Books for Christmas #readingchallenge #winterreading #booktag @littlejojackson

So a couple of weeks ago I saw a fellow Blogger saying how much they enjoyed the #20booksofsummer Reading Challenge. She decided that it would be great to have one that went through the winter months as well. I know some Bloggers take part in Blogtober and Blogmas and so this could run in conjunction with them as well.

If you took part in the Books for Summer Challenge, then you will see it is the same format. It runs from tomorrow 1st October until the 31st December. The books Do Not have to be Christmas books, but are books that you may recommend for Christmas gifts or ones that seem to be falling down the TBR. Again 10, 15 or 20 books, its up to you.

Check out Jo’s Blog at Tea & Cake For The Soul and tag her in your post if you decide to take part.

My Book picks for the challenge are…

Now you may be thinking that these are not exactly Christmassy books, but they are books that have more of of autumnal feel. So, as I am already reading some more festive feeling reads as part of blog tours ,I am going to include a couple of them as well 🙂

And for a few more from my TBR that are more festive…

So there we have it 15 books to read in 3months 🙂

I decided to choose 15 as I do have Blog Tour reads as well. 15 just seems do-able and also gives a chance to catch up with previous festive as well as TBR reads that I have neglected.

Don’t forget to tag Jo in your introduction and summing up posts as she will share your posts.

If you are joining in with this Reading Challenge or others then I wish you Happy Reading. If you are not joining in Happy Reading as well 🙂 xx

That’s all from me, and I thank you for reading my post, a like or share is always appreciated xx

#20booksofsummer – Update #MeAndMyBooks #booknews #readingchallenge

Over the summer I took part in the Reading Challenge #20 Books Of Summer organised by Cathy@746books (this link will take you to Cathy’s update.)

The challenge was to read up to 20 books over 3 months. This was the first time I had taken part in this challenge and I loved it, even though I did scarp the last book in with only a few hours to spare.

I did swap a couple of books out, this was because when I first compiled my list it was rushed with only a couple of days to go before it started. Next year I will, she says in a wavering yet determined way, I will be organised and ready 😁

Here are the books that I read…

I think you will agree that there is a good mix of genres here, crime, thriller, rom-com, hist-fic, dystopian and fantasy. This has been a great way to finally start some new to me authors and their very successful series, as well as trying to catch up with my own reads on the ever-growing and never-diminishing TBR shelves.

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

A Boy And His Dog At The End Of The World by C. A. Fletcher #Bookreview

I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts with you today for A Boy And His Dog At The End Of The World by C.A. Fletcher. This is a wonderful dystopian story that I absolutely loved. I seem to have had a little bit of a run on Dystopian novels just lately and I have to say I have I have thoroughly enjoyed every one of them.

Let me show you what it is all about…

When a beloved family dog is stolen, her owner sets out on a life-changing journey through the ruins of our world to bring her back in this fiercely compelling tale of survival, courage, and hope. Perfect for readers of Station Eleven and The Girl With All the Gifts.

My name’s Griz. My childhood wasn’t like yours. I’ve never had friends, and in my whole life I’ve not met enough people to play a game of football.

My parents told me how crowded the world used to be, but we were never lonely on our remote island. We had each other, and our dogs.

Then the thief came.

There may be no law left except what you make of it. But if you steal my dog, you can at least expect me to come after you.

Because if we aren’t loyal to the things we love, what’s the point?

This is the story of Griz, he has never known enough people to play a game of football with. He lives with his family on a remote Scottish island and they don’t get many visitors because… well there are not many people alive in the world. However, one visitor does come to the island and when he leaves again he takes Griz’s dog with him.

I am going to keep within the authors wishes for this book. The author has requested that no spoilers should be given by anyone writing a review. I completely agree with this, so you will find no spoilers!

This novel is told all the way through from the persepctive of Griz. Through Griz I learnt about his life, his role in the family, a little of how populations diminished, it is told in the present and the past as he relates his experiences. It gives reason for chasing after his dog.

The author has done an absolutely fabulous job with the settings that are mentioned through the book, using a futuristic UK to provide a backdrop that I am familiar with and yet it is totally different. The successful portrayal of the lack of people is great and I did think that isolation and loneliness may leave a depressing after-taste, but it didn’t. Instead I felt uplifted at some points as loneliness and isolation felt more like a way of life and therefore it was normal. I rather like the idea of having spaces for being completely alone, but I don’t think I would want it as a permanent thing.

The author has things from the news, weather, environment and taken them to a reasonable and also realistic feeling future.This relevance to our present day gave me a lot to think about, things we take for granted and use or dispose and often without really thinking about it, though we are making steps towards a greener society. It does make me wonder will it be enough!

This is a book that I savoured, I took my time with it and made myself read it slower than I normally would. There was just something about this book that warranted doing this, as not only is it a cracking read, with a fabulous story and style but it also has a message to it. This message is not preached at all and could be seen as an observation. By the time I got to the end I felt a little lost, and also I have to mention that I loved the ending.

This is a quieter style of story in someways, it has a slower pace but it is not a slow story… does that even make sense! It has drama and tension when the story requires it and it was one I immediately fell for within a few pages. When I wasn’t reading it I was thinking about it as I was sat in my home surrounded by all my necessary things!!!!!

This would make an ideal book for a Book Club as there are so many things that could be discussed about this book.

This is a cracking read and one I would Absolutely Recommend!


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

Letters To My Daughters by Emma Hannigan #20booksofsummer #bookreview

I am delighted to welcome you to my thoughts on Letters To My Daughters by Emma Hannigan. This book is another read for the Readin Challenge #20 Books Of Summer that I took part in this summer.

Let me show you what this book is all about…

Her three girls were her world. It was time to let them know. 

To sisters Bea, Jeannie and Rose, the death of their beloved childhood nanny is a devastating loss. As the girls grew up, Nanny May had become so much more to them all: confidant, advocate, comforter, friend. In whom will they confide their hopes, fears and failures now she has gone? Especially now each sister needs a mother’s wisdom more than ever…

Martha cannot understand why her daughters are so upset about losing their childhood nanny. Yes, Martha was always in demand as a busy midwife, but that doesn’t mean she loved her own children any less. But why don’t the girls realise that? And has she left it too late to let them know…?

I think this is such a nice title for a book. The daughters are Bea, Jeannie and Rose, their parents are Jim and Martha. As both parents worked it fell to Nanny May to help raise the girls. Nanny May was an invaluable part of the household and they all kept in touch over the years as the girls grew up and left home to begin their own lives. The death of Nanny May hit the girls and Jim hard, but Martha isn’t quite affected in the same way by the death as the others.

Over the course of the story the author built up and developed a story that delves into all their pasts. It is told in the Now, with glimpses back in time. The author has created a story about a family that appears perfect from the outside, I say appears because there are cracks and some of those cracks are widening.

The story weaves its way at a pleasant pace and it was quite suprising how time just simply passed by as I was immersed in the book. I gradually got to know each of the main characters and found myself warming to them as I discovered more about them as a family as well as individuals. I discovered their secrets, their dreams and their wishes, what made them scared and what made them anxious.

It’s a story of a family, and with that came so many emotions as I read, anger, frustration, joy, hope, exasperation and doubt. As it progressed I did wonder how this family could stop the cracks from widening, if they could find compromises and if they could pull things back. By the end of the story I was surprised at the ending, I did not expect that, but at the same time it did feel right and so worked well.

It is one of those stories that I want to say is a delightful and lovely read. It has some tense moments that lead to distrust and dismay but also has a solid glimmer of hope and is heartwarming.

Letters to My Daughters is a book I would happily Recommend!


Book #18 of 20

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

Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter #20booksofsummer #bookreview

I am delighted to welcome you to my thoughts on Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter. I own several books by this author and this is the first I have read. This is book #1 in the Grant County series and it was a cracking read. It is #17 in my reading challenge for #20 Books Of Summer.

Let me show you what it is all about…

The first book in Karin Slaughter’s #1 bestselling GRANT COUNTY series.

She was found in the local diner. Brutally murdered. Ritually mutilated.
And she won’t be the last.
___________________

The sleepy town of Heartsdale, Georgia, is jolted into panic when Sara Linton, paediatrician and medical examiner, finds Sibyl Adams dead in the local diner. As well as being viciously raped, Sibyl has been cut: two deep knife wounds form a lethal cross over her stomach. But it’s only once Sara starts to perform the post-mortem that the full extent of the killer’s brutality becomes clear.

Police chief Jeffrey Tolliver – Sara’s ex-husband – is in charge of the investigation, and when a second victim is found, crucified, only a few days later, both Jeffrey and Sara have to face the fact that Sibyl’s murder wasn’t a one-off attack. What they’re dealing with is a seasoned sexual predator. A violent serial killer…

I have to say right from the off that I really, really enjoyed this book and what a fabulous introduction to a “new to me” author!

The synopsis is one that gives a great idea as to what the story is about, not that I read the synopsis until I have finished reading the book! It does give an indication that this story is going to be a bit on the brutal side, and yes it and in such a brilliant way.

Dr. Sara Linton is the medical examiner/ coroner whose main job is a paediatrician. She works for her ex-husband while doing her role as coroner, not ideal but they do still talk to each other. Oh I should mention that her ex is Police Chief Jeffrey Tolliver.

Sara stumbles on the victim in a toilet booth. Sybil has been brutally murdered, and I must add it is quite a bloody affair and as wrong as this sounds… it was so good. It meant that straight away I wanted to know more, the how’s, the why’s and the who’s, it made me impatient and I was addicted straight away.

So with a beginning like that, I knew this was going to be a good book. A great opening with blood, guts, murder and a character I was going to get on with and like. Over the course of the story I got to know Sara a little better, her family, her past and also her relationship with her ex.

The author builds up the story and gradually adds more intrigue and never was I close to working out who was responsible, though I did have the odd idea floating around. The characters fall into various categories, those you will like, those you won’t and those that don’t quite sit right but you don’t know why! I like the way the author littered this story with seeds of doubt, it kept me on my toes and my fingers turning the pages.

Having a main character as a coroner meant I was able to see inside the examination room so to speak, and it was not pleasant but at the same time it was again very good. The descriptions of the bodies and what had happened to them made me shudder and curl my toes up. The investigation was brilliantly paced and move along nicely.

This book could just as easily been called Blindsided rather than Blindsighted and I was the former for most of the story. This author got the balance right with regards to the case, the drama of the personal lives and also the tension and stress in trying to track down the killer.

So as I mentioned, this is the first time of reading anything by this author and what a brilliant book I chose to read. I can definitely see why she is so popular. I am looking forward to reading more in the series as well as the others that she has written. It’s great to find a new author who has lots of already published books out there.

And, as if you really needed me to mention this…. I would Absolutely Recommend Blindsighted!


Book #17 of 20


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

The Good Doctor Of Warsaw by Elisabeth Gifford #20booksofsummer #bookreview

I am delighted to share my thoughts with you for The Good Doctor of Warsaw by Elisabeth Gifford. I was very lucky to receive a copy of the book and also an Audio Cd in a giveaway run by Elisabeth on her Facebook page, that was last year!

Let me show you what it’s about…

‘You do not leave a sick child alone to face the dark and you do not leave a child at a time like this.’

Deeply in love and about to marry, students Misha and Sophia flee a Warsaw under Nazi occupation for a chance at freedom. Forced to return to the Warsaw ghetto, they help Misha’s mentor, Dr Korczak, care for the two hundred children in his orphanage. As Korczak struggles to uphold the rights of even the smallest child in the face of unimaginable conditions, he becomes a beacon of hope for the thousands who live behind the walls.

As the noose tightens around the ghetto Misha and Sophia are torn from one another, forcing them to face their worst fears alone. They can only hope to find each other again one day…

Meanwhile, refusing to leave the children unprotected, Korczak must confront a terrible darkness.

Half a million people lived in the Warsaw ghetto. Less than one percent survived to tell their story. This novel is based on the true accounts of Misha and Sophia, and on the life of one of Poland’s greatest men, Dr Janusz Korczak. 

It feels so wrong to say that I really enjoyed this book given the subject it is about, but I really did enjoy it. This is a meticulously researched book about Misha and Sophia and also of Dr Janusz Korzak.

Misha and Sophia live in Warsaw, Poland and they are the main focus of the story. Dr Korzack is a man who features in the story quite a bit along with many others who had to endure the tyranny of Hitler during WWII. Out of the 1/2 million people who were forced to live in the Warsaw Ghetto, less than 1% survived.

There are so many parts of this book that are so hard to read because of what they went through and what happened. The author paints a vivd and heartbreaking picture of suffering, devastation and pure horror of the living conditions of these people. What makes it so difficult is that I know what was going to happen as it did happen. When those living in the Ghetto are told that they will be relocated to a work camp at Treblinka, I know it was never going to be a work camp. I thought if only they knew the truth before they boarded the train! What was the alternative though, remain and be tortured and beaten to death or face starvation. This is why there were so few survivors.

Dr Korzak ran a home for orphans, this is where Misha and Sophioa meet. Dr Korzak’s main principle with dealing with children in his care was that you should look at the child as an individual. To do this you have to get to know the child and only then could you understand the child and their behaviour.

As Germany invades Warsaw, Korzak, the children in his care, Misha, Sophia and many hundreds of thousands are forced into ghettos. The conditions are squalid, disease ridden, food is scarce and is smuggled in. Escaping the ghetto is not an option as being caught is certain death. Misha and Sophia have to make a decision, stay and be rounded up and put on a train or separate and hope they can both survive the war and be re-united.

This is so emotional and hard to read, but it also shows hope and the determination. It is compelling and addictive and the author has done a beautiful job of telling this story.

I mentioned earlier the meticulous research. At the end of the story there are several pages that include the books she used to compile the facts, the places she had visited and the people she met. All these things were brought together and once she had all the facts she began to write. There are photographs on the inside covers of the book.

This is an inspiring story based on the true story of Misha and Sophia. It is a harrowing, heartbreaking, poignant story of courage, loyalty, belief, commitment and hope.

It is one I would Absolutely Recommend!

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share is always appreciated 🙂 xx


Book 12 of 20

A Fever In The Blood by Oscar De Muriel #20booksofsummer #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for A Fever In The Blood by Oscar De Muriel.

This is the second in the McGray and Frey series and it sees the return of the two detectives and there very different approaches in their line of work.

Let’s see what it’s about…

In Edinburgh’s lunatic asylum, a patient escapes as a nurse lays dying. Leading the manhunt are legendary local Detective ‘Nine-Nails’ McGray and Londoner-in-exile Inspector Ian Frey.

Before the murder, the suspect was heard in whispered conversation with a fellow patient—a girl who had been mute for years. What made her suddenly break her silence? And why won’t she talk again? Could the rumours about black magic be more than superstition?

McGray and Frey track a devious psychopath far beyond their jurisdiction, through the worst blizzard in living memory, into the shadow of Pendle Hill—home of the Lancashire witches—where unimaginable danger awaits.

The year is 1889 and the story begins on New Years Day in Edinburgh. Lord Joel Ardglass has escaped from the local asylum and is on the run after murdering a nurse. McGray finds evidence of witchcraft, this is right up his street, and fits into his beliefs in the occult and superstition. Frey is a man of science and believes that there is another explanation.

This is definitely a cat and mouse story and it really tests the McGray and Frey partnership. McGray is especially invested in this case for personal reasons that are explained at the beginning of the story. Frey can see why McGray is so keen to catch Ardglass, and is unsuccessful in trying to convince McGray to see things from a more productive and better thought out approach. McGray is more bull in a china shop type of guy.

Tempers are frayed and tested as Ardglass takes the two on a merry dance from Edinburgh to the infamous Pendle Hill, given it’s reputation and history it ties in well for McGray. As for poor Frey, well, he needs hits wits about him and more of that steely British nerve .

The time and setting lend itself so well to this type of story. It is full of mystery, especially given the involvement of witchcraft. The author has once again built up an atmosphere, that, as I read, I could feel the swirling mists, ominous shadows and felt a chill as I was taken into the cold and bleakly described landscape.

At the end of the story the author gives a few insights into the story, he mentions how his Phd in Chemistry helped him to create some of the dramatic elements to his story.

This is a murder/mystery that has a fabulous Gothic feel to it. If you have read the first, then I think this has a slightly different feel. I is a book I thoroughly enjoyed and left me wondering what the author has in store next for McGray & Frey.

It gets a definitely recommended from Me!

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share is always appreciated 🙂 xx

Book 11 out of 20


Warlock Holmes – A Study In Brimstone by G.S. Denning #20booksofsummer (7/20) #BookReview

Welcome to my review for Warlock Holmes – A Study in Brimstone by G.S. Denning. This is book number 7 of 20 in the 20 Books of Summer Rading Challenge.

Let me show you what it is all about…

Sherlock Holmes is an unparalleled genius who uses the gift of deduction and reason to solve the most vexing of crimes.

Warlock Holmes, however, is an idiot. A good man, perhaps; a font of arcane power, certainly. But he’s brilliantly dim. Frankly, he couldn’t deduce his way out of a paper bag. The only thing he has really got going for him are the might of a thousand demons and his stalwart flatmate. Thankfully, Dr. Watson is always there to aid him through the treacherous shoals of Victorian propriety… and save him from a gruesome death every now and again.

An imaginative, irreverent and addictive reimagining of the world’s favourite detective, Warlock Holmes retains the charm, tone and feel of the original stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle while finally giving the flat at 221b Baker Street what it’s been missing for all these years: an alchemy table.

Reimagining six stories, this riotous mash-up is a glorious new take on the ever-popular Sherlock Holmes myth, featuring the vampire Inspector Vladislav Lestrade, the ogre Inspector Torg Grogsson, and Dr. Watson, the true detective at 221b. And Sherlock. A warlock.

As you can see from reading the synopsis, this is similar to Sherlock Holmes and yet it is completely different!

Warlock is definitely a unique individual, you could say slightly mad, a little too mysterious and not altogether what you would expect.

This story is entertaining as I discovered the dynamics for this authors version of Holmes and Watson is more of a role reversal. Holmes is not the confident type of detective and in fact it is Watson who, once he gets to grips with the facts, takes the lead.

This is a re-imagined version of Sherlock Holmes, changing the name to Warlock and adding a more supernatural twist to it, actually worked rather well for me. I always think of the original Holmes as being mysterious and open to various thoughts and beliefs, and in some ways this lends itself to the way the author has taken with his version.

This is one of those books that I really enjoyed, although I do expect that it may not appeal to all. The books includes 6 stories and is entertaining reading. It does have the feel of the Conan Doyle original to it and I found myself quite engrossed wondering what on earth was going to happen next.

It is a book I would recommend.

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

Sunshine and Sweet Peas in Nightingale Sqaure by Heidi Swain #20booksofsummer #BookReview

I am delighted ot be sharing my review for Sunshine and Sweet Peas in Nightingale Square by Heidi Swain.

This is the 6th book I have read in the #20 Books of Summer Reading Challange. So, lets have a look and see what it is about…

Kate is on the run from her almost-divorced husband who is determined to have her back, and she has found the perfect place to hide… a little cottage on Nightingale Square in Norwich, far away from her old life in London. But the residents of Nightingale Square don’t take no for an answer, and Kate soon finds herself pulled into a friendship with Lisa, her bossy but lovely new neighbour.

Within a matter of days Kate is landed with the job of campaigning the council to turn the green into a community garden, meanwhile all the residents of Nightingale Square are horrified to discover that the Victorian mansion house on the other side of the square has been bought by developers. But when all hope is lost, the arrival of a handsome stranger is sure to turn things around! 

Heidi Swain is the perfect summer read – you’ll want to find your own green space, stretch out in the sun and dive into life at Nightingale Square.

After seperating from her husband, and trying to lie low, Kate decides to move into an old cottage in Nightingale Square. It’s ideally situated and puts distance between herself and her ex-husband and also her mother. Nightingale Square is a lovely secluded area where she can just be herself and be by herself. Well, that was her plan, the thing is, is that Nightingale Square is a friendly and welcoming area and it’s residents don’t take no for an answer when it comes to getting to know you and getting you involved!

I love the idea of this square, friendly neighbours, an area with history and a warm generous community spirit. Heidi Swain has created a and conjured a wonderful setting without a doubt. She had me hooked from the first few pages.

Kate has had past problems and believes that moving somewhere new will help. But we readers all know that running away from problems doesn’t solve them. Kate is an old romantic who believes that once you have loved and lost, you will never love again! As she has left her husband that’s it as far as she is concerned.

The square is perfect for Kate as the history of it appeals to the antique dealer and history buff in her. There is a main house that dominates the square, but it is due for redevelopment and the new owners will most likely pull it down. The sense of community spirit just oozes from the pages as does the tense romance that hovers in the air. But as things start to heat up along comes a spanner to be thrown into the mix.

This is a wonderful book that is perfect for summer reading. It has drama and tension of the romantic kind as well as friendships and misunderstandings. It is a book I would happily and absolutely recommend to readers.

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

Someone You Know by Olivia Isaac-Henry #20booksofsummer (3/20) #NetGalley #Review

I am delighted ot be sharing my review for Someone You Know by Olivia Isaac-Henry. My thanks to the publisher Avon Books UK for accepting my request to read this book via NetGalley.

I have had this title on my shelf for a while and I have decided to include it in my #20booksofsummer Readin Challenge. This is number 3/20.

Let’s see what it is all about…

You can trust your family, can’t you…?

Tess Piper was fourteen when her adored twin sister Edie disappeared.

She has spent the last twenty years building a life away from her fractured family, desperate to escape the shadow of the past.

Only now she needs to confront the huge hole her sister’s disappearance left in her life, because a body has been found. The police are shining a spotlight on the Piper family. And secrets are about to surface.

After all, it’s common knowledge that more often than not, these crimes are committed by someone close to the victim. Someone they trust. Someone they know…

What really happened to Edie Piper?

For 20 years Tess has not known what had happened to her sister Edie when they were both 14 years old. When Edie’s body is finally discovered it brings with it a lot of uncertainty and loads of unanswered questions. Throughout the story, new questions are asked and most of them are answered.

This story is a back and forth one, alternating between present day and 20 years ago where it builds up a picture of the girls growing up and also of Tess as she is today. Tess and Edie had been close but, as they grew older they started to drift apart as their interests and like started to change. Edie was more outgoing of the two, but Tess found herself more isolated, the odd one out if you like and wanting to hang onto her sisters coat-tails. Tess was more old-fashioned, preferring things to stay as they were, while Edie wanted to discover new things and people.

All families have things that are not shared with their children. Parents don’t discuss their doubts and fears with them, wanting to keep their children’s childhood as happy and carefree as possible. The full details of their childhood only start to emerge as Tess starts to dig into the past and finally starts to discover hidden truths.

This story has a good pace to it and follows the lives of the girls and the key figures in their lives. It is a story that felt more like a murder mystery rather than a crime thriller for me. It is one I enjoyed and I had a character in my head for the culprit and, while I was right in my assumption I did have the odd wobble of doubt and thought I may have misjudged it. For me, this didn’t take away any enjoyment of the story, it is about the journey and the reason behind the truth rather than who was responsible.

It is one I would recommend!

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