The Secrets of Wishtide by Kate Saunders 


I was having a little wander in my local Waterstones in York and I saw this book out of the corner of my eye. I was drawn to the bright yellow cover and the tagline ‘Laetitia Rodd mystery’ so I had read of the back and was sold on the storyline.  I seem to be reading books set during Victorian times a lot more now and this fitted the bill perfectly. 

I started reading this on the car journey home from holiday and was immediately drawn into this world hook, line and sinker! Laetitia Rodd is a young 52 year old the widow of an Archdeacon and the sister of a famed lawyer – Frederick Tyson. Although not quite impoverished as the book states when you compare her to other characters, she lives with her lovely landlady, Mrs Benson (who apparently once had John Keates rent a room from her!).  The friendship between the two ladies is lovely and I wish Mrs Benson was in the book more! They clearly value each other’s friendship and look after each other despite the 20+ age gap and it was a joy to read. Mrs Rodd has a reputation for also being quite an astute Private Investigator and although this is the first in what I hope a new series it is implied that she has been helping her brother, Frederick Tyson with his cases.

Mrs Rodd is assigned to Wishtide, the elegant home of the Calderstone family as a governess to investigate the inappropriate love interest of the eldest son Charles. During this time, it was inappropriate to marry anyone who was not the same social class and was considered a scandal. The family feel that Helen Orme who has stolen their son’s heart is not who she says she is and task Mrs Rodd with investigating further.

I really fell in love with this book and found it so interesting comparing how much times have clearly changed. Definitely for the better if you are a woman! Mrs Rodd is such a likeable character that I couldn’t help but be charmed by her and the relationship she has with her brother, who does treat her as an equal and with respect. The storyline quickly escalates and calls upon Mrs Rodd to use all of her investigative skills to save a man from the gallows.

I utterly loved this book and all its characters and cannot wait for the next instalment!

Advertisements

The Mayfly by James Hazel

The Mayfly

The Mayfly by James Hazel

Published on 15 June 2017

I did quite enjoy this book and found that it was well researched (in an area I didn’t really know much about if I’m being honest). This is the synopsis…

“It’s happening again.

A mutilated body discovered in the woods.
A murderous plan conceived in the past.
A reckoning seventy years in the making . . .

Charlie Priest, ex-detective inspector turned London lawyer, is hired by influential entrepreneur Kenneth Ellinder to investigate the murder of his son. But Priest is no ordinary lawyer. Brilliant, yet flawed, this case will push him, and those closest to him, to the edge.

Priest traces the evidence back to the desperate last days of the Second World War. Buried in the ashes of the Holocaust is a secret so deadly its poison threatens to destroy the very heart of the establishment.
With more victims going missing, Priest realises that not everyone should be trusted. As he races to uncover the truth, can he prevent history from repeating itself..”

Although grim in places I think it added to the storyline! I liked Charlie Priest, what a character! Ex policeman turned lawyer, with a serial killer for a brother – what could go wrong here!? Lovely shy and geeky Georgie….

The story moved at a fantastic pace and switched from the present day to the 1940’s and the aftermath of the capture of a particular scary Nazi Doctor, I won’t say anymore!

Brilliant ending with a couple of red herrings thrown in to make your head spin. Great debut, and I’m hoping this will be part of a series. So many characters to explore – particularly William Priest, the incarcerated serial killer brother. …Now that is a book I would love to read!

Thank you Readers First for my review copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.

 

Yesterday by Felicia Yap

Yesterday

Yesterday by Felicia Yap

Published on 10 August 2017

I really enjoyed this book – completely different with a superb and interesting storyline.

“How do you solve a murder when you can only remember yesterday?

There are two types of people in the world. Those who can only remember yesterday, and those who can also recall the day before.

You have just one lifeline to the past: your diary. Each night, you write down the things that matter. Each morning, your diary tells you where you were, who you loved and what you did.

Today, the police are at your door. They say that the body of your husband’s mistress has been found in the River Cam. They think your husband killed her two days ago.

Can you trust the police? Can you trust your husband? Can you trust yourself?”

Not a concept that I have ever read about and I think it was just so clever. It got me thinking about what it would be like to only remember a couple of days and only then based on what I written about it (I-diary is a must in this book!).

Would people want to remember bad things that had happened and prefer to be happy in the knowledge they needn’t have to remember it if they chose not to? The social classes are interesting too – this is obviously apparent in the world today. The Mono’s looked down on as the ‘inferior’ of the two with Duo’s living the more privileged lives.

Very interesting take on this and I can understand why this is touted as one of the books to look out for in 2017.

Thank you to Millie Seaward at Headline for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Body in the Ice by A J Mackenzie

The Body in the Ice

The Body in the Ice by A J MacKenzie

Published by Bonnier Zaffre

I was sent The Body in the Ice to review and the storyline enticed me into reading this straight away!

I hadn’t read the first book in the series (but I have since bought it!) but this didn’t seem to matter too much but it might be wise to start with this as characters from that book are mentioned and it will probably make it easier.

The story begins when a body is found frozen in water and the main challenge for the characters is trying to identify who this is. What were they doing? Why were they targeted? This was obviously a lot more challenging to find out in the 1700’s than today with the vast array of equipment readily available! It was really interesting reading about how crimes were solved in this day. Actual letters were sent! On horseback! It make you realise how completely spoilt we are in this modern age of cars, mobile phones, CSI and fingerprint analysis!

I loved the easy relationship and friendship that Reverend Hardcastle and Mrs Chaytor had (she’s a sort of Miss Marple character set in the 1700’s without the dotty appearance) and I adored reading about them. This is what made the story easy to read for me and I look forward to reading about their other adventures!

A nice, easy and enjoyable whodunit with characters that come to life on the pages.

Thank you for the review copy Readers First and Bonnier Zaffre in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

 

 

Pendulum by Adam Hamdy

This is such a good book! 

I will admit, I have had this book on my to be read pile since Christmas and it was only after a friend started it and said how much she was enjoying it that I thought I would start too (despite having a very large to be read/review pile!). This was also chosen as a Radio 2 Book Club book of the week so it must be good!

The book is very fast paced and once you get reading, it’s quite hard to stop.

We are introduced to John Wallace as he wakes up in his flat with a noose around his neck. He has no idea why and is obviously terror stricken about what is shortly about to be the end of his life. Fate intervenes however and he manages to escape. This is the start of the journey as he tries to make sense of what has just happened and also trying (but failing) to convince the police and the hospital that he hadn’t done this to himself.

Throughout the story the rug is pulled from under you. Just when you think something is going to happen to actually help John Wallace, no. Rug well and truly pulled. Particularly one part which I won’t mention….. well actually two parts.

The action then moves to America where it is ramped up some more and we discover that there are other victims like John. I quite liked the new characters that were introduced and you could see the change in John as he slowly becomes a little Bourne-esque which I really liked! You begin to learn a little bit more about the actions of the ‘Pendulum’ and why these things have happened.

This book is very addictive reading, especially for me as I love stories that leave you wanting to just read it all in one sitting (I managed over a couple of days). I think the ending was good and sets up from what I have read, another book in this series.

All in all a great book, great story and great characters – I will definitely be reading the next in this series.

The Secrets of Ivy Garden by Catherine Ferguson

I like it when you start to read the first chapter of a new book, just to get a feel of it and right away you feel right at home.  This is probably the best description I can think of for this book.

It is set in the Cotswolds, which isn’t a place I have ever been before but somewhere I really want to visit. After finishing this book however, I felt like I had been there!  The descriptions made me feel like I was standing in the middle of Ivy’s garden with the sun beating down on my neck and the faint sounds of buzzing bees.

We start the book with Ivy and her granddaughter Holly who are saying goodbye to each other following a visit and Holly is going back home to Manchester. There is something that Ivy is wanting to tell Holly but time gets in the way and they part vowing to discuss at a later date….

The story then moves forward a couple of months and we discover that sadly Ivy has passed away and Holly is once again visiting the Cotswolds but this time on a much sadder occasion.

Although Ivy isn’t actually in the book for that long, I felt that she is kept alive by Holly and the diary that Holly discovers in her grandmothers cottage. Although Holly is determined to return back to Manchester, the lovely Cotswold village works its magic on her slowly whilst she is working on the garden that Ivy had lovingly restored over the years.  Along the way you are introduced to some lovely characters (and some not so nice characters!), Layla a gruff sounding teenager who slowly comes out of shell and becomes close to Holly, her much older brother Jack who seems to get under Holly’s skin….

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and enjoyed the relationships and interactions that Holly had, Sylvain being an amusing character!

I’ve not read anything else by this author but I will definitely look out for further books and would recommend this lovely easy going read to anyone that would like to find themselves whisked away to the Cotswolds for a few days….

I was luckily enough to review a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Hope to Die by David Jackson

Hope to Die

Hope to Die – David Jackson

Published by Bonnier Zaffre on 6 April 2017.

I was sent this book by Readers First as I am known for liking a crime book or a 100.

This is the synopsis:-

On a bitterly cold winter’s night, Liverpool is left stunned by a brutal murder in the grounds of the city’s Anglican Cathedral. A killer is on the loose, driven by a chilling rage. Put on the case, DS Nathan Cody is quickly stumped. Wherever he digs, the victim seems to be almost angelic – no-one has a bad word to say, let alone a motive for such a violent murder. And Cody has other things on his mind too. The ghosts of his past are coming ever closer, and – still bearing the physical and mental scars – it’s all he can do to hold onto his sanity. And then the killer strikes again. .

I hadn’t read anything by David Jackson before and I am always eager to find new writers and broaden my horizons so I was looking forward to starting this. Hope to Die is actually the second in the Nathan Cody series but don’t let this put you off if you haven’t read the first book – I hadn’t and found that the author does a great job of letting you know information without giving away too much.

The first chapter really draws you into the case straight away, always the best way to start a book and you are introduced to DS Nathan Cody. I liked him straight away and you are immediately drawn into the investigation and also learn that Cody is also battling his own demons from a previous case that went tragically wrong.

We follow him has he desperately tries to hold everything together whilst also trying to solve the case that appears to have no motive. When there is no apparent motive, how do you solve the crime?

I liked the interactions with the other characters, Grace is a favourite of mine. Shy, lonely and a computer geek. She is instrumental in helping with the case and I found this really interesting and hope that her character is explored further in the future books!

Once the investigation really takes hold, I raced through this book and enjoyed the satisfying conclusion.

The last chapter though – wow! It really sets up the next book in the series and I think it is going to be a cracker…

Thank you again to Readers First for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.

The Other Half of Happiness by Ayisha Malik 


What a funny book!

One of my friends has also just read this book and like myself hadn’t read the prequel but don’t let this worry you, it can be read as a standalone book. This is the synopsis:-

“Sofia Khan is just married. But no-one told her life was going to be this way . . .

Her living situation is in dire straits, her husband Conall is distant, and his annoyingly attractive colleague is ringing all sorts of alarm bells.

When her mother forces them into a belated wedding ceremony (elopement: you can run, but you can’t hide), Sofia wonders if it might be a chance to bring them together. But when it forces Conall to confess his darkest secret, it might just tear them apart.

A book to make you smile, laugh and cry, this is the story of a mixed-race marriage and a mixed-up family, for anyone who’s ever struggled to balance their pride with their principles, or stuck around to try to mend a broken heart”

I must confess to not having read anything about the culture but enjoyed hearing about the differences and how tightknit this family was, despite their differences.

The story starts in Karachi with Sofia and her newly converted and new husband Conall. Who is Irish. Plus they eloped. This obviously hasn’t gone down well with her family especially when her she arrives back in London! I don’t want to spoil this book so won’t say too much – just get a copy!

Sofia’s sense of humour is what made the book for me. She’s funny and also quite deadpan which is my favourite type of humour. Her mother is also funny – her mix up of RSVP and RSPCA being a highlight!

A recommended read from me. I will keep an eye out for other books by this author!

As ever, a mssive thanks go to the lovely Readers First and Bonnier Zaffre for this copy in exchange for an unbiased review.

The Sisters of Battle Road by J M Maloney

Battle Road

This probably isn’t the type of book that I would have ordinarily read so I am incredibly grateful to Rosie Margesson at Transworld Books for sending me a copy of this.

I had just finished reading a book set in Crete during the Second World War and the fact that this was set in London and subsequently in the English countryside, made it all the more poignant.

This is a lovely, true and often moving account of the Jarman family, Dad Pierce and mum Annie and their 6 daughters as they attempt to live as normal life as possible in London whilst there is the threat of war with Germany.

This is the synopsis:-

‘In 1939 Annie Jarman and her six young daughters were evacuated from their south London home and sent to the Sussex countryside to wait out the war. Refusing to be parted, they faced the unknown together, never imagining just how much their lives would change. From the trials and tribulations of leaving London, the destructive horror of the Blitz and terrible family tragedy to dances, romances and the triumph of making a new life in the country, The Sisters of Battle Road is the compelling true story of six ordinary girls in extraordinary wartime circumstances. Today, the six young girls – Mary, Joan, Sheila, Kathleen, Patricia and Ann – are six remarkable women who have lived to tell their tale of sisterhood and its unbreakable bonds in the shadow of World War Two’

Annie and the girls are eventually evacuated to the countryside whilst Pierce and the rest of their family remain in London and over the next few years we learn of their struggle to stay together and to adapt to completely new surroundings whilst trying to keep things are ‘normal’ as possible. The closeness of the family is very apparent throughout the book and it made me feel close to them too, in a way.

The girls have to adapt to a completely new way of life from the big city of London where in some instances they aren’t as welcome in this small village way of life and they have to grow up fast.

You feel as though you are growing up with them as they experience first hand instances of the war in the countryside, first love and the uncertainty of if they will ever be able to move back home to London.

I really enjoyed this book and thought it was a brilliant account of what it was like for the children (and parents) that had to pack up their life and evacuate to somewhere completely unknown to them. I hope this was made a fraction better by the fact that they all remained together.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review*

On my reading pile….

 

IMG_20170312_203640_679

Like all good bookworms I always have far too many books to read and I fear that my to-be read pile may one day topple over!

The current books I am going to be reading are:-

1) The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson

Published by Scholastic on 5 January 2017

Twelve-year-old Matthew is trapped in his bedroom by crippling OCD, spending most of his time staring out of his window as the inhabitants of Chestnut Close go about their business. Until the day he is the last person to see his next door neighbour’s toddler, Teddy, before he goes missing. Matthew must turn detective and unravel the mystery of Teddy’s disappearance – with the help of a brilliant cast of supporting characters. Page-turning, heartbreaking, but ultimately life-affirming, this story is perfect for fans of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and Wonder. It is a book that will make you laugh and cry.

2) The Sisters of Battle Road by J. M Maloney

Published by Corgi on 9 March 2017

This was sent to me by Rosie Margesson at Penguin Random House and I’m really looking forward to reading and reviewing.

In 1939 Annie Jarman and her six young daughters were evacuated from their south London home and sent to the Sussex countryside to wait out the war. Refusing to be parted, they faced the unknown together, never imagining just how much their lives would change.

From the trials and tribulations of leaving London, the destructive horror of the Blitz and terrible family tragedy to dances, romances and the triumph of making a new life in the country, The Sisters of Battle Road is the compelling true story of six ordinary girls in extraordinary wartime circumstances.

Today, the six young girls – Mary, Joan, Sheila, Kathleen, Patricia and Ann – are six remarkable women who have lived to tell their tale of sisterhood and its unbreakable bonds in the shadow of World War Two.

3) See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

Published by Tinder Press on 2 May 2017

I was sent this much anticipated book by Georgina Moore and this is another one I am looking forward to reading!

When her father and step-mother are found brutally murdered on a summer morning in 1892, Lizzie Borden – thirty two years old and still living at home – immediately becomes a suspect. But after a notorious trial, she is found innocent, and no one is ever convicted of the crime.

Meanwhile, others in the claustrophobic Borden household have their own motives and their own stories to tell: Lizzie’s unmarried older sister, a put-upon Irish housemaid, and a boy hired by Lizzie’s uncle to take care of a problem.

This unforgettable debut makes you question the truth behind one of the great unsolved mysteries, as well as exploring power, violence and the harsh realities of being a woman in late nineteenth century America.

4) Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land

Published by Michael Joseph on 12 January 2017

This was sent to me by Jess at JessHeartsBooks as I mentioned I would quite like to read it! Check out her brilliant blog at jessheartsbooks.blogspot.co.uk

‘NEW NAME .
NEW FAMILY.
SHINY.
NEW.
ME.’

Annie’s mother is a serial killer.

The only way she can make it stop is to hand her in to the police.

But out of sight is not out of mind.

As her mother’s trial looms, the secrets of her past won’t let Annie sleep, even with a new foster family and name – Milly.

A fresh start. Now, surely, she can be whoever she wants to be.

But Milly’s mother is a serial killer. And blood is thicker than water.

Good me, bad me.

She is, after all, her mother’s daughter…

5) Orange Blossom Days by Patricia Scanlan

Published by Simon & Schuster on 9 March 2017

This was sent to me by Hayley McMullan at Simon & Schuster. I love the front cover and am looking forward to reading this one too!

In a beautiful southern Spanish town, where the sea sparkles and orange blossoms scent the air, the gates of a brand new apartment complex, La Joya de Andalucía, glide open to welcome the new owners.

Anna and Austen MacDonald, an Irish couple, are preparing to enjoy their retirement to the full. But the demands of family cause problems they have never foreseen and shake their marriage to the core.  

Sally-Ann Connolly Cooper, a feisty Texan mother of two young teenagers, is reeling from her husband’s infidelity. La Joya becomes a place of solace for Sally-Ann, in more ways than one.

Eduardo Sanchez, a haughty Madrileño, has set out with single-minded determination to become El Presidente of the complex’s management committee. But pride comes before a fall.

Jutta Sauer Perez, a sophisticated German who aspires to own her very own apartment in La Joya, works hard to reach her goal. Then the unthinkable happens.

As their lives entwine and friendships and enmities develop, it becomes apparent that La Joya is not quite the haven they all expect it to be…

What are you going to be reading??