#WWWWednesday – 23rd November 2022


Hosted by Taking on a World of Words, this meme is all about the three Ws:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Why not join in too?  Leave a comment with your link at Taking on a World of Words and then go blog hopping!

Currently reading

The Labyrinth of the SpiritsThe Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, trans. by Lucia Graves (Weidenfeld & Nicolson via NetGalley)

As a child, Daniel Sempere discovered among the passageways of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books an extraordinary novel that would change the course of his life. Now a young man in the Barcelona of the late 1950s, Daniel runs the Sempere & Sons bookshop and enjoys a seemingly fulfilling life with his loving wife and son. Yet the mystery surrounding the death of his mother continues to plague his soul despite the moving efforts of his wife Bea and his faithful friend Fermín to save him.

Just when Daniel believes he is close to solving this enigma, a conspiracy more sinister than he could have imagined spreads its tentacles from the hellish regime. That is when Alicia Gris appears, a soul born out of the nightmare of the war. She is the one who will lead Daniel to the edge of the abyss and reveal the secret history of his family, although at a terrifying price.

This is one of the books I’m reading for #NetGalleyNovember. It’s a whopper – 833 pages – and I’m around 65% of the way through. This is the fourth – and final – instalment in the ‘The Cemetery of Forgotten Books’ series. Ruiz Zafón sadly died in 2020.

Devils and SaintsDevils and Saints by Jean-Baptiste, trans. by Sam Taylor  (ARC, Gallic Books)

An elderly man gives virtuoso piano performances in airports and train stations. To the incredulity of the passers-by, he refuses their offers to play in concert halls, or at prestigious gatherings. He is waiting for someone, he tells them.

Joseph was just sixteen when he was sent to a religious boarding school in the Pyrenees: les Confins, a dumping ground for waifs, strays, and other abandoned souls. His days were filled with routine and drudgery, and he thought longingly of the solace he found through music in his former life.

Joe dreams constantly of escape, but it seems impossible. That is, until a chance encounter with the orphanage’s benefactor leads him to Rose, and a plan begins to form…

An ARC courtesy of the lovely people at Gallic Books. I very much enjoyed the author’s previous book, A Hundred Million Years and a Day.

Recently finished

Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver (Head of Zeus)

The Night Ship by Jess Kidd (Canongate)

1629. Embarking on a journey in search of her father, a young girl called Mayken boards the Batavia, the most impressive sea vessel of the age. During the long voyage, this curious and resourceful child must find her place in the ship’s busy world, and she soon uncovers shadowy secrets above and below deck. As tensions spiral, the fate of the ship and all on board becomes increasingly uncertain.

1989. Gil, a boy mourning the death of his mother, is placed in the care of his irritable and reclusive grandfather. Their home is a shack on a tiny fishing island off the Australian coast, notable only for its reefs and wrecked boats. This is no place for a teenager struggling with a dark past and Gil’s actions soon get him noticed by the wrong people. (Review to follow)

Night-Time Stories edited by Yen-Yen Lu (The Emma Press)

A child waits for the tooth fairy; a mother spends a night watching a recording of the previous night; two women face the ghosts that haunted their grandmothers. The nights in these ten stories are thick and substantial, ambiguous and alluring.

Eerie, magical, hushed and surprisingly alive, this anthology shows the night as a place where connections are made and daylit lives can be changed.

With stories from Valentine Carter, John Kitchen, Winifred Mok, Leanne Radojkovich, Angela Readman, Jane Roberts, Rebecca Rouillard, Miyuki Tatsuma, Zoë Wells and Sofija Ana Zovko.   (Review to follow)

What Cathy (will) Read Next

Forest of FoesForest of Foes by Matthew Harffy (ARC, Head of Zeus)

AD 652. Beobrand has been ordered to lead a group of pilgrims to the holy city of Rome. Chief among them is Wilfrid, a novice of the Church with some surprisingly important connections. Taking only Cynan and some of his best men, Beobrand hopes to make the journey through Frankia quickly and return to Northumbria without delay, though the road is long and perilous.

But where Beobrand treads, menace is never far behind. The lands of the Merovingian kings are rife with intrigue. The queen of Frankia is unpopular and her ambitious schemes, though benevolent, have made her powerful enemies. Soon Wilfrid, and Beobrand, are caught up in sinister plots against the royal house.

After interrupting a brutal ambush in a forest, Beobrand and his trusted gesithas find their lives on the line. Dark forces will stop at nothing to seize control of the Frankish throne, and Beobrand is thrown into a deadly race for survival through foreign lands where he cannot be sure who is friend and who is foe.

The only certainty is that if he is to save his men, thwart the plots, and unmask his enemies, blood will flow.


My Week in Books – 20th November 2022

MyWeekinBooksOn What Cathy Read Next last week

Monday – I published my review of crime novel The Sentence is Death by Anthony Horowitz.

Tuesday – I shared my review of Thea and Denise by Caroline Bond

Wednesday – As always WWW Wednesday is a weekly opportunity to share what I’ve just read, what I’m currently reading and what I plan to read next… and to take a peek at what others are reading. 

Thursday – I published my review of historical mystery Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver

Friday – I shared an update on my progress with the #NetGalleyNovember reading challenge. 

New arrivals

The English FuhrerThe English Führer by Rory Clements (eARC, Zaffre via NetGalley)

Autumn 1945 – Off the east coast of England, a Japanese sub surfaces, unloads its mysterious cargo, then blows itself to pieces.

Former spy Professor Tom Wilde is enjoying peacetime in Cambridge, settling back into teaching and family life. Until a call from senior MI5 boss Lord Templeman brings him out of retirement.

A nearby village has been locked down by the military, its residents blighted by a deadly illness. No one is allowed in or out.

There are rumours the Nazi machine is still operational, with links to Unit 731, a notorious Japanese biological warfare research laboratory. But how could they possibly be plotting on British soil – and why?

What’s more, Wilde and Templeman’s names are discovered on a Gestapo kill list. And after a series of assassinations an unthinkable question emerges: could an Englishman be behind the plot?

Skelton's Guide to Blazing CorpsesSkelton’s Guide to Blazing Corpses by David Stafford (Allison & Busby via NetGalley)

Guy Fawkes Night, 5th November, 1930. Bonfires are blazing, rockets burst. In a country lane, revellers discover a car that has been set on fire. At first, they assume that this is the work of vandals taking the Guy Fawkes spirit a little too far, sitting at the wheel is a body, charred beyond recognition.

The initial assumption is that the owner of the car, Mr Harold Musgrave, a successful travelling salesman has taken his own life in a particularly grisly act of self-immolation. The post-mortem, however, reveals that Mr Musgrave was either unconscious or dead before the fire was lit. When Tommy Prosser, a local criminal, is charged with the murder, barrister Arthur Skelton believes him to be innocent, so sets out to ensure justice is served. 

The Darlings of the AsylumThe Darlings of the Asylum by Noel O’Reilly (eARC, HQ via NetGalley)

‘She wakes in a strange, stark room. Through the bare walls she hears muffled cries and yells. The label on her unfamiliar, starched gown reads PROPERTY OF HILLWOOD GRANGE LUNATIC ASYLUM. Her heart thumps as a key rattles in the lock…’

In 1886, a respectable young woman must acquire a husband. Violet Pring’s scheming mother has secured a desirable marriage proposal from an eligible Brighton gentleman. But Violet does not want to marry. She longs to be a professional artist and live on her own terms.

Violet’s family believes she is deranged and deluded, so she is locked away in Hillwood Grange against her will. In her new cage, Violet faces an even greater challenge: she must escape the clutches of a sinister and formidable doctor and set herself free.

On What Cathy Read Next this week

Currently reading

Planned posts

  • Book Review: The Night Ship by Jess Kidd 
  • Book Review: Night-Time Stories by Yen-Yen Lu
  • Guest Post: The Case of the Emigrant Niece by David Cairns of Finavon