Sunday Salon | 21 June

Happy Father’s Day to those celebrating with their Dads, or (like me) remembering Dads no longer with us.

It’s been a quiet week chez Bride, so let’s just get into the book stuff.


Currently reading – exactly the same books as last week, but I’ve made progress on most of them

Finished – nothing. So very dull.

New books this week:

  • The I-5 Killer by Ann Rule – another for my ever-growing collection of true crime books
  • Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine & Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood by William J Mann – a fresh look at the unsolved murder of William Desmond Taylor in the 1920s
  • Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis – I’ve been reading about Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple, and a reference to Elmer Gantry led to me looking into Lewis’s work and this caught my eye
  • The Deadly Touch of the Tigress (Anna Lee #1) by Ian Hamilton – learned about this series by Musings from the Sofa and thought it sounded great
  • Forgetting Zoe by Ray Robinson – mentioned by Girl with her Head in a Book, I think this will be an intriguing companion to My Dark Vanessa, which is on my TBR.

We have watched all four series of Cardinal, and was sad to see that there will be no more series; a real shame. But series 3 of The Sinner has just appeared on UK Netflix, and along with Russian Doll is keeping me occupied. Also excited to start watching the new Perry Mason series.

Hoping this week will be more productive. Stay safe everyone!

[Not the] Sunday Salon

When is a Sunday Salon post not a Sunday Salon post? When it’s on a Tuesday, that’s when.

You know I had to check what day it is, right?

So here we are already in another week and I thought I’d round up what’s been going on since I last wrote here, not in the whole world because, let’s face it, there isn’t enough space in my wee blog to even begin to tackle what’s going on everywhere else. I’m just going to tackle my little bit of it.

image via Canva

This is not a summery illustration but it has been very oppressive and we have had quite a few thunderstorms around here over the past few days so this feels about right!


I haven’t finished any books in the past week, but I am still reading (almost) every day.

I’m happily making progress on my reading challenges, and so far:

  • PBB Book Club – I’m 64% of the way through Middlegame
  • 20 Books of Summer – I’m 15% through Gideon the Ninth

They are both really excellent and I would recommend.

New books this week (excluding any pre-orders which I mentioned in my May 31st post) – all links are to Goodreads:

  • Don’t Touch My Hair by Emma Dabiri – I meant to buy this when it first came out as I have always enjoyed watching Emma on Britain’s Lost Masterpieces, but somehow forgot. But I have it now.
  • Where Are the Women by Sara Sheridan – a guide to an imagined Scotland, where women are commemorated in public spaces. Couldn’t resist.
  • Judas the Hero by Martin Davey – a recommendation by the Book God, which doesn’t happen often and is to be respected when it does, this is all about Judas Iscariot “cursed with immortality by a vengeful and angry God, [he] finds himself in present day London and head of the secret occult crime division known as the Black Museum at Scotland Yard.”
  • The Feral Detective by Jonathan Lethem – we watched Motherless Brooklyn this weekend and when I realised that it was based on a novel I went looking for the author, and this caught my eye, especially as one of the main characters has his pet opossum in his desk drawer
  • Devolution by Max Brooks – I adored World War Z so wasn’t going to miss this, an oral history of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre. Bigfoot is real, people!

Hopefully I’ll have some finished reads to report on next time. Take care and stay safe.

Sunday Salon | 7 June

I wasn’t sure whether I was going to post today given everything that’s going on in the world and that I’m a Scottish white woman pushing 60, but keeping quiet is how the status quo is maintained even if what you say sounds trite.


We Are the Flowers of One Garden (c) Shayda Campbell

Black lives matter and anyone who has a problem with that needs to stop and take a look at themselves. Access to equal treatment for other doesn’t mean that you somehow lose out, and for too long people of colour have been disproportionately suffering at the hands of authority and a system that was stacked against them from the outset.

I developed a love of history when I was at school and went on to get my degree in that subject (early modern history in particular which explains my obsession with the sixteenth century) but as I got older it became abundantly clear that the history we are taught doesn’t necessarily reflect the reality experienced by many, many people. The racism inherent in the British colonial/imperial rule is rarely addressed in those terms. We talked about our role in ending the slave trade without acknowledging our heavy involvement in starting it. As a Scot, I learned about the wealth brought to our cities, especially Glasgow, by those trading tobacco and cotton but with only oblique references to the slaves and that even after abolition Glasgow shipyards were still building the ships that would end up carrying slaves. In the UK we have huge swathes of people who don’t realise that there have been people of colour in our country for centuries.

And we don’t talk about issues surrounding police behaviour. It isn’t a crime to be black. We don’t have the same tendency to militarise our police force here in the UK (though some politicians would very much like to) but that doesn’t mean we are free from police brutality, deaths in custody and racial profiling.

This needs to stop. I want to continue learning about this issue, speaking out where I can while knowing that I may get it wrong sometimes. Better to make the occasional mistake in trying to be an ally than to stay silent. I also know that I need to read more widely than I do now; my TBR pile doesn’t have as many works by people of colour as it should, and I’m going to try to improve.


And don’t get me started on JK Rowling and her latest anti-trans stuff. Just don’t.


But let’s talk about books.

It’s been a good reading week. I finished two books – The Deep by Nick Cutter and Transcription by Kate Atkinson – and reviews will follow. Honest.

I made good progress on the two reading challenges/programmes in which I’m taking part, namely:

  • PBB Book Club – Middlegame by Seanan McGuire (I’m 30% in); and
  • Twenty Books of Summer – the two books I read this week were for that challenge, and I have just started the third, Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir.

My full currently reading list is on the sidebar.

Three new books arrived chez Bride this week:

  • Closure Limited (and other zombie tales) by Max Brooks of World War Z fame (I loved that book so much);
  • Putney by Sofka Zinovie; and
  • Dead to Her by Sarah Pinborough, which was a pre-order that I thought wasn’t arriving until later in the summer but the Kindle edition was released and just appeared in my app the way ebooks just do.

And that’s it for this week. Please stay safe everyone.

Sunday Salon | 31 May

[Bloggers note: yes, it’s the 1 June but this was all ready to be loaded yesterday and I just …. forgot 😦 ]


The end of May already. This year has been so weird but one constant for me has of course been reading and buying books. Mostly buying if I’m being honest 😀

So here is my round-up of the month.

Photo by Frame Harirak on Unsplash

The Stats

  • Books read = 6;
  • Number of Pages = 1968;
  • Progress against Goodreads challenge = 52% (7 books ahead of schedule)

May Book Haul

Because I’ve been flaky when it comes to updating new books I was going to do a list here BUT when I looked at how many there were and considered that my last two posts were basically just lists of books I’ve decided not to do that again, or at least not so soon. But in case you are interested…

  • 4 x sci-fi/fantasy titles;
  • 7 x crime;
  • 1 x general fiction;
  • 2 x true crime; and
  • 6 x non-fiction

This list excludes pre-orders. That’s a lot. I’m going to try to do better next month by which I of course mean less. Having said that…

June Pre-Orders

Night. Sleep. Death. The Stars. – JCO – “a gripping examination of contemporary America through the prism of a family tragedy: when a powerful parent dies, each of his adult children reacts in startling and unexpected ways, and his grieving widow in the most surprising way of all.” JCO is one of my favourite contemporary authors so, you know, had to be done.
A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians by HG Parry – “A sweeping tale of revolution and wonder in a world not quite like our own, [it] is a genre-defying story of magic, war, and the struggle for freedom.
Riviera Gold by Laurie R King – the latest in the consistently excellent Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes series
Hinton Hollow Death Trip by Will Carver – volume 3 in a series of which I haven’t read any so far, but the premise sounded great and I can always go back to the others later


In other stuff……

Currently watching Stumptown and Snowpiercer and despite the horrors of the world enjoying John Oliver (Last Week Tonight) whenever he appears – this week’s should be a must-watch.

20 Books of Summer – it’s that time again, and you will already have (hopefully) seen my reading list post

Celebrating our wedding anniversary during the quarantine involved my home-made lasagna, a couple of glasses of fizzy wine and two hours of Chinese sci-fi on Netflix because that is how we, as a couple, roll.

Moaning about the fact that hardly anyone except me seems to be wearing masks when outside.


Hope you have a great reading week, and stay safe!

Sunday Salon | Books read in May so far

So here we are after a break of 3 weeks and I thought it might be fun to look at the books I’ve finished so far this month.

It’s been a fairly good month for reading but not a great one for blogging; what can I say? More mini-reviews are likely to follow, but let’s stick with these six for now, along with an update on what I’m currently reading and some other stuff that might be of interest.

Somewhere Beneath Those Waves by Sarah Monette – a collection of short stories missing fantasy & science fiction which I really enjoyed, especially as it includes a Kyle Murchison Booth story (see my review of her collected Booth stories here)

Follow Me by Angela Clarke – an enjoyably fast read, a police procedural with social media right at the forefront. I read it in one sitting and have bought the sequels

Walking to Aldebaran by Adrian Tchaikovsky – a very creepy sci-fi novel which was almost psychedelic in its language and imagery. Very unsettling. So good.

The Love-Charm of Bombs by Lara Feigel – as I’m getting older I’m finding that my interest is shifting from WWI to WWII, especially social history and the home front. This is a joint biography of several authors (namely Elizabeth Bowen, Rose Macaulay, Henry Green, Graham Greene and Hilde Spiel) who were all based in London in the Blitz. It was fascinating to find out about their complicated personal lives.

The Last Book on the Left – from the guys who write & present the Last Podcast on the Left, this is a quick trot through the lives and crimes of several very well-known serial killers. Now, if you’ve been here for any length of time you will know that I cannot resist true crime and I follow many podcasts (I’m a proud Murderino for example) but I’ve never found this one particularly engaging. The book is fine but the comic interjections just didn’t work for me.

The Killing Streets by Tanya Bretherton – another true crime read, this covers the story of what appears to be the first known serial killer in Australia. Set in the 1930s in Sydney, the main interest for me is the social history elements – the expectations on women, the behaviour of the police and so on – but I wasn’t totally convinced that these murders of young women were connected.


In terms of what I’m currently reading, I seem to be stuck in the middle of several books and not making much progress.

Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch – the seventh in the Rivers of London series, I started this in January and have been making very slow progress for reasons I don’t understand, but I do want to finish it because I have three more to read 🙂

The Outsider by Stephen King – enjoyed what I’ve read so far and really want to know how it turns out so this will get finished

True Detective by Max Allan Collins – the first Nathan Heller novel, I picked this up because the Book God has read many (if not all) of the series and thought I would enjoy it and so far he has been spot on.

As none of these titles is on my list for this year’s Twenty Books of Summer challenge, I need to make an effort to finish them by June 1.

As if that wasn’t enough, my need for non-fiction has led me to start a book about Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple, which ticks so many boxes for me it isn’t true.

And I have finally succumbed and signed up to Audible so that if nothing else I can listen to Neil Gaiman’s Sandman when it launches in July.


Being indoors apart from forays for groceries and exercise, we’ve been watching more films – I miss going to the cinema more than anything else – and some great TV. Killing Eve hasn’t finished yet so I’m reserving judgement, but last night, so much later than everyone else, of course, we finished watching DEVS. I loved it so much. I think Alex Garland is an amazing writer/director and the series was thought-provoking and beautiful. A highlight of this year so far.

How are you guys holding up in these unusual times?

Sunday Salon |3 May

So, it’s been a while. Again. I must confess that I just haven’t been in the mood for blogging, and although I have been reading I’ve not finished anything, flitting from one book to another. But given it’s the beginning of a new month (apparently – who knows any more) I decided to shove some thoughts down in the hopes that it kickstarts me into blogging more regularly

But don’t hold your breath. I mean that, breath-holding really isn’t a very good idea at the moment.

Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

May’s pre-orders

This was going to be a longer list but the current situation has seen schedules being moved around quite a lot. The new Stephen King was brought forward to April and a couple of others on my original list have been moved forward to late summer. But these three still seem to be heading my way

The Mother Code by Carol Stivers:

The year is 2049. When a deadly non-viral agent intended for biowarfare spreads out of control, scientists must scramble to ensure the survival of the human race. They turn to their last resort, a plan to place genetically engineered children inside the cocoons of large-scale robots–to be incubated, birthed, and raised by machines. But there is yet one hope of preserving the human order–an intelligence programmed into these machines that renders each unique in its own right–the Mother Code.

Hmm. Probably won’t read that just at the moment.

Westside Saints by WM Akers:

Return to a twisted version of Jazz Age New York in this follow up to the critically acclaimed fantasy Westside, as relentless sleuth Gilda Carr’s pursuit of tiny mysteries drags her into a case that will rewrite everything she knows about her past.

I really, really do need to read the first book in this series…..

Out of Body by Jeffrey Ford:

A small-town librarian witnesses a murder at his local deli, and what had been routine sleep paralysis begins to transform into something far more disturbing. The trauma of holding a dying girl in his arms drives him out of his own body. The town he knows so well is suddenly revealed to him from a whole new perspective. Secrets are everywhere and demons fester behind closed doors.

I love Jeffrey Ford so I am very much looking forward to this.

What are you looking forward to bookwise this month?

Sunday Salon | 19 April

So here we are at the end of another week of isolation and I have been outside exactly once when I went for some exercise on one of our sunnier days, but please don’t ask me what day it was because I couldn’t tell you off the top of my head.

OK, I checked.

It was Tuesday.

Apart from that, and as Mr B has been managing the grocery shopping, I’ve been puttering around the house doing chores, working on some of my hobbies (sorting out all of my neglected family history research notes for example), and reading, but mostly buying, books.So it seems that it’s time for a round-up.

Books read – in April so far:

  • Pet Sounds by Quinn Cummings
  • The White Road by John Connolly
  • The Mists of the Miskatonic Volume 2 by AL Halsey
  • We Are All Completely Fine by Daryl Gregory
  • A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

Reviews will be following in due course so I’ll say no more about them here, for now.

Pre-orders received since my last post

  • The Book of Koli – the first book in the Rampart Trilogy because its MR Carey and no other reasoning is required
  • Creeping Jenny by Jeff Noon because it sounded good
  • The Ratline by – because I’m currently interested in WW2

You can see the books I’m currently reading on the Goodreads shelf in my sidebar

Other Stuff

I am still very sad at the death last week of Tim Brooke-Taylor, one of the Goodies and a key figure in my teenage TV-watching years. I am also sad at the end of Criminal Minds, one of the very few series where I have never missed an episode. I liked the way it ended; its always pleasing when a series gets a proper and in this case positive ending.

We have also started watching DEVS which is extremely interesting, and Killing Eve is back and I had totally forgotten that they filmed some of it in New Malden, where I live. Super cool.

Hope you are all staying safe, sending virtual hugs to you all!

Sunday Salon | 5 April

It’s a beautiful sunny day here in SW London, windows are open and the birds are singing and I’m staying inside because that’s the sensible thing to do. There’s a lot of moralising here about people going to parks and so on and I won’t weigh in on that as we all have to make our own choices but I will say that as someone who really enjoys being a homebody even I’m beginning to get a bit stir crazy, so I understand the desire.

I did go out for a 40-minute walk around the neighbourhood yesterday and I looked like I was off to rob a bank. The selfie is on my Instagram (link above) if you’re interested in what the shabbily chic potential criminal is wearing these days!


I still haven’t got back into the blogging habit and I’m going to cut myself some slack because there’s just so much going on in my brain that sitting and concentrating on being coherent is all a bit much. This doesn’t count because it’s all stream of consciousness anyway.

A couple of commenters last week (waves hello to Bryan and Jenny) asked what I’d been watching, so here’s a quick round-up of the TV stuff we’ve finished in March:

  • The Expanse S2 (we’ve also started S3)
  • Doctor Who S13
  • My Life is Murder S1 (Australian light crime drama with Lucy Lawless)
  • Traces (Scottish murder mystery co-created by the great Val McDermid)
  • Stockholm Requiem (Swedish noir)
  • Star Trek: Picard

I’m still watching Criminal Minds and preparing for it to end, except I’m not prepared at all – what will I do without Spencer Reid and Penelope Garcia? And I am also really enjoying The Mandalorian – any suggestion that I have pre-ordered a Baby Yoda toy would be entirely accurate!

The TV highlight this week was a BBC film by Mark Gatiss on the life and work of Aubrey Beardsley, designed to accompany an exhibition that none of us can visit. Such a thoughtful and intelligent programme, do watch it if you can.

The Peacock Skirt (1893) – Stephen Calloway

And I am reading – finished three books this week and well into a fourth!

Hope you are all keeping well and staying safe. Until next time!

Sunday Salon | 29 March

Well, it’s been a while since I last posted here and the world has gone to hell in a handcart as my old Gran would declare.

There isn’t much more to say about the current situation apart from it being good to see in a time of genuine crisis that there are vastly more kind people than there are idiots, though I’m sad to say that most of the biggest idiots are in positions of power and their decision making has not been stellar.

But no more about that.

Richmond Park, March

Like everyone else, here at Chez Bride we have been staying home and trying to be sensible. Both Mr B and I have existing chronic conditions and are being careful to minimise our exposure and also to behave as if we might infect others.

Of course, I had to develop a nasty cough because, apparently, I don’t like being left out of anything. I have had no other symptoms, so I think I’ve been suffering from a mix of a cold (which in my case always leads to a cough), irritation due to dust exposure as I occupy myself with some major decluttering, all topped up with seasonal allergies. It’s been sunny and windy here in my corner of London and as I have been exclusively indoors since 20 March I’ve been making a point of opening the windows as often as I can, so the pollen etc. has been coming to me as I haven’t been able to go to it.

I’m beginning to get cabin fever though and hope to be able to venture out tomorrow on a grocery run and we’ll take it from there.

I have been reading and watching film/TV and really do want to start blogging again so that I can bore you all to tears with my various observations on stuff so watch this space. I will not, however, be admitting to the number of new books that have made it into my collection since my last post; I will start afresh in April.

I hope you are all keeping well and staying safe and I’ll be back here again soon.

Sunday Salon | 16 February

I’m currently writing this on Sunday afternoon as Storm Dennis has whipped its way across the UK. It is wet.

I’ve not been reading quite as much this week as I’ve been a tad under the weather (pun not intended). I met up with my friend Silvery Dude for the first time this year and we exchanged book and TV show titles to look out for and uncharacteristically did not have any alcohol.

I finished the second Charlie Parker novel and am now officially obsessed and I now have all the titles up to and including volume eight which isn’t even halfway through the series. I sense a project here.

At home, we dipped our toes into The October Faction and Locke & Key and will probably continue watching them as they were very promising.

And we went to see the Birds of Prey movie which I will review soon but the highlights are that this is an absolute hoot, Margot Robbie is fabulous and sleazy Ewan McGregor is the best Ewan McGregor.

That latter statement is not up for debate 😀

New Books

  • What We Did in the Dark by Ajay Close – a fictionalised account of author Catherine Carswell’s first marriage
  • The Decent Inn of Death by Rennie Airth – Snowed in at a country manor, former Scotland Yard inspectors John Madden and Angus Sinclair find themselves trapped in the company of a murderer.
  • The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep – The ultimate book-lover’s fantasy, featuring a young scholar with the power to bring literary characters into the world

I finished Dark Hollow by John Connolly – Charlie Parker #2

I am currently reading The Killing Kind by John Connolly – Charlie Parker 3

There is a pattern here, I think :-), can you tell?

Hope you all have a great reading week!