Rewind, Recap: Weekly Update W/E 05/03/23

And another week passes us by. I wish I could say that I have something really exciting to share with you on a personal level. Biggest achievement this week was managing to go out for a curry, eat a Planet Donut donut, and probably the equivalent of my current weight loss in chocolate (it’s been a long and stressful week) and still lose a pound by the end of it. Must be doing something right over the rest of the time at least, lol. That’s me at 23 lbs with another few mountains to climb, but I’ll get there. I have also given up caffeine for Lent in support of a colleague who wanted to try and give up sweets. It’s been tough remembering to always use/request decaf coffee, but so far so good. When is Easter again? 😬

I haven’t been anywhere to take any interesting pics this week so I’ve trawled through the archives and pulled out one I hope will at least make folks smile.

Image shows a Jack Torrance Pop! figure carrying an axe covered in blood – spookily reminiscent of me after a week of work with no caffeine …

Off to Londinium this week for a bit of a mooch around some bookshops and a visit to the Executions exhibition at the London Museum. Should be fun. Hopefully manage to get a bit of walking in around any pending rain showers and maybe I will return home with a few book purchases. Stranger things have happened. As I have the whole week off and no real plans other than to catch up on reviews (again) who know what I might get up to. Probably not a lot, but I could …

Not sure that I can expect to have another bumper book week like this one though. I should say I’m having a naff week at work more often. The lovely bookish gods seem to take pity on me and send me distractions galore. It all started with a very welcome but unexpected copy of Death of a Lesser God by Vaseem Khan (10 August). So chuffed with that one. Thanks to all the folks at Hodder & Stoughton. The next day I came home to three packages. One was my pre-order of Sinister Spring by Agatha Christie, plus a copy of The Institution by Helen Fields that I’m giving away over on Twitter. I also received a lovely package from Riot Communications as well as an invitation to preview the first episode of the brand new season of Grace on ITV, based on the books by Peter James. So excited by that! Almost feel like a fully growed up blogger and everything. As if that wasn’t enough for one day, my third parcel was a very unexpected copy of On The Savage Side by Tiffany McDaniel. Inspired by true events, I’m really intrigued to read it.

Friday I arrive home to yet another parcel – another surprise – a copy of Dead Tomorrow by Peter James. The book was the inspiration for the final episode of the last series of Grace, so I am assuming I have Riot Communications and Macmillan to thank for that one too. And then, because I am an extremely lucky blogger this week, I received a proof of The One That Got Away by J.D. Kirk (25 May), the first in a brand new series featuring DI Heather Filson. Thank you to everyone for your generosity. It’s make a crap week a lot better.

Top row l-R: Death of a Lesser God; On The Savage Side: Sinister Spring
Bottom row L-R: Box of Peter James goodies and treats; Dead Tomorrow; The One That Got Away

It wasn’t just physical books heading my way this week. I received an ARC of All Of Use Are Broken by Fiona Cummins via Netgalley (20 July) and also Skin Deep by Antonia Lassa from Corylus Books , ahead of the tour in late April. I also pre-ordered Deadly Fate by Angela Marsons (25 May); The Christmas Appeal by Janice Hallett (26 October); and purchased Lady’s Well, The latest DCI Ryan mystery from L.J.Ross. I’m trying hard to ensure that new titles, as I buy them, are scheduled into the blog. It’s okay that I’m now almost full up to September right, with more titles scattered throughout October – December? That’s perfectly normal?

L-R: All of Us Are Broken: Skin Deep; Deadly Fate; The Christmas Appeal; Lady’s Well

Of course, last week saw us saying a fond (?) farewell to February, so I can offically recap the books and novellas I read last month, 13 full length titles and 3 novellas totalling 16 titles read and 32 read year to date (now 35). Can’t really complain about that, can I?

My ooks read in February – titles listed below.

The Deadline Clock – Jeffery Deaver
Where Demons Hide – Douglas Skelton
The Pain Hunter – Jeffery Deaver
The Dying Squad – Adam Simcox
The Writing Retreat – Julia Bartz
The Chase – Ava Glass
The Half Burnt House – Alex North
Eleven Liars – Robert Gold
Dark Deeds Down Under – Edited by Craig Sisterson
The Last King of California – Jordan Harper
The House of Whispers – Anna Mazzola
The Acapulco – Simone Buchholz
Dodge – Jeffery Deaver
Thirty Days of Darkness – Jenny Lund Madsen
The Fascination – Essie Fox

Books I have read

The Fascination by Essie Fox

Victorian England. A world of rural fairgrounds and glamorous London theatres. A world of dark secrets and deadly obsessions…

Twin sisters Keziah and Tilly Lovell are identical in every way, except that Tilly hasn’t grown a single inch since she was five. Coerced into promoting their father’s quack elixir as they tour the country fairgrounds, at the age of fifteen the girls are sold to a mysterious Italian known as ‘Captain’.

Theo is an orphan, raised by his grandfather, Lord Seabrook, a man who has a dark interest in anatomical freaks and other curiosities … particularly the human kind. Resenting his grandson for his mother’s death in childbirth, when Seabrook remarries and a new heir is produced, Theo is forced to leave home without a penny to his name.

Unable to train to be a doctor as he’d hoped, Theo finds employment in Dr Summerwell’s Museum of Anatomy in London, and here he meets Captain and his theatrical ‘family’ of performers, freaks and outcasts.

But it is Theo’s fascination with Tilly and Keziah that will lead all of them into a web of dark deceits, exposing the darkest secrets and threatening everything they know…

Exploring universal themes of love and loss, the power of redemption and what it means to be unique, The Fascination is an evocative, glittering and bewitching gothic novel that brings alive Victorian London and darkness and deception that lies beneath…

The Lazarus Solution by Kjell Ola Dahl

Summer, 1943. When a courier for Sweden’s Press and Military Office is killed on his final mission, the Norwegian government-in-exile appoints a writer to find the missing documents … breathtaking WW2 thriller.

Daniel Berkåk works as a courier for the Press and Military Office in Stockholm. On his last cross-border mission to Norway, he carries a rucksack full of coded documents and newspapers, but before he has a chance to deliver anything he is shot and killed and the contents of his rucksack are missing.

The Norwegian government, currently exiled in London, wants to know what happened, and the job goes to writer Jomar Kraby,whose first suspect is a Norwegian refugee living in Sweden, whose past that is as horrifying as the events still to come…

Both classic crime and a stunning expose of Norwegian agents in Stockholm during the Second World War, The Lazarus Solution is a compulsive, complex, richly authentic historical thriller from one of the godfathers of Nordic Noir.

Blood Runs Cold by Neil Lancaster

She was taken against her will.

On her fifteenth birthday, trafficking victim Affi Smith goes for a run and never returns. With a new identity and secure home in the Scottish Highlands, she was supposed to be safe…

She escaped once.

With personal ties to Affi’s case, DS Max Craigie joins the investigation. When he discovers other trafficking victims have disappeared in exactly the same circumstances, he knows one thing for certain – there’s a leak somewhere within law-enforcement.

She won’t outrun them again.

The clock is ticking… Max must catch Affi’s kidnappers and expose the mole before anyone else goes missing. Even it if means turning suspicions onto his own team…

Don’t miss the next book in the DS Max Craigie series! Fans of Ian Rankin and Marion Todd will love this utterly gripping Scottish thriller!

Looking Glass Sound by Catriona Ward

Writers are monsters. We eat everything we see…

In a windswept cottage overlooking the sea, Wilder Harlow begins the last book he will ever write. It is the story of his childhood companions and the shadowy figure of the Daggerman, who stalked the New England town where they spent their summers. Of a horror that has followed Wilder through the decades. And of Sky, Wilder’s one-time friend, who stole his unfinished memoir and turned it into a lurid bestselling novel, The Sound and the Dagger.

This book will be Wilder’s revenge on Sky, who betrayed his trust and died without ever telling him why. But as he writes, Wilder begins to find notes written in Sky’s signature green ink, and events in his manuscript start to chime eerily with the present. Is Sky haunting him? And who is the dark-haired woman drowning in the cove, whom no one else can see?

No longer able to trust his own eyes, Wilder feels his grip on reality slipping. And he begins to fear that this will not only be his last book, but the last thing he ever does.

Discover the new dark thriller from the bestselling author of The Last House on Needless Street

I’m happy with that all things considered this week. I started The Fascination last weekend, so it’s not quite as impressive at it seems but it’s good enough considering it was a full on week at work. Full on week on the blog too – recap below:

#Review – Murder Before Evensong – Reverend Richard Coles
#Publication day splash – One for the Ages – JD Kirk
#Review – No More Lies – Rachel Abbott
#Review – The Writing Retreat – Julia Bartz
#Review – What Will Burn – James Oswald

The week ahead is full of a mixture of reviews. Today I’m having a little celebration of the release of The Institution by Helen Fields so do check out my review over on Twitter, and there may even be a bit of a quick fire giveaway going on too.

And that’s my lot. One day I will take stock of how many books I still have to read, but I need a full day just to go through my phsyical book stacks, let alone sorting out my kindle. I have so many arcs on there, along with finished copies of the books, I’m not actually sure how many books are still unread, or just not marked as read. I know that it is probably somewhere above 500 (well above) so that should keep me quiet for a while …

Have a lovely bookish week all.

Jen x