With what is going on around the world, books have been my go to this year. My escape if you like. Lockdown, Pandemics, Testing Tracing, Rules, New Rules, Even more Rules… Everything we knew has altered and yet books have been a constant. So here is what has kept me entertained, intrigued and mystified throughout the most bizarre of years…
These are books that I read in 2020, I did hit my target of 200/200 books on the Goodreads Challenge. As I write this post I think I am on around 220 books. It seems that 2 and 0 are making themselves know this year!!!
Any regular visitors to my blog know that I chop and change genres that I read, so you can expect a mix of all sorts in this list.
Books I have Absolutely Or Highly Recommend this year…
So 32 books, and it seems very unfair that I have not included the ones I would Definitely Recommend as they are also excellent. Those books are a mix of my favourite authors as well as new to me authors. They include fiction and non-fiction and they all have a place in any list, its just that my list would be well over 100 books long!
One last addition to the list is a very recent read. It takes my Top Reads up to 33!
After a, well… interesting year to say the least. I would like to take this opportunity to say thanks you to all of you wonderful folk out there who have shared, liked and commented on my posts. I appreciate every single one of you.
I wish you all a wonderful Christmas, and all the very best in the New Year.
Much love to all you fabulous book loving friends,
When I posted my weekly book updates on Monday about what I had read Rough Magic by Lara Prior-Palmer was one that caught a few peoples eye so I have decided that rather than leave it until next week I am bumping it up the list and posting my review today.
This is an amazing book and I loved it, let me show you more about it…
The Mongol Derby is the world’s toughest horse race. A feat of endurance across the vast Mongolian plains once traversed by the people of Genghis Khan, competitors ride 25 horses across a distance of 1000km. Many riders don’t make it to the finish line.
In 2013 Lara Prior-Palmer – nineteen, underprepared but seeking the great unknown – decided to enter the race. Driven by her own restlessness, stubbornness, and a lifelong love of horses, she raced for seven days through extreme heat and terrifying storms, catching a few hours of sleep where she could at the homes of nomadic families. Battling bouts of illness and dehydration, exhaustion and bruising falls, she found she had nothing to lose, and tore through the field with her motley crew of horses. In one of the Derby’s most unexpected results, she became the youngest-ever champion and the first woman to win the race.
A tale of adventure, fortitude and poetry, Rough Magic is the extraordinary story of one young woman’s encounter with oblivion, and herself.
Purchase from Amazon UK – the paperback version is only £4.99 (this is an affiliate link)
Wow! What an amazing story and an amazing adventure the author took me on as she recounts her decision to take part in the Mongol Derby. Not only is it the world’s wildest horse race, but it is also the loneliest and one of the most gruelling. Riders ride the equivalent to two marathons a day.
Most riders prepare and train for this race, not however Lara. She impulsively decides to sign up and she is only 19 years old. She doesn’t have any prep, she is unprepared but her impulsive nature is something that will carry her across the 100km. The Derby is in recognition of Ghengis Khan’s postal riders and the great distances they traversed.
This is a country where horses are revered, the safety and health of the horses are paramount and the horses are changed at each leg of the 25 legs of the race. Time penalties are given for a horse who has been overworked or has been ridden past the cut-off point for each day.
This is an amazing journey and one that I absolutely enjoyed as Lara filled in details of each stage and also her emotions and feelings as she rides. For someone that is so unprepared her journey is quite remarkable, it is the endurance of the rider that is the challenge and if they can last the course both mentally and physically.
A remarkable story of determination and as soon as I had finished it I wandered over to the internet to watch videos and put faces to the people mentioned. This is a story of an intrepid adventure that is fraught with danger and difficulty. That see’s Lara not only become the youngest person to win the race but also the first female!
An outstanding read that I would highly recommend.
I was going to put a link to the video’s I watched, but then I decided not to. Why? Well, not because I am mean, but I read the book then watched the video and it worked better this way. I was able to experience the whole race from Lara’s perspective and then watch snap shots of the race after the book. In my opinion this was the better order 🙂
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx
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…
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)
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.
Today see me sharing another review from one of mt #20booksofsummer #reading challenge books. This is #10 on my list and is an absolute belter of a read. The Curator by M. W. Craven is the 3rd book in the Washington Poe series.
It’s Christmas and a serial killer is leaving displayed body parts all over Cumbria. A strange message is left at each scene: #BSC6
Called in to investigate, the National Crime Agency’s Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw are faced with a case that makes no sense. Why were some victims anaesthetized, while others died in appalling agony? Why is their only suspect denying what they can irrefutably prove but admitting to things they weren’t even aware of? And why did the victims all take the same two weeks off work three years earlier?
And when a disgraced FBI agent gets in touch things take an even darker turn. Because she doesn’t think Poe is dealing with a serial killer at all; she thinks he’s dealing with someone far, far worse – a man who calls himself the Curator.
And nothing will ever be the same again . . .
*THE NEW THRILLER FROM THE WINNER OF THE CWA BEST CRIME NOVEL OF 2019 AWARD* ______________________
I really don’t know where to start with my review for this awesome book. It’s the third book in the Washington Poe series and yes you do need to read them all just so you understand how and why Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw work so well together.
The synopsis, well, to be honest, I have only just read it! Why? It’s quite simple, I don’t need a synopsis for this series I will automatically buy the next book as soon as its available, this has been the case since I finished the first one. Oh yeah! the synopsis… it does give a good idea of what you are going to get, but it also comes nowhere near to the journey you are about to embark upon.
The characters of Poe and Tilly are exceptional, they have been brilliantly developed and the banter between the two is spot on. The author has definitely given these two their own voices and set of personal traits that fit them to a tee. Poe is occasionally acerbic, blunt and comes across as tough as nails but he is showing a more softer side when it comes to Tilly. She is naive, a computer genius and has no filter when it comes to speaking, this is explained more int he first book. This is where I suggest reading all the books in order.
As for the plot of the story, well there are a few things that immediately spring to mind and they are dark, twisted, devious and then some. This is such a cleverly executed plot that had me on my toes right the way through. I was wrong-footed many times.
A cracking story, exceptional characters and a storyline that just has to be read, I think this is going to be in my Top Reads of the Year list. This is a must-read book and series, if you haven’t read them already, and especially for crime thriller readers and those that like a mystery on the darker side. This is a book that I would give a massive thumbs up to and therefore it gets a Highly Recommended from me. For me, this is fictional deviousness at its very best.
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx
I am delighted to share my review today for The Moscow Whisper by Michael Jenkins. This is the 3rd book in this series and if you like spy and espionage books you are going to get on really well with this one. It is a cracking read. My thanks to Emma at damppebbles blog tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this fabulous book.
Let me show you what it’s all about…
‘Sometimes you have to enter the death zone to save the innocent.’
A top-secret clique of former spies meet for dinner to hatch a plan to murder a competitor, not knowing that they are under surveillance from a covert arm of British Intelligence. Hours later, with bodies strewn across a terrace, a piece of secret intelligence reveals an international plot of colossal magnitude.
For disgraced agent Sean Richardson, this is the beginning of a deniable mission to infiltrate and disrupt a group of Russian mercenaries who are working clandestinely to take over a nation state.
Acting covertly as an illicit arms trafficker, Sean is dropped into a deadly cauldron of terrorism and high-tech weaponry that will take a nation down. As the bullets fly and the chaos rains in, can Sean take down the merchants of death…or has he finally met his match?
The third in a set of spy thrillers that have been expertly crafted with stunning plot lines, magnificent locations, and twists that leave you gasping for air. Perfect for fans of Frederick Forsyth, Robert Ludlum, Tom Clancy, and Scott Mariani.
This is the third book in the Sean Richardson series and, boy oh boy was it a cracking read. While the title gives the impression of it being set in Moscow, it is actually Russian mercenaries and arms dealers who provide the Moscow link.
This is an absolute cracker of a read and I have to say I feel for Sean as the author really does put him through his paces. Sean is an off the books operative for an exclusive group. Plausible deniability being something that is essential, but it doesn’t mean that Sean is working alone.
In this mission, he has help from old friends, but as this is the world of spies, double agents, rumours and lies, there is always a doubt as to who can be trusted. Money and power lead to corruption and this leads to sold secrets, backhanders and the like.
This is such a fast-paced book that is action-packed from start to finish. Sean is an excellent character and is teamed up once again with Jack, and an American agent Laura. I just can’t help but like Sean and I still do have my doubts about the other two, there is just something about those who make the decisions that leaves an uneasy feeling. Or maybe I am always backing the underdog, and this seems to be Sean’s default setting.
There are some other great characters in this story and I love some of their names, well nicknames. They add a good deal of variety and some have a very unique skill set to boot.
The details that the author brings to this story is so good, tactics and weaponry are just the tip of the ice-berg. When you read the authors bio you can see where his own knowledge adds a massive extra to the storytelling.
This is such an excellent read, fast, action-packed, intense thriller. For me, this book just has it all and I would highly recommend it.
I started climbing at 13, survived being lost in Snowdonia at 14, nearly drowned at 15, and then joined the Army at 16. Risk and adventure was built into my DNA and I feel very fortunate to have served the majority of my working career as an intelligence officer within Defence Intelligence, and as an explosive ordnance disposal officer and military surveyor within the Corps of Royal Engineers.
I was privileged to serve for twenty-eight years in the British Army as a soldier and officer, rising through the ranks to complete my service as a major. I served across the globe on numerous military operations as well as extensive travel and adventure on many major mountaineering and exploration expeditions that I led or was involved in.
I was awarded the Geographic Medal by the Royal Geographical Society for mountain exploration in 2003 and served on the screening committee of the Mount Everest Foundation charity for many years. It was humbling after so many years of service when I was awarded the MBE for services to counter-terrorism in 2007.
I am absolutely delighted to share my review for The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary. I have had this on my TBR since it came out last year and it is one of the books I am reading for #20Booksofsummer reading challange and it was blooming brilliant.
Let me show you what this book is all about…
Tiffy and Leon share a flat Tiffy and Leon share a bed Tiffy and Leon have never met…
Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time.
But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…
I am kicking myself for not reading The Flatshare sooner, it has been languishing on my TBR ever since it came out and it is such a brilliant read.
Tiffy has been living in her ex’s flat and finally decides to move out when he parades his girlfriend through his property. I have to say I took an immediate dislike to him and wondered why on earth Tiffy still lived there.
Her new place is a flat where she will rent the bed when the other occupant is not there!!!!! Yeah you read that right! He works nightshifts Monday to Friday and stays with his girlfriend at weekends. Tiffy works Monday to Friday in the day so actually it makes sense… sort of!
Now once I had got my head around the flatshare, and so had Tiffy and her friends it does actually seem to work. It gives Tiffy a chance to get her head straight after her long overdue split from her ex, much to the delight of her friends. This is where the real story comes out about her relationship and it is much darker than I had realised as I had not really read the synopsis properly! So everything was a revelation and a shock.
As flat mates, Tiffy and Leon, he is the other person in the flat, by the way, never meet, they are the proverbial ships that pass in the night. They instead communicate by post-it notes, leaving messages and gradually they get to know each other. This relationship works really well, several months go by before an unexpectedly embarrassing and hilarious bumping into each other finally happens.
The author has created such an addictive one sitting read that I was loath to put down for even a second. The way she created and worked this storyline is just brilliant, there is a nervous start as you would expect when two people live together, but this is where it gets interesting. They are strangers and therefore they find it easier to communicate with each other through the notes they leave. So as I read I got to know them and about their individual lives as they also got to know each other.
Woven into this getting to know each other storyline, there is also other plots that emerge. For Tiffy it is a darker thread, one that makes her realise about her past and gives her the chance to deal with how she will shape her future. For Leon it is about getting justice for his brother and again about how he wants his life to pan out.
This was a brilliant read and I adored everything about it, the pacing the characters the story just completely worked for me. There is a balance between the darker moments with funny occurrences and mishaps. There is a sense of friendship and of finding things that are right for each individual. It is a book that readers who are after a human interest storyline that has moments of humour injected into, it shows how an obsessive personality can change a person and how friends are there when needed.
Yeah, I loved The Flatshare and I would Highly Recommend it.
Purchase from Amazon UK (this is an Amazon affiliate link)
Beth studied English at university before going into children’s publishing. She lives as close to the countryside as she can get while still being within reach of London, and wrote her first novel, The Flatshare, on her train journey to and from work. You’ll usually find her curled up with a book, a cup of tea, and several woolly jumpers (whatever the weather).
I am so delighted to share my review for From Venice With Love by Rosanna Ley, this is a book I read a few weeks ago and it is absolutely gorgeous. A must for readers who love a story about family, relationships and romance.
Let me show you more about this book…
The best-selling author of The Lemon Tree Hotel returns with an enchanting new holiday listen about family bonds and following your heart, wherever it might take you….
With her marriage in danger of falling apart, Joanna returns home to the beautiful but dilapidated Mulberry Farm Cottage in rural Dorset, where her sister Harriet is struggling to keep the farm afloat and cope with their eccentric mother.
When Joanna discovers a bundle of love letters in the attic, written by a watercolourist named Emmy, she is intrigued and sets out to discover Emmy’s true story. Emmy’s letters take Joanna to the picturesque alleyways and bridges of Lisbon, Prague, and the most romantic place of all: Venice – where a whole new magical world seems to unfold in front of her.
Meanwhile, back at Mulberry Farm Cottage, a mysterious prowler adds to Harriet’s problems and interrupts her search for a perfect partner. Will she ever find true love? Where will Emmy’s mesmerising pathway lead? And more importantly, will Joanna and Harriet be able to rescue the cottage and finally be able to rediscover their sisterly bond?
What an absolutely wonderful read this was, and a first by this author for me, even though I do own several of her books! This is the story of two sisters, the elder Henrietta lives in the family farm of Mulberry Farm Cottage in Dorset with the Audrey their mother. Joanna has been living and working in London but has just moved back to the family after her husband admitted to having an affair. Going home will give her the chance to look at her life and decide what she wants to do next.
This was such an amazing book to read, the author has such a wonderful way of describing the various settings in the book. If like me, you love to disappear into a different country or country, then this is a book you really want to pick up as her descriptions are so good.
The story itself is one of self discovery for various characters, yes, they are adults and therefore to a point they should kind of have an idea of what they want to do with their lives. But the thing is that they have had some major change in their lives and this has left them wondering what role they have within the family as well as what direction they would now like to go in.
Joanne discovers old love letters, these set her off on a trail and takes her to Venice, it also fits in with her job so she can combine two things in one. Her latest is to write some travel guides that have something a little different to them. The letters lead her on a wonderful journey that I thoroughly enjoyed.
I really want to go into more details about the sisters, their mother, then Owen and Nicholas, as well as the journeys that are made, but I don’t want to spoil it for you. It is such a wonderfully evocative book that I started to read and didn’t put down until I had finished.
The author looks at family dynamics, there is the odd secret that emerges. The expectations of others and also the expectations of the characters as well. There are problems, dilemmas, but also something slightly whimsical that has such a fabulous impact on the story. For Joanna, the journey she takes to discover more about the letters also, in turn, takes her on a journey. It was like the past was showing her a way to the future.
This is a slower-paced book and it is perfect for the pace of life on the farm and also for one of the other characters. The descriptions of Dorset and Cornwall, as well as other European cities, add to this ambling pace and it is wonderful.
I cannot say anything but good about this book, well I do have one bad point… it ended! I didn’t want it to end at all!
If you are a fan of slower-paced books that delve into family and how changes impact their lives then this is a book for you. If you like descriptions of settings then this is a book for you. It is a fabulous read and I absolutely adored it and I would highly recommend it.
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx
Today I am joining in with Zoe at Zooloo’s Book Diary as she has a fabulous “Author Take Over” feature where she puts an Author and their books in the spotlight. Zoe’s current Author Take Over is with Kim Nash and I am delighted to join in to shout about Kim’s books, they are amzingly brilliant reads.
My mum is also a fan of Kim’s books and she says that “Kim’s writing feels honest and has a good realistic feel”. This was something my Mum mentioned a while ago, it just goes to show that I do listen to what she says, and this little inclusion will come as a surprise to her 😉😁 xx
When I first saw that Kim was releasing a book I immediately signed up for the Blog Tour. I was sent a digital copy of the book and read it that afternoon, yep the whole book in one sitting and I knew I had found an author who I was going to immediately add to my list of must read authors. This list is one that I have where any new books by these authors come available I will read without even glancing at the synopsis. Yes Kim made that list with her first book!
The first book is Amazing Grace, and Amazing is just what it is. Here is the synopsis…
She’s taking her life back, one step at a time…
Grace thought she had it all. Living in the beautiful village of Little Ollington, along with head teacher husband Mark and gorgeous son, Archie, she devoted herself to being the perfect mum and the perfect wife, her little family giving her everything she ever wanted.
Until that fateful day when she walked in on Mark kissing his secretary – and her perfect life fell apart.
Now she’s a single mum to Archie, trying to find her way in life and keep things together for his sake. Saturday nights consist of a Chinese takeaway eaten in front of the TV clad in greying pyjamas, and she can’t remember the last time she had a kiss from anyone aside from her dog, Becks…
Grace’s life needs a shake up – fast. So when gorgeous gardener Vinnie turns up on her doorstep, his twinkling eyes suggesting that he might be interested in more than just her conifers, she might just have found the answer to her prayers. But as Grace falls deeper for Vinnie, ten-year-old Archie fears that his mum finding love means she’ll never reconcile with the dad he loves.
So when ex-husband Mark begs her for another chance, telling her he’s changed from the man that broke her heart, Grace finds herself with an impossible dilemma. Should she take back Mark and reunite the family that Archie loves? Or risk it all for a new chance of happiness?
Here is my full review for this wonderful book…
Oh My Goodness this book is superb and my poor emotions have gone through the wringer, crying and laughing to myself one moment to anger within the turn of a page. This author has a story that is so very realistic and one that can be related to.
Grace has gradually got stuck in a rut after the breakdown of her marriage. Her son Archie spends the odd evening and weekend at his Dad’s house. During these times loneliness creeps in for Grace, weight goes on, clothes are black and shapeless…then the intervention by her friend Monica.
It seems that things after this intervention tart to fall into place, or is it because Grace starts to feel confident? A phone call to landscape gardener Vinnie sees a spark of interest flicker back to life in Grace again. Mark, her ex, however, is not going to make things easy.
The characters in this book are just brilliant, the dilemmas are very real and the scenarios they find themselves in are also ones that I found it very easy to relate to. The uncertainties of new relationships combined with the guilt of old add tension.
There are so many thought-provoking moments in this book. They start from the dedication at the very beginning of the book, yep even before I even got to the start of the story I knew I was going to like this book. In fact, I didn’t just like it, I bloody loved it, every single word.
I did mention emotions, anger yes that was there and also a surprising little comment from a young boy, and there are some very special moments in italics, these you will discover for yourself. But these had me reaching for the tissues time and again.
It was one of those books that just wrapped me up immediately and held me in its embrace. It is a stunning, beautifully written story about Grace and life, she discovers she needs to love herself more, occasionally put herself first, to take a chance on life, start to live and to stand up for herself.
This is a book I would absolutely and most definitely recommend.
Even if she’s lost most of her friends because of spending all her time at work, and can’t remember when she last had fun, it’s worth it.
Until she’s suddenly made redundant. Now she’s 37, jobless, and after the breakup with the former love of her life, unhappily single.
Enter Maddy’s childhood friend, Beth, the owner of Growlers, the doggy daycare centre at Giddywell Grange, on a mission to make Maddy see there’s more to life than work.
Soon, Maddy is swapping spreadsheets for volunteer duty at the library, daily Starbucks for cups of tea with elderly neighbours, and her Prada handbag for doggy poo bags… And with Beth’s gorgeous brother, Alex, back from the States, Maddy starts to think that Giddywell Grange might just be her happy place.
But when her old life – and her old boyfriend – comes calling, will Maddy go back to the job she loved so much? Or will she discover that the key to happiness lies in making others happy?
Here’s my review for Kim’s second fabulous book…
The synopsis gives a wonderful idea as to what the book is about. I met maddy as she is nervously waiting for her meeting where she is expecting to be promoted. This is something that Maddy feels she deserves due to all the hard work she has being doing over the years in PR. Work has been her life she has missed family and friends important events and not seen them as much as she should have done because she has been too busy with her work. So from anticipated nervous excitement she is suddenly dropped into a devastated place where she feels she is now surplus to requirements.
I immediately felt my heart go out to Maddy and I quickly found myself caught up with the story within a matter of a few paragraphs. This is the second book by this author and yet again she has absolutely and completely had me hooked and wrapped up within her writing.
I love how quickly the author shows the extreme emotions with Maddy, from enthusiasm to dejected in just a few words. It is this empathy that she brings out in the reader that shows how well she engages with this reader. I think this is why she is going to be a writer whose future books I will always buy without giving it a second thought. I know this is only the second book she has written but I am already a huge fan.
So, from starting the book I spent a few delightful hours devouring the story, I learned about Maddy, her Mum and her best friend Beth. I love how the once best friends had drifted due to Maddy’s work, but instantly connected when Maddy decides to come home again. I must say I also love the characters of Uncle Tom and Alex. They, along with Mum and Beth are full of advice and support as Maddy tries to find her feet and are on hand with loads of love and hugs with the occasional kick up the backside for good measure.
I loved watching the transformation in Maddy from a highflying PR career woman to one who pick up poo as she helps in Beth’s Dog Kennels. The author got the balance so right as it would have been so easy to stray into that feeling of “how the mighty have fallen”, but instead of that she created a character who is warm, helpful and supportive, as I said she got the balance right! The author has created little situations where Maddy is not expected to take part, but she when she surprises people and does these little tasks, it makes for humorous reading.
Life is not straight forward for Maddy and even though she has taken a step back from the PR world, she still has her eye out for another job while helping Beth out. I loved that nothing was straight forward and I wasn’t sure how things were eventually going to pan out and I discovered some nice little surprises along the way!
The author has once again created a story that completely wrapped me up for the few hours that I sat and read. I loved watching the characters develop through the story and how they react and interact with each other. The feeling of warmth, love and family at Giddywell Grange is fabulous and sounds a wonderful place that I would quite happily love to live in.
This is a story about searching your soul and doing what is right and best for yourself. Maddy is fortunate to have a great cast behind her as she learns and discovers things about herself, what makes her happy and I loved watching her discover that there is more to life than a high flying stressful career.
This is a wonderful heartwarming story the I would absolutely Recommend because it is just fabulous. And left me wanting to read more by this author.
So here’s a bit more about this wonderful Author…
Kim Nash is an author of feel-good, heart-warming, romantic comedies. She lives in Staffordshire with son Ollie and English Setter Roni, is Head of Publicity for Bookouture and is a book blogger.
Kim won the Romantic Novelists Association’s Media Star of the Year in 2016, which she still can’t quite believe. She is now quite delighted to be a member of the RNA. When she’s not working or writing, Kim can be found walking her dog, reading, standing on the sidelines of a football pitch cheering on Ollie and binge watching box sets on the TV. She’s also quite partial to a spa day and a gin and tonic (not at the same time!) Kim also runs a book club in Cannock, Staffs.
Amazing Grace was her debut novel with Hera Books and came out in April 2019.Escape to Giddywell Grange is Kim’s second novel and was published on September 18th 2019.
I am so excited to share my review for Killing Pretties by Rob Ashman. This is an amazing read and I cannot wait to read the next one that will be called – Twinkle, Twinkle.
Let me show you what it is all about…
Detective Sergeant Khenan Malice is a rubbish ex-husband, a crap father but a damned good detective. It’s a shame he spoils his only redeeming quality by being a bent copper.
Detective Kelly Pietersen joins the team to help find a missing woman. But Kelly has a secret…Damien Kaplan is a leading criminal barrister and a keen amateur potter. He also happens to be a serial killer with a chilling approach to creating his art. He’s married to Elsa, though she considers him more of a possession than a husband. She controls those around her using sex and procures men and women for her husband to play with but only after she’s finished with them first.Killing Pretties is his passion, having sex with them is hers. It is difficult to say which one is worse.
The missing woman brings all four crashing together – an incendiary mix that doesn’t end well.
This is one of those books that make you go “Wow!”, I say wow because there were several times I actually said more than just Wow and it is about the only word that wasn’t a swear word!!! 😉😱
Where to start… well… this is a police procedural that is so well written. This author knows how to write a baddie that’s for sure!
There are several key characters in this book, DS Malice (what an excellent name I might add), is not exactly a by the book copper, he is good but also not that squeaky clean as all is made clear in the story. He is joined by DC Kelly Pieterson, another good copper who has great gut instincts. These two are caught up in a missing person case and also the death of a local drug dealer.
The husband and wife team of Damien and Elsa Kaplan are great, but as the synopsis tells you, this is not the normal sort of husband and wife team.
At this point I know that I am re-hashing the synopsis , but, I am still try to get my head around trying to write a review that does this book the justice it deserves…
This is a crime thriller that does have a good psychological aspect to it, the Kaplan’s are very different and definitely add a macabre twist to the story. In some ways the synopsis is quite detailed in what you are going to get, but this is a story that is very much about the journey.
There is some details in the story that made me curl my toes, I do think this is one for a reader that likes a more hardcore crime thriller read, the details are relevant if a bit twisted.
The story fills in details of the past for the Kaplan’s and this is a great way of getting to know this couple and there vices. I like the team of Malice and Pieterson, they make a good combination and they seem to suit each other as far as being a team goes.
An absolutely, amazingly brilliant read that I found totally addictive, a must for hard-boiled crime thriller readers and the start of a new series , I cannot wait for more. Killing Pretties is a twisted read that I would Highly Recommend and you really need to go and yourself a copy ASAP!
Rob is married to Karen with two grown up daughters. He is originally from South Wales and after moving around with work settled in North Lincolnshire.
Like all good welsh valley boys Rob worked for the National Coal Board after leaving school at sixteen and went to University at the tender age of twenty-three when the pit closures began to bite. Since then he’s worked in a variety of manufacturing and consulting roles both in the UK and abroad.
It took Rob twenty-four years to write his first book. He only became serious about writing it when his dad got cancer. It was an aggressive illness and Rob gave up work for three months to look after him and his mum. Writing Those That Remain became his coping mechanism. After he wrote the book his family encouraged him to continue, so not being one for half measures, Rob got himself made redundant, went self-employed so he could devote more time to writing and four years later the Mechanic Trilogy was the result.
Rob published Those That Remain, In Your Name and Pay the Penance with Bloodhound Books and has since written the DI Rosalind Kray series. These are Faceless, This Little Piggy, Suspended Retribution and Jaded which are also published by Bloodhound.
His latest work sees the introduction of a new set of characters – DS Khenan Malice and DC Kelly Pietersen. The first book in the series is titled Killing Pretties and the second is Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Lies. Both books will be published this year.
When he is not writing, Rob is a frustrated chef with a liking for beer and prosecco, and is known for occasional outbreaks of dancing.
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx
I am delighted to share my review for Magpie Lane by Lucy Atkins and what an absolutely brilliant read this was.
Let me show you what it is all about…
When the eight-year-old daughter of an Oxford College Master vanishes in the middle of the night, police turn to the Scottish nanny, Dee, for answers.
As Dee looks back over her time in the Master’s Lodging – an eerie and ancient house – a picture of a high achieving but dysfunctional family emerges: Nick, the fiercely intelligent and powerful father; his beautiful Danish wife Mariah, pregnant with their child; and the lost little girl, Felicity, almost mute, seeing ghosts, grieving her dead mother.
But is Dee telling the whole story? Is her growing friendship with the eccentric house historian, Linklater, any cause for concern? And most of all, why was Felicity silent?
Roaming Oxford’s secret passages and hidden graveyards, Magpie Lane explores the true meaning of family – and what it is to be denied one.
What an absolutely amazing read this book was. Occasionally books are referred to as being memorising and for me, Magpie Lane was just that.
The story is told from the perspective of Dee, she is answering questions at the police station in Oxford regarding the disappearance of her charge Felicity Law. This is a little girl who has been through a lot. Her father Nick and Stepmother Mariah both have intensive jobs and Dee seems to be the right fit.
The story of Dee’s past, her job with the Law family is gradually teased out through Dee’s memories as she is being interviewed. The quotations she is asked is the spark for each of these memories.
A bigger picture is gradually revealed in a very atmospheric, haunting and heartbreaking tale. A picture of a dysfunctional, hardworking and stress filled family emerges. It is an intricately woven plot that was easy to follow.
This is a slow burner of a tale that just wrapped itself around me, it was a sombre and subtle read that was so well written. I suppose you could call it a domestic thriller and yes it is but in an almost understated way. It is a story of lives hit by grief, expectations, worry and hurt but it also has a strong feeling of friendship, trust and acceptance.
I adored this book from the first few pages and as much as I wanted to discover how the book would end, I didn’t want it to. It is a book that was so beautifully written and had such an atmospheric feel to it.
This is a book that readers who like a quieter read that at the same time has a tense and dramatic edge to it. It slowly unwraps and tells the story and is a gripping read. I absolutely adored it and I would Highly Recommend it.
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx