Top Ten Tuesday: Typographic Book Covers

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. The topic this week is: Typographic Book Covers (Book covers with a design that is all or mostly all words.)

At first I didn’t think I’d have enough typographic book covers for a post so I was surprised to find that I have, although some do have a small illustration. These are all books I own, some of which I’ve read (marked with asterisks * and with links to my posts).

I was shocked and saddened to hear that Hilary Mantel died on 22 September, aged 70 after suffering a stroke – here’s a link to an obituary. I’ve enjoyed a lot of her books, including the one list below.

*After You’d Gone by Maggie O’Farrell – Alice is in a coma after being in road accident, which may or may not have been a suicide attempt. She has been grieving the death of her husband, John.

*He Who Whispers by John Dickson Carr – a locked room’ type of mysteries/impossible crimes, featuring Dr Gideon Fell, an amateur sleuth.

*Shakespeare’s Restless World by Neil MacGregor – nonfiction that recreates Shakespeare’s world through examining twenty objects. It reveals so much about the people, their ideas and living conditions, who went to see Shakespeare’s plays.

*The Burning Chambers by Kate Mosse – the first novel in a trilogy set in Languedoc in the south-west of France. It’s set in 1562 during the French Wars of Religion.

Eight Months on Ghazzah Street by Hilary Mantel – life in Saudi Arabia seen through the eyes of Frances, the wife of an ex-pat British engineer. The streets are not a woman’s territory; confined in her flat, she finds her sense of self begins to dissolve. This was her fourth novel, inspired by the four years she lived in Jeddah.

The Women’s Room by Marilyn French – described as ‘one of the most influential novels of the modern feminist movement.’ It was first published in 1977 to a barrage of criticism

Amo, Amas, Amat … And All That by Harry Mount – a guided tour of Latin featuring everything from a Monty Python grammar lesson to David Beckham’s tattoos. I’ve dipped into this one.

Nothing But the Truth by Adrian Plass – a collection of short stories and parables, both serious and comedic.

Persephone Book of Short Stories – an anthology of women’s short stories organised in chronological order through the twentieth century ranging from 1909 to 1986 with mini biographies at the back. I’ve read some of these.

*Somewhere Towards the End by Diana Athill – a memoir about what it is like getting towards the end of her life. At the time of writing she was 89 years old and looking back on her life with few regrets. She died in 2019 aged 101.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Fall 2022 To-Read List

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. The topic this week is: Books On My Fall 2022 To-Read List.

Some of these books are ones that have been on my TBR list for ages, and some are more recent additions from NetGalley. This is a list of books I want to read, but that does not mean I’ll read them all this autumn as I’m a mood reader and looking at my list of books on my Summer 2022 To-Read List I see that I read just one. Planning what to read next rarely works for me.

  1. Another Part of the Wood by Beryl Bainbridge
  2. The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai
  3. Mrs March by Virginia Feito
  4. The Island by Victoria Hislop
  5. Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan
  6. Never Greater Slaughter by Michael Livingstone
  7. Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively
  8. Coffin Road by Peter May
  9. The City of Tears by Kate Mosse
  10. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Top Ten Tuesday: Books with Geographical Terms in the Title: Rivers

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.

The topic this week is Books with Geographical Terms in the Title (for example: mountain, island, latitude/longitude, ash, bay, beach, border, canyon, cape, city, cliff, coast, country, desert, epicenter, hamlet, highway, jungle, ocean, park, sea, shore, tide, valley, etc. For a great list, click here!) (Submitted by Lisa of Hopewell)

There are many books I could have chosen for this theme, but I decided to choose those with the word ‘River/s’ in the title. These are all books I’ve either read (marked with an *) or are books I own but haven’t read yet.

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch* – This is a magical reading experience, and a fast-paced police procedural of a very different kind. It’s fantastical in the literal meaning of the word; an urban fantasy set in the real world of London. It’s a mix of reality and the supernatural. Peter Grant is a Detective Constable and a trainee wizard who is assigned to work with Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale (who is the last wizard in England) as part of a special and secret branch of the Met, dealing with all things magical and supernatural.

River of Darkness by Rennie Airth – the first novel in his John Madden trilogy, published in 1999. It’s set in 1921 and a terrible discovery has been made at a manor house in Surrey – the bloodied bodies of Colonel Fletcher, his wife and two of their staff. The police seem ready to put the murders down to robbery with violence, but DI Madden from Scotland Yard sees things slightly differently.

River of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh – In September 1838, a storm blows up on the Indian Ocean and the Ibis, a ship carrying a consignment of convicts and indentured laborers from Calcutta to Mauritius, is caught up in the whirlwind. River of Smoke follows its storm-tossed characters to the crowded harbors of China. There, despite efforts of the emperor to stop them, ships from Europe and India exchange their cargoes of opium for boxes tea, silk, porcelain and silver.

The Secret River by Kate Grenville* – one of my favourite books. It is historical fiction, straight-forward story-telling following William Thornhill from his childhood in the slums of London to Australia. He was a Thames waterman transported for stealing timber; his wife, Sal and child went with him and together they make a new life for themselves. William was eventually pardoned and became a waterman on the Hawkesbury River and then a settler with his own land and servants.

Rivers: A Voyage into the Heart of Britain by Griff Rhys Jones* – Griff is passionate about rivers and opening them up for people to use. The waterways of Britain are the ancient transport routes only superseded by road and rail relatively recently. He writes about the history of rivers – telling how the monks were the first people to use the rivers, creating the water meadows to irrigate the land, how people settled near rivers, how the towns grew up, how they were above all working rivers, and how we have lost our ancient connection with rivers. It is fascinating, complete with line drawings, maps and colour illustrations.

Mystic River by Dennis Lehane – Three boys’ lives were changed for ever when one of them got into a stranger’s car and something terrible happened. Twenty five years later they have to face the nightmares of their past. I’m not sure what to expect from this book, not having read any of Lehane’s books before, but a reviewer in the Guardian described it as one of the finest novels he’d read in ages.

The River Midnight by Lilian Nattel – this is about the fictional village of Blaska, a small Jewish community in Poland at the turn of the 20th century, when Poland was under Russian occupation. It is told from the perspective of a group of women, including Misha, the midwife, Hannah-Leah, the butcher’s wife, and Faygela, who dreams of the bright lights of Warsaw. Myth meets history and characters come to life through the stories of the women’s lives and prayers, their secrets, and the intimate details of everyday life.

Many Rivers to Cross by Peter Robinson – the 26th Inspector Banks book, in which he and his team investigate the murder of a teenage boy found stuffed into a wheely bin on the East Side Estate. But Banks’s attention is also on Zelda, who in helping him track down his old enemy, has put herself in danger and alerted the stonecold Eastern European sex traffickers who brought her to the UK

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield* – An intriguing and mystifying book, a mystery beginning in the Swan Inn at Radcot, an ancient inn, well-known for its storytelling, on the banks of the Thames. A badly injured stranger enters carrying the drowned corpse of a little girl. It’s mystifying as hours later the dead child, miraculously it seems, takes a breath, and returns to life. The mystery is enhanced by folklore, by science that appears to be magic, and by romance and superstition.

The Riddle of the River by Catherine Shaw* – Set in Cambridge in 1898  Mrs Vanessa Weatherburn used to be a school mistress until she married Arthur. Now with two children (twins) she acts as a private investigator. Vanessa is enlisted by her friend, journalist Patrick O’Sullivan to investigate the death of a young woman found floating, reminding her of Ophelia, in the River Cam.

Top Ten Tuesday: A School Freebie

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.

The topic this week is School Freebie (In honor of school starting up soon, come up with a topic that somehow ties to school/education. The book could be set at school/college, characters could be teachers, books with school supplies on the cover, nonfiction titles, books that taught you something or how to do something, your favorite required reading in school, books you think should be required reading, your favorite banned books, etc.)

These are 10 of the books set in schools/universities/colleges that I’ve enjoyed reading.

J K Rowling’s Harry Potter books are an obvious choice – all 7 of them would nearly fill a Top Ten post on their own. I haven’t got this box set, but I have read all seven books telling the story of Harry and his friends at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It’s a selective school, only children who show magical ability are admitted. Each student is allowed to bring an owl, a cat or a toad. And first-year students are required to acquire a wand, subject books, a standard size 2 pewter cauldron, a set of brass scales, a set of glass or crystal phials, a kit of basic potion ingredients (for Potions), and a telescope (for Astronomy). 

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark is set in 1936 in Edinburgh in the Marcia Blaine school, where schoolteacher Miss Brodie has groomed a group of young girls, known as the Brodie Set, to be the ‘creme de la creme‘. Marcia Blaine school is a traditional school where Miss Brodie’s ideas and methods of teaching are viewed with dislike and distrust. The Head Teacher is looking for ways to discredit and get rid of her. I enjoyed both the book and the film with Maggie Smith in the title role. The story is told in flashbacks from 1930 –1939 and quite early on in the book we are told who ‘betrayed’ Miss Brodie.

Cat Among the Pigeons by Agatha Christie is set in an exclusive and expensive girls’ school, Meadowbank, in England, said to be based on her daughter Rosalind’s school. Miss Bulstrode is the headmistress and like Miss Brodie she has built a reputation for excellence. But disaster strikes when two of the teachers, Miss Springer, the new Games Mistress and the History and German teacher, Miss Vansittart are murdered. Rather late in the day Hercules Poirot is called in to investigate their deaths.

Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay. On St Valentine’s Day in 1900, a party of nineteen girls accompanied by two schoolmistresses sets off from the elite Appleyard College for Young Ladies, for a day’s outing at the spectacular volcanic mass called Hanging Rock. The picnic, which begins innocently and happily, ends in explicable terror, and some of the party never returned. What happened to them remains a mystery. I loved the detailed descriptions of the Australian countryside and the picture it paints of society in 1900, with the snobbery and class divisions of the period.

South Riding by Winifred Holtby. Set in the early 1930s in Yorkshire this book paints a moving and vivid portrait of a rural community struggling with the effects of the depression. One of the main characters is Sarah Burton, the new headmistress of Kiplington High School for Girls, a fiercely passionate and dedicated teacher. As the villagers of South Riding adjust to Sarah’s arrival and face the changing world, emotions run high, prejudices are challenged and community spirit is tested

Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey. Miss Pym was pleased and flattered to be invited to Leys Physical Training College by her old school friend, Henrietta Hodge, the college Principal, to give a lecture on psychology. But then there was a ’nasty accident‘. This is not a conventional crime fiction novel. It’s a psychological study focusing on the characters, their motivation and analysis of facial characteristics. It looks at the consequences of what people do and say.

Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte, published in 1847, is a novel about a young woman, a governess and her experiences working for two families in Victorian England. Agnes is the younger daughter of an impoverished clergyman. Her parents had married against her mother’s family’s wishes and when their fortune was wrecked Agnes determines to help out by working as a governess. It gives a very clear picture of the life of a governess, with all its loneliness, frustrations, insecurities and depressions. Anne Bronte based this novel on her own experiences as a governess and depicts the loneliness, isolation, and vulnerability of the position. 

The Hiding Place by Simon Lelic, a murder mystery set in Beaconsfield, a prestigious boarding school. When Ben Draper, a 14 year-old teenager with a troubled background, and a history of absconding from school, started at the school he is bullied, disliked and feels shunned and despised. But he does make three friends, Callum, Lance and Melissa. Longing to be accepted, he thinks they are his friends, but then he is drawn unwillingly into their plot to damage the school. After playing a game of Hide and Seek with them, that ended in terror, he went missing and his body was never found.

An Advancement of Learning by Reginald Hill, the 2nd Dalziel and Pascoe novel. It’s set in a college, Holm Coultram College, where Dalziel and Pascoe investigate the discovery of a body found when an eight foot high bronze statue of a former head of the College, Miss Girling, is being moved. The two detectives uncover plenty of disagreements and power struggles in both the staff and student bodies – from rivalries to revelries on the beach, and more dead bodies turn up before the mystery is solved.

I loved the setting in Gaudy Night by Dorothy L Sayers – Shrewsbury College, a fictional all female college, at Oxford University (based on Somerville College, Sayers’ own college). Harriet Vane decides to go back to the College to attend the Shrewsbury Gaudy (a college reunion involving a celebratory dinner), not sure she can face meeting her fellow students and the dons. It doesn’t go well – there are poison pen letters, nasty graffiti and vandalism causing mayhem and upset. Under the pretence of helping one of the dons to rewrite her manuscript that had been destroyed in one of the nightly attacks Harriet is asked to investigate. 

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Series I’m Still Reading

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.

The topic this week is Completed Series I Wish Had More Books, but I’m tweaking it a bit as I have lots of series on the go that I haven’t finished. So this is my list of Series I’m Still Reading:

  1. Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries by Elly Griffiths – 14 books have been published, with the 15th due out next year. I have read 8 of them.
  2. Tom Wilde books by Rory Clements – 6 books. I have read 4 of them.
  3. Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley – 7 books have been published with the 8th due out next year. I have read 3 of them.
  4. Kingsbridge by Ken Follett – 4 books. I’ve read 1.
  5. Dublin Murder Squad by Tana French – 6 books. I’ve read 1.
  6. Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin – 5 books. I’ve read 3.
  7. Rachel Savernake Golden Age Mysteries by Martin Edwards – 3 books, with another due out next year. I’ve read 2.
  8. Harry Devlin by Martin Edwards – 7 books. I’ve read 1.
  9. Daisy Dalrymple by Carola Dunn – 23 books. I’ve read 4.
  10. Sea Detective by Mark Douglas-Home – 4 books. I’ve read 3.

Top Ten Tuesday:Books I Love That Were Written Over Ten Years Ago.

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.

The topic this week is Books I Love That Were Written Over Ten Years Ago. This is a hard topic because there are so many books that I love that were written over ten years ago. So, I have tried to choose books I haven’t featured before on my blog. I’ve linked them to either Goodreads or Amazon UK.

Chatterton by Peter Ackroyd (published in 1987). I have had this book for so long that I can’t remember when I bought it. Thomas Chatterton was an 18th century poet, a forger and a genius, whose life ended under mysterious circumstances. He died in 1770 when he was 18. His death was thought to be suicide: But what really happened?

A Passage to India by E M Forster (published in 1924). This was the first of Forster’s books that I’ve read. Dr Aziz is a young Muslim physician in the British Indian town of Chandrapore. One evening he comes across an English woman, Mrs Moore, in the courtyard of a local mosque; she and her younger travelling companion Adela are disappointed by claustrophobic British colonial culture and wish to see something of the ‘real’ India. But when Aziz kindly offers to take them on a tour of the Marabar caves with his close friend Cyril Fielding, the trip results in a shocking accusation that throws Chandrapore into a fever of racial tension.

Gentlemen and Players by Joanne Harris (published in 2005). At St Oswald’s, a long-established boys’ grammar school in the north of England, a new year has just begun. For the staff and boys of the school, a wind of unwelcome change is blowing. Suits, paperwork and Information Technology rule the world; and Roy Straitley, the eccentric veteran Latin master, is finally – reluctantly – contemplating retirement. But beneath the little rivalries, petty disputes and everyday crises of the school, a darker undercurrent stirs.

Pictures of Perfection by Reginald Hill (published in 1994). High in the Mid-Yorkshire Dales stands the traditional village of Enscombe, seemingly untouched by the modern world. The disappearance of a policeman brings Detective Superintendent Andy Dalziel and DCI Peter Pascoe to its doors. As the detectives dig beneath the veneer of idyllic village life a new pattern emerges: of family feuds, ancient injuries, cheating and lies. And finally, as the community gathers for the traditional Squire’s Reckoning, it looks as if the simmering tensions will erupt in a bloody climax…

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, one of the most devastating and heartbreaking novels I’ve read (published in 2007). The book, which spans a period of over 40 years, from the 1960s to 2003, focuses on the tumultuous lives and relationship of Mariam and Laila, two Afghan women. Mariam, an illegitimate child, suffers from the stigma surrounding her birth and the abuse she faces throughout her marriage. Laila, born a generation later, is comparatively privileged during her youth until their lives intersect and she is also forced to accept a marriage proposal from Rasheed, Mariam’s husband.

The Light Years by Elizabeth Jane Howard (published in 1988). The first in the Cazelet Chronicles. In 1937, the coming war is only a distant cloud on Britain’s horizon. As the Cazalet households prepare for their summer pilgrimage to the family estate in Sussex, readers meet Edward, in love with but by no means faithful to his wife Villy; Hugh, wounded in the Great War; Rupert, who worships his lovely child-bride Zoe; and Rachel, the spinster sister.

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka (published in 2005). Sisters Vera and Nadezhda must aside a lifetime of feuding to save their émigré engineer father from voluptuous gold-digger Valentina. With her proclivity for green satin underwear and boil-in-the-bag cuisine, she will stop at nothing in her pursuit of Western wealth. But the sisters’ campaign to oust Valentina unearths family secrets, uncovers fifty years of Europe’s darkest history and sends them back to roots they’d much rather forget . . . .

Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake (published in 1946). I first read this as a teenager. It’s the first book in the Gormenghast trilogy, a gothic fantasy whose strange characters’ lives are dominated by the labyrinthine castle of Gormenghast and its ancient rituals.Titus, heir to Lord Sepulchrave, has just been born, he stands to inherit the miles of rambling stone and mortar that stand for Gormenghast Castle. There are tears and strange laughter; fierce births and deaths beneath umbrageous ceilings; dreams and violence and disenchantment contained within a labyrinth of stone.

Dark Fire by C J Sansom (published in 2004). I love all the books in the Shardlake series. This is the second book, set in England in 1540. Matthew Shardlake, believing himself out of favour with Thomas Cromwell, is busy trying to maintain his legal practice and keep a low profile. But his involvement with a murder case, defending a girl accused of brutally murdering her young cousin, brings him once again into contact with the king’s chief minister – and a new assignment . . .

A Jealous Ghost by A N Wilson (published in 2005). This is a re-writing of Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw. There is something rather disquieting about Sallie Declan, a young American in London, who is obsessed with The Turn of the Screw, the subject of her PhD. thesis. She leaves her studies for a temporary job as a nanny in a large country house and builds a fantasy about her emotional future there. Surely she can see it is all delusion? But a progressively darker reality unfolds leading inevitably to a terrible and shocking climax. It’s good, although not as good as Henry James’s novel.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books with a Place in the Title

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.

The topic this week is Books Set In a Place I’d Love to Visit, but I’ve tweaked a bit to Books with a Place in the Title. These are all books I’ve read and I’ve linked the titles to my reviews:

4.50 from Paddington by Agatha Christie

12.30 from Croydon by Freeman Wills Crofts

100 Days on Holy Island: a Writer’s Exile by Peter Mortimer

A Death in the Dales by Frances Brody

The Doctor of Thessaly by Anne Zouroudi

Excursion to Tindari by Andrea Camilleri

The Fall of Troy by Peter Ackroyd

The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam by Chris Ewan

The Cleaner of Chartres by Salley Vickers

The Madman of Bergerac by Georges Simenon


Top Ten Tuesday: Books From My Past Seasonal TBR Posts I STILL Haven’t Read

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.

The topic this week is Books From My Past Seasonal TBR Posts I STILL Haven’t Read. I’m not very good at predicting which books I’m going to read next, so I’m pleased to discover that I have actually read some of the books from three of the last three seasonal TBR Top Ten posts!

These are the books I still haven’t read:

Five books from my Spring 2022 TBR List:

Quichotte by Salman Rushdie – a retelling of Don Quixote for the modern age. Sam DuChamp, mediocre writer of spy thrillers, creates Quichotte, a courtly, addled salesman obsessed with television, who falls in impossible love with the TV star Salman R. Together with his (imaginary) son Sancho, Quichotte sets off on a picaresque quest across America to prove worthy of her hand.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson – Harriet Vanger, scion of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families, disappeared over forty years ago. Years later, her aged uncle continues to seek the truth. He hires Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist to investigate. He is aided by the pierced and tattooed punk prodigy Lisbeth Salander.

Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith – Guy Haines and Charles Anthony Bruno meet on a train. Bruno manipulates Guy into swapping murders with him. From this moment, almost against his conscious will, Guy is trapped in a nightmare of shared guilt and an insidious merging of personalities.

Night of the Lightbringer by Peter Tremayne – This is the 28th Sister Fidelma mystery, a medieval murder mystery,  featuring a Celtic nun who is also an advocate of the ancient Irish law system. It’s set in Ireland in AD 671 on the eve of the pagan feast of Samhain.

When Christ and His Saints Slept by Sharon Penman – the first book in the Eleanor of Aquitaine trilogy. Historical fiction about Stephen and his cousin, the Empress Maude, and the long fight to win the English throne.

Two from my Fall 2021 List and three from my Summer 2021 List:

Another Part of the Wood by Beryl Bainbridge – 159 pages -literary fiction set In a remote cottage in Wales where two urban couples are spending their holiday with the idealistic owner and his protege. The beginning is idyllic but catastrophe lurks behind every tree.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce, which I bought in 2013! It’s about Harold’s journey on foot from one end of the country to the other – from South Devon to Berwick-upon-Tweed and I was intrigued. I wondered which places he went through.

The Mouse Trap and Selected Plays by Agatha Christie – the world’s longest running play, plus three other thrillers adapted from the novels (which I have read) – And Then There Were None, The Hollow and Appointment with Death. Set in a manor house, a number of people are isolated from the outside world by a blizzard and faced with the reality that one of them is a killer. This is also on my 20 Books of Summer list, and is my Classics Club Spin book for August, but it’s in such a small font I’m finding it extremely difficult to read! I may not manage it.

The Enchanter’s Forest by Alys Clare – historical fiction set in Midsummer 1195. A ruthlessly ambitious man has fallen deeply into debt, his desperate situation made even more difficult by the contribution he has had to pay towards King Richard’s ransom. To make matters worse the beautiful wife he tricked into marriage has tired of him and her mother hates his guts.

The House on Bellevue Gardens by Rachel Hore – Bellevue Gardens is a tranquil London square, tucked away behind a busy street. You might pass it without knowing it’s there. Here, through the imposing front door of Number 11, is a place of peace, of sanctuary and of secrets. It is home to Leonie; once a model in the sixties, she came to the house to escape a destructive marriage and now, out of gratitude, she opens her house to others in need.


Top Ten Tuesday: Book Covers That Feel Like Summer

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.

The topic this week is Book Covers That Feel Like Summer. They are mainly beach scenes, covering books from different genres, love stories, crime fiction and two nonfiction books.

The Colour of Murder by Julian Symonds – a murder mystery with a focus on the psychological aspects of crime. John Wilkins is accused of a murder on the beach at Brighton.

The Lady of Sorrows by Anne Zouroudi – the 4th in the Mysteries of the  Greek Detective series featuring Hermes Diaktoros. Each one features one of the Seven Deadly Sins.Hermes is a detective with a difference. Just who he is and who he works for is never explained.

Dreaming of Florence by T A Williams – a love story about taking chances, overcoming challenges, developing new relationships, finding happiness, and falling in love.

The Last Summer by Karen Swan – a love story set on St Kilda, a remote Scottish island in the 1930s. Effie falls for the heir to the Earl of Dumfries, but their summer affair seems doomed, when the islanders are evacuated to the mainland.

The Perfect Summer: Dancing into Shadow England 1911 by Juliet Nicolson, nonfiction looking at life in Britain during the one of the hottest years of the twentieth century, during the summer of George V’s Coronation year, 1911.

All Among the Barley by Melissa Harrison – a novel set in 1933 in Suffolk, about rural England between the wars, before mechanisation.

Extra Virgin by Annie Hawes – a memoir about life, love, the locals – and of course lunch – in Liguria, where she bought a small stone house deep among the olive groves of Liguria in the Italian hills.

Mr Mac and Me by Esther Freud – Set in 1914 on the Suffolk coast just as war with Germany is declared, this is a story of an unlikely friendship between a mysterious artist the locals call Mr Mac (Charles Rennie Macintosh) and Thomas the crippled son of the village publican.

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan,  set on the Dorset coast where a newly married couple struggle to suppress their fears of their wedding night to come.

Maigret’s Holiday by George Simenon – a murder mystery set in the seaside town of Les Sables d’Olonne, where Maigret and his wife are on holiday.


Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Books Releasing In the Second Half of 2022

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.

The topic this week is the Most Anticipated Books Releasing In the Second Half of 2022 I’m just listing 8 books this week all of which I’d like to read. The only one I have at the moment on my Kindle is Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson, an advanced proof copy from NetGalley.

Amy and Lan by Sadie Jones – 7 July

Amy Connell and Lan Honey are having the best childhood, growing up on a West Country farm – three families, a couple of lodgers, goats, dogs and an orphaned calf called Gabriella Christmas. The parents are best friends too. Originally from the city, they’re learning about farming: growing their own vegetables, milking the goats, slaughtering chickens and scything the hay–

The adults are far too busy to keep an eye on Amy and Lan, and Amy and Lan would never tell them about climbing on the high barn roof, or what happened with the axe that time, any more than their parents would tell them the things they get up to – adult things, like betrayal – that threaten to bring the whole fragile idyll tumbling down…

The House of Fortune by Jessie Burton – 7 July

In the golden city of Amsterdam, in 1705, Thea Brandt is turning eighteen, and she is ready to welcome adulthood with open arms. At the city’s theatre, Walter, the love of her life, awaits her, but at home in the house on the Herengracht, all is not well – her father Otto and Aunt Nella argue endlessly, and the Brandt family are selling their furniture in order to eat. On Thea’s birthday, also the day that her mother Marin died, the secrets from the past begin to overwhelm the present.

Nella is desperate to save the family and maintain appearances, to find Thea a husband who will guarantee her future, and when they receive an invitation to Amsterdam’s most exclusive ball, she is overjoyed – perhaps this will set their fortunes straight.

And indeed, the ball does set things spinning: new figures enter their life, promising new futures. But their fates are still unclear, and when Nella feels a strange prickling sensation on the back of her neck, she remembers the miniaturist who entered her life and toyed with her fortunes eighteen years ago. Perhaps, now, she has returned for her . . .

The Cliff House by Chris Brookmyre – 28 July

Jen’s hen party is going to be out of control…

She’s rented a luxury getaway on its own private island. The helicopter won’t be back for seventy-two hours. They are alone. They think.

As well as Jen, there’s the pop diva and the estranged ex-bandmate, the tennis pro and the fashion guru, the embittered ex-sister-in-law and the mouthy future sister-in-law.

It’s a combustible cocktail, one that takes little time to ignite, and in the midst of the drunken chaos, one of them disappears. Then a message tells them that unless someone confesses her terrible secret to the others, their missing friend will be killed.

Problem is, everybody has a secret. And nobody wants to tell.

Ancestry: A Novel by Simon Mawer – 28 July

The New York Times bestselling author of The Glass Room brings a slice of his own family history to life through extensive research and rich storytelling.


Beginning with his great-great-grandfather Abraham Block, acclaimed novelist Simon Mawer sifts through evidence like an archaeologist, piecing together the stories of his ancestors. Illiterate and lacking opportunity in the bleak Suffolk village where his parents worked as agricultural laborers, Abraham leaves home at fifteen, in 1847. He signs away the next five years in an indenture aboard a ship, which will circuitously lead him to London and well beyond, to far-flung ports on the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. In London he crosses paths with Naomi Lulham, a young seamstress likewise seeking a better life in the city, with all its prospects and temptations.

Another branch of the family tree comes together in 1847, in Manchester, as soldier George Mawer weds his Irish bride Ann Scanlon—Annie—before embarking with his regiment. When he is called to fight in the Crimean War, Annie must fend for herself and her children on a meager income, navigating an often hostile world as a woman alone.

With a keen eye and a nuanced consideration of the limits of what we can know about the past, Mawer paints a compelling, intimate portrait of life in the nineteenth century.

The Bookseller of Inverness by S G MacLean – 4 August

After Culloden, Iain MacGillivray was left for dead on Drumossie Moor. Wounded, his face brutally slashed, he survived only by pretending to be dead as the Redcoats patrolled the corpses of his Jacobite comrades.

Six years later, with the clan chiefs routed and the Highlands subsumed into the British state, Iain lives a quiet life, working as a bookseller in Inverness. One day, after helping several of his regular customers, he notices a stranger lurking in the upper gallery of his shop, poring over his collection. But the man refuses to say what he’s searching for and only leaves when Iain closes for the night.

The next morning Iain opens up shop and finds the stranger dead, his throat cut, and the murder weapon laid out in front of him – a sword with a white cockade on its hilt, the emblem of the Jacobites. With no sign of the killer, Iain wonders whether the stranger discovered what he was looking for – and whether he paid for it with his life. He soon finds himself embroiled in a web of deceit and a series of old scores to be settled in the ashes of war.

Lessons by Ian McEwan – 13 September

When the world is still counting the cost of the Second World War and the Iron Curtain has descended, young Roland Baines’s life is turned upside down. 2,000 miles from his mother’s protective love, stranded at an unusual boarding school, his vulnerability attracts his piano teacher Miriam Cornell, leaving scars as well as a memory of love that will never fade.

Twenty-five years later Roland’s wife mysteriously vanishes, leaving him alone with their baby son. He is forced to confront the reality of his rootless existence. As the radiation from the Chernobyl disaster spreads across Europe he begins a search for answers that looks deep into his family history and will last for the rest of his life.

From the Suez and Cuban Missile crises, the fall of the Berlin Wall to the Covid pandemic and climate change, Roland sometimes rides with the tide of history but more often struggles against it. Haunted by lost opportunities, he seeks solace through every possible means – literature, travel, friendship, drugs, sex and politics. A profound love is cut tragically short. Then, in his final years, he finds love again in another form. His journey raises important questions. Can we take full charge of the course of our lives without damage to others? How do global events

Picture You Dead by Peter James – 22 September

Harry and Freya, an ordinary couple, dreamed for years of finding something priceless buried amongst the tat in a car boot sale. It was a dream they knew in their hearts would never come true – until the day it did…

They buy the drab portrait for a few pounds, for its beautiful frame, planning to cut the painting out. Then studying it back at home there seems to be another picture beneath, of a stunning landscape. Could it be a long-lost masterpiece from 1770? If genuine, it could be worth millions.

One collector is certain it is genuine. Someone who uses any method he can to get want he wants and will stop at nothing.

Detective Superintendent Roy Grace finds himself plunged into an unfamiliar and rarefied world of fine art. Outwardly it appears respectable, gentlemanly, above reproach. But beneath the veneer, he rapidly finds that greed, deception and violence walk hand-in-hand. And Harry and Freya Kipling are about to discover that their dream is turning into their worst nightmare. . .

Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson – 27 September

1926, and in a country still recovering from the Great War, London has become the focus for a delirious new nightlife. In the clubs of Soho, peers of the realm rub shoulders with starlets, foreign dignitaries with gangsters, and girls sell dances for a shilling a time.

The notorious queen of this glittering world is Nellie Coker, ruthless but also ambitious to advance her six children, including the enigmatic eldest, Niven whose character has been forged in the crucible of the Somme. But success breeds enemies, and Nellie’s empire faces threats from without and within. For beneath the dazzle of Soho’s gaiety, there is a dark underbelly, a world in which it is all too easy to become lost.

With her unique Dickensian flair, Kate Atkinson brings together a glittering cast of characters in a truly mesmeric novel that captures the uncertainty and mutability of life; of a world in which nothing is quite as it seems.