Books, hockey, and a bucketful of snark

Being the musings of a Yorkshire lass living in the USA. I'm a book geek, bird nerd, grammar Nazi, and hockey nut.  Sarcasm is my default setting. 


It's arrived!


My husband has put it on a very high shelf to stop me from diving straight into it.


Even more grim than the previous book

We Were Kings - Douglas Graham Purdy, Thomas O'Malley

I didn't it was possible, but this installment of The Boston Saga was even more downbeat and depressing than the last one.


Booze, drugs, guns, mobsters, and now the IRA have got involved. Just another day in 1950's Boston.



Look what I've got! A shiny new bingo card with my name on it and everything.


I've not picked all my books yet, but half the fun is deciding what to read and what to (reluctantly) leave for another year.



Seeing as dystopian or post-apocalyptic novels are a favourite subject of mine, I don't think I'll have any problem coming up with something for this one. Maybe a re-read of Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, Nineteen-Eightyfour, The Chrysalids. So many books, only one square.


Creepy Carnivals

I got part way through Something Wicked this Way Comes for the 2016 game and it's still sitting unfinished on my Kindle. But I'm probably going to read Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter.


Fear the Drowning Deep

The Kraken Wakes, John Wyndham. Scared the life out of me when I read it as a teen. And perfect for this category.


Southern Gothic

Living Dead in Dallas, Charlene Harris. It's the second book in the Sookie Stackhouse series. 


Darkest London

The Furthest Station, Ben Aaronavitch (a Rivers of London novella).


Relics and Curiosities

Something more lighthearted this year. I've chosen The Story of the Amulet by E Nesbit.


New Release

Early Riser, Jasper Fforde. A new Jasper, the only problem I've got is restraining myself from diving straight into it when it arrives.



Iron and Magic, Ilona Andrews. D'uh. What else 


Modern Noir

Whatever Harry Bosch book I happen to be reading


A Discovery of Witches, Deborah Harkness



Equal Rites, the one and only Terry Pratchett


Terrifying Women

Shell Game, Sara Paretsky


Murder Most Foul

Tombland, C J Sansom


Magic Triumphs, Ilona Andrews (who else but the Beast Lord?)


Free Square

Lethal White, Robert Galbraith



The Raven Boys, Maggie Stiefvater


Ghost Stories

The Canterville Ghost, Oscar Wilde


Genre: Suspense

Be Buried in the Rain, Barbara Michaels



Discount Armageddon, Seanan McGuire


Still to be decided

Diverse Voices

Terror in a Small Town

Amateur Sleuth

Country House Mystery

Baker Street Irregulars


And look who's coming out to play.



Reading progress update: I've read 230 out of 384 pages.

We Were Kings - Douglas Graham Purdy, Thomas O'Malley

Boston August 1954 - Temperatures in the high 90's and it's so hot, your clothes stick to your skin. Bad-tempered drivers yelling at people. Red Sox put up a dismal display against the Yankees at Fenway Park.


Boston August 2018 - Temperatures in the high 90's and it's so hot, your clothes stick to your skin. Bad-tempered drivers yelling at people. Red Sox put up a dismal display against sweep the Yankees at Fenway Park.


I have to smile while I'm in Boston during a heatwave, and reading a book set in Boston during a heatwave, but unlike the book's protagonists, at least my A/C is working, and as an added bonus, I'm not being shot at or beaten up by mobsters. 

Reading progress update: I've read 207 out of 384 pages.

We Were Kings - Douglas Graham Purdy, Thomas O'Malley

Crossing invisible borders between neighborhoods, he looked over the rooftops of the brownstones and tenements at the blue-white, cloudless sky. Boston was not a town of tall buildings and arcing skylines, but of neighborhoods tightly packed and closely linked - if not by tenderness then by history, and each neighborhood emerged as distinctly, proudly its own.

We Were Kings - Douglas Graham Purdy, Thomas O'Malley

Two crew members dressed in oilskins and carrying guns, brought the man out onto the deck. He was similarly dressed but a smear of blood glistened on his face and his legs were bowed as if from a length of time kneeling. His hands were bound behind his back and he was gagged with a kerchief soaked with paraffin oil. His eyes were wide in his bloodied face as he struggled against his holders. Pushing and pulling, they walked him to the stern, turned him so that he was facing south against the railings, the way they'd come, pressing into the morning tide.


Beneath the boat's props the sea churned blackly. He had a moment to consider this and the intermittent, sweeping light cast by the lighthouse on Minot's Ledge and the clanging buoy of the eastern marker as they entered the waters of the bay, and he suddenly, urgently spoke aloud the Act of Contrition....


And that's where I got jolted right out of the story. In the previous paragraph, he was gagged. So how come he's suddenly able to speak?


What's funny is that there is one of those phantom margin-scribblers at large in this book, but they missed this one.

At least it's not snowing

We Were Kings - Douglas Graham Purdy, Thomas O'Malley

Book 2 in the Boston Saga takes place in July. So rather than biting cold, a shit-ton of snow, and woefully crap Bruins, I'm assuming this one will have relentless heat and dismal Red Sox. Welcome to Boston.

Reading progress update: I've read 120 out of 320 pages.

The Underground Railroad (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel - Colson Whitehead

"If you want to see what this nation is all about, I always say, you have to ride the rails. Look outside as you speed through, and you'll find the true face of America."

Ooooooh! (again) - Release date: 18th September 2018


'I seen a kid killed . . . He strangled it, up by the horse.'


When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike's office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed, and cannot remember many concrete details, there is something sincere about him and his story. But before Strike can question him further, Billy bolts from his office in a panic.


Trying to get to the bottom of Billy's story, Strike and Robin Ellacott - once his assistant, now a partner in the agency - set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London, into a secretive inner sanctum within Parliament, and to a beautiful but sinister manor house deep in the countryside.


And during this labyrinthine investigation, Strike's own life is far from straightforward: his newfound fame as a private eye means he can no longer operate behind the scenes as he once did. Plus, his relationship with his former assistant is more fraught than it ever has been - Robin is now invaluable to Strike in the business, but their personal relationship is much, much more tricky than that . . .

Ooooh! (Release date: 18th October 2018)


Tombland is the seventh novel in C. J. Sansom's number one bestselling Shardlake series.


Spring, 1549.


Two years after the death of Henry VIII, England is sliding into chaos . . .


The nominal king, Edward VI, is eleven years old. His uncle Edward Seymour, Lord Hertford, rules as Protector. The extirpation of the old religion by radical Protestants is stirring discontent among the populace while the Protector’s prolonged war with Scotland is proving a disastrous failure and threatens to involve France. Worst of all, the economy is in collapse, inflation rages and rebellion is stirring among the peasantry.


Since the old King’s death, Matthew Shardlake has been working as a lawyer in the service of Henry’s younger daughter, the Lady Elizabeth. The gruesome murder of Edith Boleyn, the wife of John Boleyn – a distant Norfolk relation of Elizabeth's mother – which could have political implications for Elizabeth, brings Shardlake and his assistant Nicholas Overton to the summer assizes at Norwich. There they are reunited with Shardlake’s former assistant Jack Barak. The three find layers of mystery and danger surrounding Edith's death, as a second murder is committed.


And then East Anglia explodes, as peasant rebellion breaks out across the country. The yeoman Robert Kett leads a force of thousands in overthrowing the landlords and establishing a vast camp outside Norwich. Soon the rebels have taken over the city, England’s second largest.


Barak throws in his lot with the rebels; Nicholas, opposed to them, becomes a prisoner in Norwich Castle; while Shardlake has to decide where his ultimate loyalties lie, as government forces in London prepare to march north and destroy the rebels. Meanwhile he discovers that the murder of Edith Boleyn may have connections reaching into both the heart of the rebel camp and of the Norfolk gentry . . .

Red Eye: Patrick Kenzie vs. Harry Bosch: An Original Short Story - Dennis Lehane, Michael Connelly

Two pages in and I was wishing Connelly and Lehane would team up again and flesh this great short story out into a full length novel, because I sure as hell would read it.


The story is set in Boston and poor Harry Bosch who spent the Vietnam War as a tunnel rat, and tries to avoid enclosed spaces, immediately finds himself in the Ted Williams tunnel with a load of maniac Boston drivers. (There's a reason they're known as 'Massholes'.)


Once he's met Patrick Kenzie and they've checked each other out and decided they're both alpha males they settle down to a bit of East Coast vs West Coast sports banter.


"You like baseball, Patrick?"


"Big-time. Why?"


"You're the first guy I've seen in this town not wearing a Sox hat."


Patrick pulled off his hat and considered the front of it as he ran a hand through his hair. "Imagine that. I didn't even look when I left the house."


"Is that a rule around here? You've all got to represent Red Sox Nation or something?"


"It's not a rule, per se, more like a guideline."


I laughed out loud at that, seeing as I was wearing a Red Sox hat while I was reading.


But if I have one complaint about Patrick Kenzie, it's that he's not a hockey fan.


Patrick edged his way through the doorway onto an Arizona Cardinals rug, drew a bead on a BarcaLounger trimmed in Sun Devils colors. A Phoenix Suns pennant shared space with one from the Phoenix Coyotes and Patrick had to peer at the latter to realize the Coyotes played in the NHL.


If he learned nothing else from this day, he now knew Arizona had a professional hockey team.


So, please Messrs Lehane and Connelly, could Harry and Patrick ride again?



And yet another series for me to binge on

The Black Echo - Michael Connelly

Already ordered book two from the library. 

The anticipation is killing me!



Early Riser - release date 8/02/2018*

Magic Triumphs - release date 8/28/2018

Shell Game - release date 10/16/2018

Lies Sleeping - release date 11/13/2018

Kingdom of the Blind - release date 11/27/2018




* This is the UK release date; it's not released here until next year. Yeah, but no. Of course I've already preordered my copy from the UK.

The Black Echo - Michael Connelly

I recently bought a Kindle short story which is by Michael Connelly and Dennis Lehane and has Harry Bosch and Patrick Kenzie teaming up to solve a crime in Boston.


I've read all of Lehane's Kenzie and Genarro stories, but haven't ready any of Connelly's books about Harry Bosch, so thought I should find out a little bit about Harry before I read about their meeting.

In the bleak midwinter

Serpents in the Cold (The Boston Saga) - Douglas Graham Purdy, Thomas O'Malley

Wow, but this was one heck of a bleak read. Both the main characters are pretty messed up individuals caught up in murky dealings between Boston's criminal underworld and some crooked politicians.


Everything is so depressing. The winter lasts forever with nothing to relieve the cold. The Bruins have failed to make the playoffs and every single person seems to think the only way to solve any problems is to shoot it, or beat it to a pulp.


By the end of the book I was praying for the start of the baseball season and some warmer weather.


RIP Clive King

Stig of the Dump - Clive King, Edward Ardizzone

Sad news. This was one of my favorite books as a child. 

Currently reading

The Concrete Blonde (Harry Bosch) by Connelly, Michael published by Grand Central Publishing (2007)
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal
Christopher Moore
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
Susan Cain
Progress: 70/368 pages
The Shining
Stephen King