Views at Attingham Park
So last week I had a bit of a mini melt-down when it came to reading. Couldn’t get my head in the zone at all. I put it down to being more than a little bit tired (which I still am) but at least I have had a long weekend to pretend to get over it. I say pretend because in reality I’ve tried to be very active this weekend with a nice three mile walk in the deer/cow park on Saturday and then a mere seven miles or so up and over the Long Mynd on Sunday.
Cardingmill Valley In Shropshire
Now the canny (and local) will spot that the big loop walk around Cardingmill Valley is actually only a little over five miles, the rest of you will probably neither know nor care. However, Mandie and I took a slight detour while on our walk as we spotted a sign at the edge of a footpath which holds a key link to our ancestry and decided to go and take a little look.
Medlicott is a very (very) small hamlet in Shropshire, set back in the shadows of the Long Mynd, and part of the reason that Jen Med’s is Jen Med’s and not Jen Luc’s. Medlicott is a family name, my Nan’s maiden name in fact, and our ancestry can be traced right back to when the little village got its name way back in 1100 and something, when old Llewelyn de Medlicott (or Modlicott) was awarded the land by some King of some variety for doing something loyal to the crown-ish.
A wild horse on the Long Mynd
I do actually have all of the details, courtesy of one my Great Uncles who researched the family tree many moons ago. He was able to race our lines all the way back from my Nan’s family circa 1900, through to the 1100’s, but this is a book blog not ancestry.com so I’ll spare you. Still pretty impressive though and Mandie and I were thrilled to see the signpost. Unbelieveably, after forty years living in the county, this was actually our first time atop the Long Mynd so the first time we had ever been this close to Medlicott. We didn’t quite have time to make the walk this weekend, but we will go back sometime soon and make the trip all the way down the hill to take a look at what was once family land. We’ll probably try and pop over to Wentnor Church too which is the final resting place of many of our family from years ago. I know – pretty cool right?
View at Pole Bank – the highest point on the Long Mynd
The biggest problem with walking up a very big hill is that at some point you have to walk back down it. Now it’s not the exercise that does me in – I can handle that. But I should probably explain that if there is one thing in this world that I am truly scared of, it is heights. Like all phobias, mine is severly irrational in how it presents itself. I don’t have the slightest problem with being high up, standing on top of a hill and looking out over a valley. I don’t have a problem making the craggy climb up the nice wide path to begin with. I do, however, have the slightly less irrational fear of plummeting to my death, which is why I don’t like sanding on high bridges all that much, especially bouncy ones, can’t always walk to the edge of barriers, no matter how safe they are and can only go outside at the Empire State Building if I go out the North Manhattan side as South is far too windy and I am worried about being blown over the impossible to be blown over barriers that surround the viewing floor. Yes – I know. Irrational…
Now while the climb up Cardingmill Valley, if you go a certain way, is occasionally steep, with absolutely breathtaking (literal and metaphorical) views, it is also a nice wide path. What Mandie and I didn’t know is that the path down the other side, past Townbrook Hollow, is equally as steep but a lot less wide. And there are sections that you have to climb over really craggy bits of rock and round tree roots which doesn’t sound too bad – unless you have a crippling paranoia about plummeting to your death. With legs like jelly, I mostly walked, occasionally inched down on my arse, but ultimately tackled the impossible (for me) and made it to the bottom. Totally glad I did it but by god it was a long way. Very few people die on this route (to my knowledge) and I know the worst that could have happened was I ended up sliding down a fairly high hill a little way, but I still hated it. So, with a near constant soundtrack of ‘I’m going to die’, ‘I hate this’, ‘I can’t see round the corner – I hate this – I’m going to die’, ‘I can’t do this’ and ‘Stupid, stupid, stupid hill’, we made it down this from top to bottom (see path on the right)
From top… to bottom
along a path which was only occasionally as generous as this
but which was mostly steep bank or rock to the left and steep bank or drop to the right.
On the plus side, all of my protestations kept Mandie’s mind off the fact that she too hates heights, although she did on occasion nearly fall off the path from laughing at me so much.
We’ll be heading back again soon. The views were amazing.
The Wrekin and the sheep shelf
None of this was remotely bookish but it was a nice distraction on a sunny Bank Holiday weekend. All of this walking seems to have had an impact on my reading too as I’ve been way more productive. Waaaaay more productive. Like a 250% increase in output. Yes folks – i read 3.5 books. Much more respectable than last weeks 1.5 i think.
Oooh. I lie. I actually read an apocalyptic type of book set largely in South Shropshire, only a stone’s throw from Cardingmill Valley so it was a bookish retreat after all. And we could see Stiperstones from the top which features in Mark Edwards’ The Lucky Ones so most definitely bookish. And yet, despite my assertions about my impending death, no apocalypse had occured by the time we left, which was a touch disappointing to be fair as it took ages to get out of the car park…
I got a little bit of book post this week. Three little bits in fact. One was my purchase of a signed copy of Yesterday by Felicia Yap from Goldsboro Books. I also got a copy of Payback by Kimberley Chambers from Harper Collins for helping out on a Readers Room survey and Nothing Stays Buried by PJ Tracy from Penguin Random House as I’m on the blog tour next week. I also received a lovely e-arc in the shape of Dead Lands by Lloyd Otis which again I’m on the blog tour for in October.
Purchase wise I have been very well behaved, mainly because I had already been pre-order crazy. I pre-ordered a copies of Silent Lies the forthcoming release from Kathryn Croft, The Secret Mother by Shalini Boland and All The Little Children by Jo Furniss.
You’re impressed with my restraint aren’t you? I can tell. As I’ve read three of these books already, it’s barely an increase in my tbr at all really …
Books I have read
Untainted Blood by Liz Mistry
An unmissable new crime thriller
In a city that is already volatile, tensions mount after a Tory MP in Bradford Central is discredited leaving the door open for the extreme right-wing candidate, Graeme Weston, to stand in the resultant by-election.
However, Graeme Weston is not what he appears to be and with secrets jeopardising his political career, he must tread very carefully.
Meanwhile, a serial killer targets Asian men who lead alternatives lifestyles and delivers his own form of torture.
As DI Gus McGuire’s team close in, the deranged killer begins to unravel and in an unexpected twist the stakes are raised for Gus.
Are the murders linked to the political scandals or is there another motive behind them?
DI Gus McGuire and his team are back and this might be their toughest case yet.
I’ll be sharing my review on this book later in the week. It’s the one I started during my London break last weekend but didn’t quite finish. Remedied that this week and very happy I am too. A great story set against a backdrop of racism and intolerance. YOu can buy a copy for yourselves here.
Nothing Stays Buried by P.J. Tracy
Nothing Stays Buried is the eighth book in P.J. Tracy’s addictive and internationally bestselling Monkeewrench series
There’s a search for a missing girl, and another for a serial killer: death holds all the cards . . .
When Marla Gustafson vanishes on her way to her father’s farm, her car left empty on the side of an isolated country road, even Grace MacBride and her eccentric team of analysts are baffled.
Meanwhile in Minneapolis, homicide detectives Gino and Magozzi have a serial killer on their hands – two women murdered in cruelly similar fashion, with playing cards left on the bodies. But one card is an ace, the other is a four – it seems the killer is already two murders ahead.
With both teams stumped, it slowly becomes clear the evidence is inexplicably entangled. And they have little time to unravel the threads: a twisted killer is intent on playing out the deck…
This was my first taste of the Monkeewrench team but it won’t be my last. Sadly one of the people behind the mother daughter writing team passed away, but her daughter has committed to carry on writing and I’ll be looking forward to reading more, as well as going back to read the first seven books when time allows. In this instalment cases surrounding drugs, serial killers and a missing woman all collide while the Monkeewrench team come face to face with their deadliest ever foe – Mother Mature. You can get a copy of the book here.
All The Little Children by Jo Furniss
When a family camping trip takes a dark turn, how far will one mother go to keep her family safe?
Struggling with working-mother guilt, Marlene Greene hopes a camping trip in the forest will provide quality time with her three young children—until they see fires in the distance, columns of smoke distorting the sweeping view. Overnight, all communication with the outside world is lost.
Knowing something terrible has happened, Marlene suspects that the isolation of the remote campsite is all that’s protecting her family. But the arrival of a lost boy reveals they are not alone in the woods, and as the unfolding disaster ravages the land, more youngsters seek refuge under her wing. The lives of her own children aren’t the only ones at stake.
When their sanctuary is threatened, Marlene faces the mother of all dilemmas: Should she save her own kids or try to save them all?
Now this is a book I’ve actually had sat on my kindle for a while after the author contacted me in regard to the round the UK challenge I started at the beginning of the year. Being set in my home county I couldn’t resist and from the very beginning I was pulled straight into this apocalyptic mystery. It held me from first page to last and I powered through in just a few hours. This and Monkeewrench totally helped me find my reading mojo again. You can bag yourself a copy here and find out why.
The Girl Who Came Back by Kerry Wilkinson
Thirteen years ago Olivia Adams went missing. Now she’s back… or is she?
When six-year-old Olivia Adams disappeared from her back garden, the small community of Stoneridge was thrown into turmoil. How could a child vanish in the middle of a cosy English village?
Thirteen years on and Olivia is back. Her mother is convinced it’s her but not everyone is sure. If this is the missing girl, then where has she been – and what happened to her on that sunny afternoon?
If she’s an imposter, then who would be bold enough to try to fool a child’s own mother – and why?
Then there are those who would rather Olivia stayed missing. The past is the past and some secrets must remain buried.
An absorbing and gripping psychological thriller that will have you holding your breath until the final page.
Another read for a blog tour, you’ll have to wait just over a week for this review. I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery and trying to piece together what really happened to Olivia when she went missing all those years ago. You can pre-order a copy of the book here.
Three and a half books. I feel like I’m back. Which is just as well as I need to read three books a week between now and mid November to hit my reading targets and be ready for the Christmas feature throughout the month. No pressure…
Blog wise another full on week. I’ve had some booklove, some reviews and even a cover reveal.
#BlogTour: The Ashes of Berlin by Luke McCallin
#Review: 99 Red Balloons by Elisabeth Carpenter
#BookLove: Mike Sahno
#CoverReveal: Shalini Boland & Bookouture
Review: All The Wicked Girls by Chris Whitaker
Reblog: #TheSister by Louise Jensen
Review: The Last Resort by Steph Broadribb
Review: Three Weeks Dead by Rebecca Bradley
#Booklove: CJ Harter
Review: The One by John Marrs
This coming week is another busy one. I’ve got blog tours galore this week, every other day, starting today with Witch Dust by Marilyn Messik. On Wednesday it’s my turn on the Nothing Stays Buried blog tour. Friday sees me sharing my thoughts on Untainted Blood and Sunday I finally get to set free my feelings on Richard Parker’s latest offering, Hide and Seek.
I’ll also be sharing a little more #booklove, this time Stephanie Rothwell. Do hope you can join me.
Have a fabulous week of bookishness all