Well thanks to some excellent titles in the Amazon sale this week my good intentions were led astray – not that they ever need much leading.
The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan, courtesy of NetGalley – due for publication 26 Jan 2017
MEET THE ‘KEEPER OF LOST THINGS’…
Once a celebrated author of short stories now in his twilight years, Anthony Peardew has spent half his life lovingly collecting lost objects, trying to atone for a promise broken many years before.
Realising he is running out of time, he leaves his house and all its lost treasures to his assistant Laura, the one person he can trust to fulfil his legacy and reunite the thousands of objects with their rightful owners.
But the final wishes of the Keeper of Lost Things have unforeseen repercussions which trigger a most serendipitous series of encounters…
With an unforgettable cast of characters that includes young girls with special powers, handsome gardeners, irritable ghosts and an array of irresistible four-legged friends, The Keeper of Lost Things is a debut novel of endless possibilities and joyful discoveries that will leave you bereft once you’ve finished reading.
WE’RE ALL JUST WAITING TO BE FOUND…
The Long drop by Denise Mina, courtesy of NetGalley – due for publication 7 March 2017
William Watt wants answers about his family’s murder. Peter Manuel has them. But Peter Manuel is a liar.
William Watt is an ordinary businessman, a fool, a social climber.
Peter Manuel is a famous liar, a rapist, a criminal. He claims he can get hold of the gun used to murder Watt’s family.
One December night in 1957, Watt meets Manuel in a Glasgow bar to find out what he knows.
Based on true events, The Long Drop is an extraordinarily unsettling, evocative and compelling novel from a writer at the height of her powers.
Dark Water by Sara Bailey (99p)
Friendship doesn’t die, it waits…
A haunting and lyrical novel, ‘Dark Water’ is a psychologically intense portrait of adolescent yearning and obsession, set in the beautiful Orkney Islands.
When Helena returns to her childhood home in Orkney to care for her father after a heart attack, she is forced to face memories that she has spent half a lifetime running from.
Still haunted by the disappearance of her best friend, the charismatic Anastasia – who vanished during a daredevil swimming incident – Helena must navigate her way though the prisms of memory and encounter not only her ghosts but also her first love, Dylan, the only one who can help her unravel the past and find her way back to the truth of what really happened that night.
The Virgin and the Wind Rose by Glen Craney (99p)
While investigating the murder of an American missionary in Ethiopia, rookie State Department lawyer Jaqueline Quartermane stumbles upon a magical word square in an underground church that guards the tomb of the biblical Adam.
Drawn into a web of esoteric intrigue, she becomes the target of an elusive mastermind who intends to convince the world that he is the Mahdi, the long-awaited Muslim Messiah of the Apocalypse. Jaqueline’s evangelical faith is tested when she thrown together with a roguish antiquities thief named Elymas, a Jewish atheist. Together they race the Mahdi imposter to find the one relic needed to resurrect Solomon’s Temple. A trail of cabalistic clues leads them to the catacombs of Rome, the crypt below Chartres Cathedral, a Masonic shaft in Nova Scotia, a Portuguese shipwreck off Sumatra, and the caverns under the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
Intertwined with this modern mystery-thriller, a parallel duel is waged:
The year is 1452. One of the most secretive societies in history, Portugal’s Order of Christ, is led by a reclusive visionary, Prince Henry the Navigator. He and his medieval version of NASA merged with the CIA scheme to foil their archenemies, the Inquisitor Torquemada and Queen Isabella of Castile, who plan to bring back Christ for the Last Judgment by ridding the world of Jews, heretics, and unbelievers.
Separated by half a millennium, two conspiracies to usher in the Tribulations promised by the Book of Revelation dovetail in this fast-paced thriller to expose the world’s most explosive secret: The true identity of Christopher Columbus and the explorer’s connection to those now trying to spark the End of Days.
New York by Edward Rutherfurd (99p)
The novel begins with a tiny Indian fishing village and the Dutch traders who first carved out their hopes amidst the splendour of the wilderness. The British settlers and merchants followed, with their aristocratic governors and unpopular taxation which led to rebellion, war, the burning of the city and the birth of the American Nation. Yet a country that had already rent itself asunder once did so again over slavery. As the country fought its bloody Civil War, the city was torn apart by deadly riots.
Hopes and dreams, greed and corruption – they have always been the companions of freedom and opportunity in the city’s teeming streets. As the immigrant ships berthed next to Ellis Island in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, they poured more and more Germans, Irish, Italians and Jews into the churning ethnic mix of the city. Deals were struck, politicians corrupted, men bought or assassinated, heiresses wooed, fortunes were speculated on Wall Street and men became rich beyond the dreams of avarice. The heady seesaw of wealth and poverty was seen in the Roaring Twenties and the Great Crash, the city’s future symbolised by its buildings which literally touched the sky: the Empire State, the Chrysler Building, the Twin Towers.
Rutherfurd tells this irresistible story through a cast of fictional and true characters whose fates interweave in the rise and fall, fall and rise of the city’s fortunes. It is the story of how in four centuries New York became the envy of the world. And in telling the story through the lens of New York, Rutherfurd brings the story of America itself to unforgettable life in this epic masterpiece.
They All Fall Down (99p)
Ring-a-ring o’ rosie . . .
… Someone wants to play.
… Who’s not playing the game?
… Now Someone must pay.
Jen Harper likes to play it safe. She is settling into life on the outskirts of a sleepy fishing village with her little boy, Danny. Life by the sea – just how she wanted it.
When she meets Andy, she feels the time has come to put her baggage and the scars of the past behind her. Then she is introduced to Scott, Andy’s best friend, and is stung by his obvious disdain for her. Why is Scott so protective of his best friend? What is the dark secret that threatens all of them?
In her attempt to find answers, Jen must confront her demons and push her relationships to their limits. By digging up the past, she puts Danny and herself in danger. Will she succeed in uncovering the truth before they all fall down?
Spectacles : a memoir by Sue Perkins (99p)
When I began writing this book, I went home to see if my mum had kept some of my stuff. What I found was that she hadn’t kept some of it. She had kept all of it – every bus ticket, postcard, school report – from the moment I was born to the moment I finally had the confidence to turn round and say ‘Why is our house full of this shit?’
Sadly, a recycling ‘incident’ destroyed the bulk of this archive. This has meant two things: firstly, Dear Reader, you will never get to see countless drawings of wizards, read a poem about corn on the cob, or marvel at the kilos of brown flowers I so lovingly pressed as a child. Secondly, it’s left me with no choice but to actually write this thing myself.
This, my first ever book, will answer questions such as ‘Is Mary Berry real?’, ‘Is it true you wear a surgical truss?’ and ‘Is a non-spherically symmetric gravitational pull from outside the observable universe responsible for some of the observed motion of large objects such as galactic clusters in the universe?’
Most of this book is true. I have, of course, amplified my more positive characteristics in an effort to make you like me.
How to Find Love in a Book Shop by Veronica Henry (99p)
Everyone has a story . . . but will they get the happy ending they deserve?
Emilia has just returned to her idyllic Cotswold hometown to rescue the family business. Nightingale Books is a dream come true for book-lovers, but the best stories aren’t just within the pages of the books she sells – Emilia’s customers have their own tales to tell.
There’s the lady of the manor who is hiding a secret close to her heart; the single dad looking for books to share with his son but who isn’t quite what he seems; and the desperately shy chef trying to find the courage to talk to her crush . . .
And as for Emilia’s story, can she keep the promise she made to her father and save Nightingale Books?
The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett (99p)
What if you had said yes . . . ?
Eva and Jim are nineteen, and students at Cambridge, when their paths first cross in 1958. Jim is walking along a lane when a woman approaching him on a bicycle swerves to avoid a dog. What happens next will determine the rest of their lives. We follow three different versions of their future – together, and apart – as their love story takes on different incarnations and twists and turns to the conclusion in the present day.
The Versions of Us is an outstanding debut novel about the choices we make and the different paths that our lives might follow. What if one small decision could change the rest of your life?
Somebody Else’s Boy by Jo Bartlett (99p)
Will Nancy and Jack be allowed to embrace the future, or will their histories forever bind them to the past?
Drama teacher Nancy O’Brien puts her ambitions on hold to support her family, and returns to her idyllic seaside home town, St Nicholas Bay. Jack has his own reasons for heading to the Bay; a young widower desperate to come to terms with his loss, he hopes setting up home there with baby son, Toby, might just enable him to survive the future.
As Nancy and Jack become closer, not everyone is thrilled, in particular Toby’s grandmother, who can’t bear to see her late daughter ‘replaced’. When Fraser– the only man Nancy’s ever really loved – reappears, her living arrangements with Jack seem set for disaster.
Only the Dead by Malcolm Hollingdrake (99p)
Meet DCI Cyril Bennett, a man with a passion for manners and efficiency, as well as an eye for the ladies. His partner, DS David Owen, is naïve and untidy but keen. Together they make a formidable pair.
When the discovery of two infants’ bodies is made at a Teacher Training College, Bennett and Owen are given the case. Soon a number of suspects are identified.
At the same time, a killer is on the loose staging attacks using sulphur mustard.
Is there a link between the infants’ bodies and the sulphur mustard attacks?
Do the answers lie in the past or the present?
Bennett and Owen must work together to bring to justice a killer with revenge on his mind.
Bones in the Nest by Helen Cadbury (99p)
The Chasebridge Killer is out; racial tension is rising and the mutilated body of a young Muslim man is found in the stairwell of a tower block in Doncaster. As he gets drawn into the case, Sean Denton’s family life and his police job become dangerously entwined. Meanwhile a young woman is trying to piece her life back together, but someone is out there; someone who will never let her forget what she’s done.
Paperback Prize Wins
The Affair by Amanda Brooke courtesy of Portobello Book Blog & HarperCollins
A shocking story about a fifteen-year-old girl and the man who took advantage of her
“You might as well know from the start, I’m not going to tell on him and I don’t care how much trouble I get in. It’s not like it could get any worse than it already is.
I can’t. Don’t ask me why, I just can’t.”
When Nina finds out that her fifteen-year-old daughter, Scarlett, is pregnant, her world falls apart.
Because Scarlet won’t tell anyone who the father is. And Nina is scared that the answer will destroy everything.
As the suspects mount – from Scarlett’s teacher to Nina’s new husband of less than a year – Nina searches for the truth: no matter what the cost.
Girl Unknown by Karen Perry courtesy of Dead Good
‘I think you might be my father . . .’
When first-year student Zoë Barry walks into Professor David Connolly’s office and tentatively says these words, he is left reeling. But it is the lives of his family – particularly his wife Caroline – which are turned upside down by the arrival of this stranger.
A daughter, a sister, a friend . . . an enemy?
Though no one knows quite who Zoë is, she is soon entangled in their lives. Yet her stories don’t ring true and Caroline is determined to learn if the girl is the unlucky innocent she claims to be or someone with a far darker agenda.
A deadly cuckoo in the nest . . .
Because by letting Zoë in, David and Caroline aren’t just leaving themselves vulnerable. They’re risking the most precious thing in the world – the lives of their children . . .
Love in One Edition by Peter Cunningham
When Jasmine joins the staff of the Monument Gazette, she finds herself falling in love with Kaiser, a man whose childhood is shrouded in mystery. She resolves to learn the truth about his origins. But as she delves into the history of Monument and the three generations of the Pender family who have owned and run the Gazette, she uncovers not only Kaiser’s violent past, but also an appalling secret that threatens to shatter many lives, not least her own.
Love in One Edition is part of Peter Cunningham’s acclaimed Monument series, stories set in Ireland’s southeast, in which the lives and loves of people from the late nineteenth century to the present day are compellingly described.
The Monument series has been widely praised in Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as in translation, and has won literary prizes.
Out Damned Spot by F J McQueen
A serial killer is leaving a rather horrible trail of messy murders across London and William Shakespeare, crime scene cleaner, is on his tail, armed with a mop, determination and an inquiring mind.
After cleaning the room in which his half-brother, Kit Marlow, had been knifed to death, Shakespeare starts up his own crime scene cleaning business, Incarnadine, picking up know-how from the net and on the job. Following a series of clues gleaned from other crime scenes, Shakespeare is soon piecing together suspect profiles and likely modus operandi.
Out Damned Spot! has our hero cleaning up after every crime committed in the Shakesperian tragedies, but given contemporary settings. The masterminds behind the actual crimes are based on the writers whose stories Shakespeare ‘stole’…… needless to say it’s a comedy crime thriller! This is William Shakespeare as you’ve never seen him before….
Oh boy you have been busy in the acquisition mode…. I enjoyed Versions of Us though it was hard to keep track of which version I was reading at which time. Inventive story telling however. I’ve read one of Rutherford’s books -not sure now which it was but it was the history of England essentially from the ice age… spanned a lot of centuries for sure. Highly readable and i assume based on a lot of historical research
I’m afraid you’ve probably already discovered I have difficulty saying no to books.
Some great acquisitions there Jill, I have a few of these to read. I’ve read London by Edward Rutherfurd and it took me nearly 3 years! I do have New York somewhere on my Kindle – syching myself up for that one! Happy reading x
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I did have New York in paperback and made the mistake of lending it to a friend. There’s a lot to be said for not being able to swap ebooks. It also takes up far less room as he does write long books.
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Wow Jill, lots of interesting picks you’ve got there! The Long Drop jumped out at me, especially as it’s based on a true story, I love those kinds of books. Enjoy all those:)
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I read a sample earlier this year and provided feedback which got me approved for this one. I enjoyed the sample and I like Denise Mina’s books as they’re Glasgow based and I used to live there.
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I really loved The Versions of Us and enjoyed London by Edward Rutherford (although it took me an age to read it all) and I want the Denise Mina 😏
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Do I sense a visit to NetGalley coming on? ☺
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I did take a peek…
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Some good choices, Jill. I loved The Versions of Us, Spectacles and How to Find Love in a Bookshop.
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Well if we must have Black Friday at least I want to be tempted by something I want 📚📚📚