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Gill Sims

Monthly Round Up: December 2020

The last month of the year and I’d hoped to make a dent in the books that appear to be multiplying on Net Galley, but instead I seem to have added some more! I am a bit late with this month’s round up as I’ve had no internet access for over a week – nightmarish first world problem!

Books I Have Read

People of Abandoned Character by Clare Whitfield

A great new take on the infamous Jack the Ripper story. When a young woman starts to suspect that her new husband could be the Whitechapel killer, we are drawn deep into the London underbelly that is not featured on any tourist map.

Lost by Leona Deakin

The second in the Dr Augusta Bloom series follows the aftermath of an explosion. When one of the injured disappears only to reappear some time later, there is a mystery to solve. Where did he go and why can’t he remember anything about what has happened to him? I’m enjoying this series and have downloaded the third book to read soon.

The Christmas Carol by M J Lee

Genealogist Jayne Sinclair takes on an unusual case when she is asked to prove the provenance of a first edition of A Christmas Carol. Taking us back to Victorian Manchester and the possible inspirations for many of the characters, we encounter Charles Dickens as he sees how the mill workers of Lancashire live. A great festive tale.

Silent Night by Nell Pattison

The second in the Paige Northwood series sees the sign language interpreter aiding the police when a deaf teenager goes missing and his head teacher is found murdered. This is another series I am really enjoying due to the different slant taken on the investigation.

The Island by C L Taylor

A YA book from an author whose books I have loved over the past few years. A group of teenagers aim to spend a week on a deserted island, living off the land with the help of a local guide. When things go drastically wrong, their lives are put in danger. Can they work out what is going on and escape from their nightmare? Review will form part of this month’s blog tour.

The Burning Girls by C J Tudor

When a vicar arrives at their new church, it is not long before they realise that all is not well in this village. Just what exactly happened to the previous vicar and why are people still obsessed with the burning of local marytrs hundreds of years previously? This is another sure-fire hit for the author of The Chalk Man. My review will form part of the blog tour later this month.

The Game by Luca Veste

When a young woman goes missing and another is found dead, D C Mark Flynn has his work cut out trying to convince his colleagues that the cases are connected and that they are players of something known as ‘The Game’. Just who is the shadowy figure behind this game and can the players ever leave?

Books I Have Acquired

Silent Voices by Patricia Gibney

The words blurred as she read the note from the killer. She could feel her blood turning to ice. Shivers ran up and down her spine. ‘Before you make the biggest mistake of your life, meet me. If you don’t, her blood will be on your hands. She is with me. You know where to find us’.

When twenty-five-year-old Beth Mullen returns home, expecting to find her twin Rachel waiting for her, the silent house sends a shiver down her spine. She races upstairs to find her beautiful beloved sister cold in her childhood bed, her sparkling blue eyes closed forever, the morning after attending a glittering party…

Newly engaged Detective Lottie Parker knows that Rachel has been murdered the minute she enters the bedroom. Rachel’s neck is bruised and a shard of glass placed in her throat. Confronted with such a horrifying killing, Lottie wastes no time in pursuing every clue.

While interviewing the partygoers, Lottie discovers that Rachel’s handbag and keys are nowhere to be found. But as she is searching for them, a brilliant young doctor is found murdered with glass in her throat. The doctor was nowhere near the party and Lottie is forced to question everything. Two beautiful young women with the world at their feet have been brutally silenced. Why did the killer need them to die?

Desperate to find proof of what really happened to Rachel that night, Lottie gets close to the hostess of the party, whose two daughters were friends with Rachel. But Lottie’s hunt for the truth is getting under the killer’s skin, and when Lottie’s fiancé Boyd goes missing, will she be able to find him before it’s too late? Or will he too be silenced forever?

The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths

The Night Hawks, a group of metal detectorists, are searching for buried treasure when they find a body on the beach in North Norfolk. At first Nelson thinks that the dead man might be an asylum seeker but he turns out to be a local boy, Jem Taylor, recently released from prison. Ruth is more interested in the treasure, a hoard of Bronze Age weapons. Nelson at first thinks that Taylor’s death is accidental drowning, but a second death suggests murder.

Nelson is called to an apparent murder-suicide of a couple at the isolated Black Dog Farm. Local legend talks of the Black Shuck, a spectral hound that appears to people before they die. Nelson ignores this, even when the owner’s suicide note includes the line, ‘He’s buried in the garden.’ Ruth excavates and finds the body of a giant dog.

All roads lead back to this farm in the middle of nowhere, but the place spells serious danger for anyone who goes near. Ruth doesn’t scare easily. Not until she finds herself at Black Dog Farm …

Judas Horse by Lynda La Plante

‘Do you know what a Judas Horse is? When the wild mustangs are running free, you corral one and train it. When he’s ready, you release him and he’ll bring his team back into the corral – like Judas betraying them…’

Violent burglars have been terrorising residents across the English countryside. But when a mutilated body is discovered in a Cotswolds house, it becomes clear that this is no ordinary group of opportunist thieves.

As Detective Jack Warr investigates, he discovers locals with dark secrets, unearths hidden crimes – and hits countless dead ends. With few leads and the violent attacks escalating, he will have to act as audaciously as the criminals if he hopes to stop them.

When Warr meets Charlotte Miles, a terrified woman with links to the group, he must use her to lure the unsuspecting killers into one last job, and into his trap. But with the law already stretched to breaking point, any failure will be on Warr’s head – and any more blood spilled, on his hands…

Hunt by Leona Deakin

The Foreign Secretary is being held under the Terrorism Act. He will answer the police’s questions on one condition – they let him speak to Dr Augusta Bloom.

He asks Bloom to track down his niece, Scarlett, who hasn’t spoken to her family for ten years. The last they heard, Scarlett was getting involved with Artemis – an organisation dedicated to women’s rights and the feminist movement, led by the charismatic Paula Kunis.

But as Bloom learns more about Artemis, she’s torn. Is this organisation everything it claims to be, or do they have a secret side and an alternative agenda? And if so, what has become of Scarlett?

The only way to find out for sure is for Bloom to go undercover. But will she make it out safely – or will she become the next Artemis woman to disappear?

The Girl on the Platform by Bryony Pearce

‘The train doesn’t slow. We aren’t stopping. We are going to burn past, leaving her behind in a swirl of leaves and dust. I blink. And then men are there, two of them. They lift the squirming girl to her feet, haul her towards the van… and then we are past.’

I am the girl on the platform.
When new mother Bridget catches her train home from London, she witnesses something terrible: a young girl is taken from the platform, right before her eyes. 
No one knows where I am.
But no one is reported missing and with Bridget the only witness, she is written off as an attention seeker. Nobody believes her – not even her own husband.
Can you find me? 
But Bridget knows what she saw, and becomes consumed with finding the little girl. Only she can save the child’s life… but could delving into the mystery cost Bridget her own?

A Del of a Life by David Jason

”So lithe,’ they say. ‘So spry and sparkling. So uncannily youthful. How on earth do you do it?’

Well, what can I tell you? An hour of tai chi first thing in the morning, an HIIT work-out with my personal trainer, a bowl of steamed kale and a handful of almonds for lunch, and then two hours of yoga in the afternoon followed by an ice bath – this is a routine which I’m sure would work miracles for anyone of any age, although I can’t be entirely sure because I haven’t myself adopted any aspect of it at any point.

Fortunately, during my life and career I have been given all sorts of advice and learned huge amounts from some great and enormously talented people. I’ve been blessed to play characters such as Derek Trotter, Granville, Pop Larkin and Frost, who have changed my life in all sorts of ways, and taught me lessons that go far beyond the television set. And I’ve worked a few things out for myself as well, about friendship, ambition, rejection, success, failure, adversity and fortune.

With any luck, some of these thoughts and observations will chime with episodes and challenges you have faced, or are facing, in your own life. And if they don’t… well, hopefully, at the very least you’ll get to have a good old laugh at my expense.

So lean back, pour yourself a glass, and try not to fall through the bar flap . . .’

Why Mummy’s Sloshed by Gill Sims

I just wanted them to stop wittering at me, eat vegetables without complaining, let me go to the loo in peace and learn to make a decent gin and tonic.  
It genuinely never occurred to me when they were little that this would ever end – an eternity of Teletubbies and Duplo and In The Night Bastarding Garden and screaming, never an end in sight.  But now there is.  And despite the busybody old women who used to pop up whenever I was having a bad day and tell me I would miss these days when they were over, I don’t miss those days at all.  
I have literally never stood wistfully in the supermarket and thought ‘Oh, how I wish someone was trailing behind me constantly whining ‘Mummy, can I have, Mummy can I have?’ while another precious moppet tries to climb out the trolley so they land on their head and we end up in A&E.  
Again.

Mummy has been a wife and mother for so long that she’s a little bit lost. And despite her best efforts, her precious moppets still don’t know the location of the laundry basket, the difference between being bored and being hungry, or that saying ‘I can’t find it Mummy’ is not the same as actually looking for it.

Amidst the chaos of A-Levels and driving tests, she’s doing her best to keep her family afloat, even if everybody is set on drifting off in different directions, and that one of those directions is to make yet another bloody snack. She’s feeling overwhelmed and under appreciated, and the only thing that Mummy knows for sure is that the bigger the kids, the bigger the drink.

Wishing everyone a very happy new year!

Monthly Round Up – April 2020

Well, it’s definitely been a very different sort of month. I hope that all of you are managing to keep well and that books are giving you a few moments where you don’t have to think about what is happening in the world. Working from home has given me a bit more reading time and I’ve also started to listen to some audio books courtesy of my local library.

Books I Have Read

The Death Certificate by Stephen Molyneux

It’s been a while since I read the author’s first book so I was pleased to see he’d finally written a second! Set partly in the present day and partly in the Victorian era, this is a great read and I sincerely hope we don’t have to wait as long for the next book!

 

Strangers by C L Taylor

From the start when we meet three characters, unfamiliar to each other, standing with a dead body, I was hooked! I loved her last book, Sleep, but I think I enjoyed this one even more!

 

The Body Under the Bridge by Nick Louth

The fifth in the Craig Gillard series is just as good as the rest. There’s a particularly clever serial killer and, for some of Craig’s team, he might just be someone the already know…

 

 

Remain Silent by Susie Steiner

This is the third in a series that continues to go from strength to strength. DS Manon Bradshaw investigates the death of an immigrant worker, dealing with many prejudices along the way. A superb read.

 

 

The Secret of the Chateau by Kathleen McGurl

Another historical timeslip novel from Kathleen McGurl takes us to the time of the French Revolution. Mystery, death, history, intrigue – this had it all! I always look forward to Kathleen McGurl’s books and this one did not let me down. Review to follow as part of the blog tour.

 

Why Mummy Drinks by Gill Sims

The first in the series introduces us to Ellen and her family. In these worrying times, this gave me a much-needed bit of light relief due to the many laugh-out-loud moments.

 

 

Killing Mind by Angela Marsons

I’m still amazed as to how Angela Marsons keeps this series going with such a high standard! In Killing Mind, Kim Stone and her team investigate a cult, putting a member of her team in danger in the process. Fans of this series are going to absolutely love this! Review to follow.

 

Love Me To Death by Susan Gee

A creepy tale of a warped killer plying his trade in Stockport. In a town full of secrets, who exactly has something to hide? Review will follow as part of the blog tour.

 

 

Sherlock Holmes: The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries by John Taylor

Highly recommended for fans of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, especially as the audio book is narrated by Shelock himself – Benedict Cumberbatch!

 

Books I Have Acquired

Two sisters on trial for murder. They accuse each other.
Who do YOU believe?

‘911 what’s your emergency?’

‘My dad’s dead. My sister Sofia killed him. She’s still in the house. Please send help.’

‘My dad’s dead. My sister Alexandra killed him. She’s still in the house. Please send help.’

One of them is a liar and a killer.

But which one?

 

Outside a remote manor house in an idyllic wood, a baby girl is found.

The Harrington family takes her in and disbelief quickly turns to joy. They’re grieving a terrible tragedy of their own and the beautiful baby fills them with hope, lighting up the house’s dark, dusty corners. Desperate not to lose her to the authorities, they keep her secret, suspended in a blissful summer world where normal rules of behaviour – and the law – don’t seem to apply.

But within days a body will lie dead in the grounds. And their dreams of a perfect family will shatter like glass.
Years later, the truth will need to be put back together again, piece by piece . . .

 

Bubbles of cold sweat trickled down Faye’s spine. The hole wasn’t empty. Before she could turn and run, she caught the two sightless eyes staring up at her. Only then did she scream.

When Faye Baker discovers a fragile child’s skull behind the walls of her new home, Detective Lottie Parker is called to investigate. The house has been owned for years by the family of Faye’s boyfriend Jeff, so when Jeff starts acting suspiciously, Lottie wonders what he might be hiding…

Lottie doesn’t have long to dig deeper before a child’s bones are found by eleven-year-old Gavin on nearby railway tracks. The bones don’t match the small skull behind the walls, but Lottie can’t ignore the coincidence. Someone out there must be missing their loved ones and it’s up to her to put right a terrible wrong.

Unable to shake a feeling of foreboding, Lottie goes to speak to Faye, and discovers that she hasn’t turned up for work. When Faye’s body is found stuffed in the back of her car, Lottie needs to find out who wanted her to keep quiet.

As Lottie hunts for Faye’s killer, the case takes a darker turn when Gavin goes missing. Faye and Gavin are connected only by the grisly body parts they discovered. But who are these little victims and why has their killer come back? Can Lottie find the answers before another precious life is taken?

 

You don’t want to play their games…

All around Albuquerque, New Mexico, young women are going missing, seemingly vanished into thin air. With no link between the victims, Detective Alyssa Wyatt is quickly plunged into a horrifying case with no obvious clues.

And when Jersey Andrews, the best friend of Alyssa’s teenage daughter, Holly, joins the list of vanished girls, the case becomes personal.

But this investigation will lead Alyssa and partner Cord into the most sinister depths of humanity; an evil place where life is expendable, and where the depraved can fulfil their darkest desires – if they have the money to pay for it.

As the first bodies appear, abandoned on the streets, Alyssa is forced into a frantic hunt to track down the killers – before more innocent women lose their lives. But when the truth comes out, it seems that the key to solving the case was hiding in the last place anyone expected…

 

Have you read any of these? What did you think? Hopefully, May will bring a less scary month for us all.

Why Mummy Drinks by Gill Sims

Mother of two, Ellen, is stressed. Working in IT with two argumentative children, a husband that is quite content snoring in front of the television and a dog that likes to judge, the big 4-0 is fast approaching and she’s exhausted. There must be more to life than this, surely?!

With the constant bad news at the moment, I was in need of something lighthearted to read and I remembered that despite reading books two and three of this series, I’d never read this one. This was also my first foray into the world of the audio book as I decided that this was exactly the sort of book that could accompany me whilst cooking and cleaning in self-isolation!

After reading the other books, it was good to see where all of this began and to be introduced, for the first time, to The Coven (aka the other mummies at the school gate) and her friends and family. Ellen is desperately trying to portray a middle-class images to the other mums, but feels she is thwarted at every turn either by her poorly behaved children or by her husband’s sister and her family. Louisa (or Amaris as she would like to be known) and her family were absolute gems of characters and you could truly visualise Ellen’s disdain of them.

Why Mummy Drinks provided me with many laugh out loud moments and was a much needed distraction from the current situation, read brilliantly by Gabrielle Glaister.

My other reviews:

Why Mummy Swears

Why Mummy Doesn’t Give a …!,

Monthly Round Up: January 2020

And so a new year begins! Thanks to Net Galley, I’ve been able to get hold of advance copies of some of the books I’ve been looking forward to, so February promises to contain some good books!

Books I’ve Read

The Penmaker’s Wife by Steve Robinson

A woman escapes her life in London, starting a new life in Victorian Birmingham with her young son. Despite managing to move up the social ladder, she soon realises that a past can never stay hidden, leading to some very disturbing circumstances.

 

The Stranger’s Wife by Anna Lou Weatherley

Two women, both in very different abusive relationships, each find a way to bring their suffering to an end. This is a great story featuring the very likeable detective Dan Riley.

 

The Other People by CJ Tudor

A man is informed that his wife and daughter have been killed, but how can this be when he’s just seen his daughter being driven down a motorway? His determination to find the truth leads him into a shadowy underworld and some very shady characters. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

 

The Sinner by Martyn Waites

Ex-undercover police officer, Tom Killgannon, finds himself drawn back into his former role when he is asked to find the whereabouts of the undiscovered bodies of a convicted killer. The only problem is, this means him going inside the prison, posing as a prisoner, and soon he comes across a face from the past. This is a great thriller; my review will feature as part of the blog tour.

 

Why Mummy Doesn’t Give a ****! by Gill Sims

The third in the series sees Ellen dealing with a potential divorce, teenage children, a dog who isn’t exactly Instagrammable and chatty chickens who clearly dislike her! Some very funny scenarios which had me laughing out loud!

 

 

Books I’ve Acquired

Cold Case Jury presents its most confounding crime yet: Poisoned at the Priory.

1876. When the newlywed barrister Charles Bravo ingests a rare poison, all evidence suggests suicide. But in one of the most infamous inquests of all time, a coroner finds it to be an unlawful murder. So, we must ask, what is the truth?

The fourth book in Antony M. Brown’s popular Cold Case Jury series picks apart this notorious case that gripped Victorian Britain – and continues to spark debate to this day. Why did Bravo refuse any help, even when going through agonising pain? Was his wife, with her scandalous past, to blame? Or perhaps it was her former lover, eager to remove his usurper for good… or another sinister hand, moving silently?

In Poisoned at the Priory, Brown compiles the evidence and creates dramatic reconstructions of four main theories of how Charles Bravo may have died – including Agatha Christie’s solution, in her own words, for the very first time.

But was Christie correct? What’s your verdict in this spellbinding case?

 

If someone was in your house, you’d know … Wouldn’t you?

But the Hunter family are deaf, and don’t hear a thing when a shocking crime takes place in the middle of the night. Instead, they wake up to their worst nightmare: the murder of their daughter.

The police call Paige Northwood to the scene to interpret for the witnesses. They’re in shock, but Paige senses the Hunters are hiding something.

One by one, people from Paige’s community start to fall under suspicion. But who would kill a little girl?

Was it an intruder?

Or was the murderer closer to home?

 

DC Jack Warr and his girlfriend Maggie have just moved to London to start a new life together. Though charming, Jack can’t seem to find his place in the world – until he’s drawn into an investigation that turns his life upside down.

In the aftermath of a fire at an isolated cottage, a badly charred body is discovered, along with the burnt remains of millions of stolen, untraceable bank notes.

Jack’s search leads him deep into a murky criminal underworld – a world he finds himself surprisingly good at navigating. But as the line of the law becomes blurred, how far will Jack go to find the answers – and what will it cost him?

In BURIED, it’s time to meet DC Jack Warr as he digs up the deadly secrets of the past . . .

 

Everything has changed for Dr Ruth Galloway.

She has a new job, home and partner, and is no longer North Norfolk police’s resident forensic archaeologist. That is, until convicted murderer Ivor March offers to make DCI Nelson a deal. Nelson was always sure that March killed more women than he was charged with. Now March confirms this, and offers to show Nelson where the other bodies are buried – but only if Ruth will do the digging.

Curious, but wary, Ruth agrees. March tells Ruth that he killed four more women and that their bodies are buried near a village bordering the fens, said to be haunted by the Lantern Men, mysterious figures holding lights that lure travellers to their deaths.

Is Ivor March himself a lantern man, luring Ruth back to Norfolk? What is his plan, and why is she so crucial to it? And are the killings really over?

 

It was always going to end in trouble. But how did it end in murder?

A murdered beauty queen. A town full of secrets. Who killed Jenny?

Jenny Kennedy appears to have it all. She’s the perfect daughter, the popular girl at school and a successful beauty queen. But then Jenny is found dead in a murder that rocks the small town she grew up in to the core.

Her estranged half-sister Virginia finds herself thrust into the spotlight as the case dominates the news and is desperate to uncover who killed Jenny. But she soon realises that maybe Jenny’s life wasn’t so perfect after all.

The truth is that Jenny has more than a few secrets of her own, and so do her neighbours… What really happened that night?

 

I can’t wait to read the Lynda la Plante book – she’s been one of my favourite authors for some years. My next read is The Lantern Men by Elly Griffiths – I can’t wait to see what happens to Ruth Galloway next!

Why Mummy Doesn’t Give a ****! by Gill Sims

With her marriage in tatters, Ellen decides to realise her dream of living in a cottage in the country. Unfortunately, the image she has in her head and the reality of rural life couldn’t be further apart! With two teenage children more concerned by the lack of wifi, a new dog that is definitely not Instagrammable and chatty chickens that appear to have an attitude problem, has she bitten off more than she can chew?

This, the third book in the series, sees Ellen at a definite turning point in her life, making it a much more melancholy read than the previous installment, Why Mummy SwearsAs well as the separation from her husband, there are several other traumatic events that Ellen has to endure, affecting her mood throughout the book. One, in particular, had my own heart racing as we see her fearing for the safety of one of her children.

Despite these events, the humour in this book is still there, with numerous laugh out loud moments. I particularly loved Ellen trying to relive her youth, accompanying her daughter to a music festival and having an unfortunate encounter with some body glitter! The love-hate relationship she shares with her teenage daughter, Jane, is very accurate, with her offspring displaying constant embarrassment due to her mother’s antics, despite her friends thinking that she has a cool mum!

Another thing I really liked about this book was the flashbacks it provided from my own childhood! I can definitely remember those rubber shower attachments which would fall off the taps at the worst moment possible, making washing your hair an impossibility!

Why Mummy Doesn’t Give a ****! provided me with much laughter, and if you have not read any of this series before, and are in need of a good laugh, I can highly recommend them.

Monthly Round Up: December 2019

The end of the year has arrived already! Here’s a roundup of what I’ve been reading this month.

Books I’ve Read

Death at Eden’s End by Jo Allen

The death of a 100-year-old woman at a nursing home shouldn’t cause suspicion, but what ensues is a mystery dating back to World War Two and a cold, callous killer. This, the second in the Jude Satterthwaite series, is even better than the first.

What She Saw Last Night by Mason Cross

When a woman is murdered on a sleeper train and her daughter seemingly vanishes into thin air, fellow passenger Jenny Bowen finds herself embroiled in a dangerous cat and mouse game with a hardened killer. A fast-paced, edge of your seat thriller that I really enjoyed.

Gone by Leona Deakin

When a woman goes missing after receiving a card inviting her to play a game, it becomes apparent that she is not the first and that there are an unknown number of people out in the wild, wreaking their own personal havoc. A brilliant twist on a missing person story, with some timely reminders of how we should always be careful what information we share online.

The Merchant’s Daughter by M J Lee

The seventh in the Jayne Sinclair series sees the genealogist investigating the mysterious African ancestor of a well-known TV star. With a plot revolving around slavery, this is probably one of my favourite books of this series so far.

First Blood by Angela Marsons

This Kim Stone a prequel was a fantastic surprise to all fans of Angela Marsons. Set at the time when the team were coming together for the first time, we not only get a wonderful and informative insight into the pasts of the characters we have come to know and love, but also an exciting and emotive serial killer plot to boot! This author never lets us down!

A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell

This beautifully twisted tale of love and deception really grabbed my imagination. When a woman who is experiencing marriage problems meets a younger, handsome man, this sets off a chain of events that threaten to alter the course of all of their lives forever. This review will be published as part of the blog tour.

 

Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton

I’ve been a huge fan of Rosamund Lupton ever since reading Sister  and have heard nothing but praise for Three Hours. This book, detailing the three hours when a school is in the midst of a potential terrorist attack, genuinely blew me away and deserves to be a huge success. My review will be featured as part of the blog tour.

 

Books I’ve Acquired

Beth and Cath are leaving their husbands.
This is a story about two very different women.
One is wealthy and having an affair with a man who gives her the kind of love that her cold, detached husband does not.
One is living hand to mouth, suffering at the hands of a violent partner who would rather see her dead than leave him.

You may think you know these women already and how their lives will unfold.
Beth will live happily ever after with her little girl and her soulmate.
Cath will go back to her abusive husband.

And these two women will never cross paths.
But you will be wrong.

On the 3.15pm train from London to Bristol, Beth and Cath are about to meet and discover they share one shocking thing in common.

 

Family begins with a capital eff.

I’m wondering how many more f*cking ‘phases’ I have to endure before my children become civilised and functioning members of society? It seems like people have been telling me ‘it’s just a phase!’ for the last fifteen bloody years. Not sleeping through the night is ‘just a phase.’ Potty training and the associated accidents ‘is just a phase’. The tantrums of the terrible twos are ‘just a phase’. The picky eating, the back chat, the obsessions. The toddler refusals to nap, the teenage inability to leave their beds before 1pm without a rocket being put up their arse. The endless singing of Frozen songs, the dabbing, the weeks where apparently making them wear pants was akin to child torture. All ‘just phases!’ When do the ‘phases’ end though? WHEN?

Mummy dreams of a quirky rural cottage with roses around the door and chatty chickens in the garden. Life, as ever, is not going quite as she planned. Paxo, Oxo and Bisto turn out to be highly rambunctious, rather than merely chatty, and the roses have jaggy thorns. Her precious moppets are now giant teenagers, and instead of wittering at her about who would win in a fight – a dragon badger or a ninja horse – they are Snapchatting the night away, stropping around the tiny cottage and communicating mainly in grunts – except when they are demanding Ellen provides taxi services in the small hours. And there is never, but never, any milk in the house. At least the one thing they can all agree on is that rescued Barry the Wolfdog may indeed be The Ugliest Dog in the World, but he is also the loveliest.

 

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are on the trail of Wang Li a Chinese criminal gang leader in London who is involved in the importation of opium, and Chinese girls who are forced into prostitution in the many brothels under his control in London. On a dark fog bound night, on a back street in old London town a direct confrontation between Holmes and Watson, with this arch criminal and his gang would bring home the reality and danger they both constantly faced in taking on one of the most dangerous investigations they had ever undertaken, against an adversary who was both cunning, and dangerous. Surrounded and outnumbered by Wang Li and his gang, would Holmes and Watson prevail? “Sherlock Holmes-The Final Chapter” is a must read to find the answer.

 

Between August and November 1888 the residents of Whitechapel a cosmopolitan suburb located in The East End of London would find themselves in the grip of fear as to what was to become known as The Autumn of Terror. A fearsome killer who became known as Jack the Ripper was stalking the dimly lit fog bound streets hiding in the shadows, before slaughtering and butchering the helpless street women. The police were failing in their attempt to apprehend this killer, and public condemnation of the murders was running high.An offer of help would come from an unlikely source in Emma Holmes daughter of the legendary Sherlock Holmes. Using all the knowledge and expertise gained from her father would she be able to prevent further murders and lure this killer to his ultimate and final date with the hangman?A compelling, Victorian crime mystery based on the original Whitechapel Murders of 1888. A mystery which contains many twists and turns leading to an unexpected and surreal thought provoking final conclusion.

 

Here’s to a great January!

 

 

Monthly Round Up – July 2018

July has been a very busy (and tiring!) month for me and due to work circumstances, I had a few days where I didn’t pick up a book. This is unheard of! Thankfully, I managed to make up for it at the end of the month and read a couple of corkers including one which, at the moment, is definitely making it into my top ten of the year!

I also attended the book launch for the latest in Mark Roberts’ Eve Clay series, Killing Time, where, as well as meeting the man himself and listening to him in conversation with Paul Finch, we were also treated to a reading from the book by Paul Goetzee and music from Nick Ellis. A great evening!

Books I Have Read

5156DXAqbrLThe Dancer by John Nixon

The latest in John Nixon’s Madeleine Porter series sees the genealogist trying to discover the story behind a woman who has been found dead at the bottom of a cliff. Not my favourite in the series, but a good read nonetheless.

 

51SXPfKJzFL._SX315_BO1,204,203,200_The Tin God by Chris Nickson

I really enjoy crime fiction set in the Victorian era and have grown to love Chris Nixon’s Tom Harper series. Someone is trying to prevent women from standing as potential Poor Law Guardians in an upcoming election and will stop at nothing, even murder.

 

61XqWcu1-2L._SY346_Why Mummy Swears by Gill Sims

The follow-up to Why Mummy Drinks is a hilarious tale of one woman’s everyday life as a mum of two who has been coerced into leading the PTA whilst taking on a new job. Laugh out loud funny!

 

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Broken Dolls by Sarah Flint

A brilliant serial killer police procedural featuring the no-nonsense detective Charlie Stafford. Dealing with the most vulnerable in society, this is my favourite in the series so far and definitely had a couple of fantastic twists that I did not see coming!

 

51JZymFAkPLThe Drowned Village by Kathleen McGurl

A timeslip story about a woman who returns to her grandmother’s place of birth to investigate her past. I love Kathleen McGurl’s books and this one is no exception.

 

 

40806267Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

Wow! This one definitely grabbed my attention and held it right until the last page. When the serial killer, the Sweetbay Strangler, escapes from prison, his former girlfriend and accomplice fears for her own life. With numerous twists and a fantastic plot, this is definitely one of my favourites of the year so far!

 

38483098Letters from the Dead by Steve Robinson

The latest in the Jefferson Tayte series sees the genealogist investigating the disappearance of a ruby in India. This is another superb story from Steve Robinson and is a definite page turner!

 

Books I Have Acquired

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An international crime thriller with an unforgettable detective. Perfect for fans of Ian Rankin, Jo Nesbo and Peter Robinson.

What do you do when the poison comes from within…?

The body of a young woman is found strangled by the side of the road.

There are no obvious clues to what happened, apart from the discovery of a large amount of cash concealed on her person.

The brilliant, but lazy, Lieutenant Josef Slonský is put in charge of the case.

With a wry sense of humour, a strong stubborn streak and a penchant for pastries, Slonský is not overly popular with the rest of the police force. But he is paired with the freshly-graduated, overly-eager Navrátil, whom he immediately takes under his wing.

When fingers start to point inwards to someone familiar with police operations, Slonský and Navrátil are put in a difficult position.

If what they suspect is true, how deep does the corruption run? Are they willing to risk their careers in their pursuit of the truth?

Anyone could be lying – and others may be in danger of dying…

LYING AND DYING is the first international crime thriller in the detective series featuring Lieutenant Josef Slonský: an atmospheric police procedural full of dark humour.

 

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: Four female scientists invent a time travel machine. They are on the cusp of fame: the pioneers who opened the world to new possibilities. But then one of them suffers a breakdown and puts the whole project in peril…

2017

: Ruby knows her beloved Granny Bee was a pioneer, but they never talk about the past. Though time travel is now big business, Bee has never been part of it. Then they receive a message from the future – a newspaper clipping reporting the mysterious death of an elderly lady…

2018

: When Odette discovered the body she went into shock. Blood everywhere, bullet wounds, that strong reek of sulpher. But when the inquest fails to find any answers, she is frustrated. Who is this dead woman that haunts her dreams? And why is everyone determined to cover up her murder?

 

51jPK1DYa5L._SY346_Do that which is good and no evil shall touch you

That was the note the so-called Raphael killer left on each of his victims. Everyone in Glasgow – investigative journalist Oonagh O’Neil included – remember the murder of three women in Glasgow which sent a wave of terror through the city. They also remember that he is still at large…

When the police investigation into the Raphael killings reopens, Oonagh is given a tip off that leads her straight to the heart of a complex and deadly cover-up. When history starts to repeat itself, it seems the killer is closer than she thinks. Could Oonagh be the next target…?

 

I’m reading The Psychology of Time Travel at the moment and am absolutely loving it – I can’t wait to feature on the blog tour! I’ll be featuring on several blog tours over the next few weeks and have some exclusive content from the following books:

 

 

 

 

Have a great August!

 

 

Why Mummy Swears by Gill Sims

It’s the start of the school holidays and Ellen is exhausted. Tired of being ‘just’ a mother, she longs to get back to work and feel useful once again. After managing to bag her dream job, she soon realises, though, that this brings with it a plethora of other problems which threaten to overwhelm her. With a dysfunctional family, a less-than-supportive husband, childcare problems and now a starring role on the PTA, we really do get to find out Why Mummy Swears!

Although I have not read the previous book Why Mummy Drinks, I have been privy to some of the very funny Facebook ‘Peter and Jane’ posts about Ellen’s children so had some idea of what to expect. What I got was a laugh-out-loud book which, at times, was also very poignant. Gill’s writing is spot on and you can almost hear Ellen’s voice as she talks you through each disastrous day.

I imagine that plenty of people, when reading this book, are nodding their head as they recall similar events that have happened to them although I am yet to hear of anyone who has had a Christmas quite like the one described here! I shall never look at a gravy boat in quite the same way again… I definitely had a knowing look on my face when reading about the attempt to split a restaurant bill, something I think many of us have experienced!

Although most of the book is written in a light-hearted way, the problems of modern parenthood are also dealt with – I’m sure many parents have had the social media argument with their children and are also trying to juggle their work and home life without feeling they are neglecting one of them. There is also a very topical nod to the mildly irritating Fortnite that all children seem to have become obsessed with.

As the title suggests, there is a lot of swearing but even this had me chuckling – some of Ellen’s phraseology was incredibly descriptive and I was surprised that Peter and Jane were not copying on a regular basis!

If you are looking for a book to make you laugh out loud, then Why Mummy Swears could just be the book for you. An excellent read and I will now be going back to read Why Mummy Drinks.

With thanks to Rosie Margesson and Harper Non Fiction for my copy of Why Mummy Swears, which is published on July 16th.

Monthly Round Up – June 2018

The end of June already – just where has the year gone?! I’m ahead of schedule on my Goodreads challenge despite having hardly any reading time over the last few months. I had, however, managed to reduce my Net Galley shelf until books by some of my favourite authors appeared on there this month!

Books I’ve Read

Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh

Known for his courtroom dramas featuring lawyer Eddie Flynn, Steve Cavanagh has produced this masterpiece which can be read as a standalone. When a young starlet is found brutally murdered, the lawyer meets his match when the killer finds himself not on trial but a member of the jury. An absolutely brilliant read.

First to Die by Alex Caan

When a senior civil servant is found dead, seemingly killed by a highly contagious virus, Kate Riley, Zain Harris and their team have their work cut out to stop it spreading before panic sets in. The second in a series where i feel it would have been beneficial to have read the first.

I Know You by Annabel Kantaria

Happy that she is finally widening her social circle, Taylor is blissfully unaware that someone is stalking her and that this is about to lead to deadly consequences. As a fan of Annabel Kantaria’s writing, I found this another fantastic read.

Conan Doyle for the Defence by Margalit Fox

The true story of Oscar Slater who, in 1908, was found guilty of the murder of an elderly spinster in Glasgow. This would become one of the most well-known miscarriages of justice in Scotland, not least because of the involvement of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in trying to secure his release and pardon.

False Accusations by Cora Harrison

The first in a new series featuring former headteacher Flora Morgan who, after acting as an ‘Appropriate Adult’ for a girl with learning difficulties, decides to help find her innocent of a murder charge. A great plot but not one to sink your teeth into.

Books I’ve Acquired

Beneath the surface lie forgotten secrets…

A village destroyed

It’s the summer of 1935 and eleven-year-old Stella Walker is preparing to leave her home forever. Forced to evacuate to make way for a new reservoir, the village of Brackendale Green will soon be lost. But before the water has even reached them, a dreadful event threatens to tear Stella’s family apart.

An uncovered secret

Present day, and a fierce summer has dried up the lake and revealed the remnants of the deserted village. Now an old woman, Stella begs her granddaughter Laura to make the journey she can’t. She’s sure the village still holds answers for her but, with only days until the floodwaters start to rise again, Laura is in a race against time to solve the mysteries of Stella’s almost forgotten past.

Haunting and evocative, The Drowned Village reaches across the decades in an unforgettable tale of love, loss and family.

A baby lies abandoned amongst the rubbish;her tiny face as white as alabaster, her body as stiff as a miniature doll.

A young prostitute lies beaten, her figure lying like a mannequin on the frozen concrete, her blood spilt, her life ebbing away.

As DC ‘Charlie’ Stafford and her boss DI Hunter struggle to identify the victim from the violator their hunt brings them to the crack houses of Lambeth, littered with damaged people, their lives scarred by tragedy and violence, most broken beyond repair.

As further lives hang in the balance Charlie must enpower the weak to speak out against those who seek to cause harm.

But can a broken doll ever truly be mended; or will the wounds of the past, fashion the events of the future?

The fourth in the Sunday Times bestselling Jane Tennison thrillers, MURDER MILE is set at the height of the ‘Winter of Discontent’. Can Jane Tennison uncover a serial killer? 

February, 1979, ‘The Winter of Discontent’. Economic chaos has led to widespread strikes across Britain.

Jane Tennison, now a Detective Sergeant, has been posted to Peckham CID, one of London’s toughest areas. As the rubbish on the streets begins to pile up, so does the murder count: two bodies in as many days.

There are no suspects and the manner of death is different in each case. The only link between the two victims is the location of the bodies, found within a short distance of each other near Rye Lane in Peckham. Three days later another murder occurs in the same area. Press headlines scream that a serial killer is loose on ‘Murder Mile’ and that police incompetence is hampering the investigation.

Jane is under immense pressure to catch the killer before they strike again.Working long hours with little sleep, what she uncovers leaves her doubting her own mind.

Why Mummy Swears is the much anticipated new novel from Gill Sims, author of the hilarious Why Mummy Drinks and online sensation Peter and Jane.

It’s every parents’ nightmare – the start of the school holidays – and instead of sitting in the sun, reading a book over a cold, crisp glass of Pinot Grigio, Mummy has two bored moppets to attend to. After frantically booking sports camps, child minder slots, not to mention time off work, Mummy is exhausted. But this is only the beginning…

After being dragged to join the school’s PTA in the new term by an annoyingly kind-spirited neighbour, Mummy is stuck with organising the Christmas Fayre and pleasing all the overly disapproving parents. In combination with getting to know her father’s surprise new glamorous (and much younger) wife, and being forced to spend more time with her narcissistic mother, life isn’t cutting her much of a break. What more could possibly happen?

One spring day a young woman is found dead on a beach at the bottom of a cliff. She has no identification on her, just a scribbled note for an appointment that morning with Madeleine Porter, a local family historian. Did she fall or was she pushed? The police struggle to identify the mystery woman and Madeleine, intrigued by the case, decides to do her own investigation. She uncovers a mixture of adultery, ballroom dancing and greed before discovering the reason behind her presence on the beach.

 

 

I’ve got so many good books on my Kindle at the moment, I don’t know what to read next!

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