Watching what I’m reading . . .

We’re currently having lovely warm days and very cold nights, something I can live with. But we have more rain forecast next week and apparently a cold spell as well that may see me hibernating.

The Eastern Bay of Plenty region of the North Island of New Zealand has been hit by a swarm of earthquakes over the past 36 hours. To all my bookish friends in that region, my thoughts are with you and I hope you are all safe.

I am currently reading A Gentle Murderer by Dorothy Salisbury Davis, set in the 1950s. It took me a wee bit to settle into, but now I’m enjoying it immensely. It’s not quite a murder-mystery as we meet the murderer making confession early in the book, but it’s the police and the Priest to whom he confessed trying to ascertain just who he is, and then trying to find him, that provides the entertainment.

I am also reading #1 in a New Zealand crime/detective series by Vanda Symon, Overkill. I read the 5th in the series last week and loved it so much that I decided to begin at the beginning. Loving it. At this point it’s looking like another 5 star read.

Book 1 in the PC Sam Shephard series. Action-packed, tension-filled and atmospheric police procedural set in rural New Zealand.

When the body of a young mother is found washed up on the banks of the Mataura River, a small rural community is rocked by her tragic suicide. But all is not what it seems. Sam Shephard, sole-charge police constable in Mataura, soon discovers the death was no suicide and has to face the realisation that there is a killer in town. To complicate the situation, the murdered woman was the wife of her former lover. When Sam finds herself on the list of suspects and suspended from duty, she must cast said her personal feelings and take matters into her own hands. To find the murderer… and clear her name. A taut, atmospheric and pageturning thriller, Overkill marks the start of an unputdownable and unforgettable series from one of New Zealand s finest crime writers.

I am listening to The House at Riverton by Kate Morton, narrated by Emilia Fox. This was originally published as The Shifting Fog.

The House at Riverton is a gorgeous debut novel set in England between the wars. Perfect for fans of “Downton Abbey,” it’s the story of an aristocratic family, a house, a mysterious death, and a way of life that vanished forever, told in flashback by a woman who witnessed it all.

The novel is full of secrets – some revealed, others hidden forever, reminiscent of the romantic suspense of Daphne du Maurier. It’s also a meditation on memory and the devastation of war and a beautifully rendered window into a fascinating time in history.

I, again, have only one read for review due this week, just as well as I am still reading books that were published two weeks ago. Her Deadly Game by Robert Dugoni is due for publication 23rd March, and hopefully I will be caught up by then.

A defense attorney is prepared to play. But is she a pawn in a master’s deadly match? A twisting novel of suspense by New York Times bestselling author Robert Dugoni.

Keera Duggan was building a solid reputation as a Seattle prosecutor, until her romantic relationship with a senior colleague ended badly. For the competitive former chess prodigy, returning to her family’s failing criminal defense law firm to work for her father is the best shot she has. With the right moves, she hopes to restore the family’s reputation, her relationship with her father, and her career.

Keera’s chance to play in the big leagues comes when she’s retained by Vince LaRussa, an investment adviser accused of murdering his wealthy wife. There’s little hard evidence against him, but considering the couple’s impending and potentially nasty divorce, LaRussa faces life in prison. The prosecutor is equally challenging: Miller Ambrose, Keera’s former lover, who’s eager to destroy her in court on her first homicide defense.

As Keera and her team follow the evidence, they uncover a complicated and deadly game that’s more than Keera bargained for. When shocking information turns the case upside down, Keera must decide between her duty to her client, her family’s legacy, and her own future.

I have received two publishers widgets this week, and one ARC via Netgalley. The Netgalley ARC is Summer Nights at the Starfish Cafe by Jessica Redland. I’m excited about this as I haven’t previously been approved for any of her books.

The two publishers widgets are: Black Thorn by Sarah Hilary

And The Seventh Victim by Michael Wood. This is a series that has consistently been 5 star reads.

I’ve done quite well with my posting this week. I’m not promising the same for this week.

I’ve a shoulder of lamb in the oven for tonight’s dinner and it smells delicious. The vegetables are just waiting to be tipped into the roasting dish. I’ll be sneaking a slice or two before I dish up and putting between two slices of the fresh bread I bought from the bakery today slathered in butter, salt and pepper. That’s one of life’s guilty pleasures for me.

Enjoy your weekend!❤📚

First Lines Friday

Photo by Meszu00e1rcsek Gergely on

Welcome to First Lines Friday originally hosted by Reading is my SuperPower.

Instead of judging a book by its cover, here are the first few lines which I hope will make you want to read this book.

The day it was ordained that Gabriella Knowes would die, there were no harbingers, omens or owls’ calls. No tolling of bells. With the unquestioning courtesy of the well brought up, she invited death in.

Like what you’ve just read?

Want to read more?

These are the opening lines of one of my current reads, Overkill by Vanda Symon.

Book 1 in the PC Sam Shephard series. Action-packed, tension-filled and atmospheric police procedural set in rural New Zealand.

When the body of a young mother is found washed up on the banks of the Mataura River, a small rural community is rocked by her tragic suicide. But all is not what it seems. Sam Shephard, sole-charge police constable in Mataura, soon discovers the death was no suicide and has to face the realisation that there is a killer in town. To complicate the situation, the murdered woman was the wife of her former lover. When Sam finds herself on the list of suspects and suspended from duty, she must cast said her personal feelings and take matters into her own hands. To find the murderer… and clear her name. A taut, atmospheric and pageturning thriller, Overkill marks the start of an unputdownable and unforgettable series from one of New Zealand s finest crime writers.


Watching what I’m reading . . .

Good Sunday afternoon. We’ve had a lazy weekend and have accomplished very little. I don’t even have to think about dinner tonight as we’re off to a friend’s later this afternoon to watch the Supercar racing out of Australia and staying for dinner. I’m really looking forward to it.

I didn’t manage to accomplish much reading wise over the past week either. I have only managed to finish one of my six reads for review for the week, but will probably finish the second tonight.

Currently I am reading The Summer

And a book by a new to me New Zealand author, Vanda Symon. Loving it!

A killer targeting pregnant women.

A detective expecting her first baby…

The shocking murder of a heavily pregnant woman throws the New Zealand city of Dunedin into a tailspin, and the devastating crime feels uncomfortably close to home for Detective Sam Shephard as she counts down the days to her own maternity leave.

Confined to a desk job in the department, Sam must find the missing link between this brutal crime and a string of cases involving mothers and children in the past. As the pieces start to come together and the realisation dawns that the killer’ s actions are escalating, drastic measures must be taken to prevent more tragedy.

For Sam, the case becomes personal, when it becomes increasingly clear that no one is safe and the clock is ticking…

I am listening to The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly

I am hoping to catch up on the reads I didn’t get to last week as I have only one read for review due this week. It is Murder at the Willows by Jane Adams.

Meet Rina Martin, a retired actress with a taste for tea, gardening and crime solving.

She played a TV sleuth for years, but now she has to do it for real.

There’s something strange about the scene . . . Famous artist Elaine appears to have passed peacefully in her sleep as she rested against a tree in the garden of her home, the Willows. Her legs are outstretched, hands tenderly clutching a small blue flower.

But upon closer inspection, things don’t add up. Where is Elaine’s trusty walking stick? Why did she choose to slumber on the ground when there is a comfortable lounge chair nearby? Where did that blue flower come from? . . . not from her garden, that’s for sure.

The clues soon point to murder. Elaine was beloved by the community, who would do such a thing? Her grandson is determined to uncover the truth and hires Rina to investigate.

The trail leads Rina to a series of shocking secrets, stretching back over twenty years. And a murderer who has unfinished business . . . Can our favourite amateur sleuth catch this killer before it’s too late?

Suddenly, because I decided to stop requesting ARCs for review, several that were on my pending list were approved, and I received three widgets from publishers!🤣🤣🤣 Is someone in the great library in the sky trying to tell you something?

The three publishers widgets are:

Windmill Hill by Lucy Atkins

The People Watcher by Sam Lloyd

And Don’t Look Back by Jo Spain

Other ARCs I received via Netgalley are:

The Guest House by the Sea by Faith Hogan

A Cornish Seaside Murder by Fiona Leitch

A Lonesome Blood-Red Sun by David Putnam

and The Lucky Shamrock by Carolyn Brown

Oh, well, I was obviously meant to have these. 🤷‍♀️❤📚

Thanks to all of you who have been asking after Pete. We’re back to Oncology Monday when they will plot a detailed map of the cancer for the radiation treatment which will be starting in the next two to three weeks.

Have a great week of reading and I’ll be popping in whenever I can. 🤗❤📚

Watching What I’m Reading . . .

Another week down and dusted.

We’ve had Luke for the weekend and he has just gone home. He fell off the swing at school the Friday before last and broke his right wrist. It doesn’t seem to worry him at all except this morning when he wanted to play tennis. I explained that I didn’t think it was a good idea or that he would be able to, but . . . he tried, couldn’t, and had a meltdown. He was soon distracted by a couple of Oreos and the basketball hoop. He managed to score 42 times and was quite happy. I,on the other hand, am exhausted. Although I am doing aquarobics and walking when the weather permits, I am obviously unfit. I haven’t played tennis at all this summer, and it shows. I need to get back into it.

I am currently reading Life or Death by Michael Robotham, an Australian author I love. This is a paperback copy I picked up in a charity shop. Robotham always manages to draw me in with his beautifully crafted characters and his intriguing plots. Life or Death is no exception and I can’t wait to find out why Audie Palmer has escaped from prison the day before he is due to be released.

I am almost finished listening to Midnight at the Blackbird Café. I adore Heather Webber’s writing and have been savouring this. I will probably finish this tomorrow.

This week I am hoping to read four books: A Mischief of Rats by Sarah Yarwood-Lovett.

When a driver dies during a glamourous classic car event at her family’s estate, Dr Nell Ward is in a race against time to uncover the truth and prevent the killer from making a speedy getaway…

Back in her natural habitat, Dr Nell Ward heads to a woodland pond to survey local newt populations. She’s shocked to discover a car submerged in the water – with the driver dead behind the wheel.

Nell recognises the dead man as professional racing driver, and tabloid love rat, Jack Rafferty, whose performance on (and off) Finchmere’s racetrack had earned him enemies.

Suspecting this isn’t the tragic accident it appears DI James Clark calls upon Nell and her ecological skills to help find the murderer. But she soon finds that more lurks under the surface than she could ever have imagined. Despite the danger, Nell is determined to dredge up the truth from the murky depths of this case, before it’s too late…

The Holiday Home by Daniel Hurst. I have both Kindle and audio format for this so will switch from one to the other.

I sit sipping champagne in the warm water, bubbles frothing around me as I admire the breath-taking view of gorgeous blue skies and mountains. I can’t believe I’m here, at this stunning holiday home. It’s to die for…

My best friend and her husband have invited me and my family to their lakeside property for the weekend, to experience their luxury lifestyle. I’m not envious of their wealth, although I know my husband Ryan is. All I want is to escape from our recent troubles and get my marriage back on track.

Then I overhear Ryan having a whispered conversation late one evening, and he says something that sends a shiver down my spine. In this beautiful paradise my whole world is turned upside down.

Just when I think things can’t get any worse, I discover a second secret. The truth is even more shocking than I imagine, and now I have no idea who to trust.

This was meant to be the perfect holiday, but someone isn’t going to survive it…

The Close by Jane Casey. I read this author’s previous book and loved it.

At first glance, Jellicoe Close seems to be a perfect suburban street – well-kept houses with pristine lawns, neighbours chatting over garden fences, children playing together.

But there are dark secrets behind the neat front doors, hidden dangers that include a ruthless criminal who will stop at nothing.

It’s up to DS Maeve Kerrigan and DI Josh Derwent to uncover the truth. Posing as a couple, they move into the Close, blurring the lines between professional and personal as never before.

And while Maeve and Josh try to gather the evidence they need, they have no idea of the danger they face – because someone in Jellicoe Close has murder on their mind.

Old God’s Time by Sebastian Barry, a new author to me.

Recently retired policeman Tom Kettle is settling into the quiet of his new home, a lean-to annexed to a Victorian castle overlooking the Irish Sea. For months he has barely seen a soul, catching only glimpses of his eccentric landlord and a nervous young mother who has moved in next door. Occasionally, fond memories return, of his family, his beloved wife June and their two children, Winnie and Joe.

But when two former colleagues turn up at his door with questions about a decades-old case, one which Tom never quite came to terms with, he finds himself pulled into the darkest currents of his past.

I have received two new ARCs through Netgalley this week. They are:

The Fall by Gilly Macmillan

The Monk by Tim Sullivan, another new author to me.

I am seriously considering taking an hiatus, or even a semi-hiatus, of indeterminate length. I am feeling a bit overwhelmed with dealing with Peter’s health problems and ongoing problems at work. Things will hopefully become clearer after his video-conference with his care team on Friday and I will wait until after this to make my final decision. So if I miss a post or two in the interim, or am not interacting with you as normal please understand why. I am struggling to concentrate on what I am reading and feel like I don’t have an original thought in my head when it comes to writing reviews. Thanks for your understanding.

Happy reading all.



The Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths #3 The House at Sea’s End and #4 A Room Full of Bones

The House at Sea’s End (Ruth Galloway #3)

EXCERPT: ‘Erosion’s bad here,’ says Ted. ‘I’ve been reading about it. Sea’s End House has been declared unsafe. Jack Hastings is in a right old two and eight. Keeps ranting on about an Englishman’s house being his castle.’
They all look up at the grey house on the cliff. The curved wall of the tower is only two or three feet from the precipice. The remains of a fence hang crazily in midair.
There was a whole garden at the back of the house once. Summer house, the lot,’ says Craig, one of the men. ‘My granddad used to do the gardening.’
Beach has silted up too,’ says Trace. ‘That big storm in February has shifted a lot of stone.’
They all look towards the narrow beach. Below the cliffs, banks of pebbles form a shelf which then falls steeply into the sea. It’s an inhospitable place, hard to imagine families picnicking here, children with buckets and spades, sunbathing adults.

ABOUT ‘THE HOUSE AT SEA’S END’: When bones are unearthed at the foot of a north Norfolk cliff, forensics expert Ruth Galloway and DCI Nelson are put on the case. The skeletons have lain there for decades, possibly since the war, and for all that time a hideous crime has been concealed.

When a body washes up on the beach, it becomes clear that someone wants the truth of the past to stay buried, and will go to any lengths to keep it that way. Can Ruth and Nelson uncover the truth in time to stop another murder?

MY THOUGHTS: I first read this in 2015,but reread it over the past few days as I am now reading the whole series, from the beginning, in order.

This was actually my first ever Elly Griffith read. I had seen good reviews of the series, but was avoiding them because they sounded little “dry” to me. Believe me, this book was anything but.

In addition to the unearthed crime dating back to WWII, we learn a lot more about Ruth’s time in Bosnia when an old friend from that time makes a reappearance in her life.

Kate, Ruth’s baby daughter undergoes both a naming ceremony – courtesy of Cathbad – and a Catholic christening to appease Nelson. Neither ceremony pleases her ‘born again Christian’ parents who don’t attend either. And Ruth has an unsettling encounter with Judy at Judy and Darren’s wedding.

Nelson learns something about his boss, Whitcliffe, that subtly changes his opinion of the man, and he finds he is no longer able to summon up his old hatred and contempt for him. A pity, as he misses it.

I love the little snippets of information we learn about the characters in each book. Clough eats almost constantly: McDonald’s, Mars Bars, pot noodles, sandwiches, cakes . . .

Although this is easily read as stand a alone book – each book is a completely self-contained mystery, although there are references to occurrences in previous books – you would miss out on all the character development and the building of relationships. This was my second read. I loved it first time round, and loved it even more this time.

There were a couple of quotes from the book that I really enjoyed: “She has got her figure back after having the baby, which is a shame – she was rather hoping to get someone elses.”; and “There is a pleasure in being mad that none but madmen know.”



A Room Full of Bones (Ruth Galloway #4)

EXCERPT: At the end of the gallery she steps from tile to carpet and, to her surprise, finds herself in a red-walled Victorian study. A stag’s head looms over a painted fireplace and a man sits at a desk, frowning fiercely as he dips his quill into an inkwell.
‘Excuse me . . .’ begins Ruth, before realising that the man’s eyes are dusty and one of his arms is missing. A rope separates her from the figure and his desk but she leans forward and reads the inscription:
Percival, Lord Smith 1830 – 1902,adventurer and taxidermist. Most of the exhibits in this museum were acquired by Lord Smith in the course of a fascinating life. Lord Smith’s love of the natural world is shown in his magnificent collection of animals and birds, most of which he shot and stuffed himself.
Funny way to show your love of the natural world, by shooting most of it, thinks Ruth. She notices a brace of guns over the head of the waxwork of Lord Smith. He looks a nasty customer, alive or dead.
There are two ways out of Lord Smith’s study. One says ‘New World Collection’ and one ‘Local History’. She pauses, feeling like Alice in Wonderland. A slight sound, a kind of whispering or fluttering, makes her turn towards Local History. She feels in the mood for a soothing collection of Norfolk artefacts. She hopes there are no more waxworks or embalmed animals.
Her wish is granted. The Local History room seems to be empty apart from a coffin on a trestle table and a body lying beside it. A breeze from an open window is riffling through the pages of a guidebook lying on the floor, making a sound like the wings of a trapped bird.

ABOUT ‘A ROOM FULL OF BONES’: Night falls on Halloween Eve.
The museum in King’s Lynn is preparing for an unusual event – the opening of a coffin excavated from the site of a medieval church. But when archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway arrives to supervise, she finds the museum’s curator lying dead beside it.
Ruth and Detective Inspector Nelson are forced to cross paths once again when he’s called in to investigate the murder, and their past tensions are reignited.
As Ruth becomes further embroiled in the case, she must decide where her loyalties lie – a choice that her very survival depends on.

MY THOUGHTS: I love Ruth! She is intelligent, passionate about her work, and decidedly unglamorous. How refreshing to have a realistic and relatable main character. She mightn’t have the most wonderful life skills – like most of us she is just stumbling through – but I love that too. She does things, mostly in her personal life, and I think ‘Oh, Ruth!’; but then, I don’t know if I would have done any different.
I love that she faces dilemmas and is human and fallible when making her choices. She gets tired, and grumpy, and irritable. She occasionally says things she later regrets. She ‘believes’ she is being a good mother by eating the chocolates from her daughter’s advent calendar, thereby saving Kate’s teeth. Sounds like something I would do!
She has an uncomfortable relationship with her parents, born again Christians who, while adoring their granddaughter Kate, are voluably certain that Ruth will go to hell for having a child out of wedlock.
A Room Full of Bones has several mysteries running through it increasing Nelson’s workload – that of the dead curator; another unexpected death; and an influx of cheap cocaine into the area. Now I usually dislike the introduction of drug cartels into a story. BUT, it doesn’t dominate the storyline, and the solution was something I had never thought of, and really very clever.
Judy Johnson and Dave Clough, who loves the Godfather films and frequently intones ‘I’m gonna make you an offer you can’t refuse’ when alone with a mirror, play larger roles in this book, and Cathbad continues to both intrigue and infuriate Nelson.
I absolutely love the characters in this series. The mysteries are wonderful and I never manage to work out the solution, but it is really the characters that are the icing on the cake.



I: @ellygriffiths17 @quercusbooks

T: @ellygriffiths @QuercusBooks

THE AUTHOR: Elly Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway novels take for their inspiration Elly’s husband, who gave up a city job to train as an archaeologist, and her aunt who lives on the Norfolk coast and who filled her niece’s head with the myths and legends of that area. Elly has two children and lives near Brighton.

Devil’s Way (Kate Marshall #4) by Robert Bryndza

EXCERPT: ‘Mum, is Charlie with you?’ she said.

‘He’s not in the tent?’ said Jean, feeling panic return.


Jean pushed past her and looked inside. Both sleeping bags were empty and she felt her stomach drop.

‘He must be with Joel,’ she said, coming back and seeing Becky’s worried face.

‘No, Mum, he’s not. I thought I heard him outside our tent. That’s why I came out to look for him. Why aren’t you with him?’

‘I went for a cigarette. Just for a minute,’ said Jean. The lie dropping out of her mouth without any preparation needed.

‘What if he went down to the river? I don’t know if it’s rained, can you hear how loud the water is?’ said Becky. Her voice had a tinge of hysteria.

‘Let’s look. Charlie can’t have wandered far,’ said Jean, trying to keep calm. The fact that Becky was more scared than angry frightened her.

Becky woke Joel and they all found torches and started to search, taking in the river, the rocks on the Tor, and the surrounding fields. The arcs of light from their torches swept across the dark landscape, searching. The river was higher than it had been the day before, and as Jean swung her torch over the dark, raging torrent, and called out Charlie’s name, her voice seemed to get swallowed up by the darkness. She felt sick as the minutes passed, turning to an hour, then two. Charlie was nowhere to be found. Around 4am, the sky started to turn light, and this was when they called the police.

As the sun rose over the moors, a police car arrived, then two more.

The search began in earnest, but they never found Charlie.

ABOUT ‘DEVIL’S WAY’: When Private Investigator Kate Marshall is rushed to hospital after being pulled into a riptide current in the sea, the near-death experience leaves her shaken. During her recovery, she befriends Jean, an elderly lady on the same ward. Jean tells the harrowing story of how her three-year-old grandson, Charlie, went missing eleven years ago during a camping trip on Dartmoor.

By the time Kate is well enough to go home, she’s agreed to take on the case, but when Kate and her trusty sidekick Tristan start to look at the events of that fateful night, they discover that Jean has a dark past that could have put Charlie in jeopardy.

Was Charlie abducted? Or did he fall into Devil’s Way? A rushing river that vanishes into a gorge close to where they were camping.

When Kate and Tristan discover that a social worker who flagged concerns about Jean and her daughter was found brutally murdered shortly after Charlie vanished, it makes them question everything they thought they knew about the family…

MY THOUGHTS: I think this is the best of the series yet! I was riveted throughout even though I figured out what had happened to Charlie well before the reveal.

Kate and Tristan make a great team, although their relationship takes a bit of a knock in this book. And other than an admonishing phone call, Kate’s son Jake is absent. I kind of missed him.

This is a multilayered mystery; it seems the more Kate and Tristan dig into Charlie’s disappearance, the more mysteries and unanswered questions they uncover. Cold cases always fascinate me, and Charlie’s disappearance is no exception. Things become even more interesting when Charlie’s case is linked to the unsolved murder of a social worker who had more than a passing interest in Charlie.

If you are looking for a good twisty mystery, this is it.

Devil’s Way can be read as a stand-alone but, believe me, you will get so much more out of it if you read this series from the beginning.

I read/listened to Devil’s Way – probably listened more than read – but both formats are great. Devil’s Way is brilliantly narrated by Jan Cramer.


#DevilsWay #NetGalley

I: @robertbryndza #ravenstreetpublishing

T: @RobertBryndza #RavenStreetPublishing

#contemporaryfiction #crime #murdermystery #mystery #privateinvestigator

THE AUTHOR: Robert Bryndza was born in the UK and lived in America and Canada before settling in Slovakia with his Slovak husband Ján.

When he’s not writing Rob is learning Slovak, trying to train two crazy dogs, or watching Grand Designs all in the hope that he’ll be able to understand his mother-in-law, build his dream house, and get the dogs to listen.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Raven Street Publishing via Netgalley for providing both a digital and audio ARC of Devil’s Way by Robert Bryndza for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my profile page or the about page on

This review is also published on Twitter, Amazon,Instagram and

Watching What I’m Reading . . .

Greetings from a sun-soaked but devastated New Zealand. While our area escaped this week’s cyclone virtually unscathed, the small west coast communities north of Auckland and the Hawkes Bay Region of the North Island have been decimated. Eleven are dead, including two firefighters killed when a house they were evacuating slid over the cliff. There are many still missing. To all my New Zealand bookish friends, I hope that you and your loved ones are all safe.

I haven’t had much time to read during the week and doubted, at one point, that I was going to finish even one read for the week. But it is now late Sunday afternoon and over yesterday and today I managed to finish three of my four reads.

Currently I am reading Blind Eye by Aline Templeton, #5 in the DI Kelso Strang series.

I am still reading The Christmas Pig by J.K. Rowling.

And I am listening to Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe by Heather Webber

Nestled in the mountain shadows of Alabama lies the little town of Wicklow. It is here that Anna Kate has returned to bury her beloved Granny Zee, owner of the Blackbird Café.

It was supposed to be a quick trip to close the café and settle her grandmother’s estate, but despite her best intentions to avoid forming ties or even getting to know her father’s side of the family, Anna Kate finds herself inexplicably drawn to the quirky Southern town her mother ran away from so many years ago, and the mysterious blackbird pie everybody can’t stop talking about.

As the truth about her past slowly becomes clear, Anna Kate will need to decide if this lone blackbird will finally be able to take her broken wings and fly.

This coming week I have two books to read for review – Getting Even by Lisa Jackson

Trask McFadden is back.” Those are words that Tory has been waiting to hear, half in dread, half with longing. It’s been five years since Trask landed her father behind bars for horse swindling, using things she’d told him in confidence. Her father died there, but now Trask insists he has information that could help prove who was really responsible for the crime, not to mention his own brother’s death. Trask needs her help. But he won’t get it, not after destroying her family, her ranch, and the love they shared.

Lauren Regis’s ex-husband has kidnapped her children. There’s nothing she won’t do to get them back, including hiring Zachary Winters. The unconventional attorney has made a name for himself by locating people–especially those who don’t want to be found. But he’s got a darker reputation too, and there are rumors swirling about the fate of his ex-wife. How much is Lauren willing to trust him–or to lose?

Murder at an Irish Bakery by Carlene O’Connor

The picturesque village of Kilbane in County Cork, Ireland, is the perfect backdrop for a baking contest–until someone serves up a show-stopping murder that only Garda Siobhan O’Sullivan can solve.

In Kilbane, opinions are plentiful and rarely in alignment. But there’s one thing everyone does agree on–the bakery in the old flour mill, just outside town, is the best in County Cork, well worth the short drive and the long lines. No wonder they’re about to be featured on a reality baking show.

All six contestants in the show are coming to Kilbane to participate, and the town is simmering with excitement. Aside from munching on free samples, the locals–including Siobhan–get a chance to appear in the opening shots. As for the competitors themselves, not all are as sweet as their confections. There are shenanigans on the first day of filming that put everyone on edge, but that’s nothing compared to day two, when the first round ends and the top contestant is found face-down in her signature pie.

The producers decide to continue filming while Siobhan and her husband, Garda Macdara Flannery, sift through the suspects. Was this a case of rivalry turned lethal, or are their other motives hidden in the mix? And can they uncover the truth before another baker is eliminated–permanently . . .

In the past week I have received four new ARCs for review.

Murder at the Willows by Jane Adams, a new author to me, but one I have heard only good things about.

The Rush by Michelle Prak

The Fall by Louise Jensen

And Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne – I adore Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends. I still have my original copy of this from when I was a child. It is greatly treasured.

To all my bookish friends who have been asking about my husband, Pete, thank you. I appreciate your support and concern. He is feeling well in himself and is returning to work on Monday on light duties while we wait to hear when he starts chemotherapy.

Have a wonderful week my friends and happy reading. ❤📚

Watching what I’m reading . . .

Today it almost feels like autumn is already here. Cool and breezy, it’s been ideal weather for mowing the lawn. Afterwards I went out on the deck to enjoy a sandwich and a cup of coffee, but it was unpleasantly cool and I had to move back inside. Please, no autumn yet – we’ve hardly had a summer!

Currently I am reading The Devine Doughnut Shop by Carolyn Brown

For Grace Dalton, her sister, Sarah, and her cousin Macy, the Devine Doughnut Shop is a sweet family legacy and a landmark in their Texas town. As the fourth generation to run the Double D, they keep their great-grandmother’s recipe secret and uphold the shop’s tradition as a coffee klatch for sharing local gossip, advice, and woes. But drama brews behind the counter, too.

Grace is a single mother struggling with an unruly teenage daughter. Heartbroken Sarah has sworn off love. Macy’s impending wedding has an unexpected hitch. And now charming developer Travis Butler has arrived in Devine with a checkbook and a handsome smile. He wants to buy the shop, expand it nationally, and boost the economy of a town divided by the prospect.

With the family’s relationships in flux, their beloved heritage up for grabs, and their future in the air, it’s amazing what determination, sass, a promise of romance, and a warm maple doughnut can do to change hearts and minds.

And doing a read/listen to The Mistress Next Door by Lesley Sanderson

<i>I know what you did. You destroyed my life. Now I’m going to take everything from you, starting with your husband. I’m your worst nightmare, and I’m closer than you think.</i>

Oliver, my husband and the father of our three little girls, used to be my rock. But recently he’s been behaving strangely, staying out late, working weekends and emotionally absent even when home. Now as I clutch a receipt for a hotel room and champagne for two, hidden away in his coat pocket, I’m devastated. What else can I assume other than he’s cheating?

I’ve risked everything for the life I have now, a life that’s a million miles from… before. Not that Oliver would know anything about that. I would do anything to hold on to the perfect future I so dearly long for. A future that is now about to come crashing down.

Because Oliver’s cheating isn’t the only threat to my family. This morning I received an anonymous note. One that changes everything. The past isn’t just haunting me, it’s coming back to destroy me. It seems that someone in our close-knit community of Prospect Close knows my secret. Someone who’s willing to do whatever it takes to get their revenge. They’ve already stolen my husband. How much further will they go? And what can I do to stop them…?

This week I have only one other book to read for review – The House Guest by Hank Phillipi Ryan

After every divorce, one spouse gets all the friends. What does the other one get? If they’re smart, they get the benefits. Alyssa Macallan is terrified when she’s dumped by her wealthy and powerful husband. With a devastating divorce looming, she begins to suspect her toxic and manipulative soon-to-be-ex is scheming to ruin her—leaving her alone and penniless. And when the FBI shows up at her door, Alyssa knows she really needs a friend.

And then she gets one. A seductive new friend, one who’s running from a dangerous relationship of her own. Alyssa offers Bree Lorrance the safety of her guest house, and the two become confidantes. Then Bree makes a heart-stoppingly tempting offer. Maybe Alyssa and Bree can solve each others’ problems.

But no one is what they seem. And the fates and fortunes of these two women twist and turn until the shocking truth emerges: You can’t always get what you want. But sometimes you get what you deserve.

After that I want to read the next book in Elly Griffiths Ruth Galloway series and hopefully I will fit in at least one title from my backlist.

I have received five new ARCs from Netgalley and a publisher’s widget this week to read for review. They are:

Blind Eye by Aline Templeton

The Holiday Home by Daniel Hurst

The Summer House by Keri Beevis

A Fatal Affair by A.R. Torre

Murder at an Irish Bakery by Carlene O’Connor

And the publisher’s widget is I’ll Leave You With This by Kylie Ladd

And that’s where I will leave you for the day. I have a review to write, laundry to bring in off the line and dinner to prepare.

It’s Waitangi Day here in New Zealand tomorrow, and today is the wedding anniversary of a young couple who are very dear to my heart. Happy anniversary Dan and Nettie. It was wonderful catching up with you. ❤💐🥂

Happy reading my bookish friends. ❤📚

A Song of Comfortable Chairs by Alexander McCall Smith -#23 in the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency

EXCERPT: Mma Ramotswe sighed. There was so much wrong with the world. There were so many cases of people behaving badly in one way or another, of people doing things that they should not do, and the more we scrutinised what was going on around us, the more we discovered of just this sort of thing. Under every stone, she sometimes thought, there is bound to be a scorpion.

ABOUT ‘A SONG OF COMFORTABLE CHAIRS’: Grace Makutsi’s husband, Phuti, is in a bind. An international firm is attempting to undercut his prices in the office furniture market. Phuti has always been concerned with quality and comfort, but this new firm seems interested only in profits. To make matters worse, they have a slick new advertising campaign that seems hard to beat. Nonetheless with Mma Ramotswe’s help, Phtui comes up with a campaign that may just do the trick.
Meanwhile, Mma Makutsi is approached by an old friend who has a troubled son. Grace and Phuti agree to lend a hand, but the boy proves difficult to reach, and the situation is more than they can handle on their own. It will require not only all of their patience and dedication, but also the help of Mma Ramotswe and the formidable Mma Potokwani in order to help the child.
Faced with more than her fair share of domestic problems, Mma Makutsi deals with it all with her usual grace. That, along with the kindness, generosity, and good sense that the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency is known for, assure us that in the end, all these matters will be set right.

MY THOUGHTS: This was not at all what I expected and, to be quite honest, I felt cheated. Does it not say #1 Ladies Detective Agency? There is not much detecting takes place.

Initially I found the characters quite charming, at least while I still surmised that there was going to be a mystery of sorts to be solved. But eventually I became bored by the lack of anything happening. Sorry, but the domestic drama angle just didn’t cut the mustard.

I did have a laugh at the lunch debacle.

I love this author’s Isabel Dalhousie series and I was looking forward to discovering another wonderful series by him. Instead, I was disappointed by the slow pace, and the repititiousness in the characters. It’s odd, but the very things that I love about Isabel Dalhousie just don’t work for me here.


#ASongofComfortableChairs #NetGalley

I: @alexandermccallsmith @doubledaybooks

T: @McCallSmith @doubledaybooks

#contemporaryfiction #friendship #domesticdrama

THE AUTHOR: Alexander McCall Smith is professor emeritus of medical law at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and has served on many national and international bodies concerned with bioethics. He was born in what is now known as Zimbabwe and he was a law professor at the University of Botswana. He lives in Scotland.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Knopf Doubleday via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of A Song of Comfortable Chairs by Alexander McCall Smith for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my profile page or the about page on

This review is also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and

Darkness Falls (Kate Marshall #3) by Robert Bryndza

EXCERPT: As soon as Joanna reached the top, and stepped out, he slipped the bag over her head, yanked her backward, and used the handles to pull the plastic tight around her neck.
Joanna cried out and staggered on her feet, dropping the large handbag she carried. He pulled the bag tighter. The plastic sat flush over her skull and bulged at the mouth and nose as she sucked in and out the remaining air she had in her lungs.

ABOUT ‘DARKNESS FALLS’: Kate Marshall’s investigation into a journalist’s disappearance sends her down an unexpectedly twisted path in a riveting thriller by the author of Shadow Sands.

Kate Marshall’s fledgling PI agency takes off when she and her partner, Tristan Harper, are hired for their first big case. It’s a cold one. Twelve years before, journalist Joanna Duncan disappeared after exposing a political scandal. Most people have moved on. Joanna’s mother refuses to let go.

When Kate and Tristan gain access to the original case files, they revisit the same suspects and follow the same leads―but not to the same dead ends. Among Joanna’s personal effects, Kate discovers the names of two young men who also vanished without a trace.

As she connects the last days of three missing persons, Kate realizes that Joanna may have been onto something far more sinister than anyone first believed: the identity of a serial killer hiding in plain sight. The closer Kate comes to finding him, the darker it’s going to get.

MY THOUGHTS: Although this is #3 in the Kate Marshall series, it is easily read as a stand-alone. Although, once you’ve read this, you’re going to want to go back and read the previous two books anyway.

This is developing into a great series. The plotting is spot on, the narrative flows easily, there’s plenty of suspense and the characters are developing nicely.

Kate is more confident in herself and is developing a closer relationship with her son Jake, who is now at University. Myra has, unfortunately, passed away, but has left the caravan park to Kate. Tristan is becoming more comfortable in his own skin and his sister Sarah is slowly accepting his sexuality.

The case Kate and Tristan so gratefully accept is a cold one – the disappearance of a young female journalist twelve years earlier. Bev, the missing girl’s mother, wants Joanna’s body located so that she can bury her and find some closure.

While looking at what Joanna was working on at the time of her disappearance, Kate and Tristan stumble upon stories about young men disappearing and they start to form theories about what might have happened. Of course, we know what happened to Joanna because of the prologue. What we don’t know is who . . .

Unusually for me, I cottoned on to the killer very early on. It was just a feeling that became stronger as the book progressed. This in no way diminished my pleasure in reading this book.

I’m now all caught up with this series and eager to read #4, Devil’s Way, due for publication January 2023.


#DarknessFalls #NetGalley

I: @robertbryndza @amazonpublishing

T: @RobertBryndza @AmazonPub

#contemporaryfiction #crime #familydrama #murdermystery #mystery #privateinvestigator #serialkillerthriller #suspense #thriller

THE AUTHOR: Robert Bryndza was born in the UK and lived in America and Canada before settling in Slovakia with his Slovak husband Ján.

When he’s not writing Rob is learning Slovak, trying to train two crazy dogs, or watching Grand Designs all in the hope that he’ll be able to understand his mother-in-law, build his dream house, and get the dogs to listen.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Thomas &Mercer via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Darkness Falls by Robert Bryndza for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my profile page or the about page on

This review is also published on Twitter, Amazon,Instagram and