Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Death of Mrs Westaway – Ruth Ware

Psychological Thriller
4*s

Well that was a creepy read! It is odd but somehow I always associate the creepy aspect with historical novels, after all we are too aware of the present in modern times to get spooked by an old crumbling house complete with scary housekeeper, aren’t we?

Ruth Ware is one of those writers who really knows how to create an atmosphere and so even though the greater part of this book is set in the present and that in the past only dates back to 1995, I was drawn into a world of the improbable with barely a question.

Hal (Harriet) Westaway is broke. Not the sort of broke that afflicts most twenty-somethings on a regular basis but the sort that means she is in danger of losing the only home she’s ever known, and perhaps not without damage since she’s in hock to a loan shark. She returns home one night to find a letter, one from said loan shark (or one of his mates) and one from a solicitor in Penzance who claims to have a bequest from her Grandmother who has recently died. Only problem is that Hal’s grandmother wasn’t Hester Westaway and she certainly didn’t live at Trepassen House before she died.

Of course we take a trip to Trepassen House for ourselves and find a property that is almost a character in its own right. It’s the full gothic experience complete with barred windows and secret messages and of course the very creepy housekeeper. Not quite what Hal is used to. Ok she may be in dire straits money wise but she plies her trade in reading Tarot cards on Brighton pier and her home is the only one she’s ever known. That’s not to say Ruth Ware doesn’t impress on her readers the difference of this seaside pier in the winter time, having its very own atmosphere. Safe to say she’s slightly out of her depth in this situation. Hal’s mother died and it’s her business Hal has inherited but her mother wasn’t one to mince her words, always reminding Hal:

Don’t fall into the trap of believing your own lies.

This story despite obviously being set in the present, something the author embraces rather than tries to disguise, has an old-fashioned quality to it. The sense of danger is only all too imaginable when you put yourself in the shoes of a young woman with no money even if she is someone who is not an out-and-out innocent. Normally I find myself getting highly irritated by characters who do stupid things – I’m sat tutting and shaking my head saying ‘well what did you think was going to happen?’ but somehow this author had me bought into the storyline so that, under the circumstances, the decisions seemed plausible. There are shades of Daphne Du Maurier and Patricia Highsmith but fear not this story is an original.

I can’t leave this review without stating quite how brilliantly Hal is portrayed. This definitely isn’t a one-dimensional character, she is made of shades of grey with all the complexities that real people have, something she is never more aware of than when she is reading the tarot cards for her eager audiences.

I highly recommend this book which is perhaps more suited to an autumnal evening with the rain lashing down, but fear not, I was chilled despite lying in the sunshine devouring every last word of this masterpiece.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to the publishers Random House UK who allowed me to read an advance copy of The Death of Mrs Westaway which is published today. This unbiased review is my thanks to them and of course Ruth Ware for the thoroughly entertaining read.

First Published UK: 28 June 2018
Publisher: Random House UK
No of Pages: 400
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (May 13)

I hope you my UK readers had a fab and sunny Bank Holiday Weekend last week. I decided to take a few days off blogging to enjoy the sunshine and devoted my time to learning a new knitting technique which meant watching YouTube videos, a lot of muttering (well actually swearing) but I eventually cracked it. I can know brioche stitch in two colours!

Thanks to Margot at Joyfully Retired giving me a handy tip to pretend a famous storyteller had come to visit to tell my their story, I have also mastered listening to audio books – she was right pretending there is someone there made a difference to my concentration and I am now converted and have another scarf well underway! I’ve now had to add an extra tab (and colour) to my excel spreadsheet to keep a count of audio books too!

Anyway I returned to blogging to find that WordPress had altered the font which confused me for a while but I expect I’ll get used to it and with a renewed enthusiasm for a month of reading before I go on my holiday.

This Week on the Blog

I have reviewed three books, two of which are due to be published on 17 May 2018, even better they were all really enjoyable!

My first review was for Three-Martini Lunch by Suzanne Rindell, set in 1950s New York this tale in the world of publishing gained the full five stars from me.

I then reviewed my copy of The Cliff House by Amanda Jennings; a dark gothic tale set in Cornwell in the summer of 1986.

My final review of the week took me to Brighton with The Brighton Mermaid by Dorothy Koomson, a dark tale from this accomplished author.

This Time Last Year…

I was reading one of my favourite books of 2017 – The Night Visitor by Lucy Atkins was both engaging and memorable as I immersed myself into a story of a book about a book. There is always something absolutely irresistible in a this device, but The Night Visitor has taken this kernel and added the most memorable characters, a plot that is underpinned by meticulous timing so that I became bound up in Olivia’s fight for her reputation long before I understood why she was needing to fight in the first place.

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

Blurb

You have the perfect life . . . How far would you go to protect it?

Professor Olivia Sweetman has worked hard to achieve the life she loves, with a high-flying career as a TV presenter and historian, three children and a talented husband. But as she stands before a crowd at the launch of her new bestseller she can barely pretend to smile. Her life has spiralled into deceit and if the truth comes out, she will lose everything.

Only one person knows what Olivia has done. Vivian Tester is the socially awkward sixty-year-old housekeeper of a Sussex manor who found the Victorian diary on which Olivia’s book is based. She has now become Olivia’s unofficial research assistant. And Vivian has secrets of her own.

As events move between London, Sussex and the idyllic South of France, the relationship between these two women grows more entangled and complex. Then a bizarre act of violence changes everything. Amazon

Stacking the Shelves

Well my self-imposed ARC ban in April is over and I have some lovely new books to share with you all.

First up is one that I was longing to read, and I have to confess I requested my copy at the end of April but hey rules are meant to be broken!

Fatal Inheritance by Rachel Rhys is the second historical novel by this author (aka Tammy Cohen) with a stunning cover to be published on 26 July 2018.

Blurb

1948: an English housewife trapped in a dull marriage escapes to the South of France to claim a mystery inheritance. But rivals to her unexplained fortune begin to emerge, and now they want her out of the way …

She didn’t have an enemy in the world…
until she inherited a fortune

London 1948: Eve Forrester is trapped in a loveless marriage, in a gloomy house, in a grey suburb.
Out of the blue, she received a solicitor’s letter. A wealthy stranger has left her a mystery inheritance but in order to find out more, she must travel to the glittering French Riviera.

Eve discovers her legacy is an enchanting villa overlooking the Mediterranean sea and suddenly, life could not be more glamorous.

But while she rubs shoulders with film-stars and famous writers, under the heat of the golden sun, rivals to her unexplained fortune begin to emerge. Rivals who want her out of the way.

Alone in paradise, Eve must unlock the story behind her surprise bequest – before events turn deadly…

Reminiscent of a Golden Age mystery, Fatal Inheritance is an intoxicating story of dysfunctional families and long-hidden secrets, set against the razzle-dazzle and decadence of the French Riviera. Amazon

I also was lucky enough to be approved for a copy of The Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware which will be published on 28 June 2018.



Blurb

When Harriet Westaway receives an unexpected letter telling her she’s inherited a substantial bequest from her Cornish grandmother, it seems like the answer to her prayers. She owes money to a loan shark and the threats are getting increasingly aggressive: she needs to get her hands on some cash fast.

There’s just one problem – Hal’s real grandparents died more than twenty years ago. The letter has been sent to the wrong person. But Hal knows that the cold-reading techniques she’s honed as a seaside fortune teller could help her con her way to getting the money. If anyone has the skills to turn up at a stranger’s funeral and claim a bequest they’re not entitled to, it’s her.

Hal makes a choice that will change her life for ever. But once she embarks on her deception, there is no going back. She must keep going or risk losing everything, even her life… Amazon

I also have a copy of Us Against You by Fredrik Backman which is the sequel to The Scandal which I adored. Us Against You will be published on 14 June 2018.

Blurb

Can a broken town survive a second tragedy?

The follow-up to the international bestseller Beartown. A small, broken town sits on the edge of a frozen lake surrounded by a forest, its wounds still raw from a tragedy that tore its fragile community in two. Beartown has lost its way. Now the cold and dark that surround the snowbound town creep in, and so do new conflicts and tensions.

What was once a friendly rivalry with the neighbouring town is beginning to turn sinister and Beartown braces itself for another tragic blow. How far will the people of Beartown go to preserve their reputations for a second, deadly time?

Us Against You is a spell-binding exposition of small-town life in all its flawed complexity. NetGalley

tbr-watch

Since my last post I have read 6 books and I have gained 5 the TBR has fallen by one to 178
Physical Books – 112
Kindle Books – 49
NetGalley Books –16
Audio Books –1

 

 

Since my last post I have two thirds of a  token so it looks like I will be able to have a small treat for my holiday reading as I’m 1 2/3 of a book in credit!

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Lying Game – Ruth Ware

Psychological Thriller
4*s

I love a psychological thriller that is based on female friendship because on the whole this is one of the most underused relationships within this type of fiction. In The Lying Game we meet four women who built their friendship at boarding school – yes, I also can’t resist boarding school fiction either probably a hangover of my love of Mallory Towers as a child. The four girls were well passed the midnight feast escapades by the time they met, well into their teens and their illicit acts had more to do with alcohol, cigarettes and escaping across the marshes to one of the number’s nearby cottage.

Now an adult, Isa has a young baby and in the early hours she receives the text she hoped she never would, just three stark words that chill her ‘I need you.’ The text comes from Kate, her friend in Saltern, the one who never left the area where the four friends boarded. As Isa makes her excuses and takes the train to Saltern, she’s wondering whether Fatima and Thea are also making their way to the cottage. Needless to say they also received the text. And the reader, having read the opening chapter knows why – a dog has made an unwelcome discovery on the marshes.

The four girls, now women, were quite different and rarely the gentle exploration of religious beliefs was welcomed by this reader as we see how Fatima’s relaxed approach as a teenager has altered as she has grown, married and had a family. Now a doctor she wears her headscarf and follows the teachings as a Muslim. Thea is not so secure in life, struggling to find her calling she marshals her life with too much booze and too little food. And Isa, with her position in the legal profession on hold while she’s on maternity leave, appears to have put the past behind her. As for Kate, she has clung on, living in her artistic father’s house in Saltern, the scene of their childhood escape route, and ignoring the rumours that still swirl around the village as she clings to the past.

This is the sort of novel you can race through with ease and although it starts slowly, I was invested from the first page wondering what secrets the four were hiding. The title comes from the time the four became friends, excluding the other boarders in the type of friendship that is peculiar to some teenage girls. There was no room for anyone, or anything else in their lives and any potential hangers-on were kept at bay by the game devised by Thea – ‘The Lying Game’ invented to play pranks, not on any new girls, but those popular girls, and teachers, the ones who made sure their superiority was not in doubt.
Although the book didn’t have the huge twist that readers have come to expect from the genre, the exploration of friendship, both as teenagers, and adults was perfectly executed and the setting was brilliant. I felt I was there with the women, looking out over the landscape, in the unique cottage or even in the somewhat shabby boarding school with its endless staircases.

The Lying Game would make the perfect holiday read, escapism bound up with truths that many readers will identify with.

I am very grateful to the publishers Random House UK who provided me with a copy of The Lying Game which was a thoroughly engaging read; this unbiased review is my thanks to them. For those of you who prefer to read paperbacks, this one will be published in that form in March 2018.

First Published UK: 15 June 2017
Publisher: Harvill Secker
No. of Pages: 384
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Previous Books by Ruth Ware

In a Dark Dark Wood
The Woman in Cabin 10

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (November 22)

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 The Lying Game by Ruth Ware which was published back in the summer and chosen by me because I enjoyed the author’s previous books In a Dark Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10

Blurb

The text message arrives in the small hours of the night. It’s just three words: I need you.
Isa drops everything, takes her baby daughter and heads straight to Salten. She spent the most significant days of her life at boarding school on the marshes there, days which still cast their shadow over her.

At school Isa and her three best friends used to play the Lying Game. They competed to convince people of the most outrageous stories. Now, after seventeen years of secrets, something terrible has been found on the beach. Something which will force Isa to confront her past, together with the three women she hasn’t seen for years, but has never forgotten.

Theirs is no cosy reunion: Salten isn’t a safe place for them, not after what they did. It’s time for the women to get their story straight… Amazon

That was after finishing Sinéad Crowley’s third book in the DS Claire Boyle series; One Bad Turn.

Blurb

How could your good friend become your worst enemy?

Being held hostage at gunpoint by her childhood friend is not Dr Heather Gilmore’s idea of a good day at work. It only gets worse when she hears that her nineteen-year-old daughter Leah has been kidnapped.

Sergeant Claire Boyle wasn’t expecting to get caught up in a hostage situation during a doctor’s appointment. When it becomes apparent that the kidnapping is somehow linked to the hostage-taker, a woman called Eileen Delaney, she is put in charge of finding the missing girl.

What happened between Eileen and Heather to make Eileen so determined to ruin her old friend? Claire Boyle must dig up the secrets from their pasts to find out – and quickly, because Leah is still missing, and time is running out to save her. Amazon

Next I plan to read Good Friday by Linda La Plante which takes us back to 1974 and Tennison’s early days as a young Detective.

Blurb

Every legend has a beginning . . .

During 1974 and 1975 the IRA subjected London to a terrifying bombing campaign. In one day alone, they planted seven bombs at locations across central London. Some were defused – some were not.

Jane Tennison is now a fully-fledged detective. On the way to court one morning, Jane passes through Covent Garden Underground station and is caught up in a bomb blast that leaves several people dead, and many horribly injured. Jane is a key witness, but is adamant that she can’t identify the bomber. When a photograph appears in the newspapers, showing Jane assisting the injured at the scene, it puts her and her family at risk from IRA retaliation.

‘Good Friday’ is the eagerly awaited date of the annual formal CID dinner, due to take place at St Ermin’s Hotel. Hundreds of detectives and their wives will be there. It’s the perfect target. As Jane arrives for the evening, she realises that she recognises the parking attendant as the bomber from Covent Garden. Can she convince her senior officers in time, or will another bomb destroy London’s entire detective force? Amazon

So it looks like November is ending on a crime filled note, what could be better?

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

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (August 8)

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 paragraph this week comes from The Lying Game by Ruth Ware which was published in June 2017.



Blurb

The text message arrives in the small hours of the night. It’s just three words: I need you.
Isa drops everything, takes her baby daughter and heads straight to Salten. She spent the most significant days of her life at boarding school on the marshes there, days which still cast their shadow over her.

At school Isa and her three best friends used to play the Lying Game. They competed to convince people of the most outrageous stories. Now, after seventeen years of secrets, something terrible has been found on the beach. Something which will force Isa to confront her past, together with the three women she hasn’t seen for years, but has never forgotten.

Theirs is no cosy reunion: Salten isn’t a safe place for them, not after what they did. It’s time for the women to get their story straight… Amazon

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

Rule One
Tell a Lie

The sound is just an ordinary text alert, a quiet ‘beep beep’ in the night that does not wake Owen and would not have woken me except that I was already awake, lying there, staring into the darkness, the baby at my breast snuffling, not quite feeding, not quite unlatching.
I lie there for a moment thinking about the test, wondering who it could be. Who’d be texting at this hour? None of my friends would be awake… unless it’s Milly gone into labour already… God, it can’t be Milly, can it? I’d promised to take Noah if Milly’s parents couldn’t get up from Devon in time to look after him but I never really thought…

An intriguing start of that not quite real quality that only happens in the dead of night – I’m keen to read more – what about you?

Have you read this book – do you want to – whatever your thoughts please let me know in the comments below.

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Woman in Cabin 10 – Ruth Ware

Psychological Thriller 4*s
Psychological Thriller
4*s

Lo Blacklock has won the office prize! Her boss Rowan is unable to take a cruise on a luxury boat to see the Northern Lights, so after ten years of doing travel journalism she’s finally going to have an expensive trip to write about. The trip on the Aurora promises fine dining and pampering aplenty and Lo will just have to file some pieces extolling its virtues! What could possibly go wrong?

Sadly, Lo has a traumatic experience just before setting off which indirectly led to a split with her boyfriend who she’s been holding at arm’s length. Not the best start when the boat isn’t a huge cruise-liner but a compact yet bling encrusted yacht with populated by other journalists, the billionaire owner and his wife and a smattering of the great and the good. Despite her personal problems Lo is determined to make this trip count, to make her mark and hopefully bag the stand-in role for Rowan when she takes her maternity leave. She’s pleased to meet a former boyfriend Ben on the boat, especially due to the anxiety that she’s suffered for years which has been made worse by the trauma of days before she drinks too much and quite frankly doesn’t really pull off the ambitious yet capable journalist look she was going for.

After retiring to her cabin she believes she hears a scream, followed by a big splash. The partition separating her verandah from the one in Cabin 10 is smeared with blood and the girl she saw in there earlier has disappeared. Lo fears she’s been tipped into the water and begins to raise the alarm, but it seems she’s not going to be believed.
The setting on a boat is great for this closed house type mystery and the lack of phone signal and the Wi-Fi being down completes the isolation from the rest of the world, and crucially stops Lo from doing what she’d like, which is to escape. Denied safety and panicking more than ever, unsurprisingly as she believes she’s on a boat with a killer, Lo tries to investigate herself. What follows is a fairly twisty turny read that is claustrophobic in the extreme. The style is underpinned by crisp writing, although we have an insight into Lo’s anxiety issues they are not endlessly dwelt upon so the plot moves along at a fair old pace.

I often say I don’t have to like the characters to enjoy a book and in The Woman in Cabin 10, it wasn’t that I actively disliked Lo but I didn’t really have it in me to whole-heartedly sympathise with her – this left me feeling more than a bit mean as I’m sure I wouldn’t enjoy being on a boat with no means of escape with a killer, but it did leave me feeling a little bit at odds with the book which was disquieting.

There is no doubt that Ruth Ware has come up with a book that is a modern twist on the locked house scenario. There are very few opportunities for this type of setting in the modern world where we can access someone the other side of the world with ease but the boat setting was entirely believable (although such an exclusive setting is one that I suspect few of us have experienced. From a fairly sedate start the pace slowly mounted to reach an action-packed finale, no sitting around passively while the detective pronounces the killer in this version!

If I’m honest I did prefer this author’s debut novel In a Dark Dark Wood, maybe because the setting and characters were far more familiar to me than those presented in this book. I like being able to relate to the characters in particular, even if I wouldn’t want to spend time with them but the mixture of sycophantic journalists and wealthy businessmen really don’t feature that heavily in my life. If you want a book with a bit of escapism with high drama, this is well-worth a read.

I’d like to thank the publisher Random House UK for allowing me to read a copy of this book which was published on 30 June 2016. This honest review is my thank you to them.

First Published UK: 30 June 2016
Publisher: Random House UK
No of Pages: 352
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (September 21)

This Week In Books

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

The Woman in Cabin 10 by the talented Ruth Ware tells the tale of Lo Blacklock who is on the trip of a lifetime to see the Northern Lights as a perk of her job as a travel journalist. Just before she was due to leave on the trip Lo’s home was broken into while she was there, she’s justifiably traumatised so when she thinks she witnesses a murder while on board the boat, she’s not sure what to believe. Is she on board with a murderer or has she imagined it?

The Woman in Cabin 10

You can read the synopsis and an excerpt from the first chapter in yesterday’s post.

I have just finished A Deadly Thaw by Sarah Ward, my review of this, the second in the superb Inspector Francis Sadler series, will be posted soon.

a-deadly-thaw

Blurb

Every secret has consequences.

Autumn 2004
In Bampton, Derbyshire, Lena Fisher is arrested for suffocating her husband, Andrew.

Spring 2016
A year after Lena’s release from prison, Andrew is found dead in a disused mortuary.

Who was the man Lena killed twelve years ago, and who committed the second murder? When Lena disappears, her sister, Kat, sets out to follow a trail of clues delivered by a mysterious teenage boy. Kat must uncover the truth – before there’s another death . . .Amazon

Next I plan to read Ward Zero by Linda Huber which will be published on 1 October 2016

Ward Zero

 

Horror swept through her. Had she been buried alive?

On Sarah’s first visit to see her foster mother, Mim, in Brockburn General Hospital, she is sucked into a world that isn’t what it should be.

Someone is lying, someone is stealing. And someone is killing – but who? With a grieving child to take care of, as well as Mim, Sarah has to put family first. She doesn’t see where danger lies – until it’s too late.

If you think you’re safe in a hospital, think again. Amazon

Have you read any of these? Do you want to?

Let me know what you are reading this week by adding your comments or leaving your link below.

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (September 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.

In the spirit of trying to tackle the number of requests I have outstanding for review on NetGalley and because I really did love In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware I have picked The Woman In Cabin 10 for my Tuesday post this week.

The Woman in Cabin 10

Blurb

This was meant to be the perfect trip.

The Northern Lights. A luxury press launch on a boutique cruise ship.

A chance for travel journalist Lo Blackwood to recover from a traumatic break-in that has left her on the verge of collapse, and to work out what she wants from her relationship.

Except things don’t go as planned.

Woken in the night by screams, Lo rushes to her window to see a body thrown overboard from the next door cabin. But the records show that no-one ever checked into that cabin, and no passengers are missing from the boat.

Exhausted, emotional and increasingly desperate, Lo has to face the fact that she may have made a terrible mistake. Or she is trapped on a boat with a murderer – and she is the sole witness… NetGalley

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

PART ONE
Friday 18 September

1

The first inkling that something was wrong was waking in darkness to find the cat pawing at my face. I must have forgotten to shut the kitchen door last night. Punishment for coming home drunk.
‘Go away,’ I groaned. Delilah mewed and butted me with her head. I tried to bury my face in the pillow but she continued rubbing against my ear, and eventually I rolled over and heartlessly pushed her off the bed.
She thumped to the floor with an indignant little ‘meep’ and I pulled the duvet over my head. But even through the covers I could hear her scratching at the bottom of the door rattling it in its frame.
The door was closed.

Well that’s got off to a great start so I’m off to read the rest!

So what do you think? Would you keep reading?

Please leave your links, comments etc. in the envelope below

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (August 28)

Weekly Wrap Up

Well greetings from the Mother-in-Law, my latest moniker! Since I last updated you we had a bride with a black-eye, a chief bridesmaid with a broken toe, a guest who got stung by a wasp at the pre-wedding bbq and yet, the moment my gorgeous daughter strode purposefully down towards her groom, I knew all was going to go well – and it did!

Beth's poemThere were so many highlights to the day, I won’t bore you all with them, apart from this one… Before my daughter turned eighteen, my brother asked her what she would like as a present, she didn’t want an expensive keepsake, instead she asked him to make something for her. The two of them decided that he would write her a poem, which he did and had framed for her. For her wedding she wanted another and this one was so superb I just have to share it with you – there was nary a dry eye in the castle when this was being read and it too is framed ready to hang on their wall to remind them of a truly special day.

 

This Castle Queen

Rock solid in foundation, gazing out across the seas;

Majestically serene, she has seen the centuries

Roll by; and yet, stands fast against the beachhead, looking ever on,

A myriad of mystery forever standing strong.

Her walls are fixed, resilient, whilst endless waves cascade;

This Castle Queen looks over those both Jersey born or made.

Her face remains untroubled by all of time’s debris,

Her flags alone are flustered, battered but still free.

 

Today a beauteous princess is welcomed to her heart;

Standing proud before us amid these stone ramparts.

Tempestuous in temperament, tenacious through and through,

Caring and compassionate; loving, loyal and true.

Her beauty shines most brightly now, both outward and within;

A vision of maturity to all her kith and kin.

 

Elegance-personified bestows maternal love

On her picture-perfect daughter and on those who live above.

Her liltingly infectious laugh spreads out beyond the room

As she welcomes to her family the handsome, charming groom.

 

Part-hidden by the shadows, a moustachioed figure stands;

Beams towards the bridal group, whilst his ephemeral hands

Move like lightening, across the unseen page,

Creating everlasting likenesses of those on centre stage.

A wry smile breaks his lips; and still – they part to softly sing –

And send lights to shine eternally within each wedding ring.

 

The bride accepts the binding band from her adoring man,

Their lives entwined forever now in Fate’s forgiving hands.

As he takes hers on his for life, placed with assuring grace,

Two bodies, hearts and minds combine, fused in love’s pure embrace.

 

Rock solid in foundation, gazing out as kindred forms;

Majestic in each other’s arms they’ll face the strongest storms.

Together more resilient, with hearts aflame with love,

Surrounded and adored by those on Earth and from above.

This Castle Queen has never seen a marriage such as this –

And all those here today rejoice to witness wedded bliss.

We soon recovered and the bride and groom finished their vows and here are a few of the pictures taken throughout the day.

IMG_0852IMG_0851IMG_0850

 

 

 

 

 

Last Week on the Blog

Well a consequence of all that excitement is not a lot happened here on the blog but I did manage three reviews:

A re-post of my review for The Hidden Legacy by G.J. Minett for the publication of the paperback on Thursday’s post, this was well up on my list of favourite reads of 2015 and I was delighted to help to remind those who prefer ‘real’ books that they can now read it too!

Friday saw number 12 of my 20 Books of Summer challenge with a review of Tea by the Nursery Fire by Noel Streatfeild. Not my favourite of my picks for the challenge but as it came with a healthy dollop of nostalgia for one of my favourite childhood authors, it wasn’t the worst either.

Yesterday had me reviewing The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan which was a truly compulsive read and got the full five stars from me.

This Time Last Year

Appropriately although I couldn’t know it at the time, this time last year had me reviewing a book about a hen weekend, this was one of the few books that spooked me probably not helped by the title borrowed from a children’s rhyme, In a Dark, Dark Wood. Ruth Ware really wowed me with this spooky tale which is full of odd characters not least the obsessive chief bridesmaid Claire and the mixture of exposed secrets in an isolated house kept the tension high throughout the read. I awarded this psychological thriller five stars.

In a Dark Dark Wood
You can read my review here

Blurb

Someone’s getting married. Someone’s getting murdered.
In a dark, dark wood
Nora hasn’t seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back.
There was a dark, dark house
Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen do arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her?
And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room
But something goes wrong. Very wrong.
And in the dark, dark room…. NetGalley

Have you read this one?

Stacking the Shelves

Not much in the way of stacking has gone on either since my last post with just one offering: A Man with One of those Faces by Caimh McDonnell.

A Man With One of those Faces

Blurb

The First time somebody tried to kill him was an accident.
The second time was deliberate.
Now Paul Muchrone finds himself on the run with nobody to turn to except a nurse who has read one-too-many crime novels and a renegade copper with a penchant for violence. Together they must solve one of the most notorious crimes in Irish history…
…or else they’ll be history.

 

PicMonkey Collage TBR
TBR WATCH
Since my last post I have read 3 books, gave one to my brother and gained just 1 so the total is now 171 books! I haven’t had a total this low since the beginning of March so a pat on the back for me I think!
82 physical books
68 e-books
21 books on NetGalley

What have you found to read this week?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (June 26)

Weekly Wrap Up

 

I returned from my holiday in Crete, a lovely place that I’d love to return to late last Sunday night with a notebook full of scribbled notes from the books that I’d read and so this week has been spent trying to decipher them and put them into something resembling proper reviews!

Last Week on the Blog

Monday’s review was for Watching Edie by Camilla Wray which arrived shortly before I went on holiday from lovereading; great, but they wanted the review sent the day after my holiday started so the bones of that one was at least pre-typed. Fortunately the book was superb, dark and disturbing, just the way I like them and so this review was a joy to share.

On Tuesday my post contained an extract from another psychological thriller, Intrusion by Mary McCluskey. I’m taking the first stop on publication day, 1 July, on the blog tour for this one so my review will be with you later this week and the guest post by this author is superb.

Wednesday saw me sharing my reads with you, sadly this week has been busy and I haven’t even opened Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain yet and so I’m considering a book shuffle but we will see!

I had another review on Thursday, this time from one of my 20 Books of Summer 2016 challenge reads; Pictures of Perfection by Reginald Hill was actually a re-read but it was a superb choice, if I say so myself. I’d forgotten quite how brilliant this book was and it kept me thoroughly entertained at the pool-side, sipping cocktails!

Friday’s review was for one of my kindle reads. I have been a huge fan of the author Tamar Cohen since reading her first book, but for some reason I’d never got around to reading The War of the Wives; I have now! If you’re from the UK you may have missed it because there was some big political news that day!

Yesterday I posted a review for my fourth read from 20 Books of Summer 2016 (yes I know, I’m behind schedule but I’m not panicking, much!) This was another book from a crime series I love which I took away because I knew it would be a sure fire winner, and it was – The title? That will be Buried Angels by Camilla Läckberg 

Stacking the Shelves

Well of course I’ve been away with no access to NetGalley at all (I can only access it from my laptop as I have no idea what my password is and I’m too frightened to try and change it in case future access is denied!) but some old requests came through… and I came home! Here’s what I have:

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware whose debut novel In a Dark, Dark Wood was set around a hen party – I’m trying to forget how spooked I felt by this book as I’ll be attending my daughter’s next month!

The Woman in Cabin 10

Blurb

This was meant to be the perfect trip.
The Northern Lights. A luxury press launch on a boutique cruise ship.
A chance for travel journalist Lo Blackwood to recover from a traumatic break-in that has left her on the verge of collapse, and to work out what she wants from her relationship.
Except things don’t go as planned.
Woken in the night by screams, Lo rushes to her window to see a body thrown overboard from the next door cabin. But the records show that no-one ever checked into that cabin, and no passengers are missing from the boat.
Exhausted, emotional and increasingly desperate, Lo has to face the fact that she may have made a terrible mistake. Or she is trapped on a boat with a murderer – and she is the sole witness… NetGalley

Yep, that sounds suitably unnerving! The Woman in Cabin 10 will be published on 30 June 2016.

I also was lucky enough to get a copy of The Museum of You by Carys Bray which was published on 16 June 2016. I’ve read lots of reviews about this one and I’m intrigued to read it for myself.

The Museum of You

Blurb

Clover Quinn was a surprise. She used to imagine she was the good kind, now she’s not sure. She’d like to ask Dad about it, but growing up in the saddest chapter of someone else’s story is difficult. She tries not to skate on the thin ice of his memories.
Darren has done his best. He’s studied his daughter like a seismologist on the lookout for waves and surrounded her with everything she might want – everything he can think of, at least – to be happy.
What Clover wants is answers. This summer, she thinks she can find them in the second bedroom, which is full of her mother’s belongings. Volume isn’t important, what she is looking for is essence; the undiluted bits: a collection of things that will tell the full story of her mother, her father and who she is going to be.
But what you find depends on what you’re searching for. NetGalley

I also requested a copy of Claire Seeber’s The Stepmother as I have really enjoyed some of this author’s previous books. With a publication date of 15 July 2016 this is squeezing the reading schedule more than is remotely sensible so I’m swearing back of NG again; for real this time!

The Stepmother

Blurb

The perfect wife. A fairytale family. Don’t believe your eyes…
Jeanie and Matthew are a happily married couple who both have teenage children from previous relationships.
No one said it would be easy to raise a blended family under one roof but Jeanie and Matthew are strong. They will make it work.
And whilst Jeanie’s step-daughter Scarlett rejects her, Jeanie will just have to try harder to win her over.
But Jeanie has a past. A terrible secret she thought she’d buried a long time ago. And now, it’s coming to the surface, threatening to destroy her new marriage.
Someone is playing a terrifying game on Jeanie and she must put a stop to it once and for all.
After all, a fairytale needs a happy ending … doesn’t it? NetGalley

And finally I received a mystery book through the post which is strictly under embargo until 11 July 2016 – so I can’t tell you anything about it but I am incredibly pleased to have received a copy as I’ve never had a top secret book before!!

PicMonkey Collage TBR

TBR WATCH
We have progress!! Since my last post I have read 11 books, discarded 1 as DNF and only gained 4 so the total this week is now standing at 173 books!
89 physical books
66 e-books
18 books on NetGalley

What have you found to read this week?