20 Books of Summer – 2019

The 20 Books of Summer Challenge is an annual event run by the lovely Cathy, running from June 3rd until September 3rd. Since I nailed it last year, joining in again this year was a total no-brainer. And just like last year, I will be reading these 20 books on top of my other commitments because otherwise it just doesn’t feel enough like a challenge to me. Unless my reading slump continues, in which case I’ll be in serious trouble 😂

So, here are the 20 books on my list. For now. This list has gone through so many changes already and I can’t promise you’ll be seeing these same 20 books again at the end of it all. But that’s okay! Because it’s totally allowed!

In no particular order, with links to Goodreads for your convenience. Reviews will be added as and when they are written. I hope.

What do you think? I’m pretty excited about my list. Apart from two titles that are only there because Janel made me add them 😜.

Who’s joining in this year? The more, the merrier! It’ll be fun! I think 🤣

Wish me luck! xx

This Week in Books (May 29)

Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

| LAST BOOK I FINISHED READING |

‘Sara! Remember! Victoria and Albert. All I can say. They’re here. They’re-‘ 

These are the last words Sara Prior will ever hear from her husband. 

As DS Nathan Cody struggles to make sense of the enigmatic message and solve the brutal murder, it soon becomes clear that Sara is no ordinary bereaved wife. Taking the investigation into her own hands, Sara is drawn into a world of violence that will lead her in a direction she would never have suspected. 

For Cody, meanwhile, things are about to get personal in the darkest and most twisted ways imaginable…

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

Max and Pip are the strongest couple you know. They’re best friends, lovers—unshakable. But then their son gets sick and the doctors put the question of his survival into their hands. For the first time, Max and Pip can’t agree. They each want a different future for their son. 

What if they could have both?

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

One dark January night a car drives at high speed towards PI Varg Veum, and comes very close to killing him. Veum is certain this is no accident, following so soon after the deaths of two jailed men who were convicted for their participation in a case of child pornography and sexual assault … crimes that Veum himself once stood wrongly accused of committing.

While the guilty men were apparently killed accidentally, Varg suspects that there is something more sinister at play … and that he’s on the death list of someone still at large.

Fearing for his life, Veum begins to investigate the old case, interviewing the victims of abuse and delving deeper into the brutal crimes, with shocking results. The wolves are no longer in the dark … they are at his door. And they want vengeance.

Anything catching your eye? What are you reading this week? Do let me know! Happy reading! xx

The Wartime Midwives by Daisy Styles | @MichaelJBooks @sriya_v | #blogtour #bookreview

It’s a real pleasure to host a stop on the blog tour for The Wartime Midwives by Daisy Styles today! My thanks to Sriya at Michael Joseph for the opportunity to join and for the lovely review copy!

Author : Daisy Styles
Title : The Wartime Midwives
Pages : 384
Publisher : Michael Joseph
Publication date : May 16, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

1939.

Mary Vale, a grand and imposing Mother and Baby Home, sits on the remote Fylde coast in Lancashire. Its doors are open to unmarried women who come to hide their condition and find sanctuary.

Women from all walks of life pass through Mary Vale, from beautiful waitress Emily, whose boyfriend has vanished without trace, to young Isla, cast out by her wealthy family after her first year at university goes horribly wrong.

Awaiting them is Nurse Ada and Sister Anne who work tirelessly to aid the mothers and safely deliver the babies. But the unforgiving Matron and Head of Governors, Captain Percival, have other, more sinister, ideas.

As war looms the women at Mary Vale must pull together for the sake of themselves and their babies and Ada and Anne must help protect their patients, no matter what the cost.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Author Daisy Styles was completely unfamiliar to me when the invitation to join this tour landed in my inbox. But with a historical fiction story about midwives in the early years of WWII, how could you possibly go wrong?

Mary Vale is a mother and baby home, a place of sanctuary for unmarried mothers-to-be who need to hide away their pregnancies. Women from all walks of life travel to the coast of Lancashire to have their babies in peace. So, we meet Emily, an unmarried waitress whose boyfriend has disappeared. There is also Shirley, a fifteen year old girl who needs protecting in more ways than one, and Isla whose parents kicked her out of her home the minute they discovered she was pregnant. Some of these women will return home with their babies, some will put their children up for adoption. And despite their differences, they may just find friends for life.

But not everything is as perfect as it seems at Mary Vale. Matron is not a very nice person and that’s putting it mildly. She and Sir Percival, Head of Governors, come up with quite the sinister scheme. The women at Mary Vale will need to pull together to keep their babies safe.

I must admit that I tend to like my historical fiction with a bit more depth and bite to it but there is something about these women that just pulled me in. It’s hard to imagine the days that unmarried pregnant women had to hide themselves away aren’t that far behind us and sad to see how parents valued their status above their own daughters, having no qualms but to throw them out of house and home because the shame and disgrace was too hard to handle. Even with a war looming, these women needed a safe space because as one of the characters is fond of saying : life goes on. Babies will not stop being born.

The Wartime Midwives is a heartwarming and moving story about love and friendship during the hardest of times. There are some wonderful moments between mums and their babies, but also some truly emotional ones. These characters will worm their way into your heart and you will root for them every step of the way. If you like your historical fiction a bit more on the lighter side or enjoy tv series like Call The Midwife, then this is definitely for you.

The Wartime Midwives is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Daisy Styles grew up in Lancashire surrounded by a family and community of strong women whose tales she loved to listen to. It was from these women, particularly her vibrant mother and Irish grandmother, that Daisy learned the art of storytelling. There was also the landscape of her childhood – wide, sweeping, empty moors and hills that ran as far as the eye could see – which was a perfect backdrop for a saga, a space big enough and wild enough to stage a drama, one about women’s lives during the Second World War.

Your Deepest Fear by David Jackson | @Author_Dave @bonnierbooks_uk @Tr4cyF3nt0n | #blogtour #bookreview #recommended #YourDeepestFear

Thrilled to host a stop on the blog tour for Your Deepest Fear by David Jackson today! My thanks to Tracy Fenton for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my review copy!

Author : David Jackson
Title : Your Deepest Fear
Series : DS Nathan Cody #4
Pages : 400
Publisher : Bonnier Zaffre
Publication date : May 16, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

‘Sara! Remember! Victoria and Albert. All I can say. They’re here. They’re-‘ 

These are the last words Sara Prior will ever hear from her husband. 

As DS Nathan Cody struggles to make sense of the enigmatic message and solve the brutal murder, it soon becomes clear that Sara is no ordinary bereaved wife. Taking the investigation into her own hands, Sara is drawn into a world of violence that will lead her in a direction she would never have suspected. 

For Cody, meanwhile, things are about to get personal in the darkest and most twisted ways imaginable . . .

| MY THOUGHTS |

Your Deepest Fear is the fourth instalment in the DS Nathan Cody series and … bloody hell! I’m in need of a drink. Or an oxygen tank. I feel absolutely drained.

This book is a little different from its predecessors, in that it isn’t all about Cody. Sara Prior’s estranged husband is found brutally murdered at his home, his naked body nailed to the floor. Due to events from the previous books, Cody finds himself somewhat sidelined in this investigation but not to worry, because we have a kick-ass and fierce Sara Prior who will dig deep and try to figure out what happened to her husband.

Meanwhile Cody is being taunted by his biggest nemesis. The clown. This person is by far one of the creepiest and most chilling characters I’ve ever met. Manipulative, pulling Cody’s strings and playing games … there is just no way of knowing what he’ll do next. Only that it won’t be anything good.

I do so love it when an author has no qualms whatsoever in putting their main character through the wringer, and the reader right alongside with him. After three books, I, as the reader, have become incredibly invested in Cody. The reader is aware of his struggles and issues and to see him suffer even more, to be pulled down to the depths of despair, utterly broken … well, it hurts. Now, don’t despair! If you’re new to this series, you can read this as a stand-alone. There is enough background to fill you in on what went on before but not so much that it’ll bore fans of the series to tears. It’s a tough balance to achieve but I feel David Jackson managed it perfectly.

I kept expecting Sara’s and Cody’s investigations to converge at some point but when they did, I was not at all prepared for what happened. Mind blown to smithereens! Just awesome! Part of me was happy in finally getting some answers, the other part has so many questions that I don’t even know where to start.

Your Deepest Fear is dark, disturbing and insanely tense. It’s so fast paced, it almost felt relentless at times and left me in desperate need of a breather. My heart was pounding, my hands were clammy and I was trying extremely hard to figure out how it would all end. Obviously I’m not telling you that but I will say that it has left me wanting more and I have no doubt it will have the same effect on you!

What an incredible addition to an already outstanding series! I dare say this is even the best one yet and I urge you all to read this series, if you’re not doing so already. I highly recommend it and I can’t wait to see where David Jackson takes DS Nathan Cody next.

Your Deepest Fear is available in ebook format. Other formats will follow soon, which you can of course pre-order.

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

While you’re there, why not pick up the previous books in the series if these are missing from your bookshelves 😉

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

David Jackson is the bestselling author of Cry Baby. His debut novel, Pariah, was Highly Commended in the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Awards. He lives on the Wirral peninsula with his wife and two daughters.

Weekly Wrap-Up (May 26)

I know I keep complaining about the weather like some old woman but seriously, what is going on? It doesn’t feel like May at all! One day I’m outside in a short-sleeved t-shirt basking in the sunshine and the next I’m having to turn on the heating.

The reading slump, I’m sad to say, continues. When pulling weeds in the garden sounds more appealing than a book, I know I’m definitely in trouble. So, I watched The Hobbit trilogy. Yes, again. And the behind the scenes footage as well. I’m not even sorry!

Am I getting in trouble with my schedule? Why, yes but also no. There’s nothing quite as stressful as finishing a book the evening before your blog tour stop and writing your review the morning of, though, is there?

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

Utterly pathetic 😂. The Slaughter / Child collaboration doesn’t even count. It’s only about 85 pages. At least I’ve not missed a tour stop so far. Yet. I was hoping to add another one to that, which is for tomorrow’s blog tour but I’ve not finished it yet 😳

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

I really enjoyed Alice Feeney’s previous book so I Know Who You Are was a no-brainer. And I’ve been hearing so many good things about The Dangerous Kind that I just had to buy it.

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

One for a blog tour, one a proof copy. With thanks to Michael Joseph and One World Publications.

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Nothing

Tuesday : Joined the blog tour for Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Breakers by Doug Johnstone

Friday : Forgot what I wanted to post here so didn’t post at all 🤣

Saturday : Took the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Anyone else missing the days where I posted every day like a mad woman? Just me? Okay then.

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Blog tour | Review | Your Deepest Fear by David Jackson

Tuesday : Blog tour | Review | The Wartime Midwives by Daisy Styles

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Nothing

Friday : 20 Books of Summer Challenge

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

I have a few busier weeks coming up the next few months but not as particularly crazy as I’ve been known to do. Which is good thing because as you can see from Friday’s post, I will be joining in the 20 Books of Summer Challenge again this year and I will, like last year, be reading those 20 books on top of my other commitments. Nothing like living a bit dangerously, especially in the middle of a reading slump 😂

This afternoon, I shall be finishing the book I’m currently reading for tomorrow’s blog tour. And then I’ll probably not be picking up another book for a few days and try not to worry about that or my schedule. But first, it’s civic duty time and voting.

Question of the week : Another easy one for you this week. What is your favourite book so far this year? I’ll even allow you to split your choices up into genres, if need be.

For me, it would be “The Taking of Annie Thorne” and in the historical fiction genre “Finding Dorothy”. Your turn!

That’s it! Wishing you all a fabulous week and lots of happy reading! xx

Breakers by Doug Johnstone | @doug_johnstone @OrendaBooks @annecater | #blogtour #bookreview #RandomThingsTours

Delighted to host a stop on the blog tour for Breakers by Doug Johnstone alongside my blog buddy Yvo. Make sure you check out her review too! My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my review copy!

Author : Doug Johnstone
Title : Breakers
Pages : 230
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : May 16, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Seventeen-year-old Tyler lives in one of Edinburgh’s most deprived areas. Coerced into robbing rich people’s homes by his bullying older siblings, he’s also trying to care for his little sister and his drug-addict mother. On a job, his brother stabs a homeowner and leaves her for dead—and the woman is the wife of Edinburgh’s biggest crime lord, Deke Holt.

With the police and the Holts closing in, and his shattered family in devastating danger, Tyler meets posh girl Flick in another stranger’s house, and he thinks she may just be his salvation, unless he drags her down, too.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Every once in a while, it really hits home how hard this reviewing malarkey can be. Especially when you come across a book like Breakers. While I was reading, I already realised there was no way any of the words I could possibly come up with would do this book justice.

Having only read Doug Johnstone’s previous book, Fault Lines, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Breakers but it soon became apparent Johnstone is seemingly somewhat of a chameleon who can seamlessly switch genres. In this case, from a dystopian novel to a psychological thriller. But not just any psychological thriller. This is one with a difference, incredibly original and with an amazing level of depth to it that you don’t always find in this genre.

Seventeen year old Tyler lives in Edinburgh with his mother and his seven year old sister. Life is hard in one of the most depraved areas of this city and Tyler is being bullied by his older half-brother into burgling houses of the more affluent residents. But one night, things go horribly wrong when a homeowner returns home unexpectedly and Tyler’s brother stabs her. Unbeknownst to them, this woman is the wife of Edinburgh’s biggest crime lord, Deke Holt, and he is not a man to be messed with.

This isn’t an easy story to read. It’s at times massively uncomfortable and immensely sad. Tyler’s circumstances are extremely heartbreaking and I really felt for him and everything he had to deal with on a daily basis. His love for his sister, Bean, and his fierce determination in protecting her and keeping her safe almost brought a tear to my eye. Stuck in this cycle of poverty, addiction and violence, Tyler goes out of his way to somehow create an environment of normalcy for his sister, a routine, all the while doing whatever he can to shield her from the things that are really going on around her.

A little beacon of light comes from a somewhat unlikely source when Tyler meets Flick. Flick is posh, goes to an expensive boarding school and drives a flashy car. She seems to have everything Tyler wants from life but looks can be deceiving. Watching their friendship develop was truly heartwarming. Flick sees Tyler the same way I, as the reader, did. As a young man who is good, who does good, but is also forced to do bad and unable to see a way out.

Breakers is quite dark and gritty. It’s tense and constantly has this sense of impending doom. I kept feeling deep down this couldn’t end well but was utterly unable to see how things would turn out. Tyler is one of those characters you become completely invested in, one you’ll root for all the way. This gripping, compelling, raw, sometimes brutal and utterly thought-provoking novel will make you reel against the injustice, will make you feel helpless, will put your own life into perspective and appreciate what you have. Breakers is a story that will stay with me for quite some time to come and I’m secretly hoping for a follow-up to see what becomes of Tyler and Bean.

Breakers is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Doug Johnstone is an author, journalist and musician based in Edinburgh.
He’s had nine novels published, most recently Fault Lines. His previous
novel, The Jump, was a finalist for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime
Novel of the Year. Several of his other novels have been award winners and
bestsellers, and he’s had short stories published in numerous anthologies
and literary magazines. His work has been praised by the likes of Ian Rankin, Val McDermid and Irvine Welsh. Several of his novels have been optioned for film and television. Doug is also a Royal Literary Fund Consultant Fellow.

He’s worked as an RLF Fellow at Queen Margaret University, taught creative
writing at Strathclyde University and William Purves Funeral Directors.
He mentors and assesses manuscripts for The Literary Consultancy and
regularly tutors at Moniack Mhor writing retreat. Doug has released seven albums in various bands, and is drummer, vocalist and occasional guitarist for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He also reviews books for The Big Issue magazine, is player-manager for Scotland Writers Football Club and has a PhD in nuclear physics.

This Week in Books (May 22)

Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

| LAST BOOK I FINISHED READING |

Will Trent is undercover at Fort Knox. His assignment: to investigate a twenty-two-year-old murder. His suspect’s name: Jack Reacher.

Jack Reacher is in Fort Knox on his own mission: to bring down a dangerous criminal ring operating at the heart of America’s military. Except now Will Trent is on the scene.

But there’s a bigger conspiracy at play – one that neither the special agent nor the ex-military cop could have anticipated. And the only option is for Jack Reacher and Will Trent to team up and play nicely. If they can…

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

Seventeen-year-old Tyler lives in one of Edinburgh’s most deprived areas. Coerced into robbing rich people’s homes by his bullying older siblings, he’s also trying to care for his little sister and his drug-addict mother. On a job, his brother stabs a homeowner and leaves her for dead—and the woman is the wife of Edinburgh’s biggest crime lord, Deke Holt.

With the police and the Holts closing in, and his shattered family in devastating danger, Tyler meets posh girl Flick in another stranger’s house, and he thinks she may just be his salvation, unless he drags her down, too.

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

‘…They’re here. They’re-‘

The message on Sara Prior’s phone contains the last words she will ever hear from her husband. Racing to find him, she discovers he has been brutally murdered.

While the police struggle to uncover evidence around this shocking crime, it becomes clear that Sara is no ordinary bereaved wife. And she is not the sort of woman to let things lie. Following a hidden clue in her husband’s last desperate phone-call, Sara follows the trail to the house of the last person she’d expect . . .

Meanwhile DS Nathan Cody finds himself drawn into the darkest and most twisted case of his career. And this time things are about to get very very personal.

The reading slump continues. Cleaning The Gold is a mere 80 pages. It took me an entire afternoon to read and it’s the only thing I’ve read since Saturday. Send help! 😂

What are you reading this week? Let me know! Happy reading! xx

Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald | @FitzHelen @OrendaBooks @annecater | #blogtour #bookreview #recommended #RandomThingsTours

Author : Helen Fitzgerald
Title : Worst Case Scenario
Pages : 200
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : May 16, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Mary Shields is a moody, acerbic probation offer, dealing with some of Glasgow’s worst cases, and her job is on the line.

Liam Macdowall was imprisoned for murdering his wife, and he’s published a series of letters to the dead woman, in a book that makes him an unlikely hero – and a poster boy for Men’s Rights activists.

Liam is released on licence into Mary’s care, but things are far from simple. Mary develops a poisonous obsession with Liam and his world, and when her son and Liam’s daughter form a relationship, Mary will stop at nothing to impose her own brand of justice … with devastating consequences.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Whatever you think this book will be about, set your thoughts aside. This is nothing like I expected and that’s a marvellous thing because Worst Case Scenario is incredibly original, refreshing and just an all-round fabulous surprise.

Just look at this opening line!

Every time Mary tried to relax in the bath, a paedophile ruined it.

Meet Mary Shields, a criminal justice social worker. Mary is awfully moody, menopausal, has a bit of a drinking problem, likes the occasional joint and is just plain fed up with her job and ready for retirement. She is also one of the most fantastic characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting and she had me chuckling from the very first page, even when at times it didn’t seem all that appropriate. You know how you sometimes laugh out loud and then quickly cover your mouth with your hand because it feels wrong? Yes, that. Then Liam, a man who spent time in prison for murdering his wife, is released on licence into Mary’s care. How could anything possibly go wrong?

Worst Case Scenario is often witty but also dark and moving. It’s extremely easy to imagine the frustration these social workers go through on a daily basis. With mountains of paperwork, flexitime and criminals that need constant supervision who keep finding ways to break the restrictions that have been put upon them, it’s a small miracle these social workers don’t go absolutely insane. Heck, I’d be drinking!

I’m trying to keep this vague because you should experience Mary’s turmoil for yourself. There are some tough topics along the way, all too realistic and believable and ultimately also thought-provoking. While part of me kept thinking there was no way things could possibly end well, shit hits the fan in a way I couldn’t have predicted at all. But I loved everything about it. I was quite sad to see my journey with Mary coming to an end and I’m secretly hoping she will be back some day.

I knew I’d enjoy this one, because Orenda Books never lets me down, but I wasn’t prepared for how much I’d absolutely love it. Gripping, addictive, impossible to put down and with an incredible female protagonist you can’t help but root for, Worst Case Scenario is responsible for one of the best afternoons I’ve ever had. As such, this moves straight onto my list of books of the year. A list which Orenda Books may just end up dominating at this rate. Highly recommend you check this one out!

Worst Case Scenario is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Helen FitzGerald is the second youngest of thirteen children. She grew up in the small town of Kilmore, Victoria, Australia, and studied English and History at the University of Melbourne. Via India and London, Helen came to Glasgow University where she completed a Diploma and Masters in Social Work.

She works part time as a criminal justice social worker in Glasgow. She’s married to screenwriter Sergio Casci, and they have two children. 

Weekly Wrap-Up (May 19)

*insert long rant about how crappy this week has been here*

Thank you for all the well-wishes on twitter. I’m fine. There is just a whole lot of family shit going on, which came at me like a speeding train and I felt completely overwhelmed by everything. On top of that, I seem to have landed myself in a reading slump and I’m suffering from a crisis in confidence, partly brought on by being the only blogger who wasn’t thanked by an author for her review on a blog tour. I know I shouldn’t let that get to me but man, it’s hard not to take that personally. (Thank you, shallow tribe! You know why! 😘)

Luckily, Line of Duty came to the rescue. I binge-watched all 5 seasons and am all caught up, ready for more! What a brilliant show. I can’t believe it passed me by all this time. It’s extremely impressive how a show where lots of scenes are just played out around a table can be so bloody thrilling!

Those wonderful days were quickly followed by picking up numerous books, reading a few pages and putting them back on my shelf. Nothing, absolutely nothing was grabbing me. No reading for me today as I have company and for once I’m actually glad about that. But tomorrow, I’m going to have to force myself to read a book for a blog tour and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried.

So, what did I read this week?

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

I don’t even care. I’m okay with this. That could easily have said just the one book, which I needed to read for a tour.

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

Adding some more books to my Harlan Coben collection. These have the most wonderful colourful spines and look so pretty on my bookshelf. Little Darlings was one I’ve been waiting for and should hopefully get around to reading soon. (That’s actually one I picked up and put back after 10 pages 😳) The other one, I don’t have a clue where I saw it or why I wanted to buy it, but since I wrote it down I must have had a reason so here it is. 😂

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

Courtesy of Avon and Orenda, both for blog tours.

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Never Be Broken by Sarah Hilary

Tuesday : Joined the blog tour for The Evidence Against You by Gillian McAllister

Wednesday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly

Thursday : Joined the blog tour for Tell Me Where You Are by Moira Forsyth

Friday : Shared my review for Anna of Kleve by Alison Weir

Saturday : Took the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Nailed it 🤣

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Nothing planned

Tuesday : Blog tour | Review | Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Blog tour | Review | Breakers by Doug Johnstone

Friday : There may be something but probably not

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Note to self : This is good. We like this. Try and keep it up. Even if we still have to read the one for Thursday 🙄

Fun little question this week because I’m curious as heck about the answers that’ll pop up. Brought on by little old me saying she’d never read a Michael Connelly book before Dark Sacred Night.

Name an author (or two) whose books you’ve never read. If any of you say Karin Slaughter, I might just hurt you! 😂

My answer would be : Lee Child. It’s a name I see mentioned quite a lot, yet somehow it’s not one that’s made its way onto my bookshelves. Have you read any of his books? Am I missing out something extraordinary?

That’s it for this week’s wrap-up. Wishing you all a fabulous week, preferably with sunshine (not looking good here). Until next time. Happy reading! xx

Anna of Kleve : Queen of Secrets by Alison Weir

Author : Alison Weir
Title : Anna of Kleve : Queen of Secrets
Series : Six Tudor Queens #4
Pages : 485
Publisher : Headline
Publication date : May 2, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Newly widowed and the father of an infant son, Henry VIII realizes he must marry again to insure the royal succession. Now forty-six, overweight and unwell, Henry is soundly rejected by some of Europe’s most eligible princesses, but Anna of Kleve—a small German duchy—is twenty-four and eager to wed.

Henry requests Anna’s portrait from his court painter, who enhances her looks, painting her straight-on in order not to emphasize her rather long nose. Henry is entranced by the lovely image, only to be bitterly surprised when Anna arrives in England and he sees her in the flesh. She is pleasant looking, just not the lady that Henry had expected.

What follows is a fascinating story of this awkward royal union that had to somehow be terminated tactfully. Alison Weir takes a fresh and surprising look at this remarkable royal marriage by describing it from the point of view of Queen Anna, a young woman with hopes and dreams of her own, alone in a royal court that rejected her from the day she arrived. 

| MY THOUGHTS |

The Six Tudor Queens series continues with the fourth of Henry VIII’s wives, Anna of Kleve. This is one I’d been looking forward to, happy to move even further away from the Great Matter, and also because I didn’t know much about Anna herself.

Anna hailed from Germany and to all intents and purposes seemed to have lived quite the sheltered life under the watchful eye of her mother. Until the day Henry VIII, King of England, decides he needs another wife and preferably another heir. With Spain and France joining forces against him, an alliance with the Duke of Kleve would be quite an advantage. Henry asks his court painter for a portrait of Anna. He likes what he sees. Until Anna finally arrives in England. Despite the marriage going ahead, it quickly becomes clear Henry isn’t happy and when Henry isn’t happy, heads roll. But will it be Anna’s?

There is quite the controversial storyline running through Anna of Kleve. As always, Alison Weir takes facts and builds her story around those. In this case, the reasons Henry listed for his marriage to Anna to remain unconsummated. By that time, he was nearing 50, massively overweight and unfit, and quite possibly impotent. But of course, that’s not something he would ever have admitted. In his attempts to have his marriage to Anna annulled, Henry shows a side of himself we’ve not really seen before. At times he managed to come across as likeable even.

Now imagine Anna. A young woman sent off to England to marry a King. She spoke no English, knew nothing of the culture or customs but did know the stories about what happened to Henry’s previous wives. How incredibly frightening is that? Unable to please Henry, through no fault of her own, her life at the court must have been spent in sheer fear and anxiety.

I mentioned the controversial path Alison Weir takes with this story. Up to a certain point, I was quite willing to follow it. It explained a lot, it made sense while keeping Henry’s words in the back of my mind. But as the years went on, I must admit that that particular fictional part of the story lost me a little bit. I’m being deliberately vague here because I want the readers to experience this for themselves. If you do read this novel, and you definitely should, I’d be incredibly interested in knowing your thoughts.

I absolutely adore the Six Tudor Queens series and boy, do those hardcovers look amazing on my bookshelf. As always, Alison Weir’s research is immaculate and her descriptions are fabulously vivid. From the various palaces and their furnishings to the food served to the gorgeous clothes, she brings this era to life like no other. While I enjoyed Anna of Kleve, it wasn’t my favourite of the series though. It’s a bit hard to explain but for the first time in this series, I really felt like I was reading fiction. Which it is for the most part, of course, but some of it just didn’t quite work for me. Nevertheless, putting those misgivings aside, Anna of Kleve is another fantastic addition to this series and I can’t wait for the next one.

Anna of Kleve : Queen of Secrets is available to buy in ebook and hardcover.

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