Sunday 31 December 2023

Reading Round-Up: November/December 2023

The Writing Greyhound book stack

It's the end of another year and time to say goodbye to 2023. However, that also means it's time for my last reading round-up of the year! 

In this post, I'll share the details of all the books that I've been reading, acquiring, and wishing for during November and December. Be warned though - not only has Christmas fallen in this month's post, but also the delayed YALC (Young Adult Literature Convention) was in November this year, so there's been plenty of bookish activity going on over these last few months.

Read on to find out more!

Wednesday 27 December 2023

Book Review: The Fortunes of Olivia Richmond by Louise Davidson

The Fortunes of Olivia Richmond by Louise Davidson cover

AD* | After a terrible tragedy, governess Julia Pearlie finds herself with no job, home, or references. When she’s offered a position as companion to Miss Olivia Richmond, her luck appears to be turning. But Mistcoate House is full of secrets.

Olivia has a sinister reputation. The locals call her the Mistcoate Witch, thanks to her tarot readings, and her insistence that she can speak to the dead. Her father, Dr Richmond, believes this to be girlish fantasy and is looking to Julia to put a stop to it.

Determined to prove herself and shake off her own murky history, Julia sets to work trying to help Olivia become a proper young lady. However, as she becomes a fixture at Mistcoate, it is soon clear that there may be more to Olivia’s stories than Dr Richmond would have Julia believe – not least because somehow, Olivia seems to know something of the darkness that Julia desperately hoped she had left behind.

As the danger grows, and the winter chill wraps around the dark woods surrounding Mistcoate, Julia will have to fight to uncover the truth, escape her past – and save herself.

Saturday 23 December 2023

Book Review: A Body in the Library by Jan Jones

A Body in the Library by Jan Jones book cover

AD* | An ordinary Monday morning in an ordinary Cambridgeshire village. What isn’t ordinary is the dead body in Calli Nelson’s village library. It is no one she knows, but her friend Gideon Frost has lived in Fencross Parva all his life and views any unpleasant goings-on within its boundaries as a personal challenge. Perhaps together they can solve the mystery of who killed the man, and why?

Monday 6 November 2023

Book Review: The Trees Grew Because I Bled There by Eric LaRocca

The Trees Grew Because I Bled There by Eric LaRocca book cover

AD* | Eight stories of literary dark fiction from a master storyteller. Exploring the shadow side of love, these are tales of grief, obsession, control. Intricate examinations of trauma and tragedy in raw, poetic prose. In these narratives, a woman imagines horrific scenarios whilst caring for her infant niece; on-line posts chronicle a cancer diagnosis; a couple in the park with their small child encounter a stranger with horrific consequences; a toxic relationship reaches a terrifying resolution...

Tuesday 31 October 2023

Reading Round-Up: September/October 2023

The Writing Greyhound books

For the past two months (and, in fact, the majority of my life!) I've been exploring the world of books. I've had the joy of stumbling upon some real treasures, adding a few more volumes to my ever-growing collection, and making progress on my 2023 reading goals.

In this post, I'll share everything that's happened in my bookish world during September and October, from the books that truly captivated me to the ones I simply couldn't resist adding to my shelves. So, let's dive into the pages of my latest bookish adventure!

Thursday 26 October 2023

Book Review: Midnight at the Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan

Midnight at the Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan book cover

AD* | Christmas comes early - far too early - to McCredie’s little Old Town bookshop in Edinburgh. It’s summer, but an American production company has decided that McCredie’s is the perfect location to film a very cheesy Christmas movie. After all, who can resist the charmingly narrow historic street with its Victorian grey stone buildings and warmly lit shop windows?

Carmen Hogan, the bookshop’s manager, is amused and a bit horrified by the goings-on, but the money the studio is paying is too good to pass up. She uses the little windfall from filming to create new displays and fend off a buyout offer from an obnoxious millionaire who wants to turn McCredie’s into a souvenir shop selling kilts made in China and plastic Nessies. Still reeling slightly from a breakup, Carmen’s not particularly looking forward to the holidays. But just as snow begins to fall and the lights of Christmas blink on, all sorts of lovely new possibilities present themselves…for McCredie’s bookstore, and for Carmen herself.

Tuesday 3 October 2023

Book Review: The Hidden Letters by Lorna Cook

The Hidden Letters by Lorna Cook book cover

AD* | On the eve of a world war, a forbidden love will blossom in the garden of a stately home and one young woman will make a choice that will change her life forever...

As the storm clouds of war gather, Cordelia seeks refuge in the grounds of her family estate.

Isaac has recently arrived to tend to the gardens, and the connection between him and Cordelia is as immediate as it is forbidden.

Isaac begins to secretly teach her how to cultivate the gardens, so when he and all the young men are called away to war, Cordelia takes over.

From the battlefields of Europe, Isaac sends her letters, that give her hope for a future in peacetime.

But when these messages abruptly cease, Cordelia must face up to the worst and take her future – and the fate of the garden they both loved – into her own hands...

Wednesday 27 September 2023

Book Review: Highlander Seduced by Jayne Castel

Highlander Seduced by Jayne Castel book cover

AD* | Can a simple chambermaid capture the heart of a proud laird? Passion, honour, and the power of destiny collide in Medieval Scotland.

Bonnie Fraser grew up in the shadows. A servant in Stirling Castle, she’s invisible, ignored - even if her heart yearns for more. But when the king holds a masquerade ball, Bonnie decides to step out of the shadows for once. Masked and disguised, she tastes the excitement of another life—and that’s when she meets a charismatic laird who sweeps her off her feet.

Iver Mackay has always been unlucky in love. Despite his obligations as chieftain of a vast holding, he’s now sworn off marriage, content to let his younger brothers carry on the family bloodline. Yet when he dances with an enigmatic red-haired beauty at the king's ball, Iver forgets himself.

Their encounter leads to a steamy encounter that neither of them will ever forget.

But can there be a happy ending for two people from such different worlds?

Monday 25 September 2023

Book Review: The Holiday Home by Daniel Hurst

The Holiday Home by Daniel Hurst book cover

AD* | The perfect holiday or the perfect nightmare...

I sit sipping champagne in the warm water, bubbles frothing around me as I admire the breathtaking view of gorgeous blue skies and mountains. I can’t believe I’m here, at this stunning holiday home. It’s to die for...

My best friend and her husband have invited me and my family to their lakeside property for the weekend, to experience their luxury lifestyle. I’m not envious of their wealth, although I know my husband Ryan is. All I want is to escape from our recent troubles and get my marriage back on track.

Then I overhear Ryan having a whispered conversation late one evening, and he says something that sends a shiver down my spine. In this beautiful paradise my whole world is turned upside down.

Just when I think things can’t get any worse, I discover a second secret. The truth is even more shocking than I imagine, and now I have no idea who to trust.

This was meant to be the perfect holiday, but someone isn’t going to survive it...

Tuesday 12 September 2023

Book Review: The Golden Girls' Road Trip by Kate Galley

The Golden Girls' Road Trip by Kate Galley book cover

AD* | It's never too late for one last adventure...

Constance Fitzgerald may be approaching 70, but she's never been one for settling down. She's spent her life untethered and free, but when she finds herself newly engaged and a soon to be grandmother, Constance is forced to accept it may be time, perhaps, to settle down. Until a chance encounter with throws open a window to her past, and Constance decides to head to the Highlands to find an old friend...

Monday 11 September 2023

Book Review: The Last Tale of the Flower Bride by Roshani Chokshi

The Last Tale of the Flower Bride by Roshani Chokshi book cover

AD* | Once upon a time, a man who believed in fairy tales married a beautiful, mysterious woman named Indigo Maxwell-CasteƱada. He was a scholar of myths. She was heiress to a fortune. They exchanged gifts and stories and believed they would live happily ever after - and in exchange for her love, Indigo extracted a promise: that her bridegroom would never pry into her past.

But when Indigo learns that her estranged aunt is dying and the couple is forced to return to her childhood home, the House of Dreams, the bridegroom will soon find himself unable to resist. For within the crumbling manor’s extravagant rooms and musty halls, there lurks the shadow of another girl: Azure, Indigo’s dearest childhood friend who suddenly disappeared. As the house slowly reveals his wife’s secrets, the bridegroom will be forced to choose between reality and fantasy, even if doing so threatens to destroy their marriage... or their lives.

Thursday 31 August 2023

Reading Round-Up: July/August 2023

Book stack

Welcome to my latest reading round-up where you'll discover a collection of book recommendations based on my two-month reading journey throughout July and August. 

Explore the books I've read, the ones I've acquired, and those I'm eagerly anticipating. From heartwarming love stories to gripping page-turners and compelling nonfiction, there's a perfect addition to your TBR pile. So kick back, unwind, and prepare to unearth your next extraordinary read!

Wednesday 23 August 2023

Book Review: Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six by Lisa Unger

Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six by Lisa Unger book cover

AD* | Three couples rent a luxury cabin in the woods for a weekend getaway to die for in this chilling locked-room thriller.

What could be more restful than a weekend getaway with family and friends? An isolated luxury cabin in the woods, spectacular views, a hot tub and a personal chef. Hannah’s generous brother found the listing online. The reviews are stellar. It'll be three couples on this trip with good food, good company and lots of R&R.

But the dreamy weekend is about to turn into a nightmare.

A deadly storm is brewing. The rental host seems just a little too present. The personal chef reveals that their beautiful house has a spine-tingling history. And the friends have their own complicated past, with secrets that run blood deep.

How well does Hannah know her brother, her own husband? Can she trust her best friend? Meanwhile, someone is determined to ruin the weekend, looking to exact a payback for deeds long buried. Who is the stranger among them?

Monday 14 August 2023

Book Review: Eva Mallory's Husband Hunt by Katherine Dyson

Eva Mallory's Husband Hunt by Katherine Dyson book cover

AD* | Eva Mallory is the unluckiest woman in the world, a fact which is attributed, in her family, to their name, and has subjected every member to a lifetime of misfortune. After accidentally burning down the venue of her twin Hanna’s anniversary party, Eva discovers that her sister’s luck has completely turned around since her wedding day. In that moment, Eva decides there’s only one thing for it. She needs to find herself a husband too, and fast. But with the distractions of her husband hunt, Eva completely forgets about the family curse. But the curse has not forgotten about her...

Thursday 10 August 2023

Book Review: The Thorns Remain by J.J.A. Harwood

The Thorns Remain by J.J.A. Harwood book cover

AD* | A dance with the fae will change everything...

1919. In a highland village forgotten by the world, harvest season is over and the young who remain after war and flu have ravaged the village will soon head south to make something of themselves.

Moira Jean and her friends head to the forest for a last night of laughter before parting ways. Moira Jean is being left behind. She had plans to leave once – but her lover died in France and with him, her future. The friends light a fire, sing and dance. But with every twirl about the flames, strange new dancers thread between them, music streaming from the trees.

The fae are here.

Suddenly Moira Jean finds herself all alone, her friends spirited away. The iron medal of her lost love, pinned to her dress, protected her from magic.

For the Fae feel forgotten too. Led by the darkly handsome Lord of the Fae, they are out to make themselves known once more. Moira Jean must enter into a bargain with the Lord to save her friends – and fast, for the longer one spends with the Fae, the less like themselves they are upon return. If Moira Jean cannot save her friends before Beltane, they will be lost forever...

Sunday 16 July 2023

Book Review: What July Knew by Emily Koch

What July Knew by Emily Koch book cover

AD* | Summer, 1995.

July Hooper knows eighteen things about her mother.

Like number thirteen: she loved dancing on the kitchen table. And number eight: she was covered in freckles.

And then there's number two: she died after being hit by a car when July was small.

She keeps this list hidden in a drawer away from her father. Because they're not allowed to talk about her mother. Ever.

But an anonymous note slipped into July's bag on her tenth birthday is about to change everything she thinks she knows about her mum.

Determined to discover what really happened to her, July begins to investigate, cycling around the neighbourhood where her family used to live. There she meets someone who might finally have the answers.

July wants her family to stop lying to her, but will the truth be harder to face?

Sunday 9 July 2023

Book Review: The Ash Museum by Rebecca Smith

The Ash Museum by Rebecca Smith book cover

AD* | Through ten decades and across three continents, The Ash Museum is an intergenerational story of loss, migration and the search for somewhere to feel at home.

1944 The Battle of Kohima. James Ash dies leaving behind two families: his ‘wife’ Josmi and two children, Jay and Molly, and his parents and sister in England who know nothing about his Indian family.

2012 Emmie is raising her own daughter, Jasmine, in a world she wants to be very different from the racist England of her childhood. Her father, Jay, doesn’t even have a photograph of the mother he lost and still refuses to discuss his life in India. Emmie finds comfort in the local museum – a treasure trove of another family’s stories and artefacts.

Little does Emmie know that with each generation, her own story holds secrets and fascinations that she could only dream of.

Friday 30 June 2023

Reading Round-Up: May/June 2023

The Writing Greyhound bookshelf

In this post, you'll find recommendations for each of the books I've read over the last two months, as well as information about the books I've acquired and the ones I'm looking forward to reading in the future. 

So, whether you're in the mood for a heartwarming love story, a thrilling page-turner, or a thought-provoking work of nonfiction, you're sure to find something here to add to your TBR pile. So sit back, relax, and get ready to discover your next great read!

Thursday 4 May 2023

Book Review: Where the Light Goes by Sara Barnard

Where the Light Goes by Sara Barnard book cover

AD* | A heart-wrenching exploration of grief, set in a landscape corrupted by fame and the scrutiny that comes from living in the shadow of a star.

"Lizzie Beck" is one-quarter of British pop sensation The Jinks, who launched their career via a reality TV talent show and rose straight to fame – and in Lizzie’s case, infamy, for her tumultuous relationship with her boyfriend, stints in rehab and candid confessions about her mental health on Instagram.

To Emmy, though, she will always be her older sister, Beth, the person whose footsteps she intends to follow. Except now she can’t. Because Beth, Emmy's beloved sister, has died by suicide.

Forced to face a world without the guiding light of her bright, brilliant big sister, Emmy must wrestle with the impact of private grief, public scrutiny and discover who she once was and who she will become, now that Beth is gone.

Sunday 30 April 2023

Reading Round-Up: March/April 2023

The Writing Greyhound book stack

Welcome to my latest reading round-up blog post, where I'll be taking a closer look at all the books I've been reading over the past two months. From the latest bestsellers to hidden gems, I've been immersing myself in a wide range of genres and styles.

So, grab a cup of tea and settle in as we take a deep dive into the world of books and all the exciting reads I've discovered over the past two months.

Tuesday 28 February 2023

Reading Round-Up: January/February 2023

The Writing Greyhound book stack

Welcome to my first reading round-up post of the year! We're now two months into 2023 - how time flies! - and with a new year comes a brand new batch of books to enjoy.

I found myself in a bit of a reading slump at the tail-end of last year. Fortunately, the start of the new year seems to have been just the boost I needed to get back on track again. I've kicked off 2023 well and have found several incredible new (to me) books, which I can't wait to share with you!

Thursday 19 January 2023

Book Review: In the Dark by Claire Allan

In the Dark by Claire Allan book cover

AD* | My name is Nora Logue. You’ve probably heard of me – most people have.

I am the mother of Daisy Logue. Seven years ago, I took her for a walk in the woods. Only I came out.

I have no memory of what happened that day.

I have tried to rebuild my life. Met a man, had another child – Luca. But I can’t let go of Daisy, or give up hope of seeing her again.

And now, I have the chance to find out what happened to her.

But what if pursuing the truth about my daughter risks my son’s life?

Wednesday 18 January 2023

Book Review: The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley book cover

AD* | Jess needs a fresh start. She’s broke and alone, and she’s just left her job under less-than-ideal circumstances. Her half-brother Ben didn’t sound thrilled when she asked if she could crash with him for a bit, but he didn’t say no, and surely everything will look better from Paris. Only when she shows up – to find a very nice apartment, could Ben really have afforded this? – he’s not there.

The longer Ben stays missing, the more Jess starts to dig into her brother’s situation, and the more questions she has. Ben’s neighbours are an eclectic bunch, and not particularly friendly. Jess may have come to Paris to escape her past, but it’s starting to look like it’s Ben’s future that’s in question.

The socialite – The nice guy – The alcoholic – The girl on the verge – The concierge

Everyone’s a neighbour. Everyone’s a suspect. And everyone knows something they’re not telling.

Tuesday 17 January 2023

The Symbolism of Hummingbirds: Why They Make the Perfect Gift for Valentine's Day

Jana Reinhardt hummingbird necklace

Valentine's Day offers a unique opportunity to express love and appreciation to our partners and loved ones. Many search for the perfect gift that reflects their feelings and shows the importance of their relationship on this special day. 

One symbolic option that is meaningful but often overlooked is the hummingbird. They bring beauty and joy to our lives and have a rich symbolic meaning that makes them the perfect gift for Valentine's Day. Let's explore the symbolism of hummingbirds and discover why hummingbird-themed items make great gifts for Valentine's Day.

Tuesday 3 January 2023

Book Review: The Wrong Kind of Weird by James Ramos

The Wrong Kind of Weird by James Ramos book cover

AD* | Cameron Carson has a secret. A secret with the power to break apart his friend group.

Cameron Carson, member of the Geeks and Nerds United (GANU) club, has been secretly hooking up with student council president, cheerleader, theatre enthusiast, and all-around queen bee Karla Ortega since the summer. The one problem - what was meant to be a summer fling between coffee shop coworkers has now evolved into a clandestine senior-year entanglement, where Karla isn’t intending on blending their friend groups anytime soon, or at all.

Enter Mackenzie Briggs, who isn’t afraid to be herself or wear her heart on her sleeve. When Cameron finds himself unexpectedly bonding with Mackenzie and repeatedly snubbed in public by Karla, he starts to wonder who he can truly consider a friend and who might have the potential to become more...

Monday 2 January 2023

5 Books I Want to Read in 2023

The Writing Greyhound 2023 books to read

2022 was a bit of a mixed bag book-wise for me. I started off strong, aiming for my annual goal of 100 books, but life got in the way and my reading dropped off in the second half of the year. However, who knows what 2023 will bring.

I've come up with my usual shortlist of books I want to read this year. Let's start the year off strongly by enjoying some of these exciting new reads!