Friday, 31 January 2020

Secrets of the Dead by Murray Bailey

Secrets of the Dead (Alex MacLure #2)Secrets of the Dead by Murray Bailey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 5 days

Pages - 334

Publisher - Heritage Books

Source - Review Copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Beware the surgeon. He’s not here to save you!

Atlanta, Georgia.
When a body dump is found, FBI Special Agent Charlie Rebb, thinks a serial killer has resurfaced. Called the Surgeon by the media, his tell-tale technique has everyone wondering why. But then the murders seem to stop again.

Cairo, Egypt.
Alex MacLure is contacted by a student who thinks he’s uncovered a conspiracy involving the pyramids. He asks for Alex’s help to piece together a message using new discoveries from the Amarna Letters.
But the student disappears and Alex is arrested for a murder. Meanwhile the special agent sees a sign that the Surgeon is now in Egypt.

MacLure links up with Special Agent Rebb to track down the killer. As he decrypts an ancient story MacLure realizes this is a race against time. The Surgeon must be stopped before he completes his terrible and startling mission.



My Review

This is my first time reading this author, it is kinda split into two stories that really combine into one. FBI Special Agent Charlit Rebb thinks a serial killer has resurfaced and she is determined to catch them. Alex MacLure is an archiologist but also an expert on egyptian texts/symbols and I want to say Egyptian history? He is contacted by a student talking about a conspiracy in regards to the pyramids. Alex of course is drawn, goes to meet the student and instead gets arrested for murder, in Egypt. Eventually his and Rebb's paths cross and both their searching may be well linked.

So the book skips about a wee bit, we learn a bit from Alex's side, what he does, his location(s) and the same for Rebb her investigation and she heads over to Egypt when another body pops up with striking similarity to her own cases. Has out killer fled to pastures new?

The book has conspiracy, Egyptian history, a throwback in time that coincides with what MacLure is looking into in present day. With the Egyptian stuff I had to keep going to google to check stuff out, some of it I knew from my brother as he is hugely into the Egyptian history/stories. It is really interesting stuff and I do need to read a proper book on the history of the pyramids/Egyptians legends.

There is a scene in the jail, particularly the toileting and general "facilities" as well as the interrogation that gave me a bit of the boak and a jolt. You here about interrogations in other countries in the news or from folks true live stories and whilst this wasn't a huge or integral part of the story it did stay with me.

A busy wee book, lots happening and will keep you hooked. I will be looking at the previous books by this author as I did enjoy it and I do like a book where I learn about stuff. Or have interest sparked in a subject I have briefly looked into before, 3.5/5 for me this time.

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Friday, 24 January 2020

Wee love themed giveaway



As we know Valentine's day is coming so I figured I would do a wee love themed giveaway. Some folk find Valentine's hard or hate the commercialised overcharged crap. I happen to love Valentine's so why not and whether you love or hate it, who doesn't like a wee comp.

So just so we are clear, the easel ISN'T part of the giveaway, I just love the heart board so will be using it in many of my piccys :D - up for grabs, as pictured is:




A wee 3 set of facemasks, I picked up a set for me, used one today and it is the consistency of a peel mask but the one I used isn't a peel, smells nice though and my skin feels nice and soft. I am super sensitive too and *touch wood* no reaction or irritation.




X2 wee love heart shaped candles, X1 wee fake rose, X1 red silicone bookbandz which is a bookmark that goes around the actual book and if you stop reading mid paragraph you can position the wee hand to the line you last read. And a wee cat with a part hat on bookmark. I may add another wee extra into the package if I get the chance to get something else, maybe a wee chocolate something.



To get this to the winner before Valentines day I will only keep the competition open for a wee while, give me time in between shifts to get to the post office. If you are not UK based I don't mind opening it up to worldwide but it will NOT arrive before Valentines day so it is entirely up to you. To enter, all you need to do, as usual, is enter via the Rafflecopter, please only complete entries you have done to avoid entries being disqualified which actually happens on every single giveaway.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 20 January 2020

Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

Blood OrangeBlood Orange by Harriet Tyce
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 336

Publisher - Wildfire

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

An electrifying debut thriller for fans of Anatomy of a Scandal, Apple Tree Yard, and Gone Girl.

Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, and a career on the rise - she's just been given her first murder case to defend. But all is never as it seems...

Just one more night. Then I'll end it.

Alison drinks too much. She's neglecting her family. And she's having an affair with a colleague whose taste for pushing boundaries may be more than she can handle.

I did it. I killed him. I should be locked up.

Alison's client doesn't deny that she stabbed her husband - she wants to plead guilty. And yet something about her story is deeply amiss. Saving this woman may be the first step to Alison saving herself.

I'm watching you. I know what you're doing.

But someone knows Alison's secrets. Someone who wants to make her pay for what she's done, and who won't stop until she's lost everything....

A disturbing, toxic and compelling novel that explores the power of fear and desire, jealousy and betrayal, love and hate, BLOOD ORANGE introduces a stunning new voice in psychological suspense.



My Review

I have seen a lot of folk talking about this book and mostly all good, I always feel a wee bit apprehensive going into a super popular book because I don't always like books that are well loved. I shouldn't have worried at all and wish I hadn't left it as long to pick up. Meet Alison, her career is on the right track and has just landed her first murder case. Her husband looks after their adorable wee girl and he is making progress in his own career moves and group meetings at home. All should be great for Alison but it isn't, she is having an affair, alcohol is becoming and issue, her behaviour is embarrassing her husband and friends. Alison can't seem to do right for wrong and now she has to sort a defense for a client who doesn't seem to want to help herself, she says she killed her husband and isn't helping Alison and co to help her.

As Alison works to figure a defense for her client, accused of killing her husband she had to look into their relationship, uncomfortable things come to light. Alison can't help but compare her clients relationship to her own. Infidelity is a big theme in this book, not central but it is important. There are very uncomfortable aspects to the relationships that readers may find uncomfortable reading but highlights cohersive behaviour and negative control in relationships really well.

Alison is such an enigma, she is strong, driven, passionate but her personal life and choices are so at odds with Alison the professional. Soon enough her personal life and work life collide and it is like a car crash you can't look away from. This doesn't read like a debut, I am surprised Tyce hasn't been writing for years. I sank this in one day, I can't say I liked the characters at all but I couldn't stop reading to see what they were going to say and do next. 4/5 for me this time, I am looking forward to seeing what Tyce comes out with next!



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Saturday, 18 January 2020

The Memory Tree by Linda Gillard

The Memory TreeThe Memory Tree by Linda Gillard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 3 days

Pages - 322

Publisher - Lake Union Publishing

Source - Netgalley

Blurb from Goodreads

Can the power of love overcome life’s darkest memories and deepest losses?

When her favourite beech tree is felled in a storm, Ann feels as if someone has died. But when long-hidden seed packets are found inside the trunk, Ann realises there are more memories than her own lurking within the ancient tree . . .

A century earlier, head gardener William Hatherwick and Hester Mordaunt, mistress of Beechgrave, share a love for the mighty estate – and an undeclared love for each other. But when war breaks out, William is sent to the battlefields of France, and as the conflict rages on, Hester grieves beneath the tree. Can she and William ever find happiness once he’s witnessed the horror of the trenches?

In the present day, historian Connor Grenville wants to understand why his late grandmother tried to destroy Hester’s archive before she died. Who was she trying to protect – and why? His findings bring long-suppressed memories back to Ann’s mind . . .

Beneath the shadow of the tree, love is won and lost, and secrets are hidden and revealed. Will the truth heal the wounds that lie buried in the past?




My Review

I started reading Gillard back in the days of RISI (ReaditSwapit), after reading and loving her first book I bought all the others available. This one popped up for review and I realised I didn't have it, it is like meeting up with an old friend, characters you just want to know more about and sink into the story. Split into two timelines, current day we meet Ann who has come home to look after her mother who is struggling after surviving cancel but fierce in her own independence. She has always been a prickly character but Ann loves her. Connor comes into their lives, a gardener who is trying to find out more about his past and an old felled tree gives up some secrets from the past - the trio work together to figure out the history and secrets witnessed by the tree. Taking us back to the past and those who lived there prior to and during the war, living the lives Ann and co are trying to piece together.

Gillard really does have a way with words, when we are in the present I didn't want to leave, when we go back to the past I didn't want to leave. The past is a time when war is looming, women must behave in a certain way and love and loss are abundant. It can't be easy bringing to life two lots of characters, in two timelines and keeping a flow and relevance between the two. All families have secrets and when the characters pry and piece everything together they may find more than they could have imagined.

I do love a book that pulls you in and gives you characters that have a bit of depth, two timelines that can be weaved together and pull you in very quickly. I think had life/work not got in the way I would have read this in one go. I still have a few of Gillard's books on my tbrm, I like her writing so much I was saving them, I think I need to bump them up the review mountain. 4.5/5 for me this time, if you haven't read this author before you really should, she creates characters/families you just want to know more about!

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Thursday, 16 January 2020

Her Last Goodnight by Michael Scanlon Blog Tour

Today is my turn on the blog tour for "Her Last Goodnight" by Michael Scanlon.




About the book




Eddie stands at his door anxiously waiting for her to arrive, touching the box in his pocket for luck. He doesn’t hear the footsteps behind him until it’s too late…

Detective Finnegan Beck is called to a violent crime scene – a remote house near the rural Irish town of Cross Beg – where a dog lies whimpering beside his beloved owner’s body.

At first it looks like a burglary gone wrong. But Beck spots something his colleagues didn’t. The victim, Eddie Kavanagh, was wearing his smartest clothes. He’d brushed his hair. And, on closer inspection, a small velvet box containing an engagement ring is discovered in his pocket, along with a letter to a nameless woman, which seems to suggest she’s in danger.

Those who knew Eddie have no idea about a female friend though – there’s been no one in his life since a girl who he’d loved and who’d broken his heart decades before.

So who was the woman Eddie was waiting for? And did his connection with her ultimately lead to his murder? When a beautiful young woman is then found beaten to death, murdered exactly as Eddie had been, Beck has to ask – is the danger over? Or is it just beginning?

An absolutely addictive and atmospheric crime novel that will leave you gasping for breath. If you love gripping thrillers from Rachel Caine, Robert Dugoni and Kendra Elliot, you won’t be able to put this one down.

About the author




Michael Scanlon is a civilian employee of the An Garda Siochana (the Irish police force), but a life threatening undiagnosed illness that struck while travelling in Spain in 2014 has rendered him on long term sick leave. He is married to Eileen and has a daughter, Sarah. He lives in the countryside outside the town of Ballina in County Mayo. The town has arguably the best salmon river in Europe, called the Moy.

You can find Michael on Twitter

For my stop I have my review, enjoy.

Her Last GoodnightHer Last Goodnight by Michael Scanlon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 334

Publisher - Bookouture

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Eddie stands at his door anxiously waiting for the woman to arrive, touching the engagement ring box in his pocket for luck. He doesn’t hear the footsteps behind him until it’s too late…

Detective Finnegan Beck is called to a crime scene – a remote house near the rural Irish town of Cross Beg – where a dog lies whimpering beside his beloved owner’s body.

At first it looks like a burglary gone wrong. But Beck spots something his colleagues didn’t. The victim – Eddie Kavanagh – was wearing his smartest clothes. He’d brushed his hair. And, on closer inspection, a small velvet box containing an engagement ring is discovered in his pocket, along with a letter to a nameless woman, which seems to suggest she’s in danger.

Those who knew Eddie have no idea about a female friend though – there’s been no one in his life since a girl who he’d loved and who’d broken his heart decades before. Now Eddie leads a quiet, solitary existence, rarely going further than the fields behind his house to walk his sheepdog Max.

So who was the woman Eddie was waiting for? And did his connection with her ultimately lead to his murder? When a beautiful young woman is then found beaten to death – murdered exactly as Eddie had been, Beck has to ask – is the danger over? Or is just beginning?


My Review

Eddie is a gentleman, loved by all so when he is found brutally murdered the police have a time of it trying to discover a suspect let alone a motive. Detective Finnegan Beck and his partner Claire are on the case, chatting to the locals, Eddie's brother, his neighbour anyone who can shed light on who may have wanted Eddie dead. Inbetween the investigation we get to know more about Beck, flawed, battling an alcohol addiction, having an affair with a married woman very close to home and his own demons from him childhood, tis a busy wee book.

So this is book three I believe but the first book I have read by this author, I don't feel I missed anything by starting here as we get a lot of insight and background into the main character, Beck. If you like a telling where a lot of focus is on your character(s) then this is a winner, there is a lot of meat on the character personal level as well as the ongoing murder investigation.

Beck is a bit of a character, has a complex past that I am not sure if it is addressed in the previous books or this is the first it is acknowledged. A lot of it impacts of his current issues, his attitude, life choices and it reflects the old actions and consequences.

I have to mention the wee show stealer, he isn't in the book a whole lot but when he is I loved it. I am talking about Max, the dog, who doesn't love animals and there is something about Max that just makes any of the scenes he is in. Take just about any story, add a loyal set of paws into it and it just makes that which is good = awesome. I hope that for however long this series may go on that Max makes more and more appearances, I loved him. A good book with a splash of just about everything, murder, investigation, police, infidelity, friendship, family, secrets and skulduggery, 4/5 for me this time. Whilst this was my first time reading this author it won't be my last, I also need to message the author about Max, PLEASE let him be in more books!

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Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Someone Close to Home by Alex Craigie Blog Tour




Today is mine and the final stop on the blog tour, please check out the other stops as we all offer different content.




BLURB for the book

Talented pianist Megan Youngblood has it all – fame, fortune and Gideon.

But Gideon isn’t good enough for Megan’s ambitious, manipulative mother, whose meddling has devastating repercussions for Megan and for those close to her.

Now, trapped inside her own body, she is unable to communicate her needs or fears as she faces institutional neglect in an inadequate care home.

And she faces Annie. Sadistic Annie who has reason to hate her. Damaged Annie who shouldn’t work with vulnerable people.

Just how far will Annie go?

'Someone Close To Home' is a story of love, malice and deadly menace.

Buy Link from AMAZON



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Alex Craigie was ten when her first play was performed at school. It was in rhyming couplets and all she can remember about it is that:

it was written in pencil in a book with weights and measures on the back the two heroes were Prince Rupert and his brother (whose name was changed to Sam to facilitate the rhyming process.) as writer, producer and director she ‘bagged’ the part of female lead. When her children were young, she wrote short stories for magazines and since then has fulfilled her ambition to write a novel. Someone Close to Home has won two ‘Chill with a Book’ awards – The Reader’s Award and the Book of the Month Award.

Alex lives in a small village in Pembrokeshire, Wales, and knows that she and her husband are lucky to have their children and grandchildren living nearby. It's often chaotic and noisy but these are her most treasured moments and she savours them - even if she's reduced to an immovable heap after they've gone.

As an independent author, without a big publishing machine behind her, she is very grateful to all the people who have found and bought her first book – and a huge thank you to those who’ve gone out of their way to write a review on Amazon or Goodreads. These reviews make a massive difference to ‘Indies’ and the positive ones encourage other readers to risk buying a copy.

What else can she say? Nothing, really. Writing this personal promotion has been very, very hard and she needs to go away now and lie down in a darkened room, preferably with a big bar of chocolate…

She looks forward to any contact from fellow lovers of books and any honest feedback is very welcome.

For my stop I have my review, enjoy

Someone Close to HomeSomeone Close to Home by Alex Craigie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < 2 days

Pages - 383

Publisher - Ashford Carbonel Publishing

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

"The book is brilliant. It reads like a memoir and grips like great fiction should - beautiful characterization"
Viga Boland - Author - No Tears For My Father

Talented pianist Megan Youngblood has it all – fame, fortune and Gideon.

But Gideon isn’t good enough for Megan’s ambitious, manipulative mother, whose meddling has devastating repercussions for Megan and for those close to her.

Now, trapped inside her own body, she is unable to communicate her needs or fears as she faces institutional neglect in an inadequate care home.

And she faces Annie. Sadistic Annie who has reason to hate her. Damaged Annie who shouldn’t work with vulnerable people.

Just how far will Annie go?


My Review


This is one of those books you think about long after you have read the last page, particularly if you have a loved one who is vulnerable or work in any kind of care setting. We open with someone in fear and thinking back to their parents as the chapter closes. The chapters flip between the main characters reminiscing back to their childhood and current situation. We know they are incapacitated but not why, we know they are in fear but not why.

The narration is told in first person, through Megan's recall of her memories and then going through and experiencing her current predicament. There is a lot of the book that makes for very uncomfortable reading, abuse is a strong theme throughout, mental, physical, emotional and coercion. I had to put the book down a few times as the author creates such a powerful visual you are drawn into the horror and terror the character feels. Some of the scenes are claustrophobic, the depravity and cruelty, dare I even say evilness of some human beings to others. I think any reader, regardless of background/family/personal experiences will have emotion evoked, I gasped out loud more than once.

When Craigie takes you back to Megan's younger years you want to read the recent years and when you are in the recent stuff you want to read the younger stuff. She reels you in ties your attention to both timelines, the book has so many layers you are kept on your toes, chapter to chapter - unsure where it is all headed or what darkness will be revealed next. The ugliness of some of the humans in this is repugnant but there is also examples of bravery, goodness, loyalty and love. 4.5/5 for me this time, this was my first dance with this author, it won't be my last!

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Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Alanatomy The Inside Story by Alan Carr

Alanatomy: the Inside StoryAlanatomy: the Inside Story by Alan Carr
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days (in and out)

Pages - 332

Publisher - Penguin

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

If you loved Alan's first memoir - Look Who It Is! - then this follow-up, Alanatomy, will take you further into the hilarious and bizarre world of the country's favourite chatty man. Alanatomy is the chance for you to get beneath my skin and see the real me because, and to continue the anatomical theme if I may, this showbiz existence can sometimes feel like an autopsy - picked at, probed and scrutinized with every inch of your body held up for analysis, but unlike an actual autopsy, you are very much alive.


My review

This is Alan's second book, the first covered his childhood and breaking into showbiz. This book picks up where the other leaves off, Alan is headed into his 40s, he has had a step into celebrity and this catalogs his career from there onwards. As well as following his career he discloses all that comes with celebrity, the good, the bad, the ugly. Things going on in his own life, behind the scenes and some celebrity gossip.

If you love celeb gossip you will love this one. There is also a lot of raw truth in this, lifts a bit of the shine off the old celebrity lifestyle. It is actually quite shocking some of what he went through, just shows that "the show must go on" is very true and you never quite know what people are going through. I think folk often forget how that people in the public eye are just that, people having to put a smile on and portraying life is all glam and fab but dealing with personal challenges.

I never seen any of his shows but I think after reading the books I need to check them out, I did chuckle at a few parts of the book. I said it with the last one I read it hearing his voice so things that maybe wouldn't be funny if coming from his wee voice. If he writes another I would buy it, he doesn't seem to be on Twitter (his account is he isn't active) and I wonder if a lot of it is due to the things mentioned in the book. 3/5 for me this time, if you enjoyed his first book and like a wee nosey into celeb life(s) you will enjoy this.

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Saturday, 11 January 2020

Make Do and Mend A Broken Heart by Katey Lovell Blog blast

Today is my turn on the blog tour for Make Do and Mend a Broken Heart by Katey Lovell, for my stop I have my review.





Make Do and Mend a Broken HeartMake Do and Mend a Broken Heart by Katey Lovell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 2 days

Pages - 298

Publisher - Quercus

Source - ARC

Blurb from Goodreads

When you know how, you can make anything from scratch, including a new life after love...
When Leanne and Richard bought a dilapidated old seaside cottage to renovate together as their forever home, their future was full of hope and promise.

But heartbreak was just around the corner: fast forward a few months and Richard is gone. With his death, Leanne finds herself stony broke, faced with an uninhabitable home and lacking even the basic skills to do it up herself.

With the help of the friendly woman who runs the library and the reluctant assistance of the man who works in the local hardware shop, the cottage is lovingly restored. But broken hearts aren't so easy to fix... are they?


My Review

Leanne and Richard buy an old run down cottage by the sea to move into and do up, in a small town. Everything is planned, they are happy and full of love and ideas for this wee house that is a bit of a wreck. When everything falls apart and Leanne sticks to the plan she heads to the small town to tackle the house herself. Alone, bereft, grieving and realising just how big a job it is Leanne pushes on to fulfill the dream. Some of the towns people are much more accommodating and friendly than others. As Leanne takes on the mamoth task she also has to battle the financial issues, establishing herself within the community and coping being so far from everyone and everything she knows and loves.

Aw God love her, you can just see it, knowing no one - the impact of it all just hitting you. And the home you had so much ideas for, with two of you tackling it, you are now just one person. Pals and family are a sea away, money struggles, loneliness and the huge task of restoration of an almost unlivable house.

The initial few chapters took me a wee bit to settle into as you don't know what happened exactly and it is just Leanne trying to get to terms with all that is ahead. But as we start to get to know the community I really started to like it. Some of the townspeople you just wanted to hug, stepping in when needed but also the not so nice and standoffish ones, true to a wee town with strangers.

Friendship, love, loss, grief a huge focus on a journey of recovery and self discovery, we watch Leanne grow and heal with a little help from old friends and new. This was my first time reading this author and it was the perfect genre switch I needed, 4/5 for me this time.


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Tuesday, 7 January 2020

The Dilemma by B A Paris Blog Tour

Today is my stop on the blog tour for "The Dilemma" by author B A Paris, for my stop I have my review. as you can see it is a popular tour and many stops, please check out the other bloggers as we all offer different content.




The DilemmaThe Dilemma by B.A. Paris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - approx 4 hours

Pages - 333

Publisher - HQ Stories

Source - ARC

Blurb from Amazon

It’s Livia’s 40th birthday and she’s having the party of a lifetime to make up for the wedding she never had. Everyone she loves will be there except her daughter Marnie, who’s studying abroad. But although Livia loves Marnie, she’s secretly glad she won’t be at the party. She needs to tell Adam something about their daughter but she’s waiting until the party is over so they can have this last happy time together.

Adam wants everything to be perfect for Livia so he’s secretly arranged for Marnie to come home and surprise her on her birthday. During the day, he hears some terrible news. He needs to tell Livia, because how can the party go on? But she’s so happy, so excited – and the guests are about to arrive.

The Dilemma – how far would you go to give someone you love a last few hours of happiness?


My Review

The book splits the chapters into us hearing from the main characters, Livia and Adam, told in first person narrative. Livia wants everything perfect for her big birthday, the amount of money spent it is lavish, over the top and on par with a wedding. It means so much to Livia and Adam just wants her to have her special day. He has arranged as a surprise for their daughter to come home and surprise them. But Adam has found out some news that will destroy the party, his wife's big night, he can't say anything but how do you act normal with something so huge weighing down on you. Livia finds out a secret that will devastate Adam and their close circle, how can she tell him, she knows she should, how can she act normal at the party? Both do what they feel is right, tensions are high and the reader is along for the ride as everything builds up and the party fast approaches.

The big theme of this one is families, friendship, love, secrets, lies and drama. Honestly so so much going on but family and friendship/relationships is integral to everything. Livia has been estranged from her parents for so long, Adam and their song have a very strained relationship, Livia is so hung up on grieving for her parents excluding her from her life, her children. As the book goes on you get a bit more clarity on why she is the way she is and why this party means so much to her.

As the reader you are a bit up and down, why would you do X, behaviours, choices - some of the characters you are scratching your head at but it is easy to judge when you aren't in the thick of it. How far would you go to protect the person you love. The book examines human behaviour, cause and effect and the lasting ripples decisions made can impact upon the person and those they love. 4.5/5 for me this time. It is no secret I am a fan of this author and I look forward to whatever she pens next.

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Monday, 6 January 2020

Happy New Year you guys




Almost the first week gone, how are we all coping? January can be such a hard time for some folk and for others it is invigorating, a fresh slate to start anew. Today is the 12th night (12 days after Christmas so all of our Christmas decorations come down today, I do hate that, love our decs and the house always looks so bare!).




2019 was a great reading year, I think this was my 2nd or 3rd year doing the book jar challenge. Basically starts January the 1st until December 31st, for every book I read I put in £1 (you can change the amount to suit you). It is an easy way to save as you don't miss it so little at a time, then at the end of the year you have money not in the budget and you can treat yourself.





I usually buy from wee independent businesses, indie authors, book related gifts and sometimes a wee something I normally wouldn't spend so much on (one year I got the Harry Potter wizard box). You can use any jar, I like my wee Harry Potter book shaped one, 2019 box has been cleared already.


I had a look back at my 2019 reads, I read so many great books but only a handful made it into the 5 star category so I didn't do highlight post, I was going to include the 4.5 ones but there are so many I would have had a huge huge post.





This was our first Christmas with wee Luna, now at time of posting 22 weeks old. Having a kitten is an education, she is the cutest wee thing but also a cheeky, fearless, no sense wee crack pot. She was so spoiled by us, friends, family and my work colleagues, she even got her own Christmas card!





Very much looking forward to some walkies, good books and happiness. Here is to a fabulous and healthy 2020 for us all. I will be sorting another giveaway asap, the Twitter and Instagram competitions are still live (Orenda one is now closed) but will be closing soon so if you haven't already there is still time to enter, good luck.

Thursday, 2 January 2020

Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights by Carole Matthews

Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe NightsChristmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights by Carole Matthews
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 4 days in and out

Pages - 392

Publisher - Sphere

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

Indulge in this wonderful, cake-filled novel of romance and friendship. Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights is Sunday Times bestselling Carole Matthews doing what she does best!

Fay and Danny are madly in love and it's all Fay's ever dreamed of. But she left everything - including the delightful cake shop she used to run - to be with Danny on his cosy canal boat The Dreamcatcher. And as she soon finds out, making delicious cakes on the water isn't always smooth sailing!

Then Fay gets a call from her friends, a call that sends her back to her friends and the Cake Shop in the Garden. It will be hard being away from Danny but their relationship is strong enough to survive . . . isn't it?

Fay soon falls happily back in love with her passion for baking - especially now she's on dry land again! - and starts to wonder if she ever should have left. With Christmas around the corner, Fay is determined that her friends will have a very merry time, but does that mean even more time away from Danny? Can Fay really get everything she ever wanted in Christmas Cakes & Mistletoe Nights.



My Review

Fay and Danny are living the dream, Fay left an uphappy relationship for the younger Danny and they are now sailing on his boat, getting work where able. When an old friend of Fay's takes unwell she head back to her old home and business now owned by Lija. Lija is a fire cracker, she suffers no fools, has a mouth like a fishwife and a new helper called Rainbow who is her polar opposite. Fay slides into their routine, helping out in the cafe whilst looking out for their old friend, she needs the money, they need the help and Danny should be back when able.

This is one of those stories, relationships and family are pretty much the whole story with some cakes and dramas thrown in. Fay still has a huge gripe with her sister who is selfish, rude, flashy with cash whilst Fay is strapped and lots of resentment from when her mother died. Fay loves her sister so when she shows up for Christmas, attitude and all Fay welcomes her with open arms. We have drama's, love, anger, relationships and two fabulous characters in Rainbow and Lija. Rainbow just loves everything and is so over the top sugar and happiness in comparison to Lija, zero tolerance for mupppetry, sentiments or users. I loved it and the two are so starky different they just work.

From a family point of view I really loathed the sister but would have liked a bit more meat on her story. A good read, nice enough for December with plenty of chuckles along the way, 3.5/5 for me this time. I would read this author again!



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