Top 5 Tuesday – Top 5 Books of 2022 (so far)

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 April to June see Meeghans page here.

AAAAAAAAAGH!!!! How can I be expected to choose my top 5 books? I’ve read some amazing books this year and picking 5 is just going to be hard.

To narrow it down, I’m going for my top 5 fantasy books that I’ve read this year so far.

Each one of these was a 5 star read for me and they were all by authors that I hadn’t read before this year.

Have you read any of these? What would be in your top 5 so far this year?

Sundays in bed with …..The Dead of Winter

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 sofa) is The Dead of Winter by Nicola Upson.

Blurb from the book:
Writer Josephine Tey and Detective Chief Inspector Archie Penrose gather with their friends for a Cornish Christmas but two strange and brutal deaths on St Michael’s Mount – and the unexpected arrival of a world-famous film star in need of sanctuary – interrupt the festivities. Cut off by the sea and the relentless blizzard, can Josephine and Archie prevent the murderer from striking again?

This is probably the least appropriate book to be reading just as we celebrate Midsummer as it takes place at Christmas 1938 with violent snow storms forming part of the plot. I do love this series by Nicola Upson though and so far, this is just as good as the books I have read previously.

I do sometimes wonder if Blurb writers have actually read the book. The arrival of the film star isn’t unexpected at all but is the whole reason why Penrose is on St Michael’s Mount for Christmas. It’s only a small detail but it is important and I really feel that blurbs should be accurate.

What are you reading this Sunday?

Stacking the Shelves 48

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It’s Saturday again and the Summer Solstice has been and gone. This year seems to just be racing away so quickly. There are just 6 months until Christmas!!!!!! Scary or what?

Saturday means that it’s 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.

This week I didn’t have any reserved books waiting for me so all my choices are ones that I found on the shelves. I could have picked four crime novels but decided to try and broaden my choices a bit.

The Forgotten Sister – Nicola Cornick
A historical mystery involving Amy Robsart and the favourite courtier of Elizabeth 1, Robert Dudley combined with a present day story involving a musician who causes a scandal at a wedding. I quite like dual time line stories and I’ve heard good things about Nicola Cornick although I haven’t read anything by her before so this seemed like an interesting book to choose.

Dark in Death by J D Robb
Another book in the In Death series. Lovely escapism into futuristic crime solving in New York twenty years from now.

The Dead of Winter by Nicola Upson
Maybe I should have hunted down more books by authors called Nicola? This is another in the historical crime series featuring author Josephine Tey. I’ve loved all the others and this one sounds just as good.

The Telephone Box Library by Rachel Lucas
This week’s feel good read concerns a local community trying to set up a volunteer library in a disused telephone box. I’m a sucker for any books with Library in the title and this promises to be a nice light read.

I’ve also still got half of Bleak House and my non fiction book I belong here to read from last week’s library visit so I have plenty to keep me occupied over the next seven days.

What have you added to your bookshelf this week?

WWW Wednesday June 22

Welcome to Wednesday. The Summer Solstice has been and gone and now the days are already getting shorter even if only by a few seconds each day!! This might be really good news for anyone reading this in Australia. Here, we have clear blue skies and gorgeous sunshine at the moment so Summer really seems to have arrived.

Wednesday 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

Bleak House by Charles Dickens
I’ve never read much Dickens so I’m working my through his books one a year. Last year I read Great Expectations and this year it’s Bleak House.

The Darkening by Sunya Mara
This is a YA Fantasy novel that I am reading from my Net Galley shelf. I am really enjoying it. Like The Final Strife, it’s about a society dealing with unsolvable problems. Here, the sunlight is disappearing and more and more of the city is being plunged into darkness. Obviously, all the rich people live in the sunlight while the workers suffer the darkness. The characters are interesting and the world building is excellent.

What I have recently finished reading

The City between Two Bridges by Niklas natt och Dag
I didn’t finish this one as it was far too grim. Set in Stockholm in 1794, this was unrelenting in its description of the poverty, despair and cruelty of the people he wrote about. It was really well written and I was interested in the mystery but it was just too much darkness for me.

Two Women in Rome by Elizabeth Buchan
This was an interesting novel with dual time line of 1977 and the present day. Lottie Archer, a newly arrived archivist becomes fascinated by the previous owner of a 15th cent painting. Who was Nina and what happened to her? It was an enjoyable read but not gripping.

The Murders at Fleat House by Lucinda Riley
I loved this one. It had echoes of the Malbry books by Joanne Harris with its school setting but was very much a detective based murder mystery. I really liked the character of detective Jazz Harper and the mystery was intriguing. I loved all of the family revelations and relationships that became apparent through the book.

What I am intending to read next

Exit will probably be my next read as a bit of light relief will be very welcome.

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

Top 5 Tuesday – Books for a Rainy Day

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 April to June see Meeghans page here.

The sun is shining down out of a clear blue sky but today’s topic is books that you would love to curl up with on a rainy day. If it’s a grey wet day, then there is nothing better than curling up in a comfy chair with a good book so here are my top 5 choices.

I love fantasy and for me, being able to curl up with a really good stand alone fantasy novel is bliss. The Goblin Emperor is one of my absolute favourites. I love this story of Maia who goes from being the despised half goblin son of the Elven Emperor to being placed on the throne and having to deal with all the elvish politics. No great battles or quests, just great characters and an absorbing look at how a society might function

If it’s wet and grey outside, then a book that makes you feel good is what’s needed. I love all of Beth O’Leary’s books but I think that this is my favourite. Leon needs money and Tiffy needs a cheap place to stay. The result, they share the flat but never meet and communicate by post it notes. It’s a brilliant, funny romance and I love it. Definitely a great read for a rainy day.

Another great way to spend a rainy day would be to read the final part of a series. I’ve really enjoyed Jade City and Jade War and I’m really looking forward to sitting down and finding out how the series concludes.

Settling down with a new novel from one of my favourite crime writers would be another great way to spend a rainy. I have always loved the Vera Stanhope series and also the TV series as I think Brenda Blethyn is just brilliant as Vera. The next book in the series is due out in September but I have it sitting on my Net Galley shelf and I’m saving for next week’s long flight to Chicago which is fairly similar to having a rainy day I think .

Another lovely way to spend a rainy day is with an old favourite to have an undemanding couple of hours. Georgette Heyer is my go to author for a cosy read that I know I love. The unknown Ajax is one of my favourites. Hugo returns from the peninsula wars to find that he is unexpectedly heir to his grandfather’s estate. He is one of my favourite of Heyer’s heroes and this like all of them, is a lovely warm hearted story.

What would be your top picks to read on a rainy day?

Sundays in bed with …….. The Murders at Fleat House

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 sofa) is The Murders at Fleat House by Lucinda Riley.

Blurb from the book:
When a young student is found dead at a private boarding school, its elite reputation is at risk. The headmaster is determined to write the death off as a tragic accident – but Detective Jazz Hunter will soon suspect that a murder has been committed.

Escaping her own problems in London, the beautiful and isolated landscape of rural Norfolk had felt like the ideal place for Jazz to hide. But when it becomes clear the victim was tangled in a web of loyalties and old vendettas that go far beyond just one student and as the body count begins to grow, Jazz knows that she is running out of time.

All roads lead back to the closed world of the school. But Fleat House and its residents refuse to give up their secrets so easily – and as her investigation gathers pace, Jazz realises that that they are even more sinister than she could possibly have imagined.

This is Lucinda Riley’s last published novel after her death last year although she actually wrote it over a decade ago in 2006. It is her only crime novel and so is very different to her more famous Seven Sisters series. I am really enjoying it and can see that the character of Jazz Hunter could easily have become the focus of a new crime series. However, if the author had gone down the route of writing crime fiction, we might never have had the Seven Sisters books and that would have been a real loss.

What are you reading this Sunday?

Book Blogger Hop June 17

 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 week ‘s question is:
Do you post your reviews before publication day or wait until close to or on publication date?

(submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver’s Reviews)

So

I guess my answer to this question is that it depends which platform I’m posting on. It will also depend on what type of book I’m reading.

I always review my ARCs as soon as possible after I’ve read them and these reviews get published on GoodReads too so I guess I mostly post quite a while before publication date

However, on my blog, I wait until publication date or maybe one or two days before it to publish reviews. These reviews might not be quite the same as my Net Galley reviews as I will probably go into more detail in my blog posts and might make more references to other books.

If I review my library books or books that I have physically bought then these will maybe reviewed a long while after publication date. Sometimes, they’re the reviews that get the most response.

Does anyone else do this?

WWW Wednesday June 15th

Welcome to Wednesday. I can’t believe that we’re halfway through June already. In two weeks time I will be in the US as we are visiting our daughter in Kansas City. We’re getting very excited about seeing her again and I know these next two weeks are going to fly by.

Wednesday 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

Murder at the Royal Botanic Garden by Andrea Penrose
This is a historical crime story based in Regency London. It’s the fifth in the series and I haven’t read any of the others but that isn’t proving to be a problem. An American botanist has been murdered at Kew Gardens and soon to be married Charlotte Sloane and her fiance have become involved with solving his murder. I’m really enjoying it so far and my only complaint is that there are references to the previous novels in the series which have given away their endings so I probably won’t go back and read them.

What I have recently finished reading

Storyland by Amy Jeffs
This was interesting to dip in and out of. The author had collected many of the really ancient myths and legends from around the UK and then put them into their geographical and historical context. Many of the legends were completely new to me and reading her accounts of visiting the different sites was fascinating.

The Final Strife by Saara El-Ariel
I really loved this book and stayed up past midnight to finish it. An epic fantasy with an African type setting and three really memorable female main characters. Brilliant!

The Summer Fair by Heidi Swain
This was a nice feel good read based in a fictional square in Norwich. As with the previous book I read in this series, everything ends up perfectly for everyone. The books are fun and easy to read but there isn’t really a lot of plot or a lot of humour so not my favourite romance author.

Echoes in Death by J D Robb
I’m enjoying working my way through this series. I say enjoying but actually the crimes committed are very grim and I do wonder sometimes where crime authors get their ideas and characters from. I like the fact that each book can be read as a standalone and the relationships between the main characters are great.

What I am intending to read next

Two Women in Rome by Elizabeth Buchan will probably be my next read.

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

The Girl on the 88 Bus (or The Lost Ticket) – a review

I loved Freya Sampson’s debut novel last year and was excited when I was approved to read her latest book and what a gorgeous story it is. I read it in an evening and was torn between wanting to rush through it so that I could find out how it all ended and taking my time so I could enjoy all the lovely descriptive details.

Libby has been dumped by her boyfriend who also happens to be her employer. As a result, she is temporarily homeless and has to go and live with her sister and act as an unpaid nanny to her nephew. On her way there, she meets Frank who tells her the story of how he met a red haired girl 60 years ago on this very bus route and has been looking for her ever since. Libby is inspired by his story and offers to help him in his search. She is also helped by Frank’s punk rocker carer Dylan, who is not as scary as he seems despite his appearance.

This was a lovely story about how chance conversations can have a huge impact on someone’s life. The main characters are all brilliantly written and the relationships between them feel very real. I especially loved the character of Esme who has Down’s Syndrome and said exactly what she thought about things. She reminded me very much of a girl I knew who had a very similar manner and outlook.

The book has a lot of humour but that is balanced by some sadder parts especially involving Frank’s increasing dementia which is handled sensitively. I love the author’s attention to detail which makes all of her characters and the locations seem so real. I would definitely recommend this book.

Thank you to Net Galley and Bonnier Books for my ARC in exchange for my honest review.

The Girl on the 88 bus was published in the UK by Bonnier Books on June 9th. It is due to be published in the US on August 30th by Berkley under the title The Lost Ticket.

Sundays in bed with ……… The Final Strife

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 sofa) is The Final Strife by Saara El-Arifi

This book is a Net Galley and it has been sitting on my shelf for over six months but I finally managed to get round to reading it as it is due to be published later this month.

Blurb from Net Galley:
The Empire rules by blood

Red is the blood of the elite, of magic, of control.

Blue is the blood of the poor, of workers, of the resistance.

Clear is the blood of the servants, of the crushed, of the invisible.

The Aktibar – a set of trials held every ten years to find the next Ember rulers of the Empire – is about to begin.

All can join but not just anyone can win; it requires great skill and ingenuity to become the future wardens of Strength, Knowledge, Truth and Duty.

Sylah was destined to win the trials and be crowned Warden of Strength. Stolen by blue-blooded rebels she was raised with a Duster’s heart; forged as a weapon to bring down from within the red-blooded Embers’ regime of cruelty. But when her adopted family were brutally murdered those dreams of a better future turned to dust.

However, the flame of hope may yet be rekindled because Sylah wasn’t made to sparkle, she was born to burn.

This book was slow to get me involved but once I was used to the writing style, I was hooked and stayed up until past midnight to finish it. It’s a brilliant debut and I would certainly recommend it to any lovers of fantasy. Review to come nearer the publication date.