Reading roundup 06/12/17

This has been a much better week in terms of reading. The upside to having to stay in bed is that I have more time for my books, if my concentration levels are OK.

Tell Me a Lie by C J Carver

Tell Me a Lie by C J Carver

I have read three books and am halfway through a fourth, which I will tell you about next week. The first book of the week was Tell Me a Lie by C J Carver. Here is the blurb:

A family in England is massacred, the father left holding the shotgun.

PC Lucy Davies is convinced he’s innocent

A sleeper agent in Moscow requests an urgent meeting with Dan Forrester, referencing their shared past.

His amnesia means he has no idea who he can trust.

An aging oligarch in Siberia gathers his henchmen to discuss an English accountant.

It’s Dan’s wife.

This is the sequel to Spare Me the Truth, which I read a couple of weeks ago and awarded four stars. This book had a three strand narrative which all came together at the end. Tell Me a Lie was, in my opinion, a less successful book although still very enjoyable and I gave it three stars. This was my review on Goodreads:

I would have given this four stars, but after thinking more about the book, I just couldn’t get past the rather ridiculous plot convolutions which were needed to bring all of the strands together. The story was gripping enough and interesting enough for me to read it quickly. I enjoyed the book a lot, but it eventually began to feel rather OTT and stereotypical. Kind of James Bond type meets Russian villains meets beautiful women meets cops with issues plus British background etc., etc. Fun, but a bit daft.

I am sure that I will read more in the series if Carver decides to continue with it!

The Nowhere Man by Gregg Hurwitz

The Nowhere Man by Gregg Hurwitz

My second read of the week was another book reserved at the local Library: The Nowhere Man by Gregg Hurwitz, the second in his Orphan X series:

He was once called Orphan X.

As a boy, Evan Smoak was taken from a children’s home, raised and trained as part of a secret government initiative buried so deep that virtually no one knows it exists. But he broke with the programme, choosing instead to vanish off grid and use his formidable skill set to help those unable to protect themselves.

One day, though, Evan’s luck ran out . . .

Ambushed, drugged, and spirited away, Evan wakes up in a locked room with no idea where he is or who has captured him. As he tries to piece together what’s happened, testing his gilded prison and its highly trained guards for weaknesses, he receives a desperate call for help.

With time running out, he will need to out-think, out-manoeuvre, and out-fight an opponent the likes of whom he’s never encountered to have any chance of escape. He’s got to save himself to protect those whose lives depend on him. Or die trying . . .

This was fun to read:

Another enjoyable episode in this series – well, I assume that there will be more. I wonder if they will ever make a film from these books, or would they be too much like James Bond with all of the cliff hanger scenarios and interesting gadgets, guns and ingenious ways of getting out of scrapes. If you don’t take your thrillers too seriously (despite the gore), then you may like this and its predecessor!

I did give this four stars, but perhaps both this and its predecessor should really have 3 1/2!

Sharp Ends by Joe Abercrombie

Sharp Ends by Joe Abercrombie

I am a massive fan of Joe Abercrombie and have read just about everything he has written so far – I cannot wait for his next book. My third book of the week was Sharp Ends, a collection of short stories from his First Law world:

Sharp Ends is the ultimate collection of award winning tales and exclusive new short stories from the master of grimdark fantasy, Joe Abercrombie. Violence explodes, treachery abounds, and the words are as deadly as the weapons in this rogue’s gallery of side-shows, back-stories, and sharp endings from the world of the First Law.

The Union army may be full of bastards, but there’s only one who thinks he can save the day single-handed when the Gurkish come calling: the incomparable Colonel Sand dan Glokta.

Curnden Craw and his dozen are out to recover a mysterious item from beyond the Crinna. Only one small problem: no one seems to know what the item is.

Shevedieh, the self-styled best thief in Styria, lurches from disaster to catastrophe alongside her best friend and greatest enemy, Javre, Lioness of Hoskopp.

And after years of bloodshed, the idealistic chieftain Bethod is desperate to bring peace to the North. There’s only one obstacle left – his own lunatic champion, the most feared man in the North: the Bloody-Nine . . .

Here is my response:

I love Joe Abercrombie’s books and the worlds that he creates and really wanted to give this one the full five stars. One of the reasons that I couldn’t quite do that was my own fault: it is quite a while since I last visited the First Law world, so I had forgotten some of the detail and characters and, therefore, missed some of the fun in recognising them in these stories. Also, some of the tales were far better than others. Despite that, I really enjoyed being back with the dark humour, the sometimes downright hilarious situations and the vivid characters. Bring on the next book!

Only We Know by Karen Perry

Only We Know by Karen Perry

I am over halfway through this fourth book and will write about Karen Perry’s Only We Know next week.

I hope that everyone who visits these Reading Roundup posts is also finding great books to enjoy!

Best wishes,

💛💜❤️💚💙

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Update 05/12/17

It has been very difficult today. At around 2.30 this morning, I had a huge asthma coughing attack. I was sitting alone in the bathroom unable to breathe and then realised that I had left my inhaler next to my bed. Everyone was fast asleep. I started to panic, which made everything worse, and was seeing grey dots before my eyes. Luckily, I was able to raise enough strength to bang on the bathroom wall and this woke up Elder Son, who then rescued me. I heard his father yell when ES switched on the bedroom light so that he could find my inhaler. He then rushed into the bathroom and stroked my back until I recovered enough to stagger back to bed.

I have had to rest today.

Let’s hope that tomorrow is a better day 😀. I will leave you with this lovely photo from Flickr:

A Good Day for a Walk Along the Shore by Steve Corey

A Good Day for a Walk Along the Shore by Steve Corey

Best wishes,

💛💜❤️💚💙

Image Credits

A Good Day for a Walk Along the Shore by Steve Corey on Flickr

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World gone mad! 04/12/17

The middle aged and elderly have said things similar to this probably since the dawn of time – “The world has gone mad!”

Even the Ancient Greeks thought this way:

The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers. Attributed to: Socrates 469-399 B.C.

But this is the last straw! Hot cross buns at Christmas – I can’t believe it!

Hot cross buns at Christmas!

Hot cross buns at Christmas!

It did taste nice, though… 😚

Best wishes,

💛💜❤️💚💙

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Update 01/12/17

I had hoped to have the Scarf of the Moment post about Les Secrets de Minos ready to publish today. However, I am finding it very difficult to concentrate and I really want to do this wonderful scarf justice. I have already mentioned that it fits so well with my love of the Ancient World, particularly as it is now 40 years since I visited Minos’ palace at Knossos in Crete as a student of Archaeology.

So, instead, I have decided that I will continue to work on the post for a while longer as it needs more photos and background information. Here is a photo of one of my scarf ties:

Les Secrets de Minos - scarf tie

Les Secrets de Minos – scarf tie

I hope that all my readers have a great weekend at the start of Advent for this year!

Best wishes,

💛💜❤️💚💙

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Outfit of the day 30/11/17

When it is this time of year, with crisp mornings and dark evenings, I feel like snuggling in thick wool jumpers and warm joggers. I also have a nice velvety top and bottoms in navy that I bought from Cotton Traders last Winter, which are so comforting to wear when it is frosty outside.

Today, it was again the turn of my lambs wool boxy sweater from WoolOvers, paired with a navy cotton base layer from Sainsbury’s. It looks smarter with this amazing jacquard green scarf: Daimyo Princes du Soleil Levant, by Hermès. I decided to put the 90cm scarf into a bias fold then twist it around my neck, finishing with a MaiTai horn scarf ring. The navy of the rest of the outfit is echoed on the scarf, together with a brighter blue, pink, gold and silver. I also wanted to wear it with my new ginkgo dangly earrings, but took them off when I realised that they were catching on the silk! Eek! I will have to wear them when I use a different tie with this scarf.

Today’s outfit:

  • Navy cotton v-necked base layer – Sainsbury’s.
  • Navy lambs wool boxy jumper – WoolOvers.
  • Navy cotton joggers – Cotton Traders.
  • Gold knot earrings.
  • Navy leather and gold wrap bracelet – Ferragamo.
Outfit of the day 30/11/17 with Hermès’ Daimyo Princes du Soleil Levant scarf

Outfit of the day 30/11/17 with Hermès’ Daimyo Princes du Soleil Levant scarf

Best wishes,

💛💜❤️💙💚

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Reading roundup 29/11/17

Gosh! I have only managed to read two books this week (plus half of a third, but that doesn’t count). So I had better start this post and get back to my latest book 😄.

Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben

Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben

I had no print books left at the end of last week, until my library visit on Friday, so I turned to the ebook service and found Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben. Here is the blurb for this book:

Former special ops pilot Maya, home from the war, sees an unthinkable image captured by her nanny cam while she is at work: her two-year-old daughter playing with Maya’s husband, Joe—who had been brutally murdered two weeks earlier. The provocative question at the heart of the mystery: can you believe everything you see with your own eyes, even when you desperately want to? To find the answer, Maya must finally come to terms with deep secrets and deceit in her own past before she can face the unbelievable truth about her husband—and herself.

And this was my three star Goodreads’ review:

I enjoyed most of this book, but felt let down by the last quarter. I downloaded this as an ebook from our library service and read it quickly. The plot was fast-paced and exciting, with enough twists to keep it interesting, but I felt that the twist at the end was taking things just too far. In addition, none of the characters were at all engaging, apart from maybe the children, so I felt that I didn’t really care too much how it would all turn out.

I may read more by this author in the future because, according to Goodreads, this was not one of his better books!

When I had finished this book, I had a very fruitful visit to the local Library, picking up eight books, including three reservations. These are now nicely stacked on my bedside table.

Eagles in the Storm by Ben Kane

Eagles in the Storm by Ben Kane

The first from my new book pile was Ben Kane’s Eagles in the Storm, the last in Kane’s Eagles at War trilogy. The blurb sets the scene for the book:

Arminius has been defeated, one of the three eagles has been recovered, and thousands of German tribesmen slain. Yet these successes aren’t nearly enough for senior centurion Lucius Tullus. Not until Arminius is dead, his old legion’s eagle liberated and the enemy tribes completely vanquished will he rest. But Arminius is still at large, devious, fearless and burning for revenge of his own. Charismatic as ever, he raises another large tribal army, which will harry the Romans the length and breadth of the land. Into this cauldron of bloodshed, danger and treachery, Tullus must go – alone. His mission – to find and bring back his legion’s eagle – will place him in more danger than he has ever faced before. Can he succeed? Can he even survive?

I awarded this book four stars on Goodreads:

A really excellent ending to this trilogy and I wish I could award it 4 1/2 stars! The author has obviously thoroughly researched the historical background as the whole thing feels so real and the descriptions of army life fit very well with those of other authors, such as Bernard Cornwell.

These three books are gritty and violent with a lot of emotional scenes (the deaths of characters we have come to care for), leavened with a deal of humour. The female characters are very few, as you would expect with the subject matter.

It is interesting how the author makes a British reader empathise with the Roman side, rather than the conquered tribespeople. I would be interested to see what he would make of the story of Boudicca!

I think I will read more by Ben Kane as I really enjoy his recreation of Roman life, even if he is not so good with the women’s stories!

Tell Me a Lie by C J Carver

Tell Me a Lie by C J Carver

I am currently reading C J Carver’s Tell Me a Lie, the sequel to Spare Me the Truth, which I read last week. As I am already halfway through, and I only started it yesterday, you can tell that I am enjoying the book. More about it next week.

Best wishes and I hope you enjoy your own reading,

📚 📚 📖 📖 📚 📚

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Update 28/11/17 and Christmas plans

Nowadays, we organise present giving at Christmas in the same way as I just did for my birthday: I buy what I would like in advance and my chaps refund the money and give me the gifts on the day. Our two sons only ever want cash these days and DH never has any ideas at all and I try to find something interesting for him. That is getting difficult now as I can’t go shopping, other than online.

Our wider family has shrunk down since Lovely Husband’s and my parents died, as our siblings seem to have largely removed themselves from us since we got into so much difficulty. So our Christmases are very small these days, which makes me feel so sad, thinking about the lovely family times we had in the past. I keep hoping that our lads will eventually meet partners and start their own families to recreate the happy times we used to enjoy so much.

LH and I will do the best we can, though. He is a great cook and we all love chipping in together to create a fabulous spread on Christmas Day. All four of us help in our own ways: I am in charge of the decor, cards for my own family and friends, and wrapping presents; LH is in charge of food and drink, general organisation, and cards for his own family and friends; and our lads help when asked and do all of the tidying and washing up.

On Boxing Day, LH and I are going out to one of our favourite pubs for a meal, as we do every year. Usually the boys come with us, but they are both working this year and will then do their own thing for the rest of the holiday season. I do miss our trips around the country visiting family, which we did each year when our parents were still here.

Right, before I become too gloomy, here is a little hint which I may just show again at a later date…

Owl in the City silk scarf by Aspinal of London

Owl in the City silk scarf by Aspinal of London

Reading Roundup post tomorrow!

Best wishes,

💚💛💜❤️💙

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