Rewind, recap: Weekly update W/E 20/06/21

My word. Self care is very tiring. At least it is the way I do it. Two weeks of wound down me time translated into a lot of walking, lots of late nights and early mornings and a lot of wonderful memories made. Back at home, safe in the company of my kitties (who I missed, obviously) and not planning on going anywhere else, in the short term at least, but these past two weeks have been very much needed and long awaited.

View from our cottage

Mandie and I first booked the holiday back in 2019, before anyone had even heard of the dreaded CV, and should have been away last June. That obviously didn’t happen and we made do with a long weekend away later in the year instead. This year, with an abundance of caution, we managed to get on the road, and two weeks of relaxation (?) in Northumberland awaited us. I say relaxation but we’d walked over 100K steps in the first five days lol. We did slow down but not a lot, making sure we made the most of each and every day. The weather was kind to us and apart from a five minute shower when we were walking around Cragside (welcomed as it was so hot and we were doing a lot of walking) and a shower overnight, we had no issues whatsoever and had a glorious holiday. I could literally spam you with photos until the cows come home. And go out again. Then come home … I took a lot of photos, put it that way. But this is a book blog and if I have time I’ll do a travel post at some stage. You’ll just have to content yourselves with these few for now.

Unlike last week, I have a lot more to talk about book wise this week. Not necessarily reading wise – I was otherwise occupied – but certainly book post wise given I am now home to open it. I was very kindly sent pictures of the post as it arrived, but that didn’t help with knowing what was in the packages. I know now and am very happy.

First up, I have my book post. Mostly purchases but there were some proofs from publishers too. Book buy wise my copy of True Crime Story by Joseph Knox arrived and I’m really looking forward to reading it. I also received my Bert’s Books subscription box with this month’s Orenda Books Jubilant June delights: Everything Happens For a Reason by Katie Allen, This Is How We Are Human by Louise Beech and One Last Time by Helga Flatland, three excellent books I definitely recommend reading. I also treated myself to a copy of A Plot To Kill by David Wilson which always makes me titter when I search it on Amazon as it comes up as A Plot To Kill David Wilson and seems a tad harsh … 😉 Book post wise I had a few gifted copies. Thank you to Muswell Press for the copy of My Name Is Jensen by Heidi Amsinck, it looks like my kind of read. Orenda Books always deliver and this time they delivered Cold As Hell, the brand new title by Lilja Sigurdardottir which is out later this year. Super excited by my post from Orion – The Devil’s Advocate by Steve Cavanagh and intrigued by the title sent to me by Viper Books – Five Minds by Guy Morpuss. It sounds very original. And that’s my lot for physical post.

Netgalley wise it was just two new titles for me – The Devil’s Advocate by Steve Cavanagh and If Only by Angela Marsons. PLaced a couple of preorders and kindle orders this past week too. Firstly Mandie found that James Oswald’s new Constance Fairchild book is up for preorder – Nowhere To Run. No cover yet, but don’t need that to know that I want to own this book. We also found the next Alex Finn novel from Will Shindler, The Hunting Ground is available for preorder (again no cover) so it would be rude not to. And I decided to buy Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey from the Kindle Deals. And it wasn’t a book, but it was a book related competition win – a lovely bookmark from Carol Wyer.

Books I have read

No Honour by Awais Khan

A young woman defies convention in a small Pakistani village, with devastating results for her and her family. A stunning, immense beautiful novel about courage, family and the meaning of love, when everything seems lost…


In sixteen-year-old Abida’s small Pakistani village, there are age-old rules to live by, and her family’s honour to protect. And, yet, her spirit is defiant and she yearns to make a home with the man she loves. 

When the unthinkable happens, Abida faces the same fate as other young girls who have chosen unacceptable alliances – certain, public death. Fired by a fierce determination to resist everything she knows to be wrong about the society into which she was born, and aided by her devoted father, Jamil, who puts his own life on the line to help her, she escapes to Lahore and then disappears.

Jamil goes to Lahore in search of Abida – a city where the prejudices that dominate their village take on a new and horrifying form – and father and daughter are caught in a world from which they may never escape.

Moving from the depths of rural Pakistan, riddled with poverty and religious fervour, to the dangerous streets of over-populated Lahore, No Honour is a story of family, of the indomitable spirit of love in its many forms … a story of courage and resilience, when all seems lost, and the inextinguishable fire that lights one young woman’s battle for change.

If Only By Angela Marsons

“I want Michael Hunter to fall so deeply in love with me that he can’t bear to be more than fifty feet away,” Cher declares to her best friends over cheesecake and wine. But what if she’s searching for happiness in the wrong place?

As Cher types up letters about overflowing rubbish bins in a job she hates, she dreams of Michael Hunter. He’s gorgeous, smart, funny and he’s about to become her new boss. But he barely looks at Cher except to ask for a coffee refill. How can she get him to notice she’s the perfect girl for him?

While Cher ignores the warning from workmate Dan that Michael is bad news, her friends have their own problems to fix. Sarah is longing to start a new life with a man who won’t commit, and bride-to-be Deb should be looking forward to her wedding, but her future mother-in-law is turning it into a nightmare from hell…

If only her fiancé could see it that way. So, when one summer evening, over several glasses of wine, Cher, Sarah and Deb stumble across an old book and decide to cast a wishing spell, they don’t think for one minute that it will come true. It’s just three best friends having a laugh and throwing some herbs around the garden. Or is it?

Totally unputdownable, absolutely full of laugh-out-loud ‘I’ve so done that’ moments, and plenty of emotional twists and turns that will keep you refilling your wine and racing through to the end. The perfect romantic comedy for fans of Shari Low and Sophie Kinsella.

The Doll by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

It was meant to be a quiet family fishing trip, a chance for mother and daughter to talk. But it changes the course of their lives forever.

They catch nothing except a broken doll that gets tangled in the net. After years in the ocean, the doll a terrifying sight and the mother’s first instinct is to throw it back, but she relents when her daughter pleads to keep it. This simple act of kindness proves fatal. That evening, the mother posts a picture of the doll on social media. By the morning, she is dead and the doll has disappeared.

Several years later and Detective Huldar is in his least favourite place – on a boat in rough waters, searching for possible human remains. However, identifying the skeleton they find on the seabed proves harder than initially thought, and Huldar must draw on psychologist Freyja’s experience to help him. As the mystery of the unidentified body deepens, Huldar is also drawn into an investigation of a homeless drug addict’s murder, and Freyja investigates a suspected case of child abuse at a foster care home.

What swiftly becomes clear is that the cases are linked through a single, missing, vulnerable witness: the young girl who wanted the doll all those years ago.

Taut, terrifying and impossible to put down, The Doll cements Yrsa Sigurdardottir’s reputation as a master of storytelling tension and surprise.

So there we have it. Another three books. Just. Not going to lie – been super tired since I got home and reading has been a challenge. Full week on the blog though – recap below:

#Review – Knock Knock – Anders Roslund
#Review – This Is How We Are Human – Louise Beech
#Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Shortlist Announcement
#McIlvanney Prize Longlist Announcement
#Review – The President’s Daughter – Bill Clinton and James Patterson
#Review – Wolves In The Dark – Gunnar Staalesen
#Review – The Maidens – Alex Michaelides
#Review – Mr Sandman – SJI Holliday

The week ahead is pretty full with reviews all week. Just the one blog tour this week – One Last Time by Helga Flatland.

I am off to recover from my holiday – aka back to work (boo hiss). Have my second covid jab this week too which I am actually very happy about. Bring it on.

Have a lovely bookish week all and see you next time.

Jen x

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