My Week in Books – 23rd September ’18


New arrivals

Another fairly busy week in the arrivals lounge…

The BlueThe Blue by Nancy Bilyeau (eARC, courtesy of Endeavour Quill)

A novel of suspense that asks: What would you do for the most beautiful colour in the world?

The year is 1758, and a headstrong woman artist, 24-year-old Genevieve Planche, is caught up in a high-stakes competition to discover the ultimate colour that threatens to become as deadly as it is lucrative. The story sweeps readers from the worlds of the silk-weaving refugees of London’s Spitalfields and the luxury-obsessed drawing rooms of Grosvenor Square to the secretive porcelain factory of Derby and, finally, magnificent Sevres Porcelain, in the shadow of Versailles. And running through it all: the captivating history and dangerous allure of the colour blue.

The Death of Mrs WestawayThe Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware (ebook)

On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.

Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the center of it.

Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, this is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.

The Wooden HillThe Wooden Hill by Jamie Guiney (eARC, courtesy of Epoque Press)

As we climb the wooden hill to bed each night we trace our life’s journey from birth, then each step toward death, the final sleep.

This collection of short stories, by Jamie Guiney, explores what it is to be human at every stage of life, from the imminence of a new birth in ‘We Knew You Before You Were Born’, through to adolescence and the camaraderie of youthful friendships as portrayed in ‘Sam Watson & The Penny World Cup’.

Ultimately, all of our lives stride towards old age and the certainty of death, as poignantly evoked in the title story, ‘The Wooden Hill’.

Pre-order The Wooden Hill from Amazon UK

The Black PrinceThe Black Prince by Adam Roberts & Anthony Burgess (eARC, courtesy of Unbound and Random Things Tours)

The Black Prince is a brutal historical tale of chivalry, religious belief, obsession, siege and bloody warfare.

From disorientating depictions of medieval battles to court intrigues and betrayals, the campaigns of Edward II, the Black Prince, are brought to vivid life by an author in complete control of the novel as a way of making us look at history with fresh eyes, all while staying true to the linguistic pyrotechnics and narrative verve of Burgess’s best work.

Pre-order The Black Prince from Amazon UK

The Turn of MidnightThe Turn of Midnight (Black Death #2) by Minette Walters (hardcover, courtesy of Allen & Unwin and Readers First)

As the year turns from 1348 to 1349, the Black Death continues its relentless course across England. In Dorseteshire, the first county to be afflicted, the people of Develish begin to question if they are the lone survivors of this terrible pestilence.

Guided by their heretical mistress, Lady Anne, they wait inside the protection of a moat as their stores dwindle, knowing that when the food is gone they will have no choice but to leave. But where will they find safety in the desolate wasteland their county has become? And how can Lady Anne, a woman without rights herself, grant them the freedom they long for?

One man has the courage to find out.

Thaddeus Thurkell, a bastard serf, educated in secret by Lady Anne and risen to the post of steward, takes a band of raw, untested youths in search of supplies and news. As free-thinking and heretical as his admired mistress, Thaddeus makes a compelling leader, and his companions quickly learn to throw off the shackles of serfdom and set their minds to ensuring Develish’s future.

But what use is freedom that cannot be won lawfully? Aided and abetted by Lady Anne, Thaddeus conceives an audacious and dangerous plan to secure her people’s right to determine their fates for themselves. Neither foresees the life-threatening struggle over power, money and religion that follows – or the trial for heresy that will imperil all in Develish…

Pre-order The Turn of Midnight from Amazon UK

LittleLittle by Edward Carey (review copy courtesy of Gallic Books)

“There is a space between life and death: it’s called waxworks.”

The wry, macabre, unforgettable tale of an ambitious orphan in Revolutionary Paris, befriended by royalty and radicals alike, who transforms herself into the legendary Madame Tussaud.

In 1761, a tiny, odd-looking girl named Marie is born in a village in Alsace. After the death of her parents, she is apprenticed to an eccentric wax sculptor and whisked off to the seamy streets of Paris, where they meet a domineering widow and her quiet, pale son. Together, they convert an abandoned monkey house into an exhibition hall for wax heads, and the spectacle becomes a sensation. As word of her artistic talent spreads, Marie is called to Versailles, where she tutors a princess and saves Marie Antoinette in childbirth. But outside the palace walls, Paris is roiling: The revolutionary mob is demanding heads, and . . . at the wax museum, heads are what they do.

Pre-order Little from Amazon UK

On What Cathy Read Next last week

Blog posts

Tuesday –  This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic was Books on my Fall 2018 TBR.  My list was a mix of books I need to read for blog tours, ARCs and recent and forthcoming releases.

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.   If you’re nosy (like me), it’s also a fantastic opportunity to go blog-hopping and see what others are reading. I also shared my review of ingenious crime mystery, Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski.

Thursday – My Throwback Thursday post was my review of Castle Gay by John Buchan, my Buchan of the Month for September.  I also published my review of historical fiction novel, The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton.

Saturday – I reviewed the soon-to-be published thriller Blackbird Road by James L Weaver, the third book in his Jake Caldwell series.

On What Cathy Read Next this week

Currently reading

Planned posts

  • Book Review: Paris Echo by Sebastian Faulks
  • Book Review: The Long and Winding Road by Alan Johnson
  • Book Review: The Missing Girl by Jenny Quintana
  • Book Review: Macbeth by Jo Nesbo
  • Book Review: Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson
  • Book Review: The Moving Blade by Michael Pronko
  • Book Review: The Groundsmen by Lynn Buckle

8 thoughts on “My Week in Books – 23rd September ’18

    1. Great to hear you loved Meet Me at the Museum as I’m just about to start it. Anne Youngson is appearing at Henley Literary Festival that starts next weekend and I have a ticket to hear her speak alongside A J Pearce of Dear Mrs. Bird fame. Hoping to get my copy of the book signed by Anne as well.


    1. Thanks, I’d be lost without my trusty (colour-coded) spreadsheet and my monthly reading lists. I’ve actually been saying ‘no’ to more review requests and blog tour invitations as it’s so easy to get overwhelmed and feel like you’re reading ‘ to order’. I don’t know how some book bloggers who seem to be on tours just about every day do it.

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