Tag: mystery

Monthly Wrap-Up – September 2023

Hello readers and welcome to today’s monthly wrap-up post for my September reading list. In all, I read less than I anticipated. I have an inkling as to why this is, and I will discuss that later on. I didn’t want to be too hasty in changing tack, and so there was a bit of a delay in acknowledging that something wasn’t working for me.

Regardless, I had a decent reading month when it comes to the books I picked up! I enjoyed a couple of books for blog tours that I signed up for, as well as picked up some favourite authors.

Let’s dive into my monthly wrap-up!

 

Books Read

 

The Trail

In my August monthly wrap-up post, I left off with my current read being Wizard and Glass. However, with upcoming obligations to review two books as part of blog tours, I temporarily set Wizard and Glass aside on the 3rd of September.

The first of those obligations was to read a psychological thriller called The Trail. I really enjoyed this sinister feel to this book. The setting was quite unusual and unlike anything I’ve read before. If you enjoy the small town vibe in a book, then this is definitely one for you. This works in the setting of The Trail. Each of the main characters across both timelines find themselves the outsider, and this is acutely felt throughout!

I really enjoyed the sinister feel to this book and would strongly recommend it as a spooky read if that’s a vibe you’re going for in your October reading list! Naturally, if you want my full thoughts on the book, you can check out my review here.

 

Protector of Mercia

My second blog tour obligation was to read and provide a review for Protector of Mercia by M.J. Porter. That name may be familiar to you if you are a regular reader; I have featured a review of every book in the Eagle of Mercia chronicles to date.

In case it wasn’t already apparent, I am a big fan of the series. I really enjoy the unique perspective that these books are told from. Protector of Mercia differs from the earlier books in the series in that the focus of the plotline and tension is caused by internal politics rather than an external force. The change of perspective was an interesting one to read, and added to the series as a whole. Again, if you want to check out my full thoughts on the book, here is a link to that review.

 

Wizard and Glass

With my obligations over for the month, I returned to the final few hundred pages of Wizard and Glass. This book also differs from its predecessors in that the main focus of the book is Roland’s backstory. In previous books, there have been small hints to his past. However, in this book, we discover it in vast detail. The book is about 900 pages, and I would suggest that the backstory takes up about 750-800 of those.

Although I enjoyed Wizard and glGss, it wasn’t the book I expected it to be. For that reason, I rated it four stars as opposed to five. Personally, I like backstory such of this to be included in a narrative that has the present day action going on as well. This felt a little bit like an info dump.

All I can hope for is that we’ve done the legwork now and the next book in the series, Wolves of the Calla, throws us right back into the action!

 

Twelve Years A Slave

The next book I picked up had its own challenges. I never expected Twelve Years a Slave to be an easy read, and I proved right there.

Initially, I struggled with the writing style of this book. It shouldn’t really be surprising that the grammatical style of the writing is somewhat archaic and at times, difficult to read. The book was published in 1853, so why would language be the same or similar to now?

Despite the initial setback, I persevered as I was interested enough in the story of Solomon Northop to try and push on. I’m glad I did, because I went on to adapt to this new writing style and finish the book.

Although a difficult subject matter, I was really interested in this narrative. Solomon’s experience is but one of thousands, yet it is very telling of the average experience of slaves in the period. If you are a bit sensitive to reading about mistreatment of people, death, disease and depravity, then this book is clearly not for you!

I benefited from picking up the book as my history knowledge of the time period is very minimal. It’s not something that is really covered in modern day history curriculums… or at least, it wasn’t in mine. Now I can proudly say that I am at least a little bit educated on the subject!

 

A Storm of Swords – pt 1

As much as I love this series and author, I have struggled with A Storm of Swords this month. I’ve put it down to a couple of factors. Firstly, I have already read this book. As a result, I think something has switched in my brain to say that I have absolutely no urgency to read because I’ve read this book already.

Secondly, I picked this book up towards the end of September. If you’ve been reading my Sunday Summary posts, you’ll know that I’ve been busy with some other things around this time. For example, I spent a couple of evenings last week baking for a MacMillan Coffee Morning. As well, I’ve had plans that had me out of the house during my normal ‘reading’ hours.

As a result, as of this monthly wrap-up post, I’ve read approximately 250 pages of the book. that has to be about 40 odd percent of the book, which isn’t insignificant. However, it’s not as much progress as I would like given the amount of time I took to get there!

 

Priest of Bones

Partly in the knowledge of the above, as well as a matter of convenience, I started Priest of Bones on the very last day of the month.

I wanted to pick up something new and different in an attempt to get my reading mojo back. Not only that, Priest of Bones made a great choice as I was able to download it on the Kindle app on my phone and read it whilst at my hairdressers. I only made the most cursory of starts, but it was a promising one. I like the setup of the book so far, as well as the characters. I’m optimistic it’s a switch up I need and will benefit from!

 

Summary

As usual, I set myself an optimistic reading list at the beginning of the month, and I wasn’t able to get through it! There are some good reasons here as to why, but I think I need to cut myself more slack in future and allow for taking part other things, or not being in the mood!

I say that now, but we’ll see if I can stick to that in Friday’s monthly TBR!

That’s all for me in my monthly wrap-up post for September. What have you been reading recently, and do you have any recommendations?

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Threads

First Lines Friday – 15/09/2023

Good evening friends and welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post!

When I shared that I was featuring a First Lines Friday post in last week’s Sunday Summary, I set myself a challenge. For this feature, I had to choose a book I’ve added to my to-read list in the last six months. I’ve added a few books to my TBR in that time, so I had some choice. The book I ultimately chose was recommended to me by a work colleague. Today’s intro has me looking forward to reading it!

Let’s take a look at today’s introduction!

 

She would come at daybreak – the woman whose letter I held in my hands, the woman whose name I did not yet know.

I knew neither her age nor where she lived. I did not know her rank in society nor the dark things of which she dreamed when night fell. She could be a victim or a transgressor. A new wife or a vengeful widow. A nursemaid or a courtesan.

But despite all that I did not know, I understood this: the woman knew exactly who she wanted dead.

 

 

 

The Lost Apothecary – Sarah Penner

Genre: Thriller / Historical fiction

Pages: 301

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Park Row

Publication Date: 02 Mar 2021

 

 

Goodreads – The Lost Apothecary

A female apothecary secretly dispenses poisons to liberate women from the men who have wronged them – setting three lives across centuries on a dangerous collision course.

Rule #1: The poison must never be used to harm another woman.
Rule #2: The names of the murderer and her victim must be recorded in the apothecary’s register.

One cold February evening in 1791, at the back of a dark London alley in a hidden apothecary shop, Nella awaits her newest customer. Once a respected healer, Nella now uses her knowledge for a darker purpose – selling well-disguised poisons to desperate women who would kill to be free of the men in their lives. But when her new patron turns out to be a precocious twelve-year-old named Eliza Fanning, an unexpected friendship sets in motion a string of events that jeopardizes Nella’s world and threatens to expose the many women whose names are written in her register.

In present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, reeling from the discovery of her husband’s infidelity. When she finds an old apothecary vial near the river Thames, she can’t resist investigating, only to realize she’s found a link to the unsolved “apothecary murders” that haunted London over two centuries ago. As she deepens her search, Caroline’s life collides with Nella’s and Eliza’s in a stunning twist of fate – and not everyone will survive.

 

My Thoughts…

Before Claire ‘s recommendation, I had seen this book around before. However, I hadn’t really looked at it in too much detail.

However, after her recommendation, I did take a look at the book… and I questioned myself why I didn’t sooner! Maybe it’s because I’ve seen mixed reviews in the blogosphere. Perhaps it was just one of many books I see and hear about and don’t look into. (If I did check them all out, my reading list would be nearer 500 books long as opposed to just the two…)

The Lost Apothecary has an interesting plotline with a bit of a feminist theme to it. I also like the idea of it being set across to different time zones, and exploring the contrast between the apothecary in the late 1700s, compared with a modern day woman discovering her secrets! The danger element alluded to the synopsis certainly has me intrigued! 

That’s all for today’s First Lines Friday! What did you think of today’s introduction? Does it make you want to pick up the book yourself?

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Threads

Shelf Control #69 – 08/09/2023

In today’s Shelf Control post, I am thrilled to share the details of a historical thriller novel originally published in German. There’s no particular reason for translated books making up only a small proportion of my TBR… I just don’t discover them all that often! That means when I do, I get really excited about them! 

Before I share the details of that book, let’s recap what the Shelf Control regular feature is all about!

Shelf Control is a regular feature on my blog – a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a celebration of the unread books on our shelves! The idea is to pick a book you own but haven’t read and 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!

If you want to read more about the Shelf Control feature, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

 

The Hangman’s Daughter – Oliver Pötzsch

Genre: Historical Fiction/Thriller

Pages: 450

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Amazon Crossing

Publication Date: 16 May 2011

 

 

Goodreads – The Hangman’s Daughter

Magdalena, the clever and headstrong daughter of Bavarian hangman Jakob Kuisl, lives with her father outside the village walls and is destined to be married off to another hangman’s son—except that the town physician’s son is hopelessly in love with her. And her father’s wisdom and empathy are as unusual as his despised profession. It is 1659, the Thirty Years’ War has finally ended, and there hasn’t been a witchcraft mania in decades. But now, a drowning and gruesomely injured boy, tattooed with the mark of a witch, is pulled from a river and the villagers suspect the local midwife, Martha Stechlin.

Jakob Kuisl is charged with extracting a confession from her and torturing her until he gets one. Convinced she is innocent, he, Magdalena, and her would-be suitor race against the clock to find the true killer. Approaching Walpurgisnacht, when witches are believed to dance in the forest and mate with the devil, another tattooed orphan is found dead and the town becomes frenzied. More than one person has spotted what looks like the devil—a man with a hand made only of bones. The hangman, his daughter, and the doctor’s son face a terrifying and very real enemy.

 

My Thoughts

The Hangman’s Daughter, or Die Henkerstochter, appealed to me initially as it’s a work of historical fiction. However, I’m also intrigued by the thriller and mystery element that takes place within the story.

If you like reading books that feature witchcraft, or speculation of witchcraft, then this should appeal to you as well. I haven’t read very many books from this angle, but I have several on my TBR (both fiction and non-fiction!). Off the top of my head, the only witchy book I’ve read is To Snare a Witch, now titled Bell, Book and Candle. 

The main protagonists in this book may be considered unsavoury, or at least unpleasant to deal with. Let’s face it, if you have business with a hangman it doesn’t look good for you! It’s a unique perspective to take in a book, and if done well, I think there is ample opportunity for character depth and exploration.

The Hangman’s Daughter is quite unlike anything I have read before. I’m looking forward to picking this up and exploring a new period of historical fiction and uncovering the mystery within.

That’s all for today’s Shelf Control post! Have you read The Hangman’s Daughter? Let me know what you make of this book either way in the comments!

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Threads

First Lines Friday – 18/08/2023

Good evening friends and welcome to today’s First Lines Friday feature! It’s turning out to be a rather miserable evening, but if we’re being honest, is there better weather for a bookworm? I’ll be cozying in with a blanket, a cuppa and my current read as soon as this post goes live. That’s what you’re here for, so let’s get right to it!

Today’s feature was chosen as a result of a challenge I set myself in last week’s Sunday Summary post – to feature a book from my physical TBR. For today’s First Lines Friday feature, I’m sharing a book by an author I have read once before and thoroughly enjoyed! It was popular a few years ago and features a plot with a Groundhog Day theme. It also has slightly different titles in the UK and US.

Can you guess what today’s book is based on those clues, or who it’s by?

 

Arent Hayes howled in pain as a rock slammed into his massive back.

Another whistled by his ear; a third, striking his knee, causing him to stumble, bringing jeers from the pitiless mob, who were already searching the ground for more missiles to throw. Hundreds of them were being held back by the city watch, their spittle-flecked lips shouting insults, their eyes black with malice.

‘Take shelter for pity’s sake,’ implored Sammy Pipps over the din, his manacles flashing in the sunlight as he staggered across the dusty ground. ‘It’s me they want.’

 

 

 

The Devil and the Dark Water – Stuart Turton

Genre: Mystery / Historical fiction

Pages: 548

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Raven Books

Publication Date: 06 Oct 2020

 

 

Goodreads – The Devil and the Dark Water

 

A murder on the high seas. A detective duo. A demon who may or may not exist.

It’s 1634 and Samuel Pipps, the world’s greatest detective, is being transported to Amsterdam to be executed for a crime he may, or may not, have committed. Traveling with him is his loyal bodyguard, Arent Hayes, who is determined to prove his friend innocent.

But no sooner are they out to sea than devilry begins to blight the voyage. A twice-dead leper stalks the decks. Strange symbols appear on the sails. Livestock is slaughtered.

And then three passengers are marked for death, including Samuel.

Could a demon be responsible for their misfortunes?

With Pipps imprisoned, only Arent can solve a mystery that connects every passenger onboard. A mystery that stretches back into their past and now threatens to sink the ship, killing everybody on board.

 

My Thoughts…

If you hadn’t guessed the answer to my clues, the book I was alluding to was Stuart Turton’s debut novel, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (or The Seven 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle in the US). 

I read that book four years ago according to Goodreads, and I thought it was great. Firstly, where had that time gone?! It doesn’t feel like it was four years ago…

With that experience in mind, I didn’t hesitate to get a copy of The Devil and the Dark Water. To be honest, I bought that book without really knowing much about it, other than it was written by the same author. That’s all that mattered. As it happens, I really like the sound of the premise and setting in this book and would have bought it for that reason as well. Having just concluded a series with heavy emphasis around ships and sailing, I’m definitely in the mood for it! Knowing my TBR though, it’ll probably be another four years before I get round to it!

Jokes aside, I’m not going to leave it that long… I PROMISE!

If the book is as cleverly written as the debut, then I have every expectation of enjoying this book. It’s also a great length to be able to enjoy a complex mystery, but without getting bogged down in so many details that I’ll become overwhelmed.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday post!

Have you read The Devil and the Dark Water, or The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle? What did you make of either of these books?

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Threads

Book Review: The Thursday Murder Club – Richard Osman

A little over a year ago I read my first ever book by Richard Osman – The Thursday Murder Club. In today’s review, I’m going to tell you all about it!

I read the book as it was both recommended and loaned to me by Chris. I’m not one for reading much into such a lighthearted genre, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a hit. It definitely was! With the fourth book in the series less than a month away from release, now is a perfect time to share my experience for any readers considering it!

 

The Thursday Murder Club – Richard Osman

Genre: Mystery

Pages: 382

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Penguin

Publication Date: 03 Sept 2020

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

Goodreads – The Thursday Murder Club

In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved murders.

But when a brutal killing takes place on their very doorstep, the Thursday Murder Club find themselves in the middle of their first live case. Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves.

Can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer before it’s too late?

 

My Thoughts

 

Plot

If it wasn’t already apparent that a book about four septuagenarians living in a retirement complex and solving murders wasn’t going to be a bit on the silly side, let me clear that up for you now. It is! However, I think that’s totally fine. Die hard serious mystery fans, maybe this one isn’t for you. That’s not to say there isn’t a well written mystery in this narrative though!

The scope of the story ended up being far larger than I anticipated. I enjoyed the unpredictability of events as they unfolded and how far flung the ripples of events in Coopers Chase were felt!

 

Characters

If there’s one thing I enjoyed most from this book, it’s the characterisation. The protagonists of this story are very different from each other and endearing in their antics. Elizabeth is perhaps the most unlikely of the group. However, her nosiness and mischief making are hilarious to read… and her ability to rope other people in is one of the main plot drivers.

Joyce is the quiet one in the group, but not to be underestimated either! She could perhaps be considered the most normal of the four, but she’s easily sucked in by Elizabeth and then gets carried away.

Ron and Ibrahim are also polar opposites of each other. Ron isn’t afraid to mosey in, or brag about his son. Ibrahim, on the other hand, is a very quiet and unassuming, but intelligent man.

Together they make up the unlikely band that set out to resolve the murder on their doorstep. The way these characters relate and bounce off each other is full of comedy moments.

 

Narrative Style

Broadly, The Thursday Murder Club is full of light-hearted narrative and humorous character interactions. Underpinning that is the ongoing murder mystery, but honestly, that feels a bit secondary. The ease of the way in which this book is written, coupled with the characters of the book, make this the easy read it is.

I enjoyed it as a simple read to pick up in between larger and denser books. It’s one that you can pick up on a whim and not have to concentrate too hard on if you don’t want to. Equally, if you are the type of person to try and unpick the clues to the mystery, there is definitely scope for that too! You take out what you put in I suppose.

Having said that, whilst the majority of the book is nice and lighthearted, there were a couple of chapters that really threw me. The narrative switches from its light and easy-going style to a couple of quite dark chapters that made me cry when I read them. That said, the stark contrast between the two really emphasised the message and the events that are happening in those couple of chapters. I found that really powerful.

 

Summary

The Thursday Murder Club doesn’t take itself too seriously, and prospective readers shouldn’t either. It’s a fun murder mystery book with a ragtag group of pensioners sticking their noses in where they shouldn’t, but in the most ridiculous and hilarious of ways.

If you’re looking for a good laugh, great character dynamics and a nice easy read, then pick up The Thursday Murder Club!

Have you read The Thursday Murder Club? What did you think?

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Threads

Monthly TBR – August 2023

Hello readers – welcome to my monthly TBR post for August!

You would think having not completed a few month’s lists by now that I would slow down the pace. You would be wrong! I will be setting myself a list as ambitious as ever. On the plus side, I do have some annual leave coming up at work… so you know what I’m going to be doing with it, right?!

I have two goals for this month’s reading – the first is to get around to some of the books I’ve not made it to in previous monthly TBR’s. Secondly, I need to up my non-fiction game. In my mid-year review of my goals, identified that I was a bit behind on reading non-fiction in order to achieve my goal of reading more than 15 non-fiction books by the end of the year.

As a result, this monthly TBR is a little unusual. I have seven books on the reading list. Four of those are under 300 pages, which is very short for me. I have two books that are knocking on 900 pages, which is far more like what I usually pick up. Lastly, I have one solitary book in the no man’s land between… and that’s the book I’ve started the month with. It’s going to be an odd experience flitting between the two extremes!

 

Fixed Reads

This month’s set of fixed reads of the non-fiction books that I need to read to get back on track with my reading goal, plus the book that I drew out of my TBR Jar!

 

A Brief History of Time

I had every intention to get round to A Brief History of Time last month, but it wasn’t meant to be. So, I’m making it a priority read for this month. I’m of two minds as to which way this book is going to go. It’s under 300 pages, so it could be a relatively quick read. However, I understand that it can be a bit dense and mathematical. If I don’t get myself too bogged down in that, it shouldn’t be too bad. To be honest, I don’t think I will because I’m not too interested in that. There is absolutely no chance I’ll be able to follow the numbers anyway, so what’s the point?!

 

Spike: The Virus vs. The People

The second non-fiction I am looking to pick up this month is a reasonably topical read. If it’s still too early for you to be reading or talking about the pandemic, then maybe this book isn’t for you. However, I’m intrigued by the synopsis of the book. I’m willing to dive into our recent history to learn a little bit more about an event that quite literally changed our lives overnight.

 

Leadership and Culture

My final non-fiction read of the month revolves around personal development. I haven’t read any books in this vein recently, so when I saw this available for download on NetGalley, I decided to pick it up.

Whilst I am not a manager, it is a role I hope to be considered for in future. Not only that, but I’m sure the skills outlined in this book can start helping me within the workplace, even from a non-leadership perspective. Already, I am a senior member of my team and I am a regular point of contact with other departments. Aside from my day-to-day job, I also head up a newly established sustainability committee in our local office. I also drive the social committee. I’m looking to use these avenues to develop my skills and demonstrate my abilities in the long run. The tips in this book can only help me in this!

 

The City of a Thousand Faces

This month’s TBR Jar pick is The City of a Thousand Faces by Walker Dryden. I actually received a copy of this book to review from the publisher Orion. I confess it’s taken me a little while to get around to the book, but now I’ve picked it up, I am invested.

The City of a Thousand Faces is a historical fantasy that evidently has a lot of political machinations throughout. There is plenty of conflict from the get go in this narrative! As of drafting this monthly TBR post, I’m 120 pages in and I’m intrigued by the events so far. This book has made a solid impression from its introduction and I can’t wait to read more!

 

Mood Reads

 

Wizard and Glass

After reading and devouring The Waste Lands earlier this year, I knew it wasn’t going to be long before I picked up the series once again. Keen to avoid another four-year long hiatus, I’m jumping back in this month with the fourth book, Wizard and Glass.

It’s hard to say what to expect from a series like this, but I definitely didn’t expect the events of the last book. However, that worked out really well. I have absolutely no idea what could possibly happen next, but I’m all for finding out!

It’s great to get back into a series that allowed me to explore Stephen King’s writing whilst still sticking to my fantasy roots. I have since gone on to read several other books by him, but this was really the series that sold him to me. That and The Green Mile.

 

Ship of Destiny

I have been hoping to start Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb for the last couple of months, but not quite gotten there. This is a series I also want to make sure I keep progressing with. Not only does that work considering my goal of reading sequels for the year; but, it also means that I stay on top of what has happened before and I am still familiar with events when I pick up the next book.

The books, the series, and the world they are set in are grand. In order to appreciate them fully, you can’t leave it too long in between. It suits me because I have really enjoyed keeping up with this series. Robin Hobb is an author who was recommended to me by my friend Rachael. I am so glad she did! Robin Hobb has fast become one of my favourite authors, and for a very good reason!

 

Lost Solace

The last book I’m picking up in August is a science-fiction novel that I have been wanting to get round to for the longest time!

I have already read a number of books by Karl Drinkwater. Those were short stories set in the same universe as Lost Solace. Now, I’m finally getting around to the main series. Whilst I’ve been trying to stick to continuing ongoing series as opposed to starting new ones, I do want to make a start on this one. Karl has been very kind in providing me copies of several books from this series for the purpose of providing a review. Naturally, I don’t want to keep him waiting forever for me to start!

Lost Solace is the shortest fiction novel on my August TBR. By the time I get round to it, having such a short fiction novel may prove to be solace… in every sense of the word.

I’ll see myself out… 

 

Stretch Goal

Sometimes I like to set myself a stretch goal! However, since I’ll need to read about 107 pages a day as it is, I’m deliberately not setting one here. If I do (by some way of a miracle) get through this TBR, then I’ll decide whether and what I pick up there and then. I’ll either read on a whim, or if I want a break, take it guilt free. 

 

Summary

As you can see, I have a wide variety of books on my August monthly TBR. Have you read any of the books I’ve featured on today’s monthly TBR list? Are they already on your reading list, or have I inspired you to add them?

Let’s chat!

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Threads

Sunday Summary – 16th July 2023

Good evening friends and welcome to this week’s Sunday Summary post!

If you are a regular reader of my blog, or even just this series, you’ll know what’s coming up first. I like to recap of the blog posts I’ve shared this week! The first post I published this week was my midyear review of my 2023 resolutions. Broadly, I think I’m doing well against those resolutions. I have some actions to take in order to make sure I complete one resolution by the end of the year. If you want to find out what that is, you can check out that post using the link above.

On Friday, I shared a Shelf Control post. In that post, I featured a standalone historical fiction novel by an author I have already come to love through a well-known series of his. I’ve also featured this book before in the First Lines Friday post, where the introduction caught my eye. Personally, I can’t wait to get around to this one. As always, there is a link here if you want to check out what this week’s book was.

I shared an extra post this week as I had signed up to take part in the blog tour for Death at the Caravan Park by Susan Willis. You’ll read a little bit more about this book below as I finished it earlier in the week. However, if you’re interested in reading my full thoughts on the book, you can find a link to yesterday’s review above.

 

Books Read

 

Death at the Caravan Park

In last week’s Sunday Summary, I left off having made reading progress amounting to about a third of the book. As I had to read the book ready to review as part of the blog tour post due yesterday, Death at the Caravan Park was my priority read at the beginning of the week.

This particular book ended up being quite an easy read. It’s approachable for a lot of reasons, and I enjoyed branching out into the cozy crime genre for the first time in a long time! It was great to pick up something a little bit different, and I really liked some of the characterisation in the book. The setting reminded me of a family holiday taken many years ago now, which was nice to think back on around this book.

I finished the book on Wednesday, leaving me plenty of time to collate my thoughts ready for Saturday’s review.

 

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

In my last Sunday Summary, I also confided that I had started reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine in tandem with Death at the Caravan Park. As of that update, I was 145 pages in (just over a third of the way through as well).

I didn’t really pick up this book again until I had finished Death at the Caravan Park. I didn’t want to put myself at risk of finishing that book quite late, or not at all, before my review was due. Once I had read it however, I dived back into Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine enthusiastically!

This is the type of book that succeeds at dealing with trauma in a way that is laced with a lot of humour, character depth, and readability. I really enjoyed Eleanor’s unique perspective and personal narrative. The pacing of the book really works as well. It is made clear early on that there is more to Eleanor than meets the eye. It gradually come to the fore throughout the book, but it’s teased out in a way that keeps you reading on for that extra tidbit.

Given the subject matter of the book, I think it does a brilliant job of handling very different emotions and trauma. Although (thankfully) I have never had to live in Eleanor’s shoes, I lived through her story through the book. If it gives you any context as to how much I enjoyed this book, I read approximately half of it over the course of a single day – and that was after I’d been at work! I physically couldn’t put it down near the end.

 

Storm of War

The final book I started this week, and as of this Sunday Summary post is my current read, is Storm of War by Peter Gibbons.

You may or may not recall that I reviewed the first book in his Saxon Warrior series as part of a blog tour last year. Somehow, I managed to miss the blog tour for this second book. However, I am signed up to be reviewing the third book early next month. With this in mind, I am catching up with Storm of War now so that I can pick up Brothers of the Sword, fully informed as to what is going on, and review it in the next few weeks.

I confess with the additional blog post I drafted this week, and some time spent on catching up with TV series I’m watching right now, I’ve only really progressed with Storm of War to the tune of 10%. I’ve pretty much done that in one sitting though, so I feel like this book is going to be very readable.

 

Books Discovered

Earlier this week, I discovered that Patrick Rothfuss is going to be releasing an expanded standalone story from his Kingkiller Chronicle universe. I started the series a very long time ago now, and like everybody else, I’m waiting for it to be wrapped up. In the meantime, I definitely want to check out this short side story!

 

Coming Up…

For my first post of next week, I want to share a discussion post. I’ve thought long and hard about the topic of this post, and I’ve come up with one that I’m looking forward to drafting for you. For this particular post, I am going to be sharing what my favourite tropes are within the fantasy genre and why!

On Friday, I will be sharing this week’s Friday feature post, otherwise known as a First Lines Friday post. The last couple of times I have done this type of post, I have set myself a specific challenge. For this post, I am going in with no guidance or preconceptions about the type of book I would like to feature. It’s an open book, shall we say?

As always, I will be back at the end of the week with another Sunday summary post to catch you up on all the latest updates.

That concludes today’s Sunday Summary update post! Do you have any book recommendations for me?

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Fable

Blog Tour Review: Death at the Caravan Park – Susan Willis

Happy weekend folks and welcome to today’s blog tour review of Death at the Caravan Park by Susan Willis. It’s been a few months since I last took part in a blog tour. I’ve been taking the time to chip away at my ever-growing reading list. However, I’m excited to be back and sharing my thoughts on a book and genre I haven’t picked up for a while!

As always, before I share and discuss details the book, I’d like to take the opportunity to thank both the author Susan and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the blog tour. I always enjoy the chance to pick up something a little bit new, and to feature new novels and different authors.

Now, let’s find out more about the book!

 

Death at the Caravan Park – Susan Willis

 

Genre: Cosy Crime

Pages: 229

Audience: Adult

Publication Date: 20 Jun 2023

Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟

 

 

Clive Thompson heads for Whitley Bay caravan park to finish writing his novel. He’s never had a caravan holiday before and is warmly greeted by the manager, Liz Mathews, who lives on the park.

She is single and cares for her ninety year old mother who has Alzheimer’s Disease. Clive meets the people in neighbouring caravans and has an amazing view from his veranda over the sea to St. Mary’s Lighthouse. However, Audrey goes missing during the night and Liz is beside herself with worry. The police are out looking for her, but disillusioned by their efforts, Clive begins his own investigations.

 

Purchase Links – Amazon UK       Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

Plot

Clive Thompson is a writer, looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of every day life in order to finish his second novel. Having never taken a trip to a caravan park, he decides that this is the perfect place to retreat, and finds himself in Whitley Bay.

However, there are plenty of goings on that distract him from his project. From a vast array of interesting characters, to a dark history of the place and events that he cannot help but get sucked into… there is plenty to enjoy about this novel.

Death at the Caravan Park was the perfect length for me. There is more than enough page count in order to explore the genre and events that take place. At the same time, the book is a great length to pick up and make progress with very easily. It’s an approachable read for all abilities and reading stamina.

 

Setting

I really enjoyed the northern setting of the book. This was very apparent throughout through a lot of the language and dialect integrated into the story. If you’ve ever watched Vera, you’re on the right lines of what to expect in this book.

I haven’t stayed in a caravan for a very long time. In fact, I was a child when I last went to one! However, I still remember the atmosphere and what it was like to stay there. This book and its setting very much reminded me of that holiday! It’s cozy in its quintessential Britishness. Seasides and fish and chips are typical British holiday staples. I’m very fortunate to have these things on my doorstep, and the immersion of setting vs reality is on point.

 

Characters

As someone who has some experience with a family member having both Alzheimer’s and dementia, I could feel for both Liz and for her mum Audrey. Thankfully, I was never in a position where I had to care for my relative, but I can understand what it would be like to do so. Audrey embodies a very typical case of a sufferer. Good days and bad days keep Liz on her toes – as if she doesn’t have enough to do running the caravan park that Audrey spent her life building from the ground up. 

When Audrey goes missing, you cannot help but sympathise with Liz and her concerns for her mother. Given there are days where Audrey doesn’t even know who she is, there is very little chance that she will return home of her own volition. As a mystery writer, Clive cannot help but embroil himself in the investigation to find her. Along this journey, he discovers lots of characters and faces on the caravan park… some better than others.

 

Summary

If you enjoy cosy crime novels with distinct and intriguing characters, then Death at the Caravan Park is an ideal read. I enjoyed picking up the book as a quick foray into a genre that I haven’t picked up for a little while.

There are some other great reviews that have come out as a result of the blog tour. If you’re interested in reading a bit more about the book, The Book Magnet and Lacy Ace Book Reviews shared similar thoughts.

As of this post, the blog tour is only halfway through its progress. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for more posts about the book over the coming days!

 

Author Bio

Susan is a published author of eight novels and six novellas with short stories published in Women’s Weekly magazines. She is now retired from Food Technology and scribbles away in County Durham.

Writing psychological suspense and cosy-crime novels with strong, lovable North East characters, is her passion. Last year, she brought us, Clive’s Christmas Crusades, set in York. Following the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival, Susan wrote six Curious Casefiles which is now published by Northodox Press. She has incorporated up-to-date issues: poor mental health in a kidnap scene, the perils of social media, and an intruder on Skype.

Social Media Links –

You can find Susan’s books here: https://amzn.to/2S5UBc8

www.facebook.com/susan.willis.710

https://twitter.com/SusanWillis69

Sunday Summary – 9th July 2023

Good evening all and welcome to my Sunday Summary update for this week! Get yourself a cuppa and make yourself comfortable.

Before jumping into the books I’ve been reading throughout the week, let’s recap the blog posts I’ve shared. The first post shared this week was my monthly wrap-up post, covering reading progress in June. Whilst I didn’t read as much as I was hoping to, I enjoyed the books I did finish. If you want to read my full recap, you can find that in my wrap-up post linked above.

On Friday, it was time to talk about the books I plan to pick up and read in July. This month’s reading list is no less ambitious. I have a higher number of books on the reading list, but they are also shorter than the books. Amongst those are a number of books I need to read for upcoming blog tours. In addition, I’ve set myself a stretch goal to start a book I didn’t get to in June. If you’re curious to see what’s on the reading list for the month, here is the link to my post.

 

Books Read

 

The House in the Cerulean Sea

I left off last week’s Sunday Summary post having read a third of The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune. I spent around the first half of this week continuing with that book, until it’s happy and heartwarming conclusion.

This is the first book I have read by the author, but I can assure you it won’t be the last! I loved the premise, the relationships and the diverse range of characters in the book. Whilst the ending of this book isn’t one I actively seek out in my reading, it worked in this book and I was routing for it!

Where I put down Children of Dune by Frank Herbert last week because it is a serious, political science-fiction, The House in the Cerulean Sea’s lighthearted charm what’s the perfect counter. It’s what I needed to read to get me out of that slump!

 

Death at the Caravan Park

The next book I picked up is the first book on my July TBR – Death at the Caravan Park by Susan Willis. So far, the book is reading okay. At about a third of the way in, we have the storyline and the titled death set up. Given that we’ve been introduced to a number of characters at this point, it will be interesting to see how the narrative unfolds so we can discover what has occurred.

It’s not something I can judge the book on in my review given that I am reading a draft, but I’m not sure the narrative style is completely polished. It initially took some getting used to, but I’ve gotten used to it enough now.

As I will be sharing my review for the book next week, this will be my priority read for the next few days!

 

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

On Friday, I took a stroll down to my local library and borrowed Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. And, as I’d forgotten to take my Kindle to work in order to continue with Death at the Caravan Park, I made a sneaky start on this book.

The unique character and writing style has me hooked so much that I am reading these two books in tandem. There is definitely a lot going on already, and plenty more has been alluded to, but not yet unpacked! I’m intrigued about the main character, her undisclosed past and her unusual relationship with her mother.

Since that lunchtime, I have continued reading the book over the weekend. At the point of publishing this post, I am on page 145.

I know I have to prioritise Death at the Caravan Park for my review. I suspect that my desire to return to this book will only help me through that one even faster! If that’s the case, then I should have plenty of reading updates in next week’s Sunday Summary!

 

Books Discovered

I finally broken my streak of no new books being added to the reading list.

I blame this as a result of joining Threads earlier this week. If you’re unfamiliar, Threads is a new social media network run by Meta and is an alternative to Twitter. Whilst I’ve been using Twitter for the entirety of my blogging “career” (for want of a better word), I confess I’ve never really liked it. I’ve decided to give Threads a try to see if it’s any more approachable. It’s proving to be so far, but time will tell.

It is through that social network that I have discovered new people and my new addition. It is a relatively new publication – The Housekeepers by Alex Hay. I really like the sound of this book as it touches on power, gender and class. It involves a heist, which I think will make for an exciting read. I enjoyed a similar topic when reading Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom.

 

Coming Up…

As we are now over halfway through the year, I want to take the opportunity to review my progress towards my reading goals for the year in a mid-year review post. I tend to do this post every year as it helps me understand where I’m at in relation to my goals, what I need to do to continue to make progress with them, and/or add or change them accordingly. With this in mind, I’m planning to make this my first post which will go live on Tuesday or Wednesday next week.

Later in the week, I’ll resume my Friday feature schedule with a Shelf Control post. This week’s featured book is a standalone novel by an author I have read several books by. The books I’ve been reading so far are all part of the same series. I purchased a paperback copy of this book years ago after reading the first few of the series and really enjoying it. I’m sure I’ve also featured this book in the First Lines Friday post, and I enjoyed the introduction immensely! I hope I’ll be getting to it before too long…

On Saturday, I will be sharing my review of Death at the Caravan Park as part of the upcoming blog tour. Naturally, I’ll be prioritising finishing this book in the week so I’m ready to share my thoughts with you this weekend. I hope you can join me for that post!

Then, to conclude the week, I’ll be back with another Sunday Summary update. You know me and what to expect by now! If I have as much reading progress to share with you next week, I will be very happy (and confidence that I’ve got an over the small slump I had at the end of last month).

 

That’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary update post.

What are you reading currently? Have you purchased or borrowed any books from your local library lately?

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Fable

Monthly TBR – July 2023

Happy Friday and welcome to my monthly TBR post for July!

We’re now over half way through the year and I’ve already made some great reading progress towards my goal of 50 books (15 of which non-fiction, as well as completing series). I’m going to share a mid-year review post soon, but for now, let’s share how I plan to kick off the beginning of the second half of the year!

 

Fixed Reads

I’m starting off this month’s fixed reading list with a few books I need to read for blog tour obligations. Whilst I’m not strictly touring for all of the books, I do need to catch up with one as it’s a second instalment of the series in order to be able to read the third book – which is for a blog tour!

In addition, I am also reading the book club pick over at Ezeekat’s book club this month.

 

Death at the Caravan Park – Susan Willis

The first book I am touring for this month is Death at the Caravan Park by Susan Willis. That blog tour post will be coming to you in just over a week. Naturally, I’ve already made a start with this book and as of drafting this post, I am a third of the way through it.

So far, Death at the Caravan Park is proving a relatively easy read. We have a good set up of characters and we now understand the baseline for the story. I’m interested to see how it progresses.

If you are interested and want to check out my thoughts on this book, I’ll be publishing my review on the 15th of July.

 

Storm of War – Peter Gibbons

This next book I’m picking up isn’t strictly for a blog tour. Rather, I need to read it in order to get up-to-date with the series before starting the third book. I will be providing a review as part of the upcoming blog tour for that book early next month.

I must have inadvertently missed reading this second book in the series when it went on tour itself. Fortunately, I’ve been able to download a copy via Kindle Unlimited, so I can read it before picking up the third book in the series.

I read and enjoyed the first book, Warrior and Protector, towards the end of last year; if you want to find out about that book, here is a link to my review.

 

Brothers of the Sword – Peter Gibbons

As I mentioned above, I will be taking part in the blog tour for Brothers of the Sword, but not until early next month.

That gives me a bit of leeway to read this instalment. And, it’s so happens, I also need the time to read the second book first!

There’s not really much more to say in this monthly TBR post, other than letting you know that my review date for Brothers of the Sword is 4th August.

 

To Shape A Dragon’s Breath – Moniquill Blackgoose

To Shape a Dragon’s Breath is the book club selection over at Ezeekat’s book club on Fable. I didn’t read last month’s pick, so I definitely want to try and make the effort to read this one.

I am intrigued by the synopsis of this book. And, who doesn’t love a fantasy that contains dragons?! I also like the idea of having minority representation in this book. I am under no illusion that the English have, shall we say, put their stamp on the world in the past. The events of this book heavily imply conflict between culture of indigenous people and the “Anglish”. I’m interested to see how this fantasy take on modern events plays out.

 

Mood Reads

 

I already have a number of fixed read on this monthly TBR, but I’m still hoping to pick up some mood reads this month as well.

 

A Brief History of Time – Stephen Hawking

Something I am looking forward to, and equally expect to challenge me this month, is reading A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. It is a book that I have wanted to get to for quite some time. As a non-fiction, it also goes towards my goal of reading more non-fiction throughout 2023.

Having read around about this book, I suspect it could get quite mathematical and/or scientific. If it is, I’ll hold my hands up and admit that’s not an element I’m going to get too invested in. I get no desire out of understanding the maths behind this sort of stuff. But, that’s not to say I’m not interested in the science or the history of our world as we know it.

At just over 250 pages, I’m not sure how this book is going to play out. It could be quite a quick read if I don’t get too invested or bogged down in the science. Equally, as it’s out of my comfort zone, it could take me longer to read. Only time will tell.

 

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman

Last month, I picked another book out of my TBR jar. For those of you uninitiated, I have a jar I have on my bookshelf that’s full of titles I have not yet read. In order to add some randomisation to my reading, I try and pull one out to read every month. Last month, I’ve pulled out Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.

After borrowing a copy from the library just this afternoon, I started this book at lunch. I’m only a couple of chapters in so far, but it’s made a decent impression already. I’m not really sure where the narrative is going to go, but I’m along for the ride to find out.

 

Cytonic – Brandon Sanderson

When going to the library, I also wanted to have a browse for a second book to borrow. I deliberately didn’t set myself a particular book to take out as my second loan. I wanted to see what caught my eye when I got there.

Whilst looking for a book to pick up, I found that my library had a copy of Cytonic by Brandon Sanderson. This is the last instalment of a YA sci-fi series I want to finish, so I thought this would be perfect to take out and read. Not only do I get to pick up a fantastic book again, but once I’ve read it, I get to tick that series off my list as complete. That’s another goal I’ve set myself for this year!

 

Stretch Goal

 

Ship of Destiny – Robin Hobb

On the off-chance that I manage to get through all of the reading list I’ve set myself for July, I would like to start Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb. You may recall that Ship of Destiny was on my June TBR. However, I didn’t get around to reading it, given my experience and some difficulty with one of my books last month.

At 903 pages, there is absolutely no way on this earth that I’m going to finish it in July. However, if I could even make a start on it, I’ll consider that a win!

 

So, those the books on my monthly TBR that I’m going to be picking up very, very soon! Have you read any of the books on this monthly TBR post?

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Fable