Saturday 30 December 2023

Merrily Ever After by Cathy Bramley

Merrily Ever AfterMerrily Ever After by Cathy Bramley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 9 days (busy December)

Pages - 432

Publisher - Orion

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

In a picturesque town in Derbyshire, Merry has always wanted a family to spend Christmas with, and this year her dream comes true as she says 'I do' to father-of-two Cole. But as she juggles worries about her business, last-minute wedding planning and the two new children in her life, Merry is stretched to breaking point.

Meanwhile, only a few miles away, Emily is desperately waiting for the New Year to begin. Her father Ray's dementia is worsening, and she's struggling to care for him alone while holding down a job. When Ray moves into a residential home, she discovers a photograph in his belongings that has the potential to change everything .

As shocking secrets from Ray's past finally come to light, will this Christmas make or break Emily and Merry?

My Review

So this is marked as a standalone but Merry I am sure was in the other book I read by this author and her partner. We alternate between Merry and Emily. Merry's candle business is successful, in fact branching out so well she really needs to look to more staff but it is her baby and she is reluctant to let go. Everything is coming together great however planning a wedding, stretching herself thin with the business and concerns with her soon to be step children is causing Merry stress. Emily has a selfish boyfriend, I mean the guy is an absolute horror bag and her dad is getting more forgetful, confused and wandering more. Emily has the absolute guilt on what is best to do for her dad but with his condition worsening and the impact it is having on her job/personal life and health - stuck between a rock and a hard place.

We follow the two ladies as they navigate between their own personal issues, I really felt for Emily although with the boyfriend interactions I was near screaming at the book. Honestly a repugnant and vile individual. Emily's dad, the dementia/scenes are very emotive and heart breaking at some points.

The book is a cozy read with some emotive themes, friendship, blended families, wedding planning, stress, dementia, secrets, love & loss. It is a mixed bag, if you want to just escape from your own world for a wee bit this is a good shout. I need to look at her other books to see if these characters are in other despite being standalones, 4/5. I got this on a bargain buy special offer (I got a few copies for my blind dates with a book for my workies too).

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The Last Devil to Die by Richard Osman

The Last Devil to Die (Thursday Murder Club, #4)The Last Devil to Die by Richard Osman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 5 days

Pages - 422

Publisher - Viking

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

Shocking news reaches the Thursday Murder Club.

An old friend in the antiques business has been killed, and a dangerous package he was protecting has gone missing.

As the gang springs into action they encounter art forgers, online fraudsters and drug dealers, as well as heartache close to home.

With the body count rising, the package still missing and trouble firmly on their tail, has their luck finally run out? And who will be the last devil to die?

My Review

This is book four in the series and I would say you will get more out of it by reading the previous books and getting the backstory(s) of the characters. The books are centred around older characters who have a Thursday Murder Club and they set out investigating crimes/murder(s) and they are actually pretty good at it.

One of the things I love about these books is how quirky the characters are and whilst that is present in some of this one there is a sadder/dark streak in this book I wasn't expecting. I get that the characters growth/arcs need to go a in certain directions but sometimes when you are caught off guard it can impact in your enjoyment of a story. That being said I also know that it might be more of a me thing than the story/author thing.

On the lighter side there is more of a couples theme in this one and Ron puts his foot in stuff as he does, set in his ways stubborn but still. Skulduggery, drugs, murder and investigating, the opening chapter kicks us into the thick of it straight off.

Friendship is quite often at the heart of these stories and it is strong in this one. We obviously have the police investigation, the gang doing their thing, criminals old and new and everyone is looking for the same thing just for different reasons. It is a good story, engaging just not my fave of the series and has some dark/sad themes involved so for me 3/5 this time. Will I read more of the series? Absolutely, I love the characters and their antics just found this one had a bit more sadness than I was expecting.

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Thursday 28 December 2023

Home For Christmas by Jan Ruth

Home for ChristmasHome for Christmas by Jan Ruth
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < 1 day

Pages - 112

Publisher -

Source - Bought (I think)

Blurb from Goodreads

An emotive trio of stories with festive themes.
Rudolph the Brown-Nosed Reindeer Rick isn't looking forward to his lonely corporate Christmas, but it's the season of goodwill and magic is in the air. An off-beat love story. It's time Rick wore his heart on his sleeve, or is it too late? Lessons in love from an unlikely source.
Jim's Christmas Carol Santa and Satan pay a visit. One brings presents, the other an unwelcome presence. Paranormal reality. Jim's played with fire it's time he got his comeuppance, but from who?
Home for Christmas Deck the halls with boughs of holly. Fa la-la la-la, la-la la-la. Tis the Season to be jolly... Romantic-comedy. Pip might accidentally find her true vocation, but the folly of her fibs are about to catch up with her.

My Review

The blurb says three emotive stories with festive themes, I didn't find emotive really in any of them, maybe it is just me. The characters aren't exactly the nicest people (not all of them to be fair). The first one a guy goes through the motions and copes with what his relationship was/is whilst away on a work trip over the festive. Alcohol, self explorations/what is important to them plus maybe a wee bit of personal growth.

Story two has infidelity (extra martial affair) the guy is not a very nice chap and mayhap a bit of Karma is on the cards, see what I did there lol. A spiritualist, family, festivities and maybe a bit of comeuppance once can but hope.

The third and final is Pip, returning home from the big city and not wanting to come clean to just about anything and trying to keep the face/imagine she projects. Of them all I think this may well be my "fave" of the trio.

I liked they have Christmas vibes/theme weaved, I liked the visuals the author creates, wasn't a huge fan of many of the characters (not very nice people), I am the first to admit though short stories aren't my first pic. This was my first dance with this author and I am sure I have actual novels of hers so looking forward to trying them but for me, this one was 3/5. So many folk loved them, I liked them so absolutely check them out for yourself.

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Thursday 21 December 2023

Interview with Author Robyn Kerr & competition

Welcome Robyn and thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule and gabbing with us about your debut novel "Failing Adult".

1. Tell us a bit about Robyn, who is Robyn?

Where do I start with the story of me? I suppose I’m definitely a wanderer, I love to travel and live in different countries and places. Usually either by working in hospitality or as a live in nanny. I’ve always had a great love and appreciation for Tv and film, mainly romantic or comedy focused pieces. I consider myself to be adventurous, I’ll try anything once and love doing new things. Things people would say about me, would be, I’m loud, with an even louder laugh, I’m funny, silly and hopefully, a good, kind person. Becoming a writer has certainly been a surprise, not only to me but everyone that knows me. I never did well in school and it came as no surprise when I was diagnosed as dyslexic.

2. How did the idea hit you wanted to write a book?

Well actually, I wanted and still want to be script writer. I started writing scripts when I lived in the states for two years, then when I came home I decided to gain more knowledge and skills by going to university. I started my creative writing degree four years ago, as a mature student. During my second year, I found my love of prose and gained the confidence within myself, to believe that I could write a book. So I did.

3. What research did you do?

My lectures taught me a lot about structure, storytelling and things to avoid. In regards to research for the book, that mainly came to personal experience and Google helped.

4. Are any of you characters based on real people or events?

Yes, and no. The supporting characters definitely have traits of some of my friends and family, but no one is directly based off anyone. Some of the smaller events are true events that happened me or my friends or both of us.

5. Is there going to be more in the series?

This is the first in a four part series, the first following Dotty, in her pursuit of personal growth and finding love. The second will follow her best friend and roommate, as she attempts to do the same.

6. Tell us about your publishing journey?

Publishing in any form is not for the faint hearted, it can be daunting, terrifying and all consuming. I decided very early on to not send my book to agents or publishers, but instead to self publish, well not completely self publish, I paid a three party to edit, proofread, design my front cover and format for me. Once that was all finished, I was on my own and the marketing began.

7. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

It sounds so clique but you need to just start writing. Even if the first few thousand words are utter rubbish, it’s the only way to learn and grow. Always remember that your work won’t be for everyone, take the praise and criticism. Your writing will find its audience and whatever you produce, be proud of it, writing isn’t easy and takes a lot of your heart and soul.

8. What are the pros and cons of writing a novel?

The pros are:
1. The unbelievable sense of pride and happiness finishing it and holding it in your hands.
2. Having even one person love your work.
3. Seeing your characters and story on black and white, instead of just in your head.

The cons are:
1. The time it takes.
2. The imposter feeling you get.
3. The fear everyone will hate it.

9. Do you have any quirks or rituals or lucky items/must haves?

I love a post it note and they are so handy in keeping track of things. For some reason, when I write, I need the Tv on. Often playing reruns of my favourite shows like Frasier or Schitt’s creek.

10. What is next for Robyn?

Currently writing the second book, which will hopefully be finished by March and released by summer. I also hope to in the next few years, be working in the Tv and film industry, you have to dream big after all. I also want to add a huge thank you to everyone that has supported and championed me so far, it means the absolute world to me.

We are huge supporters of authors where able and Robyn is a mate. Whilst I haven't yet read her book *gasp* I know I know, I have an ebook copy and a treebook copy, I recommend it all the time. To those who have read it, friends, sil, sister they all recommend it and looking forward to the next so I need to get a move on and read it myself. Anyways, we are doing a giveaway for x1 ebook copy of the book. Open UK ONLY as the ebook will come directly from Amazon to your kindle and Amazon won't allow me to gift outside my own country. In order to enter please use the Rafflecopter below, good luck and as always thanks for entering/sharing/supporting.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday 16 December 2023

Cat Society by Ray Sadri

Cat SocietyCat Society by Ray Sadri
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 304

Publisher - The Book Guild

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Cat Society is a witty and bonkers story of life and politics in Westminster – reimagining the debates, events and headlines of recent years had the world been run by cats. A lot changes. A lot doesn’t.

The country is on the brink of bankruptcy, and backbencher Douglas Schnitty is disappointed with the thousands of homeless cats sleeping by the bins. He gets frustrated with higher powers who only seem to care about their own interests and preserving the country’s finances.

He schmoozes and sabotages his way through the political elite, from assisting the bombastic Hector Perp Pahpousson to disrupting the plans of the Prime Minister. Can his conscience save him, and the slum cats, as events spiral out of control?

My Review

I love cats and I hate politics so I will be honest and say I was 50/50 on this because I didn't know how I would find it. Dudes! So "hoomans" are extinct and cats are running the world, they are living as we did, they have a government, housing issues, shady politicians, scandals, everything we did but they are cuter.

The book has cutesy catness, political satire, a few of the cats I was like that reminds me of X politician and some of the shady behaviours. There are undertones of realistic issues and topics but all done with some humour, cats galore, their attitudes, their behaviours all hammed up to echo the human world.

There are a handful of main characters and whilst I haven't read it I have seen animal farm and this gave me a bit of echoes of that. I loved the unique friend Snuffles, I loved the softer characters which made you despise the shader ones *cough Hector cough*, the Prime Minister - Marjorie Wilson who was a bit of a mixed bag and Douglas, good but flawed.

Some of the book is silly/ludicrous but I feel it actually mirrors a lot of the state our world of politics has been/is. And anything with cats added is better, a whole world of cats - it is pretty genius. Relevant without being preachy and a few flashes of emotive with a well blended/flowing funny. If you are wanting something a bit different, light with a few serious/tones/issues but hilarity at play too - absolutely check this one out, 4/5.

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Thursday 14 December 2023

Cannibal: The True Story Behind the Maneater of Rotenburg by Lois Jones

Cannibal: The True Story Behind the Maneater of RotenburgCannibal: The True Story Behind the Maneater of Rotenburg by Lois Jones
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days as able

pages - 215

Publisher - Berkley pub group

Source - I think I bought this or was given it

Blurb from Goodreads

German native Armin Meiwes placed this ad in an internet chatroom catering to cannibals. He received 430 responses. Among them was Bernd Juergen Brandes, who arrived at Meiwes’s isolated country home literally to be eaten alive. Escorted to the “slaughtering room”—equipped with meat hooks, a cage, and a butcher’s table—Meiwes assisted Bernd in a gourmet candlelight dinner of his own cooked flesh. Meiwes then stabbed his victim in the throat—bringing the ghastly videotaped ordeal to an end.

From a childhood perverted by unhealthy obsessions to his notorious trial that ended in a stunning verdict, Cannibal discloses for the first time the true story of a real-life Hannibal Lecter and his victim. And with details never before divulged to the public, it takes readers step-by-step through the unspeakable crime that fascinated and revolted the world.

My Review

So this happened in the 1990's and was apparently covered quite wide on the news, I have no idea why but I don't think I ever seen nor heard of it. German native Armin Meiwes was obsessed with the thought of eating another person, his obsession/fetish whatever you want to call it started way back them. Armin was quiet, polite and relatively normal seeming in real life, in his private life he spent many hours online, in cannibal chat rooms and websites looking for someone who wanted to be eaten. Honestly this is a true story and what is more disturbing is he found many people. Most backed out when they realised it was a genuine request and not just a fantasy, until he found Bernd Juergen Brandes. Bernd had his own obsessions again rooted from childhood but he wanted to be consumed and for him and Armin they felt they met their perfect match(s).

So I have read many a horror (fiction) and many true crime but this one is really and truly disturbing. I think because the book is so so graphic like you are walked through exactly what happened to poor Bernd. Even with the strongest stomach I think you will struggle to get through it, I did I had to put the book down several times and switch to lighter books.

It is unimaginable someone would want to eat another human being or that a human would want someone to eat them and be party to their own mutilation. Hannibal Lector is a scary character but he is fiction, Armin is a very normal, non violent, regular person who yearns to do these diabolical things, feel they are very normal and actually commits the unthinkable. 3/5 for me for this one, absolutely one of the most disturbing stories I think I have ever read, I also feel for Bernd's family/partner having to have lost a loved one and learn the horrors involved, it is just heartbreaking.

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Wednesday 13 December 2023

Born In A Burial Gown by M W Craven

Born in a Burial Gown (DI Avison Fluke #1)Born in a Burial Gown by M.W. Craven
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 304

Publisher - Constable

Source - Bought

Detective Inspector Avison Fluke is a man on the edge. He has committed a crime to get back to work, concealed a debilitating illness and is about to be made homeless. Just as he thinks things can’t get any worse, the body of a young woman is found buried on a wet, Cumbrian building site.

Shot once in the back of the head, execution style, it is a cold, calculated murder. When the post-mortem reveals she has gone to significant expense in disguising her appearance, and the only clue to her identity is a strange series of numbers, Fluke knows this is no ordinary murder.

With the help of a psychotic ex-Para, a gangland leader and a woman more interested in maggots than people, Fluke must find out who she was and why she was murdered before he can even think about finding her killer. As the body count rises and his investigation takes him from poverty stricken estates to picture perfect Lake District villages, he realises his troubles are only just beginning.

Because someone, somewhere has a plan and if Fluke can’t figure out what’s happening, he may just be next.

My Review

So I came to Craven's books with the Tilly and Poe series and I LOVE them so I was a bit cautious approaching this because I can be a pie like that. You know what I mean like you enjoy something so much so when you try something different by the same author you can be biased against it. Anyways, Fluke is a cop (detective inspector) and manages a team of misfits, we don't see too much of them in this book but his partner Towler is ex army or marine, I like him. He is nuts, an absolute machine of a man, fantastic at what he does and has some mouth on him, if swearing upsets you this isn't the book for you. There was one line "Listen, you little tit," I was howling, the character isn't Scottish but I heard it in a Scottish accent and haven't heard someone insult someone calling them a wee tit in years! The character is brilliantly brutal and he isn't even the main dude. Anyway, back to Fluke, we know quickly there is something wrong with him but he is back at work, pushing on and folk don't know, nor do we what is wrong with him. As the book progresses I was so impressed by the realism of a lot of the medical stuff and actually the author has been through the mill, medically, himself and the authenticity of that really shows in those parts of the book.

The opening chapter is brutal/graphic and quite dark, the male prostitute who witnesses a body dump and there begins our story. The body is passed to Fluke's team because the higher ups don't think it is going to be anything more than maybe a domestic however it turns out to be an execution (no spoilers its on the back cover) and things really kick off. I also liked the in depth chat on how they work out information with bugs/flies/maggots etc information from a dead body and how that helps with the investigation.

The book bounces between the investigation and Fluke trying to do his job whilst battling a condition he is keeping from his colleagues. It is a pretty dark, twisted thriller and book one of two (I checked Fantastic Fiction) and will be getting the second one. I hope we get to know more of the team but Fluke and Towler make for good reading, 4/5.

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Sunday 10 December 2023

Roald Dahl: Teller of the Unexpected by Matthew Dennison

Roald Dahl: Teller of the UnexpectedRoald Dahl: Teller of the Unexpected by Matthew Dennison
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 10 days, in and out

Pages - 272

Publisher -

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

“An elegant new biography. In Dennison’s telling, Dahl’s contradictions are beautifully illustrated. I think [Dahl] would have liked Dennison’s writing style, lush but clipped, with such phrases as ‘the ubiquity of caprice’ and ‘buoyant with slang,’ full of a reader’s zest.” -- Alexandra Jacobs, The New York Times Book Review
'Riveting, and immaculately written' Sunday Telegraph
'A superb psychological study of a literary genius' Business Post
'A rounded picture... and gets to Dahl's flawed, human core' Country Life
'Crisply done and well-judged' TLS Roald Dahl was one of the world's greatest storytellers. He conceived his vocation as one as intrepid as that of any explorer and, in his writing for children, he was able to tap into a child's viewpoint throughout his life. He crafted tales that were exotic in scenario, frequently invested with a moral, and filled with vibrant characters that endure in public imagination to the present day. In this brand-new biogrpahy, Matthew Dennison re-evaluates the received narrative surrounding Dahl – that of school sporting hero, daredevil pilot, and wartime spy-turned-author – and examines surviving primary resources as well as Dahl's extensive literary output to tell the story of a man who identified as a rule-breaker, an iconoclast and a romantic, both insider and outsider, hero and child's friend.

My Review

So we all know who Roald Dahl is and have read at least some of his books and even the movies that followed. Personally I knew very little about him, I knew he had lost a child but that was really about it for me. This book was nothing short of eye opening, I had no idea just now much history he had and what a busy "private" life he had.

We hear about Dahl's beginnings, his service for his country, the ups and downs of writing and how he managed to score his big contracts and how his books became the success they were. The shocks for me was how much of a "romantic" life he had before he was married.

He experienced quite a bit of loss and sadness/heartache which I hadn't been aware of, again I didn't know much but even chatting to friends they were unawares also. Reading about his published works was also an education as I actually only knew of a few of the books (some I was exposed to as a child) and of course the ones that made it to movies.

Whilst the book/content was interesting I found the writing hard going at times and it was because the author had a habit of injecting fancy words when they weren't required. I also think I may well not have noticed but for the fact he spoke about Dahl saying you shouldn't use big words when small/simple ones will do, that isn't a verbatim quote but the jist. Then after that so many words appeared I would need to Google and was like well why would you just say parent/mother/father or whatever it was. I even read a few sentences out to a mixed crowd and they were like why wouldn't you just say XYZ. So that took you out of it a little and lead to me putting the book down a fair few times. So that being said that was off putting yet there is no denying the quality of time/research put into the book and educating on so much of Dahl's life we may well be unaware of, 3/5 for me this time.

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Thursday 7 December 2023

The Woman in Me by Britney Spears

The Woman in MeThe Woman in Me by Britney Spears
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 288

Publisher - Gallery books

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

The Woman in Me is a brave and astonishingly moving story about freedom, fame, motherhood, survival, faith, and hope.

In June 2021, the whole world was listening as Britney Spears spoke in open court. The impact of sharing her voice—her truth—was undeniable, and it changed the course of her life and the lives of countless others. The Woman in Me reveals for the first time her incredible journey—and the strength at the core of one of the greatest performers in pop music history.

Written with remarkable candor and humor, Spears’s groundbreaking book illuminates the enduring power of music and love—and the importance of a woman telling her own story, on her own terms, at last.

My Review

I don't think there is a single person on the planet who doesn't know the name Britney Spears, be it as a fan or just from some of the many many stories in the news over the years. I have never been a huge fan of any celebrity, like worship wise I mean however I do enjoy songs and *gasp* even made it to a handful of concerts (not any of Britney's though).

I grew up when her, NSync, Backstreet boys etc where topping the charts so a lot of the book I could relate to (I don't think relate is the right word but I was like yeah I remember that ie Justin's revenge song). We go back to when Britney was a kid, growing up, exposure to fame and how it all kicked off and through her career. Everyone knew her and Justin where a couple, they broke up, she broke his heart by cheating, his revenge song etc but reading the book we get a very different version of what went on.

I think the reason people have responded so visceral to some of the book is because Britney was crucified by the press, fans of both Britney and Justin when it was marketed as him being heartbroken. We have all had our hearts broken at some point and to realise how manipulative it was and one sided, I think people feel bad. Like you see it now trolls and people can be brutal about anything celeb (or even Joe public) like everyone has an opinion on everything and often it is strong. So to get a glimpse that actually he wasn't as innocent/clean cut as we were made to believe and Britney wasn't the *tramp/heartbreaker she was made out to be - it sparked big reactions from people let alone fans.

After reading about Kevin, the kids and her family, oh my God her family - that girl needs a hug. Like you see it all the time when folk get famous everyone sells them out, it must be so lonely. Yet not only did this happen but her family used her, stole her money under the guise of conservership and the level of abuse because they had so much power, thirteen years that lasted. It boggles the mind and I genuinely think they deserve to see court/jail time for what they did. Do I think she is an angel? No but there is no denying having someone exploit you, blackmail you, spend your hard earned cash whilst you can't even choose to refuse a dance move in your tour, ugh. Everyone has at least one toxic person in their family but imagine that and millions of pounds up for grabs at the expense of your health/freedom, it is truly shocking. I think the other thing (and I don't have kids) when she talks about what happened with the kids, no wonder she shaved all her hair off. Who was looking out for her? The amount of celebs who have had a bad end because people didn't do what was best for the person for fear of being cut off, imagine the other end, they have full control of the person and substantial ability to abuse/spend their finances. Ugh, it is shocking, I hope karma catches up with all those who did her dirty and that she finds some peace/happiness but how could you ever trust anyone again, it is just so so sad, 4/5 from me.

Also, with all the scandal and revelations it makes me wonder what didn't make the book when you think of all the explosive stuff that did!

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Tuesday 5 December 2023

Murder Mile by Lynda La Plante Team Tennison Tour

Today we are reviewing Murder Mile by Lynda La Plante for the Tennison Tour.

Murder Mile (Tennison, #4)Murder Mile by Lynda La Plante
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 419

Publisher - Zaffre

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Prime Suspect meets Ashes to Ashes as we see Jane Tennison starting out on her police career . . .

The fourth in the Sunday Times bestselling Jane Tennison thrillers, MURDER MILE is set at the height of the 'Winter of Discontent'. Can Jane Tennison uncover a serial killer?

February, 1979, 'The Winter of Discontent'. Economic chaos has led to widespread strikes across Britain.

Jane Tennison, now a Detective Sergeant, has been posted to Peckham CID, one of London's toughest areas. As the rubbish on the streets begins to pile up, so does the murder count: two bodies in as many days.

There are no suspects and the manner of death is different in each case. The only link between the two victims is the location of the bodies, found within a short distance of each other near Rye Lane in Peckham. Three days later another murder occurs in the same area. Press headlines scream that a serial killer is loose on 'Murder Mile' and that police incompetence is hampering the investigation.

Jane is under immense pressure to catch the killer before they strike again. Working long hours with little sleep, what she uncovers leaves her doubting her own mind.

My Review

This is book four in the Tennison series, you can get away with reading this as a standalone but you would be missing great books so I would read the others first. Jane is working her way up the ranks, slowly albeit faster than any female really in the 1970s! Keep in mind the attitudes of males especially in places like the police force and despite Jane being a higher rank she faces misogyny, derogatory and discriminatory behaviours/attitudes from some of her colleagues. Jane is a detective now and this book is investigating a dead body found amongst the gathering rubbish in the streets - there is a strike ongoing. Not long after another body is found and the pressure on Jane and the team is mounting, many eyes are watching and trying to manipulate from all corners!

By book four we are well versed with some of the shocking attitudes of Jane's colleagues, sexism is alive and well and she ends up on the biting end often. We see Jane contemplating her personal life issues as well as huge pressure/stress at work. I like the balance between personal Jane and work Jane because she has to be different with the way work is. I love the authentic feel you get for the time period, from what they wear, the music, even the "mundane" everyday things. If you are of a certain age you appreciate these things and how much it strengthens the world/timeline created.

We also get throwbacks/mentions/nods to things that had happened in previous books and I love how Tennison gets overlooked or put down and she shines through and shows her metal and intelligence over and over. I don't mean I like how bad she is treated because it rips my knittin but that the way they put her in a box or mistreat/belittle her and it just pushes her through.

I have the next couple of books lined up and can't wait to see what is next for our team especially in light of what happened in this one. Pacey, shocking and more than a few oh no they didn't moments, 4/5 from me for this one!

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Tuesday 28 November 2023

Hello from holiday

we have took a wee bit of time out for a break away, work + everything else we need it.

It was a bit overcast but still warmer than Scotland which was - when we left, ooft winter is here for sure.

I haven't beought my laptop so will need to catch up with reviews and stuff when back. For now we are super chill, nice weather, sleep, books and even hoping for a a cocktail tomorrow, fingers crossed.

Here are some of the books I brought ♥️📚

And typical bookworm I brought not one, not two but THREE booklights with me. Two charge with the phone cable and one is usb so plugs into lappy and charges that way (o/h has his lappy so can charge on that if need be).

It is so nice just chill/poolside and we even made a wee bird pal ♥️ Anyway home soon, Pal watchingthe house and Luna is at the cat hotel. She is raging, look at this face, she wouldn't even look at me 🤣.

Hope you guys are having a great day, we have another giveaway on our Instagram. It is a bookmark, winner picks one, there are two available. one is The Shining (Stephen King inspired) and the other is the Mandolorian Grogu (baby yoda) holding a wand wearing a HP Gryffindor scarf.

Wednesday 22 November 2023

Let Me Go by Chelsea Cain

Let Me Go (Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell, #6)Let Me Go by Chelsea Cain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 358

Publisher - Minotaur books

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

Detective Archie Sheridan is about to receive a birthday present from the last person he ever wants to see again: Gretchen Lowell.

The investigation into Jack Reynolds's drug enterprise is heating up and has Archie heading off to attend a masked Halloween party on Jack Reynolds's island, where Susan is a reluctant guest. But the next morning one of the guests is found murdered, and Archie quickly realizes that nothing is what it seems. Only one thing is clear: Gretchen is back, and she's been closer than anyone thinks. On Halloween Eve, with time running out, Archie will have to risk everything, and choose wisely whom to trust, if he and his loved ones are going to live through the night.

My Review

I really enjoy (if that is the right word) the Gretchen/Archie series but read them out of order so this was me going back the way. I think the thing with these books is the psychotic killer is a beautiful female but she is beyond dangerous, she can take out whole teams of trained killers. Her obsession with Archie is something else, gave me Hannibal/Clarise vibes to be fair.

Gretchen is on the loose, there is a killer out there and Archie knows Gretchen is stalking him. He has a "relationship not relationship" with his neighbour and he is just trying to get through yet another day without pills. Poor Archie is really put through it in this book, embarrassed, used, humiliated and always trying to do the right thing.

Mobsters, killers, threats, violence, abuse, sa, the books has just about a bit of everything. Gretchen is ruthless and brutal as usual and we see another glimpse of her madness/obsession levels with Archie, 4/5 for me. Absolutely not for the faint hearted though guys, graphic and brutal!

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Monday 20 November 2023

November's Competition is now live

Apologies it is a bit late, I have been a bit under the weather, then away to horrorcon and ended up floored with a bad chest/viral. Only starting to feel a bit more human and getting back to the real world tomorrow!

So what is November's comp going to be? Well, we had so much feedback/chat with the Britney Spears book, that I have decided that that will be Novembers prize - please note the ring light IS NOT INCLUDED.

As pictured, x1 hardback of Britney's new book and you can't have a book without a bookmark so you have a choice of two, you can have either x1, leather style, love heart page corner. It is very pale pink, the piccy looks white(ish) but it is absolutely pale pink, as pictured.

Or the multicolour magnetic one, again as pictured. All of our competitions are as pictured. Let us know in the comments which bookmark you would choose if you won.

To enter, use the Rafflecopter below, please only complete the entries you have done as winning entries are checked. This will be open worldwide as it a thin book and the bookmark weighs very little. Postage is going up again and again but we try make giveaways worldwide as we are able. Good luck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Night Chills by Dean Koontz

Night ChillsNight Chills by Dean Koontz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 3 days

Pages - 369

Publisher - Berkley books

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

The fever is spreading. Seizing the men and women of Black River. Plaguing them with night chills. Driving them to violent acts of rape and murder.

The fever is spreading. Designed by top scientists, and unleashed in a monstrous conspiracy - its deadly spell can unlock the most frightening potential of the human mind.

The fever is spreading. The nightmare is real. And death is the only cure.

My Review

Imagine tapping into a power where you have absolute control over other people, control to push people to do literally anything you wish. That is what we have here, mastering the formula to manipulate people in every way possible a trio decide to try it out in a small town. One of them then goes to see first hand just how much they can do/push/try/control and the results are shocking!

It took me a wee bit to settle into it but the book gives you the background on how they managed to accomplish the mind control and how to distribute and test out their new invention. Warning, as you would expect when people have complete control over other humans without fear or reprimand, repercussions or exposure things go to the darkest extremes.

It is an interesting idea and Koontz gives us a bit of, this is already in place look at x,y,z and it isn't a whole leap to thinking this could come to fruition which is terrifying. A small town, sexual deviancy, violence, abuse, murder, manipulation, SA, suicide, the book takes more than a few dark turns, 4/5 from us, approach with caution.

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Friday 17 November 2023

The Haunting Season - short stories - multiple authors

The Haunting Season: Ghostly Tales for Long Winter NightsThe Haunting Season: Ghostly Tales for Long Winter Nights by Bridget Collins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 304

Publisher - Sphere

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

Winter, with its unsettling blend of the cosy and the sinister, has long been a popular time for gathering by the bright flame of a candle, or the warm crackling of a fire, and swapping stories of ghosts and strange happenings.

Now eight bestselling, award-winning authors - master storytellers of the sinister and the macabre - bring this time-honoured tradition to vivid life in a spellbinding collection of new and original haunted tales.

From a bustling Covent Garden Christmas market to the frosty moors of Yorkshire, from a country estate with a dreadful secret, to a London mansion where a beautiful girl lies frozen in death, these are stories to make your hair stand on end, send shivers down your spine and to serve as your indispensable companion to the long nights of winter.

So curl up, light a candle, and fall under the spell of The Haunting Season . . .

My Review

I am the first to admit I am not a fan of short stories but the names of the authors featuring in this one definitely drew me in. Some stories are creepy/eerie, some ghostly, a few with animal harm which is always a no for me and one or two left me wondering what I had just read.

Perfect for the spooky season or if you just want a bit of a chill/creep. A few of the authors are more skilled in creating the gothic, chilling vibes than others.

I can't say any one story stood out for me but absolutely some were more enjoyable (if that is the right word) than others. Macabre, spooky, weird and just a mix bag of the auld creepiness. 3/5 for me this time, maybe dipping in and out instead of trying to read them so close together may well have made it more palliative for me. Still plenty of folk loved/enjoyed these so absolutely check out the book and see how you get on.

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Wednesday 15 November 2023

The Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros

Fourth Wing (The Empyrean, #1)Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - as able, in and out over a week

Pages - 528

Publisher -

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

Enter the brutal and elite world of a war college for dragon riders from USA Today bestselling author Rebecca Yarros

Twenty-year-old Violet Sorrengail was supposed to enter the Scribe Quadrant, living a quiet life among books and history. Now, the commanding general—also known as her tough-as-talons mother—has ordered Violet to join the hundreds of candidates striving to become the elite of Navarre: dragon riders.

But when you’re smaller than everyone else and your body is brittle, death is only a heartbeat away...because dragons don’t bond to “fragile” humans. They incinerate them.

With fewer dragons willing to bond than cadets, most would kill Violet to better their own chances of success. The rest would kill her just for being her mother’s daughter—like Xaden Riorson, the most powerful and ruthless wingleader in the Riders Quadrant.

She’ll need every edge her wits can give her just to see the next sunrise.

Yet, with every day that passes, the war outside grows more deadly, the kingdom's protective wards are failing, and the death toll continues to rise. Even worse, Violet begins to suspect leadership is hiding a terrible secret.

Friends, enemies, lovers. Everyone at Basgiath War College has an agenda—because once you enter, there are only two ways out: graduate or die

My Review

I kept hearing about this one and one of my workies, Rachel, was like you HAVE to read this so I have someone to talk to it about, I mean how could I not, also huge FOMO. Violet Sorrengail is twenty, youngest of the family. Her sister and brother dragon riders and her mother hugely proud of their warrior abilities and paths chosen. Violet is more like her dad, not a fighter and destined for the Scribe Quadrant, those who document all the battles/history, lover of the written word not a warrior. However Violets mother is one of the highest ranked leader and Violet will enter/try for the Rider's Quadrant and or die trying, nothing less is unacceptable. Violet isn't one for rocking the boat and does what is expected of her, despite being ill prepared, despite huge numbers of cadets dying before getting past the first obstacle but this is her path and walk it she must! Oh and THERE ARE DRAGONS!

Guys for me, summing it up quickly I would say Harry Potter meets Game of thrones with echoes of The Hunger Games. There is also some spicey scenes in it which for me was a little cringe/funny but each to their own.

I was liking the book but it was the very last/end quarter that bounced it to a 5 star read for us. I LOVE that we have dragons but a dragon with sass and shade it absolutely outstanding/hilarious. There is so much going on in the books, family dramas, relationships, friendships, dodgy characters, death, murder & the whole when the riders bond with a dragon they develop abilities and all are very different.

It is a huge book but it has something for everyone, yeah it is fantasy but it has loads of stuff folk will find relatable/enjoyable am sure. 5/5 for us and we have the next one lined up which I suggest you do too because if you like this you will want to pick up the next one immediately. This is my first time reading this author, book two is lying in wait.

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