Posted in #20 Books of Summer 2018

20 Books of Summer 2018! Part 2 #20booksofsummer


On 28 May 2018 I posted my first set of 10 books that I planned to read for this challenge, the idea being that I would post the second selection in mid-July, having read and reviewed the first 10. Dear reader, the plan has gone a little awry!

Anyway I’ve read 9 of my 10 books, reviewed just 4 and have very little reading time so I suspect I won’t finish the second set but here’s what I’m aiming to read.

The links below will take you to the Goodreads description

 

Victorian Murders by Jan Bondeson

Flying Shoes by Lisa Howorth

My Sister and Other Liars by Ruth Dugdall 

Flight by Isabel Ashdown

The Lighthouse by P.D. James

The Poisoner by Stephen Bates 

This Is Not a Novel by Jennifer Johnston 

The Big Picture by Douglas Kennedy 

Lady Bette and the Murder of Mr Thynn by Nigel Pickford

Famous Trials I by Harry Hodge

You can check out the master page which will have the full list of 20 books here

There are so many within this selection that I’m eager to read and since time is of the essence I have a feeling that I will start with P.D. James’s book The Lighthouse.

Do you agree? Where would you start?

Wish me luck…

 

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (January 7)

Well welcome to 2018, I hope the start has been a good one for you all. Sadly I had to leave the New Year celebrations due to feeling ill and have been cycling through all the lovely symptoms ever since, including intense dizziness which curtailed my reading for a couple of days – I mean what’s the point of being ill if you can’t even read?

This Week on the Blog

Fortunately in light of my New Year resolution to write my reviews as I read the books rather than doing one marathon write-up each weekend I had most of this week’s posts prepared and ready to go.

On Monday I participated in the New Year Book Tag where I pledged to read some more classics and have therefore spent many hours perusing lists of classics trying to decide which ones to read or reread – needless to say in my apathetic state I haven’t made even one choice yet.

My excerpt post came from Hell Bay by Kate Rhodes,  a crime fiction novel set on one of the Scilly isles which promises dark secrets.

This Week in Books featured the authors Peter May, Agatha Christie and Barney Norris giving quite a range of reading matter to start off 2018.

My first review of 2018 was for Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan. I awarded this psychological thriller that centres around a Junior Minster on trial for rape the full five stars.

On Friday I reviewed Joanna Cannon’s upcoming novel Three Things About Elsie whose chief protagonist is the resident of a care home trying to discover why a man she thought had died years ago has suddenly turned up as a resident.

My last review of the week was for my first read of 2018; The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie where the clues are provided to my dear friend Hercule Poirot by means of anonymous letters and a railway timetable book, called the A.B.C. As always a fantastic mystery with a twist I failed to foresee.

This Time Last Year…

I was reading The Sixth Window by Rachel Abbott, the sixth in the DCI Tom Douglas series set in Manchester. Having fled her home after reading something on her partner’s laptop widow Natalie rents a flat in a refurbished warehouse for her, and her daughter Scarlett. Then, strange things begin happening and our favourite DCI is perturbed about some of the things he learns following the death of Natalie’s husband, a former Policeman. This was a fast-paced story with superb plotting and plenty of intrigue.

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

Blurb

Every instinct told her to run…

Natalie Grey is living a nightmare. She has discovered a disturbing website link on her new partner’s computer and fears he has a dark side, and even darker intentions. When her husband died in a hit and run accident, Ed had seemed like a safe harbour. Now where can she turn?

Concerned for the safety of her fifteen-year-old daughter Scarlett, she moves them both to a new home beyond his reach, unaware that the apartment holds secrets of its own. Left alone during the long days of the school holiday, Scarlett investigates strange sounds coming from the other side of the wall, never anticipating the danger that awaits her there.

DCI Tom Douglas’s investigation into the apparent suicide of a teenage girl draws him ever closer to Natalie and Scarlett. But will he be too late to protect them from the danger they face, or from the truths that will tear their lives apart?

Will they ever feel safe again?

Stacking the Shelves

I have a few new finds to share with you a selection of which are below as luckily despite my New Year’s Resolution which means I have vowed to read three of my own books before buying any new ones, NetGalley has had an influx of great looking books.

First to the Christmas books!

I have a copy of: American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst by Jeffrey Toobin which has been on my wishlist since it was first published in August 2016.

Blurb

On February 4, 1974, Patty Hearst, a sophomore in college and heiress to the Hearst family fortune, was kidnapped by a ragtag group of self-styled revolutionaries calling itself the Symbionese Liberation Army. The already sensational story took the first of many incredible twists on April 3, when the group released a tape of Patty saying she had joined the SLA and had adopted the nom de guerre “Tania.”

The weird turns of the tale are truly astonishing–the Hearst family trying to secure Patty’s release by feeding all the people of Oakland and San Francisco for free; the bank security cameras capturing “Tania” wielding a machine gun during a robbery; a cast of characters including everyone from Bill Walton to the Black Panthers to Ronald Reagan to F. Lee Bailey; the largest police shoot-out in American history; the first breaking news event to be broadcast live on television stations across the country; Patty’s year on the lam, running from authorities; and her circuslike trial, filled with theatrical courtroom confrontations and a dramatic last-minute reversal, after which the term “Stockholm syndrome” entered the lexicon.

The saga of Patty Hearst highlighted a decade in which America seemed to be suffering a collective nervous breakdown. Based on more than a hundred interviews and thousands of previously secret documents, American Heiress thrillingly recounts the craziness of the times (there were an average of 1,500 terrorist bombings a year in the early 1970s).

Toobin portrays the lunacy of the half-baked radicals of the SLA and the toxic mix of sex, politics, and violence that swept up Patty Hearst and re-creates her melodramatic trial. American Heiress examines the life of a young woman who suffered an unimaginable trauma and then made the stunning decision to join her captors’ crusade. Amazon

I also have a copy of My Sister and Other Liars by Ruth Dugdall an author whose work I’ve followed since discovering her back in 2011.



Blurb

Sam is seventeen, starving herself and longing for oblivion. Her sister, Jena, is mentally scarred and desperate to remember. Between them, they share secrets too terrible to recall.

Eighteen months earlier, Sam was still full of hope: hope that she could piece together Jena’s fragmented memory after the vicious attack that changed their family forever. But digging into the past unearthed long-hidden lies and betrayals, and left Sam feeling helpless and alone in a world designed to deceive her.

Now, in a last bid to save her from self-imposed shutdown, Sam’s therapist is helping her confront her memories. But the road to recovery is a dangerous one. Because Sam has not only been lying to her doctors: she’s been hiding dark secrets from herself. Amazon

Whilst buying books for other people’s Christmas presents I came across a copy of Common People: The History of an English Family by Alison Light which somehow found its way into the purchases.

Blurb

Family history is a massive phenomenon of our times but what are we after when we go in search of our ancestors? Beginning with her grandparents, Alison Light moves between the present and the past, in an extraordinary series of journeys over two centuries, across Britain and beyond.

Epic in scope and deep in feeling, Common People is a family history but also a new kind of public history, following the lives of the migrants who travelled the country looking for work. Original and eloquent, it is a timely rethinking of who the English were – but ultimately it reflects on history itself, and on our constant need to know who went before us and what we owe them. Amazon

And from NetGalley I have a copy of Skin Deep by Liz Nugent which will be published on 5 April 2018, another author who is on my ‘must-read’ list.

Blurb

‘Once I had cleared the bottles away and washed the blood off the floor, I needed to get out of the flat.’

Cordelia Russell has been living on the Côte d’Azur for ten years, posing a posh English woman fallen on hard times. But her luck is running out. Desperate to escape her grotty flat and grim reality, Cordelia spends a night at a glittering party. Surrounded by the young, beautiful and privileged she feels her age and her poverty. As dawn breaks she stumbles home through the back streets. Even before she opens her door she can hear the flies buzzing. It hasn’t taken long for the corpse in her bedroom to commence decomposing …

Liz Nugent’s novel is the dark, twisted and shocking story of what takes Cordelia from an island childhood in Ireland to ruin in Nice. NetGalley

All in all some exciting books for 2018 – what do you think? Any of these take your fancy?

tbr-watch

Since my last post I have read 9 books and appear to have gained 8 so my TBR is plummeting downwards to 185

Physical Books – 109
Kindle Books – 56
NetGalley Books –20

I have banked one-third of a book token and therefore purchased a big fat zero number of books in 2018.

Posted in 5 Of the Best

Five of the Best (December 2011 to 2015)

5 Star Reads

As I have now been reviewing for over five years I thought I’d highlight my favourite book for each month from 2011 until 2015 to remind myself of the good ones. When we are talking five years ago, they must be good if I still remember them!

2011

My choice for 2011 was a book that when I initially reviewed it, I wasn’t overly sure how to interpret the narrative of this very dark book which centres on the obsession one (female) teacher has for one of her pupils – not as good as Notes on a Scandal , but The Kingdom of Childhood by Rebecca Coleman has more to offer than is immediately apparent.

The Kingdom of Childhood

Blurb

The Kingdom of Childhood is the story of a boy and a woman: sixteen-year-old Zach Patterson, uprooted and struggling to reconcile his knowledge of his mother’s extramarital affair, and Judy McFarland, a kindergarten teacher watching her family unravel before her eyes. Thrown together to organize a fundraiser for their failing private school and bonded by loneliness, they begin an affair that at first thrills, then corrupts each of them. Judy sees in Zach the elements of a young man she loved as a child, but what Zach does not realize is that their relationship is—for Judy—only the latest in a lifetime of disturbing secrets.
Rebecca Coleman’s manuscript for The Kingdom of Childhood was a semifinalist in the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Competition. An emotionally tense, increasingly chilling work of fiction set in the controversial Waldorf school community, it is equal parts enchanting and unsettling and is sure to be a much-discussed and much-debated novel. Goodreads

2012 yr

In December 2012 it was a historical murder that kept me entertained. Ruth Dugdall who is more known for written a crime series featuring Cate Austin, explores The Story in the Red Barn, a true crime from nineteenth century Britain in The James Version.

The James Version

Blurb

A fictionalised account of true events which shocked nineteenth century Britain. The story of ‘The Murder in the Red Barn’, this book describes the events through the eyes of Ann Marten, a woman suffering guilt and despair following the terrible history of her family, as she tells her tale to a reluctant young rector. James Coyte has taken up his called in Suffolk, but sinks into his own despair as Ann’s story unfolds. Goodreads

2013yr

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is a must-read (or now watch) for all lovers of psychological thrillers and I picked this one up in December 2013 and joined the legions of fans who loved this dark tale… ok it may be a tad unrealistic in parts and have a cast of wholly despicable characters but it certainly had me turning the pages at a rate of knots.

Gone Girl

Click on the book cover to read my review

Blurb

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer? Goodreads

2014yr

There is no contest at all for my favourite read of December 2014 which was without a doubt The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters, this sumptuous story follows what happens when Mrs Wray and her daughter Florence accept that their straightened circumsatances mean that they have to rent out some rooms to lodgers. Set in 1920s London, this book is one of the best examples of historical and mystery fiction.

The Paying Guests

Click on the book cover to read my review

Blurb

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

2015yr

I have just finished my favourite read of the whole of December 2015, The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood a superb psychological thriller for those readers who love wry humour and a whole bucketful of secrets.

The Darkest Secret

Click on the book cover to read my review

Blurb

Apologies for the general email, but I desperately need your help.
My goddaughter, Coco Jackson, disappeared from her family’s holiday home in Bournemouth on the night of Sunday/Monday August 29/30th, the bank holiday weekend just gone. Coco is three years old.

When identical twin Coco goes missing during a family celebration, there is a media frenzy. Her parents are rich and influential, as are the friends they were with at their holiday home by the sea.
But what really happened to Coco?
Over two intense weekends – the first when Coco goes missing and the second twelve years later at the funeral of her father – the darkest of secrets will gradually be revealed… Goodreads

I hope you have enjoyed my trip through my December reads, if you missed the previous months you can find them here although sadly I didn’t manage to do the list for July and August.

January Five of the Best
February Five of the Best
March Five of the Best
April Five of the Best
May Five of the Best
June Five of the Best
September Five of the Best
October Five of the Best
November Five of the Best

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Nowhere Girl – Ruth Dugdall

Psychological Thriller 3*s
Psychological Thriller
3*s

I have followed Ruth Dugdall since her first book featuring Cate Austin, The Woman Before Me, which really impressed me, as have The Sacrificial Man and Humber Boy B. One of the things I most admire about this series is that the author presents very different types of story, whilst keeping the chief protagonist as the link. Nowhere Girl is no different, this time Cate is in Luxembourg, no longer a Probation Officer, but that doesn’t stop her getting caught up in a crime.

Bridget has relented and taken her two daughters, Ellie and Gaynor to the opening day of Scheuberfouer, a carnival of festivities in Luxembourg, despite the fact that Ellie appears to be in the midst of a teenage rebellion Cate and her boyfriend Olivier Massard, have taken Cate’s daughter Amelia to enjoy the the rides and the stalls and after getting caught up in the traffic the evening seems set for a night of innocent excitement. Ruth Dugdall sets the scene beautifully and so it is all the more shocking, that Bridget and Gaynor return home without Ellie, she is missing and worse still the police don’t seem to be mounting any particularly great effort to find her. As Amelia and Gaynor attend the great school and Cate at somewhat at a loose end whilst Olivier, a Detective is busy at work, Cate offers to lend a hand with the school runs as Bridget despairs of ever seeing her daughter again.

Alongside this story we hear the tale of two girls, Jodie and Amina who find themselves in a house in Luxembourg after their parents sought a better life for them. While Amina is relatively happy working in the salon alongside Auntie, she isn’t getting the schooling she imagined and she is worried about what her brother will say back home when he realises she’s left home, a devout man, following the death of their father he is the man of the house. Meanwhile Jodie the brave strong one as they made their treacherous journey across the boarders soon becomes increasingly withdrawn after she begins work as a stooge for Jak at the fair.

This twisting tale is told through the number of days Ellie is missing. We see the tale unfold through Ellie eyes, her mother’s in anguished letters to her daughter, Amina’s struggle in a new country as well as piecing together Cate’s new domestic arrangements through her chronicle. Although Ellie’s story is the most arresting, Amina’s and by default the household in which she was living in was not without its own powerful storyline although I felt that Jodie’s story was somewhat side-lined once the girls arrived in Luxembourg.

I found the story captivating although I had a real struggle with some of Cate’s decisions, statements and actions. I think the author was illustrating that Cate who has escaped one difficult domestic situation and swapped it for one with different complexities was struggling without an anchor, but her behaviour seemed too erratic and foolhardy for the woman I had come to know, and admire in the previous books.

This is the first book I’ve read set in Luxembourg and the scene setting for the country, as well as giving the context in relation to those who are on its boarders, was excellently done. I also enjoyed the school gate scenes where it was apparent that the ex-pat community has its own hierarchy, in line with any other social gathering, the author really gave a feeling of the types of parents which was in stark contrast to the seedier goings on the other side of town.

I will definitely be interested to see what is in store for Cate now her difficulties in England have reached a conclusion and I can’t help but wonder how she’ll feel when she reflects on this part of her life. I’d like to thank the publishers Legend Press for giving me a copy of this book in return for my honest opinion. Nowhere Girl will be published on 31 October 2015.

Previous Books by Ruth Dugdall

The James Version
The Woman Before Me – Cate Austin #1
The Sacrificial Man – Cate Austin #2
Humber Boy B – Cate Austin #3

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (October 21)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lypsyy 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

This week I am currently reading Nowhere Girl by Ruth Dugdall which will be published by Legend Press on 31 October 2015.

Nowhere Girl

Please see yesterday’s post for the synopsis and a taster

I have recently finished reading Rutherford Park by Elizabeth CookeRutherford Park
Blurb

Snow had fallen in the night, and now the great house, standing at the head of the valley, seemed like a five-hundred-year old ship sailing in a white ocean…
For the Cavendish family, Rutherford Park is much more than a place to call home. It is a way of life marked by rigid rules and lavish rewards, governed by unspoken desires…
Lady of the house Octavia Cavendish lives like a bird in a gilded cage. With her family’s fortune, her husband, William, has made significant additions to the estate, but he too feels bound—by the obligations of his title as well as his vows. Their son, Harry, is expected to follow in his footsteps, but the boy has dreams of his own, like pursuing the new adventure of aerial flight. Meanwhile, below stairs, a housemaid named Emily holds a secret that could undo the Cavendish name.
On Christmas Eve 1913, Octavia catches a glimpse of her husband in an intimate moment with his beautiful and scandalous distant cousin. She then spies the housemaid Emily out in the snow, walking toward the river, about to make her own secret known to the world. As the clouds of war gather on the horizon, an epic tale of longing and betrayal is about to unfold at Rutherford Park… Goodreads

My review will follow shortly

Next I plan on reading The Shadow Year by Hannah Richell

The Shadow Year

Blurb

1980. On a hot summer’s day five friends stumble upon an abandoned cottage hidden deep in the English countryside. Isolated and run-down, it offers a retreat, somewhere they can escape from the world. But as the seasons change, tensions begin to rise…
Three decades later, Lila arrives at the remote cottage. Bruised from a tragic accident and with her marriage in crisis, she finds renovating the tumbledown house gives her a renewed sense of purpose. But why did the cottage’s previous inhabitants leave their belongings behind? And why can’t she shake the feeling that someone is watching her? Amazon

What are you reading this week? Please share!

See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (October 20)

First Chapter

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

My opening this week comes from Nowhere Girl by Ruth Dugdall which is the fourth outing for Probation Officer Cate Austin, and the first one set in Luxembourg.

Nowhere Girl

Blurb

Probation officer, Cate Austin, has moved for a fresh start, along with her daughter Amelia, to live with her police detective boyfriend, Olivier Massard. But when she realises just how casually he is taking the disappearance of Ellie, Cate decides to investigate matters for herself. She discovers Luxembourg has a dark heart. With its geographical position, could it be the centre of a child trafficking ring? As Cate comes closer to discovering Ellie’s whereabouts she uncovers a hidden world, placing herself in danger, not just from traffickers, but from a source much closer to home. NetGalley

~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

Day 0
SCHUEBERFOUER, AUGUST 2015

Ellie

The ferris wheel dominates the Luxembourg skyline. A show-stopper, luring the tourists away from the city’s cathedral and the Duke’s palace, dazzling them with its brilliant rainbow of lights. It turns slowly, gaudy and bright, higher even than the supermoon that glowers above the city.

Please note that this excerpt is taken from a proof copy

Do you want to know more?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking the Shelves (October 3)

Stacking the shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you’re adding to your shelves, be it buying or borrowing. From ‘real’ books you’ve purchased, a book you’ve borrowed, a book you’ve been given or an e-book they can all be shared.

Since I am getting so little reading done at the moment I really shouldn’t be adding any new books to my shelves, but I am!

From my beloved NetGalley my first choice is a tale which concentrates on secrets and lies; As Good As Dead by Elizabeth Evans from Bloomsbury Publishing Plc which will be published on 19 November 2015.

As Good As Dead

Blurb

Endearingly flawed and battered-around-the-edges, Charlotte has managed to fashion herself a life that balances marriage and a writing career, but now Esmé, the charming friend Charlotte betrayed at university, stands at Charlotte’s door: Surprise!
Charlotte yearns to make amends, but she’s wary. Esmé makes no mention of Charlotte’s old betrayal and the two resume their friendship, but soon enough a request from Esmé will upend Charlotte’s careful world.
Suspenseful, witty, with spot-on evocations of university life in the late 1980s, As Good as Dead performs an exquisite psychological high-wire act, exploring loves and friendships poisoned by secrets and fears. NetGalley

I also have a copy of The Good Neighbor by A.J. Banner which was published on 1 September 2015 by Lake Union Publishing.

The Good Neighbor AJ Banner

Blurb

Shadow Cove, Washington, is the kind of town everyone dreams about—quaint streets, lush forests, good neighbors. That’s what Sarah thinks as she settles into life with her new husband, Dr. Johnny McDonald. But all too soon she discovers an undercurrent of deception. And one October evening when Johnny is away, sudden tragedy destroys Sarah’s happiness.
Dazed and stricken with grief, she and Johnny begin to rebuild their shattered lives. As she picks up the pieces of her broken home, Sarah discovers a shocking secret that forces her to doubt everything she thought was true—about her neighbors, her friends, and even her marriage. With each stunning revelation, Sarah must ask herself, Can we ever really know the ones we love? NetGalley

I was especially delighted to receive an invitation to read Ruth Dugdall’s latest novel, Nowhere Girl which will be published on 31 October 2015.

Nowhere Girl

Blurb

Probation officer, Cate Austin, has moved for a fresh start, along with her daughter Amelia, to live with her police detective boyfriend, Olivier Massard. But when she realises just how casually he is taking the disappearance of Ellie, Cate decides to investigate matters for herself. She discovers Luxembourg has a dark heart. With its geographical position, could it be the centre of a child trafficking ring? As Cate comes closer to discovering Ellie’s whereabouts she uncovers a hidden world, placing herself in danger, not just from traffickers, but from a source much closer to home. NetGalley

I also have a copy of Nowhere Child by fellow Channel Islander Rachel Abbott, this is the follow up to her last book Stranger Child.

Nowhere Child

Blurb

Eight months ago Tasha Joseph ran away, and her stepmother, Emma, has been searching for her ever since. She is desperate to give Tasha the home and security she deserves. The problem is, Emma isn’t the only one looking for Tasha. The police are keen to find her too. She could be a vital witness in a criminal trial, and DCI Tom Douglas has a team constantly on the lookout for her. But Tasha remains hidden, and nobody appears to have seen her. Suddenly, the stakes are raised. Somebody is offering money – a lot of money – for information about Tasha’s whereabouts. Tom and Emma know they have never been closer to finding the young girl. But they also recognise that she has never been closer to danger. Can they find her first? She can run – but for how long can she hide? Emma, has been searching for her ever since. She is desperate to give Tasha the home and security she deserves. The problem is, Emma isn’t the only one looking for Tasha. The police are keen to find her too. She could be a vital witness in a criminal trial, and DCI Tom Douglas has a team constantly on the lookout for her. But Tasha remains hidden, and nobody appears to have seen her. Suddenly, the stakes are raised. Somebody is offering money – a lot of money – for information about Tasha’s whereabouts. Tom and Emma know they have never been closer to finding the young girl But they also recognise that she has never been closer to danger. Can they find her first? She can run – but for how long can she hide

Lastly following my review of Little Girl Gone which had a storyline that explored postpartum psychosis, Elena of Books & Reviews helpfully suggested that I read The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, so I have a copy of that too!

The Yellow Wallpaper

Blurb

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a short story that, despite its length, is largely regarded as one of the most important feminist texts ever written. The story itself follows a woman’s slow descent into madness when she and her husband spend the summer in a large mansion. The text discusses many themes that would not come to light until years later, such as male dominance and women being trapped in the home. Through this, The Yellow Wallpaper masterfully blends story and theme, showing many attitude surrounding women’s health as well as their physical and mental well being. Amazon

What have you found to read this week?

Posted in 5 Of the Best

Five of the Best (March 2011 to 2015)

5 Star Reads

As I have now been reviewing for over five years I thought I’d highlight my favourite book for each month from 2011 until 2015 to remind myself of the good ones. When we are talking five years ago, they must be good if I still remember them! Here is January’s and February’s top five, but onto March!

2011

The Book of Lies by Mary Horlock was one of my first reads through the Amazon Vine program, a book that I couldn’t resist as it is set in Guernsey – I do wonder why there are no similar books set in Jersey, it seems unfair that being smaller they get all the good books written about them including a recent favourite The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Schaffer & Annie Burrows

The Book of Lies

Blurb

Life on the tiny island of Guernsey has just become a whole lot harder for fifteen-year-old Cat Rozier. She’s gone from model pupil to murderer, but she swears it’s not her fault. Apparently it’s all the fault of history.
A new arrival at Cat’s high school in 1984, the beautiful and instantly popular Nicolette inexplicably takes Cat under her wing. The two become inseparable–going to parties together, checking out boys, and drinking whatever liquor they can shoplift. But a perceived betrayal sends them spinning apart, and Nic responds with cruel, over-the-top retribution.
Cat’s recently deceased father, Emile, dedicated his adult life to uncovering the truth about the Nazi occupation of Guernsey–from Churchill’s abandonment of the island to the stories of those who resisted–in hopes of repairing the reputation of his older brother, Charlie. Through Emile’s letters and Charlie’s words–recorded on tapes before his own death– a “confession” takes shape, revealing the secrets deeply woven into the fabric of the island . . . and into the Rozier family story. Goodreads

2012 yr

Another Vine offering in March 2012 introduced me to Camilla Läckberg, an author who is now one of my favourites with the sixth in the Patrick Hedstrom and Erika Falck series; The Drowning

The Drowning

Christian Thydell’s dream has come true: his debut novel, The Mermaid, is published to rave reviews. So why is he as distant and unhappy as ever?
When crime writer Erica Falck, who discovered Christian’s talents, learns he has been receiving anonymous threats, she investigates not just the messages but also the author’s mysterious past…
Meanwhile, one of Christian’s closest friends is missing. Erica’s husband, Detective Patrik Hedström, has his worst suspicions confirmed as the mind-games aimed at Christian and those around him become a disturbing reality.
But, with the victims themselves concealing evidence, the investigation is going nowhere. Is their silence driven by fear or guilt? And what is the secret they would rather die to protect than live to see revealed? Amazon

2013yr

In March 2013 I found an another now must-read author, Louise Phillips who wowed me with Red Ribbons

Click on the book cover to read my review
Red Ribbons

Blurb

A SERIAL KILLER
When the body of a missing schoolgirl is found buried in the Dublin Mountains, her hands clasped together in prayer, two red ribbons in her hair, the hunt for her killer reaches epic proportion with the discovery of a second girl’s body 24 hours later.
THE CRIMINAL PSYCHOLOGIST
Desperate to find the murderer, police call in criminal psychologist Kate Pearson, to get inside the mind of the serial killer before he strikes again. But the more Kate discovers about the killings, the more it all begins to feel terrifyingly familiar as her own past threatens to cloud her investigations.
AN ACCUSED WOMAN
Ellie Brady has been institutionalised for 15 years, for the killing of her twelve-year-old daughter, Amy. After all this time, does Ellie hold the key to finding the killer of the Dublin schoolgirls?
What would you do if you were accused of killing your own daughter? What if those closest to you turned their back on you? And when everyone stopped listening, what next, when even you believe you’re guilty?
THE BAD MAN IS EVERYWHERE Goodreads

2014yr

March 2014 was a bumper month for 5 star reads but I chose Precious Thing by Colette McBeth for the sheer addictiveness that caused me to try and cook and read which was an epic fail!

Click on the book cover to read my review

Precious Thing
Blurb

Remember the person you sat next to on your first day at school? Still your best friend? Or disappeared from your life for good?
Some friendships fizzle out. Rachel and Clara promised theirs would last for ever.
They met when Rachel was the new girl in class and Clara was the friend everyone wanted. Now in their late twenties Rachel has everything while Clara’s life is spiralling further out of control. Then Clara vanishes.
Imagine discovering something about your oldest friend that forces you to question everything you’ve shared together. The truth is always there. But only if you choose to see it. Goodreads

2015yr

The best book for March this year has to go to a book I’ve been waiting an age for; Humber Boy B by Ruth Dugdall which deals with a difficult subject in an intelligent and sensitive way, definitely a book to make you think!

Click on the book cover to read my review

Humber Boy B
Blurb

A blur in the sky, a brick no, a trainer, red falls to the water… There seems to be a scuffle… a hand grabbing at the dangling child. Then, with the awfulness of inevitability, the hanging child drops, gravity takes him. A child is killed after falling from the Humber Bridge. Despite fleeing the scene, two young brothers are found guilty and sent to prison. Upon their release they are granted one privilege only, their anonymity. Probation officer Cate Austin is responsible for Humber Boy B s reintegration into society. But the general public s anger is steadily growing, and those around her are wondering if the secret of his identity is one he actually deserves to keep. Cate s loyalty is challenged when she begins to discover the truth of the crime. She must ask herself if a child is capable of premeditated murder. Or is there a greater evil at play? Amazon

Posted in Books I have read

Humber Boy B – Ruth Dugdall

Psychological Thriller 5*'s
Psychological Thriller
5*’s

Ruth Dugdall has used one of the most emotive subjects for the basis of this, her third novel featuring probation officer Cate Austin, that of children who kill. This book will stay with me for a long while because it is a book that makes you reflect on how the justice system manages these, thankfully rare, events.

The blurb tells us that a boy fell from the Humber Bridge and two brothers were convicted of being involved in his death but this book starts at a point eight years after the event, on the release day of Humber Boy B, now known as Ben following his change of identity, moved to an area far away from his home in Hull and unsurprisingly his struggle to adapt to a world that he hasn’t been part of since he was ten years old.

The story is told through multiple viewpoints from those who were there on the day of Noah’s death including Cheryl who was with her father Roger Palmer, a teacher who tirelessly tries to rescue the young boy. This structure can be confusing but the chapters are clearly labelled, some as The Day Of, others with the present day story with the narrator’s name and what unfolds is all the more chilling for the lack of melodrama on that fateful day. The story in the present time follows Ben on his release including a facebook page which has been set up by Noah’s mother, an anonymous and frequent commentator, Silent Friend, seems to want to help her to find Ben and the answers she longs for. Reading these posts was more unnerving despite their briefness, as they seemed so much like those comments that you’d rather not read on all types of social media.

This is an intelligent book that clearly defines the different roles involved in Ben’s new life. The police see Ben as a different boy to Cate who delves through his case files to gain an understanding of someone who needs help with everyday life as well as finding a job and needing protection from any lurking vigilantes who may work out who he really is. This is unsurprising as Ruth Dugdall worked in units not unlike the fictional young offenders units where Ben spent his sentence, and in her own words helped boys like Ben.

Humber Boy B is published by Legend Press who were kind enough to give me a proof copy for review purposes, it will be out for the kindle on 1 April 2015 but you can already buy a paperback copy.

Previous Books featuring Cate Austin

The Woman Before Me

The Sacrificial Man

Other books about child killers:

Non Fiction
As If – Blake Morrison

Fiction
The Child Who – Simon Lelic
The Wicked Girls – Alex Marwood
The Guilty One – Lisa Ballantyne

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week In Books (March 25)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lypsyy 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 am currently reading Green and Pleasant Land by Judith Cutler

Green and Pleasant Land

Blurb

Retired police detective Fran Harman discovers that someone doesn’t like her digging up the past when she re-opens a 20-year-old cold case.
Twenty years ago, a car was found abandoned, with a desperately ill baby in the back. The child’s mother was never seen again. Newly-retired, ex-Chief Superintendent Fran Harman and her partner Mark have volunteered to help reinvestigate, and it soon becomes clear key witnesses aren’t telling them the whole truth… NetGalley

I have recently finished reading Humber Boy B by Ruth Dugdall which deals sensitively with the case of a child murderer

My review will follow shortly but you can read the opening paragraph in yesterday’s post.

Humber Boy B

Next I am planning to read The Harbour Master by Daniel Pembrey

The Harbour Master

Blurb

Maverick cop Henk van der Pol is thinking about retirement when he finds a woman’s body in Amsterdam Harbour. His detective instincts take over, even though it’s not his case. But Henk’s bigger challenge is deciding who his friends are – not to mention a vicious street pimp who is threatening Henk’s own family. As his search for the killer of the woman in Amsterdam Harbour takes him into a corrupt world of politics and power, Henk finds himself facing some murky moral choices. Amazon

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

See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here