Weekly Round Up: 2nd July 2018

Exciting news this week! New blog features have arrived!

Well, been made. By me.

I’m not sure they quite work right, but as I’m seeking access to ARCs and am signed up to NetGalley and other blogging lists, I learn that a Review Policy is required. It sounds terribly formal and… binding. But if these things help, then I had a go at writing one and it it here if anyone wanted a look! The broad aim was to make sure no one can criticise me for anything!

Did I not review your book? I never said I promised to!

Did I give you a negative review? Never promised not to!

I’ve also found out how to create Google Forms and embed them into the blog – the dark arts of technowizardry! And have used those dark arts to firstly create a Contact Me page for the blog just in case anyone wanted to offer a book for review. Or just say “Hi.”

Such skills are, however, hard to contain: I have now also created a Google Form Quiz for Act 1 of Romeo and Juliet and Chapters 1-6 of The Black Book Of Secrets, to check that my students are reading when I tell them to!

And my first NetGalley ARC has arrived on my Kindle! The Day of the Accident by Nuala Ellwood. The cover as it currently stands, I have to say, does not blow me away but hey ho! Follow me on Twitter @CattiganMichael  for comments as I read it. Is that called live tweeting? Who knows.

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They say you killed…

BUT WHAT IF THEY’RE WRONG?

Sixty seconds after she wakes from a coma, Maggie’s world is torn apart.

The police tell her that her daughter Elspeth is dead. That she drowned when the car Maggie had been driving plunged into the river. Maggie remembers nothing.

When Maggie begs to see her husband Sean, the police tell her that he has disappeared. He was last seen on the day of her daughter’s funeral.

What really happened that day at the river?

Where is Maggie’s husband?

And why can’t she shake the suspicion that somewhere, somehow, her daughter is still alive?

The premise sounds promising. And apparently her first book, My Sister’s Bones was well received. Something to pick up later if I enjoy this one.

Also this week, I have finished reading A Question of Identity by Susan Hill. Whilst the seventh in the series, this was the first that I had picked up and bought, maybe two or three years ago! It’s been a long and blood-soaked trek to catch up. I’d like to say that I had deliberately not reviewed the previous book, The Betrayal of Trust when I finished that several weeks ago now because they felt like companion pieces.

I mean, they do feel like companion pieces, but the truth is that life, family and work just got in the way!

It is a small thing perhaps – not something which had wormed its way into the reviews – but one of the things I like about the Simon Serrailler series is that the characters themselves are readers and often sit down with a novel: Sam Deerbon hiding What Ho! Jeeves under his schoolbooks, listening to Just William and Sherlock Holmes and reading Horrid Henry; his brother Felix being settled to bed with The Tiger Who Came to Tea; Rachel Wyatt, Serrailler’s slightly awkward girlfriend, who

had bought a pile of books earlier in the day, from Emma at the new bookshop in the Lanes. The latest Joanna Trollope. Wolf Hall. A replacement copy of Middlemarch, as she had lost her own. Joseph O’Connor’s Ghost Light. A book of poems by Elizabeth Jennings

Or the book group – which Cat Deerbon is obviously joining along with singing, medical committees, cathedral committees….. where does this woman find the time? – choosing to read “Graham Greene. The End of the Affair. We avoid the latest best-sellers.” That last little comment does sound a tad snobbish, doesn’t it?

Even the elderly – who have a rough time of it in these two books – are reading and tentatively considering their own reading group as Rosemary

started to make a list of the sort of books people here might enjoy. Crime. Romance (nothing dirty). Anthologies. Classics. She began to put down names too. P. D. James, Joanna Trollope, Katie Fforde, Ruth Rendell, Penelope Lively, Victoria Hislop . . .

She was well into her stride, remembering books she’d loved, wondering if this or that novel was out of print, adding ‘Miss Read’ hastily, then ‘Nancy Mitford’ and ‘Denis Lehane’ – one of her own favourites but possibly a bit too raw for some.

Rosemary’s stomach for crime fiction was surprisingly strong, though she found the dark Scandinavians a bit hard to take.

I did giggle a little at the parenthetical “nothing dirty”!

I suppose it’s not surprising that the author of Jacob’s Room is Full of Books and the very intertextual The Woman in Black would have her characters as steeped in literature as she is herself.

Anyway, my review of these two books can be found – very deliberately in one place because they are companion pieces in many many ways – here.

There are still four hours left to listen to in Jessie Burton’s The Muse which I still have my questions and concerns over, but which I am enjoying but will be pleased to finish – hopefully this week.

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I am also beginning – still in the crime genre – The Disappearance of Adele Bedeau by Graeme Macrae Burnett, mainly on the strength of his His Bloody Project book which I found fabulous. Not quite sure of this one yet: a lot of telling rather than showing and a bunch slightly odd characters in which our eponymous Adele seems the only real warmth!

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And amongst all this, it is my daughter’s fifth birthday on Wednesday and we spent a delightful hour or so browsing Waterstones as I continue my quest to move her from picture books – although she has some great ones! And her current favourite is Roald Dahl’s The Enormous Crocodile, which we have to act out most nights! – to chapter books.

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