Hello all! Happy Saturday! Hope the world is treating you well. Been an awful week here as my beloved 13 year old bunny, Archie, passed away last weekend and I’m heartbroken 💔 So my head really hasn’t been in the reading/blogging game – hoping my motivation will return sometime soon…
I have managed to finish 2 books this week, and it’s been a good bookhaul week thanks to netgalley and the postal service so here’s my look back.
AWAY WITH THE PENGUINS by HAZEL GAYNOR – 4 STARS
I AM DUST by LOUISE BEECH (audiobook) – 5 STARS
Starting with Netgalley…
ANIMAL by LISA TADDEO
publication date – June 2021
The first novel from the author of Three Women.
I drove myself out of New York City where a man shot himself in front of me. He was a gluttonous man and when his blood came out it looked like the blood of a pig. That’s a cruel thing to think, I know. He did it in a restaurant where I was having dinner with another man, another married man. Do you see how this is going? But I wasn’t always that way. I am depraved. I hope you like me.
THE LITTLE BOOK OF SECRETS by TRACY REES
out May 2021
Every page holds a mystery…
When Gwen’s parents die tragically in an accident, she finds herself heartbroken and jobless, living with her tyrannical Aunt Mary in the little village of Hopley. She’s hoping for a new start, but even the sweet smells of the countryside can’t make Gwen forget how alone she is in the world.
Until one day she finds herself wandering up a little lane at the edge of town, and through the doors of a tiny stone church, lost in time and forgotten by nearly everyone. As she breathes in the dusty stillness and idly flicks through the messages in the old church visitors’ book, Gwen feels her heart lift. There are so many unfinished stories inside just waiting to be untangled – it’s the sense purpose she’s been searching for since she lost her parents…
Instantly drawn into the mystery, Gwen is unexpectedly joined by Jarvis – a little lost like her but too cool to admit it. Gwen isn’t sure what to make of him, or that she wants to share her discovery with anyone else. But Jarvis isn’t here to help Gwen – he has a secret of his own. And when they find a tragically beautiful story hidden deep in the old book’s pages, it threatens to bring everything they’ve been hiding from each other to the surface.
THE ISLAND HOME by LIBBY PAGE
out June 2021
Lorna’s world is small but safe.
She loves her daughter, and the two of them is all that matters. But after nearly twenty years, she and Ella are suddenly leaving London for the Isle of Kip, the tiny remote Scottish island where Lorna grew up.
Alice’s world is tiny but full.
She loves the community on Kip, her yoga classes drawing women across the tiny island together. Now Lorna’s arrival might help their family finally mend itself – even if forgiveness means returning to the past…
So with two decades, hundreds of miles and a lifetime’s worth of secrets between Lorna and the island, can coming home mean starting again?
And in the post….
THE QUEEN’S RIVAL by ANNE O’BRIEN – I won a signed copy online via https://aspectsofhistory.com/
England, 1459: Cecily, Duchess of York, is embroiled in a plot to topple the weak-minded King Henry VI from the throne. But when the Yorkists are defeated at the Battle of Ludford Bridge, Cecily’s family flee and abandon her to face a marauding Lancastrian army on her own.
Cecily can only watch as her lands are torn apart and divided up by the ruthless Queen Marguerite. From the towers of her prison in Tonbridge Castle, the Duchess begins to spin a web of deceit – one that will eventually lead to treason, to the fall of King Henry VI, and to her eldest son being crowned King of England.
This is a story of heartbreak, ambition and treachery, of one woman’s quest to claim the throne during the violence and tragedy of the Wars of the Roses.
TRAP FOR CINDERELLA by SEBASTIEN JAPRISOT – copy for review from Gallic Books
out April 2021
A racy, chilling noir mystery of mistaken identity, deception, and greed by the author of A Very Long Engagement.A suspicious fire consumes a beach house at a southern French resort. Two young women — friends on the surface but deep down foes — are trapped inside. One is rich, the other poor. One is killed and the other survives, burned beyond recognition and in a state of total amnesia. Plastic surgery gives her a new pretty face, but it can not restore her memory of her identity. Who is she? The heiress or her friend? A killer or an intended victim? Only one person knows the truth about the betrayal and hair-raising terror which took place that night. And she is not about to give it away…Winner of France’s most prestigious crime-fiction award, Trap for Cinderella is an engrossing tour de force by a master of mystery and deception.
THE SWEETNESS OF WATER by NATHAN HARRIS – copy via Amazon Vine
out June 2021
In the spirit of The Known World and The Underground Railroad, a profound debut about the unlikely bond between two freedmen who are brothers and the Georgia farmer whose alliance will alter their lives, and his, forever.
In the waning days of the Civil War, brothers Prentiss and Landry—freed by the Emancipation Proclamation—seek refuge on the homestead of George Walker and his wife, Isabelle. The Walkers, wracked by the loss of their only son to the war, hire the brothers to work their farm, hoping through an unexpected friendship to stanch their grief. Prentiss and Landry, meanwhile, plan to save money for the journey north and a chance to reunite with their mother, who was sold away when they were boys.
Parallel to their story runs a forbidden romance between two Confederate soldiers. The young men, recently returned from the war to the town of Old Ox, hold their trysts in the woods. But when their secret is discovered, the resulting chaos, including a murder, unleashes convulsive repercussions on the entire community. In the aftermath of so much turmoil, it is Isabelle who emerges as an unlikely leader, proffering a healing vision for the land and for the newly free citizens of Old Ox.
With candor and sympathy, debut novelist Nathan Harris creates an unforgettable cast of characters, depicting Georgia in the violent crucible of Reconstruction. Equal parts beauty and terror, as gripping as it is moving, The Sweetness of Water is an epic whose grandeur locates humanity and love amid the most harrowing circumstances
FANTOMINA by ELIZA HAYWOOD
copy from Renard Press subscription
Fantomina, or, Love in a Maze is a novella by Eliza Haywood which charts an unnamed female protagonist’s pursuit of the charming, shallow Beauplaisir. Dealing with major themes such as identity, class and sexual desire, and first published in 1725, Fantomina subverts the popular ‘persecuted maiden’ narrative, and reaches a climax which would have shocked its contemporary readership.
Moving to London, a young woman – let’s call her Fantomina – meets a dashing man at the theatre. After a short, but intense, fling, Beauplaisir grows bored of Fantomina, and leaves her. Outraged that she should be so treated, Fantomina discards her disguise in favour of another, and sets off in hot pursuit of her victim, and a game of cat and mouse begins.
This edition features an introduction by Dr Sarah R. Creel, Bethany E. Qualls and Dr Anna K. Sagal of the International Eliza Haywood Society.