My Bookish Month – September 2020

Well despite being on holiday for two weeks and aiming to stay away from social media I still managed to acquire quite a few books. The holiday was supposed to see me working through the book mountain but sadly that didn’t happen either. With near perfect weather for the whole holiday, it meant getting out and about and making the most of it before shorter nights and colder weather become the order of the day. Miraculously I even managed a trip to Hay on Wye without coming back with my usual randon assortment of books. Couldn’t say the same for Aardvark Books (but did restrict it to one!). So overall, no dent in the reading pile but lots of lovely additions to keep it propped up.

Books Bought

NB Purchase links are affiliate links which could earn me a small commission without any additional cost to you

The Perfect Liar by Beverley Harvey (on pre-order)
The Perfect Liar: A completely gripping thriller with a breathtaking twist by [Beverley Harvey]

Harry is the perfect holiday romance. He’s handsome, charming, great company. Except everything he’s told you is a lie.

The month in Tuscany was meant to be a relaxing getaway for Susanne and her two best friends. Meeting handsome fellow holidaymaker Harry, and the passionate fling they embark on, is just the icing on the cake.

But Harry is not who he says he is.

He has a plan, and Susanne is at the heart of it. Win her over, turn her against her friends, make her see he’s the only one who can make her happy. Then she will become his ticket to the luxurious life he craves. He has done terrible things to get this far – nothing will stop him now.

Not even Harry can plan for what happens next.

As Susanne’s friends fight Harry for her affection, hostility builds in the villa along with the heat until it erupts in a devastating act of violence. But a worse betrayal is yet to come – from the last place any of them expect…


Eudora Honeysett is Quite Well, Thank You by Annie Lyons
Eudora Honeysett is Quite Well, Thank You: The most feel good, page-turning and joyful fiction book of 2020! by [Annie Lyons]

Eudora Honeysett is done – with all of it. Having seen first-hand what a prolonged illness can create, the eighty-five-year-old has no intention of leaving things to chance. With one call to a clinic in Switzerland she takes her life into her own hands.

But then ten-year-old Rose arrives in a riot of colour on her doorstep. Now, as precocious Rose takes Eudora on adventures she’d never imagined she reflects on the trying times of her past and soon finds herself wondering – is she ready for death when she’s only just experienced what it’s like to truly live?

A heartfelt story of life, death, friendship and family perfect for fans of Gail Honeyman


The Family Holiday by Elizabeth Noble

The only gift Charlie wants for his 80th birthday is his family all together again.

Ever since his wife Daphne passed away, and the children grew up into their own busy lives, it’s felt like they’ve drifted apart.

So he’s invited them all on a family holiday – their first in years.

And by some miracle, everyone has said yes.

Ten days all together in the Cotswolds . . . how hard can it be?


My Last Supper by Jay Rayner
My Last Supper: One Meal, a Lifetime in the Making by [Jay Rayner]

You’re About to Die. What Would Your Final Meal Be?

This question has long troubled Jay Rayner. But why wait for death? Why not eat your ‘last meal’ now, when you can enjoy it? So, he had a simple plan: he would embark on a journey through his life in food in pursuit of the meal to end all meals. It’s a quest that takes him from necking oysters on the Louisiana shoreline to forking away the finest French pastries in Tokyo, and from his earliest memories of snails in garlic butter, through multiple pig-based banquets, to the unforgettable final meal itself. This is the story of one hungry man, in eight courses.


Dali Summer by T J Brown
Dali Summer by [T. J. Brown]

Her wild and vivid visions inspire an icon…

Nothing is more important to prim, colorblind Dolors Posa than family and living down the shame of her illegitimate birth, but when the sudden onset of fantastical visions threaten her sterling reputation, she must search for answers before the inhabitants of the tiny village of Cadaqués brand her as demente— crazy like her mother. In a quest to stop her hallucinations, she befriends a beautiful, intoxicating fortune teller and her handsome anarchist brother, as well as becoming a reluctant muse for thirteen-year-old Salvador Dali. In a summer that changes everything, Dolors must choose between her family’s reputation and a life filled with adventure, friendship, rapturous color and the possibility of love.

Set against the political upheaval of 1917 Spain, Dali Summer captures the fierce spirit of Catalonia, the generosity and stubbornness of its people and the blossoming promise of a woman who thought life was bland and empty and had long ago passed her by.


Keeping Mum by James Gould-Bourn
Keeping Mum: A life-affirming funny and feel-good story about fathers and sons by [James Gould-Bourn]

Danny Malooley’s life is falling apart.

He’s a single parent with an eleven-year-old son, Will, who hasn’t spoken since the death of his mother in a car crash fourteen months ago. He’s being pursued by a dodgy landlord for unpaid rent and he’s just lost his job. Struggling to find work, and desperate for money, Danny decides to do what anyone in his position would do.

He becomes a dancing panda.

After seeing street performers in his local park raking it in, he spends his last fiver on a costume… but the humiliation is worth it when Will finally speaks to him for the first time since his mother’s death. The problem is Will doesn’t know that the panda is in fact his father, and Danny doesn’t want to reveal his true identity in case Will stops talking again.

But Danny can’t keep up the ruse forever…


Bury Them Deep by James Oswald
Bury Them Deep: Inspector McLean 10 (The Inspector McLean Series) by [James Oswald]

When a member of the Police Scotland team fails to clock-in for work, concern for her whereabouts is immediate… and the discovery of her burnt-out car in remote woodland to the south of Edinburgh sets off a desperate search for the missing woman.

Meanwhile, DCI Tony McLean and the team are preparing for a major anti-corruption operation – one which may raise the ire of more than a few powerful people in the city. Is Anya Renfrew’s disappearance a co-incidence or related to the case?

McLean’s investigations suggest that perhaps that Anya isn’t the first woman to have mysteriously vanished in these ancient hills. Once again, McLean can’t shake the feeling that there is a far greater evil at work here…


Coming Home to Hope Street by Marcie Steele
Coming Home to Hope Street: An uplifting story of new beginnings, love and hope (The Hope Street Series Book 2) by [Marcie Steele]

Step across the cobblestones, pull back the curtains and peek behind the doors in the second instalment of The Hope Street Series. Catch up with old friends and fall in love with new ones in a story of friendship, second chances and new beginnings.

Livvy has no choice but to return to Hope Street, the childhood home she left over twenty years ago. Along with her sixteen-year-old daughter, Pip, she turns up on the doorstep, hoping for forgiveness from her sister.

Hannah thought she’d never see Livvy again. She’s overwhelmed with emotion but locks away her real feelings. How could Livvy stay away without any contact? And why has she come back now?

It isn’t long before the charm of the market town of Somerley begins to work its magic. Hannah is opening a book shop in the square, adjoining The Coffee Stop, and Livvy’s offer to help out brings the sisters closer together.

But when someone from Livvy’s past arrives unannounced too, he threatens everything she’s built up since her return. Can Livvy convince her sister, and her new friends, that her intentions to return were good ones? Or will her dreams of settling down and being happy again become nothing but a closed book?


The Devil’s Dice by Roz Watkins
The Devil’s Dice: A gripping crime thriller with an absolutely breath-taking twist (A DI Meg Dalton thriller, Book 1) by [Roz Watkins]

A SHOCKING DEATH

A lawyer is found dead in a Peak District cave, his face ribboned with scratches.

A SINISTER MESSAGE

Amidst rumours of a local curse, DI Meg Dalton is convinced this is cold-blooded murder. There’s just one catch – chiselled into the cave wall above the body is an image of the grim reaper and the dead man’s initials, and it’s been there for over a century.

A DEADLY GAME

As Meg battles to solve the increasingly disturbing case, it’s clear someone knows her secrets. The murderer is playing games with Meg – and the dice are loaded…


The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish
The Other Passenger by [Louise Candlish]

It all happens so quickly. One day you’re living the dream, commuting to work by riverbus with your charismatic neighbour Kit in the seat beside you. The next, Kit hasn’t turned up for the boat and his wife Melia has reported him missing.

When you get off at your stop, the police are waiting. Another passenger saw you and Kit arguing on the boat home the night before and the police say that you had a reason to want him dead. You protest. You and Kit are friends – ask Melia, she’ll vouch for you. And who exactly is this other passenger pointing the finger? What do they know about your lives?

No, whatever danger followed you home last night, you are innocent, totally innocent.


All my Lies are True by Dorothy Koomson
All My Lies Are True by [Dorothy Koomson]

Verity is telling lies…
And that’s why she’s about to be arrested for attempted murder.

Serena has been lying for years. . .
And that may have driven her daughter, Verity, to do something unthinkable…

Poppy’s lies have come back to haunt her . . .
So will her quest for the truth hurt everyone she loves?

Everyone lies.
But whose lies are going to end in tragedy?


The Syndicate by G J Minett
The Syndicate: A gripping thriller about revenge and redemption by [GJ Minett]

YOU THINK YOU’RE FREE, BUT THEY’LL NEVER LET YOU LEAVE . . .

Twenty years ago, Jon Kavanagh worked for a crime syndicate.
Then one night he made a mistake.
He left a witness at a crime scene. Alive.

Now, he is haunted by the memories of that young girl. Her face a constant reminder of the life he chose to leave behind. Time has passed and now he wants answers: What ever happened to her?

Anna Hill is an aspiring singer, but the bars and clubs she works in are far from exciting. When she is given the opportunity to work in Portugal, she takes it. This is her chance to finally kick-start her career.

But the job offer comes at a price; one that will endanger the lives of those she knows, and those she doesn’t. Becoming involved with the Syndicate is risky, and Anna will need her instincts to work out who to trust – and who not to . . .


Santa Lucia by Michelle Damiani
Santa Lucia: Book One of the Santa Lucia Series by [Michelle Damiani]

An Italian café. A barista with an eye for trouble. And a village determined to create as much as possible.

Chiara has presided over the espresso machine at Bar Birbo for as long as anyone can remember. In Santa Lucia, this is the only place to go for a cappuccino served with a side of gossip.

The town’s residents rely on each other and feel almost like a family, but their secrets are kept well hidden.  While romance is in the air for some, the truth behind the love affairs is far more complicated than anyone can imagine. 

When everyone has ulterior motives and unspoken desires, it’s only a matter of time before things finally come to a head.  And unfortunately for the townspeople, the revelations could prove deadly.

Can the residents of Santa Lucia survive the inferno of their own making? Or will they burn in the flames?


In Cold Blood by Jane Bettany
In Cold Blood: A gripping murder mystery novel perfect for all crime thriller fans! by [Jane Bettany]

No secret can stay buried forever…

As the Whitworth family begin renovations on their new home, their plans are brought to an abrupt end when they discover a body buried in the back garden.

DI Isabel Blood and her team are called to investigate, but as she approaches Ecclesdale Drive, a feeling of unease settles in her gut.

The property cordoned off is number 23. The house she used to live in as a child…

The forensic team estimate that the body has been in the ground for up to forty years – coinciding with the time Isabel’s family lived in the house.

Isabel’s father vanished without a trace when she was fourteen years old. And with her mother remaining tight-lipped about her father’s disappearance, Isabel can’t escape the unnerving sense of dread that it’s his body, buried in the garden.


Daughters of Cornwall by Fern Britton
Daughters of Cornwall: The No.1 Sunday Times bestselling book, a dazzling historical fiction novel and heartwarming romance by [Fern Britton]

Three women. A chance to rewrite history…

1918.The Great War is over, and Clara Carter has boarded a train bound for Cornwall – to meet a family that would once have been hers. But they must never discover her secret…
 
1939. Hannah has always been curious about her mother’s mysterious past, but the outbreak of the Second World War casts everything in a new light. As the bombs begin to fall, Hannah and her brothers are determined to do their bit for the war effort – whatever the cost.
 
2020. Caroline has long been the keeper of her family’s secrets. But now, with her own daughter needing her more than ever, it’s time to tell the truth – to show Natalie that she comes from a long line of women who have weathered the storms of life, as hardy and proud as the rugged Cornish coastline…


The Man on the Street by Trevor Wood
The Man on the Street: a completely addictive crime thriller for fans of Ian Rankin and Robert Galbraith by [Trevor Wood]

It started with a splash. Jimmy, a homeless veteran grappling with PTSD, did his best to pretend he hadn’t heard it – the sound of something heavy falling into the Tyne at the height of an argument between two men on the riverbank. Not his fight.

Then he sees the headline: GIRL IN MISSING DAD PLEA. The girl, Carrie, reminds him of someone he lost, and this makes his mind up: it’s time to stop hiding from his past. But telling Carrie, what he heard – or thought he heard – turns out to be just the beginning of the story.

The police don’t believe him, but Carrie is adamant that something awful has happened to her dad and Jimmy agrees to help her, putting himself at risk from enemies old and new.

But Jimmy has one big advantage: when you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose.


Resistance by Patricia Dixon

Can you ever escape your history?

At the end of the Second World War, Dottie Tanner locked away the past, blocking out the heartache she experienced as a special operative working alongside the Resistance.

Sixty years later, Dottie remains independent and proud of everything she has achieved, but time is running out.

Watching the V.E Day Celebrations on television reignites a flame. The voice of someone she loved and lost is calling to her. After a lifetime of resisting the lure of France, she decides to face her demons.

Taking her granddaughter, Maude, along for company, Dottie’s trip down memory lane soon turns into a voyage of discovery that tests lifelong friendships and means facing old foes. Soon, dark secrets are revealed, and a traitor is exposed.

But how will Dottie cope when her whole world is turned upside down?

Will her final mission be one of revenge or, can she forgive and forget?


A Bicycle Built for Sue by Daisy Tate
A Bicycle Built for Sue: a warm, uplifting book about the power of friendship, the perfect read for summer 2020 by [Daisy Tate]

Getting on her bike will change everything…

Sue Young has never asked for much apart from a quiet life. She’s always been happy with her call centre job and dinner on the table at six o clock; that was until a tragedy tore her tranquility into little shreds.
With her life in tatters, Sue is persuaded to join a charity cycle ride led by Morning TV’s Kath Fuller, who is having a crisis of her own, and Sue’s self-appointed support crew are struggling with their own issues. Pensioner Flo Wilson is refusing to grow old, gracefully or otherwise, and a teen goth Raven Chakrabarti, is determined to dodge the path her family have mapped out for her.
Can the foursome cycle through saddle sores and chaffed thighs to a brighter future, or will pushing themselves to the limit prove harder than they thought?


The Last To Know by Jo Furniss
The Last to Know by [Jo Furniss]

American journalist Rose Kynaston has just relocated to the childhood home of her husband, Dylan, in the English village of his youth. There’s a lot for Rose to get used to in Hurtwood. Like the family’s crumbling mansion, inhabited by Dylan’s reclusive mother, and the treacherous hill it sits upon, a place of both sinister folklore and present dangers.

Then there are the unwelcoming villagers, who only whisper the name Kynaston—like some dreadful secret, a curse. Everyone knows what happened at Hurtwood House twenty years ago. Everyone except Rose. And now that Dylan is back, so are rumors about his past.

When an archaeological dig unearths human remains on the hill, local police sergeant Ellie Trevelyan vows to solve a cold case that has cast a chill over Hurtwood for decades.

As Ellie works to separate rumor from fact, Rose must fight to clear the name of the man she loves. But how can Rose keep her family safe if she is the last to know the truth?


The Second Marriage by Gill Paul
The Second Marriage: From the internationally bestselling author of The Secret Wife comes a new sweeping and gripping historical romance fiction read for 2020 by [Gill Paul]

JACKIE
When her first marriage ends in tragedy, Jackie Kennedy fears she’ll never love again. But all that changes when she encounters…

ARI
Successful and charming, Ari Onassis is a man who promises her the world. Yet soon after they marry, Jackie learns that his heart also belongs to another…

MARIA
A beautiful, famed singer, Maria Callas is in love with Jackie’s new husband – and she isn’t going to give up.

Little by little, Jackie and Maria’s lives begin to tangle in a dangerous web of secrets, scandal and lies. But with both women determined to make Ari theirs alone, the stakes are high. How far will they go for true love?


The Saturday Morning Park Run by Jules Wake
The Saturday Morning Park Run: The most gloriously uplifting and page-turning fiction book of 2020! by [Jules Wake]

This is the story of two women.
One old, one young.
One looking for new adventures. One looking for a purpose.
Both needing a friend.

And this is how, along with two little girls in need of a family, a gorgeous stranger, and a scruffy dog, they bring the whole community together every Saturday morning for love, laughter and a little bit of running…(well, power walking).

Some people come into your life when you need them the most.


The Girl from the Hermitage by Molly Gartland
The Girl from the Hermitage by [Molly Gartland]

It is December 1941, and eight-year-old Galina and her friend Vera are caught in the siege of Leningrad, eating soup made of wallpaper, with the occasional luxury of a dead rat. Galina’s artist father Mikhail has been kept away from the front to help save the treasures of the Hermitage. Its cellars could now provide a safe haven, provided Mikhail can navigate the perils of a portrait commission from one of Stalin’s colonels.

Nearly forty years later, Galina herself is a teacher at the Leningrad Art Institute. What ought to be a celebratory weekend at her forest dacha turns sour when she makes an unwelcome discovery. The painting she embarks upon that day will hold a grim significance for the rest of her life, as the old Soviet Union makes way for the new Russia and Galina’s familiar world changes out of all recognition.

Warm, wise and utterly enthralling, Molly Gartland’s debut novel guides us from the old communist world, with its obvious terrors and its more surprising comforts, into the glitz and bling of 21st-century St Petersburg. Galina’s story is at once a compelling page-turner and an insightful meditation on ageing and nostalgia.


All Men are Liars by Alberto Manguel
All Men are Liars by [Alberto Manguel]

Where can you find truth in a world that is so thoroughly ruled by lies? That is the question tackled by the investigation of a French journalist who endeavours to shed light on the enigma of an unexplained death: that of the Argentinian writer Alejandro Bevilacqua, found lying on the pavement underneath his balcony in Madrid in the mid-1970s. The few accounts of those who knew him – which include those of his last lover, a former fellow prison inmate, a sworn enemy and even the author Alberto Manguel himself – are contradictory and unreliable. Poor devil with a troubled childhood, literary genius and irresistible seducer, ordinary man masquerading as hero, pure and simple impostor – these are but a few facets of a mysterious figure in this tribute to falsehood. Between the lines, the reader must discover the only worthwhile truth: the fascinating homage Alberto Manguel pays to literature and its shape-shifting creations, which give infinite expressions to the objects of our desires.


Book Wins

Enemy of the Raj by Alec Marsh
Enemy of the Raj by [Alec Marsh]

India, 1937. Intrepid reporter Sir Percival Harris is hunting tigers with his friend, Professor Ernest Drabble. Harris soon bags a man-eater – but later finds himself caught up in a hunt of a different kind…

Harris is due to interview the Maharaja of Bikaner, a friend to the Raj, for his London newspaper – and he and Drabble soon find themselves accompanied by a local journalist, Miss Heinz. But is the lady all she seems? And the Maharaja himself is proving elusive…

Meanwhile, the movement for Indian independence is becoming stronger, and Drabble and Harris witness some of the conflict first-hand. But even more drama comes on arrival at Bikaner when the friends find themselves confined to their quarters… and embroiled in an assassination plot!

Just who is the enemy in the Maharaja’s palace? What is the connection to a mysterious man Drabble meets in Delhi? And what secret plans do the British colonial officers have up their sleeves?

Many thanks to Alec Marsh and Susan from Books from Dusk Till Dawn


Book Subscriptions

Capital Crime Book Club

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (signed copy)
The Thursday Murder Club: The Record-Breaking Sunday Times Number One Bestseller by [Richard Osman]

In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved murders.

But when a brutal killing takes place on their very doorstep, the Thursday Murder Club find themselves in the middle of their first live case.

Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves.

Can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer before it’s too late?


The House Guest by Mark Edwards
The House Guest by [Mark Edwards]

A perfect summer. A perfect stranger. A perfect nightmare.

When British twenty-somethings Ruth and Adam are offered the chance to spend the summer housesitting in New York, they can’t say no. Young, in love and on the cusp of professional success, they feel as if luck is finally on their side.

So the moment that Eden turns up on the doorstep, drenched from a summer storm, it seems only right to share a bit of that good fortune. Beautiful and charismatic, Eden claims to be a friend of the homeowners, who told her she could stay whenever she was in New York.

They know you’re not supposed to talk to strangers—let alone invite them into your home—but after all, Eden’s only a stranger until they get to know her.

As suspicions creep in that Eden may not be who she claims to be, they begin to wonder if they’ve made a terrible mistake…


NB Magazine Book Subscription

The High Moments by Sara-Ella Ozbek
The High Moments: 'Addictive, hilarious, bold' Emma Jane Unsworth, author of Adults by [Sara-Ella Ozbek]

Scarlett is far from perfect.
 
She changes herself to please others.
She makes mistakes – over and over again.
She repeatedly goes back to people that have hurt her.
 
Scarlett has a tricky relationship with her mother and is desperate for people to like her.
 
She moves to London without a plan, but when she manages to land a job at a modelling agency she thinks that her life is finally on track.
 
Scarlett soon discovers that the fashion industry is far from what she had imagined and her life begins to spiral out of control. But at least people know who she is. She is starting to become someone.
 
And surely it’s better to be someone – even if it’s someone you hate?


Books Read This Month

What Falls between the Cracks by Robert Scragg
What Falls Between the Cracks: The gripping debut that will have you reading late into the night (Porter and Styles Book 1) by [Robert Scragg]

DID SHE SLIP, OR WAS SHE PUSHED?

When a severed hand is found in an abandoned London flat, Detective Inspector Jake Porter and his partner Detective Sergeant Nick Styles are able to DNA match the limb to the owner, Natasha Barclay, who has not been seen in decades. But why has no one been looking for her?

Delving into the details behind her disappearance and discovering links to another investigation, a tragic family history begins to take on a darker twist. Natasha’s nearest and dearest are the people who can least be trusted.

Hampered by a widespread fear of a local heavy, as well as internal politics and possible corruption within the force, Porter and Styles are digging for answers, but will what they find ever see the light of day?


The Family Holiday by Elizabeth Noble
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The only gift Charlie wants for his 80th birthday is his family all together again.

Ever since his wife Daphne passed away, and the children grew up into their own busy lives, it’s felt like they’ve drifted apart.

So he’s invited them all on a family holiday – their first in years.

And by some miracle, everyone has said yes.

Ten days all together in the Cotswolds . . . how hard can it be?


The Narrow Land by Christine Dwyer Hickey
The Narrow Land: WINNER of the Walter Scott Historical Prize for Fiction 2020 by [Christine Dwyer Hickey]

1950: late summer season on Cape Cod. Michael, a ten-year-old boy, is spending the summer with Richie and his glamorous but troubled mother. Left to their own devices, the boys meet a couple living nearby – the artists Jo and Edward Hopper – and an unlikely friendship is forged.

She, volatile, passionate and often irrational, suffers bouts of obsessive sexual jealousy. He, withdrawn and unwell, depressed by his inability to work, becomes besotted by Richie’s frail and beautiful Aunt Katherine who has not long to live – an infatuation he shares with young Michael.

A novel of loneliness and regret, the legacy of World War II and the ever-changing concept of the American Dream.


So that was my bookish month, hope you had a good one too?

Happy Reading!!

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