#WWWWednesday – 15th January 2020


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 Wordsand then go blog hopping!

Currently reading

A book for a blog tour later this month, an audiobook and the book chosen for me for the latest Classics Club spin.

A Messy AffairA Messy Affair by Elizabeth Mundy (eARC, courtesy of Constable)

The only way is murder…

Lena Szarka, a Hungarian cleaner working in London, is forced to brush up on her detective skills for a third time when her cousin Sarika is plunged into danger.

Sarika and her reality TV star boyfriend Terry both receive threatening notes. When Terry stops calling, Lena assumes he’s lost interest. Until he turns up. Dead. Lena knows she must act fast to keep her cousin from the same fate.

Scrubbing her way through the grubby world of reality television, online dating and betrayed lovers, Lena finds it harder than she thought to discern what’s real – and what’s just for the cameras.

TBR#7KatherineKatherine by Anya Seton (ebook)

This classic romance novel tells the true story of the love affair that changed history—that of Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, the ancestors of most of the British royal family.

Set in the vibrant 14th century of Chaucer and the Black Death, the story features knights fighting in battle, serfs struggling in poverty, and the magnificent Plantagenets—Edward III, the Black Prince, and Richard II—who ruled despotically over a court rotten with intrigue. Within this era of danger and romance, John of Gaunt, the king’s son, falls passionately in love with the already married Katherine. Their well-documented affair and love persist through decades of war, adultery, murder, loneliness, and redemption.

This epic novel of conflict, cruelty, and untameable love has become a classic since its first publication in 1954.

Heaven My HomeHeaven, My Home (Highway 59 #2)by Attica Locke (audiobook)

Nine-year-old Levi King knew he should have left for home sooner; now he’s alone in the darkness of vast Caddo Lake, in a boat whose motor just died. A sudden noise distracts him – and all goes dark.

Darren Matthews is trying to emerge from another kind of darkness; after the events of his previous investigation, his marriage is in a precarious state of re-building, and his career and reputation lie in the hands of his mother, who’s never exactly had his best interests at heart. Now she holds the key to his freedom, and she’s not above a little maternal blackmail to press her advantage.

An unlikely possibility of rescue arrives in the form of a case down Highway 59, in a small lakeside town where the local economy thrives on nostalgia for ante-bellum Texas – and some of the era’s racial attitudes still thrive as well. Levi’s disappearance has links to Darren’s last case, and to a wealthy businesswoman, the boy’s grandmother, who seems more concerned about the fate of her business than that of her grandson.

Darren has to battle centuries-old suspicions and prejudices, as well as threats that have been reignited in the current political climate, as he races to find the boy, and to save himself.

Recently finished

The Lady of the RavensThe Lady of the Ravens by Joanna Hickson (eARC, courtesy of Harper Collins and NetGalley)

Two women, two very different destinies, drawn together in the shadow of the Tower of London:

Elizabeth of York, her life already tainted by dishonour and tragedy, now queen to the first Tudor king, Henry the VII.

Joan Vaux, servant of the court, straining against marriage and motherhood and privy to the deepest and darkest secrets of her queen. Like the ravens, Joan must use her eyes and her senses, as conspiracy whispers through the dark corridors of the Tower.

Through Joan’s eyes, The Lady of the Ravens inhabits the squalid streets of Tudor London, the whispering walls of its most fearsome fortress and the glamorous court of a kingdom in crisis. (Review to follow)

Magician and FoolMagician and Fool by Susan Wands (ebook, courtesy of the author)

Pamela Colman Smith begins her career as an artist at the end of the Victorian Age at the Lyceum Theatre, where she grows from innocent empath to seer and channeler; creating her now world-famous deck of tarot cards.

Introduced to The Golden Dawn cult by Bram Stoker, the second in command at the Lyceum Theatre, she is commissioned to create a tarot deck for the members to use in their quest for magic. Golden Dawn’s most evil member, Aleister Crowley, becomes obsessed with unlocking the mysteries of the Tarot. His obsession peaks when he sees the power of her deck and realizes he can create a rival deck, leading him to manifest magical power to harm Pamela’s incarnates of her cards. (Review to follow)

What Cathy (will) Read Next

Hitlers SecretHitler’s Secret (Tom Wilde #4) by Rory Clements (eARC, courtesy of Zaffre and NetGalley)

In the Autumn of 1941, the war is going badly for Britain and its allies. If the tide is going to be turned against Hitler, a new weapon is desperately needed.

In Cambridge, brilliant history professor Tom Wilde is asked by an American intelligence officer to help smuggle a mysterious package out of Nazi Germany – something so secret, even Hitler himself doesn’t know of its existence.

Posing as a German-American industrialist, Wilde soon discovers the shocking truth about the ‘package’, and why the Nazis will stop at nothing to prevent it leaving Germany. With ruthless killers loyal to Martin Bormann hunting him down, Wilde makes a desperate gamble on an unlikely escape route.

But even if he reaches England alive, that will not be the end of his ordeal. Wilde is now convinced that the truth he has discovered must remain hidden, even if it means betraying the country he loves . . .


#TopTenTuesday Bookish Discoveries In 2019

Top Ten Tuesday newTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

The rules are simple:

Each Tuesday, Jana assigns a new topic. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want. Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post. Add your name to the Linky widget on that day’s post so that everyone can check out other bloggers’ lists. Or if you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment.

This week’s topic is Bookish Discoveries In 2019. My list is a combination of changes in my reading and some new authors I discovered last year. Links from the book titles will take you to my review.

Restraint – Whether that’s not over-committing to blog tours, turning down new review requests or not requesting more titles from NetGalley than I can handle, 2019 was the year I tried to bring balance to my blogging and reading life. Let’s be honest, it’s a work in progress.

Memoirs – Some of my favourite reads last year were personal memoirs such as Where The Hornbeam Grows by Beth Lynch, In My Life by Alan Johnson and The Outrun by Amy Liptrot.

New Genres – Thanks to Pushkin Press, I discovered American noir through the work of Margaret Millar and her novel The Listening Walls.

Audiobooks – I listened to more audiobooks than in any previous year but that still amounted to only a handful. I’m not one of those people who can multitask and listen to a book while doing other things; I need to give them my full attention. However, I found it useful for consuming books I might have found challenging in a standard format, such as The Long Take by Robin Robertson, winner of the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2019.

Reading Challenges – I was forced to come to the conclusion that I’m pretty bad at reading challenges. I documented some of the reasons in this blog post. I’m attempting to follow my own advice and sign up for less this year or set more realistic targets.

Blogging is hard work – Although I’m not driven by stats and I blog for fun, I was disappointed to see my blog received less views in 2019 than the previous year. However, I’m still massively grateful for every visit, comment or like. It proved to me that making your blog stand out from the crowd – if that’s important to you – requires perseverance and constant promotion and sharing of blog posts. And as for Instagram…Well, that’s even more work.

Finally, Four New To Me Authors:
Fiona Kidman, author of This Mortal Boy
Meg Keneally, author of Fled
Heather Cooper, author of Stealing Roses
James MacManus, author of Ike and Kay and The Woman With Wings

What bookish discoveries did you make last year?