Welsh authorsReading plans

19 books taking the wheels off my wagon



New Book Acquisitions June 2019


After months of self- restraint the wheels are in danger of coming off my book wagon. 

I’m now on the cusp of a freefall…

The last two months saw a splurge of book purchases and acquisitions, sending my TBR count to its highest level for three years.

It’s giving me a nudge that it’s time to do a cull of the bookshelves (more on that shortly).

But for now let me tell you about the 19 titles that have made it through the BookerTalk doors. They’re a mix of:

  • birthday gifts
  • advance copies from publishers
  • passed on by other bloggers
  • new titles from Welsh authors
  • hard-to-ignore bargains at book sales

Birthday gifts

Mythos by Stephen Fry: I’ve been complaining for years about my shaky knowledge of  Greek and Roman mythology.  There are plenty of books around on the topic of course though lots of them are rather heavy going.  Fry is an appetiser in a sense, an entertaining way to begin getting acquainted with all those gods and goddesses. This could come in very useful when I’m reading Circe by Madelaine Miller which is the book club choice this month.

Two more titles to add to my collection of books by Émile Zola”

Le rêve (The Dream) is the sixteenth novel in the Rougon-Macquart series. It’s about a poor embroideress who falls in love with the son of a wealthy aristocratic family. This being Zola, it doesn’t of course end happily ever after.

La Faute de l’Abbé Mouret (The Sin of Abbe Mouret) is the fifth novel in the series. It’s anticlerical in tone and scope, focussing on the experiences of an obsessively devout priest sent to a remote Provençal backwater village whose inhabitants don’t share his enthusiasm for the church.

Review copies from publishers

I’ve been very restrained in accepting review copies and even more restrained with NetGalley. But these were titles I couldn’t resist:

The Jeweller by Caryl Lewis (that’s the one you can see in the photo with September 2019 written on the spine. It’s being published by Honno in that month. Caryl is a former winner of the Wales Book of the Year and her new novel sounds different. It’s about a woman who  acquires trinkets by clearing houses after the occupiers have died. In her tiny coastal cottage she surrounds herself with photographs and letters of these complete strangers.

The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg. This is a fantasy novel for children which comes out in July. Published by Macmillan Children’s Books, it’s about a fantasy theme park here the rule is “happily ever after.” This isn’t my usual kind of book but I’ve decided its time to get out of my comfort zone periodically and I’m intrigued by the description that this story is told through court testimonies and interrogation records

The Fast Spell Breather by Julie Pike. Another fantasy novel for children. The main character is a girl who uses magic to protect her village. All works fine until the day she slips up. Published by Oxford University Press.

From other bloggers

The Innocent Wife and One More Lie by Amy Lloyd: I won both of these thrillers in a giveaway hosted by Kath who blogs at NutPress. 

The Innocent Wife is Amy Lloyd’s debut novel, She won the Daily Mail Bestseller Competition with it in 2016.  One More Lie is her second novel.

Kath’s enthusiastic reviews are here and here.

Are You the F**king Doctor by Dr Liam Farrell. This was passed on by Susan who blogs at Booksaremycwtches

She thought it would be a good companion read to This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay which I’ve just finished reading. Kay was a senior house doctor in an NHS hospital where he specialised  in obstetrics and gynaecology. Farrell’s book which is  subtitled: Stories from the Bleeding Edge of Medicine, reflects on his work as a general practitioner. So both people are the front line of care but working in different circumstances.  Susan’s review is here.

New Titles from Welsh Authors 

West by Carys Davies. I read Carys’ short story collection The Redemption of Galen Pike in 2015 and though I’m not generally a fan of short stories, this books was superb. West is her first venture into novels and it’s been described as ‘stunning.’

In Two Minds by Alis Hawkins. This is the second in the Harry Prober-Lloyd series of historical crime novels  set in Wales. I read the first, None So Blind, earlier this year and was so engrossed in the tale of a man suffering a degenerative eye condition who becomes a coroner, that I was glad I didn’t have to wait long before the follow up was published.

Human, Being by Gareth Davies. This has been described as the male version of Bridget Jones’ Diary. That comparison would normally have me racing out of the bookshop door faster than Usain Bolt. But having heard Gareth read some extracts at the launch, I don’t think the description really does justice to this tale of a middle aged comedian who’s been abandoned by his wife and has lost his comic mo-jo.

A Song of Thyme and Willow by Carole Strachan . Published by Cinnamon Press, this is the mysterious disappearance of a successful opera singer. Two musicians facing life-changing crises of their own, decide to look for her.  Although the mystery is a key aspect of the novel, this is very much a novel about character.

Riverflow by Alison Layland. This was published in the last two weeks. It’s Alison’s second novel and takes the theme of a community protest about the impact of fracking. Alison is the latest guest in my Cwtch Corner series.

Hard-to-ignore bargains at book sales

Who can resist a bargain? Not me for sure.

Perhaps it wasn’t the best of ideas to volunteer to help at a book sale at a National Trust property? Though I picked out plenty of books for visitors to my staff, there were also more than a few that caught my eye. I think I was remarkably restrained in buying just two.

Actually it was just one purchase initially but then I had to call into the property on day two of the sale, and saw two other books I had to have…..

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler . I read loads of her books in the past but haven’t done so for quite a few years now.  This book was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2015 but lost out to A History of Seven Killings (one of the books I failed to finish this year). 

A Rising Man by Abir Mukerjee. If I was being disingenuous I wouldn’t count this book since I already have an e-version. But it was only 50p and I find it much easier to read in paper format. It’s the first in a series about a British policeman seconded to Calcutta.

Force of Nature by Jane Harper. A friend has been raving about Harper’s novels and promised to pass on her copy of the first The Dry. But I’m still waiting…. In the meantime  this was at the book sale. I know many other bloggers have recommended Harper, so maybe one of them can tell me whether to hold off from reading Force of Nature until I’ve read the two previous novels from this Australian author???

Having bought all of these my next problem is….. 

Where can I find room to store them all???? Anyone have some spare shelving I can rent??


What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

35 thoughts on “19 books taking the wheels off my wagon

  • Pingback: 9 Strategies To Slay The TBR Monster : BookerTalk

  • buriedinprint

    Deprivation never works for me either: I have to accept an ebb and flow or, else, allow for a steady (but period) stream, whether it’s a matter of books or pastries! 🙂
    Enjoy your own acquisitions!

  • West is excellent, packed full of interesting themes for such slim book. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 🙂

  • I fell off the book buying ban wagon in June. Or should I say I was pushed. We had employee appreciation at work and well, that was the beginning of the end. After purchasing my share of books during employee appreciation, i then went to my favorite second hand bookshop and bought more. #BookNerdProblems.

    Oh, well, I must pick myself up, dust myself off, and get back on the wagon.

    Happy reading!

    • Now that sounds like the kind of employee appreciation that is meaningful. Much better than giving people engraved wine/champagne glasses or travel clocks which is what we got to choose…

  • Pingback: Six Stunning Must Read Books of 2019 | BookerTalk

  • Forget shelves, pile them up, put a board on top and you have a new (hopefully temporary) table! 😀

    • Ah but what happens when the book you want to read is the one right at the bottom of the pile holding up the top?

      • Then you get to start playing a game ob book jenga! 😉

  • Like FictionFan I am absolutely certain that ‘spare shelving’ is an oxymoron and I can also add my praises for A Rising Man and the rest of that series. A Spool of Blue Thread is probably the best Tyler novel I have read.

    • Now you have me wishing I had these in my 15booksofsummer pile

  • I discovered Abebooks recently, where I can often get whatever I want for under $4.00 (with free shipping), which means that I am getting book deliveries almost every day. Eeek.

  • A Rising Man is great but you’ll want to go on and read the series so you might as well get the next two now… 😉 Isn’t “spare shelving” an oxymoron?

  • It’s always the way, if you mange any kind of restraint eventually a massive pile of books come in. It’s a good problem to have – probably. Enjoy your books.

  • I love your list. wish I could find some of them here.

    • Not sure where in the world ‘here’ is Arlene but have you tried BookDepository – they pretty much ship everywhere

      • I live in the Philippines. I haven’t tried buying books online yet. We have plenty to choose from in our bookstores here.

  • 19 books is a fairly decisive ‘wheels off’ 😀

  • Judy Krueger

    Riches! Books are riches. If I splurge on clothes or makeup I feel guilty. Never on books. You have so much reading pleasure ahead! Plus you post has a really catchy, not boring title.

    • I’m trying to write titles that are a bit more interesting so glad my efforts paid off on this one. Absolutely, books are a joy not a problem. We bloggers/readers just like to pretend that we are worried about our TBR lists but deep down we love them….

  • A good haul. I need to amp up reading my TBR and stop buying new books that bloggers recommend. Your Jane Harper book is her 3rd book and I understand it can be read alone. Her first 2 books have some of the same characters but this ventures elsewhere.

    • Thanks Pam for answering my query re the Jane Harper. I’ve decided resistance is futile and though I don’t want to get my stack of books so much out of control that I keep tripping over them, I know there is no way I can stop buying….so what;s the point of even trying

  • I listened to Stephen Fry reading Mythos just recently and really enjoyed it. Didn’t retain much though! Good luck with Jane Harper – she writes ok crime fiction but Harper on Australian landscapes is about as believable as Meryl Streep playing Lindy Chamberlain (Evil Angels).

    • I never thought about getting Mythos as an audio but that sounds like a great idea. Interesting comment re Harper and Australian landscapes, I had a feeling everywhere else I’ve seen how good her descriptions are. But you’ve travelled more of it than most people so if you say she hasn’t got it right. then I’mp paying attention…

    • You said exactly what I thought Bill ie that I reckon I’d enjoy this book, but probably wouldn’t retain much. However, if Karen has the actual book then she can always go back and refer to it!

    • I suspect there is plenty of it in store, though when this reading is to take place I can’t imagine

  • I loved A Spool of Blue Thread, thought it had quite the quiet charm. And Circe was my fav book from last year. This is an amazing haul. I am quite envious! I hope you enjoy them all 🙂

    • Im really enjoying Circe which has been a surprise because I don’t usually care for things with non real characters.

      • Miller is just so skilful that you almost forget what you are reading is fantastical in nature!

        • Absolutely – I got so swept along that my normal resistance to reading fantasy/non real characters went completely away

        • For some reason I don’t tend to think of myth-based fiction as being fantastical… I guess there is a part of me that wants to believe this is historical fiction and all these gods, demi-gods and mortals existed so that is why I definitely have no trouble connecting to these characters. I am so delighted you enjoyed Circe so much, always glad to make the acquaintance of another Miller fan 🙂

    • I take it you’re not offering me any space in your shelves??? I call that downright mean

      • Yes, I do too … cavalier of her to offer to spend YOUR money solving YOUR problem!


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