**Book Review**Cherringham – A cosy crime series

Cherringham – Book 1 – 3

by Matthew Costello and Neil Richards

On my quest to balance my love for books and reading with work/kids/life, I once again turned to Audible. I am absolutely loving my audible monthly credit, where I can choose one book to listen to.

So this week was Cherringham – A cosy crime series compilation. The first three books in a cosy crime drama series: Murder on Thames, Mystery at the Manor and Murder by Moonlight.

"Jack's a retired ex-cop from New York, seeking the simple life in 
Cherringham. Sarah's a Web designer who's moved back to the village 
to find herself. But their lives are anything but quiet as the two 
team up to solve Cherringham's criminal mysteries."

The two main characters although from two very different backgrounds form an unlikely alliance to dig through murder mysteries in the very “Midsomer” village of Cherringham.  It’s a very stereotypical view of an English village and the character portrayal are also somewhat stereotypical, Jack is a hardened retired ex New York policeman whose wife has died and he has retired to the English Village for some peace. Sarah has returned to her home village after a messy divorce where her husband cheated on her, and she has to return to her hometown to mend her broken heart with two kids in tow.

However, this does not distract from the storyline, I really enjoyed the Midsomer vibe, the mysteries were not too easy that I could guess straight away and neither were they so far out of the ordinary genre of murder mystery that I couldn’t believe what I was reading.

The writing style is somewhat peculiar as it is written by dual authors, an Englishman and an American, so the language can sometimes swap and change depending on the author I guess, but as there is an English and American character, I rather enjoyed this reflection of the characters in the writing. I think it gives it a quirky feel o the story and really helps you bond with the characters and the story.

All three stories, are independent. You don’t need to read them in order, as each mystery is a stand alone murder mystery our crime solving duo have to work on. However, the personal life of the characters is somewhat fluid throughout the series. SO if like me you love to find about characters and fall in love with them, then reading in order is probably for the best.

I have only heard the first three in this series, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and will definitely be carrying on with the series. It was a quick and entertaining read, a good length for a cosy crime thriller. I could curl up and listen in the evenings and still have time to make tea and fit in some work if I needed. I didn’t get bored and I couldn’t wait to start the next one. All of these things for me are signs of a good book.

The first in the series is possibly the least enjoyable if I had to pick one, but I feel its because it has to fit quite a lot in a short story. The authors had to introduce us to the characters and Cherringham, and the murder plot and tie it all up in a neat bow, which meant the first book maybe wasn’t as exciting or as enjoyable as the others. I still really liked it and I couldn’t wait to hear the rest of the books in this first edition.

My one and only question I have from this whole series: Whilst Jack and Sarah are out finding all this evidence and solving the crimes? What are the police doing to miss some huge plot points in the murders? Obviously, we need the police to miss somethings to give Jack and Sarah something to do, but seriously, sometimes makes me wonder. lol!

Overall, I really enjoyed the first three books and I cannot wait to listen to the rest. The narrator audible chose also is a pleasure to listen to which makes the experience even better. I would post certainly recommend it too.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️5/5 stars. Thoroughly enjoyable especially if you like your cosy English crime dramas as I do.

If you want to have a read, why not check it out for yourself over on Amazon.

****This blog post has a affiliated link in it, if you click through on it and make any purchases, I may receive a small fee.**

 

**Book Review** Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at the Christmas Fair

Sleigh rides and silver bells at the Christmas Fair by Heidi Swain

I am on a roll with books and the minute. I have this book in real life and on audible so it was a mix of reading and listening for this one, which was a journey I tell you.

When Anna takes on the role of companion to the owner of Wynthorpe Hall, on the outskirts of Wynbridge, she has no idea that her life is set to change beyond all recognition.

A confirmed ‘bah humbug’ when it comes to Christmas, Anna is amazed to find herself quickly immersed in the eccentric household, and when youngest son Jamie unexpectedly arrives home it soon becomes obvious that her personal feelings are going all out to compromise her professional persona.

Jamie, struggling to come to terms with life back in the Fens, makes a pact with Anna – she has to teach him to fall back in love with Wynthorpe Hall, while he helps her fall back in love with Christmas. But will it all prove too much for Anna, or can the family of Wynthorpe Hall warm her heart once and for all…?

I love a Christmas story, you know I do! I especially love one when I am feeling a little down or sad as I remember to carry Christmas spirit with me always, and to funnel my energy into making people smile, positive energy and being kind and considerate to others. I remember these things and it reminds me how lucky I am and I start feeling a little better. So a Christmas story will always be welcome on my books shelf.

Heidi Swain is one of my favourite authors, I have read her other books and I have truly enjoyed them. This book was no exception, I liked reading about Wynthorpe Hall and all the excitement of Christmas. I didn’t fall in love with the main characters Anna and Jamie like I usually would. I am not sure why, I guess I didn’t connect them. I think maybe I didn’t fully engage with their stories or history. Jamies character felt somewhat flat, without any spoilers there is a section of the story where I really didn’t like him very much at all. Which is unusual for me with a male lead. I am usually very forgiving. I didn’t really fall for the love story either, it seemed a little forced and somewhat pretentious. The relationships between the main characters and the secondary characters were much more interesting and exciting than the romance story. However, the secondary characters made this book oh so worth it. I loved all the characters from Angus’ larger than life, loveable father figure to the local villages Anna meets on her travels around the village.

Heidis description of Wynthorpe did make me fall in love with the fictional hall and village and it made me long for our family visits to National Trusts. The warmth and love she described was adorable and I absolutely would recommend this to anyone who needs a little festive cheer up.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️★ 4/5 stars I would definitely recommend.

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**Book Review** Murder at the Smithsonian

Murder at the Smithsonian by Margaret Truman

Hi Everyone!

So I managed to find time to read an actual real life book. It made me so happy to hold a book in my hand and smell its pages. I am loving audible and the freedom it is giving me to hear a story and continue with other stuff, but there isn’t anything quite like holding a real life book and immersing yourself on a reading adventure. However, my excitement may have peaked with just holding this book as I can’t say it will become one of my favourites.

Murder at the Smithsonian isn’t a bad book, it just didn’t keep my interest all the way through. I feel like a book needs to have dips, twists and turns and a healthy dose of “normal” descriptive writing to keep the story going, and I feel like this book maybe fell a little short.

Dr. Lewis Tunney, a brilliant historian who had stumbled onto an international art scandal, was brutally murdered in front of two hundred guests at an elegant party at the Smithsonian. When his fiancee, Heather McBea, flies in from Scotland to learn more, Mac Hanrahan, the captain in charge of the case, takes a heated interest in her. And when two more murders are committed, Hanrahan has reason to worry about Heather’s sleuthing. But Heather is stubborn and insists on going her own way–right into the arms of a killer….

From this blurb, the story itself sounds like it was going to be right up my street, an engaging tale of murder, mystery and intrigue. What I got was a soft version of a hard-boiled egg tale of murder and not a lot of mystery!

I feel like maybe I am being too harsh, the story itself could have been amazing, it had so much potential. But I feel like the story dragged when it should have galloped and came to a screeching halt just as it started to get good. If a story is like a heart monitor, you want the dips and mountains to come evenly and throughout the book to keep your interest, not peak at the beginning, then nothing for a while with the odd potential for a good plot point to come to nothing, and then everything happen all at once at the end which made the rest of the book a little bit pointless.

I guessed early on who the culprits were, and I even pretty much had how and why down too, which in my opinion isn’t necessarily always a good thing. Sometimes you want the reader to have some ideas, but then with red herrings and the rest of the story developing, you still want them to question their own minds. In this case, I did not. I had pretty much guessed and confirmed a few chapters in.

It was a good book to pass an afternoon, it wasn’t great but I am glad I read it, I just think it had so much potential to be a great book. The characters were easily the second best part of this book for me. The leading characters didn’t draw me in as much as a book usually would, but the secondary characters were incredible. It was still fairly predictable guessing every ones motives and storylines, but they were at least enjoyable to read about.

My favourite part of the story was the scenery and exploring the varying museums. I have yet to travel to America, so for me discovering places in books is my favourite part of reading. I love hearing about the different museums and parts of Washington.

Overall, it was a good afternoon read and was enjoyable to a point. My mum read it after me, and she enjoyed it much more than I did. So, it just goes to show every book is a special journey but different for all of us. I would recommend it and I am going to find another of Margaret Trumans books to try.

⭐️⭐️★★★ 2/5 stars

*Book Review* Six Degrees of Assassination (audible version)

Six Degrees of Assassination by M.J. Arlidge

Evening folks! Long time no see guys! Sorry I haven’t written in a while. I lost my Blog mojo but I am hoping to jump right back in with my first review in a while.

I haven’t had chance to read much lately, between working from home, home-schooling and just general life; finding time to pick up a book has not been the top of my priorities. I love a real life book, the smell, the touch and just reading one I slip into my imagination… but as I say its not always easy pick one up and concentrate, enter audible. And what a life saver, now if I’m cleaning, cooking or writing reports, I can listen to a book to my hearts content.

So onto my review of the Audible Original Six Degrees of Assassination by M.J.Arlidge. A five hour political thriller written specifically for audible starring Andrew Scott, Freema Agyeman and Hermione Norris.

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From the blurb “On a sullen, cloudy July day ten years after 7/7, the happy, confident and optimistic British Prime Minister is visiting a charity in East London. Just two months after the general election which saw his government returned to power with a clear majority, the economy is on the mend and the coalition is fast becoming a bad memory.
Suddenly, a man appears out of the crowd and shoots him three times in the chest. Step forward Alex Cartwright, MI5 Chief Counter Terrorism Officer (Andrew Scott) who must find out the truth. But it’s easier said than done, as he discovers that whoever ordered the assassination has covered their tracks very well indeed…”

Excitement from the get go, the action is intense, exciting and fast paced from the start. This is much more than a book, it was a drama for your ears. I love an action packed, political thriller and the voice actors and sound effects really had the imagination whirling on this one.

The plot was possibly a tad over the top but isn’t that the point of an action story, to take you on a journey from real life to larger to than life. With twists and turns, a talented cast and a radio like drama story being told, what more could I ask for from an audible original? Granted it might have been a little predictable but aren’t all dramas.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and cannot wait to sink my teeth into my next thriller.

Overall, this was a good listen and I would probably have enjoyed it just as much in a book format, however the sound effects and voice actors really did give the story something extra, so on the whole I really enjoyed it and would recommend it for any one who enjoys a good action packed thriller.

4 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️★

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Would you like to have a listen for yourself – click here to head on over to Amazon?

*Book Review** The Gift of Happiness

The Gift of Happiness by Holly Martin.

Welcome to my stop on The Gift of Happiness book blog tour. I could not wait to post it… I had to really hold off on putting my review out sooner as I think you should get a glimpse into the village of happiness and honestly I think you should all read this and it’s prequel.

I am a massive, massive fan of Holly Martin and she mad kindly offered me a chance to read a few of her books before publication date in return for an honest review, a few things, 1) you all know I love reading so I was never going to turn that offer down, 2) I adore Holly’s work so I almost bit her hand off and finally, 3) I write my blog because I love to write and share, but it is a huge dream of mine to write things people find interesting and may help them, so overall, I love Holly’s work and she has given me a chance to fulfil a dream so I really do.

Anyway, I’m rambling again onto my review:

A sparkling, thoughtful romantic tale which gave me tingles and made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Christmas stories are my favourite kind of stories.

For me, it’s always about the characters. If I fall in love with one or all the characters, then it’s going to be a yes from me. The Gift of Happiness is no different, I love the characters – but then again, in a Holly Martin story, I always do! Like with people in real life, there are characters you will grow to love and some that you instantly fall in love with. Willow in the first book was an instant for me, Ruby was a bit of a grower, but I think she was written that way. You have to follow her journey, understand and learn why she is the way she is. I accepted her character early on as we should with people, she is the way she is, and she doesn’t want to change for anyone and I like that but I didn’t love her, not right away anyway, but when you start to learn her story and see her interactions with Willow, the villagers and Jacob and it soon wasn’t long before I’d fallen for her characters charm too, just as Jacob did.

I love how the characters were established a little in the first book and then grow in this one. I adore Hollys books where we are given a story and characters in one book but still get to hear from them in other stories. I love immersing myself in the Little Village of Happiness. Who wouldn’t want to live in this lovely, beautiful and unique place? I’m actually very jealous of all the characters.

I do find it hard to believe that both brothers could be so beautiful in real life but in a book I am a sucker for it. I read to escape and travel to new places and meet exciting new people. I am happy to suspend reality for a few hours and fall in love with two beautiful and amazing brothers.

I am not usually one for spoilers as I’d rather just give my open and honest opinion and hope this is enough for you to decide to go pick it up, on your own but on this occasion. I do want to give a little insight into the book and I will have a spoiler below, so if you don’t want to know please skip this next section.

The opening of the book sees Ruby, who we met in the previous book moving into Happiness. She had a few days of amazing sex with Jacob when she visited Willow in the summer but she is a lady who does not wish to settle down and is happy with no strings fun, or is she? As with all romance stories, this is just the start of Ruby’s journey. It’s Christmas time in Happiness, and the village is alive with all things festive and as always the gossips are out in full force as Ruby comes to town. Can she live in the village for the next year without falling into Jacobs arms, bed or heart?

***Spoiler alert***

The main theme throughout this story is dealing with loss, our fears and overcoming them. Although, we won’t all have the exact same experiences as Ruby, her story still resonates with me, as we all do often let our past, our fears etc dictate our futures. The loss of Ruby’s partner had me choked up and I cried whilst reading this chapter. A]if a character in a book can make me cry just by a few simple words, you know you are reading a good story. But more than the sadness of the tale, it was the understanding from Jacobs character which was incredible and got to me most. I love and hate reading, as real life men don’t always live up to literary ones.

**Spoiler over**

Deaf awareness and understanding in this story and it’s prequel is truly beautiful! Add to this, the inclusion of a Paralympic and the way he is living his life too, is remarkable. What an inspiring read! I would love to believe that if people were more like the characters in stories like this, the world would be a nicer place. Having health/mental/ physical differences doesn’t make the characters less of a person or ever come across as a negative. I love how it’s part of the characters but it’s not the defining feature. I especially like Ruby’s reasoning for learning to sign, “she knew it was partly to expand her skills and learn a new language and to be able to help understand people who might struggle to be understood.” People who learn languages so when they travel they can try to speak to the natives of that area is wonderful, I am one of those. I like to think that although my skills might not be great I am trying. Learning to sign to communicate with people who might struggle is, in my eyes even more wonderful. Imagine if we all did this, imagine if we all tried harder to communicate with everyone. Beautiful.

I love Christmas – the idea of carrying Christmas spirit/ magic all year round is something me and my mum have always done and I like to hope I’m passing that onto my kids! I always say we are Spirit of Christmas ambassadors. I love a Christmas story but a Christmas story about a lady I can relate to well that was perfection in a book. It’s not a secret that Holly is one of my favourite authors, it’s not often I pick her up her books and don’t instantly fall in love with everything about it. I love how she helps you connect with the characters and the story, but also with the places. Each time I discover a new place in Holly’s books, I want to go to and explore and find some of these treasures for myself. Happiness is almost a character itself. Overall, a book by Holly is probably going to be a hit in my house, a book by Holly about Christmas, well Christmas has arrived early in my house, and a little warning to my friends and family, you may all be receiving this book as a gift this year.

As a final note, I’d like to say a massive massive thank you to Holly for choosing British Heart Foundation as the charity her character chooses to support and for choosing to write about heart conditions and opening up discussions about BHF and what they do. I lost my dad quite young and he suffered with heart conditions. The work and research they do is so important and they don’t get government funding so all the help they get from donations etc is really appreciated. I would have loved this book anyway as Holly is one of my favourite authors, but when you add all the positives, the connection to the British Heart Foundation and everything about Christmas, it might actually be one of my all time favourites.

Overall, I love this book and if you want a festive, feel good read which will leave you feel all warm and fuzzy inside but also might make you jealous of all the beautiful, friendly and romantic feels – this is the book for you!

***Book Review*** The Little Village of Happiness

The Little Village of Happiness

By Holly Martin

I don’t know how it happened but it was an absolutely wonderful day when I was asked by one of my favourite authors to write a review of her latest book. As a book reviewer, it is wonderful when you get approached to review a book. I don’t do blog as a business or for a fee, I just do it for my love of books and reading, and to be asked to do a review is, just, well it’s wonderful. So to be asked again, is a dream come true!

I couldn’t wait to start my new book, and Holly has wrote a beautiful, funny and lively story. Once again, I started and I couldn’t put it down.

As you are all aware by now, the plot of a book can be similar to others but I will still fall in love with it, if I can fall in love with the characters. Personality, character development and chemistry are all huge priorities for me. Holly ticks all these boxes and always delivers a wonderful storyline too, so I have no need to worry.

Willow has taken a leap of faith and moved to a little village called Happiness to start afresh after her long term relationship ended in a disastrous failed engagement. To avoid the stares, the gossips and the humiliation, not that she was too bothered but the break up, but gossip can take a while to disappear. She has taken a chance to move rent free to Happiness for a year to help the village grow. She has no idea what to expect and is slightly shocked to see the state of the village, however she is soon distracted by the presence of the very attractive and kind estate manager Andrew.

When I started The Little Village of Happiness I wasn’t sure about Willow, but it only took until the second chapter to fall deeply in love with her. Willow’s positive outlook in life, combined with her ability to not just see the beauty in the world, but also see the negatives and sadness and turn it into a positive experience is wonderful. She is a bubbly, flirty bundle of energy, I can relate to on a personal level.

Andrew might be the perfect literary man! I have never been instantly attracted by a character as much as am I to him. He is absolute perfection, he obviously makes a few mistakes but he owns them straight away and there is nothing more attractive than that. Between the two main characters, Willow has my heart. To move to some where new, taking a leap of faith and trying out new experiences, is incredible. I was in awe of her quirky, happy go lucky attitude throughout the whole book.

I love this style of book so I knew I was going to enjoy it before I even started to read it. But every author brings something new to the table when it comes to chick lit and Holly does it like no other. The Little Village of Happiness sounds so beautiful, I want to discover it for myself and pack up my bags and head there. I am not sure I would be able to add anything productive in a business sense to the village, but I think I would really fit in with the villagers. Throughout the story, I adore how it isn’t just the romance blossoming between our two protagonists that make this story shine. The idea of bringing happiness back to Happiness, and encouraging community spirit within the village is absolutely beautiful.

All the little tiny details in this story are what make it special, it is also these wonderful additions that will make me pick it up to read it again and again, and recommend it to other people. I love how Holly’s characters always add something new and different to the book. Willow is a small business owner, she makes candles. How cute and adorable is this, but also such a good business for a crafty person, but not something you might read about. There is an artist within the village, landlord and lady of the local pub, and the post lady controls the post office with a record book and a friendly face. How unusual but so quaint. Romance blossoms for a senior couple, and Willows friend Ruby might even find love in the village. Every little thing that happens, comes together to make this a really cute but wonderful story.

My final comment is about Andrews character being deaf, obviously this a huge part of his character and something that drives the story. Personally I have no experience with deaf people similar to Holly, (she mentions in her comment that she doesn’t either) and she was worried about writing this character. But I think it is awesome she still has chosen to write Andrew and with such confidence. I don’t know any deaf people but I have friends who have been labelled for other reasons, and I think Holly’s approach in this story is spot on; seeing deafness as something that is just part of a person, not a negative, not something to be ashamed of, but something we should empathise with and help/encourage if we can, not judge someone or alter our behaviour because of it. This is absolutely the best part of this book for me. Willows speech to a Ruby regarding Poppy is a truly inspiration and outstanding message and I think more people need to hear it.

“And stop with the ‘poor girl’ crap, Deaf people don’t need or want our pity, they don’t want to be labelled as an abnormality or different. They just want understanding, to have the same opportunities as us, to have access to the same stuff that we do. And sometimes that can be difficult for the, but they want empathy not sympathy.” Its a beautifully written speech, and shows Willows, and through her Hollys view of the world and it really impressed me. The whole book has left a lasting impression of kindness, understanding and empathy with me, and I think everyone should read it.

I adore Holly Martin and I love this book and I cannot wait for the next instalment to see what happens between Ruby and Jacob. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know all the residents of Happiness. I especially liked the idea of secret gifts; what a wonderful idea to spread community spirit and joy. My favourite is Roger asking for a Chris Hemsworth half naked calendar, I can fully appreciate that gift.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️5/5 stars. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes a cute, romantic easy read. Would be ideal to take on a summer holiday.

**Book Review** Memory Man

Memory Man (Amos Decker #1)

By David Baldacci

I picked this book up a while ago but it got added to my to read pile, which has slowly become my to read bookcase. I wanted a crime story and was hoping to start a series I could really get into, so I picked this from my shelf.

I liked it but I didn’t love it.

Amos Decker is a Police Officer and a good one by all accounts. Early on we see that something horrific has happened to him, and he has lost his job, his life has spiralled and he is now living on the streets, and taking small PI jobs to earn a bit of money. The awful event that made his life spiral, his family: wife, daughter and brother in law were brutally murdered.

To add to this sad tale, Decker also had an accident when he was younger, as a school football player. He collided with another player and it caused changes to his brain, he was left with Synesthesia and Hyperthymesia. I didn’t realise these were real things, and I spent a good long time googling them, they are very interesting to read about.

A tragic event occurs at the local school which draws Decker back into the policing game, just as someone also steps forward to confess to his family’s murder. Is all of this linked to Decker, or just a huge coincidence? Is he somehow connected to everything and this is all a revenge plot? Will Decker overcome his personal issues and work out the mystery surrounding all these events?

Unfortunately, I’m not sure the brain issues add to much to the story in this case, I just couldn’t connect with him, I felt bad for him with the murder of his family and as a crime story I think it could have been great, but somewhere it fell flat. I don’t think I was drawn into the world or the characters enough to really feel the story.

For me, having the family die before the story really starts means I don’t really get to love/sympathise and connect to the character. So it’s hard to understand and see where all the characters emotions and feelings are coming from.

I liked how we went through how the stories were connected, and I really liked how we got a clear view of the school and how everything is linked and viewed. He described really well and I could imagine the old abandoned army base and the connection to the school. The crime part of the story, was really good. I just struggled to connect with Decker.

I think David Baldacci builds up Decker to be this awesome detective who just had an awful time and it lead him down this path, but from what we see, the other characters don’t act too much like he is this great detective and if I’m honest, I couldn’t see it myself either.

I really enjoy other David Baldacci books so I honestly wanted to love this, but if I’m honest I struggled. It hasn’t put me off though.

I think I’d like to read the next in the series to see how he grows, and what he does next, as I did enjoy it somewhat, but I don’t think it will ever be a favourite and I won’t be running to buy the next one anytime soon.

Overall, it was a good plot for a story, the linking of the crimes and how it came together sounds like it could be an awesome read, but unfortunately it doesn’t quite live up to what could have been.

⭐️⭐️⭐️3/5 stars I’m not rushing out to buy the next one but I will be trying it. I would recommend to crime readers if they like stories with a twist.

 

*Book Review* The Oxford Murders

The Oxford Murders 

By Guillermo Martinez

My best friends and I went on a trip to Oxford for Christmas, it is a beautiful place and was a wonderful shopping experience. Whilst there, obviously I stopped into the Waterstones for a couple of books, I couldn’t resist really. It was huge and filled with all my favourite things.

Whilst there I saw a copy of The Oxford Murders and as I was in Oxford, I thought why not? And I am so glad I did.

So over the Easter weekend, we went away with family for a special trip which I will update you all about later, but we had lots of adults around to help with the children, which meant I got to read to my hearts content.

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A young Argentinian maths scholar has recently moved to Oxford. What he hoped would be a quiet time to finish up his graduate studies, soon turns into a mathematical murder mystery.

A sensation in Argentina and in the UK – Guillermo Martinez writes with a flair for the dramatic and mathematical ease – he easily kept me on the edge of my seat. I think myself a bit of a murder mystery aficionado, I thought I had the murderer pegged from relatively early on, but as with any good mystery, and adding the element of mathematical intrigue, I was actually still second guessing myself right to the end.

Our young Argentinian finds himself in the middle of a murder enquiry when he finds his landlady dead in her house, alongside a mathematical clue which suggest it may the start of a serial killer. A well known mathematician is called upon for his expertise or he is a suspect. With a wealth of guilty looking people, suspicious characters and well if I am honest a whole cast of likely suspects. As I began reading, and the book took its mathematical turn, I found I started suspecting everyone.

From the protagonists lover – a nurse working in the local hospital – whom I thought was a little too interested in the case for my liking, to the poor father of a child who needed a lung transplant – whom was going a little crazy waiting for a donor, to everyone else he met along his way. I also recently had a a bit if a binge read of a couple of stories with unreliable narrators, so even our Argentinian grad student didn’t make it out of my sleuthing.

I love a story that can make me think I have a theory and then make me change my mind sixteen times before the end of the story. If I could easily guess who did it or why they did it straight away, it doesn’t make for a very interesting read. I second guessed myself all the way through. I won’t spoil it by saying if my theories proved correct in the end, you should check it out for yourself. It is a very worthwhile read.

The characters are relatable and likeable, the story keep the flow and kept me on the edge of my seat. Overall, the story is well worth a read and as its a relatively short novel, it would be a good introduction to a crime mystery for anyone looking for a short easy read that will pull in to the mystery.

A short but sweet review for a short but exhilarating story.

★⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4/5 stars. A wonderful story in a beautiful back drop, well worth a read.

*Book Review* The Summer of Chasing Dreams

The Summer of Chasing Dreams by Holly Martin

Once I picked this book up, I couldn’t put it down and I finished it in one night. Within a couple of hours; which is impressive, even for me. It is a truly uplifting, romantic and beautiful read and so inspiring. Reading at home in bed, my first thought was how much I wanted to get up the next day and start exploring the world.

Everything about this book, from the beautifully written landscapes and adventures, to the amazing characters is wonderfully well written and makes me crave for an adventure of my own.

As you all know, I am a sucker for falling in love with a character. And yes I think everyone will fall in love with Thor a little bit, but for me, it’s all about falling in love with Eva and seeing the world through her eyes.

Holly Martin has done it again, I think the idea of an around the world trip appeals to anyone. Seeing the world and trying all these exciting things, well it’s exciting and amazing – especially for someone like me who is scared of flying, the dream and the reality are two very different things. I loved this book as it was a great read but on a personal level, I love reading books where I get to discover the world and see more of it, as I may not get to discover the real thing. Holly writes each new place beautifully, and certainly makes me want to travel to all these places, but as with her heroine Eva, seeing the world through Holly’s eyes is just as wonderful.

Not only does she write about some of the most beautiful and wonderful places, but she also has this romance blossoming all the way through it. Now you all know I am not one for spoilers, so I won’t be going into much detail. Eva is a young woman, who lost her mum and is trying to navigate life without her. She and her mum were polar opposites by all accounts, unlike her mum Eva never had any desire to travel. But upon discovering her mums lists of dreams she wished for as a teenager, Eva decides to set off on a once in a lifetime trip around the world with a dedicated travel guide, to keep her company. After some initial upset, enter godlike beauty Thor form stage left and undoubtedly, romance, drama or all of the above will ensue. If like me you like a good chick lit romance, you might think you know what will happen. But let me tell you now, as much as this story does have some of the usual traits of a romance novel, it is also something quite special.

I don’t think it follows the usual trope of a romance story. I think Eva is a very real character, and she moves the story along beautifully, she is brave and bold when she needs to be, with a slight naivety about her that is endearing. And as with most stories when the ‘plot thickens’, and you expect the drama to ensue, the nervous and slightly scared character we meet at the beginning of the story has grown and evolved, it’s not unrealistically and although there is slight drama, our Eva doesn’t back down or get scared and so inevitably, she becomes the heroine of her own story and I think I fell a bit in love with her.

I wish I could be as brave at conquering my fears, and maybe then I could see some of this glorious world, that Holly Martin so beautifully describes.

As with everything, I like to hope that I don’t look at everything with rose tinted spectacles, so was there anything I didn’t enjoy or like. Well, it ended far too soon. It left me wanting more ( 😊😍obviously this isn’t really a criticism.) I love and hate when a story leaves me wanting more, I love it because it means I enjoyed the story and I fell for the characters, so I really want to know more, but I am sad, as most of the time, there is no follow up. But I have a good imagination, I can imagine their future into existence in my mind.

I did have one wish whilst reading this story. I really would have liked to hear more from Laurel, I know she isn’t supposed to be as exciting as Eva’s mum, but I liked her relationship with Eva, it would have been nice to hear more of it. Possibly, hearing more from other characters too, I know it is Eva and Thor’s story, but you know me, I love good characters, so I love hearing all the stories of background characters. I especially like Thor’s parents, and I think I would have liked to hear more from Thomas too.

But as far as the story goes, I really, really enjoyed it. I think anything about exploring the world, seeing beautiful places and having fun adventures would appeal to me, but having the romance, friendship, family, love and slight drama thrown in, really sold it for me.

Holly Martin is one of my favourite authors, with her quirky humour, cute and romantic storylines and steamy, sexy scenes, she never fails to cheers me up every time I pick up one of her books. She did a wonderful job in making me fall in love with all of these extraordinary and unique places in her own unique way. I have always wanted to see the world and reading this story, has made me want it even more, never in my life have I wanted to see Hanami (Cherry blossom festival) in Japan as much as I did after finishing this book. She also created characters that I wanted to have happy endings, she made me fall in love with these people too. I love reading about a character and feeling like I’ve found a friend.

Overall, this is a sweet romance story enclosed in a beautiful travel adventure, that ticks so many boxes, how could it not be a wonderful read? The characters are adorable and you will undoubtably fall in love with at least one character. The scenery and places Eva discovers are described amazingly, and they are a wonderful back drop to a very cute, and refreshing love story.

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ (5/5 stars) I would definitely recommend this for anyone who loves Holly Martin already, anyone who craves adventure or romance or someone looking for something exciting or inspiring. It definitely inspired me to want to seek out more adventures.

*Book Review* A Match Made In Devon

A Match Made in Devon by Cathy Bramley.

What can I say about this book? A wonderful read that I could not put down, like at all! A beautiful read, as its such a warm book, a good one to read if you missing summer. A fun thing about this story, I bought it as soon as I saw it in the shops. A week later, I got an email as I am on Cathy Bramleys email subscription list – telling me I needed to read this wonderful book! I was so happy to be ahead of the curve that day! 😀

Cathy Bramley is possibly one of my favourite authors.  A few years back I had never picked up a book from the chick lit section, let alone ever enjoyed a book in this style. Now I have shelves full and I always have at least one on the go. I like to read to escape my life, into other peoples adventures and lives. There is nothing wrong with my life, in fact I have a wonderful little family, a lovely husband and a near perfect life. But I love to read always have, and reading about others trials and tribulations, seeing more parts of the world and reading about romance and friendships is wonderful.

A Match made in Devon is the perfect book to sum up what I love about this genre of writing. The characters are relatable and beautiful in their own ways, the characters go through so much and yet, although fun to read and a little on the crazy side, it doesn’t feel unrealistic. As I mentioned, I love reading because I get to explore places and see it through another eye. Even though we have visited Devon on numerous occasions, Cathy Bramleys descriptions make me long for another visit, or to pack up and move there. I feel like the house in this story becomes like a secondary character rather than just a property.

Everything about this story is cute, silly and adorable and although might not be a serious read, if you want an easy read to brighten your day and make you smile, a Cahty Bramley book might be the best place to start.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 out of 5 stars. I especially love the character who loves mermaids. I won’t say more but its worth the read for that character alone.

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