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Reading Bingo for 2015

reading-bingo-small

I had such fun finding books for this challenge last year that I’ve decided to repeat it with books I’ve read in 2015, click on the book covers to read my reviews

A Book With More Than 500 Pages

The Night Watch

The Night Watch by Sarah Waters Despite clocking in at 509 pages, I was bereft when this book finished. A tale told in reverse following three women in three distinct years; 1941, 1944 and 1947. This was an evocative and emotional read as well as being rich in historical detail.

 

A Forgotten Classic

The Go-Betweeen

I came late to the classic The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley. Told mainly through the eyes of 12 year old Leo Coulston as we go back to the year 1900, the year he got entangled with adult passions. This book with pitch-perfect prose had me longing for the story to never end -but end it did in the most shocking fashion, it is very rare to find a book with both a powerful opening and ending rarer still for the pages in between to be so exquisite.

A Book That Became a Movie

Sadly I have nothing for this box either, a few of the books I’ve read this year are going to be made into films, but not yet.

A Book Published This Year

The Kind Worth Killing

It is no surprise that there were lots of contenders for this square so I have picked a five star read; The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson. This psychological thriller owes a lot to Strangers on a Train, and has a truly cinematic feel to it. You will struggle to find a character to admire in the whole of the 325 pages, but if you are anything like me you will be interested in what makes them tick!

A Book With A Number In The Title

24 Hours by Claire Seeber is a completely compelling psychological thriller, one to be gobbled up with delight. Laurie is desperate to reach her young daughter Polly in this tale told over 24 hours. With the background being presented in the past tense the present tense ramped up the tension as the hour count increases!

A Book Written by Someone Under Thirty

I really don’t know how old the authors are so nothing for this one.

A Book With Non Human Characters

Nothing for this one either

A Funny Book

Although there are a few books I’ve read that could be described as farcical, I haven’t read any intentionally humorous reads this year.

A Book By A Female Author

The Sudden Departrure of the Frasers

The Sudden Departure of the Frasers by Louise Candlish
I had so many to choose from for this category but I settled on an author who was ‘new to me’ until I read this book, despite having a large back catalogue. This book details one young woman’s quest to find out what happened to the previous owners of her beautiful new house…

A Book With A Mystery

Smoke and Mirrors

I had quite a few options for this square too so plumped for the magnificent Smoke and Mirrors by Elly Griffiths whereby Inspector Stephens investigates the mystery of two missing children against the pantomime Aladdin being performed in the seaside town of Brighton in the 1950s.

A Book With A One Word Title

Disclaimer

There was little doubt about the choice for this one although I had six (all very good reads) to choose from. Disclaimer by Renée Knight, is one of the best books I’ve read this year A fresh take on the psychological thriller where the truth unfolds slowly and what you thought you believed at first is turned on its head. Having widely recommended this book to others, it has been well-received by all who have read it.

 A Book of Short Stories

In a Word

My collection of short stories is In a Word: Murder edited by Margot Kinberg, this book was published in memory of Maxine Clarke, a well-respected book blogger. Included in the submissions many of the stories revolve around the world of publishing. There really is something for everyone in this collection with all well worth a read.

 Free Square

The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife and the Missing Corpse

For my free square this year I have decided to go with the book with the longest title: The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife and the Missing Corpse by Piu Marie Eatwell. This non-fiction book examines a court case that started in 1898 when a widow named Anna Maria Druce applied for the exhumation of the grave of her late father-in-law, Thomas Charles Druce. The tale behind this request and the case that rumbled on for a decade is completely fascinating.

A Book Set On A Different Continent

Death in the Rainy Season

Death in the Rainy Season by Anna Jaquiery is set in Cambodia.  I’ve read very little fiction set in Asia, and don’t recall another book set in this country so this seemed like a good choice for this box. Serge Morel is actually on holiday in Cambodia from his native Paris when Hugo Quercy, a French national, is murdered in a hotel room in Phnom Penh. Serge Morel is asked to stay and investigate which gives the reader an insight into how policing works in this country. A good mystery with a multi-layered storyline.

A Book of Non-Fiction

A Fifty Year Silence

My choice for this square is a memoir, and an unusual one at that; A Fifty Year Silence by Miranda Richmond Mouillot follows the author through her childhood memories of her grandparents, two people she didn’t realise had ever been married to each other, and her adult quest to uncover why these Anna and Armand who were Jewish and had been in France at the time of the Second World War, had separated.

The First Book By A Favourite Author

Silent Scream

This author has had her debut, second and third books all published this year, and all three books were awarded five stars by me. Silent Scream by Angela Marsons features DI Kim Stone, a fantastic protagonist, driven seemingly a hard-taskmaster, yet we are shown early on that her team are determined to go the extra mile for her which indicates there is far more to her character. Added to that there are multiple strands to engage the reader along with a satisfying conclusion. What more can a reader ask for?

A Book I Heard About Online

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

Since blogging I find most of my new author finds on-line and this book is one of the many I had to have after reading a review and exchanging comments with a fellow blogger.The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald is a book about friendship, being away from home and to be honest a far sweeter book than my tastes normally run with the saving grace it’s laced with humour, and books, and those books are ones we’ve read, not just the ones we think we should have.

A Best Selling Book

The Girl On The Train

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins was the must-read book in 2015 for lovers of psychological thrillers, and surprise, surprise I read it and loved it. Rachel has become transfixed by the life of a couple she views through the train window on her way to work. When the woman disappears Rachel fears the worst but she is hampered in her investigations by her dependence on alcohol. A story where the reader is positively encouraged to trust no-one keeps the tension at fever-pitch!

A Book Based Upon A True Story

Dancing for the Hangman

Dancing for the Hangman is Martin Edwards‘ speculation on what really happened at 9 Hilltop Crescent in 1910. History tells us that Hawley Harvey Crippen murdered his wife, Cora and left part of her remains in the basement, a crime that condemned him to be hanged at Pentonville Prison. A fascinating and well-researched book which has made it impossible for me to separate fact from fiction.

A Book At the Bottom Of Your To Be Read Pile

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows had been on my radar ever since it was published in 2007. Shamefully, since it is written about our sister Channel Island, Guernsey, it has taken me all this time to read this epistolary novel about the German Occupation. I loved this book and from what I know of this period of history in Jersey, it was really well-researched, giving an authentic feel to the story inside its cover.

A Book Your Friend Loves

The Shadow Year

My friend loved The Shadow Year by Hannah Richell, and so did I with its dual time line, the past being the 1980s when five university friends decide to occupy a deserted cottage and live self-sufficiently. In the present we meet Lila who is struggling having recently had a still-birth when she is given an anonymous gift. Both time-lines had great stories with realistic characters.

A Book That Scares You

In a Dark Dark Wood

I rarely get scared by a book but In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware raised a few hairs on the back of my neck! Odd because despite the synopsis warning of a hen party, I didn’t expect quite such a nasty tale, it just goes to show that the fiction that closely imitates fact can be far more deadly than rampaging murderers! This is a book to read while safely curled up in the warm while being very grateful you are not holed up in the glass house in the forest with a group of hens!

A Book That Is More Than 10 Years Old

The Whicharts

I decided to pick the oldest book that I’ve read this year, The Whicharts by Noel Streatfeild, her book for adults that was then altered to create the children’s classic Ballet Shoes. I’ll be honest it was weird reading a book I had loved as a child, only to realise it had a far less positive beginning. A  lot of the pleasure of this book was nostalgic rather than based on this rather unpolished debut adult novel. I fear it has tarnished my memory of Ballet Shoes forever though!

The Second Book In A Series

No Other Darkness

No Other Darkness by Sarah Hilary is the second in the Marnie Rome series, books which cover important issues in far more depth than is typical of the genre. Two boy’s bodies are found buried in a bunker but who put them there, and why? This author manages the mixture of investigative with the personal live’s of the protagonists just right – definitely a series that I will continue to await with anticipation.

A Book With A Blue Cover

The Hidden Legacy

The Hidden Legacy is the debut novel by G.J. Minett, a book that will challenge you to question important moral questions in an unobtrusive manner. The book starts with one of the most shocking openings I have read this year when an eleven year old boy sets fire to two girls in a school playground back in 1966 but this event will have repercussions through the decades.

How about you? How much of the card could you fill in? Please share!

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking the Shelves (May 9)

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!

Because I want to read the fantastic selection of books I bought last week I decided to ban myself from NetGalley until I’ve caught up with the reading that has mounted up. That went well until I heard that Angela Marsons latest book, Evil Games had been added. I’d really enjoyed Silent Scream earlier this year featuring Kim Stone so I couldn’t let that one pass me by!

Evil Games

Blurb

The greater the evil, the more deadly the game …
When a rapist is found mutilated in a brutal attack, Detective Kim Stone and her team are called in to bring a swift resolution. But, as more vengeful killings come to light, it soon becomes clear that there is someone far more sinister at work.
With the investigation quickly gathering momentum, Kim soon finds herself exposed to great danger and in the sights of a lethal individual undertaking their own twisted experiment.
Up against a sociopath who seems to know her every weakness, for Detective Stone, each move she makes could be deadly. As the body count starts to mount, Kim will have to dig deeper than ever before to stop the killing. And this time – it’s personal Netgalley

The publishers Harlequin sent me a copy of Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica as I’d enjoyed this author’s debut novel The Good Girl

Pretty Baby

Blurb

A chance encounter
She sees the teenage girl on the train platform, standing in the pouring rain, clutching an infant in her arms. She boards a train and is whisked away. But she can’t get the girl out of her head…
An act of kindness 
Heidi has always been charitable but her family are horrified when she returns home with a young woman named Willow and her baby in tow. Dishevelled and homeless, this girl could be a criminal – or worse. But despite the family’s objections, Heidi offers them refuge.
A tangled web of lies
As Willow begins to get back on her feet, disturbing clues into her past starts to emerge. Now Heidi must question if her motives for helping the stranger are unselfish or rooted in her own failures. Goodreads

And then it all went wrong! Having seen many reviews of Letters to the Lost, particularly that featured by The Book Trail, and having failed to secure a review copy, I decided I had to buy myself a copy. Like last week I fell into the trap of needing to spend £10 to get the free postage. So in addition to Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey

Letters to the Lost

Blurb

A beautifully written and evocative novel—the story of an impossible, unstoppable love affair set in London during World War II and the present day,
An accomplished novel from a talented writer, Letters to the Lost is the kind of love story that will sweep you away from the very first page. Iona Grey’s prose is warm, evocative, and immediately engaging; her characters become so real you can’t bear to let them go.
Late on a frozen February evening, a young woman is running through the streets of London. Having fled from her abusive boyfriend and with nowhere to go, Jess stumbles onto a forgotten lane where a small, clearly unlived in old house offers her best chance of shelter for the night. The next morning, a mysterious letter arrives and when she can’t help but open it, she finds herself drawn inexorably into the story of two lovers from another time.
In London 1942, Stella meets Dan, a US airman, quite by accident, but there is no denying the impossible, unstoppable love that draws them together. Dan is a B-17 pilot flying his bomber into Europe from a British airbase; his odds of survival at one in five. The odds are stacked against the pair; the one thing they hold onto is the letters they write to each other. Fate is unkind and they are separated by decades and continents. In the present, Jess becomes determined to find out what happened to them. Her hope—inspired by a love so powerful it spans a lifetime—will lead her to find a startling redemption in her own life in a powerfully moving novel perfect for fans of Sarah Jio and Kate Morton. Goodreads

I went through my extensive wishlist and got a copy of Boy A by Jonathan Trigell, a story which covers the same subject matter as my recent read Humber Boy A by Ruth Dugdall

Boy A

Blurb

A is for Apple. A bad apple.? Jack has spent most of his life in juvenile institutions, to be released with a new name, new job, new life. At 24, he is utterly innocent of the world, yet guilty of a monstrous childhood crime. To his new friends, he is a good guy with occasional flashes of unexpected violence. To his new girlfriend, he is strangely inexperienced and unreachable. To his case worker, he?s a victim of the system and of media-driven hysteria. And to himself, Jack is on permanent trial: can he really start from scratch, forget the past, become someone else? Is a new name enough? Can Jack ever truly connect with his new friends while hiding a monstrous secret? This searing and heartfelt novel is a devastating indictment of society?s inability to reconcile childhood innocence with reality. Goodreads

Coincidently as Ruth Rendell sadly died just three days after I placed my order I also have a copy of No Man’s Nightingale the last Inspector Wexford book, published in 2013.

No Man's Nightingale

Blurb

Sarah Hussain was not popular with many people in the community of Kingsmarkham. She was born of mixed parentage – a white Irishwoman and an immigrant Indian Hindu. She was also the Reverend of St Peter’s Church.
But it comes as a profound shock to everyone when she is found strangled in the Vicarage.
A garrulous cleaner, Maxine, also shared by the Wexfords, discovers the body. In his comparatively recent retirement, the former Detective Chief Inspector is devoting much time to reading, and is deep into Edward Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. He has little patience with Maxine’s prattle.
But when his old friend Mike Burden asks if he might like to assist on this case as Crime Solutions Adviser (unpaid), Wexford is obliged to pay more precise attention to all available information.
The old instincts have not been blunted by a life where he and Dora divide their time between London and Kingsmarkham. Wexford retains a relish for solving puzzles and a curiosity about people which is invaluable in detective work.
For all his experience and sophistication, Burden tends to jump to conclusions. But he is wise enough to listen to the man whose office he inherited, and whose experience makes him a most formidable ally. Goodreads

and as on that very day I came across a wonderful review on Rebecca Book Review, Girls of Tender Age by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith

Girls of Tender Age

Blurb

With beauty, power, and remarkable wit, Mary-Ann Tirone Smith interweaves a bittersweet portrait of growing up among the working stiffs of 1950s Hartford, Connecticut, with the chilling progress of a serial pedophile who threatens to shatter her small town’s innocence. In Girls of Tender Age, Smith lovingly evokes the jubilance and chaos of life in her extended French-Italian family and the challenges of living with her brother Tyler, an autistic at a time before anyone knew what that meant. Hanging over Smith’s rough-and-tumble youth is the shadow of the approaching killer who forever alters the landscape of her childhood. Goodreads

Any of these take your fancy or perhaps you’ve already read them?
What have you found to read this week? Please do share in the comments below

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

Silent Scream – Angela Marsons

Crime Fiction 5*'s
Crime Fiction
5*’s

I’ll be honest I wasn’t going to choose this book, after all I follow a number of different crime fiction series and I wasn’t sure that I needed to add another to the list until I saw a number of reviews for this one and decided to see for myself, and boy, am I glad I did. Why? Well DI Kim Stone is a fantastic protagonist, driven seemingly a hard-taskmaster, yet we are shown early on that her team are determined to go the extra mile for her which indicates there is far more to her character. Secondly the mystery element is fantastically complex giving this reader plenty of information to pit her admittedly poor detective skills against.

Set in the Black Country the author gives a good sense of the place with references to the industrial revolution that shaped this area, the book opens with a group of five gather round a shallow grave to bury a secret in 2004.

In the present day Kim Stone is called in to investigate the murder of a retired headmistress, Teresa Wyatt, and her team are soon given direction by their boss. Teresa Wyatt’s was a gruesome murder and seemingly it is a mystery as to why this respectable woman has invited such horror. Led by Kim the team follow a lead to the grounds of a former children’s home which only causes the mystery to deepen.

This is a book that wears its heart on its sleeve, unusual in crime fiction where the focus was as much on the why, as the who. Every element of this book is complex, not least DI Kim Stone but not in the now ubiquitous screwed-up cop but played with far more subtlety. This book isn’t about the main protagonist, or her team, yet it gives us enough feeling of the characters, mainly by showing us in their actions, to make them easily identifiable and leave the reader wanting to know more, absolutely essential for a series to be a success. I want to know more!

With tough issues at the heart of this book Angela Marsons has made a brave move, not every reader wants to go to sleep thinking about the murder of children and yet even the younger potential victims are given rounded characters, not for this author is the stereotypical angelic child who was preyed upon, nor the troubled youngster that invited trouble in return, rather we get distinct and believable characters, both major and minor.

I was gripped by this novel and the fast pace only served to keep me turning the pages frantically, desperate to know the truth which was kept hidden from right up until the moment of the reveal. I for one will be looking out with eagerness for the next in this series and have concluded that of course there is room in my life for one more crime fiction series, especially one as good as this.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Bookouture for allowing me to have the opportunity to read this book in return for my honest opinion. This book is great, you can read it now as it was published on 20 February 2015.

Posted in Weekly Posts

Musing Monday (February 23)

Musing Mondays

Hosted by Should Be Reading
Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Do you enjoy debating / discussing the books that others are currently reading? Why, or why not?

I do like discussing books that others are reading especially if I have read the book but I am conscious that this is ultimately a book review blog and I would hate to give spoilers to other readers. For that reason some of the discussions need to be done in code!

I am currently reading The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson which was published on 19 February 2015.

The Kind Worth Killing

Blurb

‘Hello there.’
I looked at the pale, freckled hand on the back of the empty bar seat next to me in the business class lounge of Heathrow airport, then up into the stranger’s face.
‘Do I know you?’
Delayed in London, Ted Severson meets a woman at the airport bar. Over cocktails they tell each other rather more than they should, and a dark plan is hatched – but are either of them being serious, could they actually go through with it and, if they did, what would be their chances of getting away with it?
Back in Boston, Ted’s wife Miranda is busy site managing the construction of their dream home, a beautiful house out on the Maine coastline. But what secrets is she carrying and to what lengths might she go to protect the vision she has of her deserved future?
A sublimely plotted novel of trust and betrayal, The Kind Worth Killing will keep you gripped and guessing late into the night. NetGalley

I have just finished Silent Scream by Angela Marsons because I couldn’t resist the frenzy surrounding its release last week, it turns out that the frenzy was justified which is great because I believe we won’t have to wait too long for the next book Evil Games.
My review will follow soon

Silent Scream

Blurb

Even the darkest secrets can’t stay buried forever…
Five figures gather round a shallow grave. They had all taken turns to dig. An adult-sized hole would have taken longer. An innocent life had been taken but the pact had been made. Their secrets would be buried, bound in blood …
Years later, a headmistress is found brutally strangled, the first in a spate of gruesome murders which shock the Black Country.
But when human remains are discovered at a former children’s home, disturbing secrets are also unearthed. D.I. Kim Stone fast realises she’s on the hunt for a twisted individual whose killing spree spans decades.
As the body count rises, Kim needs to stop the murderer before they strike again. But to catch the killer, can Kim confront the demons of her own past before it’s too late? NetGalley

Up next is The Abrupt Physics of Dying by Paul E Hardisty

The Abrupt Physics of Dying

Blurb

Claymore Straker is trying to forget a violent past. Working as an oil company engineer in the wilds of Yemen, he is hijacked at gunpoint by Islamic terrorists. Clay has a choice: help uncover the cause of a mysterious sickness afflicting the village of Al Urush, close to the company’s oil-processing facility, or watch Abdulkader, his driver and close friend, die. As the country descends into civil war and village children start dying, Clay finds himself caught up in a ruthless struggle between opposing armies, controllers of the country’s oil wealth, Yemen’s shadowy secret service, and rival terrorist factions. As Clay scrambles to keep his friend alive, he meets Rania, a troubled journalist. Together, they try to uncover the truth about Al Urush. But nothing in this ancient, unforgiving place is as it seems. Accused of a murder he did not commit, put on the CIA’s most-wanted list, Clay must come to terms with his past and confront the powerful forces that want him dead. A stunning debut eco-thriller, The Abrupt Physics of Dying is largely based on true events – the horrific destruction of fresh water and lives by oil giants. Gritty, gripping and shocking, this book will not only open your eyes but keep them glued to the page until the final, stunning denouement is reached. Amazon

What are you reading this week? Do share!

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (February 13)

Friday Finds Hosted by Should be Reading

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

I have had some really exciting book post this week from Ruth Dugdall whose I first came across by reading her book The Woman Before Me. I loved it and read The Sacrificial Man which was published soon afterwards back in 2011 and to my absolute delight the author used a quote from my review when releasing the paperback version in 2012. Well she has finally written another book, and has kindly sent me a proof copy of Humber Boy B I’m just a little bit excited if you can’t tell!

Humber Boy B

Blurb

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? Goodreads

I also received a review copy of The Distance by Helen Giltrow, signed with a lovely postcard from the author inside which I’m also looking forward to reading despite the fact that I rarely read straight ‘thrillers’

The Distance

Blurb

A blistering debut thriller that introduces the coolest heroine in contemporary suspense fiction.
They don’t call her Karla anymore. She’s Charlotte Alton: she doesn’t trade in secrets, she doesn’t erase dark pasts, and she doesn’t break hit-men into prison.
Except that is exactly what she’s been asked to do.
The job is impossible: get the assassin into an experimental new prison so that he can take out a target who isn’t officially there.
It’s a suicide mission, and quite probably a set-up.
So why can’t she say no? Goodreads

From NetGalley I have been approved for a copy of The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson which I had to request after reading an excellent review on Crimepieces blog, another excellent source of books to add to the TBR.
The Kind Worth Killing

Blurb

‘Hello there.’
I looked at the pale, freckled hand on the back of the empty bar seat next to me in the business class lounge of Heathrow airport, then up into the stranger’s face.
‘Do I know you?’
Delayed in London, Ted Severson meets a woman at the airport bar. Over cocktails they tell each other rather more than they should, and a dark plan is hatched – but are either of them being serious, could they actually go through with it and, if they did, what would be their chances of getting away with it?
Back in Boston, Ted’s wife Miranda is busy site managing the construction of their dream home, a beautiful house out on the Maine coastline. But what secrets is she carrying and to what lengths might she go to protect the vision she has of her deserved future?
A sublimely plotted novel of trust and betrayal, The Kind Worth Killing will keep you gripped and guessing late into the night. NetGalley

And last I have a copy of Silent Scream by Angela Marsons Which has had some fantastic mentions on Twitter before the publication date of 20 February 2015.

Silent Scream

Even the darkest secrets can’t stay buried forever…
Five figures gather round a shallow grave. They had all taken turns to dig. An adult-sized hole would have taken longer. An innocent life had been taken but the pact had been made. Their secrets would be buried, bound in blood …
Years later, a headmistress is found brutally strangled, the first in a spate of gruesome murders which shock the Black Country.
But when human remains are discovered at a former children’s home, disturbing secrets are also unearthed. D.I. Kim Stone fast realises she’s on the hunt for a twisted individual whose killing spree spans decades.
As the body count rises, Kim needs to stop the murderer before they strike again. But to catch the killer, can Kim confront the demons of her own past before it’s too late? NetGalley

So what have you found to read this week? Please share your finds in the comments box below.