My Week in Books

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New arrivals

Quite a few review copies received this week but I’ve managed to keep to my self-imposed rule of not purchasing books (particularly those tempting Kindle deals) unless they’re titles already on my Goodreads wishlist.

DanKnewDan Knew by F J Curlew (eARC courtesy of the author)

A Ukrainian street dog is rescued from certain death by an expat family. As he travels to new countries with them a darkness grows and he finds himself narrating more than just his story. More than a dog story. Ultimately it’s a story of escape and survival but maybe not his. The world through Wee Dan’s eyes in a voice that will stay with you long after you turn that last page.

CitizenKillCitizen Kill by Stephen Clark (eARC courtesy of the author)

When a devastating explosion kills the new President’s young son, her administration seeks to finally end the war on terror. CIA black-ops agent Justin Raines is among the recruits in a new program that targets for assassination U.S. citizens suspected of radicalizing Muslims. Haunted by a botched assignment overseas, Justin is determined to redeem himself through the program. But when he is assigned to kill a mysterious Muslim educator that he believes is innocent, he grows disillusioned. Now he must find a way to prove her innocence and derail the program before they both are assassinated. This explosive political thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat as Washington stops at nothing to protect the nation from terrorists, while Justin Raines risks everything to protect the nation from Washington.

1066WhatFatesImpose1066: What Fates Impose by G K Holloway (ebook, review copy courtesy of the author)

England is in crisis. King Edward has no heir and promises never to produce one. There are no obvious successors available to replace him, but quite a few claimants are eager to take the crown. While power struggles break out between the various factions at court, enemies abroad plot to make England their own. There are raids across the borders with Wales and Scotland. Harold Godwinson, Earl of Wessex, is seen by many as the one man who can bring stability to the kingdom. He has powerful friends and two women who love him, but he has enemies who will stop at nothing to gain power. As 1066 begins, England heads for an uncertain future. It seems even the heavens are against Harold. Intelligent and courageous, can Harold forge his own destiny – or does he have to bow to what fates impose?

TheIndigoGirlThe Indigo Girl by Natasha Boyd (eARC, NetGalley)

The year is 1739. Eliza Lucas is sixteen years old when her father leaves her in charge of their family’s three plantations in rural South Carolina and then proceeds to bleed the estates dry in pursuit of his military ambitions. Tensions with the British, and with the Spanish in Florida, just a short way down the coast, are rising, and slaves are starting to become restless. Her mother wants nothing more than for their South Carolina endeavour to fail so they can go back to England. Soon her family is in danger of losing everything. Upon hearing how much the French pay for indigo dye, Eliza believes it’s the key to their salvation. But everyone tells her it’s impossible, and no one will share the secret to making it. Thwarted at nearly every turn, even by her own family, Eliza finds that her only allies are an aging horticulturalist, an older and married gentleman lawyer, and a slave with whom she strikes a dangerous deal: teach her the intricate thousand-year-old secret process of making indigo dye and in return — against the laws of the day — she will teach the slaves to read. So begins an incredible story of love, dangerous and hidden friendships, ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice.

TheHouseofBirdsThe House of Birds by Morgan McCarthy (paperback, review copy courtesy of Tinder Press)

Oliver has spent years trying to convince himself that he’s suited to a life of money making in the city, and that he doesn’t miss a childhood spent in pursuit of mystery, when he cycled around the cobbled lanes of Oxford, exploring its most intriguing corners. When his girlfriend Kate inherits a derelict house – and a fierce family feud – she’s determined to strip it, sell it and move on. For Oliver though, the house has an allure, and amongst the shelves of discarded, leather bound and gilded volumes, he discovers one that conceals a hidden diary from the 1920s. So begins a quest: to discover the identity of the author, Sophia Louis. It is a portrait of war and marriage, isolation and longing and a story that will shape the future of the abandoned house – and of Oliver – forever.

The DaemoniacThe Daemoniac by Kat Ross (ebook, review copy courtesy of the author)

It’s August of 1888, just three weeks before Jack the Ripper will begin his grisly spree in the London slum of Whitechapel, and another serial murderer is stalking the gas-lit streets of New York. With taunting messages in backwards Latin left at the crime scenes and even more inexplicable clues like the fingerprints that appear to have been burned into one victim’s throat, his handiwork bears all the hallmarks of a demonic possession. But consulting detective Harrison Fearing Pell is convinced her quarry is a man of flesh and blood. Encouraged by her uncle, Arthur Conan Doyle, Harry hopes to make her reputation by solving the bizarre case before the man the press has dubbed Mr. Hyde strikes again. From the squalor of the Five Points to the high-class gambling dens of the Tenderloin and the glittering mansions of Fifth Avenue, Harry and her best friend, John Weston, follow the trail of a remorseless killer, uncovering a few embarrassing secrets of New York’s richest High Society families along the way. Are the murders a case of black magic—or simple blackmail? And will the trail lead them closer to home than they ever imagined?

TheSecretWoundThe Secret Wound by Deirdre Quiery (ebook, review copy courtesy of Urbane)

Deirdre Quiery’s follow up to the critical success of Eden Burning, The Secret Wound draws the reader into a complex web of relationships within the ex-pat community in Mallorca, discovering their dangerous secrets…and a potential murderer in their midst. One of their number carries a dark and deadly secret from their past, and has murderous plans for a fellow ex-pat. Can any of the close- knit community discover the brutal plans before they are all put in mortal danger? Deirdre Quiery’s gripping thriller is not just an addictive page turner, but provides a compelling exploration of human emotion and desires, and the terrible costs of jealousy and ambition.

DarkDawnoverSteepHouseDark Dawn over Steep House by M R C Kasasian (review copy courtesy of Head of Zeus)

London, 1884: 125 Gower Street, the residence of Sidney Grice, London’s foremost personal detective, and his ward March Middleton, is at peace. Midnight discussions between the great man and his charge have led to a harmony unseen in these hallowed halls since the great frog disaster of 1878. But harmony cannot last for long. A knock on the door brings mystery and murder once more to their home. A mystery that involves a Prussian Count, two damsels in distress, a Chinaman from Wales, a gangster looking for love and the shadowy ruin of a once-loved family home, Steep House.

TheSongofAchillesThe Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (ebook, 99p)

Greece in the age of Heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia. Here he is nobody, just another unwanted boy living in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. Achilles, ‘best of all the Greeks’, is everything Patroclus is not — strong, beautiful, the child of a goddess — and by all rights their paths should never cross. Yet one day, Achilles takes the shamed prince under his wing and soon their tentative companionship gives way to a steadfast friendship. As they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something far deeper — despite the displeasure of Achilles’s mother Thetis, a cruel and deathly pale sea goddess with a hatred of mortals. Fate is never far from the heels of Achilles. When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece are called upon to lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows Achilles into war, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they have learned, everything they hold dear. And that, before he is ready, he will be forced to surrender his friend to the hands of Fate.


On What Cathy Read Next last week

Book Reviews

On Sunday I published my review of The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes, part of my From Page to Screen Challenge. I managed to finish the book just a few days before seeing the film and I’ll be posting my comparison shortly. Tuesday saw my review of Golden Hill by Francis Spufford, one of the books shortlisted for The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction. The following day, I reviewed Days Without End by Sebastian Barry, another novel from the shortlist. As you can see, I had to do a last minute rush of reading to finish all the shortlisted novels and write my reviews before the prize announcement on Saturday 17th June (more of that below). On Thursday, I took part in the blog tour for Karen Aldous’ latest book, Under A Tuscan Sky – the perfect summer read for romance lovers. On Friday, I shared my reviews of the thriller Final Girls by Riley Sager and the last book on The Walter Scott Prize shortlist, The Vanishing Futurist by Charlotte Hobson.

Other posts

On Monday, I was delighted to feature a Q&A from husband and wife writing team, Anne Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks about their latest mystery, Weave A Murderous Web. Tuesday saw another Q&A, this time with Elyse Douglas (coincidentally the pen name for another husband and wife writing team) about The Summer Letters. I haven’t participated in many memes up until now but I liked the sound of Waiting on Wednesdays and really enjoyed finding out what other book bloggers have been reading, are reading currently and plan to read next. On Friday, I hosted a stop on the blog tour for Eileen Ramsay’s latest novel, The Farm Girl’s Dream and featured an extract from the book. My final post that day was my choice of novel to win The Walter Scott Prize and my prediction – they were one and the same, Days Without End. I’m pleased to report that I was correct in my prediction because Sebastian Barry’s book did indeed win, adding to the Costa Book Award won earlier in the year. Finally, on Saturday, I started a new series of posts with the title Book Geekery. The idea is to highlight lesser known facts about books and the book production process. My first post was about ISBNs.

Challenge updates

  • Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge – 72 out of 78 books read (3 more than last week)
  • Classics Club – 2 out of 50 books reviewed (same as last week)
  • NetGalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge 2017 (Gold) – 36 ARCs reviewed out of 50 (same as last week)
  • From Page to Screen – 6 book/film comparisons completed (same as last week)
  • The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction Shortlist 2017 – completed

On What Cathy Read Next this week

Currently reading

Planned posts

  • Blog Tour/Guest Post: Dancing in the Rain by Lucy Appadoo
  • Book Blitz: Shades of the Gods by Erin Hayes
  • Q&A: Pigeon-Blood Red by Ed Duncan
  • Book Review: Broken Branches by M Jonathan Lee
  • Meme: WWW Wednesday
  • From Page to Screen: The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
  • Blog Tour/Q&A: Master of Alaska by Roger Seiler

Reviews to be added to NetGalley

  • The Girl in the Glass Tower by Elizabeth Fremantle
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