Two Mini-Reviews and a Hiatus |Sunday Salon * 29 September

It’s dark and windy outside and feeling distinctly autumnal and seemed like the right time for a Sunday Salon post.

As with last week there has been no progress on reading – I’m still [not] reading the same two books and that means I haven’t finished any either. But as we are in peak publishing season a few new books arrived on my Kindle app this week, mostly pre-orders. Here, in no particular order, are the details:

  • Grave Importance * Vivian Shaw – the third Greta Helsing novel, set in a health spa for mummies. The Book God has already read this and recommends highly.
  • The Monster of Elendhaven * Jennifer Giesbrecht – defnitely a Halloween book, this tells the story of the city of Elendhaven which “sulks on the edge of the ocean. Wracked by plague, abandoned by the South, stripped of industry and left to die. But not everything dies so easily. A thing without a name stalks the city, a thing shaped like a man, with a dark heart and long pale fingers yearning to wrap around throats.”
  • The Tenth Girl * Sara Faring – a Gothic haunted school set in a mansion in Argentina with a family curse.
  • The Flower Arranger * JJ Ellis – Tokyo-set police procedural involving a reporter teaming up with the police to look into the disappearance of a number of young women
  • Starvation Heights * Gregg Olsen – a true story of murder, malice, quackery, a snake-oil saleswoman and untimely deaths. Fasting treatment is rarely if ever a good thing. Bought this after hearing the ladies on My Favourite Murder outline the story; I was really keen for a deep dive and this came recommended.
  • My Name is Anna * Lizzy Barber – “Two women – desperate to unlock the truth. How far will they go to lay the past to rest?
  • Gone * Leona Deakin – the first Dr Augusta Bloom mystery. I’m a sucker for any book where the protagonist is a psychologist and a private investigator, so here we are. “Four strangers are missing. Left at their last-known locations are birthday cards that read: YOUR GIFT IS THE GAME. DARE TO PLAY?

So, plenty to be getting on with as the nights get longer and I hopefully start reading properly again.

But if I haven’t been reading, what have I been doing?

Well, for three days this week I was away from home accompanying the Book God to the annual Jeff Hawke Society meet-up, for the second year in a row at West Dean College in Sussex. Also for the second year in a row the weather was very, very rainy. We spent a lovely day in Chichester (see arty picture below), and thankfully the food, drink and company was excellent and we had a good time.

I also took the opportunity to think about the blog as I have a lot going on over the next few weeks.

On Tuesday I will be having a minor surgical procedure (under general anaesthetic no less, something I haven’t experienced since I got my tonsils and adenoids removed when I was five (or six?) years old). It should be straightforward, and the biggest concern I have is which physical book I’m going to take with me to read during the inevitable waiting, though I understand that my age and chronic condition means I might actually be first on the list.

After that the London Film Festival kicks off and for a few days in a row I have new movies to see.

And finally we go on holiday later in October, off up to Scotland where we haven’t been for any length of time in quite a few years. So looking forward to going home and eating all of the wrong things….. especially if those things happen to be Empire biscuits!

So I’ve decided to take some pressure off of myself and put the blog on a break during all of these shenanigans, hoping to return on Sunday 27th October. Fret not, because I will be occasionally tweeting and regularly posting on Instagram, so please follow me there if you don’t already. The link are above, (she says, gesticulating vaguely)

The only thing left for me to do is mention two books I read in September which I haven’t reviewed as yet, just included for completeness.

Swan Song by Robert Edric is the last in his Song Cycle trilogy about a PI working in Hull. Young women are being brutally killed, the chief suspect is in a coma but it becomes clear that he isn’t really connected to the killings. Add an ambitious chief constable and our hero Leo Rivers has a lot on his plate. This has been a great series (I reviewed the others here and here) and I recommend them heartily.

Dahlia Black by Keith Thomas – when I bought this I said “this is ” … a suspenseful oral history commemorating the five-year anniversary of the Pulse—the alien code that hacked the DNA of Earth’s population—and the response team who faced the world-changing phenomenon.” They had me at “for fans of World War Z” :-)” And I was right. Really enjoyed this one as well. Nice slow release of information through various characters as we all learn what happened and what it might mean.

So that’s it from me for a while. See you on the other side!

Sunday Salon | 25 August

Waving from warm and sunny London with a round-up of this past week.

First of all, the bookish stuff:

I actually finished some books this week! After my post last Sunday, I decided to go back into the books on my Kindle that I had set aside, picked two and managed to finish both of them, namely:

  • Slowly We Die by Emilie Schepp
  • The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason

Reviews of both will follow soon. Promise.

Of course I was still buying new books. Of course I was. Most were pre-orders but in reading some articles and blogs I was persuaded to make a couple of speculative purchases. Here’s the dazzling detail:

  • The Song of the Sycamore * Edward Cox – I’ve met Ed a couple of times and he is a lovely bloke who dispenses hugs as required and writes excellent books. This is his latest and I’m looking forward to reading it soon.
  • Our War * Craig DiLouie – “After his impeachment, the president of the United States refuses to leave office, and the country erupts into a fractured and violent war. Orphaned by the fighting and looking for a home, 10-year-old Hannah Miller joins a citizen militia in a besieged Indianapolis.
  • The Zeppelin Deception * Colleen Gleason – Stoker & Holmes Book 5, neatly arriving just after I finished Stoker & Holmes Book 1 as noted above.
  • Old Bones * Preston & Childs – These authors have been around forever as far as I can tell but are new to me, brought to my attention by the Book God. And rightly so because it’s a Donner Party archaelogical mystery which really speaks to my interests!
  • Ashes to Ashes * Tami Hoag – “A killer performs a bizarre ceremony in a wooded Minneapolis park, setting the bodies ablaze. He has already claimed three lives, and he won’t stop there. Only this time there is a witness. But she isn’t talking.” A recommendation from an article referenced in CrimeReads.
  • Alternate Side * Anna Quindlen – Ms Quindlen is on the (relatively short) list of authors who have made me cry in public, as evidenced in this review. This is her new one and I think it looks good

In other stuff, we had a really good day out on Tuesday, visiting the Olympic Park in east London. I didn’t attend of the Olympics back on 2012 but watched chunks of it on TV, so it was cool to visit the site and see how it’s now being used. The photo at the top of the post is just some of the planting in the park. It’s possible that we had excellent ice cream in the adjacent Westfield shopping centre, I can neither conform or deny.

I also had my annual eye test; I spend a lot of time having my head examined because I have stable diabetic maculopathy, but this was about ordinary eye testing so no stinging eye drops were required. I’ve ordered new computer glasses and am quite excited about that.

No real plans for the coming week so hoping to read a bit more. Hope you all have a great reading week! 😀