WWW Wednesday January 24

It’s Wednesday and that 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 Mitford Secret by Jessica Fellowes

This is the final book in the mystery series featuring the Mitford sisters and their old nursery maid, Louisa Cannon. In this book we have reached 1941 and the youngest sister Debo, now married to the younger son of the Duke of Devonshire, invites as many of her family as she can get together to Chatsworth for Christmas. The war plays a large part in the book with a lot about rationing and the lack of food as well as the men being elsewhere. Louisa gets involved with looking into the mysterious disappearance of a young maid 25 years ago and then there is another murder.

The Shadow Casket by Chris Wooding
I’ve finally got around to starting this ARC. It’s a brilliant epic fantasy book full of journeys, battles against evil and great characters. It’s quite a hefty book at 800 pages so it’s taking a while to get through.

What I have recently finished reading

I loved this second book in the Realm Breaker series. It has all the things I want in a fantasy especially great characters. I especially enjoyed the character of Erika who has not turned out how anybody might have expected. I hope that we don’t have to wait too long before the next book comes out. After finishing The Shadow Casket, I might leave Epic Fantasy for a bit. It’s great having two brilliant series to read though.

The House with the Golden Door by Elodie Harper

I didn’t enjoy this one as much as The Wolf Den. It was still a good read but I missed the strong friendship and loyalty between the girls of the Wolf Den which was such a big feature of the first book. Amara is quite a different character in this volume and can be increasingly ruthless to achieve safety for her and her loved ones.

Angel of Death by J M Dalgliesh

I really like this crime series set on the Norfolk coast. In this new one, the remains of a young woman are discovered. Upon investigation she appears to have been killed only a short time ago but the body is that of a woman who disappeared six years previously.

What I am intending to read next

What are you reading this week?

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WWW Wednesday January 18

It’s Wednesday and that 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.

Life has returned to normal with reading this week as the library so I was able to stock up on physical books. I don’t like to read too many ebooks as if I read on ipad too often at night, it seems to interfere with my sleep.

Having no library books did give me time to make inroads into my NetGalley shelf though and I’m now down to a reasonable number of books waiting to be read and reviewed. I’ve also notched up my 200 badge for NetGalley which is quite nice.

What I’m currently reading

Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn

This is a very different book to anything I’ve read lately. Four women, who are trained assassins but now in their 60s, discover that the organisation they have worked for for 40 years is trying to kill them. The story is told through a mixture of present time and flashback chapters of how they became involved with ‘The Museum’ originally. I’m really enjoying the interplay between the 4 women as well as the actual plot which is quite fast moving

What I have recently finished reading

This is the final book in the Green Bone trilogy and I really loved it. It’s basically an old fashioned family saga like Poldark but set in a fantasy world. Time moved on a lot more quickly in this one and society changed. It was brilliant to see how the characters evolved.

Cat Lady by Dawn O’Porter

This one took me a while to get into as initially, I didn’t have any liking for the characters. Gradually though I warmed to Mia’s character and the support group that she comes to be friends with were brilliant. I did still find parts of the book difficult to enjoy and it all seemed to be sewn up a bit too easily at the end considering what had gone before. Not my favourite read this year.

The Three Dahlias by Katy Watson
I loved this one and my review is here

This was a reread after ordering the sequel from the library and then realising that I couldn’t remember a huge amount about this one. It’s a fast moving epic fantasy where a group of very disparate characters are forced to work together to save the world. So far, so ordinary but the characters are interesting and the by-play between them is sparky. The world building is great too and I love the way that some stereotypes are turned upside down. I’m certainly looking forward to reading Blade Breaker next week.

What I am intending to read next

This is the sequel to the brilliant Wolf Den and I’m looking forward to seeing how Amara copes with her new-found freedom.

What are you reading this week?

Reading Poetry Challenge Week 2

Week 2 of my poetry challenge and I have read a few more poems in the Thomas Hardy Collection. I am enjoying the slightly melancholic feel of many of these poems. I think that maybe I appreciate them more now that I am older as many of his poems are about things that he remembers from his youth.

One poem that really struck a chord this week was The Superseded. Hardy writes about how we have to step aside from things as we grow older to allow younger people to take our place. This is the natural order of things but still might be something that we regret. Being deemed too old to take part in something happened to me last year and it’s still a sad feeling to know that it is going on without me.

The Superseded
As newer comers crowd the fore
We drop behind
We who have laboured long and sore
Time out of mind
And keen are yet, must not regret
To drop behind

Yet there are some of us who grieve
To go behind
Staunch, strenuous souls who scare believe
Their fires declined
And know none spares, remembers, cares
Who go behind

Tis not that we have unforetold
The drop behind
We feel the new must oust the old
In every kind
But yet we think, must we, must we
Too, drop behind?

Thomas Hardy 1901

Over a hundred years later, this poem sums up exactly how I felt at the time and still feel now. This to me, is the beauty of poetry, that ability to capture feelings in words that stand the test of time.

WWW Wednesday January 11

It’s Wednesday and that 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.

It’s been a bit of a strange week as the library was closed unexpectedly on Friday and hasn’t reopened yet. I think somebody broke the door! That means that I’ve not had my usual library books to read so have been reading ARC’s and my own TBR backlog.

What I’m currently reading

Jade Legacy by Fonda Lee
This is the final book in the Green Bone trilogy and I’m really enjoying it. It’s basically an old fashioned family saga like Poldark but set in a fantasy world. It’s fascinating to see how the characters are growing up and dealing with the changes in their society.

What I have recently finished reading

Told from the point of view of Amara, a slave in a brothel in Pompeii, this is a brilliant story of life in Ancient Italy. It’s a story of friendship and survival and was a brilliant read. l’ve already ordered the next one from the library. This will also be the first book in the When are you reading? challenge which Sam is hosting again this year.

This is my first non-fiction read for 2023 and it’s a fascinating if slightly depressing account of how our increasing use of artificial light at night is affecting all aspects of the natural world including us. My review is here

The Immortality Thief by Taran Hunt
This was a brilliant space opera recommended by Imyril at There’s always Room for One More. Abandoned spaces ships, enemies to friends and centuries old secrets all combined into a great story.

This was a semi-autobiographical novel about Ray, a young black violinist who discovers that his battered old violin is actually a Stradivarius. It’s a brilliant story about his struggles against the racism that exists in the classical music world as well as his battle to keep his violin.

The Best Days of our Lives by Lucy Diamond
I love Lucy Diamond and I really enjoyed this one. It’s a bit different to her normal romances though as it’s really the story of how the different members of a family cope with the grief of losing a family member. There is definitely romance, more than one, but it takes second place to the main theme.

Must Love Books by Shauna Robinson
A young woman in San Francisco realises that her dream job in publishing might not be her dream job after all. This is another book that I expected to be a romance but was actually a lot more than that. This is Nora’s journey through coping with her depression and finding out that her life does have a point. Again, there is romance which I really enjoyed but Nora’s story is the main theme of the book.

What I am intending to read next

This is the last of my possible reads from last week or I might take the plunge and begin my reread of The Great Hunt, the second book in the Wheel of Time series.

What are you reading this week?

WWW Wednesday January 4

It’s the first Wednesday of 2023! Happy New Year everyone!

We celebrated the New Year by driving across the country to the Norfolk and spent the day by the sea which was lovely but a bit blustery.

Holne Beach on the Norfolk coast

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

Told from the point of view of Amara, a slave in a brothel in Pompeii, this is a brilliant story of life in Ancient Italy. It’s a story of friendship and survival as the slave girls find what pleasures they can together. Amara was a doctor’s daughter and is determined that she will not be a slave for ever. I can’t wait to see how this part of her story ends up. I’ve already ordered the next one from the library. This will also be the first book in the When are you reading? challenge which Sam is hosting again this year.

This is my first non-fiction read for 2023. It’s all about the effects of light pollution on nocturnal creatures such as bats and moths. I’ve only read the first few pages but it’s a fascinating read so far.

What I have recently finished reading

The Marriage Season by Jane Dunn
This was a fun Regency Romance which definitely owes a debt to Georgette Heyer. A young widow takes her beautiful sister up to London for the season in the hope of her making a good marriage. I enjoyed this although there was a bit too much emphasis on the horses and horse riding for my personal taste. It was still a fun read though.

This was a gorgeous cosy fantasy read. It was almost totally character driven but the characters were all brilliant. A perfect read for a cosy armchair and a mug of hot chocolate.

The Russian Cage by Charlaine Harris
This is the third in her series about Gunnie Rose, the young shooter who hires herself out to protect people and property in this alternative 1930s America. In this one, she answers a call for help from her half sister and travels to the New Russian Empire to try and free Eli from Jail. It was as full of excitement and magic as the previous two. I know the next book focuses on Felicia and I wonder if Gunnie’s story is now over?

The Murder Game by Tom Hindle
I really enjoyed Tom Hindle’s A Fatal Voyage last year and I think that this one was even better. A very disparate group of people assemble in an isolated coastal hotel for a murder mystery evening. Of course, one of the guests is then found murdered. It’s a classic locked room mystery and I guess the murderer a while before the end but it was still a brilliant read

What I am intending to read next

I think I will probably read another from my Net Galley shelf. All of these are due to be published in mid – February so it will depend what mood I’m in.

What are you reading this week?

WWW Wednesday December 28

It’s Wednesday again and it’s the final Wednesday of 2022. This year seems to have flown by and it doesn’t seem possible that the new year begins next week.

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

The Marriage Season by Jane Dunn
This is a fun Regency Romance which definitely owes a debt to Georgette Heyer. A young widow takes her beautiful sister up to London for the season in the hope of her making a good marriage. There they meet handsome lords as well as a dashing hussar captain. All the normal activities are present; balls at Almacks, choosing books at Hatchards and riding in Hyde Park, however the characters are fun and I’m enjoying the developing relationships between them.

What I have recently finished reading

Let it Snow by Sue Moorcroft
This was a lovely festive read about a girl searching for her family. As well as being about Christmas, it’s about families and friendship. I really enjoyed it and I definitely now have a desire to visit Zurich over the festive season.

Sunrise with the Silver Surfers by Maddie Please
I loved this story of recently divorced Elin who spends an unexpected inheritance on a trip to her childhood home in Australia. There she reconnects with her family as well as discovering that there is definitely life after divorce. It’s a gorgeous story with a great backdrop of the Australian coast. It’s also nice as the protagonist again is an older woman proving that there is still life if you’re on the wrong side of 50.

London Rain by NIcola Upson
I’m quite sad that I’ve read all of this series now as I really love them. This one is set in London in the Summer of 1937 and it’s the time of the coronation of George VI. The murder mystery isn’t at all straightforward and the historical detail is brilliant. After seeing so much pageantry this year with the Queen’s Jubilee and then her funeral, the details of the coronation felt incredibly vivid. I think this is one of my favourites in the series.

What I am intending to read next

My lovely son bought me this for Christmas so it is certainly next up on my reading list

What are you reading this week? Did you find any exciting books under the tree?

WWW Wednesday December 21

It’s Wednesday again and today is traditionally the first day of Winter here in the UK as well as being the shortest day. From now on, the days will get longer even if it’s only by a minute at a time!

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

Let it Snow by Sue Moorcroft
I’m loving this story of Lily who has moved to the village of Middledip to get to know her half brother even though he has no idea who she is. There is a budding romance with the temporary licensee of the local pub as well as a visit to Switzerland.

What I have recently finished reading

Journeys to impossible places by Simon Reeve
I loved this one which completed my non fiction challenge for the year and my review is here

A Summer of Murder by Oliver Bottini
A bit of a disappointment for me. It was a lot more about international terrorism than a murder mystery and it didn’t really click for me.

A World of Curiosities by Louise Penny
I really enjoyed reading the latest Inspector Gamache novel. The mystery is complex and rooted in past events which included Gamache and Beauvoir’s first meeting. The subject matter is dark as always and includes child abuse as well as an actual historical event but Louise Penny handles things sensitively without lessening the impact.

The Christmas Invitation by Trisha Ashley
This was a lovely warm read even if the plot was a little far fetched.

What I am intending to read next

I still have 20 unread books on my Net Galley and I would quite like to get that down to single figures so I need to make an effort to read more of my ARCs over the next few weeks. This one is up next as publication date is next month.

What are you reading this week?

WWW Wednesday December 7

It’s Wednesday again and we’re into December. The weather has got colder with snow forecast and at the weekend, we’re going to visit my son in Manchester and go around the Christmas Markets. It’s definitely starting to feel festive.

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

Exiles by Jane Harper
I love Jane Harper’s books and this one is just as good as all of the previous ones. Set in a small town in Australia, police officer Aaron Falk is on holiday about to become godfather to a friend’s young son. The town is remembering the disappearance of a woman the previous year and is running an appeal for any more witnesses or information. Falk gradually becomes involved with the family and the investigation as well as maybe finding a bit of romance.

Journeys to impossible places by Simon Reeve
This is my 12th non fiction book of 2022 and will see me successfully completing my challenge.

What I have recently finished reading

The Night Ship by Jess Kidd
I didn’t enjoy this as much as I had hoped. I really liked the start of it but then my interest tailed off. It was a very dark story with few light patches and I found the children’s points of view a bit unconvincing especially Mayken’s chapters.

An Astronaut’s Guide to Earth by Chris Hadfield
This is the eleventh book in my Non fiction reader challenge and so I’m well on track to read 12 non fiction books this year. This was a very easy book to read but very fascinating to see how his experiences and training influence the way he thinks and behaves. I love the way that his preparations for space travel and the way they always plan for the worst means that he does that in his daily life too. Many of us could probably do with a touch of that mindset so that we are not completely overcome when things go wrong.

Let it Snow by Bella Moran
This was a brilliant festive read set in Nottingham but also involving a last minute to Scotland where our heroine got snowed in. It’s a very familiar theme but this was a definitely a different take on being snowbound.

The Marriage Act by John Marrs
I really enjoyed this story of a near future when marriage is the only approved way to live. It’s a dark dystopian tale but I really enjoyed each of the four couples’ stories within the book.

The Christmas Holiday by Phillipa Ashley
This was another lovely festive read this time set in the Lake District. The involvement of the Mountain Rescue volunteers made this a bit more interesting than some Christmas books.

What I am intending to read next

I definitely think it’s time to start catching up with some of the books that I have on my bookshelf and not read yet. I’m going to take this one with me when we go away at the weekend.

What are you reading this week?

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

WWW Wednesday November 30

It’s Wednesday again and it’s the last day of November. This time last year we had snow and I took the photo that I’ve just put back at the top of this page. Sadly we have no snow this year. It’s just grey and dull.

However, although the weather is miserable, 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

The Night Ship by Jess Kidd
Two children, a young girl travelling on a ship with her nurse in 1628 and a young boy travelling to live with his grandfather in 1989. Both of their mothers are dead. That’s about it so far. The book is written in the present tense which I always find a bit jarring at first but then gives a real feeling of being there.

An Astronaut’s Guide to Earth by Chris Hadfield
This is the eleventh book in my Non fiction reader challenge and so I’m well on track to read 12 non fiction books this year. This is a very easy book to read but very interesting to see how his experiences and training influence the way he thinks and behaves.

What I have recently finished reading

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
This was a brilliant read and I found it really hard to put down. Sam and Sadie met in a hospital and then didn’t see each other for years. They finally bumped into each other again at Harvard and renew their friendship. I really enjoyed the way Sam’s backstory was revealed to us and how the two of them had a friendship that never quite made into love.

The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller
This was similar to Tomorrow as it had the main character’s back story gradually reveal itself to the reader. It was a good story but it didn’t grip me as much as the Gabrielle Zevin did.

An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris
I really enjoyed this urban fantasy set in an alternate 1930’s America. I loved the Character of Gunnie Rose and how self sufficient she was in a dangerous society.

What I am intending to read next

The Christmas Holiday by Phillipa Ashley

It’s the first of December tomorrow so we will be officially in the run up to Christmas and I will celebrate by reading actual Christmas books. I think I’ve got enough sorted on my TBR to have at least one a week for the weeks up to the big day! And then of course, there are Christmas films to watch too.

What are you reading this week?