24 Mar 2022

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Book Review / The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

 


 The House at Riverton is a gorgeous debut novel set in England between the wars. Perfect for fans of "Downton Abbey," it's the story of an aristocratic family, a house, a mysterious death, and a way of life that vanished forever, told in flashback by a woman who witnessed it all.

The novel is full of secrets - some revealed, others hidden forever, reminiscent of the romantic suspense of Daphne du Maurier. It's also a meditation on memory and the devastation of war and a beautifully rendered window into a fascinating time in history.
 

Published:     15th June 2007
Publisher:  Pan
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought

 

 


MY REVIEW

 

One of my missions this year is to read all of the novels written by Kate Morton.  This novel I had read previously, so this was a re-read, and it was just as a good as what I remembered it to be.  

What I loved about this book was the fact that the main character in this novel is not one of the rich people living at Riverton, but we follow a maid who joined after being recommended by her mother who had also worked at the house.   This novel is split over two time periods.  We have the past and what happened back then and we have the present where we see Grace, the maid, now an elderly lady in a nursing home remembering the past.  

There's nothing better for me than a book with a lot of secrets that need to be revealed.  This book certainly had its fair share of secrets!  If I had to have one criticism, and it really is only a tiny criticism, is that the novel was quite long at 484 pages.  It could have easily been 400 or a bit less and the story would have been just as good.

If you like a good novel with a lot of family history and secrets, this is the one to pick up.

 

 

 

Continue reading Book Review / The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

21 Mar 2022

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Book Review / The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett


 

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it's not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it's everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters' storylines intersect?

Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person's decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.
  

Published:     2nd June 2020
Publisher:  Riverhead Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought

 

 


 MY REVIEW


I have to be honest and say that I bought this book purely because of the cover!  I knew nothing about the book or the author, having not read her other book.  I just knew that I had to buy it.  Yes I know it is probably best to know a bit about the book before you buy it or want to read it but, for me, that takes the fun out of it a little bit.  There's nothing better than picking up a book that you know nothing about and end up really enjoying the journey the author takes you on.

What I enjoyed the most about this story is that it shows that no two people are the same or have the same dreams.  Here you have twins who, clearly, have very different interests.  Life has also thrown some curve balls at them and has taken them down paths they really were not expecting.  I found it fascinating following both Stella and Desiree as they navigate their paths.  

For me, this was a slow paced read but with this type of story it fit perfectly.  I could sit back, relax and enjoy the journey.

Would highly recommend. 


 

 

 

 

Continue reading Book Review / The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

18 Mar 2022

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Book Review / Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer


 A fantasy series about a kingdom divided by corruption, the prince desperately holding it together, and the girl who will risk everything to bring it crashing down.

The kingdom of Kandala is on the brink of disaster. Rifts between sectors have only worsened since a sickness began ravaging the land, and within the Royal Palace, the king holds a tenuous peace with a ruthless hand.

King Harristan was thrust into power after his parents' shocking assassination, leaving the younger Prince Corrick to take on the brutal role of the King's Justice. The brothers have learned to react mercilessly to any sign of rebellion--it's the only way to maintain order when the sickness can strike anywhere, and the only known cure, an elixir made from delicate Moonflower petals, is severely limited.

Out in the Wilds, apothecary apprentice Tessa Cade is tired of seeing her neighbors die, their suffering ignored by the unyielding royals. Every night, she and her best friend Wes risk their lives to steal Moonflower petals and distribute the elixir to those who need it most--but it's still not enough.

As rumors spread that the cure no longer works and sparks of rebellion begin to flare, a particularly cruel act from the King's Justice makes Tessa desperate enough to try the impossible: sneaking into the palace. But what she finds upon her arrival makes her wonder if it's even possible to fix Kandala without destroying it first.
 

Published:     14th September 2021
Publisher:  Bloomsbury
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 1, Defy the Night
Source:  Bought

 


MY REVIEW

 

I have read and thoroughly enjoyed by the Cursebreakers trilogy and Letters to the Lost  by this author, I knew that I had to check this out.  There's just something about this author's writing that always draws me in.

This was a very interesting start to either a trilogy or series, whatever it is planned to be.  With this first book, there is a lot to learn and a lot of characters introduced but there wasn't any point at which I thought it was too much that I couldn't retain the information or know all the characters when they pop up again.  There is a really impressive reveal/twist in this story that I wasn't expecting, which I won't reveal as I don't want to spoil the story for those who haven't read it, and on top of that you have a problem in this world where there's a sickness and the only known cure is an elixir made from a rare flower.  

I am now fully invested in finding out what on earth is going on and how are they going to save everyone from the sickness.  Can't wait for the next one!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Book Review / Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer

14 Mar 2022

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Book Review / Burning Girls by C J Tudor

 

An unconventional vicar moves to a remote corner of the English countryside, only to discover a community haunted by death and disappearances both past and present--and intent on keeping its dark secrets--in this explosive, unsettling thriller from acclaimed author C. J. Tudor.

Welcome to Chapel Croft. Five hundred years ago, eight protestant martyrs were burned at the stake here. Thirty years ago, two teenage girls disappeared without a trace. And two months ago, the vicar of the local parish killed himself.

Reverend Jack Brooks, a single parent with a fourteen-year-old daughter and a heavy conscience, arrives in the village hoping to make a fresh start and find some peace. Instead, Jack finds a town mired in secrecy and a strange welcome package: an old exorcism kit and a note quoting scripture. "But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed and hidden that will not be known."

The more Jack and her daughter Flo get acquainted with the town and its strange denizens, the deeper they are drawn into their rifts, mysteries, and suspicions. And when Flo is troubled by strange sightings in the old chapel, it becomes apparent that there are ghosts here that refuse to be laid to rest.

But uncovering the truth can be deadly in a village where everyone has something to protect, everyone has links with the village's bloody past, and no one trusts an outsider.

Published:     9th February 2021
Publisher:  Doubleday
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought
 

 


MY REVIEW

 

Having read and thoroughly enjoyed The Other People last year, I was really excited to pick up another book by this author.  There's nothing like finding a new author who you have the feeling it going to become one of your favourites.  C J Tudor is fast becoming one of mine and I am slowly working through each novel.

One of my favourite aspects of a good book is a secret history of any kind, whether that is a family history or a history of a town etc.  This book certainly has that!  This book kept me on the edge of my seat right the way through to the very last page. 

What I loved the most was finding out more of the village that Reverend Alex Brooks moves to and more about the villagers, some of whom are keeping secrets...

It is rarely the case that a thriller surprises me.  More often than not I guess what is going to happen well before the ending.  This novel kept it secrets right until the very end.  I certainly did not guess that ending until it was right upon me and I loved it!

I would highly recommend this novel.  If you haven't yet picked up a novel by this author, this one would be the perfect place to start!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Book Review / Burning Girls by C J Tudor

10 Mar 2022

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Book Review / Cocktails for Three by Madeleine Wickham (aka Sopkie Kinsella)


 

Roxanne: glamorous, self-confident, with a secret lover -- a married man

Maggie: capable and high-achieving, until she finds the one thing she can't cope with -- motherhood

Candice: honest, decent, or so she believes -- until a ghost from her past turns up

At the first of every month, when the office has reached its pinnacle of hysteria, Maggie, Roxanne, and Candice meet at London's swankiest bar for an evening of cocktails and gossip. Here, they chat about what's new at The Londoner, the glossy fashion magazine where they all work, and everything else that's going on in their lives. Or almost everything. Beneath the girl talk and the laughter, each of the three has a secret. And when a chance encounter at the cocktail bar sets in motion an extraordinary chain of events, each one will find their biggest secret revealed.

Published:     19th August 2010
Publisher:  Black Swan
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought.




MY REVIEW

 

So I have finally made it to the last Madeleine Wickham book written.  For those of you who have been following this journey, you know that I am not having the best of time with these novels and I am really sad about that.  I am not sure if there are going to be any more novels written under this pen name, but this is the last one I am going to pick up.

I am happy to say that we are ending on a good note though.  I did enjoy this one.  The cast of characters wasn't too great and I was invested enough to really want to follow the story and see what happens.  You have the three main characters who each have their own secrets and we get to explore those and see those played out.  

I was hoping that this would be a good story that was also fun to read and it was that.  Yes, it was predictable but that was ok.

This is not a story that I would pick up again but did enjoy.

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Book Review / Cocktails for Three by Madeleine Wickham (aka Sopkie Kinsella)

7 Mar 2022

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Book Review / The Tennis Party by Madeleine Wickham (aka Sophie Kinsella)


It was Patrick's idea that they should have the tennis party. After all, he has the perfect setting -- the White House, bought out of his bonuses as an investment banker. He hasn't actually told Caroline, his brash and beautiful wife, what the real reason for the party is. She is glad to welcome Stephen and Annie, their impoverished former neighbours, less glad to see newly wealthy Charles and his aristocratic wife Cressida, and barely able to tolerate the deadly competitive Don and Valerie.

But as the first ball is served over the net it signals the start of two days of tempers, shocks, revelations, the arrival of an uninvited guest, and the realization that the weekend is about anything but tennis.

 

Published:     9th June 2011
Publisher:  Black Swan
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought

 

 


MY REVIEW

 

OK, so I am on a roll with these novels now.  Since I am not really enjoying them as much as I thought I would I am just going to read them one after the other just to say that I have read them.  I wouldn't normally continue if not for the fact that I absolutely love Sophie Kinsella's main novels and as one of my favourite authors I like to say that I have read all her novels, including those I don't necessary get on with.

Honestly, I didn't have a lot of fun with this one.  There were far too many characters and of those many many characters that were in this novel I didn't really connect or care about any of them or their stories.  There was a certain point in the middle of this book where I just was bored and my interest never really came back again.   

I wish I had loved this more because I adore the author but this was just not for me. 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Book Review / The Tennis Party by Madeleine Wickham (aka Sophie Kinsella)

2 Mar 2022

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Book Review / A Desirable Residence by Madeleine Wickham (aka Sophie Kinsella)


 

Liz and Jonathan Chambers were in trouble. Mortgage trouble. They'd stretched themselves to busting with their new exciting project - well, Liz thought it exciting - buying and managing the Silchester Tutorial College, and now couldn't sell their old house. Here they were, stuck with two mortgages, mounting debts and a miserable adolescent daughter who hadn't wanted to move anyway.

Then Marcus Witherstone came into their lives - and at first it seemed he would solve all their problems. Marcus, senior partner in Silchester's leading estate agency, was large, assured, and wore an expensive overcoat. He knew the perfect tenants from London who would rent their old house - glamorous PR girl Ginny and almost-famous Piers. Everything was going to be OK.

But soon Marcus found himself involved with Liz in a way he'd never intended. Keeping his adulterous trysts secret from Anthea was uncomfortably easy - most of the time her head was firmly buried in Improve your Child's IQ. Meanwhile, as Liz was lost in blissful dreams of Marcus, Jonathan was left to run the tutorial college. Neither of them had time to notice that teenage Alice was developing a desperate passion for the tenants, Piers and Ginny.

Everyone seemed to be entangled with everyone else, in the most awkward possible way. And as events closed in on him, Marcus began to realise that some deceptions are just a bit too close to home.

 

Published:     27th October 2011
Publisher:  Black Swan
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought

 

 


MY REVIEW

 

After reading Swimming Pool Sunday, I have to be honest and say that I didn't have high hopes for this novel.  I had to say that, but its true.  With Swimming Pool Sunday I had figured out that the usual sense of humour that I love with Sophie Kinsella novels would be missing from these novels written under the pen name.  Knowing and expecting that, I did enjoy this novel a bit more.

What I enjoyed the most about this novel was that it wasn't concentrating necessarily on a whole cast of characters but a few.  Mainly, we are following Liz and Jonathan as they navigate their financial troubles and try and find a way out of it.  Of course things do not go according to plan and of course there are a lot more problems that crop up along the way.

I still didn't connect with any of the characters enough to be fully invested in the story.

This was an OK read but not one that I would pick up again.  


 

 

 

Continue reading Book Review / A Desirable Residence by Madeleine Wickham (aka Sophie Kinsella)

1 Mar 2022

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Book Review / Swimming Pool Sunday by Madeleine Wickham (aka Sophie Kinsella)


 One shimmeringly hot Sunday in May, the Delaneys open their pool to the whole village for charity. Louise is there with her daughters, and while the children splash and shriek in the cool blue waters, she basks in the sunshine, attempting to ignore her estranged husband and dreaming of the new man in her life, a charismatic lawyer. The day seems perfect.

Then a sudden and shocking accident changes everyone's lives forever. Recriminations start to fly. Whose fault was it? Louise's new lover insists that she sues the Delaneys. Her ex-husband isn't so sure. Opinion in the village is split. Old friendships start to crumble. New ones are formed. Will the repercussions from the accident ever end?

Published:     3rd November 1997
Publisher:  Corgi
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought


 

MY REVIEW

 

Sophie Kinsella is a firm favourite for me, having loved most of her novels and enjoy both her style of writing and her sense of humour.  I had gone along for many years thinking that I had read most of her novels but then discovered in the past year or two that she had also written some novels, quite some time ago, under a pen name.  I knew that I had to give them a go.

I am not sure why she chose a pen name for this particular novel because it seems similar to her 'main' novels, the only difference I can see is that this has a cast of characters rather than a certain number of them and the sense of humor that I love in her main novels was missing from this. 

I really wanted to like this novel but, honestly, this was an OK story for me.  I enjoyed following the story and seeing what would happen after the accident but I didn't connect with any of the characters, so, honestly, wasn't really bothered one way or another what happened (except for the children, which I did feel sorry for...).   If this novel had a dose of the well known Kinsella sense of humour then maybe I would have enjoyed it more than I did.  

That said, this is not going to stop me from picking up the other novels written under this pen name because I am certainly intrigued to see what I think of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Book Review / Swimming Pool Sunday by Madeleine Wickham (aka Sophie Kinsella)

9 Feb 2022

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Book Review / The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

 


A murder on the high seas. A detective duo. A demon who may or may not exist.

It's 1634 and Samuel Pipps, the world's greatest detective, is being transported to Amsterdam to be executed for a crime he may, or may not, have committed. Traveling with him is his loyal bodyguard, Arent Hayes, who is determined to prove his friend innocent.

But no sooner are they out to sea than devilry begins to blight the voyage. A twice-dead leper stalks the decks. Strange symbols appear on the sails. Livestock is slaughtered.

And then three passengers are marked for death, including Samuel.

Could a demon be responsible for their misfortunes?

With Pipps imprisoned, only Arent can solve a mystery that connects every passenger onboard. A mystery that stretches back into their past and now threatens to sink the ship, killing everybody on board.

Published:    6th October 2020
Publisher:  Sourcebooks
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought

 


MY REVIEW

 

After reading and thoroughly enjoying The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, I couldn't wait to pick up this novel.  Honestly, this story is not one that I would normally pick up as it is a 1600s mystery onboard a ship, but as I loved this author's writing from his first book I knew that I had to give this a go. 

I loved everything about this book, but to limit it to a few comments the first would be the characters and the mystery surrounding Old Tom.  The mystery surrounding this kept me hooked right until the very end, having not figured out what was going on before then!  The ending was very much a surprise.  You also have a bit of a backstory with one of the main characters Arent.  He has a past that we discover more of and is relevant to the story that is happening in this story.

I would highly recommend this novel, even if you don't think this is something you would normally pick up.  I wouldn't normally and this is now one of my favourite books of the year, and the author has been firmly placed on my favourite author list!

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Book Review / The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

7 Feb 2022

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Book Review / The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

 


 

Aiden Bishop knows the rules. Evelyn Hardcastle will die every day until he can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest at Blackheath Manor. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others. With a locked room mystery that Agatha Christie would envy, Stuart Turton unfurls a breakneck novel of intrigue and suspense.

For fans of Claire North, and Kate Atkinson, The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a breathlessly addictive mystery that follows one man's race against time to find a killer, with an astonishing time-turning twist that means nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

Published:     1st October 2018
Publisher:  Raven Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone

Source:  Bought 

 


MY REVIEW

 

I can't tell you how much I have heard about this book and seen it literally everywhere!  I knew that I had to pick it up.  Even Goodreads says that it has over 200,000 ratings with a 3.88 average.  With all that in mind, I was definately intrigued.  I am always intrigued when I see high ratings like this, whether they are good or bad.  

Despite the fact that I have seen this everywhere, I had been avoiding reviews and spoilers, successfully which surprised me!  So, luckily, I went into this story pretty blind to what was going to happen.  I didn't really read the description on the back.  All I needed to know was that this character, Evelyn Hardcastle was going to die, seven times apparently!

There is a lot going on in this novel, with a lot of plot and a lot of characters.  This is not a book that you can read lightly or take down the beach or wherever that might be in the winter.  You need to concentrate and try and figure out the story at the same time as the main character who is jumping from host to host.  

At 505 pages long, it is not a short book but I am actually glad about that because I, honestly, I did not want the story to end.  I found this story a slow read also, because there is so many details, characters and plot it is almost impossible to speed ahead.  But this did not put me off reading the story, not one little bit.

There were two things that I loved the most about this story; the first being the bigger picture plot.  Obviously I can't tell you exactly what that is, because of spoilers, but let's just say that there's more to the story of Aiden than we lean for most of the book, until the very end.  The second part that I loved was the twists in the story.  There's a few and, to be honest, I wasn't expecting most of them.  There's a very big twist at the end that really surprised me!

Would highly recommend if you like being kept at the edge of your seat but do bear in mind that this is a long story written at a slow pace. 

 

 

 

Continue reading Book Review / The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

31 Jan 2022

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Book Review / A Time for Mercy by John Grisham


 Jake Brigance, the protagonist of A Time to Kill, John Grisham’s classic legal thriller is back. This time he's at the epicenter of a sensational murder trial that bitterly divides the citizens of Clanton, Mississippi.

A Time to Kill is one of the most popular novels of our time. It established Jake as a classic American hero—a lawyer who seeks truth and justice at all costs, even when his life and reputation are on the line.

Brigance returned in 2013’s Sycamore Row, in which he once again found himself embroiled in a deeply divisive trial.

Now, in A Time for Mercy, Jake is the court-appointed lawyer for Drew Gamble, a young man accused of murdering a local deputy. Many in Clanton want a swift trial and the death penalty, but Brigance sees it another way. Once he learns the details of the case, he realizes he has to do everything he can to save Drew—who is sixteen. Jake’s commitment to the truth puts his career and the safety of his family at risk.

Filled with all the courtroom machinations, small-town intrigues, and plot twists that have become the hallmarks of the master of the legal thriller, A Time for Mercy emphatically confirms John Grisham's reputation as America's favorite storyteller.

There is a time to kill, a time for justice, and A TIME FOR MERCY.

Published:    13th October 2020
Publisher:  Random House
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 3, Jake Brigance
Source:  Bought

 


MY REVIEW

 

Having read both A Time to Kill (Book 1) and Sycamore Row (Book 2) immediately before picking up this novel, I was already fully immersed in this world, this town and familiar with the characters, which made it so much easier to get stuck in.  Now, you don't have to have read the previous books to pick up this one as, technically, the story doesn't carry on with each book as the stories have different plot lines, but it certainly does help if you read them as if they were a series.  I did and I certainly got the most out of these three books by doing that. 

What I loved the most about this story was being in the court room and watching as both the lawyers, the judge and the jury played their part, along with other side characters.  I find it fascinating seeing the court case unfold in the court room, lawyer against lawyer with the judge mostly in the middle.  You also have the conflict between the police and the law, as the victim was a police officer, but not necessarily a good one...

Of course, once again, I would highly recommend.  To get the best out of this world and the characters, I would recommend reading both A Time to Kill (book 1) and Sycamore Row (book 2) before this one, but you don't have to if you don't want to. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Book Review / A Time for Mercy by John Grisham

26 Jan 2022

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Book Review / Sycamore Row by John Grisham


 Seth Hubbard is a wealthy man dying of lung cancer. He trusts no one. Before he hangs himself from a sycamore tree, Hubbard leaves a new, handwritten, will. It is an act that drags his adult children, his black maid, and Jake into a conflict as riveting and dramatic as the murder trial that made Brigance one of Ford County's most notorious citizens, just three years earlier.

The second will raises far more questions than it answers. Why would Hubbard leave nearly all of his fortune to his maid? Had chemotherapy and painkillers affected his ability to think clearly? And what does it all have to do with a piece of land once known as Sycamore Row?

Published:     22nd October 2013
Publisher:  Doubleday
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 2, Jake Brigance
Source:  Bought

 


MY REVIEW

 I read this novel immediately after finishing A Time To Kill, which I would highly recommend doing even though, technically, the story does not follow on.  You are in the same town with a lot of the same characters, so from A Time To Kill you know the history of what they have previously been through.  With this story, we are moving forward in time a number of years and we see Jake Brigance as the lawyer in town again taking on a case (or being made to take a case by a local judge).

This story has a very different story to A Time to Kill.  This story is mainly about a rich guy who dies and wants to leave all his money to his maid and at the time this novel is set this is very much frowned upon not only because she is a maid but because of her colour.  This story takes a few turns that I was not expecting and the reveal near the end where we see why Seth Hubbard choose to leave what he did was perfect.  

Of course I would highly recommend, but to get a better experience I would recommend reading A Time to Kill first, although you do not have to. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Book Review / Sycamore Row by John Grisham

24 Jan 2022

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Book Review / A Time to Kill by John Grisham


 Before "The Firm" and "The Pelican Brief" made him a superstar, John Grisham wrote this riveting story of retribution and justice. In this searing courtroom drama, best-selling author John Grisham probes the savage depths of racial violence, as he delivers a compelling tale of uncertain justice in a small southern town, Clanton, Mississippi.

The life of a ten-year-old girl is shattered by two drunken and remorseless young men. The mostly white town reacts with shock and horror at the inhuman crime. That is, until her black father acquires an assault rifle and takes matters into his hands.

For ten days, as burning crosses and the crack of sniper fire spread through the streets of Clanton, the nation sits spellbound as young defense attorney Jake Brigance struggles to save his client's life, and then his own.
 

Published:     1st November1993
Publisher:  Doubleday
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 1, Jake Brigance
Source:  Bought

 



MY REVIEW

 

I know I have only just read this in the past year or two but when I realised that A Time For Mercy was coming out and also that Sycamore Row was also featured in the same town with some of the same characters, I knew I had to re-read this to make sure I was fully immersed back into this world again.

Despite the difficult story line, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of re-reading this novel.  This novel deals with a lot of sensitive issues including rape and racial inequality and its interesting to see how these are dealt with as the story goes along.

What I liked the most was the interactions between lawyer, police wardens and the judicial system.  Its a delicate balance and each person plays their part with the lawyers playing against each other, whether that is fairly or not.

This is a must read for everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Book Review / A Time to Kill by John Grisham

19 Jan 2022

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Book Review / The Castaways by Lucy Clarke


A SECRET BEACH. A HOLIDAY OF A LIFETIME.
WISH YOU WERE HERE?
THINK AGAIN…

It should be like any other holiday.

Beautiful beaches.
Golden sunsets.
Nothing for miles.

You’ll never want to leave.
Until you can’t…

 

Published:     18th March 2021
Publisher:  HarperCollins
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought

 

 


MY REVIEW

 

Lucy Clarke has been on my favourite author list for a very long time now and I can't tell you how excited I was to read this one.   Yes I did buy this when it first came out in paperback, but I can't tell you why it too me so long to read except for the fact that instead of putting this on my TBR cart it went on my bookshelf with all the other books I have for this author and over time I thought that I had already read it.  Imagine my excitement all over again when I realised that I hadn't!

What I loved about this novel (and is the same for every one of her novels so far) is the suspense.  A great build up, with twists and turns and a final reveal that more often than not I didn't see coming.   This was no exception.  What really made this a five star for me among many things was the final reveal at the end with a further twist right at the very last few pages.   Loved it!

If you love a good thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat, you need to pick this one up!

 

 

Continue reading Book Review / The Castaways by Lucy Clarke

17 Jan 2022

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Book Review / 'Salem's Lot by Stephen King

 

 



'Salem's Lot is a small New England town with the usual quota of gossips, drinkers, weirdos and respectable folk. Of course there are tales of strange happenings—but not more than in any other town its size.

Ben Mears, a moderately successful writer, returns to the Lot to write a novel based on his early years, and to exorcise the terrors that have haunted him since childhood. The event he witnessed in the house now rented by a new resident. A newcomer with a strange allure. A man who causes Ben some unease as things start to happen: a child disappears, a dog is brutally killed—nothing unusual, except the list starts to grow.

Soon surprise will turn to bewilderment, bewilderment to confusion and finally to terror . . .

Published:     17th October 1975 (this version 11th May 2021)
Publisher:  Hodder & Stoughton
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought



MY REVIEW

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this novel.  At 768 pages long, it took a while but I loved every minute!  We follow not only the main character, Ben Mears, who returns to 'Salem's Lot (also known as Jerusalem's Lot) after an accident changed his life, with the memory of a traumatic experience in an old house in 'Salem's Lot when he was a kid, but also a lot of the characters in town as things change when newcomers come into town (other than Ben).

What I loved about this story was the suspense.  It was a very slow build, but well worth sticking with it.  I can't think of a single moment in this story where I was bored or didn't feel like I wanted to continue and that, for me, is a sign of an amazing 5 star read!  With this novel first being published back in 1975 I really didn't feel like it had either aged badly or felt like it was set in the old days.  For me, you could pick up this story and pop it down into any town anywhere in these times and it would mostly be relevant.   I think that is what added to the suspense, the fact that this could literally happen anywhere, if you believe. 

What I also loved, and I am not sure whether it was just the particular version of the book I bought, was when I I thought the story was over, there was an additional couple of short stories at the end going forward a bit in time and seeing how the town was after the events of the main story.  

This book kept me on the edge of my seat and would recommend for those who like a good vampire story or like to be spooked!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review / Tap to Tidy by Stacey Solomon


 

If you're reading this, then we have something in common .... Whether it's a love of getting crafty, meticulously organising or making fun-shaped snacks!

I find it hard to sit still, but losing myself in a craft project or tidying a drawer is my form of meditation. It's a chance for me to forget about the things going on in the world around me for a minute.

I hope this book helps you to lose yourself for a moment, too - and that you enjoy reading it and even, maybe, having a go at some of the bits inside.
  


Published:     4th March 2021
Publisher:  Ebury Publishing
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought

 


MY REVIEW

 

I don't know about you but I love a bit of organising, whether that's tidying up your home (of course, including your bookshelves) or your life.  I am always on the hunt for a good book with lots of great tips and hints.  I was recommended this book from a friend.

Although a lot of the hints and tips I have come across before, I had so much fun reading this.  It has a great combination of helpful tips and hints, recipes and a bit of biography of the author herself, which gave the book a personal touch.  

This book would be ideal for those who are just starting out in their organisational process or those who find it hard to keep organised. 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Book Review / Tap to Tidy by Stacey Solomon

6 Jan 2022

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Book Review / Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix


Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring bookshelves, shattered Glans water goblets, and smashed Liripip wardrobes. Sales are down, security cameras reveal nothing, and store managers are panicking.

To unravel the mystery, three employees volunteer to work a nine-hour dusk-till-dawn shift. In the dead of the night, they’ll patrol the empty showroom floor, investigate strange sights and sounds, and encounter horrors that defy the imagination.

A traditional haunted house story in a thoroughly contemporary setting, Horrorstör is designed to retain its luster and natural appearance for a lifetime of use. Pleasingly proportioned with generous French flaps and a softcover binding, Horrorstör delivers the psychological terror you need in the elegant package you deserve.

Published:     23rd September 2014
Publisher:  Quirk Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought
 


 

MY REVIEW

 

I can't tell you how much fun I had reading this book and I certainly won't tell you how much I bought this book purely for the cover art and art inside!  

This is such an odd story but I just couldn't stop reading!   It is certainly creepy at the beginning but when the day is done and three of the employees at Orsk are left to investigate what goes on after dark, that is when the fun begins!

What I loved the most about this story was simply how bizzare and fun it was.  I can't tell you specific details, to avoid spoilers, but this story is pretty much like a downward spiral where the story slowly descends down it bit by bit, page by page.

The ending was what did it for me.  I was wondering how such a bizarre story would end up and I did have some options that I was hoping might happen, but none of those came up.  Instead I was given a completely different ending but it turned out that it was the ending I wanted but never knew I wanted!

This was such a creepy but fun novel that I would highly recommend!

 

 

 

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4 Jan 2022

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Book Review / The Judge's List by John Grisham


In The Whistler, Lacy Stoltz investigated a corrupt judge who was taking millions in bribes from a crime syndicate. She put the criminals away, but only after being attacked and nearly killed. Three years later, and approaching forty, she is tired of her work for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct and ready for a change.

Then she meets a mysterious woman who is so frightened she uses a number of aliases. Jeri Crosby’s father was murdered twenty years earlier in a case that remains unsolved and that has grown stone cold. But Jeri has a suspect whom she has become obsessed with and has stalked for two decades. Along the way, she has discovered other victims.

Suspicions are easy enough, but proof seems impossible. The man is brilliant, patient, and always one step ahead of law enforcement. He is the most cunning of all serial killers. He knows forensics, police procedure, and most important: he knows the law.

He is a judge, in Florida—under Lacy’s jurisdiction.

He has a list, with the names of his victims and targets, all unsuspecting people unlucky enough to have crossed his path and wronged him in some way. How can Lacy pursue him, without becoming the next name on his list.

 Published:     19th October 2021
Publisher:  Doubleday
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 2, The Whistler
Source:  Bought




MY REVIEW


This book has been on my to buy and read list for ages as knowing this was coming up.  Having read The Whister reasonably recently I was very excited to read more about the character of Lacy and find out what she is up to next.  

I would recommend that you read The Whistler before picking this up not only because it is an excellent book but also there are small spoilers in this book to what happened in the first and genuinely it does help to get a background of the characters and how the Judicial Conduct Authority works.

What I loved the most about this book was the fact that you see this story in, basically, three characters' eyes.  Firstly you have Lacy who works at the Judicial Conduct Authority and is asked to look into this matter.  Secondly, you have Jeri who comes forward suspecting a sitting Judge for not only killing her father but also a number of others.  Lastly, you have the Judge himself and what is going on in his mind at various points in the story.  Having these three perspectives gives so much more depth to the story than just having one viewpoint.  You are seeing both good and evil with a race to find out who will win. 

What I also enjoyed was the way the story ended.  I won't go into too much detail here because of spoilers but I will say that although it may not be a satisfying ending for some it felt realistic and a very good twist that I wasn't expecting.

Do  pick up The Whistler before picking this up but a great edge of your seat read you need to pick up. 

 

 

 

 

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27 Dec 2021

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Book Review / The Gatecrasher by Madeleine Wickham

 




Everything's coming up roses for Fleur Daxeny, as she goes through more rich men than she does designer hats... if that's humanly possible. Beautiful, charming, and utterly irresistible, her success at crashing funerals to find wealthy men is remarkable. But behind Fleur's Harvey Nichols wardrobe, is a woman with a mysterious past. 

Fleur wastes no time in seducing her latest conquest, the handsome and rich widower Richard Favour, and she swoops into his life like a designer-clad tornado. His children are caught up in a whirlwind as their father's new girlfriend descends on the family estate leaving chaos and excitement in her perfume-scented wake. Soon, more than one family member is suspicious of Fleur's true intentions.
 
Fleur is not one to wear her heart on her Chanel sleeves, but she soon finds herself embracing Richard and his lovable family. But just as Fleur contemplates jumping off the gold-digger train for good and enjoying the ride of true love, a long-buried secret from her past threatens to destroy her new family. Fleur is thrown into a race against time to prove herself to Richard before it's too late.  Can she trust her heart or will she cut ties and run away as fast as her Prada pumps can take her?

 

Published:     5th September 2017
Publisher:  Piatkus Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 45, In Death
Source:  Bought
 

 


MY REVIEW 

 

Having recently read and enjoyed The Wedding Girl, I was looking forward to picking this up.  I was expecting a similar theme/plot where the main character either makes a mistake or has a bad character trait they can't get out of and the rest of the story is watching that play out, and I wasn't wrong.  That didn't mean that I didn't enjoy it.  This was just the type of story that I was looking for at the time and that is what I got. 

What I loved about this story was the main character Fleur.  You can obviously see that she has a problem and seemingly she is ok with it and carries on, irrespective of the people she hurts along the way and those people didn't seem to show that much distress from what I read in what she was doing.  

There were not many characters I liked in this story, for many various reasons, but there was one character that I really disliked and that was Richard's son when he featured more nearer the end of the novel.  He was very pushy and, to put it simply, very annoying.  Now this may have been for good reasons and maybe he was concerned for his father, but the way this character came across I felt was completely unacceptable.

That said, I would highly recommend this if you are looking for a no frills story that keeps you entertained all the way through.

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Book Review / The Gatecrasher by Madeleine Wickham

25 Dec 2021

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Book Review / The Catch by T M Logan




 Ed is delighted to meet his twenty-three year old daughter's fiancé for the first time. Ryan appears to be the perfect future son-in-law. There's just one problem. There's something off about Ryan. Something hidden in the shadows behind his eyes. And it seems that only Ed can see it.

Terrified that his daughter is being drawn in by a psychopath, Ed sets out to uncover her fiancé's dark past - while keeping his own concealed. But no-one believes him. And the more he digs, the more he alienates her and the rest of the family who are convinced that Ryan is 'the one'.

Ed knows different. For reasons of his own, he knows a monster when he sees one...
 

 

Published:     11th June 2020
Publisher:  Zaffre
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought

 

 


MY REVIEW

 

 I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this novel.  I had only read one other book by this author before (Lies - and thoroughly enjoyed that also) was wishing for great things.   As I always hope with thrillers, this kept me at the edge of my seat all the way through.

What I loved the most about this story was the suspense.  This is what kept me at the edge of my seat.  Who is Ryan? Is he bad or good?  What would Ed do to find out?  Just some of many questions I had at the start.  You also have the apparent downward spiral that Ed goes down in his pursuit of the 'truth'.  

If I had to grumble about anything (and its only a very little grumble) I felt that the book felt a bit long for the thriller.  At 431, I would consider that a larger thriller that works well if there is complex scenarios and areas where you need to pay more attention to, but this story I feel could have been cut down to at least 350 and it would still be excellent.

Would highly recommend!  Can't wait to read more from this author!

 

 

 

 

 

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22 Dec 2021

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Book Review / The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires


Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias meet Dracula in this Southern-flavored supernatural thriller set in the '90s about a women's book club that must protect its suburban community from a mysterious and handsome stranger who turns out to be a blood-sucking fiend.

Patricia Campbell had always planned for a big life, but after giving up her career as a nurse to marry an ambitious doctor and become a mother, Patricia's life has never felt smaller. The days are long, her kids are ungrateful, her husband is distant, and her to-do list is never really done. The one thing she has to look forward to is her book club, a group of Charleston mothers united only by their love for true-crime and suspenseful fiction. In these meetings, they're more likely to discuss the FBI's recent siege of Waco as much as the ups and downs of marriage and motherhood.

But when an artistic and sensitive stranger moves into the neighborhood, the book club's meetings turn into speculation about the newcomer. Patricia is initially attracted to him, but when some local children go missing, she starts to suspect the newcomer is involved. She begins her own investigation, assuming that he's a Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy. What she uncovers is far more terrifying, and soon she--and her book club--are the only people standing between the monster they've invited into their homes and their unsuspecting community.

 

Published:     7th April 2020
Publisher:  Quirk Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought
 

 

 


MY REVIEW

 

I adore this novel!  Its been a while since I read a horror novel and I am so happy that this was what I had picked up.  I had been meaning to pick this up since it came out back in 2020, but never got around to it, until now.   

Although this a very typical story of someone new coming to the neighbourhood who could be not quite as they seem and a person/people from that neighbourhood goes in hunt for the truth and try to expose the newcomer for this, I loved every minute of the journey.  There are many twists and turns that kept me turning those pages very quickly!  

What I loved the most was the history to the story.  I wont' go into too much detail as that would spoil the story, but there is a certain amount of history that we see and gets revealed as the story goes on that I found fascinating.  Also, that ending!  LOVED IT!

 

 

 

 

 

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21 Dec 2021

Book Review / Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle


One stormy summer night, Olive and her best friend, Rose, begin to lose things. It starts with simple items like hair clips and jewellery, but soon it’s clear that Rose has lost something bigger; something she won’t talk about.

Then Olive meets three wild, mysterious strangers: Ivy, Hazel and Rowan. Like Rose, they’re mourning losses - and holding tight to secrets.

When they discover the ancient spellbook, full of hand-inked charms to conjure back lost things, they realise it might be their chance to set everything right. Unless it’s leading them towards secrets that were never meant to be found . . .

 

Published:     1st June 2017
Publisher:  RHCP Digital
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought

 

 



MY REVIEW

 

I had so much wanted to enjoy this book.  Anything to do with witches, supernatural or spellbooks always stand out to me that I need to give it a go.  I think this is very much one of those novels that just wasn't for me.  I have given this three stars because it was ok and because I did enjoy the writing style; so will look out for other novels by this author and will give them a try.

For me, this story lacked a catch.  Something in the plot or a certain character that would suck me into the story, intrigue me to the point where I need to read more to find out what is going on.  That just didn't happen for me here.  I haven't looked at other reviews for this book yet but will certainly do that once I have finished this so I am not sure how others have found this.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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14 Dec 2021

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Book Review / The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix

 


 A fast-paced, thrilling horror novel that follows a group of heroines to die for, from the brilliant New York Times bestselling author of The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires.

In horror movies, the final girl is the one who's left standing when the credits roll. The one who fought back, defeated the killer, and avenged her friends. The one who emerges bloodied but victorious. But after the sirens fade and the audience moves on, what happens to her?

Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre twenty-two years ago, and it has defined every day of her life since. And she's not alone. For more than a decade she's been meeting with five other actual final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, putting their lives back together, piece by piece. That is until one of the women misses a meeting and Lynnette's worst fears are realized--someone knows about the group and is determined to take their lives apart again, piece by piece.

But the thing about these final girls is that they have each other now, and no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up.
 

 

Published:     13th July 2021
Publisher:  Berkley Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought

 

 



MY REVIEW

 

Having only discovered this author recently, I couldn't wait to pick up this latest novel.  I was intrigued about this as having earlier this year read Final Girls by Riley Sager and wondered what Grady's take on this would be.

What I loved with this story was the idea that there is a support group for final girls which is something I had not read before (there may be novels about this somewhere that I haven't come across) and the idea that there is someone out there trying to kill the final girls, I found amusing (and horrified at the same time, of course).  Just when these girls thought they had been through their worst, this then happens!

I have to admit that I did get bored in a few places and by the end of the novel I had predicted most twists and turns, so I would have loved to have had more surprises in this one but I still enjoyed the journey this story took me on.  If I were to recommend what book to read first written by this author I do have to admit that although this was good, his other books are a lot better. 

 

 

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13 Dec 2021

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Book Review / Survive the Night by Riley Sager

 




It's November 1991. George H. W. Bush is in the White House, Nirvana's in the tape deck, and movie-obsessed college student Charlie Jordan is in a car with a man who might be a serial killer.

Josh Baxter, the man behind the wheel, is a virtual stranger to Charlie. They met at the campus ride board, each looking to share the long drive home to Ohio. Both have good reasons for wanting to get away. For Charlie, it's guilt and grief over the murder of her best friend, who became the third victim of the man known as the Campus Killer. For Josh, it's to help care for his sick father. Or so he says. Like the Hitchcock heroine she's named after, Charlie has her doubts. There's something suspicious about Josh, from the holes in his story about his father to how he doesn't seem to want Charlie to see inside the car's trunk. As they travel an empty highway in the dead of night, an increasingly worried Charlie begins to think she's sharing a car with the Campus Killer. Is Josh truly dangerous? Or is Charlie's suspicion merely a figment of her movie-fueled imagination?

What follows is a game of cat-and-mouse played out on night-shrouded roads and in neon-lit parking lots, during an age when the only call for help can be made on a pay phone and in a place where there's nowhere to run. In order to win, Charlie must do one thing--survive the night.
  


Published:    29th June 2021
Publisher:  Dutton Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought




MY REVIEW


I can't tell you how excited I was to pick this up.  I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every Riley Sager book that has come out so far.  I was intrigued to find out how I get on with this book as I have seen mixed reviews, so I thought maybe this was a marmite book (you either love it or hate it)!

I read this in one sitting and couldn't put it down.  What I loved the most was the fact that you have Charlie who makes a very dumb decision to hitch a ride, right at the time where her friend has been killed and the killer is on the loose.  Now, you would think this was a very easy story with no surprises or twists as you already have the intended victim and killer in the car.  What else could be surprising?  There were certainly one or two twists that I wasn't expecting.  I have to admit that I did guess the ending but only right near the end and just before it was revealed.

Loved this latest novel from an author who is now firmly on my favourite author list!


 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Book Review / Survive the Night by Riley Sager