Weekly Wrap-Up (April 7)

Bit of an odd week, this one. Lots of laughter, which is always a good thing. But also some stress and worrying and not particularly good news regarding my doggie. An emergency visit to the vet’s brought some relief with painkillers and antibiotics but it’s very much a game of wait-and-see, especially considering her age (15 years). We have a follow-up appointment on Thursday so if you have any positive vibes you can send our way, it’d be much appreciated.

To the books! What did I read this week?

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

Normally I wouldn’t at all be happy with this but since I was a bit distracted and one of those books was 554 pages and another one was 440, I’ll take it. I don’t know why this always sounds like I’m defending myself 😂. I’m so ridiculously pleased I was finally able to get started on the Shardlake series and since I’m nicely ahead of blog tour reading, I’m hopeful I’ll be able to squeeze in book 2 really soon. For now, Leah can breathe a sigh of relief 😉

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

Still none. I had a few preorders but since they haven’t arrived yet, I’ll show them next week. So far I have the withdrawal symptoms relatively well under control but I’m not sure for how much longer. Getting a wee twitchy.

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

All for blog tour purposes and boy, am I excited! With thanks to Quercus, Avon, Michael Joseph and Dome Press.

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Reviewed Run Away by Harlan Coben

Tuesday : Shared my review for The Killer in Me by Olivia Kiernan

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Joined the publication day blast for the absolutely wonderful Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts

Friday : Took the day off

Saturday : Joined the blog tour for the fabulous 55 by James Delargy

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : I don’t know

Tuesday : No idea

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Blog tour | Extract | Suddenly Single by Carol Wyer

Friday : Not a clue

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

You can’t possibly imagine how insanely worried I am that I forgot to write something down in my schedule 😂. I have one or two (ahem) reviews to write so there may still be something but … so quiet. Things will be back to normal soon, you’ll see 😉

That’s it. The sun is out (yay!), I have reviews to write (boo!) and books to read (woohoo!). Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend.

I will leave you with this delightful find from my dear friend Rae, which cheered me up immensely these past few days. 😉

See you next week! Happy reading! xx

Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts | @ellakroftpatel @QuercusBooks | #FindingDorothy #recommended

Today is publication day for the wonderful Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts! Huge thanks to Quercus and Ella Patel for my stunning review copy!

Author : Elizabeth Letts
Title : Finding Dorothy
Pages : 368
Publisher : Quercus
Publication date : April 4, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Maud Gage Baum, widow of the author of the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, met Judy Garland, the young actress playing the role of Dorothy on the set of The Wizard of Oz in 1939. At the time, Maud was seventy-eight and Judy was sixteen. In spite of their age difference, Maud immediately connected to Judy–especially when Maud heard her sing “Over the Rainbow,” a song whose yearning brought to mind the tough years in South Dakota when Maud and her husband struggled to make a living–until Frank Baum’s book became a national sensation.

This wonderfully evocative two-stranded story recreates Maud’s youth as the rebellious daughter of a leading suffragette, and the prairie years of Maud and Frank’s early days when they lived among the people–especially young Dorothy–who would inspire Frank’s masterpiece. Woven into this past story is one set in 1939, describing the high-pressured days on The Wizard of Oz film set where Judy is being badgered by the director, producer, and her ambitious stage mother to lose weight, bind her breasts, and laugh, cry, and act terrified on command. As Maud had promised to protect the original Dorothy back in Aberdeen, she now takes on the job of protecting young Judy.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Sometimes you pick up a book and like magic, everything seems to fall into place. For me, Finding Dorothy is one of those books. It’s extremely hard for me to put into words exactly why that is but I completely fell in love with everything about it. The era, the characters, the writing itself … it all came together and created such a wonderful reading experience.

1939, Hollywood. Filming has started on The Wizard of Oz, based on the book by L. Frank Baum. His seventy-eight year old widow, Maud, feels fiercely protective of her husband’s story. After all, she knows all its secrets and she’s determined to make the sure the film will do her husband’s story justice. But she soon realises she may need to protect the film’s star Judy Garland as well.

Maud’s story is a fascinating one. Growing up as the daughter of Matilda Joslyn Gage, it seemed her life had been entirely planned out. Matilda was a fierce and determined woman who battled for women’s right to vote and for girls to be allowed a higher education. Maud ends up being one of the first female coeds at Cornell University. But her mother’s shadow follows her everywhere and Maud never really quite finds her place there. Then she meets Frank. An actor, a weaver of stories and words, a dreamer and he completely sweeps her off her feet. And me right alongside with it.

Both Maud and Frank captured my heart from the moment I met them. From traveling throughout the country with theatre shows, to living in the harsh prairies of the Dakota Territory where they struggled to make a living, to that moment where the stars align and Frank creates his masterpiece, I became utterly invested and engrossed.

Even though Frank, who’s incredibly fickle and apparently unable to settle down, got on my nerves sometimes; even though I sometimes felt Maud needed a bit more of a backbone; and even though at times I much more enjoyed the chapters about their lives than the ones set in 1939, I found this novel immensely immersive. At some points it even brought a lump to my throat and throughout it all there’s Maud, this energetic and passionate woman whom I absolutely adored.

“Magic isn’t things materializing out of nowhere. Magic is when a lot of people all believe in the same thing at the same time, and somehow we all escape ourselves a little bit and we meet up somewhere, and just for a moment, we taste the sublime.”

This quote sums up my reading experience entirely. I have tasted the sublime. This review doesn’t do this novel justice at all but I hope it does bring across how much I love it and that you decide to give it a go and hopefully have the same enchanting and magical experience I had.

Finding Dorothy publishes today!

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

The Killer in Me by Olivia Kiernan | @LivKiernan @riverrunbooks @Millsreid11 | #TheKillerInMe

Today I’m sharing my review for The Killer in Me by Olivia Kiernan. Huge thanks to Milly Read at Riverrun Books for the fabulous review copy!

Author : Olivia Kiernan
Title : The Killer in Me
Series : Frankie Sheehan #2
Pages : 336
Publisher : Riverrun
Publication date : April 4, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Death is no stranger to Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan, but she isn’t the only one from her small, coastal suburb to be intimately acquainted with it.

Years ago, teenager Seán Hennessey shocked the tight-knit community when he was convicted of the brutal murder of his parents and attempted slaying of his sister, though he always maintained his innocence. Now, Seán is finally being released from prison—but when his newfound freedom coincides with the discovery of two bodies, the alleged connection between the cases only serves to pull Frankie further from answers even as it draws her closer to her town’s hidden darkness.

With a television documentary revisiting Seán’s sentence pushing the public’s sympathies into conflict on a weekly basis, a rabid media pressuring the police like never before, and a rising body count, Frankie will need all of her resources if she is not only to catch a killer, but put to rest what really happened all those years ago.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Seventeen years ago, the town of Clontarf was rocked to its very core when fifteen year old Seán Hennessy was convicted of the murder of his parents and attempted murder of his then ten year old sister. Seán always maintained his innocence and now he’s finally been released, he’s set on clearing his name once and for all. But his return to Clontarf sets off another spate of murders. Coincidence or not? Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan will need to keep her wits about her to figure out the truth.

One of the first things to pull you into this story is the amazing atmosphere Olivia Kiernan creates. This small seaside town on the coast of Ireland isn’t exactly a glamorous holiday destination. It rains a lot. It’s windy. Often you look up and only see dark and grey skies. But these elements all add to the doom and gloom of a complicated murder investigation and this here investigation is certainly complicated.

The Killer in Me is full of complex and multi-layered characters. Few come across as trustworthy and my keen detective eye (ha!) zeroed in on a suspect relatively soon. But just like Frankie and her team, I wasn’t prepared for all the twists, turns and dead ends and ultimately I had to admit defeat, not seeing who the culprit was or why it seemed to be connected to the past.

I had some misgivings about Frankie when I was first introduced to her in Too Close to Breathe but in this instalment, she completely won me over! It may seem a tad harsh to say but I almost felt as if she had some kind of personality transplant but I loved her. She always keeps an open mind and isn’t afraid to admit to herself when she’s wrong about something. Her profiling background remains incredibly fascinating, the way she “sees” things play out in front of her eyes really drew me in. I had no problems whatsoever getting behind her this time around.

A lot about this story is about perceptions, which in turn makes it rather thought-provoking. The Killer in Me is gripping, immersive and utterly addictive. Oozing atmosphere throughout and with a touch of true crime about it, it had me absolutely hooked from start to finish. If you’re into crime fiction, I’d definitely recommend this one and I’m ridiculously excited to see where Olivia Kiernan takes this series next!

The Killer in Me will be published on April 4th!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Olivia Kiernan is an Irish writer living in the UK.

She was born and raised in County Meath, near the famed heritage town of Kells and holds an MA in Creative Writing awarded by the University of Sussex.

This Week in Books (March 27)

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 |

Death is no stranger to Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan, but she isn’t the only one from her small, coastal suburb to be intimately acquainted with it.

Years ago, teenager Seán Hennessey shocked the tight-knit community when he was convicted of the brutal murder of his parents and attempted slaying of his sister, though he always maintained his innocence. Now, Seán is finally being released from prison—but when his newfound freedom coincides with the discovery of two bodies, the alleged connection between the cases only serves to pull Frankie further from answers even as it draws her closer to her town’s hidden darkness.

With a television documentary revisiting Seán’s sentence pushing the public’s sympathies into conflict on a weekly basis, a rabid media pressuring the police like never before, and a rising body count, Frankie will need all of her resources if she is not only to catch a killer, but put to rest what really happened all those years ago.

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

Maud Gage Baum, widow of the author of the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, met Judy Garland, the young actress playing the role of Dorothy on the set of The Wizard of Oz in 1939. At the time, Maud was seventy-eight and Judy was sixteen. In spite of their age difference, Maud immediately connected to Judy–especially when Maud heard her sing “Over the Rainbow,” a song whose yearning brought to mind the tough years in South Dakota when Maud and her husband struggled to make a living–until Frank Baum’s book became a national sensation.

This wonderfully evocative two-stranded story recreates Maud’s youth as the rebellious daughter of a leading suffragette, and the prairie years of Maud and Frank’s early days when they lived among the people–especially young Dorothy–who would inspire Frank’s masterpiece. Woven into this past story is one set in 1939, describing the high-pressured days on The Wizard of Oz film set where Judy is being badgered by the director, producer, and her ambitious stage mother to lose weight, bind her breasts, and laugh, cry, and act terrified on command. As Maud had promised to protect the original Dorothy back in Aberdeen, she now takes on the job of protecting young Judy.

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious books the prisoners have managed to smuggle past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the secret librarian of Auschwitz, responsible for the safekeeping of the small collection of titles, as well as the ‘living books’ – prisoners of Auschwitz who know certain books so well, they too can be ‘borrowed’ to educate the children in the camp.

But books are extremely dangerous. They make people think. And nowhere are they more dangerous than in Block 31 of Auschwitz, the children’s block, where the slightest transgression can result in execution, no matter how young the transgressor… 

I don’t know about you but I’m thinking my week is looking mighty awesome again! Any of these catching your eye? What are you reading this week? Let me know! Happy reading, guys! xx

Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

Author : Annie Ward
Title : Beautiful Bad
Pages : 368
Publisher : Quercus
Publication date : March 21, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Maddie and Ian’s romance began with a chance encounter at a party overseas; he was serving in the British army and she was a travel writer visiting her best friend, Jo. Now almost two decades later, married with a beautiful son, Charlie, they are living the perfect suburban life in middle America. But when a camping accident leaves Maddie badly scarred, she begins attending writing therapy, where she gradually reveals her fears about Ian’s PTSD, her concerns for the safety of their young son, Charlie, and the couple’s tangled and tumultuous past with Jo.

From the Balkans to England, Iraq to Manhattan, and finally to an ordinary family home in Kansas, 16 years of love and fear, adventure and suspicion culminate in The Day of the Killing, when a frantic 9-1-1 call summons the police to the scene of a shocking crime.

But what in this beautiful home has gone so terribly bad? 

| MY THOUGHTS |

If you’re looking for a book full of damaged characters, then look no further. We’re not talking a wee baggage here but huge truckloads of it. In fact, these are probably some of the most damaged characters I’ve ever encountered.

Maggie and Ian first met decades ago at a party in the middle of the war ravaged Balkans. Maggie was a travel writer, visiting her best friend, and Ian was in the military. Now, they are married, parents to Charlie and living a seemingly perfect suburban life. Until a frantic call to 911. What happened behind closed doors?

These characters aren’t particularly likeable, nor could I find any way to relate to them. I luckily have no experience whatsoever with the situations they found themselves in throughout their lives but it was however relatively easy to imagine the impact certain events had on both Maggie and Ian. PTSD is not something to be underestimated and the author makes that very clear.

Admittedly, I found the first hundred pages or so rather on the slow side and I struggled quite a bit. I was in that place where I was just desperately waiting for something to happen. Fortunately, things did pick up a tad afterwards and despite my initial struggle, I’m glad I stuck with it because seeing the pieces come together was quite fascinating.

For me, this book comes in two parts. The first part being the one where most of the scene is set, the background into Maggie and Ian’s relationship and Maggie and Jo’s friendship, giving the reader the opportunity to see where these characters are coming from. This part was relatively slow-paced and read more like a drama than anything else. The aspect of what I define as a psychological thriller didn’t really appear until the second half of the book and this was definitely the part I enjoyed the most.

With multiple points of view, a lot of back and forth in time and intriguing characters there should be plenty here to grab your attention if you go in with an open mind. Slowly but surely you’ll discover the bad behind the beautiful and what really happened on “the day of the killing”.

Beautiful Bad is available to buy!

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

To Kill The Truth by Sam Bourne | @QuercusBooks @ellakroftpatel

Author : Sam Bourne
Title : To Kill The Truth
Series : Maggie Costello #4
Pages : 447
Publisher : Quercus
Publication date : February 21, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Someone is trying to destroy the evidence of history’s greatest crimes.

Academics and Holocaust survivors dead in mysterious circumstances. Museums and libraries burning. Digital records and irreplaceable proofs, lost for ever.

Former White House operative Maggie Costello has sworn off politics. But when the Governor of Virginia seeks her help to stop the lethal spiral of killings, she knows that this is bigger than any political game.

As Black Lives Matter protestors clash with slavery deniers, America is on a knife-edge and time is running out. This deadly conspiracy could ignite a new Civil War – but who stands to gain most from the chaos?

| MY THOUGHTS |

To Kill The Truth presents the reader with a frightening and incredibly thought-provoking premise. Someone is trying to re-write history by destroying evidence of the world’s greatest crimes. History professors and Holocaust survivors are found murdered and the greatest libraries in the world are on fire. If there is no written proof of something, then surely it didn’t happen. Just let that sink in for a minute. No proof of slavery, no proof of the Holocaust, no proof of ethnic cleansing. To name a few.

Enter Maggie Costello. As a former White House operative, she has completely sworn off politics. She enrolled at university, desperately wanting to get away from all things Washington, DC. But then the governor of Virginia asks for her help and Maggie realises something far more sinister is going on. Who is behind these events? Who stands to gain? But more importantly, can they be stopped before it’s too late?

To Kill The Truth is the fourth instalment in the Maggie Costello series, which I wasn’t aware of when I picked this one up. A mere few pages in though, I was already wondering how Sam Bourne had evaded my radar. With jumping into an established series like this, I was slightly worried but luckily I never felt lost or confused by references to Maggie’s experiences in the previous books. Actually, it left me intrigued and determined to catch up on the other books in this series. And if you’ve not read any of these, then I definitely recommend starting at the beginning.

This is a really tense and exciting thriller. One of those books you can easily imagine being turned into a film. It’s well-paced, brilliantly plotted and makes you think. Obviously it’s politically charged and depending on which side of the fence you fall, you’ll either nod in agreement or shake your fist in anger. Because while the author never mentions any names, it’s quite obvious who he’s talking about.

A topical thriller then, one I found extremely compelling and despite it being well over 400 pages, I absolutely devoured it. Sam Bourne will not be evading my radar any longer. I can’t wait to catch up with the rest of the Maggie Costello series and very much look forward to what the author comes up with next.

To Kill The Truth is available to buy!

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

This Week in Books (February 20)

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 |

TWO GIRLS GO TO A PARTY, ONLY ONE RETURNS ALIVE

Toni, the surviving teenager, is found delirious, wandering the muddy fields. She has been drugged and it’s uncertain whether she’ll survive. She says she saw her friend Emily being dragged away from the party. But no one knows who Emily is or even if she’s still alive. . .

Meanwhile the drowned body of another girl has been found on an isolated beach.

And how does this all relate to the shocking disappearance of a little girl nearly a decade ago, a crime which was never solved? The girl’s mother is putting immense pressure on the police to re-open the high-profile case.
Each one of them is someone’s daughter and the police must give their familiar justice and closure.

DI Rowan Jackman and DS Marie Evans of the Fenland police are stretched to the limit as they try to bring the perpetrators of these shocking crimes to justice.

[Technically, I listened to this one but that still counts, right? 😂]

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

Someone is trying to destroy the evidence of history’s greatest crimes.

Academics and Holocaust survivors dead in mysterious circumstances. Museums and libraries burning. Digital records and irreplaceable proofs, lost for ever.

Former White House operative Maggie Costello has sworn off politics. But when the Governor of Virginia seeks her help to stop the lethal spiral of killings, she knows that this is bigger than any political game.

As Black Lives Matter protestors clash with slavery deniers, America is on a knife-edge and time is running out. This deadly conspiracy could ignite a new Civil War – but who stands to gain most from the chaos? 

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

When the high school in the small Norwegian village of Fredheim becomes a murder scene, the finger is soon pointed at seventeen-year-old Even. As the investigation closes in, social media is ablaze with accusations, rumours and even threats, and Even finds himself the subject of an online trial as well as being in the dock… for murder?

Even pores over his memories of the months leading up to the crime, and it becomes clear that more than one villager was acting suspiciously… and secrets are simmering beneath the calm surface of this close-knit community.

As events from the past play tag with the present, he’s forced to question everything he thought he knew. Was the death of his father in a car crash a decade earlier really accidental? Has his relationship stirred up something that someone is prepared to kill to protect? It seems that there may be no one that Even can trust. But can we trust him?

What are you reading this week? Let me know! I can always use recommendations! Happy reading! xx

The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths @ellygriffiths @QuercusBooks #mustread #recommended #TheStrangerDiaries

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Author : Elly Griffiths
Title : The Stranger Diaries
Pages : 384
Publisher : Quercus
Publication date : November 1, 2018

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. As a literature teacher specialising in the Gothic writer RM Holland, she teaches a short course on it every year. Then Clare’s life and work collide tragically when one of her colleagues is found dead, a line from an RM Holland story by her body. The investigating police detective is convinced the writer’s works somehow hold the key to the case.

Not knowing who to trust, and afraid that the killer is someone she knows, Clare confides her darkest suspicions and fears about the case to her journal. Then one day she notices some other writing in the diary. Writing that isn’t hers…

| MY THOUGHTS |

It’s official! Elly Griffiths can do no wrong in my eyes and has found herself a spot on my list of go-to authors. You may be familiar with Elly Griffith’s fantastic Ruth Galloway series (which I really need to get caught up on) or her equally brilliant Stephen & Mephisto series (which I also really need to get caught up on) but The Stranger Diaries is a stand-alone gothic mystery thriller type of thing and it’s bloody awesome!

I was in one of the worst reading slumps I can remember ever being in when I picked up The Stranger Diaries. However, from the minute I started reading, I didn’t look back. There is just something about Elly Griffith’s writing that completely draws me in and I was hooked from the first page, as if a spell had been cast upon me.

It all begins when Clare Cassidy’s colleague and friend, Ellie, is found murdered. Clare is a literary teacher who specialises in the works of gothic writer R.M. Holland. His story The Stranger features heavily throughout the book and often made my spine tingle. And because a line from that story is found on a note near Ellie’s body, Clare swiftly finds herself on the list of suspects.

The story is alternately told through Clare, her daughter Georgia and a detective by the name of Harbinder Kaur. Elly Griffiths manages to give all these characters incredibly distinctive voices, which I felt was particularly evident when switching from the slightly creepy The Stranger narrator to Georgia, the teenager. Harbinder is one of those characters I didn’t particularly like for the longest time. But somehow she grew on me along the way and I always love how an author manages to do that.

This gothic mystery is intensely gripping. I wouldn’t necessarily call it creepy in the OMG-I’m-so-freaked-out-I-may-wet-myself kind of way but it is rather chilling and there is a sort of threatening vibe throughout, where you feel in your bones something is coming but you’re not sure what that will be.

Obviously I don’t want to give anything away. Suffice to say The Stranger Diaries is brilliantly written and oozes atmosphere throughout. This story is utterly engrossing and absorbing and I devoured it in one glorious sitting. I absolutely loved this one and whatever is next from Elly Griffiths, myself and my grabby hands will be right there at the head of the queue.

The Stranger Diaries is available to buy in ebook and hardcover format!

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

Dirty Little Secrets by Jo Spain | @SpainJoanne @QuercusBooks

Author : Jo Spain
Title : Dirty Little Secrets
Pages : 400
Publisher : Quercus
Publication date : February 7, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Six neighbours, six secrets, six reasons to want Olive Collins dead.

In the exclusive gated community of Withered Vale, people’s lives appear as perfect as their beautifully manicured lawns. Money, success, privilege – the residents have it all. Life is good.

There’s just one problem.

Olive Collins’ dead body has been rotting inside number four for the last three months. Her neighbours say they’re shocked at the discovery but nobody thought to check on her when she vanished from sight.

The police start to ask questions and the seemingly flawless facade begins to crack. Because, when it comes to Olive’s neighbours, it seems each of them has something to hide, something to lose and everything to gain from her death.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Welcome to the gated community of Withered Vale; where the grass is green, life is good and everyone is happy. Or are they? When Olive Collin’s body is discovered at number four, cracks begin to show and Withered Vale will not quite be the same ever again.

What an absolutely delightful surprise this one was. Think along the lines of Big Little Lies but deliciously darker. There’s a whole cast of not particularly likeable characters, not even Olive and she’s dead. It’s a bit weird when you can’t even find it in yourself to sympathise with a dead person. And yet, dead as she may be, Olive also provides the chuckles and sometimes that was much needed because the issues the residents of this community are dealing with are often quite serious. From manipulation to addiction to infidelity; the amount of skeletons in the closet is pretty impressive.

What happened to Olive though and why was her body left undiscovered for so long? The police start asking questions and it soon becomes apparent Olive wasn’t exactly well liked in the community. She seemed to have a nose for sniffing out secrets and there are lot of them around. Pretty much each and every one of her neighbours has something to hide. So which one felt Olive should be silenced before their secret was revealed? I definitely learned that the whole “fly on the wall” thing is massively overrated. My neighbours need not worry about me watching them like a hawk. I’d much rather not know at all what they get up to behind closed doors, thank you very much.

Dirty Little Secrets was another buddy read with Janel at Keeper of Pages and it’s by far the fastest one we’ve done. We absolutely devoured the pages. Talk about an addictive page-turner! While we did have an inkling as to what had happened, it didn’t ruin our reading experience at all. With such a clever plot and so brilliantly written, Jo Spain kept me enthralled until the very last page.

Dirty Little Secrets is quite different from Jo Spain’s previous book, The Confession and I love that. It’s always a pleasure to know an author can keep surprising you. Immensely engrossing, hugely entertaining and absolutely unputdownable, Dirty Little Secrets shoots right up the list of my favourite books of the year and Jo Spain has found herself a spot on my list of go-to authors. I absolutely can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

Dirty Little Secrets will be published on February 7th.

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

Blackberry and Wild Rose by Sonia Velton | @QuercusBooks | #Bwr #NetGalley

Author : Sonia Velton
Title : Blackberry & Wild Rose
Pages : 416
Publisher : Quercus
Publication date : January 10, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

When Esther Thorel, the wife of a Huguenot silk-weaver, rescues Sara Kemp from a brothel she thinks she is doing God’s will. Sara is not convinced being a maid is better than being a whore, but the chance to escape her grasping ‘madam’ is too good to refuse.

Inside the Thorels’ tall house in Spitalfields, where the strange cadence of the looms fills the attic, the two women forge an uneasy relationship. The physical intimacies of washing and dressing belie the reality: Sara despises her mistress’s blindness to the hypocrisy of her household, while Esther is too wrapped up in her own secrets to see Sara as anything more than another charitable cause.

It is silk that has Esther so distracted. For years she has painted her own designs, dreaming that one day her husband will weave them into reality. When he laughs at her ambition, she strikes up a relationship with one of the journeyman weavers in her attic who teaches her to weave and unwittingly sets in motion events that will change the fate of the whole Thorel household.

| MY THOUGHTS |

As someone who has recently rediscovered her love for historical fiction, I’ve truly been spoilt lately. Sure, a nice gruesome murder or a bunch psychological games is fun to read about but there is something about being transported to ages long ago that totally captures my imagination.

Upon arriving in Spitalfields, Sara Kemp immediately lands herself in a whole heap of trouble. She is rescued by Esther Thorel, the wife of a prominent silk weaver, who offers Sara the position of being her maid. Not quite Sara’s dream job but definitely a step up from where she found herself. This marks the start of a rather uneasy relationship that will affect their lives.

I must say this didn’t at all turn out the way I expected it to and I was pleasantly surprised. Some of the silk weaving technicalities went completely over my head but as that wasn’t the be all and end all of the story, that didn’t really bother me. Because what matters far most is the divide between the upper and the lower classes and the battle a woman faces when she wants to do something men don’t think she’s meant for.

There’s a whole cast of extremely unlikeable characters. So much so that I’m hard pressed to decide which one I actually disliked the most. Yet, that too didn’t bother me because all the lies, deceit and betrayal made for one immersive story. And let’s not forget to mention the rich and vivid descriptions of 1860’s London that create the most wonderful atmosphere.

There is much to enjoy about this historical fiction novel and I went through a whole range of emotions, from anger to frustration to a touch of sadness at how unfair life can be. I learned quite a bit along the way too, which is always a bonus. Make sure to read the author’s notes, by the way. Blackberry & Wild Rose is a remarkable debut by Sonia Velton and I will most definitely be keeping my eye on her in future.

With thanks to the publisher for my review copy!

Blackberry & Wild Rose is available to buy!

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