Weekly Wrap-Up (May 19)

*insert long rant about how crappy this week has been here*

Thank you for all the well-wishes on twitter. I’m fine. There is just a whole lot of family shit going on, which came at me like a speeding train and I felt completely overwhelmed by everything. On top of that, I seem to have landed myself in a reading slump and I’m suffering from a crisis in confidence, partly brought on by being the only blogger who wasn’t thanked by an author for her review on a blog tour. I know I shouldn’t let that get to me but man, it’s hard not to take that personally. (Thank you, shallow tribe! You know why! 😘)

Luckily, Line of Duty came to the rescue. I binge-watched all 5 seasons and am all caught up, ready for more! What a brilliant show. I can’t believe it passed me by all this time. It’s extremely impressive how a show where lots of scenes are just played out around a table can be so bloody thrilling!

Those wonderful days were quickly followed by picking up numerous books, reading a few pages and putting them back on my shelf. Nothing, absolutely nothing was grabbing me. No reading for me today as I have company and for once I’m actually glad about that. But tomorrow, I’m going to have to force myself to read a book for a blog tour and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried.

So, what did I read this week?

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

I don’t even care. I’m okay with this. That could easily have said just the one book, which I needed to read for a tour.

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

Adding some more books to my Harlan Coben collection. These have the most wonderful colourful spines and look so pretty on my bookshelf. Little Darlings was one I’ve been waiting for and should hopefully get around to reading soon. (That’s actually one I picked up and put back after 10 pages 😳) The other one, I don’t have a clue where I saw it or why I wanted to buy it, but since I wrote it down I must have had a reason so here it is. 😂

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

Courtesy of Avon and Orenda, both for blog tours.

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Never Be Broken by Sarah Hilary

Tuesday : Joined the blog tour for The Evidence Against You by Gillian McAllister

Wednesday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly

Thursday : Joined the blog tour for Tell Me Where You Are by Moira Forsyth

Friday : Shared my review for Anna of Kleve by Alison Weir

Saturday : Took the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Nailed it 🤣

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Nothing planned

Tuesday : Blog tour | Review | Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Blog tour | Review | Breakers by Doug Johnstone

Friday : There may be something but probably not

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Note to self : This is good. We like this. Try and keep it up. Even if we still have to read the one for Thursday 🙄

Fun little question this week because I’m curious as heck about the answers that’ll pop up. Brought on by little old me saying she’d never read a Michael Connelly book before Dark Sacred Night.

Name an author (or two) whose books you’ve never read. If any of you say Karin Slaughter, I might just hurt you! 😂

My answer would be : Lee Child. It’s a name I see mentioned quite a lot, yet somehow it’s not one that’s made its way onto my bookshelves. Have you read any of his books? Am I missing out something extraordinary?

That’s it for this week’s wrap-up. Wishing you all a fabulous week, preferably with sunshine (not looking good here). Until next time. Happy reading! xx

Anna of Kleve : Queen of Secrets by Alison Weir

Author : Alison Weir
Title : Anna of Kleve : Queen of Secrets
Series : Six Tudor Queens #4
Pages : 485
Publisher : Headline
Publication date : May 2, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Newly widowed and the father of an infant son, Henry VIII realizes he must marry again to insure the royal succession. Now forty-six, overweight and unwell, Henry is soundly rejected by some of Europe’s most eligible princesses, but Anna of Kleve—a small German duchy—is twenty-four and eager to wed.

Henry requests Anna’s portrait from his court painter, who enhances her looks, painting her straight-on in order not to emphasize her rather long nose. Henry is entranced by the lovely image, only to be bitterly surprised when Anna arrives in England and he sees her in the flesh. She is pleasant looking, just not the lady that Henry had expected.

What follows is a fascinating story of this awkward royal union that had to somehow be terminated tactfully. Alison Weir takes a fresh and surprising look at this remarkable royal marriage by describing it from the point of view of Queen Anna, a young woman with hopes and dreams of her own, alone in a royal court that rejected her from the day she arrived. 

| MY THOUGHTS |

The Six Tudor Queens series continues with the fourth of Henry VIII’s wives, Anna of Kleve. This is one I’d been looking forward to, happy to move even further away from the Great Matter, and also because I didn’t know much about Anna herself.

Anna hailed from Germany and to all intents and purposes seemed to have lived quite the sheltered life under the watchful eye of her mother. Until the day Henry VIII, King of England, decides he needs another wife and preferably another heir. With Spain and France joining forces against him, an alliance with the Duke of Kleve would be quite an advantage. Henry asks his court painter for a portrait of Anna. He likes what he sees. Until Anna finally arrives in England. Despite the marriage going ahead, it quickly becomes clear Henry isn’t happy and when Henry isn’t happy, heads roll. But will it be Anna’s?

There is quite the controversial storyline running through Anna of Kleve. As always, Alison Weir takes facts and builds her story around those. In this case, the reasons Henry listed for his marriage to Anna to remain unconsummated. By that time, he was nearing 50, massively overweight and unfit, and quite possibly impotent. But of course, that’s not something he would ever have admitted. In his attempts to have his marriage to Anna annulled, Henry shows a side of himself we’ve not really seen before. At times he managed to come across as likeable even.

Now imagine Anna. A young woman sent off to England to marry a King. She spoke no English, knew nothing of the culture or customs but did know the stories about what happened to Henry’s previous wives. How incredibly frightening is that? Unable to please Henry, through no fault of her own, her life at the court must have been spent in sheer fear and anxiety.

I mentioned the controversial path Alison Weir takes with this story. Up to a certain point, I was quite willing to follow it. It explained a lot, it made sense while keeping Henry’s words in the back of my mind. But as the years went on, I must admit that that particular fictional part of the story lost me a little bit. I’m being deliberately vague here because I want the readers to experience this for themselves. If you do read this novel, and you definitely should, I’d be incredibly interested in knowing your thoughts.

I absolutely adore the Six Tudor Queens series and boy, do those hardcovers look amazing on my bookshelf. As always, Alison Weir’s research is immaculate and her descriptions are fabulously vivid. From the various palaces and their furnishings to the food served to the gorgeous clothes, she brings this era to life like no other. While I enjoyed Anna of Kleve, it wasn’t my favourite of the series though. It’s a bit hard to explain but for the first time in this series, I really felt like I was reading fiction. Which it is for the most part, of course, but some of it just didn’t quite work for me. Nevertheless, putting those misgivings aside, Anna of Kleve is another fantastic addition to this series and I can’t wait for the next one.

Anna of Kleve : Queen of Secrets is available to buy in ebook and hardcover.

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

Tell Me Where You Are by Moira Forsyth | @sandstonepress | #blogtour

It’s a pleasure to host a stop on the blog tour for Tell Me Where You Are by Moira Forsyth today! My thanks to Julia Forster for the invitation to join and for the review copy!

!Author : Moira Forsyth
Title : Tell Me Where You Are
Pages : 344
Publisher : Sandstone Press
Publication date : May 15, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

The last thing Frances wants is a phone call from Alec, the husband who left her for her sister thirteen years ago. But Susan has disappeared, abandoning Alec and her daughter Kate, a surly teenager with an explosive secret. Reluctantly, Frances is drawn into her sister’s turbulent life.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Thirteen years ago, Frances’ husband Alec left her. Not just for anyone, but for her younger sister, Susan. Frances hasn’t been in touch with her sister since. Nobody in the family has. But now, a phone call from Alec upsets Frances’s perfectly peaceful life. Susan has gone missing.

The reader never gets to meet Susan but she doesn’t come across as a particularly likeable character. From an early age, she seemed to be the odd one out in a family with three daughters and caused her parents quite the headaches. Did that somewhat outrageous behaviour just carry on into adulthood? Is she just a selfish woman or does she suffer from mental issues?

None of that matters to one iota to Frances. What matters is Kate, Susan’s teenage daughter. With her mother gone and her stepfather too busy or unwilling to take care off her, she’s dumped at the home of her aunt Frances. With a family member missing, surely nothing else can go wrong! Plenty, as it turns out.

This is a story about a family thrown into turmoil. With multiple points-of-view throughout, the impact Susan has had, and now continues to have even though she’s disappeared, becomes incredibly clear. From her parents who wonder what went wrong; to her husband who who may just regret his decision; to a daughter, lost and confused.

Despite all the disruption Susan’s disappearance has caused, life goes on and somehow this family must find a way to come together through ups and downs. They are faced with difficult and realistic decisions and throughout it all, Frances really stood out for me. She may not always be sympathetic or tactful but she always tries to tackle problems head-on and do what’s best. Her ex-husband, on the other hand, I could quite happily have strangled.

Just like in real life, things aren’t wrapped up all pretty with a bow. There are some unanswered questions, tough decisions and no easy solutions. Throughout it all are believable characters you’ll sympathise with and root for. Tell Me Where You are is a delightful and warm story about a dysfunctional family navigating its way through life and its various roadblocks.

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Moira Forsyth grew up in Aberdeen, lived in England for nearly twenty years, and is now in the Highlands. She is the author of four previous novels and many short stories and poems published in anthologies and magazines. Waiting for Lindsay and David’s Sisters, originally published by Sceptre, are now available as e-books from Sandstone Press, which also published The Treacle Well in 2015.

Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly | @orionbooks @orion_crime @Tr4cyF3nt0n | #blogtour #bookreview #compulsivereaders

Truly delighted to join the blog tour for Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly today! My thanks to Tracy Fenton for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my review copy!

Author : Michael Connelly
Title : Dark Sacred Night
Series : Renée Ballard #2
Pages : 448
Publisher : Orion
Publication date : May 16, 2019 (paperback)

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Renée Ballard is working the night beat again, and returns to Hollywood Station in the early hours only to find a stranger rifling through old file cabinets. The intruder is retired detective Harry Bosch, working a cold case that has gotten under his skin. Ballard kicks him out, but then checks into the case herself and it brings a deep tug of empathy and anger.

Bosch is investigating the death of fifteen-year-old Daisy Clayton, a runaway on the streets of Hollywood who was brutally murdered and her body left in a dumpster like so much trash. Now, Ballard joins forces with Bosch to find out what happened to Daisy and finally bring her killer to justice. 

| MY THOUGHTS |

Gather around, it’s confession time.

Ready? *ahem*

I have never read a Michael Connelly book before this one. I know, you’re wondering where the heck I’ve been and you have every right to judge me. I did watch The Lincoln Lawyer film once upon a long time ago and I had every intention of reading a Harry Bosch book, before I realised how many there are. So, as Dark Sacred Night brings together Renée Ballard and Harry Bosch in one fell swoop, I figured this was a good place to start. And even though this is Renée’s second outing, I found this read perfectly well as a stand-alone.

Renée Ballard is a detective, working out of Hollywood Station. After filing a sexual harassment claim against a colleague, she finds herself cast out and working the graveyard shift. On returning to her office one night, she catches someone rifling through the police station’s filing cabinets. Turns out this person is none other than Harry Bosch himself. He’s looking for information on an old investigation; a cold case involving the murder of a young girl almost a decade ago. Harry is determined to finally find out what happened to her.

That investigation isn’t the entire focus of this book though and I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed that. It feels more realistic to see detectives investigate more than one case, even during a dark night. A lot goes on behind the bright lights and the glamour of the Hollywood sign and even though a regular burglary might seem quite boring compared to a thrilling murder investigation, it is still a case that needs to be solved. All this combined made for great diversity and I could easily imagine the frustration of needing to attend these other crime scenes and filling out paperwork when something more interesting is waiting for you to sink your teeth into.

I don’t think Ballard particularly needed Bosch to give this series a push in the right direction because as a character she is more than capable to hold her own, but they worked together perfectly and I loved the different points of view. I enjoyed getting to know both these characters. Both are tenacious and determined, although Bosch might be somewhat tired of it all, and not afraid of bending the rules. I warmed to them in an instant. At no point did I feel I was missing out on not knowing anything at all about their backgrounds. If anything, it’s made me more curious to go back and get caught up on the previous books in both the series. Although when I’m supposed to find the time for that is another matter.

What is clear throughout this story, is Michael Connelly’s background. Well thought-out and cleverly plotted, he shows remarkable attention to detail and an insight that can come only from inside knowledge somehow. This added an extra layer to the realism and believability. Michael Connelly is a fantastic crime writer and it’s easy to see why he’s so popular and still going strong after all these years. I have no doubt fans and new readers like myself will enjoy Dark Sacred Night and it has most definitely left me wanting more!

Dark Sacred Night is available to buy in ebook and hardcover, with the paperback to follow on May 16th.

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

A former police reporter for the Los Angeles Times, Michael Connelly is the internationally bestselling author of the Harry Bosch series, and several other bestsellers including the highly acclaimed legal thriller, The Lincoln Lawyer. The TV series – Bosch – is one of the most watched original series on Amazon Prime.

He has been President of the Mystery Writers of America, and his books have been translated into thirty-nine languages and have won awards all over the world, including the Edgar and Anthony Awards.

He spends his time in California and Florida.

The Evidence Against You by Gillian McAllister | @GillianMAuthor @MichaelJBooks @Livvii | #blogtour #bookreview

Delighted to join the blog tour for The Evidence Against You by Gillian McAllister today! My thanks to Olivia at Michael Joseph for the opportunity to join and for the fabulous review copy!

Author : Gillian McAllister
Title : The Evidence Against You
Pages : 422
Publisher : Michael Joseph
Publication date : April 18, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

It’s the day her father will be released from jail. Izzy English has every reason to feel conflicted – he’s the man who gave her a childhood filled with happy memories. But he has also just served seventeen years for the murder of her mother.

Now, Izzy’s father sends her a letter. He wants to talk, to defend himself against each piece of evidence from his trial. But should she give him the benefit of the doubt? Or is her father guilty as charged, and luring her into a trap?

| MY THOUGHTS |

After having read and enjoyed Gillian McAllister’s previous books, I was incredibly excited to hold her latest book in my hands. Even though I admit, I initially had a wee struggle with the earlier chapters, I soon found myself completely immersed in the intrigue and suspense.

Almost two decades ago, Izzy’s father was convicted of the murder of his wife and sent to prison. Izzy has had no contact with him since. But now, Gabriel is released and he wants to talk to Izzy, give her his side of the story, defend himself, maybe even convince her he is innocent. But should Izzy give him the time of day?

While I found Izzy quite hard to like for some reason, I could completely understand her struggles. The way she longs for that feeling of belonging to a family, her willingness to listen to her father because at least she’d have one parent back in her life and the way she shies away from starting a family of her own because she fears there is evil inside of her. Despite my misgivings about her, I couldn’t help but root for her when she starts to dig deep into her parents’ lives.

Just like Izzy, I kept going back and forth on my opinion about Gabriel, unable to figure out whether he was truly guilty or if this whole thing had been a massive miscarriage of justice. But this story isn’t just about Gabriel’s guilt or innocence. It is also about the impact nineteen years in prison has on a person. Imagine being cut off from the world for such a long time and then be thrown back out there, expected to fend for yourself when everything has been done for you all these years. Where do you even start when the whole world has moved on without you?

As I’ve come to expect from Gillian McAllister, The Evidence Against You is a slow-burner but nevertheless immensely tense and compelling. As I mentioned, I struggled just a little bit with the slow pace in the beginning but it also has its advantages, as it gives you the time and opportunity to really get a feel for these characters. It’s almost impossible to determine who to trust or believe and that includes Izzy herself, because how reliable are her own memories after all this time? With plenty of twists and turns, unreliable characters, lies and betrayal, I was gripped until the rather devastating end. The kind of ending where you wish deep down things could have been different, yet one that is also extremely fitting and just makes sense.

The Evidence Against You is a gripping and thought-provoking story, guaranteed to have you flipping the pages faster as you go. Brilliantly and cleverly plotted, Gillian McAllister knows how to draw the reader in and keep them coming back for more. Her books are always worth the wait and I impatiently await what’s next.

The Evidence Against You is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Gillian McAllister has been writing for as long as she can remember. She graduated with an English degree before working as a lawyer. She lives in Birmingham where she now writes full-time. 

She is the Sunday Times bestselling author of Everything but the Truth, Anything You Do Say, No Further Questions and The Evidence Against You. 

Never Be Broken by Sarah Hilary | @sarah_hilary @headlinepg @annecater | #blogtour #bookreview #recommended #mustread #DIMarnieRome #RandomThingsTours

Beyond thrilled to kick off the blog tour for Never Be Broken by Sarah Hilary alongside Anne Cater today! Huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my fabulous review copy!

Author : Sarah Hilary
Title : Never Be Broken
Series : DI Marnie Rome #6
Pages : 368
Publisher : Headline
Publication date : May 16, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Children are dying on London’s streets. Frankie Reece, stabbed through the heart, outside a corner shop. Others recruited from care homes, picked up and exploited; passed like gifts between gangs. They are London’s lost. 

Then Raphaela Belsham is killed. She’s thirteen years old, her father is a man of influence, from a smart part of town. And she’s white. Suddenly, the establishment is taking notice.

DS Noah Jake is determined to handle Raphaela’s case and Frankie’s too. But he’s facing his own turmoil, and it’s becoming an obsession. DI Marnie Rome is worried, and she needs Noah on side. Because more children are disappearing, more are being killed by the day and the swelling tide of violence needs to be stemmed before it’s too late.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Blessed are the hearts that bend; they shall never be broken.

I am broken though. Just … WOW!

Never Be Broken is sadly extremely realistic, believable and apt in this day and age. Children are dying on London’s streets and the whiteboard at DI Marnie Rome’s precinct is covered in photographs of young victims. Then, another teenager finds herself on the wrong side of a knife. Raphaela comes from a rich background and is white, and suddenly everyone sits up and takes notice. DS Noah Jake is determined to solve every single case on the whiteboard but he is struggling.

Never Be Broken shows the raw and harsh reality of living on the streets of London. Beyond the bright lights and the beautiful tourist spots, this is a city full of drugs, racism and violence. Police seem to be unable to make much of a difference, no matter how hard they want to. Yet throughout it all, the author’s love for the city manages to shine through.

This is at times quite a painful read. There’s no way the fate of the victims and the suffering of those they leave behind can leave you cold. But there’s also Noah, who’s having a hard time coming to terms with the death of his brother Sol. My heart was absolutely breaking for him. I just wanted to wrap him up in a tight hug. Despite his grief being hard to see, I thought Sarah Hilary handled that whole topic quite brilliantly.

There are some super tense chapters that almost brought tears to my eyes, that made my heart pound and my hands all clammy. This is a dark story, immensely gritty, compelling, captivating and gripping but also one of hope for better days and one of the toughest things to achieve : forgiveness. For those who’ve done you wrong but also for yourself.

Please tell me you are reading this series. It’s been absolutely outstanding from the very beginning and I don’t know how she does it, but Sarah Hilary manages to outdo herself time and time again, bringing each book in this series to whole other level. At the risk of repeating myself, because I’m pretty sure I say this every time, this is the best one in the series yet and Sarah Hilary is an author who deserves all the praise. She continues to impress me with her remarkable storylines, utterly brilliant character development and fantastic writing. There are so many lines I could quote but I won’t because I’d be here all day and obviously you just need to read this book (and the rest of the series) for yourself.

I’ve had a ridiculously hard time getting my thoughts in order. This is one of those books that managed to get completely under my skin, making me go through a whole range of emotions and writing this review seemed like an impossible task when all I really wanted to say was “WOW! Read this now!” and leave it at that. Do yourself a massive favour and pick this up, along with the rest of the series if you haven’t done so already. I promise you from the bottom of my heart, you will not regret it!

Never Be Broken will be published on Thursday, May 16th but you can, and should, preorder it now!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Sarah Hilary’s debut novel, SOMEONE ELSE’S SKIN, won Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year and was a World Book Night selection. The Observer’s Book of the Month (“superbly disturbing”) and a Richard & Judy Book Club bestseller, it has been published worldwide. NO OTHER DARKNESS, the second in the series was shortlisted for a Barry Award in the US. Her DI Marnie Rome series continues with TASTES LIKE FEAR (2016) QUIETER THAN KILLING (2017) COME AND FIND ME (2018) and NEVER BE BROKEN (2019).

Follow Sarah on Twitter

Weekly Wrap-Up (May 12)

The May weather is not playing nice. Dark days, wet and miserable, hail and random thunderstorms … what is this fudgery? All I see when I look out of the window is a garden that is slowly starting to resemble a jungle but I can’t get out there to do anything about it.

Luckily, I have books! Which came in especially handy when I was suddenly confronted with an hour long power cut. I was determined to get ahead of schedule again because my Line of Duty box set is on its way so guess what I’ll be doing next week! Somehow, I have still managed to remain completely spoiler free. It’s an absolute miracle!

So yes, getting ahead of schedule. How did that work out for you, Eva? Well, not so good because for some reason, I ended up with a bunch of books in a row that went over 400 pages and I may also have squeezed in one of my own TBR because … why not?

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

I’ll take that. That’s not too shabby at all! Now if only I could get the reviews written 🙄

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

I love the Six Tudor Queens series and had Anna of Kleve on preorder for what felt like forever. So obviously, when it finally arrived, I dropped everything to read it. The Doll Factory … I’ve been going back and forth on that one for ages but ultimately, it was sprayed edges envy that won out 😂

| ARC’s RECEIVED VIA NETGALLEY |

As you know, I don’t normally read on kindle anymore these days but I was sent a widget for this one by the publisher and by golly, I just couldn’t resist. It’s Tammy Cohen! I love her books! Why yes, I did already read it too.

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

What a week! Sure, these are all for blog tours because I just can’t help myself but whatever. Look at The Whisper Man! One of my most anticipated books of this year and it’s finally arrived! I can’t wait to read this one. May need to turn my schedule upside down again. 🤔 (With thanks to Headline, Orion, No Exit and Michael Joseph)

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Joined the blog tour for The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen with a guest post.

Tuesday : Took the day off

Wednesday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Night By Night by Jack Jordan and shared My Week in Books

Thursday : Reviewed With Our Blessing by Jo Spain

Friday : Took the day off

Saturday : Joined the blog tour for In Two Minds by Alis Hawkins

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Blog tour | Review | Never Be Broken by Sarah Hilary

Tuesday : Blog tour | Review | The Evidence Against You by Gillian McAllister

Wednesday : Blog tour | Review | Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly

Thursday : Blog tour | Review | Tell Me Where You Are by Moira Forsyth

Friday : Review | Anna of Kleve by Alison Weir

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

See the blog tour on Thursday? Yep, still have to read that 😳🤣

In other news, I am having some technical difficulties lately which are extremely annoying. My mornings are usually spent on my laptop, where things works relatively normal. Not all of it, but I found a way around it so that’s okay. But for the rest of the day, I am on my iPad and for some reason WordPress does not play nicely. This means, I am constantly logged out and despite numerous attempts to log in, it just won’t let me. So I have to visit blogs via the WordPress Reader and like/share from there. However, being logged out means I can’t comment! In case you thought I was ignoring your wonderful posts, I’m really not.

Guess what I’m doing today! If you think it’s lounging on the sofa with a good book, accidentally having a nap … you’re wrong! Bloody stupid socialising crap for me again. There should be a law against this stuff. I’m so tired, I feel as if I haven’t slept for a week and I worry I’ll end up with my face in a bowl of soup. I can’t even get the tiniest bit excited about there being wine. Oh dear.

Anyway, I should probably try to write a review of two (five) before I have to get ready. So, that’s it for another week. Hope you all have a great one and lots of happy reading! xx

In Two Minds by Alis Hawkins | @Alis_Hawkins @DomePress @emily_glenister | #blogtour #bookreview #giveaway

It’s such a pleasure to host a stop on the blog tour for In Two Minds by Alis Hawkins today! My thanks to Emily at Dome Press for the opportunity to join and for the wonderful review copy! Read on for the bookish information, my review and a fab giveaway.

Author : Alis Hawkins
Title : In Two Minds
Series : Teifi Valley Coroner #2
Pages : 455
Publisher : Dome Press
Publication date : May 2, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Harry Probert-Lloyd, a young barrister forced home from London by encroaching blindness, has begun work as the acting coroner of Teifi Valley with solicitor’s clerk John Davies as his assistant.

When a faceless body is found on an isolated beach, Harry must lead the inquest. But his dogged pursuit of the truth begins to ruffle feathers. Especially when he decides to work alongside a local doctor with a dubious reputation and experimental theories considered radical and dangerous. Refusing to accept easy answers might not only jeopardise Harry’s chance to be elected coroner permanently but could, it seems, implicate his own family in a crime.

| MY THOUGHTS |

In Two Minds is the second instalment in the Teify Valley Coroner series featuring Harry Probert-Lloyd and John Davies. After his success in solving a murder in the previous book, Harry is now the acting coroner and John continues to work as his assistant.

A faceless body is found on a beach and Harry is called up to lead the inquest. Everyone would like a quick resolution. After all, inquests cost money. But Harry doesn’t work like that and is determined to find out exactly what happened and who is responsible. Will his dogged determination ruin his chance at being elected coroner permanently?

As with the previous book, Alis Hawkins manages to combine an interesting historical fact with the fictitious investigation run by Harry and John. This time, the topic is emigration and we find a multitude of characters who have been saving up money for years to try and get onto a boat that will take them to a, hopefully, better life in America.

This is one of those times where I feel the title is incredibly apt and well chosen. Lots of characters are in two minds throughout the story, as they try to figure out what the future holds in store for them. Those who must decide between carrying on with their lives in Wales or taking a gamble on a new life in America, for instance. But also, Harry and John themselves. If you’ve read the previous book, then you know Harry’s life seems to be all planned out. Even more so when his father falls ill. Harry constantly finds himself torn between his duty and what he actually really wants to do. And John is determined to improve his situation, not content with being a solicitor’s clerk forever. I really liked that he was given the opportunity to prove himself in this story, showing his intelligence and diligence, making decisions on his own without being prompted by Harry.

I can’t wrap up this review without mentioning doctor Rickett. Harry’s decision to involve him ruffles quite a lot of feathers. Rickett’s thoughts on medicine must have sounded somewhat like voodoo in those days but to us, many of them come across as perfectly reasonable. In order to make advancements in medicine, Rickett is a big fan of autopsies. He doesn’t just want to help sick people, he wants to learn how they got sick in the first place and possibly find out how to prevent the same thing happening to someone else. I found his character truly fascinating and I do so hope he appears in future instalments.

Set in Wales, In Two Minds oozes atmosphere and combines two of my favourite things : historical fiction and crime. Who is this faceless body? Were they murdered and if so, by whom and why? I couldn’t find an answer to these questions at all and Alis Hawkins kept me guessing right up until the quite devastating conclusion. With lots of well-crafted and intriguing characters, twists and turns and an interesting investigation, In Two Minds is a gripping, compelling read and a brilliant addition to this series. I shall impatiently await the next book and very much look forward to seeing what happens to Harry and John next.

In Two Minds is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

| GIVEAWAY |

ONE lucky winner will receive ONE paperback copy of In Two Minds!

Enter the giveaway by clicking this Rafflecopter link

This giveaway is UK ONLY!

You must of course be willing to give me your details to be passed on to the publisher. Good luck!

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Alis Hawkins grew up on a dairy farm in Cardiganshire. Her inner introvert thought it would be a good idea to become a shepherd and, frankly, if she had, she might have been published sooner. As it was, three years reading English at Corpus Christi College, Oxford revealed an extrovert streak and a social conscience which saw her train as a Speech and Language Therapist.

She has spent the subsequent three decades variously bringing up two sons, working with children and young people on the autism spectrum and writing fiction, non-fiction and plays.

She writes the kind of books she likes to read: character-driven historical crime and mystery fiction with what might be called literary production values. 

With Our Blessing by Jo Spain | @SpainJoanne @QuercusBooks | #bookreview #recommended

Author : Jo Spain
Title : With Our Blessing
Series : DI Tom Reynolds #1
Pages : 531
Publisher : Quercus
Publication date : July 27, 2015

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

1975. A baby, minutes old, is forcibly taken from its devastated mother.

2010. The body of an elderly woman is found in a Dublin public park in the depths of winter.

Detective Inspector Tom Reynolds is working the case. He’s convinced the murder is linked to historical events that took place in the notorious Magdalene Laundries.

Reynolds and his team follow the trail to an isolated convent in the Irish countryside. But once inside, it becomes disturbingly clear that the killer is amongst them . . . and is determined to exact further vengeance for the sins of the past. 

| MY THOUGHTS |

You’re probably familiar with Jo Spain’s psychological thrillers but did you know she also writes a crime fiction series, set in Ireland? The DI Tom Reynolds series has been on my shelf for ages and since I heard there is a new book on the horizon, I decided to try and squeeze this series into my reading schedule in an attempt to catch up.

Best decision ever!

With Our Blessing is the first book and hoo boy, what a first instalment it is! Despite its 531 pages, I absolutely flew through this one because once I started reading, I just couldn’t stop. The body of an elderly woman is found in a park in Dublin. It’s quite a gruesome scene and the investigation leads DI Tom Reynolds and his team to a convent in the Irish countryside and a part of history Ireland would probably quite happily forget all about.

The notorious Magdalane Laundries have been in the news often these last few years. The events that happened there remain horrible and With Our Blessing starts with one such horrific scene when in 1975, a newborn baby is forcibly taken from its mother. If that doesn’t break your heart, I don’t know what will.

But how does that prologue connect to the murder of the elderly woman? That’s for DI Tom Reynolds to figure out and it’s a race against the clock because this killer is quite obviously on a mission to get revenge and if they aren’t stopped, more people will die. I quickly ruled out a number of potential suspects which left me with a tiny problem, in that I had nobody left. I was convinced I knew who wasn’t the killer but couldn’t at all figure out who was!

As brilliantly gripping as the murder investigation was, I also really enjoyed the perfect balance Jo Spain achieved by including information about the various team members’ private lives. I got a really good feel for them and loved getting to know them along the way.

With Our Blessing is a fantastic start to this series. With intriguing characters, a compelling investigation, a beautiful setting and even some humour, this had me hooked from start to finish. I’m kicking myself for not reading this series sooner and I can’t wait to read the other books. If Jo Spain wasn’t already on my go-to list, she would most definitely be now! And if you are looking for another crime series to sink your teeth into, you should definitely check this one out!

With Our Blessing is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

This Week in Books (May 8)

Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

| LAST BOOK I FINISHED READING |

Harry Probert-Lloyd, a young barrister forced home from London by encroaching blindness, has begun work as the acting coroner of Teifi Valley with solicitor’s clerk John Davies as his assistant.

When a faceless body is found on an isolated beach, Harry must lead the inquest. But his dogged pursuit of the truth begins to ruffle feathers. Especially when he decides to work alongside a local doctor with a dubious reputation and experimental theories considered radical and dangerous.

Refusing to accept easy answers might not only jeopardise Harry’s chance to be elected coroner permanently but could, it seems, implicate his own family in a crime.

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

Newly widowed and the father of an infant son, Henry VIII realizes he must marry again to insure the royal succession. Now forty-six, overweight and unwell, Henry is soundly rejected by some of Europe’s most eligible princesses, but Anna of Kleve—a small German duchy—is twenty-four and eager to wed.

Henry requests Anna’s portrait from his court painter, who enhances her looks, painting her straight-on in order not to emphasize her rather long nose. Henry is entranced by the lovely image, only to be bitterly surprised when Anna arrives in England and he sees her in the flesh. She is pleasant looking, just not the lady that Henry had expected.

What follows is a fascinating story of this awkward royal union that had to somehow be terminated tactfully. Alison Weir takes a fresh and surprising look at this remarkable royal marriage by describing it from the point of view of Queen Anna, a young woman with hopes and dreams of her own, alone in a royal court that rejected her from the day she arrived. 

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

Renée Ballard is working the night beat again, and returns to Hollywood Station in the early hours only to find a stranger rifling through old file cabinets. The intruder is retired detective Harry Bosch, working a cold case that has gotten under his skin. Ballard kicks him out, but then checks into the case herself and it brings a deep tug of empathy and anger.

Bosch is investigating the death of fifteen-year-old Daisy Clayton, a runaway on the streets of Hollywood who was brutally murdered and her body left in a dumpster like so much trash. Now, Ballard joins forces with Bosch to find out what happened to Daisy and finally bring her killer to justice.

Not entirely sure why all the books I’m reading lately are so long. These are all over 400 pages, one even 485. It’s not that I mind. I like big books (and I can not lie) but it makes staying ahead of my schedule just that little bit harder. 😄

What are you reading this week? Let me know! Happy reading! xx