Silverweed Road by @sicrook

There’s a new horror behind every door…

Welcome to Silverweed Road – a once quiet suburban street where nothing is quite as it seems. In this macabre collection of twisted tales, were-foxes prowl, a swimming pool turns predatory, a haunted urn plots revenge and a darts player makes a deal with the devil himself.

As the residents vanish one by one, a sinister mystery slowly unpeels, lurking in the Woods at the road’s dead-end.

Creepy, chilling, and witty by turn, Silverweed Road deals in love, loss, isolation, loneliness, obsession, greed, and revenge.

Come take a walk-through suburban hell. The neighbours will be dying to meet you …  

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This is a personal statement from former Detective Chief Inspector Him Health.

PROLOGUE

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(@HarperCollinsUK, 29 September 2022, e-book, 336 pages, #ARC from the publisher via @NetGalley)

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I enjoyed Silverweed Road a lot. I thought this was an original concept for a collection of horror stories, each one set in the same suburban street where bad things just happen. I liked the little afterward for each story with a retired detective from the area offering his opinion on what really happened. The stories are horror stories and features all-manner of unpleasant creatures and events but the structure of the collection did add an element of humour. This is worth a read.

#MaureenFryIsOnHerWay by Rachel Joyce

Ten years ago, Harold Fry set off on his epic journey on foot to save a friend. But the story doesn’t end there.

Now his wife, Maureen, has her own pilgrimage to make.

Maureen Fry has settled into the quiet life she now shares with her husband Harold after his iconic walk across England. Now, ten years later, an unexpected message from the North disturbs her equilibrium again, and this time it is Maureen’s turn to make her own journey.

But Maureen is not like Harold. She struggles to bond with strangers, and the landscape she crosses has changed radically. She has little sense of what she’ll find at the end of the road. All she knows is that she must get there.  

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It was too early for birdsong.

1 WINTER JOURNEY

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(@penguinrandom, 20 October 2022, e-book, 144 pages, ARC from the publisher via @NetGalley)

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I’ve enjoyed the authors other books so I couldn’t wait to read Maureen Fry and the Angel of North. It’s a short read but no less powerful than a tone two or three times the size. If you haven’t read Harold’s story this book won’t have the same impact. Everyone likes Harold when he goes on his pilgrimage. Maureen is not Harold, she’s prickly and unsociable and judgemental and I liked her all the more for this. She’s real. I liked this a lot.

#Ghostwritten by @RonaldMalfi

BOOKS CAN BE DEADLY

From the bestselling author of Come with Me, four standalone horror novellas set in a shared universe!

In The Skin of Her Teeth, a cursed novel drives people to their deaths.

A delivery job turns deadly in The Dark Brothers’ Last Ride.

This Book Belongs to Olo sees a child wielding dangerous control over an unusual pop-up book.

A choose your own adventure game spirals into an uncanny reality in The Story.

Full of creepy, page-turning suspense, these collected novellas are all about books, stories, and manuscripts. The written word has never had sharper teeth…

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‘We’ve got a problem’ said Jack Baer.

THE SKIN OF HER TEETH

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(@TitanBooks, 4 October 2022, e-book, 464 pages, ARC from the publisher via @NetGalley)

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I loved the novellas in this collection. I especially liked the fact you gradually learn that the stories are linked. For example, the same character appears in more than one novella. The novella are quite dark at time, but well-written and gripping. I loved this book. The best novellas are The Skin of Her Teeth, This Book Belongs to Olo and The Story.

#ForeverHome by @grahnort

Carol is a divorced teacher living in a small town in Ireland, her only son now grown. A second chance at love brings her unexpected connection and belonging. The new relationship sparks local speculation: what does a woman like her see in a man like that? What happened to his wife who abandoned them all those years ago? But the gossip only serves to bring the couple closer.

When Declan becomes ill, things start to fall apart. His children are untrusting and cruel, and Carol is forced to leave their beloved home with its worn oak floors and elegant features and move back in with her parents.

Carol’s mother is determined to get to the bottom of things, she won’t see her daughter suffer in this way. It seems there are secrets in Declan’s past, strange rumours that were never confronted and suddenly the house they shared takes on a more sinister significance.

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The Back Quay of Ballytoor was where things used to be.

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(@CoronetBooks, 29 September 2022, e-book, 364 pages, ARC from the publisher via @NetGalley)

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I really enjoyed Forever Home. I’ve read the author’s other books so knew I was in for a treat. This book, like his other ones looks like an innocent family saga based on the front cover and the blurb and the first few chapters lure you into a false sense of security and then things start to get dark. Forever Home doesn’t get as dark as A Keeper but there are some unpleasant moments. There is also a lot of humour which works well against the darker moments in the book. I really enjoyed this.

Ashes in the Snow by @OrianaRamunno

A young Jewish prisoner…

Auschwitz, 1943. It’s snowing outside and Block 10 looks even bleaker than usual. Gioele Errera, a young Jewish boy imprisoned in the camp, finds the body of an SS officer.

A detective with everything to prove…

Hugo Fischer is sent to investigate the unexplained death of the renowned Nazi. But Hugo is hiding a secret – he is suffering from a degenerative disease. The only way for him to survive is to give his support to the Reich and hide his condition.

A confrontation with pure evil…

In Auschwitz, Hugo comes face to face not only with a complex murder, but with a truth – that of the Final Solution. And he is forced to decide what is most important to him – and who, if anyone, he should try to save…

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‘Eins, zwei!;. Gioele counted the steps between the dormitory and the doctor’s office in German.

PROLOGUE, AUSCHWITZ, 21 DECEMBER 1943

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(@HarperCollinsUK, 20 October 2022, e-book, 336 pages, ARC from the publisher via @NetGalley)

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This is a new author for me. I really enjoyed Ashes in the Snow. I read a lot of historical fiction and have read a decent amount with Nazi’s as the subject matter so I was on familiar ground with this book but the subject matter is the murder of an SS Officer which is a new one for me. As you’d expect from a book set in this era, this is a rather grim read, brutal at times but well-written and compelling.

#TheDeception by Kim Taylor Blakemore

A sleight of hand. A trick up the sleeve. A call for the dead. It’s all part of the game in this twisty tale by the bestselling author of After Alice Fell.

New Hampshire, 1877. Maud Price was once a celebrated child medium, a true believer in lifting the veil between the living and the dead. Now penniless, her guiding spirits gone, the so-called “Maid of Light” is desperate to regain her reputation—but doing so means putting her faith in deceiving others.

Clementine Watkins, known in spiritualist circles for her bag of tricks and utmost discretion, creates the sort of theatrics that can fill Maud’s parlour again, and with each misdirection, Maud’s fame is restored. But her guilt is a heavy burden. And the ruse has become a risk. Others are plotting to expose the fraud, and Clem can’t allow anyone—even Maud—to jeopardize the fortune the hoax has made her.

When the deception hints at a possible murder, Maud realizes how dangerous a game she’s playing. But to return to the light from which she’s strayed, she must first survive the darkness created by Clem’s smoke and mirrors.

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Dear Miss Watkins, I am in difficulty.

SPRING, 1877, HARROWBORO, NEW HAMPSHIRE

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(Lake Union Publishing, 27 September 2022, e-book, 348 pages, ARC from the publisher via @NetGalley)

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This is a new author for me. I liked The Deception a lot. I read a lot of historical fiction and have read a surprising number of books that feature spiritualists and mediums. It’s a popular subject. This book takes a different stance that other books I’ve read, pitting a once famous child medium fallen on hard times against a ruthless trickster. Maud finds herself in murky waters when her situation forces her to take drastic action and trust someone she would normally avoid. I found this gripping from start to finish.

A Tower Built Downwards by Yang Lian

A Tower Built Downwards is the latest instalment of poetry from one of the most innovative and influential poets from China. 

Before and since his enforced exile from 1989, Yang Lian has been widely hailed in America and Europe as a highly individual voice in world literature, he has been translated into many languages. 

The different sections – short poems, sequences, and one long poem – form a single comprehensive statement of Yang’s recent explorations. It is rooted in his living experience of the historical retrogression of Hong Kong, the disaster of Covid-19, the global spiritual crisis, as well as his personal sadness at events such as his father’s death. 

Yang Lian’s work was criticised in China in 1983 and formally banned in 1989 when he organised memorial services for the dead of Tiananmen while in New Zealand. This edition of A Tower Built Downwards contains the full, unabridged collection, including poems that were removed for its publication in China.

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Is this fate?

ROOTS

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(@BloodaxeBooks, 23 March 2023, e-book, 160 pages, #ARC from the publisher via @edelweiss_squad, translated by Brian Holton)

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This is a new poet for me. I really enjoyed A Tower Built Downwards. I liked the range of subject matter including recent events such as lockdowns and the pandemic as well as more personal events and historical events. I also liked the fact the poems are of different lengths and style. I don’t like collections where the poems all look the same as it can become repetitive. I especially enjoyed Railway Tracks in the Woods, Stone-Feather, Reincarnation, Hungry Ghost at South Gate and the title poem.

A Broken Man in Flower by @yritsos

A Broken Man in Flower presents new versions of work by one of the most significant Greek poets of the last century, translated by one of the UK’s most renowned contemporary poets.

The life of Yannis Ritsos was, to say the least, troubled. From an early age, he was dogged by the tuberculosis that killed his mother and brother. His father and sister suffered breakdowns and spent time in institutions. His poem Epitaphios (1936), a lament for a young man shot dead by the police during a tobacco workers’ strike, was publicly burned by the Metaxas regime and his books banned. Throughout his life he was repeatedly persecuted, arrested and placed under house arrest by the oppressive Greek authorities.

The violence and tyranny of dictatorship is often fractured by the surreal. In the poems collected here, written by Ritsos while in prison and under house arrest, that fracture in perception is a wound. A Broken Man in Flower has an introduction by John Kittmer and includes the text of an illuminating and vivid letter sent by Ritsos to his publisher in 1969 while under house arrest on Samos describing his life – and the lives of Greeks – under the repressive rule of the Colonels. Harsent’s versions of Ritsos’ poems express the revolutionary and experimental nature of his work while also remaining accurate translations from the Greek.

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He’d had enough.

IN FLOWER

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(@BloodaxeBooks, 23 March 2023, e-book, 160 pages, #ARC from the publisher via @edelweiss_squad, translated by @DavidHarsent1)

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This is a new poet for me. I really enjoyed A Broken Man in Flower. I was disappointed as half of the book was taken up by a lengthy introduction so you only get around 80 pages of poems. This could have been shorter to allow for more poems as these are the important thing. I liked the fact the poems are quite short for the most part so easy to understand and digest. I liked the style of the poems and the range of themes. I particularly enjoyed The Wax Museum, Midnight, The People and Offshore Trees.

The Unbalancing by @RB_Lemberg

Beneath the waters by the islands of Gelle-Geu, a star sleeps restlessly. The celebrated new starkeeper Ranra Kekeri, who is preoccupied by the increasing tremors, confronts the problems left behind by her predecessor.

Meanwhile, the poet Erígra Lilún, who merely wants to be left alone, is repeatedly asked by their ancestor Semberí to take over the starkeeping helm. Semberí insists upon telling Lilún mysterious tales of the deliverance of the stars by the goddess Bird.

When Ranra and Lilún meet, sparks begin to fly. An unforeseen configuration of their magical deepnames illuminates the trouble under the tides. For Ranra and Lilún, their story is just beginning; for the people of Gelle-Geu, it may well be too late to save their home.

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When I first came to Semberi’s Hill, it was frizzed in fog.

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(@TachyonPub, 20 September 2022, e-book, 218 pages, #ARC from the publisher)

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I’ve read other books by the author set in the same universe so was really looking forward to The Unbalancing. I liked this book a lot. I thought it was too short, in a good way as I didn’t want the story to end. I loved the world the author creates in this book, the magic and fantasy elements. I also liked the way the book explores gender and identity especially trans and non-binary without being preachy and just naturally weaving these elements into to the book. This is well worth a read.

The Hopeful Hat by Carole Satyamurti

The Hopeful Hat is a posthumous collection from a poet whose work is informed by her keen eye for social injustice and, equally, by the breadth of her compassion.

Poignantly, these late poems are also Satyamurti’s nuanced poetic response to having her voice box removed following a diagnosis of laryngeal cancer. Clear-eyed in the face of her own mortality, she produced a series of courageous poems that are, as Carol Ann Duffy said of her work, ‘laced with the hard stuff’. They are also graced with Satyamurti’s unique and subtle wit. 

Carole Satyamurti was preparing these poems for publication at the time of her death and left the manuscript in an advanced state of readiness. The sequencing of the poems, and the sections they are grouped in, had already been decided by her.

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At the bus stop, a dishevelled woman in drab clothing

much too big for her, is blowing a bright descant

recorder.

THE HOPEFUL HAT

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(@BloodaxeBooks, 23 February 2023, e-book, 64 pages, #ARC from the publisher via @edelweiss_squad)

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This is a new poet for me. I really enjoyed The Hopeful Hat. I liked the different styles of poems in the collection and the range of subject matter. The poems are well written, and I enjoyed the prose style and imagery. Some of the poems powerfully written. I especially enjoyed The Hopeful Hat, Sea Change, Requiem for a Death Foretold and April.

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