The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (Review)

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

Blurb

Four septuagenarians with a few tricks up their sleeves

A female cop with her first big case

A brutal murder

Welcome to…

The Thursday Murder Club

In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet weekly in the Jigsaw Room to discuss unsolved crimes; together they call themselves The Thursday Murder Club. Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves. 

When a local developer is found dead with a mysterious photograph left next to the body, the Thursday Murder Club suddenly find themselves in the middle of their first live case. As the bodies begin to pile up, can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer, before it’s too late? 

Review

I am always a bit dubious about reading books by celebrities because sometimes I find that they have only been published because they are already famous but I heard so many good things about this book I decided to give it a go and I am pleased I did.

I started this book and I was immediately hooked. The introduction is so intriguing you can’t help but be hooked. One old lady asking another old lady her opinion on whether someone with multiple stab wounds could have been saved and how long it would take for them to bleed out if left untreated can’t help but intrigue the reader. These two characters are Joyce and Elizabeth. Joyce is a dear lady who is a retired nurse who just wants everyone to like her. She is also clearly rather lonely and loves her new found friends in the Thursday Murder Club. Elizabeth clearly has an interesting past and is an interesting character but she also has her problems but she is very good at hiding them from the outside world.

The other two members of the club are Ron and Ibrahim. Ibrahim is a retired psychiatrist and knows how to read people. Ron, who was my favourite character, is very good at speaking out against any injustice and made a name for himself when he was younger. Ron is a real character, who is clearly a tough guy but who also has a heart of gold and is always the man to give a consoling hug. 

The two official investigators are Donna and Chris. They become members of the Thursday Murder Club. I do feel sorry for Chris and Donna. They are trying to do their jobs but are also trying to control four elderly people who insist on interfering. 

I really enjoyed the beginning of this book but I will be honest I got a little bored in the middle and lost interest but thankfully I kept reading and it picked back up towards the end. I was also rather pleased that I had worked out who the murderer of Tony Curran was although I struggled to work out who the killer of Ian Ventham was. 

This book was humorous, well written with some wonderful characters that I would happily read about again. I give this book 3 out 5 Dragons just because I lost interest in the middle.

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About the author

Richard Osman (1970) is an English television presenter, producer, comedian and writer best known for being the creator and co-presenter of the television show Pointless. 

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A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan (Review)

A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan

Blurb

In the snowy perfection of Aspen, the White family gathers for youngest daughter Rosie’s whirlwind Christmas wedding.

First to arrive are the bride’s parents, Maggie and Nick. Their daughter’s marriage is a milestone they are determined to celebrate wholeheartedly, but they are hiding a huge secret about their own: they are on the brink of divorce. After living apart for the last six months, the last thing they need is to be trapped together in an irresistibly romantic winter wonderland.

Rosie’s older sister Katie is also dreading the wedding. Worried that impulsive, sweet-hearted Rosie is making a mistake, Katie is determined to save her sister from herself. If only the irritatingly good-looking best man, Jordan, would stop interfering with her plans…

Bride-to-be Rosie loves her fiance but is having serious second thoughts. Except everyone has arrived – how can she tell them she’s not sure? As the big day gets closer, and emotions run even higher, this is one White family Christmas none of them will ever forget. 

Review

This book centres around three main characters Rosie, Katie and Maggie and each chapter is based on one of these characters and shows the story from their perspective and it really does work brilliantly because you get to see how their lives intertwine and how they are also separate. The other thing I loved about this book was the descriptions of Aspen. It sounds so perfect and made me desperately want to visit in the winter to see the snow.

Katie and Rosie are sisters and Maggie is their mother who has always been there for her two daughters no matter what. Katie has her own personal problems but she prefers to interfere with her sister Rosie’s wedding than deal with her own problems and I must admit Katie did drive me a bit insane. She was altogether a bit too much for me and was a character I would have shouted at more than once.

Rosie is adorable, she is kind and loving but also really needs to stand up for herself so when she occasionally does in the book I always did a little jump for joy. Rosie and Dan are having a whirlwind romance and are getting married and Dan’s mother Catherine is organising all of it very last minute. I kind of liked Catherine but at the same time I did find her a bit pushy with everything and I really felt sorry for Maggie with it all.

Maggie and Nick have been living apart for ages and have not told their daughters and they are also on the brink of divorce. I really enjoyed reading about these two characters and it was wonderful to see the two of them grow and learn about each other.

The thing I loved about this book the most was seeing how the characters all grew and developed all of which they couldn’t have done without being together. It really was a lovely story if rather annoying in places. I give this book 4 out of 5 Dragons.

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Book Depository | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

About the author

USA Today and Sunday Times bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes romance and contemporary women’s fiction and her trademark humour and warmth have gained her fans across the globe. Sarah lives near London, England, and when she isn’t reading or writing she loves being outdoors.

The Willoughby Book Club

I have some exciting news!

My friend bought me a three month subscription to The Willoughby Book Club. I have always wanted to be part of a book subscription service and now I am. I can’t wait to get my next box with a beautifully wrapped book inside. It will be the perfect present at the beginning of the month.

I have had my first book box and I must admit I was jumping around with glee. It arrived way before my birthday so my husband hid it from me as I was so desperate to open the box and see what my new book was.

I will keep you all posted on my future book box arrivals!

Please let me know if you have a favourite book box subscription or if you are a fellow member of The Willoughby Book Club.

Happy Reading

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The Existence of Amy by Lana Grace Riva (Review)

The Existence of Amy by Lana Grace Riva

Blurb

Amy has a normal life. That is, if you were to go by a definition of ‘no immediate obvious indicators of peculiarity’, and you didn’t know her very well. She has good friends, a good job, a nice enough home. This normality, however, is precariously plastered on top of a different life. A life that is Amy’s real life. The only one her brain will let her lead.

Review

Firstly, a massive thank you to Lana Grace Riva for supplying me with a free copy of her wonderful book to review.

I will be honest this isn’t a book that I would have chosen to read on my own but I am so happy that I did read it and I definitely plan on reading more of Riva’s work.

Amy is a wonderful character and one that I loved and felt a rollercoaster of emotions for. Amy has a good group of friends, a fantastic job and what appears as a normal happy life. However, Amy is also plagued by her own mind, that little voice that insists she should live a certain way to survive, even though Amy knows this makes no sense. This almost double life for Amy is exhausting and upsets her greatly because she realises she is missing out on things she would love to do and she is grieving for a time she can remember where she didn’t have this weird double life and grabbed life with both hands.

Riva has really done her research for this book and the character of Amy is brilliantly thought out and her friends are perfect. Sally is the loud socialite who doesn’t see that there is more to Amy than she sees and so thinks wrongly of Amy and leaves Amy out of things but is still Amy’s friend. Nathan is the bubbly happy friend who cares for Amy and wants to help her. Then there is Ed who has always had a deep relationship with Amy and cares for Amy a great deal. Ed and Amy share the same tastes and love nothing more than going around an art exhibition.

The thing I love most about this book is that the story is so simple and it focuses on Amy’s daily life and the struggles she encounters each day. This simplicity makes the story so much more real and makes you realise as a reader that this could be anybody in the world who is facing these struggles, including your own work colleagues and friends. This book definitely makes you think about the struggles people have to deal with that you can’t see.

I am so happy that I read this book and highly recommend it to everyone. It won’t take you long to read but I can guarantee that it will stay with you and give you a lot to think about. I give this book a big 5 out of 5 Dragons.

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The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary (Review)

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

About the author

Beth studied English at university before going into children’s publishing. She lives as close to the countryside as she can get while still being within reach of London, and wrote her first novel, The Flatshare, on her train journey to and from work.

You’ll usually find her curled up with a book, a cup of tea, and several woolly jumpers (whatever the weather).

Blurb

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast.

Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash.

Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time.

But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly-imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…

Review

This book was recommended to me by my best friend and so I bought a copy as soon as I could and I am so pleased I did. I started reading this book and read a bit a day until I got about a quarter of the way through and then I just could not put it down and I binged the whole book in one afternoon.

The book is told from Tiffy’s and Leon’s perspective and it is really interesting seeing their different perspectives. Leon is very shy who needs quiet and alone time to process things but Tiffy is the complete opposite: she has to talk to her friends to process things and thrives on noise and people.

Tiffy and Leon communicate via post-it notes that they post all over the flat and through this method of communication they get to know each other and they also help each other through their troubles. Tiffy has problems which revolve around her ex-boyfriend but with Leon and her friends’ help she is working through these problems.

Leon also has problems of his own in the fact that his brother is in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Leon is a palliative care nurse who spends all his time trying to help and care for everyone.

This novel deals with some difficult issues but O’Leary writes about this in a sensitive and realistic manner and is very respectful. This novel was a big surprise to me as I was expecting something a lot more light hearted and chick lit read but in fact it had depth and understanding. O’Leary is a talented writer and I really look forward to reading more of her books. I rate this book 5 out of 5 Dragons.

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(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you)

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Half A World Away by Mike Gayle (Review)

Half A World Away by Mike Gayle

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About the author

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Mike Gayle was born and raised in Birmingham. After graduating from Salford University with a degree in Sociology, he moved to London to pursue a career in journalism and worked as a Features Editor and Agony Uncle. He has written for a variety of publications including The Sunday Times, Guardian and Cosmopolitan.

Mike became a full time novelist in 1997 following the publication My Legendary Girlfriend. Since then he has written thirteen novels and his books have been translated into more than thirty languages.

Blurb

Kerry Hayes is a single mum, living on a tough south London estate. She provides for her son by cleaning houses she could never afford. Taken into care as a child, Kerry cannot forget her past.

Noah Martineau is a successful barrister with a beautiful wife, daughter and home in fashionable Primrose Hill. Adopted as a young child, Noah never looks back.

When Kerry contacts Noah, the sibling she lost on the day they were torn apart as children, she sets in motion a chain of events that will change both of their lives forever.

Review

This is the first book I have read by Gayle and the only reason I have discovered him is because it is the first set book in a book club I have joined. I am so happy I joined the book club.

I will be honest I simply could not put the book down, it was amazing. It was truly an emotional rollercoaster and I did cry my eyes out to the point that my poor husband got quite worried about me but it was fantastic. When I had finished the book I was also mourning the loss of the book, I just did not want to leave the characters behind.

The first thing I liked about this book was how each chapter came from either Kerry or Noah’s point of view and the narrative passed smoothly between them. It was never confusing and worked brilliantly, it really was expertly written.

Kerry was endearing and through the whole book I was on her side, she would do anything for family and most of all her son Kian. She had got a good little business going of cleaning houses and although the work was hard and sometimes frustrating she got up every morning with a smile and did the best possible job she could with pride. Kian never wanted for anything and even though it might not be designer he still had everything he needed. Kerry’s life had not been easy but she never complained or let it show. She was kind and welcoming to everyone and a woman you would love to have as a friend.

Noah had what appeared to be the perfect life, a nice house, fantastic job, beautiful wife and daughter and a brilliant upbringing, he had the easy life. However, Noah will not talk about the past or his feelings and this drives his wife mad and causes them to have marital problems. However, with Kerry now in his life things start to change and that change is heart warming and very emotional to see. Noah grows through the story and is such a different character at the end.

I loved all the characters in this story and the effect that Kerry and Noah had on these people. The book is just beautifully written and Gayle is an extremely accomplished and talented writer. I honestly can not praise this book enough and it is definitely my favourite book so far of 2020, I will be ordering more of Mike Gayle’s books to read ASAP. I give this book a massive 5 out of 5 Dragons.

Purchase links

Book Depository

Waterstones

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The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (Review)

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

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About the author

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Donna Tartt is an American writer who received critical acclaim for her first two novels, The Secret History and The Little Friend. Tartt was the 2003 winner of the WH Smith Literary Award for The Little Friend. Her novel The Goldfinch won the Pulitzer Prize in 2014.

Blurb

It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch combines vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher’s calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.

Review

I must admit I was excited to read this book to begin with but sadly that excitement did not last. Several times I almost gave up on the book and went for days when I did not read it but I kept coming back to it because I wanted to get to the end and see what happens.

Theo is a very troubled young man who really needs help, even at the end of the book he still in my opinion needs help and I just hope he gets some. I also found him to be terribly frustrating at times and wanted to shake him.

I did not like Kitsey at all in the book whether as a child or an adult, she was simply spoiled and rotten to the core. Boris however has a very troubled life and at times acts very disturbingly but he has a good heart and tries to help his friend Theo.

My favourite character and the reason I kept reading was probably Hobie, he was such a sweet kind hearted man who only wants what is best for the people he knows. Hobie teaches everything he knows to Theo and gives Theo amazing opportunities to better himself and give him a fantastic career but Theo takes advantage.

In my personal opinion I think the book could have been a lot shorter as there was a lot of waffle which just made the book drag on. It was like the author did not know how to stop or edit her work. I really do think that if it had been shorter and more to the point it would have been a good book but I was just losing the will to live and the ending was a massive disappointment to me. I even had to switch off the percentage on my Kindle because the lack of movement just depressed me.

Overall I did not enjoy this book at all but because I finished it I gave it 2 out of 5 dragons. I do not think I will read it again and I am not sure I will try Tartt’s other novels. However, this is only my opinion and I know a lot of people would not agree.

Purchase links

Waterstones

Book Depository

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The Immortal City by Amy Kuivalainen (ARC Review)

The Immortal City by Amy Kuivalainen

About the author

Amy Kuivalainen is a Finnish-Australian writer that is obsessed with magical wardrobes, doors, auroras and burial mounds that might offer her a way into another realm. Until then, she will write about fairy tales, monsters, magic and mythology because that’s the next best thing. She is the author of The Firebird Fairytales Trilogy and The Blood Lake Chronicles series that mash up traditional tales and mythology in new and interesting ways.

Blurb

In the heart of Venice, a woman is sacrificed to a forgotten god, sparking a mystery lost for thousands of years.

Dr. Penelope Bryne is ridiculed by the academic community for her quest to find the remnants of Atlantis, but when an ancient and mysterious script is found at a murder site, she flies to Venice determined to help the police before the killer strikes again.

Penelope has spent her entire life trying to ignore the unexplainable and magical history of Atlantis, but when she meets the enigmatic Alexis Donato, everything she believes will be challenged. Little does she know, Alexis has spent the last three years doing his best to sabotage Penelope’s career so doesn’t learn the truth—Atlantis had seven magicians who survived, and who he has a duty to protect.

As Alexis draws her into the darkly, seductive world of magic and history, Penelope will have to use her heart as well as her head if she is to find the answers she seeks. 

With the new MOSE system due to come online, and Carnivale exploding around them, Penelope and Alexis will have to work together to stop the killer and prevent dark magic from pulling Venice into the sea.

Review

Thank you to NetGalley and BHC Press for granting me an advanced copy of this book for an honest review.

I was so happy that my request on NetGalley was granted for this book and a couple of days ago I started the book and to be honest finished it in a matter of hours, I simply could not put it down. Even though the book has not been published yet I am desperate for the sequel to be published.

I found the story to immediately hook me in and wanted to keep reading, the idea of a forgotten language and god suddenly arising after thousands of years was fascinating. I also thoroughly enjoyed the idea of magicians existing in the world for thousands of years hidden from mankind but one human has managed to get through to them and that person is Dr Penelope Bryne.

Penelope has always loved the mystery of Atlantis and even though people make fun of her she never gives up trying to find it and prove that it exists. I loved her drive and passion in the book, she is a massively strong character but also has her weaknesses but she knows how to control this using her yoga and meditation practises. I have never had much time for yoga but reading this book has made me want to try it again.

The setting of the book was beautifully chosen, what better place to choose than Venice? I would love to visit Venice because it always strikes me as a magical place especially when Carnivale is taking place. I hope in the next books Venice will feature heavily and we get to see more of the catacombs and hidden parts of Venice.

The seven magicians were brilliant as they all have their own individual characters which comes through their magic. So each magician engages their magic differently depending on how their magic is formed and created. They all reminded me of Greek Gods and by their descriptions they look like Greek Gods as well. Although they also seem like teenagers when left unattended by a responsible person for too long. All in all it seems like a fun place to be when they are all playing around.

I loved this book so much I have actually pre-ordered the hardback of the book to read again and hopefully one day will have a hardback sequel to add to the collection. I highly recommend this book to fantasy and history lovers. I give this book a massive 5 out of 5 Dragons and cannot wait to read it again.

To Purchase

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