Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Spring 2019 TBR

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For the rules see her blog.

This week’s topic is Books On My Spring 2019 TBR. Some of these books have been on my shelves unread for a long time, some are new additions and others are e-books from NetGalley that will be published soon. I’d like to think I’ll read all these books soon but realistically I know that I’ll only read a few of them this Spring!

Broken Ground by Val McDermid – DCI Karen Pirie investigates the discovery of a body in the remote depths of the Scottish Highlands.

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote – Capote reconstructs the crime and the investigation into the murders of the four members of the Clutter family on November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas.

How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn – a story of life in a mining community in rural South Wales as Huw Morgan is preparing to leave the valley where he had grown up. He tells of life before the First World War.

On the Beach by Neville Shute – set in Melbourne, Australia this is a novel about the survivors of an atomic war as radiation poisoning moves toward Australia from the North.

Iris and Ruby by Rosie Thomas – the story of a teenage girl, Ruby, who runs away from home to live with her grandmother, Iris in Cairo.

Here Be Dragons by Sharon Penman – set in 13th century Wales this is the story of Llewelyn, the Prince of North Wales, and his rise to power and fame and his love for Joanna, the illegitimate daughter of King John. 

A Beautiful Corpse by Christi Daugherty – crime reporter Harper McClain unravels a tangled story of obsession and jealousy after a beautiful law student is shot in Savannah, Georgia.

A Snapshot of Murder by Frances Brody – set in Yorkshire in 1928, when  amateur detective, Kate Shackleton investigates a crime in Brontë country.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – on the day of Nick and Amy’s fifth wedding anniversary, Amy suddenly disappears. The police suspect Nick. Amy’s friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn’t true.

The Island by Ragnor Jonasson – Nordic noir, set on the island of Elliðaey,  off the Icelandic coast. Four friends visit the island during a long, hot summer but only three return. Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir is sent to investigate.

Top Ten Tuesday: The Ten Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List

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. For the rules see her blog.

This week’s topic is The Ten Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List. These are in no particular order, except for the first three which are books to be released later this year. I’m looking forward to reading each one of them!

The Silence of the GirlsThe Bear Pit: The Seeker 4This Poison Will Remain

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker, out in paperback in June 2019, a retelling of the Trojan War.

The Bear Pit by S G MacLean, the 4th Damian Seeker novel, out in July 2019, set in the 17th century England under the rule of Cromwell, the Lord Protector.

This Poison Will Remain by Fred Vargas out in paperback in August 2019, a Commissaire Adamsberg mystery investigating the death of three men, all killed by the venom of the recluse spider.

TranscriptionThe Wych ElmDear Mrs BirdThe Sealwoman's Gift

Transcription by Kate Atkinson – a standalone novel set in London in the world of espionage in the 1940s and 50s.

The Wych Elm by Tana French, a standalone psychological thriller.

Dear Mrs Bird by A J Pearce, historical fiction set in London in 1941.

The Seal Woman’s Gift by Sally Magnusson, set in 1627 as pirates raided the coast of Iceland and abducted 400 people into slavery in Algiers.

TemplarsThe Song of AchillesBlood & Sugar

The Templars by Dan Jones, non fiction about the Knights Templars and the Crusades

The Song of Achilles by Madeleine Miller, more historical fiction about the Trojan War and its heroes.

Blood and Sugar by Laura Shepherd-Robinson, historical crime fiction set in June, 1781 about the slave trade.

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.

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.

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.

Happy New Year 2019!

 

HNY19
Happy New Year 2019!

Ten of the Best Books I Read In 2018

I’m starting my 2019 posts with Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

I was very generous last year in the star ratings I gave to the books I read, so these are just 10 of my 5* books. These are not in any particular order – I loved them all.

Victoria: A Life

Victoria: A Life by A N Wilson – a masterful biography of Queen Victoria. Wilson had access to the Royal Archives and permission from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to quote from materials in royal copyright. He portrays Victoria both as a woman, a wife and mother as well as a queen set against the backdrop of the political scene in Britain and Europe.

Only Child by Rhiannon Navin. It’s one of the most powerful books I’ve read for ages. It’s about a shooting at a school and its effect on six year old Zach and his family. It’s emotional, moving and absolutely compelling, sad but ultimately uplifting.

The Smiling Man by Joseph Knox. Aidan Waits is a Detective Constable working night shifts with Detective Inspector Peter Sutcliffe, known as Sutty. They don’t like each other – at all. The only thing they have in common is that they each try to make things as difficult as possible for the other. But strangely their partnership gets results as they search for the identity of the ‘smiling man’ and his killer.


The HungerThe Hunger
by Alma Katsu, historical fiction based on the true story of the Donner Party, pioneers who were looking for a better life in the American West. They formed a wagon train under the leadership of George Donner and James Reed making their way west to California in 1846. It interweaves facts and fiction and with hints of the supernatural and Indian myths it becomes a thrilling, spine tingling horrific tale.

Watching You by Lisa Jewell, 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? It’s full of suspense and drama. It is only right at the end of the book that all becomes clear.

I was hooked right from the start of No Further Questions by Gillian McAllister. It plunges straight into a trial as Martha sits in the courtroom listening to expert witnesses being questioned  and cross-examined about the death of her baby, Layla, just eight weeks old. Her sister Becky is accused of murdering her. This is a tense, tightly plotted book, narrated from several viewpoints, but mainly alternating between Martha and Becky.

Absent in the SpringSomething completely different from Agatha Christie – Absent in the Spring which she wrote under the name of Mary Westmacott.  Set in Mesopotamia (corresponding to today’s Iraq, mostly, but also parts of modern-day Iran, Syria and Turkey) in a railway rest-house at Tel Abu Hamid on the Turkish border, it’s the story of Joan Scudamore who was stranded in the desert, after visiting her daughter in Baghdad – an in-depth character study, with a growing sense of tension.

The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale, an extraordinary, magical and wonderful book that captivated me, a 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. Papa Jack’s Emporium in London is a toyshop extraordinaire. It opens with the first frost of winter each year and closes when the first snowdrop blooms. And the toys it sells aren’t ordinary toys – they seem alive!

Tombland (Matthew Shardlake, #7)

Tombland by C J Sansom, historical fiction set in 1549, mainly in Norwich. Edward VI is king, a minor and England is ruled by the Duke of Somerset as Lord Protector. Rebellion is spreading in protest against the landowners’ enclosures of the common land. Lawyer Matthew Shardlake is asked to investigate the murder of Edith, the wife of John Boleyn – a distant Norfolk relation of Anne Boleyn. However, he gets caught up in Kett’s Rebellion as thousands of peasants establish a vast camp overlooking the city.

And last but not least, The Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor, set in 1666 in London. It was just six years after the Stuart Monarchy had been restored – Charles II was reinstated as King – and people are struggling with the aftermath of the Great Fire that had reduced a large part of London to ashes and rubble. It’s a complex story interweaving a murder mystery, the hunt for the regicides responsible for the execution of Charles I and details of the rebuilding of London after the Great Fire.

Top Ten Tuesday: My Winter TBR

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 Winter 2018 TBR. I have plenty to choose from and for now (because I could change my mind!) here is my Top Ten List (in no particular order):

The first five are a mix of books on my TBR shelves and library books:

  1. Greenmantle by John Buchan – my Classics Club spin choice
  2. Bitter Lemons of Cyprus by Lawrence Durrell – my book group choice
  3. The Accordionist by Fred Vargas – a library book
  4. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway – a library book
  5. Wild Fire by Ann Cleeves – from my TBR shelves

GreenmantleBitter Lemons of CyprusThe Accordionist (Three Evangelists 3)The Old Man and the SeaWild Fire (Shetland Island, #8)

The second five are a mix of NetGalley books and books from my TBR shelves:

  1. The Lost Man by Jane Harper – to be published in February
  2. Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield – to be published in January
  3. The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea – to be published in January
  4. Mythos: the Greek Myths Retold by Stephen Fry – from my TBR shelves
  5. The Brontës by Juliet Barker – from my TBR shelves

The Lost ManOnce Upon a RiverThe Glass WomanMythos: The Greek Myths RetoldThe Brontës