My Week in Books – 22nd October ’17


New arrivals

DeathDescendsonSaturnVillaDeath Descends on Saturn Villa (The Gower Street Detective #3) by M R C Kasasian (ebook, Kindle deal)

Gower Street, London: 1883. March Middleton is the niece of London’s greatest (and most curmudgeonly) private detective, Sidney Grice. March has just discovered a wealthy long-lost relative she never knew she had. When this newest family member meets with a horrible death, March is in the frame for murder—and only Sidney Grice can prove her innocence. Grice agrees to investigate (for his usual fee) but warns that he is not entirely convinced of her innocence. If he were in her position, he might have been tempted. But the more he uncovers, the more all the clues point to Grice himself . . .

TheSecretsofGaslightLaneThe Secrets of Gaslight Lane (The Gower Street Detective #4) by M R C Kasasian (ebook, Kindle deal)

London, 1883: All is quiet at 125 Gower Street. Sidney Grice is swotting up on the anatomical structure of human hair whilst his ward, March Middleton, sneaks upstairs for her eighth secret cigarette of the day. The household is, perhaps, too quiet. So, when a beautiful young woman turns up at the door, imploring London’s foremost personal detective to solve the mystery of her father’s murder, Grice can barely disguise his glee. Mr Nathan Garstang was found slaughtered in his bed, but there is no trace of a weapon or intruder. A classic locked-room case. But what piques Grice’s interest is the crime’s link to one of London’s most notorious unsolved murders. Ten years ago, Nathan’s uncle aunt and servants were murdered in their sleep in the very same house. Now, it seems, the Garstang murderer is back…

True GrandeurTrue Grandeur by Cal R Barnes (ebook, review copy courtesy of the author)

True Grandeur is the tale of Conrad Arlington, a young man who moves to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of becoming a great artist. Within a few short years of his arrival, Conrad’s success as a writer brings him to the attention of Gracie Garrison, a beautiful and alluring socialite whose glamorous lifestyle is just as mysterious as the rumours that surround her. After spending a spirited and adventurous night on the town together – one fuelled by an excess of beautiful people, extravagant parties, gallery openings, and the madness of a fallen director – Conrad ultimately falls in love with her, believing them to be destined. However, when he awakes the next morning to find that Gracie is gone, he is distraught, and thus embarks on his relentless journey to find her, resulting in a tumultuous spiral of passion, art, and romance as he searches his soul to try and uncover the greatest mystery of all – true love.

TheFragileThreadofHopeThe Fragile Thread of Hope by Pankaj Giri (ebook, advance reader copy courtesy of the author)

In the autumn of 2012, destiny wreaks havoc on two unsuspecting people – Soham and Fiona. Although his devastating past involving his brother still haunted him, Soham had established a promising career for himself in Bangalore. After a difficult childhood, Fiona’s fortunes had finally taken a turn for the better. She had married her beloved, and her life was as perfect as she had ever imagined it to be. But when tragedy strikes them yet again, their fundamentally fragile lives threaten to fall apart. Can Fiona and Soham overcome their grief? Will the overwhelming pain destroy their lives? Seasoned with the flavours of exotic Nepalese traditions and set in the picturesque Indian hill station, Gangtok, The Fragile Thread of Hope explores the themes of spirituality, faith, alcoholism, love, and guilt while navigating the complex maze of familial relationships. Inspirational and heart-wrenchingly intimate, it urges you to wonder – does hope stand a chance in this travesty called life?

MysteryTour CWA AnthologyMystery Tour: CWA Anthology of Short Stories edited by Martin Edwards (eARC, courtesy of Orenda Books)

This exciting collection of short stories features crime writers working with a “mystery tour” or travel theme. Ann Cleeves on Tanzania, Vas Khan on Mumbai, and Marnie Riches on Holland. Other writers include Sarah Hilary, Alex Marwood, Cally Taylor, Elly Griffiths, Steph Broadribb, Johana Gustawsson, Liz Nugent, Steve Cavanagh, Cal Moriarty, Paul Hardisty, Mason Cross, Sharon Bolton, Vas Khan, Marnie Riches, Bill Ryan, Ian Rankin, Peter James, Kate Rhodes, Ragnar Jonasson, and Ann Cleeves.

On What Cathy Read Next last week

Blog posts

Monday – I shared my comparison of the book and film versions of A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman as part of my From Page to Screen reading challenge.

Tuesday – I welcomed Tom Ward, author of the soon to be published Fires, to talk about his book.

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. I had a really fun guest post by Alison Brodie about her forthcoming book, Zenka.

Thursday – I shared my review of thriller Monsoon Rising by David Lee Corley and my Throwback Thursday post was my review of historical romance, On the Edge of Sunrise by Cynthia Ripley Miller. (I reviewed book 2 of the series, The Quest for the Crown of Thorns last week.)

Friday – I featured a Q&A with actor, playwright and author, Gary Corbin, about his latest book, Lying in Vengeance.

Saturday – I published my review of New Boy by Tracy Chevalier. It’s a modern day retelling of Othello, part of the Hogarth Shakespeare project.

Sunday – I hosted a stop on the blog tour for Home Is Nearby by Magdalena McGuire and shared my thoughts on this fascinating novel set in 1980s Poland.

Challenge updates

  • Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge – 125 out of 156 books read, 2 more than last week
  • Classics Club Challenge – 5 out of 50 books reviewed, same as last week
  • NetGalley/Edelweiss Reading Challenge 2017 (Gold) – 51 ARCs reviewed out of 50, 1 more than 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 2 completed, 1 more than last week

On What Cathy Read Next this week

Currently reading

Planned posts

  • Review: The Last Hours by Minette Walters
  • Review: The Summer Springsteen’s Songs Saved Me by Barbara Quinn
  • Review: Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore
  • Blog Tour/Review: A Sea of Sorrow by David Blixt et al
  • Blog Tour/Review: The Murderer’s Maid by Erika Mailman
  • Review: Mr Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva

My Week in Books – 15th October ’17


New arrivals

If I say that all the books I purchased this week were on my To-Read shelf on Goodreads, does that make it any better?

Hidden FiguresHidden Figures: The Untold Story of the African American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly (ebook, Kindle deal)

Set amid the civil rights movement, the never-before-told true story of NASA’s African-American female mathematicians who played a crucial role in America’s space program. Before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of professionals worked as ‘Human Computers’, calculating the flight paths that would enable these historic achievements. Among these was a coterie of bright, talented African-American women. Segregated from their white counterparts, these ‘colored computers’ used pencil and paper to write the equations that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. Moving from World War II through NASA’s golden age, touching on the civil rights era, the Space Race, the Cold War, and the women’s rights movement, Hidden Figures interweaves a rich history of mankind’s greatest adventure with the intimate stories of five courageous women whose work forever changed the world.

At First LightAt First Light by Vanessa Lafaye (ebook, Kindle deal)

1993, Key West, Florida: When a Ku Klux Klan official is shot in broad daylight, all eyes turn to the person holding the gun: a 96-year-old Cuban woman who will say nothing except to admit her guilt. 1919: Mixed-race Alicia Cortez arrives in Key West exiled in disgrace from her family in Havana. At the same time, damaged war hero John Morales returns home on the last US troop ship from Europe. As love draws them closer in this time of racial segregation, people are watching, including Dwayne Campbell, poised on the brink of manhood and struggling to do what’s right. And then the Ku Klux Klan comes to town…

AfterlifeAfterlife by Marcus Sakey (ebook, Kindle deal)

Between life and death lies an epic war, a relentless manhunt through two worlds… and an unforgettable love story. The last thing FBI agent Will Brody remembers is the explosion – a thousand shards of glass surfing a lethal shock wave. He wakes without a scratch. The building is in ruins. His team is gone. Outside, Chicago is dark. Cars lie abandoned. No planes cross the sky. He’s relieved to spot other people – until he sees they’re carrying machetes. Welcome to the afterlife.

Claire McCoy stands over the body of Will Brody. As head of an FBI task force, she hasn’t had a decent night’s sleep in weeks. A terrorist has claimed eighteen lives and thrown the nation into panic. Against this horror, something reckless and beautiful happened. She fell in love… with Will Brody. But the line between life and death is narrower than any of us suspect – and all that matters to Will and Claire is getting back to each other.

The Shadow HourThe Shadow Hour by Kate Riordan (ebook, Kindle deal)

1922: Grace has been sent to the stately and crumbling Fenix House to follow in her grandmother’s footsteps as a governess. But when she meets the house’s inhabitants, people who she had only previously heard of in stories, the cracks in her grandmother’s tale begin to show. Secrets appear to live in the house’s very walls and everybody is resolutely protecting their own. Why has she been sent here? Why did her grandmother leave after just one summer? And as the past collides with the present, can Grace unravel these secrets and discover who her grandmother, and who she, really is?

The Cottingley SecretThe Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor (ebook, Kindle deal)

1917: When two young cousins, Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright from Cottingley, England, announce they have photographed fairies at the bottom of the garden, their parents are astonished. But when the great novelist, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, endorses the photographs’ authenticity, the girls become a sensation; their discovery offering something to believe in amid a world ravaged by war. One hundred years later… When Olivia Kavanagh finds an old manuscript and a photograph in her late grandfather’s bookshop she becomes fascinated by the story of the two young girls who mystified the world. As Olivia is drawn into events a century ago, she becomes aware of the past and the present intertwining, blurring her understanding of what is real and what is imagined. As she begins to understand why a nation once believed in fairies, will Olivia find a way to believe in herself?

This Must Be the PlaceThis Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell (ebook, Kindle deal)

Meet Daniel Sullivan, a man with a complicated life. A New Yorker living in the wilds of Ireland, he has children he never sees in California, a father he loathes in Brooklyn, and a wife, Claudette, who is a reclusive ex–film star given to pulling a gun on anyone who ventures up their driveway. Claudette was once the most glamorous and infamous woman in cinema before she staged her own disappearance and retreated to blissful seclusion in an Irish farmhouse.  But the life Daniel and Claudette have so carefully constructed is about to be disrupted by an unexpected discovery about a woman Daniel lost touch with twenty years ago. This revelation will send him off-course, far away from wife, children and home. Will his love for Claudette be enough to bring him back?

The Man in the High CastleThe Man in the High Castle by Philip K Dick (ebook, Kindle deal)

It’s America in 1962. Slavery is legal once again. The few Jews who still survive hide under assumed names. In San Francisco, the I Ching is as common as the Yellow Pages. All because some twenty years earlier the United States lost a war—and is now occupied by Nazi Germany and Japan. This harrowing, Hugo Award-winning novel is the work that established Philip K. Dick as an innovator in science fiction while breaking the barrier between science fiction and the serious novel of ideas. In it Dick offers a haunting vision of history as a nightmare from which it may just be possible to wake.

MyMother'sShadowMy Mother’s Shadow by Nikola Scott (paperback, giveaway prize)

It’s 1958 and Elizabeth Holloway has been sent away from her London home to spend the summer at Hartland, a beautiful, rambling country estate by the Sussex coast. To lovely, innocent Elizabeth, the Shaws are the height of sophistication and they treat her as one of their own, but when she falls in love, no one warns her that her dreams are dangerously naïve. Forty years later, Elizabeth’s daughter Addie finds a stranger on her doorstep, a woman claiming to be her twin sister. At first, Addie refuses to believe it — until her beloved father admits that the circumstances surrounding her birth were not what she’d been led to believe. The discovery challenges everything Addie thought she knew about the brilliant, difficult woman that was her mother. And as their journey takes them back to Elizabeth’s past, Addie and her new sister Phoebe uncover the extraordinary story of a lost child, a mother’s secret, and one golden summer that changed a woman’s life forever.

The Mangle Street MurdersThe Mangle Street Murders (The Gower Street Detective #1) by M R C Kasasian (ebook, Kindle deal)

After her father dies, March Middleton has to move to London to live with her guardian, Sidney Grice, the country’s most famous private detective. It is 1882 and London is at its murkiest yet most vibrant, wealthiest yet most poverty-stricken. No sooner does March arrive than a case presents itself: a young woman has been brutally murdered, and her husband is the only suspect. The victim’s mother is convinced of her son-in-law’s innocence, and March is so touched by her pleas she offers to cover Sidney s fee herself. The investigations lead the pair to the darkest alleys of the East End: every twist leads Sidney Grice to think his client is guilty; but March is convinced that he is innocent. Around them London reeks with the stench of poverty and gossip, the case threatens to boil over into civil unrest and Sidney Grice finds his reputation is not the only thing in mortal danger.

The Curse of the House of FoskettThe Curse of the House of Foskett (The Gower Street Detective #2) M R C Kasasian (ebook, Kindle deal)

125 Gower Street, 1882: Sidney Grice once had a reputation as London’s most perspicacious personal detective. But since his last case led an innocent man to the gallows, business has been light. Listless and depressed, Grice has taken to lying in the bath for hours, emerging in the evenings for a little dry toast and a lot of tea. Usually a voracious reader, he will pick up neither book nor newspaper. He has not even gathered the strength to re-insert his glass eye. His ward, March Middleton, has been left to dine alone. Then an eccentric member of a Final Death Society has the temerity to die on his study floor. Finally Sidney and March have an investigation to mount – an investigation that will draw them to an eerie house in Kew, and the mysterious Baroness Foskett…

The Last HoursThe Last Hours by Minette Walters (eARC, NetGalley)

For most, the Black Death is the end. For a brave few, it heralds a new beginning. When the Black Death enters England through the port of Melcombe in Dorseteshire in June 1348, no one knows what manner of sickness it is or how it spreads and kills so quickly. The Church cites God as the cause, and religious fear grips the people as they come to believe that the plague is a punishment for wickedness. But Lady Anne of Develish has her own ideas. Educated by nuns, Anne is a rarity among women, being both literate and knowledgeable. With her brutal husband absent from Develish when news of this pestilence reaches her, she takes the decision to look for more sensible ways to protect her people than daily confessions of sin. Well-versed in the importance of isolating the sick from the well, she withdraws her people inside the moat that surrounds her manor house and refuses entry even to her husband. She makes an enemy of her daughter and her husband’s steward by doing so, but her resolve is strengthened by the support of her leading serfs… until food stocks run low and the nerves of all are tested by continued confinement and ignorance of what is happening in the world outside. The people of Develish are alive. But for how long? And what will they discover when the time comes for them to cross the moat?

In The DarkIn the Dark by Andreas Pflüger (ebook, review copy courtesy of Head of Zeus)

Jenny Aaron was a government assassin, part of an elite unit tracking Germany’s most dangerous criminals. She was one of the best, until a disastrous mission ended with her abandoning a wounded colleague and then going blind from her injuries. Now, five years later, she has learnt to navigate a darkened world, but is haunted by betraying her colleague. When she is called back to the force to trace a ruthless serial killer, she seizes the opportunity to solve the case and restore her honour.

DISTRICT VIIIDistrict VIII by Adam LeBor (ebook, review copy courtesy of Head of Zeus)

Life’s tough for a Gypsy cop in Budapest. The cops don’t trust you because you’re a Gypsy. Your fellow Gypsies, even your own family, shun you because you’re a cop. The dead, however, don’t care.  Balthazar Kovacs of the Budapest murder squad is in the middle of his first cup of coffee when a mysterious text message arrives. There were three words: ’26, Republic Square’, and a photograph. The photo shows a man in his early thirties, lying on his back with his eyes open, half-covered by bricks and dust. The address, the former Communist Party headquarters, was once the most feared building in the country. But when Kovacs arrives at Republic Square, the body has gone and his only lead is the word of a Gypsy kid who saw the corpse bundled into an unmarked van… Kovacs’ investigation will take him deep into Budapest’s shadows, an underworld visitors never get to see: the gritty back-alleys of District VIII; the endemic corruption that reaches deep into the government; a rule of law bent to serve the interests of the elite; the rising power of international organized crime and the ghosts of Communism and Nazism that still haunt Hungary.

On What Cathy Read Next last week

Blog posts

Monday – I featured a Q&A with Libbet Bradstreet, author of Bells of Avalon.

Tuesday – I took part in the blog tour for The Crows of Beara by Julie Christine Johnson, sharing my review of this wonderful book.

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. I also welcomed Shaun Ebelthite to What Cathy Read Next to be quizzed about his book White Water, Black Death.

Thursday – I took part in the blog tour for The Quest for the Crown of Thorns by Cynthia Ripley Miller sharing my review of this historical mystery set in the Roman Empire of the 5th century.

Friday – In 10 Blogging Milestones to Celebrate, I listed some milestones all bloggers can celebrate achieving.

Saturday – I published my review of The Book of Forgotten Authors by Christopher Fowler as part of the blog tour for this bibliophile’s dream book.

Sunday – I welcomed Graham Masterton to talk about his book, The Coven.

Challenge updates

  • Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge – 123 out of 156 books read, 6 more than last week
  • Classics Club Challenge – 5 out of 50 books reviewed, same as last week
  • NetGalley/Edelweiss Reading Challenge 2017 (Gold) – 50 ARCs reviewed out of 50, 1 more than 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 – none yet completed

On What Cathy Read Next this week

Currently reading

Planned posts

  • From Page to Screen: A Man Called Ove
  • Q&A: Fires by Tom Ward
  • Q&A: Zenka by Alison Brodie
  • Review: Monsoon Rising by David Lee Corley
  • Review: The Last Hours by Minette Walters
  • Review: On the Edge of Sunrise by Cynthia Ripley Miller
  • Q&A: Lying in Vengeance by Gary Corbin
  • Review: New Boy by Tracy Chevalier
  • Blog Tour/Review: Home is Nearby by Magdalena McGuire

My Week in Books – 8th October ’17


New arrivals

Bibliophiles know what the first of the month means – a new set of books on monthly deal at Amazon….

TheTobacconistThe Tobacconist by Robert Seethaller (ebook, Kindle deal)

When seventeen-year-old Franz exchanges his home in the idyllic beauty of the Austrian lake district for the bustle of Vienna, his homesickness quickly dissolves amidst the thrum of the city. In his role as apprentice to the elderly tobacconist Otto Trsnyek, he will soon be supplying the great and good of Vienna with their newspapers and cigarettes. Among the regulars is a Professor Freud, whose predilection for cigars and occasional willingness to dispense romantic advice will forge a bond between him and young Franz. It is 1937. In a matter of months Germany will annex Austria and the storm that has been threatening to engulf the little tobacconist will descend, leaving the lives of Franz, Otto and Professor Freud irredeemably changed.

DrJekyllandMrSeekDr Jekyll and Mr Seek by Anthony O’Neill (ebook, Kindle deal)

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Continues… Seven years after the death of Edward Hyde, a stylish gentleman shows up in foggy London claiming to be Dr Henry Jekyll. Only Mr Utterson, Jekyll’s faithful lawyer and confidant, knows that he must be an impostor – because Jekyll was Hyde. But, as the man goes about charming Jekyll’s friends and reclaiming his estate and as the bodies of potential challengers start piling up, Utterson is left fearing for his life…and questioning his own sanity. This brilliantly imagined and beautifully written sequel to one of literature’s greatest masterpieces perfectly complements the original work. And, where the original was concerned with the duality of man, this sequel deals with the possibility of identity theft of the most audacious kind. Can it really be that this man who looks and acts so precisely like Dr Henry Jekyll is an imposter?

VictoriaFour-ThirtyVictoria Four-Thirty by Cecil Roberts (ebook, Kindle deal)

London, 1937. A world famous composer, a honeymooning couple, a novelist in search of a plot, a German film star, a young crown prince and a sister of charity are among the disparate group of travellers on the boat train to continental Europe. “It would be very interesting to know the life history of everybody on this train – why we are travelling on it …” Set amid the political upheaval of the 1930s, this is the witty, insightful and bittersweet story of the passengers on the four-thirty from Victoria. Each is facing a different journey, with their own hopes, fears and challenges; and for some, their lives will cross in unexpected ways. The 80th anniversary edition of the newly rediscovered classic bestseller from the 1930s.

Whiteout CoverWhiteout (Dark Iceland #5) by Ragnar Jónasson (ebook, review copy courtesy of Orenda Books)

Two days before Christmas, a young woman is found dead beneath the cliffs of the deserted village of Kálfshamarvík. Did she jump, or did something more sinister take place beneath the lighthouse and the abandoned old house on the remote rocky outcrop? With winter closing in and the snow falling relentlessly, Ari Thór Arason discovers that the victim’s mother and young sister also lost their lives in this same spot, twenty-five years earlier. As the dark history and its secrets of the village are unveiled, and the death toll begins to rise, the Siglufjordur detectives must race against the clock to find the killer, before another tragedy takes place. Dark, chilling and complex, Whiteout is a haunting, atmospheric and stunningly plotted thriller from one of Iceland’s bestselling crime writers.

DanceoftheHappyShadesDance of the Happy Shades by Alice Munro (ebook)

Alice Munro’s territory is the farms and semi-rural towns of south-western Ontario. In these dazzling stories she deals with the self-discovery of adolescence, the joys and pains of love and the despair and guilt of those caught in a narrow existence. And in sensitively exploring the lives of ordinary men and women, she makes us aware of the universal nature of their fears, sorrows and aspirations.



On What Cathy Read Next last week

Blog posts

Monday – I took part in the blog tour for Woman Enters Left by Jessica Brockmole, sharing my review of this fantastically cinematic historical fiction with a Hollywood flavour.

Wednesday – I spent Tuesday at Henley Literary Festival and today shared my review of one of the events I attended, authors Anne O’Brien and Rory Clements talking about writing historical fiction.

Thursday – My Throwback Thursday was a review of A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.

Friday – I took part in the book blitz for Appointment with Yesterday by Christopher Stratakis, the semi-autobiographical story of a young Greek boy’s experiences in World War 2.

Saturday – I helped celebrate the release of Money Power Love by Joss Sheldon, described as ‘a literary mélange of historical, political and economic fiction’. I also shared my review of the other event I attended at Henley Literary Festival on Tuesday – author, Rachel Joyce, talking about her latest book, The Music Shop.

Sunday – I interviewed Ray Britain about his debut crime thriller, The Last Thread.

Challenge updates

  • Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge – 117 out of 156 books read, 2 more than last time
  • Classics Club Challenge – 5 out of 50 books reviewed, same as last time
  • NetGalley/Edelweiss Reading Challenge 2017 (Gold) – 49 ARCs reviewed out of 50, 1 more than last time
  • From Page to Screen 2016/7– 7 book/film comparisons out of 12 completed, same as last time
  • From Page to Screen 2017/18 – none yet completed

On What Cathy Read Next this week

Currently reading

Planned posts

  • Q&A: Bells of Avalon by Libbet Bradstreet
  • Book Review: Tremarnock Summer by Emma Burstall
  • Blog Tour/Review: The Crows of Beara by Julie Christine Johnson
  • Q&A: White Water, Black Death by Shaun Ebelthite
  • Blog Tour/Review: The Quest for the Crown of Thorns by Cynthia Ripley Miller
  • Blog Tour/Review: The Book of Forgotten Authors by Christopher Fowler
  • Blog Tour/Q&A: The Coven by Graham Masterson

How was YOUR week in books? Literary sensation or slush pile candidate?

My Week in Books – 1st Oct 2017


New arrivals

I’m not sure what it was about this week but the books just seemed to keep coming… (Oh, so nothing to do with requesting titles on NetGalley or saying ‘Yes’ to review requests, then?)

TheSecretofVesaliusThe Secret of Vesalius by Jordi Llobregat (eARC, NetGalley)

Daniel Amat has left Spain and all that happened there behind him. Having just achieved a brilliant role in Ancient Languages at Oxford University and an even more advantageous engagement, the arrival of a letter – a demand – stamped Barcelona comes like a cold hand from behind. He arrives back in that old, labyrinthine and near-mythic city a few days before the great 1888 World Fair, amid dread whispers of murders – the injuries reminiscent of an ancient curse, and bearing signs of the genius 16th century anatomist, Vesalius. Daniel is soon pulled into the depths of the crime, and eventually into the tunnels below Barcelona, where his own dark past and the future of science are joined in a terrible venture – to bring the secret of Vesalius to life.

MrDickensAndHisCarolMr Dickens and His Carol: A Novel of Christmas Past by Samantha Silva (advanced reading copy courtesy of Allison & Busby)

For Charles Dickens, each Christmas has been better than the last. His novels are literary blockbusters, and he is famous on the streets of London, where avid fans sneak up on him to snip off pieces of his hair. He and his wife have five happy children, a sixth on the way, and a home filled with every comfort they could imagine. But when Dickens’ newest book is a flop, the glorious life he has built for himself threatens to collapse around him. His publishers offer an ultimatum: either he writes a Christmas book in a month, or they will call in his debts, and he could lose everything. Grudgingly, he accepts, but with relatives hounding him for loans, his wife and children planning an excessively lavish holiday party, and jealous critics going in for the kill, he is hardly feeling the Christmas spirit.  Increasingly frazzled and filled with self-doubt, Dickens seeks solace and inspiration in London itself, his great palace of thinking. And on one of his long walks, in a once-beloved square, he meets a young woman in a purple cloak, who might be just the muse he needs. Eleanor Lovejoy and her young son, Timothy, propel Dickens on a Scrooge-like journey through his Christmases past and present—but with time running out, will he find the perfect new story to save him?

TheGirlFromSimon'sBayThe Girl From Simon’s Bay by Barbara Mutch (advanced reading copy courtesy of Allison & Busby)

A seashell and a sealed letter form a tenuous connection to a forbidden wartime romance… Simon’s Town is a vibrant seafaring community in a picturesque part of the Union of South Africa. Louise Ahrendts, daughter of a local shipbuilder, nurtures the dream of becoming a nurse amid the unwritten, unspoken rules about colour that might hold her back. As the port becomes a hub of activity following the outbreak of the Second World War, Louise crosses paths with man she is determined to be with – despite all the obstacles that life and war can throw in their way. But when a new troubled moment of history dawns, can they find their way back to each other?

TheCoffinPathThe Coffin Path by Katherine Clements (eARC, NetGalley)

Maybe you’ve heard tales about Scarcross Hall, the house on the old coffin path that winds from village to moor top. They say there’s something up here, something evil.Mercy Booth isn’t afraid. The moors and Scarcross are her home and lifeblood. But, beneath her certainty, small things are beginning to trouble her. Three ancient coins missing from her father’s study, the shadowy figure out by the gatepost, an unshakeable sense that someone is watching. When a stranger appears seeking work, Mercy reluctantly takes him in. As their stories entwine, this man will change everything. She just can’t see it yet.

CuzCuz by Danielle Allen (eARC, NetGalley)

Aged 15 and living in LA, Michael Allen was arrested for a botched carjacking. He was tried as an adult and sentenced to thirteen years behind bars. After growing up in prison Michael was then released aged 26, only to be murdered three years later. In this deeply personal yet clear-eyed memoir, Danielle Allen reconstructs her cousin’s life to try and understand how this tragedy was the end result. We become intimate with Michael’s experience, from his first steps to his first love, and with the events of his arrest, his coming of age in prison, and his attempts to make up for lost time after his release. We learn what it’s like to grow up in a city carved up by invisible gang borders; and we learn how a generation has been lost. With breathtaking bravery and intelligence, Cuz circles around its subject, viewing it from all angles to expose a shocking reality. The result is both a personal and analytical view of a life that wields devastating power. This is the new American tragedy.

ChoosingHopeChoosing Hope by Holly Kammier (ebook, review copy courtesy of Xpresso Tours)

A broken marriage. A love affair. A lie that changes it all…Hope Rains Sullivan is living the dream—a successful husband, two beautiful young boys, and a charming home in Northern California. She should be happy. She almost convinced herself she was, until Adrian came along. Adrian, appears to be everything her husband isn’t. He works with his hands, and is even willing to use them in a fight. He’s sexy, strong and fit, with warm brown skin that alludes to his Spanish background. Best of all, he lives for spending time with his kids. Feeling alone in her marriage, Adrian offers her a way out. Hope’s affair is just the beginning. Her journey inward will require untangling her complicated past and surviving an astonishing revelation. Her lover is not who he pretends to be.  She’s searching for her happily-ever-after, and no matter how painful the journey, she’ll find what she’s been looking for all along—the chance to choose Hope.

TheCrowsofBearaThe Crows of Beara by Julie Christine Johnson (ebook, review copy courtesy of Sage’s Blog Tours)

When Annie Crowe travels from Seattle to a small Irish village to promote a new copper mine, her public relations career is hanging in the balance. Struggling to overcome her troubled past and a failing marriage, Annie is eager for a chance to rebuild her life. Yet when she arrives on the remote Beara Peninsula, Annie learns that the mine would encroach on the nesting ground of an endangered bird, the Red-billed Chough, and many in the community are fiercely protective of this wild place. Among them is Daniel Savage, a local artist battling demons of his own, who has been recruited to help block the mine. Despite their differences, Annie and Daniel find themselves drawn toward each other, and, inexplicably, they begin to hear the same voice–a strange, distant whisper of Gaelic, like sorrow blowing in the wind.  Guided by ancient mythology and challenged by modern problems, Annie must confront the half-truths she has been sent to spread and the lies she has been telling herself. Most of all, she must open her heart to the healing power of this rugged land and its people.

TheSummerSpringsteen'sSongsSavedMeThe Summer Springsteen’s Songs Saved Me by Barbara Quinn (eARC, giveaway prize courtesy of Lakewater Press)

Coming home to catch her husband with his face between the long, silky legs of another woman is the last thing Sofia expects—and on today of all days. But, after scratching an expletive into his Porsche and setting the cheating bastard’s clothes on fire, she cranks up her beloved Bruce and flees, vowing to never look back. Finding solace in the peaceful beachside town of Bradley Beach, NJ, Sof is determined to start over. And, with the help of best friends, new acquaintances, a sexy neighbour, and the powerful songs of Springsteen, this may be the place where her wounds can heal. But, as if she hasn’t faced her share of life’s challenges, a final flurry of obstacles awaits. In order to head courageously toward the future, Sofia must first let go of her past, find freedom, and mend her broken soul.

ShadowsontheGrassShadows on the Grass by Misha Herwin (eARC courtesy of the author)

In 1960s Bristol, seventeen year old Kate is torn between the new sexual freedom and her rigid Catholic upbringing. Her parents have high expectations of her. She, however, is determined to lead her own life. Meanwhile, Mimi, her grandmother, is dying. In her final hours, her cousin the Princess keeps watch at her bedside. Born in the same month in the same year, the two women are bound by their past and a terrible betrayal. Caught between the generations, Hannah, Mimi’s daughter, struggles to come to come to terms with her relationship with her mother and to keep the peace between her daughter and her husband. She too must find her own way in this foreign land in a new post war

Bells of AvalonBells of Avalon by Libbet Bradstreet (ebook, review copy courtesy of the author)

Thrust into a limelight she never chose, Katie’s been paired with Danny for as long as she can remember. Films, roadshow tours, and drugstore appearances…post-war Hollywood can’t seem to get enough of the sweetheart team. They’ll even fall in love one day.

But young love seldom survives the fog wake of Los Angeles – a place of dreams and nightmares.

TheMurderer'sMaidThe Murderer’s Maid by Erika Mailman (ebook, review copy courtesy of HF Virtual Book Tours)

The Murderer’s Maid interweaves the stories of two women: one, the servant of infamous Lizzie Borden, and the other a modern-day barista fleeing from an attempt on her life. Trapped by servitude and afraid for her own safety, Irish maid Bridget finds herself an unwilling witness to the tensions in the volatile Borden household. As Lizzie seethes with resentment, Bridget tries to perform her duties and keep her mouth shut. Unknowingly connected to the legendary crime of a century ago, Brooke, the illegitimate daughter of an immigrant maid, struggles to conceal her identity and stay a jump ahead of the men who want to kill her. When she unexpectedly falls in love with Anthony, a local attorney, she has to decide whether to stop running and begin her life anew.  With historical detail and taut, modern storytelling, Erika Mailman writes a captivating novel about identity, choices, freedom, and murder. She offers readers a fresh perspective on the notorious crime and explores the trials of immigrants seeking a better life while facing down fear and oppression, today and throughout history. Intelligent and detailed, The Murderer’s Maid is a gripping read from beginning to bloody conclusion.

On What Cathy Read Next last week

Blog posts

Monday – I published my review of Take Courage: Anne Brontë and the Art of Life by Samantha Ellis, a fascinating and very personal exploration of the life of the least well-known of the Brontë sisters.

Tuesday – I shared my review of The Winner: A Ballroom Dance Novel by Erin Bomboy as part of the blog tour. Definitely one for fans of Strictly Come Dancing or Dancing With The Stars.

Wednesday – Another review, this time as part of the blog tour for Twilight Empress by Faith L Justice. I found it an enthralling and well-researched historical fiction about Placidia, sister of the Roman Emperor, Honorius.

Thursday – I shared my review of Maria in the Moon by Louise Beech, a spellbinding novel about memory and secrets, set in the aftermath of the floods in Hull in 2007.

Friday – I took part in the book blitz for Carry Me Home by Jessica Therrien. I also published my review of Bluebird, Bluebird the latest novel by Attica Locke. It’s a cracking mystery but also a searing indictment of contemporary race relations in America.

Saturday – I compiled my 5 Favourite September Reads. This month it was a hard choice with some great titles to choose from.

Sunday – I welcomed Apple Gidley, author of Fireburn, to What Cathy Read Next. To mark publication day of her historical fiction novel set in the Caribbean island of St Croix, Apple provided insight into the research behind the book.

Challenge updates

  • Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge – 115 out of 156 books read, 3 more than last time
  • Classics Club Challenge– 5 out of 50 books reviewed, same as last time
  • NetGalley/Edelweiss Reading Challenge 2017 (Gold) – 48 ARCs reviewed out of 50, 1 more than last time
  • From Page to Screen 2017/8 – 7 book/film comparisons out of 12 completed, same as last time

On What Cathy Read Next this week

Currently reading

Planned posts

  • From Page to Screen: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
  • Blog Tour/Review: Woman Enters Left by Jessica Brockmole
  • Book Review: Tremarnock Summer by Emma Burstall

How was your week in books?  Booker Prize shortlist or charity shop donation?

My Week in Books


New arrivals

A week without any purchases (pats self on back) but a prize and some lovely looking review copies…

FenderFender by Brent Jones (ecopy, giveaway prize)

How far must we travel to find our way home? Nothing could have prepared Brennan Glover for the car crash that claimed the lives of his wife and six-year-old daughter. Stricken with grief, the only things that get him through each day are breaking his sobriety and clinging to Fender – the family dog and the sole survivor of the crash. Desperate to distance Brennan from tragedy, his two closest friends take him on the cross-country road trip they had always talked about. But what begins as an effort to mend his broken heart ends up unravelling a secret that changes everything he thought he knew about his family. Can a journey of six thousand miles lead Brennan to acceptance and new beginnings?

FindMeFind Me by J. S. Monroe (paperback, review copy courtesy of Head of Zeus)

Five years ago, Rosa walked to the pier in the dead of night, looked into the swirling water, and jumped. She was a brilliant young Cambridge student who had just lost her father. Her death was tragic, but not unexpected. Was that what really happened? The coroner says it was suicide. But Rosa’s boyfriend, Jar, can’t let go. He sees Rosa everywhere – a face on the train, a figure on the cliff. He is obsessed with proving that she is still alive. And then he gets an email. Find me, Jar. Find me, before they do

TheBookofForgottenAuthorsThe Book of Forgotten Authors by Christopher Fowler (proof copy, courtesy of riverrun)

Absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder. It makes people think you’re dead.  So begins Christopher Fowler’s foray into the back catalogues and back stories of 99 authors who, once hugely popular, have all but disappeared from shelves. We are fondly introduced to each potential rediscovery: from lost Victorian voices to the twentieth century writers who could well become the next John Williams, Hans Fallada or Lionel Davidson. Whether male or female, flash-in-the-pan or prolific, mega-seller or prize-winner – no author, it seems, can ever be fully immune from the fate of being forgotten. These 99 journeys are punctuated by 12 short essays about faded once-favourites: including the now-vanished novels Walt Disney brought to the screen, the contemporary rivals of Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie who did not stand the test of time, and the women who introduced psychological suspense many decades before it conquered the world. This is a book about books and their authors. It is for book lovers, and is written by one who could not be a more enthusiastic, enlightening and entertaining guide.

APearlForMyMistressA Pearl For My Mistress by Annabel Fielding (eARC, courtesy of the author)

England, 1934. Hester Blake, an ambitious girl from an industrial Northern town, finds a job as a lady’s maid in a small aristocratic household. Despite their impressive title and glorious past, the Fitzmartins are crumbling under the pressures of the new century. And in the cold isolation of these new surroundings, Hester ends up hopelessly besotted with her young mistress, Lady Lucy. Accompanying Lucy on her London Season, Hester is plunged into a heady and decadent world. But hushed whispers of another war swirl beneath the capital… and soon, Hester finds herself the keeper of some of society’s most dangerous secrets…

On What Cathy Read Next last week

Blog posts

Monday – I shared my review of Holding on to Hurt by Charlotte Roth, an emotional story about a family affected by a school shooting incident.

Tuesday – I published an interview with Ted Galdi about his forthcoming book, a thriller entitled An American Cage. I shared my review of The Wardrobe Mistress by Patrick McGrath, a dark story of grief and betrayal set in post-WW2 London.

Wednesday –Wednesday is WWW Wednesday, where I and other book bloggers share what we’ve been reading, are currently reading and plan to read next.

Thursday – The subject of my Throwback Thursday post was Lady Susan, a very early novel by Jane Austen recently made into the film, Love and Friendship.

Friday –I shared the five favourite books I read in August – it was a great month for quality reads.

Saturday – Supporting new authors is one of the things I enjoy about book blogging, so I was pleased to feature an extract from Choose to Rise, the debut novel of M N Mekaelian.

Challenge updates

  • Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge – 104 out of 104 books read, 3 more than last week (need to increase that target again!)
  • Classics Club Challenge– 5 out of 50 books reviewed, same as last week
  • NetGalley/Edelweiss Reading Challenge 2017 (Gold) – 45 ARCs reviewed out of 50, 1 more than last week
  • From Page to Screen 2017– 7 book/film comparisons out of 12 completed, same as last week
  • ARC August – 4 ARCs out of 6 read, 1 more than last week

On What Cathy Read Next this week

Currently reading

Planned posts

  • Blog Tour/Extract: A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars by Yaba Badoe
  • Book Review: A Dangerous Woman From Nowhere by Kris Radish
  • Blog Tour/Extract: Keep Me Safe by Daniela Sacerdoti
  • Throwback Thursday: Across Great Divides by Monique Roy
  • Book Review: And The Birds Kept On Singing by Simon Bourke
  • Guest Post: A Queen’s Spy by Sam Burnell