After a few weeks of book drought, this week has seen a positive deluge of lovely things…
The Midnight Sea (The Fourth Element #1) by Kat Ross (ebook, free)
They are the light against the darkness. Nazafareen lives for revenge. A girl of the isolated Four-Legs Clan, all she knows about the King’s elite Water Dogs is that they bind wicked creatures called daevas to protect the empire from the Undead. But when scouts arrive to recruit young people with the gift, she leaps at the chance to join their ranks. To hunt the monsters that killed her sister. Scarred by grief, she’s willing to pay any price, even if it requires linking with a daeva named Darius. Human in body, he’s possessed of a terrifying power, one that Nazafareen controls. But the golden cuffs that join them have an unwanted side effect. Each experiences the other’s emotions, and human and daeva start to grow dangerously close. As they pursue a deadly foe across the arid waste of the Great Salt Plain to the glittering capital of Persepolae, unearthing the secrets of Darius’s past along the way, Nazafareen is forced to question his slavery—and her own loyalty to the empire. But with an ancient evil stirring in the north, and a young conqueror sweeping in from the west, the fate of an entire civilization may be at stake…
Thin Air by Michelle Paver (ebook, 99p)
The Himalayas, 1935. Kangchenjunga. Third-highest peak on earth. Greatest killer of them all. Five Englishmen set off from Darjeeling, determined to conquer the sacred summit. But courage can only take them so far – and the mountain is not their only foe. As the wind dies, the dread grows. Mountain sickness. The horrors of extreme altitude. A past that will not stay buried.And sometimes, the truth does not set you free.
Why Did You Lie by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir (ebook, 99p)
A journalist on the track of an old case attempts suicide. An ordinary couple return from a house swap in the states to find their home in disarray and their guests seemingly missing. Four strangers struggle to find shelter on a windswept spike of rock in the middle of a raging sea. They have one thing in common: they all lied. And someone is determined to punish them…
The Woman in the Shadows by Carol McGrath (ebook, £1.99)
The Woman in the Shadows presents the rise of Thomas Cromwell, Tudor England’s most powerful statesman, through the eyes of his wife Elizabeth. When beautiful cloth merchant’s daughter Elizabeth Williams is widowed at the age of twenty-two, she is determined to make herself a success in the business she has learned from her father. But there are those who oppose a woman making her own way in the world, and soon Elizabeth realises she may have some powerful enemies – enemies who also know the truth about her late husband… Security – and happiness – comes when Elizabeth is introduced to kindly, ambitious merchant turned lawyer, Thomas Cromwell. Their marriage is one based on mutual love and respect…but it isn’t always easy being the wife of an influential, headstrong man in Henry VIII’s London. The city is filled with ruthless people and strange delights – and Elizabeth realises she must adjust to the life she has chosen…or risk losing everything.
The Smallest Thing by Lisa Manterfield (ebook, review copy courtesy of Xpresso Tours)
The very last thing 17-year-old Emmott Syddall wants is to turn out like her dad. She’s descended from ten generations who never left their dull English village, and there’s no way she’s going to waste a perfectly good life that way. She’s moving to London and she swears she is never coming back. But when the unexplained deaths of her neighbours force the government to quarantine the village, Em learns what it truly means to be trapped. Now, she must choose. Will she pursue her desire for freedom, at all costs, or do what’s best for the people she loves: her dad, her best friend Deb, and, to her surprise, the mysterious man in the HAZMAT suit? Inspired by the historical story of the plague village of Eyam, this contemporary tale of friendship, community, and impossible love weaves the horrors of recent news headlines with the intimate details of how it feels to become an adult—and fall in love—in the midst of tragedy.
Zenka by Alison Brodie (eARC, courtesy of the author, cover not yet available)
“She’s the one to die for.” Zenka is a seductive Hungarian pole-dancer with a stubborn streak. When London mob boss, Jack Murray, saves her life she vows to become his guardian angel – whether he likes it or not. “How can you be my guardian angel,” Jack scoffed. “You’re only five foot two.” Zenka shrugged, “So vat? I am small, but a grenade is also small.” Jack receives a letter saying he has a son, Nicholas. Jack is delighted to be a dad, but he has to tread carefully. People are out to harm him and those close to him. Can he use his wealth, wiles and tough-guy contacts to make a man out of this mouse – before his enemies turn him into mincemeat? Zenka takes charge. She’s going to “bring out the gorilla” in Nicholas. And she succeeds! As family ties become more disturbing, questions have to be asked: How do you tell a mob boss you don’t want to be his son? And is Zenka really who she says she is?
The Honey Farm on the Hill by Jo Thomas (paperback, review copy courtesy of Headline)
We never forget the one who got away. Eighteen years ago Nell fell in love in the mountains of Crete and life changed forever. Nell’s daughter, Demi, has never met her dad. Nell never saw him again. When she gets the chance to return to the hilltop town of Vounoplagia – where everything began – Nell can’t resist the urge to go back and find him. Working on a honey farm perched high up in the hills, there’s plenty to keep her busy. And she will quickly realise the town harbours just as many secrets as she does. But if Nell’s favourite romantic films are right, there’s a happy ending in store for each of us. All she has to do is seek out the magic of the mountains…
Home is Nearby by Magdalena McGuire (paperback, ARC courtesy of Impress Books)
1980: the beginning of the Polish Crisis. Brought up in a small village, country-girl Ania arrives in the university city of Wroclaw to pursue her career as a sculptor. Here she falls in love with Dominik, an enigmatic writer at the centre of a group of bohemians and avant-garde artists who throw wild parties. When martial law is declared, their lives change overnight: military tanks appear on the street, curfews are introduced and the artists are driven underground. Together, Ania and Dominik fight back, pushing against the boundaries imposed by the authoritarian communist government. But at what cost?
Island of Secrets by Patricia Wilson (paperback, review copy courtesy of Bonnier Zaffre)
Can you escape your past in paradise? ‘The story started at dawn on the fourteenth of September, 1943 . . .’ All her life, London-born Angelika has been intrigued by her mother’s secret past. Now planning her wedding, she feels she must visit the remote Crete village her mother grew up in. Angie’s estranged elderly grandmother, Maria, is dying. She welcomes Angie with open arms – it’s time to unburden herself, and tell the story she’ll otherwise take to her grave. It’s the story of the Nazi occupation of Crete during the Second World War, of horror, of courage and of the lengths to which a mother will go to protect her children. And it’s the story of bitter secrets that broke a family apart, and of three enchanting women who come together to heal wounds that have damaged two generations.
Keep Me Safe by Daniela Sacerdoti (eARC, NetGalley)
What do you do when your six-year-old daughter starts telling you about her other mother, her other life? This is what happens to Anna after her daughter Ava’s father disappears, leaving behind a traumatised little girl. After three days of silence, Ava begins to share mysterious memories with her mother, and to draw pictures of a place she’s never visited. Anna knows that the only way to find the truth is to travel to the place Ava is talking about – a tiny island called Seal. There, on the edge of the Atlantic, where their past and their future meet, there might be a whole new world, a whole new life waiting for them…
One Day in December by Shari Low (eARC, NetGalley)
By the stroke of midnight, a heart would be broken, a cruel truth revealed, a devastating secret shared, and a love betrayed. Four lives would be changed forever, One Day in December. One morning in December… Caro set off on a quest to find out if her relationship with her father had been based on a lifetime of lies. Lila decided today would be the day that she told her lover’s wife of their secret affair. Cammy was on the way to pick up the ring for the surprise proposal to the woman he loved. And Bernadette vowed that this was the day she would walk away from her controlling husband of 30 years and never look back. One day, four lives on a collision course with destiny…
Maria in the Moon by Louise Beech (ebook, review copy courtesy of Orenda Books)
Long ago my beloved Nanny Eve chose my name. Then one day she stopped calling me it. I try now to remember why, but I just can’t.’ Thirty-one-year-old Catherine Hope has a great memory. But she can’t remember everything. She can’t remember her ninth year. She can’t remember when her insomnia started. And she can’t remember why everyone stopped calling her Catherine-Maria. With a promiscuous past, and licking her wounds after a painful breakup, Catherine wonders why she resists anything approaching real love. But when she loses her home to the deluge of 2007 and volunteers at Flood Crisis, a devastating memory emerges … and changes everything. Dark, poignant and deeply moving, Maria in the Moon is an examination of the nature of memory and truth, and the defences we build to protect ourselves, when we can no longer hide…
On What Cathy Read Next last week
On Monday I shared my review of The Thirteenth Gate by Kat Ross, a really entertaining historical mystery set in the era of Jack the Ripper – with added ghouls and daemons! The following day, I hosted a slot on the blog tour for The Other Twin by L V Hay and shared my review of this unsettling psychological mystery. For Throwback Thursday, I shared my review of a book that’s been sitting in my review stack for some time – Catherine Dickens: Outside the Magic Circle by Heera Datta. It tells the story of the breakdown of Charles Dickens’ marriage from the point of view of his wife, Catherine.
On Tuesday I did some more clearing out of my To-Read shelf on Goodreads courtesy of the Down the TBR Hole meme. Wednesday is WWW Wednesday, where I and other book bloggers share what we’ve been reading, are currently reading and plan to read next. I also reported on my Five Favourite July Reads. On Thursday I took part in the book blitz for the historical fiction novel, Envoy of Jerusalem by Helena P Schrader. On Friday, I shared the ARCs I’m targeting to read as part of ARC August. Still time to sign up!
- Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge – 93 out of 78 books read, 3 more than last week. I still need to set that new target….
- Classics Club Challenge – 4 out of 50 books reviewed (same as last week)
- NetGalley/Edelweiss Reading Challenge 2017 (Gold) – 42 ARCs reviewed out of 50 (same as last week)
- From Page to Screen 2017 – 7 book/film comparisons out of 12 completed (same as last week)
- ARC August – 0 ARCs out of 6 read NEW
- The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction Shortlist 2017 – Completed
On What Cathy Read Next this week
- Book Review: The Room by the Lake by Emma Dibdin
- Book Review: The Sixteen Trees of the Somme by Lars Mytting
- Book Review: The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz
- Throwback Thursday: The Scribe’s Daughter by Stephanie Churchill
- Book Review: In Shadowland by Timothy Ashby