WWW Wednesdays – 22nd November ’17

WWWWednesdays

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

TheSummerofImpossibleThingsThe Summer of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman (hardcover, giveaway prize)

If you could change the past, would you?

Thirty years ago, something terrible happened to Luna’s mother. Something she’s only prepared to reveal after her death. Now Luna and her sister have a chance to go back to their mother’s birthplace and settle her affairs. But in Brooklyn they find more questions than answers, until something impossible – magical – happens to Luna, and she meets her mother as a young woman back in the summer of 1977.  At first Luna’s thinks she’s going crazy, but if she can truly travel back in time, she can change things. But in doing anything – everything – to save her mother’s life, will she have to sacrifice her own?

TheIceThe Ice by Laline Paull (ebook, NetGalley)

It’s the day after tomorrow and the Arctic sea ice has melted. While global business carves up the new frontier, cruise ships race each other to ever-rarer wildlife sightings. The passengers of the Vanir have come seeking a polar bear. What they find is even more astonishing: a dead body.

It is Tom Harding, lost in an accident three years ago and now revealed by the melting ice of Midgard glacier. Tom had come to Midgard to help launch the new venture of his best friend of thirty years, Sean Cawson, a man whose business relies on discretion and powerful connections – and who was the last person to see him alive. Their friendship had been forged by a shared obsession with Arctic exploration. And although Tom’s need to save the world often clashed with Sean’s desire to conquer it, Sean has always believed that underneath it all, they shared the same goals. But as the inquest into Tom’s death begins, the choices made by both men – in love and in life – are put on the stand. And when cracks appear in the foundations of Sean’s glamorous world, he is forced to question what price he has really paid for a seat at the establishment’s table. Just how deep do the lies go?

TheExistenceofPityThe Existence of Pity by Jeannie Zokan (ebook, review copy courtesy of the author)

Growing up in a lush valley in the Andes mountains, sixteen-year-old Josie Wales is mostly isolated from the turbulence brewing in 1976 Colombia. As the daughter of missionaries, Josie feels torn between their beliefs and the need to choose for herself. She soon begins to hide things from her parents, like her new boyfriend, her trips into the city, and her explorations into different religions. Josie eventually discovers her parents’ secrets are far more insidious. When she attempts to unravel the web of lies surrounding her family, each thread stretches to its breaking point. Josie tries to save her family, but what happens if they don’t want to be saved?

Recently finished (click on title for review)

LettingGoLetting Go by Maria Thompson Corley (ebook, review copy courtesy of the author)

Even though she lives hundreds of miles away, when Langston, who dreams of being a chef, meets Cecile, a Juilliard-trained pianist, he is sure that his history of being a sidekick, instead of a love interest, is finally over. Their connection is real and full of potential for a deeper bond, but the obstacles between them turn out to be greater than distance. Can these busy, complicated people be ready for each other at the same time? Does it even matter? Before they can answer these questions, each must do battle with the ultimate demon – fear. (Review to follow)

Whiteout_New_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.

Murder on the Orient ExpressMurder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (hardcover, special edition)

Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Edward Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Without a shred of doubt, one of his fellow passengers is the murderer. Isolated by the storm, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer among a dozen of the dead man’s enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again. (Review to follow)

APearlForMyMistressA Pearl for My Mistress by Annabel Fielding (ebook, review copy 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…

What Cathy (will) Read Next

FortunesWheelFortune’s Wheel by Carolyn Hughes (paperback, giveaway prize)

June 1349. In a Hampshire village, the worst plague in England’s history has wiped out half its population, including Alice atte Wode’s husband and eldest son. The plague arrived only days after Alice’s daughter, Agnes, mysteriously disappeared, and it prevented the search for her. Now the plague is over, the village is trying to return to normal life, but it’s hard, with so much to do and so few left to do it. Conflict is growing between the manor and its tenants, as the workers realise their very scarceness means they’re more valuable than before: they can demand higher wages, take on spare land, and have a better life. This is the chance they’ve all been waiting for. Although she understands their demands, Alice is disheartened that the search for Agnes is once more put on hold. When one of the rebels is killed, and then the lord’s son is found murdered, it seems the two deaths may be connected, both to each other and to Agnes’s disappearance.

TheSixthManThe Sixth Man by Rupert Colley (ebook, review copy courtesy of the author)

Sometimes we all make the wrong choice.

1943 Nazi-occupied France. Six Frenchmen are in a Nazi prison: a doctor, a postman, a policeman, a soldier, a teacher and a priest. After six months of prison, they are a desperate looking set of men. But, despite their circumstances, they are happy – for tonight is their last night of incarceration. Tomorrow, they will be free men. But then – there’s a change of plan. The French resistance have blown up a German train. Five German soldiers lie dead. Tomorrow, five of the six prisoners will be executed in reprisal. They have until dawn to decide which one of them should be allowed to live. Six happy men are now six desperate frightened souls, victims of the Nazi’s arbitrary justice. The doctor, the postman, the policeman, the soldier, the teacher and the priest. Only one of them will live to see another day. Who will be The Sixth Man?

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Down the TBR Hole #9

This meme was created by Lia at Lost in a Story as a way to tackle the gargantuan To-Read shelves a lot of us have on Goodreads. Like other people, I’ve long ago forgotten what prompted me to add some of the books I have shelved. This meme is the perfect excuse to start taking back control…

The rules are simple:

  1. Go to your Goodreads To-Read shelf.
  2. Order on ascending date added.
  3. Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  4. Read the synopses of the books
  5. Decide: keep it or should it go?
  6. Repeat every week until the entire list has been filtered (hmm, quite a few weeks then!)

This week’s ten who need to demonstrate their worth are:

TBR#9The TownHouseThe Town House (House #1) by Norah Lofts (added 17th August 2013)

Martin Reed is the serf born in 1381 who starts Norah Lofts’ epic ‘House’ trilogy. He resents the feudal system that undermines him. When circumstances change, he begins a new life as a free man, builds the house and founds a family. From the perspectives of five characters who live in the house, Lofts evokes fourteenth- and fifteenth-century life with the storytelling ability that has made her so popular.

Verdict: Keep – This one is one my Classics Club list so it’s got to stay.

TBR#9CatalinasRiddleCatalina’s Riddle (Roma Sub Rosa #3) by Steven Saylor (added 31st August 2013)

With the consular election drawing near, Rome is fiercely divided between the conservative Cicero and the tempestuous Catilina, whose followers are rumored to be plotting a blood-thirsty siege for power if their leader fails to win office. Gordianus the Finder, retired to his Etruscan farm, is happy to be free of the intrigue and danger of the capital, but when his old friend Cicero enlists the Finder in an elaborate plot to control Catilina, Gordianus is drawn back into a familiar world. Now caught in a cloak-and-dagger political struggle for the fate of the Republic, Gordianus finds himself strangely drawn to the controversial candidate. Is Catilina really a subversive renegade, or are Cicero suspicions part of an even greater conspiracy? When a headless corpse ominously appears on his farm, Gordianus knows he must unlock the secret of Catilina’s Riddle before Rome tears herself apart.

Verdict: Keep – This is a good historical mystery series set in Ancient Rome that I’ve really enjoyed. I’ve read the first two and this is the third.

I’m going to take a shortcut and group the next seven together…

The Venus Throw (Roma Sub Rosa #4) by Steven Saylor (added 31st August 2013)

On a chill January evening in 56 B.C., two strange visitors to Rome—an Egyptian ambassador and a eunuch priest—seek out Gordianus the Finder whose specialty is solving murders, but the ambassador, a philosopher named Dio, has come to ask for something Gordianus cannot give—help in staying alive. Before the night is out, he will be murdered. Now Gordianus begins his most dangerous case. Hired to investigate Dio’s death by a beautiful woman with a scandalous reputation, he will follow a trail of political intrigue into the highest circles of power and the city’s most hidden arenas of debauchery. There Gordianus will learn nothing is as it seems—not the damning evidence he uncovers, not the suspect he sends to trial, not even the real truth behind Dio’s death which lies in secrets—not of state, but of the heart.

A Murder on the Appian Way (Roma Sub Rosa #5) by Steven Saylor (added 31st August 2013

This time the powerful politician Publius Clodius is murdered (53 BCE) on the Appian Way (a major road leading south from Rome), and as riots break out in Rome at the news of his death, the fate of the Republic is in doubt. All of the major political figures of the time are involved: Pompey (the great), Julius Caesar, Milo, and Cicero, plus any number of lesser figures. Surrounded by intrigue and beset with problems, Gordianus seeks out the unpalatable truth behind this death, and uncovers a complex and dangerous sequence of events.

Rubicon (Roma Sub Rosa #7) by Steven Saylor (added 31st August 2013)

As Caesar marches on Rome and panic erupts in the city, Gordianus the Finder discovers, in his own home, the body of Pompey’s favorite cousin. Before fleeing the city, Pompey exacts a terrible bargain from the finder of secrets-to unearth the killer, or sacrifice his own son-in-law to service in Pompey’s legions, and certain death. Amid the city’s sordid underbelly, Gordianus learns that the murdered man was a dangerous spy. Now, as he follows a trail of intrigue, betrayal, and ferocious battles on land and sea, the Finder is caught between the chaos of war and the terrible truth he must finally reveal.

Last Seen in Massilia (Roma Sub Rosa #8) by Steven Saylor (added 31st August 2013)

In this mystery set in Marseilles in 49 B.C., master detective Gordianus the Finder is on a personal quest to learn the truth about his missing son, Meto. Plunged into the midst of the bloody Roman civil war, the well-connected Gordianus and his son-in-law Davus survive adventure after adventure as they penetrate the Gaulic city Massilia, which is walled against Roman invasion.

A Mist of Prophecies (Roma Sub Rosa #9) by Steven Saylor (added 31st August 2013)

In the year 48 B.C., Rome is in the midst of civil war. As Pompey the Great and Julius Caesar fight for control of the Republic, Rome itself becomes a hotbed of intrigue, riven by espionage, greedy profiteering, and bitter betrayals…Against this background a beautiful young seeress staggers across the Roman marketplace and dies in the arms of Gordianus the Finder. Possibly mad and claiming no memory of her past, Cassandra—like her Trojan namesake—was reputed to possess the gift of prophecy. For such a gift there are many in Rome who would pay handsomely—or resort to murder.Obsessed with Cassandra and her mystery, Gordianus begins to investigate her murder. As he gradually peels away the veils of secrecy that surround Cassandra’s life and death, he discovers a web of conspiracy linking many of the city’s most ruthless and powerful women. Now Gordianus’s pursuit of the truth not only endangers his own life, but could change the future of Rome itself.

The Judgment of Caesar (Roma Sub Rosa #10) by Steven Saylor (added 31st August 2013)

In 48 B.C. the Roman generals Caesar and Pompey are engaged in a battle to rule the world. Now, as Pompey plots a reckless stand on the banks of the Nile, Gordianus the Finder—who has brought his dying wife Bethesda to the Nile seeking a cure from its sacred waters—finds himself suddenly at the heart of a series of treacherous and history-altering events. While Caesar and Cleopatra embark on a legendary romance, Egypt remains ravaged by the brutal contest between the Queen and her brother King Ptolemy. Worst of all for Gordianus, Meto, his once disowned son and Caesar’s right-hand man, stands falsely accused of murder. Caesar’s judgment will decide his son’s fate, and it is up to Gordianus to somehow overcome malevolent forces to reveal the carefully obscured truth in order to save his son’s life.

The Triumph of Caesar (Roma Sub Rosa #12) by Steven Saylor (added 31st August 2013)

Gordianus, recently returned from Egypt with his wife Bethesda, is essentially retired from his previous profession of ‘Finder’, but even he cannot refuse the call of Calpurnia, Caesar’s wife. Troubled by dreams foretelling disaster and fearing a conspiracy against the life of Caesar, she had hired someone to investigate the rumors. but that person, a close friend of Gordianus, has just turned up dead—murdered on her doorstep. With four successive Triumphs for Caesar’s military victories scheduled for the coming days, and Caesar more exposed to danger than ever before, Calpurnia wants Gordianus to uncover the truth behind the rumored conspiracies—to protect Caesar’s life, before it is too late. No fan of Caesar, Gordianus agrees to help, but only to find the murderer of his friend. Yet, once an investigation is begun, there’s no controlling what it will turn up, who it will put in danger, and where it will end

Verdict: Go x 7 – Although some of these sound like they have great plots, I’m applying my rule not to keep subsequent books in a series if I’ve not yet read the first or next book. So that’s seven books removed in one fell swoop!

TBR#9TheThirteenthTaleThe Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (added 31st August 2013)

All children mythologize their birth…So begins the prologue of reclusive author Vida Winter’s collection of stories, which are as famous for the mystery of the missing thirteenth tale as they are for the delight and enchantment of the twelve that do exist.

The enigmatic Winter has spent six decades creating various outlandish life histories for herself – all of them inventions that have brought her fame and fortune but have kept her violent and tragic past a secret. Now old and ailing, she at last wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. She summons biographer Margaret Lea, a young woman for whom the secret of her own birth, hidden by those who loved her most, remains an ever-present pain. Struck by a curious parallel between Miss Winter’s story and her own, Margaret takes on the commission.

As Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good, Margaret is mesmerized. It is a tale of gothic strangeness featuring the Angelfield family, including the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire. Margaret succumbs to the power of Vida’s storytelling but remains suspicious of the author’s sincerity. She demands the truth from Vida, and together they confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves.

The Thirteenth Tale is a love letter to reading, a book for the feral reader in all of us, a return to that rich vein of storytelling that our parents loved and that we loved as children. Diane Setterfield will keep you guessing, make you wonder, move you to tears and laughter and, in the end, deposit you breathless yet satisfied back upon the shore of your everyday life.

Verdict: Keep – A book described as ‘a love letter to reading’ – how can I not keep that? It seems to be a book where opinion is divided but I think I’ll give it a chance.


The Result: 3 kept, 7 dumped. Of course, it did help that I was able to get rid of most of the books I added on what must henceforth be known as “Steven Saylor Day”. Do you agree with my choices? Have I dumped any books you would have kept or vice versa?

WWW Wednesdays – 15th November ’17

WWWWednesdays

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

LettingGoLetting Go by Maria Thompson Corley (ebook, review copy courtesy of the author)

Even though she lives hundreds of miles away, when Langston, who dreams of being a chef, meets Cecile, a Juilliard-trained pianist, he is sure that his history of being a sidekick, instead of a love interest, is finally over. Their connection is real and full of potential for a deeper bond, but the obstacles between them turn out to be greater than distance. Can these busy, complicated people be ready for each other at the same time? Does it even matter? Before they can answer these questions, each must do battle with the ultimate demon – fear.

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.

Murder on the Orient ExpressMurder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (hardcover special edition, gift)

Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Edward Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Without a shred of doubt, one of his fellow passengers is the murderer.

Isolated by the storm, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer among a dozen of the dead man’s enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again.

Recently finished (click on title for review)

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.

IllusionIllusion by Stephanie Elmas (ebook, review copy courtesy of Endeavour Press)

London, 1873. Returning home from his travels with a stowaway named Kayan, Walter Balanchine is noted for the charms, potions and locket hanging from his neck. Finding his friend Tom Winter’s mother unwell, he gives her a potion he learned to brew in the Far East. Lucid and free from pain, the old woman remembers something about Walter’s mother.  Walter is intrigued, for he has never known his family or even his own name – he christened himself upon leaving the workhouse.

Living in a cemetery with his pet panther Sinbad to keep the body snatchers away, word soon spreads of his healing and magical abilities and he becomes a sought after party performer.  During one of Walter’s parties, Tom is approached by Tamara Huntington, who reveals she is being forced to marry a man she does not love. Will he and Walter come to her rescue? Try as they might, sometimes all the best intentions in the world can’t put a stop to a bad thing, and she is soon married off to the cruel Cecil Hearst. Drama and tragedy ensue, and Walter keeps his distance from Tamara. That is until her stricken brother-in-law Daniel requires his magical healing, and he is forced back into her life. With secrets beginning to emerge, Walter finds his mother may be a lot closer to home than he realised… (Review to follow 18th November)

Venetian BloodVenetian Blood: Murder in a Sensuous City by Christine Evelyn Volker (ebook)

Struggling to forget a crumbling marriage, forty-year-old Anna Lucia Lottol comes to Venice to visit an old friend – but instead of finding solace, she is dragged into the police station and accused of murdering a money-laundering count with whom she had a brief affair. A US Treasury officer with brains and athleticism, Anna fights to clear her name in a seductive city full of watery illusions. As she works to pry information from a cast of recalcitrant characters sometimes denying what she sees and hears, she succeeds in unleashing a powerful foe bent on destroying her. Will she save herself and vanquish her enemies, including her darkest fears? A captivating tapestry of murder, betrayal, and family, Venetian Blood is a story of one woman’s brave quest for the truth –before it’s too late. (Review to follow)

What Cathy (will) Read Next

APearlForMyMistressA Pearl for My Mistress by Annabel Fielding (ebook, review copy 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…

TheSummerofImpossibleThingsThe Summer of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman (hardcover, prize)

If you could change the past, would you?

Thirty years ago, something terrible happened to Luna’s mother. Something she’s only prepared to reveal after her death. Now Luna and her sister have a chance to go back to their mother’s birthplace and settle her affairs. But in Brooklyn they find more questions than answers, until something impossible – magical – happens to Luna, and she meets her mother as a young woman back in the summer of 1977.  At first Luna’s thinks she’s going crazy, but if she can truly travel back in time, she can change things. But in doing anything – everything – to save her mother’s life, will she have to sacrifice her own?

The Classics Club Spin #16

The Classics ClubHow time flies because it’s time for another Classics Club spin!

I’ve been making very little progress with my Classics Club List of late because I keep getting tempted by new releases and blog tours. So this is a great opportunity to focus on it and at least get one book from the list read before the end of the year!

The rules (courtesy of The Classics Club) are simple:

  • Go to your blog
  • Pick twenty books that you’ve got left to read from your Classics Club List
  • Try to challenge yourself: list five you are dreading/hesitant to read, five you can’t WAIT to read, five you are neutral about, and five free choice (favourite author, re-reads, ancients – whatever you choose)
  • Post that list, numbered 1-20, on your blog before Friday, November 17th
  • That morning (17th November), we’ll announce a number from 1-20. Go to the list of twenty books you posted, and select the book that corresponds to the number we announce
  • The challenge is to read that book by December 31st, even if it’s an icky one you dread reading! (Not fair not listing any scary ones!)

So without further ado, here’s my spin list. My Classics Club List focused on women writers – with a few books by John Buchan thrown in for good measure. For my spin list, I’ve chosen mainly books I already own so there’s no excuse not to read whatever is selected!

  1. The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood
  2. The Power House by John Buchan
  3. The Watcher by the Threshold by John Buchan
  4. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
  5. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
  6. The Price of Salt (Carol) by Patricia Highsmith
  7. The Crowded Street by Winifred Holtby
  8. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  9. Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
  10. Invitation to the Waltz by Rosamond Lehmann
  11. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
  12. The Bell by Iris Murdoch
  13. Katherine by Anya Seton
  14. Memento Mori by Muriel Spark
  15. The Flowers of Adonis by Rosemary Sutcliff
  16. Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor
  17. The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Armin
  18. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson
  19. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
  20. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

What would you be hoping for, or dreading, if you had my list? (Personally, I’m just hoping for a short one!)

 

WWW Wednesdays – 8th November ’17

WWWWednesdays

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

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.

LettingGoLetting Go by Maria Thompson Corley (ebook, review copy courtesy of the author)

Even though she lives hundreds of miles away, when Langston, who dreams of being a chef, meets Cecile, a Juilliard-trained pianist, he is sure that his history of being a sidekick, instead of a love interest, is finally over. Their connection is real and full of potential for a deeper bond, but the obstacles between them turn out to be greater than distance. Can these busy, complicated people be ready for each other at the same time? Does it even matter? Before they can answer these questions, each must do battle with the ultimate demon – fear.

Recently finished (click on title for review)

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.

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. (Review to follow)

TheOtherLifeofCharlotteEvansThe Other Life of Charlotte Evans by Louisa George (ebook, review copy courtesy of Neverland Book Tours)

Would you sacrifice your future to understand your past? Life is rosy for dance studio owner Charlotte Evans, who is about to marry beloved fiancé, Ben. But when Ben finds a lump in Charlotte’s breast, it sends her on a journey of self-discovery which she knows she must do alone. Because Charlotte is adopted, and she suddenly, desperately, needs to know who she is and where she comes from. Finding and reconnecting with her birth family, the life Charlotte could have had unfolds before her. As her wedding day draws closer, and her past merges ever more into her present, Charlotte must decide on the future she really wants…A heartrendingly beautiful novel about love, family and finding your own path to happiness.

MysteryTour CWA AnthologyCWA Anthology of Short Stories: Mystery Tour, ed by Martin Edwards (ARC 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.

Zenka_FinalZenka by Alison Brodie (eARC, courtesy of the author)

Ruthless, devious, and loyal, Zenka is a Hungarian pole-dancer with a dark past. When cranky London mob boss, Jack Murray, saves her life she vows to become his guardian angel – whether he likes it or not. Happily, she now has easy access to pistols, knives and shotguns. Jack discovers he has a son, Nicholas, a male nurse with a heart of gold. Problem is, Nicholas is a wimp. Zenka takes charge. Using her feminine wiles and gangland contacts, she will turn Nicholas into the son any self-respecting crime boss would be proud of. And she succeeds! Nicholas is learning fast that sometimes you have to kill, or be killed. As his life becomes more terrifying, questions have to be asked: How do you tell a mob boss you don’t want to be his son? And is Zenka really who she says she is?

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

A broken marriage. A love affair. A lie that changes it all…

Hope Sullivan has been with the same man since her freshman year of college. She knows her marriage has its cracks, but she doesn’t realize how much resentment she has buried, or chosen to blame on herself, that is until a family tragedy forces her to re-evaluate her long held beliefs. When her husband isn’t there for her, Hope’s first love steps in and offers her a way out. Adrian, appears to be everything her husband isn’t. He’s sexy, strong, and fit. He listens to her, sympathizes with her, and makes her feel valued. Best of all, Adrian lives for spending time with his kids.

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. (Review to follow as part of blog tour)

What Cathy (will) Read Next

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.

IllusionIllusion by Stephanie Elmas (ebook, review copy courtesy of Endeavour Press)

London, 1873. Returning home from his travels with a stowaway named Kayan, Walter Balanchine is noted for the charms, potions and locket hanging from his neck. Finding his friend Tom Winter’s mother unwell, he gives her a potion he learned to brew in the Far East. Lucid and free from pain, the old woman remembers something about Walter’s mother.  Walter is intrigued, for he has never known his family or even his own name – he christened himself upon leaving the workhouse.

Living in a cemetery with his pet panther Sinbad to keep the body snatchers away, word soon spreads of his healing and magical abilities and he becomes a sought after party performer.  During one of Walter’s parties, Tom is approached by Tamara Huntington, who reveals she is being forced to marry a man she does not love. Will he and Walter come to her rescue? Try as they might, sometimes all the best intentions in the world can’t put a stop to a bad thing, and she is soon married off to the cruel Cecil Hearst. Drama and tragedy ensue, and Walter keeps his distance from Tamara. That is until her stricken brother-in-law Daniel requires his magical healing, and he is forced back into her life. With secrets beginning to emerge, Walter finds his mother may be a lot closer to home than he realised…