WWW Wednesday August 31

It’s Wednesday which means that it’s time for WWW Wednesday. This is one of my favourite memes and I love taking part in it and reading everybody else’s posts. It’s currently hosted by Sam and it can be found on her blog Taking on a world of words which can be found here.

The idea of WWW Wednesday is just to answer three simple questions about what you are reading, have just finished and are about to read so here goes for this week.

I haven’t read very much lately as I’ve been spending a lot of time rehearsing and then performing on stage at Buxton in The Desert Song. It’s a very old musical/operetta which hasn’t been performed in England for over 30 years but the music is glorious and the cast and audience all enjoyed ourselves.

On stage at Buxton Opera House

What I’m currently reading

The Blood of the Spear by Mark Timmony
This is a brilliant epic fantasy novel with lots of characters and brilliant world building. I saw if reviewed on Swordsmith’s blog and had to read it.

What I have recently finished reading

The Mapmaker’s Daughter by Clare Marchant
I really enjoyed this historical novel set in Tudor England but with a present day storyline too. Hopefully I get it reviewed properly this week.

The Bird Cage by Eve Chase
This was another twisty family based mystery. I really liked the way the three half sisters grew together during the book.

What I am intending to read next

The Hidden Palace by Dinah Jefferies

As I have no library books to read at present, I’m making good progress along my Net Galley shelves. Next up will probably this second book in the WWII series about a family under Nazi occupation. This one sounds as though it has a very different to Daughters of War so should be an interesting read

That’s the current state of my reading this week. What does your WWW Wednesday look like?

Top 5 Tuesday – Books with Bones 💀

Welcome to this week’s Top 5 Tuesday post. Top 5 Tuesday was created by Shanah at Bionic Book Worm, and it is now being hosted at Meeghan reads!! For details of all of the prompts for July to September see Meeghans page here.

For August, we’re back doing scavenger hunts for books with particular themes. I love this as it often reminds me of books that I had completely forgotten about. This week was another fairly easy one to find as we’re looking for books with with bones and that’s a common theme in both fantasy and crime fiction which are my two main loves.

This was the one of the first books that I read this year and I really loved it. The use of bone magic was brilliant.

This is a brilliant trilogy by R J Barker where the ships are built from the bones of huge sea monsters.

This was an author that I had never read before but I loved this. A dog made out of bones is only one of the wonderful characters that inhabit this brilliant quest story which turns stock fairytale characters completely around.

Ruth Galloway is one of my favourite crime fiction characters and as an archaeologist, bones are always somewhere in the story.

Treasure Island is my final choice. How could you pick 5 books about bones and not include this? This book remains one of the best adventure stories ever written.

That’s my top 5 for this week. Have you read any books featuring bones lately?

Sundays in bed with …… The Mapmaker’s Daughter

Sundays in bed with is a meme hosted by Midnight Book Girl but I came across it recently on Jill’s Book Blog. It is simply a chance to share the book that is by your bed at the moment (or that you wish was by your bed). This week my book is actually by my bed as we’re in the lovely town of Buxton in the Peak District. We’ve just finished performing at the Opera House which was brilliant and will be heading home later.

Our view as we are breakfast this morning

The book by my bed today is The Mapmaker’s Daughter by Clare Marchant

This is a historical fiction novel set mainly in London in 1580, a time when England was constantly worrying about the threat of a Spanish invasion and Spanish plots to overthrow Queen Elizabeth in favour of her catholic cousin, Mary Queen of Scots. This is one from my Net Galley shelf and I need to get it read and reviewed soon as it’s due to be published on Sept 1st.

Blurb from the book:
Present day: When thirty-six-year-old Robyn Willoughby discovers an exquisite yet blood-stained Tudor map in her father’s antique map shop, desperate for a distraction from her problems, she decides to investigate. But as Robyn delves into the mystery, she finds herself caught up in a centuries-old secret – one that will change her life forever.

1569: Forced to flee Holland to escape persecution, twenty-year-old Freida Ortelius uses her mapmaking skills to start anew in London. Soon her rare talent catches the eye of Queen Elizabeth, who demands Freida’s help in fighting the Spanish threat. Freida must now embark on a deadly mission, the consequences of which will echo down the ages…

I do love a dual timeline story. This is the story of Robyn who is still recovering from the disappearance of her husband during a sailing race seven years previously and the story of Freida who creates a map for Sir Francis Drake. It’s mainly Freida’s story but the story of how Robyn pieces together the history of the map is fascinating. A great read so far.

What are you reading this Sunday?

Stacking the Shelves 57

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It’s Saturday again and time for my weekly Stacking the Shelves post. Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Marlene at Reading Reality and details are on her blog. The gorgeous graphic is also used courtesy of the site.

Stacking the Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

My STS posts are generally my library books. The library is where I get most of my books and I hope that maybe I can inspire other people to use their local library. Our libraries are constantly under threat of closure but the more people that use them, the less likely that is. My library is also how I manage to read a lot of newly released hardbacks as I can order them. Sometimes they can take quite a while to arrive if a title is really popular though.

The Opera House in Buxton

This week though, we’re in the gorgeous town of Buxton in the Peak District as we’re performing The Desert Song at the opera house. That means that I haven’t been to the library this week so this week’s post is about the books that I have recently added to my Net Galley shelf.

I have definitely slowed down requesting books from Net Galley as it put me under too much pressure to read books to a deadline. I currently only have 17 books on my shelf but my review rating is up to 90% which I’m really pleased about. These are the books that I have recently been approved for.


The Dazzle of the Light

Ruby Mills is ruthlessly ambitious, strikingly beautiful – and one of the Forty Thieves’ most talented members.

Harriet Littlemore writes the women’s section in a local newspaper. She’s from a ‘good’ London family and engaged to an up-and-coming Member of Parliament – but she wants a successful career of her own.

After witnessing Ruby fleeing the scene of a robbery, Harriet develops a fascination with the elusive young thief that extends beyond journalistic interest. As their personal aspirations bring them into closer contact than society’s rules usually allow, Ruby and Harriet’s stories become increasingly intertwined.

Their magnetic dynamic, fraught with envy and desire, tells a compulsive, cinematic story about class, morality and the cost of being an independent woman in 1920s London.

The Cruise
A glamorous ship

During a New Year’s Eve party on a large, luxurious cruise ship in the Caribbean, the ship’s dancer, Lola, goes missing.

Everyone on board has something to hide

Two weeks later, the ship is o ut of service, laid up far from land with no more than a skeleton crew on board. And then more people start disappearing…

No one is safe
Why are the crew being harmed? Who is responsible? And who will be next?

Mum calls me Maame. It has many meanings in Twi, but in my case, it means woman.

Meet Maddie.

To her mostly-absent mum, she’s Maame, the woman of the family. To her dad, she’s his carer – even if he hardly recognises her. To her friends, she’s the one who still lives at home, who never puts herself first.

It’s time to become the woman she wants to be.

The kind who wears a bright yellow suit, says yes to after-work drinks and flirts with a thirty-something banker. Who doesn’t have to google all her life choices. Who demands a seat at the table.

But to put ourselves together, sometimes we have to fall apart…

Snowed in for Christmas
She’s snowed in with the family. The only problem? They’re not her family.

A family gathering
This Christmas the Miller siblings have one goal – to avoid their family’s well-meaning questions. Ross, Alice and Clemmie have secrets that they don’t intend to share, and they are relying on each other to deflect attention.

An uninvited guest
Lucy Clarke is facing a Christmas alone, and the prospect of losing her job – unless she can win a major piece of business from Ross Miller. She’ll deliver her proposal to his family home in the Scottish Highlands and then leave. After all, she wouldn’t want to intrude on the Miller’s perfect family Christmas.

A Christmas to remember
When Lucy appears on the Miller’s snow-covered doorstep, she is mistaken for Ross’s girlfriend. But by the time the confusion is cleared up, a storm has hit and Lucy is stuck. As everyone settles in for a snowed-in Christmas, tensions bubble to the surface and suddenly Lucy finds herself facing a big family fallout with a family that isn’t hers…

The Mystery of Four
Tess Morgan has finally made her dream of restoring beautiful Kilfenora House and Gardens into a reality.

But during rehearsals for the play that forms the opening weekend’s flagship event, her dream turns into a nightmare when a devastating accident looks set to ruin her carefully laid plans.

There are rumours that Kilfenora House is cursed, but this feels personal, and becomes increasingly terrifying when more than one body is discovered. Could someone be closing in on Tess herself?

Clarissa Westmacott, ex star of stage and screen, certainly believes so, particularly when she learns that purple-flowered aconite has been picked from the Poison Garden. And Clarissa will stop at nothing to protect the friend she has come to see as a daughter.

Needless Alley
Birmingham, 1933.

Private enquiry agent William Garrett, a man damaged by a dark childhood spent on Birmingham’s canals, specialises in facilitating divorces for the city’s male elite. With the help of his best friend -charming, out-of-work actor Ronnie Edgerton – William sets up honey traps. But photographing unsuspecting women in flagrante plagues his conscience and William heaves up his guts with remorse after every job.

However, William’s life changes when he accidentally meets the beautiful Clara Morton and falls in love. Little does he know she is the wife of a client – a leading fascist with a dangerous obsession. And what should have been another straightforward job turns into something far more deadly

Driving Home for Christmas
Driving home marks the start of the holidays for Kate and Ed, who have made this journey every Christmas of their ten-year long relationship. Normally the seasonal hits blare from the car stereo, and they are guaranteed to be wearing ridiculous jumpers in anticipation, but this year a frosty silence fills the car…

A massive argument leads to the immediate collapse of their relationship. But the show must go on, so they decide to brave their families together one last time.

With three Christmases to celebrate, an old flame waiting under the mistletoe and a shed load of expectation around their future together, this most wonderful time of year is anything but. There will be turkey, tiffs and tantrums galore, but it’s sure to be a Christmas they’ll never forget.

Stay Buried
Detective Inspector Matt Lockyer has been side-lined to working cold cases, following a bad decision he made in a recent investigation in order to support a friend. Lockyer isn’t too bothered though, as it gives him the chance to review some of the cases that keep him up at night and to look into his own brother’s senseless killing which still remains unsolved.

On a quiet afternoon Lockyer receives a phone call from prisoner Hedy Lambert – a woman he put inside for murder fourteen years ago. She informs him that the man she was originally accused of killing has turned up alive and well. She begs him to reopen her case.

All those years ago, Lockyer had been the one to pin down Hedy’s motive, but deep down he’d never wanted to believe she was guilty. The thought that he might have sent an innocent woman down for life doesn’t sit well with him and he agrees to reopen the investigation. But has it become too personal and is he being manipulated? Perhaps there are some cases that should just stay buried.

So that’s my recent ARC approvals. They’re mainly mystery books with a couple of Christmas ones to read in the Autumn. There’s a definite lack of fantasy so I might need to go and search out a couple of new fantasy authors to read.

That’s what I’ve added to my shelves this week. What’s been added to your bookshelves?

All pictures and details taken from Net Galley site.

WWW Wednesday Aug 24

It’s Wednesday which means that it’s time for WWW Wednesday. This is one of my favourite memes and I love taking part in it and reading everybody else’s posts. It’s currently hosted by Sam and it can be found on her blog Taking on a world of words which can be found here.

The idea of WWW Wednesday is just to answer three simple questions about what you are reading, have just finished and are about to read so here goes for this week.

What I’m currently reading

The Bird Cage by Eve Chase
I love this story of 3 half sisters reunited with their father at his Cornish home on Rock Point. The family relationships between the girls are so complex and feel so real. We get flashbacks to the Summer of 1999 from the point of view of Lauren, the youngest sister. Obviously something happened that Summer during the total eclipse but neither Lauren nor me know what it is yet. A great read so far.

I was given this for Christmas a few years ago and after having a quick look through it, it’s sat on my bookshelf. I decided that now would be a good time to actually read it as it is the basis for the new series House of the Dragon.

What I have recently finished reading

Should I tell you by Jill Mansell
I really enjoyed this Summer romance. I liked all of the characters and it wasn’t quite as predictable as some romances can be as there were different paths that the characters could have taken.

The Last Voice You Hear by Mick Herron
I didn’t really enjoy this and it was definitely a skim read just to get to the end. It was the second in a series and I think that I really did need to read the first one. It was also the style of writing that I found quite difficult though. I have one of his Slough House series on order at the library so I’ll see if I enjoy that any more.

Highland Fling by Sara Sheridan
I loved this one. It was set in the highlands rather than Brighton which is the usual setting for this setting. I missed some of the other characters especially Vesta but it was a good mystery.

What I am intending to read next

The Blood of the Spear by Mark Timmony

This is the first volume in a new epic fantasy series and was recommended by The Swordsmith in his review a few days ago.

That’s the current state of my reading this week. What does your WWW Wednesday look like?

Top 5 Tuesday – Books with Shields

Welcome to this week’s Top 5 Tuesday post. Top 5 Tuesday was created by Shanah at Bionic Book Worm, and it is now being hosted at Meeghan reads!! For details of all of the prompts for July to September see Meeghans page here.

For August, we’re back doing scavenger hunts for books with particular themes. I love this as it often reminds me of books that I had completely forgotten about. This week was another fairly easy one to find as we’re looking for books with shields and I could immediately think of at least three! This theme really is a gift to any lover of epic fantasy or historical fiction.

This was the first book that sprang to mind. I loved this story of the last of the Silver Saints left to fight the vampires and prevent them from destroying humankind.

This is one of my favourite series by Elizabeth Moon. It’s a spin off from her Paksenarrion books and Paks makes a brief appearance at the start of the book.

Historical fiction this time. This is a trilogy set in the time of the Crusades and is the story of a young knight who joins the Knights Templar and is given the task of retrieving one of their most precious objects.

I’m sure that’s a shield on the cover of my edition of Assassin’s Apprentice. This was the very first volume in Robin Hobbs Farseer Trilogy that eventually became a huge collection of several interconnected series. They are all brilliant but I do love these first books best.

A Shield in the title this time. I loved this book and the sequel about Taymar who is has telepathic skills that are a danger to her planet but at the same time, could save it. The second book doesn’t finish the story but there doesn’t seem to be a third volume coming which is disappointing.

That’s my top 5 for this week. Would any of them be on your top 5 books with shields?

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches – a review.

What a gorgeous witchy read. I had no idea what to expect from this book but I absolutely loved it.

Mica Moon is a 31 year old witch who has been brought up believing that witches must always work alone and can never trust anyone with the secrets of their witchcraft. However, when she is approached to help three young witches control their powers, she sees the chance for a new start.

The three girls live in a mysterious house in Norfolk in the care of their guardian, an archaeologist who is off somewhere excavating. In her absence, Ian, Ken and Lucie look after the girls and the house. And then there’s the librarian, Jamie who is very prickly and is determined to keep the girls safe at all costs.

Mica settles into her new role and begins to feel at home which she has never done in any place before. However, then she discovers that Jamie and the others are keeping secrets from her because they do not trust her and everything she has come to believe is shattered.

This book is a gorgeous combination of fantasy and romance. The fantasy elements are set firmly within the real world and are presented as normal. I love the way that Mica can fit a completely random collection of things including a fish pond into her small car. At its heart though, this is a novel about found family and seeing how Mica finds a place for herself is heart-warming. There are very similar vibes to The House on the Cerulean Sea so if you loved that, there is a good chance you will enjoy this one.

I loved all of the characters in this book. The three girls especially are brilliant. Each of them has their own character but my favourite is Terracotta who is a typical middle child, very spiky and reluctant to trust anyone especially an unknown witch. The standout character though is Mica herself. Despite lacking love and affection in her life, she cares about everyone around her and always thinks the best about any situation. A character who is a constant ray of sunshine can be irritating but Mica has a very vulnerable side and when she was hurt, I got a real lump in my throat.

This is a gorgeous book about found family, trust and new starts. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys a witchy story with a healthy dose of romance.

Thank you so much to Net Galley and the publishers for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches is published by Hodder and Stoughton on 23rd August.

Stacking the Shelves 56

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It’s Saturday again and time for my weekly Stacking the Shelves post. Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Marlene at Reading Reality and details are on her blog. The gorgeous graphic is also used courtesy of the site.

Stacking the Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

My STS posts are generally my library books. The library is where I get most of my books and I hope that maybe I can inspire other people to use their local library. Our libraries are constantly under threat of closure but the more people that use them, the less likely that is. My library is also how I manage to read a lot of newly released hardbacks as I can order them. Sometimes they can take quite a while to arrive if a title is really popular though.

I only had one reservation arrive this week but picked up some lovely books off the shelves to keep me busy.

The Bird Cage by Eve Chase
I’m so pleased that this has arrived as it’s been quite a while since I requested it. I loved Eve Chase’s previous two novels and I’m really looking forward to this one. Three half sisters are summoned to their father’s house on the Cornish coast. It’s the first time that they have returned since a solar eclipse 20 years ago when something happened.

I love twisty stories that have their roots in an event that happened in the past so this is one that I can’t wait to read.

HIghland Fling by Sara Sheridan
This is a great series which is normally set in 1950s Brighton. In this one though Mrabelle heads off to Scotland to meet her fiance’s family. I’ll miss the Brighton setting but am looking forward to a mystery in the Highlands.

The Last Voice You Hear by Mick Herron Ashman
The library have a whole set of new paperbacks by Mick Herron who I haven’t read before. It’s the second book in a series about Zoe Bohm but hopefully that won’t matter too much.

Should I Tell You by Jill Mansell
I always enjoy Jill Mansell’s books and this one about three foster children who become friends and then get reunited in their Cornish home town sounds lovely.

That’s what I’ve added to my shelves this week. What’s been added to your bookshelves?

Book Blogger Hop August 19

 The Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Jennifer @ Crazy-For-Books in March 2010 and ended on December 31, 2012. With Jennifer’s permission, it was relaunched on February 15, 2013 by Billy @ the Ramblings of a coffee addict. . Each week the hop will start on a Friday and end the following Thursday. There will be a weekly prompt featuring a book related question. The hop’s purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to your own blog.

This weeks question is: Do you run your reviews through editing software before posting? (submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer)

I have never even thought of doing that. I write my reviews using Microsoft word on my computer before pasting them onto Net Galley or my blog and I do check those blue lines when the program doesn’t like my grammar but I’ve never actually used an editing program.

Having just read a few answers to this question, I never realised how common it was before. Obviously, I do check my grammar and spelling before I post but generally I feel OK with the way I write. Most of the things that I have to correct when I’m editing are where I’ve missed out words because my typing speed is way too slow for my brain😃

Do you use editing software?

WWW Wednesday August 17

It’s Wednesday which means that it’s time for WWW Wednesday. This is one of my favourite memes and I love taking part in it and reading everybody else’s posts. It’s currently hosted by Sam and it can be found on her blog Taking on a world of words which can be found here.

The idea of WWW Wednesday is just to answer three simple questions about what you are reading, have just finished and are about to read so here goes for this week.

I haven’t read quite as much this week as we’re spending a lot of time rehearsing for the show we’re performing in at the end of the month but I have read some great books.

What I’m currently reading

Sorry I Missed You by Lorraine Brown
I seem to have a lot of ARCs with a publication date of September 1 so I’m trying to get them all read fairly soon. This is a fun romance set in Hampstead, London. An out of work actor, Jake, moves into a flat next to Rebecca who works for a marketing company. The story is being told alternately from both characters and it’s amusing how their first impressions of each other are changing. I’m really enjoying it so far.

What I have recently finished reading

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles
I really enjoyed this although possibly not quite as much as A Gentleman in Moscow. I loved the different view points of the characters. Definitely a bitter-sweet ending.

The House of Fortune by Jessie Burton
This was a really good story and I think I preferred this to The Miniaturist. There were a lot of references to the previous book and I couldn’t remember the details that well but it didn’t really affect my enjoyment of this story about Thea.

The Angels of Venice by Philip Gwynne Jones was brilliant. It is set in Venice during the floods of November 2019 and it was really interesting to get such a different view of the city. It was an intriguing mystery and I really liked the main character Nathan. It’s the latest in a series so I’m definitely going to search out the previous books.

The Lost Notebook by Louise Douglas was a great murder mystery too.

What I am intending to read next

That’s the current state of my reading this week. What does your WWW Wednesday look like?