My Bookish Month – September 2021

Well I excelled myself this month and really restricted my book buying. That just shows you what can happen with a concerted effort to stay away from social media and concentrate on reading instead. That was of course made easier by the fact that I was on holiday for two weeks. But you never know, maybe I can keep it up – watch this space!

I read some great books this months and made the most of my break. Having had a fraught few months my OH and myself were ready to just chill, and chill we did. We had a veritable little reading fest between the two of us. The OH discovered two new favourite authors, so here’s a shout out for Tony T Forder with his DI Bliss series and MW Craven for his Washington Poe books. I finished several of the books I’d half read that have been languishing by the bed (not a reflection on the books but more that by the time I haul myself to bed it’s too late to read) and I continued to make good use of my cycling time to read via my Kindle fire – carefully balanced over the handlebars. For those reading this for the first time, I should point out that this is my exercise bike and I’m not dicing with death on the roads. Four of this month’s reads will undoubtedly be in my top books of the year and at the rate I’m reading I’ll have a creditable list to choose from this year.

So let’s crack on …

(NB This post features Affiliate links from which I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases)

Books I Bought this Month

Edge of the Grave: Winner of The Bloody Scotland Crime Debut of the Year 2021 (Jimmy Dreghorn series Book 1) Kindle Edition

Edge of the Grave by Robbie Morrison

Winner of The Bloody Scotland Crime Debut of the Year 2021
Shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Book of the Year 2021 and longlisted for the HWA Debut Crown 2021

Glasgow, 1932. When the son-in-law of one of the city’s wealthiest shipbuilders is found floating in the River Clyde with his throat cut, it falls to Inspector Jimmy Dreghorn to lead the murder case – despite sharing a troubled history with the victim’s widow, Isla Lockhart.

From the flying fists and flashing blades of Glasgow’s gangland underworld, to the backstabbing upper echelons of government and big business, Dreghorn and his partner ‘Bonnie’ Archie McDaid will have to dig deep into Glasgow society to find out who wanted the man dead and why.

All the while, a sadistic murderer stalks the post-war city leaving a trail of dead bodies in their wake. As the case deepens, will Dreghorn find the killer – or lose his own life in the process?


Black Summer (Washington Poe Book 2)

Black Summer by MW Craven (Washington Poe 2)

After The Puppet Show, a new storm is coming . . .

Jared Keaton, chef to the stars. Charming. Charismatic. Psychopath . . . He’s currently serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of his daughter, Elizabeth. Her body was never found and Keaton was convicted largely on the testimony of Detective Sergeant Washington Poe.

So when a young woman staggers into a remote police station with irrefutable evidence that she is Elizabeth Keaton, Poe finds himself on the wrong end of an investigation, one that could cost him much more than his career.

Helped by the only person he trusts, the brilliant but socially awkward Tilly Bradshaw, Poe races to answer the only question that matters: how can someone be both dead and alive at the same time?

And then Elizabeth goes missing again – and all paths of investigation lead back to Poe.


The Keeper of Happy Endings

The Keeper of Happy Endings by Barbara Davis

Soline Roussel is well schooled in the business of happy endings. For generations her family has kept an exclusive bridal salon in Paris, where magic is worked with needle and thread. It’s said that the bride who wears a Roussel gown is guaranteed a lifetime of joy. But devastating losses during World War II leave Soline’s world and heart in ruins and her faith in love shaken. She boxes up her memories, stowing them away, along with her broken dreams, determined to forget.

Decades later, while coping with her own tragic loss, aspiring gallery owner Rory Grant leases Soline’s old property and discovers a box containing letters and a vintage wedding dress, never worn. When Rory returns the mementos, an unlikely friendship develops, and eerie parallels in Rory’s and Soline’s lives begin to surface. It’s clear that they were destined to meet—and that Rory may hold the key to righting a forty-year wrong and opening the door to shared healing and, perhaps, a little magic.


One August Night: Sequel to much-loved classic, The Island

One August Night by Victoria Hislop

25th August 1957. The island of Spinalonga closes its leper colony. And a moment of violence has devastating consequences.

When time stops dead for Maria Petrakis and her sister, Anna, two families splinter apart and, for the people of Plaka, the closure of Spinalonga is forever coloured with tragedy.

In the aftermath, the question of how to resume life looms large. Stigma and scandal need to be confronted and somehow, for those impacted, a future built from the ruins of the past.

Number one bestselling author Victoria Hislop returns to the world and characters she created in The Island – the award-winning novel that remains one of the biggest selling reading group novels of the century. It is finally time to be reunited with Anna, Maria, Manolis and Andreas in the weeks leading up to the evacuation of the island… and beyond.


A Home in the Sun: Escape with the latest women's fiction book from the bestselling author

A Home in the Sun by Sue Moorcroft

Home is where the heart is…but what if your heart is broken?

When Judith loses her partner, she loses her life in Malta too – including the beautiful view from her sun-warmed balcony of the sparkling blue waters of Sliema Creek.

Back in England, Judith finds a spare room in her sister’s house where she grew up – but with it comes a whole host of family dramas.

Nursing a broken heart, Judith knows she must find happiness again – and rebuild her life on her own terms. Could an island in the sun be the answer she is looking for?

**Previously published as Uphill All the Way**


Always, in December: Gorgeous, heart-tugging and uplifting – the Most Romantic Christmas Love Story of 2021

Always in December by Emily Stone

Josie Morgan never looks forward to December. It’s always a reminder of the life she lost, twenty years ago. Now, she always switches off the radio when Christmas music comes on. She always wants to tear down the tinsel her flatmate insists on pinning up. And she always posts a letter she knows will never be read.

Max Carter
 never expected to find himself stranded in London just days before Christmas. He never expected it would be so hard to say goodbye to a woman he hardly knows. Then again, he never expected to fall in love.

But, this December, when Josie’s letter leads her to Max, a chance encounter will change their lives in the most remarkable way. And their story is only just beginning . . .


Subscription Books

Rock Paper Scissors: The phenomenal new thriller and instant New York Times bestseller from the author of Sometimes I Lie

Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney (Capital Crime sub)

Ten years of marriage.
Ten years of secrets.
An anniversary they’ll never forget.

Adam and Amelia are spending the weekend in the Scottish Highlands. The remote location is perfect for what they have planned.

But when their romantic trip takes a dark turn, they both start to wonder – can they trust the one they’re with?

Because every couple tells little white lies. Only for Adam and Amelia, the truth is far more dangerous.


The Coffinmaker’s Garden: From the No. 1 Sunday Times best selling crime author comes his latest gripping new 2021 suspens...

The Coffin Maker’s Garden by Stuart MacBride (Capital Crime sub)

A house of secrets…
As a massive storm batters the Scottish coast, Gordon Smith’s home is falling into the sea. The trouble is: that’s where he’s been hiding the bodies.

A killer on the run…
It’s too dangerous to go near the place, so there’s no way of knowing how many people he’s murdered. Or how many more he’ll kill before he’s caught.

An investigator with nothing to lose…
As more horrors are discovered, ex-detective Ash Henderson is done playing nice. He’s got a killer to catch, and God help anyone who gets in his way.

Books I Read

Nobody's Perfect: ‘Beautifully written’ Katie Fforde

Nobody’s Perfect by Stephanie Butland

Does your past define your future?

When her daughter was born with cystic fibrosis, Kate Micklethwaite vowed that Daisy would never be defined by the illness. Kate is determined that her perfect little girl will be known for her love of butterflies and croissants and nothing else. Kate does all she can to be the perfect mother – whatever that means – and yet, somehow, has started seeing herself the way others see her: single parent, source of small-town scandal, drop-out, former mistress. Half a family.

When Daisy starts school, Kate meets her new teacher, the kind and charming Mr Spencer Swanson. Now, with more time on her hands Kate can start thinking about her own future. With her Open University dissertation deadline looming, Kate needs to decide what she wants next. But as she and Spencer get to know each other, Kate notices that people are whispering behind her back once more . . .



All My Mothers: The heart-breaking new novel from the author of the Costa-shortlisted debut, THE OTHER HALF OF AUGUSTA HOPE

All My Mothers by Joanna Glen

MEET EVA MARTÍNEZ-GREEN, AN ONLY CHILD FULL OF QUESTIONS ABOUT HER BEGINNINGS.

Between her emotionally absent mother and her physically absent father, there is nobody to answer them. Eva is convinced that all is not as it seems. Why are there no baby pictures of her? Why do her parents avoid all questions about her early years?

When her parents’ relationship crumbles, Eva begins a journey to find these answers for herself. Her desire to discover where she belongs leads Eva on a journey spanning decades and continents – and, along the way, she meets women who challenge her idea of what a mother should be, and who will change her life forever…


All My Lies Are True: Lies, obsession, murder. Will the truth set anyone free?

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?


Utterly Brilliant!: My Life's Journey

Utterly Brilliant by Timmy Mallett

In the spring of 2018, as the ‘Beast from the East’ hit northern Europe, Timmy needed every bit of his natural exuberance. He had undertaken to cycle 2,500 miles from his home to Santiago de Compostela in memory of his brother Martin, who was born with Down’s syndrome and had died just a few days earlier. This was a journey of exploration, honouring Martin’s outlook on life [RD1] that everyone can reach their potential. And so, with his painting gear strapped to his bike, Timmy (an increasingly renowned artist) set off. He was blessed by letters of support from the Archbishop of York, the Bishops of Oxford and Winchester, the then Prime Minister Theresa May, Prince William and President Macron of France.

Full of unexpected moments, Timmy’s account of his pilgrimage along a route travelled by so many over the centuries weaves together history and biography in a hugely entertaining manner. It is undergirded by a touching faith and conveys, beyond all else, how important it is to live every moment of every day.


Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (The Constable Mavis Upton Series Book 2)

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot by Gina Kirkham

For Mavis Upton, there’s a fine (blue) line between being a parent and a police officer in this sequel to Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong.
 
Our hapless heroine Constable Mavis Upton is preparing to step down the aisle with her fiancé Joe, but has to deal with her temperamental teen daughter, as well as investigate a serial flasher on a push bike. Throw a diva drag queen into the mix and readers can expect the usual hilarious Mavis mishaps that made the first book such a hit.
 
Revel in Gina Kirkham’s humorous, poignant and moving stories of an everyday woman who one day followed a dream.


House of Correction: A twisty and shocking thriller from the master of psychological suspense

House of Correction by Nicci French

She’s a murderer.
 
Everyone knows she killed Stuart Rees – why else would his dead body be found in her shed?
So now Tabitha is in prison, awaiting trial.
 
Coming back to the remote coastal village where she grew up was a mistake. She didn’t fit in then, and she doesn’t fit in now.
 
That day is such a blur, she can’t remember clearly what happened. There is something she is missing, something important… She only knows one thing. She is not capable of murder.
 
And the only one she can trust to help her out of this situation is herself.
So she must fight. Against the odds.
 
For her life. 


Those Who Disappeared

Those Who Disappeared by Kevin Wignall

It’s been thirty years since his father went missing. Now there’s a body, can he finally find out why?

When a man’s body is discovered in a Swiss glacier thirty years after he went missing, his son, Foster Treherne, hopes he’ll finally have closure on what happened to the father he never met. But then the autopsy reveals signs of a struggle, and what was assumed to be a tragic accident suddenly looks more sinister.

Foster tracks down his father’s old friends, but when he starts to ask questions it becomes clear that there’s something they don’t want to tell him. While some are evasive, others seem to wish the body had never been found. What exactly is their connection to each other, and why are they so reluctant to discuss the day his father disappeared? Who are they trying to protect?

If he wants to uncover what really happened, Foster must follow the trail of secrets and lies—no matter how devastating the consequences, and what they might reveal about his father. Because the truth can only stay buried for so long…


The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

Cyril Avery is not a real Avery. At least, that’s what his parents make sure to remind him. Adopted as a baby, he feels more and more disconnected with the family that treats him more as a curious pet, rather than a beloved son.

So, as a young adult, Cyril decides to embark on a quest to find his place in the world. Sometimes misguided and often in the wrong place at the wrong time, life has dealt him a difficult hand but Cyril is resolute that he can change things, and find the courage to be himself.

And in doing so, his story will come across that of Catherine Goggin, a young, pregnant woman finding herself alone and isolated at only sixteen. There is a place in the world for both of them, and Cyril is determined to find it.


Vuelta Skelter: Riding the Remarkable 1941 Tour of Spain

Vuelta Skelter by Tim Moore

Julian Berrendero’s victory in the 1941 Vuelta a Espana was an extraordinary exercise in sporting redemption: the Spanish cyclist had just spent 18 months in Franco’s concentration camps, punishment for expressing Republican sympathies during the civil war. Seventy nine years later, perennially over-ambitious cyclo-adventurer Tim Moore developed a fascination with Berrendero’s story, and having borrowed an old road bike with the great man’s name plastered all over it, set off to retrace the 4,409km route of his 1941 triumph – in the midst of a global pandemic.

What follows is a tale of brutal heat and lonely roads, of glory, humiliation, and then a bit more humiliation. Along the way Tim recounts the civil war’s still-vivid tragedies, and finds the gregarious but impressively responsible locals torn between welcoming their nation’s only foreign visitor, and bundling him and his filthy bike into a vat of antiviral gel.


I Have Something to Tell You: The most thought-provoking, captivating fiction novel of 2021 from bestselling author Susan ...

I Have Something to Tell You by Susan Lewis

High-flying lawyer Jessica Wells has it all. A successful career, loving husband Tom and a family she adores. But one case – and one client – will put all that at risk.

Edward Blake. An ordinary life turned upside down – or a man who quietly watched television while his wife was murdered upstairs? With more questions than answers and a case too knotted to unravel, Jessica suspects he’s protecting someone.

Then she comes home one day and her husband utters the words no one ever wants to hear. Sit down … I have something to tell you

Now Jessica must fight not only for the man she defends, but for the man she thought she trusted with her life – her husband.


The Last Crossing: a gripping and unforgettable crime thriller from the New York Times bestselling author

The Last Crossing by Brian McGilloway

LONGLISTED FOR THE THEAKSTON OLD PECULER CRIME NOVEL OF THE YEAR 2021

Tony, Hugh and Karen thought they’d seen the last of each other thirty years ago. Half a lifetime has passed and memories have been buried. But when they are asked to reunite – to lay ghosts to rest for the good of the future – they all have their own reasons to agree. As they take the ferry from Northern Ireland to Scotland the past is brought into terrible focus – some things are impossible to leave behind.

In The Last Crossing memory is unreliable, truth shifts and slips and the lingering legacy of the Troubles threatens the present once again.


Edge of the Grave: Winner of The Bloody Scotland Crime Debut of the Year 2021 (Jimmy Dreghorn series Book 1) Kindle Edition

Edge of the Grave by Robbie Morrison

Winner of The Bloody Scotland Crime Debut of the Year 2021
Shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Book of the Year 2021 and longlisted for the HWA Debut Crown 2021

Glasgow, 1932. When the son-in-law of one of the city’s wealthiest shipbuilders is found floating in the River Clyde with his throat cut, it falls to Inspector Jimmy Dreghorn to lead the murder case – despite sharing a troubled history with the victim’s widow, Isla Lockhart.

From the flying fists and flashing blades of Glasgow’s gangland underworld, to the backstabbing upper echelons of government and big business, Dreghorn and his partner ‘Bonnie’ Archie McDaid will have to dig deep into Glasgow society to find out who wanted the man dead and why.

All the while, a sadistic murderer stalks the post-war city leaving a trail of dead bodies in their wake. As the case deepens, will Dreghorn find the killer – or lose his own life in the process?


That’s me for this month so all that’s left to say is : Happy Reading!

 

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