Sunday, 5 January 2020

Just finished and currently reading

I always find it exciting to be starting a new year of reading. Ridiculous really as it's only one day from 2019 to 2020 but it still feels like a whole new world of possibilities suddenly opens up, regardless of the fact that these possibilities were there on the 31st. December as much as they are on the 1st. January! So why I'm so excited heaven only knows: easily pleased I think.

Anyway, my first book for 2020 is Kickback by Damien Boyd. This is book three of the author's 'DI Nick Dixon' series of books set in and around Somerset, not too far from here where I live in Devon. I read the first two books in the series last year.

Trainee jockey, Noel Woodman, is found dead in the stalls of one of the horses in the stables where he works. It seems he may have been kicked to death by the dangerous stallion although Noel and the horse were thought to have a special relationship. The brother of the dead man is adamant that Noel was murdered and when he begins to investigate DI Nick Dixon is inclined to agree with him. Thus begins an involvement in the world of racehorse betting and race fixing that Nick was previously completely ignorant of. This he's prepared to do but what he isn't prepared for is the amount of personal danger he suddenly finds himself and his girlfriend, Jane, in. It seems some people will do anything to protect their secrets.

Well, horse-racing is about as far from being an interest of mine as it's possible to be. 'I know nothing' as Manuel used to say. Thus, I thought I might struggle a bit with this one but oddly enough it really didn't seem to matter. A lot is explained as we go along as Nick Dixon is as ignorant of the horsey world as I am. The plot fair gallops along (sorry) and is actually quite the pageturner so I was through it in no time. I enjoyed the first two books in the series, As the Crow Flies and Head in the Sand, but I think this one is even better. Typical case of the author hitting his stride (still sorry) I think. I also remain as fascinated as ever with books set so close to where I live and being so familiar with all of the places mentioned. It really is just plain weird as I do live in a bit of a backwater. Nice one and I've already nabbed book four for my Kindle, Swansong, and it's set in a school which is a setting I actually do enjoy so I'm expecting good things from it.

So anyway, these are the three books I'm reading at the moment:

The First Cadfael Omnibus is a volume of the first three books in Ellis Peters's Cadfael series. I've read them all before; somewhere around the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s I went through the whole lot from the library, gobbled them up in quick order. Loved them. I decided on a reread because of the third book in the above line-up. Anyway, I've read the first book, A Morbid Taste for Bones, and can't think why I did not remember how very good the writing is in this series. Very strong sense of Welsh country life in the 12th. century. I've now started the next book, One Corpse too Many, which is again excellent but entirely different to the first book.

Travelling Light: Journeys Among Special People and Places by Alastair Sawday is an autobiographical account of some of the author's travels from when he was a boy to the present day. He owns a company that promotes unusual places to stay, I think mainly in France but I'm not far enough into the book to be able to confirm that. It's a very readable and enjoyable book.

The Morville Hours by Katherine Swift is all about the creation of a garden in the Dower House at Morville in Shropshire. It's utterly delightful, so calming and gentle and meandering and informative. There's a lot about monastries as the house was built on the site of one... leading to me wanting to reread Cadfael because of course it's set in a monastry in Shrewsbury which is in Shropshire. I absolutely adore how one book can lead to another in this manner.

To finish I'm just popping this pic up here as this is the shelf of books I'm hoping to make inroads into, mainly for the Mount TBR challenge for this year. I thought if I put it up here I can look back at it at the end of the year to see how far I got. Unfortunately I forgot to put back the three books I'm currently reading which all came from this shelf...

Happy 2020 reading, I hope it's a good reading year for everyone. :-)



Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

I obviously enjoyed the features you posted about the first two books in this series, as I see I have marked them as 'Want To Read', somewhere along the way.

In fact, as book 10 in the series is due for release this year, I nearly went mad and bought the lot from Amazon, as they are all on offer at 99p each. I kept trying to tell myself that at £9, I could have the entire series to date, for not much more than one new full-priced paperback.

Common sense and a gentle whisper from hubbie!!!! Well, more like "You want to buy how many more books to add to your pile?", soon changed my mind - well sort of - I am still thinking about it!

If I had been a bit more savvy, I could have requested them all from NetGalley, but they have now been archived.

I was always a huge fan of the racing stories of Dick Francis, then later his son Felix and fellow ex-jockey, John Francome and trainer, Jenny Pitman, so I am sure I would enjoy Damien's writing and characters.

I did also read one or two of the 'Cadfael' stories, but didn't feel quite such a strong affinity with the series and never really followed it that avidly when it was televised either.

I hope that you have some more great books lined up for your challenges this year :)


Kay said...

I always love getting a glimpse of the bookshelves of others. I'm an odd guest in that I usually find a way to sneak a look if people have books on shelves. Ha! Because I need to know what they are, right? Glad you are enjoying the ones you've started with this year. Good luck with your bookshelf!

TracyK said...

I have an unofficial goal to start only new series for books I have on hand, but nevertheless you have gotten me interested in the series by Damien Boyd. I will put it on a list to consider for later.

I also get excited about starting a new year of reading and which books to start the year with. As you say, no real reason for it, but I still do.

An official goal is to read a higher percentage from my TBR shelves or boxes and curtail book buying, although I haven't really checked to see how badly I did at that last year.

Cath said...

Yvonne: Yes, the Damien Boyd books are just 99p each on Amazon. I'm mainly getting mine from the library but they're 75p to reserve so not a lot in it and when I saw the next book is only at the library in audio form I went to Amazon and got it for my Kindle without worrying. Not sure I want to buy all of the rest because your husband has a point and it applies to me too!

I know a lot of people (the late Queen mother was one apparently) really love the Dick Francis books and one I will try one or two at some stage.

I think I probably have a taste for Medieval fiction and that's probably why I like the Cadfael books so much. Once I've finished Cadfael I probably need to try more as I know there are several quite famous crime series set in that time period.

Thanks, as always, for stopping by, Yvonne.

Kay: Oh yes, I'm the same with people's bookshelves, sometimes you have to be a bit shifty about it too. LOL And then you get people like an older cousin of mine who leads you to hers saying, 'Do you read?' and on hearing the answer says, 'Help yourself, I've read most of these and they're only going to the charity shop'. I came away with bag of books!

Tracy: I see you like to make lists for later consideration too. Excellent. And I'm glad you too get excited about starting a new year of books, suspect it's a book lover's thing to be honest.

I have that same goal this year. Last year I was about half and half my books and library books, slightly more mine I think. This year I want the library total down a bit. Must still go there as I don't want to lose ours but I *really* need to read my own books this year.

Nan said...

Starting at the bottom and working my way to the top of your post - just the shelf that has the Oxford Book of Essays, not the one above it, right? Can't quite see, even though I used my magnifying glass, the Philbrick title, and the one to the left of that one. And the title of the Williams one?

You know how they say that once you see something new to you, you see it again? Well, I just saw "Tinkerbelle" in the newest Maisie Dobbs, and had never seen it spelled with the "e" at the end, and there it is on your upper shelf!!

I've owned The Morville Hours for so long. Why haven't I read it?

I like the sound of the Boyd books, unless the horses are hurt.

And I feel that same excitement and hope at the start of a reading year.

Would love more shelf pictures! And garden pictures!

Cath said...

Nan: Yes, that middle shelf is my main tbr shelf for 2020, although the one above holds my books for the European challenge so that will be read from too.

The Philbrick book is In the Heart of the Sea, it's apparently the book Moby-Dick was based upon. Next to it, The Antiquary by Sir Walter Scott. The cover on that one is a painting called The Bookworm by Carl Spitzweg, one of my favourite paintings. The Glyn Williams book is Voyages of Delusion and is about the search for the Northwest passage.

That's so strange about 'Tinkerbelle'. That one is about travelling around France in a campervan called 'Tinkerbelle' and is my book for France for the European challenge.

I know The Morville Hours is your kind of book, it reminds me very much of The Magic Apple Tree.

No the horses are not hurt in the Boyd book but I don't think this series would be for you, especially book 2.

I will do more shelf pics, perhaps photograph that shelf from the other end.

Kailana said...

I have to say, I was so excited for 2020 and to see the end of 2019. I feel like I am in a better frame of mind than I was for most of last year.

Cath said...

Kelly: Yes, I'm also in a better frame of mind now that it's 2020. What I really need is a couple of quiet months, Sept. to the end of Dec. 2019 was not great.