24 Mar 2022


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





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


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




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


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




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




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

12 Mar 2022

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Book Review / Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult

 Diana O’Toole is perfectly on track. She will be married by thirty, done having kids by thirty-five, and move out to the New York City suburbs, all while climbing the professional ladder in the cutthroat art auction world. She’s not engaged just yet, but she knows her boyfriend, Finn, a surgical resident, is about to propose on their romantic getaway to the Galápagos—days before her thirtieth birthday. Right on time.

But then a virus that felt worlds away has appeared in the city, and on the eve of their departure, Finn breaks the news: It’s all hands on deck at the hospital. He has to stay behind. You should still go, he assures her, since it would be a shame for all of their nonrefundable trip to go to waste. And so, reluctantly, she goes.

Almost immediately, Diana’s dream vacation goes awry. The whole island is now under quarantine, and she is stranded until the borders reopen. Completely isolated, she must venture beyond her comfort zone. Slowly, she carves out a connection with a local family when a teenager with a secret opens up to Diana, despite her father’s suspicion of outsiders.

Diana finds herself examining her relationships, her choices, and herself—and wondering if when she goes home, she too will have evolved into someone completely different.

Published:     25th November 2021
Publisher:  Hodder & Stoughton
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought




The one thing that Jodi Picoult never fails to do for me is both surprise me and makes me think long after I have finished one of her books.  This book is no exception.

The one recommendation I would make is to not read any reviews or know too much about this story before you go into it.  Go into this book as blind as you can be and let the story take you on a journey.  

This is exactly what I did and boy was I thrown off my chair with surprise.  There is a massive plot twist in this story that I didn't see coming and I loved it!

I am not going to go into any more detail or give reasons to avoid spoilers completely but just to say you need to pick this book up immediately!  This book is one of my favourites of both this year and of all time!










Continue reading Book Review / Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult

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.



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





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





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




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)

27 Feb 2022

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Book Review / Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

 On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless - mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky 12-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the "steam" that children with the "shining" produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father's legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant "shining" power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes "Doctor Sleep."

Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan's own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra's soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of hyper-devoted fans of The Shining and wildly satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.

Published:     24th September 2013
Publisher:  Scribner
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  The Shining, Book 2
Source:  Bought




Having read and thoroughly enjoyed The Shining, I knew that I had to pick this one up pretty much straight away.  I had to know what came next in this story.  For obvious reasons, I am not going to go into any detail to avoid spoilers but as with reading the first book, I just couldn't put this down.  This story is a bit longer than its first book but I just didn't want the story to end!  It did take me longer than a day to read but no longer than a couple of days!

What I loved about this story is pretty much everything!  Despite the fact that book 1 and book 2 were written years apart, it really didn't feel like it.  Yes, time has moved on in the story but it really just felt like I had blinked and the time in story has just flown by.  The atmosphere and suspense felt the same as what I had experienced in the first book, but even better!  

And that ending was just perfect!

I did watch the movie not long after finishing the book and I really did enjoy that also.  It was a lot better than I thought it would be (obviously not as good as the book!) and a lot better than the movie of The Shining, for me anyway.












Continue reading Book Review / Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Book Review / The Shining by Stephen King

 Danny is only five years old but in the words of Old Mr Hallorann he is a ‘shiner,’ aglow with psychic voltage. When his father becomes caretaker of the Overlook hotel, Danny’s visions grow out of control.

As winter closes in and blizzards cut them off, the hotel seems to develop a life of its own. It is meant to be empty. So who is the lady in Room 217 and who are the masked guests going up and down the elevator? And why do the hedges shaped like animals seem so alive?

Somewhere, somehow, there is an evil force in the hotel – and that too is beginning to shine.

Published:     28th January 1977
Publisher:  Hodder & Stoughton
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 1, The Shining
Source:  Bought




For me, this is one of those stories that I have heard more often because of the movie with Jack Nicholson, not that I had watched it before I read this novel, but that it is a very popular movie.  Of Of course, the book is nearly always better than the movie so I knew I had to read this first before even attempting to watch the movie.  

What I loved about this story was the suspense.  There is so much of that in this novel it really did keep me on the edge of my seat and I have to admit that I read this book in one day because I just could not put it down!  Because I had heard of the story I had thought that the main character would have been the dad of the story, but it wasn't.  It was the son, Danny.  I liked that we were viewing the story from his perspective especially as he is the character who is the 'shiner'.  There are also nice moments between Danny and a new friend who is also a 'shiner' which I thought was a great additional level to the story.  

I should also mention that this book also touches on some real aspects of family relationships such as alcoholism and a brief reference to the hitting of the son by the father.  This just added another layer to the family dynamic which added to the chaos that follows. 

I have also watched the movie and boy is it different to the book!  I am not saying the movie is bad or anything, I did enjoy it, but the book was better by a long mile!







Continue reading Book Review / The Shining by Stephen King

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




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


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 




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




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



 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. 








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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




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


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





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!



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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


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




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. 






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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




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


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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