When a job in a prison comes up she decides to take it – this is her chance to finally make things right.
But someone is watching Kitty and Alison.
Someone who wants revenge for what happened that sunny morning in May.
And only another life will do…

And then hopefully my plane trip for my holiday will be accompanied by the latest Nicci French, Saturday Requiem.

Blurb

Thirteen years ago eighteen year old Hannah Docherty was arrested for the brutal murder of her family. It was an open and shut case and Hannah’s been incarcerated in a secure hospital ever since.

When psychotherapist Frieda Klein is asked to meet Hannah and give her assessment of her she reluctantly agrees. What she finds horrifies her. Hannah has become a tragic figure, old before her time. And Frieda is haunted by the thought that Hannah might be as much of a victim as her family; that something wasn’t right all those years ago.
And as Hannah’s case takes hold of her, Frieda soon begins to realise that she’s up against someone who’ll go to any lengths to protect themselves . . . Amazon

What do you think? Have you read any of these books? Do you want to?

What are you reading this week? Do share in the comments box below.

Posted in #20 Books of Summer 2017, Challenge

20 Books of Summer 2017! #20booksofsummer

Cathy at Cathy 746 has a yearly challenge to read twenty books over the summer months starting on 1 June 2017 and running until 3 September 2017, and once again I’ve decided to join her. My aim this year is to read all twenty books in the allotted time span!!

As I’m competitive I’m signing up for the full twenty. My personal challenge is to read these twenty books from my bookshelf, physical books that I already own and have purchased for myself before today. Funnily enough I have plenty to choose from… a whole 91 in fact!

Because I know that facts in one book tend to lead me to seek out other books in my tangential reading style, I’ve decided to start with a spread of genres and authors for the first ten books – fat books, thin books and books in-between! Book lovers will completely understand the complexity of this choice which has taken many, many hours to hone to just the right mix, especially as I have had to factor in going on holiday and therefore I will have to further reduced  the pile for the trip… I will post the next ten when these are all finished which should be in mid-July, if I’m on schedule!

 

The links below will take you to the Goodreads description

The Doctor’s Wife is Dead by Andrew Tierney

Broken Heart by Tim Weaver

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

The Girl From Nowhere by Dorothy Koomson

Midnight in Peking by Paul French

The Island by Victoria Hislop

Saturday Requiem by Nicci French

Winter Garden by Beryl Bainbridge

What Remains Behind by Dorothy Fowler

Bones and Silence by Reginald Hill

I will be joining Cathy by tweeting my way through the challenge using the hashtag #20booksofsummer to demonstrate when one of my reads is part of this challenge! Should be easy eh?

As in the previous two years there will be a master page linking the titles to my reviews as they are posted, and of course eventually listing the entire twenty books.

Top of my holiday reads is Reginald Hill, I always read one of his books on holiday, and of course there is The Island which I bought after visiting Spinalonga, Greece’s former leper colony in Crete last summer, Dorothy Koomson is an obvious choice but is In Cold Blood too grim for sunshine and cocktails?

So what do you think of my choices? Where would you start?

I’ve enjoyed looking at everyone else’s choices so far and after all having read the full list of 20, I will need replacements.

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (April 30)

Weekly Wrap Up

This Week on the Blog

My first review of the week was for the novella Mother Knows Best by Netta Newbound, part of my Mount TBR 2017 challenge which I’m insanely proud to say is still on track!

My excerpt post was from The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, a murder and a memoir of a woman who confronts both her change in attitude to the death penalty and family secrets. Despite this book not being on the schedule to be read for a couple of weeks, I couldn’t put this one aside and my review will be posted shortly.

This Week in Books post included the authors Fiona Harper, Steve Robinson and Imran Mahmood.

On Thursday I was part of the blog tour with my review for Chris Brookmyre’s Want You Gone. This was my introduction to Jack Parlabane and despite the subject matter, cyber crime, being one that would normally make me switch off, I was completley hooked.

My third review of the week for the much anticipated See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt. The writing within this recreation of what might have occurred in the household where Lizzie Borden’s father and step-mother were brutally slain was incredibly evocative.

I have followed Steve Robinson’s creation of the genealogist Jefferson Tayte from the beginning of the series he stars in and yesterday I reviewed his sixth outing Dying Games – the best in the series yet in a book full of genealogical puzzles.

 

This Time Last Year…

I was reading a non-fiction book based on a Victorian true crime – The Wicked Boy by Kate Summerscale. This is the story of a crime by a child in West Ham in 1895. The disquiet in the papers covering the trial wasn’t on how boys of twelve and thirteen were treated in court but on the penny bloods that they avidly read. The fear was that by teaching the poor to read, they would feast upon this bloody fiction and in turn act upon it.

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

Blurb

Early in the morning of Monday 8 July 1895, thirteen-year-old Robert Coombes and his twelve-year-old brother Nattie set out from their small, yellow-brick terraced house in East London to watch a cricket match at Lord’s. Their father had gone to sea the previous Friday, the boys told their neighbours, and their mother was visiting her family in Liverpool. Over the next ten days Robert and Nattie spent extravagantly, pawning their parents’ valuables to fund trips to the theatre and the seaside. But as the sun beat down on the Coombes house, a strange smell began to emanate from the building.

When the police were finally called to investigate, the discovery they made sent the press into a frenzy of horror and alarm, and Robert and Nattie were swept up in a criminal trial that echoed the outrageous plots of the ‘penny dreadful’ novels that Robert loved to read.

In The Wicked Boy, Kate Summerscale has uncovered a fascinating true story of murder and morality – it is not just a meticulous examination of a shocking Victorian case, but also a compelling account of its aftermath, and of man’s capacity to overcome the past. Amazon

Stacking the Shelves

Another week where the book post has been on the light side with no review copies delivered, I’m not panicking yet but luxuriating in a steadily decrease in the TBR pile – yeah right!!

I purchased a copy of Saturday Requiem by Nicci French, the sixth in the Freida Klein series which will be for holiday reading – love this series which deliver brilliant psychological thrillers each time.

Blurb

Thirteen years ago eighteen year old Hannah Docherty was arrested for the brutal murder of her family. It was an open and shut case and Hannah’s been incarcerated in a secure hospital ever since.
When psychotherapist Frieda Klein is asked to meet Hannah and give her assessment of her she reluctantly agrees. What she finds horrifies her. Hannah has become a tragic figure, old before her time. And Frieda is haunted by the thought that Hannah might be as much of a victim as her family; that something wasn’t right all those years ago.
And as Hannah’s case takes hold of her, Frieda soon begins to realise that she’s up against someone who’ll go to any lengths to protect themselves . . . Amazon

And my pre-order of Dead Souls the latest, also the sixth in the series, of the Kim Stone series by Angela Marsons was duly delivered to my kindle on 28 April 2017. This series is one of the best of recent years and the early reviews promise great things!



Blurb

When a collection of human bones is unearthed during a routine archaeological dig, a Black Country field suddenly becomes a complex crime scene for Detective Kim Stone.

As the bones are sorted, it becomes clear that the grave contains more than one victim. The bodies hint at unimaginable horror, bearing the markings of bullet holes and animal traps.

Forced to work alongside Detective Travis, with whom she shares a troubled past, Kim begins to uncover a dark secretive relationship between the families who own the land in which the bodies were found.

But while Kim is immersed in one of the most complicated investigations she’s ever led, her team are caught up in a spate of sickening hate crimes. Kim is close to revealing the truth behind the murders, yet soon finds one of her own is in jeopardy – and the clock is ticking. Can she solve the case and save them from grave danger – before it’s too late? Amazon

What have you found to read this week? Do share, I’m always on the lookout for a good book!

tbr-watch

Since my last post I’ve read 4 books and gained just 2 which means we now have a sustained decline to 185, Only 1 book more than the first TBR count of 2017!!!
Physical Books – 112
Kindle Books – 59
NetGalley Books – 14

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

Friday On My Mind – Nicci French

Psychological Thriller 5*s
Psychological Thriller
5*s

Well this series just keeps on getting better with this, the latest in the Frieda Klein series taking a very dark turn when Frieda being the suspect in a murder.

I have to admit I gave an audible gasp only minutes into starting this book, there is no time for a re-cap, we are straight into the action! With a dead body found in the River Thames who is closely connected Frieda, and wearing a hospital bracelet bearing her name, she instantly suspects her shadowy stalker Dean Reeve. Unsurprisingly the police don’t want to listen to Frieda’s theories. So what does Frieda do? Let the evidence play out and submit to questioning? No, of course not, she decides to investigate herself and to do that she needs to go on the run.

I love these books, our chief protagonist is an intelligent woman, a psychotherapist who works for a practice but has also worked with the police. She knows how people work and how the police investigate. Added to this we have a woman who isn’t scared to stand up for what she believes but unnervingly this just seems to get her into some (really) bad situations.

“Wherever Frieda Klein goes, a trail of chaos follows.”

Despite that she does come across as a believable character, particularly because as the series has progressed her background has become more exposed. If the chief protagonist being exceptional wasn’t enough, the supporting cast are varied and delightful. I am particularly fond of Josef, the builder and DCI Karlsson who is the only member of the police who believes in Frieda – even the Police Commissioner has decided that the number of crimes she’s been linked to, must mean that she is guilty. In many ways it is good to see how Frieda is viewed by those in charge of the investigation, DCI Hussein and DC Glenn Bryant who aren’t in awe of her in the way her circle of friends are. Other old favourite characters who crop up in this episode include her ex sister-in-law, Olivia and her niece Chloe although of course we do have some new additions to the character list. This really keep the range of characters feeling fresh yet retaining that familiar feeling which is what makes reading a series so appealing.

The game of cat and mouse is intriguing and as much as Frieda wants to protect her nearest and dearest, they want to help her. Frieda’s method of lying low relies on a fairly poor disguise and she manages to infiltrate the murdered man’s friends and family to try and gather her information. This ruse works surprisingly well and she gains a job as a nanny to one couple. In the hands of less accomplished authors this could easily have descended into farce, but with the bar of tension, raised high from the start – this was a book to read, and go with the flow and remember to breathe occasionally.

The clues needed to solve the mystery were there, but boy were they well disguised in amongst the red-herrings along the way. This isn’t a book to savour, it is designed to be read in great greedy gulps and swallowed down.
To get the most out of this book, you really do need to have read the previous books in the series, there are too many bits that you’ll miss out on without them.

I’d like to thank Penguin UK who gave me a copy of Friday on my Mind in return for my honest opinion. This book was published on 2 July 2015 – I’m really looking forward to Saturday’s episode now!

Previous Books by Nicci French featuring Frieda Klein

Blue Monday
Tuesday’s Gone
Waiting For Wednesday
Thursday’s Child