Rewind, Recap: Weekly Update W/E 09/04/23

How are you? Recovered from the near inevitable sugar coma of religious celebration that is known as Easter? I’m not a religious person, but I’m still not entirely sure at which stage a giant bunny, eggs and chocolate made their appearance in Jesus’ story, but I’m guessing there was some logical association invented at some stage in history. Does the egg thing come from the eternal question of what came first, the chick or the egg? Is that eternal circular conundrum somehow reflective of the birth, death and rebirth of Christ, or just a cynical attempt to cash in on another long weekend and peoples love for choccy goodness? I’m sure I don’t know. But I did make a cheesecake which I decorated with Malteser and Blond chocolate bunnies, the majority of which was fed to family, so I guess I’m guilty of encouraging commercialism as much as the next person. (I also made the creme/caramel egg filled croissants – all in the interest of trying out the settings on my air fryer, obviously …)

Swans and a Coot along the canalside.

It wasn’t all food though and managed a couple of lovely walks while the weather was good, so nice to see and feed the birds, and offset some of the inevitable overeating of the weekend. Diet starts again tomorrow (still got a slice of cheesecake to finish off first). I also had my bienial visit to the optician. Good news is that my eyes are in good condition, no obvious signs of glaucoma, diabetes, high blood pressure etc. Tidy. Less tidy is the news (as I expected) that my eyesight is fractionally worse and I need a slightly higher prescription. New frames and a couple of hundred quid later, I just wish it was as easy to shed physical lbs as it is digital £s. Still – what cost eye health, right?

Book wise I’ve not had a bad week. Got in a few reads and started another. Had a couple of books through the post – one proof, one pre-order – pre-ordered another one, bought one, and got a couple from Netgalley. Pretty good week, all in all.

The proof was The Fall by Gilly Macmillan (25 May). It was one I’d agreed to read a couple of months ago and completely forgot about having heard nothing back so was a nice surprise to start the week. Pre-order delivery was The House of Whispers by Anna Mazzola, which was the lover Waterstones edition with piano keyboard sprayed edges. Lush, or what?

L-R: The House of Whispers; The Fall

My pre-order was Murder at Holly House by Denzil Meyrick (26 October), and I also bought These Lost & Broken Things by Helen Fields. Netgalley approvals were for Don’t Look Away by Rachel Abbott (03 August), and The Traitor by Ava Glass (14 September).

L-R: Murder At Holly House; These Lost & Broken Things; Don’t Look Away; The Traitor

Books I have read

The Seventh Victim by Michael Wood (30 May)

On a cold February afternoon in 1990, seven-year-old Danny Redpath disappeared from his home. Four months later, his body was found in the nearby forest, wrapped in a sheet and washed clean of all evidence.

Apprehended while attempting to abduct another child, Jonathan Egan-Walsh was charged with the murders of more than a dozen boys. Convicted on all counts, he received life in prison and went unrepentant, still refusing to reveal the whereabouts of one of his victims, Zachery Marshall.

Twenty-five years later, Zachery’s mother Diane is still searching for his body. When Jonathan dies in custody, she realises she will never know its location – until she receives a letter he left in his cell, in which he admits he was guilty of all the crimes of which he was accused, except the murder of her son…

The Fall by Gilly Macmillan (25 May)

Be careful what you wish for…

Nicole and Tom’s lives are changed overnight by a ten-million-pound lottery win.

Before they know it they’ve moved into a state-of-the-art Glass Barn conversion in the stunning grounds of Lancaut Manor in Gloucestershire.

But their dream quickly turns into a nightmare when Tom is found dead in the swimming pool, with a wound on his head.

Someone close to home must be responsible. But other than the young couple who live in the Manor, and their housekeeper in the Coach House next door, there’s no one around for miles.

Who among them is capable of murder?

The Doctor by Annie Payne (25 May)

A new and gripping psychological thriller with a medical twist, perfect for fans of Harriet Tyce, B A Paris and Doctor Foster.

Care giver, life saver… or cold-blooded killer?

Running away from a past she’d rather forget, Doctor Alison Wilson has moved to a new town to take up the role of Medical Officer at failing hospital St Margaret’s.

Tasked with shaking things up, she quickly learns that things are worse than they initially seem: patient records are in disarray, staff morale is low, and there’s something afoot that she can’t quite put her finger on…

As Alison starts to dig into the hospital’s past, she gradually discovers a trail of lies that runs deeper and darker than she could have ever imagined.

There’s a cold-blooded killer in the hospital. And they’re hiding in plain sight…

We Can Be Heroes by Paul Burston (01 June)

“This memoir is brutally honest… Wonderful!” – Russell T. Davies

Activist. Journalist. Survivor. One man’s journey from prejudice to Pride.

Paul Burston wasn’t always the iconic voice of LGBTQ+ London that he is today. Paul came out in the mid-1980s, when ‘gay’ still felt like a dirty word, especially in the small Welsh town where he grew up. He moved to London hoping for a happier life, only to watch in horror as his new-found community was decimated by AIDS. But even in the depths of his grief, Paul vowed never to stop fighting back on behalf of his young friends whose lives were cut tragically short.

It’s a promise he’s kept to this day. As an activist he stormed the House of Commons during the debate over the age of consent. As a journalist he spoke up for the rights of the community at a time of tabloid homophobia and legal inequality. As a novelist he founded the groundbreaking Polari Prize.

But his lifestyle hid a dark secret, and Paul’s demons—shame, trauma, grief—stalked him on every corner. In an attempt to silence them, he began to self-medicate.

From almost drowning at eighteen to a near-fatal overdose at thirty-eight, this is Paul’s story of what happened in the twenty years between, and how he carved out a life that his teenage self could scarcely have imagined. Emotional but often witty, We Can Be Heroes is an illuminating memoir of the eighties, nineties and noughties from a gay man who only just survived them.

There you have it. What is four books read and will be five books by the end of today at the very latest as I’ve started The Devil’s Playground by Craig Russell (08 June) today (Sunday) and that’s my 59th books this year. (Goodreads says 58 because one book is still not on there – a fact I am not happy about). I’m having a blast reading at the moment. Such great titles out there. Busy enough week on the blog too – recap below:

#Review – The Last King of California – Jordan Harper
#Review – A Truth for a Truth – Carol Wyer
#Review – Broken Girls – Joy Kluver
#Review – The House of Whispers – Anna Mazzola
#Review – Bamburgh – LJ Ross

Two blog tour books to be reviewed this week. Today it is Tell Me Lies by Teresa Driscoll and on Wednesday it’s The Lazarus Solution by Kjell Ola Dahl.

L-R: Tell Me Lies; The Lazarus Solution

And that’s my lot for this week. Thankfully it’s only a short week at work – 3.5 days – as I have Friday afternoon off. Yay. More reading time for me then!

Have a lovely week all and hope it’s full of fabulous books.

Jen x