When Are You Reading? Challenge 2018: An Update

When Are You Reading Challenge 2018

One of the reading challenges I signed up to for 2018 was this one hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.  It involves reading a book predominantly set in each of  twelve time periods.

I’m very happy with my progress so far as I’ve read books that fit into eight of the twelve time periods, although it does help that I read a lot of historical fiction.  You can see my list below, followed by details of the books I’ve read so far with links to my reviews.  Clicking on the title of those I’ve still to read will take you to the book’s entry on Goodreads.

It’s not too late to join in – just leave a comment on Sam’s post here with a link to your blog or your challenge post on your blog.  If you don’t have a blog, you could always create a shelf on Goodreads for the challenge.

Pre 1500                               1066: What Fates Impose by G. K. Holloway  READ 

1500-1599                            The Assassin of Verona by Benet Brandreth

1600-1699                            Traitor by David Hingley READ

1700-1799                            The Optickal Illusion by Rachel Halliburton  READ

1800-1899                            Death Comes For The Archbishop by Willa Cather   READ

1900-1919                            The Power House by John Buchan READ

1920-1939                            A Madras Miasma by Brian Stoddart

1940-1959                            Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce  READ

1960-1979                            All The Beautiful Girls by Elizabeth Church READ

1980-1999                            Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

2000-Present                       Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon READ

The Future                          The Last Man by Mary Shelley

 


1066WhatFatesImpose1066: What Fates Impose by G. K Holloway

England is in crisis. King Edward has no heir and promises never to produce one. There are no obvious successors available to replace him, but quite a few claimants are eager to take the crown. While power struggles break out between the various factions at court, enemies abroad plot to make England their own. There are raids across the borders with Wales and Scotland. Harold Godwinson, Earl of Wessex, is seen by many as the one man who can bring stability to the kingdom. He has powerful friends and two women who love him, but he has enemies who will stop at nothing to gain power. As 1066 begins, England heads for an uncertain future. It seems even the heavens are against Harold. Intelligent and courageous, can Harold forge his own destiny – or does he have to bow to what fates impose?

traitor coverTraitor (Mercia Blakewood #3) by David Hingley

May 1665. With winter passed, Mercia Blakewood is at last headed back to England from America, hoping to leave behind the shadow cast by death and heartache. She expects a welcome from the King considering her earlier mission at his behalf, but the reception she receives after her long voyage home could hardly be called warm.

With the country now at war with the Dutch, the Crown has decided that Mercia is an asset to be used once again. More manipulation lies ahead as Mercia must accept a clandestine role at the heart of the glittering and debauched royal court to unmask a spy and traitor.

The Optickal IllusionThe Optickal Illusion by Rachel Halliburton

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.

Death Comes For The ArchbishopDeath Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather

In 1851 Father Jean Marie Latour comes as the Apostolic Vicar to New Mexico. What he finds is a vast territory of red hills and tortuous arroyos, American by law but Mexican and Indian in custom and belief. In the almost forty years that follow, Latour spreads his faith in the only way he knows—gently, although he must contend with an unforgiving landscape, derelict and sometimes openly rebellious priests, and his own loneliness.

The novel is based on the life of Jean-Baptiste Lamy (1814-1888), and partially chronicles the construction of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.

The Power-House CoverThe Power-House by John Buchan

When his friend Charles Pitt-Heron vanishes mysteriously, Sir Edward Leithen is at first only mildly concerned. But a series of strange events that follow Pitt-Heron’s disappearance convinces Leithen that he is dealing with a sinister secret society. Their codename is ‘The Power-House’. The authorities are unable to act without evidence. As he gets deeper involved with the underworld, Leithen finds himself facing the enemy alone and in terrible danger.

Dear Mrs BirdDear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pearce

London, 1940. Emmeline Lake is Doing Her Bit for the war effort, volunteering as a telephone operator with the Auxiliary Fire Services. When Emmy sees an advertisement for a job at the London Evening Chronicle, her dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent suddenly seem achievable. But the job turns out to be working as a typist for the fierce and renowned advice columnist, Henrietta Bird. Emmy is disappointed, but gamely bucks up and buckles down.

Mrs. Bird is very clear: letters containing any Unpleasantness must go straight in the bin. But when Emmy reads poignant notes from women who may have Gone Too Far with the wrong men, or who can’t bear to let their children be evacuated, she is unable to resist responding. As the German planes make their nightly raids, and London picks up the smoldering pieces each morning, Emmy secretly begins to write back to the readers who have poured out their troubles.

All the Beautiful Girls UKAll the Beautiful Girls by Elizabeth J. Church

It was unimaginable. When she was eight years old, Lily Decker somehow survived the auto accident that killed her parents and sister, but neither her emotionally distant aunt nor her all-too-attentive uncle could ease her grief.  Dancing proves to be Lily’s only solace, and eventually, she receives a “scholarship” to a local dance academy – courtesy of a mysterious benefactor.

Grown and ready to leave home for good, Lily changes her name to Ruby Wilde and heads to Las Vegas to be a troupe dancer, but her sensual beauty and voluptuous figure land her work instead as a showgirl performing everywhere from Les Folies Bergere at the Tropicana to the Stardust’s Lido de Paris. Wearing costumes dripping with feathers and rhinestones, five-inch heels, and sky-high headdresses, Ruby may have all the looks of a Sin City success story, but she still must learn to navigate the world of men – and figure out what real love looks like.

Three Things About ElsieThree Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon

There are three things you should know about Elsie.  The first thing is that she’s my best friend.  The second is that she always knows what to say to make me feel better.  And the third thing… might take a little bit more explaining.

84-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she waits to be rescued, Florence wonders if a terrible secret from her past is about to come to light; and, if the charming new resident is who he claims to be, why does he look exactly a man who died sixty years ago?

When Are You Reading Challenge 2018

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My Week in Books – 15th October ’17

MyWeekinBooks

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