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A Very Thought Provoking Book. Midnight Library by Matt Haig. A Book Review.

A Very Thought Provoking Book. Midnight Library by Matt Haig. A Book Review.

This is the first Matt Haig book I have read, though I have heard lots of great things about his books, I’m only just getting around to reading one. This was a buddy read as part of a lockdown book club online. It was fun and motivating to read a certain amount of chapters each day then discuss as we went along.

Description:

Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?

In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s enchanting new novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.

My Thoughts:

This is  one of the best books I have read this year. I read this very early on in January, so it was great bookish start to 2021. It is very very good. I really enjoyed reading it and found it thought provoking, emotional and hopeful.

The main character Nora decides within the first few chapters that she wants to die as she has lost hope that her life will get better. I’ll give you a heads up for the first few chapters, it was not a pleasant read and felt quite depressing. Bear with it though as it doesn’t last long. When Nora reaches the midnight library, this is where I started to love this book.

The Midnight Library allows Nora to visit all the lives she could have had if she made different decisions. I’m not a lover of fantasy so I was unsure how this would work, but the author wrote it beautifully and so smoothly and it worked in the best way to tell the story and make me think.

Nora studies philosophy so there were quite a few philosophical quotes and thoughts from Nora as she goes through the different lives. I really liked this as it was uplifting and made me consider my life and the choices and have already and can still make.

I love the style of writing by this author and that and my enjoyment of this book has made me want to read more of his books.

I would recommend this book to everybody actually. Because I would not have picked this book up. I read it because it was my book club suggestion and I am very grateful that they showed me to this amazing author. The Midnight Library is a book that shows the reader that life takes many turns and we have so many options. The world is wide and hope is important, realizing what you want doesn’t come easy as there are so many distractions and obligations in life. But whatever we choose in our life decisions, sometimes the simple things are over looked, but actually they make so much difference if we choose to see them.

An amazing book, my first but not my last of Matt Haig.


Links:

Goodreads

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 
5 Comments

Posted by on February 27, 2021 in Books

 

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Love And Olives. By Jenna Evans Welch. A Book Review on a Greek Island.

Love And Olives. By Jenna Evans Welch. A Book Review on a Greek Island.

You won’t see many Young Adult reviews here on ChocolatePages, but surprise here is one!

I have been doing some buddy reads as part of an online book club which is why I decided to read Love and Olives.

Description:

Santorini felt like an island holding its breath. As if it were keeping in a secret…

Liv Varanakis doesn’t like to think about her father much, which makes sense—he fled to Greece when she was only eight, leaving her with just a few painful memories of their shared love for the lost city of Atlantis. So when teenage Liv suddenly receives a postcard from her father, who explains that National Geographic is supporting a documentary about his theories on Atlantis—and asks if she will fly out to Greece and help—Liv is less than thrilled.

When she arrives in gorgeous Santorini, things are just as awkward as she’d imagined. There are so many questions, so many emotions that flood to the surface after seeing her father for the first time in years. Liv doesn’t want to get sucked back into her father’s world. She also definitely doesn’t want Theo, her father’s charismatic so-called protégé, to witness her struggle.

Even so, she can’t help but be charmed by everything Santorini has to offer—the beautiful sunsets, the turquoise water, the sun-drenched villages, and the delicious cuisine. But not everything on the Greek island is as perfect as it seems. Because as Liv slowly begins to discover, her father may not have invited her to Greece for Atlantis, but for something much more important.


My Thoughts:

Love and Olives was a book club read for me with a few other bookloving ladies. The book wasn’t my first ( or second) choice but I thought it would be ok and decided to give it a go. Unfortunately I should have listened to my instincts and known this wasn’t the book for me.

After the first few chapters I thought this seems like basic young adult words with the main character being 17. Again I’m not a fan of young adult so I still had my doubts but kept going until I finished the book. For me it did not improve sadly.

I will try to give my thoughts as unbiased as possible as a firm YA non lover! If you enjoy YA books you may well love this. As far as I see there are plenty of very positive reviews.

The story is based on 17 year old Olive ( or Liv as she now prefers) having an absent father for many years, now receiving an invite from her father to stay with him in Greece. Her mum says she should go, so she goes. Liv’ s Dad is an Atlantis Hunter and asked for Liv’s help in a project.

I found the plot to be very slow and the characters to be quite bland. But as a lover of thrillers, did I expect too much? Sadly my book club readers agreed with me that this wasn’t so good in terms of plot and character.

In my opinion there was quite a bit of what I would consider to be unreasonable behaviour which was deemed ok in the book. I found the characters to take advantage of each other and be quite, what I would consider to be rude. But again this was all written like it was acceptable.

There are some positive things I can write and that would be the facts about Atlantis. I didn’t know much about this at all, so I did learn something from this book.

The setting of the island and where Liv stayed was lovely and I could feel the environment from the authors words. Because of this writing style, I felt that the book had far more potential than it gave.

There are a few quotes which I did like and I think this shows that the author writes well, but this plot totally let it down.

” old books had a smell…. It was old leather with hints of vanilla and must, and a dash of something else. Magic? Pixie dust?”

“You are never quite alone when you are in a bookstore. So many voices are jammed into one place, it is impossible to feel alone”.

I’m sorry to say I found that this book has put me off YA even more than already was and I’m now ready for a good thriller.

Links :

Amazon.co.uk

Goodreads

 
4 Comments

Posted by on February 18, 2021 in Books

 

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Book Review: Being Alert by Charlie Laidlaw. #satire #Covid19.

Book Review: Being Alert by Charlie Laidlaw. #satire #Covid19.

Many thanks to Author Charlie Laidlaw for my copy of this book. I have never read any satire books before so this is my first. But the idea and description of it got me very interested. No-one in the world can avoid knowing about Covid19 right now. I was interested to see how this book would be written. These are my thoughts.

Description:

Being Alert begins in January 2020 as the British prime minister, Winston Spragg, first learns about a new illness that seems to be centred in a city in China that nobody has heard of.

Following in a long tradition of British satire, the book populates Downing Street and Whitehall with an inept prime minister presiding over a dysfunctional government as it deals with an existential threat that rapidly becomes a national crisis.

Like satires before it, the book uses humour to paint an uncomfortable picture of a government seemingly as concerned about justifying itself as working to protect the country.

My Thoughts:

This was a very strange and different book for me to read. I have been regularly watching political updates on Covid19 both for my own country ( UK) and around the world.

The Author wrote this very cleverly to show what has happened but with sensitivity for those that have lost loved ones through this horrible time.

Winston Spragg is the Prime Minister of UK in the book . He has many advisors and each has a similar name to the person he or she could be in reality. It was amusing to read about the ridiculous ways they communicate or lack of, and the jokey way that these ministers are portrayed to be such idiots.

What was most apparent about this book to me is the many bad decisions made by the government at the beginning of this ( from January to April particularly). Yes there were very difficult decisions to make but that is what a government are supposed to do.

There were also parts of the book that taught me a few things about what happened over these months. The Author writes his satirical chapters mostly, but there are a few bits in italics that show things in reality. The statistics are so sad.

For me this book was very close to home and therefore not particularly an escapism book, but a book that shows where we went wrong while giving me many groans of exasperation about what happened.

I suspect that Charlie could write a sequel to this about what happens from here. My hope is this book will be read and enjoyed in the years to come when covid is no longer such a risk and so life changing for us.


Links:

Goodreads

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

www.charlielaidlawauthor.com


About the Author

I was born and brought up in the west of Scotland and graduated from the University of Edinburgh. I still have the scroll, but it’s in Latin, so it could say anything.
I then worked briefly as a street actor, baby photographer, puppeteer and restaurant dogsbody before becoming a journalist. I started in Glasgow and ended up in London, covering news, features and politics. I interviewed motorbike ace Barry Sheene, Noel Edmonds threatened me with legal action and, because of a bureaucratic muddle, I was ordered out of Greece.
I then took a year to travel round the world, visiting 19 countries. Highlights included being threatened by a man with a gun in Dubai, being given an armed bodyguard by the PLO in Beirut (not the same person with a gun), and visiting Robert Louis Stevenson’s grave in Samoa. What I did for the rest of the year I can’t quite remember.
Surprisingly, I was approached by a government agency to work in intelligence, which just shows how shoddy government recruitment was back then. However, it turned out to be very boring and I don’t like vodka martini.
Craving excitement and adventure, I ended up as a PR consultant, which is the fate of all journalists who haven’t won a Pulitzer Prize.
I’m also married with two grown-up children and live in East Lothian. And that’s about it.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on October 25, 2020 in Books

 

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Are you ready to get burned…. Book Review: A Price To Pay by Paul Gitsham

Are you ready to get burned….    Book Review: A Price To Pay by Paul Gitsham

Thank you very much to Author Paul Gitsham and Netgalley for my copy of this book. These are my unbiased thoughts on A Price To Pay.

Description:

If you play with fire, you’re going to get burned…

It should be an easy solve: a murder in broad daylight with two eyewitnesses. But the victim is the son of a notorious local crime family who has a habit of hitting on other men’s wives; the witnesses are Serbian nationals who speak limited English.

For DCI Warren Jones, this is his most challenging case yet. As the suspects pile up, the victim’s family work to protect their son’s memory by destroying any evidence that could betray his criminal past – or might have led to his killer.

Somehow Warren must uncover the truth about the murder – but there are secrets at the heart of the case more dangerous than anyone could have imagined, and the fallout could tear Warren’s team apart.

  • Publisher: HQ Digital (5 Jun. 2020)

My Thoughts:

A Price To Pay is the sixth book in this series with DCI Warren Jones. It is however, the first that I have read. I can see how reading the prior books would give you a bit of back knowledge but this in no way made the book any less enjoyable for me. Everything was clear that should be clear. The case in question though was not so clear.

DCI Warren Jones begins this case with a murder of a man from a notorious crime family, he was murdered in a massage parlour. Whether the victim is a criminal himself made no difference to Warren, but it made the case much more difficult as evidence and witnesses seemed difficult to find and be clear cut. It also impeded the murder hunt that the main witnesses are Serbian with very limited English language.

The book is primarily police procedural, so as they find the clues, we know the clues. This did not lead me to the murderer until the very end though. The process and the crime itself became more intense and more complicated as the team delved in. ( just the way I like it)

I like to discover new detectives. Having just ” met” DCI Warren Jones, I wondered what kind of man and detective he would be. I like him! Many of the detectives we read about, in the many crime books that are about now, are so dedicated to their jobs that they have little time for anything else. While this makes them excellent detectives, it also makes them seem like lonely souls. Warren was different in that way. He has a lovely wife and a few other extended family members and he cares deeply for them. While this makes his job more difficult, it makes Warren seem relatable and likeable. Warren is probably one of the most compassionate detectives I have ” met” through the thousands of pages I read.

Aside from being a police procedural, crime thriller book, it also has humorous parts and parts that taught me something about policing!

Some quotes that made me smile 😁

if my old mum is right, then should the wind ever change direction when these girls are pouting for the camera, they’ll end up permanently looking like goldfish “.

It’s not just the British and American girls that pout for photos. Something I find really odd, but maybe I’m just getting old 😛


Andy calls CSI the Open University for Burglars “

I haven’t watched this show but after this quite I feel like I might enjoy it.

A Price To Pay is an enjoyable crime thriller that picks up pace as the pages turn. The plot thickens with each chapter and DCI Warren Jones is a pleasure to get to know. I can see why this is the sixth book on the series.


About the Author.
Paul Gitsham started his career as a biologist, working in such exotic locales as Manchester and Toronto. After stints as the world’s most over-qualified receptionist and a spell making sure that international terrorists and other ne’er do wells hadn’t opened a Junior Savings Account at a major UK bank (a job even less exciting than being a receptionist) he retrained as a Science Teacher. He now spends his time passing on his bad habits and sloppy lab-skills to the next generation of enquiring minds.
Paul has always wanted to be a writer and his final report on leaving primary school predicted he’d be the next Roald Dahl! For the sake of balance it should be pointed out that it also said “he’ll never get anywhere in life if his handwriting doesn’t improve”. Twenty five years later and his handwriting is worse than ever but millions of children around the world love him.*
You can learn more about Paul’s writing at http://www.paulgitsham.com or http://www.facebook.com/dcijones
*This is a lie, just ask any of the pupils he has taught.


Links:

Goodreads

Amazon.co.uk

www.paulgitsham.com

 
3 Comments

Posted by on October 11, 2020 in Books

 

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The perfect book for ChocolatePages. Food Food and more food. Book Review: Craving London. By Jessica Stone.

The perfect book for ChocolatePages. Food Food and more food. Book Review: Craving London. By Jessica Stone.

Anyone who knows me well, will know I am a complete foodie. I wonder if Author Jessica Stone got that from my blog name or it was just lucky she contacted me with her new and first book, Craving London. I am honoured to have received an advanced copy of Jessica’s first published book and am very happy to tell my readers what I thought of Craving London. A warning, foodies get ready to buy another book. 😋

Just a little foodie photo to get you in the mood.

Description:

Still single five years after a broken engagement, 29-year-old food lover Jessica Stone decides to leave New York City for a fresh start in London, hoping the change in scenery would finally usher in a new relationship. In this all-consuming memoir, she indulges in one culinary adventure after another while undergoing the trials and tribulations of trying to date in a different country. Would she finally find the winning recipe for lasting love?

Craving London is an intimate journey of the heart and palate. Those engaged in a life-long love affair with food and travel—as well as a hunger for self-improvement and a curiosity for foreign culture—will find many ingredients to sink their teeth into here.

Join Jessica as she reinvents her life from scratch, reminisces about her Cuban roots, shares her favorite recipes, and attempts to unravel the nature of relationships…one rapturous bite at a time.

My Thoughts:

Let’s start this review off simply! This book is divinely delicious, amusing and gave me an appetite for good food and more chapters. I loved it.

The story begins with an end of a relationship and the start of a journey, a journey of self discovery, travel and taste buds. The Author writes her own story and brings with it recipes and meals that coincide with the situations she has found herself in, whether to enjoy during each chapter of her life or to satisfy herself despite the situation.

” …..if you can’t entertain yourself , how can you expect others to come along for the ride?”

I have read lots of foodie romance books, But this one is different. There is no fluffiness in Craving London. Jessica Stone writes with finesse, describing her discovery of a new city – it was amusing for me to read the differences in language between what Jessica knew as American terms to my own British language.

” Mr Darcy was at the market pushing a trolley ( the British have a way of making even shopping carts sound quaint).”

Along with life in a new city and a new dating life in London there are foods to go with each date whether it be weird or wonderful.

As Jessica fell in love with British food, so did I all over again. My favourite part of the book was the foodie talk and recipes, but there are plenty of other parts to get the reader turning the pages too. There are many amusing dates and dumpings. One of the best excuses I have heard to not see someone again is towards the end of the book. I won’t tell you what it is, but it was funny enough for me to take a photo of the sentence and send it to my Mum! She laughed too.

I thought I would enjoy Craving London, I wasn’t expecting it to be a book that I would rave about and consider buying as Christmas gifts for friends and family. Craving London is this new Author’s first book and what a spectacular first book it is. Highly recommended.


Links:

Goodreads

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Jessicamstone.com

Jessica also made a trailer for her book. It’s very good and makes you want to delve in to Craving London. You can pre order now by going to my links section.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on October 3, 2020 in Baking, Books

 

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Book Review: Fifty Fifty By Steve Cavanagh. #LegalThriller

The first book I read by Steve Cavanagh was Thirteen. After this book, I knew I had found a new favourite Author. I was very excited when I heard that a new book was coming out. The title Fifty Fifty sounds so good even before reading the blurb. Then you read the blurb and it gets better. Then I got accepted by NetGalley for an advanced copy. Does the bookish world get any better ? 😊

Thank you to Netgalley, Orion Publishers and Author Steve Cavanagh for my copy of Fifty Fifty. Here are my thoughts on the newest book out by this fabulous Author.

Description:

Two sisters on trial for murder. Both accuse each other.
Who do YOU believe?

Alexandra Avellino has just found her father’s mutilated body, and needs the police right away. She believes her sister killed him, and that she is still in the house with a knife.

Sofia Avellino has just found her father’s mutilated body and needs the police right away. She believes her sister, Alexandra did it, and that she is still in the house, locked in the bathroom.

Both women are to go on trial at the same time. A joint trial in front of one jury.

But one of these women is lying. One of them is a murderer. Sitting in a jail cell, about to go on trial with her sister for murder, you might think that this is the last place she expected to be.

You’d be wrong.

My Thoughts:

I love legal courtroom thrillers. And as I loved all the Steve Cavanagh books I’ve read before, I had no doubts that I would love this one. It even got bumped up ahead of the books I had planned out to read for my #10BooksofSummer. It was well worth it though.

There was no fifty fifty chance of me loving this book, it was 100 % book love and consequently book hangover!

Two sisters, Sophia and Alexandra are both in the house where their father was murdered. Both sisters call 911 within minutes of each other. Both sisters blame the other for killing their father. But which one did the crime?

Eddie Flynn is a defence lawyer that has led a colourful life before he became a lawyer but has some morals and rules for his clients. He wants to defend the innocent! But how do you know who is innocent.

I love most books that have a heavy base in the court room. I like to see how lawyers play their game and how their use of words, phrases and specific questioning can influence the jury to go their way.

We also get introduced to a new character Kate who is defending Alexandra. I have a feeling we will see lots more of Kate in the following Eddie Flynn books.

This book kept me guessing right the way through. Was it Sophia or was it Alexandra. Did Eddie choose the innocent sister or was he duped??? A book that keeps you guessing and changing your mind the more clues you hear is a clever book in my mind.

As I read and condensed the evidence each lawyer played out in court, from their questions to the expert witnesses, I wondered which way I would have gone if I were sat on the jury.

Steve Cavanagh is definetly one of my favourite authors and I will recommend his books to all who like crime thrillers, legal thrillers and courtroom thrillers. Eddie Flynn is a character that has many layers and the more I read about him, the more I like him.

Well written with a plot that flows easily enough to keep you reading past your bedtime. It includes twists and red herrings and a bit of evil senseless criminality. Great characters with depth and grit. Just a really really good read that deserves all the 5 star reviews it already has. Mine is about to be added to that pile of rave reviews.

I’m already looking forward to the next book this talented imaginative author writes.

Links:

Goodreads

Amazon.co.uk

www.stevecavanaghauthor.com

 
5 Comments

Posted by on September 13, 2020 in Books

 

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Queen Bee by Jane Fallon. Book Review.

Queen Bee by Jane Fallon. Book Review.

Jane Fallon is an Author whose books I would read without knowing the blurb, plot or seeing the cover. I have read a few of her previous books and all the ones I have read, have a similar style. They have a style that I love. I had no doubt that Queen Bee would be the same. Thank you to Netgalley and publisher Michael Joseph for gifting me a copy of this book. These are my unbiased thoughts on Queen Bee.

Description :

Welcome to The Close – a beautiful street of mansions, where gorgeous Stella is the indisputable Queen Bee . . .

It is here that Laura, seeking peace and privacy after her marriage falls apart, rents a tiny studio. Unfortunately, her arrival upsets suspicious Stella – who fears Laura has designs on her fiancé, Al.

When Laura stumbles on the big secret Al is hiding, suddenly Stella’s perfectly controlled world, not to mention Laura’s future, are threatened.

Taking a chance on beating Al at his own twisted game, these two former strangers are fast becoming best friends.

But has Laura forgotten that revenge never comes without a sting in the tail?


My Thoughts:

Although I was sure I would love this book going only by the author, I wanted to read a few reviews first.  One of the reviews I read mentioned a similarity to the set up of Desperate Housewives. I used to love that series so that made me more excited to read Queen Bee.

The plot is set around a Close of expensive mansions, rich couples who have nannies and house keepers and ” keeping up with the Jones'” is very much a thing.  The men work and earn far to much, and the women go to spa’s and organise parties. But then along comes Laura who rents the back house from one of the couple’s until she is able to find her next real home. Having nothing in common with these people Laura is not immediately accepted. In fact she is ousted due to no fault of her own.

The relationship between Laura and the Queen Bee of the street is a complicated and strange one.

I found Queen Bee Stella to be an intruing character, at some points I found her to be a little unbelievable

“…doesn’t even know how to warm up a pizza”

Can that really be true that first world women don’t know how to heat up a pizza because they have had people do it for them forever? That just shows how spoilt Stella is. Laura is the opposite and has to survive independently and work for everything she has. It was very interesting to see these 2 women navigate their lives together and separately. 

The Jane Fallon books I have read before have involved a revenge theme quite a lot. I was expecting the revenge to be against Queen Bee, but it wasn’t, in some ways this made it even better.

The book holds all the perfect escapism, easy reading, funny and engaging words that I hoped it would.

The book is up to date and modern with even a mention of my latest favourite Netflix binge watch.

” I don’t think that’s how it works.  I wish I’d stuck with Ozark” 

Jane Fallon’s books are addictively brilliant. I have loved all the ones I have read and this one is no different. Yes, different characters and a different plot, but the same fun, satisfying, escapism read. I loved it. Now I’m awaiting the next book Jane Fallon writes.

Links:

Twitter @JaneFallon

Goodreads

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2020 in Books

 

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Cold Heart by Sean-Paul Thomas

Cold Heart by Sean-Paul Thomas

Crime thrillers are my book of choice at the moment. Even better if they are based in places I know. So when independent Author Sean-Paul Thomas contacted me with his new book ‘Cold Heart’, which is based in Glasgow, I was very happy to be given the opportunity to read it and offer my thoughts and recommendations on it to other readers.

Description:


From the author of ‘My Sister and I’ and ‘The Old Man and The Princess’ (Best selling kindle book and recently optioned to be a major motion picture) – comes a new action-packed Scottish crime thriller that will knock you off your feet.

‘Pure cold-hearted, action-packed, thrilling revenge’

A ruthless killer goes AWOL from her mysterious terrorist organization and returns undercover to her old neighborhood in Glasgow where she hasn’t been seen since she was a young delinquent teenager to investigate the mysterious death of her estranged little sister.

**WARNING** 18+ Readers Only. Graphic Violence and Coarse Language.

Publisher: Paul Thomas Publishing; 1st Edition (March 31, 2020)

My Thoughts:

Cold Heart starts off by diving full force into the Cold Heartedness of the main character Estellle. Estelle works for a secret organisation who ask her to do bad things. Another reviewer has mentioned similarities between Estelle and Villanelle ( Killing Eve). Both Villanelle and Estelle could be seen as killing machines. Although Estelle doesn’t have the same taste for high end clothes and belongings as Villanelle, she does have the same coldness when it comes to killing.

The plot follows Estelle as she tries to find out who killed her sister and why. This brings us to Glasgow where Estelle and her sister were brought up. I really enjoyed this part of the book as I was taken down streets I know and descriptions I could really relate to.

It rained almost three hundred and sixty days of the year there in Europe’s wettest city”.

The plot included lots of violence, but as the title suggests Estelle is Cold of Heart and she does what she thinks is necessary without a thought.

At the beginning of the book, Estelle is a very unlikable character, but very cleverly the Author takes us back to her past and shows us parts of her that show a vulnerable side to her. Everyone has a weak spot and the job of the evil is to find that weak spot. Although I can’t excuse Estelle for what she does or even understand how she could do the things she does, the Author does make her become slightly likeable as the book goes on. To root for the bad guy takes some skill! As I think back, I know I shouldn’t have rooted for her, but I became so wrapped up in her plight that I did! Well done to Sean-Paul Thomas for this!

The book is so up to date, there is even a mention of corona virus and Brexit. It’s the little details in books that make all the difference. Not everything has to be so involved in the plot, the surroundings need to be key too. But not so much that it distracts from the plot and characters. The author did this perfectly.

“……looking even more like death warmed up than some poor sucker with a bad dose of the corona virus “

If you like fast paced Scottish thrillers, then this is the book for you. The detail was there for the location, the characters and the plot. Very very good! Highly recommended.


Links:

Amazon.com

Goodreads

Facebook

Instagram

Amazon.co.uk

 
8 Comments

Posted by on July 27, 2020 in Books

 

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Let the Sleuthing Continue! Hattie Goes To Hollywood by Caroline James. #BookReview.

Let the Sleuthing Continue! Hattie Goes To Hollywood by Caroline James. #BookReview.

I have been a fan of Caroline James’ books for a long time now. If you search my blog for Caroline James, you will see quite a few praising reviews.

Now a new series has begun based around Hattie who was a secondary character in previous books, but has been promoted to the star of the show in Hattie Goes To Hollywood.

Thank you to Author Caroline James for my copy of your book. This is the first of my #10BooksofSummer challenge and it was a great start.

Description

Introducing a new cosy crime series from best selling author Caroline James.

A Cumbrian Village…
Three suicides…
A red-hot summer…

When recently bereaved Hattie Mulberry inherits her aunt’s dilapidated cottage in the village of Hollywood in Cumbria, she envisages a quiet life. But retired hotelier Hattie is bored and when her neighbour asks her to investigate a suspicious suicide, Hattie’s career takes a new direction and H&H Investigations is born. During the hottest summer for years, Hattie discovers there have been three recent suicides in Hollywood and she determines to find out why. Temperatures rise as she throws herself into village life and, with mischief and shenanigans aplenty, Hattie has her work cut out. But will she establish the truth?

Hattie Goes to Hollywood is the first is a new series of stand-alone books by Caroline James.

My Thoughts:

Shenanigans ” what a great word to describe Hattie and her life. Hattie is the brilliant character that I loved from previous Caroline James’s books. Now she has a star role of her own .

This is the first in a series that the author is writing and what a fabulous start. Hattie inherits a house in a seemingly quiet village where she soon finds out that there are plenty of nosy neighbours about. But also perhaps a secret or 3.

Hattie’s first mission is to investigate a suicide for her neighbour. ‘H & H investigations’ begins her sleuthing and shenanigans.

I loved this easy read book. I liked that the characters are older but still loving and living life. ( well most of them). Caroline James has a style all of her own in her books and one that if I  read a book without knowing the author, I think I could tell you it was Caroline that had written it. Easy flowing writing, charismatic characters and usually some tasty food involved. In this case, Hattie’s hearty breakfast bacon sarnies and the plates full of good pub food from the local. There is another attraction in the local for Hattie too 😉.

A quirky little co star of this book is Drake, the duck that follows Hattie home and makes himself her pet. How nice to have a pet duck. Thoughts of duck l’orange must disappear at this point. 😋

This cosy mystery is a fabulous start to the new series staring Hattie as investigative sleuth extraordinaire. I’m already looking forward to the next one.

If you like cosy mysteries with great atmosphere and not your typical “detective”, then this is a book for you. Lovers of Caroline’s previous books will definetly enjoy it and if you haven’t been introduced to Caroline James’ characters then Hattie Goes To Hollywood is a good place to start. Highly recommended.


Links:

Goodreads

www.carolinejamesauthor.co.uk

Amazon.co.uk
 
10 Comments

Posted by on July 11, 2020 in Books

 

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Here’s my Calling Card. Book Review: The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup.

Here’s my Calling Card. Book Review: The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup.

The Chestnut Man book has been sitting on my shelf for quite a while. I always knew it was going to be a good read as it was given to me by my fellow book loving, book blogging friend Irena, and she knows my taste. The reason I hadn’t read it until recently was that I was daunted by the length of the book being over 500 pages. Many of the reviews I have read of this book say, don’t be put off by thickness! But I was! Now what better time to enjoy an excellent book than during lockdown.

Translation by Caroline Waight.

Description:

The heart-pounding debut from the creator of the hit Scandinavian television show The Killing.

If you find one, he’s already found you.

A psychopath is terrorizing Copenhagen.

His calling card is a “chestnut man”—a handmade doll made of matchsticks and two chestnuts—which he leaves at each bloody crime scene.

Examining the dolls, forensics makes a shocking discovery—a fingerprint belonging to a young girl, a government minister’s daughter who had been kidnapped and murdered a year ago.

A tragic coincidence—or something more twisted?

To save innocent lives, a pair of detectives must put aside their differences to piece together the Chestnut Man’s gruesome clues.

Because it’s clear that the madman is on a mission that is far from over.

And no one is safe.

My Thoughts:

I had never heard of Chestnut dolls before, but I do know I love a book whereby the murderer has a calling sign. This caller sign is Chestnut dolls. Chestnuts and match sticks made into little people. But what is the significance? The significance becomes even more strange ( intriguing for the reader) when the fingerprint of a girl that went missing a year ago is found on the chestnut!

The plot focuses on two main detectives who are on the case. Neither of them particularly happy about having to work with the other and both with other places they would like to be. Not a good match for a serious hunt for a serial killer with an agenda you might think? Perhaps not, but it was a nice change to read about detectives having to be a partnership and not wanting to be there.

This Scandi Noir books deserves all the praise and rave reviews it’s got. The short chapters enabled me to read ” just one more chapter” more times than I could have imagined. The finger prints on the chestnut were what got me turning the pages. How are there finger prints of a girl who has been missing presumed dead for a whole year. The missing girl is the daughter of a government minister, so should this case be re opened? Most think ‘No’, but a good detective leaves nothing uncovered.

Are the murders anything to do with the missing girl? What’s the link between Chestnut Men and the victims? Are the victims patterned? Who is next? All questions that whizzed through my head leading to the ” just one more chapter” feeling.

The plot was long, but gripping. The characters were individual but forced to come together. The murderer, well I can describe this damaged soul as gory, blood thirsty, clever and original. If that sounds like a serial killer you’d like to meet on these pages, get reading The Chestnut Man.

I had no idea of who the killer was. I had no idea how the book would end, but when it did end after investing all that time into reading it, I was pleased, satisfied and so glad that I took the plunge into this big book.

My lockdown experience definetly included Chestnut Men. 😊

Links:

Amazon.co.uk

 
6 Comments

Posted by on June 21, 2020 in Books

 

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