This Week in Books (October 9)

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 |

Edinburgh, 1850. Despite being at the forefront of modern medicine, hordes of patients are dying all across the city, with doctors finding their remedies powerless. But it is not just the deaths that dismay the esteemed Dr James Simpson – a whispering campaign seeks to blame him for the death of a patient in suspicious circumstances.

Simpson’s protégé Will Raven and former housemaid Sarah Fisher are determined to clear their patron’s name. But with Raven battling against the dark side of his own nature, and Sarah endeavouring to expand her own medical knowledge beyond what society deems acceptable for a woman, the pair struggle to understand the cause of the deaths.

Will and Sarah must unite and plunge into Edinburgh’s deadliest streets to clear Simpson’s name. But soon they discover that the true cause of these deaths has evaded suspicion purely because it is so unthinkable.

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

Deep in the woods of Maine, there is a dark state facility where kids, abducted from across the United States, are incarcerated. In the Institute they are subjected to a series of tests and procedures meant to combine their exceptional gifts – telepathy, telekinesis – for concentrated effect.

Luke Ellis is the latest recruit. He’s just a regular 12-year-old, except he’s not just smart, he’s super-smart. And he has another gift which the Institute wants to use…

Far away in a small town in South Carolina, former cop Tim Jamieson has taken a job working for the local Sherrif. He’s basically just walking the beat. But he’s about to take on the biggest case of his career.

Back in the Institute’s downtrodden playground and corridors where posters advertise ‘just another day in paradise’, Luke, his friend Kalisha and the other kids are in no doubt that they are prisoners, not guests. And there is no hope of escape.

But great events can turn on small hinges and Luke is about to team up with a new, even younger recruit, Avery Dixon, whose ability to read minds is off the scale. While the Institute may want to harness their powers for covert ends, the combined intelligence of Luke and Avery is beyond anything that even those who run the experiments – even the infamous Mrs Sigsby – suspect.

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

Carrie’s best friend has an accident and can no longer make the round-the-world trip they’d planned together, so Carrie decides to go it alone.

Violet is also travelling alone, after splitting up with her boyfriend in Thailand. She is also desperate for a ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express, but there is nothing available.

When the two women meet in a Beijing Hotel, Carrie makes the impulsive decision to invite Violet to take her best friend’s place.

Thrown together in a strange country, and the cramped cabin of the train, the women soon form a bond. But as the journey continues, through Mongolia and into Russia, things start to unravel – because one of these women is not who she claims to be…

My next read is subject to change because I’m once again finding myself in that mood where I read 20 pages of a book and put it back on the shelf, only to pick up another one. I’m just rolling with it.

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

September Wrap-Up

Well, hello there! Long time, no see! Hope you’re all well.

I didn’t plan on taking almost the entire month off but the post-holiday blues are strong and the blogging mojo is low. Not helped by coming from two weeks in glorious 30+ degrees temperatures to what is that awful time of year called Autumn. Ugh.

For those who don’t know, I spent two weeks in Umbria with gorgeous views of Lake Trasimeno. It’s a good thing we had that view to gaze at without ever getting sick of it since on the first Wednesday, I pulled a muscle in my back and was unable to move for three days. I have excellent timing, don’t you know. 🙄

Of course there was also yummy food, delicious wine, a 2 litre bottle of Limoncello that was mysteriously empty three hours later with dire consequences 😳 and I even went on a boat. Twice. Some of you will know what a big deal that is. 🤣

Bookish talk. I took 8 books with me, which the other half thought was way too ambitious. I laughed in his face, despite having only managed two books during last year’s holiday, and was determined to do better this year.

So I read one. And a half. I finished the other half when I was already back home again. Oops. Technically though, they were two books from the Shardlake series. One of 715 pages and the other one 706. So that’s three books, right? 🤔

Let us now take a look at the grand total of books yours truly has read during the entire month of September.

| BOOKS I READ IN SEPTEMBER |

What’s the word I’m looking for here? Pathetic! Absolutely and utterly pathetic! Even though technically, 🤣, the three Shardlake books count as 6, that is still a measly 7 which doesn’t sound that much better, to be honest.

Let’s just quickly move on, shall we.

| BOOKS I BOUGHT IN SEPTEMBER |

Ah, well, at least the book buying mojo still works!

| BOOKPOST WHAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS MONTH |

With thanks to Michael Joseph and Orenda Books.

I’m skipping the round-up of my blog posts from this month because there wasn’t all that much to see anyway.

And that may be a recurring theme from now on. I may have to seriously reconsider the weekly wrap-up posts I’ve been doing, although I love doing them and interacting with you guys. It’s not that I’m not reading. In fact, I’m about 100 pages away from finishing my first book of October. It’s that I can’t be bothered to review them. That’s bad, right?

On top of that, my determination to slow down with blog tours has really paid off. I currently have one review tour for October and two for November. Hence why I had the time to finally get caught up on the Shardlake series. I’m immensely looking forward to reading my own books and clearing my shelves because I’m running out of room and according to the other half, piling stacks of books on the floor in front of the bookshelves isn’t an option. 🙄

But I’m sure you see the problem here. If I’m not writing reviews, there will be no blog updates and thus no wrap-ups. Unless you’d all like to stare at a blank page every Sunday. I’m happy to oblige 😂

Anyway, we shall see. Right now, I’m perfectly happy about slowing down for a while and maybe catching up on my Netflix list for a change. Or maybe next week, I’ll be back to reading and reviewing like there’s no tomorrow and I’ll be left to wonder why I wrote all this stuff.

So, stay tuned, I guess. 😂

Hope everyone has a fabulous week and October is off to a great start for you all! See you next time and in the meantime I wish you all lots of happy reading! xx

My Top 20 Favourite Reads of 2018

What an absolutely amazing year for books it has been! 

Just like last year, I thought splitting things up between series and stand-alones would help narrow down the list but nope. A Top 10 was never going to happen here. Despite the fact that my reading mojo was up and down like a bloody yo-yo all year, I still managed to read 250 books. Sure, that’s 50 less than last year but do I care? Clue : no, I don’t 😉

Anyway, I present to you My Top 20 Favourite (stand-alone) Reads of 2018. With apologies to the authors/books I had to drop from the list.

In no particular order, except for the Top 5, here we go!

Phoebe Locke – The Tall Man [my review]
Louise Voss – The Old You [my review]
Linwood Barclay – A Noise Downstairs [my review]
Mark Edwards – The Retreat [my review]

Ane Riel – Resin [no review]
Joanna Cannon – Three Things About Elsie [no review]
Gillian McAllister – No Further Questions [my review]
Shari Lapena – An Unwanted Guest [my review]

Lesley Kara – The Rumour [review to follow]
Karin Slaughter – Pieces of Her [my review]
SJI Holliday – The Lingering [my review]
Elly Griffiths – The Stranger Diaries [review to follow]

Gill Paul – The Lost Daughter [my review]
Louise Beech – The Lion Tamer Who Lost [my review]
Rachel Rhys – Fatal Inheritance [my review]

Top 5

5. C.J. Tudor – The Chalk Man [my review]
4. Ruth Ware – The Death of Mrs Westaway [my review]
3. Liz Nugent – Skin Deep [my review]
2. Elizabeth Haynes – The Murder of Harriet Monckton [my review]

My favourite book of the year is …

I don’t think this comes as a huge surprise. When I read this back in February, I said it would take something insanely special to knock this off the top spot. Skin Deep and Harriet Monckton came awfully close but in the end, “Agatha Christie on crack” won out. [my review]

A massive thank you to all the authors, publishers and Netgalley for making 2018 so spectacular! And to you, my fellow bloggers and readers, huge thanks for the support, for visiting and for commenting! ❤️

The Lingering by S.J.I. Holliday | @SJIHolliday @orendabooks @annecater | #blogtour #bookreview #TheLingering #RandomThingsTours #recommended

I’m absolutely delighted to host a stop on the blog tour for The Lingering by SJI Holliday today! Huge thanks to Anne Cater for the invitation to join and to Karen Sullivan at Orenda for the fabulous review copy!

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Author : SJI Holliday
Title : The Lingering
Pages : 300
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : September 15, 2018 (ebook) | November 15, 2018 (paperback)

aboutthebook

Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient spiritual commune in the English Fens, desperate for fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history.

When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution…

mythoughts

I don’t normally read scary stories because I’m a big fat wuss and I was slightly worried, that just like with scary movies, I’d be hiding behind my sofa or have my face buried in a pillow which would make reading rather difficult. Luckily though, I wouldn’t quite label this one as a scary read. Creepy? Absolutely! Chilling? Right to the bone!

The Lingering oozes atmosphere from the very first page, almost like a movie scene. Driving a car down a driveway, seeing a house loom up in front of you for the first time. Not just any house though for this place used to be a mental asylum and if there’s any setting more exciting than that one, I haven’t discovered it yet. Who knows what secrets are hidden in the walls and the shadows?

Married couple Jack and Ali leave behind everything they’ve ever known to move into Rosalind House and be part of a commune. It’s relatively obvious from the start that all is not well with these two. Their arrival at Rosalind House sets in motion a series of unexplained events. But who or what is responsible? Obviously I can’t tell you that but I will say this is one tense, suspenseful and thrilling ride. I wasn’t at all sure of the outcome, couldn’t see how things would end up but found the conclusion absolutely satisfying.

Part domestic thriller, past ghost story The Lingering had me absolutely hooked. Talk about a gripping read, hoo boy! I couldn’t get a feel for any of the characters at all which just added to this sense of unease that I found quite hard to let go of, even hours after finishing the book. On top of that, we are treated to diary chapters written by a doctor who used to work at the psychiatric institution and in an odd sort of way, those frightened me more than anything because they felt incredibly realistic and believable in showing what human beings are capable of.

The Lingering is one dark and disturbing read. With a brilliantly executed plot and complex characters, this haunting tale will linger (see what I did there?) in your mind for days. I have no doubt you’ll see this one pop up near the end of the year on my list of books of 2018.

PS : Do not read in the bathtub. You’ll thank me later.

The Lingering is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

S.J.I. (Susi) Holliday is a pharmaceutical statistician by day and a crime and horror fan by night. Her short stories have been published in many places and she was shortlisted for the inaugural CWA Margery Allingham prize with her story ‘Home from Home’, which was published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in spring 2017. She is the bestselling author of the creepy and claustrophobic Banktoun trilogy (Black Wood, Willow Walk andThe Damselfly) featuring the much-loved Sergeant Davie Gray, and has dabbled in festive crime with the critically acclaimed The Deaths of December.

Her latest psychological thriller is modern gothic with more than a hint of the supernatural, which she loved writing due to her fascination and fear of ghosts. She is proud to be one of The Slice Girls and has been described by David Mark as ‘Dark as a smoker’s lung.’

She divides her time between Edinburgh and London and you will find her at crime-fiction events in the UK and abroad.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter

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This Week in Books (October 17)

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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

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Ireland, 1901: For as long as six-year-old Cissy Ryan can remember, she has been a workhouse girl. Living amongst the other orphan boys and girls, dreaming of a family that might come and choose her for their own.

But the day her real mammy finally comes to claim her is not how Cissy imagined. An unfamiliar woman takes her to a tumbledown cottage in the rural Irish countryside to meet her gruff granddaddy. Settling into the isolated and poverty-stricken village is tough. But Cissy’s blossoming friendship with Colm Doyle and his horse Blue show Cissy the kindness and laughter is possible, even in the hardest of times.

As Cissy grows up, she finds that the world around her is ever changing. When she goes to work at prestigious Bretton Hall, she begins to realise that not everyone has an honest heart…

The book I’m currently reading

40668007

Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient spiritual commune in the English Fens, desperate for fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history.

When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution…

What I’m (probably) reading next

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It is 1868, and a 22-year-old Bram Stoker has locked himself inside an abbey’s tower to face off against a vile and ungodly beast. He is armed with mirrors and crucifixes and holy water and a gun – and is kept company by a bottle of plum brandy. His fervent prayer is that he will survive this one night – a night that will prove to be the longest of his life.

Desperate to leave a record of what he has witnessed, the young man scribbles out the events that brought him to this point – and tells an extraordinary tale of childhood illness, a mysterious nanny, and stories once thought to be fables now proven true.

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I may be a tad excited about my week. What are you reading this week? Let me know! Happy reading! xx