My Week In Books w/e 17th March

So last week I managed to read 6 books. A good week for reading and a good week for reducing my NetGalley shelf to 14 now. Talking of NetGalley, I had a good peruse through and discovered that they send a weekly update for whats on my shelf. How had I missed this!!, it’s very handy because it lets you know if you have any books to download, how many are on your shelf to be read and also if a book on your shelf has been published.

I am also on Annual leave this coming week, and very pleased about that as well.

Wohoo GIF

I have not got anything planned on the blog, and I may not be as active on social media either. So taking time out and a chance to do a bit of long over-due Blogmin 😦

So let’s have a look at what I read shall we…

The Darkness by Ragnar Jonasson – I bought this one and read it straight away, normally I buy a book and it sits on my tbr for a while. The reason I read this as soon as it arrived through my letterbox was because I had a very nice email from Michael Joseph books inviting me to read the 2nd book via NetGalley.

I loved The Darkness, loved its main protagonist Hulda and you can read my full review HERE


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The Island by Ragnar Jonasson – Is the second in the Hidden Iceland Trilogy, and it is different in some ways to the first but still has the same wonderful descriptive, atmospheric details that I am coming to expect from this author. Again this is another one that I absolutely loved and now I have to wait till 2020 until the final book is released… I have it on pre-order


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The Rumour by Lesley Kara – I have had this on my TBR since it was first published and I bought the hardback while doing my weekly shopping. I quickly got caught up in the story, a simple rumour that turns this story head over heels. I completely got caught up in this very clever story that had turns I didn’t expect and when I got to the end well… Holy Shit Bags!!!!


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A View To A Kilt by Wendy Holden – I received this one via NG, I really liked the idea of the story and it looked like a fun read. While I did enjoy this story and the humour, it didn’t quite hit my expectations, but I still read it and enjoyed it.


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The Little Vintage Carousel by the Sea by Jaimie Admans – Oh just look at that cover, if that doesn’t cheer you up on a miserable march day then I dont know what will. The story inside is just as stunning as the cover, it had me smiling and smirking on many occasions, some fabulous facts that compliment a not so straight forward romance story.


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The Afghan by Andrew Turpin – I have been a fan of this author and his main protagonist Joe Johnson for a while now. I have read the previous books in the series and now there is a prequel, so if you have not come across this author then this is the ideal place to start. It is a prequel to the first 3 books and is a link to the 4th book ‘Stalin’s Final Sting’ Reviews for both books will be on their way soon.


Well that’s it for another week.

Happy Reading Folks ! 😉 xx

One Law For The Rest Of Us by Peter Murphy #netgalley #review

Today I am delighted to be sharin my review for One Law For The Rest Of Us by peter Murphy. My thnaks to Oldcastle Books for my e-copy via NetGalley.

I have previously read a couple of books by this author, They were from the Walden series and I really enjoyed them, One Law For The Rest Of Us is very different from Walden and it is also the 6th in the Ben Schroeder series. I have not read any other books in this series and this one worked very well as a stand-alone.

When Audrey Marshall sends her daughter Emily to the religious boarding school where she herself was educated a generation before, memories return—memories of a culture of child sexual abuse presided over by a highly-regarded priest. Audrey turns to barrister Ben Schroeder in search of justice for Emily and herself. But there are powerful men involved, men determined to protect themselves at all costs. Will they succeed? Is there indeed one law for the rich and powerful, and one law for . . . ?

When I first read the synopsis for this book I was a little unsure given the subject matter of child abuse, reading further on in the synopsis gave indications of things I do like to read about. So it gave a balance that appealed to me and I decided to give it a go and I am so glad I did.

Initially there are two cases with this story, one from the 1940’s and one from the 1970’s. Audrey was sent to a boarding school during the blitz in the 40’s. While there she was abused but she cannot remember anything about it, her mind has blocked it out. When Emily tells her mum that she has been abused, Audrey’s memories suddenly come rushing back.

The story gradually tells the memories of Audrey and also her daughter as a trial starts. Witnesses, evidence, investigations and information gathering add to the courtroom process. This is not however a straightforward case as implications are far reaching. Manipulation and attempts to cover up and protect the guilty are rife.

This is not a single plot book, though it’s focus is on the mother and daughter case. There are many other things in the background and other characters make their presence felt. This book made my blood boil at times as I followed the interviews and trials.

This author has a lot of experience given his legal background, in this book it really shows. I did however feel that at times some of the protocols and processes were a little too much. I understand the importance of showing all the steps involved in a trial, with all the legal wranglings and decision making, but at times I did feel t slowed the story down occasionally. On the plus side it really did give an insightful glimpse into the traditions, wordings and requirements required in law.

At times this was a hard read, the scenes describing the abuse were uncomfortable, but they were not numerous ans were not glorified or dwelt upon too much. The main focus was on the fight for justice.

This story is a serious legal court room read, there are various legal aspects that are intense, it follows the fight for justice. This is a book I would recommend to people who prefer a more legally technical fiction read rather than a fast paced thriller. It is one I would definitely recommend.

Peter Murphy
Photo taken from the Author’s Amazon Uk page

Peter Murphy was born in 1946. After graduating from Cambridge University he spent a career in the law, as an advocate and teacher, both in England and the United States. His legal work included a number of years in The Hague as defence counsel at the Yugoslavian War Crimes Tribunal. He lives with his wife, Chris, in Cambridgeshire.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would me great 🙂 xx

Do Not Disturb by Claire Douglas @MichaelJBooks #NetGalley #review

I am delighted to be sharing my review today for Do Not Disturb by Claire Douglas. My thanks to Michael Joseph Books who accepted my request to review this book via NetGalley.

This is the first time I have read a book by this author so I am delighted that she has published other books so I can read more by her.

Could your dream home be your worst nightmare? 

After what happened in London, Kirsty needs a fresh start with her family. 
And running a guesthouse in the Welsh mountains sounds idyllic.

But then their first guest arrives.
Selena is the last person Kirsty wants to see.
It’s 17 years since she tore everything apart.

Why has she chosen now to walk back into Kirsty’s life?
Is Selena running from something too?
Or is there an even darker reason for her visit?

Because Kirsty knows that once you invite trouble into your home, it can be murder getting rid of it . . .

The synopsis does a good job of laying the bones for this story and it has a nice amount of mysterious and enticing intrigue to it. I don’t know about anyone else, it worked for me.

The author has set this story at a good pace with a family moving to their new home. They have purchased a rundown property in a Welsh village, a chance to make it into a home and also be run as a guest house. Oh, by the way, I am not mentioning what it resides next to…

Even though it has a good pace, there are also quieter moments to the story. These tend to have a sinister feeling and aspects of a creepy sense start to be felt. I would expect this with an old property, but there is more than that. Adding to this feeling is the way the author has used the surrounding hills with their domineering presence to add an extra chill factor.

Old houses have histories and when they are in village communities they also have secrets, whispers and to some extent mistrust, depending on who you listen to …

As this is also a guest house, there are obviously guests, some are welcomed and some are not. It was interesting to see how things had been manipulated among the residents and how… actually I’m not saying anymore because I don’t want to spoil it… But I will say that there were several truths and revelations that raised my eyebrows.

While this is a psychological thriller, it is not a hardcore bloodfest sort. Yes, there is a body but there is something more sinisterly dangerous and also a vulnerability at play. It also deals with a tough condition that I thought had been done in a very well balanced way.

As for working out the culprit, well here the author outfoxed me, I could have listed several characters, in fact, this is what I believe the author has intended, so well played.

I have been very vague for this review, it is one of those books you need to experience for yourself. A story of family hoping for a new start. Secrets and rumours play a part. Mistrust add to the sense of suspense. A book that I really enjoyed from start to finish and it is one I would definitely recommend.

Image from Goodreads

Claire Douglas always wanted to write novels and, after many years of trying to get published, her dream came true when she won the Marie Claire Debut Novel Award in 2013 with THE SISTERS.

Her second and third novels, LOCAL GIRL MISSING and LAST SEEN ALIVE (Penguin), are Sunday Times bestsellers.

Visit Claire – Twitter

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

My Week In Books

I had this in my diary to post up yesterday but got sidetracked with Sunday Roast, reading and I did manage to watch a film on Amazon Prime.

I am hoping to make this a weekly thing, but I do tend to be a bit hit and miss on things like this.

I have been making an effort to get to some NetGalley reads that fall into the “older than 3 months” category. I have been quite successful with this and only have 2 more left to go. It has also boosted my feedback ratio to 90% that I am very pleased about. Also catching up with the physical review copies that have again been sat a little too long on my tbr.

So this is what have I read since last week…

Dear Rosie Hughes by Melanie Hudson

Synopsis – The best friendships are worth fighting for…

It’s been fifteen years since Aggie’s friendship with Rosie Hughes ended abruptly. But now she’s heard from the village rumor mill that Rosie is off to war, she knows her best friend needs her more than ever – despite what’s happened between them in the past.

As Rosie faces a desert full of danger and Aggie falls further from the path to love she’ so wants, the two friends write each other letters.

The comfort in their shared words is an anchor to the life they knew before…and the only constant in a world as increasingly unpredictable as the wind.

Read My Review


Do Not Disturb by Claire Douglas

Synopsis – Could your dream home be your worst nightmare? 

After what happened in London, Kirsty needs a fresh start with her family. 
And running a guesthouse in the Welsh mountains sounds idyllic.

But then their first guest arrives.
Selena is the last person Kirsty wants to see.
It’s 17 years since she tore everything apart.

Why has she chosen now to walk back into Kirsty’s life?
Is Selena running from something too?
Or is there an even darker reason for her visit?

Because Kirsty knows that once you invite trouble into your home, it can be murder getting rid of it . . .

Review to follow soon 🙂


The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Synopsis – The long-awaited new novel from the author of the global bestseller and modern classic, The Shadow of the Wind.

As a child, Daniel Sempere discovered among the passageways of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books an extraordinary novel that would change the course of his life. Now a young man in the Barcelona of the late 1950s, Daniel runs the Sempere & Sons bookshop and enjoys a seemingly fulfilling life with his loving wife and son. Yet the mystery surrounding the death of his mother continues to plague his soul despite the moving efforts of his wife Bea and his faithful friend Fermín to save him.

Just when Daniel believes he is close to solving this enigma, a conspiracy more sinister than he could have imagined spreads its tentacles from the hellish regime. That is when Alicia Gris appears, a soul born out of the nightmare of the war. She is the one who will lead Daniel to the edge of the abyss and reveal the secret history of his family, although at a terrifying price.

The Labyrinth of the Spirits is an electrifying tale of passion, intrigue and adventure. Within its haunting pages Carlos Ruiz Zafón masterfully weaves together plots and subplots in an intricate and intensely imagined homage to books, the art of storytelling and that magical bridge between literature and our lives.

This is a series I have followed and read over the years and it was wonderful to be back reading this 800+ page book 🙂


Whisper To Me by Sherrie Lowe

Synopsis – A new wife and a vengeful ghost. Not a good mix. 

Letitia – Tish – Stanyer makes husband Theo promise never to remarry if she dies and he complies just to pacify her. She isn’t going to die. 

She does – and he does remarry. Tish isn’t happy. Her spirit cannot rest with another woman in her domain, sampling the delights of her husband. Theo belongs to her – Sheena will have to go. 

I won an e-copy of this book after entering the Giveaway during Sherrie’s Blog Tour 🙂


And my final book this week is…

The Winters by Lisa Gabriele

Synopsis – Inspired by Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, a spellbindingly suspenseful novel set in the moneyed world of the Hamptons, about secrets that refuse to remain buried and consequences that can’t be escaped

After a whirlwind romance, a young woman returns to the opulent, secluded Long Island mansion of her new fiancé Max Winter—a wealthy politician and recent widower—and a life of luxury she’s never known. But all is not as it appears at the Asherley estate. The house is steeped in the memory of Max’s beautiful first wife Rebekah, who haunts the young woman’s imagination and feeds her uncertainties, while his very alive teenage daughter Dani makes her life a living hell. She soon realizes there is no clear place for her in this twisted little family: Max and Dani circle each other like cats, a dynamic that both repels and fascinates her, and he harbors political ambitions with which he will allow no woman—alive or dead—to interfere.

As the soon-to-be second Mrs. Winter grows more in love with Max, and more afraid of Dani, she is drawn deeper into the family’s dark secrets—the kind of secrets that could kill her, too. The Winters is a riveting story about what happens when a family’s ghosts resurface and threaten to upend everything.

I received a review copy of this at the end of last year and I really should have read it before now. It was a cracking read and another great book 🙂


So that was my reading week that was!

Have a great week folks and Happy Reading xx

Dear Rosie Hughes by Melanie Hudson @HarperImpulse #NetGalley #review

Today I have my review for the fabulous Dear Rosie Hughes. I have to say a massive Thank You to the wonderful folks at Harper Impulse and Killer Reads for asking if I would like to read this book via NetGalley. An absolutely wonderful read from start to finish.

Let’s have a look and see what it is all about…

The best friendships are worth fighting for…

It’s been fifteen years since Aggie’s friendship with Rosie Hughes ended abruptly. But now she’s heard from the village rumor mill that Rosie is off to war, she knows her best friend needs her more than ever – despite what’s happened between them in the past.

As Rosie faces a desert full of danger and Aggie falls further from the path to love she’ so wants, the two friends write each other letters.

The comfort in their shared words is an anchor to the life they knew before…and the only constant in a world as increasingly unpredictable as the wind.

The synopsis hints at the story, a story of friendship that has drifted and has now been reignited. The whole story is told in a series of emails, letters, and messages. They tell the lives of the characters involved.

I picked this book up only meaning to read a few chapters… I read the lot in one go it was that good. The friends are Aggie and Rosie. They reach out to each other across the miles and rekindle a friendship that ended abruptly. They discuss their lives and loves, experiences and settle misunderstandings.

The story as I have said is a series of messages, letters and each is time and date marked, I saw these as unconventional chapter headings. The author has created such a wonderful story that just enveloped me and with such a distinctive style. When I started I wasn’t sure how this would reach me on an emotional level… how wrong was I! It touched my heart in a huge way, and even now as I sit here typing I can feel that lump in my throat and tears at the edges of my eyes and I read the book several days ago. This is a book that is obviously going to stay with me for a long time, it is a very special book.

As the story made its way, I found that Aggie and Rosie still had a strong, if somewhat tentative at the beginning friendship after a 15-year break. It is one of those situations where I felt that even though they had been apart for many years they were able to pick up where they left off. Yes, they had drifted apart, almost like they had hit pause and were just waiting for the moment when they both needed each other and play could be pressed and all would resume again.

This is a story that made me smile, snigger and sob buckets. It ticked so many boxes without me realising it, I was absolutely absorbed and hooked by this beautiful story. It is one that I would highly and abso-flamin-lutely recommend.

At the time of writing up my post Dear Rosie Hughes is available for only 99p, it will be one of the best 99p you will spend. Here is the link for Amazon UK to download your copy –HERE

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

The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah @HarperCollinsUK #NetGalley #review

Today I am delighted to be sharing my review for The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah. My thanks to the publisher Harper Collins for accepting my request to review this book.

Let’s see what it is all about…

The world’s most beloved detective, Hercule Poirot – the legendary star of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express and most recently The Monogram Murders and Closed Casket—returns in a stylish, diabolically clever mystery set in 1930’s London.

Returning home after lunch one day, Hercule Poirot finds an angry woman waiting outside his front door. She demands to know why Poirot has sent her a letter accusing her of the murder of Barnabas Pandy, a man she has neither heard of nor ever met.

Poirot has also never heard of a Barnabas Pandy, and has accused nobody of murder. Shaken, he goes inside, only to find that he has a visitor waiting for him — a man who also claims also to have received a letter from Poirot that morning, accusing him of the murder of Barnabas Pandy…

Poirot wonders how many more letters of this sort have been sent in his name. Who sent them, and why? More importantly, who is Barnabas Pandy, is he dead, and, if so, was he murdered? And can Poirot find out the answers without putting more lives in danger?

Hercule Poirot is accused by four different people of writing letters that accuse them of murder. The problem is that Poirot did not send the letters, he has no idea how sent them, but he does think that something more sinister and dangerous could be afoot…

I have not read the previous two books in this series and to be honest this one reads very well as a stand-alone. I think this mirrors the way Christie herself wrote, each of her books could be picked up and read in any order.

So did this mysterious tale feel right? Actually yes it did, there was a lot of misdirection, clues that only came clear at the end, a series of possible characters who could have dunnit and who had the motive and of course there is a body.

I enjoyed the slower pace of this mystery novel and felt that the author did a really good job of creating a story with the infamous Poirot. Various mannerisms, quirks, and phrases felt right.

The plot is one that I was happy to sit back and watch (so to speak) as it worked its way through to the grand unveiling of the guilty party and the reasons why.

I have read all of Agatha Christie’s books, though it was several years ago now, and I found there were some good similarities between Sophie Hannah’s Poirot and the original. It was an enjoyable read and ones that I think would appeal to fans of cosy mystery and also of Christie fans as well.

Sophie Hannah
Photo taken from the authors Goodreads Page.

Sophie Hannah is an internationally bestselling writer of psychological crime fiction, published in 27 countries. In 2013, her latest novel, The Carrier, won the Crime Thriller of the Year Award at the Specsavers National Book Awards. Two of Sophie’s crime novels, The Point of Rescue and The Other Half Lives, have been adapted for television and appeared on ITV1 under the series title Case Sensitive in 2011 and 2012. In 2004, Sophie won first prize in the Daphne Du Maurier Festival Short Story Competition for her suspense story The Octopus Nest, which is now published in her first collection of short stories, The Fantastic Book of Everybody’s Secrets. 

Sophie has also published five collections of poetry. Her fifth, Pessimism for Beginners, was shortlisted for the 2007 T S Eliot Award. Her poetry is studied at GCSE, A-level and degree level across the UK. From 1997 to 1999 she was Fellow Commoner in Creative Arts at Trinity College, Cambridge, and between 1999 and 2001 she was a fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford. She is forty-one and lives with her husband and children in Cambridge, where she is a Fellow Commoner at Lucy Cavendish College. She is currently working on a new challenge for the little grey cells of Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie’s famous detective.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or sharing would be great 🙂 xx

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley @lucyfoleytweets @HarperCollinsUK #NetGalley

Today I am delighted to be sharing my review for The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley. It is hard to miss a cover this bright and also there has been a lot of publicity for this book on social media. These two things are what attracted me to read the synopsis and then to request a review e-copy from the publisher Harper Collins via NetGalley.

For fans of Ruth Ware and Tana French, a shivery, atmospheric, page-turning novel of psychological suspense in the tradition of Agatha Christie, in which a group of old college friends are snowed in at a hunting lodge . . . and murder and mayhem ensue.

All of them are friends. One of them is a killer.

During the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of thirtysomething friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands—the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves.

They arrive on December 30th, just before a historic blizzard seals the lodge off from the outside world.

Two days later, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead.

The trip began innocently enough: admiring the stunning if foreboding scenery, champagne in front of a crackling fire, and reminiscences about the past. But after a decade, the weight of secret resentments has grown too heavy for the group’s tenuous nostalgia to bear. Amid the boisterous revelry of New Year’s Eve, the cord holding them together snaps.

Now one of them is dead . . . and another of them did it.

Keep your friends close, the old adage goes. But just how close is too close? 

The synopsis for this book does a really great job. A story of friendship that once held these people together through their younger days but now appears to be heading towards its best by date.

I really enjoyed the style this book has been laid out in. It has quick chapters that flit back and forth between the groups’ arrival at a Scottish Lodge, there pasts and then forward to the day that a body is discovered.

Another alternating factor is that of the characters, as their chapters also change as sections are told from them and fro their own perspective. The gave additional insights into each character, so I got to see them as they think they are seen and also how they are actually seen. The characters give memories, events, relationships and also interactions that gradually builds up a picture of how this group came together and what keeps them in touch with each other.

With all the toing and froing, you would think it would get a little bit confusing, but this is really not the case. I soon discovered that I was able to easily keep up with this and the reading was understandable.

I really liked the way the author kept the ID of the victim secret all the way through the story. This gave me a chance to try and work out who the victim was. I could say that I worked out who it was, but the truth of the matter is that there were several people who I guessed, so in actual fact, I didn’t really guess at all. Oh and the perpetrator, well I didn’t guess that one either.

This is a story that had a feel of Agatha Christie about it, I say this because of its isolated setting and that it was closed off to outsiders which meant it had to be one of the group. Also, there were the pieces of the puzzle being brought together at the end.

I really enjoyed this story, the style in which it was written and it worked really well for me. It is a murder/ mystery/ whodunit/ who was the victim style that I think would appeal to a variety of readers. It isn’t a hard crime book but more towards a cosy mystery. It is one I would definitely recommend.

Lucy Foley
Picture Credit
From the Authors Goodreads Page

I live in London, but love traveling – both in real life and on the page (hence the appearance of some far flung locations in my writing). 

My latest novel is The Invitation – set in the film world of the 1950s, along the Italian Riviera. 

My debut novel, The Book of Lost & Found, published in early 2015.

You can find me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter

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

No Further Questions by Gillian McAllister #MeAndMyBooks #NetGalley @MichaelJBooks #review

I am delighted to be sharing my review today for No Further Questions by Gillian . My thanks to the Publisher Michael Jospeh for accepting my request to review this ebook via NetGalley.


The police say she’s guilty.
She insists she’s innocent.

She’s your sister.
You loved her.
You trusted her.
But they say she killed your child.

Who do you believe?

Original, devilishly clever and impossible to forget, this is a thriller with a difference. You won’t be able to tear yourself away from the trial that will determine both sisters’ fates.

The synopsis for No Further Questions is perfect, it has the right amount of tension and intrigue to make me want to pick and read. In fact it did such a good job that not only did I originally request it via NetGalley, but I also bought the ebook from Amazon, then forgetting that I already had it, I also bought a paperback copy from the supermarket when I went shopping 🙂 I am gutted this has been on my TBR for this long as it is a cracking read.

It is a mix of courtroom drama and revisited memories that kept me eagerly turning the pages. To be honest, if work wasn’t essential I would have read this in one sitting.

So where to start? Okay, the sisters, Martha and Becky, both married, both have a child, and both sisters are very different from each other. One of the sisters needs help as she tries to run her business and look after her 8 week old, in steps the other sister and they work out a plan that in theory will fit them both. Being sisters this seems to be the ideal choice.

Now to the parents of the sisters, how the mind boggles with this aspect. Wanting to be supportive of both daughters and yet one is in the dock being accused of murdering the daughter of the other sister… Was the sister guilty, she professes her innocence, was it an accident or murder?

The story is told in thought-provoking daily chapters from the perspective of the sisters and some of the other characters. There are subchapters as well  that give details from those involved each day, including those that have been called to give evidence.

It was so easy to get into this story and the further I read the more engrossed I got. I was never sure if the sister was guilty, part of me wanted her to be innocent, but there was also a seed of doubt that hovered in the background. Then further in I started to get this horrible nagging feeling, a “What if” moment. It was a feeling I hoped I was wrong about, but by the end of the story, I was right. Now this really didn’t matter, yes I worked it out, but it was all about the story getting me to that point. Even when the truth was revealed I was still shocked as I was so caught up with the story on such an emotional level, I really did not want to be right.

This is a wonderfully gripping story that explored many emotions and dilemmas for the main characters. A story of a family that are dealing with a tragic loss and could be potentially ripped even further apart. This is a tense, powerful, heartbreaking and thought-provoking read that I would definitely recommend.

Image and Bio taken from the Authors Page on Amazon UK

Gillian McAllister is the Sunday Times Top 10 bestselling author of Everything But The Truth, Anything You Do Say, and No Further Questions. They are all standalone and can be read in any order. She is published in ten countries around the world. The Good Sister is her US debut, coming June 2019 from Penguin USA, and is the American title for No Further Questions. The Evidence Against You is her next novel, out April 2019 in the UK. 

You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @gillianmauthor. She also blogs at http://www.gillianmcallister.com.

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

The Lost Daughter by Gill Paul #MeAndMyBooks #NetGalley #review

Today I am sharing my review for a fabulous book, The Lost Daughter by Gill Paul. I would like to thank the publisher Headline for accepting my request to read an e-copy of this book.

A Russian princess. An extraordinary sacrifice. A captivating secret….

From the number one best-selling author of The Secret Wife, The Lost Daughter is a sweeping, moving story of the tenacity of love and the power of forgiveness. Spectacular, enthralling and romantic, Gill Paul’s latest novel will stay with you forever.

1918. With the country they once ruled turned against them, the future of the Romanov family hangs in the balance. When middle daughter Maria captures the attention of two of the guards, it will lead to the ultimate choice between right and wrong….

Fifty-five years later…

‘I didn’t want to kill her’. With these cryptic words Val’s father dies, leaving her to unravel a mystery which unites two families who have faced unspeakable tragedy and perhaps to finally offer an explanation which has been long overdue. 

I am going to start by saying that this is a stunning historical fiction read that has been sat on my digital TBR for far too long. I really wish I had picked it up sooner.

It has two timelines, one in 1918 and the other in the 1970s. I was curious how these two would eventually link up as they also span two different continents. A story of tragedy, love, betrayal, and heartbreak amongst the turmoil of 1918 Russia, and in the 70s a daughter trying to discover the meaning behind her fathers’ mysterious ramblings.

What an absolutely fabulous read, full of emotion and completely addictive. From the start, I noticed the details that showed the evidence of a well-researched book. I was immediately transported with the authors take on the story of the Romanov family. Maria is one of Tsar Nicholas II daughters. At 19 Maria is taken from the opulent lifestyle. Russia is in a period of transition, a period of turmoil and suffering that many experienced for many years to come.

In the 70s I met Val, she is confused with her father. He has dementia and is dying, but she wonders if his mysterious conversations have anything to do with his past. They are troubled words and she finds herself unable to leave them alone. She sets out to discover the truth and also finds herself making decisions about her own future.

There is something about the history of the Romanovs and Russian history of this era that really does pique my interest. It may seem a morbid thing to be interested in, but my interest lies in the social class and structure of the time. A time in history that is tragic as people of all classes are persecuted, depending on who is in power. But it is the human resilience and inventiveness of trying to stay alive, rather than bowing down to an authority that would rather you were dead than oppose them. The Author has done an amazing job of mixing fact with fiction to give a glimpse into Russian life at the time.

The story between the two times was one that had me hooked. I found the characters were very easy to follow and recognisable. The alternating timelines were again very easy to keep up with. I found a story that was heartbreaking and hopeful. Heartbreaking because of what had happened, but hopeful towards the possibility of a better future. It had a dramatic and at times tense atmosphere to the reading, I found myself constantly wondering and worrying about the fate of some of the characters. I was totally caught up and mesmerised by the whole story.

The story of Val is a gradual one, she slowly starts to unravel a decades-old mystery that has kept its grip on her father. Her story really did compliment that of Maria. I was unsure how they would link, but when I started to see little things coming together I was even more compelled to read. By the end of the story I was a bit of an emotional wreck… enter the box of tissues…I found the concluding chapters brought everything together beautifully and completely, although I was gutted to have finished the story.

This was an absolutely wonderful read, it has an amazing balance of human endurance to overcome heartwrenching odds. In case you have not guessed it yet, I absolutely adored this story and it is one I would Highly Recommend. Also, it has left me wanting to read more by this author.

Image and Bio taken from the Author’s Page at Amazon UK

Gill Paul is an author of historical fiction, specialising in relatively recent history. Her new novel, The Lost Daughter, is about Maria, the third of the Romanov daughters, who befriended the guards in Ekaterinburg, and a Sydney woman called Val Scott, who is trapped in an abusive marriage. 

Gill’s other novels include Another Woman’s Husband, about links between Wallis Simpson and Princess Diana, and The Secret Wife, about the romance between cavalry officer Dmitri Malama and Grand Duchess Tatiana, the second Romanov daughter, who first met in 1914. Women and Children First is about a young steward who works on the Titanic. The Affair was set in Rome in 1961–62 as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton fell in love while making Cleopatra. And No Place for a Lady is about two Victorian sisters who travel out to the Crimean War of 1854–56 and face challenges beyond anything they could have imagined.

Gill also writes historical non-fiction, including A History of Medicine in 50 Objects, and a series of Love Stories, each containing fourteen tales of real-life couples: how they met, why they fell for each other, and what happened in the end. Published around the world, this series includes Royal Love Stories, World War I Love Stories and Titanic Love Stories.

Gill was born in Glasgow and grew up there, apart from an eventful year at school in the US when she was ten. She studied Medicine at Glasgow University, then English Literature and History (she was a student for a long time), before moving to London to work in publishing. She started her own company producing books for publishers, along the way editing such luminaries as Griff Rhys Jones, John Suchet, John Julius Norwich, Ray Mears and Eartha Kitt. She also writes on health, nutrition and relationships.

Gill swims year-round in an open-air pond – “It’s good for you so long as it doesn’t kill you”– and is a devotee of Pilates. She also particularly enjoys travelling on what she calls “research trips” and attempting to match-make for friends.

Purchase Link – Amazon UK

Visit the Author on – TwitterWebsiteFacebook

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A Brush With Death by Ali Carter #MeAndMyBooks #NetGalley #review

Today I have my review of A Brush With Death by Ali Carter. This book has been on my TBR for a little while now. I would like to thank Oneworld Publications for approving my request to read this ebook via NetGalley.

Agatha Christie meets Downton Abbey in this delightful new series introducing pet portraitist and amateur super-sleuth, Susie Mahl

In the village of Spire, murder is afoot. Rich landowner Alexander, 9th Earl of Greengrass is caught with his trousers down in the village graveyard before meeting a gruesome end.

Luckily Susie Mahl happens to be on hand. With her artist’s eye for detail and her curious nature she is soon on the scent of the murderer…

Susie Mahl paints portraits of peoples pets. Her latest commission is of a Deerhound called Situp…I love this as a name for a dog. During a weekend stay at pet owners home in the village of Spire, one of Sophie’s friends is murdered.

This is a cosy mystery and the first in the Susie Mahl Mystery series. From the very outset, was quickly engaged as I discovered the main characters. It was found numerous mentions and references to art, painting and the processes and while I did find them interesting I felt it slowed the telling of the main story down a bit. Once the painting sections started to diminish the story itself started to come to the forefront again and the pace quickened. Susie was able to embark on her own truth-finding mission.

While reading I found myself surprised when mentions of mobile phones, internet etc were mentioned. I think this is due to having comparisons with Downton Abbey and Agatha Christie who I associate with 1920’s/30’s. I think this is my own assumption, but as there were only the occasional technology mentions it didn’t really matter that much.

Susie paints for those who have money and status, they are Lords, Ladies, Earls and Countesses. She stays for weekends to get to know the pet she is going to paint, it gives her a chance to explore and try to discover various truths. The plot itself is nicely laid out as Susie’s investigations are being delved into. It has a gentle pace rather than a full pelt race to the end.

If you like cosy mysteries then I think this is one readers of the genre will enjoy. I am looking forward to reading more about Susie in this series and will be buying more as they are available. This is one I would recommend.

Image from the Author Page on Amazon UK

Ali Carter was born in Scotland and read art history at St Andrews. There followed an eclectic career in investment management, retail and technology; then in 2011 she had a catastrophic bicycling accident. After major brain surgery and a long recovery, Ali set herself a challenge to walk alone from Canterbury to Rome, a three-month pilgrimage she wrote about in her book, An Accidental Jubilee by Alice Warrender. From then she decided to follow her passion and become a fine artist, specialising in oil paintings from life with an emphasis on colour. Ali works from her studio in East Sussex and also draws pet portraits to commission. A Brush with Death is her first novel.

Visit Ali on her Amazon Author Page

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