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?

Advertisements

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?

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…

WWW Wednesdays – 1st 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

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.

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.


Recently finished (click on title for review)

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?

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

The Murderer’s Maid interweaves the stories of two women: one, the servant of infamous Lizzie Borden, and the other a modern-day barista fleeing from an attempt on her life. Trapped by servitude and afraid for her own safety, Irish maid Bridget finds herself an unwilling witness to the tensions in the volatile Borden household. As Lizzie seethes with resentment, Bridget tries to perform her duties and keep her mouth shut. Unknowingly connected to the legendary crime of a century ago, Brooke, the illegitimate daughter of an immigrant maid, struggles to conceal her identity and stay a jump ahead of the men who want to kill her. When she unexpectedly falls in love with Anthony, a local attorney, she has to decide whether to stop running and begin her life anew.

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

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

Fires CoverFires by Tom Ward (eARC courtesy of the author)

There’s a fire on the horizon. For Guy, a fireman, it means the death of his wife and daughter. For 19-year-old Nathan and Alexa it means a chance to fight back against austerity and abandonment. While the teenagers turn to arson, Guy searches for meaning behind his family’s deaths, battling corruption and a lost underclass, intent on fiery revolution. For all three, their actions will lead them to the precipice of disaster. (Review to follow 2nd November)

 


What Cathy (will) Read Next

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?

WWW Wednesdays – 25th October ’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

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?

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.

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

The Murderer’s Maid interweaves the stories of two women: one, the servant of infamous Lizzie Borden, and the other a modern-day barista fleeing from an attempt on her life. Trapped by servitude and afraid for her own safety, Irish maid Bridget finds herself an unwilling witness to the tensions in the volatile Borden household. As Lizzie seethes with resentment, Bridget tries to perform her duties and keep her mouth shut. Unknowingly connected to the legendary crime of a century ago, Brooke, the illegitimate daughter of an immigrant maid, struggles to conceal her identity and stay a jump ahead of the men who want to kill her. When she unexpectedly falls in love with Anthony, a local attorney, she has to decide whether to stop running and begin her life anew.


Recently finished (click on title for review, where available)

HomeisNearby1Home is Nearby by Magdalena McGuire (advance proof copy courtesy of Impress Books)

1980: The beginning of the Polish crisis. Brought up in a small village, country-girl Ania arrives in the university city of Wroclaw to pursue her career as a sculptor. Here she falls in love with Dominik, an enigmatic writer at the centre of a group of Bohemians and avant-garde artists who throw wild parties. When martial law is declared, their lives change overnight: military tanks appear on the street, curfews are introduced and the artists are driven underground. Together, Ania and Dominik fight back, pushing against the boundaries imposed by the authoritarian communist government. But at what cost?

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

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

BirdcageWalk2Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore (ebook, NetGalley)

It is 1792 and Europe is seized by political turmoil and violence. Lizzie Fawkes has grown up in Radical circles where each step of the French Revolution is followed with eager idealism. But she has recently married John Diner Tredevant, a property developer who is heavily invested in Bristol’s housing boom, and he has everything to lose from social upheaval and the prospect of war. Soon his plans for a magnificent terrace built above the two-hundred-foot drop of the Gorge come under threat. Tormented and striving Diner believes that Lizzie’s independent, questioning spirit must be coerced and subdued. She belongs to him: law and custom confirm it, and she must live as he wants—his passion for Lizzie darkening until she finds herself dangerously alone. Weaving a deeply personal and moving story with a historical moment of critical and complex importance, Birdcage Walk is an unsettling and brilliantly tense drama of public and private violence, resistance and terror from one of our greatest storytellers.

ASeaofSorrowA Sea of Sorrow by David Blixt et al (ebook, review copy courtesy of HF Virtual Book Tours)

Odysseus, infamous trickster of Troy, vaunted hero of the Greeks, left behind a wake of chaos and despair during his decade long journey home to Ithaca. Lovers and enemies, witches and monsters—no one who tangled with Odysseus emerged unscathed. Some prayed for his return, others, for his destruction. These are their stories…

A beleaguered queen’s gambit for maintaining power unravels as a son plots vengeance. A tormented siren battles a goddess’s curse and the forces of nature to survive. An exiled sorceress defies a lustful captain and his greedy crew. A blinded shepherd swears revenge on the pirate-king who mutilated him. A beautiful empress binds a shipwrecked sailor to servitude, only to wonder who is serving whom. A young suitor dreams of love while a returned king conceives a savage retribution.

Six authors bring to life the epic tale of The Odyssey seen through the eyes of its shattered victims – the monsters, witches, lovers, and warriors whose lives were upended by the antics of the “man of many faces.” You may never look upon this timeless epic – and its iconic ancient hero – in quite the same way again.


What Cathy (will) Read Next

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.

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

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

Fires CoverFires by Tom Ward (eARC courtesy of the author)

There’s a fire on the horizon. For Guy, a fireman, it means the death of his wife and daughter. For 19-year-old Nathan and Alexa it means a chance to fight back against austerity and abandonment. While the teenagers turn to arson, Guy searches for meaning behind his family’s deaths, battling corruption and a lost underclass, intent on fiery revolution. For all three, their actions will lead them to the precipice of disaster.