Rewind, recap: Weekly update w/e 17/09/17

glasses-272399_1280

No exciting nature shots to share with you this week I’m afraid folks. After a long weekend away last weekend for Bloody Scotland, this week has been all about work. Straight back into it on Tuesday delivering a training course for two days. Thursday I spent a good part of the day driving back up north to Airdrie as I was due to spend the day on Friday out with one of my delivery team. It was his first time out with our new POD system after being trained last week and the first time I’ve been out on a van in quite some time. Won’t be the last.

businessman-2108029_1280

Had a cracking day out but after being in work for 06:00, spending the day making deliveries around Irvine, then at around 15:00 doing the slow drive back home, I was absolutely shattered. It meant the weekend has been spent catching up on all of the household gubbings I have missed like doing a grocery shop, shoving my clobber in the wash, buying new pillows… you know. The usual.

While I was raiding Dunelm (other shops are available), I picked up Luna a teddy bear blanket. She absolutely loves it. I know this because from the moment she jumped on my bed the first night she started purring and padding away at it. The purring lasted a good ten minutes until she finally fell asleep. After a feed the next morning she jumped back on my bed – same again. She crawled up a ways onto the duvet and had a bit of a fuss – nothing. As soon as she walked back down to her blanket that happy rhythm started up again.

I think I have been forgiven for abandoning her all the time. Either that or she just likes the blanket so much she has forgotten me entirely. Hey ho.

But back to the real reason I’m here. The books. No book post this week 😦 Unloved again, but that’s not a bad thing to be fair. I ‘collected’ a fair few last weekend. ARC wise I had just the three (whoops) from NetGalley – one of which was for a blog tour, another a Christmas feature. I received Barbara Copperthwaite’s Her Last Secret; Fiona Neill’s The Betrayals and The Usual Santasa collection of Christmas crime capers from a variety of authors.

Purchase wise I’ve been very good. I only purchased 1 book. Well, preordered technically and that was Barbara Copperthwaite’s new book, out next month. I know right? See. I told you I’d been busy.

Busy… reading as it happens. Had a stonkingly good week book wise. Finished the audio book that I started last weekend, listened to another and read four actual book books. Go me. I feel accomplished. Now all I have to do is actually write the reviews…

Books I have read

LLBLove Like Blood (Audio) by Mark Billingham

A BLOODY MESSAGE
As DI Nicola Tanner investigates what appears to be a series of organised killings, her partner Susan is brutally murdered, leaving the detective bereft, and vengeful.

A POWERFUL ALLY
Taken off the case, Tanner enlists the help of DI Tom Thorne to pursue a pair of ruthless killers and the broker handing out the deadly contracts.

A CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE
As the killers target their latest victim, Thorne takes the biggest risk of his career and is drawn into a horrifying and disturbing world in which families will do anything to protect their honour.

Wow. What a powerful book. As anyone who saw the recent ‘Written In Blood’ Tv show will know, this book was inspired by a true story, that of Banaz Mahmod, who was tortured and murdered by her own family for falling in love with the wrong person. A so called ‘honour killing’. This book both moved and shocked me in equal measure, as Mark Billingham captured the subject perfectly, the unique elements of humour lighting what could otherwise have been a   very dark tale. My review will be posted in the coming weeks but you can purchase the book for yourself here.

CoverThe Surrogate by Louise Jensen

You know that feeling? When you want something so badly, you almost feel you’d kill for it?’ 

Be careful what you wish for…

Kat and her husband Nick have tried everything to become parents, and are on the point of giving up. Then a chance encounter with Kat’s childhood friend Lisa gives Kat and Nick one last chance to achieve their dream. 

But Kat and Lisa’s history hides dark secrets. 

And there is more to Lisa than meets the eye. 

As dangerous cracks start to appear in Kat’s perfect picture of happily-ever-after, she realises that she must face her fear of the past to save her family… 

From the no. 1 bestselling author of The Sister and The Gift, this is an unputdownable psychological thriller which asks how far we will go to create our perfect family. 

Oh my. What a story. More than simply a story about a woman desperate to become a mother, this encapsulates the power that a lie told or a secret kept can hold when finally it is uncovered. Forced to face her past and a secret she has never told her husband, Kat is not too keen on what she sees. But she’s not the only one keeping things back. Twisted with a slow building tension, nothing in this book is what it seems. You can preorder a copy here.

HOSHouse Of Spines by Michael J Malone

Ran McGhie’s world has been turned upside down. A young, lonely and frustrated writer, and suffering from mental-health problems, he discovers that his long-dead mother was related to one of Glasgow’s oldest merchant families. Not only that, but Ran has inherited Newton Hall, a vast mansion that belonged to his great-uncle, who appears to have been watching from afar as his estranged great-nephew has grown up.

Entering his new-found home, he finds that Great-Uncle Fitzpatrick has turned it into a temple to the written word – the perfect place for poet Ran. But everything is not as it seems. As he explores the Hall’s endless corridors, Ran’s grasp on reality appears to be loosening. And then he comes across an ancient lift; and in that lift a mirror. And in the mirror … the reflection of a woman …

A terrifying psychological thriller with more than a hint of the Gothic, House of Spines is a love letter to the power of books, and an exploration of how lust and betrayal can be deadly…

Wow. Part gothic ghost story, part pyschological thriller, it’s hard to know how to describe this book and still do it justice. It certainly kept me turning page after page, combining all that I like about literature – horror and thriller blending seemlessly to create an unnerving tale with echoes of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, a book I absolutely love. I’ll be sharing my thoughts in full next week but do yourself and bag a copy by following the link here.

IC1The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem Khan

Mumbai, murder and a baby elephant combine in a charming, joyful mystery for fans of Alexander McCall Smith and Rachel Joyce.

On the day he retires, Inspector Ashwin Chopra discovers that he has inherited an elephant: an unlikely gift that could not be more inconvenient. For Chopra has one last case to solve…

But as his murder investigation leads him across Mumbai – from its richest mansions to its murky underworld – he quickly discovers that a baby elephant may be exactly what an honest man needs. 

So begins the start of a quite unexpected partnership, and an utterly delightful new series.

Last weekend I received rather a lovely email, inviting me to be part of a reviewing team for First Monday Crime, a once a month panel held down in London. The plan is to review books from the authors featured on the panel. November’s panel includes the lovely Vaseem Khan, so it seemed the perfect time to break out the audio books on my trip up to Airdrie. And who doesn’t love an elephant right? Well at the beginning of this story, Inspector Chopra is not too chuffed to find himself the proud owner of baby Ganesh. A truly intriguing story and one which captures the spirit of Mumbai through the eyes of a retired Police Inspector and a young elephant with a rather unusual gift. You can see my full review in the coming weeks, but in the meantime why not order a copy here.

WAHCWe’ll Always Have Christmas by Jenny Hale

An enchanting story about the magic of Christmas, the importance of family, and the joy of falling in love during the most romantic season of the year…

Christmas has always been a special time for Noelle Parker. Winter evenings spent with family and friends, drinking hot chocolate and eating cookies at her family’s cozy bakery have shaped her love for all things festive. But this year everything is changing…

The beloved bakery is facing closure and Noelle needs a miracle to save Christmas.

Determined to raise funds for the family business, Noelle sets about revamping the bakery while juggling a surprise new job, caring for the elderly and cantankerous William Harrington in his luxurious, sprawling mansion.

As Noelle melts the frostiness of the house with cake baking, snowball fights and glittering decorations, she helps William to reconnect with a romance that has spanned decades and unexpectedly finds herself falling for his grandson – the gorgeous but mysterious Alexander Harrington

In the countdown to Christmas, can Noelle save the bakery, reunite a family and create some magical memories of her own along the way?

Aww. My first Christmas book of 2017 and what a book it is. Single mom Noelle is facing unemployment, the loss of her Gram’s beloved bakery and an uncertain Christmas and future. When she is offered a job as a carer to an elderly gentleman it is the perfect lifeline – until she learns that she will be working for the very man threatening the bakery’s future. A heart warming romance written in a beautiful style, I raced through this in one evening. My review will be up soon as part of the blog tour but in the meantime why not preorder a copy here.

TMWDThe Man Who Died by Antti Tuomainen

A successful entrepreneur in the mushroom industry, Jaakko Kaunismaa is a man in his prime. At just 37 years of age, he is shocked when his doctor tells him that he’s dying. What is more, the cause is discovered to be prolonged exposure to toxins; in other words, someone has slowly but surely been poisoning him.

Determined to find out who wants him dead, Jaakko embarks on a suspenseful rollercoaster journey full of unusual characters, bizarre situations and unexpected twists.

With a nod to Fargo and the best elements of the Scandinavian noir tradition, The Man Who Died is a page-turning thriller brimming with the blackest comedy surrounding life and death, and love and betrayal, markinng a stunning new departure for the King of Helsinki Noir.

Who knew mushrooms could be so deadly. Well, aside from anyone who has ever accidentally eaten a poisonous mushroom that is… I loved this book. I love the blend of hunour and mystery. I love the true sense of place and setting you get when reading Antti Tuomainen’s work. I love the simple and understated way in which the story makes me smile, the way the darker moments of humour make me chuckle out loud. I love the fact that I only started reading this as a break from writing up reviews and yet I powered my way through it in one evening. If you take one thing from my post today, let it be ‘buy this book’. You can do so by pre-ordering it right here. Genius.

Quite a week huh? Can’t quite believe it myself, but then it’s a lot easier when I can travel and manage an audio book or two. I’ll be listening to the second Inspector Chopra book later this week as I head back to Scotland again for a meeting. Some sacrifices have to be made I’m afraid 😉

Blog wise I had another full week, with a little help from the big sis. I’m still running my giveaway for another week so if you fancy some Scottish themed goodies, enter away.

Cover Reveal: Barbara Copperthwaite and Bookouture

A weekend to remember. @Bloodyscotland Roundup September 17 + Giveaway

#Booklove: Patricia M Osborne

Review: The Dragonfly by Kate Dunn

#BlogBlitz: The Missing Girls by Carol Wyer

#BookLove: Eve Seymour

Review: You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood

The week ahead is pretty full on two. This morning I had a fab guest post from author Alison Brodie about her new book, Zenka. Tomorrow is a double whammy with an author interivew with Billy McLaughlin as part of the blog tour for The Daughter, plus I’ll have my review of She Did It by Mel Sherratt. Wednesday is my turn on the blog blitz for Cold Blood by Robert Bryndza and I have two more blog tours planned for The Frozen Woman and Reach For The Stars on Friday and Saturday. On top of all of that I’ll be sharing the #booklove with author Patricia Furstenberg and rounding out the week with a new review.

Busy Busy Busy. Loving it. I have a punishing schedule at work over the next few weeks but I’m determined to keep up with everything bloggish. If I’m quiet on Social Media, don’t panic. I’m still around but books and reading come second only to work this week.

Have a fabulously bookish week and see you next Monday

Jen

Alison Brodie, author of #Zenka @alisonbrodie2 #Extract

Today I’m delighted to feature author Alison Brodie on the blog with an extract from her upcoming book, Zenka. I read and loved Alison’s last book, Brake Failure, earlier in the year and can’t wait to get stuck into this latest offering. In the meantime let’s find out what Zenka is all about.

Zenka_Final_Amazon_1535x2500 - CopyThe Official Book Blurb

Ruthless, capricious, and loyal.

Zenka is a Hungarian pole-dancer with a dark past.

When cranky London mob boss, Jack Murray, saves her life she vows to become his guardian angel – whether he likes it or not.  Happily, she now has easy access to pistols and shotguns.

Jack learns he has a son, Nicholas, a male nurse with a heart of gold.  Problem is, Nicholas is a wimp.

Zenka takes charges.  Using her feminine wiles and gangland contacts, she aims to turn Nicholas into a son any self-respecting crime boss would be proud of.  And she succeeds!

Nicholas transforms from pussycat to mad dog, falls in love with Zenka, and finds out where the bodies are buried – because he buries them.  He’s learning fast that sometimes you have to kill, or be killed.

As his life becomes more terrifying, questions have to be asked:

How do you tell a crime boss you don’t want to be his son?

And is Zenka really who she says she is?

Continue reading “Alison Brodie, author of #Zenka @alisonbrodie2 #Extract”