Teaser Tuesday – September 13, 2022 #NewBook #TeaserTuesday #TheWhiteHare @JaneJohnsonBakr #TuesdayBookBlog @simonschuster

My Tuesday post where I’ll ‘tease‘ you with the cover, blurb, and first paragraph of one of the titles from my own TBR.

This book is a title I received from Simon and Schuster via
Edelweiss and I’ll be reading it soon.

Today, Tuesday September 13, 2022 I want to introduce one of the ARCs on my TBR.

This novel will be published on October 4, 2022

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 9781982140939 –  ASIN: B09RX494D6 –  400 pages

1)  The author. I read her previous book “The Sea Gate” and absolutely loved it.

2)  The setting. I seem to gravitate towards books set in Cornwall. Also, I love old houses situated near the sea.

3) The first paragraph paints such a vivid picture. Who died? and, what is their story?

4) The cover, which is stunning! Don’t you agree?

“The body lies in the surf, lapped by the edges of the incoming waves. Each time the water falls back, little rills and whirlpools burgeon around the head and feet, making the pebbles rattle and the figure’s long red hair undulate like seaweed.”

Is this a title that you would consider adding to your TBR pile?

Why, or why not?

Let me know in the comments.

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“The Couple at Causeway Cottage” by Diane Jeffrey – Book Review

Kat and Mark Fisher move to the idyllic island of Rathlin, off the coast of Northern Ireland. Their reasons are twofold. They want to escape their hectic London life and start a family, and, they want to be closer to Mark’s mother who is now living in a care home.

They no sooner move in when you are made aware that they are both keeping secrets from one another. Secrets that in time will erode their marriage into dust…

Mark is away from the island a lot due to work. Kat spends her days building up her photography portfolio by taking nature shots around the island. She also is a keen runner, and soon finds a running partner in a local man, Darragh Moore and his sheepdog, Dexter.

When Mark’s mother passes away, his personality begins to change. His moods are mercurial and volatile and he lies to Kat about important things.

Kat too is less than forthcoming. For she has visited the area before, when she was just a teenager – and something tragic happened when she was there…

“The longer you keep something a secret, the harder it is to confess.
And the easier it is to bury it under another layer of lies.”

This was a real page turner! At first I thought it was going to be more along the lines of a romantic suspense novel, but it veered into a psychological thriller with a surprising ending.

The setting was absolutely idyllic. Rathlin, an island off the coast of Northern Ireland. Think picturesque cliff walks, seabirds, charming pubs, and ocean vistas.

Isle of Rathlin, Northern Ireland

Themes explored in this story were the age old ones of infidelity, revenge,  and above all the perils of secrecy. The reader doesn’t know which of the characters to trust.

This novel was a fairly quick read and held my interest throughout. This is my first read from Diane Jeffrey and now I’m interested in pursuing her backlist titles. Recommended to all fans of the genre.

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from the author.   It was published by HarperCollins on August 18, 2022

ISBN:  9780008547943 –  ASIN: B0B2ZY3YP2  –  302 pages

Diane Jeffrey grew up in the UK: in North Devon and Northern Ireland.

After obtaining a BA joint honours degree in French and German from the University of Nottingham, she decided to become a teacher. As she felt that she wasn’t fluent enough in French or German to teach either subject, she moved to France, where she became an English teacher. She now lives in Lyon with her husband and their three children, black Labrador and cat.

Diane started writing poems and short stories at about five years of age. After lots of rejection letters and emails over the years from agents and editors, her debut novel was published when she was 43, which just goes to show: you should never give up!

Diane Jeffrey has written five psychological thrillers, all published by HQ, an imprint of HarperCollins, and all bestselling ebooks: Those Who Lie (2017), He Will Find You (2018), The Guilty Mother (2019), a USA Today bestseller, The Silent Friend (2020), A Karin Slaughter Killer Reads pick for ASDA, and The Couple at Causeway Cottage (2022). She is currently working on her sixth novel.

When she is not teaching or writing, she runs (a little) and swims (a lot). Diane devours chocolate, books and beer. She love holidays and traveling. Above all, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

Connect with Diane Jeffrey via Twitter or Instagram. Visit her Website.

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“Black Hearts” by Doug Johnstone – Book Review

“We are all different versions of ourselves with different people.”

The Skelfs have two businesses which they run out of their large Victorian house in Edinburgh. They run a funeral parlour AND a private detective agency.

It is up to the three strong Skelf women to carry the legacy of Jim Skelf, now deceased. Three generations of women, each with their own distinct set of hopes, fears, biases, and opinions – tied together with deep affection.

Dorothy Skelf – 72 years old and Jim’s widow. She grew up in California, but has lived in Edinburgh for the past fifty years as Jim’s wife and business partner. She is very fit for her age due to her love of yoga and her passion for playing the drums. Despite her continued grief for her late husband, Dorothy is a strong matriarch who keeps her family and the business on track. She does so with the help of D.I. Thomas Olsson, a black, Swedish policeman fifteen years her junior, yet increasingly important to her both personally and professionally. Though they are now lovers, Dorothy still feels that she is betraying her late husband’s memory… In this book Dorothy is hired by an elderly Japanese man who wants her to discover why his late wife’s spirit seems to be abusing him. Also, she investigates a pseudocide (pretend suicide) on behalf of a distraught young man.

Jenny – Dorothy’s daughter is a 46 year-old divorcée.  She works more on the private detective side of the business than the funeral side. Still reeling from the events of the previous book, Jenny is lonely and regretting parting ways with Liam. In this book Jenny is spiraling. The discovery of her ex-husband’s body finds her drinking far too much and she has traitorous, even suicidal thoughts. Also, she finds friendship with the Skelf’s resident mortician.

Hannah – Jenny’s daughter and Dorothy’s granddaughter, is 23 years old. She is married to Indy, who works for the family firm and is now a funeral director. Hannah has recently earned her PhD in astrophysics and works at the Royal Observatory. She also now works part-time in both family businesses. In this book Hannah is being stalked by a girl named Laura Abbott – jeopardizing her relationship with her wife.

Indy– is Hannah’s wife and works as a funeral director for the Skelf’s Funeral Home.

Schrödinger – the Skelf family’s ginger tabby, is a welcome diversion throughout the novel. Aloof, yet affectionate, Schrödinger is grieving for Einstein, the canine member of the family, who passed away in the last book.

After reading the first three books, I’ve discovered I just can’t get enough of Doug Johnstone’s Skelf series. If anything, I found it even more enjoyable than the first three books, due to the fact that now I’m familiar with the characters, and they have become almost like friends. If ever there was a ‘character-rich’ series, this is it.

With a unique family dynamic, and an even more unique family business, this series had me hooked from the beginning. The Skelf women are memorable, moral, and authentic.

In addition to the family’s personal stories, I enjoyed following the cases they were working on throughout the book, and how the women support one another.

The title of this book was perfect for the content. Black hearts both literally and figuratively abound.

“To live in the hearts of those we love is not to die.”

Set in Edinburgh, the novel explores themes of empathy, loss, grief, guilt, and coping strategies.  The author’s obvious affection for his home city permeates the entire novel – as does his love of music.Written with empathy and skill, this crime novel displayed a richness in characterization along with unique and clever plotting that makes this series stand out from its peers.  The books read like a pleasing cross between crime thriller and literary fiction. I found the three strong female protagonists fascinating, and I am eager to read more about their lives and exploits in further books. Guess you could say I’m an ardent Skelf fan.  The ending of “Black Hearts” presents the reader with breathtaking tension.   Highly recommended!

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Orenda Books.   It will be published by Orenda Books on September 29, 2022

ISBN: 9781914585296 –  ASIN: B09YMMQ2T4  –  300 pages


Doug Johnstone is an author, journalist and musician based in Edinburgh. He’s had nine novels published, most recently Fault Lines. His previous novel, The Jump, was a finalist for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year. Several of his other novels have been award winners and bestsellers, and he’s had short stories published in numerous anthologies and literary magazines. His work has been praised by the likes of Ian Rankin, Val McDermid and Irvine Welsh. Several of his novels have been optioned for film and television. Doug is also a Royal Literary Fund Consultant Fellow. He’s worked as an RLF Fellow at Queen Margaret University, taught creative writing at Strathclyde University and William Purves Funeral Directors. He mentors and assesses manuscripts for The Literary Consultancy and
regularly tutors at Moniack Mhor writing retreat. Doug has released seven albums in various bands, and is drummer, vocalist and occasional guitarist for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He also reviews books for The Big Issue magazine, is player-manager for Scotland Writers Football Club and has a PhD in nuclear physics.

Follow Doug Johnstone on Twitter and/or Instagram.

Posted in Book Reviews, Mystery fiction, Orenda Books | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

R.I.P. Queen Elizabeth II – book suggestions to remember her

Like many people around the world, I was saddened to hear of the Queen’s passing yesterday, September 8th at Balmoral Castle. Many of us have never known a world without her in it, and her strength and tenacity is a lesson for us all.

The Queen’s funeral is thought to take place 10 days after her death, and will be lead by the Archbishop of Canterbury and her coffin will be taken to Westminster Abbey by gun carriage.

If you’re looking for a list of books about the late Queen Elizabeth II and are interested in learning more about the Queen’s life and reign, the librarians at OverDrive have curated a special list to remember the UK’s longest-serving monarch. All of these books are available for free on the Libby App through local libraries.

Also, if you want to see a montage of Queen Elizabeth II’s life in pictures, check out the offering of Newsweek Magazine by clicking on the photo below.Also, if you can’t get enough of the late Queen, check out my Pinterest board devoted to her that contains some of my own personal favourite photos of Her Majesty.

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Cover Love part 111 – Ship Rails #CoverLove #fictionophile #BookCovers

They say you can never have a second chance to make a good first impression. A book’s cover does just that – gives a first impression. A good cover can make a reader pick up a book. A bad cover can leave the book at the very bottom of a dusty pile.

The covers of novels entice the reader to enter a different world. Covers are, after all, the way the publisher ‘hooks‘ the reader into choosing one book over countless others.

For my 111th Cover Love post, I want to share 40 fiction books that I’ve found with ship railings on their cover. These titles fall into many different genres of fiction, though most of them fall into the historical fiction and mystery categories. All covers are linked to the Goodreads descriptions.

Have you read any of these titles?

Do you have a favorite cover?

Did you spot the duplicate cover?

Don’t forget to check out any of the other previous 110 installments of Cover Love, many of which have been updated since they were first published.

Posted in Cover Love series, Dustjackets | Tagged | 3 Comments

WWW Wednesday – Sept. 7, 2022 #readingforpleasure #bookbloggers #WWWWednesday #bookworms

Welcome to this week’s WWW Wednesday. WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words.

I’ve linked the book descriptions to the Goodreads site for the book.

Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. So, let’s get to it!

The three Ws are:
What are you currently reading?
What have you finished reading?
What will you read next?

What am I currently reading?

Black Hearts” by Doug Johnstone

(this is a title I received from Orenda Books and
is the 4th title in the fabulous Skelfs series)

What have I just finished reading?

The Marsh Queen” by Virginia Hartman

My Review

What will I read next?”

The Couple at Causeway Cottage” by Diane Jeffrey

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from the author. and after that I plan to read

The Winners” by Fredrik Backman

 I downloaded this from NetGalley and it is the third installment in the fabulous Beartown trilogy by my favorite author.


So that’s it!   How is YOUR reading week shaping up?

 

Posted in Anticipated titles, Fictionophile report, Reading, WWW Wednesdays | Tagged | 2 Comments

“The Marsh Queen” by Virginia Hartman – Book Review

Loni Mae Murrow escaped the stifling confines of her home in northern Florida and went north. Now thirty-six, she works for the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum as an artist in their ornithology department. She likes her life in Washington, D.C. and she loves her work.

When her younger brother calls to say that her mother is likely suffering from early onset dementia, he pleads with her to come home and help. Loni has never really been close to her mother since the mysterious death of her father when Loni was twelve and her brother only a baby. But a sense of familial duty sees her requesting a leave of absence from work and she journeys south – and home.

Once home, Loni helps her brother and his wife to clear their mother’s house of her belongings as she is now living in a nursing home. Loni discovers some old notebooks which cause her to think more about the circumstances surrounding her father’s death. He drowned on the marsh he patrolled regularly as a Wildlife Officer. The official report declared it to be an on the job accident. Whispers and innuendo hinted that he might have taken his own life. But could the death have been murder?

This was a stellar debut novel which makes me excited to read more of this author’s work. It is evocative of one of my favorite novels “Where The Crawdads Sing”, yet it retains its own uniqueness and has more of a crime fiction vibe.

The characters are vividly portrayed as is the Florida marsh and its inhabitants. The authors love of the natural world shines through, as does her obvious love of books. Her eloquent descriptions of the marsh and the birds transports the reader so that you can almost feel the humidity and hear the wildlife.

The book slowly progresses to the reveal of what really happened that fateful day when Loni’s father died. This only after Loni encounters some threatening warnings and not a little danger.

With themes of familial duty, the value of honesty, and the long lasting repercussions of abandonment and loss, this is a crime novel with literary overtones. Highly recommended!This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that downloaded a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Gallery Books via Edelweiss.

Publication date: Sept. 6, 2022  Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 9781982171605 ASIN: ‎ B09JPJZKMZ   384 pages

Virginia Hartman has an MFA in creative writing from American University and is on the faculty at George Washington University. Her stories have been shortlisted for the New Letters Awards and the Dana Awards. The Marsh Queen is her first novel. Find out more at VirginiaHartman.com

Connect with Virginia Hartman via Twitter or Instagram.

Posted in Book Reviews, debut novels, Edelweiss | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Teaser Tuesday – September 6, 2022 #NewBook #TeaserTuesday #TheOtherSideOfNight @adamhamdy #TuesdayBookBlog @AtriaBooks

My Tuesday post where I’ll ‘tease‘ you with the cover, blurb, and first paragraph of one of the titles from my own TBR.

This book is a title I received from Atria Books via
Edelweiss and I’ll be reading it soon.

Today, Tuesday September 6, 2022 I want to introduce one of the ARCs on my TBR.

This novel will be published on Sept. 27, 2022Publisher: Atria Books / Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 9781982196189 –  ASIN: B09RX4QCSR –  304 pages


1)  A policewoman who is trying to redeem herself after making a mistake.

2)  An inscription in a second-hand book… what a great way to discover a mystery!

3) Fathers and sons and secrets!

4) The idea that someone she knows might be a murderer.

“Harriet Kealty had spent almost an hour sitting alone outside the Nantwich Bookshop, and was now nursing her third expresso. She watched the other customers and listened to their conversations, as Steve and Denise, the friendly owners of the bookshop, and their staff shuttled in and out, ferrying orders of coffee and cakes. It was a Saturday, so the town center was busy and the square opposite the crooked Tudor building was packed with shoppers buzzing from one market stall to another.”

Is this a title that you would consider adding to your TBR pile?

Why, or why not?

Let me know in the comments.

Posted in Anticipated titles, Edelweiss, Teaser Tuesday | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

#BookRecommendations with titles that start with the letter ‘V’ #GreatReads #ReadingForPleasure

Last year I started going through the entire alphabet, one letter per month. For September 2022, the 21st month of my endeavor, I’m listing all of my favourite novels that begin with the letter ‘V‘ I am choosing these titles from the books I’ve read since I began this blog. There are 4 books recommended here.

If the title begins with an initial article such as The, A, An etc., I will be using the second word.  For instance, “A Man called Ove” will be included in my M post.

Hopefully you’ll find something that interests you from these posts.

As always, I’ve linked the book cover to Goodreads, and the title link will take you to MY review of the book.


The Visitors” by Catherine Burns


Valentina” by S.E. Lynes


The Vanishing Year” by Kate Moretti


Vanishing Girls” by Lisa Regan

If you have already read any of these titles, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

When someone asks me to recommend a book…

Posted in Book Reviews, Favorite books | Tagged | 7 Comments

“Loving The Dead And Gone” by Judith Turner-Yamamoto – Book Review

“Loving the dead and gone was the sweetest love of all…
the only thing that never changed, never got old and sour.”

1963 

Donald Ray Spencer – dead at age nineteen leaving behind a seventeen year old widow, Darlene.

Darlene Spencer – a widow before her first wedding anniversary. Seventeen, and a beautiful, sensuous, redhead Darlene does not know how to cope with her devastating loss.

Clayton Bishop – discovered Donald Ray’s body and it deeply traumatized him. Clayton is married to Berta Mae. Theirs is a loveless marriage and they have one daughter, Emogene. Over the years they have come to tolerate each other, though each are deeply unhappy in their own way. They are both in their late thirties. When Darlene Spencer approaches Clayton to discuss how he found her husband, they seek solace in each other – attempting to drown out the tragedy that haunts them.

Berta Mae Bishop – always felt unloved by her mother, Aurilla. Now that she has a daughter of her own, she feels unequal to the task as she never really experienced mother love first hand… Now Aurilla has suffered a stroke and Berta Mae is resentful of the time she must spend helping her mother. Berta Mae is a woman who has been negative her entire life and sees slights and defeat in most things and people.


1925

Aurilla Cutter – the daughter of a talented seamstress, Aurilla hastily marries Joe Cutter after a brief liaison and goes to live on his family’s tobacco farm. She bears him one daughter, Berta Mae, but their marriage is a cold one. Aurilla works arduously from morning til night keeping the farmhouse ticking over alongside her husband’s brother’s wife Louella. Aurilla discovers great love at the Cutter family farm, but not with her husband Joe…

Set in 1925 and 1963, this beautifully written novel explores loss in a way that is powerful and at times heart-rending.

In rural North Carolina a young man died when he was rear-ended by another vehicle. Only nineteen years of age, and a newlywed, he left behind a great love in his wife Darlene. This tragedy acts as a catalyst for the upheaval of many lives.

In addition to the main themes of loss, grief, and bereavement, this beautifully scripted, expressive novel also eloquently explores the complicated love-hate relationships between mothers and daughters, and of loveless, cold marriages held together only by responsibility and commitment.

Literary fiction at its finest which explores emotions and universal truths in the guise of telling the story of two very different women.  Highly, highly recommended!

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that downloaded a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Regal House Publishing via NetGalley UK.

Publication date: Sept. 6, 2022  Publisher: Regal House Publishing

ISBN: 9781646032587 ASIN: ‎ B09MSLKJMR   252 pages

JUDITH TURNER-YAMAMOTO grew up in rural North Carolina in a small mill town. An art historian, she first came to writing through learning to appraise what she saw and to describe what moved her. Her work has appeared in StorySOUTH, Mississippi Review, Snake Nation Review, and American Literary Review, among others, and in many anthologies, including Walking the Edge: A Southern Gothic Anthology, Show Us Your Papers, and Gravity Dancers. Her awards include two Virginia Arts Commission fellowships, an Ohio Arts Council fellowship, VCCA and Fundación Valparaiso fellowship residencies, the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize, the Washington Prize for Fiction, and the Virginia Screenwriting Award. An inveterate traveler, her article assignments, which include interviews with such luminaries as Frank Gehry, Annie Leibovitz, Alison Krauss, and Lucinda Williams, have taken her all over the world, and she has published more than a thousand cover stories and features on the arts, design, architecture, interiors and gardens, travel, food, fashion, and books in such publications as The Boston Globe Magazine, Elle, Interiors, Art & Antiques, The Los Angeles Times, and Travel & Leisure. Her on-air interviews were featured on “Around Cincinnati”, a weekly art talk show on NPR affiliate WVXU. She has taught fiction at the Chautauqua Writers’ Center, Chautauqua Institution, the Danville Writer’s Conference, and the Writers’ Center, Bethesda, Maryland. She lives in Cincinnati, OH with her husband, visual artist Shinji Turner-Yamamoto.

Connect with Judith Turner-Yamamoto via her website, Twitter, or Instagram.

Posted in Book Reviews, Literary fiction, NetGalley | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments