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!

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




Thursday, December 19, 2019

IN THE CLEARING - J P POMARE

I was very excited to receive a pre release copy of "In the Clearing" by J P Pomare . After being blown away by his debut novel "Call Me Evie", I was hopeful of another brilliant story from this Australian author. I was not disappointed at all.

This work of fiction is obviously inspired by "The Family" a well documented and notorious cult situated in the state of Victoria. When young cult member Amy is entrusted to look after a new member things take a turn for the worse and Amy's life
of isolation from the outside world is changed forever. In the meantime, Freya a single mum with a young son she fiercely protects finds her world of security and privacy is shattered when a young child goes missing. Freya believes her secrets and her son are no longer safe.


This is a well constructed novel that just powers along and keeps you guessing. This is an excellent
psychological thriller from a brilliant author. I also highly recommend you give "Call me Evie" by J P Pomare a read as it is an exception debut novel.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

LAIDLAW - WILLIAM MCILVANNEY

Jack Laidlaw is the original damaged Detective.
When a young girls body is found it is up to Laidlaw to travel through the muck that is gangland Glasgow, and lurking in the shadows are the hard men and petty villains.

This is the first in the Laidlaw trilogy. I had heard that McIlvanney was the godfather of the Scottish Crime novel and the origin of "Tartan Noir" so was intrigued to read what all the praise was about. Laidlaw was first published in 1977 and is an outstanding book on so many levels. The plot itself is not what makes it gripping, it is the incredible way McIlvanney writes the story. It is the sharp, dry wit of the lead character and the exceptional descriptive prose that makes this novel a classic crime read.The characters are a blend of gritty, hard men and Glasgow city is beautifully described in all the dirty, seedy glory of the time.

I love the writing style and will savour reading the next two instalments in the series. I encourage any lover of crime fiction to read this trilogy. Brilliant stuff!

Saturday, November 30, 2019

THE PHOTOGRAPHER - CRAIG ROBERTSON

THERE IS A MONSTER ON THE STREETS OF GLASGOW..

After conducting a raid and finding a disturbing collection of photographs hidden under the floorboards, Detective Rachel Narey conducts an investigation on a terrifying scale.
Can she find the unknown subjects of the photos before this monster can strike again?

This is the first book by Craig Robertson that I have read and it won't be the last. It is the seventh book in the Narey and Winter series but I found it was easily read without the back story of the previous books. I really enjoyed this book even though I found the subject matter quite disturbing. It is a compelling story and very well written with believable characters and an excellent, fast paced plot.
I really want to read more from this author so may have to go back to the beginning of the series to follow the character development of Narey and Winter.
Highly recommended.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

THE WHISPER MAN - ALEX NORTH

IF YOU LEAVE A DOOR HALF OPEN, SOON YOU'LL HEAR THE WHISPERS SPOKEN...

Still grieving for wife and mother, Tom and Jake Kennedy move to Featherbank to make a new start. But this sleepy village has a nasty past. Fifteen years ago a serial killer known as "The Whisper Man" abducted and killed five boys before being caught.
As Tom and Jake settle in to their new home another boy has gone missing, and then Jake begins to behave strangely. He hears a whispering at the window.

This book is the creepiest I have read for a very long time. If work and sleep hadn't interrupted, I would have read this in one sitting. I was pleasantly surprised at how brilliantly written this was for a debut novel. North expertly weaves tension and suspense through a story that is both terrifying and mesmerizing, not one to read late at night. There are so many threads in this book it is hard to review without giving away too much, but all I can say is PLEASE read and enjoy the uneasiness and suspense it brings.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

THEIR LITTLE SECRET - MARK BILLINGHAM

I always enjoy starting a new Mark Billingham novel, especially when it involves D.I Tom Thorne. I don't think I have been disappointed in any of the books in this series and "Their Little Secret" is no exception.

Sarah thinks of herself as a normal single mum, but she is after something more and a chance encounter with the mysterious Conrad might just be what she is looking for. Meanwhile Tom Thorne is investigating what seems to be an ordinary suicide. Convinced a con man who preys on vulnerable women is behind the suicide, the investigation becomes linked to a different murder elsewhere. It's up to Thorne and his fellow investigator Nicola Tanner to unravel this intriguing case.

Mark Billingham is an excellent storyteller who throws so many different twists into his stories that leave you guessing. I love how his characters have evolved over the many books in this series. In this book, Thorne's on/off relationship with his girlfriend Helen is a great side story which
brings Phil Hendricks, his best mate and coroner, into the mix too. The interaction with Nicola Tanner and their working relationship also makes for an interesting and thoroughly enjoying read.
If you haven't read Mark Billingham as yet, I seriously urge you to give him a try; you won't be disappointed. He is one of my favourite authors and could be your next favourite too.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

THE LONG DROP - DENISE MINA

After hearing of this book via "two crime writers and a microphone" podcast, I was intrigued enough to give this book a read.
The Long Drop is based on a true story of a serial killer in Glasgow 1957. When William Watt is accused of murdering his family he sets out to find who did and clear his name. Peter Manuel is a burglar, murderer, and a rapist who claims to know who committed the crime. But Peter Manuel is a liar. After a meeting between the two, a night of endless drinking ensues. Watt is seeking information and Manuel is seemingly seeking notoriety.

Jumping between the endless night and the court case, this novel is a masterpiece of story telling. I loved the gritty descriptions of 1950's  Glasgow and all its grit, grime and filth. Its hard to associate the old Glasgow with the vibrant and new Glasgow of today. This is a dark and sinister story with the oddest and nastiest of characters but brought beautifully to life by Denise Mina. This is Tartan Noir at its best.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

NINE ELMS - ROBERT BRYNDZA

I have only read two books by  Robert Bryndza , both in the Erica Foster series which I really enjoyed. So I was pretty excited to obtain a  pre release reading copy of  "Nine Elms", first in a new series.

 When Detective Constable Kate Marshall manages to capture a serial killer known as the  Nine Elms Cannibal it comes at a cost. Her career and nearly her life. Fifteen years later and Kate is no longer in the force but a Criminology lecturer. When she is asked by a grieving parent to investigate the disappearance of their daughter around the time of the "Cannibal" killings, Kate becomes enmeshed in what may be a copycat killer.


I would love to relate more of the story but I'm afraid it would give away all the excellent spoilers. I really enjoyed the first in what could be a very exciting series. There is no shortage of disturbing and gruesome content and each chapter was gripping. I could easily have demolished this in one sitting but I enjoyed the anticipation too much. I think I will have to revisit the Erica Foster series to keep me going until the next Kate Marshall instalment.

Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza hits the shelves in Jan 2020.


Saturday, October 19, 2019

THE WIFE AND THE WIDOW - CHRISTIAN WHITE

The Wife and the Widow is a mystery/thriller told from two perspectives.

Set against the backdrop of an eerie island town, Kate is a widow and in her grief discovers she knew nothing of her husbands secret life. Then there is Abby, an island local who is confronted with evidence her husband just may be a murderer. But things are not quite what they seem.


After the success of Christian Whites debut novel "Nowhere Child", I was very excited to see what he could deliver and I was not disappointed. White's writing has matured and his storytelling is excellent. I loved this book and in my opinion is better than his first novel. Once the story starts to unfold it spins and turns and keeps you wondering. It is fast becoming easy to see why   Christian White is Australia's favourite new author. 
Released Sept 2019.
 

Friday, October 11, 2019

THE TAKING OF ANNIE THORNE - C.J TUDOR

This is the second novel by C.J Tudor and what a fantastic book it is. I loved "The Chalk Man" the previous novel, and I didn't think this one could possibly match the excellence of the first book. I am so pleased to be proved wrong. The Taking of Annie Thorne is creepy, sinister and thoroughly gripping.

THEN:   One night Joe Thorne's little sister Annie goes missing. Everyone fears the worst as the search for her continues. After forty eight hours she comes back. But Annie is not the same little 8 year old

NOW:  Joe recieves an email by someone claiming to know what happened all those years ago to his sister. He returns to his childhood village and all the fears and nightmares from the past.

Tudor really captures the suspense in her writing in a style similar to Stephen King. I love the way you are sucked in to the story, and I really did hold my breath as the twists and turns just kept on coming. I would really love to go into more of the story but there are too many spoilers that might slip.

Really looking forward to getting my hands on "The Other People" a new novel release in 2020. Watch this space!

DEAD MENS BONES - JAMES OSWALD

Having enjoyed the previous three books in the D.I Tony McLean series I thought I would review the fourth, "Dead Men's Bones" having just finished reading.

D.I Tony McLean is called on to investigate a prominent politician who has killed his wife and young children and then himself. What seems like a straight forward suicide soon throws up some unusual circumstances and our trusty D.I believes there is more than meets the eye in this case. Meanwhile the body of a naked tattooed man has been found which brings another puzzling case to the desk of McLean and his team of  PC MacBride (a homage to fellow author Stuart MacBride perhaps?) and DS Grumpy Bob Laird.
The characters in this series of books are really engaging and in each book you learn more of their story. I really liked this book and I am slowly coming around to the supernatural aspects that Oswald weaves into his stories, but I was disappointed in the ending unfortunately. A few unanswered questions and it seemed a little rushed. Overall a great read and I will still continue with the series

Monday, September 30, 2019

PREVIEW TIME

Look what's just landed in my hot little hands. A new release preview for the second novel by JP Pomare due Dec/Jan.
Following the huge success of "Call me Evie" early this year, I am really looking forward to getting stuck into this one. The debut novel from this talented author was a fabulous read full of twists and turns right up to the very last page. I recently went along to hear JP discuss his novel and writing style as part of the Yarra Plenty book festival at Rosanna Library. This new book is highly anticipated so stay tuned for an upcoming review.

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING TO LISTEN TO

TWO CRIME WRITERS AND A MICROPHONE

I have just discovered this excellent podcast that I would like to share. Two crime writers and a microphone is a funny and very interesting listen hosted by Steve Cavanagh and Luca Veste, both excellent established writers. This is a podcast for readers and writers alike with the latest news in the book world. Interviews with Authors and guest reviewers, general conversation with added humour make this a great listen. Lots of fun and great recommendations from the hosts themselves. Even though this has been around for a few years you can jump right in on the latest episode or start at the beginning like I have (and be introduced to Inspector Mallard). This is great Craic!




WHISKY FROM SMALL GLASSES

While perusing Fantastic Fiction as I often do in search of new Authors, I came across Scottish writer Denzil Meyrick. Whisky from Small Glasses (Waterstones Scottish book of the year 2015) is the first in this excellent thriller series.

book cover of Whisky from Small GlassesWe are introduced to DCI Jim Daley as he leaves Glasgow and his troubled marriage to head up an investigation of a body found in a small seaside town. There are lots of interesting and intriguing characters in the tight knit community of Kinloch and the story rolls along at a cracking pace. Plenty of dark humour and I loved the banter between Daley and his DI Brian Scott. As mentioned lots of interesting characters that hopefully Meyrick returns to as the series progresses. A very meaty police procedural overall and I look forward to reading more in this series.

COFFIN ROAD

I have just finished reading a fabulous book by Peter May called Coffin Road. I haven't read much of this authors work and it looks like I will have to indulge. The Story begins with a man washed up on a beach on the Hebridean Island of Harris not knowing who he is or where he is. As the story unfolds, we follow the man living the nightmare of not having any memories of his past life, and what perhaps he may have done whilst living a secluded life on the island. There are only a few characters in this book but the way the author weaves them into the story is what kept me reading. May uses the disappearance of the lighthouse keepers on the Flannan Isles in 1900 as an interesting side mystery in his novel and his description of the wild islands are fantastic.

I will be looking into the Lewis Trilogy also written by Peter May as this looks like another brilliant read.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

GLAD TO BE BACK IN THE BOOK WORLD

After a very long hiatus , I have returned to my long neglected Book Blog. I have made many changes to the site, and hopefully some of my content will appeal to other like minded readers. My book journey began as a child, like most people,  and continues at a fast pace as an adult. I love the whole book experience. The finding, the buying, the reading. I used to enjoy reading book reviews in papers and on television but found that prize winners and books that were controversial would be given plenty of air time. Where were the reviews of everyday fiction?. Thanks to blogs I can now find reviews of popular, historical, crime, romance, fantasy and all genres of everyday fiction for everyday readers. Hopefully my blog may help other readers looking for a great read without the literary snobbery attached. I know not all my choices are for everyone as I have a wide and some say eclectic  taste in reading material but that's the great thing about books isn't it? Please enjoy and feel free to leave a comment (nice ones appreciated).