Last week we had so much rain but I have turned into a person who says that “at least it’s good for the garden” – what have I become 😀 ?
I also had my second Covid-19 vaccination and all is well. My arm was a bit sore and I was very, very tired but all of that passed within 36 hours and I’ve been raring to go ever since.
I’ve also been trying to get back into walking daily, and part of the fun of that for me (besides listening to podcasts or audiobooks) is interacting with local pets and wildlife. I’ve been noticing a greater variety of birds in our garden, but our neighbourhood black cat resolutely ignores me whenever I see him on his daily patrol. I was sleepily regarded by a small fox curled up in the warm sunshine. We don’t normally see them during broad daylight, but it was a gorgeous animal and I’m glad I spotted it, though I wish I’d taken a photo
Yesterday (Tuesday) after a visit to the dentist I walked part of the way home along the Thames. Lovely.
I really enjoyed reading about Ava Lee, a Chinese-Canadian forensic accountant who goes after missing money for private clients. It was fast paced and took the reader from Toronto to Hong Kong to Guyana to the British Virgin Islands and back again. I loved all the money stuff and the technicalities of finding out where it might be hidden, so much so that I managed to overcome two of my pet peeves which appeared right at the beginning of the story – irrelevant information about Ava’s breast size and the use of the word panties; I loathe that word. Anyway, I have already bought the next book and I expect to continue with the series.
I’m currently reading the very next Robert Hunter thriller and will round up the series when I have finished all 9, or is it 10. Still enjoying them but they are not for anyone who can’t handle graphic violence. 50+ years of reading horror has been good practice.
I’m also currently reading Greg Jenner’s Dead Famous, a book about celebrity over the ages and how as a concept it’s not as modern as we might think it is. Great fun and thought provoking, and I’m looking forward to seeing how his theories develop. A wee taste:
CELEBRITY (noun): A unique persona made widely known to the public via media coverage, and whose life is publicly consumed as dramatic entertainment, and whose commercial brand is profitable for those who exploit their popularity, and perhaps also for themselves.
So that’s more or less my week. Hope you are well and staying safe!
Part of me is thinking “How is it nearly May?”, but the other part of me, the one who was out in our tiny back garden today (Sunday) planting in the warm sunshine, was convinced that we are well into late spring!
This is a good thing.
And, despite being a little unwell and the (luckily) unsuccessful attempt to cut off my thumb with a craft knife – don’t ask me to explain the REALLY stupid thing I did that resulted in said injury – it has been a really good reading week. I’ve been on a bit of a roll, but of course now that I’ve said that I’ll hit a slump, but I don’t care.
Anyway, I read three books this week and I fully intend to review them over the next wee while. My track record on that has been appalling, so just in case…..
The Children of Red Peak by Craig DiLouie – cult survivors going back to Red Peak work out what actually happened on that fateful last night
An Evil Mind by Chris Carter (Robert Hunter #6) – the best of the Hunter novels so far IMHO, bit Silence of the Lambs, bit Israel Keyes, all good
Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots – what happens to the people who are collateral damage when the supes fight the villains?
Of these I would say that the greatest is Hench which I read in a single sitting on Friday, only stopping for comfort breaks and lunch.
This week’s impulse purchases were:
The Last Day by Andrew Hunter Murray – because the end of the world is always fascinating even in a pandemic
I Am Death (Robert Hunter 7) by Chris Carter – because this is one of my favourite series and I’m going to read them all
Shimmerdark by Sarah Mensinga – because I loved Sarah’s previous fantasy novel and the premise of this one sounds so good
Silenced by Solveig Palsdottir – because I have purchased (but not read) the first in this new series and the recommendations are many and uniformly favourable
For the second year in a row I am not pulling an all-nighter to watch the Oscars. I just haven’t been paying attention to the eligible movies and performances so would have been solely focusing on outfits and the red carpet will be a bit weird this year.
Sadly we have come to the end of the very last episode of Elementary. We’ve been watching these steadily over the past few months having come to it late due to misplaced snobbery. It’s now my favourite incarnation of the Great Detective (other than Basil Rathbone of course) and I may at some point go back to the beginning and start again just because I can. We shall see. Now looking for something else to fill the gap – may go back to The Blacklist as I’ve only watched the first two seasons.
Spent Sunday night focussed on the penultimate episode of Line of Duty S6 – as Ted Hastings would say “Jesus, Mary and Joseph and the wee donkey”; if you know, you know 😀
Anyway, enough rambling from me. Hope you are all staying safe, and have a great reading week.
We’ve been graced with beautiful sunny weather over the past few days which is guaranteed to lighten my mood, but last week didn’t start that way. On Monday 12th we woke up to sleet, of all things.
Anyway, despite that the signs of spring are increasingly evident, and the photo here shows the view as I walk out onto my front step 😀
I’ve got a few books that have been on my currently reading list for some time, but I have been absorbed in The Children of Red Peak by Craig DiLouie because of a long-held and continuing fascination with cults, whether real or fictional. Hoping to finish this soon.
One by One, my next read in the Robert Hunter detective series by Chris Carter; I think it’s #5 but I’m far too lazy to check. Oh wait, yes it is. Deeply gruesome, I sat up until 02:30 to finish it, and have already added #6 to my TBR
New books (excluding pre-orders):
An Evil Mind by Chris Carter – as mentioned above
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens – planning to read this following the original publication schedule
Antiquities by Cynthia Ozick – In 1949, Lloyd Wilkinson Petrie has returned as a Trustee to live in the long-defunct boarding school that he had attended as a child. There he is preparing a memoir.
Hummingbird Salamander by Jeff VanderMeer – A speculative thriller about the end of all things, set in the Pacific Northwest. A harrowing descent into a secret world.
Made to Order: Robots and Revolution, edited by Jonathan Strahan – This collection of stories is where robots stand in for us, where both we and they are disadvantaged, and where hope and optimism shines through.
Theory of Bastards by Audrey Schulman – Francine is a luminary in her field of evolutionary science. She joins the Foundation to study a colony of bonobo apes: remarkable animals, and the perfect creatures to certify her revolutionary feminist theory of reproduction.
The Best Horror of the Year, edited by Ellen Datlow – volume 12 of this long-running series, a good source of new authors in the horror field
We’ve been trying to finish off a number of series we had recorded, and have succeeded with ZeroZeroZero (awesome) and Briarpatch (very enjoyable), and we will soon come to the end of the very last series of Elementary, which will make me very, very sad.
Hope you are all doing well and staying safe. Some short movie reviews will be coming up soon, so watch this space.
It’s been a pretty good month all in all. The big thing for me was getting my first Covid-19 vaccination, which went well; no side effects of any kind and I’m now just waiting for a date for round two. Not much else has been going on though we’ve had several warm-ish days which meant heating off (temporarily), windows open and lots of birdsong. Spring is definitely on the way 😀
But what of the books?
Books read = 6 (including two re-reads)
Pages read = 2032
Goodreads challenge = 2 books ahead of schedule
So I promised a book haul and actually started pulling it together but it was embarrassingly long and a bit overwhelming so I gave myself permission to pretend that January & February didn’t exist and I’ll start noting new books in my weekly round-up post from March.
One Day All This Will Be Yours by Adrian Tchaikovsky – Welcome to the end of time. It’s a perfect day.
Inventory of a Life Mislaid by Marina Warner – I love Marina Warner’s works and am excited to read this memoir
The Cut by Christopher Brookmyre – Millie Spark can kill anyone. A special effects make-up artist, her talent is to create realistic scenes of bloody violence. Then, one day, she wakes to find her lover dead in her bed.
A History of What Comes Next by Sylvain Neuvel – This is a secret history of our world like no other . . .
We Shall Sing a Song into the Deep by Andrew Kelly Stewart – A Canticle for Leibowitz meets The Hunt for Red October so that sounds cool
Maniac by Harold Schechter – the story of the deadliest school massacre in US history, which took place in 1927
The Last House on Needle Street by Catriona Ward – allegedly the must-read Gothic thriller of 2021; approved of by three authors I really like so have to give it a go.
Glossy by Nina-Sophi Miralles – the inside story of Vogue, presses all of my buttons 🙂
What Abigail Did That Summer by Ben Aaronovitch – a Rivers of London novella – It is the summer of 2013 and Abigail Kamara has been left to her own devices. This might, by those who know her, be considered a mistake. While her cousin, police constable and apprentice wizard Peter Grant, is off in the sticks, chasing unicorns, Abigail is chasing her own mystery.
The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox – apparently this is a mix of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, American Gods and His Dark Materials, so you know, had to happen
The Consequences of Fear by Jacqueline Winspear – the sixteenth Maisie Dobbs novel is set in October 1942; I really need to catch up with this series; I’m about six books behind which is silly because I really enjoy this series.
A Broken Darkness by Premee Mohamad – the second in the Beneath the Darkness series: It’s been a year and a half since the Anomaly, when They tried to force Their way into the world from the shapeless void.
Where Stands a Winged Sentry by Margaret Kennedy – ‘Most people knew in their hearts that the lid had been taken off hell, and that what had been done in Guernica would one day be done in London, Paris and Berlin.’ Margaret Kennedy’s prophetic words, written about the pre-war mood in Europe, give the tone of this riveting 1941 wartime memoir: it is Mrs Miniver with the gloves off.
The Lost Village by Camilla Sten – The Blair Witch Project meets Midsommar in this brilliantly disturbing thriller from Camilla Sten, an electrifying new voice in suspense.
The Fall of Koli by MR Carey – the Third book in the Rampart trilogy – nature has turned against us so no change there….
Redder Days by Sue Rainsford – Twins Anna and Adam live in an abandoned commune in a volatile landscape where they prepare for the world-ending event they believe is imminent. Adam keeps watch by day, Anna by night. They meet at dawn and dusk.
That’s a lot but March is that kind of month.
You can find what I’m currently reading on my sidebar, and I’ll be posting some reviews soon. Honestly. I promise.
Hope you all have a great reading week, and stay safe !
Not a bad week if truth be told, in that not very much happened. It was bitterly cold so I stayed indoors without even an exercise walk, so I need to get back to that this week. I’ve downloaded some suitable classes I can take at home but haven’t yet found the best way to integrate them with what I laughingly call my daily routine.
The big excitement of the week was not Valentine’s Day – we don’t really celebrate that any more after *cough* 32 years together – but the arrival the day before of my new dishwasher. So exciting. I am in love.
I couldn’t settle to any one book this week, so I’ve been dipping in and out of the six that are on my Goodreads Currently Reading shelf, which you can see over there in my sidebar.
I did finish one book though – The Disappearing Act by Florence de Changy, an investigative journalist. This is the story of what happened to Malaysia Airlines flight 370 which disappeared seemingly without a trace in 2014. Totally fascinating subject; over the years I’ve watched the various documentaries and read the newspaper stories covering the various theories about what happened and why, but as de Changy says:
At the risk of stating the obvious, a Boeing 777 doesn’t just disappear. Such a plane might be hijacked, it might be the target of a terrorist attack, it might explode if a bomb goes off on board, it might be the victim of the pilot or co-pilot’s murderous madness, it might experience a serious fault that the pilots are unable to fix, or it might be shot down accidentally or on purpose in an act of war.
She highlights the way the media contributed to the official theory by blindly accepting the information given to them even when it doesn’t make sense. She has absolutely no time at all for the Malaysian or Australian governments, and presents her own suggestion of what might have happened, very much stressing the “might” as she acknowledges even her plausible explanation still contains gaps.
If you are interested in this sort of unexplained event then I think you would enjoy this. I certainly did.
There are no new books in this week’s round-up. This is not because I didn’t get any (heaven forbid), just that I am still planning to publish a book haul post in the next few days. I’m also hoping to finish at least one of the books on my reading list; we shall see how that goes.
Plus a better late than never January 2021 round-up!
So (at the risk of offending those people who don’t like those of us unable to start a sentence without using SO) it’s been a couple of weeks since my last post which wasn’t an intentional gap but I think we can all allow ourselves some grace during the Great Quar (as coined by the Bananas podcast). When I last left you I had had a pretty bad week, but things have really improved since then.
So let’s start with a look back at January
Books read = 5
Pages read = 1636
Goodreads challenge (2021 = 60 books) = on target!
It was my birthday at the end of January – which helped with the improvement in mood – which means that I have more new books than it’s sensible to mention here. I’m probably going to do a separate book haul post. That seems like a good idea, doesn’t it? But it’s worth mentioning here the pre-orders heading my way in February.
Light Perpetual by Francis Spufford (already delivered) – November 1944. A German rocket strikes London, and five young lives are atomised in an instant. November 1944. That rocket never lands. A single second in time is altered, and five young lives go on – to experience all the unimaginable changes of the twentieth century. Because maybe there are always other futures. Other chances.
The Library of the Dead by TL Huchu (already delivered) – Ropa dropped out of school to become a ghostalker – and she now speaks to Edinburgh’s dead, carrying messages to the living. A girl’s gotta earn a living, and it seems harmless enough. Until, that is, the dead whisper that someone’s bewitching children – leaving them husks, empty of joy and life. It’s on Ropa’s patch, so she feels honour bound to investigate. But what she learns will change her world.
The Disappearing Act by Florence de Changy (not only already delivered but currently reading) – subtitled The Impossible Case of MH370 – writing for Le Monde in the days and months after the plane’s disappearance, journalist Florence de Changy closely documented the chaotic international investigation that followed, uncovering more questions than answers. Riddled with inconsistencies, contradictions and a lack of basic communication between authorities, the mystery surrounding flight MH370 only deepened.Now, de Changy offers her own explanation.
Princess Mary: The First Modern Princess by Elisabeth Basford (already delivered) – Princess Mary was born in 1897. Despite her Victorian beginnings, she strove to make a princess’s life meaningful, using her position to help those less fortunate and defying gender conventions in the process. As the only daughter of King George V and Queen Mary, she would live to see not only two of her brothers ascend the throne but also her niece Queen Elizabeth II. Another entry in my collection of biographies of very posh women.
The (Other) You by Joyce Carol Oates – In this stirring, reflective collection of short stories, Joyce Carol Oates ponders alternate destinies: the other lives we might have led if we’d made different choices.
The Requisite Courage by Tracy Cooper-Posey (Adelaide Becket Book 1) – In Edwardian England, Lady Adelaide Azalea Margaret de Morville, Mrs. Hugh Becket, lately of the Cape Colony, was born the daughter of an Earl, but is now the widow of a commoner. She straddles two worlds, speaks fluent German, and can ride, hunt and shoot. Her talents draws the eye of spymaster William Melville, who recruits her to help him fight a shadow game with German agents both at home and aboard.
The Galaxy, and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers (Wayfarers Book 4) – when a freak technological failure halts traffic to and from the planet Gora, three strangers are thrown together unexpectedly, with seemingly nothing to do but wait.
The Quiet Americans: Four CIA Spies at the Dawn of the Cold War – A Tragedy in Three Acts by Scott Anderson – At the end of World War II, the United States dominated the world militarily, economically, and in moral standing – seen as the victor over tyranny and a champion of freedom. But it was clear – to some – that the Soviet Union was already executing a plan to expand and foment revolution around the world. The American government’s strategy in response relied on the secret efforts of a newly-formed CIA. The Quiet Americans chronicles the exploits of four spies.
The Edge by James Smythe (The Explorer Book 3) – Years ago, a vast and mysterious object known as the Anomaly was discovered in deep space. All missions to explore and explain it failed.Now, the Anomaly has almost reached Earth, threatening to swallow the planet whole. On an orbital research station, a team of scientists desperately search for a way to stop it or destroy it.
On This Day She: Putting Women Back Into History, One Day At A Time by Tania Hershman et al – On This Day She sets out to redress this imbalance and give voice to both those already deemed female icons, alongside others whom the history books have failed to include: the good, the bad and everything in between – this is a record of human existence at its most authentic.
The Divines by Ellie Eaton – The girls of elite English boarding school, St. John the Divine, were notorious for flipping their hair, harassing teachers, chasing boys and chain-smoking cigarettes. They were fiercely loyal, sharp-tongued, and cutting in the way that only teenage girls can be. But for Josephine, now in her thirties, her time at St. John feels like a lifetime ago. She hasn’t spoken to another Divine in fifteen years, not since the day the school shut its doors in disgrace . . .
I’m hoping to get back to properly posting on books read soon, but there are a couple that I’ve finished recently but won’t review fully:
Death in the City of Lights by David King explores the case of Marcel Petiot, a doctor in Paris during WWII who was exposed as a serial killer responsible for the murders of at least 27 people, most of whom were Jews who had come to him for assistance in escaping the Nazis. Deeply appalling. The description of his trial is quite astonishing – his arrogance and claims that he was a member of the Resistance killing people who were collaborating with the Germans were just so awful, but the investigation itself was messy, not least because the Parisian police had to contend with potential interference by the Gestapo.
Shards by Ian Rogers – a very effective horror story with a Cabin in the Woods vibe. I probably shouldn’t have read it at bedtime as it lingered with me. Loved it. Creepily nasty.
The first week of February has brought me fascinating non-fiction and a really excellent crime novel which already feels like it’s going to be a favourite read of 2021. Also my dishwasher died so purchasing a replacement was my focus for the week, but, you know, I used to buy things for a living so that was OK.
And it’s sort of snowing at the moment, so that’s cool. Literally and figuratively.
Hope you all have a great week. See you next time 🙂
Last week was a bit of a horror to be honest – a short but intense depressive episode, a couple of bouts of insomnia and a narrow escape from a phishing attempt – so I’m just not going into the details. You can probably guess not much reading got done so we’ll just skip that for now.
One of the things I missed was my Blogiversary! The Bride is now 14 years old; who’d have thunk it 😀
I turned 14 in 1976. Centuries ago!
Kelly McDonald, Sir Chris Hoy, Martha Wainwright, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ryan Reynolds & Chadwick Boseman were born. I love all of these people.
Agatha Christie, Howard Hughes & some bloke called Mao died
Mamma Mia was number one in the UK on my birthday. This explains a LOT
Star Wars began filming, Brotherhood of Man won the Eurovision Song Contest back when Britain still won that sort of thing, the summer Olympics took place in Montreal and Hotel California (one of my perennial favourite) was released.
So this week we finally took down our Christmas tree. We normally do this around Twelfth Night (as is both traditional and difficult to spell) but self-care demanded that twinkling lights were required for a bit longer. Sad to see it go, but it did dominate the room and it is nice to be able to fully see out of our living room window again, even if it was only to look at rain bucketing down. But I’m from the west of Scotland and rain is a way of life.
I did a lot of reading this week but only finished one book – Savage Spring by Mons Kallentoft; I’ve immediately started the next book in the series as Scandi noir is my thing at the moment, though after this one I might take a break and head off into other realms. In terms of what else I’m currently reading, no change from my last post. You can always see my Goodreads currently list in the side bar —>
The Poet by Michael Connelly – Mr B and I have been slowly working our way through the various Bosch series on Amazon Prime and on his recommendation I decided to expand into the wider Bosch universe; we recently watched The Lincoln Lawyer and I bought this book which is number 1 in the Jack McEvoy series.
Dead Mountain by Donnie Eichar – my inner X-Files fan picked up this, apparently the untold story of the Dyatlov Pass incident, which is the kind of thing you will have heard of if this is the kind of thing you find fascinating.
Luckenbooth by Jenni Fagan – “The devil’s daughter rows to Edinburgh in a coffin, to work as maid for the Minister of Culture, a man who lives a dual life. But the real reason she’s there is to bear him and his barren wife a child, the consequences of which curse the tenement building that is their home for a hundred years.” A new author to me and I’m intrigued by her previous novels.
The Gone World by Tom Sweterlitsch – The Silence of the Lambs meets Interstellar say the blurb so how could I resist?
And then there was WandaVision – so weird but such fun and a good replacement for our previous ideal Friday night’s watching (The Mandalorian and Star Trek: Discovery – welcome to nerd-central)
Coming this week – several pre-orders, my blog’s anniversary and a trip to the dentist, a bit stressful during Current Times. Hope you guys have a great week and stay safe!