Posted in Weekly Posts

WWW Wednesday (December 17)

 

WWW Wednesday green

Hosted by Miz B at Should be Reading

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions… • What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters a book that has me completely entranced as Frances Wray and her mother get used to the lodgers Lil and Len.

The Paying Guests

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

I have just finished a book with a more modern setting and the wilder climate of Canada in a story of family mysteries and the tracking of Orcas in The Missing One by Lucy Atkins.

Click on the book cover to read my review

The Missing One

Next I am going to read Shallow Waters by Rebecca Bradley to indulge in my love of crime fiction

Shallow Waters

Blurb

When the naked, battered body of an unidentified teenager is found dumped in an alleyway, post-mortem finds evidence of a harrowing series of events.
Another teenage death with the same MO pushes DI Hannah Robbins and her team on the Nottingham City division Major Crimes Unit, to their limits, and across county borders. In a race against the clock they attempt to unpick a thick web of lies and deceit to uncover the truth behind the deaths.
But it doesn’t stop there. When catching a killer isn’t enough, just how far are the team willing to push themselves to save the next girl?

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

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Missing One – Lucy Atkins

Contemporary Fiction 4*'s
Contemporary Fiction
4*’s

What would you do if you were given a window to a life your mother led that you’d never heard of? Could you ignore the scant information if your mother had just died and your father refuses to discuss the past? This is the situation Kali finds herself in as the eldest daughter to Elena she is sent to find her birth certificate by her younger sister, and in Kali’s eyes, her mother’s favourite daughter Alice. The birth certificate is elusive but in amongst her mother’s things she finds reference to a life spent in Canada and postcards from a woman called Susanna Gillespie.

Kali is suffering, the day before she received the phone call to say her mother was dying, she’d realised that her marriage to Doug was over, in a dark place with unresolved issues with her mother that rippled out to include her father and Alice she isn’t ready to return home to face her husband and on a whim travels from London to Vancouver on a search of her ancestors and Susanna Gillespie, a well-known artist. Kali’s visit to Vancouver throws up more questions than it answers and she moves onto the remote Spring Tide Island where she meets up with Susanna who knew her mother in the days when she was researching Orca’s by tracking them and listening to the way they communicate which lends a neat parallel to this story about families and the ties that bind them.

The description of the setting is amazing with beautiful and terrifying of a place where nature rules with storms and the sea giving a menacing background to the encounter with Susannah. The characters are realistic although not particularly likeable at times but understandably so, as the story gets darker and more terrifying. The book would have been more engaging if some of the repetition had been reduced which although I’m sure was written to underline the reluctance of everyone around Kali to give up their secrets just became a little annoying, especially in a book of 569 pages. The descriptions of the orcas, the excitement of finding and researching the pods was extremely well-researched but again could have been condensed especially as Elena’s character also suffered from repetitive thinking, however when the action kicks in you may well find yourself on the edge of your seat like I did.

If you like your mysteries to have a personal element then this book about family secrets certainly has a different, if quite scary, backdrop, which included some fascinating information about the amazing orcas that are designed to live in the sea and not tanks for entertainment.  Although quite sad in places on reflection this tale told illustrates the power of a mother’s love for her child as Kali goes to extraordinary lengths to protect her child.

Posted in Weekly Posts

WWW Wednesday (December 10)

WWW Wednesday green

Hosted by Miz B at Should be Reading

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions… • What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next? I am currently reading The Missing One by Lucy Atkins which was selected for me on the reader’s poll on 21 November 2014 The Missing One The Blurb

The loss of her mother has left Kali McKenzie with too many unanswered questions. But while clearing out Elena’s art studio, she finds a drawer packed with postcards, each bearing an identical one-line message a Canadian gallery owner called Susannah Gillespie: thinking of you. Who is this woman and what does she know about Elena’s hidden past? Desperate to find out, Kali travels with her toddler, Finn, to Susannah’s isolated home on a remote British Columbian island, a place of killer whales and storms. But as bad weather closes in, Kali quickly realises she has made a big mistake. The handsome and enigmatic Susannah refuses to talk about the past, and as Kali struggles to piece together what happened back in the 1970s, Susannah’s behaviour grows more and more erratic. Most worrying of all, Susannah is becoming increasingly preoccupied with little Finn . . . A tense, thrilling novel about a family divided by secrets, and the lengths a mother will go to protect her child. Amazon

I have just finished One, Two, Buckle My Shoe by Agatha Christie. In my mind you can’t beat a little bit of Poirot with his little grey cells. My review will follow shortly One Two Buckle My Shoe Next I am planning on losing myself in the 500+ pages of  The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters The Paying Guests Blurb

It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned, the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in the south of the city, on genteel Champion Hill, in a hushed Camberwell villa still recovering from the devastating losses of the First World War, life is about to be transformed. Widowed Mrs Wray and her daughter, Frances – an unmarried woman with an interesting past, now on her way to becoming a spinster – find themselves obliged to take in lodgers. The arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the ‘clerk class’, brings unsettling things with it: gramophone music, colour, fun. Open doors offer Frances glimpses of the newcomers’ habits, sounds travel from their rooms to hers, and the staircase and landing have never seemed to her so busy. As she and Lilian are drawn into an unexpected friendship, loyalties begin to shift. Secrets are confessed, dangerous desires admitted; the most ordinary of lives, it seems, can explode into passion and drama. And in the house on Champion Hill, no one can foresee just how far the disturbances will reach. A love story that is also a crime story, this is vintage Sarah Waters: nail-biting tension, real tenderness, believable characters, and surprises. It is above all a wonderful, compelling tale. Amazon

What are you reading this week?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (November 28)

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).

Well first up this week is a BIG thank you for all of you who voted in last weeks poll to choose a book for my empty(ish) December schedule

and the winner is….

The Missing One
by Lucy Atkins

The Missing One

I was particularly pleased to be offered  The Liar’s Chair by Rebecca Whitney by Amazon Vine after having seen it mentioned on ‘What Got You Hooked on Crime, Anahita Mody’ on Marina Sofia’s wonderful blog, Finding Time To Write

The Liars Chair

Blurb

Rachel Teller and her husband David appear happy, prosperous and fulfilled. The big house, the successful business . . .
They have everything. However, control, not love, fuels their relationship and David has no idea his wife indulges in drunken indiscretions. When Rachel kills a man in a hit and run, the meticulously maintained veneer over their life begins to crack. Destroying all evidence of the accident, David insists they continue as normal. Rachel though is racked with guilt and as her behaviour becomes increasingly self-destructive she not only inflames David’s darker side, but also uncovers her own long-suppressed memories of shame. Can Rachel confront her past and atone for her terrible crime? Not if her husband has anything to do with it . . .
A startling, dark and audacious novel set in and around the Brighton streets, The Liar’s Chair will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the final page has been turned. A stunning psychological portrait of a woman in a toxic marriage, Rebecca Whitney’s debut will show that sometimes the darkest shadow holds the truth you have been hiding from . . . Amazon

Exercising control the next couple of books are on my Wishlist but so far I have resisted the urge to buy them… not sure how long that will last though.

My first choice was prompted by Marina Sofia about Research by Philip Kerr whose comment ‘a light-hearted holiday thriller with lots of sly digs at the publishing industry and writers’ egos’ had me rushing off to find out more.

Research

Blurb

BESTSELLING NOVELIST JOHN HOUSTON’S WIFE FOUND MURDERED AT THEIR LUXURY APARTMENT IN MONACO.
Houston is the richest writer in the world, a book factory publishing many bestsellers a year – so many that he can’t possibly write them himself. He has a team that feeds off his talent; ghost writers, agents, publishers. So when he decides to take a year out to write something of quality, a novel that will win prizes and critical acclaim, a lot of people stand to lose their livelihoods.
Now Houston, the prime suspect in his wife’s murder, has disappeared. He owns a boat and has a pilot’s licence – he could be anywhere and there are many who’d like to find him.
First there’s the police. If he’s innocent, why did he flee? Then again, maybe he was set up by one of his enemies. The scenario reads like the plot of one of Houston’s million-copy-selling thrillers… Goodreads

And the final book to make it onto the wishlist is courtesy of another fellow book blogger Crimeworm whose review of The Amber Fury by Natalie Haynes who pitches this as for anyone who enjoys a slightly unusual crime novel, with more of a psychological aspect, would love this highly accomplished debut

The Amber Fury

Blurb

When you open up, who will you let in?
Alex Morris has lost everything :her relationship, her career and her faith in the future. Moving to Edinburgh to escape her demons, Alex takes a job teaching at a Pupil Referral Unit. It’s a place for kids whose behaviour is so extreme that they cannot be taught in a normal classroom. Alex is fragile with grief and way out of her depth.
Her fourth-year students are troubled and violent. In desperation to reach them, Alex turns to the stories she knows best. Greek tragedy isn’t the most obvious way to win over such damaged children, yet these tales of fate, family and vengeance speak directly to them.
Enthralled by the bloodthirsty justice of the ancient world, the teenagers begin to weave the threads of their own tragedy – one that Alex watches, helpless to prevent. Amazon

Read Crimworm’s review to find out more.

What have you found to read this week? – please share!

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (November 21) A change to the norm

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).

This week I don’t have any new finds instead this is a plea for you to help me out.

As those who regularly visit my blog know I schedule my reading well in advance but I have deliberately not picked any books due out in December, instead I decided to catch up on the TBR which normally gets added to each week.  All fine in theory but as the December approaches I don’t feel at all comfortable with no books on my excel spreadsheet so I’m going to employ different methods of choosing which books to read.  Yes, I am that sad that I can’t simply pick one of a huge number available and say I’ll read that next!

I have four books on my physical bookshelf and I’ll read the one who gets the highest marks for one of my December reads. Which one do you like the sound of? Even better have you read any of these and would recommend that I do?

Please take the poll at the end of this post!

The Missing One by Lucy Atkins

The Missing One

Blurb

The loss of her mother has left Kali McKenzie with too many unanswered questions. But while clearing out Elena’s art studio, she finds a drawer packed with postcards, each bearing an identical one-line message a Canadian gallery owner called Susannah Gillespie: thinking of you. Who is this woman and what does she know about Elena’s hidden past?
Desperate to find out, Kali travels with her toddler, Finn, to Susannah’s isolated home on a remote British Columbian island, a place of killer whales and storms. But as bad weather closes in, Kali quickly realises she has made a big mistake. The handsome and enigmatic Susannah refuses to talk about the past, and as Kali struggles to piece together what happened back in the 1970s, Susannah’s behaviour grows more and more erratic. Most worrying of all, Susannah is becoming increasingly preoccupied with little Finn . . .
A tense, thrilling novel about a family divided by secrets, and the lengths a mother will go to protect her child. Amazon

Every Contact Leaves A Trace by Elanor Dymott

Every Contact Leaves a Trace

Blurb

Alex is in his thirties, a solitary man who has finally found love in the form of his beautiful and vivacious wife, Rachel. When Rachel is brutally murdered one Midsummer Night by the lake in the grounds of their alma mater, Worcester College, Oxford, Alex’s life as he knew it vanishes. He returns to Oxford that winter, and through the shroud of his shock and grief, begins to try to piece together the mystery surrounding his wife’s death. Playing host to Alex’s winter visit is Harry, Rachel’s former tutor and trusted mentor, who turns out to have been involved in some way in almost every significant development of their relationship throughout their undergraduate years. In his exploration of Rachel’s history, Alex also turns to Evie, Rachel’s self-centred and difficult godmother, whose jealousy of her charge has waxed and waned over the years. And then there are her university friends, Anthony and Cissy, who shared with Rachel her love of Browning and a taste for the illicit. Goodreads

Before The Poison by Peter Robinson

Before the Poison

Blurb

Through years of success in Hollywood composing music for Oscar-winning films, Chris Lowndes always imagined he would come full circle, home to Yorkshire with his beloved wife Laura.
Now he’s back in the Yorkshire Dales, but Laura is dead, and Chris needs to make a new life for himself. The isolated house he buys sight unseen should give him the space to come to terms with his grief and the quiet to allow him to work.
Kilnsgate House turns out to be rather more than he expected, however. A man died there, sixty years ago. His wife was convicted of murder. And something is pulling Chris deeper and deeper into the story of Grace Elizabeth Fox, who was hanged by the neck until she was dead . . .Goodreads

Unhallowed Ground by Gillian White

Unhallowed Ground

Blurb

A single woman living alone in the middle of nowhere, amid a handful of peculiar neighbours and with a past that continues to haunt her–what more is needed as the basis for a thriller? Only things that go bump in the night and a mysterious figure that appears in the fields. White delivers all this and more to produce a classic that tingles the spine, just as it promises.
When a child under her jurisdiction is murdered at the hands of an abusive family, social worker Georgina Jefferson suffers an inevitable, and unbearable backlash. Desperate to escape the adverse media attention, she moves to the cottage of her recently deceased brother. Not only does she believe this to be a good way to discover more about a brother she never knew, she also feels a winter spent on her own in the country will help her get her life back on track. Foolish sentiments indeed, as it transpires, especially when a burnt doll is discovered in the woodshed….Amazon

Thank you so much for your help.

What have you found to read this week?

Posted in Books I want to Read

Book Sales are Dangerous for Addicts

Yesterday it was our local Guide Dogs For The Blind paperback book sale which is a charity which I support by going to each of their bi-annual events. This year was no different so off we went to St Ouens (pronounced Wans) Parish Hall to see what we could find.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Not forgetting that I made a pledge not so very long ago  to reduce those books I own on my TBR to a more manageable level, (actually this post was done less than a month ago), I only took one bag and was really there to browse and maybe pick up one or two books…. it didn’t work, I started off well but it soon descended into chaos as I picked the below stash…

Books GDFB
An absolute bargain!

Out of these The Chemistry of Death has been on my wishlist since I read the powerful Stone Bruises by Simon Beckett as has The Stranger House a standalone novel by the wonderful late Reginald Hill and then added another of his books, Pictures of Perfection which is part of the Dalziel and Pascoe series.

TCOD books

Another great find was The Missing One by Lucy Atkins, a story about secrets, which has also been on my wishlist since its release in January this year and the intriguing The Darkening Hour by Penny Hancock, a psychological story that has viewpoints from  a Moroccan maid Mona, and her employer Dora.

The Missing One

Then I picked up some classics, these are both favourite books which I have read and loved but lost during the twists and turns of life as well as a couple of new reads for me including a couple of new Graham Greene books after loving The End Of The Affair earlier this year.

Classics

Rounded off with a cup of tea at a café by the sea I went home before lunch-time with my bag overflowing. What out of my haul, if any, would you recommend I read?