Rewind, recap: Weekly update w/e 14/06/20

I had big plans this week. Achieved next to none of them, so that’s nice, but I did get in some lovely walks and saw nature, managed to bubble safely and read a few books. As you do.

How has your week been? I’ve actually been very busy considering I didn’t have any major things to do and took four days off work. This effectively meant I had two four days weekends as I worked on Wednesday – a disaster for a whole host of reasons I won’t go into here – but I still don’t feel like I got anything actually done. I et up with author/blogger Abbie Osborne on Monday for the second of three walks I completed that day. – socially distanced of course. It was lovely to meet up again after many, many months and also to take in somewhere new, Comer Woods, just outside of Bridgnorth. Thirty minutes drive from my house and I have never been before. About right. My first walk was to the canal (as usual) and my third was also to the canal but this time with Mandie – again at a distance. 14 miles and 35,000 steps later, I was ready for bed with very little reading completed.

Colleague of the day and a colleague of the day to be ..

I did a couple of trips out to Attingham Park too – okay four. It was lovely to see the deer again and to do the long route around the park talking in the deer park, the WWII walk and the woodland walk. Good to be getting in my steps and some fresh air. Again – not a lot of reading done. Whoops. I did some baking though – sort of. A diet Raspberry Mousse Cake which I can totally eat on my diet because my group leader says so. N fact it was a receipt she shared so if I don;t lose weight I can blame the slimming group … (I wish).

After last week’s insanity, I actually took it easy on the book buying front this week. I bought Noir From The Bar a collection of crime short stories by various authors in aid of the NHS Charities. I also bought Shadow Moon book six in the Huntress series by Alexandra Sokoloff. And that was it. No Netgalley titles either. I did receive some book post in the shape of Thirty One Bones by Morgan Cry courtesy of Polygon, and my Kate Atkinson books all turned up.

Books I have read

Fallen Angel by Chris Brookmyre


To new nanny Amanda, the Temple family seem to have it all: the former actress; the famous professor; their three successful grown-up children. But like any family, beneath the smiles and hugs there lurks far darker emotions.

Sixteen years earlier, little Niamh Temple died while they were on holiday in Portugal. Now, as Amanda joins the family for a reunion at their seaside villa, she begins to suspect one of them might be hiding something terrible…

And suspicion is a dangerous thing.

Hinton Hollow Death Trip by Will Carver

It’s a small story. A small town with small lives that you would never have heard about if none of this had happened.

Hinton Hollow. Population 5,120.

Little Henry Wallace was eight years old and one hundred miles from home before anyone talked to him. His mother placed him on a train with a label around his neck, asking for him to be kept safe for a week, kept away from Hinton Hollow.

Because something was coming.

Narrated by Evil itself, Hinton Hollow Death Trip recounts five days in the history of this small rural town, when darkness paid a visit and infected its residents. A visit that made them act in unnatural ways. Prodding at their insecurities. Nudging at their secrets and desires. Coaxing out the malevolence suppressed within them. Showing their true selves.

Making them cheat.
Making them steal.
Making them kill.

Detective Sergeant Pace had returned to his childhood home. To escape the things he had done in the city. To go back to something simple. But he was not alone. Evil had a plan.

Happily Whatever After by Stewart Lewis

A dark comedy about putting yourself in unexpected places, reaching for your dreams, and believing in second chances.

Thirtysomething Page was content with her life in New York City—until it went to the dogs. Unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend of four years and fired from her art gallery job in the same week, she flees to Washington, DC, and moves in with her big brother. She hopes the new setting and familial comfort will help her finally find her bearings. What Page finds instead is an unlikely refuge: a park for the neighborhood’s poshest pooches, and a quirky pack of companionable dog-run regulars who become fast friends.

Both four-legged and two-, these new allies offer Page a world of possibilities. The woman who hit rock bottom now has dreams: of having her own business, getting her own place, and even wilder ones about the ruggedly handsome owner of a vineyard and two equally fetching Bernese mountain dogs.

Unleashed from all that once held her back, Page finds everything might be falling into place. But just when she thinks her life is headed in the right direction, the road takes a sharp turn to show her just how unpredictable second chances can be. Will Page get her happily ever after? Is there even such a thing?

Witty, smartly funny, and modernly romantic, Happily Whatever After shows us all that sometimes imperfect can still be good enough.

The Big Chill by Doug Johnstone

Running private investigator and funeral home businesses means trouble is never far away, and the Skelf women take on their most perplexing, chilling cases yet in book two of this darkly funny, devastatingly tense and addictive new series!
Haunted by their past, the Skelf women are hoping for a quieter life. But running both a funeral directors’ and a private investigation business means trouble is never far away, and when a car crashes into the open grave at a funeral that matriarch Dorothy is conducting, she can’t help looking into the dead driver’s shadowy life. 
While Dorothy uncovers a dark truth at the heart of Edinburgh society, her daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah have their own struggles. Jenny’s ex-husband Craig is making plans that could shatter the Skelf women’s lives, and the increasingly obsessive Hannah has formed a friendship with an elderly professor that is fast turning deadly.  

But something even more sinister emerges when a drumming student of Dorothy’s disappears and suspicion falls on her parents. The Skelf women find themselves sucked into an unbearable darkness – but could the real threat be to themselves?

Following three women as they deal with the dead, help the living and find out who they are in the process, The Big Chill follows A Dark Matter, book one in the Skelfs series, which reboots the classic PI novel while asking the big existential questions, all with a big dose of pitch-black humour.

Yeah. I know. Four books isn’t bad, but I am helped by the daily walks and listening to the audio books. Reading wise, I think I am like everyone else and really struggling with concentration. Do not even ask me about how the reviewing is going. I only have 14 to write … Busy week on the blog – recap below.

#Review – No Escape – Casey Kelleher
#Review – Breakers – Doug Johnstone
#Review – Watch HIm Die – Craig Robertson
#Review – Containment – Vanda Symon
#Review – All Fall Down – MJ Arlidge

The week ahead is dedicated to Orenda. Today marks not one but two 5 year anniversaries for two most excellent series. FIrst up is Snow Blind by Ragnar Jonasson – book one in the Ari Thor series that we will be looking at in greater detail a bit later in the year as part of a celebration of Orenda’s selection of Icelandic Noir (just in time for jólabókaflóð). I have a lot to thank this series for as it was one of the earliest Orenda books I ever read (well, listened to) and the series of reviews that brought me to the attention of Mamma Orenda, Karen Sullivan, who kindly sent me my first ever book post! I have bnot looked back since.

The second series is the Varg Veum series by Gunnar Staalesen. We Shall Inherit the Wind was the first book published under the Orenda banner and it is not hard to see why it reached such great acclaim as it is truly gripping read. For the remainder of this week we will be continuing to celebrate all things Varg Veum with a look at all the books released in the series so far, plus a preview of Fallen Angels, the next book in the series due for release in November.

So that’s all from me for this week. I’m off to try and start prepping some of those outstanding blog posts while I still have the energy and inclination. I am such a terrible blogger right now – I need to have a stern word with myself I think.

A bee and a bake

Have a brilliantly bookish week all. I’m on a four day week myself – only in until Thursday, so hopefully I will have a productive time reading this week too. I have ambitious plans for June and July book wise and not a lot of time left to pull them off. Whoops.

For those who entered the draw to win a signed copy of Paul Burston’s The Closer I get I will be doing the draw and announcing the winner later tonight.

See you soon.

Jen xx