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Goodreads Reading Challenge 2018

Tennison By Lynda La Plante Book Review #8

We watched Tennison when it was on TV last year and we really enjoyed it. I’ve not read any Lynda La Plante books before but I’ll be reading more now.


Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

From the creator of the award-winning ITV series Prime Suspect, starring Helen Mirren, comes the fascinating back story of the iconic DCI Jane Tennison.

In 1972 Jane Tennison, aged 22, leaves the Metropolitan Police Training Academy to be placed on probationary exercise in Hackney where criminality thrives. We witness her struggle to cope in a male-dominated, chauvinistic environment, learning fast to deal with shocking situations with no help or sympathy from her superiors. Then comes her involvement in her first murder case. No one witnessed the savage beating of a tragic young girl who, the post-mortem reveals,was pregnant when she died. The murder enquiry is soon running cold…

My Thoughts

While reading the book I felt that the TV series had followed it quite closely. It was about a year ago when I watched the TV show so I may not be remembering it correctly.
The reason I say that is because Lynda La Plante has said in a Facebook post that she felt ITV were changing the story and characters too much so a second series is not on the cards.

It’s sad because I would have loved another series. There are more books featuring the young Tennison, though, so I’ll have to be content with those!

I’m going to be on the lookout for Hidden Killers, the second book in the Tennison series. Good Friday is the 3rd and a fourth book is in the works.


Tennison by Lynda La Plante

Goodreads reading challenge 2018 8 books read


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The Way You Look Tonight By Richard Madeley Book Review #7

I was supposed to be reading and reviewing Mark Haddon’s The Red House this week but I’m afraid I really couldn’t get into it.
After reading The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time I was looking forward to The Red House, but I found it very difficult to understand what I was reading.
I decided life was too short to force myself to read it and I changed to The Way You Look Tonight by Richard Madeley.

The Way You Look Tonight by Richard Madeley

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Not until she was 16 did Stella Arnold learn the full truth about her father, how handsome, charming James turned out to be a cold-blooded, psychotic extortionist, racketeer and killer. Knowing now what her father was capable of, she decides to study psychology and the criminal mind, and to further her education in America.

In the spring of 1962, she flies to Boston where, being beautiful, bright and fashionably English, she becomes someone of huge fascination and on every invitation list. Then comes an invitation one summer weekend to the home of the Kennedys. Stella quickly becomes part of the inner Kennedy circle as they party through the hot summer nights. Both brothers, JFK and Bobby, make their moves on her but she firmly, charmingly, repels them.

Further south, on the Florida Keys, a killer is on the loose. The case, unsolved, begins to rock America, and with her specialist knowledge of psychopaths, Stella is co-opted by the police investigation and prepares to fly south…

My Thoughts

If I’d have seen this book on the shelf in a bookshop, I’d have mistaken it for a chick-lit style story. The cover does not convey the actual genre of the story and I wouldn’t have bothered picking it up.
it was only the fact that I’d read one of Richard Madeley’s books before that I decided it was worth reading the blurb.

I try not to read any reviews on the current book I’m reading until after I’ve finished because I don’t want to be swayed either way.
I’ve just been checking out the reviews now I’ve finished the book and I wasn’t surprised to see my blogging friend, Cheryl, had written much the same as me about the book cover, back in 2014 – I didn’t copy your review, Cheryl, honest!

The Way You Look Tonight By Richard Madeley

I’m glad I did because I really enjoyed it. I like Stella and Lee and I’m glad they got a happy ever after.
It usually annoys me when different chapters are told by the different characters but it wasn’t the case this time. In fact, I didn’t give it much thought, to be honest. It worked well.

I’m now on the lookout for Someday I’ll Find You, which I’ve just found out from Cheryl’s review that I should have read that first, seeing as it’s the story of Stella’s mum and dad!


Goodreads reading challenge 2018 7 books read


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15 Seconds By Andrew Gross Book Review #6

15 Seconds was my first Andrew Gross novel and I’m happy to say, it won’t be my last. I really enjoyed it. It kept me turning the pages and not wanting to put it down.

15 Seconds by Andrew Gross

15 Seconds

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Henry Steadman is a successful Florida plastic surgeon on his way to deliver a keynote address at a conference when his world falls apart. Stopped by the police for a minor traffic violation, the situation escalates and he is pulled from his vehicle, handcuffed, and told he is under arrest. Several other police cars arrive and the questioning turns scary, but after it subsides, and Henry is about to move on, the officer is suddenly killed in his car and there is only one suspect: the very person he was about to arrest not ten minutes before. Henry! When a second friend turns up dead, Henry realizes he’s being elaborately framed. But in a chilling twist, the stakes grow even darker, and he is unable to go to the police to clear his name.

15 Seconds is a story of how even the best of lives can be destroyed in just an instant– and of an innocoent man, framed for murder, who has to save the person he loves the most, and who cannot go the police to clear his name.

My Thoughts

I found it hard to know where to start with this review. So much seems to be happening in this book.

The mother and tiny baby dying at the hands of a drugged up teenage girl called Amanda is so sad. What makes it even more so is the fact that her husband is away in the army and hadn’t even met his son yet.

Amanda’s father, Vance, blames everyone else for the state of his daughter.
He’s a former policeman who lost his job, his wife and his home. All he had left was his daughter.

In contrast, Henry, a renowed plastic surgeon has a great life. He’s off to play golf with an old friend before speaking at a conference for Doctors Without Borders.
Unlike Vance, his daughter is doing wonderfully and Henry is very proud of her.

Carrie works in the police outreach division and has just returned back to work after her son and husband ended up fighting for their lives on the same day. Her son lived, her husband didn’t.

All these lives crash together to give us a roller coaster ride of police chases, revenge, kidnapping and murder. If I didn’t have family and work to do, I’d have finished it much sooner. I didn’t want to put it down.

15 Seconds by Andrew Gross

Goodreads challenge 2018


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Home By Amanda Berriman Book Review #5

Wow, week 5 already. We’re steaming through the year!
This week’s book, Home by Amanda Berriman, is a download from NetGalley. I wasn’t going to review any books from NetGalley this year because I’ve got my pile of actual books to read that will last me all year! After reading the blurb, though, I couldn’t not read it.

It’s written from the perspective of 4-year-old Jesika which reminded me of the book, Room by Emma Donahue.
I had reservations about Room when I first started reading it. I thought it was going to be hard to read but I very soon got into it and read the whole book in a couple of days.


Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Jesika is four and a half.

She lives in a flat with her mother and baby brother and she knows a lot. Jesika knows their flat is high up and the stairs are smelly. She knows she shouldn’t draw on the peeling wallpaper or touch the broken window. And she knows she loves her mummy and baby brother Toby.

She does not know that their landlord is threatening to evict them and that Toby’s cough is going to get much worse. Or that Paige, her new best friend, has a secret that will explode their world.

My Thoughts

It’s not an easy subject matter but I had to finish it to see what happened to Jesika. She’s such a little a cutie and I found myself wishing I could give her a big cuddle.

The book was really well written from Jesika’s point of view. It was frustrating only hearing from Jesika because as an adult, I’d usually be privy to all the information from the adult conversations but because Jesika wasn’t included in the conversations, neither was I!
It made me actually think what it must be like for a child listening to us adults talking and not being able to understand everything.

I loved that Tina, Jesika and Toby found such a great support network and even though there was a sad bit at the end, I finished the book feeling so happy for Jesika and her family.

I gave the book 5 stars on Goodreads. I’ll be keeping an eye out for any future books by Amanda Berriman 🙂

You can Amanda Berriman on Twitter

Home by Amanda Berriman

Goodreads reading challenge 2018 5 books read


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Talking To The Dead By Harry Bingham – Book Review #4

I’ve bought lots of books from the charity shop after reading the blurb on the back. I get annoyed when it doesn’t mention anywhere that the book is part of a series.
Luckily, Talking To The Dead turned out to be the first book in this series.

I’ve got about 4 books (that I know of so far) that are books from the middle of a series. I now have to collect the series if I want to read those books!

I’ve learnt my lesson now. I’ll Google each book before I buy it to make sure it isn’t part of a series.

Talking To The Dead

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:


At first, the murder scene appears sad, but not unusual: a young woman undone by drugs and prostitution, her six-year-old daughter dead alongside her. But then detectives find a strange piece of evidence in the squalid house: the platinum credit card of a very wealthy–and long dead–steel tycoon. What is a heroin-addicted hooker doing with the credit card of a well-known and powerful man who died months ago? This is the question that the most junior member of the investigative team, Detective Constable Fiona Griffiths, is assigned to answer.

But D.C. Griffiths is no ordinary cop. She’s earned a reputation at police headquarters in Cardiff, Wales, for being odd, for not picking up on social cues, for being a little overintense. And there’s that gap in her past, the two-year hiatus that everyone assumes was a breakdown. But Fiona is a crack investigator, quick and intuitive. She is immediately drawn to the crime scene, and to the tragic face of the six-year-old girl, who she is certain has something to tell her . . . something that will break the case wide open.

Ignoring orders and protocol, Fiona begins to explore far beyond the rich man’s credit card and into the secrets of her seaside city. And when she uncovers another dead prostitute, Fiona knows that she’s only begun to scratch the surface of a dark world of crime and murder. But the deeper she digs, the more danger she risks–not just from criminals and killers but from her own past . . . and the abyss that threatens to pull her back at any time.

My Thoughts

I was really looking forward to reading this book but I have to say I was very disappointed.
The blurb on the back says:

A detective with a disconcerting familiarity with corpses.

Listening to what the dead woman and her daughter are trying to tell her, and tracing the twisted path that led them to their deaths, quickly becomes an obsession for DC Fiona Griffiths. But searching for the truth wherever it leads will mean taking a journey to the last place she wants to go.

Her past.

I took from this that she had a way of ‘talking with the dead’. This was further backed up, or so I thought when I read the end of chapter 1 where it says:

Matthews is talking about formalities and I’m blathering answers back at him, but my attention isn’t with any of that stuff. I’m going to be a policewoman. And just five years ago, I was dead.

I couldn’t wait to find out what she meant by this. It turned out I had to wait right until the end of the book and by that time, I wasn’t really bothered any more.
The book seemed to go on forever but I never really got sucked into the story. I was often confused about what was actually going on and it took so long to get answers to everything that I stopped caring.

At the end of the book, Fiona found out something about her past that I think was meant to make me want to go and buy the next book. I won’t be bothering.

talking to the dead by Harry Bingham

Goodreads challenge 4 books read


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The Stranger By Harlan Coben – Book Review #3

I can’t really say much about The Stranger without giving away the story. I will say that I spent a lovely, relaxing weekend reading this book. It was hard to put it down and I was grateful when both Kaycee and Ella asked if they could sleep over at their friend’s houses because it meant I could read in peace!

The Stranger

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

The Stranger appears out of nowhere, perhaps in a bar, or a parking lot, or at the grocery store. His identity is unknown, his motives are unclear, his information is undeniable. Then he whispers a few words in your ear and disappears, leaving you picking up the pieces of your shattered world.

Adam Price has a lot to lose: a comfortable marriage to a beautiful woman, two wonderful sons, and all the trappings of the American Dream: a big house, a good job, a seemingly perfect life.

Then he runs into the Stranger. When he learns a devastating secret about his wife, Corinne, he confronts her. The mirage of perfection disappears as if it never existed at all.

Soon Adam finds himself tangled in something far darker than even Corinne’s deception, and realizes that if he doesn’t make exactly the right moves, the conspiracy he’s stumbled into will not only ruin lives—it will end them.

Harlan Coben

I don’t usually read the acknowledgements in books but for some reason, I read them today.  I was very happy to read that people can make donations to charities in return for Harlan to use their name as a character in one of his books.
This is a great idea and if I could afford it, I’d love to have my name as one of his characters! If you’re interested, it says on the Harlan Coben website that you can write to



The Stranger by Harlan Coben

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The Orphan Choir by Sophie Hannah – Book Review #2

Sadly, (for me anyway because I LOVE it!) Christmas is behind us so I stashed away the feel-good Christmas novels and got stuck into The Orphan Choir by Sophie Hannah. It’s a bit of a change from my usual police thrillers but it has a hint of the supernatural which I also enjoy and I did enjoy this one.

Orphan Choir

It tells the story of Louise. She’s married to Stuart and mother to Joseph who is away at boarding school. He’s only 7 and Louise has really struggled with the loss she has felt since Joseph went away.
He’s a musical prodigy who was offered a free place at the prestigious Saviour College School so he could be a part of their choir.

Louise’s neighbour has become a noise nuisance and Louise ends up phoning the council to complain after trying to sort it out herself fails.

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Louise Beeston is being haunted.

Louise has no reason left to stay in the city. She can’t see her son, Joseph, who is away at boarding school, where he performs in a prestigious boys’ choir. Her troublesome neighbor has begun blasting choral music at all hours of the night—and to make matters worse, she’s the only one who can hear it.

Hoping to find some peace, Louise convinces her husband, Stuart, to buy them a country house in an idyllic, sun-dappled gated community called Swallowfield. But it seems that the haunting melodies of the choir have followed her there.

Could it be that her city neighbor has trailed her to Swallowfield, just to play an elaborate, malicious prank? Is there really a ghostly chorus playing outside her door? And why won’t they stop? Growing desperate, she begins to worry about her mental health.

Against the pleas and growing disquiet of her husband, Louise starts to suspect that this sinister choir is not only real but a warning. But of what? And how can it be, when no one else can hear it?

In The Orphan Choir, Sophie Hannah brings us along on a darkly suspenseful investigation of obsession, loss, and the malevolent forces that threaten to break apart a loving family.


I nearly didn’t read this book because I made the mistake of reading some reviews before starting it. I try not read reviews before reading the book. After struggling to choose between three books, I figured some reviews would help.

It didn’t really help though because Orphan Choir didn’t seem to have many favourable reviews! I decided to give it a go anyway because I like Sophie Hannah.
I’m glad I did; I enjoyed it but I would have enjoyed it more if the supernatural element had started earlier in the book.

The Prphan Choir by Sophie Hannah

Goodreads reading challenge 2018

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Last Christmas by Julia Williams – Book Review 1

I started Last Christmas at the end of November last year. I’d been reading a book or more a week all last year but December was busy and I slowed right down.
I was glad I’d been able to get ahead at the start of the year because I found myself only being able to read a few pages each night before going to sleep.

Last Christmas

This is the first book in a series by Julia Williams. It was an ok read but seeing as the story took us through a whole year in the life of Catherine and Marianne, it wasn’t as Christmassy as I’d like.
I didn’t know it was the first in a series until I read some of the Goodreads reviews.

I’m not sure if I’ll bother reading the next books. I’ll probably bring them home if they come into the charity shop but I’ll not put any effort into trying to find them.

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

It’s the most wonderful time of year. Isn’t it?

Discover the true spirit of Christmas with this seasonal treat for fans of Love, Actually and The Holiday. Discover the true spirit of Christmas! Catherine Tinsall is dreading Christmas. As the ‘Happy Homemaker’ she is an online sensation, but the reality couldn’t be more different. With Catherine’s marriage in tatters, her children running wild and her mother increasingly forgetful, seasonal cheer is running low. Husband Noel also hides a secret: he’s facing the axe at work. Until he chances upon the village of Hope Christmas, deep in the Shropshire countryside, which could be the second chance he’s searching for. If he can save it from the developers!

In Hope Christmas itself, schoolteacher Marianne Moore is trying to heal her battered heart. But Christmas is a time for families, and memories of what she’s lost haunt her at every turn. Meanwhile, Gabriel North faces a lonely Christmas but hides his sadness for the sake of his son. Will his wife ever come home? Or does love lie elsewhere? All four need a Christmas miracle. And it might just happen – courtesy of a mysterious guardian angel! Forced to reassess their lives, will Catherine, Noel, Marianne and Gabriel discover what the meaning of Christmas really is? An irresistible gift of a tale that will warm the hearts of Christmas-lovers and Scrooges alike!

Last Christmas by Julia Williams

Goodreads reading challenge 2018 1 book read

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