WWW Wednesdays – 21st February ’18

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

TheFragileThreadofHopeThe Fragile Thread of Hope by Pankaj Giri (ebook, review 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?

John MacnabJohn Macnab by John Buchan (hardback)

Three high-flying men – a barrister, a cabinet minister and a banker – are suffering from boredom. They concoct a plan to cure it. They inform three Scottish estates that they will poach from each two stags and a salmon in a given time. They sign collectively as ‘John Macnab’ and await the responses.


Recently finished

The Bell by Iris Murdoch (paperback)

A lay community of thoroughly mixed-up people is encamped outside Imber Abbey, home of an enclosed order of nuns. A new bell, legendary symbol of religion and magic, is rediscovered. Dora Greenfield, erring wife, returns to her husband. Michael Mead, leader of the community, is confronted by Nick Fawley, with whom he had disastrous homosexual relations, while the wise old Abbess watches and prays and exercises discreet authority. And everyone, or almost everyone, hopes to be saved, whatever that may mean…Iris Murdoch’s funny and sad novel is about religion, the fight between good and evil, and the terrible accidents of human frailty. (Review to follow)

BrewingUpMurderBrewing Up Murder by Neila Young (ebook, review copy courtesy of the author)

As the owner of Mystery Cup Café in Wilton, Missouri, a town made famous by a string of long-ago murders, Blake Harper is used to the mysterious. When her barista is found strangled in a mound of coffee beans, Blake vows to find the killer, even though her sister, the town’s lead police detective, tells her to stay out of it. Blake finds plenty of suspects, like the owners of a rival coffee shop and the handsome new bookstore owner. But when new threats are made, she soon realizes the danger is centered around Mystery Cup and someone is targeting her personally. Will Blake be able to solve the murder, find a new barista, and perfect her recipe for espresso brownies before she becomes the next victim? (Review to follow)

CaligulaCaligula by Simon Turney (eARC, NetGalley)

Caligula: loving brother, reluctant ruler and tortured soul.

The five children of Germanicus are cursed from birth. Father: believed poisoned by the Emperor Tiberius over the imperial succession. Mother and two brothers arrested and starved to death by Tiberius. One sister married off to an abusive husband. Only two are left: Caligula, in line for the imperial throne, and his youngest sister, Livilla, who tells us this story.

The ascent of their family into the imperial dynasty forces Caligula to change from the fun-loving boy Livilla knew into a shrewd, wary and calculating young man. Tiberius’s sudden death allows Caligula to manhandle his way to power. With the bloodthirsty tyrant dead, it should be a golden age in Rome and, for a while, it is. But Caligula suffers emotional blow after emotional blow as political allies, friends, and finally family betray him and attempt to overthrow him, by poison, by the knife, by any means possible.

Little by little, Caligula becomes a bitter, resentful and vengeful Emperor, every shred of the boy he used to be eroded. As Caligula loses touch with reality, there is only one thing to be done before Rome is changed irrevocably…(Review to follow)


What Cathy (will) Read Next

The Secret Life of Mrs LondonThe Secret Life of Mrs. London by Rebecca Rosenberg (e-book, review copy courtesy if Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours)

San Francisco, 1915. As America teeters on the brink of world war, Charmian and her husband, famed novelist Jack London, wrestle with genius and desire, politics and marital competitiveness. Charmian longs to be viewed as an equal partner who put her own career on hold to support her husband, but Jack doesn’t see it that way…until Charmian is pulled from the audience during a magic show by escape artist Harry Houdini, a man enmeshed in his own complicated marriage. Suddenly, charmed by the attention Houdini pays her and entranced by his sexual magnetism, Charmian’s eyes open to a world of possibilities that could be her escape.

As Charmian grapples with her urge to explore the forbidden, Jack’s increasingly reckless behavior threatens her dedication. Now torn between two of history’s most mysterious and charismatic figures, she must find the courage to forge her own path, even as she fears the loss of everything she holds dear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Down the TBR Hole #11

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!)

The ten who need to demonstrate their worth this time are:

BTBR11 Behind the Scenes at the Museumehind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson (added 11th September 2013)

Ruby Lennox begins narrating her life at the moment of conception, and from there takes us on a whirlwind tour of the twentieth century as seen through the eyes of an English girl determined to learn about her family and its secrets.

Verdict: Keep – I loved the author’s Life After Life and I have A God in Ruins on my wishlist.  This sounds like a similarly inventive premise.

TBR11 Case HistoriesCase Histories (Jackson Brodie #1) by Kate Atkinson

Case one: A little girl goes missing in the night.
Case two: A beautiful young office worker falls victim to a maniac’s apparently random attack.
Case three: A new mother finds herself trapped in a hell of her own making – with a very needy baby and a very demanding husband – until a fit of rage creates a grisly, bloody escape.

Thirty years after the first incident, as private investigator Jackson Brodie begins investigating all three cases, startling connections and discoveries emerge . . .

Verdict: Keep – I wasn’t sure about keeping another book by the same author but this just sounds so intriguing.

TBR11 TieflandTiefland by Calvin Glover (added 20th September 2013)

Swing era Germany. A young Leni Riefenstahl is acclaimed as the greatest female filmmaker of the 20th century. Dancer, actor, screenwriter, and director, she is renowned as a consummate artist. Then come the atrocities of the Third Reich and suddenly she is dismissed and despised as a Nazi whore. Tiefland is a fictionalized account of her struggle to restore her reputation and her desperate attempt to regain the adoration she once enjoyed.

Verdict: Remove – This is one of those occasions where you become convinced Goodreads is randomly adding books to your To-Read shelf. OK, it’s historical fiction and set in the 1930s but it just doesn’t appeal for some reason and has average reviews.

TBR11 Monsieur Le CommandantMonsieur Le Commandant by Romain Slocombe (added 20th September 2013)

French Academician and Nazi sympathizer Paul-Jean Husson writes a letter to his local SS officer in the autumn of 1942.  Tormented by an illicit passion for Ilse, his German daughter-in-law, Husson has made a decision that will devastate several lives, including his own.  The letter is intended to explain his actions. It is a dramatic, sometimes harrowing story that begins in the years leading up to the war, when following the accidental drowning of his daughter, Husson’s previously gilded life begins to unravel.  And through Husson’s confession, Romain Slocombe gives the reader a startling picture of a man’s journey: from pillar of the French Establishment and World War One hero to outspoken supporter of Nazi ideology and the Vichy government.

Verdict: Remove – Some reviews has described this as ‘harrowing’ or ‘disturbing’ and I’m just not sure I want to put myself through that.

TBR11 The Hurlyburly's HusbandThe Hurlyburly’s Husband by Jean Tuele (added 20th September 2013)

The Marquis de Montespan and his new wife, Athénaïs, are that very rare thing: a true love-match. But love is not enough to maintain their hedonistic lifestyle, and the couple soon face huge debts. Then Madame de Montespan is offered the chance to turn their fortunes round, by becoming lady-in-waiting to the Queen at Versailles. Too late, Montespan discovers that his ravishing wife has caught the eye of King Louis XIV. Everyone congratulates him on his new status of cuckold by royal appointment, but the Marquis is broken-hearted. He vows to wreak revenge on the King and win back his adored Marquise. At once comic and poignant, Jean Teulé’s extraordinary novel restores a ridiculed figure from history to his rightful position of hero: a man who loved his wife and dared challenge the absolute power of the Sun King himself.

Verdict: Remove – I was slightly tempted to keep this as it’s a period I haven’t read much about but I’ve been deterred by the low average rating of 3.2 with quite a few DNFs.

TBR11 The City of ShadowsThe City of Shadows (Stefan Gillespie #1) by Michael Russell (added 20th September 2013)

Dublin 1934: Detective Stefan Gillespie arrests a German doctor and encounters Hannah Rosen desperate to find her friend Susan, a Jewish woman who had become involved with a priest, and has now disappeared.  When the bodies of a man and woman are found buried in the Dublin mountains, it becomes clear that this case is about more than a missing person. Stefan and Hannah trace the evidence all the way across Europe to Danzig.  In a strange city where the Nazi Party is gaining power, Stefan and Hannah are inching closer to the truth and soon find themselves in grave danger…

Verdict: Keep – This was longlisted for the CWA John Creasy New Blood Dagger Award in 2013 and has had some positive reviews.  I like the sound of the period and the setting.

TBR11 The Testament of MaryThe Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin (added 20th September 2013)

In the ancient town of Ephesus, Mary lives alone, years after her son’s crucifixion. She has no interest in collaborating with the authors of the Gospel—her keepers, who provide her with food and shelter and visit her regularly. She does not agree that her son is the Son of God; nor that his death was “worth it;” nor that the “group of misfits he gathered around him, men who could not look a woman in the eye,” were holy disciples. Mary judges herself ruthlessly (she did not stay at the foot of the Cross until her son died—she fled, to save herself), and is equally harsh on her judgment of others. This woman who we know from centuries of paintings and scripture as the docile, loving, silent, long-suffering, obedient, worshipful mother of Christ becomes, in Toibin’s searing evocation, a tragic heroine with the relentless eloquence of Electra or Medea or Antigone. This tour de force of imagination and language is a portrait so vivid and convincing that our image of Mary will be forever transformed.

Verdict: Keep – This was nominated for the Man Booker Prize in 2013 and, although I can imagine its subject matter provoking strong opinions, I have high regard for Toibin as an author.

TBR11 SPQRSPQR 1: The King’s Gambit by John Maddox Roberts (added 20th September 2013)

In this Edgar Award nominated mystery, John Maddox Roberts takes readers back to a Rome filled with violence and evil. Vicious gangs ruled the streets of Crassus and Pompey, routinely preying on plebeian and patrician alike. So the garroting of a lowly ex-slave and the disembowelment of a foreign merchant in the dangerous Subura district seemed of little consequence to the Roman hierarchy. But Decius Caecilius Metellus the Younger, high-born commander of the local vigiles, was determined to investigate. Despite official apathy, brazen bribes and sinister threats, Decius uncovers a world of corruption at the highest levels of his government that threatens to destroy him and the government he serves. Set in 70 B.C.

Verdict: Remove – I love novels set in Ancient Rome but I do have quite a few on my To-Read shelf already so I’m going to pass on this one.

TBR11 The Dante ClubThe Dante Club by Matthew Pearl (added 20th September 2013)

In 1865 Boston, the literary geniuses of the Dante Club—poets and Harvard professors Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, and James Russell Lowell, along with publisher J. T. Fields—are finishing America’s first translation of The Divine Comedy and preparing to unveil Dante’s remarkable visions to the New World. The powerful Boston Brahmins at Harvard College are fighting to keep Dante in obscurity, believing that the infiltration of foreign superstitions into American minds will prove as corrupting as the immigrants arriving at Boston Harbor.

The members of the Dante Club fight to keep a sacred literary cause alive, but their plans fall apart when a series of murders erupts through Boston and Cambridge. Only this small group of scholars realizes that the gruesome killings are modeled on the descriptions of Hell’s punishments from Dante’s Inferno. With the lives of the Boston elite and Dante’s literary future in America at stake, the Dante Club members must find the killer before the authorities discover their secret.

Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes and an outcast police officer named Nicholas Rey, the first black member of the Boston police department, must place their careers on the line to end the terror. Together, they discover that the source of the murders lies closer to home than they ever could have imagined.

Verdict: Keep – Well, if you read the reviews on Goodreads, this one really divides opinions.  Some love it, others hate it.  I’ll give it a chance.

TBR11 Slaughterhouse-FiveSlaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (added 20th September 2013)

Kurt Vonnegut’s absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes unstuck in time after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut’s) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden.

Verdict: Remove – This is one of those books that you feel you ‘should’ read.  But I’m going to be honest and say I really don’t feel any strong inclination to do so.


The Result:  5 kept, 5 dumped.  Do you agree with my choices?  Have I dumped any books you would have kept or vice versa?

WWW Wednesdays – 14th February ’18

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

The Bell by Iris Murdoch (paperback)

A lay community of thoroughly mixed-up people is encamped outside Imber Abbey, home of an enclosed order of nuns. A new bell, legendary symbol of religion and magic, is rediscovered. Dora Greenfield, erring wife, returns to her husband. Michael Mead, leader of the community, is confronted by Nick Fawley, with whom he had disastrous homosexual relations, while the wise old Abbess watches and prays and exercises discreet authority. And everyone, or almost everyone, hopes to be saved, whatever that may mean…Iris Murdoch’s funny and sad novel is about religion, the fight between good and evil, and the terrible accidents of human frailty.

BrewingUpMurderBrewing Up Murder by Neila Young (ebook, review copy courtesy of the author)

As the owner of Mystery Cup Café in Wilton, Missouri, a town made famous by a string of long-ago murders, Blake Harper is used to the mysterious. When her barista is found strangled in a mound of coffee beans, Blake vows to find the killer, even though her sister, the town’s lead police detective, tells her to stay out of it. Blake finds plenty of suspects, like the owners of a rival coffee shop and the handsome new bookstore owner. But when new threats are made, she soon realizes the danger is centered around Mystery Cup and someone is targeting her personally. Will Blake be able to solve the murder, find a new barista, and perfect her recipe for espresso brownies before she becomes the next victim?


Recently finished

The Wicked ComethThe Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin (eARC, NetGalley)

The year is 1831. Down the murky alleyways of London, acts of unspeakable wickedness are taking place and no one is willing to speak out on behalf of the city’s vulnerable poor as they disappear from the streets.  Out of these shadows comes Hester White, a bright young woman who is desperate to escape the slums by any means possible.

When Hester is thrust into the world of the aristocratic Brock family, she leaps at the chance to improve her station in life under the tutelage of the fiercely intelligent and mysterious Rebekah Brock. But whispers from her past slowly begin to poison her new life and both she and Rebekah are lured into the most sinister of investigations.  Hester and Rebekah find themselves crossing every boundary they’ve ever known in pursuit of truth, redemption and passion. But their trust in each other will be tested as a web of deceit begins to unspool, dragging them into the blackest heart of a city where something more depraved than either of them could ever imagine is lurking… (Review to follow)

In Strangers' HousesIn Strangers’ Houses by Elizabeth Mundy (eARC, NetGalley)

There are some crimes you can’t sweep under the carpet . . .

Lena Szarka, a Hungarian cleaner working in London, knows all too well about cleaning up other people’s messes. When her friend Timea disappears, she suspects one of her clients is to blame. However, the police don’t share her suspicions and it is left to Lena to turn sleuth and find her friend. Searching through their houses as she scrubs their floors, Lena desperately tries to find out what has happened. Only Cartwright, a police constable new to the job, believes that this will lead to the truth – and together they begin to uncover more of Islington’s seedy underbelly than they bargained for.

But Lena soon discovers it’s not just her clients who have secrets. And as she begins to unravel Timea’s past she starts to wonder if she really knew her friend at all. (Review to follow) 

TheRainNeverCameThe Rain Never Came by Lachlan Walter (ebook, review copy courtesy of the author)

In a thirsty, drought-stricken Australia, the country is well and truly sunburnt. As the Eastern states are evacuated to more appealing climates, a stubborn few resist the forced removaftl. They hide out in small country towns – where no one would ever bother looking.

Bill Cook and Tobe Cousins are united in their disregard of the law. Aussie larrikins, they pass their hot, monotonous existence drinking at the barely standing pub. When strange lights appear across the Western sky, it seems that those embittered by the drought are seeking revenge. And Bill and Tobe are in their path. In the heat of the moment secrets will be revealed, and survival can’t be guaranteed. (Review to follow)

BrotherBrother by David Chariandy (eARC, NetGalley)

Coming of age in The Park, a cluster of town houses and leaning concrete towers in the disparaged outskirts of a sprawling city, Michael and Francis battle against the careless prejudices and low expectations that confront them as young men of black and brown ancestry — teachers stream them into general classes; shopkeepers see them only as thieves; and strangers quicken their pace when the brothers are behind them. Always Michael and Francis escape into the cool air of the Rouge Valley, a scar of green wilderness that cuts through their neighbourhood, where they are free to imagine better lives for themselves. Propelled by the pulsing beats and styles of hip hop, Francis, the older of the two brothers, dreams of a future in music. Michael’s dreams are of Aisha, the smartest girl in their high school whose own eyes are firmly set on a life elsewhere. But the bright hopes of all three are violently, irrevocably thwarted by a tragic shooting, and the police crackdown and suffocating suspicion that follow. (Review to follow)

RusticlesRusticles by Rebecca Gransden (ebook, review copy courtesy of the author)

In Hilligoss, a tired man searches for a son, a flamingo enthrals the night, and fireworks light up the lost. In these stories and more, Rusticles offers a meandering tour through backroads bathed in half light, where shadows play along the verges and whispers of the past assault daydreams of the present. Walk the worn pathways of Hilligoss. (Review to follow)


What Cathy (will) Read Next

TheFragileThreadofHopeThe Fragile Thread of Hope by Pankaj Giri (ebook, review 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?

John MacnabJohn Macnab by John Buchan (hardback)

Three high-flying men – a barrister, a cabinet minister and a banker – are suffering from boredom. They concoct a plan to cure it. They inform three Scottish estates that they will poach from each two stags and a salmon in a given time. They sign collectively as ‘John Macnab’ and await the responses.

 

 

 

 

WWW Wednesdays – 7th February ’18

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

The Wicked ComethThe Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin (eARC, NetGalley)

The year is 1831. Down the murky alleyways of London, acts of unspeakable wickedness are taking place and no one is willing to speak out on behalf of the city’s vulnerable poor as they disappear from the streets.  Out of these shadows comes Hester White, a bright young woman who is desperate to escape the slums by any means possible.

When Hester is thrust into the world of the aristocratic Brock family, she leaps at the chance to improve her station in life under the tutelage of the fiercely intelligent and mysterious Rebekah Brock. But whispers from her past slowly begin to poison her new life and both she and Rebekah are lured into the most sinister of investigations.  Hester and Rebekah find themselves crossing every boundary they’ve ever known in pursuit of truth, redemption and passion. But their trust in each other will be tested as a web of deceit begins to unspool, dragging them into the blackest heart of a city where something more depraved than either of them could ever imagine is lurking…

In Strangers' HousesIn Strangers’ Houses by Elizabeth Mundy (eARC, NetGalley)

There are some crimes you can’t sweep under the carpet . . .

Lena Szarka, a Hungarian cleaner working in London, knows all too well about cleaning up other people’s messes. When her friend Timea disappears, she suspects one of her clients is to blame. However, the police don’t share her suspicions and it is left to Lena to turn sleuth and find her friend. Searching through their houses as she scrubs their floors, Lena desperately tries to find out what has happened. Only Cartwright, a police constable new to the job, believes that this will lead to the truth – and together they begin to uncover more of Islington’s seedy underbelly than they bargained for.

But Lena soon discovers it’s not just her clients who have secrets. And as she begins to unravel Timea’s past she starts to wonder if she really knew her friend at all.


Recently finished (click on title for review)

The Renaissance ClubThe Renaissance Club by Rachel Dacus (eARC, courtesy of Fiery Seas Publishing)

Would you give up everything, even the time in which you live, to be with your soul mate?

May Gold, a college adjunct teacher, often dreams about the subject of her master’s thesis – Gianlorenzo Bernini. In her fantasies, she’s in his arms, the wildly adored partner of the man who invented the Baroque.  But in reality, May has just landed in Rome with her teaching colleagues and older boyfriend. She considers herself a precocious failure and yearns to unleash her passion and creative spirit. Over the course of the tour, she realizes she has to choose: stay in a safe but stagnant existence or take a risk.

Will May’s adventure in time ruin her life or lead to a magical new one?

The Mermaid & Mrs HancockThe Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar (eARC, NetGalley)

This voyage is special. It will change everything…

One September evening in 1785, the merchant Jonah Hancock hears urgent knocking on his front door. One of his captains is waiting eagerly on the step. He has sold Jonah’s ship for what appears to be a mermaid.  As gossip spreads through the docks, coffee shops, parlours and brothels, everyone wants to see Mr Hancock’s marvel. Its arrival spins him out of his ordinary existence and through the doors of high society. At an opulent party, he makes the acquaintance of Angelica Neal, the most desirable woman he has ever laid eyes on… and a courtesan of great accomplishment. This meeting will steer both their lives onto a dangerous new course, on which they will learn that priceless things come at the greatest cost.

Where will their ambitions lead? And will they be able to escape the destructive power mermaids are said to possess?

The Optickal IllusionThe Optickal Illusion by Rachel Halliburton (ARC, courtesy of Duckworth)

It is 1797 and in Georgian London, nothing is certain anymore: the future of the monarchy is in question, the city is aflame with conspiracies, and the French could invade any day. Amidst this feverish atmosphere, the American painter Benjamin West is visited by a dubious duo comprised of a blundering father and vibrant daughter, the Provises, who claim they have a secret that has obsessed painters for centuries: the Venetian techniques of master painter Titian.

West was once the most celebrated painter in London, but he hasn’t produced anything of note in years, so against his better judgment he agrees to let the intriguing Ann Jemima Provis visit his studio and demonstrate the techniques from the document. What unravels reveals more than West has ever understood – about himself, the treachery of the art world, and the seductive promise of greatness. Rich in period detail of a meticulously crafted Georgian society, The Optickal Illusion demonstrates the lengths women must go to make their mark on a society that seeks to underplay their abilities. (Review to follow)


What Cathy (will) Read Next

TheFragileThreadofHopeThe Fragile Thread of Hope by Pankaj Giri (ebook, review 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?

TheRainNeverCameThe Rain Never Came by Lachlan Walter (ebook, review copy courtesy of the author)

In a thirsty, drought-stricken Australia, the country is well and truly sunburnt. As the Eastern states are evacuated to more appealing climates, a stubborn few resist the forced removal. They hide out in small country towns – where no one would ever bother looking.

Bill Cook and Tobe Cousins are united in their disregard of the law. Aussie larrikins, they pass their hot, monotonous existence drinking at the barely standing pub. When strange lights appear across the Western sky, it seems that those embittered by the drought are seeking revenge. And Bill and Tobe are in their path. In the heat of the moment secrets will be revealed, and survival can’t be guaranteed.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Have Been On My TBR List Longest

TTT-Big2

Top 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 The 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 Top Ten Books That Have Been On My TBR List Longest.  Here’s a topic all book bloggers can identify with, as most of us have massive TBR pile lists…and don’t even mention our wish-lists.   Five of the books on my list are part of my 2018 TBR Pile Challenge list so theoretically should get read this year.   The dates are based on when I added the title to my Waiting-T-Be-Read shelf on Goodreads and they are all books I actually possess, either in physical or digital form.


WhenChristandhisSaintsSleptWhen Christ and his Saints Slept by Sharon Kay Penman (waiting since May 2013)

AD 1135. As church bells tolled for the death of England’s King Henry I, his barons faced the unwelcome prospect of being ruled by a woman: Henry’s beautiful daughter Maude, Countess of Anjou. But before Maude could claim her throne, her cousin Stephen seized it. In their long and bitter struggle, all of England bled and burned.  Sharon Kay Penman’s magnificent fifth novel summons to life a spectacular medieval tragedy whose unfolding breaks the heart even as it prepares the way for splendours to come – the glorious age of Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Plantagenets that would soon illumine the world.

TBR#6TheCleanerofChartresThe Cleaner of Chartres by Salley Vickers (waiting since June 2013)

There is something special about the ancient cathedral of Chartres, with its mismatched spires, astonishing stained glass and strange labyrinth. And there is something special too about Agnès Morel, the mysterious woman who is to be found cleaning it each morning.  No one quite knows where she came from – not the diffident Abbé Paul, who discovered her one morning twenty years ago, sleeping in the north porch; nor lonely Professor Jones, whose chaotic existence she helps to organise; nor Philippe Nevers, whose neurotic sister and newborn child she cares for; nor even the irreverent young restorer, Alain Fleury, who works alongside her each day and whose attention she catches with her tawny eyes, her colourful clothes and elusive manner. And yet everyone she encounters would surely agree that she is subtly transforming their lives, even if they couldn’t quite say how.

But with a chance meeting in the cathedral one day, the spectre of Agnès’ past returns, provoking malicious rumours from the prejudiced Madame Beck and her gossipy companion Madame Picot. As the hearsay grows uglier, Agnès is forced to confront her history, and the mystery of her origins finally unfolds.

TBR#8 HHhHHHhH by Laurent Binet (waiting since August 2013)

Two men have been enlisted to kill the head of the Gestapo. This is Operation Anthropoid, Prague, 1942: two Czechoslovakian parachutists sent on a daring mission by London to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich, chief of the Nazi secret services, ‘the hangman of Prague’, ‘the blond beast’, ‘the most dangerous man in the Third Reich’.

His boss is Heinrich Himmler but everyone in the SS says ‘Himmler’s brain is called Heydrich’, which in German spells HHhH.

The House of MirthThe House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (waiting since December 2013)

Lily Bart, beautiful, witty and sophisticated, is accepted by ‘old money’ and courted by the growing tribe of nouveaux riches. But as she nears thirty, her foothold becomes precarious; a poor girl with expensive tastes, she needs a husband to preserve her social standing and to maintain her in the luxury she has come to expect.

Whilst many have sought her, something – fastidiousness or integrity- prevents her from making a ‘suitable’ match.

The Rosie ProjectThe Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (waiting since March 2014)

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical – most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.

Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent—and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don’s Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie – and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.

Nor Will He SleepNor Will He Sleep (Inspector McLevy #4) by David Ashton (waiting since November 2015)

The streets of 1887 Edinburgh seethe with youthful anarchy as two rival gangs of students, Scarlet Runners and White Devils, try to outdo each other in wild exploits. After a pitched battle between them, an old woman is found savagely battered to death in Leith Harbour. Enter Inspector James McLevy, a little more grizzled, but unchanging in his fierce desire to mete out justice. As the inspector delves further he meets up with one Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, in the city to bury his recently deceased father.

Any Human HeartAny Human Heart by William Boyd (waiting since January 2016)

Any Human Heart is an ambitious, all-encompassing novel. Through the intimate journals of Logan Mounstuart we travel from Uruguay to Oxford, on to Paris, the Bahamas, New York and West Africa, and meet his three wives, his family, his friends and colleagues, his rivals, enemies and lovers, including notables such as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Ernest Hemingway and Virginia Woolf.

 

adonisThe Flowers of Adonis by Rosemary Sutcliff (waiting since January 2016)

The 5th Century BC. The Greek city-states are engaged in perpetual war. But one man towers above the chaos. His name is Alkibiades. He is at once a pirate, statesman and seducer whose adventures rival those of Odysseus himself. Citizen of Athens, friend of Socrates, sailor, warrior and inveterate lover, Alkibiades flees persecution in his native city to join the Spartan cause. However, his brilliant naval and diplomatic victories on their behalf do not save him from the consequences of impregnating the Spartan queen, and once more he takes up the outcast’s mantle.

TheBoneClocksThe Bone Clocks by David Mitchell (waiting since March 2016)

Following a scalding row with her mother, fifteen-year-old Holly Sykes slams the door on her old life. But Holly is no typical teenage runaway: a sensitive child once contacted by voices she knew only as “the radio people,” Holly is a lightning rod for psychic phenomena. Now, as she wanders deeper into the English countryside, visions and coincidences reorder her reality until they assume the aura of a nightmare brought to life.  For Holly has caught the attention of a cabal of dangerous mystics—and their enemies. But her lost weekend is merely the prelude to a shocking disappearance that leaves her family irrevocably scarred. This unsolved mystery will echo through every decade of Holly’s life, affecting all the people Holly loves—even the ones who are not yet born.

A Cambridge scholarship boy grooming himself for wealth and influence, a conflicted father who feels alive only while reporting from occupied Iraq, a middle-aged writer mourning his exile from the bestseller list—all have a part to play in this surreal, invisible war on the margins of our world. From the medieval Swiss Alps to the nineteenth-century Australian bush, from a hotel in Shanghai to a Manhattan townhouse in the near future, their stories come together in moments of everyday grace and extraordinary wonder.

The Man in the High CastleThe Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick (waiting since April 2016)

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 20 years earlier the United States lost a war, and is now occupied jointly by Nazi Germany and Japan.

 

 


Next week’s Top Ten Tuesday: Love Freebie