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Saturday, 4 September 2021

Book Review: Green Rising by Lauren James

Green Rising by Lauren James book cover

AD* | Gabrielle is a climate-change activist who shoots to fame when she becomes the first teenager to display a supernatural ability to grow plants from her skin. Hester is the millionaire daughter of an oil tycoon and the face of the family business. Theo comes from a long line of fishermen, but his parents are struggling to make ends meet.

On the face of it, the three have very little in common. Yet when Hester and Theo join Gabrielle and legions of other teenagers around the world in developing the strange new “Greenfingers” power, it becomes clear that to use their ability for good, they’ll need to learn to work together. But in a time of widespread corruption and greed, there are plenty of profit-hungry organizations who want to use the Greenfingers for their own ends. And not everyone would like to see the Earth saved...

As they navigate first love and family expectations, can the three teenagers pull off the ultimate heist and bring about a green rising?

Friday, 3 September 2021

Book Review: Freckles by Cecelia Ahern

Freckles by Cecelia Ahern book cover

AD* | You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

When a stranger utters these words to Allegra Bird, nicknamed Freckles, it turns her highly ordered life upside down. In her current life as a parking warden, she has left her eccentric father and unconventional childhood behind for a bold new life in the city.

But a single encounter leads her to ask the question she’s been avoiding for so long: who are the people who made her the way she is? And who are the five people who can shape and determine her future? Just as she once joined the freckles on her skin to mirror the constellations in the night sky, she must once again look for connections.

Told in Allegra’s vivid, original voice, moving from Dublin to the fierce Atlantic coast, this is an unforgettable story of human connection, of friendship, and growing into your own skin.

Five people. Five stars. Freckle to freckle. Star to star.

Thursday, 2 September 2021

Book Review: The Wedding Party by Tammy Cohen

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AD* | Till death do us part...

Lucy has dreamt of her wedding day for as long as she can remember.

And now the day is almost here. Her nearest and dearest are gathered on an idyllic Greek island and she just knows it's going to be perfect. It has to be.

But even the best-laid plans can go horribly wrong. Why are her parents behaving so strangely? Why won't the rather odd lady from the airport stop hanging around? Who is the silent stranger her sister brought as a plus-1?

And then they find the body.

It's going to be a day to remember.

Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Reading Round-Up: July/August 2021

The Writing Greyhound Books

Ready for another reading round-up? I can't believe how quickly the last two months have gone - it seems like only yesterday that I was sitting here writing up my May/June reading round-up

What is Reading Round-Up?

Reading Round-Up is a simple way for me to keep track of everything book-related, and a fun way to show you what I've been reading over the last few months!

Out are the books I've read in July and August.

In are the books I've acquired during that time.

And wishlist are the books I've found out about and want to buy but haven't managed to get my hands on yet!

In
  • Take a Chance on Me by Beth Moran
  • The Gathering Storm by Alan Jones
  • The Unravelling by Polly Crosby
  • The Lucky Eight by Sheila Bugler
  • The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
  • The Beloved Girls by Harriet Evans
  • The Black Dress by Deborah Moggach
  • Kind Words for Unkind Days by Jayne Hardy 
  • The Insect Farm by Stuart Prebble 
  • A Home in the Sun by Sue Moorcroft
  • The Spanish Girl by Jules Hayes
  • The New Beginnings Bridal Boutique by Kellie Hailes
  • The Love Note by Kate G. Smith
  • Sleepless in Sicily by Emma Jackson
  • Blue Skies at the Birdie and Bramble by Alison Craig
  • Summer at the Vineyard by Fliss Chester
  • Black Drop by Leonora Nattrass
  • Queen of Thieves by Beezy Marsh 
  • The Forgotten Maid by Jane Cable 
  • Not Here to Be Liked by Michelle Quach 
  • The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Dare 
  • Bookshop Tours of Britain by Louise Boland
  • The Killer in the Snow (DI James Walker #2) by Alex Pine
  • Her Heart for a Compass by Sarah Ferguson 
  • The Turnout by Megan Abbott
  • A Special Cornish Christmas by Phillipa Ashley 
  • The Art of Loving You by Amelia Henley
  • The Collector's Daughter by Gill Paul
  • Her Little Secret by Julia Stone 
  • Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult
  • The Kinship of Djinns (Undying #1) by Ambreen Hameed & Uzma Hameed 
  • My Uncle's Son (Undying #2) by Ambreen Hameed & Uzma Hameed 
  • Twin Crowns by Katherine Webber & Catherine Doyle 
  • The Heron's Cry (Two Rivers #2) by Ann Cleeves
  • Her Nanny's Secret by Jan Baynham 
  • Rachel Ryan's Resolutions by Laura Starkey
  • The Woods are Always Watching by Stephanie Perkins 
  • Castle of Refuge (The Dericott Tales #2) by Melanie Dickerson 
  • The Spirit of a Rising Sun by K.R. Galindez 
  • The Liar of Red Valley by Walter Goodwater
  • Sunrise Over Pebble Bay by Della Galton
  • Starting Over at Sunset Cottage by Lisa Hobman
  • The Perfect Daughter by Alex Stone 
  • Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano 
  • Blue Moon (Jack Reacher #24) by Lee Child 
  • The Flight by Julie Clark 
  • Her Secret War by Pam Lecky 

Out

Wishlist
  • The Quickening by Rhiannon Ward
  • The Lucky Eight by Sheila Bugler
  • Midnight in Everwood by M.A. Kuzniar
  • This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron
  • The Four Symbols by Eric Giacometti & Jacques Ravenne
  • Blackout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk & Nicola Yoon
  • The Littlest Library by Poppy Alexander 
  • Magpie Lane by Lucy Atkins 
  • Tunnel 29 by Helena Merriman 
  • Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney 
  • Court of Swans by Melanie Dickerson 
  • The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
  • The Long Call (Two Rivers #1) by Ann Cleeves 
  • Amy Snow by Tracy Rees 

What have you been reading recently? Have you read a book I should know about? Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

Book Review: Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney book blog tour banner

AD* | Think you know the person you married? Think again...

Things have been wrong with Mr and Mrs Wright for a long time. When Adam and Amelia win a weekend away to Scotland, it might be just what their marriage needs. Self-confessed workaholic and screenwriter Adam Wright has lived with face blindness his whole life. He can’t recognize friends or family, or even his own wife.

Every anniversary the couple exchange traditional gifts – paper, cotton, pottery, tin – and each year Adam’s wife writes him a letter that she never lets him read. Until now. They both know this weekend will make or break their marriage, but they didn’t randomly win this trip. One of them is lying, and someone doesn’t want them to live happily ever after.

Ten years of marriage. Ten years of secrets. And an anniversary they will never forget.

Tuesday, 17 August 2021

Book Review: Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia book cover

AD* | 1970s, Mexico City. Maite is a secretary who lives for one thing: the latest issue of Secret Romance. While student protests and political unrest consume the city, Maite escapes into stories of passion and danger.

Her next-door neighbour, Leonora, a beautiful art student, seems to live a life of intrigue and romance that Maite envies. When Leonora disappears under suspicious circumstances, Maite finds herself searching for the missing woman - and journeying deeper into Leonora’s secret life of student radicals and dissidents.

Meanwhile, someone else is also looking for Leonora at the behest of his boss, a shadowy figure who commands goon squads dedicated to squashing political activists. Elvis is an eccentric criminal who longs to escape his own life: He loathes violence and loves old movies and rock ’n’ roll. But as Elvis searches for the missing woman, he comes to observe Maite from a distance - and grows more and more obsessed with this woman who shares his love of music and the unspoken loneliness of his heart.

Now as Maite and Elvis come closer to discovering the truth behind Leonora’s disappearance, they can no longer escape the danger that threatens to consume their lives, with hitmen, government agents, and Russian spies all aiming to protect Leonora’s secrets - at gunpoint.

Monday, 16 August 2021

Book Review: I Am the Sea by Matt Stanley

I Am the Sea by Matt Stanley book cover

AD* | 1870. Apprentice lighthouseman James Meakes joins two others at the remote offshore rock of Ripshaw Reef - replacement for a keeper whose death there remains unexplained. 

Meakes' suspicions grow as he accustoms himself to his new vertical world. He finds clues, obscure messages and signs that a fourth occupant may be sharing the space, slipping unseen between staircases.

With winter approaching, the keepers become isolated utterly from shore. Sea and wind rage against the tower. Danger is part of the life. Death is not uncommon. And yet as the storm builds, the elements pale against a threat more wild and terrifying than any of them could have imagined.

Tuesday, 10 August 2021

Book Review: The Woman from Beaumont Farm by AnneMarie Brear

The Woman from Beaumont Farm by AnneMarie Brear book cover

AD* | 1914, West Yorkshire, England.

Newly married to Noah Jackson, Beth is happily content working on her family’s market stall while Noah fulfils his dreams of being a teacher. Living in a small overcrowded pit house with the Jacksons isn’t ideal, but Beth knows it’s only for a short time and that change is around the corner. However, she could never have expected such shocking changes to happen.

When war erupts, Beth’s peaceful life is shattered by events beyond her control. Noah enlists to fight alongside his brothers, but it is on Beaumont Farm, Beth’s family home, where life throws the most challenges.

A devastating accident occurs that changes all their lives, and the effects ripple throughout the family. Once a loving home, Beaumont Farm becomes Beth’s responsibility, one she never thought she’d have.

Can she cope with the grief and burdens placed upon her as she waits for news from the battlefields of France?

Can she save the farm from collapse?

And will the man she loves return home safe, or will an old enemy take an opportunity to seek revenge?

Monday, 9 August 2021

Book Review: A Farmhouse in Tuscany by Victoria Springfield

A Farmhouse in Tuscany by Victoria Springfield book cover

AD* | Under the Tuscan sun, the lives of three women are about to change forever...

Donna has been running the Bella Vista riding centre from her rambling farmhouse in Tuscany, taking in guests who enjoy the rolling Tuscan hills, home-grown vegetables and delicious pasta. It's been a decade since her husband Giovanni walked out, convinced she was having an affair. When the truth finally comes to light, can everything return to the way it was ten years ago? Or is it too late to start over?

When self-confessed workaholic Harriet takes an impromptu holiday to Tuscany, she quickly discovers that the relaxing yoga holiday she had been anticipating will be anything but. She's shocked when she's asked to swap her yoga mat and leggings for riding jodhpurs and a helmet! But the longer she stays at serene Bella Vista, the more she begins to rethink the way she's been living for so long...

Shy artist Jess has had a crush on Donna's son Marco from the first moment she saw him. This is her second summer at Bella Vista, and while it is a riding holiday, Jess was secretly hoping to pick up where they left off last summer ­with an almost-kiss. But is Marco still interested or will this be a summer of sadness?

Friday, 6 August 2021

Book Review: One Lucky Summer by Jenny Oliver

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AD* | The best-kept secrets are waiting to be found...

With an air of faded splendour, Willoughby Hall was an idyllic childhood home to Ruben de Lacy. Gazing at it now, decades later, the memories are flooding back, and not all of them are welcome...

In a tumbledown cottage in Willoughby’s grounds, Dolly and Olive King lived with their eccentric explorer father. One of the last things he did was to lay a treasure hunt before he died, but when events took an unexpected turn, Dolly and Olive left Willoughby for good, never to complete it.

But when Ruben uncovers a secret message, hidden for decades, he knows he needs Olive and Dolly’s help. Can the three of them solve the treasure hunt, and will piecing together the clues help them understand what happened to their families that summer, all those years ago?


Thursday, 5 August 2021

Book Review: Stolen by Tess Stimson

Stolen by Tess Stimson book cover

AD* | You thought she was safe. You were wrong…

Alex knows her daughter would never wander off in a strange place. So when her three-year-old vanishes from an idyllic beach wedding, Alex immediately believes the worst.

The hunt for Lottie quickly becomes a worldwide search, but it’s not long before suspicion falls on her mother. Why wasn’t she watching Lottie?

Alex knows she’s not perfect, but she loves her child. And with all eyes on her, Alex fears they’ll never uncover the truth unless she takes matters into her own hands.

Who took Lottie Martini? And will she ever come home?

Friday, 30 July 2021

Book Review: Surprise Heir for the Princess by Kate Hardy

Surprise Heir for the Princess cover

AD* | A secret royal escape. An unexpected consequence!

Princess Vittoria yearns to escape the pressures of her royal life. So when she’s reunited with enigmatic photographer Liam MacCarthy at a party, she agrees to a secret beachside getaway. Vittoria knows she can never have a future with Liam, but under the stars, she gives in to their undeniable chemistry for one perfect night… Until Vittoria returns home to discover she’ll have more than memories to remember Liam by!

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Book Review: Touch of Euphoria by Cat Holland

A Touch of Euphoria by Cat Holland book cover

AD* | A magical love story that spans two realms. An epic read!

Love at first sight is not a notion that Lucy Lavender thinks about often, but when she meets her literary hero her world is turned upside down. Not only is Fabian Lightfoot irresistibly handsome, smart and funny, but has hidden depths that she is eager to discover.

When an unfortunate event changes Lucy’s life forever, she is faced with the stark realisation that she is not just an average woman - or human for that matter. Fabian’s own secrets are forced to the surface too. The fantasy world he writes about is more than just fiction. Euphoros is his home.

Together they journey back to his homeland on an adventure to discover the truth about Lucy, battle an underlying evil that threatens the harmony of the realm, and figure out why the mysterious entity is intent on keeping them apart.

Is their love strong enough to withstand what is thrown at them? One thing Lucy knows for sure; she is meant to be with Fabian and she is meant to save Euphoros.

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Book Review: Sunny Summer Treats Anthology

Sunny Summer Treats anthology book cover

AD* | Treat yourself this summer...

This collection of sunny short stories is perfect reading whether you’re living it up at the beach, sunning yourself in the garden, or sheltering indoors from the Great British summertime.

From breath-taking boat rides on beautiful Greek islands to going on the run through the streets of Paris, from ‘best ever ice cream’ to pasteis de nata in pretty Portuguese cafes, these stories celebrate everything there is to love about summer, home and abroad – including, of course, a bit of holiday romance!

Monday, 26 July 2021

Book Review: A Beginner's Guide to Murder by Rosalind Stopps

A Beginner's Guide to Murder by Rosalind Stopps book blog tour banner

AD* | Grace, Meg and Daphne, all in their seventies, are minding their own business while enjoying a cup of tea in a café when seventeen-year-old Nina stumbles in. She’s clearly distraught and running from someone, so the three women think nothing of hiding her when a suspicious-looking man starts asking if they’ve seen her.

Once alone, Nina tells the women a little of what she’s running from. The need to protect her is immediate, and Grace, Meg and Daphne vow to do just this. But how? They soon realise there really is only one answer: murder.

And so begins the tale of the three most unlikely murderers-in-the-making, and may hell protect anyone who underestimates them.

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

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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 Vigrið.

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.