My Week in Books – 3rd December ’17


New arrivals

The Twelve-Mile StraightThe Twelve-Mile Straight by Eleanor Henderson (eARC, NetGalley)

Cotton County, Georgia, 1930: in a house full of secrets, two babies-one light-skinned, the other dark-are born to Elma Jesup, a white sharecropper’s daughter. Accused of her rape, field hand Genus Jackson is lynched and dragged behind a truck down the Twelve-Mile Straight, the road to the nearby town. In the aftermath, the farm’s inhabitants are forced to contend with their complicity in a series of events that left a man dead and a family irrevocably fractured.

Despite the prying eyes and curious whispers of the townspeople, Elma begins to raise her babies as best as she can, under the roof of her mercurial father, Juke, and with the help of Nan, the young black housekeeper who is as close to Elma as a sister. But soon it becomes clear that the ties that bind all of them together are more intricate than any could have ever imagined. As startling revelations mount, a web of lies begins to collapse around the family, destabilizing their precarious world and forcing all to reckon with the painful truth.

Three Things About ElsieThree Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon (eARC, NetGalley)

There are three things you should know about Elsie. The first thing is that she’s my best friend. The second is that she always knows what to say to make me feel better. And the third thing… might take a little bit more explaining.

84-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she waits to be rescued, Florence wonders if a terrible secret from her past is about to come to light; and, if the charming new resident is who he claims to be, why does he look exactly a man who died sixty years ago?

ElenaElena by Rupert Colley (ebook, free with newsletter sign-up)

Naples, 1944. Elena, aged twelve, is left orphaned and traumatized by war. But a gift from an American soldier shows her that kindness can still exist in a cruel world.

Post-war, and now a young woman, the memory of the soldier obsesses her. Eleven years after their first meeting, their paths cross again and Elena’s life will never be the same.


Beautiful StarBeautiful Star & Other Stories by Andrew Swanston (paperback, review copy courtesy of The Dome Press)

History is brought alive by the people it affects, rather than those who created it.

In Beautiful Star we meet Eilmer, a monk in 1010 with Icarus-like dreams; Charles I, hiding in 1651, and befriended by a small boy; the trial of Jane Wenham, witch of Walkern, seen through the eyes of her granddaughter. This is a moving and affecting journey through time, bringing a new perspective to the defence of Corfe Castle, the battle of Waterloo, the siege of Toulon and, in the title story, the devastating dangers of the life of the sea in 1875.

Cold, Cold HeartCold, Cold Heart (Katie Flanagan #2) by Christine Poulson (eARC, courtesy of the author)

After the events of Deep Water, scientist Katie Flanagan has gained an undeserved reputation as a troublemaker. Her research career has foundered. When an accident creates an opening at an Antarctic station, she seizes the opportunity, flying in on the last plane before winter and the months of darkness close off all escape routes. Unfortunately for Katie, a revenge-seeking killer is at large at the station. Meanwhile patent lawyer Daniel Marchmont has been asked by a venture capitalist to conduct background research into a company involved in Antarctic experiments. His investigations threaten to uncover scientific fraud and expose powerful individuals, some of them at the Antarctic station. Hitting too close to the truth, Daniel’s sleuthing puts Katie in fresh danger. Then the power at the research station fails. Will the killer help save them all . . . or kill them one by one?

The Mermaid & Mrs HancockThe Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar (eARC, NetGalley)

This voyage is special. It will change everything…

One September evening in 1785, the merchant Jonah Hancock hears urgent knocking on his front door. One of his captains is waiting eagerly on the step. He has sold Jonah’s ship for what appears to be a mermaid. As gossip spreads through the docks, coffee shops, parlours and brothels, everyone wants to see Mr Hancock’s marvel. Its arrival spins him out of his ordinary existence and through the doors of high society. At an opulent party, he makes the acquaintance of Angelica Neal, the most desirable woman he has ever laid eyes on… and a courtesan of great accomplishment. This meeting will steer both their lives onto a dangerous new course, on which they will learn that priceless things come at the greatest cost. Where will their ambitions lead? And will they be able to escape the destructive power mermaids are said to possess?

On What Cathy Read Next last week

Blog posts

Monday – I published my review of The Summer of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman. Loads of my fellow book bloggers have raved about this book and I now know why. I loved lots of things about it but managed to reduce it down to just ten.

Tuesday – I shared my review of a chilling set of cautionary tales, The Sixth Man by Rupert Colley. I also compiled my list of the Top Ten Books on my Winter TBR List. Anyone who knows me will realise there are far more than ten books on my TBR. How many? Er….shall we just move on?

WednesdayWWW Wednesday is the opportunity to share what I’ve just finished reading, what I’m reading now and what I’ll be reading next.

Thursday – As part of the Throwback Thursday meme I published my review of The Existence of Pity by Jeannie Zokan, a really interesting coming-of-age story set in Colombia. Thursday is fast becoming the day where I review books that have been far too long in my review pile. Watch out for another one next week!

Friday – I was delighted to help publicise the publication day of A Queen’s Traitor by Sam Burnell, the follow-up to A Queen’s Spy (which is still languishing in my review pile. It’s in good company. Oh dear).

Saturday –I shared My 5 Favourite November Reads. It was a hard choice as I read a lot (for me) of books last month – 19, in fact – and most of them were really good.

Challenge updates

  • Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge – 150 out of 156 books read, 3 more than last week
  • Classics Club Challenge – 5 out of 50 books reviewed, same as last week
  • NetGalley/Edelweiss Reading Challenge 2017 (Gold) – 44 ARCs reviewed out of 50, same as last week
  • From Page to Screen 2016/7– 7 book/film comparisons out of 12 completed, same as last week
  • From Page to Screen 2017/18 – 1 out of 3 completed, same as last week

On What Cathy Read Next this week

Currently reading

Planned posts

  • Review: Death at Glacier Lake by Pam Stucky
  • Review: Fortune’s Wheel by Carolyn Hughes
  • Blog Tour/Q&A: The Tide Between Us by Olive Collins
  • From Page to Screen: Murder on the Orient Express
  • Review: Keep Me Safe by Daniela Sacerdoti

Christmas 5

9 thoughts on “My Week in Books – 3rd December ’17

    1. Elena is only a novella but you can download it free for signing up to the author’s newsletter on his website. I do agree about the book covers – they can definitely be the thing that entices me to look at a book, or that deters me!

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