#WWWWednesday – 30th 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

My Father's HouseMy Father’s House by Joseph O’Connor (eARC, Vintage via NetGalley)

When the Nazis take Rome, thousands go into hiding. One priest will risk everything to save them.

September 1943: German forces occupy Rome. SS officer Paul Hauptmann rules with terror. The war’s outcome is far from certain.

An Irish priest, Hugh O’Flaherty, dedicates himself to helping those escaping from the Nazis. His home is Vatican City, the world’s smallest state, a neutral, independent country within Rome where the occupiers hold no sway. Here Hugh brings together an unlikely band of friends to hide the vulnerable under the noses of the enemy.

But Hauptmann’s net begins closing in on the Escape Line and the need for a terrifyingly audacious mission grows critical. By Christmastime, it’s too late to turn back.

Attempting to squeeze this in as my final book for #NetGalleyNovember. I’m around 75% of the way through but confident of finishing it later today as it’s absolutely gripping. 

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

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

Forest of Foes by Matthew Harffy (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. (Review to follow for blog tour)

What Cathy (will) Read Next

Animal LifeAnimal Life by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir (eARC, Pushkin Press)

In the days leading up to Christmas, Dómhildur delivers her 1,922nd baby. Beginnings and endings are her family trade; she comes from a long line of midwives on her mother’s side and a long line of undertakers on her father’s. She even lives in the apartment that she inherited from her grandaunt, a midwife with a unique reputation for her unconventional methods.

As a terrible storm races towards Reykjavík, Dómhildur discovers decades worth of letters and manuscripts hidden amongst her grandaunt’s clutter. Fielding calls from her anxious meteorologist sister and visits from her curious new neighbour, Dómhildur escapes into her grandaunt’s archive and discovers strange and beautiful reflections on birth, death, and human nature.


#BookReview Mother of Valor by Gary Corbin

Mother of ValorAbout the Book

Val’s toughest adversary yet is someone she hardly knows: her mother.

As part of a prostitution sting operation, rookie cop Val Dawes uncovers a national sex trafficking ring operating out of Clayton, one with ties to a violent shadowy right-wing splinter group. Her investigation reveals the group may be planning a violent attack in a matter of days.

Just when the investigation heats up, her estranged mother, who left without a trace a decade before, suddenly reappears on the scene, with a nine-year-old brother Val never knew she had. Manipulative and cunning, her mother divides Val’s attention and loyalties, seemingly intent on disrupting both Val’s promising career and her rekindled relationship with her father.

As Val the group’s violent plans near, Val tries to safeguard her family, leading to shocking discoveries about why her mother returned – and why she left in the first place.

Can Val keep her community safe without destroying her family?

Format: ebook (440 pages)                   Publisher: Double Diamond Publishing
Publication date: 6th December 2022 Genre: Crime

Find Mother of Valor on Goodreads

Pre-order/Purchase link
Amazon UK
Link provided for convenience only, not as part of an affiliate programme

My Review

I’ve read a quite a few of Gary Corbin’s novels including the book that preceded this one, A Better of Valor, the third in his crime series featuring rookie cop Valorie Daws. Mother of Valor can definitely be read as a standalone because the author includes key details of previous events in Val’s life. In fact, certain plot lines in the book relate back to her childhood experiences.

For Val, her mother is the woman who abandoned her and her brother, Chad, the woman who failed to believe Val’s version of an event that took place when she was thirteen, and the woman who has made no effort to contact them since. In fact, Val wonders if her mother is even still alive. It turns out to be much more complicated than that. The reader learns, well before Val does, that there is something much more sinister about Val’s mother than just the fact she abandoned her husband and children. It injects a real sense of tension and unease into the story.

Val’s family history becomes entwined with the investigation into the activities of far right extremist groups who exist in a shadowy world and are prepared to manipulate others to achieve their aims.  As the book progresses, the reader knows Val is about to learn some unpleasant truths about her mother and at the same find herself on the front line in some dangerous situations – and faced with some difficult choices.

Although courageous, resilient and highly competent in her professional life, Val’s past experiences have left her vulnerable in other respects, fearful of physical relationships. Up until now, that is, because she is in the first tentative stages of a relationship with Gil Kryzinski, her former partner/boss. Gil is a wonderful character and I loved the tender, undemanding way he approaches their relationship.

In case you think this is all getting a bit lovey-dovey, I can reassure you Mother of Valor has an exciting, fast-moving plot involving political intrigue, corruption and some really ruthless, unhinged individuals. It all feels scarily realistic and contemporary. And there are some breathless ‘race against time’ scenes towards the end of the book in which Val and her police colleagues confront the individuals behind a despicable plot that threatens many lives.

If you’re looking for a skilfully crafted police procedural with a strong female character, then Mother of Valor will tick all your boxes.

My thanks to the author for my digital review copy.

In three words: Gripping, pacy, chilling

Gary CorbinAbout the Author

Gary is an award-winning author, editor, and playwright in Camas, WA, a suburb of Portland, OR.

Lying in Judgment, his Amazon.com best-selling legal thriller, was released in early 2016, was selected as Bookworks.com “Book of the Week” in July 2016, and is one of six novels worldwide featured in the Literary Lightbox “Indie Spotlight” for Autumn/Winter 2016-17. His current series, the Valorie Dawes Thrillers, consists of three published books, the most recent, A Better Part of Valor, was released on September 21, 2021. The fourth book in the series, Mother of Valor, will release in November, 2022.

Gary is a member of PDX Playwrights, the Willamette Writers Group, the Northwest Independent Editors Guild, the Portland Area Theater Alliance, and the Bar Noir Writers Workshop, and participates in workshops and conferences in the Portland, Oregon area.

A homebrewer as well as a maker of wine, mead, cider, and soft drinks, Gary is a member of the Oregon Brew Crew and a BJCP National Beer Judge. He loves to ski, cook, and garden, and hopes someday to train his dogs to obey. And when that doesn’t work, there’s always Renegade’s Paradise. (Photo/bio: Author website)

Connect with Gary
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