My Bookish Month April 2022

I can’t believe another month has gone already, these posts seem to come around very quickly. I suppose the ‘big’ thing this month was my birthday, another year nearer retiring is the way I’m starting to look at the numbers now they’re getting quite big. A couple of years to go yet, but light at the end of the work tunnel at least.

I’m using my birthday as an excuse for the mini splurge I had on eBooks this month. I guess they were my present to me. The list does include some pre-orders as well so I’m also essentially massaging the figures further down the line! I had another good reading month again aided by the cycling. I reached Delhi to complete The Golden Triangle and undertook a smaller one-off mini cycle in aid of Ukraine. I virtually cycled 58km in and around Kyiv over 4 days. I hardly dared read about the places I was virtually visiting for the fear of what might become of them. As I write this that fear is starting to become very real again as the Russians seem hell bent on winning at all costs and have Kyiv in their sights again. The ride at least helped to raise over $500,000 which was divided between the Red Cross and Save the Children Ukraine. I’m staring a challenge closer to home for the next ride but I’ll leave that for next month.

I read some cracking books this month and I need to find a way of giving them a decent shout out, especially as I’m not reviewing. Although leaving this post until the last minute doesn’t give me much scope to be adventurous either. I’m not keen on star ratings (although as I add all my reads to Goodreads I’ve scored them there) but I feel I need something. If I really disliked a book I wouldn’t finish it so it would never grace my lists anyway, that said there are some that stand out more than others. For this month I’ll pick a top three, and they are A Terrible Kindness, Grace after Henry and I’m dithering between How to Save a Life and The Handover, so that went well – you’ve got four! That doesn’t mean that the others were any less worthy reads, but I just got more invested in these, they gave me more ‘feels’ than the others. But we all know that reading is subjective so feel free to dive in with any that take your fancy, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

I can’t believe I’m about to mention the ‘C’ word as it’s only April, but the publicity and promo for Christmas books has already started. I’ve just had to create a list for my annual round up post, a process that doesn’t normally happen until September! On that jolly thought I’ll leave you! Happy (Christmas) Reading!!

Books I Bought this Month

(NB This post features Affiliate links from which I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases)

Dead Secret by Noelle Holten

Psychopaths can take root in the unlikeliest soil…

DC Maggie Jamieson crosses paths once again with Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood when a domestic violence survivor stumbles into her new refuge, unable to speak, desperate for help.

Then another case hits Maggie’s desk. A young man has been murdered, and a curious constellation of black dots has been inked onto his cheek.

That’s when DCI Hastings goes missing and Maggie uncovers a shocking connection that turns the case on its head.

Every family may hide secrets, but not every family buries them…


The Book Share by Phaedra Patrick

Liv Green loves losing herself in a good book. But her everyday reality is less romantic, cleaning houses for people who barely give her the time of day. So when she lands a job housekeeping for her personal hero and mega-bestselling author Essie Starling, she can’t believe her luck.

When Essie dies unexpectedly, Liv is left with a life-changing last wish: to complete Essie’s final novel. To do so, change-averse Liv will have to step away from the fictitious worlds in her head, and into Essie’s shoes. As she begins to write, she uncovers a surprising connection between the two women – and a secret that will change Liv’s life forever…


Annie Stanley All at Sea by Sue Teddern

Sometimes the end is only the beginning . . .

Annie is single, unemployed and just a bit stuck when her beloved father dies unexpectedly. Furious at his partner’s plans to scatter his ashes somewhere of no emotional significance, Annie seizes the urn and, on a whim, decides to take it on a tour of the thirty-one sea areas that make up the shipping forecast, which her father loved listening to, despite living in landlocked St Albans. Travelling around the coastline of Britain searching for the perfect place to say goodbye, she starts to wonder if it might be time to rethink some of the relationships in her life – but is it too late for second chances?


This Charming Man by C K McDonnell

Vampires do not exist. Everyone knows this. So it’s particularly annoying when they start popping up around Manchester . . .

Nobody is pleased about it. Not the Founders, the secret organisation for whom vampires were invented as an allegory, nor the Folk, the magical people hidden in plain sight who only want a quiet life. And definitely not the people of Manchester, because there is nothing more irksome than being murdered by an allegory run amok. Somebody needs to sort this out fast before all Hell really breaks loose – step forward the staff of The Stranger Times.

It’s not like they don’t have enough to be dealing with. Assistant Editor Hannah has come back from getting messily divorced to discover that someone is trying to kidnap a member of their staff and while editor Vincent Banecroft would be delighted to see the back of any of his team, he doesn’t like people touching his stuff – it’s the principle of the thing.

Throw in a precarious plumbing situation, gambling debts, an entirely new way of swearing, and a certain detective inspector with what could be kindly referred to as ‘a lot of baggage’ and it all adds up to another hectic week in the life of the newspaper committed to reporting the truth that nobody else will touch.


After the Rain by Lucy Dillon

After the storm it’s time for a fresh start . . .

First, the clouds…
Tara Hunter is a therapist on a mission to restore Longhampton’s community spirit after catastrophic flooding. But with her boyfriend AWOL, her family fragmented, and only a cat for company, Tara’s own life is crumbling.

Then the storm…
On top of everything, Tara’s father – last seen as he walked out on her when she was ten years old – is suddenly back, with a surprising offer that could change everything.

And after the rain…
Dr David Dalloway is Longhampton Wellness Centre’s new star counsellor. He’s charming, caring and has a knack for reading people’s minds – which is the last thing Tara needs right now. Will having David and her dad around make for a bigger storm on the horizon? Or is this Tara’s chance for a fresh start?


The Perfume Killer by Linda Hagan

A murder in a public place, a victim who hides his killer’s intent…

A German citizen is murdered in Belfast Botanic Gardens. Investigating, DCI Gawn Girvin concludes it is a revenge killing. But she draws a blank from CCTV and forensics.

The only clue is the top of a perfume bottle found at the scene. As frustration sets in, Girvin develops a hunch that by tracing the victim’s criminal connections, they’ve followed the wrong scent.

A young female university student seen nearby may hold the only key to unlocking the case. And like a bloodhound, Girvin follows the new leads.

But being ex-army, her cold demeanour is a magnet for risk takers. It means she gets results, but also puts herself in danger. And she could be charging into her biggest challenge yet.


Perdition’s Child by Anne Coates

Dulwich library is the scene of a suspicious death, followed swiftly by another in Manchester, the victims linked by nothing other than their Australian nationality. Police dismiss the idea of a serial killer, but journalist Hannah Weybridge isn’t convinced.

She is drawn into an investigation in which more Australian men are killed as they try to trace their British families. Her research reveals past horrors and present sadness, and loss linked to children who went missing after the Second World War. Have those children returned now?

Once again Hannah finds herself embroiled in a deadly mystery, a mystery complicated by the murder of Harry Peters; the brother of Lucy, one of the residents of Cardboard City she had become friendly with. It soon becomes clear Lucy is protecting secrets of her own.

What is Lucy’s link to the murders and can Hannah discover the truth before the killer strikes again?


The Island Home by Libby Page

Lorna’s world is small but safe.

She loves her daughter, and the two of them are all that matter. But after nearly twenty years, she and Ella are suddenly leaving London for the Isle of Kip, the tiny remote Scottish island where Lorna grew up.

Alice’s world is tiny but full.

She loves the community on Kip and how her yoga classes draw women across the tiny island together. Now Lorna’s arrival might help their family finally mend itself – even if forgiveness means returning to the past…

And as the two find friendship, Lorna also starts to find her place in the world.

Can coming home mean starting again?


Dear Reader by Cathy Rentzenbrink

Growing up, Cathy Rentzenbrink was rarely seen without her nose in a book and read in secret long after lights out. When tragedy struck, it was books that kept her afloat. Eventually they lit the way to a new path, first as a bookseller and then as a writer. No matter what the future holds, reading will always help.

A moving, funny and joyous exploration of how books can change the course of your life, packed with recommendations from one reader to another.


The Impulse Purchase by Veronica Henry

Sometimes you have to let your heart rule your head . . .

CherryMaggie and Rose are mother, daughter and granddaughter, each with their own hopes, dreams and even sorrows. They have always been close, so when, in a moment of impulse, Cherry buys a gorgeous but rundown pub in the village she grew up in, it soon becomes a family affair.

All three women uproot themselves and move to Rushbrook, deep in the heart of Somerset, to take over The Swan and restore it to its former glory. Cherry is at the helm, Maggie is in charge of the kitchen, and Rose tends the picturesque garden that leads down to the river.

Before long, the locals are delighted to find the beating heart of the village is back, bringing all kinds of surprises through the door.

Could Cherry’s impulse purchase change all their lives – and bring everyone the happiness they’re searching for?

Escape to the glorious Somerset countryside with this joyful and uplifting story of family, love and hope.


Holding Her Breath by Eimear Ryan

A young woman comes of age in the shadow of her family’s tragic past

When Beth Crowe starts university, she is shadowed by the ghost of her potential as a competitive swimmer. Free to create a fresh identity for herself, she finds herself among people who adore the poetry of her grandfather, Benjamin Crowe, who died tragically before she was born. She embarks on a secret relationship – and on a quest to discover the truth about Benjamin and his widow, her beloved grandmother Lydia. The quest brings her into an archive that no scholar has ever seen, and to a person who knows things about her family that nobody else knows.

Holding Her Breath is a razor-sharp, moving and seriously entertaining novel about complicated love stories, ambition and grief – and a young woman coming fully into her powers.


Duckling by Eve Ainsworth

Duckling’s a nickname Lucy has never been able to shake off.
And, if she’s honest, maybe it suits her.
She just isn’t the type to socialise with other people.
You might say she’s reluctant to leave her nest.

Lucy’s life is small, but safe. She’s got a good routine. But all that’s about to change…

When Lucy’s neighbour asks her to look after her little girl for a couple of hours – and then doesn’t come back – Lucy is suddenly responsible for someone other than herself.

It takes courage to let the outside world in, and Lucy’s about to learn there’s much more to life – but only if she’s brave enough to spread her wings…


At First Sight by Hannah Sunderland

Two strangers. Two chance meetings. One extraordinary love story…

Nell and Charlie feel a spark when they meet by chance in a cafe. But they don’t trade numbers, or surnames, so there’s no way they’ll meet again.

But the next day, Nell’s phone rings at work. Somehow, impossibly, Charlie is on the other end. And he needs her help.

Nell is about to save a life, fall in love … and risk everything for a perfect stranger.


Two Doors Away by Elle Spellman

Since moving to a new city, once-adventurous Steph is doing her best to prove to her friends and family back home that her life is as fulfilling and envy-inducing as ever. The truth? She is broke and has found that making new friends isn’t as easy as she expected.

Eric has lost his way in life since his breakup with perfect Clarissa. Now that all his friends are buying homes, getting married and starting families, Eric is still living in a house share, feeling left behind.

Eric and Steph are lonely. They’re strangers, but with one connection – they live on the same street, on either side of number 26. Neither Eric nor Steph have met their neighbour at number 26, but both used to take comfort in hearing their neighbour playing piano at the same time every night – it made them feel less alone.

Now the music has stopped and number 26 lies silent. Brought together by their mutual concern, Eric and Steph begin to grow closer and it looks like they might discover that the solution to their problems has been just two doors away the whole time.


Love You From A-Z by Linda Corbett (pre-order due 24 June)

For the love of letters…

Experience has told Jenna Oakhurst that Happy Ever After may happen in all the best stories, but Happy For Now is the best one ought to expect in real life. Yet lately even that isn’t quite enough, so when a strange set of circumstances leads her to discover a mysterious letter in an abandoned storage unit, she takes the chance to embark on a journey into the unknown…just like the heroines from the storybooks.

Reaching out to the letter’s author, Henry Somners, changes Jenna’s world irrevocably and she starts to realise that the magic she believed in as a child might not be such a fanciful notion after all…


The Last First Date by Hayley Quinn (pre-order due 21 May)

One date. One missed chance. One mission to find love.

At 31-years-old, Helen Pines is far from where she thought she would be. Whilst her ex-boyfriend is now engaged, Helen’s still eating ready meals for one, wistfully dreaming of her last first date.

Determined to give online dating a go, she matches with drop-dead-gorgeous Brody, and they hit it off immediately.

One date later, Helen’s heart is still singing. Brody’s everything she’s looking for in a man – sexy, charismatic, and the perfect gentleman. But then she receives an error message on the app… all her contacts have been deleted.

With nothing but Brody’s name and job title to go on, Helen is determined to track him down.

But despite the initial chemistry, Helen realises she knows surprisingly little about her mystery man… Was it really love-at-first like, or will she find a new love along the way?


The Ardent Swarm by Yamen Manai

From an award-winning Tunisian author comes a stirring allegory about a country in the aftermath of revolution and the power of a single quest.

Sidi lives a hermetic life as a bee whisperer, tending to his beloved “girls” on the outskirts of the desolate North African village of Nawa. He wakes one morning to find that something has attacked one of his beehives, brutally killing every inhabitant. Heartbroken, he soon learns that a mysterious swarm of vicious hornets committed the mass murder—but where did they come from, and how can he stop them? If he is going to unravel this mystery and save his bees from annihilation, Sidi must venture out into the village and then brave the big city and beyond in search of answers.

Along the way, he discovers a country and a people turned upside down by their new post–Arab Spring reality as Islamic fundamentalists seek to influence votes any way they can on the eve of the country’s first democratic elections. To succeed in his quest, and find a glimmer of hope to protect all that he holds dear, Sidi will have to look further than he ever imagined.

In this brilliantly accessible modern-day parable, Yamen Manai uses a masterful blend of humor and drama to reveal what happens in a country shaken by revolutionary change after the world stops watching.


Mr Right Across the Street by Kathryn Freeman

Mia Abbott’s move to Manchester was supposed to give her time and space from all the disastrous romantic choices she’s made in her past. But then the hot guy who lives opposite – the one who works out every day at exactly 10 a.m., not that Mia has noticed thank-you-very-much – starts leaving notes in his window…for her.

Bar owner Luke Doyle has his own issues to deal with but as he shows Mia the sights of her new city he also shows her what real romance looks like for the first time. And when he cooks up a signature cocktail in her honour, she realises that the man behind the bar is even more enticing than any of his creations. And once she’s had a taste she knows it will never be enough!


The Truth Must Dazzle Gradually by Helen Cullen

On an island off the west coast of Ireland, the Moone family gathers.

Maeve is an actor, struggling with her most challenging role yet – as a mother to four children. Murtagh, her devoted husband, is a potter whose craft brought them from the city to this rural life.

In the wake of one fateful night, the Moone siblings must learn the story of who their parents truly are, and what has happened since their first meeting, years before, outside Trinity College in Dublin.

We watch as one love story gives rise to another, until we arrive at a future that none of the Moones could have predicted.

Except perhaps Maeve herself.


This Time Next Year by Sophie Cousens

Quinn and Minnie are born on New Year’s Eve, in the same hospital, one minute apart.

Their lives may begin together, but their worlds couldn’t be more different.

Thirty years later they find themselves together again in the same place, at the same time.

What if fate is trying to bring them together?

Maybe it’s time to take a chance on love…


Radical Wordsworth by Jonathan Bate

A dazzling new biography of Wordsworth’s radical life as a thinker and poetical innovator, published to mark the 250th anniversary of his birth.

William Wordsworth wrote the first great poetic autobiography. We owe to him the idea that places of outstanding natural beauty should become what he called ‘a sort of national property’. He changed forever the way we think about childhood, about the sense of the self, about our connection to the natural environment, and about the purpose of poetry.

He was born among the mountains of the English Lake District. He walked into the French Revolution, had a love affair and an illegitimate child, before witnessing horrific violence in Paris. His friendship with Samuel Taylor Coleridge was at the core of the Romantic movement. As he retreated from radical politics and into an imaginative world within, his influence would endure as he shaped the ideas of thinkers, writers and activists throughout the nineteenth century in both Britain and the United States. This wonderful book opens what Wordsworth called ‘the hiding places of my power’.


The April Dead by Alan Parks

NO ONE WILL FORGET

In a grimy flat in Glasgow, a homemade bomb explodes, leaving few remains to identify its maker.

Detective Harry McCoy knows in his gut that there’ll be more to follow. The hunt for a missing sailor from the local US naval base leads him to the secretive group behind the bomb, and their disturbing, dominating leader. If the city is to survive the next explosion, it’ll take everything McCoy’s got . . .


Thursday Nights at the Bluebell Inn by Kit Fielding

In every pub in every town unspoken stories lie beneath the surface.

Each week, six women meet at The Bluebell Inn. They form an unlikely and occasionally triumphant ladies darts team. They banter and jibe, they laugh. But their hidden stories of love and loss are what, in the end, will bind them.

There is Mary, full of it but cradling her dark secret; Lena – young and bold, she has made her choice; the cat woman who must return to the place of her birth before it’s too late. There’s Maggie, still laying out the place for her husband; and Pegs, the dark-eyed girl from the travellers’ site bringing her strangeness and first love. And Katy: unappreciated. Open to an offer.

They know little of each other’s lives. But here they gather and weave a delicate and sustaining connection that maybe they can rely on as the crossroads on their individual paths threaten to overwhelm.

With humanity and insight, Kit Fielding reveals the great love that lies at the heart of female friendship.


Cecily by Annie Garthwaite

1431 is a dangerous time for a woman to be defiant.

England has been fighting France for 100 years. At home, power-hungry men within a corrupt government manipulate a weak king – and name Cecily’s husband, York’s loyal duke, an enemy. As the king’s grasp on sanity weakens, plots to destroy York take root…

It will take all of Cecily’s courage and cunning to save her family. But when the will to survive becomes ambition for a crown, will she risk treason to secure it?

Inside closed bedchambers and upon bloody battlefields, CECILY portrays war as women fight it.


The Undiscovered Deaths of Grace McGill by C S Robertson

Death is not the end. For Grace McGill, it’s only the beginning.

When people die alone and undiscovered, it’s her job to clean up what’s left behind – whether it’s clutter, bodily remains or dark secrets.

When an old man lies undetected in his flat for months, it seems an unremarkable life and an unnoticed death. But Grace knows that everyone has a story and that all deaths mean something more.


An Island of Secrets by Eva Glyn

That was then…

Seventy-five years ago, British SOE spy Guy Barclay was forced to leave behind the woman he loved in war-ravaged Yugoslavia.

…This is now

As ninety-three-year-old Guy’s days draw to a close, he asks his granddaughter, Leo Holmes, to go looking for answers. Given that her marriage has imploded and her City job is on the verge of killing her, Leo agrees and rents a house on the island of Vis, where her grandfather was stationed in the Second World War.

But as Leo’s search takes her down unexpected roads – and into the path of a gorgeous local, Andrej Pintaric – she begins to wonder if this journey down memory lane might yield unexpected results for more than just her beloved grandfather…


Murders at the Winterbottom Women’s Institute by Gina Kirkham (pre-ordered due 25/5)

It’s a quiet English village—except for one crazed murderer—in this delightful romp by the author of the Constable Mavis Upton series.

Librarian Prunella Pearce has left heartbreak behind to start a new life in the village of Winterbottom, where there’s little social life to be had aside from the meetings of The Winterbottom Women’s Institute at the parish hall.

But a bit of excitement ensues when the group is about to elect a new president—and the nominees for the position begin dropping like flies. One is found facedown in a lemon drizzle cake, stabbed with a crochet needle. Another nearly dies spectacularly in the revolving doors of a Harrogate hotel. When Pru and her friend Bree agree to do some undercover snooping to help the police, little do they know that one of the Winterbottom women is hiding a scandalous secret . . .


The Key to My Heart by Lia Louis (pre-ordered due 7/7)

Can you ever really find the one after ‘the one’?

Some people spend their whole lives trying to find the one. But Natalie had found him – and married him. And then Russ died.

Two years ago, her whole world was shattered. Still now, she feels like she’s trying to piece her broken heart back together, one day at a time.

But then she finds a sheet of music – one that only Russ would know – in the piano stool in St. Pancras station where she’s secretly been playing for the last few months.

For the first time, Natalie realizes that maybe life does still hold a little magic. And with every note she plays, she feels as if she’s unlocking another fragment of her heart…

But will she ever truly find love again after she’d already found forever?


No Honour by Awais Khan

In sixteen-year-old Abida’s small Pakistani village, there are age-old rules to live by, and her family’s honour to protect. And, yet, her spirit is defiant and she yearns to make a home with the man she loves. 

When the unthinkable happens, Abida faces the same fate as other young girls who have chosen unacceptable alliances – certain, public death. Fired by a fierce determination to resist everything she knows to be wrong about the society into which she was born, and aided by her devoted father, Jamil, who puts his own life on the line to help her, she escapes to Lahore and then disappears.

Jamil goes to Lahore in search of Abida – a city where the prejudices that dominate their village take on a new and horrifying form – and father and daughter are caught in a world from which they may never escape.

Moving from the depths of rural Pakistan, riddled with poverty and religious fervour, to the dangerous streets of over-populated Lahore, No Honour is a story of family, of the indomitable spirit of love in its many forms … a story of courage and resilience, when all seems lost, and the inextinguishable fire that lights one young woman’s battle for change.


Six Days by Dani Atkins

Two people. One love story. Six days.

He loves me… He loves me not… He loves me…

Gemma knows that she and Finn are destined to be together. They are soulmates. But then, on their wedding day, he never arrives at the church.

Gemma is convinced Finn wouldn’t abandon her like this, even though he has disappeared once before. But back then he had a reason. She feels sure something terrible has happened, but no one else is convinced. Even the police aren’t concerned, telling Gemma most people who disappear usually turn up in a week… assuming they want to be found, that is.

For the next six days Gemma frantically searches for Finn, even though every shocking revelation is telling her to give up on him. Before long, even she begins to doubt her own memories of their love.

How long can she hold on to her faith in Finn if everyone is telling her to let him go?


Subscription Books

The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex (NB Magazine – late March arrival)

Cornwall, 1972. Three keepers vanish from a remote lighthouse, miles from the shore. The entrance door is locked from the inside. The clocks have stopped. The Principal Keeper’s weather log describes a mighty storm, but the skies have been clear all week.

What happened to those three men, out on the tower? The heavy sea whispers their names. The tide shifts beneath the swell, drowning ghosts. Can their secrets ever be recovered from the waves?

Twenty years later, the women they left behind are still struggling to move on. Helen, Jenny and Michelle should have been united by the tragedy, but instead it drove them apart. And then a writer approaches them. He wants to give them a chance to tell their side of the story. But only in confronting their darkest fears can the truth begin to surface . . .


Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason (NB Magazine Sub)

Everyone tells Martha Friel she is clever and beautiful, a brilliant writer who has been loved every day of her adult life by one man, her husband Patrick. A gift, her mother once said, not everybody gets.

So why is everything broken? Why is Martha – on the edge of 40 – friendless, practically jobless and so often sad? And why did Patrick decide to leave?

Maybe she is just too sensitive, someone who finds it harder to be alive than most people. Or maybe – as she has long believed – there is something wrong with her. Something that broke when a little bomb went off in her brain, at 17, and left her changed in a way that no doctor or therapist has ever been able to explain.

Forced to return to her childhood home to live with her dysfunctional, bohemian parents (but without the help of her devoted, foul-mouthed sister Ingrid), Martha has one last chance to find out whether a life is ever too broken to fix – or whether, maybe, by starting over, she will get to write a better ending for herself.


Her Last Request by Mari Hannah (Capital Crime Sub)

Some victims leave clues to their killers…

A Hidden Clue

A victim leaves a note for the SIO who will investigate her death. This not what DCI Kate Daniels expects to find concealed at a crime scene.

A Desperate Plea

The note contains a last request: ‘Find Aaron’. But is Kate searching for a potential second victim, or a killer?

The Countdown is on…

Following the clues, Kate becomes the obsession of her adversary who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Will she find Aaron before he does?


Follow Me to the Edge by Tariq Ashkanani (Capital Crime Sub)

Rookie detective Joe Finch knows better than most what tragedy looks like. But trying to solve the brutal murder of an entire family? Just another day in Cooper.

Even for the sleazy backwater of Cooper, Nebraska, the multiple murder of an entire family, brutally bludgeoned to death in their beds, is big news.

Detective Joe Finch, raw with guilt over his partner’s traumatic shooting during a routine traffic stop, hopes the case will at least focus his mind. But then he discovers that the crime scene is the house he grew up in, and the ghosts of his own tragic childhood come rushing back to confront him.

As Finch dredges the corrupt and criminal mires of Cooper in a desperate search for the truth, the only certainty is that everyone there is lying. Caught between greedy politicians, a violent cartel boss, an ambitious reporter and a sinister cult lurking in the cornfields on the outskirts of town, Finch is soon out of his depth.

In a town where the law exists only to be bent or broken, can Finch steel himself against entrenched evil and the haunting spectre of his past—and live to serve justice in Cooper?


Books Won or Gifted

Coming Home to Cariad Cove by Darcie Boleyn

Can a running club help heal a broken heart?

Following the death of her husband, Ffion moves back to her family hotel in Wales seeking home comfort. In the village of Cariad Cove, she reconnects with her family, and starts to find hope as she takes up running and meets Joe

For Joe, the second his dog crashes into the beautiful woman on the beach, it’s love at first sight. But recognising a hurting soul, he offers Ffion his friendship and soon the two are organising a charity run for the local animal sanctuary.

Now Ffion is feeling things she never thought she would again. Is it too soon to move on? Can she open her heart to love again? She’s planning on running… but will it be away from Joe or towards him?

Books I Read

Grace After Henry by Eithne Shortall

Grace sees her boyfriend Henry everywhere. In the supermarket, on the street, at the graveyard.

Only Henry is dead. He died two months earlier, leaving a huge hole in Grace’s life and in her heart. But then Henry turns up to fix the boiler one evening, and Grace can’t decide if she’s hallucinating or has suddenly developed psychic powers. Grace isn’t going mad – the man in front of her is not Henry at all, but someone else who looks uncannily like him. The hole in Grace’s heart grows ever larger.

Grace becomes captivated by this stranger, Andy – to her, he is Henry, and yet he is not. Reminded of everything she once had, can Grace recreate that lost love with Andy, resurrecting Henry in the process, or does loving Andy mean letting go of Henry?


His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie

In one of the most talked about and hilarious debuts of the year, Afi Tekple, a bright young seamstress from a small town in Ghana, is convinced by her family to marry a man she has never met.

Elikem Ganyo is a wealthy businessman whose family has chosen Afi in the hope that she will distract him from a relationship with another woman they think is inappropriate.

The fact that she doesn’t know Elikem seems a small price to pay for a marriage that offers her family financial security and provides the key to a lifestyle she has always wanted. But when Afi arrives in Accra, Ghana’s gleaming capital, she realises her fairy-tale ending might not be all she had hoped for…


The Happiness List by Annie Lyons

Heather is finally back on Hope Street after running from the memories for so long. She hasn’t bumped into many neighbours yet but with her upcoming wedding to plan there’s plenty to keep her busy!

Fran is still trying to get used to a life without her husband by her side. It’s hard enough raising two children on her own – she doesn’t have time to even think about dating…

Pamela is fed up with being taken for granted by her grown-up children and grumbling husband. She’s ready to shake things up a little, but will her family even notice?

So when the three women hear about a ‘happiness course’ starting on Hope Street, surely it’s the perfect opportunity to let their hair down, laugh with new friends and maybe even change their lives in ways they never expected…


Heartbreak Hotel by Deborah Moggach

When retired actor Buffy decides to up sticks from London and move to rural Wales, he has no idea what he is letting himself in for.

In possession of a run-down B&B that leans more towards the shabby than the chic and is miles from nowhere, he realises he needs to fill the beds – and fast.

Enter a motley collection of guests: Harold, whose wife has run off with a younger woman; Amy, who’s been unexpectedly dumped by her (not-so) weedy boyfriend and Andy, the hypochondriac postman whose girlfriend is much too much for him to handle.

But under Buffy’s watchful eye, this disparate group of strangers find they have more in common than perhaps they first thought…


Growing Up for Beginners by Claire Calman (via Kindle Unlimited)

It’s not easy being a grown-up, but Eleanor hoped she’d be better at it by now…

When Eleanor waves her daughter off for a gap-year trip, she finds herself stuck as a satellite wife, spinning in faithful orbit around her domineering husband, with only her clever but judgmental father Conrad for comfort.

Andrew isn’t mastering the art of growing up either. But when he finds his belongings dumped in bin bags on the drive, even he can see that his girlfriend is hinting he should move out. With no other options, he moves back in with his parents.

Backing onto their garden lives artist Cecilia, living in chaotic clutter and dreaming of her ex-lovers, still acting like a stroppy teenager at the age of 66.

Four lives are drawn together by long-buried secrets of the past, and it is time for them all to grow up… before it’s too late.


The House on Bellevue Gardens by Rachel Hore

Rosa has arrived in London from Poland to look for her younger brother Mikhail. He is supposed to be staying with their English father, but when she visits the house she finds it’s locked up and there’s no sign of either of them. She urgently needs work and somewhere to live while she continues her search, but what can she do and where can she go?

Stef is running away from her boyfriend Oliver and the claustrophobic life she’s been living in his opulent flat. Frightened, friendless and far from her family, she needs somewhere to hide.

Rick is living in a limbo, a shy young man hiding from the world to write and draw and dream. How will he find fulfilment?

All three find refuge at 11 Belvue Gardens, the shabbiest house of a smart white-painted Georgian terrace in North London. Here, its owner Leonie herself once found sanctuary following a short career as a model in the sixties and a destructive marriage. Now, out of gratitude, she opens her house to others in need.

However, as she helps Stef and Rosa and Rick to find their way, Leonie finds that once again the very foundations of her own life and happiness are under threat.


The Girl’s Guide to Home Making by Amy Bratley

Single and definitely not ready to mingle – when Juliet’s heart is broken, she finds comfort in an unexpected place. As she unlocks a world of perfect meringues and cocktails at tea time, Juliet finally puts her life back together – one martini at a time!

On the first night with her boyfriend in their new flat, Juliet discovers that Simon has been sleeping with her best friend. After growing up in a dysfunctional family, and with secrets that haunt her, there’s no way she is prepared to take cheating Simon back.

But then, heartbroken and seeking an escape from her troubles, Juliet discovers her grandmother’s 1950s homemaking manual and she soon finds herself lost in a world of evening soirées and perfect soufflés. Taking control of her life once and for all, and picking up some new kitchen skills along the way, Juliet is determined to start putting herself first. But where will her new-found love of homemaking lead her? And who will she meet along the way?


A Terrible Kindness by Jo Browning Wroe (via Pigeonhole)

When we go through something impossible, someone, or something, will help us, if we let them . . .

It is October 1966 and William Lavery is having the night of his life at his first black-tie do. But, as the evening unfolds, news hits of a landslide at a coal mine. It has buried a school: Aberfan.

William decides he must act, so he stands and volunteers to attend. It will be his first job as an embalmer, and it will be one he never forgets.

His work that night will force him to think about the little boy he was, and the losses he has worked so hard to forget. But compassion can have surprising consequences, because – as William discovers – giving so much to others can sometimes help us heal ourselves.


How to Save a Life by Eva Carter

Eighteen-year-old Kerry has had a crush on Joel for years, but knows he’s out of her league. Then something extraordinary happens: minutes before midnight on the eve of the millennium, Joel collapses and Kerry saves his life.

As Kerry supports Joel through his recovery, they discover a connection neither of them anticipated – until, haunted by what might have been, he abruptly ends their relationship.

Over the course of the next two decades, the two are bound by that moment of life and death; each time they believe they’ve found love, discovered their vocation, or simply moved on, their lives collide again. But Joel got a second chance at life; will Kerry get a second chance at love?

. . . Because bravery isn’t just about life or death decisions; it’s also about what happens next . . .


How Not to Fall in Love Actually by Catherine Bennetto

Life is 10% planning, 10% design and 80% totally winging it… 

Join Emma as she guides you through How Not to become accidentally knocked up at the age of 27, How Not to unceremoniously dump the father of your child, and then How Not to lose the job that (even though you hate it) is the only thing between you and being homeless…

Hilarious and heart-warming, How Not to Fall in Love, Actually will make you laugh, make you cry, and will reassure you that perhaps your life is not that bad, actually…


The Forgotten Guide to Happiness by Sophie Jenkins

Twenty-eight-year-old Lana Green has never been good at making friends. She’s perfectly happy to be left alone with her books. Or at least, that’s what she tells herself.

Nancy Ellis Hall was once a celebrated writer. Now eighty, she lives alone in her North London house, and thinks she’s doing just fine. But dementia is loosening Nancy’s grip on the world.

When Lana and Nancy become unconventional house mates, their lives will change in ways they never expected. But can an unusual friendship rescue two women who don’t realise they need to be saved?


The Girl I Used to Know by Faith Hogan

Two women. Two very different lives. One unexpected friendship.

Amanda King and Tess Cuffe are strangers who share the same Georgian house, but their lives couldn’t be more different.

Amanda seems to have the perfect life. But the reality is a soulless home, an unfaithful husband and a very lonely heart.

While Tess has spent a lifetime hiding and shutting her heart to love.

But if they can open up to one another, these two women may just learn that sometimes letting go is the first step to moving forward and new friendships can come from the most unlikely situations.


The Good Father by Marion Husband

When Peter Wright’s father dies he leaves his entire fortune to Peter’s best friend Jack. Over a few weeks in the summer of 1959 the consequences of the old man’s legacy seriously affect three men’s lives, Jack, who has brought up his three children alone since his wife was killed, Wright’s solicitor Harry, who is trying to rebuild his relationship with his estranged son Guy, and Peter himself, whose friendship with Jack is threatened by his father’s death and the terrible secrets he has kept since his return from the Japanese POW camps.The Good Father explores the nature of fatherhood and the bonds between fathers and their children in a gripping story of love, betrayal and adultery.


The Handover by David M Barnett

Daisy is the night security guard at the Manchester Museum of Social History. She takes her job very seriously, protecting the museum from teenage troublemakers.

Nate works the day shift, though he’d be more suited as a museum guide the way he chats with the visitors. Daisy doesn’t approve: how does he find it so easy to talk to strangers?

For five minutes each day their shifts overlap at handover. He passes the torch over to Daisy – always with a smile on his face, and she asks him for a full report of the day, which he gives reluctantly. It’s the only interaction they have… until mysterious things begin to happen at the museum.

They soon discover they have a lot more in common than they realised… and their investigations uncover more than just the truth. Could they have feelings for one another?


So how did I do with my reading intentions?

A-Z Reading Challenge, This Month G & H

TitleFormatDate purchased
Grace After HenryKindleJune 2018
Growing Up For BeginnersKindleApl 2022
Girls’ Guide to Home Making, TheBookMay 2013
Girl I Used to Know, TheKindleJan 2018
Good Father, TheKindleMay 2013
His Only WifeBookDec 2021
Happiness List, TheKindleSept 2018
Heartbreak HotelBookNov 2013
House on Bellevue GardensBook Oct 2016
How To Save a LifeKindleJan 2022
How Not to Fall in Love ActuallyKindle July 2018
Handover, The Kindle June 2021

Wading Through Treacle or Weeding the Shelves (real and virtual)

eBooksTree Books
Start of Month3836755
Books added+025+06
Books Removed-017-11
Books Read-010-04
End of Month3834 746

That’s me for this month so all that’s left to say is : Happy Reading!

 

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