The Hidden Secrets of Bumblebee Cottage by Christie Barlow #contemporaryfiction #romance #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Hidden Secrets of Bumblebee Cottage by Christie Barlow. This is the 10th book in the Love Heart Lane series and it is just a fabulous series to read.

Love Heart Lane – where friends are there for you no matter what

A new start…

When Jinny Birdwhistle is pushed over the edge one time too many times and quits her job as a tabloid journalist, an impromptu – and rather unconventional – job search leads her to a new house, car, and career making honey and chutney in the small Scottish village of Heartcross. And with handsome beekeeper Gabe Warner to help her learn the ropes, she’s ready to embrace ‘country girl life’ and leave the past behind her.

…uncovers an old secret

Yet there’s more to strong and silent Gabe than meets the eye and though Jinny planned to leave her journalistic instincts in London, she can’t help doing a little digging. Now, as she uncovers a mystery that links to her own history, Jinny realises that you can’t outrun the truth and the only way to move forward is to face the past. But now that she’s at home in Heartcross, she won’t have to do it alone…

MY REVIEW

I adore this series and it is great to meet another character who is due to become the next resident of Heartcross in the Love Heart Lane series.

Jinny is a journalist in London, he father owns the paper and she wants nothing. It is her father’s attitude that makes her stop and want to evaluate what she is doing. After an exchange of words, Jinny leaves London, her flat and her job to try to get a job in the adorable Scottish village.

Bumblebee Cottage used to belong to Dixie and George, it is now empty and waiting for the next chapter in its history. Jinny has big boots to follow but the gorgeous Gabe will be around to help her when she needs it. Did I mention that Gabe has a secret? No! Oh, he isn’t the only one who does though…

This is another gorgeous read and one that I really enjoyed from the outset. Jinny is a character who I liked, while she has had everything handed to her, including her job, flat and car, she has not had much in the way of choice. It is when her father wants her to intrude on someone’s private life that she realises that she doesn’t want this life, that people have rights and that her father has no moral boundaries.

Coming to Heartcross is a step away from everything she knows. Luckily the community is supportive and amazing, if you have read any of this series then you will already know this. If you haven’t then go to the beginning of the series and dread them, you will get to know the area, and the community and they are all amazing books.

Anyway, where was I? Yes, supportive community… and they do look out for visitors and guests. It turns out that Gabe has a few secrets and this is something that the journo in Jinny just has to delve into. Apart from that, if you knew you liked someone and wanted to know a bit more you would do the same thing. Before you sit there and shake your head and deny it, have you looked people up on Facebook, Instagram or other social media sites? Yep, I knew you had!

So the secrets, are good and they are also heartbreaking. But this is not a sad book, it is one about making fresh starts and Bumblebee Cottage is just the place for that. Once a thriving business makes chutneys and honey, it needs a new occupier to breathe fresh air into the jars and recipes. Will Jinny be the one to do that and can Gabe help her or is there too much hurt for them?

This is a fabulous book and one fan of cosy, heartwarming, contemporary fiction and romance will adore it. I have loved every book in the series and this is another that hits all the right spots and I would definitely recommend it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christie Barlow is the international bestselling author of twelve romantic comedies including the iconic Love Heart Lane Series, A Home at Honeysuckle Farm and Kitty’s Countryside Dream. She lives in a ramshackle cottage in a quaint village in the heart of Staffordshire with her four children and two dogs.
Her writing career has come as a lovely surprise when Christie decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. Christie’s dream was to become a writer and the book she wrote to prove a point went on to become a #1 international bestseller in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia.
When Christie isn’t writing she enjoys playing the piano, is a keen gardener and loves to paint and upcycle furniture.
Christie is an ambassador for the @ZuriProject alongside Patron of the charity, Emmerdale’s Bhasker Patel. They raise money and awareness for communities in Uganda.
Christie loves to hear from her readers and you can get in touch via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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

Strangeways: A Prison Officer’s Story by Neil Samworth #audiobook #nonfiction #bookreview

I am still catching up with reviews from the end of last year. Today’s review is for Strangeway’s: A Prison Officers Story by Neil Samworth. I listened to this from Audible and what a brilliant book it is to listen to.

Neil ‘Sam’ Samworth spent eleven years working as a prison officer in HMP Manchester, aka Strangeways. A tough Yorkshireman with a soft heart, Sam had to deal with it all – gangsters and gangbangers, terrorists and psychopaths, addicts and the mentally ill. Men who should not be locked up and men who should never be let out.

Strangeways is a shocking and at times darkly funny account of life in a high security prison. Sam tackles cell fires and self-harmers, and goes head to head with some of the most dangerous men in the country. He averts a Christmas Day riot after turkey is taken off the menu and replaced by fish curry, and stands up to officers who abuse their position. He describes being attacked by prisoners, and reveals the problems caused by radicalization and the drugs flooding our prisons.

As staffing cuts saw Britain’s prison system descend into crisis, the stress of the job – the suicides, the inhumanity of the system, and one assault too many – left Sam suffering from PTSD. This raw, searingly honest memoir is a testament to the men and women of the prison service and the incredibly difficult job we ask them to do.

MY REVIEW

WOW! I have been listening to this audio version and it is such an amazing book to listen to. The author tells his story as he worked in prisons and especially his time at Strangeways in Manchester as an officer. The narrator is amazing and his voice is perfect for this style of the book.

Samworth tells how he joined the prison service, the roles he had, his upbringing and right the way through until he left. There are some really awful stories and what he has seen and how he has dealt with the many people he has come across. He comes across as a tough bloke, but also fair. He has had some dangerous run-ins with inmates and injuries he has suffered.

He has seen problems with the prison service over the years and he does mention how he has suffered from PTSD, this is something that I imagine is rife among staff in this service. The people they are mixing with are criminals, some are highly aggressive, drug dealers, and gang members, some are psychopaths and then some are just evil. He explains how prisoners use various tactics to incite riots or to get out of their cells.

When I first saw this title I was interested to get a first-hand account of what it is like to work in a high-security prison. I know there are TV shows, but I wanted something a bit more and this book definitely gave me that. A chance to get behind the scenes in a no holds barred style of the book. There are many TV shows and documentaries about prisoners and criminals but there is very little about the officers.

This is a tough book to listen to but my goodness it was addictive. This is one for those who like to learn more about people and their jobs. Tough, gripping, sombre and one I would highly recommend.

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

The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith @OrendaBooks #dystopian #thriller #suspense #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith. I think it was around this time last year that I read this author’s next book, Off Target (Full review HERE). It made such an impression that I immediately bought a copy of The Waiting Rooms, unfortunately, it took me nearly a year to read it. But it was excellent and has left me looking forward to more from this author.

The Waiting Rooms

Decades of spiralling drug resistance have unleashed a global antibiotic crisis. Ordinary infections are untreatable, and a scratch from a pet can kill. A sacrifice is required to keep the majority safe: no one over seventy is allowed new antibiotics. The elderly are sent to hospitals nicknamed ‘The Waiting Rooms’ … hospitals where no one ever gets well.

Twenty years after the crisis takes hold, Kate begins a search for her birth mother, armed only with her name and her age. As Kate unearths disturbing facts about her mother’s past, she puts her family in danger and risks losing everything. Because Kate is not the only secret that her mother is hiding. Someone else is looking for her, too.

Sweeping from an all-too-real modern Britain to a pre-crisis South Africa, The Waiting Rooms is epic in scope, richly populated with unforgettable characters, and a tense, haunting vision of a future that is only a few mutations away.

MY REVIEW

With Covid, Avian Flu and also the threat of resistance to antibiotics fresh in my mind I decided to read The Waiting Rooms. I have read the 2nd book Off Target by this author and it made a huge impression. The Waiting Rooms is an amazing book to read and at times one that can be quite uncomfortable.

This book is set up as having two timelines. One is pre-crisis and the other is a near-future setting. The pre-crisis draws the reader into a world where antibiotics are not working, and infections, diseases and illnesses are deadly for those who contract them. Wave after wave of resistant diseases is killing millions of people worldwide. The race to find alternative medicines and cures is on.

The near-future setting is one that we are sort of familiar with, face masks, no contact and being super careful about being in groups. However, the author has made it a much more dangerous scenario with riots, risks of attack and the dilemma of what to do with people who are too ill to continue with their lives.

While the story in the near future does have medical implications there is another underlying story. How this is connected to the pre-crisis setting is one that is intriguing and shows how things change over the decades. How dealing with one problem can set off a series of events that causes a larger problem in the future. I think this is something we can relate to easily when we look at fossil fuels and other industrial advances against the global climate we live in today. The author has taken a similar route and it is one that is all too easy to be able to realise.

This is a brilliant read. The terminology is basic to understand and the importance of decisions made and that has to be made is one that keeps the story moving. Events and characters have been woven and twisted so that I always wanted to what was going to happen next.

I adored the suspense and thrill of this story, but it also exudes an element of reality. An eye-opener of a thriller and one I would definitely recommend.

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

The Other Guest by Heidi Perks #NetGalley @centurybooksuk #mystery #thriller #murder #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Other Guest by Heidi Perks. I do enjoy this author’s books and I have read several of them. I would also like to wish the author a Happy Publication Day 🙂

My huge thanks to Century Books UK for accepting my request to review this title via NetGalley.

She thinks she knows the truth. But what if she’s wrong?

Laila and her husband arrive for a week’s holiday in Greece in desperate need of a reset.

As Laila sits by the pool she finds herself inexplicably drawn to the other family staying in their resort.

Em has no idea who Laila is, or that she has been watching her and her teenage sons and husband so intently.

Five days later their worlds will be blown apart by a horrifying event.

Laila thinks she knows the truth of what happened. But in telling Em what she’s seen, she stands to lose everything she holds dear.

And what if she’s got it wrong?

MY REVIEW

I do enjoy this author’s books and this one, The Other Guest has plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader on their toes.

Laila and her husband are having a getaway on a Greek island it is a chance for them to reconnect and try to get their marriage back on track. Things have been tough for them after several rounds of failed IVF, and Laila is distraught when she realises that there may be no more rounds to come.

At this luxury resort, they meet various couples and families, some they had seen on the journey to the hotel and they will inevitably bump into them at various points of their stay. What none of them expect is the death of one of the guests.

An inspector comes to ask and make inquiries about all those at the hotel, the author keeps her cast to a minimum. She does this by sticking to those that Laila has met or seen, this makes it easy to keep track of who is who.

While Laila has been dealing with her own inner turmoil she is aware of other things going on, she loves people-watching and while her husband thinks she can get obsessed, she has her own thoughts about things.

This is a great read and one that I found myself easily falling into and getting on with. There are plenty of twists and some red herrings and then there are some other much deeper and darker things that emerge.

While this is an engrossing book and one that I enjoyed, I did feel that the ending was dragged out a little too much, while there were still things that needed answering I just thought it could have been done sooner. It didn’t ruin the story for me but did take the edge off it a little.

An enjoyable read and one for fans of contemporary fiction and holiday crime and mystery readers. It is one I would happily recommend.

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

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid #historicalfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for a book that has been out for quite a while now. Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid is a brilliant book and one that has been sitting on my kindle since it was first released. Don’t ask me why I didn’t read it sooner, but I am so glad I finally did. I did read this one before Christmas and I am trying to get caught up with my reviews!

A gripping novel about the whirlwind rise of an iconic 1970s rock group and their beautiful lead singer, revealing the mystery behind their infamous break up.

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the real reason why they split at the absolute height of their popularity…until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go-Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Another band getting noticed is The Six, led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.

MY REVIEW

I have seen this book around for a while now, I bought it a while ago as well but only just got around to it. This is a fictional book about Daisy Jones and a band called The Six. The title does kind of give it away!

The Six are already a band, they have already had an album. Daisy Jones is an up-and-coming star and it is a chance comment that brings them together.

This book is set out as a documentary-style transcript. It is very easy to get used to this style and as it is a transcript you always know who is saying what. The author has created a story that is incredibly addictive and all the time I was reading this I had to remind myself that it was a fictional book about fictional people.

The author delves into the lives of her characters before they became the band known as Daisy Jones & The Six. This is such an insightful look into the lives of each of the members when the drugs, sex and rock’n’roll lifestyle was notorious around rock bands. The author doesn’t hold back in this and her characters go through some tough choices.

The main man behind The Six is Billy Dunne. There is a certain amount of animosity from the rest of the band at times as he takes charge of the direction they are going. Bringing in Daisy creates problems, but also adds a balance. However, two dynamic characters such as Billy and Dasiy are going to create waves.

The author has packed this story with so much tension, excitement, and mayhem of living a lifestyle in the late 60s and early 70s. Time on the road, creating new songs and how the dynamics between the band, their families and friends take its toll.

A fabulous story that I am so glad I finally got around to reading. Exciting and sad at times but with an addictive quality. I soon found characters I preferred over others and I did have an interest in hoping for the best for others. An unusual style but a brilliant book. It is one I would definitely recommend.

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

Out For Revenge by Tony Bassett @tonybassett1 @rararesources #policeprocedural #crime #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Out For Revenge by Tony Bassett. This is the 4th book in the series and as is usual, it is the first one I have read. This a very good intro to this author and series and one I am looking forward to catching up on.

My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of the book.

Out For Revenge
When notorious gangland boss Tadeusz Filipowski is released from prison, several people start looking over their shoulder.

A volatile character, not shy of picking fights, Filipowski plans to expand his drugs empire and put his competitors on a backfoot. That’s until he turns up dead. Very dead.

DS Sunita Roy of the Heart of England police is handed the case but it’s a challenge to find the killer of a man with so many enemies.

DCI Gavin Roscoe would lend more support but he is busy nailing down suspicions of corruption plaguing the force.

Soon, however, the investigations will bump into one another. And unless Roy and Roscoe can get to the bottom of the mystery, they could well become the next victims.

OUT FOR REVENGE is the fourth gripping standalone mystery in the Detectives Roy and Roscoe crime fiction series by Tony Bassett.

Purchase Links – Amazon UK or US

MY REVIEW

This is the 4th book in this series and the first one I have read. These books can be read as stand-alone, and the author does provide any background that is relevant.

This is a police procedural and one that I really enjoyed. Based around Birmingham and Midlands area, the Detectives are DS Sunita Roy and DCI Gavin Roscoe, they are looking at different cases that actually share similarities. Having two cases brought together and figuring out the answers makes for an intriguing story. This is added to when there is another murder and more danger for those who are involved in the investigations.

I really enjoyed this book, I did find it a little bit of a challenge initially to get up to speed with the characters, but the author does give details to help make them memorable, such as an officer being shot in a previous book, or a character helping in an investigation. These little details are the things that help when you come into a series midway. This does, however, work very well as a stand-alone and I liked how the author brings things very close to home and makes things personal. I am not going to say too much as I don’t want to give anything away.

Having a mix of murder, gangs and drugs is a great way of keeping a story going, but then this story has an extra scrummy plot in it! It is one that kept me on my toes and wanting to discover how this was going to pan out.

I do like police procedurals that have complex storylines and this one had, several things happening and woven in together to create a wonderful read. Plenty of tension and drama and also a glimpse into the home lives of the main characters.

If you are a fan of police procedurals and crime thrillers then I do think this is a book that you would enjoy. It is one I would happily recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I am a semi-retired journalist who was born in West Kent. While growing up, I spent hours reading and writing, and, from an early age, nursed an ambition to become first a journalist and then a novelist. My theory was that, in order to write novels, one had to have life experiences to colour one’s writing and one could obtain those experiences through journalism.

I was fortunate enough to be named Time-Life Magazine Student Journalist of the Year in 1971 in a competition organised by the National Union of Students. At the time, I was editing the student newspaper at Hull University, where I gained a BA Honours degree in History and Political Studies.

After six years working on provincial newspapers in Sidcup, Worcester and Cardiff, I became a freelance journalist in London. For 24 years, I was a reporter on the staff of the Sunday People (now part of Reach plc, formerly Trinity Mirror). Over the years, I sold tens of thousands of stories to national newspapers, including the Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, The Sun, Daily Star, Daily Telegraph and London Evening Standard. I helped cover the Jeremy Thorpe trial at the Old Bailey for the Evening Standard. I broke the news in a Sun newspaper exclusive in April 1989 that Bill Wyman, the Rolling Stones guitarist aged 52, was to marry 18-year-old Mandy Smith. I bought 200 blank MOT forms to expose a trade in fake certificates.

My speciality was tracking people down. For instance, I found evidence about Rod Stewart’s secret love child Sarah Streeter by tracing a retired adoption agent through a library ticket. On one occasion, I took an escaped gangster back to prison. Some of my stories can be read on my website (see below); others are generally available online. For thirty years, I was also employed as a birth and marriage researcher mainly for the Mail on Sunday, Sunday Mirror, Sunday People and The Sun.

I have a grown-up son and four grown-up daughters who all live in South Wales.
Social Media Links – Website Twitter Facebook Instagram

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The Secret Keeper by Amanda James @amandajames61 @OneMoreChapter_ #NetGalley #contemporaryfiction #romance #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Secret Keeper by Amanda James. I didn’t realise that this was previously published as Summer In Tintagel, it is one of the authors’ earlier books and one that I had not read so I was delighted to read it. I am aware that some of the earlier titles are being republished by One More Chapter, a branch of Harper Collins. I did get an early copy of this book via NetGalley and I also have it on pre-order 🙂

Today also happens to be the publication day for The Secret Keeper and I would like to wish Mandy a very Happy Publication Day xx

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When journalist Rosa Fernley’s ailing gran, Jocelyn, passes on a long-held secret of her past in her dying days, Rosa embarks on a quest to Cornwall to find answers and resolution to free her grandmother from guilt and pain as she leaves this earth.

But in the wild, beautiful landscape of Tintagel, Rosa encounters something she could never imagine as the past comes to life and walks the beaches once more. Unravelling the truth of what happened to the man her grandmother once loved and left leads Rosa on an unexpected journey, one which unlocks not only her gran’s secrets but the secrets of who – and what – Rosa truly is…

This book was previously published as Summer in Tintagel

MY REVIEW

This author is one of my favourites and her latest offering is a mystery that reaches back to an earlier generation. This particular book has a mystery to it and also a supernatural vibe that works so well within the story and also the setting of Tintagel in Cornwall.

Tintagel is a place that is of legendary tales, mysticism and magic. The seat of King Arthur and a welcoming place for all. Although when Rosa first arrives she doesn’t make a great impression, a visitor who doesn’t understand the essence of what makes a place special and then dismisses it is always going to receive a slightly chilled welcome.

Rosa is on a bit of a mission for her elder Grandmother who had visited Cornwall when she was younger and it had left its impressing in more ways than one. It is her Grandmother that tells Rosa she must visit the area and discover what she needs to know about her Grans story and also make headway into her own story.

This tale starts with a young child, it then skips forward to a present-day setting and leads the reader through the area around Tintagel, the shops, the locals and the sights around. As much as Rosa wants to enjoy her time she is also aware of her Grans wishes an also that her Gran is coming towards the end of her time. Life and death are linked, and the link that the author has sued for her story is one that is full of heartbreak but also of something wonderful.

The story is one that deals with the past and the present and in doing so also leads to potential futures filled with optimism, hope and excitement. Unexpected revelations and meetings prove hard at times but others give the nudge that Rosa needs to continue her quest. I did mention romance is part of this story and this is something that the author has woven in wonderfully. Not straightforward but it gives a great sense of hope to the reader.

This is a gorgeous written story that encapsulated the mysticism of Cornwall and also gives the reader a wonderful glimpse into village life in Cornwall. I adored this story and it was one that I had to read from start to finish in one sitting. It is one for those who like contemporary fiction and romance story that brings secrets of the past to the forefront and it is a book I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amanda James/A.K. James has written since she was a child, and as an eight-year-old, she asked her parents for a typewriter for Christmas. She never imagined her words would ever be published however. Then in 2010, after many twists and turns, the dream of becoming a writer came true when she had her first short story published for a Born Free anthology. She left teaching in 2013 to pursue her dream full-time.

Originally from Sheffield, Amanda now lives in Cornwall and is inspired every day by the wild and beautiful coastline near her home. She loves writing uplifting books with a twist of magic, as she thinks the world needs more joy in it right now. Amanda can usually be found playing on the beach with her family, or walking the cliff paths planning her next book.

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

Our Man in Kuwait by Louise Burfitt-Dons @LouiseBurfDons @RandomTTours #suspense #historicalfiction #spythriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Our Man in Kuwait by Louise Burfitt-Dons. This is a historical fiction story set in the 1960s and is one I really enjoyed.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for arranging my copy of the book for the Blog Tour.

A colonial-era thriller set against the background of big power conflict. The ultimate timepiece tinderbox of sun, sex and spies.

Kuwait 1960. With Soviet backing Iraq plans to invade.

Gordon Carlisle lives in the expat community of Ahmadi with little to worry about other than when to next don his dinner jacket.

Following contact by an MI6 agent everything changes.

Even marriage to his beautiful new wife Anita breaks down as he becomes a suspect in a chain of deaths in the Protectorate.

Ian Fleming’s time in Kuwait is recorded at first hand as Britain prepares to meet the Iraqi forces head on with Operation Vantage.

MY REVIEW

This is a book that is a little bit of a slow burner but one that slowly crept up on me. I did struggle a little in the beginning but once I got to know the characters I began to feel more effortless with the book. While it started as a slow burner it definitely picked up pace as the story unfolded, and, what an intriguing story it was!

This is set in 1960 in Kuwait, I am mostly aware of the recent history of this area, but I didn’t know much about it from the 60s, just a little before my time. The author has woven an interesting mix of fact with fiction to give a convincing and extremely twisted account of the roles of spies, governments, double agents and foreign powers in the region. It is focused on Gordon Carlisle.

Gordon is a bit of a non-descript man as such, goes to work, has friends, is married to Anita and carries on with his life in the Ahmadi ex-pat community. Talk between friends about potential problems in Kuwait, if the British government will send in troops and if those living there will have to flee.

With rumour running rife it doesn’t take much for suspicions to escalate. This means that one act can be seen as something more sinister. When the finger points in the direction of Gordon, he above all is surprised. In a world of espionage nothing and no one is completely innocent… are they?

I really enjoyed the weaving and intrigue the author built up around her characters. I did kind of like Gordon and I did feel for him as he did seem to be the innocent party. It is however that old saying of “there’s no smoke without fire” or that he surely must have known something. This constant state of suspicion makes everyone look guilty.

While the author told of Gordon, his friends, work and the politics of the area there is something else working in the background. This makes the story addictive and it did keep my interest. With mentions of anthrax, bombs, kidnapping and questioning by the police, there is enough of a tense atmosphere to create a dangerous scenario.

I liked this one and I did like the slower pace in the beginning as there are quite a few characters to get to know and also some history of the region and its main players. An enjoyable story and one that I would happily recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

This book is a work of fiction but inspired by real events. Louise Burfitt-Dons was born and brought up in Kuwait during the threat of invasion by Iraq in 1960 and 1961. Her father Ian Byres was the Preventative Health Officer for the Kuwait Oil Company based in Ahmadi. At the end of 1960 Ian Fleming visited Kuwait to write a book. Louise is the author of the bestselling Karen Andersen Thriller series. Our Man in Kuwait is a stand alone novel.

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Brave New World by Aldous Huxley #classicfiction #dystopian #scifi #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for an old classic. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley was written in 1931 and published in 1932. A book that I have wanted to read for years but actually managed to pick up and read at the beginning of December last Year.

Brave New World is a dystopian novel by English author Aldous Huxley, written in 1931 and published in 1932. Largely set in a futuristic World State, inhabited by genetically modified citizens and an intelligence-based social hierarchy, the novel anticipates huge scientific advancements in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation and classical conditioning that are combined to make a dystopian society which is challenged by only a single individual: the story’s protagonist.

MY REVIEW

This is a book that I have been wanting to read for years but never got to it. I finally decided to give it a go. I was only aware of the basics of this book and I hadn’t read any other reviews about it.

What I discovered is quite a bizarre story that became quite addictive. It does have a strong literary fiction feel to it. At times the writing is poetic, at others disjointed and overall a story that gradually got under my skin.

The world that Huxley has created is one where people are expected to be happy, they are brainwashed into feeling this. There is no mother, father or in fact any type of family connection. Each person has been produced in a test tube and altered at a genetic level to become what is required for Huxley’s world to function. There is a layered social system where people are born to be what they are engineered to be, so someone with a lowly job will be content with that job. They don’t aspire to be anything more than what they are supposed to be.

Creating this world, the author then throws an anomaly in the system, this is something that shows that even with the use of technology there will be a time when nature intervenes, or it may be a simple human mistake. Either way, this is where the characters that start to question the system have a more important role.

In the second half of the book, there is a move from the system to that of the outside world, this is more what we know today. Parents, relationships and unique traits and characteristics. This for me is where the story then takes an even more addictive turn. The comparisons built up between those in the system and those out of it are great. By the end of the book, I found I was very interested in some of the characters. The ending, well that was a shock!

This is a fabulous book to read, and I did struggle to find the flow at the beginning. I did read it in two sittings. The first sitting was a bit wobbly and at 33% I decided to have a break, this turned out to be a great time to pause and then come back to it the following night. I then found myself unable to put this book down and finished it.

This is a book that has loads of reviews, has loads of opinions and there are probably theories and it will have been analysed in every aspect. I read for the pleasure of it, so for me, this book was one that intrigued me. It did feel disjointed, to begin with, but it grew on me. I enjoyed this and I am very glad that I have read this book.

For a book that was written in 1931 and published in 1932, it has some brilliant imagination and foresight into a possible future. A world where people are engineered to fit into a hierarchical society. It is a very good book and it is one I would happily recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

This most prominent member of the famous Huxley family of England spent part of his life from 1937 in Los Angeles in the United States until his death. Best known for his novels and wide-ranging output of essays, he also published short stories, poetry, travel writing, and film stories and scripts. Through novels and essays, Huxley functioned as an examiner and sometimes critic of social mores, norms and ideals. Spiritual subjects, such as parapsychology and philosophical mysticism, interested Huxley, a humanist, towards the end of his life. People widely acknowledged him as one of the pre-eminent intellectuals of his time before the end of his life.

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So Pretty by Ronnie Turner @Ronnie_Turner #SoPretty @RandomTTours @OrendaBooks #thriller #psychological #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for So Pretty by Ronnie Turner. I read this book before Christmas and adored its eerie atmosphere. This book also became one of my Top Reads of 2022! Also, I really have to mention the cover of this book 😱 it is insanely appropriate!

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this amazing book from Orenda Books.

The arrival of a young man in a small town sparks, hoping to leave his past behind him, but everything changes when he takes a job in a peculiar old shop, and meets a lonely single mother… A hypnotic gothic thriller and a mesmerising study of identity and obsession.

When Teddy Colne arrives in the small town of Rye, he believes he will be able to settle down and leave his past behind him. Little does he know that fear blisters through the streets like a fever. The locals tell him to stay away from an establishment known only as Berry & Vincent, that those who rub too closely to its proprietor risk a bad end.

Despite their warnings, Teddy is desperate to understand why Rye has come to fear this one man and to see what really hides behind the doors of his shop.

Ada moved to Rye with her young son to escape a damaged childhood and years of never fitting in, but she’s lonely and ostracised by the community. Ada is ripe for affection and friendship, and everyone knows it.

As old secrets bleed out into this town, so too will a mystery about a family who vanished fifty years earlier, and a community living on a knife edge.

Teddy looks for answers, thinking he is safe, but some truths are better left undisturbed, and his past will find him here, just as it has always found him before. And before long, it will find Ada too.

MY REVIEW

Oh My Goodness!!! What an amazing book this was. The author started with one thing then it gradually morphed into something so much darker than I ever expected, all in a very, very good way I must add.

This story is about two people and the chapters alternate between the two of them. Ada is a single mother and lives in Rye, never quite fitting into this small and clique-ridden village. She is always polite but always on the edge of things.

Teddy arrives and gets a job in an old curiosity/ knick-knack/ random things and objects shop. The owner is a bizarre man, to say the least, he doesn’t speak, he hasn’t interviewed Teddy and seems to lurk in the shadows.

It is natural that these two lonely people should meet and become friends. But there are warnings for Teddy about the shop and of things that may have happened in the past. Ada is aware that something has happened, she doesn’t know the full story though.

This is a remarkable book to read, it is a story that feels frantic at times with the emotions of the characters tumbling across the pages. Then there are quieter, more considered and slower breathing spaces where the author describes this sinister shop and the curios within its doors and behind the windows.

The shop is one of those weird and wonderful places full of things you would expect to see in one of those old museums that is hidden on a back street somewhere. In fact, this place sort of reminded me of a curious and wonderfully bizarre museum I visited on holiday in Ilfracombe in Devon. A place where there are drawers of insects, jars of animal parts and yes even shrunken heads! For me, this book brought memories of some of the objects I had seen, but then the author so brilliantly added a dark and atmospheric air to her story. This at times felt incredibly creepy, sinister and macabre.

The way emotions of the characters and also the way she has made the shop a character in its own right are fabulous. There is a wonderful, almost lyrical way to her writing at times and this almost lulls the reader into a false sense of security.

The storyline itself,m well that is something that I didn’t expect, well I say that, but I did have a feeling where things may go but definitely not to the extent they did.

This is a brilliant book and it is one that I adored from the first pages to the very last. A tense, mysterious thriller that had me hooked. An amazing book and one that I would absolutely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ronnie Turner grew up in Cornwall, the youngest in a large family. At an early age,
she discovered a love of literature and dreamed of being a published author.
Ronnie now lives in the South West with her family and three dogs. In her spare
time, she reviews books on her blog and enjoys long walks on the coast. Ronnie is
a Waterstones Senior Bookseller and a barista, and her youth belies her
exceptional, highly unusual talent.

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

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