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 | 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!

January in Books

Photo by Kara Eads on Unsplash

Only 2 weeks later than planned (oops), here is a round-up of my reading adventures and new books that weren’t gifted; for my birthday book haul see here.

Now for the stats

  • Books started = 7
  • Books finished = 9
  • Pages read = 2356

Books bought – here’s the list!

The Pre-orders

  • Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire – The fifth installment in the award-winning, bestselling Wayward Children series
  • The Other People by CJ Tudor – Three years ago, Gabe saw his daughter taken. In the back of a rusty old car, covered in bumper stickers. He was driving behind the car. He watched her disappear. But no one believes him. 
  • Motherwell by Deborah Orr – Just shy of 18, Deborah Orr left Motherwell – the town she both loved and hated – to go to university
  • Mr Nobody by Catherine Steadman – Memory defines us–but what if you lost all memory of who you are? Or where you came from?

The Ones from my Christmas Wish List

(which somehow didn’t appear under the tree but were absolutely necessary to have)

  • The Wake by Linden MacIntyre – An incredible true story of destruction and survival in Newfoundland by one of Canada’s best-known writers
  • The Death of Mao by James Palmer – In the summer of 1976, Mao lay dying, and China was struck by a great natural disaster. This title recreates the tensions of that fateful summer, when the fate of China and the world were in the balance

The True Crime Ones

  • Devil in the Darkness by JT Hunter (already finished) – the second book about Israel Keyes on my list
  • The Arsonist by Chloe Hooper – On the scorching February day in 2009 that became known as Black Saturday, a man lit two fires in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, then sat on the roof of his house to watch the inferno.

The Ones Inspired by Watching TV

  • The Secret Worlds of Stephen Ward by Anthony Summers – The Profumo Affair was the political scandal of the twentieth century. The Tory War Minister, John Profumo, had been sleeping with the teenage Christine Keeler, while at the same time she had been sleeping with a Russian spy. The ensuing investigation revealed a secret world where titled men and prostitutes mixed, of orgies and S&M parties.
  • Unwanted by Kristina Ohlsson – In the middle of a rainy Swedish summer, a little girl is abducted from a crowded train. 

Non-Fiction

  • The Shapeless Unease by Samantha Harvey – In 2016, Samantha Harvey began to lose sleep. She tried everything to appease her wakefulness: from medication to therapy, changes in her diet to changes in her living arrangements. Nothing seemed to help.
  • Working Stiff by Judy Melinek – The fearless memoir of a young forensic pathologist’s “rookie season” as a NYC medical examiner, and the cases—hair-raising and heartbreaking and impossibly complex—that shaped her as both a physician and a mother.
  • The Quest for Queen Mary by James Pope-Hennessy – When James Pope-Hennessy began his work on Queen Mary’s official biography, it opened the door to meetings with royalty, court members and retainers around Europe. The series of candid observations, secrets and indiscretions contained in his notes were to be kept private for 50 years. 
  • The Ladies Loos by Kate Harrad – Drawn from the popular web community, The Ladies’ Loos, this new guide represents the collected knowledge of hundreds of ladies on numerous subjects. 

The Rest

  • Mem by Bethany C Morrow – MEM is a rare novel, a small book carrying very big ideas, the kind of story that stays with you long after you’ve finished reading it.
  • The Other by Thomas Tryon – Holland and Niles Perry are identical thirteen-year-old twins. They are close, close enough, almost, to read each other’s thoughts, but they couldn’t be more different. 
  • Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone – Jane’s days at a Midwest insurance company are perfectly ordinary. She blends in well, unremarkably pretty in her floral-print dresses and extra efficient at her low-level job. She’s just the kind of woman middle manager Steven Hepsworth likes – meek, insecure, and willing to defer to a man. 

February has already started off well so watch this space!

Sunday Salon | 2 February

It’s that time of year again – here is a gift book haul and other celebratory stuff. Although THEY organised Brexit for my birthday I was not deterred and had a really lovely day. Book stuff first, as always 😀

The Book God got me:

My brother gave me a gift voucher and I spent some time deciding whether to buy a couple of more expensive books or a pile of Kindle editions. (You can take the girl out of procurement etc. so of course I went for the latter!)

This is what I ended up with:


We had a really lovely lunch the day before my birthday in a super Viennese restaurant in Marylebone, but before that, we popped into Daunts and I treated myself to a couple of books


The big event of my birthday was a trip to the theatre to see Endgame and Rough Theatre II by Samuel Beckett. I’ve never really been a Beckett admirer but this production starred two of my favourite actors, Alan Cumming and Daniel Radcliffe. Really excellent evening out.


January has been a really good reading month, and I’m hoping that February will continue that streak. How is your reading going so far this year?

December Books | Impulse Buys

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

It is a fact that I am not supposed to buy books in December because gifts, but as we share wishlists I know the range from where my presents will be drawn.

That’s a complicated way of saying that if a title wasn’t on my wish list it was fair game. Here we go.

The Pre-Orders

  • Beast by Matt Wesolowski – because I love the Six Stories series and the podcast format makes for compelling reading
  • Dead Astronauts by Jeff VanderMeer – because any new book by this author is a must-buy for me

The True Crime

  • American Predator by Maureen Callahan – if you’ve seen my earlier post you will know that I have already read this, and will be looking into this awful serial killer more in 2020
  • Dark Dreams by Roy Hazelwood – Sexual Violence, Homicide and the Criminal Mind because who doesn’t want some light reading…
  • The Forest City Killer by Vanessa Brown – I heard an interview with the author on a recent podcast and had to find out more about this Canadian case

The Other Non-Fiction

  • The Pulse Glass by Gillian Tindall – a personal and global history in objects; I love this sort of thing
  • Good Morning, Good Life by Amy Schmittauer Landino – I follow Amy’s YouTube channel but bought the book specifically for an online book club read; I’m already behind…..

The Fiction

  • Intensity by Dean Koontz – I don’t think I’ve ever read any Koontz; this is serial killer rather than horror
  • Gallows Court by Martin Edwards – murder in 1930’s London, the first in the Rachel Savernake series
  • We Are All Completely Fine by Daryl Gregory – Harrison is the Monster Detective, a storybook hero. What happens when he and others like him join a support group? 

That should keep me busy for a while 😀

New Books – November

Photo by Jaredd Craig on Unsplash

A quick round-up of the few books I bought in the second half of the month. I was a good girl. Mostly.

Lights Go Out in Lychford by Paul Cornell

The borders of Lychford are crumbling. Other realities threaten to seep into the otherwise quiet village, and the resident wise woman is struggling to remain wise. The local magic shop owner and the local priest are having troubles of their own. And a mysterious stranger is on hand to offer a solution to everyone’s problems. No cost, no strings (she says). But as everyone knows, free wishes from strangers rarely come without a price . . .

The fourth and penultimate entry in the well-regarded Witches of Lychford series.

Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie

Beautiful Caroline Crale was convicted of poisoning her husband, yet there were five other suspects: Philip Blake (the stockbroker) who went to market; Meredith Blake (the amateur herbalist) who stayed at home; Elsa Greer (the three-time divorcee) who had roast beef; Cecilia Williams (the devoted governess) who had none; and Angela Warren (the disfigured sister) who cried ‘wee wee wee’ all the way home.

A classic Christie novel which I decided to re-read following some comments in a recent book about her writing process (I’ll be talking about that soon). Unfortunately I couldn’t find my physical copy so decided to get a Kindle version.

No Name by Wilkie Collins

After the tragic deaths of their parents, Magdalen and Norah discover the devastating news that they are both illegitimate and not entitled to any inheritance. Norah is forced to become a governess to earn her keep but Magdalen has grander plans and embarks on an elaborate scheme of revenge against her cold-hearted relatives.

I recently saw a Tweet which commented on the tendency to sensationalise classic novels when they are being adapted for TV because they have been done so many times, and why wasn’t more Wilkie Collins being adapted because the sensation was right there on the page. So having read the usual suspects in Wilkie’s catalogue I decided to broaden my horizons and got a copy of this.

The Late Show by Michael Connelly

Detective Renée Ballard works ‘The Late Show’, the notorious graveyard shift at the LAPD. It’s thankless work for a once-promising detective, keeping strange hours in a twilight world of crime. Some nights are worse than others. And tonight is the worst yet. Two shocking cases, hours apart: a brutal assault, and a multiple murder with no suspects.

I’m a late convert to Connelly’s work through finally getting to watch the Bosch TV series. While the Book God is starting the Bosch book series from scratch, I decided to get into Connelly’s new series on the ground floor.

Athena’s Choice by Adam Boostrom

Athena Vosh lives just like any other teenager from the year 2099. She watches reality shows with her friends, eats well, and occasionally wonders to herself: what would life be like if men were still alive? It has been almost 50 years since an experimental virus accidentally killed all the men on earth. However, a controversial project is currently underway to bring men back. There’s just one catch. The project has been sabotaged.

I can’t remember where I saw this but both the premise and the cover caught my attention, and I couldn’t resist.

Sunday Salon | 17 November

Suddenly (or so it seems to me at least) we are in the middle of November and I am starting to think of all things Christmas. This includes the wishlists that the Book God and I exchange – a simple idea that’s worked very well for the 25 years we’ve lived together. We each agree a number of gifts (almost always books, but sometimes music or movies), then exchange lists containing at least three times that number of suggestions. That way, we always get something that we want but we don’t know exactly what that will be.

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

This approach has two consequences (a) a book buying ban from, oh, around about now and (b) a Boxing Day online shopping spree for things we (OK, I) have asked for but didn’t get and now realise are absolutely must-haves.

But this hasn’t stopped the flow of new books coming into the Bride’s home in November. Let’s check them out, shall we?

The Pre-Orders

  • The Pursuit of William Abbey by Claire North – I love Claire and was lucky wnought to meet her at a reading on the publication of Touch which she kindly signed for me, and wher we all agreed that Roger Zelazny was a genius. Her newest novel is set in South Africa in the 1880s and involves a curse…..
  • Who Loses, Who Wins by Kenneth Rose – the second volume of his journals, this covers the period from 1979 and the election of That Woman, to Rose’s own death in 2014.
  • Delayed Rays of a Star by Amanda Lee Koe – an author new to me, but any novel set in the 1920s using a photograph of Marlene Dietrich, Anna May Wong and Leni Riefenstahl in one frame at a party in Berlin has me intrigued

The Impulse Buys

  • Laughter at the Academy by Seanan McGuire – the collected short stories of the author who also writes as Mira Grant, these cover “airy tale forest to gloomy gothic moor, from gleaming epidemiologist’s lab to the sandy shores of Neverland
  • Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver – “When strangers take part in a series of group suicides, everything suggests that a cult is to blame. How do you stop a cult when nobody knows they are a member?
  • The Vagina Bible by Dr Jen Gunter – I follow Dr Gunter on Twitter and very much enjoy the way she debunks some of the myths around reproductive health pushed by celebrities (my hard stare is directed at you, Gwyneth Paltrow) and gives sound advice to women of all ages. She gets a lot of stick online and I wanted to buy her book not only to support her but to learn things. Even at my advanced age.
  • Don’t Think a Single Thought by Diana Cambridge – “1960s New York, and Emma Bowden seems to have it all – a glamorous Manhattan apartment, a loving husband, and a successful writing career. But while Emma and her husband Jonathan are on vacation at the Hamptons, a child drowns in the sea, and suspicion falls on Emma.

I’ve done very little reading this week but have been listening to podcasts instead, particularly Jensen & Holes: Murder Squad. Yes, it’s tru crime, however did you guess?

Also of note this week was my first chance to attend a technical rhearsal at Sadlers Wells. The Dorrance Dance Company was performing – they use tap in a very modern and at times astonishing way and I had a great time. They are very much worth looking out for.

So, that’s my week. Hope you guys are all doing well and will see you in my next post (spoiler – I will go on at length about Doctor Sleep!)