About Me

My love affair with books, like most, started at an early age and is never ending. My book reading preferences have changed over the years and I look forward to sharing my varied reading tastes with you. You will find a lot of Crime Fiction (a penchant for Scottish Crime writers features a lot.) and also I love reading non fiction History. Hopefully you will find some new authors and new favourites to continue your own reading journey. ENJOY!

Sunday, May 3, 2020

THE ART OF DYING - AMBROSE PARRY

Edinburgh 1849. There's a fine line between kill and cure.

Will Raven has returned from the Continent to his position as physician with celebrated Edinburgh Doctor James Simpson. People are dying mysteriously all across the city with doctors finding their remedies powerless. When the reputation of the good Dr Simpson is smeared by rumours of his hand in a patients death, Raven and former housemaid Sarah Fisher seek to find answers to clear their patrons name. Into the seedy and murky depths of old Edinburgh they must go and what they uncover is truly unthinkable.
This second book in what is becoming a fantastic series is such a well researched and enjoyable story. Ambrose Parry is a pseudonym for the collaborating pair Christopher Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman. Their unique talents complement each other so well to produce a fascinating subject incorporated into a fascinating story. With the sights and smells of Old Edinburgh at the forefront and excellent medical procedural descriptions, I found this to be a very sensory reading experience too. The Characters are an eclectic mix of gentry and sinister underbelly which adds to the mystery and intrigue. I am enjoying the complex relationship between Raven and Sarah which plays a big part of the story but doesn't dominate. Sarah's plight as a woman in such times is highlighted and well delivered. Sarah and Raven are both strong characters with depth and I look forward to their development in future books.
Cosy Mystery this is not, but a well thought out, well written and researched Historical Crime Fiction based on some real life characters. I loved the intrigue and look forward to more in this series.

Start at the beginning with Book 1. THE WAY OF ALL FLESH. Longlisted for both the Theakston Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year Award and the McIlvaney Prize for Scottish Crime Book of the Year.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

THE FIVE - HALLIE RUBENHOLD

This book is called The Five. The untold lives of the women killed by Jack the Ripper.
Polly Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, and Mary Jane Kelly. After reading this book I don't think I will ever forget these women. The Jack the Ripper story has always fascinated and intrigued and still sparks interest to this day, but what of the victims? Hallie Rubenhold has given these women a story and a voice. She tells us of their background and the circumstances that led to their fateful deaths. Life in Victorian England was not easy especially for women, rights and expectations of the female sex were harsh and this book delves into this to give us a picture of how misunderstood the lives of "the five" and women in general were.
We have been lead to believe that they were fallen women, prostitutes, and not really of any consequence, just a sad head line for the excitement and mystery of their killer. We forget that these women were human beings and individuals.This book is a real eye opener. The life of each woman has been thoroughly researched and treated with respect as is their due. This is not a book about the Ripper and I loved the fact there is no mention of his mystery at all. I highly recommend this book as a fascinating and insightful read but also for any study on Women in general.

Monday, March 23, 2020

CHARLIE SAVAGE - RODDY DOYLE

In these times of uncertainty I'm very thankful for a good book. I usually find myself enjoying and reviewing a lot of crime fiction novels. Well today I thought I would change tack and review a fantastic uplifting read.

Meet Charlie Savage: a middle aged Dubliner with an indefatigable wife, an exasperated daughter and a drinking buddy who has realised he has been a woman all along......

Charlie Savage is a small book but the stories within are huge. This is a laugh out loud glimpse at the life of Charlie and his family. From the opening story of his three year old Grandson who wants a Tattoo for Christmas,  to the final reminiscence and significance of New Year this book is an absolute joy. I have not read a Roddy Doyle book for a very long time and I had forgotten how beautifully he writes the humour and heart of the Irish people. It's the heartfelt story of an ordinary man in ordinary circumstances and I adored it.
When I am in need of a pick up over the next challenging few months it is to Roddy Doyle's humour I will turn to.

For further reading check out the Barrytown Trilogy ( The Commitments, The Van and The Snapper) and the Two Pints collection of Stories.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

DEAD GONE - LUCA VESTE

A serial killer is stalking the streets of Liverpool, gruesomely murdering victims as part of a series of
unethical and psychological experiments. It is up to DI David Murphy and his partner DS Laura Rossi to unravel who is behind the chilling murders.

I have not read any of this authors work before and was pleasantly surprised to learn Dead Gone was a debut novel. Why surprised? because the writing was so good and I felt like I was reading work from an already well established writer. The story rolled along at a cracking pace without losing any of the tension. The story has just enough Psychological unpredictability, creepiness and plenty of tension to keep you reading well into the night. I loved the relationship between Murphy and Rossi who are a fabulous fit, and I look forward to following their partnership in future books. I will definitely be reading more of this series and other works from this talented and fantastic writer.



As a side note Luca Veste is one half of "Two Crime Writers and a Microphone" podcast along with the equally talented Steve Cavanagh (see previous review of Thirteen). I did a review of the podcast in another post late last year and still continue to laugh out loud when listening.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

THIRTEEN - STEVE CAVANAGH

The serial killer isn't on trial he's on the jury.
Defence lawyer and ex con Eddie Flynn is faced with the trial of the century. Is Hollywood star Robert Solomon really a calculated murderer? What is the secret he is keeping? In the face of damning evidence can Eddie find the truth and possibly unmask a serial killer that is closer than he
thinks.

It has taken me awhile to think about this review as after finishing this book I was left stunned. What a fabulously insane and clever book this is. Its a corker, smart and original. I pretty much read this in one sitting only stopping to eat and give my eyes a rest. I couldn't leave it be until the dramatic finish.
Eddie Flynn is a fabulous character you can't help but love. He's really clever and likeable without coming across as a smart arse. I'm not a big one for legal drama thrillers but this is as good as it gets. Courtroom procedure that is easy to follow without having to have a law degree and the tension keeps on building to a twisted, brilliant finale.

I've not read any of Steve Cavanagh's books before but rest assured I can't wait to read more in the Eddie Flynn series. Cavanagh's writing is exceptional and Thirteen is thoroughly deserving of the Theakston Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year Award in 2019.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

THE OTHER PEOPLE - C.J.TUDOR

While driving home one evening Gabe is stuck behind a rusty old car. A little girls face appears in the rear window. Its his daughter Izzy. He never sees her again ……...

C.J. Tudor is an amazing storyteller. The Other People is her third book and didn't disappoint. I've been banging on about how much I love this authors books before, but each book just gets better and better. I'm constantly surprised by her ability to weave so many stories into one novel and all is never what it seems. This book rolls along at a fast pace, the characters interweaving with each other through all the twists and creepy turns. Suspense, creepiness and intrigue abounds. I can't wait for the next book, and if the teaser at the end of  The Other People is anything to go by its going to be another bestseller. Just a shame I have to wait until 2021.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

TOP READING 2019

It's only a week out from a New Year, and I thought a reflection on the favourite books I have read in 2019 was worth thinking about.
I managed to read quite a lot over the year, exceeding my Goodreads reading challenge. Many excellent books were read and some not so noteworthy. Towards the latter half of the year, I indulged my love for crime fiction which produced some new and fabulous authors for me to try. Some I loved and are now firm favourites, Denzil Meyrick, Craig Robertson, James Oswald and I can't ignore the amazing C.J Tudor.

I also have a passion for History and was not disappointed in the Non Fiction I chose to read this year. Alistair Moffat continues to be a favourite with me alongside Peter Ackroyd. The past few years my Non Fiction selections have been influenced by my travels and this year was no exception.
Finding my favourite read of the year is usually hard to choose, but there was a definite standout for me. THE SEA KINGDOMS by Alistair Moffat was my choice as I loved this book so much that after finishing I just wanted to go back to the start and reread all over again. For me that's the sign of a good book. This is an amazing book about the history of Celtic Britain and Ireland via the sea routes of the west coast of Scotland and east coast of Ireland.

As hard as it was I have come up with my Top 5 Fiction and Non Fiction of books I have read during 2019. I am excited as always at what wonderful books await me in 2020 and the anticipation of finding new authors to explore. There really is nothing better than losing yourself in a book, maybe embarking on an adventure that was inspired by something I have read comes very close.
HAPPY READING 2020.

TOP 5 - FICTION

The Whisper Man - Alex North                      
The Chalk Man - C J Tudor
The Long Drop - Denise Mina
Coffin Road - Peter May
The Photographer - Craig Robertson



TOP 5 - NON FICTION

The Sea Kingdoms - Alistair Moffat
The Sea Birds Cry - Adam Nicholson
Thames - Peter Ackroyd
The Explorers - Martin Dugard
Ritz and Escoffier - Luke Barr