Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Meant to Read In 2018 but Didn’t Get To

top-ten-tuesday-new

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 That Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.
  • Add your name to the Linky widget on that day’s post so that everyone can check out other bloggers’ lists.
  • Or if you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment.

This week’s topic is Books I Meant to Read In 2018 but Didn’t Get To. Oh, dear there were lots – here are ten of them, in no particular order of preference. They are all books I really wanted to read as soon as I got them, but then other books got in the way! They are by authors whose books I’ve read before, with the exception of the last book, and most are books I bought in 2017 or 2018.

I loved Peter May’s Lewis Trilogy and I’m sure this will be as good – it’s Coffin Road, a standalone book set on the Hebridean Isle of Harris where a bewildered man is standing on a beach, wondering why he is there – and even more worrying, he is not able to remember who he is. His only clue is a folded map of a path named the Coffin Road.

My second book is also by Peter May – I’ll Keep You Safe and is also set in the Hebrides. Niamh and Ruairidh Macfarlane co-own the Hebridean company Ranish Tweed. On a business trip to Paris to promote their luxury brand, Niamh learns of Ruairidh’s affair, and then looks on as he and his lover are killed by a car bomb. She returns home to Lewis, bereft.

Next, An Advancement of Learning by Reginald Hill – the second in his Dalziel and Pascoe series. I’ve been reading this series completely out of order and so am now trying to fill in the gaps. This one is about the discovery of a dead body found buried under a statue in the grounds of Holm Coultram College. As soon as they think they have solved the problem more bodies are discovered.

I really should have read The Dry by Jane Harper before now. I’ve read both her second and third books and loved them. I’ve never been to Australia, but her description of of the outback makes me feel as though I am there in the places she describes. In this, the first Aaron Falk book, the farming community of Kiewarra is in the grip of the worst drought in a century and people are facing life and death choices daily – then three members of a local family are found brutally slain – it appears that Luke Hadler has shot his wife and young son, and then killed himself.

Ann Cleeves is one of my favourite writers and I love her Vera and Shetland books, but somehow I have got behind with reading her last two Shetland books – book 7, Cold Earth and book 8, Wildfire. So both these books are high on my list of books to read this year.

Cold Earth begins with a landslide during the funeral of Magnus Tait and in the resulting wreckage the body of a dark-haired woman wearing a red silk dress is found. DI Jimmy Perez thinks that she shares his Mediterranean ancestry and he becomes obsessed with tracing her identity.

 Wildfire, the final book in this series,is about the Flemings -designer Helena and architect Daniel, who move into a remote community in the north of Shetland. They think it’s a fresh start for themselves and their children, but their arrival triggers resentment, and Helena begins to receive small drawings of a gallows and a hanged man. Gossip spreads like wildfire.

A Deadly Thaw by Sarah Ward is her second book. I loved her first book, In Bitter Chill, and I have a few to catch up with as she has now written books three and four in her DC Childs series. A Deadly Thaw is set in the fictional town of Bampton in Derbyshire. Lena Fisher was convicted of he husband’s murder, but within months of her release nearly two decades later, his body is found in a disused morgue, recently killed. Who was the man she killed before, and why did she lie about his identity?

Another favourite author is Anthony Horowitz and I really should have read Moriarty, his second Sherlock Holmes book, before now as I enjoyed his first one, The House of Silk – and also his more recent books, Magpie Murders, The Sentence is Death, and The Word is Murder. It’s 1891, Holmes and Moriarty are dead and London is in the grip of a fiendish new criminal mastermind. Frederick Chase, a Pinkerton agent and Inspector Athelney Jones are faced with finding a brutal murderer.

I loved We Have Always Lived in the Castle, so have great expectations for The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. Four people visit Hill House searching for evidence that is haunted. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own. I’m expecting this to be just as strange, spooky and disturbing as We Have Always Lived in the Castle.

And finally, The Salt Path by Raynor Winn. It’s her first book and it was shortlisted for the 2018 Costa Biography Award and the Wainwright Prize. I want to read it because it’s a true story about a couple, Raynor and Moth, her husband who is terminally ill, who had lost their home and their business. Faced with this terrible situation they decided to buy a tent and walk the Salt Path, the south-west coastal path, from Minehead in Somerset to Poole in Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall.

My Friday Post: Bitter Lemons of Cyprus by Lawrence Durrell

Book Beginnings Button

Every Friday Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Gillion at Rose City Reader where you can share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

My book today is Bitter Lemons of Cyprus by Lawrence Durrell, one of the books I’m currently reading.

Bitter Lemons of Cyprus

It begins:

Journeys, like artists, are born and not made. A thousand differing circumstances contribute to them, few of them willed or determined by the will – whatever we may think. They flower spontaneously out of the demands of our natures – and the best of them lead us not only outwards in space, but inwards as well. Travel can be one of the most rewarding forms of introspection …

Also every Friday there is The Friday 56, hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice.

30879-friday2b56These are the rules:

  1. Grab a book, any book.
  2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader. If you have to improvise, that is okay.
  3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
  4. Post it.
  5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda’s most recent Friday 56 post.

Page 56: Durrell is buying a house in the Greek village of Bellapaix and the owners have gathered their family in the village cafe to agree upon the price.

They sat on a semicircle of chairs, sipping coffee and arguing in low voices; a number of beards waggled, a number of heads nodded. They looked like a rugger scrum in an American film receiving last-minute instructions from their captain. Soon they would fall upon us like a ton of bricks and gouge us. I began to feel rather alarmed.

~~~

I’ve visited Cyprus several times, but not the area Durrell wrote about in this book – Kyrenia in Northern Cyprus. His description of it and Bellapaix makes me wish I could have seen it then in the 1950s.

Blurb

Bitter Lemons of Cyprus is Lawrence Durrell’s unique account of his time in Cyprus, during the 1950s Enosis movement for freedom of the island from British colonial rule. Winner of the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize, it is a document at once personal, poetic and subtly political – a masterly combination of travelogue, memoir and treatise.

‘He writes as an artist, as well as a poet; he remembers colour and landscape and the nuances of peasant conversation . . . Eschewing politics, it says more about them than all our leading articles . . . In describing a political tragedy it often has great poetic beauty.’ Kingsley Martin, New Statesman

‘Durrell possesses exceptional qualifications. He speaks Greek fluently; he has a wide knowledge of modern Greek history, politics and literature; he has lived in continental Greece and has spent many years in other Greek islands . . . His account of this calamity is revelatory, moving and restrained. It is written in the sensitive and muscular prose of which he is so consummate a master.’ Harold Nicolson, Observer

~~~

What about you? Does it tempt you or would you stop reading? 

Top Ten Tuesday: New-to-Me Authors I Read In 2018

Top Ten Tuesday new

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 New-to-Me Authors I Read In 2018. I read books by 40 new-to-me authors, so I have plenty to choose from. 

Here are my top ten, in a-z author order:

Belinda Bauer – I read Blacklandsher debut novel about a battle of wits between a child serial killer and a twelve year old boy. Since reading this book I’ve also read Snap and Rubbernecker.

Belinda Bauer's picture

book cover of Blacklands

Michel Bussi –  Time is a Killera psychological thriller, translated from the French; this shifts from the past to the present, set on the island of Corsica.

Michel Bussi's picture

book cover of Time Is a Killer

Robert Dinsdale: The Toymakers – a magical and wonderful book set mainly in 1917 whilst the First World War was taking its toll of humanity, leaving despair and tragedy in its wake. It’s a blend of historical fiction and magic realism.

Robert Dinsdale's picture

book cover of The Toymakers

Lisa Jewell -Her first book, Ralph’s Party, came out in 1998 and since then she has written many books. Watching You is her latest book,  crime fiction that keeps you guessing about everything right from the first page – someone was murdered, but who was it and why, and just who was the killer? 

Lisa Jewell's picture

book cover of Watching You

Alma Katsu: The Hunger, historical fiction, weaving facts with hints of the supernatural and Indian myths, about the Donner Party, pioneers as they made their way west to California in 1846.

Alma Katsu's picture

book cover of The Hunger

Joseph Knox: The Smiling Man the second Aidan Waits book. Waits is a Detective Constable who plays very close to the edge and has little regard for his own safety in this fascinating and complex murder mystery.

Joseph Knox's picture

book cover of The Smiling Man

Andrew Miller: Now We Shall Be Entirely Free historical fiction, set in 1809 during the Peninsular Wars. Captain John Lacroix has returned to England, injured and close to death. as he regains his physical health  it is clear that he is on the edge of a breakdown, mentally and emotionally.

Andrew Miller's picture

book cover of Now We Shall Be Entirely Free

Rhiannon Navin: Only Child, her debut novel. It’s one of the most powerful books I’ve read for ages. It’s emotional, moving and absolutely compelling reading.  

Rhiannon Navin's picture

Only Child

Barney Norris: Turning for Home set on the day of Robert’s 80th birthday celebration. Still grieving after his wife’s recent death, he is finding it a sad, rather than a joyful occasion as the family gather together. A moving book with emotional depth.

Barney Norris's picture

Turning for Home

Jo Spain: The Confession her fifth book this is set in Ireland. It begins as Harry McNamara, a banker, recently cleared of multiple accounts of fraud, is brutally attacked in his own home in front of his wife, Julie.

Jo Spain's picture

The Confession

Since reading The Confession I’ve also read The Darkest Place and Dirty Little Secrets.

Dirty Little Secrets by Jo Spain

Six neighbours, six secrets, six reasons to want Olive Collins dead.

 

Quercus Books|7 February 2019 |416 pages|e-book |Review copy|4.5*

I first came across Jo Spain’s books last year when I read The Confession, a standalone novel and then The Darkest Place, her 4th Inspector Tom Reynolds Mystery book, both very good books. So I was keen to read her latest book, a psychological thriller, Dirty Little Secrets, another standalone book. I really enjoyed this very readable page-turner, keen to discover all the secrets.

It’s set in Withered Vale, a small, gated community of just seven houses, outside the small village of Marwood in Wicklow in Ireland. On the surface it is a perfect place where the wealthy live their  privileged lives and keep themselves to themselves – until a cloud of bluebottles stream out of the chimney of number 4 and Olive Collins’ dead and disintegrating body is discovered inside. She had been dead for three months and none of the neighbours had bothered to find out why she hadn’t been seen all that time. But someone must have known what had happened to her – the question being who?

When DI Frank Brazil, near to his retirement, and his partner young Emma Child arrive it’s not clear whether Olive’s death was accidental death or suicide. But they quickly establish that the boiler had been pumping out carbon monoxide and the vents and the letter box had been taped up.  It was then obvious that her death was either suicide or murder. There is plenty of DNA in the house, as it turns out that all the neighbours had visited Olive. She had tried to interfere in each of their lives and each one of them had something to hide, from past crimes, past relationships, addictions, and blackmail. They’re all suspects as each one had a motive for killing Olive.

I liked the way Jo Spain has structured her book – each character is introduced and gradually more and more facts about their lives and personalities are revealed. And Olive’s dead voice is interspersed among these people, revealing her personality, thoughts and relationships with the others, and showing just went on behind all the closed doors. I was fascinated and went from one person to the next wondering who was guilty, changing my mind as the book progressed. The characters are convincing and so it was easy to work out who was who and how they all interacted. The ending surprised me as although I had suspected what had taken place I hadn’t foreseen the whole picture.

I was hooked from the beginning to the end. Withered Vale went from being a place where the neighbours lived their lives in isolation to a much more united community as together they faced the enormity of what had happened.

My thanks to the publishers, Quercus, for my review copy via NetGalley.

Note: this book is one of my TBRs, so qualifying for Bev’s Mount TBR challenge and as it will be published in February it also qualifies for Bev’s Calendar of Crime challenge in the category of a February publication.

My Friday Post: Where My Heart Used To Beat by Sebastian Faulks

Book Beginnings Button

Every Friday Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Gillion at Rose City Reader where you can share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

On Thursday I went to Barter Books in Alnwick and brought home a pile of books – more about that later on. One of those books is Where My Heart Used to Beat by Sebastian Faulks:

With its free peanuts and anonymity, the airline lounge is somewhere I can usually feel at home; but on this occasion I was in too much of a panic to enjoy its self-importance.

I can’t say I have ever felt at home in an airport lounge! I’m wondering what the narrator is panicking about.

Also every Friday there is The Friday 56, hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice.

30879-friday2b56These are the rules:

  1. Grab a book, any book.
  2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader. If you have to improvise, that is okay.
  3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
  4. Post it.
  5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda’s most recent Friday 56 post.

Pages 55- 56:

My lodging was on the top floor – of course – with windows on both sides. The study was at the front, but the bedroom overlooked a willow and a stream, on which two young men were inexpertly rowing. Some lines from Tennyson – ‘By the margin, willow-veil’d …’ swam in and out of my mind.

~~~

Blurb

On a small island off the south coast of France, Robert Hendricks – an English doctor who has seen the best and the worst the twentieth century had to offer – is forced to confront the events that made up his life. His host is Alexander Pereira, a man who seems to know more about his guest than Hendricks himself does.
The search for the past takes us through the war in Italy in 1944, a passionate love that seems to hold out hope, the great days of idealistic work in the 1960s and finally – unforgettably – back into the trenches of the Western Front.

This moving novel casts a long, baleful light over the century we have left behind but may never fully understand. Daring, ambitious and in the end profoundly moving, this is Faulks’s most remarkable book yet.

~~~

What about you? Does it tempt you or would you stop reading? 

New-To-Me Books

These are some books that I’ve recently added to my shelves, all Christmas presents:

bks xmas 2018

From top to bottom they are:

The Pocket Detective: (British Library Crime Classics) compiled by Kate Jackson –  including word searches, anagrams, snapshot covers, and crosswords based on the series of British Library Crime Classics and Golden Age Detection authors. I love word puzzles of all sorts, so this is just right for me.

The Inner Life of Animals: Surprising Observations of a Hidden World by Peter Wohllenben. This book looks fascinating as it is about what goes on aside animals’ heads with insights into their behaviour, emotions and instincts. In his Introduction Wohllenben says that the more he closely paid attention the more he noticed ‘our pets and their woodland relatives displaying what are supposed to be exclusively human emotions.’

The Story of the British Isles in 100 Places by Neil Oliver – described on the book jacket inside cover as ‘a broad sweep of British history and landscape’. I’ve enjoyed watching Neil Oliver’s TV documentaries and his book looks just as informative, encompassing our earliest history, via Romans and Vikings, civil war, industrial revolution and two world wars, looking at the places that he considers to be the most characteristic of our history, with many colour photographs.

Sea Change: The Summer Voyage from East to West Scotland by Mairi Hedderwick. This is a beautiful book with watercolours and pen and ink illustrations. It describes Marie Hedderwick’s journey in an antiquated 26-foot long yacht through the Caledonian Canal to the fjords of the west: Lochs Linnhe, Etive, Ailort, Moidart, Nevis and Leven.

Leonardo Da Vinci: the Biography by Walter Isaacson – A biography that brings Leonardo Da Vinci to life, a man of science and engineering, just as much as an artist and a man of endless curiosity about a vast range of subjects. I think this book could take me most of the year to read.

And finally a novel:

Love is Blind by William Boyd, set at the end of the nineteenth century about a Scottish musician, who leaves Edinburgh and his tyrannical father when he is offered a job in Paris. ‘A tale of dizzying passion and brutal revenge; of artistic endeavour and the illusions it creates; of all the possibilities that life can offer, and how cruelly they can be snatched away’.

Do any of any these books tempt you too?

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2019

Top Ten Tuesday new

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 Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2019. Here are my top ten, some by authors whose books I’ve loved before and others by new-to-me authors. I’ve listed them in order of release date:

Released tomorrow 10 January 2019:

The Man With No Face: the latest thriller from million-selling Peter May by [May, Peter]

The Man With No Face by Peter May – one of my favourite authors. This thriller was originally released in 1981 under the title Hidden Faces and revised for this new edition.

The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker

The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker by Jenni Keer – described as ‘ the most charming, heart-warming and feel-good novel you will read this year’. A new-to-me author.

Released 7 February 2019:

Dirty Little Secrets

Dirty Little Secrets by Jo Spain – a psychological thriller, six neighbours, six secrets, six reasons to want Olive Collins dead. I’ve loved her earlier books.

The Glass Woman

The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea – historical fiction set in Iceland in 1686, an isolated, windswept land haunted by witch trials and steeped in the ancient sagas. A new-to-me author.

The Stone Circle by Elly Griffiths – the 11th book in the Ruth Galloway series. This is set in the same place as the first skeleton was found in Crossing Places when another stone circle is uncovered and another body revealed. A favourite author (despite the fact some of her books are written in the present tense).

Released 7 March 2019:

Unto Us a Son is Given by Donna Leon – crime fiction, the 28th novel in Donna Leon’s Commissario Brunetti series. Another favourite author.

Released 4 April 2019:

book cover of Cruel Acts

Cruel Acts by Jane Casey – the eighth book in the Maeve Kerrigan series. I love this series with Detectives Maeve Kerrigan and Josh Derwent.

Released 18 April 2019:

The Evidence Against You

The Evidence Against You by Gillian McAllister – I loved her earlier books and this psychological thriller looks just as gripping.

Released 2 May 2019:

The Doll Factory

The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal – set in London in 1851 as the Great Exhibition is being planned this is a story of art, obsession and possession.  A new-to-me author.

Released on 4 May 2019:

Wakenhyrst

Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver – Maud’s battle has begun. She must survive a world haunted by witchcraft, the age-old legends of her beloved fen – and the even more nightmarish demons of her father’s past. I’ve loved her earlier books.