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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

New On The Shelf At Fiction Books This Week

Picture of an English red post boxMailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house during the last week.

Be warned that Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Mailbox Monday, is currently ‘on tour’ and being hosted by a different blogger each month.

Your host for October 2013, is Gina @ ‘Book Dragon’s Lair’

So why not stop by, leave a link to your own Mailbox Monday post, oh! and don’t forget to leave a comment for Gina, after all, we all like to receive them!

This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!


Another great find from the NetGalley folks for me this week. I have read some mixed thoughts about this one, across several of the major review sites, however the synopsis is strangely intriguing to me and I just couldn’t resist giving ‘Bellman & Black’ a try.

I am not much of a seasonal reader, if I fancy reading a Christmas story in July, then I will. However, with Halloween almost upon us, for all you ‘season readers’ out there, ‘Bellman & Black’ could be the ghost story of the year.


Bellman & Black is a heart-thumpingly perfect ghost story, beautifully and irresistibly written, its ratcheting tension exquisitely calibrated line by line. Its hero is William Bellman, who, as a boy of 11, killed a shiny black rook with a catapult, and who grew up to be someone, his neighbours think, who “could go to the good or the bad.” And indeed, although William Bellman’s life at first seems blessed—he has a happy marriage to a beautiful woman, becomes father to a brood of bright, strong children, and thrives in business—one by one, people around him die. And at each funeral, he is startled to see a strange man in black, smiling at him. At first, the dead are distant relatives, but eventually his own children die, and then his wife, leaving behind only one child, his favourite, Dora. Unhinged by grief, William gets drunk and stumbles to his wife’s fresh grave—and who should be there waiting, but the smiling stranger in black. The stranger has a proposition for William—a mysterious business called “Bellman & Black”


Image Of Author Diane SetterfieldDiane Setterfield is a British author, who grew up in Reading, Berkshire. She has spent much of her adult life living in France, although she is now back in her native country, living in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

Diane, now in her forties, has an academic background, studying French Literature at Bristol University, specializing in 20th Century French Literature with a particular interest in the works of  Andre Gide, French author and winner of the 1947 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Diane has published several publications in her specialist field and has taught at numerous schools, as well as privately, before leaving the world of academia behind her in the late 1990’s, to concentrate on her writing, having caught the attention of novelist Jim Crace, who took her under his wing.

Diane’s debut novel ‘The Thirteenth Tale’, was published to popular acclaim worldwide and has since been acquired by a British film production company and adapted for television. The programme will hopefully be forming part of the BBC’s Christmas line-up in 2013, as a 60 minute drama and will be starring Vanessa Redgrave and Olivia Colman, in the lead roles.

To be a writer, I thought, you had to be extraordinary, and I knew I was ordinary. But desire is like an underground stream: if it can’t surface where it wants, it will divert and surface somewhere else. My wish to write novels surfaced as a wish to teach and research literature. By the time I was in my thirties, I understood things better, and this is what my advice to anyone waiting to be “discovered” would be: it is books that are extraordinary, writers themselves are no more or less extraordinary than anyone else.

I can’t wait to discover all your own great new finds this week … so please stop by and share your link


Written by

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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  • Bellman & Black sounds like a good one and I have heard of this authors work. I have the Thirteenth Tale on my shelves. As for myself, I surely am a seasonal reader. For some reason I won’t read anything summer related during the cold months and vice versa.
    Happy Sunday!

    • Hi Naida,

      It sounds as though now might be the right time to dust down your copy of ‘The Thirteenth Tale’ as your Halloween read then, as this too sounds like an intriguing and haunting tale and even better, it starts off life in an antiquarian bookshop, with an author request.

      I seem to have so little reading time just lately, that I just plow through my reading / review pile in the order it arrived, regardless of the seasonality of the story, that aspect of a book has never really bothered me.

      Thanks for stopping by, I hope that you are having a relaxing Sunday.

  • I have lots to do and little time, but this seems like something I could really get into right about now. Halloween costumes will be done by Friday, leaving me almost a full week before Halloween. Thanks for the suggestion!

    • Hi Kathryn,

      Halloween is becoming huge, here in the UK. It appears to be another tradition imported from you folks over in the US, as until a few years ago, it was pretty much a non-event. Every grocery store has pumpkins for sale, it’s just like being in Florida at this time of year!

      Either of Diane Setterfield’s books sounds like a great read for Halloween, although I am finding the cover art of ‘Bellman & Black’ a little spooky. We have rooks and crows living in the copse of trees behind our property, the noise they make can be phenomenal and they are quite frightening when they come down and attack the squirrels in the garden.

      I shall be publishing your guest post hopefully at the end of the week, I’ll drop you an email when it is up and running, so that you can take a look.

      Thanks for stopping by and I hope that you all have fun getting prepared for Halloween.

    • Hi Shoshanah,

      That cover, certainly ‘does what it says on the tin’, doesn’ it? The simplicity makes it all the more relevant to the storyline and definitely sets the eerie scene, before you even open the first page.

      Thanks for stopping by and have a great week.

    • Hi Lucy,

      There is no way that I shall be anywhere near to reading ‘Bellman & Black’ anytime soon, as my review pile is already toppling and I do try to read books in the order they came in.

      After reading so many good things about this author though, I am so tempted to queue jump with this book, but I must be fair to everyone who has contacted me.

      It certainly sounds like an excellent choice for anyone who is looking for a good Halloween read.

      Thanks for stopping by, I hope that you have a great week.

    • Hi Pat,

      I am definitely not a seasonal reader, the thought of reading nothing but wintry / Christmassy books for the next few months, would fill me with dread!

      I use to read a lot of dark books, in the early days of Stephen King and Richard Laymon, although I haven’t ventured into the genre for some time now, so I am looking forward to settling down with ‘Bellman & Black’

      Thanks for stopping by and I hope that you have a good week.

    • Hi Sam,

      LOL at your comment about coming into Summer, I guess that rather than use a definitive season, I should stick to the term ‘seasonal reader’, then I won’t upset anyone!

      Personally, I am not a seasonal reader either, it makes no difference to me what the weather is like outside if I fancy reading a particular book.

      ‘The Thirteenth Tale’ is definitely on my radar, seeing as it has been recommended by so many of you and ‘Bellman & Black’ certainly has me intrigued.

      I couldn’t find your profile on your home page (probably me having a senior .. sorry ‘blonde’ .. moment), so I don’t know which part of Australia you hail from. I do hope that you aren’t anywhere close to the terrible fires we have been hearing so much about though.

      Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate your visit and comments and have a good week.

    • Hi Kathy,

      If you are the only person in the US who hasn’t read ‘The Thirteenth Tale’, then, given that the author is British, I must be the only person in the UK, which is even worse!! I have already added it to my list and have drooled over the cover art, which is fantastic.

      Whilst the cover art for ‘TTT’ is ancient and brooding, the cover of ‘Bellman & Black’ is dark and eerie. It fits so completely with the storyline and I can just imagine the rooks perching on the trees in the graveyard, setting up their piercing screech and waiting for William to meet his destiny!

      Thanks for stopping by, I hope that you enjoy ‘Bellman ..’ as well and that you have good week.

    • Hi Tracy,

      I thought that you might like the sound of ‘Bellman & Black’, although the vision of you hiding under the bedclothes after reading it, is something I would like to see!

      I am wondering if you have made any changes to your email address or anything else on your site, during your recent computer problems. Your comments are being dumped in my moderation box, which generally only happens when you make an initial comment on the blog.

      I hope that you have a good week and thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment.

  • Wow! Bellman & Black sounds amazing! I loved The Thirteenth Tale so I am definitely going to have to add this one to my TBR list.

    Thanks for stopping by!

    • Hi Denise,

      I am beginning to wonder which planet I have been living on for the past few months, as I hadn’t come across ‘The Thirteenth Tale’ until I checked out Diane’s website, prior to downloading ‘Bellman & Black’. It is definitely on my wish list now though and I am determined to read both books very soon.

      Thanks for stopping by, I love ‘meeting’ new people and I always appreciate comments.

  • I’ve been seeing this one everywhere…and I have yet to read this author. But there is something so eerily fascinating about that blurb…I may just have to add it to my list.

    Thanks for sharing…and for visiting my blog.

    • Hi Laurel-Rain,

      When I have visited your site, I have noticed that, like myself, you have quite eclectic reading tastes, so ‘Bellman & Black’ should be quite a good story for you to try.

      I am keen to know what the business of ‘Bellman & Black’ actually is, although it’s not sounding too friendly, if it involves death and graves!

      Thanks for stopping by and I hope that you have a good week.

  • I LOVED The Thirteenth Tale. I have heard Bellman & Black is dark and takes a few pages to get into, but overall good.

    I have it in my stack. My son read it and said it was good, but he likes dark. 🙂

    I hope I like it too.

    Have a great week, and enjoy your books.

    Silver’s Reviews
    My Mailbox Monday

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      I have already added ‘The Thirteenth Tale’ to my list don’t worry! The fact that it involoves a bookshop and an author is enough to have me hooked and I just love the fabulous cover!

      I haven’t read anything really ‘dark’ for some long while, so ‘Bellman & Black’ will be something completely different for me and I am really looking forward to discovering what proposition the man in black has for William.

      Thanks for stopping by and have a great week.

    • Hi Mary Ann,

      The synopsis would make ‘Bellman & Black’ appear to be an excellent choice for Halloween. The stranger in black sounds very spooky and William seems to be getting perhaps a little more grief than he deserves, for killing a single rook, as a child. I am wondering just what kind of business partnership this is going to be!

      Thanks for stopping by and have a good week.

  • Ohh Yvonne! We were so meant to come together via your blog…I know it now for sure! After we have been talking about jigsaw puzzles for a little while now, I thought maybe I should write a response on your blog about what your blog is truly about….reading. So, I went back and dug up my most favorite quote which happens to come from a book that is in my top 5 favorite books of all times that I’ve ever read….The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield!!!!!

    Imagine my surprise and delight when I did a quick search on your blog to see if you had ever mentioned Diane Setterfield since she is a British author whom,until I just found out otherwise through you, had only written that one book.

    I absolutely LOVED The Thirteenth Tale. Like I said, one of my all-time favorites, and because of your post her about her second book and the fact that you want to read them both, I had to also post my all-time favorite quote. If this doesn’t inspire you to put down all your other review books and dig this one up…nothing will! Here is the quote…

    “There is something about words. In expert hands, manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner, wind themselves around your limbs like spider silk. And when you are so enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you they work their magic.” — Diane Setterfield, The Thirteenth Tale

    Is this not the BEST and most descriptive way to describe the feeling you get from reading? God, I just LOVE it!!! It’s even included in my “signature line” in my Outlook email.

    Okay, I just had to share that….and I will be ordering Bellman and Black immediately! Thank you for that!! I kept looking for several years after I finished TTT to see if another book had come out, but with all the chaos of young children and precious little reading time, I hadn’t checked in a long time. 🙂 Yay! I am so excited now….


  • Hi Penny,

    I haven’t been a member of ‘NetGalley’ for very long, to be honest I had been resisting the urge to join, as I knew that the prospect of all those ‘freebie’ books on offer, would be just too much temptation.

    Eventually though, I succumbed and now I am just very strict with myself which books I choose to request and I am not quite so much like the proverbial ‘child in the sweet shop’.

    Bellman & Black, was one of the first books I was offered for review and it just sounded too good to resist. It was only later, when I was researching the author for this post, that I discovered TTT, which everyone else in the blogosphere seems to have read, except me!

    B&B is still some way down my review list and to be fair to all the authors who had contacted me before this, I shan’t be cheating and moving it up the pile, although I would very much like to. I am aiming to get my hands on a copy of TTT as soon as possible and stop playing catch-up with the rest of you.

    I so love that quote you shared that I am going to include it in my random quote slot on the right hand side of the page, which changes each time a page is refreshed or changed.

    Intrigued, I wanted to check and see if there were any more gems like that one and I came across a whole page of them on ‘Goodreads’, some of them are so thought provoking …


    I hope that you get the chance to check them out and have a great weekend.

  • Thanks, Yvonne. I did check out the links. It’s amazing how many good quotes there were in the book. I had liked several of them, but the one about books being like spider silk really resonated with me. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Penny,

      That particular quote was by far and away the most profound one, but some of the others were also really thought provoking.

      If this is the quality of descriptive writing I can expect from the story as a whole, then I am really looking forward to getting my hands on a copy as soon as possible.

      Here’s hoping that Bellman & Black is just as good!

      Have a good week,


Written by Yvonne