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  • lotenwriting

Written and Read 6/10

Writing Goals

  • Two books published for Castle Priory Press

Reading Goals

  • 3/30 library books (7 left)

  • 2023 kindle list complete. Reading books added in 2024 now

  • 0/15 bookshelf books (4 left)

  • 0/3 books to buy read (3 left)

June is my busiest month for work so I never get much of anything else done in that time. Nevertheless, I did manage to do a tiny bit of writing (which almost never happens) and read a few books - albeit most of them were on audio while I've been driving around. The physical ones I read were mostly for review and made me realise that although I love reviewing books, when that's the sole reading I've done in a month, it gets quite depressing because I never get fully into the book. At the back of my mind I'm always thinking about what I'm going to write in the review.

Book Reviews


Grave Expectations – Alice Bell (Comedic crime plot where Claire can see ghosts and investigates their murders. The exchanges between Claire and Sophie are largely where the comedy comes in, but the question of exactly what happened to Sophie is still left hanging and I assume this will be resolved as the series progresses. The next in the series has been added to my list for next year.)

Close To Death – Anthony Horowitz (Audiobook. Most recent Hawthorne novel which takes us back to when it was Hawthorne and Dudley, not Horowitz. As I had expected, we find out a little bit more about Hawthorne, but he is still largely an enigma, because what we find out, only leads to more questions! Infuriating, but brilliant. I’ve pretty much given up trying to work out whodunnit, because in spite of knowing most of the major crime tropes, I am more like the fictional Horowitz – always one step behind – than the real life one, who is, I think one of the best plotters around.)

Death At The Sign Of The Rook – Kate Atkinson (Felt I should have enjoyed this more than I did. A combination of being extremely tired, not being able to read for any length of time and not having realised it was midway through a series. Full review to follow in July.)



Trigger Mortis – Anthony Horowitz (Audiobook. James Bond, post-Goldfinger. Some lovely nods back to the story. Interestingly, I didn’t think I particularly liked the Daniel Craig Bond – it’s not as tongue-in-cheek fun and more straight action hero – and yet it was his Bond I was picturing as I read this, even though it was Sean Connery’s story. I think this perfectly encapsulates what Horowitz achieves in these books. It’s classic Bond but with a modern twist and I thoroughly enjoyed it.)

The Wreck of the Titan – Morgan Robertson (I’d heard a lot about this book through the little one’s obsession with Titanic, so it was interesting to read the book which ‘predicted’ the crash. Very much of its time, with attitudes and expressions that are distasteful today, it’s incredibly melodramatic in places, but nevertheless worth a read if you are interested in Titanic.)


I Know What You Did Last Wednesday – Anthony Horowitz (Audiobook. The next in the Diamond Brothers series. The brothers are in Scotland and it’s reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s ‘And Then There Were None’. However, in true Horowitz  style, the ending was not quite the one I expected – I’d guessed the murderer correctly and the motive, but hadn’t worked out how the murderer had disguised themself.


The Butterfly Garden – Rachel Burton (Read for Review. Bittersweet tale of love and loss. Full review coming on 2nd July.)

The Instrumentalist – Harriet Constable (Read for Review. Insight into the life of Anna-Maria del Pieta, an abandoned baby who rose to become the pupil of Vivaldi and the star of the Figlie. Full review can be found here.)


Black Butterflies – Priscilla Morris (Book Group pick. Audiobook. I found this really engaging and it was beautifully written. However, I did feel a little let down by the ending. It felt rushed and there were too many coincidences to round the story off for my liking.)


My Phantoms – Gwendoline Riley (A Between The Covers pick. An interesting examination of the complicated relationship between Bridget and her mother, Helen. They are more similar than Bridget would like to admit, and yet are different enough for Bridget to keep her mother separate from the rest of her life. Perhaps it’s my age, but I was very much more sympathetic towards the mother than I was to Bridget, who seemed self-centred and quite spoilt.

Short Stories

Smoke and Mirrors – Neil Gaiman (Audiobook. Collection of short stories, mostly horror in genre. There were a couple where I thought I’d missed a section, but then it turned out I hadn’t, the stories were genuinely just odd. However, there were others which were utterly brilliant. This particularly applied to Chivalry, Troll Bridge and Snow, Glass, Apples, which were all superb. I think this is one that might have been better read, rather than listened to.)


Hunt The Bismarck – Angus Konstam (Audiobook. The book I’ve been listening to with the little one. Genuinely really interesting and, for a non-fiction book, manages to create a sense of excitement and anticipation, even though we both know the ending! Also, the narrator’s German accent is excellent!)


The Battle of North Cape – Angus Konstam (Audiobook. About the sinking of the Scharnhorst in 1943. Just as good as his book on Bismarck and definitely one to read if you’re interested in this period of history.)

Book Of The Month?

I found it really hard to choose between the two non-fiction books, so I asked Arthur to choose between them. He chose 'Hunt The Bismarck' because that was what introduced him to the Scharnhorst as a ship and so was the reason we listened to the other book. He also said the detail in it was more than he had expected and he thoroughly enjoyed learning the new things. He also particularly liked the narrator of this book (German-speaking husband also complimented him on his German accent, which NEVER happens!).

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