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2017 – WHOLE year without buying books

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Book-Feelings

Monastery, murder and madness with Matthew

 

BOOK FEELINGS: Hello Dear Reader, I know it has been a while but rest assured I am still reading. I have been reading new and wonderful things, since we last conversed I have had fun with witches, investigated a murderer’s son and with this book totally got lost in Tudor England. Close friends of mine recommended this series as ‘Sherlock Holmes type investigating set under the command of Henry VIII’ and although I like historical stories (see ‘The Chronicles of St Mary’s’ by Jodi Taylor) I wasn’t sure. Therefor it is time to admit I WAS WRONG!!

I downloaded the first 3 books as they were on offer on Audible (other audio books providers are available) and got started the next day. I had a 3 hr journey back to Oxford which was the perfect was to get started on this series.

REVIEW:

51p04gFS4IL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_Matthew Shardlake is a hunchbacked lawyer working under the rule of Thomas Cromwell in Henry VIII’s new England. Ties to Catholic Rome and the guidance of the Pope have been severed and Cromwell wants the monasteries to surrender their land.

Shardlake has been sent to the monastery at Scarnsea on the south coast to investigate the death of a fellow commissioner. What he finds is the deepest deception, mad men and truth behind his own feelings.

There are many subplots in this to keep the story flowing, including a buddy romance, racism and the hidden fantasies of the monks, both sexual and financial. The Snow, Alice and Brother Guy ‘the Dark faced monk’ keep Shardlake in Scarnsea much longer than anticipated and as the bodies rack up, is he actually safe within the walls of the Monastery?

This book is captivating even if you know nothing about Tudor England. the drama, the adventure and the surprises keep you guessing right until the end.

I have started Book 2 so I’m off to listen. Happy Reading

Mystery, unctions and time travel…what more could you want?

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BOOK FEELINGS: To be honest with you Dear reader, I bought this a very long time ago (Dec 2105 according to audible) and for some reason never got round to listening to it. Maybe I forgot, maybe I tried and didn’t like it, or maybe I just didn’t feel like it, but for whatever reason it just sat there, unlistened to for nearly 3 years and last week I saw it sitting there, not lonely but alone and I pressed play. I was sucked in immediately, I wanted more and need to know why Bess was running from Guidian!

After a run of murder mysteries, this is a definite change of pace. The story jumps through time, Bess and her family living and not so much surviving the plague, Elizabeth selling tinctures and unctions (which is just such a great word) at her local market in the modern age and Eliza being a Dr in the age of medical discovery. We hear of her adventures of immortality and why she has survived so long, the toll it had taken in her and why this time she’s getting close to another.

In the modern narrative, Elizabeth begrudgingly befriends a local teenage girl, Teagan, who appears to have no friends in the village and finds her company tolerable. Over the year they become closer and Elizabeth shares her history, although Teagan doesn’t realize the Bess of the witch trials is the same as the Elizabeth sitting in front of her. How close will she get to knowing the truth? Will she commit to her studies and become a young witch or will she be distracted by a boy? Will this apprenticeship risk Elizabeth’s sanctuary? Will Guidian finally catch up with her?

I like Bess, I like her brashness and her honesty. I find that I hold some people at a distance in the same way and it is nice to see a relatable character with the same traits. I wanted to know all her lives, I wanted to her escapes and how she honed her craft. I like that you know her struggle with the dark arts but it’s not the main story-line. I like that there is more to the series…51U6d59WKfL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

The truth is, Dear reader this book is captivating, researched and great for bus journeys when you know you won’t be disturbed. If I could have sat still and stayed awake for the whole story in one go I would have done.

The conclusion is satisfactory and resolved but you know there is more to explore if you wanted. The narrative is so vivid and alive and despite being set in a particular part of the country (not mine) I still looked for a woman seeing Basil oil at the market this morning, just in case.

Happy Reading.

 

 

Two girls went partying, only one came home.

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BOOK FEELINGS: Through this whole experience, I have tried to get into different books and went through solid 6 months of binge listening to Steampunk (see Gail Carriger and CJ Archer), I read some Autobiographies (On your marks, Get set, Sue…) and even reread Harry Potter for the billionth time. The truth is I love a mystery, there I said it, I am a murder junkie. Different authors bring different twists to the genre, Elly Griffiths adds the archeological element, Chris Brookmyre is witty but clever and Ali Carter is my new detective love. I did not expect this to be so good, so gripping or brutal, I didn’t expect to want to turn it off as much as I wanted to turn it up. I needed to listen to this…and yes it is a psychological thriller!!genre-map-genres1

REVIEW: ‘Their Lost Daughters’ by Joy Ellis was brilliant. I’m worried my review won’t do it justice, so many twists, turns, and wonderful characters.

This starts with a missing girl found dead, a drugged shoeless girl found on the fens and the relentless pressure of a cold case by Kenya Black’s mother. DI Rowan Jackman and his DS, Marie Evans are suddenly in the spotlight and tracking a series of illegal parties rife with underage drinking.

Jackman and Evans are trying to work out if the girls are linked, why a local legend is haunting them and who is responsible for the ‘children’s ward’!

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Rowan Jackman is honest, relentless and everything you want your detective to be; he looks after his team, works too hard and never gives up. Marie is astute, Amazonian and goes everywhere on a motorbike, she cares too much and wants to catch the killer just as much as Rowan. In this installment, local boy Gary joins their team and Rosie goes undercover with her great attention to detail crazy memory and baby face!

This team takes on a prolific case and takes the reader with them. The whole cast is strong, everyone adds something and I found this a great start to the series (although technically book 2). There were light elements to keep the tension real and I can’t wait to hear more!

I’m enjoying my birthday week off and its board games time so…

Happy (or not so happy in this case) Reading!

How would you use your 100 words?

‘Greetings, to all Pure Women.

You should all be fitted with your new wrist counters. A symbol of your purity and devotion to your family. Life is simpler now. Just 100 words a day.

Your role is in the house. Your husband takes care of everything else.

You’re free.

Instead, you should focus on values of modesty, submission, humility and purity. Love, honour and most importantly, obey. You know the rules. Just one word over 100 and your wrist counter will send 1,000 volts through your body. Choose your words carefully.

You have the right to remain silent’

 

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BOOK FEELINGS:  I couldn’t put this down…equally I didn’t want too! Handmaid’s Tale, 1984 and one bad decision from a Trump-like government rolled into one, and you know this could be reality. It’s terrifying, addictive and so easy to read.

I was asked to review this for a local bookshop. I started at 5:30 pm and read until I was finished. I moved seats in a restaurant because the family next door were too loud and disturbing me. I didn’t watch a favourite show because this had its claws in me. i needed to finish it.

Jean is a Dr, a wife, a mother and now confined to 100 words per day. She always saves enough to say goodnight to her kids and whisper she loves them before going to sleep. Her 3 boys are growing, being Pure and changing too fast for her liking, her 5 year old daughter on the other hand is a different. She is just starting to understand, she is getting quieter and quieter and this, more than anything, scares Jean.

Everything changes when the President’s brother gets ill. Using her doctorate, skills and words can Jean save him? What does this mean for her family? What does this mean for the country?

As a debut ‘Vox’ by Christina Dalcher is amazing, well thought through and addictive. The characters have depth, the plot is fantastic without being fantastical and who gets a happy ending? I want more! I am rapidly finding its THE book I am recommending to my friends and family. The question is, will you see it coming?

I read this at the beginning of the month and had to wait to  tell you about it Dear Reader, that was the hardest bit about this review, well that and no spoilers!

Off to sit on a train for work with another book! Happy reading!

(305 words – that’s me shocked)

A different type of pet detective!

 

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BOOK FEELINGS: This was a new release on Audible (other audiobook providers are available) and as I like mysteries, I thought it was a little bit different and I’d give it a go!

So when we meet Susie, she’s getting to know ‘Sittup’ and his family, when an old family friend is mysteriously heard dying in a graveyard. Susie stays with his wife, Diana and finds herself in the depths of a murder investigation. It is during this adventure she meets the cute, dependable medical examiner Toby and the charmingly dashing professor Henry. We learn a bit about Susie’s family, a lot about Diana’s staff and not enough about poor Alexander.

I really enjoyed the colour descriptions, the way Ali Carter describes things is just beautiful and although it is a gritty thriller it is a cozy mystery. It is soft and enjoyable and a very easy read.

 

Who knew there was extremist Buddhism?

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BOOK FEELINGS: This was another book I was asked to review, luckily for me it has already been published so I don’t have to put my review on hold.

First day. New Job. Dead Boss. Steve is having one of those days, he woke up with a hangover, he found the body and how many of his new colleagues think he did it?

DI Maya Rahman comes back from a tragic, traumatic Christmas break to find the Headteacher of her old school in the Tower Hamlets has been killed. First case back and her boss doesn’t think she’s up to it.

This book covers the changing world of education, the conflict management between the community, the police and the school, and just how easily the media can manipulate opinions. Its a murder, wrapped up in a cultural misunderstanding and topped with a religious vendetta.

The books jumps between 2 or 3 point of view characters which if the narration came from first or third person perspective would have been find but it jumped between and in early chapters I had to check who was the POV. It got easier and after a while the story flowed so well that the POV didn’t really matter. Everything was relevant to the storytelling. images

This book was easy to read, easy to follow but difficult to work out. A gripping murder mystery with a unconventional themes and a diverse cast. I really enjoyed it. So as it is Dear Reader, you know a little about me… One thing I haven’t talked about it is where I stand on religion. This book made me think a bit about religion, faith and being so devout that murder seems like a viable option.

Maya’s relationships with her family, co-workers and beyond is what makes this book appealing, she is strong, determined and driven. She character complements the laid back Aussie Dan and is a firm contradiction to her boss. Steve’s new job is a bit more dramatic than he was expecting and see how he is key ot this investigation.

 

Happy Reading

Iron Age Norfolk with a modern mystery

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I had 2 credits sitting in my audio account, a rare and brilliant occurrence. I wanted something new, a series and something I had a connection with. I love the Jack Paralabane series because they make me laugh, I love Katy Reiches because I see Bones from the TV and I like finding a narrator who has good character awareness.

Brief pause while I rescue the pink mouse from under sofa because my cat is walking across my laptop until she gets the pink mouse back.

I downloaded ‘The Crossing Places’ after checking out the sample, and instantly I was transported back to my childhood. I grew up very near the Norfolk Broads, so many of the places mentioned I know and understand. The introduction of Dr. Ruth Galloway was brilliant. She was instantly relatable and I couldn’t wait to find out more.

Dr. Ruth gets a visit from a northern DCI, working out of Kings Lynn. They have found some bones, DCI Harry Nelson is desperate for Ruth to date them, could they be the answer he has been waiting 10 years for? Within 10 minutes I was hooked and as we met Eric ‘the Viking’ who had been Ruth’s mentor at University, David the head of the Bird sanctuary that Ruth lives near and SParky and Flint her adorable felines, I knew this was a story and series I wanted to devour.

We learn about Ruth’s parents, her ex-husband and Harry Nelson’s perfect family, all through anecdotes that are weaved into the plot. Is the latest missing girl linked with the case that has plagued Harry for years?

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The plot is a mix of a modern murder mystery, an archaeological dig, and an English lesson on referencing. We learn about Norse folk law, hear a fair few bible references and who knew Norfolk had druids? The history of the henge, the accuracy of the digs and the very intricate plot is gripping. I want to know more. I want to hear more.

The resolution of the main plot was unexpected, the affairs were not altogether predictable and 2 senseless murders later I was invested in Ruth’s world. I have already downloaded the second book, knowing there are 10 in the series I feel like Ruth’s world is only going to get more exciting.

So on that note, time to get on the bus home and listen to some more. Happy Reading!

Love on The Spotted Custard.

BOOK FEELINGS: I love Gail Carriger books, the fact she quoted one of my reviews in her chirrup newsletter was amazing and so when I found out ‘Competence’ was being released, you can bet on the fact I pre-ordered it.

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It would be wrong of me to write about Gail Carriger or her books without including a picture of a cat. It turns out Billie can’t read but she didn’t attack this book so I’m taking that as a win.

This book starts with 2 most peculiar things, Rue is not in London. The Spotted Custard and its motley crew are in Singapore and secondly, Prim is running. yes, Dear reader, you read that right, perfect prissy posh Prim is RUNNING. I would love to talk about some of the other major events but firstly you know I don’t do spoilers but also this book has bee out about 4 days so I wouldn’t do that to everyone that hasn’t had the chance to finish it yet.  Minor events include running out of hats, Christmas pudding with extra lard and a mushroom called porcini.

I’m going, to be honest, I didn’t think there was enough Rue in this. I liked RPim’s development in this and even Percy wasn’t quite as insufferable as usual. I liked the layer that Formerly Floote brings to the mix and Tash has well established herself as part of the crew. Spoo in a dress was my favourite silly detail in this book.

Part 3 of the custard protocol, made me laugh. I think I will always miss ‘Dama’ and if he was to make a guest appearance in a later adventure, I for one would love that. Some of the subplots were very soft and endearing. I needed more Quesnel, I needed more Rue and I think I needed more tea. That being said, I loved it. I love the adventure, I loved the story, I loved the development and I am still invested in and addicted to this world.

I’m off to play board games with a friend, but Happy Reading to you!

Old favourites, New series and my ridiculous cat.

Good Morning readers,

the last time I wrote to you I was in fact off work. so you guessed it. I have taken a study day and rather than doing my essay I decided it was blog time. I have a big cup of tea and several books and audiobooks to tell you about. I have decided to write a few and publish them over the next few weeks rather than you guys getting loads today and then nothing for weeks (uh…months).

So I was working in Bath delivering training about 3 weeks ago and the weather was glorious. it was reaching 31 degrees every day, so in the evenings I was reading in the garden. I got so engrossed I realised I was going to finish before my train journey home, so I utilised my free Amazon Prime trial (other book subscriptions are available) and ordered 3 more books to be delivered to my hotel. I slightly overdid it but I am loving reading proper books in this heat.

I have been on a reading mission, so Dear Reader let us talk about some of those stories. I have read Vinyl Detective book 3, The custard protocol Book 3, ‘Want you gone’ another Jack Paralabane book and last night I finished ‘The Crossing Places’ by Elly Griffiths.  Apparently, I’m back on a murder mystery kick!!

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So time to write my reviews. My cat isn’t going to make this easy but Happy Reading!

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