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Monday, 30 October 2017

Down the TBR Hole #10





I am back!! The organising of books is still in need of some serious attention so time to attack the TBR list again from GoodReads to see what goodies (and baddies) that I've added over the years and forgotten about!!  With some of them I am beginning to think that I either add them while I'm asleep, or there is a ghost me that just adds random books as a laugh!!  Can't all be my doing surely??!!!  


Very grateful to Lia @ Lost In A Story for thinking this little exercise up to help us all keep our growing TBR lists in some kind of order and under control!!  Let's see what goodies/awful titles I'd wiped from my memory this time round......

Here is how it all works....


  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?



Madeleine is Sleeping by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum


When a girl falls into a deep and impenetrable sleep, the borders between her provincial French village and the peculiar, beguiling realm of her dreams begin to disappear: A fat woman sprouts delicate wings and takes flight; a failed photographer stumbles into the role of pornographer; a beautiful young wife grows to resemble her husband's viol. And in their midst travels Madeleine, the dreamer, who is trying to make sense of her own metamorphosis as she leaves home, joins a gypsy circus, and falls into an unexpected triangle of desire and love.

This sounds completely mad and bizarre - I think I might like it!!

Verdict - KEEP!!


BITTER FRUITS by ALICE CLARK-PLATTS


Detective Inspector Erica Martin's first case in the university city of Durham is Emily Brabents, a first-year student, who is found dead in the river.

DI Martin visits Joyce College, a cradle for the country's future elite, and finds a close-knit community full of secrets, jealousy and obsession.

Her search reveals a vicious online trolling culture but could Emily, from the privileged and popular crowd, have been a victim? Should the sudden confession to the murder by the student president be believed? 

And just who is the mysterious Daniel Shepherd whose name keeps appearing in the investigation...?

Another one of those books that I don't remember adding - do love the cover though!  Does sound like a fascinating debut with some good reviews...

VERDICT - KEEP!!


BLUE DAHLIA by NORA ROBERTS


Recently widowed Stella Rothschild has found a new love in Logan Kitridge. But there is someone who isn't happy about Stella's growing feelings for Logan: the Harper Bride, an unidentified woman whose grief and rage have kept her spirit alive long past the death of her body.

Why do so many of these books have such pretty covers?! And I do love a Dahlia!!  This is the start of a trilogy... I've got to give it a go really haven't i?!

Verdict - KEEP!!

PLOTTED IN CORNWALL by JANIE BOLITHO



Painter and photographer Rose Trevelyan, has been commissioned to paint the portraits of two sisters in a remote farmhouse on Bodmin Moor. Rose's curiosity is aroused when she hears, through a talented young pupil she teaches at evening classes, that the sisters might possibly have something to hide. When she also learns that two of the pupils' relatives have disappeared Rose starts to wonder whether one of the missing pair may have been murdered. DI Jack Pearce refuses to take her seriously but Rose carries on regardless - and uncovers secrets her protege's family would rather she had left alone.

why are so many books set in Cornwall I wonder?!  This sounds like an easy read, but not really exciting me enough re-reading the blurb to make me want to pick it up anytime soon..

VERDICT - GO!!

A COLD SEASON by ALISON LITTLEWOOD



Cass is building a new life for herself and her young son Ben after the death of her soldier husband Pete, returning to the village where she lived as a child. But their idyllic new home is not what she expected: the other flats are all empty, there's strange graffiti on the walls, and the villagers are a bit odd. And when an unexpectedly heavy snowstorm maroons the village, things get even harder. Ben is changing, he's surly and aggressive and Cass's only confidant is the smooth, charming Theodore Remick, the stand-in headmaster. Not everyone approves of Cass's growing closeness to Mr Remick, and it soon becomes obvious he's not all he appears to be either. If she is to protect her beloved son, Cass is going to have to fight back. Cass realises this is not the first time her family have been targeted by Theodore Remick. But this time, the stakes are immeasurably higher...

I have enjoyed reading books from this author in the past.  This was her debut work and although it intrigues me it seems to have received mixed reviews...

VERDICT - GO!!

SILENT SCREAM by ANGELA MARSONS

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?

Suffering a little recently from crime fatigue and in need of lighter reads..

VERDICT - GO!!

THE COUNTENANCE DIVINE by MICHAEL HUGHES

An ambitious, engrossing and multi-layered debut novel
'Michael Hughes writes like a brilliant cross between David Mitchell and Hilary Mantel' Toby Litt

In 1999 a programmer is trying to fix the millennium bug, but can't shake the sense he's been chosen for something.

In 1888, five women are brutally murdered in the East End by a troubled young man in thrall to a mysterious master.

In 1777 an apprentice engraver called William Blake has a defining spiritual experience; thirteen years later this vision returns.

And in 1666, poet and revolutionary John Milton completes the epic for which he will be remembered centuries later.

But where does the feeling come from that the world is about to end?

That cover!! Wonder why I put this one on the list?!  And by the reviews it seems to be one of those 'marmite' books - either loved or hated! So I think that has tempted me a little more to give it a try..

VERDICT - KEEP!!

MURDER WITH PEACOCKS by DONNA ANDREWS

Three Weddings...And a Murder

So far Meg Langslow's summer is not going swimmingly. Down in her small Virginia hometown, she's maid of honor at the nuptials of three loved ones--each of whom has dumped the planning in her capable hands. One bride is set on including a Native American herbal purification ceremony, while another wants live peacocks on the lawn. Only help from the town's drop-dead gorgeous hunk, disappointingly rumored to be gay, keeps Meg afloat in a sea of dotty relatives and outrageous neighbors.

And, in a whirl of summer parties and picnics, Southern hospitality is strained to the limit by an offensive newcomer who hints at skeletons in the guests' closets. But it seems this lady has offended one too many when she's found dead in suspicious circumstances, followed by a string of accidents--some fatal. Soon, level-headed Meg's to-do list extends from flower arrangements and bridal registries to catching a killer--before the next catered event is her own funeral...

Was recommeded this series by a friend and it looks to be a fun easy read... and we all need more of those in our lives!!

VERDICT - KEEP!!


THE PRIMROSE PATH by REBECCA GRIFFITHS


Haunted by her past. In danger from her present. Isolated, alone, vulnerable. Sometimes the danger is closer than you think. As a teenager, Sarah D'Villez famously escaped a man who abducted and held her hostage for eleven days. The case became notorious, with Sarah's face splashed across the front of every newspaper in the country. Now, seventeen years later, that man is about to be released from prison. Fearful of the media storm that is sure to follow, Sarah decides to flee to rural Wales under a new identity, telling nobody where she's gone. Settling into the small community she is now part of, Sarah soon realises that someone is watching her. Someone who seems to know everything about her ...

The Primrose Path is a tense, twisty, atmospheric suspense thriller that will make sure you leave all your lights on at night.

Another psychological thriller and I'm not sure if I've had my fill of the genre for a while but then again there are some good reviews....

VERDICT - KEEP (for now!)

THE ONE HUNDRED NIGHTS OF HERO by ISABEL GREENBERG


In the tradition of The Arabian Nights, a beautifully illustrated tapestry of folk tales and myths about the secret legacy of female storytellers in an imagined medieval world.

In the Empire of Migdal Bavel, Cherry is married to Jerome, a wicked man who makes a diabolical wager with his friend Manfred: if Manfred can seduce Cherry in one hundred nights, he can have his castle--and Cherry.

But what Jerome doesn't know is that Cherry is in love with her maid Hero. The two women hatch a plan: Hero, a member of the League of Secret Story Tellers, will distract Manfred by regaling him with a mesmerizing tale each night for 100 nights, keeping him at bay. Those tales are beautifully depicted here, touching on themes of love and betrayal and loyalty and madness.

As intricate and richly imagined as the works of Chris Ware, and leavened with a dry wit that rivals Kate Beaton's in Hark! A Vagrant, Isabel Greenberg's One Hundred Nights of Hero will capture readers' hearts and minds, taking them through a magical medieval world.

Another recommendation from the many BookTube channels I view, this sounds like an amazing escapism read with beautiful illustrations..

VERDICT - KEEP!!



So 3 have made it off my list for now! Have I made the right choices?! Do I need to put some back or add some more to go?! Always happy to hear your advice!!!

















Sunday, 29 October 2017

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up!!


Hello all!! Sorry things have been a little sparse on the Blog front this week - I've been in a real low mood all week and just haven't been able to shake myself out of it, despite the sunshine and a few book purchases!! That normally always works - maybe I didn't buy enough?!  Fingers crossed I can return to my happy state of mind soon enough as I just hate feeling like this and it stops me enjoying reading as well....... that's my excuse for not reading as much this week so there!

Well, saying I've not read much this week doesn't seem right when I say I've managed to finish 4 books this week - well, 2 books, 1 audio book and 1 graphic novel/comic!  But they all count in my world!!  And when one of those books was over 500 pages long, then maybe I should give myself a break!!

BOOKS READ

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street  - 2 stars


I listened to the audio version of this one and it was really disappointing for me as I just didn't connect at all with the storyline or characters.  This is normally the kind of book that I love to read, but it just kept making me lose interest - maybe I will have to read the paperback version to get my mind fully on track with it!

THE CROW GARDEN by ALISON LITTLEWOOD  -  4 STARS


Really loved this reading experience and perfect for this time of year with its' creepy setting - in an asylum - and the characters were full of intrigue and quirkiness that appeals to me!  Highly recommended!

I HATE FAIRYLAND by SKOTTIE YOUNG  -  5 STARS


I really enjoy this series and this one didn't disappoint and might even by my favourite of the 3!! So funny, sharp and the illustrations are just stunning!! Worth a look if you are keen to venture into the graphic novel/comic book world - and you like your characters to be funny and murderous!!

THE BOOK OF DUST by PHILIP PULLMAN -  5 STARS


What else can I say about this book!?! I bought it on the Friday, started it that evening and then finished it on Saturday afternoon and I just adored being back in the world of Lyra and the daemons!! Can't believe it has been 22 years since His Dark Materials had been out and reading this has made me want to re-read the trilogy all over again and then count down the days to the next installment!!


BOOK POST

Not been misbehaving too much on the book acquiring front,especially with Christmas approaching - hopefully Santa will think me worthy of bringing me a book or two! - so just a few to share this week!

THE LAST HOURS by MINETTE WALTERS

For most, the Black Death is the end. For a brave few, it heralds a new beginning. 

When the Black Death enters England through the port of Melcombe in Dorseteshire in June 1348, no one knows what manner of sickness it is or how it spreads and kills so quickly. The Church cites God as the cause, and religious fear grips the people as they come to believe that the plague is a punishment for wickedness.

But Lady Anne of Develish has her own ideas. Educated by nuns, Anne is a rarity among women, being both literate and knowledgeable. With her brutal husband absent from Develish when news of this pestilence reaches her, she takes the decision to look for more sensible ways to protect her people than daily confessions of sin. Well-versed in the importance of isolating the sick from the well, she withdraws her people inside the moat that surrounds her manor house and refuses entry even to her husband.

She makes an enemy of her daughter and her husband's steward by doing so, but her resolve is strengthened by the support of her leading serfs … until food stocks run low and the nerves of all are tested by continued confinement and ignorance of what is happening in the world outside. The people of Develish are alive. But for how long? And what will they discover when the time comes for them to cross the moat? 

Received this from Readers First, and it looks to be a fascinating historical story as well as being rather gorgeous to look at! What is it about having gold on a cover that makes me fall in love with it?!!


PAPER HEARTS AND SUMMER KISSES by CAROLE MATTHEWS

Christie Chapman is a single working mother who spends her days commuting to her secretarial job in London and looking after her teenage son, Finn. It can be tough just getting through the day but Christie has always found comfort in her love of crafting and any spare time she has is spent in her parents' summerhouse working on her beautiful creations. From intricately designed birthday cards to personalised gifts, Christie's flair for the handmade knows no bounds and it's not long before opportunity comes knocking. All of a sudden Christie sees a different future for her and Finn - one full of hope and possibility, and if the handsome Max Alexander is to be believed, one full of love too. It's all there for the taking.

And then, all of sudden, Christie's world is turned upside down.

Christie knows that something has to give, but what will she choose? Will she give up her dreams and the chance of real love? What price will she pay for doing the right thing? Can Christie find her happy ending in . . . Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses.


Another rather pretty cover, this was found in a local charity shop and I've heard so many good things about this that I needed to have this in my collection!!  Anyone else read it?!


THE BEGINNING OF THE WORLD IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT by JEN CAMPBELL

These days, you can find anything you need at the click of a button.
That's why I bought her heart online.


Spirits in jam jars, mini-apocalypses, animal hearts and side shows.
A girl runs a coffin hotel on a remote island.
A boy is worried his sister has two souls.
A couple are rewriting the history of the world. 
And mermaids are on display at the local aquarium.

The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night is a collection of twelve haunting stories; modern fairy tales brimming with magic, outsiders and lost souls.


I'm a big fan of Jen Campbell on YouTube and have loved her other books and recommendations, so can't wait to read this collection that I had to treat myself to as it just sounds magical!!  Ooh  and the cover is another stunner!!


CURRENTLY READING

Shocker!! Just one on the reading pile at the moment!!  I'm also currently reading a Choc Lit manuscript so can't really share anything about that - other than it features cakes so I'm already in love with it after one chapter!! - but I'm in the process of sorting my reading list out so hopefully I can get back on track with catching up on NetGalley reads, Reading Challenges and some books ahead of Blog Tours for November and December...... when did reading get so complicated???!!!


FLORENCE GRACE by TRACY REES
Florrie Buckley is an orphan, living on the wind-blasted moors of Cornwall. It's a hard existence but Florrie is content; she runs wild in the mysterious landscape. She thinks her destiny is set in stone.
But when Florrie is fourteen, she inherits a never-imagined secret. She is related to a wealthy and notorious London family, the Graces. Overnight, Florrie's life changes and she moves from country to city, from poverty to wealth.
Cut off from everyone she has ever known, Florrie struggles to learn the rules of this strange new world. And then she must try to fathom her destructive pull towards the enigmatic and troubled Turlington Grace, a man with many dark secrets of his own.


I recently read The Hourglass by Tracy Rees and adored it, so went out and got a couple of her other books and I'm really loving reading this so far!  Perfect bedtime reading - although not good for sleep as I'm always telling myself 'just one more chapter'!!

So what are you all reading at the moment?!  Have you been well behaved on the book buying front?! Hope so!!

HAPPY READING!!





Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Happy Publication Day! Double Festive Delights!!

Not just one, but TWO fabulous festive treats are out for you all to enjoy today from the wonderful team at Choc Lit .  

So without further ado, and in no particular order!, here's a peek at the gorgeous books published today and the links where you can get them!! What are you waiting for?!!!!!  Both are lined up on my Kindle and it is going to be tough to decide which one to start with!!  The time for festive reading is now upon us!!!!  

🎄🎅🎄🎅🎄🎅🎄🎅🎄🎅🎄🎅🎄🎅🎄🎅🎄🎅🎄🎅🎄🎅🎄🎅


A LITTLE CHRISTMAS FAITH by KATHRYN FREEMAN


Is it time to love Christmas again? 

Faith Watkins loves Christmas, which is why she’s thrilled that her new hotel in the Lake District will be open in time for the festive season. And Faith has gone all out; huge Christmas tree, fairy lights, an entire family of decorative reindeer. Now all she needs are the guests … 
But what she didn’t bank on was her first paying customer being someone like Adam Hunter. Rugged, powerfully built and with a deep sadness in his eyes, Adam is a man that Faith is immediately drawn to – but unfortunately he also has an intense hatred of all things Christmassy. 
As the countdown to the big day begins, Faith can’t seem to keep away from her mysterious guest, but still finds herself with more questions than answers: just what happened to Adam Hunter? And why does he hate Christmas?









🎄🎅🎄🎅🎄🎅🎄🎅🎄🎅🎄🎅🎄🎅🎄🎅🎄🎅🎄🎅


A LITTLE BIT OF CHRISTMAS MAGIC by KIRSTY FERRY




Any wish can be granted with a little bit of Christmas magic … 
As a wedding planner at Carrick Park Hotel Ailsa McCormack has devoted herself to making sure couples get their perfect day, but just occasionally that comes at a price – in this case, organising a Christmas Day wedding at the expense of her own Christmas. 

Not that Ailsa minds. There’s something very special about Carrick Park during the festive season and she’s always been fascinated by the past occupants of the place; particularly the beautiful and tragic Ella Carrick, whose striking portrait still hangs at the top of the stairs. 

And then an encounter with a tall, handsome and strangely familiar man in the drawing room on Christmas Eve sets off a chain of events that transforms Ailsa’s lonely Christmas into a far more magical occasion than she could have ever imagined …







HAPPY CHRISTMAS READING!!!



Sunday, 22 October 2017

The Crow Garden by Alison Littlewood #bookreview


THE BLURB

'There's an amazing sense of place and time in this novel, as Littlewood perfectly captures the literary style, attitudes, and class consciousness of Victorian England' - Publishers Weekly Susan Hill meets Alfred Hitchcock in Alison Littlewood's latest chiller:

 mad-doctor Nathaniel is obsessed with the beautiful Mrs Harleston - but is she truly delusional? Or is she hiding secrets that should never be uncovered ...? Haunted by his father's suicide, Nathaniel Kerner walks away from the highly prestigious life of a consultant to become a mad-doctor. He takes up a position at Crakethorne Asylum, but the proprietor is more interested in phrenology and his growing collection of skulls than the patients' minds. Nathaniel's only interesting case is Mrs Victoria Harleston: her husband accuses her of hysteria and delusions - but she accuses him of hiding secrets far more terrible. Nathaniel is increasingly obsessed with Victoria, but when he has her mesmerised, there are unexpected results: Victoria starts hearing voices, the way she used to - her grandmother always claimed they came from beyond the grave - but it also unleashes her own powers of mesmerism ...and a desperate need to escape. Increasingly besotted, Nathaniel finds himself caught up in a world of seances and stage mesmerism in his bid to find Victoria and save her. But constantly hanging over him is this warning: that doctors are apt to catch the diseases with which they are surrounded - whether of the body or the mind

Amazon UK  £12.99 hardback


Book Depository  £12.99 hardback

Waterstones  £16.99 hardback






MY REVIEW


I received a copy of this from the publishers in return for a fair and honest review.

The creepy cover sets the tone for this story set in Victorian England and focusing on the asylum/madhouses of the time. The way the patients were treated and how those treating them saw them - some of the methods used were quite horrifying and is fascinating to see how times have changed in how we treat those with mental illness.

It follows the story of Nathaniel Kerner, who has his own memories of madness in the family, and with the ghost of his fathers' suicide hanging over him, he sets out to right the wrongs he feels he was involved in, despite only being a child at the time of this fathers' death, and he becomes a 'mad-doctor' to carry on where his father left off. He wants to help those and learn more of how the brain works, and he finds himself at Crakethorne Asylum in deepest, darkest Yorkshire where he encounters Mrs Victoria Harleston. She is a patient there due to her husband complaining of her 'hysteria' and wants her 'mended' - the Victoria that Nathaniel meets though seems anything but crazy, and he soon becomes obsessed with her.

I really enjoyed the way this book is set - we get his point of view, his case notes and his own journal notes to see how he approaches those he meets, as well as looking back to his own past and dealing with his mother who, herself seems traumatized by the past.

His approach to treatment leads him to the world of the mesmerists, or hypnotists as we now know them, and this unlocks a much darker side to the story which is more chilling than horrifying, as you are left guessing as to the validity of those mesmerists, and of the patients and their experiences.

I found this to be such a hypnotic book to read - sorry for the pun! - with the wonderfully moody settings, the damaged characters and the insight to medical practices of the time. And there doesn't need to be actual monsters to create a horror story when there are people around who can be a lot scarier!!





Saturday, 21 October 2017

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up!



Hello all!! Sat here looking out on blue skies, which makes a change from the greyness of the past couple of days! Why can't it be like this all the time?! 

I trust we've all had a wonderful week?!  One word sums mine up, SLUGGISH!  That's how I've felt and how my approach to reading has been! It's like the reading side of my brain - if there is such a thing! - has gone on strike and I've really struggled to find the time or inclination to pick anything up!  Never a good thing BUT I'm happy to report that the past 24 hours have shown me that the brain can still work and reading has picked up a little so hopefully this is a good sign and will carry on! And with a big storm forecast for tomorrow, this could be handy for reading time!!  And eating biscuits!!

So how has your reading week been?!  Read much? Bought much?! Despite my little slump I have still managed to finish 3 books, 1 of which was an audio book.  Does anyone else do the audio thing?! I'm still undecided on the matter as I do find myself often being distracted while listening and not taking in what has been going on! Maybe the 'audio' part of my brain needs some re-training!!  

So here's how my bookish week has looked... please click on the title if you'd like to read my GoodReads reviews!

BOOKS FINISHED


So lovely to read a book of my choice, just for fun and really escape into!! I need to do this more often!!





This was the audio book that I listened to and it did take a while for me to get into, but was worth the effort!


BOOK HAUL

This week there has only really been one book on my radar that I NEEDED to have and so today I got my mitts on a copy thanks to a little visit to a nearby Waterstones....



Finally!!  La Belle Sauvage is with us!! Anyone else as excited as me?!  If you've not read His Dark Materials trilogy then this will mean nothing to you! But if you have, then this means everything and I can't wait to see what journey this 'prequel' trilogy will take us all on!! Squeeeeee!!!

And another book/comic that I've been excited to get hold of arrived this week too..



This is fabulous fun and such good escapism! If you are looking for a good way to break into comics/graphic novels, then you can't go wrong with this! It is fluffing fantastic!!



This was a freebie as I re-subscribed to the fabulous Nudge Books who produce a rather fine magazine and website full of book recommendations and reviews, and I'm intrigued to read this as I've not heard of the author before.


First saw this on another fab book website, Readers First , where you get to read a first impression of a book  and that is what made me want to read more!  Has a bit of a sci-fi twist to it and that always gets my attention!  It has mixed reviews and sounds like a bit of  hit or miss book - wonder which side of the fence I'll be on!!

CURRENTLY READING

Visited the Borrowbox app again on my tablet for yet another audiobook to listen too while I do some cross-stitch ( I like to multi-task when I can!!) and this was my choice;



I have the paperback version of this - with it's lovely green page edges! - and it has been sitting on my bookshelves FOREVER!! So when I saw it available in Audio version I jumped in and started to listen - so far so good!!  Really liking the storyline and pace!


How could I not jump in and start reading this straight away?! Perfect escapism reading material just before bedtime!!




It's that time of year again to start reading books that are a little darker and more mysterious and this is definitely one of those so far - really enjoying it and can't wait to finish it which will hopefully be very soon!!!




So there we have another week all wrapped up!!  Just hope my reading brain doesn't go on strike again anytime soon!  Hope it has been a successful reading and book buying week for you all too!! Any must reads that I need to add to my lists?!! Always love your comments!!

HAPPY READING