Sundays in bed with ……… The Marriage Act

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 the book by my bed (or on the arm of my sofa) is The Marriage Act by John Marrs

Blurb from Net Galley:
What if marriage was the law? Dare you disobey?

Britain. The near-future. A right-wing government believes it has the answer to society’s ills – the Sanctity of Marriage Act, which actively encourages marriage as the norm, punishing those who choose to remain single.

But four couples are about to discover just how impossible relationships can be when the government is monitoring every aspect of our personal lives, monitoring every word, every minor disagreement . . . and will use every tool in its arsenal to ensure everyone will love, honour and obey.

This is definitely a contrast to the Christmassy haul of books that I got from the library yesterday. I love novels that look at how society might evolve in the near future even though they are often very bleak and this one is no exception.

Marriage is seen as the best way of living and those couples who agree to ‘upscale’ their relationships get social benefits such as better housing, jobs and education chances for their children. However, they also agree to have an ‘audite’ installed in their house which will listen randomly to conversations and if their relationship is deemed to be in difficulties, help will be given and maybe the couple will be allocated a ‘Relationship Responder’ who will live with them and steer them through the tricky patch. When the relationship responder in question is a predator more intent on finding a partner for themselves, this can lead to disaster.

This is a very dark book and very few of the characters are particularly likeable but I am extremely intrigued by the plots in the novel.

This is one of the books currently on my Net Galley shelf and will be released early next year

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Sundays in bed with …… Nights of Plague

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 the book by my bed (or on the arm of my sofa) is Nights of Plague by Orhan Pamuk

This book caught my eye in a bookshop and so I reserved it at the library.

Blurb from the book:
1901
With the stealth of a spy vessel, the royal ship Azizye approaches the famous vistas Mingheria ‘An emerald built of pink stone’. The twenty-ninth state of the ailing Ottoman Empire.

The ship carries Princess Pakize, the daughter of a deposed sultan, her doctor husband and the Royal Chemist, Bonkowski Pasha. Each of them holds a separate mission. Not all of them will survive the weeks ahead. Because Mingheria is on the brink of catastrophe. There are rumours of plague – rumours some in power will try to suppress.

But plague is not the only killer.

The blurb for this one sounded really interesting but so far it hasn’t really lived up to my expectations.

It’s written (deliberately) in the style of a history book rather than a novel so is quite dry. As someone who loves novels to be character driven, this makes it quite hard for me to engage with what is happening. The Princess spends all her time in her room in the governor’s palace and her only role appears to be writing letters to her sister detailing the events on the island.

I’m about a quarter of the way through it so far but I’m not sure that I’m going to make it much further.

What are you reading this weekend?

Sundays in bed with …….. Babel

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 the book by my bed (or on the arm of my sofa) is Babel by R F Kuang

I really enjoyed the Poppy Trilogy by R F Kuang and I loved the idea of this book and the tower of Babel being a centre of translation in Oxford so this was a book that I was really looking forward to reading.

Blurb from the book:

An act of translation is always an act of betrayal

Oxford 1836
The city of dreaming spires

Ir is the centre of all knowledge and progress in the world

And at its heart is Babel, Oxford University’s prestigious Royal Institute of Translation

The tower from which all the power of the empire flows

Orphaned in Canton and brought to England by a mysterious guardian, Robin Swift thought Babel a paradise.

Until it became a prison.
But can a student stand against an empire.

So far I’m about a third of the way through and I am really enjoying the story and the ideas. I loved the discussions between the characters about how translations can never be totally honest as words don’t translate exactly into other languages. I’ve come across this problem in music when a translation that sticks very closely to the original words often doesn’t work as well as one that changes the words more but conveys the sense better.

What are you reading this Sunday?

Blogtober – Sundays in bed with…….. A Restless Truth

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 the book by my bed (or on the arm of my sofa) is A Restless Truth by Freya Marske

This isn’t the book that I intended to read this weekend. However I was at the theatre and only had my ipad with me so had to pick one of my ARCs to read instead of a physical book.

Blurb from Net Galley:
Maud Blyth has always longed for adventure. She’d hoped for plenty of it when she agreed to help her beloved older brother unravel a magical conspiracy. She even volunteered to serve as an old lady’s companion on an ocean liner. But Maud didn’t expect the old lady to turn up dead on the very first day of the voyage.

Now she has to deal with a dead body, a disrespectful parrot, and the lovely, dangerously outrageous Violet Debenham. Violet is everything Maud has been trained to distrust, yet can’t help but desire: a magician, an actress and a magnet for scandal.

Surrounded by open sea and a ship full of suspects, Maud and Violet must learn to drop the masks they’ve learned to wear. Only then might they work together to locate a magical object worth killing for – and unmask a murderer. All without becoming dead in the water themselves.

This is the second book in the Last Binding series and follows on from the author’s previous novel A Marvellous Light. It is very much a sequel and I think that it would be difficult to follow what was going on without having read the first book.

Maud is a secondary character in the first book and I like the way her character has developed in this sequel. The mystery is interesting and I do like Lord Hawthorne and feel that he is going to be a lot more important in this book. So far so good!

What are you reading this Sunday?

This is the twenty-ninth post for Blogtober 2o22. I’ve almost finished this challenge of posting every day throughout this month 😃

Blogtober -Sundays in bed with ……… The Ones We Burn

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 the book by my bed (or on the arm of my sofa) is The Ones We Burn by Rebecca Mix

This is a Net Galley ARC which I’m fairly sure that I requested mainly on the basis of the cover which really grabbed my attention.

Blurb from Net Galley:
Ranka is tired of death. All she wants now is to be left alone, living out her days in Witchik’s wild north with the coven that raised her, attempting to forget the horrors of her past. But when she is named Bloodwinn, the next treaty bride to the human kingdom of Isodal, her coven sends her south with a single directive: kill him. Easy enough, for a blood-witch whose magic compels her to kill.

Except the prince is gentle, kind, and terrified of her. He doesn’t want to marry Ranka; he doesn’t want to be king at all. And it’s his sister – the wickedly smart, infuriatingly beautiful Princess Aramis – who seems to be the real threat.

But when witches start turning up dead, murdered by a mysterious, magical plague, Aramis makes Ranka an offer: help her develop a cure, and in return, she’ll teach Ranka to contain her deadly magic. But as the coup draws nearer and the plague spreads, Ranka is forced to question everything she thought she knew about her power, her past, and who she’s meant to fight for. Soon, she will have choose between the coven that raised her – and the princess who sees beyond the monster they shaped her to be. But as the bodies pile up, a monster may be exactly what they need.

I’m loving this so far although there do seem to be a few parallels with The Darkening by Sunya Mara especially with regard to the developing romance. But then again, there are only so many different ways you can spin relationships.

What are you reading this Sunday?

This is the twentysecond post for Blogtober 2o22. I’m well over half way through the challenge of posting every day throughout this month 😃

Blogtober 16 – Sundays in bed with ……. Fairy Tale

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 the book by my bed (or on the arm of my sofa) is Fairy Tale by Stephen King

I can’t remember the last time that I was reading the same book at the weekend as I was during the previous week. It’s taking me a long while to finish this one partly because the book is fairly long at 577 pages but also because we’ve been really busy this week.

Blurb from the book:
Charlie Reade looks like a regular high school kid, great at baseball and football, a decent student. But he carries a heavy load. His mom was killed in a hit-and-run accident when he was ten, and grief drove his dad to drink. Charlie learned how to take care of himself—and his dad. Then, when Charlie is seventeen, he meets a dog named Radar and his ageing master, Howard Bowditch, a recluse in a big house at the top of a big hill, with a locked shed in the backyard. Sometimes strange sounds emerge from it.

Charlie starts doing jobs for Mr. Bowditch and loses his heart to Radar. Then, when Bowditch dies, he leaves Charlie a cassette tape telling a story no one would believe. What Bowditch knows, and has kept secret all his long life, is that inside the shed is a portal to another world.

King’s storytelling in Fairy Tale soars. This is a magnificent and terrifying tale about another world than ours, in which good is pitted against overwhelming evil, and a heroic boy—and his dog—must lead the battle.

I am now about three quarters of the book and everything is looking fairly grim for Charlie. However, as the story is told in the first person, I’m fairly sure that he gets out alive as otherwise, who would be telling the story?

I haven’t read any Stephen King for years and I had forgotten what a good writer he is. I have thoroughly enjoyed this book so far. I really like the character of Charlie and the parallels and links that are drawn with different fairy tales.

What are you reading this Sunday?

This is the sixteenth post for Blogtober 2o22. I’m half way through the challenge of posting every day throughout this month 😃

Blogtober 9 – Sundays in bed with ……The Bullet that missed

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 the book by my bed (or on the arm of my sofa) is The Bullet that Missed by Richard Osman

I really enjoyed both of Richard Osman’s previous books about the Thursday Murder Club so was very excited when this latest one arrived in the library this week.

Blurb from the book:
It is an ordinary Thursday and things should finally be returning to normal.

Except that trouble is never far away where the Thursday Murder Club are concerned. A decade-old cold case leads them to a local news legend and murder with no body and no answers

Then a new foe pays Elizabeth a visit. Her mission? Kill……… or be killed.

As the cold case turns red-hot, Elizabeth wrestles with her conscience (and a gun) while Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron chase down clues with help from old friends and new. But can the gang solve the mystery and save Elizabeth before the murderer strikes again?

The Murder Club at Coopers Close have reassembled to look into the disappearance of journalist Bethany Waites ten years ago and enlist the help of the local TV star who knew her well. At the same time, Elizabeth is given the task of killing an old acquaintance and if she doesn’t, Joyce’s life will be in danger. All of the threads from the previous novels are pulled together early in the story including the love lives of Inspector Chris Hudson and his sergeant Donna. I’m enjoying the continuity of the book from the previous one as it starts quite soon after the last one finished although I’m not sure how easy it would be to start the series by reading this one.

What are you reading this Sunday?

This is the second post for Blogtober 2o22.

Blogtober – Sundays in bed with…… Snowed in for Christmas

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 the book by my bed (or on the arm of my sofa) is Snowed in for Christmas by Sarah Morgan

This is my first Christmas book for this year. I love Sarah Morgan and her Christmas book last year was one of my favourite books of the year. This one is just as good but in a very different way.

Blurb from NetGalley:
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

I’m loving the family relationships in this book. All the character, Lucy, the Miller siblings and mum Glenda are having problems and there have been several moments when I’ve felt a lump in my throat. I absolutely the character of Nanna Jean who at 86, is not changing her attitudes towards anything. She definitely reminds me of my own mother who is a very similar age.

It’s a Christmas romance and I’m fairly sure that I know how each of the characters are going to end up but it’s how they arrive there that makes Sarah Morgan’s books so special.

In a way, I regret reading this as an ARC as I think I would have enjoyed it even more in December. Maybe I’ll have to reread it then😃

What are you reading this Sunday?

This is the second post for Blogtober 2o22.

Sundays in bed with ……. Act of Oblivion

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 the book by my bed (or on the arm of my sofa) is Act of Oblivion by Robert Harris

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

This is a historical fiction novel set just after the restoration of King Charles II when the men who condemned his father Charles I to death are being hunted down.

Blurb from the book:
1660- Colonel Edward Whalley and his son-in-law, Colonel William Goffe, cross the Atlantic. They are on the run and wanted for the murder of Charles I. Under the provisions of the Act of Oblivion, they have been found guilty in absentia of high treason.

In London, Richard Naylor, secretary of the regicide committee of the Privy Council, is tasked with hunting down the fugitives. He’ll stop at nothing until the two men are brought to justice. A reward hangs over their heads – for their capture- dead or alive.

Robert Harris is a must-read author for me although his books don’t quite always hit the spot for me. I have high hopes for this one though. So far, the two fugitives have just arrived in Massachusetts and are finding that even in the new world, the news of their crime and reward for their capture is leading to trouble. In London, Richard Naylor has just been given the task of hunting the two men down. I love the detail and the characterisation in Harris’s novels. All of the characters feel very real especially Mary Gookin, wife of Daniel Gookin who first offers the two men a place to stay. Her reluctance to have the two men spoil her reunion with her husband and disrupt her family life feels very real to me.

What are you reading this Sunday?

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?