Wednesday, 11 October 2017

This Week In Books #2

I have decided to join with the lovely Lipsy from Lipsy’s Lost and Found's feature, 'This Week In Books', which highlights our week in books. Here are the books that I've just read, am currently reading, and just about to start. Clicking on the book pics will take you to their Goodreads page. This week's post is a day late, but better late than never...


I was going to skip reading this before starting The Princess & The Suffragette by Holly Webb but decided I may as well re-read it.


 I've essentially spent the last nine days re-reading and then finishing the Weather Warden series by Rachel Caine. I read the first four books in the series and then somehow never got round to reading the rest of them. I heard a rumor that there's a new book coming, which is what prompted me to start them again.


It's either going to be


Both are on my Halloween/R.I.P. reading list but I can't decide on which to start first...

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

#ShelfLove - October Check-In

Didn't I just write one of these updates? If anybody knows what happened to September please do let me know... October, R.I.P., spooky reads, horror movies - my favorite things in one month! I've hit my R.I.P. reading target already so anything I read in October is going to be both a bonus and from the TBR pile. Still no surgery news but I do have an appointment with my orthopaedic surgeon on October 19th so keep your fingers crossed for me.

I read 32 books in September. And how many were from my TBR pile?  Not as many as I hoped. My #ShelfLove total increased by 17 this month, taking me up to 118 books from the TBR pile so far this year. Over the next 3 months I have to read 62 books from my TBR pile which is probably not a realistic target.

I'm almost done with my Goodreads challenge though. I'm currently at 92% with only 20 more books to read to hit my target. I'm deliberating over whether to leave it as is or to change it slightly by increasing the total up to 275. What to do...

Here are the facts and figures for September's reading and Shelf Love.

  • Read at least 15 of my own books a month - they have to have been on my shelves up to and including December 2016
  • For every 15 books read I'm allowed to buy 3 brand new books
  • For every 20 books donated to either charity or the library, I can buy 2 new books

Ill Wind - Rachel Caine (reread)
Heat Stroke - Rachel Caine (reread)
Knife - R J Anderson (reread)
The Boy With The Cuckoo-Clock Heart - Mathias Malzieu (reread)
Masque Of The Red Death - Bethany Griffiths (reread)
Velveteen - Daniel Marks
Prom Nights From Hell - Meg Cabot
Cuckoo Song - Frances Hardinge (reread)
Karen Memory - Elizabeth Bear
Golden Girl - Sarah Zettel
Inside The Worm - Robert Swindells (reread)
Don't Look Now & Other Stories - Daphne du Maurier
The Fall Of The House Of Usher & Other Stories - Edgar Allan Poe
Fox - Jim Crumley
The Word For World Is Forest - Ursula K. Le Guin (reread)
The City Of Dreams & Nightmare - Ian Whates
The Dresskeeper - Mary Naylus


September Reading By Numbers

Read - 32

Own - 19
Kindle - 6
Library - 7
TBR Challenge - 17
Review  - 4
Re-read - 6
 #ShelfLove Target - 118/180

Wishlist - 2652
TBR (Vaguely more accurate) - 1546 (It went up again...)
Goodreads Challenge Update

Monday, 2 October 2017

Death In The Stars - Frances Brody

Yorkshire, 1927. Eclipse fever grips the nation, and when beloved theatre star Selina Fellini approaches trusted sleuth Kate Shackleton to accompany her to a viewing party at Giggleswick School Chapel, Kate suspects an ulterior motive.

During the eclipse, Selina's friend and co-star Billy Moffatt disappears and is later found dead in the chapel grounds. Kate can't help but dig deeper and soon learns that two other members of the theatre troupe died in similarly mysterious circumstances in the past year. With the help of Jim Sykes and Mrs. Sugden, Kate sets about investigating the deaths - and whether there is a murderer in the company.

When Selina's elusive husband Jarrod, injured in the war and subject to violent mood swings, comes back on the scene, Kate begins to imagine something far deadlier at play and wonders just who will be next to pay the ultimate price for fame...

I'm absolutely thrilled to be on the blog tour for the ninth installment of the Kate Shackleton mysteries, Death In The Stars. I've now read five of these wonderful mysteries and I'm completely hooked! Last October I read (and loved) Death At The Seaside but Death In The stars couldn't be in a more different setting.

Selina Fenelli, known to legions of fans as the Silver Songbird asks Kate to accompany her and a friend from the theatre to an eclipse viewing at a local boy's school. At first, Kate thinks nothing of it, that Selina only asked her because she knows she has contacts at the local airfield and can arrange to have the three of them flown to the school. However, Selina has a different reason for asking. Over the last eighteen months two of her fellow stars on the music hall tour have died, seemingly in tragic accidents, but Selina isn't so sure and is terrified that something is going to happen to her or Billy, the chap accompanying them to Giggleswick for the eclipse.

When Billy dies at the school Kate realises that Selina might not be paranoid about the previous accidents after all but as Billy was a known drug user thanks to injuries from the war it's thought his death was either a tragic overdose or simply natural causes. Kate being Kate decides to investigate anyway, albeit reluctantly, and after finding a cigar on the school grounds that might not be an ordinary cigar the investigation picks up steam.

Mrs. Shackleton is once again aided and abetted by her housekeeper, Mrs. Sugden, and ex-policeman Jim Sykes, along with the addition of Alex, the head boy from Giggleswick, who wants to be a doctor but given his help in this case might also have a career as a detective, and her niece, Harriet. Appearances from Selina's fellow performers lend some light relief but it's impossible to get away from the darkness that has settled around the theatre. As in previous books everybody is a suspect, including Jarrod Compton, Selina's elusive husband who, along with Billy, was severely injured in the war. Compton is probably the main suspect from the start as he doesn't seem to like anybody being too involved in Selina's life and because of his facial disfigurement is always covered from head to toe, adding an aura of deceit to his person.

Yet again the 1920's setting is perfect, from the theatre and the music hall stars coming towards the end of their popularity to the simplicity of life back then. The mystery is completely gripping with twists and turns on every page. As usual, I got sucked into the red herrings that Frances Brody so wonderfully included and it wasn't until just before the big reveal of the villain that I realised who that really was. If you like your crime in a more gentle fashion without the blood and guts, then the Kate Shackleton mysteries are definitely worth a read. I mentioned Miss Marple, Daisy Dalrymple, and Phryne Fisher in my review of Death At The Seaside but this time I need to add that Kate Shackleton is definitely up there with the best of them and is becoming a firm favorite.

Death In The Stars - Frances Brody
ISBN - 9780349414317
Publisher - Piatkus
Release date - October 5th, 2017

About The Author

Frances Brody is the author of the Kate Shackleton mysteries, as well as many stories and plays for BBC Radio, scripts for television and four sagas, one of which won the HarperCollins Elizabeth Elgin Award. Her stage plays have been toured by several theatre companies and produced at Manchester Library Theatre, the Gate and Nottingham Playhouse, and Jehad was nominated for a Time Out Award.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

October New Release Giveaway!!!

Welcome to the October 2017 New Release Giveaway Hop, hosted by It Starts At Midnight! The hop now runs all month long so you can enter from now until midnight on October 31st. Up for grabs is any new release this month up to the value of $22 from the Book Depository as long as they deliver to your country - find the list of countries here

All you have to do is choose any new release published in October and fill out the rafflecopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the linky for lots of other chances to win, thanks for entering and good luck!

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Such Small Hands - Andrés Barba

Her father died instantly, her mother in the hospital. She has learned to say this flatly and without emotion, the way she says her name (Marina), her doll's name (also Marina) and her age (seven). Her parents were killed in a car crash and now she lives in the orphanage with the other little girls. But Marina is not like the other little girls.

In the curious, hyperreal, feverishly serious world of childhood, Marina and the girls play games of desire and warfare. The daily rituals of playtime, lunchtime, and bedtime are charged with a horror; horror is licked by the dark flames of love. When Marina introduces the girls to Marina the Doll, she sets in motion a chain of events from which there can be no release.

With shades of Daphne du Maurier, Shirley Jackson, Guillermo Del Toro and Mariana Enríquez, Such Small Hands is a beautifully controlled tour-de-force, a bedtime story to keep readers awake.

I first heard about Such Small Hands when a Spanish friend sent me a copy of 'Las manos pequeñas' a few years ago thinking my university Spanish would still be fluent enough to read this little gem. Unfortunately it wasn't, and I've been waiting for an English translation ever since. I think it's probably just as well I read it in English as I think I would have missed a lot of the subtleness of this novel, the quietness which adds to its general air of menace.

Apparently inspired by a real-life incident in a Brazilian orphanage where the other children killed a girl and then proceeded to play with her body for a week, Such Small Hands is not at all gruesome and starts with an actual doll. Marina, the child from the car crash, names this doll Marina too, and starts her descent into something that's not quite madness but is fascinating to the other girls to see and to try to understand.

Barba's writing is simple but this is what makes the book so disturbing and I can see why the comparisons to both Daphne du Maurier & Shirley Jackson are made. The girls in the orphanage are never portrayed as anything other than little girls but in the dead of night, anything and anyone can be terrifying. Such Small Hands wasn't quite what I was expecting but nevertheless wriggled its way into my brain where it's filed away in the 'creepy doll' section.

Such Small Hands -

Thursday, 28 September 2017

The Body In The Marsh - Nick Louth

When a woman goes missing, it gets personal for DCI Craig Gillard. But he could never imagine what happens next.

Criminologist Martin Knight lives a gilded life and is a thorn in the side of the police. But then his wife Liz goes missing. There is no good explanation and no sign of Martin…

To make things worse, Liz is the ex-girlfriend of DCI Craig Gillard who is drawn into the investigation. Is it just a missing person or something worse? And what relevance do the events around the shocking Girl F case, so taken up by Knight, have to do with the present?

The truth is darker than you could ever have imagined.

The truth is definitely darker than you could imagine, especially in The Body In The Marsh by Nick Louth. The story starts with DCI Craig Gillard rescuing somebody after a fall up in the Lake District. As coincidences go it's a big one. Her name is Sam Phillips, she's about to start working as a PCSO in Gillard's area, and they're both about to get caught up on two of the local force's biggest cases.

Sam takes a missing person report about someone called Elizabeth Knight, who turns out to be Gillard's first love from 30 years ago. Nobody has seen her and everybody is worried, apart from her husband, the esteemed criminologist Professor Martin Knight who is involved in the case of Girl F, also involving Gillard's station. The case takes an even stranger turn when Professor Knight also goes missing and suddenly everybody is involved and Gillard is heartbroken. He is convinced this is an admission of guilt on Martin Knight's part and sure enough, irrefutable evidence turns up all leading to one conclusion. Elizabeth Knight is dead, murdered most likely by her husband.

The Body In The Marsh is a rollercoaster ride from here on out and nobody is quite sure just how this has happened. Professor Knight has had a string of affairs and emails are found leading police to believe that he was planning to run off with one particular woman, having inherited a significant amount of money. Friends of Liz are convinced that she was being abused by her husband and that's what lead to her brief stay in a mental health unit. The Knight's children are none the wiser, one a solicitor and the other a student both appear to be clueless on the surface but a birthday card from France might indicate otherwise. 

Nothing is as it seems in this case and when evidence points to a link with the infamous Girl F case, which Professor Knight viciously condemned, things appear to be pointing in another direction, or are they? Nobody is quite sure what to do next but trips to France, Spain, the Kent coast, and the fact that the allow the Knight family to hold a funeral for Liz would suggest that the case has gone cold and might never be solved. 

The Body In The Marsh is a fantastic police thriller, well-written, fast-paced, and featuring some wonderful characters. I particularly loved DS Claire Mulholland, Gillard's deputy, who was portrayed as perhaps the most realistic policewoman I've come across, with a family, grandchildren, and definitely not romantically interested in her boss. Gillard was a little peculiar to me though, still pining after a woman 30 years later struck me as a little obsessive and allowing it to impact on all his romantic relationships was nothing short of foolishness. I can pretty much guarantee he is seeing his brief involvement with Liz through very rose-tinted glasses and allowing it to cloud his judgment of the Liz of today. I also loved the touches of humor which broke up the seriousness of both cases under the spotlight, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, in my opinion, should have featured more...

If you're looking for a thriller with a difference you can't go wrong with The Body In The Marsh. Its twists and turns will keep you up well beyond your bedtime. When you think you've got the culprit worked out the book will turn that upside down and thrown in a curveball for good measure. It was definitely worth losing a few hours sleep to find out who did it and what exactly happened. I've got 2 more of Nick Louth's books here to read so I'm hoping they're half as good as The Body In The Marsh.

The Body In The Marsh - Nick Louth
Publisher - Canelo
Release date - September 25th, 2017

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

This Week In Books #1

I have decided to join with the lovely Lipsy from Lipsy’s Lost and Found's feature, 'This Week In Books', which highlights our week in books. Here are the books that I've just read, am currently reading, and just about to start.

Now | Then | Next

Now: Death In The Stars

1920's crime writing from Frances Brody and my fourth Kate Shackleton mystery. I'm on the blog tour for this one so look out for my review next week.

Then: Such Small Hands 

My fourth R.I.P. read, a quirky translated (originally written in Spanish) horror novel. Look out for my review of this on Friday.

Next: Karen Memory

One for the TBR Challenge, this has been sitting on my shelves for about 18 months...

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