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I have always loved books ever since I learnt to read. The sort of person who would look at an instruction manual if there were nothing else available. Not that that has happened too often - I have tottering piles of books not to mention e books. I will read almost anything as l long as it holds my interest. Besides books. I love music, photography, cryptic crosswords and playing Fitz 1 & 2 games.
Born Bad - Marnie Riches, Samantha Seager, HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Gritty, contemporary crime drama set in Manchester, two rival gangs with plenty of villains and violence galore. Told by multi voices, but you soon get used to all the different characters as things swiftly fall into place. Who will end up being "king" of South Manchester - get a copy of this book and find out! Loved the style and tempo of this and it was hard to put down as the hard hitting story progressed. My first book by this author but definitely not my last!

The Walworth Beauty - Michele Roberts

This is a wonderfully descriptive book in two different times. Joseph in 1851 and Madeleine in 2011. Joseph is researching the life of prostitutes, so spends much of his time walking the streets, trying to get answers. Everything is described so vividly that the reader could be Joseph's shadow - smelling the aromas both pleasant and usually not so pleasant, seeing the sights, hearing the noise of the busy city of London. Then there was Madeleine in 2011 who now lives in the same area and also spends a lot of time walking the streets. She feels and senses things as she wonders around in Joseph's footsteps. This was exactly my sort of book and just wish I could have enjoyed it a bit more than I did, but it was just a little too slow for my tastes and would have liked it more had there been a little less of it!

Everything but the Truth - Gillian McAllister

Jack and Rachel, madly in love, with a baby on the way - everything is great until Rachel catches a glimpse of an email on Jack's iPad. From then on she starts questioning, delving into his past and won't be satisfied until she discovers everything there is to know. Meanwhile she is hiding something herself. Loved this, the cover, the style of writing and the great descriptions of Oban and Newcastle. What a fantastic, intriguing story and I couldn't wait to find out what the perfect Jack was hiding! Ooh, that Rachel though, she was so infuriating at times - she needed to get a grip. Looking forward to reading more books by this author.

Watching Edie - Camilla Way

Three and a half star rating.
Edie, the popular one and Heather the loner become friends at school. All Heather wants is to look after her friend and keep her safe, even more so when Edie finds herself a boyfriend. Something happens and the pair lose touch - jump forward to the present time and Edie is pregnant and Heather is here again, to look after her and we discover what went so wrong before. Written then and now by both girls, we get to see what made them be the way they are. The pace of the story was good as we get to know more about these characters who are sadly not too likeable but I did empathise with them at times and could see why they behaved the way they did. There were some creepy moments and the subject was dark, especially towards the end. It was compelling enough to keep turning the pages and I would definitely read other books by this author.

On My Way Home: A Hospice Nurse's Journey with Terminal Cancer - Joyce Hutchison

Three and a half star rating.
A short account of the author's battle with cancer and ultimate death, plus a little about her life - the irony being that she used to take care of people in this exact same position. A sad book of course given the subject matter, but also uplifting as she faced her treatment and final days with courage and dignity. This lady thought a lot about other people, especially her family who did all they could for her, and not much about herself. This was a very moving book and came away feeling Joyce would have been a wonderful friend.

Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay - Jill Mansell

A light and very summery read. Set in a small Cornish seaside town which is idyllic. Two step sisters, Belle and Clemency who make a vow never to encroach on eithers boyfriends, a vow which is hard to keep. It's a funny, crossed wires and misunderstandings kind of book, with no villains, or at least no proper ones. A happy, feel good story with nice, colourful characters - the sort of people you'd like to know yourself, the ones you could have fun with, rely on and fall in love with. Very entertaining, enjoyable, comical and romantic, not to mention a happy sigh at the end - perfect!

Lock the Door - Jane Holland

A three and a half star rating.
It's Meghan and Jon's wedding anniversary and they have invited 2 other couples around for dinner. What should have been a happy occasion turns into tragedy when their baby son is snatched from his cot upstairs. The baby has a life threatening illness which compounds the situation. Meghan, naturally is distraught and is not helped by the behaviour of other people. I loved the cover, idea and that it was set in lovely Truro but didn't feel the same about any of the characters. Meghan comes across as annoying and wishy washy. A stronger police presence might have prevented her from doing stupid things. Take this book on holiday as it's very easy to read and not over complicated - just right for the beach!

The Food of Love - Amanda Prowse

A three and a half star rating.
A normal, happy family or is it? That's what it looks like from the outside. Mum, Freya, dad, Lockie and their two teenagers Charlotte and Lexie. All is going well until Lexie becomes anorexic. A harrowing story with plenty of detail of what happens, what it is like to have share a house with someone suffering from this illness. The reader almost feels they are living there too as there is so much information about what goes on. I realise we are meant to sympathise with everyone but this family was really annoying - so many pages where one of them was "shouting" (even before their troubles began), "yelling", "screaming", "screeching" and banging things around. Freya who thinks she knows best about everything, even more than the experts, refusing to listen to anyone else when she should have got a grip. This book is a definite eye opener to an awful situation that you wouldn't want anyone to have to go through, so this book is worth reading for that alone.

The Fifth Letter - Nicola Moriarty

A three and a half star rating.
Four best friends from high school in Australia are having some time away together, leaving their partners at home. All of them have a secret or two and one drunken evening they decided it might be fun to each write an anonymous letter revealing something about themselves, but one of them writes an extra one, a bit darker and meaner. One of the group won't rest until she has discovered who the secret letter writer is. Of course like most secrets, the truth will eventually out! Some serious bits, and some lighthearted parts too. None of the women were very likeable and all had a nasty streak. I loved the idea of this novel - could four school friends keep up their very intense relationship into their 30's? On the whole I enjoyed this book, not so much a "whodunnit" but a "who wrote it"!

Let The Dead Speak - Jane Casey

Three and a half star rating.
A house full of blood but no body - what's going on? This is what Maeve Kerrigan and Josh Derwent have to find out. A very promising first chapter when Chloe, the victim's daughter, returns home earlier than expected and she's met, not by her mother, but an empty, blood spattered house. This was my first book by this author, so didn't know very much about the characters or their histories, but that didn't matter too much. I liked Josh and Maeve, the way they worked together and the villains were suitably bad too. The book was easy to read despite the gruesome parts and certainly kept this reader turning the pages to discover the truth about what really happened in this case. I will be looking forward to the next crime that this pair will solve!

Blood Ran Cold (A Kindle Single) - Sten Ostberg

Snowy, cold Norway in the depths of winter. Karl and Marte Vollan are leaving for the hospital to give birth, when a hooded stranger leaps in front of their car, preventing it from moving. What does he want and more to the point why has he chosen to come to their house? This is a short, intense story with great descriptions of the cold, the snow and of a terrifying situation. There's violence, so not recommended if you are of faint heart and probably not the best book to read if you live in a cold climate and have to go out in the dark! This was interesting enough for me to read something else by this author.

Greythorne - L. M. Merrington

Three and a half stars.
A governess, a young child, and a spooky house on an island. What secrets lie in this house, what is Sophie's father up to in the dead of the night and what really happened to his wife Lucy? A fantastic cover which really draws the reader in and if I came across it in a bookshop would certainly pick it up for a closer look. The description of the island and how difficult it is to reach it are very vivid and easy to imagine. I like Gothic tales and this fitted the bill nicely as it wasn't overly long. It will be interesting to see what this author will come up with next!

The Silent Wife: A gripping emotional page turner with a twist that will take your breath away - Kerry Fisher

Four and a half stars
Such a mix of characters in this book - some you love to hate and others you hate to love! Lara and Maggie are both second wives to two brothers (Massimo and Nico), doing their best to fit in with their Italian upbringing and ways, but it isn't easy especially when there are children involved. There are shocking secrets to discover and maybe disclose, not to mention Anna, the matriarch to deal with. Loved the cover and description but most of all loved the story which was fantastic and definitely worth the time spent reading it, so much so wish it had been longer and I don't say that very often!

The Girl Before: A Novel - JP Delaney

Be very careful about what you sign up for, something Emma (then) and Jane (now) should have been when they agreed to rent a property owned by Edward, the architect who designed it. It's a very strange house, extremely minimalist and then there are the huge amount of rules and regulations which ought to have set the alarm bells ringing loud and clear! This was a very easy book to get into, a great yarn which kept my attention throughout. A few villains appeared here and there to spice things up and it was fast paced with plenty to get your teeth into which is all that is required from a good thriller and thrill it did!

[By B A Paris] The Breakdown: The 2017 gripping thriller from the bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors (Paperback)【2017】by B A Paris (Author) [1863] - B A Paris

Cass's life changes overnight when she takes a decision to take a short cut through the woods one rainy evening. There's a car parked in the layby and apart from stopping her car for a few minutes, doesn't get out to help, something she will regret. Shortly afterwards things start to go wrong, forgetting things, mysterious parcels arrive, silent phone calls - she's doubting her own sanity. Wow!! Just loved this from the very first line - what a stomping good read, gripping and menacing, pacey and dark. It was one of those books you just have to read in one sitting, no putting it down apart from the essentials that is! Allow plenty of time because you won't want to leave this story and watch out for your fingernails as you just might bite them off as you feverishly turn the pages! Another wonderful book by this author.

Dirty Old London: The Victorian Fight Against Filth - Lee Jackson

If you are fastidious, don't like filth or stench, then you would have not wanted to live in Victorian times as there was plenty of both and even if you were wealthy it was no protection as there was no avoiding either! This is a really well researched book, filled with everything you could possibly want to know about this subject. There was a lot of fascinating information about grime, soot, toilets, housing, washing clothes and bodies etc, but there was also a lot about this or that committee, so and so said/did this, somebody else did that which wasn't nearly so interesting and I ended up skim reading these sections. The photos don't work too well on a kindle which is a shame. It is still worth reading this title to get a great insight as to how our forebears lived.