The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup #20booksofsummer #thriller #mustread #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup, this is a book I bought when it was first released and another that has gradually slipped down the TBR. This is why it was one of the books I chose to go on my #20booksofsummer #readingchallenge list and it is book 13 of 20.

So, what is it about…

Synopsis…

THE CHILLING DEBUT NOVEL FROM THE CREATOR AND WRITER OF HIT TV SHOW THE KILLING

As the leaves fall, he’s coming for you. . .

One October morning in a quiet suburb, the police make a terrible discovery.

A young woman is found brutally murdered with one of her hands missing.

Above her hangs a small doll made of chestnuts.

Examining the doll, Forensics are shocked to find a fingerprint belonging to a young girl, kidnapped and murdered a year ago.

Can a new killer be the key to an old crime?

And will his spree be over when winter arrives – or is he only just getting started?

Purchase links from Amazon UK – KindlePaperbackHardbackAudio (these are affiliate links) some of the covers are different, but I have used the image from the hardback as this is the copy I have.

My Review…

Wow!!!!!
Where exactly do I start with my review for this outstanding book? I mean when I finished it, it left me in “book hangover mode”

I bought my copy of this book when it was released and I had all intentions of reading it then, but it gradually slipped further down my TBR as other books took priority. I know this is something that many readers will get!

So, the book!!!!! It is absolutely blooming fantastic from start to finish. The characters are a real interesting bunch and there were a couple I definitely warmed too, others definitely not so much. They have varied personalities and traits and I have to say I really did like Hess. He is damaged goods and has been sent back to Copenhagen under a little bit of a shadow. Even though I didn’t know exactly what had happened in his past until further into the book I was aware of a solitary, broken man who buried himself in work.

Hess is teamed up with Thulin, she is waiting until she can move to the new cybercrime unit. It is something that will give her a chance to have more regular hours and so she spends more time with her daughter. Thulin is another character I really liked which is really odd because she isn’t someone I would necessarily warm to in real life. Both Hess and Thulin rile each other but they also see that each other knows their job and so respect is gradually built up.

Now the plot, well where to begin with that!!!!! It is a plot that I had no idea who had done it! The author creatively led me through the investigation, the body count started to rise and I was never anywhere close to guessing the culprit. Yes, I did have a couple of suspicions but I was way off the mark.

I loved the way he set the scenes, and the details are something I really got on with in this book. Some may find this a bit of a drag but for me, it just added to the story. There was at times a remoteness to the setting and this was sort of mirrored int he characters as well as the plot. It felt like everyone was alone, or working by themselves and this gave it more of a scandi noir feel.

The crime is dark and definitely on the disturbing side. It has a macabre side to it and by the time all is revealed, there was a little bit of me that could understand the why, only a little bit mind you! A cracking ending that left me stunned.

This is a book I read over several sittings, it was like I had to stop and digest chunks of it before I could pick it up and carry on again. I still read it over a couple of days as I could feel it nagging me to carry on reading again.

An excellent read and one that crime, thriller, murder readers who like their fiction on the dark and disturbing side will most likely really enjoy. I know I did and I would definitely recommend it.

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

I Am Dust by Louise Beech @OrendaBooks #20booksofsummer #mystery #suspense #mustread #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for I Am Dust by Louise Beech. THis is a book I have chosen to be part of my #20booksofsummer #readingchallenge and what a wonderful book it was.

Let me show you what it is about…

Synopsis

A haunted theatre
A murdered actress
Three cursed teenagers
A secret that devastates them all…

The Dean Wilson Theatre is believed to be haunted by a long-dead actress, singing her last song, waiting for her final cue, looking for her killer…

Now Dust, the iconic musical, is returning after twenty years. But who will be brave enough to take on the role of ghostly goddess Esme Black, last played by Morgan Miller, who was murdered in her dressing room?

Theatre usher Chloe Dee is caught up in the spectacle. As the new actors arrive, including an unexpected face from her past, everything changes. Are the eerie sounds and sightings backstage real or just her imagination? Is someone playing games?

Is the role of Esme Black cursed? Could witchcraft be at the heart of the tragedy? And are dark deeds from Chloe’s past about to catch up with her?

Not all the drama takes place onstage. Sometimes murder, magic, obsession and the biggest of betrayals are real life. When you’re in the theatre shadows, you see everything.

And Chloe has been watching…

Purchase from Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link)

My Review

I have just finished reading this book and there are two words that I think sum this book up “hauntingly beautiful” I wish I could leave that as my review, but as a Book Blogger I know I need to add more to it. The synopsis gives a very good idea as to the story, but, Oh there is so much more it than that!

The story is told in a time slip style. The past goes back to when three teens, Chloe, Jess and Ryan use a Ouija board to contact a dead actress. She was murdered while the show Dust was being performed. The now is the DW theatre, not as popular as it used to be, and there is exciting news that the show Dust will be performed once again.

The author did such an amazing job with this story, I loved the haunting atmospherics that added some amazing tension. The story started with some excitement as the teens started to use the spirit board, this was then built on over the course of the story. Mixed into this was the mystery about the dead actress, Morgan Miller, who wanted to kill her and why.

There is another mystery that also comes into play, and that is what exactly happened to the teens when they walked away from the board? Did it change them? Did they follow the warnings? Well these questions are just the tip of the ice-berg as the author took this reader deeper and deeper into this mystery.

I call this a mystery, and in some ways yes it is, but it is also has a wonderful supernatural theme to it, also there is the murder which adds a crime element, then there is the relationships between the teens, oh and there is also a heartbreaking aspect. I think what I am getting at is that this book crosses genres and that makes it a book that will engage so many different readers.

The story gradually wrapped me up, drawing me deeper and deeper into its pages. I found myself addicted and at times when I was not reading it, I almost felt it calling out to me to pick it up again. It is a beautifully written story, that is heartbreaking and haunting. I loved it from start to finish and those last few pages completely broke me and left me a sobbing wreck.

This is a book that I am pretty sure will be on my Top Reads of the Year list. It is an exceptional read and one I would Highly Recommend.

About the Author

Louise’s debut novel, How to be Brave, was a Guardian Readers’ pick in 2015 and a top ten bestseller on Amazon. The Mountain in my Shoe longlisted for the Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize 2016. The Sunday Mirror called Maria in the Moon ‘quirky, darkly comic, original and heartfelt’. It was also a Must Read in the Sunday Express and a Book of the Year at LoveReadingUK. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was described as ‘engrossing and captivating’ by the Daily Express. It also shortlisted for the RNA’s Romantic Novel of the Year and longlisted for the Polari Prize 2019. Call Me Star Girl hit number one on Kobo. It also longlisted for the Not The Booker Prize and won the Best magazine Big Book Award 2019. I Am Dust is out in 2020.

Links – WebsiteTwitterAmazon Author Page

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

Cauld Blasts and Clishmaclavers by Robin A Crawford @RobinACrawford2 #cauldblasts @eandtbooks #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review of Cauld Blasts and Clishmaclavers by Robin A Crawford. You would not believe how many time I have checked the spelling of those words!!! Spell checker is having an absolute field day with its wiggly red lines as well 😁

So this is a book about Scottish words and I have a few words here that you can have a guess at for a bit of fun. They definitions can be found below in the synopsis.

Do you know what these mean…

Clishmaclavers

Inkie-Pinkie

Sodie-heid

Smowt

Simmer dim

Dreich

I would like to thank Alison Menzies at Elliot & Thompson for my gorgeous copy of Cauld Blasts and Clishmaclavers. My thoughts are my own.

Publication: 20 August 2020

£9.99 B-format hardback

ISBN 13: 978-1-78396-478-9

The evocative vocabulary, wit and wisdom of the Scots language from Robert Burns to Twitter.

Scottish writer and bookseller, Robin Crawford, has gathered 1,000 Scots words – old and new, classical and colloquial, rural and urban – in a joyful celebration of their continuing usage. His amusing, erudite definitions put each of these words in context, revealing their evocative origins and essential character. Delightful line drawings by Scottish printmaker Liz Myhill contribute to this treasury of linguistic gems for language lovers everywhere.

The Scots language is intricately bound up in the nation’s history, identity, land and culture. It is also a living and vital vernacular, used daily. With references to Robert Burns mingling with contemporary examples from Billy Connolly and even Monty Python, Cauld Blasts and Clishmaclavers revels in the richness of one of our oldest languages, and acts as a precious reminder of words that are also beginning to fade away, their meaning and value disappearing.

 Clishmaclaver: the passing on of idle gossip, sometimes in a book.

Inkie-pinkie: weak beer.

Sodie-heid: literally, ‘head full of soda bubbles’, airhead.

Smowt: youngster, technically a young trout or salmon but also affectionately applied to a child. 

Simmer dim: Shetland term for long summer evenings where due to the northern latitude it never really gets dark.

Dreich: grey, miserable, tedious; usually applied to weather but indicative of the Scots temperament, hence it being voted Scotland’s favourite word in a recent poll (or perhaps indicative of the temperaments of Scots who feel the need to participate in online polls): ‘It’s gey dreich the day.’

Purchase from Amazon UK – KindleHardback (these are affiliate links)

So, were you right with what you thought the words meant? xx

My Review

I love learning new words and different dialects and local variants are always fascinating to me. I have lived in several counties so I have picked up local sayings. It amazes me how you can have different meanings for a word on adjoining counties. Having read fictional books written by many Scottish Authors I do find it really interesting to come across local words while reading.

So, the author has gathered 1,000 words from all walks of Scottish life, from farmers, fishermen, comedians and from years gone by. The words are a mix of old almost forgotten words as well as more mainstream ones that were more recognisable to me. I love how the author has brought so many words together as a way of bringing the past back to the forefront.

This book is ideal for dipping in and out of and I loved looking at the words and trying to guess those that I hadn’t come across before. Mostly I was wrong but that adds to the fun of this book. I have the hardback version and I have to say the cover is gorgeous and it also makes it the perfect book for leaving on the coffee table for others to enjoy.

A wonderful little book that is full of Scottish words that will amuse as well as test your pronunciation. I adored this book and I would recommend it to those who like to expand their vocabulary. I would also suggest that readers of Non-fiction and history would really enjoy this book as there are so many little anecdotes and historical snippets that have been included.

A brilliant book that I would absolutely recommend.

About the Author

Born in Glasgow, writer and Scottish bookseller Robin A. Crawford has a particular interest in the culture and natural heritage of his native land. He is the critically acclaimed author of Into The Peatlands: A Journey Through the Moorland Year, longlisted for the Highland Book Prize 2019. He lives in Fife, Scotland, with his wife. He is available for interview.

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Slow Slicing by Tony Forder @TonyJForder @BOTBSPublicity #BOTBSPublicity #crime #policeprocedural #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review for Slow Slicing by Tony J Forder. This is a brilliant series and this latest one is a fabulously dark read. My huge thanks to Sarah at Book on the Bright Side Publicity for spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this brilliant book.

I am away from Social Media at the moment so any shares would be massively appreciated ❤

Let me show you what this one is all about…

The bestselling author of the compelling DI Bliss crime series is back with another stunning novel.

WHEN DEATH BECOMES THE KINDEST CUT OF ALL
When slices of flesh and body parts are discovered in different areas of the country, DI Bliss and his team are tasked with running the operation. After Bliss realises the victims have been subjected to a specific form of torture, it leads him to a cold case involving the brutal and bloody murder of a woman in London twenty-six years earlier.

As the team discover links between their victims, the murdered woman, and gangland crime, they begin a dangerous investigation into both the past and the present. But Bliss is stumped, unable to decide if the current spate of mutilations are acts of revenge or the result of ageing criminals seeking to hide their despicable actions. Following a leak to the media, Bliss’s reaction may have dire consequences.

With the hunt for the victims at fever point, Bliss uncovers evidence steering him in the direction of one particular individual. The only problem being, his prime suspect is the one person it cannot possibly be. When Bliss orders a sting operation, the astonishing truth is revealed. And that’s when things really start to go wrong…

The stunning DI Bliss series of fast-paced police thrillers will appeal to fans of authors like Michael Connelly, Joy Ellis, Peter James, Robert Bryndza and Angela Marsons. Tony J Forder is also the bestselling author of Degrees of Darkness, Scream Blue Murder and Cold Winter Sun.

Purchase from Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link)

Oh Wow! The author has really gone to the dark side with the 7th book in the DI Bliss series. It involves body parts turning up in random areas. When I say body parts, I don’t mean like a head, or a leg, I mean a chunk of flesh! I did say he had gone dark, didn’t I?

I felt that this is one of the more challenging cases for Jimmy Bliss and his team have had to deal with. There are three body parts and the first one falls under the Bliss’s team at Peterborough, when another two pieces are found in other areas it makes sense to form a Joint Task Force to pool resources.

As odd as it may sound, the further two body parts were kind of a lead that Bliss and his team needed, their investigation had fallen flat, no leads, no clues and no evidence. With more discoveries, the emphasis and drive to solve the case is renewed. Again another dark side!

With a large investigation, there are a lot of moving parts, pressure mounts and nerves are frayed. The team are tired and still, the investigation goes on. Bliss may be a blunt and to the point old boy, but he does have a very big heart and this is very evident in this story. The author has woven a sense of doubt into Bliss and this leads him to think back over his past and think about the future. He loves his job, in fact his job keeps him sane but he does stand on a few toes.

This is a complex story and it has many parts that are all linked, so in some respects, it has one storyline. There are lots of little parts that need slotting into place before the bigger picture is seen, very much like a jigsaw that has no picture on the box and you are left puzzling which bit fits where. But at no time did I feel lost or confused, I felt in the loop of the story and was more curious with each chapter.

This is a brilliant story and one that I got into from the very first dark and disturbing chapter. The banter between Bliss and his sidekick Penny Chandler is great and at times hilarious and definitely had me laughing. The story didn’t feel fast, but methodical and deliberate and this kind of matched the storyline, it wasn’t until later that the pace picked up and for me, it made it a cracking read.

If you haven’t yet read any of these books and you are a crime reader who loves police procedural books then you really do need to look at this series. I suppose you could read Slow Slicing as a stand-alone but in my opinion, it is much better if read in order as you get a chance to get to know the characters and the bonds that they have formed over the previous books.

Slow Slicing is a dark read, the author doesn’t elaborate too much on the nature of the crimes, but gives enough for the reader to imagine and often I felt myself cringing and making that funny “urghhhh” sound! A must read for crime fans and one I would definitely recommend.

Tony J Forder is the author of the bestselling crime thriller series featuring detectives Jimmy Bliss and Penny Chandler. The first six books, Bad to the Bone, The Scent of GuiltIf Fear Wins, The Reach of ShadowsThe Death of Justice, and Endless Silent Scream, will be joined on 10 August 2020 by Slow Slicing, and in December by the DI Bliss prequel novella, Bliss Uncovered.


Tony’s dark, psychological crime thriller, Degrees of Darkness, featuring ex-detective Frank Rogers, was also published by Bloodhound Books. This is a stand-alone serial-killer novel. Scream Blue Murder, an action-adventure thrillerwas published in November 2017, and received praise from many, including fellow authors Mason Cross, Matt Hilton and Anita Waller. The sequel, Cold Winter Sun, was published in November 2018.

In November, Tony will release a new standalone suspense thriller set in California, called Fifteen Coffins.

Tony lives with his wife in Peterborough, UK, and is now a full-time author. He is currently editing a new novel, and has also started on Bliss #7, Slow Slicing.

Author Links – TwitterFacebookWebsiteAmazon Author PageGoodreads PageFantastic Fiction

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Hunters Secret by Val Penny @valeriepenny @rararesources #crime #giveaway (open Int) #bookreview

I a delighted to share my review today for Hunters Secret by Val Penny. This is the first time I have read a book by this author and I am looking forward to reading the earlier books in the series.

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

I am still quite busy at the moment and I am not on Social Media very much at the moment, so any shares would be massively appreciated ❤

Hunter’s Secret

Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson is called to the scene of a murder. DCs Tim Myerscough and Bear Zewedu found a corpse, but when Hunter arrives it has disappeared, and all is not as it seems.

Hunter recalls the disappearance of a dead body thirty years earlier. The Major Incident Team is called in but sees no connection – it is too long ago. Hunter is determined to investigate the past and the present with the benefit of modern DNA testing.

Tim has other problems in his life. His father, Sir Peter Myerscough, is released from jail. He, too, remembers the earlier murder. There is no love lost between Hunter and Sir Peter. Will Hunter accept help from his nemesis to catch a killer?
Hunter’s own secret is exciting and crucial to his future. Will it change his life? And can he keep Edinburgh safe?

Purchase Link – HERE

This is the first time I have read a book by this author and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I do think I would have enjoyed it even more if I had read the previous novels in this series, although saying that it does work very well as a stand-alone.

So where to begin… this is a story with a past and a present and more than a few coincidences that make this is a very compelling read. The past is when two young friends discover a body, they then report it but the body then vanishes.

The present is 30 years later, very much a similar setting of a body that disappears after it being reported. The reason it is connected to an old case is down to DI Hunter, he was one of the young boys responsible for the discovery years earlier.

As the title suggests, this book has a secret, it is one of many and as the story progressed the full complexity is fully explored. I really liked the way the author created double and mistrust from the outset and it added a certain amount of excitement to the investigation. Working out the goodies from the baddies was interesting, to say the least, I do love it when you get the odd rogue thrown in for good measure. Secrets within the criminal world is an obvious thing, but sometimes this can cross over and that’s when things get really interesting.

I found there were quite a few characters to get my head around, and this is why I think I would have enjoyed the book more if I had started the series from the beginning. There is an obvious team camaraderie at work in the story as there is some very good banter between characters. They have friendships that are built up in a workplace and then also on a social level, I think this is something that is built up over several books. So as well as getting to know the coppers, I also obviously had to get to know various other characters. This did mean I slowed my reading, it is something I do enjoy every now and again.

I thought the story was great, it was intriguing and I really enjoyed the twisty journey I was taken on. I also really liked the more personal side to some of the characters, its not all about work!

I do wish I had read this series from the beginning before I jumped straight into book 5, and I would advise other readers not to do what I did! This is a cracking read that falls into police procedural, crime and is intriguing and has a dark plot to it. I really enjoyed it and I would definitely recommend reading it.

Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However, she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels.

Her crime novels, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ Hunter’s Revenge, Hunter’s Force and Hunter’s Blood form the bestselling series The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries. They are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by Crooked Cat Books. The fifth novel in the series, Hunter’s Secret, is published by darkstroke. Her first non-fiction book, Let’s Get Published is available now.

Social Media Link – TwitterFacebookWebsite

Giveaway to Win a .mobi of Hunter’s Secret by Val Penny (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Enter HERE – Good Luck xx

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The Bird in the Bamboo Cage by Hazel Gaynor #TheBirdintheBambooCage @HazelGaynor @HarperFiction @RandomTTours #RandomTTours #histfic #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to be one of the Book Bloggers opening the Blog Tour and to share my review for The Bird in the Bamboo Cage by Hazel Gaynor. It is due to be published on 20th August in the UK and there are links further down so you can pre-order a copy. If you are lucky enough to live in Ireland it was published on 6th 🙂

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my stunning copy of this amazing book. Let me show you what it is all about…

War imprisoned them,
friendship set them free.

China, 1941. With Japan’s declaration of war on the Allies, Elspeth Kent’s future changes forever. When soldiers take control of the missionary school where she teaches, comfortable security is replaced by rationing, uncertainty and fear.


Ten-year-old Nancy Plummer has always felt safe at Chefoo School. Now the enemy, separated indefinitely from anxious parents, the children must turn to their teachers – to Miss Kent and her new Girl Guide patrol especially – for help. But worse is to come when the pupils and teachers are sent to a distant internment camp. Unimaginable hardship, impossible choices and danger lie ahead.


Inspired by true events, this is the unforgettable story of the life-changing bonds formed between a young girl and her teacher, in a remote corner of a terrible war.

**The following purchase links are Amazon affiliate links**

Pre-order you copy today –KINDLEHARDBACKAudiobook

This is an amazing book to read and one that opened my eyes to another aspect of WWII. The story of a group of Missionary School children living in China who were caught up in the war when Japan attacked Pearl Harbour. 

The story is told predominantly in two voices, a schoolgirl calledNancy Plummer (Plum) and her teacher Elspeth Kent. Between them, they tell their story of their time in Chefoo Missionary School, a boarding school where children live while their parents are off doing missionary work, are diplomats or doing work in areas where it is not suitable for children to live. 

Through Plum and Elspeth, I quickly learnt the routine of the school, children, teachers and local people who worked as servants. It sounded like a very idyllic life and in some ways quite privileged but with a sad side to it. Children had to come to terms with their parents work being more important. 

Things soon change as Japan enters the war. Disruption soon follows for the school as soldiers take over. The resolve of the teaching staff to carry on as best as possible really stands out. Elspeth uses the motto of the Girl Guides/ Brownies to help the girls through this transition. The emphasis of taking daily tasks and challenges and turning them towards earning badges gives the girls something to work towards especially when the school is moved.

The school is then moved again, this time to an internment camp. Illness, appalling conditions, lack of food and medical supplies make this is very glum and dissolute place. Again the resolve of the teachers is admirable and again making the best of a bad situation comes in to play. 

The story is one I read over a couple of days. It is a story that has a huge sadness around it but actually what comes through more than anything else is the feeling of hope, of friendship and of one day hopefully returning home to family. 

The author has created amazing characters, I immediately adored the main characters of Plum, Mouse, Sprout, Elspeth, and Mrs T. There are several other characters that have very important roles in the story as they provide support to their friends. There are obviously going to be characters that I am not going to like and I have to say I liked how the author dealt with a truly horrid and awful one. 

The author does characters and descriptions of setting so well. Research is obvious throughout the book and the whole story felt right. She does an amazing job of describing the awful conditions but in a way that mirrors the resolve of the staff to see the best in the conditions.

I adored this book and the way the author has woven a story around real-life events and true accounts. There is a wonderful list of books at the back of the book for further reading and also about how she was introduced to this story. It is interesting and well worth reading. 

This is a fabulous read, it took me through a range of emotions and also left me with a feeling that was heartwarming. It is a story of how a group of people are thrust into unthought-of conditions and situations. How that group then supported each other where possible. A story based on true events that readers are historical fiction needs to add to the reading list. It is an amazing book and one I would absolutely recommend.

Hazel Gaynor is an award-winning, New York Times, USA Today,
and Irish Times, bestselling author of historical fiction, including
her debut THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME, for which she received
the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award. THE
LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER’S DAUGHTER was shortlisted for the 2019
HWA Gold Crown award. She is published in thirteen languages
and nineteen countries. Hazel is co-founder of creative writing
events, The Inspiration Project, and currently lives in Ireland with
her family, though originally from Yorkshire.

Follow Hazel on – TwitterWebsiteFacebook

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The Gates of Athens by Conn Iggulden @MichaelJBooks #histfic #publicationday #TheGatesOfAthens #NetGalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Gates of Athens by Conn Iggulden. This is one for historical fiction readers and is an author who I really enjoy reading. Let me show you what his latest book is about…

490 B.C.

Two great empires are about to go to war . . .

The momentous struggle between Athens and Sparta as rival powers and political systems will last for twenty-seven years (431 to 404 BC).

It will end in the fall of a dynasty.

Filled with cunning political scheming and astonishing military prowess, invasions and treacheries, plagues and slaughters, passion and power, Conn Iggulden brings to life one of the most thrilling chapters of the ancient world.

Published by Penguin UK Michael Joseph Purchase Link from Amazon UK – HardbackKindleAudiobook (these links are affilaite)

Well, what a brilliantly addictive read this book was. I have read a few books by this author now and he is an author who I can rely on to give a riveting read that is also very well researched. This is an author who definitely knows his history and is also how to weave that historical fact into a story that is an incredible read.

I do like historical fiction and non-fiction books, although my knowledge is only small. What I did find with The Gates of Athens is that it felt right. This is a story that sees the historical battle between the Persians and the Greeks, it is the one that leads up to and includes the stand of the Spartan King at the pass in an attempt to stop the progress of Xerses into Athens.

The story focuses on key figures of the time in Athens, a city of democracy and that no one man can be above all others. It is a city of culture, wealth and politics. Now, wherever politics are involved there is also a certain amount of political wrangling. Of being seen to support certain figures or making a stand against them. I have to say that I really enjoyed this part of the story as I saw how subtle nudges and comments can lead to something much bigger.

There is also a good amount of other details of how people lived, the wealthy households are run from different cultures of the ancient world. Many of the details are brief but they help to show the differences between the various cultures.

If you like historical fiction that is set in Ancient Greece, that is full of battles, intrigue, politics and is simply a fabulous read then this is a book I would definitely recommend.

Image and Bio from Author Page on Amazon UK

Born in London, Conn Iggulden read English at London University and worked as a teacher for seven years before becoming a full-time writer. Married with three children, he lives in Hertfordshire. Since publication of ‘The Gates of Rome’, Conn has written a further thirteen books including the wildly successful ‘The Dangerous Book for Boys’.

Visit Conn on Amazon Author Page

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

A Cornish Summer by Catherine Alliott #ACornishSummer #NetGalley #contemporaryfiction #20booksofsummer #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for one of the books on my #20booksofsummer reading list. A Cornish Summer by Catherine Alliot is one that I read at the begging of June, I really need to get caught up and publish my reviews.

So, what’s this one about…

Flora’s been in love with her husband for twenty years. The trouble is, he’s been married to someone else for the past fifteen . . . 

A summer on Cornwall’s sandy beaches sounds like the perfect getaway.

Except Flora finds she’ll be spending it with her former scheming mother-in-law, ex-husband and his new wife . . .

Can she survive the summer playing happy families?

Could a holiday romance help her finally get over her him?

And will stumbling on the family secret change her mind about them all?

If you like Fern Britton, Katie Fforde and Jill Mansell, you’ll love this irresistible summer read from the bestselling author of About Last Night and Wish You Were Here. 

Purchase from Amazon UK – KindlePaperbackAudiobook (these are affilliate links)

This is a book that has a slower more sedate pace to it, well that is until you get a lot further into it. Flora has been commissioned to paint her ex-father-in-laws portrait, though she is nervous about this she does need the money. Flora and her ex, Hugo, have a son, Peter, who is well provided for, Hugo’s family are wealthy, they have status and not all of them look down on Flora.

This is a book that starts with Flora making her way to the estate in Cornwall where she will paint the portrait. She is shocked when she arrives as there are more people there than she was expecting. This launches nicely back in time to when Flora was a teen and how she and Hugo got together. It then flows naturally up to the present day.

The story has quite a bit of description about the past, about the various characters and also Flora’s thoughts. The more I read the more I found myself disliking some characters, and had a suspicion of something being underhanded. This gave an intriguing edge to the story and also there was some unexpected turns of event.

It is a story of family and secrets, and these secrets are not revealed until later in the book. The author has taken a route and twisted things along the way. It has quite a few characters and they were introduced in such a way that I was able to keep up with who was who, and I soon began to work out who I liked or didn’t.

The story was quite engaging for the most part, though there were times where I wanted it to move on quicker as I felt impatient to discover what revelation was going to happen next. But the journey through this book was lovely and I did enjoy it a lot.

This is a story that would appeal to readers who like contemporary fiction with some really nice descriptions. One I would recommend.

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

Wife Support System by Kathleen Whyman @KathleenWhyman1 @rararesources #contemporaryfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Wife Support System by Kathleen Whyman. I really enjoyed this book and would like to thank Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of the book.

So, what is it all about…

We’ve got the balance all wrong. Instead of living with our partners, struggling to do everything by ourselves and only seeing each other now and then, we should do it the other way round. We should live together and see them now and then.

Erica knows her suggestion sounds extreme, but when her nanny leaves without notice, she’s extremely desperate. Polly and Louise aren’t convinced, but when circumstances force them to move into Polly’s enormous but run-down house, they have to admit life’s much easier when the childcare and work is shared.

At first, communal living seems like the answer to their prayers – childcare on tap, rotas for cleaning and someone always available to cook dinner (no more last-minute pizza delivery!). But over time, resentment starts to grow as they judge each other’s parenting styles and bicker over cleaning, cooking and whose turn it is to buy toilet rolls.

And as one woman has her head turned by a handsome colleague, one resorts to spying on her husband and another fights to keep a dark secret, they need each other more than ever. But can Polly, Louise and Erica keep their friendship and relationships strong? Or will their perfect mumtopia fall apart?

Essential reading for anyone fed up with never-ending housework/homeschooling/preparing healthy meals that their kids reject … Fans of Why Mummy DrinksHas Anyone Seen My Sex Life? and Beth O’Leary won’t want to miss this one!

Purchase Links – Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link) KoboApple

I really enjoyed this book and read it over a couple of days. It was one of those books that had a gentle pace and it gave me a chance to get to know the three main characters. They were Erica, Louise and Polly, each has children and are school mum friends.

When Erica suggests that their recent holiday together was great and wouldn’t it be good if they could do this again. Sharing the childcare, the housework and being there for each other sounds quite a good suggestion. While on paper things should be good in practice, well that is another matter altogether.

I just know that a group of women living together may sound great, but it can also be a recipe for disaster. Especially if one is always working, the other is having issues and the third seems to be the one picking up after everyone. This is definitely a read that shows the women interactions well and made for great reading.

The dynamics between the women are wonderful reading, I loved how the author tackled various aspects of parenthood from the “my child would never do that” to the “can you pick take so and so to school scenarios”. While each of the women has their own personal lives and problems, there is also the new challenge of working together and finding compromises, this does not work so well.

I found this an entertaining read and one that had me sniggering several times, it also had some heartbreaking revelations. Seeing the women in a setting that doesn’t allow them to put on their “school mum” face was interesting.

I liked this a lot and really warmed to some characters more than others, but also by the end had discovered more about each of the women. A great summer read and one that I would definitely recommend.

Kathleen is a writer for Writers’ Forum magazine, a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and her second book was recently longlisted for the Comedy Women in Print Unpublished Comedy Novel prize.

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Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

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

Sunshine and Second Chances by Kim Nash #summerfiction #contemporaryfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Sunshine and Second Chances by Kim Nash. I read this book a few weeks ago and thought it was about time I shared this as it is a fabulous read. If you have read Kim’s previous books then you are not going to be disappointed.

Let me show you what it’s all about…

It’s never too late for second chances.

Liv wants her friends to think she has the perfect life. But honestly? She’s running on empty. Desperate from a break from her needy family, Liv is determined that as she and her three life-long friends turn fifty they will honour their promise to each other – made on a beach at sunrise twenty-nine years before – to celebrate this milestone together.

And what better place to celebrate than a gorgeous villa in the Algarve? They’ll enjoy the stunning beaches, picturesque fishing towns and glorious climate, and maybe be spoiled by the gorgeous Eduardo, who’s making one particular heart unexpectedly flutter…

Liv’s friends can’t wait to escape with her: Debs is newly single, Fiona is caring for her mum, and Samantha is grieving. But does time away make the heart grow fonder? Is the thought of returning to reality too hard to bear? Is what they have really all there is to life?

It begins as a reunion in the sunshine, but little do the four friends know what life-changing decisions they’ll all be making before their flight home…

A heart-warming, feel-good summer read about friendship, love and second chances. Perfect for fans of Cathy Bramley, Milly Johnson and Holly Martin.

Purchase from Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link)

What happens when 4 women get together for a holiday in a gorgeous villa in Portugal? Well after the initial awkwardness of not seeing each other for years passes there is laughter, tears and revelations. The woman are 50 or almost 50. They have different backgrounds, styles and personalities but they are all stuck in the rut and monotony of life. A week away is a chance to reconnect and gives them each a chance to be honest.

This author has created yet another one sitting read and what a wonderful read it was as well. I really like the idea of the 4 women getting away and seeing how they react and interact with each other. None of them are truly happy but what can they do about it, after all that is life… right!

I was hooked from the first couple of pages as I was gradually introduced to the women, had a glimpse into their lives until their arrival at their holiday destination. They are normal everyday women and go through life as women do, as mothers, as wives or single. The scenarios the authors weaves for the women at home are realistic and believable, and for me this is what makes this story work.

As the title suggests, this is about second chances. It is a chance to get off the roller-coaster of life for a while and take stock of what you have, what you dreamt about or where you see yourself. It is like a coming of age story but for adult women rather than teens.

The story is perfectly paced and there are so many heartwarming moments, as well as the odd sharp word, well after all you do have 4 menopausal women together! In fact one of my favourite scenes is when there is a discussion about the menopausal, it had me in sniggering knowingly.

A perfect escapism read and one that I adored from start to finish. A story about 4 women reconnecting, admitting the truth and then doing something about it. Brilliant story and definitely recommended.

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