My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 31st July 2021

Hello all! And farewell to July already!!  Time is ticking by fast!  Got my 2nd Covid jab today…. am just hoping I don’t react too badly! I think I might jus need to sit and read all weekend to relax and recover!
Not been doing as much reading this week – the internet kept distracting me! – so just 3 books finished this week.  There may have been a bundle of book post arriving though and a couple of new additions to my Netgalley shelf!  Oops I did it again!!
So here’s my look back..






Netgalley first…


When aspiring novelist Christopher Flinders drops out of university to write his masterpiece (in between shifts as a fish delivery man and builder’s mate), his family is sceptical.

But when he is taken up by the London editor Owen Goddard and his charming wife Diana it seems success is just around the corner. Christopher’s life has so far been rather short of charm – growing up in an unlovely suburb, with unambitious parents and a semi-vagrant brother – and he is captivated by his generous and cultured mentors. However, on the brink of realising his dream, Christopher makes a desperate misjudgement which results in disaster for all involved. Shattered, he withdraws from London and buries himself in rural Yorkshire, embracing a career and a private life marked by mediocrity.

Twenty years on a young academic researching into Owen Goddard seeks him out, and Christopher is forced to exhume his past, setting him on a path to a life-changing discovery


Two broken hearts.

Since she inherited The Starfish Café, Hollie has poured her heart into the business, striving to keep her mother’s traditions and warm-hearted spirit alive. But behind closed doors Hollie is searching for true happiness as she grieves the tragic loss of her family who were once the beating heart of the café…

An unexpected meeting.

Jake lives by two rules: don’t let anyone get close and don’t talk about what happened. Little does he know that a chance meeting at The Starfish Café, facilitated by a fluffy lost dog, is about to turn his world upside down…

The chance to love again.

Can Hollie and Jake break down the barriers that have been holding them back from finding love and happiness, before Christmas comes around? After all, with courage, nothing is impossible..

And in the post I’ve been lucky to receive these gifted books in return for reviews…..

REBUGGING THE PLANET by VICKI HURD – Chelsea Green Publishing

publication date 16th September 2021 

Foreword by Gillian Burke

This is a lovely little book that could and should have a big impact. ..Let’s all get rebugging right away! Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Meet the intelligent insects, marvellous minibeasts and inspirational invertebrates that help shape our planet – and discover how you can help them help us by rebugging your attitude today!

Remember when there were bugs on your windscreen? Ever wonder where they went? We need to act now if we are to help them survive. Chris Packham, Isabella Tree and George Monbiot are but a few voices championing the rewilding of our world. In Rebugging the Planet, Vicki Hird adds her voice to this chorus, explaining how our planet is headed towards ‘insectageddon’ with a rate of insect extinction eight times faster than that of mammals or birds. Rebugging the Planet gives us crucial information to help all those essential creepy-crawlies flourish once more.

Hird passionately demonstrates how insects and invertebrates are the cornerstone of our global ecosystem. They pollinate plants, feed birds, support and defend our food crops and clean our water systems. They are also beautiful, inventive and economically invaluable – bees, for example, contribute more to the UK economy than the Queen!

Rebugging the Planet shows us small changes we can make to have a big impact on our littlest allies:

  • Learn how to rebug parks, schools, pavements, verges and other green spaces.
  • Leave your garden to grow a little wild and plant weedkiller-free, wildlife-friendly plants.
  • Take your kids on a minibeast treasure hunt and learn how to build bug palaces.
  • Make bug-friendly choices with your food and support good farming practices
  • Begin to understand how reducing inequality and poverty will help nature and wildlife too – it’s all connected.

So do your part and start rebugging today! The bees, ants, earthworms, butterflies, beetles, grasshoppers, ladybirds, snails and slugs will thank you – and our planet will thank you too.


Chelsea Green Publishing

Publication Date – 7th October 2021

Part nature writing, part memoir, On Gallows Down is an essential, unforgettable read for fans of Helen Macdonald, Melissa Harrison and Isabella Tree.

Nicola Chester won the BBC Wildlife Magazine’s Nature Writer of the Year Award – this is her first book.

The story of a life shaped by landscape; of an enduring love of nature and the fierce desire to protect it – living as part of the rural working class in a ‘tied cottage’ on a country estate – and what it takes to feel like you belong.

On Gallows Down is a book about hope – from the rewilding of Greenham Common after the missiles left to how, as a new mother, Nicola walked the chalk hills to give her children roots, teaching them names and waymarks to find their way home. It is about the songs of the nightingale and cuckoo – whose return she waits for – the red kites, fieldfares, skylarks and lapwings that accompany her, the badger cubs she watches at night and the velvety mole she finds in her garden.

And it is also the story of how Nicola came to write and to protest – unearthing the seam of resistance that ran through Newbury’s past, from the Civil Wars to the Swing Riots and the women of the Greenham Common Peace Camps and to the fight against the Newbury bypass. A resistance that continues today against the destruction of hedgerows, trees and wildlife through modern farm estate management.

On Gallows Down is perfect for fans of H is for HawkThe Salt Path and Featherhood.

‘It is impossible to write with integrity about nature without protesting and resisting and waving a desperate red flag.

Isn’t it?’

And then I managed to win myself a copy of this beauty…


The perfect feel-good read from an exciting new voice in women’s fiction, for fans of Heidi Swain, Cathy Bramley and Jenny Colgan.

Tori Williamson is alone. After a tragic event left her isolated from her loved ones, she’s been struggling to find her way back to, well – herself. That’s why she set up her blog, The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness, as a way of – anonymously – connecting with the outside world and reaching others who just need a little help sometimes.

When she’s offered a free spot on a wellbeing retreat in exchange for a review on her blog, Tori is anxious about opening herself up to new surroundings. But after her three closest friends – who she talks to online but has never actually met – convince her it’ll do her some good, she reluctantly agrees and heads off for three weeks in the wild (well, a farm in Wales).

From the moment she arrives, Tori is sceptical and quickly finds herself drawn to fellow sceptic Than, the retreat’s dark and mysterious latecomer. But as the beauty of The Farm slowly comes to light she realizes that opening herself up might not be the worst thing. And sharing a yurt with fellow retreater Bay definitely isn’t.  Will the retreat be able to fix Tori? Or will she finally learn that being lonely doesn’t mean she’s broken . . .

And treated myself to these two….


‘I don’t have any friends, only dog ones, because they don’t make you do bad things. I don’t want any human friends, actually. It’s for the best.’

Hope Nicely hasn’t had an easy life.

But she’s happy enough living at 23 Station Close with her mum, Jenny Nicely, and she loves her job, walking other people’s dogs. She’s a bit different, but as Jenny always tells her, she’s a rainbow person, a special drop of light.

It’s just…there’s something she needs to know. Why did her birth mother abandon her in a cardboard box on a church step twenty-five years ago? And did she know that drinking while pregnant could lead to Hope being born with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder?

In a bid to find her birth mother and the answers to these questions, Hope decides to write her autobiography. Despite having been bullied throughout school, Hope bravely joins an evening class where she will not only learn the lessons of writing (including the number one golden rule of ‘show don’t tell’), but may also begin to discover more about the world around her, about herself and even make some (human) friends.

But when Jenny suddenly falls ill, Hope realises there are many more lessons to come…

Hope Nicely’s Lessons for Life is a heart-warming, coming-of-age novel about loneliness, friendship, acceptance and, above all, hope. 


Lady Caroline Victoria Genevieve Jane de Montfort (Lady Caz to her friends) made a promise to her (newly deceased) friend George Warren and she intends to keep it -sadly for Danny Bird she’s roped him in as her accomplice.

And so with Danny’s South London pub The Marq left in the safe hands of Ray & Dash (The ASBO Twins) and his indomitable bar-manager Ali roped in as their driver, the trio set off to spend the weekend at the Warren family’s imposing country estate Dukes Halt.

As they set about achieving their mission, Danny, Lady Caz & Ali are joined by a classic cast of characters including a Hollywood actress, a right-wing Member of Parliament and an Albanian gangster.

Shenanigans inevitably ensue.

Of course, it wouldn’t be an authentic country-house weekend without a murder or two and pretty soon Danny and the gang are on the track of the killer in their midst. As the plot ingeniously twists and turns in every direction Danny wrestles with another deeper, sadder mystery hidden in the pages of a secret diary that he realizes may just hold the key to everything.





#GuestPost CELEBRITY SOS by HELEN BUCKLEY #PublicationDay @ChocLituk @HelenCBuckley

Delighted to be handing over the blog today to the lovely HELEN BUCKLEY to help celebrate the publication day for CELEBRITY SOS!! Another stunner of a book that you all need to be adding to your TBR piles ASAP!!

Over to you Helen….

Release Day: Celebrity SOS by Helen Buckley

I love all the couples in my books, but I must confess, Finn and Kat’s story in Celebrity SOS: Love Survives is definitely one of my favourites.

Here’s why:

Firstly, I’m a sucker for a teenage romance. It was a joy to write about Finn and Kat and the sweet intensity of falling in love for the first time as they were thrown together as leads in the school play.

Secondly, all my books have a dramatic reveal and this one is probably the most dramatic yet as it takes place on camera, in the middle of a blizzard. It was very intense to write!

Thirdly, I’m obsessed with snowy mountain scenery, and a large part of the book takes place in Alaska, as a group of celebrities take on the challenge to survive in the wilderness. It was the perfect excuse to lose myself in Google images for a few hours and stare in wonder at the vast, inspiring scenery of a place I’d love to visit.

Fourthly, I love reality TV survival and physical challenge shows. From the hilarity of I’m a Celebrity to the jaw-dropping feats of Bear Grylls, from the sweat and strain of SAS: Who Dares Wins to the sheer bravery of those on Naked and Afraid, I’m hooked on them. It was great fun to write a book based on these shows, with both survival and love at the heart of the story.

I really hope readers will enjoy Celebrity SOS, which is the second book in my Spotlight series, although it can be read as a standalone. There will be more to come in the series soon, as always with slow-burn romances, shock twists and bags of drama!

About the book: 

I’m a celebrity … trying to escape the past!

When Katerina Murphy agrees to take part in Celebrity SOS, a reality TV show where celebrities have to fend for themselves in the Alaskan wilderness, she’s up for the challenge. But then she locks eyes with fellow contestant Finn Drayson of 1Dream boy band fame and realises that the show is going to push her further from her comfort zone than she ever imagined.

After all, Finn wasn’t just Katerina’s co-star in the school play adaptation of Breakfast at Tiffany’s where she discovered her acting confidence, he was also her first love – and the first boy to break her heart. Even years later, the secret kisses and shared packets of crisps on park benches are never far from her mind.

Will award-winning actress Katerina Murphy’s talents stretch to staying composed in the face of Arctic winds and blasts from the past?

Book 2 in the Spotlight series but it can be read as a standalone novel.

Buying Links:

 Kindle .

 Apple Books .

 Kobo . 


About the author:

Helen Buckley lives in Bedfordshire with her husband and two sons. After working in the charity sector in the UK and abroad, she turned her hand to writing and her first novel, Star in the Shadows, was published in 2019. She writes any moment that she can, enthralled by stories of fame, romance and happy ever afters. Apart from being addicted to writing and enjoying soft play with her sons, she’s an avid reader, action-movie fan and chocolate addict.





#BlogTour THAT NIGHT by GILLIAN McALLISTER #BookReview #ThatNight @GillianMAuthor

 Delighted to be with you today as part of the exciting Blog Tour for the fabulous THAT NIGHT by GILLIAN McALLISTER! My thanks to the author and publisher for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!!


What would you do to protect your family?


That night everything changed.

The night Frannie commited a murder, but she didn’t mean to…

That night we helped her bury the body, what else could we do?

One hot summers night in Italy, Joe and Cathy Plant receive a phone call that will change their lives forever.

Their sister Frannie has killed a man, and she needs their help.

They were always close, some might say too close, siblings who worked together, lived next door to each other

And now they’ve buried a body together…

But when they return to England, Frannie, Joe and Cathy become tangled in lies in they’ve been telling,

to the police, to their friends, to each other…

But if you can’t trust your family, who can you trust?





I think this is the first Gillian McAllister book I’ve read – it most defnitely will not be the last!! I found this to be one of those books that keeps you on the edge of your seat as you read, and she has created  a set of characters and circumstances that just get you thinking ‘what would I do in that situation?!’.

This is a book about siblings and just how far you’d go to help your family out!! Frannie, Cathy and Joe are siblings and have always been close.  And that bond is pushed to the limit when on holiday Frannie calls them frantically to ask for help as she’s just murdered a man – but she didn’t mean to!!

Through each of their viewpoints we are witness to the action before, during and after as we see the toll the events of that night take on them personally and how they deal with the consequences. And just how easy it seems to be to tell lie after lie to protect someone they love!

I loved the twists throughout! The setting just adds to the story as what is supposed to be an idyllic escape from reality, turns into a real life nightmare that continues to plague them as the net closes as they return home.  You don’t always like the characters and how they deal with the situation, but you can’t help but be gripped by the plot and piecing the story together to work out just where the heck it’s going!! And I wasn’t disappointed as it made me gasp quite a few times!!


#20BooksOfSummer2021 SONGS IN URSA MAJOR by EMMA BRODIE #BookReview

This is Book 9 of my 20 Books of Summer 2021.


The year is 1969, and the Bayleen Island Folk Fest is abuzz with one name: Jesse Reid. Tall and soft-spoken, with eyes blue as stone-washed denim, Jesse Reid’s intricate guitar riffs and supple baritone are poised to tip from fame to legend with this one headlining performance. That is, until his motorcycle crashes on the way to the show.

Jane Quinn is a Bayleen Island local whose music flows as naturally as her long blond hair. When she and her bandmates are asked to play in Jesse Reid’s place at the festival, it almost doesn’t seem real. But Jane plants her bare feet on the Main Stage and delivers the performance of a lifetime, stopping Jesse’s disappointed fans in their tracks: A star is born.

Jesse stays on the island to recover from his near-fatal accident and he strikes up a friendship with Jane, coaching her through the production of her first record. As Jane contends with the music industry’s sexism, Jesse becomes her advocate, and what starts as a shared calling soon becomes a passionate love affair. On tour with Jesse, Jane is so captivated by the giant stadiums, the late nights, the wild parties, and the media attention, that she is blind-sided when she stumbles on the dark secret beneath Jesse’s music. With nowhere to turn, Jane must reckon with the shadows of her own past; what follows is the birth of one of most iconic albums of all time.

Shot through with the lyrics, the icons, the lore, the adrenaline of the early 70s music scene, Songs in Ursa Major pulses with romantic longing and asks the question so many female artists must face: What are we willing to sacrifice for our dreams?





If you loved Daisy Jones & The Six, then you’re going to enjoy this one! It has the same behind the scenes vibes of the music industry, this time in the late ’60’s/early 70’s, and while it didn’t quite get me in the emotional way that Daisy did, then it did a wonderful job of transporting me back to a different world – there’s also a Spotify Playlist linked to the book so if you get a chance to listen while you read I would highly recommend it! I loved it and it made for the perfect reading music!

This is a story partly based on the relationship between Joni Mitchell and James Taylor, and all centres around a folk festival in 1969 where the star of the show – Jesse Reid – is a late cancellation due to an serious accident, and a local band, led by Jane Quinn, get to stand in and steal the show and this sets her off on a journey of success and fame, alongside the downsides which come with that!

Jane is every bit not your ‘diva’ – she’s hardworking and struggling for money, so when the chance to help out nurse Jesse back to full health she jumps at the chance, and he’s blown over by her being normal around him! For someone with big success, that’s a rarity. The more time they spend together, the closer they become and he begins to advise them on songs and gets them started in the music business.

I loved their chats together, how they opened up to one another and it was also striking how different she was treated in the music industry compared to her male contemporaries.

There’s partying, sex, drugs & rock’n’roll and that’s when we get to see different sides to these characters and cracks begin to appear in the relationship – and just how easily people can be replaced in the music industry if they don’t play along and ‘do as they’re told’! There’s also a look back at family secrets that added to the mix!

I really enjoyed the characters and the music scene setting and look forward to reading more from this author in the future!




Bombshell: The Night Bobby Kennedy Murdered Marilyn Monroe tells the essential truth of the death of Marilyn Monroe at the hand of Robert Kennedy, Attorney General of the United States. Drawing on unseen police files, Marilyn Monroe’s private diary, and first-hand testimony, this book proves that Robert Kennedy was directly responsible for her death. It details Marilyn Monroe’s tumultuous personal involvement with him and his brother, President John Kennedy. The new evidence and testimony is provided by Mike Rothmiller who, as an agent of the Organized Crime Intelligence Division (OCID) of the LAPD, had direct personal access to hundreds of secret files on exactly what happened at Marilyn Monroe’s Californian home on August 5, 1962. With his training and specialist knowledge, Rothmiller used that unseen information to get to the heart of the matter, to the people who were there the night Marilyn Monroe died—two of whom played major roles in the cover-up—and the wider conspiracy to protect the Kennedys at all costs. There will be those with doubts, but to them, the lawman—who has advised the White House, the Pentagon, and international crime agencies—says the printed, forensic, and oral evidence are totally convincing. He insists: “If I presented my evidence in any court of law, I’d get a conviction.” Includes eight pages of black and white photographs.





As a long time fan of Marilyn Monroe, I couldn’t pick this book up quick enough! And the contents haven’t disappointed! Wow!!  Talk about corruption everywhere and it has left me even more convinced that her death was murder and not a ‘suicide’ as originally framed. 

The authors of this book had access to a number of hugely confidential police files, and the evidence is damming!  Not only does it set out the events of that night clearly, through eye witness accounts along with crime scene evidence, it also looks closely at the diary entries by Marilyn herself and looks back at over her life, the highs and lows, and also looks at the goings on at LAPD over the years, alongside links to the mafia and those at the highest levels of Government.  It seems that most celebrities and their houses were being bugged at the time and files kept on their behaviour…. just in case they were needed to be used against them!

And in Marilyn they had a prime target with her associations to so many in Hollywood and Washington.  It really gives a damning look at the corruption at every level – from the Kennedys’, to the police chiefs, the mob…… sleaze central!! I was staggered at the revelations and the research was comprehensive and exhaustive as no stone seemed to be unturned in wondering what DID happen that night, and why so many were so keen to cover up the reality and frame the scene to draw away attention from her close relationships.

There were so many  red flags with this case at the time, and ever since. Telephone records going missing, issues with the autopsy not being thorough enough and evidence going missing, dodgy behaviour of people at the scene that night and why it took so long to call someone… the list goes on and this book does a wonderful job of putting the evidence all together and painting a very worrying picture of just how widespread the corruption was, and how this global superstar was seemingly ‘too close for comfort’ with those wanting more power and they wanted her out of the way.

Brilliantly researched and put together. One of those books that stun and shock, along make you feel very sad for this young woman who was seemingly used over all her career, even by many big names who seemed to have no compassion or care for her.  It has made me think very differently about many ‘star’ names from the past and look at Hollywood in a very different light with the goings on documented throughout the book.  A powerful book!!


#BookReview THE LOCK IN by PHOEBE LUCKHURST #TheLockIn @phoebeluckhurst @Lucyfhall @michaeljbooks



‘Entertaining, endearing, and truly unique. Found myself wincing and laughing with familiarity’ 

‘Hilarious’ Evening Standard, ‘Best New Books in 2021’

‘Funny and compelling from page one and so well written. Officially a huge fan of Phoebe Luckhurst!’ LUCY VINE

Ellen and Alexa have survived hangovers, dodgy landlords and most of their twenties together.

But can they survive this?

One Saturday morning, while nursing The Hangover from Hell, a flooded kitchen leads best mates Ellen and Alexa, and hapless housemate Jack, into their attic to turn off the water supply.

But when Ben – Alexa’s date from the night before – walks in, the door slams, the handle breaks and all four of them are trapped.

Cue The Worst morning-after-the-night before.

As the hours tick by, Ellen nurses her sore head and watches as her best friend falls for this handsome stranger.

Only for a horrifying realisation to hit. She is sure she knows Ben from somewhere.

Frantically searching her memories, Ellen tries to piece together exactly how they’ve met before.

When a distant memory finally comes to her, she desperately wonders: could Ben really be who she thinks he is . . .

And more importantly, what on earth is she going to do about it . . .

Welcome to The Lock In.

This is a hilarious story of housemates and hangovers and friendship and dating as four twenty-somethings discover what The Worst morning-after-the-night-before really looks like . . .

Fans of Dolly Alderton, Beth O’Leary and Mhairi McFarlane will LOVE this oh-so relatable tale of love, landlords and what can happen behind locked doors





This was a fabulous, funny farce! The perfect Summer read and has now got me thinking I might have to leave a pack of essential supplies in the loft…. just in case!!

It’s the story of a group of friends who end up getting locked in the attic after a disastrous morning!! Ellen, Alexa and Jack are friends and housemates, and they’re joined by Ben who had spent the night with Alexa…. there may be some hangovers in play too!! When the kitchen floods it is panic stations as to how to stop the water and, to avoid calling their nightmare landlord, they try and fix the problem themselves with disastrous consequences!!

There’s no better way to get to know people than in being in close contact with each other, so when they’re all trapped up in the attic all they can do is talk and try and figure out ways to break out! It’s hilarious to watch them trying to come up with new schemes and I loved the use of social media – both new and old forms! Brought back many memories of MSN messenger chat!! As time ticks by, they discover shared pasts, Twitter posts go viral, and a few squabbles break out!

I blasted through this book as it was just so much fun! It made me laugh out loud many a time and there needs to be more books in the world that make you smile!!


my thanks to Lucy of Penguin books for the advanced copy in return for a fair and honest review

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 24th July 2021

Hello!! What a scorcher of a week!!  I do love sunshine, BUT the heat has just been too overbearing this week! But I made it through with the help of gallons of water and an ice lolly or 6! Wonder if that was Summer for us in the UK then!? LOL!
And with heat, comes plenty of time for reading for me as it’s just been too hot to do much else! So it’s been a great bookish week – 7 books finished (including 1 audiobook), and just 2 newbies on the netgalley shelf!  I bought zero books……. that is a negative!!! 😉
So here’s my look back.










Just 2 from Netgalley this week…


On a cold December Sunday, book-seller Jack Carter struggles through the ritual of making breakfast for his wife Eva, whose dementia confines her body to her bed and her mind to a world of its own. Jack is an old man failing to cope with the modern world. He wages a constant battle with Margaret, Eva’s carer, and tries to fend off Dodie, Eva’s bossy best friend, who has decided that Jack too is losing his marbles and the time has come for the two of them to go into a home. 

Jack’s wandering mind makes frequent journeys to the past. Among the ghosts he conjures are his sexually repressed, religiously obsessed mother, and his friend and mentor, Bob Pride, whose own past is closely linked with Oscar Wilde. The gaps in Jack’s memories and day-dreams are filled by Eva, and gradually their story unfolds. It’s the love story of a couple married for nearly sixty years whose complete failure to communicate is hidden behind an apparently shared love of books. 

But there is also The Great Man, a famous local writer who chooses this day to come and call. Comical and acerbic, he pushes Jack to confront the past, until the truth finally emerges.


publication date – September 2021

England, 1238

Raised at the court of King Henry III as a chamber lady to the queen, young Joanna of Swanscombe’s life changes forever when she comes into an inheritance far above all expectations, including her own.

Now a wealthy heiress, Joanna’s arranged marriage to the King’s charming, tournament-loving half-brother William de Valence immediately stokes the flames of political unrest as more established courtiers object to the privileges bestowed on newcomers.

As Joanna and William strive to build a life together, England descends into a bitter civil war. In mortal danger, William is forced to run for his life, and Joanna is left with only her wit and courage to outfox their enemies and prevent them from destroying her husband, her family, and their fortunes.






He is suddenly and monstrously there, and his mask disguises nothing . . .

The bus never stops in Le Cap-des-Pins. Not in autumn, when the small Riviera resort is deserted. Except today, when a man with a red bag and a disconcerting stare steps out into the rain.

His arrival will throw the life of young housewife Mellie Mau into disarray. After surviving a horrific attack, she has a dark secret to hide. But a stranger at a wedding, the enigmatic American Harry Dobbs, is determined to get the truth out of her, leading her into a game of cat and mouse with dangerous consequences …

A cool, stylish and twisty thriller from cult French noir writer Sébastien Japrisot.

Praise for Rider on the Rain
‘Japrisot writes with warmth and has a gift for rendering almost every character instantly likable.’ New Yorker
 ‘A magician who lays out the truth on the page.’ Le Monde
Praise for Sébastien Japrisot 
‘With an instantly recognisable style and great story-telling techniques, he might be called the Graham Greene of France’ The Independent 
‘The most welcome talent since the early Simenons’ New York Times 
‘Utterly captivating’ The Guardian 
‘A cordon bleu mixture of suspense, sex, trick psychology and fast action’ Publishers Weekly 
‘Diabolically clever’ Anita Brookner, author of Hotel du Lac
‘Japrisot holds a unique place in contemporary fiction. With the quality and originality of his writing, he has hugely contributed to breaking down the barrier between crime fiction and literary fiction’ Le Monde 
‘A marvellous storyteller’ Télérama
‘Unreeled with the taut, confident shaping of a grand master … Funny, awful, first-rate. A rich and resonant sonata in black, astutely suspended between mythic tragedy and the grubby pathos of nagging everyday life’ Kirkus Reviews 





For a short novel, this is a story that packs a punch! It’s very dark and has sinister undertones, and I loved it!

Set in France, in a small riviera resort, this is the story of a housewife, Mellie, who is subjected to an horrific attack by a man who recently shows up in town. You really sense the fear she feels when she’s attacked in her own home, and that horror continues into the next door as he sticks around… you’ll find yourself totally on her side with how she deals with this ‘man’.

And what follows is the aftermath, and the presence of an American in town who seems a little too interested in Mellie and this man – you wonder what his motive is. He’s asking way too many questions and she wonders if she can trust him.

There’s a lot of dodgy, darker goings on in this book and that intrigue kept me hooked throughout. Pulsating, thrilling and twisted – my kind of book! 


My thanks to Gallic Press for the advanced reader copy in return for a fair and honest review.

#BookReview THE ANATOMY OF DESIRE by L.R.DORN #TheAnatomyOfDesire


A modern tale of American striving, social media stardom, a fatal love triangle, and a young woman on trial for murder—a mesmerizing reimagining of Theodore Dreiser’s classic novel of crime and punishment, An American Tragedy.

Claire Griffith seems to have it all, a thriving career, a gorgeous, successful boyfriend, a glamorous circle of friends. She always knew she was destined for more than the life her deeply conservative parents preached to her. Arriving in Los Angeles as a flat broke teenager, she has risen to become a popular fitness coach and social media influencer. Having rebranded herself as Cleo Ray, she stands on the threshold of achieving her most cherished dreams.

One summer day, Cleo and a young woman named Beck Alden set off in a canoe on a quiet, picture-perfect mountain lake. An hour later, Beck is found dead in the water, her face cut and bruised, and Cleo is missing. Authorities suspect foul play and news about Cleo’s involvement goes viral. Who was Beck and what was the nature of her and Cleo’s relationship? Was Beck an infatuated follower who took things too far? If Cleo is innocent, why did she run? Was it an accident? Or was it murder?

As evidence of Cleo’s secret life surfaces, the world begins to see just how hard she strived to get to the top— and how fast and far the fall is from celebrity to infamy.

L. R. Dorn’s reimagining of Theodore Dreiser’s novel, told in the form of a true crime docuseries a la Serial and The Jinx—with characters speaking through the “transcripts” of recorded interviews—The Anatomy of Desire exposes the ambition, sexual passion, and dark side of success that readers will find as achingly poignant as they did a century ago.





OOh this was a delicious read! It has it all! A real true crime feel, the impact of social media, tons of scandal and plenty of flawed characters!! I absolutely raced through it and didn’t want it to end!

Cleo is a fitness influencer! Living a seemingly charmed life online, all seems to be perfect in her world. That dream world soon becomes a nightmare when she is out in a canoe with a friend, the friend is later found dead and Cleo goes missing….. why did she run? What has she got to hide? What exactly did happen on that canoe?? You get to play along as you read trying to guess what did happen as it all plays out in the form of a true crime documentary and the book is based around the trial, alongside looking back at the build up to that day and what went on between Cleo and Rebecca.

When Cleo is found in the woods and arrested, the whole world gets interested in the case. She’s presumed guilty because she ran, and social media is a reflection of the clamour for this case and the trial to follow. But there’s more to this story than meets the eye, so be prepared for plenty of twists and turns!

The girls friendship, their families past, the current relationships – they are all explored and delved into via the trial. You really feel like you’re watching it on Court TV as new revelations are thrown into the mix that make you change your mind as to where you think the guilt lies! Utterly absorbing!!


My thanks to Alainna Georgiou for my advanced reader copy in return for a fair and honest review.


This is Book 8 of my 20 Books of Summer 2021


A bestselling, prizewinning novel of obsession and psychological intrigue about two enigmatic unmarried women, one of whom manipulates the other from afar, by one of Japan’s most acclaimed young writers

Almost every day, the Woman in the Purple Skirt buys a single cream bun and goes to the park, where she sits on a bench to eat it as the local children taunt her. She is observed at all times by the undetected narrator, the Woman in the Yellow Cardigan. From a distance the Woman in the Purple Skirt looks like a schoolgirl, but there are age spots on her face, and her hair is dry and stiff. Like the Woman in the Yellow Cardigan, she is single, she lives in a small, run-down apartment, and she is short on money. The Woman in the Yellow Cardigan lures her to a job where she herself works, as a hotel housekeeper; soon the Woman in the Purple Skirt is having an affair with the boss. Unfortunately, no one knows or cares about the Woman in the Yellow Cardigan. That’s the difference between her and the Woman in the Purple Skirt.

Studiously deadpan, highly original, and unsettling, The Woman in the Purple Skirt explores the dynamics of envy, the mechanisms of power in the workplace, and the vulnerability of unmarried women in a taut, voyeuristic narrative about the sometimes desperate desire to be seen.



Japanese literature never fails to amuse, entertain, befuddle and bemuse me, and this is another one of those books that casts its’ spell on me as I was hooked from page one on this mysterious story of one woman stalking another, to the point of obsession. And it throws up so many questions as to the focus of the story – is it a look at the way we function as a society now, where we become obsessed with people we don’t know via social media and make assumptions about them without knowing the truth? Instead of focussing on ourselves, our own happiness, our own success… it’s just too easy to lose yourself in somebody elses life.

The Woman in the Purple Skirt is a lady who sits on the same bench, eats the same cake – follows the same routine day in day out, talking to nobody, minding her own business – all under the watchful eye of the Woman in the Yellow Cardigan who narrates this story and shares just how obsessive her ‘stalking’ of this woman becomes. The attention to detail is scary! And she even engineers a way to get Purple skirt lady a job where she works – a way to keep an even closer watch over her.

But as Purple skirt settles into her new job, a new side of her is seen and this begins to unsettle Yellow Cardigan as she watches on – losing herself in someone elses life means she doesn’t have o focus on her own, and that isn’t looking too hot right now.

I loved the quirkiness of this story and how it starts off feeling quite light and insightful, but soon has a much darker feel and claustrophobic. It touches on obsession,manipulation and how loneliness affects different people – how perceptions can change of people. The tension works so well as you wait to figure out just where this obsession will lead to… a strange but compelling story!