Man. Where to even begin this week. Well. I will start by saying my reading achievements were next to none. Not quite none. But near enough. Work has been very demanding, I have been very tired and my heart just was not in it. No reflection on the books, more a reflection on my weary and rapidly ageing bones and brain telling me to take a break. In fact I am writing this post in stages as I know where my head is currently at so it if makes no sense come the end … well nowt new there really but this time there is an excuse at least 🙂So, anyway. Aside from being generally ancient (turned 42 this past week don’t you know) I was preoccupied with something else. Lordy 42. Do you remember being a kid and thinking that people in their forties were ancient? Well I’ll let you into a secret – when you finally reach your forties you bloody feel it too. Just kidding. Age is just a number. Like my chest, mine is just larger than some, that’s all. But back to my point (wandering mind comes with age too…) I was away from home from Thursday until Sunday this week because I took the plunge, packed my backbone in a small holdall and made my way to Harrogate for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Festival.
It’s an interesting festival, very different in tone to Crimefest, geared very much to a social atmosphere but encouraging, enticing and enabling readers with a healthy and steady supply of books. I say healthy with my tongue in my cheek (not easy to do without biting said tongue – don’t believe me try it), as carrying around the dang things all day has knackered my shoulder but hey ho.
As book hauls go, this week was mega. It was also rather big in terms of meeting people. I met a whole host of bloggers this weekend who I’m not going to try and name for fear of missing someone and causing great upset, but it was a pleasure to meet you all either finally or again (and you super lovely ones already know who you are 😉 ). I should probably give special mention to Emma Welton (damppebbles), Emma Mitchell (The Little Bookworm), Abbie Osbourne and Sooz Barthorpe (P.Turners Book Blog) for embarrassing me Friday morning singing Happy Birthday in the hotel bar…
I also met quite a few authors that I admire, including Robert Byrndza and the lovely Jan, Caroline Mitchell and Mel Sherratt, Graham Smith, Sarah Wray, Claire Seeber and also got to meet Keshini Naidoo (yes – a small Bookouture bias in this post I think).
It was also lovely to catch up with Kim Nash, Karen Sullivan, Steph Broadribb, Amanda Jennings, Lucy V Hay, Amer Anwar, Felicia Yap, Patricia Gibney, Bernie Steadman and Fiona Cummins again, and to get to say hi to Paul Burston as I absolutely loved his book The Black Path. I even remembered to take pictures of some of them (but not many as I suck at that). Oh yes, and it was nice to see Rod Reynolds again even if he did show Jo and Emma the terrible selfie he took at Crimefest (terrible because I was in it). Brilliant to finally meet Graeme Cumming and have a catch up chat with Gabriela Harding in the quiet times. I’m just hoping I haven’t missed anyone and if I have I’m sorry and I do love you too. (Well at least like and admire – love is such a strong word 😉 ).
Have to give credit to Abbie Osborne for the selfies as I would totally not take those 😀
As well as generally milling about I did attend a couple of panels, though not as many as I perhaps would have liked so I’ll try better next time. The Friday night panel chaired by Sarah Millican and featuring Lee Child, Mark Billingham and Val McDermid was hilarious as you would expect. And I totally agree with Sarah Hilary’s shout out for Chris Whitaker as a totally brilliant writing talent. I also went to a blogger/author event organised by Orion where we met Mari Hannah, Emma Kavanagh, Stephanie Marland (aka Steph Broadribb, aka Crime Thriller Girl) and Lara Dearman, a forensics talk in which I learned many important things to include in ‘Killer’, and a quick start talk on writing crime fiction with Isabel Ashdown and Sam Eades.
And I had two lovely evenings out, firstly with Abigail Osborne, Leah and Jill of Jills Book Cafe, and then with Tracy Fenton and the guy and gals from TBC. Thanks for the company all.
And then there were the books… So. Many. Books.
I got the following:
The Devils Claw by Lara Dearman (Kindle pre order 7/9/17);
My Little Eye by Stephanie Marland (Kindle pre order 2/11/17) Happy dance moment :D;
The Wrong Child by Barry Gornell (Kindle pre order 2/11/17);
The Lost by Mari Hannah (Kindle preorder 2/3/18);
Murder at the Mill by M.B. Shaw (Kindle pre order 30/11/17);
Shadow Man by Margaret Kirk (Kindle pre order 2/11/17);
Beautiful Liars by Isabel Ashdown (Kindle pre order 19/4/18);
I Found You by Lisa Jewell;
The Seagull by Ann Cleeves (Kindle pre order 7/9/17) – The only book I actually purchased all weekend.
The Snowman by Jo Nesbo;
If I Die Before I Wake by Emily Koch (Kindle pre order 11/1/18);
Give Me The Child by Mel McGrath;
Eyes Like Mine by Sheena Kamal;
The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell (Kindle pre order 5/10/17);
My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent (Kindle pre order 29/8/17);
The Mountain by Luca D’Andrea;
The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes (Kindle pre order 14/9/17);
The Collector by Fiona Cummins; (soooooooooooo excited about this one and so new there are no Amazon links yet!!! :D) If you don’t know why I’m excited and haven’t yet read Rattle (and if not why not?) then you can order it here and get yourself ready for next year. Did I mention I love that book? I do. I was so excited I may have actually started reading this in bed instead of the books I should have been reading. Oops. (Sorry – not sorry). All the eeeeeeeeeks and squeeeeeeeeals.
The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (pre order January 2018);
Consent by Leo Benedictus (pre order 1/2/18);
Perfect Remains by Helen Fields;
Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughn (Kindle pre order 11/1/18);
Strange Magic by Syd Moore
So all in all a great book haul of a weekend. And I visited Betty’s and treated myself to a belated birthday cake. Go me.
Now the weekend wasn’t without it’s down moments too but least said, soonest mended so lets move on.
Now as if all that wasn’t brilliant enough, before I left for Harrogate I received some absolutely stonkingly fantabulous book post from the wonderful Louise Ross (LJ Ross). Now I knew I’d be getting the signed book as I won it in a charity auction, as well as the chance to be a named character. But I wasn’t expecting to receive a DCI Ryan series mug as well. I actually collect mugs as well as books so this couldn’t have been a better gift for me and will take pride of place in the collection.
And, totally not book related but my new cushions and mugs turned up. How fab are these?
The McMoos by Jennifer Hogwood – You totally need to check out the website.
Just the one book order this week (just as well) which was Bad Sister by Sam Carrington. It’s due out on 5th October and I can’t wait to get my mitts on a copy.
Just the one Netgalley this week too (just as well) which was The Good Sister by Jess Ryder. It’s due for release on 16th August.
I see a theme here. Kind of reminiscent of my life. I have one of each. I’ll let them fight over which is which 😉
I also received an ARC of I Know A Secret by Tess Gerritsen, the brand new Rizzoli and Isles novel which is due out on 10th August.
Now I am hoping that all of these exciting things I’ve been rambling about above will distract you from my reading tally which stands at the grand total of 2. Lorraine at The Book Review Cafe will be laughing at me this week given her mammoth reading achievements and rightly so. If only I’d saved the bloody Mr Men books… When I say reading tally it was one read, one listen as I only completed one book and then listened to an audio on the way to and from Harrogate. Failed blogger I am then (this is not news but now we have evidence).
Books I have read
A GRIPPING NEW POLICE THRILLER
Bullying. Corruption. Murder.
It is the summer of 2002. The corpse of a 15 year old boy, who has been missing for thirty years, is discovered in Stoke-on-Trent. The city is on the cusp of change and Chief Superintendent Berkins wants the case solved quickly.
DCI Jim Tyler has arrived from London under a cloud, moving to Staffordshire to escape his past. He is teamed up with DS Danny Mills to investigate the case, but there is tension between the detectives.
When the dead boy’s sister comes forward, describing a bright, solitary child, she points a finger at the school bullies, which puts important careers at stake.
Then one of the bullies is found brutally murdered and when Tyler and Mills dig deeper they start to suspect a cover-up.
What is the connection between the death of a schoolboy in 1972 and this latest killing?
With the pressure building, and the past catching up with DCI Tyler, will he and DS Mills be able to put aside their differences in order to catch a cold-blooded killer?
I’m reviewing this for the blog tour next Monday but I have to be honest and say that this was a really well observed look at childhood bullying an the people who were involved, both directly and indirectly. With a thirty year old victim it is a tough ask for newly transferred DCI Jim Tyler to bring the killer to justice in this new police procedural from Mark L. Fowler and Bloodhound Books. It is released tomorrow, 25th July, and you can buy a copy here.
It’s easy to judge between right and wrong – isn’t it?
Not until you hear a convincing truth.
Now it’s up to you to decide…
An unnamed defendant stands accused of murder. Just before the Closing Speeches, the young man sacks his lawyer, and decides to give his own defence speech.
He tells us that his barrister told him to leave some things out. Sometimes, the truth can be too difficult to explain, or believe. But he thinks that if he’s going to go down for life, he might as well go down telling the truth.
There are eight pieces of evidence against him. As he talks us through them one by one, his life is in our hands. We, the reader – member of the jury – must keep an open mind till we hear the end of his story. His defence raises many questions… but at the end of the speeches, only one matters:
Did he do it?
Oh my life. What an intriguing novel. Taking courtroom drama to brand new heights this is a story which will not only challenge your idea of right and wrong but also the whole idea of how courtroom dramas should be. Set as a series of court transcripts and told in the defendants voice the author takes you on a journey and you as reader are set to act as jury. I listened to the Audio book of this and I have to say it was absolutely perfect in this format. My review will follow but you can order a copy of the book here.
That is all. Thankfully I was fully prepared on the blogging front so I had posts everyday.
The week ahead is a bit of a mixture. I start with a review, then some #Booklove with Helena Fairfax, followed by blog tours for The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond, and then The Unquiet Dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan with a very special Author Q&A in between, rounding out the week with more #Booklove with Jack Steele and another blog tour, this time The Lost Wife by Anna Mansell.
Hope you have a brilliant week all. I’m reading all day today before going back to work and some more training tomorrow. Boo hiss to that one but someone has to do it. Going to Chester Zoo on Saturday so think of all the animal/nature pics I can share with you next week. You can’t wait can you? Hope they still have the Pudu’s and the Komodo Dragon. I love them!!!
See you next Monday.
P.S. since penning this post Sunday evening I have been online and preordered three books from Goldsboro (it’s now Sunday bedtime). We’ll just ignore that, pretend I ordered them after midnight and I’ll fill you all in next week 😂