Bit of an odd week, this one. Lots of laughter, which is always a good thing. But also some stress and worrying and not particularly good news regarding my doggie. An emergency visit to the vet’s brought some relief with painkillers and antibiotics but it’s very much a game of wait-and-see, especially considering her age (15 years). We have a follow-up appointment on Thursday so if you have any positive vibes you can send our way, it’d be much appreciated.
To the books! What did I read this week?
| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |
Normally I wouldn’t at all be happy with this but since I was a bit distracted and one of those books was 554 pages and another one was 440, I’ll take it. I don’t know why this always sounds like I’m defending myself 😂. I’m so ridiculously pleased I was finally able to get started on the Shardlake series and since I’m nicely ahead of blog tour reading, I’m hopeful I’ll be able to squeeze in book 2 really soon. For now, Leah can breathe a sigh of relief 😉
| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |
Still none. I had a few preorders but since they haven’t arrived yet, I’ll show them next week. So far I have the withdrawal symptoms relatively well under control but I’m not sure for how much longer. Getting a wee twitchy.
| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |
All for blog tour purposes and boy, am I excited! With thanks to Quercus, Avon, Michael Joseph and Dome Press.
Thursday : Blog tour | Extract | Suddenly Single by Carol Wyer
Friday : Not a clue
Saturday : Taking the day off
Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up
You can’t possibly imagine how insanely worried I am that I forgot to write something down in my schedule 😂. I have one or two (ahem) reviews to write so there may still be something but … so quiet. Things will be back to normal soon, you’ll see 😉
That’s it. The sun is out (yay!), I have reviews to write (boo!) and books to read (woohoo!). Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend.
I will leave you with this delightful find from my dear friend Rae, which cheered me up immensely these past few days. 😉
Delighted to join the blog tour for The Glovemaker by Ann Weisgarber today! Huge thanks to Ellis Keene at Pan MacMillan for the invitation to join and for the gorgeous review copy!
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
In the inhospitable lands of the Utah Territory, during the winter of 1888, thirty-seven-year-old Deborah Tyler waits for her husband, Samuel, to return home from his travels as a wheelwright. It is now the depths of winter, Samuel is weeks overdue, and Deborah is getting worried.
Deborah lives in Junction, a tiny town of seven Mormon families scattered along the floor of a canyon, and she earns her living by tending orchards and making work gloves. Isolated by the red-rock cliffs that surround the town, she and her neighbors live apart from the outside world, even regarded with suspicion by the Mormon faithful who question the depth of their belief.
When a desperate stranger who is pursued by a Federal Marshal shows up on her doorstep seeking refuge, it sets in motion a chain of events that will turn her life upside down. The man, a devout Mormon, is on the run from the US government, which has ruled the practice of polygamy to be a felony. Although Deborah is not devout and doesn’t subscribe to polygamy, she is distrustful of non-Mormons with their long tradition of persecuting believers of her wider faith.
But all is not what it seems, and when the Marshal is critically injured, Deborah and her husband’s best friend, Nels Anderson, are faced with life and death decisions that question their faith, humanity, and both of their futures.
| MY THOUGHTS |
In the late 1880’s, the federal government of America declared polygamy a felony. Bad news for the Mormons then. Men with multiple wives suddenly found themselves on the wrong side of the law and with warrants out for their arrest, many fled not just to save themselves but also to protect their families.
In the small town of Junction, we meet Deborah. She is the odd one out in this town. Married, but to a husband who is away for months at a time and with no children, the other villagers don’t quite know what to make of her. I, on the other hand, warmed to her from the moment I was introduced to her. When Deborah’s husband doesn’t make it back home on the date he should have returned, little does she know her life will be turned upside down even more.
Deborah is used to strangers showing up at her door, seeking help. She, her husband and his stepbrother run some sort of underground network and try to get men guilty of polygamy to safety. But when someone knocks on Deborah’s door, she instinctively knows trouble has arrived. Because no stranger ever comes calling in January. This unforgiving stretch of land deep in Utah territory is far too dangerous this time of year. Yet, Deborah sees no option but to help this stranger. That decision will change the lives of all the residents in Junction.
The Glovemaker is historical fiction from the top shelf. A lot of it is steeped in facts, which is always a bonus to me. This period in history was completely new to me. I learned quite a bit and am rather determined to find out more. Not every Mormon is a polygamist and the people in Junction much prefer to practice their faith in their own way. Nevertheless they will never turn their backs on their own.
The setting almost acts as a character on its own. It’s harsh and I have nothing but admiration for the people who tried to carve a life out in that place. They make it work somehow and there’s something quite comforting about knowing you can always rely on your little community, no matter what.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Glovemaker. It was easy to understand how hard it was for Deborah to make certain decisions. The wintery conditions added to the sense of isolation and throughout the story I felt quite unsettled, feeling something was coming but never really sure what that something would be. The Glovemaker is an utterly immersive story of love, faith and survival. My first introduction to Ann Weisgarber was an immense success and I look forward to reading more by her!
Ann is the author of “The Glovemaker,” “The Promise,” and “The Personal History of Rachel DuPree.” She was nominated for the UK’s Orange Prize, the Orange Award for New Writers, and the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction. In the United States, she won the Stephen Turner Award for New Fiction and the Langum Prize for American Historical Fiction. She was shortlisted for the Ohioana Book Award and was a Barnes and Noble Discover New Writer. Ann was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters.
She was born in Kettering, Ohio, a suburb of Dayton. She graduated from Wright State University in Dayton with a BA in Social Work and earned a MA in Sociology from the University of Houston. She has been a social worker in psychiatric and nursing home facilities, and taught sociology at Wharton County Junior College in Texas.
In addition to Ohio and Texas, Ann has lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Des Moines, Iowa. She lives in Galveston, Texas, where she’s working on a novel about a World War II German POW camp in Hearne, Texas.
Single-mother Florida bounty hunter Lori Anderson’s got an ocean of trouble on her hands. Her daughter Dakota is safe, but her cancer is threatening a comeback, and Lori needs JT—Dakota’s daddy and the man who taught Lori everything—alive and kicking. Problem is, he’s behind bars, and heading for death row.
Desperate to save him, Lori does a deal, taking on off-the-books job from shady FBI agent Alex Monroe. Bring back on-the-run felon, Gibson “The Fish” Fletcher, and JT walks free.
Following Fletcher from Florida to California, Lori teams up with local bounty hunter Dez McGregor and his team. But Dez works very differently to Lori, and the tension between them threatens to put the whole job in danger.
With Monroe pressuring Lori for results, the clock ticking on JT’s life, and nothing about the Fletcher case adding up, Lori’s hitting walls at every turn. But this is one job she’s got to get right, or she’ll lose everything.
The book I’m currently reading
Tom Bryce did what any decent person would do. But within hours of picking up the CD that had been left behind on the train seat next him, and attempting to return it to its owner, he is the sole witness to a vicious murder. Then his young family are threatened with their lives if he goes to the police. But supported by his wife, Kellie, he bravely makes a statement, to the murder enquiry team headed by Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, a man with demons of his own – including his missing wife – to contend with. And from that moment, the killing of the Bryce family becomes a mere formality – and a grisly attraction. Kellie and Tom’s deaths have already been posted on the internet. You can log on and see them on a website. They are looking good dead.
What I’m reading next
Don’t hold me to this 😄
Everyone in the small American town of Denton is searching for Isabelle Coleman, a missing seventeen-year-old girl. All they’ve found so far is her phone and another girl they didn’t even know was missing.
Mute and completely unresponsive to the world around her, it’s clear this mysterious girl has been damaged beyond repair. All Detective Josie Quinn can get from her is a name: Ramona.
Currently suspended from the force for misconduct, Josie takes matters into her own hands as the name leads her to evidence linking the two girls. She knows the race is on to find Isabelle alive, and she fears there may be others…
The trail leads Josie to another victim, a girl who escaped but whose case was labelled a hoax by authorities. To catch this monster, Josie must confront her own nightmares and follow her instinct to the darkest of places. But can she make it out alive?
What does your reading schedule look like this week? Let me know! Happy reading! xx
Author : Peter James
Title : Dead Simple
Series : Roy Grace #1
Pages : 457
Publisher : Pan MacMillan
Publication date : 2005
It was meant to be a harmless stag night prank. A few hours later four of his best friends are dead and Michael Harrison has disappeared. With only three days to the wedding, Detective Superintendent Grace – a man haunted by the shadow of his own missing wife – is contacted by Michael’s beautiful, distraught fiancée, Ashley Harper. Grace discovers that the one man who ought to know Michael Harrison’s whereabouts is saying nothing. But then he has a lot to gain – more than anyone realizes. For one man’s disaster is another man’s fortune . . . Dead simple . . .
Author Peter James had his thirteenth book in the Roy Grace series published earlier this year. Since I’d never read a book by him before, I apparently felt like that was the right time to start and naturally, I began with book number one because I just can’t help myself. Still, the odds that I will have caught up on this series by the time book fourteen comes around are pretty slim and there’s something quite satisfying in knowing you don’t need to anxiously await a publication date.
Dead Simple, the first book in the Roy Grace series, is anything but. It’s complicated, gripping and a fabulous page-turner. Yet it all starts so innocently. Five friends are out on a stag party and the groom-to-be has no idea what’s in store for him. It’s meant to be a harmless prank but then the groom-to-be, Michael, goes missing and his friends turn up dead. Enter Detective Superintendent Roy Grace who is sadly all too familiar with missing persons cases as his own wife disappeared without a trace years ago.
The story starts off brilliantly and is well-paced throughout. Although it was clear quite early on what was going on, there were still a few twists and turns to keep me absolutely hooked. I found it to be quite an intense ride and a true page-turner as the race against time unfolds to save Michael. This is one of those books where I get incredibly annoyed that my eyes stop cooperating and I have to stop reading because it’s just made to be read in one sitting. This is such a brilliantly executed and completely engrossing plot.
I warmed to Roy Grace from the beginning. He’s incredibly perceptive and determined, willing to do whatever it takes to find out the truth. I love his backstory and am curious to find out if this will be addressed in future.
Right off the bat, it’s obvious that Peter James is a fantastic storyteller and it’s easy to see why he’s a bestselling author. I already feel like this may turn out to be one of my favourite series. It seems rather disgraceful that I’ve left it so long in reading one of his books but now I can’t wait to get caught up! Highly recommend this one!
Author : Kate Murray-Browne
Title : The Upstairs Room
Pages : 320
Publisher : Picador
Publication date : July 27, 2017
Eleanor, Richard and their two young daughters recently stretched themselves to the limit to buy their dream home, a four-bedroom Victorian townhouse in East London. But the cracks are already starting to show. Eleanor is unnerved by the eerie atmosphere in the house and becomes convinced it is making her ill. Whilst Richard remains preoccupied with Zoe, their mercurial twenty-seven-year-old lodger, Eleanor becomes determined to unravel the mystery of the house’s previous owners—including Emily, whose name is written hundreds of times on the walls of the upstairs room.
Richard and Eleanor sink all their savings into their dream home. But there are strange things afoot. Eleanor thinks the house is making her ill. And her daughter has gone from a little angel to a temper tantrum throwing little devil. While Richard seems to be more occupied with their lodger, Zoë, Eleanor investigates the mystery of the previous owners and why the name “Emily” is found written pretty much all over the house.
I must say, I have some serious mixed feelings about The Upstairs Room but the overwhelming one would probably be slight disappointment. While the chapters about the house were great, there were flashback chapters about life for the inhabitants before they moved into this house and they completely ruined the flow of the story. In an odd sort of way, it almost felt as if they were written by someone else entirely.
I also didn’t really feel like they added anything, other than knowing everyone was miserable and none of the characters could apparently figure out what they wanted in life. There was way too much focus on past and present relationships. At about the halfway mark, I pretty much stopped caring about them altogether. What kept me reading was the mystery surrounding the upstairs room but there were no answers or explanations as to the why, how, or what and none of it was in any way creepy enough. Just when I thought things might finally get interesting and pick up, things fell flat.
Maybe my expectations were too high but all in all, I’m feeling quite underwhelmed by the whole thing. Even the ending didn’t satisfy me one bit but I’m very picky about endings so that’s probably just me. I was obviously expecting something entirely different from this story than what I got and this book was just not for me. But don’t let that put you off
My thanks to Pan MacMillian for my advanced copy which I received through Netgalley and chose to review honestly.
Author : Michelle Frances
Title : The Girlfriend
Pages : 464
Publisher : Pan Macmillan
Publication date : May 4, 2017
Laura has it all. A successful career, a long marriage to a rich husband, and a twenty-three year-old son, Daniel, who is kind, handsome, and talented. Then Daniel meets Cherry. Cherry is young, beautiful and smart but she hasn’t had the same opportunities as Daniel. And she wants Laura’s life.
Cherry comes to the family wide-eyed and wants to be welcomed with open arms, but Laura suspects she’s not all that she seems.
When tragedy strikes, an unforgiveable lie is told. It is an act of desperation, but the fall-out will change their lives forever.
Laura has everything she could possibly want. A successful career, a rich husband, a fancy house and a wonderful son whom she’s very close to. But then her son, Daniel, meets Cherry, a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, so to speak. She’s not had the same opportunities in life having been raised by a single mom who’s worked hard and struggled all her life to keep a roof over their heads. And Cherry is sick and tired of being poor.
Oooh, what a deliciously disturbing and twisted tale this is! The tension builds and builds up to a fabulous climax and I couldn’t at all guess at the outcome. Although I must say, it was highly satisfying.
I won’t be mentioning any names as I feel that would give away too much. Let’s just say that despite a few dubious actions, there was one main character I could absolutely sympathise with and another I completely and utterly despised. This character is incredibly manipulative and vindictive and even after being on the other end of the unforgivable lie that’s mentioned in the blurb, there wasn’t a single moment where I felt sorry for them. I’m honestly not quite sure if I’ve ever had this intense dislike for someone before.
And then there’s Daniel. Insert dramatic eye roll here. Caught up between his mother and his girlfriend, he is completely blind to all the clues and I found him to be quite a weak character. I just felt like grabbing him by the collar and yelling at him to open his eyes!
The Girlfriend is really fast-paced and truly addictive. With a brilliantly executed and clever plot, the author has delivered a gripping, engrossing read and an outstanding psychological thriller that has once again restored my faith in this genre. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it. This is an excellent debut by Michelle Frances and I look forward to her next offering.