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Thursday, 22 July 2021

Book Review: Tsarina by Ellen Alpsten

Tsarina by Ellen Alpsten book cover

AD* | St. Petersburg, 1725. Peter the Great lies dying in his magnificent Winter Palace. The weakness and treachery of his only son has driven his father to an appalling act of cruelty and left the empire without an heir. Russia risks falling into chaos. Into the void steps the woman who has been by his side for decades: his second wife, Catherine Alexeyevna, as ambitious, ruthless and passionate as Peter himself.

Born into devastating poverty, Catherine used her extraordinary beauty and shrewd intelligence to ingratiate herself with Peter’s powerful generals, finally seducing the Tsar himself. But even amongst the splendour and opulence of her new life - the lavish feasts, glittering jewels, and candle-lit hours in Peter’s bedchamber - she knows the peril of her position. Peter’s attentions are fickle and his rages powerful; his first wife is condemned to a prison cell, her lover impaled alive in Red Square. And now Catherine faces the ultimate test: can she keep the Tsar’s death a secret as she plays a lethal game to destroy her enemies and take the Crown for herself?

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Book Review: The Clockmaker's Wife by Daisy Wood

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AD* | The world is at war. And time is running out…

London, 1940. Britain is gripped by the terror of the Blitz, forcing Nell Spelman to flee the capital with her young daughter – leaving behind her husband, Arthur, the clockmaker who keeps Big Ben chiming.

When Arthur disappears, Nell is desperate to find him. But her search will lead her into far darker places than she ever imagined…

New York, Present Day. When Ellie discovers a beautiful watch that had once belonged to a grandmother she never knew, she becomes determined to find out what happened to her. But as she pieces together the fragments of her grandmother’s life, she begins to wonder if the past is better left forgotten…

Saturday, 10 July 2021

Book Review: In Youth is Pleasure by Denton Welch

In Youth is Pleasure by Denton Welch book cover

AD* | Against the backdrop of an English country hotel in a languid pre-war summer, Denton Welch's alter ego, Orvil Pym, examines his early life and formative experiences with a Proustian intensity.

An adolescent voyeur, Orvil takes pleasure in the microscopic observation of his relatives and fellow guests, charting their eccentricities and love affairs as faithfully as he exposes his own obsessions.

Flagrantly controversial on its first publication in 1945, In Youth Is Pleasure will impress new readers with its arresting visual descriptions and its defiance of convention.


Friday, 9 July 2021

Book Review: The Last Daughter by Nicola Cornick

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AD* | Ever since her sister disappeared eleven years ago, Serena Warren has been running from a ghost, haunted by what she can’t remember about that night.

When Caitlin’s body is discovered, Serena returns to her grandfather’s house, nestled beside the ruins of Minster Lovell Hall in Oxfordshire, determined to uncover the truth. But in returning to the place of her childhood summers, Serena stands poised at the brink of a startling discovery – one that will tie her family to a centuries-old secret...

Thursday, 8 July 2021

Book Review: Crossfire by R.D. Nixon

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AD* | To what depths would you sink to protect your own?

Hogmanay 1987

A prank robbery has fatal consequences.

Five Years Later


Highlands town Abergarry is shaken by the seemingly gratuitous murder of a local man. The case is unsolved.

Present Day

Ten-year-old Jamie, while on holiday in Abergarry with his mum Charis, overhears a conversation. To him, it is all part of a game. But this is no game and the consequences are far more serious than Jamie ever imagined.

Old wounds are about to be reopened.

Struggling PI team Maddy Clifford and Paul Mackenzie find themselves involved by a chance meeting. How deep into those wounds will they have to delve to unravel the mystery?

Monday, 5 July 2021

Book Review: The Wind Chime by Alexandra Walsh

The Wind Chime by Alexandra Walsh book cover

AD* | Every family has their secrets...

Windsor, England, 2019

Amelia Prentice is recovering from the worst two years of her life. First, her daughter and then her parents have died, leaving her without any surviving relatives. As she contemplates placing the family home, a vast Victorian house in Windsor, on the market, she fulfils her mother’s last request to clear out the attic, where she discovers a strange box of Victorian photographs.

The photographs are of a large estate in Pembrokeshire called Cliffside, and they feature the Attwater family. When Amelia uncovers the diaries of Osyth Attwater, she realises the family had tragedies of their own...

Pembrokeshire, Wales, 1883

Every summer the Attwater family gather at Cliffside to tell each other stories. The youngest in the house is Osyth, a dreamer and writer who waits eagerly every year for the wind chime in the garden to signal the arrival of her relatives.

But her happiness is shattered when she overhears a conversation that tears her world apart. Raised by her grandparents, she believed her mother, Eudora, had died. It seems this may not be the case. Desperate to find out the truth, Osyth decides to unravel her family’s secrets. What she discovers will shock her to her core…

What did Amelia’s mother want her to find out about the Attwater family? Who is Eudora, and what really happened to her?

And how is Amelia connected to it all...?

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Reading Round-Up: May/June 2021

Book stack

Summer is upon us once again, and I don't know about you, but I'm loving the warmer weather and longer days. It's also the perfect time to enjoy those sizzling summer reads - from cute holiday romances to tense, nail-biting page-turners.

So, what have I been reading over the last two months? Read on to find out!

Monday, 28 June 2021

Book Review: Family First by Tony Millington

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AD* | A man is shot dead in a pub car park. Detective's Monteith and Watson are sent to investigate. Within days, several more men are murdered and it quickly becomes clear that a serial killer is targeting ex-prisoners. But without a motive how do you find the person responsible?

Friday, 25 June 2021

Book Review: An Endless Cornish Summer by Phillipa Ashley

An Endless Cornish Summer by Philippa Ashley book cover

AD* | Rose Vernon is headed to a quiet Cornish village – to find the man who saved her life.

For Rose, every day is a gift. She narrowly survived a life-threatening illness and owes everything to her anonymous donor. Determined to thank him, Rose follows a trail of clues that lead her to the little Cornish fishing village of Falford.

But things become complicated when Rose is drawn into local life, becoming involved in the legendary Falford Regatta and meeting the handsome Morvah brothers – one of whom might just be the man she’s looking for. But which one?

Can Rose find the answer she’s searching for, or will she lose her heart before the summer is over?

Thursday, 24 June 2021

Book Review: The Orange Grove by Rosanna Ley

The Orange Grove by Rosanna Ley book cover

AD* | Holly loves making marmalade. Now she has a chance to leave her stressful city job and pursue her dream - of returning to the Dorset landscape of her childhood to open Bitter Orange, a shop celebrating the fruit that first inspired her.

Holly's mother Ella has always loved Seville. So why is she reluctant to go back there with Holly to source products for the shop? What is she frightened of - and does it have anything to do with the old Spanish recipe for Seville orange and almond cake that Ella keeps hidden from her family?

In Seville, where she was once forced to make the hardest decision of her life, Ella must finally face up to the past, while Holly meets someone who poses a threat to all her plans. Seville is a city full of sunshine and oranges. But it can also be bittersweet. 

Will love survive the secrets of the orange grove?

Monday, 14 June 2021

Book Review: The River Between Us by Liz Fenwick

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AD* | A forgotten house and a secret hidden for a century…

Following the breakdown of her marriage, Theo has bought a tumbledown cottage on the banks of the River Tamar which divides Cornwall and Devon. The peace and tranquillity of Boatman’s Cottage, nestled by the water, is just what she needs to heal.

Yet soon after her arrival, Theo discovers a stash of hidden letters tied with a ribbon, untouched for more than a century. The letters – sent from the battlefields of France during WW1 – tell of a young servant from the nearby manor house, Abbotswood, and his love for a woman he was destined to lose.

As she begins to bring Boatman’s Cottage and its gardens back to life, Theo pieces together a story of star-crossed lovers played out against the river while finding her own new path to happiness.

Sunday, 13 June 2021

Book Review: The Lucky Escape by Laura Jane Williams

The Lucky Escape by Laura Jane Williams book cover

AD* | ONE CANCELLED WEDDING

When the day finally comes for Annie to marry Alexander, the last thing she expects is to be left standing at the altar. She was so sure he was Mr Right. Now, she has no idea how she could have got it so wrong.

ONE UNEXPECTED ENCOUNTER

After a chance meeting with Patrick, an old friend who reminds her of who she used to be, Annie takes a vow of her own: she’ll say yes to every opportunity that comes her way from now on.

ONE SPARE TICKET FOR THE HONEYMOON


Could a spontaneous trip with Patrick be the way to mend Annie’s heart? She’s about to find out as she embarks on her honeymoon – with a man who’s not her husband...

Saturday, 12 June 2021

Book Review: The Family Tree by Steph Mullin and Nicole Mabry

The Family Tree by Steph Mullin and Nicole Mabry book cover

AD* | The DNA results are back. And there’s a serial killer in her family tree...

Liz Catalano is shocked when an ancestry kit reveals she’s adopted. But she could never have imagined connecting with her unknown family would plunge her into an FBI investigation of a notorious serial killer…

The Tri-State Killer has been abducting pairs of women for forty years, leaving no clues behind – only bodies.

Can Liz figure out who the killer in her new family is? And can she save his newest victims before it’s too late?


Thursday, 10 June 2021

Book Review: Widowland by C.J. Carey

Widowland by C.J. Carey book cover

AD* | To control the past, they edited history. To control the future, they edited literature.

London, 1953, Coronation year - but not the Coronation of Elizabeth II.

Thirteen years have passed since a Grand Alliance between Great Britain and Germany was formalized. George VI and his family have been murdered and Edward VIII rules as King. Yet, in practice, all power is vested in Alfred Rosenberg, Britain's Protector. Britain is the perfect petri dish for the ideal society, and the role and status of women is Roseberg's particular interest. Under the Rosenberg regulations, women are divided into a number of castes according to age, heritage, reproductive status and physical characteristics.

Rose belongs to the elite caste of Gelis. She works at the Ministry of Culture rewriting literature to correct the views of the past. She has been charged with making Jane Eyre more submissive, Elizabeth Bennet less feisty and Dorothea Brooke less intelligent. One morning she is summoned to the Cultural Commissioner's office and given a special task.

Outbreaks of insurgency have been seen across the country. Graffiti has been daubed on public buildings. Disturbingly, the graffiti is made up of lines from famous works, subversive lines from the voices of women. Suspicion has fallen on Widowland, the run-down slums inhabited by childless women over fifty, the lowest caste. These women are known to be mutinous, for they seem to have lost their fear. Before the Leader arrives for the Coronation ceremony, Rose must infiltrate Widowland and find the source of this rebellion.

But as she begins to investigate, she discovers something that could change the protectorate forever, and in the process change herself.

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Book Review: Recipe for Mr Right by Anni Rose

Recipe for Mr Right by Anni Rose book cover

AD* | A sprinkle of luck and a dollop of fate...

Ruby Brooks is a little sceptical when her horoscope says she’s going to have a fabulous year – especially when she loses a boyfriend and a job in quick succession. Plus, a rogue kitchen fitter has run off and taken everything, including the kitchen sink!

So, Ruby takes luck and fate into her own hands with an unusual resolution – she’ll enter ten competitions a day, whether they’re for her dream Japanese holiday or a year’s supply of dog food (she doesn’t have a dog), and win her way to happiness.

But when a Valentine’s Day prize from a local restaurant results in chef Adam Finder (and his dog, Brutus) appearing in her life, is that luck or fate? And will Ruby ultimately find out that true happiness doesn’t need to be won?

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Book Review: Waiting to Begin by Amanda Prowse

Waiting to Begin by Amanda Prowse book cover

AD* | 1984. Bessie is a confident sixteen-year-old girl with the world at her feet, dreaming of what life will bring and what she’ll bring to this life. Then everything comes crashing down. Her bright and trusting smile is lost, banished by shame - and a secret she’ll carry with her for the rest of her life.

2021. The last thirty-seven years have not been easy for Bess. At fifty-three she is visibly weary, and her marriage to Mario is in tatters. Watching her son in newlywed bliss - the hope, the trust, the joy - Bess knows it is time to face her own demons, and try to save her relationship. But she’ll have to throw off the burden of shame if she is to honour that sixteen-year-old girl whose dreams lie frozen in time.

Can Bess face her past, finally come clean to Mario, and claim the love she has longed to fully experience all these years?


Monday, 7 June 2021

Book Review: Everything I Thought I Knew by Shannon Takaoka

Everything I Thought I Knew by Shannon Takaoka book cover

AD* | A teenage girl wonders if she’s inherited more than just a heart from her donor in this compulsively readable debut.

Seventeen-year-old Chloe had a plan: work hard, get good grades, and attend a top-tier college. But after she collapses during cross-country practice and is told that she needs a new heart, all her careful preparations are laid to waste.

Eight months after her transplant, everything is different. Stuck in summer school with the underachievers, all she wants to do now is grab her surfboard and hit the waves - which is strange, because she wasn’t interested in surfing before her transplant. (It doesn’t hurt that her instructor, Kai, is seriously good-looking.)

And that’s not all that’s strange. There’s also the vivid recurring nightmare about crashing a motorcycle in a tunnel and memories of people and places she doesn’t recognize.

Is there something wrong with her head now, too, or is there another explanation for what she’s experiencing?

As she searches for answers, and as her attraction to Kai intensifies, what she learns will lead her to question everything she thought she knew - about life, death, love, identity, and the true nature of reality.


Thursday, 3 June 2021

Book Review: Monstrous Design by Kat Dunn

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AD* | 1794, London: Camille and Al are desperately hunting Olympe's kidnapper. From the glamorous excesses of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens to the city's seedy underbelly, they are caught in a dangerous game of lies and deceit. And a terrible new enemy lies in wait with designs more monstrous than they could ever imagine... Can Camille play on to the end or will she be forced to show her hand?

In Paris, the Duc is playing his own dangerous games. With Ada in his thrall, old loyalties are thrown into question. The Battalion are torn apart as never before, and everything – Ada's love for Camille, her allegiance to the battalion itself – is under threat. 

Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Book Review: Dangerous Remedy by Kat Dunn

Dangerous Remedy by Kat Dunn book cover

Camille, a revolutionary's daughter, leads a band of outcasts – a runaway girl, a deserter, an aristocrat in hiding. As the Battalion des Mortes they cheat death, saving those about to meet a bloody end at the blade of Madame La Guillotine. But their latest rescue is not what she seems. The girl's no aristocrat, but her dark and disturbing powers means both the Royalists and the Revolutionaries want her. But who and what is she?

In these dangerous days, no one can be trusted, everyone is to be feared. As Camille learns the truth, she's forced to choose between loyalty to those she loves and the future.

Monday, 31 May 2021

Book Review: The Serial Killer's Wife by Alice Hunter

The Serial Killer's Wife by Alice Hunter blog tour graphic

AD* | They’re saying he’s a monster. And they’re saying she knew.

Beth and Tom Hardcastle are the envy of their neighbourhood – they have the perfect marriage, the perfect house, the perfect family.

When the police knock on their door one evening, Beth panics. Tom should be back from work by now – what if he’s crashed his car? She fears the worst.

But the worst is beyond imagining.

As the interrogation begins, Beth will find herself questioning everything she believed about her husband.

They’re husband and wife – till death do them part...

Sunday, 30 May 2021

Book Review: The Baby is Mine by Oyinkan Braithwaite

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AD* | When his girlfriend throws him out during the pandemic, Bambi has to go to his Uncle's house in lock-down Lagos. He arrives during a blackout and is surprised to find his Aunty Bidemi sitting in a candlelit room with another woman. They both claim to be the mother of the baby boy, fast asleep in his crib.

At night Bambi is kept awake by the baby's cries, and during the days he is disturbed by a cockerel that stalks the garden. There is sand in the rice. A bloodstain appears on the wall. Someone scores tribal markings into the baby's cheeks. Who is lying and who is telling the truth?

Saturday, 29 May 2021

Book Review: A Public Murder by Antoinette Moses

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AD* | 'My mother was a very difficult person, Inspector, and not always a very nice one. I can think of any number of people who would want her dead.’

The shocking murder of the archaeologist, Stephanie Michaels in the new Leotakis Gallery in Cambridge is clearly going to be a troublesome high-profile investigation from the outset. But to track down the killer, DI Pam Gregory has to travel to the Greek island of Crete where she finds herself on a journey she never expected, one which will change her life forever.

Thursday, 27 May 2021

Book Review: The Boyband Murder Mystery by Ava Eldred

The Boyband Murder Mystery by Ava Eldred book cover

AD* | 'I have long believed that loving a boyband brings with it a wealth of transferable skills, but I'd never imagined solving a murder would be one of them...'

Harri and her best friends worship Half Light - an internationally famous boyband. When frontman Frankie is arrested on suspicion of murdering his oldest friend Evan, Harri feels like her world's about to fall apart. But quickly she realises that she - and all the other Half Light superfans out there - know and understand much more about these boys than any detective ever could.

Now she's rallying a fangirl army to prove Frankie's innocence - and to show the world that you should never underestimate a teenage girl with a passion...


Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Book Review: A Far Distant Land by David Field

A Far Distant Land by David Field book cover

AD* | A journey to a new world, but can you ever leave your old life behind...?

Australia, 1788

After eight long months at sea, The Lady Penryn has docked in Australia – transporting over 100 female convicts from England. Amongst them is a young woman calling herself Mary Murphy, serving seven years for offences of dishonesty.

Second Lieutenant Daniel Bradbury of New South Wales Marine Corps, looking to start a new life in Australia, is in charge of the female prisoners. And when Mary is bullied on board, he steps in and rescues her.

As the passengers come ashore and begin creating the new settlement of Port Jackson, Mary and Daniel grow closer, but it soon becomes clear that Mary is not who she first pretended to be.

The unfamiliar and unforgiving climate, the ever-present threat of native attack, and the residual snobbery of the old English society that travelled with them across the Equator, combine to throw obstacles in the path of this new settlement. And growing tensions threaten to pull Daniel and Mary apart.

But in the end, nothing can stand in the way of what destiny has prescribed for them...

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Book Review: When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain

When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain book cover

AD* | Anna Hart is a missing persons detective in San Francisco. When tragedy strikes her personal life, Anna, desperate and numb, flees to the Northern California village of Mendocino to grieve. She lived there as a child with her beloved foster parents, and now she believes it might be the only place left for her. 

Yet the day she arrives, she learns a local teenage girl has gone missing. The crime feels frighteningly reminiscent of the most crucial time in Anna's childhood when the unsolved murder of a young girl touched Mendocino and changed the community forever. 

As past and present collide, Anna realizes that she has been led to this moment. The most difficult lessons of her life have given her insight into how victims come into contact with violent predators. As Anna becomes obsessed with the missing girl, she must accept that true courage means getting out of her own way and learning to let others in.

Weaving together actual cases of missing persons, trauma theory, and a hint of the metaphysical, this propulsive and deeply affecting novel tells a story of fate, necessary redemption, and what it takes when the worst happens, to reclaim our lives - and our faith in one another.

Saturday, 15 May 2021

Book Review: Katharine Parr, The Sixth Wife by Alison Weir

Katharine Parr the Sixth Wife by Alison Weir book cover

AD* | Two husbands dead; a life marred by sadness. And now Katharine is in love for the first time in her life.

The eye of an ageing and dangerous king falls upon her. She cannot refuse him. She must stifle her feelings and never betray that she wanted another.

And now she is the sixth wife. Her queenship is a holy mission yet, fearfully, she dreams of the tragic parade of women who went before her. She cherishes the secret beliefs that could send her to the fire. And still the King loves and trusts her.

Now her enemies are closing in. She must fight for her very life.

KATHARINE PARR – the last of Henry’s queens.

Alison Weir recounts the extraordinary story of a woman forced into a perilous situation and rising heroically to the challenge. Katharine is a delightful woman, a warm and kindly heroine – and yet she will be betrayed by those she loves and trusts most.

Too late, the truth will dawn on her.

Thursday, 13 May 2021

Book Review: Under the Italian Sun by Sue Moorcroft

Under the Italian Sun by Sue Moorcroft book cover

AD* | A warm, sun-baked terrace.

The rustle of verdant green vines.

The sun slowly dipping behind the Umbrian mountains.

And the chink of wine glasses as the first cork of the evening is popped...

Welcome to Italy. A place that holds the answer to Zia-Lucia Costa Chalmers’ many questions. Not least, how she ended up with such a mouthful of a name.

When Zia discovers that her mother wasn’t who she thought she was, she realises the time has come to search out the Italian family she’s never known.

However, as she delves into the secrets of her past, she doesn’t bargain on having to think about her future too. But with local vineyard owner, Piero, living next door, Zia knows she has a serious distraction who may prove difficult to ignore...

This summer, join Zia as she sets out to uncover her past. But can she find the future she’s always dreamed of along the way?


Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Book Review: Incredible Doom by Matthew Bogart and Jesse Holden

Incredible Doom by Matthew Bogart and Jesse Holden book cover

AD* | It’s the dawn of a new age... the age of the internet.

Allison is drowning under the weight of her manipulative stage magician father. When he brings home the family’s first computer, she escapes into a thrilling new world where she meets Samir, a like-minded new online friend who has just agreed to run away from home with her.

After moving to a new town and leaving all of his friends behind, Richard receives a mysterious note in his locker with instructions on how to connect to “Evol BBS,” a dial-in bulletin board system, and meets a fierce punk named Tina who comes into his life and shakes his entire world view loose.

Unlikely alliances, first love, and minor crime sprees abound in this teen graphic novel debut about making connections while your world is falling apart.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Book Review: You and Me On Vacation by Emily Henry

You and Me On Vacation by Emily Henry book cover

AD* | TWO FRIENDS. TEN SUMMER TRIPS. THEIR LAST CHANCE TO FALL IN LOVE.

12 SUMMERS AGO: Poppy and Alex meet. They hate each other and are pretty confident they'll never speak again.

11 SUMMERS AGO: They're forced to share a ride home from college and by the end of it a friendship is formed. And a pact: every year, one vacation together.

10 SUMMERS AGO: Alex discovers his fear of flying on the way to Vancouver.
Poppy holds his hand the whole way.

7 SUMMERS AGO: They get far too drunk and narrowly avoid getting matching tattoos in New Orleans.

2 SUMMERS AGO: It all goes wrong.

THIS SUMMER: Poppy asks Alex to join her on one last trip. A trip that will determine the rest of their lives.

Sunday, 9 May 2021

Book Review: The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne

The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne book cover

AD* | After the gods warred and drove themselves to extinction, the cataclysm of their fall shattered the land of VigriĆ°.

Now a new world is rising, where power-hungry jarls feud and monsters stalk the woods and mountains. A world where the bones of the dead gods still hold great power for those brave - or desperate - enough to seek them out.

Now, as whispers of war echo across the mountains and fjords, fate follows in the footsteps of three people: a huntress on a dangerous quest, a noblewoman who has rejected privilege in pursuit of battle fame, and a thrall who seeks vengeance among the famed mercenaries known as the Bloodsworn.

All three will shape the fate of the world as it once more falls under the shadow of the gods...

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Book Review: Sticks and Stones by Jo Jakeman

Sticks and Stones by Jo Jakeman book cover

AD* | How far would you go for revenge on your ex?

Imogen’s husband is a bad man. His ex-wife and his new mistress might have different perspectives but Imogen thinks she knows the truth. And now he’s given her an ultimatum: get out of the family home in the next fortnight or I’ll fight you for custody of our son.

In a moment of madness, Imogen does something unthinkable. Something that puts her in control. But how far will she go to protect her son and punish her husband? And what will happen when his ex and his girlfriend get tangled up in her plans?


Monday, 3 May 2021

Book Review: Peace Talks by Jim Butcher

Peace Talks by Jim Butcher book cover

AD* | When the Supernatural nations of the world meet up to negotiate an end to ongoing hostilities, Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard, joins the White Council's security team to make sure the talks stay civil. But can he succeed, when dark political manipulations threaten the very existence of Chicago - and all he holds dear?

Friday, 30 April 2021

Reading Round-Up: March/April 2021

The Writing Greyhound book stack

It's been over a year since the UK first went into lockdown, and although we are certainly not out of the woods yet, it seems as though there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon. As ever though, spending more time at home has meant more time for reading - which is definitely one of the very few perks to have come out of the pandemic.

Keep on reading to catch up with all my bookish exploits over the last two months!

Thursday, 29 April 2021

Book Review: Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint book cover


AD* | As Princesses of Crete and daughters of the fearsome King Minos, Ariadne and her sister Phaedra grow up hearing the hoofbeats and bellows of the Minotaur echo from the Labyrinth beneath the palace. The Minotaur - Minos's greatest shame and Ariadne's brother - demands blood every year.

When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives in Crete as a sacrifice to the beast, Ariadne falls in love with him. But helping Theseus kill the monster means betraying her family and country, and Ariadne knows only too well that in a world ruled by mercurial gods - drawing their attention can cost you everything.

In a world where women are nothing more than the pawns of powerful men, will Ariadne's decision to betray Crete for Theseus ensure her happy ending? Or will she find herself sacrificed for her lover's ambition?


Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Book Review: And Then She Ran by Karen Clarke

And Then She Ran by Karen Clarke book cover

AD* | How far would you go to keep your baby safe?

The fist flew past Grace’s face and smashed into the wall behind her, flicking a switch in her head. Grace bundled her eight-week-old daughter into her carrycot, opened the door and ran.

Her life in New York faded into the background – she needed to keep her baby safe. She needed to get as far away from Patrick as possible.

Now, staying in a remote cottage in Wales, Grace is trying to start again. But she can’t shake the uneasy feeling that she’s been followed.

And then she finds a note. Left on her bed. A tiny scrap of paper with scrawl in bright red pen.

Keep her close. Anything could happen.

She’s been found. Patrick wants his baby back.

But Grace will do everything to stop him.

Monday, 26 April 2021

Book Review: The Map of Us by Jules Preston

The Map of Us by Jules Preston book cover

AD* | A story of love and lost directions.

Violet North is wonderfully inconvenient. Abandoned by her family and lost in an imagined world of moors and adventure, her life changes in the space of just 37 words exchanged with a stranger at her front door.

Decades later, Daniel Bearing has inherited his father's multi-million-pound business and is utterly lost. He has no idea who he is or where his life is headed.

When Violet’s granddaughter’s marriage falls apart, Tilly, always adept with numbers, compiles a detailed statistical report to pinpoint why. But the Compatibility Index Tilly creates has unforeseen consequences for everyone in her world.

Tilly and Daniel share a secret too. 10.37am, April 22nd.

Soon, a complex web of secrets and lies is exposed and an adventure begins with a blue typewriter...


Sunday, 25 April 2021

The Writing Greyhound's All Time Favourite Books

Last Updated: 25 June 2021

Bookshelves The Writing Greyhound

As I'm sure everyone knows by now, I read a lot and I love to share my thoughts and opinions on the books I read. I aim to read a minimum of 50 books a year and while they're not always five-star favourites, I read widely across most genres. My favourites can be quite diverse.

Some might say that I'm a little stingy with my reviews because I only ever give five stars to the best of the best. However, as a result, all my five-star rated books come highly recommended! I've compiled a list of all my five-star favourites, segmented by genre, so you can easily find your next read.

Thursday, 22 April 2021

Book Review: The Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo book cover

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price - and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction - if they don’t kill each other first.


Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Book Review: The Taxidermist's Daughter by Kate Mosse

 

The Taxidermist's Daughter by Kate Mosse book cover

Sussex, 1912. In a churchyard, villagers gather on the night when the ghosts of those who will die in the coming year are thought to be seen. Here, where the estuary leads out to the sea, superstitions still hold sway.

Standing alone is the taxidermist's daughter. At 17, Constantia Gifford lives with her father in a decaying house: it is all that is left of Gifford's once world-famous museum of taxidermy. The stuffed animals that used to grace every parlour are out of fashion, leaving Gifford a disgraced and bitter man.

The bell begins to toll and all eyes are fixed on the church. No one sees the gloved hand pick up a flint. As the last notes fade into the dark, a woman lies dead.

While the village braces itself against rising waters and the highest tide of the season, Connie struggles to discover who is responsible but finds herself under suspicion. Is Constantia who she seems - is she the victim of circumstances or are more sinister forces at work? And what is the secret that lies at the heart of Gifford House, hidden among the bell jars of her father's workshop?


Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Book Review: The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk

The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk book cover


AD* | Beatrice Clayborn is a sorceress who practices magic in secret, terrified of the day she will be locked into a marital collar that will cut off her powers to protect her unborn children. She dreams of becoming a full-fledged Magus and pursuing magic as her calling as men do, but her family has staked everything to equip her for Bargaining Season when young men and women of means descend upon the city to negotiate the best marriages. The Clayborns are in severe debt, and only she can save them, by securing an advantageous match before their creditors come calling.

In a stroke of luck, Beatrice finds a grimoire that contains the key to becoming a Magus, but before she can purchase it, a rival sorceress swindles the book right out of her hands. Beatrice summons a spirit to help her get it back, but her new ally exacts a price: Beatrice’s first kiss... with her adversary’s brother, the handsome, compassionate, and fabulously wealthy Ianthe Lavan.

The more Beatrice is entangled with the Lavan siblings, the harder her decision becomes: If she casts the spell to become a Magus, she will devastate her family and lose the only man to ever see her for who she is; but if she marries - even for love - she will sacrifice her magic, her identity, and her dreams. But how can she choose just one, knowing she will forever regret the path not taken? 

Saturday, 17 April 2021

Book Review: The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth

The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth book cover

AD* | From the outside, everyone might think Fern and Rose are as close as twin sisters can be: Rose is the responsible one and Fern is the quirky one. But the sisters are devoted to one another and Rose has always been Fern's protector from the time they were small.

Fern needed protecting because their mother was a true sociopath who hid her true nature from the world, and only Rose could see it. Fern always saw the good in everyone. Years ago, Fern did something very, very bad. And Rose has never told a soul. When Fern decides to help her sister achieve her heart's desire of having a baby, Rose realizes with growing horror that Fern might make choices that can only have a terrible outcome. What Rose doesn't realize is that Fern is growing more and more aware of the secrets Rose, herself, is keeping. And that their mother might have the last word after all. 


Friday, 16 April 2021

Book Review: The Sister-in-Law by Pamela Crane

The Sister-in-Law by Pamela Crane book cover

AD* | Everyone in this family is hiding something...

THE WIFE: It was a whirlwind romance and a shotgun wedding, but weeks into their marriage, Candace realizes that moving in with Lane also means moving in with his possessive, uptight sister. And there’s no room for three in this marriage...

THE SISTER-IN-LAW: Harper is the kind of woman who cooks homemade meals and dusts under the furniture – it’s the least she can do for her brother as he’s been sharing his home with her and the kids since her husband’s mysterious death. But then Candace showed up and started asking questions...

THE HUSBAND: All Lane has ever wanted is a white-picket-fence life. The wife. The two-point-five kids. The happy little family. And everything seemed to be falling into place with Candace until Harper’s jealous streak got in the way, again. But choosing between his sister and wife will be costly – and knowing Harper, the price could be blood...


Thursday, 15 April 2021

Book Review: The Summer Job by Lizzy Dent

The Summer Job by Lizzy Dent book cover

AD* | Have you ever imagined running away from your life?

Well, Birdy Finch didn't just imagine it. She did it. Which might've been an error. And the life she's run into? Her best friend, Heather's.

The only problem is, she hasn't told Heather. Actually, there are a few other problems...

Can Birdy carry off a summer at a luxury Scottish hotel pretending to be her best friend (who incidentally is a world-class wine expert)?

And can she stop herself from falling for the first man she's ever actually liked (but who thinks she's someone else)?

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Book Review: The Shadow and Bone Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

The Shadow and Bone Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo book covers

Soldier. Summoner. Saint. Orphaned and expendable, Alina Starkov is a soldier who knows she may not survive her first trek across the Shadow Fold - a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. But when her regiment is attacked, Alina unleashes dormant magic not even she knew she possessed. Now Alina will enter a lavish world of royalty and intrigue as she trains with the Grisha, her country's magical military elite - and falls under the spell of their notorious leader, the Darkling.


Friday, 9 April 2021

Book Review: The Heiress by Molly Greeley

The Heiress by Molly Greeley book cover


AD* | As a fussy baby, Anne de Bourgh’s doctor prescribed laudanum to quiet her, and now the young woman must take the opium-heavy tincture every day. Growing up sheltered and confined, removed from sunshine and fresh air, the pale and overly slender Anne grew up with few companions except her cousins, including Fitzwilliam Darcy. Throughout their childhoods, it was understood that Darcy and Anne would marry and combine their vast estates of Pemberley and Rosings. But Darcy does not love Anne or want her.

After her father dies unexpectedly, leaving her his vast fortune, Anne has a moment of clarity: what if her life of fragility and illness isn’t truly real? What if she could free herself from the medicine that clouds her sharp mind and leaves her body weak and lethargic? Might there be a better life without the medicine she has been told she cannot live without?

In a frenzy of desperation, Anne discards her laudanum and flees to the London home of her cousin, Colonel John Fitzwilliam, who helps her through her painful recovery. Yet once she returns to health, new challenges await. Shy and utterly inexperienced, the wealthy heiress must forge a new identity for herself, learning to navigate a “season” in society and the complexities of love and passion. The once wan, passive Anne gives way to a braver woman with a keen edge - leading to a powerful reckoning with the domineering mother determined to control Anne’s fortune... and her life.


Thursday, 8 April 2021

Book Review: London's No 1 Dog-Walking Agency by Kate MacDougall

London's No 1 Dog Walking Agency by Kate MacDougall book cover

AD* | The irresistibly charming memoir of a young woman who started her own business as a dog walker for London’s busy, well-heeled dog lovers. A true love letter to London, dogs, and growing up. 

In 2006, Kate MacDougall was working a safe but dull job at the venerable auction house Sotheby’s in London. After a clumsy accident nearly destroyed a precious piece of art, she quit Sotheby’s and set up her own dog-walking company. Kate knew little about dogs and nothing about business, and no one thought being a professional dog walker was a good use of her university degree. Nevertheless, Kate embarked upon an entirely new and very much improvised career walking some of the city’s many pampered pooches, branding her company “London's Number One Dog Walking Agency.” 

With sharp wit, delightful observations, and plenty of canine affection, Kate reveals her unique and unconventional coming-of-age story, as told through the dogs, and the London homes and neighbourhoods they inhabit. One walk at a time, she journeys from a haphazard twentysomething to a happily - and surprisingly - settled adult, with love, relationships, drama, and homeownership along the way. But, as Kate says, “It’s all down to the dogs” and what they taught her about London - and life. 


Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Why We Need to Stop Asking Personal Questions

Why We Need to Stop Asking Personal Questions

We are bombarded with personal questions throughout our lives. When was the last time someone asked you when you're getting married, having a baby, or getting a new job? Of course, personal questions like these are necessary for some situations, but in most cases, they definitely are not. 

Being asked personal questions can be unwanted, unnecessary, and uncalled for - even if it's someone close to you who is asking. You should always remember that no one ever truly knows what someone else is feeling, thinking, or going through, and your seemingly harmless question could cause them a lot of pain, stress, or negative emotions. 

Above all else, though, why is it any of their business? Everyone lives their lives in a different way, and the path they follow or the choices they make might differ from your own. And that's okay - we are all individuals capable of making our own way through life. 

Therefore, applying your own beliefs, experiences, expectations, or even prejudices to someone else's life is just wrong. Let them lead their lives as they see fit; they have no need to answer to you. 

Here's why my personal life is none of your business!


Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Book Review: Desecration by J.F. Penn

Desecration by J.F. Penn book cover

Death isn't always the end.

When the body of a murdered young heiress is found within the Royal College of Surgeons, Detective Sergeant Jamie Brooke is assigned to the case. An antique ivory figurine found beside the body her only lead, she enlists Blake Daniel, a reluctant psychic, to help her discover the message it holds.

The investigation leads them to a sinister secret society known as the Lyceum, who revel in human vivisection and murder.

When personal tragedy strikes, Jamie has nothing left to lose and she must race against time to stop the mysterious Lyceum before it claims yet another victim.

As Jamie and Blake delve into a macabre world of grave robbery, body modification, and genetically engineered monsters, they must fight to maintain their sanity... and their lives.


Friday, 2 April 2021

Book Review: At First Sight by Hannah Sunderland

At First Sight by Hannah Sunderland book cover

AD* | Two strangers. Two chance meetings. One extraordinary love story...

Nell and Charlie feel a spark when they meet by chance in a cafe. But they don’t trade numbers or surnames, so there’s no way they’ll meet again.

But the next day, Nell’s phone rings at work. Somehow, impossibly, Charlie is on the other end. And he needs her help.

Nell is about to save a life, fall in love... and risk everything for a perfect stranger.


Thursday, 1 April 2021

Book Review: The Girl from the Island by Lorna Cook

The Girl from the Island by Lorna Cook book cover

AD* | A world at war.

One woman will risk everything.

Another will uncover her story.

1940: When the island of Guernsey is invaded by the Nazis, two sisters are determined to rebel in any way they can. But when forced to take in a German soldier, they are shocked to find a familiar face on their doorstep – a childhood friend who has now become their enemy.

2016: Two generations later, Lucy returns to Guernsey after the death of a distant cousin. As she prepares the old family house for sale, Lucy discovers a box of handwritten notes, one word standing out: resistance. Lucy’s search for the author will uncover the story of a forgotten sister who vanished from the island one night, never to be seen again.