Hi guys – I can’t believe I am here again with another weekly update! I hope you all had a good week?
I shared just the one post with you this week, aside from today’s Sunday Summary update that is. Earlier in the week, I published my review of City of Stairs, a novel I read back in January this year. Writing this review was more challenging than I expected. Me being me, I didn’t take any notes. In my defence, I wasn’t expecting for it to be this long between reading and reviewing… but there we are. It’s my own fault.
Nevertheless, I managed to get all my thoughts together in the end. If you haven’t read that post yet, you can find it here.
With taking the time to write my review earlier in the week, amongst other things, I have been light on reading this week. I have picked up Rags of Time again and I am very close to the conclusion now. I’m hoping to finish this imminently. Instead, I’ve been doing some other bits and pieces with my evenings.
I’ve brought my old 3DS out of retirement and been playing a game I loved and invested many hours into as a teenager. Of course, I’ve wiped the game history and started again… you have to, right? I’ve also been watching a bit of TV. That might not sound like anything special to you… but it’s a bit of a rarity in my house. The TV series I’m watching at the moment is called For Life. Four episodes in and I’m really enjoying it!
Lastly, the most time-consuming hobby of the week has been knitting. Some of you may know that I’ve taken up knitting in the last few months. Recently, I’ve taken on the ambitious project of knitting a jumper. I wasn’t sure how well I’d get on, being so new to it, but I’m pleased with how it looks so far! Fingers crossed it fits when I’m finished! Here’s a picture of my progress so far.
As above, I’ve not really had the time to discover anything in the way of new books this week! My TBR will thank me later!
Next week is certainly going to be busier in terms of the blog posts I have lined up for you all. I have no less than two blog tours this week.
On Wednesday I am taking part in a blog tour for Glimmer of Hope by J. A. Andrews. You may remember I read and loved the book at the beginning of this month. I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts with you on this particular novel. In terms of subject matter, it was a bit out of my comfort zone, but I still enjoyed it!
There’s no rest for the wicked, as my next blog tour post goes live on Thursday. This time I will be sharing a review of The Dark Chorus by Ashley Meggitt. I also adored this book. As a huge fan of psychology and thrillers, The Dark Chorus was really up my street. I hope you can join me and check out my review later in the week.
So, I have two fabulous reviews coming up this week, but that’s not all! I’ll also be sharing my reading list for December towards the end of the week. My last reading list of 2020 – I can’t believe it! Where is this year going?!
So, you’ll be hearing a lot more from next week! Fingers crossed I’ll see you around!
Hey everyone and welcome to today’s Sunday Summary post! I hope you have all had a good week? It feels a little strange to be back here I have to say. Having just had a week off blogging (my first of the year!), I almost feel a little out of practice – haha! I can’t lie though; I did actually enjoy having the evenings to myself this week. When you are in the habit of it, you don’t think about how long it takes to prepare a post.
Instead, I have spent the week catching up with a job or two around the house and even starting to knit a jumper. Of course, I’ve kept up with my reading too!
AS of last week’s Sunday Summary update, I was just starting The Dark Chorus by Ashley Meggitt. I had literally read the first few pages to get a feel for the book before starting in earnest. It has been my main read of the week and I actually finished this fantastic book yesterday. It has been really easy to pick up and read. It’s not very often you come across a novel told from a child’s perspective. I personally really enjoyed this aspect of the book and it was done really well! I’ll be publishing my full review at the beginning of next month, so if you want to find out more that’s when you can expect my thoughts on the book in full.
I’ve also picked up and read another 10% of Rags of Time by Mike Ward this morning. You may recall that I started this book a couple of months ago, but I had to put it aside to fulfil some more time-sensitive reviews. Well, I have picked up the book again and read a decent chunk in one sitting. It’s been on my mind that I needed to pick this up again, so it feels good to have finally gotten back around to it!
Yet another week goes by and there are no new additions to the TBR. It’s long enough, so I’m grateful to have my nose buried in other things at the moment!
I’m back to blogging next week, and I am planning on throwing myself back in the deep end with a review of a book I picked up at the beginning of this year. I think my getting around to reviewing a book read in January now says a lot about 1) how behind I am on reviews and 2) how many blog tours I take part in (which effectively jump the queue!) Oh well, at least I am round to it now! I plan on sharing this particular post midweek, so keep an eye out for that!
I’ll round off the week as usual with another Sunday Summary weekly update!
I’m really looking forward to sharing my thoughts on Limelight by Graham Hurley with you today! I have read this book over the weekend just gone in preparation for the tour and it is one of the best books I have read recently. Before I jump in with the details, I would first like to say a massive thank you to both Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour, and to the author Graham Hurley for the opportunity to take part and read this fabulous mystery novel! It’s a pleasure to be one of the bloggers kicking off the tour.
Life is dangerous. No one survives it. Enora Andressen makes a series of mind-blowing discoveries when her friend disappears.
Actress Enora Andressen is catching up with her ex-neighbour, Evelyn Warlock, who’s recently retired to the comely East Devon seaside town of Budleigh Salterton. The peace, the friendship of strangers and the town’s prestigious literary festival . . . Evelyn loves them all.
Until the September evening when her French neighbour, Christianne Beaucarne, disappears. Enora has met this woman. The two of them have bonded. But what Enora discovers over the anguished months to come will put sleepy Budleigh Salterton on the front page of every newspaper in the land.
Reading Limelight has been a breath of fresh air. A busy schedule has meant that I haven’t been reading as much lately – I’d even go so far as to say I had lost motivation. However, picking up Limelight has reminded me just why I love curling up with a good book. It’s a gem of a mystery novel that has been so easy to read because it has a lot of elements I love – a unique plotline, investment into character and world-building, and above all, an easy to read writing style that I couldn’t put down. In addition to all these, the book, particularly the setting, has a sense of familiarity to me.
I grew up in a seaside town much like Budleigh Salterton. Even now I live only a few minutes drive away, but the thing I really relate to in this novel is the sense of community that comes with small places such as this one. The concept of knowing everyone in town, even if just by sight, might seem strange to anyone living in large cities. Living in a place such as this myself though, I can say that the author has portrayed the town and the relationships of the characters within, perfectly.
Up until Christianne’s disappearance, Budleigh Salterton has the quiet, relaxed feel that I know and love. On the island here we have a phrase for it, ‘Traa dy Liooar’, meaning ‘time enough’. Equally, in places like this, any bit of news is a scandal. Christianne’s disappearance and the events that follow will inevitably dominate the headlines…
What also fits with this is the pace of the novel and the amount of characterisation shared with the reader. I enjoy novels with a lot of depth and time taken in bringing the main characters and the setting to life. Limelight in this regard is also right up my street! This also works well to draw the reader into the community. We really get to know each of the characters in their own right, as well as how they interact with each other.
Limelight is a mystery novel with a unique premise. Never before have I come across a mystery with a theme of euthanasia in it. It makes Limelight a unique novel within its genre and I’ve enjoyed reading the arguments and ethics around the debate that come up in the book. Despite the content matter, Limelight isn’t a heavy read at all. I have read this book over the course of a weekend and enjoyed every moment of it! I hadn’t realised it was part of a series when I signed up for the blog tour. Based on how much I enjoyed reading this book, I’m absolutely inclined to go back to the beginning and read the rest of the books!
Graham Hurley is an award-winning TV documentary maker who now writes full time. His Faraday and Winter series won two Theakstons shortlist nominations and was successfully adapted for French TV. He has since written a quartet of novels featuring D/S Jimmy Suttle, and three WW2 novels, the first of which – Finisterre – was shortlisted for the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize. The first three titles in the Enora Andressen series, Curtain Call, Sight Unseen and Off Script, are also available from Severn House. After thirty years in Portsmouth, Graham now lives in East Devon with his wife, Lin.
After a month or so break, it’s time for my next Shelf control post! As always, in this post, I’ll be taking an in-depth look at the next book on my TBR and tell you what it is I really like, or what interests me about it!
As a refresher, Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!
For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.
Shelf Control posts allow me to look in more depth at the books I have added to my TBR and listed as keepers in my Down the TBR Hole posts. It’s a great chance to talk about why I want to keep the featured book; it also acts as a second sweep for anything that I may have changed my mind about. I have actually deleted a few books doing this sweep. I don’t necessarily own all the books (yet), but I will have a reasonable number of them. I’ve also gone on to read a couple of the earliest books on the list, so this mini-series is proving useful!
The year is 1665. Black Death ravages London. A killer stalks the streets in a plague doctor’s hood and mask…
When a girl is gruesomely murdered, thief taker Charlie Tuesday reluctantly agrees to take on the case. But the horrific remains tell him this is no isolated death. The killer’s mad appetites are part of a master plan that could destroy London and reveal the dark secrets of Charlie’s own past.
Now the thief taker must find this murderous mastermind before the plague obliterates the evidence street by street. This terrifying pursuit will take Charlie deep into the black underbelly of old London, where alchemy, witchcraft and blood-spells collide.
In a city drowned in darkness, death could be the most powerful magic of all.
I’m the first person to admit that I’m not that shy of the macabre in literature. The first thing that struck me about this book and screamed that I’d like to read it is its inclusion of The Black Death. The second thing was murder and the mystery behind it.
The synopsis hints at shady, sinister characters in the dark underbelly of a plagued London. A masked perpetrator walks the streets and it’s a race against time to identify them and prevent further deaths. Combine this with elements of witchcraft, “dark arts” or sorcery and I have very high expectations for this book! I get the impression from some of the reviews that this isn’t for the faint-hearted – I’m intrigued!
Have you read The Thief Taker? Would you recommend it? Let me know in the comments!
***Please note this post contains affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a small commission on purchases made through them. If you like what you read and are interested in purchasing a copy of the book(s) featured in this post, please consider using these links and supporting a book blogger!
I am really looking forward to today’s blog tour post for Facing a Twisted Judgment by K. J. McGillick. I was kindly invited to the tour by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. A massive thank you to both of you for enabling me to enjoy this thrilling read!
What happens when tunnel vision clouds a police investigation? Is it true that once you are labeled a person of interest you really are the prime suspect? Can you trust the legal system? Probably not.
After a bitterly contested legal battle over inherited property, the hard-won art collection and its owner Samantha Bennington disappear. Both have vanished without a trace.
When blood spatter is discovered under the freshly painted wall of the room in which two of the paintings were hung, the theft becomes the opening act in a twisted tale of jealousy, revenge, and murder leading to a final judgment for all involved.
As the list of suspects narrows, the focus lands squarely on the husband. Some labeled Samantha’s husband a corrupt attorney, others an opportunist. Either way, he’s in the crosshairs of law enforcement and they are calling him a murderer. But is he the only viable suspect? What about the missing woman’s drug-addicted sister and her convicted felon brother? Both were furious over their loss at court and have more than enough reason to hate Samantha.
Guilty until proven innocent leaves Alexander Clarke facing a twisted judgment.
Give me a crime novel with any number of suspects and I’ll sit there and try to deduce my way through it like a very amateurish Poirot. The measure of a good crime novel is whether I THINK I’ve hacked it or not. As I said, I’m not very good at these things. I’m always wrong, but I enjoy the attempt nonetheless.
I was kept guessing throughout this book! I doubted everyone and everything I was told, trusting none of the characters…well, except Dalia. Was it truly the cold and calculating husband? Maybe it was the psycho sister or brother serving time for fraud. The investigation targets the husband very quickly and the evidence starts to mount up against him.
The narrative is clearly constructed from two perspectives; Dalia, employed by the company trying to recover several pieces of artwork valued at 130million dollars, and suspect number one himself. Dalia’s background as an attorney means she cannot help but take a natural interest in the disappearance of Samantha and subsequent investigation. Her narrative is balanced between developing her character and current events. Of all the characters in the book, I found Dalia to be the most authentic and relatable. As a newcomer to the team and the investigation, we unravel the mystery through her eyes.
Alex is far from a likable character, but his portrayal in the narrative is intriguing and wonderfully written. He is an attorney himself, but with a shady past, a long list of ex-wives and a cold/calculating demeanor, he is far from squeaky clean. When this newlywed’s wife goes missing along with some of her most valuable assets, Alex’s primary concern for the insurance claim on the artwork paints a sinister picture.
I loved reading the chapters from Alex’s perspective because I was intrigued by how emotionally detached he is as a person. Psychology is a subject that I been interested in since the age of 17; Alex makes an interesting test case. His almost split personality can turn at the flick of a switch. His need for control and ability to manipulate people is unnerving. When his wife plans to go against his wishes with the assets he helped her win in court, what lengths will he go to in order to get his way?
A concise narrative makes Facing A Twisted Judgment easy to pick up but hard to put down.
About the Author
K. J. McGillick was born in New York and once she started to walk she never stopped running. But that’s what New Yorker’s do. Right?
As she evolved so did her career choices. After completing her graduate degree in nursing she spent many years in the university setting sharing the dreams of the enthusiastic nursing students she taught. After twenty rewarding years in the medical field she attended law school and has spent the last twenty-four years as an attorney helping people navigate the turbulent waters of the legal system. Not an easy feat. And now? Now she is sharing the characters she loves with readers hoping they are intrigued by her twisting and turning plots and entertained by her writing.
Thirty-something single mum Beth Haldane is forced to become Dulwich’s answer to Miss Marple when she stumbles over a murder victim on her first day at work. To clear her name, Beth is plunged into a cozy mystery that’s a contemporary twist on Golden Age crime classics. But can she pull it off? She already has a bouncy young son, haughty cat, a fringe with a mind of its own and lots of bills to pay, as she struggles to keep up with the yummy mummies of SE21. Join Beth in #1 of the London Murder Mystery series, as she discovers the nastiest secrets can lurk in the nicest places.
Beth is a bubbly young woman, who discovers a murder on her first day back at work. Having convinced herself that she is implicated, she delves in to try and uncover the murderer and motive.
I quite enjoyed her bouncy, ditzy character. She loves to think she is organised; she cleans and tidies the house to “get her thoughts together”. The facade slips whenever she has to tip the contents of her handbag out to find her phone though. It is her way of determining that she is in control. But, as a single mum, things can get pretty hectic. I like the “modern” family structure in the book – increasingly there are more families, for one reason or another, that are reliant on a single parent. I thought it was great that this was recognised.
Alice Castle’s description of Beth is on-point, even down to the rogue, uncooperative hair (anyone with long hair will really relate to this, I’m sure). Her personality makes her the perfect candidate to want to uncover the mystery, despite being warned of the potential dangers by Inspector York. Exasperated at her meddling and finding her around the corner of every development, York has to concede to her knowledge of the small, exclusive community in order to solve the case. Whilst most of the narrative is written from Beth’s perspective, there are small sections from Inspector York. I would have liked to see a little more from his perspective, as the expert on the case.
The narrative is full of plot twists, leaving you guessing the next move and the identity of the perpetrator. What makes it even better is that the final twist was one I didn’t expect at all.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back to Dulwich…
It’s a perfect summer’s morning in the plush south London suburb, and thirty-something Beth Haldane sneaks off to visit one of her favourite places – the world-famous Picture Gallery.
She’s enjoying a few moments’ respite from juggling her job at prestigious private school Wyatt’s and her role as single mum to little boy, Ben, when she stumbles across a shocking new exhibit on display. Before she knows it, she’s in the thick of a fresh, and deeply chilling, investigation.
Who is The Girl in the Gallery?
Join Beth in adventure #2 of The London Murder Mystery series as she tries to uncover the truth about a secret eating away at the very heart of Dulwich.
I moved on to reading The Girl in the Gallery almost immediately after Death in Dulwich. A number of the main characters are already established; therefore the plot flows effortlessly, without filling in too much back-story. The tale continues shortly after Death in Dulwich leaves off, making the book easy to pick up. There are plenty of references to the previous book to remind you what has happened before anyway.
The biggest plus point is how well the book tackles the sensitive issues within. Body image and the impact of social media are explored in detail. I particularly like how different characters in the book have various views on the struggle teenage girls’ experience. On the whole, the narrative has a balanced approach. This topic is completely different from the first book, so neither narrative nor setting is stale and repetitive.
The dynamic between characters is familiar, yet boundaries are tested in this second installment of the series. Inspector York has come to appreciate that in Dulwich, Beth has access to the inside scoop and enough curiosity to investigate to make his job easier. Where there was a reluctance to involve her in the previous case, now he calls upon her insight willingly.
One of my observations from Death in Dulwich is that there was little input from Inspector York into the narrative. Small sections are devoted to his viewpoint on the case, but they are few and far between. Whilst the sections in The Girl in the Gallery are still quite brief, York certainly has more of a voice and presence than before.
I really enjoyed reading both of these books and cannot wait to see what Calamity in Camberwell has in store! Once again, a huge thank you to both the author and Rachel for organising the tour! If you would like to read either book featured today, a copy can be purchased using the following links:-
Alternatively, the author is running a GIVEAWAY of a signed copy of each book via Rafflecopter. Please note that this is only available to UK residents at this time. See the Terms and Conditions below:-
*Terms and Conditions – UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter link above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
About the Author
Before turning to a life of crime, Alice Castle was a UK newspaper journalist for The Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph. Her first book, Hot Chocolate, was a European best-seller which sold out in two weeks.
Alice is currently working on Calamity in Catford, the sequel to Death in Dulwich and The Girl in the Gallery. It’s the third instalment in the London Murder Mystery series and will be published by Crooked Cat next year. Once again, it features Beth Haldane and DI Harry York.
Alice is also a top mummy blogger, writing at DD’s Diary.
She lives in south London and is married with two children, two step-children and two cats.