Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking the Shelves Part II (October 25)

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.

Book Stach GDFTB

‘What more books?’ I hear you cry.
I’m afraid so, because yesterday it was the annual Guide Dogs for the Blind Book Sale and if you saw how many books were there you’ll realise just how restrained I’ve been by spending a total of £9.50 of my (very) hard earned pennies on this beautiful lot. It’s ok, no need to panic, my friend has a stack to share too and my daughter, back on the island for this event for the first time since 2008 has also stocked up.

JGDFB book Sale

So what did I get? First up Other People’s Secrets by Louise Candlish. Louise Candlish is a an author I discovered earlier this year when I read The Sudden Departure of the Frasers and then followed this up with The Disappearance of Emily Marr.
Other People's Secrets

Blurb

An enthralling tale of two families who meet on vacation, and the secrets that bind them
Ginny and Adam Trustlove arrive in Italy torn apart by personal tragedy. Two weeks in a boathouse on the edge of peaceful Lake Orta is exactly what they need to restore their faith in life—and each other. Twenty-four hours later, the silence is broken. The Sale family have arrived at the main villa: wealthy, high-flying Marty, his beautiful wife Bea, and their privileged, confident offspring. It doesn’t take long for Ginny and Adam to be drawn in, especially when the teenage Pippi introduces a new friend into the circle. For there is something about Zach that has everyone instantly beguiled, something that loosens old secrets—and creates shocking new ones. And, yet, not one of them suspects that his arrival in their lives might be anything other than accidental. Goodreads

As well as choosing much loved author’s books, I have used this opportunity to buy a copy of Sycamore Row by John Grisham because I’m ashamed to say I haven’t read a single book by this author – there were loads to choose from so I hoped I picked a good one and then got home and discovered this is a sequel to A Time To Die and I’d missed the great big writing on the cover telling me so! Oh well, hopefully it’ll be an ok read as a standalone.

Sycamore Row

Blurb

Jake Brigance has never met Seth Hubbard, or even heard of him, until the old man’s suicide note names him attorney for his estate. The will is dynamite. Seth has left ninety per cent of his vast, secret fortune to his housemaid.
The vultures are circling even before the body is cold: the only subject more incendiary than money in Ford County is race, and this case has both.
AS the relatives contest the will, and unscrupulous lawyers hasten to benefit, Jake searches for answers to the many questions left by Seth Hubbard’s death:
What made him write that last-minute will leaving everything to a poor black woman named Lettie Lang?
Why did he choose to kill himself on the desolate piece of land known as Sycamore Row?
And what was it that Seth and his brother witnessed as children that, in his words, ‘no human should ever see’? Amazon

Another prolific but as yet new to me author is Linwood Barclay, so I picked up a copy of No Safe House

No Safe House

Blurb

Seven years ago, Terry Archer and his family experienced a horrific ordeal which nearly cost them their lives. Today, the echoes of that fateful night are still audible. Terry’s wife, Cynthia, is living separate from her husband and daughter after her own personal demons threatened to ruin her relationship with them permanently. Their daughter, Grace, is rebelling against her parents’ seemingly needless overprotection. Terry is just trying to keep his family together. And the entire town is reeling from the senseless murder of two elderly locals.
But when Grace foolishly follows her delinquent boyfriend into a strange house, the Archers must do more than stay together. They must stay alive. Because now they have all been unwillingly drawn into the shadowy depths of their seemingly idyllic hometown.
For there, they will be reconnected with the man who saved their lives seven years ago, but who still remains a ruthless, unrepentant criminal. They will encounter killers for hire working all sides. And they will learn that there are some things people value much more than money, and will do anything to get it.
Caught in a labyrinth between family loyalty and ultimate betrayal, Terry must find a way to extricate his family from a lethal situation he still doesn’t fully comprehend. All he knows is that to live, he may have to do the unthinkable….Amazon

My next choice is a childhood favourite The Peppermint Pig by Nina Bawden, a book I loved from the very first paragraph (Maybe this indicates a gruesome nature even as a small child?) It was also the first book I remember sobbing over, it really is quite sad in places.

Old Granny Greengrass had her finger chopped off in the butcher’s when she was buying half a leg of lamb. She pointed to the place where she wanted the joint to be cut but then she decided she needed a bigger piece and pointed again. Unfortunately, Mr Grummett, the butcher, was already bringing his sharp chopper down. He chopped straight through her finger and it flew like a snapped twig into a pile of sawdust in the corner of the shop. It was hard to tell who was more surprised, Granny Greengrass or the butcher. But she didn’t blame him. She said, ‘I could never make up my mind and stick to it, Mr Grummett, that’s always been my trouble.’
and the copy I picked up is in perfect condition.

The Peppermint Pig
Blurb

Johnnie was only the runt of the litter, a little peppermint pig. He’d cost Mother a shilling, but somehow his great naughtiness and cleverness kept Poll and Theo cheerful, even though it was one of the most difficult years of their lives. Amazon

The House at Sea’s End by Elly Griffiths is one from the series featuring Ruth Galloway that I haven’t ever read so in the bag it went!

The House At Seas End

Blurb

A team of archaeologists, investigating coastal erosion on the north Norfolk coast, unearth six bodies buried at the foot of a cliff. How long have they been there? What could have happened to them? Forensics expert Ruth Galloway and DCI Nelson are drawn together again to unravel the past. Tests reveal that the bodies have lain, preserved in the sand, for sixty years. The mystery of their deaths stretches back to the Second World War, a time when Great Britain was threatened by invasion. But someone wants the truth of the past to stay buried, and will go to any lengths to keep it that way…even murder. Amazon

Having realised how much I love Sarah Waters’ books following her latest, The Paying Guests, I have had the urge to re-read the earlier ones so I also have a copy of Fingersmith to read.

Fingersmith

Blurb

Divided into three parts, the tale is narrated by two orphaned girls whose lives are inextricably linked. It begins in a grimy thieves kitchen in Borough, South London with 17-year-old orphan Susan Trinder. She has been raised by Mrs Sucksby, a cockney Ma Baker, in a household of fingersmiths (pickpockets), coiners and burglars. One evening Richard “Gentleman” Rivers, a handsome confidence man, arrives. He has an elaborate scheme to defraud Maud Lilly, a wealthy heiress. If Sue will help him she’ll get a share of the “shine”. Duly installed in the Lillys’ country house as Maud’s maid, Sue finds that her mistress is virtually a prisoner. Maud’s eccentric Uncle Christopher, an obsessive collector of erotica (loosely modelled on Henry Spenser Ashbee) controls every aspect of her life. Slowly a curious intimacy develops between the two girls and as Gentleman’s plans take shape, Sue begins to have doubts. The scheme is finally hatched but as Maud commences her narrative it suddenly becomes more than a tad difficult to tell quite who has double-crossed who. Amazon

An Experiment in Murder by Nicola Upson is a book by another author who I’ve meant to try for sometime, a bit of historical crime fiction is always enjoyable and for once I’ve managed to find the first in the series, bonus!

An Expert in Murder

Blurb

An Expert in Murder is the first in a new series that features Golden Age crime writer Josephine Tey as its lead character, placing her in the richly-peopled world of 1930s theatre which formed the other half of her writing life. It’s March 1934, and Tey is travelling from Scotland to London to celebrate what should be the triumphant final week of her celebrated play, Richard of Bordeaux. However, a seemingly senseless murder puts her reputation, and even her life, under threat. An Expert in Murder is both a tribute to one of the most enduringly popular writers of crime and an atmospheric detective novel in its own right. Amazon

The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton has been on my wishlist for an absolute age so I was delighted to find a copy of this begging to be taken to a good home!

The Rehearsal

Blurb

A high-school sex scandal jolts a group of teenage girls into a new awareness of their own potency and power. The sudden and total publicity seems to turn every act into a performance and every platform into a stage. But when the local drama school decides to turn the scandal into a show, the real world and the world of the theatre are forced to meet, and soon the boundaries between private and public begin to dissolve. “The Rehearsal” is an exhilarating and provocative novel about the unsimple mess of human desire, at once a tender evocation of its young protagonists and a shrewd expose of emotional compromise. Amazon

I have been drooling over the display of British Library Crime Classics in our local store for some time but so far have limited myself to a single volume (as yet unread) so when I spied a copy of Mystery in White by J. Jefferson Farjeon it was a done deal!

Mystery in White

Blurb

‘The horror on the train, great though it may turn out to be, will not compare with the horror that exists here, in this house.’ On Christmas Eve, heavy snowfall brings a train to a halt near the village of Hemmersby. Several passengers take shelter in a deserted country house, where the fire has been lit and the table laid for tea – but no one is at home. Trapped together for Christmas, the passengers are seeking to unravel the secrets of the empty house when a murderer strikes in their midst. Amazon

And last but in no means least, I have been searching at the book sale for at least four years for a decent copy of And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, this year I triumphed!
And then there were none

Blurb

Agatha Christie’s world-famous mystery thriller, reissued with a striking new cover designed to appeal to the latest generation of Agatha Christie fans and book lovers. Ten strangers, apparently with little in common, are lured to an island mansion off the coast of Devon by the mysterious U.N.Owen. Over dinner, a record begins to play, and the voice of an unseen host accuses each person of hiding a guilty secret. That evening, former reckless driver Tony Marston is found murdered by a deadly dose of cyanide. The tension escalates as the survivors realise the killer is not only among them but is preparing to strike again…and again…Amazon

So I’m off now to try and sort out a new home for these extra additions and I’ve decided that since I have so many books on the TBR I really need to catalogue them! Happy reading from one very contented bookworm!

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

The Disappearance of Emily Marr – Louise Candlish

20 books of summer logo

Contemporary Fiction 5*s
Contemporary Fiction
5*s

Having thoroughly enjoyed The Sudden Departure of the Frasers which was published by this author earlier this year, I was thrilled to find that there was a back-catalogue to explore with high-praise being bestowed on this book. Like Lisa Jewell’s books, it is easy to be thrown by the pretty, girly cover and assume this is a light and fluffy story, it isn’t, there are disturbing and dark issues but it does share that readable quality which easily has you rooting for a character.

In a small French town Tabby has become desperate, she has a broken heart and is pondering on some home truths and now she’s travelled from Paris to this unknown, quiet town with no money on a whim. She needs to go home, but is reluctant, she needs to earn money but her French is weak at best, but most of all she needs somewhere to sleep.

Emmie is virtually a hermit venturing out only to work so was it fate that bought Tabby to her door. Although Emmie is reluctant to speak of her own troubles, she is inquisitive about Tabby’s life. She listens to her woes and even fixes her up with a temporary job. Emmie’s spare time is spent working on her story, and what a story it is.

So far so chick-lit? We need the inclusion of a hunky man and we’re set to go. Well there are some men, one falls into the hunky category and is unavailable but that isn’t the point of the story. The story is about Emily Marr a woman who was in every paper, on every internet site, a woman hounded for her actions! Her picture was on the top-ten lists of worst women and the news articles always garnered plenty of spiteful comments. This is the age we live in, no longer do we put people in the stocks to humiliate them, instead campaigns are run to pressurise their employers to sack them for their perceived or real transgressions. If the object of our fury is a woman it is likely that their bodies are discussed in horrifying detail while we call up the sound-bites, attention-seeking, narcissistic, bullying, selfish…. And once it has started there doesn’t seem much that the object of our disgust can do except lay low and wait for the public to move onto a new target. I am as guilty as the next person as I read (although never add my voice to the throng) the latest ‘news’ which is often pulled from social networking sites as a warning that should you warrant it, the past will come back to haunt you!! Anyway I digress… I do like books that reflect the changes in our lives and technology is a big part of those changes, whereas in years gone past only those closest to someone vilified in the press were likely to add their voices to the tidal wave of condemnation, now people can comment from the other side of the word all day long. How does Emily Marr cope? What should she do?

With Emmie’s narration being told in her own words in the past and Tabby’s the story is also one of a different kind of friendship than normally portrayed in women’s fiction, here Emmie is far more secretive about her past, only giving Tabby the barest of details about her life before France despite Tabby wanting to support her friend but Tabby has a secret too and it may just cause both their lives to unravel.

An entertaining book with some really well-drawn characters from the major to the minor, recognisable, three-dimensional personalities are a must in a book where the root of the book is in their actions and Louise Candlish has proved herself extremely accomplished in creating them for our enjoyment.

I chose this out of all Louise Candlish’s previous books on the authors own kind advice following my review of The Sudden Departure of the Frasers. She was right, I loved it so I’m delighted that I chose it as one of my 20 Books of Summer 2015! Challenge.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week In Books (July 15)

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 Redemption Road by Lisa Ballantyne Redemption Road See yesterday’s post for the synopsis and a taster from this book 20 books of summer logo I have recently finished The Disappearance of Emily Marr by Louise Candlish, one of my 20 Books of 2015! Challenge The Disappearance of Emily Marr Blurb

Arriving on the windswept Ile de R� off the coast of France, Tabby Dewhurst is heartbroken and penniless, unable even to afford a room for the night. Then she overhears a villager repeating aloud the access code to her front door and, hardly believing her own actions, Tabby waits for the villager to leave and lets herself into the house . . . And so she enters the strange, hidden world of Emmie, whose sudden offer of friendship is at odds with her obsession with her own privacy. Soon Tabby begins to form suspicions about Emmie, suspicions that will lead her back to England – and to a scandal with shattering consequences. Amazon

20 books of summer logo Next up I am looking forward to reading The Anatomy of Death by Felicity Young An Anatomy of Death Blurb

At the turn of the twentieth century, London’s political climate is in turmoil, as women fight for the right to vote. Dody McCleland has her own battles to fight. As England’s first female autopsy surgeon, not only must she prove herself, she must prove that murder treats everyone equally… After a heated women’s rights rally turns violent, an innocent suffragette is found murdered. When she examines the body, Dody McCleland is shocked to realize that the victim was a friend of her sister—fueling her determination to uncover the cause of the protestor’s suspicious death. For Dody, gathering clues from a body is often easier than handling the living—especially Chief Detective Inspector Pike. Pike is looking to get to the bottom of this case but has a hard time trusting anyone—including Dody. Determined to earn Pike’s trust and to find the killer, Dody will have to sort through real and imagined secrets. But if she’s not careful, she may end up on her own examination table… Amazon

What are you reading this week? See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here

Posted in Challenge

20 Books of Summer 2015!

20-books-of-summer-master-image

Cathy at Cathy746 has a yearly challenge to read twenty books over the summer months starting on 1 June 2015 and running until 4 September 2015, and this year I’ve decided to join her. I had already rationed myself from requesting quite so many review copies so the choices I make will be in addition to those that I have obligations to read and review.

As I’m competitive I’m signing up for the full twenty. My personal challenge is to read these twenty books from my bookshelf that I already own with at least half being physical books. Funnily enough I have plenty to choose from…

The only drawback with this challenge is I want to experience choosing a book that fits my mood so I have decided to begin by choosing a spread of genre to list the first ten books for my summer reading.

Summer Reading May 29

The links below will take you to the Goodreads description

The Night Watch – Sarah Waters

The Anatomy of Death – Felicity Young

Letters to the Lost – Iona Grey

The Maul and the Pear Tree – P.D. James & T.A. Critchley

The Disappearance of Emily Marr – Louise Candlish

Every Secret Thing – Emma Cole

Dancing for the Hangman – Martin Edwards

Rutherford Park – Elizabeth Cooke

Under World – Reginald Hill

The Whicharts – Noel Streatfeild

I will be joining Cathy by tweeting my way through the challenge using the hastag #20booksofsummer and I will provide (a yet to be decided logo) to demonstrate when one of my reads is part of this challenge!

There’s still time to join in and Cathy has also provided a 10 Books of Summer image for those of you who feel aiming for 20 is quite frankly ridiculous. Visit Cathy to get the full details here

So what do you think to my choices? Do you have any suggestions on where I should start or perhaps you think some of these need to be put back on the shelf and forgotten about? All comments welcomed!