My Week In Books (w/e 2nd October 2022) #booklove #bookupdates #MeAndMyBooks

Welcome to another week of books I have read. It is just going to be a quick one this week as I am on annual leave and as the weather is so nice I don’t want to be stuck inside on the computer.

It has been a productive week on the book reading front, I have managed to clear through some of the non-fiction books that have been on the go and dotted around the house. This has bumped up my Goodreads tally, and briefly, for Saturday, I was on schedule, of course by Sunday I was back to being 1 behind again 🙂

So here is what I have been finishing off and reading…

The Almanac: A Seasonal Guide by Lia Leendertz – this is a fabulous hardback book of everything seasonal for next year. From moon phases, planting times, important dates and so much more. I loved this book and it’s one I would definitely recommend, the full review will be in a couple of weeks.

Observing Our Solar System – A Beginners Guide by Tom Kerrs – is a wonderful little book that is full of tips, advice and information about the basics of looking into the night sky. Great for those starting out as it gives info on using the naked eye, through to computer-guided telescopes. Happy to recommend it. Full review to follow.

Everybody Pays by H. Max Hiller – I have read and loved all the books in this series and this one is amazing. This is the 6th book and the title is so appropriate. I would suggest reading this series in order as there is a lot of information that will help in the later books. This is a tough, gritty, mob-related and police procedural style series. Full review this week. Highly recommended.

Go Here Instead – The Alternative Travel List – as an armchair traveller I do like books that show the different areas and sought of the world. This is a really interesting book that I enjoyed reading through. Rather than the tourist-ridden sights, this book offers alternative destinations. These may not necessarily be in the same country or even on the same continent. This is one I really enjoyed and I would happily recommend it. Full review to follow.

Betrayal by Kerry Kaya – This is the 1sy book in The Tempest series, the Tempests are a family under change as husband and father Terry has recently died. Not knowing quite how he made his money is something that his wife Tracy, and sons Ricky and Jamie have to work out. This is a brilliant intro to this family, it is a gang-related story and one that does get dark and gritty, with some hard-core action. Great read and a full review as part of the Blog Tour.

There we go, a week of nature, the natural world and crime. A really interesting and different week for reading and my current read falls into neither of these categories. You will have to check back next week to see what it is 🙂

Have a great week

Happy Reading

All the best,

Yvonne xx

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Dreams Come True at Glendale Hall by Victoria Walters @Vicky_Walters @rararesources #contemporaryfiction #romance #HeraBooks #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Dreams Come True at Glendale Hall by Victoria Walters. This is a fabulous series and each book could be read as a stand-alone but then you would be missing out on some fabulous stories.

My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy from the Publisher Hera Books.

Lorna is following her dreams. But can she follow her heart?
Lorna Ferguson has dreamt of opening her own bed and breakfast in the village of Glendale for as long as she’d pictured falling in love. While her love life remains frankly hopeless, Lorna is determined to secure Dove House – the home she imagined living in as a child – to start this new venture with her family.
Along with brother Adam, Lorna starts restoring the house to its Art Deco glory, but faced with a whole host of renovation problems and their money fast running out, they worry that Dove House will never be ready to open in the New Year.
When a mystery man turns up, needing to fulfil a promise he made to his dying father and find the object he left at Dove House many years ago, Lorna’s heart goes out to him. But what they find there is going to change both of their lives forever.
Facing problems at every turn, and distracted by her heart, Lorna is going to need all the magic that her beloved Glendale can supply to make all her dreams come true.


Purchase Links – Amazon Kobo Apple Hive

MY REVIEW

This is 5th book in The Glendale series and it is a wonderful one to read. The author has based her fictional village of Glendale in Scotland, it is a community with a warm welcome and once you have arrived you never want to leave.

Lorna and Adam are siblings, their mother took them to visit the wonderful Art Deco Dove House when they were small children. They have always loved the cottage and had dreams of one day owning the cottage and running it as a B&B. A huge undertaking but one that they suddenly have the chance of buying and making their dreams come true.

I adored the feeling of coming back to this community and the characters of Glendale and the surrounding area. Having read and followed this series, each book is a wonderful chance to sit and immerse myself.

The challenge of renovating Dove House is a massive task, it will take all of Lorna and Adam’s time, money and effort to get it to a stage where it can once again become habitable. Both are single and both are looking forward to starting this new venture, they have the support of their family and friends, well mostly! Some don’t see the dream coming to fruition though.

There is something more to Dove House than either sibling realised, a mysterious visitor wanting to fulfil a final wish, a chance to start again, admissions as to feelings and being open to change is just the tip of the iceberg.

This is another fabulous instalment in this series, it has the warmth and familiarity of the previous books, and yes this is where I would suggest reading the series in order. To be fair though, each book could be read as a stand-alone as the author does give the basics of family and friendship connections from previous books.

If you are a fan of contemporary fiction stories that are centred around communities, friends and family then this is a book and series you really need to have on your list. The author creates each story with a wonderful heartwarming essence, nothing is straightforward and there are bumps in the road, but then that is very much what life is like.

Gorgeously written, with wonderful characters and a wonderfully heartwarming story that I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Victoria Walters is a full-time author living in Surrey. Victoria writes cosy books including the bestselling uplifting and romantic series GLENDALE HALL and the new gripping and charming crime novel MURDER AT THE HOUSE ON THE HILL. She has been chosen for WHSmith Fresh Talent and shortlisted for two RNA awards. Victoria was also picked as an Amazon Rising Star.
Find out more about Victoria by following her on Instagram at @vickyjwalters, on Twitter at @Vicky_Walters or by visiting her blog at:https://victoria-writes.com/

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6 Ripley Avenue by Noelle Holten @nholten40 @RandomTTours @OneMoreChapter_ #crime #thriller #mystery #NetGalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for 6 Ripley Avenue by Noelle Holten. This is her first stand-alone book and I adored it. I have read all of the books in the DC Maggie Jamieson series and they are all excellent reads.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Thing Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour. For arranging my e-copy of this book from the publisher, One More Chapter via NetGalley.

ONE HOUSE
EIGHT KILLERS
NO WITNESSES

Jeanette is the manager of a probation hostel that houses high-risk offenders released on license.

At 3am one morning, she receives a call telling her a resident has been murdered.

Her whole team, along with the eight convicted murderers, are now all suspects in a crime no one saw committed…

MY REVIEW

As the short but snappy synopsis tells, Jeanette is the manager of a Probation Hostel when one of their residents is murdered. Given the reason for the residents being in the hostel, it becomes a mystery as to who could have murdered Danny Wells. Some would say he deserved what was coming, others that he deserved a second chance.

I really enjoyed the way this story was laid out. Done in quick chapters alternating between Jeanette, the killer and also a reporter called Sloane. The chopping and changing worked really well and the author, in my opinion, moves effortlessly between the characters and the pacing of the story is maintained.

There are a few characters in this story, not too many as to get confusing and they soon become memorable. I wasn’t a huge fan of some of the characters and this is down to the way the author has portrayed them. Not fully knowing their backgrounds until later in the story meant I was wrong-footed a few times as my opinion of them changed. It also meant I never really had a clue as to who the culprit was and why he committed the murder.

This is a procedural story in some ways as the police are obviously involved, but for me, it was also a fabulous mystery as I was taken into the different aspects of the hostel, the staff, the residents and also the views of a neighbour. The hostel had been received by the local community with anger. It had appeared in the news and this is why Sloane is taking such an interest in it.

Sloane does her own digging and makes her own inquiries. This doesn’t sit altogether well with the Detective in charge of the case, it also means she isn’t entirely welcome at the hostel. But, having a reporter as one of the investigators of the story means you get a different side to the case.

This is a fabulous story and one that had me hooked within the first couple of chapters. As there are different agencies involved there are various anacronyms, they are something that at times annoy me as I have to try and remember what the initials refer to. The author does explain the meanings and where necessary she mentions refers to basic procedures.

I have to admit something here, I really, really adored this one and I preferred it more than the DC Jamieson series. I do think this change of direction to a standalone was a great move, and while I do still look forward to reading more about Maggie, I do hope the author continues to go off track and mix things up. A cracking read and one that I would definitely recommend, ideal for fans of crime, mystery and thriller readers.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of risk cases as well as working in a multi-agency setting. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, attending as many book festivals as she can afford and sharing the book love via her blog.

Dead Inside – her debut novel with One More Chapter/Harper Collins UK is an international kindle bestseller and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.

Connect with Noelle on Social Media here – Twitter – Facebook

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The Skeleton Key by Erin Kelly @HodderBooks #NetGalley #mythery #thriller #psychologicalthriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Skeleton Key by Erin Kelly. This is the first time I have read a book by this author and it will not be the last. I am aware that this book is one that is dividing readers!

My thanks to Hodder & Stoughton Publisher for my eARC of this book via NetGalley.

THIS REUNION WILL TEAR A FAMILY APART…

Summer, 2021.
 Nell has come home at her family’s insistence to celebrate an anniversary. Fifty years ago, her father wrote The Golden Bones. Part picture book, part treasure hunt, Sir Frank Churcher created a fairy story about Elinore, a murdered woman whose skeleton was scattered all over England. Clues and puzzles in the pages of The Golden Bones led readers to seven sites where jewels were buried – gold and precious stones, each a different part of a skeleton. One by one, the tiny golden bones were dug up until only Elinore’s pelvis remained hidden.

The book was a sensation. A community of treasure hunters called the Bonehunters formed, in frenzied competition, obsessed to a dangerous degree. People sold their homes to travel to England and search for Elinore. Marriages broke down as the quest consumed people. A man died. The book made Frank a rich man. Stalked by fans who could not tell fantasy from reality, his daughter, Nell, became a recluse.

But now the Churchers must be reunited. The book is being reissued along with a new treasure hunt and a documentary crew are charting everything that follows. Nell is appalled, and terrified. During the filming, Frank finally reveals the whereabouts of the missing golden bone. And then all hell breaks loose.

MY REVIEW

I adored this book and the twisted mystery that the author had woven into it. The basic premise of the story is one that the author explains at the beginning. She refers to the Kit Williams book, Masquerade. The idea of this book was that the reader had to solve clues to discover the location of a golden hare. The book was published in 1979 and I do have a copy of it, I never worked out locations but I adore the artwork.

Frank and Lal have known each other for years. The Golden Bones is a book that Frank is credited with coming up with, but there is more to it than that. The idea is that there are 7 jewels that when found will form a miniature skeleton of Elinore. The book is made up of clues, puzzles, equations and various other brain teasers that lead the treasure hunters to the locations of each of the bones. It has been 50 years since the publication of the book and as interest has dwindled, what better time to spark a resurgence? The final bone is still missing.

The story focuses not so much on the treasure hunt but on how the book has affected the families of Frank and Lal. Both men have had their highs and lows and the author does show these within this timeslip story. She also looks in detail at Nell’s story, she is the daughter of Frank and someone that has been on the negative side of the publicity that the book has had.

The families live side by side, and their children have grown up together and known each other all their lives. But Nell is one that has become more of an outsider, she moves constantly and is always looking over her shoulder. The reasons for this are made apparent in the story.

The author has woven a very twisted and mysterious tale around the book and the families. Things really come to a head when a grand unveiling does not go to plan and old secrets finally start to come out. This is when you finally realise how twisted the older generations in the families are willing to go, and little others are thought about.

This is a glimpse into two very dysfunctional families, based on secrets, fear and control. I really found this to be an addictive read and it was great to be able to see differences of opinion, and how things changed over the years as the author flits back and forth over timelines.

This was a fabulous read and one that I soon found myself very much wrapped up in. It is devious, sneaky and riveting. The pages just disappeared and I didn’t realise how long this book was until I came to write my review, it is 500+ pages and it took me two sittings. Brilliant book and one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Erin Kelly was born in London in 1976 and grew up in Essex. She read English at Warwick University and has been working as a journalist since 1998.

She has written for newspapers including The Sunday Times, The Sunday Telegraph, the Daily Mail and the Express and magazines including Red, Psychologies, Marie Claire, Elle and Cosmopolitan.

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The Secret Life of Fungi by Aliya Whiteley @aliyawhiteleypr @alisonmenziespr @eandtbooks #nature #nonfiction #autumn #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Secret Life of Fungi by Aliya Whiteley. Autumn is a wonderful season and it is ideal for those of us who like to go foraging for mushrooms. I only ever pick the ones that I know are safe, so tend to stick to puffball or field mushrooms.

My huge thanks to Alison Menzies for getting in touch about this book and sending me a wonder paperback copy from the publisher Elliott & Thompson.

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Fungi are unlike any other living thing—they are almost magically unique. Welcome to this astonishing world. . . 

Fungi can appear anywhere, from desert dunes to frozen tundra. They can invade our bodies and live between our toes or our floorboards.  They are unwelcome intruders or vastly expensive treats, and symbols of both death and eternal life. But despite their familiar presence, there’s still much to learn about the eruption, growth, and decay of their secret, interconnected, world.

Aliya Whiteley has always been in love with fungi—from her childhood taking blurry photographs of strange fungal eruptions on Exmoor to a career as a writer inspired by their surreal and alien beauty. This love for fungi is a love for life, from single-cell spores to the largest living organism on the planet; a story stretching from Aliya’s lawn into orbit and back again via every continent.

From fields, feasts and fairy rings to death caps, puffballs and ambrosia beetles, this is an intoxicating journey into the life of an extraordinary organism, one that we have barely begun to understand.

MY REVIEW

This is a brilliant little book that delves into the murky world of Fungi. The author has a wonderful way of expressing her interest in this subject and it makes it very interesting reading. Last year I read a book by Suzanne Simard, Finding the Mother Tree, this book went into a lot of detail about the way fungi connect the trees. In The Secret Life of Fungi, the author, Aliya Whitely explains how fungi are part of our everything. It survives in the most surprising of conditions and environments. There is a lot more to fungi than the mushrooms we see in fields, on trees or on decomposing vegetation.

This book is set out in quick sub-chapters, with three main chapters entitled – Erupt, Spread and Decay. A simplified version of a lifecycle.

As the author makes her way through the chapters and subchapters she gives examples of research, observations and discoveries over the years. This introduces the reader to the basics of this far-reaching and unstoppable organism and follows it to the ends of the earth and beyond.

This would fall into the Science and Nature genre and to some extent, this is what it is. But rather than being all science, symbols, maths and other undecipherable, this book keeps to the basics. It makes sit a very easy-to-read book and the journey the author guides the reader on is like an adventure of discovery.

There are dangers to foraging and there is a section that describes some of the symptoms. Also going into details about how harmful spores can be spread and nature’s own way of dealing with them. Often the strands of fungi, or mycelia, have a symbiotic relationship with another plant and so it continues its lifecycle. It can be easily spread and there has been evidence of fungi in the International Space Station.

Not just confined to being eaten, this can be used for health and medicinal cures and treatments, just think of penicillin as an example. The other side of this can also be the strain that can cause pneumonia or Valley Fever and have devastating results.

Wherever you are in the world you will be near some type of fungi. You probably won’t even notice it, you may not see it, but it’s there.

This was a really interesting book and the author has a real passion for her field and this is evident in her writing. A cracking read that took me by surprise in a very good way. This is a relatively quick read at just over 200 pages, and if you like nature, the natural world and being outside then this is one that you would probably really enjoy. Very accessible and totally absorbing I soon discovered time had passed by as I was busy reading this one. I would definitely recommend it.

After finishing this book I decided to go out into the garden and explore. I knew there were some fungi and I hunted for more. This is what I found.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

(www.aliyawhiteley.wordpress.com / @aliyawhiteley)
Aliya Whiteley is inspired by how fungi and humanity share the world. She grew up
in North Devon where she developed an early passion for walking and observing
nature. She writes novels, short stories and non-fiction and has been published in
places such as The Guardian, Interzone, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and in
several anthologies. Previously a magazine editor, she has written about the natural
world for Mental Floss and in her fiction. Her novella, The Beauty, was shortlisted for
both Shirley Jackson and Sabotage Awards, and depicts a future world in which a
fungus interacts with humanity to create a new form of life, leading readers all over
the world to send her photographs and articles relating to mushrooms.
She walks with her dog through the woods and fields around her home in West
Sussex every day, taking inspiration from the hidden worlds around her.

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My Week In Books (w/e 25th September 2022) #bookupdates #booklove #inthegarden#MeAndMyBooks

Hello and welcome to my weekly update of books I have read. I didn’t post last week so today I have a two-week catch-up.

The weather seems to have a bit more chill to it and I have noticed that the misty mornings and heavy dew are starting to reappear. While the veg garden is starting to look a little bare, the flowers are still going well. I went and picked a few flowers this morning along with raspberries and blackberries ready for crumbles and pies in the winter.

The garden is producing some lovely autumnal flowers and leaves at the moment. Here are some pics and also one of my Tradescantia, I think this one is called Purple Heart. I’ve included this as I saw Rosie Amber’s post Six On Saturday and was admiring her Tradescantia 🙂

There were the plants, now here are the books I have read over the past TWO weeks.

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The Radium Girls by Kate Moore – I first read this book as an ARC prior to its publication in 2017. It is an emotional and heartbreaking history of the girls who painted radium onto clock faces and dials. At a time when no one was aware of the danger. Since reading it I have also bought a copy and as I was wondering what to spend by Audible Credit on, I saw this. A full review will follow soon.

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Tick Tock by Simon May – Oh my goodness this was a riveting read. Full review HERE

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The Skeleton Key by Erin Kelly – I adored this one and it is the story of two dysfunctional families. It is sneaky and devious and I also adore the cover. Full review to follow soon.

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Thief by Owen Mullen – this is the 4th book in the Glass Family series and it is another belter. Living the lives that the Glass family do, there are times when they are a target. This is one of those times and it sees the focus shift to another member of the family. Full review in a couple of weeks as part of the Blog Tour.

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A Winter Warmer at the Little Cornish Kitchen by Jane Linfoot – this is the 3rd book in this series and I adored it. A story of fresh starts, healing and grief in this welcoming and wonderful coastal community. Full review in a couple of weeks as part of the Blog Tour.

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The Hike by Susi Holliday – this was a tense and atmospheric thriller set in the Swiss Alps. The author has created a sneakily deceptive and absorbing story about two couples. and there are some wonderful twists along the way. A full review of this will be in a couple of weeks or so as part of the Blog Tour.

The Family Game by Catherine Steadman – was a brilliantly addictive book and if you are a fan of psychological thrillers then you need to read this one. Full review HERE

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Masquerade by Kit Williams – this is a book that gave the author Catherine Steadman a starting point for The Family Game (see above) and so it was obvious I needed to find my old copy and give it another read. This was a book that I loved when I saw it as the artwork is wonderful, it is, by the way, a treasure hunt that was first published in 1979. My copy is a 1982 one and gives an introduction by the author. Then the treasure hunt and the clues you need. The final section is all the clues he had given. Fabulous book and a full review will follow.

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Now You See Me by S.J. Bolton – I recently read book 5 in this series and adored it. I was gently nudged by a fellow Book Blogger ( @FictionFan2 ) that I should immediately backtrack and read them 🙂 So I did, it was great to start at the beginning and this case is dark and dangerous, and is a cracking read. I will be definitely reading the others in the series, hopefully soon! – Full review to follow.

I am pretty pleased with 9 books over two weeks.

I wish you all a great week ahead,

Happy Reading

Yvonne xx

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Tick Tock by Simon Mayo #thriller #contemporaryfiction #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Tick Tock by Simon Mayo. I have not read any of his books before, but if his latest one is anything to go by I will be reading them.

It starts quietly enough. A tick tick ticking you can hear in your ear. Tinnitus, you think. It will pass. But it doesn’t. It gets worse – and then you pass it on.

Before you know it, it spreads. Elsewhere across the globe, it emerges, small outbreaks at first, contained groups of people, young and old, and suddenly it’s a plague – and ten days later it’s killing people. The hospitals are overflowing and there is no cure. There is a paranoid panic which sets friend against friend, neighbour against neighbour. Where does the world go from here?

In the north London school where it is first discovered, head of English, Kit Chaplin is struggling to understand what he is witnessing. Even eminent bacteriologist and his partner Lilly Slater can’t help him. But as the virus rips through the school and into the outside world, the world starts to take notice. Kit is more concerned about his students – and his young daughter, Rose – but little by little he gets sucked into where this mystery illness might have come from. And how it’s going to threaten his world.

Tick Tock is the compelling new novel from master storyteller and legendary DJ, Simon Mayo. It tells the story of a different kind of pandemic through the eyes of three people at the heart of the storm. Utterly exciting, urgently contemporary, piercingly insightful, it more than confirms the promise of his bestselling and acclaimed first thriller, Knife Edge.

MY REVIEW

I had seen this book getting some good reviews and decided it was one I really wanted to read. I mean the first paragraph in the synopsis – “It starts quietly enough. A tick tick ticking you can hear in your ear. Tinnitus, you think. It will pass. But it doesn’t. It gets worse – and then you pass it on.” that really was the hook for me!

This is a big story but one that has a small amount as far as the cast of characters goes. They are father and Daughter, Kit and Rose and Kit’s partner Lilly and her daughter Jess. The story focuses mainly on Kit, Rose and Lilly, as circumstances and events mean they come together for various reasons further in the story.

It has not been long since the Covid pandemic and this is referred to in this story as something that has happened and the world has moved on. The ticking can be heard not only by the person who emits it but also heard by those close to them. For me, this is a step forward from a cough or sneeze that we were all distancing ourselves from over a previous couple of years.

The author does use some of the reactions that we saw from Covid in this story and then elaborates on others. Pandemic and panic, social media and public opinion are something that goes hand-in-hand with this story. It adds to the tension and especially when the clicking then turns into deafness and then death.

I liked how the author brought things to a quiet presence, where people didn’t wear headphones and music playing loudly and while it sounds peaceful it came across as very ominous and quite a scary atmosphere. You need to be able to hear if people are clicking and therefore if they are infected. So this was a great move within the story.

The characters come across as trustworthy, Kit is a Head of English, Rose is a student and Lilly is a known virologist. This adds a credence to the feel of the story as such because we are talking about two adults who are educated and having the daughter involved means they have access to the modern generation’s use of technology and social media.

This was a gripping story and one that I really enjoyed. It was a tense read and one that I read easily over two sittings. I have not read any of this author’s previous books so I am looking forward to changing that.

This is one for those who like a story that is tense, well-paced and has a lot of theories that are discussed. I like how the characters are forced together to search for their own answers and this again is where the choice of characters and their roles come into play so well. This was one that had quite a few twists and I wasn’t entirely sure where the author was going to go or how it would end, definitely kept me hooked and I would definitely recommend it.

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The Family Game by Catherine Steadman @CatSteadman @RandomTTours @SimonSchusterUK #fiction #thriller #suspense #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for an absolute belter of a book. The Family Game by Catherine Steadman is addictive, a page-turner and I adored it.

I want to give huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of this brilliant book from Simon & Schuster.

I also want to apologise for the lateness of my review. It should have been last week and it wasn’t until I check the poster I realised I had made a scheduling mistake. Better late than never! You should also expect to see this book on my end-of-year Top Reads list 🙂

Harriet Reed is newly engaged to Edward Holbeck, the heir to an extremely powerful American family.
When Edward’s father hands her a tape of a book he’s been working on, she is desperate to listen. But as
she presses play, it’s clear that this isn’t a novel. It’s a confession to murder. Feeling isolated and
confused, Harriet must work out if this is all part of a plan to test her loyalty. Or something far darker.
Because this might be a game to the Holbeck family – but games can still be deadly.
READY OR NOT, HERE THEY COME…

MY REVIEW

Oh my goodness this is a story that took me completely by surprise. It is a mix of several genres so would appeal to readers who like mystery thrillers with a really tense and atmospheric vibe. There are elements of horror and a psychological feel and overall it is an addictive and totally captivating read.

Harry is an author who has has success with her debut book. She has moved in with her boyfriend, Edward, and has yet to meet the rest of his family. Harry doesn’t have any family, and Edwards is huge. Not only huge but rich and influential as Harry soon discovers.

The author has fabulously brought together two opposites with the two main characters. The focus is on Edward’s family and how they interfere in his life, which is why he hasn’t mentioned Harry to them. It is totally understandable, but when he proposes to Harry he informs his family. The initial contact is tentative as Harry meets a sister. The tense feeling is there but all in all, things go well.

As you get further and further into the story you begin to see little signs that this family is far from ordinary. They have an extremely organised and almost compulsive feel to them. This is a family that has traditions that go back generations and while the world has moved on the family is all important and encompassing.

This is one of those stories that I want to shout about, but can’t because it would give away the story, plot and whole thrill of reading the book. It is a deviously twisted and insanely addictive storyline. What I thought within the first few chapters was completely different by the end of the book. In some ways it is a complex story, that is if I were to try and explain it in more detail, but it is one that the author has nailed. It isn’t confusing as you and I adored the way it just flowed from one thing to the next. By the end I was gobsmacked.

I adored this book a lot and it is one that I would very definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Catherine Steadman is an actress and author based in
London. She has appeared in leading roles on British
and American television as well as on stage in the
West End where she has been nominated for a
Laurence Olivier Award. Catherine’s first novel,
Something in the Water, was a number one New York
Times bestseller with rights sold in over thirty
territories. It was also a Richard & Judy Book Club
Pick. Her second novel, Mr Nobody, was published in
2020 and her third novel, The Disappearing Act,
published in 2021.

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The Temple House Vanishing by Rachel Donohue #mystery #literaryfcition #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Temple House Vanishing by Rachel Donohue. This is a book that has divided opinions when you look at the reviews. So I bought a copy and gave it a go as it did sound interesting to me.

Twenty-five years ago, a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl and her charismatic teacher disappeared without trace…

In an elite Catholic girls’ boarding-school the pupils live under the repressive, watchful gaze of the nuns. Seeking to break from the cloistered atmosphere two of the students – Louisa and Victoria – quickly become infatuated with their young, bohemian art teacher, and act out passionately as a result. That is, until he and Louisa suddenly disappear.

Years later, a journalist uncovers the troubled past of the school and determines to resolve the mystery of the missing pair. The search for the truth will uncover a tragic, mercurial tale of suppressed desire and long-buried secrets. It will shatter lives and lay a lost soul to rest.

The Temple House Vanishing is a stunning, intensely atmospheric novel of unrequited longing, dark obsession and uneasy consequences.

MY REVIEW

I have seen a few reviews for this book and it is one that seems to divide opinions. It is a slower-paced story and it does have a literary fiction lean to it, I think this is why it appealed to me.

A teacher and a student go missing from a boarding school run by nuns. The student, Louisa, doesn’t fit in. She has been accepted via a scholarship and is not afforded the same respect as those who have rich parents willing to pay the fees. The teacher is Mr Lavelle, a young teacher, who inspires and is open to his students, encouraging them to explore their minds further. Not a conventional teacher but one that is well-liked.

It is 25 years after the disappearances, and no one knows the whereabouts of Louisa or Lavelle. As the anniversary is coming up a local journalist picks the story back up and tries to look for those who may be able to shed new light on this old case.

The story is told from the perspectives of Louisa and the Journalist.

This is a very slow and yet very atmospheric novel that really hit the right notes for me. There is the mystery of the missing persons and this is told in a then and now timeline. Reading from Louisa’s perspective as she joins this new school you soon realise that there is a difference in how a student is perceived and therefore accepted. Louisa gained her place on merit, clever awarded a place because of her excellent exam results. And not, as some others are, students of rich parents. The hierarchy is evident, but not all the students think this way. Louisa is befriended and made to feel welcome by a fellow loner, Victoria.

The author gradually tells of the school, the students and the classes. All the time building on the relationships and friendships made. When the Journalist is introduced other details are brought to light, and her role in revisiting this story means she gets to seek out those who were part of it. Slowly and gently the author teases and weaves a tale that comes across with a slight gothic edge to it, some of the characters almost have an ethereal presence and this adds to the atmosphere. Some of the characters are very daydreamy and they seem to flutter through the story while others feel very real.

I really enjoyed this one and I found it very absorbing. I do like a slow burner of a story and this is definitely that. For me, the story had atmosphere, tragedy, and mystery and at times I did think it had a Du Maurier style to it.

I am aware that this book has split opinions, but for me, I adored it and thought it was beautifully written. It does fall into literary fiction, suspense, friendship and mystery and it is one I would definitely recommend.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Mensch by Leopold Borstinski @Borstinski @ZooloosBT #historicalfiction crime #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Mensch by Leopold Borstinski. While I am delighted to share I am also sad that this is the final book in the Alex Cohen series. It has been a fabulous series to read and an absolute pleasure to support in the Blog Tours.

My huge thanks to Zoe at Zooloo’s Book Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this wonderful book.

How can a crooked man ever go straight?
Jewish gangster, Alex Cohen settles down in Florida surrounded by his wife and family. But his past life in the criminal underworld stalks his every move and when a bullet whizzes past his ear, he must decide whether to run or fight.


In his desire to go straight, Alex inserts himself in the East Coast porn film industry, only to find that the tentacles of the mob are clasped tight around his life. With the Feds using new laws to hunt down mob bosses, and rats in his own organization all too ready to testify against him, Alex must clean house before the authorities throw him in jail or the mob kills him to stop him ratting them out.


The seventh book in the Alex Cohen series is a historical thriller novel, which reveals the dying embers of Jewish organized crime in America. Leopold Borstinski’s crime fiction shines a light on the death of the old-style mob in an explosive finale.

PURCHASE LINK – HERE

MY REVIEW

Mensch is a Yiddish term for a person of integrity and honour (according to Google). Could you call a gangster a man of honour or someone with integrity?

In this final book in the Alex Cohen series, the author takes a glimpse, at times of the past, of Alex. From his beginnings when he arrived at Ellis Island to where he is in 1965. He started in The Bowery’s and has gradually emerged into a name that is revered i8n the gangs of the US. The author has had him in the mix and rubbing shoulders and swapping stories with Alfonse Capone, The Kennedys, Fidel Castro and Frank Sinatra.

As the years have passed, Alex has become a husband and a father, he has a close-knit group of friends and business partners. He has worked hard and has put himself in danger many times. and occasionally the lives of his family. He has known a vast number of people and some of them have walked away unharmed!

In this final book, Alex is contemplating his future. He has always said that certain parts of his business will become legitimate and others will go to his oldest and closest business partners and friends. As the author gradually approached the 70s, the once feared name of Alex has started to lose some of its impact. The FEDs have been around for many years, but recently the noose is tightening around the old-style gang bosses. Eager to remain free, there are some who are not averse to turning witness.

Alex has always had a motto and it is one that has been mentioned several times in each book. In this final book, it is mentioned even more. If you have followed the series then you will know to what I refer.

I have enjoyed this series from the very start, following the highs and the lows. The Mensch is a book that feels slower, and it sort of makes sense to me as Alex is starting to slow down. But, that does not for one moment mean he is relaxing and taking things easy. He is getting things in order and this means huge amounts of travelling for face-to-face meetings. I think by slower, I mean he is spending time thinking over the past, the present and the future. Life is going to change, what and when that change will be, well you are going to have to read this one to find out.

This is a series that is one for those who like historical fiction that is based around the gangsters of the US. From an unknown immigrant to one who has associated with the rich, the famous and the notorious. A fab series and a brilliant finale in this final book. It is one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.
There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.
He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.

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Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx